“Sparklers” ~My Mama’s One and Only Twinkling Post

a>My mom pic />For the first time, I am opening my blog to my mother, Myrlee Moore. She went to be with the Lord on Thursday and having sparklers at her graveside with this reading she authored was her request. Since South Central Kansas is in a burn ban, our family struggled with the risk of setting the cemetary on fire and solicited my father-in-law that he may be responsible for the family’s bail money. Instead, pictures were taken, and the reading will appear in the Protection Press newspaper this week. Yes, her sparkle will continue to flicker on.

When I was a kid, my favorite 4th of July fireworks were the sparklers. I liked the fountains, roman candles, not so much the firecrackers, but give me a box of sparklers, and all was right with the world.
After a trip to town for fireworks, the anticipation of lighting the first sparkler was almost too much for a little girl to endure. Now, you can light them in the daylight, but the magic and enchantment isn’t there like in the dark. Sometimes you got one that just burned and sparkled endlessly, while you ran and danced through the dark. And there seemed to always be one in every box that started out with promise, but never quite took off and fizzled out. But it did its best. And you try another one. If later you went back and tried again the fizzler would ignite and sparkle after all—not as strong, but doing its best, because you didn’t give up on it.
Our lives are a lot like sparklers. The good times we are there sparkling away, but not nearly as evident as the dark times. Our sparkle changes and encourages and lights the way for others. Yes, we have those who start out with great promise, but for whatever reason they fizzled out quickly. But remember they did their best and maybe their time was not yet to be a great sparkler. Don’t give up on them.
After the sparkler has slowly faded away, the smoke drifts away on the breeze, you’re left with a burned up wire, but in your heart and mind you still see the magic and the light of the sparkler.
This is why when I’m gone I want sparklers at my graveside service. I want a celebration of good times and of all the people who have been strong sparklers throughout my life. My body will be like the burned up wire, my soul the smoke drifting to heaven, but always remember the sparkle of life we each have and keep sparkling, dear ones. Keep sparkling. You never know how much light you’re giving to others in the dark.
I am so blessed by the Lord for my huge box of Super Sparklers! My loving and supportive family, my old friends from childhood, who went out of their way to call, write, visit, and my caring church family, who came through with food, prayers, calls, monetary contributions, driving or just listening. Scripture tells us to let our light shine, and you are! I love and appreciate every one of you. Keep up the sparkle. You are the greatest and I hope I’ll be remembered by putting a little sparkle in your lives in return. I thank God for the special experience with Him and all of you.

Myrlee Ann Moore September 29, 1940-January 31, 2013

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A Lifetime of Bodily Discontent

True confession time.  What part of your body would you like to change?  Come on, be honest.  Is it the crumpled nose?  Or the thunder thighs?  Or what about that birthmark shaped like Brazil on your shoulder that looks like a purple Sharpie pen threw up? 

We all have that thing.  The thing that glares at us and makes us wish we’d been created differently

While I can pick apart my every little pore, wrinkle, and mole, I would love to change a genetic trait straight from a branch of the family tree.  The Parkin Neck. 

Picture a Russian wrestler with a beer keg connecting his head to his shoulders.  This thumbprint is courtesy of my Great Grandma Eva Parkin, passed on to my father, my brother, me and some of our offspring.

I’ve attempted slimming exercises, tugged,  and smushed it thin, but when bone and muscle structure dictate its size, you resolve to a future of photos resembling Jaba the Hut in the next layout of  Jedi Knight Monthly.   Oh, to swivel  around on C3PO’s skinny C1 vertebrae!  Perfection!

That was, until we got the call. 

You know the one. It started with the too calm words: “It’s your dad.”

 While I’ve gotten to be a veteran of these Dad calls—an artery ruptured from a swift horse kick, a tumble that made him crawl a half mile to the house, an explosion he walked out of, etc.-it still causes my heart’s flippy mitral valve to lock up, and my jaw to clench my grayish Tetracycline 1960’s antibiotic teeth as I try to process the  information.

A fire-breathing three year-old  had bucked my favorite larger-than-life cowboy into a heap, head first.  Immediately, all feeling and function in his 74 year old arms and legs disappeared.  Once help arrived, the sleeping sensations slowly started creeping back.  Whew!  After a life-flight to Wichita, the verdict was delivered on the doctor’s Iphone screen. 

My chicken legs barely held up my knobby knees when the neurosurgeon pointed out the “Christopher Reeves Fracture.”  Realization throbbed through my prominent veins only lab techs drool over. 

From the get-go, we understood he should have died, but to learn that what saved him from total paralysis and a lifelong relationship with a ventilator, was our Superman’s neck muscles of steel.  The protection,  God genetically predestined, saved him from slamming into the ground to securing his boney ondontoid process with a screw. 

A few days later at a college football game, I watched as freakishly gargantuan offensive linemen clashed with our barrel necked son, outweighing him by at least 80 pounds.  Oblivious, he was to the precious gift passed down to him. 

And me, well, as clutzy as I am, I’m sure it will probably save this scrawny, broad-shouldered, no butt, railroad spike build someday.

If it hasn’t already……

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it (the thorn) away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Miraculously, Dad could be back in the saddle roughly 6 weeks from now, and the horse, Avenger, secured a position, bucking out for a rodeo company. Also, it dawned on us, if he had not been temporarly paralyzed he would have tried to get up, securing the same fate of Christopher Reeves.

When You Are Helpless to Stop the Train From Derailing

You can see it coming.  Foreseen situations accelerate in front of  you, promising an inevitable crash.  You can try to say something, but the words are powerless. Critical choices are being made by loved ones or even arm’s-length people, who have randomly waltzed across your path and crept into your heart.  How it will end has all the precursors of an epic disaster, strewn with carnage as grisly as your imagination can create. 

And you can do nothing, but watch.

A few months ago, my heart was deeply burdened over some very dramatic situations. It ached due to precious hearts breaking while intimate dramas charged off unimaginable cliffs.  Tragic outcomes were imminent.  

As I cried out to God, he put two things on my heart.

 1.)  Little Miss Fix-It (me) was to sit still. I could be a listener, but my job was to…

 2.) pray a specific scripture over these cases.  Since then, I have not only continued with the original subjects, but I pray it over others caught in the midst of impossible issues.

The passage is Colossians 1:9-14.  Go check it out. When praying it, insert the actual names for ‘you’.  Pray it directly to God, instead of referring to him in the way it is written.

Make it the cry of your heart.  Since, it is haunting you, you will have no problem. Don’t forget to  include a plea for salvation, if applicable.

Don’t get discouraged if things aren’t abracadabra fixed in an instant.  Patience and perseverance are key.  Knowing we were in for a haul with no known time frame, I wrote the verses on a fluorescent 3×5 card and laminated it. Every morning, it jolts my memory when I open my Bible.  Or why not stick it on the fridge, in the car, etc?   Just somewhere it can’t be miss it.

Ask God how involved he wants you.  So, how in the world do you know?  A natural bent is to jump in and save the day, but his desired role may be to be stay on the ol’ knees-the hardest job in the world when one’s itching jump into action. Ask him to be crystal clear and not allow you to muddle things up.  For instance, one weekend we would have been right smack dab in the middle of the fireworks—sure to douse gasoline on the blazing Roman candles— but since God could handle it just fine without us, he totally removed his from the area.  Whew!

Since then, time has marched on, with several circumstances seeming to get increasingly worse.  Honestly, the temptation to wring hands or to simply give up has knocked loudly. 

But, on one recent instance, He intervened in such an unconventional way, that we’re still trying to wrap our minds around how brilliant his workings are. Just like I’ve seen him faithfully pull off many times over. 

Things aren’t abracadabra fixed, but there is hope—hope of healings and new beginnings as the train chugs safely into the station.

 

 

Am I Really Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Am I really smarter than a 5th grader?

Lately, I’ve had reason to wonder.  But, not only wonder, but ponder, lament, worry, and any anxious words with the power for me to wallow in my bedcovers.  On many occasion,  I’ve watched Jeff Foxworthy prompt some  Noble Prize worthy contestant to humbly stare into the camera of Jeff’s game show and say, “No, I’m not smarter that a 5th grader.” 

Now, I’m living it, but have lifted the bar, working in classrooms of 8th graders through Seniors. 

True, our son only graduated two years ago, but I’ve hula-hooped out of the school loop.  Either, it’s a new crop of kids, or ones I knew, but have shot up like sunflowers, slimmed down, filled out, or have gotten contacts.  Smartboards have kicked chalk into the dust, turning teachers and students into virtual John Maddens, slashing lines across maps and drawing—well, I’m not sure what most of the squiggles are—but explaining themselves through a magic pen voodoo.  We won’t go into all the ways Google Apps is linking the students to teachers, their documents, and the ability to do their homework on their smart phones—but not smart enough to keep that information from the uninformed teachers of that techno-capability.  (BUSTED!)   

Then, some of the basics are being changed.  I knew Pluto had been voted off the planetary list, but did you know we have a new Southern Ocean?  And who knows where commas go anymore?  They are being bounced around like balls in a Bingo tumbler. 

While the classes that tingled my interesting in high school are still my favorites, most of eye-glazing ones continue to have that ability.  Honestly, I’m trying, but my mind wanders to my to-do list at home, or what the kid across the room is sticking up his nose.  But, some things I’m newly fascinated with, and am picking up more of the dynamics in The Miracle Worker than snickering at whoever had to read Helen Keller’s line of ‘Wah-wah.’ (Oh, like you didn’t?  I had even learned Braille in Primary School because of her and still did.)

Today, one girl posed a plethora of questions, each oozing with youthful frustration. “Why do we need to learn about landforms?  How boring!  And we’ve had math questions in Science!  What’s up that?  And, they’re making us learn about the Dust Bowl in English!  Why, do they keep mixing the subjects up?” 

I was her (circa 1979), not understanding how everything worked together in an intricate ballet.  That had to come in the ‘ah-ha!’ moments sprinkled through life experience.  Come on, none of us is book-smarter than an any-grader on all things. 

And it’s ok.  We were created with unique gifts and graces for us to use wherever God chooses to place us.  If we try our best, ask for help, use the resources available, work on our weaknesses, and develop our strengths, the result can’t help but form us into being ‘swagnificent.’  (Teachable Moment Alert: This is gift is your new uber cool vocabulary word to use at your discretion.  )  

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put into practice. And the God of peace will be you.  Philippians 4:9

“That’s So Fake!”

Image(Before I start this post, I have to let the subscribers know where I have been for the last 5 months.  No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth, but have been engulfed in a writing adventure that has thrilled my heart at every corner.  It’s been been far from easy, but so powerful and transforming in so many ways. I’ve had my head-spinning as a student of all sorts of writing books.  I’m only a few weeks from having my rough draft of a Christian novel as polished as I know how to get it and proceeding to find an agent. Other adventures have crossed our paths, but those are things blogs are made of.  After several comments at a recent reunion of people missing the blogs, it confirmed the niggling I had been having to pick it up again. So here I am with a goal of at least one a week.  Please keep me accountable and please pray for God to be glorified in all I do.)

That’s So Fake!”

Remember when the movie Twister came out?  Starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt it was filmed northern Oklahoma–just down the road and across the state line from us.  Rarely, does anything that exciting happen around here unless it’s an occasional Martina McBride siting or when Ted Turner bought an area ranch and rumors flew about who saw him in the truck stop with what star of the moment on his arm.

A natural intrigue fired with promises of huge strides in technology to create life-like thrills on the screen through this classic tornadic movie. How could one miss this?  After much discussion the concern of whether our younger kids should see this was stuffed in the storm shelter. The night it hit the local drive-in we loaded up the old blue conversion van with young’uns and headed to be wow-ed. Storm clouds brewed and thunder rumbled while someone shared somewhere a tornado actually ripped through a movie screen during the showing of this movie.

Cliff said, “This has to be the most ridiculous thing we have ever done.”

“Oh no, it’s great special effects!” I countered.

So the movie started and was we were blown away, thrill-wise, except for Misty.  Her little third grade body was shoved between Cliff and I.  On the screen high speed chases insued as the storm chasers tried to set the silver drum of radio sensor balls in the cyclonic beast’s path.  Nary a breath was breathed in the van.

A cow suddenly was plucked up and tumbled through the air.

“That’s so fake!”  Misty sat up straight and shook her white blond bob.  “I can’t believe how fake this is! Can’t anyone else see it?”  She’d point out each incident with great passion. No matter what semi flew through the air, almost wiping out our weather heroes or if they hung on to pipes while the barn was snatched up around them, she seemed to be in constant disgust.  Her anger that they would even attempt to slip this past here was vicious, therefore ruining it all for the rest of us.

Yesterday this memory hit me.  Why has it taken this long to see what was really happening in the van?  In order to not get sucked up by the drama, this was our child’s defense.  The constant tearing apart of something that was too close to comfort was the way to protect herself.

Do you supposed that’s why some people are so angry when the name of Jesus gets brought up?  They are protecting themselves, scared He will be too much for them?  And in the process try to dissuade everyone else around them?.

Do you find yourself doing that?  This morning I sat on my unusually cool porch, the remnant of a very powerful storm that roared through last night.  For a long time I have been scared to pray a prayer God has been laying on my heart.  Since I have experienced God’s faithfulness when I have asked, but also have the experience of having no control of how He’s going to work, that frightens the Doplar Radar right out of me.  Most times my world has been amazed by how He’s shown Himself, but what if I lose something I love or I’m disappointed or ……..

So, I’m praying “Lord, help me to get where I can pray………” until I’m actually brave enough to do it.  And, when I do, I will be so relieved and wonder why I was so hesitant.

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all his ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Photo credit: My buddy, Darryl Musgrove with The Mother Ship.