BEHIND THE TIMES

BEHIND THE TIMES

That’s me!  I’m always a little or sometimes a lot behind the times.  You could never define me as being TECH SAVVY. I use my computer every day, but I only know what I taught myself, though, I am getting better at it.  I used to work so hard trying to produce something perfect only to press the wrong key and lose my work with no knowledge of how to retrieve it. Because I didn’t know how to curse, I just cried and stormed and threatened to throw the ugly thing out the window.

I do not own a laptop, an iPad or a Kindle (I like to read real, live books), nor do I have an online bank account.  I still own a checkbook, which I actually enjoy balancing at the end of the month. A pretty, young bank teller told me that she and her contemporaries don’t even know how to write a check.  They do it all electronically. I’m not critical of any of this, and I do know what’s going on in this world. I just reserve the right to do things the way I want to, as long as it is possible.

“As long as it’s possible…” does that mean the day will come when there are no more libraries or I will no longer have personal access to my bank?  

Before Christmas, I went looking for a small CD player for my sister.  I wanted to jog her memory with some music from the past. At BEST BUY, I was told that they no longer sell them, because now everyone is “streaming.”  STREAMING? Did I tell you I’m behind the times? I learned that streaming is a way of delivering sound without requiring you to download files from the internet.   I can’t do that either.  

I still remember 8 tracks, and I have a cupboard full of old cassette tapes and no way to play them.  Videotapes are no longer in use, but I hear that vinyl records are coming back. I actually have a long play vinyl album which I cut 40 years ago.  Wonder what I could do with that.

Behind the times—that’s me!

Three weeks ago a scary thing popped up on my computer screen.  I was cautioned, “Do not turn off your computer.” The Microsoft logo glared at me.  My computer lacked sufficient security and must be taken care of immediately. “Please call this number.”

Some of you are already laughing, but, forgetting how cautious I usually am, I called the number.  I thought I was calling Microsoft. Little did I know! The upshot was that I let this unknown company install a new security system to the tune of $299.00.  It would have cost me only $199.00 had I been “Tech Savvy.” They showed me all this junk on my computer that they had to get rid of, and I fell for it.

I was uneasy about the whole thing doubting that they had installed anything, but I have learned not to fret about something I cannot change, so I didn’t—not much.

A couple of days later, I received a call asking if my computer was working all right.  If I was unhappy with their work, they would refund my money. I thought that was strange, but even stranger was the fact that I received that call several times always offering to refund my $299.00.  Early Monday morning, the phone rang again. This time I was told the company’s system was not working properly, so they were obligated to give me a refund. However, the only way they could do that was through my online bank account.  

“I don’t have an online account,” I told her.  “Just credit the amount back to my credit card.”

“No, we can’t do that,” She replied.  “You can open an account.” Go to your computer and I will help you.”

That’s when I balked.  I may be behind the times, and I may not be tech savvy, but I am not stupid.  Now they are agreeing to send me a check. How long has it been since any business has begged to give you a refund?  I don’t understand any of it. The whole thing just doesn’t add up.

This world is changing so fast.  We hardly get a purchase home before it is out of date.  You can’t depend on much of anything anymore. However there is one great certainty in my life.  My relationship with Jesus Christ is the one thing on which I can forever depend.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, His love will not have ceased.  His standards, by which I live will not have changed, His Word will not have disappeared, His power and His wisdom will not have diminished.  He will still be watching over and caring for me. He is never behind the times. He is up to the minute in every situation. He identifies with me and my needs in the twenty-first century just as He identified with the apostles in the first century.

In Hebrews 13:5, Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:8 assures us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Don’t be so concerned about keeping up with the times.  Be concerned about keeping up with Jesus.

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!

 

WHO’S IN CHARGE

WHO’S IN CHARGE

So, Meghan and Harry have divorced the British House of Windsor, their royal family!  They are longing for independence, for autonomy. They want to make it on their own, or as someone has said, “They want their cake and eat it, too.”  Let’s see how that goes.  Of course, Papa Charles is funding them for the first year.  Wonder how far that will go in paying back $3.1 million dollars for the renovation of Frogmore Cottage?  Some cottage! That makes me laugh. I could build a whole Housing development for that much money.  

Queen Elizabeth honored the divorce, but she laid down some pretty stringent rules.  No more royal title, no more income, no more security, etc. I expect that the Grandma in her also played a part in these decisions.

  I don’t know why all that matters to me, but it does.  Just like scads of Americans, I am enamored by royalty.  I admit that! When I am enjoying a pedicure, I am also leafing through those raunchy magazines hoping for a photo of William and Kate and their babies.  

I have stood in front of Buckingham Palace.  Walked the gardens of Windsor Castle, visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and peeked through the gates at Balmoral hoping to see someone—the queen perhaps.  I also had tea in Princess Grace’s garden in Monaco. Don’t ask me why I was so thrilled.

I think it’s in our mental DNA.  After all, the Brits are our forebears, but 244 years ago we, like Meghan and Harry, divorced our British royal family for the very same reason.  We wanted independence. We wanted to be free from the iron fist of Mad King George III.

Our war for independence lasted seven long years (Meghan and Harry didn’t fight nearly so long) ending at the battle of Yorktown, Virginia in 1781.  America was victorious, but at great cost, losing 6,800 men in battle, and perhaps 17,000 more died of disease.

It is recorded that men in our disgruntled military (they hadn’t been paid) suggested that, because of his service throughout the war, George Washington could have been “King of America” instead of President.  He was never formerly offered the opportunity to be king, but in any case, he steadfastly refused any idea of the title wanting America to become a federal democratic republic. So he just went home back to his farm.

I lived in Belgium for thirteen years.  Belgium has a representative democratic constitutional monarchy, a government much like that of England.  That means they have a king. When Belgium gained independence in 1930, they imported a king from Germany. The position had first been offered to two others, who refused.  Who would refuse a Kingship? Leopold of Saxe Coberg & Gotha was named first king of Belgium on July 21, 1931. He was uncle to Queen Victoria of England. It seems like most of the royal families of Europe are somehow entwined. 

King Bauduin and Queen Fabiola were the monarchs in Belgium, when I lived there.  It was exciting to see them participating in their Independence Day parade, and Queen Fabiola sometimes shopping with her “Ladies in Waiting” at “The Bon Marche.”

Representative democratic constitutional monarchy!  WOW! That’s sort of confusing. What kind of government is that? Who’s in charge?  Well, the king can make decisions, and he can make appointments, but they must be approved by the parliament and they must adhere to the constitution, however, laws are made by parliament.  I can imagine that there must be some hiccups in all of this.

Our government, a federal democratic republic, is not so different.  The Presidential, judicial and congressional arms must all work together else very little is accomplished—an apt picture, I fear, of our situation today.  We are experiencing one of those hiccups right now, though the term hiccup is not adequate to explain what is currently transpiring in our country. Who’s in charge?  Seems like no one is in charge, and I have no control over the situation. I can vote and I can pray, and I do both. However, I do not have much influence myself alone, I cannot make decisions for our country, but…

I can make the right decisions for me.  I can answer this all-important question.

Who is in charge of my life?  God was the ruler of Israel until they got too big for their britches.  Then they wanted a king. They wanted to be like everyone else. They rejected God’s rule for that of a man, and life went downhill ever after.

I can choose to rule my own life being sure that I will botch things, or I can make someone else king of my life.

King David said, Psalm 10:16 & 74:12, “The Lord is King forever and ever… God is my King from of old…” 

Philippians 2:9-11.  “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him a name  which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (or king) to the glory of God the Father.”

This is just another way of saying, “Jesus is my king.”  I can choose Jesus as my master.  He will not fail. He will never abdicate, as do earthly kings, and He never has to answer to Parliament or anyone else, for He is all-powerful and all-wise.  

David again, in Psalm 37:5, counsels us, “Commit your way to the Lord, (our king) trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass.”

I CHOOSE JESUS AS MY KING.  HOW ABOUT YOU?

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

  

 

SAYING “I AM SORRY”

 SAYING “I AM SORRY”

Yesterday, while enjoying lunch with a group from my church, and just being my usual ornery self, a gentleman across the table, said, “Faye, you are going to wind up in the corner.”

“Oh, figuratively speaking, I have spent a lot of my life in the corner,” I replied.

On the way home, I remembered little Willie, son of the mercantile owner, in “Little House on the Prairie.”  It seems like Willie spent two-thirds of his time in the corner at that one-room school house in Walnut Grove.  He was always misbehaving breaking the rules in some way.

I can hear Miss Beadle, “Willie, go stand in the corner,” and he went without much, if any, objection.  I don’t know how long he stood there, but it was a form of punishment meant to humiliate him and stop his disruptive behavior.  It didn’t seem to have the intended effect, however.  

Forms of school discipline have changed drastically through the years.  When I taught public school in the 60’s, I never put a child in the corner, nor did I ever lay a hand on one.  Our principal would sometimes paddle a belligerent student, but corporal punishment is now illegal.

I don’t remember the issue now, but I do remember being greatly offended at my Mother for what I believed was undeserved punishment.  I was about ten years old, when I decided that my Mama would be sorry for treating me unjustly, so I crawled into the back of the closet behind all the winter clothing, and hid myself.  It was summer time in the Valley of the Sun, and it was hot—really hot, but never mind. Mama would come looking for me soon. She would be sorry for the way she treated me, and worried because I had disappeared.  So I waited. I waited and waited and waited, and it got hotter and hotter and hotter. Mama was nowhere to be seen. She never came. Just before I would have died of heat exhaustion, I crawled sheepishly out of the closet and crept into the kitchen where she was busy at the stove.  

If things had gone as imagined, she would have rushed at me with open arms begging my forgiveness and smothering me with kisses, but not my Mama!  My wise, loving, patient Mama glanced over her shoulder with a slight smile, and continued her chores as though nothing had happened.  

I’m sure I didn’t figure it out then, but I realize now that by refusing to admit my misbehavior and reacting as I did, I added to the pain that I had already suffered.  If I had said, “Mama, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again,” my Mama would have put her arms around me and hugged me tight. Would she still have disciplined me? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have suffered in the summer heat, and I wouldn’t have wound up in that proverbial corner again.

As adults, we of course have graduated from these forms of childhood discipline.  We no longer stand in the corner or are paddled by the principal, but when we are in the wrong, we sometimes conduct ourselves as did that little ten year old girl.  

Why is it so difficult, almost impossible for some of us, to say, “I was wrong—I am sorry?” Why can we not find the strength within us to admit our fault?  It is difficult because, when we admit to our guilt, our ego and pride are threatened.

Apologizing or saying “I’m sorry,” contrary to what some believe, is not a sign of weakness, but rather, the Hallmark of strength and bravery.

Don’t wait for the other person to apologize.  Take the first step. It will heal the wound of that friend, dissolve your guilt, and restore self-respect.

An apology cannot change what has been done, but it can chase away anger and resentment.  It can ease tension and relieve stress, and cleanse your soul. An apology heals hurts and leads to forgiveness.  

Colossians 3:12 – 15 (The Message) counsels us, “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:  compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It is your basic, all-purpose garment.  Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other…

Living a godly life, living according to God’s law, in an ungodly world, is a humongous assignment.  I have done a lot of repenting in my lifetime. I have apologized countless times. I am continually working on “compassion, kindness, humility, and quiet strength,” because I have discovered that no matter how difficult it is, it is better than standing in that corner.

Someone has said, “An apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the ugliest moment into a gracious gift.”

BE READY TO SAY “I’M SORRY.”  BE READY TO FORGIVE.

Did you know, that for every moment you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness?

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!

 

Yesterday, while enjoying lunch with a group from my church, and just being my usual ornery self, a gentleman across the table, said, “Faye, you are going to wind up in the corner.”

“Oh, figuratively speaking, I have spent a lot of my life in the corner,” I replied.

On the way home, I remembered little Willie, son of the mercantile owner, in “Little House on the Prairie.”  It seems like Willie spent two-thirds of his time in the corner at that one-room school house in Walnut Grove.  He was always misbehaving breaking the rules in some way.

I can hear Miss Beadle, “Willie, go stand in the corner,” and he went without much, if any, objection.  I don’t know how long he stood there, but it was a form of punishment meant to humiliate him and stop his disruptive behavior.  It didn’t seem to have the intended effect, however.  

Forms of school discipline have changed drastically through the years.  When I taught public school in the 60’s, I never put a child in the corner, nor did I ever lay a hand on one.  Our principal would sometimes paddle a belligerent student, but corporal punishment is now illegal.

I don’t remember the issue now, but I do remember being greatly offended at my Mother for what I believed was undeserved punishment.  I was about ten years old, when I decided that my Mama would be sorry for treating me unjustly, so I crawled into the back of the closet behind all the winter clothing, and hid myself.  It was summer time in the Valley of the Sun, and it was hot—really hot, but never mind. Mama would come looking for me soon. She would be sorry for the way she treated me, and worried because I had disappeared.  So I waited. I waited and waited and waited, and it got hotter and hotter and hotter. Mama was nowhere to be seen. She never came. Just before I would have died of heat exhaustion, I crawled sheepishly out of the closet and crept into the kitchen where she was busy at the stove.  

If things had gone as imagined, she would have rushed at me with open arms begging my forgiveness and smothering me with kisses, but not my Mama!  My wise, loving, patient Mama glanced over her shoulder with a slight smile, and continued her chores as though nothing had happened.  

I’m sure I didn’t figure it out then, but I realize now that by refusing to admit my misbehavior and reacting as I did, I added to the pain that I had already suffered.  If I had said, “Mama, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again,” my Mama would have put her arms around me and hugged me tight. Would she still have disciplined me? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have suffered in the summer heat, and I wouldn’t have wound up in that proverbial corner again.

As adults, we of course have graduated from these forms of childhood discipline.  We no longer stand in the corner or are paddled by the principal, but when we are in the wrong, we sometimes conduct ourselves as did that little ten year old girl.  

Why is it so difficult, almost impossible for some of us, to say, “I was wrong—I am sorry?” Why can we not find the strength within us to admit our fault?  It is difficult because, when we admit to our guilt, our ego and pride are threatened.

Apologizing or saying “I’m sorry,” contrary to what some believe, is not a sign of weakness, but rather, the Hallmark of strength and bravery.

Don’t wait for the other person to apologize.  Take the first step. It will heal the wound of that friend, dissolve your guilt, and restore self-respect.

An apology cannot change what has been done, but it can chase away anger and resentment.  It can ease tension and relieve stress, and cleanse your soul. An apology heals hurts and leads to forgiveness.  

Colossians 3:12 – 15 (The Message) counsels us, “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:  compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It is your basic, all-purpose garment.  Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other…

Living a godly life, living according to God’s law, in an ungodly world, is a humongous assignment.  I have done a lot of repenting in my lifetime. I have apologized countless times. I am continually working on “compassion, kindness, humility, and quiet strength,” because I have discovered that no matter how difficult it is, it is better than standing in that corner.

Someone has said, “An apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the ugliest moment into a gracious gift.”

BE READY TO SAY “I’M SORRY.”  BE READY TO FORGIVE.

Did you know, that for every moment you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness?

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!

 

THE SPIRIT OF MAN

There’s so much I don’t know about Alzheimer’s, but I am desperate to learn because my younger sister is a victim.  Some of you already know that. Consequently, I find myself thinking about it constantly and occasionally writing about it.

For so long, I heard about how the disease caused short term memory loss. That didn’t seem so bad.  In fact, my sister admitted that she couldn’t remember what happened ten minutes ago, and that was all right until she learned that it was a symptom of Alzheimer’s.  Then she balked and wouldn’t go back to the doctor who diagnosed the illness. 

Looking back now, I realize that she was ill long before either one of us would admit it.  I guess I wanted to believe that she was just being her usual ornery self. Then when she could no longer dress herself or count her money, manage the microwave or open a can, we had to face reality.  She could not take care of herself, but she dug in her heals at every turn refusing help of any kind, and most certainly refusing to leave familiar surroundings. I finally had to go to court in order to save her life.

For almost three years now, my little sister, June, has lived in a small adult facility, where care givers are kind to her, and for the most part she feels safe and secure.  They don’t take care of her like I would. For example, yesterday I found that someone had put her socks on inside out with the heel on top of the foot. These little things bother me, but I’m learning to accept the fact that I can’t do everything.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.  Statistics show that a patient lives 4 – 7 years after diagnosis.  Death is usually the result of complications of the disease. Victims are susceptible to falls and accidents and infections leading to serious illness-urinary tract or respiratory problems.  Pneumonia is often the cause of death for those who are bedridden.

I’m losing my sister, and she is losing herself.  She is slipping a little further away every day. For some months now, she has been quiet and sweet telling me how much she loves me and how beautiful I am.   She still has a sense of humor. She no longer remembers that she was ever married, and she does not recognize her husband’s photo, but she does remember Mama, and loves to look at her picture.  She was overjoyed when we brought our brother’s puppy to visit.

Our brother brought her a small CD player and some CDs of old Hymns and gospel songs we learned growing up in church.  I put the music on when I visit, and I am amazed that she can sing along. She sits in her recliner with eyes closed and her hand on her cheek.  She knows the words even singing harmony at times.  

One day, while we were singing, she said to me.  “I can’t see my eyes.”

“Well, they’re closed,” I responded.

“Oh,” she said her eyes popping open.  A beautiful smile spread across her face and she laughed and laughed as though she had played a joke on herself.

I have asked myself, “How can she sing those songs, when she can’t remember anything else?”  But I think I know. We are born with a body, mind, and spirit. Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain robbing an individual of his abilities, and memories of the life he has lived.  However, Alzheimer’s cannot touch the spirit of mankind, and I have learned that there is a wealth of memories, precious memories, stored away in the spirit—memories that surface to soothe a wounded mind.  These songs reside in my sister’s spirit.

Proverbs 18:14 tells us, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness…”  

It is the grace of God, and the supernatural infusion of His presence that enables my sister to sing songs that override the Alzheimer’s and make glad her heart, if only briefly.

My heart is heavy today.  Visiting my sister yesterday I found that she was extremely upset weeping profusely.  Someone had been mean to her—one of those imaginary people that frequents her room. I usually hold her hand as we sing or talk quietly, but she wouldn’t let me touch her, and she refused the treat I had brought.  She wouldn’t sing and she didn’t want me to pray before I left. She hallucinates constantly. Those people are always there. I learned long ago not to question it, so I could not comfort her in her anguish. She just wanted me to go home.

Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of His heart.” 

Life is breathed into man by God Himself.  It is a gift, and God is in charge of human life watching over us inside and out.  So I came home determined to leave my Junie in God’s care knowing He loves her much more than I do.

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

REVISION

 

In 2014 an orthopedic surgeon replaced my right knee.  The result was amazing. No more pain! I could renew my morning walks without limping.  I marveled at the things medical science could achieve.

All was well until, a couple of years ago, when I fell on the concrete on that same knee. I really messed things up.  The pain was terrible. When the pain did not go away, I made an appointment with the same surgeon, who had first replaced the knee.

After looking at ex-rays, the surgeon said, “Well, it’s not so bad,” suggesting that I could use a brace or other alternative measures.

By then I was in tears.  “No,” I said. “I can’t live with this pain.  I don’t want a quick fix. I want the thing done over.”

“Well, I can’t help you,” the doctor replied, and that was it.

After calling numerous surgeons, I realized that surgeons who replace joints initially, for the most part, will not, or cannot perform a do-over or a revision.

Finally, I found another surgeon who could do both.  He opened my knee, saw that he couldn’t repair anything, so he just tore it all out and started over with better and more up-to-date implants.  He made my knee more modern—a new version of a knee.  

That’s what a revision is.  It is a change or a set of changes that corrects or improves something.  The word is made up re—as in repeat or redo, and vision, making a change to something original, an original idea or action.

Just about anything can be revised, a book that needs rewrites, a wardrobe that needs improvement, or a life that aches for change.  Revising books and wardrobes—that’s not so difficult. A life? That’s something else.

The New Year is upon us.  Traditionally, this is a time for self-examination, a time for correction, a time to turn over a new page.  I believe that many, if not most people, in this world long for a better life—long to be a better person. We look back upon our failures, and mutter a lot of “what if’s,” and “if only’s.”  And we try hard to fix things. We make many promises, most of which we find impossible to keep. “I’m going to be kinder this year, I’m going to be more generous, I’m going to exercise and lay off the chocolate,” and…and…and…

We long for a stress-free, guilt-free, peaceful life.  We are tired of struggling with remorse and regret, and our promises are sincere.  We try. We really do try to revise our own lives, but like my original surgeon, we don’t know how, so we try a quick fix.  We apply duct tape and baling wire to correct our failures and shore up our weaknesses. However, after awhile, these quickie solutions begin to fray and fall apart.  Then we just give up imagining that there is no way.

I could not fix my knee.  Braces and pain medication could not fix my knee, so I sought for a surgeon who could, and I found him.

I will admit that I cannot fix my own life.  All of my good intentions, and all my efforts, no matter how grandiose, are to no avail, but I have found someone who can.

Jesus Christ, the “GREAT PHYSICIAN” (better than anyone at Mayo Clinic or John Hopkins) has the power and the “know how” to revise and completely restore a human life.  He is the only sovereign physician of the soul, who by His blood and Spirit cures all our spiritual sicknesses. Physically, mentally and spiritually, He makes life new again.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”

ALL THINGS!  He is not only able to fix my physical hurts, but my mental and spiritual wounds as well.  There is nothing that He cannot revise or restore. 

Looking back over my eighty-four years, which by the way I am celebrating today, I see clearly my failures, both great and small, and through the years, recognizing those failures, I sought out the greatest physician, sometimes eagerly, sometimes reluctantly, and submitted myself to His divine revision and restoration process.  I have never regretted submitting my life to Him. He does a far better job than I can.

Life can be difficult and distressing.  We have a hard time feeling right in this broken world.  Our good moments don’t last, and the ugliness of sin colors everything around us, but we need not fear.  God is with us.

Isaiah 63:9 assures us that He knows our pain and grief, and speaking to us as well as to Israel the Word says, “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” 

With this in mind, we can look forward with great anticipation to this New Year…to new beginnings. 

MAY THE PEACE AND THE BLESSING OF GOD REST UPON YOU!

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!