Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Swiping it.

Today I returned a book on tape to the Cracker Barrel. A lady with "Rising Star" printed in gold on her brown apron gave me back change in cash. Actual bills and change.

It took her a while to count it out and it took me a while to figure out where to put it. Now my purse is a little heavier.

In the process of moving, I gathered up nickels, dimes, and even the odd quarter from around my apartment. This money had been ignored largely because it was, well, insignificant. But all together, it added up to almost twenty bucks that I didn't even know I had!

Which is why I'm grateful for debit cards. My little blue card fits easily in my wallet . It doesn't jingle when I walk or make one pocket sag. I don't have to count it. And, if at the end of the month I want to know how much I managed to...um...invest in Starbucks coffee, my card keeps a record and I can look it up. (Mostly I ignore that number, but it's nice to know it's there if I want it.)

What may be even more convenient is that I can autodraft my bills and such. For we, the forgetful, autodraft is on par with the invention of penicillin. It keeps my scattered self on time and avoids ugly late fees and the guilt of finding a three month old tithe check still tucked snugly in my wallet.

Sure, I see the value of actual money, particularly when parking by a meter or on the rare occasion a gumball craving hits. But, as handsome as those presidents are, I still think my debit card is prettier!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Me, God and the tissue vs. the spider and the centipede

If there is one thing I am not grateful for, it is bugs. Pretty much anything with more than four legs is on the bad list.

In the past, I have been known to screech and hop on something or duck--depending on whether or not the beast is winged--and wait while the nearest rescuer handles the situation. I had one notable confrontation with a cockroach paratrooper that tried to ambush me from above. He won the battle, but God and my roommate's shoe won the war.

Well, now I live all by myself. Or so I thought.

Three times in the past week, I have been ambushed in my apartment. A wasp has taken up residence in my kitchen cabinet. Fine. I'll buy my own box of crystal lite.

The other two times have caught me in a rather vulnerable position in the bathroom.

Which is why I'm grateful for bathroom tissue (Toilet paper just sounds declasse.) It is soft enough and thick enough that you don't have to get too close to an insect as you exterminate, and it muffles any tiny pleas for help. Then, you just dump it in the porcelain bowl, flush, and voila. It is as if a multi-legged invader never existed.

This is just one example of how God provides for us in the moment. Go with me here. If anyone else had been in the apartment, I would have delegated the distasteful task of extermination. But no one was. And, while I wouldn't fancy coming upon an insect anywhere, God timed the little nasties to cross my path when my trusty, two-ply weapon was at hand. What would have happened if, say, I'd found a creature...okay, this path is making my skin crawl, so I won't imagine all the less convenient places to find bugs, but you get the idea. I don't keep bathroom tissue anywhere but the bathroom, so I was ideally armed for battle.

And for the wasp, well, I'm still praying it dies soon, but how convenient that it would make its way into a cupboard before buzzing loud enough for me to hear. If it had buzzed before then, I wouldn't have thought to lure it into a confined space, I would have just waited outside with the doors open and a spray bottle of tile cleaner until it left. Seriously.

So, do I like bugs? No. I wish I didn't have to deal with them ever. But since bugs happen in life, I'm glad God is there with me when they do and that He gives me not just the spiritual fortitude to rise up and conquer, but the practical tools as well. David had his stones, I've got my tissue. God is on our side and we are more than conquerors!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

See through.

I drove through farmland today. The crops were short green things with reddish yellow tips, which I later found out is soy. Huh. Who knew.

Overhead a crop duster twirled like an old-time air show. It was quite pretty. Romantic even.

Or at least the dragonflies thought so. I lost count of the number of amorous bugs that were, ahem....distracted, and didn't see me and Dirk come cruising up. And every time a pair of insects became a stain, I was thankful for my windshield. You know, I look through it but never really at it. However, if it weren't there I'd sure as heck notice.

I think there are probably a lot of "windshields" in life. Maybe even some people who rarely get seen but would be sorely missed.

God, please help me see today. To look at blessings, not through them, and to show appreciation for the lives that touch mine in small and large ways. All my love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Water, (or here in the South, Waw-dur)

So in the process of getting to know my new town, I decided I should check out the recreational opportunities in the area. I live about 15 minutes from a state park now, which means I'm going to be a hiker. How could I not?
I talked my dad into going with me.Nevermind the 100 degree heat. Humidity? Bah. I wanted to see the sights!
We each hefted a water bottle roughly the size of my bathtub, chose the East Quarry Trail and set off. By the time we reached the top of a peak and could see a wide swath of river cutting through the variegated green hills, my shirt was the same shade of deep red as my new Arkansas Razorbacks t-shirt. Red is a much prettier color on a t-shirt than a face, but as long as the air, scalding thought it was, continued to flow in and out, I was satisfied.
The view was pretty even through the purple spots clouding my vision and flecks of sweat dotting my shades.
By the time we made it back (which seemed more uphill than it should have...) my water was down to a lukewarm dribble. Which made me more grateful for H2O than I have been in a very long time.
If not for that bottle I may very well still be sitting on a stump along the trail waiting for someone willing to throw me over their shoulder and haul me back. Nothing else sounded as good right then. Much as I love Diet Coke, it wouldn't have done. Milk? Ugh. That's just a nasty thought.
But water? Totally hit the spot.
Thank you, God, for water, for making the oceans and streams out of it instead of a less refreshing substance, and for the smart people who put it in really big bottles. All my love.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I am officially a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas. And I feel like I imagine a salmon would if pulled from the crystalline waters of the Hood River and relocated to a swimming pool. There is nothing wrong with a swimming pool, but it does take some adjustment when your favorite rock isn't there and the current that rippled steadily through your days has been replaced by the motionless slosh of water with nowhere to go.
If I sound freaked, I am.
Which is why I'm so thankful for Dirk, my trusty Impala (who just got named ten seconds ago). Dirk has got it going on in the back end. His trunk is enormous. Which means, along with a few breakables and enough clothing to hold me until the movers come, I have with me now an aromatherapy oil burner, my pitiful movie collection, and enough books to keep me company through the initial shock. I also have my pillow, of course, one lamp with which to enjoy said books, wine glasses--also to be used in conjunction with the books--more shoes than anyone could wear in two weeks' time, and a few coffee mugs (again with the books, and in the morning, and when I just want something of mine close by).
If Dirk were one of those scrawny little things that get full with a tennis ball...I shudder to think what my initial days in this strange new land would look like. I might very well find myself putting East to reclaim my safe familiar life.
But not me and Dirk. We're bold adventurers on the hunt for new opportunities with our coffee mugs.
Um, so I guess in a small and material way, Dirk reminds me of God. God never runs out of the goods and He is with me always, even in the foreign environs of greater Little Rock. He has room for all my baggage and then some. And he has everything, EVERYTHING, I need, not just a trunkful. So, thank you God, for Dirk, and for books, and for being with me each mile of the way. You know I need you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Free at last

Have you ever wished you had another hour in the day? Well, I got that.
The Bachelorette is officially over! Ali found love, and I have all this free time on Monday nights now to do whatever I please.
Now, one could argue that I didn't have to watch one woman's quest for love. But, that's like telling an alcoholic they don't need to drink. Sure, in theory you'd be correct. But, we addicts see the world from a thirty degree tilt, and that path around temptation isn't visible from where we stand.
So, I'm just so grateful that the temptation has been removed and my Mondays are once again liberated.
As Braveheart so applicably put it, "Freeeeeeeedooooooom!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

drum roll please...

Here it is! The Famed Boll Weevil statue.
And the official historical monument sign

Monday, August 2, 2010

Size Matters

I am in a town the size of my thumbnail. In South Alabama.
South. Alabama.
Until Wednesday.
The town of Enterprise does have one claim to fame. A statue of a woman draped in a Grecian robe, holding aloft...a boll weevil. And not just any boll weevil. This thing is the size of her regal head.
Apparently in 1919, the Mexican insect wandered North and found itself in weevil heaven. In about three years it decimated the cotton crop, then smacked its lips and asked for more.
So, the farmers scratched their heads, hung their hands on their suspenders, threw in the cotton towel, and said, "Let's do peanuts."
Bam. Turns out peanuts were the economic giant of their time. The proverbial facebook of the early twentieth century agricultural world.
So, the farmers erected a monument to thank the bug that invaded their town and ate their world.
I love that.
I love the hopefulness it took to take a situation where their livelihood was literally devoured by the enemy, and not give up, or get mad. But to look higher.
I love that instead of bitterness, there was an admittedly strange and mildly disturbing display of gratitude, even for the ugly in life. Because the ugly was necessary to make room for growth. It was like the deep South's version of Job.
Thank you, God, for always making a way. Thank you that even when I face the ragged remnants of my cottony life, you have peanuts in mind. Give me the faith to seek your bigger and better way when destruction comes. Give me the hope to see beyond a lost moment to immense, faithful You. Give me the courage to let go when I need to of what I have always known, and plant a new crop.
And thank you that boll weevils aren't as big as my head in real life. Amen.