Jul 292011

A friend was filling my half-barrel pond with rainwater collected from the “orchard” area of the yard and just happened to smell gas at the meter as he passed with a full bucket (or do you call it a pail?).

I promptly closed the gas line and called the utility. Mr. Gas Company did a visual check and then went to his truck to retrieve, what he called, his “educated Eggdicator” – the sniffer machine that detects the distinctive rotten egg odor (H2S – hydrogen sulfide) added to natural gas to make it detectable.

His answer to my inquiry about the unusual name was that Mr. Wonka used an Eggdicator to test the geese-laid chocolate eggs in the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Grandpa Joe called it an educated Eggdicator. You might remember Veruca Salt, in her lust for the Golden Egg, standing triumphantly on the device and being judged – Bad Egg.

Well the E.E. precisely pinpointed the porous piping and the technician locked the leaking line. After learning that it takes a city permit to replace a pipe fitting (hmm, that sounds like a money-maker), I obtained the permit and repairs are underway. Meanwhile I’ve been cooking on a butane camp stove outdoors, drying laundry in the California sun, and showering at the Total Woman Gym – a refreshingly novel break in routine.

Do you have an educated Eggdicator? Can you smell when something’s not right in your life? Paul explains how to become spiritually mature in discerning good and evil.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.

 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age,
that is, those who by reason of use 
have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
(Heb 5:12-14)

We might have lots of information about righteousness (being in right relationship to God, others, and all created things), but we only come of age spiritually by continually putting that information into practice in real life – habitual obedience to God’s Word. That’s how the Thinking Christian Woman can exercise her spiritual senses and develop an educated Eggdicator to sniff out the good and evil in life.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

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Jul 212011

On Northern Indiana visits during warmer months, I sometimes ask the Lord to let me see a snake. Though not my favorite critters, they operate with such stealth that sighting one is a special event.

Mom’s house is on Center Lake where nature abounds with ducks, turtles, Canada geese, woodchucks, chipmunks, cardinals, heron, muskrats – even a deer once – and the occasional legless reptile.

Memory holds a vivid picture of the big blue racer (snake) that chased my friend Ed up our back hill when we were kids, but by and large nature is gentle around here. Bushes are thornless and barefeet are safe from pricklies nearly everywhere. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the only poisonous snake in these parts – the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake – is rare and lives as a recluse in remote wetlands.

37 years ago, my brother Lane and I won the 3.5 mile 4th of July Tippecanoe River race (where one major goal is to avoid tipping on Tippy!) and Mom still has the canoe that floated us to victory. This is the story of one fine summer day when I took that canoe out on Center Lake and the Lord answered my reptile request.

I’d paddled about a half mile from shore when, suddenly and silently, a 13″ black snake dropped onto the centerline from under the vacant bow seat, and there we were, having fellowship – defined as two fellows in the same ship!

It wasn’t a rattler, but my first instinct was to jump out, not knowing what would happen when the little guy realized our predicament. I also wondered what might be under my seat! It was an uncomfortable situation, to say the least, for me, and likely also for the stowaway. Alternating between elevating bare feet and legs on the gunwales and the stern thwart, I paddled hard into the nearby canal hoping to haul out and persuade him (or them) to disembark, but the shore was all rocks and seawalls.

What a relief to spot a man fishing off the end of his pier. Remember the lanky Sheriff Woody doll in Toy Story? Pull his string and you might hear, “There’s a snake in my boot!” Well, I called out, “May I dock at your pier, there’s a snake in my boat.” Rather than wave me in, however, the wary fisherman asked, “How big is it?” Sensing perhaps “we” were not welcome, I turned around and tried for home. It seemed to take forever.

About halfway there, the little guy slithered into the enclosed refuge under the bow deck and disappeared. Of course, I still didn’t know if he was the only one. Eventually we made it to dry land. I hauled out and flipped the boat over, but never saw my first mate again. God had answered the snake-sighting prayer with a resounding and memorable yes!

This experience highlighted that God’s answers to prayer can:

  • Catch us by surprise. 
  • Come in unexpected, possibly even undesirable, ways.
  • Come under circumstances that challenge our comfort level.

What an adventure for the Thinking Christian Woman to share with Him all the big or little things on her heart, then stay alert for His creative and sometimes unusual responses!

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

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Jul 152011

County fair time here in America. Few things sweeter than being in one’s childhood hometown, greeting old friends on the midway, riding the Ferris wheel, smelling caramel corn, eating sweet corn on the cob (fresh from the Mid-American corn belt) and ice cream churned by the powerful putter of an antique tractor.

Btw – though “pleasure wheels” have been around since 17th century Bulgaria, Mr. Ferris invented the first giant one as a landmark for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to outdo the Eiffel Tower (the wonder of the 1889 Paris World’s Fair). Must have been quite a sight rising 250 feet above Lake Michigan with train-car sized gondolas!

Back to my Hoosier hometown – last year around this time I was watching barrel racing (where riders are timed navigating their horses in figure 8’s around barrels) with my sister and her daughter Stacey. A cell phone rings. “Mom, you’re calling me!” she exclaims. While my sister rifles through her purse, Stacey jovially answers, “hello, hello, hello.” not expecting anything because that phone often dials hers by accident.

A woman answers, “Is this Stacey?” Puzzled, Stacey replies, “Well, yeah.” The mystery caller identifies herself, “This is Janae!” Turns out these two attended K-12 school together, but hadn’t seen each other in many years. “What are you doing with my Mom’s phone?”

Janae explains, “I was putting my three little girls in the car, but one of them wandered off. I looked and looked but couldn’t find her and I was starting to panic. When I bowed and prayed, ‘Lord, please help me find my daughter,’ there was a phone in the grass at my feet. Mine was at home so I picked it up and called 9-1-1. We found my little girl in the fair, and I just now called the last number dialed and got you!”

Stacey headed to the main gate and spotted her old schoolmate – unmistakable in her signature bright red lipstick, giant beads and a dress, with her three daughters, each dressed like the other, happily reunited. The old friends hugged and marveled at what had happened.

By humbly bowing and asking for God’s help, Janae opened a channel of blessing for both her and my sister. In God’s abundant economy, her fervent fair prayer resulted in a blessing two-fer!

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person
has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:16 TLB)   

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

Happy Birthday Stacey!

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The Cave with Bones

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Jul 122011

As a wild caver, both dry and wet (spelunkers will know what that means), I was particularly interested to learn recently about Peștera cu Oase (“the Cave with Bones”) in southwestern Romania where the oldest Homo sapiens remains in Europe were discovered in 2002.

These First Europeans were found with bear and other mammal skeletal remains from the Late Pleistocene era (think wooly mammoths/mastodons, saber tooth tigers, etc. – if you’ve been to the World Famous San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey you have a sense of Pleistocene era creatures).

Got me thinking of the Tower of Babel. In Latin, Homo sapiens means “wise man” or “knowing man.” I take the bible literally when it says God created man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7), so I believe Adam was a Homo sapiens. The Genesis account certainly attributes “knowing” characteristics to Adam, such as keeping the Garden of Eden, and naming all of the animals – I enjoy the mental picture of God parading the animals past Adam “to see what he would call them.” (Genesis 2:19-20)

Early humans, after Noah’s flood, all spoke the same language and hunkered together in a comfy plain in Shinar, which is modern day Iraq. They pooled their resources and arrogantly started building a tower to heaven. God helped them get a better sense of their proper relationship to Him by introducing multiple languages, which of course messed up the construction project, and sent language groups heading off in all directions. (Genesis 11)

I wonder if some of those Romanian bones might be from that same humbling dispersion.

We sometimes hear people talk about “skeletons in the closet,” referring to past nefarious events. I remember times when God has dramatically humbled me and sent me in a new direction. Perhaps memories like those, rather than being skeletons in the closet, can comprise a type of Cave with Bones for each Thinking Christian Woman.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Jul 042011

Here in the U.S. we are observing 235 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Yesterday, my pastor shared a quote from John Adams (statesman, diplomat, patriot, signer of the Constitution, who, btw, died on July 4, 1826!) “Independence Day…ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

On this day there will no doubt also be repeated singings of The Star-Spangled Banner, written by a young attorney in 1814, and later adopted as our national anthem in 1931. Francis Scott Key sailed down from Washington, after the city was captured and the White House burned to the ground, on a British vessel to secure the release of a prisoner of war. Key was detained on board ship until the bombardment of Ft. McHenry was completed. Throughout the rainy night, and in the light of dawn, Key, and eventually an entire nation, was inspired that the battered flag was still there – Baltimore had not been captured.

Key’s second verse praises “the Power that made us and preserved us a nation,” and proclaims that, with this as our motto “in God is our trust!, the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

There are some in this country who want to change our national anthem to America the Beautiful, which is vastly easier to sing and invokes the blessing of “God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” Others, especially since 9/11, prefer God Bless America.

I can see the merits of each, but before we wave goodbye to the Star-Spangled Banner, here are a few selling points for the Thinking Christian Woman to consider:

  • It’s difficult to sing – freedom doesn’t come easy.
  • It’s violent and edgy – our freedom, both as a nation and as Christians, was won in a perilous fight through struggle and sacrifice (if we want to do away with the Star-Spangled Banner, we might as well tear all of the bloody cross songs from our hymnbooks too)
  • It proclaims our national identity – telling the world that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
  • It tells an important story – reminding us that, many times, our attempts to establish this new nation hung by a thread. There were countless setbacks, but we never gave up on our vision. The lively knowledge of victories of the past brings a wisdom and courage to overcome challenges of today.

In 1931, the great march composer John Philip Sousa wrote in favor of the Star-Spangled Banner as our national anthem saying, “it is the spirit of the music that inspires as much as it is Key’s soul-stirring words.”

I support the Star-Spangled Banner forever waving as the national anthem over the land of the free and the home of the brave because it is difficult and edgy, and because it identifies us and tells our story.

But more important than any national anthem, every Christian, everywhere knows that the Lord of Love has hung His banner over us, claiming us as His beloved, and calling us to freedom from wrath and citizenship in heaven through the power of His blood. Now that’s something to sing about!
“He brought me to the banqueting house, 
and His banner over me was love”
Song of Solomon 2:4

blog title by Sara B. Clarke
© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

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