Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Settling in to Stay?

Three days later Margaret pressed her fingers against her throbbing temples. Is this the day they would finally, finally, find a place that was suitable to live in? Even kindhearted Madena was getting flustered with the children tearing in and out of the tiny quarters all day long and Margaret knew that Teo and David escaped outside as much as possible. The first place was too far up the mountain since they could only use 'Shank's pony' as David called walking; the next one too shabby and so on. Just then David poked his head in the door letting in a refreshing glimpse of blue sky and cheery sunshine. He had returned from the General Store with Teo. “I heard about a place you might like. Wanna come look?” Margaret dried her hands on her apron. “Okay.” She didn't very much enjoy clambering down the mountain but climbing up was much harder. Margaret's eyes widened in delighted surprise when she took in the small but roomy chalet on a tree-lined side street. Yes! This could work, it really could. It felt like home already. When they took the train to the city to finish the deal, they had other important shopping to do. Like going to a second-hand furniture store. “Mother,” Sally wailed. “Not these chairs! Why one of them has paint splatters!” “Nothing that a little paint couldn't cover,” Margaret responded comfortably. “Then they can be the colour we want, not what someone else chose.” However, it was Margaret who felt consternation about the next purchase. The wringer washing machine David was paying for leaked: “Just a little, just a little” according to the salesman but Margaret was worried. Does David know how to fix appliances? Will he have time? It was Alice who voiced her opinion about the only armchair they could find. “This chair is too hard!” she squeaked in a Goldilocks-style of voice. “Not hard,” Sally groused. “Lumpy.” “I've always wanted to try my hand at reupholstering a chair,” Margaret said. The first time Margaret filled the washing machine, she was counting her blessings that the scrub board could be put away; until she turned it on. “David!” She called, “David, come quickly!” David had been hanging up the clothesline, but when he hurried in, he landed on his backside. The whole kitchen was flooded with water!
Although Margaret commiserated with him, she was secretly glad it happened when he was at home. Otherwise, repairs mightn't have seemed so urgent. Yes, David's mechanical skills came in handy and by nightfall, she was able to put the first load of soggy laundry through the wringer. Using the line would have to wait until morning which reminded her of another day years before when she was hanging nappies and tiny garments on a line strung across an apartment roof. My, the babies have grown. Margaret liked to reach the little cabin on the mountain by ten-thirty in the morning whenever possible, Now that the children were in school it was easier to get her own housekeeping done and off sooner than formerly. She was finding that the stiff climb in the fresh air was doing her much good. Today Teo met her at the door without his usual friendly smile and motioned her to follow him towards the large oak tree. “My wife, she is not doing so well, She fell during the night and I think caring for Rich-ard is getting too much for her.” Margaret nodded. Why hadn't they seen it coming? He looked down and Margaret sensed it was hard for him to continue. She wanted to place her hand on his shoulder but couldn't get herself to. “She is getting so forgetful, yes? Today she was going to spoon coffee into, into the lad instead of broth.” “We will try to move him as soon as possible.” Alice would have to move in with Sally. Sally would not like that. She was so glad for a room of her own. Or should he move in with Davy? We'll have to discuss it later. She followed Teo back in to help where ever she could. Teo and Madena had quickly become like dearly beloved grandparents, so the Seifert’ frequently stopped in to help them. Margaret would often bring a pot of savoury soup, fresh buns, gingerbread or just check to see how they were doing. It wasn't long before David started training as a mountain guide ‘to keep himself busy’ he claimed, until they knew if Richard could be moved or not. Margaret had never seen David so energized; so full of life, as he became after his tour book began to fill up. Margaret didn't talk too much about it, but it looked like the Seifert were settling in for a long stay in Switzerland which dimmed the chances of the girls ever getting together.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Falling Rocks

When you drop a stone into the water, it disappears, right? No matter if it was a grain of sand or a diamond it sinks and sinks never to be seen again. Kind of discouraging, I'd say. Especially with the diamond. Maybe it seems the same way when we try to reach out in kindness to others. We want to be a Christian witness, we want others to know the joy our salvation brings so we smile at strangers, listen to their stories and go on our way. Did it do any good? The deed sank like a rock. But wait, look at those ripples, they are spreading out so far. What does that mean? The one poem says 'down a long eternity'. Can our random acts of kindness make a difference in someone's life forever? I sure hope so, and let's keep praying that someone will be drawn to Christ and reach Heaven because of our simple, easily forgotten (by us) gestures.

Monday, 13 November 2017

I Can't Die! I Won't Die!

I hope you have the time or will take the time to read this to the very end because it has a surprise ending.  I do not know the name of the main character in this true story, so for simplicity sake will call her Melissa. Melissa was like many of us in that she went to church and enjoyed the social and spiritual aspects of it, but she didn't think the Bible needed to be taken literally when it spoke of being separate from the world in word and action.  1John 2: 15-17,  Romans 12:2. would occasionally make fun of more conservative Christians and went on her merry way. Although she endured a slow and lingering death, cancer perhaps, she rejoiced in the assurance of being swept up to Heaven immediately after departing this life.
Now I will quote directly from this ancient book Dying Testimonies of Saved and Unsaved:
"respiration grew shorter and shorter and at last ceased and they deemed the spirit already in the embrace of blissful messengers who were winging it to paradise. A fearful shriek! and in a moment they beheld her that they had looked upon as the departed sitting upright before them with every feature distorted.
"Horror and disappointment had transformed that placid countenance so that it exhibited an expression indescribable fiendish. "I can't die," she shrieked, "I won't die!"

Her pastor walked in just then and she screamed, "Out of the door, thou deceiver of men!"
Then died.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 7:21

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A Disturbing Story Becomes a Favourite

 You've got to picture the background to understand what this woman was up against.  The Jews were God's Chosen People and they knew it. Most likely the neighbouring 'gentiles' were quite aware of this opinion also. But mother-love surpasses even racial barriers if the mother is desperate enough. This mom sure was. This Canaanite Woman knew Jesus was a teacher and a healer, she probably assumed He was in their country to preach to the Jews living among them but she didn't care. Her daughter was sick, really sick because of a demon that was causing terrific suffering. Jesus could deliver her, she knew it, so she pleads with Him to do so.
Now here comes the puzzling part, not only did Jesus not do it, but He ignored her and later implied that she was a dog. (Probably a common racial slur at the time.)
Why did she persist? Because she saw something the disciples didn't. She saw the love in His eyes, and He saw her faith. He saw a tremendous opportunity to teach those hoity-toity Jews that God loved everyone. So why did she run off to beg the disciples to do something? Maybe she figured Jesus thought it would jeopardize His position if He healed her daughter so out of respect tried to give Him a break. But they weren't helpful so Jesus honoured her request--and her faith. I love it!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Do the Twins Miss Each Other?

Excerpt from the Upcoming book Emily and Alice Margaret lifted anxious eyes to the sky. Lord, what am I supposed to do, she cried inwardly. The sky looked innocent enough, a few cottony clouds floating by; they weren’t the cause of her turmoil. She wrung her hands in anguish then realized they were still stuck into her slightly shabby gardening gloves. With a sigh, Margaret dropped to her knees in the handkerchief-sized garden behind the tall Victorian style apartment and dug out a thistle. Her mind wasn’t on what she was doing. Soon the children would be home from school and she must be composed before then. But how could she be? She had been having a peaceful morning with her -turned-six year old but all changed. Alice had been chattering away about what they would do when David and Sally came home from school ‘for good’ and the holidays began in a few days. Margaret knew most of it was fanciful thinking but she liked listening to the lively little girl’s chatter, who wasn’t really her daughter but fostered. The happy mood continued over the noon hour. Alice didn’t protest being told to rest for a little while since they had walked earlier to the shops in downtown Halifax. It was after her nap the trouble started. “Mommy,” she called, “I had a dream.” A dream? a dream? Not one was funny or interesting or scary? Margaret went into the storage area, turned bedroom and pulled the shade up. The sunlight streamed across the rumpled bunk, single at the top and twinned at the bottom. Alice’s beautiful blue eyes drifted shut then she opened them again. “I dreamed I had a twin,” She stifled a yawn then sat up. Margaret’s heart clenched and she sat down beside the precious girl, reaching for her hand. “Care to tell me about it?” Alice leaned her head against her shoulder. “She was small, like me, and had red hair like me, but it wasn’t in curls like mine. She had two long braids. They f’opped over her shoulders an’ she got no bangs.” “You mean she didn’t get hurt?” Alice shook her head and touched her forehead. “No bangs like me,” she explained. Margaret felt the colour drain from her face. “Anything else?” “I was looking in a store window and she looked back at me.” Margaret was about to say it was her reflection but Alice wasn’t done. “She looked like me. She looked sad, we both did.” “ Why do you think you were sad?” Alice shrugged. “ I guess ‘cuz we didn’t know we were so close. Even our dresses were the same, “ Alice continued. “They were like my first day of school dress.” She bit her lip. “I think you called it a gingham. The green one.” Margaret swallowed but made herself respond. “’That’s interesting. Did you like dream?” Alice shrugged her shoulders. “Kinda. But kinda not.” “Why not?” Alice gazed into her mother’s warm brown eyes. “When I waked up I felt like crying. ” She flung her arms around her mother. “Mummy, I wish I had a twin!” Margaret stroked her daughters’ long, curly hair. “I think a lot of little girls dream of having a twin. I wanted a sister, badly, when I was a little tyke.” “But dream Mummy,” she looked up at her Mother again, “Like in sleep-time dream?” “That is strange, “ Margaret murmured, “Very strange.” As she twisted one of Alice’s shiny curls around her finger, there was a faraway look in her eyes, her cheeks were pale. Alice lay her head back on the pillow murmuring “I’m still sleepy, Mommy,” so Margaret tucked a light throw over her and said she would be in the garden. That was fifteen minutes ago and Margaret still wasn’t in control of her emotions. Deep down she knew why. With every passing month, no, week even, she felt condemned for not encouraging Marita to break the wall of silence between herself and Randall. Many times she had taken out paper and pen to write 'you must tell your husband Emily is a twin, you must get your daughter back,' but it was too hard, she couldn’t bear to let Alice go, and she knew the rest of the family would be devastated also. Davy had been tossing the ball up in the air on the way home from school and catching it with his gloved hand until he caught sight of Margaret with a watering can. She was sprinkling their elderly landlady’s petunia-lined walk. “Hi,
Mom.” “Hi Davy, how’s my boy?” “Fine.” I guess.” Oh, no, Mom’s been crying. I wonder what happened. “Can I have a peanut butter sandwich?” “Of course, son. “I meant to make some peanut butter cookies since I know you love them so much but it didn’t get done.” “’That's okay,” Davy muffled so low he doubted Margaret heard him. He kicked at a pebble on the cement sidewalk then glanced once more at his mother before turning the corner of the house and pounding up the stairs. “Davy, you scared me!” Alice’s giggle floated through the open kitchen window as Margaret put the trowel and watering can away. She was about to join her children in their hot, stuffy apartment but old Mrs Bentley poked her head out the back door and invited her in for a cup of tea, she couldn’t say no.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Sharing the Good News

Are you the kind that enjoys handing out tracts? Some don’t. I suppose there are various reasons for objecting, and I’m not inclined to hand them out indiscriminately. That’s just not me. I far prefer the personal touch. Like tonight, for instance, we were sitting in a restaurant when my husband got to chatting with the waitress about the cross on her necklace. Good enough place to start, right? Fleetingly a troubled looked crossed her face when Stephen asked if she was a Christian. From what she told us it sounded like she had tried to be one, once, but her family wasn’t at all ‘into that sort of thing’.
Well, what do you tell a young girl in the few minutes of time allotted to you? I told her that Jesus was not only a Saviour but a Friend who wants to guide her through life. But how much did she know? In the busyness of life that brief thought could be like a leaf caught in an eddy and soon lodged far away in the back of her mind. That’s when I looked into my purse and lo and behold I found one tract in there. Search For God, How Can I Find Him. Perfect! And the perfect opportunity to give it to her also came up. Did she turn up her nose and act insulted when I offered it to her? No way! She snatched it eagerly and carefully put it in a safe place. This isn’t a one- time type of experience for me—for us. We have often found that people are happy to receive one of those little messages from God if we chat with them first. We are so fortunate—so blessed, and long to share the wonderful gift of salvation. I’m sure you do too. Try handing out a tract next time you have a nice, little visit with a stranger. It is so heartwarming. But don’t forget to pray for them, also. P.S. Do YOU know what the Good News Is?