Bottom of the 11th

A walk off grand slam in the bottom of the eleventh! Not the tenth. Not the ninth. The eleventh inning in the second game of a double header. I’m a Washington Nats fan, and I’m lovin’ it!

Howie Kendrick pulled it off. Of course Murphy set the stage when he got on first then made it to third on Zim’s base hit. After the Giants walked Rendon to pitch to Kendrick, he did it. Kendrick hit a grand slam!

Teamwork works. And you don’t lose points for taking extra innings to hit a grand slam. A grand slam is a grand slam. Anytime. Anywhere. 

Baseball or life. The lessons are the same.

How ’bout them Nats?!

Decisions

I was a late bloomer and well into my twenties when my teenage rebellion exploded. Most of my friends were past the hump of challenging authority and “the establishment” as we called it, but I was just getting started. What traditionally came in the color blue met resistance on my life’s canvas. I insisted on painting it yellow or pink or green. Anything but blue. 

My friends looked forward to getting married and starting a family. I looked forward to getting an apartment and starting a job. I wanted to be Mary Richards, not June Cleaver.  Nothing wrong with desiring independence. In some ways I was just me being me. But add on an ample dose of rebellion and the result amounted to one wrong decision after another.

Looking back, I know I was headed in the wrong direction. Deep down I knew it then. Even so, I kept going. Filled with pride and stubbornness, I had to make the decision to stop, turn around, and walk a different way for myself. No one could make that decision for me. 

I’ve been asked if I have regrets. The answer is yes. I wish I’d done some things differently. But my regrets are covered in gratitude for God’s grace and mercy. Gratitude for people He brought my way who told me the truth.

I think God has a divine plan for all our lives, but I also think He doesn’t force His plan on us. He doesn’t force us to be with Him. We get to choose. For me, I know that my life is better when I choose Him. 

$12.12

It had been one of those days. I know better than to worry and second guess myself, going back and forth in my mind about what I could have done or should have done differently. But I was doing it- off and on all day long. By the end of the day I was tired, exhausted actually, and flustered.

On the way home I stopped at the store, feeling aggravated that I had let myself run out of a couple of things that couldn’t wait until morning. At the checkout I struggled to pull my billfold from my small shoulder bag, then handed the cashier a twenty dollar bill. At least I’ll be home soon and this day will be over!

Then, the cashier handed me my change and receipt. “Twelve dollars and twelve cents,” she said. I gasped, and felt my shoulders relax as I exhaled. I couldn’t help but smile. 

Twelve. The number that symbolizes God’s perfect governance. The twelve disciples, the twelve tribes, the twelve baskets that were left over. The list goes on and on. And for me, on that particular day, the gentle reminder that He was there, He was in control, and I could relax.

Walking back to my car I looked up and whispered Thank You. It had been one of those days, but at the end of the day I slept well. Very well.

God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”  Exodus 33:14 

 

 

ASKING-KNOWING

It’s been an interesting week to say the least. For awhile now a chain of unexpected, yet connected events unfolded in my life in a way that prompted me to ask, finally, for information I’d wondered about for years but never given serious thought to actually seeking or asking for it. I awakened Monday morning knowing I would make the call. It took me a minute or so to position myself on the sofa just so, grab pen and paper, place a glass of tea on the table beside me, and give a quick touch to the mute button on the remote, change to pause then back to mute. I had looked up the telephone number Sunday night so I tapped the saved number on my phone and sat up straight. I always sit up straight when making important phone calls as if good posture somehow improves hearing.

After three rings a young woman answered the phone. Ninety seconds and three questions later the call ended. The shelf life of the dated, pre-Google information I sought had expired. It no longer exists- in any form.

I sat in silence. Even in a world of computer stored data I knew there was a good possibility the information would be gone, but I’d chosen to indulge my thoughts in the possibility that maybe it could be retrieved. Maybe I could know.

Briefly, I cried. Then, as I moved forward with my plans for the rest of the day- the rest of the week, I gave little thought to Monday’s phone call. Until this morning.

A few quiet moments over an extra cup of coffee drew a few more tears accompanied by a few fleeting feelings of emptiness. Then came the realization that I’d gotten exactly the answer I needed to hear. Knowing that I can’t know keeps me from wondering about it and dwelling on it. Instead, my thoughts turned to the One who knows all about the situation and all about me.

The One who knows every detail of my life- I can seek Him. I can know Him. That’s my answer. That’s my closure. And that’s my peace of mind.

 

 

 

Obsession vs. Passion

When does passion become obsession? Honestly, I’m not sure. But while I’m sitting in the hair salon waiting for my gray hair, wrapped in foil, to turn blonde I’m thinking about the word of the day- obsessed. My first thought is about my passion for writing and how writing feels like an extension of myself. I believe it is my God-given purpose, but I know it’s not my only purpose.  Being the introvert that I am, I can easily slip into a state of obsession rather than passion when it comes to writing. Time flies when I’m alone with my laptop. 

Even so, I sometimes feel those gnawing, persistent nudges in my heart to do this or that, and this or that almost always propels me into situations where I am more engaged with the people around me. Sometimes I’m resistant, but when I follow my heart I gain balance. And interestingly enough, my passion for writing is enhanced- not diminished by my temporary participation in the this-or-thats of my nudgings.

Well, my hair is done, and like some of the wrinkles on my face were lessened by my exfoliator this morning, some of the gray hairs on my head are now blonde. But not all of them. I guess you could say my hair and face are balanced. And that’s exactly what I hope for in my writing. Balance brings new experiences and fresh perspectives that keep my passion alive, nourished, and away from the clutches of obsession. 

Analog-The Shift

It’s painful to find my favorite CDs tossed into the $3.99 bin. How did this happen? I’m in my sixties now, and my analog list grows as more and more of my favorites slide off the list of things that qualified me as “hip” back in the day to the list of things I have to define or describe, often unsuccessfully, to the trending generation.

Yes, I love a book with crisp pages that can be turned rather than tapped. And in a restaurant I like to place my order with a waitress rather than keying it in to a machine at my table. Plastic ice trays are a must have in my freezer that opens with a door at the top of my refrigerator rather than a drawer at the bottom. In the mornings I hand wash my dishes after drinking plain, black coffee. Not latte or mocha caramel something or other. I do, however, send and receive texts….often. But no form of communication beats a face-to-face conversation. I’d rather sit and have a talk with you over a glass of iced tea than Skype or text or email or post on your timeline or tweet or even talk with you by phone. 

Analog, for me, is about simple. The older I get the more I like the simple things in life. And the faster my items once classified as trendy make the big shift to analog. I remember transitioning from vinyl records to eight tracks to cassettes to CDs. Now, even CDs have found their place on my analog list. When did CDs become extinct? And what, exactly, is MP3? 

 

In 2012 I wrote a devotion about my mom for the church bulletin. More than twenty years earlier I had published an article and a few daily devotions in Christian Single magazine. But I’d written nothing since then. No reason to speak of for my silence. Just life and decisions that put writing on hold while I did this, then that. Before I knew it, decades had passed with no writing. 

Then, in January of 2012 when I found my new church, little did I know I’d also found an unexpected opportunity to write. I wrote a devotion about my mom for the Mother’s Day bulletin in 2012 and continued writing for the bulletin for about three years. After my long dry spell I was learning to focus and meet deadlines and be concise. I came to know and love the people at my church more and more, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities they gave me to write. Especially Mother’s Day 2012. Mama passed away in 2009, but for some reason I was missing her terribly in 2012. Writing about her helped ease the pain.

I’ve been thinking about her this week. I miss her, but I’m grateful for the life she lived and glad she was my mama. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all!