Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thankful for the Thorns

I've posted this many times before (received via email from someone years ago), and it bears repeating:

Thankful for the Thorns

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze.  Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son.  She grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come.

What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer? "Had she lost a child? No - she has no idea what I'm feeling," Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? "Thankful for what?" she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

"Good afternoon, can I help you?"

The flower shop clerk's approach startled her. "Sorry," said Jenny, "I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you."

"I . . . . I need an arrangement."

"For Thanksgiving?" Sandra nodded.  "Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the "Thanksgiving Special."

Jenny saw Sandra's curiosity and continued, "I'm convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?"

"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted. "Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has."

Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."

The door's small bell suddenly rang. "Barbara! Hi, "Jenny said. She politely excused herself form Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of green bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers.

"Want this in a box?" Jenny asked.

Sandra watched for Barbara's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did.

"Yes, please. It's exquisite," said Barbara. "You'd think after three years of getting the special, I'd not be so moved by its significance, but it's happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks."

Sandra stared. "Why so normal a conversation about so strange an arrangement?" she wondered.

"Ah, said Sandra, pointing. "That lady just left with, ah . . . ."


"Well, she had no flowers!"


"Off. Yep. That's the Special. I call it the "Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."

"But, why do people pay for that?" In spite of herself she chuckled.

"Do you really want to know?"

"I couldn't leave this shop without knowing. I'd think about nothing else!"

"That might be good," said Jenny.

"Well," she continued, "Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery."

"Ouch!" said Sandra.

"That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel."

"What did you do?"

"I learned to be thankful for thorns.

"Sandra's eyebrows lifted. "Thorns?"

"I'm a Christian, Sandra. I've always thanked God for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit. Did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the flowers' of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."

Sandra gasped. "A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is, I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God." She started to ask Jenny to "go on" when the door's bell diverted their attention.

"Hey, Phil!" shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop. She softly touched Sandra's arm and moved to welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug. "I'm here for twelve thorny long-stemmed stems!" Phil laughed, heartily.

"I figured as much," said Jenny. "I've got them ready." She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement form the refrigerated cabinet.

"Beautiful," said Phil. "My wife will love them."

Sandra could not resist asking, "These are for your wife?"

Phil saw that Sandra's curiosity matched his when he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet. "Do you mind me asking, 'Why thorns?"

"In fact, I'm glad you asked, "He said. "Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued our marriage - our love, really. Last year, at Thanksgiving, I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she kept a vase of rose stems --- stems! --- As a reminder of what she learned from 'thorny' times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems, My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us. I'm pretty sure this stem review is becoming a tradition."

Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"

"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life, "Sandra said to Jenny.

"Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns."

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please."

"I hoped you would, " Jenny said. "I'll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both good and hard times. We grow through both."

"Thank you. What do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." Jenny handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach a card like this to your arrangement but maybe you'd like to read it first. Go ahead, read it."

My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorns! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow. George Matheson

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dreams, and More

After Brian left for work this morning, I laid back down to catch some more zzzz's before getting up for work (yes, I fell off the treadmill bandwagon a while back, more on that later).  I had this horrific dream that a giant stag beetle ---------------------
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was on the wall in my bedroom.  Now, bugs usually don't freak me out too bad, as long as they aren't close to me, moving towards me, or aren't giants.  In my dream, this thing's body was about 10" long, not counting those pincers, and it had very long, spider-like legs.  I was on the bed, and it was on the wall above my closet.  I screamed, calling for Brian and Steven to save me.  Dominion came and grabbed it, and I was freaking out because I was worried it was poisonous or would hurt him, and he dropped it in the hallway.  Well FML, the thing started running towards me as I was running out of the bedroom, and it went between my feet.  I was hopping around like the floor was on fire, and screaming, finally stopping in the hallway.  I couldn't find the damn thing, and began freaking out again.  Steven came up behind me and was like "umm....Mom.....I don't know how to tell you...." and I looked down and saw the damn thing on the back of my leg!!!!  I was hopping around again, screaming and just losing it, and Steven told me to stand by the bed and he would remove it.  He donned some latex gloves and I just stood there while he was pulling it away from my skin, and I was just trying not to throw up.  I was so damn glad when the alarm went off and woke me up from that nightmare!!!!

We've been hunting a couple times, and I managed to spook a doe Sunday morning so I didn't get a shot at her.  Dammit!  Here are some photos from opening weekend:

View from my tree stand 

View from the blind

I've found that I prefer the ground blind, not because I don't like climbing the ladder stand, but because it's warmer when it's cold outside.  ;-)  Oh and I'm much closer to the action whenever critters cross my path!  We're going back to camp this weekend, and maybe this weekend, I will FINALLY get my first deer!

More on the treadmill bandwagon - about a month ago or so ago, the sickness went around the house.  I felt horrible with allergies and sinus, and had a very hard time breathing and not coughing.  I laid off the treadmill while I was symptomatic, which turned into 2 weeks of no exercise.  Then I wasn't going to bed early enough because of one reason or another, and then we had company over, and here it is November 8 and I haven't been on it in forever.  I felt better when I was walking 5 days a week, and will start back with it tomorrow.

I cannot wait for this election bullshit to be done.  ALL of the candidates SUCK, and everyone has their opinion on who the better candidate is.  They're just opinions.  I've seen so many people get so bent out of shape over politics, and friendships ruined because of difference of opinion.  I don't like to put my political opinions out there, as I know how it is for some folks, to not use that info to judge others.  And this election has truly turned into a picking of the lesser evil, and there's just no good option for the country.  May the good lord protect our country and guide whomever wins tonight, if they haven't already sold their soul to the devil.