Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just a pretty face.

My spouse went to renew his driver's license, yesterday. As residents of our state, it is something we do every six years, whether we want to or not.
Luckily, our closest Department of Motor Vehicles Office is located not far from our house. It used to be even the back of a pet store. Most of the licensing locations in our state are housed in local businesses. I've renewed my license, over the years, in a laundromat, a grocery store, a hardware store and the above mentioned pet food store. That pet food store smelled like birds, cats litter, dog food and pet poo. Believe me, waiting in line, next to the Fresh Step, was very unpleasant.
Driver's licenses serve as our state's photo ID. So, the photo you have on your license is a six-year reminder of how you looked on the day you received your license. When I last renewed my license, I had no hair. I had just finished a 6 session round of chemotherapy. I remember asking the surly clerk/photographer if I could just keep the last picture (when I had hair). She said, "No. Of course not." For the last five years, when I have needed photo ID, I'm always asked, "Who's this bald chick?"
Yesterday, at the DMV, was a tale of "not-who-you-know-but-what-you-are". The young, very attractive women directly in line in front of my husband, was having her ID photo taken. The young male clerk took her photo 4 times, before she decided it was okay. When it was my husband's turn it was ONE and DONE. He didn't even get to look at it before it went into the laminator. Oh, well.
The moral of this little tale. Life just isn't fair.

Gracious and all knowing God. Thank you for our many blessings. Our stumbling block are minor. You will catch us every time we trip. We know that you are with us each minute of every day. Open our hearts and minds to see all aspects of your wonderful world.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"When I was younger, so much younger than today."

It was a terrific "learning experience". On Thursday morning, the snow began to fall. By 4 p.m. on Thursday, we had a total of between 10 and 12 inches. The drifts, caused by the powerful winds, had accumulated to up to 14 or 15 inches, in some spots.
Friday morning dawned cold, clear and sunny. It was time to shovel the driveway. I am the designated shoveler at our house, and from years of experience, I know that in order to move really deep snow, it must be removed in layers. First you skim off a couple of inches and then you dig up the rest on the second or maybe third shovel full.
After about 15 minutes, I only had three to four square feet cleared. At this rate, it appeared, that I would finish by Sunday morning...maybe.
Then a young man drove up and offered to clear our driveway, with his SNOW BLOWER....for a price. I immediately said YES. Twenty miunutes later, our massive expanse of pavement was clear and he had his check.
The lesson is, I cannot do everything by myself. Clearing the driveway was way too big a task for me to accomplish alone. I needed help. I needed to accept help. And fortunately, help came my way.
God is always there, ready to help us along our life journey. All we need to do is ask and accept. We are not on this path alone.
More snow is expected on Monday.

Dear Lord: We open our hearts and minds to you. Guide us and allow us to accept your help. We are in need, always. We thank you for the gentle and the not so gentle reminders that you are in charge.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


This morning I had the opportunity to attend two Sunday morning services at two different churches. Now, that's not terribly unusual. I imagine that many folks do that kind of thing. Preachers with more than one congregation or folks who are asked to be a guest speaker at a church, other than their own, are often called to attend several services in one day. And, maybe even some families do it. First the family goes to one church, then they hop in the car and travel someplace to attend another.

Anyway, it's a bit unusual for me. I've done it, but I've never experienced what I did this morning. In the course of a couple of hours, I witnessed two of the most diverse worship services this little old church lady has ever encountered.

At 8:00, I was formally attired in my choir robe, complete with the appropriately colored liturgical stole, ready to sing all of the formal hymns, responses and group prayers a Lutheran Church can offer. It was a really nice service. The preacher was spot-on as he combined personal stories with the scripture message of the Good Samaritan. Formal communion, at the rail, completed the worship service.

At 10:30, I attended an extremely informal Praise Worship at a United Methodist Church. The preacher wore sneakers. The Praise Band, which consisted of a drummer and a couple of guitars, accompanied the congregation in several songs.
Scripture for this service was the temptation of Jesus. By blending what it means to be a child of God, with the experience of Jesus, as the actual son of God, the message was very meaningful. Communion was by Intinction (some have called it Drive-By), but it was very worshipful.

So, what did I learn? What did I gain from this double-whammy of contradictory worship practices?
God does work on us in mysterious ways! His message is meant for all of us. He's going to get to us one way or the other. Only God's way is the right matter how it is delivered.

Dear God. We're different. You know it. Thank you for being the very thing that we all need. You are all things to your children.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I understand that one of the highlights of the recent Super Bowl of Football was the half-hour black-out. I've been talking to friends who were so engrossed in the game, the commercials, the half-time show and the inane commentary of former jocks that they continued to watch the mostly darkened arena, eyes glued to their TV screens.
Come on folks. It's a game. And, there was nothing going on.
Which leads me to a burning question (no pun intended). When is the best time to  leave the viewing area, to visit the bathroom? Fans, tell me, please?
Is it best to leave during the play-by-play? What if you miss a great touchdown pass or a really long run. What if the receiver catches the ball, falls down and jumps up to run into the end zone for a touchdown? If you are in the potty, you missed the whole thing.
Do you hold everything necessary until a commercial break? What if you miss the commercial everyone is talking about, at school or the office, for the next two weeks? You know, we're all waiting to see a better pitch than that old "Coke and the kid" ad, of two decades ago.
What about during the half-time show? But, if there just happens to be another wardrobe malfunction (a la Janet Jackson), you don't want to be the only viewer that misses it.
And, should you make your break during the riveting re-hash of every play ever played on the gridiron? Those 3-5 old guys know EVERYTHING about the game. They know, because they played it, back in the day.
Maybe the whole Super Bowl broadcast is a plot, created by the Urologists of America, to get you into their offices for a check-up. Just a thought.

Lord: We are the craziest bunch of folks. You must get a big laugh out of what we think is important. You made life so simple for us and we make living it so hard.
You said....Love You and love others as ourselves. That's what you teach us, daily.
We are thankful for the lessons you give us.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Whole Truth and Nothing But .....

The Scripture this morning was I Corinthians 13: 1-13. Well, it's February, and these familiar verses, which we Christians consider as the "Love Chapter", are perfect for the month of romantic love. Chapter 13, is almost always read at weddings and often printed in Valentine Cards. We know the words by heart. "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious..." and so on. Great words for lovers to hear. And very appropriate.
But (and this was a light bulb moment for me this morning) Chapter 13,  follows Chapter 12.  This morning I read them together for the first time. And ZOWIE. A light bulb went on in my small brain.
The verses describing love in Chapter 13, are in reference to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Chapter 12. This isn't Valentine stuff at all!
I am a great believer in Gifts and Graces. I know in my heart that we all have worth and that each one of us is talented in our own special God given way. In reading Chapter 12, we are given a list of the Gifts that we might receive, through the grace of God.
Then in Chapter 13, Paul writes that the "greatest of these Gifts, is love" and furthermore, if you don't have this Gift of love, then any other Gift that you might have been given is totally worthless. If what you do isn't done in the Spirit of love, then you are not using your Gift in the way that God intended it to be used.
What a great lesson for me this morning. God was telling me to read the whole story and I just might get the real picture.

Gracious and all knowing God. You understand us and our shortcomings. Keep our minds and our hearts open to your words of wisdom. We need your knowledge and guidance. We thank YOU for our Gifts. Help us to use them in Love.