Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How much do YOU accomplish with a butter knife, that has nothing to do with buttering bread?

For all the years I ran my small-town café, a butter knife was my go-to tool for almost anything I needed to try to fix on my own. Pretty much if a butter knife couldn't fix it, it required a hiring.

There was a handyman husband involved, it is true--but he was so often at his own work, at least an hour away, or occupied with other equally important matters in things I wanted done at home.

So a butter knife it was, for prying and loosening, lifting away, scraping, and getting into needed things for needed outcomes.

When I used my particular butter knife, of substantial size and weight, I sometimes thought of my mom and grandmas, who often said to me growing up, "Get me a butter knife". When their men were not around, a butter knife was their helper, too.

The other morning, my husband was "in the building", busy with a periodic cleaning of the gunk beneath the drain-cap in the bathroom. It was a frosty morning with gray skies, and the grumbling began when the cap somehow slipped from his grasp and settled with an irretrievable "thunk" into the drain.

He refused my suggestion of a butter knife, and even of a vintage set of pliers I sometimes add into my mix of problem-solvers.

"That will never do it," he said. "There's a rounded edge and it's in there tight; I'll have to go to the garage and find my good pliers."

Going to the garage involved more fuss and at least a minimum of dressing-warm--socks and shoes and a heavy jacket for a few moments of searching. But search and return he did, with his prized pair of pliers, which did NOT work.

More grumbling, but now willingness, to accept the butter knife I thrust into his hand.

A little tuck-under and a wiggle, and apparently up it came, as I heard it from the kitchen. (But do you think he would confirm this?!)

And this is when I thought: God does bless women when they are alone, with a butter knife.

I said to my man: "SEE? I know the value of a butter knife. If you should be gone and I'm alone taking care of things, it's a butter knife for me. I used one all those years at the shop for so many things; I don't need no stinkin' toolbox."

Now don't get me wrong. I know women are more than capable with a real tool box, and real weaponry for that matter. My own granddaughter is in her second year of studies to become an auto mechanic, and she fires a mean shot often, at the center of a bulls-eye.

But basic and old-school is good, too! Something that doesn't require muscle or weeding out from a multitude of options, something at hand and as ordinary as a butter knife will do.

I almost don't know how to use a butter knife for its intended purpose anymore, do you? They are either out-sized and clunky for my butter dish and even for our dinner plates, or wimpy and pointless for anything else, like cutting meat. You can't slice a thing with a butter knife, and I far prefer handy little spreaders that are more optimum for slathering things perfectly.

But I still have a full supply of butter knives in my kitchen drawers. I keep them for....I don't know why I keep them. Probably for the one person a year who might ask for one. Maybe because they're expected in a drawer, maybe because the minute I give them away I will find I really need them.

Maybe YOU still use butter knives in multiple ways? If so I'd like to know what for! I kind of see them on the brink of obsolete--like orange reamers or crank ice-crushers, things that are still needed but better forms have taken their place. I still need a cutting tool, but anything seems better than a butter knife.

So the most sensible place for a butter knife in my house seems to be my "everything" drawer--the catch-all receptacle for all things hardware. It falls right in line there, with measuring tapes and screwdrivers and rubber bands, and all manner of second rate stuff my husband casts my way.

Funny how he thinks all this "it will never do" stash hardly matters, because I always rely on him coming to my rescue anyway.

And as long as I can, I will. But yeah, I do know and "get" the REAL value of a butter knife!









Monday, November 6, 2017

This other one man, mine...

Don't we love who we love most, for their least-shallow qualities?

And aren't we sometimes attracted to them for the opposite--the "surface" only, of who they really are?

It takes time to know people, for all of us to come to the fullness of who we are.

The first thing that appealed to me about a guy I knew at 16 years of age was that he made me laugh. I don't even want to say how many years later this is, but we're still together, and he still makes me laugh.

The most-telling thing to me about our longevity is that when we are most mad at each other, we sometimes break away from it by LAUGHING at how ridiculous our arguments have become.

One good laugh can be very saving. But this morning it was something a whole lot deeper than a good laugh that made me realize how much I appreciate the depths of this man.

We had earlier watched the Texas governor respond to Gayle King of CBS, about the latest mass shooting, in a church at Sutherland Springs. As King urged and persisted for words about what we can DO to lessen these events, the governor urged and persisted that a turning-to-God is needed. King's admonition that "prayers and thoughts are nice, but what can we DO?" was as earnest to her as was his that prayers are utmost.

In our living-room, we noted the sincerity of both, but were pleased to hear adamant statements (from Governor Abbott) to the effect that many people DO feel the removal of God in many things and places has harmed our land in ways that impact all, whether they believe in God or not.

(My words now...) When we have nothing greater than ourselves to look toward, how do we answer to despair, as surely it arrives, sooner or later, to us all? Are seekers really to be faulted, for relying on the respected efforts, studies and promoters of biblical teachings? Are other seekers to be faulted, for relying on science-only efforts, studies and teachings?

We tend to blame acts of terror on whatever seems most probable in our beliefs. It can be mental illness, volatile reactiveness in a life gone awry, a cultural indoctrination we are averse to, a true heart of evil...but will we ever truly understand what makes people vulnerable to partaking in ungodly behaviors?

Not when we want more than anything just to appear "right", as in intellectually studied, or even as in a moral highbrow.

I hope my spouse and I just want to be right with ourselves and how we answer to God. Without saying anything, I took his "look" at me this morning (our mutual reaction to convicted words toward God in a politically-divisive moment) and went right to the Texas governor's Facebook page.

I selected his top post regarding the shooting, and I thanked him for his statements.

Then I took my shower and got busy with things around the house, only pausing momentarily to think: YIKES. I just made a God-loving remark on a POLITICAL page.

And sure enough, when I later clicked on notifications, there it was, a brief, but mocking comment to my status as a supporter of Godly beliefs.

Oh, I SOOOO do not like this! I largely resist commentary on the commentary, not because I'm not convicted myself and willing to convey my beliefs (obviously, to those who know me!!) but because with strangers in a combative online world, what's the point? One heart won may be worth it, but to increase animosities and multiply unspeakable interactions, I really don't see the need.

I read the comment, and went back to my work. I intended to leave it be.

And then, nagging thoughts...I'm wimping out. I rationalized that no one would care or notice, but that did not take care of my personal conviction to uphold Godly words, and those of others who are also willing to utter them.

So I went back, and did the best I could. Desiring to be an "instrument of peace" I held to my own but did not provoke, and then I got out of town.

Or back to the kitchen. We had a nice lunch, and as we wrapped it up, my guy remarked that if he had the "gift" I have in using words, he would like to respond to those who downgrade prayer, as was done to the governor of Texas this morning.

"Really?" I said. "Well, that's nice you think I have a 'gift', and I'm happy you brought this up....because...." and I described to him my impulse to thank the Governor, and how of course a dissenter had to mock it, and how I know better than to do this, having seen all the disrespect that goes on between strangers who disagree.

"I just didn't think about him being a major political figure," I added. "It was like he spoke so much to our hearts, I just wanted to thank him. I figure if she says anything more I will just say it was a thank you to the governor, and I wasn't talking to HER!!"

My husband said to me, "I'm so proud of you that you said something. If she doesn't get where you're coming from, that's her problem. God gave you a gift and you need to use it to thank and further promote Him."

I love this man. He gets me, and despite our contrasting ways, in many things we are truly "one".

I don't know of anyone who doesn't acknowledge more needs to be done about keeping assault rifles out of the hands of dangerous people. I could go into a whole other entry (and I might!) about how, as the governor inferred, there are a whole lot of people who still choose to live in older-world ways, not just in sustained dedication to the Higher Source and His stricter directions, but yes, even including original direction that food is here for us, to gather and hunt. (But probably not by assault rifles!!)

I could say we have tides obviously resistant to one another, and that the times and biblical Word infer one or the other is going to prevail.

Which one shall be revealed, and very possibly that REVELATION will inform us where God was, when evil invaded holy spaces and harmed His trusting people.

I for one feel we cannot put enough stock in the truth that God is where the will of the people (but not all people!) put Him...too often taken out of so many spaces that darkness pervades and has its way. But for now, Pastor Paul Buford (of a neighboring church in Sutherland Springs) said it best, about those who died: "To be absent in the body is to be present in the Lord".

It is the essence of what Christians believe and live for!

For now, I appreciate my partner in communion, my guru, the guy who has always made me laugh and who upholds me in all that truly matters. When we were only teenagers, who knew??

God knew!!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Talk

I Love old souls in little bodies, don't you?

In trying to have a "bigger world" conversation with our little granddaughter, I asked: "SO. Sophie. What do you think, when you're all grown-up--do you think "country life" will bore you? Will you still like pretty land and trees and wide open spaces, or do you think you would want to live in a town, where you can step outside your door and walk around a corner to a little café or a place to buy an ice cream, or into stores you like to shop at?"

As she quickly answered in favor of the country, I soon countered with the benefits of the urban. Not that I prefer the urban, but the plusses are evident and she should see those, too. I even went so far as to say that someday yet, I might prefer "town life."

As I persisted, she reacted with the spirit of a child loving the present, as in NOW.

She became so animated. She literally jumped from the sofa, grabbed a framed photograph of our old farmhouse off the wall, and came over to me, all but thrusting the picture in my face.

"GRANDMA!!" She exclaimed. "Do you really want to try to get away from this??!!"

She said words about the wonder of land, of playing on it as she and her brother do, of how bright the sunshine is when it follows a really dark night. I might have thought she was reading the other half of my mind, her string of observations such as they were. She wrapped up her words about what she loves about Grandma and Grandma's place, with:

"This is what you have. I don't understand why you would want anything else..."

Well Sophie, you're right, it's something special. And it's something we never dreamed we would have. If we were to try to buy it now, we probably couldn't afford it.

I said as much and added that we couldn't afford it THEN, either. "But God had a plan for us, Sophie. The house was coming apart in places and it and the land needed a caretaker. He knew how hard your grandpa would work, and that we would make it all better, with His help."

I keep reading the key to happiness is gratitude. Seek what you have to be thankful for, and let it weigh greater than that which grieves you. There's always something! Especially when the eternal possibilities are considered.

I know someday "town" might become reality for Grandpa and Grandma, if comes the day that "simple" rural living gets too difficult. And I know I will be grateful, that day too, for the options the place we never dreamed of eventually gave us.

For love of these years and "the small people" on this place, we might only plan on going to our graves straight from here, never seriously considering living in a town again.

But I did suggest to Sophie, at the end of our little talk: "OK, Honey, I get that you feel this way right now. But when you are a teenager, let's talk again."








Thursday, November 2, 2017

This One Man


The will of people is huge. Even those who bow ultimately to will of God know this.

We support who and what we do, live as we do, are who we are, through a host of dynamics we can argue about, but few deny self-will does not play its part, expansively and throughout our lives.

And while we always hope self-will guides us toward the better, few also deny it does this for us unfailingly.

Are we are where we are now, in politically and socially divided times (as never before?) because of self-will? Seems like a YES to me!

It is interesting that everything we are so far apart on seems to boil down to THIS ONE MAN. Whatever it is, the culprit of the problem seems to pivot toward defense or condemnation of this one man.

When we consider the times and the issues at hand, this is not so strange. What IS strange is that the very thing that has always saved us, now jeopardizes us: our system of checks and balances, benevolently created, now at gridlock, now weirdly at odds with itself.

We believe we are fighting for this interest or that on behalf of ourselves and others, and we are. Our role as constituents still seems to matter, in the sense of legislators wanting to keep their positions. So we give voice....and they BLOCK for us.

Nothing gets done. And if it safeguards our cause, we're glad nothing gets done....even if nothing gets done!!

I wonder what is in our water now, that meeting in the middle is never a good thing. Isn't it true that for the ages, moderation has been recommended by the brightest minds, as key in all things? And we have never argued it before!

Like you, I am passionate about issues. My favored ones are not about me so much as the ones I love, and some are for the whole of humanity, as I see things. My thoughts and preferences are individual, but they are for a whole picture, just as are anyone else's.

Do I honestly think it is my way or the highway on these issues? I do not. I have a Source I answer to for my views on issues, but it is the same Source who has given ALL of humankind will toward their own views.

Even God doesn't legislate views! He legislates our actions towards HIS views, and from there it is His way or the highway!

So I believe....just as others, in reverse, can exercise will not to believe at all.

In recognizing this, I am grateful to lately converse with unlike-thinking minds, who seem to be "getting" that the divisiveness at hand is very threatening to us all.

IF Russian influence via inflaming "news bites" DID influence voters, their bigger coup is proving to be our divisiveness. They just wanted their victor; I doubt they dreamed this much success! It's like they bought a bunch of lottery tickets, won, and then found a lost, unexpired ticket in a drawer. That one won them an even bigger prize, and I hope it is not US, as in the United States of America! (Precipitation of our decline)

So do we let the Russians win? Are we good with the probability that our enemies (terrorists included) now watching our present-day news coverage, are having a heyday with all the publicity about their successes?

Sure we need information through responsible freedom of press. But as much as we need to know, we need to go forward. We don't need to make enemies of each other, and have the world gloating over the appearance of things. The world is watching us and they are having the time of their lives.

In conversations "across the aisle" friends and I have agreed recently: this one man, who couldn't have imagined the "power" he had, has changed good people's feelings towards other good people! Whether one thinks he enjoys this "skill" or would deny he has it, many rifts have been born and furthered between people who had no grievances against each other--until free will of a vote took place.

I SOOOOO do NOT WANT certain things to come to pass. I SOOOOO do not want certain things taken away....we all have this sense of urgency toward different issues, some of which clash with one another.

That's LIFE. Let it not be the death of us, the cause of an irreversible downward spiral.

As I was writing this today, I heard a truth-telling line in a situation comedy. As a believer in God, I think He brought it my way!

Two people who love each other and who see many things in harmony were disagreeing with fire and passion, wherein one blurted to the other: "I DON'T CARE about your reasons, because they come from YOU!!"

People are not caring about the reasoning of people they have formerly liked or admired, because they can't handle that the reasoning came from, or supports, THIS ONE MAN.

In attempting to be a voice of reason, someone with a bigger voice than mine has invited everyone to learn where people are coming from. He (political commentator Van Jones) has visited coal mining and other industrial workers in their homes and in their communities, to see for himself why people used self-will to vote for THIS ONE MAN.

Because he did so, his heart softened. Not necessarily toward this one man, but toward those who assessed their own lives and of the ones they love most.

Does promoting their own interests mean their interests are vile? No, but we are not talking the vile that truly exists in these days and times, in some who also purport support for this one man.

We have to remember: this one man is just a MAN. He's a man, put in place by self-will, and despite the self-will of others. He is not the end-all or the be-all, and shouldn't be. Until God Himself tells us he is evil incarnate or sent by the Lord himself, he is just another man.

We have to remember old truisms that are trite but still true: we can't cut off our noses to spite our faces, we win some and we lose some, we may get less on the dinner plate but a bigger piece of pie for dessert. And for the God-minded, vengeance and victory is truly the Lord's, at His will, not ours.

Meeting in the middle in the here and now is not a pariah state! To persist beyond the reason we have been gifted with means that people will get eaten alive! The biblical persuasion for being an instrument of peace is surrounded by further persuasion to believe: God's will WILL eventually supersede the self-will of people.

I'm good with that; and until I'm told otherwise, I want to care about your reasons, BECAUSE they come from YOU!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Gift of Discernment

I so love the gift of discernment, the pivotal beacon that encourages seeking, but unfailingly brings us back to the innate source of wisdom we are connected to.

Whatever one's seeking involves, discernment is the consistent thing we rely on for direction. It's a thing too, that we seem to have little to say about, because for as many who identify it as self-based and earned, as many others recognize it as supremely-inspired and given.

Uplifting, positive discernment is an innateness we hope to pass on, but can't. It's not in our power. Wishing it "will be" does not mean it gets done. That's why I, for one, call it a gift.

If you were to be dead and gone tomorrow, what would be the single thing of magnitude you (if you are a parent) would hold most precious, as the gift you participated in bringing about, that your children benefitted most from?

Would it be the college education you helped with, the resulting degrees and successful livelihoods for them that resulted? Would it be their integrity, their personality and popularity, their adventurism, their philanthropic thinking and care for all of humanity? Would it be their brilliance, or their good-heartedness, all of the above and more?

Like most parents, we value the admirable and benevolent accomplishments and traits in our children and grandchildren, and we like to think our influences have something to do with them. We are tempted to deny their faults are of our doing, but we concede there are many things biblically and scientifically said that affirm all parents affect things to the good AND the bad.

There are as many things said from these same sources that affirm nothing is written in stone. In so many lives we have all personally witnessed, unexpected outcomes are often readily evident. We are who we are through being products of our environment, but often there are many outward influences that reign in having their say along our ways.

Oh, the agony of what will become of our children! Oh, the ecstasy (for my spouse and I) of knowing we did one right thing, or that one right thing came our way, regardless of our faults or best-fought efforts.

The single thing of magnitude we cherish for our children and theirs is in their acknowledgment of belief in God--but this we discern as more a gift of the Father, than our own accomplishment.

In this, it occurs to us to ponder: discernment itself is a discernment! And it's a puzzle...for if God Himself chooses not to allow flow in belief of Him, who is to blame for the bypass?

I do not know, and I admit I ponder and pray about it. I pray for that as many souls as He is willing to have, may it be done. In this, we can't do much more, but we can just about weep thankfulness for the discernment allowed us, to seek and consider God as real.

Two years ago this month my mother passed. Her life, as with many, was both glory and trial, all the way through. In her younger motherhood and in my and my older siblings younger years, she and our dad introduced us to God and reinforced in earnest and constancy, His presence in our daily lives.

This never ended, although adversities in their lives did seem to eventually temper their outward motions and displays. By then it was a done deal, the seeds of faith planted, over time and toward all their children.

As my mother readied to take leave of her earthly presence, her children and grandchildren uttered personal thoughts or prayers (or both), each in privacy, at her bedside.

For myself, I viewed these moments as her most crucial time of consideration by God; she was close to departure, in a state yet determinant to the eternity she'd always made sure we were aware of.

And I became aware: she and our dad had given us a portion of the greatest gift ever--discernment and the willingness to explore it, about whether we would or could believe in God, about whether or not we would take or resist His lead, some times or at all times. She and my dad planted seeds for faith, and the Father has taken it from there.

Or from the very beginning...for who knows but He alone, whether we would have come to Him on our own, later than sooner, but on time--if our parents had not planted seed?

I thanked her for planting seed! I am so grateful! My words to her were of this, and when I think now of that moment, I envision the wild daisies that have proliferated at our place in Wisconsin. I marvel at their eventual emergence into our land, after years of seeing them only in ditches and in neighboring fields.
Faith in God is like that, it seems, born of scattered seeds, planted or even only strewn, nurtured by graceful elements, spreading as they will. They have advanced; the daisies have made their way to us! And their presence speak of discernment to me: I could have looked at the faith of my mother and father as a weed, needing to be rooted out.

Instead I view discernment in all things a supreme gift. I appreciate the role our parents played in keeping connectivity with foundation in God. Do I always feel victorious in discernment?? NO. Amazingly, I sometimes need the perspectives of our children and grandchildren to help me!

Discernment to believe is the single thing of magnitude I hope for, for the ones I love most. Saying as much requires discernment in itself--knowing these words may be considered by many who don't believe at all.

So be it. In the end, anything else hardly matters.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Beyond Reason"

There comes a day when things, or times, or people seem beyond reason. I may seem so to you, you may seem so to me. Doesn't matter. Reason is an element we have to respectively and innately work with, to each their own, according to the core we nurture, according to the core that nurtures us.

As we allow to others right-to-opinion, who amongst us doesn't often inwardly rumble with scorn when we disagree?! Who amongst us is NOT the gracious person we profess to be? I honestly am not, you honestly are not. We are HUMAN, and right to opinion is but a shell of what it used to be!

Do you ever scroll through comments on an article of politically-divisive fodder? Cat-fight comments illustrate this as never before. The things strangers say to each other for sure further erode civility, but if things said here are not usually things friends would say to each other in person, is this fully a bad thing?

I see it as very good for one thing: It drives home that we need to "watch it." In the "virtual" world it makes clear that for every person who agrees with us, as many (or more) do not, and this translates to our "real" worlds, too. The volatile, disrespectful exchanges that take place reveal the rage people feel, and make clear that no one is giving an inch, no is backing down, people are neither convincing or becoming convinced.

For a democracy, I suppose, all is as it should be. But does it feel that way? It seems few think so! For all that we are willing to say on social media posts, there is much more we withhold. Many of us are frankly "not up" for the volatility, the risks involved, the sense of further hopelessness we are sure to bring over the futility of so many convicted, passionate words.

For myself, the least futility and highest empowerment in words I have found are those of the ages and yes, I am speaking of biblical words. I was pleased recently to see a liberal panel of women commenting on the validity yet, of the ten commandments, whether people are God-believing or not.

In my over-quest to understand wherefore people come, I have very literally "retired" to the pastime of trying to absorb this, that, and every viewpoint, biblically supported or not. I've listened to, read and heard defenses of this, that, and everything via multiple media sources, and....

I get tapped out. Exhausted. BUT. I know that each day's news is good for renewal, and that I may get all fired up again tomorrow. I hope I do, because there are some very crucial issues at hand, things that affect those I love most. God forbid I lose the capacity to care about and act benevolently toward the people I care for most.

On the flip side, to enjoy life as I think was originally intended, what to do now? That's easy, and I just said it: I intend to live life as was more originally intended.

For me this means living unashamedly in faith and trust of our Lord Father and His Son, sent for purpose of our salvation. It's taken time for me to be willing to read fully how Creation was meant to be valued, and what I need to be saved from. It's taken time for me to absorb that what so many dismiss as "beyond reason" should NOT be dismissed as beyond reason.

But people have the right to dismiss. We all have the right to truly respect or rumble inwardly with scorn, about whether Word is reasonable or not, whether we will dismiss it or not.

If faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see, some will apply this toward self and humanity, others toward the Higher Power known to some as the Almighty Father.

Whichever, our deepest faith is a private thing. It is a go-inward and pray, or go inward and contemplate thing. We can share about its results, or not. We can share thoughts toward worldly good, if hold more tightly to personal concerns.

It is doubtful that all the commentary in the world is changing people, when we are so convicted.

If anything, the turbulence of the times--this reactionary world so fraught now with multiplied possibilities for explosive exchanges--has at least (for me) provided a blueprint path. It's a passionate, firm road, that (hopefully)won't erode or cave, but is undergirded with the mellowness of a "Lord, let me be an instrument of Thy peace" approach.

Word carries within it the direction to share it. These words are far from soft in places, at times not peace-giving to the conscience. In this new world order they often inflame--seemingly an ironic stray from its ultimate purpose.

People will make of Word what they will, but it is what it always said it would be--unyielding to the times. It is resolute about prayer for others, whether they know it or not, value it or not, want it or not.

So we do what we do. I resist yet do not fully desist from caring about the commentary! But if there is a semblance within a soul to seek and consider a belief "beyond reason", I and others will focus on praying those beyond the intellect that would restrict it!

We are grateful to be affected with this affliction of being able to see "beyond reason". AND we'll do what Word promotes, to get ourselves and as many souls as He will have, past the threshold that defies "beyond reason"!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Do You Recognize the Times?

I have always gravitated toward the older generations, and now, here I am.

But. I am still not that old! There are still plenty of folks well-ahead of me, and I am always, always learning from them.

When I first moved to Wisconsin, I was in my mid-30's, a stranger here, having no work experience other than the waitressing I did as a teen. By the simple act of taking meals to a "senior" neighbor I had met, I soon began preparing meals for our local senior site, meeting more older folks in one place and time than ever before.

Many of these people are gone now, but I recall countless conversations as if yesterday. Stories of emigrating to Wisconsin, fleeing oppression, service in multiple wartimes, poverty ahead of, during, and after the Depression era. Melancholy remembrances of young persons quitting school very young to be "farmed out"--turned over to nearby farms for their labor, to save home families from having to feed them.

Young people giving up dreams to meet ongoing family needs, but also stubborn, bright minds who forged through struggles to eventually succeed at independent pursuits of their own.

Especially impressing were the rural schoolhouse experiences--children of many ages being taught by one adult without secondary supervision or assistance, in alternating seasons of discomfort, often distractedly and very literally extremely hot or cold. Not so much as an electric fan, no warmth of even dispersal, humble lunches sitting long in conditions perfect for making them "icky."

Teachers were expected to arrive early to shovel snow, fire-up and sustain wood or coal-burning heaters, houseclean, nurture, discipline, oversee a multitude of tasks and educate a multitude of age-levels. No comfort of inside "facilities" or even of peers with whom to share ideas, problems, or resourcefulness.

Today's teachers have numerous challenges too, and many would say some are even more intense. Certainly the older generations I have conversed with have easily come away with an emphasis on the good they experienced, either in going to or teaching in one-room schoolhouses.

One centenarian I know described this eloquently to me, "I am proud to be of a generation who saw so many changes in a relatively short span of time, who received and gave education in the era of the one-room country schoolhouse. We persevered to do the best we could with what we had, and I feel excellence in that."

While perseverance has been needed through the ages and no centenarian can speak for all eras, it is interesting to note ONE recurring observation, in THIS day and time.

I cannot tell you how many of the older generations who have said to me recently: "I have never seen anything like these times."

"These times" cover: extreme political unrest and divisions, human-caused and also natural disasters with division over who/what to blame, divides over multiple social issues and viewpoints of branching elements within, economic distresses as to "how are we going to pay for all this", increasing rage and disrespect in warring opinions, such that our nation hobbles along, trying to get through one day at a time now, wary of what the next morning might bring.

Apparently, it is happening in other countries, too. AND we are hearing less and less about the things that USED to affect our emotions more...the lacks people suffer in third world countries, for example.

Children are still starving and parents cannot provide, people are being decimated by diseases worldwide, but we are now overtaken by the tumult within our own land.

I don't know about you, but I have no doubt our earth has been abused, and we are in many ways paying the price.

About the natural disasters sweeping globally: We can blame it on disregard by people toward the forces of nature. We can rely on science-only answers that illustrate cause and effect. Or, we can ignore the evident and say it is purely wrath of God, and that He told us this was coming.

Can we blend the two? I've read many declinations of this. The purely science mind says no, as does the purely God-minded. One or the other, we can't have it both ways.

But if the Godly mind allows for science-suggestion that a colonoscopy might be in order, can not the UNgodly mind be open to the possibility SOMEONE is trying to tell us something??

Actually, we've been told. It IS written. There is a whole lot of SOMETHING going on, over things in and of this earth, and we've been told. But we've been told the why, not the when. THAT is still open for consideration.

Still open for consideration, too, is this Presence, who "told us" long ago--what to take for truth, what to look for, how to shape our destiny. He doesn't allow us so much to "tell" each other the truth, but stresses we need point toward His word that tells truth FOR us.

In times like this, when surely-innocent people are in various pathways of "wrath" (from any source), we can every one of us become shaken. What is going on? Who or what do we blame? Who or what can fix things? Is it getting "too late"?
If there is such a thing as an Almighty Father who is orchestrating all this, can He be angrily rejected unto insignificance?

Personally I go with the "God's Not Dead" movie line: "How can you hate (i.e. reject, or be angry with) something that doesn't exist?"

If one feels anger over a Force, then that Force exists. The God I believe in is not a Force to be reckoned with. Not even the Son He sent for purpose of our salvation is all that warm and fuzzy, and this too is written.

An attitude of anger over a Force or even at those who revere the Force should be implausible. For love of who we love, that attitude needs change!

Just yesterday our little grandson listened to me as I warned him to stay inside with me, because a visitor who was coming over is "not that great with kids." I explained that while "the man is a good person and very helpful to your grandpa, he has told us himself stories of how he takes no nonsense from little ones and I just don't want you in his path."

For one brief message, I later sent the little guy outside to his Grandpa, and when he soon returned he said to me, "Grandma, the man told me he has changed his attitude!"

I laughed at his little lie, even though I corrected him to truth. What I "got" from my grandson's innocence is that we all DO want to love people, but reject actions that complicate things.

If God were easier to comprehend, and as visible as the people we love, the "baggage" that comes with believing in Him would be a much easier burden to bear. His actions would not complicate things.

It is not that way. We are beset with a multitude of circumstances now, and few choices in how to respond.

I believe it is God's way or the highway. I believe in the cliché an octogenarian friend uttered to me recently, "I think Someone is trying to tell us something."

Do you recognize these times as anything significant? If nothing else, I believe: He is trying to change our attitude! I believe He is trying to get those who have not considered Him, to consider Him!!