Sharing Four Somethings in July

Something Loved

Meditations in Motion

This guy turned nine last month and we got to celebrate his birthday at a small family-only party.

How has it been nine years since we became grandparents? It seems like I blinked and those nine years flew by.

We have had so many good memories over those nine years, first of just this one precious baby boy, then of him and his younger brother, and finally, his younger cousin was added to the mix.

This summer, we are making memories of playing at the pool, visiting local parks, checking out the ice cream parlor, and playing laser tag (a ninth birthday present).

Something Read

You guys, I was on fire this month as far as reading went. I read a bunch of books. I am going to write here about three of them.

The first, Thou Shalt Not Be A Jerk, by Eugene Cho is (as the subtitle says) a Christian’s guide to engaging in politics. I give this book three-and-a-half stars (out of five).

I agree with the premise of the book: our hope comes not from a political party or any single person, but from Christ.

I also believe, as Cho does, that Christians should be involved in politics because politics impact people, and we, as people, are tasked with preparing for God’s kingdom here on earth.

When we engage in politics, we must keep Jesus’ teachings in mind. Cho advises us to “pray for wisdom and advocate for the vulnerable.

I thought the book was too long by about a third and the author kind of ran out of things to say, but it definitely is a book worth reading.

The second book, The Death Of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, was a page-turner.

An intelligent, well-written suspense novel set in England with echoes of the Daphne du Maurier classic, Rebecca, Ware’s book tells the story of the intrepid, financially challenged protagonist, Hal (a young woman), as she spends the weekend at a country estate that she may have inherited with a family she may belong to.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but this book is well worth the read. I give it four-and-a-half stars.

On to the third book.

Sadly, I was late to the Rachel Held Evans party.

Searching For Sunday was the first book I read by the late author and now I wonder why I waited so long.

While I don’t agree with Evans on every single point (I probably wouldn’t agree with anyone on every single point), I found this book to be an honest examination of a true believer’s doubts and questions concerning her faith.

While Evan’s politics are definitely left-leaning, she does not bash conservative Christians in this book, in fact, quite the opposite. She writes of her evangelical roots with grace and understanding.

Reading this book helped me in my own journey of faith by making me ask myself some of the same difficult questions explored by the author.

I give this book five stars.

Something Treasured

Meditations in Motion

Regular readers of this blog know that we lost our dog, Benji, last month. I wrote about it here.

His death really threw me for a loop.

I received so many encouraging emails, messages, and even some flowers from family members and friends that I treasured.

To everyone who reached out, a heartfelt: “Thank you. You are the best!

Something Ahead

 

Meditations in MotionThe Colorado Kid’s fifth birthday is at the end of July.

Before the pandemic struck, we made plans to fly out to Colorado to help celebrate his birthday.

As the date of our flight approached and COVID-19 case numbers soared, we became less comfortable with the idea of sitting on an airplane with 100 strangers for 4 hours. We canceled our tickets.

We didn’t cancel the trip outright, however. We thought we might be able to safely drive out to Colorado. We discussed the logistics of the long drive over and over again, unable to come to a decision.

Finally, with the point of no return rapidly approaching, we decided: we are going.

I am facing the prospect of the trip with some trepidation but we have not seen this family since Thanksgiving. I am anticipating seeing my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson with great joy.

I hope to be roasting marshmallows with this boy before too long.

 

I am linking up with Heather Gerwing for her “Four Somethings”. Thanks, Heather, for giving the opportunity to think and write about four such compelling topics.

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

87 comments

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you all made the decision to drive in order to see your grandson and family, Laurie! Just stay as safe as possible as you stay in motels, go out to eat, etc. I know you will. Looking forward to seeing photos from your trip, too.
    And thanks for the book recommendations. My daughter has also recommended Ruth Ware to me, so she will be my next literary adventure once I finish the Outlander series.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t imagine celebrating the 9th birthday of our oldest grandchild. She turned 2 last January. But I know it will fly by in the blink of an eye! So happy you got to celebrate with your grandson.

    Glad you enjoyed The Death of Mrs. Westaway, too. That was my first book by Ruth Ware; I’ve since read every novel she’s written (I think). 🙂 I’m still sad that we lost Rachel Held Evans too soon. I love her books as well and am so thankful that at least we have her words still with us.

    Praying that you’ll be able to be safe on your journey to see your family. I know your time with them will be treasured. I’ll be thankful when we don’t have to make so many hard decisions every time we want to do something. It’s exhausting.

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    • I was just looking at pictures of the oldest when he was 2. The time did seem to fly by I guess the message to us is: enjoy them while you can! Thank you for your prayers!

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  3. I hope you have a good trip! We brought Mom home from FL in early June. I worried ahead of time but did not feel too worried about the travel as we went. The hotels were all making accommodations for the virus, and it was reasonably easy to adapt on the road. We have enough leftover hand sanitizer for the rest of the pandemic, ha! The hardest part with Mom was not being able to just go have a nice relaxing dinner in a restaurant. But it’s a small price for seeing your kids and grandson!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Peg. We are kind of worried about finding places to eat along the way. We wouldn’t eat inside a restaurant but I guess there are plenty of outdoor dining opportunities and take out. It’s good to know you had an easy trip with your mom.

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  4. I’m glad that you’re going to CO. You guys will be fine, I have to think that a car drive is really minimal risk for the reward of being with your grandson. Now for books…Ruth Ware is beyond good. Each year I’m afraid to start her latest book because I keep thinking there’s no way that she can keep it up…and each year she does not disappoint. I think Westaway was my favorite of hers but all of her books are good. I see that her next book is coming out in September.

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  5. I am so glad you’re making your Colorado trip, and I’m quite sure you can do it in reasonable safety. A friend of mine just made the drive from Santa Rosa to CO and said that staying at hotels (Marriotts, in her case, since she has their card) was reassuring — very clean and lots of safety precautions. Have a fabulous time!

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    • That is good to know, Jan. We have the Hilton card, so we usually look for them when we’re on the road, but I’m sure they are extra clean too. Thank you!

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  6. Have a wonderful trip. With a small amount of preparation and slight inconvenience, I believe such a journey by automobile can be done quite safely. I think I would pass on the airplane ride right now as well. Enjoy the family!

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  7. Ruth ware? I think I just read a book by her. But not this one.

    Enjoy your trip. I’m sure you’ll be safe and it will be worth it. I would do the same thing. It’s about priorities.

    Sorry about your dog. Not sure if I expressed my sympathies.

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  8. Hi Laurie, three not so small bundles of joy to enjoy! I’m still getting over the shock of becoming a parent and my youngest is 20! I hope you make brilliant memories over the summer with all of them… It’s funny that since the world changed I’m managed to read far less. I still read every day, but get easily distracted. To read three books in a month is impressive in my eyes at the moment… I am so sorry to hear about your dog. It is one of the hardest losses as they are an important part of the family… I don’t blame you for not getting on that plane. I know I wouldn’t. We have to live our lives in a very different way for now and reduce risk where we can. I’m sure Colorado kid will love seeing you again after so long.

    Stay safe.

    xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like your four somethings that suggest a wide variety of emotions and experiences in one month. It may be a difficult time in history but you’re doing a great job of staying sane and forging ahead. Thanks for sharing here.

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  10. That’s exciting taking a (long) road trip, and also seeing your family. Not much traveling for us these days…my father’s family reunion (bi-annual) was canceled for August…not a surprise, and definitely the right decision, but disappointing. Yes, I am one few who enjoy family reunions LOL

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    • We should be passing through Iowa (for the first time ever) early next week. I have actually never been to the midwest before. So sorry about your family reunion. I hope it happens next year.

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  11. Laurie, Children’s birthday parties have changed the last few months. Always nice to make them special. We love all of our grandchildren, yet the first one does have a special place in our heart. We had a first trip outside of our home base this past weekend. I knew I would regret not seeing my Mother (elderly and frail) while we had a window of opportunity. We took our truck and camper on the ferry and about 100km outside of Vancouver. Social distancing, all of the safety measures and visited outside on lawn chairs the entire time. Despite risks doing anything right now, it was a very positive experience. Enjoy your joyful visit with your loved ones and the marshmallows.❤️

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  12. I love that birthday cake! So, 9 years of being a grandmother. Well Laurie, you don’t look like the typical grandmas we had back in the day. All that running takes care of that. See, that is what I look forward to in retirement – becoming an avid reader again. I used to love burying myself in a book for hours and getting lost in it. The flowers are beautiful – everyone knew how you felt about Benji and knew of the hole in your heart and your life his passing has left. That was very thoughtful. I’m excited for your trip to Colorado. I wanted to ask as I knew you said months ago you wanted to go in July and I thought perhaps you cancelled the trip. I’d feel more comfortable driving rather than flying too. You can see some sights along the way as well. Atti will be excited – does he know you’re visiting or are you going to just surprise him?

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    • My son got the birthday cake made at the restaurant where he works. It was beautiful – a red velvet – and so delicious! I broke my no-sugar rule and had a piece. Right now we are about halfway out to Colorado. We are going slowly…stopping along the way. I will have to write about our trip at some point. Atti is going to be surprised. I can’t wait to see his face!

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      • Oh red velvet cake – how nice. I am glad you are making the trip Laurie – good for you, enjoying the sights along the way and I am sure you won’t have snow issues like you did last year – not this time of year hopefully. That’s great that you are going to surprise Atti – hope you have a camera or your phone ready to capture that big smile. 🙂

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      • I am glad we are making the trip too, Linda. we were very close to Michigan but didn’t quite make it into your state. We are in Nebraska now and should make it to our son’s house by tomorrow. Nebraska is kind of disconcerting. NO ONE wears a mask! I am hoping for no snow. We will not use the same mountain pass we usually travel through when we come up from Denver, so I don’t think there will be snow, but my son did complain to me 2 weeks ago about his garden being decimated by a frost in July!

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      • That surprises me about Nebraska Laurie – Michigan has gone to masks in all public places as of two weeks ago – I was wearing one anyway, rather than take chances. That’s good you can bypass that mountain pass, but wow to a frost in July! I thought our weather was bizarre. That’s great you’ll get there tomorrow … safe travels to you.

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      • Pennsylvania is the same as Michigan and so is Colorado. It was just Nebraska that was the anomaly. We are now in Steamboat Springs and visiting with our family. I am not quite sure how long we will stay.

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      • Hi Laurie – I was thinking while out walking about your surprise visit for Atti’s birthday. Do you Facetime or Zoom with him and son/daughter-inlaw? I was thinking it would be fun to do an impromptu screen-time visit with Atti, even from your phone if possible, then five minutes later show up in person!

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      • Ha! Awww…that would have been a fun surprise. I wish I had read this sooner. Atti and my son were playing out on their deck when we pulled into the driveway. When he realized who was in the car, he just about jumped out of his skin! It was so much fun!

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      • I figured it might have gone to SPAM since you saw the other message I wrote earlier. (I get about 100 SPAM messages a day at WordPress and 99% of them are the same message – it takes forever to sift through them to see if legitimate messages are in there.) It sounds like you gave Atti a big enough surprise as it was. You made his day even before his big day – how fun!

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  13. I loved the different perspective Rachel Held Evans gave me on faith and our culture. Like you, I don’t necessarily agree with all of her assessments, but she managed to present them in a non-confrontational way that promotes learning.

    I’m so sorry about your loss. Those flowers are beautiful!

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  14. Birthdays are the funnest arent they, every life should be celebrated. Have a wonderful time with your family. How long will it take to get there if its a 4 hour flight. Are you going to be able to have a bit of a site see on the way. I love all your reading reccomends, im not much into the politics goes over my head, we have a Christian political party & the man who runs it is one of the only Men who shows up to every political meeting isnt wishy washy & has integrity to boot he is also getting a little elderly now but still in amongst it. Have a wonderful week. Stay cool.

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    • It will take us 4 days of driving to get there! 4 days vs. 4 hours! We stopped and saw the towns we stopped in a little bit in the evenings but we mostly drove for a good part of each day. I would vote for any person with integrity at this point! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful week too.

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  15. We had a similar decision to make with our son coming in August. We’d had to cancel his April visit and sure didn’t want to cancel August, too. But none of us was comfortable with flying. He thought about driving except he’d probably need a hotel part way through and wasn’t comfortable with that either. One of my husband’s colleagues mentioned traveling in a private sleeper car on a train–you’re basically in your own spot. We checked schedules and prices and ran it by my son, and he was comfortable with that. He has to stop in NY for a bit, which concerns me, but I have to believe they’ve got distancing and sanitizing options there. So glad you get to go see that part of your family! Video calls help a lot, but there’s nothing like an in-person visit.

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    • I believe NY is relatively safe now. I never thought about traveling by train. what a good solution. I guess we have to get creative these days. We are currently in CO. We had to stay over at hotels 3 nights but everyone wore masks and there was extra cleaning done. I felt safe.

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    • Thank you, Linda. We certainly were missing our Colorado family. We are glad to be here for the little guy’s birthday. Marshmallows by the fire pit tomorrow night. I will have one for you!

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  16. Another fun grandson birthday celebration coming up! Safe travels! We missed our Colorado “kids” this year but there are no “littles” in that family so although I hate not seeing them it isn’t quite the same as missing your five year old grandson. (our middle-aged kids don’t change nearly as much from year to year ))). Safe travels!

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  17. So glad you are going ahead with the trip…although, I probably would have had to fly (would take much less courage for me than driving for four days. Four Days!!?!) And I did not know about your doggie. I’m so sorry. We have a very senior pup at our house – and I find myself thinking about losing her, etc. Not sure why but, yes, it does throw you for a loop!!

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  18. Laurie, I’ve been thinking about your CO trip and wondering, wondering…but didn’t want to nag you! So glad you’re going to get to see your adorable guy! (love that picture.) We have done this drive exactly 17 times. Almost exactly the same as yours! I’d be over the moon to share any thoughts on what’s worked well. If you take I80, I highly recommend a stop at The Amana Colonies in Iowa. It’s got a whole lot of charm and is a nice break from the highway. Curious how many days you plan to take and if you plan to ‘Colorado or Bust’ it or meander. .[We have one of each in our happy couple. I wish I got my way more often than I do, but I’ll take what I can get :)]

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    • We are now in Colorado, Carolyn. The drive was much better than expected. This was our first time driving it, but we have visited many times. I looked at the Amana Colonies but didn’t stop. On our way out, we were much more focused on getting here (Bill’s preference). On the way home, I think we will stop more often (my preference). We did take I80 the whole way past Laramie, then down to Steamboat Springs. It took us 4 days. I would welcome any recommendations. Thanks!

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  19. Your description of “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” makes it sound like a book I need to check out. And I’m glad you were able to come to a decision about driving to Colorado to see your family. I hope you have a wonderful time. (And if your route takes you through Kansas City, shoot me a message … I’d love to say a quick hello in person!)

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    • Thank you, Lois. we are having a wonderful time visiting family. Thanks for the invitation too. We traveled out on I80, but I am not sure how we will get home yet. It would be so much fun to meet in person!

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  20. Oh, you are in a beautiful part of our state!! I hope you’re enjoying every minute of it. My dad always hopes we will have time for a stop at the Pony Express museum in Nebraska (but we are always passing through there around 6am,, so it’s never a go). Troy travels much like Bill; I’m your speed. I definitely enjoy the Amana Colonies. In Normal Times, I like a stopover in Chicago. Chesterton, IN, was lovely, too, and not far off the hwy. Lately I’ve been happy to split the trip: I70 when we head East and I80 for the return. (Or vice versa) Because I enjoy Kansas City & St Louis. But with your loves living in Colorado, I can certainly see why it was Steamboat or Bust! Enjoy every moment. xo, ,C.

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    • Thank you for the suggestions from an experienced traveler, Carolyn. I would like to return on I70 but in our state (PA), anyone who stays overnight in KS or MO must self-quarantine for 14 days. I don’t want to do that, so we may just go back the way we came. We typically would have visited some of the larger cities along the route (we both want to get back to Chicago) but felt smaller destinations were safer.

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