Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday Service

Those of us who have sold houses before know how stressful it can be. Well, actually more of an annoyance than anything-but a necessary evil. We were tired Sunday and didn’t hang around for our usual round of visiting after church.

We decided to have brunch at a small coffee shop. The noon rush had not yet begun but it was packed out. There were just a few servers available. I don’t know why they had a small number—could be the space would not accommodate more.

They were working very hard and being very cordial and polite. Our server apologized for our having to wait even though it was just a few short minutes. Our wait time was probably shorter than a drive through.

There was a very nicely dressed couple behind us. We assumed they were in there Sunday best; at least from outward appearance. I overheard them ask the frazzled server if she would give them a complimentary meal because they had to wait. She was taken aback for a second but never stopped smiling. I on the other hand was irritated and ashamed for them.

Dan and I have always tried to be extra sensitive to service people. Even more so on Sunday. Admittedly we don’t always succeed. Generally they work very hard for very little. They may not have the luxury of leisure Sunday of worship, eating out and visiting with friends. As I am constantly reminded, “But by the Grace of God, there go I.”

We never know where life will lead us. I pray that should I ever be on the serving side of the table, I will be treated with respect and common courtesy. Sadly it is the “church” people that often are the most offensive. Dare we in our piety leave a salvation tract written on play money rather than a real monetary gift? Or do we in humility treat them in a fashion befitting a child of God?

Should you spot us behaving in a manner that would embarrass you or the person we have just worshiped, call us on it. Let us pray for each other to remember to treat others better than we think we deserve. Help us Lord, to not just go to church, but be the church to everyone we meet.

And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.
Luke 6:31

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No Mo!

"Owee Boy" in the beginning---smiling!

Our church family and community swung from anxious days with fervent prayers to a great day of celebration.

The Family Church

A precious young man, Owen at the ripe old age of six was "kicked out" of St. Jude’s hospital with great fanfare. Just a few short days before, his future was unsure. Arriving at St. Jude’s with high expectations for his last treatment, there was disappointing and frightening news. His little body’s immune system was virtually zero leaving no defense against an infection raging within him.

Celebrating with friends.

Elders, pastors and friends gathered at his bedside as countless others around the world prayed for Owen’s healing at a specially appointed hour. His Mom’s faith remained strong. She was confident God was doing something even though there were not yet any physical signs. There were questions about whether or not to cancel the “No Mo Chemo” party planned.

Owen's face flushed with excitement vs. fever!

God did indeed do something and He did it fast. An outdoor person as he is, Owen awoke to tell his Mom, Kelly, he wanted to go for a walk in the park.

Not only was his “No Mo Chemo” party held as planned, it was a time of worship and praise to our Heavenly father. We as a church family particularly were encouraged and have grown closer to each other and God during those last few days of his hospital stay.

Fun in the bouncy house

Photo journals of Owen’s journal stretched two walls of the church gym. This display showed more than his treatment stages. The gym was filled with laughing children and adults. There was a bouncy house, magic show and Owen's favorite foods. Dan and I choked back tears as we viewed this labor of love of his Mom. Her faith rang through as she logged each moment of their family’s journey. You see, she had faith of how the journey would end.

The incredible photo journal walls!

As an adult cancer survivor, all of the treatment decisions were frightening and overwhelming. I cannot imagine how much more they were for their baby. No doubt there were many nights of tears, stress and sorrow for the suffering of their precious Owee Boy. Owen, never once complained. God did indeed perform a healing miracle for him. We rejoice in that.

We also rejoice in the love and faith of this family. In the midst of all they have been through, their home has always been open to anyone at all times. This church family named Church just has too much Love to be contained within them. It overflows with healing to others. Now, that too, is a miracle.

Hannah's prayer. 

 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Catching Up!

I have been away from the blog world for awhile. I hope you have missed me as much as I have missed everyone! Life in the Jackson household has been going full speed. Since we go half speed on a good day, it has been exhausting trying to keep up!

We have been thinking and planning for retirement. It was decided it was time to mark that item off of our bucket list. After researching international living, we headed closer to home to check out places. Some were ruled out for various reasons.

A few weeks ago, we decided to break up a trip to visit a friend in Louisiana by stopping off at Hot Springs Village. It was totally unplanned and unexpected but we ended up signing a contract on a small home. Dan calls it a cottage; I have dubbed it the playhouse. We were entertained to discover once we hit the age of ninety, green fees are waived. Yippee! Now that is incentive.

Last week we listed our “work” house on the market. We try to keep the house in decent order. Dan is still fanatical about the yard. Still there are those little projects that need completion. Much time has been spent downsizing our “stuff”. Brother, do we accumulate stuff! 

Load of model cars to donate

Today our agent hosted a realtor tour. I had already made lunch plans with my friend Donna. Since I was sort of invited to make myself scarce, I ended up spending the day away. We had lunch at our friend Libby’s restaurant. It is a fabulous place. Check it out. It is worth the drive to Paragould to have lunch at “Kiss the Cook.” Libby is just good folk.  By the way, congratulations to the newlyweds!

We had to put Angel dog in the kennel for the tour. She is still not speaking to me. She still thinks she is being punished when she is gated. Extra treats are in store for her for her inconvenience. Dan says it may take us a month to rest up from the hustle and bustle of buying and selling. I didn’t think it could get more complicated --- I was wrong!

As common, Donna and I flea shopped most of the day. We came home with one item, a book “Retirement for Dummies.” We had a good laugh when we discovered it. Perfect! When I delivered the “gift” to Dan, he almost spit his food out laughing.

Usually I am the one that gets in a tizzy over changes—especially financial ones. I know I mess with some folk’s theology when I refer to this but, I talk to the saints in heaven about those things that greatly trouble me. I have been at perfect peace with this latest major change in our life. This is so NOT me.

This time I believe it is the smiles and nod we have received from above. Years back when I was going through chemo my mother sent to me via my sister Gere a purple hydrangea. It has survived a few moves but never has bloomed. This year it is vibrant with green leaves and brilliant color. Without telling him about my “conversations” with Mom and Dad, when he saw the blooms, he said, “I think that is a message.” I think so too.

No mo chemo! No mo fever!  Owen smiling!

One very big smile from heaven this week was the miracle healing of our little friend Owen. He has been a brave little warrior fighting cancer for the majority of his six year old life. Elders and friends gathered at his hospital bed at St. Jude’s as others joined around the world in prayer for the fever and infection to leave his little body. He is now fever free! Yay God!

Now I don’t claim to be clairvoyant or a medium by any means. I just know that Heaven is never any further away from us than a whisper. I am thankful we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who intercede upon our behalf. What an honor and privilege to have a God who is thrilled when we enter into His throne room of Grace and Mercy with our petitions. Whether they are great or small, to him they are precious.

It may be a while yet before our retirement plans are in place.  We are making plans. No matter what, we know He is guiding every step.

A man makes his plans but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9