Friday, January 20, 2012
My husband David and I went on a little 2-night trip to Nashville this week, a 3-hour drive from our house. We stayed at the expensively huge Gaylord Opryland Hotel. This was our third trip in as many years. If you stay with them during the month of your birthday or your anniversary, they give you the second night free (sorta). It's a little more fun if you're not having to mortgage the house in order to stay. I posted on Facebook that we "shamlessly pampered ourselves." And we did. On second thought, though, was it really pampering? Paying extra to have our luggage delivered to our room, thus avoiding dragging a luggage cart over a mile of thick carpeting? Eating at the Italian place and ordering unrecognizable food because we didn't have the energy to go back to the cheaper places? Having room service the last night there because we couldn't face another 2-mile stroll to get to anything at all? Availing ourselves of every bench and sitting area because we were just plain pooped? Well, whatever it takes, I guess. We still had a great time. Pooped or pampered, it's all the same at this point...
Thursday, January 12, 2012
I don't know what I was thinking. It seemed like such an easy thing to do, taking only an hour each week. We are all adults. I was sure it would go smoothly. And now that I've done it twice, once last week and once this week, I can only ask myself, "Was I nuts or what?" Calling bingo at the assisted living facility where my mother lives is just plain scary! Those people are out to win! They do not want you to call the numbers twice (even though more than half of the people in there have definite hearing problems). They do not want you to chat them up between calling the numbers or between games (apparently they see that as a waste of valuable time that could be used to play more games). They do not want you to get up and hand out the prizes (another waste of time). And, speaking of prizes, Thursday is Paper Day, so the prizes are toilet paper, Kleenex and paper towels. (These are valuable commodities because the facility does not furnish them, even though each person there is paying a boat load of money to live there -- don't get me started) But in spite of the sharp learning curve, I think I have done pretty well. The Activities Director said she has not received any complaints about me, and she's sure she would have by now. That's good, because I plan on doing it again and again, as long as they will let me. Which may not be long if I mess up and call the numbers twice or ask if anybody is close to a bingo. Because those people are watching me, and the Activities Director's office is just around the corner...
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I am newly retired. Well, not officially retired, but close enough... I'm using vacation time I had built up so that while my official retirement date is February 1, 2012, the last day that I actually worked was December 22, 2011. That was almost 3 weeks ago. People keep asking me, "How's retirement?" And I say, "So far, so good!" But I'm not really convinced that I have walked away from the working world. I have worked at one job or another all of my life, starting as part-time help at a dry cleaners at 16. Being at home and doing whatever I want to do is not what I'm grappling with; it's not having a job to go to. My husband assures me that all will be well (he's the financial genius in this family), and I'm trying to fully believe him. He hasn't steered us wrong in over 40 years. But change is hard, especially as we get older. Even worse than change is the fear of change. And fear is one of satan's great lies. Paul said, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Nobody, even ones who are scary, like Mr. Change...
Sunday, January 8, 2012
“I don’t know” is a valid answer. When I learned this, I was a court reporter. Lots of times, during depositions or court hearings, an attorney will ask things that seem irrelevant to the matter at hand. What he is doing is seeing what the witness knows or doesn’t know. The witness would invariably be flustered at being asked such a question and would flounder around for an answer. The attorney probably would take “I don’t know” as the answer to his question and move on. Obviously, there were times when “I don’t know” would be just the thing to spark even more animosity in the room.
But an honest “I don’t know” is a legitimate answer. I worked with witnesses in the court system for years. Now that I’m retired, it strikes me that there is another category of witnesses that I have been ignoring – the Christian witness.
One thing that really bothers me is that when I’m sharing what Christ has done for me, I’m afraid someone will ask me something and I won’t know the answer. But, here again, “I don’t know” is okay. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, I don’t know the whole scope of God’s will for me or anyone else, I don’t know why God set up the sacrificial system for redemption. I do know that he loves me more than I can even conceive of, I do know that Christ is the Son of the Living God, I do know that Christ died for my sins, and I do know that Christ ascended into heaven to take His rightful place with God.
Luke 12:11-12: And when they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities, do not be anxious beforehand how you shall reply in defense or what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour and moment what you ought to say.
Jesus said this to his disciples. Aren't we his disciples, too?
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
“Pray without ceasing.” 1st Thessalonians 5:17
We all want a better walk with God. But with the world doing its best to drag us down and away from God, it’s hard to keep our minds on Him.
That’s where cues can come in handy. Cues are reminders that we place around us throughout our day so we remember to do something specific, in this case pray.
Try praying every time you get in the car. Thank God for wherever you just left and ask Him to be present at your next stop. Think of the people you have seen and will see and pray for them.
Other cues might be while you’re brushing your teeth (thank God for your teeth, for your dentist and his assistants, pray for those who need dental care but can’t afford it), while you’re on hold with the cable company (this one could be a very looong prayer!), while you’re taking a walk or working out (thank God for your legs and feet, pray for those who are homebound, those who don’t have reliable transportation), unloading the dishwasher (thank God for your dishes and your food, pray for those who are hungry and homeless)… well, you get the idea.
At first you may have to place index cards or sticky notes around to remind you, but it will soon become a wonderful habit, a time you look forward to because you will have the honor of talking to your Creator.