Monday Musing

Rain. Blessed, Beautiful Rain!

We are getting the precipitation the weatherman has been promising for the past two months. Our rain gauge has registered an inch –2.5 cm– so far and more coming down. Joy, joy! 🙂

I can hear some of you groaning as you read this title, since some places are getting way too much rain, but let’s face it: Earth is not a fair place when it comes to weather. Or resources. Or troubles.

This brings to mind a quote I’ve heard many times through the years: “The Lord doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Do you believe that?

I’m inclined to think the only people who say “God never gives you more than you can handle,” are those who have led fairly peaceful, secure, well financed lives. But tell that to someone who’s just lost their job and is about to lose their home. Or someone like my aunt Sadie who’s lost two sons and a son-in-law in a fiery crash. When her husband committed suicide a year later, I think she had a LOT more than she could handle.

Lately I read a little story: a woman (I’ll call her Dot) who worked very hard at her job and then in her spare hours she did what she could to help her sister and family. When Dot was already at the far end of her handling ability, her sister had some health crisis and needed Dot more than ever. Run ragged now, Dot sighed as she told someone, “They say God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle, but I wish He didn’t have such a good opinion of me!”

Christians often comfort one another with these words, assuming that God tailor-makes every event in our lives. Other folks say, “How can that be? God must be cruel to send some people all the trouble they have.”

A thought occurs to me: If we could always handle all the troubles that come our way, who would ever need God’s help? It’s usually when we realize we’re helpless to deal with the storms of life that we turn to Him. So I think the Lord does allow folks to be overwhelmed by trouble at times, by their own making or circumstances beyond their control, just so they will turn to him and seek his help. He has a strong shoulder we can lean on when we’re weak. He can see things so much more clearly. His gentle voice can guide us around the whirlpools and quicksand that swallow up so many who go it alone.

But I don’t think for a minute that God plans every trouble that comes our way. Our Father in Heaven is not cruel; He doesn’t “send” people murder, mayhem, abuse, famine, accidents, and sickness. Most of these things are caused by other people. We may wish He would reach down and slap someone who’s making the wrong decision or doing a harmful thing, but his warnings are gentle. He doesn’t force anyone to listen, though at times He does put a definite roadblock in someone’s path. Thinking back, we may wish He would have slapped us before we did what we did, but He lets us decide and carry out our plans — then suffer the consequences.

Solomon, with all his wisdom, writes, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11

Rain happens to pour down in some areas — cause flooding even — while other lands cry out for a drop of moisture. Some people live in an area where the only jobs available — coal mining and fishing, for example — put their lives at risk. Some people are genetically disposed to arthritis or diabetes; some are blessed with longevity. Diets and habits put health at risk. When my sister was dealing with lung cancer, she was pragmatic about it. “I’ve smoked since I was a teen. What can I expect?”

My own opinion, after about sixty years of observation, is that God has set this world in motion and the laws of time, genetics, gravity, climate and commerce carry on — unless He directly intervenes. And there are times when God does miraculously intervene in order to look out for his children, or those who look to him for help.

The Bible is full of examples of how Jehovah intervened to save His chosen people, and others, from some trouble. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” I Chronicles 16:9

I also believe that when we are overwhelmed, He invites us to bring our sorrows and troubles to him. He will make a way through the storms of life. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

One More Day of To-Do’s

Hi Everyone,

I thought I’d give you another glimpse of life at my house, as I prepare for the grand event on Tuesday. I’m to be at the hospital and ready for my minor surgery at 7am, which means I have only this evening and tomorrow to accomplish a dozen things in preparation for having limited mobility for 4 to 6 weeks.

I’ve borrowed a few books from the library and downloaded a couple from Kindle Unlimited. (Not that I was ever lacking.) I’ve a tub of articles and verses to-key-in-someday, and this I’ve set on a dresser so I won’t have to lift it. I’ve visited Michael’s and bought a few more paints. I was going to buy canvas board, which is quite stiff, but then I spied a “Canvas Pad” – something I haven’t come across before. It turns out to be ten sheets of stiff prepped canvas duck, about the weight of card stock and ready to paint on. I bought this more for practice, but we’ll see how the finished painting looks.

One of the books I borrowed from the library is HOW TO WRITE A MYSTERY — © 1996 by Larry Bienhart. Random House. I’m finding it delightfully humorous! He starts by explaining the impulse that started him on his mystery-writing career: he read two mysteries in one day and both of them were awful. A conviction settled: if he wrote a mystery, no matter how pathetic it was, someone would buy it. “What was exciting, thrilling, illuminating, was that someone had published these meandering, illogical, poorly constructed, cliche-ridden manuscripts and – I presumed – actually paid the writers! This was attainable.”

I’m only in the first chapter and already he’s mentioned one of my biggest peeves in story lines: people acting irrationally, or contrary to human nature, just to make life easier for Syl the sleuth. Since the points he makes about mysteries is applicable to other genres as well, I’m eager to read more. Any story has to hang together and needs to offer the reader a reason to keep reading.

I also have a few jigsaw puzzles that I could do during my enforced idleness, and have invited a couple of seniors from the Villa here to play Mexican Train (a dominoes game) with me once I’ve up and around. I’ve a half dozen Sudoku and Word puzzle books to work on, and a few sewing projects I should complete. Actually, having reviewed all the things I could do, I’ve realized what I really need is six months on a desert island! Covid-19 hasn’t done it for me because there’s so much that can be done at home, right?

Reading FlyLady’s latest post, I’m encouraged to take small steps toward specific goals, rather than taking huge chomps of everything at once. We’ll see how I manage that in the coming month. One of my first steps will be to varnish the paintings I have finished.

Thanks to the live streaming we can access these days, I listened to a church service in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, which started at 7:30 am this morning, then we listened to our church service here at 10:45. In the afternoon I listened to a Christian Endeavor program from Fleetwood, PA, then our evening service here at 7 pm. Altogether a very inspiring day! Because Covid cases are dropping in a big way here in Saskatchewan, the govt is saying things will be opening up more by the end of this month, including more people allowed in meetings.

First thing tomorrow morning I want to do some loads of laundry and pack a bag for my over-night stay at the hospital Tuesday night. Yesterday I filled some flowerpots with fresh dirt; tomorrow – Victoria Day here in Canada – I want to visit a local greenhouse and get some bedding plants for them. We had a light dusting of snow Friday morning, which settled the dust for awhile; this evening we’re enjoying a drizzle and hoping the prediction of more rain tonight and tomorrow will pan out.

Well, that’s enough for tonight. It may be a few days until I’m back at the computer. Meanwhile, I’ll be hoping that you all have a great week.

Image from Pixabay

Rainbow of Random Smarts

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is the word RANDOM. In response I’ve put together an odd number, and an odd assortment, of quick quotes:

A good word never broke a tooth.

You begin to appreciate you elders as you become one.

An ounce of don’t say it is worth a pound of didn’t mean it. – L McBoyd

An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding.

If the sea were always calm, it would poison the universe.

Whatever your lot in life, build something on it.

Habit is a person’s best friend or worst enemy.

Love will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.

We’re only young once; that’s all society can stand. – Abner W Smith

You don’t get the breaks unless you play with the team instead of against it. – Lou Gehrig

There is no mistake so great as that of always being right. –Samuel Butler

Inspiring Verse

I wonder if this verse was Mr Guest’s answer to Rudyard Kipling’s famous verse, IF? Read IF here.

DUTY

by Edgar Guest

To do your little bit of toil,
to play life’s game with head erect;
to stoop to nothing that would soil
your honor or your self-respect;
to win what gold and fame you can,
but first of all to be a man.

To know the bitter and the sweet,
the sunshine and the days of rain;
to meet both victory and defeat,
nor boast too loudly nor complain;
to face whatever fates befall
and be a man throughout it all.

To seek success in honest strife
but not to value it so much
that, winning it, you go through life
stained by dishonor’s scarlet touch.
What goal or dream you choose, pursue,
but be a man whatever you do!

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Less is More

I just finished reading a blog post by Martha Kennedy with this same title. She starts out with a terse bit of editing wisdom from author Truman Capote: “I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.”

I heartily agree with what she says. Less is more. Author Jerry Jenkins stresses this over and over in his writing course: “Don’t use two adjectives; one is enough. Better yet, choose a stronger action verb.” Adverbs have similarly fallen out of style, I hear.

Mark Twain once gave wannabe writers similar advice, with a wry wit in the delivery: “When you see an adjective, kill it.”

Awhile back I read a book that reminded me of his quip. A good story, but the author seems to over-use adjectives and adverbs, often as a way to pat characters on the back.
– Jill generously gave him a huge slice of pie.
– Jack unselfishly offered to drive them to the mall.
– He appreciated Jill’s considerate offer to look after his sister.
– Jack sighed appreciatively after Jill’s extremely satisfying dinner.
– Jill admired Jack’s dashing good looks.
– Jack’s humble way of suggesting…
– Jack found Jill extremely attractive.
– Jack’s unstinting effort to find the owner pleased Jill immensely.

Get my point?

These seasonings are okay when lightly sprinkled through the book, and I like stories about kind, thoughtful people. However, if superlatives appear too often it can sound like the writer’s trying to impress on forgetful readers what a wonderful, thoughtful, generous character this is. I don’t have to be told twenty times that the hero is smart, generous, and handsome or gorgeous. Perversely, this inclines me to dislike Mr/Ms goodie-two-shoes.

No matter what you’re saying about your characters’ qualities, more than three or four times is overkill. Don’t try to sneak them past the reader by embellishing their wonderful acts, either. Let the reader decide if that your character’s a keeper.