Saturday, May 16, 2015

Igor.... It LIVES!

The sad thing is, this blog is probably an accurate depiction of my life.
Moving on, because I've been silent too long and I have things to say! 
Thank the springtime rain. The shift in weather seems to have awakened my deeper sense of the world. Or something. 
Firstly, I stumbled one step deeper into that dark, cavernous realm called "adulthood". I'm pretty sure I stubbed my toe, and what on earth is that dripping sound? Am I the only one who hears something very large breathing?
My Monday last week started off like this. Yes, that is self-inflicted. Thankfully I'm able to keep the greater life lessons contained to my work place so I at least have someone around to help me pick up the pieces. 
Long story short (because frankly it's embarrassing) I swallowed my tears and replaced the impaled tire with my donut, arranged for and paid to have the tire replaced, and, with the help of a new jack and tire iron, replaced the tire. 
All this with only a little muscle and prodding from my parents. Despite the pain to my pride and my savings account, I'm proud of how I handled myself. (Also, one of my co-workers said I got farther by myself than his wife would have and, coming from him, that's a true compliment.)

2) We have 30-odd eggs about to hatch. 

Item three: there's also a guinea pig now (not mine). No pictures, though. Chubs is extremely shy. We now have poultry (too many to count), canines, reptiles, rodents, and fish. All we need is a house bird and a pony and we will be complete. (Mom also wants goats. We're holding her at bay for now, but no promises. (We don't even like goat milk.)) Someone may try to add felines to that list. I'm dubious of the wisdom of that plan. 
     3.5 - we are also now the hosts of our own hoarde of little cannibals. 
Do not be fooled by their fluffiness. Do heed the warnings of the red light. These are meat birds. Their sole purpose in life is to grow big and fat really quickly and then...! *mimes slicing throat* This picture is a little old and they're already well on their way to the dinosaur stage. They eat, they sleep, they drink, they eat, and if their food isn't constantly full they will turn on your...or each other. If regular chickens are the sharks of bird-kind, these are piranhas. 

Four, as most of you know, is that I have discovered a new artistic outlet which has lasted longer than a month: painting on canvas. Mostly words, because I love those, but a few are just awesome patterns. 
It's all very trial-and-error but I'm catching on quickly. Now master calligraphy.... (More pictures on my Instagram account [the_magicmirror] , because they be many.)

And speaking of social media and the like, (5) I broke down and joined Pintrest. (That's how I broke into the canvas gig.) No, I will not share. The last thing I need is encouragement. Next up: Etsy!

VI. I have managed to sustain a houseplant for more than a month! 
It got a little withered at one point but is surprisingly resilient and perked back up overnight with some water. I looked for one labeled "low diffused light" and "light watering". That is the key. 

7) I haven't washed my hair since Monday. Be jealous. I have rediscovered dry shampoo, and it feels a little like cheating, but my temples get greasy. (You're welcome for the random fact you probably never wanted to know.)

Ocho - my favorite word at the moment is "embrace". Think about it: not only does it mean acceptance and open arms; but is also means safety, arms wrapped tightly. It's a warm hiding place against the world; it's a place of rest; it's a promise of support. *pulls out canvas* plus, it rolls rather nicely off the tongue. 

That really is all I have for now. The goal was to bring everyone up to speed. Can't say as I covered everything, but it's the first step that's always the messiest. I wanted to get over that one quickly. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bible Heroes

This past Sunday morning I was a substitute teacher for the 1st and 2nd grade class. After Sunday school, all the classes for kids 1st-12th grade are divided into two segments: church kids and bus kids. For my class, the church kids were first.
I wanted to share some of the life lessons I've been learning lately. Before I got to class, I was thinking my audience would be a little older. When I walked in and saw half-a-dozen 7 and 8 year olds, I hesitated. How am I going to knock this down a notch so they actually get more out of this lesson than my babbling?
Turns out it wasn't that hard, because I also forgot that, after roll call and songs there isn't much time for more than a simple lesson. I dove in with all enthusiasm, though.
My text was out of I Tim. 4:12, "Let no man despise thy youth". We looked at the youngest kings of Israel (Josiah is the second youngest king, by the way, and contrary to what everyone in my class thought), David, and then the Fiery Furnace.
Even the "church kids" weren't all that familiar with this story, which was a blow. How do kids not know the staple Bible stories? So I spent my precious 10 minutes pacing and waving my hands and adding inflection when the Chaldeans tattled and the king raged. I threw back my shoulders when the three men, far from home and years removed from any godly influences but each other, boldly and respectfully declared that they would not bend their knees.
When I was done, I asked the kids what their favorite part of the story was. All agreed it was how God brought Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego through the furnace without a mark.
I grinned. "That part is cool, but that's not my favorite part."
And then I showed them something I picked up a couple months ago during a Sunday night service:
they didn't know God would protect them. They knew He could, but they had no guarantee He would preserve them.
The most powerful point of that story is not the part where they refuse to bow to the idol, or when God brings them through the furnace. 

Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego, answered and said unto the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to delivery us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it know unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Dan. 3:16-18)

Those three young men, probably little more than my age when they came to Babylon, and so far removed from everything familiar and godly, stood up to a king and declared that under no circumstances would they bow to his idol. There was no way they stood up to him confident that they would walk away alive and well. On the contrary, they had to acknowledge that they very likely would die that day. From what we know of them, I seriously doubt they stood there in denial of the danger they faced.
And on top of everything else, look at how respectful they remained toward the king. I know things were different way back then and people in general had better tact, but even so, they called him by his title and politely but firmly told him they wouldn't obey his command. It paints a stunning picture.
God doesn't promise to bring us through every struggle unscathed. Rather, scars are evidence of the storms we've survived. They're proof of living and overcoming. They're reminders of the lessons we've learned. And some people enter storms they don't come out of except into Glory.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. - Philippians 1:20

I ended my lesson with a reminder that being a kid doesn't mean a person can't still stand up for God and ushered those kids on their way.
The second step in the schedule was to pick up the bus kids at their previous class, wait while all 13 of them used the restroom, and bring them upstairs to discover their incentive of a quiet seat prize wasn't available. To their credit, most of them listened well anyway.
I skipped David and Goliath and took a quick look at Joash. When I mentioned off-hand how his grandparents were Ahab and Jezebel to demonstrate the brilliant legacy he had to look up to, I was met with blank looks on all sides (except those who were staring at the floor). And I hesitated, then asked if they knew who Ahab was.
Much as I wanted to facepalm and then turn to that portion of the Bible, I brushed it aside and moved on to the lesson I did have planned.
And none of them knew about the Fiery Furnace, either.
"I think my brother learned that one," a boy in the back offered.
So with time winding down, I repeated my enthusiastic storytelling and prayed they were listening. At this point I didn't really care if they took away the deeper lesson, though that was important; I just wanted them to know this story. I wanted them to be able to turn to their friends later and say, "Hey, remember that gold statue that was ninety feet tall? And the guys who wouldn't bow to it and got thrown in the fire?" 
Because we need these heroes. We need stories we know are true about people who stood for God and saw extraordinary things done as a result. The fact that these stories are incredible and also true is in itself an encouragement.
The Fiery Furnace has come to be one of my favorite old Testament stories. It is not, however, my favorite.
I had a moment similar to this past Sunday several months ago when I was helping Wesley with his class. This time, none of the kids knew who Ruth was. We were looking at the kings of Israel and Judah, but when I found out none of them even knew about Ruth, I switched gears.
Ruth is one of my favorite Bible stories. She didn't really do anything amazing. She didn't see anything supernatural happen in her life, apart from God allowing her to have children (and I'm not trying to downplay that, but that's the only true miracle in her story). She is one of those background characters whose presence turns a tide.
Ruth was just a Moabite girl who married an outsider when his family left their home because of a famine. She didn't see God do amazing things and come to Him as a result. Her father-in-law, her brother-in-law, and her husband all died on foreign soil, leaving penniless widows behind. But for whatever reason, when Naomi heard that the famine was over and decided to go home, Ruth went with her. Ruth stayed by her, despite the shame of poverty and the burden of now being the foreigner.
She wasn't too proud to gather the leftovers when the harvesters worked the wheat fields. She didn't complain when a day's labor in the sun yielded barely enough to eat. And for Naomi's sake she sought out Boaz to be their kinsman redeemer. (By the way, Boaz is pretty cool, too.)
She traveled, yes, but it was to a place far from home with no hope of returning to what she knew. She didn't perform miracles or command nations with her words. But she has a whole book int he cannon of Scripture dedicated to her. God honored her quiet faith by giving her a son and placing her in the lineage of King David and of Christ. I have to wonder if, when David was a boy, he talked to his great-grandmother about her life, or if his parents told him stories?
And my lunchbreak is winding down. I'll be back!

Plank Update: Day 10 and I'm still alive and able to walk. Yesterday my abs were absolutely killing me but I feel better today. Also, my legs no longer give out when I stand up, so that's a plus.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Truth Behind My Name (Also: Planking)

I was sitting at my desk this morning wondering what I was going to blog about today, since it's Tuesday and I'm trying to make that a post day. I have a few posts "in the works", but they're either in-depth or extensive rants and aren't ready for sharing.
I don't believe in karma. I do, however, hold a great appreciation for coincidence and irony. A few minutes after pondering this blog dilemma, I received a voicemail from a customer. It started out, "I was talking to a young lady at your office yesterday," and ended with, "could you please have that young lady call me?" I called her back, and the first thing she said was, "You said Amber? I couldn't remember your name when I left the message, but it's such an unusual name I should have been able to."
Thus contradicting my life-long belief that "Amber" is a fairly ordinary name.
(Counts number of Ambers I know....)
Congratulations, Dad. Not only did you help in choosing nine names collectively for your kids, you managed to pick ones that were relatively unique! Who knew? I certainly didn't.
I suppose now is a good time to share with you the history of my name. Wesley's name story is Mom, Dad, and friends in a car shouting out boy names until they hit upon one they thought sounded nice. Mine? I have the honor of being named after a character in "The Running Man".
Y'know? The Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?
Imagine my delight when I learned that tidbit.
At that point I had never seen "The Running Man". A couple years later, I walked into the living room while Mom and Dad were in the middle of it.
All that hard work learning to appreciate and accept my name started to peel around the edges.
This is why:
Don't even get me started on the suits. Nah, what gets me is that my namesake (or am I her namesake???) spends a good portion of her screen time screaming.
I mean, I probably would spend most of my time screaming if I was in her shoes, but.... Just no. It doesn't help that she plays in a Schwarzenegger movie. (For those of you who can't sense sarcasm through the screen or who haven't already learned this of me: I don't like Arnold Schwarzenegger very much. The fact that I've had to spell his name three times already isn't helping.)
<end rant>
I actually had thought of another topic to amuse you with before the aforementioned phonecall, so since I have the time I'll move on to that!
In the wake of my first post of the year, I sat back and reevaluated several aspects of my life. The conclusion at which I arrived is no surprise: certain things need to change. And unlike some people who are rational and tackle on thing at a time, I've gone for the overhaul approach.
I have a working budget in place and am trying to remain aggressively dedicated to it because, if nothing else, I need a car. I'm already doing OK with my eating habits but they could stand to be adjusted. And I'm trying to stay fit.
Since I miss my 1/2 mile jog at work every day because of the snow, I was starting to get worried about what to do in place of that (not to say a 1/2 mile jog everyday is all I need to do to keep fit, but it's a start). Browsing facebook around the New Year, I came across a post for the 30-day Plank Challenge and thought, "That looks my speed. I do need to strengthen my core. Why not?"

I actually started it Sunday morning, and this is what I have learned so far:

1) My thighs are already killing me. Everything else feels fine so far, so either it's too early to for the rest of my body to get on board the "good kind of pain" train or I have my form all wrong. Possibly both.
2) Never judge a workout routine based on the pictures. I should know this by now. I really should.
3) Never do anything like yoga with my dog around. The moment I lie down on the floor she's in my face. Either she's worried about me; she sees a perfect opportunity to snuggle; or, in her twisted way, she thinks I am finally submitting my authority to her. In any case, I have to ban her from my room when I do my morning stretched.
4) "The secret to getting ahead is getting started." - Mark Twain
5) Half of my problem must surely be the face that I'm trying to plank on a laminate floor.

I've never been very fit. (I ceased being able to touch my toes when I was, like, ten.) The idea is exciting, but I tend to lose my drive pretty quickly. We have Wii Fit and for a while I was going pretty strong on that, at least with a bit of yoga. But have any of you ever had the Wii give that shocked little "Oh" when you wobble on the board? Yeah, I got sick of that. I was walking my dog pretty regularly, but then winter hit and I'm at work sunup to sundown. So planking it is, until I break something or find a better alternative.
I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Amber vs. Ditch: The First Time I Got Towed

Another lunchtime post. This one will be less philosophical than last time. My brain can only handle so much deep thinking before I get overwhelmed.
As most of my friends are aware, I work an office job for a family-owned business. This business's office is located on the family's property, in a building 1/4 mile from the house and the only available restroom. (I quickly learned it was a bad idea to have milk or smoothies for breakfast.) During the summer this distance works to my advantage because I get a 1/2 mile run in on my break. With the arrival of winter, however, I've started driving to the house instead of risking the cold and ice.
The driveway is paved, but thanks to 12-odd feet of wetland in the way it was not built in a straight line. There are three significant curves in that 1/4 mile, with the one closest to the office being the worst. 
Some of you can see where I'm going with this.
Per usual, I took my car. Coming back I hit the last turn too tightly and slid right off the edge of the drive. I didn't even have a chance to try and correct before I was sunk.
Commence 5 minutes of trying to rock the car. This only got me in deeper. I jogged the few hundred feet to the office and grabbed some cardboard to stick under the front tires. This didn't work. So I called my boss. "Hey. I'm stuck in the ditch off the drive."
She said she'd be up with her truck as soon as she finished her work.
Did I sit around to wait? No. I thought I'd give it one last try on my own. Make things a little easier for the truck, you know? After all, I'm a Royce: I can fix anything with enough sheer determination.
Many of you have seen that my driver's door is something of a mess from my wreck last March. Before that unfortunate left turn, the door handle took some work to open. Now it takes lots of leverage and jiggling, especially in the winter, to work at all. A lot of the time I'm climbing over the passenger seat to get in.
I had gone into the ditch passenger side-first. Gravity pulled my driver's door down and I couldn't work it open from that angle, so I climbed through the passenger side. I tried once to rock the car and gave up. And climbed through the driver's door. And didn't check the locks.
I kicked at some snow around the tires and decided I should quit while I was ahead. But when I went to open the door to turn off the car, I discovered it was locked. Ok, fine. Wait. Not fine.
Peering through the window, I realized the passenger door was locked. In my frustration I probably tripped around the snow and tree roots to test it.
Yup. All locked except the one door I couldn't muscle open.
I debated for a good 3 minutes before I called Mom.
"My car got stuck in the ditch at work and I can't get the door open. It's still running."
And then I lost it. I'd been laughing at that point, but you all know what happens as soon as you call Mom: the lost, helpless child in you comes out.
Thankfully I didn't collapse in hysterics in the snow, but I did cry.
Mom said she'd be up in a while with the key. I went back in to try to force down some of the lunch for which I now had no appetite.
Before Mom arrived, my boss came up with her truck. I had left her a message saying to hold off until Mom came and we could get into the car, but she hadn't got it.
To condense, Mom arrived, got the driver's door open before she even tried unlocking and climbing through the passenger door, and we tried pulling out the car. My rear bumper (y'know, the one held together with blue tape?) creaked and groaned, but no good that way. It didn't even budge when we tried pulling it forward, and the truck just spun its wheels.
So we called a tow truck.
It would have been one thing if I had actually been on the road and skidded on ice or something. But at work? One a driveway I drive every day of the week? That's kind of a blow to my pride.
The tow truck arrived a couple hours later. Oh, yeah. When Mom came, she turned off my car for a minute, but upon trying to restart it to get out of the ditch we discovered that it wouldn't start. So Mom told me to test it before the tow truck driver left.
I pointed the man to my car and mentioned it hadn't started last time. He told me to get in and try it before anything else so he could hear it.
The car started up on the first turn of the key.
I wanted to kick that impudent Chevy.
Raising an eyebrow, the man asked if I could manage to steer it as he directed. So he hooked up the winch, waved his hand to indicate the desired direction of the tires, and - with my boss's boys staring as they walked up from school - my car was pulled free.
The man had quoted $50-55 for the tow. When I told him I had a card or $49 in cash, he said the cash was fine, bid me a good day, and left.
I thought it was over there.
Famous last words.
Our driveway at home is prone to snow drifts. I know this because I've nearly got stuck in them several times this winter turning my car around to park it. Sunday night, the drift got the better of me.
Allenna said tight-lipped in the passenger seat as I tried to rock the car. Finally, shaking my head, I told her she might as well go in side. Heather, who had come home first, came out to see what the deal was. Knowing my recent track record with snow-stuck cars, she helped herself to the driver's seat and tried her hand at getting my car out. No such luck.
Then she turned it off while we debated what to do.
My car hasn't turned back on since.
We tried jumping it, but no good. It's probably a starter or something. And since I was half-way through turning it around when it got stuck and then quit, parking around the Royce house has gotten kind of creative. I used Heather's car yesterday because she had off, but now I'm stuck with the van until my Chevy dilemma is resolved.
So that's my life. People ask me what's new, and I shrug and say not much. I'm thinking either people need to stop prodding me for details or I need to come up with something else to say. "I'm writing a book" or "I'm getting a lot of reading in" or "I tried this new flavor of hummus". Anything except, "Nothing. My life is boring and uneventful and not worth discussing." Because then that isn't true.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

But God

I've lacked blogging inspiration in my surroundings lately, so I'm turning to the scatterbrained musings of this 20-odd-years head to maintain what little momentum I can muster. As I'm writing on the last half of my lunch break and am short on time as well as inspiration, it works out pretty well.
There is a phrase in the Bible that always gives me chills when I read it. (Hint: it's in the title of this post.) It's like a light that bursts on in a place crowded in darkness; a small smile given to someone who's too weak to press on, as if to say, "Watch this."
I know a lot of people who have "life verses". Yeah, I tried doing that. The verse changes depending on the stage of life I'm in. Years ago when I first tried this, the verse of choice was Romans 5:8. It's still a favorite. Here's the context:

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Rom. 5:6-8

There we were, wallowing in the mire of sin without a light or a hand to help us out. We had intentionally turned from God. We were without hope, utterly lost and blind. Man couldn't save man. No man is that good, that righteous, that powerful. Man would barely surrender his life for a good man, let alone the whole stinking mess of the human race.
But God
See? Chills.
While we wandered that darkness, unable to carry ourselves away from it, God stepped in. He found us worthy of His love. He deemed us deserving of His blood. Man couldn't fix the mess, but God could.
When I'm wandering around in a daze wondering how I'm going to do something with my life that counts, I'm reminded that I am not. I don't have that strength. I don't have that wisdom. And I don't need to. God can use anyone, with any education, from any walk of life. We don't bring anything to the table but our hearts and our faith. Isn't it easier to hand it over to Him? He gave us all the talents we possess. It seems He would know best how they can be used.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God had chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are. - I Cor. 1:26-28
The enemy is waving his fist crying, "See what I've done? Fix that if you can." To which we can calmly reply, "Yeah, that's nice. But God."
Here's one more for today because my half hour is winding down:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in time past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) - Eph. 2:2-5

In Paul's fashion, the sentence runs on for a while longer, but this is the focus here. (Also, "quickened" makes a nice word study.) We used to be like the world, wandering in that darkness. We didn't have anything to live for but fulfilling our fleshly desires, working out the disease of sin in our lives. But then God stepped on the scene. He offered light to any and all, and by His grace and mercy welcomed all who took His hand. He has given us a purpose, empowered us to live for something more, shown us hope.
It was nothing we did. I know from 20 years of experience that I'm far better at making messes than fixing them. But God.

(How's that for a lunchtime musing? Also for your perusal, a few other verses: I Cor. 10:13; 12;24; Phil. 4:9)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Living vs. Existing

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." - Oscar Wilde

It's been over 6 months since my last post. While I thoroughly enjoyed the hiatus (including the one I took from Facebook), I've developed quite a list of topics I have wanted to blog about. Also, a few southern friends requested I restart the blog so they could keep up with the family. Mom covers the chicken topic enough now, so maybe the reading will be better than before.
For the last few months I've been wrestling with the feeling that I'm just spinning my wheels. I go to work, work 8-9 hours a day at a job I enjoy, come home and try to find something creative for supper, tap out a few words of one of my current stories, and go to bed to start all over again. On the weekends, I sleep in until 7:30, read a book, eat one meal, maybe go to town, and tap out a few more words.
Maybe it's just a phase. I don't really buy into the whole "young people finding themselves" mentality, but perhaps this is just one of those life transitions where I'm finding my rhythm. Maybe.
Something with which I have always struggled is being anxious. By now anyone who has read this blog knows this. I worry too much and over-think things and second-guess myself, and I know a lot of what I'm working through is managing that aspect of my brain.  But then I sit still and try to count all the things I accomplished in 2014. It doesn't really amount to much in 10 minutes' hard consideration. Drawing it out, my life is pretty colorless. Again, maybe it's just a stage. Maybe I'm in a quiet place where all I'm supposed to be doing is sitting still and learning, listening, developing. Maybe.
I found the above quote from Mr. Wilde quite a while ago and it often comes to mind when I hit one of these contemplative moods. Much as it scares me to admit, I'm not really living my life so much as muddling through it with as little effort or involvement as possible. I'm so caught up in the personal struggle to find my place, of learning the steps, that I've sunk deeply into myself and blocked pretty much everything else out. (I'll be the first to agree that my social interaction is at a level which is undoubtedly detrimental to my health.)
And then I pop out of that shell, take one look at the world, shiver, and withdraw again. Back to the anxiety.
I know I'm here for a purpose. In my family, in this city, as the particular job I hold, in the certain church where we've found a home. In this time, these circumstances.
Another quote which I hold close is from J. R. R. Tolkien and The Fellowship of the Ring. It's more like my life quote at the moment:

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. 
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

God picked me specifically for this location so I could do something for Him. More and more I'm coming to terms with the fact that it may not be very grandiose by the world's standards or even by Christendom's standards. But it's my role. I may be that supporting character who meets one of the key players ten years down the road and has traveled just the right path to know how to nudge them back onto theirs. When I look at it that way, I can't help but get a little giddy.
It's not about finding a springboard to move one from a quiet town to a big adventure. It's about making the most out of whatever circumstances in which one finds oneself. We can't all be world explorers or geniuses or composers. Those people need the clerks and babysitters and nurses. They need the girl behind the phone whose name they can't remember who relieves one small distraction on their plate by informing them that the timeframe they need will work just fine, and who bids them good day with a smile in her voice and doesn't correct them when they get her name wrong again while saying good-bye. (It's not that I'm bitter, but "Amber" is not an unusual name. I can't count the times I've been Amanda, Amy, Andrea, Samantha, or Heather. At this point I just smile and choke down a laugh.)
It is about making what I have been given count in more ways than monetary. It's about loving sleep a little less and hanging out with a lonely friend instead, or meeting for a Bible study. We're here to interact. We're meant to touch, to see, to hear, to speak to, to sing, to guide, to hold. Not to just revel in a sunset, but to glory in Who painted it. Not just to catch our breath after wrestling with a kid, but stopping to read a Bible story and talk about it before helping them crawl into bed. Not just giving candy to an orphan, but the truth as well.
We may not live expansive, bold lives, but we are meant to live on purpose. Wherever we find ourselves, we are meant to make the most out of it for the glory of God.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. - Romans 12:1
It's reasonable, after all God has done for us, for us to surrender our lives to Him. 

So this post isn't all I had hoped for it to be. They never are. But I think I've said what I set out to. And here are some other quotes and verses which contributed to the concept:

"The fear of death follows the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." - Mark Twain 
"Just breathing isn't living!" - Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna  
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot 
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." - Corrie ten Boom, Clippings From My Notebook 
"You're not here on accident; you shouldn't live on accident." - Hugh Taylor

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In Summer

It's June. At long last, the warmth is guaranteed to stay.
For me, this is windows-open season. Living in a house without air conditioning (as has been the case for as long as I can recall), I have learned to take advantage of cool nights when I can stick a box fan in front of my window. I love fresh air.
I usually roll down my windows when I'm driving, foregoing the AC unless it's unbearably hot outside (which apparently I'm not allowed to complain about all summer because I complained about how bad winter was). I also like to listen to my own music in the car because I can't stand most talkative DJ's and commercials. 
Thing is, I have a hard time resisting the urge to sing along to my music. Ever.
With windows-down season in full swing, this presents a problem. Because I really get into my music. Particularly after I purchased the "Frozen" soundtrack. I'd sing along to the opening song if I understood the words. I'm not a fan of "Let it Go" (overdone, sadly), but I am quite content to blast "Love is an Open Door" all day. (Personal favorite.)
Up until now, the majority of cars I have passed have had their windows up, so I hum and sing to my heart's content. But the windows are coming down, and I keep catching myself at stoplights before someone notices the blonde serenading with Olaf about the joys of summer. I've taken to switching on the radio on the drive home from work because I'm less likely to find a song I want to join in on (and the station I play has one of the only DJ's I can tolerate). 
Last week, I kept my windows down while I was at work because I hate getting into a stuffy car. What I got into instead was a car full of pollen.
Do you know how hard it is to sing with pollen flying in your face? After the first choking fit, I closed my mouth. It also took days for all the pollen to clear out.
So it's summer. (Almost officially). We took a hike for Memorial Day, Wes's birthday is coming up, all my tulips have faded, there's still traces of sunlight close to 10:00 at night, and it's almost VBS time again.
This year's theme is Sports.
I have absolutely nothing to wear.
I would have loved to find something off-the-wall, like a scuba diving outfit or a fencing uniform or what-have-you. As it is, I'm stumped and will probably throw my hair up in a ponytail, tie on some sneakers, and pretend I'm training for a marathon or something. None to excited about the prospects.
However, I am very excited for the penny offering. I've been saving my loose change since September (in a bona fide piggy bank, no less) and have upwards of $30 to contribute to my lucky team. I'm trying to decide if I should dispense it sneakily throughout the week or bring in one large box of pennies on the last night.
I'm blathering now. Better go. I have a seriously post I'm working on, full of rants and Bible verses and carefully researched facts (maybe), but studying tends to take me a while so that's not ready yet.
Oh! I finished a book! 103,000+ words. It's the one about the dragon who can't fly. I know I mentioned it sometime...last year? Whenever I started it. Been a while. Hopefully summer and fresh air mean the return of productivity. We shall see.