Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shut out

Anybody who lives on a ground floor--which includes all homeowners and roughly 1/3 of apartment dwellers (including yours truly)--knows the quandary of wanting views and natural light vs. wanting a modicum of privacy. If you live dead-center of a ten-acre forested plot, you're probably okay, but then you also might be the unibomber... The rest of us, however, manage this with the flick of a little thing called the mini-blind. Genius invention. Enjoy the view (and avoid darting around in your skivvies) while the daylight burns, then with the twist of a translucent rod, you can block the darkness and any roving eyes from your abode. Stretch. Yawn. Dance. Scratch....whatever floats your boat. And no one knows. Okay, people who live with you know, but then they're probably not disturbed such displays if they've agreed to share your space. All thanks to the mini-blind. It is not the first time I've said this, but I say it sincerely. Thank you, Jesus, for mini-blinds, for privacy. For good stretches, big yawns, and killer dancin' tunes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Whole Hog

I had a work meeting today at The Whole Hog. Darn. Good. Barbecue. None of the fatty bits or gristle that you find so often these days. And since it was for work, it was free! Today, I'm thankful for free shredded pork, and six kinds of sauce.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Reader's Block

It's no secret that I like to write stories. Lately, in various groups I'm involved in, I've been asked to share my story.

MY story. When people say this, they mean, "tell us who you are and where you've come from." And when the others in the groups do this, that is exactly what happens. I've gotten to know some beautiful souls, seen the blessing God poured on them through or in spite of their history. So in two weeks when I do this again, it should be pretty straightforward.

But here's the catch. I keep wanting to know my plot. I skim back through the pages of life I've lead and I try to fit it into a story structure:
Inciting incident - um, birth.
Goal/Noble Quest - to honor God. To be His, and all that entails. (Okay, and if I'm honest to achieve my success du jour.)
Motivation - because it's right. Because it makes me happiest, because I love him.

Though any good plot plan goes on from there, I get stuck at Noble quest. Because for a novel, that is a lame one. I mean, it's valid, but it's not specific enough. It doesn't ignite a passion in the reader to see this character succeed.

Okay, well, maybe I can back into it. See the obstacles the character faces and deduce what path they're on through the experiences. Uh... I mean, the obstacles are definitely there on a variety of levels, both internal and external. But they don't run in a clearly outlined pattern. They don't point to the achievement of a single end. I can't always see the point.

I guess it's good that I have two weeks to figure out how to piece the first twenty-eight years of my life together into a succinct story format that will comprise volume one of a three part series (fingers crossed!) that is titled--oh, so creatively-- Kimberly and God Take a Walk. Or I have two weeks to get over this weird hang up and just tell people how many siblings I grew up with in Washington.

Either way, what strikes peace amidst the writhing swirls of confusion in my heart is that I'm not the author. I get to be the character. So, I don't need to see the ending. In fact if I could, that would be a pretty sorry story. Can you say cliche? No, pressure's off me to understand this set of obstacles and where they're taking me. And, too, it's pretty cool to be a main character. It means God's going to make stuff happen. It means I am going somewhere, because the author of all Creative thought does not write drivel. Thank you, Writer, Living Word, for this life and for spending it with me. All my love.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I just killed a fruit fly! Haha!
If you're response is, "so what?" you've obviously never been plagued by a solitary, seemingly invincible little beast. It's like they can sense intentions. So every time I come close with a towel or napkin or shoe, they wait till the last conceivable moment and then ride the draft--created by a descending instrument of death--out of harms way.
How can a mindless little bug outwit me? It's just insulting.
But I've won.
Want to know how? Windex! Turns out they can't sense the intent to spray, just the intent to squash. So, he never saw the blue poisonous droplets until they'd latched onto his wings and giant eyeballs. And the trespasser breathes no more.
Praise Jesus for Windex. Really, for all sprayable cleaning chemicals.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Early Morning Wake Up Call

It's spring! The trees are woolly with pale pink blossoms and the sun warmed breeze sweeps the hills.
And, the birds sing in the morning. Well, it's actually more of a chirping. Cawing? Cooing?
Whatever it is, it's sweet enough when you're awake. Not so much when it starts before the alarm goes off. If you don't plan on rising before the sun, you're out of luck.
Which is why I'm grateful for Daylight Savings.
I'll admit, I didn't pop out of bed after one hour less sleep with laughter and dancing. But, over the past few weeks I've adjusted. And now that the birds are back from the South all twitterpated at daybreak, I'm really glad daybreak comes an hour later.
So, cheers to daylight savings and spring, and yes, even the birds.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The first leather skirt

I began reading in Genesis because it's been a while and frankly, I love that book. So much intrigue. The story of the fall makes me wistful. And it makes me wonder what the fruit tasted like.
Sidebar: Poor apples have been besmirched long and hard for being the forbidden fruit, but I just don't buy it. First off, I highly doubt God replicated his sacred tree of knowledge and let it grow around the globe. But, if he did, I think it would have been something racier, like a starfruit. Or passionfruit, maybe.
Anywho, I was reading about how Eve ate and gave it to Adam and they realized they were naked. Like everyone's worst dream, only it was real. And then they heard God coming and hid.
Here's the two cool things. I heard a pastor talking about this and how God said they would die if they ate, yet they didn't. He said, contrary to what my Sunday School teacher illustrated on the felt board, it wasn't just a spiritual death he meant. It was literal. That the sin was not in just the eating, it came first, in the losing trust in God. The doubting his goodness. And then, when they did eat, God committed his first act of mercy, by sparing their lives.
Huh. Pretty cool, that before He even talked it over with them, before they even asked, God shed mercy on men.
Second, I always imagined the conversation that followed as if God were Perry Mason. He got Adam and Eve on the witness stand, and with his hands clasped behind his back as he paced to and fro, duped them into admitting crucial evidence of their own guilt. Then he'd point his finger, and since he's judge as well as prosecutor, banged a gavel and they broke down.
But reading it this time, I don't think that's how it went. I think he was heartbroken.
"What is this you have done?" I can hear the pain in his voice. The desire to disbelieve what is known to be true. A betrayal so shattering it would be easier not to face it. Something irrevocable had occurred that changed everything. Forever.
And even in the punishments, you can see how he's showing them what sin costs. Eve must face pain for her children, a reflection of what she'd cost her Lord. And how rich God's free and lavish provision in the garden must have become as Adam worked the uncooperative earth. These weren't punishments of estrangement, but to reveal the Father's heart.
And then, before he sent them away, he covered them. Beyond the obvious and heart-wrenching symbolism of death to cover their nakedness, there's the image of a brokenhearted Lord who will not send his children out unprotected. He sews them leather clothes. He slaughters, cleans, and stitches for each a custom garment. It would probably have been easier if he'd just spoken and made them hairy like animals, but I'm sooo glad he didn't. I don't enjoy shaving my legs now.
I guess what I was struck by was that immediately following the first betrayal, I'd always imagined God mad. But I am not convinced that was how it went anymore. He is, after all, love. And instead of anger over a broken rule, I think he wept over a broken commitment. And then immediately set about drawing his people back.
Thank you, Lord, for being that kind of God. You could have smote them. I mean, you made them. But you didn't. You cared for them. Covered their shame. Both then and then with Jesus forever. Though we fail you, you never fail. That is a huge thought and I love you the more for it. Thank you for revealing in these ancient words your very self.
And thank you for apples.

Monday, March 21, 2011


What's the best thing to do between 11 pm and 6 am?
Not that, gutterheads.
I meant sleep.
Which I'm painfully aware of since, due to a periodic lapse in common sense, I drank coffee way too late and lay in bed pretending to sleep for most of the night. I probably racked up a grand total of three hours, if I round up. When the alarm went off at 6:00, and 6:10, and 6:30, I berated my own lack of judgment.
I think we all do this sometimes. I'd like to think I'm not the only sleepy dolt.
So, as it's Monday, AND I was tired, AND I had a ton of paperwork to do, it should have been a rough day. I wouldn't have been surprised to wake up midafternoon with my chin drool-glued to the N key.
So I prayed.
After all, God is our strength, right? I mean, he says he is, but in my rather comfortable life, I don't often face anything beyond my own marginal abilities. But today just was.
And what did God do? He totally came through! The workday passed with nary a drop of drool, the reports (okay, half the reports) got written, the gym kicked my butt and still I ran, and now I've gotten a number of thing clicked off my checklist.
On a day that I was inclined to write off, by God's grace and strength, I've achieved more than I would on a normal, well-rested Monday.
So, God, I know this is a very puny example when it comes to the scope of your Might, but thanks just the same. It sure made a difference. And I love that you care about little things like my workday.
And also, thanks for melatonin, which I now have stocked in my cupboard.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I am thankful that I accidentally wore green today, even though I totally forgot it was a holiday. And that after I'd changed from work clothes to Mexican-with-the-girls clothes that did not include green in any form, that nobody pinched me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I went to a small Arkansas town today. When I finished my business survey, there was a truck parked next to me with a bullet hole in it.
I'm thankful Dirk the Impala hasn't been shot.

Peter Cottontail

Yesterday I met some girlfriends to go to a ladies' thing at church. The church wouldn't let them call it Happy Hour and no alcohol was involved, but still, there were tulips by the door and that escalating hum of conversation you get any time there are a lot of women in an enclosed space. So, I'm thinking, "yeah, a little sugar, song, some girly laughter, some Jesus amidst His posse. Sweet."
Um, I was wrong.
A wonderful woman came and shared her heart-breaking story and then the way she's fighting evil in the world as a result of Jesus redeeming her. It was a powerful story, but it absolutely shredded me and most of the audience.
So, I drove home doing that cry that makes your throat ache, and was like, "God, a little help, here." I needed a hand out of that dark place.
I parked Dirk the Blue Impala in my parking place, which was surprisingly still open. I tried to let that be enough. But still I was slumping.
Then I got out and started to walk to my apt. and something darted across my vision. A bunny rabbit.
I've never seen a bunny rabbit here before! It was gray with a white tail and it just chilled there on the lawn while I cooed at it in the universal look-at-that-cute-baby/animal/baby animal voice. Then it hopped off.
A bunny. A small blessing that darted directly into my path.
And yet more than that. A reminder of Easter. When Jesus, Lord of Heaven, came to earth and died, AND THEN ROSE again. He won. Good wins. It is more fragile than evil, perhaps, but it is pervasive, and it wins.
Thank you, Jesus, for bunnies, and parking spots, and most of all for not just dying on my cross, but rising again and winning. And thank you that you can defeat any darkness in the world. All my love.

Monday, March 14, 2011


So, I hung out with some super fun 8th graders this weekend and learned more than I thought possible about Justin Bieber. I've heard the kid sing and yeah, he's got some serious talent. But it's more than that.
Music has a way of wending past our defenses, past logic, past the facade of who we think we are and what we think we want, and caressing our souls. It touches us in a way that words cannot. And as a certified lover of words, that's a powerful thought.
I love that it comes in a crazy variety.
I love how an old song, when heard afresh, is like rediscovering a favorite sweater, or the scent of warm cinnamon on a cold day. It awakens not mere memories, but the full depth of emotion attached to those. It can comfort like a favorite sweater, only it never gets holes.
I've written on this before, I think, but I was moved again today, when I heard a song that stirred in my core something I can't express. But I don't really need to, do I? We all have those pieces that wrap around the essence of who we are and shine.
Thank you, Lord, for music. What a genius creation! Amen.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

new message

I'm a product of the modern era. I like microwave things. I like DVR so I can fast forward through commercials. I like green lights.
And I love it when a group of your favorite people is online at the same time you are able to email back and forth in real time! It's like chatting for real...okay, not quite but still super fun!
So, thank you, Jesus, Lord of time and all things, and for my friends and that we're all online at the same time cracking up across the country!
All my love.

Monday, March 7, 2011

For the Taking

Do you ever get to a place where life is good. God is good. His blessings fall easily, like late Autumn apples, sweet and effortless.
And I enjoy them and glory in Him, and are humbled by the knowledge that I no more earned the ripe blessings than made that tree bloom.
And then it happens.
I start to try to earn it. Try to give back to God. It starts sincerely and rightly as an effort to bless Him. And slowly it degrades, like that same apple left untended on the orchard floor. Instead of an act of pure joy, it becomes something owed. The sheer bounty of his blessing becomes fearsome. After all, I have not deserved this. Not earned it. Done nothing but receive.
That can't be enough.
I have to give. Have to be. Have to abstain. Have to somehow deserve. It's simply not fair, otherwise.
And instead of smiling in the sunshine and letting sweetness fill my mouth and dribble down my throat and down my chin, I start working. Hauling water, when the tree grew well enough with the rain. Reaching for fruit that has yet to fall so I might hand it out to others, though it's time and perhaps theirs has not come.
And as I stretch for a fruit, as I strain the muscles in my side, as sweat rolls down my temples, and my toes bite the earth, the sun fills my eyes, dominating my sight.
And so does the truth.
And the breath of a breeze caresses all of me, bearing a Voice, low and rich and sweet. "My dearest, stop striving. Sit in the shade of the tree I've made and eat the fruit I've gifted you."
"But...I can't. It'd be too dangerous. I, just me, am not enough. And I'm afraid you'll realize that. What if you see me taking, resting, and you realize I have done nothing to earn this?"
A beam of sun wraps like a blanket around me, warm, gentle, and undeniable. "I did not give this to you because you earned it, Beloved. I gave it because I love you and I want you to have it. The truth is, I love to see you bask in the shade. I love the little noise you make when you slurp the sweet juice. I love the way you wipe your chin on your wrist when you think no one is watching. I just love you."
"But what if tomorrow that changes? I have to be fruitful. Indispensable. It's true in any organization. You have to create value to have value. I want to matter. To know that you'll love me always, because of what I can do for you."
"My dearest, I'm so mad for you that nothing you do can grow that. This love is too big to grow. And until you see that, I will not give you any tasks, ask for any help. Just sit in the shade I've given you, while I've given it to you, and enjoy what comes your way."
"So it won't always be this way? I'll get to be productive again?"
"Of course. But even then, the work we do will be greatest when you do it with me and not for me. Not a debt, not a bribe, just a partnership. Two twined spirits, walking through this land together."
"Oh. Are you sure?"
"I Am."
Dearest Jesus, my precious Lord, you possess my heart, my life, my all. I will revel in the gifts you've given today. And I'll rest in you. And when the day comes that you ask much of me, I will not walk without you. Not give to earn you. I will, by your grace and your spirit, walk with you.
All my love.