This is a plug for A Time to Mourn..., a post on my daughter's blog that spoke straight to my heart. Although you will probably never see it on Blogger's list of Blogs of Note, it would definitely be on mine (if I were to compile such a list).

Now you may be thinking that I'm just another one of those prejudiced moms who like to brag about their kids, but please don't let that turn you off. I hope you will read the entry and decide for yourself. It may just speak to your heart too.



"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not
do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15)

It took me months to lose eight pounds, but only a few days to gain back two. I am without excuse. I have always loved to eat, and much as I hate to admit it, food has become an idol in my life. I run to it for comfort, when I am faced with a task I would rather put off, and in many other instances that have nothing to do with physical hunger. Much as I desire to put an end to this pattern, my short sucesses seem always to end in major falls. For instance, the chicken skin incident.

Motivated by a strong desire to be able to fit into my jeans once again, and by threats from the doc to put me on medication if I didn't do something drastic to lower my cholesterol, I started Weight Watchers. I also started a Bible study on transfering my focus from food to God. Not a diet per se, but rather an adventure in eating the way God intended for me to eat that would set me free from the stronghold food had gained in my life.

For three months I did pretty well--almost four months, actually--but then I started getting cocky. Far from my mind was the warning that pride comes before a fall, and as the day for my bloodwork drew near, Harris Teeter announced a special sale on rotisserie chickens. Three dollars off--and only one to a customer. Now that was a sale too good to pass by.

I hadn't had a rotisserie chicken in months, and visions of one turning slowly on the spit started to invade my mind. I could see the skin--my favorite part--turning golden brown. I could almost smell and taste it too. Where in the beginning I had found many excuses to try and delay revisiting the doc, now it couldn't happen soon enough.

The day of my appointment, I was like an addict craving a fix. I rushed straight from the doctor's office to Harris Teeter and bought myself a freshly rotisseried chicken, still pipng hot. Then another mad rush home and into my kitchen, where I couldn't get the skin off that bird and into my mouth fast enough.

After that, my conscience must have gotten seared or something, because the next couple of days remain a blur of delicacies downed without so much as an iota of remorse. Only when I stepped on the scale and saw the numbers creeping up again was I finally shocked to my senses. What had I been thinking?

Frustrated and annoyed at allowing temptation to gain the upper hand once again, I picked myself up and pushed my restart button, and in that instant I was overcome by floods of gratitude towards a loving God who is merciful and longsuffering, who never gives up on me--even when I feel like giving up on myself--and who gently reminds me that I may not be where I want to be, but I'm not where I was either.



"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in
the morning." (Psalm 30:5b)

What a difference a day can make!

Yesterday was blustery and dreary, but today the sun is shining, and the wind has died down. As I drive to Herndon, I am greeted by an unexpected sight. The buds of the redbuds have not blown away. They are just off to a late start because of the unseasonably cold weather we've been having. Blooming trees line the highway. I will not have to miss their beauty after all!



I'm looking out my window at the trees being mercilessly whipped by the 60 mph wind gusts, and feeling as gray as the sky. I mourn my favorite redbuds that have hardly had a chance to flower this spring. All year I look forward to those purple blosoms, and now the buds have surely been blown off the trees way before their time. Haven't I experienced enough unexpected twists and turns to my life? Are not even the seasons to be predictable anymore?

I think of how hard it has been to make friends in Leesburg. Acquaintances abound, but their life is so hectic, so overextended, so overcommitted, that reaching out has not met with much success at all. The three friends that I did make, and who have been an important part of my life, are in the process of moving away. I feel happy for them, but at the same time pained at the impending loss.

One friend was a walking partner. We would meet on a certain corner and then walk around the outlet mall together--about a mile and a half for me, two miles for her--and exercise our bodies, while baring our souls. We laughed together, and cried together, and would sometimes become so engrossed in conversation that I would continue on with her to her house, making my walk home even longer.

These days I walk alone. It is not the same. There is a deep void in my heart.

I do not want to say goodbye!



"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God
is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But
when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can
stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Hadn't I agreed with myself that I can't have these cookies in the house? Didn't I promise myself before walking out the door that I would not buy any when I shopped at Trader Joes's today? Then why, when I got there, did I immediately think of the upcoming Women's Fellowship meeting, and that we had been asked to bring along something sweet or salty? And why, with all the other choices of things I could buy, did I convince myself that a tub of Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snap cookies was the only thing that would fit the bill? Did that sneaky little thought lurking in the back of my mind that I would just have to take any leftovers home with me, heh! heh!, have anything to do with it?

Well guess what. The cookies weren't where they were supposed to be. I hunted high and low. I even called over one of the stockers and asked her if she knew where they were, or if she just hadn't put them out on the shelf yet. Imagine my surprise when she apologized profusely and informed me they were all out.




"For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope
and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Well, the blasting has started. Actually, it started two weeks ago, but I seem to have missed most of it so far. A couple of times I thought I heard something very muted. The other times, I must have been out running errands or something. Yesterday I went for a walk, and arrived home just in time to see the tell-tale post-blast smoke cloud.

Nevertheless, the view from my living room window remains picture perfect. Dogwoods in full bloom, my favorite redbuds budding, and a clear, blue sky. Of course this sets the old brain rambling again, as I think how blessed I am that the new construction ends to the right of my building, just as the old construction ended to the left, and my view remains unobstructed.

I think back to how disappointed I was some 11 years ago, when I moved in here. The apartment I wanted faced the woods, and I looked forward to enjoying tranquil views of deer and sunsets when I came home from work. By the time I was able to scrape my security deposit together though, that unit was no longer available. Nor were any others on that side of the courtyard.

Reluctantly I moved into the only available dwelling, which to my dismay, had a whole different exposure. Now my view was of a dirt road, and a horse farm fenced off from the road by a line of tall trees--a different type of serenity altogether. What I didn't know was that the Lord, who sees the whole picture and knows the beginning from the end, was surely looking out for me when in His infinite wisdom He steered me to my present apartment rather than allowing me the one my heart was set on.

Less than a year later, the woods had disappeared, and construction was started on an outlet mall. The tenants in the apartment I coveted lived through many months of dust and blasts, and when the mall was finally completed, their original view had been replaced by cement walls, and the back of a parking lot. I, on the other hand, was still enjoying my view of horses romping in the field, deer congregating at dusk, and even an occasional fox making a quick run-through.

Then came the time when my view was altered too, though not as drastically as I at first feared it would be. It all started the day I drove home from work and was greeted by the sight of those stately trees that had that very morning stood sentry around the perimeter of the farm, now lying in clumps by the side of the road. The horses were gone too. I was informed that the horse farm had been sold, and new construction to erect a Home Depot and Food Lion was about to begin.

This neighborhood has undergone many changes since then. The dirt road has long gone, and been replaced by a four-lane paved one, but the contsruction, both old and in process, has stopped short of blocking the serenity of my view. I still see green grass, and have been able to follow the progress of several rows of saplings planted in the middle of the field, as they matured and grew tall. And most of all, I am filled with a sense of wonder and gratitude towards a God who loves me so much He would concern Himself with such minute details of my life as the view from my window. Truly He is worthy of all my trust.