“…a little bit of this, a little bit of that”

the ramblings and musings of an elementary music teacher and aunt extraordinaire

Change of plans July 20, 2010

Filed under: family,what I'm learning — marlise @ 11:24 pm

Do you ever have the kind of day where what actually happens doesn’t look a thing like your to-do list for the day?  Well, today was that kind of day for me, and I have to admit I kinda thought it was awesome.  Normally, I have morning piano lessons on Tuesday, but for this week, one student was out of town and the other planned to come in the afternoon.  So, I slept in a little bit.  I got up around 8:30 and worked out. I’ve gotten back into Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.  So, working out means as little clothing as possible, lots of sweat, and lots of pain.  After working out, I sat in front of my window air conditioner in my shorts and sports bra while eating my breakfast.  My plan after that was to run some errands, do some laundry, and clean before an appointment at noon. I had just finished my last bite of breakfast when I heard a knock at the door.

One down-side of my new place is that my front door has no peephole.  It has a window, but the window is too high for anyone shorter than 6 feet to see anybody on the other side of the door.  So, I ran down the hallway to grab a t-shirt from my bedroom so I could be at least a tiny bit less indecent when I opened the door.  I opened the door just in time to see a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet drop to the ground.  By then, it was too late to do anything but talk to the gentleman on my front step.  The pamphlet read, “Is God really there?” He explained that some people think that with all the catastrophes in the world, God has abandoned us.  I said, “I very strongly believe God is very much involved in our world today.” He seemed stunned by that response. The conversation that followed was very interesting.  The gentleman, Harry, told me of his conversion.  He was Jewish, and lived on a kibbutz in Israel in the early 70s. He had also been quite a gambler. Then, one night, someone gave him a KJV New Testament. He read in there that he needed to ask Jesus into his heart. He said he did so and God immediately removed his desire to gamble.  Then, three days later a Jehovah’s Witness approached him and he converted. I was intrigued by his story but also very saddened. He had come so close to the Truth, but he just kept going a bit too far.  We talked for quite a while about his belief that a literal hell does not exist. He also talked about His belief that while Jesus is God’s Son, he is not actually God. For everything he tried to say, Harry would quote little tidbits of Scripture. I would finish the verses he started, and sometimes the part I used to finish the verse contradicted what he was saying. After quite a lengthy, but friendly, discussion, he thanked me for my time and for challenging him, told me he had really enjoyed the discussion and offered me the pamphlet as he went to leave.  I politely declined and waved goodbye.

A few things struck me about this conversation. First, I felt a little inadequate and embarrassed at how little Scripture I could recall to direct him to real truth. Secondly, I was encouraged that he really enjoyed talking to me even though I openly disagreed with him on most of his points. In spite of my inadequacies, God could be working still through that conversation. That thought was incredibly encouraging and invigorating to me.

At this point, it was nearly 11, and I still looked a mess from my workout. I quickly hopped in the shower and got cleaned up and dressed to be decent for the noon appointment. The appointment was a window salesman.  This was a result of a card I filled out at the county fair last week. I had entered a drawing for new windows, and they were following up on every entry with a sales call. I agreed to let them come do a free estimate. I knew that I couldn’t afford to replace all the windows in my house right now, but I was curious to hear the estimate because I’d like to replace them eventually, and I needed to know at least a rough idea of how to plan.

The salesman showed up and did his whole demonstration.  He was very excited to find out that I was a Christian school teacher. In fact, I had to move my Bible over on the kitchen table so that he could set up his display, and that made him even more excited to see my Bible.  He told me his testimony, too. He had been an Army ranger and a rough person before his conversion. He stayed and talked of God and spiritual issues for 2 1/2 hours. He left incredibly disappointed that I didn’t agree to buy any windows right then and there.

Now, it was 2:30 and I had piano students coming at 4. So, I grabbed a quick lunch, did the load of laundry that I had planned for the morning and spent the rest of the time cleaning and fielding three unexpected phone calls. I taught the lessons and headed to meet with my Bible study group.  I’ve had the privilege of leading a study group of awesome ladies since last fall. God drew this group together and created some incredible friendships. We are still meeting during the summer to just keep up on each other’s lives, but it’s very casual and very little real studying right now. Tonight, I was thrilled to hear what God is doing in their lives.

I may or may not get to my grocery shopping tomorrow. There will be another window salesman here at 1 tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully, this one won’t take quite as long.  For today, I’m just thrilled at how God dropped so many unplanned items onto my agenda. I know it might sound strange, but I was thrilled to know that God orchestrated all those things to happen on the same day. I was also humbled at how ill-prepared I felt. I’m praying that I can depend more fully on God and become better and better prepared to answer His unexpected appointments in my days.

P.S.  I also just found out that my youngest sister is expecting another baby. This will be her fourth under 4 years old. We couldn’t be more thrilled! I was just telling someone tonight, and it still sounds so strange….Nine years ago, I didn’t have any nieces or nephews at all. Today, my sister is expecting my 12th, and I am a great-aunt twice over.  How did that happen?!?  It’s crazy!!!


Fireworks July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 10:23 am

Fireworks displays are much more entertaining when narrated by a feisty 3-year-old. Actually, now that I think about it, it might just be my niece. Last year she was only two, and she made the show extra-entertaining. Last year, after every single blast, she said (in her best “wowed” voice) “Whoa! That was good one!”

This year brought just as many good quotes. Some came from her and a few memorable ones came from adults.

On Monday night, we got together with all of the family who was in town. My brother-in-law had gotten quite a stash of fireworks. (BTW, Indiana’s fireworks laws are pretty awesome.)  His good friend had also gotten a large stash. So we decided that combining the shows, parties, and families for the evening would make the show and celebration even better.

We all headed to the seriously-mosqito-infested yard in the country to have space to set off the explosions. Here is just a small sample of the quotes heard during the evening’s activities:

  • After the pyromaniacs in charge of the display said something about “The paper, the paper!” One of the adults responded, “What? Justin Bieber?” My 3-year-old niece yelled, “Justin Bieber! Justin Bieber!….[pause]….but I don’t like beavers!”
  • “That was TOTALLY WICKED!!!”  [Also heard from my 3-year-old niece, after several explosions.]
  • “I’m tired, but I don’t want to yawn, because I’m afraid a mosquito would fly into my mouth.” [This came from an adult.]
  • Regarding an adult who will remain unnamed: “Why are you standing all the way over there?”  Response:  “Because I have mosquito bites in places I can’t scratch where everyone can see me.”