"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thank God for Warm Ovens

Well, just when I thought my consistently inconsistent furnace had been repaired, I realize that the 'inconsistent' shined.  Yup, it was just a temporary fix.  I had been so very excited to come home to a nice, cozy and warm home, that I practically forgot that it had actually been freezing cold less than 24 hours earlier.  Funny how quickly we forget.  Anyway, after putting a chicken in the oven, getting my 'American Idol' fix, and chillaxing while writing yesterday's blog entry, I thought I would read a bit before going to bed.  I was totally, physically and mentally exhausted.  Ah hum....I was also getting a bit chilly.

Not to be deterred, after finishing a few mundane tasks, I snuggled beneath my blankets to finish my book.  Of  course, I suddenly remembered I needed to fix my lunch for today. So, I got up, (for the first time, I may add) packed it, and returned to bed.  I was still feeling a little chilly.  I had left the oven door open to utilize the heat from roasting the chicken earlier.  Ah...but then I remembered that I was supposed to bring a certain CD to work tomorrow; one that I had borrowed and the owner needed it by Friday. So, again, I got up and searched everywhere for it.  OK, I didn't search everywhere, because if I had, I would have found it.  And I  didn't.  Well, that took quite a while.  

Again, I noticed that the thermostat numbers were steadily declining. Woah!  Wasn't it just working a little while ago?  I mean, didn't I just get it totally fixed?  Realizing it was bedtime and I couldn't really call anyone this late anyway, I settled under the covers and prayed.  And prayed and prayed until I fell asleep.  How quickly I forgot about the thermostat and drifted off.  But then...I awoke around 3:00 am.  I should say that I was awakened by my large, freezing cold dog jumping in my bed.  He so knows better, but considering the circumstances (meaning, he wasn't begging to be let outside into the sub zero temperatures), I let him stay. Almost anything is a welcome distraction from getting up, putting on my robe and slippers, and going outside to tie up my dog--all the while waiting at the back door for him to dutifully return to the porch to be let in--that is, assuming he really had to ummmmmm you know what, and not just run around chasing tired squirrels.  

It was then that I noticed just hold cold my house was.  Yup, it was borderline freezing in here--about 55 degrees. OK, I understand that it may not sound that cold, but goodness, I was freezing.  So....I did what any exhausted, frustrated, cold woman would do in this situation (No, I didn't wake my husband because I am not married, and no, I didn't wake my teenage son because if he had known how to fix the furnace, it would have been fixed already.  Hello?), I took a comforter from another bedroom, put socks on my feet and snuggled back under the blankets.  Well, I couldn't actually snuggle because it was so cold, but I  seriously tried.  I felt like a bear getting ready to hibernate--I had so many blankets on.  Oh yeah, and I prayed.  Just when I thought I was done praying, I prayed some more until I eventually fell asleep.

Around 5:15 am, my childrens's high school called to let us know that there would be a two hour delay, due to extreme sub zero temperatures.  I wondered if the Principal had been camping out in my living room and she was just so cold that she couldn't get herself ready for school.  Anyway, I was now officially awake for the day.  Well, not really.  My eyes were open, but I wasn't quite awake.  I had to check to ensure there weren't any icicles hanging from the doorways, no ice on the floors, or snow in my slippers before I could even get out of my relatively warm bed.  Even the blankets were becoming cold.  The temperature was zeroing  in on the 53 degree mark and falling. I even wanted to go work out at work just so I could get warm.  You know I'm cold when I actually want to work out at 5:00 a.m.  I mean, what normal person really wants that?  Not me, and I consider myself to be relatively normal.

All I could think of was warmth, heat, sunshine.  I tried doing the jumping jack thing to get my blood moving, but at that hour, my blood just wouldn't move.  It was an innate part of me, and I just don't move at that hour.  I turned on the oven and sat by it, all the while thinking up an exit plan.  Even the dogs were cold. Domino never even jumped off my bed, and poor Sam, arthritic Sam, aging Sam, was laying awake on Domino's dog bed. Neither even wanted to be let outside.  Ordinarily, they do a wild, 'Mom's awake' dance and begin running in circles the moment my feet hit the floor, but not today.  Nope.  Even they knew that everyone should be sleeping in a warm bed at that hour. I thought of taking a nice hot shower, but then I also thought that about the potential for icicles developing in my wet hair once I exited the warm drenching was quite high.  Instead, I ended up turning off the kitchen lights (I had turned them on so I could see to make a pot of steaming, fresh coffee) and dressing for work right next to the stove.  It really 'twas my only option.

Then, I broke down and texted my friend.  Sure enough, he came right over and worked his magic.  The temperature started rising, and I actually started thawing.  I continued to wear my coat and gloves while I poured my coffee, finished packing my lunch, getting my things together and heading out the door for work.  No working out  at the gym this morning.  I was totally mentally and physically exhausted.  I knew that it would be warm at work, and I was just happy to leave.  Thank God, my friend was able to temporarily fix the furnace.  But....now I really needed to find an inexpensive furnace repairman so that I wouldn't be going through the roller coaster rounds of "Will my house be warm, or will my house be cold today?"  

So....I went to where everyone seems to go these days.....Facebook.  I posted a status asking for recommendations for a good furnace repair guy.  Sure enough, my girlfriend, Kathy, (who is currently in Chicago on business), recommended Mauders in Millbury. I was so thankful to be at work, in the warmth of my office, with the sun shining through the window, and the paint fumes from the painters painting the entire fifth floor (Oh wait!  That's another story)  that I actually forgot to call them until late afternoon. A guy in a truck came immediately.  He worked on my furnace for two hours, and of course, my furnace was behaving perfectly.  I told him it's like taking your ever stalling, clanking, rattling vehicle to the mechanic, and suddenly it drives and sounds perfectly.  For him, that is.  I was beginning to think that my inanimate objects had preferences in personalities, and I wasn't at the top of their listings.  While talking with Gary, from Mauders, he showed me various things about a furnace that I apparently needed to know but never had the guts to ask.   How was I supposed to know I could use a 1" filter in a 5" slot, and it wouldn't make any difference.  The only reason I cared was because he was saving me some money with his suggestions.  Otherwise, I may have been better off not knowing.

When all was said and done, Gary, charged me $49.95 for the diagnostic call (I  prefer to call it a 'house call,' but Gary preferred the term 'diagnostic call'), and only $20.00 for the two hours of labor, parts, and keeping me company.  Oh wait!  I was keeping him company, or something like that. I couldn't believe it!  Then, he cinched my impression of him by saying if anything happens and my furnace decides to take a leave of absence or my house decides to return to Alaskan temperatures, within a reasonable amount of time, he'll return free of charge.  Wow! Kathy had definitely given me a great recommendation.

I got to thinking about how I so totally take warmth for granted and how things can change in an instant.  I mean, one minute I'm snug as a bug in a rug, and the next, even a hat, coat and gloves can't keep me warm.  One minute I'm stressing over the potential price of a two hour house call, and the next I'm so happy that it was beyond reasonable.  Things can definitely change in the blink of an eye around here.

There isn't even one evening that I go to bed and don't check my alarm clock  less than three or four times.  I know that once I fall asleep, literally in the blink of an eye, I could oversleep for something even 7 hours later.  Just one blink.  Like yesterday, when my dog, Domino, made a beeline for the front yard, it was literally in an instant. Like last June 5, we were outside celebrating Joy's high school graduation, with hundreds of people passing through our home that day, and almost instantaneously everyone's world changed.  Our center was shaken, and the party was over.  Yes, a tornado struck our little corner of the world and left only destruction and devastation.  In the blink of an eye.

1 Corinthians 15:52
It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

(Live version MercyMe performing, "In the Blink of an Eye")

I guess all this means that I have to be ready for nearly anything and everything.  OK, I'll never be ready for my blood to practically turn to ice again, but I will be ready with the number of a good furnace repair guy, the next time my furnace misbehaves.  I even asked Mr. Furnace Repair Guy just how much a new furnace would cost--I'm just thinking ahead.  I also asked him about how long a furnace should typically last in a home. He said around 20 years.  Mine was at least 24 years old, but he said it's still a good one.  

I may not ever be prepared for sub zero temperatures, either inside or outside my house, arising so early that even my feet are still asleep, or changing into my work clothes by the light of the street lamp and the heat of my oven, but I will be prepared for Christ's Second Coming. Why?  Because, like most everything else I prepare for, I am intentional and purposeful. I look for the signs and wonders that Paul speaks of and ask the Lord just what I should be doing to be better prepared.  Hello?  I have Him in my heart, but there just has to be more.  I realize the whole grace, mercy and forgiveness thing, but I also know that I have to prepare more. Don't I?  I mean, just accepting Christ into my heart is merely a fire insurance thing, isn't it? 

Nope.  It is so much more than that. And while technically I don't need to prepare, but it does make life a lot easier.  I mean, who wouldn't read their soon-to-be husband's letters in between long bouts of geographical distance; who wouldn't talk and communicate with their friend, especially when they couldn't physically see each other.  By reading the Word, my brain is telling my heart that the world is not only going to totally change 'in the blink of an eye,' but also that it will be relatively soon.  By relatively soon, I mean, most likely in either my generation or in my children's generation.  I can't say that I really care one way or another, but I can say that I am prepared.

My prayer for you today is that you, too, are prepared for whatever life or death may throw your way, that your Salvation experience is more than just 'eternity's fire insurance,' and that you are able to see the subtle, and not so subtle signs, of Christ's imminent return.  Be blessed, and I would love to read your comments.

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