A Lithuanian Internet friend, Aleksandra, posted this video in one of her booths. I don’t believe in coincidences, as a Christian, and this message came to me at just the right time to affect me positively.

Watch it. It is a 17 minute lesson in how to live in a civilized world, you know, living the Golden Rule! [For those disinclined to be “churchy”, this doesn’t prosyletize. You won’t get Jesus cooties, for example, if you follow another faith or none at all as the message is universal enough that it can be viewed through many eyes.]

Did I mention to you that I admire your perseverance in watching this video, and I know you will go out into the world and shine your light on all you meet? I love you. You are a good and decent person!

forgotten promises

We all do it. Make a promise, then forget it.

That’s OK, I suppose, among very good friends, friends who overlook transgressions those outside the circle regard as hopelessly impossible circumstances, a reason for judgment, a sure fire cause for cessation of the acquaintance. People!

What, then, if the promise is a Lenten promise, one, in essence, to God?

That’s where I am just now. If you go back to the start of these blogs, you see one that has to do with patience with others whose driving habits DRIVE YOU CRAZY.

The stupid cows! You know who you are! You drive 20 in a 35 mph zone! You signal turns by applying your brakes! OR you signal two clicks of your turn signal before you turn, but I’ve been waiting a HEN (my late father’s all-pupose cleaned-up curse world, bless his soul!) LONG time for you to cross the intersection so I can turn onto the road where you drive. Get the point? If I knew you were turning right on my street, I could turn right on your street. Traffic would move efficiently, smoothly, at the speed it would move if YOU WEREN’T A STUPID COW! Or SOB. Or, well names that are imaginative and deny you your humanity.

The conclusion I drew, in that earlier blog, was that I’d achieved a level of maturity where I realized the driving behaviors of others- the ones that didn’t kill or maim me, at least- didn’t make much difference in time it took to drive from one side of the small town where I live to the other, so I just grinned and didn’t let these behaviors bother me any more.

Almost a year later, however, I realized that not only did the driving behaviors no longer bother me any more, they sure as hell didn’t bother me any LESS, you STUPID SLUT COW! Use that turn signal. It came standard with the pickup. Yeah! Drive the speed limit. Pu-leeze!! SLUT COW!

What happened?

I do not know. So I made examination of the hate and discontent with other drivers my Lenten challenge. It worked, after three solid years, on grudges. Lent is the start of the process for me, the trial run, the promises made time, the prayerful examination of myself in a Christian context time. Tedious to you non-Christians, I know, but this is one of those things we flog ourselves about, if we use the time more constructively than “I will give up televison”- or “I will give up chocolates”-variety of Lenten challenge.

During Lent, those forty days, I examine myself prayerfully, devise means to extricate myself from a private hell, make myself more presentable to our Heavenly Father when the time comes. “Jesus was sacrificed on a cross for you, so how did you adjust your life to reflect you understanding of his sacrifice for you?


No, no, NO! He loves you regardless of your lame efforts to walk with Jesus. Even those you call slut cows. We all are his children. Yeah. Even the slut cows. Yep! Them, too.

It’s going to be a long Lent this year. So far I’ve failed miserably to address this afflication. Perhaps Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services will shame me into a serious effort: I am very moved by these two days in the liturgical calendar.

I don’t know. If you are inclined, please pray for me. I need healing.

Thank you.


end abuse

This entry has a religious content that may be offensive to non-Christians or non-believers. That’s fair warning, I think. More than any other entry I’ve written, this one touches on matters of my faith. As such, I hope it burns brightly with the guidance of the Holy Spirit

I have strong feelings about what should be done to people who abuse spouses or children, their own or not. I suppose it is rooted in my Christian faith, the Golden Rule, yet people from other backgrounds and faiths stand with me: spousal and child abuse must end, and the perpetrators must be dealt with severely. Death? No, that they be removed from decent society. Forever.

I am concerned that that statement has an internal contradiction. Shouldn’t I love the sinner, if not the crime? As a Christian, that’s the path I am committed to, yet…!

I pray for the victims I know of, of course, adult or child. Those that appear in the paper, at any rate, as part of the summary of District Court proceedings, I pray for. I pray for those I learn of because a victim comes to ask for prayers of my Prayer Team partner and me after church. I pray that I always remember to ask the right questions before that victim leaves the prayer room: Have you talked with the pastor about this? If not, will you? And so on. Abuse is a complex issue that needs a gentle, accurate, and sensitive course of action.

How can prayer help? To those without faith or a different sense of prayer, the answer may be it doesn’t help, it can’t help, it’s a waste of time.

To those of faith, the answer is prayer is a living conversation with Our Heavenly Father, that He hears our prayers, and those prayers are answered in ways with many times we miss if our ability to discern the answer is clouded by doubt, non-belief, naysayers in the victim’s circle of support. Or discerned in changes in the way people respond to the situation that brought about the prayer. Just as we don’t always get what we want on this plane, we think we know what’s best for us when we approach the Lord in prayer, ignoring the possibility that He has a different direction in mind for our lives. If we can discern it.

Another way prayer helps is to unload a terrible burden Our Lord, on the shoulders of others, if only for a few quiet moments in the prayer room. Typically, those on the Prayer Team assignment for any given week continue to offer support and prayers for those who sought prayer from them. It’s the humane and Christian thing to do. It’s a way of restoring some small corner of a victim’s life, one where people offer hope, not destroy self-worth and offer nothing but despair. It’s a light touch on the shoulder, a hug, a reassurance that the victim isn’t the cause of the abuse.

In all this prayer, too often, in my anger, I forget the most important prayer: for the abusers. It also is the most difficult because of my williness to judge, not forgive, to hate, to fall outside of Christian love and forgiveness.

But I try.

And I ask God to forgive me, too, for my hard heart, to guide me toward acceptance of His wisdom and ultimate judgement of us each, including the abusers in this life.


Americans with chronic illness know that the first concern of hospitals is less for you than “Do you have insurance?”

Doctors, nurses, food service, maintenace staff: All great in every hospital I’ve been in (five hospitals total).

In nearly every hospital I’ve been in, in every hospitalization, there is a moment when someone from the billing department asks you: “How do you plan to pay for this, do you have insurance?

Usually the question comes while you, bound to a gurney, are gasping for air or bleeding all over the floor.

I don’t exaggerate that much.

I learned fast, though, that you have to be aggressive with the money people. They, more significantly the system that created them and the focus on payment over patient, is what’s broke with the American health care system.

The system is broke.

August 27, 2009, a decades long champion of national health care died.

His public life, his true legacy, is that he stood up for the people least able to stand up for themselves. To people like me, with chronic illness, there is hope that the Obama administration, without him on the President’s side, will be able to create a humane and just health care act that works.

The politics of it are above me. I was touched by his death. I feel the loss.

If you feel the loss, too, please meditate, prayerfully, while listening to the video above.

Soli Deo gloria!

Ted Kennedy, Requiescat In Pace.

  • volunteerism- how to pay up what you owe

    My mother and father spent tens of hundreds of hours in volunteer activities that benefited the community where they lived most of their lives.

    So engrained was their habit of volunteerism, their grave marker includes this saying: “Service to others is the price you pay for the space you occupy.” Carved in stone! Both were active volunteers in the church. But there is an extreme example of volunteerism: My mother taught water safety classes and adapted aquatics for 60 years as a Red Cross Volunteer. The only thing that involved her attention as long was her marriage, which lasted 71 years, until my father died November 4, 2008.  So grateful was the community that the City Council past a resolution  to name the bath house at the new swimming pool after her, an honor rarely given to living people who don’t first fork over a million or so dollars! On the plaque bolted to the front of the bath house: “Service to others is the price you pay for the space you occupy.” Cast in brass!

    "Service to others is the price we pay for the space we occupy." Barely seen, the family motto of service to others is carved into the stone of my parent’s gravemarker as well. Place your cursor on the photo….

    There’s a pattern there, and a challenge. I am my parents’ child. I live in the community where their good works stand as testament to their character. It is a small town, where I rarely have a day that someone doesn’t say, for example, “Oh, your mother taught me to swim!” Or “Your mother and father helped tile this fellowship hall.” Or, well, you get the idea!

    Until they went into the care center half a block north of my apartment, I helped my parents as they became less and less able to take care of their needs. I planted gardens, a great joy, as you can guess if you read the blog before this one. I scooped snow. That had to be a great labor of love, I tell you, because I hated, hated, hated every scoop I pushed off the walk and drive! I mowed grass. I hated that until I bought a push mower. That allowed me to mow in the early, cool morning, bare footed. I raked fall leaves. Those I returned to the garden. I loved improving the soil that way. By the time we had to leave the house, the garden soil was so loose, you could turn it with a little effort and a garden fork. This service to others counts, I suppose, though doesn’t it fall more under “familial duty”? I think so.

    I retired January 30, 2009. Now is the time for me to pay the price for the space I occupy!

    rhubarb- a tasty fight

    I live in a retirement community, I guess you’d call it. I live in the south end of a duplex apartment, where my co-resident’s  floor plan is the opposite, a mirror image of mine. That means the noisiest activities either my neighbor or I might be involved with take place the farthest distance possible from the other’s bedroom. Neat!

    Good floor plans make good neighbors.

    I, as a youth, used to write an Indonesian boy. At some point, he mailed two recordings of Gamelan music played specifically for accompaniment of Wayang shadow puppet shows. I mention that to alert you to my interest, now, in this eery, beguiling, lovely music. Were it not for the floor plan, I would hesitate to play any of my Gamelan orchestra CDs for fear of upsetting my neighbor, whose tastes are more country, I think. 

    I’m listening to some seriously serious , classically classical Surakarta Court Gamelan music as I write.  It’s up a bit loud. Yes! ~ bliss! ~ a rhubarb averted by a good floor plan!

    Another neighbor and I forage for the available rhubarb when one doesn’t think the other will see it happen. A rhubarb averted by stealth, but neither of us gets as much as we’d like.  That, of course, had a lot to do with why I bought three new starts of rhubarb to plant on “my” rented turf.

    I told you yesterday about planting those rhubarb starts, as an act of faith, but not that the undeclared Rhubarb War would come to an end, peacefully, with all rhubarb patches properly claimed and undisputed!  

    After I posted the account, I decided to go over to the care center to see my mother. I stepped outside the front door to find a smallish box CDs or DVDs could come in. Perplexed, I took it in, slit the tape and found… six more rhubarb starts! What?! What was I thinking when I placed two orders for rhubarb starts?

    Another rhubarb averted! A Golden Rule moment! I decided to ask my neighbors if they’d like to have rhubarb starts, that I had the proper tools (and, now, attitude!) to do the planting  job if they did. And at least one does. I talked with her when I chanced to see her outside this morning. Two neighbors left to ask. The one I sneak around to avoid while rhubarb’s in season surely will accept my gift! The one who is co-resident of this duplex may accept some more.

    Rhubarb’s about US$2 a bunch, about a pie’s worth, at the grocery store. If they have it. We’re all retired. Rhubarb’s in short supply in our part of the complex, making it a potential source of friction (oh, it is!). But I have this plan, this way to change the rhubarb season into one of peace and joy and harmony and bliss and sour stalks eaten fresh from the early, chill morning garden, with no guilt! Whew! 

    Rhubarb. There you go: with faith, TLC, time, the neighborhood will have so much rhubarb everyone will be trying to find homes for the surplus. That’s the Golden Rule in action, and that’s the Prairie Way, too. Take care of your neighbors when they are in need, and know they will be there when your turn comes.

    (p.s. For those who haven’t experienced a really awesome Gamelan performance, I’ve attached a link to a YouTube entry, below. I hope you enjoy this very different and magical style of music!)