Monday, September 27, 2004

BY FAITH


By faith, we know the sun will shine again.


By Faith
by Janice Price

As gusts of wind threatened to invert my new umbrella, I lowered the umbrella until I couldn’t see the sidewalk past the tips of my shoes. 2 Corinthians 5:7 came to mind: For we walk by faith, not by sight.

This is how we walk with God, I realized. We trust him to lead us safely through the puddles and over breaks in the sidewalk, even though we can’t physically see him leading us.

Yesterday Theresa and I visited a small country church to hear her son Daniel preach the sermon. By Faith – brothers Johnny and Ronnie Brown, and Johnny’s daughter Heather - were special guests for Homecoming. After church we feasted and then By Faith sang several more songs. You can meet this group at: http://byfaithministries.com/

Before they left, Pastor Teddy prayed for them. He mentioned that Johnny and Ronnie would like to go into a full time singing ministry. Presently, they work weekdays, then travel in their bus to singing engagements on weekends. (According to Ronnie, the bus is named Shasta. "Sh’asta have diesel. Sh’asta have oil.)

"In order to do this, By Faith will have to walk by faith," Pastor Teddy said. "As Daniel preached today, faith is when the mountain falls on you and you continue to trust God. Faith is trusting that each time we take another step, God has already been there to prepare the way for us."

Posting these stories on the web is a step of faith for me. God has been trying to nudge me ahead for some time, but I have been dragging my feet. I have no financial resources; I am web page and HTML illiterate; I write stories, but my life makes for a boring bio, and writers are always asked for a bio – preferably a sparkling one, littered liberally with credits and degrees. My excuses have been numerous.

I finally climbed off the fence and decided on a blog as an easier beginner’s site. It’s a humble start, but there is no financial investment necessary and I don’t need to learn HTML. Okay, I quickly learned otherwise on the HTML, but I’ve been improvising my own codes to make things do what I want them to do. If the site should ever appear upside down or backwards, you’ll know another of my code experiments has failed. I spend long hours trying to figure out something simple by applying the rules and suddenly a solution will occur to me and even though it shouldn’t work, it does.

God’s steps don’t always make sense to us at the time, but if we walk by faith, even though in our minds his way shouldn’t work, it will.

© 2004 Janice Price
mercyandpercy@yahoo.com
www.mercyandpercy.com

Sunday, September 19, 2004

THE DRIVER CONNECTION


Percy, computer nerd in training


The Driver Connection
by Janice Price


The CD-RW had a will of its own. The drive opened and closed without prompting on my brother Doug’s computer, so he offered it to me. He’d misplaced the software, but drivers can be downloaded from the Internet.

Yesterday he popped in to install it. There was only one cable, so he disconnected the CD/ROM and connected the CD-RW. As expected, Windows didn’t recognize the new hardware.

Lately, the modem has to be uninstalled before each shut-down in order for the drivers and correct settings to be loaded, so it was a while before he was connected to the Internet to search for the CD-RW drivers. By then, that drive was opening and closing on its own on this machine also. It had no software program to tell it what to do, but it was exercising away.

Open; close; open; close; half-open; close; uh-uh-uh-uh-open; close; open; jam; etc.

After about twenty minutes of this, I was ready to punch its trap door shut. Doug turned to me and calmly asked, "Annoying, isn’t it?"

It was such a bald understatement I had to laugh. But the open, close, uh-uh-uh-open continued until he disconnected the CD-RW.

The drivers couldn’t be found on the company site or any driver site, so Doug turned his attention to the modem driver problem. We both wondered if the dial-up adapter might be part of the problem, but he didn’t have time to mess with it. Unfortunately, I did. There was a problem with it, and when Windows tried to download necessary files from the Windows CD, it suddenly stopped downloading and deleted the adapter altogether.

The computer rebooted and an anti-virus dialog box popped open to inform me my email couldn’t be scanned because I had no network connection. Then another box opened, and if I might paraphrase it, it read, "Hey, gullible, you have no Internet connection, so click on this button to go online to our web site." Since software is only as intelligent as the one who wrote the program, this tickled my funny bone.

Drivers are software programs that introduce a piece of hardware to an operating system so they can become better acquainted. If they’re compatible, we’re able to forward jokes to all our friends.

God’s word is a spiritual driver. Unlike my computer drivers, it’s reliable, compatible and it can’t be accidentally deleted. Load, along with prayer, at every daily start-up.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

© 2004 Janice Price
mercyandpercy@yahoo.com
www.mercyandpercy.com

Friday, September 17, 2004

SCATTERING OR DRAWING


Merci's friends


Scattering or Drawing
by Janice Price

"Calm down, Merci, and they’ll play with you," I was telling my dog for the third time, when movement caught my attention. I raised my eyes to see my neighbor fumbling to close her blinds without looking toward the window directly in front of me.

Merci and I resumed our morning stroll up and down the sidewalk, staying close to home because central Georgia was between spurts of heavy rain and wind gusts created by Hurricane Ivan.

Call Tammy and apologize just as soon as you go home, I was admonishing myself, when Tammy opened her front door and came outside. We laughed as we discussed the incident.

Tammy was sitting in front of a window, watching a friend’s young son, when he suddenly announced, "There’s someone outside the window." Unnerved, she closed the blind without turning her head. Still, she caught a glimpse of me, which is why we were apologizing to each other.

Tammy and Jody knew Merci and I visit their mother cat and kittens. The cats have been staying on the front porch, but yesterday they were playing in the yard. As usual, Merci tugged on the leash and whined to see them. I was oblivious to where I was standing or how my presence might appear, as I tried to contain Merci’s energy. It never occurred to me that anyone might be home at the time.

Merci loves cats, possibly because she lives in a house with several of them. She was playmate to Cyndi, a rescued kitten, and presently has a kitten of her own, Percy, that she found and rescued. They love her and delight in her attention, even though she sometimes gets overly excited when playing with them and starts rolling them around like they are sturdy puppies. They’re buddies that chase each other around the house. So she rushes at all cats, as if to say, Hi, I’m your friend. Let’s play. She doesn’t understand that her size and enthusiasm are intimidating to smaller animals. Plus, in her excitement, she whines and yelps.

The cats are becoming accustomed to Merci’s presence. They kittens come to greet her occasionally now, but then run away. When Merci is calm, the cats are curious and more receptive to her.

If Jesus had been loud, argumentative and overbearing, people would have run away from him too. But he was humble, with a servant’s heart, and so he drew some people close where he could teach them about God the Father. He set the example. Are we drawing people to God, as Jesus did, or are we scaring them away, as Merci sometimes scatters the cats?

© 2004 Janice Price
mercyandpercy@yahoo.com
www.mercyandpercy.com

Monday, September 13, 2004

A CINDERELLA STORY


"Cinderella" Cyndi

A Cinderella Story
by Janice Price

“Here she comes. Don’t let her get away,” Doug says with fervency.

It is February and there is a possibility of snow for tomorrow. We are joint creaking, muscles groaning, too-old-for-this folks crawling on the cold, wet ground. Doug has backed his automobile onto ramps and is lying underneath it, blindly and patiently working a flexible hose above his head to nudge a kitten from her hiding place.

My brother is muttering about folks who dump their responsibilities onto others. A week ago someone abandoned two young kittens on his property. His dog killed one. The other has survived the same fate by hiding under a car and eating food left for her.

She makes no attempt to bite when I grab her. Once inside the carrier she trembles violently and mews as I drive home.

The story of Cinderella comes to mind. She was unloved and unwanted but had a dramatic change of circumstance. I name the kitten Cinder.

I close the kitten in the bedroom and spend a lot of time on the cold carpet, but I diligently capture, recapture and calm the terrified kitten. I pass the night scrunched and sleepless on a love seat in the living room so the dog and cats won’t scratch and cry at the bedroom door. I walk her around the house and introduce her to the other animals. Twenty-six hours after she arrives, she trots confidently from the bedroom into the living room and makes herself at home.

The dirty, matted mass of hair is wiped, dried and brushed until it is soft and luxuriant. She no longer reeks of dirty engine oil. She’s a shiny-eyed, sashaying, cotton ball with a tail beauty. Cinder is now Cyndi.

Sometimes life can dump us in a desert of loneliness, fear and hunger. We need to be nudged out from under the car. It can be embarrassing to accept a helping hand, even from family members, but God desires that we learn humility. We have the opportunity to be blessed and to be a blessing to those who help us – if we don’t allow the pride of “independence” to rule our spirit.

Cyndi was rescued three days ago. She wasn’t expecting two rescuers and she didn’t voluntarily leave her temporary comfort zone, but she accepted the change in circumstances and quickly adapted. Her life will never be the same.

Whether we create our own trap or life springs one on us, God can and will send rescuers, but we have to let go of our “do it myself” attitude. When we humble ourselves before God, he can work wonders in our lives.

© 2004 Janice Price
mercyandpercy@yahoo.com
www.mercyandpercy.com

Saturday, September 11, 2004

A TREE GREW IN GEORGIA

A Tree Grew in Georgia
by Janice Price

Two years ago the large oak tree in front of my house dropped a load of large branches on a passing car. Just a short time before, after a thunderstorm, I was picking up branches in the same area. I wrote to the city manager, hopeful the city would cut down the tree. Within two days a city crew arrived to trim it.

Three weeks ago a city crew arrived unexpectedly to cut it down. I was so relieved to see the tree removed I didn’t mind the numerous trucks on the lawn or the tractor tire gouging a piece of turf. The stump revealed a gaping hole in the center. It looked like a barbecue pit with the rotting wood crumbling to the touch.

The other day hurricane Frances brought heavy rain and high winds to middle Georgia. Tree limbs falling on electric wires caused frequent booms, like small explosions. One was so close I toured the house in the dark, checking outside each door and window for signs of a fire. Soon the booms stopped as the electricity went out overnight.

After a sleepless night, the alarm radio played static. The local radio station was off the air. I cleaned up my yard and a neighbor’s. I piled the debris on the curb nearest the largest limb from their pecan tree.

Yesterday I grew concerned about Iris’ phone being busy for two straight days. I walked to the end of the block and was shocked to see a city crew cutting up a tree that had fallen on a corner house, directly over the bed where Jane lay. Jane was probably alive because the oak was partly supported by a smaller tree beside the house. Three other trees had fallen within three blocks and one had cut off power and phone service to Iris’ home. She was at the hospital being treated for injuries from a fall at a relative’s house, where she and her husband stayed, waiting for their electricity to be restored.

I walked the dog under huge oaks, dodging strewn branches. We passed a house partly crushed under a massive tree. Signs of storm damage were everywhere. This corner fared well.

I have been thanking God for the timely removal of my oak tree, or it could have blown over onto the house or a passing car.

The damage in this area was light compared to Florida and southern Georgia. Disaster funds of agencies assisting the victims and evacuees are being taxed. Emergency personnel are exhausted and another storm is heading for Florida.

Pray for all those whose lives, like the mighty oak trees, have been uprooted.

© 2005 Janice Price
mercyandpercy@yahoo.com
www.mercyandpercy.com