Sunday, April 27, 2014

What a Sunday! - The Good, the Bad, and the Busy

I got up this morning...after hitting the snooze alarm twice. I went to my daughter's room to wake her up for church. She and a couple other young girls were singing a special song in church this morning, and Rachel wasn't happy with the dress we had agreed on the night before. 

Image found here.
It took awhile, but we finally were ready and headed off to church in good spirits. We stopped by a local Rite-Aid on the way to church. When we got back to the car, it wouldn't start. Try as I might, I couldn't get it to turn over. It didn't even seem to try to turn over. 

All I could think of was that this was NOT the best day to have car problems. I had several things going this morning.
  • The girls were singing, and I was to accompany them on piano. One of the girls was also being baptized this morning, so a bit of juggling had to be done to the order of service so she was not wet during the special music.
  • I had to teach children's church after the girls' song was done. 
  • Mom and I had signed up to bring refreshments for the fellowship time after the morning service. Yet another thing to do.
Anyway, I called Dad and asked him to pick us up. He and Mom had just arrived at church. He let Mom out and came back to get us. The three of us brought the refreshments into the kitchen and went to our various Sunday School classes.

When Sunday School was over, the music minister asked me if I was ready for the dramatic monologue we had talked about doing several weeks earlier. Ummmm, yeah, I can be ready. For some reason, I had thought we were talking about doing it on Easter Sunday or Good Friday. He thought we had planned it for the Baptismal Service.

Thankfully, I have had the monologue memorized for years, and God helped me to remember the words well enough that...with a couple exceptions which I hope weren't too noticeable, I think it went pretty well.

Image found here
OK, the reading was done. The girls sang. After some praise and worship time, we celebrated three baptisms. All the kids headed down for children's church. We didn't have a lot of time, so we sang a song and dived right into the lesson.

I was perhaps three sentences into the lesson when one of the little girls asked the all-important question. 

          "When are we going to have snacks?"

          "I made cookies, sweetie. My mom made brownies. You'll have snack in the fellowship hall right after church." The prospect of brownies and cookies to come seemed to satisfy her.

With everything else going on today, I was very thankful that another lady had prepared crafts to go with our lesson. I finished the teaching, and left her and two helpers to do the crafts while I helped Mom set up the refreshments. 

When the service let out, one of the men from my dad's Sunday School class asked if I needed some help getting my car running. (Dad couldn't help me because he had to attend a training for anyone who teaches adult classes.) I gratefully accepted his help, and he and his wife took me back to Rite Aid to check things out.

Image found here
The car still wouldn't start. The oil was low...really, really we filled that up. He jump-started the car, and got it going. I turned it off and started it again. Good. One more time...and it didn't start. Another quick jumpstart, and it was going again. Needless to say, I let the car run for awhile to let the battery charge up. 
I am so thankful for this brother and sister in Christ who were willing to go out of their way to help me. 

Later in the afternoon, I took the car to Auto Zone to have the battery tested. I am thankful that it is OK and doesn't need replaced just now. I suspect there is a wire coming loose in the jury-rigged push-button starter that is causing the problem. Needless to say, that needs to be dealt with ASAP.
I just hope and pray that the car starts in the morning so I can get to work. 

So, this has been a day full of the good, the bad, and the busy. 

Busy...for obvious reasons.
Bad...because of a car that wouldn't start.
  • We had a good day to worship the Lord.
  • Three people were baptized.
  • The girls had their first experience using their singing to minister to others.
  • I didn't forget the words to the least not too badly.
  • God moved His people to offer help where help was needed...the way church should be.
All-in-all, I must say that in the midst of all the busy, the good far outweighed the bad. 

What a Sunday! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Stone Was Rolled Away!

On this glorious Easter Day
The stone was rolled away

With this simple craft, this children remember
the marvelous fact that Jesus's tomb is empty.
The stone was rolled away and He is risen!
I spend a good deal of time at my church with the children's ministry. We sang the three-verse song that begins with the words above this morning in our Easter celebration service. Those simple words say so much.

Jesus had died a cruel, horrible death. He was buried. His disciples saw their hopes and dreams crushed as the One they followed breathed His last.

Jesus was taken down from the cross. He was buried in a tomb belong to a secret believer. His friends thought they would see Him no more.

An enormous stone was rolled in front of the tomb's opening. As it settled into place in front of the opening, perhaps the final thud felt like a punch in stomach of the women who stood nearby.

The religious leaders tried their best to ensure that the tomb would remain undisturbed. They sealed the tomb. They posted a guard. They wanted to be certain that Jesus's body stayed right where it was - dead and buried - so His followers would disburse. They wanted Jesus's message of love and salvation to die out, even as He had died.


On that glorious Easter morning the stone was rolled away! 


          Why is it significant that the stone was rolled away?

     Did Jesus need the stone to be rolled away so He could get out of the tomb? 
          Certainly not!

     The stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out, but to let His followers in. 

          The stone was rolled away so all would know that the tomb was empty. 
          The stone was rolled away so we could have hope.
"He is not here!" the angel said. "He is risen!"


The lyrics above, sung to the tune of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore", are found in a children's Easter pageant called “He Is Risen” presented You can find the full text here

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Another Chapter is Ending

I grew up in this home.
When I was two years old, my family, then consisting of Dad, Mom, my brother Rick, and me moved from Indiana to Findlay, Ohio. We moved into a little three bedroom house on West Front Street. By the time I was ten years old, we had added four more siblings. I was the only one of the six kids who did not take my first steps in our first home in Findlay. Many years later, after I had graduated from college, my family moved to another house. And so ended one chapter in our lives.

That move happened half of my lifetime ago. Over the years, we have seen our old home change hands a couple times. It's current owner is City Mission, an organization that aids homeless people. I'm not certain exactly what their plans are for the lot, but it doesn't include maintaining an old house that has become quite run-down over the last few decades since we moved away. Sometime soon, probably this next week, the house on West Front Street will be torn down. 

This grate allowed warm air to rise to the upstairs bedrooms.
I brought this keepsake home.

Over the last few years, City Mission has graciously allowed various members of my family to go back inside the house. Mom, Dad, and I went there this past Friday for one last visit. We took lots of pictures...and salvaged a few items as keepsakes. There wasn't much to take with us, but I am glad we got the things we did.

Mom brought this keepsake home.
She had never noticed the eagle was
upside down.

And so...another chapter is coming to an end. As with everyone who ever lived, I am sure, our life in the house on West Front Street held a mixture of sadness, happiness, pain and pleasure. As I walked through the empty rooms for the last time, I did not reflect on the sadness and pain. Instead, I recalled the happy, silly, funny times we shared in that home.
  • Tickle fights where all six kids pinned Dad down on the living room floor to tickle him...until someone called "Everybody on ......!" and the person called was the next tickle-ee".
  • Watching the first moon walk on the little black and white TV
  • Six PJ-clad kids gathered on these stairs
    every Christmas morning for a photo.

    Coming downstairs in our PJ's on Christmas morning to see what was in our stockings.
  • Dad making pancakes for breakfast when Mom was in the hospital after giving birth to one of the youngest kids. He mistakenly put pancake syrup in the skillet. (I think he assumed pancakes were to be fried in vegetable oil rather than butter, and he picked up the wrong bottle. What a mess!)
  • Mom's pleasure over opening Dad's Christmas gift of a sewing machine cabinet...and the laughter over the silly gift Mom received of a Snuffleupagus stuffed animal. (Remember that character from Sesame Street?)
  • Watching Rick literally fall off his chair with laughter. I have no idea now what he was laughing about.
    Steve wasn't allowed in the house
    after the Swale Park episode
    until he had shed his smelly
    outer clothes outside.
  • Janet eating blueberry pie and finding the fruit stained her teeth blue.
  • Beth at age three or so eagerly offering her services to erase mistakes in the homework of her older siblings.
  • Steve coming home covered head to toe in stuff much stinkier than mud after taking a forbidden shortcut through Swale Park. (I didn't witness that event, but it is part of family legend.)
  • Doug trimming the eyebrows off of Mom's Snuffleupagus stuffed animal because Mom had commented jokingly that his eyebrows were too shaggy. (By the way, Mom still has Snuffy.)
As for many memories. I especially remember my reading corner where I would mentally disappear into a good book and be completely unaware of what was going on around me. I also remember Rick and I sitting on the swing set in the back yard making up travel adventures. In our imaginations, we traveled to so many places. Hmmm...I guess we started our world-traveling even then.

So, one chapter is ending. There are many more to come. I look forward to seeing what future chapters have in store.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Let's Get Technical

I note with a bit of dismay that it has been nearly two weeks since my last post. Way too long. As it is already nearly 11:30 at night, I am going to take the wimpy way out and dive back into my collection of "Rachel Stories" that I have shared in my newsletters over the years. I hope you'll excuse me. I'll be back later this week with something more recent...I promise.

This story was shared first in my newsletter dated July 23, 2008. Rachel was a couple months short of three years old at the time.


No, this isn't Rachel, as anyone who 
knows Rachel can tell.. 
No camera that day. 
The image was found here.
Something funny happened while Rachel and I were at a friend’s home for a meal.  We were eating pizza, and Rachel had gotten some pizza sauce on her fingers.  I caught her just as she was about to wipe her fingers on her shirt.  

“No Rachel.  Don’t wipe your fingers on your shirt,” I said, and then turned to look for a table napkin to clean her hands with.   

As I did this, my friends saw something I did not see.  Rachel looked at her hands, then at her shirt, and then over at me.  With a mischievous glint in her eye, she proceeded to wipe her fingers…on MY shirt.  (Needless to say, it was a bit hard not to laugh, even though we all knew we shouldn’t.)  

Let’s get technical, shall we?  Rachel technically obeyed me,  but side-stepped my intention. 

Don’t we do that sometimes, too, to one extent or another?  Perhaps we pay attention to the “DO NOT’s”, but still try to find ways around them to do everything but the thing that was forbidden.  That way, we feel that technically we are off the hook, even though deep in our heart, we know that the “everything but” falls short of God’s best for us.  

Let’s not do that.  No need to get technical with our Father.  He has the best plans for us, and if we follow the spirit of what He tells us to do, we can stay in touch with His plan.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15

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