Tag Archives: Humor

Save The Chickens


I’ve never really thought of myself as an animal-lover. I figure those are the folks that wear screen printed T-shirts of endangered species and send monthly checks to PETA.  They love animals en masse. The nameless, the herds, the hungry, the hunted.

You know the ones….

I am sure I would love them too but I would need to give them names. As soon as it has a name, I get kind of emotional about it.

We bought some baby chicks a few months ago. There were about 30 little chicks running around at the feed store, cheeping and pooping on each other. They were pretty cute but smelly. Nothing to get attached to. We picked out a few that we were assured would be “good layers” (chickens are a whole new world, let me tell you) and then they threw in a couple wild ones for free. Ok, we said, why not. Three chickens are good, five is better. More eggs. We took them home and gave the “layers” some unfortunate names: Drumstick, Beaker, and Chicken Little. Not our finest moment but the names stuck. The “wild ones” took longer to name because we didn’t know if we would keep them but eventually were called Chilli and Left Eye. Hopefully they are female and sound just as pretty as their TLC namesakes.

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They enjoyed staring at one another. Drumstick’s the gutsy one.

And now that they are all named, I love them. I talk to them, I make sure they have poop-free water and nice food and turn on their heat lamp on cool nights. They are bigger now, more chicken then chick, a little less cute, but I am quite attached. I had to leave Jasper at Dad’s place in Kona because we have some travel coming up and I refuse to leave him long hours for someone to let out twice a day (PETA would be proud), so in a teeny tiny chickeny way, they fill the animal void.

Let's be real, no bird could replace this guy. He really wanted to come with me.

Let’s be real, no bird could replace this guy. He really wanted to come with me.

Hopefully they’ll start being “good layers” and Jasper will get used to having them around when he returns but regardless, they will stick around. Because they have names.

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The Rebel’s Guide to a Good Day


It took me most of the week to make yesterday a good day. That’s right. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were pretty much swing and miss days. Thankfully I think I got a piece of Wednesday so I wasn’t a complete strike-out and had another chance. Thursday was no Babe Ruth home run but it got me on base.

On Monday I began the first sermon in a series by Mark Driscoll called The Rebel’s Guide to Joy. There’s ten or twelve of them and I figured I would do well by learning about joy this week. I was very brave and kind to people on the bus and to people at Crossfit and to my classmates. And then Roger and I went home and made dinner, joyful and kind. And then I started a fight and joy did not matter. And kindness did not matter. And logic certainly did not matter. This was war and I was going to win. Wars aren’t joyful! Wars are serious. So I pulled him into battle and regretted every second of it the next day. Swing and miss.

On Tuesday I stayed home and studied and worked on the Great Nurse Practitioner Job Hunt. I also decided that one sermon hadn’t done the job and apparently I needed more so I listened to The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Poverty and the Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Humility. Now I don’t think I am impoverished but I could still relate. The humility part just kicked me in the pants. In fact, I was so inspired that I cooked a beautiful dinner and set a romantic table to make amends for Monday’s miss. It was a decent day but since we were still licking our wounds and doing a careful war dance around one another, I can’t call it a win.

Wednesday hobbled along with the help of The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Suffering and in Death. There’s a one-two combo for you. But I have to hand it to Mr. Driscoll, he pulled it off. Once again, I was grateful in a crazy and weird way for the suffering I experienced through Mom’s cancer and death. I’m not grateful for the actual suffering and death. I’m thankful for the way I found joy in Jesus when there was no joy to be found anywhere else. These sermons reminded me to look back and then look forward with joy and bravery. Which I did until I decided that I missed my Mom an awful lot and decided that being grouchy and sensitive and overreacting to minor events would distract me from this. In all humility, let me tell you, this is a false idea. Another miss.

Thursday dawned with the regret of the irrational wife. But the Rebel’s Guide to Anxiety was on the playlist and I decided it couldn’t hurt. But it did hurt a bit. It crushed my pride, convicted me in a major way, and opened my eyes to a lie I have believed for a long time. Anxiety is not a condition to be managed. It is a sin to be repented of. Now, Pastor Mark admitted, and as a healthcare provider, I wholeheartedly agree, that there are chemical imbalances and true disorders that are conditions. But your average, run-of-the-mill anxiety that leads to your(my) above average, burn-down-the-mill freak-outs is a sin. Jesus tells us to let our gentleness and reasonableness be evident to all as we refuse to be anxious about anything but instead lift our requests, give thanks, and rejoice. When I am anxious, it takes a tiny event to send me into freak-out mode and if I am there, I can say and do what I want because I am ANXIOUS. You want me to be reasonable?! Gentle?! Are you kidding me?! Just wait right there, I am going to freak out and then I can be reasonable. But this is so wrong. And I want to change.

So I meditated on this over the course of the day. I shelved anxiety and chose joy on purpose. That evening Roger and I had a long beach walk and a long talk over picnic dinner about the future and God’s goodness to us. We both did some repenting and some changing. We both had a win. We even saw five satellites. Those are better than shooting stars, right? And we made a plan for the weekend to choose joy and to create change. We don’t want the run-of-the-mill. We want the extraordinary.
Crazy little rebels.

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Health Snob


So as I have mentioned before, the Aussie and I have jumped on the Crossfit bandwagon. Our new crew of fit friends are taking part in a 9-week “Look Better Naked Challenge”. While we won’t be getting naked, we will be taking before and after (mostly-clothed) photos and setting fitness goals. This includes eating Paleo for nine weeks. Cringe. Up to this point we have been resisting the Paleo plunge. Most definitely Non-Paleo. NP for short. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good and we love the idea of going healthy. It’s just the snobbery of fads that I can’t stand…but it’s so alluring… I start doing something that I find cool, and feel the inner snob start to come out. It’s happened before. I just can’t keep up with what I am supposed to be snobby about!

Elementary School: “Oooh, you eat American cheese and white bread? With cheetos? AND a Squeeze-It drink? With Twinkies for dessert? My mom packs me peanut butter and jelly on BROWN bread, sometimes with  raw veggies. And snack crackers and Capri-Sun. And Sweet-Spots for dessert. But that’s ok. You can still come to my birthday party…and maybe bring some of those twinkies.

Middle School: “Ooooh, you eat McDonalds Big Macs and Li-Hing Mui powdered gummi worms? I eat Wendy’s Quarter Pounders, SO much fresher. And PLAIN gummi worms. Let’s go get dropped off at the movies.”

High School: “Ooooh, you eat anything? I eat air. And sometimes ice. I’m so full today from my celery stick. Let’s go for a run.”

College: “Ooooh, you eat hot meals and fresh vegetables? I’ve totally been living on Cheez-Its and Stagg Chili. Isn’t it so fun to be super poor college kids? Let’s go shopping at American Eagle!”

Five years ago: “Ooooh, you eat meat? I guess that’s good for people who are big-boned. Have you tried this tofurkey? It’s Ah-mazing.”

Last year: “Ooooh, you know that’s not actually organic right? You might want to grow it yourself to be sure. Can’t ever trust that USDA stamp. Let’s go churn some butter.”

Now: “Oooooh, you’re NP? That’s ok. Let’s go lift something.”

Being healthy is GOOD. Being snobby is BAD. I have definitely been guilty of both.

Thankfully, we have found a Crossfit with very un-snobby Paleolyths so maybe my inner snob will stay reined in. Our challenge begins in a week. We have been easing ourselves into it but have this loaf of incredibly delicious bread and this stick of really yummy butter that just needs to be taken care of. So, this morning I made the best toast of my life, smothered in the Aussie’s favorite spread: Orange Marmalade. Now, I have never been a marmalade fan. Some fourth grade snack experience involving a Paddington Bear skit and saltines with marmalade ruined it for me a while back. However, there is something about someone else’s extreme enjoyment of something that makes you give something a second try. I have fallen hard for Marmalade. I can’t believe I convinced Roger to buy the cheaper brand. Because if there is something that could improve the orange heaven sitting on this slice of bread, I would gladly spend another dollar to find out about it.

I hope you all have a healthy, unsnobby day. Encourage someone who needs it!

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Hopes Raised


Well, we are still married. Just in case you were wondering. I mean, I think my grandmother still wonders sometimes. During those few minutes when Roger and I were dating, I would get a Grandmomie Voicemail once a week. “Hi Erin, just calling to say hi and I love you. So, are you still dating that Australian? Just checking. Love, Grandmomie.” You always wait for the sign off because she always signs off and that’s how you know it’s authentic. So I try to keep her updated regularly now that we are indeed still married. And since my blog has gone woefully silent, I thought I should just let you all know too.

The past month has been a rough one in some ways. Jobless, car-less, and bordering on hopeless on the worst days. I kept trying to think of ways to put a cute spin on it but would inevitably circle back to the fact that we still had no jobs, our car was smashed on the curb with threatening neighbor notes attached, and sometimes entire days were used just trying to remedy those things. But after stressful days of studying, job-hunting, and car shopping, we have still been having fun. We walk the beach, we play with the dog, we cook, and lately, we have been enjoying our new favorite show, Raising Hope.

My childhood friend, Kelly Metcalf Wilkes, recommended it to us and it couldn’t have come in a better season. The Chance family, struggling to make ends meet, dealing with their collective idiosyncrasies, and loving each other fiercely, has us belly-laughing every time no matter how many lemons we test drove that day. When Burt Chance struggles with understanding politics, I sneak glances at my Aussie husband. And for some reason when the demented MawMaw dances around the house with her clothes on backwards, Roger sneaks his glances. Which is weird. Because I don’t do that often. The thing we love most about the show is how much Burt and Virginia Chance love each other. Through it all.

So we’ve been trying our best to love each other fiercely but sometimes we just remember the fiercely part. These little life hiccups of not having a car or a job kept leading to arguments. Our arguments have been pretty spectacular as most newly wed spats probably are. My parents did their best to train me out of my temper but sometimes I take the attorney part of my father and the spitfire side of my mother and take arguing to legendary levels.  Thankfully Roger hasn’t learned too many arguing strategies beyond keeping his cool and ending them reasonably (amateur) and I wear myself out pretty quick and learn valuable lessons. Monday was a great example.

We had just pulled our borrowed car into its rightful garage to return it to our friends after a month long loan.

Roger: [Turning hose on inside of garage] Let’s give it a quick spray.

Me: [With frantic look] No, no, no! Don’t wash it in the garage!

Roger: [In a slightly more irritable voice than I deemed necessary] Ok, move the car then and hurry up.

Me: [With a haughty silence that we both know I can never keep up for long] You can wash the car yourself! Something unreasonable! And rude!

Roger: [Manly silence that we both know he can keep up for as long as it takes]

Me: [While dumping soapy sponges down his back in a more Angry Housewife way than Desperate Housewife way] And wash this! I’m going to study at Starbucks.

Roger: [After washing and drying the car by himself and coming to find me and buying me my favorite Green Tea lemonade]: Reasonableness. Unnecessary apologies. Good husband stuff.

And that’s the kind of guy I am dealing with here! I know, so hard. He makes me better every day. But our difficult times have made it really hard for me to translate into cute blogs. I’ve been discouraged that my prayers for an extraordinary life that changed other lives had been reduced to “let us get through the month” prayers.

But this week we have had our Hopes Raised. We found a fantastic deal on a beautiful little 2003 Jetta and we bought it on Saturday. Which is the reason we returned the car and then after our Car Wash Explosion, Roger was called in for a job interview. He starts next week. God answered our prayers. And this morning I had a conversation with someone very important to me about God’s plan for her life. We talked about Jesus’ fantastic love for us. And she lifted my eyes to see the goodness of our Savior in the good and the difficult.

So here’s my encouragement to you, whether you are newly married, oldly married, or single: Take Hope. It’s not always about looking extraordinary to the onlookers, it’s about never losing hope that the extraordinary will happen. Despite of tempers like mine.

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Have Some Pride. Or Don’t.


Yesterday I learned a thing or ten about pride. Ok, so when someone talks about struggling with pride and how we can get better, I usually tune out. Even if it is my dad/pastor/best preacher in the world. I tune out because I don’t think I am prideful. I may not be the most humble person, but “struggle with pride”? Nah. Let me explain.

In a room full of people, I don’t think I’m the coolest. No ways. The models and the doctors. They are the coolest.
In a line at the grocery store, I don’t think I’m better than the clerk. I served shrimp for four years at a restaurant with a movie theme. With trivia. And ping pong paddles.
In a conversation, I am fascinated by people’s stories. I want to know why they are in Hawaii, where they work, what their parents’ names are, and if they have ever gone sky diving. Others first. Or insatiably nosy. I mean curious.

So that means I am not prideful, right? Not according to the irritatingly awesome sermon. Here is the simple test presented at Living Stones Church yesterday.

1. Do you long for a lot of attention? Um, yes. Who doesn’t? I may not be the coolest in the room, but I better get some attention.
2. Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed? The models and the doctors may be the coolest but the models are starving and the doctors have no lives. Pssh, who wants to be them anyway.
3. Do you always have to win? No, if I know I won’t win, I don’t play. That’s not competitive…is it?
4. Do you have a pattern of lying? No. No, really.
5. Do you have a hard time acknowledging you were wrong? No,  because I’m never wrong. Easy.
6. Do you have a lot of conflicts with other people? Only when they are dumb.
7. Do you cut in line at the store, airport, on the freeway, etc.? I try not to but sometimes I am more innovative than the people in front of me.
8. Do you get upset when people do not honour your achievements? No, I just make sure I mention it in my blog more.
9. Do you tend more toward an attitude of entitlement or thankfulness? In all seriousness guys, I can say I feel overwhelmingly grateful for and undeserving of  the good things in my life. Finally, one that I can check the box NO on.
10. Do you honestly feel you are basically a good person and superior to others? Not every other.

So, I think I scored a 9/10. Which is a 90%, which is an A. In Pride. Awesome. I guess I can work on it a little more and tune out a little less.

How do YOU score?

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The Eve


The eve of most big events is marked with some sense of excitement and preparation but there are only two Eves that seem to have merited Capitalization. However, I would like to propose a few more Capital Eves.

Thanksgiving Eve: This one is crucial. There is no other Eve that requires as much work as this one. Pie fillings, potato peeling, last minute run to the store for curly onion fried topping, turkey brining, football scheduling. We need this Eve.

Easter Eve: This would be a great one. There’s not really much work to be done (unless you make outrageously awesome Easter baskets which my mom typically enjoyed doing) but getting up for a sunrise Easter service requires a leisurely day in which to rest up, cook some breakfast ahead of time, and contemplate the glorious reason that we get up at the crack of dawn to celebrate.

Wedding Eve: I don’t have direct bride experience but I do have sister and friend experience. This Eve is huge. There are bags to be packed, last minute seating charts to adjust, transportation to arrange. I’m going to stop the list here because it is making me realize that June 1 is going to be hectic for little sister. But happy. It needs a Hallmark card for sure. Happy Wedding Eve to the happy hectic couple.

And finally, Birthday Eve: We celebrate New Year’s Eve with a countdown for the world, why not give everyone their own personal new year countdown? The eve of another year older is a good day. It’s the day to look back on what you’ve accomplished in one age and think about your plans for the next age. Every year, we get better, wiser, and closer to who we are meant to be. It’s true, get excited.

If you are like me, you may be teetering on the edge of holiday emotion today. It’s the Eve of a big day with lots of memories and lots of pressure. But guess what? Today is just another day to face fears, rest in God’s goodness, celebrate his faithfulnes, and live bravely.

We are on the Eve of something great…every day. Let’s live like it.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

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My Bestfriends and the Airhorn


In these times of transitions, challenge, and general world-shaking, I have a couple of friends that have been an absolutely necessary part of my life.

They don't typically get decorated.

Inspired by a recent blog that I have started following, I would like to introduce you to the kids I talk to most. The short one has been mentioned a few times as the porky terrier. Jasper. The tall guy is Ben.

Jasper sleeps in my room when he feels like being social or I have a load of clean laundry in jumping distance. He listens when I’m crying but the emotions need to get pretty high before I am more interesting than sticking his head between the rungs of the back porch and watching over the yard. He does a million tricks for a treat so sometimes when I really need some company, I just lace the conversation with “treat”. He’s selfish. He is human like that. But I see him struggle against his little sin nature when he knows the right thing to do. Good grief he reminds me of me.

Ben is the dog that everyone writes books about. He’s as regal and humble as he looks. He takes care of the family. Don’t get me wrong, he has his favorites. He will lay outside of Megan’s door for hours if necessary if he gets shut out. But he sniffs out that neediest member of the family and sticks close until he feels that things are under control. That’s right, he was in Mom’s room at all hours when needed. He kept watch over her like it was his job. Now, whoever is sick or crying, gets the big black ball curled up in what he deems the most convenient place for us. If that happens to be the bed, he is willing to oblige.

Both of the dogs sense happy real quick. If there is a celebration going on, they are running in circles and Ben does the jealous dance. Try it next time you are at our house. Choose someone to hug. Say their name real loud as you hug them. You’ll hear a big Ben noise and he will leap to get in on the action. He usually goes for the person getting hugged which makes me wonder if that’s the best instinct should one of us be getting attacked.

Bennie and the Jas (sing the song…you know you want to…) have one fault that they share. They bark at the door bell and the neighbor dogs on occasion. The neighbor dogs bark at the flies, and the grass, and the cars on every occasion. Which, on some particularly fun evenings, prompts another neighbor to blare an airhorn. Yep. He has explained from his backyard that this is payback. Sometimes it is a quick blare. Sometimes it is a loooooong loud blare. In either case, the dogs seem to get pretty excited about the newest noise making member of the community. “Yay yay yay! Bark! Noooooise maaaaking! Hooooowwwl!!”. To which the airhorn replies “Blaaaare. Bl-Bl-Bl-aaare.” It’s an awesome cacophany and such good payback. I usually crack up laughing in my living room as I try to keep my dogs from going totally apoplectic

I suppose this blog makes me a crazy pet person. But I’m pretty sure that carrying Jasper around for 3 weeks after paw tumor surgery proved that. But, come on, who doesn’t like rambunctious greetings at the door, a consistent happy good morning every day, and a reason to roll around laughing on the living room floor?

Have a very Merry Tuesday everyone.

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God Bless 1972


Yesterday I received an e-mail informing me that I had officially been awarded a National Health Services Corps Scholarship for the remainder of my graduate schooling. This scholarship sends me through school, all reasonable expenses paid, in return for two years of service. That’s right, military style. Minus the boot camp, uniforms, and scary things. In explanation, allow me to give you a brief history lesson.

             

Some of you may remember the 1970s. I do not. I think my memories kick in around 1986. But I do have a good appreciation for things from the 70s including macrame belts, paisley shirts, Carole King, James Taylor, and the Emergency Healthcare Personnel Act.

This last item was signed into law in 1972 when healthcare professionals began realizing that they could make a whole lot of money by specializing and joining HMOs and practicing in big cities or generally urban areas. If I were practicing in the 1970s and the HMOs became a thing, I very likely would have followed the trend. So, no hard feelings. In fact, thank you 1972. Because of the way you turned out, the government allotted a certain amount of money to entice hard-studying future doctors, dentists, and nurses to stay in the world of primary care, particularly in rural areas. Since then, Congress has given varying amounts of money to this program based on healthcare shortages or surpluses. Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment in the last few years, the program is expanding again. And I have joined the ranks.

Basically, the two years of service will be doing exactly what I have wanted to do since I started nursing school – work with the under-served, rural community. The only catch is that it may or may not be in Hawaii. Apparently, it is quite the hairy process to become an approved site. There are only a handful of them in the state and there is no way of knowing if they will have a vacancy with my name on it in two years time. But I plan to work my tail off to find that vacancy.

But I’m not worried. God turned my attention to nursing five years ago when Mom needed nurses. He made me think I could be one of those nurses one day when I was on Ala Moana beach listening to someone I barely knew discuss her new career. Two years later, I got through all of the prerequisites for this insane program, finished the insane program, and have jumped in with both feet to Nurse Practitioner graduate classes. And right when I start asking God if he really meant to pick me, he throws this scholarship at me and says “what now!”. So even if I end up in the middle of the desert in the middle of the country serving the least of the least, I will still be sure that he meant to pick me.

Hey, he thought of me in 1972.

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TDV…it’s not a disease.


I have a date. With a tall, dark, and handsome licensing exam. September 29. Mark your calendars for prayer, fasting, sack cloth, whatever. I made the decision on Wednesday and ran away to Oahu for a weekend of “Septoberfest” with friends, naps on Kailua beach, fancy brunch with girlfriends, and long conversations under the stars. It was amazing. It was not studying. Today I looked at drugs and IVs and side effects for eight solid hours, interrupted only by sister forcing smoothies on me. About the time I needed an IV hooked up with some straight happy infusing at maximum speed, Dad got me out the door for a walk.

Me: “I hate this. I’m going to fail. Too many knowledge gaps. Bad stuff. Crappity crap crap.”
Dad: “Can you re-take it if you fail?”
Me: “Not an option! I can’t fail! Crappity, say the opposite of what I just said, crap.”
Dad: “You are on the path you are meant to be on. God put you here. Wise stuff. Dad stuff.”
Me: “I hate studying for this thing.”
Dad: “I took the Bar exam and felt the same way. You will pass.”
Me: “Ok.”
Dad: “Make a schedule. Exercise. Trust. The End.”

Dad’s voice almost always trumps the lying voices in my head. The sermon this Sunday was about the community we cultivate and the voices that determine the trajectory of our life. Theoretically, we have five Trajectory Determing Voices that we listen to. Let’s call them TDVs. Well, one of my TDVs is absolutely my dad (surprise). And his voice usually tells me to exercise. Not because I am fat. I’m not…really. But because he hears the irrational edge in my voice when I’ve sat on my butt all day. Break up with a boyfriend? Dad, I’m neeeeeevvvveeerrrrrr getting maaaaarrrieeeed. Exercise. Queen of the World. Works like a charm.

Obviously, Dad says other things to me. That’s what TDVs do. All this nursing studying is making the abbreviation TDV look like a terrible disease. It’s not. He and Mom shaped me and set me on course with the things they said. Good, bad, and neutral. Dad is going to continue to be one of my main voices but as I progress in life, who else will I allow to speak into my decisions and my development as a person? We need to choose wisely…I’m pretty sure we can start listening to people by default when we really need to purposefully point our ears at the right words. The right community is essential.

So, figure out your TDVs and if you don’t know who they are, go get some. And exercise.

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Everything’s gon’ be alright.


As I have mentioned before, my mom was a prophetic voice to many. Her spiritual fingerprints are all over the thriving church on the water. She was a modern missionary to this place and her blood, sweat, and tears were not in vain. There is goodness going on because of her. But she had many voices to me. This week I have missed them more than I can describe. I have missed her singing voice, her snort-laughing voice, her encouraging and complimenting voice, and even her you-better-straighten-up-right-this-second voice. That last one was usually accompanied by The Neck Stretch. Side to side. Slowly. Scary.

I have missed her prophetic voice. It was special. I’m not sure if I ever realized how incredibly blessed I was that my mom listened to God on my behalf. This week I’ve been reading and praying and freaking out and trusting and trying to hold normalcy together as each day brings something else new that is only happening because she’s not here. And the only thing that helped in these type of crazy days gone by is Mom holding my hand and shaking it until I looked at her and stopped the stupid crying. And she would say something. Something profound or comforting or corrective or totally off base and I would get mad. Because let’s get real, she wasn’t perfect. But it would still help because she was praying for me and listening to God. For me.

Yesterday was bad. I was cranky pants to everyone who looked at me. I even called Police Dispatch on the idiot doing, I kid you not, 95mph, down our street. Yes, I used my radar gun. Why? Because I was Captain Cranky Pants. After a full day of trying to keep my wrath to myself, I started taking it out on my unpacked room. I finally got things looking livable. Which means I organized my jewelry and displayed some Martha Stewart Living magazines on the side table. Lastly, I stacked my old journals and a letter fell out. Yes, just like the movies. And it was from my mom.

Are you crying yet?!

It was a letter she had written on New Year’s Eve, heading into 2011. She listened to God for me. She told me I would feel overwhelmed by 2011. That it was “looming large”.  She said all I needed was to draw near to the Lord. He knew my anxieties and my fears and he had it all under control. It ended with..”Relax, my darling. Everything gon’ be alright.” She knew me, she knew my God, and he was speaking about things to come. She also knew God would speak southern to me. So I cried my crankiness out and then decided that, yes, everything IS gon’ be alright. Not today, and probably not tomorrow but eventually. The cares of my heart have been many, but God’s consolations have cheered my soul (Psalm 94:19) . Especially consolations in southern accents and Mom’s handwriting.

 

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