Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pruning

I spent several hours ~ long, hot, humid, sweaty hours ~ with my little juniper bush yesterday. Well, it wasn't little; the tallest branch was taller than me, and its width was wider than I am tall. My plan of attack was to begin pruning away the infested areas, removing as many of the bagworms as I physically could, and then spray what remained with this specific insecticide recommended by Dr. Google himself (yes... Dr. Google has PhD in everything).

My tool was this $10 set of trimming shears I bought at Sears nearly 10 years ago. I've used them to trim the shrubs in front of both the homes we've lived in since we were married. They are now rusted, dull, and a little ill suited for mature shrubs. But it's all I had, so I set out to work. I'm not a girl who enjoys bugs, worms, or critters of any kind, so the first hour involved me clipping and then dodging what fell to the ground. I finally decided to get out my step stool for the taller branches to avoid any of the creepy crawlers falling on me. As I clipped away, I realized the problem was much deeper than I thought.

My mind was spinning. The English major in me began picking apart the symbolism of the stupid bagworms and the contents of my soul.

From what Dr. Google told me about the bagworm, they feed off evergreen plants and trees, and they specifically like those with fine needles on them as they are easier to digest. In other words, they prey on the weaker evergreens. The bagworm lives in, essentially, a little bag (hence the name... how clever) or cocoon, and sticks his (or her ~ gotta be fair) head out to feed, laying eggs in the bag to hatch the following year. Dr. Google informed me that each bag could incubate 200 - 300 eggs. That's why you are encouraged to remove each visible bag and then spray; it's the only effective way to attack the problem.

When I say there were hundreds of these little bags all over my juniper bush, it's no exaggeration. There may have been well over a thousand. And what I found was that they had eaten from the inside out... toward the base of the trunk was clear of all needles. They had eaten it clean, and then moved outward. Right there I stood, rusted clippers in hand, feeling like I had worms crawling all over me, sweat pouring from every pore in my body, and the brick landed on top of my head.

This is exactly what Satan does to you, Tamara. This is your guilt, your shame, that has robbed you of the closeness you long to feel to Jesus, the joy that you deserve. Get rid of it. Just get rid of it.

In that moment, I got angry. I was mad at the stupid worms that had eaten up my lush, green shrub. I was mad at Satan for what he had eaten up in my life all those years. And I began to work, not out of fear, but out of purpose. The worms would have no more dinner at my expense.

In chapter five of the book I am reading, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, the author, Wendy Blight, talks about getting off your mat, a reference to one of Jesus' many healings in the New Testament. She shares that her "mat" was fear. My "mat" (or the thing that has kept me paralyzed) is guilt and shame. I kept what happened to me, what changed my soul forever, a secret from those who love me most because I was ashamed of my actions and felt that I was to blame for someone else's poor decision. What a way to live... for years... processing a grave injustice and punishing myself for it at the same time.

So... here's the deal. When I was 19 years old, I was raped by someone I trusted. I was drunk, and that's just what he wanted me to be. I was no professional drinker at the time as I had only had my first drink a couple of months before that. He completely took advantage of me, manipulated me, and wouldn't stop when I asked him. I was so ashamed, and so I went home, went to bed, and acted like it never happened. For years. Years. Here's the thing about covering something up... it eats its way to the surface, just like those damned bagworms.

I'll share a passage from Isaiah that meant so much to me for so many reasons when I first read it a year ago. For those of you who know me personally, you will understand. It's lengthy, but so fitting, and I feel the need to type it all out for myself, so allow me to be selfish for a minute.

"Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband - the LORD Almighty is his name - the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit - a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. "For a brief moment, I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD you Redeemer.

He calls us all back from the shame of our youth. He calls us all close to Him, the Redeemer of our soul. In Him, there is no shame. There is compassion and everlasting kindness. No Satan or bagworms allowed.

Away with the guilt and shame.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Good Times in Suburbia

Just when you think life has lost a little luster, enter bagworms.

We have these juniper-ish, spruce-like shrubs in our front flower bed by the driveway. I have never particularly cared for them, but they've been fascinating to watch grow. Well, it's been interesting to watch all the shrubs grow from what they were to what they are now. When we moved in, the house was brand new, and so were the plantings. I have no experience with landscaping and have basically done nothing to the beds since we moved in besides replacing dead things with a living plant and cutting back when necessary. I've often commented that I'd like different things in the beds, but I don't have the brain or bank account for such a project.

About a week ago, I noticed that the shrubs I call junipers were looking a little brown in one area. I attributed it to the dryness of the past couple of months. I decided in my mind that the next time I cut the front yard, I would trim back some of the dying areas in hopes it would give it a boost. In the past week, we've received a ton of rain at our house, so I had hoped that would help as well. But yesterday, I moved in for a closer look and was quite disturbed.

The little berries that form on the shrub cover the ground below it. Dead needles from the branches are stuck to hundreds of little cone looking things on nearly all the branches. I stood there studying the shrubs I had watched grow over the past seven years, and I thought I saw the shrub move. I tell you that the little cone-looking things hanging on the shrub were moving, slowly swaying from side to side. I stilled myself and slowed my breathing to ensure I wasn't losing it... yep, definitely moving.

Of course, then, I had to figure out what the culprit was. I went and found the clippers, and as I gently pulled one of the cones off, the dark brown head of a wormy looking thing popped out. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. So, I did what every red-blooded, 30 something with a question would do... I Googled it.

Bagworms. I am talking hundreds of the things are feeding on the shrubs I never really liked but surely don't want to lose. It's not like the worms are killing the plant... just eating all the needles off it. I guess, over time, that would kill it, but I am not certain. Google informed me that I need to pull each and every one of those cone-looking things off the shrub and follow up with an insecticide. I am thinking, since there are so very many of them, I will have to remove the shrub and then spray all the other evergreens in the flower bed.

Just what I wanted to do today, too. Cut down a prickly shrub, bigger in size than me, covered in the creepiest, nastiest looking worms I've ever seen.

A day in the life in quaint suburbia. Good times... with worms.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Still alive...

I'm still alive. I promise.

It's summer, y'all. My kids are home. We've got baseball nearly every day. And then there's the pool in the backyard. And the grass around the pool. And friends to play with. Rooms to clean. Groceries to buy. And then cook or assemble into something to eat.

Why do I feel like I am 5,000 times more busy in the summer?

All that being rambled out, I am finding it difficult to blog. There are so many things I want to blog about, especially things involving my study of the Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner book, but I don't want to be too personal or revealing here. So I struggle as of late to organize my thoughts in a transparent way but not be too revealing. I'll sit down, begin typing, and find myself at a loss.

I hate that. I really do. I love to blog. Some people may find it crazy ridiculous, but there's something so completely therapeutic about putting something out there, you know? It's different from a journal because it's interactive.

Anywho... maybe by the end of this week, I can sort out what's swimming around my head about this week's chapter in the book I am reading. I tell you it's therapy with a paperback cover on it. And, yes... I've been to therapy. Books are much cheaper.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Word

I've never been a big reader. My best friend can devour a novel in a weekend, while my mind wanders off the page and into the great blue beyond only to come back to reality and have to reread an entire page. There have been a few books I found hard to put down... Redeeming Love, The Atonement Child, Walking on Broken Glass, gods in Alabama, Backseat Saints (if you Google any of these, I warn you they are vastly different from one another, and the latter two contain quite a bit of language). For me to latch onto a book, I have to find myself in it somehow ~ to be able to place myself in the middle of the stage, per say, as though I were a character observing it all first hand. The voice of the writer is part of that, but identifying with one of the personalities on the page is the main thing for me.

After the horrific events of September 11, 2001, I turned to my Bible for reassurance. I decided to read the book of Revelation. Crazy, I know, but I wanted to see if the buzz was true... was the world really coming to an end? It certainly felt like it to me and most everyone else of the Christian faith. I couldn't imagine our world getting any worse, and I had a newborn at home that I had chosen to being into this messed up world. So I read Revelation and discerned for myself that it didn't really matter if the world was ending, when the end would be, but rather what mattered to me was that I had no idea where I'd end up when the trumpet sounded. I felt no security in my soul, no faith, no clue as to who Jesus really was or what I meant to Him or our Father. Though I had grown up unlocking the doors of the building every Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday night, I was clueless. After reading Revelation, I decided to start at Matthew and read through the New Testament and see what it said for myself. I was amazed.

Though still confused about the Trinity and how I fit into the equation and about my salvation, I forged on, reading through the New Testament in just a few months, highlighting and underlining things that stood out to me. I remember, even in the freshness of my pursuit of the Truth, feeling that God was speaking to me ~ directly to me ~ as I turned the pages of my Bible. Was that possible? That God cared enough for me to infuse Himself in the words and thoughts of mere humans and have it carry through generations so that one day I would be able to sit on my couch and feel His presence by reading a book? Absolutely.

My Bible took a different meaning that year, and thankfully so. 2001 proved to be the most difficult one I had experienced in my life thus far. The year my son was born, the adjustment on my marriage that having a little one entailed, financial insecurity in the shadows of the World Trade Center tragedy. That's where the process began for me, the development of a relationship with Jesus and our Father, on the couch during nap time, reading as much as I could at a time. Sometimes it was only a chapter or two. Other times an entire book. Though I read and felt convicted of certain things, I still struggled inwardly with my salvation, still feeling I had to get it all right before He would save me.

You see, just recently I have accepted that it doesn't happen in the blink of an eye ~ the change of heart, the full completion of faith and strength in Him. I used to think it was that simple. One day I would wake up and be completely changed... a pretty little Christian lady that never cursed or drank or had an ugly thought. But as I read the Scriptures, I saw very little prettiness, perfection, or all-together-ness. I saw Jesus healing the sick, performing miracles for sinners, talking to people the Jews had shunned. I saw Jesus meeting the imperfect in the midst of their imperfection. I saw Him loving and teaching. And over the years of reading, I have learned that God loves and demonstrates mercy where ever you find yourself, offering forgiveness to all who are seeking Him. The only pretty Christians I see are the ones who pretend to be pretty on Sunday mornings, and I have discovered that behind a perfectly matte face with no blemishes, matching high heels and lovely dress, tends to be a whole lot of brokenness and insecurity. When we're honest with ourselves, we find that all of us are sinners, spotted and scarred, but through Jesus we are made pure.

I feel like I am rambling a bit here, but I am saying all of this to offer this solid point: The absolute only way to have a relationship with anyone is through communication. Communication is a two way deal ~ I talk, you listen; you talk, I listen. So it is by prayer that I speak to my Creator, and through His written word, He speaks to me. Like some of my other relationships in life, I probably talk too much. There are times in my life where I am more fervent in listening to God's Word, but I admit that it falls to the wayside during busy, stressful, or challenging times. But I make an honest effort to stop and take a minute in His Word several times a week, even if it's just reading over a chapter or passage that I particularly cherish.

I challenge any who are reading this... are you listening to Him? Are you reading what He has left for you through the centuries? Are you meeting Him, learning about Him, paying attention to His teachings and miracles and love for all man, and developing a real relationship with Him through His Word? The glory of the Bible is that it's always there, never changes, is full of Truth and Wisdom, and readily available. I am not perfect, may not always make the right decisions in life, make bookoodles of mistakes and do my fair share of sinning, but I am totally in love with the Scriptures and want everyone to feel the same thing I feel when I sit down to read them.

So, there's my sermon for the week... can I get an AMEN?

We now resume our normal broadcasting...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ten Things: A Completely Random But Loaded Post

1. Yesterday was David's 10th birthday, hence the whole ten things thing. Ten years of being a Mama. Ten years ago, the craziness began. In so many ways, it seems like just yesterday. And then, in other ways, I am millions of miles away from who I was back then. I try to wrap my mind around the fact that both of my little chicks are growing up, but it drives me closer to insanity, so I simply stop and enjoy the moment. Ten whole years.

2. The past ten days have been insane. Busy. Full to the brim with so many things that when I have stopped to write a blog post, I just didn't know where to begin. VBS. A close friend dealing with the death of her sister. Good news for my mother. A broad spectrum of feelings that change a multitude of times a day. I guess that's life. Crazy.

3. Life is short. I am learning this more and more as the years tick away. As humans, we try to hold onto time as though it is something that can be poured into a cup and carried around with us to divvy out as we desire or see fit. Unfortunately, time is in God's hand alone. He knows how much of it we have, and we don't, so we better busy ourselves with making the most of what's in front of us.

4. I wish that I had been raised Baptist. I thought this last week as I watched those precious children rock out to the music, singing and dancing in pure joy and delight, and as the head of children's ministry spoke about God and Jesus. She broke it down like this: God loved, we sinned, Jesus died, we accept, He forgives. I wanted to cry right there amidst the little ones who could barely understand the simple statement she had made. But I understood, and I remember all the time in my life I wasted beating myself up before I understood how incredibly simple Jesus makes salvation for all of us. Thank you, Lord!

5. Both of my children prayed the prayer at VBS. For those of you raised in the Baptist Church, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you (like me) that were raised something else, it may be as confusing to you as it is to me. Though I just consider myself a Christian, I rather enjoy the Baptist philosophy of accepting Jesus into your heart. The beautiful beginning of a relationship with Him starts with one simple notion ~ believing in Him. It's not wrapped up in one day or event of your life, but rather a journey of an innumerable amount of little steps along the way. My children believe. Step one. We've all got a lot of learning to do. I find out at every phase along the way that the learning never stops until we've taken our last breath.

6. Life hits you right in the head sometimes. As we sat enjoying a breakfast yesterday morning at Cracker Barrel in honor of David's birthday, I eaves dropped on our waitress' conversation with the table behind us. She talked of structural damage and total loss. I knew. When she disappeared back toward the kitchen, I whispered to Scott that I thought she had lost her home. He agreed and added that he heard she had no insurance. Just when you think life is hard for this reason or that one, you see someone who has it worse. I can see her face, her rugged hands. She's waited on us before, and we don't go that often, so she's been working there for quite sometime. I jotted her a note and left it with her tip. I will never forget her.

7. My mother had a scan last week of her chest cavity. Finally we have some positive news! The good thing is that there is no growth to report... in fact, there may even be minimal decrease in size! But the positive news is that her current treatment appears to be slowing down the cancer, and that is the ultimate goal! Praise God!

8. I have lost all control of my home. The laundry is piling up. The floors need sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, CLEANING!!!! I am behind, and I know it's driving my husband more crazy than me. So today I am hoping to do some catching up on the household chores.

9. I am also behind on my Bible study, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. Good news is that there are no scheduled events this week. None. No baseball tournaments. Nowhere to be other than practice. No big events. And, for that, I am truly grateful.

10. I promise to blog more this week... and hopefully I'll have something to say and it won't be in bullet points.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

VBS

If any of you out there are wondering, "Why is she so quiet???" ~ let me tell you why. VBS.

Last year was the first year I helped with VBS at the church where we attend when we go. It's such a large church that even if I were a true member, I don't think I would know any more people there than I already do. Seriously. I helped in the drama department last year which really was a ton of fun. I saw a ton of different kids but didn't really have that one on one thing with any of them. So this year I signed up to be a crew leader, which basically entails corralling 14 kids ranging in age from 6 to 10 for three hours.

I know that VBS is for the kids, but, man, they are teaching me a couple of things, too.

Today, I looked around at the 500+ kids in the morning session. They were singing, dancing, raising their precious little hands, jumping, praising, and having a big time. I realized in the moment that joy is God's desire for us all. Christianity is not supposed to be a life of dullness, sitting on our hands in the pews, yawning as we watch the time tick away. We should be full of life, full of God's love, full of excitement if but for no other reason than what's been done for us.

So that's what I'm doing right now. I am acting an utter fool... looking like a nut... dancing through the motions of all the songs for Pandamania VBS! And loving every minute of it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where is He?

Where is He? God... where is He when all the bad stuff happens, when the hurt is so deep you can't even put it into words? When your mom has cancer ~ where is God during that? Where is He when your kid is in the hospital? When the check bounces? When the money is not there to pay the power bill? Where is He when you lose your virginity at the hands of a master manipulator that tells you he won't stop? Where was He on that cold, dark night fifteen years ago?

I guess this is a question I've asked myself internally for years now. Where was He? Why did He let it happen? Why didn't He stop it all... give me the sense and physical power to stop it myself... prevent me from being there where I shouldn't have been? Why? And throughout my life, the whys continue. Anything negative that happens, I constantly question the reasons, while the good stuff I just absorb and don't question at all. Why don't I question the good stuff? There's another why...

So, I am in the midst of this study, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, and it's making me question even more deeply. Why? Where was He? What does it all mean? And in reading chapter two, I have put together my own answer for this burning life question...

Where is God when all the bad stuff happens? He's in the same place He's always been, the very same place He was the day He watched His Son being tortured, humiliated, mocked, and murdered.

Why does He let bad stuff happen? Because He sees the picture we can't see, the good that will come from even the most horrific, tragic event, in due time. Look at what came out of the murder of His only Son.

This is the first time in my life when I realize that God knows pain, tragedy, loss. He knows it; He's felt it. I read in Luke 23:44-45 that as Jesus hung on the cross, "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two." Did you hear that? Darkness for three hours? The sun stopped shining. Stopped. Can you feel that in you soul? I've felt it... I've felt my light go dim. I've felt it for years at a time. And now, that fire, zeal, that light within is building, building... growing.

I guess yesterday was the first time I put two and two together that God was there that night. He was there. He felt it. He mourned beside me as I vomited the contents of my stomach in the darkness of a cold bathroom. He was there as I cried myself to sleep alone. He was there the all the days and weeks and months and years to follow, holding me up when I needed it, walking beside me when I couldn't even feel His presence, rejoicing in me when I reached out to Him seeking wisdom from His Holy Word. He was there, and is there still, and always will be.

He is with my mother. He is there when she is doubtful, fearful, unsure. He was with her as they drained the cancerous fluid from her body yesterday. He was there the day she sat alone in an office as a doctor said he felt certain it was cancer without even looking at a biopsy report. He was there during all those chemo treatments, radiation sessions, and every scan she had along the way. He was there when she learned it was back and that she'd fight it the rest of her life. He knows her pain. He knows mine, too, and my father and brothers' pain as well. He knows it all, and He knows the ending and what beautiful works will come about because of it. He was there, and still is, and will always be.

So where is He to you? Is He there and you just can't see Him yet? Are you holding His hand? Reaching out to Him? Seeking His wisdom and never-failing advice from His Word? I hope so... I am trying. I am trying to hold on tight right now and waller (sorry ~ I am so southern!) in the fact that He is never going to leave me, give up on me, walk away from me, or turn His back on me. And that He understands the pain of my past, why I made all those stupid choices, why I continue to struggle and always will. He also knows how dark loss and pain feel; it's chronicled in that passage in Luke.

So where is He? Well, He just is... and is everywhere for all time. Amen.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Headless Squirrel

My life gets more and more interesting by the minute...

I've discussed my issues with squirrels before. They aren't to be trusted. The move too quickly and jerk about in crazy motions. They can climb fences and trees and dig holes, so I am sure they have sharp claws. They just freak me out, especially when I pass a tree and see one hanging vertically onto the jagged bark watching my every move in perfect stillness.

This morning, I went outside to bid my precious dog, Buddy Love, a good day and to fold up my mattress cover that had been hung to dry over the rail of the deck. As I pulled the cover up, I looked down to the concrete below and saw a gruesome sight ~ a headless, very dead squirrel. Very dead. Stiff as the boards on the fence he used to climb with his little sharp squirrelly claws. And did you catch the headless part?

I don't want to be too grotesque, but I must stress that the entire head of the squirrel was gone. No beady eyes. No tiny ears. No mouth. No cheeks. No neck. Gone. All that remained of the head was a nub of the bone protruding from where the neck once was.

I nearly lost my breakfast. Well, maybe just my coffee... I don't think I'd eaten breakfast yet.

I had to compose myself, and I had to do it fast so I could clean up the carcass before the kids saw it. The last thing I need is two kids in the bed with me due to nightmares about a headless squirrel. I will probably be up all night myself thinking not necessarily about the headless squirrel but about the fact that it was my precious Buddy Love that decapitated him. The biggest question swimming laps in my head was where is the head? Surely I'd find it in the yard... in the grass somewhere.

First things first ~ squirrel disposal. I don't how many of you have had to scoop a dead squirrel up with a shovel, but I promise you, it's no easy feat. Whether still floppy or completely rigamortis, getting it in the shovel and keeping it there proves itself incredibly difficult. I tried not to look at Mr. Headless any more than I had to, and I prayed silently, over and over, "Please don't let me drop him... please don't let me drop him..." as I carried him through the back gate and laid him to rest in the brush under the line of trees behind our house.

Step two ~ find missing head. A huge part of me didn't want to find the squirrel head, but this other part of me (like the one who loves my dog, pets his sweet head, hugs him and gives him kisses and calls him my darlin') wanted to find it and along with a tiny guillotine built by the colony of squirrels to embark punishment for some little squirrelly crime. I wanted to know that the squirrel head was not Buddy's desert last night. So I searched the yard over like crazy, picking up dog poo-poo as I went along. Though I successfully found and conquered several piles of doody, I found no random squirrel parts in the yard.

Though I am not an overly educated woman, I can safely deduce that I will be scooping up very odd looking piles of body waste in the days to come. It's nothing new... I've seen weird piles in the yard before. I try not to study the piles too closely. Scoop them up and toss them over the fence to become one with the earth.

Buddy was lying by the door on top of the deck this morning; it's his most favorite place for napping. I heard an awful howl... like one of those women on TLC with a birthing tub, a doola, and no epidural. I noticed it was Buddy, and he was deep asleep. So deep that I startled him when I opened the door to check on him. He jumped up and immediately started wagging his tail, so I figured he must have been chasing a squirrel in his dream. I had to tell him, as I pet his sweet little darlin' head, that if he chose to eat squirrel heads, he'd have bad dreams. Kinda like eating pork or Mexican food too late at night. One has to decide for them self whether it's worth the risk or not...

I hope we won't be adding squirrel head to our weekly menu.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Which corner?

It hit me today that I'm in a different dark corner than I thought...

I am fascinated with the use of the word light in the Bible. When I did a quick Google search, I found that it's used an average of a little over 200 times in the Bible between several different translations. So, to me, it ranks on up there with hope and peace in importance. What I like most about the word itself is that it can act as a noun or a verb. You can turn on a light, or you could light a candle. I think that words with dual functions like that are pretty cool. But I tend to be a bit of a word nerd....

When I think about light and dark, I want to call them opposites. But dark is so dependent upon the light to be called dark. Dark, after all, is nothing more than the absence of light. So without light, there would be no darkness. If one never knew of light, they wouldn't realize they were in the dark.

The title to the book I have just begun studying is Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. I really thought I'd be addressing one particular corner of my soul. Instead, I find myself stuck in a different corner, nose pressed to the wall, darkness threatening to envelope me. I figured I'd be once and for all delving into every single minute and grand emotion surrounding an incident in my late teens. Today I am thinking that God led me to the book to help me deal with what's right in front of me.

My mom's cancer has rattled me. Just when I think I have come to terms with one thing, another shows up. Just when I believe we're on the right path, we forced to make a detour. It's the most out of control I've felt in all my life. There's literally nothing I can do... no words I can type, none I can say, no prayer to pray, no knife large enough to cut it all out, nothing, zilch, nada. Nothing I can do to make it better. That feeling of helplessness is the same feeling I had at nineteen years old when I was violated. It's this chill that sweeps through your soul, frigid wind at your back, that makes you want to curl into a ball and go to sleep and wake up when it's all over. It's a dark corner.

When you're stuck in a corner, nose to the wall, it's all you can see, all you can think about. When the darkness surrounds us, we can't see past our own nose. There's no light. Light is completely absent and therefore unable to shine down on what we need, the people who are there to help, the words of God that we need to read and pull into our heart.

I'm more in the cancer corner than I am the 19 year old date rape corner. And I didn't realize it until today. That 19 year old girl will always live inside of me, but her voice is so much tinier that the 34 year old woman who doesn't want to lose her mom, that can't bear to see her hurt, that can't see past her own nose right now for thinking about her mom's illness. Am I letting Satan win? I guess he gets the partial victory here... he has me afraid and a little down. But here's why I have hope...

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

That first Him... that's Jesus. I don't know why they don't capitalize it in the Scriptures; I always want to do so. See, before this verse, John is telling us that he and the other disciples actually saw Jesus, heard Him speak, and this is what he wants us to know. So, in my mind, this is a direct message from Jesus. And it's fairly simple ~ God is light.

Okay, so in God, there is no darkness. At all. Because He is light. He is the noun and the verb at the same time, I am willing to bet my life on it. Because only God could pull that off. And here I am, in the stupid corner with no light, and all I need to do is quit looking at the darn wall. Turn around and see the light. Turn to see what God shining down upon wanting to reveal to me. See, that's where I get hung up... what is He trying to reveal to me? I guess that's where the patience and faith comes in to play.

So I will keep both my corners in mind as I read this new book hoping it will shed light on both issues... no pun intended. And, as always, please keep my mother in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rolley Polley

My daughter has a fascination with rolley polleys. I am more fascinated with the several different ways one can choose to spell roly poly/rollie pollie/rolley pollies. And yet there is no official Wikipedia for the common bug that rolls itself up into a little ball when picked up. Anywho...

I have this memory. I was about six, right around the same age as Madalyn. I collected a cup of rolley polleys, grass clippings, and a little dirt, and sat down on the den floor in front of the television to teach them tricks. I was convinced that I could do so with a popsicle stick, that I could persuade them to walk across the balance beam I had created from one cup to another with the little sliver of wood.

At that point in time, I was caught in that in between place ~ right in the middle of being afraid of bugs and not being afraid at all. At six, I still had classifications. Rolley polleys were not really bugs, and neither were lady bugs or butterflies. But at some point in most girls' lives, all moving insects become bugs, whether they are harmless or not, and therefore gross. That's where Madalyn is right now... still fascinated with most bugs, not completely afraid of them but not altogether welcoming of the creatures either. Her favorites are the rolley polley and the lady bug.

It's funny to watch my daughter do something that I once did at her age. Funny and scary. How firmly will she travel my footsteps? Will she be better at all of this than me? Make better decisions? Be smarter and more savvy? Cry less and laugh more? Will she realize before I did that you can't teach a rolley polley tricks? That try as you may, a sweet little girl can't talk a rolley polley into crossing a popsicle stick...

I hope she figures out a lot of things in a more efficient way than I did. I pray...