Small Things, Dark Places…and Flushing

Light Switch

I seem to be moved by very small things of late.

Yesterday while on a trip to a worship event, Good Lookin’ and I stopped at a gas station to er, “use the facilities.” As I entered the ladies restroom, an elderly woman with a walker was making her way out of the handicapped stall and she looked somewhat troubled.

When I took the time to make eye contact with her and greet her, she remarked how glad she was the lights had come back on in the restroom. She said she had very suddenly been left in the dark and did not know why. Neither did she know what she’d done to make the lights come back on again! Oddly enough, she made a point of telling me she had gone back into the stall to flush the toilet.

I suggested that perhaps the lights were automatic and required movement to remain on and she shook her head and said she missed the old days when lights when on and off by the flip of a switch.

Control. I empathize.

Ya know, the last year of my life has been like that. I was just in the traces, taking care of business when, all of a sudden, the lights seemed to go out and I found myself in a dark place. I don’t know why or how–I just know the lights went out.

There’s something about unexpected darkness that forces you to become very aware of your frailties–your brittle bones, inflexible joints, and situational vulnerabilities. When you can’t see, you really get acquainted with who you are, where you are, and what you happen to be doing.

It’s like God shuts off the comfort of vision and forces you to really SEE who you are.

I don’t like it…but there is a payoff if you can just hang in there.

Because, in the end, the lights will come on again, illuminating your situation. But you won’t forget what you saw in the darkness and, if you are willing, you can allow the experience to change you. I’m finding it takes great courage and humility, but it sorta means something to me that God trusts me enough–BELIEVES in me enough to take away the light for a time so that I can face who I am and be changed by the experience.

Now that the lights are on again, I am PATENTLY aware of the fact I am battered and bruised as a result of feeling my way around in the dark, and I’m not real impressed by what I see in the mirror…but I have decided not to hide my wounds. Darkness is fraught with war and wounding. What I see in me at the moment isn’t pretty but neither is it permanent–this is just what healing looks like.

I think I have found hope again.

…Pardon me while I go back into that stall and flush.

Redemption

Webster’s Dictionary defines the verb “redeem” as the following:  “to make (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) better or more acceptable.”

Redeem. Hmm. Let me tell you a story…

“Once upon a time in a busy semi-large town there lived a puppy with no name. Who knows where he came from or what his lineage was…he wasn’t wanted. Somehow he and another pup from his litter ended up in a dumpster outside of an animal shelter. Maybe the folks who brought him didn’t know how to prevent his wandering away or maybe they found the locked front doors to the animal shelter an inconvenience and a sign their job was done–they had gone as far as they were prepared to go on behalf of these burdensome creatures.

When the shelter director came the next morning to open up, she heard the crying of this little puppy and his sister in the dumpster and went to investigate. There she discovered the two dogs and pulled them out of the heap. She rescued them in the truest sense of the word and began caring for the un-named puppy and his litter mate, never knowing just how crucial her act of kindness would be.

Meanwhile, in a smaller town far away, there lived a girl who had lost hope. She had a name–Abbie…but she had forgotten who she was. A long time ago, when she was just a wee girl, she was hit on the head and nearly killed. She survived but the repurcussions of that accident came back to steal her identity and discourage her from planning for her future. She could no longer go to school with her peers and her fears held her captive like a princess in a tower. She needed rescueing.

Now, in the land there lived a powerful Wizard Who saw the injustice of both the dog and the girl and He devised a plan to give the dog a name and give the girl a future. He worked His magic, moving through the hearts and minds of the people of the land, and He brought the two together. The puppy would help the girl by using its gift of absorbing fear, turning it into love and loyalty, and the girl would help the dog by giving him her need, a loving home, and a name.

And that is what happened.

The dog and the girl found each other. The girl named the dog, “Keen,” because she believed in him and saw the treasure in him, and Keen returned to Abbie her future by giving her his companionship and devotion. They began their journey together–their world-changing partnership–in the fall of the year and, of course,…

They lived happily ever after.”

The first meet and greet with Keen
The first meet and greet with Keen

“Come Back with Your Shield or On It”

Image

Those are the words of my old English teacher, prior to my participation in any vocal competition:  “Come back with your shield or on it.” 

 

I love that.

 

I have been thinking a lot about dreams lately–not sleep-dreams–destiny dreams. You know, those plans you make for yourself when you are alone and never say out loud–the ones you began envisioning when you were just a kid.

 

What if…

I wonder…

Is it possible…

 

Do you know what I think, Dear Reader? I think realizing one’s dreams is just a matter of pulling the thing out of the atmosphere one corner at a time and tacking it down wherever we happen to catch it. What I mean by that is this:  rather than wait for the entire blanket of a dream to miraculously fall to the ground where we can wrap ourselves up in it, we should begin to pull whatever we can reach at the moment and bring it into our realm…and hang onto it. It may just be a small piece of the bigger picture, but it is a start.

 

And this, my friends, takes guts…

And tenacity…

And faith.

 

One of my old hens, “Peaches,” by name, found herself in a setting mood a few months back. She became determined to hatch out a brood of chicks and, once she and the other hens had amassed a clutch of about nine eggs, Peaches fluffed up on her haunches and began to set on those eggs with a diligence that would inspire the most pessimistic dreamer out there.

Twenty-one days passed and still she had not issued forth any chicks…but she would not give up on those eggs and then one day, Good Lookin’ and I drove up into the barnyard with more chicken scratch, and there was Peaches. Out from under her protective feathers toddled a bitty baby chick–just one–but what a beauty…and SUCH a proud mama!

None of the other eggs from that substantial clutch hatched. Later, we opened the eggs up to discover chicks that, for whatever reason, did not survive the transition from shell to nest, but that isn’t the point. The real story here is that Peaches’ determination to invest in what she had paid off with the position of motherhood, regardless of the number of offspring. She had attained her heart’s desire (yes, I fancy she has a heart).

 

I know, I know, Dear Reader…you are thinking my chicken story is simplistic at best. But, really, doesn’t it do the job of illustrating the importance of getting started with what is right in front of you?

I think so.

 

Richard M. DeVos said, “It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle.” Perhaps the secret to realizing a dream is to start with what you have.

 

Go on, Dear Reader, go out and take that victory once and for all…or die trying. 

 

Love,

Kelly

Ahh…Eagles!

I have a thing for Bald Eagles.

Yesterday, Good Lookin’ and I took the Four Blessings with us to pick up a studly rooster for our six hens (they need a bodyguard) and as we drove along through the foothills, we came across two Baldies, roosting in a giant, old cottonwood.

Wow.

Ya know, you don’t REALLY realize just how big these birds are until you get up close…WHOA! That five-foot wingspan  suddenly comes into perspective and you begin to appreciate the wonder of it all.

Our family has always considered the Bald Eagle a special sign of freedom and promise from God. Every time we see one, we know God’s talkin’ to us. It’s awesome!

 

This was a particularly significant weekend in my life. On Saturday, February 25, 2012, I was licensed and publicly ordained as a minister of the Gospel. Just even typing this makes me want to cry.  My friends and family were there, the words of the license a perfect expression of my heart’s desire, and Jason Upton and his band backed me up and spoke over me….humbling…

special…

unforgettable….

The fulfillment of  a dream.

You see, Dear Reader, some people are destined to be business owners and some teachers and some scientists and some antiques dealers and some dog walkers and some clerks…

I was born to minister.

It’s a good thing perfection is not a prerequisite to being a minister; I would not be qualified.

Nah. I’m still just Kelly. Only now I have more opportunities to do what I really love.

My favorite quote comes from my heroine, Joan of Arc. When asked what had led her to do what she had done, she said, “…I was born for this.”

Yeah. Simple.

That’s me too.

So when Good Lookin’ stopped the car under that big, ole’ cottonwood so we could all jump out and admire those giant birds of promise, I could only think back over where I’ve been and what I’ve done–good and bad–and be thankful that I was never forgotten or lost or over-looked. It all led to where we are right now.

And I am so happy we are here, Dear One.

Thank you for your love and support…

you will never know how much you mean to me.

Love,

Kelly

Sing.

My heart is full tonight as I type.

I am not sad.

I am not lonely.

I am not hopeless.

What I hear at this very moment is the rhythm of purpose as it pulses in my spirit.

 

I cannot imagine life apart from my Savior, Jesus Christ.

He is my Everything.

Without Him, nothing really matters.

When the lights go out and the distractions are put away and the day has followed the sun behind the mountain–that’s when it matters the most. It is when it is silent that I am most aware of Him…and it comforts me to know that I am not alone.

 

My life is a song. I sing it as unto Him.

It is not perfect–sometimes out of tune and pitchy.

Sometimes it is flat or sharp…

Or starts late…

And sometimes I forget the words.

But I know the most important part…

is that I am making music!

And I know Who I’m singing for.

 

I want you to know, Dear One, that there is comfort that does not require perfection. You don’t have to get it all together and become deserving. You too have a song…

So sing.

 

Blessings and Love and Compassion–You are important to me.

Kelly

Life Lessons on Farmville

Well. That does it!

 

Those dad-gummed programmers went and built a billboard right on the perimeter of my farm!…

without my permission!…

without my advice!…

without my … PERMISSION!!

 

(Don’t fret, Dear Reader…

this ghastly event has only taken place on my virtual farm…

You know…one of those online games that you can download for free on your computer–

the kind of internet time-suck you are embarrassed to admit to playing when you should be doing the dishes or the laundry or…just about anything else.)

 

You know what struck me the other day, though? Those virtual farming games have a whole lot of wisdom to impart. Yup. Really.

For instance, on FarmStory, you can plant and harvest fields of strawberries in five minutes and raspberries in one and it will cost you almost nothing to do it which means that you can reap a virtual harvest and rake in some capital, virtually-speaking, for your farming future. But you don’t get any experience points. Those experience points are what advance the farmer to higher levels in the game which open doors to field expansions and higher-dollar crops. They are, virtually, vital for success in the game!

Kinda like real life, eh?

 

How many times do we know where we want to go in life, how we want to expand our borders and invest in a more worth-while endeavor but are un-willing to dig in (so to speak) and pay the price that earns us those crucial experience points?

 

Ugh.

 

“Yeah, I wanna be an artist…but I don’t wanna put my time in on practicing the foundations of perspective.”

“Oh, I plan on being a great parent…but I don’t want to take a stand with my four year old son and have to deal with his tantrums.”

“I know I am bound for greatness as a minister…but volunteering to help Mr. Smith move out of his apartment is beneath me.”

 

Ouch. This one really hits home, Dear Heart, believe me.

 

Sometimes we forget that the very things we are reluctant to do on a daily basis (such as wandering the fields with the Four Blessings, or preparing a good meal for Good Lookin’, or inviting that lonely hairdresser out to a movie when we KNOW she would like it) are the very things that earn us those experience points that will, in the end, broaden our horizons.

It’s not that we invest in these things out of selfish motivation; it’s a practice of self-denial in small or large ways that leads to the fulfillment of our destinies. And one thing I notice is that experience never seems glorious, rather, it is a stepping outside of ourselves–a laying down of number one in order to serve a higher purpose.

 

I am finished with FarmStory. I have no time for virtual harvests, with or without experience points.

But I am inspired to sow some seeds in the real world…and pay the price for experience.

 

I hope you are too, Dear Reader.

 

Love,

Kelly

 

 

Promenade

Once upon a time, Four little Blessings went on a walk...one took pictures.
They brought along one spotted dog,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One intrepid collie dog,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One hairy dust-mop dog,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And two chunky, meandering goats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exploration party traveled o'er hill...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and vale,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

scaled mountains...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and peaks,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

descended into valleys...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and tramped back up again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And do you know what the Four Blessings discovered?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of togetherness.