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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)


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.

Aay Bee Cee Dee

Even now, when I’m putting things in alphabetical order, or looking through a dictionary for a word, I find myself quietly singing in my head: “H, I, J, K …” or whatever alphabet string I’m needing at the time. It’s ubiquitous. At least for me.

Most little kids receive alphabet books when they’re preschoolers, and alphabet books are a standard in preschools and at library story hours. We want little kids to become familiar with the letters of the words that make up our language, both upper case and lower case letters. And not just the names of the letters, but also the sounds those letters make. We sing them, we say them, we use them, we explain them (as in: “Yes, honey, I know it looks like it should say ‘takee,’ but it says ‘tayk.'”)

So we read those alphabet books, and all the other books, and try our best to plow that language into little kids’ brains so they’ll be competent readers and learners even before they start school and “formal” education.

When Peter was last here, he’d gone out to ride his tricycle in the driveway, the morning I was taking him back to Fort Worth. After a couple of days of hurricane-generated rainfall, the sky was still cloudy, but the streets and sidewalks were dry. “Look, Mimi!” he called.  “Come take a picture.”

On Amazon, there are pages and pages of alphabet books, with about 20 books listed per page. And that’s just on Amazon. We really want kids to learn the building blocks of our system of reading.

I was particularly interested in The Icky Bug Alphabet Book. I looked at the pages that were available to preview, and took issue with the idea that dragonflies and fireflies are “icky.” Earwigs? Oh, yes. But they do include a disclaimer that only two of the “bugs” they describe are actually “true bugs.” A couple of spiders are included–arachnids. And the rest are different kinds of insects, which, even though we call them “bugs,” are not actually true “bugs.” So, alphabet and science!

Anyway, The Dead Worm Alphabet Book may never make it to publication. Or, April and Peter may need to resort to collecting some live worms and try to arrange them into a few pages of living worms alphabet illustrations. I’m hoping to get some photography credit for my contributions.

Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.

Psalm 119:105 (The Living Bible)

 

Being a fluent reader means being able to read, for ourselves, all the important books and articles that can help us learn and become the people God planned for us to be. We can read, for ourselves, the Scripture, the commentaries, the sermons, and all the resources that are available for us. And for a lot of us, it all started with an alphabet book.

 

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.

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.