My husband is as adventure seeking as it gets.


For most of my life, I have lived under a self-imposed safety net. That is until I met my husband.  He has pulled me out of my protective bubble in many ways that have been very good for me.


One summer, we photographed 21 bears in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  We learned how to be “bear whisperers” from the Park Rangers.  We even photographed moms and cubs without distracting them. We felt so brave and accomplished because we never  (even once) felt threatened by any of the bears.


bearHowever, my husband decided to take a primitive road on the last day. It had such a different feel. We ended up somewhere way off the beaten path in the middle of nowhere. As we drove on this road that was grit your teeth rough, a huge male bear muddled across the dirt in front of us.


We were so excited to take pictures of him. He sauntered over to a log and started picking off the ants. We were so close we could really get some great shots. We grabbed our cameras thinking he was like all of the other bears in the park that for the most part played nice.


However, he was not like the other bears. He did not like having his picture taken.


My husband was out of the Jeep, when the bear came after him. He barely got back in the Jeep, and the bear headed for my door.  I had the window down taking great shots when all of a sudden I could see the bear’s nostrils flaring, and he was focused on me. I know that screaming is not the right thing to do, but I was doing it. I was yelling to my husband, “get us out of here!”  Just in the nick of time, my husband floored it and we got out of there without a scratch. H




However, what I hated about Grumpy Bear # 9 was that our experience with him tainted all the fun we had with the rest of the bears. He made us realize that bears are dangerous. He made us feel frightened.




In life, I find myself always waiting for it to be perfect; however, it seems that every time things begin to really feel utopia, a problem arises. It feels like it is so hard to have it all without something going on that has to be dealt with.


What I mean is that I can find happiness in my personal life, but when my parents were both dealing with Alzheimer’s, it seemed I was always being caught off guard by their trauma.


At other times, three out of our four kids can be doing great but it seems that one is always going through a really difficult time. Sometimes one of our jobs is going well and the other one’s is not.


I am learning that what feels wrong to me is something that Jesus told us would happen when


He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).


”If I want to live in the peace He talks about, I have to expect Grumpy Bear # 9’s that interrupt the good things I so long to experience. Sometimes the interference may be because I made a bad choice, but most of the time it is just life. By expecting those interruptions, I am learning to not allow them to throw me off course.


I am learning to say, “Use this to teach me how to live the life you have for me, Jesus.  ”By doing that, I am no longer disappointed when things do not go the way I had planned. I am much happier these days because of this shift in my thinking.

fire pit

Jesus promises to help us get through the tough times, but He never said our life would be easy.  For a long time, I was mad at Him for a promise He never made. He never gave up on me when my thinking was backwards, and He will not give up on you either.


If we want to live our best life, we must change the way we think. In doing so, there is a whole new life to live.


These days, I am even thankful for Grumpy Bear #9. We have a funny story to tell to our grandkids. The other bears we photographed are not story worthy even though photographing them was much easier. We even have some pretty amazing shots of that big ole’ grumpy bear that did not like us.