Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Whistling Garbage Man

Our garbage man picked up our can this morning near my open window. His gait was loose and easy and—he was whistling. Got me to thinking.

Is peace something we attain, or is it granted? Or is there a certain state which must be attained before peace is possible? Peace in the midst of chaos? Peace in the middle of anxiety? Peace while collecting garbage? One passage in the Bible says God's peace "transcends understanding". That sounds like my garbage man.

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, "If you are able to keep your head while all others are loosing theirs . . . you must not understand the situation." Is that the secret to peace - Ignorance? Is my garbage man ignorant of the smell, his tiredness, his status in others eyes?

Does more awareness or knowledge have to bring more anxiety? I believe we often attribute weighty thinking to weighty countenances. And happy, content folks are labeled "naive" or "polly-annish." Surely my garbage man can’t truly understand his situation. Right?
Peace for me comes from knowing God is crazy about me and he has a plan. Peace for me comes from the knowledge that God is big enough to take my griping and whining. Peace for me means doing today, what I'm supposed to do today. When I try to control and manipulate yesterday and tomorrow - I'm way out of my league.

Sounds like some things my garbage man might already know.

Monday, October 18, 2010

That's Just Not Possible

Mike and I left this morning when it was still dark. Pitch dark. He'll catch a train later today for the airport, so he needed a ride to work. Did I say it was dark? Headed into the city we watched the sky turn purple, then grayish blue, then the colors arrived. Pink, peach, orange, yellow and some deep rose encased in fog across the Chattahoochee. The lights of downtown could still be seen in the early morning dimness when I dropped him off at his office. Back up near home, I crested a hill and the sun in all it's glory peeped over the trees and turned the highway golden. Lights faded to unnecessary as the sky settled to solid blue. Night was completely over.
The sun, the one sun, the one I saw right here in Marietta performed this same miracle today also in Chattanooga; and Boston; and Montreal; and Lima, Peru. All pretty much at the same time. Right now the same sun is encoring this amazing feat over Calgary and El Paso.
And I don't think that's possible. Nope. Just not possible. Think about it for a few minutes and I'm sure you'll agree. And yet it's fact. Just like it's a fact that all those apple trees I saw covering acres of North Georgia on Saturday came from a tiny seed. Yet, that's not really possible either. Right?
So many folks say they find it hard to believe in God because they can't see him. Well, that doesn't seem to be a stumbling block for me. I'm stuck on the things right in front of my very eyes that can't be true. But then maybe the only path I can find toward believing the sun's power and the potential of an apple seed starts in my belief in God.
I do remember reading somewhere he makes "all things possible". Okay, that I can believe.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Invitation at Kroger

Walking out of Kroger this afternoon an invitation was issued to me. Back in July the dozen or so crepe myrtles were bouquets of pink blossoms. Lush, yet stately and formal with nary a droop even in the heat. True Southern ladies, I suppose. Today they were bobbing heads of cranberry-colored leaves bobbing and nodding in the wind. Come play! Come see!

On windy days I walked home from Cherokee Elementary the back way. Across the blacktop, into the little valley, past the swings and seesaw, and up the hill. Climbing the gentle slope, I reached the crest and the open land between back yards and the tree line. The grass there was only cut a few times during the summer so it was long and plush. Open, high land let the wind push back and forth with abandon. The grass undulated like a green ocean and the tree line danced as if putting on a show for God. A show which enthralled and lifted my soul. The wind rushed by me and around me and through me.

Is it the idea of things moving without a visible reason that makes me associate the wind with God? The power. The quiet. The roar. The whisper. I'm not sure, but I know a breezy day speaks to me and reminds me to look up - to watch clouds rushing, trees bending, birds soaring. I can't resist stepping into the wind and opening my heart and senses.

Do you think God might use the trees, the rushing clouds, the swaying grasses, and those falling leaves to invite us to come play with him? To come talk with him? To come just be with him? Seriously – do you think God would be inside on a day like today?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That Kid is a Handful!

It's Happening . . . it took her a little longer than the boys, but no doubt about it, It's Happening.
Lizzy and some friends went camping over fall break due to Lizzy's pushing and planning. She made the reservations, gathered supplies, printed maps. Much of the equipment came from our garage so she was the "expert" at using it. We'd camped many times at the park they were at, even in the same spot so again, she was the "expert". And through it all - I managed to stay out of it.
Strange how our kids can be so different, isn't it? Only in the past year have I fully appreciated how the boys met my pulling with resistance, each time a little stronger until I could move out of their way completely. It was a push and pull kind of maturing until their push became strong enough for them to be on their own. This didn't work with Lizzy. I'd pull and she'd give in. So I'd pull more and she'd give in. Not really unhappily, she is very easy going. But it was very frustrating that she didn't push back. I do like getting my own way, but I knew it wasn't helping her mature.
What I finally have realized is that if I'm involved, she will not step up. So, I have learned to push her and then walk away. She's a child that I can not help as much as she wants me to (or as much I am able) - for her own good.
So how does the push and pull go between me and God? Am I maturing due to the push and pull or am I settling - not meeting God's actions with action? When he tries to teach me something do I whine and pity myself and miss the point? Do I forget he's not finished with me yet? Can I accept that when I think he's not interested, he just may be helping me grow up?
Thank goodness God is a parent who never messes things up and knows me better than I know myself, cause sometimes I can be a handful!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Robert was two weeks overdue. Ryan was not only overdue, but when we finally went in on a Friday to be induced, the maternity ward was overflowing and they told us to come back on Monday. Lizzy, being our good child, came on time.
With both Robert and Ryan there came a point in the overdue time that we decided we probably weren't having a baby. Before the due date, every day was met with "this could be the day!" When the due date passed by without a whimper, we began to ignore all those rules we'd so carefully followed. We took day trips well over an hour from the hospital. We didn't worry about taking that stupid overnight bag with us everywhere because it just wasn't going to happen.
That's kind of how I'm feeling now. My agent has had my manuscript out to publishers for months now. No one's turned it down, but no one has said "Yes." For a while there was such a feeling of expectancy. Every morning was met with, "this could be the day!" Now? Not so much.
When I was good and overdue with Robert we sat behind these two little old ladies at church one night. They cheerfully asked when I was due. When they found out the expiration date was long gone, they got so flustered. They sat on pins and needles through the service, just knowing that at any minute they were going to have to deliver a baby. Mike and I giggled at their nervousness thinking, "Silly ladies, we're never having this baby."
Folks around me now talk about reading the book when it comes out and I just think, "Silly people, its never going to be published."
Overdue is a weird place to live.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feel Sorry for your Kids? Don't!

Mama told me one time - "Feeling sorry for your kid is the worse thing you can do to them." We were discussing some parents giving too much to a child because the parent felt bad for something the child didn't get or couldn't have or just because the parents felt guilty for whatever.
In this day, when too many children are treated like idols, people acting fairly irrational while providing "necessities" for their offspring is common.
Whether it's goodie bags at birthday parties, expensive sport camps/equipment/training, or THE college - can't you see our grandparents with eyes popping, shaking their heads, and lamenting what we're doing to their progeny?
I'm not saying it's not hard - but sometimes we just need some perspective. When Lizzy was looking at colleges, she wanted, badly, to go out of state. Now, this wasn't a possibility and finding that out wasn't a shock as we'd said it from the very beginning. But still, if all her friends could have that then . . . and teenage girls have no equal in making you feel like scum when they're unhappy.
So here's what I did. I did some research and found that the difference between the cheapest out of state school and what we would pay at an instate school would be $53,000 over four years.
I told her that and asked, "If I handed you $53,000 in cash right now, would you spend it to go to school out of state? She didn't even have to think. She said, "No." My response? "Neither would I."
Did it turn her into Little Mary Sunshine? Did she tearfully thank me for opening her eyes? Yeah, right. What it did was establish the foundation we were standing on. It established our starting point and that the life she was planning - was her life. Not a gift from me and her daddy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wisdom from Ferris

Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ---Ferris Bueller

The sun coming up through the Bradford Pear trees in my back yard is at the same position as when I took a picture of it in the spring. That morning, also cool, the trees were covered in white blossoms and the sun's rays pierced through in clear, yellow-white light. It was Spring in a picture.
Now the sun's rays are golden and the tree is covered in dark green, headed to burgundy, leaves. The morning is almost cold, especially for Georgia. We got down into the 40's last night.
Seems like I took the blossom picture only a few days ago.
That's what made the quote from Ferris Bueller come to mind.
Summer 2010 has come and gone. I don't think I have any regrets. Those things I wanted to do, I did. Big happenings came, were celebrated, and exist now in pictures and memories. Connections were strengthened, dreams solidified, pains appreciated and dealt with. The hard talks, the fun times, the days in the pool, the visits, the dinners on the deck.
When I think of not missing life, I often think of the fun, exciting things. But I'm coming to realize that a big part of not missing life is to not overlook the hard times, the lessons that truly make a difference. To not get through just surviving, but to really see what, or who, the problem is--even if it's myself. But sometimes that's hard - and not at all fun.
Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.