Thursday, February 26, 2009
With her fists clutched at her throat and her whole body shaking profusely, she proceeded to tell me that she had just received a call that her mother had had a massive heart attack about 30 minutes prior and was not expected to live. She was trying to get to Grady Memorial in Atlanta to see her and needed gas money.
It was at this point that I took the woman’s hands and looked her straight in the eyes. “Ma’am,” I said. “This is the 3rd time you’ve approached me asking for money to get to your dying mother.” (Actually, the first time it was in the Zaxby’s parking lot, and it was her father who had had a heart attack down in Florida. I was on to her then, too.) And then out of my mouth came some of the strongest words I think I have ever spoken to anybody. But hopefully, words of freedom. However, it didn’t take her long to snatch her hands from me, throw them up in the air and wave them back and forth as she ran out of the building yelling, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
I looked at my friend who had brought her in, and I said, “Well, that was different.”
After finding myself in such situations, I always regret I didn’t do more; or I’m sorry I didn’t say something different. But yesterday I received a blog forwarded to me from a friend, and in that blog were these words by Rick Bonfim: "The Holy Spirit only deals with areas in our lives that sustain life. Never frivolous, never uncaring, never performing, never egoistic, never manipulative, never superficial, never tormented. Only truth, only Word, only discovering and revealing that which affects life and brings death. It does not necessarily begin in the past. The Holy Spirit begins where He wants to begin and finishes where He wants to finish. "
Oh, how I pray that’s what happened that Tuesday evening. That what I said was just what that woman needed to hear in her life at that particular moment – and that it was “only truth… only that which affects life and brings death.” And that the Holy Spirit began and ended where He wanted.
As the woman ran out the door that evening, I had the strangest feeling of what the 12 newly commissioned disciples might have felt as they stepped off the boat onto the shore and met their constituency. Surely it was an overwhelming moment for them – and one I’m not sure they ever got use to.
Just an ordinary moment…
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I placed an order with Amazon last week, and because of the need, I had it shipped 2-day delivery. I received my notice that it would be arriving on the 19th, and thus I began the wait. On the 18th, I began checking the status of my order by tracking its shipping order. It had made it to Atlanta. Thursday morning at 5:52 it was in Unadilla which meant it should be making it to my house sometime that day. Hopefully, earlier than later. If I went to the door once, I went to the door a dozen times to see if I had somehow missed the doorbell and the box was just waiting to be brought inside and opened. It was never there. At 6:15, I checked. It was getting dark by now. Still no package. We ate dinner. 7:30 arrived and still no knock at the door. So I checked the status once again, and it read, “Delivered to front door at 6:52 p.m.” Hmm, I must have missed the doorbell or knock and so I went to the front door to get my package. Nothing.
Okay, so this wasn’t the first time it had happened. At least a half dozen times over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve either received a UPS package that belonged to one my neighbors or they have received mine. So I pulled on my overcoat and I got my trusty flashlight and out the door I headed. First to my neighbor’s house on the right. No package at their front door, so I rang the doorbell and inquired. Nope. No UPS delivery there. Went to my neighbor’s on the left. Same thing. So I ventured across the street and interrupted their in-house Bible study. Nothing. One last house, the vacant one also across the street. Shined my light on that porch, nothing there either. I must admit that about this time, I was expecting a law enforcement to come rushing up with his blue lights flashing. After all, it was pitch black and I was strolling people’s yards with a flashlight.
By this time it was pushing 8:00 and so I did the only thing left to do, I got on the phone and called the UPS toll free number. After going through a number of automated voices – each one telling me that my package had been delivered at 6:52 to my address, I finally got a live voice, who also told me my package had been delivered at 6:52 to my address. No doubt I was not agreeable.
After being put on hold too many times to remember and then transferred just as many if not more, I was told that I would receive a call from the Unadilla office the following morning no later than 9:00 a.m. 9:02 a.m., Feb. 20th, I picked up the receiver and began the process all over again. If I was going to beat the system and locate this package, I knew I needed to get an early start. Again, I was told each time “We have here that the package was delivered to your front door (and they gave my address) at 6:52 p.m. on Feb. 19.” “No, ma’am, it wasn’t.” Oh, even now just recounting this, I can feel my blood pressure rising.
Oh, did I mention that Amazon’s policy is to call and let them do an internal trace? Therefore UPS didn’t want to handle it. But no way was I letting this one go. They kept telling me the driver had left it at my front door, therefore I figured he alone could find at which front he had actually left it, and I was bound and determined he wasn’t getting off of my hook even if it meant he had to drive to my house and show me exactly where he placed it. Finally, I was put through to the Unadilla office where Teresa was able to speak to the driver – while I was on hold, of course, and she assured me he left it at the front door of the house – on the corner. Okay, so I don’t live on the corner. And being that was the first house I went to the night before and it yielded no results, we were still just as clueless – and package-less. This time she said she would just call me back.
Shortly, she did. She had spoken with the driver one more time, and this time, instead of telling me that my package had been left by the front door (at my address) at 6:52 p.m. on Feb. 19th, I was told that it had been left by the scooter of the house on the corner. So I called my neighbor, she walked out her GARAGE door and sure enough there it was. Since she was already outside, she walked it on over and hand delivered it to me. I called Teresa back at UPS and told her it was in my possession, and she thanked me for my patience (if she only knew) and gave me her personal number in case it ever happened again. Lord, please no.
So, as I put the phone down and returned to the prize box to retrieve its contents, I heard that still small voice deep within my spirit say, “So, why don’t you search for Me like that?”
Just an ordinary moment…
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
You see, this was our first rodeo. So I directed my gaze to my daughter-in-love who sat there so serenely and, with great amazement questioned, “How can you just sit there?” “Oh,” she said with a flip of her hand, “you get used to it.” Well, of course; she was a veteran and this was her 7th rodeo. But let me reiterate, I was not. However she was right, because two and a half hours later, I was whooping it up and a hollering with the best of them during the most intense part of all – the bull riding event. (Yet, I did tell my sweet daughter that if one of those cowboys fell off and began to be mauled by one of those half ton creatures to please cover her eyes. I just couldn’t imagine her having that in her brain for the rest of her life. I promised her I would do the same.)
But after all the excitement was over – including the coda at the end where the bull fighters intentionally placed themselves in front of charging bulls, I wondered, “What in the world makes a man do that?” What makes him get on a kicking horse only to be thrown high in the air? Or on a raging bull knowing there’s only one way off? Is it stupidity? (At this point, I must confess that after the bull fighters had deliberately been “horned” and kicked around like a football, I looked at my children and said, “Now that was stupid,” and I meant it.) But what about the riders? What is it that makes them get on those uncontrollable beasts time and time again?
Maybe it is because they’re ill-advised; but I don’t think so. I think they are fully aware of the potential cost. They know the thrill of danger for sure, but they also know the exhilaration of doing something that’s larger than they are and is beyond their control. They know the fulfillment of victory, of being thrown and of getting up – and of ultimately riding again. They understand second chances. They grasp the fact that abundant living comes when they choose courage over their fear. And maybe, just maybe, they comprehend and appreciate that this whole bull riding thing is a ride of lifetime. Maybe they know that’s one of the reasons why they were created – for adventure.
Hmm, now that I think about it, sounds an awfully lot like this walk of faith, doesn’t it. Maybe Jesus knew something about being a cowboy after all.
By the way, plans are to make this an annual event. But if you want to be included, be warned. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
Just an ordinary moment…
And he's off -- or will be shortly. See, looks like a rag doll, doesn't he?
The bull fighter at the end of the show. What more can I say? It's just plain stupid.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I think our first escapade was my idea – though not original. We decided to take our neighbor’s mattresses and hide them knowing that when she came in that evening she would be a little tipsy. So one went outside to the 2nd floor breezeway and the other on top of the stalls in the bathroom. Let’s just say she was “confused.” I’m not sure how well we knew Steph at that time, but surprisingly she did become one of our best friends and a suite mate the next year.
On more than one dull evening on campus, the two of us donned women’s hosiery over our heads and faces and headed for the practice rooms with our water pistols. I’m not sure the girls practicing their pianos so late in the evening enjoyed the surprise spritz’ or not, but Cynthia and I sure had a blast.
And then there was the write up in the school paper: “Popcorn Bandits Hit Persons Dorm.” Oh, were we ever good, too. Cynthia and I learned to walk right out of other girl’s rooms without their ever knowing their precious stuffed animal had been kidnapped right under their noses. Somehow I made it out to the 2nd floor breezeway with a 3-foot Pepto pink dog and dropped it over the ledge to my accomplice and then she would sprint to our room. Another evening I remember hearing a faint scream from down the hall: “They’ve got Ermine!!!!” And we did. But all’s well that ends well and we ended up throwing a huge dorm party with the popcorn that was in payment for their beloved creatures. However, I do think I remember that Cynthia was hung in effigy before it was all over.
And what’s the saying about no honor among thieves? I distinctly remember hearing a commotion one night during the wee hours but didn’t think much of it – until the next morning when I got up and carefully opened our door to the hallway and noticed a string tied from the door knob to the transom above the door. Being the wise freshman I was, I carefully untied the string and avoided the water container sitting above the door. The noise that had awakened me that night was the bucket of water coming down on Cynthia’s head when she had gotten up in the middle of the night. Before going back to bed, my wonderful roommate took the time to refill the jug, place it back above the door, and carefully tie the string to the door handle – just for me. Sweet thing, wasn’t she?
Oh, but then I got engaged the beginning of our sophomore year and tradition has it to throw the young bride-to-be in the fountain. Cynthia took her roommate position seriously and did just that. However, as she was leaning over laughing at me, my new fiancé could not resist and gave her just the smallest of shoves and she joined me in the water.
Cynthia was one of my bridesmaids, but after a short period of time, life distanced us and we lost contact. For the last 10 years, I’ve been looking for her and even praying that God would bring us together again. Three weeks ago, He did just that when a note popped up on my Facebook page for a friend request from Cynthia. She had found me! How sweet it has been to reconnect with this precious comrade.
And so, today I honor you, my friend, and I wish you the happiest of birthdays. May you know that you are remembered with such joy and embraced with much love. I pray this would be the year of the Lord’s favor upon you, and that everything you put your hand to, He would establish. You indeed are the apple of His eye and His desire is toward you.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Jan’s vivacious spirit fills up a room when she enters and joy follows her like a bridal train. And her understanding to relational issues? It exceeds human wisdom, yet at the same time is just plain good sense. She is one prudent woman.
Jan said a number of things that were worth remembering. Some things I still need to think upon – like prudence vs. foolishness; others made an impact right away. I like concretes, and one tangible she gave was this: 87% of diseases in our bodies are caused by negative thinking due to the negative hormones released by that negativity. (That's a whole lot of negativiness!) Which means only 13% is left to genetics. That’s huge and worth its own blog entry. It also puts a whole new light on “As a man thinketh, so is.”
She also told us that two different emotions cannot stay in the brain at the same time. For example, fear cannot reside with gratitude or vice versa. One will always win out. So, being one who struggles with fear issues, it seems the remedy might be an attitude of gratitude. I have to admit, however, that one of the weaker points in my prayer life is the “thanksgiving” part, but this new knowledge has put a little fire under me to change that. And not just during prayer time either. I’m hoping I can become a more thankful person all around. Let’s give it a try.
1. I am thankful that God wooed me before I even knew to seek Him myself.
2. I am thankful for this beautiful, sunshiny yet "crispy" day and for the ability to either wrap up in a number of coats I own or remain in my warmly heated home.
3. I am thankful that I have recently reconnected with my old roommate (as in "former" -- with both of us turning 50 this month, I need to be very sensitive throwing that word old" around).
4. I am thankful for my children who have each chosen to pursue God with all their hearts – only because He pursued them first.
5. I am thankful for my piano teacher Miss Pinkston who saw something in me and was willing to do what it would take to make me proficient at the keyboard.
So there’s a starter, and I’m feeling better already. Now what about you? Got anything for which you’re thankful?
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The most delicious and beautiful birthday cake I've ever had!
The beautiful cook and her creation. (She did admit to being quite nervous about the whole thing though.)
This was before the retake.
Can you believe I was ever their "little gurl" as my Aunt Mea announced at my birth?
Ted and Marcilla -- the conspirators!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The birthday boy and his beautiful wife enjoying a birthday dinner at The Olive Garden.
Receiving the bill at The Olive Garden -- or is this just normal?
All three of our "treasures." And indeed they are!