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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Florida Thunderstorms

I absolutely love thunderstorms, especially Florida thunderstorms!  There is nothing like the bright streaking strands of light that flash to the ground from so high above!  The loud crack of thunder that hits right after the lighting can sometimes make me jump, but it doesn’t scare me.  It does however; scare my cat, Gia, she hides in the cereal cabinet at the first sign of a sprinkle.

Late yesterday afternoon we had our first “real” thunderstorm of the year, and was it ever a display of God’s awesome power!  There were tornado watches, wind gusts of 75 miles/hour, trees down, houses flying through the air (ok, so I made the last one up), but all the rest is true.  Tom called and told me not to come home yet because the storm was so bad at the house, and then, the power went out at work.  Nice! – except my office has no windows and gets pitch black, which is perfect as a storm shelter or for migraine relief (or a nap), but when the main office goes dark it becomes a death trap…  I used the flashlight app on my phone to grab the stuff I was going to take home with me and put it by the door for a quick getaway.
Eventually I was cleared to make the agonizingly long trek home through the rain.  As luck would have it I actually chose the route with the least amount of traffic light outages, this is a rare occurrence for me, and I made it home in only twice the normal travel time!

It continued to storm all day today.  The drive to and from work was treacherous but I was warm and dry in my car listening to the weather and traffic reports on the radio.  Quite a contrast to the travel conditions the disciples faced in Mark 6: 45-51.
Jesus had put the disciples in a boat and sent them across the lake while He went off alone to pray.  A storm comes up, and Jesus sees that they are struggling with the oars in the middle of the lake.  So, He goes out to them walking on the water (and this part totally cracks me up) He was about to walk right on past them… Of course, when they saw Him walking on the water they freaked out, who wouldn’t?  Jesus tells them not to be afraid and He climbs into the boat and the storm stops.  There’s more to this than just the storm.  I think Jesus was giving them time to think over the days events, but they still weren’t getting it.
How many times does Jesus give me time to think things over about the stuff He has done, and I still don’t get it.  I hope the next time He walks on the water towards me that He chooses to climb into my boat and not even consider walking right on by.  I’m trying to get it…

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Inspiration

 

Road Trip

*disclaimer: my sweet childhood memories may be slightly amiss, but they’re my memories, please let me hold on to them. 🙂

When I was young we would drive down to see my Grandparents. It was about a 12 hour drive from Minneapolis to Markle, IN, or a 2 day drive to Florida.  My Mom was always prepared for these long drives, the mother of 5 she knew what she was doing.  She packed food, the kind we didn’t normally get to eat, like squeeze cheese, but that was evened out, of course, by fruit (“peel me a grape, Mom” – hilarious to my siblings & me so it must be included…).  I have to admit, Mom is pretty much a genius with this idea… she had a jar with water and a washcloth that she kept on the floor at her feet, it was perfect for cleaning sticky faces & fingers!
We didn’t have a lot of money, but my Mom always bought new “Road Trip” goodies for us & put them in a brown paper grocery bag.  The contents of the bag was Top Secret, & highly anticipated, at least by me.  Now, I’m sure that Mom purchased the items at Red Owl while grocery shopping, they were cheap little things (& some candy) but they kept us kids from killing each other, most of the time.  My favorite was the Magic Slate drawing pad, it’s basically the poor man’s Etch-a-Sketch, it has that black tar-like layer covered by a plastic sheet, & comes with a red pencil stick for drawing.  You can draw or write something, peel back the plastic & the picture disappears like “magic” so you can start all over again.
We read books, played I Spy, the alphabet & license plate games, talked to each other.
Oh, those days were so blissful and serene, never any discord or contention…  (do you hear the needle scratching across the album right now?).
Road Trips aren’t too much different with my kids.  The toys are a bit different, instead of Magic Slate, there is the drawing app on my iPad.  In addition to books they also watch DVDs or downloaded movies.  They text on their phones instead of talking to each other (they HAVE phones).  We usually stop along the way to eat.  Ok, I guess things are different…  but, I DO bring snacks.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the petty fighting between the kids.  The old “she’s looking at me”, “he’s on my side of the car” , “she’s touching me” routine.
Last week it was just Mady & me driving the 3+ hours to Boca.  We talked & laughed a lot.  Mady imitated Lloyd from ‘Dumb & Dumber’ by leaning forward & pumping her arms as if running & says “if I do this really fast it feels like I’m running at an incredible rate.”.  She does this until someone in a passing car sees her & we bust out laughing at their reaction.  It was actually a fun drive.

The disciples never got to experience a road trip like the ones we know, but we will never experience during our time on earth the road trips they made with Jesus.  We only get a small glimpse into their “Road Trip”, we don’t hear all the conversations, we don’t know if John told James to quit looking at him, & I wonder, did they play the alphabet game?
These are not things that will make or break a faith, but they do make me want to know more about how Jesus & his closest friends interacted on a daily basis.  I want him to come out of the pages of my Bible & tell me what made him laugh.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Inspiration

 

Just Reach Out

I’ve suffered from chronic migraine for as long as I can remember. At one point I was getting an average of 14 migraines a month, & that didn’t include the normal daily headache. The doctors have not found the cause as of yet. I’ve had MRIs – no brain tumor, no blood clot, the blood flow seems “normal”, whatever that means. And before any comments come, yes, there is a functioning brain…
Over the years I’ve been prescribed more medications than I care to list, from pain killers to anti-seizure meds.
When my neurologist found the right combination I actually went 3 weeks without a migraine. Funny thing is, it took me over a week to realize that something was different… I didn’t have a headache AT ALL.
I know this sound strange, but if you have chronic pain you begin to ignore the little pains, like the daily headaches. It’s like when you have a radio on as background noise & after a while it stops but you don’t notice it right away. Unfortunately, the migraines are getting more frequent & more severe. I think it’s time to re-adjust the meds – again.

My Bible study made me see one of Jesus’s healings in a completely new light. In Luke 9 Jesus was walking through a crowd on his way to heal a dying girl. A woman who had been ill for 12 years had enough faith in Jesus to know that she could be healed by just touching his clothing.
Beth Moore wrote (not an exact quote), if you believe that Jesus is on His way to something more significant than your problems, just reach out and touch the hem of His robe when He walks by.
I cried, I just sat there and cried, because I feel that in the grand scheme of things my migraines are insignificant.
Is it possible that my lack of faith in His compassion has hindered my healing? Oh, I know he can heal if He wants to, but I fear that He doesn’t want to. Even if I reach out and touch His hem there is no guarantee, but I have to have enough faith to reach out.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Inspiration

 

Ambushed

I don’t think anyone, except maybe my oldest sister,  knows how sensitive I am.  I hide it pretty well, usually behind humor, but sometimes behind anger or indifference.

It takes a while for me to break down, and when I do it’s usually an accumulation of things built up from many sources.  But sometimes it can be from one conversation, or a look, or from no reaction when I’m expecting one.  The insecurities and fears creep up and circulate over and over in my head, blocking everything else out.  My muscles tense and my ears start to buzz.  I can feel a wave of heat rushing through my veins.
It  never fails, this is the exact minute that Autumn choses to tell me she needs to borrow a shirt, or Mady tells me she desperately needs a Slurpee.  REALLY!  REALLY?
Oh, these poor children of mine…
There is nothing worse than being ambushed by your Mother.  Here they practically skip into the room, all smiles, “Hey Mom”, they quickly realize that what looked like their Mom is an entirely different Beast altogether… Remember the warmth coursing through my veins?  Somehow it shifted course, intensified and shot out my mouth.  It stopped them in their tracks, and burned right down into their hearts.  The damage is done.
It doesn’t matter if I throw cold water on the flames or smother the smoldering ashes with dark chocolate.  The scars will always be there, and I made them.

This is not easy to write.  It’s not easy to admit that the quick reflex actions that come so naturally to me cause such damaged to my girls.  The sad thing is, my favorite verse in the Bible is Ephesians 4:29. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”.
Good thing in verse 32 it says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”.

Most of the time I am kind and compassionate, and I think I do a pretty good job of forgiving those who hurt me (hopefully, those I’ve hurt have forgiven me), but I have a long way to go to meet the 2nd half of verse 29.
Like I said before, this is a journey and I’m working on it even though my progress seems slow.
For my three wonderful girls, I love you, you are a blessing to me and a joy.  I can’t imagine my life without you.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Inspiration

 

What’s on the Inside Counts

We went out to eat at this place called Duffy’s. Tory ordered a chicken tender platter (I won’t bore you with the details of the other orders as they are not relevant). A few bites in she leaned over and said “I don’t think there’s any chicken in this one… it’s like they just fried batter!”. She shrugged her shoulders and then said “oh well, I’m gonna eat it anyway!!” and dipped it into the sauce and popped it into her mouth.
I almost gagged, just the thought of all that batter with nothing remotely good on the inside just about did me in…
As dinner wrapped up Mady reached across the table and grabbed this round ball of batter off Tory’s plate. “Tory! This is a HUSHPUPPY!!!”
Tory looked up with this sheepish grin “I know, I figured that out, I just didn’t want to say anything”. “The menu didn’t say a thing about hushpuppies…”. This was a classic Tory moment!
We all burst out laughing. It was just too much.
We did eventually calm down and make it out of the restaurant, but every once in a while the rest of the night one of us would laugh and it would start all over again.

I started thinking, is there any way I can tie this in to anything that Jesus would have said? Yes, there is!
In Luke 12:1,2. Jesus said, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”

Tory bit into what she thought was a chicken tender, but once the inside was exposed she could clearly see that what she expected to find was missing. Just like with these Pharisees, they looked all good on the ouside, but were missing the good stuff on the inside.

The good news here is if you look ahead a few verses to verse 8, you will see that Jesus says, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.”
So, since I have asked Jesus to live in my heart, and to save me by His grace, then I have the good stuff on the inside. And when I tell others that I personally know Jesus because he lives in my heart, He will also declare that he personally knows me. How cool is that?

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Inspiration

 

Platforms

A few years ago Tom and I took a cruise. Since it was a 7 dayer there would be 2 formal nights. I am fortunate to be the same size as my oldest daughter, so I borrowed her prom & homecoming dresses. The problem was it also meant high heels. Yikes!!!
I had to go shopping and I am not a shopper – ya know, the more I write, the more I realize what I am not (just wait ’til my “quirks” come out and you see what I am). Anyway, I found 2 pairs of really cute black heels and bought them. I wore them around the house a bit to break them in, not too bad.

The first formal night, I looked great, Tom was so handsome in his tux! We take the stairs for dinner, and I get about 3 steps in and the pain and agony begins… it’s awful, but I’m tough, so I push through it. By the end of the night my shoes are off and I hobble barefoot to the cabin.
Formal night #2, different shoes, and I’m smarter this time… We take the elevator. As we step into the dining room, you guessed it… Horrible, sharp-spiking daggers of pain. What was I thinking? I made it through dinner, & once again, shoeless back to the cabin. We changed to normal clothes before the show this time.

That was the last time I purchased heels, until a few weeks ago. I decided I needed a pair of high heeled black boots. Tom and I went to a shoe store in the mall. I picked out a pair I liked. When I tried them on I noticed right away a difference from the other heels. I even said out loud “These are so comfortable! I can’t believe how comfortable they are!”. The sales girl said “Oh, that’s the platform… You have to have the platform.”
Really? It’s that simple? Yep! It’s that simple… I’ve worn those boots to church & stood around, I’ve worn them to work all day and not had one twinge of pain! A PLATFORM!!!

Is this not the same lesson I learned about life when I was younger? In Matthew 7:24-25 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock. The rain came down, the steams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

The rock = the platform

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Inspiration

 

Day 4 – Dreams & Reality

I woke up about 5 this morning with the realization that I had been dreaming of spitting.  Ya know the kind where you really have a bunch of saliva and have a manly spit (after just attending the ladies tea I can see how this actually would appeal to me).  Anyway, I felt my face, you guessed it, wet, and thinking about the amount of saliva generated in my dream I figured I should at least feel the pillow.  After removing the pillowcase, I chose to halt my investigation of the distance spit travels from one side of the bed to the other.  I figure if Tom didn’t wake up from an elbow to the face…

I got ready for work as usual and went in to brush my teeth.  Tom usually isn’t up this early in the morning, but he had to work today.  He wears a retainer at night & cleans it every morning before he puts it in the case on the shelf above the sink.  Now, you may see where this is going…  Well, as I was brushing my teeth, I see two drops of water leading to the case and all I can visualize is spit.  I gag.  Then I see the scene from “date night” flash through my mind of the wife pulling out her retainer with all the saliva hanging from it, & I gag again.  Now, with my mouth full of toothpaste, and the toothbrush halfway in, I get the dry heaves.  The more I think about it, the more I heave. Finally, I get myself under control, pull it together & finish the task at hand.
I seriously have issues!
Now, the dilemma, did Tom hear all the gagging? Do I have to fess up to the whole story, or can I pass it off as nausea from a migraine?  (I have chronic migraine, it could work).  Well, if you tuned in yesterday, one of the sermon points was “Speak the truth gently” dang! I gotta tell him.  So, I owned up to the whole thing – except for the possibility of the long-range travel of my spit during the night, I’ll let him get that on his own – he agrees, I have issues…

You’re probably thinking, “how can she possibly get anything Spiritual out of that?”. Oh, but I can…
The one thing I have learned through my years of ups and downs is that God is Compassionate.

Psalm 103:8 the Lord is compassionate and gracious.

Gracious – means marked by courtesy & kindness, merciful.
I can only hope that after my husband reads this he chooses to also be gracious with me.  I love you, Tom.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Inspiration