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Archive for the ‘thankful’ Category

The likely hood of making military friends while living on The Island is quite high, and we have already said good bye to two families over the past year.  I have decided the process of making new friends only to have them move a few months later absolutely stinks.  I have also decided that the fruit you receive from putting yourself out there is totally worth it.

Every few years these families pack up everything they own to start over in a new place.  Yes, they signed up for this, but no one understands the unique pressure this puts on a family.  Each of the families that we have gotten to know have endured multiple deployments to scary parts of the world.  The spouses of these soldiers are strong and caring, raising their children as single parents for months at a time.  They do admit to moments of weakness, wondering why they agreed to this life style, but they are deeply patriotic, deeply committed, deeply spiritual.  Their mobile life in the military seem to have given them a better understanding of gracious and inclusive living, and our transition to The Island would be not be as easy without them.

So, today we say “We’ll see ya when we see ya” to some special friends. The heart ache is deep, but we are better for having shared these past months of musicals, drama classes, youth group activities, camp, coffee dates, and fabulous text streams of laughter and tears.  God bless you McDees!  We’ll see ya when we see ya.

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It’s Friday.  Ah, we made it.

I look out my window and there is a line of intermixed palm trees and monkey tail trees.  Beyond that line is a large cemetery.  It’s constantly busy.  If people aren’t having a service to bury a loved one, then they are sitting around a grave stone enjoying a picnic.  A few of the headstones are surrounded with solar lights, so at night it is very easy to see them from the road.

A few mornings a week my youngest and her pappy take a walk around the cemetery.  They go in search of life; ferrel cats and jungle fowl.  They have named certain ones, and are delighted when they see them.  They always come back with a great story, or a song that they made up as they were walking/running along.

We are still amazed at how the cats and chickens hang out together in the cemetery.  We almost didn’t believe the hubby the first time he came back from a walk across the street, but he has pictures!  Thank you smart phone.  There were clearly roosters strutting along side the cats, and momma hens leading lines of chicks right next to sleepy cats.  One day there was a bunny hopping along the path.  Wow, isn’t this what heaven is supposed to be like?  The lion sitting peacefully next to the lamb?

Two verses come to mind as I think on the seeming peace and tranquility of the cat and chicken hangout.

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

At time these verses are challenging.  “Really?  Be at peace with EVERYONE?  ALL THE TIME?” or “Oy, Holy? That just takes too much effort,  I give up” may be the response that we want to give.  Ok, maybe it’s just me.  Look again at the first part of that verse.  “Make every effort” is what is says.  “Do your best” is how I read that.  Phew…I know that I’m not perfect, but so does God.  He wants me to try and do my best, knowing that I’m not going to be perfect until I see Him face to face.  Seriously, I feel like a weight it lifted off of my shoulders.

I will try my best to be at peace with everyone, and to strive to be holy.  I’m so thankful for the grace that God shows me when I fail and choose to pick up an offense that isn’t mine or just plain don’t want to forgive.  Thank you God for some silly cats and chickens that give us a fun reminder to live in peace.  Time for a walk across the street.

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Yesterday, as I drove home from registering our car for the year, I started mentally composing this post.  I was reminiscing about my first trip to register the car at that satellite city hall.  I left with plates from a new state, and proceeded to wander around the parking garage looking for the car I had just registered.  45 minutes later I was calling the hubby thinking that the car had been stolen.  This was only a few days after we had to pay a nice impound fee because I had parked in a spot that obviously was not legal.  This was only a few days after I had tried to start the car in a grocery store lot, and ended up paying a nice fee to have a new key made to replace the stripped one.  I really didn’t want to have to tell my hubby that now the car was gone.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t stolen.  I had walked back to the wrong level of the parking garage.  Hey, it looked just like the level below where my car was actually parked.  Those that know me, feel free to laugh.

I felt pretty good about myself after this last trip to take care of the car.  I had successfully parked in a spot the led me directly to where I needed to go.  I then went inside, having not remembered that I needed cash or check to pay the registration (I quickly solved that), and only had to stand in line for 30 minutes.  I took care of business, and was able to walk directly back to the car.  This is a huge win.

My original car that made the boat trip over was totaled back in January.  I loved that car.  It was a huge answer to prayer.  The kiddos had spent a few summer weeks previous to that driving side by side in a little red truck without AC.  Now, I know that AC is a huge luxury, but when the kiddos  have to sit one sweaty body next to another they get a little cranky pants.  This new to us car had separate seats, AC and  CD player.  I had enough room to drive a pack of kiddos to the pool, to the park, or to wherever.  The kiddos rejoiced, and often thanked God for that car even after having it for years.  I was devastated not only that I was involved with an accident, but that I had totaled the car in the process.

A month later we ended up with another new to us car.  Again, there are separate seats, AC, and CD player.  I have enjoyed cranking tunes while trucking kids to and from rehearsals for the musical, so I was a little bummed that the radio stopped working as I drove out of the parking lot.  I started mentally adjusting my blog post.

I thought, “Ok God, what do you want to tell me?  You have my full attention.”

The next thing I noticed was that the speedometer needle was moving erratically, and then it was the RPM needle, and then the odometer numbers disappeared.

“Hmm,” I stated, “At least I still have the AC.”  There wasn’t a whole lotta get up and go after I stopped at the red light.  “God, you’ll have to get me home,” I prayed.  I made it up and over the hill, or mountain, just as the AC decided to quit.  I kept on praying.  Five minutes later I pulled into our driveway and our car shut down.

Right now I’m just being thankful that I made it home, that in the back of the car I had groceries to unload, that I had children around to help unload them, and that tomorrow a friend on the church staff is coming by to replace the part that went kaputski.  Yep, another set of first world problems.

Thank you, Lord.  You are the same God as before things started shutting down on the car.  Why should I think that You are  different because the car broke down?  There is no reason to.  I believe that with my whole heart.

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