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Monday, February 28, 2011

in which sanctification is lost at a toll booth...


yesterday, i kind of lost my sanctification at a toll booth.

 when i went thru to get on the freeway (SLEX) there was nobody in the booth to give me a card so i just went on as there was a line-up of vehicles honking behind me.

 this was most unfortunate for the girl at the actual skyway toll, who demanded 199p instead of the usual 120p because "ma'am, you have no card..." 

i calmly explained, "there was no one in the toll booth when i went through."

 "no ma'am, there was. you have to pay 199p, you have no card."

"the reason i have no card is because there was no one in the toll booth, and i had many cars lined up behind me and i just went through."

"no ma'am, there was someone in the toll booth."

pause...breathe deeply...stay calm...try again.

i suggested she call the toll booth in question. "no ma'am, you went through the wrong toll booth."

 "no, i went through the same one i always go through. there was no one there."

 "no ma'am, there was someone there." three times she assured me that there was indeed SOMEONE there. or i had gone through the wrong lane.

at which point i forgot about deep breathing and said in a squeaky voice, "are you calling me a liar?"

 she said, "No, ma'am" which infuriated me even more. "you just did it again!" i hollered.

 in slow motion i put the car in park,  took off my sunglasses, and said to her evenly but forcefully, "look in my eyes. i am a pastor's wife, and i am a christian. i don't lie. THERE WAS NO BODY IN THAT TOLL BOOTH. I REFUSE TO PAY THIS. and furthermore, YOU OWE ME AN APOLOGY." (capitals indicate volume rising)

 a crowd had gathered by this time. i was in FULL VOICE. i had PUT MY VEHICLE IN PARK. it was SHOWDOWN TIME.

an apology was made- and not by me. tears flowed. loud voices were heard. i was mad.

and i did NOT pay 199p.

 as i drove away, the supervisor bequeathed the final infuriating insult...she waved her hands at me and sweetly sang, "calm down, ma'am, calm down!"

 whatever.

 even christians get ticked off. i suppose in hindsight i should have remained calm and just paid the ************** toll.

 but ya know, sometimes you just get tired of being ripped off through no fault of your own. SIGH.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

beads and buttons

it's just a piece of plastic twine, threaded with a button, a few beads, and couple of tiny blocks with letters.

it's a necklace. it's mismatched. it's simple and unusual.

it's a priceless treasure.

my little girl spent a long time secretly stringing these jewels on this shining strand of plastic- then with joy and delight in her voice, she ran to me..."Mommy, this is for you!" she sang.

i wear it proudly. money could not buy the gift that her chubby little brown fingers struggled to make.

my heart melts when i remember all the little gifts that my children have made for me in years past. many of them i've kept...some have been lost or broken but i still remember them fondly.

each one is precious- a beautiful expression of the sweet love of a child for mommy.

paper...crayons...plastic...buttons...beads...

these are the materials from which the most exquisite and priceless keepsakes are made.

thank you, baby girl, for my beautiful present. i love it, and i love you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

yucky days

the past few days i have not felt well. headaches, vertigo, and sinus stuffiness.

blech.

i'm better today.

isn't it wonderful when the old body finally figures out what ammunition to use, and gets in gear to heal itself?

we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

in other news...daddy's off again to the western part of the planet (who decided where east and west are, anyway?) and emma and i are on our own.

which is fine.

and the construction project is proceeding apace- albeit with a few setbacks like broken plumbing pieces/tiles and too many louvered doors.

ah well.

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

it's all good.

oh...and- the internet comes and goes...mostly goes...but again- it's all good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

new grandson!

a new little boy was born on the other side of the world from me...about 48 hours ago...at home, suddenly, surprisingly, into his daddy's outstretched hands. he's just an 8-pounder, small compared to his older brother and sister, but he has a brilliant and grand name: ISAAC DOUGLAS DAVIDSON MCDOUGALL.

he's a son of promise.

this little family wasn't supposed to have any more children- but God has His ways. and now Isaac is here, and we are all in love with HIS ROYAL SQUISHINESS.

i'm oceans and continents away from this precious bundle, but in skyping today with his mommy and daddy, i could literally 'smell' him. the sweet scent of a newborn, the fluffy fragrance of his face, the milkiness of his breath.

Isaac is only the 2nd grandchild that i have not been at the birth. out of ten grandchildren, i've delivered 7. i was present at one but did not 'catch', and have missed 2- one because he's adopted :) and now isaac's, because i'm so far away.

but in my heart i'm right there, cudding him, changing him, singing to him, watching the ever-changing expressions on that beautiful little face with the scrunchy eyes...i'm there.

i'm in love.

and i would have loved to have been there at the birth, but the angels were there, and daddy was there, and it's all good. just the way God intended it all to be.

nini loves you, isaac douglas davidson mcdougall.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

smiling on purpose

this morning i was walking in the hot sun, dragging the little car behind me with emma in it, and fuming to myself.

the place i was going to has been getting on my nerves lately.

i thought about how i was feeling.

frustrated, angry, hopeless.

i decided that somehow, deep down inside, i was not going to allow these surface ripples to affect my joy.

i started to smile.

i began to be thankful.

i started to think good thoughts about the people i was mad at.

by the time i got there, i was feeling much better...and even managed some REAL smiles instead of the very determined ones i was putting on by faith. (or fake, not sure which.)

it was a good morning.

i didn't even mind when the spitting on the floor got reeeeeal close to my shoes.

:))

Friday, February 11, 2011

spending less, liking more

we're doing a construction project that has gone, of course, over budget.

we've decided that rather than allow the stress of spending too much overwhelm us, we're going to cut back.

not spend it all...do without until we can afford it.

so we may not be taking showers in the new house any time soon.

just kidding.

we're going to polish concrete floors rather than buy expensive tiles.

we're going to focus on what's essential, rather than what's wanted.

we're going to do the landscaping in installments, rather than all at once, no matter how the neighbors stare. and they do stare.

this requires some imagination, negotiation, and strangulation. (another joke, trying to lighten up)

gulp.

and we are going to count our blessings! so many blessings! imagine how many people would like to have a new house....and here we are, at our age, finally getting one.

God is so good.

so that's the way it is. spending less, liking more.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

BLACK DAYS...


Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
 
On different days I'm different too.
You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days. 

On Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels!

On other days I'm other things.
On Bright Blue Days I flap my wings. 
Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down. 
Then comes a Yellow Day and Wheeee!
I am a busy, buzzy bee. 

Gray Day....Everything is gray.
I watch. But nothing moves today.

Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal!
On my Orange Days that's how I feel.

Green Days. Deep deep in the sea.
Cool and quiet fish. That's me.

On Purple Days I'm sad. I groan.
I drag my tail. I walk alone.

But when my days are Happy Pink
it's great to jump and just not think. 

Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud. 
I howl. I growl at every cloud. 

Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And WHAM!
I don't know who or what I am!

But it all turns out all right, you see.  

And I go back to being...me. 

honestly.


sometimes i just want to cry.

find a quiet corner where nobody can see or hear my sobs.

today our little neighbor girl was being chased, as usual, by her big brother, and she wiped out on the street.

oh my- did she ever wail and howl.

i envied her.

i envied the abandon with which she entered in to her sorrow- the way she threw back her head and screamed- and the way the storm passed as quickly as it had come.

i want to set aside the pollyanna aura that surrounds me- in all its pinky-yellow sweetness- and yield to the darkness...the black days. MAD. and LOUD. and HOWL AT EVERY CLOUD.

just once.

the weepies

Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.
You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days. 

On Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels!

On other days I'm other things.
On Bright Blue Days I flap my wings. 

Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down. 

Then comes a Yellow Day and Wheeee!
I am a busy, buzzy bee. 

Gray Day....Everything is gray.
I watch. But nothing moves today.

Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal!
On my Orange Days that's how I feel.

Green Days. Deep deep in the sea.
Cool and quiet fish. That's me.

On Purple Days I'm sad. I groan.
I drag my tail. I walk alone.

But when my days are Happy Pink
it's great to jump and just not think. 

Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud. 
I howl. I growl at every cloud. 

Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And WHAM!
I don't know who or what I am!

But it all turns out all right, you see.  
And I go back to being...me. 

honestly.


sometimes i just want to cry.

find a quiet corner where nobody can see or hear my sobs.

today our little neighbor girl was being chased, as usual, by her big brother, and she wiped out on the street.

oh my- did she ever wail and howl.

i envied her.

i envied the abandon with which she entered in to her sorrow- the way she threw back her head and screamed- and the way the storm passed as quickly as it had come.

i want to set aside the pollyanna aura that surrounds me- in all its pinky-yellow sweetness- and yield to the darkness...the black days. MAD. and LOUD. and HOWL AT EVERY CLOUD.

just once.

Monday, February 7, 2011

book review of Sheila Walsh's "The Shelter of His Promises"

Sheila Walsh presents in this book a series of truths based on the most ALIVE book of all time, the Word of God. Her writing is like her singing; delicate, sensitive, and deep. The many personal stories she includes in this book make it down-to-earth and real. My personal favorite chapter is Chapter Ten: "HOME". I was so blessed to read all the stories and the illustration Sheila used of Mary, mother of Jesus, and the possible way her mind must have grappled with the death of her Beloved Son. "Some questions might only be answered when we get home; some wounds are hard to heal this side of eternity." A wonderful book well worth reading and studying.

gratitude

this world is an ungrateful place.

people, myself included, have such ENTITLEMENT attitudes.

"i deserve this"

"i worked hard for this"

"this is mine"

"no one should have the right to take this away from me"

on and on.

what a sick, self-serving attitude. nothing is mine- except God and all He gives. and even then, what He gives is not really mine.

it's not mine.

open-handed, we must stand before a loving Creator and say, "it's all yours..." (steven curtis chapman song)

today, i'm grateful, with no sense of entitlement, for many things. here's a few. i did nothing to deserve these, but i am a loved daughter of the High King, and He has blessed me.

-i'm grateful for mornings alone in the quiet dawn with Him

-i'm grateful for my little brown-skinned baby lying warm in the bed with legs occasionally kicking like a little horse

-i'm grateful for sunshine today and almost every day in this lovely climate we live in

-i'm grateful for the man who loves me unconditionally and to the very best of his ability

-i'm grateful for just enough trouble to keep me on my knees...

and i don't deserve any of it except maybe the trouble part. :))

Friday, February 4, 2011

i was alright until they proudly walked me down the path to their "minimum security" dorm.

i was ok with the prison thing.

i know people get locked up...i know some are innocent, some are guilty...in this corrupt society it's all about what kind of justice you can BUY.

so i shared with them that a palace can be a prison, and a prison can be a palace...if Jesus is there.

good stuff. happy happy happy. they love what i share, i love their smiling and their singing and their laughter.

it's getting to be time to leave, you have to stick to a schedule when you enter the maximum security area.

our guides, susan and grace, are minimum. (they get one brown t-shirt every year that says so.)

they escort us out to the perimeter of the prison area, where employees live and it's really much more like a little town than a prison.

green trees, gardens, kids laughing and playing, traffic on the little roads. quite beautiful, really. my mind says, "am i really in a prison compound?"

we walk down to their dorm.

"it used to be a chicken-coop", says grace matter-of-factly. "we had to fix it all up."

ah, i see.

we enter a gated compound, and grace introduces us to the ubiquitous (obviously necessary) guard. fine.

i'm fine so far.

i love these women. i love their stories. i'm fine. no really, i'm fine.

we enter the "chicken coop"...a cement floored, tin-roofed building filled with bunkbeds and.....wait a minute.

it looks like a summer camp...a few clothes, plain sheets, each bed made neatly...maybe more like a military barracks, except with a few feminine touches. my heart starts to crack a bit.

susan proudly shows us her corner- she's a "lifer", so she has a corner to herself. a simple bed, plastic drawers, a tiny tv, a little closet. her life is in this corner.

wait. wait. wait.

this woman has 5 kids. she has been away from them for 16 years; the youngest was 2 when she went to prison. she lives here, in this barracks...this sweet woman of God, in leadership in the "church on the inside"...this is her home. surrounded by 30 other inmates.

she has no kitchen in which to cook for her family. her kids don't have bedrooms nearby where she can hear them in the night. no husband to keep her warm in that lonely little bed. no one can visit her unless they go thru security, as we did, and leave everything behind...cell phone, purse, wallet. SHE HAS A NEW GRANDSON THAT WAS BORN YESTERDAY - her daughter phoned to tell her.

this is susan's home.

i have 5 kids. i am a wife and mother. I WOULD DIE if i had to live in the corner of a refurbished chicken coop with 30 other women and be locked up at night.

yet susan stood there and said, sincerely and with gentle wisdom on her face, "God brought me here to rest. He will let me out when it's His time."

i stood there in the sun, looking at her sweet eyes so full of grace and beauty, and i shook on the inside with the terror of the grace of God. a criminal- and what she did was indeed a crime, she honestly confessed to us- but a precious daughter of God in leadership in her community and church in the prison.

i am undone.

as we were leaving, she showed us a little "sari-sari" store inside the chicken coop. soap, snacks, necessities of life were for sale around this other woman's bunkbed. susan said simply, "they lock us up at night, and if we get hungry or we need something, we can buy it here."

they lock us up at night.

that is what finished me off right there.

oh god.

what must it feel like to be locked in at night. alone.

i cannot imagine. i cannot really even go there in my head.

we walk off down the road with them; they are so thankful that we are just hanging around and visiting with them after the service, instead of just taking off. they are so grateful for love and acceptance and help.

i am a selfish pig.

i am convicted to the core of my being.

i am "free". but susan, grace, malu...they are the ones who are really free.

and i stand in awe of these giants, who are so NOT FREE, and yet who are gracious and loving and grateful and sweet and tender and ....... more. more than i am. more than i could ever be.

i have no more to even say. this is gonna take a while to get over.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

shadows sometimes

there's a shadow in our little world today.

yes, the middle east is in flames...australia being battered by a cyclone...north america in a deep freeze...

but in my little world there is also a problem.

our little girl has asthma.

we are praying for an answer.

giving her the prescribed meds.

teaching her the breathing exercises.

believing that God has an answer.

but it's hard to watch her cough when she runs or plays.

hard to check her lungs with the stethoscope and hear that insidious wheezing.

this surely cannot be her future!

and i think of all the other parents with much more serious challenges to their childrens' health, and i feel guilty for even worrying about our little emma.

nevertheless, that is my heart's burden today.

little girl, Jesus is your healer. we trust Him.