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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Maybe It's Not Me

I can be so affected by other's actions toward me.

Some days, my mood, outlook and self-esteem are dictated by one person's comment.  I can be thrown off by someone's glare at a restaurant.  I can get upset when another driver makes rude gestures at me.

I'm learning though, that many times, their actions or words have nothing to do with me at all.  It is just them having a bad day.  Bad month.  Bad decade even!  They are having a hard time in life and I just happen to be the one that catches it.  They aren't being sensitive with their word choices, attitude, or voice inflections simply because of their own issues.

I probably don't have to take everything so personally.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hidden

It's interesting how some things are not what they seem.

I can have a good looking bathroom, for example.  Clean, bleached walls.  Spotless floor.  Shiny streak-free mirrors.  But, beneath these walls is a decaying interior filled with mildew.  It fools me.  I think it's fine and it's really not.

There are things in us that might be hiding, too.  It might be things we are purposefully trying to hide.  Or, it might be things we aren't even aware of ourselves.  We might live in denial or ignorance about it for years, until one day, the Specialist comes and begins to remove the tiles of our hearts.  He knows there is unseen mildew that is eating away at our insides.  It's a shocking discovery for us, but not for Him.  He is not intimidated or surprised by the find.  He knew it was there all along and knows just what to do to make it clean and new.  He's just so glad that we gave Him a call and asked Him to come over to remodel the room.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Breathe

It feels so good to breathe.

I don't mean one of those short quick breaths.  I mean the ones that you pull in enough air to fill every crevice of your lungs.  No dark place inside escapes its refreshment.  It just feels good

I don't think I breathe enough.  I run and run and run.  I hold my breath for hours, days, months.  I think after my first child was born, I didn't breathe for a year and half.  Nerves and stress leave me gasping.  The demands of today and the needs of others pull me away from a good inhale/exhale combo.

But, when I do stop.  When I do allow myself to draw in a big, huge breath, it's like a baby's first inhale as it enters the world.  It's like coming up to the surface of the water after a long swim.  It's what I'd been wanting to do for a long time, but never allowed myself.  And, sometimes, frankly, it's overdue. 

I'm breathing today. 

And, it feels good.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Please Don't Stab Me

It all happened so fast.  My girls were sitting on the floor drawing nicely together.  Then, it seemed out of no where, my youngest threw her hand up with her pencil in it and stabbed her sister in the lower back.  As you can imagine...  Chaos.  Tears.  Daddy running for tweezers.  Out-patient surgery in the kitchen.  No Sunday picnic.

"Why in the world would you do that??" my husband grilled my youngest after it was over.

She was at a loss for an answer and said sorry a thousand times through her tears.  Her sister had done something to irritate her and she simply just reacted without thinking.

Let me insert here that my daughters are best friends.  They love each other.  They would stick up for each other in a crowd.  They are inseparable.  Also, the one in trouble in this scene is my beautiful little girl.  She has her moments, but she really is a sweet little thing and liked by many -- including her sister.

But, this is a good picture of how easy it is to hurt the ones we love, probably, because those are the ones most vulnerable to us. 

For example, I love my husband more than any man in the world. But, because we are so close and we have such a trust between us, I am actually more of a threat to him than anyone else.  He is trusting me with the 'pencil in my hand', hoping that if he is vulnerable with me, I won't turn on him and hurt him.  I know his weaknesses.  I am familiar with his 'buttons' and his insecurities.  It would be easy to fire words like daggers at him or allow my actions to crush his heart or stab him in the back.  And, the same applies with him toward me.   

Today, I am acutely aware that I, too, have a pencil in my hand.  I never want to hurt the ones I love.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Need A Hand?

I have a confession.  For some reason, I have a hard time receiving help. 

If I'm walking into a store with double doors and someone holds the left side of the door open for me, I instinctly open the right side anyway, instead of receiving their kind gesture and walking through the left side.

I could be weighted down with 7 bags of groceries. 

My neighbor asks, "Can I give you a hand with that?"

I'll smile and say, "Oh, I'm fine. I've got it," as I stumble up the steps and through my front door, practically dropping everything and hurting myself in the process!

My heart could be crying.  Just a sad day.  And, someone notices I'm not quite myself.  They inquire with genuine concern, and I quickly whip my smile in place like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.  I fake my way through the day, almost convincing myself that there is nothing wrong.

The biggest problem with all this, though, is that we are not designed to depend solely on ourselves.  We are made to fit into families, communities, nations.  We are not created to be loners.  We are supposed to need each other.  It reminds us that we can't do it all.  We need someone to hold the door for us sometimes.  We need that helping hand on days our hands are overloaded and our hearts are heavy.  It keeps us humble and it reminds us to keep looking up to the Hand that is always happy to help.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Can I Help You With That?

Why do we resist things that will help us?

It's the strangest thing to me.  (Though, I am guilty of it myself.) 

We get lost driving, but we don't want to ask for help.  We'd rather go on a '3 hour tour' than take 5 minutes and get the information we need to help keep us on course.

We get sick, but sometimes fight slowing down or even receiving help from medicine or doctors.

We walk around thirsty for hours, but don't reach for the proper drinks (or enough of them) to hydrate ourselves.  We can end up compensating by eating.  And, it can make us feel fatigued and moody. (Not to mention the many other side effects that come with dehydration.)

My daughter has a stuffy nose, but insists on wearing a summer shirt in November.  Her body can't get warm enough and so she continues to blow her nose.  She fights me when I make her wear a long-sleeve shirt -- as if my intentions are to harm her.  I am for her.  Not against her.

It is like Rain falling on dry, hard ground.  The Rain comes to bring nourishment.  But, the ground is so hard and so dry, at first, all it does is kick and scream against the Rain's Goodness.  It doesn't realize that the Rain is for it.  Not against it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Humble House

My husband and I love to look at houses as we are driving.  We're like little kids making Christmas lists as we window shop down the road. 

"Oh, look at that one!" I'll say, as I nudge my husband.  "I bet it has a beautiful kitchen in it."

"Oo, I'm likin' that stone porch."  my husband will say through his drool.  "And the shed would be big enough to put my sound studio in!"

But, the ones that impress us the most are the ones you barely see from the road.  I have to squint to see the details of it.  They are the ones up on the hillside.  Tucked behind trees and foliage are the ones I like to call the "Treasures Of The Woods".  They are grand.  Their structures are beautiful.  Their architecture, landscaping and colors are marvelous.  Sweat and tears have been poured into them.  They are the product of intense labor and devotion.

What strikes me the most about these amazing homes is that they are not the ones at major intersections of a highway.  They are confident, secure and satisfied with being established where they are -- with or without an audience.  Though they would have plenty to boast about, they have no appetite for being a show off.  They are stunning -- they don't deny it.  They just have no urge to broadcast it. 
They are indeed... humble.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

moon & Sun

The moon.

On clear nights, it's our lighthouse in the sky.

gorgeous.  beaming.  majestic.  a darkness-chaser. 

Yet, it is but a rock.  It can not boast. 
Its brilliance is not its own.
It is a mere reflection.



A reflection of the True Light Source. 
 The place where no shadow or morning frost will ever dwell. 
A place too glorious for man to approach in its human flesh. 
 It is the center of all. 
And, all look to it for its daily portion.  

The Sun is Good. 
It is Kind and Generous to the universe and
gladly shares its Goodness to the world
and to the moon.  
It does not show favoritism. 
It is Joyful!  It is pleased to give Itself away!  

It is Faithful to the moon.  
The moon receives and basks. 
 It is happy to be a reflection of the One that is truly 

Gorgeous    Beaming    Majestic  
and   
The Great Darkness-Chaser

Monday, November 22, 2010

Something GOOD

When my oldest daughter was five years old, she hit the back of her head on a rock after falling off her swing.  She was showing signs of having a concussion, so we took her right to the children's hospital.  They did X-rays and weren't comfortable with a certain section of what they saw, so they did an MRI.

They told me, "Well, her head is fine, but did you know her adenoids are huge?" 

Well, that explained a lot.  She had always had so many issues with breathing and nasal congestion.  We moved forward based on that information and had her adenoids removed.  Ahhh... much better for the poor little girl.
 
 ***
Because of our finances years ago, I was forced to find new ways to supplement our income.  I chose to try my hand at being a cosmetic consultant.  Problem with that was, at that point in time, I had become quite the shut-in.  Taking on this endeavor would mean I would need to be brave and actually talk to people in my neighborhood.  Out of necessity, I did what I needed to do and was surprised by the results.  I sold my little gift baskets of make-up and brought in a nice profit.  But, I also found out that people weren't as scary as I thought they'd be.  Many friendships started that day that are continuing even today.  It helped heal my fearful heart.
 
***
I definitely didn't want my daughter to get hurt.  But, she did.  Out of it, though, came something good.  And I definitely didn't want to be struggling so much in our finances.  But, surprisingly, it helped change me for the good.  These situations taught me that each trial and challenge gives us a gift.  I just have to be sure to look for it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Attic

Attics can be scary places. 

Cold.  Dimly lit.  Shadows of various shapes.  Sounds of critters who are possibly hiding in the Christmas box next you.  God knows what's in that box in the back corner.  It's been there for 25 years.  You've grown comfortable seeing it there. 

It seems easier to just burn the house down than to sort through the 180 square foot mess.  You've tried to clean it out in the past.  You start near the steps with the newer things that have been added.  It seems less complicated to know what to do with these few things.  But, as you move forward into the chaos, your stamina weakens and you're ready to call it quits sooner than you thought. 

It's just easier to leave it for another day.


Human hearts can become like cluttered attics.  It gets shoved with so much baggage over the years, it's painful to even open the door to look inside. 

"Who knows what will happen to me if I open that dusty old box!?" you tell yourself.  "I may not make it out alive!!"

You get scared and overwhelmed.  You retreat and close the door. 

It's easier to leave it for another day.


Then, the idea strikes you. 

"What if I take a Friend with me?" you say to yourself.  "He has His own business and He'll do it for Free!  He's stronger too, so He can lift the heavy boxes I'm too afraid to even look at."

He's happy to oblige.  After all, it's His specialty!
He backs His truck into your driveway.  You notice the side of His door. 

It reads:  "No Job Is Too Big"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Snapshot

Seeing a child wear mix-matched clothes. 

Watching a grumpy man at the register. 

A woman crying in her kitchen.                             

A grandmother picking flowers from her garden.


Snapshots.  Just one moment in time leaving the audience to make their own interpretation.  The pictures don't come with explanations.  It's not a video so we don't see the events before and after that moment.  We are left to fill in the blanks ourselves and make our own judgements.

I do that.  I do that with people I know.  I do that with strangers.

A child screaming at the table next to me.  I think to myself, "Why isn't that lady helping that child calm down?  Why doesn't she just take him outside? How annoying."  Little do I know that it's a child with disabilities that hasn't received their proper medication today because the aunt is babysitting and she forgot it.  She feels helpless and embarrassed, and she can't leave yet because she's waiting on the waitress to give her the bill.  I pass my judgement.  I fill in the blanks while knowing nothing. 

I say excuse me to the person in front of me in line at the market.  She completely ignores me and doesn't bother to move.  "Rude." I say to myself.  But, what I don't know is that she's hard of hearing.  I label her without knowing the facts.

I'm reminded that I need to give people the benefit of the doubt, assuming I am only seeing a snapshot and don't really know what's what.  And, even if I've seen 4 pages of the photo album, I still don't know what's on page 5.  I have no platform to judge and should instead show mercy.  I hope people do the same for me.

By the way, the snapshots I listed earlier?  I wonder if I would have come to the right conclusions?

The child had an accident in her pants and the change of clothes didn't match what she was wearing.

The grumpy man had just stubbed his toe. 
He wasn't grumpy.  He was hurt. 

The woman crying in her kitchen 
                      was cutting onions.                          

And, the grandmother picking flowers 
was grieving.  She planned to lay them
on her husband's tombstone.








Friday, November 19, 2010

The Boiling Point

I loooove hot tea. 

About 10 years ago, I fell in love with the tea/sofa/blanket combo.  Absolutely addicting.  I wouldn't try it unless you are prepared for a life-long commitment to it. Even 'til today, my husband and I have a ritual of putting the children to bed and immediately heading toward the teapot.  Sometimes, I do it without even thinking and I ask my husband to put the kettle and on and he says it already is.  In honor of this blog, I am having a cup as I type.

Here's the thing with me and my tea, though.  I like to catch it before it boils and whistles.  If I don't, I have to wait too long for it to cool down.  I've developed an ear for it so I can sense when it changes over from a mild simmer to the brink of boiling and whistling.  When I catch it, I can enjoy my tea much quicker and it's easier to hold the mug.

I'm still developing an ear for my temper, though.  I love my children, but sometimes I feel like Tom the cat about to blow his top because Jerry the mouse is driving him CRAZY! 

I could feel my patience simmering as I calmly instruct them....

Girls, no fighting.       Girls.      Giiiirrrrlllsss.       GIRLS!

                                                                         LISTEN!!!!!!
                                             PLEASE

                       YOU
     Will 


Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllll!  goes my whistle. 

The whole house can hear me blare like a firehouse alarm. 

I HATE when I get to that point, especially, because of how out of control I feel.  It's harder to stop the words from leaving my mouth.  It's harder to lower my voice.  And, it's certainly harder to make a good clear parenting decision for my children.  All will benefit if I catch myself before I whistle.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Flower In The Dirt

It's dark.  The struggle is intense. 
The Hope of the end result keeps me moving forward. 
Why am I wet?  Ugh, the mud. 
But, the rain softens the ground and makes it a little easier now. 
Where's the Sun?  I heard that I'd be seeing it anytime now. 
Maybe there is no Sun.  Maybe I've been lied to.  Maybe it's all a lie. 
Maybe my struggle is in vain.  But, I've come so far in the journey. 
How can I turn back now?

 I'm closer to the surface than I realize. 
One more PUUUSH...  what?  I can feel it.  The
SUN







It's warm.   It's wonderful. The struggle
continues, but  I'm encouraged  to know
<  that I'm  on the right  track.  >
   I feel my leaves  open.
 feel  my petals
open.  
I
turn  
 my
he-
ad
to
the
Sun.
am
 beau-
tiful
>>
>.>
>>
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<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><<>

Uh, Excuse Me. There's A Fire In The Kitchen.

I don't remember all the events that lead up to it.  Was I cooking something?  Or, was my mom making dinner and walked away?  Who knows.  What I do remember were the flames that started to violently shoot out of the stove.  My parents were both upstairs and unaware of it all.  I wanted to take care of it myself, but please, be real Valerie.  You ain't no fireman.  My dilemma was, I didn't want to create panic in the house.  I was always a peace-maker -- never wanted to stir things up too much and upset people.  Keep the peace.  Problem was, in this case, there was no way around it.  I either sounded the alarm or our house would be on the 6 o'clock news! 

I went to the bottom of the steps.  "Uh, excuse me."  I said in a faint voice.  "Excuse me?"

No one heard me.  "Mom?  Excuse me." I said again politely.

"What is it, Valerie."

"I'm sorry... I...I don't mean to bother you...but there's a.... a fire in the kitchen."

Silence.

"WHAT??!!!" my mother screamed.

Their bedroom door flew open, and I never saw my mother move so fast in my life.  She shot down the steps with my step-dad tripping over himself behind her.  They both lassoed the fire under control in a matter of minutes. 

"Why didn't you run to get us, Valerie?" They questioned after the incident was over.

"Well.....I didn't want to upset you."


I still can be like that today -- not reacting at appropriate levels in a given situation.  Sometimes, I under-react, not giving enough of myself to attend to the matter at hand.  I'm like the polite fire alarm. Other times, I over-react to things that really don't need more than a glance toward it. 

It's a balance I am still trying to find.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Did I Just Say That??

About a year ago, I applied online with a company that is excellent in its field.  It would be a great career move for me to land a job with them.  I did my phone interview on Tuesday and they told me I would know more by the next day.  I don't remember, though, them telling me if they wanted me to call them or if I should wait on their call.  Wednesday came and by 3pm there was no word from them.  Being overly conscientious to make a good impression, I decided to just drop a follow up call to them.  The call went right to voice mail.  Usually, I like to run a small script through my head before I leave a message so I can be short and to the point with my words.  I didn't this time, so what came out was not rehearsed.  It went something like this: 

"Hi.  This is Valerie Bailey following up on my interview from yesterday.  I wasn't sure if you were waiting for my call, so I thought I'd give you a ring.  You can reach me at this number, but, ya know, don't bother calling me back anytime soon.  Thank you very much.  Bye-bye."  click.

I was frozen.

What did I just say? 

I rewound the tape in my head and played it back.  Did I just tell them to buzz off? 

oh, MY    GOSH!!

My thoughts accelerated and crescendoed in my mind... Do I call back?  Do I let it go?  Will I only sound more ridiculous if I try explaining myself over another voice message?  They don't know me.  They don't know that I can mix my words and thoughts and things come out wrong!  Can you get any more unprofessional, VALERIE?? 

I decided to go the safe route and email them.  I chuckled through the sentences as I tried to explain myself.  What I MEANT to say is, "I'm in no rush.  Call at your convenience."  What a difference in implication!

Thankfully, they found it to actually be amusing (phew!) and hired me in spite of seeing the foot in my mouth.

Next time, I will be more careful with how I say things.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Super Pickle!

Sea Cucumbers. 

I never heard of them until I looked over my 6 year old's shoulder to see a picture of it in her coloring book.

"What's that?" I asked.

"It's a Sea Cucumber, Mommy." she informed me.

My questioning continued.  "I never heard of such of thing.  Are they for real?" 

I went home and Googled and found that they are very much for real and live worldwide at the bottom of the sea and people even catch them and eat them!  I also read something amazing about these little vegetable-shaped creatures.  If I read it correctly, they apparently can LIQUEFY! 

Excuse me, say WHAT?

Yep, it seems they are the superhero-powered creatures of the sea.  Wikipedia tells us that the collagen that forms their body wall can be loosened and tightened at will.  So, if it wants to squeeze through a small gap, it can essentially liquefy its body and pour into the space.  And then, it can hook back all it's collagen fibers and make its body firm again to protect itself from the dark forces of evil around it! 

Well, you just go with your superhero self!

It was always my understanding that a living thing has a bodily structure. And, if that structure was completely compromised, the creature would be destroyed.  That's how I always believed, no one ever informed me differently, so therefore it was.  My mind didn't imagine or even think to imagine beyond that boundary of thought.  And, yet, here lies the sea cucumber, showing me what I thought to be impossible. 

I'd like to nickname this new superhero friend of mine.  I shall call him

Super Pickle

Gee, I wonder if there are any creatures
 that have lasers that come out of their eyes that I don't know about either?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Three-Legged Race

I remember, as a kid, looking forward to the annual neighborhood summer picnics. The whole community from around the lake seemed to be there; parents, children, grandparents.  It was like a family reunion, but everyone's families were there.  After you had your portion of burgers on the grill and soda on tap, the games began!  The field races were first, then the swim races in the lake.  I was no athlete but that didn't stop me from giving it try.  The top 3 winners got a ribbon with their name scribbled on it.  That was enough to motivate me!  Sign me up! 

The Potato Sack race was one of my favorites.  Just you and a bag.  The challenging game for me was always the Three-Legged Race.  Mostly, because I couldn't do it alone.  I had to partner with my older sister, who is naturally stronger and more agile than I.  As we tied the ropes around our legs, I knew my life was in her hands.  She was always a determined girl.  Strong and focused.  Truly, a get-it-done, no-one-can-stop-me kind of personality. Admirable traits.  Can't say I mirrored that as a kid.  I was the more cautious, gentler type. 

On your mark, get set, GO!  The race began and so did our eternal journey to the finish line.  My sister took off like a race horse, seeming to forget that I was attached to her body.  I tried to get in tempo with her pace, but her legs seemed to stretch farther and move faster than mine. 

"COME ON, VALERIE!" she yelled. 

"I'M TRYING!" I yelled back.

We just could not find our rhythm.  Other partners moved effortlessly passed us.  They looked experienced and skilled.  "How do they do that?" I thought, as I suddenly felt myself twist and hurl to the ground.

"Oh Gosh, Valerie! Stand up!  We're never gonna win." my sister snapped.  "Look people are already crossing the finish line!"

I wanted to win as much as she did.  But, I was weaker than her.  She had strong legs for the task.  It almost seemed better to just untie the rope on our legs and just let her run to the finish line herself.  But, of course, the rules wouldn't declare her a winner unless she had her partner with her.  Together we lose, together we win.  Either way, we were tied together.

I'm running a new race now with a partner that I tied the knot with almost 10 years ago.  Some days, it feels much like the race with my sister.  A tugging.  A pulling.  A wanting to work together, but not jiving with the other person's pace or rhythm.  Having the same goal, but being unable to get there.  Sometimes, it's me dragging him and demanding him to keep up.  Other days, it's him wondering if I even have the strength or endurance to make it to the finish line.  One thing I know for sure. 

Together we lose, together we win.  Either way, we are tied together.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The 7th Note

She was doing a beautiful job playing her song.  Every note was accurate and the timing was perfect - except when she got to measure 22.  She completely dismissed the left hand chord altogether. 

"Audrey, why didn't you play that chord?" I asked.

"I don't like it." she said. "It doesn't sound right and it makes me feel weird."

I looked closer.  It was a combination of the notes G-B-D-F. 

"Oh," I said, "that's a seventh chord.  It's supposed to sound dissonant.  It might feel weird for 2 beats, but look, it resolves at the next chord and then it will feel better."

She wasn't persuaded.  She grabbed her pencil and began scribbling out the F note (the 7th note) -- the part that caused the clashing sound in her ears.

I tried again.  "Audrey, that's part of what makes music beautiful and interesting-- the feeling of suspense and resolution; tension and release.  It's what adds flavor to what otherwise would seem ordinary.  It's part of the journey of the song."

I could hear my words bounce back at me off the wall.


How I hate the 7th note in life. 

Why can't everything just always work the way I want it to? And, why do some 7th notes seem to last so much longer than just 2 beats?  Where is the resolution??  Why can't everything in life be pleasantly harmonic? 

My husband loves the 7th note.
He doesn't mind the challenge.  To him, it becomes an adventure - something to mix life up bit.  Who wants to always be in the same old predictable progression and boring pattern anyway? 

Isn't the 7th note just part of the journey of the song?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Unspoken

There once was a father who had one son.  His wife had died while giving birth to his son, so the father was forced to raise the child by himself.  The father loved the son deeply and worked very hard to provide for him and give him the best childhood he could.  He did everything a father would do, as well as everything a mother would do.  He worked hard all day in the factory and then worked late into the night caring for what was needed to maintain the home.  He lived a sacrificial life for the sake of his son.

As the boy grew, he remembered the kindness of his father and was very thankful.  But, there was something that always bothered him.  He never remembered his father ever saying "I Love You".  It remained a mystery and wound in the man's heart well into his adult years.

One day, on a trip to visiting his father, the son found the strength to finally ask his father this very painful question.

"Father, why have you never told me you loved me?"

The father's heart sank.  He could not believe a question like that would even be posed.  After a long pause, the father took the son's hand and said, "Son, I never stopped saying it."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finding the Rainbow

I remember two specific times I saw a Rainbow. 

Both were when my family and I were traveling in our car.  One time, was when my husband and I were having a discussion about life and the future and our purpose here on planet earth.  I have to honest, it wasn't a feel-good conversation.  We were in a slump about things.  Questioning our worth, our contribution to society, the path we were on, etc.  At the height of our conversation, I could feel my heart sinking into a hole and my eyes begin to tear.  I couldn't deny the place of despair that I had gotten into, in general.  I was looking in the mirror at myself and didn't like what I saw. 

Then, I looked up. 

Cars were pulled to the side of the turnpike and I could see cameras flashing.  To my left was the biggest brightest fullest Rainbow I think the sky could ever give the earth.  We had to stop.  We had to take it in.  Our conversation ceased.  We stood in awe. 

The other time I saw a Rainbow was during the most uncomfortable car ride I had ever experienced in my life.  We were on a 5 hour ride, coming home from visiting relatives. My children were very young and on such a long car ride, I had to squeeze myself in the backseat of our small Ford Escort between both their car seats so I could care for them during the long ride.   It was on one of the hottest days of summer and we had no air conditioning in the car.  Suddenly it began to downpour.  We were forced to roll up our windows which, of course, caused our car to become a sauna on wheels.  Both girls started crying and wailing.  It really couldn't have gotten any worse, I thought...

 ...until the car accident.

Just a fender bender.  A result of hydro-planing.  Now we were at a stand still as my husband exchanged insurance information with the other driver.  My oldest child had to go to the bathroom, everyone was sweating and my legs started to fall asleep from being in such an awkward position for so long.  When would this trip end??  We started back down the road in search of a rest area.  The rain finally stopped. 

Then, we looked up. 

There it was, cascading down through the clouds of such a terrible storm.  A faint but beautiful Rainbow.  What an odd thing to see on such a terrible ride.  It seemed out of place at the moment.  I was in no sentimental state of mind.  But, there it was, regardless.  It's as if it waited for us to lift our eyes to see it smiling on us. 

I guess a Rainbow is like that.  It decides to show itself in moments we don't expect it in life. 

It's just waiting for us to

Look Up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Candy, Cake, and Consequences

Some days, there is just nothing else I want more than to indulge in a few snack-sized chocolates. 

Harmless really

except on those days that I also end up going to a birthday party and having salty chips and a piece of cake.  Then later, everyone in the house votes to get take-out for dinner. So, I skip my salad and also end up having soda instead of water to wash it down.  It's a series of little things that add up and show up... on the scale, on my complexion and in the form of moodiness. 

It's a picture to me how it is in life...little things that add up to bigger consequences. 

I heard of a lady once who drank one less sugar-filled soda a day for a year and lost 13 pounds!  I think of sea waves and how little by little they are able to erode big huge strong rocks on a mountain.  I think about my little prayers I pray as I wash dishes and the bigger consequences they must have that I am completely unaware of.  I think about my parenting and the little things I do or don't do that will affect my children down the road.  I think of my marriage, my finances, my health, my relationships and everything in between.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Me, The Splinter, and The Birds

I am enamored by birds.  I can't take my eyes off them when they fly...especially when they are all carpooling South.  Fascinating... the strength, the freedom, the care-free living, the sense of community, the gracefulness.  It's like they say to me, "Wanna come up here and join us?  It's where freedom lives and worry loses its foothold.  It's where Trust steps in, and Faith knows that the Wind is strong enough to hold you." 

But, I have a splinter. 

I didn't even realize it.  I just knew my hand was irritating me, but got so used to the irritation that I never really looked down to see what was bothering me.  It was on the side of my palm near my pinkie where I couldn't see it.  When I did realize it though, I was too busy to stop and take care of it.  So I lived with the irritation and the limitation.  I figured it would work it's way out on its own.  But, it didn't.  I couldn't ignore it anymore.  I had to stop and ask for help.  It took two minutes for my husband to gently remove it.  ahhhh... what freedom from something so small!  That's how worry can be.  (Or, really anything that bothers my heart can be.)  It keeps me from flying.  It's a constant nagging.  It steals my joy and peace.  I just need to slow down and let it be addressed.  Then, I'm able to take flight and

                                                                                                           invitation.

                                                                                         birds'
          
                                                                       the
                                                 accept

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Sofa

Hi.  It's me. 

I'm sitting on my Sofa.  It's my favorite place to be. 

The Sofa doesn't judge me.  It doesn't reject me if I have a hole in my sock. 

It's not offended if I fall asleep on it.

It's safe. 

It's comfortable.

And, I can be me.