The Ant Hill

405 East Bismark Road, Grand Island, NE, 68801
© 2011 United Congregational Church of Grand Island

The Ant Hill

Diversity

by United Congregational Church of Grand Island on 04/22/17

As I was driving home from my part-time job, at the church, a bright, florescent blue, shiny pick-up passed me on Second Street, as we drove over the overpass the truck gleamed in the sunlight. Now Blue is my favorite color and I have no idea why my mind went in the direction it went. My mind said what if all the vehicles in the world were that bright blue color? What would be the repercussions of a planet full of blue vehicles? How boring would that be? Think of a news helicopter, flying at a low altitude, reporting an accident on the ground, especially in a seven car pile-up. Or when you are buying a new car, I guess we would take the blue one. Why do you suppose we have color? I'm thinking it's because God knew we would be incorrigible if we didn't have a choice. We need stimulation to invent, invest and digest all the wonderful things our peers have put before us. We need change and perhaps we need to change. I like faces, and wonder if I always liked them. For instance, when I was thirty, I could look at an old person and see where the years had kicked them around a little. As I grow older, I can look at a wrinkled brow and see character, I suppose that's because there is one in my mirror that wants desperately to show character.

The blue vehicle vision stayed with me most of the remaining day and then it expanded to people. The white ones, black ones, red ones, brown ones and yellow ones, if I left out a color, it is only because I don't know another color. The vehicles all operate in the same manner. People, too, function in the same way, we all need air, food, water and we are all children of God. Most of these people know specifics about their own people. We don't all speak the same language but I'm betting the same things make us smile; the first sign of Spring in a cold climate, a bird singing a song as he builds a nest. A puppy's cold nose nuzzling you. The first flower popping out of the ground, as Julie Andrews sings, "these are a few of my favorite things."
I don't understand what all the news medias fuss is about, and why do our state and federal officials have such a hard time with us? Is it because we don't want everything the same color. We went to be responsible for ourselves, free from regulations. We all know we need laws, but give us a little credit, these orbs on our necks aren't just for baseball caps. What happened to the pride we had when we accomplished something, we don't need a trophy for participating we need to participate because we learn something every time we spend time with another human being. So we are different, who cares who is right, as long as you are communicating with others, who just might be different from you, you are adding to the diversity of life. Diversity, that's a strange word meaning; variety, assortment, multiplicity, range, miscellany, mixture. And the word can fit into our vocabulary in every walk of life; buying a car, going to the grocery store, choosing your friends, selecting a doctor, it really doesn't hurt when you know it is the right avenue to take.
Love the blue florescent color- but not so much for my vehicle and Thank You God I have a choice.

Roses and Thorns

by United Congregational Church of Grand Island on 08/16/16

I was working with my roses, well actually they belonged to the people who used to own our home. The only rose I ever grew never came back the second year. So when I saw a row of roses planted by the side of the house, my green thumb became pale. I did toss some rose food on them the first year and they bloomed beautifully and then the bushes and blooms were done. Pretty but short lived, so I was off to plant other plants more familiar to me. The fall found me cutting off the stems of the rose bushes and trying to protect the roots from the harsh winter. Again in May the roses filled the side of the house with beautiful blooms and once again they were gone in a very short period of time. As I cut the bushes back for the third year, I thought there has to be more to this rose dilemma, or is it that they are so beautiful, one can only bear to look for a short period of time. I trimmed them back, put some leaves around the stems, soaked them real well and was done for another season. As spring approached the green stems beckoned to me, there were some dead stems in each clump of stems so I cut them out, gave these little potentials a shot of food and hopefully a better chance of enhancing themselves. Mid May brought a bountiful array of color; yellow, deep pink, white, pink and red, and again they did not last long, but this year I cut those spent blooms off and the bushes bloomed again and I cut the spent blooms off and the rose bushes are once again blooming. Now, I probably could have inquired at the local nursery or googled the care of roses but I didn't. This encounter with the roses reminded me of my journey, my journey with Jesus Christ. So many times I don't tend to the roots of my Christianity and I only get glimpses of what is good for me. At times when things are going good, I forget to call on Him and my attention to details is spent. When things are looking downward, I remember what is important. I'm just like my roses, when I am well-tended I grow and usually look more presentable. It is so easy to let God do His thing with nature and be done with it, but a little tender loving care to his masterpiece just produces more beauty and when I invite Him to work in my life it adds more beauty and that makes me know that this ole thorn can be a rose. 

Where do we get our Inspiration?

by United Congregational Church of Grand Island on 01/04/16

With our 24 hour a day news cycle, and mostly bad news - hopefully, people are turning to a happier, more inspiring activity. Something like a walk, a good book, a Bible study or just listening to someone you respect and admire. This last Sunday, I got a BIG dose of inspiration. Although there were very few in Bible Study, the subject was so interesting and mysterious, we barely got through the few recommended verses. But it did give me an insight into the participants. One was totally surprised that a Step Grandchild told her, "Grandma, when I grow up, I want to be just like you." She was so surprised, and a little bit in denial as to the validity of the remark. I have thought, for a long time, she is an excellent role model. It's just proof that we do make a difference in the way we act and treat people. And it's especially nice when it comes in unexpected ways. Then we found out that our fearless leader loves ice fishing, but alas, he doesn't love the cold . . . so he has a shack, he places the shack on the ice, drills a hole in the ice and lights a fire in the shack, it's kind of like fishing from home. I bet he likes fishing in the summer time even more. So we learned something and shared fellowship and it was good. Then we go into the sanctuary and Lonnie tells us that the scripture for this week is confusing, mysterious and it's ok that we do not understand and have questions and that was good. So I'm on a roll, a very, very pleasant morning. I'm inspired and wanting more. So my husband, my little friend, Audi and I went on a walk around the lake. Audi checked out all the smells and found out just who had been at the lake lately and I checked out God's wonders and blessings. First of all I'm blessed to know God and have the desire to learn more. The snow cracking under foot told me to be careful, the trees bare and brown are protecting themselves from the cold and snow. The birds are absent, God has told them where to go for the winter months. Very few people are out for a walk, most all are bundled up for the weather, one man was jogging along, in his shorts and arms bare. Another blessing for me - Jogging is for young people. It's a very crisp, cold day and I'm missing color on this palate, but God knew I would find something to do a 'woe is me' thought and he staged a sprinkling of evergreen trees just to add a special hue. And He threw in a rabbit family, scurrying for the warmth and safety of their home. What a wonderful, inspiring and yet mysterious day - and it was good. Thank you God. 


Directionally Challenged by Bonnie

by United Congregational Church of Grand Island on 10/24/15

So I admit it - I am directionally challenged. I have had the disease for a long time. Take Lincoln, NE for instance, if I lose "O" Street, I'm apt to end up in Missouri. Nothing makes sense in Lincoln. it is so frustrating to be so lost that the only reference I can identify with is walk, don't walk and up and down. I remember a time in Lincoln when I doubted the street signs, W, E, N and S were all foreign and I was sure they were trying to trick me. After a very long trip home from Wichita, KS our daughter bought us a GPS. I do wish I had a nickel for every "recalculating" I've heard in the last few years. I've even used my Australian person in that little box to find a destination within my own home town. She is really quite smart, but I have had to challenge her on occasion. After all, how does someone in Australia know where I want to go and what route I want to take, it is then when the lady yells at me "recalculating" and I know I've gone too far. So again I have to admit it, I'm directionally challenged - why is it so important that I have my way when I have been proven wrong so many times?

And you know, I basically do the same thing in my spiritual journey I have these road maps on how to conduct my life; these shall not's and these positive spiritually sound people around me. Or at least, from the outside, they appear to have it all together. So why am I, at times, spiritually challenged? Why do I so often hear a heavenly voice saying, "recalculating?" A friend says, "at times, she treats Jesus, like a German Shepherd, ordering Him around." Then take me, I take side tours on my spiritual journey. A little side trip when someone says something humorous about someone else, whether or not I respond, I usually do not defend the target, I just let it stand. And is it really humorous when someone is the blunt of a joke? This is when my GPS should kick in and get me off the detour and start moving in the right direction. Oh, when I reach a fork in the road, on the one sign it states "Judgment" and the other one indicates "Judgmental" is just up the road. And, of course, I have to see what Judgmental holds for me. It isn't long before I have to turn around because I have run into guilt and it is way too uncomfortable for me. Good judgment is a comfortable place to be. I make amends, God forgives me, because I've asked to be forgiven, He seems to be saying to me, "allow for delays, enjoy life's journey, but keep your GPS plugged in because you are on a spiritual journey, not a no holds barred, free-for-all." Thank you God for your recalculating patience with this muti-challenged patient. 

Retirement

by United Congregational Church of Grand Island on 08/26/15

Retirement 

by Bonnie
As our long-valued, Administrative Assistant, Shirleen prepares to retire. I wanted to share my first day after retirement from a long-time position. Although there are many differences, there just might be some similarities.
Oh, to be retired, to do exactly what I want to do on any given day, this is the dream of most people who attain the ripe old age of 65ish. I was no different and at 66 I gave up the job and retired to the simple life. Having a few deficits in the health department, but still able to hold my own in most activities, I set out to clear up my nest. My first full day of doing exactly what I wanted to do, grab the cleaning supplies and make sure those little dust bunnies were out of my house. The step ladder was needed to reach the top of some dust bunny hideouts, no matter - this is safe for an elderly and not yet admitting to my elderness, to do. As I sprayed the cleaning spray onto the top of the container which houses the TV - my roommate arrived in the family room and asked what I was doing, should have been obvious but let's not start a verbal exchange, let's just tell him you're dusting, which I did. Well he wasn't going to give up the encounter so easily. You are annoying me was stated clearly with my body language. He was off on another question, what are you using? Now I have dusted a couple of times before and I think I can do it again, without your help, thank you very much. So this is the way it's going to be, I mused, spending time with this dearly beloved who questions everything I do. He walked straight over to my cleaning compound and said, "Why are you using RAID to polish the top of the TV cabinet? Deficit Alert - over the years I have noticed my senses are not quite as sharp as a 20 year old, however; that shouldn't stop me being able to READ. So on the first morning after my retirement came the crushing blow that you still have to be alert to your environment.
 Today I think . . . what was the retirement plan?  I don't believe I had a plan, but one day at a time works for me. Plan to enjoy your life Shirleen, you will be missed.   
   

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© 2011 United Congregational Church of Grand Island