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Slowing it Down

So I wanted to share a few happy thoughts from our Soulfest trip.....and also how God has His own way of blessing me even when I wasn't looking for it. He's good like that.

So as you know, it rained pretty much the whole time. We ventured out a few times when it was merely sprinkling or showering (as opposed to downpouring) to catch a certain event or speaker. Thankfully it was warm enough that we were only getting wet and knew we would eventually dry so it really wasn't that big of a deal....I guess we were getting used to being soggy. Not to mention, kids love getting wet. Isn't it true that they always find that one puddle and have to jump in it?

It was about a 1/3 mile from the festival grounds to our site...... uphill..... both ways. Not really, but I feel like being dramatic this morning. I will say that it really was uphill one way and I calculated that I probably walked it 114 times over the course of our stay, so I didn't feel guilty of the six pounds of nachos I inhaled all week.

So N was walking at a much slower pace and stopping every few feet to pick a flower or a strange looking bug. Normally I don't mind too much, as I am one to stop and smell the roses.......but the rain was starting to pick up and I
reached the limit on the sogginess factor. I really wanted to get back to our camper and peel off my wetsuit. Damp jammies and a clammy blanket sounded heavenly at this point.

People started to whiz by covering themselves with their sweatshirts.....even those "smarty pants" folks who were sooo prepared *scoff* with their fancy umbrellas and rain ponchos picked up their pace.

I turned around and N was now crouched down. I feel my patience wearing thin and was just about to tell her to stop the lally gagging (is that a term?) and move it.... when she said to me, "ya know Mama....I am so sad those people are running....they are missing out on all this beautiful stuff I am seeing.....look, I bet God made this rock to tell us that He loves us."

I stopped and just looked at my beautiful little girl who had this in her hand.

It occurred to me that she is so right......most of the time, we are so busy in life to ever see and experience what God creates for us. More importantly, to appreciate it all. I think that sometimes we get caught up in the "rat race" of life, scrambling to get what our eyes are fixed on and are missing valuable lessons or even the blessings that God has for us. We are just going too fast when God wants us to just slow down and enjoy life at His pace. We've learned this urgency of rush, rather than learning how to wait.

When we find ourselves rushing, filled with stress and anxiousness......maybe we should stop and ask "why?" I just might enlighten us to what really is truly important.

The enemy does a great job at keeping us rushing and busy. He hopes that this will take our focus off of our family and more importantly, God. He brings a little "rain" in hopes that it will discourage us.

Sometimes we just need to slow down and see God in even the simplest things. He is everywhere and in everything. He is the sunshine and in the storm clouds. He is in that random smile from a stranger and in the sullen eyes of that homeless man. He even is in that heart shaped rock that most of us step over without a clue. We just need to slow down and take the time to seek Him.

This moment reminded me of a few posts of a great blogging friend that I admire.......Billy Coffey. I pop over his place, What I Have Learned Today, often and just when I think he cannot out-do himself......he rocks my socks off with another entry that just blesses me beyond words.

So when we got home and settled, I wanted to share with him how he came to mind with this lesson I learned from a child. I shot him a quick email on how I had a "Billy Coffey moment". Not that I was surprised, but he replied with this profound statement that I just had to share:

"There are times when I think God blesses people with children just so they can have tiny souls who will help the grown ups unlearn everything they've learned."

good stuff, huh? I encourage you to pop on over in his world.....often. Tell him I sent ya! ;)

OK, more Soulfest stuff.......One thing that we did slow down to do (and I am talking an hour of slow time in the rain) was wait to meet Casting Crowns. N is a huge "Mark" fan (she calls him by his first name, apparently because she is his number 1 fan) and was determined to get a picture she drew for him in his hands. So we waited in this meet-and-greet line for over an hour with her picture tucked safely in a plastic bag. When we finally got to him, she decides that she is too shy to even talk to him, never mind give him this picture. So I had to pry it from her white knuckles and peel her off the back of my thigh to at least allow him to say hello to her. He told her he loved her drawing and tried to shake her hand. By this time, she was practically under my skirt, so that didn't happen. So, after we went through the line and met the rest of the band, she did not want to leave. She just waited at the corner of the tent and didn't take her eyes off of Mark. He must have sense the child version of stalking and when the last person went through......he called her over again. I told her this was her last chance to talk to him and pretty much dragged her over. I stood in the pouring rain all that time and got sucked into buying the $5 promo band photo for them to sign for her.......she was going to cooperate and have fun meeting him, darn it!

So here you go.....me and N.......soggy and shy, respectively.......with Mark from Casting Crowns

So I'll leave you with a few other photos of our trip.....much better than a couple of drowned rats near a cool singer who was probably regretting his offer for the snapshot as it appears he is trying to keep his distance from these two moldy damp fans.

Here is The Cross. At the base of this cross is a bucket of nails and a hammer. The nails can represent whatever you want to leave at Jesus's feet and walk away knowing He is taking over the burden. It can be past hurts, struggles/addictions or anything that is holding you in bondage such as sickness or financial distress. Banging in a nail is symbolic of rededicating your life to Jesus and acknowledging that Christ has already paid the price of sin and you are now free.

At the end of each day.....each nail is covered with a white carnation. The white flower represents God's love and how His love can cover any and all sin. His love can protect us through our trials as long as we turn them over to Him.

And here is one of the many prayer walls found throughout the Soulfest grounds. Everyone was given a paper with a red heart on it and encouraged to jot a specific prayer request on it. Then pin it to these partitions where many warriors would come by and pray over them. Yet another way of being able to dig deep and share what might be on your heart where you might not have been comfortable sharing at any other time or place. It also was an opportunity to pray for others. There were prayer requests for family members needing salvation, cries for miraculous healings for children afflicted with cancer.....jobs for dads who have been looking for work for months. This again was another example of the True Love theme.....causing you to take the focus off of your own needs/wants and place it on other's much more unfortunate circumstances.

So that's that......a little smorgishborg of our trip that I thought I'd share. There definitely was so many other awesome things like amazing testimonies, inspirational speakers and even some of my personal time with Jesus on that mountain, but I'll wrap it up.

So much to do, so little time......I got some roses to stop and smell.

peace, love and stay barefoot~



amanda said...

love the rock picture.

slowing it down sounds like a fantastic idea. i think we've decided on dates. i want to for sure it with shaun. and then i'll let you know. did you tell your hubby yet? lol. i could let him change a few diapers if he insists on it.

my word veri is payer. do i owe you something? ;0)

Heart2Heart said...

I too love the rock your daughter so eloquently picked up as well as Billy's comments to you.

Sometimes those alone can rock your world. Did you keep the rock?

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

~*Michelle*~ said...

@ Amanda
why yes, I believe you owe me a nice stack of twenties and a bale of hay. :)

@ Kat

Yes.....that photo was actually taken when we got home. :)

and yes, big Billy fan here too. :)

Heart2Heart said...


Congratulations, I have a special surprise waiting just for you. Hop on over to my blog and check it out.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Crown of Beauty said...

Hi, Michelle, your visit to my blog is a surprise delight. I just love when when a new blog friend drops by, and when I hop over to his/her site, discover to my amazement that we think along pretty much the same lines!

I read only your most recent post, but surely look forward to coming back for more.

Loved your story, I hope you kept the rock as a remembrance of that day.


Beth in NC said...

Oh my goodness, what you daughter said just captured my attention. Today I got in such a huff and a hurry because I was late, that I snapped at my daughter. She is almost 4, sweet and innocent. I HATE that I did that. Your daughter's words just stunned me.

What a beautiful gift.

cindyhan111 said...

Hi Michelle!

I had meant to come back to your repost of the 'jeans' story... That i look forward to the day...

but so glad to see you put some more stuff up! I, too, am a Coffey fan. as well as your daughter's, now!

My kids are teaching me constantly and what a blessing it is to listen and learn!

5forjesus said...

Oh I LOVE the rock story and pic. I would blow that pic up and add the comment from Billy right under it. Talk about beautiful art for your home! Can't wait for Monday. Love and hugs of JOY JOY JOY!

koralee said...

What an amazing blog you have...so so lovely and truely a blessing. I need to get my cup and fill it with tea and read some of your past posts...we have collected many heart stones and always write bible verses on them. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog...now I will beable to read your inspiring blog!

christy rose said...

Kids do teach us so much. There are so many lessons that I have learned from my kids. And Billy's comment was so perfect. Thanks for sharing your getaway with us and the soul stirring that occurred in you while you were there.

Mich said...

Too sweet! I have several moments in which God used my children to speak to my heart.

Loved this post.

momstheword said...

I love her excitement to see him and then her shyness. My youngest was like that, lol!

Love the idea of the nails on the cross, and the prayer wall. What a blessing to be with so many believers!

Larry said...

You daughter's shyness reminds me of my daughter's shyness as a youngster.

Anonymous said...

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for sharing such a timely account of your daughter's wise words and God's message of love to you both. I say timely because only yesterday we went to the coast to spend the day as a family, and my son collected various shells and stones. We have done this many times before so I did not pay much attention, but when I got home and put all the shells and stones on a lovely flat dish on our kitchen table where I have been collecting shells for quite some time, I realised that one of the stones was perfectly shaped like a heart. I immediately thought God was speaking to me about His love and faithfulness. The thought soon left me as other "more pressing" matters took over and then tonight I was having a bowl with strawberries and yogurth. I had randomly cut the strawberries into smaller pieces and on my final mouthful, as I lifted the spoon from the bowl to my mouth, I realised the last piece of strawberry was again beautifully and perfectly shaped like a heart only this time the colour was red. I knew then that God wanted for me to remember how much He loves me. I have been going through a bit of turmoil as you know since I gave up my blog and those two incidents have given me my confidence back that no matter what happens or how I feel at any given time, GOD KNOWS!

Perhaps giving up the blog is precisely God's command to me to stop and start smelling the roses once again.

Thank you for your post.

Be blessed


christy rose said...

I have an award for you!

Beth E. said...

What a beautiful lesson we all need to learn! The rock is wonderful.

I have to admit, I'm looking forward to slowing down a little. Our youngest son leaves for college this Friday, his older brother returns to college the following Wednesday. This summer has been the wildest and busiest summer I've ever had.

Thank you so much for your prayers. I'm glad something I said encouraged you. :-)

P.S. Billy Coffey rocks my socks off, too. He's a great writer...so are you.

Daveda said...

Hi Michelle, I am so glad you "found" me.

I love this post, and I have to admit, at one point, it brought tears to my eyes. It seems that every time I am reminded that it can all be lain at the cross, I get a bit *weepy*...Isn't it wonderful, what He has done for us? His promises are yes and Amen!

slow it down and enjoy, smelling the roses indeed :) or maybe even the rocks.

I will be back to visit you as well :)

Billy Coffey said...

Aww, thanks for this, Michelle! And thanks to your daughter for teaching me something I constantly need to be reminded of.


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