Wednesday, December 30, 2015

20th Wedding Anniversary

December 31st (tomorrow) will mark our 20th Wedding Anniversary! Wow! Where has the time gone?

I'm thankful:

1. Even after all these years John can still make me laugh! :-)--to love and cherish!

2. For all I've learned about God's love for me as I have experienced John's love even during the hard times. Even when I've been too sick to function--In sickness and in health.

3. For God's faithfulness to provide for all of our financial needs. Sometimes just in the nick of time. --For richer or poorer.

4. For John's rock solid faithfulness to our marriage commitment. His wisdom and acceptance of me and the sometimes difficult circumstances that have been part of our lives have been a stabilizing force in my life! --For better or for worse.

5. For the love that we share and keep sharing--To have and to hold! ;-)

I just found this quote I inserted into one of my photo albums. It's from Amy Carmichael's devotional book, "Whispers of His Power" page 228, " 'Then beware lest thou forget the Lord (Deut. 6:12). ' He brought us forth out of the Land of darkness and the shadow of death, the house of bondage indeed. Let us not forget Him who gave us all that we have, home, [husband :-)], flowers, birds, gardens, food, clothes, books, pictures, care when we are ill, joys of all sorts, work to do and strength to do it. A remembering heart is a grateful heart. 'Beware lest thou forget.' "

I want to always remember the very great blessing God has given me in giving me my husband, John, all these years! And pray there will be many more! But whether there are many or few I know that God is good!

One box down



I'm thankful:

John got this box of old tax documents dealt with! This was part of my Christmas present. Half he disposed of/shredded and the other half he scanned and will eventually dispose of (if he hasn't already.)

Here is a photo of our new duplex scanner he used. It's a Brother ADS-1500W Image Center.

He wants to teach me how to use it soon. But he did such a good job on that box maybe I should delay that a while longer. After all we have several more boxes that need scanning. I'm thinking I'll request he deal with another box for Valentines Day. Then my birthday in April could knock out another one. At that rate in a couple of years he'd be done with them.


Hymnary.org

I'm thankful:

1. I found a great website of old hymns. I was looking up "Alleluia Sing to Jesus," by W. Chatterton Dix, as part of my devotional reading. I'm using a devotional book called "Healing Devotions" by Anne S. White. I just started a section that refers to and incorporates a hymn into each day's reading. Today was, "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name" which I already knew and have music for. So I played it on my flute and sang it too (not simultaneously!). Tomorrow's hymn is "Alleluia Sing to Jesus". I'm not familiar with it. So I looked it up. The website is called Hymnary.org. It has the lyrics, the name of the tune, and the musical score.  It also tells the history of the song and lots of other details. Since I did not know the tune I looked it up on YouTube to hear it. It is the same tune as "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" which I already knew. The tune, "Hyfrydol," was composed by Rowland Prichard and is used for a number of Christian hymns.  Here are the lyrics--(It's in the public domain)

1. Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!
His the scepter, his the throne;
Alleluia! His the triumph,
his the victory alone.
Hark! The songs of peaceful Zion
thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus, out of every nation,
has redeemed us by his blood.


2. Alleluia! Not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us;
faith believes nor questions how.
Though the cloud from sight received him
when the forty days were o'er,
shall our hearts forget his promise,
"I am with you evermore"?


3. Alleluia! Heavenly High Priest,
here on earth our help, our stay;
Alleluia! Hear the sinful
cry to you from day to day.
Intercessor, friend of sinners,
earth's Redeemer, hear our plea,
where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.


4. Alleluia! King eternal,
you the Lord of lords we own:
Alleluia! born of Mary,
earth your footstool, heaven your throne:
you within the veil, have entered,
robed in flesh, our great High Priest:
by your Spirit, left us heavenward,
in the Eucharistic feast!


Monday, December 28, 2015

She does like it!

I'm thankful:

1. That we were not hit by the tornado that came through the Dallas area Saturday night. But my heart and prayers go out to the people who were!

2. Mommie does like the digital picture frame! In fact she was so focused on looking at it Sunday when we visited it kind of dominated the conversation--sort of like a tv playing would. I'm glad she likes it but hope it won't always dominate like that when we visit. It did give us things to talk about anyway! That's something to be thankful for.

Christmas Day photo: Brother, Husband, me and Mom in front.

3. And the caregivers were delighted with the photo frame for Mommie and happy to turn it on for her.

4. S (caregiver) really liked the Massage Envy gift card we gave her for Christmas!

5. That I made a pot of turkey and veg soup for lunch today, which we also ate for dinner tonight. Easy dinner and fewer dishes to wash!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day after Christmas

I'm thankful:

1. I think Mommie likes the digital picture frame we gave her. It's a little hard to tell sometimes if she likes something. In this case she is worried because she doesn't want to bother the caregivers to turn it off at night and on again in the morning, or that they might bump it when they are dusting. She also said she hopes they won't look at the pictures or ask any questions about them. She said that after she saw the picture of her at the piano that I included. She is afraid they will want her to play their piano. (I, on the other hand, was hoping they will see and ask about pictures as a way to help them get better acquainted with Mommie! :-]) But she did thank us several times "for everything you gave me," and she seemed to really mean it. And she didn't tell us she didn't want it and to give it to someone else like she told BW about one of the gifts she gave Mommie! So maybe all her negative sounding comments about the dig. frame are just worries because she does like it and hopes nothing bad will happen to it.

2. The cherry pie tasted good despite my adding too much liquid and the corn starch being wildly beyond its "best by" date and having a stale smell.

3. Mommie didn't seem to notice or be upset that P brought wine or even that John and I tasted a little! Thank you God!

4.  It did not rain last night so John is able to "rake" the leaves. He is at it now. Only he isn't "raking" them--he's using his new leaf blower. So what's the term for that? He's out blowing the leaves doesn't have the same ring to it somehow. It certainly has a loud whine though! Ah the sounds of nature! Does anyone use rakes anymore?

5. for good earplugs that I can wear while John blows the leaves!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Silent Night

I'm thankful:

1. tonight we watched a beautiful and uplifting documentary dvd about the history of the song "Silent Night." It's called, "The First Silent Night--The Christmas Carol that United the World." I found it at our local library. But you can buy it from Amazon for $2.99 (http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Silent-Night/dp/B015KHVTQ6). To read a translation of the entire song (six verses) from the original German into English go to this page: http://www.stillenacht.at/en/text_and_music.asp. It's a little different from the version we know as that one was a less literal translation to make it fit the melody. I was hoping to copy it here, but am not sure if the website we found it on is copyrighted or not.

2. got a good report from Dr. Dean today when I went for my implant postop followup!

3. still no trouble from the antibiotic!!


4. I'm also enjoying a book I found at the library by Sheila Roberts called, "On Strike for Christmas." It's an often hilarious novel about a group of women who decide that this year it's time for their husbands to do all the work to make Christmas cheer for their families. They hope it will teach the men to appreciate them more and be more helpful in the future. Some of the men make touching efforts to do everything their wives do for Christmas--with predictably hilarious results (hilarious to women anyway!) Some of the men turn the tables and try to teach the women a thing or two. John wondered if the book is an attempt to make women look brilliant and the men out to be clueless dopes. But it's clear the author thinks both the husbands and wives need to learn a few things.

Reading it has been a fun escape, but also, as one who has occasionally in years past threatened my own Christmas strike, a good pre-Christmas Day attitude adjustment. (warning: the book has occasional "language.") (i just discovered on-line that it has been made into a movie. I have no idea what the movie is like. Watch it at your own risk :-).


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Even for the little things!

I'm thankful:

1. My Mom's main caregiver liked the Christmas gifts we gave her--a gift card for Massage Envy and a box of chocolates. (we gave the same to her other 2 caregivers but they haven't opened them yet.)

2. On my third load of laundry tonight. It's nice to be catching up with things since implant surgery.

3. Even washed my hair this afternoon! Yay! --Being thankful for little stuff is important too! In fact I think if we can't be thankful for the little things, we probably won't be thankful for the big ones either.

4. For the duplex scanner that John got me for Christmas (my request!). Since it arrived, when he isn't scanning and editing photos for my Mom's digital photo frame, he has been busily sorting through, scanning and shredding a big box of old tax documents that I asked him to go through. The documents were all so old they were past the time both the Australian and US governments said we needed to keep them. I wanted to just dispose of or shred them all, but he wanted to keep some. So I asked him to do the honors as part of my Christmas present. So he is! Wow!

5. For my loving husband who is grocery shopping as I type this! I am so blessed!!




Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas is coming

I'm thankful:

1. Recovering well from implant surgery and still no trouble with antibiotic!

2. That I actually like semi-solid and liquid foods :-)

3. That we are almost done with prepping the digital photo frame we got for my Mom for Christmas --a big job!

4. That John has been willing to do so much work to help with it!

5. That Mom's siblings and best friend sent the current photos of themselves I asked for.

Here is a little video of our tree and train. video

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Where did the squirrels go?

I'm thankful,

1. Dental Implant surgery yesterday "went well"--as these things go! I survived and it wasn't too traumatic!

2. So far coping with the antibiotic--Cephlex!! This is huge as I usually react badly to antibiotics. I have a long list of them that I can't take.

3. I seem to have discovered the right amount of magnesium that works for me. And it doesn't cause diarrhea! What a relief. This could be life changing--my body is much more relaxed than usual.
(In fact I wonder if the magnesium is why I'm coping better with the antibiotic.) It is supposed to help with anxiety and a whole host of other problems, including autoimmune conditions and migraines. I found an interesting  article a few days ago all about the benefits of magnesium and which supplements are most absorb-able. Here's a link if you're interested: http://www.enzymestuff.com/magnesium.htm

4. That John found dairy free protein drinks for me yesterday. The dentist recommended protein drinks to aid in the recovery from the implant surgery. I wasn't sure we would find any I could drink--being lactose & casein intolerant limits choices for protein drinks. So I was really pleased he found these.

5. That the squirrels have stopped invading our vent pipes. At least I ought to be thankful! Actually am slightly bummed--what did i do wrong? ;-)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cute Mom photos

I'm thankful,

1. for the elderly man that played Christmas carols on his harmonica at Walgreens today. It was so beautiful I almost cried.

2. that i made another batch of soup for dinner tonight (zucchini). This is also in prep for recovery from tomorrow's tooth implant procedure.

3. that I also made some smoothies today also for implant recovery. Made enough to have some of it for lunch and froze the rest.

4. that i got most of my Christmas shopping done today.

5. that Mommie was willing to reminisce a little today when I went to visit.
      John and I are sorting and scanning old photos.(We got her a digital picture frame for Christmas--she doesn't know about it yet.) Several photos of her as a child did not have the year on them. I asked her about them --particularly when she lived at Dryden's poultry farm and what grade she was when she started school. She often gets distressed and annoyed when I ask about dates and details of her life. It upsets her when she can't remember stuff that she thinks she should. But this time she was willing to at least give her best guess.


Here are a few of my favorites: Above right Mom with three of her sibs and kittens. Mom is the little one in front with the very patient kitten.

Here she is with her best friend, Alice, when she lived on Dryden's Poultry Farm where her Father worked. They look like twins! I think she is the one on the right. Not sure what year--around 1940. 















First day of school. She started school in 1940 and was in the first grade. Kindergarten wasn't mandatory then. I don't know if this was her first school year or later. She was six in 1940 when she started first grade. She looks older here than the above picture. So this may have been later than first grade. Or the prev. picture is before 1940. Or she grew up a lot from one to the next.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thankfulness all the time!

Being thankful all the time is different than keeping a thankfulness journal! And much harder-- especially when I have a tooth ache!

I'm currently reading Richard Foster's book, "Celebration of Discipline." Yesterday in the midst of the pain, I came to the chapter on Submission. In it he says, "The obsession to demand that things go the way we want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in human society today."

So in the midst of the tooth pain I tried practicing submission to God. It was hit or miss. I had to keep reminding myself. I wasn't very happy about it. But I thought, "why not, I've tried everything else! And throwing mental tantrums doesn't seem to be helping." The difference was subtle, but I felt my jaw relax a little each time I made myself say "Yes" to God and released my demand to be done with these seemingly endless tooth problems and my fears that they will never end.

Last night at bedtime I took some magnesium and Tylenol. Today the pain is significantly less. I wish I could say it's all gone! But I'll choose to trust and just be thankful for the progress!

I'm thankful!
1. that the tooth pain and sensitivity is less!

2. that we had a fun time at John's work Christmas party today.




3. That the gluten free dairy free pecan pie I made for it turned out well. This time I put it in the fridge in time so no danger of food poisoning! The pecans did not float to the top as much as last year's attempt. But it didn't seem to hurt it much in the eating.



The crust rolled out better than the last couple I've made. It looks rather pretty. Grandma would be proud!





4. There were several other gluten free dairy free deserts so I was able to indulge in a few other yummy deserts! GFDF deserts are not common at pot lucks.

5. People really liked the homemade "white elephant" gifts we brought. When I first learned that this year the gifts were supposed to be homemade I wasn't too thrilled. John's new boss wanted to see how creative everyone could be. John certainly excelled in creativity with his. I got "lucky" and was able to make mine at a garden club event.






Monday, December 14, 2015

Excellent Movie "Woman in Gold"

I'm thankful,

1. We had a nice time yesterday at the all church "family meal." RR sat with us and we had a fun time catching up and discussing everything from the "soup" of world events to the "nuts" of the presidential campaign.

2. RR also came with us to visit my Mom between church and the dinner. Mommie was thrilled to see her!

3. J and I watched "Woman in Gold" last night. RR recommended it yesterday. I was deeply moved. It tells the true story of Maria Altmann, a quiet elderly Jewish lady living in Los Angeles, who enlists the help of a young attorney to help her recover a painting that was stolen from her family by the Nazis just before the beginning of WWII. But it's not just any painting. In the sixty years since it was taken it has become a national treasure--some even considered it "the Mona Lisa of Austria." The Austrians won't let it go without a fight. The movie is based on the documentary "Stealing Klimt."

4. Saturday night movie night was fun at RC's. It was good to also see M and H. The movie we watched was about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We had a good discussion about it afterward.

5. I finally got the video and photos from "The Pity Party" (the T-giving drama I was in at church) put on facebook. Given our upload speed it was not a quick easy process!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

TJ 5

I'm thankful,

1. Uncle J sent a photo for Mom's digital picture frame as i requested.

2. R is making a gluten free dairy free desert just for my benefit when we come over for dinner and a movie tonight.

3. John didn't mind when I joined him at 6:30 this morning when I couldn't sleep ;-)

4. we did not sign up to be in the Christmas drama this time. Too much other stuff to do, especially with my dental problems. Now that the dental implant is scheduled for Friday it is even better. I don't look forward to that, of course, but it will be good to get it done. Then we can be more sure I'll be healed enough for the crown to be put on before furlough.

5. i took a shower this morning. (i know it's a lame thing to be thankful for, but i am anyway!)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas fun - Gingertown and Trains

I'm thankful,

1. for the nice honest neighbor who brought over our package yesterday that the mailman delivered to them by mistake! That is the second neighbor that has been honest and brought over misdirected packages lately!

2. John took some vacation time yesterday so we were able to fit in some fun after my dentist appointment up in Addison. We went to Dallas Northpark Center and saw Gingertown and the "Trains at Northpark." The theme for Gingertown this year is "on the Boardwalk". This little surfing Santa was one of my favorites. This was our second year to see Gingertown. It's really delightful. I especially loved the seaside theme this year.



The trains get better each year. Here's a brief clip below. It really doesn't do it justice. If you're in the area it will be there until Jan 3rd. It's worth going and it benefits the Ronald McDonald House.:

video

3. We had a good run to the implant specialist in Plano this morning. No bad traffic and got there sooner than the GPS estimated. (Of course we left at 7:30 for a 9 a.m. appt but still it was a remarkably stress free trip.)

4.  The implant specialist i saw today thinks he can make my new implant so that food doesn't get caught under it like it does under the one on the other side.

5. we got the digital photo frame ordered for Mommie's Christmas gift. It should arrive Monday.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

TJ3

I'm thankful
1. i finally washed throw rugs from bathrooms and entry ways! I hate to think how long it's been since the last time! But now today is the last time. So i can think about how recent it's been!

2. John is willing to take me to the dentist tomorrow and the implant specialist Friday. I have such a nice husband. Thank you God!

3. And he has a nice boss to let him take off so much time. (health problems make driving that far difficult)

4. I finally managed to change my water kefir today. The last time was Dec 1st! That's definitely longer than usual. (The recommended time is every two days, or at most three. I usually go three days as I don't drink it very quickly.) I guess with the colder temps we're having now it ferments much more slowly. The finished water kefir smells fine and the grains are firm so i guess it survived. The real test will be how the next batch turns out.

5. i've actually managed to write in this new blog thankfulness journal three days in a row!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thankfulness Journal 2

I'm thankful:
1.  I managed to finally figure out the unbelievably confusing interlibrary loan website just now and requested "Dear Cora." (it only took about 5 attempts to complete the process--it helped when I went back and read the directions! Hopefully they don't send me 5 copies and charge me for each one.) I did not swear (not 'real' swear words anyway); or make my sore throat worse by screaming at the computer. I must be improving!

2. I managed to make turkey salad and prep veggies for Garden Club this morning. The veggies were not a hit but most of the turkey salad went. Yay, saved money by not buying something at TT and used up some of T-giving leftovers! And I have some left-overs to eat for dinner.

3. the meeting with M went well and she was understanding about my hesitations re: the letter. She made some helpful suggestions.

4. John suggested having afternoon tea after the meeting. It seems like I'm usually the one who suggests that. It was nice that he took the initiative this time. He really does want to spend time with me! At least he wanted a goodie. :-)

5. Today was a good-hair-day. It's nice when a good-hair-day coincides with a special activity when I particularly want to look nice. That hasn't happened much lately. Maybe I will keep my long hair a bit longer. I would post a selfie here but my 'ancient' flip phone doesn't do those! Or is posting selfies hopelessly narcissistic and immature? If I did i would probably wind up worrying what everyone thought of it. So it's probably better not to. Then again I doubt if anyone will ever read this. So I guess that's sort of a comfort. I should be thankful.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thankfulness Journal

I'm thankful:
1. that i finally got up the gumption to get back onto my blog and write - i was shocked to see it has been 2 months since the last time!
2. Decided maybe J was right (imagine that, my husband is right about something!) and I should use my blog to record my thankfulness journal entries. Not that that will make them 'deathless prose' but it may get me on my duff writing something more consistently...which could help me practice my writing. And hopefully some of it might be at least occasionally semi worth reading.
3. that my headache of the last several days is mostly gone
4. and nose less stuffy/runny than it was this weekend
5. it will soon be five years since I started keeping a thankfulness journal! I don't do it everyday like I did the first year, but I am still fairly consistent with it. I am sure it is what kept me more or less sane through those four insane years of caring for my Mother in my home. And the nearly two years since when she moved into the residential care home.

I can hardly believe it! Two years since I was faced with the wrenching decision of where and when to move her. My health was suffering from the stress of care-giving so much that my doctor told us we needed to find another option for my Mother's care. Through a few amazing 'coincidences' (more like God-incidences because I don't really believe in coincidence) things worked out for us to move her into a good place. But I still hesitated. I wanted to pick just the right time to tell her. Then the decision was taken out of my hands when she took a sudden downturn and could no longer walk. We had to move her. She has improved some since then and several months ago she was able to start walking a little again. But she is still mostly bed & wheelchair bound.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lost photo found!

Lost photo found! This photo of my Mom from 1954 is one of my favorites. I’ve been looking for it ever since we moved my Mom to Texas in 2010.

I finally found it! It was behind a couple of other photos and still in it’s original frame. Ever frugal, my Mom evidently wanted a change but didn’t want to spend the money on a new frame so she just put other pictures on top of it. (She also did not like clutter so would not have wanted to increase the number of framed photos, or shelves to hold them.) By the time she moved here she seems to have forgotten what she did with it.

When I talked to her about it again recently she was dismissive, “you have lots of pictures. You don’t need more!”

The reason I found it at all was that I was removing some of her photos from their frames to scan and put in a photo album. I don’t have enough wall space for all of them so they were still in the antique blue suitcase that we packed them in when we moved her here. I wanted the suitcase for something else, and thought it would be nice to have the photos in an album where we could look at them more easily.

My first discovery was an old picture of my Dad (’57) behind a photo of my parents taken in 1988. I wondered if that could be what happened to the missing photo of my Mom. I had almost given up hope though, by the time I got to the last 8x10 frame. When I took the top photo of my parents and me from ’91 out of the frame I discovered her senior portrait from ’51-52 just beneath, and below that was this one from 1954!

I was thrilled!! I called my brother immediately to tell him the good news.

The next day I started to wonder though, “Would I have found the picture sooner If I had listened to God better?”

I prayed about it a lot over the last five years. It seemed like every time I prayed for wisdom about where it could be, the thought “the blue suitcase” usually came to mind. James 1 says that if we pray for wisdom we should expect God to give it to us. I believe that. But, since I knew I had already looked in the blue suitcase several times, I dismissed the thought as an annoying mental tick that I kept coming back to for no good reason. By all outward appearances the photo was not in the blue suitcase. God knew, however, that it was. I had no way of knowing that. But I suspect God was leading me and he would have helped me discover the answer sooner. I mean, when I prayed for wisdom and the thought “the blue suitcase” came to mind, I could have gotten up and walked over to it and opened it. Then I could have asked Him to show me the next step and He may have done just that. I’ll never know of course. But either way It’s found now. And I am thankful!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Happy 15th of the 15th!

Today's date 9-15-15 seemed to call for a celebration. Maybe it's not as unique as 11-11-11. We were on vacation then, too, that time in Melbourne Beach, Florida. That morning we ate "elevenses" and tried to photograph my watch face just as it turned 11:11 and 11 seconds, the camera took too long to get the shot so we missed it by a few seconds. So then we spent the next several minutes resetting the time on my watch in order to get it just right. We tried several times. I think we finally got it.

Today, at breakfast, when I wrote the date in my journal I thought it would be fun to think of ways to celebrate it being the 15th day of the month in the year 2015. Here’s my list with a little help from J too:

1. Kiss for fifteen minutes.
2. Have 15 hugs
3. Go for a fifteen minute walk (haven’t done that for a while due to foot trouble so that would be a big deal.)
4. Eat 15 chocolate chips (each)
5. Come up with 15 ridiculous ways to celebrate the 15th
6. Eat 15 potato chips
7. Go fifteen miles in our canoe. (And then call 911) or take 15 days to come back. John said 1500 yards might be do-able.
8. Drive 15 miles, or minutes, and stop and have a picnic wherever we stop.
9. Spend 15 minutes in a hot tub in Hot Springs
10. Sit on our porch swing this morning for 15 minutes
11. Pray for 15 minutes
12. Give thanks for 15 minutes
13. Or think of 15 things to be thankful for. J said he would be thankful for each of his 15 chocolate chips. But I said that doesn’t count! No repeats.
14. Read or recite 15 of our favorite Bible passages
15. Kiss in 15 different places. 

So after washing the breakfast dishes, well J did while I brushed my teeth, we celebrated the 15th.

We spent about 15 minutes on the porch swing and thought of 15 things to be thankful for while savoring our 15 chocolate chips each. J was very good and did not finish his bag even though there were only two left. We finished off by kissing 15 times. Does it count if I laughed through most of them. (We kept it PG and stuck to face area only!)

Later we went for a hike. J said later that we walked 15/10s of a mile! That was without even planning to. (he wants it recorded that he did much more than that later on his own!) J still keeps hinting we should try number 15. Though now it’s after 10 pm so I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Besides I want to get this posted while it still is the 15th!

It was silly, but it was fun! Happy 15th!



Friday, September 4, 2015

Jesus the Bread of Life

Communion is coming this Sunday. We only have it once a month at our church.

Ever since my celiac diagnosis I have wrestled with what exactly the elements mean. How can I really experience communion as it is meant to be if I can only have a tiny crumb of the bread? I usually break off a tiny crumb and give the rest to my husband. One doctor said that would be ok. Another has said not even that much. I have thought about taking my own gluten free cracker. But it doesn't feel like it would be the same. To eat something different from what the others are eating seems like it somehow goes against the idea. And I admit there is a bit of self centered embarrassment--"what will people think??" Of course since the bread our church uses is not the same as what other churches use I can just pretend I'm in another church or something.

I'm not trying to be flippant here. It really matters to me. And it grieves me that I can't take the bread like everyone else. I try to spend the time focusing on Jesus and what he did for me on the cross. Feasting on Jesus in my heart is more important than how much bread I do or don't eat. But even that is often difficult. The time given to that portion of the communion time is very brief. It feels more like a "gobble, gulp and go" fast food experience than a communion. Also it seems sometimes that the focus is so much on teaching us what the communion bread and juice are NOT that, for me, it takes away from what they ARE. 

With that in mind I read John chapter 6 starting in verse 25 yesterday looking for more clues as to what Jesus meant when he spoke of being the Bread of Life.

After careful reading, I started to think that here he is primarily teaching about salvation and our need for faith in Him as our Savior. Though verse 51 says that "this bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" so he did certainly allude to his crucifixion.

But mostly He seems to be using the analogy of bread and water to illustrate spiritual truths. Just as our bodies need physical nourishment and hydration to live so our spirit has needs.

He clearly says that he is the only one who can meet the needs of our spirit and give us life. When we come to him and believe in Him and abide in him, then He becomes our spiritual nourishment and hydration (to return to the physical analogy).

Just as our spirits are eternal and will live or die eternally he is the eternal nourishment we need. Food and hydration only meet our body's needs temporarily. But he meets our spirit's needs eternally and gives us eternal life.

So what about the Communion bread? There are lots of views and doctrinal positions on what the elements mean or become or don't become. I was always taught there were only two positions on that. But based on my, admittedly superficial, research I have concluded that there are many more than that. Or at least many variations on that--almost as many as there are denominations. I suspect even within a given denomination or individual church there are many more shades of feeling and belief. It seems to me that where we are on the doctrinal continuum from the "it becomes the literal body and blood of Christ" all the way to the "it's just a symbol" or even the one I discovered yesterday on wikipedia that says "it's not even meant for the church today because it comes from a Jewish tradition" is not as important as our faith in Christ Jesus and his atoning work on the cross.

Whatever we believe the elements to be or mean when we take them, or don't, we should be focused on thankfulness to God for His Son and the atonement and all that that means.

God please prepare my heart for communion this Sunday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Love this Hymn

I'm still digitizing my cassette tapes. Mostly I'm doing sermons and other personal events. I also have done a little music if I can't find a song on Itunes and it is a particular favorite.

This hymn "Day by Day" is one of my favorites from "Evie Hymns." I was planning to attach the mp3 file from my tape here. But I found a clearer and more complete version on youtube sung by Jessica Wu. (see link below)

It seems appropriate for today especially as I struggle to trust God with my foot trouble (see prev. post) Though that seems terribly trivial in light of the author's trials.

This song was written in Swedish by Lina Sandell, circa 1865, and translated by A.L. Skoog. According to Wikipedia, some of her early hymns were inspired as she poured out her broken heart to God after a tragic boating accident in which she saw her father drown. She was 26 at the time. This hymn was written seven years later.

Day by Day

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.







here is the link to it on youtube


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpOvYdFjbR0&list=RDP5DXzz-eECI&index=3 

Note: the word "fain" in the second stanza means: desirous, willing, pleased


Pick up your feet!

I hurt my foot again last night. Just when it seemed to be getting better from the last two times. And just before we are scheduled to go on vacation!

I jammed it on my nice new extra thick kitchen fatigue mat. I recently bought it with birthday money to protect my feet from injury while standing at my kitchen counter!

I’m trying to have a good attitude and not worry. Will this mean another year of being nearly crippled? Will it ruin our trip? How could I have been so stupid? When will I ever learn to pick up my feet when I walk? Do I have Parkinsons or something? Maybe that’s why I trip so easily. It is in my family. I was really worried about that until I remembered that I have always been clumsy. I could trip and fall on a wrinkle in the carpet or even nothing at all. As a kid I remember running down the hall and suddenly tripping for no reason. You would think my feet were several inches too long. But in fact they are on the small side of average.

I’m trying to think healing thoughts and not call myself names like “stupid clutz”. After all my parents never did. Well at least they didn’t add the word “stupid”. That’s something to be thankful for. But they did tell me repeatedly to, “pick up your feet when you walk!” You would think that by now I would have learned.

At least I can still use my hands. I’m sorting through receipts and separating out the ones that need shredding. I realized a few days ago that we were keeping most receipts a lot longer than necessary. It’s a small thing, but every little bit helps.

Monday, August 31, 2015

My Bicycle And I

Last week when I was sorting through my Mom's old papers I discovered this poem she wrote in school. (I'm guessing it was around 1950, she didn't date her school papers.) I liked it so much I took it with me to read to her when I went to see her Thursday.

I told her I found a poem that I wanted to read to her. She wanted to know who wrote it, but I wouldn't tell her until after I read it to her. I hoped I could get her to say she liked it before telling her who wrote it. I didn't think she would admit to liking it after I told her that she had written it. As soon as I finished she asked again who wrote it. I asked if she liked it. She asked if I had written it. I said, "No, I didn't write it". But, "Did you like it?" She finally said yes, rather reluctantly. "Who wrote it?" she asked again. I told her she did. She didn't believe me until I showed her the paper with her "by line" on it. Her final comment was that she "never really liked poetry very much."

Well, anyway, I think it's charming:

My Bicycle And I
     by --E. J.

My bicycle and I,
   Go sailing down the road,
When the sun is in the sky,
   Or when the weather's very cold.

Long shadows from the trees,
   Cross our path way.
Wafted on the breeze,
   Comes the fragrance of the hay.

The fragrance of the flowers
   Is wafted to my nose,
As I pass many rosy bowers,
   Among the flowers it makes me want to dose.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saving Sermon Notes...What Would Jesus Do?*

I just spent two hours sorting a two inch stack of sermon notes from the last five years. My brilliant idea was that I could scan them and discard the paper. That would free up more space on my book case. Then each Sunday I could scan that Sunday’s sermon notes, thus preventing me from ever accumulating another such pile.

I don't usually read them again. But it seems like a good thing to do, to keep them. After all, I might write an article or give a talk and need them. I confess, though that I have no idea how I will ever find a particular bit of info in them.

Then I read the user guide for my HP printer/scanner and discovered that because most of them are two sided I won’t be able to use the ADF to feed them through the scanner. Each one will need to be placed on the platen one at a time. That’s not going to happen!

So, I have some choices. I can keep these and continue mindlessly collecting sermon notes each week. At the rate of two inches per five years that means that in 30 years when I am too old and infirm to keep on or too mature to continue such foolishness I will have accumulated 12 more inches of sermon notes. It would take at least two thirds of one shelf on my book case.

I could put this lot back on my book case in its magazine box. Then starting tomorrow I could scan each Sunday’s notes.  Scanning one at a time doesn’t seem so bad.

Or I could keep these in hopes that we will eventually buy a duplex document scanner like J has talked about recently. And meanwhile start scanning each Sunday’s notes to prevent further buildup.

Or, I can declare freedom, chuck these in the recycle bin, and be done with it.

I did that once before come to think of it. It must have been in 2010, since this collection starts in April of that year.

And actually, I have never missed them. Not once. I have never thought, “if only I had kept the sermon notes from February 20, 2008!” Or any other date. In fact I’d say my spiritual life has not suffered one iota.

Hmm…could it be that if I do that again the results will be the same?

I just spoke to my friend C about it. She assured me I should not feel guilty at all about getting rid of them. She did think, though, that maybe I should feel at least a little guilty that I don’t usually read them again! What a friend.

*to answer the question, since Jesus did not have anywhere to lay his head, he probably would not have saved them. But then he only ever had one robe and a pair of sandals, so I'm not sure it's a fair comparison.

Friday, August 7, 2015

accepting limits and limiting books

Decided I would take the afternoon off and just do something fun, no pressure, no guilt. So just as I was settling down to enjoy my book and a cup of tea I started to feel inspired to write something in my blog. What is it about removing pressure and guilt that suddenly makes me feel more energetic? I notice tho that it did not make me want to tackle the bills or opening mail or any of the rest of my more onerous to-dos I've been procrastinating.

I did do some downsizing this week. Made a big dent on my bookcase. I suspect I could make more progress if I tried. Had a discussion with J recently. I said I want a china cabinet to display the antique china I got from his Mum last year. He wondered where we would put it. I said if he would get rid of some of his books that might help. (He has way more books than I do!)

The next day, in the interest of fairness, I thought I should see if I could get rid of some of my books. I knew there were a few I could get rid of. I collected quite a stack fairly quickly but it did not seem to make much difference. Then I got curious about three large three-ring binders on the top shelf. They looked so large and impressive I was sure they must be important but could not remember what was in them. Quite surprised to discover how useless and out of date they were. One was a weekly planner from a few years ago. I did not even remember ever using that format. But there it was. I found myself feeling guilty that I am not that organized anymore. Wondered if I should start keeping one like that again. But I was mostly aware of a sense of heaviness as I looked through it. It was from the early months of caring for my Mom in our home. I wondered if I should keep it. What if I want to write a book about that some time? But the heaviness got heavier and I felt like I just wanted to heave it into the recycle bin ASAP. So that's what I did. It was a nice feeling. I did take some photos of it first. Also retrieved a few paper clips --waste not want not ! :)

After that I made more progress. It seemed to clear my thinking and I saw things with new eyes. I removed 32 inches of books. I only have 25 inches of free shelf space to show for it, though, because I had a lot books riding piggy back on top of other books. 

Not all easy decisions. I confess one book snuck back since then. I need to get them out of the house before any more do.

Sandra Felton in her book "How not to be a Messy" said it's about accepting our limits, better yet, she said we need to set our own limits. "As long as we try to be everything we admire, we just muddle ourselves down in confusion." Yes the book of ribbon embroidery does have pretty pictures, but I have not done any ribbon embroidery since 2007 and I'm not likely to do any more in the near future, if ever. When or if I ever want to do it again I can find a pattern then. Meanwhile I'll have more space for what I am interested in now and someone else can enjoy the book. The afghan patterns were easier. I'm not likely to ever crochet any more afghans. My hands aren't really up to that much repetitive strain. The one time I did crochet a baby afghan for a friend, in about 1987, my tension was so far off that it turned out more of a trapezoid than a rectangle.

I wonder if I should cull more? There are several books I haven't read. Even books about writing and care-giving, if I never read them, are not worth keeping. Why guilt myself into keeping them just because I paid money for them and really "ought" to have read them; or someone gave them to me so I ought to keep them. It reminds me of a current fad in downsizing called the KonMari method. It's about only keeping items that "spark joy" in your life. By that measure if an unread book sparks joy in me then I should keep it.

Maybe I need to get the book about the KonMari method...

And that ribbon embroidery book sort of gave me joy (with only a little guilt) when I looked at it...

And it's very thin...

Monday, July 27, 2015

12 cassettes down

Digitized 12 cassette tapes so far. Almost half way through the most important ones. There are dozens more I could do but not sure it's worth it. My husband said it would be nice to have some of them digitized too. I was not amused. Tempted to tell him if he wants them done he can do them himself. Got to thinking this morning tho' maybe I could use it as leverage: "If I digitize these tapes then I expect you to go through those boxes; or scan those slides; or get rid of X number of books!"

I finally listened to my Grandfather's "memorial" service. It was nothing like I remembered--(I really was there, I guess my sadness at the time clouded my memories. And it was 24 years ago!) It was more of a celebration and a good old fashioned hymn sing, complete with clapping! Started with the hymn, "When we all get to heaven," followed by "What a day that will be". Why don't we ever sing those songs anymore?

The sermon was beautiful hope-filled thoughts from Rev 21:1-7 about what will happen when God makes everything new. No more tears, pain or death! And "God himself will be with them and be their God".

Hard to feel sad after that. I'm glad I listened to it*. Especially since I found out a few hours later that my Father-in-law had passed away. We knew it was coming. I'm glad my husband was able to get to Australia in time to see him at the end. We are most thankful, tho', that Dad had long ago trusted in Christ as his Savior and really walked with God ever since.  We trust that he is no longer suffering. He is in a much better place. And we will see him again.

* good thing I enjoyed it because I bungled it and have to do it over again. I'm "learning by doing" (as any good Cal Poly Alum should :-) ). 

Revelation 21:1-7 (NIV)

"Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children."