Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blessings of Good Health

Exercise, fresh air, enough rest, keeping a positive outlook, washing hands and a nutritious diet are ways to stay healthy, but occasionally we (or people we love) will fall ill. At times like this…

  • Patience is not just a virtue to strive for, but a necessity. 
  • I visit for information, suggestions on lifestyle and home remedies. 
  • I’m reminded to have compassion for people struggling with health issues. 
  • I’m prompted to recall the blessings of hospitals, clinics, dentists, doctors, nurses and all healthcare professionals and institutions. 

I am thankful today for regaining health after a sick day. How appreciative I am to enjoy the scents, flavors and textures of foods which give me energy and drinks that quench my thirst. I’m filled with gratitude of strength for the day, a clear mind and a joyful spirit.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What good is a tree? The value of going to church

Here’s a little food for thought. I came across an article I’d clipped from the Salina Journal several years ago titled “The value of going to church” by Don Nofsinger. An analogy he mentioned from a Reader’s Digest story he’d read called “What Good is a Tree?” explained that when the roots of trees touch, there is a substance present that reduces competition. In fact, this fungus helps link roots of different trees—even of dissimilar species. A whole forest may be linked together. If one tree has access to water, another to nutrients, and a third to sunlight, the trees have the means to share with one another.

A friend told me someone he knew didn’t attend because this person said there are too many hypocrites in church. I say, true—no one is perfect— therefore, as sinners we all fall into the category of being hypocrites. Another friend commented he’d once been told, “I’d rather sit with a few hypocrites on Sundays than spend every day of eternity with the rest of them.” I’ve heard a comment that church is a hospital for sinners.

The following bullets are just a few benefits and blessings of attending church and Bible study classes:
  • Sense of belonging to a community of caring and nurturing people.
  • Christians need and support each other.
  • Mixing up God-given gifts/talents of members strengthen and benefit a community.
  • Maintain passion through encouragement of and from others. Analogy: if you pull a log away from a burning fire, eventually it will begin to smolder and go out.
  • The value of the sermon. It’s a spiritual talk given by a trained theologian with a master of divinity (at least in the LCMS) directly delivering God’s Word through his voice to your ears! He connects the Word to real life. Even though it only lasts about 10 minutes and you may not always remember every detail—think about this: Eating 32,000 meals over 30 years, you may not recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals, but this is sure: They all nourished you and gave you the strength to do your work. Going without food would physically kill me, likewise, skipping church for nourishment would leave me spiritually dead.
  • The opportunity to give thanks, praise, sing, worship, pray in God’s house
  • This is how God works: [1] By grace (Jesus death and resurrection) which is purely a gift of God; [2] Using God’s means: Word, water (baptism), bread and wine; [3] Through faith which God works; [4] Saved and forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Ok, it’s time for my walk. Have a great day!

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    The blessings of eyesight and a content spirit

    In my last post, I mentioned the scene by a winding river on a cloudy day. Today I witnessed the same scene in mid-afternoon fully sun-lit splendor. The same, yet different. There is something about nature that is an automatic spirit booster! The perfect reminder of an intimate, inseparable link to our Creator. Besides the view, vitamin D from sunshine and exercise-induced endorphin release are additional blessings to me as I walk in the country. I think about the things I enjoy looking at such as…
    • scenery and details in nature
    • cityscapes and architectural design
    • faces—eyes, smiles
    • unique lighting
    • interesting shadows
    • visual and performance art
    • words in literature
    • shapes of fonts
    • color
    …I realize that I am truly blessed with eyesight.

    The topic of eyesight has an interesting connection to my family history. My grandmother gradually became blind due to a type of macular degeneration in her eyes. I have a baby portrait of her and also one taken at the time of her confirmation, probably when she was in junior high school. She wasn’t wearing glasses and probably could see perfectly. Eyes change though. Photos of her indicate that when I was born she could see perfectly with the help of regular corrective lenses just as approximately 75% of the adult USA population does. Grandma enjoyed life through her hobby of photography. I remember she used to pose my siblings and me when she’d come to visit and snap away those awesome black and white Polaroid cameras she’d bring along. What excitement to witness and take in the scent of the instant processing of images she shot. She had an artistic eye when it came to many things, especially photography. As a farmer’s daughter, I have another special memory connected to Grandma. Every year before school started, our family planned a vacation to go stay with Grandma who lived in “The Cities”. Grandma would drive us in her beige colored Dodge which had very distinct sounding blinkers. She’d bring us to places like Kentucky Fried Chicken and a park to watch squirrels and have a picnic with watermelon or fresh, juicy plums. But the highlight of the vacation was to go shopping at Southdale, which I considered to be the greatest shopping center ever! I think I was about in junior high when I learned that her sight was slipping. It wasn’t long after that when I found out she wouldn’t be able to drive anymore. As a child who probably hadn’t experienced that privilege yet, it didn’t seem like such a big deal. Now that I think about it, it must have felt like a big deal to her. I imagine now that she felt a great loss about the ability to enjoy looking at things and faces. It must have been really sad when she realized there would be no more creating images with her camera. These thoughts bring up another blessing. The blessing of being raised, nurtured and surrounded by people who don’t complain. Even though Grandma eventually could only read with the help of a super-powerful magnifying glass lens and then not at all—only blurry shapes of lightness and darkness—she didn’t complain. It came to the point that if she didn’t recognize a voice, she would ask who was speaking. She was legally blind and used a white cane. But does something like this shut down my Grandma? NO! It came about gradually and God gave her grace in learning ways to adapt and make the best of her situation. She learned to ask for help if she needed it, but if she could do something by herself, she would definitely do so. She’d loved to read when she could see, so she now borrowed books on record albums designed for blind people. She’d learned to crochet when she could see and now she was able to continue with this craft by feeling the needle and thread and counting the stitches. This qualifies her as a multi-tasker, to read and crochet at the same time! She still gave the very best Grandma hugs anyone could ever imagine. She still had wonderful stories to tell with her voice. Even though Grandma seemed so perfect to me, she understood that she was a sinner and we all are. She had a strong desire that everyone would have a personal relationship with Jesus and learn of His saving grace. We had a big party at her church when she turned 80. She stood up to thank everyone for coming and witnessed to others of her faith in our loving Triune God and encouraged us to do the same. I always will remember her with a smile on her face and her content and thankful spirit. In her remembrance I want to share this: if you’ve never set foot in a sanctuary, or if it’s been a while since you have, I encourage you to go to church where you will praise and thank God, be inspired by the Spirit, hear the Word and discover the same love and contentment my Grandmother had.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Random Thoughts on a Walk

    I woke up with a headache this morning. My daughter tells me to drink more water. Huh, wonder where she’d gotten that idea. After a simple lunch of canned wild rice soup, my body told me, “rest.” After a nap, for the second time today I woke up with a headache. I wanted to go walk. It’s been lightly sprinkling out, but seemed to have stopped. Discouraged when temptation-to-skip-exercise tried to tell me, “nah, you’ll get wet.”—I’m thankful I listened to my husband who said, “Go anyway, it’s perfect for a walk, even if you get a little wet.” My headache went away during my walk! A sentence from my son comes to mind, “We never fail by communicating and counseling too much, the problems come when there is a lack of both.” It is coincidental that I developed a blog this week on my iMac on the very day that Steve Jobs died. Curiosity had gotten the best of me and I’d started @FreshRetroGal on Twitter as well, not being sure how involved I’ll get into either. I think about the blessing of technology…as a creative, Christian, family person and professional. This week my sister sent a packet of papers gathered and divided to complete the handling of Mom’s items of her earthly existence. What a blessing she and my father were, as I visualize their marriage certificate of 1950 and all the little notes and tidbits of that package. Even though I miss them, I am filled with joy to think of them now and forever together with our LORD. I’m thankful for other individuals—friends and church family—as I realize how they enrich my life and each member of my family’s life. Still walking…look at the river, it is beautiful. The ripening soybean field is yellow. The green field of a different crop behind it makes a gorgeous contrast. There is an old gray, galvanized tin shed sheltering big square bales. An antique orange farm truck is parked on the field road. Beyond that is a grove of trees beside the winding river. They are mostly green with a few fall colors emerging. Above the tree line is a cloudy sky with a soft texture of richly saturated colors. Thank you LORD, for creating this landscape for me to enjoy. Thank you for the sprinkling rain, nourishing your plants for the farmers whom you give the capability to produce the ingredients of the foods that sustain me. I’m home. Tonight I decide to read aloud to my family the Bible verses of today’s Portals of Prayer devotion after dinner. It’s a habit I’d neglected for a while, but it’s time to take it up again.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Everyone has a mom and dad, or did at one time!

    I’ve learned that October is Family History Month. Why not begin by asking members of your family questions about elders who were responsible for giving you life? It’s amazing to hear stories from: 
    • parents
    • grandparents
    • sisters
    • brothers
    • aunts
    • uncles
    • cousins 
    Unless your memory is more reliable than mine, bring along a pencil and take notes! To learn more about how to record the notes you jot down, visit the Family Tree Section at my Etsy shopI’d be happy to hear what you think of this new product for keeping track of the basic genealogy information you learn about your family history.