Sunday, August 7, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished...

It was raining like crazy and I was hungry, so I was giving serious consideration to a Texas muffin from the vending machine. Bad idea. But thankfully I was saved from myself by a ringing phone. It went downhill from there.

Most of the people who work at our company are legally or totally blind, so transportation is a huge issue. I've forgotten to give non-drivers messages a couple of times in 29+ years and I can tell you I feel almost as rotten as they feel mad. Being transportation-challenged myself, I take such things seriously.

Back to the story...The husband of one of my employees said he was broken down and he wanted me to find his wife who was still on the property. He had tried her cell phone, but it kept going to voicemail. I said, "Sure. What do you want me to tell her when I find her?" He suggested she call her nephew to pick her up.

Off I go to deliver the message and wouldn't you know the trek takes me right by the vending machine?! But I'm on a mission; maybe then a muffin as a reward? Obviously the wife is not inside the building. Do you know what rain sounds like on a tin roof? Now imagine what a monsoon sounds like...and I'm going out in that?

I push the steel door open an inch and get a face full of water, so I step back and regroup. The glasses come off and go in one pocket. The watch comes off and goes in the other. I take a deep breath and step outside. With what I thought was a firm grasp on the door, I yelled toward the weather shelter. And then it happened. The monsoon wind yanked the door from my hand and slammed it shut...LOCKED.

I wish I could take take a moment to think, during which time the door would magically open. It ain't gonna happen. And this is not a pouring-straight-down rain storm. The wind is whipping the rain in all directions. I'm under an awning and already drenched to the bone. There's no help for it; I'll have to walk around to the front of the building.

I walked to the end of the sidewalk and yelled again. Thankfully she heard me and I relayed the message. Now I have to make my way around the building. Did I mention I'm blind? Okay, it probably took about a minute instead of the 45 minutes that it felt like. I didn't fall down, for which I can only thank Jesus.

You know how hard the air conditioner works to cool in this kind of heat and you still feel hot? It's a lot cooler when you're soaking wet. I was making little puddles with ever step I took, so I knew I couldn't sit down in my office. Paper towels had to suffice for the dripping hair. And I did wring a half cup of water out of my blouse. But nothing help the wet jeans. Now that's not a good feeling; wet jeans are heavy and clingy.

I'd like to stop and give a Shout-Out to the people who make Merrill shoes. While I was drenched from the top of my head to my ankles (not a dry thread on me, as they say) my feet were completely dry!!! Thank you, Merrill folks!!!

You know, for about 30 seconds after I refused to put my hand between the wind-driven steel door and the steel door frame I was very angry at myself. Then I stopped and considered that no real damage was done. I might rust, but I wouldn't melt. It was RAINING, which we so badly needed. The temperature had dropped about 20 degrees. And more importantly, the employee got a ride who picked her up within 15 minutes. Several good things did happen, and there was no punishment - only a little discomfort. Now what's that verse? Oh, yeah. And we know that God causes all things to work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NASB)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Family Doin's

Our Sunday school lessons this quarter are from Jeremiah. In this week's lesson God has Jeremiah write a letter to the Hebrews who were already in exile. The letter was to encourage the exiles in their current circumstances. He told them to build houses, marry, have children, and support and pray for their communities. In other words, He wanted them to re-establish some normalcy while they waited for God to bring them back to their homeland.

After a season of tension and uncertainty, I'm getting some balance back in my life...especially in the 'family' department. The last 2 weeks have been filled with family activities.

First, the kids and kidlettes took Terry & me to Mountain View, Arkansas. We really like that place. We had 2 cabins within walking distance of the square so there was lots of trekking around. And early morning coffee on the front porch is a nice way to start the day. But don't let anyone tell you it's cooler in the mountains. The day we left the temp was 101*. We had a great time, though and it was the greatest gift ever.

For the last several years, Terry's siblings and their families have gotten together one Saturday in July. It's always such a great visit that lasts all afternoon and into the evening. There are some really good cooks in the Peters family!! Oh! The highlight of the day for most of the kids was the horse ride. A very gentle, very old horse was perfect for the smaller children and they seemed to love the experience.

Sunday afternoon we had a family b'day party for Tucker at our house. He suffers from Lego-mania so his Aunt Laurie made him a cake that looked like a giant Lego block. Too cute. And a happy Tucker got lots of $$ for his birthday.

Thursday evening we joined Tommy & Nancy (Katey's in-laws) in their 45th anniversacelebration at Romie's Grocery - a misnomer, if ever I heard one. They have some really fine food. Again, a time of fellowship with blended family.

We really are blessed that holidays and family celebrations include in-laws and outlaws who love each other and get along. My return to normalcy and balance is working out very well. My sanity seems to be intact. (You laugh?) And there are certain to be more challenges to my routine, but I'm refreshed and relaxed from all the family time. That should help!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Divine Laughter

I have a friend who knows you and I was wondering if you know him. His name is Jesus. I'd been going to church for a long time and I knew of him, but I didn't know him until I was 19 years old. You see, I followed some friends down the church aisle during revival when I was 10. I spent the next 9 years trying to figure out the next thing I could do to try to please him because the last thing I had tried hadn't worked.

One Wednesday night during prayer meeting, on my knees, I tried to rededicate my life to Jesus Christ. He spoke very clearly to me, saying, "You can't rededicate what you've never dediccated." And in that moment I surrendered and Jesus took over. What a relief! What a joy! What a peace! And all that can be yours!

There's something else you can think about. We're told in the Bible that the angels rejoice when someone surrenders their life to the only Way, Truth and Life - Jesus - who gave his all to make that possible. With all he gave, I wonder if there's more to the heavenly rejoicing...

He's waiting for you; he's sent his Spirit to work on your heart to draw you to him. He's sitting there beside the Father...waiting. Then Jesus sees the door to your heart open in surrender and he smiles; then he grins from ear to ear. And then...He SHOUTS with glorious, divine laughter born of victory, joy and undying love! For a moment all the hosts of heaven stands in stunned silence at the beauty of that laughter. Then they, too, begin to laugh, sing and praise God in joyous thanksgiving that another soul has surrendered to "joy unspeakable and full of glory"! Divine laughter - it's how Jesus' love for you sounds.

I have a friend who knows you and I was wondering if you know him. His name is Jesus!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mountain-High / Valley-Low

Mine is a simple mind; the obvious sometimes eludes me. If our lives were made up of mountain peaks, how would we know? The valleys are a must if we are to know the wonder of the mountaintop. I know this because the last several months have been filled with both.

There have been some unusual and challenging times at work, but it's been that way for the last 16 years. Believe me, I've learned some hard lessons during my time as leader of an average of 45 people in a manufacturing setting. First, if you have more than one person working in a business, there will be personality differences; learn to deal with it. Second, pick your battles; no one can fight all the battles and have enough energy to fight the ones that really matter. Third, be sure to have a friend who will let you vent, keep all your confidences AND hold you accountable.

One thing you can count on when on the mountain - SNOW. And we had some beautiful snows in January and February. But April brought deadly tornados and May brought devastating floods. See, there are even highs and lows in the weather.

As a family we rushed to Molly's side when she had 2 serious seizures. And we mourn, even now, the passing of our friend, Tony, who died much too soon. We prayed as we awaited tests results which would reveal whether our cousin had multiple sclerosis. Today Molly is doing much better on meds. Tony's death has been another time for God to show His glory as we looked back on his life and the impact he had on all of us. And my cousin doesn't have MS!!

Our church family has seen the home-going of several precious saints. Their absence has left a hole in our hearts, but we know we will see them one day. We've also seen God heal some folks here on earth. We celebrate with those who are in remission, and we love on the ones whose health becomes more precarious by the day.

There have been two very personal mountain-high experiences for me. On Palm Sunday morning the BBC choir, orchestra and audio folks led us in worship through the musical, Love Is Alive. Those who know me, know that music touches my soul and spirit in a way only God can manage. And this past Thursday morning as I read Psalm 15 and Isaiah 40, I released a burden that has caused me much pain over the past months. In Isaiah 40 I saw the greatness of God and was reminded that He is sovereign and nothing happens without His directive or permissive will. I was also reminded that I cannot change other people; I can pray for them, but that power of change is not in me. In Psalm 15 I was reminded that there is a particular way that God calls me to live and I will do better to work on that in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the heart-changing work in others to the One who can handle it.

The release of this burden to my Holy Father was a freeing experience. As my pastor told me weeks ago, there was a mighty warfare going on over me and it was making me sick. Now I can smile and laugh again; major irritations are now only minor and better laughed at than cried over. I think Chuck Swindoll was quoting someone else when he said something to the effect that Peace is that moment between battles when both sides stop to reload. I don't doubt the devil will try to create havoc in my life again; he hates that we love Jesus and want to be like Him. But God has given me this respite to rest in Him and reload through His word and prayer.

Mountain-Highs and Valley-Lows. They're the stuff of this earthly life. But with Paul we say, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NASB)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Important Things

There was no single point that screamed, "WATCH OUT!" This week started out like most other weeks. Because the paths of our lives are never completely flat and smooth (who'd want that?), I really didn't notice that the grade was mostly downhill until it got steeper and I had trouble keeping my footing. Before I knew it the steep downhill grade had become a slippery slope and Friday morning found me going over the cliff. Dealing with personnel issues is a challenge, but Tuesday brought three very surprising and unusual, uh, people-problems. Sending an employee home with a cold (he works with food-condtact items), having a grown man leave in tears and finding a ride home for an hallucinating employee would tax the wits of anyone. Then, there are shipping issues. Do you deal with longhaul carriers? Enough said? Usually the brokers, dispatchers and drivers are salt-of-the-earth people willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And at other times, well, l et's just say that by the end of the day we were all ill and LaRue wound up being the bad guy (gal). That was Wednesday. Have you noticed that when the ba*etric pressure starts dropping, all of us get a little anxious? When it actually starts to rain things get a little calmer, but by then some irreparable damage can be done with words that hurt. But what happened Friday morning made me realize that all the events leading up to Friday were absolutely nothing in the -grand scheme of things. Tony died Friday; he was 46 years old. It's hard to type in past tense when describing Tony, so I may slip up. Tony, Sandi & their two boys lived by Katey & Andy on Marquette and they quickly became a part of our family. When we had get-togethers, they were there. Sandi & Katey share a birthday so there were great parties. Tony razzed me unmercifully because I was a Rusty Wallace fan (NASCAR). I gave him grief because he was a Dale Earnhart fan. But we laughed and grinned all the while. When Katey & Andy moved, we didn't see them as much, but there is still a connection that bonds people for life that time, distance and absence can't break. So my heart hurts. It hurst for the 2 teenaged boys, other of Tony's family members, his friends and church family, Andy, Katey & others who loved him like a brother, and for myself who thought of him as another adopted son. Tony, I'll miss you, but I know you're keeping everyone laughing in heaven. Have you seen Earnhart yet? Y'all will have a ringside seat for Talladega, so enjoy the race and we'll see you someday! Love you, son!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Molly

Easter Sunday, April 11, 1977, was High Attendance Day at our church. Druther David told me that being due to deliver a baby at any moment was no excuse for missing church; he'd have an ambulance waiting outside at noon on Sunday just in case I went into labor. The best laid plans... Molly had other plans and those included being born on Good Friday! Wanda, Druther David's wife, came to visit while I was in labor. I don't remember this, but she told me later that I looked at her with tears in my eyes and said, "I'm going to miss High Attendance Day." Dr. Bourland was there at the beginning, but he went off duty and when Dr. Sanders came on my mama said, "Surely that young boy isn't going to deliver my grandbaby!" Dr. John asked Dr. Brouland if he should give me an epidural (sp?) and Dr. Bourland said, "Son, you won't have time; you'd better get in there right now." (I'm one of those blessed women for whom 4 hours of labor was a long time.) I don't remember much else except that I was in a semi-private room with a woman who smoked. (Shouldn't they have already known that smoking is bad for everyone, especially newborns.) Maybe this is the reason Molly was plagued by allergies the first 3 years of her life. The allergies were bad enough that Dr. Hilbun sent us to LeBonheur for allergy tests and Molly had shots for several times a week for a few years. It always surprised Nurse Delores that an 18 month old toddler would want to give her hugs and kisses right after she had given that same toddler an allergy shot. All grown up now, Molly teaches 6th grade math and scored 5th out of 54 sixth grade teachers in her county in a composit teachers' evaluation in her county. She would tell you that she doesn't know if she has any impact on her students. (6th graders = raging hormones) But her 6th grade principal and her Middle School principal would tell you differently. The kids learn more than math from her and all those other values stick, too. She'll be here in a little while and we'll go to breakfast and spend a little time together on this, her 34th birthday. Happy Birthday, Molly! Blessings all day long!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

They'll Always Be Your Babies

Are you a young mother? Were you ever a young mother? Then you know that feeling of wishing you were sick yourself if it meant your child could be well. You know that feeling of wanting to take the shot or the finger-stick or the bllod-drawing yourself rather than have your baby go through that. Let me tell you - they're always your baby. It doesn't matter if they're 3 or 33, you'll always feel that way. Molly (she'll be 34 in a week) had a medical crisis yesterday. Kevin said when Molly got up yesterday, he heard a muffled scream then a crash. He found her on the floor of the toilet room in the middle of a grand mal seizure. He body was in rigor, eyes fixed, small tremors and drooling. He moved her to the middle of the bathroom, arranged towels around her head, made sure she was breathing and grabbed his phone to call 911. She was unresponsive until the EMTs started moving her to the ambulance. I learned many of the details later, but this is not something a mom wants to hear. After many phone calls Laurie & I were going to the hospital. Katey was going to take me to meet Laurie, but decided she would go, too. I called Mama & she wanted to go, also. Meanwhile, Kevin called back and said the ER doctor had gotten to her quickly and into a CT scan. As soon as they finished the CT, she had another seizure. Having refused anti-seizure meds initially, Kevin gave permission for them to administer by IV. (He had refused until Molly saw a neurologist b/c he didn't want them treating what they didn't know.) But he knew after the 2nd one that they needed to prevent it happening again in such short order. Yesterday they did the CT scan, EEG & MRI and she saw the hospitalist. I was very impressed with her - a no-nonsense doctor who said emphatically, "We want to find out what happened to you and why it happened." She came back in today and is ordering physical therapy for the soreness in Molly's neck, shoulders, back and legs. This is probably due to the fall and being in rigor for about 10 minutes 2 separate times. The neuro- nurse came in and asked a lot of questions and said the neurologist would be there in a few hours. Both the doctor & nurse implied she would be in hospital again tonight for observation. Oh, I forgot to mention her heart rate went to 180 for several minutes, so she's on a heart monitor. We are so grateful for prayer warrior friends, prayer warrior church staffs (Southwoods, Belden, Parkway & others) and prayer warrior family members. What a blessing to know Molly's name was so constantly going up to the Great Physician!! We are also grateful for compassionate, skilled medical professionals who continue to take care of her. I'm grateful for a dear friend who lives in Molly's area and has made herself available to help in any way they need. Is it not an amazing thing to see, hear and feel God's people being God's people in times of need !! So as I said, this is scary stuff for a mom whose baby isn't feeling well. It doesn't matter that she's almost 34 years old. She'll always be my baby, as will her 38yo sister and her 36yo sister.