The Pool

Tuesday. Thursday. Saturday. We leave at 8:30 in the morning so that The Ancient One can be at the pool when it opens at 9. But she makes herself wait that long. She’s usually ready an hour before. 
She’s 92 and she still swims laps. 
Breast stroke. Always the breast stroke. Only the ends of her hair at the back of her neck get wet…otherwise her head stays above water as she swims. It’s always been that way…as long as I can remember. Even as far back as the ocean in Hawaii.  Always the same. Always graceful, active, sure, purposeful…alive. She’s so very much alive. 
I sit on the bench and watch her, and keep count. Some days she does 4 laps, some days up to 8. It’s more work for her now than it used to be, but she’s amazing. And inspiring. I hear some of the others whisper, “And she’s in her 90’s!” I smile and nod and feel proud.
There are others in the pool. A whole little community of pool goers. I sit, and observe, and make mental notes as I characterize them. At first I smiled over them…for many reasons. Then I realized that they were the ones IN the pool…and I was only sitting on a bench. I’m not so patronizing now. I respect them. They are cool. 
There is “The Manatee”. I wouldn’t recognize this man above water, but he’s unmistakable in the pool. Somehow when he’s there, he’s always already in the water before we get there, sticking close to the edge, his large, powerful frame moving back and forth through the water…rolling from side to side…slow, methodical, a bit clumsy, measured, constant. He turns his head high when he breathes.  Over and over and over again. 
Then there is the 82 year old lady who wears a mask and snorkel and fins and skims across the pool and back again, like a fish. Lap after lap – she doesn’t stop, doesn’t slow down. Swims and swims and swims. When she’s done, she visits…bubbly and smiling in spite of her fibromyalgia and other health issues that keep her away from the pool for months at a time. I like her. I’d like to know her better.
“Okie” comes almost every day we are there. He’s a good swimmer, and a flirt. Flirts with everyone there, really…or quotes “In the last days, perilous times will come. Wars and rumors of wars…” whenever anyone brings up the weather or politics. He’s a social guy, and does better when someone is there to pace him and keep him motivated. 
“The Greeter” is almost always there. She’s friendly…and talkative. Doesn’t swim…just bounces..up and down, up and down…working her arms and legs through different exercise routines as she bounces and talks. Always talking. Always bouncing. She’s the one who checks up on the others if they miss more than a few days in a row, and then comes and shares what she learns. “T- is in the hospital again. She’s been there for four days and they’re saying maybe another week. Poor thing. Bless her heart. I’m going to visit her.” Caring. Loving. Opinionated. Talking. Bouncing.
Occasionally a younger woman…late 40’s/early 50’s comes in. She’s training for a triathlon, and her slim, tan body in her racer suit is starkly contrasted with the others around her. She’s serious about her training,  and swims beautifully…and hard. But her smile is also beautiful. And she’s made my grandmother her role model. Go Grandma!!! 
There are others who come…but not as regularly. The gal with the tattoos all over her body, the homeschooling mother, the man who had heart surgery and showed off his huge scar the day he came back to the pool after being gone so long. Everyone let him know how much they missed him, and how glad they were to have him back. 
Such an interesting world we live in. Such an interesting slice of that world at the pool. And in the middle of it all…my grandmother. She’s 92 you know! And still swimming laps.
❤ Picture by Mom ❤

The Coffee Shop

A group of eight ladies…all silver haired. Except for the one on the end…I think she’s wearing a wig. Sharing coffee at a coffee shop.

“Excuse me, I didn’t hear you. I’m hard of hearing.” said one sparkling eyed matron.

“Aren’t we all!”

General snickers around the table.

A business man in shorts and an izod…laptop, files and an incessantly ringing iPhone. Loudly incessant. I wish he spoke a little more loudly. Tera and I can’t tell if he’s Scottish, English or South African.

A loud, nasally cackle from across the shop.

A family talking about a 34 year old they know who has never seriously dated anyone. Crazy.

I’m not meaning to eavesdrop. It just happens. Snatches of conversation with each sip of blackberry latte freddo. And the blueberry muffin was yummy too.

There ARE advantages to not having internet at home.

Wonderful

My sister, Tera, has a wonderful camera.
The wonderful Tera let me borrow her camera for a couple of weeks.
I had a wonderful time with the wonderful Tera’s wonderful camera.
And then my wonderful brother Jeremy helped me figure out how to make a collage after I was inspired by this wonderful website that my wonderful mother shared with me:
I think I’m addicted…

Limitless

Ever have those days…or weeks…when you feel like you can’t pray? For one reason or another. Feels like God is there, of course…He’s always RIGHT there, but your communication lines are down. There is something in the way, and you’re not hearing Him. You don’t doubt that He’s there, just waiting for you to work things out and quiet down enough to have a real conversation with Him. Meanwhile, your brain is whirling and your heart is thumping and your life is calling from all different directions.Or you feel so unworthy, that you doubt He even wants to hear from you.

I do.

Those are hard times. But good times. They show me how empty my life is without Him. They force me to focus on Him. They bring me to my knees, in a very gently, persistent, merciful way. And they make me realize how much I love my God all over again.Last week was one of those weeks. Prayer was forced. Bible reading was routine. My heart was numb.

And then I went to church. And I sat there and wondered why I did. I saw that they were planning on having communion that day, and I struggled with wanting to get up and run out of the building. I didn’t feel worthy. I didn’t feel close enough to Yahweh to partake of the body and blood of His Son. And I prayed, “How can I do this??? I can’t! Not now! Not while I’m feeling so distant and unworthy and awkward about it all!”

The preacher was talking about things that seemed completely irrelevant to what I was facing. I struggled against panic, and tried to calmly form an escape plan and excuses in case anyone inquired.

And I prayed.

“I can’t do this. I am not worthy. How could I be worthy?”

And that still, calm, loving voice inside my heart, “Are you limiting Me? Are you limiting my grace and mercy?”

My heart was still. My mind was clear. Is there ANYTHING I could ever do to be worthy? Is it possible for me to make it all okay. NO. It’s Him. It’s all Him. I am nothing without Him. With Him…I am a child of the King. And I am blessed to receive His atonement that makes me worthy.
Why do I let my mind limit what is limitless? His love. His mercy. His grace. It’s limitless. It’s available. It’s amazing.
His love is SO amazing!!!
Through Christ, you can be worthy too! Isn’t that beautiful!!!

Fruit Salad Anyone?

I was out watering the garden this morning, taking advantage of the relative coolness before 100 degree temps drive me inside for the rest of the day. It was peaceful and lovely, and I was enjoying it…until suddenly…..I saw a squirrel run up to Grandma’s apple tree.

“Surely not.” I thought to myself. “Surely that squirrel is not going to run up that tree while I’m standing here watching it!”
Guess what?
It DID!!!
And it started munching on an apple. Resourceful guardian that I am, I aimed a forceful spray of water at that oversized rodent and sprayed it right out of the tree.
VICTORY!!!! Feeling smug and triumphant, I gave a little laugh and thought…next time, Squirrel…it’ll be a gun I aim at you, not a water hose.
Guess what that squirrel did next. It ran over to the peach tree…that was even NEARER to me than the apple tree…and ran right up in the branches.
This, my friends, meant war.
 I went over and turned the water up all the way and shot a powerful stream of water right into the branches. Pesky (I’ve named him that) just ran to another branch, and then sat and looked at me, till I shot him with another spray of water. After repeating that several times, he grabbed a peach and ran off into the woods.
Defeat. Utter defeat. He’s probably out there right now enjoying another of my tomatoes.
And I know that I’m not going to shoot him with a gun. Never name someone you plan to shoot.
I guess we can share our peaches. For now.