2018 March 16 Friday

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2018 March 16 Friday in Liberty Hill Texas

63° at 5 a.m. it’s overcast and a blustery day. That made me think of Winnie the Pooh. By 7:30 the eastern sky was beginning to lighten and individual clouds could be seen.

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Fridays would be a normal day to go to the Leander Senior center. However today we decided to visit the senior center in Georgetown. It is only about ten minutes further away. We know Sonny, the administrator, from when she was at the Leander site. We went into her office to say hello. As we were talking, we found out that Charlotte, one of our friends at the Leander site had died over night.

There weren’t many people there today. Larry was the only other person there when we arrived. We played some dominoes with him until just before lunch. Two women and a man showed up a little later. By the time the spaghetti and salad lunch was served, there were about a dozen people there.

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Last night I received an email from Cherry Hill (the folks for which I work as Santa) with an attached contract. I tried to print it to my home printer. However I had no luck making the the connection between the phone and printer. So, when we left the center, we went to Office Depot so that I could print the twenty two page contract. I will review it, sign it and mail it back to them. Then they will sign it and send it back. I wish that it could all me done through email. That would be so much handier for me … and I would think for them also.

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We stopped at H.E.B. on the way home to pick up a very few grocery items. All I really wanted was some Orvil Redenbacher popcorn.

After scootering around the store for a while, I had nearly everything that I wanted. That’s when Ella said, “I need to sit down. I’ll wait in the seats at the exit.” At that point we ran into Arlette, whom we know from the Leander Senior Center. We stopped to talk with her. She already new that Charlotte had died. The two of them had become very close … almost like sisters.

I left Ella and Arlette to talk while I continued with the shopping. Having gotten the final item, I headed to the checkout lanes. They were all backed up at all of the registers, which is odd for H.E.B. I sat there for a while when a young store employee came by shouting, “Cookies, Water, Wine samples. Does anyone want a cookie, some water or a sample of wine?” It is not unusual to have someone going through the aisle yelling, “Tamales, get your hot tamales here!” So, I didn’t think much about it when someone was passing out water, cookies, and wine. I thanked him but said no I wasn’t interested.

About five minutes later, the young man came by again with the water, cookie, and wine. This time I took him up on the offer of a bottle of water. It was about this time when I realized that not only had my line at the register not moved ahead … none of them had. I saw people pulling out of line and just leaving their shopping carts full of items sitting in the aisle. Store employees came by and said that their whole computer network was down. They were offering to keep the carts full of groceries while the shoppers left, and call people back when the computer was fixed. Or you could just leave your cart and they would restock the items. I chose to just leave. As I said there wasn’t anything that I really had to have (other than the popcorn).

I found Ella waiting at the door and wondering what was taking me so long. I explained about the network being down. So we went down the road a couple of blocks to Dollar General where I purchased some popcorn.

By the time we got home it was around 85° outside and only somewhat better inside. I lowered the temperature. Reclined in my chair and went to sleep. Normally, I would say I took a nap (naps are short 15-30 minutes), however this time a slept for several hours. I didn’t realize that I was THAT tired.

MUSINGS
SHUT UP AND LISTEN – Part 2

Acts 2:1-4
“When Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Passover, came, all the believers were together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like a violently blowing wind came from the sky and filled the whole house where they were staying. Tongues that looked like fire appeared to them. The tongues arranged themselves so that one came to rest on each believer. All the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.”
Every once in a while I say something profound. When I do, I have to give the credit to the Spirit Of God. As it says in Luke 12:12 “At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say.”
Case in point: yesterday I ended my musing with this: “How often have I missed a blessing because my mouth was open so far that it covered my ears? How often have I not heard, “Be still and know I am God.””
I have been begging God for the Holy Spirit to fall afresh on this world, on this nation, on this community, and on me.
Yesterday morning as I knelt in prayer, I took my own advice and I shut up and listened. Instead of praising God, or presenting concerns, I simply prayed, “Speak LORD for your servant is listening.”
I’ll admit it was hard to concentrate on just listening. My mind would begin to wander and I would have to repeat to the LORD that I was listening.
My bedroom window was open just a tiny crack. The wind was blowing through the screen on the window. And even though it was only a gentle wind outside, as it rushed through that small openings, the sound was intensified.
The more intently I tried to listen for the LORD, the louder the wind sounded. I was becoming irritated that this was distracting me from my meditation. And then I remembered, “Suddenly, a sound like a violently blowing wind came from the sky and filled the whole house.”
I began to chuckle and said, “Alright, LORD, I hear you. Your Spirit is already at work on the world and in me.”

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2018 March 15 Thursday 

 

2018 March 15 Thursday in Liberty Hill Texas

Did you celebrate Pi day yesterday. 3.14(159265359…)? 48° at 5:00 a.m. this morning. I saw the morning star (Venus) shining brightly in the sky, which let me know that there’d be no clouds this morning. Which meant that the sunrise would likely be less spectacular (but no less welcome) than when there are clouds to give color to the sky. However, by the time the sun was beginning its ascension around 7:30, there were a few stray clouds that added a bit of color afterall.

2018-03-15_09.58.18.jpgElla made bread pudding this morning to take to the Over the Hill Gang today.  It was very good bread pudding too. We only brought pan scrapings home, which Ella promptly ate.

As you can see in these photos, the dessert table was well stocked. Most of us eat dessert first. Hey, we’re old we might live to the end of the meal. When I get to heaven, I’d rather have pie on my breath than broccoli. Grin

That clear morning sky turned a cloudy grey in the later afternoon. No sunset was seen.

MUSINGS

SHUTUP AND LISTEN

Proverbs 28:9
“Surely the prayer of someone who refuses to listen to God’s teachings is disgusting.”

I once worked with two people who were constantly arguing. They were so contentious that they never really listen to the other person. It was as if, while the other spoke, they were just inhaling and waiting their turn to speak. What they never heard was that often they were arguing on the same side! They were so busy preparing their argument, so sure that the other was wrong that they closed their ears and refused to hear that they were actually in agreement.

I wonder how many times I’ve gone to the LORD in prayer with my list of concerns, my want list, and my grievances; and not be prepared to listen?

How often have I missed a blessing because my mouth was open so far that it covered my ears? How often have I not heard, “Be still and know I am God.”

2018 March 14

2018 March 14 Wednesday in Liberty Hill Texas

32°? Yep it dipped down to freezing for a half minute overnight. It was a cloudless, windless night so all the daytime heat drifted off into space.

I got a photo of the sun peeking through the juniper shrubs.
Grandies* was a little light today only ten of the two dozen members were there. Thank God they weren’t all out sick, though we had one that was being released from the hospital today. It is spring break so some are with family and others we busy with other things.

Although we were invited to go out to lunch with a few people, we chose to come home and have a baked potato with yummy toppings.

By one o’clock it was a beautiful sunny 62° so we had the door standing open. It may have reached sixty five before we left for supper at Dahlia’s with some of the choir.

When we came out from choir slightly after seven, the sky was impressive. However by the time we got home, it was marvelous.

MUSINGS

WHAT IS IN A NAME?

Daniel 1:1-7
“In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and attacked it. The Lord handed King Jehoiakim of Judah and some utensils from God’s temple over to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar took the utensils to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put them in the temple treasury. The king told Ashpenaz, the chief-of-staff, to bring some of the Israelites, the royal family, and the nobility. They were to be young men who were healthy, good-looking, knowledgeable in all subjects, well-informed, intelligent, and able to serve in the king’s palace. They were to be taught the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king arranged for them to get a daily allowance of the king’s rich food and wine. They were to be trained for three years. After that, they were to serve the king. Among these young men were some Judeans: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The chief-of-staff gave them Babylonian names: To Daniel he gave the name Belteshazzar. To Hananiah he gave the name Shadrach. To Mishael he gave the name Meshach. And to Azariah he gave the name Abednego.”

My name is Thomas which is the Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta’oma’) which means “twin”.

Once in a job interview I was asked, “Do you prefer Thomas, Tom, or Tommy?” I replied that no one, still alive, calls me Tommy.” To which they responded, “Oh, I’ll just call you mister Williams then,” I replied, “I didn’t say that I’d killed them.”

Shakespeare wrote, “What is in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Which would indicate that the name is of no importance. That it is the nature of the person (or thing) that matters. There is some truth to that. And yet I read in Proverbs 22:1
“A good name is more desirable than great wealth. Respect is better than silver or gold.”

In the Daniel scripture passage the king gave these Hebrew youth new names. You need to understand the meaning of the names to see why this was important.

Daniel = God is my Judge
Hananiah = God is Gracious
Mishael = who is like God
Azariah = God helps
Nebuchadnezzar changed their names to take away their allegiance from the God of Israel and give allegiance to the Babylonian gods as follows:
Daniel to Belshazzar meaning “Bel protect the King” (same name as Nebuchadnezzar’s Son or Grandson) and Bel was a Babylonian god
Hananiah to Shadaku meaning “command of Aku” a Babylonian god
Mishael to Meshaku the Babylonian moon god Aku
Azariah to Abednebo the Babylonian god of wisdom Nebo
As Daniel and his friends were very dedicated to the God of Israel, it is common sense they would not accept these names. Daniel changed the names slightly and just enough to take away the allegiance to the Babylonian gods as follows:
Daniel to Belshazzar to Belteshazzar (it is said that adding the TE may mean “Bel NOT to protect the King” changing the meaning altogether)
Hananiah to Shadaku to Shadrach
Mishael to Meshaku to Meshach
Azariah to Abednebo to Abednego

(For more see https://www.quora.com/Why-was-Daniel-given-the-name-Belteshazzar)

What does your name mean? Does it fit you? What would you name yourself?

I wonder what new name God will give me.

Revelation of John 2:17
Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some of the hidden manna to everyone who wins the victory. I will also give each person a white stone with a new name written on it, a name that is known only to the person who receives it.

  • *Grandies welcomes those 50+ every week with friendship, games and a ministry to connect to others. As a special part of their ministry, Grandies sign and send greeting cards with inspirational messages to those serving in the military, the sick or homebound and church members celebrating happy milestones like birthdays and graduation. Since this ministry started, more than 3,300 cards have been sent!

  • In the summer, Grandies also work to make available snack packs through Operation Liberty Hill for children who may not otherwise have enough food without school in session. Additionally, they provide meals at Vacation Bible School and host bake sales twice a year to raise funds for their important works.

2018 March 13 Tuesday

2018 March 13 Tuesday in Liberty Hill Texas

37° with some interesting clouds just before sunrise..

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When we checked the menu at the center today and saw that it was a salad with grapes and crackers, we decided to stay home for games and lunch.

2018-03-13_10.15.26.jpgFast Track and Rummikub were our games of choice this morning.

For lunch I had intended to make a quick beef stroganoff using a small tin of beef. I got everything mixed up only to discover that it was barbequed beef. So, we had BBQed stroganoff. It was quite good actually.

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MUSINGS

KNOWLEDGE IS LEARNED. WISDOM IS GIVEN.
The saying goes, “Knowledge is power.” And that is true. Knowledge is like a mighty race car. However, unless that car is under the guidance of a capable driver, it serves no purpose. Wisdom is what puts knowledge to work. By all means seek knowledge. But pray also that the Lord our God grants you wisdom without it your knowledge is worthless.
Psalms 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Good sense is shown by everyone who follows God’s guiding principles. His praise continues forever.
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2018 March 12 Monday in San Antonio Texas

2018 March 12 Monday in Liberty Hill Texas

A chilly 39° to start the day at 6:00 today. We both got up and around this morning so that we could meet up with Arik, Jenny, and kids for a trip to San Antonio Texas. That is about a 2½ hour drive. Our first stop was Mission Conception (con-sep-she-own). As I understood the tour guide, the church building was begin in the mid 1700s. It was built from sandstone blocks queries on site by the native peoples. The indigedness people were nomadic. However the Spanish brought them into villages by teaching them agriculture and giving them protection from their enemies. Dedicated in 1755, the mission was more than a church building. It was a self sustaining village and fortress. The building appears very much as it did over two centuries ago. It stands proudly as the oldest unrestored stone church in America. And is still a functioning Catholic Church. Granddaughter Sofia took several photos of me standing in doorways that were shorter and narrower than her over six foot and three hundred pound grandfather.

There are five missions in the area. We choose to visit one other, the most famous if them, the Alamo. If the two, Conception was the more impressive. Perhaps that was because is was still doing that for which it was constructed. Whereas the Alamo is differently a commercial Enterprise.

Although the Mission San Antonio de Valero (Alamo) was the first of the San Antonio missions (built 1718 and destroyed by a hurricane in 1724) by the time of the Mexican fight for Independence from Spain in the 1800s, it had already been abandoned as a mission. And by the time of the Texas war for Independence from Mexico, it’s roofless walls were insufficient defense for the 187 Texan defenders against the 5,000 Mexican soldiers.

Once we had toured the Alamo we head lunch at Shilo’s, the oldest German restaurant in San Antonio. And from there we took a river cruise along the famous River Walk. With my legs the way they are, that’s the only way I’ll every see.

Leaving San Antonio, we took a more scenic route back to Austin. Partly that was to avoid the massive crowds and traffic surrounding the South by Southwest Festival. We went through the lovely heart of the the Hill Country. We went through Blanco, where we stopped at Bean and Biscuit for a snack. We continued on through Dripping Springs, Bee Cave, and Lakeway. We arrived back at Arik and Jenny’s about twelve hours after we left and arrived home around eight o’clock.

Here is a link to photos of the trip.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/faArVjfoFiEKwOdz1

2018 March 11 Sunday

2018 March 11 Sunday in Liberty Hill Texas

70° to start the day. The sun is gaining on the moon as they do their slow race across the sky this morning. The moon only had a couple hours head start today. It must have slept in last night.

We drove to Buchanan Dam this morning to go to Highland Lakes UMC. When we first came to Texas, this was our home church. Then we moved to Liberty Hill and began attending there. Since we sing in the choir, it’s hard to get away on Sundays. Today, however, the choir did not sing. It was a perfect time to go to Highland Lakes because they have a potluck on the second Sunday every month. Plus, though we didn’t know this in advance, this Sunday they recognized the “Winter Texans”.

The bell choir rang in the service. And their choir was in fine voice also.

To go there we drove a more or less direct route. More or less because ‘ain’t nothin’ straight when driving through the Texas Hill country. On the way home we took a less direct and more hilly and more curvy route. See map below.

Ella wrote: “We stopped in Kingsland for groceries after services at Highland Lakes UMC.” We also stopped along the road so that Ella could take a photo of the first Blue Bonnets that we’ve seen this year.

 

The only thing on the list that we really needed was bread. And we could have gone another day or so. However the H.E.B. was on the way. Plus we needed a “rest stop”.

We did little of note the rest of the day. But I did get an evening skyscape.

MUSINGS
When the Lord said “Whosoever” He included me!

 

  • Isaiah 25:6-9
    On this mountain the LORD of Armies will prepare for all people a feast with the best foods, a banquet with aged wines, with the best foods and the finest wines.  On this mountain he will remove the veil of grief covering all people and the mask covering all nations. He will swallow up death forever. The Almighty LORD will wipe away tears from every face, and he will remove the disgrace of his people from the whole earth. The LORD has spoken.   On that day his people will say, “This is our God; we have waited for him, and now he will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him. Let us rejoice and be glad because he will save us.”

 

His people

All people

Every nation

That sounds pretty INCLUSIVE doesn’t it?

Why do we work so hard at being EXCLUSIVE?

Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself.

Okay, I can do that … almost.

Then he said love your enemy. Wait a minute. Really?

Really!

We are ALL God’s children and it is not His will the any should perish.

His promise is for everyone of His people.

2018 March 10 Saturday

2018 March 10 Saturday in Liberty Hill Texas

61° and starry a sky this morning. It quickly climbed to the mid eighties. That’s when the air conditioner went on and doors and me were shut. We topped out at 90°.

Saturday sweet Saturday, peaceful Sabbath to slow us from our busy life. On a recent post I mentioned that I seldom realize that the weekend has arrived … or is over for that matter. However this seems to have been a busier than usual week. And having a Saturday with nothing (not every a ball game) is welcomed with a sigh.

I posted yesterday about not finding cottage cheese at the locations where I had stopped. Today I was still hungerin’ for lasagna.

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What do you do when you need cottage cheese for your recipe and you don’t have any?
Well, if you had enough milk and some lemon juice, you could make some.
Or, if you had some cream cheese, you could add a little milk, a pinch of salt, and mash it together with a potatoes masher.
And tada you have cottage cheese.

And a short time later you have lasagna.

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I received a text in the afternoon inviting us to go with Jenny, Arik, and kids to San Antonio on Monday.  We’d be going to a couple missions and food and maybe Mexican market.

I responded “Yes. It is something we would really like to do. We’ve been here six years and not been down to see it. However, I really am not able to walk very far or for very long. And Ella isn’t much better.” I suggested that we could walk until we had to stop and then we’d sit and wait. Really just spending time with the kids and grandkids is reason enough.

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God outdid himself painting the sky tonight.

MUSINGS

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Jeremiah 33:2-3
“I made the earth, formed it, and set it in place. My name is the LORD. This is what the LORD says:  Call to me, and I will answer you. I will tell you great and mysterious things that you do not know.”

 

Yesterday I placed several calls to businesses. Each time I was greeted by automated voice systems. You know what I’m talking about, right? Push 1 for this option or 2 for that. And none of them are the answer to your reason for calling. Most of us know by now that my dialing 0 you may be able to speak to a real live person. But first you hear, “Please hold for the next available agent (did they just say Asian?). Your call will be answered in the order it was received. Do not hang up and redial. Due to higher than normal traffic, your wait time will be 16 minutes.” You sit and listen to elevator music which is intermittently interrupted by a canned voice telling you, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.” 53 minutes later you finally reach a human, who listens and then says, “Please hold and I’ll transfer you to that department.”

Only after your patience had been pushed to its limits, do you get to talk to someone who says, “I’ve made note of your request and someone will get back to you in the next three to five business days.”

Thank God that He hears and He answers. I’m so glad that I can speak directly to Him anytime and anywhere. Amen?