Nov 052012

On Saturday, I witnessed my 71-year-old sister’s induction into the Grace College sports Hall of Fame in Winona Lake, Indiana. It was the surprising (to her, not me) culmination of a lifetime love of, and pioneering visionary spirit for, women’s sports.

Margaret played basketball before Title IX allocated school funding for women’s athletics and even before statistics were kept. As a young girl, playing on the court my parents built for her in the back yard, she imagined sinking the winning shot for gold even before there was an Olympic women’s basketball team.

It was frustrating to love sports with her whole being at a time when there was so little opportunity. She often asked God, “Why did you make me good at sports of all things?!” But one day in the 1970’s, giving her testimony to a capacity crowd in Mexico City as a member of the first-ever Venture for Victory (now Sports Ambassadors) evangelistic women’s basketball team, she finally understood.

For several adult decades, Margaret was an integral part of the formation and vitality of a tennis league in her community in which she was one of the top players. Friendships were forged and faith shared as a result. She testifies, “God has given me many opportunities to share my faith over the years through sports.”

Thirteen years ago, a serious cancer diagnosis took away my sister’s athletic life. Today, she confidently affirms, “I would never wish to have cancer, but having had it, I wouldn’t trade that experience because of the deeper relationship I have with the Lord.”

After a lifetime of little to no recognition for her dedication and drive, then after physical changes that put sports out of reach, Margaret experienced the Hall of Fame honor as a humbling, worshipful experience.  From my vantage point, it’s like God saying to her, “I came to all your games and saw your desire to honor Me.”

Last night, one of my sister’s dearest friends presented this poem at her bible study:

Marg’s a champ, as we all know, even has a medal to show.

We’re so proud of what she’s done, gaining Grace’s fame…she’s our #1!

But, there’s another story she likes to share – her faith in Jesus and His loving care.

So, Miss Margaret, you make us very proud, don’t ever change, or you’ll hear from us, your Bible study crowd. – Jo Lemon

The thinking Christian woman knows that God will not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11), but He will sometimes allow His people to be recognized for their achievements.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (Psalm 84:11 NIV)

God bless you today as you go forth in excellence in His name – and if not recognized on this earth, know that your loving heavenly Father sees.

Margaret with her college coach and fellow Hall of Famer, Yvonne Messner

With former Laker’s and Heat assistant coach and fellow Hall of Famer, Chet Kammerer, wearing his NBA championship ring.

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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Oct 042012

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'”

Genesis 1:26-27

We have beautiful comical reddish/brown squirrels in my neighborhood. They travel the overhead lines like little acrobats, frequently breakfasting at my bird feeder.

Earlier this week, a friend called to report an injured squirrel in her yard.

When I was a little girl, Dad taught me that helping suffering/dying creatures is part of exercising our dominion over creation. I remember once we were walking the dirt lane by the little dam on Center Lake, and came across a painted turtle that had been partially crushed by a car. Gently, and with the utmost respect and solemnity, he explained that the turtle was suffering and could not survive with such damage. He told me that creatures depend on us sometimes to end their suffering. Once he was sure I understood through my tears, he swiftly fulfilled the duty of dispatch dominion.

That was on my mind as I drove the half mile to my friend’s, with ax and gloves in the trunk.

We stood a good long time evaluating the critter’s condition. There was no blood or visible damage, but he was breathing very fast and shallow, moving only infrequently and without proper coordination, and he had been crying.

Then something happened that I’ve never seen before.

Two other squirrels, one small and young like this one, and a larger older female, took turns visiting the injured fellow, then slowly approaching us, coming within a foot or less, sometimes standing on back legs, looking intently at us, then running back to him. At first I backed away, fearing maybe they were guarding the injured one.

This happened several times, until eventually I realized they might actually be pleading with us to take action.

With that possibility in mind, and having satisfied ourselves of his desperate condition, we stepped up to our responsibility.

“You have made him (man) to have dominion over the works of Your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen – even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.”

Psalm 8:6-7

As similar, and sometimes apparently merciful, as it might seem, I do not support euthanizing humans or aborting less-than-perfect fetuses. Scripture is clear that dispatch dominion ends at the bright border of humanity, except for the limited sphere of government-controlled capital punishment. We are created in God’s image and our times are in His hands. He gives the breath of life, and it is solely His prerogative to take it back again.

Oh how I cried after burying that furry little fellow. Death hurts the dying and the living. But I took consolation in having fulfilled my calling as a thinking Christian woman by helping my fellow creature in his hour of need and exercising one important aspect of creation dominion.

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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Jun 062012

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of good books on leadership. This post doesn’t presume to improve on those, but simply to share a dream.

While investing a week at the Optimum Health Institute recently, (eating only raw food in proper combinations, drinking at least half my body weight in ounces of water and other fluids, juicing/drinking wheatgrass twice a day, colon cleansing, and other spiritual, mental/emotional and physical transformation practices), I remembered the following dream one morning.

A square-jawed, crew-cut, battle-scarred, muscular, seasoned old sargeant is in the face of a skinny, wide-eyed, fresh-out-of-the-box young officer barking gruffly, “You wanna be a great leader, Andy?!” (One of the founders of the church camp I attended as a child affectionately called me Andy as short for Anderson, but I never liked it because it was a boy’s name.)

The old Sarge continues without waiting for an answer, “it’s more than encouragement, character, and strength…ya gotta open doors for people!”

Then he swings open the metal gates and ushers herds of civilians through, barking, “Keep it movin! Keep it tight! Let’s go people, keep movin!”

I’ve thought about that scene alot since then. It makes so much sense. If a door that I want to enter is closed to me, and someone opens it and steps through ahead of me, I will follow them through, not necessarily because of their great leadership skills, but because they are making a way for me to go somewhere I want to go but haven’t been able to on my own for whatever reasons.

Jesus is our pathmaker to salvation and eternity. He has stepped through the open tomb door and invites us to follow.

To whatever degree I’m entrusted with leadership from this point forward, as a thinking Christian woman, I have purposed to remember that it’s mostly about opening doors for people, with a servant’s heart.

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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Apr 012012

Taking Disney Captive to Christ – No. 4

A famous Walt Disney quote is, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” After visiting Walt’s birthplace yesterday, I’m contemplating a new twist on that, reaching back even further – it all started with a house.

It is commonly thought that Walt Disney’s ancestors were French peasants from the cheese-making town of Isigny (ee-zee-nee).  In French, “from” is designated as “d”, thus the family was known as d’Isigny (dee-zee-nee). Later family members anglicized the name to Disney. Some of the family emigrated to around Lake Huron in Canada, where Walt’s father, Elias Disney, was born. Elias later moved to Kansas, where he became an American citizen.

In 1889, Elias moved his wife Flora and son Herbert to Chicago, where Elias enrolled in night school carpentry and discovered he had a knack for making furniture.

Elias soon earned enough making furniture to buy a 25 x 125′ plot on Tripp Avenue, in the Northwest suburb known as Hermosa. Flora drew the plans and Elias built the house. He did it so well, that he bought land next door and built and sold two more houses for a nice profit. Son Ray was born in 1890, and Roy in 1893 – the year of the Chicago World’s Fair (see previous post about the introduction of the Ferris Wheel at that fair). Elias made quite a bit of money through fair-related jobs.

The family became regular worshipers at St. Paul’s Congregational Church, and friends with the pastor, Reverend Walter Parr. Elias helped build a new church for the congregation, which was finished in 1900. Both Mrs. Disney and Mrs. Parr were with child in the spring of 1901. It has been said that there was such closeness and respect between the two families, that when Mrs. Disney’s boy was born on December 5, they named him Walter Elias (when Mrs. Parr’s boy was born, they also named him Walter Elias).

Walt Disney was born in the upstairs bedroom with the two windows.

Just before Christmas, Reverend Parr christened both boys, saying of Walt, “I baptize this child Walter Elias Disney in the name of the Lord God Almighty.”

Ruth Disney was born in 1903. As the Disney family grew, so did Chicago. The population boom brought saloons and increasing crime to Hermosa, so in 1906, when two local boys killed a policeman in a robbery, concerned father Elias sold the house and moved his young family to a farm in wholesome, rural Marceline, Missouri, where Walt spent the remainder of his childhood.

For even more information and pictures, check out Werner Weise’s Yesterland article entitled “Walt Disney In Chicago.”

Since you never know what great things God might want to start in your house, no matter how humble it may appear, the thinking Christian woman can resolve daily – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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I ran and I RAK – Happy Birthday!

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Mar 272012

This post is not about the countries of Iran and Iraq, as interesting and important as they are, but rather about two birthday gifts I’m celebrating today.

I ran – the gift of health

First off, I want to thank a dear friend who called to share the bible radio quiz with me this morning during my 2.75 miles (.25 for every 5 yrs of life) run. That conversation stimulated the thinking in this post.

Oh how happy, blessed, to be 55 and still able to enjoy running, senior women’s basketball, a standing desk, and so many other activities, without pain and without medication.

The state of one’s health is partly the result of life choices, but ultimately in God’s hands. I’m thanking Him for the state of health He’s entrusted me with today.

I RAK – the gift of giving

Luke the physician recorded Paul the apostle quoting Jesus the Christ in Acts 20:35, “You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.'” (that’s the Message version of “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”)

One translation of the Greek word “blessed” is “oh how happy,” so in that context, happy birthday could be thought of as blessed birthday. Once, when I worked in an office where the culture was to have cake and a celebration on one’s birthday, a friend suggested I might give something, rather than expect something, so I brought a rose for everyone in the office. It was much more fun to give than to receive.

This morning I posted a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) in the MouseWait Lounge (Mouse Wait is a great phone app that provides wait times and many other helpful resources related to the Disneyland Resort). In the Lounge, a RAK is a gift you give just because, and today I offered one in celebration of my birthday. It was another fun way to focus on giving rather than receiving.

When is your next birthday? As a Thinking Christian Woman, can you think of some fun ways to give more than you receive? If so, brace yourself for a very happy birthday!

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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Bonus Deo

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Feb 292012

What would you do with one more day?

For the first time in history, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are open 24 hours today in celebration of Leap Day. Event promoters posed the delightful question, “What would you do with One More Disney Day?”

Have you ever felt like you’ve been given bonus time?

If you’ve read the last few blog posts, you know about my dog Max. He really lived up to his name by achieving a maximum life. First thought he was near death around this time last year, so, as a temporary fix until I could get back home, put him on heart medicines. He faltered a couple times after that, and it could have been the end. Then, last fall he was bitten several times by a loose dog, but again, rebounded.

Every day with this maximum dog seemed like a bonus, and I was transformed living with this reality. I became more aware of him, spent more time with him and gave him more attention and affection. Over time, I became more habitually grateful.

Maybe you, like my sister, are a cancer survivor. Or maybe, like most of us, you’ve been involved in a near-miss on the highway.

One year ago this month, a giant eucalyptus crushed my best friend’s parked car. Just 2 minutes later and she would not have survived. In these past 365 days I have thanked God for her more than ever.

A few years ago I was visiting my mother. For various reasons, it had been very difficult to pack and say goodbye. I wanted to stay longer. At the last minute, weather cancelled hundreds of flights, and I was blessed with 3 more days in my beloved home town. I really made hay with that extra time, accomplishing many things important to me.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

God is an abundant God – our “Bonus” Deo!

Since we never know which day may be our last, how are you, as a Thinking Christian Woman, making the most of each of your “bonus days” until you go to Him, or He comes for you…one of these days?!

 © 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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Feb 242012

I recently used a friend’s shopping bag that was printed all over with one-liners like “live in the moment,” “dance, sing, floss and travel,” “listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.” One in particular piqued my interest.

Do one thing a day that scares you!

As a conservative adventurer, I thought about what would be quick, convenient, safe and still stretch my comfort level. It so happened I was at the property where my old dog’s grave had been dug months before. Max had defied death, and was with me that day as I contemplated the gaping hole, covered with boards, which waited patiently for the inevitable.

Scare-factors: deep hole intended as a grave (that’s creepy all by itself), there might be bugs or worse, and getting back out wasn’t a sure thing – yep, that would do! Without much deliberation (no time to talk myself out of such a strange idea), I hopped in. Ground level was about at my shoulders. Crouching highlighted the profound stillness. I could see the walking world, but no longer felt part of it. And above all, my dear dog, for whom this space was lovingly reserved, gazed down quizzically.

All of a sudden I realized that this somewhat impetuous mini-adventure had formed a sweet bridge between life and death. Looking up at Max, I realized that one day soon I would be looking down and saying goodbye, but for now, it seemed like I was making the space a little more friendly by my presence.

Didn’t Jesus go to the cross, the tomb and beyond for us? Didn’t our victorious predecessor friend take the sting out of death for us? What I did was nothing like that, but somehow it seemed to help soften the eery edge of my companion’s imminent death.

And something else – from that lowly perspective, everything that I cared about and wanted to return to was above.

I play senior women’s basketball and a team member recently mentioned that she likes to play basketball because, “you look up a lot.” I’d never thought about that before, but it’s true!

There are certainly times to bow in reverence to God, but we are also urged, at appropriate times, to look up.

  • Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2
  • And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them. Matthew 14:19
  • …looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2

While it was fun to try something “scary,” and the exercise yielded insights, in general, I don’t recommend taking life cues from a shopping bag. The Good Book is, of course, unequaled as a rich source of life-giving stories, examples, proverbs, axioms, maxims, aphorisms and adages for the Thinking Christian Woman whose life is looking up!

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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Feb 012012

My dear old boxer friend Max died this afternoon. He lived a good long life and entered the big sleep gently and with dignity. Several weeks ago, a friend encouraged me to ponder the lessons God has been teaching through this great companion, which continues to be a God-glorifying exercise. Here now, for your consideration, is a sampling of:

Lessons Learned with Mr. Max

“Look to the animals, and they will teach you…” Job 12:7

  1. Be willing to lay your life down for your friends
  2. Communicate, even if it means tipping over your toy box
  3. Know your job and do it. Stay focused
  4. Choose friends wisely. Pour your life into a few select souls
  5. Greet loved ones enthusiastically
  6. Walk guests to the gate
  7. Growl before you bark
  8. Don’t beg
  9. Learn and honor others’ boundaries
  10. Open your heart to the love around you
  11. If you have a choice between drinking from your bowl, or the pond, choose the pond
  12. Some of the best communications have no words
  13. Accept and embrace others with your eyes
  14. Find out where the doggie door is and learn to use it
  15. Home is where your loved one’s are
  16. Just when you think you’ve reached the end, there might be more.
  17. Lose yourself for awhile in something wholesome you enjoy
  18. Don’t jump on people
  19. Get out in the sun at least 10 minutes every day
  20. Don’t try to force others to do what you want, even if you can
  21. Respect authority; rest in it.
  22. Be ready to play at a moment’s notice
  23. Sit. Staaaayyyy. Love waits patiently
  24. Take a nap when you need one
  25. On a leash, you’re free from the pressure of deciding where to go
  26. Cats are more fun to chase than to catch
  27. Ask for what you want, then be grateful for what you get
  28. Be content to stay in your own yard
  29. Never give up. Defy the odds
  30. When you’re happy, wag all over

On this occasion, as possibly less of a thinking Christian woman, and more of a grieving Christian woman, I’ve taken the liberty of modifying a poem called The Last Battle, and am dedicating it to Mr. Max, in case it might help someone else with a terminally ill pet.

With Love and Thanks

If it should be that I grow weak, too tired to play, too pained to sleep, then you will do what must be done, I’m trusting you, you are the one.

You’ll be sad I understand, but don’t let grief restrain your hand, for on this day, more than the rest, I need your love to stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years, I understand your aching tears, but don’t ask me to suffer so, just please, do this and help me go.

Take me where my needs they’ll tend, and stay with me until the end. Your scent, your sound, your eyes, your touch will comfort me so very much.

Please hold me firm and speak to me, until my eyes no longer see. I know in time that you’ll agree, it’s one more kindness that you’ve done for me.

Although my tail has waved its last, all pain and suffering now is past. Great Master, I pray her soul You’ll lift – good life, good death such precious gifts.

Don’t grieve too much it fell to you, this sad and painful thing to do; we’ve been so close these many years, my love and thanks flow with your tears.

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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Jan 232012

There’s a pet store in my neighborhood whose proprietors appear to have chosen a lifestyle I don’t agree with. I never felt comfortable there, so for many years did business elsewhere.

After my dog was attacked (see Bitten by the postal carrier’s dog) and refused food (and therefore heart meds), I found myself stopping in for something to spark his interest.

One clerk in particular went out of his way to suggest treats and food like canned turkey and canned pumpkin, opening packages and giving me free samples of dehydrated food and tasty bits to offer. As a direct result of this extravagant kindness, my dog started eating.

In recognition of such exemplary service, I dropped off a coffee house gift card with a note:

Dear Ray,

Thanks so much for your kind compassion when I came in looking for things that my sick old dog Max (who, on top of everything, had been bitten by a loose dog) would eat.

He’s doing much better now, by the way.

It’s so rare to find merchants who are so genuinely concerned and motivated to help.

The Good Book says, “A righteous man regards the life of his animal…” (Proverb 12:10) thanks for helping me do that for Max!

God bless!

I wasn’t sure about including scripture, not wanting to offend, but in the end felt led to do it. Imagine my surprise returning to the store a week or so later, and seeing the note displayed on a pillar right by the register for all to see!

In that moment, as a thinking Christian woman, I realized I had vastly underestimated the spiritual sensibilities of these shopkeepers. They had embodied the spirit of Proverb 12:10 so much that they were willing to display it in their store! What a treat to be surprised by such a display of righteousness. Glory to God!

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
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