The Decision

Six months after beginning my first job in the publishing business,  an unexpected difficult decision landed in my lap (actually on my desk).

As production editor of a magazine serving the booksellers’ industry, the annual convention issue was ready to go to press. Then a dock worker’s strike intruded, threatening our ability to get the magazine to the post office on time. The urgent problem was getting a very expensive insert to the printer immediately.  Unfortunately, the many boxes containing it were stranded on a semi truck on a dock where workers were striking.

Our printer was urging us to go to press without the insert, informing me that unless I approved getting it to press immediately it may miss getting to the booksellers before the convention.  Most publishers invested extra time and money in this most circulated issue, and this center insert was very valuable and expensive.  It was announcing and describing a new version of the Bible.

The pressure was on and the decision was all mine, especially since the owner/managing editor was in a hospital having serious surgery.  His doctor did not allow any calls.

My prayers were unceasing that the strike would end but when I called the shipping company they said there was no way of knowing and the strike probably would go on for days.

My coworkers were glad the decision was mine and not theirs.  Of course, most offered their opinion, but all said it was up to me.  The printer called several times a day urging us to go to press.  And I kept praying for the strike to end.

Then it did end … our boxes were unloaded with speed and delivered to the printer.  The magazines arrived before the convention and things were back on track.  My prayers were thanking God for getting all things resolved.  The pressure was off.

Or so I thought.  My boss asked his secretary to tell me he was well enough now to meet with me.  He was home from the hospital and wanted me to come to his home.  I was worried as I drove there. He told me others on his staff had felt I should not have held up the printing and he asked if I knew that.

”Yes,” I admitted.

“Why didn’t you take their advice?” he asked in a firm voice.  Even though he was in bed, recovering from surgery, he still had a way of intimidating me.  At that moment, I feared I had made a mistake and would lose my job.

“Very glad you didn’t. You made the right decision,” he continued before I could answer.  We could have lost a good, long-time customer and we would have been out a lot of money.  I wanted to thank you in person.”

As I returned to work, I again said a prayer of thanks.  Then tackled the next challenge with a bit more confidence.

dm

confident woman

 

 

 

 

 

Funny Farm . . . Or A Winter Wonderland?

Living in the North Woods of Wisconsin was exciting, exhausting and challenging.  It was not easy with three youngsters who were absolutely full of energy and always ‘raring’ to go do something.  Especially during the cold, early winter months, before the snow falls.  We lived on a lake and once it was frozen the fun began.

Until then, however, we all suffered from cabin fever.  Our log home was rustic and not too big.  We played games, read books and did creative art projects. But my children all seemed to have very short attention spans.  Some days I felt like I was at my wit’s end, trying to entertain my family.

family projects
When Its Too Cold To Think Of Being Outside

One day, the wall phone rang and since this was before portable or cell phones, I had to answer it in the kitchen.  Although I did have a very long cord, my ability to watch what the children were doing was limited.  That call was important.  I was trying to listen and sound professional while worrying about what was going on in their play area.  Sure enough, the middle child, my most rambunctious one, had got into mischief.  As I hung up the phone to survey the damage, I muttered, “You guys are going to drive me to the funny farm.”

Big mistake!  Not recommended positive reinforcement.

“Can I go with?  Please?”  My middle son kept begging for a very long time.

“Me, too, me too,” sobbed his younger brother, while their older sister looked confused.    It took much too long to explain. I doubt they ever realized it was just a silly comment.

Finally, a few days later, it began snowing and soon we were  snowed in.  Now we were in a winter wonderland and the fun began.  There was lots to do and the price was right!

man ice fishing

We ice fished for supper and enjoyed healthy hot cocoa out on the lake.  One has to drink it rather fast, of course, before it froze right before our eyes.

young boy ice fishig

Kids Hot Cocoa

So much fun in the snow.  My daughter spent hours building sturdy igloos.  One day I was pulling my young sons on a toboggan across the lake and met another woman walking over to my side. We became lifelong friends.

Then came the day when I suffered from frost bitten toes. Really suffered when I got stuck driving on a stretch of road the snowplow had neglected to clear.  It wasn’t long before Florida began sounding wonderful.  I have been here now 30 years and it is wonderful.

Those memorable days in a winter wonderland are permanently etched in my heart.  My daughter and her family spend a lot of time snowmobiling in Wisconsin and sometimes send me photos.  I enjoy seeing them all bundled up when i am relaxing on the beach or at the pool.

dm

A Grandmother’s Perspective

Several times when my granddaughters were visiting me with their parents, I noticed a recognizable difference between parents and grandparents.  It had to do with the laughter coming from the bathtub when my two youngest granddaughters were supposed to be washing their hair and scrubbing their knees.

“How sweet,”  I thought, enjoying listening to their playful fun. But then. . .

“Girls, you are making too much noise.  I have a headache,” their dad called to them.

“Just get your hair washed and get in bed,” chimed in their mom.

Silence!

Then, rather sadly, I remembered times years ago when my own two little boys were having pillow fights in their bedroom, laughing instead of falling asleep.

pillowfight

”Boys, get to sleep now. It has been a very long day.  I am so tired.”  I would firmly call from my bedroom.  Usually I needed to repeat myself.

“But Mom, we are not tired.”

“Well, I am.”

Finally, silence!

Amazing how, now that I am much older, kids laughing in the evening is music to my ears.

I suspect I’m not alone in acquiring a fondness for children’s laughter later in life.

dm

Not Just Hope So . . . Rather Believe So!

 In her post,  It’s Personal, seasoned blogger, Rebekah Beene, wrote, “The King has heard your petition.  You are not whispering ‘hope so’s’ into the atmosphere.  You have an audience with the only living God.”

Over and over in the written Word of God, believers are assured that God hears our prayers.  Yes, we have probably been reminded that His answer may be yes, no or not yet.  Many times in my life, friends have reminded me, ‘delay is not denial’.   Difficult as it is, trusting that the answer to our prayer may take many days, weeks, months or even years is not easy.  Yet, a certain peace often comforts us as we ‘keep the faith’.

There are even times when, as we wait, our mind changes and we realize the particular prayer request we so fervently repeated, is no longer what we really want.  In fact, we may be very glad that prayer was answered a definite “no.” We don’t always know what is right for us so oftentimes we may pray for things that would hinder not help, harm not heal. However there is a promise in scripture that can solve the problem of what is and is not the best for us. Psalm 37:4  says ” Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. Now that is an entirely different idea than us tossing prayers up and seeing how things turn out.

Notice it does not say ” I will give you the desires of your heart, then you can delight yourself in me” . No it actually means that when we draw close to the Lord, or delight ourselves in Him, He WILL give us the desires of our heart. Why though are we guaranteed the desires of our hearts if we ” delight” or draw close to Him? It is because when we walk closely with Him, the desires of our heart will line up with the desires of His. That is the secret. It is not about heaving endless prayers to see what hits and what does not. It is about staying so close to the Lord that we know what to pray and when we pray our prayers will be answered.

Watchman Nee put it something like this- we walk in close with fellowship with Him, the Spirit Impresses upon us those things we are to pray, or those people we are to pray for, and God answers those prayers. It is a matter of discipline to stay close to the Lord so we can hear His voice through the Spirit. It is a matter of obedience to then pray for those things we know to pray.

Save some time and energy and find out what He is thinking before you pray. You are likely to have more answered prayer, and that’s a promise!

DM

Art from the Heart

When my two sons were young, often while I was working on a writing assignment at home, I sat them down to do their own writing assignment.  (After they wrote their story, they could then creatively illustrate it.)  Thankfully, it kept them busy for quite some time.  Then we all had fun hearing them read their “masterpieces”.  I still chuckle, remembering how surprised my oldest son was when he realized that all moms are not writers.  Now days, of course, many more moms are writers on blogs.

Those years sped by too quickly, but did seem to have an impact on all of us. It helped them do well in reading and writing in school, though none of us excelled in  arithmetic.

After our television was struck by lightning, we survived over a year without a new one.  One project I will always remember was their drawing and secretly delivering valentine hearts to elderly neighbors.  Years later, I was at our corner drug store when a really old neighbor lady struck up a conversation with me.

“I still have that sweet Valentine heart your boys made for me,” she smiled as my mind was recapturing the incident.  I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to share her words with my now teenage sons.  They did remember that secret kind act.

animated13

 

dm

 

 

The Right Power

I always look forward to those fun summer times when I am blessed to have a grandchild or two spend a week with me.  I try to stock up on ice cream, frozen pizzas, and apples to eat at our community pool.

One year stands out, though, as especially memorable.  The Sunday afternoon, just before my two preteen grandchildren and their one year old sister arrived, my lights went out.  No power, meaning no lights, air conditioning, refrigeration or television.  After checking my fuse box several times, I called Florida Power and Light.  They assured me it was not their problem. . .  it had to be mine.   But no one could identify what was my problem and our fun time was here.  Deciding to make the best of it, we went to the pool.  We ate up all the ice cream that evening.  The next day we again went to the pool, with  apples, chips and water.  We enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and crackers.  Several times that day I also called FPL but they continued to insist it was not their problem,

Vacation Bible School began at five that Monday evening.  I was a member of a very new congregation, and our church council had decided to offer a free cookout each evening, inviting families in the neighborhood to attend and meet our members.  It worked great for us as it solved our ‘no power to cook’ problem.  The food was great and all seemed to have a nice time.

The theme for their first ever week long evening Vacation Bible School was “Wonder Working Power.”  That touched home to us, for sure.  (Of course, we all sang the song, ‘Power in the Name of Jesus’, which included the words “Wonder Working Power” enthusiastically, but it meant even more to us that week.)  So every afternoon that week, we showered up with cool water after a fun day at the pool and enjoyed a cookout at Church before an exciting Vacation Bible School class.

Friday evening, my son and daughter-in-law came to watch the final program, and took my grandchildren home.   As I drove home alone, a feeling of relief overcame my loneliness, now that the grand kids were back home.  The week had gone very well.  But it was now time to face reality. Something had to be done about my electric power.

As I pulled into my subdivision, our security guard said, “There are three FPL trucks behind your house.  Evidently several of their lines broke into the wooded common grounds there.”  Finally, they realized it was their problem, not mine!  By the time I walked into my house, lights were back on, refrigerator chilling and ceiling fans cooling..

Although the children and I had a wonderful week together, it would have been nice to have our air conditioning working.  As I let the air out of the air mattresses we had used to sleep outside on the screened porch (to get a few cool breezes), I found myself singing. “There is power, power, wonder working power, in the precious blood of the Lord.”  (The kids and I had sang that catchy, peppy song all week and it was stuck in my mind.)

By now, I was really tired but very grateful the week had been fun and no one got hurt. As I climbed into bed, I thanked God for providing His mighty power in the midst of our outage.

DM