Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Spirit Friday

 I usually spotlight someone who is unique, or shown talent or bravery on Free Spirit Friday. I was thinking this morning about what moments in their childhood may have inspired them to be the people they became. Was it parents who guided and supported them? Was is a unique and challenging childhood? Was it a spiritual event that caused them to act? Or, is it simply that we are born with the blueprint of who we will become. I wonder if this is the old nature vs. nurture theory? Whatever it is, I believe that we have influence on children. I remember teachers who made me feel empowered and gifted when I was the child who was different than the others. I remember the mailman who greeted me with a smile and blue, twinkling eyes each day. I am blessed to have had a comfortable childhood with parents who loved me, older brothers and sisters who included me, read to me, encouraged me, taught me about God and The Lord Jesus Christ. My childhood was full of adventures, pretend, dress-up, nature, books and art, spankings, inspiration, guidance and love. I am not one who has made a big impact on humanity, but rather, small ripples in a small circle of people my life has made contact.
Now, I have the great responsibility of guiding our four precious children. I hope that I inspire them, promote their gifts and interests, lead them gently to God, re-direct when necessary and never snuff out their spirits or prevent them from becoming who they need to be. What do you do in the life of a child to encourage them to be all that they will become?
Listen, care, encourage, read, respect, direct, and above all LOVE always.
I'd love to hear from you (yes, you)!

Monday, April 26, 2010


I've been thinking about perspective today. 
Webster's Dictionary defines it as: "the power to see or think of things in their true relationship to each other; the true relationship of objects or events to one another; a mental view or prospect". I feel a bit discouraged today and it got me thinking about feeling melancholy. Often when I feel this way, my head hangs down and I see small things. If I always had my head up, I would miss some details. God is into details. He seems to revel in details. There are so many tiny things in creation that display His power. I am in awe that He created all of this beauty for us (and of course, His own glory). I find that I am encouraged when I take my eyes off myself and onto Him. It is about perspective. I can either focus on experiences that are painful, losses I have suffered or dreams not met, or I can focus on the external and internal journey of grace and harmony and love. This is who I desire to be on the inside (full of grace and harmony and love). I begin to lift my head and see forward. I see the faces of people who love me. I see distance and hope. I see vistas and more beauty and still the details are there. I don't want to have my "head in the clouds"; it's there that I can stumble and fall. He takes care of the distance. He is in my tomorrow. He already knows what it looks like and I can find peace in that. He gives me the grace I need for this day. This day I choose to remember what I have learned through pain, through loss and my failings. This day I cherish what I have gained because of His love for me. I am grateful that He softened this heart of stone. He is mindful of me. He cares about details.I can continue to feel joy in the midst of uncertainty. I can feel secure in the midst of the unknown. I can embrace the day and reclaim my focus. His beauty is in it all.

 I see His touch in the vast and the small. He is in it all. This is a safe place to be. He will not fail us now (He never has).

  • ~ all photos by me, Rebecca Howell Gibson (feel free to copy) 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What I Love About the Ocean

I love going to the ocean. I was born near water and have always lived near an ocean. As a child, it was the Pacific Ocean, now it is the Atlantic Ocean.
  • I am not the type to sunbathe or surf. I'd rather beachcomb. I love finding sea glass and shells and beautiful ocean rocks that have been polished by years of salt water and movement.

  • I love the sound of the waves crashing. I love the low tide when I can walk out into the water and find shells seldom seen. Tide pools inspire me. When we lived in San Diego, the tide pools, near La Jolla,  filled with sea urchins, sea anemones, mussels and tiny shells was a frequent place to explore.  I have fond memories of deep sea fishing with my Father off the Pacific coast in Redondo Beach, California. We would catch fish and place them in gunnysacks. I remember watching Daddy gut and clean the fish. It was a man's job with a sharp knife. That night we'd enjoy our fish feast. Our home smelled of fish. So did the green VW bus we rode in. The memory of the sea between my toes and in my hair and ears washed off at bath time remained in the tub. The ever present sand reminding me of our trip to the sea. As I drifted off to sleep, I could hear the ocean sounds and feel the swaying of the waves.
  • Sand castle contests in Ocean Beach, California is fascinating to see. The talent of sand artists is a rarity. We found this sand art on the beach of Ogunquit, Maine. I have experienced the ocean in all seasons. I have bundled up and walked the sand in snow boots. I have had sand in my hair for days. I have tasted salt. I have felt the spray of sea water on my face. I have felt the tug of the sand under my feet pulling me deeper.  I have sung songs around a fire and eaten hotdogs and toasted marshmallows with my friends. I have had my Mother wipe my burned skin with apple cider vinegar to cool my pain. I have years of freckles from sea sun. Now, we are introducing our children to the sea and all it's wonders. They collect broken shells, driftwood, sea glass, smooth stones, and fallen feathers with unruly and separate vanes. They are building their own memories of the sea. We are remembering ours and seeing it fresh again.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Every day holds the possibility of a miracle.

  • Sometimes we don't know what path to take next. We are in this situation right now. My husband's company restructured last July and he was let go (along with many other employees). We have been unemployed since July. We own our home, we have four children, one dog, and three cats.
Sometimes I feel like the Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She is on the yellow brick road and asks, "Now which way do I go?"  The Scarecrow replies, "Now,  some folks say that-a-way,  but that's a nice way too." What has been amazing about this journey is the people who have helped us along the way. We have experienced true generosity from unexpected places. We have a strong faith in God and our Lord Jesus. We know that He has a plan for our lives. He knows our future and what it holds. He knows where we will land and what it looks like. Since we believe He loves us and cares for us, this helps us have a sweet peace about the whole situation. We have become creative in how we spend our time. The children love having Daddy at home. I do too. He is my beloved, my best friend. I cherish the times I have with him. We are in the midst of a remarkable time. My beloved asked the children if the glass was half full or half empty. They all replied that the glass was half full. I feel that my glass is overflowing. I have my moments where I feel panic. What if we lose our home?! What will we do if we can't pay our bills?!
Most of the time I have experienced a supernatural sense of peace. Our needs have been met. We are still in our home, our children are happy and healthy. We are hopeful for the future. We pray each day for a job. My beloved has been amazing in his search for a job. He is very talented and the company who lands him will be blessed. There are days when we feel discouraged.
There are days when we feel perplexed.
Today we feel hopeful and blessed. Every day holds the possibility of a miracle.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Free Spirit Friday ~ Saint Joan of Arc ~ The Maid of Orleans

  • In 1412 a girl named Jehanne was born. She was born in eastern France on a farm. She loved to spin wool and hear the tolling of the church bells. When she was young she began having visions of angels directing her. She recalls these visions as "a white light and a tender voice of an angel".  She was 12 when she had her first vision. She said that she cried when the voices left because they "were so beautiful". These angels directed her to force the English out of France and bring the Dauphin to Reims to be coronated. This was near the end of the Hundred Years' War. When she was 16, she asked a relative to bring her to the garrison commander to receive permission to visit the French Royal Court. He scoffed at her request, but this did not deter her. She persisted in her desire to help her country recover. She dressed in armor and ended up leading the French army in several important victories and she was indirectly responsible for the coronation of Charles VII.

She was captured, sold to the English, tried by a court, and burned at the stake when she was 19. Twenty four years later, Pope Callixtus III reviewed the courts decision and found her innocent. He also declared her a martyr.
I have been inspired by Jehanne for many years. I recall hearing or reading about her at a young age. I hope other women are inspired to follow the leading of God and follow His direction and will for their lives. There are so many simple things we can do to make a difference in our own lives. Love our neighbors, care for the orphaned, show compassion to the needy and widows.
Jehanne was a remarkable girl. She followed her heart and changed the course of history. She is one that I admire.
Do you have a woman in your life ,or in history, who you admire?

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Dog's Day ~ by, Charlston Chew.

  • It's a dog's life with four kids, three cats and two big people.The cat's are jealous of me. I get to get muddy in the bog and then have a hot bath. They say that I am a Beagle-Hound mix. They call me "Pup-Pup", but my formal name is Charlston Chew. I survived a rough birth in Tennessee where the people who had me abandoned me and my pup sisters and brothers. Somehow we managed to wander into the road and a nice lady rescued us. We were nursed back to health and then traveled to Massachusetts to be adopted. I landed in the lap of luxury. I get to help "wash" the dishes. I try to drink the cat's tuna water. I get to run on the beach and play in the water. I get my belly rubbed and at the end of the day, I get to curl up under the blankets and dream of chasing motorcycles, running with the kids, and lounging in the sun.
                                                        Life is good.