Time Travelin’

Time Travelin’

  We had to get up and out early for Bible study. It was the first day, and I wanted to set the right tone for the year (and okay, I’d missed pre-registration, so in essence, we were late already). Hey, maybe we’d even get a happy “back-to-school” type pic to make up for our less than picture-perfect beginning earlier in the week. So, filled with hope and determination, we rose early to prepare breakfast; pack lunches; and spit, shower, and shine. Running five minutes later than I wanted—but still ten minutes earlier than normal—we tumbled into the car with our Bibles and our pencils and without our usual fuss over who’s sitting where. We battled unusually heavy traffic the whole way, so our prayers during the thirty-minute drive included an entreaty for safety and speed. Drive like the wind, cowboy! And God heard us: we got there all in one piece, and early. By an entire week, that is. Now, you know I don’t arrive anywhere early. It always amazes me when I hotfoot it into the doctor’s office and breathlessly sign in, only to see other patients casually flipping through magazines, firing pottery, or making a pot roast in the waiting room because they’ve arrived with plenty of time to spare. Imagine how my jubilant face crumbled when I turned into the nearly empty parking lot and realization hit. Foiled again! But slow your roll. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, we arrived a week early, but I got there in time to laugh with another early bird and encourage her return. I got my days mixed up,...
Singing in His Reign

Singing in His Reign

Hubby not only brings home the bacon, he wraps it around pork loin and cooks it for dinner. He works hard to make it possible for me to work hard, too. He’s like the green onions he rooted and then planted: He keeps on giving and providing and sprouting for his family’s benefit. He doesn’t just look good in the window; he enhances the flavor of my whole life. I love me some him. But that wasn’t the song I sang the other day. Tuesday was just a rainy mess, and Think Tank had soccer. Despite all my fussing about the risks of practicing soccer on slippery fields, my recommendations to check in with the coach, my requests to scour his e-mail for a message about cancelation, it wasn’t until after I’d driven through the pouring rain that Hubby realized that soccer had been canceled earlier that day. At that moment, I was humming the “Hubby-never-listens-to me-I’m-hot-as-fish-grease” tune. Hills and valleys. Rollercoaster rides. Waxing and waning. Going where the wind blows. That’s where and how my emotions travel. And God’s got my number. One minute I’m singing His praises, trusting His promises, telling folks about the good and gracious, ever-present God I serve. The next I’m questioning His intentions, fretting about delayed answers, and wallowing in my sackcloth and ashes. I wonder, “God, I don’t feel Your presence. I need you. Where are You?” From gracious to capricious in one fell swoop on my unbalanced scale. Well, God is ever present, gracious, and good. Always. He keeps on giving, loving, and working on my behalf regardless of my moods, feelings, and thoughts—and believe...
Son Covered

Son Covered

Photo by AJ Garcia “Oh, my goodness. It was just indescribable. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. I mean ever.” I admit, I turned a little green as I listened to my friend recount her eclipse experience. Her family had driven to a location that put them right in the path of totality. Her view definitely…well, eclipsed my own view from my backyard, during which I cast only brief glances at the sky, and through the trees no less. As far as I was concerned, it could have been an overcast day or the early evening at its peak. Nothing indescribable or amazing over here—unless you count what I saw on television. Of course, it was my own fault. I didn’t insist we drive hundreds of miles, pre-order viewers for the family, risk the crowds at a university viewing party, participate in an eclipse-focused science class, or even take a pair of scissors to a cereal box. In fact, I spent much of the afternoon in bed, writing and watching God cut a cross-country swath on CBS. Even Think Tank did more than I did by taking a push pin to an empty box of Ritz. So, that’s what I got for my efforts. But I still cried, “No fair!” “What about me?” “Is it my fault I live on the outskirts so I only get 75% while others get 97.1%? That seems to be my constant lament these days. What about me, Lord? Did you forget about me? Where’s my healing, my contract, my miracle, my path of totality, my day in the sun? Do...
Best-Laid Plans

Best-Laid Plans

So, I’m sitting in the Chick-Fil-A parking lot, enjoying chicken minis, hash browns, and coffee. An unexpected contribution to my hips and thighs. My plan was to start the day with a tablespoon of peanut butter spread across a slice of wheat bread, chased down by a cup of grapefruit juice. God’s plan was different—and much tastier, as it so often is. This all started at the kitchen table. I was reading e-mail and gathering the gumption to make “breakfast” when I thought I heard a knock. Did that sound come from upstairs? Then I heard it again, but more persistent, demanding—rap, rap-rap-rap-rap! Lone Ranger peeked through the foyer entryway and came running, “It’s the police!” I trooped to the front door, wondering about unpaid tickets, mistaken identity, and ending up on the evening news: “Woman in silky black hair cap and pin curls arrested today for…” But it wasn’t anything like that. Instead, the officer asked for my address and informed me there was a gas leak in the neighborhood (Is that what I smell?) and we all had to evacuate. Immediately. No time for peanut butter, a comb, or my phone. I did yank Hubby from the shower, the little people out of the study, and my handy dandy Macbook off the kitchen table. I didn’t expect to go to Chick-Fil-A this morning, or fill up the truck at Costco, or pick up bagels at Panera, killing time until we could safely return home. But it seems like God had intended for Hubby to wear his bright orange t-shirt with the John 3:16 scripture on the back that attracted the...
Grace Retained

Grace Retained

About two months ago, the dentist fitted Brown Sugar with an “appliance” to fix her underbite. She struggled with it in the beginning. The first night, she lost it somewhere in her room while she was asleep, and she came downstairs in tears, fearing Mama’s wrath. (No worries, we found it under the pillows and toys.) She had to get used to wearing it practically 24/7 and storing it in her case during meals. We all enjoyed hearing the way it affected her speech, and we’d ask her to repeat certain words—it just added to her appeal, if not ours. But Brown Sugar was a champ—diligent, mature, faithful, and good-humored. She quickly adjusted to life with it (including our teasing). She brushed her teeth and the appliance after each time she ate. She dutifully wrapped it in a napkin when she wasn’t wearing it (because she couldn’t always keep up with the case). She soon got used to the pressure on her tooth, the dental checkups, and measuring her progress. We anticipated the day when the dentist would say she could put it away for good. Well, that wonderful day arrived at last. Brown Sugar’s hard work and patience made her precious, gap-toothed smile even more precious. The problem now? She’s struggling to get used to life without it! “My teeth feel weird,” she commented after a few minutes of freedom. Later she pointed to her teeth and worried, “They’re hitting each other. Are they moving back?” We’ve had to reassure her that all is well, that they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. Once again, she’ll have to get used to life without the appliance....