November 30, 2009

A Little Help

I was visiting my brother and his family the other evening and saw the most precious thing. Walking up the stairs my eyes caught the sight of something only a loving father (grandfather in this case) would do. The moment I saw it I was reminded of our heavenly Father and how He cares for each of us on a very personal level.

At almost two years old, my brother's granddaughter is trying her hardest to master the stairs. Exceptionally petite in stature, her hands can barely reach the main railing, so thinking outside the box he created a custom rail just for her. It's a beautiful textured piece of wood that looks nothing like the mass produced rod it sits under. Gently handcrafted and carefully measured, this bar was made especially for his little grand baby girl to keep her safe in her travels. Whether climbing to new heights or heading down to visit her G.G. Pa (great grandpa) she has just what she needs for the journey.

This precious little railing reminds me of what our heavenly Father provides for each us as well. After all, how can we grow if we don't learn to do things for ourselves, yet some things are simply beyond our reach. That's when God provides us with our own custom-built railing. Railings that help us through the toughest of times like a much needed boost of encouragement from a faithful friend, a word of truth and hope from scripture, that warm hug given at just the right moment, an unexpected but much needed financial aid, or the relief of a breakthrough in a seemingly hopeless situation. Whatever the circumstance, God provides just what we need to make it through.

While it would be cumbersome for me to hold onto Heidi's railing, I am no less in need of one of my own. It seems no matter how old we become there is always something that's just beyond our grasp rendering us in need of a little help of our own. Perhaps you need a little support today as well. Maybe things seem beyond your reach this holiday season with too many needs and not enough resources. If so, grab ahold of our only sustainer and hope, Jesus Christ. More than a temporary bar of support, His cross has given us eternal victory over any trial that comes our way here on earth. So, grab hold of Him and climb to new heights. He'll be with you every step of the way!

"Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places.”
Deuteronomy 33:29

"But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless."
Psalm 10:14

"The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies."
Psalm 118:7

"So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6

November 26, 2009

My Part in Thanksgiving Dinner

I am not much of a cook. When Jimmy traveled full time I concocted meals just to keep the kids alive. Now that he's home he's taken over as chef and not only is he a fantastic cook, but he loves it. Guy Fieri has become his new best friend and like a fly on the wall I watch his shows too. It's never too late to develop a passion for cooking and even though I'm still only a spectator, who knows what the future may hold. Miracles do still happen.

Jimmy's always especially enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. He dolls up the bird, compiles the stuffing, and coordinates all the rest. Peculiar as it may be, however, when it comes to making pie crust I'm not half bad. If I have a food processor I can whip up a flat pastry in no time at all and it's actually quite good. A few days ago I relished Jimmy's words as they drifted across the room and onto my ears, "Dear, can you make your pie crust?" Like a nurse holding the only First-Aid kit in a hospital I felt so important and needed. After all, you can't make pumpkin pie without a crust...I don't think. Besides, even if you could it was my chance to feel vital to the project. Dropping my coat and purse I promptly washed my hands and got to work. In a jiffy my "Easy Pie Crust" was done. Now we're ready for our traditional holiday meal and I can say I contributed my part.

Easy Pie Crust
2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
5-6 Tbsp ice water

Mix flour, salt, and butter in food processor
until butter is distributed nicely.
With the food processor on, gradually add ice water
until the dough develops into a ball.
Remove ball of dough and roll it out flat
on a flour sprinkled counter.
Place in 9" pie pan.
(I don't butter the pan or dish but I suppose you could.)

What's your easy but good and favorite recipe for Thanksgiving?

November 20, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

It was a fun day at work yesterday. We enjoyed a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and a special appearance by Karolyn Grimes, the actress who played Zuzu Bailey the littlest girl from It's a Wonderful Life. She showed clips from the movie, which were in color, and shared interesting little tid-bits of information about the making of the film.

Let's see...she told us that the snow flakes used in the movie were actually Ivory Soap flakes because they were quieter than Hollywood's snow flakes. To show its affect on the movie she showed the scene when George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) jumped into the water to save Clarence and how they both surfaced in a soapy film (no pun.) Then she pointed out a particular actress in the background of one scene who was donned in a big hat with a bow. She walked back and forth in that scene six times! Karolyn said Jimmy Stewart was the most kind and humble man you'd ever want to meet and she was paid $75/week to be in the movie that took only three months to make. At that time a car cost $750, so $75 a week was no small pittance.

The film clips where hilarious, enlightening, and quick to get us in the holiday spirit, in spite of the fact the movie was filmed in 90 degree heat. When all was said and done she gifted each of us with an autographed Christmas ornaments and a warm heart. It was truly a pleasure to hear from this fine actress.

Oh... and do you know how Karolyn's character got the name Zuzu? Well, apparently back in the day there were gingerbread cookies made by the ZuZu company and Jimmy Stewart's character called his littlest girl "Zuzu his little gingerbread cookie." She was just as cute as a bug's ear back then and is today proud to be a part of one of the greatest films ever made. Thanks Karolyn for paying us a visit!

November 14, 2009

A New Sound

One of the things we love about our neighborhood is that it's quiet. Many children have lived in our vicinity throughout the years, but as life would have it they grew up and moved away. Recently, however, new neighbors moved in next door with four children, a dog, and play equipment resembling a fort. I wasn't 100% on the side of giving up the quiet, until we met this wonderful family.

Not only are the parents the nicest folks you'd ever want to meet but their children are so sweet and polite. The two boys in particular love Jimmy. One day we were playing frisbee with the dogs when suddenly we heard, "Jimmaaaaaa!" It was the youngest boy hollering at Jimmy to say hi. I piped up and said, "Hey! What about me?" to which he replied, "I don't know your name." I revealed my identity but don't think he really cares. He's a man's man and doesn't have much time for any woman other than his it should be.

We've lost our quiet neighborhood but gained so much more. I thought silence was my preference until I realized how much the sound of children playing refreshes my soul. Taking me back to my own youth, the tickles and giggles never cease to put a smile on my face.

Yesterday Jimmy took a picture of the littlest girl drawing a picture of our family on her driveway. She is as smart as a tack and full of stories. What an absolute doll and just look at that head of hair!

November 9, 2009

What's in a Name?

Making my way across the hospital cafeteria bustling with healthcare workers finishing their lunch, I was fast approaching the last few directions on my crinkled sheet of paper. The instructions had done well to guide me into the main lobby of the huge facility, left down a tight, dark, and busy corridor, a zig zagg right to the “orange” elevators, and down to level B. Once off the carrot colored lift, I was aimed to the right and then left across the cafeteria to a meeting room where I had full intentions of being prompt, present, and ready for CPR class.

Opening the door to the classroom I half expected a room full of doctors conducting a work-lunch, but was pleased to see I had indeed arrived in the right place. Sitting around tables assembled in a “U” fashion, I saw four fellow students waiting by their CPR adult and infant dummies. There seemed to be plenty of dummies to go around so I knew I’d made good time.

Upon entering the room the first thing I saw was a sign-in sheet and handouts. The dog-eared corners of the handouts were a dead giveaway they were not ours to keep. They had been used before and would be used again, so we’d be asked to hand them in at the end of class. After signing in I reached for a hand out and noticed the one on the top of the stack had the name “Kim” written in ink on the upper right corner. In one easy motion I slid it to the side and took the nameless one underneath. Interestingly enough the guy behind me did the same thing.

I love watching human behavior. It never ceases to amaze me as I try to figure out why we do the things we do. I am convinced that even though some of our actions may be bizarre and unexplainable, we all do what we do for a reason. It may not necessarily be a good reason, but it’s a reason that motivates us just the same. In this case I find it fascinating that I instinctively didn’t want the handout with Kim’s name on it and I’d wager to guess the CPR students before me slid her aside as well. The question is why? What’s wrong with using a handout that has someone else’s name on it? It was the same life-saving information, yet I shunned it as if it were substandard material. I even knew I’d be handing it in at the end of class, yet still selected a non-named sheet.

I found this observation so fascinating I ran an experiment on the ladies of the Sunday school class I co-teach. I was planning to share this story about Kim’s unwanted paper so I wrote the name Kim on the top right corner of one handout. Placing it on top of the stack I handed out the outlines. As I told the story three ladies on the back row began to snicker. Knowing they’d had an encounter with Kim I asked them to explain. Confessing and confirming what I had expected, I learned that just like the students in my CPR class, they had rejected the named outline too. The lady who ended up with it took it only because it was the last sheet and she crossed out Kim, replacing it with her own name. Oh don’t you just love it?

After working years in women’s ministry if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that no one wants a mistake in their identity. Women want their nametags correct and will let you know one way or another. Some come right out and tell you so you’ll get it right the next time, while others simply conduct their own spell check by using a Sharpie Marker to correct the error. Accepting our name misspelled simply goes against our grain. Why? Because we are unique creatures of God. Handmade in His image we are one of a kind. That's why we go to great lengths to protect our uniqueness.

There is another with a name like no other. He is Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. No one goes to the Father but by Him and He is the Light of the world! He created us, He died for us, and He loves us. Take the time to praise His Holy Name today. We owe Him our lives.

"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


Revelation 19:16

November 5, 2009

Back on Time

You know how at daylight savings time there's always one clock that's last to be adjusted? Well...this clock hangs above our T.V. and gets the most attention in all the house. I glance at it several times a day and trust it with all my heart to keep me on schedule. It sits high and majestic on the wall of our family room and though most frequently used, is often the last to get its bi-annual attention.

In years past we gone months before altering these delicate hands to reflect real time because it's no easy task. It's actually quite difficult because Jimmy has to pull our 60 some inch television away from the wall and maneuver the 8 ft ladder into place. Once all items are in position he then commences with a beautiful but cumbersome performance of adjusting and balancing the 25 lb timepiece while teetering atop the ladder; kind of like a home grown Cirque du Soleil act.

I know it's a pain but I highly encourage Jimmy to change this clock because it drives me nuts to continually recalculate the time in my head. It breeds a degree of insecurity to the point where if the time is wrong for long I have to commit to not looking at it all together because the constant springing forward or falling back tires me to tears.

Last night, when I sat down to watch my favorite show, I looked up to see Big Ben had fallen back an hour. I couldn't believe my eyes so I ran into the kitchen to confirm my hunch. Sure enough Jimmy had adjusted it while I was gone, a mere five days after daylight saving began. Now my mind can rest until we have to spring forward in six months. --- Thanks dear!

How about you? Do you have a clock that's out of reach come daylight savings time?