The Day of the Dad

I want to take a moment here to honor my father.

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just another one of James Bond’s Scottish castles

If you know Stephen Wagler, you know he is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. He’s funny, he has a loud laugh and an even louder phone voice. He’s an honest businessman and an even better provider for my family.

He taught me to love Jesus, he took me on countless trips as a child and planted a love of travel in my heart. He took me to Phillies games and broadway plays, and his Canadian heart may have even taught me a few things about hockey. He definitely taught me the magic of Tim Hortons. He likes his coffee strong and black (cowboy coffee is an art form in which he is skilled). Because of him and my mom, I still like flipping through paper newspapers, even in 2016.

He’s loved my mom for 36 years, and isn’t that the best thing a father can ever do for his child?

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my parents chilling on a bench near Loch Ness, surrounded by wild gorse

For the past couple months, I have been thinking about what it means to be a father. I have so many friends whose fathers have disappointed them again, and again. “What separates the good dads from the bad?” I wondered. “Why are some people willing to give up things they want to do in order to better care for their children, while other people cling to their selfish desires, even if it hurts their families?”

My dad is flawed just like the rest of us, and I’ve argued with him upwards of a thousand times, but there’s never once been a time when he did not come through for me.

EVERY time I truly needed him, he was there.

Is that not the most beautiful picture of our Father God? He is consistent. There’s never going to be a time when we call on Him and He won’t pick up the phone (even when he’s already in bed and you left your lights on and let your car battery die, AGAIN).

Whether you had the best or the worst biological dad in the world, your Father God is so much more. More bold, more protective, more compassionate. He loves you with a love that is unfailing. Every time your earthly father fails you, there is another who is willing to step in. Who wants to step in. There is a good, good Father who wants nothing more than for you to accept His love. He wants to reveal to you, all the mysteries of this world and the next, all the mysteries of your own soul. All you have to do is let Him.

Walt Whitman – “On the Beach at Night”

On the beach, at night,
Stands a child, with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower, sullen and fast, athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends, large and calm, the lord-star Jupiter;
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate brothers, the Pleiades.

From the beach, the child, holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower, victorious, soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears;
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky- shall devour the stars only in
apparition:
Jupiter shall emerge- be patient- watch again another night- the
Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal- all those stars, both silvery and golden, shall
shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again- they
endure;
The vast immortal suns, and the long-enduring pensive moons, shall
again shine.

Then, dearest child, mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?

Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding, I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter,
Longer than sun, or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant brothers, the Pleiades.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there today.

To my own father: Thank You for loving me well. Thank you, most of all, for leading me into a relationship with my heavenly Father.

XOXO,

Carrie

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A Weekend Spent at Home

A few days ago, my dear Canadian friend Robin messaged me, “I’m going to New York this weekend. Can you come see me?”

Over the next few days we messaged about our favorite places in NYC, and where I’d want to go if I came to see her, and The Phantom of the Opera. (Which she is going to see on Broadway tomorrow. The jealousy is real.)

Everything inside me screamed “Yes!” But my responsible, finishing-up-the-semester, only-has-a-part-time-job, going-on-lots-of-weekend-trips-soon self had to say “No.”

A year ago, I was saying yes to trips like this all. the. time. And some of my favorites were with Robin. From our famous Welsh castle-hopping, backpacking, too-much-American-diner-food-eating, canal boating weekend…

To a weekend in London that included sleeping in hostel rooms with triple bunk beds and 18 strangers. Pretty sure one of us may have started that weekend with literally -7 Great British Pounds in her bank account. I won’t mention any names.

I do miss those days. Study Abroad weekends were the most frivolous of times. Almost every single weekend included at least a day trip or two. I remember the feeling of being so spontaneous, weightless, able to go wherever, whenever, and I miss it. Once you’ve traveled or lived abroad, it is difficult to stay in one place for long. You always feel like there’s some new place you could be seeing, or some adventure you should be having.

Today, I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve done over the past few days that have made me happy. This weekend hasn’t been glamorous or overly-adventurous, but it has included plenty of happiness. Most of it has just gone unnoticed because I haven’t taken the time to be grateful.

A couple days ago, I baked this delicious bittersweet chocolate cake with lime cream. Holy goodness. And gluten free!

I also baked some whole wheat cinnamon rolls (for you gluten lovers). Baking is something I really missed while living abroad, because I did not have the kitchen utensils, the beautiful, open kitchen, or the ingredients I have here. Baking is also my go-to way to de-stress. The closer it gets to finals week and the end of the semester, the more I bake. (It’s one of my similarities to Dr. Izzie Stevens.)

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On Saturday, I babysat my nephew for a few hours. We went to the park, watched the big kids skateboard, had ice cream, and saw (part of) Zootopia. I also read to him, and of course his book of choice (that we read no less than 4 times), was a book about Tommy taking a train to New York City. Cool. Awesome choice, Desmond.

Last night I hung out with friends and played cards at Prince Street Cafe. Today I was able to worship at my church, where I have to admit my attendance has been sporadic over the past few weeks. It was really good to be back. After church I went out for lunch with several friends and Living Room co-leaders.

Earlier this week, my cousin Warren and his wife Lorna were here to visit. I had so much fun taking them around Lancaster with Warren’s sister, Wanita, and my brother, Clifford. We cafe-hopped and saw a bit of Amish country. Showing other people my home alway reminds me of all the things I love about it!

Today is a beautiful day. I’m not sure why spring is having such an impact on me this year. Have I always been the person that brings up the weather in every conversation, or is this new? It’s been 2 years since I’ve experienced a Lancaster County spring, and I was unprepared for the beauty. Spring comes slowly, with scattered warm days, rain, and even occasional snowy days in April. Then, one day you walk outside and all the trees at your house seem to have budded overnight, and your soul soars. Spring is my favorite season because it’s a season of growth and new life. My apologies to the allergy-prone.

This afternoon I’m ignoring my schoolwork for a few moments more, lying in the sun, reading the book Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul, by John and Stasi Eldredge. I feel like most “good Christian girls” read this book in youth group, but somehow I missed that particular rite of passage, so I’m actually reading it for the first time, for a Bible Study I’m in now. One thing that stuck out to me in the first chapter is that the passivity I see in a lot of people of my generation (especially guys-but maybe it’s just easier for me to pick it out in them) is not a new problem. Adam’s fatal flaw was passivity. So I guess you can say it’s an issue that has been around for a long time. I’m excited to see what the next chapter says about Eve, although maybe that’ll be a bit more of a slap in the face to me?

This weekend hasn’t been glamorous, but it has been filled with some of my favorite “home” things. I love a relaxing weekend spent at home almost as much as I love a fast-paced weekend of adventure and travel and will-we-catch-our-train(?!) moments. Much of the time, I’m too busy to appreciate the little things. When I think back to Scotland, it’s hard to remember how much I longed for “home” things, like my family, bad-for-you cereal, my bed, driving my car, and my mom’s kitchen + the ability to bake anything. Though I do love a good train journey with nothing but a backpack to my name, I’m pretty content with a weekend spent right here.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” -Terry Pratchett

How was your weekend? Did you get carried away, or stay right where you are?

xoxo,

Carrie