Monday, November 16, 2009

Swiftly the Days

I’m disturbed.
Time is passing much too fast
for me to keep up.
My head whirls to keep track
of dates and events I thought
so recent.
Are you sure that was last year?
Two years ago?
I’m getting old – well,
older anyhow.
What I mean to say is
I’m getting older
too fast to be possible!
This isn’t real – how these days
zip by
like soap slipping from wet hands.
I can’t seem to get a grip
on my life.
Lord, please supply some traction!

Can you relate? I can relate all too well. More years have passed since I penned these disquieting thoughts than the number of years I had lived at that time – 34 more years as a matter of fact. And I just thought life was moving on along then! An even more daunting truth: My three older kids are 10 to 15 years older now than I was then. I can’t think about that too long. Messes with my brain.

Nowadays, I’m fortunate if I know the day of the month. I can still pretty well tell you if it’s Monday or Tuesday, but don’t ask me more than that. And by the way, what happened to September and October?

I wish someone had sat me down long ago, looked me straight in the eye and said: “Live TODAY. Do not long for tomorrow, for whatever reason. Do not wish away today! God’s precious gift to you is now, the present, whatever that involves. Give God time to work in this moment.”

As a child, when I complained about time dragging (what kid doesn’t believe time dawdles?), my mother would always remind me that “tomorrow never comes.” The first time she said this I begged to differ with her. With a smile of triumph she pointed out, “What day will it be tomorrow? Will it be called tomorrow, or today?”

Don’t be the mommy who isn’t satisfied very long with her baby’s little feat of rolling over from tummy to back because she wants baby to sit alone. Then sitting alone isn’t enough; it’s time to crawl, baby! So baby crawls, but wait; now walking is the thing! When that golden moment happens, however, our hurry, hurry mother very quickly begins dreaming of pre-school; she had no idea of the mischief one little child would get into after becoming mobile on two legs. Don’t let on-going impatience make your children’s early years only a blur after all of you are older. Don’t rush – savor and enjoy. Before you can turn around good, those children will have spouses and children of their own. Trust me. And I’m not trying to be morose and gloomy. (If I wanted to be morose and gloomy I’d quote that old song about “we are going down the valley one by one, with our faces toward the setting of the sun. That song always gave me the creeps.)

We can be impatient in any stage of our lives – and be robbed and cheated because of it. Wishing away grade school, then high school, followed by the longing to graduate college to dive into the “real world.” What’s next? Watching the clock every day until 5 p.m., (especially on Fridays), to run away from that real world, impatiently enduring the grind of each week until retirement. The sad part is that, after racing through life to attain that prize, many discover it’s not the utopia they’d conjured up in their minds. Gracious, time zooms by like an Amtrak train as it is – why do we insist on accelerating it?!

Could our practice of blurring our way through our days be a form of soul sleep? Perhaps. To which Scripture says,

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light. Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people). Making the very most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:14-1).7 Amplified Bible

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Six Words or Less

AARP did something right this month – one of the articles in their magazine told of Ernest Hemingway’s being challenged to tell a story in only six words. He came back with, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

That was the introduction to a new feature of the magazine inviting readers to tell their life stories in six words or less, with the best to be published each month.

Got me to thinking. How would I describe my life in six words or less? Maybe this: Sixty-five, Not Through, More Adventures! Or: Daughtering, Wife-ing, Mothering, Granmama-ing, Great-gran-ing, Gone. (The great-grans are only a dream right now, but I hope to have gobs.)

Kind of pares us down to the bare essentials, doesn’t it, trying to cram years of emotions, activities, words and thoughts – LIVING - into a few puny words?

Which expressions would you chose, or make up, to describe your marriage? Mine might be: battle scars, blessings-covered, hilarious, merged. Or I could say: green partners, greener parents, God-rescued!

What about a child of yours?
Your outlook on life would call for what terms? Your habits?
Your housekeeping? (snicker)
Your cooking – or lack thereof? (more snickers)

Describing children should be easier than other subjects; think of them in certain situations that bring out the finer points of their personalities, such as, coaxing him or her into the 2-year-old Bible class. Or saying prayers at bedtime. Of course, there’s always the teen-age years. I would frame one of our off-spring this way: melodramatic, incredibly discerning, artistic, inconsistent, persistent. Another could be, Slightly irreverent, skilled, prankish, compassionate, reserved.

Now for the hard assessment – oneself. My outlook on life? Which day? Sometimes this would describe me: Focused/ unfocused, organized/ disorganized, full/empty. Contradictory. Other days, when I allow more of Jesus in me, I hope these words fit: New nature! God’s power! Jesus’ warrior!

I’m not going into the housekeeping and cooking. I’ve wasted enough of your time already, and I don’t want to resort to even minor falsehoods.

Try this exercise – see what it reveals to you about your life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Centering on Jesus

How can I, as a woman, find satisfaction and joy in my walk with the Lord?

I can tell you this: the direction and focus of our thoughts have everything to do with living joyfully in Jesus Christ. When we let anything sneak in to steal the place the Lord himself should occupy in our thinking; when our minds are captured and seduced by any issue, person or objective, then we stumble, looking to the right and left, instead of being fastened unswervingly on Jesus. Letting my mind visit, then rent an apartment in the wrong neighborhood can incite discontent, dissatisfaction and resentment. And guess what? I ultimately end up focusing on – yep, ME.

What should I allow to capture me? Not what, ladies, but Whom!! Just as surely as I train my energies on a what, then just as surely I will be distracted from the most important theme of my life: Jesus Christ the Savior. Let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus… (Heb 12:1, 2).

Real joy will never result from centering on those things we’re unhappy about. How old were you when you began to suspect the church family wasn’t perfect? Your suspicions were well-founded; we, the church, are most imperfect. How shall we handle that fact? Decide that perceived or even genuine injustices or boundaries will prevent us from growing in the Lord? Withdraw; get interested in something else? Become resentful and lash out at every opportunity? Launch a one-woman campaign to correct those imperfections?

Do you really think our Lord will allow us to go without anything we must have in order to become the people He wants? Was David really serious when, in Ps. 23:1, he declares that our Shepherd will supply our every need? Is Scripture truthful when it says we have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3)? Every one, Lord? What could possibly be more wonderful than this fact: God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace. And he raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ Jesus so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-7).

Isn’t the honor given to us of being raised from death and seated with Jesus in heaven awesome enough to make up for the omissions, the glitches, the immaturities in every church family?

The church is imperfect. Does that prevent me from loving the Lord my God with everything I have and loving my neighbor as myself? Does that hold me back from laying down my life for another? Does that seal my lips so that I cannot tell the gospel story?

God’s power to realize his purposes through you and me is not blocked by what other people do or refuse to do. The One who fashioned Eve is not scratching his head, stymied about how to use you beautifully because others won't cooperate. Nobody - nothing - can hinder Jesus putting fruit on my branches if I am ingrafted into him.

I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing … by this my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The "Blessed"

O Lord, you are such a blessing! You bless me so abundantly! How easy it is to sit in this comfortable chair, in this very adequate house, sipping hot coffee as I contemplate my faithfulness. How easy to be faithful in this situation! Oh yes I can praise the Lord, knowing we have enough money to meet every need, that we enjoy good health for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren, and that we're surrounded by a loving church family. What about those who aren't as "blessed" as we perceive ourselves to be? Are we favored? Has the Lord withdrawn his favor from them?

Actually, God never withdraws his blessings. It is we who must adjust our glasses (perspective).

Here's what I mean: Lord how blessed and admirable are those who praise you but have few or none of the luxurious blessings I enjoy! They have learned to look to you as a child looks to his parents for survival.

How beautiful are they who struggle every day with serious illness with no trace of bitterness! They have realized that your wisdom is all that counts.

How precious in your sight, the lonely ones who have endured the agonizing loss of dear ones and still lovingly cling to you as the drowning grip a lifeline.

These know you intimately as friend. How honored in your eyes the precious souls who have few worldly treasures, but fill their hearts and homes to overflowing with the needy! They fully experience delicious satisfaction in serving you.

So who is it who's really blessed here? Those with this mindset: "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." Habakkuk 3:17-19

"In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord's people." 2 Cor. 8:1-4

O Lord, may it never be that troubles - want, pain, betrayal, loss - overcome me, transform me into one who is angry and unbelieving, a grumbling, disenchanted Christian, too paralyzed to serve my God. Strengthen me in my inner woman O Lord, that I may be humbly faithful, trustworthy and uncomplaining - whatever my circumstances.

Make me an "even though" person.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Expiration Date

I’ve been throwing away expired stuff from my pantry. Hurts me to pitch cake mixes, canned frostings, or ground cinnamon I bought in 1989, but I’d sure hate to be the cause of someone expiring from moldy food. Expired milk’s another story – doesn’t matter about the date the fine print proclaims, I drink it as long as it doesn’t smell funky or taste peculiar. Not everyone is as trusting as I; a couple of young houseguests eyed me with suspicion when I tried to convince them that even though the “good by” date was history, the milk was still sweet and safe. “I don’t drink anything expired” were the specific words they used. I sighed and gave up.

What a waste of money it is to discard what could be perfectly okay food! But caution demands that I grit my teeth and dump it. However, I will put a stop to this: From now on I’m gonna shop for items when I need them instead of stockpiling “possibles.” Too many times the “possibles” (say, a can of cream of coconut or a jar of pickled cabbage) became “puzzles” – unfamiliar edibles poised expectantly on the shelf waiting to be utilized – and waiting and waiting and waiting - because I can’t for the life of me remember what I had been so excited to concoct. Can anyone relate?

At times I’ve felt as though I have an expiration date, and it’s coming up close. Don’t start planning my funeral; I’m not talking about passing on. It’s just that I feel - well, moldy and stale from time to time. As though my vigorous years have waned and over-ripeness is around the corner. I felt that way the other day when my body was not cooperating with my mind. So many things I want to do, to participate in, dreams to bring to reality, shopping to do!! Just kidding; shopping does not call my name as it once did. However, this inability to carry through with light-bulb moments does cause me to wonder occasionally if I’ve sat in the frig a bit too long.
Wouldn’t Satan just love to convince me that I am out of date, ready to expire?! Not much use any longer? Wouldn’t he delight to whisper that in your ear too - and make us both believe it?

Take heart! Here’s what the Lord says regarding our usefulness:
“Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap if we do not loosen and relax our courage, and faint” (Gal. 6:3).

“Be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing and being continuously aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile - it is never wasted or to no purpose” (1 Cor. 15:58).

Never wasted!! How about that?!

“For this I labor, striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me” (Col. 1:29).

Does it sound as if God can extend our expiration dates through His mighty power within us?
And this marvelous promise: “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree - be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon - majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap –of spiritual vitality – and rich in trust, love, and contentment. They are living memorials to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is not unrighteousness in Him” Psa. 92:12-15).

Maybe I don’t have an expiration date after all – ever.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Hidden Curriculum

I read a fascinating article by John Ortberg recently in Leadership magazine. He talks about two different types of curriculum: the formal and the hidden, found in every institution, organization or group, whether it be an educational institution such as a high school or university, a church or a class or even a family.

The problem arises when the two sets of teachings do not agree – which, unfortunately, is often the case.

John Ortberg says we are able to think about the formal curriculum well beforehand; we have

time to carefully plan what to say and how to say it (body language, etc.,). The hidden curriculum, however, is largely unplanned. Usually, we don’t decide in advance what to say, or how to react and/or respond. As Ortberg says of himself, “It just leaks out of me.” This hidden curriculum is being taught every moment. It is taught not only by words and actions, but by body language, facial expression, our eyes, even our silence.

Ortberg says that if a contradiction exists between the formal curriculum and hidden curriculum, people will always believe the hidden teachings - with no exceptions. How interesting.

You can see how this principle is constantly in play in any group - profoundly so. For example, in churches: leaders can be warm and welcoming up front on Sunday mornings (“we want to get to know you!”). Yet as they rush to lunch - along with the other members –they brush past visitors without a word of greeting. A church family can declare that anyone – everyone – is welcome in their fellowship, but those struggling to recover from drug addiction or poverty or child abuse never, ever get invited to anyone’s home for a meal.

We as individuals may be inhabited by more than one curriculum also. One minister’s formal teaching was precisely straight and narrow; he influenced many for Christianity, and preached unswervingly against sin. However, he also taught by his words and actions that, within his family, darkness and evil could dictate his behavior (at the same time he aired his formal curriculum). Which course of study most influenced his family? Which one enshrouded their lives not only at that time, but for years afterward? Yes – the hidden curriculum.

A Christian woman proclaimed her compassion and tolerance, then spoke slanderously of another sister’s messy house – proof, of course, that she could be relegated to the status of a second-rate Christian, and an object of ridicule.

But I must confess – several years ago I was with a new church whose aim was to accept and work with people wherever we found them. Someone had persuaded an unmarried couple who were living together to come check us out. They did not return, however, when some of my judgmental thoughts slipped out my mouth as I was “welcoming” them to our service.

A new Christian was elated to become part of a group whose formal curriculum highlighted the word of God as the supreme guide, and whose goal seemed to be to follow the Lord as closely as humanly possible. Imagine his crushing disappointment when, in his first business meeting, two deacons disagreed on how to clean the building, then became so enraged they had to be physically restrained from punching each other’s lights out.

But, oh, how sweet and pleasant it is when no hidden curriculum exists! When a church’s statements of belief, vision castings, teachings, and resolutions – the formal curriculum – is a match for the way the church family lives! When we experience no discomfort even if our attitudes toward and treatment of others were publicly announced! When we could sing “Love One Another” with gusto, and feel no sniggle of bitterness against anyone!

When our curriculums become one, Jesus will be able to say of each of us, as of Nathanael, this is one “In whom there is no guile, nor deceit nor falsehood nor duplicity!” John 1:47

Monday, February 9, 2009

Snap Shots

Beautiful day – glorious sky, crisply-needled trees clicking in the wind, throwing prickly cones at our feet with abandon, as though saying, Don’t ignore us, look up, rejoice with us this golden day! Diminutive creek, bubbling noisily along despite the intrusion of drifting fiery leaves; the air transparent, rich and full, infused with watery yellowish hues.

Two girls dawdle along, heads bent toward each other, sharing secrets. One, braids of blackest hair, the other, brown/gold mane. Growing up even as I watch them giggle.

Chattering little boy - sturdy, inquisitive, quick. Brown as a caramel with eyes the color of pecans - a confection of God, translating the wonders surrounding his being into small-boy speak. A stick becomes a useful addition – he wields it majestically in arcs about his head, growling in his deepest tenor tones.

We walk slowly, reveling with nature as she peeks into her closet, pulling free more autumn wraps to please us, shaking them free of wrinkles, inhaling the spicy scents. She billows her wardrobe around us as we amble across crunchy ground. Her garments fit flawlessly.

The gigglers beset the miniature knight with twigs. He loudly protests the perceived injustice, then feints a jab toward them with his mighty sword – they screech, dodge and tongue-lash. He grins, satisfied. It is a wonderful day.

This is a remembrance day – a snap-shot moment – a God-given indentation of time. We linger in this wood together – the children, passing through this place in time toward their own future and their unique snap shots of life. One day they too will walk with other young ones not yet fleshed; they will relish the moments, their blessings, and their God.

Monday, January 19, 2009


No one I know actually wears a sign around their neck with that proclamation printed on it in big, bold letters, but many effectively spell it out with their eyes and body language if you dare mention anything about spiritual matters. Their visage can become stone-cold as the lights go out - nobody home here! Must be Mt Rushmore! How and when did broaching the subject of Christianity become an almost punishable offense?

The people of the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua do not feel this way (they didn't in the '70s anyway). How very different those brown-skinned men and women were from our country of driven Americans. It was as though the air dripping with sun, the mellow breezes and the ever rippling blue-green sea was part of their souls - making them bright, open, courteous, and as friendly as if they'd loved you forever. Their eyes sparkled with delight when approached even on the street about the Lord. Their "signs" read: "I'm open; I'm interested; I'm available for discussion!"

When offered tracts or any other written materials, almost every man and woman received them with what approached reverence - indeed, obvious appreciation. One lovely single mom struggling to support her children as a maid at our motel, declined my offer of sodas, foodstuffs and toiletries as our group prepared to leave the island, instead asking, "Do you have any books or pamphlets, or anything else about the Lord?"

It's not quite like that here in the U. S. Even when dealing with family the "signs" sometimes loom as big as a billboard on the interstate. I knew my aunt was not a part of any church, so I asked her one day about her faith. Whoa! She blew up at me. She didn't scream, but I could tell she wanted to. After a few minutes of red-faced huffing, she let me know the bottom line: her beliefs were private, locked behind the door of her life, and how impertinent of me to inquire. I - also red in the face but huff-less - slunk home.

That, and other similar experiences made me very cautious over the years. Since I'm not an extrovert and fairly cowardly, it would take me some time to regroup from such encounters. My tendency was, for awhile, to see those "signs" hanging around the necks of all, heed them, and keep my mouth shut. Eventually, however, the days rolled on by and dulled the unpleasant memories; I would stick a toe back out into the shallows, test the water, and move on out slowly.

Did you notice how many times I used the words, "I, me, and my" in the above paragraph?
The problem with looking at yourself, other than the fact that you're not looking to the Lord, is that a lot of precious time is lost not only in being afraid of lost people, but also in explaining your hang-ups, failings, and expounding on the psychology of why you're a coward. O, Lord, have patience!

What if the early church family had reacted in the same way when they tried to talk to their aunts?! Can you imagine Paul running out the door and keeping still about Jesus just because a cantankerous old relative spewed on him? Paul did not walk in the light, power, and at the bidding of Paul. He was lost in the Son of God - but supremely found at the same time, carrying the death of Christ around in his body, yet moving in and speaking to a dark world by the Life of Christ in his body. As a result, he knew exactly who and where he was, Whom he was serving, and how he was able to do so - he knew full well and rejoiced that it was not because of his ... anything.

How do we as ambassadors for Jesus Christ break through those forbidding "signs"?

"[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire] both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight" (Phil. 2:13). Amplified Bible

Lynn Stringfellow, campus minister in Tampa, shares these guidelines:

1. Desire - to do God's will (not just the part I like).
2. Pray - God will send someone into your life who needs Him (this is a pouring out of the heart for God to work in your life, not just a simple prayer).
3. Watch - For the answer to that prayer (be on the look-out for the person God is sending. Watching is Faith in Action).
4. Identify - Who the person is God has sent into your life.
5. Pray - For an open heart in him or her, and the opportunity to connect.
6. Watch - For an answer to that prayer (again, this is the action of your faith.)
7. Pray - A prayer of thankfulness and dependence.
8. Share - The Good News.

See the dependency upon the Lord? Not that I sit home on the couch watching an old movie and wonder why God isn't sending someone my way, but KNOWING this is God's work and He will lead.

"That with the utmost freedom of speech and unfailing courage, now as always ... Christ (the Messiah) will be magnified and get glory and praise in this body of mine and be boldly exalted in my person, whether through life or through death" (Phil. 1:20b). Amplified Bible

Monday, January 5, 2009

The "F"

She prayed the lumbering school bus would never get to her stop - that it would break down, blow a tire, or mysteriously be unable to find her house. Her insides were curled up into themselves, it seemed, and she struggled to hold the tears behind her eyes that were fighting to escape. Whatever had she been thinking?!

Why, for crying out loud, had she gotten herself into this mess? But worse than that, her mother ... confessing to her mother was what she dreaded most of all. Why couldn't she just lie? Hope surged up for a second, but only for a second. It would be her luck that her teacher would see her mother somewhere and ask about "it" and then she'd be in double trouble.

She usually felt uncomfortable around her mother. Mama was exacting, and always short-tempered (or so it seemed to her) for reasons she could never figure out. Physical affection wasn't part of her family's culture, but that absence really didn't really register with her, probably because many of her friends' and relatives' families were much the same way. Spontaneous hugs, kisses, even friendly arms around the shoulders were all foreign behaviors. Anger, however, flowed freely - ire was acceptable while tenderness was not. Not that she pondered these things; she was more concerned with staying out of the way of the anger.

The yellow bovine of a bus traiterously did remember her stop. She slowly slid across the greenish, cracked vinyl seat and stepped down into her lane. Nervously she looked up at the house. It was a rent house, of sorts; her daddy had bartered with the owner to allow her family to live there if they agreed to look after his cows. An old barn of a building, drafty, equipped with a massive wood-burning range her mama fiercely hated, run down and largely abandoned until her family moved in. But she, the child, loved it. A breezeway divided the house in half, providing a wonderful place to play on blustery days. Two huge cedar trees graced the front yard, offering cool, quiet play houses underneath their limbs that drooped to the ground. The windows had no screens much to her mother's dismay, but the child delighted to sit on a generous ledge with a cool drink and read for hours.

She thought of none of these pleasurable things as she entered the house. Wanting mightly to just get it over with and take whatever was coming, she rushed into the kitchen. Now the tears burst out of their gates, rolling down her cheeks. Alarmed, her mother said sharply, "What's wrong?!!"

"I cheated at school and got an 'F' on my paper!!!" she cried out with a curious blend of relief, fear, and shame. "I don't know why I did it - but I'm sorry!" Her nose was running now and she swiped at it ineffectively. "Betty wanted to know an answer, and - I don't know why - but I gave it to her, and the teacher caught me, and she called me up to her desk, and she asked me what I did, and I told her, and she said,'Go get your paper,' and I did, and she marked a big red 'F' on it and now she doesn't like me anymore - and I'm so sorry!!" she poured out. And proceeded to cry harder.

Silence. Fearing the worst, and feeling so low she really didn't care now what her mother did, the girl quieted and waited on her fate, looking at the floor.

"You know, an 'F' can stand for more than Failure." She couldn't believe the calmness in her mama's voice. She chanced a peek to see if the face matched the voice. It did. Her mother wiped her hands on a dishrag and looked at her daughter, eyes not black as they usually were, but a soft brown.

"An 'F' can also stand for 'Forgiveness' - did you know that?" The girl's head bobbed up and down automatically - she wasn't sure where this was going.

"I think maybe we'll just change the meaning of this big red 'F' on this paper to stand for 'Forgiveness.' I believe you realize what a bad mistake you made today, and you're really sorry for it. So we won't talk about it anymore." Then briskly, "Now go change out of your school clothes - I've got to finish supper."

Stunned, the girl turned as if in a dream and moved toward her bedroom. Suddenly her spirit was as light as a feather, and her feet could not merely walk anymore - she broke into a joyous run. She wondered if she dared to whoop inside the house, and chanced a puny one.