Living the Wet Life

One of my favorite pastimes is swimming laps at our nearby community pool.  Early morning is my favorite and when possible bringing an inspirational book and a cup of coffee or water.

woman swimming

After swimming a few laps and treading water, as well as greeting other swimmers, relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair and reading is delightful.  Usually it is easy for me to shut out the activities and conversations of those around me. But not always.

Kids playing “Marco Polo” and other water games often get a bit rowdy until told by parents to “calm down”.  Conversations between youngsters and their siblings can be interesting, as are interactions between children and parents.  Most children especially enjoy playing in the water with their mom and dad.  Some children wistfully watch as parents of other kids join in the fun, while theirs do not.

After finding a set of 5 squirt guns on sale, I offered them to my granddaughters.  Three brothers arrived at the pool and noticed the squirt guns.  “Wow, first time I ever saw girls with so many squirt guns,” the oldest loudly said.  Soon all had one to use and they played well for a long time at the end of the pool.

kids at pool

One warm evening last summer, a large family including a mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins played energetic games of volleyball.  All the other swimmers at the pool were invited to join in. It was very inter-generational, as well as inclusive. Surprisingly, not even the oldest people at the pool complained.  It was refreshing to see such fun among several ages. It doesn’t happen often enough.

pool volleyball
I live two blocks from the beach and one block from our pool, and have found being near the water soothes my soul.  It is a good place to pray and think.

Jesus often walked along the Sea of Galilee as he taught his disciples. He even prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them.

Once when His disciples thought they were lost in a sudden, strong storm, Jesus walked across the sea to help them.

Jesus taught us how to live ‘the wet life.

woman by ocean

A Grandmother’s Perspective

Several times when my granddaughters were visiting me with their parents, I noticed a recognizable difference between parents and grandparents.  It had to do with the laughter coming from the bathtub when my two youngest granddaughters were supposed to be washing their hair and scrubbing their knees.

“How sweet,”  I thought, enjoying listening to their playful fun. But then. . .

“Girls, you are making too much noise.  I have a headache,” their dad called to them.

“Just get your hair washed and get in bed,” chimed in their mom.

Silence!

Then, rather sadly, I remembered times years ago when my own two little boys were having pillow fights in their bedroom, laughing instead of falling asleep.

pillowfight

”Boys, get to sleep now. It has been a very long day.  I am so tired.”  I would firmly call from my bedroom.  Usually I needed to repeat myself.

“But Mom, we are not tired.”

“Well, I am.”

Finally, silence!

Amazing how, now that I am much older, kids laughing in the evening is music to my ears.

I suspect I’m not alone in acquiring a fondness for children’s laughter later in life.

dm

The Right Power

I always look forward to those fun summer times when I am blessed to have a grandchild or two spend a week with me.  I try to stock up on ice cream, frozen pizzas, and apples to eat at our community pool.

One year stands out, though, as especially memorable.  The Sunday afternoon, just before my two preteen grandchildren and their one year old sister arrived, my lights went out.  No power, meaning no lights, air conditioning, refrigeration or television.  After checking my fuse box several times, I called Florida Power and Light.  They assured me it was not their problem. . .  it had to be mine.   But no one could identify what was my problem and our fun time was here.  Deciding to make the best of it, we went to the pool.  We ate up all the ice cream that evening.  The next day we again went to the pool, with  apples, chips and water.  We enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and crackers.  Several times that day I also called FPL but they continued to insist it was not their problem,

Vacation Bible School began at five that Monday evening.  I was a member of a very new congregation, and our church council had decided to offer a free cookout each evening, inviting families in the neighborhood to attend and meet our members.  It worked great for us as it solved our ‘no power to cook’ problem.  The food was great and all seemed to have a nice time.

The theme for their first ever week long evening Vacation Bible School was “Wonder Working Power.”  That touched home to us, for sure.  (Of course, we all sang the song, ‘Power in the Name of Jesus’, which included the words “Wonder Working Power” enthusiastically, but it meant even more to us that week.)  So every afternoon that week, we showered up with cool water after a fun day at the pool and enjoyed a cookout at Church before an exciting Vacation Bible School class.

Friday evening, my son and daughter-in-law came to watch the final program, and took my grandchildren home.   As I drove home alone, a feeling of relief overcame my loneliness, now that the grand kids were back home.  The week had gone very well.  But it was now time to face reality. Something had to be done about my electric power.

As I pulled into my subdivision, our security guard said, “There are three FPL trucks behind your house.  Evidently several of their lines broke into the wooded common grounds there.”  Finally, they realized it was their problem, not mine!  By the time I walked into my house, lights were back on, refrigerator chilling and ceiling fans cooling..

Although the children and I had a wonderful week together, it would have been nice to have our air conditioning working.  As I let the air out of the air mattresses we had used to sleep outside on the screened porch (to get a few cool breezes), I found myself singing. “There is power, power, wonder working power, in the precious blood of the Lord.”  (The kids and I had sang that catchy, peppy song all week and it was stuck in my mind.)

By now, I was really tired but very grateful the week had been fun and no one got hurt. As I climbed into bed, I thanked God for providing His mighty power in the midst of our outage.

DM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Fireworks Are Out of Sight

It was evening on July 4th several years ago.  My delightful 90 year old friend, Dorothy, had invited me to come watch fireworks from her balcony overlooking the Halifax River.  I knew she wanted company but I was taking care of my young granddaughter and had promised to take her to watch our community fireworks display.

So I asked Emily, who was five years old, if she cared if we went to be with Miss Dorothy instead of going to the big park to watch the display.  Emily liked Miss Dorothy, so agreed to go to be with her.  We all enjoyed a strawberry ice cream bar, then went out to the 5th floor deck to get ready and comfortable to watch the fireworks.

Soon we heard the sounds of fireworks, and exclamations of delight from the crowd.  But we were unable to see a thing.  We were confused because Miss Dorothy kept saying,  “I don’t understand.  We used to see them perfectly.”

It turned out that she had not watched them for several years, since her husband died.  A new building had been put up since then, that robbed the people living in the center building of their once perfect view.

As I tried to decide if there was enough time to go downstairs and walk around the south building,  Miss Dorothy told us to go ahead but she wasn’t up to going.  Then sweet Emily said, “Oh, no!  We are not going without you.”  She ran over and hugged our elderly hostess.  I was so relieved and proud of young Emily.

So we went indoors and watched Macy’s fireworks on television.  And we enjoyed a second strawberry ice cream bar with a glass of apple juice.

The next year, Emily and her baby sister went with their mom and dad to the community display.  They arrived early to get a great view.  I went to spend the evening with Miss Dorothy.  We again watched the Macy’s fireworks display.  But that year we had vanilla ice cream bars (instead of strawberry) with our apple juice.

I was reminded how we all have times when things do not go as we planned.  But time often gives us a second chance.  As has been said in Israel, “Maybe next year.”

dm

 

Remember the days of Davy Crockett . .

Crockett was an activist and accomplished many significant things during his busy life.  Though he died at 49 years of age at The Battle of The Alamo, he had previously carried out a number of patriot projects.  One wonders why the popular 1950’s Disney television series starring Fess Parker, has not been redone in recent years.  Obviously not as exciting as Wonder Woman!  Although the song stayed around for quite a while, as well as the sale of coonskin hats for children.

One memorable incident in Crockett’s life was receiving a formal letter of thanks from a Cherokee Indian Chief.  While he did fight to protect families from Indian attacks, he also at times defended their rights to land.  Crockett was very opposed to President Jackson’s actions to take away land from the Native Americans through his controversial Indian Removal Act.  Future president, Abraham Lincoln and Crockett spoke out to the U.S. congress against the Indian Removal Act.  Crockett also wrote a letter to President Jackson. In Crockett’s  Narrative of the Life of  David Crockett, he clearly stated his disturbance.  I believe it was a wicked, unjust measure. . . I voted against this Indian bill, and my conscience yet tells me that I gave a good honest vote, and one that I believe will not make me ashamed in the day of judgement.

   Crockett insisted the word “republican” be inserted in an oath of allegiance document he and others took to the “Provisional Government of Texas”.  Crockett felt Texas was the best land and best prospects for health he had ever seen and intended to relocate his family to the San Antonio area.  Sadly, before he could do that, Crockett was killed in the Texas Revolution at the Battle of the Alamo. 

Although not many may realize it today, Davey Crockett was ashamed of how his own president so readily discarded the Native Americans from their own land.

 

Discerning Whether Or Not To Give Empathy…

 

We should be careful not to choose to give a mini-sermon to a friend or family member when they are longing for a kind word.  People sometimes share incidents that discourage or upset them. While they may be hoping for an understanding response,  sometimes we hit them with a totally unsympathetic response.  They then feel even more discouraged.

It may very well be that the painful incident was brought about because of their own careless words or behavior. A gentle word brings healing. At the right time, a word of advice may be welcomed and even appreciated.

Often, well meaning family members or friends are too quick to point out a fault of yours that they believe caused the incident.  Right or wrong, it doesn’t help a bit but actually causes deeper pain and discouragement.  Recently a very painful situation came back to my mind, not because of the hurt but because a person in my aerobic dance class said a simple but kind thing to me. Here it is, thirty five years later and I still remember it as a healing balm that brought tears to my eyes. It restored my soul.

So, next time we are tempted to react to someone’s report of a disappointment, let our first words be kind and gentle.   We can later help them sort out the situation.  It is always possible they were unfairly accused or lost a promotion through no fault of their own.   And if it was due to their own attitude or negligent behavior, there are ways to help them figure it out for themselves.  Or perhaps they already know but are upset and frustrated with their own mistakes.

If we take a few minutes to meditate on this, chances are an incident will come to  mind.  I doubt the woman in my aerobic dance class remembers her kind words, even though several times in the next few weeks I did tell her how they helped me.

We tend to focus on the negative rather than appreciate the “good advice” we have received. Therefore I have made up my mind to keep my comments encouraging.

dm

 

 

Is it Ethical to Slant Truth in Journalism?

Years ago, most reporters sincerely attempted to “tell the truth” as they covered their assignments.  That was when I was young, very many years ago.  I studied various journalists and especially respected Adele Rogers St John. Her informative reports on various events and trials were interesting and educational.  I may have disagreed at times with her perspective but I never considered her to be presenting “fake news.”

old man reading news-journal-50307088

Discerning what is true and what is not, robs sincere searchers of their time and effort.  Now I “pick and choose” what I really “need to know” and manage to get along without knowing as much as I would prefer to know.  Truly a sad state of affairs when I can no longer be a “know it all. ”  LOL!          dm

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