Maralyn's Updates

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tent Camping

Labor Day in the USA is the first Monday of September. And since the next day marks the beginning of school in Wisconsin, many families do one more camping trip on Labor Day weekend.

Our son David’s family lives on the edge of a national park, so they wisely just went up the hill and pitched their tent, figuring that if one of their three preschoolers didn’t fare well, one parent could just take him home. All went well, though, and Levi (3) and Micah (1) slept through the whole night. Reuben (5) awoke and fretted when a big thunderstorm boomed and poured. So his mommy and daddy put him between them in their big double sleeping bag. They hugged and comforted him, and finally there in his mommy's and daddy's arms, he began to relax and feel safe.

This week I was reading in II Corinthians 5:1-10 about our heavenly bodies compared to our earthly ones. The passage begins like this: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” Go to the passage and read the other nine verses. It’s a beautiful analogy showing our earthly bodies as temporary dwellings--tents--and our heavenly bodies as eternal houses. What a picture!

After reading this passage, I was pondering it all morning. God was encouraging me with the picture of the strong body that is awaiting me someday. I thought of how nice it will be to run, jump, skip and sing again.

That same day in the early afternoon I was scheduled to “speak” (through my friend Ruth’s voice) at a ladies group in the area. Jim was going to meet me there and set up my equipment, but I got there before he did. So as I was waiting in the car I flipped on a Christian radio station.

Suddenly there was the voice of someone called Pastor Greg Laurie, whom I had never heard of before and, believe it or not he was talking about our bodies as tents. I was jolted to attention!

I listened to the beginning of his sermon on the topic “What do you live for?”

He said that all of our efforts to make our tents look young are in vain. “We patch, paint, and stretch them (smile) but the body wasn’t meant to last forever.” He went on to say that we would all someday leave our tents to go live in our mansions!

Jim arrived and we needed to get set up, so I missed the end of the sermon, but later I found it online and listened to the rest. I recommend it! It’s at

When our bodies are healthy we feel pretty secure in them, but when the storms blow in it’s easy to see how flimsy our tents really are.

What’s the weakest part of your body? Do you have a bad back? Or perpetual sinus infections? Do you have diabetes or irritating allergies? Does bronchitis get you after every cold? Would you think it strange if I were to tell you to be glad for your weaknesses because they remind you that your earthly body is temporary?

I think one of the best things that has come from my diagnosis is that I’ve had to admit that I’m mortal. (smile) I knew it all along but I pushed that information away…refusing to think about it. Guess what? You’re mortal, too. (Sorry to have to break the news to you.) I don’t know what disease or accident will take you to heaven, but I know something will because your earthly house is a temporary one.

To give you an update, my tent is gradually declining and I’m slowly losing strength and function. There are no big changes, but I notice that it’s harder and harder for people to understand my speaking--especially right after eating. Getting my speech generating device has taken longer than we thought. I did get a used one, but it was too hard to understand. We laughed and said that it sounded like it had a worse case of ALS than I did. I should have the modern one soon. I can’t wait!

My walking is clumsy, more of a shuffle now, and I need help to go up even one step.

Eating is challenging because swallowing is hard. I have to cut my food into tiny pieces and chew very thoroughly, then it still often sticks halfway down. I have pretty regular coughing incidents. The hardest part is that I can’t talk at all while I’m eating. Can you imagine me, the talker, being silent during a meal? Me neither. (smile)

Then there’s the constant mucous/phlegm. Bothersome, for sure!

So, I’m reminded several times a day that I’m in a torn tent in the middle of a thunderstorm. I’m glad that my heavenly father lives with me in my tent, because often when I'm feeling helpless I ask him to hug and comfort me. And there in his arms, I finally begin to relax and feel safe--just like Reuben.

Hopefully, this blog will remind all of us to spend our efforts developing our inner man…because that's the only part of us that is eternal!

I don’t plan to exchange my tent for a mansion soon, but it’s good to know that it’s there when it’s time.

So! Let's not fret, but rather relax and enjoy the rest of the days we have on earth--while we're still tent camping! (smile)


P.S. David and Rhonda’s camping trip was a few days before Labor Day, so they spent the actual day (September 1) with us on a pontoon boat on the lake.

It was a fun day in the sun!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Homework Assignment

Well…the search for more expressions like our American “Every cloud has a silver lining” was fun. To those 10 people who responded, you get an "A" on this assignment! :-) By the way, if you still want to get credit for this assignment, send your late work to me at or add it as a comment on this blog. You won't get full credit, but I will add your entry here to the top of the list. (Smile!)

Here are the results for you to enjoy!

FRENCH (Belgium)
After the rain comes the nice weather.

ARABIC (Morocco)
What does not kill makes stronger.

SWEDISH (Sweden)
There’s no bad that doesn’t bring some good as well.

FINNISH (Finland)
The sun also shines on a pile of brushwood.
There’s nothing bad without something good.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Every cloud has a golden lining.

LITHUANIAN (Lithuania)
There is nothing bad that will not work out.

Be prepared to suffer first, so that in the future you may live in comfort.
Today we may get nothing, but tomorrow we may get something.
Fortune and misfortune will keep changing.

AFRIKAANS (South Africa)
Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

ESTONIAN (Estonia)
There are two sides to every coin (or ... to everything).

ARABIC (Jordan)
Some days are like honey and some days are like onions.

(My niece Sherri wrote…) “I don't have a saying from another culture, but my kids always comment something like this: ‘I don't know why they say there is a silver lining behind every cloud. They always look completely gold to me!’ Maybe it's an Oklahoma sky thing. :)“

Wasn't that fun? It just shows that this is a universal truth!