02 January 2014 @ 02:12 pm

The thing is, it's so tedious to write more than a few lines, because I am always using my phone.

29 November 2012 @ 11:44 am
This morning, Frank got to learn a little bit about how the California Highway Patrol works.

I'm driving him to his Thursday Language Arts classes.  I'm driving him to his Thursday Language Arts classes in my van that has expired tags.  I see the CHP SUV in my rear view, and, as if I could see the future, I almost just pulled over on my own.  But who can pass up the brilliantly lit official escort across three lanes of traffic?  Not this girl.  If I'm gonna get a ticket, I want the full fanfare.

While he's reminding me to put it in park so I don't drift away into a speeding stream of traffic, I'm silently berating myself for not bringing the garlic bread that fell out of the food box into the house last night.  My car is fragrant. 

"You're driving on expired tags, ma'am.  Is this something you've already taken care of?"

"Yes, I sent a check in about three weeks ago, but I haven't received my tags, yet."

I am certain he thinks I'm lying, because probably everyone lies to him.  I am not lying, though. I did send a check in.  But because I feel like he thinks I'm full of it, I launch into the whole story of what happened.  But after a few sentences, I realize that he doesn't care, Frank is late for school, and so I flail my arms in the "erase all I just said" motion, and put the ball back in his court.

He was very nice.  I think he thought I was very fragile.  He kept giving me excuses I could use.  "Was it a financial issue?  There's a lot of that going around."  At this point, I was tempted to launch into my explanation again, but in a rare moment of learning from past experiences, I just smiled, raised an eyebrow and shrugged my shoulders.

Side note:  Why do all policemen/CHP seem to have a hint of a southern accent?  I think that they think it makes them sound friendly.

He asks for my past registration and insurance information.  I curse myself for not being more organized. 

I lean over to the glove compartment, and am happy to see that the registration is right on top!  But the happiness dissolves as I realize it's just a transaction receipt from the DMV.

Here it is!  I begin to hand him the slip, but then realize it's the receipt for my daughter's California ID card.

But what is this?  Surely this, that's the registration for my husband's motorcycle.

I'm pulling registration forms out of my glove compartment like a clown pulls colorful scarves out of his sleeve:  In a brilliant and unending display. 

Finally, after having exhausted all possible forms of registration, I present him with the most recent registration for my van. 

"Proof of insurance, ma'am?"

Crap.  The hunt begins. 

I can't find it right away, and he tells me it's okay, and asks who I am insured through.  I tell him I'm insured through Geico, and start to explain that my insurance card isn't in my van because I just very recently took it out to rent a car and how just two nights ago, I was telling my husband, "I better put this back into the van, or you know I'm going to get pulled over."  I start to tell him that, but then I add up all the reasons (garlic smell, clown car glove compartment, my hair...) that he may already think I'm unstable, and I trail off after only a few words.

He walks back to his vehicle to write me up, and I find a copy of my insurance information!  So I run down all the possible next steps:
  • Wait until he comes back and then show it to him.  But will this ruin his paperwork and make him annoyed with me?
  • Get out of my van and bring it to him, though I'm pretty certain this is considered "bad form" in the law enforcement community.
  • Honk and wave the paper out of the window.  Yes, I'll do that.

So I honk and wave the paper out of the passenger side window.  He looks up and sees it, but just gestures for me to hold on.  I think he thought I was telling him to hurry up.

I did want him to hurry, but my mama didn't raise no fool.  I keep that to myself.

He continues to "handle" me.  "I see the color of your vehicle is two-toned.  Wow, that's unusual. It's a very unique van."  "It was a gift - someone gave us this van."  "Wow, that's great. That's what this world is all about."

I think to reassure him that I am not going to drive off the overpass out of grief.  I really am okay. 

Eventually, I get back on the road, and promise myself that I won't let what happened last time, happen this time.  The last time I had a ticket for expired registration (long story, but it was sort of not my fault), I let that $25 fixit ticket turn into a $636 ticket that I just recently paid off.  I'm hoping that this is another past experience that I will learn from. 

Hope springs eternal!
29 June 2012 @ 03:07 pm
Today is Troy's birthday. 

I read a birthday wish on Facebook from my brother-in-law to my husband, and I was like - today is the 29th?

I sent him a happy birthday text and he called back and told me that he didn't know it was his birthday, either.

Today, Troy turned 45, and now I have to clean my room, because that's my gift to him. 

I wish my gift to him was cake, but he prefers ice cream, and we're not having it until tomorrow.
16 March 2012 @ 04:10 pm
I learn my biggest lessons from being married.  Which, as it happens, are also the hardest lessons.  But this last one was just a favorite lesson.

A couple months ago, Troy and I were having a pretty deep discussion.  It started with me telling Troy how awesome he'd been towards me and it rapidly declined into me crying and rambling about What if he couldn't sustain his feelings for me and What if I trusted - really trusted - that he would love me forever no matter what, only to be crushed if he were to change his mind?

(I know myself.  I can be really difficult.  I am not the most selfless person.  I am actually very selfish.  Troy is not selfish and is always putting his family and others ahead of himself.  I mean, how long can a selfish person really expect a selfless person to hang in there??)

He said something then that has had a lasting impact on me.  In fact, whenever I think about it, I realize that I'm learning more and more deeply about God's grace because of that one thing he said.

When I asked him how I could be sure that this time wouldn't end like the other times, when we'd struggled, patched things up, only to slowly fade into a silent bitterness towards each other.  He said,

"The other times, I made a promise to myself to be the husband I knew I should be to you, but when things didn't go the way I thought they should, I gave up.  This time, it's different.  I didn't make the promise to myself.  I'm not even making the promise to you.  This time, the promise is between me and God.  I'm committing to do the right thing by you and before God, no matter how you respond".

Last week, while performing one of the thousand mundane and routine tasks that so frequently beset a wife and mom, I started to talk with God.  I confessed to Him that I'd been selfish and distant from Him (boy had I ever been).  I thanked Him for His grace, which truly is amazing and thankfully, unending.

You know how you can know something forever, yet you can keep learning it?  That happened to me as I prayed.  I realized I was imagining God looking at me at that moment and, yes, covering my sin, but ... covering it because I'd prayed and confessed.  I made it about me and my contrition.  My words.  Thinking of it this way keeps me in the delusion that God's promises for me have ANYthing to do with what I have done.  Am doing.  Could ever do.  But I was suddenly so very aware that He doesn't love me, pardon me, provide for me because of my obedience (as dodgy as it is) to Him, but because of Christ's obedience at the cross.  It's not about what I do, it's about what He did.

(I have at least 3 caveats and addenda to this, but that's asking too much from this fresh-back-to-journaling girl)

Which brings me back to what Troy said that night.  He wasn't basing his promise on my performance, but had made it between him and God.  There's a lot of freedom in that. 

And in both relationships - with Troy and with God - this understanding has not made me think I can slack off all I want because they will HAVE to love me, it has made me want to serve them more and to get to know them more.  I love them more than I did before.  And, as I heard said recently, "Obedience to God for any other reason than a love for God, is merely penance".

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6 

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor 1:30

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21

Lastly, I can't remember about cut tags and stuff.
04 February 2012 @ 12:02 pm
Please Livejournal, don't delete my account. 
25 September 2011 @ 11:36 am
About six months ago, I attended my first baptism service at my new church.  It was so beautiful.  I cried more than I do at weddings. 

Before the person gets baptized, they have the opportunity to say why they are choosing baptism or to share a little about their faith.  This one guy got up there and through tears (maybe everyone was crying) shared a little of his story, then said something about his mom and how she was probably so relieved that he was living a different life, now.  She was in the audience and someone asked her to stand up and she was crying.  Tears of joy.  I really do think we all were crying.

I probably got a little more teary than I had been up to that point, because I felt so much joy for that mom.  A little later, I tried to imagine me being that mom, and how I'd feel if Cedric ever came back and chose to get baptized.  If I was sitting in the audience listening to my oldest boy profess his faith in Christ after the last two years of heartache, what would I do?  How would it feel?  I know that as I even just pondered the possibility, I started sobbing in the way that makes your heart feel like it really may collapse on itself. 

Now that it's happening, I still don't really know what I will do when I stand with the others and listen to the words my heart has been too afraid to hope for.  But I know how I'm going to feel, because I feel a fraction of it now.  Relief. Joy.  Thankfulness.  Gladness.  My heart is glad. 

He told me on Friday night that he had decided he wanted to get baptized today.  This wasn't when I learned that he had come to the Lord - I think for the first time - but it feels like the culmination of all my hopes and prayers.  All the time I spent with God when I couldn't even form any words to Him.  The nights I would stay up wondering where he was or what might happen to him.  It took a long time to get to the place where I could place him in God's hands and really, really mean it, but the heartache never, ever, ever relented. 

It has now.  I am so ... I don't even know what.  But I am.  A lot.
10 May 2011 @ 12:38 pm
When working with kids, it's best to deflect the Full-Body Hug with the Side Hug; The full-body hug's more chaste cousin. Even better, you can follow the lead of one of the youth pastors at my church and avoid this awkward exchange altogether by offering up a preemptive High Five to each person you greet.

Continuing on this path, I believe it's best to limit all hugs to exclude embracing other men. I really like to hug my husband, but I would go so far as to say that hugging another man - especially a married man - would not become more uncomfortable for me with the addition of a leg-wrap, because the level of cringing discomfort inherent in the plain old hug is enough to ring the bell at the top of the tower.

With this in mind, let me tell you why I may have to change churches.

This one time, the pastor of my new church approached Troy and I and said a few words of greeting and sometime within the first few moments of small talk, he extended his arms slightly forward - elbows bent and palms turned slightly inward, as if holding a giant, invisible beach ball. I took this as the universal sign for, "Give us a hug, would ya?"

Not wanting to be rude, I obliged the silent request. Awkwardly and reluctantly, but I obliged.

This happens twice more during the last years that I've been attending this otherwise perfect church. But the only thing more awkward than actually HUGGING my pastor would be to leave him hanging with his arms extended, forcing him to pretend instead that he was merely reaching up to brush the hair out of his face. Especially since he has no hair.

Now imagine this: Good Friday. Standing outside taking my first turn at being a Greeter at church. Side-by-side with my foxy husband. The pastor approaches Troy and lets fly with the now-familiar Hug Me Stance. Which is really something, because Troy is even less of a hugger than I am. Stab you in the face, sure. Hug you? That's just weird.

I am cringing as I watch Troy just leave Pastor Ross hanging there - arms extended in a would-be-yet-thwarted attempt at an embrace. They finish up their 25-30 words and the pastor walks away. I tell Troy, "How could you not hug him back! How horrifying to just leave him twisting in the wind like that!"

I almost can't even repeat this next part, because it's still very fresh and it's hard to type while cringing. Troy said in his matter-of-fact way, "He wasn't asking for a hug. That's just the way he stands when he greets people."

I immediately tally how many times I've gone in for the full embrace and honestly, I may be in denial when I claim only three instances of rampant hugging. I just have to believe there were only three. I have to.

Fast-Forward to the following Sunday. I'm walking through the lobby and heading toward the door to take my family home. I smile at a friendly face or two. I see my pastor standing in the lobby and I see him look at me, smile and...

...raise his hand up for a preemptive high-five.

I'm That Girl, now. The girl you have to high-five before she hugs you. I am dying inside and stifling a silent laugh.

I raise my hand for the drive-by high-five and cross the remaining length of the lobby with that old, very familiar feeling I get when something is hilariously embarrassing. Ol' Trusty.

So now I wrestle with the decision to either find a new church - and possibly a new city - or stay with this church and boldly and without apology wear the Scarlet H.
16 March 2011 @ 08:51 am
I'm 40!  I feel like I've joined an exclusive club.  And saying, "I'm 40" for the first time was nearly as strange as saying, "I'm a grandma". 

My friend, Reina, threw me a birthday party.  It was the first party I've had, aside from the family gatherings we had when my grandma was still alive and living in her home.  My party was tremendous.  I found out about it when I received my invitation.  So it was a surprise party, but I was surprised by the invite and not by the the house full of people.  This was far superior!
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25 February 2011 @ 07:30 pm
I was reading back in my journal(s).  Sometimes, it's like reading someone else's stuff.  It's a byproduct of the way I learn, I think.  I learn a lot by observing, but the kind of observing that is done from the inside out.  Like I am in the middle of the beast and peeking out from the guts.  It feels like I literally try it on.  How else can I know all about something? 

After reading and thinking, I've discovered my pattern.  It starts when I see something that I don't understand or is new to me.  I read about it.  Then I ask questions.  Then, sometimes, I dive in.  Then I talk about it, which baffles Troy.  He says, "Why don't you wait until you know more before you go on about it?  People are going to think you're schizophrenic."  He doesn't say these exact words, but this is the idea.  He is probably right, but old dogs, tricks, etc.

I usually hit either extreme before I feel like I have enough information to decide where I will land.  There was a time when I thought I should probably stop doing that, but I don't really want to.  I learn so much by seeing the east and the west of a thing.  It's also how I have become a sort of Cliff Claven of Little Known Facts.

I think this is one of the best things about studying God.  Theology.  I can't ever find the east or the west.  Well, I have found some extremes here, too.  Like, when I used to think that God was just love, Love, LOVE!  Only love, all the time.  Just a big bowlful of syrupy love.  Then I learned that He was holy, and that his Love was a holy love.  Well THAT changed everything about me, from the guts on out, and for a while, thoughts of His love stopped being the lens I saw through.  I think after all those years, I had to sit with his sovereignty and his righteousness just a little while longer.  

And now I see that you can't have one without the other and that the east only makes the west more amazing and the west just makes the east more unfathomable.  

I don't really care about finding the ends of anything else, anymore.  I mean, I love to learn about things still.  And I still love to research until the ends of the internet when I am trying to find the best set of sheets, but if I'm going to be peeking out from inside of anything ever again, I want it to be from inside the words of God.
01 January 2011 @ 02:27 pm
I am so cold. 

I am sitting upstairs in my room, reading If God Is Good... (Wow, everyone read this.  It's one of the few non-bible books that I would force everyone to read if I could) and it is so cold, I thought that one or more windows was open. 

The problem is that the heater is turned off, because we have a fire going.  But I had to close my door (and thereby keeping the heat on the other side of it) because there was an ... incident earlier that has led to our house looking like a bar that still allows smoking indoors.  Minus the drunk guys hitting on the leathered women in tube tops.

I think it may only be marginally warmer in here than it is in my front yard.  But if I was in my front yard, I couldn't be wearing my ridiculous get-up, with a blanket on my lap with my fingers-like-frozen-sausages missing every other key on my laptop.