Finding Hope above the Clouds

Heaven Photo

A quick glance at this photo makes me think of Heaven.

I know the third Heaven looks nothing like this, but flying above the clouds and seeing such a distinct separation of the levels within the first Heaven just makes me think about the second Heaven (where the planets and stars dwell) and then the third Heaven (the beyond-it-all where our Lord dwells). Therefore, I think of Heaven when I see an image like this.

Someone I know recently passed away. I know her soul was caught up into the Heavenly realms.

She was a Believer, but she wasn’t the kind who just believed; she was the kind who lived life in such a way that others wanted to know from where her strength came. She didn’t hesitate to share the answer with others. She was even doing it in her final moments here on this Earth. She knew — with absolute certainty — where she was headed when she took her last breath.

Her passing was sad for so many who had been impacted by her life, but her passing was also a celebration for the many who knew her and the many more who knew of her. When one lives their life in such a way that others want to know from where strength comes, one is living out loud. She lived and loved out loud.

I want to live that way.

I feel part of being able to live that way is knowing about eternity. There is a peace and a calm knowing where eternity will be spent. I feel that peace and calm about my eternity. Do you?

You can know, for sure. You can KNOW — with absolute certainty — where you will spend your eternity.

When I fly, I love the moment in which the airplane breaks through the dismal, grey clouds to reach the sunshine that waits above them. Sometimes it’s a bumpy ride to the other side, but what is waiting is nearly always the same. I love the times when I can look down and see a fluffy, white carpet of clouds, then look across and see the place where the clouds meet the bright, blue sky. It doesn’t matter what is going on down there underneath the grey clouds, because there, above them, is a different view. It’s a peace and a calm.

I am sure some of that was what my friend experienced in her final moments. She had a bumpy ride, but she knew the peace and calm of the other side. She knew the place to which she was headed to spend her eternity.


Finding Hope in New Adventures


I tried something new the other day.

I know. It sounds like a meaningless subject to write about, but for me, it isn’t. Although I’ve gotten more adventurous over the years, trying something new and outside of my comfy box is still a challenge for me.

I didn’t have the most supportive family life when it came to trying new things. My parents each had their own box of comfortable, and, growing up, I was expected to fit into one of those boxes of comfortable which they maintained. If I wanted to try something outside of their boxes, I was on my own. When I’d succeed, I’d hear little of it; when I failed, I’d hear short quips about not doing well or about how failing would not have happened had I just not tried. The quips weren’t supportive. The quips created a fear of failure in me.

So, I grew up with boxes. I grew up with boxes, because I dared not disappoint the people who provided me some semblance of encouragement when I stayed in their comfort zone. I grew up with boxes, because I dared not disappoint the people who provided me a brief reprimand when I failed at something outside of their comfort zone. I have no memory of my parents ever encouraging me toward a task or activity that was outside of their comfort zone.

Failure at an activity or task equaled failure at life — so I perceived. I didn’t want to be a failure, so I stuck with what I was told I was good at doing, I stuck with what was safe, and, for the most part, I stuck with what was in their boxes..

I missed out on so many things I wanted to do or wanted to try because of a fear of failure.

As I’ve matured, I’ve recognized how this kind of childhood has impacted me. Trying new activities, trying new hobbies, playing games (I couldn’t chance being the loser), even trying new menu items has created a feeling of discomfort for me. However, I’ve also recognized how trying new things outside of the their-box-had-become-my-box zone has been good and genuinely rewarding for me.

You see…I have discovered that I am good at things that have nothing to do with their box. I’ve also discovered that I am good at things outside of my husband’s box (it’s a bigger box, thank goodness!) and my children’s boxes.

It’s about time. I’m plenty old enough to have my own box. I’m old enough to take responsibility for my own choices in life, and I’m also old enough to not have to fear blowing the sides out of my box to try new adventures.

So, I tried something new the other day. Wow! I did have fun! I wasn’t very good at it at first, but the people I was with found the positive in how I persevered, and they kept encouraging me. By the end of the day, I was pretty good at this new adventure. I had fun blowing out the sides of my box.

I had fun failing, struggling, trying again and succeeding.

These days, I’m working on not having such a neat and tidy box of comfortable. There are blessings in that ol’ box, but there are adventures and blessings in the opportunities which lie outside of that box, too. I’m slowly learning not to fear failure, for there is a lot to be learned by the experience and the path taken, not just on the outcome and end result.

I’m a work in progress — we all are. I am enjoying the adventure!