Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”


You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen, Coment, and Cupid, and Donder, and Blitzen, but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all….”  Sound familiar? You know the rest of the words right? I’m sure you do. It’s a famous Christmas Carol. However, I’ll bet if I were to ask you, “Where did the idea for Rudolph come from--you wouldn’t know the answer, would you?” What is it that makes the beloved reindeer so famous? What could the people of the world possibly have in common with an animal that is said to be the leader behind Santa’s sleigh one night out of the year? 
It all started with a guy named Bob May. His wife was dying of cancer. His 4-year old daughter sat on his lap and cried. “Why isn’t Mommy just like everyone else’s Mommy?” She asked. His daughter’s question reminded him of his own childhood. Bob May was small as a kid. He was too small to compete in sports. He was often picked on and bullied by other boys. He was the kind of person who never did quite fit in very well with things.
This all happened during the time of the great depression in the 1930’s. Since he couldn’t afford to buy a Christmas gift, he decided to make one. In an effort to try to comfort his daughter, he wrote a children’s book. He told a story with animals. Rudolph was the story of his life in fable form. Rudolph was an outcast just like his creator, Bob May. Rudolph was a reindeer with a shiny nose. He finished the story just in time for Christmas Day.
Soon, the general manager of Montgomery Ward heard about the storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. The story went to print and was given to children who were visiting Santa Claus in stores. By 1946, six million copies of Rudolph had been distributed and sold. Soon, toys followed and Bob May was able to make a living and comfort his grieving daughter at the same time.
It was his brother-in law, Johnny Marks, who adapted the story into the well-known song we sing today. Although turned down by many singers, the song was released in 1949 and sung by Gene Autry. It became a phenomenon and sold more records than any other song with the exception of  “White Christmas.” Like May, Rudolph learned that being different can be a blessing.
            Although this song doesn’t have any reference to Christ, we can all learn a lot from Rudolph and his creator. Often, we try to fix the things we don’t like about ourselves-our gray hairs, our wrinkles, etc, as if something about ourselves is a mistake. In Psalm 139, beginning in verse 13, the Bible says, “For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” If people were created in their mother’s womb, how could anybody possibly be a mistake? At the very end of verse 16, it says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
The bottom line: If we were all made the same, there would be no creativity. We wouldn’t have anything to learn from each other because there would be no need for growth. When we try to fix the things we don’t like about ourselves, we’re telling God, our creator, he made a mistake-the very same God who created everything else before us.            
 We all have special gifts and talents that have been given to us by God. The question: What will we do with them? Will we be like Rudolph and learn to use them wisely, or will we be like the man in the Bible who buried his one talent and tried to forget all about it? How will you serve the Lord in the New Year?

Dear Lord,
As the New Year approaches, please help me find new ways to use my gifts and talents to serve you.
Amen
* Information taken from www.urbanlegends.com.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Therapy dog helps patients at hospital

Therapy dog helps patients at hospital
Hey everyone! I didn't write this, but here's an article I found in The Signal about how I helped inspire someone else in a wheelchair to volunteer at the hospital. The writer doesn't mention my name, but I'm certain that they talking about me because I'm the only one there in a wheelchair who volunteers. They do talk about a young girl with cerebral palsy who pushes around a magazine cart. Here's an example of what can happen when we let our lights shine for Jesus. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oakbridge 2012




























Danger and Zippy: A weekend At Oakbridge



Danger and Zippy:  A weekend At Oakbridge

Thursday, August 25
Hey, everyone, Zippy here. I’m Rachael’s wheelchair. Fun Life campers and I just got back from an adventurous place called Oakbridge.  Fun Life is a Christian organization for people with disabilities. I wish, I could talk about everything we did, but I’m just going to share with you some key highlights. Are you ready? Hold on tight. It’s going to be one wild ride. Here we go! HONK! HONK!
 At Oakbridge, the fun began right away. As each camper got off the bus, the welcoming camp leaders clapped, cheered, and yelled our names. It was very special…especially for “RACH-AEL! RACH-AEL! RACH-AEL,” my rider.  It was a big parade! I didn’t dress for the occasion, oops.  
Next, we headed to the dining hall. The camp leaders gave me the royal treatment-wheelchairs first! I like first class. Then, we saddled up to the table. Rachael had tacos, and I had a couple squirts of WD40, yum!
     Soon, it was time to head for the clubhouse. The speaker spoke about being lights for Jesus that point people to God. To illustrate, the room grew dim (I need headlights), then lit up once again. The message ended, and we headed to our cabin. Inside, Rachael parked me next to her bed, plugged my battery into the electric socket, and together, we dreamt about tomorrow’s adventures.

Friday, August 26
  Up early, Rachael buckled in, snapped my footrests into place, and off we drove to the dining hall. I heard Rachael say that the egg and sausage burrito was “yummy.”
At club time, the speaker told the story about the Good Shepherd. Our camp leader gave us journals. Rachael wrote:
“BACK HOME, I CARE FOR THE PEOPLE AT THE HOSPITAL. I PASS OUT MAGAZINES AND SMILES.”
She sure does care. Back home, the hospital is one of my favorite places to go with her. I love seeing the impact Rachael has on others. When they see her ride up, they realize their life doesn’t have to stop because they are in a wheelchair. Rachael and I are both good shepherds to each other. I take her where she needs to go, and she makes sure my parts are maintained so I function properly.
   That evening, the camp had a carnival on the field. Rachael won five tickets, enough to “pie a leader” in the face. She “pied” camp leader Randy because he had a beard and the shaving cream stuck to him quite well! She giggled and I could tell she enjoyed it.
Saturday, August 25, 
The campers put on their white t-shirts.  They were told to wear something they didn’t mind getting dirty. “Uh-Oh, This sounds dangerous,” I thought.   
 We played two games, first, Chariots of Fire. A rope attached to a sleeping bag was tied to my wheelchair handles. With Rachael driving and me as the chariot, we dragged campers around cones! Second, we played a chalk game. Little did I realize what was coming-up. The leaders gave campers handfuls of colored powdered chalk, and told them to throw it at each other. Next thing I knew, all kinds of colors were coming at us! Chalk was getting all over my controls, my footrests, my handles-everywhere! Not only were the colors on me, but, also, on Rachael’s shoes, pants, t-shirt, and hair! She was more colorful than I’d ever seen her before! That’s when; I nicknamed her “Danger.”
 After lunch, “Danger” scaled the rope course and zoomed across the zip line. The camp leaders put her into a special harness that took her up the ropes and throughout the course.  She really stood out in all those colors! At the zip line, before she launched, “Danger” yelled, “THREE, TWO, ONE, BLAST OFF!” She zoomed down the zip line giggling and smiling the whole way.
 That night, we had a spectacular Neon Dance! Everyone danced the night away by the light of glow sticks. 
Sunday, August 26, 
            Time to head home. We were asked what two things we would take home from camp. Danger yelled, “The color duel.” “Me, too!” I thought. “I’m still wearing the colors!”  And, I would like to wake up early as I did at camp.”   
When we arrived home, “Danger’s” mom saw the rainbow of colors painted all over me. “This is what happens at Fun Life Camp!” They both chuckled. 
 Mom washed most of the colors off, but some remained. That’s okay. It was fun!! I can’t wait to see what we do next. Living with “Danger” is always an adventure! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

“Kittens, Children, and Warm Hot Dogs”

video


Recently, Sarah and I went to the annual Joni and Friends Family Retreat at the Murrieta Hot Springs. We had a great time as usual. However, on the last day of camp, something happened.
We were in the dining hall eating our breakfast, and then the families were supposed to go pack up in their rooms, and go to the church service at the chapel. Sarah and I had done everything ahead of time, so we took our time eating breakfast and saying good-bye to people. Sarah is very social. She’s the kind of person who really likes to slow down and savor every moment of everything. She’s not in a hurry.
“Don’t let anybody take my food,” she said.
“Okay,” I replied.
While I ate my breakfast, she went around the dining hall to take pictures and give everybody hugs.  Finally, as everyone left the dining hall and went back to their rooms to pack, Sarah still hadn’t touched her breakfast. There was another person there named Rachel. When everyone else left, Sarah, Rachel, and I were the only ones there. The other Rachel taught an art class. We started talking about my books and the possibility of future illustrations. When Sarah was done saying good-bye to the last person leaving the dining hall, we still weren’t done saying good-bye to the campgrounds, or to each other. We wanted to savor the moment even more. After all, Family Retreat only happens once a year. You never know if you’re going to cross paths with the same people again. We went up on the stage and took a picture of the three of us. Rachel and I sang “Awesome God.” We were having such a great time, and Sarah’s food was still on the table. She would get to it eventually.
When we got off the stage, we were just about ready to leave and go to the church service. Sarah looked around for her food. It was gone!  “Ahhh!”  She panicked.
The problem: Sarah is on a special diet and can only eat certain foods. Her plate was full. She didn’t understand why anyone would take it. She talked to someone who was part of the kitchen staff and explained the situation. The kitchen staff went back in the kitchen and talked to the person in charge. 
“I guess I learned a lesson,” Sarah said. “Take your food with you wherever you go.” The kitchen staff came out with a box. In the box were hog dogs that had just been microwaved. As we went out to the lobby, Rachel carried the box and asked, “What’s in here?”
“Hot dogs,” Sarah answered. Really, they looked like overcooked sausage links. It wasn’t exactly the best thing for Sarah to eat, but at least it would give her a little bit of protein to hold her over until my mom picked us up and we could stop somewhere.
Rachel couldn’t believe Sarah was really going to eat the hot dogs. They didn’t look good at all! Sarcastically, she remarked, “I like kittens, children, and warm hot dogs.”
Sarah looked at me and said, “Rachael, that would be a great title for a blog or a book.”
“Yeah,” I said in agreement. This was quite a way to end the week. It would certainly be something I would remember.
Mom came and picked us up. Sarah and I both said our last good-byes, and then we got in the car and went to Carl’s Jr. Sarah was finally able to eat something healthy, and we all got home safe and sound.
I’ll never forget how Family Retreat is always full of fun and laughter. It’s a great place to meet great people and develop lasting relationships, and have lots of adventures! You never know what might happen next! I can’t wait until next summer! 

Sarah March (Left) Rachael Rubenstein (Right) She's the one who taught the art class.


Art Class Friday afternoon
The finished product on display at the art show Saturday night. The yellow part is heaven. I'm ascending out of my wheelchair into heaven where I'll finally have the perfect body with no physical limitations!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"How Would You Like Your Eggs?"


   
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:30
    My friend Sarah came over to my house the other day. I was getting ready to go to a funeral. While I was eating my lunch, I was telling Sarah a few things I was worried about and why. Sarah listened for a while, and then she said, “Remember the verse in the Bible where Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Do you know why Jesus uses that illustration? She asked. Do you know what a yoke is?”
“Yeah, I said. Yoke is that yellow stuff found in eggs.” Sarah burst out laughing! I didn’t know why, but the laughter was contagious. I started laughing. I knew I’d said something wrong. After she settled down, she said, “So all those years you heard that verse, you thought about eggs? That’s priceless!”
Sarah drew me a picture of a yoke and explained, “A yoke is a wooden beam used to hook two animals together to carry a heavy workload. Like horses, oxen, donkeys, etc. The reason why they use the illustration of a yoke in the Bible is because here’s Jesus and here’s you. Jesus is carrying the heavier workload.”
She told me they usually have a picture of it in the history books at school. The funny thing was, if they ever did talk about what a yoke was in school, I certainly didn’t remember. I usually have a pretty good memory, and I’m a visual learner. I guess I missed it somehow.
We laughed about it for the rest of the day. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to keep a straight face the next time I hear that verse.” She said. “The next someone asks you, “how would you like your eggs?” What are you going to tell them? Over easy and light?” I couldn’t say anything. We both just kept laughing. It was one of those things that I should’ve known at my age. For some reason, I didn’t. Oh well, the more important thing is, I know what it is now, and I’ll never forget it! What great times Sarah and I have together!

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for putting good friends in my path that I can learn from. Help me to always depend on you to help me carry the burden. I can’t do it alone. I’m glad you were much smarter than me when you wrote the Bible!
Amen
         





















         





















"How Would You Like Your Eggs?"


   
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:30
    My friend Sarah came over to my house the other day. I was getting ready to go to a funeral. While I was eating my lunch, I was telling Sarah a few things I was worried about and why. Sarah listened for a while, and then she said, “Remember the verse in the Bible where Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Do you know why Jesus uses that illustration? She asked. Do you know what a yoke is?”
“Yeah, I said. Yoke is that yellow stuff found in eggs.” Sarah burst out laughing! I didn’t know why, but the laughter was contagious. I started laughing. I knew I’d said something wrong. After she settled down, she said, “So all those years you heard that verse, you thought about eggs? That’s priceless!”
Sarah drew me a picture of a yoke and explained, “A yoke is a wooden beam used to hook two animals together to carry a heavy workload. Like horses, oxen, donkeys, etc. The reason why they use the illustration of a yoke in the Bible is because here’s Jesus and here’s you. Jesus is carrying the heavier workload.”
She told me they usually have a picture of it in the history books at school. The funny thing was, if they ever did talk about what a yoke was in school, I certainly didn’t remember. I usually have a pretty good memory, and I’m a visual learner. I guess I missed it somehow.
We laughed about it for the rest of the day. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to keep a straight face the next time I hear that verse.” She said. “The next someone asks you, “how would you like your eggs?” What are you going to tell them? Over easy and light?” I couldn’t say anything. We both just kept laughing. It was one of those things that I should’ve known at my age. For some reason, I didn’t. Oh well, the more important thing is, I know what it is now, and I’ll never forget it! What great times Sarah and I have together!

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for putting good friends in my path that I can learn from. Help me to always depend on you to help me carry the burden. I can’t do it alone. I’m glad you were much smarter than me when you wrote the Bible!
Amen
         





















         





















Monday, June 11, 2012

The Intersection of L8-8

     Last month, I went with my friend Sarah to the Antelope Valley Christian Writers’ Conference. The conference was at Antelope Valley Church in Lancaster. I’ve never really been to Lancaster, I’ve only heard about it. I’ve heard it’s easy to get lost in the area. After going there, I understand why.
We were going along, and everything was just fine. We had no traffic, etc. Then we got closer to the area. We got into Lancaster, and suddenly we didn’t see street names. Instead, we saw letters and numbers. “Avenue K,” Avenue L,” etc.
Sarah said, “For the person who has dyslexia, this is a nightmare because they see everything backwards.” The directions read: Turn left at Ave. L-8, and our meeting place is on the right.”
 We followed the directions exactly as they were written. We got to the place where we thought the conference was supposed to be. Sarah pulled into the parking lot, but it was empty. Then she called the number they gave us on the paper. We got the answering machine. It turned out to be a number for a media service that was going to be at the conference.
After going around in circles for a few minutes, we finally spotted somebody. Sarah handed the man the paper and he said, “No, you’re looking for Avenue L8-8.” Sarah is a schoolteacher, and I’m a writer, so this was driving us both nuts! Here we were, going to a conference with a bunch of well-known, successful writers, and all the signs in the community were made up of letters and numbers. I couldn’t of picked a more perfect place for a writers’ conference!
They’re very creative here in Lancaster. I thought. Who really needs to go to the conference? Why don’t we bring in the city council, and teach them some creative writing skills?   
This was their seventh annual conference. The people in charge of it had to know what the area was like. Whose idea was it to hold the conference there of all places? And why?
We finally found the church and went in. Sarah explained why we were late. The man at the front door was a pastor. “I’m sorry, he said. They gave you the address of my church.”
Now we were really laughing. Not only were we in a community where all they used was letters, numbers, and dashes, but also the people who made the flyer wrote down the wrong address. The day was just beginning. So far, we were off to a great start!
   Once we got there, we were fine. The conference itself was great. We both loved the biblical emphasis and spiritual encouragement. When it was time to go, we laughed about the directions and street names all the way home. 
”We’re in the land of intelligence. Sarah said sarcastically. If I were on the board, I’d be going crazy. Come on people let’s think!” I laughed in agreement.
“I may still need to learn a few things about writing and getting published, but even I know enough that I could be more creative than that. I could teach Creative Writing 101.” Sarah agreed.
A month later, we’re still laughing about it. I don’t think the laughter will ever end. It’s probably something we’ll talk about forever!
“They must’ve had help from the people on Sesame Street.” I said one day as I fell to the ground laughing. “An Antelope is an animal. If they’re going to call one part Antelope Valley, why don’t they use animal names for the other streets too? Like Centipede Drive or Snake Street?  How about Ladybug Lane? That would be much creative than letters and numbers.”
Sarah and I have spent a lot of time thinking about how we would rewrite the street names on the signs if we lived in the area. What a fun day we had! Not only did we both learn a lot about writing, but it also reminded me to be thankful for a few things.
First, I’m very thankful for a God who was so creative that he “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139 13b (NIV). He also designed the whole universe— both day and night. Talk about creativity!
Secondly, I’m thankful that even though humans aren’t perfect, we have a perfect God who gave us the Bible with perfect instructions for life— if only we will follow them.
Dear Lord,
Thank you for being more creative than I could ever be. Please teach me to be more like you as I learn to follow your will for my life. Help me be a more creative follower in your image who wants to share the gospel with others.
Amen
       * For more information about the conference, visit their website at:www.avwriters.com
 







Monday, January 23, 2012

“I Was Lifeguard for a Day”


This weekend is Sanctity of Life Sunday. President Ronald Regan started it in response to the Roe V. Wade case. The first National Sanctity of Life Day was held on January 22, 1984—11 years after the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States. Today, many churches and Christians around the world recognize the third Sunday in January as National Sanctity of Life Day.
Last October was the first time I participated in the walk for life. It’s a fundraiser that helps raise money for all the programs and services provided by our local pregnancy center. They gave us shirts that said, “Lifeguards.” They also gave us stickers that said, “I walked for Life.”
We drove to Cinema Drive where Church On the Way is located. We got out of the car and registered ourselves. Shortly after that, we listened to a few speeches, released balloons into the air, and the walk began. We were supposed to do two miles, but it took me the whole time to do one mile.
            A lot of people were there. Families, kids, people with strollers, etc.  It’s a big event! I stood out because I was the only one in a walker. People were surprised because a lot of people have never seen me walk. Most of the time I’m in my wheelchair at church. People we’re cheering for me, honking their horns, and telling me things like, “Rachael, you’re my hero.” My friend Sarah told me, “Rachael, you serve as a reminder for why we do this.”
I was surrounded by so much love and support from the community. It was great! Sarah said she was fighting back tears. I was the last one to finish the walk. When I got to the end, people were waiting for me. Somebody even came toward the end to finish the walk with me to encourage me as they saw me start to get tired. People clapped and cheered me on. I felt like I was being welcomed into heaven. It was as if God was saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant. You’re home. Thank you for serving as my Lifeguard for a day.” I will run into his arms with a smile on my face, and kneel down to receive my crown of rewards. What a great day that will be! What about you? How will you serve the Lord? Will you be a Lifeguard for Jesus?

Psalm 139 13-16
“For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.”









If you would like to learn more about how to be involved in the Walk For Life or you're interested in learning how to help the local pregnancy center, visit their website at: www.lifesupporter.org