cobalt and rising

looking to the hills…and beyond

Girl Scout Gone Bad

Lil’ confession here: the world of Girl Scouting has always been a bit of a mystery to me.  Growing up in a small town, I knew only three Girl Scouts. They wore their brown sashes once, maybe twice a month to school, and they faced mockery from the other students every time the brown appeared.  I never really knew what it meant to be a Girl Scout, but I was for darn sure I never wanted to wear a brown sash.  I was too cool. (Translation: I was too ignorant to know that Carol, Bonnie and Joy rocked coolness in their own right.)

As a high schooler, I chose to bring the Girl Scouts some publicity in my own personal way.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to wear a t-shirt from the local Goodwill emblazoned with the words GIRL SCOUT GONE BAD???  Since I didn’t have a clue what a Girl Scout did or who she was, I had no idea how she could even go bad.  But the t-shirt spoke to me, and as a “good girl”, I felt like an absolute scandal wearing it!

Now, here I am years later, certainly past some of the misconceptions of my youth, yet still trying to figure out my relationship with the Girl Scouts of America.  A couple of months ago, I signed up, joined in, ventured out.  Much to my own disbelief (and delight) I am a proud mother of a Daisy (for all you newbies, this is the lingo for a Scout in grades K-1).  I am also—what in retrospect seems like an unbelievable stroke of crazy—the co-leader of her troop.

To say this is uncomfortable territory for me is saying both a whole lot and very little at the same time.  Let’s just put it this way…it has been…an education.

And boy—or girl, I should say—have I learned some things!  First of all, it’s probably not a good idea to jokingly mention to a bunch of seasoned Girl Scout troop leaders that you EVER wore the t-shirt mentioned above.  It’s especially not a good idea to reference how you know next-to-nothing about Girl Scouts while sitting in a room with a large amount of Girl Scouting veterans.

And then there was today, when I spent way longer than it takes a normal person to iron 7 patches on a little vest.  And guess what?  Despite my valiant effort to line up those patches, they look like I’ve never seen a straight line in my life.

Lord have mercy on my little Daisy.  She’s got GIRL SCOUT GONE BAD for a mother.

I’m thinking if I survive this first year of the Girl Scout experiment, I should definitely get a patch.  Perhaps it should say GIRL SCOUT GONE BAD MAKES GOOD.  All I know is, I’m ironing it on upside down.

Mosey On Over

Happy Friday!  Today I’m re-posted over at Embrace Austin.  A group of talented and wonderful women blog there, so please, take some time to go check it out.

On this Veteran’s Day, our family will be thinking of and honoring our nation’s veterans.  Won’t you also join us in reaching out to someone who has served our country?

The Right Thing

The coupon is eyeballing me this morning.  Lying on the top of my desk pile, it shouts to me “15% off something that is never, ever an extra 15% off”!  And I know its declaration is true because I have watched the price of the much-longed-for thing for months now.  The expiration date is next week.  How in the world can I just let this pined-for and now-on-sale thing pass me by???

I remember once reading a book about dating relationships where the author advised “the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing”.  Such a nifty little piece of advice that I can still apply over and over again throughout the day.

That truth I want to fling at my husband first thing in the morning?  You know, the one I want to speak before coffee is drunk or love is conveyed or good morning is spoken?

(Right thing, wrong time.)

That encouragement (packaged in a really loud voice) I want to give my daughter?  The one to save her so much heartache down the road if she’ll just hear it and get it now?

(Right thing, wrong time.)

That double-decker dose of apple pie at 9pm?

(Saddle bags chant, “right thing, right thing!” but jeans that I want to wear again someday say “wrong, so very wrong!”)

That coveted thing that I have stalked for months now?

(Possibly the right thing, definitely the wrong time.)

If I am really brave today, I will pre-empt the coupon and toss it in the trash. Holding out hope, I might let it linger on my desktop a few more days, barely glance at it the day after it expires, and finally send it packing.  (Oh sales and coupons, how I do love thee…)

But enough about me and coupon angst.  What about you?  Got any right things that need to slide on over to the wrong thing category today?

Binding Wounds And Bringing Joy

“Why do I need your story and why do you need your story?  Because story is a way that the Spirit of God can bind our wounds.” ~Ann Voskamp

During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been taking in stories.  The one of a widow who confessed many dreams had died, but called herself “blessed” because of the one dream God raised up out of the dying.  The one of a woman who is still standing after a hard move to a new city, in boldness choosing joy instead of fear.  The one of a couple who sat in a doctor’s office and waited for the worst news to come.  Stories of another serving in Africa and my own children at bedtime.

STORY is all around me if I just have ears to listen, the eyes and heart to see. STORY is beautiful and hard.  Receiving another’s story reminds me that God is at work whether I care or acknowledge or even notice.

He is binding wounds and bringing joy.

Many years ago, a college professor of mine used to admonish the young (and wordy) writers in her class to “cut it until it bleeds”.  And for years now since, I’ve cut and cut and bled all the life out of my words.  I am, in fact, one of the best self-editors I know.

I’ve been attempting here on this feeble blog to tell the inner word-critic goodbye for months now.  She quiets my story sometimes, leaving me with a blank screen, a long lapse between shared thoughts, between story.

There is struggle and joy and laughter and just-plain-wonder.  There is faith, doubt, love and these two blue-eyed girls who educate me in the way of hope and grace and joy every moment of my day.  And yet my words remain hidden, wrapped in their silence quilt, with no energy to push outside of the comfortability of unspoken, unwritten territory.

If it’s true, as that great writer above professes, that recounting our story to one another can in some way bring depth and healing to us all, then why do I struggle so against my silence?

Am I not a creation of the STORYTELLER?  The one who breathed STORY into human life and who came and lived STORY and who daily purposes the ebb and flow of my own small tale?

I long to be a woman who fearlessly shares my story, one who really sees and hears the story of others.

Today, let’s you and I purpose together to find our words and share them…our small part in binding wounds and bringing joy.

What I’ve Done To My Children On Halloween

Okay, so it was only one of my children…one time.

Didn’t even attempt the giraffe suit on #2.

HAPPY COSTUMING FRIENDS!

But When It Rains

It has been months since my ears last felt the sound.  So when I heard it this morning, the stampede of a thousand horses leading the charge on my rooftop, the rain drops beckoned come—and fast!

Ten glorious minutes of grasped hands, jumping together, weaving in and out, throwing arms and squeals heavenward.  The stone-sidewalk river floating rain bubbles and the laughter of twirling girls bobbing the wet air.

I wish I could bottle the delight, uncork it on the days that try us all, and let it wash over us again, a reminder.

And at last, after pajamas and diaper are soaked and the chill bumps and sun have arrived, we retreat. Outside umbrellas rest in their sunlit puddle beds; inside there is bouncing excitement and towels and talk of hot cocoa. (Marshmallows, please???  Of course, always, always, marshmallows.)

We now have this morning—the one of a long-awaited downpour, the wet pj’s, the sweetness and abandon, and the cocoa—to add to our history of rain playing.

“Sing to the LORD with grateful praise…  He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain…” (Psalm 147:7-8)

The List

I’ve been reading a book.  To even call it a book sounds a little bit less than it really is, because it is much, much more than words someone typed and floated out into the world.

Have you read it?  (Then chime right on in!)

And if you haven’t, then you’ve gotta read it…like right now…today.  Be completely interrupted by this book, this gift, and then start your list.

 

Bastrop Is Burning

For the past several weeks, I’ve been mulling over the words “trash and treasure”.  In fact, I sat down to write about my love for finding treasure in unexpected places, but that post will have to come later.  For tonight the city of Bastrop is burning and I just can’t get over what so many have lost.

In the past two days, some 500 homes have burned to the ground here in Central Texas.  Hearts broken.  Lives gone.  All is changed.  As I watched the smoke from afar today and stepped outside to smell the smoke drifting in the air tonight, I couldn’t help but think “What would I take?”  If I had ten minutes, or five, or two to get out my door and into the car to escape a fire that simply would not die…what would I take?

A couple of posts back, I shared what it has meant to be in a year of waking.  Loss and gain locked in an intimate dance.  A job gone, a home sold, a temporary dwelling place, a life in storage…appreciation for what remains, a fuller understanding of simplicity, beautiful moments in a family.  Right now I have so much more than many others do in terms of the intangible; by comparison, I possess very little in terms of the tangible.  Loss and gain… trash and treasure.

Jesus says this:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…  Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6)

I imagine that there are hundreds of torn-to-shreds people sitting in Bastrop tonight who would wretch upon hearing these words.  They are alive but have died a small death; their treasures are gone, and worry and grief are the breath moving in and out of them.

And yet, Jesus’ compassionately strong words linger: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…   Are you not much more valuable than they?”  Of anyone, Jesus should know a thing or two about the intricacies of loss and gain, of what has value and what does not, and of those things in life not worthy of our worry.

What would I take?  What would you take?  What is our treasure and where is our hearts?

August, Get Thee Behind Me

 This summer in the place I call home

…we’ve had 73 triple digit days (all-time record)
…we’ve observed 21 days at or above 105 (record:  22 days- in 1925)
…we’ve observed 27 consecutive 100+ days (all-time record)
…we’re in the running for the hottest summer ever
…we’ve had only a TRACE of rain, making it the 2nd driest August ever (tie with 2010)

A few more stats for you:

7– The number of live scorpions we’ve found in our abode in the last three weeks.

5–  The number of dead ones we’ve found.  (Yes, I know—not a good ratio no matter how you work it.)

1– Scorpion sting.  (Ouch is an understatement…but we now know it’s quite survivable.)

110, 112, 109– The temperatures of the weekend and today.

And, yes, in case you are wondering, we did attempt the old fry an egg outside on the pavement experiment.  And if I hadn’t been floating in my own sweat, I just might have taken a picture of it.

Anybody else out there LONGING for winter?

Awake O Sleeper

It has been a year of waking.  A not-easy one.  A not-at-all fun one. But from the last August 18th to this August 18th, God has been in the business of waking me up.  And while I may feel like my soul’s eyes are now wide open, it’s quite possible that they’re only half-cracked and there is much, much more to come.

Over the last couple of years, I had asked God—sometimes half-heartedly, sometimes full on—for a simpler life.  (Note to self: take care in what you ask of your Creator. He who “never sleeps, never slumbers” is always listening, moving, working, raising his purpose out of the lives of sleepers like you and me.)

He answered my query by removing, piece by painful piece, all that complicated my ability to truly see.  Simplify he did, and he did it in ways that I had never hoped for. In 365 days, I have learned that safe and familiar feels really good…but it’s also absolutely overrated.  For a woman who delights in security, these are no easy words.  But in a year of waking, they are the only ones.

To borrow Philip Yancey’s musing, ” [I have] learned to trust: not that God would prevent hardship, but that he would redeem even the hardship.”  But what about the space that lies between the hardship and God’s redemption of it?  Yes, that space, where the very real rubber meets the very real road.  That space where nothing feels right or good or hopeful or sane.  That space requiring “a desperate, daily dependence on God,” as my friend Brad would say.  That space where you must daily choose to believe that God is present and at work in an utterly amazing way. That space where you finally have to acknowledge God is telling his story in all of life—including the one you’re living.


For You and You alone
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
For the world You love
Your will be done, let Your will be done in me

Like the rising sun that shines
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
From the darkness comes a light
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing

 

Today I celebrate a year of waking.  And what of you, friends?