Of Fobs and Robbers

“Locks are for honest people.”

Ever heard that quote?

As a kid, it puzzled me, much like the combination I had to learn every school year to get into my locker.

Last night, Fabio made a guest appearance on a cable news show revealing how very recently his and other celebrities’ homes had been broken into and property pilfered.

This month my hubby and I took in one of our cars for an oil change and we brought back an additional SUV with only one key.

A visit to a local locksmith yielded two useless pieces of metal.

Calls to hardware stores and other smith agents netted zero results.

Finally, agreeing the solution involved divesting our bank account, we returned to the dealership where I did some stealing of my own:

“Just who is this Ward we’re pulling for?” I asked the receptionist pointing to the large sign overhead.

Her wide grin proved worth the snatching.

Later, raiding remembrances with my hubby extracted more.

Once after hearing a radio sermon on his way home from work he burst through the front door exclaiming:

“Did you know every time you look in the mirror your observing constant decay? Our bodies are undergoing continual entropy!”

All this proudly delivered like the best and most fascinating news e-v-u-r.

I’m pretty sure that if you could have seen my face, it would have registered shock and a dropped jaw. Crickets may or may not have been heard above me.

Sure enough, the next study of my image while washing my face and brushing my teeth revealed evidence of that robber of youth and vigor: time.

A gray eyelash, dark spots on my cheek and deepening creases on my chin and neck cheated me of joy and contentment.

Days after his imposing proclamation as we drove to local footpaths for a walk my hubby sighed.

“I miss running.”

“So do I.” I sighed back.

His head snapped so fast I feared whiplash.

“You’ve never liked running!”

“I used to run for miles and miles.” I  beamed like a Chesire cat.

“On my horse!”

This gouged a grin.

“I like it when your eyes sparkle, you look especially beautiful.”

“What, for the state of decay I’m in?”

On another trek together beside the rolling Columbia River, feeling plundered again, I poured out my concerns to my hubby.

Our family is missing two precious people in a recent relational breakup, Tori, the dove egg orphan we’re incubating has yet to hatch, and chapter nine of my memoir in progress perplexes.

We talk about:

  • John Ross from our own Washington state being the ninth NFL draft pick (of the first round!).
  • My attending a local junior college observatory showing of Planet Nine. And the fact that Pluto will always be one to us.
  • Guess how many goslings we counted in passing?

Upon returning to our vehicle, we discovered there is no key entry from the passenger side. As my hubby hurried to open the driver side door, I pulled the keyless entry mechanism from my pocket and opened all the doors.

“You’re fob-ulous!” My hubby sang out.

We laughed.

The short drive to the store to shop for groceries found me ruminating on the unusual occurrences involving the number nine and the Serenity Prayer written by American theologian Reinold Niebuhr.

“God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Beyond grateful to my heavenly Father for unlocking the secret places of my heart and restoring hope, I whispered,

“You’re fob-ulous.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Life in Bus Passes

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

How do you mark time?

Recently, there’s a trend among the young mom set to snap pics of their “littles” next to a living or even stuffed pet.

Brilliant!

Something stable and unchanging with which to measure growth.

Photos of our two sons in front of a Dutch Elm or Red Maple on the first day of preschool all the way to highschool present a problem.

Trees grow too!

Discovering our oldest son’s personal yearbook I’d assembled at a time when my hubby used our one car to get to work and back, delighted me. Monthly bus passes he’d used to get to school and back next to his cherished face helped me really see him.

A tired smile. A great big grin. A flash of annoyance in his baby-blues.

The passage of time through captured emotion!

We’re nearly 4/12 through another year. The calendar pages flying.

Our family’s grown from four to seven in under a decade.

BUT

I’d hoped for nine.

Joy mingles with sorrow as the month of April wanes.

While I’ve just started my “fifififififties” (as a dear friend likes to say) it’s the last 1/12 for my hubby who’s a tad more “formerly youthful.”

“What about the future?” We’re asking each other more and more.

Residual health issues and financial reversals aside–What do we want life to look like?

Say what you will about Christopher Columbus–his quote inspires:

“Following the light of the Sun we left the Old World behind.”

Would you have the courage to petition a King and Queen to fund your dreams and make the risky voyage across oceans?

Would I?

In my corner of the world, my biggest adventure is incubating and nurturing a dove egg orphaned a day ago.

The odds are stacked against us. But she now has a name: Victoria. Tori for short. Her moniker comes from tor the Hebrew word for dove.

A few friends have rallied around me when the professionals and experts I’ve called offered condolences. My hubby holds me AND his tongue.

It’s just one egg in a world replete with rock pigeons.

Who really cares?

The One Who notices a single sparrow that falls to the ground (Matthew 10:29).

Who’s seen every emoji cross our faces in real life.

Just now the cooing of a mourning dove floated from our back yard.

So, live or die, I can rest assured at having done all to sustain life.

Yup.

That’s a trip worth taking.

Ordinary World

April the Giraffe with her yet-to-be named Calf / Photo courtesy of unknown (04-2017)

Have you heard?

It’s a boy for Oliver and April!

The May-December romance begat a 129 pound, five feet nine inches tall healthy baby on April 15, 2017 at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY.

Ordinarily, a Giraffidae gestation period lasts 13-15 months (Wikipedia.org). But this pregnancy stretched-and stretched-and…to nearly 16. So, the due date of April 1, found everyone fooled.

Although usa.today.com reported that over 1.2 million people watched the birth live on YouTube and over 750,000 watched from the zoo’s Facebook page, I would have remained oblivious.

Except.

A few months ago, during a routine haircut, my lovely friend and stylist, Shawna, excitedly shared with me about the giraffe cam she (and a great thousand’s of others!) had discovered.

As we spent more time together, the topic naturally came up in conversation, and so what normally only happens in the far-away and exotic African countries of Niger, Zimababwe, Tanzania, and Kenya became of interest to me, because of my relationship with her.

Standard online research revealed the Giraffa Calfa’s name is up for a vote.

Pix11.com top ten names:

  1. Unity
  2. Patches
  3. Apollo
  4. Patch
  5. Peter
  6. Harpur
  7. Geoffrey
  8. Noah
  9. Ollie
  10. Alyssa’s choice

Being late to the party, per usual, my choice won’t even be considered:  Kungoja, the everyday Swahili word for wait. Kungi or even Goj for short could work, right?

But I can’t wait to tell my nzuri rafiki (Swahili for beautiful friend)!

What fun to pass on to her all I’ve learned: Each individual giraffe has a unique coat pattern. Like a zebra’s stripes or a Dalmatians’ spots.

In the day-to-day drudge of sick-sad-news and typical tasks, I think it would be fair to say that most of us dream of Love. Freedom. Something to awaken our spirits and lift us above the mundane while linking us together.

An average giraffe doing what all Mama mammals do, bringing everyday people together.

Not so ordinary, after all.

I love how Ann Voskamp’s New York Times Best Selling book, one thousand gifts, “dared readers to live fully right where you are.”

“Like most, she hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists about once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

‘How,’ Voskamp wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?'”

Not long ago, my youngest son answered in a similar way, when I asked what he would tell his friends to encourage them:

First, he told me to find Ben Howard’s video on YouTube, spurring others to, “Keep your head up. Keep your heart strong. Keep your mind set.”

What fun and check!

Then he said to name three things/blessings you’re thankful for.

  • God
  • Family
  • Friends

Check.

Lastly, pick one goal you will accomplish today.

“The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Yup.

I’ll be watching. Looking. Waiting.

Because the ordinary really can be extraordinary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life From Thorns

I once knew a girl from Wisconsin who blinked naked.

She confessed to pulling out her eyelashes because she couldn’t help it.

Although it seemed strange to me, a popular phrase at the time, spilled like dangerous rapids into my mind and a death-trap out of my mouth:

“Whatever floats your boat.”

Who knew barren eyelids were only a symptom of a wasteland life?

Standing on opposite sides of a barbed-wire fence, the lush green pasture beneath me lay in stark contrast to the fallow ground under my country neighbor.

“Aren’t they pretty? I want to decorate one for Christmas!” She pointed to a patch of Cyran tumbleweeds beside her.

She was so earnest I didn’t have the heart to tell her by winter they’d be nothing but spine corpses. Or that was one of the weirdest things I’d ever heard.

So, I did what any damaged and empty, person would do. I rejected her. For good.

By December 25, her brother died by suicide. She and the rest of her detached family-like the prickly bushes she loved-rolled away.

The next spring, I heard an old, old story about a hill far away and a Savior who came from glory.

That baby born in a manger I’d celebrated the season before, turned out to be God’s Son all grown up. Sent from heaven to earth as the message of God’s love.

As proof, He went about doing good; healing the sick, opening blind eyes and deaf ears, and even raising the dead back to life.

So, why did people hate Him?

And if He was all-powerful, what good could possibly come from His horrific beatings, torture, and death on a splintered tree?

Jesus spiked to a cross. A thorn-crowned King.

Dying to save the world.

Dying to save me.

How bizarre!

That is one of the weirdest things I’d ever heard.

Life from thorns?

So, I did what any damaged, empty person CAN do. I accepted Him. For good.

Winter’s lingered in my corner of the world. Record-breaking snowfall left our region freezer-burned and lifeless. And though it’s officially Spring, the days have been colored in dismal gray. Like a tombstone.

Yesterday, a stinging spat and hurt feelings between my husband me brought the same.

“Come here, there’s something I want to show you!” My husband called from the open garage door.

Shaking off my resentment and hurt, I reluctantly followed. He stopped near the utility boxes on the side of our house.

Photo courtesy of Glenda Zylinski

Was that a tumbleweed nest?

How weird!

“Is that what killed our phone and internet connections?” I sighed.

My husband shook his head.

“Look closer.”

My breath caught.

Photo courtesy of Glenda Zylinski

Life from thorns.

Photo courtesy of Glenda Zylinski

 

Tracking Tomorrow

Photo courtesy of Pexels

How are you chasing someday?

Perhaps you know and use one of the seven tools Michael Hyatt recommends on his blog where he writes about moving beyond “good intentions to taking action and systematically measuring progress.”

7 Apps to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Build New Habits

  • Nozbe
  • Goals on Track
  • Life Tick
  • Strides
  • Coach.Me
  • Habit List
  • irunurun

Or maybe you’re like me and calendarize your life on hardcopy squares with bright stickers and color coded appointments, deadlines, and other important dates.

I’m praying about and working hard to meet goals large and small (Finish a book in seven months, lose 2 pounds a week this month, attend a live online webinar, find an Easter outfit, answer a snail mail letter from my mother-in-law, and that task I’ve put off far too long-clean the fridge!).

It’s possible, that like me, you also keep ongoing commitments to your church, volunteer work; school or non-profit organization or other public services opportunities.

But how often do we add fun?

“When was the last time you tried something for the first time?”

Just yesterday, one of my favorite music groups, the band Switchfoot, gave me that pop quiz via a CD in my car (as I completed errands scratched hastily in forest green on my 2017 Bless Israel kitchen calendar).

At breakfast this morning, I asked my hubby and his eyes glazed over trying to remember.

I ticked off a list of some ultra-memorable firsts:

  • Snuba diving in crystalline waters off the shore of a tropical island
  • Horseback riding on the beach
  • Kayaking on a mountain lake

Some notable firsts:

  • Attending a Switchfoot concert
  • Hiking a mountain logging road to the tippy-top (and being rewarded with wave upon wave of pine forest as far as the eye could see…)
  • Riding the Matterhorn (scariest at the time) in a popular CA theme park

Some fun firsts:

  • Trying alligator and conch appetizers
  • Strawberry cherries
  • Making baba ganoush (an eggplant dip) and hummus from scratch

And some hobby firsts:

  • Making a pinwheel baby quilt stitched by hand
  • Teaching myself crochet (I’m working on my fifth blanket in two years)
  • Learning watercolor painting techniques through a community class

So, while we’re grinding grueling to make ends meet, carry out commitments to worthy causes, or leave our mark on the sands of time, I propose penciling, plugging, or stylusing in recreational breaks and hobbies. Maybe something new?

www.postivelypresent.com reveals:

7 Benefits of Having Hobbies

  1. Hobbies encourage taking a break
  2. Hobbies promote eustress (that positive kind of stress)
  3. Hobbies offer a new challenge
  4. Hobbies unite you with others
  5. Hobbie provide an outlet for stress
  6. Hobbies promote staying in the present
  7. Hobbies have physical health benefits

Relaxing or learning something new doesn’t have to be expensive. Googling things to do on a budget yields some great ideas!

Exploring a new bicycle trail to catch memories with my hubby will fill tomorrow’s calendar square nicely.

Today.

Photo courtesy of pixaby.com/Gkenius