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“Yesterday was plain awful”

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To quote a song from Annie.

It seemed so in the moment.  The mundane of home ownership and the unexpected expected troubles that pop up threatened to overtake me.

Steven and I discovered a leak in our laundry room the other day.  We were bumfuzzled about where it was coming from.  The washer being our first guess proved to be wrong.  Then it was the hot water heater, but it was bone dry around that.  It rained recently. . .maybe there was a leak? However, there was no evidence in our ceiling or walls of water running down. There is a mysterious pipe that comes out of the floor and goes back into it next to the water heater.  But it looks like the water is coming out of the wall. . . .taking off an access panel we found nothing.  Literally, nothing.  There was nothing behind the access panel.  Well, what about this mysterious pipe?  Indeed, that is where the water is coming from.  It’s misting out of the pipe with occasional spurts.  My brother says it’s a $5 fix.

While searching for the water leak, I happened to also put some things in the freezer and noticed that ice seems to be accumulating on the back.  Uh-oh.  This happened in January.  We have a freezer on bottom fridge.  So, the fridge part is cooled by air coming up from the freezer.  If the freezer doesn’t defrost, then the air doesn’t go up in the fridge, therefore, essentially, making the fridge pointless.  I thought maybe I’d just caught it between cycles and determined to check it again later.  Hours later, still icy.  With more ice.  We had it serviced and fixed with genuine parts by a certified appliance repairman in January.  I think we just have a lemon.

A baby bird was stuck in our chimney.  We’re pretty sure that even though we rescued it from the chimney, it was too young to make it on its own.  The wing feathers were mostly in, but there was still quite a bit of downy.  My mama heart hurts.

And I’m nine months pregnant. . . so, things ache and are swollen.

BUT. . .

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I mean, look at those cheeks! 

I’m nine months pregnant! As I sit here and type all these woes, Grasshopper is doing somersaults.  It’s an amazing feeling. . .experiencing these evidences of life inside of you.  I’m so incredibly blessed to be able to have this experience.  A little over a year ago my OB/GYN told me he was going to deliver my baby.  It was shortly after our fourth loss and frankly, Steven and I were coming to terms with the idea that a “rainbow” baby wasn’t our story.  That I was going to be advocating for those whose stories go no further than loss.  And I still feel very strongly about that advocacy.  I’m very aware that not all stories get what we’re getting.

Today, I have a picture of the child within me and its totally squishy cheeks and I’m eager to meet it face-to-face. And I wonder if my doctor is a bit prophetic.  We talked about that day at a recent appointment.  He looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Sometimes, I just get that feeling about a patient.”

Also, yesterday, I got my hair cut.  It’s a little thing, but having someone pamper you and style your hair a bit different from the every day can lift your spirits.  Plus, I really like my “beauty shop.” It’s full of energized women who are having a good time.  It’s a happy place.

I thought that might be the highlight of my day, but as I left, a car rolled up to me.  I glanced at the driver and thought, “I think I taught her.” And suddenly, she was waving out the window yelling my name.  Yep, I taught her.  She told me about her life (she has a 14 year old!! How did she get so old and I’ve stayed the same?). She mentioned having some copyrighted stories and looking for an agent. Then she told me thank you. I won’t share all she said in that thank you, but needless to say, it was better than having my hair done.

And to end the day, Steven took my to get some fries and an orange soda. . .my current craving.

So, yesterday was plain good.

Shout-out to 2020

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I want to be clear that I fully understand that my generation and those younger than me have never had to live through such a year as this in our country.  Not even 9/11 truly compares to the challenges 2020 has presented.  9/11 was a different kind of challenge and more singular than the multitude of difficulties 2020 has thrown.

BUT, to use a good old idiom, why are we throwing the baby out with the dishwater?

baby inside white bathtub with water

Photo by Henley Design Studio on Pexels.com

I have grown weary of the negative attitude with which people talk about this year.  It has become banal all the ways we have decided to disregard 2020 and say it needs to be over and to highlight how it isn’t meeting our expectations.

What year really does though?  Have we become so accustomed to our life of privilege that we are thin skinned when faced with challenge and change? Even good change is a challenge (I think of when I got married. . .good change, wanted change, but boy howdy living with a boy after 18 years on my own!!).

Throw out the dishwater. . .it’s nasty, contaminated.  Keep the baby.  Expectations of what a year should be like are only going to disappoint.  Perhaps it’s good to have things shaken up a bit.  When we become accustomed to the routine, we often fail to recognize opportunities and beauty and goodness.  Detours have a way of introducing us to new possibilities. 2020 is such a detour.

2020, in and of itself, is not a bad year.  It’s different.  Different does not equate to bad.  It’s just different.  It’s our attitudes and our approach that can determine the good and bad of any situation.  2020 is just 365 days (oh, wait, this was a leap year, wasn’t it? 366) where we get to decide on what we will focus.  It doesn’t mean bad things aren’t going to happen.  It doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be faced with tough decisions about conversations ignited by the world around us.  But we still get to choose our outlook.  (Ok, and it also doesn’t mean that sometimes we aren’t going to just throw up our hands and want to scream that this year sucks–just don’t get stuck there.)

2020 doesn’t have a bad reputation in our home. And we don’t want to fast forward to 2021.  We want to relax in the present, on this detour, and see what good there is to see. . .and, if we’re smart enough, participate in, or even create, that good.

God’s Gift: His Plan

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Day 9 of Advent and God’s Gift

Bible Reading: Genesis 37:31-33; 50:15-20

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Image: Public domain

Joseph’s brothers get caught up in their human-ness.  Jealousy. Greed. And their actions are evil. How can this possibly be something that God can redeem?

But He does. Joseph’s story doesn’t end with the evil actions of his brothers.  God put him in a position that would redeem not only his story, but also his brothers’. Joseph reassures the terrified brothers when it’s time.  He helps them see that without their actions, God could not have saved them all. Joseph continuously clings to the gifts of promise, provision, and protection to live out the gift of the plan.

Thoughts for today:

Do you wonder how your hurt can be useful?

Are you experiencing a time when it’s difficult to cling to promise?

What gift helps you remain confident in God’s plan?

God’s plan is difficult, often, for us to wrap our heads around.  Much like Joseph’s story, we can see no redemption in the actions that we commit (like the brothers) or have done to us (like Joseph). The waiting is hard, o Lord. Ask God to help you cling to the gifts He bestows.

Overdue Ode

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When I was twenty-two, I bought a house.  My dad chuckled at the elderly gentleman next door as he watched us move me in.  Daddy said he was trying to decide what kind of trouble I was going to bring to his peaceful neighborhood.

Mr. Campbell was in his sixties when I moved into my little house.  He eyed me warily for some time.  I think what broke the stand-off was when my little kitten disappeared, and I knocked on his door asking if he’d seen Jack.  He hadn’t, but he came out of his house to help me look for him.  Told me about how his daughter loved kittens too.  Then, as reassurance I suppose, he told me he didn’t think he was dead because we would smell him.

From there, we developed an easy, if tentative, relationship with each other.  I’m not sure Mr. Campbell knows how much I admired him.  I regret that I didn’t make sure he did.  When I moved next door, he couldn’t read.  I’ll never forget the pride and sparkle in his eyes when he told me that he’d reached the fourth grade level.

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I looked for a picture of my house, but this is all I have on the computer.  It was in the last year of living next door to Mr. Campbell, and though his health was failing, you can see he still had a small garden close to his persimmon tree.

He had a deadly aim with his shot-gun.  Killed a groundhog, or something in that family, from his back door that was eating his greens.  But what was most important to him was coming next door to let me know that had the shot been too close to my dog, Daisy, who was in her lot, he wouldn’t have taken it.  Then, like a little boy, he asked me to come see his kill and pointed out the green teeth of the collard thief.

Collards. Peppers. Cabbage. Squash. Tomatoes. Eggplant. Green beans. Broccoli. You name it, he grew it.  It took a while for him to offer his bounty to me. My favorite was when he asked if I liked collards.  I said, yes sir! Especially how my grandma cooked them.  He walked over to the collard patch, yanked up the whole plant, and handed it to me.  I’m sure he was amused at my face as I stood there holding the plant, roots dropping dirt at my feet.  He chuckled, told me how to clean them, then said, “You call your grandma to find out how to cook ’em.”

And that’s what I did.  They were good.  Not hers, but good.

Mr. Campbell never came into my house, and I never went into his.  But we looked out for each other.  I’d lived there for about fifteen years when I put a sign for my church in my front yard.  He walked over to make sure it wasn’t a “For Sale” sign.  That’s when he told me.

“I couldn’t ask for a better neighbor, Miss Season.”

I couldn’t either, Mr. Campbell.

Mr. Campbell died not long after Steven and I got married.  It made moving not quite as difficult.

We didn’t have a fence, but I was lucky to have good neighbor.