Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Life Requires Changes

How do you deal with change? It depends on the change is a common answer. The philosopher Heraclitus said “nothing endures but change.” Change affects the way we live, where we live, how we live, even what we eat.

As a child I lived in rural Oklahoma without indoor plumbing. When we moved to “town” things changed. We had indoor plumbing, friends close enough to walk to their house, lots of people everywhere, and we did not raise our vegetables, kill a chicken for Sunday dinner, or have a pond to catch fish for dinner in our backyard. Things changed – some good (indoor plumbing is good) and some not so good – but the short is it was change.

I have come a long way from that farm house in Oklahoma. There have been many changes in my life – some good and some not so good – but life requires changes. If we never change, then we never grow up, leave our parents, or have our own families and homes. We are not created to be stagnant. Every cell in our body is replaced every seven years. Our body changes daily and we cannot stop it. The weather changes daily which affects our lives and we cannot stop it. People come in and out of our lives due to change and we cannot stop it.

Change is a part of life and sometimes we want to say “Stop! No more changes, I cannot take it!” But we cannot stop change, what are we do to when we are overwhelmed with the changes? Is there nothing that we can depend on, something that does not change? The answer is God. God is the same every day, waiting on us to see Him. He holds our hand to guide us through the changes; cradles us when the changes cause us to cry; and gives us strength to handle “one more change.”

God can be seen as the author of change (He did create the world and set into place order so that everything grows and dies) and at the same time God never changes. It appears Heraclitus was correct, change is eternal – some of it good and some of it not so good.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Learning from the girls

A long time ago, I was the director of a junior high and high school girl’s Christian class called Acteens. Acteens is not as popular as it once was which is sad because it was a girl lead program that taught about missionaries and their work. The program encouraged the girls to be actively involved in mission work. The time I spent as their leader was inspiring to me – the mother of three boys.

When we first joined the church the pastor talked about all the leadership roles my husband and I had been involved in at our last church – none of which involved teenagers. At the end of the service, the WMU lady clasped my hand in a firm handshake and told me she was going to talk to God about me, she wanted to restart the Acteens program. I must say it was an unnerving encounter, but a couple of months later she asked me to be the leader to restart a defunct Acteens programs and of course I agreed. Totally unprepared – I had never been an Acteen and knew almost nothing about the program.

Materials were sent to me and a start date for the program was announced. I poured over all the materials I could get my hands on. Prayed very hard for I realized working with teenage girls is a special calling. The day of the first meeting – I had a room, materials, a loose plan, now if someone would show up. Two young ladies appeared at the appointed time. We had a great meeting. At the next meeting there were three, then six, and by the end of the first year there were twelve. I was able to direct the girls as they worked creating the program. The studies, the mission projects, the crafts, everything – the girls did the work. My job was to keep them on target.

At the end of the year, there was a church-wide ceremony to recognize the work of all the mission groups from two-year olds up to “my” Acteens. As I stood before the group to introduce the girls and give them their awards, I thanked the parents for giving me this opportunity to work with their amazing daughters. I further stated I was frightened when I started as I had never worked with girls and was the mother of boys. When I came down from the stage, the pastor took my hand and whispered some day I would have daughters of my own.

He was right; I have three wonderful daughters-in-love. These daughters in many ways remind me of my Acteens – they are Christian, caring, creative, and hard working. They strive to do their best in everything and sometimes they ask my advice. And now, like back then, I just try to keep them on target but let them create their own lives. In return, I receive and learn so much from them, just like I received and learned much from “my” Acteens.

Elaine H.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lucky Elaine?

“Elaine Fulps is thrilled about the prize she won at a minor league baseball game. But she's hoping she doesn't have to collect on it anytime soon. Fulps, 60, won a $10,000 paid funeral at Tuesday night's Grand Prairie AirHogs game.”

This little bit of news reminded me of the time we attended a minor league game in Augusta. My mom and I were visiting my sister and her family. We went to see the local team, the Green Jackets (think Augusta Open where the winner receives a green jacket) with a wasp like creature for their mascot. There were probably 1,000 people attending the game.

The game was fun and between each half inning they were giving out prizes. The big prize for the evening was a boat and trailer. The other prizes were dinners at local restaurants, free dry cleaning, etc. The numbers called were all around our numbers and they called out a lot of numbers. My mom and I figured we were going to be the big winners. We decided we would sell our return airline tickets, rent a vehicle, and haul the boat and trailer back to my house in Houston. (My mom didn’t want the boat; she said she would give it to me provided I paid the taxes on it.) Finally they called the winning number … I missed it by 4 numbers – some old lady behind us won. Let me tell you there was no joy in Mudville (OK so it was Augusta) for me.

We still had the last half of the ninth inning and I was hopefully to win a dinner, a car wash, tickets to another Green Jackets game, or something I could give to my sister. My odds after all were pretty good – just about everyone in the stadium had won something. My brother-in-law sneaks up to the announcer’s booth and tries to get him to call my number and announce that my number didn’t win anything. The announcer said they had rules that prohibited that sort of stunt. (Brother-in-law should not try to trick most wonderful sister-in-law.)

It has been a long time since I have been to a minor league game, it is time I went back – maybe my luck has changed, after all Elaine Fulps was lucky.