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For Those Who Clean Up After

George is great, George is good, but George is not the end of the story.

(If that makes no sense to you, scroll down and read my yesterday blog. Then come on back.)

The service is over. The meeting’s over. The meal and the program are over. Whatever it was, it’s now in the past.

Some are already pulling out of the parking lot. Some are still on the lot, jiggling keys and grinning while listening to a great story.

And someone’s still inside, picking up now-useless papers to recycle and checking the thermostat and lights and restrooms.

Maybe they’re folding up and putting away the chairs George set up several hours ago.

Maybe they’re taking one last glance around the kitchen. There’s that glass he set down and walked away from. Grabbing it, washing and drying it, putting it in the cabinet, and wondering, “Who picks up after him at home?”

One quick trip through the building again, checking lights and restrooms. After all, there was that time somebody had hidden in the men’s room at The Baptist Church and then vandalized the place in the middle of the night. Can’t be too careful.

Doors locked? Rattle them just to be sure.

Today I’m thankful for all those, and there have been many, who have cleaned up after.

If you are one, the rest of us thank you.

If you know someone who does this, please thank them.

See you back here tomorrow.


For Those Who Set Up

Fred Craddock’s one of my heroes.

He said it’s important to remember that St. Paul’s opening and closing comments to his New Testament letters were about real people.

Real people who had done real things to help him in his ministry.

Then Fred named some real people in his own life who had helped him with his own ministry.

“You know, people like George. George always helped set up those metal folding chairs in the Fellowship Hall.”

He named several others, but George has stuck with me in my ministry.

The George I knew in one church always got the coffee maker going before anybody else got there. If you didn’t want coffee, he had water boiling for your tea. If you wanted iced tea, he’d smile and go to the church kitchen and come right back with a large glass of it and ask, “Sugar? Sweetener? Lemon?”

In another place, George arrived early to check the furnace or the air conditioner. “If they’re too hot, they’ll get sleepy, even with everything you got going on up there, Preacher!” And later in the year, “If they’re too cold, that’s all they’re gonna think about, and that’s not why we’re here.”

In yet another place, George was a woman in her seventies who re-folded the bulletins; I have no idea how early she got there, and neither did anybody else. “See this edge? Not even. Not straight. Not right. This is important. Says how important we think God and people are. Gotta be right. Gotta show respect.”

Today I’m thankful for all the Georges and all the set-up they do.

Who has done set-up work for you today? Tell her or him how much you appreciate them.

For That Karen Carpenter Song. With One Change.

Today I’m thankful for Mondays.

And rainy days.

Decades ago Karen Carpenter sang, Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

Mondays bring with them a sense of a fresh start. And they roll around regularly. May as well find a way to enjoy them.

Rainy days are necessary. Ever talk to a farmer during a drought?

So today I’m thankful for rainy days and Mondays: both bring something new.

BONUS BLOG: yesssssss!

Hit this link, then scroll up to the top of that screen for the video —-

For People Who Remind Me of The Depth

She was in her late eighties, lived in a nursing home, and read every word of our church newsletter.

“You wrote about being a Cheerful Giver in that newsletter,” she told me.

“Sure did! And thank you for both reading and remembering,” I replied. “Not everybody does even one of those two things, haha!”

She didn’t laugh. She didn’t even smile.

“You left out the best part.”

“Excuse me?”

“You wrote about being a Cheerful Giver, but you didn’t say anything about that original Greek word Paul used.”

I handled this brilliantly: “Uhh….”

Flashed to the verse I’d used, 2nd Corinthians 9:7. It says, Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

She reached out an patted my arm.

“He said more than just ‘Cheerful.’ He said that our Lord loves ‘Hilarious Givers.’ You know, when we’re having so much fun and doing more than just smiling about it, but really enjoying it all. That kind of thing.”

She was right.

It’s amazing what all we can learn from one another when we listen.

Today I’m thankful for people who remind me of the depth of Scripture.

Especially well-seasoned saints.

For Ink

Today I’m thankful for ink.

“The weakest ink is mightier than the strongest memory,” someone said long, long ago.

Are you a list maker? Patty says people who know both of us would be surprised to learn that she makes waaaaaay fewer lists than I do. Ink helps.

Friends who are tattooed call it being inked. That’s probably the original permanent ink, right?

Fountain pens, roller ball pens, ball point, on and on — I love ’em all.

Probably no shock to some that I’m way more of a Bold Nib fan than an Extra Fine Nib person.

And the variety of colors of ink? WOW, YES, PLEASE!

Today I’m thankful for ink and all you and I can do with it.

Even in our digital era.


For Band-Aids

Today I’m thankful for Band-Aids.

The kind that come in a box. Each one’s individually wrapped. It’s really hard to open that wrapper. And then there’s the tricky part about pulling off one of the protect-the-adhesive-things without having the sticky part flop over on itself while you’re trying to peel off the other one.

And then there are other kinds: emotional, mental, spiritual.

Today I’m thankful for Band-Aids.

Some of which need to be removed. But that’s another blog for another time.

So…what kind of Band-Aids are you using today? Do they need to come off?