Saturday, November 13, 2010

Meditations on Preparations

To do before Thanksgiving trip to Maui:

1) Book a housesitter. CHECK.
2) Pick up a birthday hat (& matching wand?) for my niece Lila who'll turn 4, while we're in "Duh-why-ee." CHECK.
3) Also, buy Kentucky-themed neckwear, pom poms, and ribbon for nieces' hairbows to be worn at UK's Maui Invitational basketball games. CHECK.
4) Make nieces' Kentucky-themed hairbows. CHECK.
5) Pack 10 days of color-coordinated outfits for sister's four children. CHECK.
6) Pack 10 days of color-coordinated outfits for self. CHECK.
7-9) Charge camera batteries. Make Thanksgiving reservations at Leilani's. Confirm start time of Beach Ministry Community Church. CHECK. CHECK. and CHECK.
10) Complete Chapters Four & Five of Dissertation Draft One. UM ... "IN PROGRESS."

My family's gonna make fun of me for this. In fact, they already have. Mercilessly, I've been teased for my need to plan ahead whenever we take a trip, which we do pretty often. They've mocked my detailed itineraries. They've bedeviled me for booking things so far in advance, and there is no end to the ribbing I've received for the fact that I have the Walt Disney Reservations Line on my cell phone's speed dial.

I was thinking about all of these things as I started my final preparations for our trip to Maui ten days before take-off, and in thinking about it (again), I couldn't help but consider how ironic it is that they should make so much fun of me - especially Daddy. I mean, the man became an Eagle Scout at 13. What of "always be prepared"!?

Yet will I persevere. No amount of their picking on me will keep me from upholding my father's nearly 50-year-old oath (taken in response to a certain "safety violation" while at scout camp). I will stay strong. I actually do it for them, you know. Though he doesn't like to admit it, Daddy gets all testy if he shows up somewhere and his dinner reservation has been cancelled for not being confirmed, and Mom wouldn't know we were even going on a trip, if not for my daily email reminders. Plus, sweet little Lila would be absolutely mortified to go to a Wildcat ballgame without her UK cheerleading uniform. Okay, so maybe I'm the one who'd be absolutely mortified for Lila to go to a Wildcat ballgame without her UK cheerleading uniform. But still.

All that to say, I've been thinking a lot about preparation lately. Mostly, I've been preparing myself to defend my - somewhat, slightly obsessive - propensity to prepare. Naturally, I can't think about "prepare"-ing without thinking about Jesus's promise in John 14.

"My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

Somehow, that verse took on a whole new meaning for me in all my own preparing this week. It's a very personal thing to "prepare" something for someone. When I pack for Sissy's kids, I have to be sure every outfit is the right size. I have to be sure I've packed the pajamas Lila likes - and don't forget the case for Payton's glasses! Plus, Lizzie Gray will want to take dolls Kirsten and Bella, and Camden will have a cow if we arrive in Maui without whatever Chip Hilton book he's working on. I know these things, because I know these children.

In the same way, Psalm 139 tells us that God knows each of us.

"You have searched me, LORD, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways ... Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."

In connecting these two promises - that the Lord is preparing a place for each of His children and that He knows us as individually as I know my nieces and nephews - I can't help but imagine that the place He's preparing for us will be tailor-made to each of His children. My Heavenly home, for instance, will probably be more like a bungalow. It'll have polka-dotted furniture, built-in cabinetry to hold my record players, and framed showcards dotting the walls (and God, while we're talking framed showcards, how about replacing that "If You Have Only One Wish, Make it BIG" one that I misplaced in one of my many post-college moves?!). Sissy's Heavenly manse will be filled with cherry wood; Leslie's will look like a cabin in Colorado, and Lori's will have approximately 37 dog houses spaced at aesthetically-appropriate intervals all over her backyard.

Nice as a celestial bungalow sounds, I honestly have no idea what God is, at present, preparing for me. In fact, all I know is that it is too marvelous for me to even imagine. As I Corinthians 2:9 tells us,

"... 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived'— the things God has prepared for those who love Him."

All I can say is, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."

(Because I absolutely cannot wait for my family's "Island Time," I've been marking the time until we leave by not only packing a week in advance but also by revisiting last year's trip. Here's a slideshow of some of my favorite shots from our Hawaiian Vacation in 2009. Enjoy. Or not.)

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Click here to view these pictures larger


  1. Um, about that packing you did for Sissy's kids. The clothes won't fit into one gigantic suitcase as discussed... some outfits simply aren't going to make the journey. Do YOU want to do the editing or shall I??? :-)

  2. You have zero authority when it comes to packing for them.


    I will edit ... or buy a bigger suitcase.

  3. It's hard to believe anything could be better than a cabin in Colorado but I'm sure God's plan for me is just that. But until I can see it for myself, I'll just keep on dreamin' about that cabin by a mountain stream.

    p.s. Does it bother you that my outfits are NEVER coordinated?

    p.p.s. The new layout is cooler than the snow around my cabin.

  4. Leslie, you're right. The new layout IS cooler than the snow around your cabin. You're wrong, however, that your outfits never coordinate. EVERYTHING coordinates with your beautiful shade of olive skin.