Sprouting – Walk #9

“The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.” Song of Songs 2: 12 (NLT)

 

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Scare Scars

When I was young, I adored watching Sci-Fi movies with my Dad. When he worked nights I took it to the next level. Monster movies and horror; Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Twilight Zone… they captivated me.

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And then came bed time. I’d lay in the darkness terrified a monster would pop up beside my bed – all it would’ve taken to stop my racing heart. Pop! Ahhh…. {Hitchcockesque faces flash and fade into darkness}

A few times after Mom or Dad swept the room for monsters – hours after I should have been asleep – they announced there’d be no more monster movies. Too late. By then the monsters were in my head. For-ev-er.

And those old movies got nothin’ on today’s horror films; the trailers alone give me chills.

graph-kid-bing-jpegToday I stick with classic Westerns and prime time network shows. Seriously, grading on a curve, including my station in life and all that led to my present situation, I have solid grounds to be scared. Okay, icy-muddy ground right now. I need no additional stimuli to feel fearful.

So here’s the rub: I’ve been passionately pursuing relationship with Jesus for over 30 years. He’s proven himself faithful time and again.

“Then [Jesus] asked [His disciples], Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”*

And yet, sitting in my snug little cottage last night, a ceramic heater warming me, in the silence without a fire crackling I became very aware the wood supply was depleted. Worry, regret and anxiety began sucking the ambiance from the scene. I quickly became so distracted I’ll have to check Hulu to see who the bad guy was on Elementary, for crying out loud!

Without realizing it, I began brain-storming getting to the grove as soon as possible. Taking a sip of tea with my next thought, pain from my arms reminded me that won’t happen for several weeks and my mind spiraled from there – until the heater kicked in again.

kermit-money-pixabayThis is why Cole brought me the space heater saying, “The weather’s warming up. In the meantime you’ll be fine with this.” I however envisioned an electric-bill induced cash crisis and dismissed the heater for a couple more weeks – as I stressed my arms chopping more wood.

monster-pixabayIn truth I was afraid the little heater wouldn’t be enough, that I’d soon be cold, discontent or sick with endless sniffles – as if Cole doesn’t drop in to check on me every day or so.

Fear is a monster hiding under our beds. When we give it place it will rob our joy from even the best times. Father God knows what He’s doing. Just like a Daddy chasing away monsters so we can sleep, He sees to our every need.

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Seriously, we can learn to recognize fear, confront it and stand against it. Granted, standing in the face of storms of life is often hard. Still, I’ve noticed when we stand against fear it dissipates. Same goes for hatred and want. That’s the kind of solidarity I’m talking about. And we start with standing and then take little steps forward – in my case with as little stumbling as possible.

Hours passed this morning while I processed my thoughts around this. I had spent yet another evening feeling discontent. But then I awoke happy, recognizing the sadness was actually fear in disguise.

Depending upon others, allowing them to care for me takes some getting used to. I’ll keep working on that. Meanwhile I’m cooking some popcorn. El Dorado is airing tonight!

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” The Voice

*Mark 4:40 (NLT)

Graph image courtesy Bing

Other images courtesy Pixabay

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Changing Things Up

 

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This morning started out amazing.

First, I slept. Yay! Then I woke up feeling exceptionally happy for no apparent reason.

With my next heartbeat I felt extraordinary gratitude. Rather than bolting out of the bed to check the wood stove, I pulled the goose down comforter over my shoulders. Annnd that familiar pain shot through my arms.

I didn’t care. I snuggled in and had a long talk with God.

I started by thanking Him, beginning with the obvious blessings in my life: good health, comfortable bed, a warm home, firewood, a variety of food…

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” *

Soon I asked for specific blessings for my family, friends and essentially everyone I know. Before long I was back to telling God how great I think He is, how good it is to know Him.

I gotta tell all y’alls, this scenario is rare. I typically begin my days with prayer and thanksgiving for my life – from my desk or armchair with a Bible, a freshly brewed latte or mug of tea, a good fire crackling in the stove…

Me lingering in bed rarely happens. During this exceptionally harsh winter my morning dialogues have started with “Thank You, Jesus. Now, please help me,” just to get out of bed – and then I hit the floor running. Today without thinking or planning I changed things up a little.

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What’s more, I think I’m better for… Wow. Sunshine!

And good just keeps on coming.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 (NLT)

*Psalm 100:4  (NLT)

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Melt – Walk #8

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I’m glad to report that being quiet so my arms heal faster isn’t so bad or difficult after all.

Today I felt it first, but then walking I could see it, “Aslan is on the move!”*

“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” Ex 33:14 (NIV)

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*C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Chapter VII.

Feature image courtesy Pinterest

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Benched

Today was a first. Delighted to find I had an internet signal I began exploring Hulu – in the morning.

I’ve been benched.

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But I regress. In the editing process I cut numerous details from my previous posts; the whining – you’re welcome:

  • hammering axes to the breaking point chopping logs – hard on muscles and tendons,
  • the arabesque leaps generated by snow-covered ice – interrupted by plummets into the same,
  • breaking less graceful falls, straining my arms,
  • learning the easy, shocking way the wire on the pasture fence was hot,
  • wood burning stove: seared, burnt and scalded hands, arms and ankle (don’t ask about the ankle),
  • innumerable bruises and scrapes – my favorite resulting from a log bucking into my shin.

Suffice it to say this body’s taken a beating this winter.

Yesterday I was rapidly approaching my limits with the ongoing cold. I developed a plan. I thought it was ingenious:

remington-limb-trimI’d carefully use my little electric chain saw to cut logs and fill one wood bin. Ambidextrous, I thought surely I could do that without further injuring my right arm. Once prepared for a few more weeks of extreme cold, the weather will certainly warm immediately. Things always seem to go that way. Right?

So, now compensating for my gimpy right arm I’ve stressed my left arm and both hurt.

Later, shaking her head at me, Doctor Kendra simply said, “Stop. Doing. Everything.” And then brought me her sling that belts to the waist.

Note to self; texting and keying also involve the biceps.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”*

After doing only the most basic chores today, Kindle being uncooperative and books actually being too heavy, videos are my last hope for resting and allow the healing to happen.

The up sides:

  • Jogging in place during the many, many advertisements, my legs and lower torso will be in remarkable shape for spring,
  • I’m inspired with new story lines – spin-off ideas from trailers,
  • I’m now nearly an expert at processing wood and survivalist heating,
  • I saved enough money to buy a couple of cords of wood to repay Cole and the neighbor,
  • Though I feel vastly accomplished for having done it, I’m done cutting wood myself.
  • As I rest I can plan to make candle/pottery space heaters to keep me snug till spring.

Oh, and I’m refining my cell’s Speech-to-Text vocabulary.

Happy blogging, friends!

“Come to me, all you who work and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

* Psalm 62:5 (NLT)

Images courtesy Pixabay and Home Depot

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In The Moment

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I have always taken planning and preparing for whatever could happen to a whole other level of crazy making. For the past few years I’ve methodically, painstakingly pursued the practice of simply being. Try as I do, that being a work in progress is seriously understating it.

“But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” *

But then I noticed something: While doing chores out in the ice and snow, I must forget my writing, the laundry, what might be on the stove and everything else. I must consider every move – or swing, lest I hurt myself (again) – or I could generate more work for someone else. For those happy minutes life here forces all my attention to exactly what I’m doing and nothing else.

Dude, living in the moment is amazing.

During this first season home, I better appreciate the intricacies of this lifestyle. My priorities shifted remarkably to gathering wood, helping to care for the animals and myself daily.

I like a sparkly-clean home. But I loathe breaking stuff and the down-time and extra expenses after I hurt myself. Water spots on the dishes, soot or dust dropped way down my priority list; alone in my cottage only my fingers disturb the fine, light covering. And I’m far more flexible with my time and more relaxed. This has all been a learning experience I won’t soon forget.

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence

Mostly I appreciate my bright, new direction in over-thinking just about everything. I enjoy simple things more than ever before. Sure, I’d like more income, and my name on some real estate – or a motor vehicle title. But my story is far from over.

I also noticed the good stories keep till I get to them.

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God. Controls. Everything.

“For the life of every living thing is in His hand, and the breath of every human being.” Job 12:10 (NLT)

*Luke 10:41, 42 (NLT)

Images courtesy Pixabay

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Game Plan

Super Bowl Sunday was a little bit of a letdown in my cottage. Yeah, the teams played an exceptional game into overtime – go Pats! The Falcons defeating Green Bay in January deflated the season for me. I tried, but by Saturday night I was weary from a few restless nights in a row. Once home from church I excused myself from the game party and retreated to my cottage.

ref-3Left to my own devices, by nightfall a couple of “iffy” calls had become concerns. When I would normally have been sound asleep or at least soaking my aches and pains, I was in a scrimmage in my head – with myself.

 

On the way to church that same morning, Good Old Friend and I planned to save time after services getting a few last-minute things. She’d drop me at one market and then I’d walk to meet her at another. Hut!

My purchase and then, careful of my footwork, walking the whole 200 yards took moments. But then I couldn’t find her car in the lot. As I looked for her I maneuvered into the practically deserted store and got two items that were at the front – still watching for her.

ref-2Half an hour later, sidelined outside the main entrance, I realized I hadn’t turned my phone ringer back on after church. Defense – Twenty Yard Penalty!  The twenty-minute-old text glared at me from my purse, “Where are you?”

By the time I was in the car, Old Friend was rushed. She had driven back to the store where she left me, didn’t see me on the way there or back and began to worry. She politely waved away my apology for diverting from her play. Dropping me off, good byes were genuinely warm and quick.

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Later, alone in my cottage, I began replaying that experience and others from the week – spoiler alert – from my weary perspective. Again. And. Again.

Despite my attempts to avoid it, I ran plays till I couldn’t see anymore. I loathed how I felt. Being considerate and patient with my feelings is hard for me. And there’s the rub. It was all me.

Considering Old Friend’s kind, patient character, I’d prayed my knees sore asking God for help.

I woke refreshed, but not long into the next morning’s routine I noticed the previous night’s darkness creeping in again. ref-6-pixabayI stopped cleaning (okay, organizing the firewood by type and then diameter), and grabbed my Bible to find another play.

Epic fumble.

Working on my article was not going anywhere believable. I flipped through my pocket notebook; my thoughts while away from my desk, and especially off-topic notes from sermons. My latest entry froze the gridiron:

“My inadequacy relieves me from the burden of trying to do God’s will in my strength.” *

I’ll spare you the drivel drama details. My whole upset was over one intercepted throw that had me feeling inadequate, unworthy, with no chance for a draft.

I like being independent. But left to myself I plow into walls that defy all logic. Aside from having my own vehicle my present circumstances suit me perfectly, but they also open opportunities for new, unexpected plays.

Practicing my touchdown dance here.

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Before I got back to my story, Old Friend texted me to confirm our next coffee date and then sent a photo from her game party with her family. Awww…

 

 

“It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NLT)

All images courtesy Pixabay

*From Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministry, Those Feelings of Inadequacy

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Avalanch

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I’ve been home here in the northwest, without cable and reliable internet for a few months now. It’s taken some adjusting, forcing me out of habits and especially my comfort zones. With the local library, a $10 antenna, new cell device, changing my cell service carrier and careful timing, it’s working – at least until the landscape melts. I’m not gonna lie, I miss spending hours a week interacting with my family, friends and fellow bloggers on line.

And with the exceptionally hard winter I’ve taken some hits. Falls, colds, joint aches, some tendinitis, bursitis on top of my new, stylish gait from fracturing my coccyx (Hey! I got to say it again). At one point I considered what being trapped in an avalanche felt like. The next morning I realized I was complaining, aloud, actually whining at my mirror, “Really? Aren’t we done with this crazy cold yet?”

Was it me I recall saying, “I adore the four equal seasons here. Just about the time we wonder if the heat or the cold will ever let up, Bam! it does?” Yeah. I said it. Often. Coming home to the old, familiar climate that suits me best was what I looked forward to most. Not. This. Winter.

“Do everything without complaining and arguing,”*

Convicted, I was more determined to 1) stop whining, and then look for new ways to get through challenges. As I groaned zipping my jeans I thought about eating better. I’m kinda big on eating well, so this would take more than merely adjusting my diet.

I began by turning off the TV, radio, Kindle, CDs, setting aside books, newspapers and all other distractions at mealtime and while dining. Immediately I not only spared myself the smells and waste from scorching or burning my food while multitasking, but I honestly became more fully aware of my many blessings. I enjoy the challenges of “saving” a recipe, but not needing to is way better.

After a few days I noticed I ate less and enjoy food more. Soon, my jeans fit more comfortably again; remarkable after weeks without power walks and workouts while I heal. Okay, that’s mostly to avoid treacherous snowbanks, snow and ice avalanching from the rooftops.

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We’re not actually snowbound – now. Despite dark, overcast skies for days on end, the sun teases now and then lighting up the sparkling, pastoral scenery surrounding me. Life is indeed beautiful. After months of frozen white everywhere I’m determined to enjoy the beautiful quiet. And be very ready for spring.

Excuse me a minute while I check the furnace wood stove.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

*Philippians 2:3 (NLT)

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Experience

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Helper, Captain Morgan at the helm.

Captain Morgan at the helm.

I laid awake most of the night, tormented over breaking Cole’s Granddad’s antique hatchet. Yeah, the one I hammered into a wet, rather green log until the head broke – right at the notch (so handy for pulling nails from construction wood).

 

The upset tortured me while I should have been sleeping. All. Week. Long.

Cole was completely cool about it. I systematically timed telling him I’d broken the hatchet he’d given me on our first cold morning here. It came after I presented him with a fine, shiny-new, Estwick Sportsman hatchet with all the bells and whistles.

I rarely get to give Cole anything of value. I was initially giddy until I jokingly said the words, “the hatchet you gave me… …worn out…” and “…broke.” Instantly his entire demeanor changed dramatically – merriment abandoned my presentation. His words, “…my grand pa’s hatchet… he’d used it for years…” shot the loss and hurt straight through me too.

I get it: My siblings and I inherited very few, mostly valueless, common things from our parents. Those humble heirlooms are precious to each of us. Destroying something invaluable from Cole sickened me.

After weeping privately I texted him “I’ll make it right somehow,” (forgetting he was working in town). I’ll never forget his immediate reply: “Oh stop it-only made me sad for a min-it has done its job for a long time.” And then moments later he texted he’d gotten more wood to get me through while the grove is still snowed under.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment…” *

While I may annoy Cole with more words than he prefers, I learn from him. Things like his grandfather – who cut wood into his nineties with that old model, Coleman hatchet are important to us both. Had I known, I would have retired the Coleman and bought the new ones immediately.

The experience stung us both, but to me it revealed the character beneath Cole’s cast iron veneer. He is a treasure indeed. I hope for more, far less painful lessons.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

*Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

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He’s Faithful

Featured Image -- 3282I too can attest this is so very true!

 

I too can attest this is so very true!  

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