Freedom

(Disclaimer: Firstly, I am grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom of speech, expression, and creativity – to share my thoughts and opinions in a public(ish) forum without fear.  Secondly, this post may read unpatriotic, but that is not my intention, just happens to be where my heart is.)

In the words of my friends Shane and Shane:

For freedom you’ve set me free,

And yes, I am free indeed.

You rewrote my name,

unshackled my shame,

You opened my eyes to see

that I am free.

So this song has nothing to do with Benjamin Franklin or George Washington or any of those other fellas who wore weird hair. It’s not about the promise of forefathers or any current or historic politicians for world peace or a better economy or an increase in national employment or security. The writing (or rewriting) isn’t referencing any bills, amendments, laws, etc. that outline the do’s and don’ts of society.

No, this freedom is much… freer. And, it is for everyone.

Because the price, the biggest sacrifice the world has ever seen, has already happened. And it can’t be renegotiated or voted on or changed to include or leave out any group or individual.

What a relief.

I’ve been in an intense season of spiritual pruning over the past several months (I guess almost two years now – wow!) and have come to realize that our only true freedom is love. That big, abundant, all-encompassing love that sets you so free that no matter the state of this country, our society, your very own heart – you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Free.

A free that lets you breathe. A free that lets you love.  A free that lets you extend grace. A free that lets you receive grace. A free that lets you forgive. A free that lets you find things new every morning. A free that lets you restore and reconcile yourself to him. A free that lets you take leaps of faith.

Leaps that take you places you never knew you would go, could go. Leaps that cross state lines…

When we ventured back to North Carolina in February we came with big, vulnerable hearts – opening ourselves wide for whatever God laid out for us. When not but a year before we felt so broken and dejected that some days I wasn’t even sure which way was up, I never could have imagined how bountiful the promises would pour out.

First, there’s this place:

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And these people who feel like family:942253_10103067246959353_1913024684_nAnd these folks who have stolen my heart:

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And these loves who have prayed and loved us through every leap, big and small:

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And people who encourage me to create and pursue small business dreams:

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And the miles and miles of possibilities of new-found freedom:

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For freedom has set me free.  And yes, I am free indeed. He rewrote my name, unshackled my shame. He opened my eyes to see, that I am free.

Free.

Veni, Vidi, Ricci

I wish I could say I promise more words later, but alas, that would make me a liar. So photos will have to do – and let’s be serious, that’s all anyone really wants to peruse on this here blog. Chris and I trekked to Jacksonville a few weeks back for a family wedding/anniversary/hang out with good people. Per usual, we went and hung out with this funky bunch and a few of our faves, the Riccis. I may adore them a little… or a lot.

Asher
Avery
Noah

Tanner

So, Ricci’s, ya’ll ready to head west so we can do this every day? 🙂

Judah, not pictured here, is the oldest. He had important business of school to tend to for such backyard shenaniganizing.

We’ve Been Slacking

Way back in our college days, Chris and I discovered slack-lining while working at Outdoor Pursuits – we weren’t very coordinated then and I’m not sure that’s something that comes with age.

At least not after the age of three.

Back then, the line was set up using standard 1-inch webbing, tied as tightly around two trees as humanly possible. Nowadays companies are making the whole rig, easy to set up using a ratchet strap system. Muy bueno. And when you are a camp director there are perks – like pro-deals for such gizmos. Muy muy bueno.

Though the flailing arms may indicate otherwise, it’s quiet, um, centering. We’re doing good to make it past the big tree – and we both do seven times out of ten – but then we invite friends to play who smoke us with fancy turns at the end. She’s way more in touch with her inner hippie…

One day…

Up the Creek

No need for a paddle. This time.

These spontaneous adventures take me back to spending two weeks a summer in the mountains as a kid.

…collected “wittle wiver wocks” until my pockets were billowing over and my shorts were falling off…

…climbed hills that were far bigger than me…

…played in mud, to my mama’s chagrin, probably took more with me than I left…

…stomped through the creek, looking for the rock to make the biggest splash…

…posed for a bajillion (and one) photos to get the perfect family shot…

…learning how to use the “facilities” in the woods…

…turning over rocks and logs and being mesmerized by my findings…

…and exploring it all with people I love.

It’s crazy to think how far back these memories take me. And even crazier to be making fresh ones in similar backdrops with our little fella. I hope a million years from now he will splash and get muddy with his little ones, but that will have to wait – his heart belongs to his mama until at least 35.

When It Rains

Turns out camping gear isn’t only for the wilderness – especially here lately.

“Roughing it” through the power outage…

 

The rain has been sporadic at best – say once every three weeks – but when it rains it pours. Quite literally. And with that rain comes a couple of power outages, usually for an hour or more at a time. But we aren’t worried – we’re prepared. Like boy scouts – minus the red socks and dorky shorts.

And I’m not complaining, for the record. I like when my rain barrel is full, my plants are watered, there are puddles to splash in, and the tomato plants grow a foot over night.

Boy’s Best Friend

Noah loves loves loves his four-legged friend – he shares his snacks with her, blesses her when she sneezes, tells folks to “shh” when she’s napping, helps her wear hats and other accessories. And she, in turn, gladly accommodates all of Noah’s jungle gym/stepladder needs – and never moves a muscle.

“Dits!”
BFFs – for life.
Nothing. Cuter. In. The. Whole. Wide. World.