52 Weeks of Adventure: Week 4 Love Rocks

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Bentley, Ciera’s doggie.

I found myself on the drive to Maryville last Monday. Maryville, TN is a quaint little town of approximately 27,000 people, a suburb of Knoxville (source). Maryville is where I first came to settle in Tennessee at age 18, choosing the town for the small, liberal arts college that resides there on the hill. Maryville, Tennessee is one of my favorite places on earth and has a special place in my heart. Not only does it have a homey feeling to it and is easy to navigate, it has some of my favorite places which includes Vienna Coffeehouse and a crossfit gym with friendly people. It’s where I learned and struggled to be an adult and where I flew from my parents nest. It’s where I made friends that have lasted a lifetime and learned that some friendships don’t always last. I learned to run in that little town and learned each running trail and knew each distance like the back of my hand. Regardless if I wanted to run 2 miles or 7 miles, I knew exactly where to go. No GPS needed. Maryville is the source of so much joy, heartache, tears, and redemption for me. Maryville is also where Ciera lived with her parents. It is the place where Ciera and I found an anchor in our friendship and the place I prayed for her to come back to. Maryville has intense and deep-rooted significance for me.

DSCN0396For those of you who may not know, Ciera is my best friend who passed away October 26, 2015. If you want to read about the legacy she left when she passed, click here. 

I finally pulled up to Ciera’s parents, Mr. Mike and Mrs. Sherri’s house later on Monday night than I had planned. I hopped out the car and rushed to the front door, eager to begin our adventure. Excitement radiated through me as Mrs Sherri and Bentley, the overexcited young boxer, answered the door. They had all been kind enough to not only let me be a part of this activity we were doing, but also invite me to their house and cook dinner for me. Mr Mike and Mrs Sherri have the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever met. They open their doors and open their hands and open their hearts and say “thank you” even when you’re the one imposing. They invite you to intimate activities such as making Love Rocks for Ciera in her memory… which is what we planned to do that night. Mr Mike and Mrs Sherri have kept Ciera’s memory and legacy alive through their openhanded generosity to me and others. Every time I get a taste of their kindness, I think of her and when I get a moment to dwell on it, it overwhelms me.

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Mr Mike made the most delicious Salmon.

For those of you who don’t know what Love Rocks are, I really want to encourage you to go read their story and find them on Facebook.  Love Rocks is a foundation and a community of people created by one mama and daddy in Oregon who lost their two daughters named Anna and Abby in an unthinkable tragedy. The two girls were playing in front of their house in some leaves one fall morning and a motor vehicle did not see them and hit them on October 20, 2013. In honor of their Creator and the lives of their sweet girls, they chose to spread love and joy by creating Love Rocks in April of 2014. They began by cutting fabric in the shapes of hearts and using Mod Podge to glue them on rocks- creating love rocks. Love Rocks aren’t meant to be kept, but meant to be shared just as love and joy are. They have been left at doctor’s offices, hospitals, on hiking trails, near the Eiffel Tower.. and so many more places. You can read more about them on the website.

DSCN0392After learning about these, Mrs Sherri and Mr Mike decided to make some Love Rocks- in honor and memory of Ciera, so we can leave them in different places wherever  we go so that whoever needs love and joy will find the Love Rocks and get that courage they need…

The adventure this week wasn’t that I spent time in Maryville. The adventure was that Mrs Sherri and Mr Mike opened their home and hearts up to me and allowed me to be a part of something so special that I will forever cherish in my heart. We made several Love Rocks in Ciera’s honor and maybe one day i’ll get the courage and strength it takes open my hand in thankfulness and let them go…

Thank you Mr. Mike and Mrs. Sherri for this past Monday. Thank you for letting me take pictures and share this with others…Thank you for continuing to… be like C and leave a legacy!

All photographs belong to me and were taken with my L820 Nikon coolpix camera. I didn’t receive any compensation for advertisement for this post. This is just what my adventure was this week. Please feel free to make your own adventures and share them with me. Also, feel free to make your own love rocks- if you do i’d love to hear about it.

 

 

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The Proof of Your Love

These are my random thoughts for today:

Ever feel like as soon as you put make up on, your tear ducts start to run? Every time I wear make up I cry. That’s why I don’t wear it often.

Or maybe I just notice more that I cry when I wear make up, because I’m concerned about messing up the “beauty” I’ve painted on my face.

It’s ironic. I sometimes wear make up in hopes that it keeps me from crying. Especially when facing a hard day or sad situation. It doesn’t work.  Despite the heavy black mascara I’ve applied to my eyelashes, angry, hot tears spill out of my eyes. They run down my face with the colors I’m wearing, smearing down creating a canvas of color.

Do you ever see people? Really see them?? I tend to pass by people so often but I forget to look at them and instead I look through them. I forget that other people have lives. Sometimes their lives are more exciting than mine, and sometimes they’re more interesting. I only remember when I meet someone new and we sit down as they share their story that others have lives just like I do.

But sometimes we don’t get to talk to every person we encounter. We run into people and go about our day like our issues and our goals are the only ones that exists. Which is true in our lives, but it doesn’t have to be. I don’t want it to be. I want to think of others.

Have you ever heard the song “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath or “Proof of Your Love” by King and Country? I think of these songs when I think of people. I want to see people, instead of seeing through them. I want to serve God by serving people instead of serving myself. But how? I’m still figuring that part out.

Sometimes when I people watch I imagine what their lives are like. There’s a woman that works at Kroger who has no hair. Every time I’m there I get in her lane and I smile at her and ask her how she’s doing. I want to ask her if she’s in treatment or if she has alopecia and let her know that I care. Is my smile enough?

I sat in the coffee shop the other day and watched as a group of women much older than I sat in a circle, knitting and talking. I wanted to join them and my hands ached to knit. Would they think my knitting is bad compared to theirs? They were knitting sweaters and blankets. I knit hats. Mostly hats. What are their lives like? What are they talking about? I couldn’t understand them or read their lips. But I wanted to go up and ask if I could join their little lady group. They matter.

Two young women walked by me. One’s hand slightly over the other. Were they lovers? I smiled. They looked on guard. I wanted to approach them “You don’t have to be on guard”. I wanted to invite them to dinner at my house and serve them. Show them Love.

I saw three young people, a man and two women, sitting in the comfortable chairs across from me. I smiled again. The young man and one young woman looked like they were together. Were they married? I wanted to ask them. They looked so fierce and passionate. They had their Bible out on the table in front of them and were in deep, caring discussion. I wanted to ask them about their church. I wanted to join them. What are their lives like? Who are they?

I looked all the way across the room to a young girl, maybe 5 years old, playing on an IPAD and her grandmother or someone much older sitting across from her with tea. My heart smiled. So precious.

I walked outside and a young man in a sleeveless shirt was walking down the street. There were track marks up his arms. His eyes were red rimmed. I wanted to stop and hug him. I wanted to ask him about his life. Who are you?  I wanted to see HIM.

I wanted to SEE them.

I wanted to see all of them! Really see them! I wanted to go up and ask uncomfortable questions and make awkward comments and invite them to my church, my house, my heart.

I wanted to minister and love and acknowledge.

I wanted. I wanted.

I will.

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