Monday, August 30, 2010

Spit, Broken Hearts, and Beautiful Labyrinths

Getting some exercise changes my whole outlook and my physical disposition. So I went running again today.

When I run I often feel the need to...spit. Spit. You have to get some of the crud out of you (in the field OK, I don't what I would do if I ran in town). I've not been one to pride myself in my spitting abilities so I decided over recent months to work on this. You know, just in case a car happens to pass by while I am spitting.

I discovered that no matter how much I improve my abilities in this regard, whenever someone is in sight this is when I will not spit well. I would rather skip the detail here. I will say that on really windy days things get rather dicey and can impair one's vision if speed and direction are not properly some.

Also while I run I seem to workout my heart in an emotional way too. Issues come to the surface. Sometimes I yell (also when cars are passing).

Today in between spit practices and laughing at myself, it occurred to me that I have seen a disproportionate amount of broken hearts over the summer. Sad, lost, or wandering hearts. It has been so hard to see, and to be one of them, mostly in the sad department. It drives me to my knees begging God to do something. There is too much pain in this world.

I'm not depressed. I went running, OK? Life is good too, I just hate seeing the pain. It's been too near.

Awhile back I was talking with a young woman, and we were sharing about some of life's struggles. "It's like a labyrinth." she said.

Honestly, I wasn't completely sure what a labyrinth was. I thought it was like a maze, but I learned some very intriguing stuff. For one, I thought it was like a maze but it's different in that there is only one way to travel through a labyrinth. There are actual life size labyrinths...I mean that humans can walk through. They contain winding paths, often within a circle, that lead to the center of the brain-like framework. The main thing is to move forward. If you stood still and forgot which direction you were travelling you might go backwards. It seems that the point is, focus, move forward, and get to the center of the thing, whatever it is, then find your way back to live life. This is what I get anyway.

I don't know how these strange little pieces of debris come together in my mind, but they do. Today the collage of thought reminded me that what God cares about is hearts, especially the broken ones. In the windy, winding paths of life where I spit, He cares about hearts more than anything else.

God, guard mine, teach it, and hold it. You are the only one qualified for this job.

Photography from

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back-to-School Grins

We live near not too far from the site of the National Tractor Pull in Bowling Green, Ohio. Every year this crowd of ...a few really roughnecks mixed with some good ole' down home country folk, arrive on the scene of 20,000 students moving into BGSU. At Walmart local Mom's are school shopping with their youngsters, and well, when these three crowds converge you can just sit back and enjoy the show. And why not, you're going to wait in line anyway.
The dirt cloud was still clearing from the weekend, when at our house, back-to-school morning for our BGSU boy meant bringing along a gallon of water for his radiator (With a good attitude, nice job Mitch!). Yep, it's that time of year for cars again. But really, what am I talking about, it's always that time of year.
Car maintenance with our fleet of six vehicles is like health care for a 99 year old on life support. Well, maybe a little better.
But not much.
I enjoy laughing about it, obviously. I find it way more fun than crying which I've also tried. It doesn't get results.
Dave and one his best bud mechanic friends, Storm, do most of the back yard repair, bless their weeping souls.
One time we had a free coupon at Tuffy that we'd bought at a fund raising auction. Okay so it wasn't really free, it was cheap - which makes me a cheapskate because of the fundraising thing, but no one else was bidding on that basket of stuff.
When I went in for my 'free' oil change and slid that little coupon across the counter, the mechanic came out from under my car with one of those computer print outs that the diagnostic machine spits out (maybe not quite as I'm painting it but you get the picture). My report was a couple pages long. The guy gently tried to break the news to me that the repairs my car really needed exceeded the street value of my car by $1,000 at best. I just smiled at him kindly and grabbed that jewel of a document for my blog folder.
But I forgot to tell you the funny part.
When I called Tuffy to set up that appointment a few days earlier I was in the middle of a few things. Some e-mail just chimed in and the cat jumped up on my desk and was being really funny. I started talking in the voice we have for the cat. He was saying something hilarious as I recall and totally entertaining me (I should not be a ventriloquist, I would get very confused).
Then I remembered that I had dialed Tuffy.
Gasp! I put the phone to my ear hoping to hear a busy signal (if you don't know what this is look it up on YouTube) rather than a human being. Worse. I had just left a message talking like a cat, for a cat, to men who use impact wrenches.
I hung up before they could hear my real voice.
Next morning, I called back on a cell phone hoping to God that they didn't have caller ID.
I love that life's hardships also bring laughter and joy along the way, strangely, and of course volumes of story fodder as well. It reminds me of Joseph, what the enemy meant for evil, God used for good. Yep, the good stuff.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coffee Please

Your print job is ready. No, we do not have an account for you yet.

No, we cannot laminate that.

Yes, it is raining.

It was just an annoying morning. So, I decided to cheer myself up with Starbucks while I waited for posters to get laminated (so they wouldn't pulpify in the rain....sure that's word, I just made it up).

Well, as soon as I made the decision to cheer myself up, the world cooperated with me.

This is not usually how it works, so it really caught me by surprise.

But literally, I no sooner turned on my heels after making the decision, with a heavy box full of print job, in the direction of that nearly intoxicating brew of beans, and people were opening doors and trunk lids at every turn, all going out of their way to pave my royal way.

Was there a sign on my head? I swear, I was dressed appropriately.

Even at Starbucks, a gentleman opened the door. The baristas recognized me, a regular, as I headed first to the cleanest and roomiest public restroom in town. By the time I greeted them at the counter, the cheerful cute blond girl said, "do you need anything more than your red eye?" (that's my usual coffee with an extra shot of espresso.....ummm, is there an Sbux open yet this morning?....concentrate!)

She smiled, sliding my prepared coffee toward me.

"You made my day!" I said. "I came here to cheer myself up, and you took care of that."

The guy with the cool braided hair asked what was wrong.

"Nothing big, just an icky little morning." I said.

"Because we offer counseling too." he said with a laugh in his eyes. "Spiritual help...." he grinned. I got the feeling he was genuine.

"Would this be Starbucks brainwashing?" I asked. "Because I'm good with that."

It was a nice little laugh, and the door was opened for me again as I headed out to my car.

But no one opened my car door. And that's where the time the world cooperated with me for a brief little respite, ended. But I had what I needed.

God is good with details that way.
Photo from
He comments: This is my Mom before coffee...actually, it was his photoshop skill.