Most kids don’t seem to understand schedules and time tables. For instance, why is it when they need cookies for a school activity, they invariably wait until bedtime the night before to tell mom.
I remember one particularly exhausting weekend when my son was small—he came to me and said, “I need a potato for Sunday school tomorrow.” Or at least, I thought that’s what he said. I decided that the potato must be for a craft activity during Sunday school—you know one of those deals where you cut the potato into shapes, dip them in ink, and use them for stamps. My imagination filled in the blanks logically, right? Okay, maybe my conclusion was a stretch.
So I went to the pantry and selected a small, shriveled up potato I thought would make a great stamp. Later at church, I assumed everything went well with the craft activity. No one said anything to the contrary. After the service I heard there was a special dinner. And guess what? It was a baked potato meal given by the parents of the children.
Oh, dear. You guessed it. The potato should have been plural potatoes, and we were to bring them to contribute to a children’s department fund-raising dinner! I was so embarrassed I didn’t have the nerve to confess to anyone for several years. No telling what the other parents thought, and it was a long time before anyone asked me to contribute toward a meal. Ha! Later I told a friend about the incident, and she wondered if they thought they should take an offering the Gaus family because they couldn’t afford to purchase potatoes.
Pretty sad, huh? But I say, it’s just plain embarrassing! (o:
“I wish something exciting would happen.” It was a childhood mantra for my sister and me when we were bored. Don’t get the wrong idea. We never wanted anyone to get hurt. Our hope for a sensational adventure didn’t include trauma for anyone.
One day during a drive to my mother’s house, I received my wish. The clouds had turned an angry blackish-green color. The rain came down hard. Each second that ticked by, the driving conditions became more and more hazardous.
Then I saw it. To my left, it started high in the clouds and extended down to the ground, a whirl of black destruction. The tornado spun like an expanding drill bit. It whirled and then transformed into a tool of destruction preparing to extinguish everything in its path. My guess was the twister was about a mile from us, but I had no idea which direction it would turn next.
I looked over at my mother. “Should I pull over? We could lie flat in the ditch.”
“No, I’m going to pray,” my mother said. She proceeded to say a short simple prayer, and as she prayed, the mean-looking coil changed to a black, misty substance and pulled back up into the clouds above it.
I have received both my desires—I experienced something exciting and no one was hurt. I saw a breathtaking power of nature disperse before my eyes that day.
Now if I feel that strange desire for the dramatic, I think about the way the tornado touched down to the ground: large, magnificent, overpowering, bent-on-destruction. I say, no, thank you. Too dangerous. I’ll settle on boring. (o:
Someone asked me recently if I was like the cars I’ve owned. Whether they meant, did I look like my car, or was my personality like my car, I’m not sure.
Either way, my answer is, “I hope not!” Because you see…throughout my life, most of my cars have been pitiful.
It started with one of my first cars, an old 1963 Mercury Monterrey. My parents paid an exorbitant $100 for it. The thing was like a tank—a huge ugly Cadillac gone wrong. It literally had clothes pins and rope that held the steering wheel together. The thing rumbled so loud it announced my arrival to every event I attended. One particularly memorable reaction to my car was…a friend and I arrived at school one day, climbed out of my car only to have a guy laugh so hard I thought he was going to fall on the ground.
I kept the car my freshmen year in college where I attended Central Texas College for one year. The commute to campus required me to drive six miles to class. Unfortunately, the car would only go about 45 miles an hour, so I pushed the gas petal to the floor and drove on the side of the road to get out of people’s way. I risked my life every time I pulled out into traffic from a side road. (Not really, but almost.)
When I married, I hoped things would improve in the area of cars. But low and behold, I married someone who doesn’t know when a car is legally dead. If the contraption can roll down a hill, then it must be okay. Don’t feel too sorry for me. I didn’t have to use the Mercury Monterrey. (o:
This is what a 1963 Mercury Monterrey looks like…
…keep in mind—this is in better shape than my car. (o:
In high school, did you have a car as “fun” as mine?
Too often in my life, I’ve feared failure. Justified or not, many times I have feelings of inadequacy. Could my attempts at life ever make a difference?
When my children were young, I worried I couldn’t be a good enough mother. The thought process was a familiar one. An insecure emotion would overtake me, and I would try to fight it off. One summer day I stood with my family on vacation in Philadelphia and listened to the guide talk about the story of the Liberty Bell, not expecting to hear anything that could help me with my fear of failure. Unknown to me, I was about to receive an object lesson for living my life.
I stared along with other tourists at the Liberty Bell, an icon of freedom and the Declaration of Independence. I waited to hear some profound story about the bell which since childhood had been up there in my mind as being perfect.
“In 1773,” the guide said, “Issac Norris was mortified that with a stroke of the bell, it cracked. Two Philadelphia foundry workers, John Pass and John Stow, were given the job to recast the cracked bell which ended in failure. Everyone hated the tone of the bell and any attempt to recast or reorder another bell ended in disaster.” The guide lifted the edge of his mouth in a half-smile. “They hired someone who didn’t know enough about casting a bell.”
Flabbergasted, I gawked at one of the most famous icon I’ve ever known. The bell has been a profound symbol of freedom and liberty for generations yet was imperfect. I realize I needed to give God my inadequacies and trust him to work out wonderful, perfect things. In his kingdom my work can live on and BE successful because of him, not me.
Now when I have fear failure, I remember the Liberty Bell.
God strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Light-Hearted Anecdote—The Killer Bee and the 1963 Rambler…Ah! The summer I was sixteen, I learned to drive. I remember the 105 degree Texas sun, the gravel country road, and no air-conditioner. Martha, one of my older sisters, sat bravely in the passenger seat while I navigated down the road, careful to shift gears in our old 1963 Rambler. But the peace was short-lived—in flew a bee the size of King Kong. Well, not that big, but one of those bees that must be at least an inch in diameter. I screamed and closed my eyes. My foot remained firmly on the gas pedal. My total disregard for safety flew out the window, but not the bee. I had no idea where the car was aimed. All I knew was—there was a killer bee in my car.
Fortunately my sister took control—she slid over and pushed her foot to the brake, stopping our blind ride down the road. Thankfully the bee left us at that moment.
Leave a comment on how it was for you when you learned to drive. (o:
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. — Hebrews 13:5
Kim never thought her marriage would fail, but it had.
She sat in her car at the grocery store. With her heart heavy and fresh tears on her cheeks, she prayed, “Lord, I know you are always with me, and you are still God. But I would really like to hear that you love me.”
Exiting the car, she entered the store and went up and down the first aisle. It wasn’t long before a woman approached her. “Excuse me. I’ve never had this happen to me before, and it might seem crazy to you, but I feel God wants me to tell you, he loves you.”
Kim could only mumble a feeble thank you. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she continued shopping. Before leaving the store, she knew she must thank the woman more adequately, but she was gone.
Our God is faithful and sends his messages of love through his Word, through his Holy Spirit, and through his angels.
Lord, may I hear your messages of love for me today as well as being an instrument of love to others.
The Lord’s love reaches us in our darkest moments.
My name is Karen Gaus, and I grew up the next to the youngest in a family of six. During my childhood, I attended public school in small Texas towns, leaving me with a southern accent which some days, I wish I didn’t have. (o: I love to tell stories—inspirational true stories as well as fiction. Even in third grade, one of my favorite pastimes was to convey interesting anecdotes to my friends. One day the teacher arrived during an impromptu puppet show and invited me to entertain again. Later, I fell in love and married my college sweetheart. After we married, my husband and I waited eight years before having our first child. We have the best kids in the world. When my first child was two-years-old, my husband and I gave her the nickname, “precious one.” So what do you call the second child? “Precious Two, of course.” “Precious too, of course.”
Themes on my blog will be on random topics.
Regularly, I plan to have inspirational stories and devotionals.
The next blog is entitled Words of Love about a friend who heard words of love from the Lord when she was at one of her lowest moments.