This week I kept misplacing little but important things. My lipstick, my hearing aid batteries, my sunglasses, one earring, the scissors, and of course the car keys. Parched lips and hearing loss may not be something that concerns you, but is monumental for me. Driving without sunglasses poses a threat, and of course there is no driving without a key. Everyone surely relates to the importance of a car, even if you feel a slave to it like I sometimes do. You must wonder why one lost earring would cause me to break a sweat. Mainly, because I took them off the night before and put them both on the dresser, so I expected them to both be there in the morning. I looked carefully all around the dresser in case it had danced off the edge when I was not looking. It was no where. This causes me to think I am losing my mind. Did I put it somewhere else. I checked my earlobe- nope, not there. I checked the drawers underneath and found only my clothes. What burglar would sneak in for one earring? I chose another pair and went on with my day. I try to put everything in the same place everyday so I don’t misplace them. Somehow the little important things still escape my memory. Sometimes I feel misplaced myself. I have said too often, ” I should have been there”. We can’t be everywhere of course, so I depend on God to do that. I have been warned not to spread myself to thin. I wish we had a meter or measuring implement for that. I wish to be with my family for all important occasions and to help out. I wish to be with those who are fun and uplifting, or those who need what little help I can give. I really like being with those who invite me to join them and those that always come when I invite them. When we are included and welcomed, it feels like the right place. When we are cherished and appreciated, it is certainly a good place to be. The challenge is to go where we may not be welcome and to shine a light of love there so they will feel the presence of something wonderful that I call the Holy Spirit. When I am misplaced I don’t shine for long. I pray for endurance to keep running the race set before me. As I grab my coat, I suddenly find lipstick and keys in the pockets. There is also a Kleenex just in case. I almost always have to run back into the house for something, like my hearing aids- hope the batteries last another day. I can’t remember what I was going to do with the scissors, but the sunglasses were in the car waiting for me. What ever race we run, I wish for us to go from misplaced to Miss Placed. It does not have to be first place, just the right place to remember what we are called to do. Shine the light of love in everyplace we go.
Yesterday, I was making my morning tea in a Hilton hotel room. It has a a Cuisinart brewing system with a two cup option that I thought looked clever. I put two cups of water in the top and prepared the two paper cups under the spigot to receive the hot water. A tiny dial on top was pointing to the two cup option and I pressed the start button. Gurgling sounds ensued as the first cup was filling. Suddenly, the cup had filled to the top and continued to spout water in the same cup until it overflowed. As it accumulated in the tray beneath, I quickly swapped the cups and my faithful hubby started swabbing up the spill. On closer inspection, the little dial was pointing to the one cup option. This is clearly a faulty design meant to pour scalding water on unsuspecting hands. Why has there not been a recall on such a dangerous set up? At least there should be a bright neon warning sign. As I announced to my hubby that this will be in my weekly blog, he proclaimed, “Your Cup Overflows”. Ironically, we then joined my family to celebrate the life of a beloved man who now rests with the Lord. Psalm 23 was read by the pastor and again I hear, “My cup overflows”. It seems that the image of over the top abundance is pointing to the love our family shares so freely. There was an overflow of tears and emotion that necessitated many tissues to clean up our eyes, but then there was sweet stories and video shows full of happy memories. We were pleased to be part of the celebration that started in a darkened sanctuary that was candlelit because of an electrical outage. When a story was being told about traditional family gatherings at the lake; the lights suddenly turned on and illuminated the whole room. Again, this highlighted the importance of family. My cup overflows with joy of gathering together, it overflows with goodness that comes from those who work together toward a goal , it overflows with love that we know comes from the heart of a Creator who first loves us. The overflow might get messy without warning, so keep some extra Kleenex tucked in the sleeves like I do.(things my mother taught me). Back to the traditional teapot I go. Who needs a refill?
Yesterday, I attended the Chosen Women’s Conference at Seacoast Church and was inspired by several talented speakers and energizing worship leaders. Then it happened. Linda Howard and I were called by name to the stage in front of a thousand women during a pre show presentation by our comical pastors Josh Walters and Adam Martin. We were invited to participate in “corporate training” for the PMS transport company. Our skills in agility, balance, and speed were tested in the extreme challenge exercise of getting dressed while duct taped together at the ankles, chest and wrists. Let’s just say Linda and I have never been closer. As we nearly rolled off the stage to acquire the pants; Pauley, our extreme trainer, dragged us by the legs back to center stage. How we ever got to standing with me clinging for life to the back of LInda is extraordinary. Our pastor has big biceps hiding under that onesie he was wearing. Laughter in the room shook me from head to toe, or was that me laughing myself silly? This was more than a lesson in teamwork. It was an awaking to the obstacles that keep us from doing what should be simple. Linda and I often work together for the same goals and celebrate victories. Being latched together tightly had huge limitations that were not to our benefit. How beautiful to be free to offer our separate talents together as we are called to do so by God. What was most remarkable to me was to be called by name, just as Jesus the shepherd knows us and calls us each by name. I was enthralled to participate in something so grand when I usually volunteer in smaller venues. This is not about notoriety or popularity. It is about pastors who recognize their flock and give them opportunity to participate and serve. Josh and Adam knew we would cooperate and give our best to follow their direction. We were proud to demonstrate the joy of our Post Menopausal Stamina. All the speakers called on the women in the room to “Shine”. We were reminded that light is most needed in the darker places of our world and in our own minds. It is our responsibility to prepare and be ready to let our light shine. We cannot let the enemy or a little duct tape hinder us and keep us from our destiny. Walk in the light because You too are being called by name.
Yesterday, I toasted moldy wheat bread for my breakfast without seeing the green speckles until I put the toast on my plate. Obviously, physical training at 6am with my hubby has put great fatigue on my sensory perception. It was a shock to see mold on bread that I bought just a few days ago. You are wondering if I scraped it off and ate it, because that is what my mother would have done. No, I cut off the fuzzy part on top and ate the bottom- I was hungry! There is always the chance that I ingested a few spores, and just maybe it will be an antibiotic to keep me healthy through the autumn months. ( who likes getting a flu shot?) After I inspected the rest of the loaf, I deemed it safe and put it in the fridge. It is no longer humid in the house, but the seven grain loaf has no preservatives, so it is susceptible to unseen elements. It is difficult to protect our food and our bodies from the unseen elements. Much of the microscopic world is natural and helpful, yet there are tiny things that battle against our balance everyday. It can be just as problematic to prevent our souls from being damaged by the ravages of very visible factors too. There is a constant barrage of things that make us sad, afraid, or negative. It takes a vigilant effort to process what happens in our lives and in the “news” and then to switch on the happy, the brave, and the positive mindset that allows us to live a life full of gratitude and contentment. My negative thoughts are primarily stupid stuff that sneak through my normal optimism. All can be well in my personal life, but I will fixate on something that is not right in my out of reach or out of touch family or circle of close friends. Worry grows like mold between slices of bread. Worry is not always visible, but it grows in the nooks and crannies until it ruins something that was healthy and delightful. That is why I need to worship every week to replace my negative thoughts with joy and Thanksgiving. I look forward to Sunday worship with like minded people, but I also look for every opportunity to sing and dance on the week days. My weak days seem to happen when I am alone, which is all too often. This can only mean that I need to team up with others who are alone. Today I will join thousands in the Race for the Cure. This will surely lift my spirit and soul. If you are feeling old and moldy, come on over for some fresh baked friendship. I am truly grateful for daily bread.
Yesterday, everyone I know was having a change of plans. For many of you it was to evacuate your homes; for some, your flight plans were canceled or changed as mine were. The whole world is watching the swirling clouds of the hurricane play havoc on the islands and coastlands like a game of crack-the-whip. My hubby rescheduled my flight to Charleston and invited me to go with him to Columbus on business. I stuffed a few things in his suitcase for the overnight, including work out clothes to keep up with some semblance of my daily exercise regime. When I put on my white socks, they were two inches too long. How did manly socks get in my drawer, and why do they look like mine? I yanked them up to my ankle and wriggled into my shoes. The tread mill worked out more than I did while my feet complained inside the sloppy socks. I will never be able to fill my sweetheart’s shoes, much less his socks. He is a man that works hard, gets much accomplished and looks after many people. I am proud to be his helpmate and try to take care of the small stuff. Usually, I get his socks in the right drawer but not always with the right colors together. He likes the meals I plan and serve, he likes my company when I am not nagging him, and he likes how I keep our home as a welcoming refuge from the office. It is a real treat to go on a business trip and meet the people he works with to better the world. So much of my world revolves around church and ministry that I appreciate a reality check on how commerce and capitalism fund everything we do. Just to tie all these themes together, I will say that my hubby and I are ready to face anything together. Storms, change, rescheduling, rebuilding; is is all easier when we help eachother. I will continue with the small stuff. Hubby has control of the big stuff, and we trust God together to make all things work for the good. Please lead people to a place of safety Lord. Sock it to me Hurricane and watch our faith grow with the storm surge.
Yesterday, I drove to Albino’s for some of our favorite Italian spaghetti sauce. After turning on the stove with a pot of water for the whole wheat pasta, I gathered mushrooms, onion and fresh herbs from the garden, only to discover that I had no tomatoes or cans of tomato sauce. I closed the sliding door, grabbed my purse and keys, and hopped in the car for the five minute drive; all the while thinking about how much my family loves Tommy Volpe’s sauce that grandpa would serve with meatballs when our children were growing up. You are already wondering if I turned off the burner with the pot of water- no I didn’t. I didn’t even think of it until I encountered three road blocks on the way. First was a baby raccoon sitting in the middle of the road stopping traffic both ways. Then, there was an ambulance at the light blocking one lane while transferring someone from a car that was still on the road. This caused considerable neck strain for the drivers and a traffic jam. Third, was a Firetruck with sirens blaring as I was about to make a left turn into the parking lot. Then it occurred to me, “I need to hurry back to a pot on the stove!” I raced into the store and bought the sauce without even a “How Dee Do”. I drove a different path back home in time to be greeted by a pot of rolling boiling water, and put the pasta right in to cook. Roadblocks that thwart our progress can be most frustrating and disastrous. It is imperative not to let them become stumbling blocks that would stop us from our important mission. Jesus seemingly accuses Peter of being a stumbling block in one breath right after he praises him for his insight. The strong words of, “Get behind me Satan”, are appropriate for anything pushes us away from knowing the love of our Savior. It is far to often that I let distractions blur my vision. I need to stay focused and never let politics, science, entertainment or current trends cloud my thinking. It is easy to let negative forces pull us in the wrong direction away from the healthy and happy relationships God designed for us. I am reminded that a good meal can be ruined by discussions that happen around the table. Feeding the soul is as important as filling the belly. Luckily, I have not set the kitchen on fire, I have fed many people (sometimes really tasty dishes) and I am planning ahead for the next meal. If things don’t go as I expect, or I am slowed down by roadblocks; why worry? We have some great restaurants right down the road.