Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If it walks like a duck....

I have a new theory. Too much snow and subsequent shoveling can speed up the aging process. Bill's back and muscles are protesting the amount of snow we've had here in Rockford this winter. Shoveling our driveway has given him workouts that could rival that of olympic athletes in training. As a matter of fact, look for "shoveling" to be a potential olympic sport next time around.....hey, if curling can make it, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.
I'm so grateful that our neighborhood gets ploughed quickly and effectively when it snows here. What drives me crazy is the two foot pile of snow that is deposited at the end of our driveway as the street is cleared. I know it has to go somewhere so we can drive on the streets, but shoveling out of the "fort" is a chore. Just ask Bill! I have helped a handful of times, but I wouldn't want to get in the way of olympic training.
Bill's recent "gait" has developed into something I can only describe as that of a waddling duck. Somehow, walking like that seems to alleviate some of the strain on his back; or so he says. Today we saw one of those commercials about the electronic wheelchairs as he was trying to stand up from the couch. He commented jokingly that he needed a scooter. I chuckled, but quickly said, "Don't even joke about that"! Then I watched him waddle through the house.
I suppose we just have to be careful not to go out during duck hunting season. Walking like that, he's fair game!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Can you hear me now?

I still have my Colorado cell phone number. I don't know what that says about me after being in Illinois for nearly 4 months now, but suffice it to say that I don't want to miss any calls. Someone may need to talk to me! I'm sure I'll stay with Verizon though. I like their coverage.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if God subscribed to Verizon? Imagine getting clear reception when He says, "Can you hear me now?"! Seriously though, how's your network working for you? Are you getting dropped calls? Wouldn't it be great to have a connection so solid that we are able to hear from God when He calls our name? And how about that coverage?!

The truth is, His network is failproof. If we call on Him in prayer, He hears us. If we seek Him through His word, we find Him. If we look for Him in creation, He will be seen. Yes, reception on His end seems to be ours for the asking. We can always reach God by just calling His name. Yet, many times, when He tries to reach us, we miss His call. Could be we're out of our network or we've turned off communication. I don't know about you, but it sure is time for me to download His ringtone so I can recognize Him when He calls.

Figuratively speaking, I'm quite happy with Verizon because of "IN" calling. Since I'm in God's family that's a FREE call. Of course, if I used T-Mobile, I could have a Fave 5! My Fave 5 would have to be Father, Son, Holy Spirit.....and, OH, Bill and Kristen!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In the midst of the storm

Last year, when we were living in Colorado, it was one of the worst winters the Denver/Boulder area had experienced in many years. When we arrived in the summer of 2006, we were told that, contrary to popular belief, the winters in the foothills were quiet pleasant. I was looking forward to 300 days of sunshine (something I took for granted and greatly long for here in Northern Illinois!) I thought it would be great to have snowfall one day and 60 degrees to melt it the next. Imagine my surprise when mid December brought a massive snowstorm of epic proportions that proved to be only the beginning. I think it was around mid-March by the time the snow was finally gone. Until then, we began to see it as a constant. People would often say to us, "It's not normally like this around here." Lucky us, to be there for a phenomenon! While I deeply love Colorado, I felt less than blessed to be in the midst of these storms.

Fast forward to Northern Illinois. Winter, 2007/2008. We knew it would be cold. Those dastardly lake effects can cut right through you. I've got a new appreciation for COLD and a renewed distaste for it! I think the first snow came around Thanksgiving. It seems to have snowed pretty consistently ever since. And I'm beginning to wonder how the below zero temperatures and windchills are actually measured. There's a reason below zero is termed "negative". It definitely is! Once again, people say, "It's not normally like this around here." It seems this winter is an especially harsh one. Imagine that!

I'm not egocentric enough to think that physical storms just follow me. However, I am ever consious that spiritual storms are either in the midst of raging or are collecting all the necessary characteristics to start a brewing process. It's not a matter of "if", but "when" they will hit! That sounds rather ominous, but its a reality we have to come to terms with. How else can we weather the storm, if we're not wearing the right gear? Again, I give kudos to my current Beth Moore study for reminding me how important it is to weatherize. God's word is so gracious to map out an effective emergency plan. It doesn't say we will always escape unscathed, but it does say we can have peace in the midst of the storm. That peace comes from prepartion, if you will. Batten down the hatches, store up God's accurate forecast in your heart and have an ongoing communication plan with the only one who can ultimately help us survive the storms of life.

Newsflash: There may not be 300 days of sunshine in Northern Illinois, maybe not even half that, but that's okay. I've seen the forecast and there are better days ahead!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sometimes there are just no parking spaces!

I pray for everything! Sometimes, even trivial things like parking spaces. I figure if God doesn't grant it to me, I'm no worse for the asking. But, if He does, its certainly a blessing to me. Being a pastor's wife has landed me and my husband in a few places. Right now, we're parked in Rockford, IL. It's a spot we prayed for and God opened it up for us.

I'm still trying to find a job here and it doesn't seem as if employers are standing in line to hire me. It's a humbling experience. I did start a new job last week, but it wasn't quiet what I expected. I was supposed to go into Chicago the first three days for orientation. My first day was a 14 hour day, with a six hour commute! Yikes! That, along with the news that I would not be receiving equipment for my home office, was a bit discouraging, but I was determined to follow through with my commitment. I asked God to shut the door if this wasn't the right job for me, but, even though I felt no real peace about the job, I still didn't see the door being shut. I prayed all the way to the train station the next morning for God to show me what I should do. After 45 minutes of trying to find a parking spot, I called to let them know I would be late. It occurs to me now that, not once, did I pray for a spot to open up! All of a sudden I could see that I needed to swallow my pride and let my new employer know that this job just wasn't going to work out for me. Thank God for the Beth Moore bible study I'm doing at church right now. I'm learning about all kinds of strongholds in my life like pride. There would have been a day, not even long ago, when I would have just sucked it up and gone back into that office because I was worried about what they would say or think of me if I didn't return. However, on this day, there just weren't any parking spaces and I decided life was too short to drive around any longer looking for one! That was the shortest job I've ever had, but it taught me that my Provider will open up my spot in His timing.

On the way home, I felt liberated for having made the decision not to return to that job. I had to chuckle because I was reminded of the cartoon where the person is waiting on the rooftop with floods rising around him and two or three different people come by in boats, planes and such to ask it he needs help. Each time he declines the help and says, "No, God will rescue me!" I was that person, not recognizing that God was trying to get my attention regarding this job in a variety of ways, but I just didn't see the help He was offering me. I mean the weather this particular week was not just your typical Mid-West bitter, but ridiculously hazardous. Thus, part of the reason my commute was so long that first day. The second day's weather was equally treachorous. A smarter, less prideful person might have figured this out a lot quicker than I did.

I really needed a Starbucks when I got back to Rockford, but comfort food seemed much more appropriate that day. I went to Cracker Barrel instead. There was a parking spot right up front!