Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday Breakfast

Today we go to breakfast at Eggberts at 6:45. I always look forward to that each week. I got my east side flowerbed planted yesterday while the winds were calm. I will take some photos later and post them here. It was an interesting day and I'll explain why in this post.

To begin with, I slept very well last night.  Now..the latest landlord problem:

Yesterday I called the apartment manager and told her the grass needed mowing again.  She informed me they were only going to mow every other week. It's already looking shaggy and it's been ten days but she said the young man who mows charges them $40 each time it's mowed and if  he mows anymore then that they will raise the rent even more to cover that expense. She said when I asked it to be mowed week before last, it really didn't need it. I had measured it and it was 6 inches high and looked terrible.

Bob and I discussed it. He and my sister had bought a small mower for the church several years ago and now the church is mowed by a contractor.  So he is going to get that mower this weekend and take it to Greg to have it serviced. Then he and  are going to mow on the off weeks. We can use the exercise and the lawn will stay looking nice.  I asked our former landlord is we could store the mower in his barn and he said he had a good sized and almost new self propelled mower in that barn and he would get it out and check it out and we could use it to mow the larger part of the lawn in the back. He also said we could store the smaller mower Bob has in his barn too.

We are not going to trouble this new landlord with anything else. She obviously is going to use any excuse possible to raise the rent even further.  By the way, Marilyn, across the way, has a stopped up sink. She called and asked them to send out a plumber. She had spent the past weekend plunging it and had used two bottles of Plumbers Friend to try to unstop it and it won't stay drained. She can't use her dishwasher because it fills the sink to the rim when it pumps out.

Also, they have not had the air conditioner units serviced either. Mine is packed with grass so if that doesn't get done, I will not be able to use my air conditioning. If they don't do that either, I will get it done at my own expense. I don't need the air conditioner yet but soon I will.

What a mess!

Bob and I are going over to Cherryvale this morning to the Cherry Blossom festival. It's something different to do and it's free.

 We did end up going to the Chery Blossom festival. It was somewhat of a disappointment but then we went over to Independence and Bob bought another pillow sham and then he took me to lunch at Great China.  Every once in  a while he wants to do that. I think that's nice. We had a nice lunch and then brought back some leftovers for his supper tonight.

I bought some white assilium  and planted it in the flowerbed after this photo was taken.  Then I planted those last two geraniums. I put one in a small pot with some of the assilium and the other in the flower bed. I had overbought geraniums. Then I watered everything well. I will water every day especially when it's warm like today. I usually water in the morning though.

Here at the bottom of the page is my east side flower bed that I planted yesterday.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday At Last

Well, it's Friday again and we will have exercise class this morning. I am a little tired. I awoke at 3:00 and never did get back to sleep. My right thigh ached in the muscle and that kept me awake. Finally at 4:45 I got up.

I am dressed and had my light breakfast already. I usually just eat a biscuit. I brown it in the skillet and put oleo and jelly on it. Then I can take my meds.

We will have hamburgers and french fries for lunch. I have some banana pudding made up for dessert.  Bob is still having a problem with a sore socket where he had his tooth removed last Monday.  I hope it's not a dry socket. He says it's not and I hope he's right. If it is, it probably would need to be packed to cover the bone.

I'm not going to do a lot today. I have been very busy all week cleaning, etc.

Tomorrow if it's nice and not windy, I will plant my flower bed on the east side of the apartment.   It's supposed to be 80 degrees and above tomorrow.

More later...

This is Bob at the New Theater in Kansas City.

 And this is Bobby's brother, Dean, and his wife at the same presentation:

Bobby and Karan didn't go this time.  They had taken a week's trip on tour just a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Neat Trip Wednesday and Sunny Thursday

Our bus trip yesterday to Kansas City was a really good time. The food was excellent (I ate too much and also had a rich carrot cake dessert) and the play was very cute. I was very surprised to see that Connie Stevens was so overweight. Most movie stars, even when they get older are really careful about their weight...just on general principle.  But, as I said, the play was cute. Her daughter, by Eddie Fisher, was also in the play. They did a good job. We got home about 6:30 PM .

I slept like a log last night. I went to bed slightly after 9:00 but had a really good night's sleep. Our trip must have worn me out.

This morning I slept until almost 6:00 and in fact, Bob came over to check on me when I didn't get my lights on as early as usual.  he popped over a little bit ago to see if I wanted to go to Bartlesville with him this afternoon after lunch. I never turn down an opportunity to "go" anywhere. So I will fix our tuna noodle/pea casserole and  then after I clean up after that, we will go to Bartlesville and he will get gas and we will walk the mall.

I dusted this morning and got all done.Then I walked over to the dollar store and bought a couple of sympathy cards.  One of our young church members lost his father last night. I wanted to get a card right in the mail and I also got another one to take to church for the congregation to sign. Mike is such a nice young man and he must have been very close to his father. We have had him on our prayer list before.

I will work on my next sermon this morning before starting lunch. We won't eat until noon. The sermon isn't until June 8th but I have never been one to wait until the last moment to work on one. The theme is "Filled With the Spirit" and I can relate to that. The scripture comes from Acts.

More later...and some photos too.

We had our casserole dish and it was good. I took some of it over to Bobby and Bob and I will eat the rest on Saturday.  We will have hamburgers and french fries tomorrow with Coke. (Very unhealthy)

After lunch we went to Bartlesville.  Bob wanted to get gas there and we went to Lowe's and we each  bought a long brush to clean our our dryer vents.  Bob  also bought a squeegee for his shower.  Then we came back home and I went up to Cox Communications to find out what happened about our cable bills. None of us received one for April.  It seems it is still listed as a business and has a special cost.  It is not being charged to the former landlord nor to the new one. But none of us received a cable bill for April. The local office is in charge of  residential cable but another part of the business takes care of business accounts. So, for now at least, we are not being charged. I told them I just don't want any surprises later.  I will post the photos tomorrow.  Tonight I am just too tired.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stormy Tuesday

We are to have more rain today. Hopefully there will be no hail or tornadoes since I will be taking cakes to Independence this morning and afterwards getting my hair done. I also want to stop at their Bank of America and take everything out of my safe deposit box. I will soon be leaving Bank of America since the three around here were sold to Commercial Bank.  I am changing to Community State Bank. They are located just a block or two from my apartment. 

I slept pretty well last night. I awoke at 1:30, went to the bathroom and lay awake for an hour or so with much "stuff" going through my head. The change in banks was one item. The  possible job with SER Corporation  after the meeting on May 21st was another. The bank change won't be final until June because the Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance couldn't make the change in May...for some strange reason.  Prudential managed it (my life insurance) and Social Security thinks they will make it but Blue Cross/Blue Shield says they can't and they are my Medicare supplement insurance. Strange....

And with the possibility of going back to work, I may have to file income tax after all.  With my limited income, I didn't file for 2013 for the first time. 

I made some biscuits for my breakfast this morning. I am tired of both oatmeal and dry cereal.  

More later...

I got a lot done today. First I took the cakes in and then I got my hair done. After that I went to the bank and emptied my safety deposit box. Then I withdrew some money from my savings and put it in my new account in Coffeyville....just in case one of those automatic withdrawals came to the wrong bank. I ordered some checks. Then I came home and cleaned out my files.

Later I couldn't figure out what I wanted to eat. I ended up having a biscuit.  Bob came over after the news and we watched PBS.  He went home about 8:00 PM. We will want to be at the bus at 7:15.  It leaves at 7:30.

I took my bath and put my pjs on and came back in to watch some more TV. I need to stay up until 9:00 if I want to sleep well. I will take some more Aleve before I go to bed.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tragic Monday

This morning we awoke to the news that little Quapah, Oklahoma, was hit by a tornado and one is dead . Sixteen died in Arkansas near Little Rock.  Then we learned that Baxter Springs had a tornado too with 145 homes destroyed. This is the start of the tornado season here in the Midwest. It usually begins earlier.

I slept really well last night. I took a couple of Aleve because my back had hurt all afternoon. That must have done it because it's fine today.

Bob is having a tooth extracted this morning so he will not be going to exercise class.  I will go on without him. Afterward I will clean house. I have laundry in right now. I have stripped my bed and am washing my sheets.

More later...

Bob had a really bad extraction. They had a time getting the remaining piece of tooth out. The tooth had broken off.  He was swollen and bleeding more then is comfortable. I went to get him some more gauze squares when he ran out and he repacked it several times. I baked his cake when I baked mine for the Independence First Christian Church tomorrow.  Finally half way through the afternoon, he felt better and his swelling went down. He came over for an hour this evening and we had a glass of wine. I gave him some chicken noodle soup for his lunch tomorrow. He won't want to eat too much that's firm for another day.

I got the house cleaned and the floors scrubbed.  I will need to dust tomorrow.

I hope the wind is down tomorrow so I can plant the other flowerbed. I want to get that done soon as possible.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stormy Sunday

We are forecast for some severe storms today.  I am leery about going out to church where we may encounter hail with the storm...or even a tornado.  There have been few tornadoes thus far this spring. It's been very odd weather all winter and early spring.

I slept well last night. I took a couple of Aleve with milk before bedtime.  That probably helped.  I awoke at 3:00 but managed to get back to sleep.  I slept until almost 5:00 AM. I usually get up at 5:00.

I'm not sure with the storm warning whether we will eat out after church as a group today. It depends on the weather, I guess.

I have the sermon this morning.  The topic comes from the gospel of John but it is in keeping with the mission of our church.....Peace. There isn't much peace in today's world...that's for sure. What a turbulent time we live in!

More later..........I'll update on the storm after church.

We got rain but no hail or tornado. We had a fair sized congregation too. The sermon went fine and we all ate out at Sirloin Stockade after church.

I took a nap in the afternoon and then Bob came over and we watched 60 Minutes on TV before leaving for the Living the Questions group at Keith and Joyce's.

The next group will be held at  Richard and Mona's on the 18th of May. Howard and Judy should be here for that one. It will be good to see them again. May will be busy. My son, Keith, and his wife, Esther, will be coming over the Memorial Day holiday. . It's been a couple of years since I've seen them.

Sunday Sermon

“Peace Be With You”
April 27th, 2014

John 20:19-31
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The Purpose of John’s Gospel
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
“Peace be with you” was a common greeting of Jesus and his followers. It was actually “Shalom”, a greeting heard hundreds of times on the streets of Jerusalem on any given day. There was so very little peace in that day.
As we have mentioned before, the gospel of John was not completely finished until close to 100AD and is believed to be a product of the Johannine community.  The commissioning found in it occurs in Matthew, Luke and Acts but the commissions have little in common and are understood to be creations of the individual authors of the books and reflect the beliefs of the communities they served.   

Long discourses by Jesus found in the latest gospel, John, are very unlike the sayings and parables of the first three gospels, the synoptic gospels.  Jesus is known to have communicated in short pithy sentences and parables and never made a point of identifying himself as anything but a prophet or teacher. The Johannine Community on the other hand had an entirely different purpose and therefore is quite different. 

Because of the difficulties of composition, continuity and order of this gospel, scholars generally agree that the discourses found in John were assembled over a long period of time and bear only a faint affinity with the message of Jesus himself.  Though including some ancient material, they represent the theological tenets of a distinct group within emerging Christianity, the Johannine Circle, it has been called. A century later it would be absorbed into Gnostic Christianity on one hand and into “mainstream” Orthodox Christianity on the other hand. There were literally hundreds of different types of Christianity in the ancient world in that day.  It wasn’t until the 4th Century that there was any kind of continuity established.  

What vestiges of the language of Jesus found there in the gospel of John have been thoroughly edited to conform to the theology of the Johannine Community.  The admonition to love in this gospel has been reduced from the love of neighbor, even of enemies, to love within the circle of disciples. The writer has freely created lines for Jesus to speak that reflect his own point of view or that of the community. 

The commission Jesus embodied, however, is a commission to each of us to bring peace, love, hope, and assurance of God’s continued presence and love for us and everyone around us.  As Jesus is quoted as saying to the Ethiopian woman, “His message was to the Jews.”  We are commissioned to look toward our own culture for ways to share his message of the kingdom. Although there is hunger and need throughout the known world, there is hunger and need close at hand here in our own country that we can easily assist to alleviate.  God sends each of us to do what we can to help those individuals and families.  That’s why we keep a food basket in the foyer. And that’s why we do what we are able to help the Christian Church of Independence feed a couple of hundred hungry and lonely people each Tuesday.  God’s continuing Holy Spirit is available to each of us and attempts to persuade us to meet this kind of need as we are able. 

Let us ask ourselves the question others have asked even in Jesus’ day. “So when will God’s Kingdom come? And Jesus said “it will not come by watching for it.  It will not be said ‘look here’ or ’look there’ Rather God’s Imperial Rule is spread out upon the earth and people don’t see it.” The gospel of Thomas, which did not make the canon, says this as well, “God’s Imperial Rule is within you and it is outside you.” In the gospel of Mary, which also did not make the canon, it says, “The seed of true humanity exists within you.”  I believe that. As Jesus told all who would hear him, the kingdom of God is already here, we simply don’t see it. It’s spread out! It is within you and me. There is need everywhere that is being met.
Sometimes that need is not for food or money. Sometimes it is a need to offer emotional support to those who are hurting.  

You have probably heard about a group of boys from Sudan called the Lost Boys.  My story is about one named Peter Ter.  Peter was three years old in 1988 when the war came to his part of the Sudan. The North bombed the South, which was the bread basket of the area.  Helping hands reached out to save the small boy time and again. When the bombing began helping hands would reach out to pull him to safety.  This happened time and again. A group of children became separated from their parents and they walked for months toward a refugee camp in Ethiopia. When the camp was attacked, they trekked 1,000 miles back through Sedan to Kenya. They walked until their feet bled. There were more then 20,000 Lost Boys and a large number of girls. Many became prey for lions and soldiers and starvation.  Thousands died. 

Peter has a “can do” attitude though. The children mainly fended for themselves. Peter is a survivor.  He vowed to become literate and read by poring over a Bible. He learned to write by tracing letters in the dust. 

Crime and disease were everywhere but there was also generosity.  After almost nine years at Kakuma, he was given the refugee status by the US government.  He learned he would be moving to a place called Florida.  On his last day there, one of his friends gave him some used clothing with the word “Florida” and the image of a crocodile stamped on it.  He said he was a “Gator” when he was still in Kenya. 

Once again, in the US, Peter was befriended by a woman he ran into in the grocery store.  She hosted a party for a group of the boys.  Her generosity landed some of them an opportunity for an apartment through Lutheran Social services.  He and another Lost Boy  were given an apartment with three months free rent.  

They didn’t even know how to use a light switch and running water was new to them. But they knew they would have to get a job if they were to stay in the apartment.  Peter accepted the invitation to work at a warehouse and learned to run a forklift before he learned to drive. He loved the job. He was thankful for everything that had happened to him.  His boss loaned him books and invited him home for Thanksgiving.  Everywhere he went, people went out of their way to help him.  One friend helped him to study for the GED.  They also helped him find a better job at a Natural Food Store. 

One woman offered to pay for him to have his teeth fixed. When he met the dentist, the dentist decided to do the work pro bono.  He was a joy everywhere he went. He was always so cheerful and a delightful person.
He finally was accepted at University of Florida, where he worked for a degree in political science. 

He had an opportunity to travel to Israel where didn’t exactly blend in.  Armed men challenged his passport.  But Peter was polite and asked them if they would let him take a photo with them. He had a soft spoken way about him and had a God given gift with people. He radiated respect. 

For centuries social theorists have explained human behavior through a grim lens, declaring that people were inherently violent and territorial.  But in the past few years academics in a variety of fields have produced evidence bolstering an alternative perspective.  Central to our existence is what researchers call pro-sociality: a complex mix of empathy, gratitude, kindness, love, altruism, and cooperation. They’ve also found that pro-social behavior often spreads, with recipients doing what we call paying it forward.     

Peter wanted to give back to the country that, as he put it, “restored his dignity”. He joined the Peace Corp. When people he met criticized America he often told them “I was born into war, poverty, and disease. America adopted me. How can you think of America as a bad society?”  When security forces taunted him, he politely pushed back. “They’d shout “Why is America killing Muslims?” He would say “That is not a good question.” He suggested that there were criticisms they could raise about their government too and that the two sides should treat one another with respect. He is now working toward a double master’s degree in co-existence and conflict resolution.   

We have each had traumatic events in our lives. Sometimes those traumatic events, which at the time seem terrible, may  equip us to assist others in like situations better then one who has never encountered any trauma in their lives. In cases like those, our past misfortunes may be used to relate to another in a similar situation and we may be able to bring ministry.   

God uses us, as we will allow ourselves to be used, to bring ministry and assistance wherever we find need. 
As you reflect on your life, note when someone has been able to assist you to become someone closer to being a whole person. 

Personally, I thank God every day for good friends who have brought ministry to me throughout my life.  I even thank God for the experience of finding myself in a family with alcoholic parents. Trying to bring ministry to my parents at the end of their lives gave me an opportunity to forget about my own set of personal problems and concentrate on assisting them while I was able and they were still alive. And as been said many times, “Sometimes what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” 

So, consider this: As you examine your life, what opportunities for ministry have you had that have enabled you to become a minister of personal ministry yourself?  When have you needed to see and feel God’s presence in your life?  

God offers hope and compels us to believe in the continuing presence of God’s Holy Spirit to bless our personal as well as a corporate mission and ministries.  Let us listen for God’s still small voice as it encourages us to look for ways to bring ministry to others.