Sunday Morning Coffee: The Weather Outside

It’s not really frightful, just your typical eastern Pennsylvania wintry mix of freezing rain and ice. Makes driving dangerous. Terry and I had already decided not to go to church this morning. It’s a 40-minute drive for us under ideal circumstances. We’ve been caught more than once in this kind of weather, and it’s scary–especially as we grow older.

Light snowfall, wintry mix expected across Philly region this week |  PhillyVoice
When the snow melts, it can glaze the roads and become invisible.

When we lived farther north, in the midwest, this kind of weather happened infrequently. It’s not so damp out there, and freezing rain is abnormal. Learning to drive on ice-slicked roads was frightening to me when we first moved to Pennsylvania, and I still avoid it whenever I can.

Everything has a grey cast to it today. The sky and the snow are varying shades of white to grey, and the bare trees are grey to black. The outside temp is 28 degrees, just below freezing, and the damp cold is playing havoc with my arthritic hands and shoulders. If the weatherman doubts the forecast, he should just check with me ๐Ÿ™‚ I always know when there’s a change coming.

In our living room, it’s nice and toasty. We have an oil-burning stove in the living room that radiates heat to the rest of the house. When it gets really cold, we close off the back bedrooms and the study, and at night we open the doors an hour or so before bedtime so we don’t have to sleep in an icebox.

I’ve finished my breakfast and my coffee, and I’m enjoying the warmth of this room. I have an afghan over my lap, and I feel snug and secure. It ended up that services were canceled this morning because of predictions of more freezing rain this morning, so I’m enjoying a relaxed, leisurely Sunday morning, still in my jammies.

I do, however, think of the homeless in this nasty weather. I’m working on a sleeping mat right now that reflects the colors of winter: White, black, grey, clear blue, and sunshine yellow. I hope some homeless person will enjoy the mat, and that they can find a place indoors where it isn’t so miserably cold.

What I’ve learned about the homeless since I started making these mats is that shelters are not always a safe place for them. There is theft, assault (both violent and sexual) and the danger of losing their freedom. It’s not a warm and fuzzy existence for such people, and I can only imagine how they must dread this cold, grey, drizzly season.

So while I sit in our warm house, and my hands are busy working on a mat, I pray for them. I also thank God for my own situation. We take our creature comforts for granted, and we shouldn’t.

No matter what. your circumstances may be today, wherever you live, take a moment to be thankful for what you do have, even if it seems small to you. If you have a place you can call home, be thankful for it. Even if what you have doesn’t seem like much, if you have a phone, tablet or computer on which you’re reading this post, that’s a lot more than most homeless people have.

The Apostle Paul wrote, from his prison, “. . .For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. ” (Phil. 4:11)

Sunday Morning Coffee: Alarms

I have a strong dislike toward my alarm clock. It’s so LOUD! And it beepbeepbeeps at me while I fumble around looking for the OFF button, fighting the mists of incomplete sleep. Now that I’m retired, Sundays are usually the only days on which I have to set my alarm, and I really don’t like having to be up so early. It’s always worth it, but still. Takes my body a good half-hour to adjust to being rolled out of bed because of a noisy clock!

20 Clip Art Of Grumpy Old Lady Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock
Sunday Morning Coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

There are other alarms that give me chills. Ambulance sirens, fire trucks, police sirens, and more. The loud, wailing cry, often accompanied by the buzz of “get out of the way” horns. Those alarms usually mean someone is in trouble.

I’ve watched movies of WWII Nazi police cars searching for Jews. Their sirens are terrifying.

There is only one alarm that I look forward to with anticipation: One of these days, an angel is going to blow his trumpet and believers from all over the world will go to meet Jesus in the air. That is an alarm I will welcome with the greatest joy I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.

And I’m kind of hoping we’ll be able to watch to see how the media spins THAT story : )

Sunday Morning Coffee: Christmas Program

It’s that time of year, I guess. I’m fighting a cold, and no, it’s not Covid. I’m just fighting an old-fashioned cold, and it’s really important that I wait until after tomorrow morning to give in to it.

I’ve been invited to portray the story of Jesus’ birth from Mary’s perspective. It’s about half-an hour for the script (which I wrote) plus music and a short message from the pastor.

This is all going to happen at Bible Baptist Church in Quakertown, which is presently meeting at the Highland Park Campgrounds chapel near Souderton. We have lots of old friends there, so this is going to be a real treat, seeing people we’ve known and loved for many years.

The program will be live-streamed on You Tube,

Also, I’ve taped the script for radio with friends from church, missionaries Ken and Nancy Kirkland. They have been missionaries in Antigua for many years, and still are involved with the radio station they worked with down there. You can find it online at There are three segments, airing on the 21st, 23rd, and 28th, at 6:15 a.m. and p.m. If you’re interested, they play some interesting cultural programs, as well as some good music.

I was also invited to present the reading at Upper Bucks Christian School, 4-6th grades. So I’ve had plenty of practice for tomorrow. It has been a blessing to me as I studied and researched to write the script. It’s a good thing to look at the beloved Christmas story through new eyes, and it has been wonderful to put myself in Mary’s place, trying to understand her heart and mind from Bethlehem to Calvary and beyond.

This is the last Sunday before Christmas, so I will take the opportunity to wish you all a warm, wonderful, and blessed Christmas day. Never forget it’s not just about food and decorations and lights and music. It’s always, only, and forever about Jesus!

Manger Scene Exceptional Value -

Sunday Morning Coffee: Perfectionism

Perfectionists tend to think of it as a strength. Any strength taken too far becomes a weakness.

I’ve been making sleeping mats out of used plastic bags. These are distributed to the homeless in Pottstown by a gentleman from our church. I enjoy the work, and especially when my back is misbehaving, it’s something I can do as a ministry when I can’t do much else.

My most recent project is one I’d had in mind for some time, and I finally finished it yesterday.

Here’s a picture:

May be an image of indoor

Think of it as modern art. The colorful blobs are flower beds. The grey strip is a walking path. Sandy brown beaches, a lake complete with ducks and a boat, hills, a sunset, and lots of cloudy blue sky.

I’m not satisfied with it, but I’ll refrain from picking it apart. Whoever gets this mat isn’t going to be worried about the flaws ๐Ÿ™‚
So why do I say that perfectionism can be a weakness? Well, for one thing, it robs a person of the joy of the journey. When all you can see are the flaws, there’s no satisfaction in the hours and hours of work involved. That’s a weakness.

Perfectionism is a good thing in a lot of ways. We want perfectionism in our medical care; in our mechanics; in food handling, and many other professions. We need to learn to check, double-check, and check again when we’re dispensing medicine, or exercise advice, or child-rearing wisdom, just to name a few things.

But when one is never, ever willing to move forward for fear of being wrong, then nothing is ever accomplished. When we do finish a task and then pick it apart to everyone else, it robs them of whatever pleasure they can receive from it.

You know, the only artist I know of Who makes NO mistakes at all is God. His creation is a daily blessing. Every new little baby is a masterpiece of His creation. We should take great joy in His perfectionism, because He is incapable of making an error. He is all things to all people, able to meet every need and every desire that honors Him.

Doing this mat has been a lesson in humility for me, because I’m not an artist, and this was a difficult task I’d set for myself. Many times I had to pray, “Lord, please keep me patient. Help me not to quit.”

So the mat will go to church with us this morning, and my friend will gladly accept it to be given to someone who is in need.

All things do work together for good when we know that we are working in His will, for His purpose.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Moods

I’m not generally moody. I was, as a teen, but that was a very long time ago. Moods are, after all, a state of mind. That’s where our emotions begin–in the mind. These days, I usually keep my mind occupied so there’s not much, if any, room for gloom and doom.

Moody Mama With Icons Feeling Symbol Shirt, hoodie, sweater, long sleeve  and tank top
No, I’m not selling tee shirts. I just thought this was funny!

So where is this coming from? I know the answer. My three sons, with their wives and families, are all SO far away. Germany, England, South Dakota. Our daughter and her family are only 45 minutes away, so we do have family for the holidays.

I talked to the son who lives in England via Facebook video messenger yesterday. It helps, but it also makes me miss him more. The other two are likely to check in soon, as well. But I miss them so much. I miss my grandkids, who are all growing up and finding their own lives now. As they should be. I’m proud of their choices, and it’s good to watch them try their wings and become strong young adults.

We’ve lost some dear old friends in the past couple of years. They’re in heaven now, and we’re glad for that. But still, we miss them. We’re at an age when we have to expect this kind of loss, and who knows? It could be us next, crossing over into Glory Land.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not unhappy. And I say that even as my eyes are filled with tears. They’re not tears of misery. I’ve had a wonderful life, with all the bumps and bruises that life often brings. We have been blessed, Terry and I, and we are so thankful for all that God has allowed to come into our lives.

It’s probably just the season. The stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas, while busy, can also stir memories that are fading into the mists of the past.

Well, look at me, letting my emotions drip out through my fingers :).

I hope I haven’t dampened your mood! I’ll get past this, and will probably feel silly that I wrote something so sentimental and sloppy!

“For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4: 11.

Sunday Morning Coffee: The People in our Lives

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the people who have affected my life over my 74 years.

My parents, of course, were primary. But they’re both in heaven now. And they moved away from where we lived way back in 1970, I believe it was, so contact with them was intermittent for the rest of their lives. Still, so much of the foundation of my life, my beliefs, attitudes and opinions were formed by their own. Mostly, that was a very good thing.

There was a family that took us into their own family circle. I thought they really were my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. I was SO unhappy when I figured out that they weren’t, but it certainly didn’t change the joy of spending time with them, of being loved and loving them in return. One of the “aunts,” Lois Sanders, led me to Jesus in her Sunday School class when I was only five. I’d say that’s an eternal influence.

Sibling, of course. I was the younger of two for a long time, but when I was 14 my parents announced that there would be a baby in September! Sadly, he died when he was only 49. He was only six when Mom and Dad moved away, so there was always a lot of distance between us. Still, he has his place in my heart.

We moved a lot when I was growing up, so lasting childhood friendships were rare. Terry and I married in 1969, and along the way we have found wonderful, lifelong friendships with people who are more like family than just friends. Some of them were here last night to celebrate a family birthday. Lots of fun, and very precious memories.

Our children, of course, are daily visitors to my mind. They are scattered. Three sons live from South Dakota to England to Germany. Our daughter and family are the only blood relations nearby, about 30-40 minutes away. Their spouses, their children, are all in my heart. We love them all dearly. I think having adult children is a reward!

I never lived close to either set of grandparents, something I have often regretted. On my dad’s side, I have cousins who did grow up near out mutual grandparents, and knew them well. We don’t see much of each other, but there is a bond that makes it easy to be with them on the rare occasions when we meet.

It’s been six or seven years ago, I think, since my youngest uncle and his wife were driving through our area. We met them at a restaurant and enjoyed several hours reconnecting with them. My uncle is my dad’s youngest brother, born when Dad was all grown up. There is certainly a resemblance, and I probably made him uncomfortable because I had a hard time not to stare at his familiar face :).

There have been outstanding pastors in my life. There have been memorable teachers who encouraged me to expand my abilities in areas that are still important to me today.

There are friends of 50+ years’ standing, and newer friends in the church we now attend who have blessed us with their openness and concern when I’m dealing with my back issues–which are under control for the time being :).

People need other people. God Himself created us for His own pleasure. Friends and family enrich us, help us grow, keep us accountable, surprise us and sometimes irritate us to no end, but we wouldn’t trade any of them.

The friends who are the most important are the ones who love the Lord, and who share that love freely. They encourage me to do the same, by their example.

The ones we share life experiences with, that we can laugh or cry with, that we have been with through their own dark time–they are rare and precious jewels. We are blessed in our family and friends.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Progress!

My back is good.

I’m making progress with my hurting foot, which is feeling better by far than it did a week ago. Still sore, but bearable.

So it looks like church is on the schedule today, for the first time in more weeks than I can remember. Yesterday, when Terry asked me about it, I said. “Yes! I think I can actually do it!”

The hard part was rolling out of bed at 6 a.m. I’m not used to that any more. Lazy as a slug.
So, you may ask, what have I learned during all these weeks of practically no mobility?

Well, I’ve learned once again to be thankful for a husband who is willing to step in when I can’t take care of housework, shopping, cooking, laundry. And it’s a big deal, because he has his own pain to deal with.

I’ve learned that no one is indispensable. Not even me. Most of us know we’ll die eventually, but I don’t know if it’s truly a reality. Not that I’m dying, at least not as far as I know ๐Ÿ™‚ But the truth is, life goes on all around us, without us, in spite of our invaluable contributions to everyone else’s happiness and well-being. Seriously, life is just a vapor, gone in a moment of God’s economy. It’s a much bigger deal to us than it is to anyone else, really, how long we stay around. The point is to make sure that while we’re here we’re doing what He has given us, enabled us, to do. To touch someone else’s heart and life.

For me, that has been what I can do with my hands because my back and my feet didn’t work very well. So I work with my hands, making mats and hats for the homeless. I work with my brain and my hands, doing my Bible study blog and learning something new every day. I’m reading things I’d been hoping to finish “someday.” I’m even cleaning up and organizing my bookshelves, doing away with some books I’ve had for years and not managed to crack the covers. Some are leftovers from my schooling, and from counseling seminars. I will not read those books now. I didn’t read them back then. I shouldn’t have purchased them, but I thought I would read them. Well, I for sure won’t read them now ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve cleaned out drawers, something I can do sitting down. I’ve gone through all sorts of stuff that I just didn’t have the time to deal with. It’s surprising, really, what you can find to do when you can’t do it with you feet or your back.

I’ve prayed more. I keep a list, because my memory is short and the list keeps growing. Sometimes I will say to someone, “Yes, I will pray for you.” But if I don’t write it down, I will forget. I don’t want to forget, so the list grows.

I’ve enjoyed studying things about the Bible that I’d always wondered about, but never taken the time to research. Right now, I’m doing the book of Hosea. I’m learning all sorts of things about the history, the idolatry, the Assyrians and other nations. A lot of it doesn’t make the blog post, but that’s okay. I’ve always loved learning stuff I didn’t know. Not about math, or chemistry. But most other stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, I guess I’m done for now. I’m looking forward to church, to seeing folks who have prayed for me, sent me notes and cards. Looking forward to the music and the preaching. I love church.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Not Yet

Terry asked me if I were going to church today. I’d been thinking about it, and I WANT to go. But the pain is still intense, I really can’t be on my foot more than a few minutes. and I just don’t think I’m up to it yet. Maybe in a week, when I’ve done the stretching exercises more, and have increased the reps. We’ll see.

But I have much for which to be thankful, and that’s where I want to focus .
I saw the foot/ankle specialist. After looking at my xrays, listening to me carefully, he said, “Plantar fasciitis.” I was surprised, because I’ve had that before, years ago, and the pain is different this time. But as I listened to him, I was satisfied. He doesn’t want to give me any pills :). He doesn’t want to go in and whack off the heel spurs, because he says they’re not in the right place for where the pain is. Instead, he said to treat it like an injury–stay off my foot as much as possible. Do stretches (my feet are SORE from those!). And he gave me a gel heel cup that really does make a difference. We discussed shoes, too. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that surgery is off the table. I was really dreading that possibility.

If you’ve ever had it, this will be familiar to you:

Plantar Fasciitis Review - Sports Medicine Review

I’m thankful for good, practical medical advice. Thankful we have good insurance that allows me to leave the office without leaving a large part of our bank account at the same time. Thankful for a patient and supportive husband, and for so many friends who have prayed for me and still are praying. Thankful that, although the pain is debilitating, it’s nothing worse, and should clear up in 6-9 months, getting better all the while.

I’m thankful that it’s October. I love this month, favorite month of fall. Color. No humidity, no mosquitos. Crystal clear skies, huge billowy white clouds. Fall flowers are brilliant. Cool night, comfortable days. Thank You, Lord, for October.

I’m thankful for some of the small jobs I’ve been able to work on these past weeks and months. Things I can do sitting down, and they’re not really noticeable to anyone else but me. Drawers organized and STUFF thrown out. Bookshelves cleared of things I hadn’t had time to read. All kinds of time to read now. More to be done there, but at least it’s a start. I’ve been using up some of my yarn stash, making winter hats for the homeless along with the sleeping mats I make from plastic bags. These are all things I can do sitting down.

I’m thankful for emails and messenger that help me keep in touch with my kids/grandkids who live in Europe. For some, we communicate almost daily. Couldn’t do that without wifi, phones, computers. I hate typing on my phone, so for me it’s my laptop. I watch others who are so fast just with their thumbs, and it makes MY thumbs hurt just to watch them. Takes me forever to text on my phone.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I’m SOOOoooo thankful for my adjustable bed! My back is doing pretty well through all the mess with my foot pain. If they both came together at the same time? The statement, “Just shoot me!” comes to mind. Not seriously, but sort of ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, that’s it for now. Have a blessed Sunday, my friends. Go to church. Fellowship with other believers. Enjoy the music and the teaching/preaching. You’ll be glad you did.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Follow the Pattern

I’m learning a crochet stitch that is new to me, after 64 years of crocheting all sorts of things. It’s called c2c, or “corner to corner.” Here’s what it looks like after four rows:

3 row corner to corner crochet stitch

You just keep adding those little units until you have the piece as wide as you want it, and then you begin to decrease to make the final corner, if you’re making something square. You can use this to make all sorts of things. Right now, I’m working on a baby blanket:

No photo description available.
It’s very easy, once you learn it. I, however, had a few interruptions and kept having to go back, rip out, and do it again until I understood it. Once I got it, this little corner worked up quickly.

And of course, as I was working, my mind was building an object lesson. It’s what you do when you’re a teacher. My friend Karyl Entner is a wizard when it comes to object lessons ๐Ÿ™‚

If we want our lives to come together in a beautiful pattern, we have to learn to follow the directions. This piece that I’m working on is going to be all one color, but for most of us our lives will be a combination of many different colors, and perhaps textures as well, sort of like a crazy quilt. The trick is to put all the pieces together in a way in which they all fit naturally. When I finish this, I’ll use the same yarn to create a lacy border.

So, what are the directions we need to follow? Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 says,

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

ย For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

God is the source of direction for our lives. His Word is the treasury of wisdom that we can never exhaust, no matter how old we grow or how many times we read it from cover to cover.

Micah 6:8 says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth theย Lordย require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Notice that the word is justly, an adverb, meaning in a fair way and a righteous way. Some translations have used the word justice, which is a noun, and refers to something else entirely. We are to behave justly; we are, at the same time, to love mercy; and we are to walk humbly with God.

There’s a lot more, especially in books like Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians, and Proverbs. We are given principles on which to form our lives. The Bible won’t give you a specific answer for every single decision or action you are choosing. It does, however, outline learning to walk with God in a way that helps us approach each decision with His plan in mind.

One of my grandmothers was a young wife and mother when my grandfather moved her and two of their children out to a dugout in the Utah desert. There are some wonderful stories my dad used to tell from those years. Grandma didn’t have much to read, but she did have a family Bible. She read it until she understood that she needed to confess her sin to the Lord, seek His forgiveness, and accept Him as her Lord and Savior. She went on to have six children, one of whom she lost to appendicitis because they were so far away from any help. She was quite an amazing woman. She lived her life as much according to the Pattern Book as she could, and her testimony was what eventually led my dad to become a preacher. Because of her, my dad’s siblings all came to the Lord; all my dad’s children are believers; and all my grandchildren, as well. Five generations of believers !I don’t have any great-grands yet, but I pray that the trend continues!

It’s important to learn the pattern; to follow the directions, and to persevere until the piece is finished. If I never add another row to my work, it will be useless.

I don’t want my life to be useless. I want to finish well, complete the pattern, and go to meet Jesus to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Sunday Morning Coffee: Changes

I love fall. Love it! Mosquitos go away; humidity goes away; oppressive heat goes away. Air conditioning is turned off. Doors and windows are open. How delicious all that is after the hot, hot HOT summer months have finally bowed themselves off the stage of life and gone back where they belong. Make way for fall! Relax, store up the warmth for the cold months that set in after Christmas, and enjoy this reprieve.

I can’t walk yet. My foot still hurts, and I suppose I’m going to have to get it looked at. But I can enjoy my own yard, and I can enjoy the fresh air inside and out.

My back pain is GONE!! That’s a wonderful change that I’ve enjoyed this week. No pain. None. The injections have done their job, and I am thankful. Any of you who live with pain will understand how amazing it is to have relief, even thought you know it is temporary.

This coming Friday, I’ll be starting my Women’s Bible study in Hosea; and I’ll be teaching high schoolers the fine art of the research paper. I’m looking forward to being able to be back in the classroom.

The one thing that never changes is Jesus Christ in my life. His Word remains true, no matter what is going on in the world. With all the things that have been considered unacceptable for so long now being held as good, and resistance to that change as bad, I know that my Redeemer lives (Job 19:25 ) just as Job, in spite of his trials, knew it. That knowledge keeps me asleep at night, when I could lie awake worrying about everything that could go SO wrong in the immediate future.

Remember the old chorus “Why Worry When You can Pray?” We need more of that.