Sunday, July 30, 2006

Glass and Knives and ....Cockroaches?

My Dad called last night to tell me that Aunt Dicie has been released from her nursing home/rehab center. She is in her 90's and has no kids of her own. (Aunt Dicie is my PaPa's older sister.) Anyway, she can't go home until it's been cleaned out.

You see, Aunt Dicie is a dumpster diving pack rat. I would say that she's a compulsive hoarder but she's way too generous. She goes through the dumpsters and gets out toys, clothes, furniture, kitchen stuff, you name it. She cleans it up, packs it into boxes and tries to give it away. It's like a ministry. My kids love her. She's always giving them toys. Problem is, she can't give it away as fast as she gets it. Thus, a trailer FULL of boxes which she can't get around in in a walker or wheelchair. It had to be cleaned out. So Dad called Kim and I, since we have so much experience in cleaning up after compulsive 'gatherers'.

She's been away for about 3 months after a really nasty fall. While, her kitchen has become completely infested with roaches and silver fish. (Now as you read on, keep in mind that Aunt Dicie was in the living room, sitting with her back to the kitchen.) We cleaned out the living room in about 30 minutes. But the kitchen... eewww. As we picked up one item, we'd have to shake the roach off of it. We tried to do this quietly because we didn't want to embarrass Aunt Dicie. The boxes got a good kick and shake before they were moved. But in one case they just clung to the bottom of the box. As I turned toward the front door and took a couple of steps they decided to make a break for it, all 20 of them, up the sides of the box.... in my hands. I then executed the very difficult and yet beautifully funny "drop-the-box-shake-all-over-and-try-to-scream-silently" dance. I am an expert in this form of dance.

Kim's prayer life was a sight to behold. Periodically she would stop, shake her arms about and quietly pray "Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus."

The interesting thing about roaches is that when disturbed from their current station, they run directly for the closest thing... no matter how crowded with its relatives it may be. And as long as they weren't running up my legs, I was good with that. Until the last three boxes. It was to these remaining three boxes that all the other roaches had run. So when Kim tried to pick up a basket that was sitting on top, about a hundred roaches tried to make a break for it.

At this point, from my perch on my sister's head, my prayer life improved also. We were running in place, silently screaming, praying, waving our arms around and basically trying to crawl out of our skin to safety.

Ellas comes into the kitchen and witnesses the Running Of The Roaches. Of course, being Ellas, he thinks this is pretty neat. Kim says sweetly, in a pinched voice about three octaves too high, "Ellas, out of the kitchen! Out. Get out of the house." She's trying not to let Aunt Dicie know what's going on. Ellas takes a few steps towards the living room, "Why?" Kim's response was pretty calm and slick, considering that I was still perched on her head praying, "Because there's glass and knives..." And as Ellas starts to pass Aunt Dicie's chair, he adds, "And cock roaches!"

I thought it was hilarious. Here we were suffering, trying not to let her know she had a roach problem and Ellas just blurts it out. Thanks, Ellas!

We never did get the last three boxes out. We had run out of hefty bags. Dad has to go back and do it. So if you see a man being carried away on the backs of several hundred roaches, give me a call.

My Inner Princess

Inside me is an inner princess battling to get out. This inner princess is the part of me that is free from cares. She smiles a lot, never has stomach aches from worrying and is, generally speaking, very pleasant to be with. Her wicked step-sister is temporarily in charge. She likes to dwell on her screw ups and complain. Her head hurts and her stomach aches over mistakes. She is very serious. The two sisters are scrapping right now.

Inside me, a battle rages. My flesh is mean and doesn't fight fair. My flesh 'feels' every screw up keenly. My flesh screams like a spoiled brat, "Pay attention to me! I'm in charge here!"

But my spirit is cherished by the Holy Spirit. My spirit whispers over and over, "I am a princess. I don't have to do penance for my sins. I am loved and beautiful. I am being changed and transformed." My spirit is very stubborn and persistent. It doesn't give up and shut up when it's told to. It doesn't tuck it's tail and run at the loud screaming of my flesh. No matter how loudly my flesh screams, somehow my spirit... the Holy Spirit... is quietly louder.

I will bask in his glow. I will lock the wicked step-sister in the closet and tell her to shut up. And then I'll run to the throne room and sit in my Daddy's lap and be a princess.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Job Search

Chris and I went to Six Flags this past Tuesday. Loads of fun. Seriously. We rode the Goliath 6 times and the Deja Vu twice. Plus every other roller coaster there. (Except the Ninja and Scream Machine... I wanted to keep my head attached to my body) My throat hurt for 2 days from screaming. Anyways...

While we were there, we saw this man there with his family. He was in his thirties, a little on the heavy side, not heavily pierced. But he had a bright red mohawk. Chris' question... What in the world does a grown man with a red mohawk do for a living? We then spent the remainder of our time in the line for the Mind Bender thinking up suitable professions.

A musician.
A mechanic.
A wrestler.
A tatoo artist.
A bartender.
A bouncer.
A motorcycle salesman.
A short-order cook.
A body guard.

That's what we came up with... any more ideas?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Numbness

My brain is numb. Well... mostly numb. Okay, maybe not numb. But definitely slow.

This has been the week of Camp Cornerstone. I'm a guide. People tend to think that being a guide is sooo hard. But I'll let you in on a secret. It's the easiest job there. To me anyway. No prep work required. I just show up, lead my group of 5th and 6th graders from one activity to another and enjoy them. No lesson plans, no lectures, no responsibility.

Okay, there is a little responsibility. I help them learn their memory verses. Which I am exceptionally good at, thanks to Jenny's hand motions. G begrudgingly has to admit that my group is good at the verses. He is forced to give my group candy as a prize. Poor man.

Camp is so good for the kids. They are challenged to think outside of their pat answers: God, Jesus, prayer, etc. But it is also a beautiful thing for me. Last night I had trouble sleeping because of a particular issue in my life. I felt sick over my sin. Sick over my failure as a friend and mother. Just sick period. So I come to Camp C desperately tired and defeated. We sing. I feel superficially better. Crafts - still not doing so good. Fuss at my group too much. Next? Story time. With my cool friend Quinn. He's a great 'relater'. He puts things in a way that they can be understood and felt. His lesson? Atonement. Using Jesus and Barabas as examples. I cried most of the class. I am Barabas. And Jesus knew that. My sin was before him. My selfishness. My laziness. My blinding self-deceit. He saw it. He wanted me for Himself. Enough to be brutalized. Our verse for today was, "He was pierced through for our transgression. He was crushed for our iniquities. And the chastisement for our well-being fell upon Him. By his scourging we are healed." As Quinn pointed out, it's a very violent verse. Very bloody.

I was made whole. I felt my wholeness come upon me anew today as I once again heard of His atonement for me. There is no guilt. No mistake. No burden. No condemnation. Only love. Freedom. Trust. Faith.

Thank you Quinn for reminding me. Thank you God for Camp Cornerstone. Thank you God for the gospel... it frees me every time I hear it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cigareettes and Beer and Wild, Wild Women

Last night, Chris and I went to hear Adam Wright and his band play. Wow. They are so incredible. I completely enjoyed it. Their sound is so ecclectic and polished. It's so cool to watch really, really talented people get together.

They played at a bar and grill. If you ask me, it was way more bar than grill. Lots of drinking and even more smoking. Loud talking. People trying to 'find' someone. It was my first time in a bar. I didn't see the appeal. If it hadn't been for Adam's music, I wouldn't have stayed. It was uncomfortable to me.

That whole scene was strange and not 'normal' to me. I watched women flirt and seduce. And the men evade and then flirt back. My first internal response was, at the very best condescending, and at the worst judgemental. Why would you do that? Why take the risks? Do you really expect good to come from it?.... You can hear my attitude can't you? I wasn't condemning as much as confused and a little curious. With a dose of self-righteousness thrown in.

On the way home, Chris and I talked about all of this. My take was to wrinkle my nose and avoid that situation from now on. Chris' heart was touched. Where I had seen weird people doing pointless things, he had seen lonely people in need of Christ. Those were his words... "Crissy, they're lonely and they don't have God. What else can they do?"

It reminded me of the passage where Jesus wept for Jerusalem. His heart was 'filled with compassion'. He didn't avoid them or wait for them to come to church. He sought them out. He went to the places of ill repute. Yet, we are so afraid of our reputation or our 'testimony' that we avoid these people like lepers... (which coincidentally, Christ wasn't afraid of either.)

Am I willing to throw my reputation away? Am I willing to reach out to the addicts, the whores, the drunks? Or am I only willing to reach out to the religious, the pure, the repentant.... the Pharisees? Christ said the sick need the doctor not the well. The ones who would condemn me for ruining my 'testimony' are the ones who have no need of Christ themselves. They've got it all together. They're good people. They go to church, tithe, take meals to the sick, vote pro-life, uphold the law and have morals..... wait, I just described myself.

Can I love the gays and the drunks and the loose-moraled? Only if I identify myself with them and cling to the cross of Christ. Then and only then can they see the cross. I can't just point to it like a landmark. I have to hold on to it like a drunk clings to his bottle. That they can identify with. That they can see.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Another shot of my daisies. I just like the composition of this picture. Posted by Picasa

I took this picture from my porch swing. You can see some of my pretty flowers. I love the light in this one. Barry's letting me borrow his 8 megapixel digital camera. Let me just say.... I love it! Posted by Picasa