A Sweet Aroma

As I planted my freshly purchased annuals I wondered which flower was giving off such a sweet aroma.

I sniffed each one just before I dropped them into their new mud homes, but I never found that lovely spring messenger.

My work finally done, my grass-stained knees creaking, I gathered my shovels and wandered over to a bed I had not tended. I wanted to at least peak at it, my project for another day.

Tucked in among the Hostas, that plant that can overpower a garden, were some tenacious Lillies of the Valley.

Sweetly peeking out from among the Hostas, they stood unassuming and small, but sent out a fragrance as a message of their presence.

I want to have a fragrance not my own that sends out a message of hope and peace, even if I am nestled in among giants who have none.

Giants who can overwhelm. Like the lilies I want to be unassuming and make no excuse except that the hope is not my doing, and that anyone can have that same hope.

I pushed the Hosta leaves aside, cupped the little flowers in my hands and breathed in deeply, in no rush to leave them.

Yes. I want to be like them: with a fragrance of hope that draws people closer and makes them want to tarry.

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Solo Recital

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It’s a horrible picture, I know, but I have a reason.

On a recent walk I heard a bird singing with abandon and I spotted him in a high branch. He sang and sang and appeared to be looking at me. Slowing down and moving closer, I was careful not to make a sound.

I aimed my camera and tried to find him in the stinking lens. He kept singing. The moment was just for him and me. Me at one with nature. Me, a bird whisperer. His concert was for me alone as he patiently waited for me to goof clumsily with the phone to get the shot. Lovely and tranquil.

“DID YOU GET A SHOT OF HIM,” a dog walker asked as she stood next to me. Where she came from I do not know, but I startled, nearly dropped my phone, and I am pretty sure the bird fell out of the tree from the shock of the human, booming voice.

“WHY ARE THE MALES THE BEAUTIFUL ONES,” she thought aloud loudly, then moved on.

The moment was over. The concert unceremoniously ended without an encore.

I usually look for a lesson in these moments, but the best I can come up with is to always be aware of your surroundings, because if she had been a mugger I would have been minus a phone with a lousy lens.

Still I am grateful to that little honey of a bird for his performance for me and it makes me wonder what other treasures I miss in my day because I am moving too fast to notice. There might be concerts all around. I might try to be more attentive for them tomorrow.

Love that is not Reckless

When I think of God’s overwhelming, never ending love I can’t add the adjective ‘reckless.‘

I just can’t.

Have you ever been in a car when the driver was driving recklessly? I have. There was no love motivating that thoughtless endangerment of lives.

Is God, as reckless is defined, without thinking or caring about the consequences?

Never.

He is always thinking, ALWAYS caring about circumstances.

Did He sing over me before I spoke a word?

Did He breath life into me?

Does He chase me, fight for me, pay the cost for me?

Yes

Is there a wall He won’t scale, a mountain He won’t climb? A debt He won’t pay?

No

God cares and watches and thinks and counts the cost of His Son’s sacrifice.

Does that sound reckless?

The verse of a very presently popular song tells me He is reckless. Although it fits well into the cadence of the song, I can’t utter the words, but these I can:

Oh the Overwhelming, sacrificial, endless love of God.

The thoughtful sacrifice of Jesus is redemptive, not a reckless one.

One word change and I can get behind it. Reckless? Not God

Oh You Lovely Stalwart Stem!

Summer heat stifled you
But in these warm-waning days

You still reach to the sunny-less sky
To bloom

In the growing dark

Smaller than your summer show
Yet more delightful to see
In a winter-soon garden bed

Oh to be like you
Reaching up
Beyond the Sonless world
Reaching ever toward Him

To bloom
Even in the thickening dark
Even as the world grows ever more

Wearying-cold

Blooming

Because of Him
Seeking, trusting, and blooming
In a winter-swept and Sonless world.

Sanity is Slipping Away

A friend of mine with several young ones under 5 years of age shared with me her desperate need for sleep.

I understand this, I really do. I understood first hand, as a mother of a newborn, why sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture. If I had been entrusted with the combination to the lock to a nuclear bomb silo, I am certain I would have called a communist leader and offered it to him, if only he could have arranged for a sleep long enough for REM sleep to kick in.

I recall how hard it was to make a simple decision. Baby is sleeping.

  • Should I shower?
  • Nap?
  • Make out a grocery list
    • Should I use crayon or pen to make out the list?
  • Should I call my husband and ask him to pick up dinner on the way home?
  • Should I tell him to get pizza or Chinese take out?
  • Should I call and ask him to help me make this decision even though earlier I called to ask to ask him what I should eat for breakfast? Or was that yesterday?
  • Is that the phone ringing or is the that the microwave baby awake and crying?
  • What am I doing wrong?

Oh, I can answer that one…..nothing. I am doing nothing wrong.

That little body in the crib has been carried in a safe, warm, wet, dark place for months, and now is adjusting to life outside the womb.

So be ok with letting the laundry pile up and the groceries sitting on the floor until tomorrow, as long as you toss the perishables into the fridge-grocery bag and all.

Love your hair in a messy bun day after day.

Turn off the phone, catch a drooling nap on the couch, and whatever else you do, do not make major decisions when you are sleep deprived. Those will wait.

Best of all, remind yourself of the good news you already know: God knows your need and He will provide for you, just as He perfectly provided the parents for the tyke, who even now, is stirring in his crib, beginning to wondering where you are.

You read that correctly.

God perfectly provided your children with the parents they need for His plans for them.

God provided you.

Let the dust pile up, let the laundry mound grow, let the sink fill up with dishes. That’s not really part of God’s plan right now.

At the moment, that little soul is helpless and needs someone to take care of every need he or she has.

And God choose you for that; Sleepy, hair asunder, hormones surging and ebbing in an attempt to reach balance, just a little hungry, just a little lonely, and perhaps a lot insecure. God knows what He is doing.

 

 Unmerciful Hats

IMG-5018 Why do hats make me look like a blithering idiot? I have a string of photos of myself in which I didn’t have the common sense to remove my hat before someone snapped the picture. The look on my face in every single one one implies that I will have to look at the tag around my neck to recall my name. Assuming I can read.
Some women look so darn cute in a hat. In fact some women make baseball caps look classy. Life’s not fair. I don one and 50 percent of my IQ drools down the front of my shirt.
Then there is the problem of hat-hair. You may think you have experienced the heartache of hat-hair but you haven’t truly plumbed the depths of pain unless you have curly hair. Curls and hats do not mix.

In mythology there must be a legend about gods and curls. Flathedius, the god of the bald was envious of Curlius, the god of curls and challenged him to a battle. Curlius won of course but Flathedius has never forgotten and takes every opportunity to mash ringlets into a matted mess.

Simple solution: dump the hats. But there is this little detail that seems to have come along with my curls: skin that fries to a bright crimson just crossing the street.
So I live in that constant tension: wear the hat and end the day with hair that looks like it had a close encounter with a steam roller at the top and shooting out at right angles from my head(think Bozo) amd looking as intelligent as that iconic clown or forgo the hat and look windblown and barbecued. The struggle is real.

Deer Flies Go to Concerts Too Don’t They?

I wanted a deer fly to bite her.

Now you know what a no good dirty rotten sinner I am. She was sitting in front of me at the Marlboro music festival and I was sitting next to a cute lady from the “Greatest Generation” who was sporting a darling page boy hair cut. The lady in front of me was sporting an attitude.

She turned to the lady during the intermission and told her to stop crinkling her program. “You are so rude,”she told the ‘page boy’d-anyone-would-want-as-a-grandma’ next to me.

My sweet aisle mate lowered her head and put the program down in her lap. What Grace under fire. I wanted to shout, “She is not shredding the NY times, for pity’s sake!” But instead, the thought of those summer flies that bite viciously- and help me understand why deer are so skittish-came to mind.

I know it was wrong, but the thought grew and I began glancing hopefully around the concert barn after intermission. I did not wish her harm so much as I wished she would have to react to the bite and live out being truly “rude” during a concert.

I managed to calm down and even apologized to God for such thoughts. I thanked him for Grace, sitting next to me, who sat stone still for the rest of the concert and modeled for me such gracious acquiescence.

The concert ended and Grace stood to applaud the very deserving young genius musicians. Ms. Attitude stood and left, never putting her hands together even once for the musicians. The picture of one large ugly deer fly, right on the nape of her neck came back to my mind again. There goes the halo slipping again.