Saturday, August 9, 2008

Not An Ordinary Day After All

The day started out like a typical Saturday. Roger had a meeting in a small town about 30 miles away, while I had a meeting in a nearby town. After my meeting, my daughter and two grandchildren planned to shop for school clothes. My husband was to travel another 45 miles to play with a band for a small town country music show. He would get home about midnight.

We said good-bye and each drove to our respective meetings. After the meeting, I enjoyed a leisurely meal at a local tearoom with the other group members.

I picked up my daughter and grandchildren, and we proceeded to their favorite department store. The children made their selections, tried them on, and made a final decision.

We stopped at Sonic for the half-priced 2 to 4 P.M. happy hour. We refreshed ourselves with ice cold slushies before continuing our shopping trip.

Two hours and two stores later, we had exhausted ourselves and my checkbook. I dropped them off at their house and drove fifteen miles home.

I stopped at the grocery for milk before heading home. I checked mail, let the dog out, and stopped to check phone messages.

That’s when my day became anything but routine. Three messages from my husband informed me he was broken down an hour away along a secondary country road with his cell phone battery almost gone.

It’s 100 degrees more or less. It was 6:30. He had called at 5:15 the first time. I herded the dog inside and back into her cage, grabbed my keys, and rushed out the door to the car.

I made myself drive the speed limit. I tried to call him, but only managed to say, “Where are you?” before his phone went dead.

I drove and prayed he wouldn’t dehydrate and that he had something to drink with him. An hour later I neared the small community he’d mentioned. I watched the road for a sign of him.

His car was nowhere in sight. I entered the next community realizing I hadn’t spotted him. I pulled over and tried his cell phone, even knowing it was dead. In the rearview mirror, I spotted a tow truck with his car on it. What a lucky coincidence or was it?

Earlier, he’d used the tow truck owner’s phone to tell me to meet him at the Dairy Queen, but I'd been in a dead zone so the call didn’t come through. My plan had been to go to the Dairy Queen for a restroom break before formulating a plan to hunt for him. How did we independently decide to go to the Dairy Queen?

We decided God had been looking out for us even though we didn’t know he had. I usually go with him to that particular show, but couldn’t because of his other meeting. If I had gone with him, we’d both been stranded.

The show doesn’t get over until after 10:00 so either he or both of us would have been stranded at 11:00 at night with no service on our cell phone.

If he’d been stranded alone, I would have been driving up and down dark country roads after midnight trying to find him.

In spite of our calamity and prospective car repair bill, we feel blessed at how things worked out.

It just goes to show you, just because a day starts out ordinary, doesn’t mean it will stay that way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Forgiveness: Letting Go

In the Lord’s Prayer we say “forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us.” In my church we recite the Lord’s Prayer as part of the worship service.

I’ve probably said that prayer at least 500 times in my current church. I don’t know how many other times in previous churches.

I recently completed the Beth Moore study on Breaking Free. One of the bondages God releases us from if we ask is the inability to forgive.

A friend of mine is fighting cancer. She has as part of her signature for emails this statement. “We can stop forgiving others, when God stops forgiving us.” That pretty much says it all. Who can dispute it? I can’t.

Then it seemed like everything I read talked of forgiveness. Sermons seemed to focus on it. I read the book, The Shack, which spoke of the hardest forgiveness of all.

As a result of all the recent experiences, I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Most of my problem with forgiveness started with my being angry at people who hurt me or unfair situations and injustices in my world.

Then if the anger isn’t resolved, it leads to unforgiveness, broken relationships, and isolation to protect myself from further hurt or disappointment. If that isn’t enough, bitterness sets in and takes the joy and sunshine away. It kills the song in my heart.

So after thinking a lot about it, I asked God to reveal to me when I have a spirit of bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness in my heart. I truly thought I harbored no unforgiveness, but I was in for a surprise.

He’s been very generous to call to mind those people and situations I need to let go. I expected it to be a painful experience, but it’s been liberating and left me with a sense of peace. I find myself agreeing with Him each time.

“You’re right, Lord. I’m bitter or angry or unforgiving about that. I agree with you. Help me to release it now.”

Some things I’d forgotten about. Some things I didn’t know I was bitter about. Some things were too hard to do on my own, but I know God can help me.

“Search my heart, Test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad. And lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Ps. 139:23

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tony Snow

Tony Snow, former Press Secretary for President George Bush, died early Saturday morning, July 12, 2008. The news came as a shock to me, even though I knew he was battling cancer. At age 53, with a wife and two children, he was too young to die. He had so much to live for.

A few weeks ago, Tim Russert suffered a fatal heart attack. Another man in his 50’s who had so much left to offer the world.

When I watched the tribute on Fox News for Tony Snow. Friends and colleagues talked about him as a new reporter and as a friend. I learned he was an accomplished musician. He’d had a radio show before he pioneered a news program on the debuting Fox News Channel. I regretted not having seen his early shows.

In church that morning, our pastor talked about how we can never know the influence we might have on others. Mike Wallace mentioned that thousands of condolence emails the network had received.

I thought of how much influence both men had on our culture. Both men loved America, valued the truth, and weren’t afraid to ask the hard question, but did it with respect. In an age where ratings and personal agendas seem to be more important than courtesy and truth, they had the courage to reach for higher standard.

I was sad when I watched the tributes to Tim Russert. I wept when Mike Wallace closed the show with a clip Tony Snow did on a Father’s Day segment by closing with the statement that coming home at night to have his three children run to him calling out “Daddy” was the best thing of all. Daddy was the name he wanted to be known by.

As I wiped my tears, I thought had the age of television ushered in our ability to care about people we’ll never know personally. We can rejoice with successes of people we’ll never meet, we can share the sorrow of people around the world. We witness first hand the grief of a parent, the destruction of a city, the terror of 9-11.

We’ve become a worldwide community. I rejoice in the shared joy, but could do without the shared sorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Funny Accident

I felt like a cartoon character today. I have been fighting a sore leg for about three months. It is slowly getting better. Then today I had an accident only I could come up with.

A little history first. I am very accident prone. my husband says it's because my brain is ahead of my body, and I don't pay attention to my surroundings. I've shut my finger in a car door, fallen when running from the car to the door in the rain, hit my head on the car door getting in because I didn't duck low enough. I think it's because I have a depth perception problem, which explains why I could never hit the softball in PE class. I couldn't jump rope either for the same reason. I thought I just clumsy until the eye doctor explained about my depth perception which causes me to misjudge distances. My dad, who went to the appointment with me, understood better the scrapes and dents on the right side of his car. I once asked Roger for an electric saw for Christmas because I thought I'd like to build furniture. He vetoed that idea because he had no desire to take me to the emergency room to treat whatever body part I'd managed to injure.

Anyway, we have had a problem with something getting in our garage to steal pecans we had in an open bucket. So after a mouse trap didn't catch the culprit, my husband decided to buy some sticky paper that might capture the thief. Meanwhile, I go out to the garage to search for a missing item. As usual I'm looking straight ahead, intent on the area I'm planning to search. I looked through the sack of assorted items, discovering the missing item was not there. When I backed up to go back into the house, I stepped on the paper, quickly became stuck, lost my balance, and landed on my behind while yelling for help.

My husband came running to rescue me from whatever calamity had befallen me. He hid his face and choked to keep from laughing as he pulled me from the paper. His next comment was that he'd caught a "big one". I'm assuming he meant relative to a mouse.

Fortunately, only my pride seems to be damaged. I'll know more in the morning when the bruises appear.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"And the Two Shall Become One"

And the Two Shall Become One

A few days ago I was thinking about the phrase “and the two shall become one” in referring to the marriage relationship.

My husband and I do a lot of hospital calls since we’ve retired. We have seen the suffering of family members and friends as their loved one recovers from surgery or disease. We’ve prayed and grieved with others during the final stages of terminal illnesses. As a result, we know that the whole family needs prayers not just the sick individual.

A friend mentioned that her husband would soon have a medical test that required some advance preparation. We all agreed that she would be enduring his unpleasant ordeal as much as he would.

Later that evening, as I thought about our conversation, I began to understand the meaning of the phrase “and the two shall become one”.

When I had cancer, my husband worried about me and shared my anxiety awaiting results. When I was pregnant, he had morning sickness along with me. When he broke his foot and couldn’t sleep, I didn’t sleep well either. When our parents died, we shared each other’s grief.

We worship together and pray together. I know his thoughts, and he knows mine. He can say the first words of a joke, and I know which one it is. Often one of us will bring up an issue to discuss, only to discover the other one had been thinking about the same issue.

“And the two shall become one.” I like the idea and hope for many more years of sharing our oneness.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

43 rd Anniversary

We celebrated our 43rd anniversary in our usual unorthodox way. We started the day by attending the end of the year awards ceremony for our grandson at his school. We then went to see INDIANA JONES and ate an early dinner at our favorite restaurant. We concluded the day by going to a viewing at the funeral home of our granddaughter's other grandfather. We returned home before winds of 50 miles an hour with gusts to
75 miles an hour took out the electricity for six hours.

We had to laugh at our version of anniversary celebration. Other anniversary's have involved attending a Turkish birthday party for children, mourning the death of Robert Kennedy, attending a family reunion, and renewing our vows at the grave site of the main character in an Eugenia Price novel. One year my husband had to work, so we postponed our celebration for a few days later. I had to learn that the day wasn't as important as honoring our relationship. Another year my husband sent me an orchid from Guam, and the lady who ran the post office made sure I received it although it arrived after the small post office officially closed for the day. I received a phone call at two in the morning from my husband who was stationed at a remote site half way around the world on another anniversary.

We celebrated our 40th with a party of friends just in case we didn't have the opportunity to celebrate our 50th as neither on of our parents did. Later that summer, we went to Alaska for a memorable gift to each other.

We're looking forward to what the next anniversaries might bring. The military part
of our life has long past, so we know we'll be sharing it together. Beyond that, we're not sure what opportunity lies ahead to make our day special. We have a party planned for the 50th, but other than that we'll have to wait and see.

But whatever the occasion brings, we'll be together, which is really all that matters.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blessings on Our Trip To Florida

We had a blessing on our way to Florida.

We always take the scenic route after we leave Hattiesburg, Mississippi to see the beautiful countryside of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia before cutting South to Tallahassee, Florida.

When we about three miles from Donaldsonville, Georgia, we stopped at the Johnson Family Market to purchase some fig preserves. When we started to leave, our car wouldn't start. Fortunately, Roger's high school friend, Betty Williams, came to our rescue. We always try to visit Betty on our way through town, but this time she helped us get a room at the local Super 8 motel and contacted her mechanic.

Her mechanic fixed our car early the next morning while we visited with Betty, her twin brother-Bobby and his wife-Pat.

We all talked about how fortunate we were to have car trouble near a community where we had friends instead of one of the many towns or somewhere along the road as we'd traveled through on our way to spend time with our family in Florida. We all gave God the praise for his blessing and provision for us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

100 Year Celebration

The First United Methodist Church of Burkburnett, Tx. celebrated 100 years of service to the community on Sunday, April 13, 2008. Former ministers attended as well as members who'd moved away. The special banners I'd help to make glistened on the wall behind the altar. The choir in their brand new robes led the processional with the bishop, district superintendent, and former ministers following behind. Proud fathers moved the risers so the children could sing two lively songs.

Our new minister, only two weeks at his new assignment, welcomed the congregation before leading us in the Apostles Creed. The congregation sang a medley of old favorites with joyous sounds that filled the sanctuary. The choir's anthem reflected the months of practice to perform each word and note as the composer intended.

The bishop spoke of the past commitment of members providing 100 years of worship and
service to the community. He challenged us to carry on the tradition of those early founders.
His voice reached every corner of the room creating enthusiasm for numerous amens even though our church people never shout amen. His enthusiasm was contagious. No one doubted
his selection as bishop for our North Texas Region.

After the service, we adjourned to the community center for a delicious catered luncheon,
power point slide show of members and activities, past and present. People laughed, recalled
memories, and visited with one another.

100 years savored by all as we recognized that only the children had any chance of celebrating the next one. Everyone made the most of the day with that fact in mind. Mrs. Caffee, 106, celebrated the most of all suggesting it might be possible a few children would be able to
recount the day at the 200 year celebration.

It was a glorious day.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Adopt a Highway Cleanup

Today twenty-six volunteers ranging in ages from 10 year old children and to adults in their 70's picked up twenty-six bags of trash on the edge of a two mile stretch of roadway. The trash varied from aluminum cans, beer bottles, and fast food cartons to items of clothing and an old tire. We didn't attempt to clean up the cigarette butts that had been thrown out windows in spite of a high fire warning and burn ban in the area.

This is the second year we have cleaned up the roadway every three months. We average around 25 bags each time. By Monday morning, we will make a trip down the same road only to discover items of trash already along the road. I often wonder if the people who throw out their trash don't notice the clean shoulders and grass ways along the road. Aren't they curious as to why the things they pitched in their truck beds are missing when they arrive at their destination? Do they not have a sense of responsibility for the property damage their thrown out cigarette butts can cause to say nothing of the chance of loss of life?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Making A Church Banner

Our church is preparing for the 100 year anniversary of its founding. I volunteered to help make special banners for the church. Fortunately, the chairman of the committee has a degree in fabric design so we have good direction. Another lady and I declared we were good at cutting and basting.

We have learned a lot about fabrics, bonding material, understitching, and ironing with
damp cheesecloth. We're finishing up the banners and will hang them on Friday night before
the special church service.

We've already decided to design special banners for weddings now that we know how to make them. In volunteering for a project, we've found a new calling. We're planning on meeting monthly to design and sew new banners and altar cloths for the church.

Moonine Sue Watson
April 4, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Writing Conference June 7th.

First Blogging Experience

Today is the first day of a new adventure. With the help of my friend, Debra, I have started a blog for myself and been added to her blog Books to Write By. This will be another thing to keep me busy and the dust getting deeper on the furniture.

I chose to name this blog a Journal of the Journey because I recently completed the Beth Moore Study, Stepping Up, about the journey in our own Christian Life. I recognize that I am daily on a journey where only God knows the destination. 

Welcome to my journey.