Monday, October 31, 2011


It occurred to me, as I sat in my Sunday school class, that each person in that room had been hit with some sort of serious hardship. Some were mourning the death or separation of loved ones. Others are unemployed or underemployed. Some fear losing their homes.

That is why I was so delighted to see my friends laughing and playing with the children at a Fall carnival yesterday evening. Children, dressed in warm costumes, had a chance to play in bouncy castles, eat popcorn, play carnival games, and get lots of candy. Laughter filled the air.

We needed to hear laughter. We needed to laugh. We need to keep laughing.

A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine . . . Proverbs 17:23.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Have you ever had one of those days? Sure, we all have. After sharing snip-its of my Tuesday adventure on Facebook, I thought I would give a few more details on my blog.

Well, Tuesday morning started like most. I got up and looked for a substitute teaching job on my computer. Unfortunately, there were no jobs available, so I thought I would attend a job training program in Memphis. Maybe I could pick up some Saturday work to go along with my regular job.

Because I had just gotten my car back from the mechanic, I was a little concerned about driving along the interstate. I did have things to do, so I went against my best instincts and headed into the big city.

The car drove without any hesitations along I-40 and I traveled downtown, into Memphis. That was when it happened. The car stalled at the intersection of Bellevue and Poplar. When I went to restart the car, nothing happened except a simple click.

After a moment a kind, African-American woman stopped and tried to help me jump start the car. Since I had a new battery, I didn't think that was the problem. The car would not start.

Two men volunteered to push the Saturn into the parking lot of
The Dental Connection, on 1195 Poplar Ave., in Memphis. When the car was finally parked, both men began to aggressively demand money. Frightened, I gave them a few dollars cash and locked the car doors until they went away. I called for help and waited.

In time my brother arrived and we tried again to jump start the car, but there was only the clicking noise. I went into The Dental Connection to tell the owner that I would be making arrangements for a tow. The heavy set woman was extremely upset that my car was in the parking lot and insisted that I move it instantly, handing me a phone book and telling me to have it towed immediately.

I tried to explain that I have roadside service and had to work out the details to find out which tow service to call and which mechanic to use. This woman wanted to hear no excuses. She wanted the car moved or would make arrangements to have it moved. I asked her to give me a little time. She said that I had till 6:00 pm. It was all ready 3:00.

Eventually the car was moved. As if to completely mock me, the mechanic was able to instantly start the engine. It seems that the starter was warn out, only working sometimes.

That evening I decided to try to lose myself in a chef salad and mindless TV. As I sat curled in my bed watching a show, I looked at my bedside table and my loyal dog was snatching croutons and chunks of cheese off of my salad. Even Man's Best Friend turned against me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Last night, as I drove through the back roads, enjoying the scenic trip to a friend's house, I thought about how autumn signals a lengthy time of celebration. As the weather turns cooler in Tennessee, towns have their street fairs that usually showcase art, folk art, and crafts. Block parties and tailgate parties are also commonplace.

Next comes the Fall Festivals, Harvest Parties, and of course, Halloween. Both children and adults get to act silly and participate in fantasy.

Thanksgiving is a more subdued holiday, but still, it is so much fun. I love the bright decorations, usually made with colorful leaves and foods. What about trying new recipes and gathering with loved ones? Even when I gather with not-so-loved ones I have a good time. And yes, I can't help but be thankful.

Christmas and New Years are no-brainers. We know they are the ultimate in celebratory times.

So what is the point?

I have met people, often religious people, who just seemed dead set against having fun. I can't imagine why. It's as if they were too happy, God might take away their blessings.

As I search the scriptures, I see the opposite.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (NKJV),

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

Yes, we should work hard, but we should also have time to enjoy life, too. As I enjoyed times with friends at a harvest party, I remembered this verse from Proverbs 17: 23,

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine . . .

Yes, celebrating with friends & loved ones is a very good thing and a gift from God.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I have been at my new job for 4 full weeks now and I like it, very much. I am a substitute teacher, now. That means that each day I am at a new location with a new group of children. I never know what I am going to teach, either.

I find that this job is really going to stretch my faith. You see, there is no guarantee that I will have a job on any given day. With so many teacher layoffs, there is a lot of competition for sub work. I get up every morning and check my computer for a job for the day--almost like an act of faith. The job may be there or it may not. I keep checking. It was pretty hard to find the jobs at first, but am getting better.

As I said, this is really stretching my faith. I have to believe that there is a reason I do or do not get the work. Maybe there is something else I need to be doing on my "off" days. I find myself really focusing on how I spend my time, lately. I hope the focus pays off.

Anyway, I find I am grateful for the work that comes my way. I am happy to go to my job and maybe that will eventually pay off with increased work. I hope so.

Learning to live by faith sometimes takes a lifetime to learn.