Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Hey there. You with your nose in the air."

Pooh, pooh to those who lament the loneliness prevalent in our modern society. Naysayers are always whining about how no one knows their neighbors. It's true. We don't know all of our neighbors. But, it's not because we don't try to get to know them. They just aren't interested in getting to know us.
Let me give you three examples. Today, it was one of the 5 or 6, great weather days, Kansas City has per year. Pleasantly warm and breezy. The humidity was way low and the temperature was moderate, for the last day of June.
It was the perfect day to sit on our porch and enjoy the day. It was also a perfect day for taking a walk.
Three folks passed out house within a half -hour span. We called out to each of them. "Hello! Isn't it a lovely day." "Yoo Hoo. Hi there." No answer. The folks just kept right on walking, ignoring every attempt we made to interact with them.
No. Not all of our neighbors are physiologically hearing impaired. They aren't deaf. All of the walkers were plugged into ear phones. They couldn't hear anyone or anything but their own noise. So much for being a good neighbor!

Oh Lord: You didn't put us all here on this earth to ignore each other. Just as we need You, we need contact with our brothers and sisters. We need interaction. Show us how to accept and help one another. Your kingdom is for all of us.
We honor and thank you for our lives.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pepperoni and mushroom, please.

Yesterday, we were mailed an advertising flyer, with a money-off coupon, for a new restaurant down on the traffic way. Wow, I commented to myself, sarcastically. Just what we need.....another pizza joint.
You see, there are already seven pizza restaurants within a 3 mile radius of our house. Apparently, everyone in the neighborhood must be eating pizza, 24-7. What else would explain the persistent plethora of pizza parlors?
But, what really struck me as odd, was the name of the new pizzeria.
I don't think we will be chowing down at The Pizza Ranch, in the near future. Because, what does a ranch have to do with pizza? Cowboys in the old west didn't eat pizza. Even movie cowboys didn't eat pizza. There were no delivery persons carrying thermal bags on those cattle drives. Imagine those crusty old ranch hands sitting around the campfire passing the Parmesan and extra peppers. Everybody, including Mel Brooks, knows they just ate beans!
So, don't look for me at Jose Wok's Taco Pagoda anytime soon.

Oh, Lord. Life is an abundant joy! Thank you for our many blessings and challenges. Our choices add spice to our lives. We glorify your name forever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Again and again, over and over.

Last week, I listened to a very thought provoking devotion, that dealt with our old friend, "Mr. Stress". I've attached the title Mister, because my main stress agent, believe it or not, is male.
The devotion, in a nutshell, dealt with the following analogy. Stress, it was explained, is like a full glass of water. We carry it around for a long time and because we do, our arm gets very tired and sore. The glass gets heavier and heavier, the longer we carry it. We should set it down periodically for relief. Then we can pick it up, again, and carry it around a little bit longer. That description creates an interesting visual, don't you agree?
But, how about dumping that stale H2O down the sink? How about pouring it on that half-dead house plant we keep forgetting to water? Voila. A empty glass and no more stress.
Whatever causes us to worry and stress out, needs to be dealt with. And, the sooner the better, dear readers. Undone chores and issues keep us from going to sleep at night. They give us weird dreams and cause us to wake up at 3 a.m. The same unfinished troubles and unsolved problems distract us from the really important issues of life. Procrastination causes stress.
There is a comedian who simply states, "Git 'er done".

Great God. Your "eye is on the sparrow". Help me live my life stress free, and focused on Faith, Family and Friends. We know we shouldn't worry. Help us to stop it.....right now.
Your arms are around us, and you are constantly watching over us. We seek your mercy and guidance.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Good and Gone

I regularly attempt to solve the New York Times Daily Crossword Puzzle. The Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Puzzles are pretty easy to complete. These puzzles have clever clues, but are not too terribly hard to figure out. Then come the later part of the week's offerings. Saturday's clues are often extremely difficult and they regularly include puns, grammatical nuances and word tricks that drive me slightly crazy.
But, on Sunday, the puzzles are the best. They are extra large and usually contain clues that baffle many of us pseudo-wordsmiths. Some of the hardest clues involve words that we no longer use or words that have disappeared entirely from our vocabularies.
Take for instance the word, "gusset". The last time I used or even heard the word gusset was in 7th grade Home Economics Class. A gusset, by the way, is an extra piece of material sewn or attached to a custom made garment. And, I remember having to make several.
Think about it. What words, that you once spoke daily, have disappeared forever? How about icebox, dishrag, or divan? Here are some hyphenated ones: eight-track, sock-hop, white-walls.
Linoleum and oleo are a couple more. All of those words are essentially dead and gone.
But, they make terrific crossword clues and answers.
Change is inevitable. Our lives are ever changing, and so is our language.

Ever Present Lord: You are the Constant in our upside down, everyday existence. Help us to acknowledge your greatness, your faithfulness and your power. Calm us in our times of distress. With You we can accomplish anything.We praise your never changing Holy Name.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stressed Out

A lot of us use the term "stressed out" when we feel pressure to do something out of our comfort zone. It's probably not possible to live one day without dealing with our own or hearing about another person's "stress". But, did you know that the word "stress", used as a syndrome or symptom of behavior didn't come about until the 1930's.
A man named Selye coined the the use of the word. He lectured about distress (bad stress) and eustress (good stress), for the rest of his life. Most scientists, at the time, thought his theories weren't soundly researched. There was, they said, no way to scientifically measure "stress". Poor Selye. He must have felt a whole lot of "stress"!
If I were going to define modern stress, I would use one word.....worry. Stress, I firmly believe, occurs when we worry about the future or worry about the past. It's there when we worry about our health, our children, our finances, our spouses and our retirement funds. We get stressed when we look back and worry about we have said or done, days or even years ago. We find it vewry hard to live in the present. We cannot predict the future or change the past. When we live in the present, we eliminate a whole bunch of stress, and our lives seem so much better.
When I get to worrying too much, I refer to two resources.... my mother and the Bible. Mom always said, "Nancy, quit being such a worrier. Whatever you are worried about won't make any difference 100 years from now!"
And the Bible says, in Philippians 4:6-7, to stop worrying and start praying. All things are possible with prayer. 

Oh Lord. Why do we worry? Where is our Faith? You have promised us everlasting life. What else is there? Help us to make wise decisions and to live life abundantly, praising your Name forever.