Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Fell!

Fourteen years. Fourteen long years of being my husband's first mate on fishing boats without a single slip or fall. Many times I should have succumb to gravity and slippery salt on a slick fiberglass hull. Often I could be found precariously perched over the sea preparing for docking while the chug chug chug of the motor drown out my existence - and nary a trace of me would be found if I fell overboard while underway in a salty sea 1/2 mile from land.

Last week I experienced a fall on the boat. Oddly, the boat was not moving or rocking or salty. It was calmly docked at a quiet Bahamanian port. I boarded the Lady Bridgewater without fanfare but ended up with a humble lesson which I will never forget.

For anyone who knows me well, you know I have a dislike (more like an anxiety) for driving. Yes, God has been working on me for years. I have finally accepted this thorn in my side of anxiety attacks which have led to all out fainting spells which began in childhood. I have been driving more and more and beginning to trust God will my driving or avoidance of driving. And so, when my wonderful husband Vinnie told me he had rented a golf cart for the whole day while we were in the Bahamas, I silently vowed I would drive the golf cart and get out of my comfort zone a bit (In the Bahamas you have to drive on the opposite side of the road - a challenge for those who enjoy driving but not for those who already abhor driving!).

As my husband scoured the beach, I volunteered to follow him along the sandy, deserted stretch of beach driving the golf cart. He walked for miles, and I moved the golf cart along at a snail's pace - but I was driving it and enjoying it! After awhile, he jumped into the golf cart and announced he would like me to drive into town and beyond. So off we went! I enjoyed driving through the secluded grasses which bordered the beautiful white sugar sand emerald blue bordered sea. The island people would wave at us as we passed. No doubt they heard us long before we saw them as the golf cart was often louder than any other object within miles.

I gained a considerable confidence in driving this golf cart on that sandy, quiet road. I have to admit, sometimes I would slow down as a rare car would appear in the distance and then would speed by on the "wrong" side. Overall, though I was feeling pretty good about my golf cart driving experience!

We parked the golf cart next to the boat and ascended the ramp to the boat. My husband boarded and went inside the boat. Looking back, he always waited for me to board but this time I was lollygagging with the shells and sea glass we found, fiddling with beach towels and suntan lotion. I boarded without him, ignoring the one rule I knew best. Always keep both hands free when boarding a boat of any size. I boarded with my camera in one hand. Bad decision.

I silently slipped, the gritty sand on my right foot made a skid mark on the landing as I desperately attempted to break my fall. The camera remained in my left hand as my right hand grasped for the leader wire that was overhead. Both feet went in mid air was somehow my entire body landed in the cockpit. Thud. My head hit the fiberglass freezer as my back slammed against the cockpit door. I took a quick breath and realized I am okay. Laughter ripped out of my soul and erupted from my mouth. As I laughed out loud I revelled in the fact that I had been spared. For if I had fallen and hit my head and had gone overboard, I would have been found in the marina no doubt with a very different ending.

Out came my husband who heard the thud from inside the boat. He was confused as to what exactly had happened. My relief did not make sense to him. I was okay! I was spared!

Falling. When one envisions this verb no doubt the subject of gravity comes into play. Today I fell. Not from Grace Praise God! But on my kiester.
I took off the flip flops. I waited for the boat to come closer to the dock. Always perfect timing comes into play as a foot is closer than two feet and inches matter when boarding a large boat!

I held onto my pricey camera (never board a boat without having both hands free) in my right hand and leaned into the boat and grabbed the rail with my left. Easy peasy no sweat. Or so I thought until I swung around and slipped right into the cockpit seat made of hard, slippery fiberglass.

Fourteen years of boating with my husband and I had not broken more than a fingernail or two. Today, thankfully I didn't break anything but suffered a bruised my knee and ego. See, I thought I didn't need any help. Didn't need to call me husband and hand him the camera. If I had done so, I would not have grabbed his out- rigger lines to break my fall and gotten a bruised knee, sore arm and neck.

My impatience got the best of me and I boarded without help. If I had fallen into the water and hit my head chances are no one would see me as the murky blue Bahamas water from the recently passing storm would have hidden my body from sight. The many docks and twists and turns of San Salvador Riding Rock Marina would have made it difficult to find me if I had fallen in and become unconscious.

What struck me the most about my fall was the fact that immediately after gravity dumped me onto the deck, I began laughing and did not stop! My husband heard me literally "hit" the deck and came running out. I was worried he would yell because I yanked off his beloved out-riggers. I could not stop laughing and he became irritated.

Laughter Evidence of Relief?
My mother shared not too long ago that when she was in nursing school one of her assignments was to roll a deceased patient off a bed into a sheet. I know, I know. You are wondering what death has to do with falling? Hang on. She shared with me that often both nurses attending the task would giggle. I am not sure why, but I do believe laughter in my case and my mother's case may be a form of relief and a way to cope with a serious situation. I covet responses or comments on this as I do not understand why I would laugh after almost breaking my neck!

My husband reattached the out-riggers, I iced my knee for an hour all the while I thanked God for sparing me a more serious spill. The camera was intact and all is well with the world. Gravity is no laughing matter....but then again my near miss with disaster sure does make me smile. What a relief.

Sea Glassing 101

I was going to take a nap. Sun behind the clouds, light wispy wind flowed up the ascent, beautiful white sugar sand cool beneath the cushy beach towel, perfect sandy incline awaited its occupant. My husband open-mouthed as his head rested on the back of the tail gating chair. His face tilted toward the heavens. He blissfully snored - not a care in the Bahamas.

But the beach beckoned. Just for a minute I would glean from the sea. The tide just coming in began to pound the sand. As I walked ten feet or so I realized I needed a Ziploc just in case. I was hopeful as I saw white rocks, shards of conch shells and various colored glasses tumbling in the surf. Yes! I was confident I would reap much from my decision to sacrifice a nap.

I learned much from this seaside jaunt. I learned to wait, discover and to take action.

Wait for the waves to come and go and then see what you can grab - quickly! I learned right away I had to grab that glass or it would be back rolling back into the surf real soon. Life is often a waiting game. While we wait, are we prepared to take action quickly - at a moment's notice? Or do we miss the opportunty to grab that golden ring because we were waiting without a plan of action? Matthew 25

As in life, my sea glass was not always handed to me. I had to go get it.

If good things are worth waiting for, great things are worth discovering! The best spot to hunt sea glass was in the most treacherous area of the beach. Large rolling rocks pound the surf. Along with the rocks is the motherlode of sea glass pieces! This sea glass proved to be the largest pieces with the most rounded edges. Hunting here was worthwhile but painful at times. I was unprepared to face the surf as I had not brought snorkel booties and could not withstand the pelting rocks hitting my ankles and feet.

As I stood in the dry sand and assessed my situation of wanting to get in the game but did not want to become bruised and battered in the process. I pondered the fact that something that is hard to achieve is often the best challenge. Many things in life are worthwhile and achievable - as long as you are prepared.

I discovered in Ephesians 6 that the shoes of peace are a necessary part of fighting. Those well-meaning Christians that head off to the Mission field without donning shoes, helmet, breastplate, etc. will be in for a heap of trouble! Believers in Christ often have a great love for the lost, but neglect the most basic of protection.

In my case, the snorkeling booties would have given me the ability to step over each and every pelting rock that made its way to my ankles. No matter the situation, we must never be naive in any situation or we will discover ourselves knee deep in a heap of trouble (and no doubtthis type of trouble will be more painful than rolling rocks).

Take Action
I noticed it was much easier to spot the sea glass when the sun was at its brightest. The glass glinted in the sun as I watched it roll with the big rocks (I still didn't have snorkel booties on). Having time to reflect, I was reminded that when we let God illuminate our sins He is better able to take them from us. just as the surf handed the sand sea glass for someone to spot so does God savor the moments we surrender sin to Him. When we keep our sins hidden in the dark, God waits to deliver us from the snares that bind. We aren't given the bountiful blessings that were ours for the taking.

As I walked back to my still-snoring husband I smiled. I enjoyed my alone time but was ready to show him the sea glass I had battled the surf to acquire. I vowed to share what God had revealed to me in our time together.Waiting, discovering and taking action - the marching orders for many experiences in life.

Today's sea glass gleaning was about much more than smooth shards of glass. My time in the sun was a reminder that each of us are His treasure. He will speak to us and give us direction no matter where we are or what we are doing. He will equip us with everything we need as long as we are wise in our preparations and listen for His voice - before we head out no matter the mission. We are so much more valuable than silver or gold - or sea glass large or small...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meatless Mondays

One day I decided our Mediterranean diet needed some tweaking. I announced to my meat-loving carnivorous husband that we were going to maintain our mediterranean status minus the meat for one day a week. I thought my announcement would cause an uproar but instead was told, "Okay as long as we can still have pasta."

And so as I prepared the upcoming week's meals, I stumbled upon an interesting widget on the world wide web. I clicked on the pink piggy face and was introduced to the concept of "Meatless Mondays." Seeing this new idea spring up on the Food Channel confirmed the fact that losing the meat one day a week had many benefits - healthwise, budgetwise, timewise and earthwise!

The Meatless Mondays campaign is led by Sid Lerner, a former Madison Avenue ad exec, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. This concept is attracting the support of several top name chefs, including Mario Batali.

Sign me up!

Living on the Mountain: Who is Jesus?

Second Step To Peace

The politically correct world in which we live would not like to be reminded that merely “keeping the peace” does not bring about true change that God speaks of in His Word. As true believers in Christ, we must live in holiness actively pursuing peace in its fullness. We must be thoughtful but never impolite. The peacemaker listens and evaluates. He/she makes trouble to make peace. This process of true peace is only accomplished by again – - understanding who God is. And who He is not.

Consider Matthew 10:34.

Possibly you are asking, “Where is the love?” That does not sound like peace to me! But this is God’s Word and God in His Bible we see the threading interwoven just to make sure we “get it”. Luke 12:49-53 and Luke 14:25-33 remove all doubt. God is not interested in His followers being merely “peacekeepers”.

Who is the peacemaker? Only through Christ can peacemaking be a possibility. Apart from Christ we do nothing (John 15:5).

Next time we will take more time to take in the scene below. The ascent so far has challenged us with a bit of rocky terrain. I can’t promise you it will be any easier but I can promise you the Truth!