Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Not About Thanksgiving

I'm part of the "baby-boomer" generation and feel blessed to have been born when I was. Childhood came with the usual and even not so usual challenges, but for the most part it was full of fun and adventure.

As children, my sister and I could spend hours playing, together, with our Barbie dolls. We came up with all sorts of dramas. And of course Ken was part of the tale. I think the Ken doll belonged to me. Back then, Barbie was controversial.

My brothers and sisters and the kids in the neighborhood spent a lot of time playing together. If it was raining, which it often was in Kent, Washington, we'd play board games or games like "Hide the Thimble", or my sisters and I would spend an afternoon creating colorful outfits for our paper dolls. How many of you remember paper dolls? 

When the bad weather moved on we'd head outdoors where we challenged each other in baseball, tug of war, or hide and seek. There was also bike-riding, swimming, horse back riding, tag and games of Red Light - Green Light or Mother May I.

It was good healthy fun. We spent a lot of time with other youngsters, learning to live in a sometimes rough and tumble world. I remember a night time game of hide and seek where a neighbor boy sprinted across the field and then disappeared right in front of me when he fell into a deep pit (future basement of a house under construction). I nearly followed him in, but managed to leap across the corner of the pit at the last second. 

In the midst of the game-playing we learned about fairness, conflict resolution, competition and acceptance of defeat. It was fun and it was good for us.

So much has changed. These days, the young generation walks around with some sort of device in their hands, or they sit in a room alone communicating with someone via text, or playing a game where the opponent is a computer. It breaks my heart to think about all this generation and the upcoming generation is missing. They are being robbed of a real childhood by money-making tech companies and moms and dads who allow technology to babysit their kids.

This new technology was first presented as a helpful tool and at first that's all it was. But we have a wily enemy who knows how to use the tool as a weapon, a way to separate people and keep them alone. And he uses technology to expose our youngsters to things they shouldn't know about and absolutely should never see. We welcomed this weapon into our homes. And even now, I am engaging in the technology to share this message.

Is it all bad? No. Of course not. There are parts of this new technological world that I enjoy and appreciate, but if I had the power to step back and keep it from infiltrating our world I would. Yikes! Yep, it's true. Please don't hate me. :-) 

There are safeguards, if only parents will use them. And parents, one of your roles, is to protect your little ones. The Lord placed you in that position. You can do it. Many of you are (Way to go). If you're having trouble saying "no" to your kids, dig down and find the courage. They will thank you later.  

And then, get them outdoors, engaging with other kids in our big, beautiful world. There is so much for them to discover. Jump in with them.

The next time you look around the room and see that the people in your life are all staring at their phones, help them make another choice, at least for an hour or two. Put those devices away and do something else. 

Have some real fun. 

And may you all have a  blessed and happy Thanksgiving. I'm going to pull out some old fashioned board games. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Best Things in Life

Some of the best parts of our life are the simple things. Sometimes I get to thinking that if only I could do something spectacular, like make a trip to Paris or be part of the crowd in Times Square on New Years Eve that life would be better. But that's not true. Of course those things would be fun, but life is made up mostly of the simple things. We just need to remember how much they mean to us.

A few weeks ago I heard about a musical production that a friend of mine, Kristen Johnson, was part of. It sounded like fun. However, in order to attend it meant that my husband and I would have to travel four hours north to Vancouver, Washington. I'm the kind of person who likes to plan events way in advance so this would mean I'd have to be spontaneous. But, since my husband and I had recently decided that we needed to do more fun spontaneous events this seemed a perfect way to jump off into a less structured lifestyle.

So, a week later we loaded up our travel trailer and hit the road. 

Once we arrived in Vancouver we stayed in a rather non-spectacular RV park, but it had the basic necessities. After a short rest we dressed for the show and headed to a place called Beacock Music. It was the most spectacular music store I've ever seen. On the upper floor they had a small theater for musical productions.

We settled into our seats, not sure what to expect, but glad we had come. The program was heart-warming and impressive! There was a small band, Kristen Johnson, who played the part of Patsy Cline and Laurie Campbell-Leslie who stepped into the role of Patsy Cline's friend. She was perfect - talented and so funny.

The production was extremely well done and the actors and musicians were extraordinary. Kristen sang twenty-one of Patsy Cline's songs. What a lovely and powerful voice she has. I had no idea she was so gifted.

We laughed and cheered and even cried. By the time the play concluded my face hurt from smiling so much.

We had the best time and it didn't require taking a plane to Paris or standing among crowds in Times Square. We only needed to look around at the fun and talent in our own part of the world, and then be willing to get out and enjoy.

Life can be wearisome if we get stuck in a rut of "do-nothingness". As we age, it takes more effort to explore and taste life. But it's not as hard as it may seem. There is a lot to enjoy in our own back yards. 

Greg and I were gone only a couple of nights, but we were left with memories that will last a life time.

Thank you Kristen and all those who took part in the production, which was a fund raiser for local music programs. I know it required many hours of rehearsal and lots of hard work, but what a blessing for all those who attended, like Greg and me. 

I only got to spend a few minutes with my friend, Kristen, but we did manage to get in a hug and a photo. God bless you for warming my heart.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, November 04, 2019

Christians and Politics?

From time to time I post political news or commentary on my Facebook page. I did just that a few days ago. The heated and ongoing discussion sparked this blog. 

As I read through the comments I felt sorrow, disappointment, anger, and pride. There were mean comments written to intentionally hurt an opponent, lies intentionally written to malign someone's character, plus well stated arguments on both sides, and sadly all kinds of evil statements cast about to create destruction.

We people are divided, angry and determined to have our way. We have forgotten that we don't have to agree to be agreeable. We've forgotten that it's okay to disagree. And we've forgotten that we are stronger when we stand together, if not in ideology then at least in purpose. 

I'm a passionate thinking person. And I believe in speaking up about ideas and beliefs I hold dear, and that includes politics. It's not a thing I take lightly. When I post something on my page, especially when I know it might stir up controversy I try to present thoughts with clarity and accuracy It's not always easy to accomplish and I often fall short of my goal. There is so much misinformation "out there" that it's easy to be deceived. And yet, I am compelled to step into the fray from time to time.

When any of us does this, we are sticking out our necks. It's an emotional risk. We can almost count on getting piled on. It can get so bad that we vow - never again. But then there is that tug of the Holy Spirit saying, "speak up, but remember you represent The Father." 

I don't want to become what I detest - a reckless and malicious finger-pointer. May God forgive me when I allow weakness to draw me into such a despicable state.

I sometimes wonder what God thinks when he watches our wobbly efforts to share truth. He sees the larger picture, of course, and I'm sure many times he shakes his head and wishes we wouldn't get so riled up. Certainly, he is sometimes disappointed in us. But that does not mean he wants us to be apathetic or too fearful to stand up for truth and for one another.

There are those who believe we should never get involved in political discussions or causes. I don't agree. Believers have a duty to stand for what is good and right. God's Word gives us cause and permission to do so. I'm not trying to guilt anyone into doing something they do not believe they are called to do. We each must choose for ourselves. But I know there are many who remain silent, some who are gifted and who care enough to take their place in the political field or to become part of the press. We need more voices. 

At the very least we all need to pray, especially for our leaders. If we are praying for someone, it will be more difficult to hate them. First Timothy 2:1-4 says, I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.

These are powerful words. How different the world would be if we committed to pray for one another and our leaders every day, and pleaded for God's mercy to be upon them.There is such earnestness in the word plead. 

The Lord hears our prayers. He wants us to live in peace and godliness. 

When we pray we are better able to speak with dignity and fairness, with strength and clarity, remaining respectful. When I am in the midst of a passionate exchange I must intentionally slow down and ask God what I should or should not say. Still, I sometimes fail miserably, but I won't give up.  

We need to be a positive influence in our world. And as difficult as it is to do, we are to place ourselves under the authority of those God has chosen to lead. 

But we are first to obey God. A clear example is in  Acts 4:18-19. So they called the apostles back in and told them never again to speak or teach about Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard."  

I love the statement, We cannot stop. I want to have that kind of heart.

We are able to remain steady in the midst of political storms. We are in the midst of one now. Daniel 2:21 says, He determines the course of world events; removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.

God has a plan.

May we encourage and pray for one another. God knows the beginning and the end of all things. We do not need to fear. 

Grace and peace to you from God,