Monday, May 2, 2016

Forgive - or - Forget?

Most of you know that I get a daily email from Guideposts.org which contains a bible verse, a quote, an action to take and a prayer. Once again, I felt the need to share one of them. 
This one, I'm sure, touches each of us. In most of our lives, we can recall something that hurt us and we have a hard time forgetting that hurt. 
Even if we can't say the specific words in our hearts ("I forgive him/her"), maybe it's time to at least admit it's time to forget that matter and release the burden of hurt, and then we can move on.

"Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do." Colossians 3:13

A Time to Think
Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.–Albert Schweitzer, theologian, philosopher and physician

A Time to Act
Forgive those who have crossed you. Your forgiveness is your most important contribution to the healing of the world.

A Time to Pray
Lord, show me new ways to bring comfort and healing in Your name.

Thank you, Lord, for these daily reminders from Guidepost writers. So often, they help me to look at things in a different way, and thereby continue to move on. Bless those writers, please, for their ability to share these thoughts.

Friday, April 29, 2016

More Rain Coming This Weekend - Record Broken

After one day without it, we're expecting rain again. This should begin during the night and take up much of the morning. There are possibilities of it off and on during the day and into tomorrow.

I usually deliver part of our senior mobile home park monthly newsletter each month. Normally, I'd be out there two mornings. I'd do a third of the route on Saturday, to warm up. Then I'd do the rest on Sunday. We talked at the park office today and decided to hold off delivery until Monday and Tuesday. No sense having the papers rubber banded to railings (half the park) and to mail box poles outside of homes (the other half of the park) and have them getting soaked.

That said, watch the rain storm fizzle and us get nothing.

They have said that this April was the rainiest, wettest we've had here since 1968. I've only been in the area since '94, but already suspected this was a record month.

So for all of you in this area, do be careful if you're out and around in the rain. Don't careen through high water. Be smart.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I'm a Little Ashamed of Myself Today

I found myself in prayer today for several reasons. At first I prayed, as I do when we get bad storms here, for protection for myself and my friends and neighbors. This usually includes prayers for those who are disabled in some way and living alone. At 76, I know far too many of them these days. Later, I pray to thank the Lord for that blessing.

During these storms, I worry about power outages. Not so much for me - I still get around. But there are those who are dependent on electricity for medical devices - that's tricky.

Today, the storm hit my neighborhood, hard, between 5 and 6 p.m. - it was a hard driving rain, thundering on the awnings and roofs, coming in from the northwest. I did manage to get into the filthy, dirty, scuzzy car and ride around our streets, letting the Heavenly Car Wash do its magic. Then I came back to the driveway, parked, came in and said another prayer of thanks, for the free car wash.

At that point, I noticed the rain was beginning to subside. I could even see the sky clearing behind the storm. That's when I noticed the clock said 6 p.m. and that I hadn't even given a thought to pray for all those people driving home in that awful storm, during the evening commute. Out here, we get flooded intersections as a matter of course, and far too many accidents, when it rains like this - quick, heavy and strong.

Father, forgive me for not saying a quick prayer for all those headed home from their jobs this afternoon. My finite mind is not always trustworthy, but I trust your infinite wisdom and pray that, silly as it may sound, you let me make my prayer retroactive and that when I next see the news, there will not be any really bad accidents in it.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Random Thoughts and Prayers

I'm not sure why I feel drawn to post something tonight, my Lord. I'm sort of drifting.

I did finish printing our newsletter for the month and I need to staple that tomorrow. I didn't do a whole lot more than that.

I also spent some time worrying about whether the rains would hit tonight but I did shut down the TV setup under the possible leak and turned off the power strip and put up the pot, in case. At this moment, it just began to rain rather steady. I'll pray for some peaceful sleep tonight and that my home is safe and dry. I think it has to do with wind direction because it seems to be very difficult to locate.

I have food in the house for me and the cat, her box is clean, trash went out, and I enjoyed my crock pot specials today.

Maybe that's all I need to do - to thank you for a day that didn't have any crisis moments in it. I have friends who can't say that tonight.

So I'll post this, shut down, and say some heartfelt prayers for some folks who desperately need them. Some need ongoing healing, others need extraordinary help, and others are having a hard time just getting through each day.

Lord Jesus, you told us to go to the Father through you. I am doing that now. Please take each of these folks into your heart and help them in any way you can. I place my trust in you.

Monday, April 25, 2016

One Way to Wait for Prayers to be Answered

I get a daily email from Guideposts.org which contains a bible verse, a quote, an action to take and a prayer. The one I read today was something I will try to remember whenever I begin to worry. I felt I needed to share this with some of you.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)

A Time to Think
Until God opens the next door for you, praise him in the hallway. –Anonymous

A Time to Act
Thank the Lord for the possibilities of a new day.

A Time to Pray
Giver of all that is good, how grateful I am for Your abundant kindness.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Safe in the Father's Arms

There are many times when I stretch out under an afghan on a chair or couch, or crawl under the blanket at night in bed, when I imagine myself safe in the Father's arms.

I find myself feeling warm and cozy and I smile. I've found that imagining the Father holding me is an incredibly peaceful feeling.

For many folks, having a father's arms protecting them is something they can only imagine because they never personally experienced it. But there's no reason we cannot imagine that feeling.

My own dad was an alcoholic but there were times when we knew he really loved us even though he was "out of it." So at least I did know a father's love even if it was sporadic.

But there are other things I've never experienced - like having a baby. I could never carry past 8 weeks and I had several severe miscarriages. But that doesn't stop me from loving children and it didn't stop me from helping to raise a few or from making things to donate to needy mothers and babies.

So what I'm saying is that God gave us this incredible gift we call "imagination." With it, we can bring on a wonderful sensation of peace by just imagining the Father's arms when we are in need of that safe feeling.

Father, thank you for blessing us with our imaginations. Thank you for blessing us with the ability to imagine you holding us and comforting us. There is no father or mother or protector on earth who can compare with the unlimited comfort you can bring to us if we but open ourselves up to it. Thank you!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Very Un-Productive Day

I had an absolutely, positively, definitely, for sure, un-productive day.

That said, it will affect each of you in a different way.

Some of you will sigh and nod their heads and admit that they, too, had that kind of a day.

Then there are those of you who had the kind of day that I planned to have but didn't. For you, you will feel, righteously so, smug and satisfied because you accomplished something today. Good for you.
I guess I did do one thing - or maybe two.

I took the clutter of costume jewelry I've got and organized it. I need to do that every year or so. During the year, I grab earrings, or push stuff around looking for that pair, or slide aside a pair that no longer stays on when I wear them. So today, I looked at everything, tossed out broken ones, put aside two pair to give away. I even got the earrings into an 18-count egg carton and filled each hole with one pair, making it easy to grab and wear at will.

I also made one (yep, one) baby hat for the charity craft stash.

But that's about it.

So if you did about the same as I did, at least we are not alone.

And if you did better than I did, maybe I will top you tomorrow, or the next day.

All in good time. 

I have decided that life has enough unexpected stress built into it, enough so that I don't plan to add to that. So I had a quiet day - so what?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wild Winds Afoot Tonight

Some of my strongest, most heartfelt prayer sessions often involve weather and its issues here in our senior mobile home community.

Tonight, for instance, wild winds are afoot - or should I say, a-flight? We're sustaining 25 mph winds with gusts up to 40 and 50 mph probable. This advisory is in effect until about 3 a.m. - that means many folks in this park will be listening in the dark, praying as I am, that nothing will detach off our homes and fly around in here and need repairs and/or replacement come morning. I expect there will be plenty of orphaned trash cans, too, since tomorrow is trash day and folks often put them out overnight.

Anyhow, my prayers aren't just for my home. That is a big concern, of course. My home is almost 40 years old and things can happen.

But my biggest concerns are for those in here with other worries, too. Some fear power outages in winds like this. Those folks are often on 24/7 oxygen, and/or nebulizers, which depend on power. Some of them are alone and must deal with finding everything in the dark, if that happens.

And others have homes even older and in worse condition than mine is in. I worry for them.

Even in some of our dust-devil episodes in here, we've often seen whole awnings ripped off carports and sailing through the community. They can hit other homes, damaging them, or hit cars parked in unrelated driveways.

Those are just a few concerns.

Sweet Jesus, you who walked on water and calmed the stormy sea, please take a moment tonight to glance our way. Many, many folks in here have faith in you and trust in your loving care. Please protect our homes and property this worrisome night. Please ensure that no one in here has any damage because of these winds. We love you and we trust you!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Taking Care of God's Gifts to Me

I learned a little lesson late this afternoon. I was sitting on the back steps, catching up on my AARP magazine articles, and when I went to put on my reading glasses, I poked my right eye with the end of the ear piece. Now, I did close my eye just about when the piece poked my eye, but nonetheless, there was a moment of mild pain. 

The thing is that back in Dec. of '14, I had cataract surgery on that eye. That's the eye in which they needed to insert a spiral-o-ring to hold the new lens in place. I was told back then that there was always a chance of that ring slipping and requiring me to go in for mild surgery to re-do it. I kept aware of that eye for the next half hour and the mild pain went away and my vision was fine, so I know I didn't do any real immediate damage.

Now here's the lesson I learned.

Lately, I've been teasing, lightly, a dear friend who is in her 80s and now on 24/7 oxygen and uses a walker. She forgets her age and often does just a little too much and is exhausted afterwards. Gently, I mention that she's not 39 any longer, and we laugh.

Ok. The Lord gave me new eyes a little over a year ago. I was 75 during the year the first eye was done, so I kid and call them my 75th birthday gifts from God - my new eyes.

So, now I've got to remind myself, as well, that I am not 39 any longer and I must be a bit more careful when I do things, and do them a bit more slowly and focus on each thing I do these days. I can no longer just plunge into things.

It's no big deal, but if I do damage to myself, it will become a big deal.

Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me gently that I must be just a bit more careful when I do things these days. I am so grateful for not only these great new eyes you gave me, but for each day I am here to enjoy the additional joys they bring my way. Please forgive me for giving someone else advice and not heeding it myself. I will try to do better. However, you know me all too well - I will need your help along the way.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Helping the Homeless Directly

A few months ago when we went through an especially cold spell here in the Las Vegas valley, for 2 or 3 days, I carried some things in my car in case I spotted a homeless person. At that point, I'd gathered a few lightweight but sturdy cloth/canvas/whatever bags, somewhat like duffel bags. They had accumulated in here over the years and I no longer had a need for them and these were ones that did not sell at the previous yard sale.

In each of the bags, I tossed one of our charity crafter hats/caps, scarves, and fingerless gloves. I added some easy-open, non-perishable foods like small cans of beans, a pouch or two of tuna or salmon, even a candy bar, and things like that. It wasn't much. I don't have much. But I watched for specials and deals and also hit the 99-cent store. What I tossed in there didn't even amount to $10 per each of the 3 bags. I think I even tossed in some plastic forks and spoons, pocket packs of tissues, and some things like that. Whatever I found around here.

The first fellow I noticed and pulled up to surprised me by his reaction. He got tears in his eyes. That floored me. He said he had just thrown away his backpack and didn't even have a bag to carry a bottle or two of water in. The other two bags got similar reactions. Then it was over and I moved on in my life.

This morning, in our Neighborhood Wal-Mart Grocery Store parking lot, I ran into a middle aged woman from Central America rolling all her earthly possessions in a folding shopping cart. We talked for a few minutes about the plastic canvas cross I gave her, and about life and life on the streets. I was in a hurry to get home, but she did tell me how to reach her through a woman who has a business stall in a nearby indoor weekend swap meet location.

At home, I remembered she said she probably needed to throw away this Styrofoam container that she was carrying figuring she could protect food in that but that she never had any food to put in it. And then I remembered my winter efforts.

So I'm going to try to remember to put one of my sturdy plastic crates in my car and begin to keep it loaded with plastic grocery bags with some non-perishables like those I gave to the homeless months ago. It won't be much for sure. But whatever it is, hopefully it will carry someone for a few days. Sometimes we give them money, even if it's just a buck or two, and they have no place that will let them inside to buy something with that cash. And the plastic bag can be used afterwards for trash or whatever, until it bites the dust.

Sweet Lord Jesus, thank you for placing that woman on my life's path this morning. It gave me the idea of a way to help, in such a small way, I agree, but if that small effort will help, guide my choices and point out those who need what little I will have on hand. I know it will take me a few days to gather, but I can begin tomorrow by putting the crate in my trunk.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stuffed Silly

I won't be on too long tonight - I'm stuffed silly and ate myself into a full belly coma (sigh) but it was great. 

Friends of mine go away for the summer to work in another state and they took me to Cici's for din-din - I really did NOT need to eat like that and it's rare these days when I do, but good company and comfort food worked its magic and I can't keep my eyes open. 

I'm trying to stay awake until at least 9:30 or else Silkie will have me up in the middle of the night...in case I do not get back on tonight, sleep well and peacefully, my friends...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cat Naps vs Cat Wakes

They say a cat sleeps 16 hours a day. 

I finally observed. 

I did the math. 

Here's how it works out, at least in this house.

Cat wakes and stays awake 2 hours. Cat sleeps 4 hours. Repeat 6 times, for 24 hours. 

It's true!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Yard Sale Prep and Sorting Update

A few days ago, I filled you in on the results of my weekend doing our Spring Park Wide Yard Sale in this post. I promised to write about how I made out with my food prep (in this post) and how I sorted what I had left on the driveway after the sale.

Food prep, first. I was so happy with my efforts at getting food ready and handy for the 3 days and I actually didn't even use all that I prepped. My breakfast (read the food prep post) was ready to just open up and splash with milk each morning as soon as I was ready to sit, ready for possible visitors. The snacks actually lasted not only the 3 days, but into the next 3 days, so it was great. Having food prepped and ready after the fact was far better than being hungry and tired and not feeling at all like putting something together during one of those labor-intensive (for me) days.

Sorting, next. In the past, what I always did was carry 4 boxes down the driveway and plop them in front of the two long tables and the two card tables, then plop everything from one table into its box, and so on. Then I went to the other side of the drive, and did the same with what was left on top of the boxes I'd upended and used for "tables." The problem with that was that I always ended up stashing 10 or 12 cartons of unsorted "stuff" back in my shed until I got the ambition to go in and re-sort them all.

This time, I thought I'd be smart.

I already knew I'd need a box for Safe Nest (a local charity) and a box for a dear friend who has less than I do and her family loves it when I drop "stuff" off and at least one box for the shed. Along the way I also realized I had a few things that would be great for the local homeless. I had quite a few braces and bandages (for knees, elbows, etc.) so I tossed them in that box.

Anyhow, I labeled the boxes and walked down to the first table, grabbed stuff, walked back to the boxes and tossed some things in one box, some in another, and so on. I think you are probably already ahead of me here. Wait for it - it took me 1-1/2 hours! I was too tired to realize I was wasting energy walking back and forth and back and forth.

The good thing was that I only took 2 boxes back for the shed instead of my usual 10. Another good thing was that the boxes on my drive are sorted and packed and being disbursed. The bad thing was that I didn't work "smart" and put a, say, Safe Nest box, down near the tables and just pull off the SN stuff and fill that one, then so on. I could have put one box per destination down there, filled it, and made it easy. I did learn from it, and I did save my re-sorting, for sure - I am very happy about that.

But I found my feet so sore by the time I carried the last folded table to the back, and by the time I carried the 2 2x4s back (I had them on the ground as supports for a bunch of upended cartons which served as "tables") and then the 3 cinder blocks (supporting the 2x4s), that I could barely walk the 3 houses down to visitor parking to retrieve my car.

By the time I got the car back to the driveway, I gazed at the 4 back steps and figured if I could get myself up those, and into the shower, I could probably get myself out of the shower. I already knew what I would have for dinner - one of my freezer meals was defrosted.

All in all, it went well until the end. I'm not sure if I'll do the one in October. I think all I'll have left then is tons and tons of crochet (mine) and knit (Jane's and even my mom's from the 40s!) patterns and craft notions and perhaps Christmas stuff. Hmmm - sounds like enough for just one more time. 
Gotta at least give it a try and I have six months to heal and to prepare.

Roof Leaking Again, But I'm Not Worried This Time

Back in October, I had an issue with my double wide mobile home (almost 40 yrs old) roof leaking in the living room directly over my old tv/vcr setup. It was coming down on the tv, analog converter box, and indoor antenna. I had to borrow money from a friend in order to coat the roof.

My roof was such a mess that the contractor's guys were on their hands and knees sealing all the cracks, pits and holes up there. Only then did they coat it. At that time, we were not at all sure we got the reason for that leak.
Unless you understand roof leaks (and in my 76 years, I have experienced about half a dozen), you might not realize the cause is not always obvious. 
It can start at one end of a roof, run down a slightly graded beam and exit far from the source. With all the holes and damage I had up there, it still had to be sealed and coated.
When I first considered it, neighbors tried to talk me into a cheap job from a community handyman. I had already been that route before. This time I wanted and needed a good job that would last me at least 5 to 10 years.

This leak could even be from a seam between the roof and the house structure itself. It only happens when there is a really blowing driving hard rain, as if it is going in sideways. That is really hard, if not impossible, to pinpoint. So I need divine guidance here, my friends.

Of course, with the leak over my viewing setup, I turned everything off and was without TV from 1 yesterday afternoon until 4 this afternoon. No biggie. I crocheted. I filled out paperwork that needed to be done before a visit to County offices in the morning. I did other "stuff." The cat slept.

Lord Jesus, you and Joseph worked with your hands at carpentry and other earthly jobs. I thank you with all my heart for what you did for me in the fall when the leak first appeared. These men are skilled but they need additional help this time to further diagnose the final cause of this one stubborn leak. Please guide them with your compassionate wisdom so we may all see a happy outcome.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Ongoing Prayers for Some Friends

Tonight I realized how grateful I am that the Lord has my back. I was thinking about three friends who have recently dealt with auto accidents and the aftermath of each one.

I remembered the one I was in over 10 years ago. Back then, I was between insurance coverages, having just dropped one and expecting the other to kick in later in the week. Who expects trouble in that brief a gap? Not me. Not my passenger. We left work on a normal afternoon and were broadsided by a young man who was speeding and on his cell. Ten years ago we didn't have all the bells, whistles and laws in place to help. I was planning to drop off my co-worker on the way home. The car was smooshed so badly on my side that we had to climb out of the passenger side front window. When the tow came, that driver viewed the mess, saw the other car and saw mine, glanced at the skid marks and said it was obvious that the kid was at fault. BUT I wasn't covered. I couldn't even pursue the issue without having legal troubles. The kid's father (he left the scene to get dad) quickly realized his good fortune and we swapped names and addresses. A week later, I was able to get up to where my totaled car had been towed and made a deal for the mechanics to just use it for parts in exchange for the time it spent there. When I took some photos and looked inside, I could see the impressions of our heads indented in the roof, inside the car. If we had not been belted, I don't even want to consider what would have happened.

Bottom line - I was not able to recover any expenses, but both my friend and I were blessed in being alive and badly bruised. He was able to get another co-worker to ride with and I spent the next year taking 3 buses to work each day and home again.

Now here's the thing. I am so very grateful, even though back then, I thought it was one of the worst things I'd been through. Yet I got away very cleanly compared to these friends of mine.

I have kept them in my prayers since their accidents occurred and will do so for a long time to come. They did not come away as cleanly as I did.

One is over 80 and finally had her cast off her "good" arm but is still in grave pain with it. She is dealing with a terminal kidney issue and they will not give her pain meds. She was in a car with her sis and brother. The sis and brother had many bruises and I'm not sure how they fared with the car. They didn't need hospitalization except for ER care. But they were all seniors and do not heal quickly. She is still dealing with the physical aftermath of their accident.

Another who also lives in our community is walking well now but in the beginning, she was in bad shape. They are driving a car but it's not theirs. We talked briefly recently and she tells me her insurance company still has not settled for her. They tell her it could take as long as 10 years since the other side is arguing the details of the accident. They, too, are seniors. I don't know if they have another 10 years. They are struggling now, financially, with the aftermath of their accident.

The third friend was injured badly as was her dear friend. She was in the hospital for weeks and is finally home. They are both still bad off, physically, even though her cast has finally disappeared. In addition, they no longer have a car. They are both seniors, too. They must rely on friends and other sources just to get to the doctors while dealing with their injuries. I don't know the details and whether or not they were covered, but apparently many insurance companies these days take a while to settle. Maybe they only had liability and a rental was not covered. Maybe - anything. The thing is, they are dealing with both the physical and financial aftermath of their accident.

Father, you were incredibly good to me 10 years ago. Yes, that bus was a pain but both of escaped long-term injuries and extreme financial issues. I ask with all my heart and soul and being for your ongoing compassion and mercy for these friends. Please bless them in unexpected ways with extraordinary solutions to their financial issues and with extraordinary healing. Each of them are people of faith, as you know, and are relying on you for strength and peace of mind during this worrisome and painful time. Bless them, please.