Little things in great Love…

Some days, my greatest accomplishment is keeping my mouth shut; not gonna happen today.  Texas…my beloved home state, the place of my birth and raisin,’ where my family roots run deep and wide, and where a piece of my heart forever remains, is in need. Lives have been lost, properties destroyed, homes in every neighborhood in every town have been without basics for nearly a week.  Infrastructure has failed and repair timelines remain unknown.  Basic things like drinking water and warmth are scarce.  As my Grandpa might say about now:“Good gracious sakes’ alive…it’s the largest Texas blue-norther on a team of wild Mustangs chasing a herd of fence-busting Longhorns hell-bent for the open range I’ve ever seen.”     

Texans are hardy folks, y’all; bold, daring, and built sturdy and strong in body and spirit to endure. Their Texas-sized sense of purpose, passion, great pride, and resilience runs fathoms deep.  Whether you hail from the north, south, east, or west of the Great State of Texas, you are a Texan, first and foremost. Texans live tried-and-true by the state motto decreeing us “The Friendly State;” we never meet a stranger. Right now, most Texans are likely plum wore-out.

While the images on national news stories this past week show the profound devastation, loss, and despair, some are finally beginning to focus on those stories of altruistic deeds. Take the iconic Texan, Mattress Mack, opening his doors in Houston once again to anyone seeking shelter and some warmth. Convention centers, sanctuaries, school gyms, and stadiums are shifting from vaccine sites to shelters so Texans have safe, warm places to land.  Texans are driving taco and other food trucks on inches of ice to deliver hot meals and drinking water in communities.  Neighbors are looking after neighbors, checking on each other, huddling up together, and finding creative ways to survive this freakish crisis. The acts of love and kindness grow on and on, but they might need some help and may be too humble or proud to out-right ask for it.

What can we do to help?  In my faith and daily living, I’m called to serve…to do little things with great love. GIVE friends; just give. Give time, money, energy, resources. Give to a TX Mutual Aid fund of your choice working on the ground at this moment. Place local contact information on your social media feed with numbers for those seeking help. Reach out to friends and family in some way to check in and let them know you love them. It’s not much in light of so much disruption, suffering, despair, and more, but it’s something little given in great love. It’s not much when others are cold, exhausted, and hungry, but it’s a place to start. Goodness and grace, happiness and hope, comfort and compassion…these are the warm fuzzies of everyday life. Little things, yes, but given in great big Texas-sized love.

And to my many Texas friends and family members still enduring this storm and processing the task of recovery, please remember no matter what any of us face in life, we can and will endure because we are not alone. Spring and bluebonnets are coming. All y’all keep on your warmest boots and gear, get back on that wild Mustang, and ride like the wind knowing you are not alone!  Be blessed and continue being a blessing to others, y’all. 🙂

How’s the view?

I hung up the phone from a difficult conversation and wanted to scream some not-so-nice words. A text with a picture suddenly appeared. It was my sister on top of a mountain trail (“Look at this view!”); and in an instant, my attitude shifted.

It’s no secret I enjoy hiking, especially with my sister. We have racked up many miles through our years on foot with some stunning scenery, unique experiences, and funny stories along the way.

As little girls, we hiked with our dad in the summers while on family vacation at the same working ranch in the Rockies of Colorado.  Before each trail hike, we always looked up in awe of the daunting task ahead wondering if our momentum, lungs, and little chicken legs would get us to the top (and, let’s be honest, excited to see what snack daddy would have for us at the top too). Of course, when we reached the top, taking in the view, eating our snack, and basking in our accomplishment, our perspectives grew in greater confidence. Daddy innately understood why we needed to climb a mountain every now and then; it was his quiet way of teaching us about life’s challenges and hardships. When we climbed mountains, we faced hurdles, obstacles, and problems to solve while on the trail using our attitude, effort, and strength.  We experienced first-hand how these same personal super-powers on each mountain hike are ever-present within us as we overcome challenges in everyday life.

2021 so far, at least for me, feels like another ginormous mountain after the year formally known as 2020. The view, to this point in the year, is not so pleasant.  Please understand…I’m grateful to be safe, well (so far), and have the resources to be home to assist and care for my dad full-time while keeping our pod moving forward each day in hope. We keep a routine, wear our masks, wash our hands, keep our distance (even on walks and hikes), and find simple ways to be kind to our minds.  But after nearly twelve months of quarantine at the High-Risk VanAmVilla (where, like the Hotel California, “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave”), this is beginning to wear-and-tear on all of us, y’all! But when we stop a moment, take a deep cleansing breath, and start again with baby steps, we realize we DO have the personal super-powers to keep on climbing.  After all, the mountain, no matter how big it is (and we sometimes swear it’s growing), is no match for our faith and desire to successfully climb it.  Attitude, effort, and personal strength are everything in life (and in climbing mountains). Mountains are meant to be climbed. Diseases are meant to cured (and I’m waiting patiently for my vaccine turn). Wounds are meant to be healed.  Problems are meant to solved.  All are critical learning experiences; some in sorrow and sadness and others in success and JOY. I have to think this pandemic mountain serves a higher purpose in making us stronger, wiser, resilient, grace-filled, and hopeful…physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

While we often can’t control what happens to us, we can control how we see and climb the mountains in our life. We can look at the mountains as being in the way or as THE WAY to personal growth and success (or as momma would sing to remind me to, “bloom and grow forever”). We always have a choice. We can stand at the bottom overwhelmed and initially defeated, or we can dig down deep in our resourceful well and find the very best way within ourselves to climb onward as we encourage one another. Here’s my hand reaching out to assist and here’s to each of us who are finding clever ways to fearlessly hike the mountains in our paths on this journey. Just know I’m singing and hiking beside you.  Continue to be blessed and be a blessing, my friends. 🙂