Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Friday, May 25, 2012

Watching...


People are watching us.  Our children watch us and imitate us as part of their learning experience.  Their gaze will shift from us to others in their world, and they will imitate them, too.  At least the ones they admire.

Other Christians are also watching us, seeing how we react, what we say, what we do.

Those who are not Christians are also watching us, seeing how we react, what we say, what we do.

Years ago, when Alice was 4 or 5 and Mark was 8 or 9, they went to a daycare facility all day during the summer.  I was a real stickler for rules, so the kids knew to follow all the rules while they were there.  Not to say that they always did, but I expected them to and they knew it.  The daycare would take everybody swimming or to the putt-putt, stuff like that, so they would have a little extra money to buy a Coke or a candy bar while on their outing.  One day, as I was driving them home, Alice said her teacher told her that she couldn't bring extra money anymore.  She said that the other kids could bring money, but she (Alice) could not.  That sounded odd to me, so I asked Mark about it.  He said no one told his class that they could not bring extra money.  Mark was getting upset about it, telling me I ought to call the owner of the daycare and tell her off, because Alice wasn't hurting anyone and there was no reason for her to be singled out.

Let me say here that it was a semi-miracle that Mark stood up for Alice.  Mark was the typical big brother who wouldn't allow his little sister into his world.

I thought a moment, thought about the daycare owner and what I knew about her and how everyone at the daycare went about their jobs.  And I pretty well knew why Alice's teacher would do this.  Alice was a very cheerful child, easy to get along with, wanting to please, bringing little gifts of weedy flowers that had been crushed in her little, hot hand.  But she was also a high maintenance child, always losing a shoe right before church, wandering off at the slightest provocation, chattering constantly, and falling down a lot which meant lots and lots of skinned up knees.  It seemed her little knees would never heal fully before she had skinned them up again.  She was somewhat clumsy, so usually her battered knees came from tripping over her own feet.  But she was so cute and sweet, everybody kind of overlooked all of that.  Usually.

I highly suspected that Alice's teacher was tired of the extra work Alice made for her.  As Mark ranted and raved, I formed a plan.  "Listen and learn," I said to him as I dialed the daycare center and asked for the owner.

It was really pretty simple.  We always played by the rules, so I figured that the kids needed to see the rules in action.  When I told the owner what happened, I asked if the rules had changed, because if they had, then we would abide by the new rules.  I said all of this in a conversational way, without anger or righteous indignation.  The owner was immediately apologetic and said that certainly Alice could bring her extra money, that Alice's teacher would be spoken to about this, and that Alice was a sweet, loving child and she could use a lot more like her.  Just for emphasis, I asked again if the rules had changed, and the owner said they had not.  I thanked her for her time and hung up.

I looked at my son and said, "See?  You don't have to get mad to get results."  I don't know if he remembers that episode in our lives that happened around 30 years ago, but I remember it because it really brought home to me that my children were watching me and learning how to deal with life through me and my husband.

Never hurts to be reminded that others are watching.  But most importantly, God is watching, and I don't want to do anything that would grieve him in any way.  It's impossible on my own, but with Christ and the Holy Spirit, it's possible indeed.
 
2nd Titus 2:7  In everything set them an example by doing what is good.



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Chance

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:8

 "Oh, taste…" Well, I don't need anyone to tell me twice.  I'm right in there, tasting away. 

We have to eat, right?  If you have gained a few (or a lot) of pounds by eating too much, then you've got a whole nuther set of problems.

I had gastric-bypass surgery in 2004 and lost 90 pounds.  I can't eat the same things I used to eat.  I can't tolerate much sugar, so I'm constantly checking the labels to see how many sugar grams there are.  It's absolutely astounding how much sugar can be in one granola bar!  I don't know, maybe I was addicted to sugar before my surgery.  I couldn't eat very much of anything for months afterward, certainly not sugary stuff, so that forced abstinence may have broken the sugar addiction.  I'm just speculating here.

One thing that's kind of funny about it is that I don't crave sugar.  I don't miss it at all.  If something sugary looks good to me, I'm just hungry and a little food that I can tolerate will take care of that.  

When I eat, I have to pick and choose what I can eat.  If I don't choose wisely, I can end up very physically sick.  It's so bad, I'd have to feel better to die!  Sometimes pain is the best motivator we've got.

So I look over my options of what will work.  I try to eat slowly and chew every bite very well.  I have to remember that if things don't go down right, they will rebel at some point in my body. 

Because I have only so much space to fill, I reach for the stuff I like best first.  I'll see how things are going and then add something else if I feel I can handle it.  All this took years of practice and hit-or-miss methods of getting what my body needs to function.

So, yeah, I know something about tasting.  But how do you "taste" the Lord?  Our need for Him is even more basic than our need for food.  And yet we look all around Him for things to satisfy us in any way we can.

When we want to know what something tastes like, we take a small bite or spoonful to get a sample of the whole.  We can usually tell by the sample how good or bad the whole will be.

What if we "sampled" God's goodness by giving Him a chance to show us how good He is?  What if we took a sample of His goodness and meditated on it and thought about it.  I'm not particularly thinking of scripture here.  I'm talking about asking the Lord to give you a sample of His goodness and then watch what He does.  And then from His holy "sample," we will know how good the Whole really is.

Photo by Cindy West McGregor

Friday, May 4, 2012

Odd But True


David and I have an odd little life.  We do things differently than most folks, and here's why:  Back in 2006, David was found to have severe congestive heart failure.  His doctor told him that he could never work again and to avoid all stress.  He didn't know who he was talking to.  David is a workaholic in that he always has to be doing something.  He's not a sitter like me.  David is a doer, I'm a thinker.  So together, we have had a long, satisfying marriage by playing off each other's strengths.  Then, without any warning at all, David was told he can never work, to avoid all stress, and that his heart could stop at any moment. 
David had retired the year before and had three businesses (landscaping, stump removal) and two part-time jobs.  He quit all of them that afternoon. 
So David stayed at home all day, and I went to my full-time job.  It wasn't easy for me to leave him because I fully believed that I would find him dead when I got home.  For the first year or so, I would wake up two or three times a night to see if he was breathing.
Men want to take care of their women.  Kind of the caveman thing with the male venturing forth to whack an unsuspecting varmint in the head and drag it back to the cave to provide for his family.  My caveman wasn't able to do that anymore, and we both struggled to find a new balance in our relationship.  We were both hurting, scared and anxious.
I know that without a solid base, our marriage would have been in big trouble during the last 6 years.  Our love for each other and our love for God runs deep.  Over the past 3½  decades, we had faced many problems and, with the Holy Spirit's leadership, had gotten through each one.
So here we are now, our odd little life changing once again since I have recently retired.  No one is the breadwinner, no one has to leave the cave to provide for us.  Turns out, we are pretty good at just taking care of each other. 
David's heart problems have leveled out, and, if he rests like his body tells him to, we are able to travel with our camper (and three cats, which is another story entirely).  He has good days and bad days, like we all do.  The medication he is taking has strong side effects that he doesn't have any control over.  But obviously God wants him here and wants me to be with him.  I'm so glad…