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Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring's Final Farewell

It's been a really long time since I've written. Life got busy, managed to come down with a nasty head cold that came with a relapse, so now I'm slowly coughing my way back to optimal health again. I've been thinking about what to write about, though, with a million thoughts in my head, a million words begging to be written and crafted into timeless masterpieces that will echo in people's memories.

Today, however, I cannot write.

There are times the heart is too full to express in words the emotions it senses.

"Dear God, if it's true that when it rains, You are crying, then cry hard tonight. . .cry the tears that I cannot. . ."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Treats for Taxes

Yahoo! posted an article about free or discounted treats on or near Tax-Day. I'm thinking of going in to Jack in the Box for their fries on Friday :)

Update on the Netflix: the lady in the mailroom thought my DVD came in on Monday. She's going to put a note in the boxes of the other subscribers and see if any of them got my DVD. Seriously considering whether it's worth the trouble and expense of getting my own mailbox at the post office!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I'm upset. I did not get my Netflix DVD in the mail and only two conclusions can be drawn: the post office returned it or somebody else watched my DVD. I'm inclined to go with the latter.

I really can't believe it! I'd put a cute little romantic comedy on hold and anticipated receiving it in the mail on Monday. I've never had any problems with Netflix before, and knew exactly how many days it took to come. If I sent one in on a Friday, which I had the week previous, then I would get my next one on a Monday. Well Monday came around, and my DVD wasn't there. I thought maybe there was a hiccup in the mail, so Tuesday came around but there was no DVD either. I hadn't had a chance to run to the mailroom to check till after lunch, which meant I couldn't ask if my DVD had ever even made it in on Monday.

Then this evening I went online to report the missing DVD and found that my next queued DVD was scheduled to arrive tomorrow. That means my first one was returned on Monday because I get my email notifications a day later.

I'm upset because I'd made plans both nights to watch the comedy with my mom and sister. I was looking forward to watching it.

As I think it through, it does seem that the post office must have made a mix-up. It's rather odd, because generally you have to take the envelope apart to convert it into a return envelope, but perhaps it ended up at a different post office, who knows. But to return the DVD on Monday, well I guess someone would have had to drive it down to another post office because the mail comes in at 11:30 or so here, and closes down at lunch-time, which doesn't give enough time to watch the DVD.

Hmmm, maybe I should become a detective! Well, Netflix will not allow me to complain about my DVD till the 15th, so I've penciled it in to my calendar. Hopefully, fingers crossed, they will send it to me right away so I can watch it. Customer Service. Something we take for granted, to be valued highly, and yet not appreciated enough. I've learned from this experience, as I seem to continue to learn every day, it seems, that if you mess up, apologize, go the extra mile, and do your best to make the other person feel valued.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Isaiah 40:11

Thank you, LaVonne, for posting this clip and I hope you don't mind that I'm re-posting it! When the video began, it was kind of slow and I thought, why bother, but after the first 40 seconds, I understood why. It is amazingly powerful and you have to watch it for yourself to understand the emotion within.

I love watching reality shows and one evening I was watching Biggest Loser online where they had to run a marathon of some sort. Everyone struggled, of course, but one man in particular had a really difficult time of it, with a bad knee and his age and all that. His son finished well ahead of him, but he kept on going. I think he was determined to finish that race even if his leg gave out on him. Well, the father kept on running, at times walking, or hobbling, and at one point his friends came around him and they ran part of the way with him. And then, at the end, his son returned and ran the last mile with him.

Then there's the story of the special Olympics and the contestant who fell partway into the race. The other contestants returned, linked arms with him, and together they finished the race.

My pastor told a gripping story that also brought tears to my eyes. You can see a clip of it here:

Each of these stories have the same theme in common. A race, someone who is struggling, and someone who comes alongside and helps them to finish the race. It made no difference who the person was, someone special in their life was there to support them and, at times, run the race for them.

We all go through difficult times in our lives and sometimes we feel like we cannot run a step further. It is then that God comes alongside us, picks us up, and carries us for as long as we need Him to. He is like that. He's our Father.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not Again!!!

I hate ants. Okay, I know, you've already heard this theme, but tonight I had the everlasting joy of encountering yet another line of busybodies, rushing along, and had to spend a couple of hours vacuuming them up. I get cold chills down my spine when I think of or see ants, particularly when I have to pick them up with tiny bits of toilet paper and flush them down the toilet.

The worst part of the evening was when I picked up a paper bag, intending to peer inside and and see whether there were any ants left. My thumb landed squish right on a huge black ant. I just about burst into tears, but told myself very firmly to get ahold of myself and turned my attention elsewhere.

It's really quite amazing, when you think about it, how teeny tiny creatures can make such an impact, I mean, you can barely see the black spots scurrying around unless they are highlighted on a white background (I'm so grateful for white walls and a linoleum entryway!). Makes me wonder what object lesson can be drawn from the persistence of these pests. I do hope that if there are ants in heaven, they will stay in the garden where they belong.

Excuse me while I go vacuum some ants.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Tortoise and the Hare

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark." ~Charles Spurgeon

This morning I chose to stay home from church and stretch my rest day out just a little longer. It had been a rather hectic past three weeks and I needed that time to recuperate and rejuvenate in time to hit the next week running. As I listened to a sermon online, I heard the speaker refer to the quotation above and it started me thinking about the perseverance of that snail.

Do you know how fast a snail averages per hour? Here's a neat little comparison table:

                                       Snail                      Human                            Cheetah

Speed (mph)                 0.03                             3.00                                  74.00

Inches Per Minute         3.00                       1,440.00                           78,480.00

Feet Per Minute            0.25                         120.00                              6,540.00

I can just imagine the pair of snails, after they heard the bidding to enter the ark, beginning that slow arduous journey. As they slid along, the other animals bounded, hopped, jumped and ran past, and yet, the snails continued to glide. Maybe that's one of the reasons why it took so many years to build the ark, so the snails would have enough time to make it in! 

I've often felt like a snail. It seems like everyone else is a cheetah, or a gazelle, or a lion, swiftly flying to the ark of safety and crossing the finish line way ahead of me. Maybe they plod a little more, like the elephant or the bull, but they still reach their destination with time to snack on a bale of hay or two. Yet here I am, tiny, insignificant, gliding along as fast as I can go, but still barely making it. What matters, however, is not how fast I'm going. What matters is that I'm getting there. Perseverance is the key.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hungering Aplenty

Here's a clip from a story I recently received in my Bangla Hope newsletter, written by Elliott, a student missionary in Bangladesh. "Ra-june is a street boy. He lives on the streets of Dhaka and begs for his family. [We] met him one evening around 11 pm. He was begging for money. We took him to get some food. He was inspiring. When told to get whatever he wanted, all he would pick out was one roll. Upon prompting I was able to convince him to get a few other things, but always he insisted on the smallest amount. When we finished, we started walking away with him, only to find out that he would not be eating this food. It was for his little brother and mom. I quickly returned to the store and bought more food for Ra-june. He was so grateful, but his concern for others came through again. He tried to give the food back to me so I'd have something to eat. This is a boy who had nothing. Not even a place to sleep, for I saw the hard pavement that his lightly clothed body would be laying on that night. Even I, a foreigner, would sleep with two blankets that night. But still he took no more or asked for anything. [We] were so impressed with this boy, his tattered clothes, bare feet and wholesome heart, broke, inspired, and pulled at my innermost soul. This boy was something I never expected to find on the streets, he was more than I think I could ever have been if I was in his shoes. The next day we met up with Ra-june for my most memorable day in Bangladesh. [We] took him with us for the day. We took him out shopping, let him pick out (with LOTS of prodding) new clothes, shoes, toiletries, we went to lunch together, got him a bath. It was the most amazing day ever. This boy was inspiring. Never once did he ask for more, never once did he complain. . . Life had given him nothing, yet when given the opportunity to get anything and everything, he was not greedy. He was not entitled. He was happy. He was content. He was Inspiring. . . Joy is not based on your position or location in life, it is based on a choice. It is based on something bigger than me. It is based on God."

I go to the store and I agonize over which brand of tomato sauce to buy. When eating at a buffet, I stuff myself till my stomach hurts. I eat three meals a day and have snacks on hand if I should get peckish. I buy specialty foods because I feel like eating them. My fridge is full, my cupboards are full, and my wallet is full. I am blessed with more than enough and yet often I forget.

I forget the little boys like Ra-june who are sleeping on the pavement. I forget that he will be lucky to have one meal tomorrow while I eat three. I forget that Ra-june is not the only child who must experience hunger as a way of life. I forget to give that cold cup of water to the one who asks.

Some feel called to be a doctor or a teacher, to give their lives in mission service, or to sell all they have and live on faith alone. Sometimes, all Jesus asks for is a cup of cold water, a loaf of warm bread, a bowl of vegetable soup. I may not go overseas but I can do something for the children. I cannot feed all of them, but I can feed one. Or two or three.