Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fear and Dread and Love and Hope

I had lunch with a dear friend last week whose husband has stage 4 cancer. My normal reaction to helping someone with a terminal disease (or really scary, hard stuff that I can't fix) is to pray. Prayer is powerful and I believe in it with all my heart. But that's where my help ends.  

I'm learning that we are called to do more than that. I'm learning that just because something is scary that it doesn't mean it has to be unapproachable.  I've never known how to act around someone who is this sick; it's not a skill we learn in school. I want to give them a hug, say I understand, then keep my distance until everything in their world is easy again. And it's just laughable, because my own father died of cancer when I  was 20. I should know how to act, right? 

Turns out, I'm not supposed to act at all. I haven't been called to audition for the role of supportive, serious, counselor in great time of distress.  God created me, goofy-comic-relief Nikki, to act in love.  He created me with a loud laugh and a memory for inappropriate stories and scatter brained ideas to love on those around me. Right now, one of those people around me is facing the loss of her husband, and I have been called to love on her in the way I know how; with smoothies, lunch, story telling, and loud laughing. 

But she's loving on me too. She's shown me what real hope looks like.  During our last lunch, she talked about her husband and his love of God and His word. She talked about how she wants to help him enjoy his last days. The sadness in her voice isn't about the impending loss, but of his current pain and lack of energy. She expresses gratitude for a full, blessed life together. She seeks strength to support him to her fullest.  Not once has she told me she's scared about what is going to happen. She knows the promises of the Lord and she is living in them. And that is real hope.  

Psalm 71:1: But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Super Powers

A week ago a friend of mine asked on Facebook "If you could have one super power, what would it be." I've been thinking about that.  All of the super powers I could think of seemed like too great of a burden. The power to see the future, the power to heal, the power to turn back time, the power to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Nope, none of them seemed quite right for me. Looking at all the possibilities of what you could do with those powers gave me an unsettling feeling that I would be competing for roles that only God should have. Who do you heal? Who do you save? Who?

Ahh, but then God told me He gave me the power to LOVE; and that love is a super power.  Then God gave me a chance to use my super power.

I talked with a woman this week who told me how times are hard. I sympathetically nodded my head and said "I know."  She told me about how she was looking for another job because the job she does have only pays $7.35 and hour and she only gets 20 hours a week. She told me how she had to split one hamburger for dinner the night before between her children who are 7, 5 and 18months. It was a Monday and payday was on Wednesday and they thought they could make it.  She grew more and more comfortable with me and told me how she and her partner of 13 years are calling it quits. She told me they are waiting for their tax return to come back so they can afford it.  She told me how she spent her night praying for a job so she could feed her children.

My heart burst right open, but I held back from picking her up right there and hugging her. (She's very little, if we did hug, most likely I would lift her off the floor.) She told me how it's embarrassing to have to live off the backpack program and that her family wouldn't make it some through the weekend sometimes if it weren't for those programs.  I just kept listening and nodding my head. 

She doesn't know me very well. We see each other every day, but on a very superficial level. But yesterday she needed someone to talk to, and God put me in that place.  Then He told me to help. Galatians 6:9-10a "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people," 

So I did. And I know in that moment, she felt love.

But here's the thing. The groceries and gift cards I gave her won't last.  They'll eat this week, maybe next week, and still need provisions. And she's not the only momma who is hungry. My heart is so heavy because there will always be a mouth that I cannot feed.

And even as I type this God is whispering "love like Me, I'll take care of the rest."   Maybe you'll whisper back with me- "Show me how."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Waxing Poetic

Sometimes my baby's breath is like fruit
on an Earl Grey English Morning
Fresh and Sweet and
full of promise
that spring gives with early life

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thieves Row - It's Biblical!

I had a flashback today.

I was in the car with my college roommate, whose name would be changed if she were innocent, but she wasn't...neither was I, but that's not the point. Her name was Kelcey. We were driving back to school, I'm not sure from where, but my guess is that we were just visiting her hometown. We attended the University of Kansas. Anyone who drives back to school from their hometown in Kansas is likely to drive by farm fields. Like...100% likely. 

Kelcey was full of helpful Kansas knowledge. Like how the longest curved road (as of 1994) in the US could be found on the way to Iola (not to be confused with Iowa). On this particular trip, I learned about how farmers planted an extra row around the perimeter of their fields knowing that the outer edges were prone to theft. Hence Thieves Row. 

It's odd how some things, like that memory, will stick with you. When driving by a ripe field of oranges, my husband and I will look longingly and say with drool on our lips "mmmm...thieves row...." 

Anyway, I got this flashback as I was reading Leviticus 19:9-10:
“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God."

Of course, then I had some other thoughts. My first was how God's word can get so convoluted.  God told us to leave some of our harvest for the poor. There's such a stark difference in seeing something as "prone to theft" versus "planted with the intent to feed those in need".  

Then I thought of how I could apply that to myself.   Am I the farmer that plants knowing that some of my "fruits" might not end up in my harvest? Or am I intentionally planting extra in anticipation of feeding those in need?   

Lord, keep me from greed, so that your harvest is plentiful.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sassy Pants and The LIttle Swimmer

Two of my favorite things this week:
The swim cap
The funny kid

Mom, is this hat for swimming? 
(slightly deflated, but not deterred)
Rylee: Hey Angelica, did you know I have a boyfriend?
(non-chalantly bragging)
Angelica: You do?
Rylee: Yeah. Do you wanna know who he is?
Angelica: Yeah. Who is he?
(both of us - Bwaaa haa haaa haa haaa)
The Grand PooBah of The Pool


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not only the neighbors...but the whole neighborhood.

So, a few hours after Close Encounters Of The Gator Kind, I was due to pick up The Taz from school.  Maggie and I rolled up to school and a mother from the neighborhood shouts "Hey Nikki, Heard you spent some time on top of your car today!"   And she doesn't even know about this blog. (Hard to believe, I know.)

For sure this made me giggle, because now I am famous. And people for blocks and blocks will know me. Sure it's not really cool like "oh she's the mom that always makes the coolest treats for the kids at school." Or being referred to as "you know, that mom that runs behind her kids to school, and have you seen her arms, she must do cross fit."  But it's something. "Yeah. That Mom who was on the roof of her car because she saw a baby gator."

Anyway, thanks to my kind neighbor (whose husband made sure the gator was not under my car, so I could climb down) I now have better pictures to show you of the beast.

Here she comes just a walking down the street.
Singin' "Doo wha diddy, it's your dog that I will eat."

Seriously. This isn't right.


The neighbor thinks I'm crazy

Picture this.

There's me. In the garage. Minding my own business. I'm cleaning up my work space. I'm sanding. I'm sweating.  

Then I hear something strange. Like a small animal. I see something out of the corner of my eye.

Let me zoom in to show you what I was looking at.

That's right. It's a gator. Only about 4 feet long.  Only my baby is just about 4 feet long.  Luckily she was at school when this went down.

So I did what anyone would do, and I turned around, grabbed my phone and then jumped on the hood of the car to call my husband (right after I got a couple of photos, of course). Upon viewing the phone photos, and getting no answer from Troy, I did what anyone else would do next. I ran inside to grab my real camera. I did have the wherewithal to lock the door behind me...just in case gators grew opposable thumbs since last I studied them.  After grabbing the good camera, I ran back outside and jumped back on the hood of the car.

That's when the neighbor saw me.  On the hood of the car. Crouching kind of weird like; trying not to leave a dent in my go-getter.   He had a weed whip, so I shouted to him "THERE'S A GATOR IN MY YARD!"  As a disclaimer, I did not actually see if the gator came into our yard. because by the time I got back into position, it was gone.  Lucky for me, said neighbor had seen the gator cross the street before it got to our house. So I only looked kind of crazy, and not straight-up-heat-has-fried-her-brain crazy. 

The story is really anti-climactic from here. The neighbor and I did a hot lap around our house- he carrying the weed whip and a brick from a different neighbor's house; and I with my camera - and we found no trace of the gator.  All in all, a very exciting thirteen minutes.