Monday, July 28, 2008

Peace in pieces

I often wonder what peace feels like.

You know, the peace we read about in God's word. That peace that is supposed to surpass our own understanding.

The peace that guards our hearts and minds.

Well, I witnessed a little bit of that peace online tonight.

I had read about Pastor Greg Laurie and the death of his son this past week in an automobile accident. Christopher was 33 years old and married and expecting their second child in November. It was a horrible accident, obviously, to take his life. His wife and his daughter are both beautiful. (Their photos are posted on the website.)

Thursday this happened people. Unexpected. Sudden. Immediate. Final.

Today, Sunday the 27th...just 3 days later, Greg was in front of his congregation, sharing His faith in God. Sharing his peace. Sharing that although he is heartbroken, his faith is not broken. He stated how he feels closer to heaven now, and that He knows where his son is, and what glory it will be when he gets to see him again.

He got teary and shared that it is not a day to day journey, but a moment by moment one. But the calm, composed Pastor kept it all together and pointed everyone back to Christ. An anecdote he shared about his son had new meaning for him, as he insisted that although he doesn't understand why, he trusts His savior to "choose" for him. Like a loving father who wants to lavish good things on his child, he will trust HIM.


I don't know if I could respond with such spiritual maturity. Such an eternal perspective.

I hope to never have to know the depth of that ache...a parent losing a child.

I do know that I have walked through pain in my life that I never thought I could, however, and in bittersweet moments have also been given that peace. I guess I do know what if feels like, but in the absence of such trials, I forget. Would that I could carry that peace always, I truly would. I think it is given to us in measures that are needed. Not a Costco-sized supply, but in small bites. To keep us constantly going back to the throne of Christ and seeking Him. Isaiah 26:3 promises that God will keep us in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Him. God wants us to put on a heavenly perspective, especially in the midst of trials. He wants us to return to Him every moment we have a need, and to trust and remain focused on Him.

We don't have the grace for tomorrow's trials today. We are given what we need just for today. Our daily bread.

We are given our peace in pieces.

If we lose a job, a piece of His peace is added, when we seek Him.

If we fall into worry. A piece of His peace is added, when we seek Him.

If we watch our children suffer. Again, we seek Him. And we are able to walk through it with peace.

If we are in financial ruin, and we come to Him, with an eternal perspective, we truly receive a peace that we don't understand.

I am thankful that in our weakness, He is strong.

And that He is there for us, moment by moment, day by day, piece by piece...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, and thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:7

Here is hoping that all of you have a great week, count your blessings, and do something for someone who needs a piece of peace.

In Christ,
The Maid

Monday, July 21, 2008

A kingdom far, far away...okay, not far enough.

Once upon a time, a lovely maid and her fellow maidens decided to attend a retreat. It was a glorious idea, as previous retreats had been quite the blessing with time away from family and commitments. In the time away the maid often enjoyed cooler weather, being waited on by resort staff when there was a fresh towel needed or some icy good Diet Coke, and spiritual refreshment that can only be experienced in such a setting.

As the date drew near for the retreat of the year two thousand and eight, the maid pondered attending as it would be not in the cooler climate as in times past, but rather right here in the desert with the scorpions, snakes, spiders and other pests. But alas, a decree came from the house of the maid, which insisted that she attend. The royal butler had made every arrangement to care for the maids dwelling place and any remaining peasants, and thus, the maid and her maiden friend embarked on their spiritual journey.

It was a lovely drive to the resort and the clouds in the sky promised to make it not such a dry heat afterall. In fact, over the weekend, the maid would discover the beauty of said dry heat as she and her subjects were exposed to much humidity, and even with room temperature lowered to 60 degrees the dewey maidens could not sleep a wink in their semi-private chambers the first night of their journey.

The next morning the maid emerged from her resting place drenched in sweat and hurriedly prepared to meet the other maidens for the 7:30 breakfast. Twas no time for relaxing bathing or showering, so the maid participated in what is commonly known as a bird bath* and threw on her clean garments.

Being that the maid is accustomed to the night shift, she doesn't often awake singing praises. In fact, it is often best in her maid's kingdom that the peasants refrain from speaking to her before noon. Needless to say many maidens of the morning variety were happily eating their breakfasts while the birds chirped, and they all appeared to have actually slept quite well. The maid did not fit in, but quietly ate her swine, fruit and leavened bread. She was, after all, grateful that she did not have to prepare it nor do a single dish. Ahhh, the beauty of retreat.

Even in her quietness that morning, the great King who appointed the maid to her position alongside the butler, and who ordains and directs every step of her life allowed her to see the blessing He had for her that very morning. Maidens from the land of the dry heat were appointed by the King to come and speak with and fervently pray with the maid. There were tears of joy and appreciation and the maid felt the presence of the King, and healing in many of her relationships.

As the morning went on, those who were to deliver the King's messages did a lovely job and further blessed the maid. There was laughter and encouragement and even vindication in their words. The maid was reminded that although she stumbles, the King will not allow her to fall. That her life is exactly what and where her King wants her to be. She is not under the law, but under grace. And those who point out the sin in her life are failing to remove the log from their own eyes. Wow. What a great King. Our lives of worship for our king, no matter what land we come from, are to be identified by how we love one another, and how we love God.

Oh there was much more, but the maid and her maidens were embarking on their journey to lunch. On the way out, even money was lavished on the maid by a sweet sister maid. Again there were tears of joy and gratitude. And the maidens departed to a far off place to dine on pheasant...I mean chicken and rice...or to Eat Fresh.

What a great time the retreat from retreat turned out to be for all of the maidens. We enjoyed our meals, laughed, and talked and soon ventured out to the carriage to head back to the enchanted land of the scorpions.

Oh, but what did appear on the windshield of the maid's horse and buggy? A note. T'was penned on the back of a library receipt of a do-gooder of the land. It did say the following: "Yer tire is flat."

Ah, but the wisdom was already upon us as we saw the carriage was leaning and the buggy would not make the journey without summoning the Knights of the roadside assistance.

The maid would soon discover what ambitious maidens she dined with that day, as within moments they were assisting, neh, taking over changing the very tire themselves. As one of the maidens proclaimed, "Where, ye, are all the peasant men of the land to assist us with our buggy?" In just moments, one came riding up on his white horse, (i.e. - compact car) and offered his assistance.

He was an older subject with bald head and many years of wisdom. He swiftly parked his carriage and attended to us in our distress.

Moments later, a young lad and his maiden stopped to assist with the buggy as well. Apparently it is a custom where this young man hails from to remove your clothing and expose ye old undergarments and tatoos while in the company of many maidens. Gratitude welled up in all of our hearts and a couple of the maidens lovingly gave a sack of coins (Subway gift card) to the young do-gooders. We were saddened as we left that we couldn't have done more for the peasants: some incense, feed for their horses, or maybe new undergarments which weren't from the kingdom of old.

(I think I now know why our mothers do teach us to wear clean (aka: new) underwear when we venture from home.)

It would soon be that the maidens were back at the retreat in the desert, preparing for their twilight meal. Many had come from far away lands to serve the ladies, I venture to say, even from another country where the language of the maidens is not spoken. It was yet again another fine experience where our food was presented to us all and we neither had to kill it, cook it, or clean it. Yes, t'was a beautiful thing.

But the maid encountered something rather disturbing at the table, as just into the salad course, a fellow table mate commented about the computers (aka: cucumbers) on her salad. We laughed as only mom-maidens can laugh...for we knew the state of sleeplessness that causes such a fumble. The disturbing part is, although this maiden is an aquaintance of your blogging maid, she apparently is a blog reader. Immediately after commenting about her "computers" on her salad, she eyed the maid in all seriousness and said, "Oh, no, you are not going to blog about this are you?"

There I sat, at dinner, in a land far from my cottage and was exposed. It seems that there were several at the maid's table that evening who knew intimately her thoughts. It appears that they, too, knew of the blogging tales of the maid.

Of course that was just one of the many, as another maiden commented when the maid emerged from the little maidens room, "I'm surprised to see YOU using a PUBLIC restroom." There are maidens from lands far and near watching me. They are reading me. They KNOW me. I quickly flashed ye olde hand sanitizer at them, and hurried back to my bed chamber.

The maid was tired that evening from all of the scurrying and scampering about that only happens when the giddy maidens escape from their cottages where they must tend to the wash, the ironing, the chicken plucking, and keeping their peasant children happy. It was a beautiful kind of exhaustion. It was sleep deprivation mixed with gratitude and blessing.

Looking back, even with the bugs, the early mornings, the lack of sleep, the humidity, the flat tire, the sheer fatigue that came with this retreat, I truly considered it all joy. Our King can truly bring beauty from ashes.

And I suppose that knowing that, I can live happily ever after.

The End

*Disclaimer: Not much mention of the two unknown roomies that shared the room with the maid and her maiden friend...we just want to apologize right now for using your shower gel. The day that we were all packing up to leave, we realized that we had been using your goods over the weekend...we laughed in embarrassment when we figured that out. And a note to you and your lovely daughter: next time you room with two people you don't know, they probably wouldn't mistake your stuff for the hotel's stuff if you didn't leave EVERYTHING laying out EVERYWHERE!

Oh, and for those of you wondering just what exactly is a bird bath, well, as a dear friend once told me...that is where you only have time with wet washcloth to wash up as far as possible, down as far as possible, and then you wash "possible." After all, isn't that what they did in ye olde peasant days? :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Snakes and Snails and....well, you know.

Everyone is nosey these days.

No one is safe from voyeurism.

No one.

Not even the unborn.

It is bad enough that on every corner of the city I live in there are these dang cameras. They call them photo catch those dreaded red light runners...doing no good for speeders or other violaters. I'm sure there are other cameras for that, so that our highly skilled officers can sit a little longer at the QT enjoying their powdered donuts.

The other cameras I am referring to are what you see when you are watching the news and they pan over to some stationary view from high above a freeway...there you have it...a bird's eye view of whether or not traffic is moving or frozen, or maybe if OJ is fleeing in the Bronco.

Can I just admit that it drives me nuts how many bloody times a day I am captured on video.

Dude...I can't even drive through for a Frosty without it being on closed circuit television.

And when is someone going to learn to use these powers for good and not evil. (It's not like the cameras are there to make sure we get all of the fries we ordered. You always get the shaft in the drive through.)

By evil, I mean slapping a ticket on a poor unsuspecting maid. A mom of SEVEN going on eight you know that she is a careful driver. You know that she is diligent about keeping close to the speed limit, not driving like a crazy person, and obeying the rules of the road. She is, after all, responsible for chauffering around so many little helpless lives.

So why is it, that in a mere moment of "I don't think I can stop in time, I'd better go for it" the blazing camera lights strike? Why is it that I had to be driving that route that day? Why is it that of course as soon as the flash goes off the maid admits to the friend on the phone that she thinks she just got a ticket. Why is it that I had to be on the phone? UGH! (All captured on film, by the way.)

Of course, just when you think you got away with it too, the ticket arrives via the good old postman. (Or badly coiffed is our case.) There are not one, but FOUR photos. FOUR! Oh, and it gets better, there is also a link where you can watch the offense online in real time on their stupid cameras, in case the photos were not enough.


Yep, big brother is watching. Big brother has his cameras placed in such a way that not even an unsuspecting, dear, sweet, innocent maid (wink) can avoid them entirely.

But hear this, I am one to seek counsel. I am one to listen to the masses. In fact, if I didn't hate to be photographed, I might even consider running for office. I am the one who asked the very peers that I respect so well what to do about this little situation.

You can only guess what I heard a lot of.


"You can just ignore that ticket. The city has so many offenders that they can't keep up with it. In fact, if you didn't receive it certified mail, well, then how can they prove you got it?"

Sounded logical to me.

So the maid just kept on fluffing pillows as usual.

I mean after all, it was a $214.00 ticket. If it went away, chances are it would, that money would be at least a tank of gas, right?

Well a wise Proverbial man once uttered..."A companion of fools suffers harm."

Hence, no public office for me. Apparently my lobbyists are fools. Apparently, I cannot depend on those who elected me to the office of ticket trasher. And it is dually noted that I am not going to be saving the $214.00.

Why, you ask?

Oh, let me tell you. :)

Being that I am the knocked up maid, I am often tired. My teenager was away at camp and so the family was a little more hectic than usual. I hadn't been able to sleep much, and of course when the mouse is away, the Maid worries. So I was extra tired.

Wednesday rolled around and I conjured up a little scheme. My dear Butler would take the tribe of our hillbilly Hyatt to church...and I would get a break. No kids for almost 3 hours. Did you hear the pin drop? Silence...for THREE hours.

I could sleep, I could pee in peace, I could do whatever I wanted...for THREE hours.

So just as the troops headed out, the doorbell rang. No doubt someone forgot a baby bottle, or diapers or something important for church, like a Bible. Yep...I ignored it for a minute thinking that they would use their key. They dinged and donged again...apparently a child had been sent to the door, sans key.

I grudgingly got up...waddled to the front door and without a keyhole peek, swung - it - open.

He: "Becky?
Me: "Yes."

He: "I have a photo radar ticket for you."
Me: (Pseudo disbelief and half-waiting to be arrested) "A photo radar ticket? I had no idea." (Liar - maybe I'm cut out for public office after all.)
He: "Sorry about that, bad end to the day, huh?"
Me: "Oh, problem."

Door shuts. I think I even thanked him. ??

Do you realize how sneaky these people are?

Do you realize that this guy stood there totally dressed in denim and a t-shirt looking to be some guy that actually might have known me and his appearance totally didn't send a red flag?

Do you realize that had Tommy Lee Jones been decked out in detective garb, Fugitive style, on my front porch that I may have thought faster and said, "No, I don't know any Becky."

Dang Dept of Transportation.

They are getting smart. In fact, they may have been taking lessons from Sherrif Joe...had I been an illegal alien, I'm pretty sure I would have taken Joe's bait too.

Yep, I have been made a fool of. I have been served with the dang photo radar ticket, in person.

Worse than that, the guy who served me was nice. He even apologized. File this one under the category of "No one to be mad at but myself." Sigh.

My $214.00 ticket will now cost me an additional $35.00 in personal service fees.

And where are my lobbyists now? Where are those who told me to ignore it? Where? I want to know. Because I am feeling a little like a trapped Bill Clinton right now...

"I did not run through that light ... no sir"

Oh wait, define "Red light?"

Busted, man.

Completely busted.

I want you to know that as my first order of business as your elected Maid, I intend to abolish all security cameras not attached to a bank or in a prison somewhere.

I should be able to run the light on my way to get a frosty without being captured on video.

And you know who else deserves exemption?

The unborn.

My poor unborn child was completely violated this week via ultrasound.

It wasn't enough that we saw the alien head and the huge cheekbones, oh, and the big nose. Yep...chipmunk face was fine. We had to move on to the organs...scoping them out one by one. And even after we had determined that the child was healthy...and it declared it had had enough...(translation: squirming all over and curling legs to avoid crotch shot)...Big brother would not stop. (Of course, I hired Big brother to come to my home and do this...and he, being good at what he does would not leave until we could tell which public restroom video camera this child would someday be captured on.)

Yep...the big eye in the sky...the intruding Orwell -esque probe...went right for the goodies.

And there were goodies.

Boy goodies.

Someday in the not too distant future, the Maid and Butler, will be teaching this boy of ours how to avoid all of the photo radar cameras in the city. I know, touching isn't it.

Hey, we are all about leaving a legacy.

The red-light running, ticket ignoring, totally served and busted, ripe with boy - Maid

Monday, July 7, 2008

Me too, Me too.

I have been absent for a while (translation: in a lovely, cooler place celebrating the 4th of July weekend!) and come home to read all kinds of blog-ony (bologna) about turning the computer off for 48 hours and spending time with your family. Ha.

I did it for 72 hours.

So there.

And guess what. Spending time with your family is great but leaves you a little hungry for the blogworld.

And then I get home to get my fix and realize that everybody and their mother is getting a blog makeover and sprucing up their site...reading books...having babies (Congratulations Roland and family on your fourth of July baby!) for your family...sharing recipes...and doing all kinds of other things that I just don't have time to do.

(Okay, well the baby thing...but that's it.)

So then I started longing to go back to the cabin and be useless and unplug from blogworld again.

I remember recently listening to a family on some show (probably Oprah because that is where all of the radical ideas seem to start...maybe next I will be reading the "book" - Not) talking about going on a media fast. For like 30 days.

Yep. 30 days.


That would be hard. But it has got me thinking. No TV (what the heck...ours had a ladder through it and is kind of useless right now anyway), no internet, no ipod, limited cell phone use....blah, blah, blah.

Could you do it? I'm needing a diet coke right now just thinking about it. (And 15yo son is at camp and unable to bike ride to Sonic for me - sigh.)

So as I ponder the good, the bad, and the ugly of that whole no computer thing, I was curious to know what all of you think?

1) Could you go on a media fast that included no tv and computer (not pertaining to your job) for 30 days?

2) Would it be helpful or stressful?

3) What do you think you would learn from that?

4) Would you be a nicer person to your family, or would you be grouchy like when you are on a diet?

5) Would you even want to unplug that much for that long?

6) Is it possible that my butt would get smaller?

7) Would my fingers become crippled and arthritic from lack of keyboard use?

8) Could I find anything I needed the old-fashioned way?

9) Is there life without these little initials: LOL.

10) And really, would anybody miss me?

I guess what I might discover in that time is that I sit on my butt a lot and think about working on projects more than I actually work on them...and that I really don't feed my family as much as I clean up after them feeding themselves. I know. Shameful.

So...maybe I will try it. I will let you know, however, and not pull a Scarlett on you. Just in case any of you might be tempted to rip me off of your blogrolls. ;)

Hope to hear from you!

The Maid