Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Thousand Slivers of Glass

Yesterday's crust of snow
crunched under my boots
after the 2 am call yanked
me from my warm bed.
I picked my way slowly
through the sidewalk ice jams,
while my mind raced on ahead.
I groaned blizzards of the
only foxhole prayer that
my numb lips could form,
Dear God! Blue baby. Oh God!
The few blocks seemed so far,
but not far enough
to avoid standing on the street curb,
watching the ambulance pull away.

I couldn't help it,
my eyes were automatically
pulled up into a desperate search
for a sign in that night sky
that looked like blue velvet
studded with diamonds.
And then, I saw
a holy trinity of stars
swipe a luminous arc
in an indigo sky, and the
cloud-veil parted slightly,
long enough to glimpse
celestial fireworks - blinking
quasars and flashing nebulae
to light your way as you
skipped gleefully over
and ricocheted past Twinkle Little Star;
you mocked gravity
with your angel escort;
and without looking back,
you quietly departed.

One question pulsated
in my mind. How can you
live when your heart is shattered
into a thousand slivers of glass?
And in the reverberating silence,
a hideous knowing took shape:
I'm in exile here,
and jealous of God.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take It For Granted

I don't know why we do it, but it seems to be human nature to take the people we love for granted. We take for granted that they know how much we care about them, how much they mean to us or that they are important in our life -and so we run faster and further and don't take the time to really, really LOOK at them and see how they are doing. We get so busy, so preoccupied, that we don't take the time to show those we love that we appreciate them. Often we wake up one day and there is such a distance between us, that we don't know how to bridge that huge gulf of neglect.

Much of this is because we don't pay attention; we are engrossed in our own drama and life; we assume they know without effort on our part that we love them more than anything else in the world. Many times, the important people in our life don't feel special to us because we take them for granted.

Last week, I was feeling very taken for granted and pushed aside. I did not feel special at all. I felt very hurt. And as I've thought about this, and we have tried to deal with this together, I had to tell someone who professed to love me that I did not feel loved, or special, much less valued, esteemed or treasured. At all.

Who doesn't want to be cherished and adored and esteemed to be the greatest treasure in the person you love's life? I could be wrong, but I think this is one of the greatest needs in people today. They want to not only to be told they are important to their special someone, but to have that demonstrated by their actions. We all want to be adored.

So, as I was praying about this today, and I was pouring my heart out to God, and I had this thought come to me, that he understood how I felt, because He is taken for granted by His loved ones, too....all the time. All He wants is for us to love Him, and want to have a relationship with Him. There was no condemnation in this, just that He knew how I felt, because He feels it, too.

I am guilty of that. I have taken my relationship with the Lord for grated. Oh, He will always be there, I'll talk to Him, later, instead of treating Him as a valued friend who walks by my side every minute of the day. And like the wonderful friend Jesus is, He did not condemn me, He just shared so I would understand His feelings, too.

I went for a bike ride, and when I returned home and parked my bike, I realized that the fountain was not running and needed cleaned. So, I unplugged it and tipped the water out and then after I had laid the parts on the lawn, I walked to get the garden hose and turn on the water hydrant. There in the grass, there were long feathers, short feathers, fluffy feathers and bi-colored ones, too. I found 10 in all in the short walk to get the hose. I set the fountain up again, and turned on the water, and looked at the fistful of feathers I had in my hands. My heart felt lighter - light as a feather.

Jesus does not take it for granted that I know He loves me....he gives me reminders everyday, in addition to sticking as close as a brother. He never leaves me, he never rejects me. He loves me as no other - unconditionally. I was so blind to take that love for granted. And to top that off, He even gives me the wisdom and power to make those changes.

I am more conscious, now, and determined to not take those I love for granted, again. I want them to know what a treasure they are to me. I want them to know I cherish our times together and value their love as the best thing that has happened to me in my life. And I especially want Jesus to know that, too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hymn to a Summer Day

The park is quiet; the swings hang vacant,
the slide deserted. Walking to a bench
in the shade, the turtledove sings softly
of the ways of the Lord. The happy grass
eavesdrops on the gossiping crickets,
the dew winks to the traveling clouds,
the hackberry branches sway in time
to the rapping woodpecker in a hollow
tree, and the hands of the honey locust
flutter in conversation with the elms. Wind
nudges the glossy leaves on the cottonwoods,
creating ripples of greetings to the sky.

A jay, in his soldier blue jacket, jeers to the
acres of green grass, "Nothing under the sun
can tie me down!" The pulsing lawn sprinklers
hiss their defensive warning to the jay, then
continues oscillating in half-moon circles.

The gentle dove croons "Grace. Grace. Grace,"
into the silence, a silence in which another
voice may speak, before the onslaught of children
later to come; and the humble grass stands
attentive, as if to say: Let the children be
children, and hinder them not. Let them come.

~Tami Vrbas

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Remind Me

One of my friends finds reminders of God's love in a beautiful rainbow. He says they always appear when he is down and depressed. Then he'll be going along, and there will be a rainbow to remind him that God loves him. Another friend finds the same thing when he finds dimes on the ground. One day he found 6 of them, each at different times of the day. As it happened, he was having a very discouraging day, and each time he found a dime, he felt warmed by this reminder that he was loved. His day got better each time. At least, he didn't feel he was all alone trying to handle it, from then on.

I noticed when both friends talked about it, they got quite excited, and it got me to thinking that these were small gifts that might seem quite ordinary to other people, but my friend really loves rainbows and the other money, and each found inspiration when these ordinary things appeared. The result was they felt they had been kissed by God.

I have my own "kiss from God." I find bird feathers tucked in the grass, or in the garden. This morning, I planned to spread the red mulch in my flower bed, and as I walked up to the flower bed, I had to smile. There was a light grey bird feather on the ground, where I planned to start working. I found one yesterday in my garden, between the tomato cages and the sunflowers. I had walked through there 5 or 6 times and had not seen it until my eyes were stinging from the sweat running down my face and into my eyes. It wasn't laying there until I was really needing it. Then, voila! Last year, I found 3 feathers. I had goosebumps, for it was the day after we had to have our beloved dog put to sleep.

I guess this could sound a little lame to some, or coincidental at best, but these things get me through the day, and never fail to help me to focus on something bigger than me and my petty little things that could discourage or pull me down. I am reminded He is always with me. Each time, I feel warm with thanks to the Lord, for inhabiting my life. My heart feels full, and every morning when I get up, I wonder where I will find my little gifts from God's heart today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

At the Carwash ?

Yesterday we had a family cookout, with our kids, grandkids and my mother here for Sunday lunch. Later, after everyone left, I walked past the fountain I have set up on the south side of our new porch. I did a double-take, for I think the little boys couldn't resist all the sawdust laying nearby on the ground. When I went to dump it, so the sawdust wouldn't clog up the pump on the fountain, there were more surprises! Out came 3 matchbox cars, too! I really had to laugh, at the surprise the grandsons left for me! They were just washing their cars the best way they knew how! Too cute! That was my giggle for the day!

Bambi and Red

In the Frenchman Valley, where I live, the land is a bit flat, especially in comparison to the canyons and hills north of town. Driving on Route 25, threading my car over the curves and turns through the deep canyons and steep hills in Hayes County, you can usually see wildlife of some kind or another,
something other than fresh roadkill, that is. Last Tuesday, I spotted two big bucks wading through the ripening wheat beside the highway. The wheat was chest high, nearly combine ready.

The week before I had seen a small fawn jump out of the brome grass beside the road, and scamper across to be swallowed up, in the tall grass on the other side. It happened so quickly, I just happened to be in the right place to witness this scene. I breathed a big sigh of relief when he was safe.

But, I think my favorite creature to look for is the red-tailed hawk that hangs out at the top of the hill near a ravine a few miles from town. Several times, it has flown across the road, just in front of me, and I have held my breath, hoping it did not fly into my vehicle, for both our sakes. I don't want the repair bill, and he doesn't need to take that kind of suicide flight. Sometimes, I spot him perched on a fencepost, his eyes peeled for a moving violation by a rodent of some sorts. Other times, he is soaring in the wind over the sunflowers, that just began to bloom late in June.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Talk to you, later

This blogger is going on hiatus. Thank you to all readers. You are appreciated. God bless.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pay Attention!

It was such a small piece, about the size of a round BB, but it killed my microwave oven! Sad to say, my finger was on the trigger. I pushed the button, the wrong button on Sunday night.

I just wanted some popcorn! So, laying the bag on the glass tray, I shut the door, like I have done a hundred and one times, and pushed the popcorn button. Zap! Usually, in about 60 seconds, you can hear the pop-pop-pop and then it beeps and voila! supper on Sunday night is ready! Quick. Easy. Painless. Unless you talk on the phone, then get on the internet and your roommate says,"PEE YEW! Something is burning!"

I ran back downstairs and into a fog, NO, dense smoke in the kitchen, and before I can open that microwave, my eyes water and I am doubled over coughing, to discover a black bag of charred popcorn and the glass turntable cracked in two. The microwave was toast. Toast would have smelled better!

I had lots of time to run this through my mind as I washed the walls, cabinets, and counters, and scrubbing off the stuck-on, gooey, smelly gunk where the microwave used to preside in my kitchen. I just couldn't figure it out, why this time one bag of popcorn blew up and didn't just pop. And finally, the truth pushed through the thick denial in my mind.

Want to know what went wrong, why the microwave is dead? Okay, this is soooooooooo embarassing. I pushed the potato button, and those little kernels of popcorn popped so long, they became like burnt bullets and fatally shot the microwave. What a "blonde" moment that was. It's true. I pushed the wrong button, then walked away, blithely unaware I killed it.

I miss my microwave! I can't heat a quick cup of tea, or defrost meat for supper, because "somebody" forgot to get the meat out of the freezer earlier in the day. If I want to soften butter to mix-up a quick batch of cookies, or reheat the lasagna for a fast meal, I'm out of luck, and all of this on account of not paying attention.

Wow. What cold humble pie this is. I can't even heat it in the microwave for a minute thirty seconds!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Favorite Things

Lately, I've been thinking about things that make me feel rich, that are my favorite things. You know, the little things that mean a lot, and you would miss if they would no longer be there.

Things that feed my soul are laughter, especially a young child's belly laugh, bird song, a walk in nature, the warm sun on my skin, a good book, bear hugs, a cup of hot steaming coffee in the mornings with my hubby, sewing, digging in the dirt in my garden, hearing the hoot owls calling back and forth in the still of the night, seeing my kids happy and doing what they are best at, a hot shower, when my grandkids squeal with excitement when I walk in the door and I get hugs and kisses, cookies hot from the oven, making soup that makes your mouth water, roses in the summer, butterflies fluttering back and forth from flower to flower, watching a red-tailed hawk soar on an updraft of a breeze, cardinals on the snow, watching squirrels chasing each other's tails around and around the trees in my yard, looking for the first tulip in late winter, reading good poetry that makes me say to myself, "I wish I'd written that!", when my hubby reaches for my hand when we go for a walk, driving in the country, wildflowers, lilacs, windmills, black cattle grazing in green pastures as I drive Highway 6 or 25, round bales of hay that dot the hay fields, rain on the roof, singing Amazing Grace when no ones around, and fireworks in the night sky on the 4th of July.

What makes you happy? Make a list and leave me a comment. I think it would be fun to read your lists.

Mr. Sassy Pants

Monday night Jack came to eat dinner with us, since his Mom needed to catch an appointment in one direction and his Daddy in the other direction for work, he got to come play with Jerry and me. Before he came, I put our dogs, Maggie and Sam, out back, because they get pretty excited when the grandkids come, and in their enthusiasm, they sometimes knock Jack down, which isn't a good way to be greeted at Grandma's door, when you are just 2 years old.

Jack was feeling pretty comfortable eating chicken and noodles with Tori when Jerry let the dogs back in the house. The schnauzer, Sam, has this interesting habit of barking indignantly, especially if we haven't let them in the minute they want. On Monday night, Sam proceeded to bark in disgust inside the back door, and carried on quite awhile scolding us in his way. I looked at Jack and commented, "Well, there is Mr. Sassy Pants!"

A few minutes later, Jack was running around singing, "Sassy pants. Sassy pants," in a little song he was making up. It was so cute! I hope Dave and Amy get a kick out of his new phrase he picked up. And I was so relieved it wasn't an expletive he learned at Grandma's house!

Whew! That was a close one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prize Winner

I submitted this poem to a Journal Contest in Pennsylvania in 2006. I had never done that before and figured it was a waste of time. But what the heck, I went ahead and sent three of my works to them. A couple months later, I received an email from the Editor, informing me I had won First Prize and publication in the Inspirit Summer 2007 Edition, along with a $500 check. I was so surprised! Then they asked for permission to publish a second one in their Autumn 2007 volumn. Wow!

Inspirit is The Literary Journal of Baughman Methodist United Methodist Church of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, and publishes poetry and essays that examine and explore the issues of faith, in it's many paths, variations and facets.

This is the poem I wrote. I have waited these many months to post it here, because it represents the saddest and longest day of my life. And while I am proud of the work I did on this and all, it is still difficult.

The Sorority No One Wishes To Join

They arrived one at a time,
bearing a casserole dish
or cake in their hands;
these women who have lost a child
came to console a new member.
The dormant debt of compassion
from their own past needed
fulfillment; and so,
with tear-stained cheeks,
those dignified,
Christic women enfolded
her in their arms - knowing -
all that could be done was
to come and to hold and to weep,
to shed their tears together
in compassionate relief.

When she's ready, she too
will make initiation calls,
holding cake or casserole at
the door in her outstretched hands,
discovering the aching pain
for her child assuaged when she
graces another's world of grief
with the inherent hope
her presence may bring;
then her pain will subside.
Giving freely what was freely
given, she pays her dues.
Once given the consolation
of shared grief, these survivors
go as God's hands and feet.

~Tami Vrbas~
c. 2006

Monday, January 12, 2009

Walking the Dogs

I have found it is difficult to stay motivated, to get out there everyday and walk for my health this winter, so last week when I took the dogs to be groomed, I learned our cocker spaniel, Maggie, had gained 4 and 1/2 pounds since summer! Sampson, our min-schnauzer had gained 1 pound. Yikes! The dogs are becoming like their owner!

Thursday morning I took each out for a 15 minute walk, or strut! Whew! I had trouble keeping up; they really like to stretch it out and make it burn! And even though it was 24 degrees outside, I was sweating profusely.

There wasn't time on Friday, but I took them out again for a longer walk on Saturday afternoon. It was glorious to walk in the sunshine with my happy dogs. Somehow, this has motivated me to get out there for them, too, which is additional motivation that I was really needing.

I am also celebrating the fact that last week I bought 3 new jeans in a smaller size. Hey, I beat myself up in the past everytime I gained an ounce, so the turnaround new habit I'm keeping, is that I am celebrating and savoring each new success. Hurray!

But, I have one question. How do you get a dog to workout on the treadmill when the weather is too nasty, when I have problems making myself "just do it?" They love to lay on the floor and watch me walk in place on that strange contraption. I have my fans!!

And so, I am quite grateful for this added motivation that has come to me. It is a gift, disguised as a problem, but as I unwrap it, it has become a bit of a prod to my reluctance (big word for laziness). And so I keep on trucking...er walking with the dogs, now.

And why not?!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm a Little Slow

This is a birthday post for my grandson, Jacob, who turned a year-old, on December 29th. I finally had time to download the pictures, then I'm having issues with Blogger not posting in the order I wanted.

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Cousin Addie and Jacob on Christmas Day.

Jacob and me at the county fair in August.

Jacob and Tori.
I just loved his spikey hair when he was little.

Birthday boy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Birthday Wishes To Heidi

She was the first born, our little "pineapple" born when we lived on Oahu, Hawaii. We were half-way around the world, and thousands of miles from her Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles, from family; but she was a beautiful baby, our first baby. I wanted to name her Leilani, which is a form of the word lei, which is the flower wreaths the Hawaiians place around visitors necks to welcome them to the islands. I couldn't believe how gorgeous those flowers were. I wanted to name her after them, but her father had other ideas, and so she was named Heidi Marie Vrbas. The Marie is for Jerry's mom, sister and grandmother, who were all Marys, of one sort or another. He was probably right, the name would have seemed weird when we were back on the mainland. (Shh! Don't tell him I admitted that!) Now that you know where she was born, is it any wonder she and I can eat a whole pineapple ourselves?!

Happy Birthday, Heidi!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This LIfts Me Up

I found this months ago in something I read. I keep it in my desk, and I get it out often and read it. The love and acceptance of my Heavenly Father really speaks to me in my heart. It gives me hope that as I lean on God, He is taking all the pieces of my heart and life and making something really special of it. I hope it speaks to you, too.

I know you. I created you. I have loved you from your mother's womb. You have fled - as you now know from my love, but I love you nevertheless and not-the-less however far you flee. It is I who sustains your very power of fleeing, and I will never finally let you go. I accept you as you are. You are forgiven. I know all your sufferings. I have always known them. Far beyond your understanding, when you suffer, I suffer. I also know all your tricks by which you try to hide the ugliness you have made of your life from yourself and others. But you are beautiful. You are beautiful more deeply within than you can see. You are beautiful because you yourself, in the unique person that only you are, reflect already something of the beautiful also because I, and I alone, see the beauty you shall become. Through the transforming power of my love which is made perfect in weakness you shall become perfectly beautiful. You shall become perfectly beautiful. You shall become perfectly beautiful in a uniquely irreplaceable way, which neither you nor I will work out alone, for we shall work it out together.

Author Unknown

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pep Talk

Today I feel discouraged, a little down. So, I am giving myself the pep talk I would give to my best friend, if she needed it. Here goes:

This is a journey, and not a finish line event. You are letting go bad habits, while establishing good habits, with much prayer, thought and meditation. In the past, you have committed to this weight loss journey, and at the beginning, felt excited, expectant, full of faith. Now comes the drudgery, the middle that seems to stretch on forever, and yet, it is only perception of such. Just do the next right thing, and don't stress about tomorrow or next month.

Break the time down to manageable units that your mind can handle easily and not get so discouraged. If a day seems insurmountable, break it into small segments. Just think about getting through this morning, this next hour, this minute. Stay in the present moment and listen for that still voice within that has guided you so wisely to this point in time, to continue to gently guide you to the next right thing to do. Seek help from those who have your back, and remember, this too will pass. The discouragement will pass, if you do not hold onto it and clutch it to your chest like it is the truth. The truth is that you CAN do it. You have been doing it, you just need a shot of optimism.

I believe the truth that will set me free from the middle blues is this: God will never leave me or forsake me. He is as close as the very air I breath. So, breathe in air and imagine, that life giving oxygen is, in fact, God fanning the sparks of my faith into a motivating fire deep in the very heart of me and renewing my spirit to transform my drooping spirit into a firm commitment to not give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.

Proverbs 16:3 guides me today. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

I'm going to work now, with my preplanned and measured lunch of 3 oz. chicken breast, 1/2 c. brown rice and 1 c. green beans ready to nuke in the microwave. My temptation buster is an apple that I can quickly grab and eat when I need a pickmeup during the day. I have the evening meal defrosted. Pork loin, a large salad and asparagus is on the menu. I plan to take a walk later, too, to walk off calories and the days cares.

I commit this to the Lord, and now I will do my footwork and give the results to God.

I don't feel so stuck now. I feel hopeful. I am so glad I did not talk myself into giving up. I am learning to treat myself well, and to nurture myself, which is another good habit I've been working on, for I believe that as I let go bad habits and keep good habits, that all that good self care will start to melt the fat off my body. I won't need it anymore to feel bad about myself. One day at a time, I can do this.

So help me, God, I will not give up.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Now that the holidays are over and done with, I can finally come up for air and update this blog. The last two weeks of December was full of Christmas concerts at church and school, holiday feasting and we also had three family birthdays the last week or so of December. Whew! And that was before New Year's hit and all the bowl games, too!

Things have been quiet at our house, since I took my husband to the Dr. on Friday. He has gastro-enteritus, and the medicine that was prescribed makes him drowsy. He has been catching up on his sleep the past 3 days, which is probably just what he needed, anyway. He has really burnt the candle at both ends for the past two months, and even though he had the stomach virus twice during that period of time, he kept on working. There really wasn't much choice, since his boss is not in good health, so keeping things running falls heavily on him.

I am looking forward to the new year, and to getting back to a normal routine. I like the holidays, but, this past one felt stressful, to say the least. Life is busy enough, without adding all that extra stuff to do at Christmas. I really sound like a Scrooge, don't I? Is it possible to be just a half-Scrooge, I wonder? ;=)