Just Hold On

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by Dawn Camp on August 14, 2014

in a day in the life,faith,motherhood

We’ve been at Six Flags since noon on a perfect July day, but it’s dark now and we haven’t eaten in hours, the kids determined not to waste a moment when they can stroke the sky, inhale the wind, defy gravity, or test the limit of their fears.

Food in your tummy isn’t wise when roller coasters are involved, anyway.

The park closes in 30 minutes and my 12-year-old son leads us to the Gotham City section of the park, his day apparently incomplete unless he rides the Batman, a roller coaster too intense for my 9- and 10-year-old daughters. He races away and they steer me to the Mind Bender, which they rode once with an older brother.

A sign tells us that only one coaster runs the tracks now instead of two as the park nears closing time. We get in line but it’s dark and all I can see through the trees is a spin-you-upside-down-and-backwards loop, which makes my stomach clench. When my daughters note that only two fit on a seat and I’ll be on my own, I get snippy because I’m afraid. I hate to be afraid.

I haven’t been to the park in years and most of my visits involved pushing a stroller or taking little people to the carousel or the bumper cars. I can point you to an air conditioned spot to nurse a baby or change a diaper, but I can’t identify the attractions that make your heart race and your eyes clench shut.


We probably won’t make it to the front of the line before closing time, anyway. The thought comforts me briefly before it starts to nettle. The children in this line know what they’re in for, right? Grow up, girl.

At the front of the line I realize we’ll be allowed to ride and I get in the line for single riders, to be paired with a stranger. My girls will ride four cars behind me. It’s time now and I walk forward, step down into the roller coaster, and then out the other side, where I place my bag on a shelf near the exit. My nerves crackle.

When I turn around it’s my youngest daughter standing there, not the man who stood behind me in line. “Mommy, I want to ride with you!” she pleads and I see her panic. My other daughter decides not to ride. Quickly we sit and lower the metal bar across our laps.

“Mommy I’m scared, I want off.” I try to lift the bar, but it won’t budge. An employee walks towards us, checking that lap bars are snug, and I know we’ll be okay.

“She’s afraid and doesn’t want to ride, but I can’t lift the bar.” He sadly shakes his head: once we’re locked in he can’t release us. Now my daughter cries pitifully and holds me, head buried into my shoulder.

I chant aloud: “Lord, please don’t let Lily be afraid. Let her be okay. Please be with her.” I’m vaguely aware that the people in the seat ahead of us look back and whisper about the little girl who wants off the ride.

The man who was behind me in line looks at us with kind eyes and we share an unspoken connection, parent to parent: he feels my helplessness, shares it. And then we move.

My daughter clings as we climb and time stretches, achingly slow, as the gears grind. She moans, “It’s about to go really fast.” I dread the drop and the loop that follows, but that’s all I can see, blinded by the night sky. “I’m scared, too,” I whisper and hold her close, wishing I could shield her, thankful I’m beside her, fear replaced by a mother’s instinct to protect.

I look forward, eyes wide open, determined to calm my daughter and face my fear. I will not scream. She never raises her head, tucked against me as we plummet 7-stories, loop upside down not once but twice, and twist and turn through the dark. Finally we slow and I tell her it’s over and praise her bravery.

As we enter the station, the crowd erupts. For my girl. “You did it!” yells the man with the kind eyes, relieved, and I exhale.

We step on solid ground and my daughter’s arm wraps around my side, good and tight, and mine around her. She sniffles as we walk to her sister, meet her brother, make our way to the exit. Even when she calms and begins to laugh she stays close, tucked under my arm. It feels right.

I see that my girl with the big personality isn’t afraid to be small. She trusts me with her fear, trusts my ability to protect her. It’s said that a parent’s example forms a child’s view of God: do I model sacrificial, unconditional love?

I hope she learned from me, saw that my prayer for her was instinctive, but I think I learned more from her, the child:

How often do I become small in the face of fear and lean on the One who can shield me?

When Jesus walked this earth—both fully man and fully God—I believe He experienced real, human fear; He understands our hearts. But unlike me, a protector who comforts my daughter while confessing my own fear, He is a sure defense.

My girl tucks herself under my arm again when we stop to eat. At home, she asks to sleep on the chair in our bedroom, still safer in my presence than away.

Lord, teach me to hold onto you instead of trusting in my own strength. I want to love you as a child, willing to be small and humbled, not too proud to seek you.

Psalm 91-1



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I recently attended a blogger event at IKEA Atlanta, celebrating the launch of the 2015 catalog. I’ve been to IKEA many times, but I learned more about their products, showrooms, and corporate philosophy. I’ll share highlights here and images from the new catalog. Enter at the bottom for a chance to win a $100 IKEA gift card!

Living Spaces


IKEA open bookcases

Because we are readers and homeschoolers, our home brims with bookcases, four of which are IKEA. Stand them side-by-side and they look like built-ins. Open-backed styles show the wall color behind them or work well as room dividers.

IKEA loveseat

Don’t you love these colors and the multi-loveseat arrangement? My son wants a loveseat under his loft bed and with a price tag of $99, he’ll probably get one of these.

IKEA pillows

IKEA rugs

In IKEA you’ll find textiles in both bold, fun shapes and colors as well as more delicate patterns. Pillows, rugs, and curtains add personality and punch to your home, especially if you have solid couches, like we do.


IKEA comforters

We’ve never owned a comforter designed for use with a duvet cover and now I wonder why. IKEA sells them in both down and synthetic options, and in warmer or cooler weights so you can switch seasonally or target your personal comfort preference.

IKEA duvet cover

Since IKEA adds new designs four times a year, you can update the look of your bedroom seasonally or whenever you feel the need. I love small changes—I don’t even buy the same shampoo twice in a row—so this feels like an easy way to mix things up. Duvet sets come with matching pillow cases and some styles are reversible.

green IKEA bedroom

I want this bedroom: the beadboard bed and nightstand, the bookcase, the bed curtains, the couch and fireplace. Everything.

Kitchens and Food Storage

IKEA kitchen

We burned our kitchen counter over three years ago; a marble pastry board still covers it. I picked out a quartz countertop at IKEA to replace it, but once I found these white beadboard cabinets I decided I want the whole package. Our cabinets are dark wood and not designed in a space-efficient way. I covet those big IKEA lower cabinet drawers. Someday!

IKEA pantry

This pantry is dreamy: functional, stylish, clean and simple.

The 2015 IKEA catalog will give you so many ideas for decorating your home in style and on a budget. View it online here. You can even put it on your phone.

5 Things I Learned about IKEA

  • The first five rooms of the showroom are fairly consistent store-to-store and are designed to show off the catalog.
  • Atlanta’s showroom was recently remodeled to add outdoor areas to two of the first display rooms since outdoor spaces can be used year-round here.
  • IKEA Atlanta recently completed a $10K renovation at Wellspring Living, a local organization that helps young survivors of sexual exploitation. Employees volunteered their time and skills for this project.
  • IKEA mattresses have a 25-year warranty. Crazy, right?
  • IKEA Family members get in-store discounts and wi-fi, and free tea or coffee in the store’s restaurant.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win a $100 IKEA gift card through the rafflecopter widget above. Contest ends August 31, 2014. The winner will be contacted via Twitter and prizes will be available on or before September 2, 2014.

What is your favorite thing about IKEA or favorite IKEA item?



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August 2014 Desktop Calendar

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by Dawn Camp on July 31, 2014

in wallpaper

My, how this summer has flown! This month’s desktop calendar image comes from a lovely bouquet of wildflowers from a farmers’ market on an old town square. I processed it with a vintage feel because that’s how the bouquet felt to me, sweet and simple.

Download August’s Desktop Calendar!


Do you update your desktop with these calendars each month? Feel free to share with your friends via Facebook or Pinterest. Thank you for using them—they’re made for you!

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Today at (in)Courage: Why You Don’t Have to Win

July 29, 2014
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Years ago my son’s baseball coach told his team, “It’s not about winning. We’re here to have fun.” My dad leaned down and whispered, “He forgot to tell them that it’s not fun if you don’t win,” and I nodded, a believer. My daddy coached my softball team through junior high and high school. We […]

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In Plain Sight

July 25, 2014
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18 days. For 18 days I couldn’t find my keys and then suddenly there they were, in a place we’d looked several times. When I offered a reward—a lunch date—everyone looked even harder, but that didn’t help. My 14-year-old daughter picked out a fancy Asian buffet and my husband said that he wanted to win, […]

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Summer Reading List: Atlas Girl (with giveaway!)

July 15, 2014

Last week I inhaled Emily T. Wierenga’s Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look in my precious spare moments: riding in the car; in the bleachers during baseball practice; late at night while my house slept; and finally getting up early and reading in bed until I finished. I messaged Emily immediately […]

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Summer Reading List: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

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This post is part of the “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour.” To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!   There’s something decadent about curling up with a good book, probably because as women we deny ourselves downtime, like a privilege we must earn. Surely that’s not just me. Questioning the idea that it’s wrong […]

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July 2014 Desktop Calendar!

July 1, 2014
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Where has this summer gone? Anyone else want to go back to May for a do-over? I took an early run yesterday before the heat set in (94° degrees forecasted for tomorrow—yuck!) and saw our day lilies in bloom: perfect for July’s desktop calendar. The kids and I spent last week in Alabama for singing […]

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A New Season at (in)courage

July 1, 2014
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Sorry I’m late sharing my monthly (in)courage post with you—my kids and I spent last week in Alabama at singing school. As the mother of two newly engaged sons, I’m entering a new season in life and I covet your advice, whether from the point-of-view of mother-in-law or daughter-in-law. Please click over to my post, A […]

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