Tag Archive | Sing to the Lord!

The Not So Strange People of Walmart

It was the Saturday before Father’s Day. I wasn’t in the greatest of moods. I had seen my doctor the day before and he changed my medications around yet another time and I needed to go pick up my new prescription. I had dropped Katie off at Bible school and Dave was fishing with a friend. I had some time to myself for a change, but instead, had to run errands and part of those errands was getting a prescription I didn’t want.

I was upset that I had to have another medication change. I’ve been dealing with uncontrolled hypertension for a while now, and have gone through countless medications in hopes that one will bring those numbers down. But time and time again, I hear those words from my doctor, “This medication isn’t doing the job, let’s try this.” I dread seeing him any more. I have a medicine cabinet filled with meds that I can’t use….money down the drain in my eyes.

As I drove to Walmart, I was thinking about all I had to do that day and about the fact that part of my day was disrupted again by my need for a new medication. “Wonder how much this one will cost, ” I thought. I pray a lot when I’m alone in my van and driving. (I do keep my eyes open, obviously!) I began to cry out to God and implore Him to help me and my doctor find something that would work to change my chronic issue. I found myself actually whining. I’m sure God wasn’t impressed with my prayer that day…it was mainly a lot of complaining.

Finally, Walmart was in view and I pulled into a parking space. When I went inside, they were out of the motorized carts I’ve come to depend upon to get through the store with my arthritis issues. I was feeling defeated. I was dreading hearing what the cashier would say my total was today.  And, on top of that, I’d have to walk all through Walmart on a day I was having some significant pain.

The pharmacy wasn’t busy so I got to be waited on quickly. “Did you know this medication costs $294?” the clerk said. The look on my face told her I didn’t. I didn’t have a choice though.  I paid my bill and started shopping for the remainder of the things I needed.

I needed to get a Father’s Day gift for David. Katie had given me specific instructions to get him a Duck Dynasty t-shirt with Uncle Si on it.  I went to the display where we had seen them before, only to discover the only size left was small. There would be no Uncle Si shirt for Dave. I had to find something else. This only added to my disappointment in the day.

Cards were picked over….I shouldn’t have procrastinated on that one! I was at a loss to know what to get for Dave. I had my mind set on the t-shirt and now it wasn’t an option. I looked at my list of things I needed to purchase, and decided to look for the other things instead.  As I shopped, I tried thinking of what I could get for Dave. The idea finally came that he had been wanting a small chainsaw. Certainly, Walmart would have an inexpensive one. No. No such luck. The only thing left in that department were weed eaters and he didn’t need one of those.

Feeling even more defeated, I went to the check out line. “Really, there’s only 3 lanes open and about 100 people to check out?” I thought. How could my day get any better? I was just about ready to cry at this point.

Then I heard it. Someone was humming. It wasn’t extremely loud, but it was loud enough that I could hear it. The tune sounded familiar. I moved toward the sound. It was coming from the cashier in lane 13. Despite the fact that I usually avoid lane 13 (call me superstitious) and it seemed to be the longest line, I got in line there anyway.

The cashier continued to hum. I was thinking really hard to figure out the tune. I knew the song, I was sure of it.

About a minute went by, and someone decided to open the lane beside us, about 4 people in front of me flocked to the new lane. I stayed where I was. I needed to figure out the song she was humming. “Change My Heart O God“! That’s what she was humming. I was intrigued!

Finally, it was my turn. She began to scan my items, still humming away at the tune. She looked at me and smiled, still humming. I smiled back, “Change My Heart O God.” I said.

“You know the song?” she said.

“Sure do! It’s a good one,” I replied.

“One of my favorites too!” she exclaimed. “Some people don’t like it when I hum, but I was made to praise the Lord and I want to do it all the time. He is good isn’t He?” she said.

“Yes, He is,” I answered. I felt a little guilty as I said it though. I had really not been very joyful that day up to that point. I whined and complained to God instead of thanking Him for all He was doing for me. I left one thing just ruin everything.  “Thanks for your song,” I said.

“My pleasure! Some days, it’s really hard to be joyful and courteous to some of the people that come in my line. But, I just pray that God will change my heart so I will treat those people the way God would want me to,” she said. “I want to encourage everyone I meet. I believe that’s what God put me on this earth to do…encourage others.”

“Well, you sure encouraged me today,” I said.

“Me too!” said the lady behind me. Up to this point, I was oblivious to who was in line with me. I turned and saw an haggard looking woman, probably in her 50’s with a tank top on, heavily tatooed and missing several teeth. (One of those people you see show up in the pictures entitled “People of Walmart.”) “God is great and takes care of all of us, even when we don’t deserve it,” the tatooed lady said.

“I’m so glad I got in this line today!” I exclaimed. “You both have made my day a little better! Thanks!”

“Any time!” said the cashier.

“Yup! It’s what we’re supposed to do for each other!” said the tatooed lady.

I left Walmart, feeling a bit better and a bit lighter because my burden had been lifted. I went to my van, crawled inside and quickly thanked God for all He had done for me and asked forgiveness for doubting that He was caring for me. My heart had been changed by my check out encounter, and because of two ladies who weren’t afraid to share their faith with others.

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The rest of the day went much better and I found an inexpensive chainsaw at Home Depot for Dave. He deemed it one of the best Father’s Day gifts ever!

I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I believe these two women were put there just for me that day. God knew I needed some encouragement and He sent two angels, one dressed as a Walmart cashier and one as one of the “strange” people of Walmart. Where ever they are, I hope they continue to share this love and encouragement with others. It meant so much to me!

♥Miriam

A Joyful Noise

Psalm 100:1 – “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”

How do you make a joyful noise? Do you sing? Do you play an instrument? What is the noise you make that is joyful to the Lord?

I find the giggle from a baby makes me smile…that’s joyful. The chirping of birds outside on a sunny day….that’s joyful. The splashing of a trickling stream or a roaring waterfall….another joyful noise.

Personally, I love to make a joyful noise to the Lord with my voice. I love to sing (and those of you who follow this blog know that!) and most of all, I love to sing praises to God. I also enjoy playing the piano. Though I’m not at all an expert at it, I do spend a lot of time expressing myself through my piano music as well. To me, it’s a joyful noise.

Tonight, I got to enjoy hearing a joyful noise from my daughter! She performed in her first musical instrument concert….a recorder concert. I fully expected to go and have my ears assaulted. After all, how good could a fourth grade ensemble of recorder players sound? I fully expected to hear the occasional squeak from misplaced fingers on the holes or a note played out of rhythm, but I didn’t notice much of that this evening.

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These kids were having fun up there! They didn’t care if it was perfect. They didn’t care if they missed an occasional note. All they cared about was if their parents were watching them from the audience and seeing them applaud at the end of each song.

I couldn’t help but think about what God thinks when we attempt to make a joyful noise to Him. He doesn’t care if we’re off-key; he doesn’t care if we forget the words and just hum the tune. All He cares about is the fact that we are trying to show our love to Him by praising His name.

God loves joyful noises. I know this is true. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have given us so many beautiful things to hear!

When was the last time you made a “joyful noise?” There’s no better time than the present!

♥Miriam

♥♫♪Oh, I Love a Thursday Night!♪♫♥

I just LOVE Thursday nights!! Is it because it’s near the end of the week…maybe….but it’s much more than that! The love of Thursday nights happened gradually over time over a period of years. Let me tell you how it all happened.

(Here’s where I need one of those wavy effects like they show in movies and on TV when someone is going back in time. I’ll try to recreate that….))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))((((((((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))))))))))((((((((((((((((((((((((((

And poof, we’re there!

Picture a cute little strawberry blonde 2-year-old (yes, I WAS cute at one time!). She’s standing in front of her small church congregation, being prompted by her mother to sing. So, I did. I sang “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” That’s appropriate for church, right? Well, what can I say….I was 2 for crying out loud! That began a lifetime of singing performances and musical experiences that led to my love for Thursday nights.

Around age 10, I was “forced” to take organ lessons. (I say I was forced because no kid wanted to play the organ….the piano was way cooler!) My mom and dad often sang together at church and many Saturday evenings, they would practice together. Dad was on the organ and mom would turn the pages and sing along with him. It was around this time that one evening, they heard me humming along and realized I was humming in harmony with them. Tada….add an instant alto and now there’s a trio! We sang for many years together until my dad started to lose his hearing.

When I was 13, I was sort of a rebelious soul. I thought my parents were weird (but what kid didn’t at this age?). It was at this point that my true love for a Thursday night was about to take shape. A girl in my homeroom, Kim, wanted to try out for the highschool choir. However, she was too afraid to go to the tryouts alone. So, she conned me into going with her. I had NO intention of joining a “sissy” choir. We waited together outside the band room and I heard girl after girl sing the first verse of “My Country Tis of Thee.” They’d sing and walk out, being told that if they made choir, they’d find out next week when they posted the results. Soon it was Kim’s turn. She went in and began to sing. Oh, she was terrible!! (Picture a cat howling when it’s tail gets stepped on….now magnify that about 4 times!) Oh my word! My ears hurt. She walked out with a huge smile, confident that she had done well and was a shoe-in to get in the choir. Then came my turn.

I walked in and met Ron Eshelman. Little did I know this man would change my life. He played the intro to “My Country Tis of Thee” and I began to sing….”My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.” He stopped playing. I was confused. I hadn’t heard him do this before. He said, “Do you know what a scale is?” (Well, duh…of course I did….I had three years of exciting organ lessons under my belt!)

I replied that I did. “I want you to sing these scales. Just sing the word ‘la’.” He began to play scale after scale as I sang, “La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, laaaaa.” Finally, after what seemed like a 100 scales. He stopped, folded his hands and said, “You have a HUGE range, and a beautiful voice! You’re in my choir.”

WHAT? I had no intentions of being in the choir. Little did I realize that I was the first one to find out that I’d made it. When the list came out, sure enough, my name was at the top. Kim’s name was no where to be found!

I went ahead with joining choir, after all it seemed like it would be an easy credit. But, choir ended up changing my life! Mr. Eshelman became my favorite teacher. He was a good friend and mentor as well, and I will never forget all he taught me. When I graduated, he encouraged me to continue using my God-given gift, and I guaranteed him that I would. I loved to sing now….especially for the Lord!

A few years later, the Gospel Tide Hour Choir came for a concert at my church. The choir director would usually lead a congregational song during intermission. For whatever reason, that night, I was asked to do it. I led the song, “When We all get to Heaven.” After the concert, perfect strangers from the choir came up to me and said, “You need to join us!” Then the choir director came and asked me as well! I was delighted!

For the next 7 years, I went to choir practice every Thursday night!! (You wondered where the Thursdays came into this….I know!) I had a solo every year and loved every moment of choir. The choir disbanded in 2002 shortly after my daughter, Katie was born. I was devastated! I grieved…literally grieved for months. I’d cry when I thought about it.

Six years later, I ran into Fred Keener, the former director of the Gospel Tide Choir and he told me he was directing a new choir. He asked me to come sing. I could have hugged him!!!

So, in 2007, I joined the Cumberland Valley Christian Choir. This choir has grown from 30-something to 105 members this year! I am so blessed every Thursday evening to join in song to my Savior with these wonderful people!

Some of the greatest singers I know!!

Some of the greatest singers I know!!

I’m still a soloist and love lifting my voice in praise! Fred is now my “musical mentor” as well as many other good friends I have made through being in choir.

So, now you know why Thursdays are the highlight of my week!

Keep on singing!

♥Miriam