My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Archive for June, 2009

Heaven…

I got to talk to Bella in Kenya today. I was so glad to hear from her and find out about their first CBS (equivalent to our VBS). They had around 125 kids show up! God is truly blessing their work in Meru, Kenya.

Something Bella said really got under my skin. The team noticed that pretty much every song that the Kenyans sing in worship is about Heaven. Why do Kenyans sing about Heaven so much? They asked the Kenyan Christians and the response just astounded me. The reason the Kenyan Christians sing about Heaven all the time, they explained, is that Americans live in Heaven now, but Heaven is the only hope the Kenyans have to look forward to. WOW!!!

Did that just hit you like it did me? They are correct, these wise Kenyans. We Americans have no clue how the rest of the world lives. Just today my office was all in an uproar because our internet access was down and the phone and fax weren’t working too well either. It took approximately half a day to fix them. We were all stressing about not being able to check our email and do our jobs. Yes, it was frustrating but how important was this actually?

There is the beginning of a famine in Kenya. The people in Meru haven’t had enough rain to grow crops to eat for the past two years. Even worse, the people of Maasailand haven’t had enough rain for three years. Their cattle are beginning to starve to death. The Maasai people are having to herd their cattle 150 or more miles to get to the base of Mt. Kenya where there is more rain and vegetation for the cattle. And I’m worrying about my email?

Heaven is the hope for all of us. We Americans are just too pampered and have it too good to remember how wonderful Heaven is. People who are truly suffering know the hope that is Heaven. The live with that hope everyday. That is why the sing constantly about Heaven.

As much as I hate “suffering”, if you can call anything I’ve been through really suffering, I don’t think I’ve suffered near enough. Because if I had actually suffered, I would long for Heaven. I would long to be resting in the arms of Jesus.

So while I am praying for God to ease the suffering of the people of Kenya, I am also thanking God that He is letting me see the Kenyan Christian’s faithfulness during their suffering. Paul tells us in Romans, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willing, but, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Romans 8:18-25

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Coming Soon…

Sorry guys…I know I have been remiss and haven’t posted anything recently. As usual, there is so much going on I don’t have a second to stop and write anything. I do have a couple of things I want to blog about and I am going to try to get them done in the next day or so. I think I’m going to shoot for twice a week posting.

Just quickly…Bella got to Kenya safely and already is remembering why she LOVED it last year. She truly is happy there and knows that this is where she needs to be.

Buster

Buster

So…I’m missing her like crazy but also am so happy she is there. Her dog, Buster, is driving me insane as he misses her and is pining away already. It took him a couple of weeks to get this way last year, but alas…he is a year older and grumpier.

Buster in 2008-Missing Bella

Buster in 2008-Missing Bella

Continue to pray for the team as they are doing the VBS’s and training of the adults.

I’ll post more soon =-)

Have a Smoke On Me…

A few years back, Bud really got into smoking cigars. He absolutely loved to smoke them. He actually still does but is more limited financially to buy them.

When Bud was really into the cigars, he became friends with one of the guys that ran one of the cigar shops in Montgomery. One day this guy, Keith, let Bud know that he had a private collection of Opus X cigars. These cigars are only made in a limited amount so they are hard to come by. Keith offered to let Bud buy two of the Opus X’s out of his private stash at the tune of $27.00 a piece.

Of course, I was not happy he spent $54.00 on cigars but he assured me that this was the only time he would do that.

So…all week Bud was thinking about when he would get to smoke his cigars. Finally the weekend came and Bud got his cigars out of his humidor. He set them on the table and went to find his cutter and the blow torch he called a lighter.

When he came back, the cigars were gone! We searched for them and low and behold, there was Bailey, one of our basset hounds face to the wall in the corner steadily eating something, which turned out to be said cigars.

Bailey

Bailey

Bud, understandably, went ballistic. By the time he got the cigars from Bailey, they were in pretty bad shape. I’ll have to hand it to Bud, he did still try to smoke one. However, there were so many holes in the cigar that smoke was just pouring out of all of them.

Bud eventually broke Bailey of cigars by “shotgunning” her with one which drove her nuts.

The funny thing is that a few weeks ago Bud bought a cigar to smoke (granted a cheap one) and sat in the glider out front to smoke it. Bailey and the other bassets came to the door to see what was up and the second Bailey got a wiff of cigar smoke, she took off running and wouldn’t come near the door again. I guess she’s not a fan of cigars anymore.

Lookin’ Good…

Between my Junior and Senior years of high school, I finally convinced my parents to let me move back to Alabama from California (for the whole story, see Falling in Love (or God’s Plan for my Life) part III). Once the decision was made I didn’t have a whole lot of time (maybe a month) to figure out what I was taking with me and getting everything packed for the move. I ended up packing two huge suitcases and I’m not talking about today’s suitcases, these were old monsters from my grandmother – that hard Samsonite luggage with the interior lining that looks like coffin lining.

I spent the whole month also trying to pick out just the right outfit for my reunion with Bud. I wanted to look just right since we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of months at that point. After much searching, I finally found the right outfit! I found these great hot pink pants and a white ruffled shirt with multi-colored stripes. I thought I looked fantastic!

They day for my departure arrived and I spent a lot of time trying to get ready. I had a day-long trip ahead of me (a plane ride from Ontario, CA to Dallas, TX then change not only planes but airlines, then another trip from Dallas, TX into Birmingham, AL). As the plane was about to come into Birmingham, I freshened up so I would look great for Bud.

So they picked me up and we lugged my massively heavy suitcases into the car and proceeded to drive to Montgomery. Bud’s family had decided to have a cookout in my honor. We got to his house and all three of his sisters, their families, and Bud’s parents were there for the cookout. Boy was I glad that I looked so spiffy with all these people there.

Bud and I fixed our plates of barbeque, baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs, and a big ole glass of sweet tea. We decided we would sit outside on the picnic table to eat. Bud sat down and I decided to sit next to him. BIG MISTAKE!

The whole table flipped over as soon as I sat down. I’m lying on the ground with the picnic table on top of me as well as all that great barbecue, baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs, and about a gallon of sweet tea.

So there I’m laying…a huge mess of food and tea with everyone in the family running out to stare! So much for a good impression. The funny thing is I think that really broke the ice. To this day someone will bring it up out of the blue.

And I will say there is probably a good reason my middle name ain’t grace cuz I sure don’t have any!

 

Summer, Here I Come!

Since it’s almost officially summer, I was thinking I would kick it off by writing about an incident that happened last summer at the lake.

My friend Cindy and I had decided to spend a girl’s weekend at the lake at Cindy’s lake house. Since her husband, Avery, was working, we took Cindy’s three dogs with us. One of the dogs, Mabel, was under a year old at the time. She is a boxer so she is really stubborn and hard-headed.

Mabel

Mabel

Just to tell you how hard-headed this dog is I need to tell you what happened that morning. Cindy and I were piddling around outside and we brought the dogs, including Mabel, out to run around and swim in the little inlet they have on the property. Usually if all three dogs are swimming in that area they will stay right there.

Well we turned our heads for just a moment and when we looked back Mabel was gone. Of course we were in full “freak-out” mode because Mabel is actually Avery’s dog and now we had gone and lost her! So we ran all around looking for Mabel. We were really concerned because Mabel has this bad habit of swimming out into the lake way too far. I finally decided to get in the truck and ride down the road a ways seeing if I could spot her. I got to the end of the road where there is a boat-storage place or something of that nature and low and behold there was Mabel – swimming in the middle of the lake following a flock of ducks. Of course I yelled at Mabel and I swear she just glanced my way quickly and then turned her head away from me and started swimming even harder. I about yelled myself hoarse before I finally got her back on shore.

When I brought her back to the house, Cindy proceeded to beat her butt and then attached her to the chain secured to the house so she couldn’t go anywhere. Mabel was so mad at Cindy…she wouldn’t even look at her and completely ignored her the rest of the day

A few hours later, Cindy and I decided to get in the lake and just float around on floats. Cindy had her other two dogs, Molly and Watson (who are both Jack Russells) on a float with her. I was floating on a noodle and decided to get Mabel and let her swim too. It was really funny because she would only come to me and was still ignoring Cindy.

So I got Mabel and put her on the noodle too. Mabel has these ridiculously long arms so she knows how to sling them over the noodle and hold herself up and float. She was facing me and we were just chilling there floating. Every now and then she would put one arm around my shoulder and just shoot Cindy these ugly glances.

As we were floating along, I felt something graze the back of my thigh. I was trying to figure out how Mabel’s tail had gotten around my leg when it happened again. This time, however, it didn’t just graze my leg; it bumped into it and then rubbed my leg as it swam by. From the amount of time it took to go by, I realized this thing had to be around 1 ½ to 2 feet long! Well of course I went into pure panic mode and let out a scream….which was a BIG mistake. As soon as I screamed Mabel began to climb up my body. She was now in full panic mode as well!

So there I was, trying to swim as fast as I could to the dock and Mabel was steadily trying to climb up my body and sit on my head! I was freaking out and she’s freaking out and what was Cindy doing? Laughing so hard she was crying. I finally make it to the dock, which was in reality only about 5 feet away but it seemed to be about 5 miles. We got up on the dock and Mabel runs one way and I go the other. My upper body was now covered in scratches and gouges where Mabel has gotten me with her toenails. And Cindy? She was still floating there laughing so hard she can barely talk. Finally, she can get some words out and what does she say? “I’m so glad I was in the lake because if I was on the dock I would have wet my pants laughing so hard!”

Wow…what a friend. And good to have for help in a crisis….NOT!

As I am writing this, we are getting ready to go to the lake for the day with Cindy and Avery. And, I know two things: I am probably going to get the willies when I get in the lake and swim AND Mabel is NOT floating with me again! Other than that: Summer – Here I Come!

Don’t Bring Me Down…

A little over a week ago Lucy, Bella’s gerbil, died. Friday night I went to feed Rick James, the other gerbil, some celery and realized he had also died sometime during the day.

After he died, Bella picked him up from his cage and her hand was covered with these little red moving dots. After some research, we found out that both Rick James and Lucy must have died from having a severe mite infection. We didn’t know anything about mites or even that gerbils could have them and spread them to each other. We also learned that they can kill gerbils.

The guy who had Lucy that gave him to Bella originally had another gerbil. Usually the gerbils were purchased by the school through a medical supplier.  However, when Biv’s original gerbil died mid-semester, the professor didn’t have time to order another and purchased Lucy from a pet-supply store. Apparently, Lucy was infected with mites. When Bella got both Lucy and Rick James and put them in the same cage, Lucy infected Rick James and subsequently they both died.

This got me to thinking about people. We too suffer from an infection. We are born infected with sin. We got this infection from Adam at the moment of our conception and it is an infection that leads to death. The Bible teaches us that “… the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). We are going to die because of the curse of sin. As believers, we are ultimately cured of this infection. Our earthly bodies will still die, but we will live forever with Christ in Heaven.

As believers; however, we also can be “infected” by sin in another way. 1 Corinthians 6:9 tells us, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”” In our earthly bodies, we still war with sin. (Thanks Tommy for the wonderful sermon on this topic last night!)  We have to struggle every day to not let sin corrupt (or infect) us. Being around others, especially unbelievers, tends to make this struggle harder. Most people can relate to this. A good illustration for me, someone who struggles with losing weight, is being around people who eat whatever they want all the time. I can stick with my Weight Watchers and do pretty good until I am around others who are eating. Then it is an intense struggle for me not to snack and eat unhealthy. It is the same for us when people are sinning around us.

Unfortunately, sin can be a lot of fun. Our corrupted, sinful bodies long and fight against the Holy Spirit within us. We WANT to sin. Someone once put it this way to me: it is easier to pull someone off a chair then for someone on a chair to pull another up. In the same way, it is easier to drag someone down into sinfulness with you than to help them to be holy.

That’s why I am once again in a good, sound accountability group. I need someone to pull me up and help me to live a holy life. I need someone to knock me in the head and call me out when I sin. And to help inoculate me from the infection called sin.