"Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind. Smiles we gave to one another of the way we were."
It all started out so well. It was a beautiful spring day just after Easter 2007. We just settled in for the 700 mile return trip to Wisconsin from Kansas. Then it came. The perky ring tone of Rick's cellphone. I could hear a man's voice on the other end. It was unfamiliar to me. After a few comical grunts and uh-huhs of vocal utterance from my husband, I was even more curious as to who was on the other side of this conversation. Rick finally flipped the gadget closed and laughed out loud. A quizzically optical glance on my part indicated he had my attention.
"That was the interim pastor of a church in Iron River, in the UP. They're looking for new pastor."
"Upper Michigan? That's off the map." I joked.
The idea of pulling up stakes, leaving our children, grandchildren and lifetime home seemed like a stretch. It wasn't in our plan to pastor a church in Iron River. We wanted to be sure to make the right decision so we asked God for a sign. If this was His plan for us we needed a 100% vote in our favor from the leadership. That was the beginning of some scattered pictures we choose to tear up and some smiles we left behind. This is about one of those smiles.
Cow tipping according to rumored accounts, happens when a group of friends for lack of entertainment in the countryside head out to the nearest Holstein field to have some fun. Once there they converge upon an unsuspecting cow and turn the poor animal hoof over udder. Much to the relief of dairy herds, the sport of cow tipping has been debunked.
However, the sport in some form seems to have made it's way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Such was the case one Sunday in August of 2007.
A number of people had come forward to the altar expressing a desire to be prayed over as is the custom in many Assembly of God churches. On this particular Sunday I didn't want to interrupt their personal fellowship with God so I stood behind them to pray. I gently laid my fingers on the shoulders of one woman. God's power surprised us both and sent her on a backward crash to the floor.
In that split second I realized she was going to take me down with her. Now, before I go on I want you to know I am short in stature and light in weight. I knew I was outranked. This was no lamb, but I did my best to break her fall. Down we went sheep and shepherd.
My life flashed before my eyes complete with scripture verses. A good shepherd lays down her life for her sheep. Greater love has no woman than she lay her life down for a friend. The angels broke out in chorus singing, I lay it all down again. And I sang I'm forever grateful I wore gauchos.
My tush hit the floor first followed by the rest of me. There I was spread eagle, both legs in the air, cradling the woman's head in my lap. Struggling to my feet I felt much like one of those poor unsuspecting cows.
Just a word to the wise. Although cow tipping has been debunked, it seems that pastor tipping has made it's way to the UP. If you're traveling through the area watch out for one an udder.