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Little House on the Prairie… My Summer, Part 2

When I zoned out at school as a child, I went to other places and was totally infatuated with the plans that I imagined in my mind.  At that stage of my life I was totally oblivious to the lack of reality that I was seeking and at times longed for….cast

Things like:

  • Being a trapeze artist in the Ringling Bros. Circus
  • owning every breed of dog imaginable and all of them being incredibly intelligent and well trained.. you know, the kind that would do more than just tricks… things like finding Timmy in the well…
  • being a Native American during the days of the wild west
  • living in a little house on the prairie… quite possibly with the Ingalls family

It was years later that I realized the reality behind the imagination…

Things like:

  • trapeze artists aren’t in high demand and who knows how much a trapeze artist’s salary is…even if it is good, you have to be somewhat athletic, I would assume?
  • a house full of dogs means smelly, even if you constantly groom and I’ve not had one dog who can do anything more than the regular “sit” and “stay”…. no, none of them ever learned to stay… and now that I think about it, they only sit when I say it when they are already sitting
  • To be a Native American in the wild west would not have been glamorous but likely quite dangerous
  • Living out a year’s worth of Little House on the Prairie episodes in real life is bound to place a normal emotionally healthy person over the edge.

I figured most of these out by the time I was in High School but the last one, the Little House one… that one just stunned me a few months ago when my daughter recently spent her birthday money to complete her collection of each season of the series.  I never realized how many tears Michael Landon had to squeeze out each week or so.  Now, I’m not knocking the series at all… still love it… but when you watch them back to back you realize what troubles those people had.  The bullying, the blindness, the ruined crops, the death, the orphans, the overweight people, the illnesses, the storms… Mercy! and I thought I wanted to be in the midst of it…

However, there was one episode where a dying mother asked Charles Ingalls to help her find a home for her children.  In his heart, he wanted to keep them but knew in his head that it wasn’t possible.  He searched and searched but found nothing… no one wanted to take three children.  He finally decided to give them each a home separately.  Once again, his heart was aching because he wanted to keep them …. more tears.  In the end there was a happy home for all together.

I experienced a tiny bit of that emotional Little House episode this summer…   A year ago I had a grandmother come to me to share with me the news of a her terminal illness.  It broke my heart because she had full custody of her grandson.  Her family taking him was not an option so she asked me to help her find a good home for him.  Now, I am a Children’s Pastor… I know nothing about this type of situation except that I wanted to grab him, build an extra bedroom and take him home but that was not to be….As it worked out she was able to find someone… only to find out that the situation wasn’t what she had hoped for.  So, she asked me and another lady from our church to help again.  This time though, time was precious….. she was growing worse.

My story was a bit different though.  I had technology to get the word out and I had people longing for a child.  The outcome was good.  We found a family…. friends of mine and for them it was an answer to a 20 year old prayer.  He is loved much by the family.

I have often thought about the grandmother.  Her act was bold, courageous and selfless.  She thought only of this child and his well being.  I’m pretty sure, if I was placed in the same situation, that I probably wouldn’t be able to do that.

I taught the kids tonight about Moses as a baby.  His mother, in some ways, did almost that same selfless act.  She had no way to know that when she hid her baby that her life wouldn’t be ended should he be found… she also had no idea when she placed him in the basket and sent him on his way that he wouldn’t drown… she also had no way to know what the reaction of Pharoah’s daughter would be to a Hebrew baby.  Moses ended up being just fine… and his biological mother even got to help raise him.

Both of these stories ended with a happy ending… not necessarily an emotionally void ending but a heart-warming ending.

Things are sometimes so often like a Little House on the Prairie episode. It may be easier to dream of a different life and definitely easier to dream of living in non-reality … but, hang in there, the episode is not over yet.

Exodus 2:1-10

The Birth of Moses

1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

8 “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses,  saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

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Posted by on September 17, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Summer? Did someone say vacation? I didn’t think so… Part 1,

classroomWhen I was a child movies and TV always seemed to make it look as if teachers would always want a report about your summer when you returned to school.

“Class, your first assignment is a two page report on,’What I did this summer.'”

Well, that little assignment just may be  exactly what the media propaganda people need to further their argument about it’s affect on society because I waited year after year for that assignment and it never happened.   My teachers never asked for that report of my summer and I always felt that I was missing something ….. deep down I wanted to be able to tell about  it (However, I’m sure if it would have been assigned I would have balked at the whole project) But nonetheless,  so much can happen in a few short months and I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to catch up,  get back into the swing of things and share my summer with anyone who wants to read about it…. including former teachers.

So here is what I did this summer-

ummm…

(Insert Awkward Silence)

ummm…..

Yep, that’s right…I did nothing….

Now before those who write my paycheck begin to scratch my name off of the payroll … let me explain….

I did nothing outstanding, nothing noteworthy, nothing overly interesting but yet my summer was extremely busy, full and lively and I lived, learned and was reminded of  a lot.

Things like-

  • I am a Loser…. (No need to jump to defend-I’m okay with it- Matthew 16:25)
  • Stories can get SO turned around
  • We all seem to jump with our emotions (I know I can be guilty of that)
  • Friends are priceless ..(particularly when you are stressed)
  • ugly dogs can be cute…
  • Everyone has daily challenges but some are far greater than I could ever know
  • You don’t have to do the “same old thing”
  • Inward is easier than outward… and outward isn’t always comfortable
  • Children need incredible role models
  • Fame will kill you… or at least fame and a heart for fame
  • Most likely when you die people will say nice things about you… even if they thought you were terrible
  • Waiting to say something nice about someone until after they die is a shame
  • A monkey is not a farm animal
  • Enjoying creativity has its advantages and disadvantages
  • Comfortable (though I love a comfy pair of  P.J’s ) is not always good
  • Fun doesn’t have to be expensive
  • Fresh air, fresh popcorn and a movie are a summer delight
  • My dog talks… sort of
  • and so much more….

Amazing how nothing can be filled with so much something… where do I begin to explain?

Hang on for part 2….

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2009 in Fun, Life Stories

 

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Summer Time, And The Livin’ Is Easy…. At least that’s the Big Picture….

appleIn the dark of the night, he silently slips into the room…. he stares at her while she sleeps and quietly searches for the blood he longs for… he moves quickly, she has no time to react…

You might be thinking that this is a selection from a Twilight novel or some other vampire romance, but hold on, keep reading….. this is reality..

She suddenly awakes… opening her eyes to confusion and mild pain…she lifts her hand and swats the blood thirsty, pesky little mosquito away…

Yes, summertime is great for the most part…. relaxed schedules, swimming, sunshine, hummingbirds, sandy beaches, ocean water, vacations, waterparks, flowers, sitting under the pergola.… but last night’s itchy attack was just about enough to make me ready for cold weather.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the mosquitoes in my backyard don’t have babies named Citronella because it obviously means nothing negative to them.  I’m pretty positive that those mosquitoes in my neighborhood have apparently mutated and are totally immune to the pretty little candles that sit on my porch.  I can picture the scene now…

“Citronella! Come on, sweetie, ”  says Mama Mosquito, “We are going to go have dinner on this nice lady’s porch.  She even has a nice warm fire to attract us to her home.”    ” Yea!! Can we have s’mores too?” replies Baby Citronella.

So now, through my bitterness, I’m sure that it is apparent that I have been a victim of the ever blood thirsty mosquito.  Not only has the little vampire gotten me, but my family was attacked as well. …. Twilight, nothing.  Okay, I realize that mosquitoes are not technically vampires but they still are in the same category.  However, I’m sure the difference lies in the fact that there could never be a bestseller or a blockbuster teen romance about mosquitoes and their vices.  There is absolutely nothing attractive nor glamorous about mosquitoes…… or is there?Mosquito

To conquer my itch I needed a remedy…something to soothe. So I began searching the internet for a homemade alternative to going back out to the store.  My search took me to something I never knew existed.   I found out that today is Mosquito Day.

Okay, since when did the mosquito become such an icon that it deserves it’s day in the limelight? A special day for Mosquito celebrating…. and to think that I thought a special Michael Jackson day was probably not a good idea…. Apparently there is something about the little itchy bloodsucker that I don’t understand.  I had always ranked it up there with all of those other annoying things that have peaked my curiosity as to why God created each.  You know, things like:

  • slugs (yeah, you know the story)
  • liver… of course I know it is important for our bodies but couldn’t a cow or a chicken do without it?? Does it really have to be a good source of iron for my anemic body??
  • ticks…just look at them… ewww….self-explanatory
  • poison ivy… not sure why a plant needs to protect itself… particularly one whose only apparent purpose is to make people itch

But since today is Mosquito Day and somewhere down in Texas they are planning an few days of good ol’ BBQ, country music and all sorts of mosquito competitions… not to mention, “Willie-Man-Chew” the 26ft mosquito mascot… what am I not getting???Williemanchew

I kept reading… the mosquito leg contest might be a competition that I’d rather not see but it looked like all other activities would provide good family fun.  That’s when I noticed something… I noticed that Dow was the host of this Mosquito Festival.  How convenient… could it be that Dow makes repellent for the pesky mosquito?  I’m thinking so.  I’m also thinking that if mosquitoes were obsolete then Dow wouldn’t need employees to make the chemicals to repel the pests.  Hmmm… now it is starting to make sense… at least to some degree.  We need mosquitoes so that Dow or any given chemical company can make repellent, hire people so they can have jobs and provide for their families.  Ah ha! I feel like I’ve solved a mystery. Okay,so maybe that was never really the plan that God … or maybe it was… regardless, God is so creative and I don’t always see the big picture.

I wonder how many other things I really don’t understand and instead tend to look at it through my narrow vision before I really give thought to what God is showing me.  Maybe the whole mosquito and insect repellent issue isn’t really some divine revelation from God but there are others…. Like knowing that we are supposed to take care of the “widows and orphans” and sadly taking care of them to a certain degree because of a feeling of obligation rather than love and care… and one day, while helping someone, I noticed her eyes…eyes of sadness, shame and helplessness…. that was a moment I needed… a realization to what I already knew but just didn’t understand… a moment I needed to make sense of what I was doing.  It opened a door to take my knowledge into the realm of compassion.

In Acts, Peter had a moment like that with Cornelius.  Peter knew that Jesus was for all, Jews and Gentiles.  But it wasn’t until he met Cornelius that it all truly seemed to click for him.  As you read the whole Cornelius/Peter dialogue you see Peter start out almost with obligation and routine but after listening to Cornelius speak, the figurative lightbulb turns on… Peter gets it.  He had the knowledge but just needed that “ah ha!”  moment. He needed to hear a Gentile speak about Christ in the same manner that a follower of Christ might speak.  It was like opening another door for him.

So what other big picture am I not seeing?  Hmmm, maybe like the slow driver who is keeping me from an appointment, or the rude driver who is honking at the slow driver who is keeping him from his appointment, or the waitress who seems distracted, or the person who looks to be abusing the system, or the child with the discipline problem… or big things like hunger, poverty and war…. maybe I’ll never view them as God does until he allows me to, if ever, but at least I can think about the situation and what the big picture is and hope for a compassion or an “ah-ha” moment.

Until then though, I will continue to swat at mosquitoes, but I will only swat at those who cross that barrier of repellent so as to not take away repellent making jobs and so “Willie-Man-Chew” can live on in Texas.  Live on, Willie!  Keep up the good work, Dow!

Acts 10

Peter at Cornelius’ House

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

30Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

34Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Life is a highway… Can we stop at the next rest area, please?!?

t2010camaro2You could probably say that if I was a car then I would be a 2010 Camaro.  Totally able to take on any other car and never feel ashamed or embarrassed of my ability.  I would zoom down the highway just racing by all of those minivans and family cars. .    I wouldn’t even have to refuel because I might also really be a Transformer!  Nothing would slow me down… every goal and objective that I aimed for would be reached without any hesitation because my speed and accuracy would threaten or take down any obstacle…. Yep, that is me…. a red, 2010…. I should add, convertible… Camaro.  Vroom……vroom.

Oh, who am I kidding…. I would never be believable as a Camaro…. a VW bug maybe… a 70’s model, at that…. but never a Camaro. 1978-vw-beetle-convertible Actually at this point, I am more like a scooter…well, maybe  a scooter going up hill… or more likely a scooter going up hill  with an oversized load…. okay, a scooter going up hill with an oversized load on a gas fumes only…. I really should pull over and call for help but instead I’ll push myself on up the hill at whatever the cost….At least I’m a red scooter….

The point here is that my summers are crazy… my job requires my summers to be quite impressive… filled wih potentially fun things but those things tend to drag tons of energy right out the door with them…they tend to make my sleep schedule totally mixed up… my mind in overdrive and my hands constantly working to show others how to do more…. So, when does it slow down?  Not for a few more weeks and then unfortunately my summer is over…and fall is here with more activities and events…

Because of the craziness of camps, planning activities for summer and fall, for coordinating events and other goodies… I tend to truly be that scooter… I forget to refuel….and I tend to push myself up the hill when things could be so much easier…

The refueling is the important part of all of this… often times I forget that things can be easier if I remember to refuel…

I was reminded of that during staff meeting the other day…. It seems that because of what I do I tend to forget to stop and really soak in the fuel….I love my job and what I do… I love to create things that in some way help others see God or deepen their faith or walk…It would seem like since I am helping others fuel up I shouldn’t have to refuel myself.  Oh, I read and pray and do the things that I should but it is the message that gives me the fuel to continue to do what I do at the pace I need to go….

I slowed down enough during staff meeting to soak in these words from Paul ….

Ephesians 3

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

There is the fuel that I needed….to be reminded that I am loved….not just to serve and serve …. not just to hear the words …. but to truly soak in the thought and  be reminded of how wide, how long, how deep his love is ….

That was the rest area I needed to finish my summer…..


 
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Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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