The Plunge: Swimming Through Lessons in Humilty

cartoon swim

Swimming lessons with a 3 year old splashed humility all over this grandma.  Allow me to throw you a life preserver in order for you to avoid getting drenched as well.

Lesson #1-Don’t let your plan or pride keep you from the task at hand. Due to my daughter’s work schedule, I was the one to take Gracie for two weeks to a private backyard pool. In with her sunscreen and towel, I packed my book with visions of looking up from my riveting tale to shout inspiring encouragement as our little fish found her inner-mermaid. Wrong. The pool was just deep enough that Gracie couldn’t touch, and several of the tadpoles were there alone, so the instructor had her hands full. In a flash, I found myself, street clothes and all, with 20-30 something bikini clad moms, gliding the future Esther Williams on her tummy through the waves.  From then on, the book stayed home and over my swimsuit came my “Wendy Peppercorn is a Royals Fan” tank top.

Lesson #2-Pushing through pain is worth the effort, but the voices have to be ignored. While physically I could be way more fit, I’m not too shabby. However, due to the shallower depth of the pool, in order to help Gracie, my knees did not appreciate the constant strain put on them in this awkward position.They screamed and tried to convince me that I was dooming me to a future of unending meniscus surgeries and an ibuprofen drip. Honestly, I was on the verge of saying “Sweet Uncle of Marco Polo”, but Gracie would be left high and dry. However, in time, whatever ligaments were being stressed finally stretched out and now feel better than ever. While we dog paddle between the line of common sense and sucking it up, we need not be controlled by the negative or we will never discover what God has up his sleeve for us.

Lesson #3-Patience, patience, patience. Everyone has a different pace. Some of the kids there will obliviously be competing in the  2028 Olympics. They hit the water like a golden retriever after a duck.  On the other side of the buoy, others were clinging to their moms in terror and trying to scramble to higher ground on the top of Mom’s head. Gracie was kind of middle ground. At three, this venture proved to be on her own terms. In fact, one day, she was not having it, so we had to throw in the beach towel and simply pack it in. Then on most days, whenever the instructor came our direction with her perky positive countenance, Gracie would plaster on a fake smile and turn her back on her like, “If I act like I don’t see her, she’ll go away, because I see her plan to ask me to do something I’m not cool with.” Back in the day, I would have had my kids in the corner and frustrated that “we paid good money for this, so get in there and do what she tells you!” (How I appreciate the blessing of being down the road a bit farther now and the wisdom that goes with it.)

The instructor, however, is a master with this age. She would flounce off, give Little Miss Thing space, and then circle back around, not giving up, but allowing her breathing room and time to process getting more comfortable with this new adventure. After several days, Gracie discovered she wanted Tina’s attention and was hollering, “Look at me!”, eventually going with Tina to try some new stuff.

Lesson #4-Don’t expect someone to be courageous if you aren’t willing to be as well.  The big treat at the end of a session was to go down the slide—well, for most of them it was a treat. One mom was trying to encourage her little guy to go down.  He was at clinching the top rails and screaming like a gut-shot panther.  Gracie was soaking it in as I held her in the pool. She yelled in her most excellent, positive, motivational speaker voice, “Be brave, Cameron!” This gave me great hope as she was yet to show a lick of interest in this activity. “So, do you want to go down the slide?”  She matter-of-factly looked at me and stated firmly, “No.”   Another reality arrow with ‘guilty’ written on it pierced my heart.  How many times do we encourage others like we have it all figured out when we would be shaking in our floaties in the same situation?  Oh, how we need to pray for wisdom in the act of encouraging so that it doesn’t sound like it came from the shallow end.

Lesson #5-It seems hopeless right before the breakthrough. Toward the end of my tour of duty, I told my daughter I was afraid I had taken Gracie as far as I could. True, I could have been more firmer in attempting to cajole her into success, but here is where I was laying down the grandma card. You gigis know what I mean. Grandmas can lavish a bit more grace than parents once in awhile-sometimes out of love and sometimes out of sheer survival.  So far she was content for me to coast her Cleopatra style along the Nile. Bubble blowing was rare, not to mention the super courageous plunge under. Don’t even hint at the s-l-i-d-e. In addition, the day before had been the mondo melt-down session when I pulled the plug and dragged the soggy, sobby, little muskrat home. Beached is how I felt with my role in the swimming lesson gig.

But the next day dawned.

GO (her nickname since she’s named Gracie Olive) was nothing but GO!  She wanted to swim with the instructor–well glide like Cleopatra, but got to love baby steps! She could have powered a MasterCraft X26 with the bubbles she blew and her ‘princess kick’ action. Her eyes lit up when it came slide time, and she climbed that ladder ‘by myself!” like she was Greg Louganis’s twin sister. When she let loose to fly down the shoot, the light in her eyes gleamed of the start of an irresistible aquatic romance.

Not a bit of what went on hinged on me or my performance. Simply being present and willing to get wet was all that was asked.

Which proves again, in the everyday, God shows himself in the silly or the serious.  His words are true. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

How has God shown you that His grace is sufficient?  I’d love to know.

Photo credit: http://swimsafer.webs.com/photos/High_resolution_boy.jpg

 

 

 

 

Bugaboo Hope

“I’ve finally made it!” I exclaimed to my writer’s group.  After eight months of missing our monthly meetings due to the craziest of crazy incidents popping up, the evil spell had been broken.  Don’t get me wrong.  Being with my grandmother as she passed was an absolutely excused absence one month.  A tree falling on our garage another.  A mad dash to Falcon Lake, TX to pick up my in-laws travel trailer another–no, we didn’t run into pirates, but could have easily– and the unbelievable list went on.  My eyes had to have been like Roman candle fireballs of excitement as I regrouped with this amazing cheerleading writers from U-Can-Do-It University.  My day had been made–or so I thought.

After the meeting I tumbled into the pickup, a fountain of bubbling ideas, new things learned, and friendships rekindled.  Cliff smiled and didn’t even try to attempt plugging the hole in the verbal dam that burst into the air.  As we buzzed through the streets of downtown Wichita, a mini-van with a zoned out dad driving, pulled up next to us at the stoplight.  In the back two bench seats were three car seats filled with screaming kids.  Six month old twins and one around two-ish.   Of course, a Mustang pompously zipped past and flicked its spoiler in the air of the Mini-van Dad’s path.

“Bud, it will get better,” Cliff chuckled.  “Poor guy.”

Cliff had been in those shoes.  One fateful night he stood ankle-deep in a ditch, torrential rain pelting him as he begged our four-year old daughter to please unlock the borrowed car’s door.  After changing the second flat tire of the trip, he wasn’t in the best frame of mind as he made this 2 1/2 hour trek one way to pick up his brother from the hospital solo.  Since car seats were optional at that time, both of the natives were free to roam the car, therefore hitting the electic locks.  Our two-year old succeeded in gluing her eye shut with gum and wetting her new Cabbage Patch panties.  By the time he got to the hospital, it’s a miracle they didn’t take him straight to the psyche ward.  But he survived….plus many other times, including buying tampons for an entire college volleyball team-solo.  Now, that’s a dad!

We wave encouragement and head to the little place we had agreed to meet both now adult daughters and a son-in-law for supper.  Later other friends would be meeting us for a rare get-together.

It’s kind of dark and Cliff and I shared our readers to order appetizers.  We give Casey her birthday gifts and the talk jumps to Karsten and Robin wanting some home improvement advice, ‘because when you’re going to have a baby…..”

My nacho stopped in mid-flight.  Did they just say baby?  Like the one they have been praying and waiting for years?  I shoot a look at Cliff across the table.  Both sets of our eyes immediately fill with tears–as well as Casey who walked in the place the birthday girl, but is leaving with a title.  Aunt.

And the tears kept coming as we grabbed napkins to stop the flood.  “Now, you can’t tell anyone.”  What?  You have given us news that should be sky-written, tweeted, shouted from mountain-tops and the headline of all news media being transmitted to other galaxies.  Let alone, Galen and Richelle who will be coming in the door any minute.  We aren’t that great of actors, let alone with these friends.

But, I can’t quit the tears as we pelt Robin with  pregnant mom questions: “Due, when?”, “Have you been sick?” “Are you going to find out what it is?”  But, Karsten interests me more.  His eyes are a mix of indescribable pride/ joy and sheer terror.   Suddenly the guy at the end of the table morphs into Cliff 29 years prior . Yes, I remembered.  So many questions to be answered.  Like  how to provide for his family, is he going to be a good dad, and what about diaper smells?  Although Karsten couldn’t see them, they circled his head crazily like drunk fire-flies, while he grinned a smile that rivaled the one when he watched my daughter walk down the aisle.

And I kept crying for 3 days straight.  “Our little Robin is building her nest,” I mused to a chorus of groans.  For the first time in 30 years the urge to knit has infiltrated my fingers, the sewing machine revs and I keep adorable finding things I have pick up.  When all the cute Easter clothes hit the stores, I thanked God above Bugaboo is going to be a surprize or we’d be broke.

As if we couldn’t fall in love more, the soft swish, swish, thud, thud strongly pounded through a little speaker.  In Morse Code Bugaboo tapped out “I love you, Grandmam.”  (Like you wouldn’t have gone to mush, too.)

So as mid-September nears we take every advantage to see this family as it grows and kicks.  It reminds us of how God’s blessed way past we could have ever imagined.  Even if Robin is six-months of miserable, covered in poison ivy while sweating as recreation leader for Vacation Bible School this week, and we can’t do a thing to help her.  (I’ve suggested the name “Ivy” to go with their last name “Burns’, but don’t think it’s being considered.)  And Bugaboo is commencing to kick the itch out of her.

Last night Casey and I went to the Rosary of a friend, whose unexpected death, was like a staunch kick in the stomach.  A new grandpa to new little ones.  The unimaginable has hit this family.

But when the service ended  and the family came up the aisle, a young mama was leading the group with a pudgy blue-eyed sweetheart in a pink sundress.  As the family made one of the hardest walks they would probably ever walk in their life, all eyes followed that wee one.  One foot in front of the other.  One step at a time.  The other baby brought up the rear.  The blessing of hope wrapped this family in its arms.  Later, it was shared that the two Bugabooes and an avalanche of prayer is what was getting them through.

I’m learning that is why grandparents turn into the biggest nutcases around.  They remember.  From experience they can’t afford to let  a precious chance of hope flutter off.

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me. O’ God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.  Psalm 71:18

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

Lessons From a Mermaid.

She enjoys the smallest of treats with great excitement.  An Andes mint, a Coca-Cola, or a Sonic Limeade.  Wrappers fly off and wonderful slurping sounds fill the room as she rolls her eyes in delight.  Yes, the simple things in life are enjoyed with great gusto.

The Mermaid is my mom.  She got the handle given to her when the grandkids were learning to talk.  ‘Mermaid’ made much more sense to them than ‘Myrlee’. Even friends of the kids call her “Grandma Mermaid”, delighting her to no end.

Due to her being a Pearl Harbor of medical issues that affected her brain in a myriad of ways, she has lived in different world than the rest of us for about a year now.  Still her face lights up when we appear.  She still knows us and likes to visit, although not as much.  We have the privilege of dancing her dance with her.  Somedays we are successful in gliding through the visit with her and sometimes—-well, toes get stepped on as we are learning about her world.  Here are things we are gleaning from her.

1. We are learning to bloom where we are planted-even we aren’t really sure where the location is.  Most generally she enjoys being in ‘this resort’, although it has nursing home stamped all over it. Even though she is taken care of quite well, the fact that this lady, who was so concerned if her car looked like a ‘grandma car”, has wound up here would put her in severe depression.  Instead she has friends, gets manicures, and even plays a little basketball from her wheel chair.  The aides love her as she has them in stitches ‘being her adorable self.”

2. She has no worries. Her 5 years of lamenting about how the next scan for cancer would turn out has vaporized.  Doctors appointments aren’t her only social life anymore, although she convinces the staff at the rest home that she has appointments on occasion.  That has caused chaos for us all.  Even during through the season of the parade of doctors, she was pretty content to roll with whatever punches they required to try to help her.   Now, she trusts whoever is guiding her wheelchair to get her where she is going when she  needs to be wherever.  Oh, to trust like that!

3. She gets the joy of hanging out with my grandparents. What if they’ve been gone 20 years or more? She talks about them quite often, and even shared that Grandma Moore and she went to Hutchinson one day. I was still new enough to the game not to ask any questions, but I am so curious to know who drove!  Since they are a constant desire of hers, she has rebirthed in me anticipation of the day we all be reunited.  How I itch to see them!

4. To enjoy every moment.  At Christmas, we turned her tv to her favorite movie A Christmas Story. It brought back many childhood memories. She’d seen it a zillion times, but today was different. It seemed absolutely new to her and we heard belly laughs for the first time in ages.  It reminded me to throughly enjoy doing something the first time.  There is freshness that is precious we should embrace.

5. Words aren’t everything. (Can you believe that is coming from me?) In this generational lineage of talkers, writers, and storytellers, one has to fight viciously for airtime. Mom and I would chatter until the wee hours over nothing.  Ma Bell’s stock plummeted when she moved to where I saw her everyday.  Today it is different.  We just sit and enjoy the time with either the innocence of Babar the Elephant or the action of the Terminator playing on her tv.  She might make a comment about Arnie’s girlfriend’s hair looking worse than hers, but just being together saying nothing is good.  Real good.

Mom has taught me so much through my life-like not to kick a sleeping skunk and that you can travel the world over with a toothbrush and a clean pair of panties.  Today God uses her to teach those around her things no one could fathom.  I get torn between this wild wonderful woman of God going through drastic changes I would not choose for my worst enemy and thanking him for the lessons he continues to teach through her.  Following her example, I must trust him. Teach me your way, O’Lord and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  I will praise you, O’Lord, my God with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:11-12.   May we continue keep our hearts open, always learning from the purpose God has for the adorable loved ones in our lives.

Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Today a giant blue wheeled cart beckoned me with Walmart Clearance bargains.  Unless the cart has just come out, the chances of finding treasures are slim.  By now pizza flavored lip-gloss and such are all that is left.  Still I looked.  A little spray bottle caught my eye.  “Spray Applesauce-For People on the Go!”  I giggled out loud!  Who thought this brain child up?  How does it not clog up?  Does one say while running a marathon, ‘man, hit me with some applesauce’?  The person with the golden delicious vision had to have others agree and say “hey, we have a winner!” in order to get it packaged, marketed and on the shelf.   If you don’t have time to put a spoon in your mouth and swallow, you may just be a little too busy in my book. As usual my mind could not let something like this lie dormant.

It also led me to remember some of my classic ‘seemed like a good idea’ times.

In first grade I stepped on the rustiest nail I could find on my grandparents’ farm.  I purposely stepped on it, because a couple of gals in my class had accidentally stepped on nails or glass that week.  I quickly learned this great plan to fit in was much more painful than I had envisioned.   The blood gushing turned my mom and Grandma Moore into panicked crazy women as they knew lock-jaw was going to set in any moment. I was hauled in a 75+ mile radius to Ashland, Coldwater and Greensburg hospitals due to a tetanus serum shortage.  What was I thinking?

Stealing a 39 cent bottle of Oyster Pearl fingernail polish from Mr. Jones Drug Store in about 3rd grade was my one major heist.   It was so shimmery and shiny that the temptation was too much. No one ever knew but me.  Once in a while I would get brave and wear it,  but it bugged me the whole time. Since God has a sense of humor, he arranged for Mom to work for Mr. Jones for several years when I was in Jr. High.  Still that was not enough to break me even if the guilt plagued me everyday afterschool.  I would check in with Mom and Mr. Jones always made it a point to visit with me.  Did I mention that guilt was partnered with a check that was enclosed in my graduation card from the Jones?  (Let the record show that God reminded me a few years ago and I made it right with Mrs. Jones.)

A few years ago my mom about scobbed my knob when I confessed that in sixth grade I lied on my eye test because I knew I would look great in glasses.  What we lengths we go for beauty!  Right now I have 4 pairs of readers scattered to Timbuktu and back that I never can find.  Most of the time they are on my head or clipped on my shirt.  Little did I know that I would eventually I ooze beauty as I rock  the  ‘grandma’ glasses.

I thought I was pretty smart when I learned to play divorced parents against each other.  Manipulation was my game. Oh, the power was intoxicating during a situation in which I had no control.  They were dancing my dance.  Revenge was sweet.  That is until at any given time they would form a peace treaty and swap stories.  Big trouble for Kelly!

With my Farrah hair blowing in the wind, I attempted to impress the jr. high love of my life, whose identity I now have forgotten.  My Charlie’s Angels skateboard skills landed me with bruised pride and a fractured tail bone on the sidewalk in front of the bank building to quite an audience.  Since I am hard-headed, my other attempt to impress a guy (my dad) consisted of climbing on the back for a steer at an all girls rodeo.  Ironically, that ended with my tail bone fractured again.  Beside these lessons literally kicking my rear, I learned the one guy didn’t matter and the other I was already in his heart.

Rawlings, WY will always hold a special place in my memory.  My dad had warned me plenty of times, but I didn’t want to go put my hot boots on to unload the horses from the horse trailer.  My snazzy Dr. Scholl’s and I would be careful, geez.  My beloved Vernal Sox not only stepped on my Oyster Pearl painted toes, but twisted.  I lost a couple of toenails, but gained a limp for the entire National High School Rodeo Finals in Yakima, WA, where the rule was we all had to wear boots the entire time or get sent home.  Rebelling and laziness made their point on that trip.

A pact was formed in Sophomore Biology to cheat on our 9 weeks test.  Someone had the test key and distributed copies freely.  Long story short-we all got caught, except Mike Sanders who was lucky enough to get a hanger run in his eye the hour before in PE.  The principal and the parents were not proud.  We flunked that 9 weeks-except for Mr. A+ Mike. The kicker was I always like a back up plan, so I had studied and knew it by heart.  Cheaters never prosper, but they do have to scramble to make the semester grade average come out to a C at best.

My last one was always breaking curfew because ‘well, my car wouldn’t start’.  This perfect story I had no doubt I could get away with.  My discerning and smarter-than-me parents picked up that my car only acted up on Saturday nights.  For Christmas instead of the chic knee boots I was slobbering over, I received jumper cables and no more excuses.  Busted!

We could go on and on, couldn’t we?  While these are pretty harmless and silly, the tales get more sordid and serious.  So do the consequences.  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11.   Thank goodness for that discipline.  If we are left to our own devices, we would continue and create gargantuan messes, let alone continue to break God’s heart.   Instead he catches us and gives us righteousness and peace, if we take heed.

Still something will fly in from left field and catch us in a parking lot drinking blackberry moonshine from a guy named Bronc that we have never seen in our lives. (I plead the fifth on the time frame of this incident. I am still recovering from mortification.)

I am so thankful for the God of second chances who molds and shapes us through discipline, divine guidance, and love.  My new favorite verse is “Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take my refuge in you.  May integrity and uprightness protect me because my hope is in you.”  Psalm 25: 20-21.  Ahhhh… hope in him.  Always the best idea at anytime.

Turkey Egg Honors

The Turkey Egg Queen!

I have a friend who is on the verge of turning the BIG 50.  She has been blogging with great humor of the aches, pains, wrinkles, loss of eye-sight, and all other delightful issues that go with the inevitable.  How she pulls humor out of something that would otherwise be depressing is beyond me, but she does.  (Check her out at 49andcounting.wordpress.com)  Since I am much, much younger, I have some time before I hit the day that AARP starts sending me greetings in my mailbox.  I do confess reading glasses are my constant friend, although I never know if they are on my head, stuck in my shirt or where the several pairs I have scattered to the 4 winds have landed.  Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it too much this natural phenomenon.

Last night I was looking in the mirror at my shoulders and arms.  Spots are starting to show up from all the sun damage of the last 48 years.  Oh yes, I live in Kansas, the Sunburn Capitol of the World.  Even when you really, really try, the sun does some sneaky tricks and before you know it, you are glowing like a red-hot poker and bathing in aloe vera.  Thoughts of my grandma, who is almost 96, made me giggle.  She always says she is ‘as freckled as a turkey egg.”  A truer statement has never been spoken.  She is a canvas of all sorts of spots, speckles and blotches.  There are more of them than there are her natural fair Irish skin tones.  Trips of hauling us grandkids to the creek with a jug of limeade and weenies to roast had to added a blemish or two.  Not only did she bake at the swimming pool with my brother and me, she would load up her car with towels, blow up dinosaurs and her lawn chair for my kids as well.  She had to be pushing 80 at that time.  Hours and hours on her beloved golf course have contributed to the condition.  We won’t even go into all the meals to wheat fields, time spent in the garden, or dressing chickens for half the county.  If her eyesight and knees didn’t hamper her, she would probably still be taking walks on the creek and climbing the barn ladder to feed the cats.  She is truly a testament of living life to the absolute fullest.

So, instead of seeing these spots as unwelcome in my mirror, I see softball and baseball tournaments spent on bleachers watching my kids hit it out of the park and my husband in his coaching element.  In my younger days, there was always a push to wear long sleeves at the high school rodeos, but once out of the arena, bring on the t-shirt.   Those great experiences got me out of Comanche County and  to experience other people and places.  Speaking of teen years, what about the combo of baby oil and iodine to get that savage tan?  I’m sure the FDA has declared this a lethal substance by now.  We were voluntarily were basting ourselves like an episode of “Great Barbeque Cook-offs”.  Regardless, I am so glad that I didn’t miss the time well spent with friends even if no SPFs were involved.  Moving cattle, working in the wheat field, painting and mowing, well, I’d much rather spend my time outside than inside any day-even if it means an extra sunspot or two.  I do believe that even a Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty or two have made their appearance on my map of speckled history.   In fact, I already have my seeds ordered for Cliff and my date with our garden as soon as the winter says ‘good-bye”.

So slather me up with sunscreen as I’m not asking for skin cancer or pain, but don’t expect me to stay inside and not kick up my heels over some brown spots.  My Grandma Olive is one of the most beautiful women I know for she has taken advantage of every moment that God has given her. I don’t care if I am polka-dotted as one of Lucille Ball’s dresses.  I am embracing that my body is a walking scrapbook.  I can only hope to someday wear the hallowed ‘Turkey Egg’ crown with as much grace and style as Grandma does.