Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Creepy crawlies

My daughter and I took the dog for a walk around the housing area here on base last night. Even though it was past 10:00 p.m., the humidity, along with alternating chorus of tree frogs, bull frogs and cicadas, made it sound and feel like a rain forest.

Five minutes into our walk, we came across an armadillo ravaging the front yard of one of our friends; we chased it and it skedaddled out of there. But thirty seconds later, it was joined by two others who came charging out of the darkness. "It's a herd!" I cried to Darice. We quickly walked the other direction, but they weren't interested in us. They just wanted to cross the street without getting smashed to smithereens and get back to the safety of wherever it is they live. From the look of things along the highways in Mississippi, not many armadillos make it across the road down here. I'm proud of our three. They made it home without a scratch and are free to destroy and plunder another yard tonight.

Two blocks over we ran across a spider roughly the size of New Jersey, followed a few feet later by a huge cockroach skittering across the pavement. I told my daughter to walk quickly. I didn't want them picking up our scent and following us home. If they did, I was dutybound to grind them into dust. For their sakes, I hoped they would continue to do whatever it is they do out there in the wild and leave the human beings alone. So far, so good.

My daughter turned to me and said, "This hasn't been a 'warm and fuzzy' walk, has it?" She was right. Most of our lives we've had to look out for something covered in fur, not scales; four-legged, not eight; and small, like a June bug, not a giant crustacean-like creature that crunches when you run over and over and over him with the car. (Not that I'd do that, mind you.) In Alaska, where we lived prior to being assigned to this base, we had to constantly be on the lookout for moose. In Michigan, where I grew up and where my children were raised, it was the deer, racoons and possums. I guess every state has its natural hazards, but dodging creepy-crawlies is a new one for me. I'll have to get used to it.

But when it comes with its own armor--well, you've got to wonder what its intentions are.

Until the next time...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Looking forward

It's Monday again and I have high hopes for this week. I'm meeting a new friend for an early dinner tonight and my daughter and I are going to finish wrapping up baby gifts for her brother (my son) and his wife and get those sent out. They're expecting their first baby soon. Even though this will make my fourth grandson (the three others belong to my youngest daughter and her husband), I am no less thrilled at the arrival of the fourth than I was at the birth of the first three. No child's birth is any less special than any other's; they just arrive at different times.

Any grandparent will tell you that. The thrill of welcoming a brand new life, a living, breathing little human being, into this world is exhilarating beyond words and never fades, no matter how many grandchildren are born into the family. Add to that the fact that my blood, and that of my children and their father, runs through the veins of that tiny blessing, and you've got a recipe for great joy. Even though we know this child is a boy, there is still the wonder of speculating whose ears or nose or eyes or hair he will inherit. But despite any similarities to others, this child will be a precious individual. He may share his family members' physical characteristics, but his personality, his very being, will be his and his alone.

I can hardly wait to meet him!

Until the next time...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

God is in His heaven

Sometimes I need reminding that God is in His heaven and He knows precisely what He's doing. I'm ashamed of that; I should, by now, be perfectly aware of His presence, love and power. But when things go wrong, when I don't see things happening the way I think they should--even after I pray about them--sometimes I lose my way.

That happened this past week. It was a rough one, filled with disappointment and heartbreak. But time passed, as it has a way of doing, and this morning I am filled anew with the glory of God's presence. All the while I was moaning and groaning about things not "working out" as I thought they should, He was making things happen in the manner and along the timeline He decided on long ago. He had things in control all along. He knew what was best, despite my helpful suggestions, and thankfully, answered my prayers in a way I not only didn't expect, but never in my wildest dreams would have thought of on my own.

God is in control of our world and our lives--and I'm not. If anyone is reading this, those are two things for which you can be very, very grateful!

Until the next time...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Techno-dummy

I finally got my picture posted near my name, even though the world isn't holding its breath, I'm sure, to catch a glimpse of me. To my knowledge, not a single soul has even glanced at this blog, let alone yearned for a photo of me. But still, I thought it would look more professional.

I don't think I'm adequately wired to handle technology problems, but I hate giving in to my ineptitude, so I work at it until I finally get something accomplished--even when it's not exactly what I wanted in the first place. At least it's better than nothing! When I worked in the superintendent's office of a mid-Michigan school district, we had a fully-staffed, highly-qualified team of IT staffers. They knew what they were doing and made me look good in the process of updating, backing up, and neutralizing all the messes I inadvertently created. Now that I'm on my own, the truth has reared its ugly little head--and it's busy blabbing that I don't know a thing about technology. Without FAQs, site help lines and relatives who know what they're doing, I'd still be scratching messages on cave walls.

Until the next time...

The sounds of silence

It's Saturday and the base is quiet today. No planes taking off, landing or zooming over our homes and streets. It's almost eerie. Living on an active military base means becoming accustomed to the ebb and flow of the business of training pilots. Of course, not everyone on this base is a pilot--far from it. My son-in-law is a fireman, others work for security or at the clinic or in dozens of other capacities that keep this base up and running efficiently. We are, in fact, a small city, complete with bowling alley, theater, library, child development center, clinic, commissary (grocery store), BX (base exchange), post office, gas station, convenience store, church, fire station, flight line, control tower, playgrounds, gym, vet clinic and many more buildings, offices and departments that I can't think of at the moment.

The real difference is that we are a truly "gated community". Valid military or approved identification is required to enter the base at all times. Not just anyone can get in. That gives me a real sense of comfort--after all, important work is going on behind these gates and it behooves our government to make sure that the people assigned to that work can carry on in safety.

I will accept the silence of today and tomorrow with gratitude. But when the roar and rush of planes starts up bright and early Monday morning, I'll smile and be thankful for all the hard work everyone on this base is doing to keep our country free.

Until the next time...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sticky times in Mississippi

It's another beautiful day here in Mississippi--hot, but then it IS July, and hot and humid is what I should expect. The other eight or nine months of the year down here more than make up for the miserably sticky summers we endure. I haven't been here very long--it'll be two years this October--but having spent decades in Michigan and a year in central Alaska prior to my Mississippi move... well, I know winters. And believe me, winters in Mississippi are far milder than they are in the other places I've lived.

I've had far, far better weeks than the one I'm having currently. But then, we humans take the good with the bad, making the most of the blessings we are given and muddling through the bad times in whatever ways we find work best for us. For me, it's leaning on the Lord. Yes, He sometimes seems distant and this week is a prime example of my not being able to connect with Him the way I usually do. I know it's me, not Him. He's right where He always is--beside me, with His hand in mind, guiding me through the minefield of life, telling me where I can step safely and where I should avoid putting my feet.

But I'm not listening the way I should be. He's speaking, but in a soft voice; He's not lecturing, haranguing or scolding me. Rather, He's encouraging me with His love, showering me with His neverending affection and His abundant blessings, and staying beside me every step of the way. I'm distracted by my pain, however, and instead of concentrating on getting past it, I'm focusing on wallowing in it. I'm not looking in the right direction, nor listening with an ear toward understanding. In my very human way, I'm thrashing around in this pool of despair, drowning in my sadness and not paying attention to the strong hand He's extending toward me. I'm not hearing His gentle voice telling me that all will be well; that He has everything under control and that I should not fear. I'm bent on doing it all alone--and that's so sad. For if I continued in this manner, I would surely drown.

But I won't. Even the simple act of putting my thoughts down in this blog helps me to see Him and His glory in the words. Praising Him never fails to lift my spirits, even as I lift my eyes to the skies and see the vast evidence of His power and love. I will recover, as I always do, but it won't be because of anything I do. It will be because He never blinked, nor abandoned me. He never stopped watching over me. He knew, long before this miserable week happened, that I'd be hitting a rough patch and He knew that I'd need His love and guidance more than ever. He also knew that I would look away and try to forge my own path through the pain. Still, He did not give up. He knows that my way is not the right way, but when I come to my senses, I won't hear "I told you so". Instead, I'll hear Him say, "Next time, lean on me, because I love you and I'll never let you down."

Until the next time...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Finally!

At long last, I am finally blogging! As usual, I was trying too hard. Once I settled down and let things happen the way they were supposed to, they did.

I find that life is often that way. Once we get out of our own way and let God take control and nudge us back on to the path He has chosen for us, life unfolds as it is meant to. Only our Heavenly Father know what lies before us; only He can see the obstacles that will block our way in the future. And only He can help us over, around or through them.

Until the next time...