I See Heaven

The sky rolled above us, clouds of every shade of gray moving across the sky. Charcoal, slate, smoky and gunmetal masses created an uneven, wind-ruffled mantle. Nevertheless, we needed to shop.  Ruby and I headed inside the store.  Ruby picked up cat treats for Chloe, useful for teaching Chloe tricks. I picked up items to bake Zac a birthday cheesecake. I loaded our booty in the car and we drove home.  Trips to the store before school starts can’t be lengthy.

“Look, Mom!” Ruby called from the back seat.

“Look at the sky.  I can see heaven.  Can you see it?”

I glanced back to see where she pointed.

One of the clouds had a golden outline, glowing against the rest of the gray. The sun, hidden yet shining, tipped the mass with light. A snippet of blue sky showed through next to it. In these sopping wet days, seeing any sort of bare sky brings a bit of hope.

I smiled.

“I see it, baby girl.”

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Ruby asked.

“Yes, it is.”

Most of us know that wasn’t really heaven.  I wish it was. We can’t see that far with our mortal eyes.  It’s not given to us to see, just out of reach, hovering in the blue.

But I wish we could view it every day.  We’d be able to check out what the new bodies looked like. I still want to be taller.  Maybe we could catch a glimpse of heaven’s feasts, get a whiff of celestial delicacies. We could gaze up and spot loved ones who went before us, gaining encouragement in life’s daily hubbub down here.  Perceiving their patience would help us carry on. We could anticipate that the reward waiting for us deserved our faithful service to Jesus. I’d love to peek at our glorious future, no more tears or pain, fellowship divine.

Would we live differently if we could see it?

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Friday Frippery

Today, I taught my 10th kettlebell class.  Woot!  I’m learning to make it up on the fly. When I taught this past Wednesday morning, I forgot my workout sheet at home.  I remembered it as my car crested the hill to the gym. Doh!  Thank goodness for the grace of the one other friend who showed up that day. This morning, though, we did cards.  Seemed like enough. Especially the 40 jump squats.

Ruby will attend another week of YMCA camp.  Flower Power likes it and they like her.  She gets to walk dogs there, too. Where else can you learn to tie knots anymore? I ask you.

knot tyingWhile food shopping today, I kept almost running into a couple of British guys and a little boy, also British.  The boy sat cross-legged in the cart, calling out, “Dad-dy! Dad-dy!” in that adorable accent. 

“Sorry,” one of the Brits said with a sheepish smile as we both tried to maneuver our carts in the post-addled aisles.  “We’re always in your way.” 

I smiled back. No problem, mate.

Did I miss something?  Is Shelton a tourist destination now?  I quenched my nosy 20 questions, fearful of seeming an ugly American, as well as clinging to a certain amount of native reservedness. Accosting total strangers while they shop isn’t my thing. Usually. Perhaps a movie crew is putting a film together. One of them looked an awful lot like Simon Pegg.  Just saying.

simon-pegg

Hey, it could happen.

 

Swimsuit Short

I went swimsuit shopping today.  I only needed to find part of a swimsuit, a top half.  I have some board shorts I picked up last year (new) that pretty much go with everything.  Since I don’t really swim much anymore, I didn’t want to spend a mint.  I headed to Goodwill and started my search.  Usually I’m skeeved out by buying used undergarments.  But a swimsuit top seemed easily washable and harmless. I wanted something like a tankini top for a Mom-and-Ruby outing later this weekend.

I screwed my courage to the sticking place and picked some suits to try on.

Swimsuit top number one:  Great pattern of pink, brown and green swirly things, like a flat salad.  Verdict:  saggy baggy elephant.  No.

Swimsuit top number two:  Black-and-white graphics.  Liking it.  Verdict:  too short.  Really?!  How did that happen?

Swimsuit top number three:  Black and lavender floral number with a dramatic edge.  Verdict:  too big.  Next!

Swimsuit top number four:  Pink tank style with graphic black and white Os on it.  Verdict:  looks okay.  I will probably only wear it once this summer, maybe twice.

This is one of those times when I wish we could return to the 1920s bathing costumes, and not because of modesty, as so many have championed.  They simply look better on most gals.

Photo by glamoursurf.com.

Photo by glamoursurf.com.

See?  It’s a mini dress! The model (above) looks adorable and fully made up, like a doll. Hmm. Wait a minute. I don’t remember the lace gloves or spats action.  Are those…hoops in the skirt? The shoes look sturdy. How do you keep the cap on?  Sigh. Okay, I changed my mind.

It seems that swimming in any age save the very beginning of time was fraught with wardrobe issues.  If only I were a mermaid.

 

Lonely Banana

Ruby and I did some food shopping before school this morning.  Her school, that is, not mine.  We also needed to put gas in the car.  She helped me pump it. I like Ruby’s company, and this way I took care of one of several chores listed for today.

We strolled the store. We looked at cereal.  We picked out soda.  We also got meat, honey, and a bunch of other stuff.

Rounding into the produce aisle, we hit up the banana stand.  I’ve become more of a banana convert since getting serious about running.

I picked up a bunch, held it and estimated its weight, then put it in the cart.

“Mom, look at that banana,” Ruby said. She pointed at the display.

I looked.  One banana sat alone, not attached to any pack.  A rare sight indeed.

“It looks…lonely,”Ruby mused.  She didn’t like the banana, off by itself.  It disturbed her somehow.

She picked up the singular banana and placed it on top of another grouping.  Of course, anyone grabbing up the bundle would know it didn’t belong.  But this way the crescent-shaped loner could at least *look* like it was part of a large family.

I chuckled.  I don’t think of my food having feelings.  Ruby does.

I immediately thought of the scripture: God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. – Psalm 68:6

I don’t think bananas are rebellious.  Usually.  And they thrive in sunny climes.  I don’t think the prisoner part applies to this situation, either.  But the lonely acquiring a family, yes! Everyone has value and deserves to be included. However, not everyone has a natural family.  I’m blessed to have all my parents and in-laws still around.  I’ve got siblings and nieces and nephews, not to mention a husband and kids of my own.

Are you an only banana?  Look and see if there isn’t a family who would love to add you to their cluster. For those of us who already belong to a tribe, who needs to be in our family?  Who are the “lone wolves” who could use companionship? Are we so busy taking care of “us four and no more” that we fail to look outside? As believers, we get to be God’s hands and feet here on earth. With the Lord’s help, I know I can do better.

Hindrances and Hangups

On this last, dismal and drizzly day of February, I attempted to continue to edit the Microsoft notes.

Alas, it was not to be for a long time.  First, I slept poorly.  Didn’t get up early to work out.  Couldn’t get Ruby to go to the store with me before school, an errand I couldn’t put off another day.  Dropped her off at school, rushed to the bank where I took out $400 instead of $40.  Got a little happy with the 0s.  I punched the Cancel button frantically, to no avail.  Yikes!  The machine spit out a wad of 20-dollar bills.  Made the rounds at the grocery store, then somehow awkwardly used self-checkout, thinking it would be faster.  And it would have been, except the bleepity plastic bags kept sticking together and the machine jammed giving me my change.  Quickly loaded my car in the downpour, then deposited the remaining $360 back to the checking account.

Note to self:  No accounting activities or withdrawing money when barely awake.  Driving’s okay, though.

Came home to ingest another cup of coffee to prop myself up.  Considered cleaning the bathroom and put it off for at least a few more hours.  Somehow, in Ruby’s latest foray into outdoor forts, she managed to bring in a lot of said outdoors.  The tub looks like low tide, a ring of dirt rimming the edges of the white porcelain.  All that’s missing are the broken shells. Yuck.

I got cleaned up for a shelter meeting with the city.  I got there a little early, before 10:30, when the meeting was supposed to start.  Others gathered, and we waited an extra half hour for the main participants to show up.  Seriously?!  Yes, it’s raining.  It’s raining all the time here.  This is no storm.  I left at noon with an abashed smile and quiet apologies (a self-imposed deadline) and finally, finally got back to my notes.

In the past, I would have been really frustrated by now, vexed and fuming at how little time I’ve been able to dedicate to the enormous task of getting the notes ready for my boss to view.  My deadline is Saturday morning.  My PAC host emailed me yesterday and asked for the raw notes.  Gulp.  How raw do you want ’em, buddy?  And what does sldkhfsldkhfISDE mean, anyway?  Your guess is as good as mine.  My supervisor sent him my notes, with the understanding that they are in draft form only.  Kinda felt like I was caught standing outside with just foundation garments on, but oh well.

I know God has even the smallest details of my life in His hands.  At the end of the (very long) day, I am finite.  I will do my best and stay on task and trust Him to take care of the rest.

I am 2/3 of the way done with the first edits. Miles to go before I sleep.  Unless I’m sleeping now…

Shorty in the Store

I went clothes shopping today.  Well, technically, I didn’t plan on it.  I had one certain item I was looking for. You don’t need to know what it was!  But, as for me and my house, we like clothes.

I was at J.C. Penney’s, for clarification purposes.

In times past, years and years, I could always find something that fit and something I really liked here.  Jeans, shirts, dresses, sometimes even shoes made it home with me.  I was a happy camper.  Mom and I spent many joyful hours perusing the racks.

As of this winter…no more.  They’ve revamped the entire store.  It’s all grouped by designer now, not sizes.  So you must tromp around and look at Liz Claiborne petites, Alfred Dunner petites (eek!), and on and on.  I don’t know if anyone else of a normal sizes likes this setup or not, but I sure don’t.

I mentioned in another post about trying on pink skinny jeans.  Yeah.  You know how well that went.  And now, dear readers, the petites section has dwindled even more.  The clothes are either elastic-waist, frumpy goodness, career wear or teeny-bopper stuff.  What about us, ahem, middle-aged gals?  I am solidly in the petites section, being 5’1″(ish).  I can’t wear regular jeans at all.  The denim puddles on the floor. Shirt sleeves hang down past my hands.  I look like   a kid stumbling around in mommy’s closet.

On the other hand, their exercise gear section has exploded!  I can find clothes here, but I don’t fancy walking around in spandex all day.  I think most of you would appreciate it if I didn’t.

Where are the clothes for women?  I don’t want to take my business elsewhere, but I guess I will have to.  I’m not ready to be a grandma (thank you, God!) and I have no desire to regress to teenager.  I love career wear but have no need at this point in time for suits or more dress pants.

Will somebody please, please create a good petite line of clothing and make it affordable and accessible to those of us in semi-rural areas?  We like to wear things besides camouflage and cut-offs. Thank you for your support.

Gray Skinny Jeans in Size 14

Took Zac jeans shopping today.  My son, bless his heart, is thirteen.  That means he’s a teenager.

Did he want to go shopping.  No.  He was tired, he said.  He didn’t really need new jeans, fending for himself with size 12 jeans that hug his heels and wearing shorts in all kinds of weather.  I won’t even talk about him wearing hoodies even in the snow, though he has a perfectly good, new winter jacket hanging up in his room.

Nobody wears those.  Duh, Mom.  I also won’t bring up the snow boots from last year that he wore once.

We headed out to JC Penney’s.  This, friends, is the only store that carries the brand of jeans he likes.  He won’t wear anything else, as you know.  I figured we better go together and pick them out to escape any future hassle.  Then I know for sure that he’ll wear them.

We found the boys’ section.  We found the Levis.  We found the skinniest skinny jeans known to man – or woman.  I hate skinny jeans.  They make very few post-puberty mortals look skinny.  But they look even worse in pink, or floral.  Trust me.

He picked up a gray pair in his new size, 14.  The color had changed slightly from a medium gray to a blue-gray.  But I wasn’t about to say anything.  These were the Holy Grail of jeans.  Best not mess with them or mention any possible change in their manufacturing.

Zac emerged from the dressing room in new jeans.  They were…baggy.  Baggy?!  Oh no!

“Mom, they’re kinda big,” he informed me, plucking at the legs.  And they were.  The jeans, unlike the former pairs, did not  encircle his limbs in a gentle fabric embrace. They hung in wrinkles down his legs and puddled on his shoes.  Whoa.

“Do you want to look at another type of jean?” I asked, hopefully.  I like shopping for clothes.  This time together gave us a rare opportunity to bond doing something I enjoy. I even thought maybe, just maybe, I could interest him in some sale jeans.  These were full price.  I’ve never seen them on sale.  Ever.

“No,” he responded quickly.  “I like these, even if they’re too big.”

Sigh.

He didn’t want to try on any others. He didn’t want to look at shirts, which he’s also outgrown. He only wanted the jeans, three pairs to be exact.  Which turned out to be a good thing, because there were only 3 pairs left in the entire store in his size.  Huzzah!

I had a personal gift card left over from Christmas to spend as well.  He humored me by going over the women’s section.  He could not figure out the sizing.

“Size 14?  Size 10?  Why are they sized like this?”  In his world, usually your size is closely tied to your actual age.  He is 13 and he’s wearing size 14.  But women’s sizing contains mystery and freakishly bad measuring.  I told him my size and he was even more confused.  Let’s just say I’m glad my size is not tied to my, ahem, chronological age.

But what if it was?  Would women still claim to be 29 or 39?  Would those clothes even fit, or would they sort of set off an alarm if you tried them on?  “Step away from the size 18 jeans.  You are too young to wear those.  The 12-year-old clothes are over by the toddler section.” “Warning, warning! This female is 54 years old, not 39.  This skirt will self-destruct in 5 seconds!”

Could be messy.  Could be incredibly embarrassing.

On second thought, I’ll stick with the enigmatic world of women’s clothing sizes.  Seems safer.