Saturday, November 19, 2016

My Cup of Coffee: Habit, Tradition or Reflection?

Who doesn’t like a cup of coffee? I know, not everyone does, like my sister. She’s a tea drinker. Actually I do enjoy tea, but I love my coffee. Thank goodness when we visit my family in North Carolina, I have a kindred java-spirit in my brother-in-law!
  
Sometimes I think I should give it up because I can’t drink it without cream and sugar. I did drink it black for a phase, a very short phase. I’ve also given it up for lent and a detox-cleanse. Believe it or not I once gave it up for a year! So like, what’s the deal? Why bother drinking it? I know, duh, dumb question!  
 
HKBC coffee mug
Because then a brisk fall or chilled winter morning comes and our living room, a porch or the mountains invite a steaming hot cup of fresh coffee where I can warm my hands around the mug. Or a friend invites me for a short three hour chat over coffee at Panera’s, or the hot summer beckons a tall iced coffee!
 
But why do I have this on again off again love hate struggle about giving it up? I don’t really know other than it got me thinking one day about my first cup of coffee.
  
During study hall in the cafeteria at Newtown High, I sat at a lunch table with a small group of friends near the back of the cafeteria which was lined with windows and a door that opened onto the patio. Making the most of our time to study, I utilized my budding secretarial skills by keeping track of the poker game scores.
 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Go Away Monsters God is Bigger than You

Saturday I was privileged to watch my husband do what he does best, sing and play music as he ministered to Alzheimer patients at a local assisted living facility. Actually, as I watched him, my husband ministered to me too.

Curtis Willey - music therapy 2016
After he warmed them up with Accentuate the Positive, he sang Deep Water by Bob Wills. One of the gray haired ladies waved me over and with a glint in her eyes whispered, "Is he singing that because you two had a fight? Are you in deep water?" We chuckled. For an hour he holds their attention and engages them in sing-alongs. Everyone loves Bad Bad Leroy Brown and try and stop them from choo chooing when he sings Folsom Prison Blues. It's literally a party!

When his hour was up and he packed his things, a woman in a wheel chair turned her face up to me and said, "Please stay with me," as she began to get weepy.

I said, "Okay. What's going on?"

She said, "I'm frightened" and proceeded to cry for a few seconds.

I asked what she was frightened of and she stated, "I don't know."

I asked how long she'd been here and without blinking an eye, no tears, she claimed, "I just arrived today."

"Oh and where did you come from?"

"Storrs."

"That's a lovely part of the state with some nice old houses. Did you have an old house or a new house?"

With a stern look she said, "My house isn't old."

Then she became weepy again and begged, "Please don't leave me I'm frightened."

I took her hand and shared a story with her. Really it was a God thing because I felt helpless and didn't know what to say. As I held her hand I shared with her a condensed version of when our nephew first slept over our house at the age of five.

He had just moved to Connecticut and was missing his mom. He didn't want to sleep in our guest room rather he wanted to camp out in his Aunt and Uncle's room so he could feel safe. I made a pallet of blankets and big pillows for him and buried him with all my stuffed animals so he was like a snug bug with furry friends. Everything was fine until I heard him cry out in fear. I ran back up stairs to see what was wrong.

"What's up buddy?"

"I'm afraid. I keep hearing noises. Something's outside on the roof."

He was sleeping near an open window which was over our front porch. I sat with him and listened through the window screen until he could point out to me what he was hearing that made him so scared.

He said, "That's it. Did you hear that, that noise?"

I smiled and tried not to laugh too hard because his fear was real to him.

I said, "Oh honey those are acorns falling on the roof."

He didn't believe me. He was certain it was something else.
I couldn't convince him it was only acorns.
Finally I said, "Why don't we go outside and look at them."

At first he was hesitant to go outside in the dark with me but then he decided to trust me.


I held his little five-year old hand as we walked through his fear by going out the front door and stepping off the front porch onto the sidewalk. In the dark we stood between two big oak trees about 200 years old and watched it rain acorns.

"Look up there buddy, do you see that window?"

"Yes."

"That's where you're sleeping, right under these big trees that are dropping acorns on the roof near your head."

When I tucked him back in he felt a little better but it was still a foreign house to him with unfamiliar sounds yet he was a little more at peace because we put a different perspective on the fear in his head.

Looking out through the screen. I said, "You know what, next time you hear a noise that scares you, shout out the window, go away monsters God is bigger than you!"

We kneeled in front of the window and practiced several times as we shouted out into the dark silhouette of the old oak trees. I don't know if he was shy or thought I was weird but eventually he got the hang of it when I said, "It's okay to shout loud." And he did.
 As I held the frightened ladies hand, I said, "I don't know what you're afraid of but like I told my nephew, you can shout out loud to the air and say, "Go away monsters, God is bigger than you!"

She calmed down and stared at me. I don't know if she received it or not, but that was what I had to offer. That was what God put on my heart.

This was the second time I've gone to the Alzheimer facility with my husband. I was moved to go last minute. I'd been feeling sorry for myself these days because I've had a rough year between personal things and family health combined with the economy and this historical year of events. Life can be overwhelming sometimes and shake the tree of doubt.

So while I'm talking to this frightened woman, I was reminded that I don't take my own advice often enough.

Daily, I need to be mindful of whose voice I'm listening to and following and I need to shake the tree of life, not doubt.

I need to stop listening to the committee in my head that wants to paint everything with fear and impossibility and I need to remember what I told our five-year-old nephew when I said,

"It's okay to shout out loud, 'Go away monsters God is bigger than you!'"