A Simple Word

Today I wanted to post a message that isn’t funny. It’s not even my words, but it’s a message stirring in my heart.

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

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Enough said.

My Legs Don’t Go That Way

Physical Therapy. Sounds like a good thing right? I mean it’s therapy. By definition therapy is “treatment designed to relieve or heal.” But I’m on to them now. Oh yes, I figured out their game. It’s PE in disguise. And I hated PE. This so-called therapy is all a facade to get you in the door. Once inside, they make your legs go in directions they were never meant to go.

A month ago I decided the pain in my back must be addressed. I started looking for a new desk chair since mine was apparently trying to kill me. Then a friend suggested that it may not be the chair, but the fact that I sit at my desk all day. Apparently sitting is the new smoking. So I turned to the allure and comfort of “therapy” figuring it couldn’t hurt to try it. #foreshadowing

The first visit was all roses and candy. Easy stretches and light pressure from “Pebbles”, the name of the machine they put me on. This is also a diversion tactic. They give the robotic machines nice names, especially the ones you meet first.  It’s all part of the ploy.

The second visit they introduced me to “Bam Bam” and made me bend, lift, stretch and contort in ways I was never meant to. Determined to not be beat by these tactics, I worked and worked to do what I was asked to do. I figured there was a piece of chocolate or something waiting for me as a reward. But no. The therapy master said, “Now get up and walk around a little bit.” HA! My legs feel like jello and I need a nap. I’m gonna walk out the door if I can get off this table. But I learned another one of their tricks. They have you put your purse (with car keys inside) in a cubby that is strategically located as far away from the front door as possible. Very smart on their part.

But I can tell I am getting better so I am encouraged. As an overachiever I keep working harder to be able to say I can do the exercises they give me each visit. But here’s another thing I learned. If you say you can do the exercises, they give you harder ones. Ah Ha. More tricks.

By now I think I have their game figured out. I’m smart. I learned how to avoid PE with stealthy ninja-like prowess. I got this. Oh nay nay. On Friday, they introduced me to traction.

What in the sam heck is this medieval madness? Oh just lie on this nice comfy table and hold on for dear life as we pull you apart. This should definitely help you, she says. It feels good, she says. I considered running. I considered pretending to have to go to the bathroom and jump out the window. But my dang car keys… The cubby… shoot…

Minutes later I find myself strapped in and feeling 80 lbs of pressure pull at me from the waist down as the size of my eye balls set a new world record. 20 minutes later and I was still alive and certain I was an inch taller. Hooray for a lower BMI.

But I’m not going back. Ok, I’ll be back on Monday. And the following Friday. And the week after that. But I’m gonna be sure I keep my car keys within arms reach.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

What’s in the Shadows?

It’s dark as pitch at 5:30 a.m. I know this because I walk my neighborhood every morning before work (ok, ok most mornings). Oh sure I carry a flashlight, but it does very little to dispel the darkness.  Who knows what’s lurking in those shadows?

As I step out my front door, my surveillance tactics are in full force. So are my ninja moves. I twist my head at every sound, every flicker, every movement. I yell “Hiiiii Yahhhh” while simultaneously executing a “judi chop” to send the scary things running. I check over my shoulder and then check again. Sometimes I even reflect back to my marching band days and decide to walk backwards in a perfect glide step. I thought it may confuse the bad guy when I executed an abrupt about-face. I look left. I don’t like the dark. I look right. Even darker over there.

What was that?
Did I just see something?
Was that a squirrel? Raccoon? S-n-a-k-e? Flesh-eating possum rising from the gutter?
Ninja Turtle?  A friendly but strong ninja turtle to keep me safe?

I have an active imagination. It doesn’t help that it’s Halloween time. People in this neighborhood have lost their minds. They have bed sheet ghosts strung all in the trees. There are skeletal things coming out of the ground next to tombstones. There are creepy fences on sidewalks, spiders on houses, pumpkins on light posts and God-only knows what that was on that one family’s porch.

 

Thursday morning, I jerked my head around so many times I gave myself a kink in my neck.

Then I heard this question in my mind, “What’s in the shadows?”

Exactly Lord. That’s what I’m saying. WHAT is that? And that? And that?

“No, April, you are in the shadow – My shadow.”

Sometimes God is so cool.

I got home and looked up scriptures that pertain to “shadows” and check this out:

How precious is Your loving kindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 36:7

Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 17:8

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

What’s in the shadows? I am. Me. ME! My morning walk in the shadows just took on a whole new meaning. I’m walking in the shadow of the most high God. And there’s no better place to be.

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Hooker Heels and a Hess Station

The things we do for our kids.

I have always enjoyed helping my daughter get ready for the prom or homecoming or cotillion or the annual pig festival dance or whatever formal occasion we had next on the calendar. There’s a lot that goes in to preparing for these events… that is if you have a girl. Boys take about 27 minutes. Girls? 27 hours. But I love it. I love it until I find myself in hooker heels in a Hess station.

It was prom night. Her hair was done in a beautiful up-do. She had a french manicure and pedicure. Her makeup was just right. She had the perfect yellow dress acquired after days of shopping. Subsequent to the selection of that dress, I had purchased a 100 ft roll of “flash tape” to ensure the dress stayed in all the right places. She had 4 inch high silver heels that accented the dress perfectly.  Once the earrings and bracelet were added, she was ready to head to the marathon photo session at a downtown park.

Of course I took all the photos she wanted. Standing. Sitting. On the stairs. Near the water. With the boy. With the group. With the boy and the group.

Hundreds of photos later, the happy couple got in the back of my limo and I chauffeured them to the glitzy and glamorous hotel in Orlando. Yes, I know. How painful that mom had to drive them. But their real limo plans fell through and neither was allowed to drive that far just yet so here is mom to save the day. They actually didn’t mind since I let them play the music as loud as they wanted. And told them jokes. Ok maybe I went overboard with that, but I laugh at myself so I was entertained. Heck, I’m driving. And I had worked hard to get to this point. There was a lot invested in this evening. She was gorgeous. I was proud.

I dropped them off at the door. As they strolled in to Prom Night 2014, I zoomed off to kill time for two hours until my next assignment – get them to the afterparty. I proceed to review the 500 photos we just took.

When I arrived to retrieve the happy couple, half of the happy couple did not look so happy. My daughter proclaimed her shoes to be the absolute spawns of satan, adding that she could no longer wear them or it would make the evening unbearable. “OK just change into your flats you brought.” What flats?  You mean you forgot your flats? I saw my evening going a lot differently as I slipped off my flat sandals and handed them over.

10155559_10152448583601995_1290038631909199581_nBut what was I to do. I’m a mom. I wanted her to have a fun time. As she goes on to the post Prom celebration now able to walk again,  I knew this was going to be a late night.  I settled into the car with my computer, a book, snacks, drink and my heated seats. Party time for mom. Continue reading

I’m Not Qualified for Key Fob Repair

There are times when we try to “help” and we actually make things worse. Ever done that? I may have. Once. OK maybe twice.

One morning on my drive to work, my car tells me the battery in my key fob is low. “Hmm,” I thought. “I better take the appropriate measures to resolve this potential issue before it causes me to be stranded in an unsafe area. Thanks for the warning Car.”  OK OK, it may have sounded more like, “Oh snap, it has a battery? Who’s got time to worry about that?”

Naturally I did relay this breaking news report to my darling Hubby who promptly responded with a detailed answer – “OK”. He’s a man of few words. Efficient, I believe he calls it.

After arriving at work I decided that as a seasoned marketing executive I could research this issue, create a plan to address it, execute the plan flawlessly, analyze the results and report key learnings and next steps back to the team. After all it would be a help to the hubby.  I deemed myself qualified with ceremonial flair and proceeded to Google the situation at hand.

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A YouTube video promptly appeared on my screen. This 12-year-old boy said replacing the battery was a piece of cake. Awesome. Just to be sure, I watched the second video. Due diligence they call it. Good use of buzz words, I thought. An older guy says it’s simple and he will give me step by step instructions. Perfect. I assembled the necessary tools, i.e. a quarter, rubber gloves, face mask, fire extinguisher… Preparation is one of my strong points.

I proceeded through the steps, identified the location of the battery, obtained the information for the type of battery I needed to purchase and then attempted to put the key fob back together again to make the car driveable so I could acquire said battery.

“Snap the two halves back together,” he says. “It’s easy,” he says. “It’s painfully simple,” he says. Well, “he” is wrong.

Nothing would make the two halves of this key fob go back together. These two pieces that were one just moments ago are now seemingly so completely incompatible it’s as if they were never meant to be attached at all. I tried using force, the sneak attack, the standing up approach, the spin-in-my-chair-and-pray-gravity-draws-them-back-together approach. Nothing.

And then things got worse.

Continue reading

Are You Ready?

When it comes to hurricane preparedness, my husband is a master.

Having a master hurricane preparer has come in really handy this week as our family, along with the rest of the eastern U.S., braced for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. My darling hubby has numerous detailed and specific disaster preparedness levels. Make no mistake…there’s a certain process to preparing for a hurricane that starts the moment the storm is named. Some things must be done in stage 1 while others are more important in stage “code red”. This week we went through each one of the stages – all the way to “hunker down”.  My apologies to the fellow citizens of Lakeland who may not have found a battery or flashlight in our local Lowes. We have them all.

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Family shenanigans during hurricane Charley in 2004. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love how wonderful he is about protecting our family and working hard to ensure we not only have what we need, but that we are as comfortable as possible. (Poor guy knows how I need my climate control. If mama is hot… run!) I just get a kick out of picking at him. Shocking I know.

“Hey honey, we only have 48 AAA batteries. You may want to pick up some today.”

“Sweet pea, we need more duct tape. Only 3 rolls in here.”

“Yo honey bun, we have 12 flashlights, but no lanterns. We definitely need a lantern. Oh and while you’re there could you get me that new ceiling fan I want? I don’t see how we could weather this storm without that.”

I know what you’re thinking. I’m taking advantage of his good nature. But I’ve been wanting that fan for a long time.  Continue reading

Thou Shalt Not Grumble

It took me nearly 2 hours to get home from work Friday night and I was in a great mood when I got home. My hubby was shocked. So was I.

Just a few days ago this would have sent me spiraling. Ever been through one of those times when nothing… literally nothing… makes you happy? And the slightest thing sets you off? You find yourself grumbling and complaining from sunrise to bedtime and no matter how much you understand this is a rotten way to exist, you can’t stop.  Anybody? Anyone? Ok, so just me?  Ha. Well I perfected it.grumble-2

I’m admitting that I have spent the past few months (many more than I care to acknowledge) as the leader of the U.S. Grumblers Society. You name it – I hated it. I had complaints loaded and ready to fire at unsuspecting family and friends at all hours of the day and night. I was aggravated, irritated and frustrated. It didn’t matter whether the sun was shining or if it was raining cats and dogs, I was unhappy. I wanted to change my house, my car, my phone, my job and my hair color. I didn’t feel good about my life, my church, my family, my fitness level or the products I used to clean my floor. No matter what situation I found myself in, I didn’t like it. Sadly, I told anyone who would listen. Continue reading

Where Does Your Help Come From?

Psalm 121I’m not proud of the fact that when walking into the garage one night,  I shoved my daughter into the path of an evil, demonic critter while running for my life.

There’s one sure-fire way to send me into sheer terror and everyone close to me knows not to even say the word. In fact in our home, we spell the name of the beast, quietly and only if absolutely necessary — s-n-a-k-e.

Each and every day of my life I check for them everywhere. I look around corners, on the floor, in the bushes, on the porch, in the car, on the sidewalk, in the toilet {thanks to the person who just HAD to tell me their story}. It’s become such a part of my routine I am not consciously aware that I’m doing it.  Full scale s-word reconnaissance is simply step 1 of my plan to defend myself. Step 2 involves attempting to retain consciousness. Step 3 is apparently sacrificing my family if necessary. Subsequent steps all involve self-preservation while securing assistance to exterminate the vermin. #thereisnogoodsnake

Walking the neighborhood today, I found myself scanning the ground in my usual way, eyes like s-word radar. As I visually verified the tubular object at my 2 o’clock was indeed a stick, a thought occurred to me. As I walked step after step, I was completely focused on my fear. My eyes and my mind were concentrating solely on the thing I feared most. Continue reading

Running on Empty

Much to my husband’s dismay, I rarely put gas in my car until there is nothing short of a prayer left in the tank. I consider it efficient time management as I prioritize the tasks on my list. Getting gas becomes the top “to-do” when the warning light comes on. Until then, I have baseball pants to clean and a prom dress to acquire.

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My rationale is lost on my darling hubby. To him, running the tank too low is not only dangerous, it’s bad for the car. Safety factor noted. Yet, I question his “damaging to the car theory” noting the existence of the alert system, the capacity of the large gas tank, the design of the fuel injection system and applicable theories of quantum physics….as he just shakes his head. Continue reading

A Fire, the Dog and a Basket of Junk Mail

You always hear people talking about what items they would grab from their home if there was ever a fire. With only minutes to get out of your house losing everything you own, what would you save? I’ve pondered this question numerous times over the years and assuming the family was all safe, I figured I’d reach for items like the kids’ baby books, photo albums, wedding photos, other precious mementos that can’t be replaced.

But evidently I was completely wrong.

Running from a burning house on Saturday I didn’t grab any of those things. Continue reading