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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dang Near Perfect Dad

My brother and I stood at the kitchen window, long after the neighbors lights had been turned off and everyone looked to be tucked safely into their homes. We watched as two dark figures went up and down the street, one on a bike, the other running frantically behind. The two figures were none other than our parents. My dad was teaching my mom to ride a bike. Not wanting to make a spectacle of herself, mom insisted on waiting until after dark. What made mom decide she needed to learn to ride a bike then and there, I don't remember because I was pretty small. I wouldn't say dad taught mom to ride a bike, but rather taught her to stay upright while sitting on a bike and even then the only way she could stay upright, was to go full steam ahead (exactly how she drove a car). When she slowed down, she lost her balance. The memory is a small example of my dad's amazing love. I have always been a daddy's girl. I loved to help him when he did little things around the house. If he was at work when I went to bed, the next night I would insist that he tuck me in twice. Dad is the most kind, gentle, loving man in the whole wide world, and I'm not saying that just because he's my dad, I'm saying it because it is the absolute truth.  Today is his 79th birthday and he is still the energizer bunny able to run circles around anyone. Even a wordy girl like me can't fully describe how deep my love runs for this man who has been the most closest example of Christ I have ever known. I can truly say that he is everything he seems to be, which in my eyes is dang near perfect. Happy Birthday Dad, you will never know how much I love you.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Center Line

I was driving back to work from lunch this afternoon when a gust of wind pulled my little Cube into the other lane. I instantly jerked the steering wheel bringing my car back into its own lane. When I was driving home from the gym this evening, I paid close attention to keeping a firm grip on the wheel even as my mind began to wonder. There are a million little rabbit trails going in all directions in this head of mine... It's an interesting place to hang out. I was thinking about judgement and how quickly we are to pass it when it comes to someone else's doings. Unlike the judicial system we operate under, you don't always get to plead your case in day to day living. People are free to pass judgement upon each other with or without any evidence whatsoever. Why do they do it? Who knows. Maybe they just got up on the wrong side of the bed and you happened to be the lucky duck to cross their path that day. Maybe they do it as a way to sooth their own shortcomings. As humans we do tend to like to rationalize our behavior with statements like.... "Well, I may abuse drugs, but at least I don't abuse "illeagal" drugs." Or.... "I may drink, but I never drink and drive." Or.... (I love this one) "I don't gossip, everything I tell you about someone is the truth." That's a classic. The common thread is, I may not be perfect, but at least I'm not as bad as that guy. This weekend a tragic accident happened in our small town. A pickup truck crossed the center line and caused a group of 13 motorcycles to crash. Sadly, there was a life lost and several still hang in the balance. The helicopters and ambulances had barely started assisting the wounded when wild speculations where being tossed around as to how someone could do something as careless as cross the center line.  Of course the first judgement was, he must have been texting. My heart broke because regardless of what the investigation reveals, he will forever live with the fact that he was responsible for the death of at least one, possibly more lives. Not only did the lives of those riding motorcycles change Saturday, but the life of that driver changed as well, and it's not for the better. The knowledge of taking a life would be a heavy burden to carry for all of your days, but especially if it was caused by something that wasn't as negligent as texting, or drinking while driving. It very well could have happened to me today when the wind whipped my little car just a few inches to the left.  I just wish everyone had a pause button that automatically stopped their judging process until they actually have evidence and everyone has had a chance to plead their case, but this is life and people are harsh as long as the finger isn't pointed directly at them.... "I'm not perfect, but at least I'm not as bad as him/her." Not to mention how quickly we forget our own transgressions. Thankfully, God has an abundance of grace even when all of the evidence is in and the verdict is guilty as charged. That may not be any consolation to those who lost loved ones, but it sure makes me feel better.

John 8:7
"When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any of you who are without sin be the first one to cast a stone at her."

I'm not sure what Jesus began writing in the sand, but whatever it was caused the heated throng of blood thirsty men to drop their stones and walk away from what they had hoped would be a brutal death of an adultress.... Interesting. Perhaps they began looking into the intents of their own hearts and found them not nearly as snowy white as they pretended them to be. Millions of us, me incuded, must be mindful that we don't have the same blood thirst as these men who were so self righteous, so assured that they were far better than the whore they wished to stone. Because when it comes to judgement, it is so very easy to cross the center line.... Or should I say sinner line. As Romans 3:23 so simply states.....
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Thankfully when he looks at me he doesn't see my sins, for they are many, but he sees his blood which covers my sins and reflects back to him not my righteousness, but His righteousness which is always on the right side of the center line.

Hand out grace in buckets and be blessed.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

All I Can Do is Grieve

The tears appeared before my eyes opened.... That is never a good thing to wake up too. I quickly recite all the things I have to be thankful for..... Still there is a hole in my heart and an ache in my chest that won't go away. There are certain losses that will never heal, never go away and some days all I can do is grieve.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Moms Rejoice at Saying "Yes to The Dress"

 It's that time again.... Prom Time. Like last year, I had the pleasure of going prom dressing shopping with my pseudo niece. Sometimes she sits with me in church and the other day someone asked us if we were related, or if there was some kind of connection there. I put my arm around her and explained that there wasn't a blood connection, but there was certainly a heart connection. Her mother has been my best friend for the last 26 years. Everyone thought we had planned it when her mom had her on my youngest son's 2nd birthday. We are sisters of the heart and I am proud to be called "Aunt JacJac" by both of her girls.  Alicia sent me a text the other day that read....
"Hey, I know I've asked a lot lately, but is there any way you could get off of work and go down to Dallas with me on Thursday around 12?" 
My response was simple....
"Well A, you haven't asked anything of me and B, there isn't anything I wouldn't do for you if I can."
So Thursday afternoon we loaded up and headed out. Last years shopping trip was somewhat of... Well, an emotional roller coaster. The air conditioning went out in the stores so to say trying on big, poofy dresses was a sweaty job is an understatement. It was an all day affair and before the day was over there had been much perspiration and tears shed. This year we hit the door with positive attitudes and a lot of prayer. First, Alicia had the saleswoman take our picture when we first got there while we still had our "Happy Pants" on. We knew it was a good omen when the air conditioning seemed to be working (can all the menopausal mothers and hormonal daughters out there give me an Amen?). Alicia is a very independent, strong willed young woman, which will serve her well in the years to come. She knows what she wants and pretty much sticks to her guns regardless of what input you want to give. So, when she said she was looking for black or emerald green, I knew that was what she meant. The saleswoman began pulling dresses and we started helping her get them on. Dress after dress her face remained emotionless regardless of how we oo'd and awed. When I felt like a melt down was imminent, I went on a mission to find something that hadn't been found. I came back to the dressing room with an armful of dresses to find her in this beautiful ruby dress. I opened the dressing room door to her mom's wide eyes and her brilliant smile. She walked to the mirror
beaming, as I stood confused. She said how much she loved it, but it wasn't sinking into my brain.... "It's the wrong color. You were very specific that you only wanted black or emerald green." Her explanation was that this was a ruby dress which is a color she hadn't seen before..... "There you go changing the rules in the middle of the game and totally throwing me off." I told her. I would have never pulled that dress because when I say she was adamant about what she wanted, I mean she was adamant. As the three of us stood in front of the mirror I asked..... "Are you saying yes to the dress." and she said.... "'YES!!!!!" Her mom dropped to her knees and I shouted "Thank You Jesus." That's just a little indication of how different this shopping trip was from last year. We where standing there with tears of joy, her mom had her head resting on my shoulder as the other moms watched from the couches in front of the dressing rooms. No doubt they were thinking that they should be so lucky to find a dress in a mere 2 hours and within (if not under) budget. As we stood there Alicia took a picture of us and announced that she was..... "So proud of her Lesbian mom's." I glanced over at the couch of mothers and watched as they quickly averted their eyes and the three of us burst into laughter. We were so elated and ready to eat at PF Chang's, we didn't care what the other moms thought. We actually made it out of the store while it was still daylight. We laughed our way through dinner, across town and to "Sprinkles", Starbucks and finally home. We were still laughing when they dropped me off at my house. I love you to the moon and back Miss Alicia Rayann Webb and I am as proud of you as if you were my very own daughter.
  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Emperoress Has No Clothes

I'm not sure why God wired us the way he did. I think most people, myself included, would like to be surrounded by those who offer endless admiration, always sees things our way, and who never rock the pedestals  we've perched ourselves upon. I mean who doesn't like their ego stroked? The problem with that is without the truth being present in our lives, we will never grow past our own perception. I'm of the belief that most of the time we know the truth, but secretly hope no one will validate the less than stellar truths about ourselves..... And boy don't we work hard to cover up those nasty little traits. The truth can be brutal at times, especially when it veers from our way of thinking. Even though it's not always pretty, I'm glad I have some who are willing to dash my delusions with the honest truth. Constructive criticism can help us grow like no amount of  false flattery ever will. Criticism given in love is best embraced. Even criticism that isn't so loving can make us more than we are. Personally without friends who will tell me the truth (and occasionally a pat on the back), I would be like the Emperoress  with no clothes, and trust me, that is not a pretty sight. Check your bloomers... Are they really there? If not, get new friends.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Happy Sore Spot and Pixie Dust

I had lunch with two beautiful women I used to work with.  The three of us weathered a particularly nasty work situation and each came out with different results. I bailed a sinking ship, the other was tossed overboard, and the third is hanging on.  Life has a funny way of weaving people in and out of your life and I've found I have to make a deliberate choice to keep the threads from weaving out... Friendship doesn't just happen, it's a choice. We got all caught up, hugged it out and I headed back to the office. As I was getting out of my car, my friend honked her horn at me as she passed my office. My head snapped up a little faster than my butt, and I conked the back of my head on the frame of my car..... "Dang that smarted". As I was reading tonight, my fingers came across the tender spot as I absent mindedly rubbed my scalp. The sore spot reminded me of my lunch and how sweet it was to see the girls. Most sore spots are a negative reminder, and although the weathered storm left open wounds, the sore noggin was just the opposite..... It was a happy sore spot and a sweet reminder that people are brought into my life for a purpose and each one leaves something special behind. Hopefully, I leave a trail of sweet sprinkles behind as well... Lord knows I've left my share of sore spots. Love you girls (said to the sound of my pixie dust wand).