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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Risser Mill Road gate and autumn view
A Gate View
Risser Mill Road, Lancaster County, PA
When my brother saw this he mused what a nice walk it would be down to the meadow.
I agree!

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"Mistaken Identity"

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22). "A time to laugh" (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Brooksyne and I are both involved in an interesting, unusual, and fulfilling form of ministry.  For over ten years we've served as corporate chaplains. At first it was very part-time in New England, when we also served in full-time pastoral ministry. People often ask us what is involved in our worksite visits.  Simply described, we walk through the workplace weekly and greet the employees individually; engendering friendships, taking personal interest and showing genuine care. There are many hurting people in the workplace and they often unload their burdens on the chaplain. We follow up in various ways.  We also get involved outside of the workplace when there is a crisis, family death, hospitalization, etc.  It all sounds very serious, which it is, but we also have plenty of lighter moments where we enjoy a good laugh.  I've asked Brooksyne to share one of her experiences:

Several years ago on one of my factory worksite visits I went to a room on the second floor where two women normally occupy the desks.  Due to security reasons the door remains locked from the outside but has a glass window so you can see in.  As was my custom I prepared to knock on the door after which one of the women would open the door so I could enter.  But on this day I first peered through the glass and observed that the first woman was not at her regular desk.  Then I looked to the left of the door at the other desk. A woman was sitting with her hands folded resting them on the desk with her head leaning back on her chair.  She was in full uniform along with the required hair netting and safety glasses so it was hard to identify her, although I could tell it was not the usual woman who sat there.  Upon closer observation I noticed that her mouth was agape (really open!) and that her eyes were closed. 

I became concerned about knocking because I didn't want to startle her. I also didn't want to embarrass her since she'd know that I'd seen her sound asleep on the job!  Anyone who's been awakened by another with his or her mouth wide open is quite humiliated, especially a woman.  So I stood to the side of the door away from the window and knocked, hoping that the worker would hear the knock and rally herself to a wakeful position. Then she could answer as though she'd not been sleeping.

But after knocking a couple times there was still no response so I peeked through the window again.  This time I became very concerned about the unresponsive woman – that she was not asleep but unconscious or, worse yet, that she was dying or was already dead since I saw no movement. Her chest did not rise to indicate that she was breathing. My heart began to race as I said a prayer to myself that I would do the right thing.  Now I was in a dilemma for I felt that I must get help, but I would feel very foolish if she was indeed sleeping soundly and I might get her in trouble. (In my defense, the glass in the door was double thick which somewhat distorted my view.) 

After what seemed a long time, the employee who usually sat at the main desk in this room came around the corner and immediately detected that I was troubled.  "Is something wrong?" she asked me.  I nervously told her, "I'm afraid that the woman in your office is in trouble." She quickly peered through the glass and with a chuckle looked back at me as she explained, "She's just a dummy dressed up in uniform that we use to practice CPR."   Imagine how foolish I felt!  The story circulated all through the company all the way to the president's office. It certainly changed the image of the chaplain for any who might have felt that clergy are rather starchy individuals!

Brooksyne told me the story when she came home that evening and we both had a good laugh. Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us "there is a time to laugh."  So many times we deal with people who have a crushed or broken spirit due to marital strife, rebellious children, addiction to destructive habits, or loved ones dying from a terminal illness. But there are other times when we just enjoy laughing together.  God gives us the ability to laugh at situations, with others and at ourselves.

Do you carry a heavy load today?  Truly a broken or crushed spirit can dry up the bones making us feel our situation is beyond hope and that we're carrying a heavy weight on our shoulders.  But Peter tells us, "Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you."  Make sure you enjoy some laughter today and spread some cheer since it is welcome by others as pain-relieving medicine.  That's our Daily Encouragement prescription for you today! 

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, there are many troubling situations that weigh our heart down when that is our primary focus.  But You want us to bring these troubles to You in prayer, entrust them to Your care, and be joyful on our journey. Nehemiah reminds us, "The joy of the Lord is my strength."  So help us not to live in a state of alarm, but to have a joyful disposition so that we can bring cheer to those around us.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  Thank you for the well wishes I received on my birthday last week, many through email from readers.  A most recent humorous experience happened last Wednesday on my birthday.  I purposely didn't mention that is was my birthday at the three chaplain sites I visited that morning. I then walked into the fourth company expecting to do the same.  But within minutes the intercom came on and a cheerful voice announced, "It's someone's birthday today."  I shook it off thinking, surely it must be another employee since they wouldn't know it's mine.  But, lo and behold, the voice over the intercom sang "Happy birthday to Brooksyne."  The people looking on had such a great laugh as they saw my face turn as bright orange as my orange plaid shirt.  One of the ladies brought me a fan to cool myself.  All throughout the company I was greeted with "Happy Birthday" and a big smile.  Once I got over the embarrassment the delightful part of it was that Everett who is 74 is the one who did the singing.  He is a most cheerful employee and I often hear this said of him by others, "I've never seen him have a bad day."  He's worked there for nearly sixty years!  What wonderful character this man exhibits to his co-workers.

Stephen's note: When we first became involved in corporate chaplain ministry in 1998 we worked for a company that provided these services. In 2001 I resigned from my pastoral position in New England and took a full-time job with the company, moving to Mount Joy, PA. I resigned in 2004 from that company and sought to take this online ministry to a deeper level but also desired to develop a corporate chaplain ministry directly serving local owners. Brooksyne and I have partnered with several companies since that time and our ministry is now described as multi-vocational with a mix of types, including at the present time a part-time role as pastor of a local congregation here in Lancaster County.

We had a rainy day yesterday so Brooksyne processed a large neck pumpkin we bought at an old order Mennonite road stand several weeks ago.  We thought you might enjoy some of the photos.

Neck pumpkin
This will give you an idea of how large the pumpkin is.

Neck pumpkin
I put the 20# neck pumpkin around my neck.
I prefer neck pumpkin because it is less watery than other more common types, has fewer seeds and very little stringy pulp.  It is solid pumpkin until the very bottom (see photo below) so you really get your money's worth.  I also prefer the taste over the others, but I must admit I'd never seen this kind of pumpkin until we moved to Lancaster County.

Neck pumpkinI like to peel the pumpkin first before baking.  That way I can process the softened pumpkin right after it comes out of the oven.

Neck pumpkinThe food processor sure does a great job pureeing pumpkin.  I also use this method for butternut squash.

Neck pumpkin
The pumpkin is now divided into cup size portions. I then packed 4 to 6 bags into larger gallon freezer bags before putting them in the freezer. I use the pumpkin for making Pumpkin Cranberry Bread, Pumpkin Pie, and Velvety Pumpkin Curry Soup.

Stephen and I had some Velvety Pumpkin Curry Soup for lunch yesterday. It's so tasty I thought I'd share the easy recipe. My suggested recipe edit: I use butter instead of margarine, delete cayenne, and substitute green or red curry paste in place of curry powder (1 heaping tsp. for spicy, but not hot - taste as you go.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"A Joyful Heart Is Good Medicine" Audio (the 5th song on this page.)  Steve Green (Brooksyne recalled this from a children's album!)

Since today's message has a humorous note it brings to mind a group some of you will recall from the late seventies that had skits using humor. If I remember correctly we listened to these skits on LPs (although the cassette tape had been invented).

The name of the group was Isaac Air Freight. Here's a history of the group.  Here's one of their skits, especially appropriate for baseball fans at this time, called "The Last World Series Report" (this is on Youtube but it's audio only).  If you are interested the "Related Videos" on the side bar have other skits by them.

I also thought our readers may enjoy this:
Doris High, our photographer friend,  has two recent posts demonstrating the beautiful Autumn we are enjoying in our area: Here and here.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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