Monday, October 22, 2018

FACEBOOK ESTRANGMENT?

"You should be able to pick up the phone and call any of those Facebook friends and say: 'Hey, listen: I'm in trouble. I need a lift, I need a ride, I need help, I need information.' ~Anon

What a wonderful thought if the above rang true of friends. 
 


What  have I gleaned recently from my frequent encounters with fb?
Let's talk about "friends" and what I learned from my friend lists and my friend's lists.
 It is fascinating. It measures tightly how people are connected or not.
In analyzing my network, I figured out who is the most important to me and who is important to most of my friends or not.
Simply belonging to my network reveals much about me as I tell it.  It tells what is important or not.
I tell myself often that if I was ever convicted of being a follower of Jesus, It would be easy if they follow me on social media.
The ability to remove and block those friends is very handy of which I have only done once, in my fb infancy.
However, it takes a little detective work to find out if I have been blocked,  removed, or down graded to another level.
Fb will not be telling you out rightly if someone has banished you or removed you as a friend.
It isn't the nicest thing in the world to be reporting.

It takes a little detective work to find who has unfriended but it usually follows some suspicious thing one might have said in reply to a comment or that inkling that a friend has kicked you out.

Having established what you suspect and that friend no longer appears in your friend list, you either let it go or dig deeper. 
Then check messenger.  If they are still on fb and they have not deactivated their account, their profile picture will appear under "More People" heading.  After ruling suspects out one can establish a list of former friends.


What I have found out about friends and lists was that it doesn't always bring out the best in people but it does eventually bring out the truth.
You might say, But what about family?  You would think that shared DNA would assume unconditional love and acceptance?  Well or at least tolerance.  Apparently not.
If your family can't appreciate your masterpiece comments, they probably are not your target audience.

I can choose my fb friends but I cannot choose my family.   Don't like to feel uncomfortable do you?  So when family, sadly, unfriends you, breathe, maybe you have been given a gift, accept it.  Pray for them.
I am assuming that I am the person they don't want to hear from anymore and they don't want to have you know about them.  Sadly this reveals that they were not very close to you as thought.

Unfriending is an active step that tells somebody 'I don't like you'.  'I don't want to see your stuff anymore.'
Sadly it may also reveal what someone else thinks of me.  I am puzzled at the immaturity of many.



Oh, friend, When we get to Heaven, or not, all will come out in the open.  I seriously hope that you have not unfriended God or one of his followers because they have offended you.

 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

FROM MY PARADOX FILES: BOOK REVIEW

“Suffering has the power to turn your timidity into courage and your doubt into surety. Hardship can turn envy into contentment and complaint into praise. It has the power to make you tender and approachable, to replace subtle rebellion with joyful surrender. Suffering has the power to form beautiful things in your heart that reform the way you live your life. It has incredible power to be a tool of transforming grace.”  ~Tripp

This week, I found myself captivated by the latest book by author Paul David Tripp.

It is fascinating because of its biblical view of suffering and adversities and infuriating to others who have been ambushed by the challenges that shake their very core of unbelief and poor theology.
Here's what he states is necessary to understand about suffering:
 "You never just suffer the thing that you're suffering, but you always also suffer the way that you're suffering that thing."
 This book impacted my view on suffering and took it to another level, deeply encouraging me.  It spoke to me personally.  His words sunk deep into my soul.
He explains that suffering should not surprise us, yet it almost always does.  "We live in a broken world."
He explores a wide range of biblical insight, identifying traps to avoid and comforts to embrace.
The paradox, "Scripture connects trials and difficulty to the good things God wants for us and is working to produce in us."  James l:2-4
Poor understanding of Romans 8:28 leads to unrealistic expectations.
The author wants us to understand that suffering is not just physical but spiritual warfare.  Suffering assaults the mind.
His purpose in sharing this book is:
"...to help you with the war beneath the battle, to alert you to places where you have to fight for your own heart and to help you to see the amazing ways your Savior meets you in your battle." 
He captures your thoughts through little aha moments and tidbits you want to underline.   It is the kind of book you want to share but want to keep in your library just in case you need to read it again.  Yes, it is one of those kinds of book.  Christmas is coming.

GET YOUR COPY HERE 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A SPOOKTACULAR ADVENTURE

This morning I had my yearly comprehensive eye examination.  Halloween had taken over the large reception room that shares space with the optical shop.
Uncomfortably bright

Ghosts, skeletons, pumpkins, and fall abounded.  Ghoulish pumpkins of all colors stared at me from the counter.  A gold skeleton danced on a door.  The exit door had a Christmas wreath.
I settled into a seat to wait.  Above me was an eye chart poster draped with cotton cob web.  My husband made himself comfortable for the hour and a half wait and took a nap.


And of course, just as I decided to pull out a book to read, and jot a few notes in my journal (yes, I brought it along this time.), I was called into the small “waiting room”.


The assistant quickly left, leaving the door ajar which five minutes later from a gust of air mysteriously closed.
So I was left in this dimly lit room with the big letter “E” staring at me from the opposite side of the room.  I am no stranger to such rooms as I have been visiting such places since I was two or three.
The equipment remained silent and black, casting ominous eerie shadows on the wall.
So it is was just me, my notebook, a pen, a book, and my thoughts.
The sounds from the hall drifted in, mostly conversations in Spanish.  I felt the vibrations and muffled sounds of footsteps on the hall carpeted floors as I waited.


Vision tests these days have come a long ways.  I am very grateful for all the care I have gotten through out the years.
The assistant finally came into the room and gave me the standard visual acuity test exam.  You know, the reading of levels of different size letters and a number just to throw you off.
I also got an introocular pressure measurement.
  I was then sent back to the main waiting room for a few minutes.  Then, I was called in again, well not to a little room but to a machine in the hall way to have a keratometry test that measures the shape and curve of the outside of the eye to test for astigmatism. 
restroom key
They took my glasses away and sent me back to the main waiting room to await the next step without them!  I felt naked but fish into my hand bag for my prescription sun glasses.
After some time, I was again led into another small room where I was given the dreaded, deadly, dilation drops and again led back through a maze of hall ways just to get to the main waiting room to wait for the effect to take in preparation for the ophthalmologist doctor.
Finally, I was left again in a small similar dimly lit room to wait for the doctor.  I begin to feel like I was in a haunted mansion of some sort, waiting for the dr. to say BOO.
The Dr., in his ghostly white coat and his assistant dressed in all black, knocked on the door, like I was going to answer it, right?  You're waiting and the sound of the knock never fails to startle.


The questions he was asking me did not add up and I had a puzzled look.  He gave a questioning look to his assistant, they both did an about turn and quickly exited the room and shut the door.
Again I was left with my thoughts, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t see, but I could pray.
After about another 15 minutes, they reappeared with an apology about being in the wrong room.  To make sure this time, the assistant asked my birth date.
So the doctor did his look see and I am happy to report that my vision has not changed and I’m good for another year.


My outside world today seemed overly and uncomfortably bright due to the drops of dye to highlight the areas they wanted to look at.

  Six hours later, my vision was back to normal and I’m
blogging about today’s adventure.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

OPALS OR DIAMONDS?

"On a scale of one to ten an opal is easily the hardest gemstone to try and value. An opal has an infinite number of variables including color, pattern, brightness and origin."

So--Your here today.  I'm here today and rain is so conducive to writing.  Yes, we have had a rare occasion of rain.  So let's enjoy this little chat.
When I began to blog, I seriously did not envision all the aspects of my life that could be blogged about.
Opal always tries to drag Earl to the fabric store

I have four brothers.  I have a special affinity towards one who continues to mine the depths of our shared ordinariness of life as MK's in Mexico.   He has encouraged me to observe more closely the delightful humorous details of life.

The fact is that God blesses us with numerous humorous events.  What I am leading up to here is that since retirement, I am observing my 43 years of "wedded bliss" from the perspective of the oddities of experiences that ring true during this season of life.
Or at Hobby Lobby

Brian Crane, creator of the cartoon, Pickles, has the knack of captivating the humorous side of older adult married life.
Needless to say, I am a Pickles fan.  I see myself in Opal.  Crane has a way of carrying us past our short comings and move us to satisfied living.
  You will just have to Google and read those comics for your selves.


Without bohemians, the world would be a complete bore. 
THE OPAL RING
To celebrate our commitment we opted out of the traditional proposal.  The diamonds took a back seat as we chose a more fragile stone, the opal.  For one thing, it was a more cost-effective route to go on our tight budget.

Not to mention opals are unique.  We chose to celebrate the unique qualities of our love.  We were captivated by the unique beauty.
Matching gold rings
  Later when we got married, we exchanged wedding bands and that was it.  I did not need a huge hole in my man's love pocket.

Wearing an opal is said to bring about loyalty and faithfulness.  It was a  perfect representation of the unique spark and fire of our relationship,  a one-of-a-kind ring.
The opal's colorful history did not let us down.  Due to it's magical glow, opals have been steeped in mystery dating back to the middle ages.
 In Roman history, Caesars gave their wives opals for luck, regarding it as the most precious and powerful gemstone.
Shakespeare famously described the opal as the ‘queen of gems’ and ‘a miracle’.  So all that being said, we decided instead of worrying about the cost of a diamond ring, we'd go ahead and get an opal.
Sadly, our opal was stolen years ago when our home was broken into.
  But, I now have my diamonds.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

BETTER AT SIXTY NINE

Giving my thoughts some space on paper.  At least they began on paper and somehow migrated here so all my fabulous followers can experience some of my journey.

The benefits of reading and writing escalate the more frequent the encounters.
It fascinates me to read posts from the past.  The blog eventually pays back as I view past events and personal thoughts of God's work in my life.  Reading my own stories offers a door way into the wonders of my past.
I am entering some of the best years.  I'm hanging on cause time seems to be going very fast, crazy and sometimes heartbreaking on this ride.  But guess what?  I'm living!  I survived, today.
WHAT PIQUES YOUR INTEREST?
Please take a moment to breath and to enjoy the beauty around you.  Look around you.  Enjoy the moment.


I have gone through things I never dreamed of.
 What’s your journey?  What's been the pathway to get to the destination?
 What kind of intentional steps have you gone to get there?   Is it a patient journey?

 Who are the people on the journey with you?  Who benefits along the way?
One of the hardest things about getting old is seeing friends and family members swept away.  Never, ever lose the actors in your life.  Treasure the memories.  Don't let the memories fade to the point, you see only black and white, or sepia.  Capture those moments in color.
If you are young and reading this, you may roll your eyes because it may seem unimaginable to be better at sixty nine than twenty one.


"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."  II Cor.4:16


Facebook is a sinking ship of youth, time, selfies, and manufactured perfection.  The unseen greatest skills acquired are honesty, the importance of compassion and incredible patience.  Well still struggling on that last one.
Life is strange.

  It's Ok to not have it all together cause once you think you have it together, you get thrown a curve ball.
I have experienced tremendous highs and some tremendous lows.
Life is not about smooth sailing.
Life will not go according to plans.
Embrace the changes as they come, cause they will keep coming.
Stop expecting and learn to appreciate.  Remain "classy", vintage so to speak.  Don't be afraid to wear those pearls.

"EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS TEMPORARY, BUT MEMORIES LAST FOREVER."
I appreciate those who ask if I'm okay.  But what do they expect?  What answer should I reply?
Today was a perfectly okay kind of day.  Having lunch with two friends today put color to my day.
I'm thankful my name was on the wake-up list this morning.
 Don't wait!  For an easier life that is.  It won't get that way.  Simpler, or better?  Don't bet on it!

The secret to my life has been learning to cultivate joy, right now before I run out of time.


 "I was young and now I am old,
    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread."  Ps.37:25
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

DEAR MR. SCOOOOOOF

Dear Mr. Scooooof,
Today is your birthday.  Today, you are still my husband.


  I'm sorry that we did not get our usual table and usual waitress.  Although you were fine with that, I was not.  I guess it doesn't matter now since our favorite picture above the table is gone.  It did not hinder you from  enjoying your yearly free birthday breakfast as usual.

Life is such an unknown but this moment is not.  I wish I could say that the last 43 years have been marital bliss during that time.  Fat chance!  What a wonderful thought though.  You and I both know that is by far from true reality.

 The journey we have been on together has been rocky, bumpy, and at times beautiful, and sometimes ugly but the one thing that has remained steady has been God's involvement in our lives and a caring Biblical sound church.  I want to thank you for initiating our first visit back in 1976.  The one thing for sure is that God's plan for me was to be your helper.

There have been many times it would have been easier to just give up.  I am convinced that God designed me for you because there is no one to equal my German stubbornness.  Thank you for choosing me to be your helper and trusting me in certain areas.
Living with you has made me a better version of myself.

Some days, I know, we are on two different frequencies.  Most days life together isn't grand or fanciful because we are growing old together.  Fancy that!

Because you know how kooky I can get.  "oh, no!  She's blogging again."  You know how I love the written word and you allow me that time.  Thank You. 
 "Oh, no!  She's got her camera out again!"  Many a time, you are a good sport and will show your photogenic side and indulge me.  I sure do appreciate you helping me to capture those memories.
Writing has the power to calm my heart, share what's on my heart, and brightens my day.
Life has not always been the easiest.  The easiest part has been soothed by our relationship with God and a solid grounding in God's Word.
There have been many moments that changed our world.  I won't forget how your face lit up when I told you, I was pregnant again after several of years of waiting for our first one.  Just as we were waiting to tell the world plans changed.  The baby we talked about was taken.
Can you imagine him seeing, Jesus's face first.  He was joined by two more.  Then God blessed us with another one.  You were so proud to be gifted with a son.  We enjoyed him for 32 years.
Sometimes we fight over the stupidest reasons and you know what, I tell you everything that bothers me.  As you know, I am very strong in my opinions (The German half of me).  I am sorry I don't take time to thank you as often as I should.  I am glad I am in your life even though the tendency to take life and love for granted.  I definitely don't vocalize it enough.


I am not the person you fell in love with.  That 20 something year old gal you fell in love with is never coming back.
I may be spontaneous, exuberant, and full of life still but things have changed.  I have slowed down.  I have gotten more anxious, and rigid.  I need you to know that the other girl in me is gone.
But, you still love me and stand by me.  So, I am good. You have supported me through trips to the ER and to Urgent Care.  I don't see how you could think clearly during some of those episodes or maybe you weren't, but we survived.
I know that you did not sign up for all this yet you stuck with me.
Yep, almost 43 years of married life and I realize how selfish I have been.  My thoughts are not always about you.  I have had agendas for the day and can get a little upset when things don't go right, my way or aren't done.  Forgive me for the times I have failed to be encouraging and choosing to focus on what you did wrong.  Forgive me for treating marriage as a barter system.
The paradox of marriage is that while beautiful moments exist it can also be messy.  No day is ever perfect--it is so 24/7.  It is not all fun and smiles but there is immense joy to be found.
 
So to the man I married, to the man I married has become, there undoubtedly many more hardships to come as together we head for the finish line.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Scooooooof
           HAPPY BIRTHDAY
 


Monday, October 1, 2018

WELL SEASONED

When asked the question of McQuilkin, “Why does God let us get old and weak?” He thought a moment and then replied,

“I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But the strength and beauty of old age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty that is forever. And so we’ll be eager to leave the temporary, deteriorating part of us and be truly homesick for our eternal home. If we stayed young and strong and beautiful, we might never want to leave.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
1 For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 

10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.
 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.


HELLO, FABULOUS READERS!
  This late afternoon, I thought I'd take a moment to share a little realness. For the past fifteen years, I have been fighting an uphill battle in a season that does not appeal to me. A season of unplanned health issues.
The average season is 91 days and just as God has planned this so has he customized my seasons in life.
Some seasons are good and some
take us out of our comfort zone.  They are ways that God has captured my heart and my faith.
Whether, we like it or not seasons are inevitable in life.

What particular season appeals to you or not?
Why do some seasons speak to us more than others?
Do our life temperatures have a profound impact on us?
I feel hotter now than I did at 20, no pun intended.  Getting older and leaving my former "Hot life" long ago has been a series of momentous decisions, that pesky passage of time that defines change;  That belly that looks like a tush in front of a lumpy, squishy, mishapen body from child bearing years.  Nobody feels the need to tell you.
The extent of this state of affairs is the season that defines me.


Is it possible to hang onto a past season or park in the wrong season when the timing of those season is beyond our control?
Isn't it interesting that it seems like we are continually longing for a different season?  Isn't it perplexing that our most difficult seasons are times that God works the most in our lives?
Seasons have shaped me.
Seasons have strengthened me.
Seasons have enriched my life experiences.

What is so awesome about seasons is that no season lasts forever.  Good seasons don't last.  Trying seasons don't last.
I have learned to accept the season I am in and work with what that season requires.  They are reminders that the timing of seasons is under God's control.
God will change the season of life I'm in when He's ready to change something about me.
There are some more difficult seasons than others but the Lord just wants me to trust Him through each & every one of those seasons.
The reality of my current season is humbling, a continuum of gratitude and blessing.


We have seasons because the earth is tilted (wonky) as it makes its yearly journey around the sun.
We have life seasons because we live in a (wonky) fallen world.
The North Pole always points in the same direction and earth revolves around the sun.
Seasons of life point to our redemption, one way if life revolves around the SON.

Where am I in this season of life?

Cultivating my relationship with God, so that together with the psalmist I am able to say,

 “I have relied on you all my life; you have protected me since the day I was born. I will always praise you.” (71:6).

Isn't life strange?  The fall season is so beautiful, yet everything is dying.  You never know what kind of opportunities you will encounter from one season to another.
You can't run around trying to stay in you're favorite season. That would defy the key to contentment.

Let's face it, some seasons never come.  How you handle the present season seems to prepare for the next one.
We see seasons in our relationships, finances, different decades, our education, careers, and stages of spiritual life.
Many times I was able to persevere in trials and adversities of life because I knew I was only in a season.  For some of us they may never end.

When a chapter or a season ends, it's as if we are never satisfied with God's timing.  It's hard when something you couldn't imagine ending ends.
We ask ourselves:
How long?
Will I survive?
Am I strong enough?
Changing seasons add to our testimony.  Some seasons seem to come and go, and then return again.
Paul contends, “our outer selves are wasting away” (2 Cor. 4:16)
Remember, parts of your journey includes seasons.
  "Clearly, I’m still adjusting, but having so many women around me going through the same thing makes it easier, as does, of course, having a bit of perspective. Conveniently, that comes with age." Quote from "My Formerly Hot Life" by Stephanie Dolgoff.  (worth reading, at least the first chapter, for the chuckles.)




Saturday, September 29, 2018

MY NAUGHTY SELF

I slowly pulled my 5'3" petite frame out of bed this morning after a night of journeying between exotic dreams and skipping to my loo multiple times for lack of a better term to fit the occasion.

Frightened by the image that faced me in the mirror, I pressed on to prepare for the day disappointed that I had slept in so late when I had multiple things to get done today before the heat of day would encourage procrastination. 
I did not have to wait for daylight this morning to take in my self imposed regular 20 minute morning walking paces in my back yard but I was arguing with myself and talking back that maybe, I could just skip this day.  Thinking better of it, I pulled myself together, gritted my teeth, and knew if I skipped today, how much easier it would be to just keep skipping.

Everything appeared to irritate me and I was losing my joy like air out of a balloon.  I wanted to crawl back into bed and throw the blankets over my head.  Problem was, I had already taken off the covers and sheets to be laundered.  The washing machine worked perfectly, for the first load.  The dryer was working.
I snipped and snapped trying to gain control of my mind and actions setting myself to "Just do the next thing."  Even if it meant sending the next load for another extra spin/dry. The washer having issues of its own.
My naughty self wanted to take over.  I fought some more.  In short, I was having a bad attitude and I was appearing to enjoy it.  I am irked by things I used to do.   With shame, I had put God at the bottom of my to do list.
Some days are just like Alexander's, Horrible, Terrible Day, the classic, I used to read to my children when they were young.

"In this contemporary classic, veteran children's author Viorst introduces us to Alexander, a kid with an unruly crop of hair, who gets out of bed to face a day that seems to grow increasingly worse with each passing minute.

Indeed, on the very first page, Alexander wakes to hair full of gum, trips on his skateboard, and drops a sweater in a sink full of water.

At breakfast, his brothers are having a far better day — having found prizes in their breakfast cereal — which makes Alexander feel worse.

School offers him no respite from his horrible day: he gets reprimanded by a teacher, he gets demoted to third best friend, and at lunch, finds himself dessertless. Could the day get worse?

After school, the dentist discovers a cavity, the elevator door closes on his foot, and at the shoe store, he has to buy plain white shoes (while both brothers get shoes with stripes!). Later, he gets lima beans for dinner and there's kissing on TV. Alexander can't wait for this day to end."  ~unknown review
 All though, my days are not quite as drastic as that, there have been many days, I just can't wait for the day to end and then when it comes, I can't wait for the night to end.
 Life is so strange.

 


 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A MORNING WITHOUT COFFEE

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath


For lack of anything profound to blog about, good afternoon, my readers.  How are you this fine warm day?
They tell me writers block is just an excuse.  Sometimes I find myself staring at the monitor and key board hoping for inspiration.  In some ways blogging is a scary thing.  What will people think of me?  But, hey, what's the worst that can happen?
Another month, another week, another day, another hour in this broken world and body.  Evidence of a broken world is all around me. 
This morning, the inevitable, another doctor visit.

  Yes, I took my journal with me this time but the time went by so rapidly, I thought maybe I had been to In-N-Out which ironically is down the street from the doctors office, or through the car wash.
The adult blood pressure cuff was you might say wouldn't work so the nurse used the child cuff.  So just saying, amusing myself, is that why my B/P was lower?
  Or was it because I denied myself the usual morning cup of Joe. 
Shh, don't tell the doctor but your B/P increases the measurement by 5 to 10 after drinking coffee. You know, they get kind of excited when your B/P is high.


I was not considering the stimulating controversy of whether to quit drinking it or notIn the age of Starbucks, the dispute and tempest in the coffee pot could be grounds for serious debate. 
 But when it comes to every day brewed coffee, I think McDonald's is just as good, and actually prefer the lighter taste. 
I can't stand coffee from Starbucks and prefer not to drink Church coffee.
Now, don't get me wrong not all church coffee is mediocre.  The coffee shops or nooks have stepped it up a bit.
You've got to understand that I grew up in an era of no fancy coffee.  My father drank his black.  My mother drank hers with sugar.  Dad was a kind of farm coffee person.  The coffee had a little bit of grit in the bottom.  The kind that makes your hair stand up on end.
  The only creamer available was adding a little bit of the detested powered milk that all of us detested.  But you got to understand, we lived in the boonies where even the children drank coffee.  Coffee was used to dip our bolillos.  
In spite of the international fame of Mexican sweet bread, which we loved, the bolillo, a close relative to the french baguette, was a popular plain white hard crusty bread with a soft but sometimes hard interior.

 Coffee is one of Mexico's lucrative exports.
Coffee berry fruit
  Small farmers and their families relied on the crop for their economic survival in those days.

I recall many romps through coffee groves, snacking on the berry like fruit they produced, spitting out the coffee bean. 
Coffee Beans drying in the sun.  Dad in background
Yes, I believe, writers block is an excuse as I began this blog, it just seemed to evolve as my fingers on the keys went faster and faster.  I am so grateful for those typing classes in high school even though I got chewed out for chewing gum during class.