Tremble In Fear and Do It Anyway

I once knew a man who belonged to a chat room called, “Young Millionaires”. He wasn’t even close to being a millionaire, but he was convinced that everyone else in the room was a millionaire and so he pretended to be one too. I quickly pointed out to him that they could just as easily be making up their financial picture as he was, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He believed them to be completely sincere despite his insincerity.

Last week, at the Write To Publish Conference, I had my first experience at a cyber-friendship made real life or (RL). I was really quite nervous about it.

“What if she doesn’t like the real me?” I wondered. “What if I’ve accidentally created a virtual me that doesn’t reflect the real me, like the guy in the young millionaire chat room?”

But the moment I saw her all fears were chased away. It was like I had known her my whole life…and I should have known all would be well, because Adela Crandell Durkee is a pretty amazing woman! She writes with wisdom and wit. She tells side-splittingly funny stories. She smiles under pressure, and everyone is stronger for her being in their presence.

She was the very first blogger to offer her friendship, writing to me an e-mail that stated, “Let’s be Best Blogging Girlfriends!” And that’s just what we are.

It occurs to me that our relationship with God can be much like a virtual friendship. We don’t see Him face to face, although we could get nervous about when we will someday.

When I do see Him in RL, will I stand before Him realizing how much of the time I was trying to be someone I am not? Will my insincerity drive me away from His presence?

I only know that I am told that I can stand in His presence boldly and that my faith pleases Him. It takes faith to stand in His presence. He sees right through our pretending. But when I do? He welcomes me the way my friend welcomed me, with open arms and loving acceptance, pleased by my reliance on His grace…the outpouring of grace which I gladly receive to tremble and go anyway.

On In Around button

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

Deadly Weeds – Guest Post by Adela Crandell Durkee

Adela is the first blogger to reach out and befriend me.  She has called me her Best Blogging Friend ever since.  She has such a way of making each of her readers feel like  family.  Her wonderful blog Once A Little Girl has the most beautiful memoir posts that I’ve read anywhere.  Not only does she write about her memories, but she always manages to drive home a point.  Please visit her beautiful blog, I promise you won’t be sorry…

I love flowers and flower gardens. I dream of the Chicago Tribune featuring my gardens in their annual Flower Garden of the Year editions. I’m a realistic daydreamer. I put aside thoughts of winning the grand prize, or even second place. I am content with dreaming of one or two resplendent pictures among the beautiful gardens pictured each year. My secret teen-dream was to be Homecoming Queen, Snow Queen, 4-H Queen, or something kinda of queen with a tiara or a silk sash, and maybe a scepter. Perhaps I transplant my teenage dreams to my gardening dreams; a place where I can create beauty.

Yesterday, my first grandchild, Bradaigh, helped me cultivate my creeping cedar, a beautiful evergreen that acts as a ground cover. It fills a teardrop shaped landscape island around two beautiful bur oaks, which my husband rescued from an over-zealous builder planning to backfill the whole area. Cultivating those low-lying cedars is a delight: no bugs; cedar is a natural insect repellant, soft needles that are no longer than a thumbnail. Their clean evergreen scent fills my nostrils. The only problem is that no matter how diligent I am, blades of grass poke up from the cedar sprigs, perseverant against my will. I follow each blade of grass down to its base and pull it out. It’s a time consuming, tedious job, but it’s the only way to make sure I get the grass out by the roots, and the only way to make sure I leave the cedar undisturbed.

“I can see why Jesus told that story about the weeds growing up among the wheat,” I say to my grandson. He grunts. He’s on the way to thirteen, so that’s his main way of communicating this year. Once in a while he’s up for a whole conversation. I take his grunt as encouragement.

“See how these blades of grass just grab hold and keep on coming back? Kind of reminds me of the devil; just looking for a place to grow under the surface. Nobody noticing. Then ka-boom! He rears to the surface, just like he belongs there.”

Bradaigh sighs and shakes his head. I see a shadow of a smile, so I continued shining a light on my thoughts.

“Sometimes, I get a piece of the cedar by mistake. Sometimes, I start thinking the grass is the young cedar and maybe I’m making a mistake.” We continued on in silence. That’s one of the things I appreciate about Bradaigh; he’s content with silence.

“Doesn’t that look good?” I say. “The cedar almost seems…”

“Happy.” Bradaigh says. “I knew you were going to say that, because you and I…” and he stops.

“You and I, what?”

“Oh, never mind.”

“You and I think alike?” I say to him and I can feel my face lighten, and I swear I can almost feel my eyes dilate.

“Yeah.” Bradaigh looks down and away, but I see the smile slide up one side of his face.

“Yeah.” I say back, and I give his shoulder a miniature punch which we both know substitutes for the hug I will give him full on, later when we’re not in the front yard.

All day, every day, I battle grass. I hate grass. Except for the few patches of ornamental grasses: zebra grass and some sort of deep green grass with bright blue flowers, which I love, but forget the name. Everywhere, I’m pulling grass. Today I wonder why so many people spend a fortune on ways to assure a weed-free, vibrant green, ever-growing lawn of horrid grass. I think the story of my struggle with the cedar and the grass could go along side the one that’s already in the Bible.

Grass is like my persistent struggle against pride. For one thing, I’m fooling myself that I can outwit grass. It will always be there, waiting to peak out from between the branches, just like it belongs there. Sometimes, I can be fooled into thinking it’s a character trait, something I was blessed with, a healthy self-esteem, and confidence, something worth cultivating. Grass invades the most delicate and the most hardy of my flowers. It gets in everywhere, just as pride can invade everything that blooms in me, choking out or covering up what is beautiful. Maybe that’s the way it is for people who are plagued by other deadly sins like greed, avarice, sloth, gluttony. We all need to eat, protect ourselves, rest and eat. Perhaps the deadly sins are deemed so because they can take over our lives. Just like my garden, we are in danger of slipping from multi-colored flowers filling the world with perfume and beauty to nothing but a one-dimensional bed of grass. We need an ever-vigilant gardener, who helps us recognize our sins, which can seem so harmless, as if they are a natural part of us, just waiting to take over. Perhaps that’s why some are considered deadly sins. Still, through grace and forgiveness, I am unburdened. I experience life free of self-interest. I am like my weed-free cedar, I feel energized. Fresh. Clear of clutter. And I am happy.

Linking with dear Ann today

Choosing Smile Lines As Trophies In A Plastic Surgery World

Keeping with the theme of a Wrinkle In Time…I am getting older. Being blessed with Scandanavian complexion, I don’t have too many lines or wrinkles, but I am hoping that when I do, I will wear them proudly. I hope most of them turn upward as I sign that I’ve found more good in my life than bad. I am hoping that they tell the story of a woman who had her share (and maybe more than her share) of hard times, but never stopped being inspired by the sunrise, a bird’s song, a blade of grass, a child’s laugh or the sunset.

The post that got me thinking about this is written by my first blogging friend, Adela. Her blog is always so beautifully written and almost always makes me laugh. Please enjoy, Love and Happiness Scars as a part of A Life-Size Catholic Blog’s Pay It Forward Project.



Guest Post Adela Crandell Durkee

I have a wonderful new blogging friend.  Her voice is so genuine, and her posts are pure joy to read!  Below is a prayer she wrote especially for this time of year.  Please visit her fine blog:  Once A Little Girl


Grant me Patience:  Forgiveness and healing can take time.

Grant me Wisdom:  Growth is sometimes unseen.

Grant me Love:  That I may give it and, as importantly, that I may receive it.

Help me Trust:  You know me.  You love me.  You wait for me.