Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Airstream Dream by Carolyn

Ever since she was a little girl my daughter-in-law has dreamed of having an Airstream trailer. She saved paper dolls who inhabit an Airstream of their own, the way other girls might save Barbies or Cabbage Patch dolls. Her home is loaded with pictures and books about Airstreams their history, their glory days, their future. She painted ceramic plates and wooden trays with idyllic scenes of happy families camping in an Airstream and gave them away as gifts.

When she married my son, he caught the fever. A couple of years ago, they even vacationed at a campground in Oregon, where they live, in a rented Airstream. What a thrill that was! For the last 9 years they saved every extra penny they had to make that dream come true.

The phone rang. The call came. The dream came true! They bought a perfectly perfect 2003 Airstream International and were walking on "airstreams" all week planning for and awaiting its delivery on Friday.

We were all there. My son and his wife from California and my husband and I from Ohio had planned ages ago to meet in Oregon that weekend. We got to be a part of the welcoming committee! The delivery man came. They signed papers. He left. We all oohed and awed in rapt bemusement and wonder that this dream came true!

And the Lord threw a curve ball.

As my son opened a large window on the side of the trailer it exploded out with such force, sound and fury that thousands of teeny tiny, little pieces of glass were literally blown up and out scattering over a wide area. We were all struck silent, stunned by what had just happened. Shocked, no one moved. No one. Until my daughter-in-law came running out from the house to see what happened. She threw her hand over her mouth and ran back inside. And no one moved.

There is a happy ending! No one was hurt! None of us, including the baby was hit by flying glass. Praise God! Praise God! The dealer will replace the glass and the Airstream will be fixed. But it reminded me that like glass, life is fragile. It can change in an instant. And like glass, sometimes our dreams shatter, or are changed in significant ways. That is why the Lord tells us over and over and over again some 350 times in a variety of ways and circumstances, "Do NOT FEAR."

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned." Isaiah 43:1-2

Glass breaks. Dreams shatter. Life is fragile. But "I will be with you." is a promise. And the Lord keeps His promises.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Solid Rock and Sinking Sand (by Judy)

Last week I had such joy, for my family from Shanghai was here in Ohio. Almost 40-year-old son, his beloved wife, and three grandchildren, ages 8, 5 and 3. We spent the day at a beautiful nearby lake and played and picnicked in the sun-dappled grass. Then we went to a sandy beach where everyone swam until the lifeguard called all swimmers out for a break. In the ensuing calm, the children did what all children do when a sandy beach is at hand – buried a friend.

I love the photo – and the reminder of the parable about those who build their houses on sand, rather than rock (in Matthew 7 and Luke 6). When Jesus told it, he was speaking to his followers. Some were sick and sought healing; some were fascinated by the miracles he performed; most heard his words day after day – but how many truly embraced his important lessons?

The answer to that question depended on their actions – their hearts. Jesus spoke about two men, but they represent all of us who profess to believe. The first man in the parable built his house quickly, with little attention to foundation. He simply threw it up on the nearest piece of sandy soil. The second man took his time. He applied what he knew about foundational matters. He built on solid rock. Then the storm came. The battered house on solid rock stood firm; the house built on shaky sand crumbled.

This lesson has little to do with the laughter and sweet fellowship of that sunny day with dear grandchildren and their friends. Truthfully I just wanted to share the picture! But as I watched, I remembered that wonderful gospel song from summer camp – “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness… in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil… on Christ the Solid Rock I stand! All other ground is sinking sand!!”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blog With Substance Award

We would like to thank fellow Christian blogger Carnival ( for offering us the Blog With Substance Award. We are humbled and encouraged. It is such a blessing to join with other bloggers as we do Kingdom work.
We now pass the honor on to a blog that offers both substance and sustenance! The wonderful name is Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Hope our readers delight in their hospitality!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sewing Life by Carolyn

Occasionally, I take sewing to a little shop near my home. When I enter the shop the first thing I notice is a young woman lying on a hospital bed in a doorway to the work room, directly opposite the front door. It's easy to see her. I say a cheery, "Hello!" but she doesn't respond. I wait in a room stuffed with all kinds of clothing. Formal dresses and wedding dresses hang overhead on tracts. Obviously, lots of people come here, but I rarely see other customers. I wait for someone to come in response to the wind chimes that rang as soon as I entered. Suddenly, I hear laughter. Looking toward the sound, I see the young woman in the hospital bed is laughing outloud!

Before long a middle-aged, dark-haired woman appears. She looks at the work I have and in broken English she carefully says, "I must talk to my boss before we can accept this." She disappears and soon a tall, sturdy, gray-haired woman appears. She looks at my sewing and wonders why someone would slash the waist band on both sides of a pair of pants. I tell her that I volunteer at a nursing home and sometimes, in order to be comfortable, a resident will occasionally take things into their own hands. She becomes indignant. She nods to the woman in the hospital bed and says, "When she needs me I am there. Right now. Immediately. It burns me up to think there is not enough time to help people who need help immediately." I say nothing because I am fascinated by a picture of a young woman on the counter and the poem accompanies it.

My Name is Anna

Jesus came to me in disguise
With crippled legs and big brown eyes
The simplest things will make her laugh
All, that is , expcept her bath.

I don't know why Anna is in that chair
I don't know and I don't care
All I know is I love her for a million reasons
Cause kissing her is kissing Jesus.

Love, Your Sister, 1985"

I ask the tall gray-haired lady if I may copy the poem and share it with friends. She grins from ear to ear and says, "Oh! Please do!"

Psalm 139: 13-16 "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Mark 9: 36,37 "He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in His arms, He said to them, 'Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.'" Deuteronomy 11:26 "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse." Proverbs 21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

AMEN to God's purposes and plans! And AMEN to those who heed them!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Straw in Your Hair (by Judy)

Two weeks ago I had a wonderful experience, for I returned to the beautiful northern California of Jack’s and my early married years. Though I stayed in San Francisco, I spent most of each day at a conference in Berkeley, land of creative architecture, whimsical gardens, affordable restaurants, and free-spirited people.

The conference had a high-minded focus on ecology and sustainability, which if you have read previous blogs, you know directly relates to my new job at my school as resident beekeeper and gardener. But I try always to have an additional focus, which is how I connect everything I learn with my faith, and then use that insight to connect with others.

There was ample opportunity to find authentic links, for the conference focused on clarity of purpose, building relationships among those who are like-minded and even more among those who are not and, especially, on our place in God’s world, and the transitions in nature from life to death to life again. But something even better happened. The best lesson that I learned during my 5-day sojourn did not take place in the classroom. It was in the garden, in the sunshine, among bales of straw. (See the attached photo, including the stretched out legs of my traveling companion)

We are designed to rest after work. Our bodies require it, but even more, our spirits long for it, and we are called to enjoy it. God rested after six days of creation. Not because he was exhausted and burned out (of course not – He is God!), but because He was setting forth a model for us, and He called it GOOD! At the beginning of the Bible: “…on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy…” and at the end: “… for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”

I am writing this early in July, dear readers. It is summer! Take time to rest. Delight in the wonders of the natural world. Smell the scents, taste the treats, find a figurative bale of straw, and above all – listen!

This is my Father's world: he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere.