Friday Five · joshua · marriage

His Hands {Five Minute Friday}

On Fridays the writers gather at Lisa Jo’s. We write in five minute increments like ones scared braved.  We’re not supposed to edit or backtrack or overthink, though everyone confesses to at least once and that’s why there’s grace for even the most ordinary or writing tasks.

Except on Fridays five minute ordinary becomes extraordinary. Link up here and give us your five minutes. Today’s prompt is…

Hands

Your thumb rubbed small circles on the base of mine the whole time the preacher spoke the words. Soothing away my nerves and leading me to a place of fine calm where there was only us.

We were barely twenty-two and the ink had barely dried on the diplomas that tipped in our fingers a few weeks before.

Fingers stroke the tiny curls that spring forth from behind my ears whenever there is rain and let go of the wheel to hold my hand and force away distractions when we drive winding roads or busy interstates or mountain passes. You hold tight when we bless our food and sometimes you don’t let go even though you know that makes me crazy because I can’t eat with my left.

Whispers soft in the dark night and hands rub circles on the backs of babies and toddlers who curl tight between us in the bed you’re always reaching across to find me.  Stroking gently on all the places where I feel least beautiful, over stretch marks where I grew our babies, and wrinkles where I crease my head with worry.

Hands that crunch the numbers and wash the dishes and fold the tiny laundry and hold the newborn kittens. Hands that are stronger than our weaknesses.

It was dark and cold and maybe even a snowflake or two was falling from the sky when we walked around that mountain chapel one college night and you took my hand.

And led me home.

family · Home · joshua · linkups · one word 365

One Little Corner of Sanity {Behind the Scenes}

We’re rearranging.  Again. Either we’re furniture moving junkies or incredibly indecisive.  Or both. But really, it’s just that we keep trying and trying to figure out how to live best in the space we have (that whole contentment struggle) and so that necessitates constant motion until we get it right.

Or until I get a new idea from Pinterest or the IKEA catalog and it’s back to the moving we go. Thank the Lord I have a tolerant husband who actually agrees with me about most of these projects.  Except when I change my mind halfway through.  Then he gets a tad frustrated and there might be some yelling strong discussions.

I was tempted just to show you the one picture.  Because it appears from that little corner that we might actually have a plan that is organized and working.  But that would be false advertising. Like telling you how there’s less than a 100 calories in a serving of Oreos.  That’s only true if you only eat one and who does that?

We do have a plan.  It’s just that each step scaffolds upon the other, and I can only handle so much chaos at one time. So for now, we have a corner.  And a couple of several messy closets. And rooms that really look like this.

Linking up with Crystal today to tell the story Behind the Scenes.  Join us over here!

31 Days of Living Local · joshua

Because They ACE It Everyday {31 Days: Day 30}

I realized after yesterday’s post that people sometimes wonder what he does now. Well, I’ll tell you because it’s pretty amazing.

When Habersham Bank was closed by the FDIC in February 2011 (the weekend Amelia turned one and I turned thirty-one and our life turned upside down), we didn’t know what to expect for his future. He knew and liked banking, so that was the route he pursued for another job, and in early summer he landed, along with many of his colleagues, at Hamilton State Bank.

He really liked it there and was able to take on some projects he really enjoyed, such as working with vendors and suppliers.  I love to hear him tell this story of his favorite day at this job. Hamilton had just acquired another community bank that had been closed by the FDIC and he was helping with the transition and found out that their coffee service had been cancelled when the bank underwent budget cuts trying to survive.  So he called his vendor and had coffee delivered that day. It was one of those ordinary acts that bless others immensely.  All day, he fielded thank you calls from those employees.  He kept saying, “All I did was order them coffee!”

But for us Hamilton was just a bridge between then and now.  In January 2012 he was asked to interview for a position with a small, non-profit loan company in Cleveland. Today he serves as their Chief Financial Officer and works alongside his former boss from Habersham Bank.  He’s come full circle in the most miraculous of ways.

You see, his dream has always been to own his own small business.  In working with ACE, he spends everyday helping others achieve this dream.  ACE is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) which means they make it possible for small business owners to develop and grow businesses that support and sustain local communities.

Local communities.

Which means when I get all on my platform about loving our neighbors and ministering to those who are here in our backyard, he looks at me and says, “What do you think I do all day?”

He’s an integral part of running a small business that funds other small businesses that hire employees that put income right back into the hands of those in our community.

This explains it so much better than I could…

//player.vimeo.com/video/59760957

I’ve spent thirty days writing about living local.

But today I’m realizing that it’s not just a project or a mission; it’s a choice and a lifestyle that sustains a community into the next generation.

So, that’s what he does now. He helps entrepreneurs build their local communities.

He helps make dreams come true.



31 Days of Living Local · joshua · ramblings

Local Sunday Ramblings {31 Days: Day 6}

For all posts in my #31Days series on Living Local click here.

An afternoon hike at Dukes Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest…

Wildlife photograph courtesy of Annabelle.

I love a waterfall.  The rush of water over rock never fails to sooth my soul. But do you know what my favorite moment of our hike was?

Looking up and seeing this.

This moment that I wasn’t sure just a few short months ago would happen again.  
My husband carrying our children and hiking a trail and breathing deep while
his heart functions normally.
It was a moment for praising Jesus that we still have the capacity to enjoy our simple life.
joshua · linkups · living local · marriage

Ziplining at Sunburst Stables {Behind the Scenes}

Last week, just before our anniversary trip, he got the report from his doctor that his heart had returned to normal function and he could begin conditioning himself back to activities more strenuous than solitaire and Candy Crush.

Apparently, that’s what he’d been waiting to hear because he’d saved his birthday money and when I asked him what all he wanted to do while we were hiding away in a little cabin on Blueberry Hill and playing tourist barely twenty miles from home, he decided on ziplining.

Really?

No, it doesn’t require any great athletic skill, and no it’s really not that strenuous, but ziplining?  I’ve seen the pictures and a few videos and while the concept was intriguing, the actual idea of hanging on for dear life to a cable and a harness while brushing by trees and then having the ground rush up to meet you in a sudden stop was not on my list of anniversary activities.

I mean, seriously, I figured he’d still be recovering and we’d paint pottery because it’s a nice, quiet activity.

Ha.  Instead, he took me over to Sunburst Stables, which is North Georgia’s premier place for ziplining. Seven zips, several 1000 feet long or more, one through a cave and 200 feet of darkness, all located in the woods and hill top pastures of a local family’s farm.  We could have ridden horses instead.  They’d have even packed a lunch for us.  But no, zipping it was.

I was terrified.  Not in a “there’s no way I’m doing this” way, but more in a “I can’t believe we’re both doing this and there’s four children at home waiting on us to come back.”

Sometimes life is scarier when you have kids.

Our guides were great.  They were young college guys who boasted confidence and humor and assured us and the father/son duo with us, that the cables were designed to hold 14,000 pounds and weren’t going anywhere.  They told us Sunburst has never had an injury, that the youngest zipliner ever was not quite 2 and the oldest was 92. They explained how to slow down (yeah, like I was going to touch that wire for anything) and they explained how they control the stop, so there’s no way to miss it.

All that I was still jumpy.

We opened with a short zip.  Okay, got my bearings on how this is going to go. The next line was twice as long as the first and I think I kept my eyes closed the whole time.  At any rate, I don’t remember much.  But at the third line we were joined by the photographer, who happens to be the family’s oldest son, and his younger sister, who happens to be attending school in the fall with my girls.

It took a five year old to put me at ease.

She was funny, answering questions about how she likes to zip, and telling us how she can’t go on the cave line alone because she doesn’t weigh enough (not a problem I have for sure).  She was teasing and being silly with the guides like they were another pair of brothers, and on our fourth zip, she informed me it was my turn to go first and I better get up there. (I’d been waiting until last each time.)

It was like having one of my daughters there, and I know they’d have been doing the same thing.  Youth knows no fear and my girls would have all but pushed me off that platform if they’d sensed mine.

By the fifth and sixth runs, I was watching the scenery speed by and appreciating the beauty of where we live and call home in a whole new way.

But honestly, I didn’t realize that I had been enjoying myself until I saw the pictures.

Apparently I’d been smiling.

The last zip was over a lake with a fountain and you go with a partner and the likelihood that one of you will get wet.  I left that to my husband because after all, this was his idea.

Definitely one of his better ones.

For more information on Sunburst Stables and all their great activities for families, couples, and anyone looking for an adventure in North Georgia, click here.

Linking up with the Behind the Scenes community over at Crystal Stine’s today.  Check it out and be inspired to tell the truth behind the picture.

crystalstine.me