Monday, December 31, 2007
Isn't it wonderful?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Monday, December 24, 2007
All hearts come home at Christmas
Memories of Christmases past bring people vibrantly back to life – people who have long since passed to other realms. And any less-than-perfect memories of most of these people have faded and are now surprisingly insubstantial, leaving only their true essence to flicker in holiday candlelight.
Wounded people wound people. It isn’t intentional; it becomes instinctive at an early age. The only loved ones who will ever hurt you deeply are those you love deeply (and who love you to the uttermost limits of their wounded abilities to love).
Forgive them. It frees you to love them again, and it frees them, wherever they are, to find some peace.
You can do this with living people, but it’s usually easier to start with people who have passed on. Forgiveness is key to "the peace that passes all understanding." Start with forgiving yourself for any part you had in the mutual wounding and animosity, whether intentional or unintentional.
If we can all get just this far, imagine the repercussions for a world at war! Swords into ploughshares, lethal missiles into loving missions, a world that knows it must hang together or all in it will eventually perish in the same moment.
The world has too-dangerous weapons to allow our egos to be in charge of anything anymore. Surrender to peace and see where it takes us. We’ve never tried it before worldwide – and yet it’s what we all crave – peace to pursue our lives and care for our loved ones…
MERRY CHRISTMAS – GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Wahoo! We’re only working half a day on Christmas Eve here at On-Hold Concepts (www.onholdconcepts.com), and we don’t have to get here until 9 am on the 26th! That’s terrific!
The company owner gave me an iPod Shuffle for Christmas, so last night I set it up and downloaded some of my favorite songs from decades past. How the technology allows so many songs on one teensy weensy gadget is beyond me, but I’m enjoying my iPod Shuffle tremendously! There’s a lot more room for songs, but it took me three hours last night just to choose the fifty I chose! I bought a few Johnny Mathis, a few Robert Goulet, a few Elvis, a few Kenny Rogers, some Simon and Garfunkle, and lots of singles by many, many artists – Celine Dion, Dan Fogelberg, Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, Tree 63, Casting Crowns, Josh Groban… and on and on. Whee!!! It’s great to be able to pick and choose off albums, because I usually only like a few of the songs on any one album.
One item got onto the ipod automatically – the Sci-Fi Pulse interview I did with Rico Dostie last year about DeForest Kelley. It’s over an hour long, and needs to come off, because it isn’t something I’d listen to more than once every blue moon (if ever; I saved it to email to others). I can’t figure out how to isolate it so it won’t start playing… but will figure it out soon! In the meantime, I just push "next" whenever it comes around. But it’s taking up a lot of space on my iPod, so I need to find out how to delete it from there!
Yesterday’s holiday party was great fun. It was also a retirement celebration for one of the ladies who worked here for almost twenty years. And we enjoyed a "white elephant" time after a wonderful dinner, which was a lot of laughs. The boss couldn’t be there – that was the only bummer. He was at Seattle-Tacoma airport picking up his 89 year old mother, who had been stranded in the Dallas Airport all night long! She flew from Houston to Dallas and then her flight was grounded. Her trip should have taken three hours – instead, it took over eighteen, so she was very weary and beyond ready to be arrive – and Chuck was right ready to pick her up after such an
unfortunate and unforseen ordeal! Poor gal! I bet she’ll think twice about flying anywhere, ever again, at her age! I’D think about it at MINE!
The Realtor will stop my my condo tomorrow morning at 9. He canceled last night because a storm was supposed to come in. It didn’t… but boy, was it FRIGID this morning. The sheet of ice on my windshield (all over the car, actually) was THICK! It took fifteen minutes of running the car to get the ice to melt away I could see out and drive. That’s unusual around here…
Christmas Day scant hours away now. Wheee!!! Monday night I’ll stay at Jackie’s (it’s a tradition, so we’re all there when the kids awake and dash toward the tree). Just think… next year at Christmas time, God willing, I can sleep in my own bed on Christmas Eve and just walk upstairs when I hear the scuttling of little feet. Now, THAT’S lovely to contemplate!
In case I don’t get to this blog between now and Christmas, please accept my warmest Christmas greetings for a blessed day!
PLEASE TAKE TIME TO REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
My favorite Christmas songs are O Come Emmanuel and Mary, Did You Know? My mother’s favorite Christmas song was The Little Drummer Boy. (Mary, Did You Know hadn’t been written by the time she died, or I have a sneaking suspicion it would be her favorite, too…)
If you don’t know the words or the songs, you can look them up by doing a search on O Come Emmanuel + lyrics in your search engine. Same with Mary, Did You Know? And if you don’t know the words, please do the search and read them. If you can find a musical rendition on line (they exist; I’ve heard them), listen to them if you haven’t heard them.
Both of them make me cry the first time I hear them every year…
I think The Little Drummer Boy resonated with Mom because she was alive during the Great Depression and knew great need and of so many peoples’ inability to "give" anything of "earthly" value to the Christ Child. When the little drummer boy asks if he should play his drum for baby Jesus, and Mary nods, and he plays, Jesus smiles… that gets me, too. Jesus wants our hearts and our love, because he knows our obedience will follow… and his blessings will follow that, in abundance!
Before I was born again, I thought Christians must live awfully boring lives. Not only boring, but judgmental and nit-picky, too! Boy howdy, was I wrong! I have been more alive during the past nine years than I ever was before, except perhaps as a very small child, 5-10 or so. (I was terribly sick and scrawny until I was five and don’t remember much of those days except for Mom rubbing my back and singing songs to me as I lay on the couch.)
The (practicing) Christians I know are full-out surrendered to letting God’s spirit direct their paths. When I allow that, I bless and am blessed. When I pull back into my "old" self-protective, reactive ways, I suffer, and those around me suffer, too, even though I try to isolate when I’m feeling low. Others suffer because they don’t get the "Christ in me" when I pull back. They always notice and always ask if anything is wrong when I get quiet or uncommunicative.
If you ask almost anyone to describe me in one word, the word is "enthusiastic." That thrills me, because it comes from the word "entheos" which means "God in me." The Jewish people have Emmanuel – "God with us." Christians enjoy Entheos – "God in us" (via the Holy Spirit).
I know that when I give The Holy Spirit carte blanche with my mind, emotions, will, intellect and my personality, people get blessed. And when I get tried, or stressed, or miffed, the "old" me takes over and becomes a giant pill – or can, if I succumb to the temptation.
The great thing about being born again is that the experience of becoming a blessing rather than a bother is so enjoyable that it encourages itself! I can’t stay mad anymore… or bored… or ticked… I start giggling and laughing whenever I decide I have a "right" to be proactively cranky or isolationist. I used to feel "pride" and what I considered "righteous indignation" when I was miffed. Now I realize that my Adamic nature is trying to grab hold of me again, and I respond by thinking about that… forgiving it… and getting bored with it. The process always returns me to ebullience and joy. Every time. Being cranky and judgmental just takes too much energy! Joy gives and gives and gives -- and rarely gives out unless I’m close to exhaustion!
I haven’t had even ten Christmases yet in my life where Jesus was the sole reason for the season. In a way, I’m luckier than most (nominal) Christians who more or less take Jesus for granted. Since He has become my dearest friend, all I can think of is how blessed I am and what a blessing He is. And I know I want to be like him "when I grow up," and as I grow into the fullness of this new experience of being an adopted child of the Most High God.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. And it doesn’t have a thing to do with presents. It has everything to do with Presence!
Thank You, Father God, for loving us so much that you sent your only son to die as a substitute for all of us, who have fallen so far short of our mandate to be your image-bearers and to reflect Your light and love. I try to fathom a love that great. I don’t know of a single terrestrial father who would give his son in the way you gave yours to save all of us from the penalties of our transgressions against Your Word and direction… and even if there were such a father, his son could not accomplish what yours did at Calvary. He canceled our sin debt and threw open the Holy of Holies to each of us so that we can elect to walk with You again in the Garden forever. It had to hurt to do that… it had to be hell to see your son endure all He did to win us back. I will not forget Your love and Your sacrifice. You love us beyond our comprehension or understanding…beyond our own abilities to love! One day we will love as you do. Until then, help us reflect as much of You as our dirty lenses will allow… and clean and polish and de-smudge us in every way possible so that the reflection off us will reveal Your Face and Your Love. It is in the precious Name of Jesus I pray. Amen, amen, and amen!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
And yes, I’m aware that Jesus was most likely born in April, but this has been the time of year we’ve celebrated his natal day for centuries, so I’m not going to buck tradition now. So much of this holiday has been secularized, commercialized and otherwise besmirched — let’s not allow the date to become an issue!
I remember what an uproar there was the year Fidel Castro ruled that Christmas would be celebrated in June or July because of the failure of the sugar cane crop that year (I’m revealing my age here…)
I’m for celebrating Jesus ALL year (but without the emphasis being in gifts and parties). I love the kindness this time of year brings out…
The new home is officially ours, as long as my condo sells within the next 60 days. We have it contingent on the sale of the condo; the sellers have agreed to that. So now I will begin imagining it as "ours" and will start placing my stuff in the various rooms (in my mind).
I’ll sign the papers to list my condo tomorrow evening after our On-Hold Concepts Christmas party. We’ll be at the Ram Restaurant at 2 pm fraternizing. (We don’t get much of that around here – too busy!) It will be mahvelous! I’m really looking forward to it! (And this from a non-party-goer!)
And if the condo sells, I will then be in a market for a new or used car. (I can get a brand new Kia Rio for around $9K, but am thinking about "risking" a used car for that price, if I can find one that looks great and has a good track record and gets great gas mileage. Any suggestions, you car buffs out there? I am officially in "car research mode" starting now. The 14 year old Saturn I have now (just 75K miles) needs to be traded in for something that’ll go another ten years… about the time I need one to get around to jobs and such. After that, Jackie and I can probably share… unless we’re both still working part-time. And we likely will be!
I can’t imagine ever retiring. Can’t afford to, for one thing… and Jackie would be miserable completely retired. She’s so gregarious that being retired would give her a stroke. She loves being out and about among people. This is NOT an attribute I share with her. I’d be a total recluse, if I could get away with it… Too shy for my own good. Too shy for anyone’s good! Dagnab it, I need a shyness makeover!
I used Johnsonâ€™s book as a reference in the video and I just got Strobelâ€™s book as I was finishing up this month. I was surprised to see that the format of Strobelâ€™s â€œSix Challengesâ€ and my â€œSeven Myths of the Higher Criticsâ€ were so similar.
The final version is now finished! Really! The total running time with all the extras is now 2 hours and 20 minutes -- up from the hour-long project I announced was almost finished earlier this year. The DVD just needed a few cosmetic edits (nothing the average viewer would even notice) and we even added seven minutes of a "Bonus Feature" entitled: "Who is Jesus?" It's the best feature of the DVD and adds a lot of appeal especially as an introduction when it will be show to small groups as a five to ten week seminar. The video is divided into ten parts for this reason. The final version is available now! Check out the YouTube clips at http://TheRealJesus.com website. Then you can order it if you like what you see.
The final version has over an hour of additional materials, interviews, a bonus feature and is re-edited with Eric Holmberg as the host and narrator. I've been doing a weekly radio show on Tuseday nights with Pastor Joe Dunn of Metro Praise Church in Chicago. It's a Skype-based web-cam/chat-room/radio-show with two pastors in Chicago and Indiana. A lot of diverse people show up in the chat room -- witches, atheists, nihilists, etc. -- and ask crazy questions.
I sent Joe Dunn an advance copy of The Real Jesus DVD. I was really pleased to hear his comments. He opened the show by holding it up to the web cam and saying, "I just got done watching the best video on Jesus that I've ever seen! This is the greatest thing ever! I've seen all kinds of stuff by Ankerburg and other guys like that and this is by far the best thing I've seen on the topic of The Real Jesus."
He loved the interviews with the experts, the graphics, the music, everything. He said he wished he had 100 to give away, and so on. He said he likes all the "charts" and was going to go back and study them on still mode.
That, of course, speaks to me about what is needed in a future study guide, not just text, but the same visuals I used in the video. This is a good review because I have all kind of ideas about how I want to continue. I have enough script material to do at least two more of these in the next few years.
I was thinking that that there are at least 10,000 Joe Dunn's out there, pastors who are training young Christians in their churches how to stand up against postmodernist reinterpretations of Jesus and militant atheist attacks on the Bible. This video is the perfect training tool. The big question is how to reach these pastors.
Obviously, we need to get about a dozen endorsement quotes from pastors and a few well-known church leaders on The Real Jesus -- then we need to advertise this to thousands of church leaders throughout the world.
Please let your pastors know about this new DVD. Perhaps Jay will receive some much-needed endorsements...
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
At first the sellers came back with a very skimpy counter-offer, so we just dropped the negotiation and started looking again. Because we didn’t offer again after their counter-offer, they knew we were finished with it and not looking back (but boy were we sad!), not able or willing to offer any more. So after about a week they called Jackie’s Realtor and said they’d accept our offer.
We’re totally jazzed. The new home is a split level, but both levels can be accessed without steps. The property overlooks the Puyallup Valley and the home itself is just fabulous. We’ll need to do about $20K worth of changes, most of it where I’ll be, to put in a kitchen and a larger bathroom, but we looked at it again last night and it’s entirely do-able. When I’m sure we have the place, I’ll give you the link so you can look it over and be happy for us!
"My" part of the house (the lower level) reminds me of the den-like setting in the MY FAIR LADY movie where Rex Harrison lived. It’s that comfortable and that impressive – really! —just smaller. I’m very much looking forward to living there!
I need to do a few things soon, besides sell the condo. I will need to take the driving test again before my next birthday and get a new photo and address on it, and I may have to get a passport as well, if I get word that I’m going to Australia in April to appear at Terra Nova. I haven’t heard anything more about that lately, so it may not happen, but if it does, I need to get cracking on getting a passport photo and passport. My birthday is a good month before the trip, so it should all fall into place nicely…
It’s amazing how fast the weeks and days go by any more. I don’t even remember much of what I did on Saturday, Sunday I was in church, then went to Kings Manor to have lunch with one of the ladies there (I had a little gift for her) I also made the rounds of many the tables after the lunch to say hello to all the folks who are still there that I know – and no many new ones, too.
They all want me to come back. Wish I could! If I were independently wealthy, I probably would. I love elderly people and although the work is hard, it’s all "heart work." It’s pathetic how little people get paid to work in assisted living, though. I hope that changes as the Baby Boomers start to enter the assisted living realm. The more people, the more the helpers can be paid to do what they do, I suspect. And what they do is worth a lot more than they receive; that’s for darn tootin’ sure!
Our new home (God willing) is just a few miles from Kings Manor so it will be easier to stop by there on my way from work and have dinner with different people. And I can stop by more often on weekends and spend a couple hours playing Hangman and other mind-and-memory-boosting games so the residents can challenge their minds to keep firing on all cylinders. That’s very important as we age… It’s quite a challenge for me to keep coming up with words and hints that are fun and funny! It keeps my brain working on all thrusters!
In case you hadn’t heard already, STARTREK.COM is no more. The powers that be in corporate headquarters pulled the plug on it. So please keep Tim Gaskill (and the other folks who did such a great job keeping us up-to-date on things) in your prayers.
It has to be a total bummer to lose one’s job just a week before Christmas (more than likely AFTER all the presents have been bought or charged to cards). The entertainment industry seems to "enjoy" giving people pink slips at Christmastime. It happens too frequently to be mere coincidence; it must be a "powers and principalities" (spiritual-warfare) kind of thing at work… he demons must be cackling about the "wit" of such a "timely" execution of bad news… But praise God: Jesus out-witted them all, so their days are numbered. They can cackle now but they won’t for a lot longer, methinks!
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village,
where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty.
Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn’t go to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away.
He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing,
the only property he had on earth.
When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone,
and today he is the central figure of the human race
and the leader of mankind’s progress.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed,
all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned,
put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth
as much as that
One Solitary Life.
Have a Blessed Christmas!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
With her eyes smiling, she said, "I know the Secret!"
"What secret is that?"
To which she replied, "I'll tell you all about it, but you have to promise to share the Secret with others."
"The Secret is this: I have learned there is little I can do in my life that will make me truly happy. I must depend on God to make me happy and to meet my needs. When a need arises in my life, I have to trust God to supply according to HIS riches. I have learned most of the time I don't need half of what I think I do. He has never let me down. Since I learned that 'Secret', I am happy."
The questioner's first thought was, "That's too simple!" But upon reflecting over her own life she recalled how she thought a bigger house would make her happy, but it didn't! She thought a better paying job would make her happy, but it hadn't. When did she realize her greatest happiness? Sitting on the floor with her grandchildren, playing games, eating pizza or reading a story, a simple gift from God.
Now you know it too!
We can't depend on people to make us happy. Only GOD in His infinite wisdom can do that. Trust HIM!
And now I pass the Secret on to you! So once you get it, what will you do?
YOU have to tell someone the Secret, too! That GOD in His wisdom will take care of YOU!
But it's not really a secret... We just have to believe it and do it... Really trust God! Just Pass It On!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I watched TBN and DAYSTAR most of the evening last night. It can be inspiring and educational! Last night there were four Baptists on who have been given the gift of tongues (speaking in an unknown prayer language) and it was pretty funny (in a sad sort of way) to see what happened to them when they admitted it among their Baptist brethren! While 51% of Baptists, in the pulpit and out, believe that the gift of tongues is still a happening thing (and did not end in the first century AD, as "secessionists" believe), very few of them will openly admit it because of the repercussions. That’s the sad part. Christians shouldn’t judge other Christians (or anyone else) and it seems there’s an awful lot of judging going on!
These four otherwise-normal gentlemen were trying to let people know that if we ever start praying in a language we don’t understand, we’re accessing spirit-to-spirit communication with the divine, and it will catapult us to the next level in our relationship with the Holy Spirit. I have ALMOST spoken in tongues a time or two, but always stop myself – I feel too self-conscious to speak an unknown foreign language. I do the same with Spanish. I took two years of Spanish but am hesitant to speak it to an Hispanic person because I know I’ll probably blow it somehow.
I have the same hesitation when my spirit wants to "speak." What if I say something stupid to the Holy Spirit? What if I’m repeating "spirit talk" I’ve heard others speaking – is that plagiarism? I have a lot of hesitation about it… I hope one day I’ll get over it, but knowing me, I probably won’t! It would be great, though, to be able to speak spirit-to-spirit and not even know what was going on, other than purest joy!
I also didn’t know until last night that "speaking in tongues" did not just "start up" again during the Azusa Street Revival in 1906, but that speaking in tongues has been going on in all denominations (hit and miss among individuals) all along since the earliest days of Christianity: Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics, you name it… during slave days, slaves quite commonly spoke in tongues as they worshipped. So it’s not an anomaly. It’s one of the gifts God gives to some people – and we are all capable of it, from what I heard last night on TBN…
I’m intrigued. A lot of folks at CFAN speak in tongues. There is even a Native American pastor at CFAN now who has led lots of people into the gift by praying with them or laying hands on them. I may ask him at some point to lead me there.
There’s something holding me back, though… I know it’ll catapult me to a whole new level, and that’s a little scary. I’m already so "out there" as a Christian, the next step would probably be a ministry (beyond this blog) – and that could really shake things up. I’m not real happy being shaken up. I just got settled down into a job and a routine I love.
That’s usually when it happens. If I don’t keep growing, I’ll start stagnating in place, and that will cause enough discomfort and pain to get me to move again. That’s how it usually happens with me!!!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
You can find out more about Joe Vitale at his website: mrfire.com
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
-- John Schaar
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Gadzooks, it’s not even ten a.m. and all my callbacks are made. There weren’t that many to do. I have to track down a few clients later (after ten and 2pm) but other than that, we need some more clients so I can start writing again! I have placed everything into the production queue that I can without giving our music men a nervous breakdown or a heart attack (because the other copywriters will be submitting plenty, too) so can’t work ahead… already have, as much as I can, without killing some great guy working downstream.
So guess what? I’ll write to YOU until something work-related crosses my desk again. I’m "honing my craft" doing this, you see… so it’s an appropriate activity for me, as is reading a copywriting book… but those are nearly memorized by now, so… I’ll write!
Next Thursday evening I plan to go see THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Lakewood Playhouse during "Pay What You Can Night." The Playhouse didn’t offer a free preview night this time, so I won’t be taking Kings Manor folks on Pay What You Can night because I don’t know how long it lasts, or whether it would captivate folks who are usually asleep by nine. They usually like the musicals, but I took them to one play where we had to leave during intermission because everyone was bored and falling asleep in their chairs, which could "evolve" to falling out of the chairs… NOT a good plan, as I like to return everyone in their original condition (without abrasions, contusions and broken bones) to the Manor whenever I do take them out! Just the thought of that makes me squeamish! (Should I worry about liability when I take consenting adults to a play? I wonder… Better ask my lawyer sister!) (Isn’t it a shame to have to think of doing a good deed from the angle of liability? Yes, indeed!)
I’m glad it’s Friday, ‘cause I’m tired, but that’s the only reason. Really do love the work I do here at On-Hold Concepts (www.onholdconcepts) as a copywriter and client-contact agent every day. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the callbacks as much as I do, but I really do, even though it puts me on a phone 2-3 hours every weekday.
As anyone knows who calls me personally, I am not a phone person. While, in person, I can rattle on for hours and be rattled to, visiting on a phone is just not my idea of a good time. I’m sure it’s because I grew up in a home with a business phone as the only line, and was told to keep personal calls short and sweet.
So even to this day I start to sweat bullets after about 20 minutes on a call, unless the topic being discussed is so captivating that I lose all track of time and am carried away by it. In other words, talking about things that truly matter can keep me on longer… philosophy, someone’s sorrow or crisis (if I can do somerthing about it, to alleviate or eliminate it; otherwise, it’s a drag to my spirit and I’d rather not go there); stuff like that.
Gossip, no. Slander, no.
If it fits in with Phillippians’ advice ("whatever is good…pure…lovely…of good repute, think on these things…") I’m all over it. But if it’s negative, harsh, jaded, caustic, sarcastic or any of the "lower" vibrations of life in a fallen world, gads… count me out.
This doesn’t mean that if you’re having serious problems, I don’t want to hear about it, though. In those instances, I will pray for you and see if there’s anything I can do to make things better… short of becoming your Savior. I tried that a time or two and became a victim to another’s "victim mentality" – in other words, I became "stuck" in Rescuer mode… the "victim" wouldn’t rescue herself, feeling quite fine about the rescue job I was doing for her.
I don’t become a co-cripple these days. I can help, but I can’t surrender to another’s inability (or reluctance) to stand on her own two feet and work as hard as I do to keep my own head above water.
Givers can be taken. Not this giver. Not anymore. I tried three times with different people and discovered a universal truth: Unless someone can put a time limit on the amount of time they’ll need my help, I don’t offer it. There has to be accountability on their end. Helping someone remain crippled is on my short list of things never, ever to do again!
Wow, where did that come from? I have no idea! Maybe it’s a word for "someone out there" and I’m just the conduit for it today?
Thursday, December 6, 2007
T’is the season! Every time I leave my desk to walk somewhere, I’m hummin’ away – all kinds of sacred and secular holiday songs. They’re stuck in my head and they make me happy – so out they come! The boss says there’s nothing wrong with that! Can you tell I work for a great company (www.onholdconcepts.com)?
I do keep quiet at my desk, though, because I share an office with another copywriter, a man who was in the music industry for twenty years and --believe me -- he doesn’t need to hear me sing or I’d get a raspberry award or something. It’s good that God doesn’t care how we sound, just as long as praises to Him are always on either our lips or on our hearts. A less lesser (false) god (like Simon Cowell, for sure) would send me straight to hell (do not pass go, do not collect $200) for the way I sing, probably!
“Dammit Jim, I’m a writer, not a singer!” (Neither was Lee Marvin or Jimmy Durante or Rod Stewart sang/sing very well either but it never stopped them, so I’m not letting it stop me, either!) Actually, I’d rather be a writer than a singer, so what am I grousing about? hee hee hee
I had a dream about De and about Dad last night. I don’t remember much about either dream, but Dad passed away eight years ago today, so the Dad dream fits.
Dad never lets me get past this date without sending him a hello and several apologies for the fact that we so seldom saw eye-to-eye on anything. (Thank God I’m forgiven for all past misdeeds!) Dad and I pretty good were friends the last decade of his life, and that’s good… but I still have regrets that I wasn’t more compassionate and understanding of where he was coming from for a lot more years than I was. He had a hard row to hoe his entire life and that made our rows harder to how than they would otherwise have been. I’ve always compared him to Warner Bros.’ Tazmanian Devil or King Kong. He was always keeping things stirred up and it drove this peaceable type absolutely bonkers. I wasn’t given the gift of enjoying being off-balance and liking it. I like roller coaster rides, but not when it’s part and parcel of daily life! But I have to say, in a way I benefitted from it – because today not a whole lot can shake me up! That’s why I can say with all sincerity that God always turns trials into eventual triumphs. He never wastes a hurt.
He’s just amazing!
Jackie and I are going to make an offer in the place we found in Puyallup. We are praying it will be accepted, because we can’t offer full price. There is about $20K worth of stuff we need to do to it to make it right on both levels (upper and lower, where each of us will live) so we’re offering that much less, so we can stay within our budget. Please keep this offer in your prayers. We both pretty much have our hearts set on this place, even though we “shouldn’t.” We just haven’t seen anything this perfect in all the looking Jackie has been doing. It’s a dream home… that’s within our grasp. We just need agreement from God!
And if we don’t get it, He has a better plan! We both know that, so we’re trying not to set our hearts on this place… but it’s hard not to!
Rick will list my condo for sale right away if the offer (contingent on selling my condo) is accepted. The sellers have already agreed to this in principle; we just have to find out if they’ll accept the lesser offer. The place has been on the market six months, so we’re hopeful… but maybe it’s been listed for six months because the seller won’t come down on it. If that’s the case, we’re sunk…
This is a witness of faith, not politics.
A condensed version of Tony Snow's outstanding testimony and his fight with cancer.
President Bush 's Press Secretary, Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, on March 23, 2007 , Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen,- leading to surgery in April , followed by more chemotherapy. Snow has resigned since and communicated the following.
"Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in America today - find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will.
Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence "What It All Means," Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the "why" questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.
I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.
But despite this, - or because of it, - God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.
Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere. To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life,- and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non believing hearts - an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter how their days may be numbered.
Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, - but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension - and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.
The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul , traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes ( Spain ), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.
Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.
This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense.
We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.
"What is man that Thou art mindful of him?" We don't know much, but we know this:
No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God's hand."
Tony Snow and his family and loved ones are in my prayers.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Recovering American soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
If you approve of the idea, please pass it on to your e-mail list.
These guys and gals need all of the good cheers and prayers and gifts we can give them.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
-- Macrina Wiederkehr
Monday, December 3, 2007
As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:
A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn 't care what you think.
If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting.
Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.
Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.
Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.
Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.
Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal.
For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress.
Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" here's an update for you.
Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!
Okay, I laughed! Andy Rooney is a hoot sometimes. Not often... but sometimes! This was one of those times!
And now... for something exhilarating! http://www.biertijd.com/mediaplayer/?itemid=4262
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Not as cold as it was, though. The snow has stopped. It was coming down heavily mid-afternoon, but it's warm enough now that it didn't stick and stay. That may change, now that it's night time again.
I bought a Casio keyboard. Jackie's Realtor gave me one but it doesn't work without squealing like a banshee and I got frustrated, so went to Wal-Mart, deciding I'd buy a new one if it was under $150. It was only $88!
So I've been teaching myself to play piano again most of the afternoon. I must say, these Casio keyboards are so fancy and helpful these days that it has already taught me six songs (beginner and intermediate range level) -- three Christmas songs, plus Amazing Grace, Row Row Row Your Boat (thanks for the memory, De!), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and --- Auld Lang Syne.
The Casio even comes with accompaniment and all sorts of extra bells and whistles -- even a microphone if I ever find someone who wants to sing along! I'm looking forward to getting the Reader's Digest piano course I ordered. It should be here in the next few days... I was half-expecting it to be in the mailbox today, but no dice.
I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief since last night. My friend Anne Richardson in Australia seems to be out of the woods now after a truly frightening and scary several months and many hospital stays. I really was beginning to think we were going to lose her. She still isn't completely better, but she's so much better that, over the phone, she sounds like the Anne I know and love! Full of energy and sparkle. A light in the world.
Recently she has been losing weight without explanation and she has been breathless; and from time to time her ankles and legs have swelled. Extensive tests all have come back saying she isn't experiencing any of the life-threatening diseases or illnesses we were worried about, but they still haven't been able to pinpoint what the heck is/was wrong. She's lost sixty pounds without an explanation and can't afford to lose much more. She's about model size now for her height. So keep praying for her!
Oh, by way of introduction for those of you who don't know her, Anne was De's Aussie fan club President for many years. You met her in my De book, if you read it. I met her in 92 or 93 in Hollywood and three years ago she flew over to the Pacific Northwest and took an Alaska cruise with me. I hope to see her again this coming April, if I get the definite go-ahead to fly to Adelaide to talk to De's fans at Stuart Blair's convention.
Stuart is trying to get Leonard Nimoy there, and if he does, he's going to see if he can finagle a way to get me there at the same time. (Ooooh.... can I fly from L.A. with Leonardo da Wow? That would be great!)
A chance to go to Australia once in my life would be a dream come true! And Anne will put me up at her place. I just have to get an extra week vacation at On-Hold Concepts (without pay) to be able to do it, because no way am I flying to Australia and staying only one week! I'm going to stay long enough to get an Aussie accent, I told Anne! (That won't take long. I fall into accents and dialects faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! spelling? Close enough for government work!)
I want to stay in Australia two weeks, maybe two and a half... We'll see what I can get away with and still keep my job and not go broke... I'll get airfare, but no speaker's fee... so after a week, I'll be going backward financially unless everyone at the convention orders a De book ahead of time for me to sign. Yeah, right... They run $75 dollars each over there, because of shipping and handling. Outrageous! And I imagine shipping a box of fifty books would be astronomical, too, so there's really no way to fund the extra week in Australia. I'll just have to bite the bullet!!)
I'd like to see Leonard again on stage (unless I fly with him from L.A. and we get to have a short conversation en route. There are a couple things I'd like to tell him about De.) I missed seeing him (and everyone else, except Rene A., who spoke just before I did) in Vegas 'cause I had to get to the airline terminal.
I doubt Leonard would remember having met me (in 1968, the same year I met De the first time) but he might know of me as a result of my Vulcan-eared cat (Deaken the serval). Carolyn told me De showed lots of Deaken's pictures to the whole cast one time... and I know Grace Lee Whitney kept looking at me quizzically the two times she spotted me (in a studio commissary the first time and at Planet Xpo last year), as if thinking, "Where do I know that girl from?" -- although we had never met until Planet Xpo.
Even though Leonard doesn't know me, if he searches his memory banks he might remember that I did two covers for his official fan club (The Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans) back in 1968-1969 and that I called his character (Paris) on Mission Impossible a "chameleon," in one of them, which I think he swiped and used in a subsequent interview. (But that's all right. Copycatting is the second sincerest form of flattery - after imitation.)
Anyway, it would be great to sit and chat with him for about 20 minutes, if I ever got the chance. But I probably never will and I'll survive just fine if I don't!