January 12, 2009
Yesterday, I went to the largest funeral I’ve ever had the privilege to attend. Crowd estimates are just under 1000 people. Yes, really, 1000 people.
Who has a funeral with that many people in attendance? Royalty, celebrity, heads of state? I would say that judging by the people who loved her, Angie Tinker was all of those things to us. Yet she was a humble grandmother in Middle Georgia who taught special needs children, directed a crisis pregnancy center and lived to play praise and worship music.
When you picture Angie, it’s hard to separate her from her keyboard, the one that her diminuitive frame barely peeked out over. Angie would be there behind the keyboard, playing for all she was worth, singing and lifting the name of Jesus literally any opportunity she had. It was fitting that her funeral reflected this love. The life of Praise left its mark on Angie.
When you picture Angie, it’s hard not to remember that elfin twinkle in her eyes and that little smile she always had ready. You couldn’t help but smile back, and if you didn’t, see would be quick to find out why. Angie loved people and she easily conveyed her genuine concern for you if she sensed anything wrong. If Angie knew you, she cared about you. It was just that simple for her. The life of Selflessness left its mark on Angie.
When you picture Angie, it’s especially hard not to see the family that she loved. Where you saw Angie, you saw John, her husband of thirty-three years. And, whenever possible, her children and grandchildren. The quiet strength that she passed on to her family was evident in the way they handled their grief and in how they dealt with others during this tragedy. The life lived in love of her family left its mark on Angie. But, it especially left its mark on her children.
When you picture Angie, it’s the most hard to picture her as gone. I’m glad that those of us in attendance yesterday share the hope of seeing her again. As much as it pains us now, none of us would wish her back from that experience of heavenly praise and worship. Well, maybe if we’re truthful, just for a minute….
For all my friends who knew Angie, here’s an opportunity to share your favorite memory. I will pass these on to John when he is out of ICU and share them with her children.
Or maybe, like me, you also want to reflect on what has left its mark on your life and what mark you are leaving on others.
September 2, 2008
I’m having a furniture crisis. Maybe I should preface this by saying that I’m grateful that I have nice furniture. I’ve paid my dues with card tables, family rejects and a mattress on the floor, and I’m happy to be past those days. My problem is too much furniture for my house.
Simple, right? Sell some or give it away. These are the obvious solutions. And, I’ve done some of that. Here’s the problem. A lot of my furniture was lovingly collected over the years from antique stores or family inheritances. Most of the pieces are ones that I’ve lived with so long that it would be weird to not have them. We have history. Two pieces, a pump organ and partner’s size desk were purchased when we lived in a huge Victorian home that easily accommodated larger pieces. About three years ago, we moved into a fairly new house. The rooms are scaled very differently. So now, I have too much furniture.
I loaned my oversized desk to my oldest for a while. Last night, it came back to me. I need the desk, but I can’t figure out how to make things look right with this rather large piece of furniture in a small room. (Insert Heavy Sigh here).
I think that I either need to sell the desk or get a new house with rooms of a different scale. I’m leaning toward the house solution! I love that desk….
Amazing, isn’t it? How attached we can get to things. Makes you understand why Jesus had the conversation he did with the rich young ruler when he told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor.
Could I do that? Could you? For me, I hope the answer is yes. Even though I love that desk and some of the family pieces that have meaning to me, none of them mean more than my relationship with Jesus. So far, the Lord hasn’t spoken to me to sell all and give it to the poor. I’d like to believe that I’d be able to if the time ever came. I don’t think that is a lifestyle choice we are all called to make, but, if we were, would we be ready?
Lately, I’ve started reading another blog on a daily basis. The author, whom I’ve never met, sold all and went on the mission field to feed the hungry. Kinda puts my furniture crisis in perspective when I read about her story. I’d like to recommend her. She’s new on my blog roll, Kristiapplesauce, http://kristiapplesauce.typepad.com/kristi/. Give her a visit and tell her I sent you please!
Oh, and if you know anyone who needs a large antique William and Mary style desk, someone who is good at furniture arrangement, or someone who wants to buy my house, send them my way.
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
August 28, 2008
Every weekday morning, my Granddaughter descends the steps to the sight of her Grandpa eating his morning cereal and reading the daily paper. “Good morning Grandpa” is followed by her request for breakfast and strawberry milk, or “Cow Juice with pink stuff” as we call it. Grandpa quickly leaves for work, and I get ready to serve her breakfast.
Imagine my surprise one morning when I went into the dining room, waffles and strawberry milk in hand, and found my five-year-old Granddaughter intently reading the funny pages of the paper. She was so focused that she didn’t see me grab a camera or even react when I took two or three shots, flash included. (With apologies for my photography) Talk about responding to what has been modeled for you! Oh, and yes, she could actually read the funnies.
It wasn’t a fluke. We sat down at the same time the next day, and I was reading the paper while I ate. She looked at me somewhat indignantly and said, “Where’s my paper?” Whether we knew it or not, we had taught her that reading the newspaper was an important part of a morning routine.
Now, there is nothing wrong with reading the daily news. But, I couldn’t help but wonder what the result would have been if we read our Bible every morning at breakfast. I often withdraw to my room and read the Word in privacy so I can concentrate. I’m going to have to rethink that strategy.
It also started me thinking. What else does she see us do on a regular basis? Like every other kid on the planet, she is watching the adults in her life. Carefully. Not only watching, but imitating.
What are you modeling for the little ones in your life?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
August 27, 2008
**With apologies to Mark Twain**
Last Saturday morning I stumbled out of bed before the sun was up to get ready for work. It was one of those mornings that I wished that caffeine was still my friend. Little did I know that I was going to have an awakening that would rival caffeine.
My first hint that something was different that morning was that my dogs were not outside my bedroom door. A lot of times they sleep on the steps or outside our bedroom doors. Once my pack hears any movement, their tails start thumping on the walls and doors. Sounds like a persistent knocking on the door. When I leave the room, I have to herd them down the steps in front of me so I don’t take a tumble. After all, we are talking about two hundred plus pounds of dogs. When they get to the bottom of the steps they do this “ansy-dancey” prancing in anticipation of their morning breakfast while I walk down the steps.
I guess, being only half-awake, I failed to register the differences in the morning dog rituals. I was half-way down the steps before anything registered. This morning my dogs were already down the steps. And I was not the center of attention. My boxer mix, Duchess, was standing with her nose to the front door and her tail was going like crazy. The other two were watching her cautiously from a distance.
My first thought was that someone was at the front door. Then Duchess jumped.
Straight up. About two or three feet high.
Not a small feat for a seventy-pound dog with hip problems.
I stood stock still and watched. Duchess moved back a couple of steps. Then I saw it. A long, green frog leaping at the front door. Apparently even frogs know where to find the exit….
Duchess watched the frog make two or three more tries at the front door. Then she moved back in, hoping for a playmate. The frog didn’t see the possibility of fun and quickly scuttled behind the legs of a table in the foyer. The other two dogs just watched Duchess, their look saying “You’re on your own with this.”
I was now officially awake! Once I was past the initial shock, it all made sense. I guess for that to make sense to you, you’d have to know us to understand that the appearance of amphibians or reptiles in the house usually has a logical explanation. We won’t discuss the cricket invasion….
Logical explanation or not, that didn’t mean that I was going to try and capture the frog. I don’t do amphibians or reptiles. For further clarification of this see my previous post, https://dlkaufman.wordpress.com/2008/06/19/all-gods-creatures/
So, for help, I went to the number one frog source in the house, my oldest son. Sure enough, it was a friend’s frog. The questions rolled through my brain. A friend’s frog? Since when had we started boarding other people’s amphibians? Why was a friend’s frog loose in our house?
Now, as the mother of four children, I’ve learned never to ask questions unless I really want to know the answer. Considering the number of amphibians and reptiles (NO SNAKES) in my son’s room, I really didn’t want to know.
I like to sleep at night.
We did recapture the frog. Or rather, my son did. Duchess was out a new playmate, and the frog was safe once again. It was better than caffeine.
Sometimes life throws you something unexpected. Like frogs at the front door. Or jumping dogs.
Me, I just knew there was a logical explanation. I wish that was always my first reaction when life hands me more than frogs and jumping dogs. Unfortunately, I don’t always know the big picture in life.
And sometimes things more unexpected than a frog trying to make an exit occur.
That’s when I have to go to the source of ALL things: escaping frogs, jumping dogs, unpredictable people, life’s challenges. ALL things. I like it that God always has the big picture. Jumping dogs are never a surprise to him. Neither are the bigger things in life.
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
August 23, 2008
School starting brought about a new morning routine at my house. I am out the door by a specific time every morning with my fourteen-year-old daughter and my five-year-old granddaughter. I head for two different schools to drop them off. Like everyone else, I play beat the clock. Not just so we won’t be late, but so I miss the majority of the carpool mom traffic. Every morning the routine is the same. Make sure everyone has eaten, check to see that the five-year-old has shoes on, brush hair, check for bookbags, hustle everyone out the door and then drive the same route. The thing about routines is that they are, well, routine. I get in the car and just try to get it all done in a timely manner. Little thought is required. I’m in the zone.
So, this morning, after we backed out of the garage and headed out the driveway, Kenzie, the five-year-old, began chattering. All part of the routine. One comment stuck in my head, but I didn’t process it until a few moments later.
“The trees are dancing!”
I really wasn’t listening much because my thoughts were on accomplishing the routine. And, Kenzie is a chatterer. She enjoys her own conversation. Sometimes a reply isn’t necessary. Often, she is off on an imaginative tale. But, this morning, she gleefully said, “The trees are dancing.” And, before I got out of the subdivision, I finally noticed how windy it was.
Oh! The trees were dancing. I was so busy with my “getting things done mentality” that I wasn’t really paying attention to the world around me. She was.
OOPS! Definately not a “Stop and smell the roses” kind of morning for me. But, the little one behind me in the car was noticing and enjoying what was happening in the world. She didn’t care about the routine. She was just experiencing life.
I guess the lesson here is obvious. Don’t just get through the day. Enjoy the day. I started paying attention to the movement of the leaves and the beauty of the trees dancing. It really was fun to watch.
It is so easy to lose the sense of wonder for God’s creation that we had as a child. It’s also easy to lose the sense of wonder that we had for God himself. That sense of wonder that we had when salvation was new and we were experiencing the all the wonders of a new relationship with God. The older our relationship with God is, the more likely we lose some of the wonder, the awe, the newness. Just like we need to stop and watch the trees dancing or the beauty of a sunset, we need to stop and enjoy the wonder of our relationship with God.
So, take some time to enjoy what God has created. The wind, a sunset, a glorious cloud formation. But, don’t forget to renew the sense of wonder in your relationship with God. Like a child. Then it won’t be only the trees dancing!
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
August 18, 2008
For the last week, my Dear One and I have been working out together at a local health club. Although I had been walking with friends, I knew that I needed more if I was ever going to really be back in shape. My Dear One was also feeling motivated to build up his core strength since his life activity levels have changed. So, off to the club we go for three workouts a week.
The first part of day one wasn’t so bad. We were learning how to use the machines and didn’t take on anything too challenging. For the aerobic portion, the club had all the usual machines: ellipticals, bikes, stair climbers, etc. They also offered a Zumba class, a Latin dance/aerobic class. I suggested that we try it, and my Dear One, good sport that he is, agreed to join me. I should mention that while standing outside the door waiting for class to start, he was making comments. Actually, it was the same comment repeatedly. “This is going to be a disaster.” You see, he has no background in dance. None. Nada. And physical coordination, like for sports, has never been his strong suit. Never.
Surprisingly to him, he did well. We both had a blast and plan to continue. However, neither of us made it through the entire first workout. We bailed a little over half way through with sheets of sweat pouring off of us. Of course, what we are finding is that there are a lot of muscles that we haven’t used for a while. After a week of working out, there are still some minor sore spots, but we see a slow change in our ability to get through a workout. Muscles are like that. They let you know that they haven’t been used. And, amazingly, they repond to use and begin to do their job again.
Spiritual muscles are the same way. I’ve been asked to lead a Bible Study on the book of John by a group of about 6 young women. After we found the study we wanted, I pulled out an older study Bible that I hadn’t used for a while. I looked back over the extensive note-taking I had done in several places in this book and realized that my current, paltry reading schedule doesn’t compare to what I used to do. Frankly, as far as actual study of the Word goes, I’m out of shape. I don’t doubt that preparing for this study will be the equivalent of my first day back in something aerobic. A lot of work, spiritual sweating, but easier after I get back into it. Oh, and addictive too!
It’s easy to let all of our muscles slide into disuse, spiritual or physical. What we need to remember is that it is possible to get back into shape. Already, I see the benefits from the physical effort. I have more energy, I don’t need that afternoon nap, and I get more done overall. With that as an example, I can’t wait to see what the spiritual aerobics do for me! Are you in your best spiritual shape? If not, start where you are, build up those muscles, and get that heart rate up! And, report in. Where are you reading/studying right now?
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
August 11, 2008
I live in a divided house right now. Of course in one way, we’ve been a divided house since my first-born went to college. She went to UGA and my dear one took some classes at GaTech. Every fall, they have a standing appointment to watch the annual game together. And, every year, my dear one suffers the razzing of his daughter when his team goes down in flames. At times like that the comparison of team IQ’s doesn’t help.
I wish our division related to football. Instead, it involves a major family decision. You know, the ones you don’t make unless you are in agreement? The funny thing is that I thought we were on the same page. So did he! Until it became obvious that we weren’t.
Families are such an amazing thing. We’re all different, but we all function best the same way: in unity. It became apparent in our discussion that we really weren’t that far apart, but even the smallest gap meant that we weren’t in agreement.
No agreement. No action.
Now, you should understand that none of this means that the two of us are fighting or in strife. We just aren’t in the same place. We have a different thought process, different emotional needs, and different perspectives.
We are in agreement not to let this divide us. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I guess it’s like agreeing to disagree.
It’s hard not to argue when you don’t agree. But, what I’ve decided to do is trust that God knows what He is doing and to stay open to hearing from His Spirit. If either one of us is in error,God will reveal that. Or if one of us is out of God’s timing, He’ll reveal that too. I have no doubt of my dear one’s ability to hear from God or his willingness. In the meantime, we keep the rest of our relationship in harmony. It’s not important that one of us gets our way. What is important is the power of unity in a relationship. Unity keeps us out of trouble, confirms God’s will in our life, and provides a powerful blessing. Stay in unity, even when it’s hard. Oh, and “GO TECH, GO DAWGS, or ROLL TIDE, ” whichever is important to you!
Psalm 133: 1-3
Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity! [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, [and as the dew] that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore.