Dependent and Glad

 

So I have to admit that our church uses an iPod for its accompaniment.

There, I said it.

So when my pastor stated he’d left his iPod plugged in and it played the song, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” it made me think.

Recently, I realized the truth in that. I couldn’t make it through a day without getting on my knees–sometimes three and four times a day–and saying or singing those words.

And now I know I do need Him every hour, every minute.

But sometimes I forget.

Have you ever thought of how much you and I both need the Lord?

Take for instance, breathing.

Or walking.

Or standing.

The fact is whether we know it or not, we need Him.

It’s like the iPod playing in the background. It’s playing, but we might not realize it.

There’s something else we need Him for–salvation.

Jesus said unless you come through Him, you cannot be saved. It’s that simple.

In fact, the first word out of Christs’ mouth was, “Repent.”

Paul says in I Corinthians 15:3-6, “For I delivered to you of first importance what I also received; That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

So none of us is dependent for our life, and no one can depend on himself for eternal life.

Only through Christ.

So, I’m dependent and proud of it.

How about you?

 

 

The Appliances in My Life

The relationship I’ve experienced over the years with my appliances has been tenuous, to say the least. (I just looked that word up.)

I’ve loved very few, been indifferent to most, and hated some.

For instance, I hated my old dishwasher. Really, a more apt name would have been, Frustrate Pauline to Death and Make Her Work More machine. But that is in the past. Hakuna Matata.

Now I hate my side-by-side refrigerator. Who thought of such a thing? Obviously someone who didn’t ever ever care about freezing anything since nothing fits except frozen pot pies. (Not that I eat them.) AND they never have eaten a frozen pizza in their entire lives. Obviously, the inventor must have eaten out all the time.

But I loved my old dryer. In fact, when it finally died after 20+ years, I hugged it and when Tom took it away to dryer heaven he discovered about $25 in coins and cash. Like the side-by-side refrigerator inventor, we went out to eat that day. (No socks by the way.)

In all the years of appliance owning, I’ve never been fearful of an appliance. Until now.

It’s my vacuum cleaner. Really, it’s a the iRobot Roomba. Since building an outside kitchen for cooking my products, I’ve been able to let my standard poodle, Sam back in. He’s no problem, because he doesn’t shed. It’s the mutt dog, Barnabas and my ferocious kitty, Bree that are the problem.

They shed. Big time.

So, as a gift to myself, I purchased Roger Roomba.

About every other day, I turn my kitchen chairs upside down on the table, load the counter stools on the couch, and push Roger’s navel twice. He sings a robotic war-like charge song and begins to scoot gingerly around my wood floors. I can’t watch although I’ve been mesmerized on several occasions at his antics. In fact, after he is throughly convinced he has every single strand of pet hair in his belly, he returns to his home on the black stand plugged into the wall.

However, the other day, he chased me. Wherever I went, he went. Finally, I locked myself in my office while I listened to his faraway war chant. Retrieving my coffee put me at risk, but you coffee drinkers know I had no choice.

He headed right at me, I zigged and zagged like a running back.

And then I fell.

And when you’re past 50, falling is a bad thing.

But Roger does his job.

Now I’m taking two cups of coffee in my office with me.

And when Roger goes home, I come out.

In all relationships there are compromises. And I’m okay with that.

 

Do What Pleases God

The four words hit me like a truck. Max Lucado said them in a devotional. In fact, he said them several times. But it was like I heard them for the first time.

 

Do what pleases God. He wrote a paragraph putting the reader into a difficult situation. How do they deal with it? Do what pleases God. He wrote another paragraph. Then another each ending with Do what pleases God.

 

He said it better, so here’s a link https://maxlucado.com/listen/do-what-pleases-god/

 

His words juxtaposed in my mind with my study in 1 & 2 Thessalonians titled, Children of the Day.”

 

Beth Moore (My new bff) gave examples of walking with God. I looked up references beginning in the first chapter of the Bible, when God walked with Adam.

 

Imagine that.

 

Then she tore through the Old Testament like my puppy tears through slippers. We visited Enoch, Abraham, and a few kings. We ended up walking with two despondent followers on the road to Emaus. Jesus joined them even though they didn’t know it. Their despair turned to delight. And hope.

 

Jesus has a way of doing that.

 

I want to walk with Jesus that way.

 

Beth goes on to say that walking with God is living in His presence.

 

In other words, Do what pleases God.

 

I’ve thought about those words this last week. I’ve prayed them. Meditated on them. Asked forgiveness for not doing them.

 

Sometimes, I make my Christian life a list of do’s and don’ts.

 

But the Great Gospel of Grace pushes me beyond duty to delight.

 

Delight in His Word. Delight in prayer. Delight in walking with Him.

 

Funny, when I do what pleases God, I’m pleased. Joyful even.

 

What about you? Do me a favor. Think about those words this week and tell me about it. I’d love to hear it.

 

In fact, I’m smiling even as I think about it.

 

Do what pleases God.

 

 

The Chicken Evacuation

Barnabas hypnotizing the chicks.

“You have to do what!” I thought I misunderstood my neighbor at the farmers market.

“You have to have an evacuation plan for the chickens in case of an emergency to be certified natural.”

I burst out laughing.

Anyone who is anyone who knows chickens knows that rounding up chickens for an evacuation is like herding 57 toddlers to bed by yourself.

It’s not like the evacuation drill on a cruise ship where all are cordial and follow directions by wearing attractive life vests while standing in line. Forever. Chatty cruise ship crew glide around the passengers telling jokes and promising drinks and snacks when the drill is finished. The passengers are slightly annoyed, but pleased to know what to do in case of an emergency–like the Coke dispenser breaking.

An evacuation plan and an actual evacuation of chickens is much more complex. And messy.

I know since Tom and I had to conduct our own chicken evacuation last Sunday night.

Picture this; 75 teenage chicks in our front yard for their protection. They are surrounded by a flexible, solar-powered, electric fence and covered by an old trampoline with neting. We charged our two dogs to guard them.

Sam, our standard poodle took his charge seriously. Since all night he barks at leaves blowing in the wind while actual people can walk in our house unharmed. Barnabas, our $1000+ rescue mutt mostly barks when Sam does but did watch the chickens intently.

We found out why. We caught him red-mouthed while he finished a poor bird. We grabbed him just as he swallowed the feet.

He wasn’t looking at the chickens as his charge, he was planning his meals. One thing we’ve learned in our new country life is “once a chicken-eater, always a chicken-eater.” It didn’t help that the teenage chicks had chicken brains and kept flying over the fence into the dog area.

Not only that, the other neighbor dogs who used to visit and get treats from me mysteriously stopped showing up.

Time for a chicken intervention-evacuation. We declared an emergency. The chicks had to be moved to our other field where Molly, our livestock guardian dog could look after them. (At 6 months, she played with one to death, but since then there have been no casualties–for more information on that disaster see my old blog titled, “When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Chicken Pie.”)

But how should we evacuate?

When they’re asleep, that’s how. Some kind of special pixie-chicken-dust-trance comes over them at nightfall and you can pick them up without incident. You could probably even vacuum and they’d sleep through it.

Or so I thought.

We set the date and waited until nightfall. Unfortunately, nightfall is past our bedtime.

“I’ll pick them up and you open the lid to the cooler, Pauline.”

Sounded simple enough. “What’s that on your head?”

Tom faced me as a bright red light shown in my face. “It’s an infrared light to be able to see the birds.”

He resembled a cross between a miner and a dentist with the light strapped around his forehead.

I continued, “So let me get this straight. We’re going to load the chickens into the coolers, drive them to the other side of our property and lock them into their new coop?”

“That’s right. We’ll keep Molly and the other birds away from these until they get used to each other.”

It sounded simple but I’m 57 years old and one thing I’ve learned is nothing is simple.

At first the girls cooperated. We quietly loaded 5 or 6 of them into the cooler while they made a cooing noise. Then one rebellious Americauna woke up and alerted the others. I think she said, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” in chicken language.

Almost two hours later we finished. Sweaty, covered with chicken poop, and tired we trudged back to our house.

“I’m too tired to take a shower, Pauline.” I noticed a grin under his infrared face.

“I guess you’re sleeping outside then,” I added. “Let’s strip on the back porch and throw our clothes into the washer.”

My boots already had holes in them. I threw them away along with my socks.

I forgot to tell you. Originally we had 75 chicks, as we loaded them into the new coop we counted them. 56.

I guess dogs have to eat too.

Maybe we need an evacuation plan for Barnabas.

 

 

 

A Tribute to My Mama

As most of you know, my mother passed from here into eternity on March 22, 2016. This is the tribute I wrote and read at her funeral:

Proverbs 31:10 states, “An excellent woman, who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”

Today I’ll share with you some jewels that our excellent mother shared with not only her own family but a host of people whom she served.

Faithfulness is the first gem our mom passed on to us. Proverbs 31:11 says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain.” 

When you talk about Pauline, you’ve got to talk about Ray—they came as a pair. They lived together, worked together, and played together. They not only loved each other, most days they liked each other.

As a teenager, or even as adult when I’d criticize Dad for one thing or another, she always stood up for him and encouraged me to think the best. “Your father is a good man,” she’d say.

And somehow I’d believe her. And she was correct.

The last several years of Dad’s life were difficult, to say the least, but Mom faithfully served him through it all. I’d try to get her to go out with me, but usually she’d say, “I don’t want to leave your father.”

Those who observed our family thought that Mom, or “Warden Wert,” ran the show. But those who really knew us knew the truth—Ray ran the show the show and Pauline did her best to hang on.

And Paula, Paulette, and I are hanging on to Mom’s faithfulness.

The next gem Mom passed on to us is caring. Whenever she visited people or people visited her, she always asked about them individually, remembering the details like the names of their children or parents.

Even in her last days—when thoughts remained difficult to grasp and harder for her to speak, she asked about her children and grandchildren. When they hurt, she hurt.

When word was posted on Facebook about Mom’s promotion to glory countless women who’d been under Mom’s guidance as they grew up said how much mom loved them and made them feel special. For a woman that would stand out in a crowd, had a minimum amount of education, and never signed an autograph, her life made a difference. 

I had the privilege of having my parents live in my home as their health declined. One of my fondest memories of both my parents was the morning devotions at our dining room table. They read a short scripture and an accompanying illustration. Then they pulled out their prayer list. The “list” was extensive and detailed. My children often commented on how many people were on the list—they knew each of them by name and when there were answers.

Both mom and dad cared enough to pray. I’m grateful for that.

The last gem we received from our mother was the gem of encouragement. She believed people could be better than they were and not only told them, she expected it.

I think this is what my children will miss the most. When they came home, Grandma was always there and ready to talk or just listen. I’ll probably never know some of the many words of encouragement that went on in her room.

Mom didn’t mince words. She asked the really hard questions everyone else was afraid to ask. Recently, my son came to visit. Knowing we’d been praying especially for him over the last several weeks and months she asked, “How are you, Micah?”

He hesitated for a moment, “I’m okay Grandma.”

Lying in her bed, she straightened herself up so she could look him in the eye. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Mom encouraged me not only by her life, but also by her death.

The last several months, Mom slept perhaps 18 hours a day. I’d go into her room to check on her after her naps and check on her. Sometimes I’d tell her of my very busy day, or complain about something that had gone wrong. Then I’d ask her how her day had been.

As she lay in her bed, after being bathed and changed and fed—eyes half closed she’d say, “Good.”

The Bible says in Psalms 90 to “Teach us to number our days so that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

I learned a lot from her.

I’d like to end with 2 short stories.

The first was when my father was still alive. Although he couldn’t walk, they’d travel up the block each evening from our house in Florida. Dad in his wheelchair, mom hobbling along with her cane.

One day as I pushed my father and mom ambled ahead of us, Dad motioned for me to bend listen to him.

“There goes the most beautiful woman in the world.” Then he pointed to my mama.

The other story happened about a week before she died. During the cool North Carolina evenings, we’d hoist mom into the chair in our living room in front of our wood stove. On that particular night, I read from the Salvation Army publication the War Cry and then I pulled out the hymnal.

She’d had a few good days in a row and we began to sing.

“When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!”

She threw back her head and sang along with every word—not in her low, gravely, old-person voice, but on tune with a young fresh sound.

“That’ll be good won’t it Mom?”

She smiled and said, “Yes it will.”

That night as I prayed, I told the Lord that if he wanted to take my mama in her sleep, this would be a good night.

He didn’t. He allowed her to hold on a while so that I held my sweet mama in my arms and whispered in her ear how much we loved her and what a difference she’d made in our lives as she passed from here into eternity.

I began with Scripture, and I’ll end with it.

Proverbs 31:28-31 states:

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her. Many woman have done excellently but you surpass them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.”