Are You Swimsuit Ready?

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The perfectly toned woman with the perpetual optimistic personality is trying to get me pumped up. In between cardio kicks and hip hop dance moves, she reminds me that all my hard work will pay off. I will be swimsuit ready. I really don’t care about swimsuit ready. I wanted a new workout and this DVD was a freebie. Now every time I exercise, I hear her words of encouragement. I can look good in my swimsuit. Are you swimsuit ready? There is a more pressing question I need to address. Will I be Jesus Christ ready? Jesus is returning to earth. Will I be ready for his second coming? The answer involves more than time in my schedule for physical exertion. The answer requires honest reflection. Let’s see. How is my attitude towards the people God has placed in my life? Am I serving God wholeheartedly? Who am I purposely sharing the gospel with? Can people recognize Jesus in me? Salvation through Jesus is a free gift. Living out faith in Jesus and being prepared for Jesus, now that’s work. Hard work done through the Holy Spirit. Real work that demands sacrifice of self. Excuse me. I gotta go. I have work to do to be Jesus Christ ready. And maybe I’ll dig out that swimsuit too. What about you, are you Jesus Christ ready?

Luke 18:8b

However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

 

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

 

What Does Your Box Hold?

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It was a lofty goal, but I managed to stick to it. Before I packed away any box again, I sorted it. There have been many boxes to go through as we settle into our new house. I have rediscovered the missing and the forgotten. I have been surprised by the memories contained in those boxes. In the process, I have learned more about who I was at different stages of my growing up years. Here’s a sample peek at a young Debbie of elementary age:

1)      I used to write my name backwards. (Must have been a “leftie” thing! And it is a trick that I can still do today!)

2)      I loved Paul R., the boy next door, but he did not love me back.

3)      I loved hockey even more than the neighbor boy. (Who has a scrapbook for hockey? Who keeps hockey pucks as mementos? I did!)

4)      I wasn’t always so good at math. (I’ll have to pitch that quiz!)

5)      I have always loved dessert. (My diary reads like a tally of desserts enjoyed!)

What does my life today reveal to others? What do my priorities say about my character? Do my actions demonstrate that I care more about people than stuff? Most importantly, am I creating new memories that celebrate God’s goodness in my life? If my life was a box to store memories, what would it hold? Would it be overflowing the top and sides bulging with extra tape needed to hold it all in? It should be for God blesses in abundance.

 

 1 Thessalonians 3:6

But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.

 

Philemon 6

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 

 

 

The Cast Iron Griddle

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The cast iron griddle is synonymous with Grams.  My husband’s grandmother died eight years ago, but I can still conjure up vivid memories. That vintage seasoned griddle was used to make pancakes generously sprinkled with freshly picked huckleberries. The best pancakes in the world were churned out for grandkids, followed by the great-grandkids.  I miss Grams.  I miss summer vacations spent in the West Virginia mountains.  I miss the childhood of my now grown boys. That cast iron griddle represented the sweet in home sweet home.

My husband and I were looking for home sweet home.  We were ready to downsize from a big house to a comfortably smaller house.  Plans were made.  However, oftentimes life doesn’t go according to the best laid plans.  Our old house sold before we could find a new one. As we continued our house search, we had to settle for the temporary arrangements of apartment living. Keepsakes, memories and the practical stuff we couldn’t fit into a too cozy apartment were tucked away in boxes piled from floor to ceiling in a storage unit. Our home sweet home of the past nine years, and actually, our entire married life, filled a ten by thirty foot space, waiting to be rediscovered at the opportune time.

I hadn’t used it in years.  I wiped off the dust and then applied a coating of vegetable oil in a feeble attempt to add years of seasoning. Time can not be rushed, but it was the closest I could get to Gram’s griddle.  My cast iron griddle was only fifteen years old with much fewer memories.  However, it was now time to add some fresh memories: the memories of 2013. We welcomed a daughter-in-law into the family. We said goodbye to my mom.  I reconciled with my sister.  We sold our house. We moved into an apartment.  Our kids festively decorated pancakes on Christmas Eve morning. It is the sweet memories and even the bittersweet ones that define life and fill our home.

Home is more than just a physical or permanent address. Home sweet home is found in the relationships of those dearest to us. The sweetest home is one where hearts are open to an ever-expanding circle of love through shared history, new traditions, genuine laughter, and in our family, a cast iron griddle.  Come to think of it, we have been enjoying home sweet home all along.

1 Thessalonians 3:6

But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.

Psalm 45:17

I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.