Tiny Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm trying this again....

I'm trying this again...
What's 'this' you ask?
Kicking the habit...not being an addict...

As I write those words I'm keenly aware of the highly-charged liquid 'heaven' which is coursing through my veins.  It's one of my 'allowed' Diet Mountain Dews.

Yes.  I'm addicted to Mountain Dew.
Maybe you think I'm tossing 'addicted' around lightly, but I'm not.  I can drink 9 of them a day.  Now... I may not finish all 9, but I certainly pop that many tops.

Nine.  Mountain.  Dews.
Yes, I believe this makes me an addict.
No, I'm not a smoker; I'm not an alcoholic; I'm not a binge eater (although I've had my battles with not eating enough, which is a whole other kind of addiction); I'm not a drug user.

I am a socially accepted addict.
I don't know if this is good or bad, I just know it to be true.  What I say frequently to people to 'justify' my Dew habit is, "Well, there are worse vices I could have."

And that's true.  I'm not going to miss work because of the Dew - heck, half the time I feel like the caffeine helps me get to and through work.  Mountain Dew isn't going to make me throw-up from drinking too much of it, nor is it going to affect my weight (I drink diet... If I didn't that would be a whole other story).

There are things that are more unacceptable than my addiction.
But the truth is:
I'm basically drinking formaldehyde.
My insides could probably glow-in-the-dark under a 'black light'.
And... well, you've probably read the same reports I have, the ingredients are linked to: cancer, thyroid dysfunction, liver failure, tooth decay, bone loss....

UGH!  I have to stop there.  There's more.  A list, a multitude, a plethora, an abundance of things 'wrong' with Mountain Dew.

And yet.... I've frequently called it: the nectar of the gods.
I love it.
I crave it.
It calms me down when I need a fix (Yes, it has caffeine, but I've been drinking it for so long I no longer get a caffeine buzz).
It makes the world spin 'right'.

It's my breakfast.
Ok, you get the picture.  I am an addict.  I'll go to the grocery store at 11pm to get a 12 pack if I'm out, but I won't do the same if we're out of milk.

I vacillate between wanting to quit and not having the stamina to quit.
And, well, I tried seriously to quit once before.  And I did.
For two months I quit.  Mostly.  I was down to one a day and I felt like I could live with that.

And then...  life got crazy, the world started spinning fast, and...
I grabbed my fix.

Plus, I'm the 'Mountain Dew' girl.
People give me gifts of Mountain Dew.
People give me T-shirts with Mountain Dew insignias.
People give me chapstick flavored like Mountain Dew.
People wonder why I don't have a can in my hand when I walk into a meeting...
I'm the 'Mountain Dew' girl.  It's my identity.

Um, stop right there. 
It's my identity?!  THAT is precisely what's different this time.  It isn't my identity.  

See, I've always understood it as part of my identity.  Who would I be if I didn't drink the Dew?  But I've been thinking about it differently recently.
Mountain Dew is a demon.  At least it's my demon.

Now, before you think I'm a total zealot, let me tell you my 'working definition' for a demon.

A demon is anything other than God that tries to tell me/you who I/you are.
Mountain Dew is a demon because it tries to tell me that I am the Mountain Dew girl and Mountain Dew 'owns' me.  

A demon, for me,  happens to look like a shiny aluminum can adorned with neon green splashes.
And well...  it sorta has taken hold of me.  

But, (and I am aware of how corny this may sound)... I am trusting that God's got a stronger hold on me than any silly demon.  And yeah - God's got bigger things to worry about than Mountain Dew, but knowing that my identity is actually 'Christine Louise' - Child of God...

Helps me to tell that demon in my head to go the hell away.  
I'm gonna drink my cold water and like it (Ok - wishful thinking)...

Go away devil.
I'm God's.

Writer's note: 
I don't know where I theologically stand on an external devil (and his legion of demons) raging against the world.  But, I know there is darkness in the world and plenty of evil.  I've also seen those with mental health problems or those who have made major mistakes in their lives labeled as 'demonic' or 'possessed' and thereby presumably far from God.... And this is a mistake of the church.  I don't believe anyone is too far from God... 
All I see in the Bible is Jesus doing battle with demons, throwing them out... 
So, my official stance on demons is:

Jesus is battling them, however they look.  This seems solidly Biblical. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Driving with my 16 year old - AKA: a surefire way to talk with God

"Do you have any children?"
"I have three sons....my eldest is 16."

When I say that, that I have three sons, typically the person asking the question looks at me with a bit of sympathy. I've gotten used to this 'look' and I typically laugh it off and say, "Yup - God knows there's a special place in heaven for me."

Which I quickly follow with, "At least I've been spared from the teenage girl squealing...".  To which I can almost always get an, "AMEN!" (especially from moms who have three teenage GIRLS)

Anyway, my eldest IS 16, which means one thing: Driving lessons.

And dear GOD... now I know there is actually a special place in heaven for me, because I may just die in this new venture of parenting.

As I sat clutching the door handle until my knuckles were white (ok - actually blue because at some point I do believe I lost all circulation to my hands) I thought a lot about God  - mostly because I was sure I was getting ready to meet Him on a whole new personal level...

But seriously - there's nothing like placing your life (and the lives of the entire neighborhood) in your son's hands as he controls a 4000 pound moving object, which is basically a moving fireball if throttled into the 'right' object.....you know, namely another vehicle or gas pump or traffic light, or....

Anyway - that will make you grasp the fragility of life in a whole new light.

So, things I learned about God while driving with my son:
~The prayer that God actually answers quite frequently: "Dear God, don't hit that car!"  (This is actually a prayer that works best if you SCREAM it - at least that's been my experience)

~God is actually INSANE.  I mean - God gave us the keys to the car (AKA - freewill and expects us to actually know how to drive this thing called earth)...  Yeah.  Nuts.  The God of the universe is actually  certifiable.

~We, in church and society, toss the word mercy around way too easily.  I'm pretty sure mercy feels a whole lot more like - HOT DAMN - I am still alive after weaving around the girl on the pink bike, the pick-up truck with tools loaded in the back, the woman raking her leaves, and the dog that - thank God! - (there's a lot of thanking God that goes on...) was on a leash...  WHEW...  I'm pretty sure mercy feels like that.

~Which brings me to grace....which feels like a parking spot.  The car is safely turned off and your teenage son is doing a fist pump because he made it in between the two white lines (almost) and you let go of the door handle for the first time in a half hour.  Grace.  It also feels like a deep breath.

~There's no brake on the frickin' passenger side.  Probably you know this, but as you go just a touch too fast down that hill you are acutely aware of this truth.  Pressing your right leg into the floorboard as hard as you can while biting your lip does not make the car stop.  Life's scary and there's no brake.  Sorry.  But there isn't.  Sometimes you just gotta let other people drive (this is pretty hard for me, because I'd actually like to be in control all the time, which I think makes God laugh).

~Lastly, and I mean that with the utmost respect, God has a wicked sense of humor...  because this feeling - on the edge of your seat, afraid you might just loose your life at the hands of another, while all the while being filled with joy, is what LIFE is.  This is the kind of life God wants for us: never knowing what's next and yet always trusting that somehow you will make it around the next curve.  Like I said - wicked.

So... those are my God lessons from my afternoon jaunt with my son, who is not only an amazing gift from God, but not a bad driver.

Oh - one last thing...
I'm certain the God forgives the parent that cusses a bit too much in this whole endeavor...
which makes me think God may do a fair amount of cussing as we learn to drive.