Hall of Fame

sunday schoolLast Sunday our church honored those brave, hardy souls that came week after week to teach squirrelly children about the love of Jesus in Sunday school. These are people who intentionally chose to not sleep in on Sunday mornings for a good nine months. They volunteered knowing that antsy little boys and chatty little girls would ask unbelievably hard questions about God and life and the universe.  Some of our teachers who serve week after week also have been faithful year after year.  If there was a Sunday School Teacher Hall of Fame, I would have several inductees.

Being a Sunday school teacher can be daunting and thankless.  So, at the close of the school year, we sing the praises of these unsung heroes.

After applauding the sacrifice and dedication of these wonderful people, the congregation settled in for PB’s sermon.  He was preaching on Hebrews 11 – the great “Faith Hall of Fame” chapter.  The writer names several giants of the faith like Abraham and Moses, but ends the chapter with many unnamed saints who “faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.  They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.”

That jarring statement suddenly made teaching Sunday school look pretty tame.

So far, not one of our teachers has been sawed in two.

What we call “sacrifice”, the saints of old might have called “privilege”, “opportunity to serve”, or even “joy”.  Until I am chained and put in prison, maybe I better rethink the use of the word “sacrifice”.

High Heaven

smellyThere’s been a mysterious smell in our house.  It didn’t matter how many candles I lit, how many plug in air fresheners I plugged in, or how much Oust I sprayed.  The foul odor lingered.  It was especially strong near the kitchen, by the back door, in the closet.

This is the broom/mop/dog food/light bulb/batteries/wasp spray/duct tape/spray cleaner/recycle bin/plastic and paper bags/vacuum cleaner/ toilet brush/miscellaneous box closet.  Did I mention there is a refrigerator in there, too?

It’s a big closet.

I also keep potatoes and onions in the stackable baskets.

Hence the stink.

I kept dropping hints to PB like, “Gosh, where could that awful stench be coming from?”  Or “Did you step in something, dear?”  I even tried to appeal to his curiosity by whispering, “There’s something in the closet and I think it’s dead.”  He didn’t bite.

This was going to be my battle to fight.

In the dark recesses of the catch-all closet, I was momentarily startled by what I thought was a one-legged spider, but it was just a sad, shriveled potato.

It stunk to high heaven.

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Funny how such a little thing,

ignored for months in a dark closet,

can produce such a foul smell.

“Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin.

Sin itself stinks to high heaven.”  Jude 1:23

 

Paying Respects

sympathyLast night PB and I went to a visitation at a funeral home for a dear lady that was a member of a church we used to serve.  We wanted to offer our condolences to the family and support them during their time of loss.  For PB, this is the equivalent of a Friday night date.  I’m okay with that.

Upon entering the funeral home, I went to the guest book and started to sign our names.  I glanced up at the 8×10 picture of our deceased friend and was stunned at how much she had changed in the last few years. That’s when PB whispered, “Umm…that’s not her.”  Realization hit that we were at the wrong funeral home.  I panicked.

Should I cross out the half-written name in the guest book?  No.

Should I go ahead and finish signing our names?  No.

So I took PB’s middle name and stuck it on as a last name and I hightailed it out of there.

PB was a few steps behind me because he had stopped to grab a few pieces of complimentary candy.

I sure hope no one saw us sprinting out the door and through the parking lot, exploding with laughter.

That might have looked bad.

We finally found the right funeral home and paid our respects to the right person.  But every few miles on the ride home, PB and I would look at each other and start giggling.

I love going on dates with PB.

Connected

See these nice sturdy cement block walls?

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They are built to last.

See these durable ceiling tiles?

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They are firmly fixed in place.

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And outlets?  How many outlets does one building wing need?

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Back in 1965, nobody was thinking about wireless internet connections.

The word “internet” didn’t even make the dictionary until twenty years later.

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Today, a nice young man came to look things over and help us set up Wi-Fi.

He spent two and a half hours walking around, taking pictures and jotting down notes.  Pages and pages of notes.

Bless him.  He’s got his work cut out.

I’m sure glad the Spirit of God isn’t hindered by brick walls or immovable tiles.  I’m so relieved I don’t need wires or ethernets or modems or routers.

I just need to say, “Abba, Father.”

Connected.

The Village Booksmith

In honor of the first National Independent Bookstore Day on May 2nd, I’d like to show off my hometown’s very own, one-of-a-kind, Village Booksmith.

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 There are nooks and crannies and soft seats….and books!

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 Every bookstore needs a furry friend to make it feel homey.

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This is my favorite corner.  I think good thoughts when I sit here.

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This is my go-to shelf.  Wait.  “The Wealthy Writer”?  That must belong in the fiction area.

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Sometimes people stop in and tickle the ivories.

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Books are stacked, shelved, and piled.  I could lose myself in this place for weeks.

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Where else could you read books on agriculture while sitting in a chair like this?

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 I’m so lucky to live down the street from this special place.

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Thanks Annie!  Happy National Independent Bookstore Day!

Quench

good ideaMore than once, I’ve been accused of throwing a “wet blanket” on a creative idea.  And rightly so.  I can’t help it.  When a brilliant notion is presented to me, I seem to think it’s my job to point out all the problems that could arise.  I’m just offering a dose of reality to balance out the brilliance.  Unfortunately, my input can be received as discouragement.  I really don’t like being a “Debbie Downer” but somebody has to speak truth into the mix.  Right?  (Somebody agree with me.)

Because I’m married to an “idea” man, I’m learning (over 36 years) to hold off on dousing wild and wonderful ideas with my wet blanket.  Here’s why: I’m learning that…

1) …even if it’s not my idea, it can still be a good idea.

2) …when a scheme challenges my comfort zone, it might be good for me.

3) …I don’t know everything.  (No surprise there.)

4) …sometimes faith means doing things that don’t make sense to me.

Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”  In other words, I shouldn’t throw a wet blanket on what the Spirit of God is prompting me to do.  Whether it’s to send a note to someone who needs a lift, or whether it’s to bring up Jesus in a conversation with an unbeliever, it’s never my job to question the Holy Spirit.  My job is to listen, trust, and step out in faith and obedience.

I’m trying to trade in my wet blanket for a fan.

“I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…” 2 Tim. 1:6

Spring Cleaning

Here’s a sure sign of spring.

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Flip-flops and capri shorts and hanging out on the deck.

So that means it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Luckily, I had a little help this weekend.

We polished the mirrors.

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We dusted the end tables.

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We vacuumed the carpets.

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Evie pointed out where I missed a spot.

She’s helpful like that.

Then we organized the cupboards.

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With all the extra help, the chores were done in no time.

Maybe I worked her too hard.

9:30 a.m. is a little early for an afternoon nap.

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