Above is our youngest Grandgirl leaping to stop a ball! Ellie, plays on a team whose initials crack me up! NKJV! New King James Version? Nope, Northern Kentucky Junior Volleyball. Recently they played a tournament at the Indianapolis, Indiana. My daughter kept us posted of the standings as the play went on Saturday and then into Sunday.
It was the 2023 Central Zone season. “Not only one of the most competitive junior leagues in the Midwest, but also in the Nation!” Our daughter, Emily, told us there were 900+ teams overall. Ellie’s division had 36 teams. They were in the club division which is the lowest.” Did not matter to us! We are so proud of her! She has been at this for many years.
The team played really well Saturday though Ellie’s first set her play was not her best. Coach moved her to the other side and she did great from then on. Sunday they won a set and then another set. And then another set and they were “golden” playing for the gold in their division.
And they WON! They won the Gold!! First time ever in her club volleyball years that her team has melded and won!!
We read her stats from Emily as the Bengals lost to Kansas City. And life, goes on.
Things were fairly dismal as we watched the game between Kansas City and Cincinnati. Cincinnati had not even scored yet. We always walk Lucky around 8-9PM. As I put on my coat and got her on her leash the TV was making noise. I told Bob about it. The dog and I stepped outdoors and before we got to the sidewalk heard people screaming from inside the house across the street. Bob came to our front door and hollered “We scored!” I yelled back, “I know!”
Our dog is very skittish and hates fireworks. You guessed it, next thing I knew a neighbor set off a firecracker! Now she no longer wanted to pee, just GET IN THE HOUSE. I did not want to come outside again, so I proceeded to pace the sidewalk and coax her to do her business. Finally, she went.
For us, that was the last high point of the match up. As you likely know, Cincinnati lost to Kansas City and we did not proceed to the Superbowl. It is only with Joe Burrow’s arrival and the team building in the last couple years that I have taken any interest at all in American football.
The next morning our entire area was shrouded much of the day in deep fog. It was rather indicative of the city’s mood. We will be looking forward to what next year brings for our Bengals. In the meanwhile we will watch the Superbowl to see if Mahone’s high ankle sprain gets healed completed before he takes the field again. Hope so!
We must empty ourselves of all that fills us, so that we may be filled with what we are empty of.
Our small group is studying John Eldredge’s book Resilient. There is a free app he has released through the app stores. It is called the One Minute Pause. A little misleading as there are daily devotions for 30 days, morning and evening. The devotions last about 10-15 minutes. WELL worth your time! Please download it and try this out. Even if you cannot do each morning and evening, work through what you can accomplish and then have another round with the times you missed!
The above quote came from his devotional one day. I must be reminded again and again to let God fill me with what I am missing. I get filled up with health concerns, worries about the welfare of others, snow and ice, what to write in this blog, how to conduct myself when in the presence of ones who have wounded me, etc., etc., etc.
Empty myself of all that fills me, let God fill me what what I am empty of … sounds so simple. It is not simple but a discipline that brings me a deeper, richer life. Writing the blog entries for this week I have been distracted by many things. Many times I have not had scripture to go along with what I have written about. I have not failed, just not like I usually want to get things done.
Next week might not be much different as I return to the dermatologist for more cutting away. Yuck. Those events make it hard for me to focus, especially when they occur during the time I have committed to writing! I am learning I can write at other times, not that I never knew that. The designation of a writing time has been important for my own self-discipline. Trying my best not to violate that time has been an on-going effort that has born fruit. Hopefully fruit that lasts and fruit that nourishes you!
Eldredge says we are created for union with God. We must learn benevolent detachment. I am learning that benevolent detachment is seeing the things in my mind and realizing that many of them are like the squirrels out my window who are jumping through the snow. They are here and then they are gone. At times I let those squirrels build nests in my brain. What really belongs in their place?
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 LSB (Legacy Standard Bible)
First and foremost, continuously, His kingdom, His righteousness. Romans 12:1-2 tells me that in view of God’s mercy I am to present myself a living sacrifice. I am not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, BUT transformed, by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to test and approve God’s perfect, good, pleasing will.
Here I am LORD, a living sacrifice to You. Holy Spirit renew my mind within me. Jesus show me the Father’s good, perfect and pleasing will. Holy Trinity give me courage and power to fulfill that will.
I have a bag-less vacuum cleaner. It has a sponge filter as well as two other types of filter. When the vacuum picks up dirt we are supposed to empty that dirt. There is a lock on the bottom of the canister that opens and the dirt drops out. If hair and other debris gets tangled at the top, it too has a lock that opens so the dirt can be removed. For me the morning and /or evening time of meditation and benevolent attachment is similar to emptying that canister.
Come then, Father, and renew me, transform me by renewing my mind, fill me with what I am missing.
When I was looking for a career in 1968 I was directed to take data entry classes. We did “keypunch cards” and verification for computers that were the size of most offices. I never learned how to write computer language and really was not interested to learn, though my boss wanted me to learn. To this day I am not afraid of my computer, iPhone, tablet or other devices. Especially since kids these days say, “just start pushing the buttons until you get the result you want.” Ha! There is a new item available to the public.
I do not pretend to understand most of the technological leaps we are making, but this one caught my attention. It said you could ask it to write a poem or a term paper and it would. Schools are worried but not caught off guard. What??!?
Have you ever been online with a question and the site asked if you would like an online chat? Then you likely havehad interaction with a ‘chatbot.’ According to Wikipedia, “Chatbot is a software application used to conduct an online conversation via text in lieu of providing direct contact with a live human agent.”
There is a new computer ability that was released for free online called ChatGPT. It is causing quite a stir in the world. It was released November 30, 2022 by a company called OpenAI. (A I is artificial intelligence.)
This system is notable for ‘its detailed responses and articulate answers across many domains of knowledge. “It has the ability,” according to Wikipedia “to write and debug computer programs; to compose music, teleplays, fairy tales, and student essays; to answer test questions (sometimes, depending on the test, at a level above the average human test-taker); to write poetry and song lyrics; to emulate a Linux system; to simulate an entire chat room; to play games like tic-tac-toe; and to simulate an ATM.”
I tried to sign up so I could ask it to write a poem based on a few thoughts I had. Then I wanted to compare its creation to one of my poems. Since every news agency seems to be reporting on ChatGPT the system is too busy to accept new free accounts right now. That is okay. Not certain I want to give them my information or find out how the bot would do with my ideas! Open AI does collect data.
Wikipedia reports that “ChatGPT was met in December 2022 with generally positive reviews; The New York Times labeled it “the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public.” Samantha Lock of The Guardian noted that it was able to generate “impressively detailed” and “human-like” text. Technology writer Dan Gillmor used ChatGPT on a student assignment, and found its generated text was on par with what a good student would deliver and opined that “academia has some very serious issues to confront.”
Oh my! Will there be any original human creativity left after the AI world finishes with us? I pray so. I wonder how extensive their knowledge base is of the Christian religion and how access to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit changes human creation? God save us all! And LORD, please help me keep writing to glorify Your name!
Is this beyond the Babel of the Scripture? God knows and time will tell.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel —because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Genesis 11:1-9 NIV
Yikes what happens when A I starts talking for us? It already talks to us. God knows and I believe He is in charge!
We spent our first night at Glendalough. At the bottom of this blog is a short film to introduce you to the area. After breakfast we went for a walk around the neighboring area. We saw these sheep in the graveyard.
When we returned to the inn one of the employees asked if we enjoyed our walk. I told her how amused I was by the sheep in the graveyard. She told the bartender, “Better call Mr. Mc Creary! His sheep got loose again!” Now where better to get a tasty treat than on the loose in early morning at the graveyard?
Cracked me up! Guess those sheep were sneaking around and on a mission – not to get caught! The Irish mark their sheep with paint, thus the pink and blue marks on the wool!
Years ago Bob pulled over to take the photo above. I said, “I can’t wait to see the one with barn and the horse in it.” He asked, “What horse?”
The grandchildren above are now 20 and 17 years old. They still come each year at Christmastime to make gingerbread cookies with me. In the photo above Lizzie (the oldest) was giving a cooking show narration of how to cut out the cookies. She had watched similar shows with her mom. Ellie (the youngest) is now taller than all of us!
Here is their photo from a year ago.
And of course, the man of my dreams, still at my side after over 5 decades!
Our son had some training from Jean Robert as he was familiarly known in Cincinnati. We enjoyed more than several fine meals at his places of business. Once we had our friends Dan and Betty Cooksey with us and our son was allowed to create a dinner menu just for us. It was fantastic!
When Jean Robert de Cavel died recently his family invited the people he had trained to attend his memorial service at the Cincinnati cathedral, St. Peter in Chains, located downtown. The prior students were asked to wear their chef jackets and sit in a particular area. After the memorial they had a group photo on the cathedral stairs and they simultaneously said, “Oui, Chef,” as he required them to say in the kitchen.
Jeff said it was a bittersweet reunion. There were people he knew and had not been in touch with for some time. He told me it was hard for the students to say “Au revoir,” to their fine instructor. May he rest in peace.
What a legacy to train all those folks! Cincinnati was blessed to have him here for so many years.