Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fueling Foul Up

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.—Lamentations 3:22-23 

I do it all the time—every time I fill up. I notch the lever on the gas pump handle and trust it to stop automatically when the fuel reaches the top of the tank. Wednesday was no different. I positioned the nozzle, squeezed the trigger, secured the lever and let it do its thing.  Meanwhile I watched the numbers on the pump climb higher than the dollars in my wallet.  Click! I reached for the handle and then quickly withdrew my hand, as gasoline gushed out, splashing down the side of the Jeep and spilling onto the concrete. “Oh, no!” I groaned, fumbling to release the lever.  Wasting fuel in our conservation conscious culture is sinful. What a mess! What do I do? I scanned the pumping station. Not a paper towel in sight! Angrily I rummaged through my car and pulled out a rumpled napkin.  But I knew I had no one to blame but myself. I will never take my hand off the nozzle again! 

How many other things do I do automatically?  Has routine become my routine? 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Daddy to the rescue!

When you cross deep rivers,
I will be with you,
and you won't drown.
When you walk through fire,
you won't be burned
or scorched by the flames.--Isaiah 43:2

I was still on the phone notifying the electric company about my power outage when I heard the rumble of a truck in my driveway.  I stuck my head out the door.
“You’ve got a fire out here!” my father called to me.
“What! A fire! Should I call 911?”
“No, I think I can put it out!” he shouted over his shoulder as he trotted off toward the front of my house.
I ran after him and rounded the corner, gasping at what I saw—tongues of flames licking the dry grass, traveling toward the pasture in one direction and toward my house in the other.
“No!” I shouted, “There may be a live wire on the ground!”

Friday, October 11, 2013

When the Enemy Prowls: Tomatoes Take Two

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.—1 Peter 5:8-9
I fumbled for my house keys in the dark, as I stepped over my tomato plants, which were spilling onto the sidewalk. Why didn’t someone leave the light on? I thought, as I made my way onto the back deck. Suddenly, a flash of black and white caught my eye.  I turned to my side and faced a furry creature with its fluffy tail lifted in my direction.  My breath caught in my throat.  Oh, no! One wrong move and I’ll be doused with eau de skunk!  My heart beat harder than Ringo Starr, and my fingers shook like Elvis as I struggled to unlock the door to escape the perilous situation. The door flung open and I flew in, slamming it hard behind me. Whew, that was close!
But that wasn’t the end of our escapades with the skunk. The next evening my son-in-law Ricky experienced his own close call with the nighttime visitor on the deck. And the following night we saw him again. As our car pulled into the driveway, the headlights illuminated the deck, revealing our caller scavenging from the cat food dish.  Ricky blew the horn, while Emma and I protested, fearing the retaliation of our frightened guest. To our surprise, the scavenger scampered off the deck right down into the crawlspace opening. Now what?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Very Truly Volunteers

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.—John 12:24

 “It’s a jungle out here!” my mother called, approaching my back deck.  “Jungle” was a good word for my overzealous overflowing tomato plants that are more like thriving trees. They have overtaken my flower beds, subduing rose bushes, camouflaging shrubs, and now running up both sides of the steps, depositing a red-ripe harvest right on my doorstep.

Amazed at my abundant garden, all my visitors ask, “What’s your secret?”  But the truth is nothing.  I did absolutely nothing.  No planting, no fertilizing—nothing. The plants are products of nature called volunteers.  Last year rotten tomatoes fell to the ground, and the seeds replanted themselves, producing an even greater harvest this year.  Now I have more tomatoes than I could ever eat!  And gathering them is also a challenge.  Many are ripe but difficult to reach. I lean over luxuriant leaves, being careful not to break them, and stretch as far as I can in order to reach those beneath the edge of the deck. Others grow in and around angry rose bushes that attack with vicious thorns when I approach the plump rubies.