Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Mascot Saga Continues. . . Sort of.

Remember the geraniums I was nursing back to health with the hope that Mascot would return to me one day?

(Meet Mascot here; read about his almost-murder mystery here, and his escape to a new life here).

Well, I haven't had much luck fighting off the voracious fungus that's invaded my geranium patch.  In fact, my geraniums have grown so shriveled that I accidentally uprooted one the other day having mistaken it for a weed.

Naturally I've lost all hope of Mascot ever returning.

But then, one night last week, I was about to drift into dreamland when the loud screeching of a grasshopper startled me back to consciousness.  I tossed and turned, and tried to dip back into sleep, but I swear that thing was so loud it sounded like it was sitting on my head.

"Oh dear God," I begged.  "Make.it.stop."

Which, incidentally, reminded me of the time my mom and some other homeschool moms took us kids to a nursing home to play our musical instruments for the elderly.

"It will make them so happy to hear your music," the moms assured us.  "In fact, you'll probably make their day."

So a friend and I mustered up the willpower to play a beginners piano/violin duet for them, with me on the piano.

We played courageously and fervently for our audience, and then, about halfway into our musical debut, a loud, warbling voice from the back yelled,

"Make them stop!!!! Somebody MAKE.THEM.STOP!!!!!"

I can't say that I ever played at a nursing home again after that.

Anyway, after a few minutes of the grasshopper's chirruping and screeching I was on my feet with the lights on, opening closets and cupboards hoping to find and shush the little critter.

No luck.

I'm not exactly sure how to go about shushing a grasshopper, anyway.

In retrospect I really should have known better and looked in my geranium patch.  After all, Mascot's serenading from the geraniums last winter proved that sound travels quite well from my patio to my pillow.

But I didn't look.  Not until this week, anyhow, when, quite by accident, I spotted a new, four-legged grasshopper clinging to the daisies in the middle of my geranium patch.


Delighted, my heart did a happy dance and I tip-toed away quietly, hoping I wouldn't scare him away.  And you know what?  He's still there, as I write!  (And he continues to serenade me each night. . .).

Naturally, I couldn't let such an exciting turn of events go undocumented, so yesterday I whipped out my camera and moved in close, determined to capture my new little friend on film.

His antennae quivered and beady eyes stared back at me, and then, miracle of miracles, he began to eat the leaf he was clinging to.  

Life on my patio, it be craaaaaayzee.




My jaw dropped as I watched his tiny little jaw move up and down, up and down, and I bet yours would have too.  Never, in all my life, have I come so close to feeling like I was hanging out on the set of A Bug's Life.  And never, in all my life, have I seen something so miniature work so perfectly.  Gosh, God, you done good.  That teeny weeny wittle jaw worked like a charm.

But don't take my word for it. Watch this amazingly geeky video I made and see for yourself.  But please, do yourself a favor and pop a dramamine before hitting play.


Boy I hope my new, hungry little music-maker is here to stay.

If he does, what do you think I should name him?

© by scj

Friday, September 21, 2012

Look Around, Heart of Mine

This week I turned 28.  I'm trying not to blink because I'm not ready to be 30 yet.

When I was a kid I couldn't wait for my birthday to arrive.  I'd go to bed the night before the big day with butterflies in my stomach, and then spend the night tossing and turning with dreams of eager anticipation for the next day's festivities.

But in the days leading up to my last two birthdays the joy of completing another year is mixed with chest-tightening anxiety.  The problem isn't that I now discuss eye creams with girlfriends at parties, or am beginning to realize the benefits of a good fake tan to enhance 'youthfulness.'  Although I admittedly do not relish the effects of gravity.

The truth is, I haven't been able to figure out why, exactly, flying toward 30, 40, and 50 is making my palms all sweaty.  But on the morning of my birthday I woke up and I knew.

My heart has been suffering from amnesia.

Unlike my tendency to lock my keys in the car or hop in the shower still wearing clothes, this has nothing to do with age.  My heart has always been prone to quickly and easily forget things it should never forget.  The Old Testament stories of the Israelites remind me this is a human tendency we will always have to fight.

This week my amnesic heart has been looking back on the difficulties of the last two years and fearing what the next year holds.  It's forgotten, of course, that the last two years, although dark and painful, have been some of the best years of my life.  

They've been the impetus to extensive soul renovation, and they've pushed me into closest intimacy with Jesus.  They've made me live the Christian paradoxes of being emptied yet filled, and losing my life to find it.  And of course it's always infinitely better to live good and beautiful Christian truths than to merely admire them from afar.

So now I know that I know that I know that I know that Christ's divine life swallows up all of mine, so that even suffering cannot evade the redemptive touch of his goodness.

And yet here I am fretting that my future will somehow fall outside the domain of God's goodness.

Silly, forgetful heart.

I've spent a lot of years trying to find an antidote to this heart amnesia that slowly poisons and kills my joy.  Every antidote I've found requires that, in some way, I center my heart on God's goodness in my life, minute by minute, hour by hour.  And so that's what I've been doing this week.

And you know what?  There are a lot of good things about being 28.

I love that now I am totally okay with wearing socks and flip flops in public places like, say, Dairy Queen.


I love that I have girlfriends who like picnics as much as I do,


and that the wind on September 17th whispers of fall--of pumpkin spice bread, boots and scarves, and crisp evenings.


I love that I have students who like to laugh about topic sentences and semicolons, and that my dad calls me sometimes just because he's thinking of me.

I love that I just stepped into my neighbor's kitchen to borrow three brown eggs, and that she emailed me today to tell me how much she loves me.

My loveliest friends and neighbors








I love that I got a video early on the morning of my birthday featuring one of my childhood best friends wearing curlers in her hair and singing an original celebratory song.

I love that I'm heading to Colorado next week to meet up with my family, and my second family, the Longs.  I love that we have scads of memories galavanting about foreign lands together, and that we still love each other somethin' fierce after 21 years of friendship.



I love that my mama recently sent me a care package full of gluten-free goodies that included this necklace from my childhood,


and that I have a little sister who knows the joys of Cabbage Patch kids, and who can style hairdos now that would put her old dollies' to shame.


I love that the beach is just an hour away,



and that the sky is always there. Always.



My thoughts are bubbling and swelling like boiling sugar now, pouring out my fingertips onto my computer screen.  And I love that my mind is filling faster than my fingers can type, remembering dozens, and then scores, and then hundreds of ways God has poured goodness into my life this week, straight from the treasure chest of his glorious riches.

Look around, heart of mine, and remember.


© by scj

You're Not Ready to Die. . .

. . . If you've never read this book:


It'll make you long for heaven,

and stand in awe of Christ's work on the cross all over again,

and want to be swept up in a story bigger than yourself.

Seriously, go buy it.  Don't even mess around with the library.  This is a book you need to re-read again and again.

And make sure you get the unabridged version.  Reading the abridged version is like eating carob chips when you could have a bar of decadent swiss chocolate; or looking at pictures of the Rocky Mountains when you could be skiing in them; or skyping with your neighbor when you could just walk over and eat dinner with him.

And then, go see this movie in December:



I seriously can't.wait.

© by scj

Monday, September 10, 2012

Five Things

1. If I could munch on scones and speak with a British accent every afternoon all afternoon I'd be the happiest girl to ever say 'Please pass the tea, dahling.'  Thank goodness for BBC films and television series.  They almost convince me that I'm a sophisticated young lady who takes high tea and dances the night away at local balls.

Until yesterday, that is.  Because yesterday I realized that, according to the British Broadcasting Network, I.am.an.old.maid.  A wilting rose; a wrinkling plum (soon-to-be-a-prune); a pillow that smells like moth balls.  Sorry, that last one doesn't really make sense.  Except that I associate the smell of moth balls with everything old maidish.

I can no longer dream about marrying a Mr. Knightly that is 14 years my elder because I am almost Mr. Knightly's age.


I know I know, some of you are shaking your heads because by today's standards I'm a young chicken.  Or is it spring chicken?  Figures of speech have never been my strong-suit.  But hyperbole is.  Thanks for indulging it for a minute.


2. Sometimes girls just wanna have fun.


3. Someone once told me that flies only have a 24 hour lifespan.  But folks, I am here to tell you this is not true.

A fly snuck into my studio two days ago and the little rascal was too quick to corner, so I let him live.  He'd only last another day, I figured, and I'd be gone for most of that day anyway.

But it's been over 48 hours since he invaded my quiet little space and he is still alive and kickin,' the loud little bugger.

Someone pass me the newspaper.


4. In just 2 1/2 weeks I'll be in Nathrop, Colorado near Mt. Princeton for a dear friend's wedding, and boy I can't wait to see family, friends, and the fall colors.








5. Remember my old neighbors and dear friends Luke and Laura?  They came to visit a bit ago, and I got to meet their sweet little baby, Addie.




And oh! she is OH so sweet, and I couldn't stop taking pictures of her. I tried to take a video, except I'd taken so many pictures that it got cut off after five seconds, mid-sentence.  But look how darling her blinking is and how sweet her wiggling fingers and toes are in those five seconds!  Everything about her is just perfect.

video

It's a marvelous thing when good friends have babies.  I really can't explain how wonderful it is to hold a baby that belongs to a dear friend, but I think you must know how it feels.  If you don't then you may want to start encouraging your friends to have kids.  Asap.  Like, yesterday.

Happy Monday, everyone!

SJ

© by scj

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hop on Over!


Will you join me over here this week?