Sunday, August 9, 2015

Giving my pastor the finger, yet another life lesson....

Now, this is going to come as a surprise to some of you however, I have a confession to make...

I am intense and I lack patience.

I have been trying very hard to slow down, relax, and exert patience whenever possible, however these are areas within myself that still need work.  The truth about me is, I constantly attack life with 100% of myself.  I seldom relax, and I multi-task in a way that would make an air traffic controller juggling fire look sedate.

People constantly ask me:  "How do you do everything that you do?"  Well, the answer is, I do life fast, with a purpose and I am bold beyond reason most days.

This takes us to Friday....

Friday afternoon, I ran to the grocery store after work and then in my post grocery store "I just spent $178- but still don't want to cook" state of mind, I decided I had to have Chipotle for dinner.  Quickly, I hit up Chipotle, took it "to-go" since I had my groceries in the car,and headed home.  I was SO excited about the Chipotle sitting next to me that I could NOT get there fast enough.

Two miles down the road there was a stop light.  The car in front of me was stopped and preparing to turn left, and the car coming at them was stopped and was preparing to turn left also.  We were stopped for approximately 27 seconds, which in my mind was WAY too long, while we waited for one of them "to own" the turn so we could all go about our business.  As we are sitting there a dark blue Camaro goes whizzing by me on the right, and my thoughts:  "At least one of might get home in a timely fashion tonight!"

So, I did what came naturally to me.
I ashamed God.

I rolled down my window, honked the horn, flipped off the car coming at me, and screamed "MAKE A DECISION ALREADY!!"  Then in hit me in slow motion....

**** Side note right here:  For the last little while, I have sat 9 rows from the front of our church staring at a newer pastor, whom I really don't know except in passing, and my thoughts have always been:  "Man, she looks like Sarah Palin!" ****

I looked at the car coming at me and my immediate thought was:  "Man, that woman looks just like Sarah Palin!"  Then it hit me!


I frantically called The Reluctant Farmer:  "Honey, you are never going to believe what I did!  On second thought, you probably will believe me...  I flipped off Pastor Rachel!  I AM GOING TO HELL!"

The Reluctant Farmer immediately starts laughing hysterically, and in her calm, and even tone says:  "I told you that was going to catch up with you one day."

I was NOT amused.  "Honey, stop laughing at me!  This is not cool!  We are going to have to switch churches.  I can never go back there again!  OH MY GOD!"

Then The Reluctant Farmer promptly pipes up with:  "Aren't they going to notice when you don't show up for your Sunday school class?"

CRAP!  I had not thought of that!  I teach Sunday school to the young children of Jesus every week. (No worries, I do NOT teach them how to give folks "the bird" while driving.)  Someone is going to notice if I disappear....

So, I stewed on this for the rest of the night AND was still stewing on this when The Reluctant Farmer got home from work.

RF:  "Hey there!  Are you still upset about flipping the pastor off in a fit of road rage?!"
Me:  "YES!  I can't show my face there EVER again!  We are NOT going back!  I am so EMBARRASSED!"
RF:  "Would you feel different about this situation if the person had not been Pastor Rachel?
Me:  "Yes.  I wouldn't feel guilty at all!"
RF:  "That is NOT Christian like behaviour!  Why were you in such a hurry anyway?  Were you late for something?!"
Me, with my head hung in shame:  "No, I wanted to eat my Chipotle!"
RF:  "All that for Chipotle?!"
Me:  "It made logical sense at the time...."

Then in my mind I thought, perhaps Pastor Rachel had not seen me.  It would be between me and God, and no one would be the wiser.  I would repent by sitting in the front row, tithing an extra 2%, and all would be right with the world.  Except in my heart I did not just let God down.  I let myself down too....

So, this morning I went to church, and you know what?!

Whether it be guilt, coincidence, or just God trying to teach me a lesson, Pastor Rachel was EVERYWHERE!  I saw her when I came out of the bathroom, when I stood in line for my coffee, when I stopped to talk to some folks in the lobby, when I walked to my seat.  Heck, I saw her more in the 30 minutes before church than I normally would have seen her if she was preaching that Sunday!

Then, as she and her husband were standing alone for a minute before service started, I saw my opportunity to make things right with God, Pastor Rachel, and her family.

Me:  "Um, hi.  I think I owe you an apology.  I may have been less than Christ-like in my driving on Friday night, and I don't know if you noticed or not, but I pretty much flipped you off.  And I am sorry...."

Immediately, they both started laughing, and asked me where this happened because they had not seen me acting like a nut.  (Praise Jesus!)  And Rachel went on to explain they were stopped, and about to make the turn when they saw that blue Camaro, barreling up the side of the road, and were discussing the fact that they were both glad they had not turned because that car would have hit them.
Thankfully Pastor Rachel saw the humor in the situation and I have learned a valuable lesson.  I will never use my middle finger again while driving.  

Message received, God!  
Message received....

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Because I Can't Eat You!

Tonight my dear friends Kelley and Ralph came over to took at my horse Mia, whom had suddenly developed pain in her right front foot.  I tell you Mia was a rock star for Ralph!  Even though it hurt her, she allowed him to test her hooves and examine her, never once acting up.  Ralph worked on her front foot finding an abscess, recommended I call our horse vet in the morning, however in the mean time suggested I soak Mia's foot in Epsom salts.  It sounded easy enough...

I went out, bought a bucket, a bag of Epsom salts and headed back to the barn to soak the princess' foot.  Calmly, she gets out of the stall, and then it goes downhill in a hurry.

Me:  "I just need you to put your foot in the bucket of salt water."

Horse:  "What?!  In that bucket?!"

Me:  "Yes, that bucket.  Just pick up your foot and put it in the bucket."

The horse dips the tiniest bit of her toe in the bucket, her eyes widen, head and ears go up and then:  "OH JESUS!  That water touched me!"

"Relax, you gets baths ALL the time.  You are not dying...."

"Um, baths with cold water!  Not with warm water, and not on my foot!", as she steps backwards dumping the bucket of salt water all over the floor.  "Stupid human!  See what you did?!  You dumped water all over the floor!"

"No, I did NOT spill the water.  YOU spilled the water and now instead of warm water you will have to soak your foot in cold water, because we are in a barn and that is ALL we have!  Now, put your fecking foot IN the bucket!"

With her best sulking horse face:  "Fine.  I will put my foot in the bucket, but you could be nicer you know..."

I fill up the bucket with water and salt again, and once again I lift her leg to place her foot in the bucket.Mia looks at me, wide eyed, and with a certainty that death is near: "OH GOD!  That water touched my foot AGAIN!"
"Yes and you did not die the first time, so stand still."

"I can't do it!  What if I fall into that small bucket of water and DIE?!"

"Um, you will not fall in that bucket and ....  SPLASH!"  She spills the water everywhere again....
"Mia you have an abscess, you are in pain, and you really need to soak your foot.  Put your damn foot IN that bucket!"

This time I put her foot in the bucket with no water and decide I will pour water into the bucket.
"Okay, we are going to go about this different.  I will put your foot IN the bucket.  You will stand on your foot and I will fill the bucket of water around you."

"Okay, okay....  That sounds like a good idea Human!"  She puts her foot in the bucket, I pour the water in and BAM!  She once again spills the water all over me and the floor.

"Damn it Mia!  What the heck?"

"I got nervous."


"I have no idea really."

"Lift up your foot."

"Okay.  And put it down like this?!"  as she steps through the side of the bucket busting it into a million pieces.

"No Mia!  Now we don't even have a bucket to put water in!"

"Oops.  What shall we do now?"

"Nothing, you win.  You can go back to your stall."

"Yea!  Will there be cookies?!"

"NO!  You do NOT get cookies for this horrible behaviour!"

As she walks back to her stall with her head hung in sadness...  "But Human!  Why can't I have a cookie?  Sniff..  Sniff.."

"Fine you can have a stinkin' cookie.  But I am only feeding you because I can't eat you!"

With her little smirky horse smile:  "Checkmate!"

Tomorrow, Round 2.  I have a sneaking suspicion I won't win then either....

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Write On!

Standing behind me, as an author, are the most supportive folks I could ever ask for.  Tonight, as I struggled with a fiction story I am writing, honestly wanting to give up, my daughter and her friend picked up my rough draft and started reading.  They both assured me it was really good, and they wanted to know how the story ended.  I probably would have sabotaged myself with self doubt for the rest of the night, not believing them, had I not snapped this picture of them reading.  It was evident when I looked at this photo later, they weren't lying about my writing.  You can't lie about being enthralled, and the focus on their faces tell the truth.  Write on...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

No Place Like Home!

Tonight as I was just getting out of the shower, The Reluctant Farmer called me and told me she needed my help immediately.  She said she was driving down a road about 3 miles out of town and there was a dog running down the middle of the road, so she stopped.  She tried to coax the dog to her, but the little dog went into survival mode and just bolted across a corn field, and towards some woods about 2 miles off the road.  She asked me to come help her catch the little dog.

When I got there, the dog was gone.  Other people had tried to help the little guy, but to no avail, and they had given up on him stating:  "Oh, he probably lives around here."  That didn't sit well with The Reluctant Farmer, because there is absolutely NO houses to be seen in the area where this little dog was found.  At this point we knew we were either searching for a dog that had been dumped or a dog that was on the run and had been for a little while.

I put a long line on Ziggy, our Jack Russell Terrier, and decided to hike in the 2 miles to see if I could vizualize the little dog with his help.  Right at the edge of the woods, Ziggy stopped and took scent and I knew we were close.  I let Ziggy off leash and watched him get to work, and sure enough, 20 feet down the tree line, there was Sammy the dog in the underbrush.  He was in bad shape.  He was so thin, covered in mosquitoes and ticks, and wanted nothing to do with me.  Thankfully, Ziggy ran an interference, saying hello to Sammy, and while that was going on I used a leash as a lasso him, catching only his 2 ears and his eyes.  I bartered with God at that point and pulled out the famous:  "If you just answer my prayer God, and let this leash slip around this dog's neck this time, I will never ask for another thing again, until we are out in a field catching stray dogs together the next time", and BAM!  I flicked the leash and over his head and onto his neck it slid.  Thank God!

I then picked the little fellow up, explained to him that he was safe, and immediately called my friend Julie.  I described the dog I had found to Julie and she searched online on a missing pet website, and sure enough she found Sammy's owners.

Turns out Sammy is 14 years old, hard of hearing, has cataracts, and had been missing for 5 days!  We were all so excited to get the little man back home to his owners who love him dearly.  His dad is a pastor who is preaching his last sermon tomorrow before retirement, and has been sick about loosing this dog.  All I can think is, at least his he will now be able to retire with his beloved companion at his side.  Also, what a happy Mother's Day to Sammy's mom who now has her baby home.

Sometimes it takes a village.....

Monday, April 27, 2015

Life Restructure 2.0

Last month I made a huge decision to simplify my life, and to say "no" to things that didn't bless me.  The biggest thing that I let go of was dog rescue.

I had been saying I was going to quit, but then someone would ask for help, I would find a stray, etc. and I would be right back at it.  A month ago though, my focus was different.  I quit for real...  No more sitting on the rescue's board, no more meetings/obligations, no more folks on Facebook that were only rescue acquaintances.   I was done.

I won't lie, it's been a struggle.  I've had to re-evaluate close friendships that were originally based strictly on rescuing animals, and I've had to do a lot of thinking.  I feel like I'm going through a season of my life where I am once again, evolving and digging deeper into my life's purpose.  I will be frank, this journey has scared the shit out of me.  The last time I went on a journey of this caliber, I was 25 years old.  I was stuck in a dead-end job, was feeling hopeless in a dead-end marriage, and was trying really hard to run from my sexuality.

It was during this time that my friend bought a house in the country, and there was something about this place that just felt magical.  I don't know if it was the location, the ambiance of frogs chirping as the sun set in the distance, the presence of my friend, or the entire package, but I remember just going to her house to decompress.  Sometimes she would be home, sometimes she would be at work and I would just hang out on her deck with her dogs.  (There used to be an on going joke between the two of us, that I got more use out of her mortgage than she did.)  I only remember that her house was a place of healing for me.  It was a place where I went because the rest of the world seemed to be at my back, yet she never judged me.  She just loved and accepted me for who I was, and as I picked myself up and put one foot in front of the other, her house became less and less a necessity, but still a welcome get away when she went on vacation.

It was almost ironic that during the time of another "life restructure", I was asked to house-sit for her and her husband while they were away on vacation.  I tell you, I absorbed every minute of it!  Until yesterday, I had not been home in 2 weeks.  Instead, I holed myself up at their house, reading, writing, drinking wine, and slowing down.  I enjoyed the company of their friends over dinner and long walks.  I sat on the deck for hours watching their chickens run in the yard below me, and many nights I listened to the peep frogs sing well into the early morning.

Somewhere in the middle of this beautiful experience,  I realized everything will be okay.  I'm not comfortable with where I am yet, but I'm confident in the steps I'm taking to get there.  Today, I will face the world refreshed and with a new sense of peace.  It's a comfort that feels oddly familiar, but until now had long been forgotten....

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Peep of Epic Proportion!

Even though my birthday is on April Fool's Day, I was determined to have no flare this year.

There were no presents.  No cake.
Just lots of birthday cheer, cards, and kind words.
Well, that was until Thelma and Louise arrived on the scene!
These two changed the course of my 37th birthday with the most ridiculously awesome present ever!

You have to know I LOVE Peeps.
They are best stale, brick hard, and served with a glass of milk.
My love for these marshmallow creations has sort of become a family joke, and each year around this time, the people who love me grace me with Peeps in all different forms:

Peep bubbles.
Chocolate covered Peeps.
New flavored Peeps.
Peep cakes.

You get the idea.

This is the first time I have ever gotten this though!
A stuffed Peep of Epic proportion!

What I will do with it?!  
I have no idea...
But it's pretty cool!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I am changed...

For the last few months I've thrown myself into something new.  I have started volunteering every Sunday morning as a small group leader at Ginghamsburg Church.  (Think Sunday school teacher, but modern...)  Anyways, I volunteer in the first grade room with all sorts of fresh faces and young minds that are like little sponges.

Now, I won't lie, I only volunteered to do this because I was hoping I could give up one hour a week, and that would be what got me into Heaven.  I mean seriously, what else could make God happier than me volunteering with His youngest fans?!

I pictured me standing at the pearly gates talking to God and it going something like this:  "Yo God, what's up?!  I know I sinned a few times in the years I was down there on earth.  As you probably know, I got that speeding ticket in a school zone last year, I lost my patience with a slow driver and kinda sorta yelled obscenities at her several days ago, and I lost my cool with my dog today, but you know what?!  I volunteer for one hour every Sunday with 15 little 7 year-old kids, and THAT should guarantee me a place in Heaven!"

As sure as the sky is blue, I know God is still laughing at me and my stupid thought process....

Anyways, I want you to know I volunteered in this place for 1 day and realized two things.  If I was going to do this correctly, I had to devote more than one hour a week to this cause.  I also realized I was in WAY over my head!  It was so overwhelming at first.  There were children running everywhere, I had no idea what a "zone buck" was, and the worst part?  There was DANCING involved!  Yes, dancing....  If you know me, you know I don't dance, but you only know that because you have NEVER seen me dance!  (Well, most of you haven't, and for those of you that have seen me dance, well that was from a life a long time ago.  Let's just keep that on the down low...)  I was so out of my comfort zone, even worse than that time I volunteered to work in the coffee shop at church and nearly steamed my eyebrows off with the espresso machine, that I wanted to quit.

BUT, I didn't....  I just kept hearing this voice in the back of my head telling me to keep going back.

And guess what?!  Those little monsters woo'd me with their smiling faces and adolescent cuteness, and you know what?  My life has been changed because of those kids!

This experience has allowed me to meet some awesome new people, has held me accountable in terms of going to church, has forced me to delve deeper into my Bible so I can answer all the tough questions that cross a 7 yr-old's mind, has allowed me to lovingly tie 400 pairs of shoes, and has taught me to dance.  (It's church folks, my new friends can't judge my dance skills, it isn't allowed!)

And the pay for this volunteer position?!  It's AMAZING!  That's evident in the hugs, thank-you's, and refrigerator art I get every week.....  I am one grateful girl right here!