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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)


I Think It’s Safe to Go Back to Target Now

Target logoI think I’ve mentioned before how much I like to shop at Target. And how I understand that they are using all sorts of marketing techniques (which I know I don’t even recognize) to get me to shop there. I just know that when I walk in the door, I want to shop. But I’ve been a little reluctant to venture in the place for the past couple of weeks. (Oh, I’ve gone, all right. I just go fast.) It’s BACK TO SCHOOL time!!

target insideAnd because many, many people feel the same way I do about Target, there are lots of moms and dads and teens and kids milling around. In all areas of the store, not just the school supply aisles. (Yes, I saw the article last week in the paper that said that Target’s sales had slipped the past quarter, or so, but, frankly, it looks like we’re making up the difference here in my Target.)

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Stamp Acts

Mother and/or Daddy must have thought, at some time in my childhood, that I should be a stamp collector. They bought a book and a package of stamps. In the package of stamps, as I remember it, there were lots of stamps, but many were duplicates. The thinking, I suppose, was that I would trade some of those with other young stamp collectors. Then you were supposed to attach (with the appropriate stamp attacher) the stamps in the little book, on the matching stamp pictures. Many of them, as I remember, had Queen Elizabeth on them. It seems like all the mail that came to the house had the same stamps on them, and I lost interest. I stopped paying any attention to stamps, and the only stamps we used in our house were those that came on a roll. Very convenient, but not particularly interesting.

I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t realize that there were lots of other kinds of stamps that we could have been buying. I didn’t learn that until, and I am being really honest here, I came home for a friend’s wedding, a year and a half after we’d gotten married. While I was here in Waco, she and I were out running errands, and we stopped by the post office. She had run out of the attractive stamps that she’d chosen for her wedding invitations. “I think these are so pretty,” she said, as she purchased them. “They look nice on the envelopes.” I agreed. They did look nice on the envelopes.

That didn’t make me start being a stamp collector. I’m not a stamp collector now. But I do go looking for pretty stamps when I visit the post office.

Recently, at the post office, I found the cutest stamps. I found some really pretty ones, too. And I like the forever stamps, that you buy at one price, and they stay current and usable, no matter how much the price of stamps rises. Of course, when I use them all up, I have to buy replacements at whatever the current first-class stamp price is.

And I have to confess that I still prefer to send off real, snail-type mail. I do pay some bills online, and I do send some greeting cards that way, too. I like to get those kinds of good wishes, but there’s something about pulling a special envelope out of the mail box and opening it up and finding a card, a note, a photograph. And, here is what else I do. I like to use address labels that look nice with the stamps I’m putting on the envelopes.

 

I know, I know. In this day and age, it seems a little, um, weird? Ridiculous? Silly? But it makes me happy. It sparks joy. Do you think it makes my mail carrier smile a little bit? Okay. Probably not. Maybe I’ll ask some morning, if I’m outside when it gets picked up.

 

A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
    but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (New Revised Standard Version)

Several years ago, I was at the post office, mailing something and getting stamps. I asked for first class stamps and requested “something attractive.” flagstampThe postal worker searched through his drawer and came up empty. “Really?” I said. “Nothing pretty?” He looked at me and reached into the next drawer. He pulled out a regular, old, ordinary roll of stamps and put it in my hand. “These are the most beautiful ones we have,” he said. I bought the roll of American flag stamps and went home humbled and happy.

When the Grandchildren Come

Well, at our house, it’s the grandchild. He’s our one and only. And it’s just as great as people have said it would be, and as I suspected it would be. Which doesn’t mean that we don’t have our moments…

But for every disagreement there are many, many more moments of delight and joy and charm.

And of course, at grandparents’ house, things can be a little more lax. Vegetables at most meals at home. Vegetables at some meals at Mimi and Grandad’s. At home, a regular, specific bedtime routine beginning at about 7 o’clock: bath, book, bed. In Waco, well, at 7:30 or so, it’s: bath, ice cream and Nutty Bar, two or three or four books, and bed. And things rock along pretty well for all three of us.

A few weeks ago, some folks across the street cut down a tree in their back yard, doing some work before getting the house ready to rent. The limbs and leaves and lengths of trunk have been out on the curb for weeks, waiting for the city to come and pick it all up. Meanwhile, I sent David there a couple of weeks ago to get two of the trunk pieces for Peter to use for woodworking. The garage gets pretty warm right now, but Peter did spend a little time out there with his new tools.

We went to Target Thursday, mainly for a prescription and some groceries. You can get everything you need there for a great lunch!

 

But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have not idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi's supervision).

After post-lunch “quiet play time” in the living room (which is essentially Peter’s room, as it is where he sleeps and where all the toys are), I went to release him from there and we ended up playing for the next couple of hours. At one point, we pretend rode the TRE, which is a commuter train in Fort Worth that Peter and friends took a ride on for Peter’s birthday celebration, back in January. We walked around the house, on the TRE, and ended up in the guest room which was the “sleeper car.” (FYI, the TRE is a commuter train and doesn’t have a sleeper car, but, apparently, according to Peter, it should.) By then, I was pretty happy to lie down and close my eyes. After all too sort a time, Peter left. Eventually, I went off to locate him, imagining all sorts of unsupervised devilment that might be happening.

But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have no idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi’s supervision).

For dinner, his idea was that we should have a BIG grilled cheese sandwich, that everyone could share. I couldn’t quite figure out how to do that, but I did make some homemade bread in the bread machine (oh, yes, I did, because it makes a taller loaf and I could make a bigger grilled cheese sandwich than usual). So, the three of us shared two big grilled cheese sandwiches. And ate the rest of the cucumber.

Then he and David went to the Mayborn Museum, which is open late on Thursdays, and they always do that when he comes. (I’m not the only pushover in the house.) Friday morning, we’re going on a first-thing-in-the-morning-before-the-temperature-gets-unbearable trip to the zoo, to see the elephants, giraffes, and orangutans, which we didn’t see last month when we went. Then, a stop by the zoo’s splash pad to cool off.

IMG_1458Saturday is supposed to be much cooler (well, in the 90’s instead of 104). David is supposed to help Peter practice kicking a soccer ball into a tiny, preschool-sized soccer goal, because he’s going to play soccer this fall. April ordered cleats for him, and they arrived this evening.

  Grandparents are proud
    of their grandchildren,
    and children should be proud
    of their parents.

Proverbs 17:6  (Contemporary English Vesion)

And my favorite thing he said this trip: When I went to get Peter on Wednesday, I had lunch with him and Kevin and April at their house. At one point, we were talking about our respective Sunday School classes (their kindergartners and my 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s). I said to Peter, “In a few months, you’ll be four!” “I know,” he said. “I’m so excited about being 4 years old.” “You’re really growing,” I said.

He became quite serious, and said, (with sort of choppy, delineating hand motions) “First you turn one. Then you turn two. Then you turn three. Then you turn four. Then you turn five. Then you turn six. Then you turn seven. Then you turn eight. Then you turn nine. Then,” (a brief pause, for dramatic effect, I suppose), “you turn ten.”

Kevin and I waited for a moment, then Kevin, said, “And then what,” expecting some more numbers, because Peter usually counts pretty reliably to about thirty. Peter looked at him, shrugged his shoulders a little and said, “Then you die.” I’m so proud.

Tiny Tidiers

One of the things that teachers of preschoolers are interested in, whether it’s in a school classroom or a church classroom, is the development of life skills. Like putting things away. If the kids don’t help put things away, then teachers are left with significant clean-up work at the end of a day, or even just when Sunday School is over. And, as with much of life, if it’s fun, the work goes more quickly.

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Follow the Tidy Brick Road

I got the new tidying book, Spark Joy, from the library. It’s what I took with me to the urgent-care center last week. I read about half of the introduction and got re-tidyized. I know I’m not doing it the official TIDY way, but I absolutely canNOT take every item of clothing out of my closet and drawers, pick up each individual item and hold it close to me to determine if it “sparks joy,” and then put it in my closet (if it gets a “yes”). Conversely, I do NOT have time to hold each reject, one at a time, close to me and thank it for being part of my wardrobe and wish a fond farewell as I put it lovingly into the Goodwill bag. I certainly can, however, identify the places in my home where, when the tidy bug bites (as opposed to those other kind that send you to urgent care), I need to treat it. And the tidy bug has noticed my office/miscellaneous storage/can’t-find-any-place-else-for-it closet.

Lest you think I staged this for dramatic effect, no, I just opened the door and snapped the photo.

Lest you think I staged this for dramatic effect, no, I just opened the door and snapped the photo.

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Skeeters and Spiders and Antibiotics, Oh My!

What I *used* to think of as a nice, safe, pleasant place to sit and read.

What I *used* to think of as a nice, safe, pleasant place to sit and read.

Even though it’s really hot here in Central Texas right now, the mornings aren’t too horrible, and I sometimes go out and sit on the pew on the front porch and read. It’s in the shade until early afternoon, and I even might eat lunch there, while I’m reading, which is what I did last Saturday. If I’m going to be outside working in the yard, especially in the back yard, which has some low places, I always use insect spray. We don’t have standing water, but I’m not so sure about the neighbors. But, sitting on the front porch, I don’t, ordinarily, until recently, use that precaution. So-o-o-o, after enjoying a relatively pleasant time of reading and lunching, the temperature escalated and I went back into the house, and noticed how my left forearm was itchy. Really itchy! And, being a responsible adult who knows better, I went ahead and scratched it. It was REALLY itchy. As the afternoon wore on, I would idly scratch the itchy place, not particularly paying much attention to it. When I actually looked at the thing, I saw that there was a pretty large red (itchy) patch, and in the center of that, a smallish raw, gooey circle in the center. Hmmmmm. And I went to bed.

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Oh, Gnats!

On Saturday, July 2, David said to me, “What’s with all these ants?”

“What ants?” I said.

“They’re all over the place!”

“Where?”

“Around my computer, in the bathroom. They’re everywhere!”

“When did you start seeing them,” I asked.

“About three days ago,” he said.

“Why didn’t you tell me then?” I asked.  “We have a contract with the bug people. They could have come out then. Now we’ll have to wait until after July 4th. And, I haven’t seen any ants.”

“Ants,” he said, just a little frustrated. “What ants?”

“You said you’d seen ants,” I said, getting a little testy, myself.

“I said, ‘GNATS,'” he said.

“Oh. Gnats. Well, yes,” I said. “I’ve seen a few gnats.”

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There Was This Tutorial for a Cute Cake . . .

I’ve looked at, and used, some of the YouTube tutorials about knitting, especially the ones showing how you graft one side of an object to another.  I can sit and start and stop the video as I work my way across a knitted teddy bear’s head, for example. Watching someone, at least for me, is way more helpful that merely trying to follow written instructions. Last year, I saw one for a cute cake that looks like a Canadian flag when you cut out it into wedges. So all this past year I’ve thought that maybe I could make something similar, but for a July 4th cake. The tutorial made it look easy (don’t they all), but she did mention, at one point, that she had to make SIX cakes before she got it right. I neglected to take that into consideration.

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Oh, Those New Yorkers!

I saw a story a couple of weeks ago about some kind, helpful, brave New Yorkers. A man fell from a subway platform onto the tracks, just a few minutes before a train was due to arrive. Three men saw him fall, jumped down onto the tracks, picked up the unconscious man, and, with the help of others on the platform, hoisted him back up, and were then themselves pulled to safety. A young journalism student was sitting on a bench nearby, saw what happened, and grabbed her phone and began to film the incident. It’s been seen by a couple of million people. The place where I first saw the report had a space for comments. One person wrote that, yes, New Yorkers rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done for their fellow man. Another person (apparently in a bad mood) wrote that the three were most likely not New Yorkers at all but people from somewhere else. And, she said, if they were actual New Yorkers, they only began to help when they saw someone filming, and helped because they thought it would be good for their images to be seen being so helpful.

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I Always Forget About the Subway Stairs

 

And then there was this wedding. JoAnne and Jim’s oldest kid, Collin, married Amy. It was on a pier by The Admiral Fell Inn. Right on the water. It was lovely.


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