Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Chair

The news of the passing of former president George H.W. Bush and the many remembrances and accolades honoring him made me recall a memory of my own. We were living 50 miles from New Orleans at the time, although Howard drove a company truck to work there every day. He was in the TV and furniture rental business, and one day he had an unusual request for me.

At the time, George Bush, or 41 as he is known, was scheduled to come to New Orleans. He and his entourage were to stay at a certain hotel, New Orleans finest. Arrangements were made, and Howard got a call from the Hotel. They needed to rent a living room set, end tables, etc.,to accommodate these important guests.

They sent someone to select the furniture, and Howard showed them an attractive sofa that was chosen. I had an identical set at home. The only problem was that he didn't have the matching chair. My resourceful husband assured them he would have it delivered the next day. Believe it or not, he took the chair from my living room, assuring me he would get it back in a few days!

Sure enough, he brought it home and placed it in the living room in a corner in front of our bookcase wall where one of the children could usually be found curled up in its depth under a reading lamp. We got to calling it the President's chair. "Go ahead and sit in it," I teased, "You may grow up to be President!"

Well, that hasn't happened (yet), although the one who loved the chair most, who usually sat with his leg flung over the chair's arm, does work for the government! Seriously, though, I am so grateful that they do serve the King of Kings, as do their children, who are teaching their little ones the Way, an honor higher than any earthly role!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Prairie Prayers

Many years ago, my dad and Charlie, his long-time friend, set out to sell Bibles. They were very nice Bibles from the Hertel Bible Company of Wichita, Kansas. They had a lot of success as they traveled around the state, for people were usually pleased to purchase such a valued treasure, especially from such polite and earnest gentlemen.

Fast forward some 30 years to when our oldest son, Mark, was pastor of a church in a small Kansas town. One Sunday he happened to mention that his grandfather used to spread the Word by distributing Bibles across northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas. After the service, a church member approached him with an interesting observation.

"I think I met your grandfather," he said to Mark. He recalled that one time he, a farmer, had come in from the field for a bite of lunch. His wife, who was expecting a baby, was working at a school cafeteria, so he was on his own. He told about two men in a big Buick who drove up and knocked at the door.

He described them and said he invited them in to hear their presentation. (I must admit that Daddy, with his soft voice and persuasive way with words, and the older gentleman who looked like Burl Ives, would be a hard pair to resist!)

"I bought the Bible," the man said, "And after they left, I got to reading it. I found I couldn't put it down, and didn't go back to the field. It touched me so that I got down on my knees at the sofa and gave my heart to the Lord."

He went on to say that he wasn't established at that time, but as the years passed he became very prosperous. The two sons that were born into the Christian family grew up to be very successful. They started a magazine, a copy of which I saw at Mark's house once.

My husband was reminiscing about this a few days ago and gave Mark a call. Mark filled in a lot of details we didn't know. A son of Mark's church member amassed a fortune, becoming a billionaire (he even said trillionaire) and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In later years, Howard was on staff at a Kansas church and was making hospital calls one day, when he visited a patient that turned out to be the man who had bought the Bible from my dad. He reiterated the story of the salesmen calling on him and the blessings that followed. The Word goes on forever!

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Wait

"Did Anne-Marie get the birthday present yet?" I asked her dad on the phone recently. I had hurriedly mailed the package that was scheduled to get there in two days, the eve of our granddaughter's birthday. She was turning 12, and I had been mystified as to what she would like.

"I can't get her a toy," I mused as I spoke with my daughter on the phone a few days before. She agreed, as the birthday girl was growing up and probably leaned toward teenage interests. We settled on something from a bath and body store, and I was gratified to find a gift of lotions, creams and fragrances. The sparkly cellophane dotted with glitter and hearts gathered with a ribbon made for a festive bouquet of the shimmering tubes of warm vanilla balm.

Next came the mailing. I found a box that would fit, inserted the present and wrapped the box in brown paper, taping carefully to make it secure. My husband, who has a wonderful script penmanship and prints all our labels, addressed the package for mailing. He was a little off his game though, (I might have wakened him from a nap) and the result was a little messy, but legible.

Almost daily, I inquired about the package. "Not yet," was always the answer. Poor baby. I felt so bad that her present hadn't arrived on time. Finally, I gave it up as lost. Or maybe crushed and discarded. Everything went through my mind. Hubby Howard had asked the postal employee if he should re-do the label, but she said, "Oh, I can read it. It's okay!"

I stopped inquiring. I apologized to Anne-Marie about it when I saw her at Thanksgiving. Then yesterday I got a call from my son. "Anne-Marie's present came," he announced calmly, to my happy surprise! It had been nine days! I almost felt like Daniel when his prayer wasn't answered for 21 days!

Daniel 10:12 relates the angel's explanation to Daniel for the wait: Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. (13) But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia."

Well, my predicament was nothing compared to Daniel's, (although I did pray about it) but things can happen that do seem like the enemy's doing. Dreams and plans are lost. Hopes and aspirations are crushed. Our intentions may not be clear and are misread. But God is still on the throne, and your answer may come any day, like my package!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

In Due Season

I just saw a lady bug on the window sill! A lady bug in this cold weather, and out of season? It cheered me to see the little creature, as I have always loved lady bugs.

I was reminded of the scripture in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine."

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:8 that he was born "out of due time," presumably referring to seeing Jesus in a vision, although not personally, as the 12 disciples had. He also referred to himself as "last of all," perhaps meaning he was chosen as an apostle after the others.

Sometimes it may seem that we were born "30 years too late" or "30 years too soon," as the old saying goes. But actually, we were born at the right time that God had in mind for us.

Acts 17:26 tells us, "And hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation."

It seems amazing that God would know and care for all the creatures of the earth, even the lowly lady bug!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

My Dog Jack

Well, I call him that even though it's Howard's dog, but I think he likes me better. When it comes to a choice of hitching a ride on the riding mower with Howard (which he loves to do) or staying beside me, I can see he is torn until I tell him to go on.

Jack is still a puppy, really, but he is growing by leaps and bounds. He used to fit easily through the doggy door, reserved for the inside pet, Pebbles, but now it is a tight squeeze. Jack is content to stay outside, especially since he is no longer tethered to the doggy run that confined him until recently.

It's funny, but I am not usually a dog person. I don't like them in the house, and I've never been as crazy about them as is my spouse. He is a dog person, big time. But Jack stays outside. He is friendly, affectionate, smart and obedient! And he likes me! Especially when I pet him or massage his back! He has a beautiful, shiny brindled coat that ripples in satisfaction during a rub down. He is a bulldog.

When I was a child, we had a family pet for years, our dog Tige (for the tiger stripes he wore). He was especially loved by my big brothers. We played in the Oklahoma blackjack woods and rocky hills and often encountered snakes! Tige was an expert at killing snakes. He would shake them mercilessly between his bulldog teeth until they were dead. I remember crying unconsolably when the snakes' poison finally got him. My sobs and tears were as the rain that sluiced down our window where I witnessed his last moments.

One other time I felt affection for a dog. We rented to a young couple living in a mother-in-law apartment attached to our house in Mississippi. One night they asked me to keep their puppy while they went out. The puppy wriggling against my chest as I held him, his little heart beating fast, melted my heart. I hated to give him back when our neighbors got home.

Our friend who gave us Jack told Howard that the dog's mother had been very good-natured. I see the same traits in her offspring. I think he is a keeper!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ups and Downs

What a surprise to wake up to a winter wonderland! Snow coated everything this morning! I couldn't wait to don boots and wraps and tramp around getting a few shots on my phone. Relishing the warmth in the den, we stayed cozy inside until time for lunch. Howard suggested going for a burger, but I had perfectly good stew to warm up from yesterday. We could even have peach cobbler, leftover too.

I got the stew warmed up and set out bowls, but my spouse was interested in TV and was a little slow in responding. Oh well, it could wait a few minutes, I thought. The stew was getting cold, so I turned on the burner again, rewarmed it and filled our bowls. I noticed that it didn't seem that hot, though.

Just as we were sitting down, everything exploded! Pellets of glass and peach cobbler were shooting all over the stove and table! What happened? Then I realized why the stew was not warm. I had turned on the wrong burner, which was under the glass baking dish holding the cobbler!

Everything was ruined and I was traumatized, to say the least. After we got everything cleaned up, we went to town to eat! On the way back, we stopped and bought some gloves and a few other items, then got in the car. Suddenly an employee collecting carts came to our window with the news that we had a flat tire! She even took a phone pic and showed us! Thankfully, it was not far to a service station, so we made it home safely.

God has a way of turning an upside down day into a pleasant ending. I was making cabbage rolls for supper when the phone rang with a delightful call from my brother Johnny. Between our hilarious reminiscing of days gone by (he called to remind me of a blizzard on November 12 many years ago) and the warm memories we shared, I was cheered and thankful to sit down to a comforting supper raved over by a hungry husband!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

No Charge

Returning from an errand in town, Howard wanted to stop at Macdonald's for a Dr. Pepper. He spoke his order into the drive-thru, then pulled up to the pay window to pay. "Can't take your money," the attendant said. What? My husband was so taken aback, he gave him a scripture card he passes out.

Then we drove to the pick-up area and was handed not only the drink, but a bag with a burger, fries, yogurt, and a toy! "No charge!" the smiling girl in the window said, "No charge!" waving us on! What a nice surprise! We didn't know what was going on, but we enjoyed it!

No charge. I was reminded of a song popular some years ago called, No Charge. A little boy asked his mother to pay him for miscellaneous small chores he did around the house. He tallied up what he thought the chores were worth, then his mother responded with the song: No Charge.

She reminded the child of her care of him throughout his life, his knowledge he'd gained and the cost of his college, and many other things, but there was no charge. When she looked at the list he gave her again, she read Paid in Full.

When we think about how good the Lord is to us, we are overwhelmed by his kindness to us ward. His protection, His provision, and His plans for our future are unlimited. He even gave His life for us, that we might live forever with Him. All this at no charge to us, for He has paid the debt in full!