Friday, February 28, 2014

Four Years Later

I’m sorry that I haven’t written a blog post all week. I have had the time and as always, I have had ideas of things I wanted to write about. Maybe I just needed a little break. Late last night, I started a post and the laptop copped an attitude so I had to shut the whole computer down, losing what I had started. But not really a loss because it wasn’t much.

I rolled out of bed this morning, thinking I have to get something posted today. That’s when it dawned on me that I have been doing this for four years.

My first post, on February 28, 2010, was just a trial and I see now that I deleted it. I still need to count today as the day. What have I written about in those four years? Why tell you when I can show you.

My interview with Rat and Millie has got to be my favorite post. This post even has relevance with current events as the rat terrier was recognized at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show earlier this month. 

For some reason, my blog post which received the most views was "Are you a sea lion or a seal?"  I don't know what was so special about this particular post. I had Milwaukee Zoo as one of the labels, but I used that on other posts which didn't get nearly the traffic. One of those things I just don't understand. 

This would be one of my longer posts, but also one of the sadder ones. It always makes me cry. 

Lastly, I have been trying to find the best tribute post to my sister Pat. I have written so much about her, but I don't yet have the skill to tell her story the way it needs to be told. Someday

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Who's got their hand in the candy?

Jesus said to his followers, “Things will surely happen that will make people sin. But it will be very bad for anyone who makes this happen. It will be very bad for anyone who makes one of these little children sin. It would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and be drowned in the sea. So be careful!

“If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, warn them. If they are sorry for what they did, forgive them. Even if they do something wrong to you seven times in one day, but they say they are sorry each time, you should forgive them.”
 Luke 17:1-4 Easy-to-Read Version

I tried something different today. I randomly picked a book of the Bible (Luke) and a number (17). I plugged that into my Bible Gateway website and this is what I got. I looked at it and asked myself, “What can I say about this?” A lot, I thought, but then God said, “Oh, no missy, you tell this story.”

I was on my way to Confirmation class after school one wintery Wednesday. My two friends and I stopped at Hanke’s grocery store to pick up some snacks. Each of them reached into the Brach’s candy display and slid their candy-filled hand silently into their jacket pocket. I did likewise.

I was so smooth that when we got outside, one of them offered me a butterscotch candy. “I got my own,” I answered, slightly offended that they thought I was too much of a baby to shoplift for myself. Then the three of us walked to church one block away and nothing more was ever said about it.

Obviously the incident weighed heavy on my heart for me to remember it so clearly over thirty years later. Did these two girls cause me to sin? Not directly, but, though I don’t blame them at all, I know I wouldn’t have stuck my hand into the caramels if I hadn’t seen them do it. I’ve forgiven them, but I never went back to Hanke’s to repay what I took. The thought of going in there and apologizing to the manager makes me break out in a sweat even now. And the store has long since closed anyway.

I have asked for forgiveness from God and I know that He has granted it. I also know that I am not cut out for a life of crime.

Dear Lord, Heavenly Father, thank you for offering us forgiveness from all of our sins. Thank You for making it possible by sending Your Son to die for us. Amen 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dad

When my dad died in 1993, I felt like such an orphan. Oh, sure we still had Mom (and thankfully still do), but there is something about losing your parent that you never get over. I miss him every day. But looking at the date, chances are slim he would have still been with us if Alzheimer’s hadn’t taken him 21 years ago. Dad would have been 99 years old today. Hard to believe.

I’ve talked about his life here a few times before. (The Early Years, Being An American) There is still such a hole. He never talked much about his younger years. Shoot, he never talked much about anything. A nod of his head, a half of a grin, a random “yup”. That was Dad communicating.

Most people who know my mom say that I look just like her. But I did get a few things from Dad, his nose, his thinner build, his grey eyes, his dry wit. I wish I had gotten half of intelligence and any of his musical talent. I can only dream of being as easy going as he was. He never raised his voice, never lost his temper – ok, I do remember him swearing a few times, but nothing as colorful as on nightly TV.

Another silly memory – whenever he cut himself working in his shop, he would grab me to patch him up. He never wanted Mom to know for fear she would drag him to the doctor for stitches. Maybe that’s really how I ended up in the medical field.

Happy 99th Birthday, Dad. We’ll be together again someday. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Belated Valentine's Day

 I missed Valentine’s Day on Friday, but here is what I meant to post.  

13 I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move 
mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5 Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. 6 Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. 7 Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.

8 Love will never end. But all those gifts will come to an end—even the gift of prophecy, the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages, and the gift of knowledge. 9 These will all end because this knowledge and these prophecies we have are not complete. 10 But when perfection comes, the things that are not complete will end.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, and I made plans like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways. 12 It is the same with us. Now we see God as if we are looking at a reflection in a mirror. But then, in the future, we will see him right before our eyes. Now I know only a part, but at that time I will know fully, as God has known me. 13 So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. 

1 Corinthians 13 Easy-to-Read Version

(Not my cookies. They were made by co-workers for a cookie decorating contest last week.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our Collective Memory and a Bad Picture

I remember many years ago someone saying that the most news-worthy events ever had happened during the decade of the 1960s. I don’t know what constitutes “news-worthy”. We have lots of news every day; some of it seems worth sharing and some of it does not. All I know is that these things all happened fifty years ago. Which means not only am I more than fifty years old, it means that if I write about the fiftieth anniversary of all of those events, I will have plenty of blog material for the next ten years. If you think I am off by a few years, according to Wikipedia the time period known as the Sixties lasted from 1963 to 1974. I think they were just trying to find the time period which had the most news-worthy events.  

Why do I bring this up now? You may have heard that this past Sunday night was the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles American debut on the Ed Sullivan show. I was once again too young to really remember it. I never will be able to understand the frenzy then or the frenzy now over any rock stars. I do find it pretty comical that at the time the haircuts which the Beatles sported were considered rebellious. Don’t I wish kids today were only that rebellious.

Believe it or not, I spent an entire day writing this blog. I had to research everything I could on the Beatles, which you could imagine was a lot of information. And now I’m not even sharing any of it with you. Not even a picture. Because I have never actually met the Beatles, I don’t have any pictures of them, and I hate borrowing pictures from the internet.

So what then is the point of this post? Besides that I can waste an entire day doing the most useless research. I believe that is the point. We can take any event, any moment in time and become absorbed in it, obsessed with it. Maybe that is why we remember these anniversaries. They were part of our life, our collective single life here on Planet Earth.  
Sorry the photo is so grainy. It's from 1972. I thought I had a better photo of my sister with her guitar, but this will have to do. I have in my house right this minute three, possibly four of the items in this picture. Can you say "pack rat"? Bonus points if you can tell me who is on that album cover on the left. Super extra bonus points if you can tell me what is wrong in this picture besides the obvious (which is where is my face?). You probably would have had to know my sister to answer the super extra bonus question. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Clarity - this week's word

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
1 Corinthians 13:12, The Message

Earlier this winter, when temperatures refused to rise above zero, I felt myself giving into the stress of cabin fever. I went straight from the house to the car to work and back again at the end of the day. Now with daytime highs around ten above (yes, ten degrees Fahrenheit), I feel comfortable wearing boots, snowpants, and the rest of the normal winter gear as I roam around my backyard.

We have a steep hill where I have tried to keep a trail open. I march up it every weekend if I possibly can. From the top of my little hill, I have a clear view of my house and the rest of the yard. When I am on my back deck, I can only see so much of my domain, but from my hill, it all becomes clear.

It reminds me of this verse. Sometimes we just can’t see everything we want to. It is not clear, as if something were in the way. But with God in our life, we can see all around us as we were meant to. We have clarity before our eyes and clarity in our lives.

Thank You God for giving me eyes to see the beauty You have created. And thank You even more for letting me see how much You love me. Amen 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Street Scenes Photo Challenge

The task for this month's Photo Challenge was pictures of street scenes. When I read that topic, I thought, ah-ha, I got this one. And here it is February 8, at 10:30 pm, and I am scrambling to get this together. Arrgh. 

This first picture was taken in a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya. It was a parade to raise awareness for the Red Cross. Could be a picture taken any place, right? 
This picture was taken in the town of Ngong. It is a few miles outside of Nairobi - ok, maybe more than a few miles, darn bus ride gets me so disoriented. This little town has the modern conveniences, such as ATM's, fully stocked grocery stores and internet. But notice the man on the right. He is a Maasai, dressed like Maasai dress day in and day out.
Last we have the main drag of Saikeri, a Maasai village in the Bush. It is farmer's market day, so that is why the street is so filled with activity.
I have so many pictures from Kenya that it was hard to chose which ones to use. I picked these because they show the difference which twenty-some miles can make.

All of the pictures were taken with my Nikon Coolpix set on Auto pilot - the best place to be (besides Kenya).

Friday, February 7, 2014

Are we going to Kenya or Turkey?

Last fall a friend loaned me the book, “Miracle at Tenwek: the story of Ernie Steury” by Gregg Lewis. Since it tells the story of a physician who devoted his life to working in Kenya, she thought I would like it. Helping out in Africa and the nitty-gritty of medicine, I thought I would like it too. It started out that way, but currently I am three-quarters through it and have started skimming the pages.

God certainly had His hand in all of Dr. Steury’s work and He blessed the hospital at Tenwork as well as the Kipsigis tribe it served. And I do love reading about His miracles, but it has gotten a bit long. This is one of those books whose format is: this happened, then this happened, then this happened. There’s no change of pace. And each story is exactly like the previous story. (Yawn.)

A lot of people really liked this book, liked the testimony it shares. Those who are called to do missions work should turn their lives over to God and trust in Him totally to get them through every trial. I agree with that. But if you write a book about your experiences, keep your focus on what the readers want to read, not on every single thing that happened.

Take the book I actually did finish, after having started it only the day before. “My Journey to Kilis” by Abdullah Firoze is also about a doctor – ok, not a real doctor, he’s a third year medical student, but on his way to becoming a doctor – who feels called to help Syrian refugees.

His journey is just that – a journey filled with highs and lows, changes of plans, language barriers, illness and everything else that could go wrong. Through it all, however, the author keeps a positive attitude and accepts that this is the way things are going to be. Having been to Kenya twice and Peru once, I could so relate to some of his feelings of disappointment when things didn’t turn out as planned. I also enjoyed reading about the illnesses and injuries he encountered at his clinic.

Originally written as a blog, the author didn’t seem to make many changes to put his manuscript into book format, which made reading a little challenging at times. Also, after working with refugees in the Turkey city of Kilis for two and a half weeks, he spent his last few days touring Istanbul. I don’t think he’s a travel guide candidate as the last pages of his book didn’t make me want to run out and buy a plane ticket.

Overall, however, I would have to say that I would journey to Kilis before going to Tenwek if I only had these two books to go by. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's on my road?

I know that it has been a hard winter on everyone. Even on the mailboxes.
 On the highway near our house.

 No one lives at the house of this mailbox but it still doesn't seem right - or even safe to bury it in the snow. This is less than half a mile from our house.
Then there is ours. It's like the show-off of mailboxes, mocking all of the rest of them. That would be all the hubby's doing. 
Drive safely this winter. You don't know what you might find in a snowbank. And appreciate your mail carrier for the gallant work they have been doing this cold snowy winter. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What path will you follow?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 New Life Version

In my attempt to again read through the entire Bible, I read a few chapters of Psalms or Proverbs in between reading each of the other books. Today’s chapters were in Proverbs 3 and 4. The verse above is fairly well-known; you’ve probably heard it or seen it somewhere before.

This next verse maybe not.

Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. Do not turn to the right or to the left. Turn your foot away from sin. Proverbs 4:26-27 New Life Version

I can’t say that Dino always keeps me on the right path, or that anyone should follow their dog. But I do believe that he was sent to our family straight from God. So that when I am knee-deep in snow, I will follow the path he is on. The rest of the time, I will follow God.