The Ups and Downs of Hills

My early memories revolve around countless hilltop adventures! My childhood house was perched upon a hill. I would spend the summer rolling down it’s soft, green grass and the winter sledding down it’s slick, snowy slopes. My grandparents owned 80 acres of property in Northern Michigan. The land was full of rolling hills. Each hill had its own unique qualities. There was Strawberry Hill which was perfect for picnicking. The front hill was the best for sledding because it was the steepest. The old stone cabin hill held a piece of our family heritage. On that hill sat my great grandfather’s house. It was also the perfect hill for hunting. To this day, my favorite thing to do on steep high hills is to drive up them as fast as possible. Speed coupled with a downward decent produces a butterfly effect in the pit of my stomach. That is one of the best feelings in the world! For the past 23 years I have lived at sea level. I miss my hilltop adventures but I don’t miss the climb to the top! Before the fun could begin there was always the grueling journey uphill. My tiny legs would ache, my shoulders would slump forward, and my breath would become labored. My endurance was tested with each climb. Here is what I have discovered about the journey uphill. It hurts! Muscles you didn’t even know you had      will ache. No hill is just alike. The incline, terrain, and height      of every hill is different. You will get winded and want to give up. Going      back down will be tempting but the reward at the top will be well worth      the effort. Gravity will be against you. (But GOD is for you!) The joy of a hill is that there is always a top. Once you reach that summit the view, the beauty, and the majesty make the pain worthwhile. Very rarely does life resemble the flat smooth, beach front landscape of Florida. Life is more like my grandparents 80 acres. It is full of hills and valleys, forests and clearings, creeks and rivers. Each landscape comes with its own share of joy and hardship. Where are you in your spiritual journey? In the valley Traveling uphill On the hilltop On a slippery slope downhill Gracefully descending down one hilltop and moving on to another? Or you could be in a totally different place…those are just all the creative hill analogies I could think of : ) I found this quote this morning, “Be a hill seeker! Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns and – the ultimate – flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” With Christ by your side you can conquer any hill! Share...

Mental Vacation Week

This week I’m challenging myself to cut out negative thoughts and actions. I will be replacing them with beautiful, excellent, true, just and praise worthy thoughts and words (Phil 4:8) I’m also trying to shake up my routine a little. My plan is to… Read a fiction book (I tend to read only non-fiction) Vary my devotional time every morning (I will pray, read and journal in different ways, locations and lengths every morning) Write in a new location (for example outside in the yard, at Starbucks, or in a park) Workout in a new way every day Changing my routine has given me a new prespective…more on this in a few weeks to come! In honor of breaking up the routine this week I’ve decided to post a short story I wrote over the summer. Without any further ado here is a true story from my childhood (I told you I like non-fiction…even my creative pieces are based on real life events!) The Long Way Down          As I walked outside barefoot, wearing light cotton pajamas, goose bumps crawled up my arms. My vigorous rubbing did little to settle the sun bleached hairs that stood at attention. The sun was just beginning to reflect off the morning dew in the field across the street from my house. I knew if I was patient enough I could watch the sleeping sunflowers in the field awake and greet the day. Today was different. I didn’t have time to lazily watch sunflowers, blow dandelion seeds or pick wildflowers. No, today I was on a mission. As my feet scampered across the cool moist driveway I was eager to inspect the condition of the dirt road I lived on. The most recent band of summer showers transformed our calm tranquil street into a torrent river of mud and muck. So far, it has taken three long agonizing days for the muddy slush pools to dry out. With some luck today will be the day I can take my bike back out on the street without the fear of quicksand type conditions. With my toes kissing the edge of the dirt road I peered out as far as I could see. YES! The road was bone dry! I could hear the grit crumble and crack beneath my feet as I raced back inside to get dressed and to get my BIKE! The long summer days were beginning to grow short so I knew my time was limited. It was imperative that I earn my badge of honor and gain respect among the “older crowd.” With only three days left before kindergarten started I knew it was either now or never. My sisters’ personalities alone had made a name for themselves in the neighborhood. My older sister, Amber, was a tomboy with a lot of attitude. She wasn’t afraid to beat-up any boy who picked on me or our little sister Krystal. Krystal, the baby in the family was funny, social, and over the top adorable. She was the type of cute that even strangers felt compelled to pinch her round cheeks and comment on her big almond eyes. Then, stuck in the middle was me, Jayde. I knew I had the best name but other than that I was a bit of a wallflower. I was always lumped in as a “Bisaha sister.” No one knew me simply as Jayde but all of that would soon change. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my secret power was bravery.  If there was a strange sound at night I was the one sent out to investigate it. I slept with the lights off in my room. Also, I didn’t believe in ghosts, Bloody Mary, or aliens like my sister’s did. As my final effort to earn my place in the “school-ager” world I was prepared to put my bravery to the ultimate test. My heart pounded as I perched my bike atop the steepest hill in the entire neighborhood. I glanced down the treacherous slope to confirm that the youngest teenager on the block was prepared to witness my unparalleled act of bravery.  “Ready, set, go!” she called out from the bottom of the hill. After pushing off I felt like this was going to be my strongest run yet. Although, bravery was my superpower, bike riding was my kryptonite. As a result, my entire summer up until this point was plagued with false starts and halted nerves.  This time was different! I was balanced, focused and brave. I made it three quarters of the way down the hill perfectly. Then it happened…I went off course. I can still hear my neighbor’s voice as she hollered from the base of...