Thursday, September 1, 2011

Now that We're a Year Older . . .

by Gina Welborn

"You're getting old, and you're gonna die, do da do da." Not sure how that became a Birthday song in our household but it did. It's always sung right after "happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, you look like a monkey and smell like one too."

What can I say, we're a stinky, zombie-loving family.

A couple nights ago, middle child Jadan showed me his zombie drag-the-crooked-right-leg walk all perfected, enough to now start teaching his 4-yr-old little sister. *sigh*

So in honor of Inkwell's birthday celebration, I thought I'd talk about life's two inevitables: Death and Taxes. Actually, not taxes because that's boring . . . and irritating to the libertarian in me.

"The way through the world is more difficult to find
than the way beyond it." ~Wallace Stevens

Pause for a moment and think about everything that's happened in your life in the last year. Here at Inkwell, we've experienced births, deaths, illnesses both healed and unhealed, marriage woes, children woes, job woes, job losses, job gains, new book contracts, rejection letters, contest finals, contest non-finals, bad-hair months, tests, trials, and tribulations.

Blessings and curses.

Joys and tears.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." ~Jesus of Nazareth (John 10:10)

Every thought, "yep, Jesus gave me new life in Him, but I'm still waiting on the full part"? I know I have. I want abundant. I want full. I want it all . . . and I want it now.

A dear friend came over a couple nights ago to chat. She got to talking about attending a women's minstry event that I also went to last week. As we were singing "Revelation Song," she said that God spoke to her about her current struggle. "Wendy, why are you holding on to these broken dreams? Let them go. You don't need them anymore."

I almost cried because God told me basically the same thing during that song, only in different words.

Why am I holding onto broken dreams? Why are you? Things can't go back to the way they were. Let them go. You don't need them anymore.

Yet, like the Israelites in the desert after leaving Egypt and wishing for life back in slavery because it's so much better than the desert, I cling.

You cling.

If only __________________ . Fill blank with whatever it is you think you need to live a full and abundant life. Your family back. Your job back. Good health. A new car. A book contract. A husband who loves you with the love of a romance novel hero. Children who actually acted thankful for all they have and for all you do for them. A washing machine that doesn't rattle every time you use it. Nice hair.

Reminds me of FINDING NEMO when Dory and Marlin are in the whale. (Here's a link to the scene if you're interested in watching:

Marlin is frantically trying to escape because he has to find his son. The water in the whale is going down so Marlin thinks it's going to eat them. "How do I taste? Do I taste good? Tell him I'm not interested in being lunch!" Which doesn't stop the whale from moving the water to the back of his throat. Which only makes Marlin hold on even tighter. Fight even more. Dory cheerfully shares, "He says it's time to let go. Everything's going to be all right."

"How do you know something bad isn't going to happen?"

"I don't."

I'm glad Jesus promised to give me life and to have it to the full, but somedays (can I get an amen here) I'd rather He promised no bad things were going to happen.

What Dory was really saying was, "Marlin, stop holding onto those broken dreams of losing your wife and other children, as well as those fears of losing all you have left: Nemo. Everything's going to be all right."

Somehow the frantic, fear-obsessed clown fish managed to find the courage ONE MORE TIME to face possible death so that he could finally be free to experience abundant life.

Don't we all have to do that?

Listen . . . the back of the whale's throat is filling with water.

Gina: "Hey, girlie, He says it's time to let go of your broken dreams. Everything's going to be all right."

You: "How do you know something bad isn't going to happen?"

Gina shrugging: "I don't."

How can we say we trust God with all our hearts and then still lean on our own understanding? Let's both let go and see where God is going to take us.

Take a risk. Take a chance. Make a change. Breakaway . . .

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
~Hebrews 12:1-2a

Happy Birthday, Inktropolis!!!
May this next year bring us whatever is needed to bring God the glory.

SERIOUS QUESTION OF THE DAY :: What broken dreams have you been clinging to and God's been telling you to let them go?

NON-SERIOUS QUESTION OF THE DAY :: What article of clothing do you own that it is well past time you threw it away? Please volunteer the info because you don't want it volunteered for you.
GINA WELBORN worked in news radio scripting copy until she took up writing romances. She is a 2009 ACFW GENESIS historical romance finalist and a 2007 RWA GOLDEN HEART® inspirational finalist. As a member of RWA and ACFW, she’s an active contest judge and coordinator. This Oklahoma-raised girl now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her youth-pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, and a Sharpador Retriever who doesn’t retrieve much of anything. Her first novella, “Sugarplum Hearts,” part of the HIGHLAND CROSSINGS anthology, will be released by Barbour in January 2012.


  1. My broken dream? Retire from Cornell.

    It might just become "Retire? What's retire?" The gov't might just take away Soc Sec, the state might just default on my teensy retirement, and I may not live long enough to pay off the next (and last) truck I purchase. But hey. My real dreams have nothing to do with those things!!!

  2. Good thoughts. Nothing pressing on my mind in response, but I do think I need to get rid of some of my empire waist little swingy dresses. People tend to think I'm pregnant when I wear them. Really it's just left overs from the last three pregnancies, but since the youngest turned nine yesterday, that seems like a pretty lame excuse.

  3. LOL, Deb! Where's the line between perservering and letting go?

  4. Oh, Dina, since you confessed, I'll confess. I have a pair of maternity capri pants. Love 'em. But it's probably time to cast them aside.

  5. Oh, goodness. I have this dress I call my Minnie Mouse dress. Back with BIG white polka dots, huge puffed sleeves, a sweetheart neckline and a full, mid-length skirt.

    SO old and worn, so out of style, so doesn't fit me anymore, but I love that dress.

    It's just so darn perky and cute. ;)

  6. I have three sets of clothes in my closet: The "I'm at just the the right size" clothes; the "I'm heavier than I should be but it's still fixable" clothes; and the "Uh oh, I went overboard and now I can't get back to where I was" clothes. Sadly, I'm in set #3 right now. So it's time I did something - either lose the weight for good or accept the fact that the way I am now is the way I'm going to be - and commit to one set of clothes. The other two don't do me any good and are just taking up space. This is the constant battle of my life :+[

  7. So, DeAnna, why do you keep the dress? The memories?

  8. You know, I don't know why I keep it, except I just like it.

    I don't have any particular memory or memories associated with it. It's just kind of kooky and cute. :D

  9. Oh gosh, Jen, I understand your plight. I have a Rubbermaid container of "a little more of me than I'd like but still a nice size" clothes.

    Of course, I also have some "well, these are too big now" clothes.

    Yes, it's time we pick and choose.

    Although . . .

    A few months before I found out I was pregnant with child #5, I gave away some of my "too big" clothes. In that box was this blue zebra-stripped sleeveless shirt. Had a ruffle along the center buttons. Cutest shirt ever.

    And one of the only things I've ever regretted giving away.

    Why didn't I think about altering it? Uggghhhh......

  10. Kooky and cute I understand.

    I have a straw hat I've never worn. It's too kooky and cute that I keep thinking one day I'll wear it, like a Jane Austen heroine.

    Have you taken the "Which Jane Austen heroine are you?" test that Lisa has on her blogsite?

    Rather fun.

    Crazily accurate too.

  11. Yes, and I'm Elinor Dashwood and I am not sure where my favorite jeans are. They were waiting for me to fit back into them for um about, well a long time and now I think they ....might? but did I finally get rid of them? did I finally 'give up the dream?'

    DeAnna, I can so see you in that Minnie Mouse dress. Well, I don't suppose you wear a big red bow in your hair, do you?Cause that's the view from my world.

  12. Great post, Gina. It resonated with me! I am learning to let go of several dreams: my name on a book cover, health for me and my kids, financial security...and on and on.

    I have clothes in my closet which I'll never wear again, but I hold onto them for sentimental reasons. One is a maternity dress that's garnet red and velvety. Another is what I call my "bubble dress" which I wore when my husband and I were dating--he loved it. It's sleeveless, blue, and has little off-center white and yellow polka dots, very bubbly looking.

    So I totally understand the Minnie Dress, DeAnna. I figure if you love a dress enough to name it, you can keep it.

    I also keep some of my kids' old clothes. I limit myself to one box. Can't help myself. They were such sweet little outfits.

  13. Hmmm . . . looks like this is me:

    You are Fanny Price of Mansfield Park! You are quiet, faithful, and moral, but those around you may think you priggish. You love deeply...and jealously.

    I had no idea. ;)

    You know, Debra, I don't usually wear bows, but if I did wear that dress again, I would definitely have to have a big lipstick red bow and matching red pumps. Woot!!

  14. "If you love a dress enough to name it, you can keep it."

    Now there's prime Inky wisdom in that statement.

    I save one newborn outfit from each of my kids. Usually the ones they wore home from the hospital.

    Deb, I can see you as Elinor. Lisa's an Elinor too.

    Since I don't know DeAnna yet as well as you two, I'm gonna pause and ponder what I do know. Yes, yes, I do see Fanny Price in her.

    I'm an Emma. :\

  15. I haven't done the Austen character quiz. I must do that soon.

    I have the same "size assortment" of clothes Jen has, for precisely the same reasons. I also have some pink sweaters that I love and continue to wear (only at home) that are falling apart. But they're cozy and comforting - and that's why I keep them.

    Gina, you just had to mention the bad hair month, didn't you? For once, just once, I'd love to have a good hair day. Then, of course, I'd be so happy with a good hair day that I'd want one every day.

  16. Ouch. This hit home.
    Broken dreams:
    Being the sweet, perfect, kind, soft-spoken pastor's wife everyone admires and respects in the biggest church in town. (Shallow, huh?)
    Being a multi-published author by the age of 40, living off my advances and royalties.
    Those are the biggies...

    As for wardrobe, probably the collection of ratty, faded, too-big flannel pajamas with cutesy prints I keep around for our 9-10 month winters.

  17. LOL, Suzie! Not sure why I added some of the "bad" things that I did. I've long given up on having glorious hair.

    Now Dina has enviable hair.

    Oh, Niki, I am empathizing with your broken dreams. *sigh*

    Of course, I don't think God asks us to give up those dreams for no reason. If your hands aren't holding onto them, just think what else you could grab onto?

  18. I'll tackle the easy one first. Almost every article of clothing I own is probably worthy of discard, at least according to the fashion police. In this area, I'm also a libertarian. Or maybe a conscientious objector.

    Sometimes I think it might be nice to be Amish and never have to worry about what you're going to wear. I guess the bonnets would also settle the bad hair day problem.

    I'm not sure I have any broken dreams left to let go--not that I haven't had broken dreams. It's just that they are already gone, and I'm seeing the blessings of having let them go--sometimes kicking and screaming--when God directed.

  19. I have an entire set of clothes that hasn't fit since I hit 37. I gave up a lot of them, but kept the favorites in hope that someday...I guess someday I'll go back in time :)

  20. Oh, Barb, it would be good to not have to worry about the fashion police or bad hair days. Yes, Amish dresses might even hide some of the lumps and bumps I don't want anyone to see. But oh my legs would freeze!

  21. The Amish attach their clothes with straight pins. Forget that!

  22. Ooh, I forgot about those straight pins. Ouch. Never mind.

  23. Barb, you crack me up!

    Yep, I'm gonna have to pass on the straight pins.

  24. Great post, Gina! Letting go is so important, and though I have fought it many times, once it is done, things feel soooo much better.
    As for clothes - I reckon I should chuck a lot of stuff out. I'm not hanging on to it exactly - just too lazy to go through it - I've got better things to do ... like writing. :)

  25. Gina, thanks for ministering from your heart. I've had to give up on the dream of perfection--perfect wife, perfect mom, and on the dream of doing it all, which ties in with the being perfect thing. I can't do it all, and by golly, I'm not even sure I want to do it all!

    As for clothes... I have another category--the one-day-I-will-fit-back-into-that category. Sadly, I think most of those clothes are older than my children.


  26. Great point, Amanda, about being too busy to chuck needed clothes. My oldest daughter and I were watching What Not to Wear, and we decided we were going to take everythign out of our closets and try it all on to see if it fit, didn't fit, was/n't flattering, or needed alterations to be more flattering.

    Only problem is I know doing so will take an entire afternoon.

    Thanks for enjoying the post!!!

  27. Oh, Lisa, I hear you about the dream of being perfect, of being able to do it all.

    Wonder Women we aren't.

    But, really, let's face it. No woman is.


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