Our Last Conversation

February 8, 2016 — 2 Comments

(A devotional thought from the book One Smile, One Heart)

I didn’t realize that it was going to be the end of her life. I was visiting Melissa at Huntsville Hospital. We were talking about the upcoming presidential election. I shared with her that I was praying for a president with three qualities: Godly values, integrity, and wisdom.

As Melissa was always willing to pray for everything and everybody, she said, “Well, I’m going to pray that way, too!”

I expressed that things had just gotten so bad in this world. She said, “Oh, Beck, they really have.”

That was the last conversation I had with Melissa. She unexpectedly slipped into unconsciousness the next day and moved on to heaven shortly thereafter.

Wanting to preserve my sweet friend, I returned in my mind to that last conversation. I parked there and contemplated it. And then, in slow motion, a truth of great magnitude rose in my spirit. The things that were so heavy on our hearts that day are no longer the slightest concern to Melissa! In fact, none of the dark horrific things on this whole planet are a worry to her now!

If only we could set our hearts on things above… our minds on things above…

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“Set your HEARTS on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2 NIV).

Coconuts

No One Died

February 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

Most passengers were from Australia and New Zealand. Some were from the United Kingdom, two from South Africa, and two from Guatemala. Toss in a tour director from Alabama and a driver from Ecuador and we were bound to have fun on the 15-day tour I was leading.

The tour began and ended in New York City, traveling by motorcoach throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. Day 9 brought us to Toronto where we were scheduled to visit the Ontario Parliament building. As we rode from our hotel to Parliament, a passenger noticed a flag at half-staff.

“Why is that Ontario flag flying at half-staff?” he asked me.

“I’m not sure,” I answered. “I didn’t hear of any death or major event on the news this morning.”

The passengers and I began to notice other flags along the route at half-staff. Our curiosity was rising by the minute. Upon arrival at the Parliament building, we could clearly see on the left lawn a Canada flag lowered and on the right lawn an Ontario flag lowered. What has happened? I mused.

We parked, unloaded, and waited on the approaching security guard for further instructions.

“Welcome! Follow me this way,” he said, pointing toward the pink sandstone building adorned with gargoyles.

I walked next to him and the group followed. “Why are all the flags in the city at half-staff?” I asked.

He laughed. “Well, no one died. Our flagpole pulley for the Canada flag is malfunctioning. It won’t allow the flag to go up all the way. Because no flag can fly higher than the Canada flag, everyone in the city has had to lower their Ontario flags until we get it fixed.”

On tour the adventures are endless and the laughs are abundant.

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“God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon” (Psalm 19:1 MSG).

On Tour

Sunshine and Ice Cream

December 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

Ah! The aroma of cow body odor, manure, and freshly-squeezed milk! How can I begin to describe it? Unique, maybe? Or fresh, perhaps? Memorable, for sure. That aroma is why milk makes me gag to this very day.

I blame it on my dad. When I was a kid, he took me to Wills’ Dairy Farm each week to buy milk. We’d enter the “milk parlor,” a small room with concrete-block walls and a cement floor at the front of a barn. Through a door at the back I could see cows curiously lined up in a row. Mr. Wills would fill our gallon “milk jug” from a refrigerated stainless steel tank for a whopping fifty cents. I would try not to breathe the entire time we were there. And then, after the milk sat in our refrigerator for an hour, an inch of off-white thick stuff would form on top. We’d have to shake it up before we could drink it. I’m feeling a bit sick remembering it.

So I didn’t drink milk as a kid. And I didn’t drink milk as a teenager. And I didn’t drink milk as an adult. Now I’m fifty-four years old and Dr. Schuster told me my bone density is decreasing due to a lack of calcium. Imagine that! I thought the next words out of his mouth would be to drink the white stuff. I was already formulating my protest.

“Get lots of sunshine and ice cream,” he said.

“What?” I exclaimed.

Dr. Schuster repeated, “Get lots of sunshine and ice cream.”

I liked his thinking! “Would you put that in writing?” I asked.

He opened his prescription pad and wrote: “SUNSHINE TRANSDERMAL QD, ICE CREAM PO QD.” (Translation: Sunshine on my skin daily and ice cream in my mouth every day!)

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“Oh, how sweet the light of day and how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour” (Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 MSG).

Sunshine and Ice Cream