Thoughts upon sailing to the Caribbean: Day One

I am perpetually plagued by the smallness of my life. It is a subtle feeling that creeps over me in the quiet hours of the night when people contemplate their existence, wrestling with doubt. Gazing out the grand paneled windows at the back of our cruise ship I see we are leaving behind a tremendous wake - more than a mile long and yet in the scope of this beautiful gulf we are swallowed up, barely a ripple on the crest of magnitude.
That is my life: here today, gone in the blinking of eye.
Even so, I feel a curious significance. The waters are a blue so achingly beautiful I can hardly stand to look away. The clouds are like delicate sculptures framing the sky. Every so often I see broken off clusters of seaweed bobbing in the waves. They hint at a secret life under the surface, hidden, yet intricate and fully developed. In this moment, I’m not lost in my own smallness. I bear an irrepressible smile knowing that the one who created such majesty, who designed the ocean and its life for his own good pleasure also created me.
I chafe at the structure of my personality. I am stubborn, opinionated, and more than a touch bossy. I find myself preoccupied with making it easy for people to be around me, but I sense I am like a morning vitamin - good for the body, but difficult to swallow. I am constantly trying to refashion myself into a meek and mild character, but right now, I am wondering why I’ve been so bent on changing who he made me. Did he delight in setting me as an immovable stone in a landscape of soft grass and bright flowers? Certainly he who filled the oceans and formed the mountains finds challenge and contrast charming.
What I’ve seen as an unrefined mess is perhaps better acknowledged as his jagged masterpiece embodying strength and displaying a beauty only understood for its inflexibility against harsh winds and harder times.

On my own I am definitively and without exception small, but in him and his love I find greatness.

A New Dream

I think He’s doing it again - speaking to me in my dreams. I don’t clearly understand what to do. Please read with a prayerful heart, and tell me what you think. Perhaps I am being too sensitive, or perhaps you may help make things clear for me.

I lay down this afternoon to try to gather up strength before we spend time together tonight as a family. I had two things strongly on my mind before I slept.

The first was prompted by a book I’ve been reading which briefly alluded to the ills and excesses of the gilded age, and the mistreatment of the immigrant and the resulting deadly poverty of many children. The protagonist of the story acknowledges that something must be done, but does not seem to take any direct action so far as I have read.

I was also thinking about my son. I can never explain to anyone what joy fills my heart when I see him. I think about the miserable pregnancy I survived with him, and how he fought for life in the womb - my little survivor. His mere breathing fills me with joy. I fell asleep looking at his pink cheeks softened by sleep, and I felt peaceful.

Immediately upon falling asleep I felt an aggressive seizing of my attention. The dream felt erratic. I was at a hotel with my family, and in a separate room was my friend Cheryti and her family.

My husband moved the refrigerator in our room, and discovered beneath it a large hole leading into another room. I asked him if he felt it was safe to stay there with the hole in our room, and he responded only if you feel comfortable letting the enemy in to kill, steal, and destroy.

We walked down to the lobby to check out and complain, and there was a disturbance. An armed man ran through the hotel lobby, and my children were not near me. I was so afraid I ran out front after my children. I discovered the armed man was holding a gun to one of Cheryti’s children. (I have to stop and say it wasn’t truly one of her five children, but one of the children in her Ohana ministry.)

I began wailing. I chased him down and pulled the child out from his grasp. He began chasing my own children, and as I looked around the parking lot there were children everywhere of every color. They were crying out to me in so many languages I felt dizzy from overstimulation. I understood all of them. They were crying from so many dangers. I began snatching children close to me herding and sheltering them. Then everything began to swirl (I actually think this is because I have a wretched migraine in real life), and a stern almost angry voice commanded “Help the children Dee Dee.”

And then I woke up. All the nerves of my body tingling and hurting, my throat swelling, a migraine oppressing.

Did I push my self too far before sleeping? I am prone to worry. Is God speaking to me?

I prayed and asked God immediately if there was something wrong with Cheryti’s five children, and I felt immediately that he spoke to me no.

I then prayed and asked whether this dream was from him, and I cannot be as certain, but I felt perhaps he said “it is me.”

I then prayed and asked what could this mean? Do you want me to be a foster mother or adoptive mother? And I felt nothing. No voice. No assurance.

And then as I sat and let my nerves (literal nerves not my sensibilities) reset I keep hearing the refrain “speak out for the children.”

I am distressed. I don’t know if this is all in my head. I rather suspect not. But I honestly don’t know what children, and what needs to be said.

Please if you have wise advice, counsel, or interpretation I’d like to hear from you.

How Much Do You Weigh?

You'll have to jump in the middle of this story. I turned 30 this year. I joined a gym. My friends call it "bringing sexy back."

I'd settle for a lot less.

Every time I go to the gym I do the same thing. I walk into the women's restroom, check to make sure my hair is tied down well and that there is nothing conspicuous on my clothing from 2 grubby children and a messy car, and I weigh in. Then I walk up the stairs and choose a cardio machine to assault for 30 minutes or so.

Last week I arrived at a busy time, and the only machines open were a stair-stepping machine which usually reduces me to a sweating, quivering, crying husk within 5 minutes, and an elliptical sandwiched between a woman with a hacking cough (I have worked out near her a dozen times and always HACK COUGH SPIT) and a man too handsome for his own good.

Anyway, I figured awkward and annoyed had to be better than being carried out to my car on a stretcher. So I wiped down my machine, and pushed Quick Start. "Target Heart Rate" Still pumping. "How much do you weigh?" Nobody's business. "How old are you?" ... Can you believe I looked over my shoulder to see if Mr. Handsome was looking?

29. I typed 29! I may as well be 15 for all the maturity I felt.

I don't know what happened. I stuffed myself into pants that are older than my children and a slightly used tshirt of M's, drove my mom car, wrangled my two wild monkeys into the nursery, faced the humiliation of publicly entering my weight, and then could not bring myself to tell a machine and a random man that I was 30 years old.

As I walked in place for 30 minutes working up a sweat and trying to ignore the ads for pizza delivery flashing across the screens, I contemplated what all this said about me. Am I too old for what little I've accomplished? Am I too concerned with what others think? Maybe not enough?

In a way I felt a solidarity with most other women. I turned 30 with a fair amount of dread and had now taken up lying about it. Perhaps there is a somewhat secret desire to not drop pounds as I work out, but to peel back years of my life.

In any case, I have plenty of time left at the gym to ruminate on my odd behavior.

Say a prayer for the lady with the hacking cough. Seriously. I don't know if my patience will outlast her cough.

An Idea Man

This afternoon my doorbell rang, a smiling neighborhood kid probably 8 or 9 years who looked slightly familiar stood there loosely grasping a glass jar - a definite twinkle in his eye.

"What can I do for you little man?" I asked, wondering if an errant frisbee or ball had landed in my backyard.

"M'am, I see you have a bug problem." This was news to me. I tried to get a better look at his glass jar imagining some horrible poisonous insect inside just waiting to pounce on me or run into my house and wreak havoc.

"You have a bug problem, and you're a girl. You probably don't want to take care of it yourself. That's where I come in," he said proudly nodding his head with confidence.

I have to admit - I don't "do" bugs. I stick to traditional gender roles: men - killer of bugs, women - screamers for help.

"Well, what's my bug problem and how are you going to fix it?" I asked.

He explained to me that my yard is full of grasshoppers, spiders, lady bugs, and "who knows what else!!" And he had the perfect solution. Enter the murky glass jar, and its resident (terrified) lizard.

"Where'd you get the lizard? This isn't your family pet your mother is going to come knocking on my door looking for at 6 in the morning is it?" I asked with that motherly knowing tone I've perfected on my own kids.

"Well, I, um.. he actually came from your porch."

Wait, my porch? "Are you saying you captured what bug protection I already had in place, and planned to sell it to me?"

"Um, what you don't know can't hurt you?" he squeaked out with a decent amount of shame.

I have to admit - I like the kid. I think he's spunky and creative, if not a tiny bit deceitful.