Monthly Archives: March 2021

sailors’ delight

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We sat. Together, shoulder-to-shoulder, we faced west; knitting my left hand in hers, she squeezed.

 

“Why so sad, Nancy? Red sky at night—,”

 

I finished her words, “sailors’ delight.”

 

Mom smiled, her eyes luminous. “You’ve got that look honey, like we’ll never be back, or be in this moment again.”

 

I shifted uneasily on our bench on the pier. The water lapped softly, the road was quiet, and I noticed the glow of the sunset on my sweet mom’s face. The two of us, an intuitive pair, could always sense the struggle in each other.

 

 

Earlier, when we had taken a walk down our favorite lane, I had noticed an uneven gate and mom’s struggle with balance. So much so that I had called my younger sister, who was coming up next, warning her not to let mom drive alone with her young kids in the car.

 

My heart sank.

 

All was not well

 

“Mom, you know I always feel this way the night before I leave, like I’ll never get back… ”

 

“Honey, you know I always watch every sunset up here. When you watch it from home, you’ll know that I’m watching the same masterpiece.”

 

I withdrew my hand still gripping hers and put it around her left shoulder. “I could do this forever with you Mom— forever.”

 

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I have spent countless dusky nights on the pier up north. That was the first time I remember thinking how fleeting our earthly lives actually are. Sadly, it was also the first time I sensed my mom beginning to say I love you always, but I won’t be on the journey much longer. My strong mom’s memory and physical strength brought way to many falls and dark days. There were moments to treasure, listening to hymns cozied next to me, her agitation disappearing like the sun under the horizon line.

Sadness… right now, the missing is too much today.

We didn’t venture up to Michigan together ever again. But every time the sun sets and I take the time to open my heart, I remember my mom splashing in the giant lake waves, the sweaty July bike rides, and her walking– the long slow walk to her small white cottage nestled in between the oaks.

 

 

 

more white stuff ???

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Really?

I have forever been a snowgirl, but when they predicted another snowfall for today, I felt the weariness grow heavy in my chest. I had to travel to my 95-year-old dad’s place because his nurse from the VA was making his monthly visit, and I didn’t want to get caught slipping and sliding in my new car. When did I become such a snow baby, rejecting the beauty and thinking only of my convenience and safety?

This afternoon after arriving safely back at home, I decided to research big snowstorms in Chi-town. I remembered a big one when I was in 7th grade; I thought it occurred in March because I remembered it was after a school vacation, but I was wrong about the date; it happened in January after Christmas vacation (yes, that is what we called it back then, not Winter break). I was so glad to get back to school because I could once again gaze at my crush, the guy that every girl at Emerson Jr. High oogled over.

The snow began to fall at 5 am. My dad was off to work in his car, which he took to the train station to get to the loop. We left for school in our quilted nylon jackets, rubber boots, and snow pants. I know, I know– my dress and coat always looked ridiculous with the bulky snow pants under. I so wanted new boots with fur on the inside, but nooo– rubber boots on top of my loafers were my mother’s preference; they were called galoshes. I did rock my fake-fur, white hat that had pom-pom balls attached to the ties. It always reminded me of a Hostess snack cake called a Sno ball (a small cake covered in marshmallow adorned with coconut crumbs). But that day, I remember feeling grateful that my mom insisted on the winter gear, even though a few days earlier it had been a record 65 degrees in the Windy City.

We made it through the blizzard that Wednesday morning, and I was able to get a glimpse of my crush 1st hour and then 9th at a distance between the netting in gym class. I was just the skinny geek that he occasionally caught staring at his muscular biceps in his gym uniform. After school, we trudged home in the drifts that were already higher than our boots. I didn’t know it, but I wouldn’t see my crush again until the following week. In the 60’s school never was canceled because if busses and trains were working, they figured our legs could make it a mile at the very least. But this snow was very different and accumulated fast.

My dad did make it via the train out to the burbs, but one and only car was buried up to the roof when he got to Edison Park. I do remember my mom pacing that night. My dad called before he left to tell her he’d walk, which he liked to do occasionally. But that night, he didn’t get home until about 10 pm. Of course, my dad tried helping an insane driver get out of a snowdrift. She abandoned her car like the thousands of other drivers and truckers on the city streets. When I think about the fear that my mom endured that night, my stomach gets upset; a cell phone sure would have been handy.

Enjoying!

By Friday morning, our suburb and Chicago stood still for the first time in many years. Neighbor helped neighbor with shovels. The article I just read told of pregnant women being taken to the hospitals on sleds, bulldozers, and snowplows to give birth. We took our sleds to Jewel to get milk, eggs, bread, and, you guessed it— toilet paper, of course. Helicopters brought medical supplies to hospitals, and Dr.’s and nurses stayed and fought sleepiness and fatigue to render care. Hmm…this story is starting to feel eerily familiar.

Looting and anger boiled up in the poorest sections of our city. Folks were getting desperate and probably pretty hungry. Chicago didn’t have enough equipment to remove snow, and trucks came from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan to help our city. O’Hare finally opened after five days allowing weary travelers to get home to their families. By the time the pandemic, oops, the storm, was cleaned up, 60 people had lost their lives and an estimated $150 million in business losses. People compared the snow disaster to the Chicago Fire… until now. Everything pales in comparison to this worldwide year-long nightmare. 

And my memories are of some irritation at my school closing, remembering the sleds to the grocery, my bickering sisters, and my mom and dad who could get through any storm together. This has been a year of such pain and sadness, but thanks to modern technology, we could at least glimpse those we love on our little and large screens. We had access to the best minds in the world, giving us up-to-date advice in real-time. And where would our country be without our medical community risking their lives every day to care for us and those we love?

As my beloved church begins to open (masks, social distance, of course), as Dave gets his final vaccine next week, as I recover from a severe sinus infection, as I finish up this post, I feel the slow spreading of joy from my fingers to my toes.

I can take this measly little snow and the last throes of this scourge in our world. I will continue to trust in God.

He’s got this.

He’s got us in the palm of his hand. The crocus is blooming still in my yard, And Spring will soon light up Chicago.

After the snow melted the next day they are still alive!

knowing FOR sure

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John 14:13— And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

FOR SURE I don’t think I could take another step in this world if I didn’t have this promise from John 14. This amazing book from the B—I — B— L— E (so do some of you hear me singing it?) Yes, that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B— I— B— L— E.

Christ Followers know that this book is laden with promises and because luckily I have a good memory and luckily I see quite a few in my rearview mirror, I can say this FOR SURE, if we ask in his name, he does it.

FOR SURE, some of you are saying, “Yeah right, Nancy, you’ve got to be up to your tall tales again!”

“Nope, I’m not lying. His track record is perfect in my life.”

He even knows before I ask.

You may be asking, “Why should I even have to ask, if he knows?”

“It’s because Jesus wants our Father God to be glorified with the answer, that’s why.”

Now you are maybe sayin’, “Nancy, didn’t you pray about the PANDEMIC?”

As a matter of fact, I did.  This is how God has answered my prayers in the past and even today.

HE  says, “YES, NO, or WAIT.”

 

And I have learned from experience, that whatever I think is right, is not always right.

One example I can think of is that I always prayed that God would find the right person for my daughter Emily, also a Christ-follower, to marry. It seems so silly to me when I think about it because I assumed she would find the love of her life, as I did when I was in college. She actually did follow in my footsteps and found a great boy who was an extremely good-looking, intelligent, and athletic guy.

They were perfect for each other, or so I thought. I’m pretty sure I loved him too. And after 4 years of being together and breaking up on and off, just like I did with Dave in college,

I thought the deal was sealed.

But God had another plan and the answer was — NO, not him but another. Seven more long years of waiting. And guess what? “God has been glorified in that wait, and her husband mystically appeared on the last raft trip held on the Snake River in the Tetons.

This was after another bad breakup, I might add.

I know, some of you are still wondering about the PANDEMIC!!! I am too. But thank you God for my first dose of the vaccine. After my second dose and another two-week WAIT, I will still have to travel through the ‘no mask’ states on my way to Colorado. So my plan is to double mask, bring food in the car and run in rest areas and really wash my hands—hard, and run back to the car. I know I might seem a tad paranoid. But I don’t think I can ever see a refrigerator truck again, without letting out a long, sad, slow sigh.

Yes, I believe in God and he and I both believe in science. And right now his answer to the PANDEMIC seems to be WAIT.

Does he ever answer YES? A resounding yes to that, and so often I can’t begin to tell of the ways. A  few weeks ago I asked him if I should resurrect my blog and begin to tell some stories again. A resounding yes came with the invitation to be a part of this very special community of writers… some who I knew from Two Writing Teachers and some who are becoming new friends. Thank you for blogging and commenting.

 

SNIP, SNAP, SNOUT…THIS TRUTH-FILLED TALE IS ALL TOLD OUT.

 

XO

Joyful girl…God said, “YES”! Emily on her wedding day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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coffee clutch

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A new day, a new beginning—yesterday had ended in an unexplainable sorrow of not being understood in a place where normally I feel understood. Today was new, sunny, and promising as I started my scripture reading with my spill-proof coffee mug in hand.

 

I read what I wasn’t prepared for; I couldn’t have predicted it coming up in the text on my sunny, sunny day.

 

Jesus had just explained to the disciples what he would face on the cross, and spunky Peter had the nerve to take Jesus to the side and challenge his words.

 

Jesus responded with, “Get behind me Satan (he actually called Peter, his disciple Satan— ouch, that hurt as I scrawled it in my notebook).” HE continued, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:23)

 

And that is me, in a cracked nutshell. I care about me, me, me… most often.

 

I play the game outwardly of caring for Dave, our kids, my friends who hold my same opinions, and our country, but they are mostly “merely human concerns.”

 

How do I turn this around? So I ask God.

 

He responds, “Well, at least today you are reading and listening to me. But quite often, Nancy, I feel like I’m just a big check on your ‘To Do’ list.”

 

“You’ve got my attention, God… is there more?” Secretly fearing the get behind me Satan remark that he said to Peter, I press on and read more of the passage.

 

“Nancy— give me a break! In your journal, you just wrote get behind me Satan, two seconds ago, after clicking on Facebook to get more gossip for your cause— glad you remembered something from my word, though.”

 

His sarcasm pinched, “Sorry, God. I went to bed last night, still angry.”

 

“Forgiven—I almost forgot, you asked if there was more. There is. Sadly, there’s a whole lifetime of sorry and trying to turn things around. But I want to let you know this—I love you with the kind of love that you’ll never know fully on your planet. Guess what?”

 

My shoulders sagged, “Now what?”

 

“Every single day, I look forward to coffee and talking.”

 

I murmured, “I love it too, more and more each day.” I added, “See you soon, on my walk.”

 

“See ya, Luv ya— I know you get that sixties talk. Remember I’m with you—”

 

“always— even to the end of the age,” I whispered.