Thursday, October 27, 2011

Merry Fall

You know how one day you wake up and realize fall is here? Today was that day.  I spotted a cluster of trees wearing the festive red and gold of the season, and behind the drizzle, the air held that unique depth, that crispness you can feel clear to you lungs. It's like breathing air that was just born.
Unfortunately I was running late so I didn't have time to fully celebrate the change of season, but it turned out okay, because for lunch I had (drumrolll.....) soup! Potato soup, no less.  Does it get any more fall than potato soup? It was like the welcoming ceremony for a new season. 
Now, my favorite season of all is Christmas season, but since fall is neighbors with Christmas season, it's pretty nice too. Nothing beats tugging on hat and winding a scarf around your neck, a travel mug in one gloved hand. Except maybe a glass of red in front of a starter log fire while buried under a down blanket with a fresh novel.
And, soup.
So, today I'm grateful for fall.  Thank you, Jesus, that you made this lovely earth, and that you made seasons. Thank you for the example of frail leaves, an image of what it means to have a temporary life that gets prettier through all it's stages. Thank you for the way you make air taste so good this time of year, for the sensation of being cozy, and of course, for soup.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tara and the Victor's Auto Body crew

I was driving along in Fort Smith yesterday. The fog was thicker than peanut butter. The road was twisty, and the part of town...well there was nary a picket fence in view. All of a sudden, a tall, vicious curb jumped out in front of me and took a huge bite out of my wheel.  That's right, not tire, wheel. We hit HARD.
I will admit, I was freaked. This hadn't happened before. Exclamation points chased single, incoherent words across my brain. I jumped from the running car and ran around the front and stared at the carnage. Dirk's poor defenseless front right wheel had been torn from its hinges by that horrid curb.
I'm pretty sure my eyes were as big as his three remaining good tires and I probably looked pretty scary--the kind of person you see and decide maybe you want to cross the street and walk on the other side.
But nobody did. In fact, a lady named Tara crossed the street to come and check on me. A whole group of men working at the nearby body shop ran over and helped me try and push it out of the road, then hovered in respect for the tragedy when we realized Dirk the Blue Impala was too hurt to even limp to safety.
He is a fleet car, so I was able to call emergency roadside and release my sympathetic mourners from the vigil.
They double-checked that I was okay, then made their way off.
And still, people stopped to check on me. Yes, there was the requisite gawkers, who drove past slowly, eyes wide, glad it wasn't them. But a lot of people stopped to check on me, offered to help, verified that I had someone on the way. More than one even offered a tow (people drive big trucks, so this is feasible.)
Tara, one of the original mourners, stayed with me quite some time. She told me just to pray. And then she told me my car was in really bad shape.
But the first part was so great. Of course. Pray. Why hadn't I thought of that? So as I paced tight circles, called people, and stared at Dirk's ugly wound, I prayed.
And of all of those activities it was the only one that helped.
I think some time around 10 this morning I finally evened out. Dirk will be fine. I'm pretty sure he'll forgive me some day. And I wasn't hurt. There's a warrant out for the arrest of that awful curb...okay, so there's not, but vengeance is the Lord's and all.
In the end, I was so grateful for the kind souls who stopped to check on a bewildered lady in sensible shoes pacing along a sketchy road. It was balm to my wound up soul to realize that while I was by myself, I was not alone. And especially when Tara, my sister in Christ, reminded me that not only did I have the friendly Fort Smithians nearby, I had my Lord as well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Four thousand years

I sometimes go to Oklahoma for work, which is awesome.
Yes, you read that correctly.
While I do think the state gets a bad rap, the reason I enjoy visiting has nothing to do with the tornado-swept plains, and everything to do with my family members who live there, including my favorite grandparents.
My grandpa gives me Starbucks mugs and my grandma gives me flattery. I'm not sure which is more appreciated.
This morning before I left, Grandma invited me to join them for the Association of Retired Ministers and Missionaries breakfast. I envisioned myself joining a line of octogenarians waiting for their scoop of bulk prepared egg product. I can't say I was particularly looking forward to it, but I said sure, because I know she enjoys the chance to show off her family.
Well, we arrived a tad late and joined a line of octogenarians waiting for eggs.  But, there was also fruit, smoked bacon, and the eggs were crazy good. Huh. But that wasn't the coolest part.
I made a little small talk with the table, and they were all super nice. But that wasn't the coolest part, either.
Then, the master of ceremonies got up and thanked the musical guest and the breakfast sponsor, and said, "There are over four thousand years of service represented in this room."
I almost choked on my eggs. Four thousand years. That's a lot of service. I mean, Jesus only ascended two thousand years ago, so that room could get us to His birth and back.
Wow.  That was pretty cool.
But the best part of all was when, after we'd eaten and the prayer concerns had been read aloud, and a missionary woman in her seventies had read from the word, when a guy named Carl quietly got to his feet and shuffled to the lectern. We all stood too, then quiet Carl opened his mouth and cried out to Heaven.  Around me, voices echoed His praises and requests. Passion for the Most High was stirred, and God was glorified, and His presence, so abundantly present in those hearts, flooded the place. 
I realized as I felt the touch of God on my heart more fervently than I have in a while, that I was blessed to be standing among God's elite. His A-team. These are the varsity players, with years and years of hardcore experience and training and winning. These are the inner circle. People who've got over fifty years of knowing my God and serving with Him. And I got to join in as they talked to Him. I got to raise my voice in the Lord's Prayer with them. I got to add my droplet of passion and experience to their river of love, and experience the deluge of the Lord's response.
That, my friends, was the coolest part.
I admit that the past week and a half has been a bit of a personal drought. And this morning, it rained.
One of the most beautiful parts was that for these faithful servants, this was just another Wednesday morning.
My Jesus, I love you. I love your goodness and grace and faithfulness. Thank you for the chance to see you reflected in the lovely hearts of these, your Dear Ones. May I grow as close to you.  All my meager love.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Buckley and Jellybean

Meet Buckley (left) and Jellybean (right). These are my two new kitties.  I meant to get one (Jellybean, but I'll deny it if Buckley ever asks), but they'd been attacked by dogs and Buckley lost three toes. How do you say no to a kitten who lost three toes in a dog attack?
Plus, I don't travel a ton, but when I do it will be nice for the brothers to be together so they don't get lonely.
How I happened to come into ownership of two cats is a twisty tale but it includes a thought of "someday..." on my part, a story of evil dogs and defenseless kittens on the part of my friend, and the sheer adorableness of Buckley and Jellybean themselves.
All things considered, I'm thrilled to bits.  And thankful. For a God who made domesticatable animals, for the fact that animals start out small and thus infinitely cute no matter how many toes, and for friends who will be loving to them when I'm out of town so I don't have to feel like a bad pet owner.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dirk gets fresh

Recently when I arrived at the office, Dirk the Blue Impala was pulling in next to a red Tacoma. Dirk took a liking to it and thought he'd give it a little, um, kiss.
On the wheel well. 
Unfortunately, his attentions were not well received and both vehicles lost a little paint in the ensuing scuffle.
Since Dirk was at fault, we had to make right with the red Tacoma. And Dirk himself spend a week healing at a body shop.
Aside from the fact that I got to spend a week in the pleasurable company of Charlie the Charger, a fringe benefit to Dirk's little encounter was that, for the what may be the first time this calendar year, Dirk got a bath.
That's right. The body shop got a dusty, scraped up Impala, and sent home a sparkling, scrape-free Impala. I'd forgotten that his paint sparkles when its clean.
So, while I'm not pleased that Dirk was in a curfuffle, it's ended up quite nicely.
It's kind of like how God takes the ugly in our lives, and when we surrender that to Him, He can bring about blessings that wouldn't have otherwise bloomed.  Would it have been better for us to avoid sins? Of course! But one of the coolest things about God is that He can take fundamentally wrong things and even through them bring about His glory and our good. It's not natural. It's supernatural.
Thank you, God, for how you take the ugly and draw from it beautiful. Thank you for Dirk and that he's well and clean, and for Charlie and the lovely week we spent cruising the Arkansan countryside.
All my love.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Friends for rent

For a storylover like me, books are like friends, stuffed chock full of good memories and an intense emotional connection. So, its really hard for me to be content to borrow books.  I want to dog-ear the pages, read in bed, and then tuck them in a shelf where I can see them when I pass and remember, "Oh, yeah. Those were good times."
But, for a storylover like me, the whole thing can get a little pricey, Amazon notwithstanding.  Especially when I'm hitting a road trip and need a book on CD.
Enter public library.
So much fun!  I love free things, especially when there's lost of choices. And since CDs don't dog-ear very well and those plastic cases rarely evoke the same nostalgia as a paper book, I don't feel like I'm missing out. It's like when you go to dinner with a friend and their friend  from college who is visiting for the weekend. You enjoy them and have a good chat, and then you say goodbye and that's that.
So, today I'm grateful for the library and the book on CD I'll be listening to on my way to Hope tomorrow. And for real live friends too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Peanut take a leap

My name is Kimberly. Not Kim, Kimberly.  Most people I know get this and don't abbreviate. And if someone slips up, I don't go all Irish-temper on them, I just suck it up.  Even if a little part of me dies. Ahem.
But there is one person who always mispronounces my name and I LOVE it.  It must be noted she doesn't call me Kim, and though I haven't asked her to spell it, I would think if she did it would be something like Kemerlee.  But when my niece comes flying at the door because she saw me through the window shouting, "Kemerlee!  Kemerlee!" at the top of her tiny lungs, well, I'm ready to officially change my name.
This is Peanut during my recent visit when we watched Angelina Ballerina and then she performed a highly technical solo involving much twirling and soccer-kicks (new to the dance world, they look like they sound).

In a world where performance is rewarded, and rightly so, it's nice to have someone in your life who doesn't care if you're hair looks nice, if you are the smartest cookie in the whole Oreo box, if your love for coffee might have toed across the line toward an addiction....she just comes tearing across the living room and hurls herself into your arms because she wants to be close to you. And if it were possible to love her any more, in that moment you would just explode with all the warm sweet affection in the world.
Those moments always make me wonder at how vast is God's love for us. I mean, its hard for me to comprehend a love more vibrant than I have for Peanut, and she's my niece, not even my own offspring, and I'm most definitely not perfect.  So that means God's love for me, His baby girl, must be even more thick and bright than my love for her.  Kind of makes me want to tear across the room, arms extended and launch myself at Him.
Thank you, Jesus, for your perfect love, and that although I will never fully comprehend it's vastness, you give me new and fresh glimpses of it and of You, in the sunset, in a song, and in the precious weight of Peanut in my arms. And thank you for spell check since I am incapable of spelling niece right.  All my love!