Lincoln Said It Right!

At the end of the devastating Civil War, Lincoln called for a spirit of reconciliation and an end to animosity.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”                                   Second Inaugural Address (delivered March 4, 1865).

Hopefully, we as Americans can listen to his wise counsel and find ways to stop the violence.   Listening, learning and loving . . .may be good for starters.

 

Living the Wet Life

One of my favorite pastimes is swimming laps at our nearby community pool.  Early morning is my favorite and when possible bringing an inspirational book and a cup of coffee or water.

woman swimming

After swimming a few laps and treading water, as well as greeting other swimmers, relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair and reading is delightful.  Usually it is easy for me to shut out the activities and conversations of those around me. But not always.

Kids playing “Marco Polo” and other water games often get a bit rowdy until told by parents to “calm down”.  Conversations between youngsters and their siblings can be interesting, as are interactions between children and parents.  Most children especially enjoy playing in the water with their mom and dad.  Some children wistfully watch as parents of other kids join in the fun, while theirs do not.

After finding a set of 5 squirt guns on sale, I offered them to my granddaughters.  Three brothers arrived at the pool and noticed the squirt guns.  “Wow, first time I ever saw girls with so many squirt guns,” the oldest loudly said.  Soon all had one to use and they played well for a long time at the end of the pool.

kids at pool

One warm evening last summer, a large family including a mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins played energetic games of volleyball.  All the other swimmers at the pool were invited to join in. It was very inter-generational, as well as inclusive. Surprisingly, not even the oldest people at the pool complained.  It was refreshing to see such fun among several ages. It doesn’t happen often enough.

pool volleyball
I live two blocks from the beach and one block from our pool, and have found being near the water soothes my soul.  It is a good place to pray and think.

Jesus often walked along the Sea of Galilee as he taught his disciples. He even prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them.

Once when His disciples thought they were lost in a sudden, strong storm, Jesus walked across the sea to help them.

Jesus taught us how to live ‘the wet life.

woman by ocean

Maria’s Main Message

One day back in the late sixties, my friend, Lois, called to ask if I was free that evening.  I am so glad I was, as she invited me, and my 9 year old daughter, Pammy,  to attend a talk by Maria Von Trapp.  She was appearing at nearby Triton College.  Of course, I did have to explain to Pammy that we were not going to see and hear Julie Andrews and she did understand that.  Sound of Music had become her favorite movie, next to Mary Poppins.

Maria was entertaining and even more remarkably inspiring.  She had her audience laughing and singing.  Many were students of this community college but most were fans of Baroness Maria Von Trapp, coming from all around the western suburbs of Chicago.  Even back then, before it became “politically correct” not to mix religion with public events, Maria did not allow the fact she was not in a church to prevent her from giving a very inspiring faith message.

I can still see her now, dynamically and boldly proclaiming how important it is for every person to “know and to do the Will of God.”  She pointed out how, when she had been planning to be a nun and was sent on a temporary, short time assignment to teach children who had lost their mother, she was guided to seek what God’s Will was.

Maria discovered God’s Will was for her to become stepmother of these seven children, and not to be a nun. It is not always easy to know the Will of God, but it is worth seeking. Once we know what He wants us to do, it is important to do it. As Maria herself said ” to know and to do the will of God”.

dm

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Fireworks Are Out of Sight

It was evening on July 4th several years ago.  My delightful 90 year old friend, Dorothy, had invited me to come watch fireworks from her balcony overlooking the Halifax River.  I knew she wanted company but I was taking care of my young granddaughter and had promised to take her to watch our community fireworks display.

So I asked Emily, who was five years old, if she cared if we went to be with Miss Dorothy instead of going to the big park to watch the display.  Emily liked Miss Dorothy, so agreed to go to be with her.  We all enjoyed a strawberry ice cream bar, then went out to the 5th floor deck to get ready and comfortable to watch the fireworks.

Soon we heard the sounds of fireworks, and exclamations of delight from the crowd.  But we were unable to see a thing.  We were confused because Miss Dorothy kept saying,  “I don’t understand.  We used to see them perfectly.”

It turned out that she had not watched them for several years, since her husband died.  A new building had been put up since then, that robbed the people living in the center building of their once perfect view.

As I tried to decide if there was enough time to go downstairs and walk around the south building,  Miss Dorothy told us to go ahead but she wasn’t up to going.  Then sweet Emily said, “Oh, no!  We are not going without you.”  She ran over and hugged our elderly hostess.  I was so relieved and proud of young Emily.

So we went indoors and watched Macy’s fireworks on television.  And we enjoyed a second strawberry ice cream bar with a glass of apple juice.

The next year, Emily and her baby sister went with their mom and dad to the community display.  They arrived early to get a great view.  I went to spend the evening with Miss Dorothy.  We again watched the Macy’s fireworks display.  But that year we had vanilla ice cream bars (instead of strawberry) with our apple juice.

I was reminded how we all have times when things do not go as we planned.  But time often gives us a second chance.  As has been said in Israel, “Maybe next year.”

dm