Have you ever had one of those days where you just knew that God decided to give you a little pick me up? Where you felt His arms around you, His peace crashing over you like a wave? His hands holding your heart? Yes? Don’t you just love when He works it all together for you, gives you a day so filled with His love that you know it will not only carry you through the next few days, but stay with you as a cherished memory forever? I know I do. And I had the ultimate pleasure of experiencing it yesterday.
The day started normally, with me waking up, getting ready, going to work, etcetera. After making my various baked goods, I came home to help clean for our July 4th employee pool party. It was hot. Really hot. So hot, the air conditioning slapped you in the face when you opened the door from outside. Around 4 o’clock, I made my escape to the ever peaceful world of Ashwood Farm, where my horse resides. This place has been God’s saving grace to me for nearly 4 years now, and while I’ve certainly had hard days there, it has become my hiding place. The place where I feel safe, the place where I can hear God’s voice in everything around me, the place where I’m at home. Those of you that follow my horse’s blog may have read about his recent (and ever-present) lameness issues. Between my health and time restrictions and his constant health problems, I hadn’t ridden him in about 3 months. He is still recuperating from his most recent problem, a rather nasty abscess. But yesterday he was doing so well, I was able to squeeze in a short ride outside.
The creak of worn leather, the feel of his muscles beneath me, the swish of his tail, the scent of horse sweat, the bond between two beings put to the ultimate test in the most beautiful of ways… it all came together in a magical harmony, a glorious symphony of horse and girl and nature. It may have only been 15 minutes, but it washed away the stress and insanity of life for the past months. There are some rides that feel good. But then there are the rides that just feel perfect. The entire world could crumble around you, and you wouldn’t care. And that is what I felt yesterday. It didn’t matter what hardships I’ve been experiencing. None of it mattered, as long as I had this to run to. And I praise God for giving me such a marvelous sanctum.
When I arrived back at the house, there was a bit more cleaning to be done, and then our guests arrived. We all had fun eating pizza, swimming, enjoying my mother’s fruit pizza (as always made in the likeness of the flag), and just hanging out outside of work. After a few hours had passed, we all ran inside and put something on over our swimsuits and walked a few blocks down to our local country club as the sound of fireworks shattered the calm air. We found a spot to spread our blanket and sit across from the golf course, and were instantly awestruck by the amazing sight before us. On one side of the sky were the explosions of colorful fireworks, but on the other, our awesome God was displaying His glory with His own fireworks display. Yes, my friends, there was lightning. Not just sheet lightning that lit up the sky, but lightning bolts that shattered the blackened sky like glass, and transported me back to the days of my childhood in Arizona, watching the marvelous electric storms dance across the desert landscape. Now, I’ve seen some of the greatest fireworks displays in the country, and for two years stood on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights (beside the Brooklyn Bridge), directly in front of the Macy’s barge for their show, so close that you could hardly breathe for the explosive shock waves hitting your chest, and this mediocre show topped them all. The beauty was breathtaking, and for a writer like me that has a love affair with rain, lightning and thunder, there has never been a more miraculous show. As the last fireworks were shot off in the finally, the crowd let out a thunderous cheer. In seconds, the first raindrops were falling, sprinkling the ground and inspiring whoops of ecstasy from all present.
I am the girl who will use any excuse she can to go and walk in the rain. So walking the 4-5 blocks home as the rain increased, with lightning before us and thunder filling the air with its beautiful growl, was pure joy. The rain came harder and harder, until it was pelting us with its sweet, wet drops, bringing the fresh scent and new life our scorched earth needed so desperately. The lines of “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns were flowing through my head. My brother, just as excited as I, was skipping at my side, and all around the crowd was scattering, sprinting through the rain, hooting and hollering, covering their hair with the blankets they’d previously been sitting on, and all of us sending up a collective shout of glee when the lightning would split the sky ahead of us. It was a moment to remember… and thanks to my brother and another bystander and their camera lenses, you can catch a glimpse of the majesty that filled our eyes last night!
(my brother’s brief video)
(A second video I found from last night)
As stunning as the night had already been, God had even more in store for me. We reached home, changed out of our swimsuits and into dry, cool clothes, and then I grabbed my notebooks. Our backyard is a piece of paradise, especially for someone like me. Inside the tall, wooden fence, we have a pool, and beside it, a gorgeous wooden cabana, complete with changing room, fridge, wet bar, and a long table, perfect for spreading out a few notebooks and diving into the worlds of my characters. There are even extra chairs for those times I need to interview (interrogate) a few of them. The front is open, lit by a strand of tiny Chinese lanterns, opening up to the pool and woods beyond. From where I sat, I could see the raindrops rippling on the surface of our pool, the lightning slash the sky behind the trees, hear the thunder, and fill the silence with country music playing gently in the background. With my new WIP before me and characters screaming in my ears, my world shrunk down to just that moment in time, storing up every second of it to live on forever in my mind. It was perfection. And the very best part was that still small voice, whispering in my ear. “My daughter, remember this. Store it away, to remember when life returns tomorrow morning. Lock this away in your heart, and remember that no matter how hard you may think your circumstances, I’ve got you. I hold your heart, I hear your prayers. And I will always answer them. Be strong, my child. I’ve got your back.”
A picture of my perfect perch last night, my new book sprawled out in front of me, lightning illuminating the trees, Tera sitting across from me, and the whole world reviving in the cooling rain. A writer’s paradise.
That’s all for today, folks! But check back soon, fun new things are coming!