Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yard Sale

This weekend was all about the yard sale at our house. Our daughter, Elizabeth, moved home last weekend and spent the past week sorting through the accumlation of her 23 years of living in order to get ready to move to St. Petersburg, Russia for a year. Whatever she earned from this sale would go towards her ministry support as she heads over there to teach conversational English to university students. But most importantly, she is going to share God's love with them.

Her bedroom, and our living room and dining rooms were the staging area for sorting through memories, represented by all the "stuff" she has accumlated. And like most of us, she was amazed (and at times, distressed) at just how much "stuff" there was!

After countless hours of sorting through what was going to stay and get boxed up for a year, what was hitting the trash can, and what would be worthy of the yard sale, Elizabeth finally set up shop bright and early on Friday morning. For two days she greeted neighbors as well as strangers who came to see what "treasures" they could find. And with each item that sold, there was a sense of lightening the load and loosening the ties.

As I sat with her on Saturday, I thought about how much "stuff" is still in the house. That nearly gave me a panic attack! But the truly wonderful part of the weekend was not just the clearing out of unneeded items, but seeing the wonderful people who were willing to come along side of her in her ministry. Neighbors contributed items to be sold. Others paid extra because they knew how the money would be used and they wanted to support the ministry. Still others offered wonderful stories of friends and family members who were already ministering in Russia and Ukraine. My heart just swelled as I recognized God's hand through each of these people that he brought to our yard.

One of the most exciting encounters happened when a mother and her college-age daughter came to look at some golf clubs. When they started speaking to each other, it was in Russian! I had been in the house when they arrived and when I came back out in the yard, Elizabeth was beaming! It turned out that they were actually from Ukraine, the country that broke Elizabeth's heart in the first place and set her out on this current journey! When the daughter saw the sign we had posted about Elizabeth going to Russia, she came over and offered her email and phone number so they can stay in contact. God, you are so cool!!

So, it was a successful weekend. Money was raised for the many items still needed to take overseas. Lots of "stuff" has moved on to new homes. And now it's the final sorting and packing before the big move! It's coming...really, really fast!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bought a Camera

I just went on line and bought a camera! It took me a while to pull the trigger, but after spending a long time reading and re-reading the specs, thinking and re-thinking whether or not I should do it, I did it! You're probably wondering what fancy-shmancy camera I decided on. Okay, I confess, it was just a $99 digital Kodak from Walmart. But the fact that it took me so long to do it says a couple of things about me.

First, I still stop and think twice before spending $100 bucks ($109.27 to be precise). Spending more than a few dollars at a time for non-essential items is difficult for me. Over the years, money has been tight. And in these economic times, it really makes sense to be cautious. So it was hard and I nearly talked myself out of buying the camera more than once.

And then there was the fact that I was buying it online. I hate to admit it, but I still don't feel quite confident in this whole internet shopping thing. I like to see the person's face who is taking my hard earned cash from me. And I REALLY like to be able to hold my purchase right away instead of waiting days for it to arrive. But I realize that this is the way business is done these days, even if it makes me crazy!

So, now that I've done it, I can hardly wait for it to come. Almost eight years ago, our house was burglarized and my camera was stolen. I haven't had one since then, and for the most part, I haven't missed it. My husband has a nice camera, so we have taken pictures over the years. However, most of those pictures have either resided on that camera or on his computer, so I haven't seen them.

Then last fall, my sisters and I went to Hawaii for a week and they were all snapping pictures right and left. Didn't really bother me too much since I figured I could get pictures from them. (Let me tell you, cell phone pictures don't really do Hawaii justice!) But just like with my husband's camera, their Hawaii pictures haven't made their way to me either.

So a few weeks back, I decided that I really DID want my own camera...just something cheap and simple so I could snap a few photos when I felt like it and actually get to see them. Now, I've taken the plunge and I'm excited! I can hardly wait to snap some of those "close-ups" that you take holding the camera at arms length. Lucky for me, I've got "ape arms"and can probably include five or six people in one shot!

So, consider yourself forewarned because once I get hold of this baby, I'll be snapping pictures of anyone and anything that crosses my path. After all, I've got to make up for lost time!

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Gonna Hurt

Have you ever had a bruise, that for some reason you can't resist poking? You know that if you press on the purplely-blue spot, it's gonna hurt. But you do it anyway, because you think that just maybe it won't hurt as much as it looks like it will. And of course, you're hurts like crazy!

Sometimes, when people hurt me, I do the same thing. I know the wound is there, and rather than just leaving it alone and letting time do its healing thing, I keep revisiting it, poking at it...just to make sure that it still hurts. And sure enough, it still does!

I know it doesn't make much sense. I know I need to just let my hurts heal without inflicting more pain. Maybe someday I'll learn how to do that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Saturday at Starbucks

Last Saturday morning, my daughter and I decided to head on over to our local Starbucks for a cup of something while we did our devotions and chatted. When we got there, the usual Saturday morning crowd was there, not that I know who the usual crowd is. I simply mean that a crowd was there. The line was long and backed up nearly to the door with more people coming in every few minutes.

My daughter gave me her drink order and then went to find a table where we could plant ourselves while I waited in line to order our drinks. Slowly the line moved forward and before I knew it, I was standing right in front of a very dangerous pastry case. I'm not usually a pastry-buying person, but the longer I stood there, the more inviting the cranberry-lemon scones looked.

We've been trying to eat healthier in our house so at first, I was strong. Then I started along a creative line of reasoning: maybe those scones could count as two servings of fruit...they were cranberry-lemon scones, for heaven's sake! Fortunately, I came to my senses and decided that was ridiculous; I was only going to buy ONE scone and split it with my daughter. Yes, I liked that idea! That is until I noticed something inside that glass case.

I had to look carefully to be sure that what I saw was really inside the case and not on the other side of it. But sure enough, there it was. A fly was buzzing around in there, making itself at home among all of that wonderful looking pastry. I couldn't help myself; I leaned forward and whispered to the woman ahead of me that there was a fly in the pastry case. It's amazing how something as small as a fly can be a real conversation starter! Suddenly, we were chatting like old friends. And what a nice woman she was!

Finally, the line moved forward and my new best friend was next in line to order. I was curious whether or not she would mention the little situation with the pastry case. I listened as she ordered. Nope. Not a word. Obviously, it all rested on my shoulders.

As the very pleasant young barista asked what I would like, I gave her my drink orders. Then she asked the one question that I couldn't ignore. "Would you like something for breakfast with that?" Really, what else could I do? Very discreetly, I leaned across the counter and whispered that she might want to open the door to the pastry case because there was a fly buzzing around in there.

Horrified! That's the best way to describe the look on her face! "Oh, no," she said. "With so many people coming in and out all of the time, the door is always open!" Then she sidestepped her way down to the cabinet and casually pulled open the doors.

I don't know if the fly eventually flew out. I don't know how many people ate breakfast with a little something extra added that morning. I only know, that sometimes God will go to great lengths to help me stick to my healthy diet! Oh, and those two servings of fruit...I had a couple of handfuls of blueberries when I got home.