“Hold on Kids! We’re Goin’ for a Ride!”

roller coaster 2

(Gives ‘Kumba-ya’ a whole new perspective, huh? Prayers on the rise?)

Life.

Full of the exhilarating, yet, teamed at times with the white knuckled, breath-stealing chills of a runaway roller-coaster.  Sometimes, the clank of the cogs build anticipation as the tick-tick warns you of something building, be it good or bad. Then, sometimes there is an astonishing twist, a turn, a corkscrew that materializes from nowhere to make the strongest heart quake.

For the almost exactly three years to the date, this blog has been eerily quiet. Life at that time was full of thrills and chills, but ones that tended to give the friendly delight of little butterflies fluttering about the stomach.  That grand baby boy to marvel at and with, a meant-to-be marriage proposal, to witness the relief from a long fought illness by a faithful believer graduating to glory in the most splendid departure, and a long-awaited writing passion finally beginning to taking shape.

And the list goes on.

But suddenly, the roller coaster seemed to take on a mind of its own. Lightning couldn’t compete with its speed, and on occasion, the crushing pressure on our lungs needed a whisper to be reminded to simply “breathe.”

That Whisperer urged us to not fight the ride, but relax and lean into those curves for the track was laid out by the Master Planner, who prepared this journey long before the foundations of the earth. Gently, an unexplainable confidence settled over us.

Our fingers one by one were pried off the bar, we tossed our heads back and threw our hands to the heavens.

And oh, what a ride it has been!!!

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 King 19:11-12

(Just love that ‘gentle whisper’ part, don’t you? To bring the regular subscribers up to speed-if you are still there-with the exception of a blog post at Christmas a couple of years ago Having a ‘Mary’ Christmas, God put up a ‘Closed’ sign for the season. I couldn’t explain how that worked if I tried. Just as mind-boggling, now it seems to be cracking open a bit. Only God knows how much of the past will surface, and what new adventures will pop up today. I guess we’ll see where the coaster takes us, huh?  So buckle that seat belt tight and enjoy the ride!)

Photo credit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HDMexqDn5U

 

 

Who Says the Mountain Ain’t Too High? Persevering to the Mountaintop Experience.

What’s your mountain’s name?   Or do you have a craggy range of them?  You know, the looming canyon walls that try to convince you to turn back ?  A sneaky one has suckered me in, and as I near the summit, it tries to convince me there is a dead-end with no alternate routes.  Little did I know the encouragement I craved would soon climb its way into my path.

Recently two of my daughters (Casey and Misty) and son-in-law (Karsten) rumbled with dreams of climbing Southern Colorado’s West Spanish Peak in a mere morning.  Any climber would roll down the mountain, laughing hysterically.  After thoughtful consideration, they plotted a trail of 13 miles.  This is when I said ‘yes’ to the careless offer from the Three Billy Goats Gruff going on the excursion, explaining  Colorado and Kansas miles are pinnacles apart.

 “Here is the formula I figure it with.  Take this 3.5 mile trail;  times it by 2 for the return trip; add the elevation; divide it by 4 — the number in our party–, and multiply it by our decreased oxygen levels…”  Their eyes glazed over, conceding to the AARP doorstep troll, twice their ages. 

I really wanted to go because 1.) Even when my muscles screamed the next day, the adventure would be worth it, 2.) Because my survivor-man brother and I had attempted this same route a few years back, but had to turn back. How fun to say, ‘Remember that trail, Clay?….” (Insert evil older sister laugh here.) And, 3.) I like truly like my family. Slap me on whatever bronc bucks our way, I’m riding it with them to the buzzer.  (Shhh….For back-up, I packed a book in case the road was too much for me.)

Here is what God showed me on Mt. Perseverance.

1.       Wear a good attitude like a backpack. Setting your mind to enjoy the journey is crucial including off-key singing.

2.       Prepare as much as possible, but pack only the necessary. Sturdy shoes, water, and snacks protected us.  Of course, I packed pen, paper, and a camera. Karsten declared himself the Water Boy and carted  all our high quality H2O, increasing the challenge for him. 

3.       Take breaks and check out the scenery. My companions began at breakneck pace.  I was not shy about stopping the crew.  Not only to catch my breath, but to catch glimpses of glorious view, being passed. Eventually, huffing voices filtered back to me. “Mom, you ready to take a break, yet?—pant, pant.”  We’d never make the top if we didn’t take care of ourselves, and stop to look for the blessings.

4.       Keep looking up and forward. As we got closer to our goal, the shafts of light increased, spurring us onward.  But, don’t forget to expect declines, dips, stumps, and thorns.  The farther the path went, the less traveled it was.  A sign few had persisted this far.

5.       Take whatever help is offered.  A walking stick, a change in the group’s hiking order, and encouraging words  reassured success for the group.

6.       The harder it gets, the more you pray. “Repeating, ‘Oh Lord, have mercy!’ saved my life.,” shares Almost 50 Year Old from Kansas..

7.       Laugh as much as possible. If I disclosed even a smattering of the stupid jokes of the Kahn Bus Mountain Rangers, (that’s us) you would think even I, the Elusive Mongoose, had lost it.

8.       It’s not a competition.  Everyone’s journey is different. About 100 foot from the top our Misty Goat’s back muscles clenched up, grabbing on to the hardware imbedded in her L5 vertebrae.  At her feet were stacks of small stone monuments made by someone before us.  “Or tombstones’ thundered the heartbeats pounding in my ears as my lungs tried to whirl the crank, hoping to restart potential respiration in the ol’ chest area. Truth be told, if I had known how hard this would be, I’d planted my book and I half-way up the path and knocked out a good 50 pages.

After muscles stretched and the blood pressure calmed, the steepest section of the climb’s tauted us with its severity. But we had come so far.  Our flag was ready to be staked and the mountain claimed!

Fatigue left as quickly as a mama’s exhaustion when she hears the first cry of her baby she’s worked so hard deliver.  Shouts of victory, mixed with the buzz of  robin-sized  hummingbirds shook the peak, blaring the theme from Rocky. Pictures engraved this victorious moment for the family archives.  But that wasn’t all.

 Over the jagged privacy fence of boulders, a secluded valley unfurled its carpet of lush pines, while jolly grasses bobbled on the bottom’s dance floor.  What an awe-filled display!

9.         Share the story.  I scribbled thoughts. The girls scaled extremely dangerous rock outcroppings, causing my if-you-fall-no-helicopter-can-rescue-you-here mom knees to buckle into a sitting position. Karsten honed his Spiderman skills, skittering along sandstone ledges. Down in the valley, a guy with swollen knees, a son with a pulled groin, and the lumbering form of our very pregnant daughter wisely had taken the route of reeling in their own personal fish stories.  A time of relaxation and just being.  It simply was not their day to encounter our particular quest.  Sharing it would be our responsibility. .

That night we feasted on grilled fillets, eight shy from the ranch’s pond. Our fishermen ogled over mountaintop photos, and we imagined as best we could landing their catches.  Two different trails with seven different points of view and revelations.  As varied as the colors on a rainbow trout.

So, how’s your journey?  Are you passing on the experience, no matter your location on the trail?  Do you drink in others excursion testimonies and wisdom?  Only God knows which of us will end up walking a similar path. Whether it runs through an easy-going valley or ends up struggling to the peak of an arduous mountain, we need to remember He created them both.

 

.

Church Christmas Program Confessions

For folks that direct Christmas programs I truly believe there is a special place in heaven-one with clouds padding the walls and harp music piped in through the vents to sooth the frazzled nerves that come with the holy territory.

Yes, I’m a director and this is a hope I am banking on.  Part of me I truly loves the process and the thrill of the big night as the kids and the Holy Spirit pull off the impossible.  Tears come to my tears and my heart swells as children become some of God’s most effective missionaries.  They tell His story to people who would not be caught in a church except to pay respects at a funeral.  Camera wielding grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors wouldn’t  dare miss little Buffy as an angel are hearing the story once again.

But, me getting to that place is almost as big of challenge as Joseph getting Mary to Bethlehem on the 8-9 day time frame.  In the movie Simon Birch, the Christmas program director, played by Jan Hooks, is me in a 1960’s bee hive and cat-eyed glasses.  A vein permanently pops out of her forehead, and the fingers start snapping as they morph into ‘the point’ of the index finger the minute the shepherds start sword fighting with their crooks.  Chaos reigns supreme as her blood pressure rises until hairs spring out of the lacquer like Medusa’s reptiles coming to life.  She is frazzled and worn to the point of escaping out a side door to chain-smoke.  Our only difference is I threaten to chug whiskey and pop Valium like a rock star.  No, this job is not for the faint of heart.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that sparkles of encouragement are totally absent during these times.  Huge lessons appear around every manger.  I must share mine for this year.  I did not change my actor’s name to protect his innocence as he would beat me with the shepherd’s stick if I didn’t give him top billing in this post.

Seth is around 8 and is destined to someday have a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. One of 9 boys, the flair for drama is how he makes his presence known.  The play is a court case where the shepherds have been brought in on the charges of disturbing the peace.  Seth is our dancing bailiff, who not only has a fun solo dance reminiscent of Johnny Teriro on Dance Fever, but his part is sprinkled throughout the entire production.  To nail down his part, we had a private practice in which he embraced the part so much, I almost had to take his night stick away.  It started with his opening dance.

“Kelly, how about  I take off down the steps and run clear down the aisle to the back and turn around and come back?”

“I like that idea a lot, but how about just going to the second pew and coming back?  You won’t have time to race clear back there and come back.”

(Seth: one hand on hip, other on chin with pensive look and nodding.) “Ok, I can see what you are saying…”

We journey on with his part until there is a lull in his action.  “Hey, Kelly, how about I go over to the shepherds and say “Listen you shepherds, you’ve been disturbing the peace and I’m hauling you in.”  (Actually I think he had about 6 more sentences, but can’t remember them all.  I was scrambling to figure out how to divert his stampede of ideas.)

“Well, it’s all on CD so we can’t really add any lines.”

Same stance from Seth as the wheels in his head were spinning with ideas of how he could get some more action.

Another boy came in with a big part, so we threw him in the mix.  Seth had to stand there as we worked through Braeden’s part.  He was BORED to tears and so distracted, he would miss his cues for swearing-in witnesses.   When I would say, “They are calling in a witness. What are you supposed to do?”  He would roll his eyes and kind of slink to the stand.

Not to give up, he suggested “What if I brought fake handcuffs and cuffed those shepherds and hauled them off to jail?”  His eyes were dancing with this idea of sheer genius.  “Seth, that won’t really work because the shepherds are set free.  They had a good reason for disturbing the peace-Jesus was born!”  After some thought he not sold on this idea it was better than his, so he complied.

Little did he know, but his enthusiasm he made my day!

Then I realised how much I am like Seth.   I have all set in my head at how I think God should use me in a role.  When my script is not full of action that I love, I try to figure out how I can finagle more of a starring role.  It doesn’t matter if I have had the headliner dance, when it comes to ‘just’ paying attention and waiting for the rest of the story to play out, I get bored and go into more of an advisory role to the Director.  Call me “Holy Spirit Jr” when God wants me to just do the job He has assigned me.  I get to thinking I can make His perfect plan ‘better’. When he reigns in this runaway donkey and I fully comply, the story marches on like a masterfully orchestrated ballet, making a better tale than I could ever have cooked up on my best day.

Lord, to you be all the glory!  Help us to trust your plan and may you get a kick out of our enthusiasm as we serve whatever purpose you have for us.  Thank you for the priveledge of serving you–including the blessing of being a part of these precious events.

(PS-The Not-So-Silent Night will be Sunday Night at 7pm at the Medicine Lodge United Methodist Church.  Be sure and come out and encourage these very talented young thespians.)

If This Ghost Story Had Gone Awry, I Would Not Be Here To Tell the Tale.

Dovie Webster-My favorite phantom

Once upon at time, back in the hills of Missouri (pronounced ‘Missour-a’ by my family) a scoundrel had broken my Great Grandma Dovie’s heart.  She was a young gal, still at living at home, tucked in the hills and hollows of Ozark County.  Not only had he ditched her, the target of his affections happened to live down the road from Dovie’s house on this dead-end trail.  Salt was trampled into her wounded heart as she listened to those hoofbeats, thunder by on his way to spend the evening hours with his new beloved.   At least it was a warning, so she could turn her head, but she couldn’t help by watch him disappear down the road.

After an extended time of the repeated sightings, Dovie let her imaginations and anger get the best of her.  She would not–could not–let this go.  An old white sheet would be enough of a costume to accomplish her revenge.  Wrapping herself up in it like a ghost, she positioned herself in some bushes out by the road to wait until the slime made his return trip.  Surely being frightened beyond belief would be enough to discourage him from visiting her neighborhood competition.

For hours, there she sat with the bushes poking her, bored to tears, and maybe even a little cold from a strong breeze.  Finally, revenge didn’t seem near as glamorous as her mind had led her to believe, so she decided to call it a night.  Out of frustration she looped the sheet over a tree branch to flap in the breeze and went home to bed.

Hours slipped by when she suddenly was awakened by gunshots!  What in the world?  Rarely did anyone venture to this area, let alone hunt at night.  Hoofbeats echoed and then vanished into the dark.  Sleep was a long time in coming for her mother and her as they wondered if they were in danger.

The next morning Dovie ventured out to retrieve the sheet, now ruined by two bullet holes.  I’m sure as she put her fingers through the blackened tears, she was speechless.  Yes, her plan had worked wonders, but not in the way she had expected.  It was wrapped in the humble lesson that God had graciously spared her life.  Suddenly ‘revenge’ was forgotten.

Today more years than I know have passed.  Had God’s grace not been not on her, the consequences would have been tragic. This woman of faith would not have had the influence on this old world that she did.  In fact, she left a great legacy of faith and passed it on to:

1. 1 daughter

2. 2 grandchildren

3. 5 great-grandchildren

4.  16 great-grandchildren

Yes, 26 of us are awful glad she gave up and just went home!  Not a one of us would be here.

The morals to this story are: 1) that every life is precious and impacts others more than we know,  2) revenge messes with you more than the other person, to the point of being deadly sometimes, and 3) don’t waste your bullets on a what looks like a ghost!  I also suspect this is one of many stories Granny will share with us one day that prompted her to make sure ALL of us received an Old Time Gospel Hour KJV Bible, a Bible dictionary and a giant Strong’s Concordance.   Yes, she wanted to make sure we had our full armor against any spiritual boogie men that come our way.

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply and the Lord your God will bless you.  Duet. 30:15-16

Amelia Earhart Stirs Up A Mystery At My House

    Have you ever opened a gift knowing your expression screams, “what the heck is this?”  Meanwhile, the giver is bouncing with anticipation, expecting a reaction like “How did you ever know?” or “This will now make my life complete!”

Such began my Mother’s Day.

My husband and I picked up my son from college to trek on another hour to my oldest daughter’s house.  Cole, who was reminded  that  the morning with a daily scripture text from me  it was Mother’s Day, handed me a waded up piece of typing paper.  On the back was a syllabus for one of his Pyschology classes.  I opened it to find a pencil drawn hand turkey that he learned to drawn in kindergarten-just a bigger hand.  He even scrawled “COLE” with the “E” drawn backwards.  I was so proud.

Next came the daughters’ gift.  Casey had run across a something-really-cool-Mom-I-can’t-wait-for-you-to-open-it gift.  For weeks, she made it clear she had  nailed retrieving the perfect present.  Her two sisters agreed to go in with her on it-sight unseen.

Now we break for a little background.  When I was about a 3rd or 4th grader, I got into biographies big time.  There was a series of burnt orange books on historical figures such as Abe Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Florence Nightengale, Davy Crocket and anyone who ever did anything in our American heritage.  About that time a show made for kids on Saturdays mornings featured historical events being played out like they were actually there.  Walter Conkrite would be on site at the Alamo as Santa Ana attacked.  Or he was in the radio office when the last static-y transmission from Amelia Earhart came through before her plane mysteriously disappeared.  My world would stop and I would drink in whatever drama played out. (Ok, this proves I was a nerd then, too. To this day if they ever really find Amelia, I will be sad as the mystery would end.)

Back to ‘The Gifting’.  The wrapping told me it was a book, so I ripped the paper open.  Inside is an old worn library book, complete with the little white tag on the bottom of the spine, compliments of Dewy Decimal.  The title is Amelia Earhart, Heroine of the Skies.  Already Robin and Misty are groaning since they helped pitch in on a book that might have cost 50 cents at a garage sale.

“Open it up!”  Casey’s eyes are dancing and is about to bust waiting for me to drink in the ‘coolness’ that awaites me.  I opened it to a new plastic spine, but the old title page.  As I flipped through it, confusion was etched in every line of this face.   The hodge-podge of blank pages were a mix of Big Chief tablet, plain white, cut up notebook, seed company pink receipts, maps, checkerboard designs and more random sheets.  Ever so often an Amelia illustration would pop up of her and her plane. What the heck?  The two out-of-the-loop sisters descend on Casey like piranhas: “How much did WE pay for this?”, “Way to go, Case”, and “Where in the world did you find THAT?”  Casey is desperately trying to redeem herself. “Hey, it was made by a mom of 9 kids.  I found it in a high-end little shop that carries funky handmade stuff.  Look, you can get refills for it”.

Refills?  I’m still trying to process what it is and knowing there are reactions expected of me that will make or break my children’s hearts.  Or worse. Trust me, I have witnessed these sister’s duke it out and it ain’t pretty.  But, if I don’t know what it is, how can I throw a parade?

I finally realized it was the most eclectic journal I have ever seen in my life.   The light bulb takes longer to go on a times, especially when chaos reigns supreme around me.

By now I am saying “I love it!” and mean it, but it comes off as “Mom is covering again and being nice.”  The sisters will forever roll their eyes and grumble about this one.

The next morning I proceeded to explain to the gals at work about my treasure.  “I’ll bring it back after lunch,” as they mirrored the confused looks I must have had on opening it.  But, I could not find it.  I knew I hadn’t left it at Robin’s, so it had to be somewhere.

I finally gave up the search and called Casey. “I can’t find Amelia.  She is missing.”

“Well, Mom, this is nothing new.  Everyone has searched for her for years.”  I cracked up.  Later I facebooked her and posted “Call off the search. Amelia Earhart has been found under a blanket on the couch.”

Have you ever been confused by what God puts in your lap?  So many times I have not understood what in the dickens is going on. Because he knows our hearts better than we do, the significance that this is a blessing takes a while to dawn on us and to grow.  Much of what comes our way are hard, unimaginable things to deal with.  ‘How can anything good come from this?” is usually my response.   Just like with Casey, God knows my heart and his gifts might not be conventional, but it was something tailor-made just for me.   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

Can you give him the benefit of the doubt today and trust him with your confusion?  Talk to him about it. He’s already got it figured out.

Afterall he’s the only one who knows what really happened to Amelia.

‘God-cidences’

This is an example of a mat rolled up. Want more info-leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Do you ever feel you have hit a dead-end, a road block, the end of the trail, but deep down inside you know there has to be a way to get around it?   While my no-man’s land is not monumental to most, it could make a huge difference to some.  This story got resolved in the slickest way. 

Saturday as I headed to a meeting in Wichita, a plastice crocheted sleeping mat rode shot-gun with me. Last summer during Vacation Bible School we challenged the kids to build a trash mountain out of plastic shopping bags.  Their response was overwhelming, which is good since it takes about 500 to make one.  A few gals volunteered their gift of crocheting to whip out these mats for the homeless in Haiti.  Before long our outlet to disperse them fell through for some unknown reason.  I searched the Internet for anyone who would take them.  Nothing.  No emails or calls were returned. This boggled my mind.  We had been told Third World countries desperately needed them.  Not only were they waterproof, lightweight, and durable, the bugs hated them.  It was also an opportunity for a chosen instrument of God to share the love of Jesus.  This dispersal hurdle had to be flown over, but how?

Time marched on while this mat set in my office for months, and I felt guilty for not getting it into someone’s hands. 

 Should I just take it downtown and leave it on a park bench for whoever passed? The wind was incredible, so who knows where it would fly to.  Maybe someone at my meeting could help.  But, if they didn’t what then?  Would I even have time to go on into Wichita and be able to get back for another event I was to be at?  The closer I go to the city I realized I was stewing way too much.  Throwing up a haphazard prayer, I said “Lord, I know this needs to go somewhere and I need you to work it out.” 

Little did I know that prayer flew out the Blueberry’s window and was waiting for me down the road. 

I got to my meeting spot too early, so I ran to a very crowded Dillion’s grocery store to pick up some matzo for a children’s sermon.  Medicine Lodge’s Jewish population sets at zero, but I learned that evidently Wichita doesn’t have much of one either.  After I tromped through aisle after aisle, I found something sort of like it and ended up in the 12 Items or Less lane.  A stranger in a crumpled black cowboy hat was chatting it up with the cashier.  “You know, I work with a homeless ministry…”

Ding! Ding! Ding!  I have a winner!  My head snapped around to his direction. 

 “Have you ever read Under the Overpass? by Mike Yanowski? ” I engage my ‘talk to a post’ skill that my husband and son find frustrating. “It’s a fascintating book about two affluent college kids that went to live with the homeless. One of my top five favs.”

What comes next is a great conversation.  The cashier starts to get impatient, but then chimes in when I bring up that we have a crocheted mat ministry.  She does floor mats, which had nothing to do with our convo, but a glimmer that she was tuned in, listening, and open.   He is thrilled and says “I will drive and pick up however many of those mats that you have.” 

I say “Well, I just happen to have one in the car, if you would like it.”

Zorro and I ironically have parked very near each other.  He educates me that this mat will go to a guy under a specific bridge in Wichita.  “Every bridge you cross here, someone lives under”.  He cradles the mat like it is gold and runs his hand over it as he marvels are how tightly woven the multi-colored plastic is.  I go on to say that after spending some time at various homeless ministries in Seattle, I have a daughter who would love to get involved, but has no contacts.  We exchange addresses and phone numbers, both us in awe at how we were brought together and needs met. 

Coincidence?  Nah….God does not work that way.   I have recently picked up the name ‘God-cidence’ for these encounters.  Sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes there is no way we can get the significance this side of heaven.  You just know at the time or something strikes you later that God was up to something cool.

In the Jewish Passover Feast, called the Seder Dinner, matzo bread is key element.  For us Gentiles, it is cross between a tortilla and a cracker.  It is made with no yeast, just as God ordained back in Moses’s day.  Pharoah would soon be on their tails, and the Hebrews were rushing to hit the road out of Egypt.  It had to be made quickly resulting in piercings and distinguishing grill mark stripes in the matzo.   Ask a Jew, and they will say “that’s just how it’s made. Oy!”  The “God-cidence’ here is this unleavened bread points directly to our Bread of Life-Jesus the Christ.  He was pierced for our transgressions and his back bore stripes that shed precious blood to cover our mess ups.  Goosebumps are quite common as many more masterfully crafted mysteries are uncovered in this feast.  God had it all planned out in Alpha and Omega fashion. 

So thinking back, can you think of any ‘God-cidences’ that you have seen or experienced?  If not, ask Him to show them to you.  I know they are there, because I know He’s itching to thrill you. 

 They might even be as obvious as the matzo ball in your soup.

But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries…..Daniel 2:28

 photo credit: http://ardreamcenter.wordpress.com/

The Pink Zinnia Truce

Do you have a stupid prejudice about something or someone?  No good reason comes to mind, but it’s there.  So starts my story today.

I went to buy marigolds to put with our tomato plants in our huge garden.  Marigolds are supposed to be so colorful that the bugs are to flock to them to snack on instead of     our veggies.  Master Gardener Uncle Bob McDonald swears by it, so it has to be true.   The flower aisle holds too much temptation for me to just get marigolds.  I was picking up  some petunias when the multi-colored zinnias caught my eye.  I love those reds, oranges, whites and yellows. An added bonus is they have a strong will to live, which is needed  when I am their gardening guardian.  I scoured every six-pack for one that did not contain a pink one.  You see, the color pink and I are not on speaking terms.  I have never really liked pink, but for the last few years, it makes me physically sick to my stomach.  For reals.

I know it seems silly, but I chose pink to be my target of anger over my mom’s breast cancer.  This cruel disease made its premiere entrance about this time 5 years ago.  Mom actually survived through that scary world better than I could have ever dreamed.  She got the ‘all clear’ signal after a year and a half.  Life started to get back to normal for her.  The hair was coming back in.  Her energy returned from its vacation.  No more regularly scheduled trips to Hutchinson.   Many years of grand kids’ events were on the horizon for her to enjoy.

Then, a spot showed up on the brain.  Little did we know what was in store for her.  During that time, anger started seeping in my being as I saw one of my best friends change before my eyes.  Roles reversed and I found myself being her parent. I had couldn’t really get mad at God, because Mom was so adamant that ‘while I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, I am so thankful for the lessons I am learning.  I wouldn’t change the cards that have been dealt to me.”

The doctors were all working so hard for her.  In fact, one hit it off with her extremely well.  He became  her security and doctor fantasy crush.  The nurses were the best.   Nothing but sincere appreciation could be felt and shown.

One day I was in Hobby Lobby and saw a Breast Cancer Awareness paper-cutter.  Really?  What was next?  The Breast Cancer Awareness cordless drill?  Sure enough!  There was one in a pink box with the pink ribbon festooned all over it!  Seriously?

Before I go farther, I am not slamming the raising of funds for research or any way to help obliterate this plight from the earth.  Quite the contrary.  We buy luminaries and give when we can.  Mom had first hand experience with the benefits of new drugs hitting the scene that made her life as rich as it could be for as long as possible.   It was fascinating to see how fast and furious the medical tides were changing from month to month.  I understand and respect the donations that come from a pink ribbon on Pillsbury Crescent Rolls or Hamburger Helper.  I click on sites for free mammograms.  It just hit me as kind of trite when a rubber duckie was tattooed with a pink ribbon on its chest.  (I found out this response is quite normal.  Whew!)

Thus began my war with pink.   Since pink has no feelings, I didn’t have to worry about hurting them.  It was a safe battle with no string of casualties in which to be responsible.

Privately, I could put a moratorium on all things pink in my world, therefore I gained some warped control in at least one area of this journey.   Out went pink coffee cups and pink nail polish.  No sirree, you won’t catch me near anything pink.  I designated myself as the official flag bearer with the international symbol for ‘no’ when it comes to this color.

So, how has this been working for me?  Not at all.  Picking a fight with pink has made me notice her even more.   I feel it bubble up when I am casually thumbing through a catalog with an outfit I really like, but it only comes in salmon blush-which is pink!  See, she even resorts to going by aliases.  How low!

And, now, she  has infiltrated every single zinnia pack at Alco!  I almost walk away, but I can’t.  For quite some time God has been dealing with me gently about letting this go.  Pink is just ‘pink’.  The only one I am stirring up  is me!  Ephesians just bluntly says ” Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”   Then James 1: 20 chimed in with “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”   Since He created pink, it might behoove me to take heed.

Today God drew a line in the potting soil.  It took some doing, but I crossed it and picked up a zinnia pack with one strawberry milkshake colored bloom in it.   It’s a start.  I named her Pinky Tuscadero, and I think she might have actually smiled at me from her new terra-cotta frog planter home.

(A funny footnote: After planting Pinky, I came in to do my Jonah Bible study.  I opened my page of my homework and the scripture of the day was “Do you have any reason to be angry?’ Jonah 4:4.  I belly laughed!  No one knows how to set me up like He does.)

photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Monarch_Butterfly_Pink_Zinnia_1800px_edit.jpg