It’s Raining…Fish?! (And other “life is sideways” tales)

 

Last week, I can honestly say I’m not really sure why I was so incredibly busy…too busy to write, apparently. Looking back at my calendar, I had a date with my hubby (who was blissfully home most of the week), a doctor’s appointment, and…? Nothing else there. But life was apparently too much to take time to write. Sorry.

Sunday was a rainy day. Off and on showers most of the day, a rather unusual and comfortable August high in the upper 80s, and then some really impressive thunderstorms at night. I discovered that our sweet young aussiesoodle doesn’t mind storms, but incessant thunder and eye piercing lightning through every window for over 30 minutes is way more than she can handle. She put herself to bed an hour early in order to try and hide from the chaos of the skies.

Monday we awoke to fresh, clean air, free of dust or ragweed and a light, sunny breeze. Our morning walk was a pleasure. Until we discovered the fish. Yes, you heard me—fish. On the sidewalk. Two of them. One appeared to be a small bluegill, about four or five inches long. The other wasn’t much more than an inch, fatter than most minnows I’ve seen, but not as long as many.

These two fishy specimen were laying on the sidewalk as we walked along our neighborhood route. Our city neighborhood. Not the walk on the other side of our major city street that takes us to the park…and the river. No. The lined with houses and apartments, there’s no water near here, sidewalk. The one that runs next to a parking lot which runs alongside the road. Hardly any grass, much less water, sidewalk. Two fish. Side by side. About five feet apart, lying in dampness left by the rain. Seriously?! Since when does it rain fish?

This anomaly got me thinking about life. About how sideways life can get sometimes. How sideways my own life has been these past months. How I’m trying desperately to find balance in a sideways world, and most days it can’t be found. At least not easily. It’s like trying to find fish on a sidewalk. Well, maybe not that easy after all.

In the middle of all this fish fun, my sons and I began to notice that our sweet, young, not quite five month old puppy is showing obvious signs of becoming very interested in the opposite sex. Wait. What?! She won’t turn FIVE months until tomorrow, and absolutely EVERYONE has assured me she won’t reach “maturity” before she’s six months, at the very earliest!!! Surely we must be reading her signals incorrectly?

After a trip to the vet yesterday, I discovered my farm upbringing has served me well—I do in fact know the early signs of a dog coming in heat. So our sweet little sweetheart (who, by the way, is currently not so overly sweet due to raging hormones) will be having surgery next week. One month before originally scheduled.

And this weekend, my youngest son heads to Indianapolis to start his life as an adult.

The constant craziness of life in the real world. It never ends. Living life sideways. I can’t seem to find a level path anywhere these days. Life continues to throw me curve balls, like fish on the sidewalk. Everything seems to be just a little off balance.

I know that for my own inner well-being, silence, solitude, and stillness are key. I also know that in the fast-paced world we live in, these things don’t come easily. And in some seasons of life they aren’t found at all. I remember the early days of parenting, when our home was filled with the laughter and screams of small boys. Those needed moments of stillness and silence were indeed rare—and greatly treasured. I look back on those days with much fondness, but know in my heart that I’m thankful we are now in a new season of parenting.

But the worries and cares of this new home, as well as the added joyful burden of an extremely energetic—and currently emotionally volatile—young pup are reminding me of those sideways days of young motherhood. I find my energy, my emotional stability, my inner peace, all but extinct. Little things make me snap. There is little silence, much less stillness, to be found. And little time to close my mind and contemplate the Creator who made me and loves me enough to die for me.

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Isaiah 12:2 NIV

These words speak volumes to my weary soul. “Be still…” The means by which I have always found Him. Even when I don’t realize I’m seeking Him. If I can find stillness, He meets me in my need. My cup of peace is once again filled.

While the boys were small, I had to learn to snatch brief moments of stillness in order to maintain any inner—or outer—peace. I wasn’t always (hardly ever) good at it. I tend to be a nurturer by nature, and everyone else’s needs are seen as far more important than my need for quietude.

As my boys grew, and I found myself with longer stretches of stillness, I learned to soak in His serenity. Today I once again find myself in a season where I must learn to snatch and jealously protect the brief moments of hushful calm; and I’m once again learning that I don’t think of myself and my own needs enough.

As I looked down at those oddly placed fish, I felt their angst—much more than they did, as they were already long dead. I understood what it meant to be a fish out of water. When I don’t fill my cup by spending time with my Savior, I find myself gasping for breath, breathing foreign particles of stress instead of the life-giving, life-sustaining peace He brings.

The beauty of this moment as I sit writing is that the sweet young, ever wakeful, ever in motion pup was sitting quietly chewing her bully stick as I began. The silence of the normally noisy street outside, the quiet droning of the robotic vacuum inside, and my seeming inactivity has lulled the beautiful beast to sleep. The first real rest she’s had in days. My friends, we all need a little stillness and silence in our chaotic lives. May you, too, find yours.

 

 

The Sky’s the Limit

At the beginning of the year I mentioned that I was wanting to focus on the concept of rest throughout the year. It’s now the end of July and As I sat down to write this I realized that rest is one of those illusive things in my world. Something I desperately crave but don’t often attain.

However, last week I spent five amazing days with two of my dear friends on a girls’ beach trip. That my friends, filled my heart with boundless peace!

We spent joyous hours on the beach, soaking up the sun and listening to the waves. We swam in the salt water. We walked miles along the different shops, enjoying conversation and laughs. We delighted in the views from a Ferris wheel, complete with an after storm rainbow. We were thrilled watching the dolphins playing along the beach outside our balcony window each morning, as well as getting a closer view of their beauty on a dolphin cruise. By far, however, the highlight of our trip—excluding the gift of time spent together—was the morning we spent parasailing. Yes, I said that right. I went parasailing. Me. The “afraid of heights,” “not so thrilled with deep water” girl that I am, I went parasailing—and thoroughly loved every single minute!

As we lifted up off the boat, it was as if I was being lifted right out of the cares and worries of the world, no longer weighed down by the stresses of this heavy earth. Weightless and free in an almost silent tranquility, floating high above the ocean. Watching the play of light and shadow as the sunlight glistened off the ocean waves was captivating. Observing a sea turtle swimming through the glimmering water was mesmerizing. The peacefulness enveloped us like a warm, safe blanket. The freedom of the open air was intensely gratifying. Our time in the sky was way too short, and so beautifully serene that I could have stayed up there all day. All week. For an eternity.

The beauty of this gift of flight was in the fact that the release from cares continued long after our feet returned to terra firma. In fact, I’ve now been home for a full week and can still close my eyes and relive the joyful serenity of those moments in the sky. The peace, the silence, the freedom. The rest. For those few brief moments I truly understood what rest means, what it brings to the body, mind, and soul.

Sometimes, rest requires a change. A change of pace, a change of routine, a change of thought. And sometimes, extraordinary, out of the ordinary, exhilarating experiences can actually bring rest.

 

Life…in between?

Sorry this post is a bit late. I really am trying to make this a weekly Friday event, but this past Friday I was enjoying a much needed beach break with two very dear friends. Girls’ time is so vitally important to me, I am learning, and girls’ time at the beach is sheer heaven!

In any case, as you can tell by my home page a few things have changed around here while I was on vacation. The biggest and most important is the name of my blog. After writing my rant two weeks ago about the final phases of this never-ending home build, I took a long look at the name I have been using for these past nine years. GlimpseJoy is a good name–and one that I will always hold close to my heart. It was a small phrase that kept me rooted in the end goal during chemo and beyond.

But I am finding that the further removed I get from those days of chemo and rads and almost daily doctor visits, as well as the ever-marching of time within my overall world, the more my outlook is shifting into new waters. While I still want to always be able to glimpse joy in the everyday life, it’s time for me to dig a little deeper, ask more difficult questions of myself, shift through the changes and seek more substance.

In the design world, without white space–the space in between the objects, void of words, pictures, and clutter–the design can quickly become cluttered and chaotic. It’s the white space in between that helps to create the flow and beauty within the design.

My goal when Brad and I moved last year was to get settled quickly into the new home and begin work on a novel I’ve been contemplating for several years. But with all the chaos surrounding the move, writing has become difficult at best. This blog has always been a way for me to process life, but now I also need it to help me re-establish my writing skills. I am rusty. I need polishing. This blog is now becoming more of a place to do that polishing prior to diving deep into the book writing. The writing “in between” the stagnant pond of idleness and the deep, dark ocean of novel writing.

In moving here, we believed we were entering our empty nest days. That isn’t quite the reality we are facing. While two of our amazing sons are already on their own and one is packing his boxes to fly the nest next month, one final chick shall be staying for at least a few more months while his flying wings strengthen a little bit more. So, we find ourselves “in between” the full house and the empty nest.

With the craziness of life these past months, I often find myself “in between” sanity and confusion.

With a new puppy in the house, we are “in between” the silence of deep puppy naps and the bedlam of full-blown puppy antics. And as poor Alfred tries to stay out of Schatzi’s way during her awake moments, he is constantly shuffling “in between” peace and total meltdown.

As I contemplated this season of life and what I want to accomplish with this blog, I realized this blog is very much a part of me, of who I am right now…and I am a life in between. We all, in many respects, are lives being lived in between. Between one stage of life and another. Between one season of the year and another. Between one goal and another. It’s the life in between these milestones that is the real life. That’s where we do our real living. In between. In between one messy, chaotic season and another we live our moments of beauty and laughter, sadness and tears.

If I am to learn to write in captivating ways, leading the reader on new and amazing adventures through the everyday lives of the characters I create, I must learn to capture these everyday moments in rich detail. And you wonderful folks are my test subjects. Joining along for the ride as I navigate through the in betweens of life. In between the clutter and the white space.

Life…in between.

Where Has the Year Gone?

One year ago this week, my home for sixteen years was wrapped up, boxed, bagged, and loaded into a moving van to head half way across the country—back to my childhood home of Texas. It was to be our homecoming. Our empty nest years to enjoy each other in a fun and vibrant city setting—a big change for this country girl married to the traveling boy with Kentucky farm roots. A change we were more than ready to explore.

This move has been the move that keeps on giving…and giving…and giving…until it hurts. Until it hurts beyond all proportions of what should have been the actual stress involved in this kind of move. The pain it has caused has been interminable. The stress of continual workers in and out of a house that should have been finished months ago continues ad nauseam.

The move that should have been a welcoming embrace to everything new and exciting has become a nightmare into the reality that is home building in today’s world of dwindling craftsmen. I could take this written thought in many different directions: the dying art of skilled tradesmen; the ineptitude and apathy of the average worker today; the callousness of corporations unable and/or unwilling to adequately meet the needs of the customer; a housing industry that has lost sight of the basic goal of building solid homes for the homebuyer; the high cost of not doing your work right the first time (or three) you attempt it.

While these are all very worthy topics of conversation—topics which really should be discussed at length, if we ever want to get a sense of “pride in workmanship and a job well done” back in our world today—but these are not the topics I wish to address today.

This is my one-year anniversary to my move “back home,” and the name of my blog, as well as my nom de plume for these past nine years, has been GlimpseJoy; so I am not going down the very slippery, slimy, depressing slope those topics could—and will—take me down.

After one entire year of living within the deepest darkest realms of this nightmare existence, I would like to step just outside and examine it from a slightly different angle. The angle through which I normally assessed my world, prior to this deep invasion of the soul. Trying to glimpse the joy in the midst of this chaos we call life. And this has been a quite chaotic year, to say the least, so glimpses might be all there are to be found. Maybe.

This move has drained me of much of my ability to express myself in the written word so there have been no blog posts about it. Thus my silence during the year was supposed to see renewed activity on this site. However, Brad and i both have shared a few of the shenanigans on Facebook, and if you have not followed along there, I will try to concisely list the facts of these past twelve months, before moving on to the purpose of this meandering of thoughts. I warn you, this is a story difficult to condense—please bear with my lengthiness. It is an entire year, after all.

First, envision three cars loaded with suitcases and belongings heading across the country in convoy—me alone with an extremely distressed cat, then each of our youngest two sons following closely behind. Happily contemplating a short ten days in a hotel before moving into our brand new home. A phone call mid-trip (literally mid-trip in mid-Mississippi) with the builder apologetically announcing that the home won’t be ready in ten days—more like 2-3 weeks…they say. It seemed the stair treads were not ordered in the proper time to install, but all else is on schedule…they say. The dozen or more delays prior to this point left us somewhat skeptical of the veracity of their timeline.

Skepticism was good. Upon arrival we discovered the house was missing way more than the stair treads. Very little had been accomplished in the month since we had last visited. There was at least six weeks of work left to be done before the home would be able to pass any inspections of occupancy. They agreed to pay to store our furniture for a month and find us a furnished apartment so we weren’t crammed into a hotel for the entire month. Well golly, wasn’t that nice of them?!

The apartment they picked was shady, to say the least. A rapid rundown of our days  apartment included a water heater fire—with all our belongings forever smelling of acrid electrical smoke; my car being broken into and Joshua’s car being stolen, inside a gated parking lot.

Back to the house. The first three weeks we were in Texas NO work was done on our house. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. On the house that only needed stair treads but actually needing flooring, and tiles, and cabinets, and landscaping—way more than stair treads—absolutely no work was even started during the first three weeks after we arrived in mid-July. Infuriating is a word you could use to describe it, but it falls way short of the mark.

It soon became abundantly clear we were not going to close at the beginning of August, their new promised date. Whenever we confronted the builders on this reality they continued to assure us it would definitely close the first week of August. Until one day about three days before their August 8 date, when I firmly (and emotionally) confronted them and told them I knew this was not happening and all I wanted was their honesty—for once. They finally capitulated and said it would be more like the end of August. August 28, to be precise. The reality that they actually had a date for the closing led us to understand they had known this all along but were unwilling to admit it to us. Why? Who knows. Apparently, Lying About Everything 101 is taught to all home building employees before they learn anything else. Even before learning how to actually build a house—if they ever learn that remains to be seen.

At our final walk-through the day of the actual closing—the Monday after Hurricane Harvey ripped through the state—it was clear the home was still not ready (no surprise as we had been walking through on a daily basis since our arrival in mid-July) and many things still needed to be finished or repaired, but at this point we were kind of between a rock and a hard spot.

So we agreed to close with the contingency that they would continue to work on our house after we moved in to make it right. This work has continued to this very day, one year after our move from Georgia, as we await the tile installers to come and repair the tile in the entryway, as well as re-grout the guest bathrooms—again.

This past year has been filled with appointments, arguments, and days of workers in and out all day, as well as a five week period where they packed up our belongings and moved us out completely in order to rip out all the flooring, half of the walls in the second floor, a leak in the master bedroom ceiling, and replace an improperly installed support beam—as well as a plethora of smaller items to numerous to even remember, much less list. However, the five weeks were apparently not long enough and while we are now back in the house and trying to once again settle in, we continue to have almost daily visits of workers of one sort and another. Not to mention the fact that their movers scratched, dented, and battered much of our brand new furnishings.

In a nutshell, that seemingly exhausting list is really a mere sampling of what we’ve endured in these past twelve months. Needless to say, exhaustion is the best word to express most of what we’ve been feeling along the way. Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.

But this really isn’t what I wanted to focus on today. Today I wanted to look back at the mess that has been this past year and try to salvation something from the wreckage of all these “wasted” months. Today I am choosing to glimpse those moments of joy that popped up along the way…and amazingly enough they really were there if we chose to tiptoe tall and pull our head far enough above the chaos and look out over the edges of insanity that surrounded our immediate day to day.

Joy. What joy, you ask?

For one, the endless wide open skies I get to see each and every day. I grew up with these miles and miles of blue as my constant companion, and while I loved the hills and trees of the north Georgia mountain region, my heart sings to be once again surrounded by a daily diet of never ending skies. Even the stormy skies and winter laden grey skies hold endless fascination for me. No trees block my view here. My bedroom window faces the eastern sky and through my solar blinds I am greeted by the Texas sunrise most every morning.

Also, this country girl LOVES living in the hustle and bustle of the city. And while San Antonio isn’t the largest metropolis around, it’s plenty big enough for me—with the ability to walk to the park, the zoo, the botanical gardens, a few shops and restaurants, the riverwalk, the museum, the jazz club, and still feel as if I’m off in a quiet suburb when I’m at home. Downtown, with all it’s crazy tourist chaos and the heart of the riverwalk is just a couple miles away, the airport is a ten minute drive from our door, and most other areas of the city are within a twenty minute drive in all directions.

The joy of being back in my home state is a constant reminder of why we’ve suffered this craziness in the first place. I can honestly say I truly loved the almost six years we were in New Jersey. And our sixteen years in Georgia left us with beautiful memories and amazing friends. But after 21 years away, both of us knew it was time to return and make Texas our home again. It just felt right. Despite all the turmoil, tension, and turbulence we still know this move was the right thing for us. It’s just time to be home.

There is always joy in friendship and we have had this in abundance during these past months. Our little “subdivision” is twenty-two houses strong, and quite frankly, they are all really nice people. We look forward to having more time to get to know them all better. We have taken a special liking to a couple of families who moved in around the same time as us and had similar, although not as extensive, issues. We have had several dinners, outings, and many chance meetings to commiserate, complain, compare, and even chuckle over our myriad problems. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each other and our new community together. 

There are also friends from our past that we are slowly getting reacquainted with, and a few new friends, too. Overall, people have brought much joy to us in this crazy year. People have also been what has brought so much of the anguish and sorrow of these past months, it’s true; but for each person who has reminded me just how apathetic and selfish humans can be, there has always been multiple people to remind me of the loving goodness that fills them, as well. 

God has been beside us each and every step—even when it’s so dark that it’s hard to realize. This year hasn’t been easy. I haven’t made a very pretty picture of “faith in the midst of…” on any given day during this ordeal. I can honestly say that, for whatever reason, this season has been even more difficult—in its own way— to walk through than the cancer that started my blog nine years ago. But even on my worst days (and there were 365 of those), I do know He has covered us in His love and walked with us through the darkest days. And He will walk with us all the way to the end of this season and into the next—which we pray will be a little (or alot) less chaotic; but even if it isn’t I know He will guide us if we just remember lean on Him.

We also have the added joys of two darling animals to share our days. Alfred has been my constant friend throughout his six years of life, and this past year we have become comrades in arms against the continual onslaught of workers. Now we have been joined by our little Schatzi, an Aussiedoodle puppy we insanely adopted a month ago, while moving back into the house. (Who even contemplates that kind of absurdity?) But in midst of the distraction of housebreaking and puppy antics, she has brought her own brand of comfort to us all. She is a bundle of boundless energy and sweet-tempered love, overwhelming all of us with both from sunrise til sunset.

Finally, and not least of all, there’s the daily joys of continued life and health (definitely tempered by long-term stress, but still healthy enough) to be thankful for each day. There’s a roof over our heads—even though at times we’ve wondered if it would cave in on us if we walked too hard across the room; there’s food on the table; and family. Every breath we get to breathe is a joy to hold dear, and some days we even remember to be grateful for that blessing.

This little post has taken most of the week to get written, and now I must sign off as I am once again supervising the tile guys who have come to fix the tiles they messed up Wednesday while fixing the tiles. I truly can’t make this stuff up.

And the beat goes on!

Balancing Act

I’m writing because I promised myself I would, not because there’s really much to say. I’m currently busy trying to get my thoughts in order to work on a book I’ve wanted to write for a while now–so most other thoughts are kind of getting shuffled out of my head.

As I sit at my desk, my sweet and constant companion, Alfred is taking his morning snooze in the window, and the house contractors are standing in my driveway discussing how best to rip apart the outside framing of my brand new home.

Peace and chaos. That seems to be my world these days. Moments of blissful peace surrounded by utter and extreme chaos. Hmmm. Maybe that’s just life. Maybe all of life is just a balancing act of finding peace and beauty in between the long periods of chaos and craziness. How we focus on the moments of peace, if we allow ourselves the freedom to dwell on those brief interludes of tranquility, this is what brings us joy. This is what lends beauty to our world.

In a world so dark and filled with so much confusion, these moments of beauty can be way too brief to even see–if we don’t continually look for them. I found myself quite guilty of this failing throughout most of the last half of 2017. I want this new year to be different. I want to be able to see those instances of beauty, peace, joy, love, and hope–even in the midst of the craziness of life. So as I look out the window and see the house repair debate going on outside, my eyes choose to focus on a little (well, he’s not really all that little) ginger cat sleeping peacefully in the sunshine. The sun dances in shiny patterns on his fur, and as he squints his eyes shut to keep out the bright light, he has a peaceful grin on that ginger chin of his. His contentment makes me smile–brings me joy.

Peace and chaos. My prayer is that we all learn to find more of the peace than the chaos in this shiny, new year ahead. And now, I’m diving back into my book writing. 😉

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Rest

Did you know that there are 37 definitions for the word, REST, in the dictionary? Thirty-nine if you count the two additional definitions for the idioms, “at rest” and “lay to rest” and an additional four definitions if you include the noun and verb usage that imply “rest” as meaning  the remainder of something. That’s a total of 43 possible definitions for the one word, REST. Who knew?

Point being, of the 37 definitions of the primary usage of the word REST, there is one prevailing theme—tranquility and refreshment.

For instance, definition one of the noun form is “the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep.” Then there’s my personal favorite: “relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.” Now who doesn’t want that, right?

Rest has been on my mind a lot these past months—often as a cry for someone to give me a month alone on a deserted island—yet never quite so much as in the past two weeks, as I’ve struggled between the joyful chaos of a full house during the holidays and the personal immobilization of two illnesses in rapid succession—literally the bread for the sandwich of my holiday fun.

Lying in bed nursing the flu this weekend, I thought of the coming new year—the year that is now upon us. 2018. Each year for the past several, I have chosen a word to focus on. Sort of my guiding thought for that year. An area I want to grow in, learn more to be like, learn more what it means to have. I have chosen such words as joy and accept and grow and hope. The final half of 2017 has been so crazy that the thought of even thinking of a word to focus on seemed like way too much work for an already overloaded mind. And then I found myself in bed during the final week of 2017, with nothing but time. And my word for 2018 just seemed to fall in my lap. REST.

It’s what we all crave, isn’t it? Even when we aren’t sick. Refreshment, repose, tranquility? Relief from the things that weary and trouble us?

Remember, there are over 37 definitions for the word, REST. Should be plenty of food for thought for the next twelve months. Right off the top of the list, I see several definitions that have to do with shelter and support. Take definition 10, for example: “a place that provides shelter or lodging for travelers, as an inn.” Or 11, which states, “any stopping or resting place.” This is where my new word takes direct aim at my weary heart.

What is our faith for if not for that? A stopping or resting place? A place to find refreshment and repose…tranquility of soul and mind. Jesus offered this to us when He offered to carry our burdens. (Matthew 11:28) But how often do we really lean into this promise? Really?!

I know for myself I have tried way too hard over these last many months to fight the battles life has dished without leaning on His guidance and peace. Without stopping to seek His rest, His refreshment.

I am not sure what kind of year 2018 will be…I learned enough in 2017 to not try and guess the temperature of the year by the heat of my own hopes and desires (you might rightly guess that my toes are currently freezing underneath my desk as I type these references to temperature—sorry, my new home is poorly insulated). After all, I thought 2017 was going to be a stellar year. Well, it was stellar, as in brilliant, but not necessarily as a shining beacon of joy. More like a flaming meteor barreling down to explode all over my universe in a cosmic display of discord. I digress.

So what will 2018 bring? The one thing I know it will bring is more confusion and chaos in my home—while the builders try to right all the many wrongs they managed to build into one small house. That thought does not make my flu-fighting, world-weary body any less tired or rested. In fact, quite the opposite.

So REST is the word I choose for 2018. Because I know I need to constantly recenter my eyes, my heart, my focus on the One true source of rest in the crazy, chaotic, world I live in. I need to fully understand what rest is and how He provides it for me…for all of us. And most importantly, I need to fully surrender that part of myself that refuses to let go and let Him handle the stress of the cares of the world, while I get on with the day-to-day living. REST.

While the world is building castles out of sand, creating mountainous to-do lists with their New Year’s resolutions, my resolution is simple. REST. Find refreshment in the arms of Jesus. And hold tight and close to that refreshment, even during the storms that come. Because storms always come. Even when you don’t expect them. Even when the skies are clear. And rest is always needed in order to be strong enough to weather them.

And now, I’m going to sign off…and go rest. Happy 2018!

The River Jordan and the Cleansing Rain

So this past month hasn’t exactly been an easy one. Who am I kidding? This entire summer has been quite a rocky adventure. This past month, however, has been one mishap, misadventure, fearful excursion, disappointment, and frustration after another. Culminating in my total emotional and mental meltdown yesterday morning, stomping out of one apartment, trudging uphill to the other still-smoke-filled apartment and then storming back downstairs and into my car to drive—somewhere, anywhere other than here. Funny how you can’t really leave yourself behind.

Yesterday morning was a pretty awful exhibition of my own personal immaturity. I drove, allowing my mind to concentrate on the roads, the traffic, the changing scenery, and letting bible stories drift in and out of my consciousness. The one that kept replaying in my head was the story of Joshua preparing to enter the promised land. The part that kept playing over and over was where the Lord tells Joshua to send the priests forward with the Ark, in front of the Israelite people to lead the way across the Jordan River. God tells him, “When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river AND STOP THERE.” The water is high. The water is fast flowing. But unlike when Moses parted the waters of the Red Sea BEFORE they crossed, God wanted Joshua and the priests to step INTO the water, letting the water touch their feet before the waters would part to let all the people pass safely across behind them.

Crying and praying and driving across the backroads of central Texas, I asked God why. Why did I have to step out in faith BEFORE he’d part these waters for me. And anyway, I had stepped out first. We knew this move was the right thing to do. We didn’t know why, but it was right and we knew it. So we stepped forward. And yet, every step of the way, the waves of the River Jordan flowed further over our heads with each step. When were the waters going to part? When would the way be clear? I had taken the steps of faith, and now I was standing in a raging torrent of river water rushing over my head—and not only am I not a strong swimmer, but I never learned how to float.

And as I prayed to God to tell me why, I remembered rule number one to the art of floating. The one thing I’ve never been good at doing in the water—relax. Let go. Relax and let the current lift you. Have faith that the water will buoy you up. I got it. I understand. It’s the one thing I have yet to do in this move. Relax. Let go. Let God. Have faith that HE is able. Not me. Not Brad. Not the builders. God is able…and in His time, He will be willing to part these waters that seem to be so high right now.

After driving all the way from the northwest corner of San Antonio out to Bulverde, TX, by way of only backroads, I decided to pull up my big girl panties and grow up and show up for the builders’ meeting I was supposed to be attending, but was now 20 minutes late for—except they had had to delay the meeting due to unforeseen events (nothing new there). So I went and had lunch, called my hubby and apologized for my childish shenanigans, and then headed back to the new house for the rescheduled meeting.

Nothing was really accomplished, as usual, but the sales agent did manage to “unmask” the kitchen/living room so I could actually see what it was I was striving toward. There was a little emotional blackmail in that tactic and I was fully aware of it. But both the sales agent and I were teary-eyed standing there and looking at the fruits of our hard labor—yes, she has done way more than her job description entails in order to help us get this baby birthed—in all its glorious beauty. Over dramatic, maybe. How we all felt, definitely.

Then it was back to the apartment to move back into the now-fixed-old-apartment-with-the-new-water-heater-and-hopefully-no-more-electrical-fire-smell from the new-temporary-but-only-one-bedroom-but-not-stinky-apartment. Except wait…my two youngest awesome sons in all their awesomeness had already moved us back—complete with cranky cat and all his smelly accoutrements. What a blessing it was to not have to trudge up and down two sets of three flights of outdoor stairs to move what few belongings we have, yet one more time!

So on to dinner. No, the “furnished” apartment doesn’t really have a fully stocked kitchen in its “fully stocked kitchen” cabinets. But somehow, even cooking in “primitive” conditions can be a cathartic endeavor. I do truly enjoy making a meal—even a simple one—and sharing it with loved ones. And in the act of cooking some of the tensions of the day, the week, the month, began to pass just a little.

After we cleaned up, I stood outside on the balcony and watched the summer rainstorm. Not the 15-minute downpour of the past weekend—ripping a river in the dried ground, blowing the leaves from the trees, scaring the birds into hiding, and leaving no trace of its own existence within an hour’s time. A slow, steady, ground soaking, stand in the rain and sing, enjoy the glory of nature and its Creator, kind of rain.

I stood at the edge of the balcony, and watched the grackles scramble their way up to the tip top of the live oak trees and spread their wings wide to bask in the fresh, cooling, cleansing rain, letting it wash away the dust and heat of a long, hot and dry summer. I too, stood with arms extended wide into the downpour, and let the cold drops of rain wash away some of the tension of a summer filled with disappointment, confusion, and chaos, letting the tears fall on the railing like the rain falling to the thirsty ground. And as I let the soft, cool breeze kiss my wet cheeks and arms, I realized…even in my advancing years, I may not yet fully grasp the ability to relax and float into the waves of my own River Jordan, but I am slowly learning the art of dancing in the rain. One step at a time.