September 24

When Questions & Answers just Lead to More Questions & Answers

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Just one.

Someone who has been an important part of my life, stopped what they were saying the other day, long enough to ask me a simple question.

Just one.

“Are you happy?”

I don’t know if my chest tightened and a lump formed in my throat big enough to nearly stop the breathing because it’s a hard question or if I was just surprised at the sincerity of the asking.

Having known me on all stages of my life since I was about 22, I was aware of the underlying issues being brought out in that one question.

Our day to day, every day people don’t often ask about our state of being. Sure, we might say, “Hi. How are you?” but it’s not the same.

There was a deafening, overly long silence and I knew I needed to blink back the tears that had welled out of nowhere.

“Are you happy?”

It shouldn’t be this hard.

When you are the Happy Fun Girl, you have to stop for second and take an assessment of the situation and ask a few questions of your own. You also have to stop and be honest and grateful that you are no longer The Angry Pissed Off Girl because she’s not a very good leader.

So I carefully considered the question, with all of its hidden layers.

Are there things you would change? yes. Do you have any more clarity or direction than you did before? yes. Does everything that happened make sense? no. Do you wish it had ended up differently? yes. Can you be okay and happy just trusting God is with you? yes. Are you better now, on the other side of it all? yes.

But I couldn’t answer with a one word, “yes.” It’s still not that simple.

“Yeah. I think I am.”

“Getting there anyway.”

Then I began to ramble the way we do when we want to convince ourselves and others that there is no longer hurting. My pitch got higher.

“There are a lot of things I’m excited about right now,” I started a mental list in my head, “I’m able to do some of the things I really enjoy doing again so, yeah, I think I so.”

There was another dreadfully long pause while I sat and stewed in my response.

And then the confession.

“I get lonely sometimes.”

As soon as I said it, I wanted to take it back, those four vulnerable words. I was afraid it sounded like an invitation. I worried it resonated on the other end in a pathetic love me…love me, kind of way.

What I meant was, it’s often quiet.

Many days I’m just stuck with my own thoughts in my own head, forced to come up with my own solutions and that sometimes gets lonely. You know, not having someone to bounce things off of. No one to boss you and tell you what to do. As much as I hated that growing up, I crave it now.

My dog is only somewhat helpful. He just gives me that look that says, “I’m sorry. I don’t speak your language or know what you’re talking about. I only understand short, one word sentences.”

Let’s go over them again.

Outside.

Walk.

Treat.

And come snuggle me.

That’s why they are man’s best friends.

Sometimes there are no easy answers to hard questions. We have to sit with the silence and find a place where we are comfortable in our own skin. No longer striving to be heard or noticed, or loved.

Trusting completely in one day at a time and the one word that holds the power to change everything.

Jesus.

 

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September 23

If Words Could Make Wishes Come True

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I went through a lot of wondering there for a while.

Wondering if I really believed that all things work out for good.

For those who love God.

But I’m coming full circle back to believing it’s true, and together, we are so connected, no matter how far apart we are.

Now that I’m about 80 miles from all of the friends I love like family and adore in Mason County, I think of them often, and am so grateful for the way God moved through our lives and in that town during our 13 years there.

When people ask me about life in Mason, I tell them Corinne’s joke about how there are a lot of PHD’s riding around out there on tractors. I tell them them the people who live there are the ones who want to live there. They’ve chosen a sweet and simple lifestyle.

They’ve chosen gardening, canning and big, bold stars over traffic jams and city lights.

There’s nothing wrong with that either.

But it’s really not the place to move if you need to be running to the mall every day and have to be constantly entertained with things other than deer and wildlife running through the pastures, magical mornings on the porch with a cup of coffee and golden sunrises.

I’m trying to find my way back to my point because I think I just lost it in rural reminiscing.

Anyway, my friend Kim who still lives there made me a fresh batch of her home brew. Her version of home brew anyway that is actually cooking vanilla she makes from scratch and then stores in these adorable little brown bottles that look like something out of an old time pharmacy.

Time in a bottle. That’s the thing I miss about Mason the most. It seemed like the days lasted forever there, and sometimes words made wishes come true.

I used that vanilla in the brownies I baked and served to my new friends here in Boerne. All of us together, different, but connected as one and lovers of one true God.

We talked about their new home they are building and ate the brownies with Kim’s homemade vanilla and we talked about the hilarity of the St. Joseph story from the other day. I shared with them that Alfredo, the lawn mowing good samaritan goes to their church. The same church, St. Peters, that my friend Judy Joseph attends.

Then she told me that while I was having my crazy saint day, running around and out of gas, she and her husband extraordinaire, Greg, were actually out searching for a St. Joseph statue to place at their new home.

She also told me I was very connected to the universe.

I didn’t tell her that sometimes I feel like I may just slide right off the side of the earth because I don’t feel very connected to anything at all.

We were having a nice brownie eating exchange and that would have been a sugar buzz kill to the upbeat conversation.

But lately I have felt like we are all so connected and close. Just as I was thinking about Richard and Betty, the phone rang and it was them.

After writing the other day about the house on 33rd St and taking a moment to just sit with God and give thanks and pray, a verse popped into my head. It was the one that says something like,

Call on me, and ask me and I will answer you and tell you unsearchable things that you do not know. 

I don’t ever think of that verse and I’m sure that’s not exactly how it’s written, but it was such a strong word in that moment.

So I stopped and looked it up.

Jeremiah 33.3

Sometimes God and the universe freak me out.

 

 

 

 

 

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September 22

Jesus, Mary & Joseph. Are You Kidding Me?

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This week I’ve been wishing I had Joseph, the technicolor dream coat, dream interpreter around, but the only one that keeps showing up is St. Joseph, and I don’t think they’re the same person.

But I don’t know a lot of religious facts.

Ask my daughter.

She called yesterday to ask me what a Presbyterian was.

“I don’t know.”

“What do they believe in?”

“I don’t know. Jesus I suppose.”

Who doesn’t believe in Jesus? The night before, I asked my seller if she was a pray-er. “I’m sorry. What I mean is, would it be okay if I say a prayer with you?”

“Sure, of course. I believe in Jesus.”

When we were finished, and I was done hugging her in a bear hug sort of way she said, “Oh! I have a St. Joseph buried at the front of the house too!”

“Good God,” I shouted at her, “You’ve got to get him out of there!”

“No, really. It works.”

“I know that’s what everyone says,  but I did it when I tried to sell a rent house back in Mason. That house was for sale for like 3 stinking years so I ended up buying 3 and getting two St. Joseph’s free on some internet special.”

“But it wasn’t working, so in the middle of the afternoon, the middle of the night and several mornings in a row I was over there trying to find the buried St. Joseph. I was certain I put him in the ground wrong and I’m all, was it upside down, facing east? Right side up facing west? Why can’t I find this plastic 3″ statue?”

I finally fell to my knees one day and instead of digging, I pleaded with God to remove the debt burden of that house.

And then it sold.

As I was driving away from her home she smiled and shouted, “St. Joe’s got this!”

And I yelled back, “St. Joe and Jesus!”

The next day I was driving back there after I had just left my friends named the Josephs, and thinking and planning what to make for dinner for a friend that was coming over later that night.

Spaghetti, salisbury steak, pasta with alfredo sauce?  

But then my daughter called and I ended up on the blue tooth trying to explain what a Presbyterian was. And that’s when my engine started sputtering.

“You know, there’s Catholics, Episcopals, Lutherans and Presbyterians. They all believe in Jesus.”

The car was definitely stalling out, and I looked down at the panel and suddenly lost all power.

Oh, no. I forgot to get gas!

“Gotta go. I just ran out of gas.”

Thank God, on the other side of the fence, was a man on a riding lawn mower. He took turned off the engine, took his ear buds out and wiped the sweat from his dark face as he approached my car.

“I’m so sorry to bother you, but do you happen to have any extra gas? I just ran out.”

“Can you pull into the parking lot? I have some in the back of my truck.”

“No. It died right here.”

I looked up and noticed I was directly in front of the Honey Creek Catholic Church.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Spring Branch to be exact, so I smirked at heaven, said a power prayer, and the car started.

Then I followed the guy across the parking lot as far as I could before it stalled out again.

Right in front of the beautiful St. Joseph statue.

I’m not even kidding!

It gets better.

This lawn mowing, good samaritan had five red gas cans in the back of his pick up. When he finished putting some in my tank, I said thanks and offered him some Hershey’s nuggets, because chocolate was the only thing I had to offer.

He declined and I thanked him again. “Well, I’m super grateful, thank you so much! Oh! What’s your name?”

“Alfredo,” he said.

Guess what I’m making for dinner?

I’ve been trying to upload the picture of the statue for almost an hour now, but it’s still not working. I’m wondering if he doesn’t like being buried upside down in the yard?

Jesus. Mary and St. Joseph.

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September 21

Making Mistakes & Missing the Target

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Apparently, I am a slug.

My friend Theresa told me an active lifestyle includes about 10,000 steps a day.

10,000.

Do you know how far that is?

It’s about four and a half miles.

While listening to a book about the Wright brothers on Audible, I managed to log, 8654 steps on Monday.

And didn’t tip the scale one pound. Apparently, cinnamon rolls are deliciously high in calories. And I had two. They were small.

“Whatever you want to improve, you have to measure.” says Tom Ferry, my favorite real estate coach.

With so many areas of my life I’m trying to improve, I feel like I’m constantly on one app or another trying to keep track and measure it all.

Show me the money.

Where does it go? 

What am I eating?

What is my sleep schedule?

How am I spending my time?

I’m spending it logging and measuring every stinkin’ breathe I take it seems.

Tuesday I hit the underachiever score of 2746.

But I really want to be better. Better means I’d like to go back to being able to bend over to pick something up, and have it not feel like I need to sit down and rest for an hour afterwards.

Yesterday, I sat at the computer, shoveling the last tiny bits of movie butter popcorn from out of the tub and into my mouth, while I worked on things I despise. Things like data entry.

I’m super excited about this new listing in Windmill Ranch and while I was there taking pictures, the seller, my new friend Lisa, kept picking up tiny pieces of popcorn from her freshly cleaned floors.

“Mmmh? That’s weird.”

I looked at the popcorn on the ground and just burst out laughing at my ridiculousness. Who does that happen to? Apparently, in all of that neurotic shoveling, a few pieces missed my mouth. I glanced down the inside of my shirt at the time, but didn’t see anything.

The kernels stayed hidden in stretchy elastic fabric tray that was created at the bottom of my shirt, until my listing appointment.

Seriously. Every day I make it through is a miracle.

As Lisa went around her home, picking up the pieces of popcorn that came flying out of my shirt like slot machine money, I snapped more photos and was thinking about the scattered pieces of my life I’m trying to bring order to.

Because I don’t want someone else to have to pick up the pieces of my mistakes.

I use that word loosely. Many times we take responsibility of a jacked up situation, by owning it more softly, with words like, “I made a mistake,” which is more of an unintentional act.

Sometimes we just make really bad decisions.

And consequences suck sometimes.

I often tell my daughters that while they pressuring me to drive faster down I 10.

“You drive like a grandma.”

“I am a grandma.”

“I don’t want to get a ticket.”

“You stay with the speed of traffic,” daughter #3 smartly replied.

“But everyone else is speeding.”

“Exactly.”

I wondered if she thought what I thought.

“Exactly.”

Everyone else is speeding.

We decide which rules we want to follow and which ones we want to ignore.  Driving down Hwy 20 at 90 in a rental car, because I didn’t realize it was a mistake. Driving down I 10 at 90 because I am late getting to an appointment or an LA Crawfish dinner is different.

I’m trying to make better decisions and less excuses.

 

 

 

 

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September 20

Dream Interpretations & Misrepresentations

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I should have told her the house was haunted, if only by distant memories, failed beginnings and unfinished endings.

I’m three chapters into The Circle Maker now and Mark Batterson still hasn’t told me how to know when to start praying circles around new dreams. I hope that part is coming up soon.

Because I still sometimes dream about the old ones.

Like last night. I dreamed about the home on 33rd St., the one we all less than lovingly refer to as, “The Bat House.”

It was like I was still there.

But this time, instead of doing dishes in the bathtub or painting old plaster walls, or helping my daughter off the pile of metal in the basement after she fell one whole story through the floor, I was giving a tour to another realtor and a buyer who had stopped by the house with a contract on one of my other listings.

Standing there, with electrical wires hanging over head, over explaining, and making more excuses as to why it wasn’t any more finished, I thought about the things that were finished and the differences between a contract and a covenant.

Maybe God is helping me process the past.

She liked the house a lot, this other realtor.

Even with all of the things undone, she saw it the way I used to, with all of the potential. Maybe she could envision the wrap around porch across the front and the huge kitchen. Maybe she could see past the pots and pans I hung decoratively on studs.

I sat in the driveway, this last trip back, so totally amazed that still much had not changed except the new windows and the new door. I thought that was ironic in an Alanis Morrisette, you oughtta know, kind of way.

My cell phone chimed.

“What are you doing?” asked the fallen daughter. The one who fell through the floor and still swears they flew down the stairs of this haunted home.

“I’m in Iowa.”

“Oh. I forgot that was this week.”

“I’m at the old house.”

“The Bat House?”

“Yep. I was just thinking about you, actually. I’m glad you called.”

“I’m sorry I made you wear those blue and white palazzo pants to school on your first day of kindergarten. I can still see you standing there with there with that scrunched up, annoyed look on your face and I’m really sorry.”

“Whatever. I’m over it. I’m making that face right now though.”

“Why?”

And then the explanation.

Because old, bad habits die hard, I suppose.

Twice I woke up from this dream and twice I fell back asleep and yet it continued.

I came down from the attic, after completing the tour, high pitched bat noises, eeking and squeaking, still in the background and we sat down at the kitchen table. Plywood set up on saw horses. The penciled in and perfect floor plan, set off to the side.

The realtor brought up buying it.

The crooked floor, bat infested, home of Oscar the cat. She wanted to buy it.

“$26,000 more,” my ex-husband, king of the sledge hammer said.

“Wait. What?” I asked.

“Yep. We’ll sell it. For $26,000 more than we paid for it.”

And just like that. I was surprised that I didn’t care as I looked at the other realtor and said, “Okay.”

“Whatever, he said.”

And then I woke up, in this perfectly peaceful state of completeness.

Whatever. He. Said.

Whatever, you say, Lord.

I have to wonder if he’s still saying, “It is finished.”

 

 

 

 

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September 19

Scattered Circles of Prayer

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In my personal opinion, if you want people to show up the next week for a discipleship class on prayer, you don’t pull out the word fast in the first session.

You just don’t.

It sounds a lot like discipline and character building and commitment that I’m not sure I can handle right now. The only thing I really wanted to give up was God during the last lent go around.

But I’m over that now.

And needing him more and more in every area of my life.

There were a plethora of choices for our Sunday night, go deeper with God kind of classes, but Mark Batterson’s, The Circle Maker, sounded like something I need in the now. Praying Circles around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.

My dreams are big and the fears are great, but I still don’t want to give up food.

Thank God there were Snickers and M & M’s on the table.  Because of the chocolate, I was better able to overlooked the intrusive accountability questionnaire.

How often do you pray?

What do you pray for?

Rate your prayer life on a scale from 1 to 10.

I’d say I’m a six.

If God would answer me the right way, I would maybe have scored myself a little higher.

Overhearing the guy a few seats over, “I wonder what happens if you lie about your prayer life on this piece of paper?” I chuckled while chewing, because most of us lie a lot.

Especially in church circles.

I think I’m more likely to reveal the truth on a Saturday night, after a glass of wine or two.  At three I’m likely to start drunk dialing and apologizing again for being a stalker. Well, I might if I still had their number in my phone, anyway.

I think I deleted it the last time I drank three.

Prayer is good. Really, really good.

And I’d like to get better at it. When I say I’d like to get better at it, what I really mean is I’d like to know that my prayers aren’t bouncing off of heaven’s clouded ceiling because it sure seems like that sometimes.

And yet at others, I’m amazed at how quickly and spot on they’re answered. Thank you.

Lately, I’ve taken to praying only in my head and in my heart. Mostly because I’m sick of hearing my own voice, but also because I make sales calls all day long and I don’t feel like selling my requests to God anymore. Do what you will. I have no frickin’ clue.

I can’t be trusted to pray right.

What do you want Jesus to do for you?

I don’t know. My prayers are as scattered as my thoughts. The only thing I know I want for certain is for his will to be done in my life and the lives of the people I love and care about around me.

And peace on earth.

That’s all.

What do you want Jesus to do for you?

Making me lie down in green pastures and leading me beside still waters sounds kind of nice.

Jesus.

I need a nice nap. And it’s only 9:56 in the morning.  

I believe in asking. I just don’t know that I know, what I should be believing and asking for anymore. Now more than ever, I understand how my heart has been wicked and deceitful; broken and betrayed; hopeful, yet still hurting.

Though noticeably less.

Because of prayer.

This should be six weeks of interesting.

Your will be done. Amen.

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September 18

Extra, Extra, Read All About It…

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Four great friends, a sister, mom, a niece and and an aunt sat around the stone patio table with an assortment of beads and baubles.

We snacked and sang; we talked and thought about what to make and the prettiest patterns to put together. Some of us made bracelets. Maddie made a pastel choker and the others soon followed her lead.

Sierra shared some information that had us all asking, “Is that true?”

“Well, she only read the headline,” Natalie explained.

And that got me thinking about lead paragraphs, “One of the first things I learned in journalism was about writing a lead. It’s where you first find the details of the story. The who, what, where, when…”

“That’s why I’m saying she only read the headline.”

Bold headlines are an essential part of the story.

Waking up easy like Sunday morning today, I made coffee and thought again about writing the lead and a podcast I listened to this past week on essentialism. Greg McKeown wrote the book on it, highlighting a philosophy of living less, but better.

I actually have that book and pulled it off the shelf and opened directly to page 78, the chapter titled LOOK.

He tells a story there about a teacher in Beverly Hills who instructed a class on how to write a lead that includes the why, what, when and who. I can’t believe how connected my life is sometimes. Just weird.

And sometimes, I’m just wrong. I thought it included the “where,” and finally I’m figuring out, that less is where it’s at.

Essentialism is not embracing the abruptness of learning to say, “No,” but it’s more about finding the best use for our, “Yes.”

On the podcast interview with Michael Hyatt, he talked about finding our own personal highest and best use. When so many of us are people who are driven to want to do it all, or do more and more, and more, we find ourselves exhausted instead of energized.

If we take the time to assess where we are and structure our purposes in a more meaningful day, we can go to bed and sleep with a feeling of great satisfaction, instead of feeling like our life is choking us out.

I’ve been writing every day because implementing this habit is huge for me. It feels like focusing my time, resources and talent into something I think is very important. There are others much more talented at this for sure, but their stories are not my stories.

And it’s using these that I hope to find a deep connection with others.

Hard lessons shouldn’t be learned and then hushed.

The highest and best use for me is to share and lead others, with the new things I’m starting to understand and a more definitive, mapped out plan. Less, but better.

Because I’m prone to baking, and raking and planting and tidying. I’m likely to avoid the better by flipping aimlessly through channels on late night t.v. , because I’m not always certain that any of it matters, and doing non-scary things is safer, but not satisfying.

And it’s no way to lead.

McKeown writes, “Being a journalist of your own life will force you to stop hyper-focusing on all the minor details and see the bigger picture. You can apply the skills of a journalist no matter what field you are in – you can even apply them to your personal life. By training yourself to look for, “the lead,” you will suddenly find yourself able to see what you have missed.

And being better able to find and write our own bold headlines.

 

 

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September 17

Rising & Shining; Rain or Shine

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I’m scraping the bottom of my brain today to remove the sludge or some idea I might be able to come up with to write about. All the great writers say to put your butt in the seat, start typing and your muse will show up.

But I’m not amused.

And my muse is missing.

And the giant red box with a giant red bow from Macy’s is staring me straight in the face. I’ve debated for a full week now whether or not to take back the most beautiful and comfy rain boots on the planet.

Apparently, they were originally called Wellingtons, and have been worn by royals for centuries.

I was originally called Queenie by my mother, and am now having a stormy sort of shopping dilemma about the rain boots I bought my daughter for her birthday that don’t fit. I’d hoped would keep her feet safe and dry as she walked from class to class in college.

I keep mentioning that because I’m super proud of her and also, I have higher education jealousy.

I’ve googled schools and thought about secretly getting my degree behind everyone’s back because my grand parents were always so proud of me also and said encouraging things like, “You are so smart. You will grow up and go to college and be the first one in the family to get a degree.”

They didn’t say you will grow up, go to college, get drunk a lot, skip class, have some bad things happen and then drop out because you were so ashamed and called names worse than Queenie.

Often I remind myself that the past is the past, and I am redeemed.

But it still sometimes gets in the way of my present.

As I searched the internet looking for the right name of the Ralph Lauren boots I saw and loved, I thought about my second cousin in Boston. We climbed a tree and hung out on an outstretched branch and argued about the proper name for shoes.

“I like your tennis shoes.” I said in a complimentary, want to be friends kind of way.

“They’re not tennis shoes.”

“Yes they are.”

“No. They’re not. They’re called sneakers.”

“Oh. Well, I call them tennis shoes.”

“Well…they’re sneakers.”

“They are also called tennis shoes,” I said because grandma Betty had me completely convinced I was smart.

“They are sneakers, because I say they’re sneakers.”

And then she pushed me out of the tree. I don’t think she wanted to be friends.

On my sabbatical trip back to Iowa, I drove the rented Toyota down the drag we used to shag in Fort Dodge, and passed a restaurant that used to be called the Silver Fox or the Black Knight. I can’t remember which. My mom used to take me there to eat prime rib for special occasions, like when I got good grades on my report card.

Just the two us.

It’s called Sneakers now and I remembered how special I felt.

Like royalty.

The way I imagine I’ll feel when wearing those fabulous Ralph Lauren Rossalyn II Plaid Rubber Boots in the big red box.

Because these boots are a lot like words that can’t be taken back, rain or shine.

And it’s all in the name.

Rise and shine, Queenie. 

I find that amusing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 16

A Celebration of Life and Faith

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For six straight days in a row, George Michael has been in my head.

I didn’t like 1987 much when I lived it the first time.

But I gotta have faith.

I gotta have faith.

There was an abundance of faith in 1997, the year my youngest daughter Natalie was born.

19 years ago today.

She will be here, home from college to collect kisses and hugs and birthday presents later this afternoon. Actually, that’s not true. She’s not nearly as touchy, feely as the rest of the family, and has often threatened to call child protective services on me for inappropriate mother smothering.

I don’t think she can do that. She’s an adult now.

And more grown up than the rest of us. Natalie was born mature, sensible and strong, but I’m scared for her sometimes, that she’s also a lot like me. An independent, can-do kind of girl that gets things done, makes things happen, and relies way more on her own strengths and abilities than enjoying the peacefulness of resting in God’s.

That kind of living seems to magnify our missteps and mistakes, leaving us anxious and feeling not quite right with ourselves.

I’m afraid she’s becoming too smart and self-reliant for faith.

I want to bring back that childlike-ness that believed in God for everything, like the broken button on her pink corduroy jacket. It wasn’t a button exactly, but sort of shark tooth kind of bobble that looped through a string of leather.

She loved that coat, believed with all her heart we might be able to get that jacket, and then broke the tooth button in half when it hit against the metal on the slide, the first week of wearing it.

What good is your favorite winter coat if it won’t keep you warm because it can’t close?

Somewhere on the playground, among millions and millions of tiny grains of sand, her ivory button became buried. We prayed every day to find the other half so I could Super Glue it back together. Part me, part God, working together to blow the mind of a seven year old. Maybe she was eight. I don’t remember.

But I called in the troops, those power house wonder girls in my Girl Scout troop, Erin, Maddie and Faith. We prayed our guts out to a button finding God, who sees all things.

And he answered.

I think it was Erin who found it several days later.

Frequently I have to remind myself of all the times my faith has been strengthened by unexplainable acts of God. I guess that’s not a word, cause it just got red lined, but anyway…

Natalie herself was an answer to my very deepest secret prayer.

A child I’d ask God for all by myself.  In the quiet places of my heart and the folding chairs on Sunday mornings at The Turning Point.

I felt sick one night at a special worship concert they were having. Her dad was playing drums, the girls were just enjoying playing with the other kids. I left early and found myself aimlessly wandering the aisles of Walgreens on Tezel and Dover Ridge. A silent whisper stopped me.

There.

I turned to look at the shelf next to me and an EPT package nearly bounced right into my arms.

Well that’s ridiculous.

There’s no way I’m pregnant. 

But I guess when God wills, there is a way.

It feels like sitting in front of blown out candles, with no wish in sight when he doesn’t.

But today, I celebrate the life of this girl, Natalie Jane, the daughter I love and adore and prayed for.

The daughter who helped my other daughters and I remember how good and innocent and sweet life can be and the girl I’ve had the honor of raising and loving and over mother smothering, for 19 years.

You gotta have faith.

Happy Birthday Goosie Lou.

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September 15

Snoop Dog, Dancing and Jesus

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3rd Ave. South.

4th Ave. South.

N. 29th Street.

N. 15th Street.

Sesame Street.

I grew up on all of these streets and educated myself about the ways of the world with best friends like Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Maria.

My counting skills do not go much further than the counts teaching, “Ah, ah, ah…”, but I consider myself street wise because of the things I remember from Sesame.

So when I got a phone call late one night from someone who was having an argument with someone else, I already knew the answer. Except it wasn’t what I remembered learning on PBS.

So and so, “thinks I shouldn’t be listening to Snoop Dog and dancing , drinking a Dos Equis and then playing worship music right afterwards.”

One of these things, doesn’t belong here, three of these things are kind of the same…

And I just started laughing.

Because that’s what we do. We categorize our alleged good behavior and bad behavior and compartmentalize our activities into holy and unholy, right and wrong, good and evil.

We leave no room for Jesus in the fourth square. And we make him the thing that doesn’t belong in our lives when we are surrounded with so many other things that are kind of the same.

Can you guess which one just doesn’t belong here?

It’s that separation of sin and God that keeps so many from entering the doors of the church thinking we are not good enough or holy enough. We say things like, “When I get it together, or stop doing this or that, I will go. Or I need to get back to church, but…”

We stay out because we recognize things that don’t belong and trust in our over-educated or simply street smart selves to handle it on our own.

I’m not saying Snoop Dog, dancing and beer are bad, by the way. But I think if we are self-aware people, we do begin to recognize in ourselves patterns of behavior that may be dividing or separating us from the things we really want the most. The whole picture.

We feel the disconnect and the discord that happens internally when we try to mesh our God created selves with activities that may or may not be our Sunday best.

 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters,” I’m not sure, but I think this might include beer drinkers and dancers.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

He called people to come and follow, right where they were, and then being in the daily presence of God began to transform them and the lives of the people around them.

It’s this hip hop, back and forth, rapping at the door kind of dance we do with God. And I think sometimes, we’re just really afraid to leave behind the familiar comforts of our trash can.

Now it’s time to play our game…

 

 

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