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.

Corinth

Corinth

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

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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.

medium_2729765458

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

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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

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

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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?”

“No.”

“Did you get laid off?”

“Yes.”

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!

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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?

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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!

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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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