The Great Divorce…

I broke up with Fred. Well we were married, and now… well we are not. I feel free, even though I know he is still lurking around. I feel stronger, even though I am sure he is running behind me trying weigh me down again. I said what I needed to say. I did what I needed to do. Now here I am.

This past week, was the last week I was allowing Fred to be in my space, at lease knowingly. I threw him and all of his stuff in a canal.

I am sure at this point you are wondering who or what ‘Fred’ is, and what I am talking about. Well, Fred is FEAR. Fear has held me back from the things I have desired, wanted to say, and places I dared to go. Since fear isn’t something you can see in your hand, I carried around a potato in my purse for a week. Tonight, I threw him in a canal…him and all  he represents.

This season, I have been in a valley. Drudging through the mire. Experiencing small hills during my journey. I have reached the foothills of a mountain and I am about to start the climb. I can’t have Fred weighing me down. So he had to go… now…it’s me who has to get moving.

An Introduction…

So… there has been someone in my life for quite some time. I haven’t really talked about him because, well… I am not really proud of this relationship. He has been around through all of my other relationships…kind of like a back up, but more like “the one that I couldn’t get over.” His name… Fred. It’s strange how we let others take root in our lives, even the ones that we know aren’t good for us. Fred has kept me from doing a lot of things that I really wanted to do. He has deceived me, but I let him. He made me miss out opportunities, but I opened the door for him. He prevented me from  saying the things I needed to say when I needed to say them, but I allowed him to put the gag on my mouth. Fred is my nemesis, but I nurtured the relationship between him and I because I didn’t really know how to break up with him. He was always there and I never kicked him to the curb. I was preoccupied with serving him and he just got bigger and bigger in my life. So big that I couldn’t really tell where the truth ended and the lies began. I never loved Fred, but his controlling nature paralyzed me. I’m disappointed that I allowed this in my life. So…. now,…as I stand at the edge of this valley, getting ready to climb a new mountain, I realize that he is too heavy for me to carry with me. He can not go with me. I am no longer willing to break my back keeping him as a fixture in my life. I can’t afford to do that anymore. I feel almost crippled by him. He has no real love for me, and I don’t know why I stood behind him so much. Soon…

The Victor’s Crown

Darlene Zschech, Revealing Jesus, “Victor’s Crown”

I am here to proclaim:

  1. God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit is NOT dead.
  2. He wears the Victor’s Crown because He has overcome the world.

Sometimes I cringe when I look at the news. The depravity that we are experiencing world-wide is so deep. I wonder what God is thinking as he looks down on us. I am prone to think that he has a sorrow that none of us has ever felt before, and like any parent for a child, wants so much to help us. The problem is most times we just won’t let Him. I know I experience the “No, I wanna do it myself!” attitude with my parents all the time – even more as of recent (it’s because of pride). My walls are slowly breaking down so that I can accept the help that I need from both my Supernature and Earthly parents.

But getting back to the point, I have a plea. I am crying out for my Church to listen to the whisper of God right now. I am not talking about where I attend my weekly worship services; however, everyone there is included. I am speaking about the Bride of Christ – the Church with the BIG C. All believers – the Body. I am feeling an urgency to encourage you in a few things:

  • We must remember the truth, the whole truth of God. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the one and only true God. He created the heavens, earth, and all living things.  He sent Himself in the likeness of those he created (Jesus) to reconcile sin that we invited into our lives. Jesus gave himself willingly to serve as the sacrificial lamb for us. Jesus rose from the dead after the third day – He conquered death. In this way, our mortal bodies will die, but the souls of believers will live on with God. This gift of eternal life is available to any and everyone (Romans 5-10; John 3:16).
  • We must pray for our leaders (spiritual and government), missionaries, and those who don’t know the Lord. The enemy is like a lion, prowling looking to devour and destroy anyone in his path (1 Peter 5:8). The enemy seeks to tear down the heads so that the devastation will trickle down to the people. He seeks to create disunity among those of one faith.
  • We must be armed and ready for battle. We are called to prepare ourselves through oneness with God (prayer, worship, devotion, learning the Word, being obedient). We are called to persevere through trials that come because they will come, and they won’t stop coming until we are reunited with our Father. Christianity was never meant to be an easy, problem free life. (Ephesians 6:10-19; 1 Peter 4:12-13).
  • We must acknowledge our sin, attack it, and defeat it. The world has already been conquered for us, so we have to face each battle of temptation with the attitude that it has not power over our lives. We get tripped up when we try to hide sin and isolate ourselves to feed indulgences. Break free of that and remember your ransom has been paid. Sin is deceitful and we think sometimes that sin is our freedom of choice, but it’s really a prison. A prison that has a door that is wide open, but it’s made to seem so comfortable in that cell we willingly stay. Soon, that door will shut and we will really be trapped. This is easier said than done, but there is power in the name of Jesus and there is a way out of all temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • We must remember that you are a work in progress. God never gives up on us, no matter how we trip up. We just have to actually get up and not stay down (Philippians 1:6).
  • We must love everyone. The Lord said that the greatest command was to love God with everything that you are and love others as we love ourselves. We need to have forgiveness and mercy in our hearts for others as God has for us. No more pointing fingers in blame. No more self-righteous attitudes. No more passing the buck. We are ambassadors for those who are still in darkness, let’s be truthful in love and show that God’s love is for everyone. No matter their past or their present circumstances, the future is bright in Him (Luke 10:27).
  • We must speak clearly. My words above are definitely directed to people who identify as Christians, but we need to be sure to speak plainly to people without out pretense and assumption so that they know what we are talking about. I think many people are turned off by Christianity because it seems like some  exclusive club with its own secret language.  If we want people to know Christ, they need to understand the reason behind the faith and make a decision based on the facts. Let’s do better, myself included (Habakkuk 2:2-3).

Let us not be divided. Let us stand for God, and not just in private. Let us be bold in our faith. Let us cultivate a tenacity that is longsuffering. Let us be the Church that God created us to be!

Are you perpetuating an Israelite journey (Part II)

Read Are You Perpetuating an Israelite Journey? (Part 1)

Have you ever been like Kevin? Have you cried out to God because of an injustice in your life, and experience his goodness in deliverance? Have you disobeyed God even thought you knew his commands were for your safety? Have you ever gotten to the place of deliverance only to complain about the discomfort there? As a result, have you complained and whined so much that you missed out on blessings that were to come at the end of that season? I am sure we have all experienced some or this entire scenario.

The Israelites were delivered from slavery and were grateful for a time, but that seed of bitterness, fear, and ungratefulness began to sprout in their lives. This seed germinated quickly and the roots spread through the 600,000 plus nation.

God gave an exhaustive list of rules and commands for tribute, atonement, celebration, and peace-keeping. Reading about them in Leviticus and Numbers made me cross my eyes, but it is a reminder of how much we need God, and there is no way that we can save ourselves. To be honest, I am so glad I live now and not in the times of the Old Testament!

What strikes me the most about the Israelite journey is that they were so close to the Promised Land! They even had proof that it was a good land, but they let fear and cajoling take them down a road of rebellion. They were seriously going to go back to Egypt! “‘…wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?’  And they said to each other, ‘We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.’” (Numbers 14:3-4). What? Why would they want to go back to the place where their very lives were mocked, and yokes were placed around their necks from people that God did not favor? To top it off, they were willing to rebel against God – the one who supplied food out of nowhere each day! Where else does it rain manna and quail?! Also, the spoils from the land that was promised to them was thousands times better than what they ever experienced in Egypt. It took two men to carry back the grape branch (I hope that we get to see grapes that big in Heaven)! At least God gave them a glimpse of what was to come. He was being gracious by showing them what wonderful treasure was awaiting their arrival.

Some of the leaders that had gone before them said that the land and the people were too large to conquer. This made the Israelites worried and fearful, and incited their coup. The God that delivered them had shown himself so many times, but they allowed dust of the earth (men) to make them do something silly. This seems ludicrous right? The sad thing is that the Israelites were serious, and God punished them for it. Their constant disobedience and ungratefulness cost many of them the chance to see what God had promised them (read Numbers chapter 14). Plus they had to wander around the dessert for 40 years. Sounds boring to me.

Their journey in the desert was not easy. I mean, they had to be ready without notice to move when God moved. That can be emotionally taxing. But if we stand firm in our belief that God knows everything and he knows best, then we should be flexible to follow him no matter where he moves.

The truth is that we are like the Israelites. We move into a new territory of life – unknown, uncharted, and sometimes uncomfortable. We see the lack as a sign of failure. We see the slow progression as a sign of a wrong turn. We see the unfathomable landscape as impassable. We doubt God, when he is actually using the time between deliverance and triumph to shed our skin.

Thinking about desert animals – reptiles, snakes, tarantulas – they all molt or shed their skins. It’s important for their growth and health to slough off the outer parts of them that they have outgrown and allow the new and healthy skin to feel the sun. This also allows for them to shed any deadly parasites that may have become attached to them. If these animals do not molt, the old skin tightens as the creature continues to grow, cutting off circulation, and eventually causing death or at the very least, a loss of a limb.

Our desert time is a place to shed our old skin so the new one that has been perfected by God can come through and shine of His glory. The skin from our old lives can poison our futures. Our old lives can stunt our growth. It makes sense to get rid all of that so we can truly be free.  Why do we fight this?

Well, I can only speak for myself when I say the main component is fear of the unknown. What if I fail? What if I don’t like the result? What if it doesn’t turn out the way I want? What if the struggle is too hard? What if I suffer loss as a result?

All of these “What ifs” can paralyze a person and make them think that the old way is better. We know the truth – once we have been delivered from something, once we have been moved on from a place, we don’t need to go back. That is old news. God is into making things new! He is in the business of restoration and redemption. Why do we toil with our past so that it inhibits our future? I do this all the time. Even as I wrote this, I had an “ah-hah” moment and sighed because this post is directly for me.

I have been struggling with a few things for the past week. A fork in the road has been reached and I am seeking the Lord for answers. At one point, I went over the edge into the “What If” zone and I started making preparations to go back where I started. While there is nothing wrong with starting over, it is important to check the motive is why we are doing this. My motive I realize is I want an easier way, and I want to keep myself from experiencing and hurt or hardship. I want to be in a place where I am (seemingly) in control, even though I would probably be miserable because I know in my heart that being there meant I gave up while standing in the furnace. It’s hot in here!

Lord, I want so much for an easier life, but easy isn’t necessarily what is true, or what is good, or what is righteous. What I want most of all is to please You, God! When we become Christians, we are promised hardship. The hardship I am experiencing right now is a true test of on what and who I am going to rely.

There are certain things that I want in my life. I want to have experiences just like many women who are my age. I have hope that one day I will get to experience the fullness of a marriage union, complete professional satisfaction, financial means to help others in need, and satiated wanderlust. All these things are good and I am sure that God can snap a finger and I would be wealthy with these indulged desires. But…I am left questioning – is that what God really wants for me? Is that all? Is there something more?

I just finished the book The Hiding Place which is a biographical account of the life and ministry of the ten Boom family – specifically told firsthand by Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom. This is a woman who was a truly devout Christian, loved one man, who would never marry her because his family would look down on the union. This is a woman placed others above herself and actually enjoyed being around those less fortunate. This is a woman experienced extreme depravity in a concentration camp and had gratitude, even at her worst, in the small things like being able to read her contraband Bible. At the conclusion of the book I cried and asked the Lord to help me cultivate an attitude and a life like Corrie. I remember being angry at the man with whom she fell in love because he lead her on with his courtship knowing he would never marry her. I remember being even more angry when she had the resolve to bless him and his new wife, and was OK with becoming a spinster. Why would she settle for this? As I continued the book, I began to realize that she received the greater prize. She was given an honor here on Earth to serve and to actually make a difference among people who were hardened it seemed by the devil himself.

Lord, if I could only have a tenth of that tenacity!

So…are you perpetuating an Israelite journey? Are you risking being cut off from the community because of disobedience and shortcuts? Are you whining about shedding your skin? Are you in danger of roaming around in this season longer than you really have to as a consequence to your unbelief? I am asking myself these things too, and I am realizing that some of the answers are ‘yes.’

~~~~~

Lord, make me more like you. Help me to be still in Your arms. Let me pray without ceasing, giving gratitude and thanks for everything. Let me remember that in due time there WILL be a harvest if I don’t give up. I don’t want to give up Lord! I want the reward in heaven as a result of the things that I did here on Earth. Lord, take my life and let it be all for You. That is a very deep cup from which to drink, but I take it God. Not my will, but Yours be done. I ask that You help me remember this commitment as I walk this rocky path. I don’t take it lightly and I know, though not in the fullness, of which I am requesting right now. This is bigger than I ever could have imagined. I may kick at the geodes, Lord, but the truth is I know this time must come.

In Your presence darkness must flee; my path is so bright. At the same time Lord, I am very weary. I am so incredibly discouraged. Sometimes this is too hard for me and I need to sit down to be nourished by Your water. God I really want to scream that this is impossible, and pack up my car, and go to my home…my starting place.  I want to make sense of it on my own! But You know that I know better than to act on that without You giving me the green light. Thank You, Lord, for this revelation and enlightenment! Thank You for being gracious to help me see where I am wrong and off base. I am sorry for leaning on my own understanding. I am sorry for allowing my thoughts and my beliefs about myself and abilities to cheat me out of the blessing on the horizon so many times. I am sorry for taking shortcuts.

I want to move forward Lord. Regardless of how situations will play out, I want to move forward and I don’t want to look back. I don’t want to wander around for the next 40 years. Besides, that will make me 80 years old. I don’t want to be that old just getting to the sweet life that I can experience during my short stay on this Earth. I want to have my best life today. Help me to see through your eyes, the things that I can’t see with my own human nature.

As I stay and wait, anchored in this ocean, grow my faith in your presence and show me how to walk on water.

Are you perpetuating an Israelite journey? (Part I)

Carol started the day energized and ready to go. It was beautiful Saturday morning and she set out to take her ten year old son, Kevin, to the park. There were plans to go to the circus when Kevin’s father, Robert, came home from work. She had arranged a sitter for her youngest, Kelly, who was only 18 months old. She thought that the circus would be over stimulating and forgettable for the baby. Carol was excited because Kevin had been having a hard time at school making friends. He was smaller than the other boys his age, but was very intelligent and this made them jealous. As a result, they teased him incessantly about the very quality they wish they had – aptitude. Many times Kevin would come home crying. Some days he would be withdrawn, but he always brought home stellar grades.

When the circus came to town, Carol and Robert immediately bought tickets for premium seats. Kevin would be delighted to be so close to the elephants and the clowns. They also arranged to have pizza with the Ring Master, his lion, and few other prominent circus entertainers. Carol made sure that Kevin had to nicest outfit to wear and a new ball cap (he loved how they looked on him).

Carols mom, Nana Jean, agreed to watch Kelly while Carol and Kevin went to the park for the afternoon. On their way to the park Kevin began to complain about how hot it was outside. Not just a comment here and there – no – Kevin wailed about it being hot outside. Carol’s good mood was starting to fade, but she sternly corrected her son as lovingly as possible and he seemed to straighten up. Carol bounced back to her cheery attitude as they arrived at the park. She found a nice bench under a tree, and told Kevin that he could play anywhere he wanted as long as he followed some simple rule.

“Listen to me, I am your mother,” she began. “Any equipment that has stairs, you need to step on each and every one of the stairs. If there is a handle, you must use it. If there is a limit to how many children can play on it at a time, you must obey the rule. If someone got there before you, you must be courteous and give them their turn. If someone is rude, you mustn’t be rude back. I am your mother and I raised you with good manners! You must also stay out of the pond. I have a special treat for you tonight, but you need to be obedient to receive it. Do you understand me Kevin Mitchell Smith?”

Kevin understood, nodded his head and uttered out a compliant “Yes Ma’am” before he ran toward the playground.

Carol sat down with her book and began to read. She was still very excited about the events to come. She couldn’t wait to shock Kevin. She and Robert had kept the circus surprise for over a month. As she turned the page, out of the corner of her eye she saw Kevin disobeying one of her rules! Carol rushed over to the playground where she saw Kevin jumping from the top of the slide to the ground.

“Kevin! Didn’t I instruct you to use the equipment properly?”

“Sorry Momma. I was just having fun.”

“Kevin, you could get hurt! Now what did I tell you to do?”

“Take the stairs if there were stairs, use the handles, be courteous and not rude, obey the park rules, and don’t go near the pond.”

“That’s right. If you don’t obey these rules, then you could get seriously hurt. I am your mother and you are special to me. I want to keep you safe, do you understand?”

Kevin nodded in agreement again. Carol dusted him off and sent him back to play. While she was walking back to her seat, she heard kids screaming. She turned around only to see Kevin running toward the pond with the doll of a little girl. The litter girl was crying and screaming for her doll and Kevin was laughing euphorically as he bolted toward the pond. Carol caught up with him and saved the doll from being submerged in the slimy water. She handed it back to the little girl and told Kevin to apologize – he complied.

“Kevin I don’t understand what has gotten into you today! Come have a seat with me for a few minutes. Come drink some water, and have some yummy carrots and apples!”

Kevin immediately threw himself on the ground. “I wish I were at home! At least there I could have all the cookies and lemonade I want!” Kevin began to cry loudly and threw dirt in the air. Carol was so angry; all lovely thoughts about the upcoming evening had vanished. She was beside herself and thought about tanning Kevin’s hide right there in the middle of the park. She grabbed him by the arm and dragged him to the shade. Carol took Kevin’s dirty face in her hands and looked him directly in the eye, seemingly unmoved by his outburst.

“Kevin, you are not doing a good job at being obedient, nor do you have the proper attitude to be rewarded. Straighten up young man! If you don’t, you will be very disappointed.”

This took Kevin aback. He had never seen this side of his mother before. Instead of making him compliant, it only made him crankier.

“I don’t care Momma! I don’t care! I don’t want a reward. I want cookies, and lemonade, and I want to go on the boats in the lake!”

With that, Kevin started up again toward the lake; faster this time. Carol almost didn’t catch him, but when she did she picked him up, almost pulling a muscle in her back. Carol’s strength surprised her as she carried the boy all the way back to the car, which was a quarter of a mile away from the park. She strapped Kevin into his seat firmly. Her eyes glared into his, more intensely than before, and she dared him to say another word before they reached home. Carol took Kevin by the arm in the house. To her surprise, Robert had come home early. He was excited too and wanted to get an early start for the evening’s festivities with the family. Robert was startled by Carol’s swiftness into the house. The look on her face signaled only one thing, their child had gotten out of line.

“Kevin, son, what on Earth is going on?”

Kevin stared angrily at his father without a word.

“Robert, Dear, Kevin disobeyed all of the rules I gave him at the park and his attitude is atrocious! I had to carry him back to the car in fear he would run to the pond and hurt himself!” Carol gave Robert the details about every incident of Kevin’s defiance.

Roberts face became hot. It was then that Kevin knew he had gone too far. He tested his mother and father a lot, but never both his mother and father at the same time.

“Kevin,” Robert began in a stern, but calm voice, “Your mother instructed you specifically about her expectations on your behavior while at the park. You clearly did not follow those instructions. I can even tell by the look on your face that you have not been on your best behavior. Now, your mother and I love you and we want to give you good things, but your bad behavior will not go unpunished! Tonight, we had a wonderful night planned. We were going to the circus and we were going to sit in the front row so you could even touch the elephants. After, we were going to eat pizza with the Ring Master, lions, and circus performers. But you have ruined that opportunity. You will not go to the circus tonight. In fact, you will stay home with the sitter and your little sister will go instead. There will be no video games and no movies. You will have your dinner and you will go to bed forty minutes earlier than you do on a school night. We love you son, but I and your mother are very disappointed with you. We forgive you, but you will pay the consequence tonight for what you have done!”

Kevin began to tremble, not only in fear, but of true distress from what he had just learned. He was going to miss out on the event that every kid in his grade was talking about. Huge tears formed in Kevin’s eyes. The difference between these tears and the ones from earlier in the day was that they were from sincerely remorse.

“Mommy, Daddy, please! I will act right and I will behave! I will not be like this again. I want to go to the circus! I really want to go and I know you worked hard to get tickets for us. Please let me go!”

Carol and Robert shook their heads. Robert reiterated Kevin’s consequence, but assured that next year when the circus came back to town that the family would go again.  Kevin thought he could test the limits one more time later that night by trying to get in the car when everyone was preparing to leave. He got a swift smack on the bottom, and he knew that he had been defeated. When his parents and his sister pulled out of the driveway, he went to his room after that and didn’t come out except for dinner. When Kevin’s parents came home, he was already asleep. They came up to his room with lion toy from the circus and left a note that said:

Son, we expect great things from you. God gave you mighty talents and gifts,
but you must learn how to use them wisely. Next year, we know you will be ready for the circus.
Love, Mom and Dad.

(Read Part II)

Gimmie Dat Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake….

Ok, before you go and accuse me of being ratchet and obscene…. please understand I am talking about real cake. I only just learned about the cray-cray dirty connotation to ‘cake’ about a week ago. THANKS RIHANNA FOR RUINING MY BAKING LIFE! I ain’t about that bidness!

I digress…

I was commissioned to make a tasty treat for a co-worker’s baby shower. She said that she liked white cake and raspberry. So I am venturing to make a butter cake with raspberry filling and a lemon cream cheese frosting….all* from scratch.

*The raspberry filling is pre-made. I have not figured out a good way to make a good seedless berry filling that isn’t either a crazy gelatinous mess or runny.

So I sit here waiting for the cake to finish baking… I love they way pastries make your home smell!

That was the highlight of my day I suppose. I brought home some work-work to do, but of course I didn’t do it (womp womp). I can’t seem to get that going and part of me doesn’t want to. I want work to stay at the building where I call work unless I have to do it from home for some reason. I guess I may take a look before bedtime so I don’t go to work completely freaking out about deadlines.

Here’s to the weekend! I hope that you enjoyed yours :). I can’t wait for it to come again in a few days.

 ~~~~~~~~~

Here’s that cake, cake,cake, cake, cake…. (this is actually version #2…)

raspberry cake

Hey, Wait a Minute Mr. Post Man…

notecards

Yes… YEEEEESSSSSSSSS. YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEESSSSS! Clearly I love stationary. Michael’s always has very good sales. I got these packs of note cards (quantities of six to ten) for $0.50 each.  I already have a pretty good stash, but I like to keep stocked with new designs. In a world where people communicate mostly by electronic means, I want to continue to keep handwritten notes relevant and alive because it is a dying art. Schools have already removed cursive curriculum (gasp)!

Writing a handwritten note takes effort, but it is worth the trouble. Hmmm… maybe for my next get together I will give printed invitations.

Bird and Fish…

birdandfish
(If anyone knows who made this beautiful picture, let me know so I can give credit! I found this on a Google search)

Bird and Fish: The Elongated Story
By Dana Render

One day there was a beautiful bird flying around a clear glass lake. She was cheerful and she fluttered her wings against the wind with such vigor until she felt she had no more strength and she would surely fall out of the sky into the lake. The lake was mysterious, beautiful, but frightening because this bird knew she could not swim nor could she breath under water. In those moments when she had no more power to fly she would allow herself to fall with her beak facing the shining sun and her eyes closed. In the precise moment that her tail-feather glazed the surface she would flap her wings with all her might and lift off into the air again. The bird loved this thrilling exercise and it made her feel weak and strong all at the same time.

Bird had a peculiar beauty. She didn’t have rainbow feathers like her friends. She didn’t have full downy feathers like her cousins. No, Bird had short feathers. They were the color of the deepest cobalt blue with shimmering bronze tips that reflected in the sun. She had a lightning strike of brilliant emerald in the middle of her head. Bird never thought that she was a pretty bird. The other animals found her striking, but never the prize beauty that was whispered about among all the other creatures. Bird sometimes felt lonely because she was so different than the other birds. There were none that looked like her. Even her parents were sprightly colored, long-winged fowl. The male birds were intimidated by her, even thought she was good-natured, and had a very sweet song. Most times they never hung around long enough to hear it. So Bird sang to herself and her Maker – the One who loved her dearly and made the sun shine for her acrobatics. She was always surrounded with warmth even when other creatures thought she was just plain silly.

Bird would fly far distances to find the best berries and seeds. She would bring some back to share with her family and friends. They loved the exotic treats, and Bird loved sharing her spoils. The other birds didn’t understand why she didn’t just eat the local provisions. Bird didn’t understand why others didn’t want to explore and see what else was available to their liking.  While Bird had a very good life, she sometimes felt there was something missing.

In the clear glass lake there was a fish. He was lovely fish that was different than the others in his school. He was not as long, but his scales were a brilliant yellow. His parents didn’t know where he got his color, and all of the other silver and blue fish thought he was quite strange. Fish loved to swim all the way to the surface. He would swim up so fast that he would burst through the gentle current and twist his body before splashing down back into the lake. Sometimes Fish would do this several times in a row, exhausting himself. The other fish would tell him he was crazy, and that he would make his gills burst doing such mad things. Fish didn’t care. What was life without testing the limits of constraints? Was there nothing beyond the natural boundaries? Was it fear keeping everyone in line, or was it choice? Maybe their concern was wisdom of destruction. Besides, Fish knew that he could not live outside of the water, but he still liked to experience the way the sun made him feel when he exited his aquatic home.

Fish was very different. He sometimes swam backwards.  His friends thought maybe he was just showing off, but Fish was always trying to change the game. Did they have to do what they were told they were supposed to do, and was that the only thing they could do? From the time they hatched, the fish were told to swim forward and swim quickly. Fish wanted to challenge this construct – maybe even prove that it wasn’t even necessary. Sometimes he would go to the furthest depths of the lake and bury himself under the sand and hide for days. Fish sometimes wished that he could disappear, but he was always found. The female fish were attracted to his scales, but they didn’t really like his adventures. They thought he was too risky and thus decided that maybe he was not a good partner. They thought that he was not responsible, but Fish was quite the opposite.

Fish would think of the cleverest ways to escape from predators. He knew all of the hiding places and could map out in an instant how to get there no matter where he was at any given moment, even if he had never been there before. Fish had a keen eye for detail, and was a natural strategist. He was also a fast swimmer, which helped a lot. One day while Fish was doing his high jumps, he closed his eyes to bask in the sun. Suddenly something heavy hit him and he violently came crashing back into the lake.  He didn’t know what hit him, but he remembered seeing flashes of blue, bronze, and green. There was thrashing about disturbing the serenity of the lake. Fish felt a sharp scratch across his back and went into shock. He fell to the bottom of the lake until late in the night. Fish was a little angry because even though his scales made him stand out awkwardly, he was still proud of them. Now he had a huge scar on his back where the scales were scratched off. He felt ugly, but there was nothing he could do about it now. Maybe in a month or so, the scales would fall off and new ones would come in their place. Fish sulked for a little while and he even hid because he didn’t want the others to ask him about his scar.

A few weeks later, Fish was feeling a little better. The scar began to fade as it healed and some new scales were coming in. This gave Fish some confidence, and he started going out on adventures again – except he kept his eyes open. As he was patrolling a new area of the lake away from the large schools, he happened to look up and see this thing flying and diving about. He thought it was really beautiful. It was in the distance and he couldn’t tell what it was, but he knew it was some kind of creature of the air. He gazed and was a bit envious of its ability to fly. Fish began to dream of what it would feel like to fly around.

It was Bird. She was up to her usual daredevil exercises, but she was being more cautious. She had an encounter with death a few weeks earlier. She was free falling when she hit something wet. It scared her, and she plunged right into the lake. Not knowing how to swim she flailed about. She felt her claws scratch something and when she was finally able to pull herself out of the lake she noticed these brightly colors scales caught between her talons. They were exquisite and exotic! She had never see such brilliance in the lake before. She kept them in her nest and she looked at them fondly every night wondering what creature possessed such beauty. She felt bad because she had these scales and they weren’t given to her. She wanted to give them back so she would put them into her chest feathers in case she saw the creature one day.

Fish squinted up… it was a bird.   “A bird? Really? Why would a bird be doing such crazy things around a lake? Especially a bird that clearly didn’t eat fish.” He gawked and studied this bird. This bird was very striking and pretty. He couldn’t take his eye off of her deep, boldly colored feathers and marking. He stood still in the water, not moving a muscle (another skill he had mastered), and watched as this bird seemed to master the air. Bird, on the other hand, saw a bright yellow shape in the water and she immediately knew it was a fish.  “A yellow fish? Oh my, it’s the fish I hit a few weeks ago!” She wanted to give the scales back. Without thinking she dove closer to the water. Fish got scared, he didn’t want to get hit again and he began to swim backward frantically. Bird didn’t know what to do, she was calling out, “Mr. Fish! Don’t go, I don’t want to hurt you!” Fish screamed back,  “How do I know?! Crazy bird, what are you doing?!”

Then Bird reached into her chest feathers and pulled out a scale. “Does this belong to you?” Fish stopped in his tracks and an immediate serge of anger washed over him. So that irresponsible pest was responsible for marring him.

“Yes, that is mine!” He snapped.

“I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to take your scales. It was an accident. I have been looking for you since it happened. I really wanted to give them back. I am truly sorry, please accept my apology!”

By this time, Bird was hovering over the water right above Fish.  She had tears in her eye. She dropped the scale in front of Fish. He looked at the scale and looked at Bird. His eyes darted back and forth between the two several times. Suddenly, one of her tears hit him on the head. Her tear was like a cool rain, and it extinguished his anger. She was sorry and it must have been an accident.

“It’s OK, please don’t cry!” Fish pleaded.

Bird wiped away her tears and took the rest of her scales from her feathers.  She stared at Fish, and she couldn’t speak. She was drawn to him, not only because he was outwardly beautiful, but also because she could tell that he was special. She had never seen a fish swim backward before and she just witnessed this fish swim like backward like it was normal.

“Stop starting at me,” Fish retorted.

This made Bird snap out of her trance. “I am sorry,” she began,   “I was just surprised by you. Not only are your scales beautiful but you have an extraordinary talent.”

Fish was embarrassed. No one in his school noticed or even cared about his backward swimming.  This bird noticed. Why?  “Thank you,” he eked.  He noticed that Birds eyes were the color of his scales – bright yellow. He had never seen the color on anything other than himself. He was immediately drawn to her.

“Can you swim?” He asked.

“No,” Bird answered sadly.

“I may be able to teach you.”

“How?”

“By showing you how to flap your wings like I do my fins, and use your tail like I use my tail.”

“But I can’t breathe under water.”

“That’s alright. You hold your breath. I do when I jump up out of the water. Try it now. Just don’t breath in at all.”

Bird tried it and she was able to hold her breath for almost a minute before needing air. Fish then instructed her land on the water and sit as if she were sitting on her nest, while moving her legs back and forth. Bird loved this. She now could land on the water. And if she didn’t move her legs she would stay in one place. She didn’t realize that she had natural buoyancy on water. She decided to stick her head under the water to practice holding her breath. It was so exciting!

The sun began to set and Bird had to go back home. She asked if she could have another lesson tomorrow and Fish agreed. Both Fish and Bird went to bed that night and they were both thinking about each other.  What an exciting discovery they had made in each other! Both very much misunderstood by their own kind, but appreciated by each other.

The next day Bird came back with a small token for fish. She had a bronze coin that she found during one of her excursions, and she thought that Fish would enjoy it since it shimmered in the sun.  Fish, thinking in the same niceties, brought up a small piece of smooth Obsidian. Fish knew that this it was rare and valuable, like Bird. When they met that day, they exchanged their gifts and were both delighted. What a unique seed of friendship that had been planted! Bird and Fish met day after day. Many times they would share gifts. Bird became a really good swimmer and she returned the favor why showing Fish how to fly – mostly by taking him for rides, but she also show him how to jump in a way that he would glide in the air for longer.

In the seventh year of Fish and Bird’s friendship, Bird began to feel twinges of pain in her heart. Most of Bird’s friends had migrated to other places and found their lifemates. While Bird felt very happy and joyful about her life, it seemed as if her community had gotten smaller and smaller. Fish was experiencing something similar, but he was not as concerned. However, he felt Bird’s lament. She wasn’t as cheerful as she had been in the beginning. Bird couldn’t figure out why she felt the way she did. All she knew was that she cared deeply for Fish. She loved him, but it didn’t make sense. Bird thought maybe she and Fish should stop seeing each other. Maybe take some trips and explore a new nesting area to find community with others like herself. The thought of this brought Bird to tears.

One cloudy day Bird came to the lake and brought some beautiful and plump blackberries. Fish saw the sadness all over her countenance.  He knew what she was feeling because he felt the same way.

“Bird, you don’t have to come here anymore if it’s too painful. I just want you to know that your friendship has been precious to me, but I can’t bear to see you hurting this way. I love you Bird, but we are too different to be together the way we both desire. You’re a bird and I am a fish. Where would we live?”

This made Bird burst into tears. She couldn’t speak and was overwhelmed with varying emotions. She left the lake and flew to her nest. She was alone. Bird stayed in her nest for the next three days. She wanted to continue with Fish, but how could she? She desperately wanted companionship, but how could they be true companions with the separation of air and water? Fish continued to come to their meeting place each day. He knew that Bird was not coming, but he hoped that maybe he would see her flying freely like she did in the earlier days of their friendship. Sometimes he brought trinkets he would find on his adventures. He would always bring them to the same place in hopes that if one day Bird came that he would give them all to her. He missed Bird. He knew that she missed him too, but he let her go for her own sake. Maybe she would find another friend that would be able to provide the lifetime companionship she really needed. This broke Fish’s heart, but he felt it was the right thing to do.  At least, it seemed that way to him.

Nine months went by. Bird had been on a few adventures. She was scoping out a new nesting site. She couldn’t bear her current home any longer. She wanted to make new memories, but ultimately she wanted to share them with Fish. Bird found a wonderful waterfall with luscious groves of vines and plenty of exotic fruits. There was also a huge tree in the basin that was hollow. Bird explored the tree and looked for signs that some other animal lived there. She found none. The waterfall reminded her of her friendship with Fish. It was at one point vibrant, refreshing, and fruitful. She wanted to always remember it that way. Bird decided that this would be her new home. She went back to her old home to say goodbye the loved ones that were still there. She also brought piece of bark from the tree for Fish. When she arrived back home to bid adieu, she looked for Fish. She wanted to make sure that he knew she was OK, and also formally say her farewell to him. She couldn’t find him. This made her frustrated. Little did she know that Fish was on his own search for a new home.

Bird took a deep breath and dove head first into the lake at the usual meeting place. She reached the bottom and placed the piece of bark along with one of her feathers under the pile of trinkets that were collected there. When she surfaced, she gathered her belongings and say goodbye to her family and friends. Bird was crafty and she had been collecting various materials to make a bag that could hold all of her belongings that she could carry in her beak to her new home. It was getting a little late and she was tired so she decided to fly at dawn. Also, she was hoping that maybe Fish would come back soon.

Fish was exploring a new aquaculture and he was truly excited. He found a beautiful and oxygen rich waterfall. It was green and luscious there. Fish felt like this was such a wonderful place, and he wanted to explore it. He played at the base of the waterfall, letting the bubbles make him lost in the current of the falling water. After he tired of this he came to the surface and he saw a big a beautiful tree. This made him think of Bird.  An overwhelming sadness overcame him, and he wasn’t feeling so positive about this new place anymore. He didn’t want to be constantly reminded of Bird if he couldn’t be with her. Night was coming and Fish decided to travel back to the lake in the morning.

Dawn arrived and Bird gathered her things. Simultaneously Fish began the journey back to the lake. Bird flew by the lake one last time. There was no sign of Fish. She arrived at her new home in the middle of the day. Bird got right to work making the tree fit all of her needs. She had so much space and she loved the fact that it was hollow. As she explored the depths of the tree she noticed that it was hollow all the way to the ground. Also the ground was very moist. Since the tree was right by this waterfall and river, it was no surprise. Bird began to dig. Soon water from the river began to trickle inside of the tree trunk. This excited Bird! She could have an indoor birdbath! She kept digging. At times she had to hold her breath and dig with her beak. Bird continued with this until she reached the river. She surfaced, exhaled heartily, and made her way back to the tree. The water cam flooding and Bird thought that maybe she had taken this project too far and now her new home would just be a water pipe! She was wrong. The pressure equalized and the water stopped midway into the trunk. Bird observed the water. It didn’t seep out. That was odd, but she was happy about this new discovery.

It was in that moment that Bird thought of Fish.   “Fish could come here!” Bird was beside herself with excitement! She didn’t know if he would want to come or if he was even interested in being friends again since they had spent so much time apart. Bird knew that to make her new home complete, she needed companionship. She chose Fish. She hope he would choose her back. She decided that the only way was to bring him to this place and hope that he would like it as much as she did. Bird flew around until she found an old plastic pitcher in an abandoned cabin in the woods. She could carry Fish back with her in the pitcher! By this time she made this discovery, it was evening. Her plan would have to wait until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, when Fish returned, he immediately went to his usual spot he saw the bark and feather that Bird had left for him. At that moment Fish was decided. He wanted to be with Bird no matter what. He didn’t care what it took he; knew they belonged together.  Fish was exhausted from his journey so he decided that tomorrow would begin the plan to find his way back to Bird.

Before the sun came up, Bird was flying furiously with the pitcher back to the lake. As the sun came over the horizon, she felt warmth of a new day and she was inspired. When she arrived at the lake she saw Fish! He was in their waiting spot. Fish was sleeping. He had fallen asleep there the evening before. As she arrived she began to sing. It was a melody that Fish had heard before. He thought he was dreaming. He opened his eyes and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It was Bird! He leapt into the air rejoicing at the return of his dear Bird.

“Fish!!!”

“Bird!!!!!”

“FIIISSSHHH!!”

“BBBBBIIIRRRDDD!”

The two met in the air, and then quickly fell in the water.

“Bird, I am glad you came back. Let’s never part again! I don’t see the reason for it. Please come back to live near this lake,” Fish requested hopefully.

“No. I can’t do that,” Bird explained.

Fish was immediately crushed. He was angry. “Why not?!” he demanded.

“I have a new home. But I don’t want to be without you. Will you come back with me?”

Well this changed things a little. Fish’s heart leapt with joy, but then he became sullen. How would he get to her new home and where would he live? Bird knew what he was thinking.

“Just trust me, Fish. It will be OK.”

Fish dove to the bottom of the lake and he began to flail around making the sand sir up along with the all of the trinkets he had been collecting. He swam to the top. “Bird, these are for you.” Of course bird was flattered. She took the pitcher and collected all of the awesome love gestures from Fish. Then she told Fish to hop in. Fish hesitated a little because he knew that this adventure would be permanent.  He didn’t know what Bird had in mind, but it was now or never. He hopped in the pitcher. Bird excitedly flew into the air splashing water about from the pitcher.

 “BIRD SLOW DOWN! YOU’RE GONNA DROP ME!!!”

Bird slowed down.  She was so happy that Fish agreed to come back with her. When they arrived to the top of the waterfall, Fish began to get excited. He had been there before! In fact, he was just there! He screamed to Fish, “Are we here?!” Bird nodded her head in agreement. Fish beamed. They had found their special place at different times in their own solitude, not even realizing that it would be a place for the both of them. Then he saw it…the tree that reminded him of Bird. Fish knew that he would be happy here.

When Bird got to the tree she went inside. Fish was amazed at the work Bird had done to the inside. She placed the pitcher down on a ledge that she had her cousin Woodpecker carved for her. The ledge came just at the level of the water and it was large enough to hold her nest and the pitcher. Bird looked into Fish’s eyes.

“Fish…we can live here. Look, the water comes in through the bottom of the tree through a tunnel I dug. You can come and go as you please. We can be happy here. You can be on the ledge with me or you can be in the water. Or I can be in the water…this is perfect, right?”

Fish was speechless. He just looked around. Bird began to get worried because of his silence.

Finally he spoke, “Bird, will you be mine forever?” Fish continued, “I couldn’t be more honored than to make this our home.”

Bird began to sing. She picked up the pitcher and took it outside. She stopped at the edge of the river where it met the base of the tree. She emptied Fish into the river and he swam around. Then he disappeared. Bird looked around, but she couldn’t find him. She put the pitcher down on the shore and circled around the river. Then heard Fish’s voice echo from somewhere. “BIRRDDDDD!!! COME HERE!” He was yelling from inside of the tree! Bird flew to he tree and she saw Fish’s smiling face. This was good. Bird was content and so was Fish. Bird poured the trinkets at the base of the tree and was able to piece out “F and B.” It was official. They were home!

Bird and Fish lived for many years in their tree house bath along the river. They weathered storms. Shared many meals full of plump worms and berries. They grew old together. They made memories. They loved.

A fish and a bird fell in love. They had no place to live.  Instead, they created a home.

Meet Calliope!

?????????Calliope
(Cah-lye-oh-pee)

I wanted a pet. I didn’t want one that made a lot of mess, made a lot of noise, or made me crazy because it was needy. Right now, Calliope, kind of hates me. We had some one-on-one time yesterday, and I held her for a bit. She was calm in my hand, but apparently she was not very fond of me holding her right now. She has been in her hide or behind one of her bushes every time I come around now. I will give her a few days. I got her from someone off Craigslist so she is definitely going through a period of adjustment.

Confession…

I have to come clean. I have been entertaining others besides you.  Don’t be too mad. I don’t really spend that much time with them comparatively, but alas the fact remains the same…

 

I have a second blog.

 

Check it out if you like. I am planning on using it a lot more this year!

 

www.healingd.wordpress.com