Thursday, August 30, 2012

I can dream...

While out on my ride on LuLu this morning, I fantasized about what I wished Mitt Romney would say in his RNC speech tonight. Here goes...
“My fellow Americans, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah … and in closing I’d like to make something perfectly clear. I understand why we have these women watchdog groups. I get it. For centuries the women in this country were treated less than second-rate. It was unconscionable. Ladies, the hard fight you won just to win the right to vote in this country changed us forever. The gritted-teeth battle you forged for equal pay for equal work made David’s battle with Goliath look like a friendly game of marbles. You’re tough. You’re intelligent… and you’re a force to be reckoned with. But, sadly, you’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater… literally.
“I believe in your right to choose. I do. You have to right to say “no” to sexual intercourse. It’s your body. Treat it as treasure. You have the right to choose when or if you get pregnant. You have the right to choose what happens to your body from medicines to piercing. But what you don’t have the right to do, what no one in this country has the right to do, is to kill the innocent. Nothing justifies that… nothing, not inconvenience, not bad timing, not passionate misjudgments.  Once you’ve chosen to bed your partner without protection and it results in the creation of a child living within you, by your very actions you have chosen … life.  And, it can’t be taken back.
“Now let me make myself clear:  If by some horrible evil you have been raped by the lowest that mankind has to offer, know that my heart goes out to you. And if that violent act results in pregnancy (and yes, it can and does happen), know that I will love you, care for you and fight for you, and I will pray daily for your healing both physical and emotional. But you still have choices here. Either give birth and mother this innocent child with the most powerful of loves, or give the greatest of gifts, the most sacrificial of gifts, the most loving of gifts to a couple who have been waiting with open arm for a chance to love a child of their own.
 “Please hear me, what I will not do is support you in the condemnation of that innocent life.  What I will do is fight to make sure that our laws have teeth enough to condemn the evil that violated you. That bastard (remember this is Mitt’s speech, not mine) will rot in the darkest hole we can throw him in. There will be no parole, no good behavior rewards.
“Lastly, if your life comes down to the unthinkable, where you are forced by critical, threatening health to have to chose between your own life or your unborn child’s, I promise you that your government will back out of your hospital room. We are many things, but Solomon we are not. This nightmarish decision is too painful for words and it will be a decision that should be yours and yours alone. My prayers will be that our God will hold your hand and give you wisdom and comfort at such a time as this.
“And so my fellow Americans, blah, blah, blah, blah, and God bless America!”
Well, I can dream can’t I? I can hope that someone will finally say what they mean and mean what they say and not be slaughtered in the media because of it. I can dream …

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LuLu speaks...


LuLu and I have been contemplating the Republican National Convention. No, really, we have. You may not know this, but in all her pinkness LuLu can be very political. On our morning rides she has been known to wax elegantly about how the world should be run. Okay, she doesn’t actually use words, but somehow she inspires me to use them for her. Must be something about pedaling in the early morning in the fresh air. I don’t know, I just know that when we get back from our bike rides, I’m usually wiser than when I started out. I give my pink bike the credit.

The other morning on our ride the old adage, Too many chiefs and not enough Indians came to mind. I don’t know if that little ditty would even be consider political correct these days, but I do know that it’s still a truism that holds water. LuLu warns that if you really looked at those who lead, and lead well, you will see some things that may make one more content to be a follower instead.

Leaders are not born, they emerge.  Those who turn around and find a pack following them have three things in common: 1) They are the ones who really care.  They are convicted by their hearts, while their commitment is watered by tears and cemented by prayer.  2) They are the ones who stick their necks out and try.  Leading requires risk.  Leading requires sacrifice.  3) They have earned the right to be followed.  They have proven themselves, not by deeds, but by who they are—trustworthy, loyal, and heading the list, selfless. 
Leaders do not dominate, they demonstrate.  True leaders are found in the trenches, not the towers.
You say you want ditches dug?  Then dig. You say you want to be loved?  Then love.   You say you want to be trusted?  Then trust.  You say you want to lead?  Then follow.
True leadership, comes from serving, not from showing off.  If more of us realized that, there'd be far more Indians… and better politicians.

If Hurricane Isaac allows for it the GOP has some business to attend to this week. It is my prayer that many of them have brought their pink bikes to the party.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Be that friend


Dear Friends,

       I'm on vacation this week. Gary and I are in Door County with some friends from Texas. Last night we sat up until 11 p.m. talking and visiting, laughing and yes, there were some tears. I think that's the test of good friends-- you can go to the most tender spots of your heart and open them up knowing that they will be placed in safe, tender hands.

       Do you have friends like that? Better yet, are you a friend like that? Are you a friend who others can go to and share their most vulnerable thoughts? Are you that friend?

       Being in the presence of that kind of friend is holy ground. And, I am humbled.

       My prayer today is that you either encounter a friend like that, or that you become that friend to someone else.

       Go. Be.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Look, Ma, no hands!

LuLu and I took an afternoon ride yesterday.  It was a great ride as the warm breeze and sunshine reminded me of my childhood summers.  What glorious, long, slow moving days those were. I kicked my shoes off on the last day of school, and didn’t put them back on again until the day after Labor Day when school started again.  During that time my toes had grown so far apart my mother was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fit into any shoes when the time came.
I spent my summers on my bike, a fat-tired Ward’s Signature that took me wherever my heart desired. By the end of the summer I was steering with no hands, even turning corners without hands. I was the queen of the road.
Yesterday, I thought I’d try it, the riding with no hands thing. It didn’t last long, a nan-noo second really. I don’t know where all my balance went, but I’ve lost it.  Or, maybe I still have it and it’s just that I’m more afraid of hurting myself than I used to be. Scraping my knees at age 61 sounds way more painful that it did at age ten.  In fact scraped knees was just a part of my summer get-up back then: Tank top, shorts, scraped knee, ponytail, and barefooted. The look didn’t change all summer.
Yesterday, I tried steering without hands and not pedaling, and then without hands and pedaling. None of it worked. I headed toward the ditch no matter what. Maybe, my time of riding a bike hands-free is now a thing of my past, like squatting, or standing on my hands.  It’s hard to say good-bye to those things, but all good things must end… sometime.
So, I hold on to the handle bar, pedal and enjoy what I can still do. The warm breeze hits my face. The birds sing. The sun still shines warm upon me. I’m riding a bike at age 61 and it is good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Editing & Re-writes


            Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I got back up and went out on the back-screened porch with my laptop. The good news is that I got another chapter written in my book. The bad news is that I’m so tired now; I’m about to go into a coma.
            It felt so good getting another chapter onto the page. I’m on the homestretch now. I’ll be able to type THE END in about seven or so chapters. Then the real writing starts—editing and re-writing. Actually, those are my favorite parts of the process. It is in the re-writing where I’m able to give the color, use my voice, and fine-tune the story. By this time, the characters have started to breath and live. I’m even having dreams about them. They’re family. I care about them. And, when the book is done, I will miss them.
            At age 61, I like to think I’m in the editing and re-write stage of my life. After all the drafts and restarts, the chapters are now flowing. Color has been added. My voice has been found.  It’s taken a long time to write my story, and I’m not done yet, of course. There are still some surprises on the pages ahead. Hopefully, there are even some new characters to add. The process has been good; The journey worth it.
            The new book, when all is done, will have taken me a full year.             It is my greatest hope when my own life’s story is all done, I will be able to say the same, but more importantly, God will be able to say, “The process was good, and your journey well worth it.”


Thursday, August 9, 2012

I savor


I woke up this morning at my usual time planning on a LuLu ride, but it was still dusky dark. “What gives?” I wondered. I pulled the curtain back and… say what? Wet drops falling from the sky? Yes, we use to called this something, now what was it? Oh, yes…rain! It’s a too little too late for the area farmers I’m afraid, but still it was a lovely sight.
Now if I were a better person, I would have donned my biking clothes and took off anyway. “Come Hades or high water, right?” But I’m not. I opted to sit on the back porch with an afghan wrapped around me and with a hot cup of tea. So what’s that make me? A wimp? A cop-out? Lazy?
I choose to think of myself as one who knows when to savor a moment. Our globe is tired and dry. It’s been punished this summer by extreme heat and cracked earth. Our grass is brown. Our flowers have given up the ghost. Our ponds are exposing their muddy bottoms. Then, this morning comes rain, a steady downpour bringing with it cool air and welcome relief.
So, yes, I will savor the moment. I will sit and ponder and give thanks for this morning of new hope and promise. I can almost see the grass greening before my eyes. As I look out over our pond the drops are leaving their fingerprints in glorious ripples. Our one turtle raises its tiny head to greet the gift. The birds have taken cover and call to one another rejoicing. What’s left of my roses open their petals and drink it in.  The raindrops hitting my porch roof play a lovely musical of sorts that only God can perform.
I sit and listen. I close my eyes and give thanks. I sip my tea. “This is the day that the Lord hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
There is a time to ride and there is a time to sit and savor. This morning… I savor.
Have a great weekend, all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

God's tattoo

God’s tattoo

Before I took off on LuLu the other morning I first sat down for my daily meditation time. Right now I’m using Sarah Young’s devotional book, Jesus Calling, to inspire my thoughts and prayers.
Did you know that God has a tattoo? Me neither. But He does. In Isaiah 49:16 it says, “I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”  So cool.  So what does that mean?
Well, as I pedaled along LuLu and I pondered this thought. Does it mean that God can sometimes be forgetful, and He needs to write stuff down and since He doesn’t have any paper around He writes on His hands? Don’t think so.
What I think that passage means is that I am so dear to Him and so permanently packed into His heart He wanted my name constantly before Him. Hence, the writing on the hands.
I don’t know about you, but to be loved that unashamedly by the One who spoke the great oceans into existence brings me to my knees. It also makes me want to make Him proud and not sorry He did something so everlasting.
The next time you’re feeling small and insignificant, remember, your name is inscribed on the Holy of Holies.
Have a great day,

P.S. LuLu, of course wonders when her name is going to show up inked on my bicep. When pigs fly, darlin’. When pigs fly.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jesus ahead...

Look close. Do you see the cross?
Yesterday LuLu and I went six miles. Half uphill. Half downhill. I don’t have to tell you which one I enjoyed more do I? As I turned out of my driveway to begin the ride, I looked down the road and smiled. Jesus was up ahead.
This past June when my parents were here for a month, one day Mom and I were driving down our road when she said, “Oh, look! The cross!”  My mom is eighty-five and sharp as a tack, but I thought maybe the time had come to gently pat her on the arm and say, “Oh, and over there is an elephant with stripes. Isn’t that nice.”  However, what she was trying to point out to her unobservant daughter was that up ahead where the trees over hang across the road, their branches touch and join in such a way that they frame a perfectly formed cross. Mom wasn’t nuts. There was a cross.
Jesus is everywhere if we’re looking for him. He’s all around us reminding us we are not alone. He didn’t leave us as orphans. He’s here, watching, comforting, and spotting like a coach standing underneath the high bar as his gymnasts swing wildly around and around the bar.
As I pedaled down our road I, too, saw the cross… now. But it took my sweet mama to point it out. I prayed yesterday that God would use me to be the ‘pointer’ to someone else, that whomever I encountered throughout the day who were needy, hurting, or as unobservant as I was, that I would say, “Oh, look! The cross!”
Have a great weekend, friends.