Naked People in Heaven

Instant bad mood.  I search around for my screaming phone on the floor under my bed.  The damn alarm clock continues to scream at the top of its lungs.  Slowly gaining control of my sleeping body, I step out of bed, pick up my phone and turn off the alarm.  The pain of waking up.  In heaven, I will roll over and enjoy the waking up process just as much as snuggling into bed and drifting off to sleep.  (That is if we sleep in heaven.)

My world runs about me in fast forward.  Honking impatiently at the slow moving car, spending what we don’t have for the newest item that hits the shelves, driving around our children to some place other than home.  Why do I join the insanity of the crowd?  I do believe in busying oneself with hard work, but that is not what is happening here.  We are all consumed with what does not matter.

Now.  What we want is now.  The admiring stares of those we don’t know.  Now.  The praise of what drives us around.  Now.  Winners of the race.  Packed pantries to overflowing.  Fashonable jewelry on our bodies and extra in the closet.  Fancy modern restaurants.  Everything that our neighbors have.  Our neighbors that we want to be like, not the ones outside of our neighborhood.

But all we think about is now and we laugh at anyone that suggests otherwise.

Ted Turner is famous for a lot of things, one of them is stating what is on his mind.  Hey, I can respect that.  He likes to chose his words so that other people listen.  He doesn’t just fit into the crowd.  I respect that also.  But I wish that someone would tell him, and a whole lot of the rest of the world, that they are on the wrong train.  When Turner quoted, “I’d rather go to hell.  Heaven has got to be boring.”  I wish someone would have asked him, “What do you want most in life?”….”It will be in heaven.”

Heaven is better than being a billionaire.  There is money to spare, Hey, let’s pave these streets with gold.  Heaven is better than pornography!  THERE WILL BE PERFECT BODIES WALKING AROUND NAKED!  And it will be a good thing!  No one will be embarrassed!  (There will be no sin in heaven.  Pornography is a destructive, cruel sin.  The point is, naked bodies will be good….and everywhere.)  Heaven is better than Hawaii.  All the food will be paid in full!  Heaven is better than Christmas!  That baby Jesus, he will be with us!  It doesn’t sound boring to me!

And what will not be in heaven?  Babies without mommies.  Wheelchairs won’t be needed in heaven, or medicine, or hospitals.  There will not be divorce, no one’s heart will be broken.  What have you been through?  What hurts?  What tugs at your heart and makes you cry out, “That is not right!”  God will end it.  He will make all the wrongs undone and he will wipe away that tear.

“Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we want is coming.”  Tim Keller.

So, look at this world.  Read the Bible.  Take a look at what is good in this world.  LORD, FIX MY PRIORITIES!  SET MY MIND ON THINGS ETERNAL!  Get ready.  It is going to be the best party of all of eternity.  Don’t throw away your invitation.

Oh, I Am So Sorry. Please Excuse My Oh So Messed Up Body

This article was published in my book, Beautiful Life with Cancer, Hope During the Hard Times in December 2014.

As I lay down in my bed, I am out.  I almost always hit the pillow and it takes me about three minutes and I am asleep.  Often times, parents of little babies and young children teach them bedtime by setting a routine.  Baby gets a bath, read to them, sing one song, and hugs and kisses.  Well, (you can call me weird but I already know that) but I believe I have done this with myself.  Ofcourse I have the getting ready process.  I will spare you that.  It is not as simple and soothing as the baby’s routine.  But I hit the pillow and I start running a list through my head.  My two most popular lists:  1.  What are the decoration changes that I want to make to my house?  2.  What would I change about myself?  Fifteen.  No fourteen.  There are fourteen things I would change.

1. I wish my hair was a little thicker.  2.  No contacts.  Perfect vision would be nice.  3.  No scars around my neck.  4.  No itchy back.  That is right.  No itchy back.  See…I am the lucky one million billion that has a rare condition within a rare condition of MEN2A in which my body deposits protein on the top of my back.  It drives me insane!  It itches all the time.  All the time!  Almost daily, I scratch it until it bleeds.  I have done this since I was a baby.  I wish I did not have that.  5.  Stronger arms.  I work on it.  I do.  I go to the gym when I can and lift weights or as of now, or recently, I have been trying Yoga.  But I’ve been a little weak lately so I don’t push it by going to the gym.  So, I wish I wash’t sick. Wish I could go to the gym.  And wish I had stronger arms.  6.  No scars on my stomach.  7.  No stretch marks.  Nah.  I look at those and wish they weren’t there and then I remember why I have them.  Actually, call me crazy, I’ll keep those.  Worth the memory.  So, 7.  Thinner legs.  (Reinsert gym explanation here and add to it that I do not eat sugar.  Ok.  Yes, I do eat fruit.  And yes, I know that carbs turn to sugar in my body.  Restate that.  I do not eat desserts.  Why?  There is one reason to eat desserts:  They taste good.  There are four reasons not to:  sugar makes me gain weight, not good for my teeth, makes me, and everyone, sick more often by weakening my immune system, and lowers my energy.  Yes, that was absolutely too much to say within parenthesis.)  8.  Perfect teeth.  I hope you think my teeth look perfect, but the front two have crowns from chipping them on the swimming pool.  9.  No veins on my legs.  10.  Better singing voice.  (If I could insert a clip of me singing here, you would agree.)  11.  No scar on the back of my leg.  13.  No Addison’s Disease.  14.  No cancer.

There is my list.  Sure.  Everybody has a list.  But I do try to be really content with my body, but these are the things that I hate.  I really do hate.  And about 12 out of 14, at least, are here for life.  Nothing I can do about it.  About half of these nobody sees.  And the other half, I try to hide most of the time.  Prime example:  You will not find me in any singing group or trying out for American Idol.  But, I go to buy life insurance, and I can’t.  I go to the doctor for allergies and I have to continue my medication list on the back because it won’t all fit in the lines provided, and then the doctor wants to send me for scans and tests and chat extra long because of my history, but excuse me doctor, I have a sinus infection.  But they don’t want to give me anything for that.  And then I go to pick up Prednisone at the pharmacy for the one hundredth time in a row and the pharmacist feels the need to tell me that I shouldn’t take so much because of the side effects.  Thank you, I know them well.  But the alternative isn’t so good.  It’s death.  And then I read an article in the newspaper in the medical section from a doctor that says no one can survive with both their adrenal glands removed.  Well, he should do some research, or I should introduce myself because I am going on ten years now.

I try to find light in my rare condition.  It is a little neat when the student intern at Duke is so excited over meeting me and reviewing my case that he can not hide his excited giddiness.  It is kinda cool to be able to carry on a medical conversation, using all the right jargon, with friends that are doctors and surgeons, but If I got to pick, I would choose a different claim to fame.  What can I really do with, “a really extremely rare form of MEN2A” and always being the exception even within the rules of the disease?  Pretty cool to be the exception in the medical handbook or the specialists’ conference?  Ehh.

Well, I am asleep by now and I never go through the explanations with myself while I am laying in bed.  But if I didn’t have that, I’d be pretty pleased with myself.  If I didn’t have all of that, it’d be great to sit up in the morning and be able to see what’s going on without popping in those contacts.  And I’d probably join some band, just for the fun of it.  And I’d sing to more people than just my seven year old.  And my husband.  And my sisters.  And anyone else I get comfortable with.  And anyone else who is around after I’ve had a drink or two.  And I’d wear skirts, not just in the summer time when I’m outside, but also when it is a little chilly outside in the Fall to show off my legs.  And I would be in and out of the doctor’s office with my sinus infection medicine.  And I wouldn’t always scratch my damn back.  And who knows?  Maybe I would be a whole lot less content.  And maybe I would have less joy.  And maybe I wouldn’t appreciate my family and the days that I’ve got.  Because it isn’t really myself that makes me happy anyway.  So, ehh, I’ll just keep it all.  So, I am oh so sorry.  Please exude my oh so messed up body.  That’s just me.

Caroline is published!  I have entered my novel into a contest and for a short time you can download it for the low cost of FREE!  Please click on the link below to read the book Spiritual Flesh and Blood for free, which also gives me one vote when you download.  THANK YOU!

http://freeditorial.com/en/books/spiritual-flesh-and-blood

Comfort in Nothing

Six year old Caroline tossed and turned in bed. The closet light was left on, the closet light was always left on. I heard a sound. A creak of the floor in the hallway. Probably my older sister was doubtless still awake.  But what if it wasn’t?  What if it was someone coming …someone coming for ME?  

What if it was Nazis?  What if the Nazis were coming to take me to a camp, a torture camp?  Or what if it was Freddy Krueger and his knife nails?  I had never seen the movie, but I knew he was something to be feared. 

That pretty much summed it up. The fears of my six year old life, Nazis and Freddy Krueger. But I was scared, I was TERRIFIED!  

How?  How could I escape them?  When they did, as they surely would, come for me, how could I escape?  I was pretty sure climbing into the attic would do the trick, but there just wasn’t the time. And besides, how would I hide the ladder that was needed to reach those heights?  Maybe if I punched them in the nose?  I saw that once on an Oprah episode my mom was watching, punch them in the nose and break it. That would work for Freddy, but the Nazis, they traveled in groups. I just couldn’t break all those noses. 

And then there was a lightbulb, a bright light from heaven shone into my brilliant mind. 

As a child we had a “bucket,” a small wooden container that my parents kept extra change in. Occasionally, I could reach my little hands into that pot of gold and draw out fifty cents. Fifty glorious cents to buy an ice cream at school. 

And there was my answer. If those damn Nazis came for me, I would tell them, “If you let me go, I will tell you where our money is.”  

I saw their conniving faces taking the bait. I saw them chosing those glorious riches over me. I saw the success of my plan. And I rolled over and I fell asleep. 

Miracles are not Enough

My feet are sore, so much walking and I have no shoes. Walking on the desert sand with blistered feet, I can think of nothing more painful. At least in Egypt I had shoes. 

I scan my setting, three children lay napping before me. I am glad they are sleeping. I try so hard to stay cheerful for them, but they have long ago given up also. Who could blame us?  No shelter from this blazing heat and so much, so much walking. 

We had been slaves. In those days, one thing was talked about: freedom. But was this what we had long desired?  

When the plagues cursed Egypt, we praised God for his mighty deliverance, for fighting and persevering for us. Miriam led us in a song of thanksgiving. But I have quit singing and the tune is no longer heard. A new voice rises, a song of complaint. A song of entitlement. The voice of ME. 

We were hungry. Did we not think of food as we marched away from Egypt?  God had provided manna. Sweet manna from Heaven. The clouds were raining food. But I have grown tired of manna. I want meat. 

And when we were hungry, God provided fresh water from a rock.  I have seen miracles with my own eyes. But that was yesterday. God, do you care about me today?  Here is what I want today. Today. 

We look back and we condemn them, the Israelites. They had seen the mighty hand of God. They walked on dry land through the Red Sea as the waters raised high above them but did not obey gravity. They had been delivered from bondage, provided food, and they still wanted more. But the tale lives on. 

Just a few hundred years ago, America won an impossible war. We gained independence from the most powerful country in the world. Our forefathers gaining the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the pursuit of happiness, the American Dream. Miracles all around us, delivering and providing. But they are miracles of yesterday. It is not enough. 

We want riches at no cost. We sin demanding no consequence. Comfort is supreme God. How dare anyone speak truth!  There is no God that provides or loves or cares but He is to be blamed for any hurt or destruction. 

We mock them and we condemn them as we live luxurious lives, crying out once again to see a miracle from the God we doubt. 

Christmas Haiku

In the manger lay,
The King of Kings, Lord of Lords,
sing, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I wish I could have been there for that first birthday!  What a celebration!  The invitation was announced by angels.  Please Please tell me that is not awesome!  I love to plan and throw a big party, it doesn’t get any better than that!  His birth was announced by angels!

Baby Jesus was born of a virgin.  The only one.  Ever.  That has never happened before….I don’t think will ever happen again.  A virgin.  “I am God.  I can break the rules of Science.  Miracle here and now.  Happening.”

There was no room for them in the inn.  Wow!  I like to think of famous people before they were famous and some of the ways that they were treated.  If you were that guy that turned away Johnny Cash.  Ouch!  Just think of him roaming the streets needing a job.  He was Johnny Cash!  Abraham Lincoln.  Defeated for state legislature and house speaker and US Congress AND US Senate.  Really?!  Who didn’t vote for Lincoln?!  So, imagine being the owner of the inn.  You just turned away the God of the universe!  “Sorry, no room for God here.”  Ohh ouch to be that guy!

Do you think they worried?  Mary and Joseph?  I am a mom, I would have.  It would have been ugly.  Caroline breakdown:  I am pregnant.  I am tired.  I need a clean place to have this baby.  This is not what I planned!  BUT!  I have never had an angel appear to me and I have never had a virgin pregnancy SO, I think (I hope) it was overridden.  With all the miracles they had seen, getting a place to stay, not really that big of a deal!

A bloodthirsty king set on murdering their baby.  Getting up in the middle of the night and traveling with an infant.  A new couple, just had a baby, fleeing in the night.  It is the craziest stage for the arrival of the most important king of all time!

Yes!  That is my God!  It is the best story!  Christmas is the biggest celebration!  The God that made this whole entire world being born of (most likely according to history) a teenager and laid where the animals would eat.  That is the story that will never get old!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!