Sunday, May 31, 2015

Katie Noel Parsons May

So, today at midnight (or tomorrow morning technically) my first writing piece in ages goes live on The Prodigal Chair.  I am SO nervous- not just because I haven’t written in a while.  I am happy to end that silent streak.  

No, I am nervous because I wrote about my dearest friend Katie Noel Parsons and it was hard.  I haven’t written about her in the 4 years since we last spoke.  I’ve wanted to.... but it seemed too sacred a subject.  I’m still convinced I didn’t get it quite right.  I didn’t do justice to the way she changed my life forever.  

I am nervous because there are so many of you who knew her longer or better.  Please forgive my inadequacies, I think that she would.  She saw the best in everyone she met. I miss her every day.    

The good news is that I got to go through tons of old journals and emails that made me laugh over our many escapades.  I got to re-view her memorial (I used a photo from it I hope that is okay.)  I got to read her obituary which I had never done.  My favorite line was ... “Canoes will be gathering in Redfish Lake, Idaho to candles being lit  in Chernovtsky, Ukraine.”  She changed the whole world.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snowmageddon 2015

I know I said I loved the snow, and I do.  However, today really put that love to the test.

Today, I knew we needed to go to the store, since there has only been a day between the last 4 blizzards, so stocking up is necessary.  However, I had heard that the windchill was going to make it feel like -25.  I pride myself on being a born and raised New Engander and I didn’t want my little one’s faces to literally freeze off (they are already windblown and eczema covered as it is.)  So, I checked and between 10-1pm it wasn’t supposed to be in the negatives.  I, then, checked that the store where we were headed was indeed open despite it being President’s Day.  It was opening in the next half hour.  Thus, I bundled them all up (with far less grace and love than I could have... but I did it) and we set off.  The cold was enough to make a grown man cry let alone a 2 and 4 year old.  So, by the time we were all “strapped in” things were already pretty emotional in the car.

These days in Massachusetts, there are only shades of white, grey, blue, brown mush.  There are no more lines on the road.  The medians are 15-20 foot walls of snow. Everything looks like a shell of whatever lay beneath before the storms.  But hardly anyone ventured out today so the driving was not too bad.

We reached Costco. (I use the name only to warn you it is closed... I still like and depend upon the store.)

And it was closed (as I already mentioned.)

Yup, no sign, no explanation just closed.  It totally baffled people; some drove by several times just to make sure their eyes did not deceive them, some were just waiting in their cars.  I felt brave enough to get out and look inside.  It looked abandoned, grates fastened shut, no one in sight. I retreated to my car and called the administrative line because I’m nosey and easily annoyed.  A very polite man informed me that it was closed due to snow...hmm...snow.  Mind you, it is not snowing today, and yet the sheer amount of snow still was causing some unseen problems that closed down a whole warehouse without warning.

My 4-year old son overheard the conversation and his response was, “Oh great,
now all the people need food and no one can get any.”  Ok maybe he is a little extreme (like me?) seeing the apocalypse in every closed grocery store.  Anyway not to be deterred we headed over to a smaller although still “Super” store.  I mean “the people” needed food and we were gonna get it!

The shelves and aisles were as expected, pretty empty.  I had to scrounge around for the potatoes I wanted and they were out of the bread we like best- not a huge deal.  Still, the kids became restless, I became dissatisfied and annoyed.  So finally and carefully I reassemble their hats, mittens, and coats. Then, I thoughtlessly push out into the parking lot.

Almost immediately, the cart tipped over.  I could feel it but my 9 month pregnant body just isn’t as agile or strong as usual (despite what my guided relaxation tapes may tell me.)  I was using my entire strength to make sure my son did not get trapped beneath this monstrosity, which was essentially in the middle of the road.  My daughter’s hat had flown off and she was hanging parallel to the pavement slowly slipping from the metal seat in front.  I thought about trying to reach out to grab her but the cart started to slide again.

Then, something great happened.  Strangers came to my rescue.  This was SO not a typical New England response.  I was shocked.  One grabbed my daughter, another pulled my son out of harms way and someone else helped me right the cart.  None of us spoke the same language, which on one hand I regretted because I wanted to thank them for saving me, but on the other hand was grateful for because I was afraid they would point out what a thoughtless move I had made.  However, their faces were so kind- windblown and frozen- but kind.

And so, now that we are all warm and recovered, I still love snow.  Maybe even a little more than before because it forces us to work together, to rely on each other.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Winter Storm Linus

I love seeing the snow accumulate through the night.  I know  it seems a little excessive lately.  But, I don’t mind waking up to the muffled scrape and rumble of plows.  It never fails to amaze me how the billions of flakes shape the dead sticks and stones into a marble masterpieces.

Lately, James’ favorite song for me to sing to him before bed in “Nothing but the Blood”  
The repeating question is gruesome, for an almost 4 year old; but it’s the question our heart asks each one of us:

“What can make me white as snow?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

And that is the gospel truth. Somewhere deep down I don’t want to admit it but I know I’m not okay.  I know that my mistakes, my sins, my hatred are heavy and deadly. If I got perfect payback it would kill me.  And so, I frantically search...

“What can make me okay again? What can turn the ugly parts in my life beautiful?” 

It’s what a famous theologian (whose name I should definitely know) calls “The Great Exchange.”  Jesus takes all my baggage and I am credited with his perfect life, all of his goodness.  My debt of death is paid.  

As the song says, we have been “white  as snow.” Fortunately, this is an eternal truth.  Here, snow doesn’t stay white for long, and we wouldn’t either.  

But God fills the craters of self hatred...forever.
His grace and power give a sheen and sparkle to the most drab and hopeless things about us.  

We are continually covered by his sacrifice and made into masterpieces.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A New Year, A New Start

It has been so long since I wrote on here, I feel almost like a guest blogger.  So, I picked a Wednesday to return.  Please forgive me if I drop off the earth again...I am scheduled to have a baby sometime in the next two months and based on the last two it really could be ANY time.  

But felt I should get back into the habit because I have the honor of contributing to two online publications that I am very excited about!

The first is entitled Faith InForm.  

Here’s a brief introduction from the editor and our intrepid leader, Simon Wha:

“The Faith InForm bloggers are a group of friends who have a deep desire to see young adults be transformed by the Gospel in mind, heart and deed. Our bloggers are committed to writing content that draws from their faith, the bible and their personal experiences. We hope this is helpful in informing the faith of our readers. The writing they do for Faith InForm comes from a love for blogging, a heart for people and their own time and energy. They come from all walks of life including but not limited to husbands and wives, moms and dads, pastors and working professionals.”

(He’s not joking when he says it’s an eclectic group.  I picture this as our musings on our faith since we went off the script.  You know, started making decisions for ourselves, tried to figure out what makes me...well, me and started to search for how in the world we find meaning in this crazy world .  Anyway, I look forward to the result.)

The second publication I am thrilled to be included in is already an established entity entitled: The Prodigal Chair. 
I love this site.  I love the name.  I love the art work. I love the variety of submissions.  Here is a more succinct description from the fabulous editor Thomas Guzzio, 

So what do I have in mind? My goal with Prodigal’s Chair is simple: to take small steps towards understanding large topics like love, race, sports, economic justice, abortion, music, the environment, war. The essence of Prodigal’s Chair will involve looking past the topic in order to create discourse between the people in and around them. My hope is to let this discussion occur in abstract and concrete ways. There will be a variety of art, poetry, essays, fiction, music, statistics, and links all dictated by the topic. This site will essentially be an online magazine, with the goal of having a mix of voices and perspectives. Aside from that, there will be no judgment, no strings attached.”  

Please visit the site and read his whole vision statement and reasoning behind the name, it’s deep.  

Finally, I felt it was time to write because I miss all you readers.  I miss sitting down to think and the conversations that spark from these random thoughts I think. Thank you for bearing with me during this crazy season of life.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The season to be sick

I apologize that I haven't written in eons.  I am much much improved but still visit the doctor at least once a week to be poked and prodded.  I am grateful for this actually because I get to be extra vigilant in watching this baby that I worry so much about but cannot yet see.  Today I just wrote a stream of consciousness and then it felt a little like a post so here it is...

It’s times like this that I am totally floored that I am the adult in the situation.  When my 20 month old daughter sneaks 2 cupcakes and then throws them up in the middle of the night.  When everyone is miserable and has a fever. And I don’t even know how to clean.  Do I spray everything with Lysol?  Is that stuff hazardous how far do throw up germs sink into the fabric of a bed or pillow?  Are there such things as “throw up germs?”  If so, what are they really called?  Should I keep everyone at home?  What could we possibly do for 12 hours without hurting each other?  Don’t we need fresh air?  Am I a terrible person for bringing them into public and sharing said, “throw up germs” with the world?

So, because I feel so overwhelmed and pregnant I finish off my half gallon of milk for the day and lay on the couch to watch a mystery that can be solved in 53 minutes.  

Wow, I need God and yet I am so slow to turn to him, so weak in my passion for him.  I am truly grateful for him and all he does to take care of us, but have I yet discovered that he is beautiful? I pray that I do.