Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some Texas talk for Kay Day

On Tuesday I went to a hotel in Colorado Springs to a “write-out” with a bunch of writer friends. My friend Kay Day went with me and on the way back, some how we started talking in our southern accents. (Thank God no actual southerners were with us – we didn’t do them justice.)

In honor of that one hour ride full of giggling and silliness, I would like to throw out a few phrases from my home of Texas. I dedicate this to Kay Day and any other person who thinks its fun to talk like a hick sometimes. No disrespect intended. :0)

Kay Day, did you see that fella at my party last week? Well, he was ugly as a mud fence! He’s ugly as homemade soap and you know he’s dumber than dirt! He tried to sell me sumthin at my party and I knew he was crooked as a barrel of snakes. But I’m tough as a boot and quick as a hiccup so I hightailed it away from him.

But wouldn’t you know? He followed me. I got plum frustrated as a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest! He started to honest to goodness stalk me. Made me nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs!

I told him, “Why don’t you go to the house?”

I tell ya what, Kay, he was plug-ugly and mean and dag nab it, he wouldn’t go!

So I said, “Listen, come hell or high water, you are going to go! You are bout as welcome here as a skunk at a lawn party.”

He just stared at me. I tell you he must got whooped with an ugly stick cause he was down right frightful.

It started raining sumthin awful, a real frog-strangler! Apparently, this bothered him, cuz he finally turned and headed to his pick up truck. I saw the 22 across the back window, and I got shaky, but he started her up and lit out.

Supper was calling my name and that’s when we all went in and sat down for grub.

Did you see him? He was sumthin sorry, all right! Lower than a snake’s belly in my book. I feel a little bad for him though. I heard he was so poor he and his brother had to ride double on their stick horse.

Oh well. That’s a whole nuther story. :0)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Exercising Your Passion!

Have you exercised your passion today?

I have the honor and blessing to be doing just that right now. I’m sitting at the Broadmoor, a beautiful hotel in Colorado Springs, writing with several of my writing peeps. I know I am blessed to be able to have the freedom and joy to do this. So many of us have obligations, duties, jobs that don’t include one of our passions. I am blessed beyond measure to be able to come today, due to a husband who not only gets my desire to write, but encourages it.

God sets my heart afire when my fingertips hit the keyboard on my laptop. Words come forth and with them, a little spark of joy in my heart. I love to write. I love it!

What is your passion? Find time to set it running. Hop on and find yourself smiling because you are in the best place possible. The Broadmoor? No, although it is pretty terrific. I’m talking about sitting in the hand of God.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Exercise Buddy

My Exercise Buddy

Most every morning I get up and take a long walk. Like most folks who exercise (or at least I've heard,)  I enjoy it much more when I have a friend to do it with. Scooby Doo Iobst has volunteered to go with me each morning. He has done this vigorously while wagging his tail and occasionally barking. Scooby and I try new routes a couple of times a week, much to his delight. New smells, new plants to mark, new possible hiding places for bunnies. Scooby has a problem with bunnies. He often wants to cease the exercising in order to chase bunnies and loudly bark at them. I've explained to my buddy that this will not be part of our routine. I've given him the chance to decline the position of exercise buddy. But still, he wakes up ready, wags his tail and eagerly awaits that moment in which I reach for his leash. When we started this process, our walks were ten to fifteen minutes. He informed me that he could go longer, but I declined while panting. Now, after 40 days, we go anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes. Scooby still informs me he can go longer, but I still decline. While panting. :0) I dedicate this blog post to Scooby, my exercise buddy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

All You Can do is Laugh

Every once in a while something happens to me that makes me cringe. I want to be embarrassed or angry, but it quickly occurs to me that the best response is just to laugh. This morning I pushed myself in exercising so much that after I stopped, I felt like I was having some sort of heart attack. It was scary for a while, but then it occured to me that I'd probably pulled a muscle. Or maybe it was my zyphoid-process.

Thinking about this took me back to years ago, when a similar situation occured. I was teaching and I felt chest pains. Horrible ones. I sent for a substitute and went to see the principal. I have to tell you that of all the principals I worked for, he was the...less qualified... in my opinion. He got things wrong. A lot.

I told him of my pain and he gave me the okay to go see my doctor. The doctor examined me and asked me what I'd been doing the night before.

"I went out dancing."

He explained to me that my heart was fine. He suspected that due to dancing while slouching, a piece of cartilage at the end of my sternum called the zyphoid-process was bent back. All I needed to do was to make sure I sat or stood straight all day and the pain would go away.

I called my principal on my way home.

"The doctor explained to me that in my dancing last night I bent back a piece of cartilage called the zyphoid process that is located at the end of my sternum. Just need to rest and stay straight. I'll be back tomorrow."

At school, one of my teacher friends approached the principal and asked him if I was okay.

He replied, "Well....ahhhhh.....uhhhhh...she'll be okay." At this point he pointed to his sternum. "She just...welll...ahhhh...has a problem with her scrotum."

My friend held back the laughter and told me of the "glich" in his vocabulary later. Some close teacher friends kidded me often that year saying, "Hey Robbie, how's your scrotum problem?"

I cringed at first. But then I learned to laugh. It's still funny to me today. I went to my Moms In Touch mother/child book club today at a swimming pool. I was still in pain and my friends wanted to know what was up. I told them and of course, told the story. They laughed as I did.

By the way, I'm no longer in pain. My scrotum is fine. :0)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where do You Put Your Energy?

The last few months my energy has slowly flowed downhill and dissipated each day around one p.m. Like a nagging dripping faucet, I could hear the air going out of me, and I felt powerless to do anything about it. I thought it was my thyroid and a simple change in my medication would be a cure all. I was wrong.

Last month, on June 11th, my doctor told me I had diabetes and if I didn't change my life, I would die early.

Yeesh. Talk about a wake up call.

Now, a month later, I am a different person. No longer do I need that nap that lasted anywhere from one to three hours. No longer do I drag from place to place. Taking care of my physical needs has given me back a precious, precious gift - energy.
But this new energy has provided for me a wonderful quandary. Where do I put my energy? I know now that a vital priority is exercise. Today I walked Scooby and played in the pool with Noah. That took energy. After my walk, I spend time with Jesus while I allow the fountain of sweat pour off me. I clean. I cook. I spend time with Noah and John. And of course, I write. But what about the other activities I'd like to do? What about hanging with friends, facebook and blogs, reading and TV?

For the longest time, I have had to measure out what I could do and where I could go because I knew that my energy was limited. But now, I'm back and better than ever. You know how when you get better after a sickness, you tend to do too much too soon, just because you are so happy to be healthy? I might be in that category right now. But it is wonderful!

So I need your help. How do you know where to put your energy? How do you prioritize?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

God's Fireworks? Hmmmm...

Noah wanted to lie on the grass and look up at the fireworks but the ground was still a little wet. Just three hours earlier, rain and hail pelted the ground, forcing our family and the Strothers to run for cover in the car. Like most storms in Colorado, the black clouds passed within an hour. The sky was now a canvas of black and we were eager to see the fireworks’ artists display their skill with explosions of color.

“Remember when we saw those fireworks while we were laying down, Mom?”

I knew what he was talking about. Four years earlier, we had visited John’s mother in Delaware and were treated to a small town Fourth of July celebration that turned out to rival any big city’s festivities. The fireworks show was huge and wonderful and Noah and I lay on a park’s grass and stared up at the joy bursting in lights.

This year we travelled to Estes Park, Colorado to meet our friends Mary Carole and Tim Strother and enjoy the holiday. We ate a picnic of chicken and bananas and pretzels and took cover when it hailed. Then we took our lawn chairs out to the grass near Lake Estes and awaited.

It began with reds and greens in the shape of flowers appearing with a blast and disappearing just as quickly. Clouds of silver lights followed. My favorite was the waterfalls made from golden twinkling lights cascading down until they vanished.

About midway through the thirty-minute show, a thought came to me. God’s displays of fireworks will be amazing.

Sometimes I ponder what heaven will be like. I know the ultimate joy will to be in the face to face presence of God. I believe the emotion of being with Him will be incomparable to anything we’ve experienced on earth. Sort of like remembering my happiest moments in life and quadrupling them. The joy will be mixed with humility and gratitude and complete awe. That will be the ultimate.

But I also think that the Creator of the Universe, the One who instilled the creativity in Da Vinci and Mozart and Edison and that guy on TV who is obsessed with creating the perfect vacuum cleaner, this God will have created surprises for us that will thrill. When I think of God’s fireworks, I think of a black night with stars exploding and forming designs and colors we haven’t witnessed yet. Every time a star will dazzle us, it will sound beautiful. I think of that movie “City of Angels” and how the angels would gather at sunrise to watch the sun come up. Their faces would glow as they listened to glorious music that only they could hear.

When I envision the fireworks of God, I also see how God’s power can give us the experience of not only enjoying the stars dance, but I imagine that we can be part of the show, too.

“Wanna ride a star, Robbie?” He asks me and the awe of His love, complete for all of us and yet individual for me overwhelms.


He shows me how to hang on to a star and ride it. The exhilaration and fun of moving with light makes me laugh and scream with pleasure. And then it explodes. I am safely whisked away on a piece of the star, shooting through the universe.

I imagine it will be thrilling and joyful. But I can only define it using the mind I have now. To be given a new body and an new awareness of His presence is beyond what I can create in the limits of my mind’s eye.

The Creator has no limits.

“I don’t care if it’s wet, I’m laying down.” My eleven-year-old boy flops down on the grass and looks up to enjoy the rest of the display.

I smile and imagine him riding a comet with Jesus, laughing from the pit of all of who he is and all he will be.

That will truly be an independence day.

Friday, July 02, 2010

This One was Difficult to Write

This is the Joyvotion I sent out this week. If you want to get a free Joyvotion in your
email each week, just let me know.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Everyone has a vice, a cross to bear, a bad habit or an addiction. Call it what you may, each one of us has something that we can overdo or pervert in order to “feel good.” Shopping too much, being stingy with money, watching too much TV, drinking to excess, cussing like a sailor, gossiping and even spending way too many hours on the internet. Everyone has something.

I believe just as everyone has a bent towards a talent or a type of personality, so do each of us have a bent toward a sin. If you know me well, you know mine is overeating or eating the wrong kinds of food. I remember clearly standing in a Chinese restaurant at age 23, having just had my heart broken, and it occurring to me that I could eat two entrees. At the time I was of average weight and a little big boned. Food covered my pain and I discovered that eating more was a wonderful, albeit temporary fix.

At 47, I am obese. I’m not terribly insecure about it, but I, like much of the female population, have tried all sorts of diets. I probably know more about nutrition than the average woman and I’ve probably lost more than a thousand pounds in the past 20 years. Of course, those pounds always come running back, bringing friends.

I don’t write much about this battle because it is the one area of my life in which I have felt both unsuccessful and stubbornly dependent. Whenever someone has brought to my attention a weight loss plan that they know will work for me, I’ve nodded and smiled and expressed interest. Then I went for ice cream. :0)

But a couple weeks ago, I was given a diagnosis for diabetes. My doctor tried and successfully scared me, promising me that I will die early if I don’t change.

My mother, an incredible woman named Sally Ann, died of lung cancer before she met John or Noah. She missed out on so much of my life. She smoked for 40 years until her death.

If I can help it, I want to dance with my son at his wedding and hold his baby.

Ergo, I must change. Philippians 4:13 is a verse I memorized when I was a teenager, and one that I have said so often I don’t appreciate the power behind it. Lately, I have.

I can do all things through Christ. I can. But it is a painful journey.

Thank God I have friends who are helping me. I went to a reception last weekend that boasted a table full of sweets. Beforehand, I called my friend Kay and she prayed for me over the phone. My sister Karen has inspired me with her own weight loss victories. Many have emailed me and encouraged me with stories of others with diabetes that are living healthy lives. Many have promised to pray for me.

And then there’s Sue. I got the diagnosis on Friday and went to church on Sunday, a little shell shocked. I saw her after service at which point she informed me she’d just had a “vision” of me during church. She said she saw me completely healthy and having won the battle of the bulge, I was telling others about transformation. I hadn’t told her about the diabetes.

Sue gave me a cup of her faith. She believes I can do this. I don’t trust myself. As I said, I’ve begun countless diets and always petered out while fattening up. But trust is built with time and consistency. So if I am consistent over a period of time, I will begin to trust myself. In the meantime, I’ve borrowed Sue’s faith.

And lastly, there’s Donna. When I told her about the diabetes, she encouraged me and explained how she, too, had to change the way she ate due to another condition. I told her it was so difficult. She nailed it on the head when she told me, “It’s grief, Robbie. You have to let yourself grieve.”

Exactly. Donna knew exactly how I felt when I went to King Soopers the other night to get an avocado and some lettuce. I picked them up, but instead of heading to the cash register, my feet took me to the frozen food section. I stopped in front of the case with the Pepperidge Farm coconut cakes, my all time favorite dessert. I stood there, gazing it as if it were the Mona Lisa or a check for a bazillion dollars. I began to talk to myself with the usual justifications.

One piece will not hurt me, really.

I can have that and then REALLY start on Monday.

I’ll share it with John and Noah. (This one was a lie, because they don’t like this cake.)

I need to be good to myself. (Using cake? Hmmm.)

I stood there for a good 10 minutes, engrossed in a painful battle. I grieved.

Change hurts. Sometimes, the pain is excruciating. I prayed and asked God for His strength to not buy the cake. I quoted Philippians 4:13.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with coconut cake. I betcha God created it just for our pleasure, a gift to all of His coconut loving kids. But I have taken this sweet present and perverted it into a way of escaping feeling my stuff and dealing with me. Substituting it for dependence on God. I’ll eat coconut cake again, some day. One little piece, maybe. But right now, it is not a part of my plan to change and make sure I see my first grandbaby.

I stood in that frozen food aisle and cried. Then I looked around, saw that no one was there and I pointed at that cake and said aloud, “You are going to kill me.”

And then I left.

We all have something. Maybe we have those vices, habits, or addictions so we can learn to lean on God fully. I so hope this encourages you to lean on Him. I’m not having a pity party, I’m in a battle. But I’m not alone and neither are you. In Him, in His strength, we can say no to death and yes to life. We can.