Thursday Doors-Heights Community Church


I find the architecture of many churches to be quite spectacular.  I have some that I will be  going back by to photograph.  They are tucked away for future outings.

Thursday doors is where door lovers from around the world come together to share their finds.  I mentioned last week that I joined in because the challenge makes me focus more on the present.  It’s hosted by Norm 2.0 and you can check out other doors here

I had to head over to the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op today.  It’s main location is in Grandin Village, which is a historic area of Roanoke that was built from 1906-1952.  The most significant growth was in the 1920’s.  It’s known as a walkable urban area and I find the area has a friendly atmosphere.  It would have been on my list of areas to move if its location had been more conducive to our situation.  My husband has a commute better served from a different part of town.

I am a member of the Co-Op, so I make trips over for some of the things that I like to stock up on and a few others that catch my eye when I visit.  I was heading down to get some Vitamin B-2.  I join ranks of many who experience these awful things called migraines.  I didn’t experience them until my second child was about 6 weeks old.  Mine start with a visual aura in my peripheral vision and progress centrally, creating a small pinpoint of vision.  Needless to say, I was freaked out when the first one happened.  I’m still not exactly sure what my triggers are, but I suspect dehydration and stress.

I’m also aware that the increasing evidence is that since my migraines occur with an aura, I am at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.  My grandmother had congestive heart failure so I’m proactive about my health. I have them much less frequently. Over the years, I have learned to recognize the beginnings of the aura and can take two ibuprofen which staves off the headache portion.  I still have the 20 minutes of vision issues, but not as extreme and I still feel brain fog afterward.  I’m not a giant fan of medications and don’t need anything stronger.  Ibuprofen has enough risks.  I recently obtained some information from a neurologist about things to do to try to prevent migraines.  Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) was listed as effective for migraine prevention so I went to Co-Op to find some without tons of junky additives.

Heights Community Church is located right beside the Co-Op.  In fact they share parts of the parking lot (I parked in the neutral zone so I could walk around both places).  According to the Historic Grandin Village website that I linked above, this church was built in 1919. I found this cornerstone on the church dated 1922.  The church was originally names Virginia Heights Baptist Church.  In October 2014, they changed the name to Heights Community Church so that it would have a broader reach.  According to their website, they still maintain their Baptist beliefs, practices, and affiliations.

The church stands at the corner of Grandin Road and Memorial Avenue.  Black Dog Salvage is about 5-6 blocks away, just across the Memorial bridge.   I love a church with some grand Classical-Revival columns (I cheated and looked up its style, but I love columns).  It has wings that were added later and spans a good way up Memorial Avenue.

I also love a beautiful steeple!  And below, I didn’t straighten the picture to show the angle of the road.  As a Floridian, when I first started visiting northern cities it was so strange to see buildings appear off kilter.  One side of a building having more bricks than the other side to compensate for hills or mountains.  A new sight for a flatlander!

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Change is always happening

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The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. -Socrates

I’ve had some thoughts rolling around for awhile, and yet when I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), they do not flow out cohesively.  I am hoping that today they have found a way to flow with the ease of a river racing to its conclusion.

The oldest became an official solo driver on Sunday.  It was a bittersweet moment.  I’m excited for him to continue his journey toward adulthood, but it is also a symbol that he is no longer completely mine.  He is not the little boy I carried on my hip or the one who pressed against my stomach so I would rub his back when he lived in my womb.  He is not the inquisitive toddler asking me how the world works or the young grade schooler posing deep thoughts such as “What if we are all just a part of someone’s dream?”  Nor is he the  middle schooler trying to make sense of his first experiences with death.

He is not that and yet he is all that.

I stood in our front yard, smiling and taking pictures as he pulled down the driveway.  Waving as he pulled away to go meet his friends.  My heart catching in my throat as I turned to go inside.  And while I tried to will them away, the tears brimmed over.  Happy tears, sad tears, all mixed together and flowing from this overwhelming place in my soul.

Change.

Isn’t that what spring brings? 

I have spent some time reflecting on this time of change.  And as he seems to do, God has brought some reminders of his word to me through the words of others.  A few days later I would read this post.There is so much truth to the words that would seep into every part of my being:

Motherhood is a slow release.

Those words convicted and those words rang so true.  I just want to hold on to my children a little tighter.  To have them still be completely mine.  I only share some details of their life on here because I do recognize that what once felt like ownership, now feels like companionship.  I get to walk beside them, still teaching and correcting, but their story belongs to them and is theirs alone to share.  The message of “falling in love with what is instead of mourning what was” was a gentle reminder to my heart.

Watching them change and grow is a marvelous privilege.

I am learning daily about the slow release.

I also get a daily devotion emailed from Proverbs 31 ministries.

Tuesday’s message struck me because she talks about seeing beauty in the bedlam (when I saw that word used, I knew to perk up and listen) and seeing the marvelous in the mundane.  A lot of my journey this year has been about learning to do that.

Cleaning house, doing dishes, and laundry is about as mundane as I can wrap my head around.  I am not a good housekeeper (one of my next reads will hopefully help out with that) which is why I was really hoping to implement more minimalism into our life.  Baby steps, baby steps…  I finished reading one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp and am reminded:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord not for men. -Colossians 3:23

It is so much easier said than done.  I am trying to pluck out a grain of truth wherever I find it. I am trying to offer a servant heart to these children who take so much out of me. I am trying to make my house a home. I am trying to let my light shine even in the parts of the day where I feel most inadequate.

Feed the hungry and help those in trouble.  Then your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. -Isaiah 58:10

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Last night I finally was able to go and stand where I spent so many winter days watching the sun set.  Seeking beauty everyday. Seeking something to hold on to through the gray.  The pictures are winter and spring.  From barren to growth.  I’ve watched spring unfolding,  watched my story unfolding. I also read a great post this week about telling our stories.  About how they matter. Planting a seed.  If a little piece of my story is meant to reach just one, as long as I’ve told it, then I’ve been faithful to do my part.

I love music and the song I’m obsessed with lately is Lukas Graham’s 7 years.  It has so many lines that resonate with me.  Aging, love of family, people who really know you and have been around through it all with you, children. Plus the flow of it just draws me in.

The line that makes a knot in my throat each time I hear it is:

I hope my children come and visit once or twice a month.

 

Change is always happening.  My children are growing toward independence.  My heart both swells and breaks at the same time during this journey.  I love my children fiercely.  I was raised with a love for family above all and can only hope that God’s mercy will fill in the gaps for my failures and they will always want to find their way back to see me.

Let your light shine!

Amy

Jubilant Smiles

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Jubilant: adj.  showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant

What better place to see jubilation than at a wedding.  Since my Wordless Wednesday this week was about Lupus Awareness,  I thought it only fitting that the weekly photo challenge considering jubilant would include a joyous moment with the one who suffers from Lupus.

When I first introduced you to Jami, as my dad’s sister, I guess that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that she’s my aunt.  This is because that was never a title used between us.  On occasion we were Be-Fri’s (taken from one side of a best friends charm), sometimes we were BRA’s (we got a good giggle out of this one standing for best relatives always), and as happens between kids raised so closely we could also at times be considered bickering siblings at best and frenemies at worst.

We had lots of laughter when we got together. She moved next door to me when we were 12.  We created lots of memories that I have fun reminiscing about and will continue to share.  We went to middle school together when I was in 8th grade and she was in 7th (this was because I started school early.) We were in chorus together.  One of the songs that year was Stand by Me.  We took to the song and decided it was our song.  We would go on our walks and sing this song (for the record, she can sing- I cannot).  We would drift apart and come together and drift apart and come together again throughout our teens.

In April of 1999, I got married.  We all had a great time dancing and laughing at the reception.  I have no idea what we are dancing to in this photo as it was when I was making the rounds visiting people, not on the dance floor.  I guess when the beat hits you….


As the wedding was winding down, I changed my clothes to head out.  No judging.  I was 21 and had  this strange idea that I wanted my husband and I to leave in matching outfits.  Flannel shirt fashion of the 90’s.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one small enough and just made do with the hideous fashion statement below!  Jami came to me and said that she was having them play our song and let’s go dance.  So the scene below is the final dance at my wedding, with her and I dancing to Stand by Me.

Fast forward to last summer, June 2015, at her wedding and again we danced to this song, and laughed, and cried at how far we’d come. And even when we drift apart and come together and drift apart and come together again the words of the song stay true.

Enjoy this beautiful song.  Spend some time rejoicing!  Spend some time being jubilant!  Celebrate- even in the mundane! You are alive and the world is full of wonder!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Thursday Doors – More Salvage

I never realized how quickly a week flies by until I started posting Thursday Doors.  If you haven’t heard of Thursday Doors, it’s hosted by Norm 2.0 and is where door lovers come together every Thursday to post their favorite doors from around the world.  I have always admired architecture so I thought this would be a great challenge for me to stop and notice any doors that I see.

With soccer games, hunting for the oldest a car, soccer tryouts, rain, cold, and did I mention rain… I will be delving into the photos I took last week for some more interesting doors from Black Dog Salvage.  If you didn’t see the ones from last week, you can check them out here.  If you’d like to see more from around the world check them out here.

I find myself noticing doors as I pass them by.  I am not always able to stop and photograph them, but am working on collecting more.  This noticing them also helps me work on one of my goals for the year.

Staying in the present.

If I am actively participating in noticing things that usually slip by me, then I’m living fully in the present.  I mentioned before that I am reading one thousand gifts, by Ann Voskamp.  In it, she talks about keeping a gratitude journal.  And while I have not started one, I am trying to be aware daily of all the amazing things (no matter how trivial) that I see and experience each day.

Staying in the present.

The first picture shows where there is just door after door placed according to their use.  To the right, is another entire aisle filled with doors also.  Most would have to be pulled out to see them fully so I don’t have many pictures from that area.  The ones I do have will be in a future post.  There are also doors almost everywhere throughout the building.  I like how they used the old set of doors above to cover the electrical panel.  Much more character and easy access that way.

I enjoyed strolling around the warehouse.  I loved seeing the creations, the old becoming new.  I was able to look at everything in wonder.  I thought about how I am changing, overcoming fears, pressing beyond comfort zones, learning contentment, and becoming new.  I breathed in the moment.  My feet walking, my eyes seeing, my hand touching.

Staying in the present.

The picture above was taken outside near the entry doors.  I’m not good at knowing what strange doors are taken from.  This looks like a ship.  There is a giant frying pan hanging on the wall above and the wind was blowing so I wasn’t stepping close enough to read the tag!! (I’m sure the frying pan is fully secured, I just didn’t like the sound)

The picture below was in the upstairs area of the building.  The tag said RR which I’m taking to mean railroad.  Again, I’m not really familiar with anything other than front doors and car doors.  I was just intrigued by both of these because they were unique.  I love unique.

There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. -Martha Graham

I hope you’ve enjoyed a few more doors from Black Dog Salvage.  If you are ever in Roanoke, VA you should stop in.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  You can also find them on the DIY channel.

Take some time today to be fully present.  The thing I’ve noticed about Thursday getting here so soon is how quickly life rushes by.  I spend a lot of time hurrying on to the next thing and looking forward to certain benchmarks of time.  Really, I should be enjoying the one I’m in.

Staying in the present.

I hope your day is filled with sunshine!  And if it’s rainy, like it is here, then I hope it’s at least filled with smiles and laughter.

Let your light shine!

Amy

Things I’ve observed about having a TALL child

A boy and his car

 

The oldest is about to venture out on his own.  Driving without me or his father in the seat next to him.  This is happening Sunday, to be exact.  If you’ve been following along with me for a while you may remember that he lived through and fully recovered from a traumatic brain injury (epidural hematoma) at 12.  And that he recently turned 16.  In Virginia, you must be 16 and 3 months to move on from a learner’s permit .

 

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9 months ago

Searching for a vehicle for him has been an ordeal that has been going on for months.  He is 6’5″ when barefoot.  If you have never seen a tall person driving a car.  Let me tell you what this means.  Typically, the seat is placed as far back into the recesses of the vehicle that its rails allow.  Then the steering wheel is raised to its highest position.  If you have a telescopic wheel, that may end up being pulled out for their arms be in a comfortable position since the body is so far back.  We have searched and searched with the main problem being that his knee hits the steering column when pressing the brake.  I have long legs and have driven (not owned) cars where this happens.  It requires you laying your knee to the side when depressing the brake, not the safest situation.  So any car where this happened to him was a “no go” in my book.

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We thought we would end up with a mid-size SUV or truck for him.  My husband recently traded in his vehicle for a Mustang.  We knew our son was able to fit into my husband’s car and we ended finding a used one.  I owned three Camaros and a Mustang before having kids and we all know I love a good car.

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The ordeal made me think about the other things that go along with being tall.  At a size 15 shoe, ordering them online is our only option.  Thank goodness we live in a day and age where that is possible.  Certain shoes that he may like only make some styles up to a 13 or 14 and a certain athletic shoe that runs small does not fit in a 15.  His inseam is a 36.  There is one department store that sometimes carries Levi’s in this length.  His preference for American Eagle, must be ordered.  Luckily, there is a store in the mall for returns because we learned which cuts worked through trial and error. A lot of teen brand T-shirts are a hit or miss on if they are long enough for his torso.  Big and Tall sections don’t help, it seems to mean tall and round. So we hunt for athletic fit.  And lastly, socks.  Yes, those one size fits most.  Well he’s stuck with packs of black or white Under Armour with an occasional Nike Elite when I’m feeling financially generous (2 pairs cost more than the 6 pack of the other) and forget about the trendy ones.

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Another observations with a tall child is the fact they they will always be asked if they play basketball.  Always.

And my last one is personal.  We are always asked where he gets his height.  Lots of times from complete strangers.  This one bugs only me.  The go to answer usually is “oh, there’s some throughout the family”. Based on my limited findings, in the U.S., the average height for a male is around 5’10” (my husband fits the bill) and the average height for a female is 5’4″ (oh wait, I’m 5’8″-not supermodel height, but quite a bit taller than the average).

I realize that this question shouldn’t bother me.  But it does.  And here’s why.

As a tween and young teen I towered over everyone.  I have distinct memories of being able to see over a sea of heads in school hallways.  I remember standing next to my mother (who is right under the average height) and asking why I looked like the  “Jolly Green Giant” next to her.  And why were my shoulders so broad and my feet so big.  My jeans were never long enough and by the time I was in my late teens I switched to men’s jeans to get the inseam I wanted (glad they’ve remedied this).  My mom was great at positively affirming my features, but they still bothered me.

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Sports cars, men’s jeans, and teen angst!

When we found paperwork on my Scottish great-great grandmother and it said she was 5’8″ in the 1920’s, I realized I must take after her.  I have learned to be content with those things that bothered me when I was younger.  Some of those features I’ve come to admire.  And that comes from the fact that my kids have long legs, broad shoulders, and big hands and feet because I do.  So while I smile and uncomfortably say “oh, there’s some throughout the family”, inside I am thinking “well, at least SOME of it came from me”.  I am learning sometimes what I thought was a curse is actually a blessing.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

WPC- A Face Finding Her Way

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Confusion sets in

Am I this me or that me

Still finding myself

-Amy Lyon Smith

 

 

I’ve been wanting to take a try at writing Haiku.  I like how it expresses so much by saying so little. I tend to get sidetracked and tell 100 different stories before coming back to the first, so I admire how Haiku is concise and to the point. I did follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllable pattern, but not in themes.

When I saw that the Weekly Photo challenge was face, I knew that I would choose this photo from this winter.  It was the photo that prompted the self-portrait in The Red Door post.  I came home from running errands and the way the sun was shining created a reflection in the storm door.  I loved that it wasn’t your typical way of capturing a self portrait in a mirror.  I was there, but there were elements of the door behind creating this portrait that wasn’t fully me. I set this one in black and white because it made it all seamlessly blend together.

I took this photo a few weeks after my first blog post.  I was still really unsure at that time if I wanted my words to be seen.  I was questioning whether this was the journey, whether I was listening to God, and wondering where he was leading.  For me, in that moment, this photo captured a new me, one who had begun looking at life through a different lens.   In fact, I posted this photo on Instagram that day, February 4th, with the quote:

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things -Henry Miller

Much of my journey these past 5 months has been about a new way of seeing things.  Seeing things with eye for gratitude and awe.

To see the amazing intricacy of a “weed” that has sprouted from the ground, resilient in its right to exist and yet fragile enough to be blown away in a gentle breeze.

 

To see with new eyes as the sky turns pinks and blues and the sun nestles behind the mountains, lowering to its slumber.

 

 

To watch the ocean kiss the shoreline and taste the salt upon my lips and feel the warmth of the sunshine upon my skin.

 

I am learning to turn my face more often to the One who created this beauty.  To daily notice how amazing this world is despite its share of heartaches.  I am spending more time turning my ear to hear the birds sing and breathing in the thick heat of a sunny day.

Today I read a post by (in)courage based on this verse:

Lord, I stand in awe of Your deeds. -Habbakuk 3:2

When I stand in awe of His deeds, I begin to hear his voice. My eyes open to see the wonder. I take the time to taste the mix of sweet and tart in the ripened strawberry upon my lips. I stop to smell the rain as it comes rolling in. I watch as green comes sprouting from deep within the ground, springtime bringing forth new life.  I being to feel his grace wrap around me.  I am blossoming along with all the tiny buds.  I am searching for who He has called me to be.

It is springtime.

And I am new.

Let your light shine!

Amy