Tag Archives: storms

Mood Brood

Morning came far too early for my body’s liking. I’d overdone my workout again and paid the price for days; not resting sufficiently, stiff, sore and reluctant to move, moreover get out of bed.

I pushed myself however and made my way to a comforting, steaming mug.

Checking in at my desk:

  • I’d almost overlooked a payment for next month’s budget
  • One of the grand kids mentioned missing me for the 3rd time this month

Hmm… I checked the news:

  • Hundreds of lives lost in storms and earthquakes, survivors left homeless…

With the third strike in the day’s first inning, I set out for a walk.*

After I realized I wasn’t actually praying I stopped mulling over my whine list with God. Instead I began thanking Him for everything I could see.

That’s when I heard her. Before I could see her I sensed her excitement. I was barely half way to the barn as the familiar squawking drew remarkably closer with my every heartbeat. For the first time in weeks, Silly Suzy had flown over the fence and was wobble-running to me as if for dear life, clucking loudly every step of the way.

Without my glasses she looked as if her very slightly raised wings were holding a skirt high enough to not drag in the wet soil as she hurried along.

I tell myself she’s so happy to see me because she’s very fond of me – it has nothing to do with me bringing fresh food to the coop every morning. I squat down low, despite the increased ache – she all but jumped into my arms so I could carry her back to the fence, letting her flutter down with the rest of the brood.

The less adventurous hens fluttered and squawked making way for her stuttered– 3-point landing. I’m sure translated she reported, “See there, I told you Old Dog’s gone,” before they all settled back into routine. As I walked away Rooster crowed a hearty “Thanks for restoring the peace.”

Rejuvenated, my pain levels vastly decreased from the extra movement, I returned to the cottage ready to work. For half an instant I thought about a comment First Born had made recently,

“You’re far too easily entertained these days, Mom. I’m getting concerned…”

I pray that years from now, after the grand kids leave home, friends and siblings are far too busy to pop in several times a week, First Born will have chickens – with at least one Silly Suzy.

*Go Cubs, Go!

“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” Job 12:12 (ESV)+

 

+The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

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Hiatus

It came gradually. Like the spring storms in our region, what began as slight awareness became genuine concern. I admit, during the first few days I considered this was all about me giving up coffee. Only I didn’t plan what happened. I couldn’t stop or defer it either.

My usually reliable creativity began waning. My dwindling reserve of scheduled posts concerned me. And yet strangely, I felt remarkably calm. Actually apathetic. For years I’ve worked faithfully on my dailies. And for days I’d been sending it all to the recycle bin.

I resisted, desperate to complete my lists of tasks and projects, unwilling to yield a smidgen. I wondered if this could be some mysterious new virus or bacteria. But I had no symptoms of being sick. I was not sad. My thoughts were clear. There was no hint of any crisis du jour or impending doom. I slept well and napped soundly when I felt tired. And yet I felt weary. I soon began to wonder if I was literally going mad.

I fought it every way I know how, resolved to forge onward, determined to regain my pace.

Soon I realized that for months, years actually, I’d practiced systematically slicing fragments of personal time wherever I could to produce more, serving the greater good, thinking I must work harder, do better. I hurried from one task to another, rarely pausing.

It’s not that I felt drained. Still, sparks of joy had become rare, no longer the integral element of my life. And I hadn’t noticed.

Days later, vanquished, I cried out loud, “God, I don’t understand! What am I missing?” Immediately I heard, “You.”

With that I surrendered.

I cleared my schedule, stopped work and began doing only rudimentary activities. It was hard, but I persisted.

For the time being my only assignments are animal and self care and Bible time. Even prayers are more about listening for God. After a few days I realized, I am literally living by faith, hour by hour and not by my strength or determination. This had long been my heart’s desire, but something else always seemed more important. Until now.

And the world kept turning!

This morning as I returned to the cottage, livestock munching alfalfa, the dogs happily running circles around me, I giggled. Then we circled back out to the pastures – for fun! I noticed with delight new bird nests here and there, clover flowering, tulips are opening and some brand new lambs in the neighbor’s pasture.

Again I ignored the lure to work. It feels strange, but I’m okay with that today.

I don’t know when this hiatus will end, I didn’t call it, but I’m confident in the One that did.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

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Cloudbursts

The forecast in our region was for cooler temperatures – yeay! That’s due to scattered thunderstorms. Forgive the pun, but it put a damper on some of my plans.

Undaunted, I took my hourly walks around the neighborhood despite the forecast. Between cloudbursts I had a revelation: The preeminent times of my life occurred between cloudbursts.

Storms are a mixed blessing. They not only nourish and cleanse the earth, freshening the air, but they can also cause some astounding damage. That pretty well describes my family’s history. Metaphorically, tempests formed our lives – together and individually. Winds brought limbs down, lightning started fires that consumed everything familiar, burnt us and tore our family apart at times.

And yet we lived. Can I hear a hallelujah?!

Most of my family members enjoy above-average lifestyles now, despite having experienced several very close strikes and some direct hits. You’ve probably never felt like you needed to throw or hit something lest you explode. We feel that way sometimes. I’m not especially proud of my 78 m.p.h. pitches. We still freeze at the sight of some old photos or some familiar-looking strangers. Then there are those moments when we go from serene to raging tempests in a heartbeat. Or mention certain names and my mind goes blank as if it had just been erased. I came through all that while trying to understand letters and words that rarely looked or sounded right. Still, I learned.

“But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress.  You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat…” Isaiah 25:4

Twisted as it sounds, I like to remember the moments after my son returned from Iraq in four-plus pieces – after the surgeon told me to prepare myself for the worst. I wondered if they actually rehearse those insipid lines. I recall unintentionally staring the man down for what he later described as “an uncomfortably long pause.” I remember thinking through what he’d told me, wondering who on earth does his hair, and recalling everything God promised me. All I said to the doctor was, “You obviously don’t know Who you’re dealing with.”

And I love to remember Nathan’s second first steps weeks later.

Around and in between all that I:

  • danced alone in the rain along the Mogollon Rim,
  • loved with abandon,
  • surfed,
  • sang to the Blue Mountains at sunset,
  • looked into the eye of a whale off the starboard deck,
  • coasted down Jerome, Arizona’s roads at midnight by moon light only,
  • ran with wolves, wolf-dogs and mustangs,
  • watched my sons learn to dive, hit home runs, graduate, be inducted into the military and fire houses, drive cars, trucks and tanks (God spared us all), fall in love, weep as they became fathers and paced the floors with their babies,
  • and a hummingbird rested on my knee as I rested during my yard work.

Though Seagh actually went on ahead without the rest of us, he’s safe and at peace now. We’re all still standing. Some days we’re stronger than others, but we dance in the rain and breathe easy between cloudbursts.

What brings it all into perspective is my family is only one minute particle of humanity, and yet, God cares for us as if each one is His only child.

“I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:2 (NLT)

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Rough Seas

One of my uncles recently sent a slide show to me entitled, Rough Seas. This uncle and I share a passion for photography and especially appreciate the unusual. Yet my first inclination was to delete the file unseen. Instead I left it sit in my inbox for a few days before viewing.

Now, that may seem strange considering I lived my pre-teen, teen and early adult years in coastal Southern California. As a kid and as a single working mother, I spent more than the average time at the beach or the marinas and lived on a sailboat one entire summer. Stroking a whale off the port side of a sailboat is still my most thrilling memory. It was cheap recreation when the cost of gasoline didn’t consume a third of our paychecks. It’s safe to assume I would love anything about the ocean as I did when I was young.

The truth is I was an idiot back then. Although I wasn’t fond of snagging seaweed and kelp with my feet, even getting caught in powerful undertows did not hinder my love of surfing and especially body surfing with my young boys. Yet, with maturity (in truth, sobriety) and Hollywood’s high tech, graphic movies, I developed a distinctive respect for the ocean and the Great Lakes. Images from Jaws, White Squall, The Guardian and my personal favorite, Joe Versus the Volcano initially gave me a healthy respect for the waters and it has aged into fear. So, even amazing photos of giant ocean vessels plunging into monumental, sunlit waves give me the willies.

And yet, from my youth my life has been one series of rough seas and horrific storms after another. Early on, my heart had been broken so often I aimed my rage at the God I loved as a child. For several years I denied His existence. Years later I still marvel at how He understood me, forgave me and walked with me through all my turbulence.

Most recently, when the doctors told me they were air evacuating our ten-minute-old grandson to the pediatric hospital/medical school, I indeed felt the sea rise and the winds blow. But I quickly remembered another day when other doctors told me to prepare myself to lose another of my sons after he was wounded in Iraq. I knew then too I was in Good Hands. I knew so by my initial recoil, to set those so-called experts straight – it’s a healthy reaction under the circumstances. Like the scene in Forrest Gump where Lt. Dan shouted into the hurricane, initiating his square-off with God – I am a natural redhead. In both of my instances, with deepest conviction I told the doctors very confidently, “you only say that because don’t know Who you’re dealing with.”

Both times doctors feebly tried to prepare me for the worst, I warned them to prepare for a miracle. Both times, they smiled condescendingly, and both times they wound up amazed that I knew Whom I was talking about. My confidence is not in human ability; not even that of great physicians and the amazing people that have come through my lineage. Both times the medical professionals had to deal with the Peace Speaker, the one that calms storms and makes the worst scenarios turn out gloriously.

his stills storm

Not everyone gets to see the marvels I have experienced – in some cases that’s a blessing indeed. Today I wonder if that’s all so far beneath my surface it’s hard to see now. It would still take a direct order from the Heavenly Father Himself to get me on an ocean liner – with a confirmation from an impossible source that it was indeed His order! But when I sit on dry ground marveling over photographs from hurricanes or simply read the internet news sites, I thank God for the storms I have survived – and that they were all on land.

“When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834

Source: Original publication on Roo’s Ruse, 12 March 2009 http://roosruse.blogspot.com/2009/03/rough-seas-one-of-my-uncles-recently.html
He Stilled The Storm Image courtesy, Pinterest.

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Three Day Quote Challenge, Day Two

cropped-2015-04-21-10-31-15.jpg

I try to organize according to my most basic priorities:

1. God
2. Family
3. Country

Yesterday my quotes focused mainly on relationships, especially relationships with God.

With that my quote for Day Two is

“When the storms of life come, if they come to me personally, to my family or to the world, I want to be strong enough to stand and be a strength to somebody else, be shelter for somebody else.” Anne Graham Lotz

Our family is familiar with storms. We have always weathered them and collected ourselves quickly afterwards. Overcoming seems to be ingrained in us. When my sister first suggested moving to North Texas my first reservations about living in Tornado Alley amused my brother.

We grew up in Southern California during some historical earthquakes. Because we’ve experienced them earthquakes don’t overly concern us. However, since I first saw The Wizard of Oz, and heard the stories from family in the Midwest, the mere thought of tornadoes terrifies me.

In less than two years in North Texas we’ve already witnessed the disastrous effects of tornadoes and severe straight-line winds, this past December 26th being most horrific.

However, we also saw first-hand the people of our neighboring communities banding together in solidarity with the victims of nature’s wrath. Seeing the out pour of care and hands-on assistance to survivors has been tremendous. For all the heartbreak, loss and suffering, I am reassured having seen people standing strong and working with their fellow man.

 

My Day Two Nominees are:

Yecheilyah Ysrayl at Pearls Before Swine (PBS) Blog
Pranjal at Maze Odyssey
Mitch Teemly at The Power of Story

 

Challenge rules:

1. Post three consecutive days.
2. You can pick one or three quotes per day.
3. Challenge three different bloggers per day.

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Gross: The New Cool

Today, for about a minute, I worried I may have discovered a new depth of depravity.

I discovered a streak of blood on the white sheer curtain panel in my room. At the time, I quickly deduced it must have somehow come from my leg immediately after a fresh excision of skin – 5 weeks ago. Gross. Right?

sheers

I noticed the same streak again this morning. Initially I marveled at the changes in color and shape – and that it’s still there. A dab or two with a couple of sponges and some diluted hydrogen peroxide would have removed it altogether when I first noticed it.

But no… Not this time. Three more excisions later and physical therapy twice each week, that streak has become my visual touchstone.

I’m in a storm. It’s not a hurricane, a tornado or even a squall. And yet, since the cancers are easily excised and forgotten – granted, every few months – I’m blessed.

Reality check: The streak reminds me every time I see it, that while so many of my dear friends have and continue to undergo the many miseries that come with chemo and radiation therapy, I am indeed blessed.

Today I sincerely hope that anyone unable to appreciate the new cool, never actually experience it.

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