Hazy City

Haze settled on the city, promising another blazing hot day. The front lawn had a sprinkling of brown straw that could not be quenched with the sprinkler, it needed the rain, an intense summer storm to pour forth from the clouds. 

Haze settled into my heart. My to do list played through my mind. Putting it all onto a list and counting up the hours, it was too much to accomplish within one day. An extra cup of coffee could not clear my foggy brain. 

Devotions. Bible reading was not found on my check off list. I clicked into my Bible ap, the chapter I am slowly memorizing. Psalm 18. The Lord is my rock. The sky parted and the rain poured forth. It soaked and saturated my day, returning the grass to green, the flowers to their bright brilliance, and then the yellow sun shone in the clear blue sky. 

Hard work. Clear mind. God’s purpose. His will and not my own. I’ve got this, better yet, He’s got this day. 

I Went to Church at Sea World

The blazing heat could not keep the crowd away.  People from every life story packed in to the non airconditioned amphitheater waiting for the show to begin. 

And the show did not disappoint!  Life paused and proceeded in slow motion as I observed the tricks that Shamu had been taught. She could wave her flipper and shake her head at the correct time to answer questions, she splashed the water soaking the crowd, and beached herself onto the platform. Amazing observation of human training!  However, the big THAT DIDN’T MATTER, but if you took away all the training, when the massive creature soared into the air, and I observed her black sleek, beautiful body, God said to me, “I made that.”

The music was classical and intense, but to me it was praise and worship. MY GOD MADE THAT!  The announcer never turned to the crowd and said, “I would like to thank Jesus Christ. This show would not be possible without him. Let’s give him a round of applause for creating the orca!”

BUT HE DID!  And as I observe magnificent animals and as I live and love this creation and as I applaud, may I always remember this is my Father’s world and the beauty of creation is just the beginning of his handiwork….get ready for the real show!  

This world is amazing and will pack crowds in to see the show, but it has its flaws. The mass is still entering the doors, the intro music is playing. The lights dim and the curtain is cued to open. Get ready!  The real show is about to begin!

Beautiful Scars

By far, one of the coolest things she has ever done, my eight year old just had the experience of swimming with dolphins. She is a fish herself and she is at home in the water wih animals. The trainer started with a few facts about the beautiful animals and then she said something that stuck with me, “Do you see these scars covering her neck?  Well, I don’t feel sorry for her. This means she played with other dolphins, she was well socialized.  It is the dolphin with no scars that I am sorry for.”

I have been to a few funerals in my life. They vary so greatly. Do you see the man laying in the casket?  He is my grandfather. Do you see the wrinkles in his face?  I do not feel sorry for him. It is a time of peace. He lived a long life. The wrinkles mean he lived. And I know he lived well and now he is in eternal perfection with his maker. Oh beautiful wrinkles!  It is the funeral of the babe with smooth plump skin that I mourn. 

Do you see the scar on my neck, the scars on my stomach?  Do not look upon the scratched up dolphin and the wrinkled man and give pity, my scars mean I am alive!  I have beaten Cancer!  I have a story to share, He saved me!  The Cancer ribbon is not for me, I am a survivor!  Oh the beauty of my scars!

So…That Happened

As a writer, I am deep, going to those places of those questions that are usually avoided. But umm…well…

I have this quality about me, when I laugh, I cry. Easy for me to laugh until I cry. I pretty much just have to giggle slightly and I have tears streaming down my face. Well, that happened. 

On vacation, at a hotel, and the front desk got this call from one of their rooms…not saying it was our room…just A room. 

“Hello, front desk. How can I help you?”

“Our AC is not cooling the room.”

“So sorry, we will send someone up.”

Kind AC man fixed it in under three minutes and then turned and inquired, “Is there anything else I can get for you?”

“Yes, my wife would like a blanket please.”

The things James…I mean, the husband in THAT room does for his wife!  

Yep, right after asking for our AC to be fixed, he asked for a blanket for me…I can’t sleep without a blanket. …and I cry when I laugh. …and now they think the people in THAT room are crazy!

Completely Unrelated, God Gave Me

Fifteen year old Caroline’s main concern was spending as much time in the water as possible, the summer of 1996. God made the water for me. 

My throat had a little tickle that was beginning to get annoying. I was a little surprised that my mom made a doctor appointment because of a slight discomfort, but we had plans of travel and she wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaving with the beginnings of strep. 

Being me. I was then the child. I would have preferred to get up and leave. I would take the sore throat over the discomfort of the exam. The nurse stuck that popsicle stick half way down my throat and then scolded me for gagging. The doctor came in to say hello.  Being one of eight children, my family was a good set of clients to have. He chatted and quickly examined my neck. 

Unrelated, he felt a little lump. “Probably nothing. Go to the beach. Have fun. Come see me again when you get back.”

It was cancer.  

Summer Promises

The gray has turned green and yellow.  The sun is so hot, I pulled out the sprinkler to water my newly planted flowers. Madison put on her bathing suit and ran over the grass with the water falling down on her. I love summer nature!

Being outside makes our bellies hungry and we slice open a fresh watermelon. Fire up the grill, pop open a drink, and slice up some summer veggies. My girl and I will hold a contest to see who is the fastest at shucking corn and we will have to shoo away Tucker (our doggie) who would like to participate and snatch an ear of corn. I love summer food!

Two more days of school!  Two more days of waking up at 6:15.  I will set the alarm for an hour later, or maybe a little more. I will roll out of bed and grab a throw and a fresh cup of coffee and sit and write. My sleepyhead will join me just a little later and we will sit and cuddle. When we chat a bit and begin to wake up and plan our day, we will make some pancakes. I will add bananas to mine.  She will take her’s plain.  I love summer mornings!

Pretty soon I will write about late nights watching fireworks, summer weddings and my crazy dance moves, the perfection of a fire pit and a backyard full of cousins, and Madison swimming with dolphins!  The dates are set, family awaits our travel, it’s going to be a celebration to write about!  I love summer promises!

Satan’s Greatest Lie is That Sin Keeps Christians From God

What is the barrier between us and anything of value?  THE PRICE. I see an expensive, designer made, sparkley, super hot shirt hanging in the mall, what keeps it from being mine?  PAYING THE PRICE.  My girl drools over the newest Build A Bear addition, why can’t she just walk away with it?  THE PRICE MUST BE PAID. A brand new house stands on a ten acre lot, upgrades throughout, marble entry, fountain into the pool, detached five car garage. Sitting there waiting, just waiting for someone to move in and make it a home. Everyone wants it, everyone loves it. What will it take?  PAYING THE PRICE. 

One beautiful summer day, I changed my girl into her swim suit, packed some essentials and we headed to a local water spot. The city designed a long flight of stairs in the middle of the city with water flowing over them. On a hot day in July, hundreds of children gather and splash and play. Slip on sunglasses, lather sunscreen, playing commences. After the initial energy is used up, I spread a towel for Madison to sit beside me. I pull out two lunches and we have a little picnic. And then for the grand finale, a Tootsie Pop appears. Shouts of glee and happiness follow. This is her version of the perfect moment. The lollipop is popped into her mouth. But then, all of the sudden, from the throng of children, a face appears.  “I want a sucker.”  The voice demands.  I understand childhood plees and respond, “Oh sorry sweetheart. That is the only one.”  I am a bit shocked with the tantrum and stamped feet that march away complaining. Now, without going too far with my imperfect analogy, there are two things that I want to point out. One, the treat belonged to this certain child because she was my child. I did not scan the audience for the best behaved child. I did not look for the hungriest child. I handed it to MY child. I had prepared that surprise in advance for MY child. Secondly, the Bible tells us to be like children. CHILDREN ACCEPT. When Madison saw me pull out that tootsie pop, it was her’s. She did not say, “Mom, let me first earn this.  Watch me be kind to all the children here and then you can give it to me.”  She did not say, “Wait. I can pay for this. Let’s go home and get the money out of my piggy bank.”  NO!  She took it and enjoyed it as a gift.  

Now. I love my girl. I love my daughter no matter what. Why do I love her?  Because she is mine!  She can make perfect grades, be a sweet friend, give her all in sports, and sleep in on Saturdays and I will love her. She can struggle and flop out of school, be selfish, unkind, lack ambition, wake me up at 4 am, and spill my coffee and SHE WILL STILL BE MY DAUGHTER AND I WILL STILL LOVE HER!

THE PRICE IS PAID!  Christians, we are God’s children. If we sin, it hurts us in the here and now but as far as God is concerned, IT IS IRRELEVANT TO HIS LOVE FOR US AND HIS FATHERHOOD. WE ARE HIS CHILDREN. NO SIN CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF OUR FATHER!

The world knows “Christians” by people who don’t cuss, don’t drink, does not wear certain clothes, and judges everyone else who does. 

NO!  Believers in Christ screw up just as much as everyone else!  THE AMOUNT OF SINNING IS IRRELEVANT TO BEING A CHILD OF GOD!  Can I say that again so the non-believers will say, “Say what?!” And so that the believers can breathe a sigh of relief, THE AMOUNT OF SINNING IS IRRELEVANT TO BEING A CHILD OF GOD. The only difference in a Christian is that they realize they sin and that they need Jesus. In fact, Christians can be the biggest sinners there are!  Look at the people that followed Jesus!  They were sinners, big ones, like prostitutes and swindlers!  

Christian, THE PRICE IS PAID!  YOU ARE FREE!  THE DEBT IS PAID!  THE TOOTSIE POP IS YOURS!  All you have to do is ENJOY it!