Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saturday's Scribbles


Good Saturday to all of you from our corner of the upper Midwest where Fall is hanging on and we are enjoying it.  On Monday a buck came through our yard and onTuesday we went for a drive and saw 4 eagles in a field! We watched them lift off and land a few times.  So beautiful, and since God has brought eagles to my attention lately, this was extra amazing to see.  Thursday we had a deer, less than a year old, staying in our backyard for a couple of hours.  We were able to watch from the living room window as he resting, grazed, and wandered around without a care in the world.  

I think the deer is about the only one wandering around without a care in the world right now.  What is happening in our country politically, and with this pandemic that is real, people, is more than a little disturbing.  In our county we have 4 floors in our hospital packed with Covid patients.  Cases are going up between 60-100 daily and deaths have risen.   When I told the OT that I was taking a long break right now, she said she completely understood.  She did everything to keep me safe, and her other clients, too, but it is what it is.  No need to put myself at risk if I don't need to.

We have been having trouble with our Internet server for years and finally this week when Joel was knocked off a Zoom meeting 6 times in an hour, we had had enough and set up Internet with the only other company in our town.  What I did not realize was that my email address was connected to the account for the phone and Internet, so after 20 years with the same email address I am now scampering to change endless accounts and sign ins that use my old email address.  I have until Monday if they keep it going as promised.  I was more than a little frustrated when we called to cancel because the young man we talked to was very, and I mean very difficult to understand way over there in a third world country.  He said to me, canceling with us is "breaking my heart", and I replied, "Well, THIS company has broken our hearts as we have worked with them for years to get descent service.  It has never happened!  He was quiet then.....realizing he had two frustrated people on the phone.  I guess I could blame my short fuse on Covid Fatigue, but I'm thinking it is years of unstable broken Internet service.........

We have been busy this week shampooing our living area carpet/rugs, washing floors, dusting ceiling fans, and doing Spring cleaning.  First of all, I use the word "we" loosely as Joel did most of this manual labor, and second of all, I am aware that Spring is long gone.  We were rearranging furniture in the living room to make room for the Christmas Tree that is waiting in the basement to be brought into the light, and I mentioned making sure we had room to move around before it dawned on does not matter how it is arranged or how it looks when we are the only people who will be in the room.  The only people in our house.  Two other people have been inside our home in the last 11 months. Seriously.  That is it.  Covid Fatigue is settling in, especially since this year our family was going to be coming home for Thanksgiving. That happens only every other year.... So the house is sparkling, just for us! Still, it always feels good to have a good Spring cleaning any time of the year!

We are hoping for a Zoom meeting with the family that day with our new Internet services!  It is such a blessing to have such things as Zoom.  I remember when we were living in The Philippines and we were able to call home one time in two years.  We had to say a sentence or paragraph and then say, "roger" and then it would go across the ocean to family.  We talked for 5 minutes on Christmas Eve and it cost us $40 which was quite a bit in the 70's.  So hooking up on our laptop or phone so easily?  A true gift.

Speaking of gifts, we are very grateful for our warm home, clean rugs and floors, Zoom, new Internet soon, a deer to distract us and eagles to amaze us.  a surprise package in the mail, the power of prayer, phone calls, texts, and the love of family and friends.

Enjoy your weekend!


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from the Midwest where Fall is hanging on here in Iowa while just two hours north of us snow blankets the ground.  We did have a dusting a couple of days ago.  I had to chuckle as I watched Joel out mulching the leaves from our one Maple tree that just won't let go until this time of year.  Joel was mowing and mulching as large snowflakes fell to the ground!  He managed to get it done pretty quickly and the snow melted soon after it's arrival.  Hoping to hold off on the white stuff!

We have pumpkins sitting on our porch and Christmas lights strung across the front!  So far there is no tree gracing our living room although since it is 2020, anything goes, right?  In fact, our neighbor already has their Christmas tree decorated and shining brightly out their living room window. I confess it is kind of nice to see....... Maybe we will see more healing in us all, body, soul, and spirit as we focus on Jesus this Christmas season.  I only wish the chaos would end with 2020, at least that is our prayer for 2021.  Restoration, revelation, renewal, and removal of this virus.  Let it be, Lord.  Let it be.

Speaking of the virus, we have started to know people who have the virus.....a couple of family members infected but doing okay, family of family..........all infected in different areas and in different ways.  Iowa is ranking pretty much at the top regarding hospitalizations and infections.  Nothing is really being done about it by the powers that be here.  As from the beginning, we are following what the scientists say, not the governors or government alone. Scientists have a pretty good track record!  If it wasn't for them we would still be dealing with smallpox, polio, etc.  I remember getting the first polio vaccines with I was a kid.  In a sugar cube we put under our tongues.  Anyone else remember that?

Speaking of tongues, I recently wrote a post about the impact of our words and am still feeling pretty convicted by it.  God keeps speaking to me, using His words I guess, to help me along the way.  Speaking of words, Joel's book will hopefully be ready soon.  After we both reread the book and he revised and made corrections in the way it was laid out by Amazon or Joel. For Joel it has been a challenging process, this self-publishing!  My conclusion and opinion is that self-publishing with Amazon is a nightmare!  

We managed to clean the whole house this week.  Our home is just too big with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a large family room we hardly ever use, besides the dining, living and laundry.  It is really time for a smaller house, but we sure would hate to leave our neighborhood.  I was thinking about all the places we have lived over the 52 years we have been married.  Apartments, a small airstream trailer, a townhouse, many parsonages small and big, and the houses we have bought.  It is interesting that one of our favorite is the "internage" we lived in when Joel did his internship in Malta, Montana.  It was an old house brought in and placed right next to the church.  It was small for a family of six, with a short hallway from the dining room to the kitchen that slanted downwards because the kitchen had been added on with a basement built underneath it.  The small living room had a smaller room next to it and a long closed in porch up front. The bathroom upstairs had a large lime green clawfoot tub.  Two bedrooms upstairs and one large hallway where our oldest had her bed and space.  The house had a very warm atmosphere about it.  We were the 19th Intern to be at this parish.  We had a wonderful year there with many new experiences and certainly the house held it's own memories for us. 

My sister Jo is home being cared for my Janelle and a nurse, aid, and OT and PT that come in off and on throughout the week.  Hopefully her strength will continue to return and she will be more independent.  Thank you for praying.  So thankful for them all!

This week I am grateful for Gr. Jo getting home, for the house being clean, for walking 30 minutes a day, for the yard work getting done, for memories of homes we have lived and raised our family in, for lime green clawfoot tubs, porches with pumpkins, Christmas lights to brighten the nights, my hubby's determination to get the book published c.o.r.r.e.c.t.l.y, for hope for a better 2021, for laughter, tears, the power of prayer, and every day we are blessed to be here!

Have a great weekend.............

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Impact Of Our Words

 Yesterday morning a Bible verse posted by a group on Facebook jumped out at me.  What some would call a Rhema word, highlighted by God.  Verse one of Psalm 144 stood out for me.  In fact it did feel like it leaped off the page going right into that place in my heart for aha moments.  

David was speaking about the battle ahead with Goliath, but for me these words gave way to recognition that what Joel and I write with our hands and our fingers fights against the enemy and gives God praise and glory.  Sharing our stories, our thoughts, is a way to fight those battles that come. God has trained us and is still teaching us to write about what He has done, what He has planned.  I believe we are all are "trained" and prepared. We all have power in what we say and what we write.....just look at the affects of social media.   Yes, the power of our words, written and spoken greatly impact others.

Lately I have felt a deeper conviction than ever about the importance of our words.  You can't turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper or book, scroll down Facebook, or read what people have posted on Twitter without being affected or impacted by the words of others. Good and bad.  There are several scriptures that either warn us or teach us about the power of the tongue...speaking "life or death".  So. very. true. 

When I feel convicted I try to pay attention and I believe God is speaking to me here.  Speaking about my words and the power they hold, whether spoken or written.  And what about the running conversations we have with ourselves in our heads?

On Sunday morning Alex Trebek, long time host of Jeopardy! died after battling stage 4 cancer.  We watched a special he had on ABC that same night that had been prepared knowing of his eventual death.  He seems to have died the way he lived, with hope, kindness, thankfulness.  He lived twice as long as predicted and one doctor at John Hopkins said (if I remember correctly) fighting terminal cancer is much about how you view and live your life now as treatments.  Trebek's words echoed how he was living each day seeking the good.  He worked up until 10 days before he died because he said going to work helped him to feel joy, gave him energy and inspired him to keep going. At the end of the special on his life, in his own words he says to viewers, "Thank you for a great life".  Powerful.  

For me his words connected to what God has been telling me about what we speak, think, and write. As people of God it all matters.  You may question the idea that we are often fighting a war........fighting battles.  Yet the Bible often speaks about it and tells us we are not fighting against people so much as the spirit realm.  Obviously it can't be our only focus....on what comes against us......on the negative.............on Satan who is very real, people.  No, it can't be our continual focus, but we cannot brush it aside either.  We need to take God's word seriously and He makes it clear that our words, whether written or spoken, are very important and have power to change our lives, and impact others.  

I am certainly mulling over this topic. A while ago I had a vision where I was riding on a white stallion with a large warring angel.  It is one of two visions God has shown me lately that have me paying attention. 

 As we were sitting with our eyes closed, I first saw a white feather that was placed in my hand.  It then transformed into a wing, an angel's wing that transformed into an angel on a white stallion.  An angel with white wings and bare legs that were bronze in color.  The feathers and wings I saw then transformed into armor.  At this point I asked Holy Spirit if this was all from Him and He responded in my mind, "Trust what you are seeing".  Then the angel pulled me up in front of him and then he raised a sword.  He handed me a sword too.  Looking ahead I saw many many creatures that looked like druids, with no faces just long hooded garments.  The sword I was holding suddenly seemed to come out of my mouth and as I spoke words from this mouth sword the druids began to melt down and disappear.  Then as I continued to speak from the sword it would actually come down and touch the ground, causing it to shake violently.  Each time that happened I saw the horse I was on take a step forward.  Another word came out, the sword would touch the ground and the horse would take another firm step forward.  This is where what I was seeing ended.

In Ephesians 6 we are told that one of our weapons of warfare is the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.   I believe that as I, as we all speak the word and declare the truths of God's promises, it affects us and the world. Look around us, it is quite evident how words impact us and others.  During this time, this season in our country where there are continual battles being waged with words (and actions) in our government, our states, our cities, our neighborhoods, and even in some homes, we need to be intentional about what we say and what we write. Be intentional about what we listen to and Whom.  Let God be the final Who.  Let Him always be our guide.  Don't get caught up in it all, don't let others tell us what to believe, trust God and let us prayerfully be an instrument of peace one word at a time. 

Often I ask God for peace to come into my corner of the world.  More than ever I need to be active in releasing that peace, through what I write, through what I speak, through what I believe.  Let my words reflect His Word.  Always.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Saturday's Scribbles On Sunday

Good Saturday to you on Sunday afternoon as I watch the high winds moving the trees, scattering leaves, and whipping flags.  It is warm for November, so Joel has been busy getting the Christmas lights on the house and also mulching leaves, fixing house trim, and washing windows.  Mostly I got to watch, although I did wash quite a few of our windows inside.  Our flowers are getting close to being done except for the large mum plant out front.  Tomorrow rain is on the way so Joel is in a race to get leaves bagged for the 4th time.

Joel was able to hold the first copy of his book in his hands this week.  We are going through it to seek out any corrections needed before we "put it out there" for friends and family.  I am so proud of him and the hard work he has put into this book.  He also has ridden 1300 miles so far this year!  Yay for him!!!!  I keep walking, 30 minutes most days, and cooking, baking, cleaning, and keeping in touch with family.  Covid is so high in our small county that I will not be going back to OT for a while.  Too risky.  Our hospital is full.  One nursing home just 30 miles from us is completely overwhelmed with Covid.  E.v.e.r.y resident has it and most of the staff.  Speaking of residents, it looks like Gr. Jo will be going home early this week.  She has a long way to go, but Janelle will stay with her and she will receive some care at home to keep getting stronger.  So thankful!

Well, election day, days, week? is over and it is not yet really over, is it.  We have been in this position before, lest we forget.  We are not patient people anymore with our instant coffee, fast food service, and drive through Covid testing!  Ha......We are not good at waiting for answers.  Like in this election.  No matter how you or I voted, no matter how we lean, I feel like Americans are being watched around the world with how the election process goes and whether we will continue to spew hate, fear, and division, or whether we come together like we did once in a distant far away place.  I have my own thoughts on it all, but keep them mostly close to home as I mull over what I have seen and heard.  I really hurt for our grandchildren as they observe a world so topsy turvy right now.  May it make them stronger.

Today we drove around out little micro-opolis and came home thankful for where we live.  It is quiet here and we have good neighbors.  The walking paths are nice and nature keeps us entertained.  We came back home, sat down and worshiped from home connecting to a church in a big city two hours away from us.  We then sat at our table eating left over waffles with fresh strawberries and blueberries.  We played a game of Scrabble, laid down for a nap and when we woke up we could just push a button and watch a variety of shows.  I share all this because we live in America and all this is possible here.  

I am grateful to have been born in America.  Grateful for being able to vote in a democracy.  Grateful that our country gives all people a voice, (hopeful).  Grateful for warm November days, a clean house, walks, biking, continued healing from shingles, Gr Jo going back home, Joel holding a copy of his book in his hands, laughter and tears, worship on line, full stomachs, rest for our bodies, and freedom !

Hope you had a good weekend.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where warmer fall like weather has returned after some chilly days.   This morning as I lay in bed I heard a squirrel running across our roof which reminded me of the busy little rodent we saw gathering leaves this past week.  We were trying to see where he was making a nest, and discovered it was in the tree we see from our living room window.  Winter is coming and he was getting ready.  

Speaking of winter, we have avoided most of the snow that covered the Midwest, having only a half inch that lasted a couple of days.  Joel has been busy mulching and raking leaves lately~ an endless project in our yard.  He keeps up the job usually until the snow comes because our one Maple drops leaves very late in the season.

It has been a crazy week here.  Joel is still "recovering" from his bike accident which really left just a few scraps and bruises.  Unfortunately it seems that the physical trauma from that has triggered Shingles.  The NP said she felt it was the cause but also a major component can be stress.  The immune system is unable to keep the virus dormant.  She asked if Joel had any added stress lately?  Seriously?  Doesn't everybody?!?!  It was caught early and he is on antivirals to help keep his immune system up to par.  It is a crazy world when I looked at the red pus-filled rash and wondered if it was a Covid rash or Shingles.  In my head I am thinking, I hope it is Shingles.  Now, at any other time in our world I would be worried to hear it was Shingles, right?  But in the world of Covid.......well..........  

Yesterday we were having our morning devotions and I was reading from our Guideposts "All God's Creatures" daily devotional for animal lovers.  A story was shared about Water Buffalo.  It seems you can milk Water Buffalos and the high buttermilk content can be used to make the best gelato!  What a delightful bit of knowledge to learn. Who knew they could be milked! And gelato?  Wow!

 This story had us thinking about our time in The Philippines.  We saw Water Buffalo everywhere and we called them, "Filipino Tractors" because that is what they were.  Big lumbering animals with wide horns that farmers used for planting and carrying.  Sometimes we miss The Philippines. The people we knew, the experiences we had.  We don't miss the heat and humidity, but we have always enjoyed new adventures!  It was not the safest country and still isn't.  We used to go to a Serviceman's Christian Center off the base and talk with missionaries who came there.  One family came to stay awhile because they were warned that guerillas were coming to kill them so they had to flee.  They were called guerillas then, but now we would call them terrorists I expect.  Often at night we would hear gunfire up in the hills and our planes were shot at once in awhile as they left or landed on the base. We were under Marshall Law so we could not leave our homes after 10 pm.  We hired 24/7 guards for the area where we lived off base, and had big yard lights, cement block walls with barbed wire or broken glass on top with steel gates that we locked.  We also had bars on all our windows.   It was the way it was in the 70's.  Living in a third world country shaped the rest of our lives.  So much of the two years we were there gave us experiences and great memories,  including that of the Water Buffalo. 

This past Wednesday was hair cutting day here.  I have been cutting Joel's hair for decades, but with Covid on a big upward climb in our county, I decided not to call my hairdresser who always comes to the house.  She is a gem, but works out in the world so Joel and I cut my hair again and I am still thinking we do a pretty good job considering!!  It is just nice to have hair again....very thin on top and mostly white, but it is hair.

Today is Halloween.  We have decided not to pass out candy due to Covid.  Halloween is not my favorite time of year but we always enjoy when the kids come to the house.  Not this year.  I follow and read the books of Ana Werner and she shared a story this week that made us laugh out loud.  She had taken he 5 year old son to Target and evidently some of the Halloween stuff there scared him.  All of a sudden at the top of his lungs he yelled, "I rebuke you Halloween!" cute.   Our middle daughter sent us this picture that made us chuckle.......My reply was, "Yes, we will take two please."

I saw a video on Facebook where a nursing home had some kind of contraption created that made it possible for people there to hug their loved ones.  It brought tears to my eyes to see the one woman hold her son and hug and hug on him.  We all need human touch, we need to connect with those we love.  It reminds me of another story I watched about a nurse in Billings MT who was in tears as he shared how his first Covid patient to die, did so alone and he vowed then not to let that happen again.  Twenty three of his patients have died from Covid and he has been holding the hand of everyone as they took their last breath, so they would not die alone.  There are so many beautiful stories of beautiful people out there. 

Speaking of beautiful people, this past week our middle daughter had a birthday and we were able to visit with her on the phone the day before for two hours.  It was wonderful!  We treasure the time spent with our children, and sure do miss seeing them.  We enjoy texting of course and love the pictures that come across our phones, but hearing the voices of those we love makes such a difference to us.  I have shared this before, but I used to call my mom once a week for many years and it would cost us for every minute spent on the phone.  It was expensive!  Just to call on our cells anytime and nearly any place is really a gift!  

There are lots of gifts to be thankful for this week.  The Shingles not being Covid, the antivirals to help the Shingles, the hair cuts, sunshine for Joel and cloudy days for me, laughter, the antics of animals, Joel's book soon in our hands, texting, phone calls, pictures, people helping people, homemade cookies, an online Bible Study, walks in the park and our association, the "full armor of God"!

Enjoy your weekend, people!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Good Saturday to you from chilly Iowa where we woke up to 18 degrees!  Already?!  Tomorrow we are expecting a bit of snow but nothing like what has been falling in Minnesota or even southern Iowa!  It is too soon, but alas Mother Nature has ideas of her own!  

Even with the chilly weather we have been walking some days at the park here in town.  It has been nice to get outside and breathe in some fresh crisp air.  When we walk at the park we need to watch where we are putting our feet because there are a lot of geese...and a lot of geese means a lot of droppings to avoid!  Still, it is worth it to enjoy the scenery.  I can't resist the analogy here.  Seems like right now the ads in Iowa are a lot like the geese droppings!  And I am always watching for them so I can change the channel or mute them!  Ha  ha........You know, we already voted, so shouldn't all the ads leave after that?

Speaking of getting outside, Joel decided to ride his bike on Wednesday since the winds were down somewhat but he came home soon after leaving as his bike had "thrown him" and he ended up walking home, injured along with an injured recumbent bike.  Something happened to the seat and it took down the bike. At least on a recumbent there is not far to fall.  He was "only" going 5-7 mph but ended up at the chiropractor yesterday with leg, hip and lower back pain.  The Dr. told him that the inflammation, pain, etc. usually show up 2 days after a fall in those who are older.  Of course who wants to hear that word, "older"?  Not my Joel! But he is resting a bit as his body needs that to heal.  It was a minor accident and for that we are very grateful!

Speaking of grateful, my sister Jo is doing amazingly well!  Starting taking steps this week with a walker and working hard with her PT.  They told her she could be home by Thanksgiving!!  She is determined to get out of there and home to her cozy apartment.  One step at a time.  Thanks for praying!  

This week I wrote a long post about preaching politics from the pulpit.  It is a pet peeve of mine to see or hear pastors in their position of power preach politics. In other words, telling their congregation members how to vote.   It is also very disturbing to read or hear all the rhetoric ~ hate verbally expressed ~ judgements and executions thrown out if you are a democrat or if you are a republican. It also bothers me that Christianity is now often presented as only one color.  Red.   No grace, no love, no place within that is open to hearing what someone else has to say, wherever you come down on the political scale.   There is a song I heard recently entitled, "I Speak Jesus" and that is what I believe we are to do.  Jesus never spoke hate.  Ever.  I won't go on because now I am starting to put out my own opinions.....I will say that my faith guides my political leaning and for me it needs to, but I refuse to think I have all the answers and can judge others by how they or blue........purple or green.............

This week I had a runny nose and a cough started.  It got my attention.  Covid is high around Iowa and I go to the Rehab center and doctors way too often.  Careful always, but it is out there and I keep being told by doctors to be careful.  Anyway, it was gone in a couple of days, but it used to be when you had a runny nose, it was just that....a runny nose.  A cough was just a cough.  Our world has changed and I, for one, think it will be a long time before I think of a cough as just a cough again.  A mask is a great protector just like a seat belt is, but we also must remember that our True Shield is Jesus.  We do what we can and we turn to Jesus for His protection and guidance in all circumstances in life.  

I have been watching a documentary called "The Social Dilemma" that our son-in-law recommended.  Very interesting.  Of course, any info presented is always in need of sifting, but it is quite powerful on how social media subtly influences us.  I am on Facebook more than I want to admit.  I am very careful what I read, and belong to pages that are inspirational or connected to friends and family.  I don't read what I consider political rhetoric, etc. nor do I follow news feeds, but I can't help but scroll past much of that info with the titles in bold print getting my attention.  This documentary has me asking myself how much time I need to put into Facebook, and why.  ( I understand the irony as I put my blog posts on here for others to read!!)  It is thought provoking, for sure.

This week Joel has been raking and mulching, one bike ride cut short, grocery shopping, and going through the long process of getting his book self published. He was able to meet with his colleague group, social distancing with masks at a local church.  I have seen doctors and the OT, did a lot of cooking and some cleaning, walked 30 minutes a day, and started a new puzzle with such small pieces my eyes are rebelling!  TV has consisted of a fun series called "New Tricks" on Prime, and Building Designs , The Great British Baking Show, and Repair Shop on Netflix.  What are you watching?

So this week I am grateful for walks outside in the crisp fall air, geese (but not their droppings), improvements in OT, a "normal" chest wall exam,  British Baking Shows, the mute button on the TV, a warm cozy home, Joel's bike accident not being serious, Dr. Hirota's help for him, the power of prayer, the power of sunshine, the power held in the name of Jesus,  documentaries that make us think, shows that make us laugh, friends and family.  

This week as politics ramp up, Covid, ramps up, and winter ramps up, lets stand firm in the Presence of the One who has this!  Recently Joel was disturbed by all that was going on in our lives and in the country and had a "good talk" with God.  He quietly heard, "I've got this under control, Joel".  Joel continued to vent to God and he heard, "I have this FIRMLY under control".  We are hanging on to that each may not always look like it, but we are not alone.  

Enjoy your weekend, people.  This is the day that the Lord has made...............