Thursday, July 23, 2015

Countdown to JH Ranch

The countdown app says 10 days, 3 hours and 26 minutes. He's filled with excitement, anticipation - and a bit of the butterflies. We've known about this trip for months, been planning the travel logistics for weeks and are now finalizing our packing lists.

Jackson and I are flying across the country to northern California where we will be attending the Mother/Son Week at JH Ranch.

From their website:
The content of our programming at JH Ranch is taught primarily through the challenges of practical experiences in the great outdoors. With each purpose-driven program, our goal is to teach and model the Great Commandment: love God and love others. Through this, our guests leave JH Ranch with practical Christian principles for everyday life, not simply inspiration.

This week long gift from my parents to Jackson and me was one that grew from the intense prayer and discernment of my mother. It's been almost four years from the fatal wreck that killed my grandmother. Jackson was only nine at the time and was trapped in the car with her leg on his shoulder. The other sights and sounds he experienced those moments scarred him in ways that were not so evident to us at the time. This happy, funny thirteen-year-old has not spent a night away from his family since then. He can't do it. This athletic, cool kid can't bring himself to try new things that might challenge him or take him out of his comfort zone. It's taken this many years for him to finally admit that he might possibly have a form of PTSD. My mother was convicted by the Holy Spirit that she was to give us this week to help with his healing -  and that we were to receive it. (And how do you argue with the Holy Spirit? You don't! You are obedient!)

At first I was worried that when I showed Jackson the website, he would say no. Because there are many challenges throughout the week - and times of quiet reflection from the Biblical teaching sessions. But he didn't. He was kind of interested. Going in a trip, just the two of us to a place his brother hasn't been? That's pretty neat. In the mountains? That's cool too. And as we continued to talk over the next months, then weeks and now days, the excitement grew. Tonight, we watched a video from a week earlier this summer. It painted quite a thorough picture of all we will experience. And he could hardly contain his excitement. He is so ready!

Afterwards, we were talking about what he would want to keep in the backpack he is using as his carry-on. I mentioned his iPhone and charger, Eno, GoPro, gum - all the things I though he would be interested in. Without skipping a beat, he said, "Oh yes. And also my Bible." (How big was my internal smile?!)

I admit it. I've been so concerned about his head being open and ready for this adventure. But I now know that his heart is too. And that is where God will work in Jackson's life - and mine too. In our heads, but mainly in our hearts. We are being obedient. Our hearts are open. And we are excited with the anticipation of what great things He will do in our lives!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

I Respectfully Disagree

I've never been one for confrontation and conflict. My family and friends can attest to this. I tend to clam up and hold things inside when I am directly or emotionally affected. (Not very healthy, because I finally explode in tears.) However, when asked to mediate between others - or (when I'm forced to) on my own behalf - I try to be very careful and deliberate with my words and intonations. The less conflict the better. I want everyone to feel that they have been heard.  Really listened to - and with dignity. It upsets me greatly when I feel others are more interested in making sure that their point is the only one that matters. They yell. They curse. They mock. They belittle the others person's opinions and life's experiences.

I find that happens more and more in this age of social media. We live in a world where not only can we write an initial post or article, but the rest of humanity can comment and even battle back and forth between themselves. One time I posted something on my own Facebook page and two friends who don't even know each other battled back and forth for what seemed hours. Neither one wanted to listen to the other. Their conversation was smattered with snide comments and innuendos as to the other's intelligence and moral fortitude. It was like hosting a dinner party where two belligerent guests had overstayed their welcome and would not leave. I finally had to politely ask them to stop.

These past two weeks have provided much to show the divisions and differences in opinion in our country. And the comments and posts from friends showed the passion, and sometimes mean-spiritedness, from both sides. 

I too got involved and shared my excitement of the Confederate BATTLE Flag coming down in my state. Goosebumps abounded as my husband and sons watched it live on television.

I consider myself a conservative (See, you can't lump us all together in our views!) and follow the website/blog Chicks on the Right. They also agreed that the flag should be removed from our State House grounds. After reading some of the comments that strongly and rudely disagreed, I felt the need to share my own views. You can see my exchanges with two other readers that ensued and the lessons learned...

Politeness Lesson Number 1: If they pick up that you won't get hostile, they will drop the conversation.

Politeness Lesson Number 2: Someone who strongly disagrees with you can honor your views. (You might also make a friend.)

And so I thank you for listening!