Holier Than Thou

I knew I’d be giving up sweets for Lent, but this year, I randomly added, “don’t touch my face” to my 40-day Lenten sacrifice.

And now, my seemingly simple sacrifice has turned into a worldwide pandemic rule.

I have no choice, but to

play by the rules,

Stay home and don’t touch my face until well beyond Easter.

Sometimes it takes a big wake-up call to realize our choices and actions impact not only ourselves but also others.

And let me tell you from first-hand (don’t touch) experience,

Playing by the rules is the only way to play. When we go off the path, we, more often than not, get lost,

And I really want to play again someday, so let’s play by the rules, stay on the path and stop this pandemic.

Hopefully,  this virus will soon be a thing of our past,

but right here, right now, it’s not a time to act

309A0535“Holier Than Thou”

Copycatting Cactus

  • stay sharp, not spineless
  • low maintenance
  • patient under pressure
  • content in solitude
  • adapt to extreme conditions and any environment
  • drink water when thirsty; reserving some for a drought
  • protect against dangers
  • inclusive to neighbors – just don’t get too close!
  • keep a thick skin
  • ignore what others think; do what’s necessary for the Kingdom

and guess what else?!

Grow  and

flower

in good times or in bad.

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“Copycatting Cactus”

Esperanza

I’ve just been told about @imadilife passing this am –

I met Madi via IG, right as she posted her stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis. Each day forward, I waited for Madi’s stories and posts – her strength soothed the grief I’m still processing since the loss of my beloved friend to stage 4 lung cancer almost 2 years ago. I dm’d Madi that.  She responded with love and “followed back.”

Often heartwrenching to see her IG stories,  I celebrated Madi’s rawness and transparency; giving her followers an insider’s view into treatment and survival and, sadly, Madi’s story and suffering are so relatable to so many in our world.

As the months went by, Madi’s treatment became much more difficult, and Madi began to lose her grip on cancer’s progression. She still mustered up the positivity and strength to post her treatment updates as she negotiated through surgeries, labs, hospital transfers, and cancer complications. I could see beyond the images and videos and know too well the realities of treatment – weakening: trying to comeback, sliding downhill and crawling uphill, day in and day out.

And then, last week, online silence.

Madi stopped posting.

As the coronavirus spread and the world’s shutdown began, I intermittently checked on Madi via her IG feed.

Quiet.

I began to worry about her.

I hoped, maybe she’s healing from surgery?

I knew she’s vulnerable, so I hoped everyone’s sheltering-in-place for people like Madi.

I didn’t know who to ask how Madi’s holding up, but I believed her silence said enough.

Now, as I hear the news of Madi’s passing, I sit in stillness and silence, stunned by what she’s endured and grateful for what Goodness she leaves in her wake and in my life.

I hope that Madi’s finally free from her physical pain, and I’m in awe of her loving husband, mother, and family who protected her from evil and are now humbly lifting her up to God.

I’m overwhelmed with “Esperanza” —  of living life to the fullest, right here, right now,

And celebrating the intention when we allow a stranger to become a friend.

Touched by imadilife, I believe an angel sent to me via IG and via jwls2707 from above, for life.

 

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“Esperanza”

 

 

Be Our Guest

Last Tuesday, my brother, who owns a pool maintenance company, stopped at a house north of town in the desert to work on a customer’s pool. It was post-lunch, and he’d been working since 5 AM.  He’d gone home midday for food and a 100º+ temperature break, and when he returned to his schedule, he wore his flipflops not his close-toed shoes. At his first stop,

without warning

and with no rattle,

Fangs embedded into the top of my brother’s foot –

My brother was bitten by a rattlesnake!

He looked down and saw the 5-foot rattler @ his feet. My brother immediately drove himself 20-minutes to the closest ER; leaving his work truck parked and idling in the ER’s entrance drive as he admitted himself into the hospital.

After an examination, the doctor determined the snake had bitten my brother on the top of his foot –

Twice!

His foot swelled beyond recognition and turned a greenish-blue. The pain in his foot and leg was excruciating.  The venom, the poison, pushed its way through his veins; radiating pain from the puncture wounds and causing him to scream out in pain.

Admitted to the ICU for three days, he received six vials of antivenom (at $2400/vial.)  His bill at discharge, $200K. gasp! He still can’t put weight on his foot, so he uses crutches, and he’s unable to work for at least two weeks.

A costly lesson to remind us that we’re guests in the desert where we’re awestruck by the desert’s beauty – its play with the sunlight and its rare and impressive terrain, but at times, oblivious to its torturous conditions and its acclimated inhabitants.

The desert demands respect for its uniqueness, and unfortunately, sometimes, we discover firsthand an appreciation of its dangers. Warnings may or may not happen.  The sun doesn’t tell us that it’s taking our water, the cactus doesn’t ask us to keep our hands off and a snake may or may not rattle before it strikes.

Through witnessing my brother’s recovery, I’ve been bitten by the harsh reality:

We can’t let down our guard when infringing on this rugged territory.

Respect the earth. Respect others. Respect the desert.  And unlike most good guests, never take your shoes off when entering.

IMG_0026“Be Our Guest”

From the Flight Deck

I prayed on the way to pick up my lunch date,

Please God, give me the emotional strength to wheel her in a wheelchair.

Amen.

I arrived at her house.  Lasso-ing her 40-foot in-home oxygen line, she looked beautiful as she secured herself to the portable oxygen machine. Her hair looked freshly fixed and her makeup impeccable.

She gathered her supplies.

1 portable oxygen tank

1 car power adaptor for the oxygen

1 extra battery for the oxygen tank

1 long cord for the oxygen tank

1 handicap parking placard

1 bottle of water

And her purse.

Without mentioning her newly rented wheelchair, she said, let’s go.

The captain had spoken.

I didn’t question her, and we took off – wheelchair-less.

We drove to the first restaurant, and I pulled my car up to the valet, so she’d have a short walk into the courtyard to sit. An easel holding a sign, Closed Until 4 saved us from the rigamarole of car-exiting and restaurant-entering. We discussed other lunch place options and quickly decided, Lon’s, a hotel restaurant with a patio to enjoy the day’s sunshine.

I drove a few minutes in the direction from which we’d just come and pulled into the hotel’s parking lot.  The valet, busy with other customers, didn’t help us, so we sat in a holding pattern, watching and waiting.  We didn’t want to exit without knowing we had an easy way to enter.

I parked and exited my car, but left the car running – we were dependent on the car to power the cord charging her portable oxygen tank. I approached the valet, questioning if they were open.  He asked, hotel or restaurant?

Restaurant, but we need effortless access -the shortest distance to the outdoor seating. The valet pointed toward the valet parking lot and directed us: Go in there, park your car and take the side entrance to the restaurant.

So that’s what we did.

We gathered all of her belongings, and we walked side/side, slowly into the patio area, about 10 feet. Out of breath, she looked at me with the look I’ve become so familiar – that’s all I’ve got.

I told her to sit down in the nearest seat, and I left her to check-in.  Finding the hostess, I asked if it was ok for us to sit at the table where my friend sat. The hostess said,

Of course –

The valet called ahead and told us that you were arriving.

Sit wherever you’d like.

The hostess led me out to the patio where my friend sat and gave us two menus.

The crew looked out for us.

We ate lunch while the mesquite tree overhead sprinkled its leaves on our table.  She blew her nose, she coughed, and she checked her oxygen.

She requested a to-go box for her leftovers, and we sat in silence. We both surveyed the beauty that surrounded us. The sun began to shine over the top of our table’s umbrella, illuminating her face and making her eyes twinkle.

She said to me,

“Know that I plan to visit you when I’m gone, a lot.”

“I know you will. That’s why I’m creating our place where you will visit.”

*******

An eternal gift, from the flight deck, announcing she’s at ease making her final approach,

and I need not worry.

I can rest assured, she’ll be using her wings with no need for pre-board, and most definitely, be wheelchair-less with wheels-up in the garden that I’m preparing for her landings and take-offs.

Cross-check.

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