What’s YOUR Story?

I am meeting new people on this snowbirding journey. Protocol for meeting new folks covers the same questions: “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “What do you do for a living ?” (Or “What did you do for a living?” – because most of the people I am meeting here are retired.) And, “Which rig is yours?”

There is the usual mental sizing up and rating system: Yankee vs. Confederate, blue collar vs. white collar, urban vs. country dweller, those who camp in huge, shiny RVs vs. those who stay in older ones. We tend to classify and pigeon-hole people as if we are scientists cataloguing plants. We smile and nod, are polite and play nicely, but it takes time and shared interests for real friendships to develop, so conversations rarely move on to deeper things.

People shut down if the conversation moves into tricky waters, such as religion or politics, too quickly. You look for little clues and nudge the conversation, all the while being ready to side-step the issue if they are not receptive to the nudge. So, we stay in the shallow end of the pool and tread water instead of diving in an risk alienating a potential friendship. Everybody has a story, but you have to build that bridge of trust before they are willing to share it with you. Trust takes time to develop. As a result, most stories remain untold.

Last night I had a dream about heaven. I was with a huge crowd of people, from all ethnic backgrounds. We were all wearing whatever “street clothes” our culture or time period deemed, and we were all roughly the same age. There were no children, teens, or elderly in the group. Folks were clad in jeans and tee shirts, prairie dresses, sari’s, buckskin, and silks – a wide assortment of humanity, both men and women,

There were people standing shoulder to shoulder as far as the eye could see in any direction. We were all facing the same direction, and way off in the distance was an elevated platform with some people seated in fancy chairs. We in the crowd were all very excited to be there, and were eagerly sharing our stories with those standing near us.

These stories were intense, personal, and vivid. There was no reference to names, places, jobs, or titles.. Instead, the question was, “How did you meet Him? How did you meet Jesus?” And, we talked, sharing our stories in heartfelt, deep details, giving glory to Jesus for His grace to touch our lives. There were no half-hearted, “Well, my grandma used to take me to Sunday School, so I decided I was a Christian” or “Well, my family all went forward on an altar call when I was little and I didn’t want to stay in my pew, so I guess I’m a Christian.” stories. These stories were rich, detailed, personal, and powerful.

There was no classifying, no judging, no rating system of who had the “best” story. Instead, there was a deep excitement, acceptance, and overwhelming joy. Everyone had a story and everyone was intensely interested in hearing what anyone had to say.

One day we will all be called to tell our story, to give a personal account for our life. What will your story be?

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CATastrophic living

Snowbirding takes major adjustments. How do you transition from living in a sprawling 2500 square feet to 300 square feet – a space just slightly larger than a college dorm room? From the nearest neighbor being 1/8 of a mile away to life in a trailer park? How does one transition from commuting to work in an office to working “at home” from a laptop? And, how do you adjust to living with two cats in that tiny space? What do you do with the litter box?

At home, the litter box is a non-issue. The cats have their own space in a room under the basement stairs (which is actually larger than this RV!) where their beds, food, and litter box reside. Odors are no problem. Clean the box daily when you feed them; it is out of sight and out of mind. Here the litter box presents a major problem.

We thought we had the problem preemptively solved . My husband removed a chair from the “living room” section of the RV and replaced it with a cabinet. The top houses the TV and printer, but the litter box is hidden inside with an opening for easy entrance for the cats. And, because we occupy a very small space, I purchased a new brand of kitty litter that is specially designed for small spaces. One would think we had the problem solved.

However, I did not factor in sensitivity to scents. I have allergic reactions when burning scented candles and sitting near someone wearing strong perfumes. A heavily deodorized kitty litter is not the best solution!

My husband’s workspace is next to the cabinet and he has complained since we arrived about the “landfill odor.” It gives him a headache and has talked about moving to a different town just to escape the smell. I have developed a “stomach bug” and have battled an upset tummy and headache, which increases when I step into the RV. Oddly enough, we don’t notice the “landfill odor” when we are outside!

The proverbial light bulb went off today and we finally connected the dots! The rank smell is from the litter box! Since we are using the showers here at the camp, which are far more spacious than the tiny shower stall in the RV, we have relocated the litter box to the bathroom shower stall. We must keep the door ajar for kitty access, but can open the ceiling vent, and hopefully, dissipate the smell.

And, after work today, we have a date planned to visit Wal-Mart for some unscented litter. I can hardly wait!