Monday, March 30, 2015

Whispers, Lies and Reward

The demon assigned
to whisper
'No, you can't'
by the Word
of the Lord
"I can 
all things
through Christ
strengthens me."
And then
the demon
took the voice
of another
and said
'You can't.'
The piercing
went deeper
the Word
pierced more
soul and spirit
can man
to me?"
--and telling--
"I will
leave you
nor forsake
In a rage
the demon
to lie 
more aggressively
the native tongue
of its father
the Word
more boldly
"A curse
without a cause
shall not
In a fury
the demon 
began to dig
a deep
it had dug
its own grave
God's promise
to His
beloved child:
your eyes
shall see
the reward
the wicked."  

Palm Sunday Siesta and More

He stood so long during mass on Palm Sunday he was exhausted...

Not really...Mr. A usually enjoys a Sunday siesta and now that spring has sprung and the worst of the pollen has stopped in southern Georgia, we lounge the afternoon away in our vitamin D receptacles in the field in front of our home.  Soon enough it will be so hot we'll retreat to the shade of ornamental pear trees.  

The neck pillow was his mother's, one way he holds her memory close.  

The binoculars were used to spot a bald eagle.

The book is mine.

Enough evidence could not be collected to accuse Mr. A of being a book worm. He'd rather chop firewood, rebuild a carburetor, haul away scrap metal...well, you get the picture.  His belly was simply a book rest for a moment while I placed throws on my lounger.  Beautiful and sunny as it was, there was a chill in the air, seems there is always one last reminder of winter shortly before Easter.  

We spoke of airplanes, or rather he spoke of airplanes and I listened.  Military, trainers, experimental, passenger, you name it, he identifies it and never tires of the topic.  My take on a passenger airliner is sardines in a dirty Coke can, but you can't beat it for efficiency.  I loathe car travel, so it's a blessing to go see our children in Colorado in about the same amount of time it'd take us to drive to Atlanta.  (It dawned on me I number among those on earth who knew people from the pre-air travel era.)      

We spoke of parenthood; he said, "There are times you act lovingly when you're not necessarily feeling it."  It was a stripes-earned comment, surprised though, to hear it from him.  He almost always acted lovingly.  I told him he'd given me a tremendous gift with the way he conducted himself as a father.  I could never fault him for the examples he lived; he was a good role model for our sons.  Well, I did on occasion lob a complaint that I was more the disciplinarian than he, but all is well that ends well.  He was appreciative of my compliment and I'm appreciative I can lavish words of praise on him with no worry of him becoming puffed up.

From the visually euphoric vantage point of spring green...

(you can see the moon if you look closely at the center) ...we called our baby boy and his fiancee.  We discussed their upcoming wedding and a wedding guest book I created online for their approval.  Being able to talk on a telephone without a cord was unheard of in my childhood, but now we did just that, on speaker, so four people and the dog separated by over 1,600 miles could converse as if in the same room.  Not being confined to a room rocks!  

When the cool afternoon got even cooler, we went inside and another conversation on another device unheard of in my childhood commenced.  My older son and I were exchanging instant messages between his iPhone and my iPad.  I sent him a picture of a collaborative effort with his father, homemade Chicago deep dish pizza:

...and he replied he was booking a redeye.  We agreed to a call later and the call was via another communication miracle, Facetime.  It was dreamed of when I was a child--portrayed in a 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon called The Jetsons:


And with someone's dream come true, our firstborn took us on a tour of a house he and his wife recently rented, upgrading in size from a pretty little townhouse they've occupied since their move out west last summer.  A gas stove and an outlet on the island, a cook's clever design!  After ten months of dues paying in a smallish galley kitchen, he and his wife will have plenty of counter space for collaborative culinary creations of their own plus room to dance.

Part of me wished I lived close enough to help them move and another part of me could rest easy--as the young people say now, "I got this."  They do indeed have their lives under control and their father and I can enjoy the blessing and security of knowing our children are wholly, completely self-sufficient. 

Plus a potential hernia might be avoided.

After all this glorious sunshine and pleasant conversation with our children, we marveled over that mysterious place where time goes.  We see each other looking not exactly like we did on our wedding day, but still, could we have grown children in such a lightning speed passage of time?  

The book of Ecclesiastes has an entire chapter devoted to the topic of time and it speaks of a gift from God, every man being able to eat and drink and enjoy the toil of his labor.  My labor led to the hard work of childrearing and we were fortunate enough these duties were done with reasonable success.  This blessed Sunday afternoon, we reaped the reward of sharing joy in our grown children's milestones, territory they are navigating beautifully on their own.     

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Grilling Out For Two

I'm still in the wrapping-my-mind-around-it phase of re-learning life for two as opposed to three or four and any number of add-ons which accompanied the third and fourth members of our family established in 1986.  I'm getting on my own nerves with this topic as it's been nearly two years since our last nestling flew well and west.  Writing it out seems to help, though.

When the grill-meister, Mr. A, mentioned grilling out, I wasn't particularly enthused, but it was hard to resist his.  The next thing I know I'm kneading some Tastefully Simple seasoned salt and a little water into some ground beef and Mr. A is firing up the grill.  (I'm not a Tastefully Simple representative, so no self-interest in plugging their products.)  After making huge circles of raw beef, trying to accommodate for shrinkage, a generous amount of coarse ground pepper  and fire on both sides, voila!  We had tasty, homemade burgers for lunch.  

Mr. A salted tomato slices and ate them with relish, no, not literal relish, but like he was Georgia born and bred.  He has lived here 45 of his 61 years, so the culture really has rubbed off on him.  I'm not sure of the origin of the stinker in him, whether it was his birthplace of Ohio or his childhood home of Florida, but he doesn't mind wasting a pickle thrown in the dog's direction for the sheer entertainment of watching her immediately spit it back out.  She's not fond of tomatoes either, for the record.  

We rejoiced in the sunshine and we spoke frankly about where we are in life. We've signed all the pull-the-plug papers giving each other the legal right and blessing to do so.  I said to him I never want to be simply a body he has to bathe.  He said he didn't either, but life is a test and it isn't always fair.   

He then said he hoped we wouldn't have to take care of anyone else anytime soon.  That was after I mentioned many people my age, breathing on 52, are in the beginning stage of looking after their elderly parents.  My last parent was buried 12 years ago, so we were bonafide members of the sandwich generation.  Mr. A said we did that well.  Enough of that.    

He earns his relaxation daily by working hard and it's mighty gracious of him to say I earned my relaxation by what I did in the past, caring for children, an aging parent, and in time a brother.  I don't feel like I'm earning mine daily, I said to him, but I did mop the floors yesterday.

"That's important, too," he said in all seriousness following my less-than-serious remark.  It's a beautiful thing he appreciates the upkeep of our home.  I'm the first one to stand up for homemakers and what we do as a vocation, but I also have to admit it seemed to have more value when more people benefited from the labors.

It's a beautiful day to get over myself and any maudlin thoughts trying to creep in.  Lots of sunshine today and lots more tomorrow to stock up on before April comes in next week with afternoon thunderstorms.  Lunch dishes have been dealt with, Mr. A is mowing the lush, spring green grass and the afternoon is mine to do with as I choose.  My mission, this second half of life, is to choose well.  The afternoon's "activities" will consist of a book or two or three, some blessed sunshine and the time for some healthy self-talk, "It's OK.  Relax and enjoy.  You really did earn it."  

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Battle

The battle waged on
my spirit, my flesh
the minions were sent
to tempt, to assassinate
The Lord
to try, to purify
the choice was mine
all along--a lie!
Until I leaned on
rested in
and abode with
I was defeated

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Man Mopping...

...and dancing

Banana Muffins

Streusel mishap, nonetheless tasty, the collision of a bunch of dark, spotty bananas on this island and a Pinterest page on the computer.  

Fueled by a big cup of Starbucks breakfast blend brewed at home, I was banging and clanging so in the kitchen, my bleary-eyed husband exited the bedroom and asked what kind of a car I was making.  I asked him what kind he wanted me to make.  He said, "The kind you'll ride in with me."  By then I was in his arms, my head on his shoulder thinking we already have one of those, an old Explorer, so banana muffins will do.

Before I go any further, giving credit where credit is due and acknowledging hers are much prettier, here is the recipe:

I spared my dear readers the before pictures, step-by-step of the extraordinary mess in conjuring and share the completed sweetness along with an antique store crocheted doily and gifts of McCoy pottery from a cousin.  

My husband and I were discussing the countertops last night, nearly 29 years old and candidates for replacement.  My champagne wants range from granite to Corian, my working-man-side-of-town budget decrees laminate.  I could go granite, but that means not flying to Colorado to see my children, so the decision is, as the young people say, a no-brainer.  

I am thinking of a couple in town who make cabinets.  Around a quarter of a century ago, I was visiting them and saw their cabinets had an unexpected *patina* of scratches and gouges.  She shrugged, said she didn't care, they held what they needed to hold.  A bit later, she escorted me and my hungry infant to the master bedroom for some mealtime privacy and there for God-and-all-the-world-to-see was unattended to laundry.  

I liked that woman more that evening than when I arrived earlier.

My hope is you'll appreciate my less-than-Pinterest-perfect muffins for what they are.  They were tasty, otherwise I wouldn't have inflicted shared the recipe with you.  Just follow her instructions more carefully than I did and crumble the streusel with your fingers.  I used a fork and it clumped about as much as it would have if I used a spoon.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Thoughts on Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama

It is dawning on me the source of the hostilities between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.  The United States is known as the super power of the world, but counterfeits exist where truth lies.  The title does not belong to the United States, but to Israel.  I heartily disagree with the manner our president has dealt with/is dealing with the prime minister, but it may be another step to boost Israel to its rightful place and position.  Perhaps the Lord does not want the prime minister seeking help from the U.S. for what He alone intends to grant His chosen people in the homeland He gave them.  

"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water:  He turneth it whithersoever He will."--Proverbs 21:1

The president's heart has been turned in this realm and the foolish fall in line with him.  Nonetheless, I do believe the U.S. will receive due punishment for any help denied/delayed.  The prime minister will do much better to seek the Hand of the Lord.  
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  May they prosper who love you."--Psalm 122:6 New American Standard Bible