Sunday, January 01, 2017

Post #2

"Beloved Kansas "
"A compilation of pictures and stories of rural and small town Kansas life."

Don't you think that's a great title for a book?

I do.  It's a project in the dream stage.

January 1, 2017

Really.  It's 2017.  Really.  I haven't written a blog post in eons (I think last September).  Why is that, I ask myself.  I enjoy writing.  I've been told I CAN write.  For some reason, I am not able to find time to do so, or perhaps, in all honesty, I have time, but I either don't think about it, or, I feel I have nothing to share.  I have to get over that nobody reads this blog - however, that doesn't really matter to me.  This remains an amazing way to share thoughts and musings - sort of a public diary if you will.  And that constraint is always in my thoughts - it is public.

2017.  I'm looking at retirement in 4 years - perhaps I'll have a few blog posts done by that time.  Every year is presented as a package wrapped up with a bow, and sometimes, the unwrapping is a joyful occasion and sometimes it isn't.  62 years old, and I'm in the 3rd quarter of life (if I live to be 100).  You work all your life for the opportunity to retire and do what you've always wanted to do and for me, that time is fast approaching.

I love my life.  Watching my adult children live their lives, make their own decisions, and yes, even struggle with life is interesting.  The wisdom of my years tells me that without struggle, life is not deep enough, not felt enough, not rich enough, not LIVED enough.  It is so necessary for my kids to go through this, just like I did, and my parents before me.  It's what happens when your kids are middle and older teenagers.  They MUST encounter obstacles and seemingly insurmountable challenges in order to be able to function as adults in this life - and in fact, I wish I would see even at the elementary level more parents willing to let their kids experience natural consequences of life.  Recently a parent of an elementary student was upset at a "D" grade, stating that their child was unable to do grade level work because of poor organizational skills.  This parent expected the school to come up with plan usually reserved for students with disabilities in order to be able to help the child succeed, and, asked the teacher to change the grade to what the child would have earned would this plan have been in place.  I understand organizational challenges - I have them myself - however, the school is not the parent.  Something tells me that there's a lot of parents who are bailing kids out every single day because consequences are one thing they don't want their child to experience.

And don't get me started on parents who complete their child's homework/projects for them.

Off the soapbox - how did I get started on that of all things.  THIS is why I don't blog.  Too much disorganization in my thinking!  For the odd rare reader who finds this blog, may your 2017 be one of growth for you.  Remember to feed your body, feed your mind, and feed your soul - and feed quality nourishment which will help foster maturity.  Blessings to you.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Just Life

Life handed out some pretty interesting challenges last week and in the midst of all, I thought of the words, "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay."  Do you ever just get so tired that it seems there's never enough rest?  Never enough sleep?  Never enough rejuvenating, rebuilding, renewal?  When we get this far down, it's a long way back up.  It's a long way to see the faint bit of sunlight that remains - and you're just too weary to think about that reach.

I'm just needing to go to bed before I get more morose - I know that in the future I'll read this and wonder what big burden weighed so upon me.  It is enough for now to say it's there, and to say as the hymnwriter, "Even so, it is well, it is well with my soul."

The pressure is enormous - sleep is a relief.  Monday morning comes in a few hours - and may God be us all.

Monday, August 01, 2016

August 1

Well, it's August 1. It's been a busy, sorta weird out of the ordinary summer.  My son got married, which was the BIG thing - so I got to add another daughter to my growing household.  I've had cataract surgery on one eye and am getting ready to have it on the other eye in another week or so.  It's been hot hot hot, garden has not done well.  No tomatoes.  No beans.  A few cukes, a few beets, some potatoes and onions, and that's been about it.

In other minutia:
I heard on the news last night that it's time to start your kids on their new sleep schedules to prepare for the beginning of school, but I've got news for you, it's not only kids that need that, it's me too.  Because I tend to stay up late and then want to sleep late, I've got to get back to going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.  My new schedule has me doing that starting today.

I need to change the frogs' water today - it's starting to reek.  Yes, for some reason I ended up with two African clawed frogs - they've been kind of fun to watch.  Next summer I'm "gifting" them to my brother who has a pond in his back yard - they can grow into monsters there.  But for now, they are just enjoying my little 3 gallon aquarium - which reminds me, I need to buy a net as I can hardly catch them any more and once I do - they are slippery wiggly things I can't hang on to very well.

Family reunion at Rock Springs 4H camp went well.  I appreciated visiting with all I don't get to see very often.  Hug your family today - tell them you love them.

And from this spot in my tiny corner of the world, inhabited by a spouse, aquatic frogs, a struggling garden, kids, kid in laws, and grandkids, I wish you a good day!

Monday, June 27, 2016


I was asked yesterday if I am generally a happy person.  This was followed by an enlightening conversation regarding what happiness is and isn't, examples of who might be happy people, and whether we ourselves thought we were happy in life.  Is happiness the absence of sadness or is it more than that?  Is it a choice?  Are some people just more disposed to be happy than others?  Is it important that we are happy?  Is happiness different than joy or contentment?

I'm afraid no answers were forthcoming, however, it was interesting to think about this.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator by certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..."

I answered the question that I thought maybe I was more of an unhappy person - however, now I'm not so sure that's the case.  There are always things we would like to change, things we would like to be in control of, circumstances which are not ideal.  But somehow, happiness comes anyway, in moments which are both unexpected and fortuitous.

My yard generally makes me happy, but not for several weeks as hot weather has set in, and it needs hours and hours of attention.  This decreases my motivation and my happiness with how things are at the moment- but when I discover a small green tomato on a plant that appears to be thriving anyway - this makes me happy.

Gotta get to work before the heat comes.  Thinking about these things.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Questions Not for the Faint Hearted

It's June 22, and about a week and few days out from a mass shooting in Orlando Florida which claimed 49 lives at a nightclub.  Headlines for awhile.  Here in Kansas we've had a shooting recently at a manufacturing plant in Hesston.  And always, the subject of gun control comes around.

I, frankly, am not on either side of this issue.  I can see both sides, and I lean both directions, depending.  I am a partner in life with a man who is solidly in favor of no gun control, so we have had some interesting discussions.  I have a feeling we will never agree on this issue, so we try not to get into it very often.

Gun control is a complex issue, but often both sides will make statements which "nutshell" their positions and appear to offer platitudes regarding what we need to do.  Christians who expound on this topic, either sharing on Facebook or writing blogs or writing articles for Christian journals have widely varying opinions ranging from making all arms available to anyone who wants to buy them to outlawing all firearms everywhere.  And each side uses the Bible and the teachings of Jesus to make their respective points, which I find interesting.  Questions I've never been able to settle for myself on this issue include the following:  The constitution states we have a right to bear arms, but which arms?  Does that include me getting a cannon if my neighbor has a cannon and points it at my house?  Are semi-automatic/automatic guns used in hunting?  What is the purpose of a weapon of this nature?  Are there people better armed than what our police force is?  How would one in a practical way keep guns out of the hands of those who would misuse them, and who knows who that would be?  Would Jesus own a firearm?  If not, why do I need one?  If Jesus would own a firearm would He use it to kill someone if he was protecting a family member?  Would Jesus be a collector of guns? Would He kill a deer and eat it?  Owning a gun implies that you would use it in order to disarm/maim/kill someone who was threatening you in some way.  Can a person who is told to live at peace do that?

So there you go.  Questions about guns at 11:30pm.  I don't know what to do about undocumented immigrants ("illegal aliens") either, but it's too late to think about that.  Everything I think about and hold an opinion of has to go through my filter of - what does the Bible say, what would Jesus do, what do my Christian faith and values tell me, and how do I live as a resident of another kingdom but an alien here in this world - I'm someone who doesn't belong here - this is not my home.  But in the meantime, the question is, to quote philosopher and thinker Francis Schaeffer, "How Shall We Then Live?"

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Evening

"Sunday night - when the stress of the previous week comes back to haunt you and the unforeseen stress of the week looming ahead is already on your mind."

I was going to post this on Facebook, but then - I decided not to. It's not only depressing, but it completely leaves out what I SHOULD be doing instead of stressing about my stress.

Last week was just awful. Stress in every environment - home, work, and church was at a much higher level than what I normally deal with due to circumstances mostly out of my control. I've spent a lot of time feeling unwell, with churning insides and an achy head. I've ruminated, thought, and pondered. I've imagined different scenarios that haven't even happened yet. So how much of this IS in my control? Much more than I'd like to acknowledge - because, when you acknowledge that you CAN make changes in the way you handle things, then you acknowledge that you have the responsibility within your grasp to do so.

At times like these, it seems I am always being brought back to the place to recognize the difficulties that others are going through. A mother in our church lost her youngest son yesterday - an adult son, but her son nevertheless. A wife of more than 50 years is grieving the loss of a husband. A friend is struggling with cancer treatments. A work colleague of more than 8 years is in the hospital fighting for her life. This is LIFE, people. This is what life is like. I heard somebody say once that life is dealing with a problem, then handling another, then facing yet another, and each one rolls in like tumbleweeds in a stiff breeze. They pile up and pile up, and you just meet them one by one by one - and it's like that for everyone. Even kids. The stress that some kids have to cope with is mind boggling to me.

However, there is refuge. There is strength. There is power. There is healing. There is grace and mercy. There is Someone who stands along beside, and suddenly, it's His strength and His power working to provide just what is needed.

My prayer for you today, no matter what your circumstances, is that you are provided just what you need in order to put one foot in front of the other and simply move ahead in what you are called to do, walking in peace and joy, and always looking to the One who is underneath and all around.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Life Which Continues to be Well-Lived

Mervin Troyer went to glory on March 11, 2016 at 97 years old. He was married to my aunt Dorothy, my mother's sister who went before him many years ago.  He could best be described as a man who lived life well, and a man who exemplified faith and trust in the God he knew and loved.  He was a  servant and helper, a person who knew the value of hard work, honesty and integrity.

I have said all of those things regarding Uncle Mervin, and have nodded affirmatively while others have spoken of him in such a way.  But the challenge is, if I don't learn from Mervin's life, if I don't take something away and apply it to my own, it's like looking at a reflection in a mirror - it's here, and it's gone - nothing is different.

By a life well-lived, I don't mean a life characterized by perfection, or by accumulating material possessions, or taking vacations to exotic places, or even by being well known.  I mean a life lived consistently, day after day, week after week, and year after year by these principles:

Work hard to provide for yourself and your family.
Serve others to give what you can to help however you can.
Humbly acknowledge with gratitude the life you have been given.
Have a deeply personal relationship with the God who made you.

Mervin lived all this and more each day, and even after Dorothy left this earth, he got up each day, made his bed, ate his breakfast, and then FOUND SOMETHING TO DO.  Mervin did not spend hours watching TV, Netflix, or playing on the computer.  He lived life simply, and with trust that all would be well.  I'm sure there are days he was sad, days he was lonely, days he was sorrowful, days he didn't feel like doing anything.  He was, after all, only human.  But even after he moved inside the Villa nursing care, his hands stayed busy as he made gadgets, tops, and toys. No excuses here.  You get up, you're breathing - that's a sign -  so you get busy and you DO.  Mervin found purpose in living each day just as God gave it to him.

So for me - the questions I need to be asking myself as I I consider the life of Mervin Troyer - am I working hard to provide for my family?  Am I serving others and giving what I can to help however I can and whenever I have the opportunity to do so?  Do I humbly acknowledge with gratitude this life that God gave me?  Do I have a deeply personal relationship with the God who made me?  Have I taught my children these values and have they caught the baton that I hope I've passed to them? Have I made it plain and obvious to those who know me that when I've gone to glory that this is the legacy I desire to leave behind?  

They say saints rest from their labors in glory, and perhaps they do, but somehow, I don't see Mervin sitting in a rocking chair doing nothing.  Somehow I think he is stepping on those streets with energy and purpose as he meets his Savior and finds his beloved wife, his son, his sister, his parents, his relatives, and friends.

Mervin Troyer - a life well-lived here on earth, and continuing on to be well-lived in his eternal home.  Mervin taught us great lessons - lessons of faithfulness, trust, and of looking with expectancy for what is to come for those who are the children of God.  I wouldn't wish Mervin back here for anything, however, I hope he knows what an impact he had on me - a little girl who grew up watching him simply doing what he did best - putting words into action.