My Nephew…the Graduate

I have known you every day of your life.  I have watched you blossom from a wish and a prayer before you were even born from within the womb of your Mother.  I witnessed you spring forth into this amazing world full of promise (with the biggest head we had all ever seen!) and I cherished the moments as you learned to navigate that same world full of wonder, intrigue and the smallest bit of spunk.  It was obvious you had gotten those traits from me – your favorite Aunt – but I digress.

Academically you have certainly found your way, rising to the occasion to meet each and every challenge placed before you.  You never left a stone unturned in your quest for knowledge, and your excellent performance throughout these last four years has solidified your place in an exceptional program in Clemson University, and I certainly could not be more proud.  You will go forth, you will be a mover and a shaker for the next generation, and I have less fear knowing that a young man of your caliber will lead those that come behind him to a vision seen early on and never once given up on.

Athletically, you left every single thing you had on the field, each and every time.  Whether it was baseball, soccer or football – you gave it everything you had and then 20% more for the team.  Your unfailing giftedness is a tremendous God-given talent, and I know you have appreciated this high school experience with these very friends – this ‘family’ to share this last year of lasts with – the ultimate prize being the Football Championship.  I will truly miss routing on “My #55” from afar each Friday night, but I will ready myself to route you on in different ways, in different endeavors, but still filled with the same love that has always been there.

Dalton, as I observe you as a person, a young man – I can only say how pleased I am at the choices you’ve had in your life, how grateful I am for the parenting nuggets you chose to retain and take to heart, at the courage of your convictions that drives your decision making process, and how you remain unphased by the world and its attempts to derail you and your goals.  Always stay true to yourself, and God will honor your decisions.

You have accomplished something incredible here, and in such a way that merits recognition.  You are a leader among your peers, a stand-up guy, and someone any of the lower classmen would be crazy not to emulate.  Accept this responsibility and use it to its fullest potential, in college, in life, in the working world – wherever!

In closing, you are an admirable man.  You are an honorable man.  You are the kind of man I want my son to aspire to be, and that I want my daughters to be drawn to.  You are loving and giving.  You are well-prepared for your future, and because of this you will go far.  God will continue to bless your obedience to Him as you continue to seek His face.  Your foundation is strong and your pathway is clearly marked.  I cannot wait for the next seasons to be revealed.

I love you, Dalton.  I love who you have grown to become.  I wish nothing but the best for you at Clemson, and if you find things get a bit too rough, I always have your back.

Love Always,

Aunt Melissa

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By the Light of Day

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Over my years, I’ve discovered that life is spent in seasons: unspecific time periods of -ness that we react to.  For example, when our children are young and they rely on us for their every need, we find ourselves sleep-deprived, unwashed, unshaven, and just plain unpleasant to be around, we term this a ‘season of life.’  We don’t have particular names for these ‘seasons’ as there are simply too many, unless you’re feeling particularly masochistic, in which case you might be so inclined to name your personal ‘seasons’…”You’ve got to be kidding me”, “God, Loving Your Humor”, “This Is What My Life’s Become?”, “Not THIS again?!”, and so on.

Recently as I’ve been reflecting on the ‘season’ I find my ship currently docked, or STUCK, as it might more accurately be phrased, I noticed myself looking around to the situations of others.  I’m reflective of how carefree appearing their lives seem from the outside looking in, and wonder if they think the same as they see me.  I remember a time when I would have agreed – my life DID seem more carefree, easier to swallow in a daily dosage instead of the horse-pill I have with my breakfast currently.  I wonder what the common theme is – those families who seem to have the Gummy Vitamins of life.  Is it less children; younger children; a functional spousal partnership; less bags under their eyes?  For some reason, I must have missed the Old Age Happiness badge in Girl Scouts…better dig up that old sash.

So I then turned the God’s Word to see if I might find an answer for my melancholy there (yes, I did say ‘then’…obviously I’ve got a few kinks in my system…I realize this…) and found John 10:10, which says:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Oh, so basically now I not only have to watch out for these ‘seasonal’ changes at whim, but also a thief of unknown origin?  Who am I, CSI?  It’s all I can do to work on MY issues, keep these teenagers happy (oxymoron, I know!), love others and keep my job.  When is enough enough?!

But in the light of day, I realize one critical thing…this thief…he doesn’t look like this:Image

 

He looks much more like this…Image

Because every time I compare my situation, my ‘season’ to someone else’s, I steal my own chance at happiness.  My ‘seasons’, each and every one, serve a purpose.  Though during the wind and the rain, they may not make any stinking sense to me, they EACH serve part of a plan.

And the plan I made, so very long ago for my life – it was fatally flawed.  Let me tell you a big secret – so is YOURS!

Oh, we might think we’re acting in our own best interest, making the ‘best laid plans’…but those plans we make…they can’t hold a candle to the plans our Father has made for us.  And I’d be the first to tell you of the sting when one of our plans falls apart – but there is always pain in deconstruction and rebuilding.  When a new plan begins, you have to start at the foundation…always.  As long as your foundation is strong, any work begun will stand tall.

So now, instead of looking at the Gummy Vitamin families, I’ll be reviewing my foundation for small cracks, signs of water damage or just plain signs of lack of attentiveness.  Who knows…maybe a trip to Home Depot is in order.