Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Favorite Transformer

Last week, I asked my incredibly imaginative Facebook friends to help me come up with a title for a chapter I'm writing about grace for my new inspirational book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate (set to release in Feb, 2013 by Barbour Books). My creative FB buds had done such a slam bang-up job with suggestions for my guilt chapter several weeks ago that I thought it only prudent to squeeze the utters of the proverbial idea cow once again. 

That was not an attractive metaphor. Sorry. It's early.

So to my surprise, in less than a day I receive a suggestion from the 9-year-old son of Lynn, one of my work associates. It was the BEST EVER! I still can't get over it.

Here's the suggested chapter title straight from the amazingly astute mind of Logan, my own personal Yoda (I suggested that Lynn change his name to Yogan):

Grace: The Ultimate Transformer. Per Logan, this phrase should be accompanied by a photo of Optimus Prime wearing a t-shirt that says, "Forgiven."

Now I'm not all that hip, rad, or the least bit cool about kid-speak these days since my kids are grown with their own kids, and their kids aren't yet out of the sippy cup stage, so I was at a loss as to the identity of said Mr. Prime. Lynn graciously accommodated me with a link to Optimus Prime, the leader of the ever-so-popular robotic Transformers.

Apparently Optimus Prime, a main player in Logan's world, is known for his compassion, strength, and willingness to sacrifice himself for others.

Wow. BIG wow. Who does this description sound like to you? Not unlike the epitome of grace who, out of a strength we cannot fathom, willingly sacrificed himself on a cross through the greatest of compassion for lost souls like you and me.

And this kid, this 9-year-old boy, gets it. He has wrapped his head around the concept of grace better than many adults. Hey, if this doesn't light a blaze of hope in your innards for the next generation, your wood's wet.

Dang, that stupid tear is trickling down my face again. I hate it when that happens before my morning cup of hot tea.

Regrettably, I can't use Logan's terrific idea in my book; my audience of other non-hip, rad-less, uncool middle-aged women like me wouldn't understand it without an explanation. And my editor always says, "If it needs explaining, it shouldn't be there." But it was so awesomely worthy of recognition that I just had to share it with you through my blog.

I hope your mediocre morning is transformed into a grace-filled, optimally prime, to-die-for day!   

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Living in the Shadow of the Hawk

I live in a thickly wooded area and my backyard is home to many critters. Last week we had a very noisy skirmish between the possum clan and red fox tribe that drew Spouse from his nice warm bed to screech like a banshee and whack a baseball bat against the metal door at 3 am. 

His little performance did produce a temporary truce, but by the next morning a casualty of war ended up beneath our porch drawing flies.

Death is part of nature's cycle, I know, but I don't want to smell it beneath my floor boards. Or witness it either.

Which is why I've developed a strong aversion to hawks. We have 'em by the squadrons around here, dozens at a time cruising for prey, honing in on the innocent baby squirrels and sweet birdies that call my yard home.

All my little furry babies will be scampering about, tweeting merrily, playing chase up and down tree trunks or frolicking across wooden fences when they suddenly freeze. A dark shadow passes over the yard as a menacing  hawk stalks overhead. Suddenly everyone dashes for cover, but not before the lightning-quick carnivore swoops down and snatches one of my poor babies away, squealing in terror. 

When the ominous shadows begin crossing the yard, I've tried yelling, banging pans with a metal spoon, even chasing them with a stick. But nothing deters the determined winged predators.  I've even seen one buzz the Maltese next door, swooping down low enough to cause the little dog's white hair to fly up.

So my woodland friends have learned to fear the shadow of the hawk.

I suppose I've become more introspective since I've been writing a book about fear, but it occurred to me today that many people live in the shadow of a hawk, too. Maybe not of the flesh and feather variety, but nonetheless a predator that instills fear in us by its deadly beak and razor-sharp talons. For some, it's constantly cruising overhead, casting its fearful shadow that immobilizes momentum and steals joy.

Hawks can be unemployment, fear of disease or illness, rejection, loss of looks, or even loneliness. Long-time conflicts, dread of pain, the unknown future can loom large over our heads, making us worry constantly that this hawk or that one will swoop down when we least expect it and snatch us away.

I'm tired of cowering in fear in the shadow of my personal hawks. So I'm thinking of getting a BB gun.
Or maybe a bow and arrow. Or a cruise missile.

What do you think? What type of weapon would be the best protection when the shadow of the hawk darkens your path?