Friday, September 25, 2009

A " Holey" Assignment

Remembering Tim on what would have been his 29th Birthday.

Joshua 1: 13b  …The Lord your God gives you rest…

I am a celestial being, created by the Father.  More specifically, I am a guardian angel; those that God assigns to earth to stay one ahead of you humans.  God only knows how much you need us sometimes.  We don’t always look like little cherubs on Renaissance paintings.  Sometimes we come in different forms, even inanimate objects.  I would like to share about one particular assignment I had. 

My boss told me one day after waiting for quite sometime for a new assignment, that he finally had one for me, and that it would be a challenge.  OK, I thought, how hard could it be?  I was with that missionary family for a long time in the jungles of Brazil.  Then I was with this soldier while he was in the Middle East. What could be more challenging than that?  Well, I would have to go, and take on a different appearance and be prepared for some rough stuff.  I would accept my assignment, knowing whatever God had in mind, it would be important and that He would always be the Boss. 

So, here I am, a soft, cuddly, generic, yellow receiving blanket, wrapped in a box and about to be presented to a very pregnant young woman. There were other blankets too, but I was special.  Soon, I was folded nicely and placed on top of the changing table, awaiting the arrival of my special assignment. 

A few weeks later, he arrived into this world.  I was ready to do my job.  At first, some of the other blankets were being used, but as the nights grew a little cooler, I was soon covering the little behind and shoulders of this precious little boy as he lay slumbering in his bassinette next to mom.  We were so warm together and I really liked this part of my job.   Soon I began to take on this tiny soul's baby smells; some good, some not so good. I would occasionally go into the washing machine and dryer...sort of like a baptism (as my Boss would say).  The mommy was breast feeding and sometimes I went along too, covering and protecting.  Within a few short months, his little hands were grasping and tugging at me.  It gave me great joy as I felt our bonding begin. 

When he was about four months old, we moved into the big crib.  While there, I was surrounded by colorful stuffed animals and mobiles and balloons. The little one was definitely a thumb sucker and before long, a piece of my corner was clasped in his little chubby palm next to his sucking mouth.  The sound was like music to me, so sweet.  By this time, I was it.  I was THE blanket, the one that went everywhere, that calmed and delighted. 
I got to go on a plane to Hawaii when the boy was only one, dragged around on the black sand beaches, smelling of coconut oil lotion.  There were times though when I did have a rough go of it.  I can't count how many times I have been spit up on.  Then he started eating real food...well you know...I was always close by getting some form of something disgusting on me.  Thus the baptisms became much more frequent and I began to lose my youthful appearance.  One time the mom asked the doctor, concerned about the thumb sucking and the need for me to always be around.  The Doctor was very smart and told the mommy that I was a calming factor in this little boy's hyperactive life.  Of course, I knew that!   It certainly wasn’t long before this toddler was able to talk, in fact, I was soon called  "Naw-nees,” and I seemed the only force around that would quite this precocious little boy. 

As he grew older, I was still around.  By this time I had many holes and was quite frayed, but we were a team. The thumb sucking had stopped, but I was there, under his nose when he grew irritable and cranky, scared and sick, anxious and overtired.  When he longed for calmness in a mind that raced with hyperactivity, my smell eased his tensions.

  I know mommy and daddy appreciated me very much because sometimes things were hard for this little man.  Eventually, as he grew into a young man, I “retired" so to say, my job accomplished and I went back to heaven.  God said I helped a little boy and a mommy and daddy have very sweet memories.  My frayed threads remain on earth though as a reminder of God's Peace and calmness that He brings. 

The blanket today is in a box of "Timmy Memories."  I do though have at my bedside a small memorial collage, a bowl with his wallet, a tiny piece of his blanket, his cleat adjuster for his golf shoes, a putters manual his grandma Joyce gave him and his Nike wrist band.  The ceramic angel container contains the baby teeth of my kids.  The tooth fairy always gave them back to me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It's officially fall here in California just like everywhere else, and yes,  it was 105 degrees yesterday.  My pumpkin collection and scarecrow yard decore remain in their boxes until Oct. 1st and then it will be only the calendar date that will psychologically attempt to transform me into fallish feel. We're all hoping for a cool down.  My nephew in Denver already received a preview of winter with a mini snow-flurry while his sister Katie, I am sure,  is seeing the fall in the East for the first time.  (I hope you are snapping a lot of pics Katie...) I know this is the  favorite season for my friend Diane in Boston who is insisting that when I come out to visit her, I come this time of the year.  So, yes, Autumn...Come...COME to California!

Autumn, come...COME.

Let your sun corral the accumulating clouds;

Low to the sky, capturing the coolness,

Like a tease of rain.

Pilgrims bring...BRING

The harvest to the barn;

Your bounty fills the belly, Thanksgiving fair;
Like the pumpkins bursting from stem.

Season, gaze...GAZE
To the beauty, as it gleams through the groves;

Glancing to ochre, crimson, and gold;

Like a gallery of Van Gogh’s.

Bird, fly...FLY
With familiar family flocks

To feather or forfeit time

Like those always heading home.

Leaf, flutter...FLUTTER,
In the wind lay such frolic

Of murmured whispers beyond the forest,

Like a secret hushed no more.

Moon, rise...RISE
As the rhapsody of night returns;

Overseeing the charge of darkness

Like a sentry alert on command.

Wind, whip...WHIP
Across the new mown fields

Whirling your strength, weakening the leaf

Like a last lover’s goodbye, they hold on till no more.

September, sing…SING

Of sweet summer’s end song.

Surrendered to your last days

Like a tear of bittersweet birth.

October, scream…SCREAM

Until silence shutters spines.

Bats smack at Series closer,

Like a star across the sky.

November rush…Rush
Ring my praise and restore;

My spirit and my purpose

Like a rainbow of promise.

Winter, please...PLEASE,

Do not present yourself too soon.

Leave autumn playing and prancing

Like a child's praises and prayers on a Sunday afternoon.

Timmy and Mommy
at Big Bear Lake

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Prophet on the Pillow

There is nothing new about creepy, crawly things getting into our homes, especially in the summer months when bugs become more active, our hills are on fire, or just plain leaving the door open.   Our screen is torn a little from someone trying to walk forward before the door was all the way open and sometimes the neighbor's cat likes to sneak inside.  Of course, I live in an area that used to be predominantly dairy lands.  There are always flies, but since the dairies have moved out and industry and more people have moved in, the fly population is tolerable as long as they stay outside.  Chino and Chino Hills though, are really one big ant hill.  For the most part I have kept the ants outside, but as soon as August rolled around, their little mini-freeways were every which way throughout my garden. At my old house, I had a grocery store behind the 20 foot back wall.   Occasionally at night, if I was standing at the sink and looking out the back window, a possum and her babies would run across the back wall, silhouetted by the dock lights, looking like giant rats.  When I was a kid, the local newspaper came to our house and took a picture of the great horned owl that took temporary lay over in our big tree after a fire in the local foothills. 

 Last summer I had a lizard on my stairs...a big lizard.  I have a bed of impatiens and a bed of mums on either side of my front door, and one side of the house is dedicated to my vegetable and herb garden.  I enjoy gardening and enjoy the good insects!  If I were in Chino Hills, I would be worrying about snakes and that would be a different story.

Which leads me to share my latest up close and personal encounter with Mother Nature.  Coming home this last Thursday,  as I trudged upstairs to take my revitalizing, beauty,  after school nap, (well I can't have my Starbucks right now)...something else had beaten me to the pillows.  It was on Ted's side if that is of any consequence... but a very large adult Praying Mantis had plopped itself in the center of one of my small throw pillows, it's humble posture mimicking a beseeching soul in faithful devotion.  Of, course I immediately went back downstairs,  got Corey and the camera and some kind of container to gently remove him from MY SANCTUARY! 

So, how do I turn this into an insightful, spiritual lesson for this blog?  Well, humor me here, Let's first learn some Praying Mantis facts.

                  The word "Mantis" comes from the Greek,  meaning  prophet.

So, I have a praying prophet on my bed!  I guess this is a good thing; it could have been a self -indulged heretic. I will say that this "sign", being on Ted's side of the bed meant that we are at a turning point with his job situation, things are getting a little better and maybe some changes are on the way.  (I know, I am stretching it here...) I believe in God's promises that he has a good plan for all of us.  (Jeremiah 29:11). 

 The Mantis has a triangular shaped compound eyes and can move his head 180 degrees. 

I worship and serve a God who is triune, meaning He is and is all, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.   God is omnipresent, able to see all his children, and be all for His children at the same time.  I am not saying this bug was God...just relating these features.

 The Praying Mantis has ultrasound ears and powerful eyesight.               
 Do you know when we pray with a humble spirit, this empowers us to do God's will?  I have found in my life that when I am in a "praying mode" all day long, conversing, in a thoughtful mindset that God is ever present with me, I become more insightful and more peaceful. (Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective).

 And I found this most interesting:   One of the Praying Mantises’s (or is it Manti?) enemy is the
bat.  The Creator has equipped this alien-looking insect with a hollow chamber that somehow can detect a high pitch sound of a bat in the area and the mantis will immediately get out of the path of oncoming danger. 

When the enemy wants to distract, attack, gobble us up, take us out; we have a detection device as well.  PRAYER!  (Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."  Luke 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."  1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

So, Mr. Mantis is now gracing our front planter.  How it ever got upstairs or in the house is a mystery.  Let me leave you with two quotes from a book I read a few years back, "The Kneeling Christian", author Unknown.
We may be assured of this:  "the secret of all failure is our failure in secret prayer."

"We are never so high as when we are on our knees."

Despite having this very large, strange-looking creature within my inner domain, (the bug, not Corey  lol...) I can be thankful that God continues to inspire me to write, and to see beyond the obvious.  Was  the mantis really praying?  I think he was: 

" Dear God, I flew into this place where there are no plants, and a ceiling fan...Not good...Can you see to remove me back to my stomping grounds? I'd appreciate it. Thanks."

 God answers prayer! 

Matthew 6:6  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.




Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering and Honoring 9-11

Today we remember 9-11, a day when we as Americans were in shock and fear. For us "Baby Boomers", it has been said that this was our "Pearl Harbor". Where were you when you heard? Where were you when your eyes were so wide open, so early in the morning, when what you witnessed on TV was not a movie, but for real? Where were you when you felt that need to gather your family close, call all those you love, attend a church service mid-week, display the stars and stripes on everything? Where are you with these remembrances today?

For myself, I was the opening cashier at my local big box home improvement store. At 6:00 a.m. the roll up door went up and I was prepared to greet my normal rush of everyday, early bird contractors and handymen gathering their supplies for a good days work. I remember the customer; I remember his words as he walked towards me...

"Something bad has just happened in New York...a plane flew into the World Trade looks like it meant to..."

I tried to call my son, Tim, at home, but he was sleeping soundly enough not to hear the phone ringing many times. My other son was at school which was almost across the street from where I was working and of course my husband was at work. Within a few minutes, an assistant manager was unboxing a TV we sold and setting it up on the end cap in front of my register. I suddenly became aware of this day at work in a surreal sense, for there were no customers with PVC irrigation pipe lined up at my register, no cement bags to count, no lumber carts with enough 2x4's to build a small house. What few customers were in the store were staring at the TV along with myself, a manager and several other store employees. We were listening intently, but what we saw took a few moments to really filter through. It was the second plane, aimed right for the second building, and then the violating impact. We now knew this was a deliberate action. At that moment amongst my co-workers and customers, there was no rank, no seniority, no employer-employee hierarchy, and no customer. We became one; one race, one class, one spiritual being, one family member, one citizen, one American. We were all hurting.

The store remained a ghost town all day and I probably went home early. My drive was short yet I noticed empty streets and emptier parking lots. I had finally gotten a hold of my son sometime during the day and had told him to switch on the TV..."yes Tim...Any channel." The vigil began, almost 24-7 in front of the TV or listening to talk radio. The tragedy continued to unfold: The Pentagon, the field in Pennsylvania, the few rescues, the fires, the collapse, the first responders, the Port Authority, the police, the firemen, the mayor, the President, the heroes, the distraught family members, the rumors and the truths.. and the falling ashes...falling, falling like snow; those images I will never forget. There was also the anticipation of more rescued lives from the rubble, and then the disappointment when that was not becoming a reality.

Americans united, churches filled up, American flag stickers and pins were everywhere. Almost every house displayed "Old Glory". Today in my freshman World History class, the teacher asked the kids what they remembered about 9-11. They were seven years old in 2001.

"My mom was always watching the TV and I couldn't watch my cartoons."

"I don't remember."

"I can't remember it."

"They kept showing the plane fly into the building over and over and over forever."

It seems a new generation has already forgotten why our soldiers are in Afghanistan and Iraq today. I hope this really isn't true.

As I went to get some dinner tonight, and was waiting for my order, a little girl probably four or five skipped in to the restaurant holding her little American flag in her tight fist and around her neck was a red, white and blue ribbon and medal like an Olympian would wear. I do not know what the medal was for, but I hope it was for innocent patriotic spirit, for being a Miss America in the greatest country still in this world, and for her dreams that she will be able to accomplish as a citizen here in the USA, a country born out of the ashes of sacrifice many times over. Let us never forget.