Friday, November 11, 2011

The Fight

Sun shifts 'round the clouds,
Warming skin with brief touch.
Seeping through to darker soul,
'Though soul shrinks from light as such.

Easier to hide than fight,
To try to struggle for joy under gray.
Listless stagnant poison lies,
"There are no more hopeful days."

Stop! Wake up! Life remains!
To what eternal do you hold?
Drinking poison by choice,
Reckless, stupid, never bold.

Coward! Fearing being wrong.
Let go of choking pride!
Another poison, dragging to hell,
"I deserve to die."

Storms cover sun for a time,
Sun never leaves, prevails in the end.
Son never fails, never fears, believe!
Who are you, to be conquered by sin?

Is God enough? Answer Truth!
Dare you belittle and never try?
Stand! Grip firm! Light’s hand so near,
With a promise to never die.

Strength and courage in connection,
Dark and Alone banished.
Feel the fire that comes with Life,
Despair, poison, pride, vanquished!

Sun hides, unfriendly wind in the air,
Now lightened soul stands strong.
Yes, a battle to fight that dark,
But with Hope, Love, Life - forever belong.

Monday, April 4, 2011


A long day at the hotel. Alone. Doing paperwork, reading. Perhaps a grocery trip or a jog outside thrown in. I may be where I live but I want...

Home = Brandon

He comes in with a smile, expecting a kiss (even if he has to come get it). My day lights up and I feel so much more alive because part of my heart just walked through the door.

Three and a half months in hotels. Maids coming every day. A small kitchen and crowded space with the in-laws and Brandon and me living all together. It's nice to have the company, but I miss....

Home = our fifth-wheel

Our bed. MY kitchen. (Brandon won't argue, he likes my cooking too much.) I can turn the music up while putting my dishes away. Or have it totally quiet as I read when sitting on the floor that I just vacuumed. Space. Room to show who you are in a physical way, through the calendar on the wall and curtains on the windows. (Not to mention that it's way easier to pack our entire house and move than packing just what we have with us now. Nothing has a home! ... Um, I'll pretend I'm smart and say "pun intended.")

On the road for weeks and weeks and months. Seeing new places, towns, states. New grocery stores, coffee shops and job sites. Interesting. But never putting down roots. No church, no friendships being built, no "normal". It's hard to stay in touch with everyone at...

Home = Kansas

Church fellowship and crazy friends. Catching up with everyone and hearing the latest about their lives. The prairie, the big blue sky! And above all, family. Mom and Dad's hugs, the "big" boys with our now grown-up conversations. (Ok, not always grown-up.) The "little" boys as they literally climb all over me until it settles down into constant questions ("Will you read to me?" "Where's Brandon?" "When are you going to have a baby?" "When do you have to leave?" "Can you stay THIS MANY days?" "Where's Austin?"). And my sweet, stubborn baby sister. When she reaches for my hand it's one of the sweetest things in the world.

But my life is disconnected in many ways from Kansas. Realizing how much I'm missing in people's lives, seeing how big the kids are growing. It's bittersweet and often makes me want to cry. Everyone's life is never still. Life moves, grows. There's no such thing as "stagnant" when it comes to friendships and family. You're either moving closer or moving apart...and there's nothing wrong with either. It's simply life. And my heart longs for...

Home = Brandon

The only person I shall always grow closer to. Who is my other half, the completer of my life on earth. Who brings me the most earthly joy (and yes, often the most earthly irritation). Being swept into his arms after being away from him in Kansas is as close to heaven as it gets. Until I go...

Home = Jesus

To be at the Wedding Feast of me and my Bridegroom! To worship and enjoy Him perfectly for all eternity. To know my Father in a pure way, untainted by sin. What perfect fellowship and love and purpose. Forever.

What joy it will be to be Home.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It Takes All Kinds of People

"That second driver just called me and was like, 'Heyawhereya'lla'! Ah'dunnowhaAh'masupposetobegoin' wheredoAhgo, Ah'ma'athisMarcedesdealer, wharyoufromhere?'" Brandon mimicked a mush-mouth, loud accent. "I had to say 'Man, I can't understand a thing you just said.' 'Alrigh'lemmegetwhereAh'ma'figuredout, an'Ah'llcallya’back.’ " Shaking his head, he walked off to show the first driver where to park so he could load the driver’s trailer with the tie bundles. Amanda couldn't help but laugh at Brandon’s impersonation. It sounded like the driver was a "piece of work," as her husband liked to say. 

This was her second time flagging. No one else in the family was available, so Brandon had Amanda come help. This particular job site was tricky, in the middle of a residential area with a plumbing business right next to it and a commuter train station down a block. The paved road was barely wide enough for two vehicles and they were having the semi trucks with their 48' trailers hug the right side of the road on a curve. 

The driver would watch for traffic at the head of the truck and Amanda was positioned at the rear, ready to stop oncoming cars as Brandon placed the bundles of ties on the trailer with his Bobcat skid-loader. See a car coming, check with the driver to make sure the coast was clear the other direction, have Brandon pause his work when he was off of the road, wave the car through, stand and watch for more. Simple. 

The first truck was finished quickly, with around seven vehicles to "flag." The second driver was supposed to be right behind the first, but Brandon still hadn't heard back from him. As he was about to call the driver, Brandon's cell phone rang.

“Hello, this is Brandon." His typical response. “Yeah, I was about to ca…”

He was cut off as the guy interrupted, a loud mumble as Amanda listened to the conversation. “You need to exit at 15B…”

More mumbled words.

“What do you mean, you don’t see highway 118...”

Again, the loud mumble.

By now Brandon was shouting, “So you did exit at 15B, ok, sir, you’re ON Rt. 118. Now you need to go 1.3 miles to Dawson Farm Road, take a left. Please hit your odometer, go 1.3 miles…”

Mumble, mumble.

“Yes, 1.3 miles. Then go one block to Liberty Mill Road, it’s the first stoplight.”


“The first stoplight! Yes. Then take a left. A left!”


Brandon hung up. “Wow, I don’t know how long it’s been since I yelled on the phone at a truck driver like that!”

Amanda grinned. “Stay calm, he probably can’t help being stupid! Compassion, Brandon. Maybe he’s retarded.” Her goal wasn’t to insult the absent driver, but to make Brandon smile. It worked as they walked to his Dodge, his disgusted expression changing to laughter as he shook his head. They drove to the closest intersection the driver was going to turn on to so they could lead him to the job site.

The minutes ticked by, with no driver. Brandon sighed, “We’re going to have to go find him.”

“Well, I just hope he isn’t as much of a doofus when it comes to flagging as he is when it comes to driving,” Amanda said.

As Brandon put his truck into first gear, a semi rounded the corner. “Finally! Here we go…” They looped back around to the job site and Amanda jumped out of the truck to direct the driver where to pull to the side of the road, as Brandon went around the corner to park his truck and equipment trailer.

As Brandon began to load the truck, Amanda’s fears were confirmed as the driver (identity protected because the author never learned his name) proceeded to move out of her line of sight, blocked by his tractor. When a car came up on her side of the truck, she couldn’t see the driver to find out if the coast was clear on his side of the curved road. She shrugged at Brandon as he paused the Bobcat, and waved the car through, trying to let them know they needed to drive slowly. Amanda shook her head, feeling some of the frustration Brandon had earlier. “He’d better not cause an accident,” she muttered under her breath.

Thankfully they only had four bundles to load. This truck would have a split load, which meant part of his load was at another job site. While that unfortunately meant they would need to have this truck driver follow them over there, at least there was no traffic to flag at that site. 

“Only two vehicles. Thank You, God!” Amanda picked up the traffic cone as she followed the truck around the corner. Brandon was having all of the semis simply pull up behind his truck to strap their loads down, since it was on a straight stretch of residential road instead of a blind curve.

She came up to where Brandon was standing and stopped to watch the truck with him. “Um. What is he doing?” she asked, puzzled.

“I have no idea! I told him to nose up to the rear of my trailer.”

The driver was in front of Brandon's truck by a couple truck lengths, instead of behind it. He was creeping along the side of the street, apparently trying to get close enough to the curb to park. The semi inched its way up until it was a full block and a half away from where it was suppose to be.

“Sweetheart, would you mind standing near the middle of his truck and make sure no cars hit him or each other?” Brandon walked off, calling over his shoulder, “I’m going to get the Bobcat loaded up so we can get him out of here as soon as possible. Tell him to hurry up!”

Walking over to the semi, she stood in the grass opposite the trailer, watching as the driver slowly got out of his truck and slowly began to strap the load down.

“Aw, wha’ a day, huh?” He shook his head, apparently slightly disgusted. His cell phone rang at that moment and Amanda turned her head aside, trying not to giggle as he said, “Yea’ can Ah call ya’ back? Ah’m tryin’ to finish strappin’ a load.”

It seemed to take him forever to put three straps on each of the two rows of ties. Amanda thought it was a good thing that she was flagging instead of Brandon since she could find more humor in the situation than he probably would. As it was, Brandon ended up walking over to where the semi was parked before the driver was three quarters of the way done. Brandon already had his Bobcat loaded onto his equipment trailer and chained down, along with all the construction signs cleaned up.

After the driver was finally finished, they pulled away to drive to the other job site. Brandon smiled slightly. “You know, I wonder if you were right about him being retarded.”

“Yeah, I was wondering as I watched him strap. If so, it’s only slightly, but still…” Amanda smiled back at Brandon. It was good to laugh about a rather frustrating man instead of being mad. Misplaced compassion, or even misplaced humor, was much better than misplaced anger.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Anyone Named Daniel or Joseph?

I was acting strange and Brandon was very concerned, so he took me to the doctor. We found out that I had a hormonal imbalance that caused me to become emotionally unstable at times. Hence the reason I was trying to stab myself.

My friend (remaining anonymous) was a bridesmaid in a wedding and I was helping her get ready, which included doing her hair, make-up...and helping her shave her legs.

I was driving with my grandpa and some little kids I was babysitting on a road that went through a hospital when I passed a couple stunt guys with dirt bikes. I found out that I was being filmed in an action movie, but couldn't discover which one.

No, these things didn't really happen. They are just clips from three of my dreams I've been having the past week. I don't remember clearly enough what some of the other ones were, or I would give you more examples.

I don't dream in black and white. I don't dream in slow motion. I don't dream that I'm falling. And I never have any type of dream that could be considered "normal". These examples may seem extreme but they aren't any crazier than others I've had. If my dreams have any meaning, I need an interpreter the caliber of Daniel or Joseph!

I once dreamed that Brandon was a sheep-herder, taking an enormous herd of fluffy animals from Texas to North Dakota to be slaughtered. The weirdest thing? He liked it! Or how about walking around a huge maze in a corporate office. Not too strange - until you realize you're the size of a Lego person pushing a tiny shopping cart around.

Still, nothing surpasses a very vivid dream I had several years ago. Here's the full story.

Something was strange. I was walking in the mobile home that has served as my family's home for eight years, but it was deserted. I reached the front door and slowly turned the handle. The off-white, plastic door creaked open and I stepped out onto the metal grating that served as our porch, three feet off the ground. All seemed normal, including the moat that surrounded the mobile home. 

I inched towards the edge of the six-by-six foot porch and leaned over the still, dark water. Shuffling a little closer, my toe caught in a crack and I fell! A resounding SPLASH and I was enveloped in a green murkiness. In that split second of touching the water, I felt my body transform. My arms stuck out differently, my elbows making vertical right angles. A very long snout was in front of my eyes and I distinctly felt a long, powerful tail behind me. The scales, the claws... No way! An alligator? It couldn't be...but I was was! I was an alligator, swimming in our moat. 

"This is the weirdest..." I didn't get any further in my thoughts because something was speeding towards me. I instinctively knew that danger was approaching and braced myself. A flash of teeth and whiskers and then BAM! a leopard seal slammed into me, sending us both reeling head over (literal) tail. I curled a scaly fist and landing a punch on its strong body. A whack across my head was the response I got and soon we were fighting like mad animals, landing punches wherever we could. 

The leopard seal was so strong! I felt like I was fighting in slow motion, hampered by the water. I wasn't used to fist fighting in water, I had only been an alligator for a few minutes! But my opponent didn't care, landing punch after punch. He moved like lightening and as we tumbled in the dark waters, I could feel myself losing. No! I can't lose, I must fight! Another hit to my jaw...

And that's where I woke up. I was very relieved to find myself a human, living in our real house, with the knowledge that the moat had never existed.

Does anyone have any divine inspiration on the meaning of these?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be Mine

Today is Valentine's Day. It's so different this year, since I'm now married and living in New York (for the time being). Surprisingly, the one difference that really comes to mind isn't because I can celebrate with my husband, but that I can't celebrate with my Dad.

No one in our house ever made a huge deal (i.e. spent lots of money) over Valentine's Day. A card from Dad for Mom and some of her favorite chocolates. A card for Dad from Mom (and probably more that I didn't know about). And Dad always had something small for the boys (and Amy last year) and I. A heart-shaped box of chocolates or a box of Reese's Pieces. Not much. But enough to make memories that make me want to cry.

I made a lot of mistakes in my teen years, probably ones most teenagers do. Attitudes of rebellion and selfishness. Pushing boundaries set for my own protection. My will clashed with my dad's many, many times. Our relationship had its rough times and almost always because of me, but despite all of this, I have a wonderful relationship with my dad. Thank God for my slow-coming maturity! (Still a process, always a process...)

My dad was my first Valentine. In so many ways I will always be his girl. My stubbornness comes from him. My love (not obsession!) of Star Wars and love (almost obsession) of Lord of the Rings started with him. And if it weren't for his constant teasing I wouldn't be able to live with my husband!

As his first child, in some ways my dad had to lay his own life down in order to be my father. My first protector. My imperfect, yet incredibly meaningful example of God the Father. Dad showed me who Christ was and was there when Christ entered my life. He showed me an example of the love my future husband should have for me, through his love for my mom.

My dad is the best dad. I love him and miss him, just wanting to get a hug.

Dad, will you be my Valentine?

(Um. Right, I'm married...well, at least one of them?)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Simply Thoughts and a Slightly New Direction

Life can be boring to write about. Or sometimes it just seems to follow one theme. I was thinking I should rename my blog "Escapades in the Kitchen" because the only exciting things that seem to happen is food jumping out of the blender, sour milk (four cups of it) splashing onto the floor, and a glass pie plate literally exploding across the kitchen behind my back. (Yes, I'm fine and we just ate the top of the pie, not the bottom which was iffy with all the broken glass underneath it.)

I've found that writing in third person about yourself, unless it is simply humorous, is hard because you have to be brutally honest. Struggles that are intensely personal will come out. And if you haven't learned your lesson yet, you can't end the story on a positive note. How do you write about a revelation that has come to you, if you are currently refusing to apply it to your life?

The most engrossing part of a person's life is the inside struggle. But to reveal yourself and just how stubborn and prideful you really are isn't something most people want to do. At least on a real-time basis. You're not nearly so vulnerable about lessons learned in the past as you are about the current ones you are still fighting.

This is part of the reason why my posts have been so few and far between. Third-person is very fun to write with but too personal to use for many parts of my life at the moment. Much of it is left to whatever happens to be funny, hence the cooking disasters that keep coming to my mind (and the kitchen). So I will be using a couple different writing styles on my blog now. First-person for those instances and ideas that don't transfer well to a "story" format (um, wait...that's called a blog post, isn't it?) and third-person for the times I feel especially inspired (and dramatic!).

I hope that I'll be able to expand more thoughts, more real-life on the road, this way. For those of you who read, thank you! And any ideas you have are welcome, as long as I don't lose any friends if I decide not to use them. That would be "poor," to quote my husband, since I live too far away to fix it. *Insert chuckle*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Look Back (2 years earlier) - Ridiculous

Amanda was home with the little boys by herself. The day was going smoothly enough, although Justin, the 2-year-old, had managed to get his leg stuck on a sticky mousetrap when he fell off the side of the couch. He had hollered and fussed as she pulled it off, the thick glue not wanting to let go. A new use for eye-makeup remover was discovered when she used it to remove the sticky residue left on his leg. Amanda had chuckled to herself. I wonder just how good it is to put that on your face when it has that kind of power.

It was lunchtime now so Jesse, only a year old, was in his highchair while Amanda was making sandwiches in the kitchen. Jared, 6-years-old, was actually being helpful by putting Jesse’s bib on him.

A sudden scream right behind her caused Amanda to jump, startled. Spinning around, she saw Justin standing in front of the refrigerator, crying, with his foot stuck to yet another trap.

Amanda rolled her eyes, exasperated. She reached down to pull it off. “Justin, calm down. Hold still so I can….AAAHH!” There was a mouse stuck to the trap! Her yell scared Justin and he jerked away, dragging the mouse with him and crying harder.

“Ok! Ok, um….ew!...hold still!” Amanda cringed. She hated mice! Of course this would happen when the big boys are all gone! Now I have to deal with a dead mouse stuck to a 2-year-old. She gingerly stepped on the quarter inch edge around the glue with her slipper. There was no way she was going to put her hand near that thing. She reached down and took hold of Justin’s leg, pulling his foot off the trap.

Then, the mouse moved.

“AAAUUGH!!” Amanda’s hysterical scream was joined by Justin’s, although only she was stuck to the trap with the mouse now. Her moment of panic had caused her foot to slip just enough to touch the glue.

Jared came rushing into the kitchen, saw the mouse, and screamed too. A brief thought flashed through her head of how funny it must look to have a 20-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old all screaming in the kitchen about a mouse.

“OK! JUST CALM DOWN!” Jared had stopped freaking out first and now stood with his hands out, yelling at Justin and Amanda so he could be heard. She quieted, almost wanting to laugh at how ridiculous it was to be told to “calm down” by a 6-year-old. Almost, but not quite. She was still stuck to a trap with a live mouse on it.

“Take your foot out of the slipper and I’ll pull it off!” Jared said, looking all business-like now. She followed his instruction, not a bit ashamed to let her little brother do the dirty work. Jared managed to pull the slipper off, holding onto the edges of the trap carefully with his small fingers.

Amanda shuddered. Mice were so nasty. “You can kill it if you want. Take it ou…”


“Stop! Jared, NO! Not with my slipper!”

He stopped and looked sheepish as he grinned. “Oops. Sorry. But it’s dead now!”

Amanda didn’t doubt him with how hard he had hit the thing. She groaned, not sure she ever wanted to wear his “weapon” again. And now the trap with the dead mouse was flipped over and stuck to the linoleum, thanks to the vigorous beating it had taken. She shook her head. “You’re cleaning that up since you flipped it over.”

“Aw, man!”

Jared took care of the trap and mouse as Amanda cleaned Justin’s foot and finished getting lunch together. Now that the panic was over, she kept laughing as she thought about how crazy the whole thing must have looked.

“If only there had been a video camera!”