>> Friday, March 28, 2014

I’ve tried. I really have. One block. Two blocks, but my breathing becomes labored. Three blocks and I can’t take any more. I begin to run…away from the terrifying sound…the ocean.

I grew up in Kansas. No oceans.

It’s the overwhelming noise. I’ve missed out on walks on the beach with my husband…with children…with friends. I compare my feeling of terror to what the people running from the tsunami must feel…those running from a wall of mud flowing over them…those who scream as a tornado rips a child from their arms. I just can’t describe the feeling. Now my husband and I have made plans to go to the ocean for a few days with friends. It’s weeks before we go, but I already know I won’t like my behavior.
Earplugs have been suggested. But I would still know it was there.

So I’ve decided to begin praying now for fearplugs. There is something deep within me that is out of whack. If I knew what it was, I would fix it. But I know Someone who has a supply of fearplugs…plugs that restore calm. I have taken from that supply for many other situations in my life.

I need another set now.

“The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.” Matthew 8:25-26 (NLT)


I Know a Guy

>> Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In this morning’s paper, a cartoon caught my eye. Garfield is looking at a caterpillar crawling on the ground. The caterpillar tells Garfield “I’m going to be a butterfly.” Garfield asks, “And just how are you going to do that?” 

“I know a guy.”

That’s when my mind took off. Caterpillars are not lovely. They crawl along the ground. Sometimes they get stepped on…so vulnerable. Do they know that one day they will be beautiful? They are hungry little creatures…stuffing themselves. In the next stage they hang upside down and encase themselves with a shiny chrysalis. And here comes the fascinating part. While they are hanging upside down inside their protective casing, they are being transformed.

I love the word metamorphosis…such rich meaning. The caterpillar knows a “Guy”.

I’ve spent time crawling along the ground…and being stepped on. I had no idea that I contained the makings to become beautiful. But as I passed through the stages of my life, I became hungry…hungry to know more than just crawling along the ground. It was not of my own doing that I became isolated…inside a protective armor. But my time there was not wasted. Slowly…slowly…the transformation occurred.

I, too, know a Guy.

My loving Father caused a metamorphosis to occur. My ugly parts were discarded. Negativity turned into positivity. Judgments turned into empathy. Fear was replaced with peace. Laughter bubbled forth.

You, too, can know a Guy. 

“Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. … God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside.” 1 Thessalonians 4:6-7 (MSG) 


A Difference in Price

>> Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reservations had been made. Airline tickets purchased. We were going on a big adventure. And I really wished we had better luggage. We had traveled many miles with our old luggage. It was bulky and very old school…the wheels didn’t spin. Due to some health issues, I thought it would be helpful if we could have some lighter and more maneuverable suitcases.
But I had pushed that thought to the back of my mind as I ran my errands.

I stopped to pick up some prescriptions. There…on sale half price…was luggage. I skidded to a stop. Really? American Tourister. The tag said, “light weight”. I reached for the 25” one. Easy peasy. And it had spinner wheels. On the shelf above it was a 21”. Those two were the last of the blue ones.

I pondered.

It was no easy task to place them in the cart. Without being able to see where I was going, I pushed the cart blindly through the aisles to the check out stand. The young man scanned the 21” one first…a few more of my items…and then came the second suitcase.

“Are these alike?”

They were both American Tourister, so I nodded. As I walked to the car, a thought niggled in the back of my mind. What did he mean by that question? What if he thought the second suitcase was the same size as the first one? He would have charged me the same price for both of them.

Out of the blue came the thought, if I don’t look at the receipt, I’ll never know if I got the larger one for the price of the smaller. And just as quickly shame filled me. Did I want to be able to sleep with a clear conscience?

I looked at the receipt.

It was a hassle and time-consuming to get back in line and make the correction in price. No one thanked me for my honesty. They did complain about the difficulty in figuring it out since I also had used a discount coupon.

But it was about so much more than a price tag on a piece of luggage. There would have been a huge difference in the price I would have paid for my dishonesty. I smiled as I walked out.

“People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” Proverbs 10:9 (NLT)


A Smile Came to Stay

>> Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The following blog is written by my husband, John, but he captures the feelings for both of us.

A few years ago we built a new house. One of the important things we wanted was a guest wing where someone in need could come and find refuge for a while. We built that wing and various friends and family slept there, but a few years passed before it could be used for that purpose.

Then one day we had the blessing of a friend who was in need. She didn’t want to be a bother, but needed a place to stay for a few weeks while her condo was being readied.
So a smile came to live with us for a while

The smile was a little tarnished and cracked by life and it was small but it remained here with us. The smile spent time with us sitting in the TV room watching the Olympics together. We talked and laughed and the smile began to relax. Days passed. Cookies were made and brownies consumed in amazing quantities. The smile got bigger.

The smile was going through some tough times, but talked little about her emotions. We hurt for her but could only offer our hugs and company. We prayed for her every day that she would find peace and comfort. 

As the days passed we laughed more and more and came to know what a kind and loving person this smile was. She was moving into our hearts as well as our home.

Then came the day when her place was almost ready to move into. My wife and I talked about what a hole it would leave in our hearts when the smile moved out.

Well the day came and the smile was ready to leave but an amazing thing happened. She left but the smile stayed in our hearts.

Now we understood why those years ago as we designed our new house that guest wing was so important to us… you see in both of our lives we had need of a refuge at one time and we could now pay it forward.

And we learned that the smile helped us as much as we helped her.

Thank You smile. We will always love you.


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