When It Just Isn't Time
Her cries tore my heart as I drove to the vet. Her sweet multicolored face looked out from the bars, her eyes meeting mine as the merows grew louder. She had known what was coming as soon as she saw the cat carrier. She was long overdue for her shots but with all the drama of our other cat and her kittens, Kia got put on the back burner. And she liked it that way.
But then it was her turn. As soon as she knew what was coming, she tried to run but I caught her and put her inside. And the desperate cries began immediately. Siamese cats have a unique cry that comes straight from the deepest part of the throat. It almost sounds like a baby crying, which sets off the button inside my mom brain that something is wrong and I need to fix the problem. But I couldn't.
It just wasn't time.
As she lay in the carrier crying and staring wide-eyed out at me, I found myself telling her, "It's going to be okay, Kia. I'm right here. I know you don't like this but it's for your own good. It's just not time."
It was obvious she didn't like the situation. Her eyes said it all. "I hate this. This isn't what I planned for my day. I'm uncomfortable and scared. I'm out of my comfort zone. I see you out there! Why aren't you doing anything to help me out of this horrible place?"
Because it just wasn't time.
And then it hit me. How many times are we in the same boat in life? We are cruising along happily in life when suddenly God puts us in a "carrier" and takes us out of our comfort zone. We cry and plead for Him to get us out. We say, "I hate this. This isn't what I planned for my day. I'm uncomfortable and scared. I'm out of my comfort zone. I see you out there! Why aren't you doing anything to help me out of this horrible place?" but He doesn't make a move to open the door to escape. He just whispers soft, comforting words. "It's going to be okay, my child. I'm right here. I know you don't like this but it's for your own good...
It's just not time."
We don't always understand why we have to go through tough trials. But God does. He sees the plan from beginning to end. His timing is perfect. He won't ever leave you through it all. And He will open the door to let you out of the fiery trial as soon as it is time.
One Score and Two Years Ago
Let's face it, people, my hubby is a hero. Now, heroes come in many forms, such as firefighters, emergency workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and even to little children who love big trucks, the garbage man. Yet, on all the signs that I have seen along the sides of the roads during this isolation, none of them ever have pest control workers listed. It is obvious to me after seeing how many calls are coming in for the business that pest control is essential. With everyone at home right now, the fact is they are seeing more bugs. And so they call. And Joe comes to their rescue.
Joe is not only a hero because he helps people get rid of their mice and ants (as well as play the psychistrist with hysterical men and women who are convinced the no-see-ums will attack them in the night), but he is also a hero when it comes to working around the house. Our house. That was one of the qualities I wanted in a man that I married because it was something my father did when I was growing up. I loved the smell of freshly cut wood, and the fact that anything broken was always fixable in his eyes. He always had some project in the works which gave him something to keep him busy when he was not in his office designing chips at IBM.
The busiest time for Joe is spring and summer so the home projects are put on hold during the months when everyone else is traveling and on vacation. So, I have had to learn to wait a little longer for things to get fixed around here during those times. But some things do not wait for the maintanence man. They just continue to break down. Therefore, Joe becomes a bigger hero to me when I need to call him during the middle of the day because a faucet decided to break in my hand and shoot water all around our bathroom. Let me explain:
I was in the bathroom washing my hands when I noticed the water was still leaking after I turned the water off. The faucet had started doing this a few days before. I had found a way to fix it by giving the handle a little nudge backward to turn off the steady stream until it became a drip. Now, I always knew we had hard water, what with all the spots and white film that coated my dishes when we need to add more salt in the water softener. Plus I had seen how other faucets had become corroded from the minerals from our well water.
I should have known better. I should have listened to the warning bells inside my head. But I still nudged the handle. I felt it give way and water began bubbling up around my hand. Within a few seconds it was not just bubbling, it was spraying up as the silver knob fell onto the sink. Quickly I covered the hole with my hand and pushed down as hard as I could. With my free hand I reached underneath the sink to try and turn the water off that way. The knobs would not budge. The water was still coming out and my hand was hurting. I grabbed a towel and used that to press down. It helped slow the water a little, but I was still stuck. Panic set in. How was I going to get out of this mess? I'm locked in this bathroom and nobody knows I need help. How do I open the door and get the kids' attention while I hold back the floodgates?
I changed hands and with my left hand I began banging the side of the wall, meanwhile hollering out the words HELP ME as loud as I could. I figured my loud noise and shouting would draw someone's attention. It felt like a millions years passed but finally one of my children came to find out what was going on.
We ended up changing places so I could grab the phone to call Joe as I raced downstairs to find the emergency water shut off. With his instructions I was able to turn off the water to the house and we temporarily fixed the flood gates. Granted, we did not have any water in the house for the rest of the day, but I had seen enough of it for the time being to not want anymore for awhile.
To make a long story short, Joe was my hero that night and fixed the faucet, and he also fixed the water nozzles underneath the sink. We can now turn the water on and off with a simple twist of the knobs. (He informed me that the old ones did not work anyway. Say what? Why were they even under there then?)
For us, life is always an adventure. We never know what lies around the next bend. It could be a a flood in the house, a graduation of another child, or just a quaratine picnic at the park because that is the only place you can find to eat your hibachi. But it's all good. If you have not already figured out what the title of my blog means, I'll give you a hint: today marks our twenty-second anniversary. Twenty-two years with the man God put into my life to be my spouse. He has spent twenty-two years helping people get rid of bugs (first computer bugs and now wild scary hairy bugs), fixing things in our home, working audio/video stuff at church, and just being a hero. My hero. I may not say it often enough, but I am glad he is the one God chose for me to make this journey of life with. I am glad he is like my father in so many ways, including the fact that he loves the Lord first and foremost. So, Happy Anniversary to us! And may we celebrate many more years together as Joe continues to be everyone's hero.
A last note: As I was just looking at the pictures below, it occurred to me that we had no idea what was going on below the surface of the faucet. It looked great on the outside, but it was being destroyed from the inside. Don't let that happen to your marriage. Be careful to guard both inside and out. Don't let corrosion break up a beautiful thing!
Another Kind of Quarantine
Jericho. The massive, walled city that Joshua and the people of Israel faced as their first obstacle to overcome after Moses died. To man's earthly point of view, it looked impossible to penetrate. The men of the city were trained soldiers, armed and ready for battle. They had years of knowledge under their belts and knew how to deal with their enemies.
Then came the whisper. A tiny thought or conversation that began as a small spark of news which suddenly caught fire and spread throughout the entire country. Burning fear into the hearts of the people. Fear that has a way of holding a grip so tight that it paralyzes from the inside out. And that was how it was when the two spies entered into the city, which still had their gates open at the time.
Rahab. A woman often talked about, even looked down upon because she was just one of the city's many harlots trying to make a living. I say one of the many because in a city that size, I am positive she was not alone in her profession. For some reason she was not married and had to make a living. So she found a way. The only way she knew how.
And so the fire spread. From one house to the next the word got out that Israel's God had helped them escape from slavery in Egypt, cross the Red Sea, and defeat the kings of the Amorites. The fiery fear grew so hot that it caused their hearts to melt, disintegrating any courage that may have remained in even the strongest men. And the city bided their time, knowing that one day it would be their turn to face the nation established by Jehovah God.
Then the two spies arrived at Rahab's doorstep. Why did they go there? Did they end up there because they were simply looking for a room to stay, or were they there to give her business? The Bible does not say, but for reputation's sake, I would hope they were on the up and up and just wanted a room. Maybe they had overheard that it was a hotel and not a brothel. Yet, for whatever reason they chose that home, it is obvious that God specifically led them to her door. Maybe Rahab had even prayed to Israel's God when she had heard they had crossed the Jordan and were not too far away. She knew what was coming in the near future and was prepared for the men.
So she took them in. She heard the soldiers were searching for the spies and hid the two men between the stalks of flax drying on her roof. She misdirected the soldiers when they questioned her and sent them out of the city in pursuit of the men she was hiding. It gave her time to talk to them. It gave her time to share her heart and plead with them not to hurt her, or her father, mother, sisters and brothers. She knew God was in control. She knew He was going to give them her massive city. Nothing was too big for the God of Israel.
Thankful for her help, the two spies agreed to spare her life.
"When God gives us the city, we will deal kindly with thee. Anyone who is gathered on this side of the door will be spared. But anyone who leaves or is found outside, they will be killed and it won't be our fault."
Rahab agreed. She knew they had listened and she would do her part in helping them escape. When it was safe for them to leave, she took a red cord and tied it to her window in her house. The window that was on the very edge of the wall of the city. An easy escape. Who said God was not in this?
"Leave this cord in the window," one of the spies told her before climbing down. "That way we will know which house is yours and it will lead us to come rescue you and your family. Remember, anyone not in the house will die."
"According to your words, so be it." She would do what they said. She watched as the two men escaped into the woods near the city and left the cord in the window as a marker of her home. She trusted their word and their God.
People must have noticed the cord hanging there. Someone probably questioned her, wondering why she left a long, bright red cord dangling out her window?
"Are you trying to draw attention to our city?" they may have asked. "Why red?"
She did not say why. She probably just shrugged. The people left her, thinking she was crazy. And as her city was closed up tightly due to the rising fear of the coming Israelite's, she did not worry. She held onto a secret that nobody else, except her family, had. The red cord meant salvation. It was her lifeline of hope in a world of fear and panic. It was her one way out of fiery destruction. They were shut up inside the walls of the city, with the fear raging through all the hearts of the people, dreading the morning when they would wake up and find the enemy at their doorstep.
And that morning came much too soon, though the enemy just marched around the walls one time and left. The next morning they did it again. For six days they marched once around the city only to head back to their camp. Maybe it set the people on edge inside the walls. Maybe they began to think they were safe. But Rahab kept hanging onto the promise that she would make it out alive. And she did! Because on the seventh day, the enemy marched around seven times, and this time made a lot of noise. The walls began to tremble, and the ground shook as God took His hand and flicked the walls down, like a toddler with a tower of blocks. Yet, the house of Rahab remained untouched. The spies hurried inside to rescue her and her family. They brought them out to a safe place and returned to pillage the rest. It must have been a hard thing for Rahab to watch everyone she knew die, but she knew in her heart that God was the One true God and He was the reason for saving her. It was her faith that saved her.
After reading this story the other day, I could not help but see a lot of similarities of our current situation. The news is full of 'horror stories' that can quickly turn a spark into a full fledged fire that consumes an entire nation. But here is something to think about: in this time of fear and panic, with our country "walled up" just waiting for the "enemy" to attack, is your heart melting in fear because of the fiery news or are you hanging onto the promise the scarlet cord has to offer? That red cord represents Jesus and His salvation. Our way out of death and destruction. God is so much bigger than any fear or enemy! He is in control and always has been! Just keep the faith and keep your eyes on HIM!
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
When God Calms the World
For the last year or so, we've had a strange way of calming people down in our house when we think they are getting too rowdy or crazy. I am not sure how it all began, but one day I noticed my eldest putting his hand on the shoulder of the overly energetic person and saying, "Calm." The habit began to grow, and I soon found myself getting calmed when I would suddenly begin singing a song to a phrase someone said, or if I told a joke that was a little lame. My husband, who is the king of jokes, (and pulling out the Ipad so he could play an annoying song on YOU TUBE after a comment reminded him of an old show he used to watch as a little kid) found himself getting calmed through the work day. One day he even called to inform me that he had been calmed about 100 times that day.
"Did you need to be calmed?" I asked, knowing quite well he probably did.
"Nay, why would I need to be calmed? I'm always serious!" he informed me.
I told him to calm.
After awhile it was not necessary to calm the person on the shoulder. It came to a point where all that he needed to do was stretch the hand out in a swift, forward motion to show the person he needed calming. There were times I wished I had a 'calm' button for my car. I could just push a button near my steering wheel and a little light on the back window of the car would glow with the letters, CALM. That would be to inform the one tailgating me he shouldn't be so crazy. I don't know if that would have worked, but it sure would have been worth a try.
So, I had to run some errands today. I had some checks for the business to deposit, grab the mail, and get some food for my large family, who are eating more now that they are home all day. As I drove along the roads, I was shocked to see how little traffic there was. Driving through little neighborhoods revealed houses with two or three cars parked out front. On any normal day, all those cars would be on the road, honking, tailgating, rushing hither and yon, doing whatever everyone does during the day. But not since this corona virus hit. People have taken to sheltering in their homes, not going out unless, like me, it was absolutely necessary. I must say that it was kind of nice. It was peaceful. And I must say that it was actually....calm. I got a feeling that it was as if God had come to a point where He felt like it was time. Time to slow the world down. Time to get people to stop for a little while and clear their heads. Time to listen for His voice in this shaky time. Time to stretch forth His hand and tell the world to calm.
Psalms 46:10-11 says, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Please know that I am not downplaying this virus in any way. I know how contagious it is, and I know people are dying from it. I truly am sorry for all those families that have been effected by this horrible virus. I am taking precautions to keep myself and my family from getting it. But I am enjoying the quiet times I am getting. I am enjoying not having to run to five different places every day. I actually finished my book last night. The story part, that is. Now comes the editing, and editing, and editing. You get the picture. But my point is I was able to stop long enough to clear my mind and actually write. I am getting time with a my children. I am getting time with my new little kittens. I am getting time with my Lord, which is the most important thing right now. Because if He is slowing me down, then He wants me to learn something. He wants me to be still, and KNOW that He is God. What are you doing during this time to get reconnected? Are you taking the time to be still? Because God has something He wants to show you. And you won't be disappointed.
(photos credits by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash)
The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional
Note: This is a devotional I did for a baby shower. I thought it might be encouraging to other moms who did not attend that evening. It's always good to hear that you aren't alone in your struggles of motherhood.
I am honored and humbled that Anna asked me to speak tonight, but I’m also scared to death to speak in front of a crowd. So, let’s begin with a word to prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this time we have to gather together in joyous celebration of Charina and her precious baby boy. Please fill me with Your peace as I speak to these ladies, and may I be a blessing and an encouragement, especially to the young moms as they do this thing called motherhood. Blessing this evening and our time together tonight, in Your precious name, Amen.
On the table you will each find an index card and a pencil. There should be one for each of you. I am going to read a little story, and in it are the nine fruits of the spirit, found in the book of Galatians. They may or may not be the exact words, but something that means the same thing. Write the words down as you hear them read in the story.
They wanted to dig to the center of the earth! I debated whether or not I should say no. I did not have the patience to deal with dirt covered children, mud caked into my carpets, or yet another change of clothing per child. I was always the one to take the easier route, meaning if it meant work for me than it wasn’t worth it. I mean, really, with life as a full time, stay at home mom, with five children, that meant work enough! Cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, homeschooling (at the time), constantly stepping on and picking up Lego bricks left on the floors, settling arguments over ridiculous issues…the list goes on.
As I struggled with the thoughts of frustration such a mess could bring, I asked myself, “What could it hurt? They’re actually getting along out there!” Not once had I heard a screech or a raised voice indicating a battle was ensuing. No, it was actually a peaceful moment. Besides, a little extra laundry wasn’t the end of the world. And a dirty floor could be washed – again. I figured I would be kind in this matter, so, in the end, the joy of watching the children play nicely and creatively won over.
“Let them be kids,” I thought meekly. “Childhood goes by too quickly to put too many restrictions on fun, creative play. And I love hearing their happy voices outside my window.”
So, I let them dig to the center of the earth. It was a spot in the yard hidden behind the bushes near the stream. I could see them gathered around in excitement as the oldest dug with all his might. They took turns shoveling and tossing the dirt away as the hole slowly grew deeper. I went out to check their progress, and the children excitedly showed me how far they had gone. My oldest was up to his waist in the muddy pit.
“Great work!” I commented. “When you reach the center of the earth, make sure you tell me so I can toss a rope down for you can climb back home.”
“But I don’t know how to climb a rope!” one of the boys said.
“Just tie it around your waist and walk up the side of the hole. It takes a lot of self control to climb, but I know you could do it. You’re strong like that!” I replied.
A great big grin spread across his face as he turned back to watch his brother dig even deeper. Their lively voices were full of eagerness of finding great treasures inside the earth. Anticipation grew with each brightly colored stone they pulled out. The shovels were not gentle on them, but any blisters that formed on their hands were ignored. It was pure, childish delight. They spent the entire afternoon outside, with a childlike faith, believing they would find lots of rubies, diamonds, and dinosaur bones once they reached the center.
I’m sad to say that they did not reach the center of the earth that afternoon, nor did they after eating dinner on the back deck that night. Daddy hosed them down with cold water before letting them anywhere near the inside of the house. Wasn’t he thoughtful? After a bath, they climbed into bed, tired and sore from all their hard work. They all fell asleep immediately that night, making bedtime sooooo easy for me! I wish every night was like that!
That story was a true story, which happened about 12 years ago. It was always something that made an impression on me, the way they worked together! It was one of those proud moments where I felt like I might be doing something right because they were actually getting along! It was one of those moments as a mom where I let go of my own struggles to keep a perfect house, to constantly keep my children looking somewhat presentable, and to always keep everything perfectly organized. And it was a moment where I let my children be children. Their dreams were so innocent, and the smiles on their faces were far more priceless than any gems they hoped to discover in the ground. But not every day was like that.
There were many mornings I would wake up after a long night with a sick child and all I could think about was how much I wished it was night time already so I could climb back under the covers and go to sleep again
Other mornings I would wake up to hear their voices through the walls, and dread the day because I did not want to face the children’s arguing and bickering, the lies, stubbornness, or mischievous things my children would do. They each had their own struggle to deal with. And as their mom it was my God-given job to help them learn how to deal with their struggles and learn how to overcome them. To give them over to the Lord.
But one of my own struggles was not knowing how to help them all the time. I struggled with my flesh getting in the way of teaching them the right way. Yet, if I was supposed to teach them that God is good and can help them through their struggles, I needed to allow Him to help me through my own struggles which included a lack of patience, not always having joy in situations, not feeling peaceful, not always being kind with my words, not being gentle, etc.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Inside my basket, I have something that represents each fruit:
Love – I have here a little stone sign to remind us that love never fails. I Cor 13:4 says, “Charity (or love) suffereth long, and is kind.” I John 4:8 says that God is love. True, Biblical love is a choice, not a feeling. When it comes to our children, we may not always feel like loving them, but we need to make that choice to show them love because God is love. And His love will never fail.
Joy – I like joy. It means feeling great pleasure or happiness. What brings you happiness? I like getting flowers. (hold up roses) Seeing these red roses bring me joy. Romans 15:13 says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Find joy in the little things your children do and say, and write those moments down. It will be those memories that will help carry you through the tough times, and 12 years later you can laugh and reminisce about it with your children at the dinner table.
Peace – Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Pull out baby lullaby toy.)I found this and immediately thought of peace when I heard it. I love watching a baby sleep. They look so peaceful and sweet and it’s hard to believe something so small and fragile could make so much noise when awake and hungry. We are to rest like that too. When we keep our mind on the Lord, trusting Him to take care of all the little details and in between things we don’t have control of, we bring a peace to our home that our children will feel, and they too will be at peace.
Goodness/Kindness – Goodness is also considered being kind. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Showing kindness to our children is a given, but we need to also show them how to be kind to others. Have them help you make cookies to give to someone, or write some notes to shut-ins and include a picture from the children. And always, always, say thank you to people for things they do to you. (Pull out thank you cards.) This will teach your children gratitude in all areas of their lives.
Patience – Patience means the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Wow, that’s a tough one! This does not come easily to any of us. Patience means waiting. Psalms 37:5 says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…” So for patience I picked up a little tool that represents waiting…or the passing of time. No one likes to wait for an answer. We want everything now, like our children who come in the kitchen half an hour before dinner saying they can’t wait for dinner or else they’ll die. We as their moms need to teach them to wait without getting upset. We need to learn to tolerate their childishness without getting upset. Now that is a challenge I still struggle with. But be careful when you pray for patience because God does have a sense of humor. He will bring some crazy events your way that will make you realize how easy it was before you prayed!
Self Control – Next comes self control. Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” If we don’t have self control, situations can get out of hand. We are unprotected, like that city that has no walls to keep out the enemy. (Pull out bag of chocolates.) We may eat too much and then feel guilty afterwards, another symptom of the lack of self control. By showing our children how to control hunger, anger, our tongue, etc, we are teaching them something that they will carry with them into adulthood.
Gentleness - Titus 3:2 says, “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Pull out loofah.) It is a natural thing to tend to the needs of our bodies gently and with great care. I even found a soft loofah that doesn’t scratch and leave red marks all across the skin. We need to tend to the needs of the children as gently as we tend to ourselves. This includes their need of spending time with them, and listening to them when they need to talk. We need to teach them to respond gently to their siblings, with kind words and respectful attitudes.
Meekness – When I think of meekness, I think of Jesus on the cross. He never complained about what the people were doing to Him. He was humble. He was like a lamb. (Hold up the soft lamb.) I Tim 6:11 says, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.” Again, some of the qualities we’ve already covered are mentioned in that verse. Keep yourself humble in front of your children. Apologize to them if need be. Show them humilty and they will learn to be humble and meek.
Faith- Lastly, but not least, comes faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Salvation requires faith. Not only believing in Jesus, that He died on the cross for our sins because we needed a Savior, but also believing God can do great things when we go to Him in prayer. Pray with your children. Let them see God move and answer prayers. (Hold up journal.) We walk by faith and not by sight it says on the front. Keep a journal and write down what God does for you. Show your children when they need to be encouraged to trust the Lord for something they are praying for. Show them God still works today.
So, in closing, I wish I could say that there weren’t going to be hard days as you train your little ones. You’ll have your struggles. You’ll have those moments where you’ll want to run away. But if you ask the Lord for wisdom and strength, He will be there right by your side each step of the way. Keep your basket of the fruit of the spirit handy, and remember that since God created that fruit, it’s good to partake of. And take great joy in the times that bring a smile to your face as you listen to your children play peacefully together. They all need times when they are allowed to dig to the center of the earth. They may be looking for rubies and diamonds, but to you, their mom, seeing the smiles on their faces is a priceless gift. And you will be rewarded with a far greater treasure as you see the fruit of the spirit grow in them as they grow into young adults.
The Candlewood Lake Monster
Don't you dare tell me it's not real. I am a believer. I believe Nessie is the Loch Ness monster. I believe that Lake Champlain has a monster named Champ. And now I believe that there is a Candlewood Lake monster. Oh, I've never heard anyone speak of him before, but after the events of yesterday I believe there was "something" trying to keep us on that lake. He definitely did not want us to leave. Yet, out of all the other boaters on the water that gorgeous afternoon, why did he choose us?
It all began four years ago. A trip to the lake as a family with a few friends, enough to fill up a ten person pontoon boat. We had a blast boating, swimming, and tubing. We wanted to do it again the next year. This time we wanted to take two boats full of people. We wanted to share the fun with others. (The only way we could do this was because we are part of the Barter Network through the business. Joe does a pest control job for someone also in Barter, and we get the money/points put in a virtual bank, which we can spend on anything else included in the network. It's been a great benefit!) So, two boats were reserved, but we found that the laws for tubing had changed. We needed a license to tow so we ended up just boating that day, but also we discovered Chicken Rock. We spent a long part of our day anchored there as the kids (and a couple of men) took daring jumps off the rock into the water below. The kids did miss the tubing so I decided I would get my license, which I did online that winter.
The third summer arrived. It was time to go, but this time we got three boats. There were a lot of people. There were a couple of jet skis. Ben and I got dumped a couple of times while riding the jet skis. I should have taken a hint. Something wanted me that day. Nobody else got dumped off of anything, except us. Why else would I get dumped over and over again? Yet, I did not listen. And so this summer arrived...
We decided to keep it simple this year. We would only reserve two boats. I looked at the calendar for July. In the past we always booked our outings for that month, but between the business getting extra busy this July, as well as friends and family traveling, it just did not work out. So we put it off. August was approaching very quickly. We needed to get our traditional trip in, but for some reason I was hesitant. It was almost like something inside me kept resisting. I finally took a look at the website to see what was available for rent. It was then I read that a new law had taken effect and now to tow I had to take an additional class specifically on waterskiing/towing. Maybe that was one reason I had put it off? I took the class. It was an ordeal to get my certificate though. Nothing is ever easy now a days, is it? Everything was finally ready. I booked the boats and I had my certificate. Everything seemed good, but still that hesitation inside. I was praying for some specific things for the day, as well as the weather to be nice for us. I prayed that everything would go well and we would all be safe. If I had known, I would have been more specific with my prayers such as, "Please, Lord, keep the Candlewood Lake monster far from us!" Alas, I did not.
All went well for the first few hours. We swam.
We (well, some of us) jumped off of Chicken Rock. We found out who the real chickens were, and I am not ashamed to say I was one!
We fed the ducks, as well as the school of fish that traveled beneath them eating the crumbs they dropped. Ben had a blast tossing food around the swimmers. The fish, which were quite large, were unafraid of people. You could actually hear their little mouths munching at the food when they were close. It made some people scream.
We ate lunch and enjoyed the beautiful views of sparkling water, blessed sunshine, and the most perfect temperature we could have prayed for.
We even enjoyed lots of water tubing time. Everyone who wanted to go did, except for me, because, well, I was the only one with a license to tow, and Joe, well, he wanted to, but we will get to that part of the story soon.
And then the first incident happened. We had tired of tubing, so we decided to drop anchor and let everyone swim. The currents were strong, as well as the wind. The swimmers kept drifting farther away from the boats, so we would have to call them back. The water temp was so perfect. We spent an hour swimming and enjoying God's answer to prayer for a beautiful day. I glanced at my phone and saw it was time to begin heading back towards the docks. A couple of the kids wanted to tube one last time, as well as Joe. He wanted to take a ride before heading back in. We went to pull the anchor up. It did not budge. Caleb tried pulling it, but even with his strength it did not want to go. Diane and I began pulling at it together. It felt like something had the other end of it, pulling back on it. We were in a fight of tug of war. I began to wonder if something down there was not wanting us to leave. It did not feel like it was stuck on a rock. There was some slight give to the rope as we pulled, but it always pulled back, much stronger than the feeble folk on the boat. I hollered to Joe.
"What do I do to get this unstuck?"
"Drive forward, and then go back," he suggested.
It was worth a try. We had to get out somehow. I drove the boat forward. It did not feel like we were going anywhere. I drove the boat backward. We pulled the anchor rope again. Still nothing. I did it all over again. Forward. Backward. Suddenly Joe said he saw the rope moving! More like bouncing. What? A big heavy hunk of metal bouncing? Caleb began pulling the rope up. It was not as hard this time, but something was still giving some resistance. The anchor surfaced with a big surprise attached to it:
What in the world was it? We kept pulling.
What??? Why would that be in the middle of a lake? It sure looked like a part of a creature to me...I could just imagine the monster with long arms and talons fighting back with all his strength to keep us anchored there for a midnight snack. Okay, for those who are laughing right now, maybe it was not a part of him. But maybe he had dragged a tree to that spot to ensure that our anchor would get stuck in the roots so we would remain trapped. Anything is possible! (You're also the ones who don't believe in Nessie or Champ too, aren't you?)
Well, believe what you want. I was just glad to be free. The boys got their tubing in, and we stopped to pull them in. It was Joe's turn. I stopped the boat and looked around to see where his boat was. It was a little further back then I expected. It looked like they were dropping anchor so I turned around and putted over to them.
"Why'd you stop so far away? The clearing is better for tubing then the channel."
He glanced at me. "Our boat is broken." He had his phone and the instructions out.
"It just stopped. The motor won't turn on. I think we're out of gas."
Then it hit me. The creature wasn't done with us. He still wanted us and was going to make every effort to keep us on that lake. We had forty-five minutes left to get to the docks. I could not leave them stranded. We decided to try to tow his boat. It worked for a while, but the winds were so strong, and we could only go about five miles an hour. The steering got harder and harder the further we went. It felt like something was hanging onto the rudder and the drag would not let me easily turn the wheel anymore. I shut off the boat.
"I think we should let the marina handle this," I called back. "I can't steer it anymore. And I don't want to break our motor either!"
He agreed. We took on a few of their passengers and sped off to the docks so we would not be late. We arrived, got our stuff out of the boat, and the kids went off to change. I asked the people at the office what was the ETA of our stranded boaters? They said someone was off to rescue them, but they had not heard when they would be back. They suspected a leaky (should I say cut, maybe?) fuel line. They did not want to put gas into it in case there was a leak so the gas would not go into the lake. Hmmm, what do you supposed cut the line anyway? Those talons appeared in my mind. Another thing they also commented on was how strange it was for one of the pontoon motors to cause trouble. A coincidence? I think not...
The stranded boaters finally appeared in a little rescue boat. They were happy to be back on dry land. I was happy they were too, and that they were all still in one piece! As we were getting ready to leave to grab some pizza afterwards, I saw this tractor pulling the boat, Sandy Beaches. That was Joe's boat! They had made it back in record time and it was off to the shop to see what was wrong. I wonder if they found scratch marks on the fuel line hose???
It was while we were eating pizza that I brought up the monster. Diane whole-heartedly agreed with me. There must be something out there because she felt the resistance of that rope. She saw all the events occur along with me. And so, boaters, beware! Watch out for the monster of Candlewood Lake. You may be next on his list!
Thank You, Lord, for all the answered prayers yesterday. Thank, You, for helping us have fun despite the circumstances. And thank, You, for keeping us safe from the monster... Until next year...,
A Strange Sighting by the Pond
As far as I could tell there was not a horse and buggy around for miles! I had even taken a walk around the pond and never saw anything out of the ordinary. But there they were, clear as day. Five Amish/Mennonite guys fishing in the pond behind our neighbor's house. A man and his four sons, all dressed up in their straw hats, blue button down shirts, black pants, and for the father, a big long beard. I had just walked by another neighbor's house, who happened to be in his back yard fishing with his granddaughter.
"How sweet is that!" I had thought to myself as I strolled passed their driveway. Then my eyes lit on the scene of strangers behind the next house. I stopped dead in my tracks. I am pretty sure my mouth gaped open and my chin hit the ground. Was I seeing things? I blinked a few times only to find they were still there. I slowly began walking again.
"I've got to get a picture of this or else Joe will never believe me!" I began searching for the camera in my phone, still trying to walk causally without hitting any trees, but it dawned on me that if they were truly Amish they would not appreciate getting their picture taken. In fact, they think that taking pictures is stealing their soul. I certainly did not want them to think that I was a soul-stealing, nosy neighbor flashing my camera at them! But then again, WHO would believe my strange tale? We were states away from the nearest Amish/Mennonite community. I mean, come on! This is Wallingford, Connecticut! So, at the last second, I held up my phone in a haphazard way and with one last desperate attempt to prove that I saw what I saw, I hit the button quickly and kept walking. I did not know if I had caught the moment because the sun was glaring too much for me to see my screen. From what I saw it looked like I had only captured the grass and trees. But, then I zoomed into the bushes behind the fence and there they were! Ha! Proof that I am not crazy!!!!
P.S. I went by a house on the opposite street later that day and saw a giant van in the driveway. I think the plate was an Ohio plate. Also in the driveway were a few Mennonite ladies, with long red dresses and their caps. I now know they were not Amish because they would not be driving a van...only a horse and buggy. It sure made my day though! :)
My Sister Site
Hello everyone! I just wanted to tell you about my sister site called Sparking the Noggin. I designed this site for teen girls, to help with issues that come with being a teenager. Every girl needs encouragement, praise, and to know that she is not alone in this world as she goes through each struggle. I have been spending more time writing my blogs on that site than this one. And in case there are any interested writers on my site, I have begun to create a writing course for all ages, hoping that one of the lessons will "spark your noggin" into creativity. So, check out my site and let me know what you think!
When the Wind and Snow Comes
Just a little something to think about on this frigid morning in Connecticut: it may be extremely cold right now, and there may be snow on the ground, but isn't it amazing how God cares for even the littlest animal He created? That snow cover you see is because He knew they would need warmth too. It is a blanket He spread out over them as they lay sleeping under the ground. It makes such a sweet picture in my mind.
As I was lying in bed last night listening to the wind blowing and the ice chunks hitting the sides of the house, I was afraid. I really hate the wind. I held my breath as the speed of the wind picked up and waited for the crash of a tree against our roof. But God gently reminded me to trust Him. He is the One Who is watching over us. He is my Father, Who loves and cares for me, just as He does the littlest animal in the ground. I prayed for safety last night. I prayed for a hedge of protection around out house. When I woke up this morning, He was the first to remind me that I can always trust Him. He took care of us once again. I cannot help but praise Him for His mercy and grace. I am so much more important to Him than a sparrow. There may be snow, but it is necessary for life...not only to water the earth like Isaish 55:10 says, but to give warmth to the critters underneath. And it does my heart good to see the beautiful white that surrounds my house today. What can you find to be thankful for this morning?
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luk 12:6-7
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: Isa 55:10
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Pro 31:21
Maybe It's My Season of Brumation
Good evening, everyone. Yes, it is me, popping in to say a brief hello. Just in case you all were wondering, I am still alive and kicking. In fact, I have sat down a few times over the last couple of weeks to begin writing, but something always interrupted my concentration or simply took me away from the computer. My life is kind of like that at the moment. Just when you think things are going to slow down and settle into a regular pattern, the cart of life speeds up again and begins taking new twists and turns. I guess that is what being the mother of four teenagers (and a ten year old!) is all about. Don't get me wrong though. I am not complaining. I am simply explaining my lack of new blogs on my site for well, like, forever. It could also be that I am trying to convince myself that it is okay to be taking a brief break from writing for a bit, though I do miss it a lot. But, it hit me tonight that this is just my season of brumation. ?What does that even mean, you ask? Well, let me explain it to you this way:
We have a bearded dragon named Dexter. I posted some pictures a while back and maybe even talked about him a little bit. He was a birthday present for my daughter last December, and he has been the neatest pet we have ever had. He sits in his glass cage in our dining room, happily watching us live our life as he munches on his dandelion greens and yellow squash. But last month he began to act kind of strange, seeming on the verge of wanting to run, a little edgy when he was around people, and he kept trying to dig his way out of the corner of the cage. Granted, he had not gone to the bathroom for over a month so that might make one a bit crazy, but once he did, he hunkered down in his rock cave and has not come out on his own for over a week now. Now that he is full grown, Dexter has entered into his first season of brumation. Brumation is a state of hibernation for cold blooded animals during cold weather. To put it simply, he sleeps all the time now. He has not wanted to eat anything, except for maybe that one worm at night which Alaina offers him after their cuddle time. It has only been five days, but we miss his watchful eye and head tilting glances immensely. And this could go on for up to three months? I certainly hope not!
And when it comes to writing, I can completely relate. It seems like my brain has shut off for a little time of rest. I am at peace about it though. I know it will wake up in the Lord's timing, once my brumation season is over. This is a season of taking care of my children, chauffeuring them hither and yon. This is a season of listening to voices fill my house with laughter and busyness, as my five children and their friends constantly come and go, eating me out of house and home. And I am enjoying every minute of it. Because with it all comes great adventures, and funny stories to share with you in the future. So, for now, I ask you to bear with me as I wait for my brumation to end. I am praying that at the right time the Lord will give me inspiration to write once again. And with a well rested brain, the writing will be fresh and new. And until then, may the Lord bless you. Hope to see you soon!