Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Size Matters

My mom called and I was telling her about my intruder. Well, intruders. I hate it when you come home and find some miscreant scampering through your apartment, hundreds of legs flying wildly while he darts across your wall.
I'm happy to report that there are two less miscreants in the world now, replaced by a few smudgy flip-flop marks on my wall. You're welcome, world.
My mom misunderstood and thought I'd killed these nasty beasties with my car--not that I was behind the wheel while we had this conversation or anything...ahem. But, while they were enormous and intimidating, they weren't quite large enough that I could have seen, aimed for, and obliterated them with Dirk the Blue Impala.
Just the thought of a centipede that big makes me shiver. I saw some in Thailand that were huge. I mean, huge. Their feet were bigger than mine. One asked me for directions. (Just kidding! It asked Mae. I don't speak Thai.)
So maybe I exaggerate a tad, but they were easily five or six inches. Few sights I've beheld were quite as appalling.
Which makes me so grateful that, even when I do get unwelcome guests darting through my space, they're not big enough to hit back.
Thank you, Jesus, that there are not too many bugs in my space. Please kill any who cross the threshold. Thank you for the bug man who comes to spray, and for the courage to karate-shoe the intruders who make it past the chemical barriers he erects.
And thank you that you are bigger and stronger than even Thai centipedes. All my love.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lisa Wingate is my friend!

I went to a conference this weekend in North Carolina. I didn't know anyone when I arrived, which I was fine with.
Until I got there.
Have you ever felt like you've walked into a sorority (or, I guess, fraternity...) function where you're the only one who hasn't pledged? And all the other girls are wearing chic cocktail dresses and engraved necklaces, and you're wearing your undies? And not even cute ones, but plain cotton granny panties (or, I guess, granny tighty whities...)?
Well, that was me on Friday afternoon, cowering in my rented baby blue Hyundai-turned-roasting-oven. I called my Pops and left a message asking for urgent prayers that I'd find a modicum of courage, and a friend. Pops called back and told me he was praying, so I pried my sweaty bum from the seat, hit the manual lock on the door, and trudged inside.
And who should I run into right away, but Lisa Wingate? Not only is she one of my top-shelf authors, but she also was a friendly face. Two years ago I met Lisa at a conference in an elevator and we were both on our way to a dinner where we didn't know anyone. So we sat together! She's sweet as pie and then some. And last year at a conference she sat at my table the first night. So, it just felt like a total God-gift, saying, "I got your back, kiddo. Here's a cool friend."
Plus, another girl at our table was just precious and she and I just connected.
And from there, the weekend wasn't just uphill, it was up-mountain! It turns out it wasn't a sorority function at all, it was more like the first day of college, when everyone wants to make new buddies and include you. I met dear hearts I will stay close to, learned some key skills, and laughed like a schizo who ran out of meds.
I knew it would be a "good" weekend, but I didn't expect to be knocked on my bum by the experience.
Jesus, you are so dear to me. Thank you for reaching into me this weekend. Thank you for Lisa, with her mad skills and her sweet smile. And thank you for all the other friends of my heart you blessed me with, for the chance to bask in your presence with six hundred-fifty of your daughters. You are so generous, so good, and I'm madly in love with you. All my love.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Synthetic Wonderfulness

I have six copies of the same shirt. Well, not exactly the same, they're in different colors. But I got them all from the GAP for $6. And if that weren't reason enough to stock up, they're made of rayon.
I might name my firstborn Rayon. The stuff is like comfort and freedom and joy all stitched together to form a festive, eye-catching shirt. I love how soft and light it is. It doesn't force its presence on you, in fact, you barely feel it unless you want to. But oh, you want to. And it hangs gentle over your shoulders--it isn't stiff and unbending, trying to impose its form. No, it takes the form on which its placed and smooths it, makes it more graceful.
And, it can be washed at home. Low maintenance! I buy $6 shirts, so you can imagine how painful it is to re-buy an outfit every time you get it dry-cleaned.
So, here's to rayon. May we all take a lesson from the queen of fabrics.
Thank you, God, for synthetics and the scientists who fashion them, for brilliant colors--like scarlet, peacock green, amethyst, peach, cobalt, and onyx--and for the little things in life that serve as reminders of the big things and magnify my appreciation for them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Directionally Challenged

I am going to North Carolina this weekend for a conference. Woot-woot! My friend Sarah is kind of enough to leave me the key to her house so I can save a few hundred bucks on a hotel room, which is AWESOME. But it means that I'll be finding my way between her house in Charlotte and the Embassy Suites late at night and early in the morning. And it means I'll have to find my way to the Starbucks in the dark.
Which makes me so grateful for Googlemaps. I have a neat stack of papers now with explicit directions to get me from point A to B to C to D and the odds of me getting lost drop from 72% to a mere 3%--even Googlemaps gets confused every once in a while.
I love being able to look down the list and know I've got seventeen miles, or only two blocks before I have to turn or exit. Whereas with one of those newfangled GPS things, I'd have to wait for the snooty lady to tell me when my turn was approaching. And what about when she's wrong and tells you to turn left into a cement wall? Or she doesn't want to let you stop for a coffee and yells "U-turn, U-turn" while you're trying to tell some poor barista you want a tall light-roast?
Yes. I have control issues.
And on occasion those bleed into my relationship with God. Sometimes I think it would be fabulous if God would give me a Googlemap instead of turn-by-turn directions. I want to know where we're going specifically, how many miles it is, and how long it will be. But instead, he says, "In half a mile, turn right."
But when I set aside my control issues, or at least peer over the top of them, I don't really want that. I mean, I have a hard enough time living in the moment as it is. How many really cool views would I miss if I were so fixated on the end? The not knowing makes life a beautiful adventure instead of a trek.
And what if the map led over Mount Saint Helen? Looking at it from here in Little Rock, I'd be sorely tempted to give up and sprawl on my dirty floor for the next eighty years. But instead, if there is a mountain in my path, God will use the journey between here and the base to prepare me, strengthen me, and provide what I'll need to climb the summit. And boy, what a view I'd have missed.
Or, what if my journey ended in like two miles? I think I'd rather not know...
So, while I'm incredibly glad for the stack of complete directions I have leading to and from the Charlotte airport, I'm grateful that God maps our lives GPS-style. And I'm glad God's voice doesn't sound like an uppity woman.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Call From...

I skyped tonight with two friends, one on each coast, to brainstorm a plot line.
We started with a notion, and as we talked it grew into a tendril, then branched into a dozen directions. Some of them blossomed, some shriveled, but they were each unique and fresh and the farther we went, the more brightly the colorful story shone.
I can't wait to read the story when it's written!
It reminded me of that verse in Proverbs...just a sec while I Biblegateway it... ah, yes. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." The root idea was a good one on its own, but as we explored it from three angles, we honed it.
I can't wait 'til we brainstorm my next plot. I have an idea, but right now it's kind of a blob. I can work on it, manipulate it, and probably come up with something good. But when my girls get a hold of it, hooey, look out. There's going to be a razor sharp edge!
Thank you, God, for the creative process, and how you've made art something best when shared. Thank you for my homegirls, and their brilliance and that even writing, which is a mostly solitary activity, you've built an avenue for community. Thank you for skype, too. All my love.