Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don't Skip!

My husband's dream has come true!  Literally!  The other night he dreamed he was drinking raw milk like in the old days, and now he has found a place to get it!  At church last Sunday, Howard was talking to a friend we had not seen in a long time, and she mentioned  she has  a cow--a Brown Swiss/Jersey mix  that gives 5 gallons of rich milk a day!  He found out she sells the millk, and we have our first gallon in the refrigerator.

I was so surprised  to see the deep band of cream at the top (our friend said she gets a pound of butter from two gallons).  I tried a little of the cream on my oatmeal this morning (with blueberries and strawberries to make it healthier) and I had a treat to rival a Macdonald's breakfast!

Howard has always been a milk drinker, and our kids loved it growing up.  With six of them, we often used two gallons a day!  Ads wear a milk mustache, adults love it, and babies need it. It is good for bones and teeth, and it is used as a metaphor for health (physical and spiritual) and wealth in the Bible.  A land of milk and honey is pictured as a place of plenty and blessings for God's people.  I Peter 2:2 admonishes, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."

The perfect food for newborns is mother's milk, as has been proven by many scientific studies as a protection against certain diseases and infections.  I read somewhere that there are over a 100 listed beneficial components of mother's milk. Yet there comes a time when a baby needs solid food.   Paul says in I Corinthians 3:1-2, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  (2) I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither now are ye able."

He seems to be saying that those teeth you grew on milk should have by now enabled you to eat  meat and digest deeper meanings and stronger teachings.  It made me think of something I read the other day about the new "narrative" Bibles. Evidently, they are very popular, as they attempt to condense the Bible into one storyline, often with the removal or abridgment of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, genealogies and laws.

I can't imagine the Bible without these beautiful, or even preponderant and difficult portions.  God had everything in there for a reason, and the divinely-inspired writers did not sugar-coat anything.  There are the unlikely heroes, the letters, visions, prophecies, battles and victories that take our breath away.  Surely we are not babes who must  have our scriptural diets pre-digested and fed to us in a bottle of mediocrity, but rather  mature Christians who relish the whole grand, glorious, scope and language of the Bible, the Word of God!   

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Sower

"Would you like these?" a friend at church extended a small, zip-loc package to me containing something that at first looked like popcorn from a Crackerjacks box.  "They're hollyhock seeds," he explained.  "I don't grow them, but these blow from my neighbor's yard, and I thought I'd pick them up."

Oh! Now I could see the black seeds that had fallen from the dried flower pods.  "I love hollyhocks!" I exclaimed in delight.  Then I couldn't resist telling him I had read that hollyhocks used to be used as a  camouflage for outhouses!  The tall, colorful flowers were a screen hiding a humble necessity of yesteryear, disguising an eyesore by a pleasant view.  (One variety is even known as Outhouse Hollyhocks!)

I read a little about how to plant the seeds, and I learned that, even though it is late in the season, I can plant them by September and they can establish a root system for next year and may bloom next summer.  They usually don't bloom until the second season.

We had scriptures in church yesterday about the parable of the sower.  Jesus used this illustration of sowing on stony ground; by the wayside; in shallow soil; and thorny ground--and reaping no  harvest, to contrast to the seed sown in good ground.  The good soil returned 100 fold, sixty fold and thirty fold.

Our evangelist/speaker was emphasizing the importance of the Word of God.  "I was called to the hospital to see a patient who was about to pass away.  Her friend said he didn't know if she was a Christian or not, so he wanted me to visit her."  He went on, "I asked why he didn't think she was a Christian, and he said, 'Because she's mean!'"

On the way into the hospital, as he was hurrying carrying his Bible, a man sitting on a bench pointed and said, "Is  that the Book?"  Puzzled as to what  he meant, the preacher said, "What?"  The man answered, "The Word of God!"

Then on entering the elevator, he met two attendants pushing a gurney carrying a patient hooked up to IV fluids.  "Is that the Bible?" they cried. The minister told them yes, and that he was on his way to pray for a lady who was about to die. "We believe in that Book!" they said.

Finally he arrived at the room of the "mean" lady.  She had been thrashing about in pain and terror, unable to speak.  "Even though you can't talk, I'm going to pray for you and lead you to Jesus," the evangelist said.  He prayed for her to receive Jesus, and immediately she became peaceful and quiet.  Her friend in the room, a backslidden Christian himself, saw the change in her, and wiping tears from his eyes, said he was going to start back to church.

"What would have happened if I had not had the Bible with me and the Word of God in my heart?  I would not have been a witness to those people nor have kept a soul from Hell!"

The seed is the Word of God.  Though it was planted late in her season of life, the woman received it in good ground, and she would bloom in Heaven in that eternal Spring.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Perfect Fit!

"TJMaxx," I read absently on a sign as we were leaving Stillwater the other day.  Then, doing a double-take, I said to Howard, "Did that say TJMaxx?  I didn't know they had a store here!"  Just then I spotted another sign on a building, "TJMaxx, Opening Soon."  I was elated!  My favorite store, now to be only half as far as the closest one in Wichita!   I think I smiled all the way home!

It's funny how little things can brighten your day.  Besides that, I have a new hobby!  Well, not new, but expanded.  I have always loved Scrabble.  I even got a beautiful, deluxe set for Christmas, but the giant board doesn't come out of its box very often.  Everyone is so busy.  But while I was at my daughter, Julie's, house recently, she introduced me to playing it on the internet!  Now I have several friends playing with me online!  It's strictly at our convenience, so playing time is flexible.

There is only one problem.  Many words I play are not accepted as words, even though they are in the dictionary!  And many strange ones my opponents play that are not in the dictionary are accepted!  Frustrating!  Another drawback is that it is not easy to align the letters to attempt words as it is with a physical letter tray.  But despite the drawbacks, it is very addictive (a drawback?) and fun!  The high I get from making a great word makes up for the agony of defeat.

The intrigue of playing a word game (or any  other game, I suppose), is that you have to work with what you have been given, then take the time to try to figure out how to use it to your best advantage.  Sometimes it seems we have nothing to work with.  Those letters couldn't possibly make a word.  But then there is the unknown factor of what the other person will play, making available a whole new set of possibilities! Or something will pop into your head seemingly out of nowhere that makes perfect sense of the jumble of letters before you!

Just like life.  We  all have our limitations.  (Or do we?)  Yet there is something worthwhile within each of us if we just take the time to look for it, recognize it, and develop it!  There is a saying that God doesn't make junk!  We may not act, look, or think like any another person, but that is  because we are unique.  God says he knew us before we were ever born, has determined where we would live, and how long we would live and has good plans for us!  (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139:16, Acts 17:26.)  Our unknown factor is what God will do when we make ourselves available to Him!

I can't wait for the new store to open!  It opens up a whole new set of possibilities in my wardrobe!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Track Record

I was talking to my son, Trevor, on the phone the other day as he sat on his patio in Texas.  Just then I heard a voice calling in the background and Trevor was responding and  laughing.  "That was my neighbor," he chuckled.  "I told him I was talking to my mom, and he said to tell you that you raised a great son!"  I heard something else, and he continued, "Now he said I am the best church member he has!" (His neighbor is also his pastor, whom we had met several times.)

What a nice thing to say!  I felt a warm glow of appreciation and motherly pride in our son.  It is always gratifying when others remark positively about your children, even if they are now adults! It reminded me of something I read on Facebook the other day (which happened to be a post by another son, Jamie.)  He said something like, "I wonder what God hears about you in Heaven when your name is mentioned in others' prayers?"

It was thought provoking, even though he used humorous scenarios such as "Lord, please chastise so-and-so because he is such a big insensitive jerk," or "Please bless so-and-so because she was so nice to me today."  Then I noticed that he had cited two scripture references, II Corinthians 9:12-14 and Genesis 18:20-21.

The first reference is when Paul was thanking God for the church at Corinth and their help in ministering to the saints there: "For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but it is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God," II Cor. 9:12.

The second scripture says, "And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; (21) I will go down now, and see whether they  have done altogether according to the cry of it, which has come unto me; and  if not, I will know."

It's a good thing I'm not  in charge of judging others.  I think it would be humanly impossible to be impartial.  The Bible questions in Romans 14:4, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?"  In the matter of taking communion,  I Corinthians 11:28 tells us to examine ourselves.  Verse 31 says that if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

Trevor has been joining his wife in 5k runs recently.  They have been exceeding their own personal records, much to their satisfaction.  That is the best way to judge--not comparing ourselves to others, but in improving our own personal best!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lessons from the Sewing Box

"Why don't you wear this?" I said to my husband as we were getting ready for church, holding out this  blue-and-white striped seersucker jacket. It was to be around 100 degree temps today, and the cotton jacket would be cool.  "Wait! What happened to the button?" I cried, seeing only the coarse, heavy thread hanging from where a large button should have been.

I had no idea where another button was, and Howard had no clue, but I searched in the pockets, and wonder of wonders, a small plastic packet held both a small sleeve button and a big front button!  It must have come with the coat!  I could put it on in a jiffy, I thought.

Taking a small sewing kit from the drawer, I prepared to thread the needle.   This might be a  time consuming problem, I realized, as I squinted at the tiny eye. I could identify with Jesus' illustration of trying to put a camel through the eye of a needle.

Then I spied a needle threader in the kit, and put the thread through it.  Something was not right.  How did this thing work, anyway? I would push the wire holding the thread through the eye, but the thread just fell out without going through.  Then I had a flashback.  Oh! You were supposed to push the collapsible, folded wire through, then put the needle into the wire opening, pull it back, and presto! the needle was threaded!

I had the button sewn on in no time.  Then the thought occured to me that our lives are like the thread.  We  are always trying to push through our problems in our own strength, just as I was trying to push the thread through the eye of the needle.  But when I put the thread into the threader, it pulled it right through.  Just as when we flounder through a rough patch in  life, if we place our faith in Jesus, He pulls us through!

In Matthew 19:24, Jesus says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  To the disciples' amazed  question of  "Who then can be saved?", He tells them, "With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible."

In Matthew 17:20, in teaching about  having faith as a mustard seed,  Jesus says, "Nothing will be impossible for you."  How many times have we looked at a situation and said, "That's impossible."  But Jesus says we no longer have to view it as impossible or consider it impossible!  Through Him, all things are possible.  We will find He was there all the time.  Just like the button in Howard's coat pocket.  The solution to the problem had already been provided! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sales Convention

"Thelma, would you get me a glass of milk?" my husband mumbled in the middle of the night.  I was too sleepy to comply, and this morning at breakfast Howard said, "I had the craziest dream last night about when I was working in my dad's store and drinking that delicious raw milk!"  So that's what it was about.  I laughed and asked him to tell me more.

"Well," he said, "We had a Wonder Bread bread man named Sparky Sparkman who was a great friend of my dad's.  After he made the delivery at the store in the mornings, Dad let him take our bank deposit and deposit it!"

"Really?" I responded, but knowing how my future father-in-law was always too busy to leave the store, I understood how he would have a good friend take care of it.

"Then when Sparky came back by to check our bread supply,  he would go behind the meat counter, get out a chub of bologna, run it through the slicer, and make sandwiches!"  He said they all enjoyed an impromptu lunch of cheese (Sparky sliced that, too!) and bologna sandwiches on Wonder bread.  I asked if he opened a jar of mayonnaise, too, but Howard told  me they kept a jar open for that.

"I remember Sparky getting out the cardboard "boats" (paper meat trays), shaking up a quart of milk with cream on the top, and pouring us all a boat of milk to go with our sandwiches!"  He was shaking his head wonderingly at the memories.

"The bread man sounds like quite a character," I remarked, to which Howard responded, "Oh, he was!  One day he got in a fight with the Bond bread man!"  It  seems there was a dispute over the invisible line of demarcation where the competing brands of bread were lined up, and the Wonder bread  man invited the other, younger, man outside to settle it.

"Johnny, the Bond bread man, was a good friend of Dad's, too,"  Howard explained.  "My dad had to go out and break it up." Then he broke out laughing.  "But not before Johnny knocked Sparky into the big Buick belonging to Jack, the Cake and Cookie man.  It made a huge dent in his front fender!" he went on.

"What happened then?" I prompted him.

"Well, Jack was also a friend of Dad's, but he just shook his head and reached back and got an empty quart milk bottle, put it under the fender and popped the dent back into place with the bottle!"   

It sounded like quite a day at Harry's Grocery and Market,  and I'm sure quite entertaining at that.  Howard told me the two guys apologized to each other, and his dad took a grocery marking pen and drew a line on the shelf defining both brand's space.  I guess he thought it was better than a line drawn in the sand by two explosive personalities, one of whom was aptly named Sparky!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Right Under My Nose

"Home Sweet Home," I noticed written in big, blue, letters on one of the rolls of paper towels after  the checker had bagged them.  "Look, Howard," I smiled.

"That's confirmation," he grinned.  We were shopping for cleaning supplies to freshen the house we were about to move back into after the tenant vacated it yesterday. We had been sharing our son's family's home for the past several months, and, as much as we enjoyed it, I was having  nesting instincts for my own place.  Now we as excited as new householders!

I can't wait to use my favorite dishes again and take up the creative roles of cooking, cleaning, decorating and managing my own home once more!  It has been nice to have a cleaning lady, cook only twice a week (we take turns), and have less responsibility, even in a busy household.  We  were even considering moving nearer our daughters, but relocating nearly a thousand miles away seemed too big a hurdle.

We are still in for a lot of work, but we can take our time, and it is nothing like moving across the country.
As I took in the dear, familiar rooms when we inspected the house, I wondered why it had seemed too small.  It was huge!  Most other houses we had seen didn't even have a dining room, but this one was commodious enough to hold the dining room furniture we'd had for nearly fifty years, and then some.

I'd forgotten how much I loved the high ceilings, wide baseboards, fireplace and built-in bookcase.  This house was pretty!  Besides, it had a screened front porch.  The swing will have to be hung again, unless I decide on different porch furniture.  Decisions, decisions.  Thank you, Lord, for making it all fall into place.

Last night I heard a television message by Joseph Prince, and he said it is unnecessary to plead, "Jesus, be with me today," and prayers like that, for Jesus has said he will be with us always!  My daughter wrote a post that once when she had a disagreement with her husband as a newlwed, she dashed out into the pasture and was telling God all about it, wondering if He heard her and telling Him He seemed a million miles away.  Just then a bull she had forgotten about advanced toward her, and running for her life, she barely beat him to the fence she went under.  Thanking God, she said she would never pray a prayer like that again, because He was there all time "closer than our nearest breath."

God knows the desires of our hearts, and he had my answer all along, delivered just when I was ready for it.  He knew I wasn't ready for assisted living yet!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ocean Lure

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep," Psalm 107:22,23.

One of the best memories I have of our trip to North Carolina was my glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean!  My first time to see it!  Mark and Rhonda had taken us to the sea side town of Wilmington, where we had a seafood  lunch with a wonderful view of boats, yachts and gulls flying, seen through the huge glass windows as we ate in air conditioned comfort.  It reminded me of  Gulfport, Mississippi, or Pensacola, Florida, from our days of living near the coast.

But we had to get up close and personal.  Parking was at a premium on the crowded beach, but going through a  hotel, we found a  sand path through sea grass that led us to a wide vista of majestic beauty.  There it was! The Atlantic Ocean! Colorful umbrellas dotted the beach for sun protection, but the breeze off the water  was cool on this hot 4th of July day. I was awed by the grandeur of it: the blue water, the white surf on the waves breaking in their regular, rhythmic roll to the shore, the blue sky and fluffy white clouds above.  It was Nature's free amusement park!  Too bad we couldn't stay long, but our hosts had further treats in store.

Soon we were wandering down cobbled streets closed to traffic, seeking the shadows of the historic brick waterfront buildings in a quaint shopping area.  They knew a fabulous ice cream store where we pondered over delicious selections.  These places never have seating, but right next door  was a shop whose doors stood open in welcome.  We enjoyed our ice cream while browsing their wares, exclaiming over funny signs and plaques in the cool air-conditioning.  Bath tub "ice cream" in pastel scoops that fizzed in the water made  perfect take-home gifts for granddaughters.

I remember from school a poem by John Masefield called Sea Fever.  The poet said, "I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by..."  His poetic words and phrases like  "grey mist on the sea's face,"  "running tide,"  "flying spray and blown plume and sea gulls crying," paint lovely sea pictures in the mind. The poet finishes with the line, "And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream with the long trick's over."  A quiet sleep and a sweet dream. What a lovely way to end our trip!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Road Trip

"Mom, Andy Griffith died today," our son, Jamie, said over the phone.  We were on our way to his brother, Mark's, house in North Carolina last week.  I hadn't heard it, not having been too connected to anything during this vacation.

"That is so strange!" I exclaimed.  "We were just talking about visiting Mt. Airy on this trip!"  Now I really wanted to go.  We were there a couple of years ago and his presence was felt all over town in the  place where he grew up.  We saw Andy's childhood home, the drugstore (think Ellie) where he made deliveries on his bike as a youth, the diner, and Floyd's Barber Shop.

We at last didn't visit "Mayberry," but Mark and Rhonda did take us to the lovely, historic town of Wilmington, NC.  I found out later that Andy Griffith had worked  out of a talent agency there when he first got his start in acting. 

Like millions of others, I felt  I had lost an old friend. His show was so wholesome that churches have used them as Bible study lessons, calling them modern day parables, reflecting the positive character traits and concern for his fellowman that Sheriff Andy Taylor exhibited.

In some of the information written about this well-loved actor, I read that he had considered becoming a minister before he went into acting. Maybe he inadvertently was one through his influence and the Bible studies.

In a sermon at church yesterday, a missionary from Africa titled his message, "A Christian's Job Description," as found in Acts 1:8, which says, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."

The young, black African with the crisp British accent said we should all ask ourselves the question, "Why am I here?", in light of the probability that we all have had narrow escapes many times in our lives and wonder what we are still doing here. The answer is that we are saved to be a Christian witness.  He said we are not told how, but we are just told to do it.  We will all have our own way to be a witness, but the important thing is to "just do it."

We had our share of narrow escapes, or brushes with danger, on our 2,000 mile trip.  Coming back, we were caught in a sudden freak weather condition with strong winds coming out of nowhere, debris flying thick and fast over the road, and billowing dust engulfing areas around us.  I made a 911 call and was told by the responder that she didn't know what was happening, but that the town we were passing through was being slammed hard.  We ran  in and out of this unsettling phenomenon for many miles before  we got beyond it, often having a difficult time keeping the car on the road.

At one point, our road took us through a tunnel.  As soon as we entered, coming out of bright sunlight into the darker tunnel, Howard exclaimed, "I can't see!"  There were lights, but it took awhile for his eyes to adjust.  We had some anxious moments before we saw "the light at the end of the tunnel."  God also brought us through traffic tie-ups due to detours in several cities.  We arrived thankfully safe at  home just at dusk. Thankfully, because my husband has poor night vision.  We know what we are still doing here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Surprise Meeting

"Let's get this parking place," my husband said after we had driven past several impromptu lots with signs posting, Parking, $5.  This was $5 too, but it was the closest to the festivities.  We asked where the celebration began, and the attendant said, "Just go past that store and around the corner, and you are there!"

Trying to stay out of the full midday sun, we turned the corner, saw a colorful booth and headed for the shade of its awning.  "Howard and Thelma Summers!" a voice exclaimed.  I looked in the direction and saw Howard talking to the proprietor.  Who could have known us in this town we'd lived in for only 4 months, and that 5 years ago?  I heard her tell my husband her name, but he didn't recognize her. 

"It's Kim, the lady whose house we rented!" I told him, realizing who she was. We had seen her mainly at church when her then long hair was coifed to perfection and she was in Sunday clothes.  Now it was in a shorter, more youthful style and she was dressed casually to beat the heat, her face glowing with perspiration under her visor.  She looked years younger.  We greeted her warmly and gladly accepted the free iced tea she was giving out.

What were the chances that the first person we saw would be an old acquaintance in this town where we knew only our kids? It was a phenomenon we had experienced before.  Once at IKEA in Houston, and again at the Galleria when we were with our granddaughter and she ran immediately into a person she had known years ago in another city.  At a festival in rural Texas a few years ago, we heard someone yelling, "Summers, Summers," and turned to see friends who were hundreds of miles from their home, also.  I could only conclude that it is indeed a small world after all!

There are many instances in the Bible when people  didn't recognize Jesus.  Mary at the tomb thought He was the gardener.  The disciples on the road to Emmaus didn't know who he was.  The woman at the well said he was a prophet.  And blind Bartimaeus could only recognize the voices of the throng calling his name. 

But later, the hearts of the Emmaus Road travelers burned within them at His words.  The woman at the well accepted His cup of living water.  Mary became the first evangelist spreading the news that Jesus had risen.  Jesus gave sight to the blind man.  Our "small world" still largely has blinders over its eyes and doesn't recognize Jesus.  It is our job to introduce them.

Monday, July 2, 2012

You Are What You Eat

"Mimi, what is your favorite cake?" my 14-year-old granddaughter, Corrin, asked, taking out bowls and utensils from the cupboard after supper one night last week.

"Um, I don't know!" I answered.  "Why? Are you going to make me a cake?"  She smiled and nodded.  Tomorrow would be my birthday, but since we were leaving in the morning and we had already celebrated by going out to eat that day,  I wasn't expecting a cake.  "I guess chocolate, maybe, or lemon?" I suggested.

Checking out the supplies in the pantry for ingredients, she asked, "How about pound cake?"  I told her that sounded good, and when I passed through the kitchen later, I saw her intently peering into a cookbook with flour, eggs and milk set out on the counter.  This was to be homemade!  I'd heard she was getting to be a great cook!  On the next pass through, she was slicing strawberries on a cutting board.

Finally she called, "Mimi, it's ready!"  I went in to see a  beautiful, glazed bundt cake with strawberries filling the center and spilling down the sides.  I was so proud of her! She even found a representative candle which she lit as they sang Happy Birthday.  It  may have been ten o'clock at night by then, but it was a sweet ending to an evening of fun after a long game of Scrabble with her mom, sister and niece. 

Something my daughter, Julie, said the other evening reminded me of this.  We had been talking about God's goodness and blessings, and she told of a time when she was sitting in church listening to one of her husband's sermons.  As she focused on what he was saying, she suddenly saw an outline of Jesus surrounding him.  "I could still see Steve's face," she said, "but he seemed to be overlaid with a transparent image of Jesus!  Just then he stopped and said, 'I feel Jesus all over me!'"  She said she thought, Oh, if you only knew!

Jesus was in my sweet Corrin as she thoughtfully labored to make my birthday cake.  This week she is off at church camp, no doubt soaking in His presence, taking in and learning of Him, strengthening her faith. Just as the bundt cake pan impressed and molded its image into the lovely fluted design of the cake, she is  being impressed with his image.  As the strawberries soaked the cake with its sweet flavor, so we absorb and give of the flavor of Christ when we have  been with Him.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Heartthoughts: Reflections

"Let's go in here out of the heat," I suggested to my husband as we came to a charming little shop on our stroll through "Jonesborough Days," a festival in the historic downtown district.  At least it didn't say, "No Food or Drinks Allowed," on the door as most of the other businesses did. We were carrying free iced cups of sweet tea handed out by a street vendor, a welcome treat on this record-setting high temperature day.

"Look at that beautiful mirror," I said to Howard as we stepped inside.  I pointed to a lovely, full-length looking glass  in a carved oak-frame on a tilting stand. Checking my reflection, I suddenly felt disoriented.  I couldn't find myself.  Instead, I saw the miscellaneous items displayed on the wall opposite.  There was no glass in the frame!

"Howard, see how you look," I couldn't resist calling.  By this time a man was standing on the other side of the frame, and Howard did a double-take when he peered into it. The man laughed, but he had been fooled, too.

A little later, getting hungry by this time, we sought further refuge from the blazing sun by going into a quaint eatery for a bite to eat.  This was our favorite restaurant whenever we visited; we loved the mismatched tables and chairs scattered around and the antique wooden booths with the mirror insets on the panel at the end.  While Howard placed our order at the deli-counter, my eyes searched for a place to sit.  No booths were available, and the only other place was a table for two sitting rather prominently near the aisle.  We took it and were soon enjoying a chicken-salad sandwich.

"I didn't see all those other tables back there," my husband observed as we ate.  I looked around, and not seeing any, I asked where.

"In that other room!" he pointed.  I had to laugh.  There was no other room.  It was just a mirrored wall giving the illusion of more space.  Twice today our eyes had played tricks on us!

Last night as we lingered at the table after supper with our daughter and son-in-law, stories and testimonies poured out as our two preacher husbands talked on and on of God's blessings.  At one point, Steve said, "Did I ever tell you the 'Don't I Know You?' story?"  It seemed that for a period of weeks or more during a time in their ministry, he kept running into strangers who said, "Don't I know you?"  It got to be almost comical, and he couldn't figure out whether he had a familiar-looking face, or what.

He said after this had happened many times, he approached a church, looking for a certain pastor.  A deacon or some official met him, and said, "Don't I know you?"  Steve told him he was the umpteenth person that had asked him that.  The man said, "Let me tell you what is happening.  People are recognizing Jesus in your eyes.  That's why they think they know you."

How wonderful to think that Jesus is reflected in our eyes!  When I was little, I used to look into Mama's dresser mirror and tilt it to see the ceiling, or just look at the furniture in the room.  It gave me a whole new perspective and perception, as if I could just step into the mirror and enter that somehow more desirable space, like Alice in Through the Looking Glass.  If we keep Jesus in our hearts, we will someday step into a world that is more than we can imagine, and it won't be an illusion. 

Oh yes, the first thing the pastor said when he met our son-in-law was "Don't I know you?"