Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Just" Waiting

The pastor's sermon on Christmas Day was entitled "Great with child", referencing Luke 2:5 from the KJV, that Joseph went to Bethlehem, "To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."  Since Christmas Day was exactly one week before our daughter-in-law's due date, the whole subject really resonated with us.  Although we listened as he spoke of Mary, and how the birth of Jesus took place, we couldn't help but think of Kim.

As the sermon progressed, he talked more about the waiting, the anticipation.  And a quote that jumped out at me was this:  "I'm looking forward to looking back on this."  Now to be honest, in context that line was from a story of someone going through difficult times, and anticipating getting through it, and being able to look back.  But I thought how appropriate it was in light of good times, as well.

Don't get me wrong, we absolutely can't wait for this granddaughter to make her appearance.   I've actually already got my hospital bag packed----I've got snacks to keep the two grandfathers-to-be and the uncle-to-be fed and happy.  Magazines to read.  Camera.  Extra batteries.  Needlework to keep me entertained.  A note attached to remember to add the cell phone charger at the last minute.  I'm keeping clothes clean at all times so I can wear something comfortable to the hospital for the final "waiting" hours.  That sort of stuff.  I want to be ready when we get "the call".

But as much as I can't wait to see this sweet little girl, I don't ever want to forget the waiting, the months leading up to her arrival.  That glorious day when they told us she would be coming----wow, what a beautiful memory.  The next day, talking to Kim's mom once she heard the news, and our excitement as we talked.  The following weeks when we kept the big secret, since no one outside the immediate family knew the news yet.  Being present when one of the great-grandmothers-to-be found out.  The honor of being present for  an ultrasound visit in July, when Aaron was out of town, and the joy that filled the room when the ultrasound tech said, "Your baby looks perfect!"  A few days later when we learned little baby was a girl------we grandmothers tried to get the ultrasound tech to tell us that piece of information, but to no avail!  It was so much fun learning it the way we did, in a restaurant, over lunch, with Cameron listening on speaker phone from camp while the grandparents simultaneously opened gift bags that contained pink (pink!!!!) tiny  hats and socks.  I wouldn't trade those days for anything. 

There were showers to get us through the fall.  Watching the nursery take shape, seeing a crib readied for her arrival, and dresser drawers fill with tiny little outfits was great fun.  To go in the nursery, and see all the preparations, and realize that in a few months----weeks----days----there will be a precious, tiny, beautiful baby girl taking up residence there was almost surreal. 

But the waiting, as hard as it is, because we want to see her and hold her and love her so badly, has been a beautiful time.  I am completely looking forward to her arrival, but I always want to look back with joy and remember these days of waiting.  They've been precious, precious days.  And she's definitely worth the wait!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Found this picture recently-----it may be the only one of this view, taken possibly before we even moved in.

It looked like this for the majority of the time we lived there.

We lived in this house for over 22 years.  Built it----bought it when it was nothing but a foundation, and then rebuilt it almost entirely 6 years later (that's a story for another day).  Brought both of our boys home here when they were born.  Lots of memories.

Adjacent to the neighborhood is a county park, and just on the other side of the park is a public TV broadcasting station, with a very tall tower.  The lights on the tower blink every couple of seconds, and we could see it from some of our windows at night.

When our younger son was about 4, we were out running errands one day, and he looked out the car window and saw the familiar tower.  "I like when I look up and see the tower," he said, "because then I know where home is."

Whoa.  When you look up, do you know where "home" is?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


So Mary has been on the brain lately.  That Mary, the mother of Jesus.  In chapel today there were various pictures of her on the screen, by various artists over the years.  One really struck me, because the woman depicted was really just a girl, as they believe Mary was, maybe just in her mid-teens.  Young.  Really young.  And it's on the brain because it's Christmas, and because my sweet daughter-in-law is about to give birth to our first grandchild.  Lots of reminders of mothers and babies.

Have you ever been around a group of women when they started talking about their childbirth experiences?  It's  uncanny how we remember the details----when labor started, what time we got to the hospital, what phone calls we made, what happened first, and next, and later.  All of it.  And if one woman so much as begins to talk about her experience, all the other mothers have to share theirs.  Have to-----it's like it's on the inside of us, and the story has to come out.  We have to share it.  Every detail we remember.  All of it.  Compare and contrast, share the glorious experience with other women who can understand.

But think of the verse, the one at the end of the story of Jesus' birth, almost an afterthought when we read the Christmas story----

Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

She KEPT these things.  She PONDERED them.  Just think about it-----who would Mary have told about the birth of Jesus?  Who would have believed her?  "Well, last week, Joseph and I went to Bethlehem, you know, for the census, and, well, I went into labor, and we looked and looked and looked for a room, but all we found was a stable that a nice innkeeper let us use.  Long story short, I had my baby, right there in that stable, with cows, and sheep, and chickens right in there with us.  And we named him Jesus, like the angel told Joseph to do.  And speaking of angels, during the night, a bunch of shepherd showed up, saying angels had told them to come see the baby.  Shepherds!!  It was quite a night!"

Seriously, who could Mary have told?  Who would have believed her??  Crazy teen mother, they would have thought.  Married to an older man-----pregnant before she was even married to him.  See, she couldn't talk to anyone.  So she KEPT.  She PONDERED.  Don't you know she spent many hours wondering why God chose her?  Why he sent His son to earth for her and Joseph to raise?  And all the while, she KEPT, she PONDERED.

So this Christmas season, what are you keeping?  What are you pondering?  Are you thinking about why God sent Jesus to earth, to you, to me?  Are you pondering what you should do now that He's here, reminded anew this season of His coming, His birth, and His death?  All for you?  All for us?  For all of us?

"For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."  Keep that.  Ponder that.  It's what Christmas is all about.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


In the late summer of 1999, we were in the early stages of having a porch added to the back of our house.  The first step was to dig the footings, and to save money, we did that part ourselves-----24x24x24, with a piece of rebar extending 12” from the bottom of the hole up into the center of the footing, to indicate the depth to which we had to pour cement.  In case you’ve never spent any time digging in the soil in central Virginia, let me tell you----it does not consist of dirt, but of clay----hard, hard, hard clay.  And in August, it’s even worse.

So what did we use?  Shovels.  Post-hole diggers. Hoes.  Child labor.  A 9 year old, and a 15 year old.  It was HARD work, but there was great pride when those holes were complete.  Square corners.  Rebar perfectly centered and straight-----they were beautiful.  When the county inspector arrived, he barely glanced at our work, and didn’t even seem to notice how perfect they were.  I’m not sure where his priorities were.

But what if we hadn’t had tools?  How would we have dug those holes?  Probably like you often do in the sand at the beach----down on your knees, digging with your hands.  It’s slow work, but it can be done.

One evening in the late spring of 2000, we noticed a turtle digging in our back yard.  Having never seen a turtle in that yard in almost 20 years of living there, we found it curious, so we watched for some time. 

Have you ever watched a turtle dig a hole?  We quickly realized this was a mother turtle, digging a nest.  She basically straddled the place she chose, and used her back feet to dig.  Think about that.  Imagine holding the weight of your body----especially if your body was proportionately the size of a turtle’s body----and you’re pregnant------and digging a hole behind you with your feet.  You can’t see what you’re doing.   Not that it mattered, but it was getting darker outside, so she was literally digging blindly in the dark.  But she kept going.  After a while we realized we could see that she was laying her eggs in the hole she had so carefully dug.   She carefully covered over the eggs and the hole, smoothing the area perfectly flat.  And then she left.

And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Longer than our research said we would have to wait.  We waited so long that we gave up, and forgot about those turtle eggs carefully placed in the middle of our back yard.

Until one day, MONTHS later, when we saw…….one baby turtle in the yard ……and then another baby turtle in the yard.  We were so surprised.   That mama  turtle had known exactly what she was doing, and those eggs had hatched exactly like they were supposed to.  Why were we so surprised?

Have you ever felt like you were digging blindly in the dark?  Like you were using your feet to dig when it would have been easier with your hands?  And then wondered if anything good was going to come out of all your effort?  Or maybe you had actually forgotten about the work you did, and figured it was all for nothing anyway, and nothing was going to come of it?

Did you know the Bible talks about digging?

Psalm 7:15 (New International Version)

 15 He who digs a hole and scoops it out
       falls into the pit he has made.
Oh, wait a minute, that may not be the most encouraging verse!  Let’s try another one:

Mark 2 (New International Version)

Jesus Heals a Paralytic
 1A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

I used this turtle story once with a group of ESL adults, knowing the struggles they deal with trying to learn a very difficult language while managing a job, home, family, children in schools----and a culture they don’t understand.  I could tell you countless stories of people I met who are working MUCH harder than you and I ever will, all the while trying to learn English.  The image of a turtle really resonated with them, because of how slow the learning process was for them----- (And the fact that I had to pantomime the turtle digging probably was interesting to them as well).  But I encouraged them to never give up.  To keep digging.

So what kind of turtle are you?  Are you a mother turtle, struggling to dig?  Or maybe you’re a mother turtle who has completed her difficult task, smoothed it over, and moved on to whatever it is you have to do until the next time?  Or maybe you’re a baby turtle, breaking out of your shell, and climbing through the dirt, only to discover blinding sunlight, and obstacles like grass that you have to learn to overcome. 

 But I think there’s another possibility.  I was going to say, whatever you do, don’t throw your hands up and give up----because for a turtle, that’s not a good thing.  But then-----a belly-up turtle is like the paralytic man.  Flat on his back, unable to walk, maybe only able to throw his hands up in the air---but his friends picked him up, bed and all, and took him to Jesus. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's not always what it looks like

Remember the “Magic Eye” posters from a few years back?  It appeared to just be a mass of multi-colored dots, but after you stared (and stared, and stared) at it without blinking, another image would appear, hidden in the dots.  The first time I saw one of these, the people around me, one by one, were  calling out, “I see it!” while I kept staring, wondering what they could possibly be seeing except a mass of dots?  I wanted to give up, but eventually the secondary image came into view.
For a long time, I’ve had a theory about what we see.  There is no way to know that what I see and call “blue” is the same thing that you see and call “blue.”  What you call “blue” might be what I call “yellow.”   Now any scientists among you might disagree and start explaining colors in terms of light waves, etc., but I’m ignoring them.
When Cameron was in second grade, he drew a picture of our house.  Now you should know that our house was painted what I call “khaki tan.”  When he brought the picture home, being the kind, encouraging, and affirmative parent that I am, I looked at it and immediately asked, “Why did you color our house PINK?”  His answer?  “Because I didn’t have a gray crayon.”  Hmm.
Very soon after that, I made an appointment for him with the eye doctor, who confirmed that Cameron is color-blind.  [I remember (again, in one of my finer parenting moments), fussing at him before we left home for the appointment because his shirt and pants didn’t go together----nice, huh?]  The doctor was much more compassionate, and had a long chat with Cameron about being aware of his limitations, what to think about when he was choosing careers, etc.----he probably shouldn’t be an electrician (Is this the red wire? Or the green?)   Firemen have to pay close attention to dials and lights----a mistake could be critical.  And the eye doctor tried to explain to me that red/green color-blindness doesn’t just mean it affects red and green, but any color that contains red or green, so purple, olive, pink, maroon, mauve, teal----Cameron sees them all differently than I do.
I’ll never forget the day he described something as being “green like peanut butter.”  (I wasn’t sure I’d ever eat peanut butter again.)
We learned rather quickly that it was important to let teachers know about his ‘disability’----In History class, “Name the capital of the country marked in red” could present a real problem.   In Algebra, it was “which line has the steeper slope, the pink or the brown?”  In Chemistry, “how much time elapsed before the concentration changed from red to green?”  (He had to choose lab partners carefully!) 
His high school's colors were green and purple----he joked that he could wear all the same spirit clothes to college, since UR’s red and blue looked the same to him as the green and purple.
God gave Cameron a GREAT sense of humor, and he is able to laugh at his ‘mistakes.’  As he got older, he would conveniently forget to remind the nurse at the pediatrician’s office that he was colorblind, just so he could enjoy her reaction as he ‘failed’ that part of his physical.  He gets a kick out of the response when people hear he’s colorblind.  He says the first question friends always ask is, “How can you drive?  You can’t see the traffic lights?!?!?!”   But even when he was first diagnosed as being color-blind, the eye doctor noted that he was already compensating, because as a 7-year-old he knew that the green light was the one on the bottom. (I can’t even tell you that without really thinking about it.)
Recently Cameron found information on the web describing new glasses for color-blind people that enhance colors so that they can be differentiated.  One downside is that you have to ‘relearn’ your colors, and rely on someone else to tell you “that is red, that is blue, that is green”.  As we joked about who in the family he’d trust with that task, he said, “I'm not sure if that or the $700 price tag is the bigger drawback!  It would be fun to try out once, but I think it’s more fun to just live without.”  Yes, his choice of words was FUN.  He’s learned that being different is OK.
Experiencing sight thru Cameron’s eyes has taught me several things----what I think I see isn’t necessarily the same as what you see, it’s fine to ask for help, and we’ve all got “issues.”  And that’s OK!  Maybe sometimes I need to try to see things thru your eyes to gain your perspective, because what you call blue, I call yellow!  And maybe sometimes you need to see things through my eyes.  I don’t ask you to do things a certain way JUST to make your life difficult, and I’m guessing you aren’t trying to make mine difficult, either.  We can work together, we can laugh together, and we can all grow together.  So what if my yellow and your yellow aren’t exactly the same?  As long as we’re both calling them ‘yellow’, does it really matter?
2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Holding the Ladder

In the summer of 2002, my then 12-year-old son Cameron and I signed up to participate in a missions project called Family Transformers.  On a Sunday afternoon, with much excitement on his part and much fear on my part, we headed about 2 hours west to spend 3 nights, working around the area during the day, and sleeping in a college dorm at night.  My older son, Aaron, about to start college, was completing a summer of missions work known as Impact VA, and his team would be leading worship for Transformers, so I thought it would be fun for Cameron to see what his brother had been doing.

There were several churches participating, but Cameron and I were the only ones from our church, so we had to find a group to partner with.   Aaron knew the sites where the work was being done, and he suggested we get with the group working on “Mrs. Grubbs’ house”.  So off we went, not knowing anyone, and not knowing what we would be doing.

The previous week, IMPACT had added a room onto a very small house, because Mrs. Grubbs was on the verge of being confined to a wheelchair, and space and access were a problem.  Part of our group started roofing the addition, part started putting up vinyl siding,   But a dad who was there alone with his two daughters, along with Cameron and I, were assigned the task of putting up sheetrock----on the ceiling, part of which was flat, part was slanted, I don’t think any of it was square, and there was a light fixture in the middle of the room to work around!  So there were two adults, one of whom was only so-so with a hammer, an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old, and a 13-year-old.  Oh, and I should mention that our ‘equipment’ consisted of one ladder and one 5-gallon-bucket to stand on to get the sheetrock in place----on the CEILING, remember?  But hey, we did it.  We built a “T” to hold the 4x8 sheets, the kids learned to measure and cut sheetrock (‘score it and snap it’), and by the time we left there Wednesday it was taped and mudded (thank you very much) and ready for another crew to paint.  It was a great experience, and the adults did a wonderful job of engaging the kids----Cameron and I left with a lot of pride and good memories.  The rest of the summer we walked around high-fiving each other and saying, “Sheetrock!”

So in 2003, we were ready to go again, this time to Norfolk.  That year my husband, Brian was able to take off work and go along.  Cameron decided we should work with our same friends from the year before, Mr. Bill, and Miss Jean, and Mr. Mike. 

This house needed to have a dropped ceiling installed, which really required the expertise of two of the men, and not so much help from the women and children (although we did spend about an hour moving the lady’s collection of salt and pepper shakers-----no kidding, she must have had 1000 of them.)  Cameron and the younger daughter from the previous summer were the only youth in our group, and I have to give them credit, at one point they asked the homeowner if she had any gardening tools, and took it upon themselves to start pruning her extremely overgrown shrubs.

Outside, a window was in need of serious repair.  Mr. Bill was the only one with the knowledge to do that, which left several of us as spectators.  Mr. Bill wasn’t a young man, and he was standing on a stepladder, pushing and pulling and leaning to work on that stubborn window problem.  Since I was standing nearby, and didn’t have anything else to do, I started holding the ladder just to keep the dear man from falling. 

After quite a few hours of just standing there steadying the ladder, I was feeling quite frustrated---I wanted to be working!!  I had gone from the glamorous job the previous summer of installing sheetrock to just holding a ladder!  How was I going to show my face when I got back home and people asked what I had done this time?  How would that look?  I hadn’t accomplished anything. 

Once again, Aaron was there as part of IMPACT, and the team stopped by our site mid-day to see how things were going.   When he asked me, I said, “ALL I’ve done all day is hold the ladder!”  Being much wiser than his mother, he immediately replied, “Somebody has to hold the ladder.”  That really hit me---Mr. Bill couldn’t make the repairs if someone wasn’t helping to keep him safe.  I returned to my assignment knowing I was contributing.  My task, though it had seemed menial to me, was essential.  I was part of the team, and I was needed.

Maybe you’re on top of the ladder.  Or maybe you feel like you’re ‘just’ holding the ladder.  Realize that if you don’t, the ladder will topple, the person will fall, the ministry will collapse.  Holding the ladder is essential----it’s not glamorous and it won’t make you famous.  But it has to be done.

I’ve run across a couple of everyday examples of this lately (it was "lately" when I originally wrote this!):

In the RTD, on March 11, 2010, when UR’s basketball team had beaten Charlotte in OT to solidify their tie for first place in the A-10, there was an article about Kevin Smith, a ‘bench’ player:

RTD 3/11/10 Depth Pays Off for UR
(after beating Charlotte in OT on 3/6/10, when Kevin Smith played only 20 minutes of the 45)

Smith could be a bitter bit-player.  He started 35 of Richmond’s 36 games last season.  The reserve role he has embraced includes very few shots (28 baskets in 31 games), and a heavy load of dirty work: energetic defense, rebounding, screening, passing and cutting.
“You have to take a step back and understand, ‘This is not about myself.  This is about a greater picture,’” said Smith, who’s from Murfreesboro, Tenn.  “You have to humble yourself sometimes.  You take that [approach], and you’ll be given something back.”

About that same time, Ben, a junior (at that time) Oldham Scholar at UR who wrote a blog for “Spider Diaries,” a real-life account of his experiences as a UR student, posted this anonymous quote from a coach::

“My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back” - Anonymous

Are you holding the ladder for the name on the front of your jersey? 
Ephesians 4:11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

I love this hymn, God of grace and God of glory, and especially this less-frequently-sung 3rd verse:

Cure Thy children’s warring madness,
Bend our pride to Thy control.
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm going to be somebody's grandmother!

It's true----in just about 6 weeks, I'm going to suddenly, overnight, or over a day, in a matter of hours, turn into a grandmother!  I've been excited about that ever since I received a wonderful Mother's Day gift, a baby blanket.  You see, my "typical" new baby gift, for years, has been one of those even-weave, thermal baby blankets, to which I've added some cross-stitched embellishments.  Hearts.  Sailboats.  Bunnies.  So, this past Mother's Day, I looked into my gift bag, and I knew.  It wasn't a blanket----it was an announcement.  A wonderful, fantastic, exciting---and for the time being, secret----announcement.  I immediately went into craft mode.  What could I make?  What could I learn?  I had always wanted to learn to smock, and suddenly it seemed like I didn't have much time.  Made some burp cloths out of diapers.  The fun was beginning. 

About 8 weeks later we learned, the baby is----- a------girl!!!  Woo-hoo!  We raised two boys, and wouldn't trade them for anything.  I always felt that I was meant to be the mother of boys.  Baseball and Lego's and trucks-----loved it all.  But now?  To have a granddaughter----wow!  It opens up so many new possibilities.  Did some research, and ordered a pleater.  Made some hair bows.  Made some more hair bows.  Made even more hair bows?  Do you know how easy those are?  Do you know what cute ribbon is available?  Even in Dollar Tree?  If you need almost any color, I probably have it!   Do you know how cute dresses and panties and ruffled hats are?  I mean, seriously?  I have more projects in mind than I have time to complete them----hope she'll be patient with me!

But what kind of grandmother do I want to be?  I had two, very different ones myself.  One was fun and playful-----I remember building a snowman in her yard.  She was creative, always sewing, or doing paint-by-number, or needlepoint (she didn't follow anyone's rules for that, but made her own), or Liquid Embroidery (that must have been a fad, but she had every color tube there was, and we all had decorative pillowcases and dresser scarves).  In later years, she developed Alzheimer's, and didn't even know me, but childhood memories of her are of a fun-loving grandmother.

My other grandmother was more serious, for lack of a better word.  She was the kind who would sit with you and ask you what you liked, what your favorite TV show was (I remember telling her it was "My Three Sons"---I guess that dates me), what subject you liked in school.  She came to visit from out-of-town fairly regularly, even unannounced (I wouldn't do THAT!).

So, what kind will I be?  I want to be involved, and interested, and available, and fun, and engaged.  I've been watching some great role model grandmothers, and I'm soaking up all sorts of ideas from them.  I'm looking forward to "Christmas Craft Day(s) with Granna,"----shoot, I've already planned the craft for the first year.  And the third.  And have a whole board on Pinterest with ideas for other years.  I want this to be a fun place for her to come, a safe place to hang out and chat, a place she asks to come to.  We can cook, read, play the piano, glue stuff, paint stuff, make stuff.  I want to be a mix of my two grandmothers-----a little serious, a lot of fun,   Or maybe some days it will be more serious, and less fun.   I can't wait to spend time with her, watch her grow, teach her things----and not just with her, but with any future siblings and/or cousins she will have.  And if they are brothers or boy cousins, no problem----I'm already experienced, and will have fun pulling Tonka trucks out of the attic and Lego's out of the closet.

So, Granna is ready.  Or not ready.  I've got to be trained.  I've never done this before.  I want to do it right, but I'll probably make some mistakes.  Hopefully our little lady will be patient with me----she's in charge of the training!

And about the name---one of those role model cool grandmothers I've been watching is a "Granna."  I decided some years back that I wanted to try out that name.  I get the fact that grandbaby may very well decide to give me a different name once she's talking, and I'll be more than happy to accept it.  But for the time being at least, I need a name other than "the mother of the baby's father"----who wants to be called that?!?!  And I'm living with "Pa"---and I think Pa and Granna sounds good together.  Come on, let's go to Pa and Granna's house!!!

Gotta go-----there are projects to do, and I only have 6--or fewer----weeks!!

Why did the duck cross the road?

The very first day started my job, I drove across the Huguenot Bridge and headed up the hill to the right.  Immediately I realized that was a bad decision, because traffic backs up and moves really slowly-----I thought about how bad it was going to look when I called my first day to say I’d be late!
The next day, and ever since, I’ve crossed the bridge, turned left, and headed around the UR campus.  It’s been entertaining, as I’ve watched them tear down the old track and field complex, build the new stadium----one morning I followed a truck carrying a load of bricks, one morning I watched them use a crane to lift the bleachers seats over the top of the stadium and into place, and another day I watched as they used the crane to move huge glass panels up and over and into place in the boxes.  Last year they widened the road at the back entrance to campus, built a new sign at that entrance, and built a Frisbee golf course that borders the road in places.  It all serves to keep my commute interesting!
One of my very favorite parts is driving past Westhampton Lake, where it almost touches College Road.   If you aren’t familiar with the campus, there’s a 10 acre lake right in the middle, which originally was the ‘boundary’ between the men’s side of campus and the women’s side.  (Walter could probably tell us about the gate that closed at night and kept the men and the women on their respective sides.)  In the spring there are daffodils right on the bank near the road, and the trees all around are starting to bud.  Up on the hill at the far end of the lake you can see the chapel with its rose window above the doors.  In the summer, they drain and dredge the lake where the creek feeds it, so you can watch the water level lower and then rise when they start to fill it again, and sometimes you can spot “interesting” things that have been thrown into the lake over the course of the year.   In the fall, the trees turn beautiful shades of many colors, and you can see the reflection in the water.  In the winter, sometimes the lake starts to freeze in places, and if it snows, the lake really stands out against the backdrop of snow blanketing the surrounding woods. 
The lake holds a lot of special memories for me.  As a student, it was peaceful spot to walk with friends.  In fact, Brian and I spent a lot of our dating time walking around the lake, or sitting in the gazebo on the island in the middle of the lake and talking about life and our future.  When the boys were little, we often would go with a loaf of stale bread to feed the baby ducks in the spring, and see the turtles sunning on logs at one end of the lake. 
You know, those ducks have a great life.  They have a huge lake to live in and paddle from end to end.  Plenty of bugs and little fish and children throwing bread crumbs and whatever else ducks like to eat.  They have to be perfectly happy, living in such luxury.
But you know, more than once I’ve had to stop my car as I drove past the lake, because there’s been a duck, or two, or more IN the road.  Sometimes people actually get out of their car to try to “encourage” the ducks to move back into the lake.  It’s surprising that we don’t see more ‘flat ducks.’
One particular afternoon, I noticed that there was a large puddle across the road from the lake.  And sure enough, two ducks had made their way across the road to wade in the puddle.  I say wade, because it was only deep enough for them to step in. 
It made me wonder why?  Why, when they have a 10 acre lake, would they risk their lives to cross the road and just wade in a puddle, when they could be swimming back where it’s safe and large and full of everything they need?
How often do we do the same thing?  God gives us an endless lake to swim in, and everything we could possibly need, but we choose to go our own way, and try to satisfy ourselves by stepping in a puddle, when we could swim in a lake, if we’d only trust what God has for us.   Are you aware of everything God has provided?  Are you thankful?  For the large and the small things?  Or are you leaving the lake, and crossing the road to get to the puddle.

LUKE 12 
Do Not Worry
 22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.