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When He was Little

Always on the go

Always on the go

I offer this blog posting to the moms and dads out there who are running to prepare for another school year. My son is way past the age of worrying about going back to school. But I still remember the days when I felt overwhelmed by all that moms and dads do to care for their offspring. I wanted to encourage you to take time for yourselves and keep your wonderful senses of humor. Here is my offering in honor of you beautiful gals and guys.

My only child saw his 29th birthday a few years ago. We had a lovely celebration which included a trip to Downtown Denver, an exceptionally delicious dinner and then a live production of the Nutcracker. That evening, after the festivities, I thought about those 29 years and remembered many wonderful times, especially when he was just a little tyke.

Like all mothers, I have gone through the period of time with my son, when he was little, where I heard, “Mom, mom,” nonstop throughout the day. Sometimes it seemed like the demands were so many, I was unable to keep from getting dizzy while spinning from one thing to the next. His calls for “Mom,” for the most part, were not accompanied by urgency. Still paying attention to his needs was, of course, my first priority.

One particular day, however, Gabe was following me around with continuous chatter and requests. This is the way with little ones, and I really didn’t mind. But at the end of that day, say about 4:00 in the afternoon, I began to get weary. My son’s grandmother was there and she said, “Laura, why don’t you go and take a hot bath, have some wine and read a book? I will take care of Gabe for a little while.”

I gratefully agreed. While sweeping Gabe onto my lap, I explained, “Gabriel, mom is going to take a long bath. When I get out of the tub, we will help Grammy make dinner. Then we will all play later tonight, okay? I am going into the bath now. I just need to rest for a while. So for the time I am in there I don’t want to hear the word mom. It will be just a little while and no hollering for mom okay?”

He smiled, kissed my cheek, wiggled down from my lap and went happily on his little way with his favorite action figure. I felt pleased that it appeared he took the instructions quite well.

I ran the bath, filled the tub with fragrant bubbles, poured a glass of white wine and settled into a luscious half hour to read and relax without the little voice calling for mom. About 10 minutes into my bliss I remember thinking that my son was being very good to not come calling for mom. Then a knock came at the bathroom door accompanied by Gabe’s little voice on the other side.

“Laura, Laura.” How could I be annoyed or angry? He had obeyed me to the letter.

You know, in those days, I treasured the few small patches of alone time when I could find them. But today, when I have more solitude than I have ever had, I rejoice when I answer a ringing telephone and hear, “Mom?”

Copyright January 2013
llpadgett
Lakewood, CO 80401

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Suing God

scales of justiceIf you live long enough and you listen to the TV, you can at one point or another claim you have indeed, “heard it all.” That phrase has never meant as much to me as this past weekend when I was watching a weather report after another high-impact Colorado storm.

The young man giving the report was visibly exhausted from watching radar, Dopplers, and maps in an attempt to give accurate information. I could not help but feel sorry for this guy especially after he began responding to the people who sent communications complaining because they did not get the snow he originally forecasted for their area. What? Are you kidding me? Who finds fault with a weather person because the weather did not do what they were told (not promised) it could (not definitely would) do? In Colorado?

The poor man made a point of saying, “But you did get the amount of moisture.” Personally that confused me, but that is not the point here. What is going on in our world? I suppose next someone will sue the poor bugger because their crops did not grow or they were unable to impress the flatlander family members with a ski vacation in the high country.

Well, I say let em sue. But why settle for the guy/gal predicting the weather? Why not sue the person really responsible for it? God. You have to admit that whether you believe in God or not, this would be one case that could make the ratings of the O.J. Simpson trial seem puny.

I am not sure, and would love some feedback on, who would sit on the judge’s bench? Who would prosecute and who would defend God? I of course, old Perry Mason fan that I am, opt for Perry as defense attorney and his arch rival Hamilton Burger as prosecutor. They both joined the spirit world long ago but hey anything would be possible in this arena, right? As for the judge,perhaps we could talk BBC’s Judge John Deed into accepting the call. Although from watching this series, Judge Deed appears a little too wise to accept such an assignment.

Let’s move on to the jury. Surely all cable networks would suspend their coverage of the U.S. Senate, the British Parliament and the latest antics of the Kardashians in order to get a front row seat for jury selection. Anyone else out there willing to watch nonstop to see who gets picked as the 12 peers, tried and true, to do their civic duty?

The trial itself of course could be tricky because it is unlikely God will respond to the summons, put on the orange jump suit and stand in the docket. So then what? Ah ha – failure to appear and a bench warrant issued in big, bold letters and addressed to The Almighty. Tough to deliver that but perhaps the CBI agents of the Mentalist could get the job done and bring Him in as they seem to be good at finding the elusive among us. However, it did take them the better part of five years to round up Red John.

If the unlikely scenario plays out to render a conviction, how will God make restitution for not delivering the weather that He was expected to supply? Of course, of course, the only means of making things right in America – money $$$$$$. But who gets the check? Not sure God has a credit card. Better yet, how will it be cashed? Can you just imagine the sea of Paparrazi down at the First Bank on that day, trying to get a photo of all that money being cashed in? Remember God is loaded with dough and by all accounts places enormous value on it. Yeah, right.

Now, there may be people out there who find me disrespectful to the Creator as we journey along this happy trail to the Farm for the Bewildered. But I say, no. I believe God has an awesome sense of humor that He freely shares with us and asks us to share with others when our world tumbles down the unreal rabbit hole towards the land of the terminally ridiculous.

My purpose is never to disrespect God at all but rather to show who He really is in comparison to us. I bet, just bet, that if this whole sue-crazy culture really tried to pull this off, He would sit down, put up His Holy feet, open a good bottle of wine (maybe made from water), look at us and say, “Okay humans, bring it on.”

Copyright March 2013
llpadgett
Lakewood, CO 80401

When Waves Are Rising

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the best things about being retired is the ability to pick and choose things I want to do. I admit that like most people, once in a while, I unfortunately say yes to too many things at once. In my defense, however, let me say that I am getting better at saying no – umm sometimes. The opportunities God is bringing me to share my gifts for His glory are various and multiple this fall. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. But sometimes I find myself feeling like the apostle Peter felt when he looked down at the water while walking on the waves to meet the Lord. Sometimes I cry out, “Lord, help, this is all too much.” Then I plunge into a mental bath of confusion by insisting I really thought this call or that call came from Jesus who was stretching out His hand and saying, “Come child, we’ve some work to do.”

One of those times came earlier this week. I was in a right panic. I have agreed to do several presentations in sacred dance and drama this fall as well as teach classes to little ones, do at least two adult workshops and continue writing a blog and two books. Yikes!!! The waves seemed to be getting higher and higher and I felt like I was sinking fast. I went out on the back porch and cried out, “Lord, help. I thought these were all things you wanted me to do. But I am getting in over my head. Did I get on the wrong boat here?” At times like these I am so grateful for good neighbors who do not immediately put up “for sale” signs or warning notices that read, “Beware. Real nutter in residence who occasionally goes off her onion.”

Then in my devotional book this morning was the story in Matthew 14:22-33. Goes something like this. Matthew and some of his peeps were out on the lake one night, fishing. The wind and waves got a little rougher than they expected. Jesus came walking on the rough water and Peter thought it would be a swell (no pun intended for you nautical types out there) idea to get out of the boat and hang out closer to the Lord. Jesus was all cool with that. Everything was fine as long as Matthew kept his eyes on Jesus. It was when he looked at what he had gotten himself into, he freaked out and started calling for Jesus to run interference. The Lord did indeed lend a hand and even calmed the rambunctious sea and wind. I can imagine Peter and the boys saying, “Dude! Really?”

Saying I identified with Peter at this juncture of devotional time would be an understatement. I have read this passage many times but today the Lord’s words struck me in a whole new way. “Oh ye of little faith. Why do you doubt me?” This did not feel like a rebuke to me. More it was a gentle reminder from the lover of my soul to return my focus to the source of everything, including my next breath.

After sitting with this scripture for a while, I realized that I did not take any of the previously mentioned tasks on without prayerful consideration. They are not all due at the same time. And I am not doing any of these things alone. I also acknowledged that I said no to several events for this fall in order to be a good steward of my time. It was like I could hear Him say, “Take a deep breath, daughter. I’ve got your back. And instead of looking with panic at the future, try looking with wonder at the past.” When we least expect it, He surprises and delights us like no one else can. So in His sweet, nurturing, fatherly love, He brought me the words of one of my favorite hymns.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace
.”

When I took a few moments to look in His face and at all He has brought me through, I truly felt humbled. And when I considered the blessings, gifts and education He has given me, I could not help but feel thankful. I was hard pressed to find one time God has failed me, forgotten me, or left me on my own – there is not one time in 61 years. Quite a record huh?

The truth is that the opportunities in this time of my life are very exciting and I will get to live out God’s purpose for my life within many communities. I do know that living in the past or worrying about the future are not healthy mental activities. But I have come to see that sometimes by reviewing what God has done for me, I am empowered with gratitude and confidence to go forth with His awesome plans. I see where He has been and still is always right beside me, even when the waves seem to be rising.

Copyright September 2012
llpadgett
Lakewood, CO 80401

Momma, the Cat and the Sandwich

When I was a preteen, I suffered from sort of an asthma-type ailment. It was never called that, but there were times when I coughed, wheezed and had a hard time breathing for no apparent reason. At such times as these, my mother took me into a spare room, made up a little bed, started the humidifier, and slept by my side so she would be close if I got into breathing trouble. As you can imagine, this was a scary situation for a kid and so to calm me down my mother told me stories. Usually this worked and I would relax and go to sleep.

One night I asked her to tell me about where she grew up and what she liked to do as a young person. Momma told me she loved going to dances. Since she spent most of her youth in a farming community called Grand Junction, Colorado (in the 1920’s and 1930’s), the biggest dance of the year was in the fall, around peach harvest time. Momma and Fern, her younger sister, looked forward to this event all year long.

In those days, young teens and preteens of the community were hired to pick peaches from Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita orchards. This gave the young folks a little money of their own while helping the fruit growers. After the fruit was harvested and safely on the way to market, the young folks had a big barn dance to celebrate. This was usually hosted by one of the fruit growers in Mesa County.

According to Momma, the dances worked up quite an appetite and they lasted into the wee hours of the night, say somewhere around 11 P. M. Because my mother was a healthy eater and always had to feast after one of these soirees, she developed an ingenious plan to get a snack when she came home without alerting my grandmother to the late hour of her daughters’ arrival.

She made herself a sandwich and hid it in her closet before going to the dance. My mom and I never shared tastes in cuisines but one particular delicacy she found irresistible was enough to put me off food altogether. It was a Limburger cheese and onion sandwich. Momma ate this sandwich often throughout her life. She said it kept her from catching colds. My Papa said it was astonishing that practicing this particular culinary exercise didn’t help her catch a bullet. Now if you are not familiar with this extraordinarily odorous concoction, count yourself among the blessed of the world. Sorry, I digress.

Momma had to find a place to hide her treasure until she returned from the dance. Her closet was an excellent choice. Most folks in those days didn’t have a lot in their closets and Momma was no exception. In fact she only owned three pairs of shoes – work shoes, regular everyday shoes and her dance (doubling as dress-up) shoes. The brilliant young lady constructed the sandwich and wrapped it in waxed paper (remember that stuff?). She tucked it safely into one of her everyday shoes. She insisted the right shoe was best. Then she closed the closet door securely and the door to the bedroom she shared with Fern. She went happily to the dance, knowing her treat awaited her upon return. This worked and was a lovely solution for several years.

However, one night after the harvest dance, the sisters came in so exhausted that Momma went straight to bed without eating the well-hidden snack. The next morning she was awakened by the screams of my Granny, who was issuing the order for all hands to report on deck in the kitchen. Now, my mom’s mom, Grandmother Fisher, was a formidable individual. She was not a tall woman. She was perhaps 5’4” and skinny with it. But she had a way of looking at you that indicated if she was not pleased, it would be a good idea to prepare yourself for a front row seating at the next lunch with the Lord.

When Momma and Fern appeared, Granny Fisher’s eyes were blazing and her hands were on her hips with her rather bony elbows jutting laterally like threatening weapons. There in front of Granny lay Sir Stinky the family cat who earned his keep by ridding the establishment of rodents. Momma said Sir Stinky was assigned this name based more on personality than on personal kitty hygiene habits. It appeared Sir Stinky had been poisoned.

Granny Fisher was a sharp gal and, as I said, not someone to rile up. She had been married twice. One husband died. And one husband narrowly escaped death because he dared to raise a hand against this not so timid Southern Bell from Alabama. She was a divorced woman (practically unheard of in those days)bringing up three children on her own by working as a manager in the Ladies Department of the local J. C. Penny’s. She was used to people doing what she requested (?) and dishonesty or the appearance of not being forthcoming with information was considered a punishable offense. Sorry, I digress.

Granny turned to face her daughters with a question that was more like an accusation concerning the condition of the furry working member of the family who now resembled a sprawled out bear-skin rug. In her very distinct Southern accent Granny looked at my mom and asked, “What has happened to my cat?” It wasn’t that Sir Stinky and Granny had a close bond, you see. But he was a valuable employee and a team member deemed vital for maintenance of a clean, sanitary home.

Although Momma found the whole situation sort of funny (she never liked Sir Stinky at all), her amusement was short lived when she caught whiff of an aroma coming from SS that threatened to curl her otherwise very straight red hair. The sandwich!! Momma ran from the room and straight to her closet where she found shredded waxed paper and an empty right everyday shoe. “No,” she breathed in disbelief. Turning to find her mother glaring at her, Momma did what many folks would do in this situation – she lied – flat out and without apology, she lied. She told her mother she had no idea why the feline was ailing. Then she tried to divert attention off the lie by using good old-fashioned indignation feathered with resentment at having been suspected to begin with.

Now Granny Fisher (called Skinny Fisher by some but not within her hearing), realized the genetics she blessed her daughter with were playing against her. The tempers flew and Granny soon realized her oldest offspring was as formidable as she, herself, was. The Scottish-Irish tempers pulled both women into a standoff of snarling, green eye bulging, red hair spiking, non-yielding animosity. Granny demanded and Momma denied – demand, deny, demand, deny. This would have gone on much longer had it not been for the victim of the alleged crime returning to face his perpetrator. My mother stared in horror as he whom she thought deceased now reappeared. She held onto the door frame while Sir Stinky (soon to be nicknamed Lazarus by Momma) staggered across the room like the town drunk. He plopped down at Granny’s feet and issued an ugly stare directed at Momma through double-lidded “I gotcha” eyes. That justified the indictment, the trial, the verdict and the sentencing for Judge Granny. It appeared the cat would live, but Momma was not sure she would share kitty’s good fortune.

Declaring her innocence until the end of the dispute, my mother finally accepted the verdict. The swift punishment was doled out. There would be extra chores for what seemed like an unreasonably long period of time and no extra activities, like dances, for that same unreasonably long period of time. Done and done, as they say in the South.

By the time the tale ended,I was laughing so hard my mother was afraid I would bring on a coughing fit. Momma reached up and turned off the light, kissed my forehead and said goodnight. She went to sleep. But I lay awake piecing things together. I was quite sure then and am sure now that during our pet owning years, Momma warmed to every animal except the stray cats we brought home. Funny that. And although I will never be able to prove it, I am today convinced Sir Stinky was the reason Momma always showed distinct preference for dogs.

Copyright November 2011
llpadgett
Lakewood, CO 80401