Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Every now and then you meet someone that stops you in your tracks.  You look at their life and the trials and tribulations they continually endure day after day and realize just how completely blessed you are.  My whole life has been one utopian existence after another.  So the water spigot thingy doesn't work on my refrigerator and the carpet in my bedroom is still that ugly pale blue stuff, but I am not going to court this week to fight my ex-husband for my children.  I will go home tonight and my husband will have dinner ready so I can eat it quickly and rush off to class (a class that I am not paying for, it is being funded by my incredible employer.)  My happy, healthy children will pounce on me when I walk through the door and follow me around making nuisances of themselves until I leave for class.  This weekend my dad, who completely adores and dotes on me will come to my house and hang on my every word while he putters around my house fixing things.  I grew up among grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and a church family that practically worshiped me.  My family doted on all the children born into it.  Family gatherings were all about being together.  I don't remember hurt feelings or confrontations or strife.  We were happy.  It was utopia.  A co-worker posted a comic strip in her cube that says "A bad day is all about perspective."  My interpretation of that is this - a good day for some would seem completely unbearable to me.  A bad day for me would be, well utopia for someone else.

Today I am counting my blessings.

One by one. 

Man they are adding up quickly.

Monday, January 2, 2012


I had the most terrifying experience over Christmas break.  It ranks in the top 10 of my life at least.  We had the exceedingly good fortune of seeing some of our dearest friends after Christmas.  We found out, quite by accident, that they had gathered in St. Louis.  We dropped everything, threw the kids in the car and got on the road for the 4 hour drive to St. Louis -- a 4 hour drive that turned into 6 1/2.  I'll save that story for later.  Part of the reason that it took so long is that at any given moment one of us has to go to the bathroom and it never seems that we have to go in the same moment.  Anyway, just as we were getting into St. Louis, I HAD to go.  Grudgingly, Lonnie pulled off at yet another exit and we began a desperate search for anything that was open.  Finding nothing open (even Walmart was closed.  What is with this place?), Lonnie banged on the door at McDonald's.  A woman came to the door and he begged her to let me in - God bless him!  And God bless her, she agreed to let me in.

It is amazing the amount of detail one can absorb in a couple of seconds.  First, I noticed she was pregnant.  Second, she was African American.  Third, she had a gang tattoo on her neck.  Fourth, she showed absolutely no emotion at all.  With a completely blank face, she informed me that she could get in trouble for letting me in.  I thanked her profusely, expecting something in her face to change, but still nothing.  I ran into the bathroom as she began arguing with someone behind the counter that I could not see.  Hastily – in record time – I finished my business and bolted out the door.  As I was getting into my nice warm Honda Pilot, a beat-up, barely-running little car pulled up and my unlikely hero walked out with the same detached expression and got in the car.

It doesn’t take a prophet to discern her life.   It took me about 3 seconds and trust me, I'm no prophet.  Obviously, she leads an extremely difficult life.  I began to wonder just how she ended up there.  What choices put her here?  What came first?  Did her pregnancy force her into a fast food job or to seek protection in a gang?  Or did her gang involvement lead to the pregnancy and then the dead end job?  Perhaps her life is the result of choices of others.  Could a hastily made decision of someone else have begun the spiral of misery and poverty in her?  Had her mother or father or grandmother made different choices would it have changed anything for this young woman?  I will never know, but I will never forget the complete hopelessness in her countenance.  She had absolutely nothing to smile about.

I am still thinking about choices and the power they hold.  The story of Esther is most intriguing to me.  The story begins when Queen Vashti refuses to answer King Xerxes’ invitation.  The Bible isn’t really clear on why she found his invitation so demeaning, but for whatever reason, she chose to refuse the King thus openly rebuffing his wishes.   The King didn’t seem to fully grasp the consequences of her choices, but his advisers did.  They realized that Vashti was exemplifying a rebellion that would infect all the women in the kingdom.  They claimed that if the king did nothing about Vashti’s disobedience, all the women of the kingdom would begin to despise their husbands.  (I am struggling to keep my feministic tendencies at bay!  There is a bigger picture to see.)  Vashti’s choice got her fired and her position was filled with someone who had better decision making skills.  Thus an entire nation was saved because of Esther’s choices.

I am thinking about the choices my grandmother and mother made that shaped who they were and who I am.  I am a direct result of the choices they made.  This is extremely sobering to me.  I highly doubt that any of my choices will have any national consequences, but I have kids.  What choices am I making that are affecting Levi and Reagan?  Am I doing something that will have long-term or even eternal significance to them?  The attitude of our culture is so selfish.  How many times have you heard “I can do whatever I want.  I am not hurting anybody”?  But are your actions really harmless?  Could your choice possibly initiate a chain reaction that you never intended?  This thought has caused me to think twice, to use extreme caution when making choices.  I want my kids to declare confidently that their mother is a Christian, just as I declared of my mother and grandmother.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Blahs

My mom died 12 years ago, today. It seems like an eternity ago. It seems like it was yesterday. I read in a book somewhere that people who have not lost anyone close to them view grief like quitting smoking - it gets easier with each passing day and you miss it less and less. The author disagreed with this comparison and said it was more like doing without water - you noticed its absence more with each passing day. I am somewhere in the middle. My mom's death does not occupy every waking thought anymore, but occasionally something will spark the memory and the gaping wound is ripped open again with its ragged edges of hurt and disappointment. I have no doubt that God did exactly as he saw fit and I try to trust His will. Really I do. But, it still hurts, the questions remain unanswered. Every year about this time I get in the most foul mood. I never understand why until I remember the dreaded anniversary and my mood makes sense.

I wish I could be more like her. I am glad we are different. She was awesome. Man she could be difficult. She was really an enigma, perplexing and complex, hard to understand. But, she did something right. We stood for hours while people shuffled by her casket paying their last respects. At one point, the line wrapped around the building I'm told. In her shy, backwards way - contrary to her nature, she reached out to people. I need to figure out how she did that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Have Had an Epiphany

It wasn't fun. I just realized that I really do not like people all that much. I am not sure why it surprised me. After all, I am an only child. My mother was extremely introverted. My first real sleepover was at the ripe old age of 12. I did get into them as I got older, but before that I had no desire to stay at a strange house. I spent the 6 years we lived on-campus at CLC hiding in the apartment. The ugly truth is, I just don't like dealing with people. This is disturbing because my husband is a pastor and I am supposed to be a people person. However, I cringe when the phone rings. I never call people unless I absolutely have to and Lonnie has adamantly refused to do it for me. It seems that when I stretch myself and try to reach out and plan something it falls apart.

So, now what do I do? I have to believe that God knew what he was doing when he put Lonnie and me together. There must be something in me that he can use to build this church. Right? He will use anything that is handy to fulfill His purpose. Right? His strength is made perfect in my weakness. The only thing I can figure is that I must be willing to allow the Potter to mold this vessel. He knows all the cracks and imperfections because he put them there. Right?

Still waiting for answers. In the meantime I'm going to check my voicemail. I think I may have accidentally ignored a couple of calls.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ice Breaker

Just to get the ball rolling, I'm going to post. I am going to write something and post it! I do have a lot of thoughts and ideas wandering around in my brain. Organizing them into something conherent is the hard part. So, this is just a post to say that I can write when I choose to, even if it does sound like a stream of consciousness.