Day 4: Bops

•December 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

She told me to hold still. It would only be a little while longer. But I couldn’t take the pain a second more. I squealed and ran out of the bathroom down the hallway. But her long legs caught up to me in no time. She scolded me, took my arm, and half dragged me back to the bathroom to finish what she’d started. She unsheathed her hairbrush from the drawer like a weapon and proceeded to pull my baby hair back into a hairstyle we called a “bop.” I sat there in silence while reflex tears streamed down my face. 

Maybe this telling is a bit dramatic, but that’s really how I remember it. I don’t know why it hurt so much, but trust me, it did. And every time Momma did my hair like this, little tender-headed three-year-old me was NOT a happy camper. Honestly, I’ve never been much of a hair wiz, but then again, I don’t think my mom was either. But every once in a while, especially now that my sisters are moved out for a majority of the year, I wish I had an extra pair of eyes in the morning to assist me with outfits and hair and makeup or someone to help curl or straighten my hair on special occasions. Sometimes it’s the little things about not having a mom that get to me. But on the rare occasion that someone is doing my hair and pulls a little too hard, I can sometimes hear Momma telling me to put on a brave face and sit still like a big girl.

-Sara Joy

“happy camper”

Day 3: Teatime

•December 4, 2019 • Leave a Comment

In the schoolroom of my house, where my sisters and I used to do our work, six teacups sit all in a row on a shelf. Nowadays, they’re seldom used, but there was a time when the opposite was true. If my recollections are correct, Momma often had tea dates with each of her daughters. Every once in a while, when I’m dusting the smooth surfaces of the glass and brushing away the gathered particles, I’ll reminisce about the memory.

I remember that my cup was pink and floral and that it was the last in the row of dishes. I remember the brown, square table that was set up in the middle of the living room. I remember my wooden rocking chair that I dragged over to the table where my mother was waiting patiently for my arrival. Every date would start like this. One on one. Mother to daughter. We would sit and sip our tea, which in my eyes was much too bitter and was in desperate need of some sugar. We would talk about whatever came to mind. Being six and all, I doubt I said anything profound, but I imagine that she still listened wholeheartedly to my silly stories and childish adventures anyway. Beyond that, I don’t remember much else.

Maybe the setup was a bit silly, but the sentiment represented much more than that. It was a time for just the two of us, a periodic checkup that showed the intentionality of a loving parent who truly tried to connect with her children, and a simple gesture that signified a mother’s love for her daughters.

-Sara Joy

Day 2: This Is the Day

•December 2, 2019 • Leave a Comment

🎶

THIS 👏 IS 👏 THE DAY 👏👏

THIS 👏 IS 👏 THE DAY 👏👏

THAT 👏 THE LORD👏 HAS 👏 MADE

THAT 👏 THE LORD👏 HAS 👏 MADE

WE 👏 WILL 👏 REJOICE 👏

WE 👏 WILL 👏 REJOICE 👏

AND 👏 BE GLAD 👏 IN 👏 IT

AND 👏 BE GLAD 👏 IN 👏 IT

THIS 👏 IS 👏 THE DAY 👏

THAT 👏 THE LORD 👏 HAS 👏 MADE 👏

WE 👏 WILL 👏 REJOICE 👏

AND 👏 BE GLAD 👏 IN 👏 IT

THIS 👏 IS 👏 THE DAY 👏👏

THIS 👏 IS 👏 THE DAY 👏👏

THAT THE LOOOORD 👏

HAAAAAS 👏

MAAAADE 👏

🎶

Almost every morning at 6am she would wake us up like this. The door would swing open, the switch would snap on, and the light would flood the room. No matter how groggy or crabby we were, she would shake us awake with such vigor and enthusiasm that by the end of her good morning songs we would be singing along with her. It’s one of the few memories I have of Momma where she is distinctly not as weak, pale, or frail as she was in the days leading up to her death, and for that reason, I cherish it dearly.

This morning I woke up pretty much expecting it to be a bad day. It’s the Monday after a five day break, the beginning of the final stretch of the semester, a time for last-minute cramming for quizzing, desperately attempting to raise grades, and feverishly studying for final exams. I could easily go throughout the whole day with a permanent frown on my face. But as I slumped around at the start of the day, Momma’s words rang in my ear, her radiant face to bright for me to ignore. I’ve forgotten the importance of starting my day right, with the joy of Jesus in my heart. The difference it makes in how I treat the rest of my day is immensely evident. So, for the next three weeks of school, I’ll start my morning with a song that reminds me of my crazy, singing, dancing, way-too-energized, morning-person mother. I’ll wake up, smell the coffee, choose joy, rise, shine, give God the glory, rejoice, and be glad because this is the day that the Lord has made.

-Sara Joy

100 Days of Momma — Day #1: S is for Star

•December 2, 2019 • Leave a Comment

100 Days of Momma

I have lots of memories of my beloved Momma. Well, I don’t know if you could call most of them memories, per se. They’re more like moments frozen in time, vivid snapshots with no noticeable sound, or hyperspecific details that stick out among the blur for some odd, unknown reason. These pictures have always been in my head, yet there is no written account, no journal entry, and no recording. Rarely have I shared the memories with others. But as I reach the ten year anniversary of my dear mother’s death, however, I feel compelled to remember, reflect, and reevaluate what my six-year-old self remembers about the whole ordeal, both for myself and for those who choose to read and listen. So, as I embark on this 100-day (or so) journey of healing, I’d be honored if you’d join me.

God Bless,

Sara Joy

Day #1: S is for Star

There are a couple of reasons this particular memory comes to mind today. It’s the first day of Advent, which means the family Christmas traditions are in full swing. Yesterday, my boyfriend told me all about his family’s holiday season rituals. It brought a bittersweet smile to my face and took me back to a certain Espiritu family tradition that my Momma upheld amidst all that was going on around her.

Momma ignited and fueled her daughters’ love for reading. She always had new books for us to explore, and the Christmas season was no exception. Every year, she’d carefully wrap up a series of Christmas books. Some were classics; some were brand new additions to the collection. She’d label them 1-25, and each day of December leading up to Christmas, the sisters would tear through the paper to reveal the cover, open it up, and read it aloud.

I have a picture in my head of my sister, Priscilla and I opening up the first book of the 2009 Christmas season while outside a hospital room. The other sisters must have been at school. Momma told Priscilla to read the book to me while we waited patiently for her and Dad to be done. We tore away the festive wrapping and began to read: S Is For Star.

Looking back on this memory ten years later, it occurs to me that while this was happening, my parents were most likely receiving the worst news of their lives. I’ve learned from my sister, Grace, that on November 30th, Momma had collapsed in the middle of Kroger and had to be hospitalized. While I can’t know for certain, I can only guess that perhaps that first day of Advent, while two little girls were happily reading season’s greetings, the doctors were telling my Momma that she had some form of cancer, and that it would be a miracle if she lived to see the next three months. I can only imagine the strength it took for her to walk out of that room to see her two youngest daughters sitting and reading with smiles on their faces, full of life and oblivious to the fact that the life was being drained from the loving mother standing above them.

100 Days of Momma: Intro

•December 1, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I have lots of memories of my beloved Momma. Well, I don’t know if you could call most of them memories, per se. They’re more like moments frozen in time, vivid snapshots with no noticeable sound, or hyperspecific details that stick out among the blur for some odd, unknown reason. These pictures have always been in my head, yet there is no written account, no journal entry, no recording. And rarely have I shared the memories with others. As I reach the ten year anniversary of my dear mother’s death, however, I feel compelled to remember, reflect, and reevaluate what my six-year-old self remembers about the whole ordeal, both for myself and for those who choose to read and listen. So, as I embark on this 100-day (or so) journey of healing, I’d be honored if you’d join me. 

God Bless,

-Sara Joy

Day 1: S is for Star

•December 1, 2019 • Leave a Comment

There are a couple of reasons this particular memory comes to mind today. It’s the first day of Advent, which means the family Christmas traditions are in full swing. Yesterday, my boyfriend told me all about his family’s holiday season rituals. It brought a bittersweet smile to my face and took me back to a certain Espiritu family tradition that my Momma upheld amidst all that was going on around her. 

Momma ignited and fueled her daughters’ love for reading. She always had new books for us to explore. The Christmas season was no exception. Every year, she’d carefully wrap up a series of Christmas books. Some were classics; some were brand new additions to the collection. She’d label them 1-25, and each day of December the sisters would tear through the paper to reveal the cover, open it up, and read it aloud. 

I have a picture in my head of my sister, Priscilla and I opening up the first book of the 2009 Christmas season while outside a hospital room. The other sisters must have been at school. Momma told Priscilla to read the book to me while we waited patiently for her and Dad to be done. We tore away the festive wrapping and began to read: S Is For Star

Looking back on this memory ten years later, it occurs to me that while this was happening, my parents were most likely receiving the worst news of their lives. I’ve learned from my sister, Grace, that on November 30th, Momma had collapsed in the middle of Kroger and had to be hospitalized. While I can’t know for certain, I can only guess that perhaps that first day of Advent, while two little girls were happily reading season’s greetings, the doctors were telling my Momma that she had some form of cancer, and that it would be a miracle if she lived to see the next three months. I can only imagine the strength it took for her to walk out of that room to see her two youngest daughters sitting and reading with smiles on their faces, full of life and oblivious to the fact that the life was being drained from their loving mother standing above them.

•October 20, 2019 • Leave a Comment

“The thing that matters is being actually drawn into that three-personal life, and that may begin any time—tonight, if you like. What I mean is this. An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life—what I called Zoe or spiritual life: he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.”

— Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) by C. S. Lewis
http://a.co/gzEv4Sp

Hope… in God…. The Source of All Hope

•October 20, 2019 • Comments Off on Hope… in God…. The Source of All Hope

“Our hope in God pulls us into the future. Hope allows us to affirm the reality of the abundant life that is ours in Christ. Hope allows us to stand with those in pain and to hold them until they are able to feel the love of God for themselves again. Hope allows us to work to bring God’s reign upon the earth even when we see no results. Our hope begins and ends in God, the source of all hope.”
– Mary Lou Redding

https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/5737.html

Deep within

•April 14, 2019 • Leave a Comment

a.co/5alRXO0

“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return.”

—Thomas Kelly

Where to go

•January 20, 2019 • Leave a Comment

a.co/dMptyFw

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where—” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. “—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation. “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”