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I just spent a week with my uncle, aunt, and cousin on an island off the coast of New Jersey and had a wonderful time with them! On Monday I left and drove over to Holmes County, Ohio, and I’m meeting with my cookbook designer today! While I was in New Jersey, my cousin wrote a guest post for me to post on my blog, so I will leave you to enjoy it. The title made me grin a little; we have some different ways of looking at life, but we love each other dearly.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that two cousins descended from those who were brave enough to step outside “the box” cannot possibly live ordinary lives.
Yes, I just borrowed the wit of Jane Austen for the phrase above, but the fact remains true nonetheless! My cousin Briana and I have spent a very pleasant week together after her choir tour, and we are left with two undeniable truths: (1) a love of ice cream must run in the blood, and (2) we have been divinely led, through different means and ways, to embrace the “path less traveled.”
The unconventional life (as praised by poet Walt Whitman) stirs up many images, and being different is becoming the norm in our society today. No one seems satisfied anymore! The nine-to-five world scorns the trendier, hipster realms, and the latter pokes at the other while secretly craving the “stability” of the world they’ve abandoned. It’s messy, folks, and although I enjoy a good sociological debate as much as the next person, I’ve stopped trying to figure out the tangled web. I have a big enough job keeping my focus where it needs to be.
No matter the daily tasks given to us, from the traditional to the slightly unusual they all require persistence, dedication, and the ability to smile. Watching Briana edit her cookbook has reinforced these truths, driving them deeper into my soul. As a freelance writer, the seasons of plenty and not-so-plentiful ebb and flow, but the journey itself is worth learning patience and contentment. These two unseen friends will stay with me forever if I let them – if I cling to my Redeemer and resist the urge to prove myself.
After all, our grandfather left the allure of a stable position at a Christian university to take a circuit (yes, in the early 1960s!) of German Reformed churches in the upper corner of Pennsylvania, just below Lake Erie. He labored in ministry (traveling across the width of the United States and parts of Canada to spread the Gospel) and cared for his family. For twenty years he carried on until passing away at the age of 42 due to cancer. A brief time in many eyes, yet his willingness to smile and laugh during lean times still touches my family today!
As Briana and I talk with my mom and hear stories from the past, I have to wonder what our grandfather would think of his two eldest grandchildren. I would like to think that God parts the veil of time a little and lets him see…but I do not know for certain.
Here under the canopy of Heaven, my cousin and I journey on, the descendents of the tall, handsome man with red-gold hair who played a guitar and straddled a horse. Though six years and geography separates us, Briana and I are bonded by something stronger than iron and deeper than blood: love and faith. Love for one another and our families and faith in what God is doing in our lives!
She blogs. I type away at newspaper articles and my novel nearing completion. Yet during the day, as we pass each other in the kitchen or living room, we smile with quiet understanding. This incredible, wide-eyed, and marvelous journey is ours to share! By and by, in good time, we’ll tell our children and watch them grow, setting off to spread the shire’s boundaries even further, far into the frontiers of Spirit-led living and imagination.
Briana is my favorite Mennonite and I am honored to share part of the road with her.”
“Not all who wander are lost.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
My cousin Rachel is a freelance writer. She writes for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine as well as a local newspaper, and she’s working on a novel! Follow her Facebook page here to find out when it’s released.