Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Field Guide for Everyday Mission -- Book Review

Every once in awhile, I post a book review here on Carol Weeks Speaks!  I receive these books free of charge in exchange for a review posted on my blog and  Although it's great getting a free book to read, I won't mince words in my reviews.  If it's awful, I'll say it just as easily as I'll say it's wonderful.

So I said all that to say this:  I recently read A Field Guide for Everyday Mission by Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr.  I enjoyed it very much, even though it stepped on my toes more than once. One of my weaknesses as a Christian is witnessing.

I like the writers' style and the fact that they mentioned having a beer with someone and just generally going where people are, even if it's not a traditional place for Christians. 

As I read, I found that the title says it all; this is truly a field guide for Christians everywhere.  As pointed out in the book, our “field” is anywhere we go in our usual routine, and our mission is to make disciples as we move through each day.  

The authors are very thorough as they methodically move through a series of questions, with each question leading to the next. From Why Should I Care to How Do I Share, it seems that every facet of sharing the Gospel is covered.

The book is laid out over six weeks, with a devotion every morning that includes three ways to demonstrate the Gospel.  Each week has a theme that is covered in the daily readings. 

This very practical guide gives the reader useful information, questions to answer, and no way out of our obligation to participate in the mission to share Jesus.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bobby and the Bike

When Mark was 5 years old, like most children, he had a bicycle.  We lived on a street with very little traffic, and a city park was a scant 2 blocks away, so there were plenty of places to ride.

One day I noticed that Mark had come home, but the bike had not.

When I asked where the bike was, he said, “Bobby’s got it.”

I knew Bobby because occasionally he would ring the doorbell and want Mark to come out and play.  He was older, maybe by two years, and he was bigger. He wasn’t one of the usual neighborhood kids.

“Go tell Bobby you need your bike,” I said.

“I told him, and he said he wasn’t going to give it back.”

“Do you know where the bike is?” I asked, getting a little annoyed.

“He said he put it in a ditch.”

“Did you tell him your mother was going to be mad if you came home without your bike?”  Now I was getting irritated.

“Yeah, but he said he didn’t care.  He said he was keeping the bike, and there wasn’t anything I could do because it was his word against mine.”

Okay, now I was really ticked off.  How dare this kid, who was older and bigger, take advantage of my child?  Immediately, my mind started cooking up some good punishments for Bobby.

But then a better idea came to me.

“The next time Bobby is around here, let me know,” I said to Mark.

I really didn’t know if Bobby would have the nerve to show up to play with Mark like he usually did.  I mean, the boy had stolen from Mark and then bragged about it.  Anyone would stay away in case the parents got nosy about that bike.

Anyone except Bobby.  I said he had nerve, I didn’t say he was smart.

I heard him talking to Mark, and I went outside.

“Hi, Bobby,” I said, smiling at him.  He immediately looked nervous and stammered out a “Hi.”

“I wonder if you could help me with something.  Mark can’t find his bike, and we think someone has taken it.  You know, stolen it,” I said, really laying it on.

His eyes widened and his mouth hung open.

“It’s a shame, too,” I said.  “If it doesn’t turn up in the next few days, we’ll have to call the police…”

Bobby’s face turned red and then white (must be an Alabama fan).

“.. and if the police get involved, well, I wouldn’t want to be the thief who stole it.  No, I feel sorry for that guy.  Because the police will charge him with theft, and he’ll have to stand in front of a judge and explain why he stole a little boy’s bike.”

Now his face turned kind of orange and then a shade on the blue side (I was wrong – Auburn fan).

“I’ve heard that if it’s a kid that steals, he gets sent to some kind of juvenile place down around Birmingham (100 miles away).  It seems a shame they can’t at least keep them here while they sit in jail.”

Bobby looked as if he would faint.

“But if the bike was found by someone and brought back by someone, we wouldn’t have to call the police at all.” 

Bobby nodded vigorously. 

“Mark could ride his bike anywhere he wanted to, and no one would bother him again.  Because I know that after today, you’ll stand up for Mark because he’s younger than you are.”

More vigorous nodding.

“Well, Bobby,” I said, feeling the poor kid had had enough, “I know you’ll be on the lookout for that bike.  I really don’t want to have to call the police, but Mark’s dad said he would in a couple of days.”

I went back in the house.

The next day, the doorbell rang, and guess who!  Bobby!

“Look, Mrs. Weeks, look what I found! It’s Mark’s bike!”  he said, breathlessly.  “Now you won’t have to call the police!”

“Oh, this is wonderful, Bobby!” I exclaimed.  “I just knew you were going to be able to help us with this. Mark is so happy to have his bike back!”

Bobby nodded so enthusiastically, his head looked as if it would fly off.

“And don’t worry,” he said, jumping up and down in his euphoria, “I won’t let anybody bug Mark.”

“Or take his things?” I asked just for emphasis. 

“Won’t nobody take anything that’s his,” he said, sticking his chest out.  “I’ll beat ‘em up if they try!”

“Thanks, Bobby!” I said.  “You’re a true friend.”

I wasn’t worried that he would actually beat somebody up.  

And even if he did, it would just be his word against mine.. 

Mark 5, My Dad, Alice 14 mos.

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense.
Proverbs 2:3 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Credit Card Chaos

My husband, bless his heart, bought me a pair of pants while were in Columbus, Ohio (we live in Alabama).  I wasn’t with him, but I had given him very clear instructions on the pants I wanted. 

I really didn’t want him to even attempt it, but he had nothing to do while I was in a workshop for two days.  I encouraged him to go out and see the sights of Columbus. I’m sure there is something of interest to see.  I mean, for Pete’s sake, even my little town has a silver-plated fire hydrant on display at the Chamber of Commerce!

But to buy me any sort of clothing was not what I had in mind.  We gave up giving each other clothes 40 years ago when it was apparent that neither one of us would be seen dead in what the other had given.

So it was with real trepidation that I went to my workshop, knowing he was out there doing only God knows what.  I was praying about it, but God wasn’t telling.

Now here’s the scary part:  While he was there, he signed up for their store credit card. 

I don’t say “Oh my God!” very often, but OH MY GOD! 

This man, who keeps a close eye on our two credit cards, paying them both off each month, who throws away all those “great” offers where we’re pre-approved that come in the mail every day – this man opened a store credit card because (and this is the only thing that makes sense) he got a 10% discount right there, and then a 15% discount on his next purchase, either at the store or online. Bless his heart, he just couldn’t resist. 

I was horrified!  I know all about store credit cards because I also have signed up for one just to get the discount. It never works out for one reason or the other. 

The last one I had a couple of years ago was a disaster because the store and I just weren’t on the same wave length.  I’m used to paying all my bills online.  So I went to their site to set up an account, but I found that I couldn’t pay the bill on that site.  I would have to go to another site, set up an account there, and then pay my bill.

Really?  Here I am, a customer wanting to pay my bill, and you insist that I go to another site, one I have never heard of, put my personal information in there in order to pay my bill of $58?  No, thank you.  Frankly, it seemed rather amateurish.  If Discover and Mastercard can take your money in the easiest way possible, I’m thinking these people can, too.

So, in an act of rebellion against these dolts, I requested a paper bill to come in the mail. 

The first month, everything was fine.  I wrote them a check and sent it back to them – or rather to their billing company.

Then I made the mistake of actually using the card again, this time for around $30.  At the appropriate time, my bill arrived in the mail.  I put it in a place where I would see it and pay it.  Except I didn’t pay it.  At least, not on time.  I didn’t do this on purpose; I just never got around to it.  My thinking is to pay online.  Writing a check just seems like too much trouble. I kept putting it off until it was too late, and I had to pay a late charge.

Their late charge is $25.  My purchase was $30.  I ended up paying $55 for a $30 purchase!  I vowed not to use that card again.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?  Yes, I used the card again about a year later, knowing full well I would need to pay that sucker the minute I got the bill in the mail.  Except I didn’t pay it the minute I got it in the mail.  I paid it late, so I was charged a $25 late fee.  This time the purchase was $20, so I ended up paying more money than I had originally charged in the store for the merchandise!

So my reaction to David signing up was not encouraging at all.  He wanted me to go online immediately and order more pants because he wanted that 15% discount on his next purchase. 

So here I am in Columbus, OH, getting online to start the arduous journey of setting up this credit card account.  I felt the weight of impending doom.

I did all the stuff as quickly as I could, but, of course, I ran into a problem.  The thing would not give me the discount.  So I called them and a nice lady tried to help, but she didn’t know how to give me a discount without an actual credit card number.  The clerk had given David a number that was supposed to work until he received his credit card.

This poor customer service lady went round and round with me speaking on my own, and with me repeating what David was saying.  Finally, completely out of self-defense, I’m sure, she gave me free shipping.  We gratefully accepted that offer.

Exhausted, I then went to bed.  I’m guessing the customer service lady went on an extended break.

When the card came in the mail, David offered it to me.  No, no, no.  Don’t give that thing to me.  I can see only heartache and frustration down the road.

David ended up shredding it.  A fitting end, don’t you think?

Image Courtesy Of foto76/

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Saga of the Purse Continues…

Have you ever seen one of those tests that asks if you’ve had a life-altering event in your life recently?  It’s usually got a checklist that you can use, and it’s got some doozies on it:

Number 1 is usually the death of a loved one.  Number 2 is sometimes divorce, which is kind of like a death.  Both pretty grim.

And then the list will go on to losing a job, being incarcerated, major illness or injury, financial problems, issues with in-laws.. well, the list just goes on and on.

My question is this:  Why isn’t changing your purse listed? 

As you, my favorite reader, may recall, I blogged on this issue in November of last year.  Click here to read it again.  Trust me; it bears repeating.

Last week, after a very busy June that had 3 trips in it and every possible inconvenience my saggy purse could perpetrate upon me, I decided I’d pick up a Wal-Mart bag that had blown to the side of the highway and use that instead.

Before I could risk my life getting out on 431, however, I talked with my good friend Margaret, who calmed me down with the words, “I found a purse at the Hospice Thrift Shop, and it only cost me $1.00”

Now, if that’s not a word from God, I don’t know what is.

Like a flash – well, actually it was more like 3 days, but at my age, that’s a flash – I flew down to the thrift shop to find my $1.00 purse.  Alas and alack, my $1.00 purse turned into my $4.00 purse, but that’s okay.  Someone else had broken it in for me, and there was no apparent sagging.  Perfect!

Of course, I would have to downsize, but that was okay.  I had downsized when we moved 12 years ago, so I figured if I could handle a house, I could handle a purse.

If the V-8 lady was here, my head would be spinning along about now.

In my blog last November, I made mention of “completely-necessary-to-my-life articles.”  Unfortunately, my new purse doesn’t have room for all of those, so I have had to pitch several of them:
Ø  Chloraseptic oral anesthetic that I last used 2 years ago  
Ø  Eye drops that expired in 2011 which I forgot I had
Ø  Neosporin
Ø  Orajel
Ø  9 ballpoint pens
Ø  Cough drops
Ø  Gum mangled to the point of being unchewable

I will be taking my new purse out for a spin this afternoon. I’ve already been digging around in there for something that I had taken out.  I’m afraid the learning curve may be pretty steep on this one.  And I’m sure I’ll regret – no, make that deeply regret – some of my decisions to downsize this drastically.

But I’m a firm believer in having as few frustrations as possible, so if this works, it will be great.  If not, well, there’s always donating …

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense.
Proverbs 2:3

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday Rewind -- New Age Funeral

This first appeared on April 8. 2012 on my blog Miscellaneous Ramblings...

Years ago, I attended a funeral that was sort of "new age."  I really didn't mean to stay for the funeral.  I had gone to the visitation and got caught talking to someone and stayed too late to quietly slip out.

I remember that there were maybe 15 people.  The deceased was the father of a co-worker.  I had never met him but had heard his daughter speak of him many times.  We stood in a circle while certain people read famous poems and quotes and such.

Several people then shared happy memories of the man they had known.  His daughter was the last person to share, and when she was through, she asked us to join hands and pray.

Of course, I reached for the hand on either side of me and then bowed my head.  And then one of the people in the circle started praying… to the dead guy.  Yes, that's right, they were praying (talking) to the dead man.  I can't remember what they said, but a thought came to my mind so strongly, I was afraid I had blurted it out loud.

I don't pray to a dead guy.  The guy I pray to is alive and has been from the beginning and will be until the end of time.  Oh, he was dead for a few days, deader than a doornail.  But on that third day, he rose and saved us all.

Yes, I pray to a guy that is more alive than any of us will ever be this side of heaven, and I'm so honored to do so.

Happy Easter!
Photo by Cindy West McGregor