Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sadly, this

turned into this

and this

became this

It reminds me of this:

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."
~Isaiah 40:8

Monday, May 25, 2009

When I got out of bed this morning my hygrometer registered 80%. I like that word - hygrometer. I was unaware of the word until just recently when I began checking "the thing" which has existed in my home for many years. We have this cool thing that includes a thermometer, a barometer and "the thing" that tells humidity. I guess I finally looked to see what "the thing" was called and that is when I discovered the word hygrometer. I am trying to figure out why I like it, but I cannot come up with a good reason. It must just be because I like words and, to me, it is a new word. I once took a class titled Etymology. I think I took it because the word itself intrigued me and, wouldn't you know, it means the study of words! I loved that class. So if I had gone to college, I wonder if there was a field of study involving Etymology?

But back to the 80% reading on my hygrometer.

I grew up with humidity and remember it being sort of a bad word. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Minnesotans say that all the time. I learned the truth of that statement when I moved to Idaho where there is virtually no humidity. My first year there I spent boatloads of money on lotion, just trying to prevent my skin from flaking off my body. Summer temperatures in Idaho are generally in the 90's and sometimes a little over 100. Due to the arid climate that never felt bad, in fact at the time it was downright wonderful. I acclimated pretty fast. I had only been there a couple of years when one day I thought it was feeling particularly humid. I checked someplace (I didn't yet own a hygrometer) and found that the humidity that day was 14%. And I felt it! I was amazed. Then I spent four months (summer months!) in Virginia. Upon my return to Idaho several people, probably Idaho natives, asked me "Did you hate the humidity?" I could tell they fully expected me to say "Yes, it was awful" and then we could dialog about what an awful place Virginia is and how Idaho really is practically heaven. When I replied "No, I loved the humidity" that generally ended the conversation. Their lips pursed and you could see in their eyes that they thought my next move ought to be to an insane-asylum.

I am now entering my 3rd summer in Virginia and for some crazy, unknown reason, I am still loving the humidity. I love it for my skin. (I think it minimizes some of the wrinkles!) but in some vague way I keep thinking the humidity makes me feel more alive. Maybe some of the cells in my body had withered away from lack of moisture and they are now coming back to life. (What a strange thought!) Admittedly, most of the summer it will be too hot and humid to have the windows open, but for now I open them as wide as I can, as often as I can, which includes opening the house up at night. So as I walked across the wood floor this morning, on my way to the hygrometer, the floor literally felt moist under my feet, and there was a spot where it felt as if the wood was bowed just a bit. I flashed back to my most beloved house. It was a modest little place built in 1905. Among the many things I loved about that house were the wood floors. They were made of pine, original to the house. The floors were put in with round wooden pegs. We were told by the people from whom we bought the house that the floors should never be sanded and refinished or those pegs would be ruined and hence the whole floor would be ruined. The boards were varying widths. They had dips and divots and the most amazing patina of time.

When we purchased our current house we were advised that, for the sake of the floors, we should never leave the windows open. Humidity and (relative) dryness, expansion and contraction, are not good for the wood floors. Sorry, good for the floors or not, I open my windows as often as possible, all year long. I looked at the floors this morning as I thought about the humidity and I remembered the wood floors from 1905. I wondered, in 90 years will this floor look as wonderful as those? These are "perfect" floors: all the same width, uniformly stained to a nice color. Boring. I must say that. I cannot help it. This floor, in all of it's new perfection, has no character, no uniqueness, nothing that makes it special. The dips and divots in the floor I loved were caused by things that should not have happened. They caused what many would consider imperfections. The patina could only be achieved through the passage of time. To some that floor would have no value because of it's condition. To me that was the perfect, most beautiful floor imaginable.

And this is my life! It is marked by things that perhaps should not have happened; it's appearance is changing with the passage of time. Little by little, a dip here and a divot there, I am being turned into something beautiful and valuable. No one looking for perfection will ever find beauty in me, but someone who appreciates character and uniqueness might find me captivating.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here is something that makes me happy:

They came out of MY garden. Yeah!!!!!!!!


We had a graduation today - preschool graduation! Unfortunately, my dropped-in-the-parking-lot-and-swimming-pool-too-many-times camera didn't work very well. It decided at a critical moment to only take one picture at a time. After each picture I had to turn the camera off then back on in order to get it to take another picture. This happened just as Ethan was walking down the aisle to receive his "diploma", so I missed getting a picture of the actual event. Here he is before and after (actually the pictures loaded as "after" and then "before". Whatever!)

I know Mom's are supposed to get teary and emotional at these events. My baby graduating and blah, blah, blah. Not me. I do a happy dance every time they pass a milestone. Woo-hoo! One step closer to them growing up and leaving me in a peaceful house! I'm a rotten mother, I know.

By the way, do you notice his funky hair? He decided to give himself a haircut a few weeks ago. Chopped a section right out of the middle. He has no idea how goofy it looks. Often it curls up on either side and looks like he has horns! I guess it's time for a summer shave.

Oh! One more thing. Each year the school has had them glue their picture on to a flower which says "I'm blossoming into..." They put what the child says he is going to be when he grows up. Last year Ethan's grand ambition was to be an ice cream salesman; you know, the guy who drives around in the truck playing annoying music and selling highly overpriced ice cream? This year, thankfully, he has set his sights a little higher. He now intends to be a secret agent. No free ice cream for me I guess. Maybe a cast off car or two? You know, James Bond BMW's and such. Nah, by the time he is old enough to cast off a car I'll be way too old to get into a sports car.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I have joy in the time of sorrow.
I have peace in the raging storm.
I have faith that Jesus holds tomorrow.
I have hope, I'm resting in His arms.

- Dallas Holm

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
- Psalm 33:20-22

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Walls Came Tumbling Down

The walls around my world have come tumbling down.

As I was contemplating the agony of my situation God said "Go read from 'Come Away My Beloved'." I couldn't move. If you have ever been REALLY depressed, you know what I mean. I couldn't go to that book because getting up from the couch was going to take too much effort. He told me 4 times. "Go Read. It has what you need." I finally decided I wanted to hear from God more than I wanted to be depressed, so I got the book. I am going to quote the entirety of the passage here because I do not know how to do less. Let me first say that as I read I cried and when I finished I wept, because God is so alive and He had me to the place in that book where I would read the words He had for me yesterday. Another day they would not have meant much, but yesterday they were a lifeline.

Head Into the Wind
Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time.
I Peter 5:6

O My beloved, do not be anxious concerning tomorrow. You shall encounter nothing of which I am not already aware. My mercy is concealed within every storm cloud. My grace flows beneath every crosscurrent. My wisdom has conceived a solution to every perplexity.
I have deliberately set obstacles in your path to test your prowess. I will not always cause favorable winds to blow upon your life, for then you would be at ease and would soon grow soft and dull. It is when the wind is high and the waves are threatening that you become alert and keen, and then I can strengthen your spiritual fiber.
The storm is not a thing to fear but rather to welcome. As soon as you have made the discovery that in the time of stress and strain you have the clearest revelations of Myself, You will learn to head into the wind with sheer delight.
Was this not true of the disciples? Looking out across the raging waters, what did they see? Was it not Jesus? Jesus - coming to them! To have had this happen only once would have been worth weathering many storms.
In the midst of the multiheated fiery furnace, what did the three Hebrew lads see? Was it not the living form of Jesus Christ Himself having come to join them? Yes, He shone so brightly to them that His brilliance obliterated the sight of the flames!
No, you need have no fear. You need not fear the fickleness of providence - for behind whatever looks to you like utter chaos, I have a plan working for your good.
You need never fear whether I will be faithful to you, for if I have never failed anyone else, why would I fail you? You have an innumerable company of spectators cheering you from the ramparts of heaven, reminding you of what I did for them and encouraging you that the struggle is not interminable; surprisingly soon it shall end in victory for you also - if you endure faithfully.
Do you fear the weakness within your own self? I have put it there to drive you to Myself. I may never answer your prayers to be made strong, but I will give you the same promise I gave the apostle Paul, that in your weakness I will be your strength. It is still true that My grace operates most effectively when you have a conscious sense of need - yes, even a desperate awareness of your own complete helplessness.
Miracles burst forth out of the moist, cold soil of human tragedy. Moist with tears and cold with hopelessness. I never get a chance to do miracles for you when you are occupied with self-realization - while you are entertaining ideas about what wonderful thing I am going to make out of you. I do not use you for material for miracles; I make miracles out of My own Being. I allow you to watch Me after you thoroughly understand that it is I who am supernatural, not you.
You do not have to be other than what I created you: human. You are only obligated to do that for which I created you: glorify Me. Stand back! Let God be God. Let man be man. Once you accept your limitations and settle the fact once and for all that I will never ask you to perform Herculean feats, you can begin to learn what I really have in mind for you.
I am not discouraged with you, but you will become discouraged with yourself if you are not able to comprehend the truth of what I taught through Paul, that it is the foolish whom I use to confound the wise, and the things which are nothing to shatter man's pride in the things he has made himself.
I am the Ruler, and I will reign. You can resist Me, but it shall inevitably be to your own destruction. Love Me and trust Me, and stay in a place of humility. Mind you, God will exalt you. You need not exalt yourself.
You need only stay humble.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Springtime in Virginia

The past few weeks, every time I drive some place I think that I need to write about how beautiful Virginia is in the springtime. I have lived in 4 different states in basically 4 regions of the country and I don't think any place I've lived is as pretty as Virginia in the spring. I love flowers, and they just keep appearing in strange places here. First come the daffodils - not in suburban gardens but all along the freeways! There must be millions of them, literally. It shocks me. I'm driving along a mostly cement freeway and suddenly there is a burst of yellow daffodils. They are all along Highway 66 heading into D.C. I wonder who planted them? Then of course there are the cherry blossoms. This is just a guess on my part, but I think maybe because DC is famous for the cherry blossom trees everyone in the region wanted some for themself. Almost every boulevard in the town I live in is lined with cherry blossom trees, and many, many residences have them as well. During the short time that they are in bloom I drive along and think to myself "This is like heaven." (I cannot imagine the ecstasy I will be in if there are flowers in heaven, given that I get almost breathless looking at the flower lined boulevards here on earth!) The trees are in such abundance that when the blooms are spent and a bit of a wind blows, it appears to be snowing flower petals. And the petals pile up along curbs and driveways and look like snow. Even that is beautiful, though a bit sad. Next comes something I don't know the name of. Some vibrant lavender blossoms appear in thin strands on tree branches. I don't recall seeing these trees in front of any homes. I always see them randomly in the woods, which are everywhere here. You drive along Highway 95 and it appears to be all woods. Here and there within the woods are these trees covered in lavender blooms. At the same time, what I'm pretty sure are dogwood trees begin to bloom. And WISTERIA, again, wild - just randomly where you least expect it. Loads and loads of wisteria. Again, absolutely heavenly. Oh! And I cannot forget the azaleas. I see them in a lot of residential landscapes. Last year at this time we went to the National Botanical Gardens and truly I thought I had died and gone to heaven. There is a huge woodland garden area with drifts of azaleas as far as the eye can see. There are red, white, orange, pink and purple azalea. Just stunningly beautiful.