Thursday, April 29, 2021

A Caterpillar

I love to find magic in the every day.  My favorite genre is magical realism, excluding any dealings with the occult.  I want to attribute all of the magic found in the world to God.  I know you may think me childish to think this way.  I think of the Shel Silverstein poem, "Magic."  Yes, Friends, all of the magic I have known has not been what people normally think of as magic.  The truth of the matter is that I have not had to make all the magic that I have known myself, but this is an admirable thought.  I borrow the term from Eric Andreen, that deep philosopher, Sovereign-dipity.  Others have chosen to call it Providence, a better word for when God comes around and you just know it.  And sometimes... Magic happens. 

Yesterday I was washing my hair and I look down at what looked like a caterpillar.  I could not deal with that caterpillar.  I couldn't!  I had to get ready and I was already running late.  I left the shower, hoping that it was some lint and went on my merry way.  As I got home I hadn't been home but a minute and I called my son, David to investigate.  I asked him to see if there was a corpse of a caterpillar in the shower.  It had to be dead if it was a caterpillar.  I mean... However did this caterpillar come to be in that shower with me?  Had he been living in my hair?  I hardly ever see caterpillars around where I live.  Where did this little guy come from?  David called from the bathroom that it was, in fact, a caterpillar.  He went to lift up the little corpse and the little guy began to wriggle!!!  "He's alive!!!"  This small thing took a shower with me, spent the day in a shower and still lived.  This is what I think is so magical.  My son, who loves little needy things, almost as much as I do, gently lifted up the caterpillar and found him a home outside among our weeds.  He named him Jeremy.  Immediately I thought of the Pearl Jam song, probably not the meaning of the song but the chorus certainly hit me.  

Today I am thinking of this caterpillar as I write my lists of things to do in my To Do Book.  I go back to check that everything is checked from last week.  I am beginning to feel the effect of my leaving.  There is a niggling feeling about one or two of them, my students. Maybe they are my caterpillars that I am trying to raise up to be butterflies in this world.  Somehow, I feel like I am the caterpillar.  I feel like dear Jeremy who made his way to my shower.   I hope you live, dear caterpillar.  I hope you are able to flex your wings and fly. 

The act of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly is magical to me.  One minute you are little, crawling around in the ground.  The next moment you sleep and when you wake up, a butterfly.  Is it not magic?  Is this not a wonder of God?  Is this not a miracle?  If God can do this for a tiny insect, how much more for you?  How much more for a widow approaching 50?  She's nothing but an old teacher.  I can understand why Jack bought those beans.  You would pay about anything to get what God gives us His children for free.  He gives us life when we are nothing but some dried up bones in a desert.  He gives us green grasses for sand.  He gives us beauty for ashes.  We are but caterpillars and He makes us butterflies.   Praise the Lord!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

It's All God

 I was hungry today.  Right now, I'm sitting here watching The Gilmore Girls- The Later Years.  I don't know what it is called.  It's the one where they are old and there is no Sookie (Well, not in the beginning).  I haven't finished the series and this would be the end.  I started the series out with my daughter and she left me to fall in love with Anime.  Lorelai, the mom is getting married... FINALLY- to Luke.  They are talking about the wedding and out comes the donuts, which brings me back to me being hungry today.

I have a confession.  I did something weird and wonderful today.  I sat in the parking lot of the Sprouts and ate a few tacos.  They came from Jack in the Box.  I was in an air conditioned car munching very happily on cheap, bad tacos that tasted like everything right in the world.  As I sat there in the air conditioned car crunching on these tacos, I marveled pretty deeply on how good God is.  That kind of blissful moment I want to put in a jar and pull it out on crazy days when I need to remember the good in life.  

I bought some Sprouts sushi because the one by me makes it fresh and it isn't on sale on Wednesdays.  I found gluten-free cupcakes with lemon icing which ended up coming with me.  I got in line with a cashier.  I don't like self-check out.  I wait on a line with a cashier.  I feel like she is necessary and keeps her job when I use a cashier.  The woman who was being checked out had a whole cart of food that she was buying.  I didn't begrudge her her cart as I stood there with my few items.  I did note that the cashier was a little on the slow side but I was still very happy from my tacos.  It was when they came to the end of her list and she was shocked at the price. She consulted her phone and then... And then... I watched her as she picked out four things and said she wanted the rest of the order voided.  The cashier started voiding each item one by one.  By this time, the sweet woman in front of me had let me go ahead of her as she had a cart of things.  I wanted to be mad at her.  I really did.  I wanted to record it all and post it on a news site.  She turned to me and said, "I'm so sorry."  She had four items that she had decided to buy from a cartful of food.  It was like half an hour before a manager came over and deleted the whole ticket.  

I ate a gluten-free lemon icing cupcake just a few minutes ago.  I love lemon flavored everything.  Geoff and I went to Lowe's the other day and he asked me if we would have a fruit tree in our backyard.  I said, "Yes, lemon or orange.  I love orange blossoms."  The blooms on the lemon trees were ready.  We sniffed the flowers.  (Lorelai and Luke are talking about their wedding and feeling married already, right now on the show.) I feel so much like Rory just said, "I want to remember it all."  Me too, Rory.  I think about my great God. Who am I that You think of me?  May I always find the core of who I am in You, Lord.  God, bless my family, please.  Bless them all!!!

It's time for bed and I continue to be thankful for Royal Blue pearlescent nail polish.  I am grateful for my job as exhausting as it is.  I am thankful for my children and my home.  I am thankful for what will be.  I am all over the place today.  Lemon pastries that make me think of a lemon tree and home.  Happy Tacos that bring me happiness in a Sprouts parking lot.  Women that don't remember that today is not Wednesday so the sale at Sprouts don't start.  Enjoy your mango, cucumbers and halibut, Lady.  Most of all, thinking of of my Great God and being happy to find love again.  God.  It's all God.  Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Giving Up

My plan for this school year is to not return.  When asked why, my response is usually that I'm tired.  I'm tired and burnt out.  I look into the faces of my students during this difficult Covid school year.  I try talking to the ones that are at home and not really listening.  I try and talk to the ones that are in front of me in person and I know that even so, they are hearing only a percentage, they don't hear everything.  I have told them all that I have meant to say.  I have repeated lessons for them.  I'm sure that I have more to give but not at this school.  Not returning feels a lot like giving up.  

I think a little of those who have left somewhere.  I think of Lot's wife who left Sodom and Gomorrah but who turned back and was turned into a pillar of salt.  Would his daughters have taken advantage of him had she not turned back?  Her actions had more consequences than for just her.  I pray that God does not work with me the same way that he worked with Lot's wife. 

I am asked what my next stop will be.  I have been asked this a lot.  I don't know.  I really don't.  I have been asking myself what my purpose is.  What if I fail?  I may fail.  What if I don't have any more energy for a moment?  I feel that God is big on rest and I need it.  I need a little rest.  I have been treading water for years and I am getting ready to sit for a moment and do something else with my life, this short life that God has given me.  I turn around and give it all to Jesus.  He has a better idea of what to do with it than I do.  

One day you will have to end a journey.  It will feel a little like giving up.  I pray that it is the purpose of the Lord that you end your journey.  I pray that you are able to not fret but to give it to God.  Talk to Him because He has a plan in place. As I move forward I can almost hear Him saying that rest is coming, hold on.  I think of Philippians 4: 6-7
    " not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving  let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I pray that these changes are the will of God.  I pray that I can finish well.  I pray that God allows for the next phase to begin.  I pray.  I pray.  I pray.  Prayer feels better than worrying about things.  God has a plan and I am praying to put my trust in it.  Praise the Lord!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Light in the Darkness

This time of transition is turning out to be a time of self-discovery as well.  I am teaching my students this week about GRIT.  It's true that I need some as well.  Today I woke up tired.  I can feel the heaviness of change upon me.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I am quiet.  I am still.  I think I hear God tell me, "Move.  It is your time to move.  This is not a time of waiting.  This is a time of action."  I knew it was coming.  Now that it is here, I am tired.  I am like the child who waited all night for Santa to come and now that it is morning I can't seem to get going.  Isn't that always the case?

Who am I?  What am I here for?  I want to hold on to what I know about myself as I move along.  I am a light in dark places. I don't know what the next road will lead to.  I know what I am right now.  Maybe I am gearing up to rest and be renewed but the journey is not over yet and I need to end one before I start another.  What is to become of me?  I don't know.  I lift my face to the sky.  In Arizona, the sky is a beautiful thing to behold to me.  The expanse can be seen in 360 degrees.  I take a deep breath.  I find that in my fatigue, I am thankful.  "Help me to the end of this journey, Lord."  This is my short and sweet prayer.  

I continue to be a light in dark places.  I continue to be one who hears.  I don't think I ever told you this story before.  I was living in New York.  We lived in a small apartment off of Grand Concourse.  I was married to Santi and I'm not sure if the children were in the picture or not. I remember dreaming of a desert-scape.  In this place, I was among a Native Tribe.  At the time, I didn't know of any Native People.  I was in a ceremony.  In this ceremony, I was given a name.  "One Who Hears."  I remember waking up and telling my husband of the dream.  We laughed.  I always had the weirdest stories.  Recently, my pastor preached about Peter and his name.  He was once known as Simon- this name also means one who hears.  I thought of my dream and my dream name.  I think of my current purpose now.  There is every possibility I am but a silly woman who considers the things she remembers of dreams.  I am still for a moment.  Isn't being still a form of prayer?  Instead of fretting, I listen.  I am trusting God.  Instead of the many plans and to do lists, I pray.  There are no words, just an attitude of prayer.  In my silence and stillness; in my listening, I pray.  There is a little more wick for the journey.  There is a little more wax.  When was the last time you prayed in silence, Friend?  When was the last time you left it all with God? Today I am praising the God who listens to the prayers in the silence.  Praise the Lord!

The Worry of These Days

I came home today and I was tired.  I brought work home to do it.  I didn't do it.  Instead I vegged and as I vegged I thought about all of the things that are currently on my plate.  There is a marriage to prepare for; a wedding to plan in less than two months.  I started writing the guest list and started hyperventilating.  I was supposed to fill out some forms.  I was supposed to investigate the marriage licenses.  There is a loan to figure out.  Yes, a loan!!!  I know.  I'm so tired.  I did something to my shoulder and now it hurts when I move it.  I have a confession: I think I'm getting a little panicky.  

I came across a dress.  I needed a dress and it was stressful to me.  I had been combing the clearance racks looking for a plus sized prom dress that I could use as a wedding dress.  I have to tell you that I was becoming desperate.  I wish I could have shown you some of the contenders.  I don't know what made me look on the app for a wedding dress.  This one was already cleaned professionally.  The price was right.  When I tried it on, I knew.  I knew that this was the dress and what the wedding would be like.  It was a blessing.  God is good to me.  

I can almost hear Him say, "How could you be worried now?  Really, Elle?"  I know, God.  Maybe it's the guest list that has me a little crazy.  Maybe it's looking for a new job.  Maybe it is just applying for the licenses.  Wow!!!I have a lot of things on my plate.  

I'm done for now.  I am tired and in need of rest.  I have time to worry about the things that I didn't do yesterday.  Yes, this is the life that I am living.  I have taken time to pray.  I'm still a little antsy but I'm trying to take all of these anxieties and leaving them with God.  They must have a little bit of static cling, they keep coming back to me.  Be in prayer for me if you feel like helping.  Man!!!  My life is so full of me these days.  Pray that they could be filled with less me and more God.  Praise the Lord!!!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Still a Hot Mess

 I'm writing and I am contemplating all of the many moving parts of my current life.  There are a lot of moving parts!!!  I have to stop sometimes and tell myself, "Elle, you are getting married."  "Elle, you are changing."  "Elle, just in case you didn't know, you are still a hot mess."  

I am currently having some type of allergic reaction.  I have just taken allergy medicine.  Just in case you were wondering, I am gluten intolerant.  It would appear that I have contaminated myself with some gluten.  I'm telling you this as further proof of my hot-mess-ness.  I'm attempting to write this blog before the benadryl hits.  If I get loopy at the end, it's because of this.

All of these changes have given me perspective.  There is a lot of perspective to be gained.  At this point about two years ago, I was thinking about dating.  I was contemplating opening myself up to people and I had started my letter writing campaign.  Three years ago, I was grieving.  Last year, I was wondering what would become of me in this Covid world that had just begun.  I couldn't predict any of this.  Please understand that this has to be God, right?  Only God could have changed the trajectory of my life.  This is not me at all.  I can't even stay away from sugar.  Man, when I think about who I am in the grand scheme I am grateful that I have God in my life.  You can see that, can't you?

I am in prayer.  I pray these days mainly for dear friends who have contracted Covid.  I pray for parents who have issues with their children.  I pray for my children and my family.  I pray for the chips to fall in good places.  I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel for some of the stuff.  Thank You, Lord for being in my life.  Man, I love me some Jesus!!!  I highly recommend prayer, especially if you are a bit of a mess or in my case, a hot mess.  I hotter mess on toast.  I need Jesus.  Praise the Lord!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A Wedding

A dear sweet friend came to me just yesterday and asked, "Have you eloped already?  Are you married?"  I smiled as I felt the warmth of the sun hit my weary bones.  I told her what I will tell you.  It is beginning to not look like an elopement at all.  It is turning into something else, what it is, I don't know.

I had a dress picked out to wear for Vegas.  It hangs with its sparkle and sequins in my closet.  Next to it I have a skirt.  It is a flouncy tulle skirt that would suit a small backyard wedding.  I had my sights on a small intimate backyard wedding in my friend's Ashlee and Kevin's yard.  They have this lovely tree which would have made a perfect natural altar and a sweet view of the mountains.  This also may not happen.

What will happen?  I don't know.  I have colors.  I want an orange wedding with ivory and gold accents.  A warm and happy color to brighten things up as the world comes back into its own after a pandemic.  You know that I am not great at planning things.  I get questions such as, "Do you have a date?"  I should have a date shouldn't I?  I don't.  I have a groom.  I have a minister.  I have someone to walk me down the aisle and I have some people to stand beside me as I say, "I do."  "I will."  Because... I will.  I have prayers and I have prayed.  I have a mighty God who cares so much for someone like me.  Was there something else I needed?  Love?  Prayers?  Was there flowers and music that needed to be picked out?  A dress... I may still need a dress.  I'm not that worried.  

There are probably a million little details I need to consider.  I should make a checklist and cross off things one by one.  I don't think I am going to do that.  I think that I am going to pray, be happy and figure it out as I go along.  I'm not going to stress.  If I get married in a sequined Las Vegas dress, so be it.  I'll still post the pictures.  A wedding is only one day.  A marriage is a lifetime.  So, my heart is not preparing for a wedding; my heart is preparing for a marriage.  My heart is preparing for the blending of a family.  My heart is open to God and His beautiful plan.  I mean, He hasn't steered me wrong yet.  I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Onset of Menopause

I am getting older.  Older than I like to admit.  I am reaching the age that I have been dreading.  There are days that I wake up and ask myself, "How did I get this old?"  I don't know.  There are moments that I am so thankful to my good God for allowing me to live this long.  I am no longer one of the young fresh things.  I think about my favorite flowers, roses, and how their petals are dewy and fresh as they open up and stretch their faces to the sky.  My petals are browning.

There is a trick though!  There is something called menopause women my age must consider.  It is a brilliant distractor to what is actually happening.  It began with these minute hot flashes.  I would walk and all of a sudden it would get hot, like really hot and I would begin to sweat.  I am not prone to sweating so it was a surprise.  I would get really thirsty all of a sudden.  Lately, these sweats are accompanied by a loss of breath.   I will tell you that there is something embarrassing about these hot flashes.  One second you are dry and happy, the next second you are sweating in the middle of Wal-Mart.  I have noticed that the onset of exercises and masks tend to make these hot flashes worse.  I read somewhere that this peri-menopause can last up to 7 years.  What!!!

Now... I'm going to mention this because I think I should and I am committed to being honest with you.  If you are squeamish, I'll tell you to read no further.  The rest of you... if you were not aware, then I will tell you of my experience.  The flow is not the same.  The texture, the smell... it changes.  Like a stream, the flow that was once potent to the point of frustration and annoyance, peters out.  I am glad.  At least, I think I am glad.  There is this idea that something is ending.  All of this signals that our petals are drying up and there is a part of our lives we need to keep on living without the benefit of menstrual cycle.  I should be happy but all I can do is picture myself drying up.  

The other day, I woke up exhausted.  I went to work and was sent home.  I laid in bed and rested.  I needed the rest.  I didn't know what it was.  I had some PMS symptoms.  I mean, you still get symptoms.  It felt like I had ran a marathon and I had some lower back pain.  In my pre-peri-menopausal state, after the birth of my daughter, I had back cramps.  It took me a few days to register that the fatigue, exhaustion and body pain is due to this hormonal imbalance.  I'm a hormonal eater.  I had tried to help it along with diet but this time around, it has been harder to rein in my appetite.  I'm too tired in the evenings to really prep food.  I'm lucky that the children will consume the sugary stuff.  It leaves me to graze.  I bought myself a bounty of vitamins.  I recognize that I need some help with the nutrition stuff.  I understand myself enough that I know that if I have sufficient nutrients, I will graze less on the bad stuff.  

I think about God and His timing.  I think about all of the other changes around me that I am contemplating.  I think about this sweet man I am about to marry.  I tell you, my cup runneth over.  It is with God and His lens that I see the rest of the road before me.  I think I may invest in a bevy of motivational t-shirts with lots of flowers and cats that I will match with some jersey shorts.  I will buy my orthopedic friendly sandals and start saving for the RV that will take us everywhere.  If I am to grow old, I will welcome it with God by my side, still thankful for the time He has given me on this earth.  It's true that flowers dry up but sometimes they are used for compost to help the next generation.  Such a blessing that is.  Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Get in the Car!

 They say that timing is everything.  I have been thinking of timing.  You should know that I am not really good at it.  I tend to be late to everything.  I have to write things down and mark thing up in order to keep track of time.  I am not one to worry about deadlines.  I know that I should but I don't.  I think I understand that it isn't about my time, but God's time.  I want to be impatient behind the slow car that has me boxed in.  I want to be impatient about working with a student that reads slowly.  I want to be impatient about everything but then I remember that this life I am living is really not so much about me.  If this is true, then, I could afford to live in God's timing.

Recently, a friend of mine reminded me about the old joke.  I'll retell you it.

A hurricane hit and there was to be flooding.  A believer living in a house prayed to God to save him and had faith that God would save him.  A neighbor drove around in a car telling the man to get in.  The man simply said,  "God will save me."  A relative came by and said to come into the boat.  The man simply said, "God will save me."  Finally a helicopter came to the man on the rook of his house and begged the man to get in and he simply said, "God will save me."  The man drowns.  When he goes to heaven and meets God he says, "Why didn't you save me?"  God says, "I sent a car, boat and a helicopter.  What more do you want?"  

The significance of the story is resonating with me now.   I think it points to something to have three separate people in three days remind me of this story, a story of threes...  I have been waiting.  I think it may be time to move, act, pray.  I am praying that I don't rush things.  I pray to understand when to get into the car when it is offered to me.  I believe that God makes it clear when He wants us to do things.  I pray to be paying attention and be attentive to God's prodding.  

Geoff reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."   Easier said than done but I'm trying.  In the meantime, Praise the Lord!