Tuesday, June 29, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...Image via Wikipedia

Growing up, and I confess even as an adult, one of my favorite movies has been "The Wizard of Oz". I loved watching Dorothy and her friends trek through foreign land in her search to go home again.

In a sermon recently, Glen made the statement, "Home. Doesn't that word just sound good to us?"

Its true. The very word denotes comfort and rest to most of us. Especially when we have been traveling, we look forward to returning home.

As we grow older, "home" begins to escape us. I used to like to go by the home of my grandparents, but it no longer exists. A vacant lot is now the only remembrance of a wooden house that used to shake as the trains passed on the nearby tracks; where my cousin and I would sit on the porch swing and tell tales; and where my grandmother's large family would meet for reunions.

When my parents died, Glen and I cleaned the home of my childhood to prepare it to be sold. The last act of caring for that home was symbolic of the care we had given the residents within. We cried, and as the air conditioner vent dripped condensation, it appeared the house, now empty and silent, cried as well.

Since then, I can't enter the house of my childhood without ringing the doorbell and asking permission. I can't easily go back to that home again.

Even the "home" of our bodies over time becomes a less welcoming place. Parts that worked so well in our teenage years, begin to wear out and give out on us. I was reminded of that just this week. Not yet adjusted to my new glasses, I was in a class at That is because these are not our true homes. Our true home is Christ, for "in Him we live and move and have our being." He is the true place of comfort and rest, the place that does not decay or decline, the place where there is never disappointment or dismay. And He is preparing a place for us to abide as well, that, as He said, "where I am, ye may be also."

So as the days fly by, perhaps we must leave or lose an earthly home we have known as a child or an adult and we must say goodbye to the memories those walls contain. Or perhaps we find our "house" of flesh becoming more in more disrepair, faltering and failing on us, let us look with hopeful eyes and hearts to the One who has promised us the "house not made with hands" and the home eternal where no moth or rust can decay.

So then "this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. "

"Even so, Lord Jesus, come." (Revelation 22:20)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, June 25, 2010

Real Life. . . on Hold

I had an unnerving, but unfortunately frequent, occurrence yesterday. I was

Texting on a keyboard phoneImage via Wikipedia

conversing with another health care professional regarding some work issues. We were not on email, nor on the phone, we were talking face to face.

Apparently her phone must have vibrated in her pocket. She took it out and began texting away at an answer.

I was in mid sentence when this occurred. I didn't know, should I stop my sentence and wait for her? Should I continue on speaking, assuming she could carry on both conversations, the one in real life and the one in cyberspace, simultaneously? I had been put on hold, only I was the "real life" person, not the message on the phone.

The incident immediately made me feel insignificant. I felt catapulted from having her attention, to the bottom of the totem pole, not even worthy of eye contact. I had been usurped by a series of letters on a screen and felt awkward and somewhat insulted as a result.

I wish I could tell you that I have never had this happen to me before, but alas, it is frequent in this age of instant communication to hear a bleep or bling or bell from someone's device and immediately have any communication from them ripped from you to whatever the device contains.

While relating this story to my husband, I felt convicted because, first of all, I have probably at some time, in some form done this to someone else. If I have done this to you, I apologize.

More serious to me though, is the many times I have done this to the Lord. How many times has He been desirous of my attention, my conversation, my thoughts and I have let something trivial, something less essential than the Lord of my universe, pull me away from Him? How often have I been engaged with the very Person who has given me "life and breath and all things" and then turned away for something so much less?

I can never feel wounded from my Blackberry friend because I have given so much more grief to One who could never deserve it. If I had any idea how much He delights in my prayers, my conversations, I would never let anything distract me from our communion.

". . .but the prayer of the upright is His delight."
(Proverbs 15:8)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day and Happy Birthday

Today is Father's Day. It is also my mother's birthday.

I can't help but think of my parents today. My Mom would have been 85 on this birthday. My Dad would have shaken each of his gifts to guess the contents, usually successfully.

But there is no father to take a Father's Day present to and no mother to enjoy my birthday wishes.

"But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? (Job 14:10)"

Were my faith elsewhere, I would be sad, depressed and without hope on this day. My faith, however, as the song states, "has found a resting place, not in device or creed. I trust the ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead."

I know I will see my parents again. They were both believers in the Lord Jesus and one day. . .

". . . the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)"

How much more dear will the reunion be because of the separation.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Unexexpected Choice -- The Hole in the Fence

We were at one of our favorite coffee shops the other day and I was enjoying this view from the window. From this photo you can't quite see what had so captured my attention.

Apparently when the builders were placing the fence, they found that the tree had a pronounced bend in the trunk that was in the direct line of the fence.

This presented the builders with a choice. They either had to move the fence, or remove the tree. I suppose neither of these options was agreeable to them, because they found a solution which allowed them to keep the tree and keep the line of the fence as well.

There is an area in my life which has been the subject of much prayer and discussion between Glen and myself. In my mind, I could only see this situation working out by one solution and that solution seemed impossible. Then, by chance, when Glen and I were talking about it the other day, I offhandedly, almost jokingly, presented another option. Immediately both of us responded as if the cartoon light-bulb had just turned on over our heads. We had never, in all our prayers or all our discussions, considered this possibility. Now we had another idea about which to pray.

The builders who were building the fence, decided to take a piece out of the fence to make room for the bend in the tree. The line of the fence was preserved and so was the tree.

"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 16:25)"

Sometimes we think we know the answer to our problems, how the Lord will work, or how He may supply a particular need. Then later we find exactly how wrong we were. Following in our own path without seeking the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit will lead us to a path of death and destruction each time.

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33)"

His ways, however, are so full of life and peace and joy. They may be unexpected, sometimes they may even be perplexing to us, but they are never wrong.

"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31)"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Safe in the Arms of Jesus

The other night we babysat our two grandchildren, Jack and Emma. Toward the end of the evening a tired Emma cuddled up into my lap. I rocked her in the chair as she lay wrapped in her blanket and my arms. Her brother played nearby. At one point Jack made a bumping sort of noise almost all four-year-old boys are prone to make.

Emma immediately startled and asked in her tiny, little girl voice,"What was that?"

I explained to her it was only Jack playing. Then she looked up at me from her position of comfort and safety and said, with a tone of confession, "I'm afraid of thunder."

The sound of her little voice telling me her secret fear almost broke my heart. It was as if, feeling so safe, she could risk vocalizing that which scared her so much. We sat in the rocker discussing exactly what thunder was and why it made such a big noise. I told her several times that it was just sound and she never had to be afraid of thunder. (I didn't delve into the discussion of lightening, however.)

Then, having successfully covered that subject, she told me she was scared to go to school. Her brother has just completed his first year of three-year-old preschool, and Emma is fully aware that her turn is coming soon. Again, with her cuddled close in my arms, we discussed all the various things that are wonderful about school. I loved our little conversation and I loved having her cuddled up so close and comfortable in my arms.

Looking back on the event, I am reminded of the song we sing, "Run to Jesus":

Run To Jesus

There's a place that I know,
where the hopeless can go.
Broken hearts there are healed
and the face of God revealed.

Oh, run into the arms of Jesus.
Oh, bow before His holy wounded feet.
Oh, run into the arms of Jesus.
Run to Peace.

There's a Savior of Grace,
mercy shines in His face.
And if you trust in His name,
He will save us from our shame.

Oh, run into the arms of Jesus.
Oh, bow before His holy wounded feet.
Oh, run into the arms of Jesus.
Run to Peace. Run to Peace.
Run to Peace.

(The audio of the song can be heard at the Orange Moon Cafe.)

We are safe in His arms, and there we can safely share all our fears, concerns, hopes and joys. We can know as we do that He delights in our being there and delights in our sharing with Him those things closest to our Hearts.

". . .the prayer of the upright is His delight." Proverbs 15:8

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bonds for the Furtherance of the Gospel

"The things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." Philippians 1:12

Prayer is the languageImage by Lel4nd via Flickr

What is my choice of belief and action when things "happen" to me? Is it for the "furtherance of the gospel", the spreading of the good news? Or is it for the furtherance of the bad news?

Paul was in prison writing this and was clearly speaking of his bonds -- that they were for the furtherance of the gospel. I wonder what my words might have been had it been me sitting in that jail cell. . ."Oh, these bonds are tight, and my back hurts sitting on this hard floor. It stinks in here and the damp air is giving me a headache. . ."

When the trials and temptations of my life come, how much better for me to choose for them to be for the furtherance of the good news by proclaiming just that, the good news -- that this event was ultimately by God's hand and that He is working this very minute in it to work this thing for my good. Not just for some general good that I cannot see, but for MY good. I will make the choice to trust both His hand and His heart.

I should ask in these times that the Lord will reveal to me what He wants me to see of Him through this, what He wants me to learn of Him by it and to whom He wants me to minister and share during it.

I have a dear friend who has lately been troubled with a particular physical ailment. I was greatly touched when he shared with me that every time he feels the pain from this ailment he has committed to pray for Christians who are dealing with a similar situation. He has chosen to take his "bonds" and use them for the furtherance of the gospel by praying for others.

"Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. " 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, June 12, 2010

beyond the bow. . .from Glen

From Glen:

This season has continued a new feature added to our kayaking, a social feature. We took a young couple, Sterling and Sarah, with us last year, and have taken dear friends on our last two trips. Steve and Mark are both devout believers who are examples to Frances and me of love, faith, and devotion to God and to people. Just being with them is a sanctifying experience, and since both are avid outdoors-men, kayaking instantly took to them, and they to it.

Frances and I are greatly blessed in that we enjoy being with each other so much that if you put us on a deserted island with little more than shelter, water (with a bit of coffee, please), food, and chocolate, we could be joyfully content forever. Most of our kayaking adventures have therefore been with each other, and with only each other. The experience is so blessed that I have written two songs about it (both are on our last CD), and if you haven't seen a sunrise with Frances, well, I'm tempted to say you haven't seen a sunrise!

Still, it is also wonderful to share with others the gift kayaking is to us. It began with our daughter Marie, who first bought a kayak while in law school. We bought three boats not long afterward, and our first voyages included our youngest daughter Emmie in her kayak, Bonnie Blue (she insisted that we name our boats. Frances is called Ruby Slippers, and mine, Emerald Rainbow). Our son Noah came with once, and witnessed our only capsizing (yours truly, of course). He and Frances assure me that they didn't laugh at my misfortune, but I am convinced that as the angel said to Sarah, "Thou didst laugh!" We loved our kayaking time with our children, and Lord willing, look forward to future excursions with them (and down the river a bit, with our grandchildren). Presently, however, their increasingly busy lives rarely coordinate with our increasingly busy lives, so there's very little opportunity to sail with Marie, Noah, and Emmie.

This has made our paddling trips with Sterling and Sara, and Mark and Steve a great blessing. Life is to be shared, especially with fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and adding the social aspect to our beloved pastime has been and will be the fulfillment of the Psalmist's sublime exultation:
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments" (Psalm 133:1-2).

I love this imagery, and am so often blessed to experience the heart reality of it with fellow believers. I cannot image what my life would have been like if lived away from the "precious ointment" of Christ's love as revealed through those who love Him, and who have loved me as the expression of their devotion to the Lord Jesus. It is the most amazingly wonderful thing in this life, and then to think that the gift of Christian fellowship and friendship is an eternal reality, well... well... Whew!

If you're reading this, consider it an invitation to join us some Saturday morning, perhaps before the sun rises, or perhaps after. Whatever the case, Frances and I will be honored and blessed, as we have been recently, to share our journeys "beyond the bow " with friends who are "closer than a brother."

September 2nd

We'll Sail This Morning

beyond the bow. . .June 12, 2010

Today heralded two firsts for us, we had never put in at this spot before and we kayaked for the first time with our friend, Mark.

We set out a little before 0800 and the weather was perfect. Originally, I had joked that I would keep our location a secret because it was so beautiful and we seemed to have it all to ourselves. It was so perfect a location, however, I have to share it with you. Thanks to the knowledge of our friend Mark, we put in at Brooks Landing in Chickasaw. The put-in was very nice and immediately we were in Chickasaw Creek, a tributary of Mobile River.

The water was almost perfectly still, creating mirror images of the trees along the banks. The sky was as clear blue as could be and I had trouble kayaking because I kept reaching for my camera.

As we paddled closer to Chicksabouge Park, you could tell a noticeable change in the temperature of the water. The characteristic coolness of this creek was very refreshing after having kayaked for an hour or so.

I always love when we kayak to listen to the birds in the trees and look for sightings of wildlife and flowers along the banks. At one point, we thought we had found a bank of wild azaleas --these were the brightest pink flowers I had ever seen. Upon paddling nearer, however, our "azaleas" ended up to be a swimming float that had somehow been lost and ended up on shore.

The level of the water is still high after our rains and the flooding to the north of us, because the areas of sandy beaches which dot the path of the creek, were completely covered with the tannin colored water.

It was a wonderful day of kayaking, nature and fellowship. As usual, I didn't want to come back to the put-in and get out of the boat. At least I know that next week will bring another excursion.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Place for You. . .

To begin our recent vacation, our first stop was at the home of our friends Tom & JJ who live in Tennessee. They have built a beautiful home on top of a hill in a gorgeous part of their state.

Everything at Tom & JJ's house was designed to meet the needs and provide for the comfort of their guests. There was not a thing that was not abundantly provided for. In fact, upon looking at the weather for Boston, we realized we did not have enough jackets for the cold weather we would encounter, and JJ produced a very nice, thick jacket which came in very handy in the 40° weather in Boston.

There is Someone else who is preparing a perfect place for us. The Lord Jesus told His disciples, "In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." John 14:2-4

I was discussing with Glen the other day, just what it would be like, this place that the Lord Jesus was preparing for us. One thing we can know, it will be perfect. It will meet our every need. In it He will be the supply for everything we could possibly want or need.

For us here on earth, our houses represent safety, family and rest. The Lord Jesus has already promised Himself to be all those for us.

"The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. Proverbs 21:31"

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28"

As much as we felt pampered and cared for in the home of our dear friends, how much more we will feel in the home that our Lord and Savior has prepared for us. What wonders await us there. The very thought that He has prepared a place for us Himself and that His knowledge is infinite and perfect is overwhelming.

As Glen always says, "There are great days ahead!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Power and Humility

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." --John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

"Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it." --William Pitt, the Elder, The Earl of Chatham

It seems to me that there are few persons in any arena, be it politics, business or even religion, who come to possess great power who are not eventually ruined by the possession of it. How often do we find, sometimes years later, that what we thought were great leaders and wonderful role models, were in reality people of questionable -- or even absent-- morality and ethics?

When the Lord Jesus came to live upon this earth, He stated clearly that "I can of Mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me." (John 5:30)

He also told His disciples "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (Joh 5:19 )

The Lord Jesus willingly emptied Himself of all the power of His deity to rely completely upon His Father. He became totally submissive to the will of the Father. So we have the Person who spoke the universe into being, who sustains it by the Word of His power, being totally dependent upon His Father.

The sacrifice of perfect submission is such a quiet and beautiful portrait of the character of our Lord.
He has the heart to be the "servant of all" and yet "in Him we live and move and have our being."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Rising of the Lake

A couple weeks ago we kayaked on Big Creek Lake, our area's 3,600-acre water reservoir. 

While we were kayaking, our friend, Steve, who was very familiar with the area, told us that usually there is an area of sandy beach around the perimeter of the lake, but recent heavy rains had raised the level of the lake to the point the beach had disappeared. It was the rain that increased our water supply.

Isn't that how it is in our spiritual and practical lives as well?

The rains -- the trials, the difficulties, the hard times, the times we just don't understand, are the very things that cause us to trust the Lord more, to totally rely on Him in ways we never would otherwise. These times are the very tools the Lord uses to stretch our faith, to show us more of His grace, to more abundantly shower us with His mercy and to be our provision in ways we could never know apart from the pain and suffering.

When my mother was dying of cancer, there were times my heart was so heavy and my grief so deep, all I could do was to cry out to Him, "Oh, Lord. . ."

There were no other words. I had none to say and He needed to hear no others. The cry of my heart was enough and He was there in ways I cannot express. He carried me through nights of work where I had to be happy and joyful with couples having their baby, when all I wanted to do was to sit and cry. He strengthened me to help care for my mother when all I wanted to do was to crawl into her arms and be cared for by her one last time. He steadied my hand as I did one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. . .sign her "Do not resuscitate" papers. He calmed my spirit when my heart raced in my chest as I sat beside her as she took her last breaths. He was abundantly above all I could ask or think -- His grace was more than sufficient. The rains that fell into the lake of my heart helped to provide the very sustenance that I would need to survive the difficulties.

He knows so much better what we need than do we ourselves. As the old saying goes, "When we do not understand His hand, we can always trust His heart."

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The People Along the Way. . .Franco

Rocco's PastryImage by Vidiot via Flickr

I have shared with you many of the places we visited on our recent vacation, and even many of the things we ate along the way -- I would love a piece of that Red Velvet Cheesecake from Rocco's pastry shop right this moment!

I thought I'd like to share with you some of the people we met.

One of the people who stand out in my mind is Franco from Pasticceria Rocco.

Rocco's is the most incredible pastry shop I have ever visited. On our second visit there, we sat at the table by the front windows. In the window was a case of cookies and brownies. The glass doors of the case were directly behind my chair and as the employees of Rocco's would scoot behind me to remove items from the case, often they would not close the doors. What a temptation it was to slip my hand in there for one of those brownies!

We watched the hustle and bustle in the shop and marveled at the constant stream of customers in and out, even though one person behind the counter said they were having a "slow day". At one point, one of the customers directed his comment to an older looking gentleman behind the counter. "Hey, Rocco," he began.

Quietly and without apparent indignation, Franco said, "My name's Franco, not Rocco."

A few minutes later, Franco came to retrieve a goodie from the cookie case. I joked with him that I was tempted to help myself. "Go ahead! And if I see you do it, I won't say anything."

Something about the way Franco took to being called by the wrong name with grace, and wasn't offended by my joke about pilfering the brownies, really endeared him to me. He is definitely on my list of people in New York to remember.

By the way, I didn't take any of the brownies.

You can find the Pasticceria Rocco on Facebook.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, June 5, 2010

No Relationship, No Joy. . .

I have been re-reading A.W. Tozer's, "The Pursuit of God".

In the chapter entitled, "Removing the Veil", he describes how the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies of the Jewish temple once a year to make a sacrifice for the people's sins. When passing through the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the priest entered into the very presence of the Living God, who dwelt on the Mercy Seat of the ark of the covenant.

I began to think of what a pronounced effect this must have on the life of that man. To have entered the physical presence of God and lived. How must that have changed that priest forever? Or did it?

I remember the first baby I ever delivered, but for reasons much different than you might expect.
I remember it was extremely disappointing. At the hospital where I first learned obstetrics, the residents would have each new nurse gown and glove and sit at the end of the delivery table to do our first delivery. They would stand behind us and tell us exactly what to do, where to put our hands, exactly step by step how to deliver a baby. They would show us how to hold that slippery, wiggling baby so that it couldn’t be dropped, too!

One night, it was my turn. I sat there looking at a woman I had never met. I went through the motions just as the resident directed me and before I knew it, I was holding a slippery, little baby…something. I don’t even remember now if it was a boy or girl. As I did all the rest of the things that had to be done during a delivery, I realized I didn’t feel as I thought I would feel.

I was expecting to feel excited, elated, thrilled. After all, I had just delivered a baby! That was something really big! I felt about as much emotion as if I had picked up a watermelon at the grocery store and put it in my basket. In fact, I know I have felt more emotion over a really good watermelon!

I finished my shift and at home, told my family about my new accomplishment. They were thrilled and elated, but I still felt empty and disappointed. It took a long time, and a lot of deliveries later, for me to realize what was missing.

During that very first delivery, I was a robot going through the motions for someone I had never even met. Almost every other delivery I have done, I have had some involvement or relationship with the mother and her family, some connection, so the event wasn’t just delivering a baby, it was delivering joy.

The difference, of course, is relationship. That priest entering into the Holy of Holies may have done all the proper preparation for the sacrifice, might have gone through all the correct motions, but still might have had no relationship with the God in whose presence he found himself. If that was the case, he probably left with few differences than when he went in.

We, too, can go through the motions of "sacrifices". We can do the things that seem holy -- to ourselves and to the world -- and yet not have entered one bit into a deeper relationship or a greater knowledge of our Lord.

Thankfully, we no longer have to go to a Holy Place to find that Presence of God, indeed, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, He comes to make our hearts His dwelling place and we become that Holy of Holies. How sad then if we do not enter in to as much of a relationship as we can, thereby "birthing" greater knowledge and understanding and communication with our God in an every growing, ever deepening union. Every prayer, every hymn, every moment, every breath should cause us to be different because we have touched the Living God.

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."

2 Peter 3:18

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The People Along the Way. . .The Man at the Top of the Rock

I have shared with you many of the places we visited on our recent vacation, and even many of the things we ate along the way -- I would love some of that "Lobster Tail" from Rocco's pastry shop right this moment!

I thought I'd like to share with you some of the people we met.

Our first day in New York City, we went to the top of the Rockefeller Center for the view of the city. Even though a layer of fog enshrouded the city, we still marveled at the beauty of what was before us.

The breeze on our face and the cool temperatures were refreshing, and everywhere we turned, we saw different vistas of New York City. The Top of the Rockefeller Center offers a compelling 360° view.

When we were finished viewing the city, we went to the elevator which takes you down the 70 floors in just over one minute. While we waited for the elevator we spoke with the young man who helps tourist find their way at the elevator.

I understand that employees of tourist sites are paid to be polite and friendly, but this young man was exhibiting more than just customer service. He was exhibiting true friendliness and kindness. We chatted about his city and ours, about the difference in the weather in our regions, and other things that I no longer remember.

What I do remember is that he was so gracious and personable, that when the elevator came, I didn't want to get into it, because I preferred to stay and continue our chat with him. It was a real conversation with a real person. I came away as impressed with him as with the building which employed him.

"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly. . ." Proverbs 18:24

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beyond the bow. . .

May 29th

This day we kayaked in a place that was totally new to us, but in once sense very familiar.

We kayaked on Big Creek Lake, a 3,600-acre reservoir in west Mobile County which serves as the public water supply for the Mobile metropolitan area. Although we have never kayaked on the lake before, or actually ever even seen it except from the highway, we have consumed water from it for decades. It's about time we became better acquainted.

Our close friend Steve picked us up and we loaded the three kayaks into the back of his SUV. How nice to not have to squeeze the boats into the trunk of our little car! Not a single bungee cord was needed. We headed to his mother's house on the Lake.

I didn't say anything to the guys, but I felt odd at first about kayaking on this lake. My grandmother had been killed there while I was a younger teenager. She however, would be delighted to know we had associated joy and pleasure with this beautiful piece of the Lord's creation, and after the first fleeting thought about it, it never entered my mind again.

I was amazed at both the vastness of the lake and the clearness of the water. Both surpassed my imagination. We loosely followed the shore line and every direction offered a gorgeous view. It was no less beautiful, though somewhat larger it seemed, than Walden Pond we had visited in Massachusetts on vacation.

The wind was just enough to keep us cool and the water temperature warm enough to not chill us.

We took easy strokes, letting the gentle rhythm of the lake be our guide and after an hour or so decided to head back. It was Steve's first time to kayak and we didn't want to tire him.

As usual, I didn't want to come out of the water. I loved the feel of the water slipping through my fingers, the lake droplets falling onto my arms and legs, and the sound of all the birds calling and crying in the surrounding trees.

I can't remember a more beautiful place we have kayaked. The scenery was absolutely perfect as was the company. It was a wonderful trip.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The People Along the Way. . .The Woman in New York City

I have shared with you many of the places we visited on our recent vacation, and even many of the things we ate along the way -- I'm still dreaming of the red velvet cheesecake!

Map of the New York SubwayImage via Wikipedia

I thought I'd like to share with you some of the people we met.

Coming from the very deep South, the stereotype here of people who are from the Northeast can be that they tend to be, well, not very outgoing or friendly.

I have to say from our week in Boston and New York, we met so many people who reached out to us to offer help, directions or guidance. I never felt unsafe or threatened in anyway and I felt that if I needed assistance, all I had to do was to ask a "local".

Having said that, I will add that we had one humorous event while in the subway. We were standing waiting for our train to arrive, which it seemed we did a alot, and a woman approached our oldest daughter. She asked if she knew which train she needed to get to a certain part of the city. Now Marie had taken it upon herself to master the NYC subways system, the map of which she first described as being "the whole box of Crayola crayons". Marie was able to show the lady on the map exactly which line to take and at which station she should get off. I chuckled to myself that if that lady had known her directions where coming from someone from ALABAMA, she probably wouldn't have felt so confident!

On our first morning to NYC, we navigated to the Rockefeller Center (thanks to Marie's helpful direction.) We actually arrived there early for our scheduled time at the observation deck on top, so we were standing on the corner trying to decide what to do to fill the time. A very nice New Yorker with the sweetest grin turn to us and asked if we needed help finding our way somewhere. We were so impressed that someone would have gone out of their busy way (because everyone in New York seems to travel - by subway, car or foot - at warp speed) to help us. We told her we had actually found our destination for that morning, but we jokingly asked if she would be willing to go with us for the rest of the day. She laughed and told us that she would, but that she had to go to work. I had the feeling that if it had not been for her job, she may have just joined us and shown us a New York that one can only see when shown by a local.

What a blessing to have met this kind-hearted woman on our very first morning. She alone in that one sentence shattered our perception of the "typical" New Yorker and perhaps changed our attitude toward all the citizens of that city for our entire stay.

May we find that we shatter some attitudes of New Yorkers traveling to our little city one day as well.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]