Saturday, September 29, 2012

A simple plea from my heart...


This is nothing more than an appeal, pure and simple.  For things that are dear to my heart.
      Amazima ministries offers handmade jewelry from Uganda about once a month as you know by now. Normally these necklaces and bracelets are snapped up within a few hours or sometimes days of being posted on the internet.  This time they've been available for more than a week.  Right now, the ministry is supporting over a 1,000 kids in Uganda -providing health needs, school needs, and food Monday through Friday.  I know Katie tries to limit what they do but how do you find a stopping place when so many kids are needy?  So the number of kids continues to grow.  And my plea is: please consider buying a 20.00 necklace from Amazima ministries. (

      The next is Hosean International Ministries in Haiti.  They also work with over a 1,000.00 kids, providing a school, some medical care, and other basic needs.  This is a ministry that is partially based in Little Rock and although it is lesser known than Amazima, Caleb and Debbie Lucian give everything to help these children and run the organization with integrity, all for Jesus.   Caleb will be speaking at Pulaski Academy on Nov. 15 from 7 to 8:30.  Right now, they have sponsors for less than 25% of their children.  Phil and I sponsor one child and are thinking about sponsoring another as our Christmas gift to Him this year.  And my plea is this: is there anyone out there  - just one person or family (we can't match more than one family) - who would consider joining with us to sponsor a Haitian child for the year 2013 - we provide 30.00 a month for one child and you do the same for another?   I know that is kind of a whacked out thing to ask but it's where we are right now.  (And just to make sure I'm pulling the heart strings tight enough :)  - it is my birthday this coming week! Ha!)

 The last thing is very close to home, a chance to do hands-on ministry with your own children.    As you know if you read these blogs, I spent my adolescence in Shannon Hills.  Today a church in that area, Healing Waters, provides a hot meal and boxes of food Sunday afternoon for the residents of that area.  It is not a booming area financially and this past Sunday they fed and provided for over a 100 people in about 45 minutes. During the year overall they help 5,000 families.  They also have a youth group of about 60 kids that meets on Thursday nights - this is how the ministry started actually - by reaching out to the teens in the area - and they feed them a meal as well as teach them the Bible and give them a place to do skate boarding.  Last Sunday, they almost ran out of hot meals to serve and they did run out of food boxes.  They have some support from businesses and they also have a grant but they still need help from individuals - both volunteer time as well as money  and/or food donations.
     Can I guarantee that every person who comes for a hot meal is on the up and up?
     No, I can't. I don't know the people who come for help.  Some I can look at and tell, yes, they need help. Others I just don't know.
     But can I say that I honestly believe God is in this ministry? Yes. I can.
     I keep thinking about how none of us is on the up-and-up spiritually when we first come to God.  We're all users and posers.  I was.  And yet God took me in, fed me and clothed me spiritually and never said a word about my past or even about my future sins after I became His child.
    What do they need at Healing Waters?  They can use funds to buy industrial size cans of green beans, corn, baked beans, ravioli - things that they can serve as hot meals.  The grocery right next to Healing Waters helps them with discounts as I understand it.    For the hot meals they also need sugar (for tea), noodles, hamburger meat (for sloppy JOe's) - things like that.
    For the food boxes, they need kid-friendly things like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, canned soups, canned spaghetti-o's, canned corn, bread etc. But they also have freezers and can freeze packages of hot dogs, chicken strips and things like that as well to put in each box. And they always need staples such as rice, dry beans, etc.  They also need diapers.
   So I'm just asking would you consider:
  Buying a 20.00 necklace from Amazima?
  Or even sponsoring a Haitian child for a year for 30.00 a month  through Hosean Ministries? I know that is a big commitment and the economy is uncertain.  But for most of us, 30.00 a month won't impoverish us and it will help lift these kids out of poverty. And since this ministry is not so well known, I think they need the support.
  And/or would you consider giving even just a 20.00 donation to Healing Waters Food Bank or dropping at least some large cans of vegetables by there, taking your kids and showing them first hand what ministry is like in all it's varied forms?
  Everyone starts ramping up on the giving in November because Thanksgiving and Christmas are simply when we do that type of thing.
  Shouldn't we be doing it all year long?
   And I know there are hundreds of worthy causes out there; I  am definitely not trying to take away from any of those.
  Just sayin' if God puts any of these that I've mentioned (or all of them) on your heart over the next few weeks or months, would you please follow His prompting?  I really think you will be blessed if you do.

Healing Waters Ministry



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Falling in love...

     When I love something I talk about it, as everyone knows from my numerous admonitions to read the Kisses from Katie book.  That hasn't abated so... guess what??? READ THE KISSES FROM KATIE BOOK.... Ha!
      Seriously, my mouth is almost always open, even when I'm not  enthused about something that I just have to tell everyone about.  Maybe especially when I am not enthused about something... And when words are tumbling out of my mouth, they usually spill over into print.
      So I have to say that right now  I have fallen in love.... with a workbook, of all things.  (And, no, retirement is not getting to me although I have started talking to the birds at our feeder and the snake who sometimes hangs out near our porch. By the way,  I don't say the same things to the snake as I do to the birds, in case you are wondering...)
      Okay, trying for seriously again...
      I'm doing the workbook study by Kay Arthur called Covenant God.   The Bible study method used is good but I'm not a Precepts person.  I'm more of a "Let's do this in 20 min. a day or, if necessary, in an hour or so on the day it's due" - a Bible study method that Phil and I fondly refer to as a form of Spiritual Indigestion but still... we have often done our lessons that way.  Figuring maybe spiritual indigestion is better than no digestion at all...?
    So when I blithely decided to be "ahead of the game" and stay one week ahead on this particular study, I approached it with the attitude of "what a good girl am I!"  Ha!   Our introductory lesson was on a Thursday night so Wed. night I cracked open the first week's questions, thinking I would knock this out in a couple of hours.  To my shock, four hours later I was only  halfway through the week's lessons.  Honestly, if I weren't retired, I don't know that I could give this study the attention it deserves.  By the time I got to the first video session, I estimate that I had spent about 7 hours on just  5 days worth of homework.
    Since I had been roped (er, asked) to lead the discussion, this fact put me into hyper-drive.  I was, not to put too fine a point on it, spastic.
    Eight weeks of this???
    Oh-my-gosh!  There's no busting this one out at the last minute!  If I don't work on this every day, I will be toast!!
    And so I began an intense campaign to stay one week ahead of the schedule, dotting every i and crossing every t, sweating it out so to speak, trying to do it perfectly.  Because I could hardly read the questions in the workbook after I got through spilling my answers all over the page, I even obsessed about that in technicolor ink no less.. (Specifically blue, green, orange, and yellow for those who know how the Kay Arthur studies work:)
    Then, just to make sure I was well and truly spazzed out, as the Thursday night class approached, I went back and typed up every single question for that week along with my answers.  Then to my horror,the night before I had to lead the first group,  I actually discovered that there were study guide questions at the back of the book!!!!  Soooo, not wanting to come up missing on this one, I typed those out as well, along with my answers.
    After two weeks of this - still staying one week ahead and still typing the questions on the day they were due to make sure I was up to speed on the lesson I had done the previous week, I was about as uptight as I've ever been.
    And then something happened. I'm not sure where or when but instead of obsessing over getting it all right, covering all the bases.. I fell in love with the message.  Like many falling-in-love experiences, it happened before I knew it.
    Head over heels in love with a workbook?  Sounds crazy but that is where I am.
   I've been doing Bible studies since I was in my early twenties. It just happens when you grow up in the church and stay there.     Every study I've done has been a blessing - I wouldn't trade any of them for anything.  I know I'm not perfect but can't imagine where I would be had I not periodically stuck my head in a Bible class or a workbook and just tried to wade through it the best I could.
   But each one was, at some point, truly wading.   Like, "I need to get started on that homework... Later, maybe..."   Every time I was a delay fish, when I finally came down to the wire and busted the answers out in record time,   I'd realize the lesson had so much good in it for me and I'd promise not to procrastinate the next week but generally, I would put off the next lesson as well.
   What I'm saying is that I can't ever remembering actually hungering and thirsting for a Bible study, even during my first year of retirement when I had extra time.
   So it was a shock to me when I realized that I couldn't wait to get up and start working on the third week's lessons of this covenant study.  Or that  late at night, I would find myself sitting up in bed (with a flashlight no less, so as not to disturb Phil), pouring over the truths I had learned over the last 7 to 8 days. Or that the mystery novel I was reading  4 weeks ago is still bookmarked halfway through, just where it was when I first started the Covenant study  and that I have no desire to finish it right now even though it was once riveting to me. Or that I would find myself  earnestly, repeatedly asking God to help me, day after day, to  internalize these truths so that they would never, ever leave me.
   Bottom line:  somewhere about two weeks  into the lesson, I quit obsessing over being prepared  and instead began falling in love with God, desperately asking Him to completely fill my heart with Himself  and my mind  with the deep, down assurance that He is indeed a covenant God and I am indeed His covenant partner.
   The Strong  (Faithful God)  having stooped down to invite the weak (myself).
   To dance.

    I can't wait for His words to sweep me off my feet.  Again. Today.
    Truly I heart Jesus.
    And I don't care who knows it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recycling has a mind of its own...

This is for people who receive notice through e-mail that I've posted a new blog. For some reason, this system is a bit possessed right now....  And it's sending out notices on old blogs that I have not scheduled to be sent out again.

If the blog is not dated within the last week or so, it's a re-run and not something I scheduled to be recycled again...

I love all my readers... all 4 1/2 of them... ha! And feel guilty when I think I've posted too much, too often.  So I am definitely not recycling.

Although I may do that at Christmas...  Drag out the fake tree from the storage building, the Christmas decorations from the spare room, and the December 2011 blogs from... the internet ether storage file cabinet Christmas blog  box????


Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Doner Thing....

      I used to think that Angelina Jolie was crazy.  That was back when I first read that she and Billy Bob Thornton had vials of blood drawn, exchanged the vials as gifts to each other, and then wore them around their necks as a sign of enduring love.
     Actually, I still think that is crazy.  I mean, how long does a sample of blood last like that before it dries up?  Unless it's vacuum packed, I'm guessing it would eventually go away, maybe enduring a little longer than the love that it symbolized but still....
    And seriously, I don't think it would look good.
    And what about people who faint at the sight of blood?
   Or what about those who are simply curious?
    Guest:  Angelina!  Hey, what is that cylinder thing hanging from your neck all about?
    Angelina:  This?  Oh, it's just my husband's blood...
    The whole thing sounds sort of eewwwww:      blood-letting as a sign of a never-ending love that... obviously.. ended.  I'm glad Phil just wanted wedding rings... seriously.
    On the other hand, I could definitely understand a spouse donating blood to help their loved one through major surgery - that's practical.  Or a parent donating a kidney to save their child's life - that's a no-brainer.
    The difference being, obviously, that the vial-around-the-neck-thing was a symbol and not a good one since the Jolie/Thornton marriage dissolved within a few years of their blood-letting while donating blood actually  serves a valuable purpose.
    I guess I'm saying the Jolie thing, in my opinion, was more attention-getting than anything.
    The doner thing, on the other hand, is meaningful.
    Soooo... what if someone does both?  Donates, literally, their life blood to save another and in doing so, proves that they have an enduring love for that person that will go with them to the grave?
   Or even beyond the grave?

    "And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying,  "Drink from it, all of you;  for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."  (Matt. 26:27-28)
    A vial of blood around the neck? No way!
    But now maybe a ragged piece of torn bread lying on a pristine white cloth, except for the red wine stain in one corner..  As the sole decoration on the kitchen table where it can be seen each morning ... as a reminder...
    Of how the one and only Son of God, full of grace and glory and truth,  gave His life blood to save mine and then, as if that were not enough,  provided out of sheer, undying love a permanent seat at His banquet table?
     Just sayin'

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This is my question...:)

     I have decided that our nation is in trouble...
     Last night, while my poor husband was sitting over his laptop, trying to work his way through a training video so that he could test over it, I sat right there with him.  Trying to give moral support.  For a whopping 15 minutes.
     By that time I was bored, having little interest in the latest improvements in car radios and how they work.
     So I started reading whatever happened to be near me, which was his large, plastic Mickey D's coke glass/cup/whatever.
    And this is what I read:
    Here's to YOU.  A toast to your wisdom, clever drink buyer - you have selected a classic fountain beverage, precisely mixed for maximum refreshment.  I'm lovin' it.
     Clever drink buyer???
     I'm being toasted by a plastic McDonald's Coke cup???
     A drink mixed for maximum refreshment???
     It was a Coke, for Pete's sake...
     Not a Mint Julep or a Margarita.  Not even a Nestle's Hot Chocolate package which had been stirred, not shaken, into a cup of hot water.
     I mean, we're talking a large, sugary, carbonated drink that's going to make our teeth rot out eventually and I am a clever drink buyer for purchasing it??
    Okay. This is my question:
    Is this a commentary on McDonald's and their general attitude? I mean, in plain English, are their corporate execs whacked out?  (I know they are rich but that's not the question...)
    Or is this just the way their advertisement company perceives the American public to be? (Knowing that perception can be skewed...hoping their perception is skewed...)
    Or is this just a spoof on some commercial I have been fortunate enough to miss? (If so, I have another reason to be thankful that I'm a book-a-holic and not a t.v.-a-holic.)
    Or is this, to some degree, a sign of our culture - that we are so narcissistic that we need our plastic drink cups to cheer us on, even if half in jest?
     So should I end this blog with a toast to you, clever blog reader....?
     Or with an accolade to myself, signing off as the clever blog writer...?
     I don't know... I may have to go get a large, sugary drink to sip on while I ponder this one out.
     Headed to Sonic...
     Still thinking our nation might be in big trouble...
    Waiting for the day when I see  Phil. 2:3-6 writ large on plastic cups...:)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One foot here, one foot there...

       A lot of people can sit on the same pew, read the same Bible, and quote the same Scripture.  But that doesn't mean they are all on the same page.
      So how do you know which is which?
      I think the answer is in James and while it may not be definitive (there are a lot of other books in the Bible that can elaborate on this topic, I'm sure), it's pretty startling.

      Person A, according to James, knows the right words  to say - he can sound good -  but inside he's a mess, his passions battling for supremacy and sometimes spilling over into open conflicts within the church itself.   His doctrinal points are right on target but he has no works to back up what he professes to believe.  When he's tempted, he tends to blame God.  When his faith is being tested, he may not  persevere.  When he's angry, he deludes himself into thinking that his temper fit is achieving the righteousness of God. 
     When he is confronted with poverty and need, he pontificates beautifully but does nothing to help them.  In fact, he does the opposite by currying favor with the rich and influential while dissing the poor.  (God doesn't like that, by the way...)  In fact, he may even exploit the poor as he pursues earthly wealth. And in point of fact, he may boast about what he's going to do on down the road, having the mistaken impression that his earthly props (money, prestige, his own ability) which hold him up today will continue to hold him up tomorrow.
     James admonishes this man not to be arrogant and so lie against the truth. The text implies that this guy is actually bragging that his wisdom comes from God when in reality it comes from within  or even worse, from down below.  The bottom line is that even though he may look good on the outside, he is driven by his inner passions of envy, lust, and selfish ambition.  When these driving forces occasionally  break through to the surface,  all heck can break lose wherever his influence is felt, even in the church.
    Basically, according to James, this man has tried to enter into a covenant with God but is cheating on Him.  For that reason, he shouldn't expect anything from God other than  to not be surprised when he realizes that the Lord of Hosts is set up in battle array against him while withholding his divine grace from him. (James 4:6 Wuest translation).
   Wow. Not a good picture!
  Moving right along... !
   Person B, also knows Scripture and at the same time, he also battles the passions that plague Person A.   But as he has walked with God, he has learned to rely  on the Spirit that God has placed within him, a permanent resident in every Christian heart, a divine presence who jealously desires to reclaim the areas that sin has taken over.
   In other words, this man knows how  to curb his passions as well as his tongue by relying on God.  
   He also not only hears the Word as Person A does,  but he also obeys it.  From the Word, he understands that God absolutely  loves the poor, the orphan, and the widow and so he loves them as well, not by giving lip service but by visiting them, feeding them, and clothing them.
   When he is tempted and tested, he doesn't blame God but perseveres, knowing that a crown of life waits for those who are approved by God.  When he asks God for wisdom, he receives it because his asking isn't just going through the motions - he knows that God can and will give it.  His faith is stable and his security rests not on what he can do or what he has amassed but on what God can do and what He has amassed.
   Because he hears and practices the teachings of God,  he is not easily deceived. He knows where lust leads and he doesn't want to go there.  Instead, he desires the best gifts in life and knows they come only from God's hand.
   In regard to his mouth, he's quick to hear, slow to speak, and definitely slow to anger.  He doesn't want to come unglued all over his neighbor, who may be vastly different from himself and aggravating into the bargain, but instead, he wants to fulfill God's law by loving his neighbor in the same way he loves himself.
   But perhaps even more telling, his life is marked by God's wisdom and not his own.  
   And here's where a valuable check list comes in.  James lists the facets of God's wisdom, maybe so that Person A, Person B and others (like myself...) can go down that list and do a spiritual self inventory.
   So here's the list of what God's wisdom looks like:
   It is pure.
   It is peaceable.
   It is gentle.
   And able to be reasoned with.
   It is full of mercy.
   And good fruit.
   It is unwavering (steadfast).
   And without hypocrisy.

  I figure that most Christ followers, myself included, are somewhere in between Person A and Person B, having both feet firmly planted in His kingdom on some days and one foot sort of  planted in the world on others.  
   I think the book of James is meant to encourage us, to challenge us to plant both feet firmly in His kingdom and to walk steadily on that side of the fence, regardless of what comes our way.
   At the same time, I think it's a good explanation for those times (which hopefully will be rare) when we find ourselves scratching our heads and saying, "But he talks all the time about being a follower of Christ so how could he do that??!!!?"
   The answer to this question and others is found in the book of James, a good little treatise that can keep us from being blind-sided and/or sidelined along the way to meeting God.


Monday, September 10, 2012

The Great Exchange...


Cancer, a single cell sin so tiny, so small,
With a hidden agenda of  winner takes all...

Christ, offspring of God, so eternal, so I AM
With a hidden agenda of  Death delivers man...

Infinite Spirit straight-jacketed into clay,
Emptying self , wildly, willingly, to obey.

Infinite Spirit robed in purity and light,
Shedding His robe, naked, birthed into darkest  night.

Halt, blind and lame, I weaken  as single cell sin
Cancers me, ravages me, without,  within.

Crawling, clinging to the ground underneath God's  cross,
I find a  healing born out of  Infinite loss.

Christ, Son of God, reduced to wearing sin and bone,
While I, child of Eve, wear His robes and dance on home.

No longer alone.

Philippians 2:5-10
II Corinthians 5:21
Hebrews 2:14-15, 17-18

Saturday, September 1, 2012

God has a sense of humor....:)

     I woke up this morning but never do I wake up singing Mandisa's song about chirpy birds and happy alarm clocks going wake up, wake up... :)  It takes a while for my brain to kick in and the earlier the hour, the longer it takes and there is normally no singing, trust me!
    This morning, after lying in bed for about an hour  and thinking about it, I decided to go for a walk.
    One thing I've learned from living in the almost 'hood is that drug deals and sagging pants pedestrians  usually happen in the afternoon and evening, never in the rain or in really nasty weather and almost never in the early morning.    
    So I put on my walking shoes and headed out with my James verses written on index cards... It's been about two weeks now since I've worked on those verses so I started with chapter 1, verse 1 while I made my way up a mountain, um, hill...near our house.
    As I was about three-fourths of the way up the hill, I saw two young men standing on a corner. This is usually not a good sign in this area so  I felt a little leery as I carefully switched to the other side of the street and increased my pace, trying to look like a confident and no-nonsense type of person.
    As I passed  them, I could see that the guys were deep in discussion but no guns, knives or plastic baggies  were visible so we were cool as far as I was concerned.  After a few minutes, I had reached my goal for my morning walk and was ready to turn back.
   This time as I drew near the guys again, I was quietly, somewhat breathlessly, quoting, "But prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves..."
   While I was saying that, one of the young men became very animated, raised his voice, and said to the other guy, "You have to be obedient to the Word!  You've got to obey!  It's not just enough to read it and know it! You've got to do it!  And if you will obey what it says, then no matter what happens, you don't have to worry whether what you did was the right thing or not.  You don't have to worry about...."
   Ha! Does God have a sense of humor or what?
   Here I was, a little apprehensive about what these guys were up to when all along I should have been wondering what God was up to :)  Out of the mouth of a total stranger standing on a not-so-wonderful street corner, God reinforced the meaning of the exact verses I was reviewing at that very time.  What are the chances of that?
    And then it occurred to me to pray... duhhh. Because while one man was earnestly expounding on the importance of doing what the Word says, the other young man was earnestly listening.  Was this totally new information to him?  Was he a believer who needed encouraging?  Or did he even know the Lord?
  I didn't know but God knew.  So I prayed for them until I was almost to the bottom of the mountain.. uh, hill ..and not far at all from my house. And that, of course, is when  I saw a grandmother, a mother and a little girl loaded down with shopping bags.
    I didn't know their names  but we've said "hi" to each other a few times and exchanged polite pleasantries whenever our paths cross.  Although it's normal to see them carrying grocery bags about once a week, this time they were more loaded down than I'd ever seen them before; the mom had five shopping bags hanging from her shoulders and her hands, the little girl had one large bag, and the grandmother had three large bags.
    Sometimes you just know that it's time to ante up on the "prove yourselves doers and not merely hearers of the Word" thing and I knew  this was one of those times.
     So with sweat beaded up on my forehead, I told my creaky knees to step it up a pace - they replied that it wasn't advisable. My feet joined in with my knees and I had a little mutiny on my hands.. er, feet. However, I managed to increase the pace, narrowing the gap between myself and the women but only fractionally.  So I told the Lord this was about as good as it was gonna get and if He wanted me to help my neighbors, He'd have to increase my speed or slow them down.
    Apparently He decided to work on them because about a minute after my unorthodox prayer, the grandmother had to stop to readjust her load.  I was able to catch up and offer to help, thinking one bag would be about all I could carry. She thanked me and immediately handed me two large bags containing packaged sheets and a new bathroom rug.
    Are you kidding me????
    While I tried to get a good grip on the bags, she held onto the one large bag she still had and took another, equally large bag from her daughter and then to my amazement offered to carry the one her granddaughter was loaded down with, a sack that had a regular size bottle of bleach in it along with some other things.

   The little girl who looked to be about 8 years old said, "Nah! That's okay! I've got it!"
   Well that sort of stifled the protests on my lips of I don't think I can do this exactly... I mean if this little skinny kid can carry her bag and the grandmother can carry 3 bags and the mom is still carrying 4 bags or so...
   Okay. We all walked a few feet  to reach  the street that they live on, rounded a corner,  and then proceeded jauntily  up hill to their house, going  at a fairly good clip. Well they were jaunty and they were clipping along. I was trying to hold my head in such a way that the rivulets of sweat would run off my face instead of into my eyes while bringing up the rear of our little processional.
   We made it.  But my feet, knees, hands and brain were singing a different tune from the birds' chorus of Wake up!  Wake up! Mostly they were singing, Give up! Give up!
   At one point, when the grandmother tried to encourage me by saying that exercise is good for us, I  looked  at her incredulously  and thought:  "Breathing good... for... you.. too..."  Ha!
   I knew I couldn't carry my bags one step further as we reached their porch and was grateful  that they seemed fine with me just dumping them on the top step.  They thanked me to which  I puffed out, "No ... problem... Have... a.. nice.. day..." and then headed back home, happily noting that I was going down hill this time.
   Bible lesson in the 'hood on a Saturday morning, complete with text, exposition, and application.
   As I said, God has a sense of humor... :)

Loving Large Cans of Corn:)

       Upside down?  Inside out?
       I've wanted a new set of dishes for some time now. My old ones were getting chipped, etc.  I found a new set of dishes a couple of weeks ago that were cheap and attractive so I bought a 4-place setting.  Instead of feeling happy, I felt a bit anxious as I paid for them,  transported them home, and then washed them before putting them away.  Should I have gotten another four-place setting just in case we break some of these?  Were the bowls really practical?  Would the guys like them?  Had I wasted our money?
      Bottom line: I liked them. But they didn't bring me the happiness that I expected. Instead, they actually brought me a new set of worries.
      Yesterday I was in a rip-and-tear to get things crossed off my to-do list.  I ran into the grocery store to get some cans of corn, some celery and that was about it. I had purchased groceries the day before so this would be a quick stop, grab-a-few-items-and-go shopping trip. (I actually do some of those - not many, but some...:)
      As I was pushing my cart down the aisle, I saw some industry-sized cans of corn, green beans, ravioli etc and was shocked at how cheap they were.  I thought about last Sunday, the food bank boxes, and also about  serving a hot meal to the people there.  After having an internal debate for a couple of minutes, I decided to grab some of the large cans of corn and ravioli  for the Sunday food bank meals.
    But that was all!!!  I was in a hurry, had places to go and things to do. I didn't have time to do a lot of shopping and I definitely wasn't made out of money. On top of that, I hardly even wanted to think about what I had spent on groceries the day before.
    However, as I walked down the aisles, I remembered asking a worker last Sunday afternoon: what kinds of food do you need for the boxes?  The lady had replied, "Mostly things that children can fix and would like to eat."  I had replied, "You mean like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter?"  She said yes and added that bags of staples such as rice and flour were also needed and that they had refrigerators where they could keep perishable items as well, such as hot dogs.
    And there I was, staring down  a big box of macaroni and cheese which contained 10  regular size boxes, also at a good price.  Hmmmm.... all week long I had intended to get some macaroni and cheese for the food bank... only I had been too busy...
    I figure anyone who is reading this is tracking with me now and even way ahead of me:) At any rate,   I finally just sort of mentally threw my hands up in the air and told myself, "Okay.  Everything will get done eventually on that all-important list!  Somehow, it always does!  Right now, I'm just going to shop for the food bank."  And I did.
   As I walked down the aisles looking at the items unhurriedly and with a totally  new purpose in mind, I began to feel peaceful.  Happy.  Content. Joyful.
   This is so foreign to me (I am sorry to say) and especially in grocery stores on busy days, that I knew it had to be God.  So there I was -  a slightly geriatric, super-sized mom with nothing to give me any claim to fame, tossing  a few regular size jars of peanut butter into the basket here and adding some bags of rice and dry beans there and at the same time basking in the presence of the Savior of the world.
    Seriously. Right there in the peanut butter aisle.
   Okay.  This just doesn't happen to me.  Not even in the macaroni and cheese aisle.  Not even always in church.
   Definitely a wow moment for me.
   By the time I reached the check-out counter, His presence was still with me in an almost tangible way and   I was still happily, wonderingly pondering this as   I unloaded  the food bank stuff .  Then, as I was about to reach for my own personal items, I impulsively stopped, mostly out of curiosity, and  asked the checker to ring up the items already on the conveyor belt separately from the rest of the stuff in my basket.   And right after that,  before I even thought about what I was saying, I blurted out... "Because someone is going to pay me back for those items."
   Someone is going to pay me back???? Where did that come from????
    Yet that was what ran through my mind and like gum in a gumball machine, immediately rolled right out my mouth.
    Someone is going to pay me back???
     Next thought, which I managed, just barely, not to happily blurt out was, "Jesus is going to pay me back..."
     I didn't blurt this out because I knew it would sound crazy.
    Yet at the same time, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that  it was true.
    Jesus  was going to pick up the tab. It was that simple. And that profound.
   Whether He  repays me here or There, whether He uses the common, tarnished  "coin" of this realm or whether He repays me in celestial coin...  it doesn't really matter.
     All that mattered to me at that moment was the stunning assurance that He's got this.
     And even more wow,  this morning, first thing, the joy and the sense of His nearness was again  right there.
      New dishes?  Large cans of industry sized corn and ravioli?
      All I can say is: I like my dishes. But I love those large, ugly cans of corn and ravioli!!!