Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wants, needs, and what is really important

Our pastor preached on the First Lesson for today, Acts 17: 22 - 31. The Greeks worshiped and sacrificed to many gods in the vain hope that they would appease the right god for the right reason and just in case they might be missing a god, they also had altars to An Unknown God, which Paul tells them is the one, true, Living God. This is the God who gives us life and sustains us in our life.

In modern society, we have many "gods." We can tell what our personal gods are by looking at what we think will give us pleasure or comfort. We can look at the amount of time we spend pursuing an earthly goal in comparison to the amount of time we spend worshiping the one true God or serving God by serving mankind.

Our culture tells us frequently that if we buy certain items or do certain things, we will be better, happier or more perfect. The devil's voice of temptation is in that message: if we are convinced that we are not good enough as we are, i.e., as God made us, then we will strive to spend money on something to improve ourselves or something that will make us happier. Just think of how "happiness" is associated in the ads with soft drinks or cars or even candy bars.

While most items and events are neutral, the emotional overtones we associate with them can take on meanings which pull us from the abundant life that God wants us to have.


All this was brought home to me in a startling way today: Bill died unexpectedly.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In need of prayer, please.

Bill is still greatly in need of prayers and healing.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Five

I’m not a member of the RevGalBlogPals, but I often read their Friday Five. This one was especially intriguing.

Singing Owl posed some questions:

An Old Versus Modern (Postmodern?) Friday Five

Yesterday I had two separate conversations in which people were musing about how much change is occurring. The WW II generation, of which my mom is a part, went from horse and buggy to automobiles, saw the lessening, or even the end of many diseases, went from widespread use of kerosene lamps and outhouses (in the country, and most folks were rural)) to a totally electrified and plumbed society. The fastest means of communication was a telegraph. The second conversation--gulp--was about MY generation and how much change occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The person said his 13 year old had not seen a vinyl record album until a few days before, couldn't remember a time without cell phones, and on and on.

As for the questions!


1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live
without?
Diane, at Faith in Community, asked what exactly do we mean by “modern.” That, really, is a good question. Since I was in a third world country last year for three weeks, I saw that I take some things for granted and that they had some things I didn’t expect, like cell phones but not land lines.

Since I lived for 3 ½ months last year without running water and a working sewer system, I obviously CAN do without them, but I was able to use other modern items to compensate. But I would say that I couldn’t do without a sit-down-indoor-toilet for very long. I barely managed that during the time in Africa.

I also would miss motorized travel, i.e., my car, terribly. I don’t want a horse.

As for what we may think of as the more modern things, I really love having the internet, both for emailing acquaintances all over the world, and also because I love looking things up any time I want to. But, I lived nearly 5 decades without this, so I guess I could “do without” the internet.

I also think of my son who would not be alive without modern antibiotics which he had to be given when he was tiny.

2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day?

Why? Items themselves (except for bombs) are neutral, but how we use them can be the problem. Cell phones have helped keep my adult children’s friends in touch during very difficult times, but they also seem to make the kids more dependent. Game boy, game box, etc. seemed ok, but they helped our son put up a wall between himself and us when he lived at home. Satellite TV and IPods give us specific entertainment, but, in some ways, break down connections between people.

3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If
so, do you use it (them)?
I think we might still have our turn table somewhere, but it isn’t hooked up. We have several tape players. I don’t use that, but my husband likes it better for certain things than a CD player. I don’t like earphones, so I’m not into IPods, etc, but I also rarely used the older devices with earphones either.

4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something
else?
I like technology, so many of the new things interest me, except the IPod stuff. The scary part is the way the politicians use the media to sway us. But I guess that is nothing new.

5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus
points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process.

Water level down over night, but.....

..... there is a winter storm warning for today and tomorrow. I am depressed in anticipation. I think all these email weather warnings I get and also watching a morning show on TV are NOT helpful to me. What will be will be. Anticipatory depression is stupid.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rain = Pond = Ducks


No, I don't usually have a pond or ducks in front of my house. I can currently see water out of windows on three sides of my house. I hope the electricity doesn't quit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sunny Weather Followed by Possible Flooding

We’ve had nice, sunny, warm weather for a few days. The snow from those last two big snow storms has disappeared and we had some rain two days ago. The rivers and creeks are way up. More rain is predicted starting tomorrow. There is a flood warning for the general area, as the ground is already saturated. Spring floods are not the usual pattern in this area, although heavy rain later in summer has caused floods in the past. But we’ve been in a drought pattern for the past 2 – 3 years.

Our house isn’t in danger of flooding, unless we get about three more inches of rain, a possibility, or if the electricity goes out. Our sump pump has been running many times each hour for a few days. We had water in the basement in 1999, the year of the Big Blow Down, because the electricity went out then. We were not alone with the water damage. Many other areas of the US have gone from severe drought conditions to flooding in the last few years. There's no reason to think that we are exempt.

Darn Eyes

My eyes are still giving me problems: They are red and they itch or burn about half the time. Sometimes I think the problem affects my sight. It seems that I'm allergic to almost all the various medications (drops) I've tried, so after being treated for the original problem, I'm now having an allergic reaction to things that didn't used to bother me, such as wedding flowers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Half-way cured

One eye seems fine.  The other still is red and sore.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Frustrations: Medical Care, Eyes, Internet

I shouldn’t even still be sitting at the computer, but I was trying to get a few things in order, clean up the email that I didn’t read over the weekend and get on with the day.

My mom was moved to the nursing home yesterday. That was a day after all things were arranged, but the doctor didn’t show up until late in the day to see her and OK things. This doctor normally goes to the hospital at 5:00 a.m. Everybody else got other things done and waited and waited. She is very weak and tired, so she will have to feel better and work hard at her PT to get strong enough to leave the nursing home to go back to the other facility.

My mother has had a Do Not Resuscitate ID band for over 1 ½ years, but it broke a number of months ago. Someone told me that they would take care of getting another one. Didn’t happen. She requested it again when she went to the hospital. Didn’t happen. My sister requested that the doctor order one. He said that the nurses would take care of it when she was discharged. At discharge, the nurse said that the nursing home would take care of it. The nursing home said that the doctor has to order it. My sister is going to locate the faded and broken band and see if it will suffice. We believe that an over the counter medication that my mom was prescribed may be the culprit behind her unfortunate decline in health.

My eyes look better to the eye doctor, but they are still very irritated and I’m still light sensitive. I am allergic, it seems, to a number of eye drops of various kinds. But the medicine eye drop, which was supposed to burn, didn’t bother me at all. I have to travel about 3000 miles in the next 1 ½ months, so my eyes could be a real issue.

I’ve used MyYahoo as my home page for 8 years, but yesterday, the internet kept redirecting me to a blank page on one browser and to the Beta version on another browser. I emailed Yahoo and actually got an answer. They told me to clear my cache, which I did, but it didn’t help, at least not at first. Now some of the cookies are all messed up for logging in. I think I finally got the computer/yahoo fooled into going to the correct MyYahoo, but tomorrow is another day, so we’ll see. I really hate the Beta version because lots of the choices to click on are in such a light type font that I can’t read them. And there are too many ads. I filled out the complaint form about 3 times, each time it popped up.

Good news: I’m getting ready to be in a little art show later this week.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Health Update

My mother, who went into the hospital on Tuesday, is improving slightly. She has been "fading" for the last month, apparently because her blood levels of various things are out of whack. But the reason for the change isn't known. She needs help to get up. She is not requesting interventions and is at peace with whatever comes, and she has always had a strong faith, so I'm at peace with whatever decisions she makes with my sister's help.

The eye doctor said that my eyes are improving, but I'm still using medicated eye drops. Unfortunately, I'm apparently allergic to several types of eye drops. My eye doctor has been wonderful about calling me because we've not been able to get to appointments. Did you hear? We had two major snow storms in one week!

World Sunlight Map

This is my current favorite ever-changing site on the web. I like being able to see where I am and see the part of Africa I visited last November. I think daily of the people there. I was humbled to receive an email today saying that some of my friends there are fasting and praying for me and my mom.

TRUTH and Global Warming

Please see Dr. John's blog for an interesting discussion about Global Warming, but more importantly, how a discussion gets sidetracked and polarized, rather than sticking to the data that is being looked at by scientists.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Retreating at Home

Dr. John commented that I should "retreat" at home. I've already missed 5 hours and one meal of the retreat, and it was to go through Monday.

Well, I will try to work on the same projects I would have worked on at the retreat. I don't have as much stuff to transport, but I doubt that I'll be working on my stuff from 8:00 am till 10:00 pm for 4 1/2 days like we do at "camp." And, of course, it isn't the same as building the friendships as we do at camp.

This is not a spiritual retreat, but it is in a place that is usually for spiritual retreats. That makes things interesting in an odd way. We don't, for example, pray out loud before our meals, but we do talk in depth enough to learn what people's spiritual leaning are. We can't push our views as it wouldn't be appropriate, but maybe that makes us listen better. It just occurred to me just why pushy Christians can be so annoying: they don't intend to listen.

I'll have to cook at home. If this next storm hits, hubby will be home tomorrow, so maybe I can get him to cook.

Meanwhile, I'm still dealing with my eye trouble which just resulted in a quick trip to the pharmacy. The expensive soothing eye drops are not living up to expectations. Drops: $129, $12.99, $12.99.

It will be interesting to see where this second storm in one week goes. If it is south, they will get rain, if it is north, we will get snow. And the winds off the Big Lake are building waves up to ten feet high. That's called a blizzard, folks.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cancelled....

I was all set to “retreat” this weekend.  And I don’t mean going backwards.  But it has been cancelled because of the remains of last weekend’s snow and the possibility of snow tomorrow night.  I was “looking forward” to “retreating.”  [I’m blue, but I have lots to do.]

American Kestrel

I posted a nice picture I took today of an American Kestrel over at my other blog.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Hospital

I just found a phone message that my Mom went to the hospital this morning.  I don’t know any more yet.   

Monday, April 07, 2008

More and More snow

Snow is still falling, lightly now, but it really piled up yesterday. That's snow for about 42 hours. It is heavy and wet, this time of year. I hear that only about 50 people got to church yesterday. We didn't try because we didn't want the car stuck on the driveway because then we'd never get plowed out. I posted some more pictures here.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Happy as a Clam!


We are having a snowstorm, an epic snow storm, like in the novels about the settlers on the prairie. Unlike the southern part of our state and the neighboring states, we missed all the storms that hit since December. The forecast for this storm at first said that it would start last evening at 7:00 pm and last at least 30 hours.

We had planned to go to a wedding 70 miles north of here, on the Canadian border, and we did go. The weather looked fine, but we packed our jammies. At 10:00, just after the dancing started, we left the wedding party. We were quite fortunate to leave when we did, as the last 12 miles or so of our drive home was in blowing snow, but the road was visible. The last 5 miles was in snow so thick that it was impossible to see more than a few feet in front of the car and impossible to tell which lane we were in. I was glad to know I was close to home, especially since the first 50 miles of that trip home were in an area of no towns and few houses. Our own bed never felt so welcoming.

It is still snowing today. Snowing and snowing. This is a picture of one happy man, a man who LOVES snow. He is carrying a container so he can measure the water content of the snow.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Baseball season again

Ok, so my team lost three of the first four games. Maybe I will get more done in the evenings this year. But my resolution is to figure out more things that I can do while watching the games on TV. And I just found out that my Bible Study buddy likes baseball, so we are planning to go to a game in the city and then we can stay overnight at each of our son's homes! Great plan.

Updates...

Bill: home from hospital, facing lots of trips (over 200 miles one way) back to the hospital for treatments, not being able to work at his three part time jobs and his extensive volunteer work, but his hand is attached, and, SO FAR, SO GOOD!

My eyes: They are only a little better, maybe. Yesterday they were comfortable for the first time in 5 weeks, but they don’t feel all that great today. The sun will be bright today, so I’ll be able to tell if I’m still quite light sensitive. I have to use two types of drops. I figure that the drops are about $3 per drop.