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“Big Red” 

The main “character” in my Umbrella Collection is BIG RED!  It really wasn’t my intention to “name” my umbrellas but how could I not with this one? She was a gift given to me at our Sayonara “Good-by” party when we were returning from my husband’s last assignment in Japan in 2010.

So hard to believe how fast time flies!! This incredible group of friends knew of my “umbrella themed message” and they could not have given me anything more memorable as a “good bye” gift.  Whenever I have the privileged to present Armed With Umbrellas in any form “Big Red”  goes with me and so do each of them!

Introducing… “Big Red”, she travels in a long (about 4 feet) narrow cardboard box which was challenging to maneuver until my brilliant husband created duct tape handles that attached from the bottom box and up through the top one for me to better carry it from place to place. (Did I mention that he’s brilliant?) It is becoming a bit tattered from her many journeys and is a very good example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” or the verse in 1Samuel 16:7 “ man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”.  This outer covering doesn’t give a whole lot of insight as to what the inside is really like, you have to want to get a better glimpse.   Sometime we can feel the same… unremarkable, duct taped handles and all! Who wants to bother to go deeper when this is what is offered first? Hang in there! YOU are worth investigating!

The opened box reveals that “Big Red” is encased by two silk orange sleeves. These sleeves protect her from damage that may be caused by “bouncing around” inside the box. The sleeve on the umbrella “bell” part – not the center pole – is also created to fit snugly around the umbrella itself to prevent it from “squashing” or “flattening out” which would put stress on the bamboo stays, – shortening the life of the umbrella.

Sometimes  we put a few layers between our “public” self and our “at home” self.  We may feel we need the protection of another layer or (maybe two) so we can feel a bit more protected against the bumps and bruising of everyday life!

When you get past the two “protective layers” you are now down to the “real deal”, but still, “Big Red” doesn’t look RED at all!  The outside of “Big Red” is lacquered with BRIGHT orange painted bamboo strips, along with a shiny lacquered black center pole.   You can still smell the paint when you slip the silk sleeve off, it’s not what you’d expect…I’m  wondering if  that’s the impression I give off (hopefully not the smell part!) but, that it’s not what they’d expect! Ha!  And I’m OK with that!

Another layer of protection..aahh but when all is ready…

AFTER you screw the two pole pieces together and secure the cast iron base piece to the pole,(it’s a process… we’re like onions…with layers! – from the Shreck movie!)  then you are ready to push the center disc up the lacquered pole…and not only do you see the outer side of Big Red “bloom”, (See those orange strips now? they are spread apart with the RED waterproof paper in between and are barely noticeable!) but her intricate colorful inner workings become visible now, it’s a absolute treat when we are allowed introduction into the “inner workings” of anyone.  It is a sacred gift that needs to be treated as such! As you look closer at the workmanship and skill that were required to complete the task in the “creating” of “Big Red”, consider how much more went into the “creating” of you?  Your “outer box” may look perfectly intact (or not), but are there are other layers that look or feel a bit battered?  As we dig a little deeper, “open up” to the understanding that we are God’s “workmanship”  or work of ART, created to participate with Him in the plans He has prepared for us, He will be revealed in our lives and in those who we bring “under our umbrella!”

Are you ready to become “armed” with YOUR umbrella?



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