Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Massacre!

"Mom! I just witnessed the most horrible thing!" our son's alarmed voice came over the phone.  Knowing he lives near a busy highway, I said with dread, "Oh, no! Was it a car wreck?"

"No! I just saw the pigs eat our little turkey!" I was in shock! We knew two of the young turkeys we had raised from babies had disappeared with no trace, but is this what had happened?

"They each one had hold of a wing and pulled it apart! I was yelling and screaming at them but there was nothing I could do!" I could hear the anguish of my tender-hearted son.  He had never been raised around animals and didn't know pigs would do this, while I remembered as a child seeing our duck's feet sticking out of our pig's mouth!

Greg had decided just days ago that the four turkeys were big enough now to be out of their cage and forage with the hens. Then they started disappearing! We had so enjoyed the two pigs, and I saved table scraps for them every day.  Now I was angry! The cannibals!  Maybe that's what happened to missing chickens we were blaming on the dog!

Still, you can't blame animals for being animals.  And pigs are carnivorous. We just like to look at their cute side (as babies) and expect them to behave as we see fit. It reminds me of a scene in the Lion King movie where the lion tried to resist eating animals, when all he could see was steaks when he looked at them!

Or the illustration of a boy putting a snake inside his shirt to keep it warm after the snake's pitiful pleas that it was cold.  "Why did you bite  me?" the boy cried later, and the snake's reply was "You knew I was a snake when  you picked me up!"

As Christians, we are admonished in 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.

But someday there will be harmony in creation, as promised in the Bible, when "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and a little child shall lead them," Isaiah 11:6-7.

And pigs won't eat turkeys!



This is the Day that The Lord Has Made!

Suddenly I was having to yell to get Howard to hear me.  What had happened? He said he had felt his ear pop at one point.  After a couple of days of this, we checked in at the doctor's office.  It was a wax build-up! Now his hearing is back to "normal."  Good news!

But that's not all!  My husband had lost more than thirty pounds after his surgery.  Despite his efforts to eat more, the scales had been stuck for months at that low level, only creeping tantalizingly up a pound or two, then to recede below the scale marker at the next weigh in.  A little discouraged, I hadn't weighed him in several days. 

Then today when the nurse weighed him on the way to the exam room, she quoted a number that was 10 pounds above what he weighed at home!  I laughed, because how could there have been such a discrepancy between our bathroom scale's reading and this one? After the ear check-up, I mentioned that that was quite a difference.  The nurse agreed and said she would check it again. She was right! Howard has gained 10 pounds! Praise God!

We feel he has turned the corner in his recovery! He sleeps well at night, has a good appetite, is not tortured by a bad taste, and is doing more on his own.  The other day he went into a UPS store while I sat in the car!  He has started pumping our gas (Yay)! Sunday at church he even participated in greeting time by going around shaking hands, albeit with his walker.

We had planned to go to the Farmer's Market today, which would start at 4:00 p.m.  At 3:40 I remembered, and knowing that the best stuff goes quickly, I woke  my husband from a nap.  He was tired from an earlier outing at a Seniors' Breakfast.  "Where is your walker?" I asked as we hurried to get to the market.  He didn't know, and I couldn't find it.  Then an unwelcome thought surfaced. Maybe we left it at the restaurant where we had breakfast!  Neither of us could remember his using it to get back in the car, what with his newfound independence!

"Let's go to the Farmer's Market first," we agreed, "then go to the restaurant to see if we left the walker there." Pickings were slim where the farmers were selling their produce, but we managed at least to get some okra and tomatoes, our favorites. Howard waited in the car while I went to check on the walker.  No one had seen it! Maybe I had overlooked it at home, I thought, then Howard said he remembered having it in our dining room! (Getting old is not for sissies!)

"Pull  in to McDonald's," I was instructed, "I want a Dr. Pepper!" As I received it at the window, I glanced in the back seat for my purse. It was nowhere to be seen! I checked the floor in the front and back, and started to panic!  My purse! It had everything important in it! My heart sank with a despair akin to that of leaving your child somewhere! 

Howard said he would find it, and started to get up from his seat while I prayed! Then what materialized before my eyes but my purse! "You were sitting on it!" I shrieked in relief! Thank you, God! And his walker was safe and sound at home.  A very good day!




Monday, July 25, 2016

Dishpan Hands!

I needed a dishpan. I was tired of the water leaking out of the sink when I was washing dishes.   Walking around Dollar General, I spotted a dish drainer, but there were no dishpans to go with it.  Finally I approached the cashier and asked, "Do you have any dishpans?" to which she replied, looking puzzled, "I don't know what you mean by dishpan!"

Drawing a picture in the air of the shape, I said, "A plastic pan that fits in the sink!" Then I was told if they had anything like that they would be in the farthest corner of the store. They had several, and when I took it to the counter, I pointed to the label and said, "See, it says "Dishpan!" The tired cashier said she used that to soak her feet!

Obviously, the young woman didn't wash dishes by hand. I know I'm old-fashioned, but there is something therapeutic about washing dishes.  This morning I looked at the two bottles of detergent on the sink.  One that I didn't particularly like had a lot left, but the other, more efficient one, was getting low.  Maybe I'll just mix them together, I thought.  I did, then a full bottle meant I wouldn't have to buy detergent so soon! It was funny, because one dishwashing liquid was blue, and the other was yellow, so now I have a pretty bottle of green liquid that is quite satisfactory!

In the Bible, we are taught how we all need one another. In Paul's discourse in I Corinthians chapter 12, he uses the analogy of the human body to describe Christians' relationship to each other. We get the idea that no part of our body is more important than the other, no matter how lowly or "comely," as the Bible states, nor is any gift or believer.  We have a mutual need for and dependence on each other.

During an important battle, when the patriarch Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed over Amalek, but when he let down his hand, the enemy prevailed.  Exodus 17:12, "But Moses's hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the  other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun."

My kitchen soap, blended together, helps me get an important job done.  I may have dishpan hands, but I can lift them to help others and to praise the Lord!














































































































































































































































































































































Look in the Book!

"Bring me the cell phone!" my husband was calling from his desk.  We had just gotten home and I was starting on a quick supper for us. I stopped what I was doing and went to get the phone from my purse.

"Here it is," I said and went back to the kitchen.  Pretty soon I heard him yelling again for the phone. "I just gave it to you!" I reminded him.  He said he couldn't find it, so I helped him look.  Then I went back and looked in my purse, just in case.  No phone. After several searches, I announced I was fixing supper and we would look for it later, though we had looked everywhere.

After supper I thought about the misplaced phone.  "I'm going to find that phone!" I said determinedly as I got up from the table.  I looked all around the room where the desk is with no success.   Then I prayed, "Lord, help me find that phone!" Just then I saw a black edge of something peeking out of a Bible.  I opened it and there it was! The phone!  I must have placed it on the open Bible and Howard had closed the Book!

How many times have I lost things and couldn't find them until I at last prayed!  It has happened over and over!  Why don't I ask God to help me first thing? I ask myself.  I just automatically start using logic as to where I had something last, or where would be the obvious place, and on and on.

It must be a little lesson on trust from the Heavenly Father, a lesson to call on Him, or else he is looking on in fond amusement, patiently waiting to be asked! Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

I shared this testimony in Sunday School class yesterday, and when the teacher was praying over requests and praise reports, he said among other things, "And we thank you that the lost was found." Of course! It struck me that that was Jesus's sole mission on earth! To find and save the lost!

"For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." Matthew 18:11. These words of Jesus are followed by His illustration of the lost sheep and the shepherd leaving the ninety and nine to find that one.

When we lost our phone, a means of communication, we felt disconnected. But there it was, in the pages of the Bible, a place we can always find connection with God!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Letter

My grandson handed me a stack of mail with the words, "The important one is for you, Mimi." I wondered what he meant, as I glanced at the envelope on top without my glasses and dismissed it as a piece of junk mail. I did a double take when I donned  my readers.  A summons! Jury Duty!  My heart fell as I thought about going to the county seat when I should be home taking care of my husband!

"Oh, no!' I exclaimed. Why had they chosen me? I knew they get the names from voter roles, though.  I remember when I was called for jury duty in Mississippi, and I woke up on the appointed date not feeling well.  No problem, they just scheduled another date! It was not fun for me to drive the 20 or so miles to the courthouse for two days, and I was much younger then!

On the second day they had qualified the jury by asking questions about things that might influence your decision on the case (a car wreck suit).  When they asked if you or your family had ever been in a certain hospital, I was able to say yes, because that's where our youngest child was born.  The right answer! I got to go home!

My thoughts were a jumble as I looked at the letter today. Then I vaguely remembered reading somewhere that if one is over 70 years old, they don't have to do jury duty.  I scanned the fine print on the summons and found the caveat that would excuse me.  I called the number listed and explained, "I am 77 years old!" I was cordially told my name would be removed!

It's not that I am un-patriotic or anything, and I do believe in an impartial court system. But it's such a relief to be relieved! We spent the last couple of evenings of long daylight hours relaxing at our son's house in the country, having slices of cold watermelon on his grassy lawn under cool shade, watching the antics of the farm animals. I was looking forward to going there this evening, and now I can with no cloud hanging over my head!

Watching the little creatures is an exercise in tranquility as they go about their contented, untroubled existence.  The chickens pecking busily, singing as they scratch and forage for a bug, worm, or bit of gravel. The three goats, mama, daddy and baby, pulling at the low-leafed bushes or rearing to pull leaves from a tree branch.  The two pigs lolling in their mud bath. The gangly baby turkeys with their
bird-dinosaur-like heads visible above the foliage.

The farm kittens have largely lost their shyness as they scamper around.  I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a squirrel silhouetted on a tree trunk against the brightness of the low sun. Then it darted out of sight, only to emerge as a kitten high up in the tree!  "How did it get up there?" our son marveled. And how would it get down? But it's claws lowered it to a safe distance from the ground when it nimbly twisted and made a perfect landing.

A short time later, we saw the kitten leaping and twisting in the grass and realized it was batting and tossing a tiny mouse!  Greg was ecstatic! "It's what I wanted them to do!" he exclaimed, "Keeping away the mice!"  He  had found holes in his feed sacks. The kitten was positively intoxicated with its catch, long dead by this time.

Nature has its own code of survival, the creatures behaving as God made them to be.  We humans have our code of ethics and laws, and thankfully we have a  justice system to enforce them. But the words, Jury Duty, are not my favorite greeting!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Persistence!

"Sir, may I have your cart when you're through?" I asked a man headed for the exit at Walmart.  Howard had sent me to get a handicap cart while he waited in the car.  They are always scarce there, so I zeroed in on that one. The man said I could, so I told him I would follow him to his car.

Turns out he was in a truck a distance away, not in a handicap zone as I expected. He nimbly got out of the cart and proceeded to unload a huge order of groceries with no problem. I guess he just didn't want to walk all over the vast store! (I can't say I blame him, though!)

When we had finished our shopping and were headed to the door, I noticed a woman behind us looking at us intently. I didn't pay much attention, but went ahead and helped Howard tear open a bag of cheese curls we'd bought.  She stopped when we did and started when we moved, following  behind us the whole time.  Looking over my shoulder, I saw that the woman was
shadowing us all the way to the door. Then she spoke:

"Ma'am can I have that cart when you're finished?" she asked.  Of course I said she could, and told her we were on the way to the car.  She wanted to know how far it was and if I would bring it back to her. I wasn't too sure how far it was, telling her it was a ways, but she said she couldn't walk that far. Then she asked if we were in a handicap spot, and she followed when I told her we were. 

"Thank you," she said when she got onto the cart, to which I replied, "You're welcome! I had to chase a man down to get it for us!"

This incident made me think of Elisha and Elijah in the Bible.  Elisha knew that Elijah would soon leave this world, and  he determined to stick with him until that happened.  No matter how often the prophet Elijah told him to go back and not to follow him, Elisha was persistent.  Why? He wanted the anointing of Elijah!

II Kings 2:9: And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me."

Elijah told Elisha that if his eyes were on him when he was taken away, it would be so.  Sure enough when the chariot of fire appeared and Elijah went up in a whirlwind (II Kings 2:11-12) Elisha saw it and took up Elijah's mantle.

And Elisha's double portion resulted in his doing twice the miracles of Elijah! In recounting the miracles, there were 8 in Elijah's life and 15 in Elisha's life. Not quite double. Where was the other miracle? The answer is found an interesting side note that appears in II Kings 13:21, when some Moabites tossed a corpse into Elisha's sepulchre. When the man's body touched the bones of Elisha, he came back to life! He had raised the dead after his own death. The other miracle!

The humble shopping cart was not a chariot of fire, but both present a lesson in persistence!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Lifted Up

There is a song that's been going through my head with words about being raised up to "more than I can be."  It refers to standing on mountains and being strong while on the Lord's shoulder. As I listened to the song today, thoughts swept over me and brought tears of realization of my own recent experiences.

"How do you do all this?" my husband asks me.  He tells me how proud he is of me for taking care of him over the past four months after his heart surgery and other complications.  And I surprise myself.  But of course, it is not me, but the Lord strengthening and enabling me, not only for  Howard's care, but for running the entire household without his help.

The early weeks were the hardest, when I was awakened from a dead slumber on my hospital cot several times a night to help him find comfort and relief.  Medication had distorted his sense of taste, and he was constantly craving he knew not what.  Off  I was sent to the hospital snack room to bring back corn flakes, chocolate milk or ice cream in the middle of the night! I still provide a bedside snack to get him through the night, but he is sleeping better now!

Our house was soon overflowing with medical equipment that we made room for but still tripped over. Thankfully, most of that has been relegated to the basement now that his health has improved!  The responsibility of giving and keeping up with his considerable medications is still mine, but he does more for himself now.

My spouse is amazed that I drive him everywhere (he always did the driving).  It's up to me to carry in all the groceries, procure motorized carts for him, and manage to get him to church and doctor appointments. Not to mention that I have trash duty, housekeeping (vacuuming was his job) laundry and three meals a day.  After a rough few weeks, I was so glad to see him take over bill paying.  The slight stroke he had in surgery made those kind of things difficult for him at first.

I heard a preacher say once that when he got home some heavy furniture ( I think a piano) had been  moved. "How did you do that?" he asked his wife, to which she replied, "With my hip!" I know the feeling.  I had to make room for something we bought the other day, and I had no one to help me.  I moved a writing desk from our dining room into the hall (taking out the drawer first), but it was a little tight.  I decided to move it into the bedroom under the window, but first I had to move the tilting mirror.  I wanted it where a small chest was.  To move the chest, I removed the drawers and I was able to scoot it along and placed it in the hall.  Howard was astonished when he saw what I had done!

Part of the song I mentioned is about being raised up to walk on stormy seas.  I feel as if we've walked on stormy seas lately, but he has brought us through the storm and truly raised me to "more than I can be!"




Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Right Place at the Right Time

The right place at the right time.  Have you ever experienced this?  Sometimes it seems that God just works it out that something happens to your benefit when you are at the right place at the right time, although maybe accidentally on your part.

Something like that happened in an interesting account in II Kings.  After Elisha had healed the Shunamite woman's son, he warned her that a famine was coming and that she should go to some other place where there was food.  This she did, staying in the country of the Philistines for seven years, until the famine ended.

Then she came back to her country and desired to reclaim her house and property.
In verse 8:4, we find Gehazi, Elisha's servant, being called upon by the king to tell of the miracles performed by his master. As he was recounting them, he looked up and saw the Shunammite woman, who had come to the king to petition her cause.

"Why, there's the woman whose son was healed by Elisha!" he exclaimed to the king.

The Bible verses tell the story: (3) "And it came to pass at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land. (4) And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee all the great things that Elisha hath done.

(5) And it came to pass as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.

(6) And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed  unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day she left the land, even until now."

She was in the right place at the right time! Even after an absence of seven years!  An accident? No, I believe it was a divine appointment.  God had not forgotten her good deed in giving the prophet a place to stay in her home.

The next time you just "happen" to meet someone, or circumstances unexpectedly come together in your favor as a result of a "chance" happening, just reflect on how God cares for you and wants the best for you!

As a teenager, I was walking across the church lawn late one afternoon on my way to the evening service.  Our family  had recently started attending church after the tragic loss of my young brother. I had no idea that a young man sitting in his car noticed me.  I had not seen him at church before, but my husband says that's when he became interested in me.  He was in the right place at the right time and so was I! Soon one of my girlfriends told me he liked me  and arranged for us to meet.  The rest is history!