A Few of my Favorite Hopes


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Isn’t it interesting how we all have some kind of hope on the end of the old year and the beginning of the new?  It’s just another sunrise and sunset, really, but still we give it so much significance.  Perhaps it’s because the new year is always the onset of the the coldest part of the year here in America.We like to look forward to the end of the cold and the onset of all things green and flowering.

Of course, not everyone dislikes the cold. People who live where it’s  really cold actually enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, and so forth.  I used to.  Been away from it too long now to want to go back.

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution person, but there are some things I hope for.

I hope that the hysteria over our horrendous election year will settle down and that people will quit hurting each other. I hope Mr. Trump is able to learn some comportment. I hope he is able to actually perform a lot of the things he has promised, but I have no illusions that it will be an easy or smooth process.

I hope my Terry gets the help that is being promised to ease the chronic pain in his foot.  It’s been over four years. He’s about worn out with it.  There is a promising new treatment, but he says he doesn’t want to start until my back surgery is behind us. I guess it wouldn’t be good if we were both  laid up at the same time.

I hope my family in Germany stays out of harm’s way as the Islamic terrorist activity increases there.

I hope my son in California sees a steady increase in his business.

I hope my family in South Dakota has a year free of illness, and that they continue to enjoy their life out there.

I hope my family nearby  continues to see the fruit of their labors on several fronts.

I hope my back surgery goes without a hitch, and that I’ll be back to work by the beginning of February.

All of these hopes are undergirded with prayer, and with the faith that God wants only the best for me and all those that I love.  It is not His doing when something goes wrong. He is always faithful, always good, always true.

I hope that my confidence in Him never changes.  I don’t think it will.



Clearing Up, Cleaning Out


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Ah yes, we’re in the season of New Year’s Resolutions and all that goes with them:  Renewed gym memberships, renewed subscriptions to Weight Watchers et.al., renewed determination to start counting carbs more carefully again.  Renewed desires to clean out closets, drawers, and storage bins; to go through kitchen cupboards and the linen closet, to chase the dust bunnies out the door and maybe even wash some curtains.

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But I can’t. Not yet.  Well, I could count carbs, and I truly have considered returning to a more stringent effort in that direction. But the physical stuff is on hold. Less than two weeks now to my surgery date. After proper recovery, I’m hoping to accomplish some of the things I mentioned above.  My house needs some TLC, for sure.

I don’t do resolutions, though. Gave it up years ago when I realized they were good for about a month and then I’d begin to fade. I know what needs to be done.  I know how to do it. Making lists of promises to myself has never worked very well for me.

Anyway, it makes me tired to think about it all.  I think I’ll go have my coffee 🙂


I Got Nothin’


PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

The kid was silhouetted by the marquee lights. Boss couldn’t tell if he was lost, waiting for someone, or what. He just stood there. Boss took his time. You had to be careful. The cops were always  a danger, setting up their stupid stings. Boss was too smart for them. Never caught, never would be.

Finally, he sauntered over to the kid. “Hey, kid. You  lookin’ for somethin’?”

“If you’re Boss, I’m lookin’ for you. Friend of mine told me where to wait. You got anything good on you?”

Boss’s instincts were red hot.”No. Nothin.'”

Boss left.

A Little History


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In my Bible study blog, I’m writing through the book of Isaiah.  I just started chapter 8, in which Tiglath-Pileser, ruler of the Assyrian Empire ( it’s circa 800 b.c.) is about to sweep down and destroy Israel and Judah, the then-divided kingdoms in Israel. Tiglath-Pileser wasn’t known for his pleasant ways.  He was ruthless, and when he attacked, it was brutal. Not many people were left alive who weren’t hauled away into captivity, and he would pillage the whole area, leaving a trail of destitution behind him. His troops took whatever they decided they could use, and typically burned whatever was left. It was then, and still is, a common practice of war to sweep the defeated area clean of anything that could sustain life or had any value.

The word pillage comes from the old French piller, which meant to loot or plunder.  Knowing that, I had to find out why a town we lived close to in north-central Minnesota is named Pillager.  Always did wonder about that.

There was a band of Chippewa Indians in the 1700’s to 1800’s who settled near the headwaters of the Mississippi, now know as Itasca. The Chippewa spoke the Ojibway language, and this band had named themselves Makandwewininiwag, which obviously meant men who pillage. I guess the French who explored and/or settled in that area for a time thought Pillager would be a great name for their village.


It’s a tiny little town straight west from Brainerd, where we lived. It takes about half a minute to drive through it.  If you blink, you might miss it.  As of the 2010 census, there were 469 living souls in Pillager. They have their own post office and, if I remember correctly, their own school system. There’s another small town nearby named Motley. Interesting area.

Kind of disconnected today, but there you have it.


Standing O


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Someone sent me a video yesterday of a sword-swallower. I was horrified but fascinated. I’ve seen people swallow swords before, but this guy then proceeded to do acrobatic cartwheels, and then climbed a pole and did a swan dive–sword still in him—and landed on the hilt of the sword.

Watch it if you can.  It’s terrifying.  One wonders if it’s a sham–does the blade collapse into the hilt of the sword?  I don’t know.

The man got a standing ovation, of course.  The panel of judges is still recovering.


Time and Age


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What an interesting word to think about after the busy holiday is just over.  Usually, I’m more than ready for a retreat:  A resting place; a quiet place; a place where no one can find me.

This year, however, has not been that busy for me. I’ve spent most of it lying down or sitting carefully.  There has been very little of the usual bustle of activity. We didn’t even put up a tree or do any decorating, because I can’t; also, I didn’t want to burden Terry with that as well as everything else he’s taken care of since early October when this long journey started.

I’ve actually had my retreat!  For three long months, with at least one more to go before I can pick up a normal life, I do NOT feel the need for a retreat.  I have to back off that just a tiny bit though. When a person does pretty much nothing for such a long period of time, muscles get flabby and energy seeps away.  I was up at 6 yesterday, showered, did my hair, got dressed–and I was tired.  Then church, then the rest of the day with my daughter and her family.  By the time I got home last night I was pretty  useless.  Just plain worn out.

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So I’m thinking about that in relation to going back to work in February, and I think I’d better ask my secretary to schedule me very lightly for the first two or three weeks. I’m going to have to edge back into my normal schedule  slowly, because this old body just doesn’t recover as well as it used to.

Isn’t it amazing how age creeps up on us?  We really don’t expect it.  It’s for other people. But here I am, feeling the onset of my senior moments turning into senior days, months, and years.  I don’t mean to be gloomy.  I WILL regain strength and energy once I can move around more freely.  Still, I’m definitely feeling the impact of my years.

Well.  I think I’ll retreat to the kitchen and find some coffee 🙂




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My aged brain immediately conjured up poor old Christopher Columbus, who had a terrible time getting the kings and queens of the day to finance his trip. He wanted to sail off on what would seem like a tiny little boat to us today, and no one was particularly interested in providing him the means to do so.

Once he finally got the financing, he had to find sailors who were willing to sail over the edge of the horizon and perhaps never find a way to get back up. The idea of a flat world was still pretty well entrenched, and going off on a voyage of discovery was a fool’s errand.

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Chris found his crew, though, and they did go on their amazing journey. Of course, geography was a little skewed back then, and he thought he’d discovered the far East.  I don’t remember if he ever got that figured out.  El Salvador, as we know it now, is generally considered the place of his first landing in the New World. It’s not surprising that he named  the land “The Savior.” A devout Catholic, I’m sure he felt he had indeed been saved from any more tedious days on a vast ocean that wasn’t exactly the friendliest place he’d ever been.

Columbus has been blamed for a lot of bad stuff.  Some of it he did; a lot of it he didn’t. He was actually a man ahead of his time, as most of those early explorers and adventurers were, but he was also still  wrapped up in chains of tradition and superstition. His discoveries are still pretty amazing when you consider he had none of the technology we take for granted these days.

I don’t think he would have enjoyed being alive today, unless he could be an astronaut. No new worlds left to discover on this old earth. He was both adored and despised even in his own time, and if memory serves, he died a lonely and poor  man  when he was about 50.

Maybe he should have stayed on El Salvador.


Sleeping In


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I’m really late today.  Ninety-three other people have already posted, so I may not get much traffic 🙂

Why am I so late?  Because I slept until nearly 10 a.m.  Why did I do that?  Because I was awake from about 3 a.m. until sometime after 7 a.m.  Why was I awake then?  Beats me.

I’m perfectly calm about it, though, because I have no obligations or responsibilities today and it really doesn’t matter when–or if–I got out of bed. In fact, it doesn’t change anybody else’s life at all if I choose to stay in bed all day.

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I think my sleep disruption right now is partly due to the fact that I’m never really physically tired.  You can’t stay off your feet most of the day, every day, and get too worn out.  But I’m not willing to have the pain, so I’ll continue to rest until sometime after the surgery.

About which I am also quite calm.  Someone asked me the other day if I’m nervous about it.  Nope. Not at all. It’s a simple, straightforward procedure. And if it keeps that particular part of my creaky old back from hurting for a few  years, then why should I be nervous?

Look, I’ve had both knees replaced.  I’ve had a hysterectomy. I’ve had my gall bladder removed. No, I’m not afraid of surgery.  Yes, I know things can go wrong. Thinking that way leads anyone down a very dark path, and I like to focus on all the positive outcomes I’ve had over the years.

So calm was a good word for me today. I like it.


The Train


photo credit Roger Bultot

Lorna decided to  make her way to the dining car. She was travel-weary and hungry.

The train jolted as she made her way to the exit, and she bumped against a man in the aisle  ahead of her. They made their apologies, exchanged names, and she agreed to share a table with him. Good-looking and confident, he seemed trustworthy.

Her new friend opened the door, and she stepped out onto solid ground and into a bustling . . . .restaurant. It wasn’t moving. At all.

Her new friend smiled at her,  still  confident.

“We’re here,” he said. “Come.”