The Santa Express

One Sunday evening a couple summers ago, we were out for a walk in our neighborhood. It was garbage night and some people had already put their garbage to the curb for pick up the next morning. We passed one such house and Leslie noticed something that caught her eye — it was a Christmas decoration that was more than what you expect to see in someone’s garbage.

Upon closer inspection it was an extraordinary piece of garbage. In fact, it wasn’t garbage at all. It was a misfit decoration of some considerable value that someone was discarding.  
Perhaps the owner didn’t want it anymore. Perhaps the owner had hoped someone who garbage picks might see it and recognize it for the treasure that it is and give it a home. This evening WE were those garbage pickers.
We quickly recognized the value of this piece and created a plan to have it for our own. Leslie would stay with the item curbside, and Ed would go back to get the car and come pick them up. Ed hurried back home, got the car, and picked up Leslie and their newly found Christmas treasure.
Back home, we worked to clean the item up. It wasn’t long before we could see how magnificent this Christmas decoration was – a hand-made tin train called the Santa Express. It was beautiful. It was painted in rich crimson and green and gold and blue colors with Santa hanging out the window ringing a bell. It appeared to be decades old, harkening back to a time when things were made well and built with pride to last.
We loved it!

That next Christmas we displayed it proudly for all to see. Guests that came to the house commented on the wonderful conversation piece. They wondered about its origin. They were surprised when we told them we had just found it in the garbage earlier that year. We were so proud of it!
When Christmas was over, we stored it, and once again this Christmas decorating season we brought it out again. We display it with pride, and intend to for years to come.
And to think this could have been disposed of in a garbage dump!
What treasures have you found discarded by someone else? What things of value do you throw out that could be given away to someone else or sold to someone who appreciates its value?  
We seem to live in a disposable society. Everything has a “useful life” and then gets thrown out.  
Maybe we should look for things of quality and value, care for them, and pass them down to generations to come.
God doesn’t make garbage. He has made each one of us with great care. He doesn’t see us as disposable. What one of us may see as trash, another will recognize as a treasure. And we can be thankful when they do.

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Edconomics Lesson #2 : Have More With Les

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Pillow Talk

(5:30am this morning)

Me: “But I don’t wanna go back to that place (ie. work).”

Leslie: “Yeah. Let’s run away.”

Ed: “Where would we go?”

Leslie: “The North Pole.”

Ed: “What would we do?”

Leslie: “Make toys…sing Christmas carols… bake Christmas cookies…kiss under the mistletoe.”

Me: “Sounds nice.”  (I love this woman!)

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Edconomics Lesson #1 : Les Is More

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Why Toesday?

—  By Ed Novick

One of my college buddies recently texted me to ask incredulously, “What the hell is Toesday??”.

My response was simply “Relationship insurance”. 

Of course the answer is much more complicated than that. But it captured what I thought he needed to know.

To expand on the answer gives a little more information about what Toesday is to me. 

I wasn’t always with Leslie. I was married previously. Sadly that marriage didn’t work out. And it was devastating to me.  In the painful throes of the divorce I did everything I could to try to save the marriage. I went to counseling, read books on relationships, went to support groups, went to church, consulted with experts, and tried to learn everything I could to save the marriage … or at least to learn everything I could to make the next relationship as secure as possible so as not to ever feel the pain of that loss again.

One of the simple joys of marriage is touch….loving touch. 

One of the excruciating pains of a failed relationship is being in the desert of deprivation of touch. 

Loving touch is so vital to wellness. 
Going for days, weeks, months or years without it can feel like hell. I was in that desert once. I didn’t know if I would make it out.
But I vowed if I ever made it out and into the wonderful pools of loving touch I would never take it for granted.

Of course keeping the vow came with some responsibilities. It meant being generous with giving loving touch to a partner.

One of the most wonderful examples of loving, caring touch was given by our Lord Jesus at the Last Supper. After that supper Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. And some of the disciples protested not wanting Jesus to touch their feet. They knew their feet were dirty and it was uncomfortable to have someone else care for their dirty, smelly feet. Jesus showed great Love. He loved his disciples as he loves us, right down to our dirty feet. 

I thought if I ever found love again. I would show such love for my loved one. 
Anyone can kiss their beloved’s head. But can you love them so much to care for their feet?

“Toesday” was inspired by those experiences and thoughts, and became a catchy way to make that a reality. 
Toesday is a weekly reminder to not take your partner for granted and to love them deeply and completely. 

Leslie complements my technique in massaging her feet. That’s nice to know that she appreciates my care. 
Hopefully what she’s feeling and experiencing is the deep love and care for her that I feel inside. Hopefully it’s a tangible way of experiencing my love for her. Hopefully it pampers her feet and makes her tingle right up to the top of her head.

We all need deep care. Jesus loves us in this way. He’s not around in person to care for us that way. We need to be the love of Jesus to one another. Caring for our loved ones deeply tenderly and intimately on Toesday, with a foot massage, is just following His example of love. 
You would do well to love your spouse so well, to preserve the loving relationship and to make it last.

Have a happy Toesday!

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Toesday

– by Leslie Novick

Tuesday has a new name. It’s called “Toesday” at our house. 

What is “Toesday?”

 

Hump day. TGIF. Meatless Monday and Throwback Thursday.

 

What about Tuesday? Has Tuesday got a chance?

 

The answer is yes! Tuesday is no longer a distant contender for those of you who may have missed the memo…Tuesday is… “Toesday”, and it all started when my sweet husband offered me a foot massage after a long day.

 

It was a Tuesday night as we talked about the happenings of the day. I told him it felt like it should be Friday already, and he said, “I know, but just think tomorrow is Hump day, so just relax while I pamper these tired toes. He squeezed. He rubbed. He massaged and kneaded my feet until I felt a tingling sensation on the crown of my head. Wow! It sure felt nice. I was relaxed. I was so grateful for his tender care and no longer wished Tuesday away. It was like little hugs refreshed my feet, as he tugged each toe. (I had no idea he was so skilled and secretly wondered if he missed his calling as a podiatrist or reflexology therapist.)  

 

Upon complimenting his techniques, Ed smiled and said, “your feet need some love and after all its “Toes Day” for you, and from now on every Tuesday. It will be something nice to look forward to each week.”

 

What a blessing to have a caring husband. What a gift to soothe another from the weariness of the day.

 

Who will you share “Toesday” with this week?

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Apple Pie of My Eye

I had a big disappointment the other day. 

It was only overcome now with the sweetest love.

This morning I was reminiscing how nice a day yesterday was. The weather was nearly ideal. Leslie and I went to the pool and floated around on the lazy river for a couple hours. The sun and breezes kissed our bodies as we floated and rocked with our feet in cooling waters, looking up at an azure sky with wisps of white fluffy clouds sailing around in it. It was wonderful.  

Then we came home and Leslie made dinner while I made a salad. I had salmon with a tangy pico de gallo marinade and sweet roasted vegetables that were delicious. Leslie made herself barbecue chicken.  

We decided to head out for the evening to the Frankfort Bluegrass Festival. There we sat on a bench and people-watched amid the crowd for a long while. Leslie got herself an ice cream cone at a nearby shop. It was cappuccino chocolate. The music was uplifting as it tickled our ears with the sounds of banjos, fiddles and vocal harmonies.

I had the thought to check my Facebook app on my phone to see if any friends were nearby. Lo and behold our friend Marty was up the street above the crowd on a balcony overlooking the square, and with an eagle’s view of the bandshell. We found him and joined him there for a long while, talking, and enjoying the perspective on the sights, sounds and feelings in the cool evening air.

Ed, Leslie and Marty

We got home and I finished eating the fresh apple-pear pie dessert that Leslie had made for me recently. It was so good. I mean SOOO good. If you’ve never had Leslie’s apple-pear pie, you have no idea what you’re missing. Imagine apple pie, but better, without the glop, and seasoned sparingly so you can taste the natural flavors of the apples, pears and hint of cinnamon. Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet are nostalgic and wholesome American wonders, but Leslie’s apple-pear pie takes the wholesome goodness to a whole ‘nother level. I savored every last bite, humbly appreciating every one, before heading off to bliss.

Leslie’s Apple-Pear Pie

It was a good day … a very good day.

Then, this morning, as we reflected on the wonders and pleasures of the prior day, Leslie shared how she thought to make the pie. She sensed my recent disappointment and was filled with compassion and empathy. She felt that she had to do something to lift my Spirits. So she made the apple-pear pie for me as she knew how much I loved it.

I do. But even so, not nearly so much as that sweet girl who made it for me.

And now as I write this, she is in the kitchen making a new recipe pie that we recently dreamed up – peach-blueberry pie. So I’ve got that to look forward to too.

Oh, the wonders of being with that woman! Thank God for her. 

God is good. Heading to church now to give praise and thanks to Him for all the wonders he shares with me.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!”  -Psalm 34:8

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