Tag Archives: hope

Chasing Fireflies: A Midsummer Blogging Update

“I assumed everyone had fireflies,” said my friend. We stood on her porch at dusk watching my son spin and dart around her yard, chasing the tiny, mid-air pulses of light. “But they don’t. People are surprised to see them here.”

tree canopy

tree canopy

Growing up in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, I assumed the same. Fireflies are a given of summer. Since we moved back from the Midwest last month, I realize everyone doesn’t have them. Not the way we do here.

We didn’t have fireflies like this during our 16 years away. Chicagoland drowns them out with stronger, artificial lights. I vaguely remember them flickering in our yard in St. Louis, but that was rare. And their floating courtship didn’t stand a chance against the winds of Wichita.

Here they flourish. Waves of them parade through the night in the deep woods near our little rental house. We walk the trails in daylight and find them dark and hiding in the cool of the forest.

The first week we arrived, we walked those trails like destitute people who’d happened upon a cathedral. The rich green of thick vegetation flooded us. We took shelter under the canopy of tall trees. We breathed it in. An enchanted forest, steps away from our front door.

The dog refused to come into the house that first week. She would go out, but she wouldn’t come back in. The disruption of movers followed by driving across the country with my husband only to be met with movers again didn’t sit well with her. She’s adjusting; I still carry her back into the house some days.



My son and I made the drive incrementally from Wichita to North Carolina alone. We stopped along the way in interesting, important places: Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, Corinth and Shiloh, Chattanooga. People have asked if I was scared driving all that way by myself with a child. No, I wasn’t scared. I was thankful I could do it.

Once we were moved in, my husband hit the ground running with his consulting work. He’s very busy, and we’re grateful.

My son and I are taking things slower, exploring our way through the summer and adjusting much like the dog. I’ve seen only a  fraction of the many people I want to see. Sixteen years is a long time to make up for being gone. Some things have changed. Others haven’t.

“Do you have a to-go cup I can pour this Coke into?” I asked the man at the counter of the barbecue restaurant. I love North Carolina barbecue. Eaten it twice already since we arrived. It’s comfort food to me. Makes everything better.

“No, we don’t have no to-go cups.” The whites of his eyes flashed up at me from his downturned, brown face.

“Oh,” I said. Just like the city. No margin for courtesies. Then I caught his smile.

“Here you go,” he said, handing me a cup, punctuated with a belly laugh.

“You have quite a poker face,” I said and laughed with him.

“I also work in drug and alcohol law enforcement,” he said. “I need a poker face.”

Later that day, my son and I took to the woods again, this time on our bikes.

forest path

forest path

We zipped through the forest in late afternoon, cutting the humidity like a boat cuts water. Rain from the night before had overflowed the creek banks and shifted the sandy trails. We ducked off the path to maneuver around fallen trees whose soggy roots had given way. Our wheels spewed flecks of gravel as they spun around.

Soaked with sweat and water, we reached the turn to go back to the house.

“Do we have to go in?” said my son.

“We can ride more tomorrow,” I said.

Today is only the beginning.

 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Eccesiastes 3:11 NLT

For King and Country, Middle of Your Heart.

What has your summer held for you?

Like fireflies in a city, my posts have been rare this summer. Thank you for your readership and your patience as my family makes this major relocation.

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

My work as a Project Underblog contributor continues. In June, Martha, May I? was published, and in July, A Clinique Conspiracy Theory was published. A third post is on tap for August. I invite you to click on the titles to read these stories. If you blog, consider stepping out and submitting a story to Project Underblog for publication. They are a supportive, safe community of writers~#smallandmighty!

I plan to attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago next week. It promises to be a fun time with my blogger sisters. If you’re there, please contact me @AimeeWhetstine on Twitter so we can connect IRL.

You may remember Listening to the Women of Monsanto was published this past May as a BlogHer Original Post. It was a well-read story for me. What’s next? That’s the question I’ll ponder at the conference and beyond. I must remind myself, as do we all, today is only the beginning.

photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc


Filed under America, blogging, family & friends, life, writing & reading

Time Out

Yesterday I locked myself out of the house. 

We still have a Supra box on the door. As I waited for the real estate agent to come rescue me, I realized it was the first time I’ve had to sit still in weeks.


gone fishing, image credit: Pink Moose

The impending move, the end of school, the women of Monsanto post, the closing on our house… It’s high time for a time out.   

one never ages while fishing

one never ages while fishing 

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:4-6 NIV

Summer Solstice by Susan Ashton.

What do you do for a “time out?”

photo credit: PinkMoose via photopin cc


Filed under life

Brand New Day

I’ve written here before about May being like December because of its financial outlays. This year, May reminds me of December for other reasons, too.

rabbit, rabbit, image credit:

rabbit, rabbit, image credit: notsogoodphotography

There’s the over scheduling of events. End of school programs, concerts, field trips, parties, sporting events, conferences, graduations—all squeezed into a few weeks, just like at Christmastime. There are weddings, retirements, and going away parties. There’s May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day, not to mention the lesser known holidays like Candied Orange Peel Day, Frog Jumping Day, and Dance Like a Chicken Day. No kidding.

In some parts of the country (Kansas), the seasons are changing. The weather’s finally beginning to level out, if gale force winds can be considered leveling out. At least it’s sunny. Flowers bloom. Winter wheat fields turn from brown to green. Bunnies the size of my dog saunter about the yard. Nature’s in flux, pressing on to summer.

Add to that a stressful life event or two, like moving, and you could wind up dancing like a chicken. The one that flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Yes, change is stressful. Even good change is stressful. We’re allowed that, I think.

We go to sleep in some of the darkest winters of change. We wake up to clouds, gray, drizzle, snow, cold, bleh. Night comes again. Then gray. Then night. Then gray. Again and again. We get up. We sojourn on. Maybe for years.

Then one morning, a little light. The twinkle of an idea.

The whisper, “Hey, this could be the beginning of something beautiful.”


robin, image credit: cruadinx

The next morning, a little more sun. The wink of possibility. The glimpse of a robin or a rabbit, rabbit, creature of habit.

Another morning, and the sky is the brightest shade of blue. The sun, oh, the sun is shining and we are warmed by it. Sweet promise of a brand new day.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NIV

Hold On by Selah. Originally by Evie.

What are your hopes on this brand new day?

photo credit: notsogoodphotography via photopin cc
photo credit: cruadinx via photopin cc


Filed under faith, life

Game Changer

red shoes

ruby slippers

What if you lost something.

Or it lost you. You knew it was lost when you left it, but you didn’t know the full measure of what the leaving meant.

Once you grasped the leaving and the loss, it was too late. There was no going back. You were certain you would never find it again and it would never find you.

Then one day, quite by surprise, there it was. You could see it in the distance. And all you could think was how to get to it.

Put on your red shoes and click your heels. It’s time to go home.

*  *  *

One Wednesday morning last October, I rounded the corner onto my street. Something was out of place. My husband’s truck was in the driveway.

A little background: my husband’s marketing prowess helped the company where he had worked in St. Louis to sell out of their product all three years he was there. That success in turn attracted a buyer to purchase the company. My husband was wooed to Wichita, family in tow, to lead marketing at the acquiring company. He was supposed to be at work, but he met me at the door.

tornado shelter sign

tornado shelter

“What’s wrong?” I said. “Are you sick?”


“Did you get laid off?”


We’d been nine months in Wichita. Enough time to uproot a family, plop them down on the flat prairie of Kansas, cycle them through homesickness, new schools, new churches, new grocery stores, positive performance reviews, and one nasty tornado. Nine months in Wichita and they cut him loose.

I bought my ruby slippers when he still had a job. Little did I know, they were ripe for this journey.

*  *  *

Within weeks, colleagues called upon my husband as a consultant. This comes as no surprise to me. He’s a creative, strategic thinker. A rainmaker. A walking encyclopedia of agriculture. A good man who’s really good at what he does. We thought consulting would be a temporary gig, but he enjoys the work and he’s doing well. Maybe he’ll just keep right on building his business.

Wichita is not our home. Without the job, there’s nothing to keep us here. But where to go? Home of course. And where is that?

sold sign

deja vu

Home for us is a toss-up between Missouri and North Carolina. We love them both. We didn’t expect to have to choose. Not now, anyway. The last seven months have been a roller coaster blur of weighing good options against each other and agonizing over what to do.

All that is about to end. 

We’re surrendering to our inner South. Moving back to sweet tea and barbecue. Home to where we met and married.

Friends and family wait with open arms and long drawls. Fireflies and tadpoles, tall pine trees and dolphins arching out of the Atlantic at dawn—I like to think they wait for us, too.

We’ve coaxed our son with tales of your finest, North Carolina. There’s no place like home.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near Your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
they are ever praising You. Psalm 84:3-4 NIV

Carolina In My Mind by sweet baby James Taylor.

Plans for our move are about to take over my life.
Please bear with me. I’ll blog when I can!


Filed under life

Heart of the Matter

Boomer, my yoga instructor, faced a life crisis earlier this spring when her 50-something husband had emergency bypass surgery.

faceted heart

faceted heart

She’s the more talkative of my instructors. Responsible for phrases like Vikings and temple dancers, bellies on vacation, and the duck index.

I like the banter.

“Stretch the myofascial tissue.”

“Stop carrying enormous handbags.” 

“Stand up straight or you’ll end up with a hump on your back and a walker!”

He survived the surgery. She missed a week or so of class. I don’t think she realizes it, but a new theme has surfaced in her coaching.

“Engage your thighs. You should feel them working, pumping blood up, strengthening your heart.” 

“Open your chest. Don’t let it close over your heart and lungs.” 

“Remember to breathe…” 

And then last class, this one.

“It’s amazing how easily the heart gets involved with everything.”

Yes, dear teacher. It is.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Nothing Is Wasted, my new favorite song by Jason Gray. Listen. Take courage.

 What’s on your heart today?


Filed under faith, life

Ad Astra per Aspera

Freshly arrived in Kansas last January, I shared our new state’s motto.

ad astra per aspera

ad astra per aspera

Ad Astra per Aspera. 

To the stars with difficulty. No truer words were written.

We’re still in Kansas. Ad Astra per Aspera is still the motto.

We look toward the stars, out there in the space of 2013. There will be difficulties. But thank God, there will be stars.

Thank God for another year lived and a new one to see.

No holds barred. No tears left unshed. No laughter left unleashed.

Here’s to 2013. Let it begin.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 ESV

I Will Rise by Shawn McDonald. 

Happy New Year from everyday epistle!


Filed under faith, life

Reader’s Choice ’12: Hope Blooms

My husband Jeff Whetstine is the eternal optimist.

Aimee and Jeff Whetstine

me and Jeff

Consider the three reasons he gave for his selection:

1. We planted those seeds.

2. They were among the few living things we found to thrive in the harsh, arid conditions of Wichita.

3. They were beautiful.

Yes, they were. And we were there to see them. Hope does a lot more than float.

Jeff’s Reader’s Choice is:

Hope Blooms

Hope Blooms

click to read Hope Blooms

readers choice

This post concludes our Reader’s Choice 2012 series. I hope you enjoyed meeting the readers and revisiting their selections as much as I did. Special thanks to everyone who participated. On to 2013!

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Filed under faith, family & friends


Growing up, I couldn’t talk without my hands. 

tis the season

tis the season

I had to animate to express my words. Ask my childhood friends; they’ll tell you. If I wasn’t allowed to use my hands in a conversation, the conversation ended. Can anyone else relate to this?

For almost two years, I’ve been learning to talk with my blog. 

The phrase “don’t blog about it” is the kiss of death. It feels very much like a challenge. Don’t blog about it? Oh, yeah? We’ll just see about that!

This past year I wrote about a lot of different things, including some subjects nice, Christian, mommy bloggers normally avoid: abortion, terrorism, politics, Chick-fil-A.

I fear I’m not finished yet. The stream hasn’t run dry. 

My mind is crowded with stories waiting to be told. They stand in line like patrons at the post office in December, restless and impatient. There are inspiring stories about attorneys who become novelists, dancers who become designers, soldiers who become entrepreneurs. Stories of devotion and loss and the able hand of Providence for people who are often overlooked.



There are more words to remember. More verses to consider. More characters to meet. More humor, I hope. More surprises, I’m sure. More Grace (much more Grace) and more Love (much more Love) to cover a multitude of sins. More meals to cook; I didn’t forget our recipe series. Autumn just unsettled me a bit and bumped me off track.

But now we’re entering winter.

Perhaps it’s good to be unsettled. It spurs me on to pursue Peace. To find a way to get the words out.

Maybe there will be snow this winter covering the ground like a clean, white sheet of paper. I imagine the endless folds of the Flint Hills flush with snow against the backdrop of a smooth, clouded sky. White, white, white. Punctuated by wind, wind, wind.

What words will be written on your winter? What stories will be told in the new year? Huddle together by the fireplace and drink a cup of kindness with me.

We’ve so much left to discuss. 

“But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings…” Malachi 4:2 NLT

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.

Joyeux Noel

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
Thank you for being part of this community.
Please join us for Reader’s Choice 2012 and a look back at some favorite posts from this past year. 


Filed under blogging, faith, life, writing & reading

Dare to Hope

I love Christmas. Really, I do.

pink poinsettias

it’s beginning to look a lot like…

I love that our culture still reserves a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But the churning of the holiday season is a mixed bag for me, and I’m not the only one.

After I published the bah-humbug-ish post Saving Duck this past Tuesday, my best friend, my closest cousin, and my brother all contacted me within a three-hour period. These people are more dear than I deserve, so their concern could be a coincidence. Just in case, I thought I better clarify.

First, I’m okay. You’re okay. God willing, we’ll all make it through.

Second, this is not a retraction of my thoughts from my last post. The unrealistic expectations of a perfect Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s are destructive. They steal our joie de vivre and drain our bank accounts. We question our faith and our sanity.

Now I know there are a few of you who would prefer I only write about shiny, happy things. I appreciate that, and I wish I could meet your demands.

But I can’t.

It’s not my intention to be a negative Nelly. I do write about fun stuff as well from misread song lyrics to missing underwire, from discontinued lipstick to dismissed hair accessories. But to me, it wouldn’t be honest or helpful to present as if everything is sunshine and roses (or pink poinsettias) when it’s not.

Yesterday I hung out with some Christian girlfriends. One caught my attention when she said, “I don’t really like this season. I mean I like Christmas, I just don’t care for all that goes with it.”

Her courage struck a chord. One by one, every woman recounted personal stories of how painful the holidays can be. My December dread didn’t seem so abnormal after all.

The wisest of all the women shared a story from when her kids were younger. She and her husband piled their little ones in the car and drove across three states to visit a relative for Thanksgiving. The trip wasn’t a surprise visit; the relative knew they were coming. Imagine their shock to arrive just in time to stand in the driveway and wave good-bye.  Grandma had made other plans to go out with friends for Thanksgiving dinner instead.

chocolate turkeys

don’t be a turkey

“We laugh about it now,” said my friend. “We joke and say, ‘Remember when Grandma left us on Thanksgiving?’ But at the time, it wasn’t funny.”

This is in part why we need other people in our lives. It’s why we need to tell each other the truth. It’s why some of us write and read and comment. How good to know we’re not alone. Others have walked this road or on it with us now. Many have survived. Maybe we will, too.

Walk on, pilgrims. Walk on.

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease. Lamentations 3:21-22 NLT

He Walked a Mile by Clay Crosse. An oldie but a goodie.

Do you still dare to hope? Tell me more.


Filed under blogging, family & friends, life, women's studies

The 4-1-1 for the 10-4-12

Here’s the 4-1-1 for today:

when life gives you lemons

when life gives you lemons

  • Lisen and I posted our responses to last night’s presidential debate. Click Finding (Un)Common Ground to read both posts and participate in civil dialogue.
  • Yesterday the BlogHer Conferences Newsletter linked to An Uncommon Meeting. Now I love speed dating!
  • Tomorrow we’ll have a special guest post from a long, lost sorority sister-writer-SAHM who lives with Steven Tyler.
  • As if that’s not enough, there are more surprises in the works. Ones even I couldn’t make up.

Stay sane. Stay sweet. Stay tuned…

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 NIV

Steady My Heart by Kari Jobe. Beautiful. Even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart, I will run to You ’cause I know that you are Lover of my soul, Healer of my scars.

So how’s your week going?




Filed under blogging, faith, life

Lincoln’s Dream

With the Republican National Convention underway, a quote from a famous Republican is apropos for Wednesday Words to Remember.

Abraham Lincoln quote: last best hope

I wonder if Abraham Lincoln was speaking of the freedoms and privileges we enjoy in America that many in the world still do not.

Liberty to vote for our leaders. To transfer power without war. To worship as we choose. To bear arms. To own property, pursue education, and start businesses.

When Lincoln was alive, liberty had not been fully realized by all Americans. Was he thinking of the great trial of his presidency, the Civil War?

Did he believe that preserving the Union meant the freedom of all Americans would be one day be realized and spread to other countries? It would appear that was the hope of his dream.

There’s another possibility.

A Hope that transcends personal and political freedom. I wonder if this Hope was also what Lincoln dreamed for America and for the world.

Why did Abraham Lincoln say this? Can America be the “last best hope of the earth” again?

wednesday words to remember

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Filed under America, words to remember

Hope Blooms

What’s this growing in my backyard?

sunflower bud

Sea creature. Filigree.

sunflower filigree

Spiky crown.

sunflower crown


sunflower burst

Yesterday it bloomed. Look closely.

sunflower bloom close up

Now tell me there is no Creator. Are you sure? Look again.

sunflower white spider close up

Now tell me there is no God.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to Him. Psalm 24:1 NLT

Thank you, thank you, that after the long night, You are Sunrise

Where do you see God working in the smallest details of your life?


Filed under faith