Saturday Soliloquy: My Newsfeed

Good grief. I’ve just spent an entire hour or more catching up with all my notifications on FB, and browsing my newsfeed.

Big Brother is Watching You!

That’s ridiculous. A waste of time which I’ve just promised the Lord I won’t repeat. There are very few posts there that required my time and attention. From now on, I’m stopping only on the posts from my friends; or things of a political nature that I truly need in order to stay informed; or posts of a spiritual nature; or posts just for fun. . . . . .wait a minute. I’m going to need a better system, that’s plain to see.

How did we spend our time before the internet?

It’s pretty clear to me that I’m going to need to clean up all the stuff I get without having asked for it. For instance, I really like to crochet. I joined ONE group. Just one. And now I’m getting tons of posts from many other crochet groups. Need to clean that up.

It seems that if you respond to just one, you are targeting yourself for dozens of others.

The thing is, I have a wide variety of interests. Since I started taking piano lessons, and joined the group through which I met my teacher, I’m getting all sorts of solicitations from other online piano groups, music sites, videos, etc. Those are hard for me to resist.

I read a lot. Since my back has begun to crumble, there is less I’m able to do that involves physical movement. I have a Kindle, and I get all sorts of fishing expeditions related to it. Those are going to get the axe.

I write this Bible study blog, therefore I get a lot of “suggested sites you may like” related to the Bible. It’s both good and not so good that there are literally hundreds of other Bible-oriented sites out there, but I just don’t have that kind of time.

I’m a history nut. I love knitting. I like recipes. And health-related information, and. . . . . well, it’s an endless list.
Do you have an Alexa? Did you know she’s a lot like Santa Claus? She knows when you’ve been sleeping and she knows when you’re awake! I’ve learned to turn her off anytime a discussion takes place that is going to trigger her to make music or book recommendations. I really like her for a lot things, but she shouldn’t be a part of EVERY SINGLE conversation that takes place in my living room!

Do you remember the children’s Sunday school song “O be careful little eyes what you see?” I thought about that a lot when I was growing up. God sees. He knows. He knows what’s in our hearts and minds as well as what is obvious to anyone else. Understanding that was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow! He also sees what we do digitally. We may not be doing anything immoral or sinful, but we can waste a great deal of time on the internet.

Be careful.

Saturday Soliloquy: Lift up Jesus!

Last nigh, as it began to grow darker, we were on our way home from a birthday gathering. Not too far from our house, we noticed the lights of a carnival. It is an annual event, enjoyed by many people for miles around.

The wheel we saw wasn’t this big, but it was still clearly visible and beckoned to anyone interested that THIS is where the fun is!

Nothing wrong with that. The carnival raises money for our local fire department, for which we are always thankful when we hear the sirens and see the trucks speeding by to put a fire out. This is not intended in any way as a criticism of carnivals.

My thoughts went in a different direction, though. Sometime during my teens, a trend developed in Christianity to use the techniques of the world to draw people to Jesus. We began to hear teaching on the importance of appealing to the unchurched in their own terms, offering entertainment and excitement to get people to come to church. Once we got them there, we were told, THEN we can offer them the gospel.

This kind of thinking began to show up in music, which is not surprising. Music styles were copied by Christian songwriters, hoping to appeal to listeners with music that sounded like secular songs they knew and enjoyed.

“Social drinking” became acceptable to many. The logic was that you can’t reach others for Christ if you can’t share their activities with them. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I’m kind of old-fashioned. I still believe that people ought to be drawn to Christ not because Christianity is the SAME as the world, but by virtue of its DIFFERENCE from the world.

It is not our job to stand in judgment of anyone else’s habits and behaviors unless they infringe on our own freedoms. You are free to listen to any music you like as long as you don’t blare it into my house in the wee hours of the morning. That’s just courtesy, not judgment.

Jesus did not tell us to copy the world in order to win people to Him. What He said, was: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). He, of course, was speaking of His coming crucifixion. He would be nailed to a wooden cross and then lifted up for all to see as He died in excruciating pain. This was not an unusual event. What made it different with Jesus is that He was without fault, and His blood was shed as the perfect sacrifice to cleanse us from the penalty of our sin.

Many people, on that dreadful but glorious day, stood and watched. Some mocked and scorned. Others were touched deep in their hearts, realizing Who He was. One of the thieves who was crucified with Him openly acknowledged His deity and was promised eternity with Christ as a result.

My point, then is that we will win others to Christ not by being the same as they are; we will win them by lifting up Jesus and sharing Who He is. If we are living holy in Christ Jesus, others will be drawn to our kindness and sincere love for God and for others.

What turns people away from God is when we behave in a judgmental manner toward them. We don’t have to participate in behaviors that do not honor God, but we don’t have to sneer at them for doing what is normal for them.

We don’t need carnival lights and music to draw people to Christ. We do need to live in a way that draws people to Him, by lifting Him up in His rightful place as the only begotten Son of God Who came to save us from our sin.

Sunday Morning Coffee: My Thankfuls

I was watching a movie the other day while working on one of my plastic bag mats. One of the characters, during a conversation, began writing in the air with his finger. When asked what he was doing, he said he was writing down his list of thankfuls.

I used to keep what I called my Love Log. I dropped the habit somewhere along the way, and maybe I should start doing that again. It’s so easy to fall into the habit of complaining, which is not helpful to the complainer or to anyone who has to hear it.

So here’s my list for today: I’m thankful for:

  1. My wonderful new chair that cuddles my achey back and gives me such relief
  2. My piano
  3. My piano lessons
  4. All the wonderful music available to me
  5. All the different styles of music
  6. My very patient husband, who has listened to me practice for several months now and never, ever complains or seems to get tired of hearing scales 🙂
  7. The God Who created music. I can’t wait to hear Him sing!
  8. My computer, through which a world of music is available with a few taps of the keys
  9. The morning music of the birds outside my window.
  10. We’re having a hymn-sing after a church picnic today!

This list should change daily. Some things are permanent, but can be mentioned every day anyway. Sometimes, we just need to remind ourselves to be thankful for so many things we take for granted.

A happy and blessed Lord’s Day to all of you 🙂

Fifty-Three Years and Counting!

Fifty-three years ago today we were married in Owatonna, MN, where I went to college. Here’s the same photo I used last year on this day. Using the same one keeps us from looking older 🙂

Here’s my mom with me just before we went up for the ceremony:

And one more, taken just before we were engaged:

We had no idea what would take place over the next 53 years. No one does when they’re young and full of energy and ready to take on the future. As it has turned out, they’ve been mostly good years with some difficulties of life we all have to face. Those difficulties help us grow and keep us trusting the Lord.

We are thankful to still be in love, to still have our faith, to have our four kids and nine grandkids. Life has, over all, been good to to us!

Sunday Morning Coffee: Psalm 61

Just a short one this morning.

Yesterday, a friend posted Psalm 61 on his newsfeed. I love that one. Here it is again, with the passages in bold italics that speak to me especially:

61 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.

Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.

He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

And here is the song that’s been in my head since I saw this post yesterday:

Saturday Soliloquy: The Lost Jeans

How does one lose two pairs of jeans that have not left one’s house unless one or the other pair is on one’s body?

I do not know.

Are there jeans gremlins who sneak into my laundry area in the deep dark of the night and spirit my jeans off to a hiding place that no one will ever find?

Do they go to Lost Socks Heaven?

The Case of the Purloined Jeans

A little background.

I have three pairs of jeans that fit me right now. I’ve dropped about 50 pounds, and all three of those jeans are quite loose. But I don’t remember any of them sliding off and disappearing into the secret place of discarded jeans.

One pair is in the laundry. Terry does the laundry these days because my hinky back doesn’t like it when I bend over. So I asked him about my jeans. He found only the one pair in the laundry.

There was a time when he thought my jeans were his jeans, and he put them in his closet. So I went and looked, but my jeans are not there.

I looked–again–all through my closet. No jeans. I even checked the floor, thinking they may have slipped off the hangers. Nope.

Under the bed? Nope. In the coat closet? Nope. I even asked Mike and Janan, neither of whom have come across jeans they don’t recognize.

There is one place I didn’t think to check. I keep a large garbage bag on the floor of my closet into which I place clothing that has become indecent due to falling off of me because they’re too big. Yes, I’m bragging. I mean, come on. It’s taken me literally YEARS to lose this obnoxious blubber, but that’s a whole other story. So I’ll look in the bag, although I have no memory of putting my jeans there.

Of course, there are other things I’ve done of which I have no memory whatsoever. I’m getting old. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So. I’ll check my donation bag, but I really don’t think I’ll find my jeans there.

If they ever do show up, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on getting into the next size down which are presently hanging my closet waiting to be called into duty.

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One more thing. We had dire warnings yesterday of a beeeeeeg storm heading our way. It’s snowing fairly heavily right now. Anyone else in my corner of Pennsylvania who is enjoying the snow? That’s the southeastern corner, not too far from Philly. The word is that the Poconos will be getting the worst of this snow.

Saturday Soliloquy

I’m finding, lately, that it helps me to take a break from my normal routine. Saturdays, even though I’m retired, have become something of a day off, and I’ve decided that’s just fine.

Even when you’re doing something you love, it helps to take a step away now and then. One needs to refresh, in soul, body, and spirit. Routine is good, especially for me. When I get out of routine, I tend to forget where I was in a project, or where I put things; or too much gets put off until a more convenient time. It’s easy to get a little sloppy about details when one’s day is no longer organized around work, children, and household tasks.

So I’ve let Saturday become that “day of rest” for me. Sunday, you may say, should be your day of rest! Well, part of it is. Once we’ve been to church–which is NOT a chore!–and prepared a meal and cleaned up afterward, I can put my feet up. I can knit, or crochet, or read, or even take a brief nap. I don’t lie down to nap, because I will sleep too long and be awake into the wee hours. That sets me up for a very cranky Monday 🙂

So–if you want to drop in here on a Saturday, I welcome you to do so. Just understand that whatever I write will most likely not be brilliant, or studious, or a matter of international significance. Just common, everyday ruminations about very little.

Horses, Cows, and Pigs

I have a whole collection of strange animal encounters. Yesterday I got to add another.

My daughter-in-law came into the living room saying, “Y’all don’t have horses, right? There are horses running around your back yard!”

Well, no, we don’t have horses. However, our neighbor on the corner does. In the 28 years we’ve lived here, I’ve never seen them get loose from their enclosure. Sure enough, though, here they came running across our back yard, heading home to their own stable. Our neighbor was out there , but she really didn’t need to do much. They were clearly headed for home.

So now we have the prints of their hooves to remind us they were here. The ground is soft and mushy from the recent rain and snow. I kind of like seeing those clots and remembering the beauty of the animals that made them.

Years ago, we were living in Iron River, Michigan. Small town. There was a radio program called “Telephone Time” in which people could call in and ask for recipes, or offer a car for sale, or whatever else was on their minds. I didn’t always listen, but this particular morning I did. Someone called in and said that their cow and her buddy, their pet pig, had escaped their enclosure, and would anyone who sees them please call.

At just about the same moment, I glanced out our livingroom window and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a cow and a pig running across our field. Now, this is not an every-day event! I was fascinated to watch them. It’s really not often you see a cow running, and especially in tandem with her buddy the pig.

I called the number and reported the siting. Not too much later, the host of the radio program announced that the cow and pig had been rounded up, and thanks to all who called in to report a location.

I have many other unusual animal events. Don’t know why, but they seem to follow me.

And this is a very random post. No point. Just entertainment 🙂

Remember to be Thankful

I just finished sweeping and Swiffer-mopping my bathroom floor; also swept the hall and about half the dining room. And I’m pooped. Such a tiny little bit of housework, and I need to rest before I make lunch.

This is directed at my younger self as much as to any of you who still have tons of energy and no hinky backs. I wish I had been more thankful back then. I chased four kids, cooked and baked, and did laundry in a wringer washer. Lugged in groceries to feed the six of us, lugged my vacuum up and down the stairs, changed the beds, scrubbed the toilet, sink and tub EVERY week, did a lot of sewing, PLUS I was a substitute teacher at UBCS, taught Sunday school, organized women’s meetings, and led a women’s soul-winning group, and later on I taught full time. I was rarely tired to the point of needing to sit down. And I’m afraid I took it all for granted, not realizing that it wouldn’t always be that way.

AUNTY ACID...FUNNY STUFF!

Now? Half-an-hour of light cleaning, and I need to rest before I make lunch. Good grief.

Partly this is due to the debility that comes with having a degenerating spine. It limits so much! Can’t bend, lift, or even do simple exercises like sit-ups. Walking is sometimes painful, always slow.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not complaining. It’s just what IS at this stage of my life. I’m 74, after all. I surely didn’t expect to be this helpless at this age, but there it is. I’m thankful for Terry, who does most of the grocery shopping and pitches in to cook when I’m just not up to it. But I can’t manage a houseful of company the way I used to, and that makes me so sad.

My point here? If you are young and full of pep, be thankful! If you are older and have no physical debility that has robbed you of pep, be thankful! And if, like me, your body has decided to mess with your energy, be thankful for what you used to be able to do. Also, be thankful if you have a husband like mine, who is often, to be trite, the wind beneath my wings. If you have kids old enough to get under the household chores, teach them well and make sure they know how important they are when they are your hands, feet, legs, and back.

Okay. I’m going to go put together a salad for lunch. I think I can do that without needing to visit the ER 🙂

Happy New Year!

My only New Year’s Resolution: Pray more. Pray faithfully. Pray humbly. Pray. Notice the man to whom this quote is attributed. He was a wise man:

May be an image of text that says '"Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will." -Jonathan Edwards'

Praying a blessed and godly New Year to everyone. Thank you for supporting this blog, some of you right from the beginning back in April 2012–nearly ten years! I can speak only for myself here, but writing and studying to write has been a true blessing in every way. I’ve learned so much, and I expect that I could go back and write about the same books of the Bible over again, and learn still more. It is never old, never boring, inexhaustible in its supply of knowledge, encouragement, reprimand, and blessing. I have developed an even deeper love for God’s Word, and I’m so thankful He laid it on my heart and mind to write this blog. I leave you with an old favorite song: