Friday, January 28, 2011

Memphis Week

Dan and I attended his company’s dealer’s market in Memphis last week. The weather was snowy and icy. Thankfully the hotel and convention center were connected. Once we arrived; we were safe from any inclement weather.  Those who traveled from the Canadian border were amused by our perception of bad weather!

We had a good time visiting with his customers. He is blessed that they are all just really great folks. They are more like friends than business associates. The days were long but the food and entertainment was never in short order. What is Memphis without barbecue, Beale Street and of course, Elvis!  Among the entertainment, was an Elvis impersonator. A former Memphian, I have seen more than one. Some are better than others. None, however, come any where near the original. He was the real deal.

Dan, "Elvis"  and Me

We were reminded by a tremendous motivational speaker that people buy from people, not companies. Integrity, whether personally or professionally is the key to success. The speaker, Kyle Rote, Jr., has walked the talk. He too is the real deal. He was a positive role model for and much admired by my young son.  The bar of ethical, moral and spiritual conviction was set high, but one to aspire to.  I had the privilege of relating to Kyle my appreciation of how he had impacted a young man's life years ago.

Before leaving Memphis, I spent some time with my daughter’s family. It was her birthday week. A visit to the museum was on her list of celebratory activities. There was a history of medicine section. One exhibit displayed early surgical tools. While we were looking at a scalpel and human skull, I asked our four year old grandson Riley if he thought he might go into medicine some day. His reply was emphatic. “I don’t know what I want to be yet but, eeewww, I DON’T want to be a cutter opener!”

Riley at Surgical Exhibit

All of our grandchildren are encouraged that they can do anything they set out to do. It is our prayer they will have the wisdom to understand the value of integrity. Doing what is right doesn't always seem to make us happy at the time. However, in the long run, it is the only thing that brings us lasting joy, success and shelter when the storms of life prevail.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.   Philippians 4:8

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beagle Bailey

Dan and Angel

Since we live in the county, some folks seem to think it is perfectly fine to dump their unwanted pets. We find this particularly disturbing in these freezing temperatures.

One such pet found us this weekend. He was the cutest little dog. He appeared from the inside of a culvert while Dan was walking our Angel dog. The two were having such a wonderful time playing and enjoying their newly found friendship, Dan had to cut the walk short.

We took in the little dog which I immediately named, “Beagle Bailey”. He appeared to be a beagle/basset mix and like the cartoon character, Beetle Bailey, was full of  mischief. We gave food, water, shelter and affection to Beagle Bailey. After purchasing a collar and leash for him, Dan took him around the neighborhood in search of his home. I placed his picture on face book. No one came forward to claim him.

Beagle Bailey

We assumed that Beagle Bailey would become a member of our family. However, even within the safety of a large fenced back yard and love of family, he was not happy. He cried, scratched and dug at the fence trying to escape. Thinking maybe he needed some one on one time, I opened the gate to bring him inside the garage for a treat.

The moment the gate was unlocked, he took off like a rocket down the street. We have spotted him a couple of times a few miles away. He was running with a pack of other animals and seemed content. Whether or not he has another home to go to, we do not know. We fear for his safety running loose.  We can only hope he knows how to find his way back to our place of refuge. That is all we can do. He decided to go his own way. We cannot force him to stay against his will.

As I watched Beagle Bailey running happily with the crowd, I was reminded of the story of the prodigal son in the Bible. We have all left the shelter of our Father’s house and decided to go our own way. When we, like the prodigal son, come to the end of ourselves, we make haste in returning to the safety of His arms.

Many of our loved ones are out in the cold. They are rebelling against the safety of God and seeking their own selfish way. Our hearts hurt for them and those they are wounding through their disobedience. We pray for them and ourselves as King David prayed,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kaleidoscope Mind

I haven’t blogged since Christmas. My mind has been going in all different directions; hopping from one thing to another. The weather has been cold, snowy and icy. As I have said before, I do not do well in these dark wintry days. Our bodies crave the sunlight. Some days I give into it and veg out by the fire. More often though, I give the body the light it requires to keep plugging along.

As I wished, for Christmas, I received time with loved ones. What a blessing! With daughter Misty and family, we played, visited Santa and had lunch. While Papa, son in law Neil and baby Sullivan napped, Riley and Nana were enjoying a spirited dueling of the swords before Mom decided a quite activity was in order. Yummy cookies were baked and decorated.

Mom and Riley baking Christmas cookies.

Sullivan all Christmas smiles!

Trying out snow disks inside.

Bake cookies or sword fight with Nana?  Hmm.
One of our favorite gifts from son Michael and family was a Snoopy Tree laden with home made coupons. The coupon gifts ranged from gingerbread decorating competition to a New Year’s Eve outing at medieval Times with family. We went ice/snow sledding (indoors at the Texan Gaylord), took nature walks, movies and such. Simple times are the best with loved ones.

Son Michael with children

Skipping rocks

Joshua at Medieval Times

Celebrating Megan's 10th Birthday
I met a friend for coffee this morning. She expressed she too had been struggling with her faith. We talked about our intense love affair with God when we were baby Christians. Both expressed our desire to have that hunger every day. Really, we haven’t lost our faith in God, but more in ourselves and others.

A new relationship with God is much like a new marriage. When on our honeymoon it is new and exciting. In a good marriage the honeymoon lasts, it just takes a new form. Love changes and matures as it grows. Such is our relationship with our Lord. He is always faithful and the love affair continues, even when we are struggling in the wintry times of our spiritual lives and kaleidoscope minds.

My friend and I both find ourselves moving into new areas in our lives. Questions about the future and our changing roles in family, professions and ministries whirl in our minds. Doubts were expressed how we could effectively minister to others when we are so frail and imperfect in our walk. Once again we are reminded; it in through our weakness that He is strong. It is good to have a friend you can bear your soul with. Once things are out in the open, they seem to become more clear and focused.

A few years back grandson Riley wanted Max and Ruby stuffed animals. The store had one but not the other at the time Mom had shopped. Riley asked, “Nana, what’s a Max without a Ruby?” By the end of the day, Nana made sure Riley had both Max and Ruby!

Just like a Max and Ruby, we do better when we walk with true friends. A true friend, holds you lovingly accountable, and encourages you in your walk. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. I do pray about what I can do to better myself. I am asking God to give me the gift of being an effective listener. I pray that by the Spirit and help of dear friends, I will stay focused on today’s walk and stay in the Son light. I pray that I will trust God and not rush to judgment or try to fix things on my own. May He grant me the wisdom to say, "I trust you Lord" in all things.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:

10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)