Seriously, ladybugs?


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If I were to ask God for a significant recurring insect in my life, it would certainly not be a ladybug. Something more exotic perhaps, like a praying mantis, but not scary like a wasp or millipede. Nothing precious or pretty, nothing commonplace, please God. Let it be something with a bit of an edge to it, like the insect world’s version of a raptor, a hawk or falcon of the insect kingdom. But a ladybug? Shiny red, polka-dotted, embarrassingly cute… oh God, why that particular choice?

And, as if it weren’t bad enough to have had a ten year history (here and again, here) of encounters with these little red creatures, God continues to place them in my path. And I continue to notice. Either I find them or they find me, and it’s usually at a time when something significant is happening in my life that…poof… there they are again!

Still, they always come unexpected, and cause a sharp intake of breath that I hope is at least partially spiritually significant. These bugs hijack me, beg the question “Why?” (like most other things in my life) and have me asking, “What God, what are you saying in this, what would you have me learn in this?” And sometimes, I end up smiling, like there’s a private joke between me and the Almighty. So maybe I have come to terms with them as my significant bug species? I have not, nor will I ever, get a ladybug tattoo or wear representational jewellery. I have yet to witness any cool ladybug t’shirts. Those darn bugs keep showing up, and I keep wondering what they really mean?

Last weekend, 7th floor apartment in Vancouver, B.C. and I’m there with my young adult son helping him nest, watching him put together IKEA bookshelves and bed frame and it gets a little stuffy in the small studio and I go and open the sliding door to the balcony and there, in the track of the door frame…yes, you guessed it…ladybugs…3 dead ladybugs. Why? I have no idea. I’m not an expert in ladybug flight patterns, but 7 floors up seemed pretty high to me, let alone a little bug with translucent wings. And they were dead, again, dead and dried up. But this time there was no voice saying a word. Silence. There they were, and there I was. They were dead. I am alive. And these days I’ve taken to flying more. My son is leaving home, and I am still alive, still standing. Big changes, still standing. Big changes, still flying. Maybe that was it, more of a comparative analysis this time around? Was that it God? I don’t know.

And then this, again, these words,

Coincidence is the term used to describe two events which unexpectedly occur together in a way that makes one wonder if this is chance and simple happenstance, or is there a hand.  John Terpstra, Skin Boat ~ Acts of Faith and Other Navigations

I’m choosing hand, and I’m beginning to see humour in it, how God might be enjoying a belly laugh when his kid (me) stops everything she is doing, everything she finds so vitally important, in the presence of this blatantly red yet miniscule stop sign! Yeah, maybe that’s it, it’s an attention getting thing. Whenever I get a little too hung up in my own way, my own pain, my inward focus, my work ethic, my sadness that my son has grown up and away, my, my, my… Oh my… then God says…

…consider this…

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothes [or whatever else…you choose what fills in the blank]? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…” Matthew 6:27-29

Stop, observe, consider. Maybe that’s it. About seeing.

Lesley-Anne

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Naming one thousands gifts that God gives… day 16


226. talking about details of family history and finding reasons why

227. sketch plan for the garden

228. finding a retro button collection that my son might like

229. the woman of his dreams on his childhood pinboard

230. night sky, full moon shining me awake

231. promises of fruit in the flowers on the vine

232. digging in black earth, tucking in new ideas

233. Dad pat on my shoulder

234. Zephaniah 3 verse 17

235. no shame, no entitlement, “all is grace” (Ann Voskamp)

236. contrast of greens, hydrangea leaf over wild violets

237. robin evensong

… so many gifts… so many opportunities to give thanks…

Night Sky Over Joshua Trees

Night Sky Over Joshua Trees (Photo credit: nate2b)

Naming one thousand gifts… day 13, 14 and 15



207. sumac hugging the banks of the upper Don River Valley

208. church spire above urban sprawl

209. old brick houses that someone still loves

210. hugging Dad

211. hugging Mom

212. playing silly hand clapping games with my neice

213. phone calls home

214. realizing home and the place you grew up are two different things

215. split rail fences

216. patina, erosion, moss, and all things that measure time passing

217. finding the one trophy I ever won for being a ‘good citizen’ in grade school

218. new and old things to photograph

219. preparing a meal for my parents

220. Hummingbird at Mom’s feeder

221. the kindness of the Go bus driver who let me ride with no cash to pay for my fare

222. moon shining on  my bed

223. internet access after a few days without it

224. playing childhood piano in the livingroom

225. good food, wine and conversation in local cafe

Naming… day 11


corn on the cob

corn on the cob (Photo credit: mjtmail (tiggy))

180. another colourful sunset after another rainy day

181. 3 supportive children at the grocery store

182. watching LOST again with my girl

183. kids and kids friends in our home

184. poetry and writing contest to sharpen skills

185. husband who listens to rants and raves

186. husband with grand perspective

187. first corn on the cob of the summer… so sweet

188. Emmy injury nothing to worry about said the vet

189. work for our kids

190. friends who are authors, authors who are friends

191. a world of places to explore

192. sleeping in, going to bed early

193. striving to make healthy food choices

194. a menu and assigned chefs for the next few days

195. fridge full of ingredients

still counting,

Lesley-Anne

 

Naming one thousands gifts… days 9 and 10


Albert Namatjira refuelling for a trip to Alic...

Albert Namatjira refuelling for a trip to Alice Springs. Ampol branding is visible on the car itself as well as the bowser. Dodge B Series pickup truck, made 1948-53. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

138. driving, eyes never tired of new things, fresh tasting the feast

139. Fishtrap Creek and other word combinations

140. ethnic diversity

141. navigation systems

142. crab traps stacked on back a pickup truck

143. ocean inlets

144. wild blackberry bloom in ditch

145. 4 exciting games, no injuries, best scores ever

146. border crossings

147. patriotism, large flags

148. all five of us in the car

149. narrow roads

150. indian paintbrush, daisies, side of interstate 5

151. good radio

152. low cloud

153. husband driving, keeping us safe, getting us there and back

154. weathered barns, clusters of buildings, outbuildings

155. sons that said yes to the journey

156. a daughter who still wants my opinion on clothes

156. American Hershey chocolate tongue melt

And the following guest gifts offered up by my observant husband who wanted to know what I was so busy writing down in my notebook as we drove through the landscape on our way…

157. architecture

158. storage sheds in yard

159. car washes

160. hot days and cold pools

161. railway dome cars

162. flat water for skiing

and back to my personal notes…

163. song lyrics

164. traffic circles organizing flow

165. ‘adopted’ highways kept clean

166. lush grass

167. strawberry fields being harvested by workers

168. ripe raspberries on the bush

More from my observant husband who appears to like this looking…

169. trim cedar hedges

170. white fences and wildflowers

and me…

171. roads without curbs

172. level railway crossings

173. old highways

174. country churches

175. picnics

176. tandem tanker truck carrying milk

177. barns full of Holsteins

178. vernacular language

179. high mountain road, rainbows, double rainbows, sunset like the sky on fire, carrying it all in our minds

Footnote to self:  And in all of these, am I truly grateful, truly receiving all as gift from an abundant, lavishly loving God? Or, am I merely taking notice and making lists? Even then, is the enjoying each for what it is and being on the lookout for more, expectant of beauty and joy and grace, proof enough of a thankful heart? And why must I complicate things with thoughts such as these?

Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him?” saith the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:24 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

Journeying…

Lesley-Anne

Naming one thousand gifts… day 7


1,000 Gifts

1,000 Gifts (Photo credit: LearningLark)

I’ll never forget the day I was reading a soon to become favorite chapter of my old KJV Bible… Isaiah 6 … and came upon this note in the middle column. It said,

“his glory is the fullness of the whole earth”

…and it being Spring, and it being that time of day when I walk my old dog Buddy, I began to think on those words and that idea as I walked through my neighbourhood seeking evidence of God glory.

I looked and saw… a rose bush, fragrant with hundreds of blooms. I moved closer, nose pressed into the middle of a heady bloom like a small girl filled with wonder and I thought… there is enough glory in this one bloom, but his glory is the fullness of every bloom on this bush and every bloom on every bush multiplied over and over and over and over and over… And that… and even that, is just the beginning, a minutia of the glory of the one I call God. The earth shouts glory glory glorious fulness everywhere!

And these walks and this seeing began to be part of who I was, how I lived and how I wrote about what I saw, and the thoughts that came from those things that my eyes beheld. Poetry was born in the beholding. Stories germinated there…

I found God in new places, heard him tell me truth, share love through the world around me, in particular the natural world. And my heart began to grow in the process, my understanding of God stretch a little wider, deeper. In 2009 I share one such God ambush in,  “October Valentine”.

So, it’s no wonder that when I begin to read Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” a couple of weeks ago, my heart presses hard in my chest as I feel an echo of Ann’s words that I believe I am living (not every hour of every day, but still…). Ann’s idea of slowing down, taking notice and finding God in the details of the life beauty all around me… makes complete sense to me.

But, the naming, the listing, of those gifts from God, the thankfulness for them a doorway to gratitude and joy and a changed life… well that is a new idea to me. And here He draws me…

Thus, my list begins and grows longer and my heart yearns to learn and I lean into whatever this part of the God trek is that I am on, somewhat limping and sometimes sidetracked and still believing… I write it all down…

98. unexpected invitation from my husband

99. unexpected text message from my son

100. unexpected gift from a friend

101. sun, 27 degrees,  first day of summer feels like the real deal

102. dog laying at my feet

103. chicken on the bbq

104. a good article to read

105. textures

106. colours

107. cold glass of fruity white wine poured with love

108. planting potential in the garden

109. the way NY Red Bulls Thierry Henry moves a soccer ball

Red Bull New York's own TH14 Thierry Henry, ma...

Red Bull New York’s own TH14 Thierry Henry, making a play on the ball midfield versus Real Salt Lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

110. all of us watching major league soccer on TSN