Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ah Saturday!

I'm always happy to see Saturday come. I don't know what I will do today. I should rake my leaves but I just had my hair done yesterday and it's windy out there. So I won't. In a little while I will meet Bob for breakfast. He came over last evening and we watched The Insider, a very good movie video. It had won seven Academy Awards. Every smoker should see that movie. It is based on a true story.

We had discussed going to Olive Garden for lunch but we ate out in Bartlesville yesterday after his doctor's appointment and will eat out tomorrow for my birthday. So we probably will not do that.

Yesterday afternoon, Leslie sent me a flowering plant for my birthday. It is a Christmas Cactus. It is covered in buds and so when they open, it should be beautiful. She is so thoughtful!

I could do some housework. I did my laundry yesterday and stripped my bed and washed my sheets. So today I could decorate my house for Christmas and wrap my gifts. That would give me something productive to do. I will wait until after breakfast to make that decision.

After breakfast I decorated my house for the holiday. It isn't much but at least I have some decorating done. I will try to post at least one or two photos. After I finished my decorating, Bob and I drove up to Independence and ate chili at their new Brahms store. It had just opened yesterday.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday At Last

I will go to Independence this morning to have my hair done. Afterward I will go to the bank and get some cash for the week. Then I will stop at the church on the way home and see if I can get my laptop to work with Leslie's projector for our Church School class on Sunday. John and Leslie will be gone this weekend to a train show of some kind. John is a model train enthusiast. If I can't get that projector to recognize my laptop, I will have to come up with an alternate study for Sunday morning.

Later Bob will pick me up for his doctor's appointment in Bartlesville. We will eat at Dink's there either before or after his appointment. Then we will go on to Independence to pick up his granddaughter at school. Her folks are in Topeka for her dad's doctor's appointment.

I'm not sure what I will do the rest of the day. Tomorrow Bob would like to go to Joplin to Olive Garden and have soup and salad. If he's still interested, we will do that. On Sunday, which is my birthday, he wants to take me out to eat. That's nice of him. Always before John and Leslie have taken me to dinner for my birthday. This year they will be gone.

Today my eldest son is having a procedure done to see if he has a heart problem. His wife is supposed to call me when it's finished and they know anything. If it turns out he does have a heart problem, they will do a stint. He's only 57 and has always been in excellent health. I hope it's a false alarm. I'll know later today.


Esther, Keith's wife, just called to say Keith was in recovery now. It was a false positive. He is fine and his veins and arteries look just fine. There is no need for a stint after all. It's 3:30 PM now.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Easy Peanut Clusters

One of my dear readers asked me to post the recipe for my easy peanut clusters so here it is:

Easy Peanut Clusters

Melt 2 lbs white almond bark in crock pot or slow cooker on medium.

Add 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips.

Add 4 oz Bakers semi sweet chocolate and one jar of dry roasted peanuts.

Spoon out on waxed paper with teaspoon...let dry completely and stack between waxed paper.

Refrigerate if needed.

These are wonderful and I make them every so often for the husband of a friend of mine that loves them. Since Bob died, he has done many nice things for me. He has repaired my mower, my garage door opener, and installed my water filter in my frig water line ....twice.While Bob was sick, he installed our new hot water tank. He regularly saws my two pound packs of meat into two. He has just been a really great friend. I cannot think of anything I can to to repay him. But he loves these peanut clusters.

Payday Thursday

Today I received almost a couple of hundred dollars from my 28 hours of work this pay period. It will come in handy since I don't receive my social security until the 12th of December. Many of my bills come due before then.

Bob came over last night and we watched another video "The Runaway Jury". It was pretty good. It was another John Grisham book done into a movie.

There is nothing interesting on PBS right now either. TV generally is very poor entertainment. I think the most entertaining is reading but it is also the most isolating.

On the news, we are still running toward the fiscal cliff. The Republicans are determined to protect the wealth of the super rich and the president seems intent on protecting the interests of the rest of us. I will be interested in seeing if anything comes of this meeting the president is having with Romney today over lunch. I wonder if he will ask Romney to serve in his second administration in some way. He has a way of using his former enemies. i.e. Hillary.

I'm always glad to see Thursday come because Friday is tomorrow and I do not work on Fridays. I do have a 7:00 hair appointment if it doesn't get cancelled. Carol's brother-in-law is dying and if he dies today or tomorrow, she will cancel all her appointments. In that case, I will have to deal with my hair myself.

But in any case, I am going with Bob to Bartlesville to his doctor's appointment tomorrow. We will have a quick lunch afterward and then go pick up Dee at school in Independence. Denise and Terry will be in Topeka at the VA.

Today is my youngest son's 52nd birthday. I don't think he reads my blog but Happy Birthday anyhow, son!

More later...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pay Sheet Wednesday Again

Today I get my pay sheet signed. I will be paid my little pittance tomorrow. It will assure that I have enough money to pay my Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Every month, because I don't get my social security until the second Wednesday, I have to be sure to leave enough in my account to make that payment. It comes out whether the money is there or not. Bob used to get his on the third of the month and that worked out so much better.

We had a discussion yesterday at work about the earned income tax credit that is paid to extremely low income folks who have children and who are working but just unable to get by on their low salary. One of the lawyers in the office claimed it was instituted by president Obama and that it was a free ride for those who didn't deserve it and it was paid for by rich lawyers like him.

I knew better. Taresa, my daughter in law received it in 1994 when she lived with us and had the two small children. My son at that time was a corporal in the army and there was no way they could get by on his salary. She used the money to go to school and eventually got her degree. Now she is an RN. It saved their marriage at that time. (Later, when he was deployed four times to the war, she left him for someone around more permanently)

Anyhow, I knew he did not know what he was talking about. He is one of those who blows and goes a lot anyhow. He lost me when he disparaged a good friend of mine who is a judge. Jack, my friend, is one of the best, most fair judges around. This lawyer is envious of him and would like to be a judge himself. His motives are obvious and his language is deplorable.

The EITC is a tax credit for those at the lowest end of the income scale, going to families with children that make less than $36,000 per year (though the income level can vary depending on year and number of dependents). Individuals making less than $18,000 annually can also qualify for a small credit.

President Reagan called the EITC “the best antipoverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “research indicates that families mostly use the EITC to pay for necessities, repair homes, maintain vehicles that are needed to commute to work, and in some cases, obtain additional education or training to boost their employability and earning power.” And in recent years, the EITC has been essential in lifting families out of poverty:

The EITC reduces poverty by supplementing the earnings of workers with low wages and low earnings. There has been broad bipartisan agreement that a two-parent family with two children with a full-time, minimum-wage worker should not have to raise its children in poverty. At the federal minimum wage’s current level, such a family can move above the poverty line for an average family of four only if it receives the EITC as well as SNAP (food stamp) benefits.

In each of the last two years, the EITC kept 3 million children out of poverty.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cold Tuesday

It's really cold today. Last I looked it was 24 degrees. I got really busy yesterday and didn't get time to post here. I fixed lunch/dinner before I went to work and I worked a couple of hours yesterday morning to make up for the two hours I lost when we closed the office early Wednesday afternoon. I filed everything and then scanned some documents and put together some folders.

Bob came over at noon and we ate the goulash and garlic bread with his salad. It was pretty good. I sent some of it home with Bob for his supper. I still have mine. I didn't eat supper last night. I will eat a little oatmeal this morning because my right arm is hurting and I want to take some Aleve.

After work I called Bob and asked him over to watch TV with me. We watched a PBS special about Johnny Carson. It was pretty interesting. My Bob used to stay up and watch his program every night after work.

This morning about 8:30 I will leave for Independence for my hair appointment at 9:00. Bob is not going with me since it is that early. When it's at 10:00, he goes and we eat at Big Cheese across the street from the beauty parlor. When I get home today I will fry some chicken tenders. We will have mashed potatoes and gravy and veggies and the rest of his salad from yesterday. We are drinking hot tea since the weather has turned cold.

I will go to work at 12:55. If I go any earlier, the door is locked and I have to wait on a bench outside.

There's really nothing on TV the rest of the week. If Bob comes over we will watch some of his daughter's videos. We watched The Firm the other night. TV has really sunk to new lows. I have a time even justifying watching it. If it weren't for PBS I would even own one. I read a lot. Reading is a lot more entertaining. Unfortunately it shuts others out. I used to read aloud to my Bob much of the time. He enjoyed being read aloud to because he wasn't shut out that way and he always seemed to enjoy the books I read.

I always read aloud to my children...especially when traveling. They sat quietly and listened to the books. I had bought a big set of "children's classics" but no one read them so I read them aloud to the kids (and Bob) on our trips. They all really enjoyed that and it was hard for me to even take a break because they were so interested in the books. My children (and Bob) heard all the children's classics that way.

Those were the days. Oh well...all things pass.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Preaching on Sunday

I will be speaking at church today. It's our annual Hanging of the Greens service but it will be a little different this year. We changed all the decorations and set the tree in the center of the stage area. Melissa has planned the service so I'm not sure what it will be like.

Bob will be by at 9:00 to pick me up. We attended the funeral of the husband of my classmate in Bartlesville yesterday afternoon. For some reason it wore me out. I watched TV until 7:30 last evening and then took my bath and went to bed. I awoke a couple of times but went right back to sleep. I fixed myself a pot of coffee and ate a small bowl of oatmeal this morning.

My sermon is entitled "What Is Truth?"

What is truth? That’s a question John’s gospel says Pilate asked of Jesus: And what is truth?

As we explore this question, I hope we’ll benefit in two ways: First , that we’ll resolve to be more truth-seeking – digging deeper and getting to the bottom line – not accepting as fact everything we hear on the news or out on the street;

Two, that we’ll see truth as something more than an objective reality. In the eyes of faith, truth is a living Word that informs us and inspires us to live better and more productive lives as children of God who are trying to establish God's peaceable kingdom.

First, let’s take a closer look at the text. Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and taken to Caiaphas’ house. The Jewish Council was already assembled and waiting. They questioned him at length and condemned him for blasphemy. The next day they sent him to Pontius Pilate on the charge of treason, that he claimed to be King of the Jews.

John’s gospel has Pilate ask Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” (John 18:33) Jesus asked Pilate, "Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?" (John 18:34) Pilate confessed that this is what he’d been told. And Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world …” (John 18:36) Pilate seized on this and said, “So you are a king?” (John 18:37) And John has Jesus reply:

"You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37)

And then John has Pilate ask, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

Jesus didn’t immediately respond. His silence implies the answer: “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.”

The Gospel of John was written after the fact to first century Christians who were being encouraged to live Jesus’ message of community....taking care of one another… as God’s plan for the world. Pilate saw Jesus’ message as a repudiation of the authority of the Roman Empire. He saw it as a threat to his own authority. That’s why the question he asked was “What is Truth?”

And what is truth? It’s actually a very good question. Truth, after all, is essential to healthy relationships and strong communities.

Truth lies at the heart of every healthy relationship. Whether it’s our husband or wife, our business partner or best friend, we have to believe the other person is telling us the truth. If they ever lie to us or betray ur trust, your relationship will never be the same. We'll always wonder in the back of our minds, “Is he/she telling me the truth?”

Truth is the cornerstone of living in community with one another. We have to trust individuals and companies to do what they promise. When truth is compromised, community breaks down.

We see this in the political arena: Politicians have talked out of both sides of their mouths for so long we no longer have confidence in what they say or do. When he took the oath of office following the Richard Nixon scandal, Gerald Ford said, “Truth is the glue that holds government together.” There's no doubt about that. And we could go on to say … “the absence of truth is the solvent that quickly dissolves it.”

Truth is essential to healthy relationships and strong communities. That’s the first point, and the second is this: Truth is rare.

The first half of every TV courtroom show is about some crime that’s been committed; the second half is about how it was tried in court, where the lawyers expose the culprit and get a guilty verdict or a public confession. As each witness takes the stand, he is asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” The witnesses solemnly answer, “I do.” Anything less was inadmissible.

There ought to be some way to apply that oath to everyday life. While most of us are not guilty of telling out-right lies, we’re not altogether honest, either.

I love the story told about Lillian Carter, President Carter’s mother. When he was running for President, there was a female reporter who was determined to dig up some dirt on the candidate. So, she dogged Miss Lillian relentlessly for weeks. Finally, Miss Lillian consented to an interview in her home. She met the reporter at the door and invited her in. No sooner than they’d sat down, the reporter asked, “Has your son ever told a lie?” Miss Lillian bristled and said, “No, never.” “Never?” the reporter asked. “Never!” Miss Lillian answered. “Never??” the reporter persisted. Miss Lillian said, “Well, maybe a little white lie, now and then.” It was the chink in the armor the reporter was looking for. “I see,” she said, “and what, pray tell, is a white lie?” Miss Lillian smiled and said, “Well, do you remember when I greeted you at the door and said how nice it was to see you?”

We do it all the time. We tell little white lies: “I’d love to come, but I have a prior commitment … Send me more information in the mail, and I’ll get back to you … the check’s in the mail.”

At best, it’s a way of being courteous; at worse, it’s a way of being dishonest. Truth, pure and simple, is rare.

We manipulate the truth to serve our purposes, not only by what we say, but by what we don’t say. We are reminded, “The most dangerous untruths are truths that are slightly distorted.”

We're always better off to speak the truth in love, and let the chips fall where they may. For one thing, we never have to try to remember exactly what we have said.

Truth is rare. That’s the second point, and the third is this: No matter how truthful you want to be, your ability to tell the truth is limited by your perspective. I will remind you of this: there’ll always be more to the truth than we’ll ever know. Paul said it best when he said, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Our ability to tell the truth is limited by what we know. That’s why it’s so important to be circumspect – to be aware that, as obvious as something may be to us – and as firmly as we may believe it – there are other perspectives that are just as valid as ours to be considered. Next time we have a difference of opinion with someone, instead of arguing about who’s right, listen carefully to what the other person has to say. It’ll help us see the bigger picture more clearly.

Our ability to be truthful is limited by our perspective. Finally, truth, as we know it, is subject to change.

We once thought the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe. There was a time when we believed these things were true. Turns out, we were wrong. What we accepted as true changed. Which makes us wonder: What are we accepting today as truth that, in years to come, will turn out to be false?

Who are we going to believe? What is truth?

The Good News is that Jesus lived and taught truth among humanity.

By listening to the teachings of Jesus and implementing them in our own lives, we’re given the ability to know the truth in the midst of a less-than-truthful world. He is purported to have made this promise:

"If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:32)

At the end of the day, the only way to do that is to know the source of truth, and that’s a constant search. Honor the words of Jesus, seek to do good, be just and love God and your neighbor

I also said that I hoped we'd see truth as something more than an objective reality. In the eyes of faith, truth is dynamic – not something we pin down and defend, but something we live each day, as we seek to live not as a citizen of this world, but as a child of God.

Jesus’ teachings and life example are the ultimate example. We should look to the testimonies about him, learn from his teachings, follow his example and, by God’s grace, we, too, will come to embody the truth and become a living witness to God’s grace and love.