When I was Seventeen

I graduated from High School. (You’re going to have to put that sentence together with the title, folks. Otherwise, you’re going to think I’m making a grand pronouncement that happened nigh on 25 years ago.) I’d only been driving for a year, as you have to wait until 16 to get your driver’s license, down in FLA.

Full of myself, I thought I knew most of everything. (Knowledge, where for art though, now?)

And then, I left for college.

Seventeen, and utterly ignorant. Of much.

The University of Alabama was kind enough to allow me entrance. A student with the most un-studious of habits. The Gamma Phi Beta House became my home away from home. Fraternity Row became my neighborhood. The Varsity became my kitchen.  Bear Bryant stadium, my backyard.

College life hummed along pretty nicely for about 3 months.

Until I came home with my first semester’s grades.

A whopping .33!

You did not read that incorrectly. There was, indeed, no number in front of that decimal point.

And Ahab gave me The Talk. In a very matter-of-fact way, he shared that not going to college was no skin off his back and that the only one I’d be hurting was myself. He asked me to take the next couple of days to think it over and come to a decision.

And then he directed me to pull weeds out in front of his shop for 6 hours.

In the heat of the South Florida sun.

That will help clear the weeds from your head.

If it doesn’t kill you first.

I can tell you one thing I decided for sure, I didn’t want to pull weeds anymore.

And, I also knew I wanted to head back to college.

I got my head screwed on straight, put my nose to the grindstone, and any other cliche` I could possibly throw in there, and got it done. By the time I graduated, I had made the Dean’s list many times over.

Yay me!

But, no.

Because, in the midst of it all, I met The One.

The Hope Restorer.

He gently nudged my heart into a rhythm of grace. He brought precious friendships into my life to remind me that He was everywhere I was. And He pursued me, relentlessly.

I clung to Him.

Until, I started to think I could do it all on my own, again. And I pushed Him out, becoming more open to falling from Grace.

Which I surely did. And landed with a thud.

But, Grace stays close.

I can see that now.

His hand through other hands which ministered to the bruised spots from landing so hard. Soothing words that healed and gave hope.

When I was seventeen, I thought I knew it all.

Oh, how wrong I was!

Grace had so very much to teach me.

And still does.

college_Missindeedy

 31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 17 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

To those of you reading along, thank you!

Always More Grace

Raise your hand if you knew what you wanted to do when you headed into college.

(Admit it.  Some of you started to raise your hand.)

I wasn’t among you lucky ducks that had it all figured out.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to figure it out, at all.  I just knew that there were parties to attend “in college” where there was no curfew, and no one would be waiting for you to get home to make sure you hadn’t broken any rules.

I never did, of course.

Except that one time.

And I never looked at wine coolers the same way again.

Ahab had a way of exacting discipline that involved no hands and no harsh words at all.  Just a lesson.

And you learned it!

Oh, yes you did.

In fact, the wine cooler lesson was a doozy.  At a ripe age, below the legal drinking one, I decided to imbibe.  It was a Friday night and I always followed the rules.  But, not this time! Oh no! I was gonna cut loose and live it up.

Except, I forgot that Ahab and I had planned a special father-daugher reef dive for that following Saturday morning.

And, if you’ve ever read any Ahab stories, you already know that means we were to be up and attem’ at an ungodly early hour.

Also, that you stick to a plan, come hell or high water.  And sometimes, it was only the high water that kept us from keeping it.

So, as I unlocked the door an hour later than curfew, clearly smelling of rule-breaking-behavior, he had only one question.

“Is your alarm set?”

I’m fairly certain that his eyes had a twinkle in them as he asked.

“I’m not sure I’ll be up for getting up at 5:30 tomorrow morning, Dad,” I warned him.

“Oh, you’ll be up,” he promised.

And that’s how it rolled.

As well as my stomach.

Every foot of boat chop that we pounded across that morning, on the way out to our dive spot, my stomach railed at me for the previous night’s activity. And he knew it.

I survived.

Barely.

But I can assure you – the lesson sank in.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart.  I remember hearing that once or a thousand times.

And God parents me much the same way that Ahab did.  He loves me despite.  He disciplines me even when it’s going to hurt him to see me in pain far more than it will hurt me to be disciplined.

And He gives.

Knowing that I can never give back as much. And that sometimes, I won’t even remember to give thanks.

Today, though, I find myself grateful.

Grateful for the grace galore that He heaps on me.

Grateful for another day to get up and breathe deeply and commit my way to Him.

And grateful for the opportunity to love my children the way He loves me.

Knowing, of course, that when I fail – because, I will – there will always be more grace waiting for me.

 Creationswap_Matt_Gruber_Grace_Abounds

Five Minute Friday – Again

No, really. It’s time for Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog , today. And I couldn’t help but chuckle/snort at the prompt -as you will see from my picture. So appropriate…

Here’s how it works: Everyone who wants to write along spends 5 minutes of uninterrupted writing time on a one-word prompt. There are no edits, although some of us can’t help ourselves where the grammar or spelling is concerned (’tis true), no re-writes, and no over-thinking.  Sharing? Yes indeedy! There is plenty of that.
 

5-minute-friday-1

 
 

Today’s prompt is: AGAIN

 

GO…

 
 
waffle_mishap
 
 
This morning, this happened. Again. It’s aggravating – this over pouring. It leads to extra time spent cleaning. I have to wait while the waffle iron cools so that I can get any assortment of scrapey tools into the crevices to undo the messy mess I’ve created due to my negligence. And I was negligent.
 
You see, I was busy. I was busy nuzzling noses with a hot-pink, Minnie Mouse-pajama-clad, four year old who is growing up much much too fast for my liking. Oh. Yes. I. Was. And when I turned around to check the waffles, I realized my mistake.
 
Too much attention being paid to this Sweetgirl of mine. Not enough, unfortunately, to the waffle maker. Also mine.
 
And the mess, now, also mine to clean up.
 
I find it ironic, though, that I just received a beautiful print that I had ordered in the mail yesterday. I almost couldn’t wait to get it into a frame and put out. It reminds me of what my waffle maker reminded me of this very morning.
 
my cup overflows_blog
And once again, I find myself counting my blessings. Chocolate-chip waffle batter splattered and all!