Practicing for Heaven

I was thinking about heaven a few days ago as I was driving home from an outing.  Hubby was at home, and I was driving along with my thoughts to keep me company.  Suddenly out of the blue heaven popped into my mind.

Thinking about some of the comments and conversations I heard in the past, it seemed as if God put a whole zip file in my mental computer in an instant, and I started un-zipping and unpacking the file in my mind.  I’ve heard comments like, “I believe everyone will go to heaven because God is a God of love.  (Sure He is, but He is so much more than that, and I’m not betting my eternal future on that statement alone!)  “I can’t wait to see the mansion that has been prepared for me.” (I am positive our mansion will be great, but should that really be our main focus?)  And then there is this one. “What are we going to DO all day.  I mean, you can only sing praises for so long before you get tired and want something else to do.”  (REALLY?  Words escape me.  Perhaps some picture heaven as being a place they can do what they want all day as long as they have choir practice first.”  I don’t begin to have all the answers, but my view of heaven is a little different.  God loves us, yes.  And He prepared a way for us to get to heaven, but we need not think you can get there any old way.  There is only one way. Jesus.    Mansion? Great. Streets of gold and gates of pearl? Amazing.  Seeing Jesus and praising God?  Well HALLELUJAH!  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  As for needing something else to do other than praise Him,  God has a plan.  But I really can’t see that plan including us gossiping over the fence with our neighbors or sitting discontentedly in a heavenly corner saying we are bored.

All that was in the first folder in my mental zip file.  Then came this thought.  Practice.  Yes, practice.  Think about it for a moment.  A fine musician spends hours practicing. There are drills and runs to keep fingers nimble and flexible.  There is new music to learn to improve technique.  There are practice sessions to learn and absorb the music until it becomes a natural part of us.  And what about an athlete?  From pro baseball (or football, or soccer or whatever) to T-ball, if we want to get better from week to week we must practice.  The more we practice, the better we become.  Years ago (too many to mention) I worked at a Tastee Freeze  For those of you who don’t recognize the name, it was an ice cream and sandwich fast food dream.  Anyway, one of my jobs was to make an ice cream cone using the soft serve ice cream machine.    The cone had to swirl around and end with a curl on the top.  And it had to weigh an exact amount.  I became pretty good at that, but my first attempts were laughable.  So what did I do?  Practice.  It occurs to me that even though I don’t know exactly all of God’s plan for heaven, I can be practicing now.  I can practice being kind to others.  I can practice being an encourager.  I can practice singing praises.  I can practice worship.  And the more I do these things, the more natural and meaningful they will become.

There was a lot more in the thoughts God gave me that day…far to much to write about in one sitting.  But I have to stop for now.  I need to go out and catch up on a little practice.

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Anticipation

Today is such an exciting day!  Hubby and I are having a new refrigerator delivered.  If I could dance on my tiptoes I certainly would.  Now that is a mental picture right there!

Let me back up a minute and explain our joy a bit. I know I get a bit wordy, but you will get to my point if you keep reading.  A year or so ago, our refrigerator, I am sad to say, died.  And it died at a most inconvenient time.  Now I know what you are thinking.  Anytime is a most inconvenient time for a refrigerator to quit.  And you are right, but this came at a time that money was t.i.g.h.t. and then some.  Oh dear, I know what you are thinking again.  “Do you mean to say you waited 2 years to replace your fridge?  You must have gone through a lot of ice for the cooler.”  It wasn’t that bad, truly.

Instead I read and reread the bank statements.  I checked our piggy bank.  I even looked in my secret fabric discretionary fund.  Yes, I have one and that is all you need to know.  Finally I decided we didn’t need a nice big refrigerator with a good amount of space.  After all, there are only two of us at home now.  A smaller fridge should be fine, and it is hundreds of dollars cheaper.  If we tightened our belts, we could afford a refrigerator.  So off to the store hubby went, and before many hours had passed (I don’t call him minute man for nuthin’) I got a call at work to discuss the refrigerator he had picked out. It fit the criteria, which means it could keep things cold and we could pay the price.  The refrigerator was delivered and the old one hauled away.  And that is the beginning of the story.

It didn’t take many weeks for me to realize that the extra cubic feet in the old refrigerator were very important.  On day 2, I banged my head hard as I reached in the refrigerator and forgot to make adjustments for the difference in size.  Then things started falling out.  I would reach for the bowl of leftover spaghetti, and with it would come the container of margarine.  I would push something in on one side of the rack, and something would fall out as things shifted on the other side of the rack.  You get the picture.  If you don’t, it is probably because you have a nice big refrigerator.

This went on for some time.  I didn’t give hubby my opinion of the refrigerator.  After all, it wasn’t his fault.  We are committed to not spending more than we have, and he did the best job with what we had.  But recently I heard a crash and a yelp when a jar or something fell out of the refrigerator right on my husband’s foot.  And contents went everywhere.  That was enough for me.  I apologized for insisting we get a smaller fridge.  We would have been better off to use a cooler for a few weeks.  Turns out we had the same opinions but hadn’t voiced them.  However, this not being a post about communication, I won’t go into that now.

About this time, we heard of someone needing a smaller refrigerator.  A dorm size refrigerator would be much too small, but a large fridge would be unnecessary and take up too much space.  The light went on and bells rang.  At least I think they were bells.  My ears ring all the time so it might have been that instead.  Suffice it to say that we would give them our fridge that seemed the right size for them, and we could get a bigger fridge without feeling so guilty.  Checking all our funds again, we came up with an amount we could afford.  We did our research and rehashed what we didn’t like about this fridge that we wanted different with the new one.  Hubby went back to the store, picked out a fridge, and came out to the car to tell me all about it, since I had stayed in the car with our dog.  Back in he went…hubby, not the dog, and paid for the fridge and arranged for delivery.  We made our preparations and cleaned the space for the new refrigerator, preparing for the moment it would arrive.  We were ready!

All that brings you up to today, when I am excitedly wishing I could dance on my toes.  We were given a window of time for our refrigerator to be delivered.  So here I am, sitting in my chair.  I hear a noise and run to the door. Not the truck.  I hear a noise and look out the window. Sigh.  Sitting back in my chair, I turn at every sound.  The neighbor decides to cut their grass.  Really?  Now?  At least 20 vehicles go past our house on what is normally a relatively quiet road at this time of day.  And don’t forget the airplanes.  They could have picked a better time. Peering out the window, peering out the door…honestly I think that last noise was the whisper of butterfly wings but it sure sounds like a delivery truck to me!  I watch.  I wait.  Every fiber of my being is attuned to being ready when that truck turns in the driveway.  Finally my watching and waiting is rewarded and the truck arrives!  This time I think I really do dance on my toes just a bit.

Then in a quiet moment I hear the whisper of butterfly wings again, but my heart knows it is God talking.  In the flash of a heartbeat, I hear Him whisper, “Are you looking for the coming of my Son with the same intensity you have been waiting for this refrigerator, this gift I have given you?  Are you excited?  Do you watch at the window of your heart for Him to appear? Have you made your preparations? Are you ready?”

Do I get so caught up in life that I get more excited over a “thing” than I do the coming of my Lord?  Whew.  Something to think about.

 

Frolicking in the Snow

There is something special about seeing big fat snowflakes swirling around, dancing around on puffs of wind and coming to rest on the ground where it will soon be joined by its sisters and brothers and cousins.  No matter the forecast, they make me smile.  In fact, if no one is around to hear, they make me giggle.  I will sit by the window for hours watching, afraid to turn away in case I miss one.

Today is a snow day. The flakes started their merry dance before dawn, and by the time my eyes finally opened, the ground was covered.  In awe, I watched their merry dance without even being aware of the passage of time.  Occasionally I would leave my post at the window long enough to heat some soup for lunch (what else would we have on a snow day) or to do some small chore. Some VERY SMALL chore.  Every so often, like this very second, a gust of wind would come along and a few dry leaves dropped from the tree and scurried across the snow.  Bit by bit, the sad-looking flower bed became a thing of pristine beauty, made clean by the washing of the snowflakes.

This is the very first snow for our golden retriever, Rusty.  His first time out today, says hubby, he frolicked about as if he were in a pond swimming from one spot to the next.  The second time he was so excited I couldn’t even get a picture…just a blur of excitement.  The third time, we questioned whether he really needed to go outside, but who takes that chance.  Not us!  So out we went.  Hubby had the leash, I had the camera.  Don’t worry, I gave him privacy when he needed privacy, his but the rest of the time was fair game.  First thing he did was to take giant leaps in the snow.  Being about 8 months he has plenty of leap in him. I, on the other hand, am older than 8 months, or 8 years for that matter.  My leap has slowed down to a shuffle.  Standing on the back step, I tried my best to capture him frolicking around frantically, trying to taste each snowflake.  The joy on his face was something to behold.  Finally he plopped down and looked up grinning as if to say, “Isn’t this great stuff?  Wanna come play?” To which I answered in order, “Yes!” “NO”

rusty
Rusty

I admit at one point I did go out and frolic in the snow a bit.  Only for a few minutes, long enough to get proof I was outside.  And since you are friends and believe me when I say something, you don’t need to see that proof, right?  Of course not. Ahem.

Personally, I think God likes to see us finding joy in the snow.  I think He wants to watch us enjoy the good things He has provided for us.  But most important, I think He wants us to look at the snow and remember that His Son Jesus is waiting and willing to cleanse us by His blood and make us pristine, whiter than snow. And that, my friend, will fill you with such joy and gladness you will want to join Rusty in frolicking in the snow.

Pulling Weeds

Feeling a bit energetic today, I went for a short walk outside.  Of course my first stop was our garden.  Hubby has taken over almost all of the gardening.  I love it, but my knees don’t.  Funny, for the last 5 years I have don’t all the gardening pretty much by myself with the help of some Grandies now and then.  Hubby wasn’t able, so I did the best I could, loving every minute of it especially when grandkids were in the garden with me.  Now my body yells if I thing garden, but Hubby has retired and is now back to gardening all the time!  Hmmmm, sounds a bit like teamwork to me.  But that is a rabbit trail and I need to get back to the main path of my thoughts.

The garden looks great, and I was able to plant a few plants that somehow hadn’t made their way to their permanent home yet. That felt good to my soul; gardeners will know exactly what I mean.  Then I came back to the house briefly to get the fresh nectar for our hummingbirds.  They are such a pleasure to watch that I try hard to make sure their feeder is filled every few days.  Walking back outside, I strolled to the large flower bed planted right outside the living room window.  It probably looks like a strange location to passersby, but it is perfect placement for us to watch the birds, butterflies and bunnies that visit.  I had planted petunias, geraniums, dahlias, marigolds, and a host of other flowers earlier this year.  I took great care to notice which area would get shade and which would get full sun, placing the flowers carefully.  Then I put some shepherd’s hooks with finch feeders and cardinal feeders, along with my hummingbird feeder- spaced just so among the flowers.  Two small bird baths were added, and the fairy garden that the Grandies have been working on was moved close to the hummingbirds.  Every time I looked at that flower bed, I had to smile and reflect on the loving God that made such a riot of color possible.

This morning, however, something didn’t look quite right.  We have had a few bad storms recently and I hadn’t actually been in the flower bed for a week or so.  The plants that had been so beautiful were drooping and fading.  The growth wasn’t what I expected, especially from the petunias which can tend to take over.  Hmmmm, what to do, what to do?  You know, just because I love gardening doesn’t mean I have a green thumb.  And then it happened, standing right there between the petunias and the purply flowers (whatever they are called).  God gently reminded me of a lesson or two He had taught me before and now needed to remind me.  Flower beds, like our faith and our prayer life, need attention.  It isn’t enough to plant the seed and let it go. The seeds and plants need to be nurtured.  They need to be inspected for leaves and flowers that are no longer productive.  My son would say they need to be “deadheaded” and have a haircut now and then. Anything that is hindering them from growth, like weeds, needs to be removed. They need a bit of food now and then to keep them healthy.

Our faith and our prayer life need to be exercised and nurtured.  It isn’t enough to say I have faith and then sit down and dwell on that fact.  It isn’t enough to pray a quick prayer now and then when I remember it.  We need to be intentional in our walk with God.  Speaking to me now, but you can listen if you want, I need to see what in my life is keeping my faith from growing.  Some things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but if they take away from  God’s plan for me, then they are bad for me. What in my life is hindering my prayers from being more regular, deeper, more intentional?  If I’m not growing, then I’m standing still, which is the same as going backwards.  Is busyness keeping me from time in the Word?  Are other interests taking up too much of my time, keeping me from putting my faith into action?

Well, I thank God for the nudges and reminders He gives us.  I believe it is time for me to get out my spiritual food and action plan (Bible) and see what else God has to say to me today.  It isn’t always comfortable when God has to dig around in my heart, especially when He has to use His pruning shears, but it is necessary as He makes me into the beautifully blooming, productive  and growing Child of God He wants me to become.  Something to think about, in a quiet moment.

Turning to gaze out the window one more time before I get busy reading God’s Word and pulling some spiritual weeds, I see the hummingbird perched and looking right at me.  It seems he might be smiling.  And you know, I’m convinced the flowers look just a wee bit brighter already.

Top of the Morning!

I haven’t accomplished a single thing today.  Stumbling from my bed, I made it as far as the recliner in the living room where my sweet hubby had a cup of coffee waiting. Three hours later, half of it is still sitting here on a TV tray next to my chair.  Certainly I have things that need to be done today.  It’s too wet to garden, but there is laundry I’m sure, as well as some de-cluttering that desperately needs to be completed. I could write to a friend (wouldn’t they be surprised), crochet (I tried but kept putting it back down), beat my friend Connie in an internet game (I’m not really all that competitive), sewing (I have started our Christmas projects- just in case our children or grandchildren read this and wonder)…the opportunities are endless.

Instead I made the mistake of looking outside my window.  I have a hummingbird feeder, as you know, but I also have some finch feeders.  And a regular feeder.  At first there were about 4 yellow finches.  Suddenly there were 18 finches hanging on the sock feeders munching and crunching to their little hearts desire. Sometimes they paired off in couples.  A time or two, all the ladies came to partake and when they left to go shopping or whatever it is lady finches do, the men came along to catch up on the latest finchy gossip and share stories of their accomplishments. Along with the yellow finches there were some red house finches.  Below the feeders were the mourning doves, Mr. and Mrs.,  feasting on the thistle and seeds that dropped to the ground.  Every once in a while Mr. would catch Mrs. Dove looking his way, and he puffed and preened for her benefit.

We still have a few dry leaves under the feeders and I noticed they seemed to be moving without the benefit of a breeze.  Looking closer, I noticed there were sparrows dancing through the leaves enjoying a lite snack. Suddenly everyone took flight, and here comes the black bird.  Okay, so I don’t know much about bird identification.  If it would work, I would just say yellow bird, red bird, black bird, brown bird.  We even had a white egret one day, but that is another story.

All that to say there is a lot of activity outside my window and I am too mesmerized to leave my spot.  The hummingbird only visited briefly a time or two. I think he is shy and doesn’t like crowds of birds much bigger than he.  Keeping track of how many birds were at the feeders at any one time is keeping me quite busy, thank you very much.  The little stinkers tend to shift around and make me lose count. Right now there are 14 assorted finches…make that 15, 2 doves, 3 sparrows and…no, I don’t see a partridge in a pear tree but I keep looking.  There is another bird that comes to visit the regular feeder, and I just can’t identify him. For now, he is called the Mystery Bird.  I’ve looked on some websites but I can’t come to a firm decision.  Maybe you can help me?  Here he is.

Mystery Bird

In retrospect, I realize that for 3 hours the TV has been on and tuned to political news and views and I don’t even know what they are saying.  My pulse is steady, my nerves are calm,  and my blood pressure is great. I’ve been able to marvel at the complexities and wonder of God’s creation.

Like I said, I have accomplished a lot today!

Happy Anniversary!

Hard to believe it has been a year since I started this blog.  I well remember the fun I had with my niece Bethany (This, That & T’Other)setting it up and actually seeing a dream come through.  My initial intention was to post a minimum of once a month.  Ok, that part of the dream didn’t happen, but I am not finished dreaming yet.  After a very busy year of sewing, I planned to post pictures of the quilts my hubby and I made for our kids and grandies, but that didn’t happen either.  I admit, I was feeling a little down after the project was finished and couldn’t seem to get myself in gear! Then yesterday, on the very anniversary of my blog launch, I was blessed to have the most amazing perker-upper.

Along with gardening and sewing, I really enjoy taking pictures of critters.  I haven’t picked up my camera much in the last year or so…it seemed to take all my energy to keep my head above water so to speak. But last week I put up my hummingbird feeder and a finch sock outside my window.  Nothing new in that, but there haven’t been many visitors in the last 2 years.  Then a hummingbird appeared!  Something about a hummingbird just has to bring a smile.  There followed a string of visitors: some yellow finches, a beautiful male cardinal, and other birds paused in their daily routine to say hello. Yesterday I set my chair near the window, opened the curtain wide, and sat down with a book. And then it happened. That spark deep inside that called out to me to find my camera was reignited.  Where did I put it anyway?

I spent several hours watching the parade of birds and rushing to the door to try to take the perfect picture. Notice the positive side effect of this activity…exercise rushing to the door and back.  God is so good to me in so many ways.

The perfect picture didn’t happen, but something better DID happen.  Getting that “spark” back for however long it lasts is such a blessing.  And I’ll keep trying for that perfect picture!April Hummer

I am getting the message!

One morning I was listening to a sermon. The first scripture read was Matthew 27:22. Jesus had been brought to Pilate and the scriptures record that Pilate said, “what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” BAM!!! I had been sitting comfortably listening to the preacher and the scripture hit me. HIT me. Hit ME!

Now I want a preacher to deliver God’s Word and deliver it how God wants him to deliver it. That means there should be times my toes are stepped on. I like happy sermons.  We need them. But if every sermon was a feel good happy sermon I might love coming to church every Sunday, but I wouldn’t be growing very much. And I want to grow.  Second Peter chapter 3 verse 18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Anyway, back to the sermon.  I’ve heard this scripture before.  Lots of times. You can count on it being read every year at least once if not many times during the Sunday’s leading up to Easter.  And we will all shake our heads and say something like, “That Pilate. He knows what he should do, but when the rubber hits the road, he is passing the buck to someone else.”  And then we go on to the next part of the sermon and forget all about Pilate’s words.  This morning however, the words repeated over and over in my head.  We know that scripture…the sacred writings of God’s Word, are profitable for our teaching and training to equip us for God’s work. (2Timothy 3:16-17)  And the Word said to me when I read them over, “What shall I, (me personally!) do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”

God has given us a wonderful gift!  Salvation from our sins, hope for eternal life.  Wow!  Now what am I going to do with that?  I can sit and think about Jesus all day.  The joy, the peace, the love, the hope.  I mean, think about the time Jesus said to let the children come to Him.  Ahhh, sweet.

“What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”  Oh. Yeah.  The scripture.  Well, I do try to make sure others know I believe in God you know.  And I’m willing to help out in different activities.  It is so much fun to participate.  I love helping, especially when I can…..wait!  What am I hearing?

WHAT SHALL I DO THEN WITH JESUS WHICH IS CALLED CHRIST?!!!!   Ok, I’m getting it. God has given me a wonderful gift.  You can’ take it away from me, because God gave it.  I didn’t have to earn it. But God wants me to grow.  Sometimes that means I can enjoy the happy blessings of this world.  God wants us to be happy and enjoy His blessings.  Sometimes that means I should do something I may not enjoy as much.  Not because God tells me I HAVE to do, but because I WANT to, because I love God so much, and I want to grow.  Sometimes I have to step outside of my comfort zone, but God will help me. His Word tells me so. (Philippians 4:13) When I read God’s Word, I need to realize the Word is speaking to me.  The Word is not telling me what someone else needs to do, but is talking to me.  ME! How cool is that!  So God is asking me what I am going to do with Jesus, which is called Christ. What am I going to do with this wonderful gift God has given me?  It might not always be easy, but God will help me, and it will be spiritually rewarding.  God, what will You have me do with Jesus, which is called Christ? I want to grow!

Maybe you want to read that scripture for yourself and see what God is saying to you?  Think about it, in a quiet moment.

Camels, Pain and Prayer

Did you ever watch a camel plodding over the dessert?  Ok, I admit I have only seen a camel plodding on hot desert sands in the movies, but I can empathize with the camel.  One foot in front of the other, again and again and again.  Now God created a camel to be able to do what a camel must do.  And He created me to do what I must do.  And I was NOT created to plod across hot sand.  Fiddle, I can’t even keep my balance in cool sand.  But if I can do anything, I can plod on a good old regular floor.

Today I plodded with the best of them.  My part time job coincides with the school year, so Monday it is back to work.  Today I went in to make sure everything was in top shape and ready to go.  The room wasn’t too bad, but something about this time of year makes me want to rearrange furniture.  And rearrange I did.  Cabinets full of construction paper changed position more than once. (Come on Nana, really?)  Tables, equipment…nothing was safe.  One hour slipped into two, and before you know it hubby was calling to see if I would even make it home for dinner.

As I plodded to the car (ok, I couldn’t resist that one!) I remember thinking my feet were really going to be telling me a few things later after all the abuse of the day.  Driving home, I could feel those ankles getting their thoughts together.  Sure enough, when I tried to get out of the car at home, they had their words in order.

“Nana, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?’ said the left ankle as I swung it out of the car.  The left ankle jumped right in. “Anyone as old as you should have better sense than to move furniture all day without help.”  Personally I wish the ankles would just hush.  Do they really think I don’t already know I overdid it a bit?  Mentally I reminded myself that I should probably keep quite about the pain or he would probably join the ankles in commenting on my good sense…or lack thereof.

Keeping quiet didn’t work.  Within 2 hours I was all but in tears and bemoaning the fact that pain pills are not permitted.  I propped my feet up.  I groaned.  I complained that while doctors were quick to tell me I couldn’t take pain pills they didn’t tell me what I could take.  I took a hot shower.  I berated myself for not being sensible.  And then I thought, oh yeah, prayer.  Why is it that I always remember prayer last?  God wants me to talk to Him about things all along rather than waiting until I feel there are no other options.  I think sometimes I feel I shouldn’t bother Him with my silliness, but He wants to hear my thoughts.  Just do a search for prayer in the Bible and the verses will keep you busy for a long time.  I didn’t ask God to take away my pain, but to make it manageable.  He sure answered that prayer and I wondered why I waited so long.  With things in a better perspective, I was reminded of a  social media post earlier in the year.  It bears repeating, so here it is.

“I am thankful for pain. Now don’t get me wrong…Wes hears a complaint or two because my feet hurt so badly tonight, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My ankles are remembering the many pushes of my bicycle pedals especially in 4th and 5th grade. And the pacing back and forth while I stretched the phone cord as far as it would go while talking to my hubby…before he was my hubby. They remember running after two little boys who have since become two fine young men…joining in their games and pretending I had just as much energy as they did. The bottoms of my feet remember the joy of teaching my students. The most recent students needing me to squat to their level as well as spend long moments balancing doubled over tying shoes, wiping noses, sharing discoveries…and did I mention tying shoes? My feet remember hours of joy spent in the garden. Sometimes alone with God and my thoughts and sometimes accompanied by precious grandies who made me see each plant and critter with new eyes. My ankles are remembering being blessed with extra sewing time and flexing to press that foot pedal for just the right speed. They remember walking from the car to a job I enjoy, and trudging up the steps when I get home and being greeted by a husband who still thinks I am special. Tomorrow my feet will be ready to meet a new day with better energy, but for today they help me remember so many blessings. I’m thankful for pain”

The thoughts still hold true.  I’m thankful for what I was able to accomplish today, even if I could have been a bit more sensible about it.  I’m thankful that I have a God who cares.  I’m thankful that I have a hubby who puts up with me when I haven’t made the best choices.  I’m thankful I can still plod along.  I’m even thankful for camels.

camel in Lancaster

Camp Feet

Years ago when I was a youngster, I attended a 4-H camp.  It was AMAZING!  I remember singing around the campfire, listing to our camp counselor and playing lots and lots of volleyball.  When our sons were young they were able to go to church youth camp several times.  I remember being happy for them; I was also a bit wishing I could be a youth and go to camp.

As an adult, I knew there was our denominational church camp.  Hubby and I often went nightly and heard some great preaching.  I heard people share memories of camp and thought…how did I miss all that?  What are they talking about? Well, this year I was able to go to Family Camp.  Who knew that the evening services we attended were only a small part of the camping experience?

Camp CoffeeOur theme was THRIVE. In a nutshell, during the daytime hours we talked, had Bible Studies that were so enriching, shared wonderful meals, formed friendships, enjoyed family activities, ate some more, and had some incredible coffee before the evening service.  WOW!  I enjoyed getting to know some older people from the state north of us and hearing the life stories they had to share.  Some of the younger adults had so much enthusiasm to share.  And watching the children was an experience all its own.  They played and learned and rode their bikes from breakfast until lights out.  And like me long ago, they played lots and lots of ball…but it was GaGa Ball.  And yes, some of my grandchildren were there. What they learned about Jesus and the songs they shared with us were so precious.  Spiritually, the whole experience was so needed and so uplifting.

I went a bit early to help get things ready only to find so many people had volunteered so many hours to clean the campgrounds, make repairs, set up the tabernacle and more.  Helping to prepare the grounds definitely helped me see and appreciate all the effort that goes into something like this.  During camp, I was scheduled to teach 7 different craft classes so I tried to get everything ready for that too.

In between the work, there was so much fun!  A local company that rents golf carts delivered 10 to the camp.  Some were rented to campers, some were set aside for the speakers, the nurse, or other staff that would need to get from place to place quickly.  Never having driven a golf cart before, I was thrilled to be given a tour of the camp.  Then- oh what fun- I was allowed to drive.  Oh yeah!  Hubby wasn’t around which was good, since he tends to be a bit overprotective.  Needless to say, I had a blast.  And in case anyone wants to know what to give me for my birthday, I would like my electric golf cart to be a cool shade of lime green with purple trim with 4 seats and please remember a great sounding horn. (hint hint)  And by the way, when hubby got to camp and was able to drive one, he had the same grin on his face that I did.

Craft time went well, although the flip flops flopped a bit.  We managed.  But the great thing is that we had so much fun.  Maybe a later blog can focus on the specific crafts, but suffice it to say, we shared plenty of laughs along with the paint. And speaking of paint I seemed to accumulate a splotch of each color and I wasn’t even painting! I still haven’t figured that one out.

One of the big things I heard people talking about was camp feet.  Yes, by the end of the day, those wearing flip flops had accumulated several layers of ummm, well- dirt.   It was a badge of honor that showed others just how active a person been that day and how much fun they were having.  Some even posted pictures of their feet that clearly showed the strap lines of their flip flops.  Since I was wearing purple Crocs, it took a bit longer for me to get my camp feet on.  (of course we washed our feet, but it was hot and dry at camp this year and dirt does cling you know.)

Camp is over now. Laundry is clean again.  All those supplies that I took to camp for crafts are back at home.  I would like to say they have been put away, but that wouldn’t be true so I won’t even go there. And finally, after many days I am able to sit once again at my computer and share some thoughts on this blog.  In fact I think I will kick off my Crocs and read a few other blogs while I am sitting here.

Wait a minute!!! I think I can see just a shadow…maybe just a memory…of camp feet!

CRASH! BANG! BEEP BEEP BEEP

It is hard to believe almost a month has gone by since I last put pen to paper.  Er….finger to keypad.  Certainly there have been plenty of thoughts going through my head, but by the time I was able to sit anywhere near paper OR a computer, the thoughts had filed themselves away somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain.  I should probably say the deep jumbled recesses of my brain…who knows if I will ever be able to retrieve them.

In other words, I have been BUSY.  Even the garden has almost forgotten what I looked like.  Any gardening trips were quick and early in the morning as the temperatures in our area climbed higher and higher, with humidity making it difficult to breathe.  Some days the best I had time for was to go out the back door, stand on the step for a moment and look out and notice the trellised green beans were steadily climbing higher and higher.  I definitely want to plant them again.  Its my first year planting this variety and regardless of what they taste like (which I won’t know for a few more weeks) they really look great as they are growing.

But I digress from what I was going to say.  Yes, I can hear some of you chuckling and saying well thats nothing new.  Those who know me and love me best know I am quite capable of talking in circles…or maybe spirals since I don’t always make it back to the starting place in my allotted talk time.  Fiddle. There I go again…

Anyway, life events have kept me too busy to write like I wanted.  Life had been good…but busy.  Getting back on track sometimes takes a little nudge, and yesterday I was nudged. Each year, about this time, I clean my workroom for the summer.  My job is part time and only during the school year but I tend to put a lot of heart into it.  We may lose our funding so I needed to take home some personal things that I would generally leave in place. There was a supply of things like coffee and creamer, extra bottled water, powdered drink packets that you add to your water bottle, power bars…you get the picture.  Everything was placed carefully in a box for me to take out to my car.  To be truthful, everything was placed carefully in several boxes because I also had some knitting for those nights when no one came to work, some slippers for the times I had to walk through ankle-deep water to get to my modular, and shawls for the times the cold air whistled through the cracks in the door faster than the heater could heat the room.  Hurrying along, I placed all the boxes together, and figured I would take a box to the car each time I had to go in the main building for something. And since I tend to carry more than I should, when that time came I tried to pick up a box, scoot around the corner of the table, holding the box against my chest with one hand while I figured what else I could carry.  Suddenly a multitude of things happened at once. I realized that the box I was holding held the container of hazelnut syrup that had a cracked lid. My thoughts at the time went something like this: “Oh no, this is the box with that bottle of syrup with the cracked lid.  The syrup is leaking out of the box…Ahhhh, when I tilted the box it must have been enough to spill the syrup.  WAIT, my knitting is also in this box!!!! And syrup is all over me! CRASH. BANG. BEEP BEEP BEEP!”  And all that happened within the space of about 3 seconds.

Looking down at the drip, with all that traffic in my head, there was no room for my brain to tell my feet to stop.  And since my hands automatically reacted to sit the box back on the table, they were going in one direction and my feet in another direction.  Not. Good. At. All.  (I always wanted to write something that way since it seems to be the trend lately in any books I read.)  My trusty well worn Crocs connected with the syrup now in the floor, and down I went.  CRASH.  My ankles bent forward a bit more than was comfortable to bend, and my knees hit the floor. Ok, a lot of me hit the floor.  BANG.  And before I think anything beyond, “God I need some help here!” my cell phone went off in my pocket. BEEP BEEP BEEP.  It was my oldest son texting to see how my day was going.

I love God things.  Before I even fell, God took into account that I might want to have the assurance of help and had my son pick up his phone and text.  In the time it took the message to reach me miles away, I had started and ended my fall, probably doing some fancy footwork in the process.

Now just so you know, I am perfectly fine, although I admit my ankles have let me know they prefer I don’t try that trick again.  My body doesn’t want to do too much today. And the song, “Pop! goes the weasel” has ricocheted in my head for almost a day. But I just love how God provided not only the cushion to my fall, but the reassurance that someone was thinking of me right at that moment.  And the nudge that while this might not be the best post I have ever attempted, I can take the time (off my feet) to sit and write about it without feeling like there is something else I should be doing instead. And maybe, just maybe since I’ve taken the time to write this down, that weasel will stop popping through my head!