Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Friday, But Sunday's A'Comin'!!

I have posted this for the last two years and just have to post it again because I love it so much. I hope you enjoy it, especially if you've not read it before.

I heard Tony Campolo tell this story on an audio taped sermon years ago. I have never forgotten it. When I googled the phrase, I found
Tony's Story, which I cut and pasted here.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls"


Tony Campolo tells the story of an African American Baptist preacher in the inner city of Philadelphia who preached a sermon Tony says he'll never forget. Tony preached first. He was "hot," so "hot" he says, that he even stopped and listened to himself. He sat down and said to his pastor: "Now see if you can top that one!" "Son," said the African American pastor, "you ain't seen nothin' yet." For an hour and a half the pastor repeated these words over and over again: "It's Friday, but Sunday's a comin'."

"I've never heard anything like it," Tony said. "He's on the cross. He's dying the agonizing death of crucifixion as a criminal. Just kept saying it. The congregation was spellbound by the power of it."

"It's Friday. Mary, Jesus' mother is crying her eyes out. That's her son up there on the cross. But it's only Friday," the preacher said. "Sunday's a comin'.

"The apostles were really down and out. Jesus, their leader, was being killed by evil men. But it was only Friday. Sunday is a comin'.

"The Devil thought he had won. 'You thought you could outwit me,' he said, 'but I've got you now.' But it was only Friday. Sunday is a comin'."

"He went on like that for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour. Each time he said, 'It's Friday,' the crowd began to respond, 'but Sunday's comin'. An hour and 15 minutes.

"It's Friday and evil has triumphed over good. Jesus is dying up there on the cross. The world is turned upside down. This shouldn't happen. But it's only Friday. Sunday's a comin'.

"It's Friday. But Sunday is comin'. Mary Magdalene was out of her mind with grief. Her Lord was being killed. Jesus had turned her life from sin to grace. Now he was dead. But it's only Friday. Sunday is a comin'."

The place was rocking. For an hour and a half. "Friday! But Sunday is a comin'. Friday. But Sunday is a comin'. "The sisters and the brothers are suffering. It just isn't fair...all they have to go through, but it's only Friday. Sunday is comin'."

"I was exhausted," Tony said. "It was the best sermon I've ever heard. The old preacher was saying it and the people were with him. 'It's Friday, but Sunday is a comin'. It was powerful," Tony said. "It was personal."

Friends, whatever you are facing at the moment may seem like Friday, perhaps even a "Good Friday." But be certain of this, while it may be Friday, Sunday is a comin'!



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Easter Dress Parade

Easter is such a special time in the Christian's life. In my home growing up, we had fun with eggs and hunts and chocolate candy in our baskets. It was like Christmas, though, in that we knew there were no such things as Santa or the Easter bunny. We were focused on Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection.

I've mentioned before that we were a large family serving small churches with smaller salaries. But somehow we always managed to get new clothes for Easter. I have a very fond memory of getting up very early on Easter Sunday morning to go to the sunrise service - which was always held inside the church instead of our watching the sun actually rise. My sis and I always wore our Easter dresses from the year before to that service, then went home and changed into our spanking new clothes.

It was fun finding all of these pictures chronicling our Easter parade of dresses.

This was in the yard of our tiny little house in Batesville, Arkansas. I'm quite certain Mom made these little organdy dresses for us. I think they were pale blue.

We loved these circle skirt dresses - taken on the front steps of our first house in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

I sure wish these were colored pictures!

I loved these red and white striped "store-bought" taffeta dresses, complete with flower bands on our heads, and straw bags.

Being the pastor's kids had some perks - this particular year a lady in our church had a new fancy sewing machine that she wanted to try out on us. She bought us this gorgeous fabric and embellished the dresses with all sorts of fancy stitching. This picture was taken at my youngest brother's dedication service.

The next year somebody else offered to make our dresses. Based on the year before, we were excited. Unfortunately, these didn't turn out quite so well. For one thing she (and I'm glad I don't remember who it was) never came over to fit us. She apparently guestimated our sizes. When the dresses arrived, we were not excited about the color (a dark turquoise), the fabric, the big bows, or the fact that the dresses had darts when none were needed yet! But of course we had to wear them. Can you tell by our faces how thrilled we were??

Mom made these "walking suits" this year. Mine was lavender plaid and I was pleased with it. Don't you love the straw purse? And the pillbox hat (ala Jackie Kennedy) and the gloves --

This year our dresses were much simpler than other years - this one was pale yellow - gloves, but no hat. Much more casual.

I really had a thing for lavender, it seems. I loved this dress, matching hat and shoes - wish you could see them.

This was fondly (I think) called my "Abe Lincoln" look by my brothers. I was 5'10" tall, but thought nothing of wearing 3-inch spikes with pointed toes. The shoes to this outfit were too small, but I bought them because they were red, white, and blue and I had to have them to complete the ensemble. I suffered, but thought it was worth it! Not to mention the 6-inch-high hat - oh, my goodness - I really thought I was something! I'm not really that much taller than everyone - the angle is really strange - but I was really tall and didn't care. I wonder where I got the money to put together this outfit.

That was the last Easter picture in my mom's album - I enjoyed my trip down Easter memory lane very much. I hope you did, too!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies

We always get a good wet snow storm in March. We had one last week-end, and I assumed that was it and we could get on with spring weather. We had one really wonderfully warm day, Monday. Yesterday was gray and gloomy and a nice rain began around 2:30 in the afternoon. Feisty was really excited to play on the trampoline in the rain.

It wasn't long before the temperature took a dive downward and the rain turned into huge wet snowflakes. By bedtime the east windows looked like this - the win was really whipping those snowflakes around.

When we got up this morning, we had to go to the west windows to discover that it wasn't snowing anymore - in fact, had probably not snowed much during the night. That was good news, because I had to head north about 15 miles for two appointments - lab work for blood tests following my check-up, and a mammogram.

I was one of very few cars in the parking lot of the huge medical complex when I arrived at 6:45. The roads were just fine - the fact that they had called off school all of northern Colorado seemed a bit ridiculous at that point.

I dread the mammo every year because of my history of fibrocystic disease, which makes the process extremely painful. I was incredibly pleasantly surprise to find that the process is now digital and requires much less compression. I don't have to dread it so much in a year. YAY!!

The back yard looked so beautiful when I got home around 8:30 - in spite of the fact that it is spring and things should be green, yellow, red, and blue rather than pure white.

After working out at the gym, I found this very interesting sight (one problem with these spring storms is that branches often break from the evergreens - fortunately, this year there were no leaves on the other trees yet, and the daffodils are smartly staying in the ground). This particular tree broke the stop sign --

. . . and was drooping into the garbage dumpster --

Less than two hours later - it won't be long before all of the snow is soaked into the dry ground - the wheat farmers have to be delighted, and our grass and flowers will really love the drink they're getting. Besides that, it will help fill the reservoirs and let us have water during the summer.

On a totally different subject - it's been almost a year since Kevin went back to Teen Challenge, this time in Maine. If you're new to this site and don't know this story, feel free to go to this post
and catch up.

Kev's wife, Sema (her cyber-name) got to go visit him this past week-end. They had a wonderful time and the weather was perfect.

Thank you so much for your prayers for them as they look to their future and try to find God's will for their next step.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pete the Dog

This woman of many words has had a brain freeze the past few days. I decided to try to get some creative inspiration by perusing my mom's photo albums. It worked! I have ideas for several upcoming posts which I will enjoy, and hope you will, too.

I am not a person who has an instant love affair with four-legged furry creatures. I have only been truly enamored of 2 pets in my past - both dachshunds when I was an adult. The pets we had as kids were a part of the family, but not a huge part of my life.

Pete was an amazing animal, though, and deserves to be memorialized in this fashion. He came into our family as a tiny puppy, a German Shepherd/Collie mix, named by my dad in honor of a dog from his youth.

Pete was a very smart dog. When we three older kids were in school, the youngest brother at that time was home with his pal, Pete, all day long. Mom says that Pete spent his days guarding brother Dwight from any harm, pacing up and down the sidewalk, making sure he didn't go into the street or suffer any other calamity.

One night someone came to the door, asking Dad, the young pastor, for a ride. Apparently this happened quite often. Dad left, telling Pete to protect the family. Mom says Pete paced from the front door to the back all evening until Dad returned.

This all happened in Arkansas, but the day came when Dad took a pastorate in northern Minnesota. We all piled into our station wagon, 4 kids, pregnant Mom, and Dad - hauling a one-wheel trailer behind us. In the car with us was the pet cat, which really surprises me since my dad is noted for his lack of love for cats. In the trailer was the large doghouse that you can see in the background of the above picture. Pete rode all the way from Arkansas to Minnesota in that trailer - amazing when you think about it! One gas station stop left an indelible memory - as we all kind of popped out of the car when the door opened, the attendant (yes, that was in the days when someone actually filled your car, checked your oil, and cleaned your windows) looked at the menagerie and quipped, "Where's the pony?"

When we got to our new home, a tiny little apartment attached to the back of the church building (Mom's roast beef Sunday dinners had everyone's mouths watering before the end of Dad's sermons as the aroma wafted into the sanctuary), we squeezed in as tightly as we had in the car! All 4 of us kids had to sleep in the same room, with chests of drawers dividing the girls' space from the boys'.

Dad unloaded us with the few things we'd brought with us, rented a truck, and headed back to Arkansas to move the majority of our belongings In those days you had to return a rental truck to the original site. Sadly, Pete disappeared shortly after he left. I remember as if it were yesterday the night that all of us were very upset about his absence. We were in the kitchen, surrounding Mom, crying, and praying for Pete. I can't remember if it was that night or the next day, but it wasn't long before Pete was scratching and barking at the back door, wanting to come in from the cold Minnesota winter. It seems evident that he had headed back to Arkansas, based on the appearance of his paw pads. It's amazing to me to this day that he found his way back to the place we'd only lived in for a couple of days.

Unfortunately, Pete had to stay outside, tied to a chain. Obviously, there was no room in this tiny apartment, and there was no such thing as a fenced yard. He stayed in the back yard, close to the alley where kids walked on their way to school. Many of these kids delighted in taunting and tantalizing Pete as they passed our yard. He would strain at his chain, barking at the kids. They'd get as close to him as they could and harass him.

Pete, as I said, was very smart. He figured out a way to make the chain look like it was taut so that the kids came closer, thinking they were safe. He lunged at one of them, grabbing his arm or hand. Fortunately, it was winter and the kid was protected with heavy clothing. But we knew that Pete's time of living in town was over. This town was much different from the little one in Arkansas where we lived. Somehow Dad found a sheep owner who needed a good dog. We heard as time went on that Pete turned out to be the best sheep dog he'd ever had. I know he was happier in the country, away from those ornery kids.

The story has a rather sad ending when he was killed by a car on one of those country roads. But he had a life well lived.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Monday, March 08, 2010

Reading is FUNdamental

library is a hospital for the mind.
~ Anonymous ~

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.
~ Joseph Addison ~

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.
By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, as in all fortunes.

~ Barrow ~

Do you remember learning to read? I wish I had a memory of the joy of discovery. I remember first grade as a wonderful time. They didn't have kindergarten in our little towns in Arkansas in those days, and I was one of the youngest in my class every year, beginning first grade when I was still 5.

I don't remember when reading became such a huge part of my life. I don't remember going to the library when I was really young. I remember my first library card in junior high and the discovery of my first series - Beany Malone books by Lenora Mattingly Weber.

I remember 7th grade when I kept a list of every book I read, rating each one with stars. Then there was 8th grade in a new school when I aleved my loneliness by picking up a "romance for young moderns" from the library every day after school on the way to the bus. I tried to convince my mom that they were educational, because they each highlighted a different career! That was also the year I joined Library Club and spent a lot of time in there.

Then there was the summer vacation that we went on a pontoon boot for the day - me with my swimsuit on, sunglasses, and my book. I even remember it was "To Kill a Mockingbird."

As an elementary ed. major in college, I stood in long lunch lines, reading as I waited. The assignment was to read up to 50 (for an A) children's books. I read 85, most of them novels. That was the most enjoyable semester ever. That summer I took "Adolescent Lit" and read about 25 in a 4 week session, whenever I wasn't working or in other classes - such as Ernest Hemingway and Shakespeare courses. Those weren't as much fun.

My love affair with books has only increased. I have been known to read as I walk. I always have a book with me if I may have a few minutes to wait for an appointment or for school to be out. I've revealed before that I read as I exercise at the gym.

Kristen was reading by the time she was 4 - I don't even know how it happened. So it has been fun watching Care Bear become a reader. This year she is in second grade and reading at least at 4th grade level. She has an amazing teacher this year who did this fabulous project with the kids.

They did a unit on penguins because she has a friend who is in Antarctica - the kids loved this unit. The culminating project was a very professionally done book. Care Bear was SO excited when it arrived this week - excited especially to show me the front cover because ---

---she did the cover drawing.

Each student in the class chose one of the penguin types to write about and illustrate. Care Bear has read the book to each one of us separately - here are her pages. Her penmanship is as good as her writing and drawing!

Now Feisty, who is in kindergarten, is making good progress with figuring out the wonderful world of words. I love watchin
g her and listening to her sound out her nightly book from school.

The twins haven't had as much book interaction with me as I would like. They have a very hard time sitting still long enough to go through a book. But yesterday we had a great time pointing to words and pictures. The process has begun!

I am so thankful I have such an enjoyable "habit!"

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday is almost over. I got the "crud" yesterday and spent a miserable day in bed (well, when I wasn't in the little room next door to the bedroom!) It was as if I lived in a protective bubble when everyone else was getting sick. I really thought I had escaped. But on the first day that I could actually crash, I crashed big time. It's unbelievable how good I feel today compared to yesterday.

Thanks for your prayers once again for Kristen. The meds are doing what they're supposed to be doing and she's feeling good once again. I want so badly for her to feel good for more than a week or two at a time!

While we had the girls this time, it was "spirit week" at their school. One day was Crazy Hair Day - Care Bear did her own and I helped Feisty. Care Bear also did Katie's for her.

That was a beautiful pre-spring warm day, and the girls had a great time after school. They decided to do a show for me - Taylor Swift song complete with all sorts of choreography - with a pile of old crunchy snow as the stage.

I had to take a few pictures as I was out and about that day. This is a view on the way to the kids' school - so beautiful.

I just have to ask you -- would you do this ----

if the shoreline looked like this???

I was so excited to get this in the mail this week - right on schedule. It looks white in the picture, but it is a lovely beige (called khaki) and goes well with the little bear I posed with the set. Now I just have to figure out a place to put it in my cupboards - I figure maybe some of my old stuff can pass for vintage at the Habitat store. Thanks again, Becky (Butler's Wife)!

The most exciting thing of the week - last week I took my "lost and found" diamond to our favorite jewelers - the young woman who waited on me was fabulous. She doesn't look anywhere near old enough, but she says she's been there for 17 years. She must have worked there in high school. She had an immediate idea how to salvage my original, sentimental bands, and make the stone secure for the rest of my life. It doesn't stand up high off the band any more, but I love the new look. What do you think??

And last but not least - WOO-HOO!!