Taken for Granted
Ever feel like this girl? Lately, that's how it's felt to me as I try to take a full breath.
When I was a young girl in Mississippi, I developed asthma. I have since linked it to probably the pines we lived around, as it seems to come back whenever I live in areas with those around. I remember sitting in bed, crying because of the fear of never again gaining a full breath, my parents nearby, helping me calm down, handing me a mug of hot spiced tea. Now, I try not to let it get to that point, taking a puff of my inhaler when I start to feel the tightness.
Last Tuesday, I woke up with a slightly sore throat, but didn't think much about it. Over the next few days, it added a cough and some stuffiness to my symptoms. I asked God to get me through the crazy, busy weekend since I was one of the ones in charge of the Ladies' Day we had last Saturday. These last few days, it hasn't really gotten worse, but hasn't gotten better, either. But the cough and chest congestion is bad enough that I had to dig out my old inhaler again.
You never realize how much you take something for granted until you don't have it. Especially when it's something like your breath. I am definitely missing having an ease in singing and talking loud enough to get my children's attention over their yelling. And I'd love to not have the pressure behind both ears.
But I also wonder. How long will it be before I start to once again take that lungful of air for granted? How long before I just assume that it's going to be there? So, now, while it's on my mind ... let me just take a moment to thank God for giving me the ability to breathe normally most days. And for the medicine to help me breathe on the days when it doesn't work as well.
Do you have anything like this in your life? Anything you tend to take for granted that ought to be a part of normal life, but sometimes doesn't come as easy? How do you remember to treasure such things?
The Good Thing About Puddles
Last week it rained almost every single day here in Tennessee. Don't get me wrong. I love a rainy day. But that was a bit much. When I saw that sunshine this morning, everything seemed better. The rain has had a lot of us down. Especially those who have had kids stuck at home, inside--more often than they should be because schools have been closed for flooding. See what I mean? We needed some sunshine.
My two-year-old son, however, might disagree. You see, whenever it rains, he can look out the back door and tell me he can see it. He's more accurate than a meteorologist. But he also loves wearing his rain boots and jumping in puddles. That's right. Those things most people try to avoid, bemoan, and complain about, my little boy finds delightful.
This morning, as I was soaking up the warm vitamin D shining through my windows and warming my back, my child asked why it wasn't raining.
What can we get from this? There is something good to be found in everything. While we don't always appreciate the rainy weather, wishing to do away with the inconvenience of it, that doesn't mean it's all bad. In the middle of the summer, we'll probably be wishing for a few wet days. But you know what the rain is doing right now? It's bringing on a beautiful spring. I almost wish I were still in Texas to see the bluebonnets that are going to start popping up along all the highways. And the rain gives a little boy a chance to jump in a puddle.
I need to remember to think more like him. And see the good in the things I usually only look at as bad.
What about you? Anything bad that you need to look at another way? Do your children help you see things in a different light?
I don't know about where you live, but where we live, the flora seem to have believed the groundhog. Our daffodils are coming up. I have lilies peeking through the ground. My neighbor's crocus and tulips are starting to bloom. I always shake my head at these early flowers, wondering what they're thinking. Don't they realize there's still a risk of snow. In Tennessee, it's not terribly high, but it's still there. Anyway, in honor of all these heralds of early spring, I looked back and found a poem I had written in college. I hope you enjoy it.
Here's a poem for the daffa-down-dilly
Although I think he's rather silly.
He sticks his head up from the ground,
Standing there so tall and proud,
Yellow and sunshiny, smiling at the world,
Pretending that there is not still a month of cold.
There are yet no tulips or even a rose,
Flowers afraid of a frostbitten nose.
But no matter what, up you come,
Not thinking it the least bit dumb.
Foolish flower, go back to sleep
And let Old Man Winter have his remaining weeks.
So, do you love this time of year, when the weather can't make up its mind? Do you look forward to these foolish flowers or do you also think they need to rethink their timing? Do flowers like this help you get through the last few weeks of yucky cold weather? What other signs of spring do you look for?
Real Life Romance
Happy Valentines Day. I hope your day has at least a few goodies in it. Mine almost always comes with a bag of Dove chocolates. It makes the day of the year that's supposed to be the most romantic a little more. What can I say? My Valentine knows what I like.
You can probably already guess that I love romance. I read several romance novels a week, usually. And I write romance novels. But I also have a few problems with romance novels and romantic movies.
That doesn't make sense? No, but it's true. Let me explain.
Romance novels are a great way to relax and unwind, to dive into someone else's problems without worrying if there will be a happily ever after or not. But they can also lead to disappointment when something similar doesn't happen in our real life. Let's be honest, we all have our idea of a perfect date or how the proposal should go, how a first kiss should happen, or even how we wish our guy's eyes would smolder when he sees us in a certain outfit. It doesn't always happen, does it? Sometimes, life gets in the way, we're all so busy that neither could tell what the other is wearing, and dates only occur when a babysitter can be found. With our heads full of romantic notions from books and movies, real life can be a bit disappointing.
In light of this, I'm going to start a new monthly theme. At least once a month, I plan to post a "Real Life Romance" post, where someone (probably another author) shares about something that happened in real life, that maybe wasn't book worthy, but was definitely romantic. We need to remember that while romance is nice, real love withstands everything. And when you have real love (the kind that is sacrificial and puts the other person first), romance can be found in the simple things ... like him remembering how much you like Dove chocolates.
What about you? Anything romantic happening in your life today? How do you find romance amidst the everyday-ness of "real life?"
Following the Leader
That picture? That's what my view was as I drove across I-40 to get home from Freed-Hardeman last week. It literally downpoured and thunderstormed the whole time I was on the interstate. If you know me at all, you know I don't love driving interstate to begin with. But add a deluge, and it's four-hundred times worse. As the rain battered my pour mini-van, my fingers gripped the steering wheel, the warning light came on my dashboard several times to let me know I was hydroplaning, and semi-trucks passed me, dousing us in even more water. At times, it was almost impossible to see the lines on the road. I could have pulled off to the side of the road and hoped the weather would clear in the next little while and we could get on down the road in more comfort. I could have tried to maintain the speed limit instead of backing off to somewhere between 40 and 60 miles an hour most of the way. I could have let my mom or dad drive since they were in the same car. But instead, I followed the leader.
What am I talking about? When it gets so hard to see even the lines at times, what can you see? If the driver in front of you is smart, you can see his tail-lights. So, I focused on those little red orbs travelling the same rainy highway I was. I could see when he slowed down, when the road turned, when he was going straight. And most everyone in the right lane was doing about the same speed I was. It probably wasn't the safest way to travel, but how much worse would it have been without that person in front of me?
As another car passed me on the left, a big black SUV, I almost didn't see it. It didn't have any lights on, and in the grey of the storm, it blended in quite a bit to the water on my windows and the highway under us. And I compared it to the cars I had been using to help guide me down the road. And then, a comparison with life in general popped into my head.
After all, aren't we supposed to be a guiding light to those around us? As Christians, Jesus tells us to be the light of the world, to shine like a city on a hill. As we all navigate the haziness of the world, where culture blurs lines and tells us things are okay that aren't, isn't it nice to have a guide to continue going down the road we want to travel? So, we follow the examples God gave us in the Bible ... and then in turn, we become examples to those who haven't read the Word yet. And the best way to do it is to make sure the light of Jesus shines through us.
What about you? Have you had some amazing lights that have helped you through stormy times in life? I know I have ... and do. I'd love to hear about some of yours.
Half a Lifetime of Love
Eighteen years ago today, this guy and girl decided they wanted to see where this relationship was going. We had met the semester before, when he was dating a friend of mine. They broke up before Christmas, and when we came back, we started hanging out more. We were sure to tell anyone who asked that we were "Just friends." But on this night, he held my hand. And started capturing my heart. And now I've been his girlfriend for half my life. How cool is that? From here on out, I will have been his sweetheart longer than I wasn't. It makes me happy.
The picture above was from our first date, which almost didn't happen due to car troubles and the movie we had planned to see being sold out. The only reason we have that picture is because a friend of ours who was an art major happened to be there that night, too, and snapped this candid memory.
And I'm so glad he did. Those baby-faces have grown a lot since then, but my heart still skips a beat when he holds my hand "just because" or when he presses a kiss to my forehead. The more things change, the more they stay the same ... and that's okay with me.
What about you? Do you have sweet memories of a first date? Have you passed the half-a-life mark? I'd love to hear about your real-life romance stories, too.
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.