Friday, May 30, 2014

Stringer's Ridge Trails.... a gorgeous morning

This morning we walked/hiked up at Stringer's Ridge.  This area is newly renovated and opened to walkers, bicyclists, and runners.  In order to avoid collisions on the paths, there are directional instructions based on the day of the week for the different outdoor enthusiasts.

We started at the Spears Trailhead.  The trailhead parking area provided a good 10-12 parking spaces, a picnic table, a large map of the area, and a port-a-john.  The trail markings were abundant and clear.  In fact, I haven't seen a trail system so adequately marked.  That was refreshing to see.  Click here for a map of Stringer's Ridge.

During our adventure we encountered two snakes, a turtle, a runner, some other walkers, a woman with a stroller full of kids.  It was overall fairly quiet for a Friday morning outing.

The highlight very well could be the overlook.  They have done a tremendous job on this overlook.  There are three block benches for seating on the structure that goes out over the drop off.  The view is gorgeous.   Though a little hazy this morning, one could still see downtown well.

Being on the trail with a botanist and his number one sidekick means that I got to learn new things today.  I saw native magnolia trees.  Their leaves are HUMONGOUS.  Not the magnolia trees I grew up with in my yard nor that my grandmother had, which I learned are native to Mississippi.  I saw Japanese grass, Kudzu, tick weed, funky fungus that turned out to be elegant stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans), the fruit of the may apple, Christmas fern that looked that a stocking (though I thought it looked like an oversized mitten), etc.  Some things I had seen during my spring walks and had learned, but had not seen in this state.  The indian pink was beginning to shrivel and fade away. 

elegant stinkhorn


May apple

Ginger, little brown jug, pig's nose

tick weed

It was good to be out in creation, walking along the paths in the woods.  The majority of the paths we walked were in the woods, though some were the gravel roads which are remnants of the roads and driveways from the neighborhoods from days gone by. 

If you live locally and haven't checked out Stringer's Ridge, I encourage you to do so.

If you are planning to come to the Chattanooga area and you are looking for a place to hike, check it out.

Lastly, I saw this quote today on Facebook on the Shalem Institute site by Gerald May and it fit very well for today:

"In order to let God lead, you have to be relatively free from the things that normally determine your thoughts and actions. I find it best to be outdoors, away from the habits of household and civilization. Familiar surroundings always seem to demand certain activities from me. I sit a certain way in a chair, act a certain way in a room, think along particular lines in a particular place. Outdoors, especially in a fairly wild place, I'm much fresher, more immediately available for whatever inspiration might come."

Today's walk/hike outdoors was definitely refreshing.  And with the snakes and turtle sighting (and the odd plant life), there was some "wild" involved.   Maybe as I walked those paths, God was working and leading inwardly in my heart, mind, and soul.  Who knows?

Blessings on your journey,

covered avea.. looked cool

erosion at beginning of Spears Trailhead


graffiti on the concrete block foundation
Christmas fern

magnolia leaves
More links about Stringer's Ridge:

Article in Times Free Press, September 2013
Friends of Stringer's Ridge Facebook Page
The Trust for Public Land-- Stringer's Ridge

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Centering Prayer Workshop at St. Mary's Sewanee


It couldn't have been a more gorgeous day to be up on the mountain at St. Mary's yesterday for the Centering Prayer Workshop.  The sky was clear and sunny and there were nice breezes.  Though indoors primarily, I was able to enjoy the outdoors and view upon my arrival, walking to the conference room (the new building), to lunch, and back to my car at the end of the workshop.

It is always peaceful at St. Mary's.  A place I can breathe in and breathe out, deepening my breathing and restoring my rhythm.  I've only been up there now 3 times, but it seems like many more times.  The women's "Captivating" retreat we held there a couple of years ago, the Lenten 1/2 day retreat last Spring, and then yesterday's Centering Prayer Workshop.

Yesterday's workshop was led by Rev. Margaret Marshall.  There were a total of 18 participants, 5 male and 13 female, from GA, TN, and AL.  The group was mixed with some never having experienced/practiced centering prayer and some having done so and having met with a group locally.  Some of us were there because we weren't ready to jump into the 3 day or the 8 day silent retreat just yet, but the workshop day was the perfect springboard.

The workshop was a wonderful breath of fresh air for me.  Not only did we practice Centering Prayer twice during our time together, but the teaching time about Centering Prayer and discussion was helpful too.  In addition, the time of fellowship around the awesome fresh baked blueberry muffins upon our arrival and the table fellowship at lunch were wonderful!  Lunch time table fellowship centered around gazpacho soup (something I have been craving for a while), red quinoa with avocado, etc. salad, homemade pimento cheese sandwiches, and shortbread cookies.   Edifying conversations around healthy food.... what could be better?!?!

One of the resources we received at the workshop is "The Method of Centering Prayer: The Prayer of Consent" brochure by Thomas Keating.  It can be found and downloaded at the Contemplative Outreach Website by clicking this link.  There are versions of the brochure in other languages under "Documents" as you scroll down the page. 

If you live in the United States and are looking for connections within the Contemplative Outreach group, you can search by state and city by clicking on this link.  This is how I found the group I attend locally and I have also contacted groups in other locations when I am going to travel.

If you live outside the United States, there is a link for you too.  Click here to find out what might be available in your area.

Psalm 46:10--"Be still and know that I am God" is the verse used on the brochure and was the verse used in the workshop.  It is a verse that has been in my life for quite a few years now, as I have mentioned in the past.  Becoming still in order to listen to God continues to be a challenge for me and I know it will be an ongoing challenge.  But, what a gift yesterday to myself, to take time to get apart, to be still, to be quiet, and to be able to listen.  

I haven't been able to make the Centering Prayer group locally in several months.  I have missed the group time of centering prayer.  There is definitely something to coming together in community and praying, even praying silently that deepens one's relationship with God, even when one doesn't fully know what work is being or has been done at the time.  The times of centering prayer in yesterday's workshop made me realize that I need to find and make a way in my schedule to get back as soon as possible to the group because it has become a sacred place for me and I miss it.

There were other things that came out of yesterday that were moments of surprise.... one was seeing a friend's nametag on the table upon my arrival.  That was a fun surprise to see her name, but I knew she had signed up for the July workshop, so I knew I wasn't likely to see her there.  Other surprises came out in conversation.... several connections to Camp Skyline through former campers and their children ☺; a woman's son who attended UGA for Forestry who now teaches at the university in Starkville, MS (my grandfather was State Forester in GA back in the day); conversations about places to go and stay on retreats, such as the Abbey in KY; etc.

Carving out time in my week for the centering prayer workshop was well worth the time, the drive, the cost. 

Investing in deepening my relationship with the One who created me and knows me best is always a solid investment.  Having said that, the results of deepening this relationship aren't always easy to understand or even to accomplish.  Just as all relationships require time, effort, and energy, so does the relationship with the One who knows me best. 

I hope to take the new resources I've learned about at the workshop and use them on my adventurous journey.

If you find something helpful here in this post for your journey, cool.  It's okay if you didn't.

Blessings on your journey,



If you'd like to attend the next Centering Prayer Workshop at St. Mary's, it is on July 26 and will be led by Rev. Tom Ward.  Learn more about it here.

For the Middle Tennessee newsletter of Centering Prayer, click here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

3213 Kensington Rd... what a transformation

After my grandmother Meemo died, my Mom and her sister sold the property in Avondale Estates, GA.  We all knew what would happen to the home that my grandfather had built and in which my grandmother had raised the girls.  Well, we thought we knew.  The contractor didn't exactly tear the whole house down.  He kept some of the bones and built around it.  That way, some of the original 1942 house is still there.  But, it's not recognizable.  Even so, it's beautiful.  The current asking price is $619,000 (it started at $679, 900).  The price is way over my budget.
What I liked seeing in the pictures were the pine trees still looming high above the house on the side, the gigantic magnolia tree in the backyard, and the driveway.  Though the driveway is new, it is still the "old style".  

I can hear Meemo's particular and distinct "oooh" as she sees the 3025 sq. ft. house.  Her "oooh" started on one note and went into another.  She would likely be impressed by all the bells and whistles in the beautiful home but would wonder why it's necessary.  Her tiny 2 bedroom home was sufficient for all those years. 

Whoever buys that new home will also be buying a gorgeous lot.  They will have the opportunity to make their own memories in the magnolia tree. 

I am grateful for all the memories I have of that home, that yard, and the Avondale Estates community.  It was a wonderful place to visit and to call "home" during visits with my grandmother.

Best wishes on the sale of the new home!


Sisterchicks Down Under!

Yesterday was a perfect day for reading.  It was a drizzly, rainy, chilly day.  So, I picked up another one of the Sisterchicks novels that a friend loaned me and started reading.  Sisterchicks Down Under! by Robin Jones Gunn starts off in the sunny state of California before moving to New Zealand.  With a trip to Australia in the novel, there was description of three different places.

As with all the Sisterchicks novels, there were adventures in travels, relationships, and life throughout the novel.  The learning moments/lessons for me in this book included Scripture, vocabulary from down under, some art and math lessons, and how to love God and others.

The book opens with Ephesians 5:2-- "Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that." (The Message)

Part of what caught my attention in this book is that the main character, Kathleen, was 45 years old and shared about being halfway through life.  As she contemplated what the remaining years might look like, part of her questioning included what risks was she willing to take.   Since I have been looking into the second part of my life for the past several years, contemplating Falling Upward by Richard Rohr, and seeking to live well into my year of jubilee, I was curious to see how this character would deal with this part of life.

The scenes and vocabulary from New Zealand were enjoyable to read.  Though I haven't had the opportunity to travel yet to New Zealand, I felt like I got to visit some sights through the book.  And, I picked up some of the lingo, too. 

Wellington, New Zealand was the setting for the majority of the book.  Lord of the Rings fans will know that New Zealand was where the movie was filmed and might know Wellington as one of the  towns where the movie was filmed.  Movie references come up in this book throughout with references to the movie and the scenes.  An interesting one was when Jill took Kathy (Kathleen) to the forest where Frodo and his pals hid after the hobbits left Shire.  (page 69) They were checking out the beauty of the area and decided to see if they could fit in the hobbit-sized holes. 

Besides the beautiful forest, the water in New Zealand and other aspects of nature and culture are described in such a way that makes one desire to visit this land. 

The sisterchick duo travel to Christchurch, New Zealand during their adventures and learn about the Maori culture during their trip. 

Some New Zealand vocabulary from the book:
chemist = drugstore
dairy = corner market
colly wobbles = queasy feeling
dunny = restroom
cotton buds = Q-tips
sticking plaster = Band-Aids
hokey pokey = ice cream
crisps = potato chips
sarnies = sandwiches
take away = to go

Besides the Ephesians 5:2 nugget on God's extravagant love, there were examples of the Scripture lived out by loving others scattered throughout the book.  Loving God and loving others and accepting God's love and the love of others were threads woven through the story line.   God's love IS extravagant.  Sometimes it takes getting out of our comfort zones to see and experience that love.  What we do with our lives, the time we have, the relationships we have.... that's what this book is about... Well, yes and no.  It is "only" a novel.  But, a novel that reflects accuracy in life.

Well, that's about all I have to share from this adventure with the Sisterchicks Down Under!  Check it out for yourself to get the details.  You will likely get more out of it than I shared here.  I didn't want to ruin it for you.

Blessings on your journey,


Friday, May 16, 2014

Dam Hidden Treasure... why can't it be re-opened for all?

No, the title doesn't contain a misspelled word.  The "dam" I am referring to is the Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga, TN.  The "hidden treasure" I am referring to is the recreational area known as North Chickamauga Creek Greenway that is not really "hidden" but blocked off from access on the dam side.  The North Chickamauga Creek Greenway is currently ONLY accessible via the Greenway Farms off of Hamill Road (and Gann Store Road) in Hixson.  The sign below is on the dam side of the Greenway, the portion that is currently blocked off from Lake Resort Drive.

To access this portion of the Greenway, you must park at the Greenway Farm on the Hixson side and walk, run, or jog to the other side.  Since this includes going up hill to the quarry area, this isn't feasible for anyone needing wheelchair or walker access.  I have seen folks pushing baby buggies up the hills and through the area though.
The good news is that THERE IS access for those needing to use a wheelchair or a walker on the dam side.  There is even parking designated for those who have the required parking tags.
For the most part, this area of the Greenway is kept up rather well considering one cannot access it from the dam side.  The workers keep the restroom facility in order, the trails clear, and the grass mowed.  There is some work that would need to be done if this facility were to be reopened.
And that is my point in writing.  WHY ISN'T THIS FACILITY OPEN?!?!?  It was originally closed because of the dam work on the lock.  However, that work is now on hold.  I don't understand why the access on the dam side to the Greenway couldn't be reopened until the dam lock work starts back (whenever that might be). [See link at bottom of post on the dam and lock.]
The lower loop trail is fully accessible for a wheelchair or a walker, even a cane.  But, if someone didn't want to use the trail, there are picnic tables in addition to the big picnic pavilion (seen top left in the photo of the handicapped parking spots and by itself below).
To my knowledge, this inaccessible location is the only handicapped accessible trail located in the woods (with labeled trees) in the Chattanooga area. 
But it's not just for folks needing those facilities, it is a wonderful place for all people to enjoy.
There are grassy areas for kids of all ages to play.
There is access to the water via these steps.
And, of course there is the walking trail.  There are several choices.  There is the lower loop, the upper loop.  The Boy Scout trail is also accessible from this side.   One can even take the trail to the quarry if one wishes.   Here is a map of all the trails at the Greenway Farm.
However, IF one wishes to enjoy the picnic pavilion on the dam side, one must walk from the Hixson side.  Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy the Hixson side of the Greenway Farm.  There is much to offer on that side too.  There are wonderful open spaces to run and play.  There is the Wildflower Trail.  There is the dog park.  There is the rental facility (former home).  There are walking paths.  But, it's not very user friendly for folks who might need to use a walker, a cane, or especially a wheelchair.
At this point in my life, I'm okay with the walking all the way over to get to the hidden treasure.  Yet, if I need knee surgery again.... or if I need hip surgery.... or if I become dependent on a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair..... I would like to be able to enjoy the beauty of this spot.  And it isn't just about or for me.  I think about this property that is sitting unused by the majority of our community because they simply can't get to it easily, whether they need the accessible areas or not.  Families with young children, anyone with injuries, groups that would like to use the pavilion, ETC.
City of Chattanooga, if we are not moving forward with the work on the dam lock, then why can't this area be opened up on the dam side?
It's a beautiful place!  I hope the blocks will be removed in the near future so that more people in the community can use this place as it was intended to be used and as many of us used it in the past.
Maybe folks aren't bothered about this portion of the Greenway not being open to the public.  Maybe folks are okay with it being shut down and inaccessible to the community.  That's cool.  But, there might be a few folks that didn't even realize they were missing out on such a wonderful hidden (blocked) treasure.  Maybe, just maybe, someone that can re-open the road (or at least explain why it won't be re-opened) will somehow hear the message and respond.
Walking onward on the journey,
Newly renovated benches on the dam side of the trail; overlooks a rope swing and the creek.
This bridge begins the walking trail on the dam side, from the parking lot.
Check out the links below for additional information:
Information on the Boy Scout Trail from the North Chick website:

Length: Approximately 1.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Uses: Foot Traffic Only
The Boy Scout Trail is located within TVA’s Big Ridge Small Wild Area. The trail makes a loop, going to the top of Big Ridge and back down to the Greenway. The entirety of the trail is dirt singletrack, and it goes through some of the oldest forest in the North Chickamauga Creek watershed.
Access: The Boy Scout Trail branches off of the North Chickamauga Creek Greenway about 0.7 miles from the parking lot next to the Outdoor Chattanooga barn. Take the Greenway up and over the quarry and past the Upper Loop. The Boy Scout Trail is the first trail on the left past the southernmost turn-off for the Upper Loop.

Information on the dam and lock from the US Army Corps of Engineers

Article in Chattanooga Times-Free Press, January 30, 2014 about the lock and dam

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Helping the Cuba 5 Day Academy


I've not been to Cuba yet.  It's not that I haven't tried or not that I haven't wanted to, it's that the opportunities haven't been the right timing for me yet. 

I have wanted to go to Cuba ever since I was a little girl when my maternal grandfather ("Papa") shared stories of going over to Cuba when he was State Forester of Georgia to check out the pine trees prior to the closing of the borders.  I can't tell you why that stuck with me, but it did.  And then I learned Spanish and fell in love with the language and the culture, covering Latin American and the Iberian Peninsula.  Though I'm not fully versed in all things Cuban, I enjoy Cuban food, Cuban music, and I am more than willing to travel to the beautiful island to learn more about its people and culture.

Until I can go there, I support others who do and can.  Friends have been there on mission trips.  One of my Academy colleagues goes there to minister to pastors.  Now, there is going to be a 5 Day Academy this upcoming November in Cuba, sponsored largely by leadership from my Academy #32.

Just recently I learned a way that I can help the team preparing to go to Cuba in November.  Through The Academy for Spiritual Formation (sponsored by the Upper Room), I was able to set up a Donor Page to help raise funds for scholarships for the Cuba 5 Day Academy.  I set my goal at $1000 and started the donations with a personal donation.   I benefited from a scholarship when I went to the TN 5 Day Academy in the Fall of 2010.   Because I know how helpful the scholarships are, because I know how incredible the Academy rhythm and experience is and how it can impact one's life, I wanted to help the Cuba team in their efforts to help the Cuban people.

If you are not able to give financially to the Cuba 5 Day Academy, would you consider praying for the team leaders as they prepare for this new adventure?  Would you also pray for the Cuban leaders that will be on this 5 Day Academy?  Thank you in advance for any and all support you are able to give, whether in prayer or through finances.

To learn more about The Academy for Spiritual Formation, click here.

To go to my Donor Page to learn how you can help and what the monies will do for the sponsorship of this 5 Day Academy, click here.

I am looking forward to the team getting there and sharing their experiences with those of us who are not able to go in person, but who support them and go in spirit and prayer.

Thank you for taking some time to read about helping the Cuba 5 Day Academy!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Encouraged and affirmed in calling...

Over the past several months I have been encouraged and affirmed in my calling through different people, events, and situations.   Through it all, I see God's hand gently guiding and reminding me to keep moving forward, to keep listening, and to 'keep on keeping on'. 

I am going to share two experiences in this post.

Riley and I had been able to go to the April Emmaus Gathering because it was during Spring break and we didn't need to worry about our daughter staying up late on a school night, though she opted out of joining us.  I enjoy the Gatherings.  Food, table fellowship, worship, Holy communion.  It turned out there were no other clergy present besides the one leading, Ben Matherly.  The other two guys who had planned to be there had situations come up and couldn't make it.  Ben approached me toward the end of the meal and asked if I would assist him with communion.  Of course!  Though I'm not ordained yet (Certified Candidate with a year left of studies), I am now considered clergy in the Emmaus community because I went through the application and review process.  I was excited and nervous at the same time.  I don't often get to serve communion.  What if I didn't remember the words correctly.  When it was time for me to go up, Ben called me up.  When it was time for me to do my part, I did it.  Honestly, I couldn't tell you exactly what I said.  I attempted to listen to God's leading and provide the context for us gathered as community, coming to the table and put it in the context of what Jesus did and said.  To myself, it sounded as if I had some of the verbs in the past and in the present, all mixed up.  Later, I reflected and double checked the Scripture and decided that since Christ is past, present, and future, then maybe that was okay.  Ben and I shared the elements with the community gathered that evening and it was a blessing to do so.  I am always blessed and humbled to be part of such a powerful and meaningful sacrament.  Not only was the experience encouraging and affirming to me, but there were several people afterwards who spoke with me or wrote me about it and those were also encouraging and affirming.

Another experience that encouraged and affirmed me is very different in nature and occurred prior to the one above.  You have read about Will, the four year old "pushing 5" who struggled after the water accident.  Being with Will encouraged and affirmed me in calling throughout the time he was in the hospital.  But, there is one experience in particular I will share right now.  After learning of Will's accident Sunday evening, I was able to go down Monday morning to see Will and to be with his Dad, Tony.  Knowing Tony likes coffee, I contacted Tony prior to going down there to see what I could bring him and any others who were there.  He was the only one that needed anything at the time, so I headed to the hospital with Starbucks and in prayer.  When I arrived, I briefly got to see Joy, Will's grandmother, outside of Will's room.  She was heading out.  In Will's room, I immediately felt peace and what I would say was the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Tony and Kacey, Will's Mom, were there.  It was a blessing to see Kacey and to be able to support her.  I showed Tony the cross that I had used the night before to pray for Will.  It's a cross I received at the end of the Academy journey and I often use it to pray for people.  For the first time I had anointed the cross Sunday evening as my husband and I prayed over the head portions and lungs for Will.  Standing at Will's bed Monday morning, looking over him, I felt led to pray for him and anoint him for healing then and there.  I asked Tony for permission to do so, and he granted it.  I can't tell you what I prayed.  I only know that I felt led by the Holy Spirit and tried to listen as I prayed for my little friend with such a big heart.  Some may say that I wasted my time in praying for healing because healing didn't come.  I can hear that, but I would have to 'agree to disagree'.  Healing comes in different ways.  I didn't know what "healing" would mean for Will.  All I knew was that I felt led to anoint him for healing and to pray for him.  When I finished praying for him, when we finished praying for him, I looked up and Tony had taken a picture.  My first reaction was embarrassment, but then I realized it wasn't about me.  Yet, even though it wasn't about me, I still felt encouraged and affirmed in my calling.  It was humbling and meaningful to have this opportunity to be with Will and the family during this time.  Kacey called me as I was on my way to tutoring that morning and that also encouraged me and affirmed me in my calling. 

Cross from Academy
Picture taken by Tony Smith; used with permission

These are just two of the many experiences that have occurred over the past several months that have encouraged and affirmed me in my calling.  As they continue to rumble in my heart, mind, and soul, you may read about others later. 
To all of those who are walking with me on this journey, whether in person, on-line, via phone calls, email, through this blog, or in prayer.... thank you.  Thank you for being the support, the iron that sharpens iron, etc. 
As I've said before, I will say again, I am very blessed to be in community.  I am grateful that I can learn, grow, fall, fail, get back up, keep moving forward, walk alongside, be carried, etc.  That is what community is... a place where we can be ourselves, live into who we are and support one another.
How are you being encouraged and affirmed in your calling in your community?
Continuing forward on this awesome adventurous journey,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pushing 5...reflections of an example of living well from Will

5/25/13 at Vandergriff Park.  Fun afternoon.

This phrase, "pushing 5", has been in my mind since Will's celebration on April 12, 2014.  Reverend Reed Shell used it as he was talking about Will's life and it struck a chord within me.  Here was Will, not yet 5 years old, yet he had impacted the Kingdom of God in mighty ways more than many adults might in a life time.  What was the difference that could explain such an impact?  Reverend Reed Shell spoke of the difference.  It was Will's uninhibited passion and boldness.  Will didn't meet a stranger.  Will offered love and grace to everyone he met. 

I'm sure Will had his moments.  He was a child.  He went through the 2s and 3s.  I imagine his Mom and Dad could share a few temper tantrum stories.  But, that isn't what we remember.  I am thankful, too, that my Father doesn't focus on those in my life. 

What Will led by example in life, he leaves behind in his passing as a beautiful legacy and example for all of us. 

What does it take to engage a person in line in dialogue?  What does it take to smile at someone?  What does it take to tell someone "I love you."?  For Will, it didn't "take" anything.  It was part of his natural giving.  There are stories of Will engaging others in dialogue and by the time the conversation is over, he is telling the person that he loves them.  There are other stories of Will making sure a kid is properly buckled in his car seat and inquiring as to whether or not that kid has been baptized.  Will's words, his smiles, his hugs.... INFECTIOUS!

It does seem easier, though, doesn't it?  For a young child, "pushing 5",  society hasn't yet stifled the passion and boldness.  To see a child reaching out with such love and enthusiasm is endearing, but we don't necessarily see ourselves being able to do the same thing.  But, why not?  Aren't we called by Christ to 'become like children'?  This doesn't mean be childish, but rather childlike.  (See Matthew 18:3.) 

Even when we are called to live into our created beings, it is still difficult.  To be bold in love and grace isn't always accepted when we are older.   Thankfully, Christ has called us to not follow the ways of the world.  If we are going to take these steps, we need to realize that it means risking vulnerability, humility, and remembering who and Whose we are.  But these things are such that take us right back to our Creator, so maybe it's worth it.

If that wasn't enough, during Will's celebration of life, Reverend Reed Shell encouraged us to be more like Will.  Maybe that's why the phrase "pushing 5" caught my attention so much.  You see, Will was pushing 5.  I am pushing 50.  It is truly my desire to live life with abandon, to love others, to offer grace freely and abundantly.  Yet, I sometimes hold back.  (That might surprise some folks.)  But, I felt the freedom through Reverend Reed Shell and his sharing about Will to live into my year of Jubilee, my 50th year, with that freedom. 

I guess that might be a warning.  I'm not sure.  For me, it will continue to be part of the adventurous journey.

What are you "pushing"?  Whatever the number, don't let it stop you from being intentional, passionate, and bold in sharing love and grace with others.

It's part of living well.  And, it's a wonderful legacy.  Just look at Will.

Thank you Will for sharing your life with SO many in the time you were here on this earth.  I am grateful for times together at birthday parties, Starbucks, the park, and the time I was with you in  the PICU.  

Living into the freedom as a child of God on this journey,


P.S.  For more "Will stories", check out his Dad's (Tony Smith) blog, "When There is a Will, There is a Way"