The Yellow Rose of Texas

WOW. WOW. WOW.
The happenings around our place recently has everybody in a sort of dither and a few brains have broken loose from their heads.  We are super happy one moment and giving enthusiastic shouts of “HURRAH!”, but then the next moment finds a few tears and sad hearts.   What in the world is all the commotion about? 

It is with a great deal of mounting anticipation and joy that am sitting down to write this post on a humid afternoon here in Virginia.  Of course, now you’re curious and wondering why, but I can’t just tell you right off the bat.  There’s a story behind every story and I’ll start at the beginning so as not to spoil it ;)

 Sunday afternoon was supposed to be clear and hot, and after several days of rain clouds, we were ready to enjoy the outdoors again.  Immediately after church, we made some quick sandwiches and piled into the van to go hiking.  An hour or so found us parking the van at the base of Tinkers Cliff, checking water bottles and starting out on an 8-mile hike.
For the records, it was the longest one we’ve done yet!  I have dreams of someday hiking the entire ridge, about 30 miles, in one day.  I am trying to talk my siblings into doing with me ;)
Some of the family members had a little trouble pushing themselves that far, but most of us were eager to hike quickly and reach the top, testing our bodies limit.   If you don’t test yourself, you’ll never know your capabilities.  And if you don’t push yourself, you’ll never increase your capabilities.  That’s my motto, at least.

This was a vigorous hike, with many steep hills to conquer.

We usually *try* to stay together as a family while hiking, but although we start that way, it rarely finishes the same.  Some get worn out while others only feel more energetic as time goes by.  Those who accept the challenge usually push harder as the end comes in view, leaving behind those who wish to relax for a spell.   Because of the quick, small lunch and limited water supply, several of the family decided to stop and rest, so Charis and I pushed ahead of the others and reached the top long before everyone else.  It was BREATHTAKING!! I was not prepared for the sight of the Roanoke Valley stretching before me and the other nearby mountains which created a little green and peaceful hollow.  If I close my eyes right now, I am almost imagine that I am back, dangling my feet over the edge of the cliff and letting the breeze blow through my sweaty hair.  Ahhhh :)

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We sat at the top for a while before deciding to head back down.   Gathering people and counting heads …. Suddenly, Mom says, “Hey, my phone keeps buzzing!”  She opened the text messages and begins reading ….

“…. But, I am NOT looking forward to leaving Texas.  Please pray for us.  – Elijah.”

This brings us to a very important fact of which you should be notified before we continue this narrative.  Elijah did not hike with us that day.  He was in Texas visiting a family he met earlier this year and has communicated with frequently throughout the past few months.  What was the big deal?? Well …. We are happy to announce that Elijah has his own Yellow Rose of Texas.  Plain language, you say?!  Alrighty.  Here it is:

ELIJAH IS ENGAGED TO FAITH GRUBB FROM TEXAS!!!

I know you just did a double take. I didn’t even know he was considering or seeing somebody!  you exclaim.  And you’re right!  Elijah and Faith wanted to keep their relationship quiet for a while until they felt it was the right time to share it with everyone.  And that happens to be NOW!  If you are on Facebook or Instagram, you probably already heard the news because those places BLEW UP WITH PHOTOS AND EMOTICONS.  Quite literally. But if you’re not, now you know!
We are suuuuuuuuper excited for them as they plan their wedding and pray and prepare for mission work in Africa afterwards.  They have similar personalities with lots of go-to and dreams, so I call them the power couple.  A duo of GET. IT. DONE. Which is part of the reason their relationship moved so fast and took shape.   They knew God’s hand was in it and that He was blessing them tremendously, sooooo …. why wait?? ;)

Of course, that news gave us all fresh energy to make it back down the mountain and head home.  When Dad stopped at a little local pizza shop and bought dinner for everyone, we hooked up all our phones and iPods with the wi-fi there to receive the MANY photos and videos that the Grubb family sent us.  To say we were not able to fully appreciate that scrumptious pizza is an understatement.
It is a rather complicated story to tell, so you should read Faith’s version of it.  ;)  I know you’ll enjoy it.  {And note all the exclamation marks …. *somebody* is VERY happy!!!}

We thank the Lord for their desire to serve God and pray that He will use them TOGETHER to further His kingdom!

This post may not make a lot of sense, because when I said we were “in a dither”, I was not joking!  It’s a lot to take in when the oldest child in a family gets married and leaves the ranks.  It’s a bittersweet thing to experience.  But I am so happy for them and wish them the very best!
And I’ll keep you updated on the “lovebirds” <3

To God be the Glory Great Things He hath done!

Lyrical Attempts

Have you ever tried to write a song?  I certainly have.
Did you succeed?  I certainly didn’t.
Or at least, so it seemed.

I’ve always had a busy brain.  It loves to turn itself inside out, practice calisthenics, or plague me with questions that have no answers.  When it’s not busy with the above, you can be sure that engaging in daydreams and creating rhymes, lyrics and humming tunes in my head is the default mode.   I actually rather like it.  It gives me excuses to doodle on every scrap of paper and to get up in the middle of the night to jot down a line of poetry that I don’t want to forget.  Most of my notebooks and journals are filled with tiny sketches of art and words.  It’s lovely to flip through my old ones and laugh at my brains antics ;)
Recently, I had a little tune buzzing around in my head, so after I managed to catch it, I poked around for some possible lyrics.  I found an old poem, tweaked it a little, and then began the task of putting the two together.   I mean, how hard could it be?  I was just writing a song.

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Ahem.
15 minutes passed … ink blots and scratch outs appeared …

That’s when I gained a deep appreciation for people who are able to write songs that glorify God and inspire others to do so.
Music is truly a gift from God.  I know I’ve probably exhausted that subject on this blog before, but I feel like I could never do it justice.   Some people are extremely gifted when it comes to writing music, and others are blessed with lovely voices to sing the songs that are written.
But what if you are like me and you try both but don’t feel like you are gifted at either?  WAIT! I have news for you!
You ARE gifted.  :)

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At first, I was tempted to be discouraged and give up my blossoming musical career.  I sighed and told myself that I “just wasn’t gifted in that way.”  But the more I thought about it, I realized that it didn’t matter to God whether or not my measures had the correct amount of beats.  As long as I was glorifying Him with my efforts and with the desires of my heart, I could praise Him perfectly with an imperfect song!  Instead of focusing on the skills that I didn’t have, I could hone the ones I do and persevere in learning the ones I don’t.  Does that mean I will ever become a famous musician?
Positively not.  I don’t see that opening in my future ;)  But as I go around in life, I can sing my silly songs to the Lord at the top of my voice, knowing that He hears them, loves them, and accepts them.  What a beautiful thought!

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Don’t wait until you can sing pitch perfect, or until you can write an outstanding, popular song.  Start praising God today by singing to Him whatever is on your heart and enjoying that special time of communion with Him.  It’s whats inside that counts; we may look at the outside and criticize someone for their sour notes, but God looks at the heart and cherishes their joyful, worshipful spirit.  Let’s cultivate a heart that pleases God instead of mere men.

And oh.  While you’re at it ….
If you read over my scribbled lyrics below and can come up with a tune, let me know.  :)

And what am I looking for,
What am I holding to;
Everything is worthless if it’s not You.
And what am I living for,
if all that I ever do,
Is say that I love You, Lord,  but don’t live it too …. 

It’s nothing; nothing, apart from You.

What if my faith’s too small to see
the potential in a mustard seed,
What if I haven’t let go of
the sin from which I’m freed?
What if I’m holding on to a shadow
of this world I’m in,
Chasing empty dreams instead of Him?

No. No. You gotta break me, 
humble me,
bring me to my knees;
mold me, 
shape me, 
and only then can I say 
“please …. 
use me Lord!” 

That certainly isn’t a masterpiece.  But it is what I long for with my whole heart.

Let’s Be Adventurers!

Invited some friends over and then had to cancel?
Planned an outing and then the weather didn’t cooperate?
Finished your chores and are looking for an activity but everything costs too much? (Are we the only ones who experience that?! C’mon large families, let’s hear your voices!)

You are not out of options yet.

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You see, often times the unexpected, adventurous last-minute flops help attitudes to lost shoes and everything in between.
If you are reading this and scratching your head – and inwardly begging me to get an English Masters – that’s okay.  I have a hard time understanding myself sometimes.   ;)  I have so many thoughts that I want to share, but my brain moves faster than my fingers and I am always trying to rewind my thoughts so that I can ponder how to best convey them with feeling, reasoning and wit.  Wit and reasoning are the hard parts.  Anybody can just type out their thoughts and publish them, but putting some logic in there! Ah.  I’m challenged.
Writing, singing, talking, story telling … I love all these pursuits; but there is a standard for all of them.  For example, if I typed out my thoughts here with no punctuation, or common sense or logic, you would quickly close the tab on your browser titled “The Meggs Family” … and quite possibly never open it again.  That would be tragic!  Or if I decided to sing all the time, but followed no rhyme or reason and gave up on the idea of “in tune” … well.  You’d soon be asking me to be quiet as well.
But the wonderful thing about adventuring is … there is no wit, nor reasoning mind, nor intellectual thought process involved.  Those days when you feel like you can’t handle the punctuation marks, or difficult harmonies, or stress of life, you can simply put on your hat, walk out your door and start the journey of adventuring.  No spell checkers necessary, no requirements to meet.  I don’t know about you, but I find that so freeing!
Please don’t get me wrong – I incandescently endorse having a structured life and bringing order into our different pursuits.  But sometimes, I feel too confined or trapped by what is expected.  On those days, I find that getting outside and breathing new air that has never entered my lungs is a very good idea to pursue.  And the more quickly I get moving, the faster my stress disappears.
That’s why the most exhilarating experiences come when you are out the door within 5 minutes of deciding that an adventure is worth it.   Simply grab your shoes, your cup of coffee and get moving.  Spend the time packing and you’ll most certainly forget something on your list.  Spend your time running and you’ll realize how freeing it is not to have to carry all those sandwiches and umbrellas and extra jackets and what-not around. (Please do bring water though.  I don’t want to be responsible for your dehydration.)

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Recently, our family embarked on one such adventure.  We had been in the house all morning doing chores, and everyone just needed a break.  Dad called a family meeting and after deciding where we wanted to go, he told everyone to be in the van within 10 minutes.   I don’t mind admitting that it took us closer to 20, because the important thing is that we semi-polished ourselves and took off at last.

What a day for a hike!  Glorious weather at first, we eventually got rained out.  And when I say rained, think of 11 people running down a mountainside while the wind blew and the sky was dark and those same people got soaked to the core.  Another important fact to take in:  there were only 11 of us running helter-skelter.  For the first time in history of a long time, we left somebody behind.  What was even more ironic was that it was an older kid that we shouldn’t have missed, but somehow we did!  Thankfully, we were eventually reunited :)

Are you intrigued yet?  Good.  Thinking about coming with us next time?  Even better.  But I’ll warn you … we are aiming for making it to the car in 15 minutes next time, so come prepared … or not ;)