Beautiful Niagara!

You know, God is GOOD! I remember thinking many years ago that I wanted to retire “young” and then travel. Lo’ and behold, I have done just that (thank you, Lord!) I have been many places and there are so many more on my list! This year, I have managed to take a ‘short’ trip each month, to places within one day’s driving distance. (For me, that means 18 hours or less J )

This week I decided to go back and revisit a place that I have always loved and haven’t been to in about fifteen years. So, bag packed, reservations made, car filled, I headed off to Niagara Falls. Perfect timing, too! The temperatures at home climbed into the triple digits as I basked in seventy and eighty degree weather in beautiful Canada.

Canadians are friendly, courteous, and very helpful. I enjoyed my time away and took just as much pleasure in crossing the border back into the USA. There really is nothing like hearing the border guard say “Welcome Home!”   J   J   J

The falls were beautiful, as always. But they were also different. This was my third trip to the falls and I don’t think I will be going back. Over the years, the U.S. has, on multiple occasions, diverted much of the water that goes over the falls to other uses, limiting erosion, so I’m told, and creating power. The U.S. does not put that water back. The gallon-flow over the falls continues to decrease and what was once a majestic sight is a little less so.

This time, I could see the rock ledge over which the water drops quite clearly. That was not the case on my last visit. What the picture can’t convey is the sound, which has also diminished. What was once a deafening roar of water when standing above the falls, is no longer so. Oh, it is still noisy, but nothing to compare with trying to hear your companions because of the noise. It is still a beautiful sight, to be sure, but it isn’t how God made it. Man has intervened. Gone is the majesty and in its place are pretty falls and unattractive touristy things – like zip-lines and casinos and stores, music and restaurants.

 

I confess I was saddened by it all. In fact, I brooded about it for quite a while that first evening. And then, as if a light bulb flicked on in my mind, the thought came to me: “Man is always trying to improve on what God has done. And never succeeds.” Along with that thought came a sense that I should apply that to my own life. God has created each of us a unique creatures endowed with unique gifts to reach people that only we can reach.

The person who bemoans being too short or too tall or too skinny or too fat or too bald or too dark or too light or tooo, toooo, tooooo anything is forgetting about the One who made them. The tall person is that height so that at the appointed time and place they will be looking eye-to-eye with their divine appointment. Skinny people cannot understand and therefore will never be in true intimate fellowship with a fat person, and vice-versa. Old people need other old people. Young people need other young people. And on, and on, and on.

So what did I take away from all of this? Just this: I will no longer look in the mirror and catalogue my faults or things I would like to see changed. God made me just right for what He wants to do, and that’s okay with me!

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Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!
Whew! It is 10:00 a.m. and already 84 degrees. The humidity is high, and I have spent the last 45 minutes OUTSIDE and IN THE ATTIC, looking for reasons (with the help of my friends) for why my air conditioner is working overtime. It ran for 10 hours yesterday non-stop, and since it is a relatively new unit, the reasons for it working so hard when the thermostat is set at 76 degrees is a bit of a mystery.

Well, we looked in the attic, and everything looks fine, insulation wise. Then out to the external unit, where it appeared to be running just fine, not straining, and cooling as expected. However, my friends think the coils are too dirty, and so for 20 minutes we cleaned the coils with a hose and sprayer. Amazing how dirty they were! I have no idea if that will help, but I am now safely, coolly, back inside watching the thermometer outside rise.

I don’t really expect it to do anything else. After all, it’s Independence Day! A day of celebrations: picnics, pools, sunshine, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, baseball and fireworks. In this one day, in the middle of summer, the USA takes the day off and celebrates our independence with a little bit of everything that is America. And in the horrid heat that engulfs the nation this time of year, we play outside and rejoice in our freedom and in one another.

Independence. That’s a pretty sweet word. In fact, it is a word that symbolizes the deepest desire of every living soul. Independence. Autonomy. Liberation. Freedom. Individuality. These words symbolize the United States of America – a nation established by invading immigrants, which has welcomed with open arms anyone from around the world who desired to become part of our free nation. For two centuries, the USA was a melting pot – a stew created from people who were born here and who came here from all over the world. The one thing they all had in common was a desire to be free, and so they came together, united in their belief that we could all live together in freedom and peace, and passionate in their defense of those rights for others.

Over the past thirty years, the heart of the USA has changed. It has become politically incorrect to celebrate individuality, autonomy, freedom and independence. We are no longer a melting pot of individuals striving for a common goal. We are now a salad, made up of immigrants who have come to this nation wanting to partake of our abundance and blessings without assimilating into our society. Each segment (ingredient) wishes to retain its own flavor – its own culture – while trying to change the existing culture of the USA. And they are succeeding.

Gone are the days of free speech. Gone are the days of freedom OF religion (not FROM religion). Going are the days of the right to keep and bear arms. Our freedoms, established by our founding fathers, are being eroded one by one.

This Independence Day, as we reflect on what was created by our founding fathers — on the lives of the men and women who stood against all aggression; the soldiers who fought on this soil and on foreign soil in defense of freedom and liberty; on our proud (if somewhat spotted) heritage — let us reflect with overwhelming gratitude on the greatest freedom of all – the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. No matter what happens to or in this nation, we can have that blessed assurance that we are held in His hands, and that He has prepared a place for us for all eternity – WITH HIM!

May your Independence Day reflect the true freedom you have in Christ Jesus!