Your Undercarriage Will Sparkle

June 28, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

After the tragic events of 9-11, I felt compelled to show my patriotism in some way. It seemed most everybody in the area had the same thought. By the time I got to the store, there wasn’t a single flag remaining. So for the first time in my life, I ventured bravely into cyberspace to search for and buy a magnetic flag to display on our van. I accomplished this feat in record time and when the much-sought-after purchase arrived, I was thrilled. Emblazoned across the magnetic sign was the American flag and underneath were the words “God Bless America.” Perfect.

The first few times I drove around town with the sign on the car, I would look in my rearview mirror to see if the driver behind me noticed my cool magnet. I felt I was making a statement “I believe in this country and the freedom for which it stands!” However, the very first time I took the van through the “touch-free” carwash, I forgot to take my new flag off and it was washed away. UGH!

When I realized my show of patriotism had slipped off, I knew it had to be on the floor of the car wash. So the next morning, Micah, Matthew and I stopped by the car wash after we dropped Martin at choir just as it was starting to snow. As we pulled up a gentleman was about to enter and the door to the bay was slowly lifting.

Seizing the moment, I jumped from the van and dashed toward his window. I politely asked if I could sprint in ahead of him and retrieve my little flag. He waved me on enthusiastically. I waited for the door to open and entered the bay. As I entered, the little electric eye must have caught sight of me. In an instant the undercarriage wash came on with such startling force that I was airborne before I knew what had hit me. A flying leap took me through the spray and when I landed the pre-rinse immediately opened up, drenching me from head to toe. Without looking at the man in his car behind me, I escaped as fast as I could with no flag to show for my troubles.

The howls of laughter rocking my van told me that Matthew and Micah had witnessed the entire show. As I crawled behind the wheel of the van, icicles forming on my brow, I couldn’t help but share in the laughter. Despite my frozen exterior, joining in the hilarity with my boys warmed my heart. I’m not sure, however if the man who treated me to his car wash ever recovered.

The next Sunday morning as we passed by the car wash on our way to church, my husband, Dave slowed the car and said, “Hey Liz, if you need a shower we will wait.” And we laughed all over again. Times like this remind me that God has a great sense of humor, and we do well not to take ourselves too seriously.

Wicked Witch of the West

May 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

If our little family motel by Yellowstone that we run each summer has done nothing else, it has given me much fodder for my articles. The other day was a doozy.

Rich (the bucket man) came with his “cherry picker” truck to help me fix up and light our sign, 30 or so feet off the ground in the Wyoming wind. Since it is $70 per hour, I was trying to hurry and I didn’t notice that I was down wind of the forest green spray paint we were painting the pole with.

When I said my face felt funny Rich looked at me and said “Oh Liz, I think you must have been down wind.” We finished the sign and Rich said he would come back later so I could pay him. I think he wanted out of there before I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. When I looked in the mirror I about died.

Can you say Wizard of Oz? I looked just like the wicked witch of the west…hair and all. My face, neck, ears hair—even teeth were a lovely shade of forest green. (I must have been smiling the whole time because I love the bucket truck.) Any exposed body parts were covered. It was hysterical! All I needed was a wart on my nose with hair growing out of it.

While I was figuring out what to do I took pictures of myself and am ever so thankful that we can’t include them here. How would I wait on my guests that would be arriving soon? How long would it take to wear off?

I was going to use mineral spirits but the smell about killed me so I decided to try coconut oil. Amazing, but it worked like a charm and in no time I was good as new. It only took me three times to lather up with oil and wipe it off with a paper towel, then shower. I was washed clean but not before I shocked the movie producer in Room 21 who has a new concussion from falling on the trail on the way to his shoot the previous day. I think he must have thought he was hallucinating. He looked at me funny and said, “You look a little green, Liz.” Must have affected his vision as I was much more than a little green.

Started me thinking about how sometimes our sin is out there for all to see. When we are walking in obvious sin instead of the Spirit, our witness takes a hit. Our credibility is lost. But the most amazing analogy for me was that in 1 John it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).

And He does it faster than coconut oil. He will restore us to purity if we will confess and ask Him to. Thinking I am going to do that every time I find myself in sin, immediately, lest I begin to grow a wart with hair. That is such a bad witness. My dear friend always says, “You might be the only Jesus someone sees.” Oh how I long to represent Him well.

Looks are Deceiving

May 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

The day before we were to leave for home from our little family business in Dubois, Wyoming I ventured down to the old garage that houses many of my father-in-law’s treasures, God rest his soul.

Remembering that the roof leaked last winter, I wanted to get a patch on it so more items wouldn’t be lost to the mold and mildew pit. I climbed up the ladder and peered over the ridge. It didn’t look too bad so I walked over to the spot I knew from the inside of the garage had the leak and started to sweep it off so I could roll the liquid patching material onto it. Soon I felt a squishy feeling under my tennis shoes.

A few sweeps later I stepped and crashed in up to my ankle. Slowly, carefully I pulled my foot out of the hole and crawled to the edge of the garage roof. I sat on the brick edge thinking that it didn’t look that bad from the outside. Still because of what just happened, I laid a board on the roof to walk out on then peeled back the shingles. Much to my chagrin, under the seemingly intact roofing, were water damaged rotten boards. Some places were rotted half way through the beams.

I had purchased $50 worth of patch material to hold the water back for the winter and was planning to take the morning to complete my patching job by noon. Two and a half days and $585 later we have a new roof on the old garage. We were late leaving for home, and spent more than quadruple our planned budget for the project. All that after our good friend donated the shingles so we didn’t have to purchase that part of the roofing. We have a standing joke at our old motel that whatever job you plan to do you should double the amount of time and triple the budget it will take to get it done. One thing about the motel, I have learned how to do so many repairs, plumbing, tiling, painting and now roofing, to name a few.

Sometimes I get the feeling our hearts are like that old hail damaged roof. From the outside, we look like we just need a few repairs. But lurking under our Sunday smiles lies a heart that is black and rotten and in serious need of an overhaul. Thank goodness our Savior is up to the task of heart overhauls.

He performed heart overhauls for the people of Israel and He will do it for us. Check out what God’s Word says in Ezekiel 11:18-20a: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Just like the new roof will protect the treasures in the old garage until we can get in there and take care of them, so our hearts will serve us well after the Father goes in and does his magic of overhauling them. I can think of few things I want more for me and those I love than that… “They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Fear Not

March 9, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

We own a small family-run motel near Yellowstone in Dubois, Wyoming. It is one of my favorite places on the planet. We spend our summers there repairing the damage of hired managers and “old building syndrome,” while transforming it back into a profitable business. On our off time we fly fish, rock hound, and go tubing down the Wind River that borders the motel property. To us Dubois is a slice of paradise. It is however, a seasonal business because winters there are brutal.

Last autumn, I was there later in the year than we have usually been. One crisp evening, I was in the lobby checking emails late and hoping for some business when I thought I saw a face peeking in the bottom of the window out of the corner of my eye. We had a prowler earlier in the evening that broke a window, very rare for Dubois, so I was a bit uneasy anyway. When I saw it again I was suddenly too frozen with fear to move. I did what I always do when I am terrified; I started praying scripture out loud (because no one can stand against the Word of God).

As I prayed I mustered the courage to do the thing everyone in a horror movie knows not to do—go toward the threat. Slowly I stood from my chair and grabbing a fireplace poker made my way to the door.

I reached for the handle readying myself to do whatever I needed to (like slam it back shut). I threw open the door when much to my great surprise (and hers) I found myself face to face with a little doe. She was helping herself to the flowers in my pots next to the office door. She was adorable there with a mouthful of late season petunias. I laughed out loud. She had the unmistakable look of a kid with her hand caught in the cookie jar. We stared at each other for a moment or two then she moseyed around to the front of the motel to munch more there. She was just tall enough to look in through the bottom of the office door window.

I went back into the lobby shaking my head at how silly I can be. Getting myself all worked up imagining what might be out there; the preverbal monster under the bed. Isn’t it funny how fear of the unknown paralyzes us? Before I started praying and walked to the door I was glued to my chair in fear.

Every time I start to worry about what will happen with our economy, or our country, or my teenaged children (we have three teenaged boys), or our finances or or or…you get the idea, I have to say to myself out loud what the Bible tells us 365 times. “Do not be afraid.” I run to the Word and look for the passages like Deuteronomy 31:5-7 that say, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” And He does go with us, never forsaking us!

He’s Got Your Back

January 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

Last summer we decided that our house was in serious need of staining. I borrowed a power washer from a painter friend who said it would be better than sanding. So to prep the siding for a new coat of stain, I set out to “wash my house”. I closed all the windows tight so I no water would go in through the cracks.

The machine was amazing. It removes paint at 15 feet; get closer at full blast and you will be erasing the siding. It took me a few minutes to get used to it; I blew out a few light bulbs on porch lights. But after doing the bottom half of our house from the ground I felt like I could do anything. I wanted to have the whole house done before my husband got home from work to surprise him.

I enlisted the assistance of my teenaged son to help me get the washer set up on the roof and myself up there. He went into the house and I began my work. Just as I was finishing a thunder storm rolled over the hills and the lighting was heading my way.

The roof was very wet now and getting on the ladder without someone to hold it didn’t seem safe. But neither did standing on my roof like a lightning rod. So I did what any self-respecting person would do, I started hollering for my son to come out and help me get off the roof. Because I had closed down the house tighter than a drum, he could not hear me. I pounded on the only window I could reach from that particular roof portion. No answer. I yelled. No answer. I screamed. No answer. I am sure the neighbors and all of the front-range could hear me but not Martin. Since we live in the mountains above Denver, a summer storm also usually means a drastic drop in temperature. So there I was drenched to the bone from my washing, frozen in the cold as the storm rolled in. Lightening crashed, thunder rolled, I shivered. After yelling myself out I sat against the side of the building and waited.

While I was sitting up there I watched the storm roll over the mountain and I prayed. I was reminded of the saying, Sometimes He calms the storm and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child. That vantage point provided the best view of a thunderstorm I have ever witnessed. It was beautiful, powerful, and a bit scary. But as I prayed a peace washed over me like the rain coming across the valley.

I knew I was going to be ok so I just sat and waited. I am ever amazed that over and over again God shows me that He is in control and He’s got my back. And He has yours too. So you might as well relax and enjoy the ride. Even if you are shivering.

Once it started to rain, Martin remembered I was out there and came running out to see if I was ok. I got off the roof safely and he made me a cup of hot tea. And the house was clean before my husband got home from work. So it is; another example of what my Mom always says…Things have a way of working out.

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