Saturday, February 18, 2012

our Ayisha

A musical ear that is off the charts, with a lovely voice to match...laughter that is catching...unstoppable physical brave (this girl receives monthly injections without a flinch)...patient with her bossy little sister...gentle toward the feelings of others...charmed by fancy dresses...enchanted with babies.

Perseverance is her steady companion.

Miraculous is her story.

Friday, February 17, 2012

thoughts on hope...

" We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers." 2 Cor. 1: 8-11

When my son's illness took his life; During my father's long captivity; While my little girl lay comatose; In a life layered with sorrows; As I see my heart's disability in loving well...

In the apostles familial letter, I discover understanding for the depths. His words are not "should feel or shouldn't feel" reprimands. They were written for my heart, in my weakness --that I might know Christ and His hope. And the more I know Him, the more I do trust Him. I set my hope on Him again and again.

With redundancy I have heard it spoken that God does not allow more than we can handle. Offered as encouragement and sometimes as an exhortation to cheer up, I do not believe this spiritual cliche is helpful or even true. Quite the contrary. God often allows more suffering than we can bear alone. He allows us to feel the sentence of death, to despair even of life. To be broken, that He might bind, to be devastated that He may alone be the source of life. By removing my soul crutches, He allows me to see that I cannot stand on my own. I need Him desperately. This is His severe mercy. In my sorrow and loss, because of my very inadequacy and fragility, I hear Him, "My power is made perfect in your weakness". Right here, in the dark -- a resurrection I can't wrap words around.

Ultimately, it is through Him that I am even able to set my hope on Him. He is my Brother, my Friend...the beautiful Lifter of my head.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

from extrovert to introvert

I once believed that personality types didn't change. Maybe they don't, but like a trained branch, the pressure of circumstances alter one's natural bent. The difficult events of our lives have pretty drastically altered the margins I require to be "re-energized", or even to feel normal. As much as I love a great conversation with a friend and value transparency (that much hasn't changed), the inner dialogue must percolate a great deal longer. While it is sometimes good to push through feelings of withdrawal, mostly I've realized I should heed them. They are my red flags. Regrettably, I've learned that if I place myself in social situations prematurely, the filter over heart and mouth slips and I'll say things I don't ultimately mean. Rather than helping anyone, the burden becomes heavier. Does that make sense?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

older or just dumber? (don't answer that)

Lest you imagine it is all poetry and deep thought around here, let me assure you -- I am just as shallow as the next gal, likely more so. Not a proud admission, but true. Sigh.

Story # 1

Thanks to my tea habit, which is not being given up anytime soon, I've noticed my teeth aren't pearly white these days. A girlfriend was coming to town several week-ends ago, and that Saturday morning I thought I'd pull out some whitener I had purchased last year, but had never used. The whitener, applied via little trays, was supposed to do the trick in a few hours. So I went about my business, noticing that my gums were burning a little. Then a lot. I ignored it (dumb, I know) until my mouth just felt all numb and weird. This all took probably 45 minutes or so. I took out the tray and, horrified, realized that my teeth weren't white, my GUMS were. White! Opaque. Panicking a little I remembered that once my mom's herbalist friend had said that the best thing for gums was cayenne pepper, organic of course. Supposedly, it pulled the blood or something and sped up healing. Frantic, I rubbed spoon fulls of cayenne all over my gums and teeth. My eyes smarted with the heat, my lips throbbed. I finally rinsed, half convinced that my quick wit had saved the day. Gummy smile in the mirror. No, now my gums were bright ORANGE! Rinse, swish, rinse swish...still orange. I'm talkin' UUUGLY. I called Steve, "Look at me," I said smiling casually. His eyes widened then narrowed, "What's wrong with your mouth?". "Oh, nothing I think I JUST KILLED MY GUMS FOREVER!!!" To which my dear husband bit his lip, hard. For about one whole second he contained himself while I gave him my growliest,"Don't you dare...I'm dead serious, Stephen. This is SERIOUS!" He was swaying now, no longer able to contain his ridiculous laughter. "What am I going to DO??!!!" I wailed. "I know! Colloidal silver!" Now he was howling. What, is he a hound?!! The gall! (Insert: In this household all wounds are treated with this stuff -- Steve insists it's my "Windex"). For the rest of the morning, friends, I spritzed that colloidal silver on those babies every few minutes. I practiced smiling gumless in the mirror. (Am I really admitting this?) I told Steve I wasn't leaving the house like this. "Ok, he smiled." "Oh, shut up", I said giving him my evil eye. "This is SO humiliating!". "U-huh", he sympathized. Right.

P.S. Just because I know you're dying of curiosity, my gums literally peeled (crazy!) then healed within a couple days. Lesson learned?

Story #2

When I was twenty I loved having birthdays because I was convinced that the older I got the more people would listen to my fount of wisdom! The fount ranneth over and over, I'm terribly afraid. Oh boy. Well anyway, almost two decades later, I'm not so thrilled. And I'm not so wise. And I've got wrinkles, friends --not beauty lines. Last week, I remembered that I once purchased a special wash cloth, a microdermabrasion cloth (see a pattern?). I hadn't really used it so I put it in the shower so that I would benefit from this facial miracle. It doesn't feel like much. It's smooth, not rough. I scrubbed my face with it. "Maybe I should rub a little harder", thought I. Once out of the shower, peering into the mirror, I noticed that my face was SO shiny. "WOW! That thing really works. Huh!". A little later I noticed that my face was a bit red where I "scrubbed". Seemed pretty harmless. But by the end of the day, you'd have asked me, had you run into me, if I'd vacationed somewhere beachy -- and forgotten my sunblock. The next morning my pink face was flaking -- peeling off! Make up didn't help (it only looked like the creeping rot). What in the world is going on around here?! Really now , women, do all sorts of things to themselves! All I do is try to whiten my teeth and scrub my face a little! We're not talking surgeries, botox, or days at the spa! I give up! At least until the next time.