Withdrawal. I'm aching for the weird that I left in a trail of exhaust just 48 hours ago. This week my word-loving, big faith, and question-everything kind of weird was in good company. Life gets pretty lonely if we don't connect with like-minded others. Having pulled onto the interstate to head back home to my post-conference reality, I sensed that I was missing the peculiar already. Yearning even...

The water is 85 degrees but the air is cool. Parents line the pool deck with sweatshirts and towels draped tightly over their shoulders to cut the wind. None of the kids seem to notice as they giggle their way through swim practice. They're immune to cold at this age. A parent catches my attention as she begins to get a little loud in her attempts to usher her daughter to the dressing room to change clothes. 

Hey Gritty Guys and Gals!

I'm taking this week as an opportunity to check on YOU! 

When was the last time somebody asked you what you thought, and actually held still long enough to hear the answer? As I gear up for a fabulous few days away at an upcoming writer's conference, I'm filled with gratitude for the past year a half that I've spent talking with all of you. I'm reminded that YOUR voices are the ones that drive me to keep writing.

He looks at me from beneath his eyelashes. His lunch tray is disheveled at this point, with half-eaten flecks of food scattered about. His fingers carry evidence of chronic nail-biting and his voice is barely audible above the hum of the cafeteria. I wish I could scoop him into my arms and carry him far from all of the noise and the trouble. I wish I could raise him myself. 

"I'm wondering what happened right before you punched your friend," I speak to him quietly. "Your Dad's on his way and I was hoping we could talk about that a little bit while we wait." I watch as his pale blue eyes drift up from his tray and focus on mine. He shrugs his shoulders.

"It doesn't really matter what happened. My Dad's always mad." 

"Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God."   Oswald Chambers

Note: This week's blog is a follow-up to last week's piece on public shaming. You can read that post by clicking Here. 

I touched on some tender places last week, dear readers. I got a variety of responses and messages - most were positive with a few questions. Not surprisingly, there were also a couple of "hide this post" clicks for those who didn't care to engage. I wrote that piece because my heart was broken. And I wrote it because I believe that Christians are capable of talking about hard things without shutting down or losing our cool. 

I saw. It was in the news - Charlotte this time, with some scriptural scribbles along the "tip" line of a dinner bill. Another group of my fellow "Christians" made headlines again for acting like fools. They're usually the ones who do, the foolish, because they make such a sensational six-o'clock newscast. 

I slowly sink into my chair, sand gripping my feet. I'm not bothered. They feel just the right amount of sticky and gritty, a reminder of our gorgeous surroundings. We just got here, but the boys are already diving through the waves - clunky goggles and smiles in tact. Smells of barbecue pork roll across the beach and the chatter of sunbathers creates a hum that makes my eyelids heavy. Instead of fighting the much needed rest, I throw a broad rimmed hat over my face and daydream for a while.

Writer April White created Red Chair Moments as an opportunity to share God’s unchanging grace in the ever-changing facets of life. Red Chair Moments is a diverse collection of real-life short stories, written to inspire and encourage others in their journeys with Christ. 

April has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Shenandoah University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from James Madison University. As a pharmacist, she is more comfortable discussing the colon in our body, than the colons in punctuation.

When not on the sport field sideline, April escapes to her craft room. She enjoys sewing, quilting, card making, and creating stained glass. Visit April at www.RedChairMoments.com.

Please join me in welcoming April to the Gritty Pearl. Like what you read? Show her some love by leaving an encouraging comment! 

Dear sons, with forced smiles because your Mom took way too many pictures of you that day,

It's me again. As of this week, I'm a 34-year-old woman. To you, I know it sounds ancient, but as best as I can remember, I was a teenager last night when I went to bed. The other day you asked me how many days I had left to live. You promised you'd miss me if I died and assured me we'd meet in heaven when you guys "get old" too...like 35 or 100. 

I figure with your woeful understanding of age and ladydom, we could tackle the Mars and Venus birthday situation together. It's my job to help you navigate the world of women long before you even attempt to chart the solar system. 

Maybe someday you'll get married, or at the least, you'll go on a few dates and keep kind female friends. This is pending your ability to conquer the toilet seat situation. I have faith. You've mastered the monkey bars and can swirl spaghetti on your forks now. 

Here are a few things you should know about when your wife turns 34...

“In my next life when I come back, I want to be someone in the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association), because they ride on the coattails of men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky…If I was a lady player, I would go down on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were born. They have carried the sport.” Raymond Moore, CEO Indian Wells Tennis Garden

If you've watched the news, you may have already heard about the debacle between Venus Williams and Raymond Moore. Ladies, this heart of mine started thumping just typing that quote. I’ve been a little fired up this week but now I've turned a corner, venturing into sad. I know, I know, comments like this are nothing new. I'm really trying not to get my little woman nightie "all in a bunch” (wink, wink). I’m not interested in arguing about general biology or the advantages of testosterone and muscle mass either.