The Fabulous Plane Ride

 

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My darling nieces and our jet.

British Airways is one of the best,” my friend told me when I shared about my forthcoming trip. So I had high expectations. And I wasn’t disappointed. Of course, it probably helped that I was already one of the happiest people in the world at the time of boarding. However, there were some truly nice things that I noticed about the airline.

 

Professionalism. There is something to it. Neatly dressed staff that appear rested bolster one’s confidence when boarding a flying tube of metal destined to fly thousands of feet above the ground. My husband and I flew domestically on Delta later in September and I was rather unnerved when the attendant at the entrance to board us came to work with hher shirt untucked and her hair askew. At that moment I felt retroactively thankful for the tidy Brits who welcomed me onto their giant plane a month earlier.

I haven’t been on a plane for years. My nieces and I oohed and ahhed as we passed a  flight of stairs leading to the plane’s SECOND STORY–which we weren’t on. We squeezed our way down the aisle into our economy seats which, to our delight, had built-in head supports on either side! I still used my neck pillow but for people who forgot theirs, these head supports must have been life-savers.

You can imagine my delight when the stewardess came by and offered us a cup of tea. Yes, this was really happening. I really was heading to the British Isles! What further proof did I need?

We left at 4:30 pm and arrived at 11am in London so we passed the night in the air. However, even though I knew that I SHOULD sleep it was hard to when I had had access to movies, music, and a cool screen that showed me just what part of the northern hemisphere I was over in real-time. I think one of my nieces didn’t slept at all!

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I took advantage of the chance to watch La-la Land

At this point I would like to issue a fair warning: you will see frequent shameless tourist photos of quite ordinary things.

So I don’t know what this says about me, but I found the airline food DELICIOUS! It seems like most people roll their eyes when they talk about airline food, but British Airways did a fantastic job! They served curry chicken, tea, a salad, a roll with butter, and a delicious cheesecake. I expected it to be ho-hum but it was much better than that! Of course, not having to cook the food added its own charm to the experience.

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The flight lasted around 11 hours, so after I finished a movie and my dinner, I decided to try to get some zzzzz’s.  Things that helped on the flight: ear plugs, an eye mask, a neck pillow, a dose of Dramamine that I took before the flight as a pre-emptive strike against air-sickness, and comfortable warm clothes.

We touched down with just a little wobble. Dad had requested a wheelchair and British Airways had a chair ready and along with a guide to help us navigate the small city that is Heathrow Airport. We all breathed a sigh of relief to have our luggage safely in hand once more.

Here we are, on the bonnie shores of England– tired, excited, and well-fed.

 

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My fam after a great plane ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK Tour? I don’t think I heard you right…?

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At the Scottish border. They say that piper has been there for 50 years! Eccentric or smart? You decide.

Great Scotland Yard! That’s a phrase my kids are familiar with around here. I usually say it when a shelf crashes down or my car has rolled out of the driveway. But it resonated off the walls in May of 2107 when my parents invited me to “help” them on their journey with 2 grandchildren on a “Kilts and Castles” tour of the United Kingdom. Uh, what? In .25 seconds I was in line at the passport office.

Have you ever heard heaven chuckle? I have. The summer of 2017 was supposed to be vacation-less. I had given up on trying to corral my young adults, teenagers, and devoted businessman into the same location at the same time on a trip they all would feel enthusiastic about. You would need the intelligence and ferocity of a border collie for that job and I only have a cockapoo. Oliver

So irony of ironies, this summer I would travel farther and longer from home than I ever had before.

I did a little research, ordered pre-loaded Oyster cards, downloaded CityMapper, and watched a YouTube video on packing a suitcase. (Yes, I did.) Ok. I did a little more prep than that. But I’ll sprinkle all the things I discovered about what worked and what didn’t throughout this little travelogue. On July 31st, I packed my suitcase for real and headed to my parents’ home. 20170730_154929

For a girl whose biggest drive is usually up and down the 99, navigating the trip to San Fransisco was an adventure in itself. But we made it.  Dad opted to pay for long-term parking at Anzac. They are cheerful and helpful folks. We were shuttled over to the airport with fabulous efficiency.

Everything worked smoothly…until security. The instant we were in the line, tensions ratcheted up. Maybe it is part of the plan. After all, if personnel look angry and serious, a terrorist might just change their minds. Right? Anyhow, the homeland security dog was amusing. Nothing seemed to arouse suspicion although I felt sorry for the poor man whose derriere the dog decided he must investigate.

At the scanning stations, I was surprised that my nieces and I passed right through. We had to wait a little while my parents were patted down, scanned, and wanded. Eventually, we were all reunited. Come to think of it, airport security is probably the only time you will ever see a line of ladies waiting for their men to finish dressing. I should have snapped a picture.

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Dad looks like HE’S the one who got the accidental kale salad.

When we were all through, we could relax again. We found our gate and then the nearest spot to grab a late lunch. My food was delicious. Mom got more greens than she bargained for with a kale-infused Caesar salad. But it was good for her.

The next adventure would be the flight.

 

Your Blessed Work

lightstock_81604_xsmall_elizabethIt’s really easy to get mired down in the day to day work of life and lose sight of the blessedness of being called to work for the Lord. Our work differs, but whatever it is, it’s an honor to be called–to be entrusted with a job for His kingdom. Matthew Henry reminded me of this in his commentary of Ecclesiastes 1.

“…a commission is a tacit pardon. Christ sufficiently testifies his forgiving Peter by committing his lambs and sheep to his trust. “

The work He gives us testifies to our belonging to Him. That can give us great joy in our day to day endeavors. Undoubtedly, Satan wants us to doubt our happy reconciliation with the Lord and the importance of our obedience. Rejoice that we have for this moment, work to do, while it is day! We have the privilege to serve our Redeemer, the Lover of our Souls.

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ ” John 21:15

 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” John 15:15

“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” 1 John 3:23

 

With All My Mind

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How crowded is your mental space? It is so easy to fill quiet moments with a podcast, music, or a show.  I’ve begun to question whether I am spending so much time taking in information that I am not leaving room for my mind to ponder, to wonder, to pray, to praise, and to have the necessary space to be creative. Pondering, wondering, praying to God, praising God, and creating are all activities that a constant stream of media is slowly marginalizing in my life.

But it’s so eeeasy.

Kinda like being sedentary. It’s easy but the results are decreased health and well-being. It’s a rather fearsome thought to consider that while I may be busy on the outside, on the inside I am becoming flaccid.

Taking in information is a largely passive process. Doesn’t it often become our default activity when we find ourselves alone or bored? Media input can also fill a more insidious role when we use it to escape from real problems–which robs us of the emotional and spiritual growth that comes with working through challenges.

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Matthew 22:37

So here’s a sobering question…. Are my media consumption habits curtailing my fruitfulness? After all, I only have one life here on earth. As the younger set like to say….YOLO. After that, I will appear before the Lord to receive from him my “due for deeds done in the body, whether good or evil.”

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

I’ll never forget a plaque hanging on my neighbor’s wall when I was a child that just about made my pigtails stand on end. “Only one life will soon be past only what’s done for Christ will last.” I hadn’t really thought about the brevity of life at that point. I went home that day a more serious child.

And it’s ok to take how we live seriously, as we are told in Philippians 2.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

God has given us all good things–we need to enjoy them responsibly. Whether it’s food, sex, or entertainment, the Christian needs to bring all things under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

His Word tells us not to eat or drink in excess. It tells us sex is to be enjoyed within marriage. But what about entertainment…sports, newcasts (yes, that’s enjoyable for some of us), music, shows, etc?

I think it’s safe to say that if we aren’t finding the time to pray, meditate or read His Word, we have not devoted enough of our mental space to Him and are most likely crowding it with other things.

The key to fixing it? Ask. Ask Him where to change. Listen for the still, small voice that tells you to unplug for a while. And don’t ask like the rich, young ruler who walked away sad because He couldn’t give up what Christ asked him to.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

My mind is pretty full…somewhat like a garage before the annual yard sale. But a few nights ago I heard a still, small voice ask me to unplug. So I did. And I heard Him, And a prayer for a friend rose from my heart. And I’m really glad I did.

 

Cyber Book Club: Chapter 15–A Separation and a Purge

 

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer–1944

Faithful Christians like Bonhoeffer tried desperately to free the German church from Nazi control but to no avail. Eventually, the moment no one wanted to see, arrived. On June 4th a group of Christians announced in the Barmen Delaration their separation from the Reichskirche.

On June 4— again, thanks to Bishop Bell and Bonhoeffer— the full text of the Barmen Declaration was published in the London Times. It was incendiary, announcing to the world that a group of Christians in Germany had officially and publicly declared their independence from the Nazified Reichskirche. When one read it, it was easy to understand why they had done so.

Metaxas, Eric (2010-04-20). Bonhoeffer: A Biography (p. 226). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

We must shake off our fear of this world— the cause of Christ is at stake, and are we to be found sleeping? . . . Christ is looking down at us and asking whether there is anyone left who confesses faith in him.

Metaxas, Eric (2010-04-20). Bonhoeffer: A Biography (p. 219). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

 

Only a few weeks later, Hilter would enact his “Night of the Long Knives”–an action that must surely have trebled the mounting sense of desperation among Christian Germans.

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Not even Ernst Rohm, one of Hitler’s top servants, escaped the purge.

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. on “The Shack”

rodin-thinker-detail-upper-body-right-side-landscape-viewBy Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. The publishing world sees very few books reach blockbuster status, but William Paul Young’s The Shack has now exceeded even that. The book, originally self-published The publishing world sees very few books reach blockbuster status, but William Paul Young’s The Shack has now exceeded even that. The book, originally […]

via The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment — bonhoefferblog