The Ant Hill
(To start your week with a smile!)
One day God was looking down at earth and saw all of the rascally behavior that was going on…So, He called His angels and sent one to earth for a time. When the angel returned, he told God, “Yes, it is bad on earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not”. God thought for a moment and said, “Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.” So God called another angel and sent her to earth for a time. When the angel returned she went to God and said, “Yes, it’s true. The earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good.” God was not pleased. So, He decided to email the 5% who were good because He wanted to encourage them, and give them a little something to help them keep going.
Do you know what the email said???
Okay, I was just wondering because I didn’t get one either…
LOST AND FOUND…by Debbie
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I have been ‘away’ for quite a while in regard to this website. I am sure you are wondering where I have been. To be perfectly honest, I have been on a journey, and the road has been a long one. In retrospect, I had no intention of embarking on a journey, but sometimes you find yourself free-falling through life as you know it and are left to wonder how the heck you got there and how the heck you’re gonna find your way back! When it gets to the point where I lose my passion for singing, there is a problem! I know this sounds like a case of ‘drama’, and perhaps it has been. Looking back, I don’t think I could have scripted it.
We have all been there and there is a good chance that you or someone you know has gone through, or is going through, a time when day-to-day life becomes a heavy load. In my case, turmoil at work spilled over into my personal life and I found myself wondering what I ever did to deserve it. The stress of it all festers and festers, and before you know it you find yourself in a dark place without so much as a glimmer of light…or so it seems.
Every morning I end my morning prayer with the same request: “Help me to put a smile on someone’s face who needs a smile and to give encouragement to someone who needs encouragement”. Every single morning…..same request. I guess I have been naïve enough to believe that everyone around me has the same mindset. My sister reminded me a while back that mom always told us as we walked out the door…”be nice”….and that is exactly what was expected of us. Just “be nice”. Simple words to live by. What a peaceful world it would be if everyone subscribed to that. Unfortunately, on my journey it became profoundly obvious there are those who not only do not subscribe to it, but they seem to relish in making others feel badly. Even more frustrating is that the harder you try to “be nice”, the only one frustrated is you. Maya Angelou, poet and philosopher, says “People will forget what you did, they will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” That has become my personal mantra.
So what does this have to do with my ‘journey’? Everything. I began to wonder how many people in our daily lives are going through their own struggles and feeling lost and we have not even noticed. Within our own congregation, how many of them feel alone, worried, fearful? If I am feeling it, there must be others who are in need of a helping hand, a kind word, or simply a smile. How we treat people can break their spirit or it can lift them up from their knees. Once someone has managed to break your spirit, it is a long, long journey finding your way back. I, unfortunately, took the long way home. However, I learned something from it all. Through all the darkness, and sometimes tears, I realized that I had wasted far too much time asking God why He was asking me to walk through this storm. I let the unfairness of it all consume me. When I finally had had enough, I did something that I should have done from the very beginning…I picked up my Bible. I turned to Joshua 1:9…a verse close to my heart as it is the first Bible verse my grandson recited to me:
Be strong. Be courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Piece by piece, it was all coming together, and I realized that I was not walking alone. Not only was God’s spirit with me, God had put some very special people in my path to carry me through. Each of them contributed something to helping me get through each day… some of them family, several of them friends.
Years ago, my mother hand-wrote a message to me when I was going through a particularly dark time in my life. I don’t think I ever really understood it all until now, and I surely did not realize how much I would refer to it. Mother has passed, but I still have that handwritten note from her. I have searched and researched to find where the passage comes from to no avail. It obviously meant something to her and it has come to mean everything to me. She wrote:
If I am aware of strain or tension, fear or worry, pain or aggravation, then I must stop! These are signs of danger to me. They are life’s signals that I am on the wrong track, that I am trying to overcome things in my own strength. They are God’s invitation to me not to believe in might or power, but to surrender everything to His spirit, by which alone my life and the entire universe can be successfully fulfilled.
I had been doing exactly that…’trying to overcome things in my own strength’. Once I was done wallowing in the mud, I realized that God was by my side through it all, waiting for me to put it in his Hands and let go. Rather than cursing the darkness, I needed only to light a candle. Although the storm is not over, I am not walking alone and I am learning to dance in the rain…Instead of asking why, I only needed to trust in God…
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
So, I ask that my prayer become your prayer…each day, help us to put a smile on someone’s face who needs a smile, and to give encouragement to someone who needs encouragement.
And remember….”be nice”.
HERO FLIGHT TRIBUTE TO VETERANS by Verne Hill
On May 4th, I had the pleasure and honor of being an escort to a World War II veteran on the Hero Flight to Washington, D.C., and so with this weekend celebrating Memorial Day I started to think about the hurried 3-day trip to our nation’s capital and what it meant to me.
As I am a veteran of a different era, I can appreciate the sacrifices that these men and women made for the right of freedom to live, work, play, and worship without repercussion.
One thing that really impressed me was that on all the memorials, statues, and even plaques on buildings, the mention of God was always prevalent. Sometimes when a person becomes accustomed to something for a long period of time, they start to take that something for granted.
On this Memorial Day weekend, let us not take for granted the right to worship our Creator and also not take for granted the freedoms that we, as Americans, enjoy because of the sacrifices that have been made, are being made, and will be made by the brave men and women of our military past, present, and future, and also of all Americans who have contributed to the making of this Great Nation.
SIT BACK AND RELAX....by Mickie Bumann
By now I am sure every member has seen the furniture that the Memorial committee picked out and purchased with Memorial funds, made possible when a memorial is given to the church in memory of a loved one. The memorial committee, Jean Fisher, Gin Jacobsen, and Verna Arnall Spent many hours looking and shopping for just the right furniture for the fellowship hall.The furniture needed replaced and when the board ask if they were willing to replace with new, they didn't hesitate to do the job. I know all the rest of the members are very thankful to this committee and to the members that made it possible and gave to the memorial fund. It is so important to include "Our Church" in our giving in final plans. Mickie Bumann
GOD IS THERE..By Don and Cindy Houdek
On December 31st, we left for Texas and a month long needed camping trip. We usually take the month of February, but this year we had to leave early as our daughter Kelsey was expecting her first child, with a due date of February 29th, and babies have their own time schedules. It was beautiful in Texas, warm weather, with bike rides, hiking and reading. We had just moved to Tyler State Park, set up and cooking our lunch when the cell phone became active. Our daughter-in-law calling to let us know that Kirk had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We knew he had not been feeling well for over a month as we helped remodel their kitchen before we left, but this was scary. Just prior to this phone call, our daughter Ashley called and Don’s brother Leroy had drove to Omaha to pick her up and bring her to my parents house. She was on an antibiotic that they use for anthrax, which was making her unaware of her surroundings, and dizzy. So we ate, packed up at 2:00 p.m. and started our long drive home. I of course am driving as I now need to be busy, and am not a late night driver. We decide to let the GPS guide us home with its short cuts. This route entails driving through three Indian reservations which is usually the less traveled highways. We are literally in the middle of nowhere with my thoughts going to survival rates of pancreatic cancer,(76%) with best case scenario of five years of life, thinking of the three boys, age 10, and the twins age 8, when the side of the hill is all light up with white rocks spelling out “Jesus”. Continuing to talk to myself, I say “yes, I know I have you with me”. We stop for gas and Don is now going to drive. I walk into the gas station and this cashier starts talking to me about her family and how 3 of them were diagnosed with cancer last year and two are now in remission, with one passing away, she says “God Bless You and your family”. Okay, this is weird, out of the blue type conversation that tends to hit home. After driving for another 3 hours, is this big sign, (in the middle of nowhere once again), lit up with “Jesus”. I tell myself, Okay, Okay, I get it, but I am still worried and believing only I can solve this problem, make things happen, change them for the best. As 3:00 a.m. arrives, so does another lite up sign in the middle of nowhere saying, “Jesus”. Now I smile to myself, realizing that God has finally got through to me. He is trying to tell me that he has it under control, he is with me, right by my side as always. I am not alone trying to fight this, he is with us all, taking care of things. We may not always like the outcome, but we are never alone. I felt so much peace. Couldn’t wait to tell my son that God will be with us throught this. Kirk has since been through, MRI’s, Cat Scans, dye tests, blood tests, endoscope, colonoscopy, and new doctor’s not in York. The gastrologist has discovered it is a severely slow digestive process causing nasuesness, vomiting, can’t sleep, etc. Crohn’s, Celiac diseases have also been ruled out. Even though he is not feeling the best, not his carefree personality, we are not facing cancer at this point. I just needed to share this message because of three light up signs with just one word “Jesus”.