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Archive for July, 2006

I live in beautiful, sunny, northern California.  At least it’s sunny most of the time between the months of May and October.  Recently we experienced about 11 consecutive days of over 100 degree temperatures in our fair state.  Before this occurred, our 30-year old air conditioner decided to kick the bucket on us.  It didn’t just quit one day.  No! It died a slow and painful death and dragged us along with it.  About a week after we had placed the order with Sears for a new unit, the temperature began escalating.  And Sears was taking its time about installing our new A/C unit.  The target date was Monday, July 24.   The weekend before this anticipated date, we “sweated it out” literally in our sweltering home.  The outside temperature in our backyard was 115 in the shade!  When we had gone to Death Valley the month before, the temperature was only 108!! The inside temperature on that fateful weekend maxed out at 100 degrees!!!    I was averaging 3 showers per day.  I don’t think I had perspired that much in years.  The one who seemed to take it the hardest was our dear son, Jeremy.  At 24 years of age, Jeremy is the youngest family member living in our home. You would think he could have handled it better being so young and fit!  But no.  He was grouchy, moody, irritable and not pleasant to be around.  In fact, he hung out a lot at the home of his friend JJ, who happens to have a big, doughboy swimming pool.  If he wasn’t there, he was at his other buddy Mike’s condo, who had a fully operational air conditioner.   Monday, July 24 arrived, and we all seemed to have a spring in our step.  This would be the last day that we would have to endure being “Sans A/C”!  A few days before, the technician had come to our home to take measurements and make sure that our furnace would be compatible with this new air conditioner.  He assured my husband Mike that everything was fine.  This new air conditioner was supposed to be the latest model and very energy efficient.  It would save us a substantial amount of money on our utility bill each month.  I had a busy day at work that Monday, and did not come home for lunch as I usually do.  When I arrived home later that afternoon, I was met with a very unhappy husband and son.  Sears had made a BIG mistake.  The installers had told my husband that the new air conditioner was not compatible with our furnace.  We would have to buy a new furnace, at a cost of  $4,000 if we wanted this air conditioner to operate.  After several phone calls and a heated conversation or two, Sears owned up to their mistake and agreed to split the cost of the furnace with us.  Our other option was to get a lesser efficient A/C and keep the old furnace.  We opted for the first choice, and next Monday, July 31, we will be getting a new furnace and A/C.  We wait with bated breath for this day to arrive. Below are some creative ideas that we tried during those ten+ days of living in a furnace: 

  • Turned on the backyard sprinklers and walked through them until we were soaked.  I even stuck my head in them!
  • Sat on our deck in front of a cool mister for about an hour
  • Took frozen bags of vegetables and applied them to my eyelids, face, neck, arms, back, etc. to cool down.
  • Drank LOTS of water and even stuck some water bottles in the freezer to cool them down faster
  • Stood in front of the open freezer for a few seconds
  • Took ice cold showers to cool off
  • Ate lots of ice cream and  ice cream sandwiches
  • Made pina colada smoothies using pineapple sherbet, coconut milk and ice
  • Stuck our sheets in the freezer for about 15 minutes before we went to bed.  (That was great!)  Pillowcases would work too!
  • Fixed salads and cold sandwiches for dinner and lunch
  • If it got really unbearable, we would go in our cars.  They have A/C.  Or, we would go to the mall or a store with A/C

 We currently have a “fiery” evangelist right now preaching revival at our church.  He made the comment that this weather just serves to remind him that he doesn’t want to go to hell!  I will keep you all updated on how this saga plays out.

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A LESSON IN TEAMWORK

I remember a particular incident that happened to my husband Mike when he  was in basic training with the United States Air Force.  Mike shared a third floor dorm room with many other young airmen, and one day, the drill sergeant informed them all that he was giving them an exercise to do.  They were given 5 minutes to get out of bed, get dressed in their uniforms, make their beds made and stand at attention. 

When the sergeant gave the signal, all the guys jumped out of bed and began their different phases of putting on their uniforms, shoes and socks, as well as making their beds and hurrying to stand at attention before the stopwatch went off.  Many of the airmen made it in that first drill, but there were still some stragglers who did not make it.  Those who did finish in time expected the drill sergeant to chew out those who didn’t make it.  However, he looked at them all with disdain and said that they all had failed.  This made those who had finished in time feel angry.

The drill sergeant then told everyone that he wanted them all to get undressed and climb back into bed.  They were going to try it again.  This time, they only had 4 minutes to complete the drill…20% less time than before!! There were more people who finished this time, but still, not everyone made it.  After the drill sergeant blew the whistle, he began to walk up and down the aisles of the dorm room.  And with anger and a fire in his eyes, he said these words, “Those of you who completed this drill let your buddies die by not helping them in the foxhole.  By not helping them get to safety, you failed your fellow man.” 

Suddenly the light bulbs started to go on, and the men began to understand what he had been trying to tell them.  The drill sergeant again instructed everyone to get undressed and return back into bed.  “This time, “ he said, “You have 3 minutes to make it.”   There was a flurry of activity now in the dorm as men started not only getting themselves ready, but also helping their buddies to prepare.  And although they didn’t quite all make it, the drill sergeant said that they were on the right path to learning what it’s all about.

Again he had them get back in the beds, and now they had 2 minutes to get dressed, make their beds and stand at attention.  Blankets were flying everywhere!  It was a whirlwind of organized chaos; because none of them were focused on their individual selves anymore.  Instead, they were working as a team and thinking as if they were all one unit.  You could see four guys working on one airman trying to help him get ready.  One guy was helping button his shirt and straighten his belt; Two more guys were tying his shoes, and another guy was making his bed.  My husband Mike even began helping and directing people.  There was a spirit of cooperation, and nobody copped an attitude.  When everyone was finished, the instructor announced that they had all made it in 81 SECONDS!!!!!  The entire group let out a roar!  They were no longer individual men.  They were now one unit….a team.  They had looked out for each other and had learned a valuable lesson….YOU CAN’T SUCCEED WHILE YOUR BUDDY’S FAILING. In essence, what that instructor was saying is that everybody makes it or nobody makes it.

Several years ago, Pastor Ron Mullings preached a message at our Bay Area Preaching Conference that stirred my soul.  The main statement or question that he addressed was, “What if my making it to Heaven is determined by your making it to Heaven?”  How different would we treat our brothers and sisters and fellow mankind?  Would we reach out more to those who are struggling or perhaps have fallen by the wayside?  Or would we just be concerned with our making it?   Would we rather be a lone competitor obsessed with making it to Heaven alone, or would we rather be an encourager whose goal is to build up our brothers and sisters and help them to make it?  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:  but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Jesus didn’t move through life as a isolated character.  As He approached the cross, he emptied out His heart in prayer for His disciples saying:  “Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me….While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your Name (John 17:11-2)  That’s real teamwork!  God help me to be like that!

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In the mid-1970s, Ed Roberts created the world’s first commercially successful personal computer (PC).  He hired a nineteen-year-old named Bill Gates to write software for him.

Roberts sold his computer business in 1977 and bought a farm.  Seven years later, at the age of 41, he entered medical school.  Today Bill Gates is the head of the largest software company in the world.  Ed Roberts is a physician in a small Georgia town.  Roberts says, “The implication is that the PC is the most important thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t think it’s true.  Every day I deal with things that are equally if not more important here with my patients.”

How can we evaluate the significance of our lives?  Something deep inside tells us it cannot be measured by wealth and fame.  The apostle Paul approached the end of life with a peaceful sense of successful completion.  He wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.  (2 Tim 4:7)  The measure of a life is determined by the Ruler of the Universe.  – D.C.M.

Taken from the Collector’s Edition of Our Daily Bread. © 2004 by Discovery House Publishers

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