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Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

Class of 2021, declared major: Aerospace Engineering, emphasis on jet propulsion. Busch Gardens: Where our top rocket scientists get their start!

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So for the first time in 17 years, I’m leaving my beach Sunday morning and going on a pilgrimage back to Oregon (and also California), where I spent a couple of game-changing chapters of my life that are near and dear to my heart.

I can’t promise photography as stellar as this video featuring one of my fave talented musicians who has visited my beach (Mat Kearney), but you can be sure my lens will be in action throughout the trip. Stay tuned, musers!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=35bD5ULInHw

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It is always good to know one’s Place in the World…I am so grateful for mine, and for you joining me here at the sea!

Thanks, God, for respite and sea solace, for giving us a piece of Heaven here on earth in our respective places in the world You’ve provided.

Forgive uS for having strayed from our designated places when we have, and thank You for shepherding us back to where we belong. Your mercy and patience with us is great, and greatly to be praised.

Thank You for the different ways You nurture us with comfort and peace…and for the places that we can be still and know that You are God.

Thanks for giving us a place in the world.

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For this week’s  Weekly Photo Challenge, I offer the face of an angel with boundless joy:

image

David, at Special Olympics, this past May.

Thank You, God, for untold joy, for unstoppable joy that springs from unspeakable grief. For spontaneous joy, for the unexpected, the unseekable that presents itself and makes life worth every hardship.

Thanks for the unending hope of joy, for using each of us to inspire one another to keep seeking You and the untold riches of joy You offer.

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I have orders to be still.  I am to be still and know that You are God. I know You are, but what am I? I try my best to be still and know You, but I kind of get distracted. It seems like the only still I can be is…

…still adventure-seeking

…still restless

…still unquenchable

…still risk-taking

…still hopelessly curious

…still coveting

…still daring

…still multi-tasking

…still dreadfully bored and out of my element when forced to be still

Yes, I am still, alright…still all those things, and plenty more mischief if I devoted more time to the notion. They say that personality is pretty much solidified in your late 20’s to about 30ish. If so, I’m in trouble, God, when it comes to that order to learn to be still. Can I be unstill, and still know You as You intended? Or am I basically screwed, doomed to a lifetime of blissfully busy ignorance, followed by eternal wood, hay and stubble? Is there ever a solution?

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She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass
And whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey

She’s always late for chapel
But her penitence is real
She’s always late for everything
Except for every meal
I hate to have to say it
But I very firmly feel
Maria’s not an asset to the abbey

I’d like to say a word in her behalf
Maria makes me laugh

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

When I’m with her I’m confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!

She’d outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

~~Rodgers & Hammerstein, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria,” from The Sound of Music

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Must I learn to be still, if I know that You are omnipresent wherever I may flit? I mean, I go running off on a tangent, and *POOF* not only are You already there, but You already knew I was going to go there and when…long before I did. I keep bumping into smack-dab into You no matter how far off-track I get. So, why must I be still?

Perhaps the journey we take of never quite measuring up is precisely measuring up in Your eyes, since you sent Jesus to take care of the details for us. Maybe our expectations of ourselves are greater than Yours in Your wisdom.

Lord, let us flibbertijibbets keep our hearts in the right place, focused on You, even though we may have curlers on under our wimples and be late to everything except our favorite events in life. Let it be that You might smile on our irreverent whistling despite what the Pharisees would say, knowing that our whistling is a spontaneous expression of our joy for all You have given and made us. Let the songbird not be silenced. Thank you for letting me dance on the beach as the wind and the waves move me (why should I wait for tourist season to be over and still hope that no one might be watching?). Thank You for loving us as we are, even if we just cannot seem to discipline ourselves to be still.

I might be stuck like a statue of stone if I stood too still.

Thank You, Lord, for moving me.

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She was carefully applying her mascara in the rear view mirror, stopped at the red light at a busy intersection. The turning of my head to notice caused her to notice me, and with her wand frozen in mid-air, we exchanged one of those only-girls-can-understand smiles. Then, just as quickly, the light turned green and each of us took off into our respective universes.

Today, like a pent-up quarter horse bursting out of the barn into a vast green field, I broke my month-long illness-induced hiatus from running, and could not stop. I had set my sights low, thinking I’d walk part way and stay close to home, but the bright rising sun beckoned me out of one universe and into another, and before I knew it, I awoke, still running, a little unsure how I had gotten that far from home. In the middle of Nowhere I was, but I knew this nowhere far from home. Now I had to figure out what possessed me to get so far away, and get myself back to Somewhere.

The thing is, the trip to Nowhere was such a blast! I hated to drag myself back to Somewhere. Following the white reflective strip on the opposite side of the road, the morning traffic on the busier stretches forced me off the white line, less for my sense of safety and more for the drivers. Veering off my straight line caused me to reckon with tall grasses and morning dew, soaking my shoes and socks. The steady rhythm of my pace allowed me to shake off the highly irritated fire ants whose piles I had pummeled with my unseeing feet deep in the tall grass. Stopping for nothing, I savored and ran through each cramp, flash of joint pain and finally, the rogue pebble that made its way into one shoe. Damn, I can feel the sear of the blister-to-be. The calendar says autumn, but this area defies such man-made seasonal designations, and the sweat signaled victory in endurance.

There was comfort in the discomfort, endorphins in the pain.

Arriving home, the swing under the welcoming giant oak tree called out to me as I transitioned universes yet again. Walking it out, I circled around and took the oak tree up on its invitation to join with it. Mounting the swing, “Enya’s Caribbean Blue” was up next on my iPod – I’d forgotten I had that song on there still. I immersed myself in this universe now, gaining momentum and, once high enough, alternately assuming a reverse-planking position. I gazed upwards into the canopy, spotting bits of blue sky through the trees outstretched arms which hugged me close underneath. The child in me dared to tilt my head backwards once at the peak of height, seeing the world upside down in a deliciously dizzying moment.

The man watching me from behind was upside down, too. So were his two little dogs. I hit pause and allowed myself to come back to earth so I could greet the surprised onlooker, who appeared to be trying to figure out if I was trespassing, and if it could be considered trespassing when one was clearly enjoying themselves in one of life’s little pleasures typically reserved for children. My self-assured explanation that I was cooling myself after a long run, getting the breeze in both directions by swinging, caused him to laugh and wrap up the pleasantries and move on.

Thus I was awakened out of another universe and catapulted into yet another.

I find myself traveling between and among many parallel universes throughout the course of any given day. And yet, I am supposed to believe that only one universe, one reality, exists.

I have gradually over time began to suspect otherwise.

We are finite in our ability to sense what we perceive. An inquisitive, wide-eyed child knows, but is trained by “trusted” adults to deny what is so apparent to the child. Where the child seeks validation for their very-real experiences, the adult makes the other dimensions simply not exist.

Thus with nothing more than a bold statement, there are no monsters under the bed. Or, as the little one says, “Yi-yons in the woods” across the way. Fierce lions, from his account. No, he is told, no yi-yons in these parts.

But the child is not so sure, not so easily convinced. If we can talk ourselves into or out of anything, can we also talk other things into or out of existence? The mind is such a powerful thing.

Sometimes while mentally in one universe and physically in another, I ponder whether I am imagining things, or if it is really real. I fool myself into believing that it is not real if it is appropriate to do so, and later my mind wanders again and I am forced to reckon whether it was really real and I suppressed and denied it at will, or if it is pure figment of imagination.

Maybe I am thinking too hard, as I have been accused, and as also being accused of using this to communicate in other dimensions. Guilty as charged, on both counts. Have we not all slipped into a dual existence between our online habits and our non-online habits?

What is real, anyway? I would rather expand my mind and entertain the possibilities of things I can’t prove, than pigeonhole myself into one dimension. I would rather acknowledge the monsters under the bed and give credit where credit is due, than spend energy and a lifetime being foolishly self-assured of falsehood. I would rather enjoy the painful process of risk than waste away in comfort. I would rather be damned for trying and doing, than damned if I don’t.

Hey, God…thanks for the trip. Thanks for multi-dimensional universes and for the generous samplings of each one despite our limited awareness. I pray that the monsters under the bed, and yes, the yi-yons in the woods, can someday know the joy of reverse-planking on the swing. Maybe they’ll come out at night when we’re not looking and party under the oak tree.

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Hey, God…and hey there, my friend…

Thanks for pulling up a chair.

And thanks for another great day.

I was mentally blogging on a thousand subjects since my last post, each one worthy of its own post.

Remind me to tell you sometime about the guy who flirted with me for two years, and has now has turned his sights on the coworker who filled my shoes. After coworker and I put two and two together and giggled like schoolgirls about this poor chap’s efforts, I bribed her with chocolate if she’d use on him the last line he used on me a couple of months ago just before he met her. And capture his reaction on her phone. Then we can blow him away altogether and both take him to that Mexican restaurant (watch him squirm!) he kept trying to lure me to on a lunch hour. Holy guacamole, that would be fun!

Or the business idea my hairdresser and I hatched while she excitedly envisioned and whacked away. Uh oh! I gotta remember to do most the talking so she can tune me out and concentrate on what she’s doing. I think this idea might just fly, though…

Or the cute dude behind me for most of the commute, who wasn’t so cute after all, after he became obsessed with his hair for six straight traffic lights (it can only go so many ways when you’re thinning, got it? okay, then…get your eyes off yourself in your rear view mirror and drive, ya groomin’ monkey…).

Or the new challenges at work I’ve never encountered before, complete with mutiny on the bounty, and the sage advice of my superiors laughing off my uneasiness and telling me to hold my head high, keep doing what I do best, they’ll get over it, and soliciting my solemn promise not to think one iota about anything remotely related to “this place” over the weekend. Okay! See ya!

Or getting conked over the head with a new frontier at home altogether, and having to pass through several stages before I decide what I really think about it. I’m still thinking, but I think it’s cool. Hmmm…a taste of my own medicine.

“In a time of treason, is the time to trust,” so sayeth Bono these days. I’ll buy it. Hope I’m not being stupid naive. Again.

So, friend, enough of all that garble. What I really wanted to talk to you about today is not about me. It’s about you. So many times you pull up this chair with me here on the beach, and it’s my agenda. Today I want to hush up and let you enjoy what we’re seeing and hearing today at the seashore. The tourists are gone now; we have it all to ourselves. Be with me, and let’s just enjoy what we’re seeing, what really existed this morning, once upon a time, in a land not so far away, in utter reality. Let me share with you my world today, and you lean back and enjoy.

Sea spray inundating our senses, foam at our feet.

Sparkling shimmers on the waves, sun rising and bright, dancing in a thousand splendors, inundating our rods and cones.

A lone pelican diving for jumping fish. He’s so huge, yet so graceful, scooping up his breakfast in that long beak!

Let’s get up and wade…each wave creeps a little higher until the part we didn’t want to get wet, gets biffed anyway. What the hey, might as well wade deeper! Go ahead, envelop me…let me not be in control for a spell.

Moon Jellies!

What’s that weird feeling at our ankles? Wow, it’s a giant moon jelly! Look at it!

Four perfect crimson circles in its center, graceful glob flowing with the whims of the water….

don’t worry, moon jellies won’t sting.

But look out for that ray! And here’s a giant blue crab, worthy of taking home for lunch…except it’s a she…have to try to untangle it from our net and let her back out to sea.Can’t boil a she-crab.

Let me pick up and twirl in the air, the little child who just caught his very first sea star! It’s missing part of one of its five legs, but it gets around great anyway. You found another one! This one is perfect. Let’s watch them help each other crawl back into the sea together. They are so beautiful, so alive.

Let’s sit for a while now and let the surf wash the sand off our feet. The aromatherapy of the sea washes the grit out of our hearts and minds, too.

Let’s just veg, k?

Mmmmm…hear the waves with your eyes closed.

One eye open. Both eyes fly wide open at the sight of a bottlenose dolphin, not too far from us, leaping 15 feet out of the water! Oh, WOW! There they go, there’s a whole bunch of them – look at them fly! Fish leaping, dolphins playing and feeding. How do they do that?! They look so happy! Joyful! Wheeeeee! We watch them till their acrobatic maneuvers blend in with the waves on the horizon. Eyes closed again.

Breathing deeply, fully inhaling sheer relaxation. Exhaling all that mattered before we got here. Letting the sea breeze carry it all away…

Thank you, God….and thanks, my dear friend, for being here with me. I hope this brought you rest and rejuvenation.

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“You fi’n t’go back to the crazy hospital you done broke out of?” the graying, acutely psychotic man inquired, as I concluded the Sunday afternoon group therapy session.

“Yes, sir, I most certainly am,” I replied, with surly sincerity (knowing that the mentally ill tend to be more prophetic than most perceive).

I could say this and mean it. My last post was filled with cozy intentions about how time would be spent during the tropical storm. But, like all good intentions, they certainly paved the road to Hell. I think I caught a glimpse of the ghost of Erma Bombeck, smirking and waving at me as I went screaming and careening down that road this weekend.

Like a good blogger, I hit “publish,” closed the laptop and awoke from my online reverie. Except mine was a rude awakening, a tumultuous transition into what existed here with you and me in the beach chairs, to what lay before me.

I was deeply regretting the terrifying amounts of refined sugar and Red Dye #40 with a long holiday weekend in a storm, more than you can ever know, dear friend. The cutesy design drawn in the dust mocked me each time I whizzed by on my way between the front door and the linen closet to secure the assistance of yet another towel. Every Key to the Unknown buried in the no-longer-a-tool-drawer drawer, chuckled at me as I searched for the next necessary piece of hardware required to put out yet another home un-improvement fire. I believe ninety percent of the debris from the storm managed to find its way into our home, brought, blown or tracked in by sixteen busy little hands and feet, not counting the help from all the neighbor-kids.

And the collective sugar rush electrified the home better than any of the lightning bolts overhead.

Within moments of the last post, the doorbell rang. It was our smiling UPS man holding a package with the Amazon arrow emblazoned across the big, brown box. The children’s excitement mounted with suspense…it most certainly had to be for the birthday boy! They “helped” him rip into it, and within seconds of strewing the bubble cushions and wrap everywhere, their suspenseful chirping went silent. “What’s this?” puzzled the eldest.  “I don’t think that’s for him,” number three analyzed. “A present for mama!” number two surmised, as the birthday boy was blissfully busy off in the corner, amusing himself with the box and packing materials, completely satisfied with the delivery.

No, it had to arrive at the start of the weekend, eh? All the exam study materials I’d ordered and forgotten about a week ago. Kinda like how annoying things you can’t deal with until the next business day, always seem to darken the doorstep on a Saturday. Curses anyway, I took the dang test precisely twenty years ago…and now they want this old dog to learn new tricks. No mercy for the mommy-track. Okay, so be it. But did it have to come now? I’d had such great plans this weekend which did not include anything academic. You cannot hold your head high and walk past an opened box of interesting books which beg to be opened and thumbed through. That’s the lure of literature, n’est-ce pas?

The bands of rain intermittently pelted our world, and I managed to get a little studying accomplished in between tornado warnings, which is when we sent the young charges out to play in the deluge. This was joyful to behold, children dancing and playing and laughing as children ought, gleefully experiencing the wet wonder of nature. Splashing, cavorting, whirling outdoors.

Then muddy, dripping, shivering indoors.

After a round of warm baths and dryer-heated towels, it was time for a tour to see how the rest of the neighborhood was faring. Out at the point where tributary meets estuary, they just had to jump out of the van and experience the weather again. Here, the rain blew sideways, and just a few moments in this sent them scurrying back in with shrieks of pain, as the sand and water had slapped and stung them with the full fury of the storm. With wincing children cupping hands to cheeks, we hydroplaned home again to coop back up and ride it out some more.

A young person who shall remain Nameless, in his mad dash for the front door upon return, neglected to close the door on the vehicle in the driveway. This remained yawned open until it was discovered approximately twelve hours later, with a pool of water suitable for marine life in the pocket compartment of the door, drowned McToys begging for CPR and bloated Cheerios notwithstanding. So the shop-vac was enlisted to assist with this crisis. While Nameless One was asking how much longer he’d have to vacuum, another one led us to a room with a leaky window, where a lovely body of water had materialized, damaging all manner of wood, wall, wallpaper and everything else in the path of its pooling.

While this was being attended to, another Nameless one proudly announced he was in the process of mastering the art of cooking pasta. “Make sure you stir it,” I called after him. Five minutes later: “Mommy, something smells like it’s burning, and it doesn’t smell like pasta.”  Shortly thereafter, we were wondering whether the missing plastic tooth of the pasta-stirrer had become one with the pasta or with the stove. I was certain the EPA would come knocking any moment. We pondered this over the vigorous squirting of scouring gel on the bottom of the smoking, blackened pot. However, I was impressed with the beautiful design the pasta made on the bottom. Almost hated to scrub it away, the gracefully curved ebony imprints of the swirled mess. I just may leave it be and nail it to the wall in the kitchen as an impromptu work of art. You can get away with something like that in our town. It would be a memento of a child’s learning process on a stormy weekend. At least until he is of the age of dating and prone to visual reminders which might embarrass.

With the madhouse at home (prophetic indeed!), it might have been a godsend to be called in to work, except the trip was fraught with hazard. Entire lanes were covered in sheets of water, road and ramp closures abounded, stranded vehicles here and there. Somehow I made it, and set about helping to restore calm and order in a world of people unavoidably affected by the plummeting barometric pressure. Monitoring the radar on computer, the charge nurse graciously sent me packing early, before the next band was to hit. You just can’t get there fast enough when the National Weather Service robo-dude is mentioning streets in your neighborhood in the same sentences with phrases like “rotational movement” and “take cover in interior hallways or, if no shelter, lie down in a ditch.” Back down the road of good intentions…

Fire ants are a necessary part of life in the South, and, returning home, I made the mistake of pausing too long in the driveway to rearrange some of the debris in the yard. During storms, fire ants like to rearrange themselves as well, and our yard was no exception. Mountains of ant hills where they had not previously existed, now dotted the landscape like miniature towers of Babel. I happened to be standing atop a hill-in-the-making, which evidently had just begun to be claimed by the fierce insects. My presence on their claimed territory was most unwelcome. These little six-legged Donald Trumps were going to ensure that they cornered the market on their esteemed piece of real estate.

Having minored in dance in college, I was suddenly reminded of some long-forgotten dance steps, as the enemies swarmed my thong-sandaled feet. A one-woman Cirque-Du-Soleil, I acrobatically leaped and spun my way toward the front porch, throwing in a few curious upper body movements as I swiped at the stronger-jawed holdouts dining on my ankles. No worries about what the Mrs. Kravatzes of the neighborhood would think were they to peer out from behind their living room curtains and see my animated display; the Dance of the Fire Ant-Afflicted is a universal language south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Meanwhile, even feeding the outdoor pets became a contest of timing and judgment, and had to be coordinated with the latest weather reports and radars. This morning, the poor dog’s untouched bowl of food had become pathetically waterlogged, so after a thorough washing and drying and refilling between bands of storm, his bowl was restored. An hour later as the skies again darkened with great gusts of wind, I noticed he had again not touched it. I saw fit to bring in the bowl before the rain hit, placing it on the floor of the laundry room. Another round of towels was then due to the rain-romping youngsters on their way in for breakfast. While performing my now-regulation towel-dispensing routine at the front door, the baby shrieked and cried, “Ants, mama, ants!!!” His now-red, swollen feet had walked into the laundry room, exposing the reason the dog had not eaten – fire ants had overtaken his bowl within minutes outside, and my goodwill effort to protect his food had resulted in unwittingly inviting the creatures into our home. Way to go!

(Nineteen hours until school resumes)

Thus, the homey aroma of birthday cake for this long, stormy weekend has yielded to the likes of burnt plastic and Raid. The road is now littered with leaves and limbs. The mud-splattered walls testify to hasty and frequent changes of storm-soaked clothing and hardcore play. The fire ants are trying to take over the universe. The portable heater is about to set the car interior on fire. We’ll need a Bobcat instead of a broom to clear the back deck. All the things I was going to make a point not to do this weekend are not only still not done, but now we have myriad more on the list. And we’re down to the last piece of birthday cake that no one wants to be the last one to claim, because we have taught our children as such.

(I will wait till they are in bed…yes, baby, the bad ol’ ants probably got to it…No, wait, I will sneak it in to the psychotic man tomorrow, yes!)

On second thought, these good intentions did not pave the road to Hell, this was a storm of love. Our little tornadoes made the most of the circumstances and lived:  lived fully and lived well.

Thank you, God, for children and storms and ants and burnt pasta. Thank you for mud and mayhem and the unexpected. For it is the storms of life which bond us together, teach us love and endurance, give us meaning and purpose, and help us appreciate life’s journey. Best of all, they draw us nearer to You.

I think I see the Sun trying to come out. I am squinting with joy! Oh, blue sky at last! And thank you, dear friend, for sharing this storm with me, here by the sea.

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No, not I…the 2, about-to-be 3 year old. He graciously reminded me tonight of the importance of unwinding. Really unwinding. He reminds me that we must perpetually turn to children, the older we get, for advice on how to live. Really live. With the first child, scolding was the parenting du jour should he have attempted such a feat…with child #4…..well…I learned to take heed. You know, step back and contemplate….hmmm…well, isn’t kind of, er, funny? Go ahead, break into the chase, let him go squealing with delight, buck naked, round and round, catching him with laughter and direction to get into jammies….silly boy. I love you.

But I really wish you hadn’t have put four toothbrushes and one Mardi Gras cup in the toilet today. Luv ya anyway. Say, what happened when you tried to flush? Sorry I wasn’t there to find out with you. Bless Daddy.

Sometimes it takes a child to hold our hand and lead us precisely where we need to be. Children know freedom.

It was what our very country was founded upon.

We must constantly question and examine our beliefs, as the development of beliefs can be a fluid process throughout each life phase. A good, hard look at why we believe what we believe is good for the soul, and keeps us fresh. We become stagnant if we can no longer embrace the merits of our beliefs. Yet we cling so tightly sometimes to things that no longer make sense…

A conversation with “Common Sense:”

“He should not be allowed to run naked through the house. This is wrong.”

“And what could happen?

“Why, it’s not proper. It might make others want to run naked through the house.”

“And then what?”

“Well, then things would be out of control. They’d get the wrong message. One thing leads to another”

“What’s the wrong message?”

“That you can’t think that you can run naked through the house and it’s okay. There must be consequences.”

“And then what,? if not?”

“Ummmm… I dunno. It’s just wrong.”

“With whom? How?”

“Ummmmm..I dunno.”‘

“What harm does it do? I mean, does it serve a purpose for the runner? Do they get some benefit from it, something out of their system, sow their wild oats, then want to conform, or what? What’s going to happen if a little off-kilter happens? Doesn’t off-kilter behavior serve an ultimate purpose?”

“Well, I never thought about it.”

“Well, think about it. Is it so bad? You ever been off-kilter? What did you need to do to get right?”

‘Nuff said.

Sometimes, in all our adult wisdom, we completely miss the point of living.

When was the last time you ran naked through the house? Would the sky fall? Is it so bad?

Thanks, God, for freedom and laughter and children. It figures only the serpent could have made it so we had to wear fig leaves and toil, instead of having the childlike freedom of running naked through the house.

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Usually on the morning commute flying across the water, I am able to gracefully finagle the slice of bacon into my mouth without incident in two or three well-orchestrated bites, with the other hand firmly on the steering wheel. A Confederate soldier’s breakfast of bacon and coffee on the run has become standard issue, with a modern version of the old tin cup. Sometimes the traversed water is so sparkly blue, I forget all about breakfast, and the scenery steals any sense of appetite whatsoever. A meal of visual, auditory and mental joy is much more satisfying, I conclude, and the Confederate breakfast remains ignored until well after 11 o’clock or so.

This morning, however, it slipped.

Right out of my hand. I caught the errant strip of swine precariously dangling from index finger and thumb, wildly swinging amok, threatening to permanently alter the interior of the car, my dress, and my pearls. I had no choice but to tilt my head up, dangle the swinging strip over my poised mouth, and gradually, carefully, lower it in, using my tongue to ensure its obedience to my will. It was the only way to prevent a disaster which may have involved the Department of Transportation, hundreds of impatient commuters and a dozen media outlets.

If only the guy driving the pickup next to me hadn’t witnessed this event. Honest, it wasn’t what it looked like. I don’t normally eat like that. I wasn’t implying anything.

Nonetheless, I managed to save the day, and there were no grease spots to speak of. Pearls intact. Traffic flowing smoothly. Especially the guy in the pickup trying to keep up with my pace.

Yeah, I licked my fingers in self-satisfied victory when I finally pulled ahead of the traffic and thought you weren’t watching.

How many little miracles go unnoticed?

When I had Mutiny on the Bounty at 4:05 this afternoon and had to create a miracle in 5 minutes or less to make it all better before I sailed out the door, was it recognized as a miracle, or was it murmured about? Things are rarely what they appear to be.

Hey, God…help us cast aside our assumptions, and be open to Your alternatives. Help us to remember that what is observed, is not always seen; what is listened to is not always heard; what is tasted is not always fully savored; what is experienced is not always fully perceived. Let us drive with no sunglasses and fully take in Your light.

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