Catching Up

I haven’t posted here since March 4. That’s a new record of absence for me. I’ve been very sick with bronchitis. Terrible coughing, not much sleep. I think I’ve turned a corner over the last couple of days, so thought I’d stop in here just to let you all know that I haven’t gone to heaven just yet.

I have been watching my stats during my absence, and am quite surprised to see that they’ve been fairly consistent in spite of my long absence. So thankful for that. I’m also thankful for those of you who have contacted me to see if I’ve quit blogging. No. Just taking a little break.

I’m hoping to pick up on my journey through the Psalms tomorrow, and to get back into a normal routine. My house is in a mess, desperately needing a pick-up, dusting, floor-cleaning and bathroom scouring. If it hadn’t been for Terry, there wouldn’t be any clean laundry! And now, he’s coughing and has gone back to bed for today.

Someone recently said that old age is the gift that keeps on giving.

On a much brighter note, it’s the first day of spring. The sky is a lovely blue, with a mild temp of 47 degrees. The down side of that is that we have a wildfire warning until 8 p.m. tonight. Low humidity, lots of dry ground debris from winter winds. I hope no one decides to be stupid with a fire today. Not a good idea to burn debris.

All right. I need to rest. So wearying to write just a little bit 🙂

Saturday Soliloquy: In Like a (small) Lion

It’s very windy here in my corner of PA. We had a little spatter of snow this past week, but nothing that has stayed. Moderate temps for this time of year.

I truly do wish the wind would blow away all the gunky germs! It hasn’t been cold enough to freeze them to death. Both Terry and I are dealing with heavy coughs and stuffy heads. First time he’s been this sick in a long time, but he seems to be coming out on the plus side. He started it! It’s his fault!

Tomorrow afternoon after a church lunch, a little girl in one of our church families will be celebrating her first birthday! This is a very big deal, because her mommy and daddy waited a very long time before they finally got a positive pregnancy test. It’s been a delight to watch her grow this past year. A beautiful, healthy baby is such a delight! This little one has brought a lot of joy to her parents, grandparents and church family.

I’m all over the place this morning. I just glanced out our living room window because our American flag is blowing in the wind. I know other countries value their flags, and so they should. I love our flag because I’m old enough to remember the stories of its beginning, and to know the history of our nation before the revisionists started poking holes in patriotism. I was about six years old when the words “under God” were added to our pledge of allegiance. I don’t remember anyone getting all wrapped around the axle over that. I do remember our teacher saying, “If these two words, under God, are a problem to you, then you don’t have to say them. But you do have to respect the rights of others to have their beliefs, and the freedom to express them.”

I remember being amazed that anyone would object to the addition of those two words to our pledge. I was only six, and it had never occurred to me that anyone would be against saying under God.

The other day, I saw a post of a combined band/choir of four arms of the military performing the National Anthem before a Super Bowl Game. There was total respect among all the players. No kneelers, no protests, no extreme vocalizations. Goose bumps. This was the 39th Super Bowl, I believe.

Sunday Morning Coffee: God’s Brain

I saw a picture yesterday that just left me amazed. It was a photo of a human cell under the highest magnification possible.

Isn’t that something? The caption under the picture says that is the most detailed model of a human cell to date, obtained using x-rays, nuclear magnetic resonance, and cryoelectron microscopy data sets.

Is it amazing that scientist has developed the ability to see this incredible picture? Sure it is! Our brains are wondrous and endlessly fascinating.

And yet—I’m pretty sure that, as detailed as this is, there is even more to be seen in each tiny detail than we can imagine. After all, I remember being taught in either physics or chemistry–maybe both–that the molecule was the smallest particle ever until we discovered protons and neutrons and all sorts of other things in that tiny molecule.

Take it to the other extreme. We are developing telescopes than can see almost “to infinity and beyond.” Whole galaxies that shouldn’t even exist if the Big Bang Theory is correct (it isn’t). Distances our minds cannot understand compel us to keep going in our need to figure out the amazing creation of which we are nothing but a tiny speck.

All of this has led me to thinking about the mind of God. Does He have a brain, like we do? The Bible says He is a spirit (John 4:24). Philippians 2:5 says we are to let the mind of Christ dwell in us. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells that His thoughts are higher than our thought. It is clear that God thinks; that He plans; that He knows so far beyond our knowing that we can’t even begin to fathom His mind.

God engineered our brains. The human brain is magnificent! But in comparison to God’s mind, His brain, if you will, we are insignificant. His creativity is infinite. He simply spoke, and the heavens and the earth came into being. The only part of creation that involved His hands was the forming first of Adam, and then Eve. Everything else, He simply spoke into being. Amazing. God said, and it became!

I don’t know if God has a literal brain. What I do know is that throughout all of eternity, to which there is no end, we will have the privilege of His infinite knowledge, creativity, and love. Our brains are limited. His is not. In heaven, we will be as He is. Infinite learning, infinite joy, infinite grace.

Here’s a very old song that’s been playing in my head as I write. It’s a little different than what I usually post. The songwriter is Stuart Hamblen:

Saturday Soliloquy: Much Ado about Nothing

So, I just spent way too much time browsing through my newsfeed and my email, which I try to clean up on a regular basis. I dislike clutter, even on my computer!

I’m actually surprised that none of the characters above are holding cell phones 🙂

I’m not addicted. I often go an entire day without looking at my phone at all. If I hear a notification bell, I may or may not deal with it at the time. I may not hear notifications at all, depending on what I’m doing. I will not be a slave to my phone. Or my laptop.

I’ve been gradually unsubscribing to a lot of junk email. Sometimes it works, and I don’t see that mail again. Sometimes, they make it impossible to completely unsubscribe. When that happens, I move the email to my spam folder, and it disappears forever into cyberspace.

There’s an old song that I like. “I got along without you before I met you, and I’ll get along without you now!”

The song, of course, is about a lousy boyfriend. It’s not about lousy clickbait and useless emails. Still, the principle applies.

I rarely get caught in the downward spiral of newsfeed rabbit holes, but one of them caught my interest this morning and one thing always leads to another. . . . and another. . . .what a waste of time! Politicians, protestors, pointless prattle that never solves anything. Too much talk. Reminds me of another golden oldie:

And that’s more than enough silliness for today 🙂

Sunday Morning Coffee: Old Friends

Last night we spend a few hours with a group of long-time friends, going back over 40 years. It was so good to see them, sharing memories as well as catching up in the here-and-now. There were some people there that we didn’t know, but we do now. New friends. You know the old saying: “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold.”

I’m thinking of two songs this morning:

Saturday Soliloquy: Out of the Doldrums

What are the Doldrums, anyway? I found this interesting and understandable explanation:

It stops and asks you to register to continue watching, but the most important stuff has already been covered.

The bottom line here is that if you were a sailor with no other way but the wind to power your ship, you did NOT want to get stuck in the Doldrums. You could die out there!

This poor dog seems to be stuck in the doldrums:

Doesn’t he look just pitiful? Well, I can empathize. That’s where. I’ve been for well over four weeks. I’ve had mono, not for the first time, and I can tell you it takes longer to recover than it did when I was younger. It’s the pits.

The good news? I’m climbing out of that pit. I’m feeling much better in the last few days, ready to face the world again.

One of the most helpful things for me, during this past month or so, has been traveling through the Psalms here on my Bible study blog. Over and over, David finds his way back from depression, discouragement and despair by singing praises to God for His many blessings.

Depression can be a part of many illnesses, although I don’t think it was a major factor for me. I’ve been through this before, and I know that it will lift. But yes, there is an element of that hopeless, helpless feeling that washes over me now and then when this unwelcome condition tries to steal my joy. The good news is that I recognize it for what it is, and I know how to talk myself out of that black hole. For me, one of the most important tools to battle depression is the Word of God. Many passages in my memory are helpful during the course of the day, and several of them are from the Psalms. My favorite is Ps. 119:165. “Great peace have they which love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them (cause them to stumble).” When I love God’s Word, I have a whole arsenal to help me battle the gloomies that Satan is so good at putting in my path, trying to make me trip and fall in my walk with the Lord.

Sometimes, the inner battles we fight are the most dangerous. Often, no one else is aware that we are in trouble. The sailing ships of earlier times could be caught in the doldrums with no way to contact the world for help; no one knew what they were dealing with until it was over and they were on their way again. During that time in the doldrums, the world can seem to close in around us, limiting our vision to only what is immediately before us.

“But God” is one of my favorite two-word phrases in the Bible. It usually follows a difficult time in which hope seems gone, and then these two words come up and the solution for whatever the situation was becomes obvious.

I am thankful for all the “But God” moments in my life.

WordPress Anniversary!

I was notified this morning that today marks 11 years since I registered with WordPress. If I remember correctly, it took me a while after I registered to actually get my blog set up and to start writing.

I want to say thanks to WordPress for offering so many people all around the world the opportunity to write. WordPress, unlike some other platforms out there, has never censored me for expressing my biblical beliefs. I pray that it continues to be so.

I’ve made some new friends out there in cyberspace. We may never meet face-to-face in this life, but we love the same Lord and we’ll have all of eternity to get to know each other better!

Also, thank you to my loyal readers and supporters. Some of you have been with me from the very first post back on April 19, 2012. I especially love it when anyone stops in with a comment, It’s encouraging to know you’re out there!

This is NOT me, but it sure made me smile! Writing has come a long way. Dressing up to do it? Not so much 🙂

Saturday Soliloquy: Why do I Teach?

Yesterday, I spent an hour at the homeschool co-op our church sponsors. This year, we’ve been learning about “the art of the argument.” We’ve discussed several fallacies of which we are all guilty, like ad hominem (to the man) attacks that include using 100% words like always and never. It’s been fun and interesting to see how my students react to all of this, even going so far as laughing at themselves when they recognize their own tendencies.

Yesterday, we worked on building credible, provable syllogisms. It’s harder than you think, but we had lots of good laughs in the process.

One student turned in this one:

Proposal One: Humans have ten fingers and ten toes.

Proposal Two: Monkeys have ten fingers and ten toes.

Therefore, humans and monkeys have the same ancestor.

You should know that our upcoming debate project will be Creationism vs. Evolution. The above syllogism was presented as an argument in favor of evolution. This is no easy task, since none of my students believe in evolution. However, they need to be able to debate either side of the issue. Also, keep in mind that these are high school kids, ranging in age from 13-17. And they are remarkably bright.

Part of the exercise was to pick apart the syllogisms, finding the flaws and fallacies. Can you do it? What is/are the fallacies in the example above?

So. Why do I teach? I’m retired, after all. I’m 75 years old. I don’t have to do this.

The number one reason I continue to teach is that I absolutely love seeing the light of understanding in the eyes and faces of my students.

Second, we have a LOT of fun while we learn! We got so involved yesterday that I lost track of the time and we went almost fifteen minutes over our closing time. No one minded. The kids were engaged, participating, enjoying the give-and-take.

Third, I love learning. I have an inquiring mind :). I’m curious, and I hope I will never be too old to enjoy learning something new. I believe my love of learning kindles that same thing in my students. I hope they, too, will become lifelong learners.

Finally, and most important, the environment in which I teach allows me the freedom to use the Bible, to talk about God. We spent some time yesterday on His amazing (unbelievable to our finite minds) creative power. We discussed the fallacies involved determining the ages of rock strata. It was good, intense, and interesting to all of us.

Here’s a video from the fascinating series Is Genesis History? If you’re interested, you can find a lot more under that same topic:

Sunday Morning Coffee: My Newsfeed

I did a quick scan of my newsfeed. I don’t spend a whole lot of time there on Sunday morning. It’s like a sponge that absorbs time!

I came across two memes to which I responded. One asked how much I received as an allowance when I was a teenager. Simple answer: If I wanted money, I could babysit for a family in the church. Everything else was supplied by my parents. Expanding on that answer, there are pros and cons about giving a child an allowance. I don’t think my parents were against it, really. There just wasn’t extra money anywhere. What we were given was, in my opinion, more valuable than being handed money every week.

We learned that everyone was to contribute to the family. Cleaning, cooking, doing the dishes, ironing our own clothes, helping in the garden, keeping our room orderly, helping out with my baby brother–all this taught us the value of each member contributing to keep the family running smoothly. Over the long term, I was totally prepared to run my own household when the time came. I even knew how to take care of a baby. And none of those chores were done with an eye to getting money. It was just the natural contribution to living in the household. One thing that is important is that all these things took place before the era of having to haul one’s children around to all their various activities after school. We went HOME after school! Those were my good old days 🙂

The second meme centered on an “anti-bucket list,” What is something you will never do again?

The first thing that popped into my head? I’ll never, ever eat eggplant again! Nasty stuff that shouldn’t even count as a food. Blech. Nor will I ever eat scrapple again. I don’t care if Great-Great Aunt Matilda was famous for her secret recipe. I’ve tried. I don’t like it. Tastes like liver, which is the third food on my anti-bucket list.

Isn’t there anything besides food that I will never, ever do again? Sure, but they’re things I don’t run into at all these days. I don’t get around much any more :). I will probably never ski again. I absolutely will never, ever go into a snake/reptile section of any zoo or animal shelter. It’s not likely that I will ever see the Grand Canyon from a helicopter again, although I would take that opportunity in a New York minute! That was an indescribable experience, right near the top of my favorite things to do.

I won’t garden any more. Can’t get down on my knees, can’t bend over. You’d be surprised how those two things affect your “to do” list.

Well, anyway. I really had no idea what I was going to write about this morning, so I’m glad I saw those two memes. Got me to thinking about what’s really important, and especially about the importance of teaching our children how to live their lives as responsible adults.

God instituted the family. He knew we would need structure in our lives. A life lived without structure is a live lived without purpose, without forethought, without planning. It’s fun to follow one’s impulse on occasion, but always flying without a purpose and a plan leads to a lot of dysfunction.