Recent Comings & Goings

Hello everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a journal post so I decided I’d do one this morning. We have another bright and sunny morning coming down, one of very many. Yes, we sometimes have clouds, but I can’t remember the last time it rained right here. This is indeed a dry and thirsty land: lawns are brown; roads throw up dust clouds.

Thankfully there was rain in the summer; I’ve heard that the crops have been okay here – and better some other spots in the province that got more rain. We seem to be in a pocket right here; due to the general flow of air currents above us, the rain clouds pass us by. Grasshoppers are growing long and brown this fall.

I suppose this is a common complaint of mankind, but the days seem to fly by and I get so little accomplished! Though my white cell count hasn’t gone up that much in the last few months, my energy level has dropped. I was rather wiped out in July, so I’m thankful the doctors discovered that I’m diabetic. I’m now on pills to treat that, and they definitely help. My oncologist is holding off on treatment my CLL and I’m okay with that.

I finished my casual cooking job at the Villa at the end of August; You could say I’m footloose and fancy free now. Wanting to do more painting. Wanting to do more writing – though you can’t tell from this poor neglected blog! Sadly, wanting isn’t doing. I get pretty depressed about that sometimes; seems my attention deficit syndrome gets worse every day. 😦

I’ve been visiting Critique Circle again and offering my two-cents’-worth to writers who post their stories on that website, hoping for feedback. It often takes a few hours to read a story and leave comments. I’m intrigued at the differences in North American writers and writers from India. Writing “by the book” maybe? Seem much more formal. No, “Hey, you. Whatcha doin’?” And different words: “He was relishing his meal of curried chicken.”

Bob’s taking a writing course and we’re told readers these days “have the attention span of a gnat.” In other words, no patience for a lot of loopy or formal wording. We’re learning to cut out EVERY unnecessary word. No double adjectives, like “an interesting little story.” No unnecessary adverbs like “he jogged slowly down the trail.” “A very good time was had by all” becomes “They all enjoyed themselves.”

Most of my flower pots are still nice, but the temp is supposed to drop to -3 C tomorrow night. According to the weatherman, we’ve come to the end of our mild fall and our nights will be frosty now. I’m still up every morning letting the cats out and filling water basins for the birds. Deer started coming in August and often drink them dry in the night. A lot of our birds have gone, but we still see mourning doves and oodles of sparrows. A flock of grouse have been foraging nearby; I saw them across the field Sunday and yesterday they were in our side yard, a dozen or more of them.

When I cooked at the Villa, I often worked on Sunday and could invite company to join us for dinner. That opportunity is gone so I’ve decided to get with it at home. This past Sunday we invited Ron & Laurie, friends who’ve just moved/retired here from Quebec, as well as Ray & Sandra, whom we’ve known for almost fifty years.

Two Sundays ago we had our children come for dinner. This was right after the terrible hurricane in the Maritimes so we discussed the clean-up work that would be needed after that. Our oldest grandson had to leave for Roblin, MB, soon after dinner; he’s working for a farmer there during harvest. Our oldest granddaughter was missing, too; she’s gone to teach school in Carrot River. You like to see them grow up but they tend to fly away on other adventures and their chairs at the table are empty. 😦 Last weekend the youth group from here, including our youngest granddaughter, went to Cartwright, MB for a youth rally. Since the Roblin youth went, too, she got to see her brother there – if that matters at all to teens. 😉

I’ve just started reading Drawing Near* by John Bevere and am finding the first chapter thought-provoking.

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Maybe this is enough musing. I’ll end by wishing you all a great day.

*Copyright 2004 by John Bevere
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Suspicious Sparks

I’ve been a snail all this week, that’s all I can say. With this story, I had to settle on who the characters are. Yesterday the where-to-from-here became clear and I sat down to write my six lines when the doorbell rang. My visitor, a friend who likes to chat, stayed a couple of hours. So here’s my belated offering for the Six Word Story Challenge. The prompt word this week is SPARK.

Suspicious Sparks

“Great job getting rid of them before they did too much nosing around,” Jonathan said, stepping out of the hall closet. “So, how did you happen to show up here, Sonia — just when I needed you?”

“We’d set up a meeting with a shareholder for half an hour ago – a very important one – so when Herb didn’t show up I knew something was wrong and came to see what happened to him. “Now, what are you doing here and why Herb was out cold with a bruise on his face,” she demanded, glaring at him.

“The CEO ordered me to find out where his wife, Janice, is hiding; she’s gone and he was sure Herb would know where. Mr Zenzig thought he saw a spark flash between her and Herb one day and suspected they were meeting privately, so he sent me to nose around, see if she was here — in the course of our discussion Herb happened to trip and hit his head on the edge of the coffee table.”

It’s All God’s Fault!

Warning: Seriously long musing on the question,
Is God really the cruel, heartless being Christians sometimes unwittingly describe?

Job’s Comforters

Imagine: A psychotic teen filled with anger, bent on revenge, waiting outside a small school. He’s carrying an AK-47; when the children pour out of the school at noon, he opens fire.

That evening two dozen sets of parents are overwhelmed with grief. John and Jane have lost two children in this tragedy, so acquaintances come to sit and grieve with them. Some offer what they hope are comforting words:

“It must have been their time to go,” said one.
“No it wasn’t,” John protested. “They were murdered!”
But it’s all according to God’s will,” said another. “The Bible says ‘All things work together for good,’ so He must have some plan for making this good.”
“This loss will haunt our family all our lives,” Jane whispered.
“God could have prevented this tragedy, but He allowed it to happen and His ways are always perfect.”
“What’s perfect about MURDER” John retorted.
Jane was thankful when their wanna-be encouragers left. She sighed and told John, “At least they weren’t quite like Job’s comforters. They didn’t tell us it was because of some sin in our life.”

Imagine: Some drunk gets into his car, thinking he’s okay to drive home. On the way he veers into the other lane and smashes into an oncoming car. Pearl’s son, daughter-in-law, and two of their children are killed instantly.”
Later a friend offered the much-repeated words of comfort: “They say God never gives us more than we can handle.”
“Then they lie,” Pearl sobbed, “because this is a lot more than I can handle!”

Beware Quick Pat Answers

In his devotional booklet, Every Day With Jesus, Mar/April 2018, Pastor Selwyn Hughes writes: “Time and again I have sat before a weeping man or woman in whose life something tragic has happened and heard them say, “If God loves me, why did He let this happen?”

He goes on to say how Christian often struggle with the fact that God allows bad things to happen to good people, and they prefer to rationalize the issue rather than face it.
“I must have done something wrong and God is punishing me.” Or like Job’s comforters, “You must have done something wrong and God is punishing you.”
And if nothing else makes sense, then, “It was their time to go,” Or “It’s all in God’s will.”

The above examples of comfort offered to the grieving demonstrate ways we tend to rationalize the inexcusable, but what sort of a God are we then portraying? He could have prevented your twelve-year old daughter from being kidnapped, raped and murdered – but He didn’t.

How cruel is that? If I stood by and did nothing while some crazy killed a child, wouldn’t I be guilty of complicity? Yet we have no idea how much and how often has God spoken to this person, urging him to turn away from evil thoughts and deeds. God has never adopted the policy of striking sinners dead — or Earth would be an empty planet!

In cases of a sudden heart attack or other non-violent death, it’s easier to find comfort in the thought that “His/her time was up.” Or “Their work on earth is done.” These thoughts do work sometimes. The world’s been saddened these past few weeks by the death of the beloved Queen Elizabeth. At age 96 and in relatively good health up until her death, I think we all feel that it was her time to go.

But can you imagine the guards at Auschwitz herding their prisoners into the gas chambers, saying, “It’s just your time to go.” Or worse, “God’s allowing this, so it must be His will.”

He Gives Us the Right to Choose

We read in the Bible that God id love, that He wants to be our Father, to guide and protect us. However, He wants to be a chosen parent, not one who forces His will on us.

Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Eve reached out to pick that fruit and opened the door for sin, God could have slapped her hand. “I told you, ‘Don’t touch!’” But He didn’t.

God made his will clear then and it still stands: Mankind shall have the choice to obey Me or not.” Otherwise, in his Court of Justice, He must bring every one of us into account because we have all made wrong choices – and did it knowingly. I believe the verse that says, “God calls all men everywhere to repent,” but His kingdom is not a physical kingdom that citizens are born into, but a spiritual kingdom where all are subjects by choice.

Rather, just as He allowed Eve the choice to reach out and take something she knew was forbidden, so He allows us, all through our lives Christians and non-Christians, to reach out and take the thing we know is wrong, or harmful. To say the words we know we shouldn’t say: the lies, the scathing criticism, the accusations.

Looking back, I think of many times I wish God would have reached down and given me a slap before I said, or did, something. Yes, there was that tiny voice saying, “Don’t” but it’s so easily ignored. He allowed me to make my own choice – and suffer the consequence, the loss, the tears.

At times He does actually intervene and counter man’s will, upsetting the plans of evil people. Usually they happen when He steps in to protect His children from some harm, or lets His child know that the loving Father does care. We often call these miracles and they are happening all the time; I believe every Christian can tell you of an instance where “something told me” or they’ve been prevented from some action or heard a voice giving a clear instruction or answer.

Just one example: A Christian woman in the southern US was standing in her back yard during a wild storm, the tailings of a hurricane, when an inner voice told her, “Get out of this yard.” She obeyed, and a few minutes later a huge limb of a tree came crashing down right where she’d been standing.

Not to say God’s children will never come to harm, but sometimes we are supernaturally protected. Likewise instances like this happen to non-Christians: some little voice says, “Don’t go there.” or “Don’t do that.” The choice is left to them, to listen or to ignore.

Sadly, Christians who feel their Father forces His will on mankind, are inclined to carry this even farther. His way is right/best, so His will should be enforced on everyone, Christian or not. They may carry out personal acts of punishment – my next post will touch on this – or they get into politics and start making laws, Prohibition being the most notable fiasco.

This is our human way of keeping our fellow man in line – the legal hand-slap or lash – and it’s the only way the governments of this world have of preventing evil because they can’t speak to or change hearts. However, through the ages God has worked through the still small voice of conscience, a voice every person in this world hears.

What Happened to Herb?

It’s Six Sentence Story time again and, just to keep you on your toes, I’m going to continue the tale I started last week. The PROMPT WORD this week over at GirlieOnTheEdge is KNOT

What Happened to Herb?

Sirens and flashing lights attracted a knot of spectators in front of Herb’s house and they watched as paramedics carried him out on a stretcher and loaded him into the ambulance.

“Poor Herb must have fallen downstairs by the looks of him,” a neighbour surmised as the ambulance drove away.

“She must have found him,” another person said, nodding toward the door where a pale thirty-something woman was talking with a policewoman. “I saw her drive up about ten minutes ago and go dashing into his house like she was expecting trouble.”

“While I was watering my planters awhile ago I saw some fellow–a smart-looking guy–go up Herb’s walk and ring the bell.”

“Yes, and I didn’t see him leave so he must still be inside,” said Mrs Robins from across the street, who was notorious for seeing everything that transpired on their block.

Image: Pixabay

In case you missed the first episode, click here to read it.

And If It’s Half Broke?

There’s an old saying that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Leave well enough alone.

But what if it’s only a little broke? Still works, sort of? There are folks who fix the leaky faucet before it becomes a flood under the sink. Fix that oil leak in the car before the motor seizes up. If you ask, “Why worry about it when the problem’s so small,” they’ll tell you, “Procrastination only leads to disaster.”

And there are those of us who tend to hobble along with things as they are, hoping for a miracle, until the thing breaks down totally and becomes a real nuisance. When the drain pipe is totally clogged and the sink overflows, it’s time for action. When the tire’s almost flat, it’s time to have the leak repaired. There are those who go to a doctor while the problem is still small, while others have a health issue they hope will resolve itself. When they can hardly drag themselves out of bed in the morning it’s time to see the doctor.

A friend of my folks, a prairie farmer of Scottish birth, was fearful about the odd bulge developing on his hip. He ignored it and carried on, half fearing that if he saw a doctor, he’d hear the dreaded C word. Finally it became so big that he did visit the doctor, who sent him straight to the hospital. “That bulge is an aneurysm! It could burst any moment and you’d be dead in minutes.”

Sadly, we procrastinators are apt do this with relationships too. It’s risky to ask exactly what he/she meant by that comment. They might tells us exactly what they think of our behaviour and their words will likely be painful. So we tell ourselves, “Just let it go.” Yet the comment digs into us and festers. Usually more verbal exchanges happen and finally we’re pussyfooting around each other. The times we brave it and talk the thing over, we find it was only one point they objected to, not our whole personality. Or we completely misunderstood their remark. I can recall times when I’ve said something just as a joke, thinking the other person would get it, only to find out later from a third party that they took my comment seriously and were quite upset with me.

Image: Robin Higgins — Pixabay

What led to my musing this morning is my issue with WordPress. WP isn’t working 100% for me, but it still functions well most of the time. At times, though, the program won’t recognize my e-mail address so I have to give my username and log in anew. Especially for some blogs, while others I can leave Likes and comments no problem. So I just carry on and hope the problem will disappear. Will it, do you think?

Developers with their many “improvements” have made life so complicated for us simple minds! Sometimes I gripe that if the engineers at WordPress didn’t fix things that were working just fine, blogging would be simpler. However, I realize they were trying to accommodate a wide range of bloggers with other interests than mine, so I’ll hush it. I’m still very grateful to have this platform where I can ramble to my heart’s content. 🙂