Monday, February 22, 2010

Escaping The Storm

Earlier this summer when Dean and Brenda Rummel were traveling from Colorado to their home north of Kendallville, Indiana, they took a new route to avoid Chicago's traffic and potholes.

Dean is a real estate agent and Brenda is principal of Prairie Heights Middle School. Their motorcycle trips have taken them to every state except Alaska and Hawaii. However, on this trip, their motorcycle broke down in the middle of nowhere -- but really they were in just the right place.

The breakdown led to numerous new friendships. Terry and Pat Svetlecich brought them back home in their motor home and pulled the motorcycle on a trailer. They even dropped the bike off at a Honda shop.

"That's just me," Terry told the Morris newspaper. "Isn't that what you're supposed to do?"

In return, the Rummels insisted their new friends stay the night in Indiana and made them a home-cooked meal.

The Morris, Illinois, newspaper wrote about the Rummels' experience because Brenda sent a thank you note to the community. People who read her letter to the editor asked the newspaper to tell the rest of the story.

I found out about the story through a random Google e-mail alert.

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I called Dean and Brenda and told them I had read about them online in the Morris newspaper. They had not seen the article. Then Dean shared with me another story from the same remarkable journey.

The day before their breakdown they were whizzing through Iowa on I-80. Surprisingly, the low fuel light went on. Dean knew he shouldn't be low on fuel, but he also knew he couldn't ignore it. There weren't many places to get fuel so he got off at the nearest exit and found a gas station.

When he "filled up" he found out the tank would only take about three gallons. It confirmed what he thought and the gas level was not low.

A shove on his shoulder made him turn around. It was a woman who seemed to have come out of nowhere.

"There's a storm coming. Power lines will come down. High winds," she said. "Get off the road."

Dean and Brenda were startled. The sky at the gas station was clear. There was no storm in sight. They did not understand the woman's concern and they decided to continue on I-80 to their destination 100 miles away.

The woman's tone was urgent.

"Folks, get off the road," she repeated. "Get off the road! There's a bad storm coming!"

The woman's persistence and her urgent tone made Dean change his mind and head for Iowa City, 12 miles away.

As they sped toward Iowa City, storm clouds suddenly popped up. They increased their speed, racing toward Iowa City. With every passing moment the sky became more threatening. They found a hotel and quickly checked in.

The minute they shut the door behind them, the storm struck with fury. Raging winds threw tree limbs across the road. The storm was so strong that the electricity went out for 2-1/2 hours.

Escaping the storm's fury seemed like a miracle.

Looking back, Dean believes the woman who warned them and then disappeared must have been an angel.

~ Grace Housholder ~

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Angel Penny

A few years ago I was involved in a Religious Encounter Weekend. These weekends provide many things to many people. To some, it may be an affirmation of their faith, -- to others, it's just the beginning of their journey in Faith. A chance to start over or find a way to forgive someone or have their first true relationship with Christ.

At these events there are many people involved on different levels. I had attended the previous year as a candidate. This year I had been asked to be a table leader, which only meant that I would help guide conversation, and keep everyone involved.

In the weeks prior to the event we attended Sunday night meetings where we heard various talks on different aspects of faith and how we can apply faith in our own lives.

At the close of the first meeting we gathered in a circle, held hands, bowed our heads and said, "The Lord's Prayer." As we were praying I felt another hand over the top of ours with the woman to my right. It was gentle, but firm. I had my eyes shut and I wasn't about to open them. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I didn't have to question WHAT it was, I KNEW.

After we finished our prayer I looked over to her and introduced myself as she and I had never been formally introduced. Then I had to ask if she noticed anything while we were praying. Patti replied, "You mean our hands?" She felt it, too! We both had tears in our eyes. What an incredible moment. But, it doesn't end here.

You see, prior to attending this function I had felt some distance within my heart regarding my relationship to Christ. I've never doubted His existence, but I felt that I wasn't as close as I had longed to be. The day I asked Jesus to come into my heart and be born again was a day and a memory I could not, nor would I ever choose to forget. That feeling just wasn't as strong within me. In a way, I felt lost and abandoned. I knew that wasn't God's choice, it was something within myself.

I had been praying fiercely for God to show me a sign. I know, many people believe you shouldn't ask for signs but I've never had a problem asking and I never will. God has shown me many things through this.

Moving on ... the weekend of our event arrived. Over 60 candidates were scheduled to attend -- many of them for the first time. This begins on a Friday evening around 7 and closes late Sunday afternoon. We stayed in a former catholic church convent. The setting is perfect, and you can feel God's love all about.

On Saturday morning, Patti was giving a talk on Ideals. She correlated Ideals with reaching for goals. And with this she associated reaching for goals like being able to reach toward the stars in heaven.

As she closed her speech she asked that someone from each group of round tables open a cloth bag in the center of each table. The gal to my right opened ours and passed it along to her right. There were 6-8 people sitting at each table. As the bag came around to the woman on my left she pulled out the last two remaining pieces. Everyone at each table had receive a penny with a STAR shape punched out of it. However, when I was handed the last penny from our bag I looked down and mine was not a STAR but an ANGEL. (I also collect Angels and I truly believe in them.)

Later on Patti approached me. She explained that when she received her order of pennies she had indeed received in error 3 pennies that had ANGELS punched out, not STARS. She was hoping she would have enough STAR pennies to go around. So, she went to look in a small box as she had brought along the ANGEL pennies just in case she didn't have enough of the others. Guess what -- lo and behold, she found she still had her 3 ANGEL coins. She had searched through each coin one by one so as not to give an ANGEL in error. This was my affirmation that indeed Patti and I had held hands directly with our Heavenly Father and it was incredible!

I'll cherish this special moment with Christ forever. My ANGEL penny is now mounted in a coin pendant holder and I wear it often.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I learned to live

"You know I almost died once," he said.

"Really? What happened?" I asked.

"Nothing!" he said. "Except I learned to live."

We create what we want in our lives. I am sure you've heard it all before. "What you think about the most manifests in your life." "You reap what you sow." "If you believe it you can achieve it."

Out of all the principles of success and happiness, that one singular concept is the absolute truth. It is the key to all success in life.

But it can also be the key to failure and even death.

Pete is a friend of mine. One of those people you call "friend" but you really don't know everything about them. Just when you think you have him figured out, he tells you something completely surprising. Something even brilliant.

"Did I ever tell you about the time I thought I was going to die?" he asked.

"No, I don't think I heard that one," I replied.

"In reality I almost caused my death. You see I went through a period in my life when it seemed everything went wrong physically. It seemed to be one thing after another. Some of the things were identifiable. The doctor knew just what to do and he did it. But he had "concerns", as he put it. It was those concerns that nearly killed me," he said.

Pete is one of those people who are rarely serious. I mean, it's not that he tells jokes all the time, he's just happy. So hearing and seeing this side really caught my attention.

"Bob, I went through a series of tests that started me on a down hill slide. One after another revealed more and more possibilities. It was like when you take your car in because you hear a noise and the mechanic tells you, "It could be any number of things. It could cost you fifty bucks or we may need to drop your engine. Now you're talk big bucks." What is it that always happens? It costs you big bucks."

"Boy I can relate to that," I told him.

"Well, because of that belief system, the facts were staring me in the face. This was the end of my life," he said.

"What do you think happened to me? My whole world came to a halt. I became depressed. The world looked dark and gloomy. The more I thought that way, the more it became a reality. I was in fact creating the world I imagined. I became so physically sick and mentally depressed thinking that I was going to die, that I was in fact dying. My body suffered terribly. So much so that I ended up in the hospital malnourished and depressed."

"So what changed you? What did you do to turn things around?" I asked.

"A young man. A teen who had been in a car accident. He must of had every bone in his body broken. His face was so badly damaged that they operated on him at least a dozen times. When I was in the hospital I met him. One day he asked me what was wrong with me and I couldn't explain it. I kept saying "they aren't sure."

He said, "Well that's stupid. How can you fix something that isn't broken? Now me, I had a lot of fixing 'cause everything was broken. The only thing that wasn't broken was my will to live."

Pete stopped for a moment and just looked around.

"That's what was broken on me. My will to live. I had chosen to believe that I was dying and so I created it. I made it a reality. It was the one thing that all the doctors in the world couldn't fix. It was the one thing, the ultimate thing, that only I was in control of. It was the answer."

"So what happened to this young man?" I asked.

"He went on to college, graduated and owns his own company. He teaches safety in the work place to large corporations around the world. And from what I understand he tells his story to high school students as a way of giving something back."

"And you my friend? How did you ever pull out of it?" I asked.

"I willed it to be so. The very next day I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom and had a good talk with the guy I knew was inside. We both agreed that life was too precious to waste. I made up this phrase and hung it every where I lived."

He reached in his wallet and handed me a note that read:

"Today I take control of my life. I will permit nothing to interfere with my full enjoyment of each and every moment that God has granted me. I am deserving of all the joy and happiness that this day has to offer. There is nothing that God and I can't accomplish. I will nourish my body with the best and purest food. I will nourish my mind with nothing but the most positive thoughts. I will feed my soul the Word of God and know that when my time on this earth is over I will have lived purely, fully and faithfully."

So what life have you created? Are you living fully or dying slowly?

Begin to live again. Take control of your life

"The only thing that wasn't broken was my will to live!" he said.

"Learn to Live!"

~ Bob Perks ~