Thursday, January 1, 2015

Close the Door

We lost our sweet Luke this past weekend. He was a happy-to-be-home Golden Retriever. He was almost 15 years old, pretty  ancient for a dog; that's almost 105 years! For a dog who loved to find the smelliest delicacies from garbage cans and roll in some of the rankest horse poop in the pasture, that's pretty amazing. He endured boring 4H meetings,the death of his beloved buddy, Hans, and the antics of an obnoxious Aussie puppy. But for me, the loss of Luke signifies the closing of a door in my life that, sadly, time is forcing me to close.
Luke came into our family on the 4th  birthday of our son Stevie. A timid puppy that Stevie adored, the two grew up together. A few years later another Golden joined the family and the two were such good buddies. The kids and  dogs grew up together, and before I knew it,in the blink of an eye they were all grown up. 
How did this happen so quickly? I'm sure I am not the only parent who asks this. There are even times when I want to scream at Time and command it to stop so that I can process this, treasure this, and not simply stand by as is slips away. I want to scream into my pillow at the helplessness I feel .I will attempt to move mountains for my kids, but in this I am helpless. Time is relentless and continuously mocks me, reminding me that soon all of this crazy-busy wonderfulness of raising kids will be over.  The door is closing.It is over.
And that is what Luke's passing did for me. As I looked into that old dog's dying eyes, I saw the day after day religious run in the field, the joy of seeing the kids and dogs hanging out in the front lawn, and the spastic chasing of snowballs in the pasture. It was as if Luke was reminding me that this crazy, sweet time is done.Close the door, and move on, and that's okay. What will the next adventure be? Meanwhile, my melancholy mind keeps replaying the past as I hum the sappy Simon and Garfield Bookends lyrics, "...preserve your memories, they're all that's left you..." Ugh. Why do I do this to myself?

So, goodbye, sweet Luke, and goodbye to the years spent raising little ones. I will miss those times of hearing kids screaming through the house, muddy paw prints and busy schedules filled with 4H meetings, piano lessons and sleep overs. Close the door.
Luke and Stevie, Summer 2014

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tell Fear Where to Go

Can't is always right beside me, eager to offer her opinion. She's a know-it-all, and her controlling thoughts are constantly ringing in my ears. She likes to remind me how I’ve failed in the past, or how I fall short compared to other competent, beautiful people. Although she is careful to sound as if she's protecting me, I've slowly come to realize that she's a liar. Her goal isn't to prevent me from failing, or keep me from making a fool of myself. Her goal is to keep me from ever trying. Unfortunately, there are plenty of times she succeeds in immobilizing me.
            Shouldn't is Can'ts twin, and she too is just as crafty, but her words are spoken much more softly. She isn't as bold as her sister, whose direct words are meant to remind me of my limitations. Instead, Shouldn't is worried that I might embarrass her. The last thing she wants is me doing something humiliating. She would rather I don't take any chances.
            These two oftentimes like to gang up together, one taking the more direct approach, while the other is much more subtle. While Can't pounds me with memories of my past failures, Shouldn't soothes and comforts by telling me it will be alright if I just don't do anything.
            Their father, Fear, is the true instigator behind their schemes, and he has trained his daughters well. He doesn't have to work very hard these days, because his daughters carry on the family business. But he's an intimidating and overbearing presence, and there are times when he has to step in. These times are the worst. He is a dark monster that hovers, weighing heavily upon my shoulders and exhausting me. He suffocates.
            However, Can't and Shouldn't have forgotten about one thing, Hope. Now I am no psychologist, and certainly no philosopher, but I have been long time friends with Can't and Shouldn't. Unfortunately, they know me too well. They know how to get to me.
            The other day I witnessed the strength of the human spirit and the power of Hope. My daughter ran 100 miles in under 24 hours, across mountain ridges, down valleys, and back up again. The people who run these ultra marathons are incredible, but really, they are just like you. Just like me. They have tenacity, hope and determination. Gifts that we, too, have been given but rarely use. They have overcome Can't and Shouldn'ts power. Unlike me, who too often gives them my ear. They have encountered Fear and won.
I followed these runners, in a car, from aid station to aid station and watched them struggle with these enemies and push themselves beyond. Many runners wandered for miles on trails, lost and alone. As darkness set in their family members became worried and motorcyclists were sent out to find them. Finally, the runner would come in, feeling discouraged, but not defeated. After some time at the aid station, they'd head out again donning high powered head lamps. You could see their lights bobbing up and across the hillsides.
            At mile 87ish, my daughter shared with her running buddies that she physically couldn't lift her right leg anymore and that she could barely walk, let alone run.  Can't was winning. The fellow runner responded with, “At this point, any kind of movement is going to hurt, so you might as well run." By mile 97, at the last aid station, they had one more hillside to climb. By then her muscles were tight and she was clearly limping and had lost Hope. Just as she climbed to the top, the sun began to break over the distant hills, casting a glorious magenta hue across the sky. It was as if she was up above the city, soaring.  God gave her new found strength into her tired legs. Suddenly her perspective changed and she realized that she had it in her to continue. They began to run, and a new burst of energy propelled her to the end. Back on mile 87 my daughter didn't think she could continue, and yet 10 miles farther down the trail, she found the energy to finish strong.
            I learned this weekend that we are stronger than we realize. We have the capacity to do things we never thought possible. While I may never run an ultra marathon, I pray that I will encounter life with the same fearless tenacity and steely determination. My prayer for you is that you do the same. Truly we do not know what we are capable of. Maybe that's what concerns Fear and drives him to torment us. Give him something to be concerned about. Tell Can't and Shouldn't to shut up. Tell Fear where to go.  Live your life with fearless tenacity and endless determination, knowing that God will provide Hope and give you the strength when you most need it.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.- Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


IN THE LONG RUN: A School for Today;
A Hope for the Future

It is a lovely African night. We just finished eating a traditional African dinner of matoke, rice and beans and my African siblings are currently outside running around playing and enjoying taking pictures with my camera. They pop in and out of the house every so often, pulling at my arm, trying to get me to play with them. Usually I would join them- playing games outside with them holds some of the greatest memories of my Study abroad experience. However, tonight is different. As I sit with my host father, I am fully captured by the conversation as he shares what’s on his heart. His voice is filled with much zeal and his eyes have a deeply focused passion, as if his vision to build a school for orphans was already fulfilled, and he was gazing directly at its completed structure. And through his real and hopeful explanation, I too was able to get a picture of what he envisions.
Last year I was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in Uganda, Africa and developed a relationship with my Ugandan family through a five month host stay. This story, from only one of the many nights and conversations we had, has stuck with me the most since I have been back in America. It is heavy on my heart to partner with him to build a school in his village. However, through losing his wife due to an unfortunately common mobile accident, John Joseph Bumanye, has been struggling to be a single dad to his four young children. Nevertheless he is also a pastor, teacher, and student himself at the University and is still deeply committed to the Lord and connected with the people of his community in Mukono, Uganda.
“Children are the future of the nation. Orphans are also with hidden potentials that need discovering. Mothers need education as they are the ones who really have a heart for children so they need to be equipped in all aspects: health, nutrition, sanitation etc. once they are equipped they will pass the knowledge to children.”
- My Ugandan host father

According to the 2010 UNICEF report, there are over 2,700,000 orphaned children in Uganda. This number is overwhelming and when seeing the large number it’s easy to identify the need: millions of children without a mom and dad who need hope and care, but at a loss as to how to help.
Knowing that my host father has such a heart for his people, I fully believe in his vision and trust that building a school is the Lord’s plan. On our own we are small individuals but together we can make a huge difference.
On March 30th, 2012 I will be attempting the impossible in my mind of running the Badger Mountain 100 mile Ultra marathon challenge with the direct focus and motivation to help make my host father’s vision a reality. My goal is to raise funds that allow for the building of the school to continue as the construction has already begun and continues as funds are available. Because running is a passion of mine I want use it to encourage people to partner with me by donating a pledge per mile I run so that TOGETHER we can help. After the race I will then contact you with the final results. Because of his confidence, I am confident that my Ugandan father’s dream will become a reality. As I run each mile with the greater purpose in mind, each step toward the finish line will be one step closer in enabling orphans and mothers to thrive and obtain an education in Uganda.
“There are not many people who would wish to take up the responsibility of caring for the needs of orphans as many say it is costly. Are we not going to deny this world the many gifts that these orphans have? Something should be done to help them out as their parents are no longer living.”-My Ugandan host father
Thank you for your prayerful consideration and support.

Megan Hall
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
–Psalm 147:10-11
If you would like to contribute, please write checks payable Living Word Fellowship/Uganda and send checks to the following address: 490 NW Crosby Ave. Oak Harbor, WA 98277

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 Pocket Calendar

A pocket calendar tells so much.

As I was cleaning out my purse today I took the time to update my calendar book.However, I still want to keep the old one. Why? It's really quite useless now; the calendar doesn't apply anymore and the address book needs updating.

But it tells so much! I could spend an hour looking back on the pages that tell of kids birthdays, 4-H meetings, and vacations!

So thank you, old calendar book, for helping me look back on the year that has come and gone. To reminisce on the boring meetings, the tedious doctor's appointments and the mundane days. However, you have also reminded me of our two daughters graduating from college, Carly's qualifying for state fair, our vacation to the sand dunes in Florence, Oregon, and our summer with our foreign exchange student from China.

Farewell, 2011. I look forward to filling my new pocket calendar with 2012 events and commitments

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Lesson from Abraham

Genesis 22: 1&2

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

I struggle with this story everytime I read it. How can a parent even consider hauling their child to a place where they must sacrifice him? I try to understand Isaac's heart and imagine what it must have been going through his head. But I still don't understand. Until today.

It's not that I suddenly feel that this is o.k. I still cannot imagine planning the long journey that would end in my son's death, and the determination to execute it. I struggle with the question of "How could God ask such a thing from Isaac?" Now days CPS would be called and Abraham and Sarah's faces would be plastered all over the national news.

But Abraham believed God in a way that I don't. His faith was such that he trusted in God's perfect plan, and KNEW that his way is perfect, no matter how convoluted the plan seemed to him. You see, God had a ram walking up the other side of the mountain that Abraham couldn't see.God had a sacrifice coming up the other side. Abraham didn't know it, but God was providing.

In the tapestry of my life that has woven into it trials, heartache, broken relationships and sorrow, I don't always see God's hand. I question where He is and why He doesn't intervene. I want Him to fix it.Now.

I need to remember that God has a plan that I don't see.He is working in that person's heart. He is weaving a provision for my situation. He is causing a ram to climb up the other side of the mountain.While I am taking this journey through life, maybe I can stop and consider Isaac's journey up to the mountain. He had a long time to question what he had to do, but he didn't turn back. He didn't know what the outcome would be, but he still moved forward. He simply believed that God's plan was perfect and trusted in Him in a way that I cannot imagine.

I will always struggle with understanding God's plan, and I will always ask the question, "Why is this happening?" But maybe I can stop and consider Isaac and what he went through. His story gives me a bigger picture of God. Because while Abraham was making that long journey up the mountain to sacrifice his son, God had a ram climbing up the other side.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rock Does NOT Beat Paper

This has to be one of the most enlightening things that I have read about in a long time. Now I truly understand what is wrong with this society. We believe that paper beats rock. We accept it. We grow up believing that this is fact. When all along, we have believed a lie!

From this day forward, I will strive to educate the ignorate population and enlighten them of the truth. Paper does not beat rock. In fact, I will begin proclaiming this on my nearest street corner and knock on every door, all in the hope that eyes will be opened to the truth.

In fact, I will start an after school program to reach the children of our society who have grown up believing this lie! I will make t-shirts and colorful rubber band wrist thingies, all in the attempt to expose the truth.

Join me in this cause and help to spread the word! Reach the masses with the truth! Save the children!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Student Driver-Beware

This past week our son began driving. This is child #3 on the student driving circuit, so I think that I've finally learned how to push back the images that can flash through my brain. Like confusing the gas with the brake. Rear ending the car in front of them. Pedestrians impaled on the hood ornament. Stuff like that.

But, I reluctantly admit, he's not too bad of a driver. I don't want him to know it; heaven forbid he gets overly confident.

But the other day was his very first drive-thru. He managed to made it up the the window, cautiously inching his way up to it as the two young,ahem, attractive ladies wait. He finds the window button and pushes it down to order, only to have my window roll down.
The young, ahem, attractive ladies wait.
He gives a little smirky smile and pushes the window button down. The back window rolls down.
The young, ahem, attractive ladies wait. Giggle.
Finally, New Driver gets his window down and gazes upon those sweet giggling faces.
"Your his first drive-thru." I have to explain.
"Ohhhh, that's so sweeeeeet! How cute!!!" The young,ahem, attractive girls coo.
New Driver gives his smirky smile. And blushes.

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