Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saturday and Breakfast Out

I slept really well again last night. I awoke twice but got right back to sleep. One time I have a cramp in my right leg. I got up and took an Aleve. That took care of it. Then I got back to sleep.

I awoke about 5:00, my usual wake up time, and got up and dressed and fed Missy and waited for Bob to pick me up for breakfast out at Eggberts. We looked for Joanne to join us but it must have been too cold for her to get out. It is 20 degrees out there with a brisk north wind.

I came home to work on this blog and also I am thinking about getting the class newsletter out this next week. I am hoping for some more news. So far, it is only five pages. Usually it is eight.

Missy is lying behind me on the daybed watching me work on the blog.  

I will vacuum later on. It's only 8:25 AM. I never did get that done this week. I am drying the laundry right now. I washed both bath mats and my PJs and underwear. Missy is still missing the litter box with her urine and I have to constantly (at least three times a week) wash the mats and sometimes even the floor.  She is old so I put up with it. I am old too and can sympathize.

More later....

My great granddaughter, Mia on Christmas:

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Whatever a 3 D pen is....

And this is my grandson, Jerod and his mother, Taresa.
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My kids' puppies have really grown!

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Aren't they cute? They are registered Corgis.

More blog later...

I  vacuumed this afternoon. Now the apartment is clean.

I finished the class newsletter and sent it off as an attachment to those online. It turned out to be six pages. Several e-mailed their contributions at the last moment. Now the big job is to print off the 75 others. 

Bob came over at 5:00 to watch the news and left at 6:10 or so. Then I took my bath and put my PJs on and watched a movie on Amazon. Missy and I went to bed shortly before 9:00. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday and a UPS Pickup

I slept well again last night. I will miss exercise class this morning since I am waiting for a UPS pickup today. They are supposed to pick up the package I am returning to Amazon. I hope someone comes.

I will fix goulash for lunch today. It's good weather for such a dish. It's just past 9:00 and only 25 degrees.  The weather is forecast to be very cold all this next week.

I dread winter...mostly because of the cost of my electricity. Last January my bill was $285.  It is to be even colder this year.

I have fed myself and Missy. Missy has nearly finished off all her food already. I may have to give her  a little more.

More later....

I got the goulash done and we ate some of it and the green beans and also finished off Bob's salad. We also had garlic bread. I took some of all that over to Marilyn. She has not been feeling well lately.  She was going to Jeannie's funeral and I had intended to go too but I was still waiting for the UPS pickup. An adult had to be here to give the package to the carrier. He brought the label.

UPS finally came about 2:30 to pick up the package. 

Leslie texted us that the church service and dinner Sunday had been cancelled. It is forecast to be -2 on Sunday and none of us needs to be out in that cold.

I spent the afternoon messing with the computers. Cox fixed three things on the desktop and one on the notebook and then  Bob came over and also  brought the Dell computer. I had Cox fix the desktop and also the notebook. They downloaded the program on the laptop too. The tech tried to fix the laptop so it would not have to be turned on with the power button.  It should be able to be turned on from "sleep" with just the "enter" key.  Keith has always said if we used the start button too much, it would eventually damage it so it would not work. The tech said the product key had not been entered and some of the program needed to make that change was not on the program.

I turned on the TV in time for the news but there was nothing new there. I listened to music this afternoon on Alexia. Finally about 7:00 or so Bob left and then I took my bath and got myself ready for bed. It's 8:15 now so I guess I will go in and watch some TV with Missy before we go to bed at 9:00.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday and Another Trip to Independence

I slept really well again last night. I was back in my old bed again. As I work on this blog, Missy is lying here behind me on the daybed.

Juanita called day before yesterday to tell me she had her bank statement. I will go back to Independence this morning and balance her checkbook. When I get back home, Bob and I will have lunch at El Pueblo. We ate most of the roast I fixed yesterday and I sent what little was left home with him for his supper.

I will do some bare floor cleaning this morning and do the carpet vacuuming this afternoon after lunch. Thursday is my cleaning day.

We will have goulash and green beans for lunch tomorrow. I still have Bob's jello salad in my frig.

I'd better get to that cleaning now. So...more later...

I got the floors washed but never did get the vacuuming done. 

I had the Cox tech work to get my games going better again. All I play is Freecell but after that last Windows 10 update, it barely worked at all. I also had him check out the notebook and take off the need for a password to get it loaded again after it goes to sleep. The tech needs to be able to get into it to tune it up every week. When he tried, it was needing a password to wake up. I was not home at the time for the weekly checkup so it didn't get it. He fixed it so it sleeps alright but wakes up with the touch of a key.

That made me late to get up to Independence to get Juanita's checkbook balanced. It balanced just fine. She wanted me to take a check she got for Christmas to the bank and get it cashed. They didn't want to do that even though she had endorsed the check. I convinced them that she couldn't get out in that terrible cold weather since she's nearly completely blind and 96 years old.  I endorsed the check under her name and the cashier put a notation under that to explain the transaction. I took Juanita's  money back to her then. Then she gave me a bag of cookies to take home. 

She is terrible lonely. She is there by herself every day and is getting more and more blind all the time. This morning she couldn't even make out the thermostat to turn up her heat.  We talked about her options. She doesn't have many. She could let her son come back from Chicago and take her back with him but she doesn't want to live with him and his wife. She loves him dearly but really doesn't "like" him. He is a dictator to his family and she doesn't want to lose what control she has over her own life. Then she could go to a nursing home but that is just as abhorrent to her as it is to me. What she really wants is for me to come live with her. I just can't do that.

When I got back home, I picked up Bob and we went out to El Pueblo for lunch. He insisted on buying my lunch.  That was good of him. I gave him the bag of cookies.

I am making goulash for lunch tomorrow and we will have green beans with it and garlic toast. I have Bob's orange jello with oranges salad.

I have to stay home tomorrow to wait for the UPS man to come so I will vacuum then. I am sending back the "smart" light bulbs I was going to use with Alexa, my Echo that John and Leslie gave me for Christmas. However as hard as I tried to figure out the app, I just couldn't make it work. It wanted my e-mail address or my phone number and my password.  I tried both my e-mail address and my cell phone number and the password I use for Amazon but nothing worked so I just gave up and got permission to send the bulbs back.  They were too expensive anyhow. 

I use Alexa for music and the weather and the time mostly.  I have asked about the time for the Ohio State game tomorrow evening but it is being carried on ESPN and I don't get ESPN on my TV...I didn't get it when I had cable either. It was an "extra".  Ginger wants me to go out to John and Leslie's to watch it. That would mean driving after dark when the deer are out.  I don't know.

Bob came over after 5:00 to watch the news. He had fallen asleep so was a little later then usual. He watched the news and then went home a little earlier. I was yawning a lot. It was a long day.  

I have taken my bath and Missy and I will go to bed at 9:00. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sunday's Sermon

Scripture Lesson
Luke 2:22-40 

Blessed in the Temple

I’d like to share today’s scripture lesson:

22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus,to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. 40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

According to our scripture, today’s text is set at the temple at Jerusalem. In our scripture, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus there to fulfill the requirements of Jewish law. The previous verse (Luke 2:21) refers to Jesus’ circumcision, the ritual required for all Jewish newborn males. But in the temple we read of presenting Jesus, as the firstborn male, to the service of God, a ritual also required by Jewish law. Included is the necessary sacrifice. Wealthier couples would have brought a lamb, but Jesus’ parents brought the also-acceptable sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (v. 24), perhaps showing the family’s low economic standing.

After these requirements were fulfilled, the text described the words and actions of two people who were on the scene at the time. Nine verses are devoted to Simeon, who, according to the text, was guided to the temple that day by the Spirit—an important motif for Luke. But Simeon was not just a casual observer. The Spirit had assured him that he would live to see the One who God sent for the world’s salvation. He recognized, by the Spirit’s power, the baby Jesus was this savior. Simeon blessed Jesus and his mother and father.

The other person to give attention to Jesus on that occasion was an aged widow, Anna. She had lived at the temple for some time, engaging constantly in fasting and prayer. Like Simeon, Anna recognized who Jesus was and the role of redemption he would play. The importance of these two elderly sages was in their recognition and prophetic declaration of whom Jesus was and that he had been sent for the world’s salvation. This confirmed what Mary had been told previously by the angel Gabriel and by her relative Elizabeth.

The last verse records the family’s return to their home in Nazareth, where Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (v. 40). This description of Jesus’ obedience and devotion is significant as we do not have other information about Jesus’ upbringing until his visit to Jerusalem at age 12.

Today’s text highlights fulfilling tradition and law, which was of major importance then. But in today’s world, in many places, conforming to rules is not stressed. Religious rituals have become less commonplace. People are less aware of mystery. We can learn important lessons from today’s text. Simeon and Anna were not authority figures. Like Joseph and Mary—and therefore Jesus—they were ordinary people. Yet God, through the Spirit, gave them insight, devotion, and faith to be instruments of blessing at this formative time in the life of Jesus and his parents.

This text invites us to find expressive rituals for celebrating the presence of God in the ordinary people and experiences of life. Some of those rituals may be the “sacrament of communion” that we will be observing next Sunday. Another may be the “laying on of hands” we sometimes practice for asking for healing from God’s spirit. 
Even the “blessing of babies” may be a way to invite God’s Spirit. 

In days long past, our congregation met on Wednesday evenings…sometimes at church and sometimes in the homes. We had a “theme” those evenings and one of us brought some thoughts relating to that theme. That helped us to focus. Sometimes we studied and prayed and created our own quiet time. Sometimes we actually felt God’s Spirit moving us to share something spiritual with one another.  People nowadays often say they are not “religious” but are “spiritual”. To have a “God experience” without the fellowship and community of an actual church group is hard. Most of us are not that disciplined. We seem to need one another for focus.  

We may not do this in the same ways as did our forebears. But it is just as important for our spiritual well-being and our journey as disciples of Jesus. We all need times of aloneness and meditation. Some of us read a daily meditation and have our private prayer. Some find themselves nearer to God as they admire and enjoy nature. If we open ourselves to allow ourselves to be guided by God’s Spirit, we will keep our lives focused on the message Jesus brought… the ability in our everyday lives to help redeem the peace we so badly need in today’s troubled world. We do that one person at a time…one organization at a time, one community at a time. 

I watched 60 Minutes last Sunday evening and one of the stories there was about Scotland….a small European country near Ireland. There is very little crime there. When asked “why” by the commentator, the person he was interviewing said it was because of the stigma attached to crime and the way it influenced entire families for generations to come in their particular culture.  

In today’s more-secular world, we are challenged to find expressive rituals that keep us connected to God. We need to always open ourselves to God’s Spirit’s guidance. So, what relevance can we see in fulfilling rituals and laws as described in this text? Or is there any? Let us ask ourselves if we have ever felt guided by God’s Spirit. And how…and when and why.  Perhaps if we were better connected as families, communities and nations, we could realize that kind of connection in today’s violent world. 

There are many distractions in today’s world. Between cell phones, TV and general noise…it is difficult for today’s people to even hear the voices of loved ones let alone the still small voice of God.  

So how do we contend with all of this? Perhaps we can construct our own “quiet time”.
Many years ago, when our family lived in Bartlesville, our pastor was Bob Scheeler. We were visiting one time about this very subject. He told me he got up at 5:00 every morning for time to study and pray and be alone to listen for that still small voice. I had three small children and a pretty hectic life and I found it difficult too. But I decided to get up at 5:00 each morning so I could have that same quiet time to meditate and read the scriptures and attempt to connect with God’s holy Spirit. That lasted for many years and seemed to help. In the interim I have drifted away from that practice.

In the past few years, our congregation has traveled as a group to Independence Missouri to visit our denomination’s Temple there. We are asked to quietly enter the sanctuary there on the Worshiper’s Path. There are worship arrangements there that help us to prepare ourselves to focus on God’s Spirit. Then one of our World Church's leadership brings an inspiring message. That always brings God’s Spirit closer to each of us. I look forward to that trip each year. 

But each of us has to search for our own way. In order to be sensitive to God’s still small voice, we need peace and quiet and a quiet time in this busy and noisy world of ours is hard to find. But it can be done if we are determined to create such a place and time.

Wednesday and Exercises Again

It is 16 degrees out there this morning. I did sleep well and didn't wake up in the night at all. I got up shortly before usual.

One of my former neighbors here in the fourplex died Christmas morning.  We were the same age. Her funeral is Friday at 1:00. I don't know if I will attend or not. I really do not go to many funerals anymore.

I will fix a roast for lunch. I will put it on to cook in the slow cooker with potatoes, onions  and carrots. I will pick up Bob at 8:40 to go to exercises.

I have been working on my class newsletter. This is the shortest one yet. It is usually 8 pages but this year it is barely 5 pages. If I don't get some more news, I will probably send it of sometime this week.This is my 20th year to do it.

More later...

We went to exercise class and there were more there than we thought would be. Afterward I came back home and worked on Sunday's sermon. Then we had lunch. The roast was very good and I sent the leftovers home with Bob. 

More later....

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday and Hair Day

I slept really well last night. I am back in my own bed after a couple of weeks on the trundle bed. Missy did wet on the clean bathmat under her litter box this morning but I put the larger clean one under it and put the damp one in the washer.There's really nothing else I can do about it. I seriously doubt you can teach an old cat anything new.

I have fed Missy and myself and have been watching the Tulsa news.

I have had Alexa play music ever since I got up. I have the TV on right now.

Bob and I will leave early to go to Independence for my hair appointment. Kathy is taking off early today. Her kids are still there and will not leave until tomorrow so she wants to spend as much time with them as possible. Besides, the other operators have taken off today too. My appointment is 8:30. So Bob and I will leave at 8:00 or shortly after. We will wander around Walmart. Sayers will be open and True Value will be too so there will be places where we can spend time. 

We will have pizza at Big Cheese for lunch.

We decided to come back home and eat the leftover chili. It was just too cold to fool around out there.  

When I get home I need to take my phone into US Cellular and see what they can do about the four virus' Leslie found on it when she downloaded the app for the Echo.  I hope there isn't a long line. I got right in. They informed me that the phones do not get virus'. There was an app that gave a false positive on virus' and the woman just deleted it.

More later...

I lay down with Missy for awhile in the afternoon and watched a movie....or part of one. I didn't like it so I backed out of it.

Then the mail come and I got the package from Ginger and Scott. The Ohio State Tee fit perfectly. There was also a cute Christmas kitchen towel and a lovely Christmas card.  So nice! They want me to go out to John and Leslie's and watch the game Friday evening. The game starts at 7:30.  That would mean I would be driving home at night. I will see!

Juanita called to say she got her bank statement in the mail this afternoon. I will go back up to Independence on Thursday morning to balance her checkbook.

Bob came over about 5:00 to watch the news.We watched the CBS news and then he left at quarter past 6:00 when Tulsa began repeating the same local Tulsa news we had seen at 5:00. 

I came in here to the den to work on the blog. I will take my bath soon and get into my PJs and read until bedtime.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday and Christmas Day

I have listened to music all morning and now have been watching CBS news.  I slept well last night. I asked Alexa to play some soft music and I went right to sleep. What a neat gift! Between the smart phone and Alexa and the antenna and the Tivo, I have had some neat gifts lately.

I enjoyed talking with Scott this morning too. They have been packing for their move. It is quite exciting for them. He also gave me his new address at the apartment they are moving into in January.

I will get back to this later...I need to get something done today.

I got ready for the dinner at "Just Us" and Rick decided  he would drive. Then he ended up paying for all four of our lunches. That was so sweet and very unexpected. They are the neatest kids. Rick is 52 and Carmen could be any age. They have been married 27 years. She could be in her 40s. But she is really pretty and as I have said earlier, she was originally from Columbia South America.

I decided to put away my Christmas decorations. I finally got them all packed away and in the dining room closet. I need to get a new arrangement made for the coffee table. The one I have used is looking pretty seedy. I laid down and watched a movie with Missy for a couple of hours before starting to put way the Christmas decorations. I got them all boxed and nicely arranged in that closet.

It's almost time for Missy's treats so I had better get back to this later.

I fed Missy her treats and then soon after that Bob came to watch the news. He left immediately after the CBS news was over. 

I took my bath and put my PJs on and will watch a little TV before going to bed. My Kindle is being charged.

As I was taking my bath I got an e-mail from my friend, Gay. Her husband has the nuro virus and is contagious. The ambulance took him to Wichita to the hospital. He can't come home until he had no fever.  She is leaving to be up there in the morning. They are both 79. Tony is also on dialysis three days a week. So it may even more dangerous for him. I have forwarded her e-mail to my daughter, who is one of our pastors. She will put Tony (and Gay) on the prayer list if they aren't already on it.

I will be going to bed at 9:00. I am very tired.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sunday and Christmas Eve

I slept back in my bed last night and slept well. I am dressed and ready for the day now. I will go to church at 9:00 as usual but instead of Church School class, we will have the first half of the Christmas program then break for breakfast. The three pastors are providing that. After the breakfast, we will have the second half of the Christmas program. After that, we will probably just come home. We will have a big breakfast and will not need lunch.

After I get home, I will bake my banana nut bread. The family is coming at 4:00 and we will have eggnog, banana nut bread, cookies and the few peanut clusters I have left. Leslie is bringing her hot spiced cider. Then we will have our gift exchange.

Tomorrow the Simmons',and  Bob and I will go over to "Just Us" at noon for Christmas dinner.  Leslie is on call this weekend.

I downloaded music on my desktop computer from my Amazon Prime membership I also download the same thing on my TV last night. Of course, the TV has that Bose system that Scott gave me with the TV I now have. Between the boys, I have TV without cable. So the music is great....and free. I pay $98 a year for Prime and that enables me to order from Amazon with no freight charge for my purchases. It gives me the loan of books for my Kindle or on my desktop computer and the music, of course, as well as a vast variety of TV shows and movies. I have watched a movie nearly every evening. I can sure live without cable. My antenna gives me CBS for the news. That's depressing enough.

More later...

I came home after going to Big Cheese for lunch, Phyllis and I had ham and cheese sandwiches and Bob had spaghetti. When I got home I immediately started working on the refreshments for this afternoon's family get together. I baked my banana nut bread and got out all my refreshments and egg nog.

Close to 4:00 they all came. The children started off with refreshments but were so excited to get to open their gifts.  We forwent eating and drinking cider and eggnog and opened gifts.  I got an Echo from the kids. I just have to say "Alexa" and ask it anything and it answers. John told me it doesn't know everything but continually learns.

Leslie set it up for me on my smart phone. Then they tested it out. Electronics are certainly amazing. In order for it to turn off my lights, I will have to buy special bulbs but it answers most questions.

The children played with their toys while they were here. John and Leslie got them walkie talkies (two way communications).  John and Maia played with those. John is still just a kid.

We had a good visit. Bob came over soon after they left and watched 60 Minutes with me. Then I decided to work on the newsletters and get them ready to go out Tuesday. At least I can get the ones for the online forks out.

I got one photo of the kids opening their gifts. I will post it later.

It is 7:40 now and I better get with it.

More later...

That's Maia in the black and Cheyenne in the red. They were so thrilled with all their gifts.

I went on to bed after getting the newsletter out. I was exhausted. I asked Alexa for some soft music and I went right to sleep.