Saturday Soliloquy: Miscellany

I’ve been sick for at least two full months, starting in January. Finally have some hope that my present slough of despond is starting to dry up. In retrospect, it’s hard for me to understand where the time has gone. One day just kind of melts into another. I’ve been getting a glimpse of what it means to be a shut-in, and I’ve decided I don’t like it.

At least the people who make paper hankies are happy with me right now πŸ™‚

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Only 6 1/2 days left in March. April always seems to bring a feeling of hope. I love it that it’s not completely dark until close to 7:30. Just a little extra daylight has lifted my spirits.

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Terry’s been battling a cough, too. He doesn’t seem to feel as miserable as I’ve been, but I know he’s sick when he’s still in bed this late in the day. It’s 11 a.m., and I haven’t seen him yet. He’s always been a morning Tigger to my morning Eeyore, so I know he’s not feeling terrific.

What’s that? You don’t know who Tigger and Eeyore are? Oh, dear–you’ve missed a valuable part of your childhood!

They are from the classic Winnie the Pooh stories, with Christopher Robin, Owl, Rabbit, and other well-loved characters. I highly recommend the books, but you can also find them online.

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Terry the Tigger. Years ago, before he grew older and wiser, he thought it would be fun to wake me up at 5 a.m. He bounced the mattress, sending me several inches into outer space, saying, “Wake up! Wake up! It’s a beautiful day!”

I’m afraid I rained on his parade. disabusing him of the idea that I should be awake just because he was. Of course, he was running out of energy by 7 p.m., at which point I was ready for something to do. And it’s been this way for 53 years

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You know, February is a short month–which makes March seem inordinately long. That’s just a random observation. You can ignore it if you like:)

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I have returned to my blogging, after a six-week absence. I think that’s a record for me. WordPress tells me I’ve been doing this for over 11 years now, and I’m just barely scratching the surface of the Bible even though I post nearly every day, My other blog, http://www.lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com, gets less attention from me but has still been at least a weekly exercise. I enjoy writing, and I especially enjoy studying God’s Word. It never gets old.

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And that’s about all for today, folks. I feel a nap coming on.


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.

Saturday Soliloquy: Waning Winter

This week, I have been very thankful to NOT be living in the Midwest as a huge winter storm dumped tons of snow all across the fruited plain.

This is a photo from the Brainerd Daily Dispatch, Brainerd, Minnesota, where we lived for 11 years:

And now that the snow has stopped falling, they’re having severe wind chill. Brrrrr. I do NOT miss that!

We got wind and a spattering of rain here in my corner of PA. It lasted, off and on, for two or three days.

We escaped this time. That doesn’t mean the next snow dump will miss us :).

February is nearly gone, but March can give us a lot of winter weather. I have daffodils blooming in my back yard, where the exposure to the southern sun is longer each day. Those happy, sunny little flowers could easily get a boatload of snow dumped on them before April comes along.

We do love to discuss the weather, don’t we? Driving home from an activity yesterday, Terry and I both commented on what a pretty day it was. Clear blue skies, punctuated by fluffy puffs of cloud now and then, made the drive quite pleasant. We’ve reached the point at which it still isn’t fully dark by 5:45 p.m. always an encouraging time for me. Neither of us does well driving in the dark, so we’re thankful for a few more minutes of daylight as spring approaches.

That last sentence stirs memories of when driving in the dark was just a normal part of life. We never gave it a second thought, and were confident to go wherever we needed to go. We didn’t even think about it–just did it. I remember many days when Terry picked me up after our working day to make the drive from St. Paul out to the suburbs where we both lived. During the winter months, it was growing quite dark by 5 p.m. During snowy weather, driving became more precarious, but we were used to it. As most young people do, we took for granted our abilities to see and negotiate safely. Now? We’re rather fussy about getting home before full dark sets in.

Life changes. Physical abilities change. Where we used to find things to do all the time after the work day was over, we’re now perfectly content to stay home.

For both of us, there are a couple of things that do not, and will not, change until death takes us from this world into the glories of heaven. First, our love, faith and trust in God is stronger than ever. Second, our love, trust and faith in each other does not waver as we head into our 54th year of marriage. We’ll hit that anniversary in about three months. Amazing, and we are thankful.

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Saturday Soliloquy: Out of the Doldrums

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

https://study.com/academy/lesson/doldrums-definition-location.html

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.

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:

Saturday Soliloquy: A Quiet Week

Even the weather has been quiet! While other parts of the country have had unusual cold and snow, my little corner of PA has seen temps in the low 60s! Clear skies, for the most part. I keep holding my breath, waiting for the storms to find us.

There have been plenty of political storms in our nation. Spotlight on the House of Representatives this week as they struggle to elect a new Speaker. McCarthy is slowly persuading more votes into his corner. Four more and he’ll have it. There have been 12 votes so far, which I believe sets some kind of record.

On a more personal level, I’ve started a storm of cleaning. Not going to wait until spring! Getting rid of stuff is my major goal. I’m starting in the basement, especially in my sewing area. Yes, I’m one of those crazy old ladies with stashes of fabric and yarn that I haven’t touched in quite some time. I used to do a lot of sewing, but that stopped 25 years ago when I went back to college for a master’s degree. Besides which, it is less expensive to buy off the rack than to pay for fabric, patterns, other supplies–plus the time it takes to measure, cut, and sew. It makes me sad, but the fabric left-overs have to go.

That is NOT my husband!! I’m not quite this bad πŸ™‚

The yarn will be harder for me to let go of, however, Leftovers can be used to make winter hats, mittens, scarves. Some of my yarn is much too scant to use for anything else, and that will have to go.

While I was looking for a picture to use today, I came across this:

Yup. A whole bag, five pounds of yarn scraps, selling for $27.00. Might be useful for knitting a crazy-quilt afghan. Hmm. That’s actually not a bad idea. . . . . .

That’s about it for now. Lots to do.

Saturday Soliloquy: Old Year Out

I don’t have anything profound to offer you today. In fact, I’ve been putting off writing this post. I’ve been waiting for some kind of inspiration, some earth-shaking truth that no one else has ever thought of. Of course, that isn’t possible πŸ™‚

King Solomon knew that, thousands of years before I came along. In Ecclesiastes 1:9, he brooded that there is no new thing under the sun. Nothing that hasn’t existed before. Nothing we can experience that hasn’t been experienced before.

We think of the “new year” because we have, for convenience and order, learned to organize ourselves by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. Those things all existed long before we figured out the concept of time. We’ve even learned to identify seasons according to equinox and solstice, which also are not new concepts. God created it to be so for His purposes and our good (Genesis 8:22).

So here’s something I don’t remember thinking about before. In heaven, we know that there will be no night, no illness, no death, no crying. Will there also be no seasons? Those who love winter, will they yearn for snow? Will they wish they had mountains of the stuff for skiing into eternity? Will farmers miss the plowing, planting, and harvesting of the seasons? I don’t know. God has all that under His control, and we’ll learn when we get there that the earthly things we loved will pale in comparison to being with Him!

Will the abilities, talents, gifts that God has given us here go with us there? Will I be able to sing again, with a clear voice and no limits of range? Will there be a heavenly piano for me in my place in heaven where my fingers will fly effortlessly over the heavenly keys and produce music beyond my imagination?

Don’t know. But I will someday, and what I do know is that whatever awaits me in heaven will be just perfect for me. Most of all, to be with Jesus will put everything else on hold πŸ™‚

Well, you can see that when I start writing without a plan, there is no telling where I’ll end up πŸ™‚ This is probably a good place to stop!

Saturday Soliloquy: Communication

I’m teaching, in a homeschool co-op, The Art of the Argument. Simply stated, it is a prep course for learning formal debate techniques. My students are looking forward to putting what they’ve learned so far into practice, which we will do in the second semester.

There is a long list of fallacies that we all tend to use in communication with others, not just in debate, but in every-day communication. For instance, ad hominem tu quoque, known in casual terms as the “whataboutyou” fallacy, (TΕ« quoque, for “you also”) is a discussion technique that intends to discredit the opponent’s argument by attacking the opponent’s own personal behavior and actions as being inconsistent with their argument, therefore accusingΒ hypocrisy. (ad hominem, by the way, means to the man.)


For example, a person who is not a stellar student tries to give studying advice to someone else, and he is quickly shot down with “Well, you’re no shining example. How can you tell me how to study when you don’t do it yourself?” The advice may be quite good, but it is discredited by attacking the advisor’s personal behavior.

Put into day-to-day conversation, here’s an example of how this works in relationship–marital, sibling, co-worker, etc.

“Susie, I noticed you didn’t clean out the microwave in the lunchroom after you used it to warm up your spaghetti. There’s a mess in there, and you made it. You should go clean it up. And next time, cover your food before turning on the microwave,” sniffs a conscientious co-worker.

Offended by her tone, Susie says, “Okay, I forgot to clean it up. But YOU always leave your coffee mug in the sink and expect someone else to wash it for you. I also notice that YOU never put a new roll of toilet paper on the spindle when you use up the old one. How can you scold ME when you do the same things yourself? Mind your own business!”

The result, of course, is ill will between these co-workers and a continuing lack of ordinary courtesy to others who use the same facilities.

How could this situation have been addressed and resolved without contention? Maybe it couldn’t be, I don’t know for sure. These types of small irritants can snowball if not everyone cooperates with keeping things running smoothly, and before you know it, there is a small civil war in the office with people taking sides and scouting for failure on the opposing team.

I would suggest, though, that the “conscientious co-worker” could have left her self-righteous attitude behind. Saying nothing is often better than saying something with a sneery, supercilious attitude. She came off like a mother correcting her child. Or maybe Susie could have just shrugged it off, saying, “Yes, I did forget. Thanks for the reminder.” Too often, we feel we need to defend ourselves, or point out that the critical person is no better than we are. There is way too much sub-text that gets interpreted, misinterpreted, or just plain assumed.

The tu quoque fallacy is just one of many ways we fail to communicate with each other. Most of these fallacies are based in an effort to come out on top. If that is going on in any of your relationships, it would be a good idea to step back and do some honest self-examination. And we need to listen to ourselves in conversations. Most of us are terrible buttinskis. We don’t think we are. We tend to think it is everyone else who butts in, and we never do.

We need to learn to listen to actually hear and understand, not just to rebut, argue, or contradict.

A really good tool for improving communication is called Active Listening. You can google it. Or just go here: https://www.mindtools.com/az4wxv7/active-listening.

Saturday Soliloquy: More Changes!

On Thursday, our son and his wife had settlement on their new house. They’ve been with us since mid-February, so when they actually move in to their new place, I think it’s going to feel a bit empty here for a while. Not that I’m unhappy about all this, you understand. They’ll be only 20 minutes or so from us.

They won’t need a therapist. After all, they have MEEEEeeeeeee πŸ™‚

The next big thing is that their shipping container will be delivered to their new place on Monday, and once that’s unloaded, they can start setting up housekeeping for themselves.

Mike came home from work a couple of days ago, feeling extremely tired, and a little dizzy. He’s been sleeping a lot, feels better now.

Yesterday, I came home from teaching at our homeschool co-op feeling extremely tired and a little dizzy. I had trouble staying awake on the drive home, so I started singing at top volume just to stay alert! I slept for two hours once I got home, then slept nearly nine hours overnight. Feeling better today, so far. Glad I’m not the one moving and setting up housekeeping Lots of work.

It’s been over 28 years since we moved into this house. That’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. I dread the very idea of packing up 28 years’ worth of STUFF. Terry and I both talk about starting to sort through and discard what we no longer use, but so far we’ve done very little in that direction. Maybe we’ll make it a New Year’s resolution. Uhuh πŸ™‚ Seriously, my main motivation is not wanting my kids to have to deal with all of it. There’s a lot we could take care of now to save them a huge headache later.

I know we’re not alone in this. Feel free to tell me what you have done or plan to do if you’re in the same situation we are. Maybe I’ll get motivated to actually get started.