Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday and a Birthday

Today is my 81st birthday. I don't feel 81. That's a blessing. After the first of the year sometime, I hope to have surgery to get my bladder back where it belongs. I am tired of struggling with that problem. I could walk to town if that wasn't a problem. It's only 18 blocks.

Missy slept well last night. I awoke at 3:00 and never could get back to sleep. I went to bed at 9:00 last night and that is just too early.  Unfortunately, I can't keep my eyes open much later.

This morning at 8:00, I will go get Bob so he can come back here and check to see if his social security came in last night. He gets his on the 3rd....lucky guy. Since the 3rd is on Saturday, he may have it today. If he does, I will write his rent checks. He has essential tremor so I do most of his paperwork. Bob does not have a router so he leaves his notebook here where he can use mine.

After that, we will go to exercise class. Then after that, we will go to Utopia for cinnamon rolls. And then I will go to Independence to meet Leslie for lunch at the Railroad Inn for my birthday. Bob will be on his own for lunch. He may take some of this stew we have left from Tuesday. It needs to be eaten.

This afternoon, I will celebrate by cleaning the apartment.

Tomorrow we may go to Joplin to eat lunch at Olive Garden.  It's been awhile. We will have soup and salad there. I love their Suppa Tuscana and their salad. It is just enough.

More later....

This is my younger son, Scott, and his lovely wife, Ginger.




This is my older son and his lovely wife, Esther.


They are a pair!

I don't have a photo of my daughter. She refuses to have her photo taken. This is the best I could do.

Here they are all together for my 80th birthday last year.




More later...It's been quite a birthday and it's only 10:45. I've had a dozen facebook birthday wishes, a card from my brother-in-law and one from the exercise class. Marilyn R., my neighbor, bought my cinnamon roll this morning. My cousin-in-law called and sang Happy Birthday to me from Houston. That was a big surprise. I am meeting my daughter for lunch at the Railroad Inn in Independence.

So more later....
.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday and Ministerial Alliance.

I had another good night's sleep last night. Funny thing...Last night Missy tried and tried to get up on the little footstool I leave at the foot of the bed so she could get on the foot of the bed but just could not make it. Finally I got up and lifted her up. She lay right down and went to sleep.

This morning, she couldn't get down so I lifted her down. She cried out like she was hurting.

She did finally follow me into the bathroom to lie on the bathmat and watch me get ready for the day.  I got her breakfast and mine but when I went in to check the e-mail, she couldn't get up on the daybed.  So I lifted her up there. I watched her all morning. I was afraid she was failing fast. She didn't act right. I opened the back door so the sunshine could come in on her rug and she laid in the sun for as long as the sun shown in there. Finally, it warmed up a bit and I went out to clean the leaves out of my flowerbed. She wanted out so I let her out. She was still limping but she lay in the place in the flowerbed that I left bare for her and watched me clean up the leaves. I hated to go to Alliance meeting and leave her  but I had made a reservation so I went on and just made her a palate on the floor.

When I got home she was up on the daybed. I don't know how she managed that. When I went into the kitchen, she jumped down and followed me in there.  She doesn't seem to be limping any more. What a change!

I'll watch her. She may have just temporarily hurt herself trying to jump into that recliner. I thought she was not long for this world this morning. You never know!

Anyhow, we had a good lunch at Alliance. Bob went to Sirloin Stockade to visit with some friends who eat there every day.  Afterward I went to Equity Bank and paid my rent.

I took some brownies over to Marilyn R. I can't eat them all and Bob doesn't like brownies.

In about 30 minutes Missy will be wanting her treats. Then we will see how she is doing.

More later...

She was subdued all evening but when it came time for her to lie on my lap, she managed to jump up there. Then when we went to bed at 9:00, she managed to jump up on the footstool and get on the bed. Maybe she's going to be alright after all. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Very Busy Wednesday

This will be a very busy day! I will pick up Bob and we will go to exercises. Then afterward I will take him home and come home to check on the stew I started this morning. At 11:30, we will eat. Then at 12:30 I will go to the hospital to give a devotion as chaplain and visit with the patients who come to the devotion.  At 1:00 or so, I will go to game day. I still have my brownies to fix for that.  I will do that after I finish this.

This is a photo my son, Scott, posted of him and his wife, Ginger. They had gone to dinner to celebrate his 56th birthday.


Her birthday is next Monday. She is a nurse anesthetist and is working on her PHD.  She is very mush in demand. He is in charge of security for a large company on Amelia Island.

I talked to him a couple of nights ago and he says the contractor will have the downstairs of their house finished by the time I get down there for Christmas. I leave on December 20th.

More later...I'd better got those brownies in the oven.

The brownies are in the oven and the stew is in the slow cooker pot. Now if I just don't forget those brownies. :)

I have 45 minutes to go before I have to pick Bob up. In twenty minutes, the brownies need to come out of the oven.

I'd better get busy on my crossword puzzle.

So more even later...

We went to exercise class and afterward I stopped at the post office and sent off Ginger's birthday gift. Her birthday is Monday.  It should get there on Saturday.

After that we had our beef stew for lunch. It was good. I sent some over to Marilyn R. too.

After that I went to the hospital for the devotion. There was no one in the rec room and the nurse said no one was ready so I said "That's fine" and went on to game day. I gave him one of my cards and told him to call me if anyone wanted to see a chaplain.

I had a good time at game day. Bob came over at 5:00 to read the paper. He will stay until 7:00. All my favorite PBS programs are off right now.  I don't know why they have changed all their programming right now.

He id. he came over at 5:00 and left at 7:00. Missy had a hard time climbing up on my lap again. She must have arthritis.  Anyhow, we went to bed early I was tired again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday and Cake Day

I slept well last night and until 5:00...my usual rising time. I only woke up once and went right back to sleep after that.

I fixed Missy and my breakfast after I finished dressing. She is wanting to go outside but it's chilly out there. I took the cakes out and put them in my trunk awhile ago. It's 39 degrees out there. I haven't let he rout yet and probably won't until it warms up a bit.

Marilyn R. called me last evening and wants me to help her download the free Avast program to protect her computer. I told her it would be after lunch and she said that would be just fine. Bob and I will deliver the cakes today and then eat at Big Cheese after I get my hair done. When I get home I will try to help her with Avast.

I learned the last time Bob and I delivered cakes that four of our people are no longer taking cakes to the First Christian Church. We used to deliver eight now we are just delivering four. I would never have learned that but usually when we take in our four we say "You will have two more from Neodesha and two more from Independence". Barbara, the secretary there, just smiles and nods. This past time I took the cakes in she said, "I am so happy you brought cakes; we only have two in the freezer". They serve a couple of hundred people each Tuesday evening. So I said "Well, remember, you'll have two more from Independence and two more from Neodesha coming". She didn't say a word more. I suddenly realized that perhaps those four were not bringing cakes anymore. So I asked my daughter and she admitted neither she nor the other two pastors were taking cakes in anymore.  I was appalled. I don't know why or when they stopped and didn't tell us.  Barbara must have thought I was pretty oblivious.

I told them after that, that they could always make them up at their convenience and take them to church on Sunday and put them in the church's freezer and Bob and I could always pick them up on Tuesdays on our way to Independence.  Instead, we have been shorting them cakes...for I don't know how long.  I was appalled.

Anyhow, I don't think the four of us will stop making them up. They depend on us to help.

I am having a problem with my Keurig again. I tried to make up a cup of Chai this morning and it would not pour water out when I pushed the buttons. It took about six tries before I finally got a cup of Chai. I guess I'll try descaling it again That didn't help last time that happened. I had to take the thing apart and run the parts under the sprayer at the sink. That cleared it up. I had been brewing Cappuccino and it evidently clogged it up. So, I quit using it for Cappuccino.

Well, it's almost time to go pick up Bob so I'd better get the lights off and the the TV off and get ready to leave.

More later....

I got Bob picked up and we went on to Independence. After I got my hair done and we went out to Wal Mart and also Goodies to kill time, we went to Big Cheese and had lunch. Then I took Bob home and went over to Marilyn's to work on her computer. After that, I went on to Bartlesville to pick up another charger for Ginger's birthday.

Bob came over after 5:00 to watch TV and when he leaves, I will take my bath and get ready for bed.  Then Missy and I will watch TV for awhile before we go to bed.

Leslie texted me this evening to ask me to meet her for lunch on Friday...my birthday.  I will meet her at 12:00 or thereafter.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday and Exercises Again

We will go to exercises today again. There were none of Friday since it was a holiday weekend.

I slept fairly well last night. Still I woke up at 3:30 and finally just got up at 4:00.

Today is also the day I bake a cake for the First Christian Church in Independence. Phyllis and Bob and Karan will also have one for me to take. Bob will go with me to take them up and then I will get my hair done while we are there and we will also eat at Big Cheese in the noon hour. I don't know what we will have today. I am out of ideas. I will need to look through my recipe book for a suggestion.

Missy is waiting patiently for me to get her breakfast out. I am hungry too. All I ate last night was some grapes and my last two chocolates that Juanita gave me for my birthday. My birthday is Friday and I will be 81.

I was hanging some garland on Saturday and missed a step on my step stool and fell backward onto the carpet. I got up gingerly but found I was not hurt at all. I expected a bruise on my backside later but when I looked there was nothing. I guess the trick to falling safely, is not to tense up but to relax.

That's the second fall I've taken since I've been old. When I was still in my home, I was putting a box in the attic and the ladder slipped right out from under me and I fell backward onto the garage floor. I got up carefully that time too but all I had was a bump on the back of my head. There was a piece of  indoor/outdoor carpet by the door and I fell on it. Bob was still alive when that happened and was off on a disaster somewhere with FEMA.  It took me a long time to tell him about that.

More later....

We had just plain tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch today. neither of us was particularly hungry. 

I took some photos of the Christmas decorations at church yesterday and will share some of them with you all.

This is the sanctuary decorated for the holiday.

This is the table in the entry foyer.

This is a stand at the end of the foyer next to the office door. There's one on the other side of that door just like this one.
This is the nativity scene up front. It was a little dark up there when I took this photo.

Anyhow, the church looks lovely with all it's Christmas decorations. Here 's the tree. That was my main project.


More later...

Afternoon and after Bob left I went to Walmart's for groceries and later even  later made peanut butter criss cross cookies. Then I sat down to read the mail...such as it was.

Scott called later to say he got his birthday gift. I was so happy he got it on time. Yesterday was his 56th birthday.  I got him a fast charger for his I Phone. If they still have them at Dillard's, I will get one for Ginger too.  They had a black Friday sale so they may be out.

Bob came over at 5:30 and we had some of those cookies with some of Jeromy's wine that he sent home with us.

When he left at 7:00, I took my bath and tried to get Missy to jump up on my lap. She seems to find it harder and harder to do that. She will be 14 in the spring.  That's pretty old for a cat.

I stayed up until 10:00 and when Missy and I went to bed, I went right to sleep.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Next Sunday's Sermon



“The Kingdom of God Has Come Near” (Joy)
December 4th 2016
Margie Miller

Matthew 3:1-12 John the Baptist Prepares the Way


In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
 make straight paths for him.’

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.  People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.  Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Background Material 

Jesus’ teachings are best understood as apocalyptic in nature, and to understand any of them it is important to remember what the world view we call Jewish apocalypticism entailed. 
Jewish apocalypticism was a very common view in Jesus’ day – it was the view of the Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, of the Pharisees, of John the Baptist, later of the Apostle Paul – and almost certainly of Jesus.  This is a widely held view among critical scholars – by far the majority view for over a century, since the writings of Albert Schweitzer.

What did early Jewish apocalypticists believe?

Jewish apocalypticists were dualists.  That is to say, they maintained that there were two fundamental components to all of reality: the forces of good and the forces of evil.  The forces of good were headed by God himself, the forces of evil by his superhuman enemy, sometimes called Satan, or Beelzebub, or the Devil.  On the side of God were the good angels; on the side of the Devil were the demons.  On the side of God were righteousness and life; on the side of the Devil were sin and death.  These were actual forces, cosmic powers to which human beings could be subject and with which they had to be aligned.  No one was in neutral territory.  People stood either with God or with Satan, they were in the light or in darkness, they were in the truth or in error.

This apocalyptic dualism had clear historical implications.  All of history could be divided into two ages, the present age and the age to come.  The present age was the age of sin and evil, when the powers of darkness were in the ascendency, when those who sided with God were made to suffer by those in control of this world, when sin, disease, famine, violence, and death were running rampant.  For some unknown reason, God had relinquished control of this age to the powers of evil.  And things were getting worse.

At the end of this age, however, God would reassert himself, intervening in history and destroying the forces of evil.  There would come a cataclysmic break in which all that was opposed to God would be annihilated, and God would bring in a new age.  In this new age, there would be no more suffering or pain; there would be no more hatred, or despair, or war, or disease, or death.  God would be the ruler of all, in a kingdom that would never end.

According to Jewish apocalypticists, this vindicaton of God was going to happen very soon.  Standing in the tradition of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, apocalypticists maintained that God had revealed to them the course of history, and that the end was almost here.  Those who were evil had to repent, before it was too late.  Those who were good, who were suffering as a result, were to hold on.  For it would not be long before God would intervene, sending a savior — possibly on the clouds of heaven in judgment on the earth — bringing with him the good kingdom for those who remained faithful to his Law.  Indeed, the end was right around the corner.  In the words of one first-century Jewish apocalypticist:  “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that that kingdom of God has come with power.”  These in fact are the words of Jesus (Mark 9:1).  Or as he says elsewhere, “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away before all these things have taken place” (Mark 13:30).

Our earliest traditions about Jesus portray him as a Jewish apocalypticist who responded to the political and social crises of his day, including the domination of his nation by a foreign power, by proclaiming that his generation was living at the end of the age, that God would soon intervene on behalf of his people, sending a cosmic judge of the earth, the Son of Man who would destroy the forces of evil and set up God’s kingdom.  In preparation for his coming, the people of Israel needed to repent and turn to God, trusting him as a kindly parent and loving one another as his special children.  Those who refused to accept this message would be liable to the judgment of God, soon to arrive with the coming of the Son of Man.

Exploring the Scripture
The Gospel of Matthew was written several decades after Jesus lived and died, (about 80 CE). The identity of the author of Matthew is unknown but this Gospel message is clear: Jesus is the Messiah! How do we know that? Because Jesus believed it and taught it to his disciples. And from the first chapter of Matthew the author tells the story of Jesus in ways to explain this message. Jesus is the Messiah and in him was to be found all the authority and power of God’s kingdom.

In this chapter 3, John the Baptist is introduced into the account of Jesus’ life and mission. John the Baptist was a well-known figure with a large following. John dressed, spoke, and acted in similar ways to the prophets of old. His clothes resembled the prophet Elijah, he spoke the words of Isaiah, and he preached a message of repentance and reform.

In this passage people went into the wilderness to be baptized by John. The wilderness was a place that brought to mind the exodus of the people of Israel. In the wilderness the Israelites experienced God’s guidance and comforting presence. It was from the wilderness they emerged as a people of God. Here at this time, in the wilderness, John is calling people to “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near”. The word repent does not mean to confess one’s sins or offer regret for bad behavior. To repent —is to change one’s mind, think in a new way and is to turn away from an old way of being and to adopt a new way more closely aligned with God’s purposes. This new way is the way of the Lord, a way of justice, liberation, and faithful living.

Included in the groups coming from Jerusalem were Pharisees and Sadducees, Jewish religious leaders. Pharisees were the educated men who interpreted and enforced rigid adherence to religious law. Sadducees were leaders who were of the elite priestly lineage. These two groups of leaders were not in religious agreement (rather like present-day conservative or liberal divisions) but both came to be in opposition to the message John, and soon Jesus, would proclaim. John the Baptist is quick to denounce these leaders. He tells them to “bear fruit worthy of repentance” In other words, baptism alone is not enough for true repentance, nor is religious status or heritage. Repentance requires new actions that bear the good fruits of justice making and peace.

This passage ends with John pointing to the coming of Jesus. John proclaims that while he can baptize with water, one far superior to him will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. It is through Jesus and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the reign of God comes near. Through baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire, disciples are strengthened and refined to act in ways of mercy, justice, and peace.

With the right vision of Jesus’ teachings, we discover an ethical framework that consistently challenges all aspects of our lives… to bring us closer to God’s will here on earth. We don’t get to apply Jesus’ teachings like a buffet from which we choose this over that, and leave behind whatever we can’t stomach. What Jesus’ teachings call for is a universal life ethic that knows no bounds, that counters religious hypocrisy and the unjust structures in the world.

 I see God challenging us to love radically and pursue peace and justice boldly.  For me, a central question is “How can we love God…a God whose divine image is in each of us…and yet not stop and question all the ways in which that image is crucified over and over again in our world. 
We have to ask ourselves, “Am I a faithful witness, as a neighbor and as a steward, for all which God deems good and worthy of my love and attention?” 

As a citizen of the United States, I must acknowledge that in my home country, one out of six of my neighbors faces hunger…this in a place where we have a surplus of food and are literally throwing away a great deal of it into the trash.   

Yet, I still have faith. To ensure that our religion is a force for good, I assert that the heart of the matter is how we view God. Is our God vengeful and violent, or reconciling and peaceful? Our definition of God will determine our definition of justice, and the viability of our peace. Our definition of God will be the definition of ourselves; we are continually invited to be created in God’s image. 

Peace is a central mantra of Community of Christ….but speaking peace alone isn’t enough, because many would sell us a cheap peace that doesn’t address the injustices of our world.  As individuals, we need to examine ourselves and determine what changes we can each make to invite God’s Spirit to lead us to see God’s kingdom among us. Amidst all the violence we see in today’s world, the kingdom of God is still on the earth. If we can see beyond the violence which is pictured so graphically in the news and find the good that is being done each day in our world, we can catch a glimpse of God’s kingdom.  And we can see Jesus in the faces of the people we meet.  

The divine vision Jesus had in mind for the world is contained in the Sermon on the Mount and is an entirely nonviolent program. Jesus defines a disciple in the Beatitudes, as one who is meek, that is, exercises self-discipline, hungers and thirsts to do what is right, forgives others beyond what justice requires, is pure in heart and is honest, is a peacemaker, and returns good for evil as found in Matthew 5. 

When the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered “The Kingdom of God is among you!” Sometimes that kingdom is hard for us to see but it is there if we know where to look for it. The reign of God is understood in Community of Christ as the “coming triumph of love, justice, mercy, and peace” as found in our Basic Beliefs statement. Let us consider: What changes can we make, and what changes can our congregation make, to bring about the fruits of justice making and peace in our communities and even in our homes?



Sunday and Church and Dinner at "Just Us"

I slept very well last night. It's probably because I watched TV until later. Anyhow, I got up about 5:00 and dressed and got myself ready for church and then baked my coffeecake and worked on the service again.

Bob came over about 8:30 to read the papers. I went over to the bank to get some cash and also wrote my tithing check.

After church I called Kay at "Just Us" and made a reservation for three. Phyllis was at church and went with us to Cherryvale to eat. As usual we had a fine lunch and got Phyllis back to the church to pick up her car by 1:30.

I did the newsletters for those who were not able to be with us and got them ready for the mail.

Then I worked on next Sunday's sermon.

More later...

Bob came in later and we watched "The Wizard of Oz" until 60 Minutes finally came on. Then we watched that until Bob went home.  I watched Dateline until 9:15 when I finally just had to get my bath and go to bed.

I was exhausted.