Friday, July 30, 2010


I have had a few long days and so I treated myself to a facial today. Ahhh. Bliss.
My brain got to relax, stop lifting weights, untwist. I found that it went to unexpected places when it was finally set free.
In the midst of a refreshing, orange-peel scented exfoliation, my mind started to riffle through the people I'd met this week, including hairy men. And I found myself suddenly grateful that I do not have facial hair.
How much harder would it be to achieve a dewy glow (which I can't say I've yet accomplished) if you had to worry about a five o'clock shadow. Ugh. I mean, I suppose with all the leg-shaving we ladies got the short end of the razor anyhow. But it would be worse, I imagine, if the spots you miss, like your kneecaps, were on your face. Or if you put your chin on your hand and got scratched.
So, thank you, God, for a fuzz free face.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Have you ever been doing something totally fun and a little bit risky, and then it happens.
For a split second you know.
You are about to get some serious pain.
Then, sunlight turns green and sound is drowned out by the spines of agony ripping through you.
That happened to me at the lake this weekend. I fell off a jet ski and hurt not one, but all my knees at once. A few seconds passed before I could inhale. A few more before I could emit sound. A few more before I could emit intelligible sound at a reasonable decibel.
I got back up and they held me, but slowly as the night passed, purply marks appeared around the caps.
So, today I am grateful for ice. It makes a lot of things better, like soda and abused knees. I've enjoyed it in both capacities lately.
While I pray that nothing has come detached, I am faithfully icing my knees. It sense the most pleasant, breezy releasing sensation through the heat that builds up during the day and gives me hope that one day soon, my poor knees will forgive me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The anti-perfectionist

My job as a consultant is to look for ways to help my clients do better. To find the narrow spot in their defensive layers and spackle over it.
Sounds nice, right? Except when somebody sees me charging in and pictures their least favorite science teacher wielding a red pen with fingers itching to sketch out an F. More than once I have offered well meaning advice only to get a scathing rebuttal.
The thing is, I get where they're coming from. There are times in my life--or more accurately regions of my life, I guess--where one of two things happens. I either feel so abysmal that any advice is only a reinforcement of my own inadequacy, or I feel like I'm in a pass/fail position and anything less than 100% is a feed-her-to-the-lions thumbs down.
Well today I met with a safety guy who talked for twenty minutes non-stop about the measures he has put in place. And then, when I noted a potential thin spot and offered a few ideas, he was eager to hear them. His goal was to be the best he could be. And he was neither disillusioned enough to feel like he was there, nor defeatist enough to feel like it was out of reach.
It is so much easier to jump off either side of the boat than to balance in the middle, and today I'm grateful for a reminder that it's not just possible, but the best position to be in.
I love that God is not a pass/fail science teacher. He doesn't own a red pen. Pink maybe, but not red. And he doesn't fail people even when we fail him. He just says, "not yet passed," and continues to educate us and love us through the lesson. When I won't settle for less than perfection, he doesn't lie and tell me I'm there. He just waits for my tantrum to end, then helps me get up, dust off, and keep trying. When I feel like it's out of reach, he gives the encouragement and perseverance to strive until it is in reach.
Thank you, God, for not expecting perfection, and not accepting the status-quo. For forever giving me what I need to strive on, and for journeying with me, loving me, each step of the way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I am the last person in America--or at least the last person below the Mason-Dixon--to read Kathryn Stockett's NY Times Best-selling debut novel, The Help.

I'm only about 1/6th in but it has made me laugh out loud, and frown in a way that's bad for the long term status of my forehead. Set in the 60's, the novel is written from the perspective of Black women serving in white households, and the white women who grow up in this kind of environment.

And, today, I am so glad for change! The engaging thing about this novel is the way it tells the rose and gray on both sides of the racial divide. It makes me so grateful for the progress we've seen and hope for the progress we can still see as we strive to love the world like God does. It makes me grateful that "in Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free." My internet is slow, being as I'm in a hotel, but if biblegateway ever comes up, I'll give the reference.

Life is better when lived rightly. Sure, the short-cuts and easy routes upon the backs of those at our disposal look simpler upon a glance. But really, truly, life lived as God intended, a life of love, is the best. May God grant us the wisdom to see this, the courage to pursue it and grace for the times when a short-cut leaves a footprint between our shoulderblades.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Licensed for Trouble

The Bible says to work as if you're working for the Lord. Sometimes, that is kind of natural, like when usering at church. But there are days when you just know it's going to be harder than swimming the Atlantic with your feet tied together by a ten pound weight.
Today was one such day for me. I am exhausted, but for a good reason! I stayed up way past my bedtime and read Licensed for Trouble, the 3rd installment in the PJ Sugar series by Susan May Warren.
It. Was. Splendid.
So good, in fact, that after lights out at 2, I laid there for about an hour processing.
Which meant that when the alarm went off at 7 (I gave myself a grace hour), I was,well, less than enthused.
While I always pray that God will help me work hard and well, today I was literally facedown on his mercy. This girl wasn't going to do anything well today on her own.
And what did God do? He came through! I had to go in to the office to avoid the temptation of "just a brief rest on the couch with one eye closed" but it paid off. The hours collapsed in on themselves, folding into neat piles of completed reports. And I got to see my mentor, who's got enough cheer to make Eeyore dance an Irish jig.
So not only did I get to call it a day after adding some tick marks to my to-do list, but I got to smile in the mean time...and mull over a riveting plot and heart-invading characters again while I did so.
Thank you, God, for your people who work diligently and craft stories that stir our souls. Thank you for helping me today to work diligently and create...reports. May you be glorified in all the endeavors you put before us, creative and otherwise. All my love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Time is on my side

I got a "please pray" email about seven hours after it was sent. One of my dear friends' mothers had a serious surgery and I didn't even know this was coming.
So, I prayed intently that God would protect her and help things go well. My first inclination was to be upset I hadn't gotten the email earlier. But then I remembered something important.
God is not bound by time. Nay, indeed, he made it, so he has dominion over it. You know that very intense "bing, bing" that the show 24 uses to remind us that time runneth out? God doesn't here that.
So, I kept praying hard, fully confident that my God would hear and acknowledge my prayers for an event I had, in this one dimensional version of time, missed.
A few hours later my friend called and said things had gone very well. YAY!
And this is the other kicker. It's one of those antique-style friendships, that you collect in your youth and only gains value as the years pass. We don't talk with great frequency, but we know each others' hearts, so when we do talk there is no stiffness or artifice. Just connection. I sent the email today for a rather trivial reason, thinking I was writing out of the blue.
But wouldn't you know God would inspire my "I think I should touch base" sense with the day of his mother's surgery. Wow.
So, I'm grateful that God is bigger than time and can work in it and around it as He sees fit. That He inspired the call this morning and honored my prayers, and those of countless other saints, on behalf of a daughter who sings His praise.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rodeo Girl

A friend gave me this sign. It's pink and has some sparkles and says Rodeo Girl. I love it! It has to do with my WIP (work in progress for the non-writers) and it sits in view of the kitchen table. What I love about it, aside from the aforementioned color and sparkle, is that it's a reminder of my goal. My work. My calling, if I can be so bold.
Every day there are discouragements, both from the world at large and my own wavering thoughts. All worthy pursuits entail some uncertainty. Nothing that tugs at our heart is guaranteed, or we'd have it and, I think, it would lose a critical element of it's allure.
All relationships, all callings, all art, all the pieces of us that cry out to be explored require us to take a step toward an end without Google turn-by-turn directions to guide the way.
What we do have is a desire that makes it worth it, and a promise of what could be.
But that's not enough.
The word support is so overused I fear it has been cheapened. Two syllables hardly contain the power of friends and family who know your goal and can see your progress even when you'd be blinded to it. Who can wrench your focus from the rocks on the path and remind you of who you are, who God is, and why you started this blasted, blessed trip to begin with, be it with words of encouragement, hugs, verses, or pink signs. It this invaluable support that keeps the weight of the journey from paralyzing us.
Thank you, God, for fearsome callings that are bigger than us, and for giving all the support we need to rise to them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Smell...

It's amazing how scent link to emotions by way of memories. How they make you feel something in your soul.
It reaches around corners, over breezes, and under doors with its tidings. A scent is a promise of something to come, a proof that the other senses are about to be rewarded.
Like today, the earthy scent, rich and heavy and tinged with sweet, was the first element of coffee I enjoyed. I paused just to relish the heady scent that blends depth and lightness. Add a dash of nutmeg and it's practically Thanksgiving day with family, belonging and joy swirling amidst the clouds of creamer.
I'm making myself thirsty, so I'll stop here, but not before a quick shout-out to Creator-God for the gift of scents and noses to enjoy them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Classic. Stretchy. Black.

Gap makes these solid color stretchy tees that have a scoop neck and short sleeves. They come in white, gray and, best of all black. I have at least four of these black tees and it isn't enough. They are the t-shirt equivalent to fuzzy socks and yet they look presentable.
I wore one today with slacks for a customer visit. Didn't look half bad if I do say so myself. And, even better, only the lower half of my body nearly suffocated in the humid air of Georgia. It's like wading through a milk jug here.
I love how they have enough stretch to fit a curve without looking like I used a paintbrush to apply my top, and the solid black is forgiving and a little chic.
As crazy as it sounds, they make me feel free.
I don't know if everyone has an article like this, a perpetually good choice. If not, check out the Gap classic stretch tees.
Ideally, I wouldn't need a t-shirt to feel at home in this skin of mine. I'd walk around, swaddled in the knowledge that the Almighty has put me together, body, spirit, and soul and he meant to. It wasn't like he was mid-formation and sneezed.
But, I'm so grateful that, since I'm not at that point yet (haven't bridged the Gap! Sorry, couldn't resist), He inspired someone at a chain store to make black t-shirts.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday! Booyah.

I had berry cobbler for breakfast!

Thank you, Jesus, for berries and roommates.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Beyond fine

You know how people ask, "How are you?" You know how they don't really want to know? They're just being courteous and offering a welcome, and in order to hold up your end of the bargain you have to give a firm, double-pump handshake, offer as genuine a smile as possible and say, "fine" or some other bland affirmative?

I'm not dissing the process. It would be weird to start business meetings talking about the weights and joys in my mind. It's an attempt to be thoughtful.

But, sometimes, we're not fine. Sometimes we're ecstatic! Got a promotion! Found a quarter on the ground! Got hit on by the valet guy! (Gotta take what you can get sometimes.)

And sometimes we're tragic wads of humanity wearing a 2-carat smile.

Everywhere outside that beige slice of "fine" it could get a little lonely. Except for the fact that God gets it. I mean, really gets it. He sees it through our eyes. Knows why a broken nail, a diagnosis, or what someone said impacts us as it does. Knows the thrill of getting that email, sharing a chat, or achieving a goal. Knows precisely how all of it feels.

And, even better, he doesn't sit by and watch, but will go with us through it and carry the grief, or throw spiritual confetti. The catch for me is being willing to get past the automated "fine" message. If I don't invite him to the party, He's not going to force His way in. And I love that too because it means so much more that He respects my wishes and wants to come.

Thank you, God for knowing. For caring. For the hankies you offer when I cry, for the high-fives and chest bumps after victories. I love sharing life with you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Wow Factor

Fireworks shot from the bow of a battleship. Sounds super profound, no? I thought so, sitting in the fading sunlight on the bank of Patriot's Point in Charleston, SC. I eyeballed the massive ship trying to comprehend that the sedate jet perched atop was designed and built to drop bombs at warp speed on our enemies. To protect the US. That this ship was meant for hostile waters, carrying men and women who have taken up the noble charge to defend their homeland.
Without doubt, the beautiful cascade of sparks dangling in the air above the battleship on Independence Day was moving. But, it turns out, my mental faculties are not symbolic enough to feel all the poignance of the moment. As soon as the first fireworks cast showers of light across the sky, my inner six year-old took over and I grinned and "oohed" and said "I like that one" at least three dozen times over the course the thirty minute display.
Fireworks will always be magical. The way they twist and dance, the gold ones that linger, the unexpected brilliance against a black sky....all of it steals the fullness of my attention and imagination. They are not shells of flame, they are extruded wonder. In a world where awe is hard to come by, seeing a blaze of rainbow light cutting the night always captures me.
Thank you, Jesus, for putting in our midst the elements. For the beauty they possess that can be replicated but not duplicated. For moments in time where it is okay not to dwell on meaning, but just get lost in wonder.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Oh, you're one of "those" people"

One of the cool things about Jesus was his openness. There was never a question he wouldn't answer. In fact, he seemed to relish questions.
Do you ever get the sense that you have been tried and found guilty of belonging to a group that is "lesser?" You are written off completely by someone who doesn't know you because you are in a certain phase of life, age, gender, hair color, etc.
Well, I felt that today. I didn't handle it too well. I was all fired up and ready to let it be known just what I thought about this discriminatory attitude, when...God stopped me. Not like my hands locked up, or my jaw went stiff (geez, that would suck) but He whispered in my thoughts, "Why do you care so much what they think?"
I sputtered for a minute, but I couldn't come up with an answer that would sound anything but trite in the presence of the Almighty, who, incidentally, is responsible for my phase of life, age, gender, hair color, and all of the etcetera.
He then reminded me of the time in when Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" And people, as they are wont to be, were way off base. But then he asked, "But what about you? Who do you say I am?" Good ol' Pete got it on the first try. "You are the Christ, Son of the living God."
Well, today, God prodded me to ask him that same question. "Who do You say that I am?" And the answers were stunning.
Beloved. Child. My portion. Daughter of the Most High. A little lower than the angels. Saint. Redeemed. Precious. Mine.
Jesus knows me. Really knows me. He loves who I am, where I am. To Him I am not a checklist of attributes deemed good or bad.
So, who am I gonna believe? Um, I'll go with the Creator of the Universe, thank you much.
People will call us all kinds of things. I hope most of the bad ones are said outside my hearing, but even when I catch the unkind word, I will let it be just that. A word. Not a definition. Not truth.
Instead, may I always turn to my Father and be reminded of who I am by the One who made me. I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine.

Random sidenote: Blogger doesn't recognize etcetera as a word. how weird is that?