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The Bible Tells Me

I’m not the Bible scholar I should be. I know some verses; not as many as I ought. Still, I find most of my experiences can be framed or underscored, explained or illuminated, by Scripture. Or maybe a hymn or a worship song, a devotional or a testimony. Frequently, I have those “Oh, yeah” moments when I see God clearly in an event. Or realized that I should have seen Him.

These are the moments of “The Bible tells me.”

These essays reflect that. Do know that I can proof-text as well as anyone. I have a concordance, and I know how to use it. Well, truthfully, I do all of that online now, where I can quickly find a passage, see it in many versions, and choose the one I like best. I try not to be narrow, but instead broad, as I apply Bible words to my experiences. I know that your interpretations and understanding may be different than mine. But I also know that our God is big enough for all of us.

I have a friend who, in her prayer time, likes to tell jokes to God. “I know He knows the punch line,” she says. “But I tell them anyway. He likes it when I laugh.”

He likes it when I laugh. I’m going to hang on to that. It’s Biblical. The Bible tells me.

Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord had done great things for us;
we were joyful.

Psalm 126: 2,3 (HCSB)


Fashion-notsta

It’s a miracle that the folks at Target let me purchase clothing any more. The number of things I return far outweighs the things I keep. The challenge is that I prefer to try on clothes in my own bedroom instead of the dressing rooms at Target. More space, better lighting, and the presence of things I already own, like shirts and jackets and skirts and tops, that I want to try on with the new items, to see if they work well together.

I have noticed, in the recent seasons (spring and summer and, coming up, fall), that some dresses I brought home, expecting them to work, have not. There seems to be a trend to long skirted dresses. Not all, but some. And, I like a longer skirt. As a senior adult woman, I like my skirts to at least make it to my knees. And I rather like the ones that hit me mid-shin. I’ve brought home several of the longish dresses, and taken them all back. Here’s the problem:

They’re all too long. Seriously too long. As a senior adult woman, I know that I’m a little bit shorter than I was as a young adult, but I’m still on the tallish side. Then I figured out what the problem was. I’m wearing the wrong shoes.

So, that explains things. I’m sure those long dresses look lovely on those young ladies who are walking around in those tall, tall shoes. I hope they’re saving up their pennies for their podiatrists. Well, when they have to get a podiatrist.

 

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,

Psalm 92:12-14 (New International Version)

 

I’ve had three doctors’ appointments in the past three weeks. And the urgent trip back to the doctor about those pesky, stinging bugs (seriously, I can still see the puncture marks!). I’m only seeing the kidney guys once a year, now, and the podiatrist said, “six months away” for the next appointment, instead of the usual four. At the primary care doctor, she was looking over my lab work and said “creatine (a kidney-related number) is 1.2.” “That’s good, right?” I asked. She looked again, at my GFR, which is my kidney function, which tanked five years ago at 15.7%. “Your GFR is 43%” “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!” So, five years of: no bananas, no tomatoes, no potatoes, no anything-else-that-is-tasty. Apparently it’s working.

 

It’s Harder to Take a Photo of One’s Own Arm Than I Thought It Would Be

Taking a photo of one’s leg is easier, of course, because you have both of your hands for holding the camera/phone and pressing the shutter (or whatever that part of a phone’s apparatus is called). If you’re wanting an arm in the photo, then a single hand has to hold the camera/phone at the right angle and press the shutter/button. Harder than I thought. And, of course, why would I actually want photos of my arms?

Last week, Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday morning, I was at church with some preschoolers, having Fun with Friends. Saturday morning, we were out on a small patio area next to the playground, making paint footprints. As the last kid was getting his feet washed off, another child opened the gate at the bottom of a fire escape. I walked over and reminded him that the gate is supposed to stay shut. I closed the gate and reached down to fasten the latch and suddenly felt a BIG pain on my wrist. I looked and there was this insect jabbing a long stinger into me. I reached over with my other hand to swat it away and saw ANOTHER one of the things on my other arm.

 

I yelped to the other teacher that something was biting me and we needed to get back inside. Fast.

I've had a couple of people say, based on my description, that they think they've seem something similar, but no one know exactly what it is.

I’ve had a couple of people say, based on my description, that they think they’ve seem something similar, but no one know exactly what it is.

 

This is the, um, essence of the insect. It seemed like a mosquito on steroids. But the more I’ve thought about it, it wasn’t biting like a mosquito, it was stinging like a wasp. It’s body was long and very thin, and that stinger thing was really long, and really painful. I think the whole insect was about an inch-and-a-half long, but really thin.

Sunday morning, there were red areas on both arms. But Sunday evening, there was swelling. And itching. I had some cortisone cream I used. And I bought something else to use (Tricalm, which helped, but just a little). I didn’t get much sleep Sunday night, and called the doctor’s office first thing Monday morning. I couldn’t get in to see my doctor, but, if I could come right away, I could see her Physician’s Assistant. I went right away.

I got a prescription for a stronger cream, but no oral antihistamine. That causes a rise in blood glucose levels, which, as a diabetic, I shouldn’t take. I skittered on to Target to pick up the cream and hurried on home to use it. It did help.

I slept much better Monday night and Tuesday the swelling was almost gone. And that made it easier to see exactly where the stings were.

And, with much less swelling, it was clear to see where the puncture marks were.

But today, Thursday, as I write this, things are very much better. I didn’t need any more cream on Wednesday or today. There’s no more itching, but still some redness. And, of course, I really am grateful that I’m the one who riled them up, and not one of the preschoolers.

Meanwhile, there were friends and there was fun.

ART-

 

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about.

Psalm 1139:14a (The Living Bible)

 

What wonderful minds and bodies we have! We have brains that learn and are creative, from our beginnings to our ends. Our bodies know how to grow and heal. We are wonderfully complex!

Love Life

A while back, I had an opportunity to talk with a young man I don’t get to visit with very often. We were at a festive event, and there were lots of people milling around. There was music. There was dancing. And we were catching up, not having seen each other in months.

I heard about a new job and another, part-time job. I heard about a kind and appreciative boss. I saw photos of completed projects. I kept asking questions. I kept getting detailed and enthusiastic answers.

After a time, I asked, “Lovelife?”

He smiled broadly and said, “Oh, yes. I do love life. I love all parts of life. I have a great job. I love where I live …”

I laughed and patted his arm. “What I really meant was, How’s your love life? Do you have a girlfriend? But, I like your answer much, much better. You do seem to have a great life. And you have a wonderful life attitude. I love that you love life.”

 

As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart.

Proverbs 27:18 (New International Version)

Considering how my life reflects what my heart values can be a little sobering. Or a lot sobering. This week, I am doing things that I know reflect my heart, which is teaching little kids at church. It’s Fun with Friends time again, and we’re doing art, as we remember that one of the first words in the Bible is “create.” Thursday evening-drawing. Friday evening-painting. Saturday morning-collage and printing. And a reason this week’s blog is so short. I’ve been gathering supplies, setting up centers, that sort of thing. Loving life.

 

Learning Curve? It’s More Like a Learning Ski Jump!

My most recent phone. It's pretty. And, of course, I needed a case that would let the prettiness show!

My most recent phone. It’s pretty. And, of course, I needed a case that would let the prettiness show!

I dug my heels in for a long time, avoiding a mobile phone. I just didn’t feel that I needed to be only one touch away from having to talk/listen at any time in any place. Until Kevin and April got iPhones and brought them to show us, and I was overwhelmed by what all the “phones” could do. They’re really less phones than little bitty computers that I can carry around. And take photos with. And look up stuff with. And get directions with. And, really, it’s not anything that you or anyone else, worldwide, don’t already know about.

I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I can’t actually recall how many phones I’ve had. Only one had to be replaced because I dropped it. Several times. Once on concrete. The others I’ve just gotten because some family member has said something like, “You’re due for an upgrade,” or, “The new phones are out!” That sort of thing.

All that said, I still struggle with knowing exactly how and what to do for one thing or another. For example:

Two or three weeks ago, I went online one Thursday evening to put up the week’s blog post, and I couldn’t get onto the website. That’s the sort of thing that I absolutely do not know how to navigate, so I phoned Jeremy in a panic. He tried from his computer in Brooklyn and had the same result–can’t get in! He said to hang up, and he’d work on it and call me back.

I opened up a word processing document and started writing so that, when he figured out what to do, I’d be able to cut and paste the post into the web site. I was pounding away (actually, it’s not really “pounding” any more, is it; it’s keyboarding, or inputting), writing out words, making paragraphs that I hoped I’d be able to post. And, while I was typing, I thought someone next door must be mowing, or edging. The sound was so loud that it created a vibration strong enough that I could feel it in my fingers, as I typed. I reached out and touched the window sill, but it didn’t seem to be vibrating.

Here's my desk. This is what it looked like, while I was waiting for Jeremy to phone me back. The phone was RIGHT THERE!! Next to me on the desk.

Here’s my desk. This is what it looked like, while I was waiting for Jeremy to phone me back. The phone was RIGHT THERE!! Next to me on the desk.

I typed on along, and then I heard a text ding and saw the text slide across the upper corner of the computer screen. From Jeremy: “When one is expecting a call, one generally stays by the phone. Or brings the phone with them.” I picked up the phone (which was indeed vibrating, which is what I had been feeling in my fingers on the keyboard).

“IT DIDN’T RING,” I said (a little loudly). “It’s right here on the desk next to me and IT DIDN’T RING!!!” (This is an issue I often have with my up-to-date, modern children. Sometimes, often, the phone doesn’t vibrate when it’s in my pocket, so I don’t know when they’ve called. And now, when I was anxiously waiting for a phone call, it did. not. ring!)

“It’s there next to you?” “YES!” “Screen up or screen down?” he asked.

“Screen down,” I said. “Well, Mom,” he said sort of gently, or maybe just amused. “People put their phones screen down when they want to not be disturbed.”

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” I said. (I was pretty irritated by everything and yelled rather a lot that evening.) “ALL THE TIMES I’VE SAID TO YOU GUYS THAT MY PHONE’S NOT RINGING AND NOBODY EVER THOUGHT TO TELL ME THAT?!?!?!?!”

I really, seriously rely on the computer/phone intelligentsia in my family to help me navigate through all the iPhone problems. Because, despite what they say and think, it is not intuitive for me. Even after all these years. I can do all sorts of things on the phone. I am stymied by all sorts of other things on my phone.

“And why does it do that,” I went on with Jeremy. “Putting it screen down seems natural to me.”

“That’s because you’re old,” he said. And he’s right. On several levels.

When I think about how I used to hold a phone receiver (you know, the kind that’s attached by a cord to the big ol’ dial-on-the-front phone itself), when I said “good-bye,” I took the receiver from my ear and put it, business-end down on the phone. Which is the natural motion for me to use when I’m done with an iPhone call. I pull the phone away from my ear and put it, business-end down, on the desk/table/bed. And then, unbeknownst to me, it goes into “do not disturb” mode.

My most recent phone. It's pretty. And, of course, I needed a case that would let the prettiness show!

There’s a solution to this. When Kevin and April and Jeremy were here for Independence Day, Kevin took over my phone for a few minutes and diddled around and handed it back. “Call her,” he said to one of the others.

See that small, dark circle in the phone’s top left-hand corner? That’s the viewer of the phone’s camera. The little white circle next to it is the flash, in case a shot needs extra illumination. Whatever Kevin did makes that light flash like a strobe when I get an incoming call. It’s a little hard to miss.

And that is what those intelligentsia are for.

 

Good judgment proves
    that you are wise,
    and if you speak kindly,
    you can teach others.

Proverbs 16:21 (Contemporary English Version)

I guess I need to work a little bit (or a lot) on speaking kindly, even when I’m frustrated. Or feeling stupid. Or overwhelmed. Or mystified. Or … I could go on and on.

 

Years ago,  Kevin and April got new phones that had Siri (the app that you talk to, and who talks back to you, for answers to questions and for information). Kevin was really enjoying asking and getting responses and showing us what all that Siri-girl can do. At one point, he said, “Hey, Siri, text April and tell my wife I love her.” And Siri said, “Texting April to tell my wife I love her.” Okay. There were some fine points to figure out.

The next morning, he and my sister and I were up, and he was still enjoying his new phone friend. I asked what was the difference between the iPhone 4 and 4s, and which one did they have (I do pay a little attention to ads and commercials). All full of his computery self, Kevin picked up his phone and said, “Hey, Siri. Tell my mother what the difference is between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4s.”

And Siri said, “I do not know who your mother is.”

iPhones are a lot of fun.

 

Dilemma: If I’m going to buy a new plant, should it be one I choose for beauty or for eating?

I’m a little unnerved at discovering a less-than-desirable trait. In myself. I like to think that I always make good choices, appropriate decisions, the best possible option. Would that it were so.

For example:

Last Sunday afternoon, I was driving home and saw, out of the corner of my eye, a nursery that I like to visit. The parking lot had several cars. “Hmmmm,” I thought. “Are they open today? I didn’t know they were open on Sundays. I wonder if they really are open on Sundays these days. Maybe there are just some cars in the parking lot.”

And I thought I should drive on over and just see if they’d begun to have open hours on Sundays.

I wasn’t going to park. And I certainly wasn’t going to go in. I was just going to see if they were open, in case, on some Sunday afternoon in the future, I might want to walk through and look at some plants.

So I turned the corner and drove into the parking lot … just to see if they were open. And, yes, indeed. They are open now, on Sunday afternoons. And I parked the car.

“I’m just going to go in and look around,” I said to myself. “I have plenty of plants and I’m keeping them all alive. So far. I’m not going to buy anything,” I said to myself, as I walked into the nursery.

I walked around. There were some big, beautiful Caladiums. But I have some nice Caladiums that are growing nicely. There weren’t any hostas, and just as well, as I’m working hard to keep the hostas I have alive. There were herbs and some vegetables, but I really have what I need and what I know I can keep green. There were some interesting things that I enjoyed seeing, but I didn’t want. Yes, it was going well. “I’m just going to look. I’m not going to buy anything.”

There were moss roses. Got ’em. Purslane. Don’t want it. There was a plant with the cutest little red flowers on it; they looked a little like roses, but weren’t. The label said, “sun to part shade.” They were really cute. Okay. They were cute. They looked like something I might could keep alive. “But this is IT! I’m just going to buy these and that’s all!”

The new plants

The new plants

There was a pot of something that looked similar, but had little purple flowers, and they looked so cute next to the little red flowers. And the little red flowers looked a little lonesome by themselves. So, I thought, “Yes, I should get these purple ones, too. But, that’s a container in each hand, and that’s enough.”

There was a little plant that’s supposed to produce yellow flowers (but didn’t have any at the time) and likes sun, and I have a sunny place with other yellow flowers, and it was easy to carry in one of the hands that had the other flowers.

And, I had this horrible epiphany (I know, we usually think of epiphanies as good things, but I did look it up, and one of the definitions applies).

This might be what alcoholics say: “I’m not going in that bar. I’m just going to drive by. Well, I’ll park. But I’m not going in. Well, I can go in, but I’m not going to have a drink. Well, one drink. But that’s all.” And so on.

I’ve had that same conversation with myself in front of a yarn store. “I’m not going in. I’m just going to look in the window. I’ll go in, but I’m not going to touch any yarn. Oh, this feels so wonderful, but I’m not going to purchase it.” Followed by: “Let me write you a check for that.”

Which says something a little sobering about me. I have no self control. At least when it comes to plants. And yarn. And occasionally about some other things, like books for Peter. That sort of thing.

 If you had not helped me, Lord,
    I would soon have gone
    to the land of silence.
 When I felt my feet slipping,
    you came with your love
    and kept me steady.

Psalm 94:17-18 (Contemporary English Version)

Keep me steady, Lord. Help me make good decisions. About the large things and the small things. And all the things in between.

When I checked the definitions of “epiphany,” I saw a little link (Ollie, Mollie, Gollie–how many of those little interesting-looking links do you click on?) that said, “Do you know the word for the way the earth smells after the rain? I found that irresistible. I thought you’d be interested, too. Here it is.

[pe-trahy-kawr, ‐ker]
You know how it smells outside after a rainstorm? There’s a word for that, of course. Petrichor is the distinct scent of rain in the air. Or, to be more precise, it’s the name of an oil that’s released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall.

Now, isn’t that interesting. I can’t wait for the next rain, which, given typical Texas summers, could be in October.

All’s Well That Ends, Um, Reasonably Well

Last week was pretty busy with company and holiday stuff, and Peter stayed on for a few days, and I took him back to Fort Worth last Monday. Tuesday I needed to take some food to church for a post-funeral meal, and I did that and went to the funeral, then came home to try to put things in order, sort of. I worked for an hour or so, and thought, maybe, I should have a nap. I napped, and then I never returned to the kitchen for the rest of the day.

walgreenslogoOn Wednesday, all I had to do was go to a retina appointment. We were almost out of milk, and I thought that I’d just go to Walgreen’s, after the appointment, instead of the hubbub of HEB. And, I like to get my Snapple in the large plastic containers, which Walgreen’s does have, and HEB does not. That was my plan, and I got all the way home from the retina place before I remembered about the milk/Snapple run, so I left the house again and went on over to Walgreen’s.

Having my eyes worked on by the retina folks, while not really painful, is a little unnerving, and I always feel a little rattled. But, really, all I had to do was go into Walgreen’s and get the milk and Snapple. I parked under a nice shady tree, and pretty quickly got what I wanted and put it in a cart (because three big plastic bottles of Snapple are too heavy to carry all at once). At the counter, I was writing a check, and and I didn’t have my nice Walgreen’s reward card, so I had to enter my phone number, and then write the check, and then follow the Walgreen’s check-writing procedure, which varies from every other business’ check-writing procedure (click here, click here, sign your name w/our stylus, sign your name with your finger, click here, click here—They are all different!). I got through all that. The friendly checker put each Snapple bottle in an individual bag and the milk in a bag, and then she returned my check to me (as they do at two of the local Wal-Marts, but not the third Wal-Mart). It was a pretty lengthy and complicated procedure, but at last, I was on my way out to the car. I pushed the cart to the back of the car and put everything into the trunk. I picked up my purse from the cart and … it was too light.

IMG_4488I recently got a new purse. It’s ‘way smaller that the previous one, but it holds what I need to carry. The large, central pocket is just the right size for my wallet and for the little bag that I use for medicines and Band-aids and hand lotion and lip gloss and tissues. That little bag doesn’t weigh much at all. The wallet is the thing that weighs as much as everything else in the purse put together. So, it wasn’t like I’d just left behind a pair of reading glasses or the pen I’d used to write my check. I’D LOST TRACK OF MY WALLET!!!

I went through every bag I’d put in the trunk (Snapple intact, milk in its bag, no wallet). I checked my purse a few times. No, the wallet had not magically re-appeared.

I went back into the store.

I had to get back in line at the check-out and wait for a turn to talk to the checker. When I finally got to her (and, fortunately, no one else was in line), I asked, “My wallet? I think I left my wallet when I walked out. Is it here?”

She looked at me a little strangely. “You left your wallet? What did it look like.” “It’s black. Sort of regular size.”
And she said, “The lady behind you . . .” “The one buying cigarettes?” I said, because I’d remembered that the checker had asked her and then held the cigarettes for a minute or so, while I was signing, clicking, etc. “Yes, that lady,” she said. “That lady picked up a wallet from the counter and left with it. The lady behind her said she thought that was her wallet, and she sent her kids out to ask, and when they came back, they said that the lady said no it was her wallet.” “I think that was probably my wallet,” I said. “I’ve looked in all the bags I had, in my car, in my purse. It’s not there.”

She called for a manager, who came right away, and she explained what had happened. They had security cameras, but that wasn’t going to help me right then, and I began to feel anxious about getting home and canceling the credit cards.

“I think there’s really nothing to be done,” I said. “I’m so, so sorry,” the young lady said. And I said, “It is not your fault that I walked away without my wallet. It would have been nice if you’d noticed, but it is not your responsibility to take care of my things. It’s my responsibility to take care of my things. It is not at all your fault.” She took my name and phone numbers, just in case it turned up. I thanked everyone again and said I needed to get home and start making phone calls.

Sometimes modern life is nice and efficient. The Bank of America card and the Discover card have websites that say “Lost or Stolen Card?” And you punch that and they immediately say they will cancel the card and send a new one and to be sure to check recent purchases, which I did, and there wasn’t anything. Of course, I did have to call David and tell him he couldn’t charge anything for 5 to 10 days because I’d lost the card he uses.

Dealing with the Target card was a little more difficult. On their website, it says “Lost or Stolen Card?” but then they ask for information to be sure I’m the card holder. For example: “What is the three-digit security code on the back of the card?” Hmmm. I don’t know the three-digit security code on the back of my card because I don’t have my card!! I guess I should have that written down somewhere, but, alas, I do not. So I had to search and search for an 800 number, which I finally found. I was on the phone with, um, Tyler, I think, when the doorbell rang. I kept talking while I went to answer it, and, TA-DAH!! A lady was standing on my porch, holding my wallet!!

Now, I didn’t get that good a look at the lady behind me at Walgreen’s who was buying cigarettes. The lady on the porch said that she had found the wallet in a cart at Walgreen’s, looked inside and found who I was and where I lived, and so she brought it back to me. I opened the wallet and all the cards were there and everything looked untouched/unmoved. I thanked her very much and she left. I told Tyler the Target guy (still politely on the phone) that my wallet had been returned and that I would not need to cancel my card, and I thanked him very much.

And then I thought to look in the zipper compartment, where the cash belongs. Empty. Maybe the cigarette lady walked out, opened the wallet and removed the cash and then left the wallet in a cart on the sidewalk. Maybe the lady on my porch found it there. Maybe she didn’t think about taking in the store and handing it to a manager. Maybe she was the woman who took the cash in the first place.  I had gotten more cash that I usually carry because we were going to have company, but I don’t know how much I had in the wallet on Wednesday. It probably wasn’t as much as $50.00, and probably not that much. I certainly wish I had it back, but, over all, it seems like a reasonable amount of money to lose if it helps me remember to keep track of my wallet.

I looked at the number on the check I had written to Walgreen’s and compared it with the checks in my wallet. None had been torn out/used.

All in all, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Everything but the cash seems to be there. I didn’t have to go and get a new Driver’s License. And, a lesson learned the hard way, but I will not likely leave my wallet lying on a counter any time soon.

 

   Jesus told the people another story:

What will a woman do if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them? Won’t she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? Then she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, “Let’s celebrate! I’ve found the coin I lost.”

Luke 15:8-9 (Contemporary English Version)

Come on over!! We’ll have a party and celebrate.

I did phone the Walgreen’s store and talked to the manager and told him that the wallet had been returned.  I thanked him for being interested and helpful and considerate, and to be sure to let the checker know that I had my wallet back, with everything intact. Well, I didn’t bring up the missing cash.

Tweaking Traditions

I’ve mentioned before how family traditions get started, continued, and sometimes, wrung dry and parched after a while. Our family pretty much embraces favorite traditions, as in the Fourth of July Flag Cake.

Another tradition that we continue is THE PHOTO. As in, “Wait, wait! Don’t cut the cake yet! We haven’t taken THE PHOTO!”

1980-Not everyone enjoys having their picture taken with the flag cake.

1980-Not everyone enjoys having their picture taken with the flag cake.

 

 

This was/is the original PHOTO. Jeremy, not even 3 years old, wasn’t a kid who enjoyed having his photo taken. He’s even decked out in the patriotic shirt, handed down from his older brother, that dated back to the bicentennial (1976). Kevin, age 7, was gamely trying to do his part. A few years later, as we were looking back at previous Independence Day photos, someone picked up the flag cake, before it got sliced and served, and suggested that it might be humorous to re-create the photo. And we did.

 

 

 

There was a photo every year and lots of interesting cakes. There was an ice cream roll cake, and cakes with fruit decorations, and many, many variations of red, white, and/or blue shirts. But this seemed like a representative selection. And I’m really happy with my leftover cake dilemma. And there was always leftover cake. So this year, I made some sugar cookie dough and cut long strips and a blue rectangle. I made strips with red glaze and sprinkles and white glaze and sprinkles and thirteen little white stars to go on the blue rectangle. (Not historically accurate, but I will be thrilled to hand over the job to anyone who asks for it!) Almost all of it got eaten up, right there at the lunchtime table.

And here are a couple of more photos that we’re happy about.

 

Six days before Passover Jesus went back to Bethany, where he had raised Lazarus from death.  A meal had been prepared for Jesus. Martha was doing the serving, and Lazarus himself was there.

John 12:1,2 (Contemporary English Version)

I used this a couple of years ago, for a July 4 blog. I like it. I like the idea of Jesus sharing meals with the people around him, with whom he had friendships. I like when we have meals together with friends and family, too.

 

 

 

 

Whistle While You Work! Tra-la-la-la-la-la-lah!

I can’t actually whistle. But sometimes I sing while I work. And, a lot of the time, I listen to an audio book while I work, which means I sometimes have to go back and relisten to whole chapters, because I’ve been thinking about what I’m working on, instead of listening, and I discover I have no idea what’s going on, in that audio book that’s been pouring into my ears.

Meanwhile, my sleep cycles have been rather awry lately. I think it was Bible School. We have Bible School (which we call Children’s Bible Club) in the evenings. I’m accustomed to being more busy and active in the daytime. I work in the yard. I work in the house. I walk on the treadmill. In the evenings, I’m more likely to be doing stuff on the computer or watching television or reading (and maybe I walk on the treadmill). Quieter stuff. And I stop drinking tea at 6:00 p.m.

Even when Peter’s here (which he happened to be, during Bible School), I’m not at all busy with him later in the day. The instant David walks in the door after work each evening, Peter becomes an appendage, and I might as well not be here at all. So when he’s here, my daytimes may be busy, but my evenings are restful. I’m thinking, then, that the evening-time hubbub of Bible School a couple of weeks ago sort of re-set my regular rhythms, and I’m having trouble sleeping. Or, staying asleep.

Tuesday morning, verrrrrrry early … well, it was really more like Monday night still, I woke up and could not get back to sleep. And, I kept thinking about what all I needed to get done before holiday company arrives on Saturday, and what sort of food preparation and house cleaning and laundry and general readiness and, well, you understand. So, I gave up and got up.

I didn’t necessarily want to spend time on the computer, reading Facebook posts or doing crossword puzzles or jigsaw puzzles, because screen time is supposed to negatively effect sleep. I didn’t want to do anything noisy (like getting a jumpstart on the vacuuming), because David might find that annoying, in the middle of the night. But, there was some cleaning up that I should do in the guest/sewing/overflow stuff room. I went there and shut the door and turned on the light, and thought about what a disorganized space the armoire was.

I keep my sewing stuff in there. Years (and years and years) ago, I got a set of Tupperware containers that I use to keep all the sewing stuff organized. Sort of. I find myself searching among the containers for what I need, and the boxes get disorganized and I can’t always find what I want, and things get stuffed in anywhere, and, so on and so on. Also, there was stuff in a chair and on the sewing machine and on the bed, and I was feeling frazzled about it.

Stuff all over the bed and the ironing board.

Stuff all over the bed and the ironing board.

I found all sorts of stuff, like these tiny envelopes that have spare buttons from clothes I've bought. Very few of them are labeled, so I don't know what clothes they belong to, or even if they belong to clothes I still have.

I found all sorts of stuff, like these tiny envelopes that have spare buttons from clothes I’ve bought. Very few of them are labeled, so I don’t know what clothes they belong to, or even if they belong to clothes I still have.

So, at 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday, I took all those containers out of the armoire and got to work. I opened them all up and spread everything out on the bed. I re-arranged and made sure that the same things were together. (No zippers with the interfacing. No elastic with the ribbon.) I tried to be bold about getting rid of things I don’t use or want or like any more. I consolidated things. I threw away things. I made a Goodwill bag. And long before I finished, I became really sleepy and thought I should go on to bed while the urge compelled me to, and while I could get at least a little bit of sleep.

I had to put the project on hold for a little while, trying to get some other tasks done (like making homemade ice cream for July 4th!) and getting other spaces in the house also ready for company. But I got back to it Thursday afternoon. Everything got tucked away into a container. I stacked them all in the armoire, and remembered how frustrating it has been to find exactly what I was looking for. So, I did what I’ve planned to do for, oh, fifteen years? I labeled the containers. Yes, I know, it seems like a simple thing (and it was). I just never got around to it.

 

As I went through, somewhat, the drawers, I found this Hawaiian quilt square that I started (and I am not exaggerating) forty-four years ago. The figure is appliqued on and I had begun to quilt it, but the top got skewed from the lining, and I put it away and didn’t get back to it. A few years ago, I pulled the quilting out. Monday night, I separated the batting from the top and bottom. I threw out the old batting and ironed the front and backing. It’s ready for me to think about starting over.

The bird’s eye maple armoire is the only piece of furniture that I remember from my maternal grandparents’ home. I’m very glad to have it, for sentimental reasons, and because it does such a good job of keeping all my sewing stuff organized!

 

Everything on earth has it’s own time and its own season. There is a time . . .

for throwing stones
and gathering stones,
    embracing and parting.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2a, 5 (Contemporary English Version)

I’ve been doing some throwing and gathering. In just a couple of days, there’ll be embracing, and then, a while later, some parting. And, every now and then, I’ll go and look in the armoire, to see how nice it looks!

The Square of the Hypotenuse . . . or, A Useful Thing I Learned in Math Class

Here, it's the slanty side, labeled "c." In Right Triangle Land, the hypotenuse is always "c."

Here, it’s the slanty side, labeled “c.” In Right Triangle Land, the hypotenuse is always “c.”

I don’t know if it happened in some regular math class, or in Algebra or in Geometry, or in all of them, but at some point I learned the term “hypotenuse” and what it meant–which is: In a Right Triangle (which is any triangle that has a right angle [90°]), the side opposite that right angle is called the hypotenuse. And I find the idea useful when I’m walking in parking lots.

When I’m shopping, let’s say at Target, and I leave the store with my bag(s) and maybe a cart, I’ve got to walk across two lanes of parking lot traffic to get to the parked cars. The drivers in those lanes are, of course, or at least we hope of course, driving pretty slowly. One: they’re trying to be careful of pedestrians entering and leaving the store. Two: they’re trying to find good parking spots. Hmm. I think finding the parking spots might be their first priority, and the shopping public a little further down their list of concerns. But, ordinarily, no one is speeding in that space in front of the store’s entrances. (And, there are a couple of stop signs, too.)

When shoppers leave the store, they usually head precisely toward the spaces where their cars are parked, because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (also a Geometry fact).

 

IMG_4212Let’s say that some guy parked his white car in the spot that’s way over on the left side of the photo. He may have parked there because he’s got to return something, and the Customer Service counter is by that closest door, the one at the front of the right-hand side on the photo. He returns his merchandise and then thinks that he might like to have a latte from the Target Starbuck’s, so he walks on down there. Then, he thinks he’s hungry, too, and a pretzel would be tasty. The snack bar is right beside the farther door, so he gets his pretzel and walks out that door. Then, he realizes that he’s gone out the wrong door, but it’s early in the morning and not blazing hot, yet. So he starts walking toward his car. He walks in a straight line (that being the shortest distance), from the door to his car, i.e. diagonally across the whole length of those lanes. And, if I and someone else are driving up towards him, and a couple of other cars are approaching from behind him, we’ve all got to stop and wait for him to make that long walk. We might be able to inch up some, but basically, at some point, his walking is slowing down both lanes of car traffic. Instead, the more helpful route would have been to leave the building and walk straight across that lane where cars drive (see Side a, above). Then, he could walk down Side b, towards his parked car, still having to cross the distance between the lines of parked cars where vehicles might be driving, but there wouldn’t be quite as much traffic slow-down. Or, he could have walked all the way down the sidewalk in front of the building (side b) and then across the busier lanes (side a). And, obviously, at 8:30 in the morning (photo time), it’s not much of an issue. But, on a Saturday afternoon. Ollie, Mollie, Gollie. It really would help a lot!

IMG_4215

Same thing at the HEB grocery store. There is a much wider space for cars driving back and forth, coming and going, searching for the best place to park. But the grocery store shoppers often have filled-to-the-brim carts and sometimes lots of family members, some of them rather short. Walking straight across instead of opting for the lengthier, diagonal route, would be safer.

 

In Math Classdom, the hypotenuse is famous for its place in the Pythagorean theorem, which Wikipedia defines as:

In mathematics, the Pythagorean theorem, also known as Pythagoras’s theorem, is a fundamental relation in Euclidean geometry among the three sides of a right triangle. It states that the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. The theorem can be written as an equation relating the lengths of the sides a, b and c, often called the “Pythagorean equation”:[1]

 a^{2}+b^{2}=c^{2},

where c represents the length of the hypotenuse and a and b the lengths of the triangle’s other two sides.

The example we got in Math class was a triangle where side “a” was 3 inches and side “b” was 4 inches and the hypotenuse was 5 inches. So: 3 squared (9) + 4 squared (16) = 5 squared (25).

(If you’re at all interested in reading more, and who wouldn’t be, here’s the Wikipedia link.)

 

The inside of the Lord’s temple was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high.

1 Kings 6:2 (Contemporary English Version)

The hypotenuse of that space would have been about  94.87, as per the Calculate the Hypotenuse of a Right Triangle website.

IMG_4208And, something that is not at all germane to this conversation, but look what I found on the front sidewalk this morning. It’s a cicada. It didn’t seem very healthy, but it was early in the morning, and he might have just been fresh out of his little pupating shell. I’ve seen several round holes in the side yard, by the ferns. Maybe it’s cicada coming-out-party time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Time for Everything, A Season for Every Activity

Here it is … Thursday night again. Well, I don’t know, of course, when you’re reading this, but for me, at the computer, it’s Thursday night. Peter’s been here since Monday, and we’ve had Children’s Bible Club each evening at church. I taught in the Pre-K room, along with two other teachers. We had five or six kids each evening, and we all had a very good time.

It’s Vacation Bible School (or VBS), but we call it Children’s Bible Club (or CBC), and it’s a long story why, but it’s the same thing.

We’d discussed earlier in the week how the play dough (green) seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, and how, possibly, we should make some more. So this evening, when the kids had all arrived, and before dinner came (yes, all the kids get dinner each evening), I pulled out the play dough ingredients and the skillet, so we could cook up a fresh batch. We had already decided on the color choice. Pink. When I had asked about color, two girls voted for pink, two boys voted for two different colors. The third boy abstained. So, the pink won.

We put all the ingredients into the skillet, and each kid who wanted to stir, got a turn to stir the play dough batter. (Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that that seems to make a nicer batch of homemade play dough.) When dinner came, I moved the skillet to a counter. I plugged it in, but it seemed to be wobbling. I looked, and one of the skillet’s feet was sitting on, oh, yes, my phone.

As an aside here, earlier, at the zoo, I sharply said to a mom whom we were walking with (and playing with her kids) that I was amazed by and disappointed in the women’s fashion industry. “Why, in this day and age, do clothing designers continue to put inadequate pockets in women’s clothes!?!” She agreed. My phone had fallen out of my pocket … not while I was sitting down (which does sometimes happen, when there’s an inadequate pocket), but while I was walking! That’s how shallow the pocket was. That is a BAD pocket. I have had that dress for a while, and I’m trying to be more careful and conscious when I buy clothes. But it’s REALLY frustrating. Anyway …

The reason my phone was on the counter was because it wouldn’t stay in my pocket. I had taken it out of my purse to have nearby, instead of being in my purse, hanging on a hook on the back of the door. So, I had put it on the counter. The skillet’s not that heavy and the phone certainly wasn’t damaged by having one of it’s feet on it for a few seconds. I lifted the skillet’s edge, by holding the handle, of course, because it was plugged in and beginning to heat up. I quickly picked up my phone.

And dropped it into the uncooked play dough batter.

And yelped.

Another teacher came to my rescue, and began to stir the play dough, so it would cook nice and evenly. I snatched up some paper towels, and began to frantically wipe off my phone. There are all those openings in the case, for me to be able to turn the phone on and off and the volume up and down and take photos. It took many seconds for me to pull the case off, but finally I could begin wiping the thing down. Both things down. I guess it only took a few seconds, because I was done and the case back on by time the play dough batter had become play dough.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 (New International Version)

It’s been a week of extended laughing and dancing.

And, in an interesting postscript, this evening as I was carefully inspecting the phone to be sure I’d removed all the pink, I discovered a little tiny switch on the side of my phone. “What’s that?” I wondered. It looked like it had some pink play dough batter in it, so I looked really carefully and moved it, and discovered that the pink was a reddish line when the switch was pushed down. When I did push the switch up and down, little pictures appeared on the phone’s screen, saying “Ringer” and “Silent.” Which explains why for ages I have not been able to hear the phone ring. I’ve complained to family members that I miss calls because the phone’s ringer isn’t working right! Sooooo, give me a call. I might be able to hear the ringer now.