March 24

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, Lay or Ly…Puppies, Sleeping & Bedtime Stories

The image I was initially going to use for this post was a beautiful girl, asleep on her bed.

A girl that didn’t have to lift and relocate half of her belly just to roll over on the mattress. She had a soft smile and perfectly penciled eyebrows, the kind of sleeping face only seen on super models and the regular kind.

I have three daughters, all angelic when they sleep, but still, they have smudged mascara, matted hair, and there is no peaceful sleep smirking.

Sometimes, there is slobber. Sometimes there are furrowed brows, because not everything we dream about is rainbows and sunshine.

Right into my room, the spring-forward sun has shined bright, and woken me with a not-so-pretty puffy face.

“The oak pollen is high,” my mom tells me after I finally manage to surface from under my sheets and answer the phone. While still in the comforts of my Wayfair quilt, I try and squint my eyes shut for just one more hour of precious sleep. Because, a lot of times, I actually am dreaming about super fun things like rainbows, sunshine and unicorns.

It’s a mystical place where anything can happen, and anything often does.

And I don’t want to wake up.

I’m sure it’s the extra weight that’s got me a little groggy and extra tired. I feel a little bit guilty when I hear the other moms walking by on their way to school. They push strollers and baby sisters and have dogs on leashes and 4th graders on scooters arguing about homework and the use of helmets.

I lie there in bed, listening and thanking God for every minute that I didn’t have to rise and make breakfast by 7 am. I’m out of that season now, but the truth is, I would rise faster than homemade cinnamon rolls if there were someone still at home to make chocolate chip pancakes for.

The call of the canine comes when Charlie, my new shelter dog, shakes his tag and collar so loudly it cannot be ignored, as if it to say, “Move it sister. We’re ready for our walk now.”

Pulling the covers back over my shoulder, he repeats the morning maneuver until I rise up and stand, feet firmly planted on the low pile shag carpet.

You ready for the day? Their tails wag. I sing My Dog is an Awesome Dog, off-key to the tune My God is an Awesome God, and I think he probably doesn’t mind too much. God, not the dog. The dog loves it.

Tomorrow my day will begin at 4:00 am. That’s what I’ve been telling myself all week while I stole a few extra precious hours in the morning.

Sometimes we need rest. Sometimes we need to stand up. All the time, we need to listen to our bodies and our hearts to decide which is which.

I’ve noticed that with the extra rest, there comes a greater sense of calm and an abundance of creativity. Over-doers do until they are exhausted and run down. We forget to play and have fun. We forget how much rest rejuvenates a tired soul.

Tomorrow I’m boarding a flight to the east coast where I’ve read the weather is a wintry mix. I think that means in between workshops, I will be playing in the snow and drinking hot cocoa. I can’t make a snow angel because I’m almost certain I could not get back up without making the image look like a wooly mammoth gone wild.

The Highlight of the trip will be a tour of the Boyds Mills Press Publishing house and learning all there is to know about writing books for children.

Who just like me, need naps.

And a good bedtime story.

Sweet dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly
March 20

When unmet expectations leave us feeling uninvited.

It’s been a while since I’ve had anyone over for dinner.

Longer than I would have liked, but things like 5:00 traffic, work schedules and loose dog fur resting in the corners of the house have kept me from calling.

And then I remembered my commitment to use my home as a place of respite, or rest, even if it’s just for a few hours on a Friday night with some food. I thought of a friend who’s been on my mind a lot lately so I texted an invite.

Let’s get together for dinner

this week if you have time. 

I wanted to send a formal invitation in the mail, but sometimes the things I need to mail sit buried on my desk for days. Or weeks.

She replied back and mentally, I began planning the menu, excited to have someone to serve.

Jennifer has a middle-grade son and I wanted to cook something for that typically picky palette as well as something his mom and dad might like. After weighing a few options, I decided on spaghetti and meatballs with homemade fettuccine noodles, caesar salad, and chocolate cake.

The day of the dinner I found out her son wasn’t coming and changed the meal to chicken alfredo because we’re adults, it feels more fancy, and what’s not to love about pasta in a toasted garlic, buttery white cream sauce with cheese.

And Chocolate Wacky Cake.

The lawn boy was just leaving, walking out with a leaf stuck to the side of his cheek, when they arrived right on time.

We hugged, smiled and opened a bottle of wine to share while catching up on all that’s been going on since I’d seen them last. Like many families, they are taking care of an aging parent they invited to live with them and were experiencing the changes that come with a dual family situation under one roof. Jennifer had been in a car accident, totaled her vehicle, and was down to one.

We talked about how pressing in sometimes made us feel like we were coming apart.

And then we blessed the food.

Thank you, Lord, for friends who are near and friends who are far. Thank you that during our difficulties we have a friend in you.  

The food was good, but the cake caved in the middle, the way I often do, right in the middle of the hard stuff. My feelings ooze out all over the place just like the undone batter and run haphazardly across the pan and my day before I remember that I really do have a friend in Jesus.

It sounds super cheesy when I say it like that, but I’ve noticed when life is happening and I’m shutting myself out and in from the people around me, I forget that I am always welcome to come to the one who knows me like no other.

No formal invitation is needed.

The food didn’t turn out quite like I expected, the dressing on the salad was yummy but not perfect. Both the cake and noodles were a little undercooked.

I’ve been thinking a lot about unmet expectations.

Most of us have had prayers that went without answer and people who’ve not met our increasing expectations or the demands we’ve placed on them. If I’m being truthful, I should admit that as good as I have it, I sometimes feel like God has let me down and my heart still feels a little raw.

I’ve moved when I thought he said to move, jumped and asked how high and confidently took a swan dive out of the boat, only to belly flop into rough, choppy waters. More than once.

And some days, the sting still lingers.

Ultimately, I know I have to trust and believe what God’s got on the menu is gonna be tasty. Dwelling on unmet expectations only holds us back and tastes bitter, not batter. We let people down, they let us down, the cake is undercooked.

“Is this wacky cake?” Jennifer asked.

“It is! You’ve had it before? I love this recipe.”

“My grandmother used to make it! It’s a recipe that was popular during the depression.”

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

It’s a cake I make when I’m depressed.

When I forget there is always an invitation to the table, to come and find rest.

Print Friendly
March 17

Encounters of the Close Kind.

The man had tan wrinkled skin under a nice cardigan sweater.

He was wearing a black Semper Fi baseball cap, old school rimmed glasses and he sat down next to me and ordered a beer.

“How are you today?” I asked.

“I’m good.”

There was something about the way he said he was good, that told me he was not. It was an answer I recognized from my own forced speech so I took a few steps closer, invading his social space more than just a tad.

I was drawn to this man as if God himself was pushing me, the same way Sandra Bullock was pushed out into the street from the photo shop in the movie Hope Floats to meet up with Harry Connick Jr., waiting at his pick-up truck.

“Are you having a good day?” I asked again as he put his weathered lips to the green bottle.

“Yeah. I’ve got four months and I’m outta here.”

“Where ya going?”

 He motioned his hand in a horizontal slash under his neck, “I mean I’m outta here. Dead.”

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.”

“I’m not. I’ve had a bad life. A real bad life. And I can’t wait for it to be over.”

I don’t remember how I responded. What can you say? What can you offer a person who’s been obviously hurting for a long time, except some common compassion?

“I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through but I can tell you I’ve had days where I’ve felt like that myself,” I said, trying to promote unity with a man who wore silent battles on his face and in his tired eyes. I went on, “But you go another day and it seems to get better, ya know?”

He just made a sound that sounded more like a grunt. When he looked up at the t.v., I noticed his eyes were moist and in that minute I knew he needed a new friend as much as I did.

“Where do you live? I’ll bake you a cake.”

“What?”

Okay, that may have been random, but I wasn’t letting this man go without knowing that I’d be able to see him again. He gave me a vague description, “You go down Main street to the second light and take a left and then go several blocks and…”

“I’m not going to remember all of that. What’s your address?”

And then he smiled.

“I don’t eat much. I like sandwiches.”

And then he gave me his address.

And we both smiled.

My pushy personality and the undeniable presence of a holy God, who loved a man who wanted die, gave two people hope yesterday at the bar counter of a local restaurant.

I live for encounters like these.

“Can I give you a hug? Like a really big one?” I asked.

He didn’t have time to answer before I leaned in and swallowed him up in my lanky arms while he sat on the bar stool and kindly tapped my back.

“Who knows,” he said, “Maybe I’ll see you on the other side.”

“Oh, you’ll see me before that,” I smiled.

Just the other day, for the first time since the girls moved out, I loaded up on stuff to make sandwiches with at HEB. I had no idea why, but I bought the big Oscar Meyer, oven roasted turkey and smoked ham and two packages of Jalapeno Jack and Swiss cheese.

When my daughter, who’s very last nerve I’ve been on lately, showed up yesterday on her way to the beach, I was able to whip up a road trip sub snack and pack of oranges for Saydee Grace.

There is nothing that makes hope float more than connecting with people, making peace and feeling appointed to bring joy…and sandwiches, into another person’s life.

Print Friendly
March 13

The More You Read The More You Know

The binding on the Better Homes and Gardens Story Book my mother used to read to me from is torn. The tape has yellowed significantly after 40 years. It’s brittle and crunchy and barely holds the pages together.

As a little girl, we spent most nights before bed reading The Little Red Hen with the picture words, The House that Jack Built, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Over in the Meadow. 

When I was eight, my day started with Captain Crunch and reading the back of the cereal box. And then the two side panels. And then my brother’s box of Cocoa Puffs.

Happy Birthday and thanks mom for letting us eat sugared cereals. You’re the best!

Just a few weeks ago, I read The Goops to my brother over the phone. He likes to reminisce when he calls, especially after he’s had a few beers.

I read to both of my brothers when they were young, back before they stole my babysitting money and sold my Smurf collection to buy toy guns and race cars.

When we lived in subsidized housing, I’d race to the book mobile faster than I ran to the ice cream truck. I’m passionate about helping kids learn to love reading, and so was my mother.

We didn’t have much money, but she always made sure there was enough to order from Scholastic at school. She gave me the invaluable gift of reading and repeated trips to our public library.

March is National Literacy Month and I can’t get enough of reading right now. The San Antonio Book Festival is April 8th and I’ll be doing a pig craft and reading Pig’s Big Adventure in the Literacy Caravan. I’m so excited!

Yesterday, my favorite day of the week, I woke up, thanked God for the day and then shared my agenda with the air in my bedroom and the vaulted ceilings.

I love you, Lord. Thanks for loving me back. Today, I’m going to rest. . I will not be going to church, I will praise you from this pillow. I will not be leaving the house, except to walk the dogs. I’m staying in bed this morning to drink coffee and read a book.

P.S. It’s not the bible.

There are cuss words and some mature content in one I picked up. I figure he’s omniscient so he can already see what’s on page 138 before I do.

While on the cruise, I one-click ordered two non-fiction books from Amazon and spent yesterday reading the first three chapters of The Little Things, by Andrew Andrews.

I also bought the new John Maxwell titled something about blowing the cap off and I could go into the other room and get the exact title, but that feels like work and this publishes in less than a half an hour.

Most of my adult mornings now start out with coffee and a quick read from The Message. It’s what I read to help me de-clutter my day and my mind full of messes. Everywhere I go, I am reading.

Billboards, license plates, the fine print and the privacy clause of a new app. I read it all.

Driving down the road, I noticed a sign that read, Advertise your business here!

I know the word is business, but instead, I read;

Advertise your busyness here.

When we grow up, we get too busy. Too busy doing this thing and that thing, too busy to get cozy into the recliner and pick up a good book.

There are books that inform and entertain. Comic books, picture books, craft books and instructional books. Scary books, thriller books and romantic books.

There are books that tell us how to de-clutter our homes, and even books that help us ease our mind full of messes and help us hold it all together when we feel like we are coming apart.

Print Friendly
March 10

Wave on Wave

It’s taken almost a full week for me to get my land legs back.

When I lie down at night, the phantom rocking of the Liberty of the Seas cruise liner still lulls me to sleep.

There is something remarkable and invigorating about the ocean with the waves lapping, foamy caps showing off shades of white and blue.

The sea is terrifying and spectacular.

I stood on the balcony, just a blip of a spec in God’s big scheme and I couldn’t get enough of the ocean sounds and the silence of the wind.

There’s always so much noise.

Casino machines binged and dinged as I tried to pass by in search of a quieter location, sales people pushing purses and watches and customers with questions. When you’re on a boat with thousands of other people, it can be hard to find solitude.

It seemed every time I moved about, the peaceful setting I was hoping to embrace was disturbed by sudden crowds of people showing up, caught in their own conversations, unaware of my desire to watch the sunset in quiet contemplation.

Glasses and silverware made clanking noises on porcelain plates, kids giggled and made funny faces with fruit, and mom, one table away, corrected half-heartedly.

I held the hot cup of coffee between both hands.

Their heads are blocking my view.

You like kids, be nice.

I just want to watch the sun drop into the ocean.

It’s their cruise too.

Frequently, the holy spirit annoys me.

I searched the cafe, the sauna, the sun deck and even the running track above, but always, there were people. A giant John Travolta greeted us on the poster in Cozumel, Welcome to our world…

I’m not sure what brand it was advertising, but I had to laugh for the temporary understanding of how difficult it must be to live the kind of life where you have to pay extra for peace and privacy.

That’s what I signed up for when I wasn’t in class and finally decided the quietest place on the cruise ship would probably be the balcony just outside my beautiful stateroom.

I gathered up my things and practically skipped across the deck, resolved to rest in that space with a cup of chamomile tea and book for the evening.

The heavy sliding doors moved to the right with much effort. I closed them behind me and grabbed one of two chairs, propping my feet and legs on the table and opened my book.

Two paragraphs in, I’m not even kidding…two paragraphs in, I heard the sound I despised more than any other sound in the universe.

Behind the sea glass covered partition, just a few cabins away on my left, someone came out to sit in the sun…

and clip their toenails.

What?????

Clip…

pause.

Clip…Clip

Are you kidding me? 

How many toes does this person have for the love of God?

Please make it stop.

Just as soon as I was certain the ocean side grooming procedure was completed, I let out an audible sigh of relief. And then…

Clip…

Clip…

And this is how it is.

We are always living in the in-between, smack dab in the middle of a soothing, gentle rock to sleep and the obnoxious, jarring sound of toenail clippers.

We wobble when we walk and touch the sides to get our steady back. When the floor underneath us feels faulty and shifting, we still have to try and keep balanced.

Jesus I’ve found is a good steady hand-holder.

When we have lived most of our lives on shaky, unstable ground, the effects of those old passage ways stay with us, sometimes long after we’ve landed safely back on shore.

We feel the movement, even when the movement isn’t there.

And so we adjust.

Cautiously proceeding back and forth, port side to starboard side. Eventually, we learn to brace ourselves better and walk more boldly, aft to forward to better destinations.

Anchors away.

Print Friendly
March 6

Building Global Bridges

“Did you have fun on your trip?”

“It wasn’t that kind of a cruise,” I started to explain.

There were no fish bowl sized margaritas being sipped rapidly through a colorful straw or inappropriate dancing with some random hottie from Oklahoma, though I spotted a few.

When your mind is filled with a million regrets, the last thing you want to do is add more.

My biggest regret this trip was an awkward hot tub conversation with a 23 year-old from Idaho.

I-D-A-H-O. Hilarious.

Fun for me right now looks a whole lot more like quiet reflections on the balcony, where you’re protected from the crashing waves several stories below, behind the wood trimmed glass balcony.

“I went to class and napped. A lot.” I explained further.

When I wasn’t sleeping or eating, I was plotting story lines in my head and imagining multiple ways to fake my own death.

These are the things I don’t share in polite elevator conversations because it sounds a little off.

And I wasn’t there to party. I was there to catch up on much needed rest and work on my Certified International Property Specialist designation. It’s one that’s on my goal list for completing this year.

It was an expensive nap, but a valuable learning experience about other cultures. The things that make us different, and the hearts that are much the same.

I learned that not all people who wear turbans are Muslim, and that my new friend G.B. and his wife wear silver bracelets around their wrists as a reminder to not do evil with their hands.

That’s similar I suppose to the cross Christian believers wear around our necks. I thought maybe I needed a more visible reminder because when it’s wrapped around my neck, I can’t actually see my favorite James Avery cross, except when I glance in the mirror.

And that reflection doesn’t always look just like Jesus.

I thought about the pretty cross walls so many of us have in our homes that decorate the living room or entry hall but we fail to see them as the reminder we need in our daily going out and coming in and dealing with others.

I learned the proper way to hand someone from Asia a business card, but was not instructed on how to do that respectfully when you meet them mostly naked, in a steam sauna.

I’m going to have to go back and review that chapter.

And the one with the world map.

Because now I care to know where Timbuktu really is and I can’t wait to get out my colored pencils.

The coloring book craze needs to embrace this educational opportunity! We need map books that help us learn to identify and name the states and other countries.

I know five year-old twins who’s grandparents are from the Philippines and those boys already know every state and all of the capital cities…including Boise.

It makes me feel like an idiot.

I haven’t had this much international education since World Thinking Day and the boat ride through It’s a Small World at Disney. With so many countries represented by both passengers and crew, it was truly a great experience.

We toured properties in Cozumel and learned about some beautiful new condo and housing developments offered through GMB that range in price from $115,000-$225,000 USD.

I’ll get you connected.

My next adventure will be a few day stay on the Mexican Caribbean at one of the TAO Mexico properties where there is great investment potential for U.S. buyers to purchase on the beautiful Riviera Maya, not too far from Playa del Carmen.

The homes are the kind of gorgeous we dream about when we’re watching HGTV’s House Hunter’s International at affordable, get-away, second home price points.

I’m going to sharpen my pencil and color my Mexico Sky Blue.

Print Friendly
March 3

What to do when you chicken out…

I dashed away from the dinner table last night.

Knowing I could have stayed and enjoyed a nice glass of Merlot and counted the tiny crystal lights on the chandelier one more time, I chose to bolt.

I could have sat there or moved to another table where I was invited and didn’t have to eat alone, but earlier in the day, I’d gotten myself immersed in the life and memoir of the craft by Stephen King.

And I needed to know what to do next. More than I wanted to sit and wait through another three course meal.

Constantly my mind spins about what to do next.

In Cozumel, I chickened out and got back on the ship even though I told myself as I drove to the pier in Galveston, I will not get back on that ship. I will not get back on that ship.

I will stay.

I will stay away from the distractions of life and I will focus on doing the work.

Or I will find a nice village with a nice orphanage who will let me stay on if I volunteer to play nice Jesus songs and teach the children a few bible stories.

The nice ones anyway. Not the one about foreskin mountain. That would be inappropriate.

Or I will move into a hammock with my tiny new blue notebook and not move until this impossible book is finished.

Super heroes rise.

They rise to the occasion.

They do not pine to be left alone so they can sleep and sleep and sleep.

And then sleep some more.

I knew I was tired. I just didn’t know I was this tired.

And I am not a super hero. If I were, I’d wear the shiny gold boots I saw the girl wearing on the Promenade deck. Oh my gosh. Give me those!

So here I was this morning, way, way before sunrise, wrestling with myself inside the cape of sheets, contemplating my writing and whether or not to blog today or attend the classes I signed up for the last two days of the cruise.

I’m certain there are more ice cream cones to eat and napping in the sun to be done.

And I haven’t finished soaking up all the advice from the writing memoir. I must keep reading and digging for nuggets of wisdom.

I must do that or jump off the side of the ship because that’s pretty much the only other thing I contemplate every time I look over my balcony. I wonder how many sheets it would take tied together to gently lure myself into the water and swim back to shore like a washed up Ariel.

Like her, I feel like I’ve lost my voice to the sea witch.

Because as much as I can talk a good talk about taking action and being the super hero in our own stories and confronting and conquering our fears and embracing the things we think we are called to do, it’s easier to take a nap.

My new reader friend Judy dropped off a Jodi Picoult book for me to read.

One line says, Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

I sat straight up in bed I think or maybe it was a dream but I vaguely remember muttering wishes I wish granted.

I’d like a book contract with a New York publishing house. Please.

For my family to be fixed.

A lot of money in my bank account. (So I can rest and write without worry.)

Oh.

And world peace.

When the wake up call rang at 5 am, I decided a cup of coffee would be good too.

When I was younger, I’d plunk a penny into every water fountain I could find. Later I added nickels, dimes and quarters, hoping to increase my wish-ability success.

But it doesn’t work that way.

Someone once said to me, “You can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first.”

I think that was in another Stephen King book and I also think, The End, may be my only way out.

Just do the work.

And then you can sleep on an island.

Print Friendly
February 27

Where the Wonder is.

Some days all it takes to get your grateful back is a quick glimpse of a big and burning sunrise and a change of scenery.

And maybe a wake up call of waves crashing just outside your balcony door.

I’m talking about the kind of sunrise that reminds you there is a God.

And he has super powers.

He brings peace out of chaos and a calm sense of wonder.

It takes a last minute, unplanned trip, a long wait in line and a 45 minute conversation with three adorable children from Baton Rouge to get your giddy back.

When I was a kid, we took trips to Kennedy Lake, Worlds of Fun and a camping vacation to Apple River in Wisconsin where my brother accidentally walked across hot coals, before it became a motivational thing about conquering fear at a Tony Robbins event.

I miss the days of waking up like when we were eight and anything and everything was possible.

I try to live like that. Excited, adventurous, ready for the next great thing. But the older we get, I think the grumpier we can get if we’re not super careful.

We get up without enthusiasm and dread the day ahead. Every day feels like the last and 24 hours are endured more than embraced. Little joy can be found in the monotony and minutia of becoming mature adults.

This morning I woke up on the Liberty of the Seas, floating on the ocean and I find myself wanting to have a spitting contest off the side of the boat with the next random person I meet.

I want to sign up for the cupcake frosting class.

Yesterday when the sweet little girl in the black and white striped tank dress with the embroidered sun with the sun shades and rainbow and a heart on it asked about skipping, I thought she meant actually skipping, as in a cheerful way to get from one place to another.

“I’ll skip with you!” I said.

When she just looked at me confused, I suddenly realized she just wanted my place in line.

“Oh! You want to skip ahead of me!”

“Yeah!”

That’s what we do I think. We skip through our lives, not so much enthusiastic and curious about the excitement of what may come next, but we skip the way we click the remote control.

Push, push, push, next, next, next…

We look for something to satisfy the eight year old in us that wants to be wow-ed.

We forget to be intentional about our steps, skipping through our days like they’ll go on forever.

We forget to incorporate fun and we focus more on the burning hot coals and the fear that holds us back from doing the things we know our guts are telling us to do.

We think about the blisters before we even take our shoes off.

The great thing about being a kid is that kids haven’t developed a what if filter that comes with age and maturity, setbacks and failed attempts and limited beliefs.

Kids don’t ask about the consequences. They charge forward boldly.

They ask why not, instead of what if.

Today is my friend Hannah’s birthday. She’s in fourth grade and loves super heroes. It’s something her dad passed onto her. Hannah believes in silly kid things like villain crushing and super powers.

I have to love a girl who longs for a cape of her own.

When we were kids, we played super heroes, my two annoying brothers and I and then later, when we grew up and our tastes changed, my coal walking brother and I would turn the stereo up so loud we could hear the crackle of the recording as the record spun and skipped to Blister in the Sun.

Let me go on.

Crushing fear like a super hero who’s tired of standing in line.

Print Friendly
February 24

Faith, Rails and Jumping off Points.

“His wife passed away,” she told me.

“And that’s when he left God standing.”

My friend who bakes casseroles, collects antique angels and survived a house fire was telling me about her love for her husband, their love for God and the in and out experiences they’ve had with their faith.

We talked about not knowing the kinds of things we should or shouldn’t pray for, unmet expectations and the Sundays we stopped going to church.

It wasn’t a long conversation, just a few minutes that I paced across the back deck while beads of sweat formed under my sweater. I can’t get a handle on dressing for Texas weather any more than I can on the secret workings of the holy spirit.

I still pace the way I used to outside, talking on the phone with friends and clients in the backyard, but I don’t smoke anymore. It’s one of those things God finally took from me that I wanted him to.

Sometimes he takes what we don’t.

I’m not comparing the loss of a loved one to giving up nicotine, but I did notice that every counted day eventually became a day that I quit counting, the loss. It seems like it works that way with both pain and addictions.

Every day is a little easier than the one before.

I give God credit for that.

For all the times I would drive down the highway smoking a cigarette or the tiny remnants of a pin joint I found hidden in the corner of a sock drawer, while I simultaneously thanked God that I was no longer a smoker, held captive by things I loved more than I knew was good for me.

I hope that didn’t sound preachy.

Or judgemental.

Of all the name calling I’ve endured in my life, those two words hurt more than any other. Adjectives thrown at me the other day by a person I love more than anything, although some days don’t like.

I’m sorry if what I said came across holier-than-thou because I’m still working out the being more like Jesus thing.

And no one understands the dangers of playing on the tracks or what it’s like to get run over by a train until we are flattened like a cartoon character. That’s when we wake up and realize that this isn’t Saturday morning with jammies and cereal and some things don’t shake off that easily.

Sometimes we are left to die or drag our raggedy asses off the tracks.

The whole time praying for divine intervention.

I was rude. I said asses. And I’m sorry.

I didn’t recognize that in that particular moment, what she needed was more grace than truth. Only the best are able to balance those two in a delicate and loving way at all times.

When it’s the middle of a work day, I have phone calls beeping in and contracts to have initialed and piles of paperwork to get to the title company, I am less than patient with personal drama and people going off the rails faster than an Ozzy Osborne song.

Jesus himself had to step away to pray and I needed more time.

There are days when I am even less patient and weary of waiting on God to do all I believed he would do for my family.

Where I grew up, there was a train trestle bridge that stood high above the Des Moines River. Like the boys in Stand By Me, my little brothers bravely dared to cross it once.

I think about my angel collecting friend, my daughter, and our experiences with God and faith.

It makes me ponder life and our jumping off points.

And all the times I’ve left him standing.

Print Friendly
February 20

President’s Day and White Sales.

I could never be president.

And though I honor the position, I’m not sure how to celebrate President’s Day today.

There are no tall top hats hiding in my closet. I don’t have a set of wooden teeth laying around the house and I haven’t used a feathered calligraphy pen and bottle of ink since art class in high school.

I’m terrible at art.

And taking time off.

To me, it’s another working day. For some, it might mean shopping and a major white sale with new fluffy towels and discounted sheets with a high thread count for the guest bedroom.

The kids in school today will no doubt hear stories of past presidents, the pioneer politicians for our great nation.

I remember trying to earn a Presidential award in sixth grade but it challenged me on other things I wasn’t good at, like running fast and climbing a rope.

Pull-ups and push-ups have never been my thing except for those ice cream push up things and I’d run as fast as I could to catch the ice cream truck as soon as I heard the chiming bells of the speakered song.

Actually, I think I always got a bomb pop.

Because they were big and bright, red, white and blue.

And I’m patriotic like that.

My friend Kim is starting a new design consulting business where she uses what a homeowner already has and better prepares a home for sale by eliminating excess clutter and boxing treasures for senior sellers.

Sellers who have gone through periods like the Great Depression, World Wars and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They are a thrifty generation that holds on to things, things like knick knacks they don’t really need, aluminum foil they can wash and the people who have always been in their lives.

It’s a generation of people who understand love and loyalty, hard work and respect. They were a people led by presidents who had to be strong during difficult times and were raised to do the right thing. Even when no one is watching.

Now it seems we thrive on watching the disorder and chaos among us. We tune in to more drama and love to listen to ugly words and back and forth bantering that is angry and hate filled.

I hear stories from kids who have been hurt and unaccepted by their peers. I also know what it’s like to own a story and a past that causes people to hate you. Most mornings I pray that God would help me to have a loving heart towards all people. The ones who are kind and the ones who are not. The people who agree and those who don’t, but still agree to disagree, out of respect.

Hateful words are hard to drown out.

In his farewell to the Presidency speech, Richard Nixon said, “Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

In Luke chapter 6 it says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Haters gonna hate.

Readers gonna read.

Lovers gonna love.

Bakers gonna bake.

Presidents gonna…what?

I think how hard it must be to lead the people who are not the pillars of past generations, the ones who didn’t have the benefit of surviving and growing up through challenging and hard times.

I wonder how you go about leading generations of people who refuse to lead themselves?

Or the ones who are simply not able to.

We need great Presidents to help us with the push-ups and the pull-ups and the getting back up again. Not because we want an award, but because we’ve finally had enough of being down.

We need a President to inspire, protect, respect, honor and lead us again to being a great and united country. One nation, under God.

Print Friendly