Laying Out the ‘Unwelcome’ Mat

via Daily Prompt: Hospitality

War!

I’m waging one right now. Well, okay, this one doesn’t include bloodshed, death or mayhem and the recipient of my angry thoughts remains blithely clueless. Nevertheless, this still is war.

“Did you hear me, Mr. Lizard? Hah! Have the temerity to enter my home, do you?”

Who am I kidding? That lizard on my wall is the king of this castle right now – all without uttering a single word. The unparalleled power of an Aussie reptile! Sigh!

Even as I type with false bravado on my keyboard, I’m doing my unhappy best to keep my unwelcome guest in my field of vision. One swish of his tail, an atmosphere-testing swipe of his tongue and I’m out of here… till I can amass enough courage to inch back in, grab my laptop and run back out again, of course.

I’m sure once I’ve urged him to leave, I’ll be sitting down with my cup of warm tea – and, oh, I do want my tea but what if I make a move and he does too? – and philosophizing about the equality of God’s creatures, finding parallels between the current inhospitable situation at home and the political refugee situation around the world, and such. But that isn’t going to happen yet. Right now, I just want…EEK! He moved!

Sssh! Type softly and don’t distract him. He’s turning back around. I’ve left the door open for him to find his way back out. Can lizards remember stuff? How about simple things like – I got into the nice lady’s house this way. I’ll stop scaring her and leave the same way?

He’s looking at me! He is, I tell you! Uhhh… was that a nod of thanks? I’ll take it if it includes a good bye as well.

Okay, signing out now. I’ll go and make sure he decides to leave the premises, or start looking for new ones myself. 😦

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Siblings -Take ‘Em Or Leave ‘Em

Siblings – I can take them or leave them. Right now, I want to take one (J), thump her on the head and drop her back – preferably on that recently-thumped head. The other one (T) isn’t in my bad books at the moment, but knowing him, it won’t last long. And the fact that I am the youngest is definitely not helping me any.

So, despite the tiffs and witty repartee that are exchanged on an almost-daily basis, why do I love them to bits?

Maybe it’s because we keep each other grounded. Got a new promotion and feel like the world obviously owed you that – your sibling will, through the course of a few pithy comments, reduce you to a weak reflection of your earlier self. Did better in an exam than your siblings did the previous year – it’s because of the notes they gave you and not your own awesomeness. Get together as a family and you fear that one of them will bring to light some old gaffe that you hadn’t mentioned to your spouse.

Or maybe I love them because we have each other’s backs – we keep each other’s secrets, provide support when faced with a difficult decision, give encouragement when necessary, suggest ideas for gifts to parents and spouses, endure each other’s quirks, and a million other things.

Okay, maybe remembering why I love her is not the best way to prepare myself for thumping J. Oh, well, it’s going to be a ‘loving’ thump then. And as for T, well, what sort of a brother would he be if he let J bear  an imaginary injury all on her lonesome self. So, just to help him stay on top of his ‘brotherly’ responsibilities, he’ll be gifted with a well-aimed thump on the head as well.

Ah! All the stuff I have to do to help out my siblings. 🙂

 

*Disclaimer: None of the people mentioned here have now or ever been bodily harmed by this blogger. Fictional injuries do not count in the physical realm. 🙂

On Being A Baker’s Friend

I have a friend. She bakes the best goodies, I think, this side of heaven. No, I don’t hang out with her for the goodies, although they make quite a delectable incentive. 🙂

Imagine, a cake so smooth it melts like cotton candy on your tongue. You close your eyes to savor the taste and a screen comes to life at the back of your eyelids playing all your best memories. That feeling of goodness those memories bring permeates every part of your body… all that from one bite, or it’s just the sugar rush! Either way, I couldn’t be a happier camper.

So, why am I suddenly rhapsodizing about her creations, you ask? Well, she sent me the picture of a cake she baked a few hours ago. I didn’t get to eat that one. Since misery loves company, it only seemed fair I share it with you.

cake

Choc-Peanut Butter Cream… sigh!

However, it also got me thinking. The sense of taste is such a small aspect of our human body. But I don’t often thank God for it, in fact, I’ve never said, “Thank you, Father, for my taste buds.” Have you?

Sure, if I don’t like something I eat, I can be quite vocal about it. And when I enjoy the taste, I thank the cook. But what about the creator who so cleverly orchestrated the combination of working mouth parts that enabled me to enjoy the taste?

Ah, well, as Rowling puts it, “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”

So, understanding – check.

Acceptance – check.

…and now to recover.

“Thank you, Father, for all your blessings, especially, for the gift of the senses.”

Now, excuse me please. I have to go work out. I have been promised a cake this Saturday. If it is anything like that picture my friend sent, I’ll need to prepare my body for the influx of calories. 😛

Mediocre Musicians Rule Too!

Ah, Music!

To be able to  belt out songs that resonate, to create harmonies that singe the heart, to imbue a sense of well-being with chords and to inspire awareness with thought-provoking lyrics – yeah, I can do none of those. But I am also grateful that when I sing I don’t cause the neighbor’s dog to wail in accompaniment or the birds in my garden to flee in despair.

What I am is a mediocre music-maker, and I am okay with that.

If the world had only the most talented of guitarists, drummers, singers, pianists, etc, they’d be so busy creating scores of beauty that they’d miss their contemporaries’ works. We ‘mediocre musicians’ who lack the skill they possess but yearn to find the sort of fulfillment they get, can best appreciate their work.

For all those of you who have listened to musical works in awe, who have tried to duplicate them without satisfaction, who tried to write lyrics before deleting them hastily, hang in there! You and I, we are here to form a balance. We are the ones that bridge the gap between the stellar performers and the tone-deaf artists. The world needs us too.

Convinced you, have I? Well, what do you know? Maybe that’s my talent – to spin words to fit my version of the truth – also called a storyteller, and I’m okay with  that too. 🙂

(Written in response to today’s one-word prompt: Music )

Dr Who for the Christian Fan

Dr Who fans, anyone?

My husband (L) recently asked me why I liked Dr Who so much. He’s the documentary-loving kinda guy and he managed to sit through half an episode of Dr Who with me (I am convinced that he declared his love for me the most in those 20 minutes. 😛 ). Anyway, I tried to explain to him what I liked but I don’t think I was able to articulate to my satisfaction.

So, I sat down and tried to see the bigger picture. Why did I like Dr Who so much? Daleks, Cybermen, TARDIS, time travel, alternate universes, distant planets – what’s not to like, right? But somehow it was the character of the Doctor that I found fascinating. The creators of the series gave the Doctor a fun personality with very human-like quirks, a strong love for his companions, the ability to travel through time and space, a forgiving nature, etc.

And then I saw that I had been reading and learning of another ‘man’ all my life – one who could travel through time and space (in fact, he created them), who was fun and loving with His children, fearsome in anger and yet forgiving by nature. I saw Jesus as the blueprint for the character of Dr Who. Don’t get me wrong! The Doctor has flaws and is always learning and growing – something our Lord is kinda too wise to have to bother with. But the Doctor, quite obviously, shares a few qualities of our Lord.

2 Peter 3:8 says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Time travel without a blue box – see?

Psalm 86:15 says, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” That’s love, anger, forgiveness – all explained right there.

There are so many more comparisons I can locate and would love to expound upon. But I think these will be enough to impress L.

Meh! Why do I bother. He won’t even remember having asked me the question. 😦

What Kids Say!

Kids! They really can take you by surprise.

I regularly help out with the Kids Church and love it! They are all adorable – even with the unstoppable questions and the unquenchable energy.

Spending time with them is a learning process. It can be quite challenging trying to talk and retain the attention of a group of 15-20 kids with ages ranging from 4-15.

Seriously, say the Noah’s ark story in an animated manner and the older ones look offended.

“Puhleeze! That is so childish!” is the look I get.

Go the other way and make the story less animated and more conversational so the older ones can discuss the situation, and the younger ones throw you a disgusted look.

“What in the world are you talking about?”

Finding the right balance has been tricky but quite educational and fun. Fun, because, I can never predict what they are going to say next.

I’ve been witness to conversations like:

“Of course I know what Christmas is. That’s the day Jesus was born to Joses and Moses.” – and this with an offended look.

“Auntie S, after talking about Faith can we talk about Amy? I don’t get her at all.” – and this when we were starting a lesson on faith… in God.

Hilarious and yet educational!

Many of these kids and their families are new Christians. All of us volunteering there understand the responsibility resting with us and we wouldn’t give it up for anything. But we are also grateful that we get to have fun and laugh even as we tell these kids of their heavenly Father’s amazing love.

 

A Klutz and Proud Of It!

“THUD!”

Yeah, don’t bother looking around. That noise you heard was probably me landing on my behind or my knee forcefully meeting a stationary object.

It’s not like I’m a klutz – well, not really. It’s just that when I am in a room full of people, I am so busy looking around and noticing them, I forget to look at where I am going. (At least that’s what I tell those who, after laughing, still have the breath to ask me what happened, and I’m sticking to that story. So there!) 🙂

The incident may have added another bruise but it also got my creative juices flowing. It got me thinking about the times I was so busy with what the world was throwing at me that I took the eye off the goal – Jesus.

Does it feel to you that the world is suddenly resounding with the latest songs, movies, games and TV shows, not that I don’t enjoy them – especially the sci-fi and mystery ones (remind me to talk to you about all the reasons why I like Dr Who, Fringe, Sherlock, etc) – but somehow, if you aren’t careful, they also get you to move your eye away from the Father.

You may still see me walking into lamp posts and tripping over the sidewalk, but I am okay with that as long as my spiritual eye is on my Father and my spiritual walk is a smooth stroll.

The Gardening Experience

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

In the last few months I’ve suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I have never had the opportunity or time to garden before. I didn’t even know if it was something I liked. I had just moved to a new country and I had to now acclimatize myself to the new flora around me. But, I was in a new place, a new hobby couldn’t hurt, right? Yeah, right! I managed to acquire the seeds to some flowering plants. But when to plant them? Do they require a sunny spot or the shade? Did they like to be drenched or was watering too much harmful? So many questions – but Google and some well-meaning friends came through for me.

It’s been 2 weeks since the planting. My garden now has tiny little plants poking through. That’s 14 days of patiently watering and hoping I wasn’t killing them with my ignorant handling. Ah, the relief, the first time I saw signs of life!

I was suddenly struck by the comparison of sowing in my prayer life. How many times have we prayed over something in our lives – not sure what our Father’s decision will be – but still pushing through? I saw those prayers as seeds we planted – not knowing if those prayers would be answered. But patiently waiting to see the result.

Those seeds in my garden didn’t know me or my worry but they knew their purpose. Similarly, our prayers know their purpose – to rest at the feet of God. And when the time is right, the Lord will give us His answer.

Have you been praying hard for something? Is it time for your harvest or have the seeds only just been sown? Just remember to ‘rejoice always and pray without ceasing,’ – everything is in His safe hands.

 

 

 

Shake up our faith, Lord!

Prayer for Spiritual Revival

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

— Sir Francis Drake (1540 – 1596)

 

I read this poem quite recently and it spoke vehemently to me. How often in the recent past had I asked Him to “disturb me”, to push me out my comfort zone so I would lose all sense of self-worth and rely only on His grace? When did I last revel in my problems knowing that His power was made perfect in that moment of my weakness?

The poem strongly reminds me of the analogy of ‘stepping out of the boat’ that Peter experienced in Matthew 14:29. A moment of ABSOLUTE trust in the Father – where he had no hope of relying on any of his own talents/skills, where Peter was so out of his depth he could do nothing but cling tight to Him as his lifeline.

What bliss to be shaken from our comfort and to see our faith and our very souls stretched under His expert guidance; to know we go beyond anything we could ever have achieved under our own steam. So, ‘Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,/ To venture on wider seas/ Where storms will show your mastery…’

The First Words

Hi, blessed people! How often have you felt like something awesome is just around the corner? You can feel it in your bones – that tingling, that yearning, that indefinable something that gives you the hope you need to face the day. Quite recently, I’ve been on my toes looking for that miracle to turn the corner. But, meanwhile, I write.

It was suggested that I write as I wait for His plans for me to come to fruition, but the question rises again and again, rearing its ugly head, what do I write about? I have thoughts rattling around in my head like snakes, hissing angrily at being captured or disturbed. But what do I do? I have no way of pulling them out and making sense of them. Can you imagine the pain and the fuss involved in pulling out a snake from a drain and making it uncoil and remain still long enough to understand or learn about it? (Okay, why you would want to do something as weird as that is beyond me but as comparisons go, this works.) That’s how complicated this process is.

And yet, I write. I start my process here. As I start to make sense of His plans for me, I write the first words in faith – My Lord’s Will Be Done.