Sunday, September 16, 2007

all's right

My daughter sits at her computer, headphones in place, hands flying over the keyboard as she types in a homeschooling schedule for herself. Tera is most happy when she's in "secretary mode." I couldn't say no when she asked, awhile ago, "Mom, can I please make up my own work schedule for school?"

So she sits there, oblivious to my own flying fingers in my office fifteen feet away. She's oblivious to the sounds of the Seahawk's game drifting from the living room below. She's unaware that I can hear her singing along with her new favorite CD.

Tera's happy.

My son is walking around his Bible College campus, wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and black slippers he bought at the Murrieta Walmart. "I love being able to walk around campus in my slippers, Mom," he told me when he called a half-hour ago. He also told me that he nearly drowned yesterday while surfing in Oceanside--information I could have done without. But I'm reminded that God is in control of my child, and once again, He's done His job well. Zac tells me all the details of his surfing incident, tells me how good it felt to sleep in this morning, tells me there are no classes tomorrow, tells me what he's going to order at Jack in the Box when he runs across the street for a bite.

Zac is happy.

Dave is in our bedroom, prone, watching that Seahawks' game in his usual Sunday afternoon garb--flannel pajama bottoms and his favorite gray robe. "Beautiful!" I hear now and then, when his outburst defies our bedroom door and drifts upstairs. He's full of spaghetti and meatballs, and if that wasn't reason enough for lying around, there's also the fact that he's been up since 4:00. While Tera and I kept sleeping, he rose in the dark and worked a bit more on his sermon notes. After a long and busy morning, he's earned the right to that robe, and those pajama bottoms, and the nap I know he'll fall into soon.

Dave is happy.

My family is safe. My heart is full. My house is warm, and filled with the scent of wood smoke, a hazelnut candle, a fresh pot of coffee, and just a hint of spaghetti sauce. God is in His heaven ... and all is right with my world.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

someone's watching you

I rarely watch TV in the morning. Who has time? But our puppy--who has been recovering from an unknown ailment that had her at the vet for a week--is sleeping in her crate in the living room, and Dave felt certain that the lull of all-night voices would keep her content when the rest of us went to bed. So when I settled in this morning to finish a book edit, the TV was already on.

I got sucked into Good Morning America. Maybe "sucked in" is the wrong term. I should say that while I checked for misplaced commas and scanned for redundancies, I kept one ear on the top stories.

I managed to ignore most of it. But when they began a segment on how Walmart is keeping tabs on the shopping habits of American consumers, my fingers paused over the keyboard. I shop at Walmart. That means Walmart is watching me.

And here's what they've discovered about me ... and you:

--The average woman who shops at Walmart is a size 14 in clothes, size 8 ½ in shoes.
--The most popular turtleneck colors are black and red.
--If you live in the Northeast, you’re most likely to have a bagel for breakfast
--In Texas, you’re likely to reach for a donut
--Across the country, bananas are the highest seller in all their stores
--Ohio buys more TVs than any other state (Sports ... it's all sports)
--Boxers and briefs are tied for popularity, but Southern men prefer boxers
--Western states like New Mexico, Wyoming and California buy the most dog food
--Maine buys the most cat food
--In times of crisis, like an impending hurricane, people want to buy Pop Tarts.
Therefore, when the weather forecasters warn of a brewing storm, the Walmart distribution center sends truckloads of Pop Tarts to the stores in its path.

It all got me thinking. The first thought I had was that the next time I found myself in Walmart, I might buy an apple ... or a nectarine ... or a kiwi. But you can be sure I'm not buying another bunch of bananas from the Big Eye.

And then ... I don't know. Maybe I was just in one of those places where it was easy to spot a spiritual illustration in an odd story. Whatever the reason, something in that Pop Tart comment made me think of Satan. He studies us too, you know. He watches us so diligently that he knows exactly what we like best and he knows exactly what we turn to in times of stress or difficulty. And then he makes sure that “thing” is right within easy reach.

And I hate to say it, but I'm afraid that too often, when we’re in need of comfort, we settle for Pop Tarts when we could be reaching for God.