April 29, 2015

Lesson 214: A Good Day

On a recent sun-filled day, I think I caught a glimpse into the ways my husband may pass his time in eternity. I'm not sure where the idea arose that heaven will be spent lounging around on fluffy clouds, strumming harps, and being completely bored, but in truth heaven will be a lot like earth.

Only better.

No fear, no sadness, no longing, no illness, no loneliness, no shame. No sin.

It will be eternally so much better. 

There will be work, but completely satisfying work. There will be play, heavenly play. There will be friendship, brotherhood, companionship. There will be wholeness. There will be worship! There will be Jesus, and we will know him fully, even as we are fully known.

Sweetness unimaginable.

This is what we wait for. This is what we hope for.

And, I think I caught a quick preview.

Mark and the kids happily romped around outside all day. He was smoking meat in his new (hand-me-down from the neighbor) smoker, a time consuming process. In the interim, he was shoveling compost, filling his beds, planting his gardens.

He was working, and he was enjoying it.

The night proceeded with a celebratory meal honoring our graduating seniors. We ate well, spoke of the Lord's goodness in our students' lives, and danced, danced, danced.

Planting, cooking, feasting, laughing, dancing, praise.

Work, play, relationship, worship.

It really was a beautiful, exhausting, satisfying, wonderful day.

And it got me excited for eternity.

"What we love about this life are the things that resonate with the life we were made for. The things we love are not merely the best this life has to offer - they are previews of the greater life to come." - Randy Alcorn

Lesson Learned: I'm hoping to be placed on the heavenly decorating committee. Just sayin', making things beautiful is work!

*Linked up at Living Well, Spending Less

April 23, 2015

Lesson 213: Goodbye Blue Bell

You know they say seeing is believing. Well, I saw today, and so I suppose as a result I'll have to come out of my self-imposed denial and face the facts.

Blue Bell really is gone.


I'm really sad about this loss. Blue Bell has brought so much good to my life.

Blue Bell taught me to get over my pride and be convinced of something. When I first heard the proselytizing of my Texan friends, I scoffed. There is no way an ice cream could be so good that a person talks about nothing else (and that is what those Texans do). But I was wrong, and I'm not afraid to admit it.  I changed my opinions in favor of Blue Bell. Me. A super stubborn person changed and that should not be taken lightly.

Blue Bell allowed me to demonstrate to my youth group and college students just how much I cared about them. No, the Ashbaugh's aren't the kind of people who will buy you the cheapest, most generic hunk of munk out there. We'll buy you Blue Bell! Clearly we are for you! Have you ever heard of a guy named Jesus?!?!

Blue Bell celebrated every special occasion with our family for the past three years. New baby? Blue Bell. Graduation? Blue Bell. New job? Blue Bell. 30th birthday? Blue Bell. Another baby? A whole lot of Blue Bell!

Oh, Blue Bell.

As I stood in front of the empty case at Publix this afternoon, observing a necessary moment of silence for this beloved ice cream and the joy its brought to my life, my family, and my friends, I caught the eye of the ice cream stockman.

When he angrily mentioned the twelve carts of uneaten Blue Bell in the back of his store, I couldn't help but immediately plan a scheme to acquire it all. I'll eat that Blue Bell. Is this the only way I can get Blue Bell? Give me that Blue Bell!

I want to stop for a moment and consider the level of brand loyalty here. So precious is this ice cream that I would actually knowingly eat a whole lot of it at the risk of getting listeria. Hmmm ...

Anyway, as I tried to downplay just how great my sorrow was concerning this, I casually mentioned he could fill his freezer space with Turkey Hill Ice Cream. (PA representin'). It's not Blue Bell, but it is good.

We got into a discussion and in true Publix fashion, in which they always try to please the customers, Justin secured for me a free half gallon of the Publix brand ice cream to try.

He knows an ice cream eater when he see one and could quickly tell how lucrative my ice cream business could be.

Potential point for Publix.

But it all got ruined.

As the Publix lady helped me ferry my groceries to the car (which makes me feel super awkward anyway), she waxed on about how she knew all along not to try Blue Bell and wasn't she glad about how right she had been about Blue Bell.

And all I could think was, does this lady not know I got my free ice cream because I was taking sad selfies with empty Blue Bell shelves? You would think she'd be considerate enough not to bash my favorite food group.

Minus ten Publix.

On a more serious note, I'm concerned about the greater implications of this disaster. I mean, if Blue Bell can fall, is anything good safe? What's next? Water skiing? Sunshine? Religious freedom in America?

Okay, okay. Simmer down.

In the end, I want Blue Bell to know one thing.

Blue Bell,  when you get this whole mess sorted and when (not if) your delicious and large half gallons of pure heaven grace the grocer shelves again, I want you to know that I will be first in line to fill my freezer.

Please hurry.

And until then, know this ...

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean, "I'll miss you."
Until we meet again.

Until we meet again, Blue Bell. Until we meet again.

Lesson Learned: Notice which person in this story was named. What kind of person do you want to be?

*Linked Up at Living Well, Spending Less

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