Hail and Ice Storm

It may be spring, but the storms aren’t over! We had a terrific hail and ice storm!

Of course, it’s beautiful…

But it knocked the top right out of this stately old pine tree—

Worse yet…it fell not two feet from our van!

Had it fallen about three feet to the north, it probably would have totaled our van, but as it was, it only broke off the mirror and made a few gashes here and there. I was lamenting what to do, remembering that I’d just asked my insurance agent to take off everything but PLPD on the van last fall, when a friend hauled the tree away from the van for me and suggested that I try calling my home owner’s insurance. I called “just in case” they might cover it. In fact, my home owner’s policy wouldn’t touch auto damage. “However,” the agent responded cheerfully, “you still have complete coverage on your van, so we’ll fix it!”

Thank you, Lord! I often get frustrated by companies forgetting or failing to do what they say they’ll do, but this time I was overjoyed! I guess sometimes human error can actually work beneficially. So, it looks like in a week our van will be “good as new” again. Three cheers for a major disaster averted and help with the recovery! 🙂

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.”

(Lamentations 3:22-23)

 


Spring Has Sprung!

Lots to celebrate today! It’s the first day of spring, and there’s open water for the swans. (In fact, it got up to 66° exactly two weeks after the swans returned. Aren’t they clever?) Even more exciting to me is the fact that Alan just completed his LAST radiation treatment, and he’s not even feeling too bad! We’re going to take the kids out to celebrate…both this momentous event, and the wonderful blessing of Stephen’s having been admitted to M.S.U.’s music performance program as well as their musicology program, and he’s going to receive a lovely teaching fellowship to fund his work while he toils to earn two M.A. degrees! 🙂

Finally, I want to tell you a fun story about my grand daughters. Michael and Grace took the girls to Italy (where you see they both took turns holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa). During their travels, Mike and Grace would give the girls a Euro to drop in street musicians’ hats. Well, after returning home, Michael was practicing with his new chanter (used to learn how to play the bagpipes). His little girls ran giggling to the bedroom, emptied out their piggy banks, and returned, dumping their gifts at Michael’s feet! I think that’s a wonderful example of what goes around comes around!! I love it! 🙂

“Give, and it shall be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use,  it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38

Inside the Revolution

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Did you know that only 6% of Muslims are of the radical “Jihad” persuasion? That’s not a lot, so likely your friendly neighborhood Muslim family is peace-loving and wants to be your neighbor…not annihilate you. On the other hand, at over 1.66 billion Muslims, 6% becomes a staggering 99.6 million…enough to do a lot of damage given their commission to destroy all non Allah-worshiping infidels…

If you’re wondering about the tensions and trouble in the Middle East, I can recommend this excellent video—Inside the Revolution—hosted by Joel Rosenberg, who’s an American communications strategist from an evangelical perspective and an Orthodox Jewish background. The video is only $10 from Barnes and Nobles…or free if you want to borrow it from me. I was both amazed and encouraged by what I learned. I’ll just share a couple of other things I learned, but this captivating documentary is well worth watching in its entirety.

Did you know there is also an increasingly large group of Muslims who are turning to faith in Christ as the Messiah? Did you know that there is a “reformed” (believing) Muslim who is being broadcast every day preaching the gospel in the Middle East and has a $20 million bounty on his head? That’s more than anyone ever offered to pay for the capture of Saddam Hussein…so you can see that persuasive preachers aren’t popular in some parts of the Middle East.

At any rate, those of us who follow Christ are called to love and peace, not hate and war. Jesus tells us to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44). That’s a tall order!!  Regardless of how others may feel about us, disciples of Christ is called to a life of loving, ministering, and attempting to heal and restore. May God help us fulfill His calling for us!

Cancer for Two

“Dont’ go there ’til you get there.” Dave Balch

Last night Alan wanted to go to bed at 8:30 pm. He only has 4 radiation treatments left, and he’s really tired, so I thought I’d try. And, it almost worked… until midnight!  Then—I was wide awake, so I crept out and finished Dave Balch’s Cancer for Two, detailing how he and his wife Chris journeyed together through her breast cancer. The book is filled with questions, answers, tips, bits of wisdom, emotions, and humor…a great read for anyone embarking on an expedition through the land of cancer (as Walt Wangerin would say).

The two themes that were most striking to me were the importance of good humor and the importance of not stressing about the future. I remembered back to my days (not so long ago) of caring for Cheryl R. through her journey with breast (and later lung and brain) cancer, and I recall being struck over and over again with how she retained her sense of humor. Oh, Lord, help!! I need a sense of humor and light-heartedness again. On the theme of not stressing, Dave’s mantra, “Don’t go there ’til you get there,” is totally right on. In fact, both principles are right on for all of life, not just fighting cancer. So, here’s to attempting to live life with humor and hakuma matata! 🙂

Have you heard that life right this minute is a gift from God?

That’s why it’s called “the present.”

“A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

(Proverbs 17:22)

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

(Matthew 6:34)

Who Owns This Land?

Have you heard this account yet? …Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich in history stretching back over two centuries, houses had been passed along through generations of family, often making it quite difficult to establish ownership.

An attorney was told that his client’s FHA loan would be granted if he could provide a satisfactory title for a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down.

After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply: “Upon review of your letter adjoining your client’s loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin.”

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows: “Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.  For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France , which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus’s expedition…Now the Pope, as I’m sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God’s original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our  loan?”

The loan was immediately approved. 🙂

“The sea is His, and he made it: and His Hands formed the dry land.”

(Psalm 95:5)

Changing and Improving Pains

“Change allows us to exit the comfortable and enter the improved.”
~David Cottrell

So, most of our wood floors are done and glowing, and we were even able to start reorganizing our living room over the weekend.

But, now our basement music room is totally torn apart so we can finish the ceiling. (It’s only taken us 18 years to save up the money for these projects!) 🙂Do you ever feel like your home and life are in constant change and commotion, and you just wish you could live somewhere that’s completely done and completely beautiful? I do. I get tired of the hard work and changing pains! I also wish  that I myself could be completely “done” and beautiful too! However, on this earth, I know that both myself and my possessions will always need to be fixed, or finished, or improved, and that I’ll never look like a million dollars or live in a million dollar house.

But, ya know what? I’m okay with that! And, even at times when I feel like “it will never end,” I am thankful that God never gives up on me!

“Being confident of this very thing,that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)