Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Donner und blitz

God can speak in the soft petals of an April flower, in the quiet rain on a Fall afternoon, or in the sweet smile of a sleepy child. He can also crash down on you with a sonic boom.

Today, I got the boom.

Rewind two weeks to a job posting in our church bulletin/program (one term is politically incorrect and I still don't know which one it is!). Hubby and I have been talking about the job, we've been praying about it, and despite the fact I really want to apply for the position because the job description seems written for me, I don't. I keep revisiting the fact that if I apply and get the job it will mess up our plans for this crucial year when my youngest starts Kindergarten.

It's been an on-again/off-again process of whether to submit my application. I've had the dang thing filled out in excruciating detail and sitting on my 'puter desktop ready to go since I first heard about the opportunity. I even secured my references and polished my resume. But, Hubby and I have planned out this year, and a part-time job for me is not in the mix.

However, God has other notions.

I've ignored my own pangs of wanting it, brushed off emails from people thinking it would suit me, and fervently downplayed well-meaning phone messages about it. I'm pretty good at ignorning God when I think I know better. I don't. He does. I should've given in weeks ago.

Hubby and I were talking about it for the final time. The deadline was here. It was now or never. We'd made the decision when flashes of lightning illuminated the room like a bad disco strobe, and then a thunderous boom rattled the windows...and my bones.

"Okay, okay, God, I get it! I'll do it."

So, I sent in my application, trusting that God will figure out this year for us. Whether or not I get the job, I've proven that I can trust Him to run my life. He's so much better at it anyway.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Best Day of the Week

Friday came bitter cold and brought a chilling rain that spattered against the glass all afternoon, leaving tiny dollops of crystals lying against windshields and window panes. Gray clouds hung seemingly right above our heads and encompassed the darkened city like a big top tent. Only, no circus.

So, we made our own.

Friday nights are family nights and our routine has been to enjoy the indoor pool at our gym. Steamy, sanitized air fills our nostrils as we four hobble barefoot across the cold tile to wade into welcoming warm water, gradually moving deeper as if testing the ocean. The thick water washes over our bodies, and the cares or stresses of the day float away with it.

The kids love to sink their favorite submarine--papa--and ride on his back in the chlorine depths, keeping his head securely underneath. He pushes up like a bull whale for air and they slide off, giggling in his created tidal waves. Choruses of "again, again!" rise up through the bubbles, and they push him down like like a tree log bobbing in the river. When he comes up for the umpteenth time he changes the game. Now, he throws them, their little limbs flailing in the air for only a second before tumbling into the pool. This continues until someone gulps water instead of air, and we freeze play until the coughing and sputtering have subsided. Then, it's on to the game of tag around the giant mushroom fountain.

Waterlogged and weary, and with much protest, we wrap in thirsty white towels and head home to dinner. Our pruned fingers feed hungry mouths until we're just too tired to eat any more, then we all plod upstairs to bed.

Friday is the best day of the week.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Directory Assistance

Hubby and I were sitting at the table breakfasting when I noticed the new phone books in everyone's driveway. I started railing against the trend to have twenty different companies make their own directories. Used to be we'd just have Ma Bell's version and that was that. Now we have umpteen different issuers wasting precious resources as well as valuable space in our homes. (Everything we need is online anyway.)

Hubby joined me in the tirade and I poured more coffee. We sat there for some time, eating, drinking and wagging our fingers at the child's booster seat...or doorstop...or recycling bin hog lying on the pavement by our mailbox. Finally, I started laughing. I told him to just pass me a jug of white lightening and a shotgun, I was going to spend the rest of the day sitting on my rocker on the front porch and yell at the neighbor kids to get off my "prop'ty." We are waaaay too young to act this old!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Great-Grampa Schmidt-Dog

Well, my dad and mom (aka stepmom) are officially great-grandparents. Grandson Seth and wife Mimi just had a baby girl.

It's difficult sometimes to think of my dad as a grandparent, let alone a great-grampa. I see him twice a year and each time I'm surprised by the man who runs to me like God to give me a hug as we pull into his driveway. A little older, a few more lines, he's a caricature of himself moving slower toward me each time.

I envision him as the room of my childhood that once sparkled in promising sunlight that bounced off my blue walls and frilly canopy bed, but has now faded with time. The wallpaper is cracked and peeling and the eyelet lace is yellowed and worn around the edges. But it's still the same room, and still the same gracious sun casts its hopeful light in the peppery dust.

And how must I look to him, his baby, a wife and mother approaching middle age with lines of my own? How fast my kids zoom by me to hug grampa and gramma, and rush to find presents of toys and DVDs, hidden as if by St. Nicholas behind the couches or desks. And, like the merry old elf, dad has a magical gleam in his eye as the kids squeal with delight over their bounty, which is then thrust at us adults, who spend the first half hour drinking wine and forcing Barbie or Optimus Prime from an ungodly unpenetrable package. For weekends at a time my kids slather my folks' calm retreat with a heaping spatula of youthful vitality and ear-piercing screams.

So, we have a new baby in the family. Another generation full of life and promise of a future better than our past. Another generation picking up the baton and moving forward in this great race of life.

My dad's a great-grampa, but I think he's just a great dad.

Monday, February 11, 2008

La Vie Boheme

I finally opened our moving box full of CDs. We've been living in this house for over four years now and I just dug into the crate. Granted, we've been "officially unpacked" for some time now, so it's not like a celebration. In fact, it's a project waiting to happen, staring at me from the middle of my office floor.

The first thing I did was pull out my original Broadway cast recording of "Rent." Saw the show like four times or such nonsense when it was on tour in San Fran, circa 1999. Loved it, that edgy rock update of "La Boheme." I thought it defined me. Me, the Catwoman in all black attire with an ankle tattoo. So, eagerly I rummaged around for it in the box representing the melding our marriage: Stan Kenton jazz, Aerosmith and Al Jarreau for him, and Chieftans Celtic, Steely Dan and REM for her. Plucked it out like a lucky lottery ticket and proceeded to put hubby's bachelor-expensive speakers to the test (kids were in school, btw).

I set the volume at near window shatter and tuned my vacuum to rumble along blissfully with the gut-clenching bass. I surprised myself by remembering the words to the lyrics. All the words. Every swear word, every offensive sex word, every alternative lifestyle/anti-establishment word. I sang them out loudly at first, then, as song after song beat against the walls of my home and rang in my ears, I gradually lowered my voice. When the player switched over to the second CD, I hesitated to join in. Instead, I found myself questioning what was being said, why they were saying it, and for what purpose would it serve. Now in the process of mopping my floors, I wondered aloud what I had found so exhilarating about the show.

I felt like a co-ed, home for the summer, trying on clothes left in her closet. The shirt that had once laid smooth now pulled taut across an expanding chest. The pants that had slipped effortlessly over a young girl's slender hips now stopped short before a woman's curves. The styles were dated and fixed, and the desire to be seen in them had faded like old jeans.

The anarchist poet in me has entered eternal slumber. I have outgrown the anger which punctuates art seeking to shock and disarm societal sensibilities. The rebel in me is not dead, but metamorphosed into a creative constructionist. My artistic endeavors must now answer the question, "How does this make it better?" Not content to simply show life as it is, real, hard, and blemished, I must now enrich it.

Perhaps hastily, perhaps without considering future consequences, or perhaps a stark statement to myself, I threw my "Rent" two-disc CD set into the trash. "La Vie Boheme" is not my life.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Christians Like Christ?

I was telling hubby this morning about a "Christian" virgin who wrote me years ago via my website (www.rebornvirgin.com) and admonished me and other "psuedo" virgins. Basically, he made the case for the correctness and loftiness of real virgins, quoting the Bible and bashing my RV philosophy.

Hubby is wise and said the Bible is really simple, it's all about redemption and forgiveness. Most Christians astonishingly miss that crucial teaching. Hubby was reminded of a Gandhi guote, which he paraphrased, but I Googled it this morning:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” --Mahatma Gandhi

Following Christ is at once easy and difficult. It's a simple concept to follow his lead, but a terribly complex execution. Remember, He told us to do two things: Love God, and love others as ourself. He knew it would be easy to love ourselves (that's why it becomes the gauge for judging our attitudes toward others). But, loving God and all those others? That's where it gets hard...especially the "loving others" part.

Speaking of which, here's a quote my pastor gave me:

"It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." --John Andrew Holmes

I am merely a trifling exception.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Less Of Cat

There is about 7 pounds less of me to love! The Live-It is working and except for a Super Bowl (were those Giants awesome, or what?!?!?!) sneak of Ro-Tel and Velveeta and hot wings, all has been going well. Once my stomach adjusted to the new amount of food, I've been highly satiated. Now, I just have to wait for my mind to catch up. It still wants a heaping pile of something...and no, a heaping pile of greens ain't cuttin' it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sixteen Dollars

What will $16 buy you?

It was the exact cost of having my medical records copied. It was nearly the exact sum of our matinee tickets to see "Cloverfield." I spent at least that much at Chick-Fil-A one afternoon with the kids. It's less than I spend on a variety of extras in my life.

It's also the cost of a little girl's life.

Take an hour and a half flight from Miami to Haiti and enter an entire different world. A world where a starving mother caring for three children makes difficult choices every day, and every day seems like a never-ending nightmare. A world where she is so confused, unloved, and malnourished that she sells one of her children for--you guessed it--the equivalent of $16 US.

A little girl sold into slavery? Oh, yeah, that's horrible and that happens in all the time in Haiti, but that's not what happened here. This is worse. This six-year-old girl was sold to be a human sacrifice. That's right, her life was to be taken in a Haitian voodou (voodoo) new year's ritual.

I can hardly believe that miles from our borders human sacrifice happens. Just one more bone-chilling sin to add to a repulsive pile that includes abandoned and neglected children and children sold into slavery and sex slavery. But even in this blackness, a light shines. God's light.

The Haitian Children's Home bought back the little girl. She now lives at the home and knows that God loves her.

If you give to any charity this year, please give to the The Haitian Children's Home, or another orphanage in Haiti. There are just too many children and not enough help.

www.helphaitikids.org Haitian Children's Home: Our mission is to provide a safe family environment for orphaned and abandoned Haitian children, where they can experience the love of Christ, equipping them with the spiritual foundation and educational tools they need to lead fulfilled lives.