Sunday, November 26, 2017
Our daughter recently took a job (something to be thankful for) in a different town, so now she has her own place away from "the nest". Good. That means holidays like Thanksgiving are all that much more special. She came home for Thanksgiving. We've had a great visit.
It's a uniquely American holiday. There are other festivities which go by the same name. My knowledge is limited; I can't speak about them. I hope those celebrations are as meaningful as ours in the US. Historically, those we call the Pilgrims arrived on these shores, and had a really difficult time at first. After enduring hardship and heartbreak, they made it to a second year. With help from the locals, they began to prosper.
It's a fundamentally Christian holiday. These people gave credit to the Creator for all of it: food, family, and friends. They planned and prepared a meal to formally thank God for their blessings, and invited their new friends to join the party. Enshrinement of Thanksgiving by US federal and state government is obligated to be "non-sectarian", but the roots remain.
They were Puritans and their legacy became a major pillar in what would become the United States.
Give Thanks to God
Not to belabor the point about faith, if you're not a Beliiever, to whom are you giving thanks? Go ahead and have fun with family, make it a nice turkey day, but think about this.The natives were not (at least originally) Christian. Those early thanks-givers didn't beat their new neighbors over the head with the Bible. They simply invited everyone to come along. And so it is with us.
I'm not talking about a random diety of choice. What would be the point? See James chapter 1 verses 17 and 18.
I thank God for salvation, my wife, children, parents, in-laws, extended family. I also thank him for my job, which is truly amazing. (I should elaborate on God's hand in the job. That would make another blog post.) I thank God that I live in the US of A, where I can thank God without someone lopping off my head.
The day after Thanksgiving, we put up the outdoor nativity scene.
I thank Jesus for taking on flesh, living among us, and enduring the Cross.
-- R; <><
Thursday, November 2, 2017
I woke up early. Couldn't sleep, so I got up. As I stepped out of the bedroom I saw a neighbor's car drive past outside. It was about 6:30, so this was nothing unusual.
Something happened as a result of my carelessness which affected a number of people, one friend in particular. There is also stuff at work and stuff with family. I found myself anxious about those and other things. As I stepped onto the landing, I wondered why I was up so early, then realized that things can be seen at this hour which one doesn't usually see. God reminded me that I need to see things from HIS perspective, which I don't usually see.
It struck me that the Lord is patiently nudging His children to see things from His perspective, to look at things as He does, to see others as He sees them.
-- R; <><
I Sam 16:7, John 4:35 and 36, I Cor 2:9
Friday, September 8, 2017
Monday, September 19, 2016
Sunday, September 4, 2016
one small step for a man
Sometimes one small misstep can cascade into profound angst. Sometimes the day starts out great and then you literally wish you could turn back time and change one little thing.
By the way, Neil Armstrong famously said "for a man", but there was static on the transmission so we don’t remember it that way. Other than that, a lot of things went right on that day, including some software most people know nothing about. It's the small things that go right that get so little notice.
But for me, God why?
Why do these missteps continue to get center stage?
Dear Lord, please help. We're on this foreign soil on a mission. Please bring us home soon.
-- R: <><
Saturday, December 5, 2015
We said goodbye to Mom that Saturday (the 17th). It was expected, but sudden. Mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's maybe four years ago. The illness proceeded slowly, but then seemed to speed up this past April or May. At the end, her heart gave out. That's what made it sudden.
Hospice advised Dad to solicit prepared comments from friends and family, and he did. There were a dozen brief letters and all were read with tears, some by those who wrote them. (Those who were able to attend.) My sister and I were last up. I didn't write my comments word-for-word, but did have notes. So I called it an "extemporaneous eulogy".
I in working up what I would say, the following points came to mind:
She's done. She can now not fail.
Hebrews ch 11 has the Faith Hall of Fame. Then in 12:1 it admonishes us to, "run with endurance the race that is set before us".
Mom loved the Lord more than anyone I know. And she loved us without reservation. I spoke with her briefly Tuesday night just before she passed. She was having a rough evening and all she could muster was "love ya, love ya, love ya". I replied with the same "love ya, love ya, love ya".
Those were our last words in this life.
I Thesalonians 4:16 says, "the dead in Christ shall rise first".
At the service, I told Dad, there before the group, "When the trumpet sounds, if you're still here, she'll get to go first.".
Someone had said Mom "made her world small". I'd say it was more that she chose her focus. She put her energy into knowing the Lord plain and simple.
Consider Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus. All three were close friends of Jesus. At one time, there was a gathering at their house; Martha was handling preparations but Mary was just sitting there listening to Jesus. She was just hangin out. Martha complained,"Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.". But Jesus said, "Martha, Martha,you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42)
So ... Mom chose the better part, hangin out with Jesus, and it won't be taken from her.
The best we do in life is leave a legacy.
I spoke with Barbara Hantel (cousin) the night before the funeral. Mom's passing hit Barbara particularly hard. She told me, "You know, she wasn't always a goodie two-shoes.", and then shared a glimpse from their childhood. Barbara would be at Helene's house and Helene would say, "Come on, let's go see Grammy.", and then
proceed to work the latch using a broom handle.
Mischief like that makes a treasured memory.
Her impact on my own life is profound and eternal. She and Dad came to Christ in their 30s. Naturally, they wanted my sister and me to have the same saving faith. One thing to that end was a weekly Bible club held at the home of Larry and Carol Graham. Being the pre-teen with attitude that I was, I didn't want to go. One Friday I was giving Mom a hard time about it.
I went, heard, believed, and was saved and changed. I can't in any way pay that back nor even return the favor. I can, however, pay it forward by getting the Gospel to my friends and family, even when they don't want to hear it. In other words "not shrink from declaring". (Acts 20:20)
Trying to finish this, the emotions return.
As I type, it's just past midnight, so it's already December 1st.
Where does time go?
It's interesting to see God's hand in all this.
My boss offered to take me from contract to permanent. That went into effect the week before Mom's passing. That meant that I was not dinged for the time off.
The kids had no classes on Thursday or Friday the week of the funeral, the exact two days we needed.
I had gone to Chicago to train new recruits at a business partner and stopped overnight in South Bend. Saw Mom. (And Dad, of course.) She was "with it" that day and knew me and introduced me, "This is our son.".
We had some good time with Mom and Dad this past summer. At first I was angry (at the disease). She was usually all there, but more frequently disconnecting (always brief). But I resolved to treasure what time we had.
The four of us went to South Bend, partly to help prep the house for sale. Marilyn stayed an extra 10 days and helped with arranging care. Then she drove them to Grove City while Scott and Diane moved furniture into the new apartment.
Aunt Carolyn (sister) visited them in September. I got to see her and also spend the night at Mom's and Dad's apartment.
There were countless other things, most I don't even know. We are blessed.
Then came October. We gathered again in South Bend. At the end of the day, I hugged Dad. He said, "Today was a good day."
Friday, June 26, 2015
Today is June 26, 2015. The news is all abuzz about a SCOTUS decision. Many of my friends (that are verbalizing an opinion) are sad. Others (of my friends, and the rest of the world) are elated.
I'm a very emotional person. When I was younger, I threw fits, not knowing what to do with the feelings. As an adult, it's not easy to control the responses, but that's what it means to be an adult. Today I really wanted to break something. But I didn't.
I don't have many friends who are homosexual, but I really care about those who are. They probably don't know that I care. They probably don't know that their lifestyle causes me pain. I do not hate them.
Angry? Yes. Hell yes. I felt like throwing something.
Hate? Sure, of the actions, which *do* have an impact on me. (Though they deny it.) But not of the individuals. I've made wrong choices too. I'm a sinner too. I don't hate them.
I'm a very unstructured person, but I have come to value structure. I used to say, of programming, that it should be "like breathing": The best coding decisions should be intuitively obvious. The best programs should arise from the software development culture. I butted heads with a Project Management person who became a mentor. Eventually I realized that not all right decisions are obvious, not all right choices are intuitive, and my PM friend simply wanted to document "the right way". Then later generations of programmers could come along and get it right ... or not, as they chose to read ... or not.
We thrive on it.
It has structure.
We don't always like the constraints.
It's the magical 21st Century. Where are the flying cars? We were supposed to have flying cars! Well ... at least we have self-driving cars.
It's the "progressive" 21st Century. You can do whatever you want. Translation: You can do whatever you feel like doing. And damn those who tell you not to.
It's a lie.
Freedom does not mean you can do whatever you feel like. We're so proud of freedom in the US of A but we've forgotten what it means. We've forgotten what it cost. We've abandoned the culture that spawned it, so over time more and more bits are lost. We lost a lot of freedom today because we discarded a "constraint".
Why would two men (or two women) want to marry?
They're erotically attracted and want to indulge? They already had that.
They want a monogamous relationship? They already had that.
They want a shared household? They already had that.
I found out one thing they want: health benefits. Learned this from a friend whose cousin is a (married) lesbian. The condition of health coverage in this country is miserable. Oh ... wait ... SCOTUS upheld another ACA pillar this week, so that's all good now. But seriously (backing down from the sarcasm) discussing insurance is beyond a simple blog post.
What do they want?
Maybe they want to force the baker to bake them a wedding cake.
I don't hate them. I hate that they hijacked the word "gay".
Wish I had more gay friends.
But wait, I also wish I had more alcoholic friends, more crippled friends, more impoverished friends. I wish I had more friends, gay or straight. But I don't wish for my friends to stay in harmful conditions.
Everything we do has impact on others. Everything.
Lifestyle choices of friends, family, neighbors have an effect. That was true yesterday and it will be true tomorrow. Doesn't mean I'm banging down anyone's door to make sure they behave. But things were less corrosive when alternative lifestyles weren't thrown in my face.
I just wish my friends who are homosexual didn't hate me so much.
-- R; <><