Category Archives: Society

Last Week

Last week was most eventful.

Monday was our fifty-third wedding anniversary.

Tuesday was my seventy-eighth birthday.

Wednesday, I lost a daughter.

At least that’s how I thought of Patsy Terrell. When I told her I adopted daughters and wanted her as one, she didn’t seem to mind at all. We were in touch via Facebook as often as I was in touch with my eldest daughter in Florida.

Patsy and I met at a memoir workshop hosted by the Hutchinson Library, I believe in the fall of 2010, if memory serves. I was amazed that this beautiful young woman would choose to spend time with an old lady. But she approached me about having lunch together, which we did at Jillian’s.

When I asked her what made her want to know me, she said she liked having a wide range of friends. She knew that not everyone is like everyone else and that having friends of all persuasions can beautifully enrich one’s life.

We were very different – and very alike – in many ways. She was in her forties; I in my seventies. She was outgoing, attending virtually every public event in her reach; I was (and still am) constrained to a much narrower social life for a variety of reasons.

But we were both curious, life-long learners, with teachers’ hearts. She loved to travel, and I traveled with her vicariously, as she wrote about it and shared pictures on line.

Shortly after we met, Harvest House published my devotional gift book, As Grandma Says. Patsy asked if she could make a trailer for it. She wanted the practice. Just like everything she created, it was beautifully done.

Patsy enriched my life immeasurably.

I know that I am not the only one who misses her dreadfully.

 

 

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Filed under Family, Society

Growing… and Prayer

What do you remember about growing up?

I remember a childhood in a small town where anything I said or did at school was home before I got there. My grandmother cautioned me not to do anything I wouldn’t want printed in the Advocate or that I wouldn’t do in the front window of the local mercantile.

I also remember feeling inadequate and ineffectual more often than not.

That has been more (substantially more) than half a century ago. But some of those feelings haunted me well into adulthood.

Even at age fifty-plus, I felt as if I were ten years old when I stepped into my mother’s home.

People in my home town remember who and what I was as a teenager. We went to school together. Most of them have no idea who I am now. We’ve had little contact in the last sixty years. We may exchange greetings, notes, Christmas cards, email and phone calls, but we’ve not been with one another face-to-face for any substantive time.

They have only the vaguest idea of how I’ve grown and changed over the years. And when we come together, it’s almost always on the old footing.

This tendency to keep people as they were is even referenced in the Bible.

But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. ~~  Mark 6:4 (KJV)

He was acknowledging the fact that the people in the town where he grew up could only see him as the carpenter’s son. The people of his home town missed out on his miracles, his teaching, his presence.

Sometimes we do this same injustice to our children, remembering them at ten rather than seeing them grow and change.

We have a president-elect who leaves a lot to be desired. But it is a known fact that the presidency changes people. Some grow into the job; others botch it royally. But through it all, we have survived as a nation.

I would like to suggest that we exercise a little patience to allow this president-elect to grow into the job. We just might be pleasantly surprised. And while we are being patient, it wouldn’t hurt to pray for him – and all of our elected officials.

In the words of Paul:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

 ~~ I Timothy 2:1-2

For kings and all that are in authority…

That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life….

The Daniel Prayer just might be the proper pattern.

 

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Filed under Politics, Prayer, Society

A Simple Suggestion

This political season has shown our country and our politics in the worst possible light. The debates have not been helpful on many levels.  So I have this modest proposal for the third debate.

No one including the moderator is allowed to talk about personalities or personal behavior.

Questions will relate strictly to national defense, immigration, homeland security, welfare, the economy, social security, health care, and similar issues.

Answers from the candidates will NOT contain the word “I”, “he”, “she”, or individual names. They must, instead, be framed as “our policy will be…” or “the plan is to…”, etc.

Interruptions will not be allowed and time limits will be strictly observed. This can be enforced by turning off the offending microphone.

I have attempted to send this suggestion to the Presidential Debate Commission and both major party candidates. However, finding contact information proved problematic.

Perhaps if the general populace rose up and demanded better accountability from the commission and the candidates, we could get on with the business of selecting a president and dispense with the useless noise.

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The Potency of Words

“The words ‘I am…’ are potent words.
Be careful what you hitch them to.
The thing you’re claiming has a way
Of reaching back and claiming you.”

— A. L. Kitselman

We forget the power of the spoken word. But the spoken word has a history. For the Christian, that history begins in Genesis .
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. ~ Genesis 1:3
He waved no magic wand. He didn’t pick up lightening in His hands. He opened His mouth and spoke the creative words.
On the other hand, we seem to have an epidemic of bullying in our society these days. And most of that bullying is done with the spoken word. Those words hurt the hearts and self esteem of the person being bullied. They can be hurt to the point of wanting to die. Or they can carry those words like a festering wound, crippling them for the remainder of their natural lives.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians  6:12
There is more to this world than the physical that we can see and touch. There is a spiritual dimension as well. We have a sworn enemy in that spiritual dimension. This enemy has great power only because we let him. We give him permission with our words.
We don’t intend to give him permission, but we speak aloud something we fear. And lo and behold, that fear comes upon us.
For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me,
And what I dreaded has happened to me.  ~ Job 3:25
That is because the enemy can hear what we say and use it against us. Read the entire book of Job. We frequently reference the patience of Job, but we seldom look at the root of his problems. He had done nothing to have all these negative things happen to him. He was in the middle of God’s will, doing all the right things. The enemy made Job the object of a bet. He bet God that he could get Job to deny God in the middle of adversity.
Then the enemy found the weak spot in Job’s life and hit him there.  Pay special attention to “For Job said”.
And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. ~ Job 1:4-5
The spoken word has power.  Sometimes what we say becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you say “I’m clumsy” often enough, you will begin to believe it and excuse any clumsy incident as just inevitable. Like wise, if you say “I’m just too dumb” you will not try to learn.
Many of us remember the story of The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can; I think I can; I think I can…
Scour the scriptures for the truth God says of you, and repeat those truths aloud. The enemy cannot hear your thoughts, but he does hear what you say. Don’t give him a stronghold to make your life miserable.  If A. L. Kitselman’s quote is true, use it to your advantage. Speak only those things that are profitable.

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Filed under Faith, Society, Values

Quotes and Cryptograms

As a night owl, I find it difficult to get my mental gears moving smoothly in the morning.  So I exercise my brain with various puzzles and such to get those gears oiled and moving.  One of the sites I use is http://www.cryptograms.org .

When this quote from Aristotle cropped up, it made me think bout the best friend we have in this world or any other.

“The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.”  — Aristotle

Think about it. Who is your best friend – your very best friend?

Qualifications for the job of Best Friend are quite stringent.

  • Best Friend must have your best interest at heart at all times, regardless of the cost to the friend.
  • BF must be on call at all hours of the night and day, ready to help in any crises, major or minor.
  • BF must enjoy what you enjoy, laugh when you laugh, weep when you weep.
  • BF must be able to advise you correctly when you ask for advice.
  • BF must have all wisdom – and all discretion to keep your needs private.

There is only one person I know of that fits this description. And that is the person Jesus sent to be with us in His physical absence, the Holy Spirit.

Paraclete:

You who draw near,
You who walk beside,
Come to comfort,
Come to strengthen,
Come to shine the Light of the
Word on the Darkness of my heart.
Help me to align with you, Oh, Holy Spirit.
Help me to bring my thoughts
Captive to the will of Christ,
Captive to the Word of God,
Captive to obedience,
Instantaneous and unquestioning,
To Your promptings.
Help me to study to show my self approved,
Unashamed to sit in the Council of your saints.
Help me to see the will of the Father in everyday situations.
Help me to respond in love to the Lord.
Help me to respond with Love to all His hurting creation.
Keep me dead-on, sighted with tunnel vision,
Single-minded on the goal of
Total obedience as a channel of His love.
Amen.

©1979 – Judith Robl

 

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Filed under Society, Values

Political Season

Because political discussion tends to generate passionate emotions, I try to stay away from those topics on social media. Sometimes, however, something needs to be said. The following is not directed at any person or party in particular, but toward the process in general.

Is anyone else weary of the political season now in progress?  The name calling, the insults, the crude language, the jockeying for position regardless of the consequences all remind me of a school yard brawl. None of which makes me optimistic for the future of our nation.

The media hasn’t helped the situation. Reporters strive to ask “pertinent” questions which are actually impertinent and designed to generate more heat than light.

The public laps up the sound bites, thinking with their emotions and reflexes, not considering the ramifications of all the promises. At this point, it’s difficult to ascertain the truth.

Without a large dose of discernment, the public will go to the polls, salivating like Pavlov’s dogs, hoping that their choice will be able to deliver on the impossible promises that have been offered.

And the situation in this nation will continue to spiral downward.

We need an individual of real character, with an accurate moral compass, who has the heart of a servant rather than the arrogance of privilege to fill the oval office. I’m still waiting for that person to appear.

God help us.

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Together?

My friend, Shirley Corder, posted this on Facebook.

“Words of wisdom for a new year. Let’s work together this year to make it a success. Where do we start?”

Where to start is an interesting question.  How do we manage to work together with diverse people, some of whom we may not like at all?

After all, there is the co-worker who continually drums his/her fingers on the desk while talking with you. You can’t hear what he/she is saying for the throbbing. And when you’re finished with the conversation, you have developed a screaming headache.

Then there is the naysayer, the person who always throws cold water on any suggestion you might make.

And we have the whiner, the person who knows someone who tried this and had terrible results.

Moreover there is the constant talker, the one who never hears anything anyone else says.

Enough already!

There is a way to overcome these obstacles, but we have to go back to the beginning.  “In the beginning, God…”  God is our answer, not in some distant esoteric way, but in a very tangible way. The trick is to see what God sees in that person.

God designed each of us with a purpose in mind. He has a plan for your life and mine. His plans for my life have not yet been fulfilled, and I’m willing to bet that your life is in a similar state of incompleteness. But God sees us through the lens of His Son and His plans for us. He doesn’t consider our faults and shortcomings as part of His finished product.

Now, all we need do is ask Him to let us see others as He sees them. He sees them, as well as us, through the eyes of a loving father. Despite our infidelities to His purpose, He loves us still. He loves them as well.

God doesn’t shine a floodlight on our faults and foibles. He illuminates them one by one so that we can amend them.  There is an old saying “Life is hard by the yard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.” So He lets us take one step at a time toward becoming who He intended us to be. We need to extend that same patience and grace to others.

If we can learn to see others as God sees them, I believe we will be able to work together successfully. At least it’s a start.

Do you agree? or not?

 

 

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