I went into the city yesterday with the childrens.
You should know that anytime I go anywhere by myself (“myself” includes any situation in the which I am the sole a-dult), I fight anxiety the. entire. time.
I mean: I think constantly about the multiple ways in which I am going to die. Then I think about how maybe I won’t die. Maybe I’ll just get hit by the drunk driver and become paralyzed for life. Maybe the drunk driver will hit the girl’s side of the car and SHE’LL die.
I’ll have to tell my husband.
I imagine the phone call -the heartbreak… the inevitable divorce because he’d never forgive me How could he when I would never even forgive myself? How will I provide for myself?
My grip on the steering wheel tightens.

Around this time, my ever-patient guardian angel slaps me upside the head and I focus my energy on relaxing my grip and easing the tension that has built up in my shoulders. And then I pray, with my eyes wide open and focused on the road, and ask my Heavenly Father to PLEASE save me from myself.
And he does.
I mean, I’m here today, aren’t I? From the very beginning of yesterday to the very end, I noticed things I hadn’t before… cause and effect things.
For example: when I went to Sam’s Club, I had to hurry the heck up. In order to do so, I fed my kids hot dogs and actually told them if they would throw away what they hadn’t eaten, I would buy them ice cream.
I just couldn’t wait any longer.
I couldn’t sit there and say, “hurryandeat, hurryandeat, hurryandeat…” so I said, “If you want ice cream, you have to throw what’s left of your hot dog away,” thereby sealing myself a seat in the “World’s Unhealthiest Mother” club.
They agreed.
Minutes later, I had two kids with cups filled with soft serve ice cream in my cart. We were whisking in and out of aisles at a rate that would make a marathon runner proud.
We were interrupted by a man.
“Hey,” he said, pointing to my cart, “What aisle did you get THESE on?” He asked, referring to my children.
“The Stork Aisle,” I smiled.
“The dork aisle?” He cocked his head, confused.
And then, for a short moment, we regarded each other -equally offended.
I couldn’t believe he thought I referred to my own children as dorks to a complete stranger.
He couldn’t believe I had just referred to my own children as dorks to a complete stranger.
He turned away from me, gave my kids knuckles and pointing to my daughter said, “See ya later, alligator.”
My kids giggled, and I resumed whisking.
It wasn’t the first time in my life a misunderstanding has caused offense… nor will it be the last. It also wasn’t the first time a misunderstanding has caused TOTAL AWKWARDNESS between me and a complete stranger, and I am 100% sure it won’t be the last.

On the knuckle-gripping drive home, I noticed cars going by on the other side of the highway. One of them looked exactly like mine. I was so happy. I looked at the driver as they passed quickly by (after all, we were both going 75 mph in opposite directions) and found -much to my delight -they were looking right at me.
We are so awesome.
Where’s the cause and effect there? Well. I saw a car that looked like mine. I looked at it (cause) and realized I was equally as awesome and the driver of the other 1996 grey Jeep Grand Cherokee (effect).

And then an announcement came over the radio… there had been a fatal accident right next to where I’d just been in the city. I had driven by the spot at least 3 times that day, and I was less than one mile away from the accident when it happened.
I immediately turned down the radio and looked at my sleeping children in the back seat.
While the announcement did LITTLE for my obvious anxiety issues (other than to validate them), it did make me ache for a moment, knowing someone out there was getting a phone call.
It made me ache for their tears -for the life they’d have to live without their friend/daughter/spouse/child… and it made me overwhelmingly grateful for life, for my rambunctious, thoroughly un-dorky children, for my eternal spouse, for my religion, for my home, my clothing, my parents, my sister, my brothers… all of the little things that had bothered me that day slipped quickly away, and I said a prayer -eyes wide open -of thanksgiving.

Thursdays are the days I get away for my morning devotional, and this morning I took a few pictures for you. This morning I was able to get away and reflect. If you can’t get away to some place you love, borrow my place for the next minute or so.
As you look at what is, to me, one of the most beautiful pieces of earth, be grateful that you weren’t on the receiving end of that phone call. Be grateful for awkward misunderstandings and matching cars.
And, of course, awesomeness.
I’m grateful for the open miles and miles… and miles and miles…

For tracks in the used-to-be-mud:
For the season when THESE awful things are dried up and somewhat less offensive:

For these trees where I used to gather as a kid with family and friends to (what else?) eat:

For this dirt road that always makes me quote one of my favorite poems, written by Sterling W. Sill. The line goes, “[One] hundred music haunted dreams of winding roads and drowsing streams.”
The poem itself is titled “Bankrupt” and can’t be found anywhere on the internet though I SWEAR that I put it there once. I want to share it with you because “Bankrupt” is all about being grateful for the things we take for granted, like dreams of winding roads and drowsing streams. It’s beautifully written. Let me just go find where I put it…

“…this title is called Bankrupt. The idea being that supposing you had to pay for all of the things in your life that you get free of charge, how long would your money last?” ~Sterling W. Sill

One midnight clear in starlight still
I dreamed that I received this bill:
Five Thousand Breathless Dawns, all new.
Five Thousand roses, wet with dew.
Ten thousand snowflakes, served ice cold.
Five thousand sunsets, wrapped in gold.
Five quiet friends, one baby’s love.
A mad white sea, with stars above.
A [sic] hundred music haunted dreams,
Of winding roads and drowsing streams.
A June night in a quiet wood.
A heart that loved and understood.
I wondered when I wake today,
How, in God’s name, could I ever pay.

I couldn’t find where I’d typed it out, so I went to the mp3 online and typed it out again. The entire talk is well-worth a listen-to. I’ve listened to it over and over and over. I love the message and the sound of his voice. Something about him reminds me of my Dad -although my Dad never, to my knowledge, wrote poetry about roses wet with dew.
Go HERE to listen to the entire talk, titled “An Inside Job.”


  1. I worry about stuff like that too. So glad you were safe. God has a plan for everybody.

  2. I am constantly worrying about these things! It is terrible… I make people call me when they get home at night.. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

    I really look forward to your posts! When they are not funny, they are inspirational or beautifully reflective!

  3. Love the story. I just keep thinking of that drive I seem to be able to make with my eyes close then, it hits me, did I go through Winslow? Love love love the Manila pics. I love that place too. We need to get out and do some pics together out there sometime.

    • storylady says:

      I would love that so much! Danny and I wish we could just build a nice homestead on that land… that would be the dream :)

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