I Blog For Books

30 August 2010

Potato Chip Memories

Today while I was aimlessly meandering through Kroger, I ended up in front of the potato chip display. No matter how I try to restrain myself, at least one bag of chips manages to jump into my cart nearly every time I go to the grocery store. And yes, I'm aware that I could avoid such a mishap if I would simply ignore the aisle altogether, but I digress. I was already in somewhat of a befuddled state of mind due to earlier events, but a simple red, white, blue, and yellow bag stopped me cold in my tracks. I'm sure the poor fellow tasked with stocking the aisle was shaking his head in bewilderment, wondering why on earth a bag of potato chips was so fascinating.

Magic City (aka Birmingham, Alabama) became home to a snack company started in 1923 by Mose Lischkoff and Frank Mosher. The main product of Magic City Foods was a crispy potato chip. This two man operation expanded as the Birmingham area grew to appreciate the quality and service provided. The company excelled under the leadership of Helen Friedman, and was purchased by the Bashinsky family in 1946. When the company sold in 1956, it stayed in the Bashinsky family but changed names, becoming Golden Flake, Incorporated. (For the interesting details of how Helen became the owner, check out the history page on the company's website at www.goldenflake.com)

Why a discourse on a southern potato chip company? My daddy loved potato chips. His favorite? Golden Flake Thin & Crispy. As anyone who has lost a loved one can tell you, sometimes it is the seemingly inconsequential things that can trigger a memory. Maybe today's jolt was a direct result of the morning's events, but I was flooded with reminders of daddy at the sight of that bag of chips. He particularly liked the little bags, I guess because there were just enough chips in there to satisfy that chip craving without loading on the guilt for eating the whole bag!

In the last spring of his life, he was frequently an inpatient at UAB. Danielle and I had gone up for a visit, and that day he wanted some Golden Flake chips. Kathy's sister had stopped at Walmart and gotten him a bag, but it wasn't one of the little ones. We decided that we would find him some. We thought we remembered seeing a gift shop, so Danielle and I went off to find it, hoping that they carried small bags of chips! We found it, they had little bags, and I'm sure the very nice lady working that day probably thought to herself that we were kinda strange when we told her we wanted every bag that she had in stock. When we strolled back into daddy's room, and proudly presented him with a bag full of little bags, you would have thought that we'd given him gold instead of Golden Flake!

Today, I left Kroger with my own bag of Golden Flake Thin & Crispy chips. As I sat down to lunch, I thought about daddy with every chip. And I smiled, knowing that he was smiling with me. Simplistic? Maybe so. Who says life always has to be complicated?

All the money in the world cannot buy the breathtaking beauty that God unfolds for us each morning with the sunrise, nor can it purchase the fiery splendor that is the sunset. The most powerful man on earth and the least beggar get to heaven via the exact same route: belief in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Is it not just amazing that this is a gift freely given?

Lord, please remind me to be thankful every day for the small miracles. Help me to see your presence all around me, and wrap me in the safety of your love and forgiveness. Give me the words to say that glorify you. Never let me forget that your hand is always over me: protecting, guiding, and giving me strength. Remind us that love is shown in many ways. Sometimes, it's even a bag of potato chips.

"Jesus replied: 'What is impossible with men is possible with God.'"~Luke 18:27 NIV

21 August 2010

I Think I Love You!

The internet is an amazing tool. I sit in my living room and listen to a radio broadcast originating more than 500 miles away. Listening to Allen on Jukebox Saturday Night, I remember my teenaged years when one of our favorite things to do was call in to the radio station and request a song, or just talk to the DJ (who we just KNEW was adorable).

Jukebox Saturday Night is one of my favorite radio shows because the music reminds me of a time in my life when worries were few. While I like most types of music, oldies nearly always make me smile. One of my favorite songs may not qualify as an "oldie" (according to Wikipedia, an oldie is a radio format that focuses on songs from 15 to 55 years before the present day) ... although using that range, it certainly qualifies!

I can hardly believe that it was nearly 4o years ago when David Cassidy came across the tv screen and caused my little 6 year old heart to go pitter patter ... 1970! When The Partridge Family premiered in September 1970, oldest "son" David Cassidy was the lead singer of the fictional Partridge Family. Even now, I can still hear those perky words ... of course, he was singing straight to me ... and millions of other young girls!

Think about the song for a moment. On the surface, it is a song about a young man who is afraid to commit himself to a "love there is no cure for." Who wants to be cured of loving someone? I certainly don't! You could interpret these lyrics so many ways ...

I'm sleeping, and right in the middle of a good dream
When all at once I wake up
From something that keeps knockin' at my brain
Before I go insane
I hold my pillow to my head
Spring up in my bed, screaming out the words I dread
I think I love you!

What if our realization of Jesus' love were this way? A sudden revelation can be scary!

This morning
I woke up with this feeling
I didn't know how to deal with
And so I just decided to myself
I'd hide it to myself and never talk about it
And didn't I go and shout it
When you walked into the room
I think I love you!

Do you remember the new days of your love for Jesus? Were you afraid to share? Did you consider not talking about it and keeping it all to yourself? His love fills you up so, that it is difficult NOT to share!! That is one of the beautiful things about it! The song goes on, and then says:

I don't know what I'm up against
I don't know what it's all about
I got so much to think about

As a new believer, there is so much to think about. So much to absorb! The wonder of it is that you are never alone ... share Jesus' love! You may never know just how much of a gift you give someone else by doing so. The only change? There is no "I think" about it ... I KNOW I love Jesus!

Jesus, thank you once more for the blessings you have given, and that you continue to lay upon me. Please help me to be worthy. Give me the voice so that I may share, and that in doing so, be able to touch others with the wonder of your love.

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." ~Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

18 August 2010

On The Road Again

It seems as if it was a long time in coming, but yesterday, I got in my truck and headed west. After nearly four months of living apart, I am going to live in the same house with my husband again! I'll be the first one to admit that driving (especially driving alone) can be a not-so-fun thing to do at times. Add sporadically heavy traffic and not-so-beautiful weather to the mix, and let's just say that I have a renewed appreciation for those who drive for a living!

I started my Monday with the best of intentions. My plan was to get to work on time, get myself organized and be prepared to walk out the door shortly after 11 so I could get home, relax for a few minutes, and get a good night's sleep for Tuesday's drive. Suffice it to say, that plans ... well, we all know what can happen to plans. I did get to work on time (even though I completely forgot about a meeting I was scheduled for prior to my shift), ended up not leaving work until nearly 1 a.m., then got home and couldn't sleep. I finally drifted off around 3 a.m., knowing full well that Miss Sunshine (aka Sami) would be up all perky and cheerful around 6 a.m. Seems that we all were less than perky a few hours later ... Sami didn't want to wake up either! She ate breakfast and got dressed for school, Mom got dressed for work, and I finally forced myself to get dressed and finish loading the final items (computer, cell phone, purse) in the truck.

A couple of quick stops for gas and breakfast, since I'm not a huge fan of gas station breakfast, and I was on my way. The short drive down 231 to I-10 was relatively uneventful, even though it was overcast, the traffic was light. Left turn, and this is it! Some 500 miles later I would reach my destination. Before I had traveled too far, the rain started. Don't misunderstand me: I love the rain ... when I'm inside and don't have to get out in it! I am not particularly fond of driving in the rain, especially when it's raining so hard that windshield wipers on full blast barely make a difference. This was to be my trip ... rain, no rain, light rain, heavy rain, sprinkles, no rain. You get the idea.

My least favorite part of the journey between Alabama and Louisiana would have to be the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. Twenty miles of not-much-at-all interspersed with some breathtaking scenery (and nowhere to pull over and take pictures) is not my favorite place to be in the rain. Traffic was heavier than usual on this section of my trip, and by the time the bridge ended I was more than ready to stop for a cup of coffee and a stretch! Since there is not a Cracker Barrel nearby, I elected to stop at a Pilot in Breaux Bridge for coffee. At the self-serve coffee station, I had my cup nearly filled when it slipped from my hand and hit the floor, splattering my face, jeans, and sneakers in the process (how it missed my shirt, I have no idea). No burns unless you count the one from embarrassment. Another cup filled successfully and I was on my way.
Signs for Lake Charles finally appeared, and I'm thinking that I'm almost there ... only to find that 5:15 p.m. is apparently not the time to go from one side of Lake Charles to the other via I-10. What would normally take about 10-15 minutes ended up taking nearly an hour, only to get off at the Westlake exit and find that the train comes through at this time of day as well ... another 10 minutes of sitting in traffic and I'm heading home! Finally!!

What makes this trip any different from the others that I've made over the past few months? Driving gives me LOTS of time to think, to wonder, to plan, and even to pray. Yesterday, I did some of each, and was struck by a startling realization. I need to do more thinking, wondering, planning and praying. I need to open myself up to receive what God is saying, and to listen and obey His commands. If I am to effectively serve Him, I need to let Him fill me, then share.

It doesn't take a road trip to realize that God is everywhere, and God is within. Next time you get behind the wheel, take some time to listen to what can sometimes be a whisper. You might just be surprised ...

God, I thank you for the safe journey that you gave me. Bless those who drive every day, and watch over them as they travel. Thank you for opening my mind and heart, and please allow me to continue to receive your many and beautiful blessings.

... "Go in peace. Your journey has the LORD's approval." ~Judges 18:6