That Time I Washed My Bird in the Washing Machine

So let me tell you this story, which unfortunately is quite true.

Maybe I should let Mango tell it. He was there, after all, and the story’s all about him.

 

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Mango with a favorite treat, blueberries.

 

Me: Mango, tell us what happened last Wednesday, if you can.

Mango: Can I get some fruit first at least? (Chews. Eats .054% of the pineapple). Okay. It all started with the comforter.

Me: Tell us about the comforter.

Mango: It’s blue and red and cozy. But dangerous. I’ll never land on that comforter again.

Me: Why is that?

Mango: Why? WHY!? Because that comforter went swimming in the blue machine with the door on the front. The one right by the garage door.

Me: I know the machine well. (Grimaces at washing machine)

Mango: And now I do, too. (Spits remaining food at me.)

Me: I didn’t do it on purpose! It was an accident, and I feel awful.

Mango: As you should. SO, I fly to the comforter, and snuggle in. Apparently you’re not paying attention and shove it in the washing machine. So far, I’m fine. Just snuggled in. There’s some strange noises, and bam, things get wet. Including me.

 

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This is *not* after the washing machine incident. This was after a lovely warm shower on the lanai.

Me: Oh no. And then what happened?

Mango: *squawk* I can’t believe you’re asking me to relive this trauma.

Me: No pressure.

Mango: Pressure? Of course there was pressure. The comforter gets wet, I get smooshed in tighter, and I’m soaked. Just soaked. Like a drowned rat, except I’m a beautiful bird.

Me: *Moans regretfully* I’m so glad I noticed right away that you weren’t on your cage or in Cole’s room. God was watching out for you. He kept pointing me back to the washing machine, which had been going for about 30 seconds at that point.

Mango: 30 seconds?! *Squawks. Flutters wings* Good thing someone was watching out for me.

Me: Tell us what happened next.

Mango: Suddenly there’s clicking sounds, and the lights turn back on, and I’m pulled out of the washing machine, but I’m still inside the comforter. I hear you and the blond child calling my name, and I manage to pop out and squeak.

 

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This was also not after the awful washing machine incident. My mom felt so bad she was crying and couldn’t take a picture.

Me: You were soaked and blinking fast and trembling, poor little thing–

Mango: You bet I was! And then you smother me with a blanket again! And force me to get in my travel cage and go to that vet office where they poke and prod me. (Though I did enjoy the little heater thing that warmed me up.) I’ll pass on the drugs and poking though.

Me: You needed to get checked out. Thankfully you were okay, and now you need to take your antibiotic so you stay well.

Mango: But it’s gross. *Fluffs feathers*

Me: It is not. It tastes like cherry. You like cherries.

Mango: Real cherries, not fake medicine-tasting yuck cherries.

Me: So, you’re doing okay, and you’re fully recovered? Because I’m not fully recovered. It was traumatic for me, too. I feel so-SO bad.

Mango: I’m doing better. Mostly. A couple feathers are out of place but I can fix those. *Preens*

Me: And I’ll never close the washing machine without making sure I see where you are first.

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Mango: Indeed. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop smelling like laundry detergent.

Me: It does give you a fresh kind of smell…

Mango: I already smelled fresh! Now, are we done here? And where’s that walnut you promised me?

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Messages

We still have an answering  machine in our home.

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It’s stuck on the wall between our kitchen and dining room, a 20th Century relic I just can’t part with.

My husband has grumbled about getting rid of our home phone and the machine, but I have a couple long-distance friends I talk with regularly, and I despise talking on my cell phone. So understanding hubby set it up that when we’re home and calls come in on our cell phones, we can answer on the home phone.

When the number blinks, we have new messages. Either an “IRS” rep demanding we call NOW before our bank account explodes or the ortho office reminding me about my older son’s appointment.

{Thank goodness the political season is over.}

But there are five saved messages that will never get deleted from our compact answering machine. In Lord of the Rings dialect, they’re my PRECIOUS.

They’re cheerful, congratulatory female voices letting me know You’re A Semifinalist or You’re A Finalist.

When I met one of the lovely message-leavers at a local writing conference last year, I started the conversation with, “Your voice is on my answering machine.” She got that deer-in-the-headlights look (in Florida, it’s more like squirrel-in-the-headlights) until I explained who I was and why her voice was on my machine. Then we laughed.

Those five saved messages slowly added up, little numbers that equaled Fulfilled Promises of this writing dream that took root decades ago and grew, bit by bit, until it stretched my aching heart.

Until this happened last weekend.

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It’s a gift I still can’t fully believe and am so grateful for.

But there were other messages along the winding, wondering years, too. I see them more clearly now. Emails that healed the tender ache, notes that pressed me forward despite longing to give up.

Words prayed over me that wrapped me in the Father’s love.

Messages from writer friends, encouraging words just when I needed them. And messages in God’s Word.

“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.”

“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

“But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Are you on a heart journey? Traveling a path you know you’re supposed to, but the end is out of sight? I’m not there yet either friend, and I’m realizing in shades of blinding, sunset beauty…that’s the point.

The goal isn’t the final objective. The goal is the journey–and the messages we leave and receive along the way. They’re grace and friendship and love and selflessness.

Here are a few pictures from the ACFW conference and Gala last weekend.

 

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Cathy Gohlke, my favorite historical author. What a blessing to meet her!

 

 

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Sweet author Lynne Pleau. She’s also from Newtown!

 

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A writer and a gentleman, Joseph Courtemanche. He taught a class about basic weaponry at ACFW!

 

 

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Fun, encouraging friends Deanna & Lucy. What a joy to laugh & celebrate with other writers!

 

 

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Fellow finalist Deborah Clack. A sweet, funny fellow writer I’m so glad I had the chance to meet!

 

 

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What a blessing that my mom and sister joined me this weekend.

 

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Just, you know, sleeping with my Genesis award Saturday night. 🙂

 

 

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That this even has my name on it still makes me catch my breath. SO thankful!

 

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”