Category: Memories

Freedom in Vulnerability

 

Some Vulnerable Moments

  • IMG_4198When I cross the threshold of an airplane and see the five-inch-wide tube I’m climbing in, there is a moment of “heck no!” and I wonder if anyone else thinks about the fact that we are getting in a can to fly 35,000 feet up in the sky.
  • I used to live on a two lane highway in Missouri. Sometimes I would briefly close my eyes when the car coming toward me would pass. Not the smartest, I know, but the vision of a head on collision was just too much for me. I slipped into a short season of fear every time JT left for work. Two lane highway. People driving 65 miles an hour at each other.
  • I went into check on by baby because he was too fussy when I laid him down for his nap. I had stepped outside just to get a breather and let him cry it out. My momma heart was too heavy and I peeked in on him one more time. Oh my gosh! His eyes were swelling up! We called 911 and headed to the hospital. He had an allergic reaction to eggs.
  • 1985. My sister was sitting on my bed using the phone. I sat at her feet studying her face. She cried, “Okay, thank you.” She sat the phone down and ran down the hall. I followed right behind as she threw herself on the steps. “It was them, mom! It was them!” My grandparents had just been killed in an airplane crash.
  • 1984 6th grdHe called me a beaver.  I had bucked teeth in the 5th grade. He even made a beaver face at me, putting his front teeth over his bottom lip and making a sort of “phht” sound over and over.
  • When I was in Jr. High, I walked in the college music hall hugging my piano books against my chest. The competition was there. My nerves were in my throat and I watched the as the clock told me it was my turn. I sat down at the piano in the music room and played my memorized piece. My shoes clicked back down the hall and out into the Oklahoma heat. My stomach had settled back down.
  • My brother and I were driving slower than the actual speed limit looking for a place to turn around when some guy pulled out in front of us from the other side of the street. We hit him. Air bags and smoke. Amazing how powerful a hit is at 35 miles an hour. He was drunk and took off. The police found him down a dead end street.
  • I sat in a room full of people I loved and knew he didn’t love me anymore. He was over me. My heart was broken.
  • I leaned back and let my own body weight sit down in the strap. I looked up at the person above me telling me it was okay and to just start walking backward. Gravity pulled at me, trying to pull me down the 70 ft. drop. Straps held me in, and my own hand held a fall at bay. One foot after the other, down the rock face to the bottom. Two feet on the ground.
  • photo 1I panicked. I couldn’t go through with it and had to get out. My husband sat on the side of the hospital bed and told me we couldn’t make it stop and the baby was going to come. The panic subsided and a baby was born.
  • My girls were about the ages of four and five. My mom came over and wanted to take them home for the day. They drove off and then mom called me and said, “Oh, we’re going to run down to Carrie’s.” Carrie’s was 45 min away. Panic. What if they crash? What if I lose my babies? All bets are off if You take my babies.

            Vulnerable: susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.

Welcome to the human experience. There is no human on the planet that at one time or another (or all the time) hasn’t felt vulnerable. The human experience is wrought with susceptibility. From health, to accidents; rejection to abandonment. We are vulnerable to loss, pain, terror, surprise, sickness and death. No human can escape. No human doesn’t experience the weight of this truth.

Vulnerability was exposed the moment Adam and Eve sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There it was, the exposure of the chasm between man and God; good and evil; safety and vulnerability. Their instinct was to hide. They were scared. They had now and forever been exposed to two things: 1. Their own sin and 2. his great glory. Not the glory where we lift our hands and “give glory,” no, this is the weight of who God is. Their eyes were opened and the distinction between who they were and who God was was so stark, so terrifying, so drastic, so real, they ran and hid. His light had exposed the reality of what was between the Creator and the Created. The wonder had been blown out like a candle’s flame. Death was ushered in like an unwanted guest. They were no longer safe in the garden or safe in His presence. They had become vulnerable, susceptible, exposed.

Any encounter from then on with the Almighty was met first with “Do not be afraid!” Fear was the new instinct when humanity met its Maker. When the fullness of the glory of God was made known when the first couple ate, with it came the rebellion against that glory. Since his own Glory is God’s primary passion, he dealt with humanity as Great and Glorious first, and they then understood his love and compassion later. The weight of his Glory is his first and foremost expression of Who he is. Even when Jesus came, John says that after Jesus did his first miracle of turning water to wine that this was the first time “he revealed his glory.” It doesn’t say “he revealed his love.” Glory, the weight of Who God is, meets the human before anything characteristic or other expression.

It is this glory that makes us vulnerable. Scott Saul’s taught that when the angels appeared to the shepherds and declared, “Do not be afraid!” is because the Light of God exposes in us the darkness of what is expressed in humanity. His light exposes our frailty, our nothingness, our weakness, our insignificance, our dust, our fleeting nature. This great Light of God shines in our hearts and we are undone at the magnitude of the chasm between who God is and who we are. We know we are creatures, doomed to die and we feel it all the time. The gasp at a near miss. The relief when we get a good report. The sense that time goes too fast. We see it in the wrinkles in our faces and the pain in our joints. We smile and sigh at the clothes our kids outgrow in a few months. We shake our heads that is was twenty-five, fifty-five years ago we got married. We just can’t believe it when we bury our loved ones.

Death never feels right. Our vulnerable state comes to fruition when we breathe our last. Most of us have a sense that we will never really meet that time. I think we pass our days without giving breath a second thought. It goes in and out. Our chests heave up and down and we don’t even think about it. Then one day, it stops. And we are always surprised. Even if someone has been sick, when they stop breathing we just stare in disbelief. We instinctively know that death is not supposed to creep into the land of the living. It’s not supposed to show up and steal what we love. It’s not supposed to sweep through countries and come at the hands of one man to another. We know it. We know it.

So, we call it something else, “God’s will,” or “The circle of life.” Others might say that they will find life in the next life. Maybe they will come back as someone or something else. But, to think that we die and that’s it, is almost something the human mind cannot, or will not, accept.

Why? Why does the human in all its brilliance and intelligence suffer in the knowledge that death comes to us all? It is because it is not in the original design. We were never created to feel the susceptibility and vulnerability we now feel. Even now, thousands of years and sins removed from Adam and Eve, we cannot help but hate death. It’s been part of the human experience since the beginning, surely we would have reconciled with it by now! But, we haven’t. We still weep and wail. We still sit stunned and stare off. We still scream and cry and shake our fists at the heavens. We are not used to it. Even in our attempts to honor our loved ones and create dignified ways of saying good-bye, the ache in the human heart swells and we just know that it isn’t right.

And we are right.

Before the choice of sinning against God, there was no death, and it is still within the DNA of the human to know that we aren’t meant for it. In fact, the Word of God says, “He has also set eternity in their heart.” (Ecc. 3:11) It’s just as much truth in us as our DNA for our gender, eye color, hair color, race, and fingerprints. Their choice left all of us vulnerable and scared. It left us feeling like at any minute the worst could happen.

 

But…

In the same story of the angels before the shepherds after they declare, “Do not be afraid!” they go on to say, “We bring you good news that will cause great joy!” The same light of God that exposed mankind to the chasm between Creator and Created offers that which will redeem sin and death. The same Light that brought forth the Glory of God, the weight of who he was before that which he had created, now brought forth the Glory, the weight of redemption. The Light exposes us; the Light envelopes us.

Why is this freedom?

Because now we are left with something we don’t have to beat ourselves up over anymore. At the age of 42 I have now realized, with relief, that my instinct to panic, to suck in air of fear and flinch at bad news, and cry at death, and have a moment of anxiety when I need to do a breast exam, is nothing more that my fallen human experience that was brought forth when the Light of God’s holiness and glory was shown to Adam and Eve.

It is not a lack of faith when I feel vulnerable.

It is the very expression of knowing Who God is and who I am; knowing what will be and what is right now; knowing my life is dying, but there is life to come. I am not not trusting God because I feel vulnerable and exposed to what could happen in life. I am not someone who doesn’t believe God for his word when I feel the weight of death and fear of illness, or debt, or suffering, or abandonment.

What is faith is feeling that vulnerability, that exposure, that insecurity and believing that the same Light of Glory, weight of God, love and compassion of God is greater than those things. His glory over me in blessing and life is greater than what is revealed in the natural human experience.

I think too often it has been taught that a life with fear is a life without faith.

While I believe we cannot live in fear, I do not believe we can live without feeling vulnerable. When vulnerability gives way to fear, we must remind ourselves that God’s glory over us is greater. God’s promise to us is greater. God’s love in us through Jesus is greater. God’s Holy Spirit who brings us life and light and knowledge is greater.

God’s glory is greater. The angels in Luke 2 continue with the joy that God’s glory is the highest and there will be peace for those on whom his favor (blessing) rests! This Glory rests upon us.

This GLORY rests on us. Think on this.

We should be relieved to know that the vulnerable ways we feel are because God has shown himself to us and we have seen the scales of balance between us. A greater knowledge of God should create in us a greater sense of vulnerability. From this, we rest in the greater greatness of God’s glory in and over us that comes in blessing and honor, strength and power, stability and peace, security and being known.

This is peace that passes understanding. In our vulnerable, chaotic state, we have a peace from God that passes it up. This tells us that our understanding is, yes, we are vulnerable and exposed and dying, and yet his peace is greater than that. We don’t have to stop feeling one to have the other. The Glory of God gives us this supernatural peace in the midst of our natural vulnerable reality. That is faith.

That is the freedom found in vulnerability.

 

So, You Don’t Have a Tragic Story. Me Either.

1984 6th grdI’ve heard it preached like a million times and it goes something like this:

“Jesus uses the talentless, the forgotten, the screwups, the marginalized, the poor, the least likely to make his kingdom grow and expand and to take his gospel around the world. He will use your weakness and the little you have to offer for himself.”

Something like that.

 

And I always cringe. I want to adjust myself in my chair and I try not to look around because I know people are looking at me because they know.  I kinda scrunch up my face and begin to feel a sense of “Well, looks like I’m out of the game.”

 

Now, before you think I think too highly of myself, I don’t. What I mean when I feel like “I’m out of the game” is that I grew up in a upper-middle-class home on the north side of the city. I went to the “rich” schools and got poked at by my friends on the south side because I was “rich.” My parents are Christ followers who love each other and are approaching 50 years of marriage. Being raised by them was both fun and easy. I have two siblings whom I love and have more good memories with them than bad. I wasn’t bullied. I never had want for money. I had plenty of food and clothes. I had more friends than I could shake a stick at. I cut my baby teeth on the leather Bible cover and the back of the wooden pew. I was never abused or hurt. I was never lonely. I didn’t go without normal pains like friends hurting my feelings, or loss, but I don’t have a tragic story that has left me feeling like I’m a nobody with nothing to offer.

Quite the opposite. I was always told I was a somebody, dearly loved and valuable, full of talent and could be or do whatever I wanted. I was set.

 

 

While I heard that preached many times, I also heard this:

“You’ve been given gifts and talents by God. Some are in your nature and some are spiritual gifts to you by the Holy Spirit. Now, we need to discover those and God will show you how he can use you to advance his kingdom! Go and make his name famous. Do something! Do something great in those talents God has given you. Be strong! Don’t let your weaknesses stop you!”

Got it.

So, God uses the ugly and untalented and least likely, but then he wants to infuse us with talents and make us awesome warriors for the kingdom so that we are strong for him, but be sure to keep your weaknesses close so that you stay humble, but be strong in your talents and gifting and make sure you are taking time to hone those in so you can do a great work.

I’m getting mixed messages here.

Out of one side of our Church’s face we preach that you don’t have to be somebody to do something. In fact, the worse off you are, the better it will be for you in what you will do for the the kingdom. Out of the other side, we couple that with the elevation of the most talented and the most dynamic and and then they, in turn, tell us we don’t have to be somebody to make a difference.

What is going on?

Which is it?

A nobody or a somebody?

 

I know, I know, I get it. But there is still the feeling in me that I’m at risk at being the least compassionate, the most Pharisaical, and the least like Christ because I’m not the broken, abused and marginalized person.

Preachers do not mean to do this. I know. But, it’s very much a thing. And those of us who have been raised the way we have with little tragic tales to tell, begin to feel like we won’t be as effective or as used as others. We get the sense that we won’t understand or won’t connect. And, you’re right. I can’t really connect with a woman who has come out of prostitution or has had an abortion or has been raped. I can’t relate to parents who abandon me or a husband that has walked out. I don’t have the tragic story marked by a redemptive meeting with God. I have some tragedies, but my life isn’t marked by a life of trouble and heartache.

 

I got saved at nine years old at church camp. We all did.

 

But, here’s what I do have.

I have a story of a woman who has testimony to what a family looks like who has been devoted to Christ for generations. I have testimony that when the “perfect” family, or life, has a tragic moment, we cling to Jesus, and to each other. I have testimony that when I chose a life of sin, and I had known the Truth my whole life, God is still in the business of forgiveness and redemption. I have testimony that generations can love and serve a great God for the advancement of His kingdom. I am living proof that the generational blessing is a real thing and I can point to a family tree, though not perfect, that has deep roots, firmly founded in Christ. I can tell you it works.

Stay true.
Stay steadfast.

I can tell you the Word of God is true, and even though I might not be able to sympathize with you, I know a God who can, and does. Even though I don’t share the exact same story, I understand grace, and love and forgiveness. I am a living testimony to the great Word of God being taught from one father to the next and then to his children and that the years in church and Bible college have armed me with the Word of God, rich and deep, for my life and those lives around me. It has saved me from more sin than I care to remember that I even thought about committing.

I am proof that though I don’t fit the bill of the “least of these” and the marginalized, I am still someone in desperate need of a Savior, who saves me from my pride, and a million other things. I am willing to give my all to God, and use both the talents and gifts he has given me, and the failing of my human weaknesses so that he may be glorified.

 

We are all in this together. We have all fallen short.

You, with the shattered life story, you are desperately loved and Christ wants you to be filled with him so that his name is made famous in your life.

 

You, with the pretty story, you are desperately loved and Christ wants you to be filled with him so that his name is made famous in your life.

 

Jesus hung out with a blue-collar hot head, a dirty government tax man, a greasy betrayer, prostitutes, and status seeking brothers. But, he also hung out with a Pharisee, a good man who loved God, but had some questions. He had a doctor write two of the books of the New Testament. He saved a well-to-do, dyed-in-the-wool Law abiding man (though a murderer thinking he was doing the right thing), and made him one of the most famous ministers of the gospel the world has ever known. Rich and powerful women advanced the gospel with their generous giving. Prominent men and women, those we don’t know their stories, made it possible for the gospel to march it’s way through the world.

The rich, the poor, the lonely, the one with the awful story, and the one with the pain free story, we all need him. We are all loved and used by him if we are filled and desperate for him.

Your story is yours.
Mine is mine.

But, both of ours plays a vital role in his

 

To God be the glory.

Perms and Soul Ties: The Men I Loved

Growing up in a small church meant I grew up with the same kids for most of my life. The young crushes on that one boy soon turned to disgust in high school. I mean, come on! Who would have a crush on him? oh.. me.

Sunday school had started. We were in our Sunday best. Being in the 80’s my outfits were quite awesome with hot pink corduroy skirt and blue short sleeved sweater with hot pink necklace to match. We were all a giggles as class started. The chairs were just too tempting as I found one just in front of the table legs so I could lean back and be cool. He sat across from me. Well, across the room. But I could see him.

He got a perm that year.

It was awesome.

My memory bank fades as I struggle to remember more about those years. It picks back up at church camp a few years later. He was taller. A lot taller. And played basketball. The perm no longer sported on his head, but instead it was short and straight. Most of the time he had a basketball in hand and some sort of quick witted comment to bounce of off people. No less a player off the court than on.

It was awesome.

But we were different. In my small world of incredible parents and blissful church life, I found out that he “partied.” My friends that went to school with him told me all the dirty information and my little heart broke. Oh, I had such an affection for him. More than I let on to anyone. I, in my brilliance, would write “words of encouragement” (read “words of judgement”) in block letters telling him how he must get his life together and love Jesus! I’d give the note to my friend on the weekends and she would slip it in the slits of his locker. To this day I don’t know if he read it and most certainly he doesn’t know I was the mastermind behind the notes of redemption!

High school approached. We were still different. My heart wondered to someone else. It still jumped a little when he would come to church, but this other guy, well, he loved Jesus and for that, I loved him. Easy enough.

College approached. The new love moved away and broke my heart. The old crush and I would go out from time to time when we’d come home from school. Not sure how that got started. We just made it a priority to see each other on breaks. A sweet friendship to say the least.

We’d go to dinner. Grab a movie. Talk on the phone.

Still. Two different worlds. I was in Missouri and he wasn’t.

Then one summer it shifted a little. We looked at each other differently. Things were changing. Friends were talking. I even would hum the song in my head “Let’s given ’em somethin’ to talk about.” IfYouKnowWhatI’mSayin’. It didn’t go any further than one kiss and a good-bye.

Back to college.

Months passed.

I met JT and got engaged 2 years later.

My sweet, one-kiss-friend, called me one night. I told him I was engaged and he was happy for me. Little did I know…. I had broken his heart. Well, that’s what his mom lead me to believe. I was talking with her after I was married and she basically said there wasn’t anyone after me. I told her with all sincerity, “He never told me.” She just sighed a little and said, “I know.”

My heart was sad. Not because I had missed out on something, but because things would now never be as they were. A small soul tie would just be that – small.

There are the awkward years after you get married when you see guys you had feelings for in the past. Strange to be around them. If not guarded, the menacing What-If demons come dancing around your mind. Shooing them away is the best thing. No, the best thing is to take the hand of your love and hold on tight. However, when more years pass and a little growing up has taken place, the affections for those once loved shifts to affection for them as men who molded my idea of the perfect man.

Those boys who made me giggle with my girlfriends or cause my stomach to do somersaults, are now grown men that I honor and love in different and more wonderful ways. One of those old flames now hold the heart of one of my oldest and dearest friends. They are beautiful together with four amazing children. I love them like family. They are family.

The other? The permed haired basketball player? I too cherish him. I never see him and only know he too is a daddy and husband. My prayer is that in our times together, in all their innocence, that they also used our friendships as one that would help them find the women they would one day call wife.

Here’s to love lost and love gained.

Filtering the Feelings. I Need Your Help

I don’t want you to bash your kids. That’s not what this post is about. I just need some advice. I’m trying to filter my feelings and desires and determine if they are warranted or not.

Lemme s’plain.

I love my bedroom. I love the way it feels and looks. My little escape, if you will.

Here look.

Here is my parental dilemma: my kids love to hang out in my bedroom. They love reading in there and wrestling in there and watching movies in there. All is fine.

but

somedays… I wish they wouldn’t.

I’m struggling with wanting my room to look nice and pristine all the time and taking from them some potentially great memories. I’m not saying they don’t ever get to play on our bed, but most of the time, I really don’t like walking in there and seeing my “stuff” messed up.

Now hear me, I know I can enforce the “clean-it-up-when-you-leave” but let’s be honest, they just don’t do it like I do. 🙂

Part of me says, “Ok, this is the only room I really care that they don’t mess up.”

The other part of me says, “Come on. They won’t be here forever. There might be a day you wished they were playing in your room.”

What does a mom do?

Blink

Did you see it? Did you see the year 2009 fly by? Wow, I can’t believe it. Another year gone.

I didn’t think my baby’s second birthday would come that fast.

I didn’t think my 12th anniversary would sneak up on me.

I didn’t think my oldest would start to show “changes” already.

It happens doesn’t it? Time flies.

It bothers me sometimes, time flying. Sometimes I think, “This stinks. Memories are difficult and pull at an unseen heart string that I can’t really give words to.” That’s the difficult thing about time passing. We actually mourn it, don’t we?

It’s really called death. Did you know that? It’s the same feeling I have when I sit at a funeral. It happens, but it never feels right. Death never (no matter how you look at it) never feels right. Whether it be the death of a human…or time. It passes. It goes away.

That’s because we weren’t created to die, or age, for that matter. But, there is no getting around it.

We die.
We age.
Time moves on.

We blink….and it’s over. Feels a bit hopeless, doesn’t it?

Not in light of what’s coming…eternity.

I used to think it was going to be booooorrring. I don’t view eternity like I did as a kid. I thought all the fun would be taken out of it. Now, I just want eternity to feel normal. I want to be rid of the ache when the calendar page flips past another year. I want to be done hating death and funerals. I want to stop missing people.

So, what do I do with 2010?

I live. I live in the now because that is the only reality we really have.

We may, at times, feel nowhere, but in truth, we are
Now-Here…and so is God.

Eat.
Breathe.
Love.
Love the broken and lonely.
Try not to get upset at the little things.
Try to turn others toward the Hope.
Be in the Now with God.

This hope is one of life, fulfillment, and when the days are really over… an eternity without memories. We will forever be Now-Here. And that, my friend, will be very good.

On Her Watch

There was a time in her life when she loved and hated him. Her father was an alcoholic, but the kind that, thankfully, never laid a hand on her. He loved her and her siblings regardless of the amount of booze on his breath.

Her mom was a hot-headed Irish woman with a wit to boot. She grew up knowing that she was loved even though her home was as dysfunctional as a reality TV show. It didn’t come without scars.

Self-esteem issues have plagued her most of her life. Fear of rejection has crouched at her door more than once. However, even with these things in her life, she has been a shining anchor in mine.

My mom, Jolene, is the finest woman I know.

She married my dad, Glenn, and the ripe old age of 19 and has been smitten ever since. His love for her not only carried her, but carried her parents as well. He loved them as any young, respectable Christian man should.

Two anchors digging in the foundations of life were about to embark on years of both hurricanes and calm seas.

My earliest memory of my mom is when I was about three, maybe younger. Nope, had to be three because we were in my brothers room when he was a baby. He was sleeping and I guess I needed Mommy because I was the one on her lap who she was singing to.

The next memory is on that same lap, but this time I was crying and in pain. I had just tried to push the glass back door open and it was latched. I crashed through it, cutting my wrist. I sat on her lap, crying through the pain, as she held a cold rag on it.

It’s never changed. When I’ve needed her, she’s been there. If I’m looking for a good belly laugh, I just need to go to mom’s and hang out for the day. If I need encouragement and a booster shot for esteem, I call her and we tell each other how wonderful we are.

You see, my mom, is a stronghold breaker.

You haven’t read about her alcoholism or my dad being a drunk, right? That’s because she had taken the shoulders of her legacy and turned them north. She would not let the sin of her father be carried over into her little family. Not on her watch.

And she succeeded.

My parents have three children: my sister, Carrie, me, and my brother, Casey. Because of their fierce love for Christ and for us, the three of us are Christ followers and we have the best time together.

I have had many people in my life tell me that our family is, well, weird. We all like each other, we all like spending time together, and we do it often. Sure, we have our “family” moments, but they are never long-lived. Mom made sure of that.

She made sure we went to each other’s events. I sat in the bleachers and watched my skinny, little brother scramble around a basketball court. I sat in other bleachers and watched my skinny, big sister ride around on those giant, scary animals we call horses. And in return, they sat in the pews and watched me tickle the ivory’s and sing to the heavens.

Those moments created in us a unique love for one another. We get excited when one succeeds and are sad with them with failure hits. We aren’t jealous of each other, but lovingly and humbly recognize each others strengths and talents.

All this because of my mom.

Oh, there is so much more I could say, but I’ll finish with this. If you want to learn how to love people, spend time with my mom. If you need to learn how to have a bigger heart, sit and have coffee with Jo. In the mood for a good laugh? Just go have lunch with her. Need, for a moment, to feel like you are the coolest, smartest, and most creative person on the planet, here let me introduce you to my mom, Jolene.

DSC_0154

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Two Times is Better Than One…I hope! :)

I borrowed a friend’s video camera for awhile, and well, ended up keeping it for a loooong time. But, that’s not the point. What I’m trying to write about is the fact that I found an old home video from 2004 and popped it in just yesterday.

I knew the big girls were on it, so we snuggled on the couch around the 2×3 inch screen (because I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to get it on the TV). I can’t believe how much my girls have changed in just 5 short years. They were so tiny, my heart nearly swelled out of my chest just sitting there listening to them talk. Oh, I thought they were so big at 4 and 6!

Their faces, little-ness, and baby teeth tugged at my heartstrings. There on the couch with me, they were 5 years older. One with all sorts of metal in her mouth, beautifully shaping her teeth. She is now sporting glasses and says stuff like, “I don’t like my hair.” Oh, child, you will one day see your beauty!

The other asked if she could wear make-up for the day since we weren’t going anywhere. That right there ages her a good year 🙂 Her beauty inside and out is a thrill to watch.

They are by no means “all grown up” and I know I’ll see videos of them at this age, 11 and 9 and wonder where the time went.

Here’s the really cool thing: I get to do this gig all over again. Right now I have sweet baby Monkey who will be two in December, followed by her brother or sister in April. In ten years from now, I hope I’m on the couch with them watching their 6 and 4 year old videos. Maybe, oh and I hope it will happen, their 17 and 19 year old sisters will be sitting with us.

And then I’ll cry… and laugh at the days to come! (oooo, I’m so Proverbs 31!)

Swimming at 35

I went swimming yesterday, and well, let’s just say this body ain’t what it used to be.

We arrived to see a four foot pool wrapped up with a nice, high fence. Already I like it. More than that, the pool was tucked away in the woods of Oklahoma on some land that only the airmen from the local air base could see in, that is, if they looked out the AWACS as it flew over.

However, this was no ordinary four foot pool. No, this one came with a 10 foot slide. Do you know how many years it’s been since I went down a water slide? Let me rephrase. Do you know how many pounds it’s been since I went down a water slide? About 20. Years too. But, I couldn’t resist.

First one: by myself, on my butt. wee!!
Second one: I grabbed Monkey, we went down, I flopped the left side of my face on the water as we hit so her face wouldn’t go in. But… it did. Sorry Monkey.

Oh, there were more.

This pool belong to my friend Janna’s in-laws, so she knows the ropes of this slide. We’re bobbin’ around in the water, looking like moms, loving on Monkey in her little floaty, when the kids want us to try the “on-your-back-head-first-into-the-water-slide”.

“Oh kids, we can’t do that!” Well, Janna did.

I watched her climb the stairs, step onto the platform, sit down and begin the yoga moves to, first, get backward, and then second, lie back. A few adjustments with the swimsuit, a few wiggles of the hiney, slowly lie down and…

“AHHHH!!” squeeeeek! ooph! splash!

I laughed so hard watching her come down that slide! Of course, we watch the wee ones slide down gleefully into the water, and our inner spirits, our inner us who doesn’t age, figures we can do the same thing.

nar nar

Janna decides I need a turn. “Oh, no. Really. I’m watching the baby.”

Up the stairs I go. Sit down. Turn around. Pick a bale of cotton.

The sitting down was the easy part. Luckily, some other older person was thinking because there were some handles on either side of the slide to grip on to. I held tight and leaned back slowly. Seeing as how it was a slide that faced east and the sun was at about 10:45, it was beaming down as to taunt me and to make fun of me and to throw me a curve. Not only was I trying to lie on my back, head first down a slide, I couldn’t see a darn thing.

I flattened onto the slide, stretched my arms as far as they could go, craned my neck around to see if I could get one more look. Cutting through the sunlight was a few bobbing heads in the glittering water. Janna yells, “Come on, Nat! You can do it!”

My life, well, more like my day flashed before my eyes. If I got hurt how was I going to get home? What if I busted my back at the end of the slide and bruised? What if I just looked stupid? Well, that was a given.

Another voice, “You have to let go!”

Right.

At this point, my body is practically half way down, so letting go is simply letting gravity take the rest of me into the pool. I do it.

I remember screaming, “Oh, help me Jesus!” as my body skidded a little where the water couldn’t quite make it up the side of the slide, then I bounced, er flopped off the end, and went flailing into the water.

Now, here’s the thing. Had I done that same thing at, oh 15 or even 18 years of age, I doubt I would have “felt” the entire experience. The body just doesn’t really behave like my spirit wants it to. It hurt a little and I’m sure I looked like what I thought I looked like, but hey, what’s a little bump and loss of dignity when you’re having fun!

Next time, I’ll do it again, and then maybe try something crazy like handstands under water.

Little Monkey and Her Words

You’ll have to excuse me for a minute. You see, I used to be a scrapbooker, but seein’ as how I’m about eight years behind, I thought I’d use my blog to, at least, put something down in writing and attach a picture that has to do with my youngest.

However, there will only be one picture here because this particular post is simply for my own posterity and so I will have this written down for quick reference and moments to go “Ahh.”

My Monkey is 18 months old now. She is absolutely the light of this little family. Funny, charming, and full of words. So, you don’t have to read all of these, but I wanted to get down what she has already learned. Ready?

Go!

hello, bye, nigh-night, hug, cold, hot, dog, cat, puppy, gorilla, eat, snack, drink, water, coke, more, bite, up, down, spider, swing, drive, keys, door, blankey, passy, cracker, cookie, zip, shoes, socks, bath, teeth, pee pee, daddy, mommy, Paigey, Piper, now, come’ere, walk, bubbles, eew, no-no, yes, mouth, eye, brow, nose, hair, ear, toes, belly, button, outside, cheese, eggs, milk, Lucy, color, book, dad, mom, apple, please, go, birdy, feet, tickle, bonk, jump, granddad, hotdog, trash, ball, pretty, popscicle “pop”.

I think that covers it. She can pretty much repeat words we say, but these are the words she knows.

There, I feel better as a mom by keeping up with my little one’s achievements and actually putting this down in writing. Does everyone feel better now too?

The Lake

I remember as a kid swimming in the lake behind our house. I don’t mean the lake down yonder behind our house, nope, we lived on a lake in the middle of the city. Our own little paradise (with neighbors), but ours none the less.

My brother and I would sleep in on the hot summer days, then throw on our suits and run down to the water. If we felt really crazy, we wouldn’t stop and would just jump in and risk the moment of the shock of the cold water. Soon, we’d drag out the old semi-rusted canoe and toss it in, more like shove it in with all the might our skinny little arms could muster. Then we’d rock it until it flipped over and sank. Of course, there was a super cool air pocket under there that made for great laughter and echo’s of all our cool voices. Our own little wonderland under/over water.

Then there’s the bottom of the lake. Oh mercy, as an adult it’s nasty, but as a kid, if you stuck your hand down there you could bring up all sorts of squishy, mud bath makin‘ materials. It smelled of fish and felt like snot, but it was summer all over the place!

After hours of swimming and hours of sun, our bodies would cry out for PBJ’s and Cheetos. THE summer time lunch, if there ever was one. We stock up on our carbs, slap on more sunscreen and take our tired, weather beaten bodies back in the water until mom called us in for supper.

There was nothing like living on a lake and what’s even better, my kids get to enjoy the same lake with the same great mud and fish. And when their bodies are tired and stinky, I make them a PBJ, toss on some Cheetos, and smile as they run back down to the water.

It is a good life.