Saturday, May 19, 2012

Windy Saturday

Well, it's going to be a windy day and Bob and I have planned to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival in Cherryvale. Our hair will be a mess but it will comb. I just hope the vendors don't have a problem keeping their wares on the tables.

We are meeting at 7:15 for a light breakfast before going over to Cherryvale mid morning.

I slept pretty well last night although I woke up at 3:30, went to the bathroom and took my meds and then went back to bed. I got up at 4:30 and got myself ready for the day. I came into the kitchen and let Missy in the house. She was hungry.

I will do a little cleaning before we leave this morning. I want to run the swifter on the bare floors, run the vacuum and do some dusting. The house is neat but it's been a week since I've cleaned and Missy sheds something terrible.

I've decided not to work the longer hours. I need my Friday off to catch things up. I visited with Leslie about it and she suggested that I was much too busy with extra curricular activities not to have more time off then just the weekend. I agree.

I went back to the market last evening to get those flat buns for our hamburgers Sunday night at Karan's. Those things were $4.00 a package. But that's my contribution to the dinner.

More later....

Well, we went to Just Us for lunch and it was excellent as usual. Then we went to the festival and it was at least twice as large as last year. I didn't see the lady with the jellies we bought last year. i hated that. I had intended to get some more. We walked all around and then looked over the car show and came on back home. It was warm but windy.

In fact, awhile ago I went out in my back yard and discovered that my neighbor's tree had dropped another limb. I drug it over to the carport and put it in there. Hopefully, John will come haul it off after church tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Week Day Off

This morning I got up early as usual and did some work in the yard. Then I went out to Wal Mart and bought a few groceries for the coming week. My eldest son and his wife will be here Thursday and stay until the day after the Memorial Day.

I will make some chili and have a roast to put on too. Maybe we will have the chili on Thursday evening and the roast Friday. The rest of the weekend is up for grabs, They may go to Caney for the Alumni Banquet on Saturday. I will go to Mayfest. We usually go out to eat after church on Sunday. And I think Leslie is going to have a cookout on Monday.

They will leave on Tuesday sometime...probably early. I will meet Esther, Keith's wife, for the first time. Luckily I will have Thursday, Friday and Monday off work.

Next week, I am to start working 35 hours a week. I don't know how that will work out. It's all I can do to keep everything up here at home now working only 28 hours a week. If I do it, I will work seven hours a day five days a week.

I cherish my Friday's off now. This morning I worked in the yard awhile, went to Wal Mart for groceries, went out to see Phyllis and went out to church to clean. Bob came out and sprayed everything outside with bug killer and then we went to a small restaurant in Dearing for lunch of cornbread and beans. It was very good. He has gone home to nap and I am in here doing this blog. This evening he will finish his mowing. We will meet in the morning for a light breakfast before leaving for the Cherry Blossom Festival in Cherryvale.

I have been sitting out in my backyard on my swing reading my kindle. I was on the patio for awhile and a small wren kept scolding me. I wondered why until I saw her go into a small birdhouse hanging on my patio. She's a brave little creature. Missy would make short work of her by jumping up on the table between the folding chairs and grabbing her.

This is the swing I moved to to placate her. If you look carefully to the right side of the patio, you can see the little wren house.
These are my hanging baskets and clematis.
The yard looks pretty. Some of the clematis is still blooming and the tiger lilies are in bloom. My hanging baskets look pretty good too. The weeping willow just gets larger and larger. It's hard to believe we brought that tree home in the back of a Ford Ranger pickup.
These are the lilies out beside the shed.
And these are the ones in what I call my bulb bed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday Again

It's Thursday again. I'm always glad for Thursday to come. For one thing, I get paid every other Thursday and I always need the money.

Tomorrow I will go visit my sister and then go out to church to clean. All I did last week was but a lick and a promise. This week I need to do more. We're in the country and even though we spray for bugs, in the country we have bugs that creep in from somewhere. I will take my wet swifter and do some mopping.

This Saturday is the Cherryvale Cherry Blossom Festival and Bob and I will go over for that. We will have lunch at Just Us, the buffet there. It's been a month since we've been there. Last year at the Cherry Blossom Festival, we bought some homemade jelly and it was really good. I hope that vendor is there this year. If I remember my camera, I will take some photos and post them here.

Sunday will be church again and dinner afterward somewhere...probably at El Pueblito. That evening is our Living the Questions group at Maritt's home. We will have a cookout too. I will take baked beans. Then we will watch the DVD and have our discussion.

I really enjoy these discussions. The DVD says there are no answers given...only information and questions. Everyone must draw their own conclusions. That's what I like. We have some lively discussions.

Tonight I must mow. It really needs it. I like to mow the day before I get my hair done but it can't wait.

Well, I got the lawn both mowed and trimmed but now it is dark. I finished just in time and got my bath and what do you didn't completely ruin my hair. That's good. My next appointment is Tuesday of next week.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Slow Day

It was a really slow day at the office today. When I got on my way home I called Bob and I dropped by and picked him up and we went to Brahms and ate a steak sandwich and had a visit. Tomorrow I will work and then have Friday and the weekend off. I need to get out to church Friday and clean. I will do that after I go to see my sister at Windsor Place.

Then Saturday Bob and I will have breakfast and then go to Cherryvale to the Cherry Blossom Festival. For lunch we will stop at Just Us, the buffet there.

I'll read the papers tonight and then get back to this.

I did that. I read the papers and took my bath. Now I am watching Nature and Nova on PBS. Not much going on this evening.

I forgot my PINCH meeting tonight. I stayed home and watched TV until nine..when I went to bed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wichita Trip

This is the day I make my trip to Wichita. I will pick up Juanita at 8:45 and we will be on our way. It's only a couple of hours...perhaps two and a half hours.

She will see this specialist who specializes in macular degeneration. He treated her for several years and finally got it arrested. Her optometrist thinks her problem is that her glaucoma is getting worse but he wants her to see this doctor to be sure.

If she is up to it, we will eat lunch at Olive Garden up there. She is over 90 years old.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. So at 4:00 I just got up and dressed and made up my face. It will catch up with me tonight I imagine. I stayed up until 10:00 last night to watch the PBS program about Johnny Carson. It was interesting.

I got my cakes baked last evening and took them over to Bob's and stayed and visited awhile. He will take them to Independence this week.

More later...

Our trip was successful. The doctor felt her primary problem was her glaucoma. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma. But the macular degeneration was minimal.

We got there at 10:30 and stopped for half a sandwich and a cup of coffee. It's a good thing because it was 3:30 before we got out of the doctor's office. Then we went to Olive Garden and had soup and salad. We got to Independence at 6:00 and I got home at 6:30.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Busy Monday

This will be a very busy Monday. I will need to get gas today and also go to the bank to get money. But the biggest challenge is to get my cakes baked for Tuesday. I will ice them in the morning after they have completely cooled and then run them over to Bob because he will take them to Independence this week. I will be picking up Juanita for our trip to Wichita.

I will have work to do at work today. I will be checking old marriage licenses to be sure they have been scanned before they are destroyed. I did that Thursday afternoon.

This photo is my server with my Mother's Day cards on it.

It was a very busy Sunday too. After church John and Leslie treated me to a meal at the Tavern on the Plaza for Mother's Day. Then I came home and did my newsletters. Scott, my younger son, finally called to wish me a happy Mother's Day. He had just been extremely busy. He never sends cards. I think that's a woman thing. I wonder if my older son's wife didn't prompt him to send me a card. Although I think he always has. He also called yesterday. I have great kids. I was a very strict mother so I'm surprised they have a good opinion of me.

I slept very well again last night. I'm hoping my sleepless nights are over.

More later...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Romney Quandry

I'm not sure the LDS church is going to come out looking very good in this campaign, but not because of any Democratic "bashing" of his religion. Rather, the general inquiry of both liberal and conservative press, and voters looking for basic enlightenment, may lead to some awkward places.

When John F. Kennedy was running for president, two things were different. First, Kennedy made a very clear speech (the one that made Rick Santorum sick to his stomach) in which he laid out the difference between personal morality and the moral requirements of leading a religiously-free state, where he had to protect the civil rights of ALL citizens, regardless of creed.

Second Pope John XXIII was on the cusp of implementing "Vatican II," where the Catholic Church was trying to shed its more cultic images and be a better, integrated, part of the global religious (and non-religious) community. This meant that the focus changed to put more emphasis on being a positive force on its members and the global community.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has not addressed, in any meaningful way, his view of the role of his faith in a secular society, where Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Mormons, Muslims and non-believers ALL have basic civil rights that the president is in charge of protecting.

Second, the LDS church (and now the Catholic Church, for that matter) has chosen to directly insert itself in politics and the restriction of the civil rights of people who do not share their faith. They plowed millions of dollars into obstructing and denying the civil rights of LGBT people in California, and they are vocally supporting of letting employers control the choices women elect for their own health care.

What we see in both churches is a bunch of old white men trying to exert their money and power to control the lives of non-believers in their respective cults (using the word in the sense that every denomination expresses its cultic beginnings in these circumstances - secretive, top-down, manipulative, and absolutist).

A friend of mine worked for a company that was purchased by a Bain-wannabe equity capital firm. This process is called "tax arbitrage," manipulating a corporation's structure, assets, and debts so as to take advantage of inconsistencies in tax laws, and siphoning the cash off to the equity capital partners in a tax-favorable manner.

No wealth is created in the process, except for the partners, and around half of the companies die in the process. Interestingly, a recent study has shown that the pension funds and others who put up the cash (the equity capital firm itself puts few assets at risk) have received very poor returns on these investments over the last twenty years, while the equity firm itself gets its money back within months.

Mitt's father ran a real business, turned down a bonus during its most profitable year because, "no man is worth one million dollars per year," and while governor, invested heavily in universities, parks, roads, and a big public-private partnership with the auto industry and state universities. His wife ran for US Senator supporting both Roe vs. Wade and the then-in-process Equal Rights Amendment. Although they were then called "Republicans," today they would be seen as to the left of President Obama.

Think of every positive thing your parents ever stood for, and then thumb your nose at it and run on an opposite philosophy. What kind of child would that make you?

My Sunday Sermon

Abide in Love

May 13, 2012

John 15:9–17

9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

This text is part of John’s larger witness of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse, which began with the intimate meal Jesus shared with his disciples in chapter 13. In this Farewell Discourse, we find Jesus and the disciples together as he seeks to deepen the disciples’ understanding of the power of his love found in his connection with God. In Jesus’ love, “community” is formed as the living expression of God’s love for the world.

Community was found in the relationships of the very earliest Jesus movement, before a church was even organized. Jesus had taught them the value of taking care of one another. In his acquaintances, there were no untouchables. There were women in his ministry..some even financed his ministry. Tax collectors were a part of his group. They met together each day and shared what food they had.

After Jesus death, the early movement continued his ministry by promising to take care of any who were sick. They fed the hungry, visited those in prison, clothed those that needed clothing. Even Paul spoke of deacons caring for widows. For over a hundred years people flocked to the new movement because of the love they found there and the care they were given.

Jesus unfolded the prior vine and branches metaphor used to express the relationship he called his disciples to have in him. When the branches connect with the vine, they produce and bear fruit. Without the vine, branches cannot produce the fruit for which they are created. Through this metaphor, Jesus wanted the disciples to understand their capacity to produce and bear fruit. This fruit only comes when they learned to love as Jesus did…unselfishly, all inclusive.

What is the fruit they will bear? Following the meal, Jesus said to the disciples, “I give you a new commandment to love one another just as I have loved you.”

There is an essential message seeking to be heard in this commandment offered three times in this discourse. “To love one another as I have loved you,” only has potential when we find the capacity to appreciate the love of God. To love like this is to be there for the other, to do for the other, even if it means giving things up for ourselves. When we recognize God’s love for us, we find the presence and gift of grace flowing into our lives. Through the presence of grace, we can experience and see ourselves and others as people of worth. It is through this grace that Jesus can say “I do not call you servants any longer…but I have called you friends.” It is this grace that will help us see all others as friends. When our congregation as individuals are willing to live in this new way of viewing people and embrace the blessing of our unity in diversity, amazing things will happen.

Latter Day instruction from Grant McMurray in Section 162 said it this way:

8a. You are a good and faithful people, but sometimes you fail to see the power that is resident in your own story and fellowship. Look carefully, listen attentively, and sense the Spirit among you.

b. Do not be unduly concerned with numbers. Be fervent in your witness, passionate in your discipleship, and vigorous in your labor on behalf of peace and justice. Where two or three such disciples form community, there will the Spirit be. Many will come to see.

c. Continue your journey, O people of the Restoration. You have been blessed thus far but there is so much yet to see, so much yet to do.Go forth with confidence and live prophetically as a people who have been loved, and who now courageously choose to love others in the name of the One you serve. Amen.

And this kind of love is not only present in our congregation and church members but we find it as well in the lives of our good friends who have learned to love the way Jesus taught.

Last month at our PINCH meeting, Mary, a Catholic woman who teaches the Hispanics members of their congregation the English language, pled with the group for help for one of her students. Maria had been caught in a traffic check on her way to Independence. She had to show her expired drivers license. Then she received a citation for driving without a license. She had had a license when she lived in Missouri but moved to Kansas where Kansas requires documentation for folks to get a driver’s license. Maria had no documentation. And her Missouri license had expired in 2009. She and her husband had lived and worked here in Coffeyville for many years. They had three children who were born here. But she was illegal. She had been deported twice without her family. After a long time, she managed to make her way back to Coffeyville to her family. Immigration from Mexico is backed up for ten years. The prospect of waiting to be legally imported, was dim. In ten years her children would be grown.

Mary brought Maria’s plight to the attention of PINCH. None of us thought there was a solution to her dilemma because of her illegal status. I talked to Judge Cullins about her case and he said if she was not incarcerated, she was only being charged with a traffic violation. However, if she went to court, her true status might be revealed. Jack, a retired judge, and dear friend, belongs to the PINCH organization. He said very little during the telling of Maria’s story. I did most of the talking but could not come up with a solution.

The Friday following the meeting, Jack paid Maria’s fine. Now Maria will not have to go to court. The fine was $138.00. I only know this because I work in that office. To me, that was evidence of “abiding in God’s love”. …of extending ourselves in love to care for the needs of others.

The word “abide” gives us a sense of security, of knowing we can trust God as our friend. It also represents a feeling of closeness, of knowing that we are never alone.

This story was shared with me by Madaleen Miller:

In Peshawar, there was, and perhaps still is, a driver named Riaz. He had the reputation of driving the Grant Trunk like a maniac. If one was interested in the quickest way to Islamabad, Riaz was chosen. On the other hand, our visiting son remarked that he had ridden the scariest roller coasters in existence and nothing equaled a trip down the Grand Trunk with Riaz at the wheel.

But the demon driver had another side usually unknown. He and his wife adopted children--in a country where child labor was much more common than adoption. Even a five-year-old can turn over bricks in a brick factory and thus 'support' himself.

Up country in one of the remote areas some young tourists (a Japanese couple I think) became seriously ill with a debilitating infection. There was rudimentary medical care at a clinic but no hospital. Riaz took them home and he and his family cared for them until they were able to travel, not for days, but for weeks. and refused recompense, though a drivers salary was not significant. Mud walls and dirt floors can contain great beneficence!

Now there is a disciple….abiding in love. Was he a Christian? No….but his actions were an illustration of Jesus’ challenge.

Humans are created to be with God and one another like the branch with the vine. When Christ-like love draws us deeper into relationship, mutual respect, and trust, the essence of worth becomes an expression of love between brothers and sisters in Christ.

We dwell in God’s love. In love, God pursues us. As Jesus said, “You did not choose me but I chose you.” This continues to be the miracle in this enduring story of love. God pursues us because God wants to be in relationship with us where true love flows inward and outward. And when this joy of God is in us, our joy is complete! Let us ask ourselves, when have we experienced God’s pursuit in our life and the invitation to abide in God’s grace and love?