Limited and Unlimited

Finite 

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 
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Growing up, as I did, under the steady and  loving teachings of the Bible, one learns early the difference between finite and infinite.  Replace those two words with limited and unlimited and you have a working definition.
God is without limits. Creator, Designer, Giver of life, Master Technician, Musician, Artist, Writer, Scientist, Mathematician–the list is endless.  Perhaps the most important thing for us is that He is the Provider of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Man, on the other hand, is limited. We have amazing capabilities, great intelligence, curiosity, giftedness–but in the last couple of years I have certainly learned to understand more clearly the limitations of this incredibly-designed human body with its limits and its capacities. I have learned that pain creates limits. I have also learned that pain is a warning flag, a sign that something is wrong and needs attention. I have learned that chronic pain drains one’s  energy and even one’s capacity for enjoyment of things I used to take for granted, like going for a long walk.
We are limited by the facts of aging, deterioration, and death–all brought about by the sin that inhabits and inhibits our fallen world. And yet, there is redemption. There is hope. God’s love for us is infinite. His provision of forgiveness and salvation is infinite, limited only by our own prideful refusal to recognize that we need it.
You know, there are lots of times that I really don’t know where the prompt is going to take me until I start to write.  I didn’t know it was going to take me where it did this morning.
I think that because of the work I do, seeing people every day who are broken, hurting, and seeking answers, I am more aware than ever before of the mercy, grace, and deep love of God.  And I am thankful.

The Train of Life

Passenger

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Do you ever have a sense of just being a passenger on a fast-moving train of life?  Sometimes you get to be the one who decides which track the train will follow, but most of the time you go wherever the train takes you.

I’ve reached an age at which the track behind me is much longer than the track in  front of me. I’m not being dolorous here, believe me. I’ve had a great ride, with many side adventures and wonderful events to populate my mental scrapbook of memories.

I look forward to more exciting days ahead:  Becoming a great-grandmother, maybe writing the books in my head, retiring from my job, enjoying some years of guilt-free sleeping-in.

Many people have ridden part of the way with me.  Dad was with me until I was 46; Mom until I was 65.  My younger brother left us when he was only 49, and I was  63.  My sister still rides the train of life, although she’s not on the same track as I am. Terry has ridden with me as my husband for 48 years; my four children and nine grandchildren too many different lengths of time to number.

 

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Of course there have been  hundreds of other passengers who have boarded my train and then departed. Students I have taught; co-workers at church, friends of many years who get on and off my train every few stops. The co-workers at our counseling office, some who have been there from the beginning, others who had to get off my train for various reasons.  Clients I hope I have helped as they stepped into my train to get some counsel to enable them to finish the ride on their own trains. People I have turned to in tears to get encouragement when I needed it.

Of course, God has been the engineer and conductor on my ride. I am thankful beyond measure that He has never dropped me off and left me stranded in strange territory, helpless to know what to do next.

The ride has been amazing for nearly 70 years.  I’m not afraid of the rest of it, knowing that it will end in heaven with my Savior.

I am blessed.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/passenger/

Appropriate!

Cling

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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I hope I haven’t bored you all to tears by writing about my ancient back too much. When something claims so much time and attention, it’s just what comes out of my brain through my fingers 🙂

Today is one day post-surgery, so maybe you won’t have to hear about it so much. Yesterday, I had an amazing little procedure called a sacroiliac fusion. Took about 1 1/2 hours, and I was home three hours later.  Amazing. There is pain today, of course, from the incision, but already that nagging, aching, sometimes very sharp pain from the abused joint is gone.

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Big however  here.  My diagnoses are such that I know there will be future pain across my lower back. That’s life.  I’m thankful for effective treatment that was not available to my mom, who had the same kind of pain.

So where does cling come into all this?

First, I cling to my faith in God and His goodness toward me. I went into surgery yesterday with no fear, only relief that my pain was going to be dealt with. He has been palpably by my side all through this long waiting period. I’ve probably done more personal chatting with the Lord this past three months than ever before in my whole life. I don’t intend to let that stop.

Second, I cling to my Bible.

Third, I cling to my patient, I’ll-do-whatever-it-takes husband, whose primary love language is acts of service.  If you’ve never read that book, you should.  Terry was up with me twice last night just to make sure I wouldn’t fall or otherwise injure the injury. He has brought me most of my meals for over three months now, and continued to do so this morning. During the five-day prep period, he laundered my bedding five times, helped me cleanse the surgical area six times; he’s done all the grocery shopping, cooking,  cleaning and laundry since early October.

And no, ladies, you can’t have him!

Fourth, I have a wonderful host of Christian family and friends who share my faith. I cling to their words of encouragement, knowing they’ve prayed for me, called, sent cards, just generally supported me during the long wait for this surgery.

If you need a lift today, count your blessings.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/cling/

History of the World

Martyr

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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The word itself originally meant a witness;  more specifically, a witness who suffered and/or died because of his steadfast refusal to forsake his belief or allegiance.

There have always been martyrs in the history of our world.  I could be said, I suppose, that Adam and Eve’s son Abel was martyred by his angry brother, Cain, because Abel chose to obey God’s specific demands for a sacrifice. That ticked Cain off, because he had chosen to change God’s terms to satisfy his own ideas, so he killed his brother.

And so, down through the centuries, people have been killed by other people because they won’t deny what they believe, or who they are; they continue to speak up (witness) for their cause, and it really ticks people off when these martyrs aren’t intimidated or won’t just shut up when they are told to do so.

Has America seen anyone suffer and/or die for their beliefs, or for who they are?

Of course. Slavery was a form of martyrdom, wasn’t it? We could look at the treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. Government; we could look at the internment camps for the Japanese during WWII.  We could talk about Americans who were determined to gain freedom from England, and who were hung or shot as spies and traitors. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence suffered greatly for their boldness; some died.

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Every country, every nation in the history of the world has its history of martyrs and martyrdom.  That’s because, with the shifting of power from one tribe or nation to another, there is always death and destruction. It has been so since the Tower of Babel when God confounded the language of mankind, and people were dispersed all over the known world according to the languages they spoke.  Why did God do that?  Because mankind had become so arrogant as to think they could build a tower high enough to reach God Himself, and become as important as He was.

Silly.

We can all respect those who have faced death and been steadfast in the face of suffering. What we don’t like so much is a person who really creates his own tragedy and drama, and wears his “suffering” like a badge of honor. The woman who trumpets her self-sacrifice for her family to anyone who will sit still long enough to listen. The man who lets everyone know that he has given up everything to take care, for instance, of aged parents. We don’t like people who brag about how much they are suffering.

Such behavior demeans the true nobility of one who gives his life without flinching because he believes in the rightness of his cause.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/martyr/

Together Forever

Together

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt

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Every now and then I see an article about a couple who have been married for over 70 years. It always amazes me.  We have 47 years, and that’s an amazement to a lot of people. But 70?  That’s a year older than I am!  That’s a lifetime!

We have some nonagenarians in our church family. Two of them are widowed, but the third couple have reached that 70+ mark in their marriage. Her health is failing, so she doesn’t make it to church very often. But he does. He’s there faithfully, dressed in a sharp suit with a colorful shirt and tie, and he always has a pocket full of little polished stones that he’ll hand out to whatever children run up and ask him.  Sometimes he asks them to say their Sunday school memory verse, and they always do.  Once he gave my granddaughter a pretty polished rock that he had set and hung on a chain. There was a special reason, but I don’t remember what it was.  She treasures it.

This couple has been together through the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, and then the slow downward slide of our country into secularism, socialism, and very little commitment to the promises made on the wedding day. They don’t understand why people can’t just figure out their problems. When someone asked him what the secret of their long marriage was, he said “God, commitment, keeping your word, doing the right thing.”

He doesn’t waste words. When you’ve reached your 90’s, you can speak your mind without worrying about what people think.

Of course, I generally do that now, and I’m only 69.

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I don’t know if Terry and I will have 70+ years. We didn’t get married while we were still in our teens, so it’s really not likely. What I do know is that the biblical one-flesh principle only increases with time together, until we can communicate a lot with just a look. We still have our moments, believe me. It’s not perfect, WE aren’t perfect. But we’re committed, we’re dedicated, and we try to do the right thing. We love God, and we thank Him daily for His presence in our marriage.

Together is a wonderful thing.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/together/

What is Valuable

Day 24 Twenty-four Carat Gold

June 24, 1509. Henry VIII was crowned King of England. 

Henry the eighth valued a male heir. He wanted one. He wanted a wife who could give him one. He left the Church and created his own church so he could get divorced and marry a new wife.

Twenty-four carat gold is valuable. Some value riches above all else.

Tell us what is valuable to you. What do you treasure? Write about your treasure.

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When I went to London with my oldest son over 20 years ago, one of the places we visited was, of course, the Tower of London.  That’s where the Crown Jewels are kept, in a well-guarded, all locked up tight set of rooms.  One of my favorite displays was the Gold Room.  Cases of pure gold. Crowns, jewelry, plates and goblets and platters and all sorts of things. I’d never seen so much gold all in one place, and it was positively beautiful.

I loved the silver, too. Same kind of displays.  Incredible beauty, and unimaginable value. Moving into the actual jewel rooms, we saw dozens of crowns, lots of fabulous necklaces, bracelets, rings, and more.  Gorgeous. The Beefeater guards, in their cool uniforms, kept us moving at a pretty good pace and wouldn’t let us just stand and admire any one piece for very long.

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I didn’t covet any of it. I’m glad I got to see it, but it had no appeal to me in terms of getting stuff like that for my own. The truth is, I already had all I needed. Things I value more than any amount of gold.

Primary?  My relationship with God.  My Bible.  My upbringing in a pastor’s home that strengthened my faith, my knowledge of God’s Word, and prepared me for the rest of my life.

  My husband, my three sons and my daughter, and their spouses; my nine grandchildren?  Gold, solid gold.  More precious than any number of fabulous golden crowns.

My education is ongoing. It is more precious than gold. The work I’ve been privileged to do as a mom, teacher, and now a therapist?  So valuable, so satisfying. No amount of gold could ever replace the benefits of all that.

I am blessed.  My life has never been problem-free, and it isn’t now. But I have the Lord, I have my husband and family. and let’s not forget about my friends. What a rich life.

You can keep your 24-carat gold.

My Man

Luck? Or a Guardian Angel?

Day 13 Lucky 13

June 13, 1944. Prompted by the successful Allied Landing in Europe, Germany launched a V1 Flying Bomb attack on England. Luckily, only four of the bombs hit their targets. 

Tell us about a time you were lucky. Or unlucky.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, but a quick search didn’t turn it up.

I was about 12.  We lived in Portland, Oregon, about two hours from Mt Hood. A landmark in Oregon, Mt. Hood is an extinct volcano. Like most volcanoes, it has fumaroles here and there–holes like tunnels down the side of the mountain that let steam escape in an active volcano.

It was late winter, and the youth group from our church had scheduled an outing to Mt. Hood. We would go sledding, tobogganning, and whatever else we could find to do.  The weather was perfect, and I could hardly wait. Once we got to the lodge, we all rented out gear and headed for the designated slopes.

What great fun we had!  It wasn’t terribly cold, and the snow had just the right amount of water to make it nice and slippery. We flew down, trudged back up, over and over.

I had traded my sled for a short toboggan, and was enjoying lying flat on my stomach as I zoomed down the hillside.

Suddenly, the toboggan stopped. There didn’t seem to be any reason for it, and I peered over the side only to see. . . . .

Nothing.  Nothing but blackness. And I was suddenly terrified.  I screamed bloody murder!

Within moments, there were guys yelling at me, “Don’t move!  Hold still!”  Believe me, I had no desire to move!  I was having visions of falling into that hole forever and ever. The back end of my toboggan seemed stable, but the snow under the front end was crumbling. I’ve never been so scared!

The rest is kind of a blur.  I remember the ski patrol guys lying flat, and inching me sideway off that hole.  I don’t remember if they rigged up any ropes or  other equipment. I do remember that once they had me a good distance from the hole, they  blocked it off and cleared that slope.

 Was I lucky that day?  Some would call it luck, but I knew it was God.  PS2.tif

ttps://kathleenbduncan.com/2016/06/12/june-13-challenge/

People, People!

The Eighth Sin

Remember the seven cardinal sins? You’re given the serious task of adding a new one to the list — another trait or behavior you find particularly unacceptable, for whatever reason. What’s sin #8 for you? Why?

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Since I was not reared in the Catholic church, I had to look them up.  Last time we did this post I wrote about the misuse of grammar, and tried to do it in a comical way.  I’m not feeling comical this morning, and this question has set me to thinking.

About what?

Well, about the way people treat each other.  I did a post about this  here  yesterday, and I’m still thinking about it.  I’m a therapist, so I spend my three working days each week listening to accounts of how people mistreat each other.  It often boils down to a simple lack of courtesy; it often involves loving self far more than loving God or anyone else.

Jesus said this: (Matthew 28:37-38)

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment.39And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Do you notice that Jesus assumes that we love ourselves?  Otherwise, He would not have instructed us to love others in the same way we love ourselves, would He?  It would also seem that before we can love ourselves, we must learn to love Him  without reservation, with every bit of our being. Then we are imbued by the Holy Spirit to share His love with those around us.

I’m not going to try to figure out any extra deadly sin here.  I share this with you this morning only because it is so much on my mind right now.  People treat people poorly.  Hurt people hurt people.  Angry people hurt people.  Selfish people hurt people.

It is not and never was God’s plan that people should spend all of history hurting other people.  It is not God’s fault that we do it.  It is our own self-centered, narrow-minded, egocentric perspective.

And that’s enough sermonizing for today.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-eighth-sin/

No Fear?

Fearless Fantasies

How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?

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Sometimes, being completely fearless would just be stupid.  There are things we need to fear.  That’s why God created us with nerve endings that register pain.  They keep us from holding our hands in the flame just to see what happens next.

On the other hand, we need to be fearless in the face of evil that we can and should stand against.  The world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in today if every individual would simply stand against evil and DO something about it.  If we all did everything we could to resist the tide of evil, it would be a better place.

There are things I fear that I wish I didn’t.  I’m afraid of snakes. Viscerally afraid of them.

I’m afraid of high places that have no barriers between me and the chasm.  Don’t like it at all.

I don’t know if can say I’m truly afraid of tightly enclosed places, but I sure don’t enjoy getting an MRI.  No panic attacks, just a strong desire for it to be over.

I used to be far more fearful of things I no longer dread.  I used to hate it when Terry was away overnight or for several nights.  Doesn’t bother me much these days.  I sleep very well.

Remember Dr. Suess’ story of the pale green pants?  If not, you should go find it.

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I think something you learn as you grow older is that it’s counter-productive to waste your time and energy being afraid of every single thing you can’t control.  I have no desire to die in a tsunami, hurricane, tornado, or volcanic eruption, but I’m not afraid of those things. They happen.  If I happen to be nearby, then so be it.

Some of my counseling work is helping people get over living in “What if World.”  We can scare ourselves to death worrying over what might be, while we fail to enjoy what is.

God said, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fearless-fantasies

 

Who Knows?

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post.

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I don’t know, but God does!

Of course I have plans and hopes.  When we stop having those, we stop living. I plan to continue to walk with the Lord, to serve Him wherever the opportunity arises.

I plan to continue my journey to better health.  Progress is slow, but it’s there.

I plan to continue writing, with the hope of being published someday.

I plan to enjoy my family as I watch the grands grow up.  Amazing how fast that’s happening!

I plan to continue working as long as I’m physically and mentally able, and don’t start drooling and falling out of my chair.

I plan to enjoy my marriage for as long as God gives us.  It’s been 46 years.  I’m hoping for many more, but you just never know.

In my immediate future, I’m looking forward to the holidays: Family coming home, bustle and noise and lots of good food.

Life is good, most of the time.  I am content.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-the-other/