Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I am

I am a born. 
I am a sinner. 
I am saved by the blood of Jesus. 
I  am imperfect. 
I am unique. 
I am a whole person, through Jesus. 
I am a woman. 
I am wired to experience life through my emotions. 
I am not a victim of my emotions. 
I am strong when I identify my sadness, my fear, my anger, and consecrate them to God. 
I am in prayer constantly about something that is bothering me. 
I am not always intense. 
I am sometimes dull. 
I am sometimes just happy. 
I am always counting my blessings as an antidote for dissatisfaction. 
I am a hard worker, a deep thinker. 
I am usually behind on sleep. 
I am usually seeking to improve. 
I am sometimes starved for novelty. 
I am a lover of music. 
I am an information junkie. 
I am desiring to know God better because my needs are so great. I am in need of wisdom and strength to meet life's demands. 
Basically, I am just a 35 year old woman with three little kids. I am in love with them and their dad. I am blessed. 
Who would ever guess she used to be a momma baby? 

This picture epitomizes my life. Little girl had the phone, bed unmade, struggling with the wiggly baby, trying to get out the door. :) I can see the humor in it. 

I'm still taking pictures of bugs. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Week in Which......

The girls complete their swimming lessons and pass level one! 

I discover the joy of photographing spiders on petunia plants. 

Mima runs the zip line at the church campground and says she "felt like a fairy! It was like jumping off of dad's truck, only you didn't stop !"

Judy gives Christian and his little girlfriend a bowl of water to splash in. They are ten days apart in age. I love to see them together because they contrast in so many ways. 

Walks with grandma. 

Jay cuts down a tree a donates the limbs to the cause of the duck blind. Wonder where they got that idea?!

A good looking man cleans my kitchen window because I'm too short. 

Schoolbooks arrive! 

And, no picture here, but we went on a date tonight. We took Christian along. Funny how one child along feels as easy as no child along. And yet, I remember what an adjustment it was to have just one child. We're resilient, more than we ever realize or think we can be. Our date was Starbucks, Walmart, Home Depot, and Burger King drive thru. And we didn't kiss once. Maybe we need another date. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

No Man is An Island

"Meditation XVII", by John Donne. It's an essay I read in English literature as a teenager. It was a little hard for me to grasp; Donne wrote in the 1600's. They talked funny back then. It's still hard for me to read because my comprehension of that kind of material is much slower than my ability to read. Therefore I have to read slowly, and I dislike that. I like reading material that goes down quick like applesauce. Especially if it has  a juicy morsel of brain food. One paragraph in Donne's meditation pops out like he wrote it yesterday. Apparently I'm not the only one to think that, because I see it quoted and written out in poem form. You'll probably recognize it. 

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind , and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

When I hear the ambulance siren go, I think,  "I hope it's nobody I know." I may even make a phone call to be reassured. When I heard that Ebola patients were brought home to an Atlanta hospital, I did not think, "oh good! They'll get better care here!" I thought,  "please keep Africa's uncontrollable diseases in Africa." 
It took me a couple of days to catch on to what is going on in Iraq. I saw the headlines and cruised on by. There's always something bad going on over there. 

Tragedy is part of life. I don't have the strength to absorb all that pain. I find myself picking and choosing. I find myself  passing judgment on the afflicted. I find myself feeling hopeless and indifferent. And then, I read apostle Paul's reminder to remember those in bonds as if I myself were in bonds. I read, "weep with those that weep." I read John Donne's essay, "No man is an island."  I don't have the perfect answer for dealing with the tragedy of others. But if we truly are connected (and of course we are. It's a biblical concept and in keeping with God's character.), then I cannot afford to be indifferent. The spiritual laws set in place by God bind us together. There is no safety in isolation or self preservation. By God's Law, Jesus made a meal for thousands out of one person giving up his own little lunch. Jesus pretty much defined "neighbor" as anyone within your reach. And, Jesus wept. He didn't smile a bemused smile to himself at the poor mortals weeping over dead Lazurus; even though He knew He was going to bring Lazurus back to life in a few minutes, He wept tears of compassion and mutual sorrow. 

Maybe those little prayers I breathe when I recognize suffering can be a small lunch to feed thousands. Maybe I can't practically fast and spend hours in prayer, but I can enter into the grief at least a little, think about if it were me, and care and pray. Maybe I can't tend to Ebola patients or rescue Iraqi refugees, but I can notice and help those in need who are within my reach. Somehow, I believe that by adding to the amount of good that exists in this world, I can help to make a difference. Maybe it won't directly touch that big scary problem on the other side of the world, but it still matters in the big picture. 

And I can practice gratefulness. Grateful for every little thing. Grateful for the baby keeping me up at night because I still have the baby! Grateful for the girls' petty fights because they're still with me. Grateful, because if and when my tragedy hits, I'll have fewer regrets. 

Nothing can truly prepare us for tragedy. But a heart that has practice at crying, praying, caring, and being grateful, will be more resilient. And while I cannot bear the sorrows of all, I can "pick up my edge of the blanket" to bear the weight of the hurting ones closest to me.