Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Taste of Heaven on Earth

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm reading the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. It's got me thinking no matter how beautiful or wonderful something is here on earth, it will pale in comparison to the heavenly equivalent. However, I think that sometimes God gives us a taste of the heavenly to encourage us onward.

One sampling of heaven that I was blessed to receive happened late summer 2003. I remeber it vividly. After an extraordinarily stressful couple of years, my employer of 21 years had declared bankruptcy and closed its doors. While I went directly to another job, it was at a substantial pay cut and it was not a great work atmosphere. And to top it all off, my dog, Coach, was dying.

Coach was old and suffering from arthritis. Pain and confusion made him wake me every two hours every night for months and I was suffering emotionally and physically. In fact, there were many an evening when I couldn't even recall driving home from work.

One afternoon, I was visiting at the Barblings' home. It was a warm summer day. I was sitting in a chair in a sunny corner of the family room with the heat seaping in to my achy bones. I could hear the girls outside, laughing and playing. Dad Barbling was mowing the lawn and I could hear the monotone droning hum of the lawnmower (which I find ALMOST as soothing as the sound of the vacuum cleaner - but that's another story). And Mom Barbling was sitting on the couch folding laundry, as we talked. I fell asleep - I don't know for how long. Two minutes? Two hours? No idea. I just remember that when I woke up I felt as if I'd had the most perfect sleep in my life. And no one thought it was odd that Miss Barb was taking a nap in their family room.

Some days when life is horrible, when I'm exhausted or upset or lonely, I remember that afternoon. In heaven, through the course of eternity, I will have many more experiences like that - perfect peace and rest; where you'll feel so at home that you can take a nap wherever, whenever you need with no one thinking it rude or strange.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Heinz 57

I've neglected my blog for a while, so I need to do some "ketchup". I don't know if I've got 57 things on which to comment, but I think it'll be close!

1. The insurance adjuster DID total my car so I bought a 2007 Ford Escape. Color: Blazing Copper. Joseph Swanson said it's cool, so that makes me in with the young crowd. Pictures will be posted sometime when I can get a shot that does the vehicle justice - that is, when it's not covered with snow or mud.

2. I recently dog-sat Atticus Otulakowski for few days. This time, he chose to escape in sub-freezing temperatures, opposed to the LAST time he escaped when the temperatures were pushing 100 degrees.

3. My favorite TV show "Lost" is back and I'm enjoying it!

4. Due to illness, weather and lack of heat, I didn't have a Sunday school class at all in the month of January. But I still managed to have a snack on those mornings.

5. I stayed up to watch the Academy Awards last night. I hadn't seen any of the movies nominated and the outfits were not that impressive. I have no idea why I bothered.

6. I recently attended a Gannon University Ladies Basketball Game. It was free in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. I went because my sister, Jean, a BC survivor asked. I really enjoyed the game. I think the last time I was at a basketball game was in high school (1979).

7. Against my usual habit, I recently forwarded on an email survey "How well do you know me". To the question "Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules?" 9 out of ten people that responded said I was a rebel!!! One person qualified her statement by saying that I was a rebel but I probably felt guilty about it afterwards, which was quite perceptive (and accurate) of her.

8. My nephew, Steven, passed his GED. And even though it's been almost 10 years since he's been in school he got 100% on the science portion. He didn't inherit this skill from his Aunt Barb.

9. My friends, the Lanes, just purchased a new old house. That is, it's new to them, but it was built in 1896. For those of you who know the area, the house used to be the old Calico Patch Quilt Shop in Harborcreek. I'm glad for them because they've always dreamed of an old house. I'm glad for me because: A) they'd been looking at homes in McKean which would have put them considerably farther away from me. NO more impromptu drop-bys, and B) the driveway to the new house is straight. Their current driveway has a bit of a curve and I wind driving through their front yard when I back out. I'm not the only one to do so, I want you all to know, but no one else would put up with their teasing like I do.

10. I Netflixed the latest Harry Potter movie. I think this was the weakest of them all, so far.

11. For the first time that I can recall in my 46 years, I got flowers for Valentines day. Or should I say flower, singular. It was a pretty yellow rose from Peoria :)

12. I started a diet.

13. I discontinued a diet.

14. I started an exercise program.

15. I ended an exercise program.

16. Usually, by this time of year I've already submitted my taxes and am counting the days until I receive my return. This year, my tax return sits half complete on Turbo Tax. I don't know why, but I have no motivation, even though I'm expecting a return.

17. I'll be spending my tax return plus a portion of my savings on a new roof. Maybe that's why I'm in no hurry to file my taxes. It's not as much fun admiring a new roof as it is a new diamond ring, or some other extravagance.

18. Walgreens just opened their first stores in Erie. I was looking forward to it, but after having gone in, I realize it's just a drugstore. I also realize I need to develop a better social life!

19. I traveled to Chicago (more precisely, Mundelein, IL) for a business trip on February 5 & 6. Our group was supposed to leave Chicago at 4 pm and be home in Erie by about 10:30 pm. However, due to concerns about the weather, our hosts rebooked us to an earlier flight that would have us back in Erie by about 6-7 pm. We didn't leave Chicago until after 8 PM. Enough said.

20. I'm reading the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. When I first got the book, I looked up "will pets be in heaven" in the Index. He hedged on this a bit. Then I started the book from the beginning. In the Introduction, he mentioned that perhaps a reader would be tempted to just turn to the parts that answered their questions, but he encouraged readers to read through the entire book. No matter how educated the man is, that statement alone gave him a great amount of credibility with me.