Friday, February 25, 2011

The End of the Day

      I thought of Lisa Beamer yesterday. You may remember her as the widow of Todd Beamer. He was hailed as one of the heroes of 911. She has been both the face of heroism and criticism. In her attempt to turn what was meant for evil into some good, she established a foundation in memory of her husband. The foundation was created to assist children traumatized by tragedy.

     Most of our knowledge of the Beamers has been through media portrayal. The media’s perception changes as often as their ratings. Trusting the media to form our opinion of any person place or thing is, at best, negligent. As with most of us, there are undoubtedly few people who truly know us. Personally I have been dismayed and mystified by those who think they know me. I too am guilty of making those incorrect assumptions. I too must constantly pray for God to remind me to see through His eyes.

     One thing I am sure of; Lisa and Todd Beamer or any of the 911 families did not expect what was to be at the end of their day on 9-11-01. None of them planned or thought of anything but the usual end of day routine. Lisa commented that one of the painful reminders of Todd’s loss was the sound of the garage door opening. She said that had been the best part of their day as a family. When the garage door sounded, Todd was safely home. The family united in love, laughter and hugs. That sound now pierced her heart.

     Yesterday was a miserable day weather wise. There were torrential rains and funnel clouds throughout the mid south. My husband would be driving home through the exact route the weather bureau warned was the worst possible. I called and asked him to stay over if the weather was threatening. He said he would but doubted it. Just like the rest of us, at the end of the day, he wants to be home.

     I prayed harder than usual for his protection and wisdom. It was all I could do to not constantly call and check on where he was. Knowing that would be another potentially dangerous distraction, I resisted the temptation. His safety was totally out of my control. The best thing I could do was to pray and prepare a warm meal for his homecoming.

     Admittedly my heart raced a bit when the cell phone rang. A tired but safe voice on the other end said he was almost home. He had taken a longer but safer route home. I was somewhat relieved. However, just like Lisa, it was the sound of the garage door opening that gave me total peace that my husband was safely home.

     Dan has asked me to help with his eating habits.  We are both trying to eat healthier. After his first bowel of Taco Soup, he asked through bleary eyes if he could have another.  Tonight - you betcha'!

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36  
(Scripture verse on Todds's memory card for 9-11-01 - "Let's Roll")

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Stowaway

Celebrating Dan's Birthday and Valentine's Day by
allowing him to take me out to dinner --'cuz I am thoughful that way! :)

A friend of ours gave us a large Christmas plant. As I have said many times, those thoughtful gifts of love are priceless to us. We brought the plant in to enjoy during the holidays and protect it from the harsh weather. Unbeknown to me, there was a stowaway on board.

Poor Little Frightened Mr. Froggy!

Imagine my shock and surprise while watering the plant; I saw a set of tiny eyes staring back at me. Obviously just as frightened, or more so than I, was a tree frog, clinging to the plant for dear life.

Now I love these adorable little creatures as much as the next person, however, I prefer to adore them from afar – outside of the house! When Dan came home I assigned him the task of taking Mr. Froggy outside.

Removing frogs, bugs and things of that sort is one of the acts of love performed by our husbands. February is known as the love month. To some, February 14th is a day of pain and sadness. Having both been there, done that and wore the t-shirt, we fully understand and appreciate that.

Valentine’s Day is more than a one day a year occurrence. We generally have a double celebration of Valentine’s Day and Dan’s birthday as they are back to back. We both look forward to those special occasions. It is, however, those day to day acts of love and self sacrifice that truly says I love you.

We know of several small children who are in cancer treatment. The sister of one such child celebrates her birthday each year with her best friend. This year, they asked for donations to St. Jude’s in lieu of birthday presents for themselves. These precious nine year old girls have a better grasp of true love than many adults ever hold.

Chocolate and Dan's Little Me in Biker Vest

My husband and I try to find little gifts of smiles. He’s in and out of the weather every day on his job. He has found the best and more comfortable way of keeping warm is a leather vest. Conservative Dan is the last person one would expect to find sporting leather biker vests. This fact has provoked many jokes and teasing. I woke Valentine’s Day to find a Teddy Bear sporting an identical vest to his. I cracked up laughing at the sight of this “Little Me” version of Dan. It wasn’t an expensive gift, but the effort and thought put into it is priceless to me. Mr. Froggy and I are both very grateful for him!

Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Acts 3:6

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sock Drawer

The Dreaded Sock Drawer
 It seems to happen when we are in a rush to get out of the door. We grab a pair out of the sock drawer to find there is a mismatch, completely stretched out or your toe pokes through. We say to ourselves, “I must go through this sock drawer!”

I had several boxes of jewelry squirreled away. “I’ll go through them all some day when I get a jewelry armoire.” My husband gifted me with one at Christmas eliminating that excuse. I had actually gone through all except one box. I finished that task today as well. Most pieces hold more sentiment than actual value.

A few sentimental pieces from my stash
Oldest Grandchild' Haley's First Rosary given to me because "I needed it"
Opal pendant given to me by my sister Doris  'cuz I KNOW she loves me.
Gold leaf given to me by my  friend  Karen as a reminder...we can turn a new leaf in life.

I have the same experience with undeleted computer files. Time upon time, I have searched through tons of files that I no longer need or have hard copies to trying to find one that I actually need. I vow to self, “I am going to sit down and go through these--next time.”

This has been a hard winter on all of us. It was so cold I actually considered driving the 150 feet to the mail box yesterday. Fearing what the neighbors would think should they see me, I decided to run fast as I could, grab the mail and race back to the house. The running may have caused more of a stir in the neighborhood than the driving. No doubt it was not a pretty sight!

Temperatures are again below freezing today. I decided today was the day to tackle the sock drawer. I dumped the contents out and started sorting. There were those socks whose mates had mysteriously disappeared in the dryer. We hold on to those hoping hope against hope the mate will reappear again. The majority of the socks were just worn thin. Why I let them pile up on top of the good ones I don’t know. There were red over the knee socks purchased at a thrift store. They were worn once when I dressed as the character Thelma from Scooby Doo for a church fall carnival. Don’t expect I’ll use those much! But you never know.

Next on the list was sifting through and deleting all of those computer files. That took a while. As I reviewed, I ran across some blurred and out of focus photos of family. Even though the pictures were unclear, the memories from those days still remain fresh in my mind. Good, happy days. Others I don’t know why I had saved. There were no memories attached to them. Then there were those images that I had saved that caused me pain. Deleting those images was long overdue.

The thought crossed my mind, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a delete and save button to hit for our hearts?” If we could just erase all of those things that cause us pain and save only those that bring us joy. Wow! Would life not be just perfect?

None of us or our lives will every be perfect. We cannot insulate ourselves from the pain of this world. We can and should avoid toxic people and relationships. With family, that is not as easily done. Family can be extremely cruel. Sadly, they don’t always recognize that in themselves. It is true that the wounded wound.

Dan said he had a nightmare (or did he say a dream) that someone came and stole me away. We find past hurts creeping in trying to steal away our peace. It seeps in through our memories and even in our slumber. I reminded him, "Sorry dear. I am here for the long haul." Whether that is for the better or worse news to him--he will have to determine!

Often parents shoulder a child's wrath rather than burden them with truth too painful and heavy of a load for a child to bear. Better to feel the sting of anger than the pain of a rejected and broken hearted child. It is not grandiose or claim of martyrdom. A parent who loves their child will do their best to shield them from harm. My children are grown and have their own families.  I am so very proud of them. While I am grateful they have the capacity to forgive, I also pray they will excercise great wisom in gaurding their hearts.

Thankfully, we are not in this life walk alone. There is our King in Heaven who is wise in all things. He guides us through thick and thin, our failures and successes. He is the one who does hold complete control over the save and delete buttons of our lives!

 Two young women who lived in the same house and who both had an infant son came to Solomon for a judgment. One of the women claimed that the other, after accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, had exchanged the two children to make it appear that the living child was hers. The other woman denied this and so both women claimed to be the mother of the living son and said that the dead boy belonged to the other.

After some deliberation, king Solomon called for a sword to be brought before him. He declared that there is only one fair solution: the live son must be split in two, each woman receiving half of the child. Upon hearing this terrible verdict, the boy's true mother cried out, "Please, My Lord, give her the live child—do not kill him!" However, the liar, in her bitter jealousy, exclaimed, "It shall be neither mine nor yours—divide it!" Solomon instantly gave the live baby to the real mother, realizing that the true mother's instincts were to protect her child, while the liar revealed that she did not truly love the child. The reputation of the king greatly increased when all the people of Israel heard of this wise judgment.

1Kings 3:16-28.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fair Weather Friends

Every Tuesday a group of female friends gather for lunch. I have dubbed us “The Real Housewives of FBC (Fellowship Bible Church). This morning I heard the sound of pouring rain, lightening and thunder. Having been spoiled by two glorious sunny days in the dead of winter, my first thought was to be a fair weather friend this week. As usual, my husband encouraged me to join my friends. I am so happy he did.

To my delight several friends came that rarely get to participate. As a bonus two of my favorite people just “happened” to be at the same coffee shop for lunch. These two are from different countries. They are not only beautiful, gifted and brave ladies; they always have the warmest and most welcoming countenance about them.

We take so much for granted in this country. We become complacent in our routines and customs circling our wagons around us. As our conversation turned to food, as it often does, potato soup for dinner came up. One of the ladies asked how that was made. Something that was so common place in our world was intriguing to her.

There are so many wonderful things we can share and learn from each other. True friendship would be the most valued. Coming from different cultural backgrounds can often separate rather than unify us. Sadly that is seen most frequently within the church.

Too many of us, as I found myself this morning, either by commission or omission can find ourselves being fair weather friends. A fair weather friend is there when circumstances are pleasant and profitable, but at the first sign of trouble, they will break fellowship with you.

One friend commented that it seemed as a society we are becoming less social. There was a time the front porch was the setting for neighborhood friends. We are now switching the welcome sign of the front porch for fenced back yard decks. The message is changing from come in to stay away.

Our family witnessed a beautiful example of true friendship this weekend. We gathered to celebrate our Aunt Rhea’s 82nd birthday. Her son, Larry, invited her life long friends. The sight of the loyal friends laughing, hugging and reminiscing over old times was priceless. It certainly makes us want to re-open the front porch!

A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Proverbs 12:26