Roo – Until further notice:
a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.
Image Courtesy Unsplash
Image Courtesy Unsplash
I like to say my vacation in Texas was pure joy. In some ways the time was heavenly, but…
An infection raging on the tip of my nose, cast an unsightly, frustrating, painful shadow on the long-anticipated departure. I’m not exaggerating, the slightest twitch, sniffle or sneeze sent painful shock waves radiating across what must have been the entire room or vehicle.
When I arrived late on Thursday, SecondBorn was pre-occupied navigating the back roads from Austin. If he noticed my extra makeup, he didn’t let on. Still, my apex nasi throbbed. Even as we rode I prayed for a quick, miraculous healing.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8 9 (NLT)
That first evening seemed to fly by for us all. Pretty sure nobody was any wiser about my misery, I had a good cry in a hot shower. Later as I drifted off to sleep I remember wondering if it was something I said, or maybe something I didn’t say brought on this painful and obvious infirmity. Then sleep took over.
The next day checking in at the grade school office, if anyone noticed my nose the secret remained safe. Surprising my grand children and their friends with lunch together satisfied an old longing. By the time classes resumed I was so elated I forgot to look in the mirror.
AlmostSixYearOld can easily charm sugar from an ant. EightYearOld has nearly changed my mind about Ten-Year-Old-Boys being God’s perfect creation. For the next two days we played, explored, and streamed texts and photos with cousins in Illinois making everything seem even more fun.
Soon the heat flow had subsided, pain turned to discomfort, the vivid colors began fading and unless affronted by mirrors, I forgot about my nose. After full, active days, with everyone tucked snugly into bed, I thanked God for the rare, amazing contentment I had been experiencing. For a while I stopped wondering how the world elsewhere spun without me.
I swear the room immediately began to glow and the most delightful, perfectly conditioned warmth filled the space. One of the first Bible lessons I got my head around came to mind:
“…I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, [becoming uglified] and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)
God only knows why the infection happened when it did. Sisters and I could joke about it for days, but reality check: my family and friends care that I’m healthy and happy – not about how I look.
I also like to believe they understand that whenever I finally show up God made it happen.
*Image courtesy ABSFreepix
**Image courtesy Pinterest
For the first time in way too long I took a vacation.
I don’t mean a road trip on the way to my next home, a wedding or a funeral. For two years I saved for this leave. Even with the kids’ help my carefully planned time away from home included lots of air travel departing during inconvenient hours. Most important, it provided down-time with my darling offspring.
Since I would not be available to help gather the tomatoes, they had to be harvested before I left.
Seasoned travelers and most smart girls know to get together with friends the week before a vacation. Together you shop, update your wardrobe, enjoy a meal or two, and they share the little details that enhanced their recent journeys.
Instead, Izzy and I spent that time spreading tarps beneath tomato vines. Then we shook and cut the vines, loosing tomatoes. This also scattered THE DUST that collected since the sprinklers stopped rinsing everything clean daily. And then we drug and lifted the loaded tarps into wheelbarrows, stirring up the dirt that had been drying for a week.
Yeah. We know how to have a good time!
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 (NIV)
Despite masks and goggles, the dust set me to sneezing, with my sinuses filling and then draining profusely. My skin also itched terribly – especially the tip of my nose. The following day, my apex nasi* became tender and by the next day it was incredibly sore. *I looked it up. It’s a thing.
And did I mention RED? Not a flattering shade either.
The day before I was to depart on the next length of my travel, despite all known precautions and remedies, the redness became deep purplish-red. Yes, a painful heat radiated from above my columella. (*It’s the flesh that separates the nostrils.)
Makeup barely concealed the colors resembling orangutans backsides. What’s more, it needed touch-ups every couple of hours…
As I boarded my first flight I felt like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer guiding the last remaining passengers onto our plane. Still, I actually appreciated people quickly averting their eyes from my bleak beak.
During the flights I imagined AlmostSixYearOld taking one look at my face and bursting into tears in fear of this unfamiliar, scary-looking person. I could well imagine EightYearOld staring in wonder or stifling giggles.
Unfair as it was, I was determined to enjoy time with my gang – and to shop around the airports between flights for a miraculous concealer, mask or perhaps a stylish niqab. As anticipation rose, I imagined the heat and pressure on my face did also.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
I may need help!
My calendar app says I arrived home days ago.
And yet my legs continue to feel rubbery like I’m still getting my step count in by bumping my way along an airliner isle or pulling my carry-ons around crowded airports between (multiple, affordable) flights. And instead of actual thoughts, my mind is ablur with mini-playbacks, like Pixar short features.
Though most of the smoke from the wild fires cleared while I was away, not much seems completely clear yet.
Today my Rainbow Manicure done by six-year-old TexasGrandGirl is barely recognizable after three days of innumerable washings in public rest rooms and repeated slatherings of hand sanitizer. Now this is truly phenomenal. Ordinarily I would never step outdoors without employing much polish remover to these nails. The blobby, bubbly, streaky, chipped and rubbed remnants of color delighted me all over town, through holiday airport crowds, over the clouds right through to even now.
But this morning as I walked the drive up to the road I noticed children waiting for the school bus. Labor Day and my vacation are certainly behind us. If It’s Thursday This Must Be Home.
I admit I’m stuck on how the mismatched fingernail colors on my hands bless me beyond even my impressive imagination. Days later I now realize it’s solid, inarguable evidence:
I’d been on my first vacation with my family in decades – an actual vacation and not pauses on the way to a funeral, a wedding or moving my household – yet again.
I had scrimped, saved, planned, recruited help and then together we actually made it happen. My Illinois Grand girls and I got manicures and tried new fashions. I played Pokemon with Grand boys in Illinois and in Texas and together we explored some of their worlds. I visited with my grown kids, studied their faces extensively and we celebrated our life – together.
It’s been several years of my dreams coming true.
As I re-enter my life here on the ranch the odd polish illustrates the astounding love the Father pours over and through us. Had anyone told me I’d still enjoy the faded mess on my hands days later, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m only now getting to where I can stand the thought of stripping it off. But thinking about it I realize how, despite all the distractions while traveling, the disrupted prayer and devotional time, God is nearby. Whether I’m crossing deserts or oceans, doing chores, even when I’m simply not paying attention, God adores me.
Like my worn nail polish.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
*Can’t brain courtesy Onsizzle
Many days I wonder if I’ll ever slow down and settle in – mostly when I’ve been writing about the three years before I arrived here at the ranch.
As I prepare to fly to Austin, Texas I say goodbye to the garden. Even though I’ll be away only a week, the end of the season is quickly approaching. Here days are shortening, nights and early mornings are cooling. The gelding and the steer are fluffing up with extra hair and the flowers seem desperate to soak in the sunshine while it lasts.
In Texas we’ll have almost three years to catch up on, so I expect to be road weary upon return. And then there’s that emotional roller coaster after another series of “see ya later” (we avoid saying “goodbye”). Perhaps after returning I’ll have a new perspective I’d missed before. And maybe by then I’ll have an even better grasp of why I must be so far from the rest of my heart again.
Though I can hardly wait to get there, thinking about the journey that brought me here seems appropriate.
From October 13, 2016:
After a 28 hour turn-around for Cole, fifteen hours for me, I’m home. In my own cottage on my brother-from-another-mother‘s ranch.
No internet in my cottage yet, no TV or even radio and I have a whopping 2G cell service – from the middle of the north pasture when I visit the cattle and the mare. It’s really not all that bad…
While I’m still buried in boxes.
Once I unpack and set up I’ll shop for better options. For now I’ll take my time and catch up with me – it’s been a long, hard three years.
Try to not miss me too much. ❤
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23, 24 (NIV)
As the week winds up and we lounge together by the pool, I thought about The Leak.
Two-plus weeks ago Erin and I took a break from our projects. While her sister Ellie, her family and their brother Edmund traveled to check on another property out of state, Erin manned Ellie’s house, the 5 small dogs and the cat.
I held down our home front. I’d intended to take a break from the downstairs project downstairs and check off the list of small tasks upstairs.
About midway through our sideways vacation I went downstairs for something I had seen that would be perfect upstairs.
Ordinarily I avoid going downstairs without Erin. I can go from zero to sensory overload in 06.1 seconds over the astounding collection of vintage items from 3 generations of her large family – all being sorted and repacked. Have I mentioned the fifty pounds of stuff on a ten pound property including the garage?
When I first arrived I enjoyed revisiting her things I saw growing up. But after sleeping on a futon for over three months (haven’t made a path to the bed yet), I now easily lose focus and my attitude can spin out of balance very quickly. Frequent, very fervent prayer helps. Still, I wanted to surprise Erin when she returned. I kept looking.
As I descended the stairs I told myself storage naturally smells musty, and dismissed what I thought was exceptionally dank air. But then I noticed the bottoms of some cardboard boxes were noticeably dark. Stepping cautiously into the room I heard and felt my feet squishing into the old carpet.
Houston, we have water.
So I became G. Annie Roo, super sleuth. I like the sound of that.
Without Edmund the fix-all brother we became very resourceful, reducing trips up and down the stairs. The following day we finally we discovered the cracked pipe. Ta-da!
Over the following week we tossed water on the lawn from bowls we filled with recycled milk jugs. Between that move, we replaced and repacked wet boxes. We were thankful to learn the 3-inch hole in the old cast iron drain is exclusive to the kitchen. We are not happy to learn the broken, slightly sunken concrete driveway outside the kitchen wall suggests a bigger problem. This whole project might take a while.
The contractors are due to arrive soon. By then we will have settled into our adjusted routine and used the better part of a tree for disposable dinner ware 😦
So goes this week’s episode in the continuing saga of two old broads rehabilitating the vintage family rental. Were the property owner any other than Erin’s mom we would have taken another, less laborious course. As it is love runs deeper and for now the futon awaits me.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NLT)
Images courtesy of Pixabay
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