Thoughts Like Raindrops

WATER DROPS ON WHITE

Picture it — Western North Carolina, 2012. It’s a Monday and it’s rainy and you feel like you live in a clichéd Carpenters song. And then you wonder why it couldn’t be Top of the World? Because how fun would that be?

The rain falls outside like a leaky faucet you can’t fix.

Drip.

Drip.

Drop.

The gray clouds hang so low you could reach out and grab a handful and put it in your pocket. Although why you would do that, I don’t know.

The air is slightly cool; not nearly cold enough for mid-January in the mountains…and that makes you so mad you could cuss if you were a cussin’ woman. But you’re not, because your husband is a pastor and that would be in poor taste. That, and cussing is such an uncreative way to express yourself. So for the sake of goodness and brain-boosting power, you try to find other ways to express your disdain for the rain because it’s winter and it should snow already.

And you chuckle out loud to yourself for a second, because you realized you rhymed that last sentence.

Chuckle.

Chuckle.

Guffaw.

# # #

So for me, it’s been a great start to the new year already. Our church started a 21-day Daniel Fast on January 1, and so there’s just six days left. (Not that I’m counting.) I always look forward to the Daniel Fast each year — yes, it’s hard to get off the sugar and all the other foods that are amazing and delicious and make the world go ‘round — but the rewards that come with it are phenomenal.

  • Spiritual life: big leap
  • Overall health & wellbeing: much more energy and clarity
  • Cravings: starting to disappear

But perhaps the main thing that keeps me going for the 21 days and then beyond? Sleep. When I’m doing the Daniel Fast (or any other eating plan where you cut out processed foods and sugar), my sleep is BEYOND AMAZING. It’s deep sleep. Hard sleep. Waking-the-dead sleep. Total-and-complete-shutdown sleep.

One day last week my alarm went off and I pushed snooze. No because it was an “Oh I don’t want to get out of bed, I’m too comfortable” reaction, it was more of a “There’s no possible way whatsoever my body will move at all. Just pushing snooze was more energy than my body had to give, and therefore I need more sleep” reaction.

It’s almost as if my body is making up for the months of insomnia I experienced last summer, and soaking in all the nutrients from food and fresh air from running and just hibernating.

It’s the greatest feeling in the whole entire world.

It’s common knowledge that there are often times I’m so happy to be in bed that I laugh myself to sleep. And it’s also common knowledge that when I make the bed in the morning, I longingly look at it and whisper, “I’ll be back soon” to it. But the past two weeks, there is no moment of opportunity to laugh. My head hits the pillow and I’m out. And the longing looks in the morning are deeper and more heartfelt. I’m literally counting down hours from 3 o’clock on.

Yes, I just wrote about five paragraphs about how much I love sleep.

Sort of a low in my blog life right now.

# # #

So eating well and sleeping well have been fab so far in 2013. And to raise the stakes a little, I’m also exercising regularly. Because yep…I signed up for a race. A 15k (9.something miles). My first (and last) race was almost two years ago and was a half marathon. (I always say, if you’re gonna go — go big. ‘Cuz why not?)

After that kicked my tail and then I just stopped running for a good long while, I realized that I need a significant goal to get me out of the warm bed and away from the DVR and get out there. Because once I’m out there, I am in love with it. I love being totally alone, no distractions, running and hearing my shallow panting and turtle pace and a few birds and just the other day I saw an owl! It flew right in front of me across my path. It was awesome.

The 15k is mid-May, which gives me plenty of time for my body to get into the rhythm again and find my groove.

# # #

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t really have a point to this post.

# # #

How about you? How is 2013 treating you so far? What are your goals for this year?

# # #

UPDATE: This just brought all sorts of sunshine to my day. You must read.

# # #

Love y’all.

MDS-SIG-01

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Five Minute Friday #26 – GRASP

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy.

Today’s topic: GRASP

GO.

I see the trees turning colors — minute by minute, hour by hour they change and become yellower and orangier and in about a week they’ll be in full glory casting a perpetual sunkissed-glow that feels like it lasts for approximately one minute.

I walked through these trees one day, feeling the warmth of the glow and in front of me one leaf fell. A sweet, yellow leaf gently fell from the half-green, half-yellow tree and billowed softly to the ground without a sound onto the graveyard of leaves lining the road that rustle and float with every passing car.

And I thought about that tree and how it had lost a leaf, a vital part of itself. Was it sad? Did it try to grasp onto that one yellow leaf for dear life, desperate to hold on to something since it had already lost so much? As it finally lost its grip and as the leaf fell did the tree silently cry?

There are days I feel like my leaves are falling everywhere and it’s painful and I’m trying to hold on with everything in me. Leaves of dreams and leaves of wishes and even branches full of habits falling softly and gently to the ground and I stand there with silent tears watching them fall. And I know it has to happen because without it there wouldn’t be the joy of new life and new dreams and new wishes and new habits.

It doesn’t make the pain of losing leaves any easier. But how can I stay mad when the Leaf Maker is the one directing the score? He is the Creator of not just the leaves but of the tree too, and His ways just aren’t mine.

So I watch that tree and I see her precious leaf fall with barely a whisper. And I whisper to her, “I know, me too.”  And as I walk away I look to the sky and see a hawk flying high above, alone in the sky. And I stand and watch him fly sweeping circles getting higher and higher, and realize that in the three solid minutes I stood there, that hawk only flapped its wings once. It soared effortlessly the entire time riding on the currents of the wind, climbing and climbing. And I realize I can’t climb while weighed down with unnecessary leaves. I can’t soar when my wings are continually flapping — desperate to do it on my own. Instead, I have to let go what I wasn’t meant to carry and let the currents of His wind carry me.

I have to grasp the Leaf Maker, not the leaf.

STOP.

Partaking (Thanksday #80)

I was out running early this morning, while the dew was still on the ground. And I thought more about how the manna fell with the dew in the night (Numbers 11:9). And I thought about how the dew leaves everything so wet and hydrates the grass and the plants and the flowers, and how the manna fell with the dew.

Isn’t just like to God to send daily bread with water? Throughout scripture it’s always the bread and the water, the bread and the water, the bread and the water. Physically we can’t survive on just bread and we can’t survive on just water — it’s a balance of the two. Always. And spiritually it’s the same thing. We daily have to get our daily bread — the word — and drink the living water — Jesus.

Always. Both. Together.

Eat this bread, for it is My body, broken for you. Drink this blood, for it was shed for the forgiveness of your sins.

Always. Both. Together.

And so when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.

Always. Both. Together.

Bread and water — the two most basic needs for our survival as humans, and the two most basic needs for survival as Christians on this earth.

 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – Jesus

Always. Both. Together.

The Bread was pierced in His side and at once came out blood and water.

Always.

Both.

Together.

I’m thankful for this today.

What are you thankful for this week?

Five Minute Friday #25 – WIDE

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy.

Today’s topic: WIDE

GO.

I stand at the exact line where the ocean meets the land and watch the foamy edges lap up onto my toes and splash silently on my ankles. And all I can see forever and ever amen is ocean. Blue and turquoise and green ocean stretching into infinity and I only know where my ocean starts, but not where it ends. And is there really an end? Because isn’t my end another’s beginning? It’s all so vast and huge and wide and at the same time peaceful and reassuring and hopeful.

Anything is possible.

There are no limits, because what I call limits are just another beginning.

He stands in the middle of the ocean. And the waves aren’t lapping onto his ankles because He’s walking on the sea. And He’s watching this girl-woman and is bidding her to come and walk to Him but she’s doesn’t see Him. She’s caught up focusing on how huge and vast and wide and how peaceful and reassuring and hopeful it is — and she can’t hear Him telling her it’s all for her and is just a symbol of what He has in store for her.

Because anything is possible with Him.

There are no limits, because what I call limits are just another beginning.

God said it…He said it right there in Psalm 81:10, right in the middle of the ocean, He said:

“Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”

And this verse — this verse has meant little things and big things and just so many things to me…it has stretched out into infinity and into others’ beginnings. And its reminds me to posture myself to receive because I have to be in a position to receive first.

And today — today God reminded me that he included a very important word in the middle of this ocean. He said to open wide. To not just position myself to receive, but to position myself to receive A LOT. That the ocean is just a symbol of what He has in store for me but I have to get ready and I have to be willing to leave the comfort of the shore and walk to Him.

Because He’s in the middle of the wide.

STOP.

Running (Thanksday #79)

The breakfasts were ready and the lunches were packed and the backpacks sat by the front door ready to go. I kissed little heads goodbye and kissed the scruffy cheek goodbye and left to gather up my manna for today and run.

The weather was crisp and breeze was cool and the leaves have already started turning colors a little bit here in the mountains. And I jogged along, my breathing shallow and loud and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. No music, no distractions. I didn’t look even once at my phone to see what my pace was or what time it was or how much distance I had covered. For the first time, I decided to just enjoy it. And I discovered that the birds chirp louder before 10 am and the cicadas are still here singing their songs and the dew stays wet longer on the left side of this particular road and if someone were to hear me run they’d worry I’m about to collapse. And there was some blue sky and some gray clouds and I noticed too that the leaves that have started changing color are brightest against the gray sky, not the blue.

And that’s what I made out of my manna today: It’s the backdrop of gray and rain and discouragement and disappointment that makes the colors of our true character shine the brightest, not the sunny days when everything looks wonderful.

What I love most about running isn’t the actual exercise but everything else that goes with it. The time totally alone and to myself and the fresh air and the sunshine. With each pounding step I take, my thoughts shake to the surface of my brain and escape into the air, and the ridiculous and mundane thoughts get skimmed off and the good stuff sticks around and takes root. The stuff God shows me and the stuff I learn about myself and the stuff I see in His creation — that’s the stuff that sticks.

Today marked three weeks of starting running again, and while I’m so very, very far from the half-marathon training runs I used to do, I noticed the past few runs have been smoother. I’m getting stronger and a little bit faster and I’m running more than I’m walking. And today was the first time I got to the top of the big hill and didn’t have to stop to catch my breath…I was able to just keep moving on. And for the past few runs, it’s actually felt really, really good to run and I’ve felt like I could go on forever. That’s what I like to call “progress.”

I’m thankful for legs that are strong enough to carry me for two-mile runs. I’m thankful for a husband who’s willing and supportive and does what he can to make it possible for me to pursue the things that excite me, like running. I’m thankful to live in a gorgeous part of the country where it looks and feels like fall in the fall, and that each week I get to see the progression of the season a little more at a time, up close and personal. And I’m thankful that God speaks to me when I’m there.

What are you thankful for this week?