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Posts Tagged ‘#wonder’

Evil Thoughts

Do you ever have … evil thoughts?

Well, maybe not really ‘evil’, just … thoughts that, if you carried them out, would be so against your nature, and so vile and nasty to the recipient of your actions or words.

I am mature enough to tell you that I am guilty of having … evil thoughts.

This revelation began  w  a  y  back into my childhood, when I was old enough to know better than to do what the ‘little voices’ (oh man, now I am revealing that I hear little voices … now it’s in print, and could be used against me … to the ‘home’ they will send me) in my head were telling me to do … with my brother (I don’t remember which one, but that doesn’t really matter … I’m sure I had this thought about both, at one point or another). I was carrying him, and, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, there is this evil thought in my head … Carole, throw him down on the floor … Yikes! Now, depending on what he had done recently to my Barbie dolls, I might have contemplated that a bit longer than I should, but, let me assure you that I did not do it … but I thought about it.

Then, the other day, I was out walking my beast. We walked near our home for a change, along the road, past other more rural properties. My beast, at the beginning of the walk, had a poo (and, yes, I did have a poo bag) … now this is strange, because she normally ‘goes number two’ at the end of our walk. So, I had to carry the full poo bag on our walk. Then, out of nowhere, there is this evil thought in my head … Carole, put the full poo bag in one of the mailboxes …. Yikes! We passed  m  a  n  y  mailboxes on our walk, and the temptation was great! (and just to let you know, especially if you live near me, I did not put the poo bag in any mailboxes … just sayin’)

Not long ago (okay, yesterday) I was at a movie with my girls. And when I returned to the theater I almost went to sit with the wrong person (it was a very dark theater). Then, out of nowhere, there is this evil thought in my head … Carole, just sit beside him anyway, and eat his popcorn … Yikes! Okay, that one did make me giggle (and my daughters heard me, so they could direct me where to sit … and to ‘be quiet, mom, you are sooooo immature … imagine if I had told them why I was giggling)!

Then, there’s the parking lot … any parking lot. And the lot is jam packed, and I cannot find a spot. Then, just as one comes available, someone else gets it before me, and I have this thought … heck, just play the video!

And, NO, I am not guilty of actually doing this … yet (I do fear that the onslaught of … getting older, might make me susceptible to actually fulfilling what, lets face it ALL of us have had evil thoughts about doing).

Not long ago, my hubby had declared his 50+ pound weight loss, in our church, to much praise and congratulations (I’m so proud of him, too). After the church service, someone (whose identity God has been gracious to wipe from my memory), came up to me and said, ‘I see you’ve been finding all the weight that your hubby has lost’. And out of nowhere an evil repertoire of words came to mind, but … yikes … Gods omnipotence struck my vocal cords, and I was unable to respond (and, I have to say, I am a bit bitter about that one!).

Then there is that email … you know the one. It talks about fun things to do, to other people, while shopping (so many ‘evil thoughts’ in that one email)? Like slipping boxes of condoms into unsuspecting shoppers carts, hiding in a clothing rack and, when someone is looking, yell out ‘pick me’, or setting all of the Tickle Me Elmo’s off, then scooting out of the aisle, just as hubby walks into the aisle … oh wait, I actually did do that one … but not the condom one … yet 🙂

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Recently one of my daughters and I went for a walk with the beast, on my favorite trail. It was not a bright sun-shiny day, but it was not raining, and in monsoon season here, that is great weather!

As we were coming to the end of our walk, there was a woman with a girl, who looked to be about four, coming towards us. As they were getting closer, I experienced a strong case of deja vu. The little girl, clad in a pink raincoat, and matching rain boots, was puddle jumping.

Immediately, I was carried back to the days when my own kids were preschoolers, out for a walk with the sole intend of puddle jumping after the rain stopped. I remembered the various rain boots and coats, the childish umbrellas, and … the smiles of delight as they approached a fresh, undisturbed puddle, as they plotted and planned how to move as much water as they could in one leap.

I remembered their wonder-filled smiles, and I felt that tug on my mama heart, that tug that said ‘I miss that’, ‘I long for that look, that feeling, again.’

Then I realized that my daughter, at my side, was taking the same wonder-filled delight in the experience that we were both observing. She is almost fifteen, and is all teenage girl. But she is not above the delightful moments of life. She is still filled with awe at the sight of a puddle and a pair of rubber boots. She is still filled with wonder.

Sometimes, as a mom of teens, it is easy to allow my thoughts of when they were young, linger in my mind. Sometimes, as a mom of teens, I forget that the inquisitive, wide-eyed, wonder-filled person I knew in them a dozen or so years ago, is still there. What has changed is that I need to readjust my expectations of how that wonder is expressed.

In my nineteen year old, the wonder might be the way she described the group interview for a position at a camp for kids with cancer. In my twelve year old son, it might be the “advanced graphic for it’s time” in an old N64 James Bond Movie. For my fifteen year old, it might be sharing a moment of delight as we watch a little one jump into a puddle, without a care in the world.

Maybe, like how I delight in a day without rain, even though it is still cloudy, I need to look actively for the moments of wonder in my teens days. Maybe then, when I am a grandma, watching my grandchild jumping in puddles, I will see a mom and her teen walking towards us. I will see them delighting in the joy my grandchild is having. I will see the wonder on that teens face, and I will remember the shared wonder I had with my teen, and it will make me long for those days too.

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I am getting old. I know this because when I look at magazine cover, I see youthful actresses in movies, I see lovely ladies advertise (usually their online ‘chat’ business) on television, and I turn away. And I turn away because I am past the ability to look as they do (and I do not have access to the air brushing that they do). I have come to the conclusion that even if I lost fifty (or eighty) pounds, even if my body was worked into a state of rock hard, even if I did everything possible (short of plastic surgery) I am beyond the ability to be the definition of what the world says is beautiful. Because I do not have the most important defining feature of beauty … youth.

As I am starting to get cozy with being in my forties, I am starting to see the world so differently. I am starting to see, and expand the definition of beauty differently.

Oh, I can walk down the street and have my eyes drawn to a beautiful young woman. Often though it is not her outward beauty that is what draws my eye. A physically beautiful woman can not even catch more than a passing glance if she does not walk confidently, shoulders back with her head high. There has to be something in that woman that says, ‘I am approachable’. There has to be something in her appearance that communicates to all around, that she is comfortable in her own skin, for those around to look at her and say, ‘she is beautiful’.

Or is it better put another way? Is it in her inner beauty coming out that her outer beauty can shine? When we pass a beautiful woman on the street, in the mall, at the market, do we see her outer beauty first, or do we see her confident head held high, that she is approachable, and that she is comfortable in her skin and something within us says ‘she is a beauty?’

I love to look on beauty … I love the eye candy that is pleasing to my visual senses. I love to see a beautifully decorated home (but I love more to know that it is indeed a home, and not just a house), I love to see the awesomeness of nature (but it is in the Creator that I am most impressed), I love to see family photos taken by a talented photographer (but it is in knowing that the family share the beauty of love that makes their eyes sparkle brightly). I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what the discriminating beholder sees most clearly is not the passing glance beauty, but the inner qualities of grace and confidence and openness.

It is also in a life lived fully that beauty emerges from the frame, from the pores, from the eyes and from the lips of a woman of real, genuine beauty. When a woman comes to the end of her years on planet Earth, when she has used up every day given to her, when she loves others beyond her own capacity to love … it is then that her beauty comes to surface.

I am no longer a youthful woman, with flawless physical beauty on my side (I do not think I ever had that). And yet, I feel more determined now than ever to live fully, to live passionately, to love beautifully. And my goal is that in forty or fifty years from now, my face is littered with the beauty marks of of something beautiful emerging from within … then I will be truly beautiful.

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I am getting old. I know this because when I look at magazine cover, I see youthful actresses in movies, I see lovely ladies advertise (usually their online ‘chat’ business) on television, and I turn away. And I turn away because I am past the ability to look as they do (and I do not have access to the air brushing that they do). I have come to the conclusion that even if I lost fifty (or eighty) pounds, even if my body was worked into a state of rock hard, even if I did everything possible (short of plastic surgery) I am beyond the ability to be the definition of what the world says is beautiful. Because I do not have the most important defining feature of beauty … youth.

As I am starting to get cozy with being in my forties, I am starting to see the world so differently. I am starting to see, and expand the definition of beauty differently.

Oh, I can walk down the street and have my eyes drawn to a beautiful young woman. Often though it is not her outward beauty that is what draws my eye. A physically beautiful woman can not even catch more than a passing glance if she does not walk confidently, shoulders back with her head high. There has to be something in that woman that says, ‘I am approachable’. There has to be something in her appearance that communicates to all around, that she is comfortable in her own skin, for those around to look at her and say, ‘she is beautiful’.

Or is it better put another way? Is it in her inner beauty coming out that her outer beauty can shine? When we pass a beautiful woman on the street, in the mall, at the market, do we see her outer beauty first, or do we see her confident head held high, that she is approachable, and that she is comfortable in her skin and something within us says ‘she is a beauty?’

I love to look on beauty … I love the eye candy that is pleasing to my visual senses. I love to see a beautifully decorated home (but I love more to know that it is indeed a home, and not just a house), I love to see the awesomeness of nature (but it is in the Creator that I am most impressed), I love to see family photos taken by a talented photographer (but it is in knowing that the family share the beauty of love that makes their eyes sparkle brightly). I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what the discriminating beholder sees most clearly is not the passing glance beauty, but the inner qualities of grace and confidence and openness.

It is also in a life lived fully that beauty emerges from the frame, from the pores, from the eyes and from the lips of a woman of real, genuine beauty. When a woman comes to the end of her years on planet Earth, when she has used up every day given to her, when she loves others beyond her own capacity to love … it is then that her beauty comes to surface.

I am no longer a youthful woman, with flawless physical beauty on my side (I do not think I ever had that). And yet, I feel more determined now than ever to live fully, to live passionately, to love beautifully. And my goal is that in forty or fifty years from now, my face is littered with the beauty marks of of something beautiful emerging from within … then I will be truly beautiful.

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What a week our household ended April with! What a wonder-filled week!

The week began with our youngest daughter starting her final practicum, in her quest to complete her Special Education Teaching Assistant (SETA) course. 

This time she is placed in a high school, even working with a couple of students who were actually born before her. Challenge is the key God uses, most often, to unlock our most hidden gifts. I pray she opens her door wide and shares her strength, building her character, and using it as a tool to open the locks on her the students she encounters.

Though she intends to continue her education, she will soon be unleashed from this program, certified to work with those students in the margins. Using what she has learned, and who God created her to be, to do her job. She will do her job so very well, for she has been gifted to see strengths in the weak.

I know she is eyeing freedom, desiring to share an apartment with friends, living her life independent from mom and dad.

Last Monday night I sat in a dark gymnasium, heart in my throat, as I anticipated the start of the high school play in which my son was acting. 

The story, by George Orwell, called 1984, has been a time of stretching for my boy-man. My ‘baby boy’ traded in his sweet and affectionate nature for the pure evil of O’Brian. Each performance he had to get in touch with his carnal dark side … yelling, torturing, destroying. 

A couple of weeks ago it was getting to him, greatly. The character of O’Brian was invading him, extinguishing the light with it’s smothering darkness. I prayed. I asked others to pray. Then, last week, the dark was being pushed out by the light. 

The most heart-warming moment of the week was when, as I was chatting with a mom of another character, who I had not seen or spoken to in months. She asked how my son was, because, just days before, her daughter came home saying that they really needed to pray for him, because his character was getting to him. Is there any greater gift, for a parent, than to be told someone is praying for your child?

His efforts and the cost to him payed off in full, as he interpreted well Owell’s character. His (5) performances were believable and authentic. The entire cast depicted the evils of this story so well, and the entire cast, crew and director were as authentic in their support and care for each other.

He is now, once again, fully himself. O’Brien is gone, may his character be gone forever, may his lessons forever be remembered.

That week ended in an event centre, watching our eldest cross the stage, have her tassel moved from one side to another, receive a diploma, and pose for a picture.

That short walk was the culmination of six years of hard work … her hard work. I found myself hearing the song If it Hadn’t Been for You, from the musical, Anne of Green Gables, as her name was read to cross the stage.

It was she, who earned the double major (Sociology and Psychology) degree, by studying hard, writing mountains of papers, and working numerous jobs along the way, to pay for half of her schooling costs (the government of Canada helped with the rest … but this too falls in her lap).

As Miss Stacey said, “why she did it herself, with imagination and determination”

I hold on to a fair measure of parent guilt, for encouraging her to pursue education at such an expensive university, and having little to contribute to it’s costs. Though I do know she received a wonderful education, by the relationships she has made, and will continue to have with her profs, who educated, encouraged, challenged and cared for my girl.

The world is now an open book to her. She is well on her way, making plans for the future, her future. Her plans, though not solidified, are to move away. This makes my heart ache, and soar all at the same time. For “hope is the thing with feathers” (Dickinson).

These are the memories of that wonder-filled week. That week that was the culmination of much patience, for each of my children. The practise of patience will continue, throughout our lives. May my three have the patience to pursue what they hope for, all the days of their lives.

 

Romans-8.25

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This is a re-post from about four years ago … but the memories shared here are remembered every spring.

I lost it, and I don’t know where …

I lost it, and I don’t know why …

I lost it, and I’ll never get it back …

It was my creation, my gift, and there is no way to ever fully re-create it 😦

Now, if you know me, you might think I am talking about my losing my marbles … and … you are probably right. But the loss I am talking about is my original post called “Love = Pussy Willows.”

I wrote it, as a gift for my parents, who DID both read the original… before it got lost in cyberspace. But, I wanted to keep it … for me, for my kids. So that when my mom and dad are no longer on this earth, we could be reminded of the legacy of thoughtful, kind and even romantic love, that they shared for each other, and left for us to duplicate in our own lives.

And so, here I go, trying to re-create that which I’ve already created, and is now gone. I feel a bit like I am one of the scientists who created/cloned Dolly the sheep. I am consulting my sieve-like brain cells for what I can recall (not much hope there). I am mixing memories, words and thoughts with the hopes of a carbon copy result. I even consulted others who also read my post, for what stood out to them. The problem is, that as a writer/creator I cannot duplicate my creation perfectly – I may have all of my childhood memories, phrases I remember writing and the help of others, but I can not go back in time.

I cannot duplicate the humidity or temperature of weather on the day I wrote it. I cannot duplicate the food I ate, the exercise I did or didn’t do, or my hormonal levels of that day. I cannot perfectly replicate the motivation I had for writing it.

So, all that said … just like Dolly the sheep, I might have all the exact pieces to clone my post … but, me, as the creator, will never, ever feel it is possible to look on the clone as anything but a cheap imitation of the real thing.

But, all that said, her I go … again.

My parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary on July 24 of this summer. I am so proud of them … (I’ve been married about half that, and I know that each day provides a new opportunity to re-choose my hubby … and he to re-choose me … and lets get real, there are many days we would like to return the other for a refund).

Mom and Dad are a fairly average married couple. They have loved, fought, struggled, and survived each other.

I was blessed to know romantic, but true, deep love and affection through them … and pussy willows.

My memories of pussy willows are so vivid, so clear, and they go as far back as when I was four or five … but they happened for many years!

In the spring my dad would be driving down a country road, usually taking out weekly trash to the ‘Dump’, or driving to my grandmothers house. And, all of a sudden he would pull over to the side of the road and get our out of the car.

Then he would be in the ditch, unaware of the presence of water, or spiders or snakes (yuck!). And he would reach out for what he was after … pussy willows.

Now this was the spring time ritual for my dad, And, as an adult, I have to say he has the eye for the perfectly developed (not too soon, not too late) pussy willows. I always seem to find them as they are just opening, or once they have gone to seed!

But the ritual didn’t end with a bouquet in his thorn punctured hands, and soggy wet feet. No, mom had her part to play as well.

When dad arrived home, with his freshly cut bouquet, he would beckon mom to the door.

And, every year her response was the same, “Oh Denny, pussy willows.” and then that ever-embarrassing (for any child who has hoped and prayed that the stork truly was responsible for the reproduction of humans) hug and kiss … and gaze into each others eyes (I can hear the adolescent within me say “blech”).

Then mom would scurry to the ‘special’ golden-yellow vase, where last years bouquet of pussy willows (cob webs and all), would still be. She would discard the old, and arrange the new bouquet to perfection. Then, the special golden-yellow vase would be set out on display.

The whole experience of the the pussy willows sticks in my head because of how they were GIVEN, and how they were RECEIVED, by each of my parents. If my mom had pestered my dad to go get her a new bouquet … the receiving wouldn’t have been as a gift, but a duty. And if my mom stuck the bouquet in just any old vase, and discarded them after a ‘respectable’ amount of time … the giving wouldn’t have been received in the manner they were given.

I love this way that my parents, unaware, taught me about giving and receiving. And I hope they can receive this post in the spirit it was intended … that of a gift to show my love.

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“You could write about something cheery, for a change.”
(insert sword to the gut)

Those were the words of my daughter last weekend, as I was writing a blog post. I thought I had, but maybe the effects of monsoon season in the Pacific Northwest had gotten to me, and I have been seeing the cup half empty far too frequently. So, here goes, sunshine and lollipops are on there way!

As soon as our conversation finished the word ‘wonder’ surfaced in my mind.

Maybe it is a matter of getting back to the things that are foundational, the things that are imperative in my life. Things that make me wonder make my heart skip a beat, put a smile on my face, and breath fresh air into my lungs (and soul). To  be in a state of wonder is to be reminded that someone else holds the reigns of my life, and that He delights in the way small things can bring me joy, can remind me of His omniscience.

Things like:

  • a sunrise or sunset, bursting with color
  • a spider web covered in morning dew
  • spring bulb plants, poking through the soil
  • a shared joke, complete with full belly laughter
  • standing at a sandy waters edge as the tide pushes forward
  • an elderly couple holding hands
  • putting my arm around my beast, and feeling her lean in
  • the sight of an eagle soaring in sky
  • the sound of coyotes at night
  • a spontaneous hug from any of my kids
  • the scent of my mom
  • snow falling

There are many more things to wonder at! These are the things one cannot buy, the things that one cannot make happen easily. These things, experiences that make us wonder, remind us that we know so little, that our world is so vast.

Ray Bradbury said,

“Stuff your eyes with wonder,
live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.”

The blessing of wonder, is the blessing resulting from curiosity, and from the ability to look for beauty and delight in the world around us.

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I remember vividly, many years ago, being in an elementary classroom, and hearing an adult say,

“This is not right. Bears are not purple.”

I watched the, previously excited and proud, child turn away,

dejected,

disappointed,

disillusioned with her own perspective.

I would guess that what that young child heard was “you are not right.”

My heart sank, as I watched a child lose the wonder, the joy, the colors available through that which the Creator, himself had made available. She also lost confidence in her own perspective of the world in which she lives.

To lose so much, so young, is to have their creativity questioned, their perspective doubted and it diminishes the value and passion for wonder.

As if this blog’s name of itsawonderfilledlife, does not adequately stress how strongly I value the practice of wonder, the following quote is noted on my “About Me” page, and is a reminder to me of how life-giving wonder can be:

“He who can no longer pause to wonder

and stand rapt in awe,

is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

Albert Einstein

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May we encourage wonder, in children, in adults, in ourselves, so that we see can see how vast, how colorful this created world is for those who choose to pause.

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You know those days when your worst nightmare has come true? When you think you are moving toward freedom, but actually you are just headed for the crap house? When everything seems to be going from bad to worse?

Welcome to my week.

For a few years now, I have had this nightmare that the (original) septic system behind our thirty-five ‘ish year old house would die, needing to be replaced, before we had the chance to move on … on to greener pastures.

You see, replacing a septic field is off the charts expensive. Imagine the cost of a brand new kitchen, with granite counter tops, new flooring, back splash and lightening … now imagine spending that same amount of money on something that deals with human excrement. Though one could not (easily) sell a house with a septic field that needs replacement, the cost of making that replacement does not increase one’s home value AT ALL!

This spring was going to be the time to hire that (freakishly expensive) realtor, post the sign, and try to live in a house that is clean beyond that which is normal or natural.

Then hubby had a conversation with an expert in the field (gotta love humorous puns when life is … crappy), who said that the septic field needs to be replaced.

Though we are now seeking a second opinion, my heart is in my throat, my shoulders are sagging, and my head trying to process the how of this problem … how do we pay for this?

That’s it … no glib clichés, no sharing of Bible verses, no light in the darkness analogies …

Just wallowing, wondering …

It’s a good thing that wondering is one of my favorite things.

(Goodness and light will return, just needed to let my volcano erupt, so that I could see my way through the mire).

 

 

 

 

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Almost four years ago, a friend told me she thought I should write a blog. So I did (this is a rare instance when I did what I was told).

Almost nine hundred followers later, today marks the publication of the one thousandth post at itsawonderfilledlife … wow!

For the past four years I have rambled on about pretty much any stray thought that has passed through my consciousness.

I have been motivated to write by everything from pooh bags, to phrases, to people, to places, to philosophical thought.

I have shared my walks, my work, my MiniWheats (a term of endearment that students use to refer to my kids), and my love of wonder.

I have shared the classroom of my life, on this site, and how I contemplate all that is confusing, inspirational, and motivating about How Deep the Father’s Love is … for me, for we.

I have shared joys, sorrows, celebrations, successes and my loves.

After one thousand posts of bleeding out my digressing thoughts and life before anyone to see and read, what’s the point?

Has it been about dreams of a multi-million dollar book deal? Yup! Who would not dream of such a dream? And, considering my grammatical skills (?) and inability to write a rough copy (ever), that dream will continue to live on … in my dreams.

Has it been about having something to say? Yup! I have been writing blog posts all of my life … in my mind. This venue allows me the space to get my thoughts out, without (much) digression from what I had hoped to communicate. I struggle to communicate clearly when face to face (I am just not great at thinking on my feet). I feel more confident when the only thing staring at me is what I have written, and erased, and re-written, and erased, and …

Has it been about having something to share? Yup! It seems that the things I am most unsure about sharing, the things that rattle in my head, while my fingers hang about the computer keys, are the things that resonate with readers the most. I truly believe, and believe it even more so since writing this blog, that if we are feeling, thinking or experiencing something, there are others who have, are or will be sharing in those things. I believe it was C. S. Lewis who said, we read to know that we are not alone … perhaps we write to know that we are not alone, as well.

One thousand posts … may I continue to learn that, in blessing and curse, it truly is a wonder-filled life.

“Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.”
Isaiah 25:1

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