19 July 2010

Hotels and motels

What adventures the itineration life has to offer. We travel a lot for our fund raising work and usually the churches we visit arrange for us to have somewhere to pay. We are so grateful not to have to pay for accomodations each weekend. This helps our cash build up more quickly for our work.

Most of the time we are at a standard motel. A brand name place along the highway - nearly always these are clean and unremarkable. We did get put up in a higher end chain that had nice sheets and a jaccuzi tub. Memorable.

In small towns there are often not chains just local mom and pop motels. Often they compete for the little churches' patronage and the church will ask if it's okay. This is awkward since you don't really know what the competition is and you don't want to be ungrateful for a free room.

A whole series of towns have motels that cater to hunters to stay in business. So we've stayed in several that had hunting motifs and one mobile home converted to hunters quarters. Some places even have notes about, Please don't use the towels for cleaning off mud, or Don't clean animals in the room.It's a world I would never have known.

Recently we stayed at a hunting lodge/b and b, that had started it's life as a nursing home. This was the best place in town according to our hosts and I believed them. It was still looking like a nursing home in the halls, but the room was clean, comfy and practical. It made for good of joking around between Kerry and I and it was an experience I wouldn't trade. Elk heads, deer antlers, biscuits and gravy, shower and hall railings, and all.

We stayed in a place we referred to as the "Killer" motel. It wasn't that anything was bad necessarily. It was a small town motel and run down a little on the outside, a little dark. Some of the cars lurking in the parking lot seemed somehow sinister. The inside was okay, a little well used, but not gross. Maybe it looked like something we'd seen in a creepy movie. Or maybe it was creepy guy at the check-in.

I chose for myself a Super 8 in Florida near family. The new coat of paint on closer inspection covered very little of the age of the place. They weren't friendly and the long hairs in the sheets might have been from the maid, but I tried the other bed anyway. What do I expect - I chose the cheapest place.

On our own vacation, we stayed at a 100+year old hotel in an former mining town. We were downstairs in a shop/lobby when the local Ghost tour went through and up the stairs to where the rooms were. Some woman 90 years ago threw acid on another woman and thus the ghostly story came to be.  The building had settled unevenly and our doors had quite an angle on them as did the floor, but no ghosts showed. The ghost hunters were looking for among other things "cold spots" which they think indicate the presence of ghosts. Our air conditioner wasn't working and I told Kerry, if I found a cold spot I was going to roll around on it so I could cool down. He thought maybe if it was a ghost, the ghost would be grossed out by the sweaty girl rolling around and leave.

09 July 2010

Silence and Affirmation

It's interesting that we often take silence as disapproval, but it is often not the case. People forget to say good job or atta-girl. Some tasks and work goes unnoticed. For those of us with who have a greater need for that acknowledgment (love language?), the silence can be painful and negative.

When the affirmation does come, it has that soothing effect of balm on a sore or water in the desert. Ahhhhh.

But I keep asking myself and have been challenged by speakers - what if I could find my affirmation solely and uniquely in how Jesus views me? What if I knew I was so precious to God and He would go to great lengths to have a relationship with me? Really knew it deep in my psyche? Wouldn't that be wonderful?

So harking back to the previous entry, the same author made the comment that Jesus went through the silent years when we know nothing of him. The teens and twenties pass with God not turning him loose to do his calling. But what is the first thing out of the silence that happens? The voice of God comes from heaven after his baptism, "This is my son in whom I am well please." A beautiful affirmation.

God was pleased before Jesus DID all the things he is famous for doing. It reminds me of the phrase before we knew Him, he loved us. What great thoughts. I want to press them into my soul and see that God is affirming me even when I don't meet my own standards of perfection and He is taking me to a better version of me on the journey.

04 July 2010


How many of us live our existence is relative obscurity? We have our friends and family but we don't have something infamous or famous and yet what great significance we have.

This theme first occurred to me last week when a memorial video was played of missionaries who have died in the last year who were with my missions organization. All of them were quite old and had fought the good fight and won the race. It made me sad because I thought of grandma who passed in the last year. Some part of me hurt because no one would show a slide show about her month later. Yet, a voice cried out in my mind because I remember and celebrate her, it is okay. She may have lived an obscure life but it was important in its unique way.

The next day there was a lecture by Alicia Britt Chole. She had a very challenging idea that I had not heard presented before in Christian circles. She noted, very eloquently, that nearly of of Christ's existence was hidden. He had this moment of bursting on the scene as an infant, an appearance at the temple, a brief fleeing as a toddler. Next we see him in the temple as a youth and then not again until he is 30 years old. Most of this time is hidden from us. Her challenge was that he became the person he needed to be for his ministry years in that obscurity. It was not "wasted" as we might think of it from a purely public relations, marketing perspective. It was development.

So the third thing this week that made me think of obscurity was receiving my alumni news magazine from my college. It used to make me think dreadful thoughts about how little I've done with my life, but this time I thought differently as I read the accolades of fellow alum. I searched it in a selfish way wondering who might be a connection to someone who would support our missions work or who of these people might be compelled also by our goals. But I also realized that we all send in our current status in an attempt to pull out of our obscurity for a moment. To shine out in the crowd. I too do these things, but for some reason all these things this week have made me realize there is no shame in obscurity. No waste in our quiet bits of life that don't appear on lots of radar screens. Perhaps there is something of treasure there if we know how to look.