trust and confidence

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord,
and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

St. Augustine


(The Mayor with training wheels / Julie Cook / 2021)

Do you remember when you first learned how to ride a bike?
I started my journey on wheels with a tricycle.
Eventually graduating to a small bike with training wheels—

And in due time, off went those training wheels…
and thus, for better or for worse, I was suddenly on my own.

No broken bones but a lot of skinned knees, elbows and stubbed toes.
And this was a time long before we knew helmets were important.

At my current age, I hate to admit that I don’t exactly remember a
whole lot of this particular rite of passage—
however I can remember my mom and dad, taking turns racing behind me,
holding onto the bike if I started to veer too far to one side or the other
or God forbid…started rolling way too fast for my level of
expertise.

And thus today, the gauntlet has been passed…it is now the Mayor’s turn.

Of course there is a great deal of hesitancy and trepidation.
“MOM, MOM, I NEED YOU!!!!” (yes she calls me mom, her mother is mommy…
daddy is dada, my husband is da)…

And in like fashion, how many times have I cried out to God… “Father, I need you!”

“I’ve got you Boo” I reassure her as I hold onto the back of her seat as she
laboriously attempts peddling up the street…Peppa Pig rain
boots probably do not aid in one’s peddling.

I let go once she hit level ground.

“Look at you Boo—you are riding your bike!!!!”

And right then, in that moment, there comes the obvious and visible
sense of self satisfaction.

So as I stand there, looking at my granddaughter riding a bike on the very
same street where I learned to ride my own bike,
my thoughts are transported to thinking about my own learning to ride
as well as to something else…that of learning my way on the journey
as a child of God.

A juxtaposition of life’s journeys.

How many times have I set out, unsure of myself, sitting in a driving seat
position, while God had His hand on my back?

“Steady” He say’s…”Ive got you Julie”

I wobble, teetering and leaning, trying desperately to keep myself
upright. I feel His hand resting on my back so I have a sense of
serene security.

Then, ever so slightly, He removes His hand…”you’ve got this”
I hear as I peddle off heading straight ahead…knowing all the while
He’s standing behind me, smiling.

And right when I get going too fast, losing control…He’s the first
one there… either to grab me by the shirt and or pick me up once I fall.
Once again He gently repeats…you’ve got this…because I’ve got you.

And whereas I won’t always be able to be with my granddaughter as she takes
off on her own life’s journeys…I have given her over to God…knowing that when
mom or da, mommy or dada can’t be with her…
Abba will always be by her side—

“How can we not ask at every turn,
‘What is going to happen? How will this turn out?’
The main thing is not to consent consciously to anxiety or a troubled mind.
The moment you realize you are worrying,
make very quickly an act of confidence:
‘No, Jesus, You are there: nothing–nothing–
happens, not a hair falls from our heads, without Your permission.
I have no right to worry.”
Perhaps He is sleeping in the boat, but He is there.
He is always there. He is all-powerful;
nothing escapes His vigilance.
He watches over each one of us ‘as over the apple of His eye.’
He is all love, all tenderness.”

Jean C.J. d’Elbée,
I Believe in Love:
A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux

It takes two baby

“It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby
Me and you
It just takes two
It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby,
To make a dream come true
It just take two”

Lyrics Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston


(our lone apple / Julie Cook / 2017)

Thirty four years ago two rather young naive people said “I do.”
Over the years there would be many a time when both thought that
having said “I don’t” might have been the better option.

And so it is with anything that we do in this life that is done for any real
length of time….
There are the days you’re glad you’re in it and there are days
you wish you’d never seen it!

Marriage is just such an endeavor.

Eventually add to the mix a family…and it can suddenly become hard even
on the best of days.

One thing I know as a Christian.
Marriage is a thing that Satan abhors.

For marriage is a worldly example of God’s love and desire of and for us.
A union and a joining…that mirrors His gift to us in the form of His son.
As Christ is considered the bridegroom and the Church, His spouse…
so we come together as man and woman, bridegroom and spouse.

A union that is a rhythmic tandem of two becoming one.

And just like a tandem bike—you’ve got two very different individuals working
together to make a single bike work…making it move and steer in the direction
that both folks want to go…
because a tandem bike can only go in one direction despite two very distinct
and very different people peddling. Both folks need to be on the same page,
or nobody is going anywhere.

For there has to be just one person who steers and directs while both work to keep it going…
Balancing and moving together as one in order to keep everything level and
flowing.

Which brings me to the picture of the split apple.

Out of the 4 apple trees that my husband and I planted a couple of years ago..
Little trees that we’ve babied, watered, fertilized,
trimmed and fretted over…
we have just harvested our crop…
a lone single apple for the year.

We watched a little flower bloom then form into a tiny green orb.
The tree actually had another little apple that was growing alongside the first…
we concluded there’d be at least one for me and one for my husband.

But one night one of the two apples disappeared…
disappeared to our ravenous deer population.

However, for whatever reason, the higher apple remained….
growing into a full fledged apple.

We’ve been watching it.
Waiting to see if it would survive our midnight thieves.

So triumphantly the other evening, my husband picked the apple and ceremoniously
carried it into the house where I proceeded to wash and cut it in half…

One half for me, one half for him….
Cause it takes two halves to make a whole….

Happy Anniversary to us!!!

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself
up for her, that he might sanctify her,
having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
that he might present the church to himself in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and
without blemish.
Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:25-28

prayers for Coach


(Coach Tim Criswell /courtesy Joe Garrett’s blog / 2014)

Spending a 30 plus career in one place, in one school,
affords a teacher the opportunity of sitting back and watching as a lot of
folks come and go…
An endless sea of students who come in in the 9th grade in order to “serve”
their four years only to then pass through and on come graduation.
Some students will stay all four years while some will not…for a myriad of reasons.

There are also a lot of personnel changes that take place within a school
as folks transfer, move or change careers…
With the front doors of the school becoming almost like a revolving door for change…
Because in a school, nothing stays the same for very long.
Which is just part and parcel of life, the cycle of learning, moving and growing.

I was fortunate in that I worked in a small city school system.
I was the art teacher for 30 plus years at the city system high school.
Our school system employs a lot of former students as well as community members who
have lived in Carrollton or in Carroll County all their lives.
I was actually the outsider all those many years ago.

I was afforded the gift of meeting and working with a wealth of varied individuals.
Some of whom came and went in due time while others stayed, as I did…
forging a lifetime of teaching on one single campus and within one single school.

Those who do such, staying in one place for so very long, find that they actually
become the extended family of their colleagues.
As one actually spends more waking hours with fellow educators than with
one’s own family.

I remember when a new wet behind the ears, fresh out of college, young man
was hired to coach basketball.

At our school football was a long established dynasty…a well known program
throughout not only the state but throughout the entire nation as state titles were collected like Easter eggs and players went on to the NFL…
while basketball was only a mere footnote.

His name was Tim Criswell..and like so many other employees, Tim was also a graduate
of his new employer.

I won’t go into the details of his now near 30 year career…
I won’t talk about the persevering and hard work that has garnered awards, titles
and a wealth of accolades all of which “Coach” has managed to bring to the house of Trojan.

Because accolades and titles mean nothing when you consider the countless number of
lives of an army of young men who have been made the better because they played
under and worked alongside “Coach”
For Tim is a man of great integrity and conviction.
A man who any parent would want as an influence as well as role model for their child.

Tim is now in the final years of a long successful career of both coaching and
teaching.
He and his wife Dawn are looking forward to his retirement.

Saturday morning Tim and Dawn were out riding bikes on the new Green Belt that
circles the city of Carrollton—a 17 mile loop providing a place for walking,
running and riding bikes.

What exactly happened is still a bit unclear but there was an accident.
A serious accident.

Tim had to be life flighted to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital’s trauma unit with
extensive injuries…
broken ribs, a punctured lung and severe head trauma.

He is currently heavily sedated as the medical team works to keep the pressure
in the brain from swelling beyond what is considered to be safe numbers
as the pressure is fluctuating like a see saw of up and down.

They are holding off on needed surgeries due to the fluctuating pressure.
They are debating putting a plate in for one of the ribs,
meshes to help stop blood clots from traveling from the legs to the lungs
as well as surgeries to alleviate the cranial pressure.

He has developed a fever and pneumonia and is currently being given antibiotics.

I am asking for you to please join me for prayers for Tim, Dawn and
their three sons.

Dawn reported last night on the CaringBridge update page that one of the doctors is apparently a strong Believer who told her that the specific prayer currently
needed is for the pressure in the brain to back off….

So I am in turn humbly asking that you all will join me by adding Tim to your list
of those for whom you pray.

I ask that we join together..in turn asking our Omnipotent Father to draw ever
closer to Dawn and the boys as He wraps His arms around Tim’s battered body.

I ask that there will be healing for Tim’s broken and bruised body
as well as for Dawn’s anxious heart.

I’ll will provide updates or you may visit the CaringBridge site to register in order
to read the updates.

https://www.caringbridge.org/