Bob’s Sense of Humor

Robert 1975 Smoky Mountain National Park

I have often called this man my knight in shining armor. Journaling March 31 of this year I wrote.

“I had an emotional break through of sorts. This morning I noticed my scene out the bedroom window that I have looked at for years. Clearly I saw split rails that were missing or had fallen from the neighbors fence. I thought “fences are broken down.” And in this weird thing we are living through fences are down! During my meditation time I saw the photo of me the day of my dad’s funeral when I was eleven years old. Remembered the grief and fear of being left alone (especially with my mother and sister because I am so much like my dad). As the meditation continued I realized that Bob is the one who for most all of my life has kept me from the alone-ness of that grief and fear. And THAT is why I have been feeling I cannot bear the possibility of ever losing him. Jesus touch me in that place, I pray.

“Later John Eldredge confirmed all that pointing out that places in us from childhood may be calling out during this stay at home season. We need to have mercy and grace for ourselves and others.”

So he is my knight, but also my husband of soon-to-be fifty years. Yep, 50! Here is a cartoon he handed me recently. Did I mention he is the oldest of five and a terrible tease? Click the link below to see what I mean!

https://www.newyorker.com/cartoon/a23696

When Did You Last Act Like A Kid?

During a recent rain shower I saw a child playing in a water-filled ditch. As a mom I first checked, and no, there had not been thunder or lightning that day. My second thought was how delighted I was to see her and how she reminded me of myself at that age. Once I found a crawfish in a puddle and brought it home as a pet. It was about 3/4″ long. I put it in the bathroom sink with a little water while I tried to find a container for its home. My sister unstopped the drain, not noticing my pet and all was lost. I was sad and mad. Fast forward to today!

“Maybe what God really wants are grown-up kids who dance in the puddles, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, who dare to ask why a whole lot. Maybe we are far too proper. Maybe it’s time to take a page from Dainty doodlebug’s story and give in to the way we’re created to live—for our sake and for the gospel. Little else is as compelling and glorious as a giddy child, mud-covered and grinning, because they know how loved and safe they are even while thunder sounds in the distance.”

Embraced by Lysa TerKeurst

Giddy child of God, relax and enjoy creation again! Don’t those boots just remind one of Mike Powell?

“You were made from dust and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:19

“Dance in the puddles, get your hands dirty, ask why a whole lot more.” Recently I had the opportunity twice in one week to counsel two different women on the fact that we are allowed to get angry with God. He can take it! He would much prefer we be genuine with Him than pretend some sort of proper piety. After all, He reads our hearts and knows our thoughts and our words before they cross our lips.

 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.

Psalm 139:104 NIV 2011

Why not make an effort this week to get real with God? And if you have the opportunity, try jumping in a puddle, just for fun!!

Ironing on a Summer Day

I am making masks for use in public to fight the Corona virus again. It seems like my Rowenta iron is getting a workout as I press seams and pleats and the finished product.

A few years ago I gave away a Rowenta iron because the water would sputter and pop. Turns out I was using distilled water and it was designed to use tap water! The new iron came with a little white cup to make the water easier to pour into the iron. It holds about 12 ounces? The iron does not actually hold that much, so the water that remained in the cup sometimes formed a scum on the bottom of the white cup.

Recently I grabbed my water bottle from an earlier walk and filled the iron. Thought, “Why not?” It poured easily enough.

So I have been using that for a week or two. Jump into a memory!

My mother had a General Electric iron similar to this version from the 1950’s. Even with that gnarly two-toned cord.

With that version there was no steam option so the clothes had to be dampened before you ironed them. So instead of my trusty push button for forced steam or continuous steam from the Rowenta, we used something like this!

Yes! a trusty soda pop bottle with water (we would never place it on its side like the above photo). Just shake and the water would sprinkle out on the clothing. Then press the item. I thought it was so cool. When Mom would ask me to refill the bottle for her, I was always willing! When I was finally deemed old enough to do the ironing our General Electric iron was more like the one below. The red button on the top was for steam! We were moving up in the world! I never minded ironing. Even now, I am grateful I never had to iron stacks of dress shirts for my husband’s work, but ironing other things has not been a chore to me.

It was not usual for me to come home from school on a hot day and see my mother with the ironing board set up in front of the television, watching Reds baseball and drinking a beer while she ironed.

All that surfaced, while I ironed masks and watch Roku television in the basement! Grateful for the advances electric irons have made. Baseball season such as it is will begin soon. Unlikely you will find me ironing with a beer!

Just Breathe

Who would have thought last St. Patrick’s day that we would still be fighting pandemic on the 13th of July? Perhaps until someone you know catches the virus people do not take this seriously. Granted many catch it and recover. However, some go home from the ICU in wheelchairs and some in beds, having to learn how to walk again. Our daughter was tested and got a positive result for Covid 19 last week. Stunning. So now we wait.

“To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to ‘rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him’ (Psalm 37:7).” Max Lucado

I wait. I pray. I try to remember to breathe. And I post, asking you to pray for her immediate family (2 adults, 2 teens) and ours (2 seniors with underlying health issues).

Max Lucado wrote ” Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief.” I have found it increasingly difficult to stay focused on God through these four months. The monotony of repetitive actions gets to me: (Didn’t I just change this toilet paper roll? Didn’t I just fill these same prescription boxes?) Changing the wall calendar page has gotten startling! How did we get from March to mid-July?

Many believers have told me they believe that this world-wide pandemic is a massive effort by the forces of darkness to separate us from one another and from God. The level of warfare I have experienced has me leaning that direction.

Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV2011)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

NOW I have my work cut out for me! Throw off not casually get out from under, but THROW OFF everything that hinders. I have changed up my devotional time. There are days when I let the Bible app read to me in an attempt to immerse myself in Scripture. Morning Prayer, devotional writings, whatever feeds my weary soul.

If I read a chapter of Proverbs a day, I am finished with the book in one month. Psalms can be broken up into just about 5 chapters a day. I have gone so far as to break up Psalm 119 into days as it is VERY long for reading in just one sitting – at least for me! Fix my mind, fix my eyes, fix my ears upon the Lord God Almighty. The hymn below was written by Helen Howarth Lemmel, a woman from Batavia, Ohio! Yep, that is where I live. 🙂 The chorus is sung more than the hymn in most churches. Too bad they leave out the verses! Here is a quartet from the continent of India who do a wonderful arrangement of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. I pray you will.

Old People, Dogs and Woods

Well, she did it. Tight as it was she slipped her collar and took off up our backyard into the woods. Even hot dog pieces did not stop her. So I went in the house, got my phone, sunglasses and took off after her hoping to head her off further along the woods. We used to have a trail in the green space to walk through the edge of the backyards. Between neighbors dumping over their fences and trees falling, especially from Asian longhorn beetles, the trail is now an obstacle course. EXCEPT for a little beagle! And maybe that helped slow her down? The nose on legs!

This is especially difficult when your dog does not know her name! I went down the street calling “Here, Lucky! Here Sweetie!” (the top two contenders for name.) Neighbors offered to be on the lookout. I told Troy’s beagle mutt if he found her to keep her there. I cut down the hill through Joy’s yard and into the woods. Troy’s dog barked and I thought it was at me. Then I realized there was noise besides just me in the woods. And there she was. I called and eventually lured her to me with a piece of hot dog. I called Bob to let him know I found her. He brought the car to Joy’s house. I fashioned a collar from the leash and began to guide her through the woods. The terrain was just too rough and her legs too short to follow me. She laid down.

So picture this old woman carrying a 20+ pound dog through the fallen, rotting trees and shrubs, on a hillside, uneven terrain, using tree trunks and honeysuckle branches to balance. Must have made someone laugh! As I got to the edge of the woods, I thought it was strange that Bob had changed his shirt. Nope, not Bob. The young man who had been sitting on his porch was coming to help me out of the woods. He had met Bob in the driveway and insisted on coming down. Except for the dead thorn bush that attacked my arm, I did pretty good!

We got her to the car and we were all exhausted. I drove home with Bob holding her on his lap. Had to bathe her in the utility tub in the garage as she (of course, beagle) had rolled in something. Got her into the office and she could not wait to nap. I am about ready to nap also.

This is a form of exercise that is good for me, but I would rather stay out of the woods! If she ever slips that collar again I will insist on taking her outside with the harness on and only the harness, not the collar for leash connection! Yikes.

Zoom Calls and Video Church

Since March 17th or so when we began to learn more about and practice video church and video calls this song has been rolling around some place in the back of my mind. Of course, when it was written in 1967, we could barely imagine what a video phone was. Now most everyone carries the ability in their pocket! Previously I have occasionally used Whats App and even Face Time. I am grateful we can connect with our friends this way, but after so many years of in-person contact, it does get tiresome for this old lady.

Why must every generation think they’re folks are square?
And no matter where they’re heads are, they know mom’s ain’t there.
Cause’ I swore when I was small, that I’d remember when,
I knew what’s wrong with them, that I was smaller than.

Determined to remember all the cardinal rules.
Like, sun showers are legal grounds, for cutting school.
I know I have forgotten maybe one or two.
And I hope that I recall them all before the baby’s due.
And I’ll know he’ll have a question or two.

Like, hey pop. Can I go ride my zoom?
It goes two hundred miles an hour, suspended on balloons.
And can I put a droplet of this new stuff on my tongue?
And imagine puffing dragons, while you sit and wreck you’re lungs.
And I must me permissive, understanding of the younger generation.

And then I know that all I’ve learned, my kid assumes.
And all my deepest worries must be his cartoons.
And still I’ll try to tell him all the things I’ve done,
relating to what he can do when he becomes a man.
And still he’ll stick his fingers in the fan.

And hey pop, my girlfriend’s only three.
She’s got her own videophone,

and she’s taking LSD.
And now that were best friends, she want’s to give a bit to me.
But whats the matter daddy? How come you’re turning green?
Can it be that you can’t live up to your dreams?

So use your videophone, but skip the LSD. I’ve been told it can be brutal on the mind and body. Do not want to find out!

Complaining

While riding a bus I once asked a man how he was doing. He responded, ” Can’t complain. Complaining don’t do no good anyways.” I recently heard another person state, “I can’t complain. But I do!”

You might have read my blog entitled “1983 and 2020.” I was complaining about my frustrations during this pandemic. I recently read an article in Time magazine, dated June 15, 2020, entitled “The Guilt of Complaining About Anything Right Now” by Susanna Schrobsdorff. I want to link you to her article, https://time.com/author/susanna-schrobsdorff/ Definitely worth the read.

She notes, “Helplessness, the feeling of being stuck and anxiety about the future are textbook harbingers of mental distress. And there are no rules about who gets to acknowledge that distress. We have to find enough compassion for ourselves that we can admit it if we’re not really O.K. and recognize that, even if we have our basic needs met, this can still be awful. It’s not indulgent to mention it; it’s smart to ask for help. This is as important as avoiding the virus because we’ll need mind and body and soul to help each other through this marathon.”

Yes, it is a marathon. We got my new car. It smells that lovely chemical mixture that says new. It came with 33 miles on the odometer. I took a long drive with a friend on Thursday. Averaged 38.2 mph. Have been deciding what goes into it and what does not need to be in it. Bought a basket to organize the back seat. Bought a windshield sun screen that will be easier to find than the all black one I already own.

Awoke today after a fitful nap. Grouchy and knew this was pandemic blues marching around in my head. Yes, we need to be kind to ourselves. We each need to know when to ask for help and how to get that help. And we need each other to get through this. I was NEVER good at running. Dreaded that 20 yard dash in school (years ago when gym class was ugh). Not what you would call a physically coordinated being. A marathon never ever crossed my mind. But as a metaphor for long distance endurance being needed, I get that!

So, never an athlete, but I did admire these guys! Maybe we can adopt this attitude and help each other along.

Susanna is right: “we’ll need mind and body and soul to help each other through this marathon.”

Heraclitus

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying change is the only constant in life. A native of Ephesus, he was born in 535 BC and died 475 BC. His saying has also been translated that the only constant is change.

Heraclitus, depicted in engraving from 1825, Wikipedia

And then there is: Change is inevitable. Come to expect it.

Recently I heard Joseph Goldman teach “Awareness of change and impermanence leads us to greater ease in our lives.”

I have a very long way to go before I accomplish what Goldman was teaching. Aware, yes. Accepting, much much harder to get there. How are you doing with all the changes in our lives these days? Have you been able to find the latest Covid-19 data in the midst of other news? Outbreaks of the virus barely being reported or commented upon. SO many people here in Ohio running around in public with no masks and no intention of wearing a mask.

There are many things that this country needs to change. I agree with that. Getting humans to embrace change gracefully is another matter all together.

Can we become pliable in the hands of God and embrace changes as they come to us? We often said that my mother-in-law would have been happier if she could have embraced changes instead of fighting against them as they arose. Wondering now if Bob and I will be enabled to embrace what we must as this pandemic rolls on and the years catch up with us.

As my dear Episcopalian brothers and sisters taught me, “I will, with God’s help.” And I knowingly emphasize, “ONLY with God’s help.”

 For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.

Hebrews 13:8 MSG

Fallen But Still Growing

There is a trail we often walk at Harsha Lake, which we have always called East Fork Lake. It is truly our favorite trail though there are few wildflowers there. Recently we noticed a tree had fallen across the stream. We commented how sad it was that this tree would mess up the photos we take trying to capture the changes in the water.

We returned to our trail a few weeks later and wow was I surprised! This pandemic struggle has been very difficult for me emotionally. I guess I am what is referred to as a melancholic depressive. I want to be an optimist, but I am more like Eeyore!

So there is the fallen tree. Sprouting leaves now in the sun and sudden heat of 80 degrees, constantly watered by the stream.

This tree is not upright as we are accustomed to seeing them grow. It must still be rooted though! Obviously, I have no idea how long the tree can survive. But I am going to take this image as a reminder to hope. Hope that a new day will come. Hope that until then, we are sustained by our loving Father.

Happy are those whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. “ Psalm 1: 2-3

1983 and 2020

Reading Facebook the other day I came across this quote.

How, then, shall we live the life of prayer without ceasing? By quiet, persistent practice in turning all of our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward him who calls in the deeps of our souls.

Thomas Kelly

Inward surrender. Yes. I need me more of that. So frustrated. Tried to buy a car. Since it is likely the last new car I will ever purchase we decided to go for the interior I wanted. They told us, “No problem. We can get that brought in from another dealer.” Well, big problem. No one else had one. So, “No problem! We can order that from the factory.” So whenever the factory reopens and is able to make that on the line, we will eventually have a new car. Thought for certain I could use up at least a week or two learning the electronics of a new car. Grateful we have the means, but no distraction from a new car any time soon.

Oh yes! Bob agreed that I could get a dog if I wanted. We had to put our aged beagle down a few years ago. I miss her to this day. So I began looking on line for a dog. The tiny one I was most interested in is oh, 2-3,000 dollars. Nope. Can’t see that happening and there were none available now. Could send a deposit and wait on a litter. Have never spent that much money on an animal companion. Surely there are some dogs in shelters waiting for our home.

Guess again! Shelters closed because of pandemic. The one I am most drawn to came from a hoarding situation and they have no idea when she might be ready to adopt out. There are plenty of big (40 lbs. plus) pit bull mixes. No thanks. Bob doesn’t want a tiny dog that yaps all the time. A new dog to nurture, to cuddle with, to train.

So our daughter met a dog that seemed perfect. He was being fostered at the same home where her new adopted dog came from. The foster mom thought we would be a great match. We applied. Very excited. Within a few hours we were denied the dog. Never saw that coming!! We do not have a fenced yard. It is VERY hilly and would be next to impossible to fence. His bio said he would need another dog to live with. No other dog here.

Inward surrender. Yes. I need me more of that. Surrender to WHAT IS, rather than hanging my hopes on what could be. Once I was directed to a powerful book entitled Radical Acceptance. Yes, I need to go to that place again. That motivated me to try to remember a quote I used for many years to remind myself to surrender to the Lord.

William Law wrote a book entitled A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. I first read it in 1983. I found the title from a journal entry I wrote when our daughter was 7 and our son was 4. ANCIENT history!


Stand turned to a patient, meek, humble, resignation to God when your own impatience, wrath, pride and irresignation attacks yourself. This is a higher and more beneficial performance of duty than when you stand turned when attacked by the passions of other people. Wholly give yourself to be helped by the mercy of God. Patience to expect it all from God.
Nothing brings you so near to divine relief as the extremity of distress.

Give myself to be helped by the mercy of God. Especially when my own impatience, wrath, pride and irresignation attacks ME. I did not remember the quote in that context. Still earning, thirty-seven years later.

Radical acceptance.

Patient, meek, humble resignation to God. Higher and more beneficial performance of my duty.

“Nothing brings you so near to divine relief as the extremity of distress.”

Okay. I am at that extremity. Come, Lord.