New Waves.

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Ever feel so incredibly small, yet significant in the moment you are in? In the season of learning that you are experiencing? In a single segment of a larger picture and design for your life? 


I bet it was a sight to see…

 The waves strong and forceful, sending foam and salt all over the sandy shore, like a welcomed blanket on a cool evening. You could feel the earth breathing with every web and flow that was sent ashore. It wasn’t an overpowering breath, but a strong and steady one. The wind carried with it the salty air that consumes and intoxicates anyone that enjoys the steadiness of a powerful force, like the sea. The music from the restaurant added to the excitement that was resinating with the three that entered the water. There was shrieks and laughs, a few choice words when a wave swept feet out from under, and lots of dancing. Three black swimsuited beings, that were having the time of their lives.

Let me tell you, it was a sight to see, and fun to be apart of. The moon was out, and the music was loud, and I had two of the craziest, most interesting women by my side as we ran, jumped, danced, and laughed ourselves into the sea. We sounded and probably looked like little kids, enjoying a moment of sheer bliss. Trying to outrun waves, run out to waves, and simply embracing the power behind the tide. There were no consuming thoughts running through my mind, nothing more than simply living in the moment.

As we were wrapping up our fiasco in the water, and walking back to where our discarded sandals and cover ups lay, I couldn’t help but stop and listen to the force behind me, around me, and billowing up within me. It was in that moment where the being small matched with the significant moment. How lucky am I to experience something that could possibly be a once in a lifetime moment? The opportunities that arise when you simply kick off your shoes and run into the waves.

Too often, we try to consume our lives with tasks and schedules, details and times, that dictate every moment of every minute of our lives. Moments of childlike pleasures, like running through waves, are nonexistent because the thought of, “I am too old for that,” ventures through and talks you out before you even attempt to consider it. Take the time to be young, forever. Breath in the salty sea air, and go splashing in the waves because sooner rather than later, time catches up. The seasons move on, the adventures fade into something different and maybe, even, a little more dull. But if you take the time, to find the segment of life that pulls you into a larger moment, and you begin to realize that there is something more in this life than just surviving. This life is full of moments of new waves to run and jump in… but you have to stop, take a breath, and listen to everything all around you that reminds you that you are meant to be here for a purpose.

And then, for just one night, you feel completely and totally alive, in the middle of a beach in a country that is unlike your own.

-Hope Sorrells

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Experiencing Worship for the First Time.

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Church. A word, a place, a feeling that I have been apart of since I was born, but more importantly when I was saved at the age of 7. I knew, well, thought I knew the true meaning of worship, but that changed, today.

Carrie and I were invited to Holy Ghost Centre church by our host sister, Euince. Of course, the response was a quick “yes!” Church started out just like I was used to. Greeting the pastor, finding your seat in Sunday school and working through a lesson. We finished Sunday school, moved spots towards the front of the church, and service started.

When worship began, the atmosphere changed. The rustling of bodies surrendered to the beating drums, and the electric guitar which added a nice modern twist, along with the keyboard that kept a rhythm. All the sounds were so known to me, but they were put  together in such a foreign way. But, it was the singers. The worshipers in the audience, that changed everything.

I closed my eyes, and breathed in a deep breath as a woman with a powerful voice took over. The peaceful tapping of tambourines guides how I begin to sway to the music. There is raw emotion. I see for the first time the true surrendering during worship, and it was only song number one. The air is humid, but the fans move it around to keep it cool against my skin. I watch as the emotions of true love for Christ pours out from every heart and soul in the room. They do not just sing, they pour out everything they have to the one true King. As the song ends, another person takes over the worship and it changes to an upbeat song. Our host sister warned Carrie and I at the beginning, “I hope you can dance…” and I thought, “uh, what?” Sure enough. As the beat gets faster, the smiles begin to grow on everyone’s face, including mine. I look around and sure enough, the whole church has erupted in dancing.

Pure rejoice.

I begin to get more of a sway going, hand clapping, and a nice knee bounce as I just watch everyone enjoying worship; enjoying being in the presence of not only Christ but their brothers and sisters in Christ. At that moment, you could feel the Holy Spirit in and around everything, working its way through every chair, every skirt fiber, every vein that carries life. It was over powering, and moving. I just smiled and whispered, “Thank you, Lord.”


So often, there is a stigma that Christians and churches must resort to a particular image. You have to have your service go a certain way, have specified people for jobs. The worship will be planned out. We have to look and act like we are standing in a service that is full of prim and proper motives. But here, there is nothing like that. Their was rejoicing, outcry, and sheer hope.

I have never been in a church where I felt so comfortable amidst loud singing, and a pastor that shouted more than he spoke. I have never witnessed true worship until now, and I will forever be grateful.

If you see someone at your church praising a “different” way. It may look different, sound different, and it may make you feel uncomfortable, but think for a moment, “How in depth is their love for Christ that they have the comfort and openness to have an honest and raw worship moment, and you get to witness it.”

-Hope Sorrells

 

Before even moving in.

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The A/C felt cool against my skin. The West Texas heat has a way of creeping in and settling on every surface. My ford pick-up was heading east down a long two-lane highway. My favorite music playing in the background, but I wasn’t truly focused on the lyrics. They sat and talked, one in the front seat, the other in the back, and although they were close in proximity, miles of space separated us. I felt as though I was trapped in my own thoughts, consumed with an overwhelming feeling of fear, anticipation, excitement, and nerves. I felt as though my stomach would betray me. Landscape after landscape, mile after mile passed by and as I passed a green highway sign that said, “Throckmorton County.” I opened my mouth and said, “Here goes nothing.”

Mom and Melissa laughed, but I knew that they both felt the tension that had enveloped me. I was trying to joke, be a goof, avoid the conflicting thoughts that were flying. The final question of, “Am I really doing this?” echoed in my mind as I pulled up beside the beautiful courthouse and stepped out of my pickup. Melissa met me with a soft smile and a warm hug. I sighed.

So this is really it?

The anticipation of meeting the other fellows was somewhat silenced as Melissa and I made conversation heading to the cabins we would be staying in. The gorgeous pastureland flew by us, surprisingly greener than I had expected. Rain can change a landscape so much. We finally pulled up to the cabin and as I unloaded my grey, overly large, and almost inconveniently sized suitcases, I was greeted by John. A large smile and an even larger hug eased my anxious heart.

I waited only thirty minutes before the other fellows pulled up, and the nerves returned. Will they like me? Will I be able to make friends? Such junior high, school girl questions rattled in my mind as the introductions began. After a day on the lake, settling down at supper and beginning to get to know each other I felt a sudden reassurance that, I am home.

Not home in the physical sense. Not a structure. Home had evolved into the state of which my heart and mind were in, and the people that surrounded me. Home needed to evolve for me. I needed to know that no matter if I was in Throckmorton, Texas or in Ghana, West Africa, that I could feel steady, stable, and full of life. I had a support system around me that was present the minute we were all in the same room. I knew, at that point, that this journey would change my life, more so than I would change lives. And now, as I sit and think about that… I am completely okay with that. Often we try and take new experiences and moments of vulnerability and find ways to extract those feelings to other people, and avoid our own. But as I sat around seven people who have beautiful hearts, I think to myself, “We are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime… but we have made a way to make it home, before even moving in.”

-Hope Sorrells

Mastering the Art of Chaco’s.


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I don’t know about you, but when I bought my first pair of Chaco’s I was slightly concerned.

I looked at the variety of styles. From different colored straps, to different amounts of straps to even the type of Chaco. I couldn’t help but think, “I didn’t know there would be so many options!” I picked a pair that were a red color and begin to put them on.

SO many straps. Awkwardly uncomfortable. Not my style.

I walked around like I had bricks on my feet. They weren’t necessarily the most comfortable foot attire I have ever worn, nor were they the most flattering. My naturally long, skinny feet looked even longer and skinnier. Trying to get them tight enough to fit my feet was another obstacle. After 15 minutes of pulling, tugging, maneuvering, I finally   felt like I had accomplished a huge task. For 3 weeks, I have worn them almost everyday, just trying to get used to the unfamiliar item that will soon be as familiar as an old friend.


But as I sit and think I can’t help but relate that experience and those shoes to life.

Sometimes life throws you a very familiar experience in a somewhat familiar facade.

[[Even in sandals that aren’t like most sandals.]]

You are handed an opportunity that will completely take you out of a comfort zone or put you in a situation you have never experienced. You begin to weigh all options. Pros, cons, likes, dislikes. The exact thing that will change you as a person and help you to test your limits. After much decisions, internal conflicts, and closing your eyes and saying, “Let’s do this.” You finally decide.

Then, comes the next move, actually prepping for that experience. It may look wrong or off. You will be standing on your own feet that are in a new place. You begin to describe to your friends and family your decision and sometimes, the support, isn’t always there. It is difficult to embrace the unusually or the unfamiliar, especially when your foundation is slightly shaky and unsure.

But, with each day, you take another step, you hit a new stride. You begin to feel stronger and more comfortable in your own skin. You know that no matter how ‘tight’ life gets or even how unsure and ‘loose,’ there is a strong and steady piece, that keeps you pushing forward. You know that not everyday will look as good as you would like nor will it have the same new feeling as before but the unfamiliar slowly becomes the familiar. The old friend that you can forever lean on or in this instance, a pair of sandals, that aren’t like any other sandal, that will be faithful and true as you venture out on a new adventure.

That is where Mastering the Art of Chaco’s become something greater than a simple sandal for a simple person. It is a complex life change, that begins with one decision, one try, and one step. Why not, begin… now.

-Hope Sorrells

Old Fashioned Romance in a New Fashion World.

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“If you’re a bird, then I’m a bird.” 

–The Notebook

“I knew, even then, how rare that kind of love is. Only the luckiest people get to experience it at all.”

–The Best of Me


There is always a since of wonder and jealousy that takes over when watching a classic love story. The passion, and heart of an old fashioned romance begins to intertwine within your own heart. The idea that someone could love you that deeply, and become intrigued by your mind and soul is thrilling. You begin to sit back and wonder, “where is this romance? Why haven’t I experienced? What happened to the love that our grandparents talked about?”

Then, you slowly begin to reflect on society. The norms, the common actions of today’s world. There isn’t any courting, because that means going out in public as an “item”, which will begin to raise suspension and you have to begin to verify that you two are “just talking.” And “just talking” gives way that you are still scoping out other people. There isn’t any concrete items until it becomes “official.”

Phone calls once a day or even a few times a week are definitely completely extinct. Immediate responses happen, every day, almost constantly. Sometimes there is some delay depending on work or school or something of that nature, but for the most part, you and your significant other are in constant contact.

No time to breath. No time to miss them. No time to build a trust.

That old fashioned romance has evolved into a new fashion, immediate sense of urgency.

So change that mindset. Slow down.

Develop into the idea that being able to text them all day is fabulous, but try to begin to pull away from that. Limit your talk to a phone call or even two over the course of the day. You will begin to truly miss that person, and you develop a conversation basis besides the usual filler of “wryd?” every 5 minutes when you run out of things to talk about. Enjoy your day and then relive it over the phone or in person. Bask in the idea that you can build a trust that is stronger than most in this day in age.

Take the time to truly learn someone. Go on adventures. Try not to stick to a schedule. Find time to have an intimate moment with them, not even a physical one, but a time to pick their brain, understand their heart. Forgive quickly and often and limit assumption. Old fashion love took time, and patience. A trust and belief that is was developed and that is something that has been lost and skewed over time. Learn to love in a different way, scope out the person that makes your heart and mind grow, makes you yearn for a tomorrow with them, gives you the desire to show them off every single day, and makes you miss them four times over every time you say “good night.” Find someone who makes you want to feel and be in love, not just stand awkwardly in the presence of it.

Go and grab hold of an old fashioned romance in a new fashion world.

–Hope Sorrells

Find Her.

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Find the one that makes you question everything you have ever known.

Find her, you know, the one at first glance steals your entire attention. The one that makes you do everything in you being to get her attention and steal her affection.

Find the one that turns you into your grandad; writing love letters back and forth like you are in a faraway place during the Great War. The one that makes you look at love stories in a new way.

Find her. The one that drives you absolutely insane but calms every nerve in your body. Th one that pulls out an old fashioned romance that the world so desperately wants to cover up. The one where dates are frequent and being kissed good night at the door is a known.

Find the girl that has the most beautiful look about her when she has messy hair and sleepy eyes, or is wearing an old ball cap and your ragged t-shirt because that is her favorite outfit. The one that, when she laughs, the whole world stops and stares. The one that makes you want to go on any adventure when you look into her sparkling, mischievous eyes.

The one that sets your soul on fire with the brush of her hand against yours.

Find the one that is a mystery and makes your heart skip beats and the very sight of her makes you re-gain those nervous butterflies that you try to control. The one that makes you desire intellectual and emotional attraction far before physical. The girl that makes you lust after her, but not for her body, but for her thoughts.

Find the girl that buries her heart into her passions so deeply that you begin to fall in love with her beautiful and complicated self.

Find her, and do not lose her.

Fight for her. Seek her. 

For there is an old fashioned romance out there for each and every one of you. But it isn’t one that is mediocre by nature. No. It is hard work, but once you find her, you will experience love that you have only heard about in stories.

“She wasn’t created for everybody, her heart wasn’t made for everyone. Her love won’t be enough for just any man.” –Pierre Jeanty

 

-Hope Sorrells

Thank you isn’t enough.

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Memorial Day- is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.


Ma’am, I hate to be the one to inform you, your son will not be coming home.” “Sir, your wife, she battled hard, and saved many lives. She will be remembered.” “This was in his stuff, I thought you would want this back. He had your proposal all planned out.” 

. . . . .

Small sniffles, a mournful cry. 21 gun salute. A lone trumpet plays ‘Taps’. Folding of a flag. The hand off to the family. The casket lowered. A young son salutes his fallen hero who he calls, “Dad”. A wife clings to the flag that was placed in her hands. All is quiet.

Memorial Day, a time of remembrance, of reflection for the chosen ones who went home to meet their maker far sooner then some wish. Men and women who are the definition of sacrifice, freedom, and bravery. They give up much to keep us safe on home soil while they head off to foreign lands to live, fight, and keep the mindset that they will make it home. But there are some, who although their fight is mighty and their heart is brave, do not ever make it home. Some will be returning home under the cover of our beloved Old Glory, others will remain on that very foreign soil, that they so desperately fight on to come home.

As this Memorial Day comes and goes, one thing is for certain, thank you isn’t enough. There are no words to describe how a heart feels when they watch a wife mourn her husband or a mom her son, but it’s even harder to describe knowing that that death was a sacrifice for the safety of their family, and for all of us Americans. Thank you isn’t enough for the men and women who watch their friends lose their lives right beside them, knowing that some, wish it could have been them instead. Thank you isn’t enough for the ones who became a POW, who were trapped by the enemy and although knew God could move mountains, they knew that they wouldn’t be coming home. So thank you isn’t enough. Thank you isn’t enough for the restless hearts of families whose loved ones were M.I.A. And even after 40 years, they still take a hopeful glance up and every holiday gathering to see if a familiar and loving face comes walking up to the front porch. Thank you isn’t enough to the families who have to step out of a room when the lone trumphet starts to play a familiar, sad tune. Thank you isn’t enough.

There is a time for memories to be summoned up from the depths of our souls. Memories of loved ones, gone far to early, memories of the men and women who lost their lives so that you could wake up, once again, free.

Today is about cherishing the ones who came home, but also for remembering the ones who never made it home to embrace in that first emotional hug after a long deployment.

We know, you all are watching over us, everyday because as they saying goes, “the flag doesn’t fly because of the wind, but flies from every last breath of a fallen soldier,” and so I say,

Thank you, even though, thank you isn’t enough.

In loving memory of, Melvin Douglas Seagraves, M.I.A., 1972, Gulf of Tonkin, USS Tripoli. Love you Uncle Doug and will see you again.

                                                   -Hope Sorrells