Goodwill and Grace

 I found really fun leggings today but didn’t have any suitable long tops to cover the lumps that the spandex so skillfully emphasized.

So I went to Goodwill. The lengthy aisles of women’s shirts are sorted by color, not size, so you have to look through them all if color is not the primary consideration. The rows are spaced just far enough apart for a shopping cart. One cart, or one body. Start with this image in your mind. Continue reading

Ten Commandments for New Mamas (from the cat)

( This is posted in honor of my friends Krysty and Rocky and their precious newborn son)

  1. Keep your babies clean. Frequent bathing is a must.
  2. Feed your babies regularly. Warm milk is the best.
  3. Purr loudly when babies are near.
  4. Allow yourself  ‘me’  time now and then, just don’t go too far away.
  5. It’s alright to allow your babies to mew. It strengthens their lungs.
  6. Nap together. Nap often.
  7. Remember that even a cardboard box is a wonderful home when you are all together.
  8. Allow others to hold your babies but only for short periods of time.
  9. Watch your own behavior closely. You are the most influential teacher your babies will ever have.
  10. Turn your babies loose when they are adequately weaned.

Pokin’ Dead Things

Flash the hamster examines a moon jelly

I love to watch people poke jellyfish on the beach.

As you walk the shoreline, especially touristy ones, you can tell where the jellies are laid to rest by the small group that hovers there, staring down. Someone probably says. “I dare you to touch it.” So the bravest among them bends over and gives the jiggly mass a lightening flash poke followed by a protective recoil. It’s as if they anticipate the thing will react to the disturbance. You can watch the process repeated over and over.

I did it, too, the first time I walked on the Oregon coast and came across the dinner plate sized disk of clear gelatin. My husband and I stood above the spineless, brainless, heartless glob and inspected it for a minute before Michael, the brave one, knelt down and poked his finger into the unknown.

Nothing happened, of course. Dead moon jellies remain dead. A finger, stick or toe poke isn’t like CPR, even if the creature had a heart. They don’t wake up and ooze to life or suddenly reveal hidden tentacles with which to drag you into the sea. Dead is dead in this case.

But sometimes things may only appear to be dead. Like faith. How would yours respond if it was poked?

Is it a motionless blob of goo or a beautiful pulsating creation? James, the half brother of Jesus, said that ‘faith without action is dead’ (James 2:17). Faith trusts God then Faith moves. It wiggles and squirms. It runs and swims and flies. It takes a stand, it resists evil, it steps out without fully understanding where it is headed.

Ongoing, growing belief in God’s promises stirs us into action. That’s what Hebrews Chapter 11 is all about. It is the history of people long ago who took God seriously. Read through it when you get a minute and note the verbs – the action words that illustrate the faith these men and women carried in their hearts. They are an example of how living faith acts and moves.

Their faith didn’t need a good poke to check for signs of life.

Let’s make sure ours doesn’t either.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. And without faith it is impossible to please God…

(James 2:26 & Hebrews 11:6)

Don’t Forget to Shower

 Wild Rose, Sweet Pea and Violet, Fresh Water Orchid.

Lemongrass Mint, Blueberry and White Tea, Mystic Melon.

Do you know what these have in common? The same thing as Spring Breeze, Fresh Oxygen, and Pure Rain. They are all fragrances you can roll, spray or glide into your armpit. You can raise your hand in class and emit Ooh-la-la Lavender instead of the bacterial smell that naturally brews in that dark recess.

Some available deodorant options make sense, like Powder Fresh and Clean. Red Satin, Satin Breeze, and Delicious Bliss are a bit puzzling, though, and I doubt I could describe the intended fragrances of Classic Romance versus Sexy Intrigue. And Tropical Paradise?  Personally, I don’t care to lift my arm and remind anyone of anything remotely humid, green or coconutty.

Deodorants are gender specific, too, and not just in the color of the plastic container or the brands of Unscented and Musk. Men get half the shelving space, but not for anything floral. They get Arctic Ice, Arctic Edge, Arctic Refresh or Cool Impact, Cool Shower, and Cool Wave. They can smell like a cold location, too, such as Everest, or a warm one, like Fiji. There are plenty of athletic sounding options and some for post game, too, like After Hours and Swagger. (Just what does Swagger smell like and why is that a good thing?)

So many options yet they all have the same essential purpose: to control wetness and control odor. And they all contain the same essential ingredient: an aluminum salt.

Bibles are like deodorants.

The bookstore shelves are a Baskin-Robbins of versions, colors, sizes, fonts, and additives. They all have the same essential purpose: To let us know what God wants us to know about Himself and how that effects our lives. They all contain the same active ingredient: God’s plan to eliminate our natural offensive odor.

Little sins sneak out of us like dribbles of sweat. They may not be noticed by others and they aren’t too difficult to conceal. But as they accumulate, they reek and dark spots appear on our white button downs or pink silk blouses. Ick. That’s what God says, too.

 There is a remedy – a shower, a good scrubbing to remove the offense. Asking God for forgiveness works. But why not prevent the stain in the first place?

 God’s Word teaches us how to avoid the behaviors and mindsets that are offensive to him and each other. If we apply the lessons, we are much less likely to stink up the room.

We can’t see the aluminum salt actually absorbing the sweat. We see the results. Like reading the Bible, we can’t necessarily see how it all applies but it works beyond our understanding to provide a barrier, a protection. When the pressure rises, you’ll get a whiff of that Truth or Pear you rolled on. It will kick in as you need it most.

So …

Don’t forget to shower and don’t forget to apply that pit stick of your choice, daily for best results. Then face the day with the confidence of Ocean Surf churning beneath your suit, or maybe just Regular.

All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living…

(II Timothy 3:16)

 

Of Mice and Women

 I put my hand under a leaky water heater yesterday and pulled out what I thought was a soggy dead mouse. There is only so far you can hurl a little corpse in an enclosed room so my dryer felt the full force of the cranium shattering impact. On closer inspection it was indeed a water logged mouse but of the stuffed cat toy species. Whoever invented realistic rodent toys does not have pets of his own. Or no wife under his roof.

 I’ve had only two memorable experiences with the real thing. Once when my husband and I tried and tried to help a little guy escape from an enclosed porch so the cats wouldn’t find him. We accidentally squished him under the leg of a daybed. 

 The next time we thought the cat was acting more odd than usual, staring under various appliances off and on for several days. One night she caught the intruder and brought him to the bed. One impulsive kick and I sent kitty and very much alive mousie into space accompanied by a string of non-repeatable phrases. 

 Cats land on their feet.

Mice don’t. It was sufficiently stunned from its plummet back to earth for my husband to grab its tail and launch it on a new space voyage out the back door.

 That poor little critter. It’s not like I planned to behave with maniacal vengeance. He caught me by suprise and I reacted without thinking. I hope his tiny pea-brain will forgive me.

How often life catches us by surprise like that and we forego our neatly formulated scripts. We yell at our spouse, we snap at the kids, we kick the dog. It  isn’t our planned behavior so we apologize, vow to do better and trust in the power of forgiveness.

And when we are the airborn mouse? That’s when we have to pull forgiveness from our own pockets.

Forgive as we have been forgiven.

Forgive a repeat offender over and over, 70×7 even.

Forgive in order to receive forgiveness.

 Yikes. Jesus made it clear what His expectation entails. He didn’t say it was fair. Or easy.  But we win in the long run when we practice the mercy we need for ourselves.We find peace in our own souls with contentment, not with contention.

So rub the sore spot when you land then choose to practice the grace you want given to you. (And never seek refuge under the legs of a daybed).