Lessons from a Hot Mustang Convertable


Honey, I’m ho-o-ome! I had a wonderful time on vacay but when my tires rolled onto the first strip of sacred Louisiana ground, I have to say my heart soared. Yum, it is delicious to be home again. I have lived here longer than I have ever lived anywhere. I grew up as an Air Force brat so I can safely say I’ve been around the world and back – all before I was 16 years old. I moved around a bit after I grew up too, successfully squelching future wanderlust. I love to travel but I like having my roots planted. There is a sign on my wall that says What I love Most about my Home is Who I share it with. That’s pretty much a blanket statement about how I feel, especially because my beloved stayed home while I fled the quiet life to search out family, friends, and fans. Sort of. Ok, the fan part? I said that because I had two book signings while on my trip; one in Heber Springs, Arkansas and the other in Warrensburg, Missouri. I had a blast, but I’ll go into that later. First I want to tell you about a lesson the Universe (read Higher Power, then translate that into God) threw at me via a black convertible.

Create a mental picture, if you will; me, driving on a four-lane just past Little Rock, Arkansas, going south. It’s early morning, traffic is practically non-existent, unbelievably. A blonde chick in a very impressive, shiny, muscular Mustang passes me going maybe five miles over the speed limit. Then she changes lanes in front of me. Then she slows down. Somehow, I think she made a mistake. So I change lanes because, after all, I am going the speed limit and if I stay behind her, she may find out the hard way that she is driving too slow. Can’t have that, can we? Don’t think about me being in my >ahem< late fifties with more grey than blonde hair, looking more frumpy than hot, driving a twelve-year-old car with two hundred and six thousand miles on it. Well, let’s say blonde chick didn’t read the signs because she passes me again and slows down directly in front of me. I rode it out for a few miles until Stupid Pride won a tug of war with Common Sense and I had to pass her again. This time I gun it and take off down the road. I’m pretty smug about it. I think to myself that’ll show her it’s not the ride, it’s experience that counts. She eats my dust for about twenty miles.

Yeah, experience. That’s what is important, right? Some things you just have to trust and experience is one of them. I am an experienced woman. Old enough to know better, wise enough to resist. Every wrinkle earned from life’s toughest times. A maturity that comes from working hard and solving the riddles of life. Yadda yadda yadda. So, I am full of myself, driving and passing, bobbing and weaving through traffic, feeling like an expert experienced driver-woman. I find myself in the left lane, traffic thickening, more cars in line going who-knows-where. The car in front of me doesn’t want to speed up even one mile over the limit and the camaraderie of cars surrounding it becomes impatient. Finally a break. The one in front pulls over and I speed past. But, picture this, traffic slows down and becomes slightly compressed around me. I notice blonde chick is behind me again. My ego deflates and I somehow feel less experienced and important because she has caught up with me. We travel along for a bit before I look to the right and see that there is room and all I have to do is change lanes and let the hot convertible whiz by but I hesitate. If I do it, I will lose.

Suddenly, I realize blonde chick doesn’t even know she’s in a race. And, by the way, where is the finish line? As I change lanes and she zooms past, it dawns on me….It’s not how fast you get to the finish line, it’s not even getting to the finish line, it’s who you help get there that is important.

It took a silly, pride-full, analogy of traffic and racing to get ahead to teach me this lesson. It’s not getting yourself there, it’s helping someone else get there. That is what we are called to do as a people of God. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you see, sometimes that is the only way He can get through to me. I am, at times, pretty silly. And maybe a little slow. Pun intended.

Let me take this one step further and share the scripture waiting for me on my calendar when I got home. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Now that can’t be a coincidence, can it? I don’t think so. I call it sweet confirmation, a Divine nod in the direction of ‘you got it, girl’.

Oh, you thought I was going to say I got a speeding ticket, didn’t you? Sorry. I think I was driving faster in your head than I actually was on the road.

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WHAT WAS I THINKING??


I love Vacation Bible School and the reason I do is because, lucky for me, my older grandchildren get to come spend a week with me. I volunteer to help out and I do it for them, so they can have something fun to do when they come to Nana’s in the summertime. That is my favorite part of the summer!

Ok, so this is how it went this year: Today is day three and it’s not called hump day without good reason. Believe me, we have humped up double time to get this far. We have cut, painted, hammered,taped, tacked, and zip-tied everything you can imagine. We enlisted the church’s youth group to help build elaborate stage sets, only to see them melt and fall apart after being left without air conditioning for a couple of days. After the initial let down, everyone worked frantically and feverishly to get it all returned to pre-melt status, successfully, I might add. The stage looks awesome! It has taken days, nay, weeks to get everything done. If it is, indeed, done. Our DRE (Director of Religious Education) has had her work cut out for her. I couldn’t have done it.

Spoiler alert: Here comes the What Was I Thinking part. There are somewhere around 60 kids enrolled in VBS this year. We are thrilled! Can’t you just see the sweet little things running to VBS breathlessly to share Jesus Christ and love of one another? Uh. No. It’s HUMP DAY. That means the team leaders are exhausted, the whole staff is exhausted, the kids want MORE. They want more fun, more projects, more movies, more snacks. They remember how much fun day one and day two were and they expect to have an equally enthusiastic program for days three, four, and five. I’m not so sure that is possible.

I knew today would be a challenge almost as soon as my lovely feet hit the floor. Because I didn’t wash my hair when I showered last night, I had to it this morning. Let me clarify that – I stood just outside the shower so I could bend over far enough and use the hand-held shower head aimed at my hair so I could wash it. Mistake. Why the hell didn’t I just take another shower instead of having to end up mopping the floor too? Again, lucky for me, Paw Pete asked me if there was anything he could do to help me out. Why, thank you. Please feed the animals, I mean, grandkids. That was a big help. He fed them each two pancakes and one corndog. That effort alone gave me enough time to mop the water out of the bathroom floor and dry my hair, in that order. Somehow I knew it was going to be that kind of day from the moment I pulled my clothes on. I found a string and started to pull it. I pulled and pulled. I’m a little slow so it took a moment for me to realize that the reason it was going around and around my waist was because the little string that I pulled was coming from the waistband of my underwear. The more that I pulled, the more sure I was of the type of day I would have. I had to go to VBS with my underwear barely hanging on, to say nothing of how diligently I had to work to keep it on. But I made it, thanks to the power of prayer. Yes, Virginia, God answers all our prayers, especially when he wants his disciples to set good examples for the youth. Wearing underclothes is not optional, it is mandatory.

I thought I had more than three baby grands to corral to the car from the way it looked as we were leaving. We were like a gaggle of cartoon characters trying to get out of the door at the same time. This is the way it has been all week with very few variances from day to day. Right before the program started on the first day, I realized I left something in my car and I had to go back to get it. It was a good thing I did. My car door was still open. That was a disaster waiting to happen. Thank you, Lord, for taking care of that one too!

My one and only job during the years I have volunteered to help out at VBS has been to man the video station. I like it because I don’t have to be in a big crowd or be surrounded by a lot of noise. That’s another What Was I Thinking episode. Every year, I say I’m not going to do it again, yet every year I still do. I don’t like noise. I don’t do well in crowds. But I do love it when I see precious little hands folded together in prayer. And I love to see a little kid’s face light up when they tell about the ‘God sighting’ they had. I love the fact that VBS is more than just a summertime babysitting gig, it’s a real job. Maybe one of the biggest. There is no cashable paycheck but influencing our children to understand and master the art of worship and the act of loving one another is a heavy responsibility with an eternity worth of dividends. I’m not sure how good of an example I am setting but I’m trying very hard to do the right thing. I’m trying to help my baby grands create great memories of summertime at Nana’s house.

So anyway, tomorrow is day four and I hope we all go back feeling renewed and refreshed so we can present a program that will be something the little ones will enjoy and remember. It will be an exercise in faith to overcome the exhaustion, trust me. I will be certain that my hair gets washed and the waist band of my underwear is good. And somebody please be sure the car doors are closed

It’s a good thing VBS has yummy snacks!

Don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. The whole world needs your prayers.

A Swinging Summer!


I love summertime!  Except for the heat.  And the mosquitoes.  It would be perfect except for those.  But in order to enjoy what God gives us for the summertime, we have to endure the not so nice things, too.  Believe me, there is more to enjoy than to simply endure.

The smell – I love the smell of summer.  Have you ever noticed that when the heat is on, the scent of flora and fauna is more intense? (try saying that three times)  And the smell of fresh-cut grass, yummy.  Can you remember the smell of the lake?  The sand and surf?  Did your mama take you to the library in the summer?  I can smell that even now as I type.  And need I mention the delicious scent of BBQ?  The smell of tomato plants?

Something else I’ve attributed to summertime is the fact that there seems to be more wildlife activity.   Early in the morning, noisy birds could care less who they wake up with their cackling songs.  In the evenings, crickets and cicadas sing you to sleep with droning lullabies.  Squirrels come out of hiding, opossums and crafty raccoons ransack garbage cans as armadillos root up your garden.  Oh, and don’t forget those cold-blooded snakes slithering onto the hot pavement to warm themselves (run over those suckas!).  In the area where I live, it’s not unusual to see the occasional alligator taking a short cut through the yard on the way to the lake.  Don’t forget butterflies.  They are the best, aren’t they?  As a child, I imagined them to be angels, seeing as how they drift and float and delight in the beauty and sweet nectar of summer flowers.  I love butterflies.  I have a lot of flowers in my gardens and butterflies are everywhere.  Summertime butterflies.  And speaking of summer time sights – look up, see the night sky filled with heavenly diamonds so much more prevalent this time of year.

Summer noise:  kids splashing in the pool, laughing at the playground in the park, calling to each other while they ride their bikes, the tic-tic-tic of an old sprinkler, lawnmowers.  We used to hear screen doors slamming in the summer, but not anymore.  Now we hear air conditioning units constantly groaning under the oppressive heat that global warming has insured.

Vacation Bible School.  Remember that?  For a few years now, I’ve volunteered to help out at our church for summer VBS.  The thing that’s different about it at this time in my life is that I get to bring my grandchildren with me.  Joy!  What joy!  I love it, although I will ask for your prayers because I’ll have three grandchildren here for 6 days.  Lordy, help me.  Luckily for me, our VBS director understands my -shall we say- peculiarities and allows me to man the video room.  When the lights go out for the dvd show, all of the kids get quiet and I stay calm.  LOL!

Summer vacations!  Although I have had very few traveling vacations in my adult life, those that I have had were way over-the-top!  This summer, our vacation took the form of two days, one night in NOLA, that is, New Orleans, Louisiana.  We met up with some very dear friends celebrating their tenth anniversary and, as usual when we get together, we had a great time.  I love NOLA, and though she is a hot city in the summertime, she is the heart of our great state.  What a generous, great lady!

Now for the shameless plug.  If you have followed what I have been doing lately, you know I have learned how to do a little bead weaving.  This is a red and black watch that I put together using the bead weaving technique.

Another bracelet I’ve been working on is a complete five decade, five strand bracelet made out of smokey gray faceted Czech beads, aurora borealis beads, and seed beads.  Very fancy.

 

Finally, let me show you a tribute to my fair Louisiana:  A rosary made with linked jasper the color of earth, with bronze Fluer Di Lis Paters, and a special hand-cast bronze center featuring the chalice and host of the Holy Eucharist.

If you would like to see more of my work, visit my etsy shops:

www.etsy.com/shop/nanaspocket

www.etsy.com/shop/ToLoveAlways

Use this coupon code for a great discount at check out:  BLOGFAN1

Please consider rating this blog, sharing it, or dropping a comment for me.  I’d really appreciate it!