Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mémorial aux américains

Memorial Day weekend -- what does that mean to you? We all look forward to a three day weekend, but do we remember why we have this holiday? Lou is enjoying the weekend on a Switzerland camping trip with about 15 folks from the Hospitality House. He is teaming with two other Hospitality Houses (Baumholder and Graf). they are enjoying some time to refelct on God and enjoy His creation; and to have an opportunity to rest and relax in the beautiful Alps.

Cathy is facilitating a Reintegration Retreat with the Ramstein Chapel. We have 40 families that have recently returned from deployment or are getting ready to be deployed. This retreat is to help them "reintegrate" as a family or to prepare for "separation" as a family. We are studying effective communication techniques, anger management and having some fun as a family at Euro Disney in Paris.

As Cathy was riding on the bus to Paris with this group of 160 folks, she saw a sign Mémorial aux américains. She found out that we were passing a town that has a monument built in 1930 that commemorates the offensives conducted ty U.S. forces during WWI and the eventual liberation from Germany. This reminded her to reflect on Memorial Day. This is our weekend to remember those who died in our nations service. This is our weekend to thank those who are currently serving our country, defending our Nation and its values and protecting those who fight for their individual freedom. Please join us in spending some time to thank a veteran! Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Computers, Cars and Other "C"s

It all started the week after Easter. Actually it happened all in one day. You start to question, is this a test, trial or just plain tribulation, when things happen all in one day. Lou began his day with his computer dying. It has been acting weird for about a week. We did what we knew how to do -- reboot several times, run our anti-virus software, take it to a computer expert -- the problem would only reoccur in our home. Then it happened -- Lou turned it on and it wouldn't reboot. Yikes!! When was the last time we backed up -- how am I going to get any work done -- I need to finish my talk for Friday night -- Yikes!! The day continued in frustation.

We tried to prepare our hearts and mind for Tuesday night. See Tuesday night are our favorite night of the week. Lou cherishes his time with the guys. He facilitates a Men's Study at our home. They eat dinner together and spend some time in study and prayer. He enjoys these evenings and was looking forward to putting the day behind him. While Lou is spending time with the guys, Cathy is involved in a womens study on base. Because of the craziness of the day, she was looking forward to seeing her friends and spending some time thinking about anything but the computer.

Cathy was driving to the base as she entered the base the car began to beep and flash a warning message -- in German! The message began with Halt! Halt! and was followed by something else she didn't understand. But, the Halt! Halt! was enough for her to say "Boy, this doesn't seem good". As that thought entered and left her mind, the car died! Right there in the middle on the busiest road on base. It was pouring rain, she had the main dish for the Tuesday night potluck and no phone!! She went to call Lou and realized she had left their cell phone at home. The car wouldn't start, wouldn't turn over, was dead!

Why is it when we are in these situations we don't automatically turn to Christ? Why is it that we tend to let frustration and anger take over and not just stop and take a deep breath and cry out to God? I know we are all human....but the few times I have turned to Christ first, my emotions are calm and I can think more clearly. I remembered that we have been studying Philippians on Friday night. Interesting enough, Lou had just talked about "do not be anxious about anything!" Now is the time for us to put this into practice!

Computers, Cars
and Christ....they reveal what we are truly made of -- what's really going on inside of our hearts. When Computers and Cars and their problems are the priority -- anxiety kicks in because of the loss of Control.

No computer, no car, now what? Cathy begins to walk back to the guard shack to see if she could borrow a phone. After just a few steps in the rain, a woman stops and asks if she needs help. She allowed Cathy to borrow her phone to call Lou. Another few minutes go by, the rain is getting worse, a man stops, wearing in a nice suit, he pushes the car to the side of the road. At this point, she begins to relax and remember that God is in control; while she was feeling totally out of control, God reminded her that He will talk care of us!!

Well after a month, we now have our car back and our computer. Dell fixed our computer at no cost. We had backed up the computer and had an extra one from our predecessor so Lou was able to get right back to work. So, even though it took over 3 weeks to get his computer back, we were blessed -- no cost and no significant loss of work.

Our car took almost a month and came in about $500 under budget. Even though it was still a pricey fix, when was the last time you paid a mechanic less than what he estimated? Each week, someone had a car they would lend to us. We were provided for in very tangible ways.

So, Cars, Computers, Control, Christ. I know we will have another opportunity to learn the lesson to turn to Christ in all situations -- because we are human; but we are thankful that we saw God's provision and experienced His peace again in a time of frustration.