Saturday, December 15, 2012

Evil Never Makes Any Sense

I awoke Friday morning, and a feeling of excitement swelled in my soul. The thought of baking pumpkin bread, with the spicy aroma wafting through the house, made me feel warm and cozy. I pondered what I would buy my husband for Christmas.

After grabbing a cup of coffee, I sat in my office, pulled a blanket over my lap, and turned on the TV. What I saw on the news took my breath away.

Chaos filled the streets near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—swat teams, police dogs, parents running with their children—reports of a shooter—multiple children dead—some adults killed.

My jaw dropped.

Then tears filled my eyes.

Who would do such a thing?

None of this made any sense.

I thought about the presents that would be left unopened under the Christmas trees. The parents. The absence of their children's laughter—gone—all in a flash, leaving gaping holes in the hearts of these families.

 
Then I heard the shooter had taken his own life. Anger reared in my soul. There would be no jail time for this murderer, no trial, no justice for these kids, which meant no kind of vindication for their parents.

My heart broke as I thought about how scared the children must have been, the looks of horror on their faces when this man gunned them down.

Why, God. Why?

This didn't make any sense.
I thought of my niece's kids. The idea of something happening to them also took my breath away. Perhaps I should offer to homeschool them.

Then the newscaster said that an eight-year-old girl saw shattered glass, blood, and a police officer carrying out an injured little boy. What would this do to her young mind? Was her innocence now gone? Would she see these images for the rest of her life?
God, help them.

This didn't make any sense.
I wanted to tell the families how sorry I am. So, so sorry. But I couldn't. So I prayed. I think most of the country prayed today. It's the least we could do.


Then the president gave a moving news conference. Tears filled his eyes as he spoke about hugging his own daughters a little tighter tonight.  "Our hearts are broken today," he said. But like the rest of us, he, too, could not understand.
As the day wore on, the baking, scents of Christmas, and buying presents no longer mattered—my heart too heavy with grief for the families.  And I didn't even know them.

Again, none of this made any sense.

But I've come to find that evil never does.

It never has.

And it never will.

Regardless, love will prevail.

It always has.

And it always will.
May we all band together, keep praying for these families. In doing so, our love (and unity) will outshine this terrible darkness.

I pray that God comfort all who were touched by this terrible tragedy. No words can express how truly sorry I am for your loss.
Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Christmas Scents/Sense". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grandma's Brooch

Tears burned my eyes as I held Grandma’s brooch in the palm of my hand. I hadn’t seen the heirloom in years. Slivers of light reflected off the rhinestones and shot a rainbow of color in every direction.
Perfect.
I fastened it to my mother’s pink sweater. I wanted Mom to look her best, especially for this occasion. Women are always particular about their appearance, don’t you think?
As I stood in the church, people approached my mother and me. One by one, they commented on Mom’s angelic countenance. Then their eyes shifted to Grandma’s brooch.


“Oh, what a beautiful pin,” one said as she clasped her hands.
“Look how it sparkles,” said another. “Your mother looks absolutely beautiful.”
And she did.
A lump formed in my throat, and I nodded, knowing I had done my job.
When the men closed the lid of the coffin for the last time, the funeral director handed me a bag. “The thank-you notes, extra obituaries, and guest book are inside,” he said. “We placed your mother’s jewelry in a small envelope.”
“Thank you. I appreciate all you’ve done for our family.”
He patted my shoulder and walked away.
I stared at the sack. It struck me as odd. Years of love, laughter, and tears had come down to a moment as this—a bag full of “things”. It just didn’t seem right.
A few days later, I retrieved the small envelope. Mom’s rings, watch, and necklace lay tucked inside.
But Grandma’s brooch wasn’t there.
My pulse sped as I rifled through the remaining contents of the bag. Where did they put that?
I finally abandoned my search, picked up the phone, and called the funeral home. “Where’s the brooch my mother was wearing?” I drummed my fingers on the kitchen counter. “It belonged to my grandmother.”
The poor man actually stuttered, said he needed to talk with his associates, and asked if he could call me back.
When he finally did, he explained how they all saw the pin, but he thought one of the other men took it off. The other men thought he did. Then he humbly apologized.
I massaged my forehead. “It’s okay.”

My heart pinched as I forced the words out. But there are two human attributes I’ve always been a sucker for: honesty and humility. How could I be angry with him?
Speaking of honesty, I now realize I was clinging to something that reminded me of those who had drifted away. I didn’t want to let go.
No matter the heirloom, it really is just another material thing. And it’s about so much more than that.
The love my mother and grandmother gave me wasn't tied up in that pin. It’s in my heart. And I’ll carry it with me—forever.

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Heirloom". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.
 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Like Moonlight at Low Tide

I love discovering a good novel, don’t you?
In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve done a book review. Probably because it takes more than a well-penned story to knock the socks off my feet (cliché intended) before I’ll take the time to write a review in the first place. Contrary, aren’t I?
But I can't help it. Even with all the good books on the market, a lot of them don't grab me. You know, they don’t leave me feeling as though I’ve just taken a bite of a nice steak, where I chew slowly, savoring the burst of flavor in my mouth.
In addition, I’ve had other issues, besides those I already have, especially when it comes to novels. I’ve lost track of the number of books I wanted to hurl across the room.
Why, you might ask?
Thank you, I’m glad you did.
Although I've always believed in God, I didn’t grow up with the traditional “Christian spoon” in my mouth. The world I was raised in was nothing like the world many Christian novelists paint for their readers. Don't get me wrong. Their stories minister to many. But people like me—yes, there are more of us—scary thought, I know—want stories that deal with the facts of what we've seen—what we lived.
I’m happy to say, I recently discovered such a steak, I mean, book.

Like Moonlight at Low Tide, written by debut novelist Nicole Quigley, is a young adult novel that deals with raw topics (no fluff, thank you very much), multifaceted characters (totally realistic), and delivers a story you won’t soon forget (like savoring a nice steak).
Here’s the book blurb:
This is not a story about suicide. But you should know that when I was seventeen, the only boy who ever called me by my full name took his own life. It was the first time I ever saw a mistake that was permanent, that couldn’t be undone with whiteout or atoned for with an after-school-detention. Nothing else I do for the rest of my life will ever be able to change this fact.
This story is actually about three boys. One who loved me. One who couldn’t. And one who didn’t know how.
My name is Melissa Keiser, and I was raised in Anna Maria Island, Florida.
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

And if you're wondering why I'm not writing my usual type of review, well, how can I top the blurb? If that doesn't hook you, I don't know what will.

If you want a little bit more, though, here's the book's description:

When high school junior Melissa Keiser returns to her hometown of Anna Maria Island, Florida, she has one goal: hide from the bullies who had convinced her she was the ugliest girl in school. But when she is caught sneaking into a neighbor’s pool at night, everything changes. Something is different now that Melissa is sixteen, and the guys and popular girls who once made her life miserable have taken notice. When Melissa gets the chance to escape life in a house ruled by her mom’s latest boyfriend, she must choose where her loyalties lie between a long-time crush, a new friend, and her surfer brother who makes it impossible to forget her roots. Just as Melissa seems to achieve everything she ever wanted, she loses a loved one to suicide. Melissa must not only grieve for her loss, she must find the truth about the three boys who loved her and discover that joy sometimes comes from the most unexpected place of all.
Like Moonlight at Low Tide will appeal to teens (and even some adults) who have dealt with bullying, suicide, a dysfunctional family life, peer pressure, first loves, and more. Although this novel contains scenes that deal with drinking, drugs, etc., the author did so tastefully. I found it refreshing, honest, and full of heart. I look forward to more of this author's work.
I highly recommend this book.

About Nicole Quigley:
As a kid, I memorized lines of words in community theater. I wrote pages upon pages of words to my best friends in high school (and in subsequent summer school).  I thought I had lost all my words when I was rejected from my high school newspaper, but I found them again when I got my first writing job as a student columnist for the Manatee Am/Sarasota Herald Tribune years later.
After majoring in Communications at Appalachian State University, I was blessed to find the profession of public relations, which allowed me to work with words on a daily basis for the last dozen years in Washington, D.C.
But it wasn’t until I wrote Like Moonlight at Low Tide that I got to share the words that meant the most to me—the ones that tell a story of God’s goodness and relevance to all of us.  I don’t think my words will ever do that mission justice, but it is sure fun (and incredibly humbling) to try.
Originally, I am from beautiful (and sunny) Anna Maria Island, Florida.
You can learn more about Nicole at her web site.

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Discovery". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Hairy Tale

I’m not fond of change. Never have been. In fact, I’ve had the same hairstyle for twenty-five years—long, straight, with bangs. Can you imagine?
But there are valid reasons for this, I assure you.
In 1982, my friend and I went to the mall. As we strolled past a salon, she pointed at a poster. “That’s what you need, Deb.”
Don’t you love it when others tell you what you need?
Please.
I paused and eyed the woman’s picture. Dark curls hung loose around her glamorous face. She looked like a runway model from Paris.
I shook my head. “No thanks.”
“Oh, come on. It would look amazing. Are you going to wear the same hairstyle the rest of your life?”
Didn’t bother me. I didn’t want to look like a runway model from Paris.
That same evening, I mulled over my friend’s words. Maybe a change would be nice.
A week later, I sat in a chair, in the same salon. A male barber—sent by Satan, if you ask me—wrapped a cape around my shoulders. “What can I do for you today?”
“Uh—”
“You would look great with a bob.” He finger-combed my hair.
I sighed. Why does everyone keep trying to change me?
He gave me a conspiratorial wink. “Well, what do you think?”
“No, just layer it all over, trim the ends a little bit, and give me a perm.”
So he did.
At least that’s what I thought.
Tears filled my eyes as I stared in the mirror. My long locks were gone. I looked like an older version of Orphan Annie, minus the red hair.
He patted my shoulder. “You look beautiful. You’re just not used to this.”
Beautiful? I looked like a poodle.
The evil man laughed. “The curls make it appear shorter than it really is. I have to tell you, though; I never dreamed your hair would process like this. As long and straight as it was, well, it’s just unusual.” Another pat. “Don’t worry. Once the curls loosen up, it’ll be fine.”
But he lied.

After I climbed in the car, I pulled on one of the corkscrew curls, just to see how far it would stretch. Several inches later, it popped free from my fingers, as though it were trying to escape another attack, and sprang back into place.
I vowed I’d never get another perm.
Idiot that I am, though, I decided to try it again—five years later—a body wave this time—with a different beautician.
She piggybacked rods all over my head, led me to a dryer, and set the timer. “You’re probably going to need a few extra minutes to process. Your hair’s straight as a stick.”
I held up my hand. “No, it processes just fine, trust me.”
But she didn’t.
Why don’t people listen?
Still, my hair didn’t turn out bad at all, until a few days later.
My luscious locks turned a funny shade of red.

Soon after that, they fell out by the handful, leaving me with a bald strip down the top of my head—definitely not a runway model from Paris.
I haven’t had a perm or body wave since.
But do you know what? None of this would have happened if I wouldn’t have allowed someone else’s viewpoint to get to me.
And now that I’m older, I see things quite differently.
When God prompts me to change something, the results aren’t catastrophic. Yes, I might be hesitant at first, even scared, but I later discover it was for my own good. And the things I feared the most weren’t that scary at all. But that’s because God loves me, wants what’s best for me. He accepts me for who I am.  
I just hope He never asks me to get another perm.  
Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Change". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Molecular Mishap

Have you ever heard of someone looking for a pair of glasses, only to turn around and find the spectacles perched on top of her head?
Well, I kind of feel like that right now, except it has nothing to do with misplacing anything tangible. Nay, nay, I simply lost a microscopic morsel of my memory.
And I’m so hacked off.
After working for hours, I missed a deadline for a writing contest. I could scream, I tell you. In fact, I think I will.
There. I feel so much better now.
Not.
Anyway, as I was about to turn my submission in, I discovered the deadline was based on Eastern Standard Time. It’s amazing how one little hour can do so much damage.

Ahem.
I guess I’ll chalk this up to my growing list of faux pas, move on, and search for greener pastures.
Still, I’m so annoyed.
Perhaps crying would be better.

Nah. Not going to help.
When it comes to my memory, this incident is something I’d like to forget. Why be reminded of such an idiotic mishap?
On the other hand, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea if I keep the little molecules tucked away in my gray matter.
I guess something good came out of it, right? (Who knows? If I keep telling myself this, maybe someday I'll belive it.)
Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Celebrate". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Words in Blue

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Celebrate". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.
The past few years have been difficult for my husband, our families, and me. We’ve lost ten family members. So I don’t feel like celebrating.
But then I’m reminded of something that happened, and it gives me comfort, especially in times like these. 
Five years ago, I pored over every Amish book I could get my hands on. The stories brought to mind simpler times, good people, and wholesome food.
A few months later, my husband approached me. “I want to see the ocean again before I die.”
I gulped. “Are you trying to tell me something?”
“No, why?”
My stomach pulled into a knot. God, are you getting ready to take him home? You know I can’t live without him. Wait, I’m sorry. You’re the most important person in my life, but you know what I mean, don’t you? Of course you do. You’re God.
My mind shifted gears. “Hey, can we drive through Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on the way?”
“Sure.”
The morning of our trip, after only three hours of sleep, my alarm clock nearly jolted me off the mattress.
I rolled out of bed, my stomach churning. Even though we were going to Amish country, I still had issues. I don’t like to travel far away from home, but because of my husband’s desire, I had to. What if something terrible were to happen? I couldn’t rob the man of his last request.
Besides, I had this feeling that the Big Guy wanted me to travel halfway across the country, that He had something to say to me once I reached our final destination.
Hours later, and many miles down the interstate, acid crept up the back of my throat. Did I mention that my stomach assaults me when I don’t get enough sleep?
Right before we reached Lancaster, when I honestly thought I couldn’t take anymore, I caught sight of a viaduct. The words Jesus Loves You were painted in blue across the side. Lucky for my husband, calm swept over me. Thank you, Lord.
We finally pulled into the parking lot at the hotel. Visions of a soft bed with plump pillows floated across my mind.
After walking into the room, my visions of a good night’s sleep vanished. Dirt stained the maroon carpet, as well as the creamy bathroom tile. And the bed? Well, I was afraid to crawl under the covers, worried something would crawl on me. “I’m not sleeping there.”
But I did, in my clothes, on top of the bedspread, and I survived. 
A few days later, we made our way to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. I liked the strange name for the city. Who wouldn’t want to kill old Slewfoot?
When I walked in our room, relief washed over me. A clean patchwork bedspread lay over the bed. Plump pillows adorned the top. A table and chairs sat nestled in the corner, where we could view the ocean right outside our window.
We strolled along the beach, looked for seashells, and ate the best food. It was heaven, I tell you. Only one thing bothered me. The Big Guy had been silent the whole time. I felt His presence, especially when the waves slapped against the shore, but I still sensed something missing.
After turning in for bed one evening, some harsh realizations hit me. I’d taken care of others for years, including my elderly mother, but didn’t realize how angry I’d become in the process. I silently prayed, repenting of my testy old self. Pardon my sins, Lord, for I know they are many.
On our last night there, we sat on the beach after dinner. I still wondered why God had been silent. I eyed the distant shore, wondering what kind of shells I could find down there. “I’ll be back in a few, honey.”
I walked down the shoreline and spotted a mound in the sand. A piece of a blonde-colored shell peeked out, about the size of a nickel, and I pulled it free, brushing the granules away to reveal my treasure.
When I flipped the shell over, my jaw went slack. Written on the inside, were two little words in blue. “Jesus Pardons.”
Whirling around, I combed the area, wondering if someone had played a trick on me, but nobody else was there, just my husband, who still sat at the other end of the beach. Gooseflesh peppered my arms.
Guarding my prized possession, I brought it home and put it in my desk. It’s been there ever since. 
Yes, the past few years have been tough, but when things really get me down, I take out my seashell and remember God’s goodness.
I've often wondered who put it there, but it doesn't matter. I know the One who was behind it. And He knew I'd be there to find it exactly when I did.  
There’s always a reason to celebrate, even when I don't think that there is, and it all started with a book, and ended with a few little words in blue.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pursuit, Pageantry, or Parsimony?

How bad do you want it? Would you do whatever it takes to get it?

You're probably wondering what I'm talking about, aren't you?

Well, depending on what your “it” is, only you can answer the above questions. You might go through many attempts of self-examination before you choose the right career for your life. If so, that’s okay. Really. I mean, look at the lady below—moving rung by rung on the ladder. And she’s wearing wedges as she climbs the blasted thing.

At least I think they’re wedges. My eyes aren’t what they used to be.
Maybe she's wearing pumps.
Sorry, I’m getting off track.

Anyway, I’ve often heard others say they knew what their calling was right out of their mother's womb. I find this annoying. Probably because I’m not one of those people who had the same experience. Trust me, if I would have, my life would have been much easier.
As a child, I wanted to be a nun. (Okay, y’all can stop laughing now.) And I wasn’t even a Catholic, but the nuns were good, honest, and kind. Who wouldn’t admire such a calling?
Then I fell in love with animals and decided to become a veterinarian. But after getting in trouble for repeatedly bringing strays home (still do), I figured doctoring pets wouldn’t be the best path for my life. I would’ve ended up broke.
Along my journey, I've pondered many avenues to explore—I won’t bore you with the details from the rest of my adventures—and it took me a while to figure out the right game plan for my life.
And as I said before, the same might happen to you. But there’s nothing wrong with pursuing your passions to discover your true purpose.
In fact, I believe God is the driving force behind many of our dreams and visions. When He gives us talents, whether it’s to be a writer, doctor, nun, veterinarian, or being a good parent, there’s usually a burning desire to do what He’s called us to do. What gets us into trouble, though, is when we choose a particular profession for all the wrong reasons.

If we pursue something just to be seen (pageantry), we'll never really fulfill our purpose. We might reach our destination but we won’t be satisfied once we get there. Not only that, people will see right through a false mask.
And I don’t know about you, but I’ve come across a few phony princesses in my lifetime. You know the type—every hair in place, a sweet (but forced) smile, and a squeaky-but-way-too-cheery voice. I'm sorry, but nobody is ever that happy.

Please.
I've even met a few fake princes.
Talk about kissing a toad.
Sorry, I’m getting off track again.
Where was I?
Oh yes, we should also never use others (parsimony) as a means to obtain our goals. In doing so, we’ve not only defrauded them, but we’ve sold our souls to get what we want.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36 KJV)
Scary thought, isn’t it?
Then there are some (raising my hand) who have changed their course to try to please others. This doesn’t work, either, let me tell you.
Oh the tangled webs we weave, when always trying to please, please, please.
Wow, don’t ask me where that just came from. Freudian slip, I guess.
The bottom line is this. Once you’ve figured out the calling God’s placed on your life, pursue it with all your might. As long as your motivations are pure, you won’t lose yourself, or your soul, in the process. 

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Pursuit". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Coming Full Circle

I arrived in this world two months early, weighing in at 4 pounds, 12 ounces, right before my mother turned forty. The doctors said I wouldn’t survive, but thanks to my mother’s nurturing, I did. And as soon as I was old enough, I began what would become a yearly ritual.

Look at those feet! And I was only nine months old.
One particular Mother’s Day, with money in hand that I’d saved from my allowance, I walked to a nearby nursery. I selected a rose, proudly made the purchase, and toted the flower home, handling it as though it were a fragile piece of glass. Judging by my mother’s response, you would have thought I’d given her an expensive arrangement.

Eventually, the gifts did grow more elaborate, but I still got her a single rose for Mother’s Day.

As the years passed and Mom grew older, she moved into my home. I found myself doing the same things for her she had once done for me.

One night, as I worked in my office, I sensed I should check on her. 

I made my way downstairs, went to her door, and glanced toward the bottom. A sliver of light shone through from the other side. Why is she up so late?

Gently pushing the door open, I stuck my head inside. “Mom? Are you okay?”

Her voice carried to me from the guest bath. “I’m fine.”

“Okay, just checking on you.”

The door creaked as I went to pull it shut. “Please don’t go,” she cried out. “I like it when you check on me.”

I stepped back in the room, closed the door behind me, and plopped down in a rocker. “I’ll wait right here.”

Her walker clunked as she made her way out of the bathroom. When she spied me in the chair, her face lit up. “There you are.”

I helped her back to bed, tucked her in, and kissed her on the cheek. “Night, Mom.”

“Don’t go.” Mom extended frail arms toward me, and I bent over her chest, laying my head against the side of her neck. “I love you,” she said. “I’ve always loved you.”

“I love you, too, Mom.”

Our embrace over, her eyes filled with tears.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

“I had a dream, right before you got here, and some man. . .” Her voice trailed off as the tears overflowed and spilled down her cheeks.

In that exact same moment, another voice, more like a whisper, came across my mind. Listen to her, Daughter.

Mom attempted to speak again, but just as before, she didn’t finish. I rubbed my hand over her shoulder. “It’s okay, Mom. Just slow down and take your time.”

No sooner had the words left my mouth, than she suddenly spoke with great clarity. “I dreamt it was the end of the world, that God is coming to get us, and we all have to be ready.” More tears fell down her cheeks. “We have to be ready.”

A hush fell over the room.

Her eyes shifted to the ceiling, and I followed her line of vision, halfway expecting to see an angel up there.

I placed my hand over hers. “Well, the good news, if the world really is going to end, is that we’ll end up in the same place. We both believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior, right?”

She nodded. “Right.”

“Then we don’t have to be afraid.”

Mom slid her hand from beneath my fingers, placed both her hands over mine, and squeezed tightly. She talked about the many things that had happened over the years, then eyed the ceiling again. Her brow furrowed. “Hmm. It was just a dream, but it seemed so real.” 

Seconds later, she closed her eyes. “I want to go to sleep now.”

I observed her arthritic hands, still clinging to mine. My gaze shifted, and I looked at the lines etched on her face—how far we had come together. I love you, Mom, I mouthed.

Just when I thought she’d dozed off, her eyelids fluttered. “We have to be ready,” she said.

I stayed with her until she fell asleep. After slipping my hand from hers, I brushed a kiss across her cheek, and turned off the light, remembering how many times she’d done the same for me.

After returning to my office, I wrote about the event in one of my journals, and then put it away for safekeeping.

Mom died this past September, less than two years after her dream. 

I recently came across the journal. My eyes filled with tears as I scanned the pages, reliving what happened that night with my mother.  

A few days later, as I stood at the kitchen sink, my husband came home from work. “I have something for you,” he said.

I turned around to greet him. He held a single pink rose in his hand.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Nurture". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.


                                                                                                                                                                                               

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Joy of Innocence

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
Where?
Down in my heart!
Where?
Down in my heart!
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

As a child, I recited the above song many times. I sang, clapped, and smiled, embracing the God I loved, the God who loved me. No thoughts about death, health, the future, or finances entered the picture—the sweet joy of innocence.

In fact, even as I approached my early twenties, I still carried that joy.


See what I mean? I had joy, I tell you, even playing with backgammon chips.
 



















Since that time, though, I’ve endured numerous trials. As a result, I came to view things differently. Those worrisome thoughts that once escaped me, rushed to the forefront of my mind.

They crowded out my joy. 

Don’t get me wrong, I knew things were supposed to change as I got older, but I don’t think God ever intended for me to lose such a precious gift. . .for any of us to lose it.

Perhaps that’s why God said we should be converted, become as little children. Children have joy.

And the joy of the Lord is our strength, isn't it?
You know, I think it's time to sing, dance, and laugh again, just like the child God commanded us to be.
Care to join me?
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
Where?
Down in my heart!
Where?
Down in my heart.
I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Joy". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Savor the Beauty

Over thirty years ago, right after we were married, my husband and I hunted morel mushrooms. Until I met my little dumpling, I didn’t even know they existed.

We spent hours combing the woods, gingerly bagging each one, and then we lugged the sacks home. After giving them a good soak in saltwater, we fried them in butter. 

Talk about savor.

Now we live on acreage of our own, but we haven't hunted mushrooms for the past several years. 

Love my trees.
A few days ago, just as we'd finished our morning coffee, I nudged my husband's arm. “Want to see if the mushrooms are up, honey?”  

He grinned. "Yeah." 

Well, I didn't have to ask him twice.

Like a speeding train, he bolted out the front door. Still in my pajamas, and like the young woman I used to be, I followed him.

My husband searched the edge of the woods, while I circled a hickory tree. Empty nut casings lay sprinkled throughout the grass. Thank you, Mr. Squirrel.

A gust of wind blew in, and my pajama bottoms flapped against my legs. I smiled. Felt like God himself was breathing on me.

I moved to the next tree, admiring the purple violets, dandelions, and black walnut shells on the ground. I marveled at the brilliant splashes of color, wondering if it didn’t hack God off when we failed to appreciate the beauty He’d created. 

Why do people poison dandelions? Look at that color.
A rustle in the leaves caught my attention, and I flinched, thinking my old friend Mr. Copperhead had returned. (I can honestly say I don’t savor snakes, not boiled, fried, or otherwise, thank you very much.)

“It’s just a garter snake,” my husband said.

I stared at my open-toed house shoes. Although I had thick white socks on, I knew those wouldn’t protect me from a snakebite. Thanks, honey. I feel so much better now.

Maybe Mr. Squirrel lingered nearby. The thieving critter could at least cough up an extra hickory nut for Mr. Copperhead.

But snakes don’t eat nuts, do they?

After poring over the ground a bit longer, and still not finding any mushrooms, we went back inside the house.

Later in the evening, as I sat in my rocker, I pondered the morning’s events. “Honey,” I said, “what do you think God’s favorite color is?”

“Well, it's probably blue or green. He used a lot of both of them.”

I smiled at the mention of my two favorite colors. “Good point.”

Yep, blue must be one of God's favorite colors.
Eying my husband, I thought about all we’d done together, how much I loved this man—how much I loved God.

Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes, savoring the beauty of the moment—the day—my life.

I was grateful.


Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Savor". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.