Friday, June 17, 2016

that Thursday

It has been a couple of weeks now, since one of several groups of violent storms that came to my area of the world, bringing flooding and winds and electric poles broken in two, and other wind, rain, and lightning-born natural demonstrations of destruction, began at approximately 5pm, just as work let out, on a day that has come to be referred to in conversation, as "that Thursday."

 Everybody has a story about that Thursday And everybody who's hearing those stories, knows which Thursday that Thursday was, because they have a story do I...

That Thursday was not, as you might expect, a dark and stormy night. Not at all. I was in the office all day, but i remember it to be a cool and sunny day. Imagine that. Our area had been weathering and recovering from the effects of very generous rainfall for more than a month, and since the weather had been so nice for a couple of days, I was caught completely by surprise when the sky turned dark at about 4:30 on that Thursday.

And then it really was a dark and stormy - evening, i guess.

Now, please understand.  This is East Texas, where the rains don't always come, but when they come, they don't come lightly.  They generally come with lightning and tornado watches, or possibly with hurricanes.

I have driven in weather.  I have driven in pounding rain, in the dark, down the same narrow, winding, hilly roads through the woods, over and over again.  And i am pretty good at it by now.  To be honest, my only real concern is generally the less than exemplary actions of the drivers with whom i share those narrow roads in the rain.  People get crazy when there's water on the road.  I don't know why.

Because of this, when i got off work, and it was pounding rain, at 5:00 pm on that Thursday, I waited in my car, in the employee parking garage, for a few minutes, thinking i would let the people who are in too big of a hurry to notice the rain, get on their way.  But when i entered the roadway, i knew immediately that this had not done me as much good as i hoped.  This is because ... well, it was that Thursday.

Somehow, in the few minutes it had been raining, the roads were already collecting dangerously large ponds of water, and the water was moving, like a rushing river.  The wind blew hard, horizontally from the left, and then, in seconds, it changed direction and blew hard horizontally from the right, changing the direction of the rushing river roadways and making the lanes and everything else very hard to see.  The ditches were more than overflowing, most people were not moving fast, and the sky was just stinking scary.

Let me tell you something.  I got scared.

Stinking scared.

"Turn around.  Don't drown." they always tell you.  But i was afraid to turn anywhere.  If i stop, i might not go again, and if i turn off this road, i can't tell where the bottom is.  No way, i'm not turning around.

That evening, driving home, i prayed a scripture more earnestly than i have ever even considered that scripture.  I prayed, "Yea though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil..."  And i was pretty sure i really was driving through the valley of the shadow of death.

It occurred to me later, and a little bit at the moment, that my prayer and my heart were definitely not in sync.  While i was saying the words, "...i will fear no evil..." i was fearing a whole lot of evil.

I made it home.  I didn't flood my car...or myself, as i had imagined a hundred times during my drive.

When i got out of the car, i was shaking.  I sort of stumbled into my house, so thankful for my house.  And a few minutes later, as i stopped to be thankful for making it home safely, i just burst into tears. I cried for a long time, and it was a few days before i was willing to drive again.

And i've thought about that day a lot, largely because i was so fearful.  I'm not accustomed to being fearful.   Fear requires way too much unpleasant mental energy.  I don't like it.  Ever since i was a little girl, and i was afraid of some imaginary creature under my bed, i would face it.  I remember turning my head down (with my feet safely under the covers of course) the side of bed to where i could look under my my bed and yell at whatever was down there...satisfying my mind that i was safe.  I don't like fear.  I don't like scary movies.  I just don't do it.

Jump ahead to today, when in my reading, I came to the source of my prayer from that Thursday:  Psalm 23.

And as i read it, i realized why it might be really helpful for me to remember this Psalm from the beginning instead of the middle.  It starts with the words, "The Lord is my Shepherd.  I shall not want."

Doesn't that make you feel more at ease than "..though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death?"

It does me.

The Lord is my shepherd,
shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Monday, March 14, 2016

It's Monday! And i'm a mealworm farmer!


Here they are!  My actual mealworms, possibly a bit larger than actual size, depending on your resolution.

I picked up my mealworm farm starter kit this morning, kept the little guys (and girls) with me at my desk all day (don't tell my co-workers), and even took them with me to Bible study, where i used them for my own little show and tell.  Finally, i'm home, and so are they.

I was a little concerned that handling these guys would kind of creep me out, but it turns out, they're not that creepy.

No.  Really.

Anyway, it's late.  I REALLY need to go to bed.  But i will leave you with this.

A loose paraphrase of Luke 9:51ish through 54ish.

Recently, the disciples had been given power by Jesus to heal sick people and to rid them of demons, and they had been out practicing, per Jesus' instructions.  But now they're back together, and Jesus has decided to go on a journey, and the disciples are with him.  While on the journey, Jesus is hoping to get some overnight lodging in a town along the way, but the people in the town, said, "nope."  They're not happy about this particular journey Jesus is taking, and they don't want to help.  Well, the disciples, they're just barely baptized in this new power Jesus has given them, and they offer to "call down fire from heaven" buah ah ah, and consume these people who would turn Jesus away.  But Jesus is UNhappy with the disciples about this proposal.  "You do not know what spirit you are of," He says.  [That is not why I came.]  "[I] did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." 

Jesus also said, in another place, that to know Him is to know the Father.  God is not looking to destroy you for your mistakes, for your rejection of Him, or for anything else.  He volunteered to sacrifice Himself, His Son, so that you, no matter who you are, your life could be saved.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Automatic Chicken Door!

In the life of every chicken keeper is the daily chore of opening and closing the chicken door, the tiny chicken size door on the back of the chicken coop, that lets the chickens out into the chicken yard.  In my particular case, this also includes walking into the chicken coop (usually in my work clothes), bending down underneath the nest boxes, and prying out the piece of wood which is wedging the door in place, and then wedging it differently to keep the door open.

The placement of the door is important because the nest boxes have a slanted top.  This was supposed to keep the chickens from hanging out up there, but apparently the slant isn't severe enough to disuade them, and they hang out up there anyway.  

And anywhere chickens hang out, chickens poop.


This is important because chicken poop sometimes doesn't stay where it's dropped off, especially if it's dropped off on a slanted surface, and then gravity takes over and if there happens to be someone bent over under the nest boxes, in their work clothes.....well, you get the picture.


And also that makes you late for work, especially if you accidentally get it in your hair while you're changing your clothes.

Yes. Ew, again.  But with tears this time.

This weekend, my gun-slingin' super hero, this time slinging some wonderful technical know-how, came to my rescue.    It's a prototype.  Be patient.  Here comes the magic. It's slow magic - on purpose, so it doesn't accidentally crush chickens. This is important.

By remote control from my kitchen, i can make this happen.

You should turn on your volume.  It's great.

Coming soon - chicken door on a timer...  Too much excitement!