Posts Categorized: Peace

So Long, Old Friend

This cookbook was a wedding gift to me from a couple of Baylor friends. Looking back, I wonder if they asked my mother what would be an appropriate gift, and Mother, a little afraid that David and I might starve to death or go bankrupt always eating out, suggested that a good cookbook would be useful. And it was.

 

Instead of sections of pages of recipes for Main Dishes, Vegetables, Salads, Desserts, etc., each page or two-page spread had a suggested menu and all the recipes for those foods. And there might be a cute little line drawing, or, like this, a nice full-color photo of the foods, which might or might not have been a good idea. Sometimes what I prepared looked similar to the pictured foods. Sometimes no one would have recognized what I cooked.

There were sections for casual meals and special meals, simple meals and when-guests-come-over meals. And, if a recipe made more than one meal’s worth of food, there were suggestions for how to use those leftovers. There was always a main dish, a vegetable, a salad, a bread, and a dessert. I certainly didn’t prepare all the foods. Sometimes the recipes were for things like seafood. And beets. And salads/desserts with coconut.

It’s where I learned about Snickerdoodle cookies.

The cover came off ages ago. And a few of the first pages (introduction, table of contents, etc.). But it’s been on the cookbook shelf, wherever that shelf happened to be, since 1971. I got it down a couple of days ago, needing that Snickerdoodle recipe, and discovered that the back cover has now disengaged. And I thought, maybe it’s time. I don’t think I ever get it out except for the cookies. I went and copied the recipe, trimmed it down, and glued it onto a page in the “Cookie” section of a three-ring binder where I put recipes that I’ve tried, with success, and written down or cut out and glued down. The homemade version of a Family Favorites cookbook.

I thought I should go through the Dinner for Two Cookbook and cut out recipes that we liked and I should keep. But frankly, the things that we liked are things that I made again and again, and I don’t really need those recipes any more. I’m going to look again, just to be sure. But I think that there won’t be many that I need to keep.

 

   … yet I will not forget you.
 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are continually before me.

Isaiah 49: 15b-16

 

There are precious things we remember. There are many, many parts of our days and weeks that we consider once and never think about again. Sometimes, we remember the things that aren’t very significant and forget things that should have stayed with us. But no matter what, we never become insignificant and unimportant to our Heavenly Father.

Some Glad Morning

We’ve lost a couple of friends in the past month. A good friend in California, earlier in December, and a kind woman, on New Year’s Eve.

It seems hard to have dark emotions at a time of year when we’re accustomed to feeling excited and happy. As those anniversaries come, year after year, facing them takes strength, a different understanding of the term “Missing Person.”

And this brings me, in a sort of convoluted way, to a conversation I had with a friend Thursday morning.

This friend is pretty good at dream interpretation. He doesn’t like to do it, though, because, as dreams are the way our brains work on problems and issues and knotty situations, the explanations can sometimes be sober and difficult. I haven’t asked for help with a dream in years, so I thought maybe I could get a response. He agreed, and I launched my story.

“I dreamed that Donald Trump had asked me to come and make a public service announcement. So, we all went: me and David and Kevin and April and Peter and Jeremy and Sarah … in our white station wagon. As we were driving down our street, we saw Sarah’s family, in their blue station wagon, and they had turned the corner and were going the wrong way, and we said, ‘This way! Follow us!’ When we arrived, the building was enormous, with huge rooms, and everything all gilded, the way you see in photos of Trump properties. The place was full of people, and Secret Service agents kept coming up to me with photographs and asking me to identify the people in the pictures, and were they were my friends. A bunch of preschoolers came by and I talked with them for a little while. Then, a church friend came and brought me a book, and we decided to go the to restroom, to see what the Trump restrooms looked like. They also were all golden and everything worked really well. Then we were in a banquet hall, all seated at tables, and a Secret Service man brought me a cardboard carton and put it in my lap. When I opened it up, I saw that it was full of toy plastic guns. And I said, ‘Ohhhhh. They want me to tell parents that children shouldn’t play with toy guns because they may find a real gun and not know that it’s dangerous and hurt themselves or other people.’ That was my dream. What do you think?”

And, an astonishing thing, I had remembered the dream. I don’t usually remember any of my dreams. And, I got up in the night for a restroom visit. When I went back to bed and fell asleep, I picked up the dream where I left off and it kept going.

The interpretation I got: “I don’t want you to feel anxious and worried, but this seems like you’re concerned about dying. There are streets and buildings made of gold and people that you know and love are there. And, it seems like, in heaven, you will be a teacher, like you are now. And the guns? I don’t know. You might be worried that people in your family are going to get shot. Maybe.” (Apparently, dream interpretation from a friend is not an exact science.)

“I’m not worried at all,” I said. I am pretty compromised, from a health standpoint. As far as I know, I’m not at death’s door just yet. But, I’m not really a candidate for becoming a centenarian.

 

Hear what God says!

    In the last days,
    I will offer My Spirit to humanity as a libation.
    Your children will boldly speak the word of the Lord.
    Young warriors will see visions,
        and your elders will dream dreams.

Acts 2: 17 (The Voice)

It sounds like a wonderful eternity–a beautiful place, people I love, a nice banquet hall, little kids. And, if there are some folks there that I don’t care for so much, that will be Someone Else’s responsibility.

Here’s a link to the song lyrics for Some Glad Morning.

 

Christmas Perfect, or Christmas Memorable

If all your Christmases run smoothly, and everything’s perfect–just like it was so carefully planned, how do you remember one Christmas from another? Do they just blur together, in one big holiday collage of red and green and a tree and lights?

Not at our house. We live in RealWorldLand, where the best laid plans stay lying around, being balky and uncooperative, which means that we are often, at holiday time, remembering previous disasters/missteps/etc. Like, “Remember the time Mom put Snickers bars in the toes of our Christmas stockings, and we had the fire going on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning, and when we dug the candy bars out, they were all melted in their wrappers?” Stuff like that. Nothing particularly serious. Just memorable.

Jeremy and Sarah arrived the Friday before Christmas, from New York. They rented a car and drove to Waco from DFW airport. (Even though Jeremy really appreciates the public transportation in New York, he seems to have missed, a little bit, being able to drive.) We had a pretty relaxing time, doing some cooking (there were still some apples left over from Halloween, and they crafted some homemade applesauce, which was yummy, and for Christmas dessert, they made Apple Crisp). Memorable.

Jeremy dug through the game closet and pulled out games to play.

Jeremy and Sarah and I played a round of Ticket to Ride. Then we played again with David. I was in last place, seriously in last place, both times. Then, we played again with Kevin. I won. By a lot! Which proves that, while a little bit of skill is important, luck plays a significant part in this game. Memorable.

Also memorable this year, April wasn’t able to come. Peter had been sick, but was well enough to come (if you don’t count that fact that his ears were still stopped up and he often appeared to be ignoring us). April, however, was pretty sick, missed her own family’s celebration, and stayed in Fort Worth. We’ll remember that Christmas without April, but we hope it doesn’t happen again.

As I planned and prepared for Christmas dinner, I kept thinking, “Oh, I should have  . . . .” And I bought the ingredients. (And, I had actually baked and sliced two small turkey breasts for Christmas dinner ‘way back right after Thanksgiving, and put them in the freezer. Unusually ahead of time.) Quite memorable.

Kevin and Peter were arriving late afternoon on  Christmas, and we were cooking and getting ready for a good part of the day. The counter just kept getting more and more crowded. Just as I was putting some of the final dishes out, I suddenly felt really weak and shaky. I plopped into the rocking chair in the kitchen and said, “My blood sugar’s low.” “What do you need? What do you need!” “Juice,” I said. “There’s white grape juice in the fridge door.” They brought it over, and kept putting out food and arranging things. The turkey was heating up in the oven, and they kept asking what else was supposed to be out and where was it. Finally, it was just the turkey that needed to come out.

Some nice, sliced turkey pieces, lying artfully amid the glass pie plate shards.

 

Jeremy picked up the glass pie pan that was holding the turkey slices and carried it to the serving area. About three inches away, the pan slipped from the pot holder in his hand and crashed to the floor. Turkey and glass shards everywhere. Fortunately, some of the turkey was still in the oven. On another pie plate.

Jeremy looked down at the mess and said, “Was that plate special?” “Well,” I admitted. “It belonged to my mother … but I have the other one. There’s another one!” There was enough turkey for everyone (well, for the everyone who’s not vegetarian). Pretty memorable.

 

The kids worked on a desk/bookshelf for David’s office. Then they erected a small enclosed (plastic) greenhouse sort of thing, for me to use to keep my plants safe during the winter. Mem.Or.A.Ble!

And some things aren’t all that memorable; they’re just traditions that we like to keep up!

We went to the Christmas Eve service. Maybe we won’t remember the exact details a few months from now, but it was good to see family members who have come back for the holiday to visit. It was good to sit in the dark with my own family, and hear the songs and the story. It was good to see the candlelights all around the room. It was memorable.

 

Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.

Luke 2:19 (The Voice)

Wishing you many memorable moments to treasure in your heart.

 

That Problem Finger Nail

Back in September, I described the removal of wart from a fingernail. When I went back several days later, to have the stitches removed, they said that it was a cyst and the biopsy results said that everything was fine.

This week, I went for another checkup, and the dermatologist explained more about the cyst. “It’s a digital myxoid cyst,” she said.

It seems that some of the fluid that lubricates the finger joints can leak out, and when it does, it travels toward the nail and can cause a cyst. And it can keep happening. Sometimes it doesn’t, but sometimes it does.

If it happens again, then there should probably be some surgery to keep the fluid from leaking and traveling from the joint up to the nail. And that, says the dermatologist, requires a hand surgeon.

The hand surgeon goes in and finds the source of the leak and repairs it. It’s pretty significant surgery.

“We’ll find you an orthopedic surgeon,” she said. “And we’ll send your biopsy results to them, so they’ll know what the situation is. And I really like your jacket.”

I had really thought it was all over and done with. And, it may be. But it might come back.

“And if it comes back, what if I don’t have the surgery,” I asked.

“Then, you’ll have another cyst. And you can decide.”

The cyst never hurt. It didn’t impair my finger’s ability to bend and work. I guess we’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, the nail, which had been growing all lumpy and bumpy when the cyst was present, is now growing out all nice and smooth. It’s still got several more weeks of growing for all that bumpy growth to reach the end of my finger and to get trimmed off. It doesn’t hurt at all. It just looks a little bit, um, not quite right.

But really, I don’t think that all that many people are staring at my hands and saying to themselves, “Whatever happened to that fingernail.?!?!?

Meanwhile, if you’d like some more information about digital myxoid cysts, you can go here.

 

You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you
    because of the wonderful way you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.

Nothing about me is hidden from you!
I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below,
but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed.
Even before I was born, you had written in your book
    everything I would do.

Psalm 139:13-16 (Contemporary English Version)

 

This doesn’t mean that the way is always going to be smooth, never rocky, always easy. It means that we’re going to have the capacity to deal with what comes.

That Special Grandparent/Grandchild Bond

We went to a family wedding, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We were seated at a table with a couple of my cousins and their husbands. There were also a couple of empty chairs.

A cousin pointed to those chairs and said, “Bill and Karen couldn’t come. Karen’s sick.”

“Oh, no,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“She kept the grandkids,” she said. “They were sick. And so she got sick.”

“Ah,” I said. “Been there. Done that.” And I explained how, last February, I went to Fort Worth for a couple of days to stay with Peter. The whole family had been sick, but Kevin and April were going back to work. Peter still had a temperature of 99, while meant he could not go back to preschool.

“Sure,” I had said, when they asked if I could come up to stay with Peter. He wasn’t really still sick.

But, he was. I came back to Waco on Friday afternoon. By Sunday morning, I had a bit of a scratchy throat and thought I shouldn’t go to be at church with little children. By Monday, I was truly sick. By Tuesday, I left my bed for quick trips to the bathroom. Otherwise, I was in bed.

My cousin related how she had stayed with her grandkids a while back, and picked up something they had. After she was back at home, she felt like she really needed to go to work, and did. And gave whatever it was to the rest of the office. She said her boss, not happy, said, “Next time? Stay home.”

Ha, ha. We had a good laugh.

The next afternoon, Kevin and April and Peter arrived. They were going to stay until Wednesday afternoon, and we were going to put up the tree and decorate it. And have fun.

Monday, Peter took a nap (unusual) for a couple of hours in the afternoon. That evening, we tried two thermometers to try to determine if he had a fever. We ended up not being sure. And, he didn’t really seem sick. Tuesday afternoon, he took another nap. At one point, he came in and said to Kevin, “I’m cold.” “Then go put your pajamas on,” said Kevin. Peter returned, carrying his pillow. “That’s your pillow,” said Kevin. “I know,” said Peter, putting it down on the floor and lying down on it.

Kevin scooted Peter so that his body was on his pillow and his head on a little square pillow he sometimes brings. Kevin covered him up with the comforter from his bed. And Peter slept another hour and a half. At one point, Peter opened his eyes and said, “I’m done with my nap.” And closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, he was all perky, and we all went to lunch together and they headed back to Fort Worth. On Friday, I felt a little throat-scratchy and head-achey. On Saturday, I was sneezing and blowing my nose. On Sunday, I stayed home from church. By Thursday morning, I felt much better. I had only woken up in the night a couple of times, when I needed to take Tylenol Super-Duper Cold and Flu, and I slept well for the first time in days. By Thursday afternoon, I was back to feeling achey and blowing my nose again.

Tiny kids with mighty germs.

 With all my heart
    I praise the Lord,
    and with all that I am
    I praise his holy name!
With all my heart
    I praise the Lord!
    I will never forget
    how kind he has been.

The Lord forgives our sins,
heals us when we are sick.

Psalm 103: 1-3 (Contemporary English Version)

And once again I am grateful for tissues in a box, and particularly for the Cool Touch Kleneex brand that feel so good on my red, problem nose. I’m glad that I can go to bed and not have to launder, hang out to dry, and iron any linen handkerchiefs.

 

 

Hey!! Who’s Quarrelsome and Fretful!?!

We’ve been having a little trouble with the garage door opener. Actually, that’s not accurate. We’ve been having a LOT of trouble with the garage door opener. For weeks.

It’s been erratic, unreliable, and the cause of some shrieking.

I changed the batteries in the remote. Not helpful.

I traded the remote I had with the one that Kevin and April had, thinking that, being used less frequently, it might work more efficiently. Nope.

When Peter was here recently, we returned home from a trip to the zoo; the garage door would not go up. I finally phoned David and asked him to please come home and see if he could let us in the house. (His car has a built-in remote button, which, for some reason, works better. Not always perfectly well. But better.)

He opened the door for us. We went in and I unlocked the back door’s storm door and checked the door’s locks to be sure my keys worked well in them, since we never go in and out that door. One lock worked but the other one didn’t.

Peter and I went out again, and the garage door went up and down as it should. So, things were back to their erratic normal.

And things were reasonably fine, until last Sunday.

I got home from church; the door would not open. Not. Not. Not. There was lunch after church and David was staying to lock up, so I knew he wouldn’t be home for a while. So, I went around to the back door, where the storm door was still unlocked. I opened the storm door and tried both locks. NEITHER ONE OF THEM WOULD OPEN!

I really needed a bathroom, so I went to the grocery store. And then I did a little shopping.

When I got home, I said to David, “Tomorrow, after work, I need you to go to Home Depot and purchase three new sets of locks that are keyed to each other, and I need you to replace all the locks. (One of the locks on the front door also didn’t work.) And, tomorrow, I’m calling the garage door opener people and having them come out to replace this one (which was installed in the early ’80s.)”

And he said, “If we replace the garage door opener, won’t that solve the problem of the locks not working?”

And I said, “THINGS NEED TO WORK!”

And all those things came to pass. Well, sort of. It seems that locks are only sold in matching pairs these days. So, the keyed-together locks are going on the front and back doors. Actually, the one on the back door is done, and, as I write this, the ones on the front are going in, too.

Monday, first thing, I called the garage door people. Then, as long I was in the mood, I called the plumber, because the shower head in the bathroom I use just fell into my hands a couple of days earlier. And, while, yes, I can shower in the other bathroom, THINGS NEED TO WORK!

And, one of the sprinkler heads had broken completely off, and I thought we might could make it until cooler, wetter weather, but why not to ahead and call those guys, because THINGS NEED TO WORK!

 

 

It is better to live in a desert land, than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

Proverbs 21:19 (English Standard Version)

 

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it?

Luke 14:28 (Contemporary English Version)

 

This is the garage door going up. I should have been taking my blood pressure during all of this. I suspect it’s right at normal now.

So, we solved that quarrelsome and fretful woman problem by sitting down and figuring out how much it would cost to repair and replace some things that badly needed repairing and replacing. And nobody has to go live in a desert land.

…By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

Possibly there are folks out there who don’t recognize this partial quote. (The title of this post) It’s Shakespeare, from the play Romeo and Juliet. The longer quote is:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”

The speaker is Juliet, and she’s unhappy that the young man with whom she’s recently fallen in love is from a family on the outs with her family. Her point being that his last name doesn’t matter; she loves him anyhow, in the way that the scent of a rose is going to smell just as nice, even if we called it, for example, “stench-plant.”

The name “Romeo” has come to mean a lover, a ladies’ man, etc. (you can look it up). I don’t know what Shakespeare meant by it; maybe it was just a common name in those days.

But … moving on. A while back, I kept reading in the newspaper’s television page about the program TURN, the story of George Washington’s spy ring during the Revolutionary War. Like: “Tonight on TURN, the spy ring finds a new ally.” That sort of thing. Finally, during season 4 (the final season), I got interested and discovered that the library had DVDs of the first three seasons. (Yes, I know. We’re archaic. My kids think we’re ridiculous because we don’t have Hulu.) I watched all those videos and then watched the fourth season on the AMC website.

Then I found, also at the library (how old-fashioned am I!), an audiobook edition of the book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. I’m listening to it. All 13 hours and 19 minutes of it. I’m a little more than halfway through it, but sometimes I have to go back and start a chapter anew. When I’m listening to an audiobook, I’m almost always doing something else, like working in the yard or doing housework, and, at some point, I realize that I’ve been thinking about herbs and not paying attention to patriots, and I have to skip backwards a little bit. And, for this one, a book of Revolutionary War maps would have helped. And a complete list of all the characters. And which side they were on.

Which brings me to Benedict Arnold. The only thing I knew, and pretty much still know, about Benedict Arnold is that he was a traitor during the American Revolution. I think that may be all that most of us know. And some of us probably don’t know that much. But the name means “traitor.” As in: “That which we call Benedict Arnold, by any other name would still be a traitor.” Even knowing more about him and the positive things he did during the Revolutionary War (before he changed his mind about us), he’s still famous/infamous for trying to sell us down the river, almost literally, and would have, if the plot hadn’t been discovered. And the British guy he was working most closely with, John Andre, got captured and hanged. Arnold slipped away and got himself to a British ship and fought with those guys until the end of the war. And then, afterward, in England, tried to stir up things anew! Give it up, Ben!

It’s interesting, at least to me, maybe you, too, that there are names out there, that, when bestowed at birth may just have been names that parents liked, but they’ve come to mean something that no one might have imagined. Like Benedict Arnold. Like Adolph Hitler. Like Benito Mussolini. Like Josef Stalin. Like Caligula.

And there were other names, that have come to mean something that the name-givers (or name-takers) might not have expected. Or, maybe they thought, all the time, that those named would become so significant. Like Mother Teresa. Mohandas Gandhi. Martin Luther. Marie Curie. Johann Sebastian Bach. Alexander Graham Bell. Anne Frank. Francis I.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (New International Version)

A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold. (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 22:1

 

I guess “a good reputation” is what scripture means by “a good name.” Our actions, our behavior, and our attitudes, are what make our “names” good.

 

 

It’s Probably a Wart

Goofy looking nail spot. Do not be alarmed by the big lump on the side; that’s just my old lady arthritic joint.

A few weeks ago I noticed a spot on my left index fingernail. I thought I  probably bumped it on something when I was working out in the yard, or doing housework, or playing with Peter, but it didn’t go away. And as the nail grew out, the little spot stayed in place, but the bottom of the nail was looking really strange. So couple of weeks ago I called my doctor to see if I could get in to get it checked out, and they said the doctor’s schedule was full, but I could see her physician’s assistant. Two weeks ago, I went in to make that visit, and the young physician’s assistant looked at my nail and said, “I’ve never seen a skin cancer on a nail before. Well, I’ve seen them in photographs in my textbooks, but I never seen one in real life, so I’m not sure about this. I’d like a doctor to look at it.” When she went to see if she could catch the doctor between patients, she returned looking a little bit alarmed and said, “The doctor is dealing with something way more urgent than what’s going on in here, and I am just sure that she’s going to want you to see a dermatologist, so I’m going to go ahead and make that referral for you. Our office will call you when I get that set up.” And sure enough the very next day, I had a voicemail that said they’d set up an appointment with the dermatologist, and it would be on the 13th at 8:50, but I should be there at 8:15 to do paperwork. So I went on Wednesday to see the dermatologist.

She got out a big, big magnifier and looked intently at my finger for several minutes and said, “The good news is I can tell you this is not a melanoma which is the very worst kind of cancer. It might be a different kind, called Squamous cell carcinoma, or it might be a wart. It looks more like a wart, but I can’t remove it right now because I’ve got patients all day. And we have to numb you up, which takes a while. When can you come in?” “As soon as possible,” I said. “Can you come back this afternoon?” “I certainly can come back this afternoon.” They checked her patient schedule, and said could I come at 3:15 and I said, “Sure.”

The doctor suggested that I take some Tylenol right before I came. That would help, not because the procedure was going to be painful, but afterwards things could be painful as numbing agent wore off. Plus, she would give me a prescription for an additional kind of pain reliever. So I ran some errands, picked up some dinner, and showed back up at 3:15. Despite the fact then I’m in doctor’s offices and stores all the time, I still neglected to bring a jacket or sweater with me. They put me on a couch sort of table, which was very comfortable, with a pillow under my head and my feet elevated. I asked, “Are there blankets here?” and there were. I was quite cozy when the doctor came in and did the first round of numbing with some sharply pointed needles poking here and there around my finger. “Now then,” she said, “we’re going to give you some time to get numb, and I’ll be back,” and she left. I had a very nice little nap.

When she returned, the nurse added a wide arm to the bed to support my own arm, and the doctor said, “Let’s see how numb you are. Can you feel that?” I could feel various pricks as she was putting in more numbing agent. “What about this?” “Yes, I feel that. Yes. Yes. Just a little bit. No. No. No.” Soon, I appeared to be all completely deadened. Knowing that, she went to work. She said, “I’m going to take your nail off, and we’re going to take this wart off.”  She said “I’m digging and digging and digging under here, and I don’t see any evidence of anything else growing under there. I think I’ve got everything.”  Then, “We are going to send that to be biopsied, just so I will know for sure.” She kept on working and explaining, “I’m only lifting up one side of your nail. The other side is attached, and I put your nail back down. I’m going to use a suture to attach your nail back onto your finger. It will look a little strange, but that is going to keep your nail down, in case it gets caught on something. We don’t want it to get torn completely off!” When she was done, she wrapped everything up in lots of gauze and sent me on my way.

All wrapped up and ready to go!

It didn’t take very long, and of course it was painless, as I was wildly numbed up. I had to make another stop at Target for an antibiotic I’m supposed to take. Then back home. I felt fine and did some work and a crossword puzzle or two and found that I could type pretty easily with the bandaged finger. When the numbing seemed to be wearing off, I took one of the pain pills and went to bed. In a couple of hours, I woke up to to the real world. My finger was really, seriously painful. I got up and took another pain pill. I slept on and off until 7:00. I got up and took another pain pill and went back to bed and slept until 11 and got up and had breakfast. It’s still a little uncomfortable. I’m supposed to go back in 10 days for them to take the stitches out. All in all, it hasn’t been that bad. I’d rather know what it is (or isn’t) and deal with it, than ignore it and hope it’s nothing.

 

One of the unexpected bonuses is that I learned how to dictate on the computer, so that my words, pretty much the way I have said them, pop up on the computer. I didn’t know it would do punctuation (but you have to say the punctuation), so I’ve had to go back and do that, and there were some run-on words and things I have to edit. But when you think about all of the typing that would’ve been required to do this with the storage (yes, the computer thought I said “storage” instead of “bandaged”) finger, it’s a wonderful new discovery and skill.

 

Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: “What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?”

Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.”

Mark 2: 15-17 (The Message)

 

I’m grateful to have in my life the people who help me in all the ways I ail.

Oh, They Tell Me of an Uncloudy Day

Many, many years ago, I went to San Antonio as part of a team doing Sunday School leadership training. I was also asked to be a driver, picking up a woman from the Waco area and also a woman in Austin, on the way down. We arrived Friday afternoon, taught a session on Friday evening and another one on Saturday morning. Lunch was provided for all the team members before we headed back home. There was a storm approaching the coast, but things were all sunny in San Antonio, so we stayed, too, and had lunch. As we left the church where the training had taken place, the sky was darkening. It wasn’t a hurricane, by any means, or even a tropical storm. But there was a lot of rain. A whole lot of rain. Pouring, drenching, buckets of rain. We crept along, in a line of cars, cautiously and carefully, all the way from San Antonio to the north side of Austin, almost 100 miles. The rain was only marginally less when we let our Austin passenger out. And, the rest of the way to Waco, my remaining passenger and I relished the idea that we’d be getting some needed rain, too. It was one of those “almost no rainfall all summer” years.

We drove on towards Waco, and, about five miles away from the city limits, the rain stopped, the clouds dissipated, and the hot summer sun shone down on us. We were so disappointed!

This past weekend was, of course, quite different. We got two days of steady, gentle rainfall. The temperatures (which really haven’t been horribly hot) dropped fifteen degrees or so. The weather was great. I sat on the front porch and read. And, when the rain stopped, early this week, I worked in the yard, every day. And I felt guilty the whole time, because I know exactly why we are having such nice weather.

Everyone I know who lives in coastal Texas is doing all right. There’s been some inconvenience, some necessary traveling, some lost trees, some spoiled food because the power was out. But they’re all doing okay. No one I know has lost property, lost vehicles, lost pets, lost loved ones. And here’s the scripture that accompanied the devotional I read Thursday morning, the verses under the heading: “Rules for Christian Living”

 

Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.  Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home.

Romans 12: 12,13 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Timely words, as we pray for some uncloudy days.

 

 

At the end of last week, Peter came for a visit before starting Pre-K this Thursday.

 

Here’s the Wikipedia reference for the song Uncloudy Day

Here’s a video of the song, refered to as Unclouded Day

 

 

 

 

 

Scrub-a-dub-dub

Pretty much the only thing I miss from our previous house (built in 1912), where we lived for 28 years, is the old-fashioned claw-footed bathtub. And it’s not like it was a reproduction-style old-fashioned bathtub, it was just an old bathtub. One drawback was that it did become another place where things got mislaid, as in:

“Mom, I can find my shoes!”

“Look under the bathtub.” And there was a pretty good chance that that’s where they would be. Or, if not the shoes, something else that was lost might have ended up there. Like a soccer uniform.

I didn’t really use it all that often, until I started teaching at the community college. My first semester, I had a couple of day classes. For the other nine-and-a-half years, I had at least one, and sometimes two, night classes. They did meet only once a week, but they were 3 or 4 hours long, and I wouldn’t get back home until 9 or 10 o’clock. And adding in the hour or so that I spent, on my feet, getting ready for class, and sometimes that much time after class, putting away materials we’d used, and cleaning up, I was pretty worn out when I got home.

When I did get home, I couldn’t go to sleep. Another instructor put that problem in perspective. “People with day jobs,” he said, “work hard all day, come home, eat dinner, relax in front of the television or spend time on the computer or read until time for bed. We, on the other hand, work for three or more hours, often on our feet the whole time, then pack up our teaching things, and head home. We are wide awake, full of the energy of teaching, and we need a similar amount of time to unwind. Which means that we’re not able to relax until ‘way into nighttime.”

He was spot on. I developed a routine for relaxing. I would arrive home and immediately turn on the hot water in the big tub and let it run for a few minutes. Then I would go to the back of the house and listen to the hot water heater, to be sure it was heating up. (The large tub required quite a bit of hot water, first to warm up the chilly porcelain itself, then to fill the tub with hot water.) I would sit in the room next to the water heater and read and relax. When I heard the gas go off, I’d stop by the kitchen and make half a pimento cheese sandwich and pour a glass of cold tea or water, which I took to the bathroom. I had one of those nice trays that went across the tub. I could put my snacks there, as well as a book.

Bath beads and bath crystals were important, too, dissolving in the warm, warm water and making the whole bathroom smell wonderful. I would then ease myself into the hot water, an inch or so at a time. I could completely submerge myself, up to my neck. I would snack and read and relax. The perfect end to a busy, tiring day.

In our house now, I actually can submerge myself in the bathtub, but I’ve got to bend and contort to do it. And, the inner edge of the tub is too shallow to support one end of a bath tray. I only have hot baths now when I’ve been working in the yard and feel really sore. It’s . . . a C or C- experience.

So, I usually just shower, in the small master bedroom bathroom. I’m reduced to trying to find solace in good-smelling soaps.

I regularly read the little environmental suggestions each day in the newspaper. A while back, it reminded readers that liquid bath/shower soap comes in plastic containers that are often not recycled, and put forth the idea of using bar soap, instead, since it gets all the way used up. So, I bought a package of several bars of Olay soap, packaged in individual recyclable lightweight boxes. And I bought some additional washcloths.

But, I’ve sort of fallen off, part way, the bar soap wagon.

 

Remove my sin, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7 (Good News Translation)

 

 

The best kind of clean.