Unexpected Gratefulness

My needs are basic and my wants are few. Things I want more of are minutes and hours with family. Food and shelter are more plentiful/spacious than I deserve.

There are, however, some things about which I complain and actually might enjoy more if there were less. This past Sunday I saw a “more is less” example that reminded me to be grateful.

When Hubby and I need to travel on a Sunday, our practice is to leave early in the morning and find a place of worship along our route. This past weekend we hit the jackpot (so to speak) by arriving in a large city mid-morning. Here, we had our choice of mega-churches located along the interstate service drive.

We selected a large church where we entered the huge foyer filled with chatting people. Many strategically located signs provided information  
  • Reception Desk
  • Worship Center
  • Nurseries
  • Children's Area
  • Youth Area
  • Breakfast Café
  • Coffee Bar
  • Offices

– but no easy to locate restroom signs. We had to ask. (Did I mention that we were traveling?)

Ten minutes prior to service time found us situated in the sanctuary. Being early allowed us time to:

·       count down minutes to starting time by following clocks on two large screens.
·       wonder when people occupying the lobby would arrive for worship.
·       watch preparations taking place on the stage.

At around 2:00 and counting, worshippers rushed in (many with coffee cups) and most were seated by the time the clocks hit zero. At that precise moment, a guitar strummed the beginning notes of the first worship song.

Thirteen minutes later, we finished that song. (“We” is used loosely here since I did not know the song and, therefore, was not singing.) Now, about gratefulness. This brief song being sung over and over for thirteen minutes made me realize how grateful I am that the worship leader at my church knows how to bring a song to closure. Short-term, I was grateful the second song lasted for only six minutes and we could sit down.

Following one hour and twenty-five minutes of singing, prayer, offering, sermon, and communion, the service of baptism began. We are not in the habit of leaving services early, but our goal was to reach home before dark. We left

Note to self: On next trip locate a little church – preferably in a small town.


God Answers Prayer

"The nicest place to be is in someone's thoughts, the safest place to be is in someone's prayers, and the very best place to be is in the hands of God." ~ Connie Stodola

Praying for victims of tragedy; needs of family and friends; our country; this broken world.

Clipart from Pindaddy


Thinking and Feeling

I think that:
  • retirement changes perspective. “No one ever contacts me” has come to mean that I haven’t had an extended conversation with a family member (other than the one who lives in my house) for at least five days.
  • most people don’t realize it takes years, not weeks, to write a novel.
  • nothing could be more frightening for me than finding my Hubby unconscious.
  • small group situations with friends and family are fun and parties with groups of unfamiliar people are “unfun.”
  • beginning my college studies after having four children was a blessing. I’m glad that, while earning my three degrees at state universities, I could joke about the silly ideas of liberal professors.
  • without my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren there would be much less joy in my life.
  • Hubby being my total opposite makes for balance during our journey together.
  • I write much better if, at the same time, I snack on Gummy Bears. (Harbio to be exact.)
  •  my real friends don’t care what kind of house I live in, what kind of car I drive, where I shop, or how many degrees I have earned.
  • it was okay to feel appreciated when a fifth grade student checked to see if I might be considering a divorce because she wanted me to meet her father.
  • my most obvious absent-minded professor event was wearing one each of identically made navy blue and black shoes to class.
  • God understood this mother’s plea and did not view me as foolish when I begged Him to take the cancer from my daughter and place it instead into my body.
  • a good scripture for today might be Isaiah 45:3 as I process the news that a friend has cancer.(Oswald Chambers comments on this verse by writing, “We can see the stars because of the surrounding darkness. And it is because of the mysterious darkness of God’s providences that the secrets of God are ever known to us.”)


Opinions Concerning Leadership

Horst Schulze, hotel group CEO, tells people who have been selected for leadership, “We are leaders; we have forfeited the right to make excuses.” A no excuse policy is likely one of the reasons businesses have thrived under Schulze's leadership.

My Opinions:
Failure results from poor leadership choices.
There is not a “woman card” for failure.
Employees are not to blame for organizational failure.
People skills and leadership skills are the responsibility of and modeled by leaders.
It is impossible for one who has never been on fire to “burn out.”

“The buck stops here,” is a phrase that was popularized by President, Harry S. Truman. Unfortunately, in today’s society, shifting the blame and refusing to take responsibility seems to be the norm. Store managers, church leaders, educators, politicians. I'm somewhat weary of irresponsible egotists!

Clipart: Joshuanhook.com & Farmwarsinfo


Do Not Be Afraid

During Sunday morning worship, while the choir was singing with one of my favorite soloists, my mind traveled back many years to the late 1950’s. They sang, “Child of God; Do not be afraid; Child of God; Trust and obey; He will walk; With you in the way; Child of God; Do not be afraid.”

The words of the song caused me to think about what being afraid meant for me. I thought of our 24/7 vigil at the bedside of our baby son; of finding my husband unconscious; and about the middle of the night phone call telling us we should come because our daughter was not expected to live. In all of those circumstances, we placed our trust in God. But then, as the singing continued, a face from the distant past entered my consciousness.

The image in my mind was that of Bill McChesney. Bill and my husband, then a student at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University), worked together at a local factory where many college students earned their tuition by clocking in for the night shift.

Bill had one goal. That goal was to be a missionary in Africa, and he constantly prepared to fulfill that goal. After contracting with Worldwide Evangelical Crusade, he sold all of his possessions. His car was a better car than the one we were driving so, when Bill quoted us a good price, we purchased the car.

Soon after the sale of his car, Bill was on his way to the Republic of Congo (now named Zaire) but, before he left, he wrote a poem titled, “My Choice.”
I want my breakfast served at “eight”, with ham and eggs upon the plate;
A well-broiled steak I’ll eat at “one”; and dine again when day is done.
I want an ultramodern home, and in each room a telephone;
Soft carpets, too, upon the floors, and pretty drapes to grace the doors.
A cozy place of lovely things, like easy chairs and innersprings,
And then I’ll get a small TV – of course, “I’m careful what I see.”
I want my wardrobe, too, to be of neatest, finest quality.
With latest style of suit and vest, why shouldn’t Christians have the best?
But then the Master I can hear, in no uncertain voice, so clear,
“I bid you come and follow Me, the lonely Man of Galilee.”
“Birds of the air have made their nest, and foxes in their holes find rest;
But I can offer you no bed; no place have I to lay My head.”
In shame I hung my head and cried. How could I spurn the Crucified?
Could I forget the way He went, the sleepless nights in prayer He spent?
For forty days without a bit, alone He fasted day and night;
Despised, rejected – on he went, and did not stop till veil He rent.
A man of sorrows and of grief, no earthly friend to bring relief -
“Smitten of God,” the prophet said – Mocked, beaten, bruised, His blood ran red.
If He be God and died for me, no sacrifice too great can be
For me, a mortal man, to make; I’ll do it all for Jesus’ sake.
Yes, I will tread the path He trod. No other way will please my God;
So, henceforth, this my choice shall be, my choice for all eternity.
In November of 1964, Bill was imprisoned and beaten to death by a tribal group. *
As I saw the image of Bill, I also remembered the haunting 2015 picture of the Coptic Christians kneeling on a Mediterranean coast where they were beheaded by God haters. I tried to envision my response to such horror. My hope is that I could echo Bill’s words: “If He be God and died for me, no sacrifice too great can be for me, a mortal man (woman), to make; I’ll do it all for Jesus’ sake.”
Then our pastor gave a hit-it-out-of-the-park sermon about gaining victory by confessing before God who we are (as did Jacob) and we went to Bible Study Class.
It was during class that I experienced disconnect. I heard about the small percentage of those in Christian ministry who manage to tough it out until retirement; about how much it hurts ministers when they receive anonymous letters; and how church members need to make people who are in ministry feel good. And I wondered about the commitment of those who cower and quit in the face of small obstacles and emotional hurts.
Just some Monday thoughts.
*Bill's story was told by Audine McChesney in the book, Through Congo Shadows, Story of the Life and Martyrdom of Bill McChesney in the Congo, 1968.

Child of God, words and music by Mike Harland, Mike Speck, Niles Borop.


Adages and Word Stuff

This morning I woke up thinking about my dad and some of the things he said to his kids. The one on my mind today was what he would say when, as a teenager, I dressed up to go someplace. If he thought I looked particularly nice he would say, “She looks like she just stepped out of a bandbox, but I wonder what the bandbox she just stepped out of looks like. 

This was Dad’s way of saying, “You look nice, but your room had better also look nice.

“Me” All Gussied Up

A No-No Room

I’ve often wondered where Dad came up with his expressions and have to assume he knew many things because he was so widely read. At any rate, my research provided the following information about the origin of the bandbox saying.

“The bands in question here are entirely unmusical. They were clerical bands -- the little square linen tippet worn around the neck by ministers, especially those of the Presbyterian faith. So the 'bandbox' was a box in which clergymen kept their vestments, which were invariably spotless and neatly pressed. And a person looking as if he had just stepped out of a bandbox was neat, spruce(d) and spotless." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

Dad's use of idioms, metaphors, adages, parables, aphorisms, puns, analogies, and proverbs likely helped to boost the language score on my the college entrance examination.

I’m a forever grateful daughter!

ClipArt and Photo from MyCuteGaphics & PinToPin