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Puzzle Pieces of Life

Have you ever done a 500-piece puzzle?
 
My mother-in-law used to do them all the time. She would leave the card table up in the family room all winter doing puzzles. My girls used to love doing puzzles with her. Once in a while though, kids would be crawling around and bump the table and some of the pieces would fall off or come apart. It took a lot of time to put a puzzle together but only a few seconds to have it fall apart.
 
Sometimes in life it seems that we work so hard and then one event, one decision, one situation can seem to make all the hard work seem worthless. It seems like our world is crumbling around us.
 
But that may be God’s way of fixing something that we didn’t know was broken. Casting Crowns has a song titled Just Be Held. One line in the song says, “Your world’s not falling apart; it’s falling into place.”
 
The next time it seems your world is falling apart, ask God to show you how He is really just shaking everything up and allowing the pieces of your puzzle to actually fall right into His plan.

Remembering Wes….

We laugh together. We cry together. We complain together. And today we mourn together. We lost the center of the family last night. Wes has gone to his heavenly home to join Genieve, Betty and Leonard, Elmer and many other family and friends. Someone said last night, God will have him tending garden when he arrives.

He took pride in his kids and his grandkids.
He took pride in his Korean War service.
He took pride in his many years of hard labor working on the farm and in his early days, delivering milk.

He was the #1 Jac-Cen-Del Eagle fan for his life. He went decades without missing a basketball game. He was proud to cheer for his son, his granddaughters, his grandson-in-law on the court and be a support for his daughter and granddaughter as they led the crowd in their JCD cheerleading uniforms.

He had a gentle touch with his great grandsons and laughed with his granddaughters. One cooked for him. One took him to McDonalds. And one squeezed his cheeks.

Whether he was bossing people around on the farm, in the garden, in the vehicle or in the house, we let him think he ruled the place.

He was a great story teller and had a mind sharp as a tack. He never wore reading glasses although those yellow safety glasses made many appearances. And we all know the hearing was gone long ago!

Dawned in his plaid shirt, jeans and a sweater, he made his way to church every Sunday that it wasn’t bad weather or he wasn’t on vacation. The back row, right corner was reserved for him.

He loved food especially Rita Gookins’s cooking and a good fish sandwich and nuggets from McDonalds. He loved butterscotch pie and never passed up a box of candy.

He tooled around on that golf cart with his oxygen tank handling the affairs of the farm (to the best of his ability).

One of his greatest memories was coaching the 40 & 8 girls basketball team with Brian Samples the year Morgan was a senior. How kind of Brian to ask him to “assist”. Brian said Wes even gave him crap while sitting on the bench – on the same team! haha

I’ve seen referees laugh at him, joke with him and throw him out of games. haha I’ve seen coaches look for him when he wasn’t sitting as the bookend on the visiting bench. I’ve heard many fond memories and laughter shared when checking on him over the last several years as his health began to fail.

But he wanted one thing and that was a 90th birthday party and we did it up right! We know he will celebrate 91 in heaven but we will be celebrating his life right here on earth.

Remembering hog shows, squeezed cheeks, shaking fists, tissues under his shirt, large-knuckled-hard-working hands, tractors, cattle, cats, gardens and grain bins. Laughter with his hand on his forehead, grandkids on his lap and Korean war hat on his head. He lived a full life and brought fullness of life to our family.

Syalvester, with an A (a mystery we never understood), you will be missed. We love you.

God’s Plans or My Plans?

“Your loving Father has a specific agenda for your career, ministry, finances and family – a good and satisfying plan that graciously involves you in the vast purposes of His kingdom.  And these plans – God’s plans – will be more satisfying and fulfilling than any self-styled blueprints you could dream up and try to build on.”

From Discerning the Voice of God Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer

It’s hard to give up what we think we have control over but God’s ways are better than our ways.  Do you trust Him?

The View From Inside The Boat.

“Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.  This is how you are to build it:  The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.  Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top.  Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.”    God’s words to Noah to build an ark from Genesis 6:14-16.

The instructions seemed straight forward but the reasoning seemed odd.  God was going to flood the earth and destroy everything and everyone on it except Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives and the animals God led to the ark ahead of time.  The reason it seemed odd is because it had never rained yet so trying to wrap their heads around the idea of a “flood” was a little difficult.  But as we know Noah obeyed, God stayed true to His word and the earth was destroyed.

Some friends and I went and visited the Ark Experience in Kentucky. Staying pretty true to size with Noah’s boat, the Ark is the biggest timber-frame structure in the world.  It was amazing walking through the three decks and seeing artistic replicas of how the creators interpreted life to be in Noah’s days.

As you walk from room to room and read facts and stories of how scholars believe the details of housing thousands of animals worked, you find yourself wrapped in the awesomeness of this big, massive boat!

There were cages, large and small,  with replicas of all kinds of animals they believe may have been on board.  There was one section depicting the artistic view of living quarters for the family.  There were videos, artifacts and interactive screens to try to help explain questions people have around this event in history.

As my friends and I were finishing the last room of our tour, the lights went out.  We heard no screams; no cries; just calmness.  Within a few seconds the lights came back on and word spread through the Ark that a severe thunderstorm storm was within 30 minutes of our location.

What better place to be than on Noah’s Ark during a severe thunderstorm!  We headed to the bottom deck (also labeled the storm shelter) and watched through the windows on the Ark as the rain came down in sheets and the wind snapped picnic umbrellas in half, trees danced heartily in the wind and thunder rolled through the land.

It was surreal.  Being inside the Ark during a thunderstorm.  It only lasted a little while.  We strolled the gift shop until the rain stopped.  People were calm and orderly, kind and warm.  No worry; just a God-directed experience ending a beautiful day on Noah’s Ark.