Monthly Archives: February 2011

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

badge on blue

2:37 a.m. I awaken to the hum of a lone engine. Car doors slam. Multiple voices break the silence.

Downstairs the dog wakes and goes ballistic, barking her head off. My husband’s in Chicago on business, making me the designated adult. The most interesting things happen when he’s not here.

Springing from the warm cocoon of my bed, I whisper-yell to shush the dog. She keeps barking as the voices keep talking. I peek out the window.

A strange, non-descript car is parked on the side street. No people in sight.

Leaving the lights off and my child asleep, I run down the stairs sans glasses, socks or robe. I strain to peer out the first floor windows into blackness.

Where are they? Front yard? Backyard? Alley? Breaking into my car? Approaching my house?

I dial the non-emergency number. A familiar voice answers.

My former neighbor and dear friend is as a dispatcher and just so happens to be on midnights. She stays on the line as two police cars rush to the scene.

Their giant spotlights shine across the fronts of houses, making eerie shadows on the snow. In moments, the officers march four ominous figures back to the car on the side street.

Burglars? Drug dealers? Terrorists?

Then I see one of the guys is carrying something large, flat and plastic. It’s a sled.

We’ve had a few car break-ins recently in the neighborhood, but not this time. On this pitch black morning, so early most of us consider it the middle of the night, four guys decided it would be fun to go sledding in the park across the street from my house.

fearless ferocious

I thank my friend. Praise the dog for her bravery. Trudge back upstairs and to bed. A cacophony of thoughts join me.

I remember skipping down the residential section of Cameron Avenue in Chapel Hill late one night, arm in arm with my best friends, singing I Will Survive at the top of our lungs on our way to a mixer. Some good police officer should have marched us back to the sorority house to study.

I imagine how frightened families must feel in war zones and places of unrest or danger. Listening to voices outside, wondering if at any moment they might burst in.

I think about how it is no coincidence my friend was working at the station that night.  How God never sleeps. How youth is wasted on the young.

How the Beverly Hills Cop theme The Heat is On playing in my head is a terrific song and Axel F is genius. Gradually, gratefully, eventually, I go back to sleep in peace.

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8 NIV

Hats off to Bob Marley, Gloria Gaynor, Eddie Murphy, Glen Frey and Harold Faltermeyer for the cultural references. Thanks for the memories, guys.

To listen to Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F on YouTube, click here.

This post was first published on February 25, 2011, here.

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Filed under humor, life

Life on the Slippery Slope

There’s a park across the street where I take the dog to run.

Once we make it to the sidewalk bordering the park, a huge hill drops into a field. Then another drop where there’s a pond and a playground.

It’s lovely all seasons. St. Louis winters cover it with fantastically white snow.

As soon as the snow falls and the schools close due to weather, the hill fills with a patchwork of colors. Parkas, mittens, waterproof boots, disks and planks of bright plastic sleds.

One morning a few weeks ago after the sledders were called back to class, the dog and I ventured out.

Mountain climbers at the summit, this was our hill, silent and packed with muddied snow. Marred from dozens of children’s boots and sleds.

No sooner did I let the dog off the leash than she proceeded to run as if the hill were covered in tender spring grass.

I started my descent much slower than she did. No matter. Unless I stood perfectly still, it became apparent I was going to fall.

The dog skidded and turned to go back up. Her toenails clicked, grasping for ground but only sliding on the slick surface. I watched her dance around in a little circle, slipping, grasping, turning, prancing.

Memories of ski lessons on icy North Carolina slopes tumbled back. Snow plow, bunny ears, parallel side steps. Not the same result in Adidas as in skis.

I thought of the impending, embarrassing emergency rescue, ambulance and all. Then I noticed the dog.

She’d stopped her desperate jitterbug and was running down the hill again. So I followed her in the same manner.

When we ran full speed down the hill, our feet were light and had no time to slide. Laughing, screaming, I ran after that dog and remembered sometimes it’s wiser to plunge headlong into whatever I’m facing than to spin in a hesitant, futile reach for safety.

This ordinary morning, there was life more abundantly for a common girl and her dog on a steep snowy hill. Oh, that my heart could hold on to that moment.

David ran toward the battle line to meet Goliath. Lord, may I run like that too. Fearlessly, may I run.

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 1 Samuel 17:48 NIV

This post was first published on February 23, 2011, here.

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Mercy and Hellfire on Facebook

Friended a few people I haven’t seen in years. Suspect there is some unfinished business between us.

Seeing their faces pop up on screen, I miss them. Their smiles, laughter, presence. How close we once were. How much a part of each other’s lives. Now years and silence are all we share. Sigh.

When I fretted over a recent class reunion, a friend told me we’ve all grown up. She said you have to hope people have gotten past the drama of high school. Let’s not even talk about college.

Hope. Did you catch that? Do we really get past those transgressions?

I remember there was one person in particular I hurt terribly. I would like to dig a hole, crawl inside and die for how badly I behaved. If anyone ever had a reason never to speak to me again, this person did.

What a surprise when at said reunion this person approached me with a welcoming handshake and a warm hug. He’s grown up. He’s gracious. And I am mercifully forgiven.

We’ve all been wronged at some point. I was the target of fickleness and cruelty too. I still am at times, even with the adults populating my life today.

I’m reminded to put down my saber, let go and forgive. Christian cliché? Forgive and forget. Let go and let God.

I’m not interested in that kind of forgiveness.

I’m talking about the hard won, humanly impossible forgiveness. The kind that runs deeper than the wound.

The kind I may have to revisit on my knees a few times over a few years. The kind that brings freedom once it’s complete.

There may be relationships that cannot and will not be reconciled, despite forgiveness on my part or theirs.

People on Facebook or in real life or in the past I must leave be. Nix reaching out, lest I pull back a nub.

Still those moments of remembering leave me wanting. Those faces on my screen draw me in.

In some cases, I bravely reach out and accept my just desserts. The judgment fire of burned bridges as a consequence of my sin or someone else’s.

And in other cases? As the messages of acceptance trickle in one by one, I am flooded by the gift of mercy. And it is very good.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22 NIV

This post was first published on February 20, 2011, here.

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Dangerous Liaisons: A Girl Enters the Blogosphere

A friend alerted me that my blog’s security settings won’t let her post a comment. Oh, the heartbreak of it all.

I write words, not code. This leaves me in the awkward position of being dazed and confused by social media, while madly in love with it too.

Library called. They want their books back now.

Blogger, my current platform, says they have enabled automatic spam detection. Translation: ain’t nothing getting through.

So I thought I would simply adjust my Blogger settings down to make it easier for you to come to the dance. Yeah, right.

I logged in to Blogger Dashboard. That’s IT lingo for site-that-makes-you-think-you-have-some-control-over-your-stuff. I clicked on Comments to change the settings.

Imagine my surprise to discover there is no loosen-up-so-people-can-comment-and-subscribe-without-turning-backflips option. It appears my settings are as loose as they get.

This is only my third post and already I’m considering moving the entire operation to WordPress. Several of my blogging babe heros successfully reside there. See their beautiful sites at Here’s the Diehl and Traveling with the Jones. (Since the time this was first posted, I’ve identified more friends who are blogging babe heros on WordPress like Kellogues,  Minivans Are Hot, and Quiet Gardens, Raging Seas.)

I am enamoured with Blogger’s simplicity. But truth be told, WordPress was my first choice to launch everyday epistle. Even have the name reserved.

So why didn’t I? The WordPress Dashboard looks like spaghetti.

If you can relate to this soap opera, never fear. There’s safety in numbers. We’ll overcome it together.

If on the other hand, you are a social media master, please chime in. Throw out the lifeline before the rest of us drown in RSS feeds and plug-ins.

Stay tuned. If everyday epistle moves to another platform, I hope you will come along. But for now, I’ll keep writing the words that fuel the fire.

be mine

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-3 NIV

Apologies if you have tried unsuccessfully to comment or subscribe. Thanks for staying on. At the risk of breaking blog taboo, my email address is still working last I checked. It’s not interactively ideal, but I’ll get your message. Contact me at everyday epistle dot att dot net.

This post was first published on February 16, 2011, here.

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Filed under blogging, humor

Ice Ice Baby

fun ice

Unless I can skate on it, put it in a Coke, or wear it in a ring, ice is not my friend.

A little background. Recently several inches of ice fell in St. Louis followed by several inches of snow followed by single digit temps.

Of course it’s all melting now when I want to post this story. Not so a couple days ago when I decided to take the dog for a walk in the neighborhood.

The sun is shining. The sky is blue. We avoid the icy places by hopping between plowed pavement and stretches of snow where our feet can still get some traction.

We’ve walked about a quarter mile from the house. This weather’s not stopping us. We’re going the distance.

Then my dog spots another dog in an electronically fenced yard across the street. Instinctively she is drawn to this irresistible creature.

A little more background. My dog is only 15 pounds or so of cairn terrier. But as Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson write in Paws to Consider: Choosing the Right Dog for You and Your Family, you don’t own a terrier. You live with them.

The leash tightens, I step out, hit the icy sidewalk and boom. Down like dominoes. I land on my behind, my back, my shoulders, and finally crack my head against the hard, frozen ground.

“Ow!” I sit up. “I’m okay, I’m okay,” I say as if anyone else is on the tundra.

Loop ice

Visions of Natasha Richardson come to mind. I’m quite sure I’m going to die. My head aches as I stand. Must get home, must get home.

The dog has other ideas. She digs in her little heels, if dogs even have heels. She insists we go to see the canine w-a-y over there.

“Oh, all right. I guess if I’m going to die today and this is our last walk together, we might as well go where you want.” Yes, I talk to my dog.

“That’s it. We are so moving South. It is craziness to live in this weather. People are not made for this. What were those pioneers thinking?”

We visit the barking mess across the street, the only other witness to my potentially fatal accident. Then we start the walk home in the middle of the cleared road.

“Sure we have some ice in North Carolina, but no one goes out in it. And do you know why? Because they might fall and die, that’s why!”

The dog begins to pull toward a tree.

safety ice

“You’re as spoiled as a child, you know that?”

An eternity later, we make it home. I Google head injuries and call my husband who is in warm Orlando on business, bless his heart. The most interesting things happen when he’s not here.

Once we’ve determined I will probably survive, I hang up and record this episode to share with you.

Then I take a Tylenol and the rest of the day off. Who knows? It could be my last.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14 NIV

No dogs, children or rappers were harmed in the making of this post. And yes, those are bike helmets.

To see Vanilla Ice’s video Ice Ice Baby on YouTube, click here.

This post was first published on February 14, 2011, here.

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Maiden Flight

It was inevitable. At some point I would blog. Current atmospheric conditions are churning now, ripe for words. What’s my angle? Take your pick.

first in flight

Tormented writer ponders the future of a full but meandering career. Stay-at-home mom finds herself adrift as her only child races through kindergarten.

Southern expat living in the Midwest wilts with homesickness like a hydrangea in a Carolina summer wilts with heat.

Wait, there’s more.

Independent conservative squirms under a government hell bent on bringing the end of the world as we know it.

Bible-believing Christian struggles to keep the walk real despite discouragement, disconnection and disillusionment.

Gen-X girl turns 40, buys an iPhone and starts a blog.

This is your captain speaking. Please keep your seatbelts fastened in the likely event we encounter choppy air. Turbulence makes for quite the adventure.

maiden flight: the first occasion on which an aircraft leaves the ground of its own accord…always a historic occasion for the type…also one of the most dangerous, because the exact handling characteristics of the aircraft are generally unknown. wikipedia.org

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Message

This post was first published on February 12, 2011, here.

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Filed under blogging, life