The Old Blue Chair

Since we are all confined at home due to the coronavirus, I thought I would offer to mail you a copy of this newly-released book, COFFEE with God (as long as the mail continues to run). It is a 30-day devotional book written by me and four other North Alabama authors. The “new life” theme may brighten our spirits with stories about spring, Easter, birds, babies, and flowers. Mail your address and $10 to me at: Becky Alexander, 173 Ghost Hill Road, Decatur, AL 35603. See a sample devotion below called “The Old Blue Chair.” Everybody stay safe!

 

The Old Blue Chair

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19 (NIV)

She had been in the family for years, ever-present in her usual place in the living room. Her blue, soft covering calmed those who slowed down enough to sit for a while. Her squeaky rock comforted four generations—a baby boy when he cried, a mom when she was exhausted, a grandma when she was stressed, and a great-grandpa when his body ached. Her strong and steady frame withstood climbing, bouncing, plopping, and roughhousing. Her cushions absorbed snores, laughs, secrets, sobs, and prayers. The old blue chair was beloved by all.

As the time came for the old blue chair to be replaced, my heart would not allow it. She was one of us, a delight to our days, a witness to our lives, a link to our history. I decided to rescue her rather than bury her. She still possessed strength in her frame; it was her fabric that displayed thin areas, fuzzy spots, and protruding padding. So I embarked on a search for new fabric.

At a local store, I found the perfect pattern to honor the old blue chair. It flaunted big flowers in a contemporary design. Yes, it contained blue, but also orange, lime green, hot pink, yellow, and red. My first thought was, “What a happy print!” I purchased the fabric and hauled the chair to an upholstery shop.

A week later I picked up a bright and beautiful chair that looked like new. Because she was no longer an old blue chair, I appropriately renamed her “the happy chair.” To this day she sits in her familiar place in the living room. Just this week my three-year-old granddaughter, Sadie, tugged on my shirt. I bent down, and we exchanged a big hug. Then she made a simple statement that caused me to smile: “Happy chair, soft blanket.” I knew exactly what she meant. She wanted Grammy to rock her in our special place—the old chair that continues to create loving memories for our family.

We are much like that old blue chair. Life scurries around us and plops on top of us at times. If we see someone hurting or tired, we offer comfort. Through both good days and difficult ones, we do our best to remain steady and strong. We relish in the sounds that reach our ears—laughter, prayers, and even snores. All the while God watches over us from above and delights in us. And when we begin to wear thin in spots from the stresses of the world, He rescues us, providing us with a new covering of happiness. We are beloved by Him.

Dear God Who Rescues, life has plopped on top of me. I am stressed, weary, hurting. Please rescue me—I want to find joy in life again. Cover me anew with your happiness, so that I can once more offer comfort and encouragement to others. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

When No One Is Looking

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

I never expected drama in the parking lot. Three spots were open so I casually pulled into the center one. I didn’t open my door right away. Instead I sat for a few minutes, checking the messages on my phone. At some point I glanced up to notice an SUV pull in to my left. The driver was a middle-aged man and the passenger was a woman of similar age. I went back to reading my messages. And then…

WHAM! I jolted at the impact of metal slamming into metal. My head spun left to see the woman’s heavy SUV door resting against the mirror of my Beetle. I stared through my window at her in amazement. Her mouth formed an “O” and she slapped her hand over it as she stared back at me. She pulled her door back a notch and climbed out. When she closed the door, I opened mine and got out too.

“Oh! I am so sorry!” the woman exclaimed. “I didn’t know anyone was in there!”

DID SHE REALLY JUST SAY THAT???

“That’s not the point!” I replied loudly. “I don’t want my car banged up!”

“Oh, no, no, no. It’s not,” the woman proclaimed arrogantly.

I glared at her. I examined my mirror as best I could in the fading daylight. “Well, I guess it’s ok,” I stated. She turned and started walking away. I called after her, “Have a nice evening!”

Charles Marshall said, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is looking.” That most certainly includes parking lots, car doors, and mirrors.

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“I know, my God, that you test the HEART and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17 NIV).

Growing Older, Dreaming Bigger

On December 8, 2016, an American hero died—Astronaut John Glenn. He was 95 years old.

John was an ordinary person from a small town in Ohio. His mom was a school teacher and his dad owned a plumbing business. But John had big dreams. And he pursued those dreams.

  • First John served in the U.S. MILITARY for 24 years. During WWII he flew 59 combat missions over Japanese positions. His plane was hit by antiaircraft fire five times, but he survived. During the Korean War John flew 90 combat missions. Twice he returned to his base with over 250 holes in his plane.
  • Next John was an ASTRONAUT in the Mercury spaceflight program. On Feb. 20, 1962, he climbed into a small spacecraft called Friendship 7 and was launched into space. Flying at speeds of over 17,000 miles per hour, he circled the earth three times in five hours. Neither John nor NASA knew what would happen upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Would the heat shield protect his spacecraft or would it be burned up? Miraculously, he made it back safely. John was the first American to orbit the earth.
  • Later John was elected to the U.S. SENATE and represented his home state of Ohio for 24 years.

So now picture John Glenn at 77 years old. He is in his fourth term as senator. He has lived an amazing life. He has made unbelievable contributions to America and to the world. He is ready to kick back and take it easy, right? Wrong! He’s ready to go back into space! To put it in John’s own words, “Just because I’m 77 doesn’t mean I don’t have dreams.”

One of John’s focuses while senator was serving on the Special Committee on Aging. This committee studied issues facing an aging U.S. population. John pushed to go back into space, sort of like a guinea pig, to test the effects of space flight on an aging body. NASA agreed and on Oct. 29, 1998, he boarded the space shuttle Discovery and once again made history as the oldest man to fly in space. From high above the earth, John said: “To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible.”

John Glenn had big dreams and big plans, even as an older adult. It is apparent that God had big dreams and big plans for John Glenn, too. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It doesn’t say “I have plans for you up until retirement age.” It just says “I have plans for you—period.”

How big are your plans? Are there people you can help or inspire? Is there a goal you haven’t yet met? Are there places you’d like to go? I want to challenge you to have big dreams, even if you are an older adult, especially if you are an older adult.