Just my luck - I typed a whole segment with cold hands and then my save "failed." So, I am going to write it again. I doubt it will be nearly as well-written, interesting or funny this time. My excuse, anyway.
I am writing from my bed with blankets piled up around me. If this winter weather is due to global warming, I wish they had given it another name. There's nothing warm about it all the way to Texas! My friend in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, and I compared notes yesterday so now I really hate to complain, but complain I must! Betty said it was -37 and a "bit chilly."
We went to bed last night with rain and the temperature about 40, knowing that some pretty bad stuff was heading toward us from "up north." About 3 a.m. I woke up cold and heard the sleet on the rooftop. I added another layer of clothes and climbed back under the warm covers. It continued to sleet until about 6 or 7 a.m. There's hardly anything on the ground (it all blew away!) but what is there is a sheet of ice. The streets of Dallas and Fort Worth were paralyzed this morning with a few motorists creeping about as 18-wheelers were seen stranded on the sides of the road. The airport was shut down except for one runway. How they can fly with wind at 40 mph and gusts up to 50 mph, I do not know. I guess they got a good tailwind if they could get it behind them.
It has been 20 degrees all day with the wind rocking the RV. We have propane for cooking but trying to conserve it so we won't run out. It's a small tank. We have an electric heater on high and it's keeping the front room at 54 degrees. We have an electric blanket on the bed so the bedroom is without heat.
Recently, Ronald, our son in China, wrote about their cold weather and told us he purchased a small heater for his room. However, it never got above 50 degrees. He said he had layers of clothing to keep warm and a heavy comforter so he slept warmly.
We all need to go through this to really appreciate having heat, warm showers and the basics of life. The poor orphan children spend an entire winter without heat and often do not have hot water, cannot take showers or ever get warm. Their bodies are always cold. They sit in cold classrooms and return back to a cold orphanage. You know how cold a house is inside when it's cold outside and there's no heat! They leave windows and doors open, thinking the fresh air is good for their health, even though the air is polluted.
You ask why we don't put heat inside the buildings? Many years ago, Chairman Mao made the rule that anything south of the Yantzee River should not have heat but any building north of the River could have heat. They still follow that rule to this day.
We have sat in meetings in government buildings in March or November when it really felt cold to us. I cannot imagine how it must feel in January and February. With no heat in any other building, including schools, we can't have heat for the children in the care centers. It would be even harder to adjust back and forth from heat to cold. They have lived their entire lives this way so they have adapted and expect it. We, spoiled Americans, cannot imagine doing this. Yet, looking back to our ancestors, not very long ago, they lived much the same way with little or no heat.
Our weeks are rather routine. During the weekdays we are working on our computers handling the work. On Saturday, we do cleaning, washing and preparing for Sunday and the coming week. Last Sunday, we got up early to move the RV to the back parking lot to free up the senior parking spaces. We left early to drive one hour to the church in Lewisville (north of Dallas) to pick up blankets the ladies had ready for us to ship to China. From there, we drove to Argyle (north of Fort Worth).
The folks at Argyle were very friendly and very interested in our work, which is usually the case because few people know what is going on in China. We went to lunch afterwards with one of the elders and his wife and another two couples.
We drove a short distance to give a report to elders at the church in Keller that afternoon. They said we definitely could return and give the report to their members whenever it fit into our schedule.
We returned to the RV and had a 30-minute rest until we drove to Ennis. The church is actually at Bristol but their mailing address is Ennis. We didn't expect to see anyone we knew but we got to meet Tracie Willis for the first time. She has sponsored a child for two years but we know of her for another reason. Two years ago, while in Beijing, we got a call from a young man named Kee Willis. He was coming to Beijing University and needed a place to stay for a week until he could get into the apartment he was sharing with two other students. We had about two weeks left in Beijing before David and Ya Ning returned so we told him we had a spare bedroom and he could stay with us.
Tracie expressed her gratitude for our helping Kee. I told her I could understand how she felt with her boy going so far away and what a relief it must have been for a Christian to meet him at the airport and give him a home for a short while. All of the congregation knew we had done this so they were all thanking us for taking care of Kee.
After the service, we had soup and sandwiches in another part of the building and got to know these wonderful people even more. They will help with our work in China and for that we are very grateful.
The roads should be clear by Sunday. We have below freezing temperatures until Saturday, however. Sunday morning, we will drive two hours to Palestine and Sunday night we will be in Mesquite, two hours' drive back north toward Dallas. The service is at 5 p.m. Sunday night so Ron is planning to return to the RV and drive on to Austin for one night. We do not normally drive the RV at night but it's a straight two-hour drive south. Why are we leaving Sunday night? The Super Bowl will be playing while we are in church so we want to get ahead of the crowd that might be going south that night. If they all leave the next morning, we will still be ahead of them as we drive on to San Antonio.
Of all the "attitudes" we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing." Are you counting your blessings?