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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)


My Eyes!! My Eyes!!

First day of school-first grade

First day of school-first grade

When I was a first or second grader, Mother put me to bed one evening and said, “You probably won’t be able to go to school tomorrow.” At that age, I still really wanted to go to school, and I was not happy at all with this news. It was something about pink eye

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Trowels and Work Gloves and Rakes, Oh My!

Apparently, spring is here. I’ve checked the 10-day forecast. Not only does no really cold or freezing weather appear, but a couple of days are predicted to be in the 80’s. Our last average freeze day here in Central Texas is March 15. It’s hard to believe that some giant freeze will show up. It’s possible, of course, but unlikely.

I’ve mentioned before that the white oak in my front yard is the earliest to change color in the fall and the first to lose its leaves. It’s also usually the first to leaf out. However, many of the local trees have weighed in with the “spring is here!” attitude and begun to leaf out.

All that to say, I’ve been sucked in by the warm weather and begun to work in the yard. Last week, when I was in Fort Worth (for pretty much just a day), Peter and I did some shopping and went to Archie’s Gardenland, one of April’s favorite plant nurseries. I just planned for us to mostly walk around and look at the pretty flowers and interesting plants, but they had yellow pansies, which I needed, and that was the end of that. I bought a succulent with vicious spines on it, a geranium, some new plants to put in the front bed and a couple of things to put on the side and a couple of rosemary plants. I’ve spent most of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday working outside.

I packed up my overalls before I went outside. I needed my iPhone, of course. I might need to take a call, and I would most likely want to take some photos. I also would probably need to set the timer for one reason or another. On Monday, I also needed the landline phone. I have an eye infection and had called the ophthalmologist earlier with some questions and was waiting for a return call. And that’s the number I had automatically given, instead of the iPhone number. I had a Playaway, with earbuds attached, to listen to a book while I worked. And, of course, a pair of glasses, because the new plants had information on them that I should read. And, it was harder to take this photo, as you might have figured out, because my iPhone was in my pocket. I do have a digital camera, and that’s what I used. But first, it needed fresh batteries. The battery box was a mess and I had a hard time locating 4 AA batteries. The last 4 AA batteries. Then there was the challenge of trying to take a selfie-type picture without the benefit of seeing what I was photographing or having a camera selfie stick (or selfie plank). It was just holding out my arms and trying to guess if the thing was tilted properly. Success in only 11 attempts.

Thursday, I went to Bonnie’s Greenhouse, where I still had credit from a gift certificate I won back in the fall. And I bought more stuff. I planted and weeded and trimmed. Both green bins are absolutely full, waiting for pickup on Monday. The overflow bin is full of holly trimmings, and there are buckets of old ferns. Usually, the fern fronds are all brown and crunchy from freezing weather. This year, I was pulling out green ones, to make room for the new ferns, whose cute little fiddleheads are beginning top poke up. After the recycle truck comes on Monday and empties the green bins, I’ll be able to fill them almost completely up again.

Nor should you worry about clothes. Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They do not work or weave or sew, and yet their garments are stunning. Even King Solomon, dressed in his most regal garb, was not as lovely as these lilies.

Matthew 6:28-29 (The Voice)

And daffodils, too.

Training Up a Child

I get sleepy, riding in the car. When I’m the passenger, I often do lots of napping on a long trip (unless people are talking to me). When I’m driving, I have some “staying awake” strategies. If there are passengers, we can chat, of course. Sometimes we take a box of question cards from a game like Trivial Pursuit or Ubi (a geography game which I do NOT like to play, and is so old that some of the answers are no longer accurate, but that just incites lively conversation, so it works out). And once, Jeremy and I played Twenty Questions all the way from Waco to San Angelo. (About 220 miles)

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What *Is* It About Outside!?!

I suppose there are little kids who don’t like to go outside. Most of the ones I know (or knew when they were little), very much do like to go outside. Or, sometimes they look out the window and just think they want to go outside. When they do get out there and it’s 105° or 25°, they want to come right back in. (Of course, the problem is that no parent or responsible caregiver is going to let them go out when it’s 105° or 25° so the kids keep on standing by the door wailing at the injustice of it all. And the parents/caregivers are pretty much wailing on the inside…at the injustice of it all.)

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How to Not Sleep Like a Baby

My mother took a nap every afternoon. When we were home during holidays and summers, we had to be quiet after lunchtime, with no noisy activities (I couldn’t play the piano), and no friends could come over. I used to take naps, sometimes, but I don’t any more. I have too much trouble waking up from an afternoon nap. I’m cold when I wake up, and I’m fuzzy-headed. And, I can’t go to sleep that night. So, I don’t nap. (Well, I’m not going to pretend that I never doze off in front of the computer or a book, but that’s not really a nap. If I fall soundly asleep in front of the computer, I fall off the chair. And that knocks the sleepiness right out of me.)

Because I don’t want to nap, I drink high-caffeine tea. All day. It’s not gallons and gallons. But I run the tea maker at least once a day (which is just a half gallon). If I do get sleepy, there’s always housework and yard work for taking a non-sleep break before sitting down again. I found Hi-Caf teas at a store in Fort Worth. They have a chart that shows their caffeine content-MORE CAFFEINE THAN COFFEE! Now that I know to look for it, I’m finding the caffeine content on other kinds of tea.

Seven o-clock in the evening is my caffeine limit. After that, I have to switch to non-caf tea or I won’t be able to sleep. I own several varieties of herbal (non-caffeinated) tea. Celestial Seasonings makes several flavors, but I think those make better hot tea than cold or room temperature tea, and I only like hot tea when it’s really cold outside, and/or cold inside. I think part of it is holding that hot, hot mug right on my breastbone to warm up my body, and feeling the steam waft up towards my face. But I do like their Black Cherry Berry Caffeine Free Tea at room temperature. Teatulia makes a Lemongrass flavor that’s good at room temperature, too.

A couple of weeks ago, at Barnes & Noble, I saw a blueberry-flavored tea. I was interested and asked the barista if I could smell it. He happily opened the tin on display and let me inhale. Oh, that did smell good, and I purchased one. I was glad to add to my non-caf choices.

Sometimes, in the evenings, I lose track of time, and seven o’clock comes and goes without my thinking about it. If I suddenly realize that I’m still swilling the Hi-Caf tea at 7:30, I think oh, it’ll be all right. And it is not all right at all. I pay the price by not being able to fall asleep. I lie there and lie there and lie there and promise myself that I will pay attention to the clock and will not have any caffeinated tea AFTER 7 O’CLOCK, EVER AGAIN!

A couple of weeks ago, two nights in a row, I found myself unable to fall asleep. The second night, I finally gave up at 3:00 a.m. and got up, and quietly worked on things until daybreak. The second night, though, I began to wonder. I was certain I had stopped the caffeine at 7:00, and started drinking that delicious new blueberry tea. I checked. NOOOOOOOO. It’s green tea. Black tea and white tea and green tea all contain caffeine. Herbal tea is caffeine-free. (I was seduced by the wonderful aroma. I neglected to read the words that were right there on the front of the container!)

I’m back to sleeping more soundly again. And paying closer attention to the labels on the tea packages I purchase.

 

One of the most interesting things about writing this blog is choosing Bible verses and comparing the translations. There were just too many choices for this verse from the famous passage in Proverbs 31: 10-31 about the good wife. I just couldn’t winnow down the list any farther than this. So here is Proverbs 31:17, and you can decide for yourself which one suits you best. Or go to BibleGateway and read from another translation that you like.

She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms. (New King James Version)

She wraps herself in strength, carries herself with confidence,
    and works hard, strengthening her arms for the task at hand. (The Voice)

She is energetic, a hard worker. (The Living Bible)

She girds herself with strength,
    and makes her arms strong. (New Revised Standard Version)

She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks. (New International Version)

And my own favorite:

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. (The Message)

And, in my case, she also picks up a glass of highly caffeinated tea.

 

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I saw this tea and was intrigued. Of course, it’s tea and not Hot Chocolate (there’s no milk and no sugar). But I thought I’d give it a try. Why not. It’s not for the days I just want a big glass of room temperature tea. But, for those cold mornings and afternoons, for a hot cup of tea that warms my hands as well as my insides, it’s pretty good (not, of course, for evenings-caffeine content of just a little less than 6 oz. of brewed coffee). It contains Yerba maté, an ingredient I’d not heard of before.

Super This! Super That!

 

superbowl50I’m a Texas girl. I grew up with Friday Night Lights (before it was a book and a television program). Well, in Junior High, it was Thursday Afternoon Lights, but football mania is pretty strong here in Central Texas (and beyond). From my preschool days, Daddy listened to Baylor games on Saturday afternoons, until there was enough money for him to get season tickets. I went with him to a Baylor game just a couple of months before he passed away. And, of course, he watched Sunday afternoon professional games-mainly as a Cowboys fan. I remember the Ice Bowl (1967 NFL Championship Game-Packers vs. Cowboys). I remember when Dallas won its first Super Bowl (1972 Super Bowl VI-Cowboys vs. Dolphins). I remember lots of ups and downs and blowouts and squeekers. We watched games, but we didn’t, well, celebrate. There weren’t big listening or watch parties, and no friends were invited over for Super Bowl get-togethers. We were the quieter, less celebratory, fans.

So, I’ve never made football-shaped cookies, frosted in the colors of my favorite team. I actually have put Ro-tel tomatoes in melted Velveeta for cheese dip, but it was when the kids were home from school and their friends were coming over, for some other reason besides football. I’ve never purchased football-themed plates and cups and tablecloths. But, I’ve always enjoyed watching games, even when I didn’t care about the outcome.

 

I did look, with interest, at the Sunday paper’s ads and coupons a couple of weeks ago. There were recipes and suggestions and coupons for pizzas, and wing sauce, and pizza bites, and loaded potato skins, and chips, and so on. Interestingly, there were also coupons for Prevacid and Benefiber and Gas-X and Ex-Lax and Perdiem. In other words, “buy these foods and eat them and eat a lot of them, while you’re watching the Big Game,” and “we know that you’re going to need to buy these things a day or so after the Big Game, because you’ll have really messed up your digestive systems on Game Day.”

It seems somewhat honest, doesn’t it.

Last Sunday, there were coupons for special Game Day treats for your pets. I don’t really know what that means.

When we were first married, David was in the Air Force, and we were living several time zones away from Super Bowl game cities. And, back then, those Super Bowl games started at regular game times (well, what were regular game times back then, which was early afternoon). So, the games would be happening mid-morning Sunday, when we were in worship service. There was an Air Force colonel who had spent a lot of time on the flight lines, without ear protection, in the days when no one realized that could cause hearing loss. He wore hearing aids, which, back in the early 70’s, were somewhat larger than they are now. In the fall, there would be a lot of interest in this kind colonel, among the school-aged boys. Sometimes, one (or more) of them would find an opportunity to sit near him, or on the pew right beside him, during Sunday morning worship service. They had seen the things in his ears, and supposed that he might be using earphones connected to a radio, to listen to the Big Game (or to earlier, not quite as big, games). He was kind and gentle and really amused by this, and would never give anything away, pretending not to understand why he was so popular during football season.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7 (New Revised Standard Version)

January 29, 2012--April is finishing Waco's Miracle Match Marathon

January 29, 2012–April is finishing Waco’s Miracle Match Marathon

There are several biblical references to athletes and races. Some of them mention the training and the preparing and the winning. I like this one that talks about the satisfaction of competing in and completing a race. Some of our races are literal. Some are symbolic. I’ve stood at the end of a Marathon. No one I saw was unhappy that they weren’t first. They all seemed really gratified to cross that finish line. That’s how we should feel about all our challenges. We did our best. We finished. And maybe there were cookies.

 

Maybe I’m not Giving My Plants Enough Nourishment

I’ve mentioned the Sanseveria plant that I have in my bathroom. (One of my sisters-in-law says that sanseveria plants are the best plants for cleaning indoor air, to make it better for us to breathe.) I like them because they’re sturdy and put up with a lot of neglect. The one I have I bought at Walmart; it had three or four big leaves. The soil was pretty dry so I watered it. Immediately, a couple of new leaves popped up. I’ve had it for two or three years, and every couple of months, I think to myself when was the last time I watered that thing? And I give it some water, and it puts out two or three new leaves. I’m very fond of plants that behave like that. I think mine might be the sansevieria trifasciata nelsonii variety. (It looks like the first photo on this site.)

Recently, I began to fear that it’s becoming an Audrey-type plant (from Little Shop of Horrors) that becomes demanding, saying “FEED ME! FEED ME!” And that particular Audrey plant wants humans for lunch, so I’m glad that mine only appears to want my medications (Or, my toothbrush.) Here’s the story: Last week, I reached for the pill cutter box  which held a number of halves of pills that I take. (I’m cutting them in half on my physician’s instructions). It wasn’t in its space in the medicine cabinet.

The pill cutter box doesn’t have a latch on it. There’s a space for several pills/pill parts to stay, so I can cut one and have two days worth of pills/pill parts. Or, I can save a little time each night by cutting twenty or so at a time and keeping all the pieces in the pill cutter box. But the box doesn’t have a latch.

Yep, the evening after I had chopped up 10 or 15 pills and had 20 or 30 pill halves stored in the box, I must have knocked the pill cutter/storer box off the shelf when I was getting the toothpaste. IT HAS NO LATCH, so I suppose it opened right up and everything went careening down into the big green plant. I struggled to fish the little pill halves out from between the leaves. I tried leaning the plant over on its side and shaking out the pill halves that had slithered down into the deep center of the plant. Bad idea, as I hadn’t thought about watering the plant in a while and all the dirt was dry and flaky. I shook out more dirt than pills. I rescued as many as I could, but I have a feeling that there may be a few more, way down in the center of the plant. The pills are good for me. They help control my blood sugar. I don’t know what they’ll do to a Sanseveria.

The new place for the pill cutter box in the medicine cabinet. This is the shelf with the Pepto tablets and the Mucinex pills. I don't use things from this shelf regularly, and certainly not daily, or a couple of times daily. I hope everything will be safe here.

The new place for the pill cutter box in the medicine cabinet. This is the shelf with the Pepto tablets and the Mucinex pills. I don’t use things from this shelf regularly. I hope everything will be safe here. And it *is* farther away from the tips of the leaves, that seem to be reaching, stretching, gaining ground

 

If you’re faithful in small-scale matters, you’ll be faithful with far bigger responsibilities. If you’re crooked in small responsibilities, you’ll be no different in bigger things.

Luke 16:10 (The Voice)

Hmmm. I fear that being irresponsible or negligent or inattentive in small, small matters, like little-bitty half-pills, might mean that I’m irresponsible or negligent or inattentive in larger things, like paying our taxes (which I am NOT). But maybe in other things, I could be, um, more focused, more intent in paying attention to a detail that seems irrelevant but might become significant. More intentional, more pro-active, more in-the-moment. Instead of thinking more about what I’m going to do next, becoming a more active part in what I’m doing at present.
Is it too late to make a New Year’s resolution?

 

Out with the Old and In with the … NO! NO! No more coming in.

 

I just found the best quote about New Year’s Resolutions. The quote is Mark Twain’s, and he says, “Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual New Year’s resolutions. Next week, we can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

I’m not a great one for making resolutions. Well, that’s not quite true. I’m not a great one for following through on resolutions. As is, apparently, Mark Twain. But, I often get a few things done at the beginning of the year. Some I plan. Some I just stumble upon.

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