~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We the People...Vote!

I don't like discussing politics. Most times discussions turn into arguments and arguments into diatribes. If this campaign hasn't taught me anything else, it's to stay out of politics: nada, zilch, zero...well, you get the idea. It's probably not very American of me, at least not typical. Politics isn't the answer to many of our problems, and most likely adds to them. The Psalmist says it best: "The Lord is for me; I will not fear. What can mere people do to me? It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people...than to trust in princes." Ps. 118:6, 8, 9

However, I believe it is our duty to vote, whether we believe we have choices or not. I'd like to share with you an insert from our church bulletin last week. It gives me hope that my vote will
affirm our founding fathers who established our nation and wrote our constitution on Godly principles. Godly principles that are getting lost because history isn't taught to our children as in the past. Here are the "GUIDING PRINCIPLES as you consider your voting responsibility:

1. Pray for wisdom. James 1:5: "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He'll not rebuke you for asking."
2. Avoid a divisive spirit. Eph. 4:15: "Speak the truth in love."
3. Choose righteousness. Prov. 14:34: "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."
4. Study the issues. John 8:32: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
5. Exercise your responsibility. Our form of government gives it's citizens the responsibility to select its leaders. It is morally unacceptable and unreasonable to allow others to speak for you. Prov. 31:8, 9: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
6. Don't believe every campaign promise. Prov. 15:14: "The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly."
7. Realize the agenda of the world opposes God. Prov. 14:12: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
8. Don't be ashamed to stand up for the cause of Christ. Mark 8:38: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words...the Son of Man will be ashamed of him..."
9. Loyalty to God transcends loyalty to man - whether party, candidate or platform. Matt. 16:24: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
10. Recognize that 'politics' and the issues of our society provide many opportunities to witness to others about the ultimate sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Daniel 2:28: "Daniel replied...there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come."
11. Realize that the economy is not the primary issue in our nation. Prov. 21:21: "He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor."
12. "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." Mark 12:13-17 'Render' is a duty or obligation. Jesus held a Roman coin as he spoke these words. As citizens of this country, we benefit from its prosperity, order, safety, and opportunities. Being in a democratic republic, WE are the Caesar, and WE ARE OBLIGATED TO PARTICIPATE in the process of government. Though not "of the world," we are "in the world."
13. Don't give up, even though you may be discouraged by the slate of candidates of the state of affairs. "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Edmond Burke

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bits, pieces, and a soapbox

I don't have a whole lot to report about the Judgement House presentation at our church. Just that I worked in post-registration and spent time in the Prayer Room the other night and feel truly blessed. I walked from the youth pastor's outer office (where we were set up) to his inner office and there was "Jesus." At least it sure looked like some of the pictures I've seen of Him. I looked at him and said, "It's so good to meet you here." The actor looked at me a little strangely, and reached out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Steve. And you're?" Now why did he have to bring me back down to earth like that? I guess I was interrupting his focus on the role he has, and I can certainly understand that. I kind of felt I should have been more respectful of that. I also think Steve must have thought I was a little (or a lot) batty!

I don't know what people expect of a sixty-something grandmother, but most seem unprepared for my wry sense of humor. I wonder if it's because at first I can be my old shy self that protects me from risking the rejection that I sometimes sense when my "silliness" is misunderstood. But, with a few who catch on I certainly enjoy the kidding back-and-forth. Life is too harsh if we can't laugh at ourselves and the ridiculous things that life throws at us.

Sometimes it's the "little" things in life that put a crimp into our best-laid plans of living life with humor. The crud is making its rounds at my daughter's house--it seems to hit fast and leave quickly, thank goodness. Her dear husband and their kid's father has been cleaning up after everyone, so guess who's probably next. Much as I love my daughter and her family, I'm staying away, while supporting and encouraging her over the phone. Coincidentally, with the busy week I knew I was having I wasn't planning on seeing them till Sunday anyway. Hopefully, they'll all be over it by then. I know she's had a busy week and in between the two kids and her being sick she was able to keep on schedule with getting their portraits taken, her daughter going to pre-school, Wednesday night church, and whatever else she had going on.

Young mothers seem twice as busy as I was. I purposely didn't force or encourage too many extra activities on our son and daughter. For one thing, I wanted them to enjoy being "just kids" with free time to explore the world around them. I guess I was also being selfish, because I wanted to have more time with them, and I didn't want to have to be chauffering them all over the place. If I was spending too much time in the car, I wouldn't have had time to enjoy some of my own hobbies. Plus, how could we be a family if we seldom spent valuable time together? I think there are a few kids who thrive on a lot of different interests, but others just want to have a quiet life in school and at home. I don't believe it's right for parents to force an introverted kid to get so involved they lose themselves. I hope common sense tells us when a child is isolating and needs encouragement to socialize. But how many parents have the time between work, work, work, to know their children and teens well enough to spot likes and dislikes and to recognize trouble when it comes? Contemporary life is hard on parents and children and I certainly don't have all the answers. Well, I'm on my soapbox and could go on but will let it be for now.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom..." Colossians 3:16a; and "...teach the older women to be reverent...to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home..." Titus 2:3-5
(Can you tell I'm writing an article on mentoring for our church women's newstetter?)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Judgement House

This weekend and the next, our church is having a Judgement House presentation. Many of our members have been working on it for several months. This is the second year Grace Community Church in Newton, Kansas has presented Judgement House. Last year, over 300 church members were involved and we had more than 700 people come from all over Kansas and the surrounding states. It is a life-changing experience for not only visitors who come to see the presentation, but for those involved.

"What is Judgement House," you ask? Here's the url to the website that explains it: http://www.judgementhouse.org/What-Is-Judgement-House-_39_pg.html . JH usually occurs this time of year to give people, especially youth, an alternative to Halloween. You can find a listing of locations at: http://www.judgementhouse.org/Covenant-Partners-Near-You_23_pg.html

It's a very busy time, but also exciting, when many people who have considered accepting Christ learn at JH how important it is to make that decision. When over 400 souls last year either made a decision to accept Christ, rededicated their life to Him, or had a concern for a family member or friend, all the work and fatigue, the attacks from evil forces on those involved, were worth it. The cost seems great, but not as great as the price Christ paid on the cross for the world to be forgiven and rescued from the darkness of sin.

Please pray for God to be working in the lives of all those working with, and coming to, our Judgement House, and all Judgement House presentations around the U. S. It's apparent that Satan doesn't want the work of JH to go on because it takes many out of his clutches. Some who are working in the scenes are experiencing illness, depression, and anxiety. Now, all of these struggles happen to people everyday, but it's happening to many more than usual. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day After Overwhelming Day

I'm not feeling particularly humorous today, but I'm certain God has a sense of humor. Just when I think I'm getting caught up on the homefront, life starts raining down around me.
--Our daughter is pregnant with their third child and needs extra help;
--A friend broke two bones in her wrist and needs encouragement, assistance and I'm looking forward to spending a couple of days with her;
--Our church is hosting a Judgement House the next two weekends and I've probably over-committed myself in helping out in the prayer room and with post-registration, etc.
--I know, I know, I should have gotten started on an article for our church women's newsletter due on November 1st, and now....HELP!
--I've got a perm scheduled at the beauty shop on Thursday. That might not be a problem for many but it takes up to a month for my hair to get over the shock and settle down. I'll be ready for the holidays but in the meantime...who knows what my crowning glory will look like;
--The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming, and Betty at Wiens World (there's a link on my sidebar) has a widget that shows there are only 65 days till Christmas. I was going to have my shopping done by now--HA!
--The times between seasons (like now) when the weather bounces up and down like a yo-yo the chronic pain flares up big time, making me feel like I have a permanent case of influenza...why do I always forget and fail to plan ahead for it?

What am I doing just sitting here blogging as if I've got all the time in the world? Mostly because I consider this a journal, of sorts, since I'm not writing in my handwritten journal like I used to. I've journaled for many years, but lately I haven't had, or taken, the time, and since part of it is because that time is spent on this blog I might as well "kill two birds with one stone." If I may take a verse out of context in Jeremiah 30:2, ..."Write down for the record everything I have said to you." I know I can't write down everything, but at least some highlights. I know, too, that journaling can help me figure out what's going on from within, so hopefully, I can either enjoy what, and who, I am, or change what I need to become who I want to be.

I wonder, how do you handle the unexpected things that life throws at you? I know part of my dilemma, with this chronic pain, is keeping up with a routine, much less the extras that come when I least need it. I want to be there for my family and friends, but am I expecting too much of myself when I give in to the desire to help? Some days it would be nice to have someone help me clean up and organize my home. I used to be a very well-organized homemaker and volunteer, but that has taken flight on a kite and I can't seem to hold onto the string.

Such as they are, these are my thoughts today. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices I make.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Love History

(The Aley home in the Midtown District of Wichita, Kansas is now surrounded by many other historical homes, mature trees, and formal landscaping. Here you can see that the street isn't paved and there are rails for a cable car. If walls could talk...what would they reveal about all the living done there in 120 years?)

It's been a week since I've written. Unbelievable. But then I hadn't posted anything for a couple of years. I'm doing better, don't you think? Sunday, after church and a quick lunch, we drove to Wichita and enjoyed a walking tour of 5 homes in Historic Midtown District, all within a two-block area.

I was particularly interested in the Aley house (picture above) because a Mennonite commune purchased the house in the 1970's and started to renovate it back to its original design. It had been transformed into an apartment house by the previous owners, with pink aluminium siding, if you can imagine that. All the porches had been removed, which the Mennonites restored. "The three-story Queen Anne style home was built in 1889 by J.H. Aley, a Civil War Veteran, Wichita merchant, and civic leader."

I love the grandeur of the interior and exterior including the three-story "conical tower." I would have loved living in just such a house as a child or young bride. I was disappointed that the kitchen is modernized, altho' some of the brick walls and other original features have been retained. I suppose I wouldn't want to cook with an antiquated wood or coal stove, and it might be difficult to have block ice delivered to refill an ice box. How could I cook without my microwave?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Charming and humorous blog

This blogger writes under the name of Quilly in a warm, humorous style about her childhood. Below is a sample from her "Hemmed In" post to whet your appetite. With an interesting title "The Grownups Wanted Us Dead," this blog is linked in my sidebar or click on the title of this post.

"Rumble never should have left me to walk home. Walking stimulates blood flow, and blood flow stimulates brain activity. Even though Gram sent Rumble back to get me, by the time he showed up, I’d walked over half the way home, and my revenge was pretty well plotted.

The next morning I told Rumble to go ahead and go to school without me, because my friends Sue and Anna were coming by. If Rumble left with the impression they would be taking me to school, that wasn’t my fault. We raided Gram’s sewing kit, grabbed a packet of needles and a couple of rolls of white thread, then we descended the basement stairs and invaded Rumble’s lair.

Rumble was — probably still is – ridiculously fastidious about his things. Most everything he owned had it’s very own hanger, even his bath towels. I took the towels out of his closet and very carefully sewed the inside layer tightly to the hanger. I also sewed the shoulders of his bathrobe to the hanger. Anna sewed all of Rumble’s socks together in pairs. Sue sewed the fly closed on every pair of underwear he owned. I sewed his top sheet to his bottom sheet on his bed.

All three of us sewed closed every single button hole on every single article of clothing he owned. On his shirts, we sewed them closed unbuttoned. On the flies of his mechanic’s coveralls and his denim overalls, we sewed them closed buttoned.

That little chore took most of the day. About an hour after we started Gram came down to see what we were doing. She shook her head. “He really isn’t going to like this you know,” she warned, then left the room. As she was ascending the stairs she said, “Don’t forget to sew his pockets closed.” It seemed like good advice, so we took it."

The Day That Was!

(Storm Clouds over the Kansas Prairie)

Monday morning started out cloudy and rainy. I wasn't ready to let go of the sunshine we had during the last couple weeks of Indian Summer.

I had a one o'clock appointment with plenty of time to get ready. Then I got distracted, or rather, the computer distracted me. You know how it works--I was just going to sit down for about fifteen minutes and check email? Yeah, right! Time goes so fast when I'm having fun, and before I knew it I had less than an hour to fix my hair, get dressed, get my stuff together, and make the thirty-minute drive to Wichita. Driving seventy mph through heavy rain showers isn't my idea of fun, but I made it to the appointment on time.

Did I mention I didn't get the dirty dishes washed that had been by the kitchen sink since Saturday evening? Or the laundry that needed folding, and a couple of loads that must be washed if I want something clean to wear. I might as well admit that I have several shirts hanging on the ironing board in the spare room that have been haunting me for the past two weeks. Then there's that article I need to write for our church women's newsletter. I've been swirling around ideas in my head, but have yet to regurgitate them on paper intelligibly. Oh, shoot, I need to call my sis who got back last week from a one-month vacation.

I started an email to my brother in Chicago who responded to an article I sent him about his choice for president. Of course, we're on opposite ends of the spectrum which leads to a lot of heated discussions. I don't know why I bother, especially since I hate politics! Maybe I'll just forget about the email.

Yep, during those two hours I messed around on the 'puter, I could have finished half of my to-do list and gotten a good start on the other half.

Thankfully, I have a reliable car which I enjoy driving. I can create my own little world with my choice of music or with complete silence to allow my thoughts to take wing. I enjoy classical music because it heightens my reverie without the vexation of human verbosity. Songs without words are the best.

Finally, when my hubby came home that evening, I bombarded him with the way my Monday went, and vented all the feelings that had accumulated over the last four days--which were crowded with so many activities I didn't take time to think or feel. The warm sudsy dishwater, or was it the caffeine-loaded drink I had at the coffee shop that afternoon, just seemed to loose my tongue. It was a rather lousy day, but it ended well. I'm so very grateful for a patient and loving hubby.

I'm certain there's a verse from Proverbs that sums up what I learned. The only one that comes to mind is Proverbs 31:27, "She [the capable wife] looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Food for Thought: There's a Hole in My Sidewalk

I'm always thinking I'm too wise at this time in my life to keep repeating my mistakes. But there I go again, at the same time expecting my life to magically change. When tough times come it sometimes takes me awhile to admit that what I'm experiencing are the ups and downs that are the consequences of being a stubborn old fool! Kind of like this...

There's A Hole In My Sidewalk:
In Five Easy Chapters
I walk down a street and there's a big hole. I don't see it and fall into it. It's dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to find my way out. It's not my fault !
I walk down the same street. There's a big hole and I can see it, but I still fall in. It's dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to get out. It's still not my fault.
I walk down a street. There's a big hole. I can see it, but I still fall in. It's become a habit. But I keep my eyes open and get out immediately. It is my fault.
I walk down a street. There's a big hole. And I walk around it.
I walk down a different street.
-- Portia Nelson

Nelson's story reminds me that there is hope, for God helps those who can't, or won't, help themselves. "Oh, wretched [woman] that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. There is therefore no condemation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death." Romans 7:24-8:2

Praise God for His love, for a life of hope in Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit! (Praying for a sense of humor to get us through the consequences so we can have a blessed Sunday.)