Monday, November 30, 2015

Post Thanksgiving

It was the day after Thanksgiving when the rain began.
And since then it has rained ... and rained ... and rained.

The day before, I gave thanks for my family, new opportunities, plans ... and the unconditional love that seemed to be permeating the gathering.

Then all hell broke loose.

First the yard flooded.  Just like every time it has ever rained at this house.  Then somehow the bathrooms were overflowed.  Water was sloshing around under the floors.  In both downstairs bathrooms ... and the hall.

It made no sense where all of the water was pooling.

Give thanks ... with a grateful heart ... give thanks to the holy One ...

The song had been playing as an undercurrent in my heart for days. By Saturday, when the second backflow-flooding took place ... it was becoming harder and harder ... to sing along.

And the rain kept falling ... and falling.

Dry inside but there was no toilet flushing ... showering ... laundering ... going on this weekend as we waited for the water to recede once again.

Everyone decided to attend church.  A new song filled my heart ... Your glory is so beautiful!

Lost in the singing ... eyes closed ... I offered up my silent prayer.

Lord, I am weary and overwhelmed.  The rain's are falling and the darkness is beginning to surround me. Speak directly into my life. I need to hear You. Show me Your glory! 

The message was about being content no matter what the circumstances. Brother Del took a jab at "choosing happy".  He shared some archaic philosophical writings that had to do with eliminating desires and emotions ... likening it to the propensity of ... choosing happy.

Choosing happy ... saved my life.  I believe it's possible to choose happy ... without giving up my desires or my emotions ... by faith and acceptance of God's will for my life.

And still it rained.  And rained. And rained.

Maintain.  That was the best I could muster ... the rest of the day.

Progress was made with the floors drying. An ongoing battle with the antenna ensued.

Snow was falling in Denver as I struggled to catch a glimpse of a beautiful young friend at the stadium ... only a week or so into her newest adventure.

A random personal connection keeps me from ever pulling for the Patriots.  And the MJ in me always pulls for the underdog. So I was trying to get lost in the game ... with the second string quarterback ... the game that was declared "over" here on the home front within the first 3 minutes.

Faith. Persistence. Courage. That's what brought the Broncos into overtime ... to a truly miraculous win ... against the unbeaten Super Bowl champions.

Their victory helped to keep my feelings of defeat at bay ... a little.

Today. Still raining.
There was nothing that I had to do today ... so I decided to just lay low. Stay home.

Around 3 o'clock, I decided that I would slip out to the bank and grocery store.
Just a quick trip to nearby and neighborly places.

Stopped at the stoplight in the center of town.  There was big Ford truck in front of me.  A sedan-like car in front of him.

Light turns green.  Sedan moves forward. Truck moves forward.  I take my foot off the brake and ease forward. Sedan slams on brakes. Truck slams on brakes. I slam on brakes ... slip and slide into the trailer hitch of the truck.

Sedan drives off. Truck moves into a parking lot.  I pull in, too.  Nice young man jumps out apologizing for stopping so abruptly.

"We were barely moving, there's no damage to my truck" he says. "Is your car ok?"

I had to laugh.  Of course, there's damage to my car.  It's an Audi with plastic parts.

Limped over to see my friends at the body shop.  On the way the coolant light came on and by the time I stopped there steam was blowing out from under the hood.

So, yeah, there's body damage ... to the front ... again.  And possibly a radiator to be replaced.

As my body shop friend drove me home, he shared his Thanksgiving weekend story. It's not really my story to tell ... but it had to do with an out-of-town relative making a parking garage out of the recently completed addition to his home.

Somehow I felt a little better.  And I know that he shared his sad story with me ... for that very reason.

A conversation with my brother ... who is also one of my best friends ... brought perspective to the situation as well.  Bottomline is ... it's only money.

 Our conversations always bounce back and forth between what's going on in his life and what's going on in mine.  It was interesting to me that he asked me if I ever had any fears?

Funny, I thought I had always taken my fears to him.

Anyway, he helped me to stop and smile at all of the signs that God sends me ... to show me that He's always near ... and in control. 

When I gathered my things from my car this afternoon, I looked down on the driver side floorboard.  There was a penny.  Just laying there.  It wasn't there when I left home.  My purse was on the passenger seat so there's no way it fell out on impact.

The penny ... in-God-we-trust-side up ... caught me by surprise.  Just like so many other times.

I shared that with my brother.  I told him that it was a reminder of how God always shows up ... in small ways ... in big ways.

He said I should take a few minutes and make a list of things I was grateful for right now.  It sounded like something I would tell him to do.   I am the Gratitude Challenge promoter extraordinaire, after all.

Today I am thankful for a brother who is also a friend; a God who never leaves my side; the best friends in the universe; and a faith that allows me to accept the setbacks with confidence and grace.

The weatherman on the radio says there will be sunshine tomorrow before returning to the music.

Do you hear what I hear? A song. A song. Is ringing through the night.  It will bring us goodness and light.

November 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cuts Like A Knife ...

Jessica recently found herself with a tidy sum of "extra" money.  Enough money that some consideration needed to be made on how to spend it.

She wasn't allowed to use it on gifts for others.  She had to spend it on things for herself.

In the past there has been a great deal of communication with me about how Jessica spends her money at such times.  This time not so much.

A new couch ... because the one she brought when she moved in was ... ahem ... a "danger" to her. It was not but that's a another story.  A nightstand sized dresser to replace a broken down shelf thingy that was there when she moved in. A mop.

And ... a set of steak knives.

That's the list that was come up with on her behalf.

Steak knives.  It was an interesting choice.  Jessi is living independently. Her cooking primarily involves frozen dinners and entrees that she can heat in the microwave.  Pretty much nothing that would require more than an ordinary butter knife to cut up.

I was told that she specifically asked for the steak knives.  That she was adamant that it was something that she wanted and needed. Sometimes she gets something in her head and than she fixates on it until she gets it.  Jessi is funny like that at times.

I figured this must be one of those times.

Sometime last week all of her purchases had been made and I went over to see her new things.  She showed me the new couch and the new nightstand.  The old broken down shelf thingy was still there ... as well as the broken television shoved in a corner that was replaced almost a year ago.

The old couch is at my house.  After a cursory inspection , it was discovered that there wasn't a thing wrong with it after all. As I said, that's a different story.

"Did you get your steak knives?" I asked.
Yes was the prompt reply.

"Why did you want steak knives, Jessi?" I pressed.
 "I don't know. I didn't ask for steak knives, Mom," she replied. "She told me that's what I should say I wanted ... so I did."

I went into the kitchen and began opening drawers.  There were no steak knives to be found.
"Where are they?" I asked.
"In the cookie jar." she replied.

I lifted the lid of her sweet cookie jar ... a house-warming gift from someone who wanted her to feel special every day ... sure enough ... there were the steak knives ... handles down ... sharp pointed ends up.

"Why are they in your cookie jar?" I asked.
"I don't know," said Jessi. "She said to put them there so I wouldn't cut myself by accident when I reached into the drawer."


Wonder what happens to the friend who wanders into Jessi's kitchen and reaches into the cookie jar ... in anticipation of a treat?!?

In a different conversation with a different loved one ... it was said ...

"I don't ever mean to hurt you, MaryJane.  I guess ... I just don't consider you."

It took a minute to recognize the wound ... much like a paper cut ... only bigger  ... surprisingly painful ... it's not a fresh cut ... just one that seems to be taking forever ... to heal.

Truth is, it had been explained that way to me once before. I wasn't quite ready to ... get it ... the first time. You see, it's one thing to be deliberately left out for whatever reason ... when it's a conscious choice.  It's something entirely different ... to simply not be considered at all.

Now that it's been said to me twice, I believe it.  It was said to me with such kindness, after all.

On the way home, I laughed into the wind at the irony of it.

You see ... that's what happens when you reach an unsuspecting hand into a cookie jar ... full of steak knives ... hoping to find something sweet.

“Most scars are invisible. Damn transparent knives. Does anything cut deeper than love? 
 ~Jarod Kintz 

April 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Time ... Timing ...

Woke up this morning with a little tinge of worry ... about my day ... about the weird thing going on with my tire ... and the realization that I will be driving right by the scene of my wreck last June ... for the very first time.

It made me pause.  Actually, it stopped me dead in my tracks.

There was a moment of panic as I processed the thought.

"Ok, God.  So it's the end of the month ... just like before ... and I am rushing to get all of these things done ... and my tire is doing that weird thing ... AND ... I am going to be driving right by THAT spot ... where I took the plunge into the ravine ... the one that
I shouldn't have walked out of?!?"

And the whisper came ... "I am in control of YOUR time, MaryJane."

Reassuring at first ... but as the morning moves forward ... I find myself ... a little uneasy ... still.

My tires are brand new ... less than 60 days old. So there's no reason I should be having a tire issue.  But I am.

Shimmy and shake ... whenever I accelerate.  At times earlier this week, it has felt as if the rear left tire was going to simply fly off.

Slipped into a local tire place yesterday and was told they couldn't find any of the normal suspects for such a problem ... other than the tire on the left rear was worn badly along the edges ... causing a cupping effect ... that could definitely cause the vibrations.

 When I asked what would cause such a thing to happen with a brand new tire, he shook his head slowly and said he really didn't know.  Could be alignment but when he drove it, he didn't feel any pull.  Could be the tire wasn't balanced properly when it was put onto the car. He really wasn't sure. Anyway you slice it, it seems that the only fix is ... ANOTHER ... new tire.

He said that it wasn't hurting anything to drive on it ... except that it would just keep wearing ... and the shimmy-shaking would get worse.  He said he'd really like to help me but that he thought I should go back to where the tires came from ... since they were so new.

Made a call to that place. Plan to take it in on Monday ... after two long days of driving this weekend ... to catch up on all of the places I didn't get to go to over the last two weeks due to the snow.

Opened my email and my horoscope said ... Thankfully, you will have a good shot at reaching your goals as long as you take whatever extra time you need. You will only make yourself more frustrated if you push too hard because you could inadvertently agitate a hornet's nest of unwarranted worries. Be patient; it's smarter to chill out now and try again once the energy settles down. Timing is everything. 
Yes. I smiled.  It was a reminder from my best friend, God, Creator of the Universe, that He is always with me.  My Balstovitch ... he jumped off his pin back last night ... and landed somewhere in Heber Springs.  It seems that he doesn't want to come along for the ride ... today.

My God ... He will go before me ... He is always with me.

Timing. Is. Everything.
(c) February 2015