Prayer ~ Remember

Christine Goodnough:

My thanks to Lori for sharing this experience.

Originally posted on A Display of His Splendor Blog:

One thing111412_1758_PrayerWarri1.png God has spoken,     two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God,      and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.” (Psalm 62:11-12 NIV)

I remember my first trial as a Christian. I had been a Christian for only a couple of weeks. The house I shared with a roommate caught fire. We were not home at the time but returned to a nasty mess. The house was inhabitable. It was heartbreaking and at the time devastating.  I remember asking God how He could do this. What was He thinking? After all, I was doing all the right things. I was praying, reading my bible and tithing. What more could I do? My “child-like” reasoning had me thinking God was not happy with me.

I have since learned that walking with the Lord has its ups and downs…

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The Quick Red Fox and the Howling Hound

spotted dogOnce upon a time a man who lived all alone in a small farming village was given a pup. He was a gangly creature with funny floppy ears — no beauty prizes would he ever win — but the little hound was very loving and his owner grew very fond of him. Every day the man would take his dog out to the field with him as he hoed his corn; at night he’d put the hound in a pen in his back yard and go to bed.

Down the street a ways lived an elderly widow with a big rambling back yard.fox winking One night a prowling fox found the place to his liking and took up residence under an old shed in this yard.

Thus began an interesting routine: at night the fox, off on his hunting expedition, would hurry past the dog’s pen. The hound would catch sight of it and would howl. Then he’d settle down and sleep for some hours. At the first light of dawn the fox would slip back to its den. The dog, catching a whiff of it, would start baying again.

dog & catThe owner didn’t know what was setting the dog off, but he concluded it must be some wild animal passing. Anyway, dogs do bark now and then. He gave the matter little thought until one morning his neighbor came banging on his door.

When he opened the door his neighbor shook a fist in his face. “You have to get rid of that howling hound! He’s keeping me awake all night long.”

The owner was amazed. “How can that be! My dog only barks a few times at night and a few times in the morning. It’s not like he’s barking all night long.”

“That may be,” said the scowling neighbor. “But I lie awake all night because I never know when he’s going to bark.”

So is he who anxiously waits for troubles that is he sure will come sooner or later.
floppy-ear dog
Epilogue: The dog was spared because the neighbor, after getting all hot and bothered about the issue and losing many nights of sleep, finally made his request to the one who could actually do something about the matter.

Does that sound familiar, too?

Leslie McFarlane: Ghost of the Hardy Boys

In the past year or so my grandson has gotten enthused about the Hardy Boys mystery series and I offered to write him a mystery like one of those, so have read a number of these books in preparation. A person could almost get hooked!

So on Thursday when I was browsing the shelves of the Saskatoon Library and spied the autobiography of Leslie McFarlane, entitled Ghost of the Hardy Boys, I brought it home and read part of it yesterday. Knowing the series he’s writing about, I found this book interesting. His writing style is lively and descriptive — though there’s a bit of off-color language.

In this book he tells about growing up in a northern Ontario mining community, the interesting characters who peopled his younger years, then how he got into writing for local papers. After this modest start he moved to the US and landed a reporter’s job in Springfield, MA. While he was covering the “Hotel Beat” for the Springfield Republican, he typed out a reply to an ad for a fiction writer, dropped it in the mail, and forgot about it.

A few weeks later he received a letter; he was offered an outline and should write a couple of chapters as a trial; if his writing was acceptable, he could do the whole book. He was sent two books as sample copies and given the outlines for two more. This started his ghostwriting career for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, where he first did several Dave Fearless books under the pen name Roy Rockwood, then the first twenty-two Hardy Boys books under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon and four Dana Girls mysteries as Carolyn Keene. (He says he made his wife promise not to tell a soul about that one.)

After he’d churned out the first seven Hardy Boys stories and had sold a few freelance articles, he felt he was able to make it financially without writing for the Syndicate. In fact, he and his wife were planning to move to Bermuda where he’d continue his writing career — but before he’d sent his letter of resignation to Edward Stratemeyer something happened that shook the world. October 1929. “Black Friday.” Writing markets crashed along with everything else.

During those years of the Great Depression he was thankful for the Hardy Boys series that maintained even sales and kept the McFarlane’s larder supplied. In time the world recovered and so did his freelance writing prospects. Later he worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, wrote and directed documentaries and dramas, was able to support himself comfortably with sales to magazines as well, and finally gave up his association with the Syndicate. Another ghostwriter — maybe even more than one —  became Franklin W. Dixon. This is apparently the best selling boys’ series ever with book sales in the millions.

McFarlane was born in 1902 in Carleton Place, Ontario, and died in 1977, just short of his 75th birthday, a prolific writer to the end.

Ghost of the Hardy Boys, by Leslie McFarlane
© 1976 by Methuen Publications

Kids and Chores

Christine Goodnough:

When I was young, my mom had a job at the hospital and worked a lot of hours because we needed the money. I hardly remember her being home in those first ten years. For me there were no routines laid down; I had no chores other than to look after myself. Being a child I never thought about work unless I was specifically told to do something.

So I grew up thinking life was school, play, reading, and swimming in the summer. It was only after I was married that I leaned about housework — and that it wouldn’t get done at all if I didn’t do it. Now I’m the one to advocate routine chores for children, such as they can manage.

Originally posted on Photo's, Hodgepodge and Miscellany:

According to researchers, our children are more dependent and needy than any previous generation of Americans. They are developing attitudes of entitlement and expectation, rather than habits of self-reliance and independence. As they grow, too many young people want the privileges of adulthood — freedom and resources to make their own decisions — but not the responsibility that goes with it.

Why is this? One theory is that kids no longer are required to do household chores. By living as the privileged class in their own homes, kids today grow to expect that things will be done for them, and that they are entitled to be coddled and indulged.

Giving our kids an “ideal” childhood

Some parents look back on their own childhoods believing that they had it rough, and decide they want an easier life for their children than they themselves experienced. Their attitude about chores for kids is…

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The “Drowning” Rainbow

One day a young boy was playing on the sidewalk in front of his house when he spied something intriguing. He dashed into the house, calling, “Mom, Mom. Come quick!”

Mother turned from her work. “What’s the matter, Todd?”

“I found a rainbow – and it’s drowning! You should come and see it.” Todd grabbed his Mom’s hand and led her toward the door.

“A drowning rainbow?” His mother frowned. “But it’s sunny today; there won’t be any rainbows in the sky.”

“It’s not in the sky, Mom. It’s in the water. Come and see” He tugged her arm.

His mother shook her head, puzzled, and allowed him to lead her outside. He led her to the street where yesterday’s rain had left a big puddle beside the curb and pointed. Sure enough, a swirly little “rainbow” was glistening in the water.

Mother smiled. A few drops of motor oil from a parked car made a film of oil on top of the puddle and this was acting like a prism to reflect the color spectrum.

“Told you.” He looked at her with shining eyes. “It’s neat!”

She put her arm around her son. “Yes, it is a neat rainbow. I’m so glad you found it.” She gave him a big squeeze. “I hope you’ll always see the rainbows in life’s puddles.”

(Retold from an actual incident)

Diary Notes:
Our days are continuing sunny and warm; bare gravel roads are appearing out of the whiteness.

The ladies met at Church for Sewing Circle yesterday; we had a good turnout. Driving home a little bird flew off a post and crossed my path. I’m sure it was a meadowlark.

First robins were sighted Sunday morning; a friend north of here has spotted some returning cedar waxwings, too.

Clear A Forest One Tree at a Time

One Dollar Per Member Per Month

When the mission work of our church began to spread in Haiti and small congregations became established, It was decided that each member should give a tithe of $1 per month toward the expenses of the Church as a whole. Money to pay the expenses of a general conference would come out of this as well as other administrative costs.

So everyone tithed their dollar a month and things went fairly smoothly, but you know how we people are. Eventually this subject came up at a yearly conference and some members questioned how they were going to pay this $12 per member per year. Many Haitians had very limited opportunities to earn; it was all some could do to eat every day and a $12 yearly “conference tithe” seemed impossible.

The issue was debated back and forth until one elderly brother rose to his feet and addressed the group. “I guess I don’t know what you people are talking about,” he began. “I don’t remember that we ever decided on a $12 per member per year tithe.”

Members looked at him in surprise. “Of course this was our decision.”

“No,” he countered. “Our decision was ONE DOLLAR per member PER MONTH. If you leave it until the year end and then try to come up with $12 each in your household, it will be a serious hardship. It will be a lot easier if each one just pays the one dollar per month. That’s not an unmanageable sum, is it?”

And they all agreed. That wasn’t such an unmanageable sum after all.

Being an avid procrastinator, I’ve always been inclined to wait until the day before something is needed, then got at it full steam, even work into the wee hours of tomorrow to get it ready. So I’ve been trying to keep in mind this brother’s advice. Projects are a lot easier to accomplish when you take them in small chunks.

Small bites, that’s the ticket. Marla Cilley, a.k.a. “The FlyLady” is right: you can do anything — any household task, no matter how tedious — for fifteen minutes. And fifteen minutes a day can make a big difference, plus the task becomes a habit in time and a person doesn’t get so far behind.

A few weeks ago I abandoned my “Devotional Thoughts for Women” blog but I haven’t felt at peace with that decision. I still feel like I need a place to share small inspirations and personal news of the day – lest I forget. So I’m going to try doing this blog again, setting aside ten minutes a day to share something cheerful there and hoping my readers will find inspiration in these thoughts, quotes, scriptures, and stories, too.

The address is christinegoodnough.wordpress.com

This morning I posted the above story on that site — and shared this news of the day:

I cooked at Silverwood Villa yesterday and invited our children & grandchildren, Jay & Ruby W and their son and daughter, plus Chris B and her daughter. A good time was had by all.

Earlier in the week it was stormy, lots of fresh snow; a few days ago it was -25 at 9 am. Now the past few days have been above freezing and the snow – we have a lot! – is softening, sliding off roofs. Ah, spring!

Our daughter told us she’d seen a robin in their yard this morning. Amazing! Spring only arrived yesterday and already the robins are here.

We live not far from a train track and I watched a train went by this morning. It was a relatively short one, three engines pulling 88 cars (hopper cars for grain and oil tankers.) The engineer must go slowly on the crossroad by our place as the track isn’t the best. I saw a school bus come up to that crossing right when the first cars were going through and the bus had to wait…and wait… Wonder what the students were doing as they all waited for the train to pass?

Called By My Name

He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3

To be called by a wrong name always brings a disturbing aura with it.

A Mr. & Mrs. Schmidt, due to become first-time parents in several months, moved from one large city to another some distance away. They were strangers there, and commented on it that their phone would seldom ring; their friends would all need to call them long distance.

No sooner were they moving into their house when the phone rang. “Hello, Mrs. Glover?” asked a strange voice.

“I am not Mrs. Glover,” said Mrs. Schmidt, and went back to her unpacking. Time and again the phone rang with the same ‘Mrs. Glover’ being targeted, a lady who had evidently been elderly and very genial.

Looking in the directory, the Schmidts became aware that there were numerous Glovers in the area. It became a family joke as the Schmidts daily tallied the calls. Their phone rang more often than it ever had before. However, the incidents did lessen toward the time when their baby was due.

One early morning the baby came, a big boy with a healthy squall. Mrs. Schmidt was exhausted. She and her husband exulted over him for a little while, and then she dropped off into a well-earned sleep. Hours later she awakened, longing to hold her little boy. She rang for someone to please bring her the baby.

The nurse appeared in the door, the baby in her arms. “Here’s your girl, Mrs. Glover,” she said brightly.

“I am NOT Mrs. Glover!” Mrs. Schmidt fairly shouted, “and I DON’T have a girl!”

When Jesus calls us there is never a case of ‘mistaken identity.’ He knows who we are and everything peculiar to us personally. To Him we are all unique and He calls us in ways suited to our particular needs. He is a Friend who knows us, and our characteristics through and through.

Have you ever found yourself in a crowd holding a hand, thinking it was your husband’s…only to discover, much to your chagrin, that it belonged to some other man? When we walk with Jesus, with our hand in His, we are promised again and again that we shall “not be ashamed.”

When the Lord speaks MY NAME, it is tailored for me, and for my need of the moment…even if there are million Margarets in the world!

He does the same for you. Listen for Him today.

Written by my friend, Margaret Penner Toews;
first published in Canaquest Friendship Newsletter for Women

Guilty As Charged, Your Honor

Our exercise on The Write Practice (see link at right) today was to tell about an adventure we had while traveling,  focusing on one particular scene during the trip. So here’s a small part of our adventure when I went with my daughter to Mississippi for a Teachers’ Prep Class. Hope it gives you a smile.
(Hope I don’t get a very belated ticket in the mail. ☺ What’s the US Statute of Limitations for driving offenses?)

Back in ‘95 our daughter wanted to go to a week-long workshop for teachers — the event being held in Mississippi, no less — and she didn’t want to drive all that way alone, so I accompanied her and did most of the driving. We were living in Quebec at this time, so had two long days on the road, entering the US at Detroit and heading more or less straight south on Interstates.

The second day found us somewhere in Kentucky on a nice four-lane highway and I was behind the wheel when we came up behind a line of about six cars, every one of them in the right lane, doing almost 50 mph. I found this curious, as the speed limit was 55 mph and the left lane was completely empty. I craned my neck and peered ahead as best I could, expecting to see some extra-wide vehicle causing this slower traffic. Nada. Just a line of ordinary-looking cars.

Now I was really curious. Had the speed limit changed and I hadn’t noticed the sign? Last thing on earth I wanted to do was get nailed for speeding in the States. I’d read some pretty awful accounts…  Right then we passed a sign: 55 mph. So why is everyone doing below 50?

As the road went round a curve I got a better look at the lead car. A police cruiser. Aha! He was cruising along at a lower speed and the drivers behind were all meekly following, no one daring to challenge his authority. I joined the line and took it easy on the gas for another mile.

Would it surprise you if I mentioned here that I can be a rebel at times? As I passed another 55 mph sign, I asked myself, Am I going to poke along at 50 mph for an hour in deference to the whims of those officers? Will they arrest me if I don’t? Have they got any reason to stop me for driving at the speed limit?

Nope. At least I sure hope not! So I pulled into the left lane, sped up to 55 mph, and slowly overtook the police car, making very sure I wasn’t speeding. If I was indeed committing some other social faux pas, I trusted my Quebec license plate would tell him I didn’t know any better.

They say about sheep that when one sticks his head through the fence, the others will surely follow. People are much the same. When I was some distance ahead of the cruiser (one eye glued to the speedometer the whole way!) I saw in my rear-view mirror that others had pulled out and were also passing the cruiser. I suppose they’d been anxious to see if I’d get into trouble and when I didn’t, they decided they could get away with it, too.

Now I can say I led a mini-coup — a social rebellion of sorts — in a foreign land. I can just imagine those policemen sitting at the doughnut shop later and chuckling about it, just as I am now.

What would you have done?

Want to Change Your Life?

Someone involved in handing out Christian literature received permission from the owner to put a tract rack in a small store. A few moments later he looked back and saw one of the employees pull out one of the tracts and start reading it.

He spun around and blurted out, “Don’t read that! Unless you want to change your life.”

The employee, stunned for a moment, answered, “Doesn’t everyone want to change their life?”

Do you want to change your life?

Looking at the history of our world, the goal of change has always been improvement. It may not pan out, but that’s almost always our aim. What improvements do you wish you could see in your life?

When Jesus walked by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:2-9) he saw a man lying there and he basically asked this fellow the same question: “Wilt thou be made whole?” Do you want to change your life or are you happy just lying here watching the world go by and visiting with your cronies? Jesus’ concept of change involved this cripple getting up and walking away from this place, disposing of that grubby old bedroll and rejoining the human race. Getting a job; working every day; making payments on a home.

He could have made shekels rain down from Heaven on the poor unfortunate, but Jesus’ help didn’t involve a cash handout.

If Jesus Christ walked by your house today and you glimpsed him as he was passing, would you run out and talk to him, knowing he’s in the business of miracles? What miracle would you ask for? To win the Lottery? A happy home? A physical healing?

If he sat down with you and talked about changing your life, what would you say about the things you feel need to change? What would He say? Do you already know some things He’d point out? What if He held out to you a package that contained enough power to make this change? Would you take it?

What answer would you and I give today if Jesus asked us, “Wilt thou be made whole?” I’ve been pondering that question for myself. How would I define “change”? In what ways would I qualify or limit the word “whole”? How willing am I for change that would involve giving up certain things?

One day I was talking with a neighbor who was very grieved about her smoking habit. She had already lamented to me at an earlier time, “ This thing has got my life. I’m never free.”

Well, this day I suggested, “I believe God can work a miracle for you and take away your desire to smoke; I know He’s done this for others. Would you be happy if He did? Shall you and I kneel down right now and ask Him to do that for you?”

For whatever reason, she declined my offer.

Day By Day Deeds of Kindness

An interesting thing happened one day at the Doughnut shop where I worked some years back. there were a few derelicts that came in from time to time, usually just to ask for a drink of water. One of them had come in and was standing beside a table when a car pulled up to the drive-thru window.

I had taken her order; now I handed the thirty-something woman in the car the coffee she’d requested. As she handed me her money she included another $1.50, pointing to the derelict and saying, “Give that man a coffee, too.”

I doubt if she knew him at all, just noticed his poverty and thought a cup of coffee might soothe it a bit. I also doubt he would have had the money to buy himself a coffee. He was very grateful when I called him over to the counter and handed him the beverage. Her small act of kindness happened in a minute’s time, but it touched me deeply and has stayed with me for years. Probably because it reproved my own attitude, my unwillingness to share with down-and-out types.

“Remember that the opportunity for great deeds may never come, but the opportunity for good deeds is renewed day by day. the thing for us to long for is the goodness, not the glory.”  F.W. Faber