Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Day My Hard Drive Died

It started like any other day—until I looked at my computer screen. Apparently, the message had been waiting for me all night, ever since I had supposedly shut it down. “Reboot by inserting boot device or insert media device, reboot, and strike any key.”

 I didn’t have any such items and after several texts to my computer-competent sons, pushing the computer’s shut-off button and hitting control-alt-delete more than once, to no avail, I decided to take it to a repair shop.

 The end result was, “We weren’t able to retrieve any data from your hard drive, even after putting it in the freezer.” Yes, that does sometimes do the trick for comatose hard drives. But not for mine.

 It was like a death in the family. No Google searches for a recipe or the distance from point A to point B or looking up obscure facts just for curiosity’s sake. And no FaceBook!

 You might ask, “Did you have any of your data backed up?” Fortunately, a copy of the first draft of a book I’ve just written was on a thumb drive. Otherwise, the thought of backing up data had not crossed my mind since I retired from my office job twelve years ago.

 I hadn’t really considered anything worth saving—until it was gone. Three years of pictures, three short stories, some poems, and tributes I’d written for loved ones who have died. Yes, I’m sorry I didn’t have a back-up plan.

 Obviously, it makes good sense to back up your data in case your hard drive crashes. Unlike a computer hard drive, however, your soul never dies. Until you leave your “earth suit” you can still choose your system/destination.

 The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus paid our sin debt on a cross so that we could choose life in heaven with him. Of course, we can ignore this awesome gift of life Christ has made possible. Spending eternity separated from God’s love in hell doesn’t sound like a good back up plan to me.

 I hope it doesn’t appeal to you either.

Friday, February 11, 2022

What GPS Do You Use?

 These days our cell phones generally have a GPS app and if our vehicles are new enough, there's a GPS function on the dashboard complete with a voice telling you to turn right in 100 feet--or make a u-turn at the next legal opportunity.

We purchased our first GPS called Genie, who spoke with a feminine, British accent. The contrivance plugged into the cigarette lighter and did prove to be helpful on occasion. That is, until we were wandering around the back roads of northeastern Missouri and Genie directed us to drive over a cliff into the Gorin, Missouri dump. That was the trip we decided Genie needed a satellite update.

In the Old Testament book of Numbers chapter 9, I read this morning about the cloud that enveloped the Tabernacle by day and the Pillar of Fire by night, signifying the presence of YHWH, their God, and guiding them to stay at or leave a location. Like a sacred GPS, 

He was leading His people, Israel,  to the Land He had promised their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob They had no clue as to how to reach their destination and most of them had only become acquainted with YHWH after He'd removed them from Egypt, marched them through the Red Sea, on dry land, ad fed them bread that fell from the sky every morning.except Saturday.

After I read that section, I thought "How convenient it would be to have a cloud to show what direction to take today." Then it hit me. "You have the Holy Spirit in you all the time, but these people didn't get to dialog with God." 

The only way they could find favor with Him was to bring substitute sacrifices for their sins. Moses, their leader, was the only one  of that group, at that time,  granted the privilege of communicating with God.

How blessed we are in this age, on the other side of Jesus' cross. We can repent of our sins, asking forgiveness and are granted it because Jesus paid the penalty.  We can communicate with YHWH, our Father, and know He has the answer, the direction we need to go.

The Creator of the universe never needs an update on His GPS. And on top of that, His GPS is personalized just for you. 

So which GPS do you choose to use? Be careful. Choosing your own direction may land you in the city dump.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Who is Your God?

 My favorite devotional book, currently, is Sarah Young's Jesus Calling. Today's entry dealt with the question, "Who do you worship?"  Now you have to remember that these devotionals are written as if Jesus was sitting across the table from you and talking with you.

Folks who at least profess to have some sort of belief in God, whether they attend church or not, would quickly answer that question about worship by stating, "I worship God."

That's a great Sunday School answer--but remember our scenario at the beginning? Jesus is sitting across the table from you, looking straight in your eyes, actually looking deep into your soul.

He gently answers His own question for you. "Whatever occupies your mind the mos is your god." 

That focus could well be anxiety (which can cover every aspect of our lives). Worry about health, financial security, relationships, natural disasters, political situations, terrorism--those are just some "big" items we can worry about.

Break the bondage of anxiety by focusing on Jesus, the One who gives us peace. Remember the Christmas story in Luke, chapter 2 where the angels sang of Jesus' birth--"Peace..."

Ms. Young chose an interesting scripture to close today's devotional entry--

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Psalm 112:7

Friday, January 22, 2021

Are You Depressed?

We all know depression is a debilitating emotion but that doesn’t keep us from becoming well acquainted with it. The year 2020 which initially held promise of focus on new and exciting vistas became a time of hanging on to health and sanity by our fingernails.

Covid-19 demolished travel plans, shut people away in fear, with many friends and family members sickening and even dying. Jobs were lost, businesses went belly-up and our nation became as fragmented, politically, as our lives did, physically.

These are all reasons to let depression get a fierce grip. But wallowing in the doldrums of despair is not a healthy situation. Depending on your circumstances, the steps needed to pull out of that smothering morass may need to be baby steps or even giant steps. But that first step needs to be taken.  

 Sarah Young, in her entry for January 17 in the devotional book, Jesus Calling,  reminds us that keeping a thankful attitude allows us to experience Jesus’s Presence—even if our surroundings seem exceedingly bleak. Jesus “can weave miracles into the most mundane days” if you stay focused on Him.

 After all, He is the One who conquered death by emerging from a tomb on the third day. He would love to show you a miraculous something, fashioned just for you. As you cultivate a heart of thanksgiving—that first step--depression will begin to crumble.

For instance, if you contracted covid and an effect you suffered is bone-weariness, the morning you wake up and can swing your legs off the bed with gusto is a “mundane” miracle tailor-made for you. Start looking for those blessings and there will no longer be room in your mind for depression. In fact, Barbara Johnson, the Christian humorist, wrote an entire book about spotting these blessings—Splashes of Joy in the Cesspool of Life.

 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19

 So get ready for that first step with a grateful heart. Climb your maountain—no matter the height because He will give you the strength.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Cousin Power???

This title probably carries no more meaning than the importance of family. Cousins are one degree removed from being siblings so in many cases, they are close friends. In other instances, they are almost unknown.


My immediate family is small—one brother with his family and my two sons. My husband has two sisters, one with two children and consequently, two grandchildren. So my boys have four first cousins and ensuing first cousins once removed (or however you want to describe that relationship).


However, my father came from a family of eight so at one point I had eleven first cousins issuing from his side of the family and four first cousins coming from the other side, courtesy of my mother’s only sibling.


All these thoughts regarding relational ties occurred to me after a delightful, much appreciated visit from one of my first cousins and her husband at the beginning of August. As we pored over old photographs (some more than 100 years old) that my cousin had brought with her in hopes I might help her identify them, the interweaving of family relationships was brought to the forefront.


We found the picture of the Overland car our maternal great-grandmother had won (according to family legend). We also found some photograph postcards that showed our great aunt had spent time in Peoria, IL – so that is no longer a fictional part of the story I’m writing about her.


Obviously, the picture poring was fun, as well as useful to me, but the more important aspect of my cousins’ visit was the fact that they cared enough to take the time, spend the money for travel, and brave the possibility of catching a nasty virus to visit a cousin.


The “power” of family or community or relationships has always been important, but during this upside-down year of 2020, I believe it’s more important than ever before. The ultimate relater, the One Who created relationships in the first place, is no doubt saddened/pleased/grieved/happy at what we have learned or not learned about relationships this year.


So if a cousin or sibling or friend comes to mind, consider that to be a nudge from your Creator to text or call that person, or perhaps even visit. You’ll both be glad you did.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

How Has Covid-19 Changed Your Life?

Now that various areas of our country have begun to open up somewhat, perhaps you can look back at the past three-four months and take stock of changes you have experienced that may well be permanent in your life.

We are still in the midst of much uncertainty with this virus and unfortunately, sources of information and misinformation continue to swirl, adding to the confusion.

One thing each of us can testify to, personally, is how we have lived during this time and what results we see in ourselves and our families.

We read of families actually having the time (enforced) to truly get to know each other. This can be an awesome benefit of “sheltering in place.” However, in dysfunctional families/relationships, this enforced togetherness has been a horrendous experience.

For some, the paychecks continued as workers made their home, their office space. For other, this was not an option and fear and anxiety coupled with more violent emotions appeared as the bills continued to arrive but the paychecks did not.

I don’t know anyone personally who has contracted Covid-19 or died from it, but I do know people who were hospitalized during this time and it was a nightmare for them—one of fear and desolation and utter loneliness because no family members or friends were allowed to visit.

For those of you reading this post and willing to share your feelings on how your life has changed at this point of our strange journey, I would love to hear your comments. I will start this off by sharing the change I have seen in my life.

Because of the various methods of communication—conference calls, texting, Zoom and other face to face meeting methods, I didn’t see any change in my activity level. I attended just as many Bible studies, prayer meetings, etc. as before--they just weren’t face to face. Despite my introverted personality, this isolation taught me how precious my friends and family are.

Because of my vision limitations, I tend to get frustrated very easily when I’m working at the computer, which is a large percentage of my day. Too many times I vent my frustration in words unbecoming a King’s kid. So I prayed about that ongoing problem and was given this idea, “Let your frustration become an opportunity for learning.” (I’ve had many opportunities for learning this past week as my internet was down for the first week of an internet class I had registered for. Enough said.)

So Covid-19 has changed my life in the realization I really do need/like people and I’m beginning to be able to view my frustrations as opportunities to learn.

What changes has Covid-19 brought to your life?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Check Your Focus

It seems like a lot of philosophical thought can be tied to the year 2020 as, in our country at least, we think of 20/20 vision as being the standard of excellence for physical vision.  

Our Ladies Bible Study has been reading/discussing Ecclesiastes. Solomon, King David’s successor, is generally considered to be the writer of Ecclesiastes. Back at the beginning of young King Solomon’s reign, he prayed to God asking for wisdom (see I Kings 3:7-13) God was delighted to grant the young king wisdom and in addition, He allowed Solomon to amass great wealth. It’s very likely that Solomon was the wisest man to ever live as well as the wealthiest. But when you read Ecclesiastes you discover that neither wisdom nor wealth guarantee happiness.

Solomon states several time in this short book about the wisdom of obeying God, and being grateful for every blessing from Him. But he spends more time bemoaning the fact that, essentially, he can’t take his riches with him when he dies and with all his wisdom, he can’t figure out creation or even the convolutions of wisdom/learning, itself

The spiritual epiphany that struck me as we were studying was somewhat simplistic. In all his wisdom, during the majority of his life, Solomon directed his focus on something besides God, whether it be amassing precious metals and jewels, land and livestock, wives and concubines, or displaying his wisdom to other royal dignitaries.

Every time Solomon moved his focus back to God, he glimpsed peace and joy. In the same way I’m reminded: every time my frustrations send me into a depressing downward spiral, I need to check my focus. When I do, I discover, it’s not on the Lover of my soul, it’s on the disagreeable or painful circumstance in my life.

So, my friends, when fear or depression occur or your joy and happiness seems to have totally disappeared, check your focus. It’s most likely not on God. When your focus shifts back to Him, you will rediscover joy and the ability to regain an “attitude of gratitude.”

Solomon concluded in Ecclesiastes 12:13b “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man,” Stay focused on God for His love never fails.