wocket in my pocket

Looking for the unexpected in the mundane.

He Still Speaks

Ever notice how you can hear things through your own filter that others may not notice through theirs? Your husband can remark, “The door is open,” and the child standing right there on the mat thinks he is commenting about a normal occurrence; the oldest child across the room is sure he is issuing a command to the one on the mat; you figure he is thinking about the heating bill and quickly go shut the door before you help the child on the mat take off her boots.

I have heard God speak to me in a church service, and later when I try to recount what it was, I realize that it isn’t even really what the preacher said, and yet it was exactly what I needed at the moment, even though nobody else may have heard that.

This morning my mind grasped onto a phrase in the old-fashioned hymn “Marching to Zion” that I have sung many times. “We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground…” I wondered what the author meant. Considering that “Immanuel” means “God with us”, it blessed me to remember that the ground I walk is ground He already walked and He is there ahead of me.

In the Sunday school lesson we read the story in Luke where the servant does what his master expects and it is simply his duty, even when it is thankless tasks. It’s a picture that messes with our Western sensibilities of fairness, and I thought about how full of myself I am sometimes, feeling that I am doing God such favors.

The message was on Hope, that power that propels us forward through the mess and darkness we live in. This was especially heartening after the powerpoint presentation of the world so full of refugees and hopelessness.

The friends I visited with after the service described the exact same feelings I get of being stagnant in my house and desperately needing inspiration for freshness.

It all downloaded seamlessly to where I am right now, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you are scratching your heads, going “Huh?”. (I have embraced the typical spaghetti brain of the female, and lucky me, my husband is an awesome listener. 😀 )

When Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled,” He gave us just one simple criteria for being blessed. Be hungry and thirsty. He can do the filling in all sorts of ways, through songs or sermons or panoramic views or words from your own little children. He called His Spirit the Comforter for a reason.

It’s my opinion that getting out of bed on Sunday, getting dressed, and going to a place where other Christ-followers have gathered is a very tangible way of saying, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.”

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What did you hear today?

 

 

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Scribbling in Your Bible?

I am a terribly forgetful sort of person, which is why I put bags of things right beside the front door when I am supposed to take them somewhere, so that I practically have to stumble over them on my way out. I also mark stuff in books and put post-it notes of inspirational sayings beside the kitchen sink. I know a few geniuses who never forget the punchline to jokes and can quote verbatim the sentences that impressed them when they were reading. Not me. Sometimes I can hardly stand not being allowed to underline key passages in library books, because it is so much more clunky to take notes.

The discovery that they print Bibles specifically designed for journaling has changed my devotional life. It’s not really scribbling, but I don’t try to be profound in my notes to myself. The whole idea is kind of like the stones that the people of Israel took out of the middle of the river and piled on the riverbank. Every time they walked past them or stumbled over them, they were supposed to think about where they had been and where they were going and Who was taking them there.

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That is Bible journaling for me. If you have ever considered it, now is a great time to hustle over to Christian Book Distributors and check out their selection. They have a great sale on their Bibles today, with free shipping (use code SHIPBIBLES) on orders over $35. (This is pure sharing of the love. I am not being monetized in any way for this recommendation. 🙂 ) I have this one, because I love the English Standard Version for study.

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Bibles are not supposed to be ornamental. I take mine lots of places besides church. It has wrinkled pages from a leaking water bottle in a back pack, and I fear that coffee slopped on it once when I was rushing out the door in a hurry. A child wrote in it once and my pen developed a leak and spattered a page. Eventually I will get a new one and start fresh with marking the edge columns with the things the Spirit is showing me. I assure you, I would not remember half the things if I did not write them down. Those reminder stone piles  markings give me courage and remind me of Who is in charge of the journey.

When I see my life as a story He is writing, and I parallel it with the stories recorded in the Word, it does wonders for my faith.

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I told you before about the pens I use, but just for love’s sake I will show you again what they look like. Maybe you are more of a colored highlighter sort of person, but these pens are fine point and enable you to write in tiny legible script. They come in different colors, so I had a bright idea and am using a different color each year, just as a sort of reference.

Why not do yourself a February Favor and order a journaling Bible today? (The sale and free shipping end today. Sorry to not give you more notice but I only just saw the promotional email myself.) Challenge yourself to find one thing to comment on each day in your readings, no matter how insignificant. I can assure you that it will invigorate your walk with Jesus, even if you aren’t a writer sort of person.

You are welcome. 🙂

 

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Why We Grow Corn

Last summer I grew a new variety of corn for grinding into meal. It’s an heirloom variety called Bloody Butcher dent corn; the stalks were amazing, about 11 feet tall and the cobs were dark red. Only recently we shelled the corncobs that we managed to salvage from the squirrels. The kernals looked so pretty in their glass jar in storage, but they were decorative until I ground them into meal. Today for lunch we fried cornmeal mush to eat with eggs, and it tasted amazingly fresh, nourishing. (Buttery too. All THM folks may need to look away for a bit because it was a glorious mix of E and S.)

In my head I sometimes wish that the daily grind would be just pleasant aromas of coffee. I thought about this when I cooked that cornmeal. It wasn’t so pretty anymore, greyish with sprinkles of red, but it was in a form that has the potential to grow sturdy children and strengthen starving people anywhere in the world. That’s why we grew corn.

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I would rather have life-giving qualities than pointless shelf life in a pretty jar, wouldn’t you? There are some relevant quotes that I copied a long time ago. Both were written by George Mueller. I think he knew what he was talking about.

“Self-denial…

      not so much an impoverishment

      as a postponement:

We make a sacrifice of a present good

      for the sake of a future and greater good.

Whatever be done…

      in the way of giving up, 

      or self-denial,

      or deadness to the world,

      should result from the joy we have in God.”

This second quote has ministered to me when I felt like I was pouring love and training and mercy into a child, yet the need wasn’t going away and the results were not instant like I wished. Why weren’t the prayers working, like they seem to for other people?

“One of the great secrets

in connection to successful service for the Lord

it to work as if everything depended

upon our diligence,

and yet not to rest in the least

upon our exertions,

but upon the blessing of the Lord.”

I need that restful place to live and work. No, I don’t get to quit my job and “just let God do it”. He expects me to keep on, to endure to the end. But He is really doing the work, and that is where the JOY comes in.

How my measly few kernals get ground into powder and turned into a source of life for others is His business, not mine.

All I have to do is submit myself to the grinding.

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The Feelings

I looked at my list of the events of yesterday long and hard before I posted them. It was all true. The events actually happened, and they even looked neatly compartmentalized. So why, I asked myself, do my days feel so chaotic so often? Why don’t I feel like the dance is elegant? What was missing in the listing?

Ah, the feelings. Yes, the days are event-full. It’s one thing after another, “Just do the next thing“, which is the probably the most valuable lesson Elisabeth Elliot ever taught me. The thing that poses the challenge, though, is the feelings. Faithfulness does not depend on them, thank God! Neither does effectiveness. Actually, they don’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

Think about the people Jesus commended for living their faith in Matthew 25. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

  1. For I was hungry and you gave me food,
  2. I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
  3. I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
  4. I was naked and you clothed me,
  5. I was sick and you visited me,
  6. I was in prison and you came to me.’

 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

This sounds so simplistic, but it has helped me a lot to deal with the repetition of life as a homemaker/mother to settle in my heart that my feelings are not what matters. It isn’t about me at all. Oooh, ouch.

Yesterday I woke up and felt hurried because it was later than usual. I felt kind of bothered until we had breakfast over. I got interrupted by questions about 15 times during the course of the school day. The pencils dropped on the floor with annoying predictability. Olivia and the dictionary were not getting along amiably at all, and her frustration seeped over me. I dislike ironing and mending when I stop to think about it. When it was time to go for a guitar lesson, my son was in the barn and couldn’t hear me calling him. A few people at the supper table smelled like goats.

I felt good things too. Gregory’s poem, the perfect cursive “D”, the feeling that algebra is connecting in our heads, gratefulness to have my husband home in the middle of the week, the quiet hour of chatting with a dear friend, the scent of clean laundry, the symmetry of rows of brown eggs in boxes, sharing a love of reading aloud.

It all mashes together in an ordinary day, and I no longer gauge the success or failure of a day by how I feel at the end of it. Well, sometimes I do. I am not that far above the tumult yet,  🙂 but I take heart in offering it all to Jesus.

“This is my worship, Jesus. This meal, maybe just this cold cereal… I offer it to my people because I love them and I love you. If a pack of flashcards and the timer can bring you glory, then here they are. This squabble I settle because I value peace and You love peace. Please, redeem this mess that I made with my impatience. Forgive my stinging words and give me humility to apologize to my children. Help me to move on in grace.

This day with its imperfect beauty is for You, Jesus. I will give it everything I have, and depend on You when I don’t reach around and I simply don’t feel it. Please, will you accept my homely gifts?”

He has never told me that it’s not enough.

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(source)

 

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A Thrill of Victory

We had a moment aglow with achievement yesterday, my son and I. Ever since the beginning of 9th grade there was a bit of a thundercloud hovering over the Algebra 1 coursework. “It’s too hard! I don’t get it and I never will. There’s no point in learning something I will never use, etc.etc.”

If you have ever tried to reason with a teen on the merits of discipline and HARD WORK when they see no immediate personal gain, you know how futile this feels. We looked at the chaos of his bombed quizzes and tests and my husband tutored him whenever he was home, but this was not reaching around to the everyday frustration. I would look at his assignments and dredge back into my school years, coming up with… nothing. I realized that I had never covered this coursework, having only done pre-algebra.

Well. Nothing for it then. We went back to the second unit and we did all those bombed out lessons again. I did every homework problem that Alex did, and we checked our work together. Guess what? I got an F on my first quiz. This was a new sensation for me and humiliated me a little. :/  I had to go back and review the first unit, memorizing formulas and forms and a ridiculous amount of basic rules for order of operations that I had forgotten.

There was a spot where it was all so muddled in my head; I would stay up studying until Gabe got off work, then whine to him about how hard this was for my brain crammed full of so many other things. He would unscramble my problems in a few concise sentences and I would go to bed with at least that day’s classwork done. “I don’t have time for this,” I would mutter. But I knew if I quit, my son would see the bad example of wimpy-ness that I was not allowing him to use as an excuse.

Slowly we scraped and scrabbled our way out of the pit of sucky-mud defeatism and climbed our way to consistent C’s and then we started getting B’s. It was shoulder to shoulder all the way, every day. And yesterday, oh yesterday! My son reached the pinnacle of a perfect score on his test! I made a dumb mistake and got 94%, but I was so happy for him that I could live with that!

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I will savor the taste of the expression on his face when he saw that 100% for a long time. It will get hard again, but we can do this. It’s only Algebra, but it’s life too.

You can do this, Son.

 

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The Claustrophobic Kingdom

That phrase hit me square between the eyes when I read it in an article by Paul David Tripp. He was talking about our words, the power of them to destroy or to build, but the part I kept thinking about all week is my little kingdom of one.

“You live your life in the utterly mundane. And if God doesn’t rule your mundane, He doesn’t rule you, because that is where you live.” P.D. Tripp

In other words, few of all the people in the world ever go into the history books. In a  few generations you will only be a faint memory even to your loved ones. This is not to be depressing. It actually frees me to live TODAY, this minute, and make it above normal for the people around me, because that is where it counts. Mundane is not synonymous with unimportant. It’s just everyday, okay? We all have everyday, where the hair is messy and the toes get stubbed and the bathroom needs to be cleaned. Again. Still, if I do not clean the toothpaste out of the sink and brush the snarls out of the hair, what happens?

It is easier for me to live sweetly when the pressure is on, the people are watching, and company is here. But what about the grinding sameness of deep and dark winter with grey skies and squirrelly people underfoot? Oh, then… when the words slip out sighing or sharp or sarcastic because the people are all so familiar and the very same situation happened yesterday and the day before that and the day before that? (Will they never learn? How many times have I told you?) That is when I need Jesus to broaden my vision beyond the claustrophobia of my little kingdom.

How do I get out of the trap of living for my own comfort, arranging the people who are willing to be arranged, struggling with those who are resistant to my efforts at controlling my kingdom for my own ends? Because I cannot stand the boots all over the floor, but they know, oh they know when I am in it for just myself. This doesn’t mean that it is not okay to make the child go back and line up his/her boots in the row. It means it is not okay for me to scold and rant about such a silly thing as boots.

I dislike when small people who love to eat complain about the food. It is not wrong to teach them gratefulness, but it is not right to sigh, “You guys just eat, eat, eat. All the time. But you don’t like these sweet potatoes or the green beans that I spent the last two hours preparing for your supper! Maybe tomorrow you can just eat cereal all day, huh?” (Well, actually that last line would not work here because they would gladly take me up on it.) There is something really stinky about a passive-aggressive mom who makes herself out as a martyr in order to guilt her children into better behavior.

I find myself at times in a negative holding pattern, where nobody is writing neatly in their lessons and the math is taking too long and the missing commas are distressing me with their portent of ignorant little homeschooled children being launched into the world and showing me up as a terrible teacher. It’s my own little claustrophobic kingdom and it requires some shaking and repentance to break out of it. I doubt I am the only one who has such a kingdom… please tell me I am not.

When this happens, I need a broader vision. What is really going on here? Who is in charge of the circumstances of my life? How do I fit into the story that God is dictating? Is it really as miniscule as lost gloves and muddy carpets? Or am I perhaps missing the point here?

I can constantly bang my head against a wall of futility, because my little kingdom wobbles out of the shape I would like to keep it in; it requires no effort to think about me, my needs, my lack of white space, all the reasons I excuse my stinky attitudes and withered soul. But there is a much greater Kingdom where the merciful receive mercy, the pure hearts see God, hunger and thirst for righteousness are filled, and blessing is measured by life-joy instead of stuff. I am part of that Kingdom by faith! When I embrace the love lavished on me daily, it expands me and spills out like sweet water in a thirsty land.

This is living large in my small space and has a way of curing me of the childish tempers of self-absorption. Jesus takes every space I give Him and glorifies it with His beauty. Possibly this includes the days and days of grey winter space. And the space where the boots and coats and muddy dog prints mix on my tile floor. If my husband is reading this, I am sure he is nodding in agreement.

[Redeeming love] reaches into the private recesses of your everyday life. Look for opportunities to be in someway an agent of that transforming love.” (P.D. T.)

I will end with a funny story about Addy. We were sitting in church when she suddenly noticed that Rita had a tablet and a pencil and oh dear! she had none. I told her she doesn’t need to write and kept on singing. Looking down a bit later, I noticed her little face full of reproach and she whispered in my ear, “Mama, do you even understand tragic?”

It is so easy to see the hilarity when it is a child speaking, but I am pretty sure God looks at me with exactly the same mix of exasperation and humor as I do when my daughter is overly dramatic. (I wonder where she gets it?)

Let’s live audaciously! Let’s do our small things out of the abundance of great love within! Nothing will be wasted that we give away. He promised.

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Talking About Favor

I read that paragraph again and again,

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 2:28-30)

That word “favor” puzzled me. We know about favor: someone paid for my coffee at Starbucks, someone put gas in my car, someone gave me a house. Post it on Facebook and there will surely be cryptic comments: Favor, man. The favors are as varied as the people reporting them and the assumption is that God must really love them special. I don’t doubt that He does, but I had two questions: Why does no one ever proclaim it “favor” when unfortunate things happen, like missing a plane? What if favors are sprinkled all through life and they don’t always feel good? Could it be that our short-sightedness is blinding us to loads of flat-out-favors because we won’t acknowledge them unless they look pretty? (I know, that’s three, but the last one is purely rhetorical.)

I got out some study materials and looked up every single reference to “favor” or words related to it in the Bible. Then I wrote them down with their meanings and roots and cross referenced them. I am not sure what I was looking for… maybe some huge oversight in our current use of the term so that I could challenge our narrow ideas. But there it was, “bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior… acceptance… good deed… merciful kindness.” There are lots of references to this sort of favor is in the Old Testament. David especially used the word a lot to describe the unique blessings of the righteous. Sometimes it is translated as “acceptance”. However, in the New Testament there is only lowly little Mary receiving favor from God. The word seems to change to “grace”, which is a term I like a lot better. I think it’s interesting that our prosperity-loving culture picks up an OT term and flings it around so recklessly.

Doubtless the person who missed his plane on 911 realized what a mercy that was just a few hours after the initial frustration. And those stories of people having flat tires that keep them grounded safely away from a pile-up at the intersection? What looks like disaster turns out to be favor: pure, undeserved grace.

Look at little Mary again. She was greeted with “the Lord is with you.” That was the whole foundation of her favor. It was what enabled her to move beyond being “greatly troubled” to saying, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.” This is a very strange teen pregnancy we are talking about. It had to be excruciating to have that conversation with her fiancee. There was a terrible donkey ride in her third trimester and fleeing in the dark of night from an angry tyrant. Then there was the prophecy of Simeon about a sword piercing her heart. And remember how Mary had all these things she hid in her heart as her son was growing up? Then there was broken weeping at the foot of her son’s cross as He died. She did not have the book of Luke to read or the whole picture to gaze at. She just had promises and the Spirit of God pouring grace onto her.

It wasn’t all free lattes and fuzzy slippers for Mary. I take a leap of fancy here and assume that she would hardly understand our narrow interpretation of how we can tell that God loves us. Someday I want to talk with Mary, but for now, I want to be like her. I want to live richly in the fact that “the Lord is with me” and that is favor, no matter what the circumstances. I want to rest in that.

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Have you found favor grace recently? What did it look like for you?

 

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The Weekend

We returned yesterday from a weekend trip to Wisconsin, not your ordinary 3 day jaunt for fun, as you might guess. As I extracted my bones from the vehicle at 7:30 AM, about 16 hours after I first folded them into the backseat of a Honda Pilot, I hardly knew what to do with the grateful rush of feelings that is HOME.

It feels like we have been grieving my grandpa for a few years, so that his passing last week was more of a rejoicing that he finally got his new body. It is such a strange mixture of grief for a loved one gone and relief for the caregivers left behind. Dementia had been stealing him away, the person who no longer knew who he was and often didn’t know who others were either.

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This is Grandpa with his tractor, (photo credits to my brother-in-law) a few years before he started wandering away, getting lost, feeling the frustration of having his keys taken. He was always a sharp thinker, careful with his finances and record keeping. Suddenly he found himself going to the wrong bank, getting ready for church on the wrong days, reliving childhood memories, yet sometimes unable to remember his wife. It was heartbreaking, and if anything has made me grateful that we don’t have to live in broken bodies forever, this did.

I swiped a recent picture from a cousin’s Facebook wall. I think this was when my grandma had heart surgery this summer, and Grandpa walked the halls at the hospital and got lost. You can see the confusion in his expression. I loved that all the worry lines were gone after he died. He looked 20 years younger, more like the Grandpa who used to tear around with us, tickle us with his beard stubble, and take out his false teeth to give us a rather awful thrill.

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While Grandma was in the hospital, someone overheard Grandpa quoting Psalm68:19, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”

It was a random moment, but later they realized that it was the last verse he ever quoted.

For those of you who know my sweet Grandma, would you pray for peace to surround her as she adjusts to the sudden, extreme quiet? In a few weeks it would have been 65 years that they were married.

The weekend consisted of a lot of travel, a lot of wonderful connecting with beloved cousins, a lot of crying together in our mixed-up grief. The Miller clan is a very close-knit one, and my emotions got jerked all over the place. I was glad we could be there, all the same. I don’t enjoy the rituals of dying, and yet we seem to need them. It’s like a bookend to the rejoicing of birth, the mystery of passing onward and upward to another place that we, grasping, only vaguely comprehend. For those who do not grieve without hope, it is also a rejoicing.

 

P. S. The most dreadful moment came, even though I was on my guard, when I got the giggles. In the solemn quiet when everyone files past the casket for a final viewing, I watched the backs of the people walking down the aisle. Gabe and I saw him at the same moment: a young boy following his father and diligently digging out a wedgie enroute. When the left hand didn’t suffice, he helped rearrange his pants with the right hand too. I shouldn’t have ever stolen that sidewise glance at my husband. I shouldn’t have even let the first escalating giggle within a mile of bubbling out. I shouldn’t have listened to my brother making muted sounds that were almost the sounds of grief, but they weren’t. I scootched way down in my seat and tried to think sad thoughts, but that was the trouble. I had already overloaded with them. If you are not one given to messy, emotional giggle fits, you cannot understand how disagreeable they are in an Amish funeral. There was no excuse. But I did feel better afterward.

 

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Senses

“Hmmm,” he mused as he sipped the tea he had just poured from the puddle left over in the teapot early this morning. “It tastes a little like Earl Grey or Vanilla Caramel, but with a sort of fruit flavor.” I looked at Gregory, my jaw dropping. He had no way of knowing that Gabe had adulterated our pot of Earl Grey last night with some butter rum and green apple flavor. I knew he messed with the tea, but I didn’t know what he had done. It was experimental, a joke on me, because I will never live down a funny mistake I made soon after our marriage.

Some of Gabe’s aunts and their families had gotten together for a picnic, bringing their specialty dishes to share. They are all fabulous cooks, and the fare was topped with homemade ice cream that had traveled 1 1/2 hours packed in ice. Everyone was having conniptions about the ice cream, so even though I was avoiding sugar because I was pregnant, I had to have some. It was smooth, creamy, better than anything Ben and Jerry’s produces. It was a light brown. I savored a dainty bite, then turned to ask the ice cream making aunt, “Wow, how do you get the caramel flavor? Do you use brown sugar?” She looked at me blankly, then chirped, “It’s COFFEE!”

Later that night I related the story to Gabe and we howled at the newly-wed niece making polite and clueless conversation with the artist-in-the-kitchen aunt. To this day, Gabe likes to fix flavored coffees at the gas station, then get me to guess the flavors. I have been around long enough to know his is creme brulee and mine is preferably French vanilla, but he thinks it is so fun to mix it up and stump me. Then I say, “It’s COFFEE!” And I am always right.

I can’t differentiate smells so well, either. He has about five favorite scents that he wears, and while they are all “my man” to me, I can’t tell which is which. If I guess right, it’s just because I got lucky. I don’t wear perfume unless I want to sneeze all day. There was a time, though, when I smelled an electrical fire and he didn’t. I insisted something stank. Sure enough, the hot water heater was putting out an awful fume of burnt elements down in the basement. At least I know if something stinks or smells good.

In blink, Malcolm Gladwell describes the work that professional tasters put into their craft. They spend years and years honing their expertise so that they can break down an Oreo cookie into ninety attributes of flavor, texture, and appearance. They can tell the Nabisco company exactly what happens when they change their cookie recipe. What’s more, they are so highly skilled that their assessments appear to be nearly effortless, like first impressions.

While I find that fascinating, I don’t aspire to anything more than tasty food, the right amount of salt, no lumps in the gravy, cookies that don’t crumble all over the floor, etc.

I have other senses, though. There’s a finely tuned sense of humor. Sometimes it gives me giggles at a funeral, which is highly inappropriate, but stress relieving. I can have the worst day and lie in bed in tears, when suddenly I find myself laughing because all the craziness in the day piling up is just too funny for words. I would rather be able to laugh at myself than taste 45 differences between Coke and Pepsi.

I can tell when a child has a burdened conscience or a wounded spirit. Sometimes I just know and carry the burden and pray for clarity so that they don’t have to live under a cloud. It’s a sense I want to hone, especially with teens in the house. I would love some input into the process, because I am really green here.

I can sense when people don’t like me. That sounds childish, but I mean it in an objective way. It’s something I read in their faces, some micro-expression that can’t be masked by a smile. Recently we changed to a different family practice because the doctors and nurses were so snobbish and unhelpful at the one where we were taking our children. Whether or not they liked us, they didn’t act that way. And I didn’t like them talking to me as if I could barely understand English, much less why we should give our children every vaccination that was ever developed. It’s easy in that sort of situation. You can quietly move on. Most cases where I feel someone doesn’t like me, it is best just to assume they do, but try to stay a little out of their space. As an oversharing someone who likes (almost) everyone, this is hard to do sometimes. I don’t take this sense too seriously, but I have it, no doubt about it. Probably most people do.

There is one more thing that I would like discussion on. I love conversation. With anybody. Exploring ideas and cultures is so much fun; everybody has a story to tell and I would genuinely like to hear it, especially if it has an accent. It bugs me when I am trying to be friendly to someone and they just drop the ball repeatedly. I know conversation is a sort of learned art, much easier for some than others. Listening is the same way. When I ask someone, “So how was your day?” I am making a sincere effort to hone my listening sense. If they say, “Good,” and stand there waiting for me to ask the next question, I start to feel scrambled and like they really wish I would just bug off. Can someone, preferably an introvert, tell me what is best in this situation? Does this mean, “I don’t want to talk to you; leave me alone.” Or maybe it means, “Please find the topic that sets me going. Then I will tell you all.”

Last night at our annual widow’s dinner I sat opposite a sprightly little lady with a gorgeous silver pompadour. I had never met her and made small talk about where she lives, whether she has family nearby, etc. She answered with a bare minimum of syllables and I soon decided she didn’t want to converse, leaving her in peace during the main course. About dessert time, something she said to her friend about reading on her patio gave me an idea. “So what books do you like to read?” It was like I pushed the button that lights her up and for the rest of the evening she talked and talked and talked. She told me all about her book collection and a lot of family history as well as her philosophy on cooking and housework. As we were leaving, I told her how beautiful her hair was and she said, “I hope I sit opposite you again next year.”

That just warmed my heart to the cockles and goes to show that the “doesn’t like me” vibe can be very wrong.

And now, my windowsill on this glorious May 1. I have no words, only a heart of thanks for every single bloom.

spring florals, May 1

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Day of Rest

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God whispers. Everything else shouts. Life doesn’t look like this ^^^

so much as this.

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The secret of rest is listening for the whisper in the hubbub.

Isn’t it amazing that He ordered up a day of rest for us?

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