Thursday, August 30, 2007

Owens Corning

What do you think of when you think of insulation? I think of those old commercials with the Pink Panther lending his celebrity to the famous pink insulation manufactured by Owens Corning. Why am I talking about pink insulation?

As we have tried to settle into our new location in East Texas, we have put well organized boxes marked for storage into the attic. I should say Karl, not we. He's been doing all of that hot and dirty work. You'd have to have a Doug Rye home in order to have an attic that wasn't hot. Anyway, in the process of doing some repairs that needed to be done in the attic and putting boxes up there, Karl managed to get insulation on his clothing, although it wasn't really visible.

Karl took a break before going back up to the attic. He needed some time to cool off and get the next load of boxes all lined up. During this time, Greta was preparing for a nap and wanted to cuddle with daddy. It took us a few hours to catch on to what happened, but those present but practically invisible insulation fibers on Karl's clothes found their way to Greta's clothes.

In the process of being a four year old child, Greta managed to get those fibers all over herself and declared later that she was itchy. We thought it was just dry skin, her body adjusting to the move and new house and so forth. When Karl took Greta with him to the gas station and Greta lifted up her shirt to scratch, the gas station attendant gasped and thought Greta had posion ivy.

It was at this point that the light came on and Karl rushed Greta home for a bath. I searched in vain on the internet to find what is the best treatment for a child who has been exposed to insulation fibers. Finally, I resorted to calling a manufacturer of insulation, but I couldn't recall any names, but I did remember the Pink Panther.

My search on the internet soon brought me to the trademark pink insulation of Owens Corning. I located their toll free number (after searching their website for recommendations as to how to treat someone exposed to insulation fibers) and after going through a short maze of prompts found myself speaking to an operator. When I explained the situation, she responded immediately by saying she would connect me to a man named Jim who could help me. She got Jim on the line who said he was on another call and would call me back immediately if I gave him my number, which I did.

Less than five minutes later, Jim called me back and said that most people who get insulation on them don't have an allergic reaction. It's actually a mechanical reaction to the small glass fibers of the insulation that irritate the skin. The problem comes when people scratch at it and make their skin bleed. He said the best thing to do was get Greta in a warm bath with mild soap to wash off any of the fibers that were still on her and make sure she didn't scratch anymore.

In the process of our conversation, Jim and I discovered that our insulation was yellow and not even manufactured by Owens Corning, but as he put it, it doesn't matter when you have a child that is covered in insulation fibers.

I really appreciate Jim's willingness to help in my situation, even though it wasn't even his company's product. I learned a little more about insulation and I also learned that just because you don't see it on your clothes, doesn't mean it's not there.

Sometimes our sinful attitudes and selfishness seem microscopic to us. We can't see it, so we think it's not there. We discover the truth when we get close to someone and they begin to react to our selfishness. Hopefully, it breaks our hearts to see their pain and suffering that is a result of our selfishness. Hopefully, we learn to apologize for our behavior and learn how to not repeat it.

Best of all, there is Someone who didn't have anything to do with our misfortune, but He still is available to help us when we call Him.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Life is interesting. I have no fear of being bored at the present moment. Unpacking a family of five into a house that is about 300 square feet smaller than our last home is certainly not boring.

We are enjoying the small East Texas town we have moved to and the friendliness of the community and our church family. Everyone has been wonderful and we have been greatly blessed. That is an understatement. I wouldn't know where to start in recounting the blessings, but there were many.

Our greatest challenge right now is living within sight of a railroad track. We've been told that after a week or so you get used to it. Well, I hope that does indeed happen because currently it is hard to sleep sometimes when a train blares numerous times in the middle of the night. In addition to this, a certain four year old girl is absolutely terrified by the trains and is very difficult to comfort. We have been awakened numerous times the past week by Greta sobbing saying she heard a train and it scared her.

My father-in-law did some research and said there are railroad tracks on three sides of us. It's no wonder we hear so many trains! Hopefully we will get used to it soon, especially Greta.

Despite the trains and having to adjust to a smaller home, we are thrilled to be here. I'll share more when I'm not staring at tons of boxes and still trying to keep my eyes open, but I know God has blessed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Moving Miracles and More

One of the things our moving process has taught us is that God is definitely involved in daily life, even stressful daily life.

The moving truck couldn't make it to our house as it was, because of too many overhanging tree branches. So, we called the city and asked them to trim. Now, this is a town of less than 1,300 people and the mayor said he was sorry, but he just didn't have the crew to do the trimming, even though it's a city maintained road. At least, he didn't have the crew to get it done before our truck came.

Karl called around and found a tree trimmer who was licensed and so forth who came and looked at the jungle and gave an estimate. He said he'd trim the trees for $200 and we'd have to follow behind him and clean up the mess. He only trims.

Where are we going to get that much extra money and time from? But, it has to be done, we don't have a choice. The trimmer and Karl settle on a date for the work to be done, but the man doesn't show up. Finally, later that afternoon he asks Karl if he can come the next day, to which the answer is no! We had plans to be out of town all day and it couldn't be done then. Since we have to be present to pick up all the tree limbs, we had to put it off until a later date.

In the meantime, Karl is speaking with someone else who says he could do the job. It turns out that he will also clean up after himself, haul off all the branches and limbs with his own trailer equipment and he'll do it for less than half the price of the other man (who we since learned has a reputation for having high prices for his work).

This is just one of many instances where things were looking rather stressful and not going the way they should and God turned them into blessings. I remember telling Karl that we should be grateful the professional trimmer didn't come, because maybe God had another plan (and He did!). Soon after Karl had to tell me something similar when I faced a dilemma.

Life is a lot more enjoyable when we surrender our problems to God and let Him take the stressful situations and work them out for us. He has a much better track record anyway.

On a similar note is a message from my friend Gene. He sends me good stuff like this and I just have to pass it on. Enjoy!

When you’re totally drained in every way and you feel out of control, confused by other people’s expectations, it’s easy to become numb to what you really feel inside. Your decisions are all over the place because you’re being tricked by all sorts of emotions. For example, if you’re really tired you become more likely to snap at someone or react in a way that is unlike the real you. When we get exhausted we stop communicating and sometimes we end up doing an ostrich impression, burying our heads in the sand, hoping it will all go away!

So what’s the answer? God said,

In repentance and rest is your salvation.’ Isaiah 30:15

In other words, for fast effective relief – stop! Instead of pushing, struggling to keep going, stop and talk to God about what’s happening. Rather than feeling overwhelmed and weighed down by how hard your situation is, get God involved by praying: ‘Lord, help me keep my mind fixed on You. During this time of busyness and stress help me to get my priorities in step with Your will, to think Your thoughts and focus my heart on Your love for me. Your Word says You’ve planned peace for me. Because you rescue and protect me I will not let myself be worried or afraid. Thank You Jesus for helping me stay peaceful today.’ God didn’t design you to be numb; he designed you to be sensitive. If you feel you’re getting out of balance, keep going back to Jesus.