Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fountains and Hydroelectric Dams

I unpack my grocery bag of bright red strawberries, a short, little pineapple, and stalks of celery in need of a good rinsing...

For some reason I thought about the farmer who harvested the bunch of celery. I had this strange urge to want to thank the farmer for growing celery. So, since tracking down the farmer seemed like a silly idea, I instead thanked God for the farmer. And, then I thanked God that He didn't make me the farmer.... That I don't have to worry about how much rain we've had or when to plant seeds and when to harvest crops.

Water must be on a farmer's mind all the time. Are the crops getting enough water? Are they getting too much?

I know I take water and its presence for granted. Only once in my entire life have I had to wonder where I would find water. Only once. But even then, I had a water bottle with me that would purify polluted river water if I got that desperate... (Thankfully, bottled water arrived without it coming to that.)

This week I can't escape the imagery of water. It's everywhere: falling from the sky today, in the first chapter of the book I'm reading, in the songs on the radio, and in the encouragement from believers who are pouring into my life.

Living water.

I have that.

I don't thirst.

I have "a fountain of water" inside of me. (John 4:14) And, like the water in the pipes of our house and the water that falls from the sky, at times I take that "fountain of water" for granted.

There is so much that Jesus wants to offer us, and so often we just take it's presence for granted and fail to accept it, especially if we've been following Him for a long time. We just tap into it when we want to... The fruits of the Spirit, the power that exists inside of us, even our very salvation...

We just go on about our happy Bible Belt lives. We know we're going to Heaven because we put our faith in Christ. And sometimes, unless someone gets hurt or money gets tight, that's just where it ends.

It makes me ponder... What could my life look like if I stopped picking and choosing the blessings I want to tap into? If I appreciated, if I understood, if threw a stick of dynamite in the fancy hydroelectric dam I've built that controls how much of Him I want to receive....

Why not receive it all? Why not pray prayers that could only be answered by the Ruler of the Universe? Prayers so big that I don't think what I'm praying for even exists! Why not experience every fruit of the Spirit? Why be scared of the unknown when He is for me?

Why pray for there to be enough rain to maintain our puddles when He has an ocean right there for us if we'll just ask for it?

Instead of praying for Him to open the floodgates only every now and then when things get rough in our lives, why not choose to live every day with them open?

He offers that. Want to throw a stick of dynamite in your dam? I don't know about you, but I want to see what comes! It might knock me off my feet at first! It might look scary and sound loud, but I'm not content to splash in a puddle when I could sail the seas.

How about you? What are you doing with your fountain?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No Air Conditioning

Growing up, every now and then my parents would take us three kids to the Atlanta History Center on Sundays after church. We'd see exhibits featuring Native Americans or peanuts or, the most memorable, the history of air conditioning.

That was the day I came to appreciate the men and women we call "inventors." I hadn't realize a life without air conditioning was possible. Especially, in the SOUTH.

I looked at pictures of women in their petit coats and boots sitting on front porches overlooking plantations and was grateful to have not been born back then and to be sporting shorts and jellies at the present time.

One summer when we were a little older, the AC unit for the upstairs level of our house went out. Dad went to the store and bought us all air mattresses, so we could sleep downstairs where there was air conditioning. Aside from the sleeping arrangements, I don't really remember the AC not working for that short period of time affecting my day-to-day life too greatly.

Jump ahead to two days ago in Central Arkansas to when the AC went out in our little one story ranch house.

At times during the past 36 hours, I've felt like Joe and Matt from Dual Survivor...

"Conserve energy... Drink water... The hottest period of the day... Cloud cover..."

Just kidding. I really haven't been that dramatic.

We did opt to sleep in the living room, however, because that's the room with the best air flow.

Disclaimer: We had plenty of offers from people to come and sleep at their house, but really, we knew we could handle sleeping in a hot house for another night. 

This 2nd experience without AC has taught me more than my 1st so many years ago. So, here's what I've learned, all condensed into my short list of "Things To Know When It's Summer and You Have No AC and Live Someplace Hot and Humid"...

1. Open the windows. There is no AC to let out of the house, so you might as well let what ever small breeze does blow by have a shot at making it's way inside!

2. Fans are your friend. (So are dehumidifiers!) Place them strategically around your house in spaces you're actually in. You don't need a fan in the guest room unless it's stocked with MK product. (In that case, place at least two fans in there and open the windows!!!)

3. Drink water! It's not like the power is out and you have to conserve your water supply. Drink it up! Add ice. ; )

4. Ice packs. These saved me last night. I was covered in them. Nursing trick: If you need to heat up or cool down a body, your armpits are a good spot to start. Place hot blankets or ice packs there for whichever direction you need to take your body temperature. So, yes, I laid on the couch with ice packs under my arms! (Laugh at that mental picture!)

5. Keep an eye on your pets. Even though Sperry always knows the coolest spot in the house, he still went through water faster yesterday than usual. Keep your fur babies' water dishes full.

6. If you do have to do house work, wake up early and do it while it's coolish.

7. Don't feel bad about not wanting to cook dinner. It's too hot to slave over a stove top or to fill your house with hot air from your oven. Grab Zaxby's like we did, and eat it in your car (with your dog in the back seat because he needs an AC break too).

8. When you feel hot and miserable just praise Jesus that you don't live in the Congo, and this isn't your daily routine!

9. Walk outside every now and then. It's probably cooler out there than it is in your house.

10. When the AC man comes to fix/replace your unit, chill some Gatorade for him and his co-workers.

So, now you know, should you ever find yourself at home with no AC like us. ; )

Thankfully, Dave the AC man is up in the attic replacing the whole unit as I write this. Thank you Lord for the people who invented air conditioners and the men who know how to fix them!

Stay cool y'all!