Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Swimming With Dragons...Well Dragonflies, Technically

Book Credit: Christopher O'Toole - Firefly Encyclopedia 

Last night I swam with dragonflies. I was literally surrounded and circled by 4 or 5 gorgeous dragonflies! I giggled and smiled and held out my hand hoping one would land. 

These colorful little helicopters have intrigued me for the last 4 summers since we've been here at this house. They seem so curious about us. They come as close as possible and just stare out of those huge eyes, fly off and immediately return for another peek. 

Every time I experience our little "meetings", I tell myself and whoever else is nearby that I really must do some research on dragonflies because they are so pretty and fascinating to me. 

But I have avoided following through on the research and I know exactly what has held me back from learning more. It is kind of silly but I've been afraid of learning stuff I do not want to know. 

I do not want to discover that they only live one day or that they eat one another, or that when they are hovering near me they are merely looking for a place to poop. 

Yesterday and today I finally did a bit of research about dragonflies and WHEW, none of that is the case! Yay! 

I am so relieved, because if they only live one day then the deep blue one with yellow around the collar whom I've been talking to for the last few weeks would not really be my special friend. I found that dragonflies can actually live for several months if not eaten by enemies. And they are not looking for a place to poop.

But they do seem very interested in us. Last night I floated on my back in the pool and opened my eyes to one hovering just inches from my face. I was thrilled! I read somewhere that it is considered good luck if one lands on your head. 

I didn't want to scare it away so I remained as still as one can when floating on water, until it zipped away and circled back a little farther away. 

An ugly wasp decided to come close for a visit too and my dragonfly friend promptly chased it away with its stinger between its legs. (My imagination may have added some drama to this event but still, I felt very protected!) 

My dragonfly friends are mostly blue rather than red.

I don't know if God is talking to me through these cute little creatures like He did with butterflies in the past. But I am watching and listening just in case. In the meantime, I see them as a sweet kiss from Him and reminder that all of nature was created by God and loved by Him.  

When I look around, it is impossible to believe that God does not enjoy what He created too. Don't you think He smiles at the color choices He has made and the whimsical shapes and sizes that make up our world of creatures? 

He did not HAVE to use such vast variety did He? Flowers, vegetation, insects and jungle life; it all stands as evidence that our Creator loves color, spice and imagination. 

Watching dragonflies, swimming with dragonflies, hearing the quick beat of their gossamer wings; these are love notes from God to me. To us. 

I do not see a dragonfly tattoo in my near future. But I have also learned that it is wise to never say never. 

Similar to "my" dragonflies.

Love you,

Sunday, May 20, 2018

I Did Not Expect This...

I grabbed my phone so I could capture some pictures of the sweet little prayer chapel I saw while on a Women's Retreat this last weekend. I knew it would be cute, but at the same time I also dislike contrived, man-made "spiritual" setups, so to speak.
With that in mind. I was unprepared for what happened when I stepped inside and closed the door behind me. Thankfully it was absent of music. It was silent other than the loud hum of an air conditioner on this hot Texas day.

The door closed and as I turned to look around the tiny building my heart filled and my prayer language simply began to flow without hesitation. 

Then tears came because it has been a while. I smiled, relaxed and quietly walked around and around inside the prayer chapel praying in a spiritual language. Yes, I am one of those "tongue talkers". 

My shoulders fell, my breathing slowed and I knew that Holy Spirit and I were having an important conversation. Or maybe we were both sharing my heart with Father God. 

When the words are not mine, I can trust them. When the words are His, I know that I am not inserting my own agenda into the conversation. My spirit is communing with His Spirit. What could be more valuable and worthy? 

It was a beautiful few minutes. I walked back up the hill to my room in a better place than when I walked down that path. Time in God's presence, short or long will change a person. Now my heart and mind were open and a little less guarded with this new group of people I was just getting to know. 

I was pretty nervous about this retreat in a new church that I barely attend. The first evening was hard. But this little group of ladies welcomed me and I loved the silly camaraderie that I was seeing and hearing. The inside jokes of longtime friends reveal a history of ups and downs experienced together. 

My husband says I am brave. It did take a bit of courage to go to a 3 day retreat with a new church, but I knew I was supposed to do it. I made myself commit to it several months ago by making small payments to save my spot. 

And I am glad I did. No, it did not change my whole life. (Maybe it did!) But it was a sweet reminder that God loves. He loves me, you, and the people next door. 

He loves. It's what He does, what He is and all He knows. Loving you is His favorite thing! 

Bless you.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

He Is Not Dead

I looked across the lunch table in my preschool class and noticed a little girl with tears streaming down her cheeks. She was quiet, but obviously something or someone had upset her. 

I knelt beside her in the middle of the noisy chattering group of 4 year olds and asked why she was crying. She pointed to her friend sitting next to her and said, "She said that Jesus is gonna die on Easter! I don't want Easter to come!" 

I hugged her and said that her friend made a little mistake and that on Easter, Jesus is alive and that's what Easter is all about. About Jesus being alive and not dead at all! By this time the whole class was quiet and listening to me. She smiled and said she felt better now. 

Our preschool is a Christian school but we don't talk about Bible stories much in my class. I don't really know if I am expected to be doing that, but it seems like an area best taught by parents and Sunday School rather than school. 

I did make an exception this last week though. I told a story of a little girl with brown hair, brown eyes and freckles on her nose named Susie. Our Circle Time true story was about the Sunday many years ago when the little brown haired girl came running and shouting into her parents arms in a church sanctuary, yelling, "Mommy, he's alive, he's alive!!"

My mother told me this story about when I was only 3 or 4 and a Sunday School teacher must have somehow got the message across to us little ones with clarity. I don't remember this moment, but I love it. 

Today my main big thought is simply that He is alive. Jesus is alive! I will admit that I do not feel Him as clearly as I did years ago, but I still know and believe that He is alive in me. 

When so much around us is negative news, this is the good news. The BEST news. I am sitting here in my living room feeling weepy, listening to Keith Green and 2nd Chapter of Acts ( I am old, you guys. Whatever). 

In a few minutes I will get in my little yellow truck and drive around the corner to the sweet Methodist church behind my house. I will bask in the gentle music and smiling faces. I will rejoice in the knowing that He is alive. 

Happy Easter y'all. (Yeah, I said Y'all.)

UPDATE: I am home from the Easter service and this time it was my turn to be the quiet one with tears streaming down her cheeks. But my tears were an overflow of thankfulness for my Jesus. He knows me, loves me and is alive today. In the people around me and in the swaying trees in my backyard that I am looking at just now as I sit in my yard and tap these keys. 

Once again I choose belief, I choose faith, I choose to trust the unseen; illogical and fanciful though it may seem. I choose Him. It is so simple and so complicated. But here I am choosing faith. 

Here I am quietly shouting, "He is alive. He is alive!" 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Random Journal Day Reunion! Come Join Us!

Well, it is 8:30 pm, I have a nice glass of white wine beside me, husband is smoking a pipe on the back porch, my grandkids are asleep and their parents are movie-watching in their own room. 

Our home is quiet, which does not happen a lot. I am savoring the quiet and this moment to rejoin some old friends for a Reunion of the Random Journal Day gang. But I hasten to add that new friends are welcome to join! It's so easy!

All we do is find one of our old journal entries and use it as a writing prompt for a blog post. Then you simply connect your blog up to the organizer of this fun; Enthusiastically, Dawn. On her blog you will find a list of other bloggers who are sharing their journal writing too. (AND I heard a rumor that she is doing a big GIVEAWAY that you will love!) 

My blog has not been a very active place for the past year due to a new job and lots of crazy changes in our family. But all is well and we are happy and healthy. My last few blog posts will catch you up on what has been happening around here. 

Now I am teaching preschoolers to journal!

My blog, RECOVERING CHURCH LADY had to be abandoned due to a mix up regarding my domain name and payments. So now I live here at WALKING BUTTERFLY. I hope you come back often, as I try to get back into a more regular writing routine. Please tell me about your blog, I would love to visit you!

Our mutual friend, Dawn has challenged us to dig into our journals once again and create this little RJD Reunion, so I guess I had better get to it or she will nag me to bits. You know how she is, right? 

A journal entry from July 25, 2017 made me smile the other day, so I will let you in on the little joke too. I'll just let you read it for yourself...

"July, 25, 2017
This morning when I went into the kitchen to grab my cup of coffee, my grandson (almost 3 years old) and daughter-in-law were on the couch with a book. Grandson says to me, "Grandma, you are in trouble!" 

Turns out that he had been repeating a funny thing that he'd accidentally said yesterday and I had laughed at it. So his mama had told him, "Oh man, Grandma is in trouble now!" 

In the swimming pool yesterday Grandson wanted to tell his daddy that he was going to "kiss" him, but instead he had said, "I'm gonna piss you Daddy!"......And Grandma cracked up!

Oh well."

Oh well, indeed. If it is funny I am going to laugh and I will not say that I regret it one bit. Nope. In fact it still makes me crack up today! 

This is probably one of the plethora of privileges that grandparenting affords. I am not over thinking and analyzing everything I say or do, like I did as a parent. Grandparents can relax a bit...mostly because we know that we are still going to mess up and the kids will survive and forgive us in the end. (For the most part, anyway.)

I love being a grandma. In fact tomorrow I may just grab my grandson and tell him I want to give him a big piss! (Just kidding Honey.) 

Hey look Dawn. Found my old RJD pic!


Sunday, March 18, 2018

I Am Still A Writer, Right?

I am still a writer. 

I will always be a writer, because I was one long before I was even brave enough to call myself one. So I am a writer, even though my posts are now more of what you see here; my classroom. I love my classroom and the little people that filter in with huge smiles and warm hugs.

My writing has been pushed aside while I try to give these kids all that I have. They keep me awake at night and my writing desk is overflowing with projects for them. 

I hope my writing life is not over. From what I have experienced in recent years, you never know what is around the corner. Life can change in a moment and the unexpected turn can be better than anything you have imagined. 

I am still a writer. I will find a way to send my little words out. I have thoughts, you guys. I do. 

Stringing words together to create a sentence still gives me great pleasure. I love the act of writing. I even enjoy editing what I have already written! The challenge to cut words, add words, clarify meaning and convey emotion is so stimulating that it becomes all consuming and time stands still. 

When I was writing my book I set my alarm to get up an hour or so earlier than usual because mornings are my most creative times. I often woke up before the alarm had to do its job. At first I resisted the early morning writing routine, even though so many writers recommended it. I was not working at the time and I knew that I had all day, every day to write my heart out. Why in the world set an alarm when it was not necessary? 

But, NEWS FLASH to my dear aspiring writer friends; Blank days in which to write can still result in a blank page. (For some people.) My empty days remained empty as I procrastinated sitting at my desk to write. It made no sense really. Why was I cleaning closets and organizing shelves when I love to write? Why did I procrastinate? 

Knowing that I had unlimited time to write a book made me lazy. I need a deadline. I require an outside motivation apparently. My outside motivation came from friends, old and new.

I have some online friends that I have never met in person. Two of them became my cheering squad to finish my book. Pam has a book in her and it sneaks out in her frequent blog posts. Her observations of nature as it surrounds her woodland home are captivating and they always gently lead the reader into a moment of marveling at the Creator of such beauty. 

Dawn is another special online writer friend who seriously nudged, pushed and badgered me into finishing my book. We talked about our book dreams over Skype and promised to ask about progress made with a specific deadline in mind. 

She asked me about my creative process and encouraged me to find the same time each day to write. I began to set my alarm and it changed everything. Both of us are now published authors with books!

The beauty of morning writing is that the guilt of not writing is taken care of for the rest of the day. I could enjoy my day knowing that I had produced some pages and will do it again the next morning. I found myself taking little notes during the day in preparation for the next morning appointment at my desk. 

I loved walking through my dark and silent house with a cup of coffee in hand, heading for my laptop. My dog Layla would pull herself awake and follow me quietly. She curled up on a chair in my office and accompanied my typing with her snores. 

I am not sure what is next for me. I am not a novel writer. My one little book is a nonfiction inspirational. So it's not like I can conjure up a new story to tell. I am waiting for a message I guess. One that only I can tell...or one that I can simply add my voice to. 

In the meantime, I will continue loving on the little people that fill my classroom with noise and silliness.   


Monday, January 29, 2018

Family House

I love it when my grandson backs into me so he can sit on my lap to help him with his shoes. He can put on his shoes by himself. After all, he is a whole 3 years and 3 months old now. And ever since his mommy drew a couple of little faces on the inside of his shoes, he never gets them on the wrong feet.

But I am greedy for any chance to hold this gangly and busy little guy. The days of rocking him to sleep for nap time are long gone and our good-night hugs are much too quick. Grandpa has developed a strategy to pretend he doesn't want a good-night hug in order to get a good one. 

Two families living together in one house can be a tricky maneuver. We are doing it and learning as we go. It began almost accidentally and was meant to be temporary, but now we are thinking about how we could make it a long term adventure. Who knows, it may not work out to find a place for two families, but it's fun to imagine and play with the idea.

Because there are some pretty amazing moments that can happen.

I love this one right now. I am writing on the couch in the living room, Husband is outside having a pipe and my son and daughter-in-law are in the family room playing with Legos with Grandson and nursing Granddaughter. I can also hear Daughter-in-law reading a chapter book aloud to her little family. 

In the morning I will wake up to the sounds of Grandson and his daddy cooking breakfast and chatting away in the kitchen every single morning. I've never cared about sleeping in so this works out fine. Besides who would complain about waking up to the aroma of coffee without having to get up and turn it on yourself? 

Grandson is my cheerful guinea pig for my preschool book choices and art ideas. He loves books and I am crazy about reading aloud to him so it is a definite win-win for both of us! He has also helped me appreciate nature in my yard, down to the teeny tiniest little seedling we find on the ground. We discuss it all and then he joins me in waving "Hi everybody!" to the airplanes overhead. 

Another great moment is meal time. Grandson likes to find out who made what and tell them "thanks for making this Grandma (or Mom)." Before the meal is over we will probably get to watch the food negotiations happen. "Three more bites of this and then you can eat that." Our meal time is often done in shifts lately anyway, so one of us can hold Granddaughter while others eat and then trade places.

Of course, I also get to hear tantrums from Grandson and "don't you dare change my diaper" screams from our 3 month old Granddaughter. I grumble when trying to fit my groceries into our overloaded pantry and we have to do a bit of car choreography in order to get our vehicles in and out of the driveway each morning. 

But these are all signs of family life. The hard stuff comes with the sweet stuff.  

It is never boring in my home. 

And when Grandson backs into me and asks for help with his shoes, I will always say yes. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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