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...
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....
Declaration of Dependence

Declaration of Dependence

This morning, TD announced, “I’m going to dress myself!” Armed with a few key reminders (“Tag in back,” etc.), he did just that, lickety split. Now, this shouldn’t be a big deal. By this age, the other little people were sewing their own clothes, not just putting them on—okay, not really, but close. They all had at least one younger sibling to share their spotlight; they were little helpers and leaders—“knee babies” as Grandma called them, who had to move out of the way. But TD is everybody’s baby, and he works the roomful of eight mamas and papas willing and able to cater to his every whim. My constant prayer is that we don’t let our precious fruit spoil on the vine, but I’m starting to notice some overripe spots, right behind the ears he doesn’t wash himself. The blessing and the curse? He’s the last. The last I breastfed. The last to get a first tooth. The last first steps we witnessed. The last to learn to read. We all cling—and yes, I more than most—because we won’t get these “firsts” again. We delay their arrival and departure as much as possible, even to our own detriment. Sure, it makes more work, but it also keeps him…well, a baby. So, call us Dr. and Mrs. Frankenstein. Meet our cute little monster. But as I watched TD struggle to put his right foot through the right leg of his shorts, I took heart: he’s still my baby; he still needs me. And that won’t ever change, if my own Mama is any example. Even with a husband and my...
All to Pieces

All to Pieces

Everything was all set for dinner: quiche—spinach, eggs, baked chicken, cheese, half-and-half, heavy cream. Well, everything but the crusts, whole crusts, that is. When I unwrapped the frozen pastries, I realized someone must have dropped them at some point, for two of the crusts were in oodles of pieces. Ugh. Hubby was all ready to grab his keys and head to the grocery store, but after a minute I determined this looked like a job for…our puzzle man! Think Tank had answered this call before, though things didn’t look quite this dire. He studied them for a few minutes and set to work, and by the time I finished preheating the oven, cutting up the chicken, and mixing together all my ingredients, Think Tank had put together all those broken pieces. What he couldn’t fit together, he pressed into place, since they’d defrosted a little. Actually, now I didn’t have to bother piercing them with a fork since the cracks would allow the steam to escape. Problem solved. I baked them a little, sealing any cracks. Then I poured in my quiche mixture, sprinkled on a little cheese, and cooked them another 45 minutes. The result? Yummy goodness. I sliced them, no problem. They served their purpose. And you’d never know how ugly the frozen crusts were when we first removed the plastic. Broken crusts. Usable for a specific purpose. It just took an expert to mold and shape, a little patience, creativity, and some heat to make them fit for consumption. Just like my life, your life. Broken, but not crushed by the twists and turns, disappointments, and hardships...
Blood Thirsty

Blood Thirsty

So I had a tick on me today. We’d just parked and Hubby was helping me from the car. In the process, my dress moved just enough to reveal a little brown…thing…on my upper thigh. “What’s that?” he asked. When I looked at it, I assumed it was a mole; they’ve seemed to pop up any- and everywhere in my old age. He took a closer look. “Nope, that’s not a mole.” At that point, I freaked out. Folks who know me know when I say, “I freaked out,” I mean I. FREAKED. OUT. Right there in the Potbelly’s parking lot for all the world to see. And I continued to shiver and shake for the next…well, I’ve still got the heebie jeebies, so I’ll update you on that timeline. Sweet Songbird reminded me that I should focus on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) That didn’t include thinking about that six-legged creature digging into my skin, sucking my blood, passing along all manner of disease. Nothing lovely or praiseworthy in that. But there is something lovely about my girl pointing to scripture, even in—especially in—that moment of abject, completely grossed out, I’m-going-to-lose-it terror. She knows I don’t do ticks, spiders, bees, or basically anything that grows or crawls in the space between the house and the car. That includes plants, remember? There is something praiseworthy in Hubby who scooted across the lot to ask a stranger for a lighter so he could heat tweezers and who didn’t laugh...