Flying Nuggets

James is a logical mind and Madison’s Momma is a creative soul.  When God put that miracle baby in my belly, he made her special in more ways than one.  She is one of the very few people in this life that I have met that is both logical and creative.

James and I are the same in personality.  We like to be around people, but we are not extremely outgoing.  We like to go and do, with a premeditated plan.  We like time to do the things we do, laid back and low key.  And in our own way, we are each perfectionists.

Aside from personality, we are complete opposites.  James pays the bills, gets the oil changed, mows the lawn, solves Math problems, opens jars,  keeps everything, runs really fast, understands the engine in a car, can follow directions, manages people well, and reads manuals.

I, on the other hand, cook, vacuum, decorate, write poetry, change diapers, plant flowers, simplify closets, enjoy Yoga, wrap presents, host parties, journal, straighten my hair, write for sheer pleasure, shop for family Christmas presents, and cry during sweet commercials.

Bless the logical man that is madly in love with the artsy woman.  I love to decorate.  I love our home, but I am constantly making small little changes and discovering little (medium, or big) projects that I want to be done.  Example:  This last weekend, I decided that our brown wood table should really be chalky white.  The floors are a dark wood and the white would be a great popping contrast.  James concludes that the table functions just as it should, despite the color.  But, I know he loves me, because we loaded up the car and drove to an artsy little store that I adore.  (Yes, he hates.)  I picked out the color I wanted and James plops it down on the counter.  Being who he is, as he is handing over his payment, he adds to the cashier, I believe owner, “I am about to ruin a perfectly good table.”  I am sure that wasn’t the first time she heard that.

My amazing husband painted the table.  And it looks incredible!  Thank you babe!

So, what happens when us two folks have a baby?  We spend more money than we should on two Leopard Geckos, one fat guinea pig, a wandering kitty cat, and a fat lazy rescued dog.  We explain things to her using Science books.  She loves to go to work with her Daddy.  And she needs to understand things to accept them.  Like her Daddy.  But, when she is supposed to be asleep at 10:30 and her parents go to check on her, she has a flashlight and can’t put down “Little Princess.”  And when she is supposed to be brushing her teeth, I find her laboring away, scratching her pencil against page four of her new story she was suddenly inspired to write.  I can’t stop her because I know the feeling, being inspired with a story is not something you chose.  So, I let her scribble away and then proudly read her new story to me.  And the title, you got it, “Flying Nuggets.”

Conveying and sharing life, for the same reason that I read novels and biographies, we all love a story and we all know that other type:  Logical or Creative.  And as I want to know and love my family, so do you, and we are in this thing called LIFE together, however we approach it.

Eternity

The coolness of white sheets welcome me. With anticipation I sit upon the bed, swinging my legs from the day’s work into the night’s rest. Tilting, my hair falls away from my shoulders toward my pillow. Plushness caving as I rest my head upon the pillow’s welcome. The heaviness of the covers cradle my body telling me I am safe. Sinking, sinking, into a night’s dream. In peace, I lie down and sleep.

The coffin is my resting place. The funeral ceremony is not for me. With anticipation, after a life’s work climbing into rest. Tilting, upward now, my soul flies away from my body. Dirt covers me like a blanket. Flowers grow in my memory, of a world spinning on and a reminder of something more than this now. Sinking, sinking, into eternal rest. “In peace, I lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

What is Christianity?

THE CROSS. Period.  Lead me to the cross, that is where my Savior died for me.

Grace. The cross is grace. God Almighty’s undeserving love for me.  In a sermon, with close friends, the music I listen to, love of my husband, parenting books, chosing a church POINT ME TO THE CROSS!  Because there I am saved.

I KNOW MY GOD!  Rationalize and protest, write and speak, try your best to convince me otherwise, but please realize something, those that argue God away do not know him.  I am not speaking religiously, I am not saying that they have not converted to Christianity, I am saying that they have not met the God that I have met.

When James and I were dating, others tried to convince us that our love would not last.  (I am not sure why someone would try to do that, but they did.)  Here, we are almost thirteen years into marriage and not only has it lasted, it has grown.  I love James more today than those early years when I stared at him with googley eyes.  We have been together through death of loved ones, the birth of a baby, the changing of jobs, moving and moving again (and again), we have fought and we have made up, we have forgiven and been forgiven, we have chosen the other when it is hard, and we have made a life and a dream unravel, we have become one.

Throughout my childhood, people would try to convince me that my God was not real.  (I am not sure why someone would try to do that, but they did.)  Now, I am almost 34 and something has happened, our relationship is deeper and I love my Savior more than ever!  I have been so angry that I have turned away and then I have cried in his lap because he was still there loving me, I have held his hand through my cancer journey, I have praised him in the miracle of my daughter, I have delighted in new ways in his Word.  I have chosen his way and not my own and I have praised him for his blessings.

Jesus has been with me through this journey of life, but I turn, I walk up a hill.  I see a man bleeding on a cross and I see my debt paid and my sins forgiven.  I see a miracle and I see my God conquer death and win the victory over sin and suffering forever.  I see a perfect Heaven and the life I was made for waiting for me.  Lead me to the cross, lead me to Glory, lead me to grace, lead me to Jesus, my heart’s desire for eternity.

Creatures of What Comes Easy

I am an overall healthy eater. When I first read about the military diet, I was a sceptic. “Lose up to ten pounds in three days,” was translated, to me, that if you are a hundred pounds overweight and live off cheeseburgers and coke, then you could possibly lose ten pounds. Living my life sugar-free and limiting the grease, I figured I had already made those changes. 

For some reason, I kept reading the article and I confirmed, “no way!” One slice of toast and a boiled egg for lunch?  Not the diet for me!  That sounds….HUNGRY!

But I have this problem, it is called a human body. I want to be healthy and I want to look my best in summer clothes, and as the days get warmer and warmer, I wanted to make some improvements. I needed something extreme. What is more extreme than the military?

So, I gave the diet a second glance and considered it. (I preface diets by saying that I believe in a lifestyle not a diet, per say, but sometimes I do believe in a cleansing to boost to the next level. So, from now on, read the word “diet” as “cleansing.”) I gave the diet a second glance and I took it to the expert….my sister. 

So, Ellie and I decided:  Three days?  We can do anything for three days!  

Here we are, two days down and on the last day of the military diet. And I have already lost FIVE POUNDS!  Five pounds in two days ain’t too shabby!  I am spending the last day crying and starving with my sister…I mean laughing and talking about how easy this diet is. 

When those extra five pounds poke through my outfit and torture me day after day and month after month, WHY IS A THREE DAY DIET SO HARD?!  Because I LIKE EASY! 

I like the easy road, the life of comfort, the all you can eat buffet and the fat wallet!

But the older I get (and I’m not THAT old yet) or the more mature I get or the more God graciously gives me a little more wisdom, I see that that Easy Path ain’t going where I want to go. And when I look at what I want my finished product to be, I’m talking of the physical and spiritual, it is a little bit of an upward climb.

So, here is to one more day of not eating what I WANT to, and just a little bit of that, and here’s to thinking of something other than what I WANT, because honestly the here and now desires most often lead astray. 

I want to be healthy more than I want comfort. I want to give more than I want to receive. Give me eternity vs. the here and now.  And I value a challenge more than fading pleasures. 

David of Agony

There is no greater agony than having your own child turn against you. There are so many qualities that I admire about King David!  Faith and courage to stand before a giant, compassion on King Saul after the king tried to kill him, a great musician, beautiful writer of the Psalms, a lover…the list goes on and on, what an amazing man and what an exciting life!  

But could “incredible father” be added to the list?  Perhaps it could. There are many children that chose the wrong road even when excellence was modeled to them.  I don’t know.  

But David!  The man we teach in Sunday School, the handsome warrior in the Bible, what a tragedy, what a broken heart that I do not envy!  His own son, Absalom, turned on him and tried to kill him. 

Christians are not free of hurt.  We are not promised a life of luxury. Why do so many turn away from God when life gets hard?  Why does the world observe suffering and conclude, “There is no God.”  David, the man of many sorrows proclaimed, “I call out to the Lord and he answers me.”  

More than imitating the David standing before Goliath or the king of prosperity, I want to remember and imitate the David that knew who God was and called out to him, even during overwhelming tragedy. 

“The Lord sustains me.”

Claiming My Inheritance

Terror reigns in kingdoms. Insurgent kings conspire, they delay their differences to join together. They plot the destruction of peace. 
But my God laughs at them. Their reign is of this earth. Oh small earth in the galaxy. You are as proud ants that conquer a molehill. My God laughs and steps on them. 

And the God of the cells, God over all the earth, the God of the planets, the  King that can not be contained in the billions of the galaxies, he looks at me and proclaims:

You are my daughter. My eye is set on you like a Father admires their newborn babe. I will protect you as a Daddy with a dating daughter, I will spoil you as a proud grandparent.  All I have is your’s.  Just ask and I will give it.  I delight in you. 

Listen you evil doers, do no mess with this one. This child is mine. I have let the rain fall on you and the sun separate your days. I allow the food to grow in your path and keep the animals from devouring you, but if you want a demonstration on my power, go ahead, to Me, your destruction is child’s play. 

The Comfortable

The future nauseated my frantic search.  All the people I knew, or had ever met, gathered there in that seemingly small but never ending house.  Ignorant of the yard or what was beyond its reach, but the shades were pulled and I did not dare draw them back.

Trying not to create a stir, I casually traveled from person to person inquiring about the final test.  With a turn of their head, I was given a quick explanation of the ease.  And yet with the simple explanations, I could not bring myself to understand.  Upon my further questioning, a hand was blown through the air, a smile crossed their lips and I was told not to worry of the coming simplicity that would all make sense in time.

Not knowing what to expect in anything beyond these borders, I ran, pushing through the crowd collecting, dressing, and preparing.  Pushing through a group, I stopped to inquire if they drank, seeking to calm my nerves.  A stern answer assured me of their keeping far from what I sought.

Rushing, rushing on.  He had arrived.  They never thought he could.  Thought their isolation was insured.  Somehow it was known that his presence was just outside the door.

I grabbed the baby and ran, knowing I would pass him, right out the front door.  He was short and pudgy but I was terrified, not of him but of the tall darkness that stretched past the sky with looming red eyes.  That power was in him.

I tried to fly with the jetpack I had accumulated, seeing it as useless, knowing I was caught, but taking one more step and one more.  I felt like I was being pursued and sure at each step the baby and I would be taken.

Noticing my surroundings, we were surrounded by a blizzard.  Tall, massive peaks surrounded me.  Not knowing how I would survive, I ran to them for refuge.

There was no door, but somehow I entered, I ran through the living room to another door with a down traveling hallway, and another and another until I reached a room with a crackling fire.  A young girl stood and greeted me with a smile and her finger pressed to her lips.  She was standing beside an easel, upon it was written, “silence” and I read the foreign tongue in English and then saw it revert back to it’s native foreign language.  I knew I was not safe, but I was hidden for a little while.

And then I was awoken.  But I think that I live.  I live surrounded by my dream.

I am Not Me

Fashion waxes and wanes, the memories of trends captured in pictures.  Pictures taken from a camera, not a phone.  The comfort of childhood clothes, a closet full of my profession, maternity pants, weight gained and weight lost.  My dress is admired or my outfit is sloppy.  The daily additions and cancelations, I take them off and I put them on.  The differences because of a choice of clothes that people see in me.

The mirror tells the truth of lines that once were not there.  My grandmother in heaven is remembered by her voice calling out my young pudgy tummy.  Baby fat now carries a new meaning.  My tattoos are scars, they each have a story.  Some written and shared, others written on my heart.  This body grows and this body changes.  Memories of who I used to be.  Simple things accomplished that now can not be repeated.  I just tell of them, of the body that was attached to me.

To the man that looks approvingly or the lady that judges me.  I speak to people that are my friends and that are my enemies.  What you see is not.  It is not me.  It changes daily.  Slowly growing and fading, the debt of humanity.  Your dirty smile or your nose turned up goes unnoticed to me because in simple changes that mean nothing at all, your expression would change toward me.

I take off the years like a sweater and my hair will fade to gray like the taking off and putting on of earrings.  Shoes changed is my health fading.  A belt applied is the years passing by.  My body changes like my wardrobe.  But, what you see is not.  It is not me.

Judge me by my character.  The ease of the first glance does not do justice to the soul’s stance.  Let’s be friends and chat and smile and cry. Let’s live before we die.  Because living is forever but this body is and never will be me.  My soul will live for eternity.

Psalm 1

I want joy, not happiness. Forever, not temporary. I want joy because the wicked man speaks and I do not listen. I see the error of his ways. Oh Lord, give me joy. 

When it turns to gossip, as it always does, oh Lord show me the way!  I want to build up, not tear down. I don’t have to insult to build up. Oh Lord, show me your way!

Like a love letter, I delight in your words. I hold them to my chest and I can’t wipe this smile off my face. I can’t get enough, it is never enough, all I want is you. Lord, all I want is you.

Make me like a tree, planted firm along the riverbank. Give me abundant fruit, pleantiful and never ceasing. I will drink of your eternal water and my leaves will never cease.  Oh Lord, make me a tree. 

I Am Wrong

Somewhere around five years ago, James and I set our minds on buying a leather couch. I had a little bitty budget that I wanted to spend and unrealistic expectations on what I could get. Routinely, I scanned Craigslist and was discovering that I had set the bar a little too high.  Perhaps, our old couch would have to do for a while longer. 

And then it happened, like the ad was shining and glittery and playing angelic music, I found it. The couch. It was exactly what I wanted for exactly my budget. It had to be a typo or a scam, it was a little too good to be true.  But I am a sucker for these kind of things, so I gave the number a call.

Nope, it hadn’t sold yet. Yep, he was available that afternoon. So, a few hours later, I loaded up toddler Madison and dragged along husband James (poor guy with a logical brain that falls in love with a dreamer like me.)

On the short drive, Madison fell asleep, so we were the kind of dorks that do things like this:  James “went in” first to scope out the safety situation and returned to watch the baby. Next, I knocked on the door to give the fashion approval.  James would return to break the deal. That is pretty much how we operate. 

Well, approximately two minutes later, I return to the car decorated in a huge silly grin, “I bought it.”

“Huh?”  I had overstepped boundaries, James is the final deal maker.

So I explained the situation:  the couch was perfect. In fact, it was a practically brand new $1,500 couch and the guy was asking $400.  Yes, I was going to buy it. I was already thrilled about the situation. But just because I am American and good enough is never good enough, I just have to ask, “Will you take anything less?”  And I waited for the guy to tell me to leave for being rude, insulting, and ungrateful of a good deal when I see one.

But he pauses and smiles at me like I am his daughter that he can’t tell no, “Sure, I’ll take $300.”  If I had the strength, I would have grabbed the couch and ran at that point, but the man is not done yet, “No…” And damnit, I should have grabbed the thing and ran while I could, sure he was changing his mind, but he continues, “No…I’ll take $250.” (!!!)

At that point, I felt a little obligated to explain Math to him, “Dude, you just dealt in the wrong direction.”

I smiled, offered my many thanks and walked away with the furniture I wanted and a little extra cash. 

I love the story, but I am just like that man, almost every single day. There is something that comes with proclaiming the truth, people want to debate. But it goes a little like this with me:

Person:  You call yourself a Christian?  Well, You are a sinner!  Me: oh yes!  The very worst!

Person:  Well, Jesus said to give all your stuff to the poor!  Me:  I know.  I should do that. I really suck!

Person:  Yeah?  Well, the church is a bunch of hypocrites!  Me:  oh, much worse!  They are liars, cheats, murderers….much worse than hypocrites!

Person:  I am my own god. Nobody tells me what to do.  Me:  I suck as a god!  Glad you have it all figured out because I am really screwed up!

Ya see, being a Christian is not about winning the debate or having a clean house or a new car or well behaved children or going to a Wednesday morning Bible study. It looks more like the outcast guy scraping the bloody man up off the pavement and taking him to the hospital, it looks more like the Mommy sitting with her eight year old for the tenth time in one day and apologizing that Mommy is a sinner, it is more like the woman dragged into the streets and having her tongue cut out by her brother because she rejected the family faith and gave her life to Jesus. 

So, in this debate, before you even say it, I confess I AM WRONG but the only hope is JESUS IS RIGHT.