What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

It’s been my Mom’s dream for a while to get the whole family together for a vacation. Her 3 girls, 3 sons-in-law, grandkids, and great-grandkids. That’s a lot of people. And a lot of togetherness. But we did it. Just got home last night, and was thinking back on the trip. It was a wonderful experience and we made lots of special memories. 



Things I learned (or was reminded of) on my summer vacation:
(In no particular order.)

– If you have friends willing to keep your 3 inside cats at their house for 7 days, and friends willing to go to your house to feed your outside cats and two dogs, hold on to those people! (Thanks, guys!)

– Savannah, Georgia is as beautiful as any city I’ve ever visited.

– I would put up with the horrible humidity if I could live in Savannah. 

– My family is loud. I am the loudest. Or maybe Kayli. 

– My brothers-in-law are pretty ok guys. (Just don’t tell them I said so.)

– I have smart, funny, kind, crazy, strong, stubborn, lovable nieces and nephews. And I really enjoy spending time with them.

– My sisters are amazing women, and they inspire me with their strength, love, resilience, and kind hearts. 

– Texas Hold ‘Em is seriously so much fun to play.

– I’m always going to be the one who says out loud what everyone else was thinking, but filtered enough to keep to themselves. 

– They grow some big spiders in Georgia.

– Cobblestone streets are wicked dangerous.

– As beaches go, the Gulf side is my favorite, but southern, coastal, Georgia has me wanting to go back for an extended stay.

– British style pubs are some of my favorite places to enjoy.

– I love and appreciate my husband for many things, but the way he treats my mama is way up there on the list.

– As aunts go, I’m alright. And pretty cool.

– An extended family trip, including kids, grandkids, and great grandkids is occasionally stressful, chaotic 97% of the time, and almost impossible to coordinate. It’s also entirely worth it.

– My kiddo is a good sport. 

– She was also born for the water. 

– The ocean makes me feel very tiny and very much in awe of my Creator. 

– Mimosas and bologna sandwiches are a perfectly acceptable breakfast when you really need to clean out the fridge before leaving.

– My mama has the biggest heart, the humblest spirit, and the most serving hands, I will ever be privileged to know.

Attacks on law enforcement in Milwaukee and in Baton Rouge today. At least three officers dead. 

 Dear God.
Can someone please explain to me how this makes things better? How does this express anything about any life mattering? 
Obviously ANY PERSON who will kill another human in cold blood does not believe life matters, I don’t care what color they are, what nationality, what career, or what their upbringing. The person who murders this way can NOT then turn around and preach about any life mattering. 
Explain this to me. Can you? Can you tell me how this is ANY different than the profiling police are accused of? 

You say it’s wrong to lump all members of one group or race or ethnicity together because of the actions of a few. Isn’t that PRECISELY what’s being done to law enforcement? Right there is your hypocritical thinking. 
At what point does someone decide they’ve “gotten even,” or “got justice for so and so?” 

It. Does. Not. Work. That. Way. It never has.

Hurt & Hope

For the last 36 hours, I’ve been hurting, right alongside so many others, because of all the anger and hurt that I’ve seen. It’s been spewed in every direction. I’ve been hurt by having my own words and feelings dismissed as if they aren’t important – and the thing is guys, I don’t say HALF of what I want to. I don’t respond to nearly the things that I’m tempted to address. And I try extremely hard to stay tough in the face of all that I see. 
But today, I’m tired.

I’m tired of the anger and hatred.

I’m tired of news outlets. 

I’m tired of politicians and their empty words.

I’m tired of knee-jerk reactions and assumptions.
Most of all, I’m tired of pretending it doesn’t hurt. I keep that mask on to protect my husband. If he sees that I’m fearful or a blubbering mess, he has to carry that along with the rest of the weight of his job. 

I keep that mask on to protect my daughter. She’s just beginning to understand how much ugliness is in the world and when she sees it directed at her Dad, her heart is damaged a little more each time.

I keep it on to protect my mama from worrying about me any more than she already does. 

I keep that mask in place because that is my job, that’s how I am a partner and a help-mate to my husband. 

Besides, sometimes, honestly, denial is easier. There. I admit that.
But today, I’ve been an emotional mess. There’s barely been any mascara, much less a mask. 
Here’s the thing, friends – I want to love people. I honestly don’t care about your skin color, your orientation, your ethnicity, your religion, or your lack of religion. (Just don’t hate on cats, sweet tea, or college football. Come on, people, you gotta work with me a little.)
I want to love because the non-cynical, optimist buried way down deep in some dark corner of my heart, wants to. And I want to because, regardless of what you think, or think you know, or have experienced about Christians, this one believes and holds tight to what Jesus says are the most important things – love God, love people. Love people because He loves them, because He loves me, even at my most unlovable. 
I want to be hopeful. I want to believe that we can be better than we are. I want to believe that people will TRY. And I want to try.

But lately, I have felt so beaten down. I’m just tired. My heart is tired. My soul is tired. 
I’m going to choose hope, though, because I must. I’ve had this conversation with folks before, and I just can not live in darkness. 

If I give in to the cynicism that threatens to take over my heart and the darkness that tries to engulf my mind, I’ll never survive. I can not live without hope. 
I’ll give my handsome, police hubby a kiss as he walks out the door for his next shift, and I’ll tell him to remember why he does this job. I’ll remind him that the sheepdog is misunderstood and unloved, but is the one the sheep will always depend on when the wolf comes. And I’ll thank God that I married a man brave enough, compassionate enough, resourceful enough, and resilient enough to do the job he’s called to. 
I’ve cried one more time re-reading these lines tonight – they’re from one of my favorite characters, in one of my favorite passages in all of literature. 

I’ve cried a whole lot of tears today. But I’ll get back to being tough one way or another. And somehow, I’ll choose to hope.