Five Minute Friday: Mighty

(I participate with a group of writers in a weekly “Five Minute Friday” writing exercise. In response to a word prompt, each writer sits down for five minutes for “no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.” This is also described as a sort of writing flash mob and a great form of “free therapy” )

Five Minute Friday: Mighty

Go.

“Mighty” is a mighty tough word for me to write about.

I think that’s because this word calls forth two very opposite images in my mind.

On the one hand, “mighty” can evoke images of natural wonder – Niagara Falls, a booming thunderstorm, the ocean.

On the other hand, “mighty” makes me think of “high and mighty” – someone placing too much emphasis on their own power, position or authority.

This second form of “mighty” makes me feel a sense of “meh” and resentment, while the first feels me with awe and wonder.

The trick, I guess, is to maintain a healthy sense of awe at the mightiness of natural wonder, and allow it to give you a healthy perspective on things…so you don’t end up feeling or acting so “high and mighty” yourself.

Stop.

Frozen Niagara Falls

Breaking News

 

Screen capture of "Breaking News" on CNN

Breaking News!

For more than two weeks family members have waited anxiously for some word, any word, about the fate of their loved ones.

Two hundred thirty-nine people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had, for all practical purposes, disappeared in a freaky Bermuda-Triangle-worthy mystery.

No wreckage.

No evidence of a landing.

No distress call.

Just. Gone.

For more than two weeks, talking heads in the news have spent hours upon hours speculating about the fate of the plane and its passengers and crew.

Satellite images, maps, charts, fancy graphics and innuendo ruled the airwaves.

What if….

Or maybe…

Then again, it could be that…

Hope flamed up – perhaps they were hijacked and are alive somewhere.

Hope faded – possible wreckage has been spotted.

“Breaking News!” screamed the TV screen, when in fact it was not “breaking” news.

It was continuing coverage.

There was no new news to break.

So today, when Malaysian authorities gathered family members to “break” the news that all hope of survivors was gone, the result was more questions and additional dissatisfaction.

This still did not feel like “breaking” news.

This felt like additional speculation.

An educated guess, perhaps, but still a guess.

Perhaps there will be wreckage.

Perhaps, there will be some answers as to how, why, and where.

In the meantime, there is grief and anger.

Breaking news.

Broken hearts.

 

Five Minute Friday: Joy

(I participate with a group of writers in a weekly “Five Minute Friday” writing exercise. In response to a word prompt, each writer sits down for five minutes for “no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.” This is also described as a sort of writing flash mob and a great form of “free therapy” )

 Five Minute Friday: Joy

Go.

The still-chilly wind combined with the unmistakable warmth of afternoon sun. Spring!

The beachy smell of sun block and the charcoalish smell of a cookout. Summer!

The brilliant oranges, yellows and reds of a mountainside of fall leaves. Fall!

Dark evenings, warm homes and Christmas music. Winter!

There is joy in every season of the calendar.

Those moments when all feels right with the world and you are aware that you are aware how wonderful it is to be alive.

Sitting in the grass blowing bubbles with a toddler.

Holding hands with your spouse while you sing praise songs in church.

Hugging your parents on their 60th wedding anniversary.

Looking UP at your son, who somehow grew taller than you overnight.

Laughing with your siblings over memories – poignant and silly.

There is joy in every season of life.

Thank you, God, for joy and the ability to experience it.

Stop.

Smiling girl

Judgment

Westboro Baptist signs "God hates you" "You're going to hell" "God is your enemy" and Matthew 7:3 "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?"

Fred Phelps was wrong to judge others.

We are wrong to judge him.

We are – and he was – free to have opinions.

My opinion is that he was warped, mean spirited and abusive.

That’s my opinion.

But the judging?

Not my job.

I have seen a number of articles and blog posts regarding his illness and now his death.

They tend to fall into a couple of distinct categories:

  1. Yay and good riddance
  2. God loves even Fred Phelps

In my heart, I agree with both of these to some degree.

(1) He hurt a lot of people, so I am glad that behavior has come to an end.

(2) God is full of grace and he offers it freely.

To all.

Even Fred Phelps.

Even me.

There is speculation about what Fred Phelps might be experiencing or learning in the afterlife.

Is he having an “aha” moment and grasping the error of his ways?

Is he accepting God’s loving grace?

Here’s what I think.

God’s grace is freely given.

But he doesn’t force us to accept it.

It’s quite possible that God is offering it, but Fred Phelps isn’t buying it.

Or maybe he is.

We don’t know.

It’s not our place to know.

It’s not our place to judge.

But it is our place to examine our own heart and motivations and actions and ask ourselves if we are making the most of the days we have been given.

When it is our turn and the grace is freely offered, will we embrace it or reject it?

And the kicker?

We don’t have to wait until our dying breath to decide.

The grace is freely offered and given.

Today.

As our pastor says, “No matter who you are, or where you have been, or what you have done…you are always welcome in the loving embrace of God our Father.”

Thank God.

Amen.

Sky with sunbeams streaming from the clouds

Headache

Bottle of Aleve

The sun was shining, the sky was blue, there was no snow in sight, and we were on our way for a fun afternoon with family at a high school show choir event.

But if my life were a movie, a low and ominous string section would have appeared in the soundtrack as I drove our Honda Fit down the hill from our house.

I recognized a faint and nagging sign of an oncoming headache.

Should I turn back, run into the house and take something to nip this infant headache in the bud?

“Nah!” I told myself. “It will go away on its own once we get underway.”

Fast forward to the end of the day and you would find me alone in that same Honda Fit in an Olive Garden parking lot, trying to recline in the passenger seat and remain as still as possible, holding my hand over my eyes to shield them from any incoming light, and praying to God that I would not throw up.

I’ve had these incapacitating headaches before, but it has been quite a while.

Maybe that’s why I had ignored the signs.

I had ignored the signs and it had come to this.

I had blown off that early nagging sign of the oncoming headache.

By late afternoon, the feeling was stronger.

My sister, seated next to me and no stranger to this type of headache, noticed a telltale sign – I had been rubbing the back of my neck.

She had some medicine on hand if I wanted to take some.

Mistake number two: I accepted the offer but said I would wait until we got to the restaurant after the show where it would be more convenient to take the medicine with a glass of water.

(Note to self: next time, go for the water fountain and don’t delay.)

We arrived at the restaurant and put our name on the list. It was Saturday night, so the wait was going to be just under an hour for our party of nine. It was super crowded, so I figured I would hold off taking the medicine until we were seated at a table and I got some water.

I was feeling bad, but still felt I could “manage” and push my way through it.

We got to the table, I got a glass of water, and I took the medicine.

By this time, though, it was dawning on me that my plan to “manage” and push my way through this, was a very stupid plan. Not to mention delusional.

The final clue was when I opened the menu and searched for something I thought I could eat – or even THINK about eating – without disastrous consequences.

I ordered “just salad,” but soon realized even that was not going to work.

So I quietly told my husband I was heading to the car.

And there I was.

I felt horrible for putting a damper on the evening.

I regretted not getting to visit with everyone.

I was riding it out as best I could.

Moral of the story:

I shouldn’t have ignored the first signs.

I shouldn’t have delayed taking advantage of the help that was offered.

And I should remember how very lucky I am to have such a wonderful and understanding family.

Five Minute Friday: Crowd

(I have decided to participate with a group of writers in a weekly “Five Minute Friday” writing exercise. In response to a word prompt, each writer sits down for five minutes for “no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.” This is also described as a sort of writing flash mob and a great form of “free therapy” – so here goes…my first “Five Minute Friday.”)

Five Minute Friday: Crowd

I am NOT a crowd person.

If an event is big, loud and, well “crowded” – it’s not for me.

I prefer quieter venues.

Hanging out with a small group of friends or family.

Or by myself – in a library nook or corner of our living room.

I don’t like that feeling that things are spinning out of control or that I can’t keep the overall “big picture” in view.

I don’t like it when my schedule gets too “crowded.”

I don’t like it when my surroundings get too “crowded” or cluttered.

Simplicity is my holy grail.

I want to focus on the basics.

A friend asked yesterday – how do we keep the “urgent” from crowding out the “important?”

How do we keep “life” (as in, “oh well, that’s life!”) from crowding out “life?”

Fishing

WWW@25

Screen shot of Google search for World Wide Web

Newsflash!

I am more than twice as old as the World Wide Web.

Today is considered the 25th birthday for the good young WWW.

Wow!

How things have changed.

When I first started working in radio news, we typed our scripts on IBM Selectric typewriters, we ripped the wire copy off of a spool dot matrix printer, and we edited the reel to reels with razor blades and narrow strips of splicing tape.

We had landline telephones and Marantz cassette tape recorders.

There was no email.

There were no cell phones.

There were no web pages.

There was no Google.

How in the no-world-wide-web did we stay informed?

Somehow, we did.

Somehow, we do.

The shifts in how we get our information are breathtaking.

There is information coming at us from a million directions, all at a zillion miles per hour, and in mind-numbing quantities.

Facebook.

Twitter.

Blogs.

Web pages.

Traditional media (if there is such a thing anymore) has had to adapt right along with the web.

Newspapers have to tweet and video.

TV networks have to Instagram and Facebook.

Radio stations live-blog and stream.

We get information from recognized sources, from friends, from acquaintances, and from unknown entities.

The trick is to filter it and decipher what is relevant, what is accurate, what is reliable.

That is the challenge of today…the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web.

It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

Happy Birthday WWW.

And many more.