Blog Tags, God's Providence, The Olden Days

The Reflections Tag ~ In Which 2020 is a Hero

2020 was a rough year for everyone. It had its fair share of ups and downs (and lefts and rights, too). However, we are not focusing on the lefts and rights today. This tag is all about the good things about 2020.

So, let’s be optimistic!!

Rules:

1. Thank the person who tagged you (Thanks Essie!)

2. Share 8 of the things God blessed you with or taught you in 2020

3. Tag 5+ bloggers

Questions:

Can I call this “Questions”, even if there are no questions? Yes, yes I can.

1. I Joined the Young Writers’ Workshop (aka YDubs)

It was 9:30 on a Thursday night. I was in my room doing who-knows-what (probably reading), when I heard Mom call my name. To be honest, I thought I was in trouble, but I wasn’t sure why. However, I was not in trouble! Mom handed me her phone, which was on a page called “The Young Writers’ Workshop“. Curious, I scrolled through the page, taking in all the information. The lessons looked exciting, the instructors seemed pretty cool, and the unity and community that the website offered was very appealing. After scrolling through twice, I said, “This looks awesome!”

And so began my time on YDubs! I have learned so much about how to improve my writing. After all, if it wasn’t for YDubs, this blog probably wouldn’t exist! I am now plotting a novel (something I wouldn’t have ever thought to do before YDubs), blogging consistently (which is also because of y’all!), and I’m in a better place spiritually and emotionally!

(If anyone is interested in joining YDubs, registration is open!)

2. My Friend Group Grew

This is technically an extension of the first one, but I made so many wonderful friends in just a couple of months after I joined YDubs! And they were all like me!! Crazy, weird, and sarcastic writers who were chock-full of ideas!

Of course, I’ve also made great friends from blogging, which has been awesome too!

3. I Met My Best Friend

And this one is an extension of the first two XD

I remember the first time I started chatting with Liesl. We were a little bit stiff at first, because, after all, we didn’t know each other very well. We talked about the stuff writers talk about, and told about our siblings and their crazy antics.

And suddenly, it happened. We just…..became best friends! I seriously don’t remember when or how it happened. We just went from stiff and slightly formal to literally SCREAMING at each other about various things.

And that’s the best kind of friendship there is.

4. Construction Finished on Our House

Back in 2019 (that ancient year of bliss and happiness 😅), we hired someone to add two bedrooms and a bathroom on to our house. They started in October, and finally finished in January, just a couple of months before the craziness happened.

Let me tell you, it was so much fun to watch the construction process. From the bare bones, to the unpainted walls, to the wooden floors and the finished product, we had such a good time looking around the rooms each evening after they finished for the day. (Our favorite thing to do was hide in the closets and go to Narnia.)

And we didn’t run into any problems, like they always do on HGTV!

Until after they were all finished and the floor started leaking. They came back and fixed it though, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

5. I Got to See My Cousin More Than Once

Under normal circumstances, I usually just see my cousin, Lizi, once or twice a year. But, in 2020, I saw her four times!! And she got to sleep over at our house, which never happens! It was the best!

6. I Had the Best Birthday I’ve Ever Had

It didn’t matter that my Dad tested positive for COVID on my birthday, it was still the very best!

I got to have donuts, croissants, and pigs-in-a-blanket for breakfast, which are usually things that we only have on Christmas Day. The decorations were absolutely beautiful (which makes sense, because my mother and my sister went all-out for me), and the presents were all things that had been on my list!

After lunch, I went to town with my mom so I could get my learner’s license. I was absolutely terrified that I was going to fail the test, but I actually only missed one question! I wasn’t quite ready to drive yet, so I let Mom do all that fun stuff XD

We visited my Dad at his office and then got ice cream from the best (well, second best. Brewster’s is the best) ice cream shop in the world: Dairy Queen!

After we ate our ice cream, Mom let me go on a controlled shopping spree in Wal-Mart, which was fun! I love shopping in Wal-Mart! Because I’m basic.

And literally, when we got to our car after shopping, Mom got a text from Dad saying that his COVID test had come back positive, and we had to quarantine. So, we picked up some pizza for supper and went home, where I sorted through all my birthday wishes on YDubs, had a Zoom call with some friends, and played MarioKart with my siblings, and dominated as always. 😇

I haven’t had as wonderful of a birthday since.

I also haven’t had a birthday since, but that doesn’t matter.

7. I Started Driving

I didn’t actually start driving until a whole month after I’d gotten my permit, but I still started driving! And let me tell you, learning to drive a 12-passenger van is no easy task. I wasn’t brave enough to go any faster than 45 MPH (60 KPH, yes, Canadians, you are welcome), but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Driving is fun! Now, I’m literally driving everywhere. My mom isn’t allowed to drive unless she’s going somewhere without me XD

8. I Joined a Band Class

Okay, technically this didn’t officially happen until 2021, but I visited the class in October, so I’ll count it. The class was meeting on Zoom, so, even though they was based in Michigan, I was still able to join! And, the teacher allowed me to write a song for the class to play, which was pretty awesome. I cried. A lot.

9. We Got a Puppy!

Some of you might remember my post where I introduced our puppy, Cookie. He was such a sweet and cuddly ball of fur and love, and he was absolutely precious!! Now, he is ten times the size he was when we first got him, and bites everything XD He’s still so sweet though!

Okay, yeah, I went one over, but so many wonderful things happened, it was impossible to choose just eight!!

Taggees:

Liesl

Chloe

Bea

Emily

Laurel Jean

What are some awesome things that happened to you in 2020? I’d love to hear about them!

Thanks for reading!

God's Providence, The Olden Days

What God Can Do ~ In Which My Blog Takes a Sudden Serious Turn

(Content Warning: Alcohol and a really bad wreck)

Every night, my family tries to do family worship. It can be hard to corral eight kids around the dining room table to listen to my dad read the Bible, but we try our best, and a lot of great questions are asked. Tonight, we were talking about submission to authority, and what to do when you are being mistreated. After worship was over, my 12-year-old sister, Chloe, asked Dad about a verse. (I’m not sure what verse it was, but it was in the New Testament somewhere.) It talked about how wives should submit to their husbands, and sparked a conversation about abusive marriages and self-defense. My dad told a convicting story that I am going to share with you.

James Roscoe Harden was a good kid. He lived out in the country with his two sisters, two brothers, and two parents, and raised animals and crops to keep the family going. He was a hard worker, and he and his older brother, Willie, helped their father out with the chores. Unfortunately, when Roscoe was in 8th grade, his father passed away. Roscoe and Willie dropped out of school to keep the farm running, and worked hard to help their mother.

When Roscoe grew up, he joined the Navy, and served for four years. Have you ever heard the term “cuss like a sailor”? Well, it certainly applied to all the sailors Roscoe worked around. He was a good guy, but that didn’t stop him from picking up a word here and there. It was around this time he was also introduced to alcohol.

After serving in the Navy, Roscoe settled down with Betty, and they had a child, James Allan. It started out as a happy marriage, but Roscoe had a short temper, and more often than not, let loose a string of words in the heat of the moment. More than once, Betty was ready to take everything and leave, but by the grace of God, she stayed.

Six or seven years passed, and the couple had a daughter, Stephanie. Roscoe was still drinking, and, much to Betty’s chagrin, showed no sign of stopping.

Then, one day, he decided to go for a little drive.

Never mind that he’d been drinking before. He had stuff to do and places to go, and he wouldn’t let that slow him down.

Little did he know that his life was about to change drastically.

There was a crash. I’m sure you’ve all heard the stories of drunk drivers getting into or causing major wrecks that kill dozens. Something very similar happened. Roscoe crashed through a fence into a pecan orchard, and ran head-on into a pecan tree. The fender bent forward around the tree, throwing Roscoe into the floor of the car. (He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt since they weren’t a thing back then, and thank goodness, too.) The engine — yes, the ENGINE — came up through the dashboard, through the steering wheel shaft, and through the actual steering wheel into the driver’s seat, landing where Roscoe had been sitting just moments before.

That evening, he swore to never let alcohol touch his lips again. And he kept that vow to his dying day. He told my dad later that there was hardly a morning where he didn’t crave alcohol. In order to stay away, he had to change who he associated with, where he went, sometimes even what he did. The only way he was able to muster the will-power to do that was through God.

Thirty years later, in the year 2002, my dad and his mother, Betty, cleaned out the cabinet where the alcohol had sat all those years. My dad says that some of the bottles were never opened. They opened all those bottles and poured them down to drain. All in all, there were about 30 bottles, the same number as the years it had been since the crash. Roscoe died three years later, not too long before I was born.

By the time my dad finished telling this story, I was fighting back tears. For some people, God whispers ever so slightly in their lives, and they’ll listen. For other people, sometimes God has to shout to get their attention. If that wreck had killed my grandfather, I wouldn’t be here tonight, writing this blog post.

I hope this post convicted you in some way. Maybe it gave you the motivation to give up a bad habit, or it just brought tears to your eyes, or it just made your jaw drop. I pray that it helps you or someone in your life who might need it. Feel free to reblog, share, or save. I don’t care.

Thanks for reading!