It’s COLD!

Treat

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Right now?  The best treat I can think of would be to crawl back into my soft, warm bed and hibernate until this cold snap goes away.

My stars.  I grew up in a much colder  climate than this, where sub-zero temps were normal and expected.  I don’t like it any more.  I think it may have gone down to zero last night, and the whole house feels cold.

 

Image result for sub-zero temps cartoons

The living room is warm because that’s where our oil-burning stove resides. The rest of our little rancher is shivering.

So Terry plugged in a space heater in my room so my skin wouldn’t freeze and break off while I got dressed.  I was working on my hair in the bathroom, and my blow-dryer apparently is on the same circuit as the heater in the bedroom. Zap.  No blow-dryer, no heater, no lights.  Sigh.

Terry had gone back to bed and I didn’t want to wake him. But–my hero to the rescue–he got up on his own and plodded down to the breaker box in the basement to restore the power.  Yes, yes, I could have done it myself.  I know how.  But for some reason he considers that task to be his, so I don’t mess with it unless he’s not home. He showed me how to do it, but he doesn’t like to let me do it.  Go figure.

Anyway, I know it’s a lot worse in the Midwest where I grew up, but right now it just feels as cold to me as -40 used to feel when we lived in central Minnesota.

Brrrrrr.

 

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Die-no-sore

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

“Earth people are most strange,” observed Zing. “I wonder what kind of animal this was?”

Zang pondered. “Maybe it’s one of those sore things–I can’t bring up the word.”

“Oh! Zang, you are brilliant. Die-no-sore!  But—this one had so many legs!  How many legs does one die-no-sore need?”

“Well, its body was very long. I suppose you’d need lots of legs for such a long body. But look how flat it must have been!”

“And the ones that just dangle?  What were they good for?”

Now Zing pondered. “Drainage, I suppose. Or maybe heat evaporation.”

“Huh.”

An Old Song

Reservation

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I always think of the old song Sentimental Journey.  You know, “Got my bags, I’ve got my reservation. …”

It was popular before I was born, a big song during WWII.  I’ve always been drawn to that music, maybe because it was the music my parents knew and loved.  I got them a whole set of 1940’s music on LP’s many years ago, all the music of their era.  I wish I knew where that set went, now that they’re both in heaven. I sure would love to have it. The Big Band era, and singers who actually sang and didn’t yell, scream, and screw up their faces as if they were in pain.

Why do singers do that?

Image result for singer with face all screwed up like he's in pain

Poor guy looks like he just sat on a tack. Or he’s really, really angry at someone.

Anyway,  here’s the song:  Be patient, she actually sings the words partway through the video.

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If Time Stopped

Almost

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It’s almost 2018.  If time were to stop right now, we’d never make it to tomorrow or Monday, when the calendar page will flip to the new year.

It’s snowing in my corner of PA, a pretty, quiet snow with very little wind. Would the snow just—stop?  Stop in mid-air, never to complete its journey to the ground?

Would I be stilled, sitting in my comfy chair with my laptop on my  lap table, my fingers frozen on the keys?  Would my novel never make it to the computer? Would my eyes be  stopped  as I type?  Right now, I’m gazing out the  picture window  as the snow collects on the car, the driveway, the branches of our dogwood trees.  If time were to stop, is that where my brain would stop, too?

Would my thoughts be stopped where they are right now?  Would I have memory, or wonder about the future–if there IS a future when time stops?

 

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And how does time stop, anyway? Time is not a tangible thing. We can’t see it or touch it, yet we measure it with calendars, clocks, and computers. We are creatures of day/night, dark/light, seasons, days, years.  We think in terms of today, yesterday, tomorrow, an hour from now or two hours ago.

I always take a vacation the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This year, it feels as if the days have just slipped away without my  knowledge.  Of course, I’ve been sick with  my annual winter cold, so time has seemed to stop because I’ve been sleeping more, drifting in a land beyond time, half awake, half asleep during the daylight hours.

Tuesday is going to come as a shock.  I’ll be back to work,  with nine scheduled clients. Nine hours of seeing people who want help with their different problems. The day will be measured in 60-minute blocks, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. when I say goodnight to my last client and  aim my car in the direction of home.  Bed always beckons sweetly on Tuesday nights.

Almost done here.  It’s become a bit of a ramble, so I should quit before I say something silly 🙂

Maybe it’s already too late!

 

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A Good Word

Cozy

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I am blessed, in this cold snap the whole nation seems to be feeling, to be warm, cozy, and safe in my living room.  Wrapped in a comfortable robe and an afghan, I’m enjoying the last few days of Christmas music I allow myself while I catch up on my computer work.  I have five more days to enjoy before going back to work next Tuesday,  and while I’ve accomplished several tasks, I’m not pushing too hard.

I think about this, though:  We are not wealthy. We don’t have several million dollars set aside for our retirement.  I suspect I’ll be working as long as my body and mind hold out.  And yet, compared to so many areas around the world, we ARE wealthy. The refrigerator and pantry are well-stocked–and cleaned out and organized while our son Dan is with us for a few more weeks 🙂

We have plenty of clothing. We have warm coats, boots, gloves, scarves, hats. We have fuel for the little oil-burning stove in our living room that warms the house.  We have comfortable, attractive furniture; I’m listening to beautiful music on my Bose.

Absolutely nothing to complain about there.  I am thankful for God’s provision for us.

 

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And I wonder about how the homeless are faring  this week. I know there are shelters, but I also know that some homeless people resist going into anyplace where they feel they may lose their freedom. I know there are soup kitchens and pantries for the needy Our church participates in such a program. But there are those who are unable or unwilling to use such opportunities.

It’s a hard life out there during the cold weather if you don’t have anywhere to go, nothing to eat, no shelter from the cold.

If you can’t physically help, then donate to places that can, like the Salvation Army. Your money will be used for its intended purpose. Be thankful, and be generous.

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I Admit It!

Confess

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Oh, come on!  Really?  You want us to confess at this time of year that we’ve enjoyed too much good holiday food, too much candy, too many cookies, too much—well, just too much!

All right.  I confess.  And I still have to get through New Year’s weekend.  Good grief. Way to pile on the guilt!

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The Thing

unnamed

photo prompt@Ted Strutz

“We must send a picture of this immediately!” stated Zing. “This is important. Our scientists must analyze it.”

Zang paced with care around it, gingerly touching now and then and watching the wheels spin to nowhere. “I don’t think it does anything,”  he said.

“Oh, it must!  See how the smaller discs sparkle  and pulse. It’s probably recording us!  We should hide!” Zing was terrified.

Zang shrugged. “But it can’t GO anywhere! If it is transmitting our voices or images, whoever receives it  will see only Earth children looking at an odd structure. I don’t think it’s harmful.”

Zing trembled.

 

A Little History

Communal

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This is a word that, while inoffensive in meaning, has negative connotations for me.  I’m 70, so I was in my  late teens and 20s when the hippie movement was gaining momentum, along with the drug culture, and “make love not war” slogans were all over the news. Sonny and Cher were a big deal.  So were bell-bottom hip-huggers with belts a mile wide; long, straight hair parted down the middle; flower children who changed their names to things like Moonshine Starglow; and the rise of communal living was a big deal. 7531783a436c507f33c805d80e7f1cc8

I know, right?  Can’t imagine any of my sons wanting to wear this stuff.

Anyway, the communal living is the real focus here. I don’t know if there are still any hippie communes in existence.  Most of them failed because of the lack of commitment on the part of the members. When things got tough, they tended to disappear.

This history of communal living isn’t terribly promising.  I could go a long way back, but I think I’ll just go to colonial America.  The first effort at a communal style of farming and surviving was at Plymouth Bay. The idea was that everyone was supposed to work in designated fields, and take their crops to the communal storehouse. They could also hunt, and it was expected that the results of those excursions, along with fishing, was to be shared among the entire community.

The problem was that those of the nobility who had come to America for adventure and, they hoped, prosperity, refused to lift a finger. They were above all that. They took more than their share from the storehouse, but refused to contribute anything at all. Used to being waited on and obeyed instantly, they just weren’t cut out for the difficulties of colonial living.

It was the first failed commune in America.

There were others. The Shaker community did thrive for a time, but since they didn’t believe in marriage/procreation, their communities weren’t viable for more than a generation or two. Their work ethic, though, was better than that of Plymouth Colony had been. We still use their style of furniture-making because of its simple beauty and sensible construction.

So why didn’t these communal efforts work?  Why hasn’t Communism/Socialism been a resounding success?  It’s simple, really, but we don’t like to acknowledge the reason.  The bottom line is that typically, as per Cuba and Venezuela for example, that it is those in power who thrive under these totalitarian systems, living off the backs of the people they claim to represent. Eventually, as Margaret Thatcher so succinctly put it, you run out of other people’s money. And when that happens, everything collapses.

Unless the leaders/rulers of a commune are models of virtue, integrity, and high moral standards, the commune/country is doomed to failure because corruption starts at the top and sifts down to the ordinary people–like you and me. Big Brother becomes a living threat, and everyone lives in fear.

I’ve lived long enough to see the failure of Communism in Russia.  I’m watching the rise of capitalism and free enterprise in China, after many years of strict control.  I’ve seen the adage of Marxist thinking, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” fail dismally because the people in charge of redistribution of the wealth tend to take a huge  amount off the top before distributing the rest to “the people.”  In a communal society, you can work your fingers to the bone and not benefit from it yourself. You didn’t build that, you didn’t make that–it belongs to everyone, was made by everyone–which, by the way, is a euphemistic way of saying it belongs to Big Brother. You are nothing more than a serf in the old feudal system of the Dark Ages, where the serfs were allowed to keep just barely enough for their own survival so they could continue to produce what the kings deemed their God-given right.

So no, I’m not a fan of communal living.  Community?  Yes, sure.  But not Communism, two very different things.

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A Truce

Torn

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In a world torn apart by anger, hatred,  deceit, bribery, accusation and counter-accusation, there seems very little hope that man’s dream of peace on earth will ever come to pass. The dream of a one-world government, administered by a worldwide organization of wise and benevolent laws and law enforcement, has been written about; dreamed about. Some men, having risen to power in their own countries, have taken on the task of imposing their own conception of world peace. They have all come to ruin,  from the ancient Caesars to more modern Hitlers.

History is after all, the record of man’s inhumanity toward his fellow-man.  Warfare and the seeking of power is nothing new. The determination to silence all dissent, by death if necessary, is nothing new.  As long as evil lurks in this fallen world, in the hearts of mankind, there will be war.

So exactly what are we singing when we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King”?

On my other blog, I’m just ready to start chapter 33, which is halfway through the book of Isaiah. It’s a long book, and it takes some study to understand exactly what is going on.

Simply stated, that song that we think of as a Christmas carol is in reality about the time when Jesus Christ will return to earth and establish His thousand-year rule of the whole world from the exact geographical center of the earth, Israel.  Because Antichrist will have been defeated and Satan will be bound for 1000 years, there will be peace on earth. Complete, world-wide peace. Jesus, Messiah, will deal quickly and definitely with those in whose hearts there is still a spirit of rebellion.

So, is it wrong to sing this Millennial praise to celebrate the first coming of Jesus as a baby in a stable in Bethlehem?  No, I don’t think so.  There couldn’t be a Second coming, after all, unless there had been a first coming.

We’ll be observing the birth of Jesus Christ in just a few days.  There is a wonderful true story about the cease-fire that was called in WWI so that Christmas could be observed in the trenches, and how the soldiers from both sides tentatively and then joyfully emerged from those trenches to observe a day of peace together.

It’s always Jesus Christ Who brings true peace, whether to a war-torn world or a torn and wounded heart.

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The Greatest Miracle

Miraculous

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Beyond the laws of nature. The unusual, the unexpected, the abnormal.

True miracles do still happen. Every now and then, a client will tell me about some unexpected, serendipitous event.  For example, a divorced mother of three gets an unexpected package left at her door that is full of Christmas gifts.  Or she receives a check in the mail from a person she really doesn’t know, but who felt lead to send her the money.  These are miracles, though, only if the person on the receiving end hasn’t broadcast far and wide what the present need is 🙂

Sometimes we tend to look at every-day things without the realization that they are, in fact, miracles.  Think of the toast you enjoyed for breakfast this morning. It started with the miracle of tiny seeds bursting into shoot of green; the earth nourishing the seed; the rain giving it life; the harvesting, processing, and transporting of the wheat until it arrived in your kitchen as a loaf of bread.  Or, in my kitchen, as a package of flour that I will  make into bread.

Yes, all that is a miracle.

I’ve had cause to be thankful for the miracle of relief from pain—without drugs!  The two  surgeries I had this past year have relieved about 90% of my lower back pain. I know there will be more pain as my conditions progress, but for now, I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am for the miracle of modern technology and surgery, and the skill of the doctor who took care of me.

Then there is the miracle of love.  Terry and I don’t always like each other (that only lasts for moments, not days or weeks!)  but even when we’re at odds, we always love each other. Unconditional, committed, lifelong love and mutual respect is a miracle these days.  To have had nearly fifty years of the love and commitment of a good and godly man?  That’s a miracle, and I am thankful.

I think that because of the work I do, in which every person I see in my office is broken in some way, I am keenly aware of the blessings of a so-called normal life, whatever that means.

Of course, at this season of the year we celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ, and all that His birth entails. The only holiday that is just as meaningful to believers is Resurrection Sunday, also known as Easter.  Why?  Because without the resurrection, Jesus would have been just another dead Jewish guy, crucified by the authority of Rome.  The greatest miracle is that He rose victorious over sin and death, so that we can have eternal life in heaven with Him.

I serve a risen Savior!

 

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