Thursday, November 25, 2010


We had an unexpected adventure last night. I walked downstairs and stumbled into my family room ... turned wading pool. Apparently my washing machine (which has had a vendetta against me since it first came to live here) had decided to launch an attack. Water was EVERYWHERE! In seconds, our visions of putting the kids to bed early and cozying up by the fire were replace with rolled up cuffs, wet feet, and an evening of discovering just how far water can travel through a carpet pad. While it was not how I had planned to spend my night, pushing a carpet extractor back and forth for two hours supplied ample time to reflect on just how much I have to be thankful for.

I know people who lean toward the Pollyanna outlook on life can be really annoying :-) (perhaps because it seems to minimize real frustrations and struggles?). However, since we have an Eeyore in the house, I've tried to go beyond the norm to model finding the positive in life's less than pleasant circumstances. It doesn't come easily, but it's necessary. This week God has been pointing out through many different avenues just how blessed we are. It's easy for me to become consumed with my own little world where everyone looks and acts much like me and forget there are lots of folks out there who are less fortunate. It's easy to recognize their plight on a high level, but when names and specific people are associated with those needs, and I'm faced with the reality of families who lack even the simplest items (like a pen and paper), it's hard to grapple with. So last night as I was squishing back and forth on my carpet I was thanking God for a home with pumpkin pie in the oven and a husband who was willing to roll up his cuffs and help me out. I was also beyond thankful for Al at Home Depot who stayed open after hours to rent me a carpet fan and carpet machine. Don't know what we would have done without his generosity and willingness to help, especially on Thanksgiving-Eve. We'd probably still be down there with the shop vac. I'm thankful for friends and neighbors and family who offer support, laughter, friendship, love. I'm thankful for three healthy rambunctious kiddos. I'm thankful for my husband who loves me more than I deserve, cherishes, provides for me. And above all I'm thankful for a Lord and Saviour who redeemed me, continuously forgives, has clothed me in righteousness, hides me in the shelter of His wings, calls me daughter. I am blessed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Invisible Servants

Yesterday we had the delightful experience of having a kiddo "cast up her accounts" (had to use a new term I just discovered in a period novel!) in the middle of watching The Polar Express in Imax. Ugh. I readily admit that stomach issues make me shudder, and I was beyond thankful that Daddy was there to care for her.

This morning as I was reviewing our adventure, I was struck by one individual I ran into. I had been trying to locate garbage bags for soiled clothes. Several employees were less than helpful - cordial but, as Anne of Green Gables would say, lacking the imagination to find what I needed. Finally someone radioed the custodian. Enter a short man pushing the typical rolling cart fitted with garbage can, cleaning supplies, and the coveted garbage bags. Had I passed him on the street, he would not have stood out. He was a face with a job who would have blended into the background. Yet this man's behavior continues to sit in the forefront of my mind. He was generous with his supplies and service, yes, but he also freely gave encouragement. Telling him he may want to disinfect the bathroom, I apologized profusely for leaving him with any mess. We tried to clean up after ourselves the best we could, but still. I felt awful that someone else would have to deal with our yuckiness. I can't put into words this man's spirit. He fell over himself to assure me not to worry. It was his job. Repeatedly he said "That's what I'm here for." For this overwhelmed, grossed-out mama, his words and kindness soothed my soul.

As I was reflecting on the impact of our short interaction, I realized how many "invisible servants" are in my life. How many people I take for granted be they custodians for public restrooms, the man who pumps my gas and washes my windshield, the firemen I have never met but know are waiting, ready .... the people who make my life easier, safer and more pleasant. Because many of them we never see, it's easy to take them for granted. Our cultural mindset of self-entitlement doesn't help. Nor does the prejudice that folks in less than glamorous jobs are somehow below those with flashy careers. Honestly, if I walked into the theater and saw the ticket-taker guy, I would assume that he has a better job than the custodian. But let me tell you -- last night it was the custodian, like the Good Samaritan, who was a good neighbor.

This episode was a powerful reminder of several lessons. I draw too many conclusions based on appearances or social structure. I need to be mindful of those around me who make my life easier and more pleasant and teach my children to watch for those invisible servants. I want my kids to consider why the airport bathroom is clean, why there is food on the grocery store shelves, why garbage doesn't pile up in the streets. I want them to respect and appreciate the people we easily overlook. I realize they aren't going to learn such respect and gratitude from our world. I myself must model what I want to see in them. And hopefully, if we seek to apply these things God may use us to minister to a weary soul as a certain custodian encouraged mine yesterday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11 - A Day to Say Thanks

To Those Who Have Served or are Serving our Country,

I realize that for the majority of you, your service goes unsung. That while you gave of yourselves for the freedom I enjoy, too few of you receive the honor you're due. That you bear the scars of your sacrifice. So, on this Veteran's Day, I want to say thank you. Thank you for putting your life on the line not only for our country but for her citizens yet unborn. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted. For not treasuring the gift you gave us. You are my heros.

*As I was looking for images to add to this post, I kept coming back to this gentleman. The photo is circa 1982. He is Joseph Ambrose, a then 86-year-old WWI vet. He holds the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War. (source: wikipedia, photo public domain.)