Thursday, February 9, 2017

Toothaches and Sin

This is the daily devotion that I wrote and was published as part of our church's daily devotion ministry. Don't ask me how I know so much about toothaches and sin. :-)


A gift from Kris Baker, Order of St. Francis and St. Clare at #cohdallas, a United Church of Christ congregation, today's devotional is based on the following scripture :

Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer. James 1:15 The Message (MSG)

A Word of Hope 
Today is National Toothache Day, a seemingly odd thing to celebrate. Have you ever had a toothache? If you haven't, count your blessings! If you have, this scenario may sound familiar. Occasionally when hot or cold food or beverage touches your tooth, you feel a slight tinge of discomfort. You ignore it for awhile. When the discomfort becomes a little more persistent, you make a conscious effort to eat or drink on the other side of your mouth so as not to aggravate the untoward tooth. Eventually, the pain becomes incessant. You try to end-run it with some OTC pain-killers, all the while never stopping to think about what is really causing so much pain in your mouth. Then the inevitable wake up in the middle of the night (I don't know why it is ALWAYS the middle of the night!) in unbearable pain. Nothing will even dull it, let alone stop it. You count the hours, second by second, until you can call the dentist and plead with him or her to make the pain go away right now!! By this point, you don't care by what means this happens...drill, pull the tooth, cut off your head...just do something, anything to make this excruciating pain go away. Morning finally comes and you make the call to the dentist; the receptionist says, "Good morning. How can I help you?...I can get you in next week on Friday."

We treat sin in much the same way that we treat a toothache. We ignore the slight twinges of pain caused by our lusting. We find ways to justify our less than healthy attitudes and behaviors even when we know that there is something not right. "It was just a little sin."  We think that we are in control...until that dreadful moment in the middle of that dark night, when sin reaches adulthood and, as James writes, "becomes a real killer."

The good news is that we don't have to wait until morning to call for help. And no receptionist will offer us a ridiculously long wait for an appointment. God answers our calls 24/7. Once we name our sin (admit that the pain of the toothache is too much for us to bear on our own), unlike the dentist, God is immediately available and ready to relieve our pain. The treatment is always the same...forgiveness and God's unconditional love, freely given to us.

Holy God, I bring to you a heart broken and hurting because of my sins. Please help me. Please heal me. Please hold me. Amen

Sunday, February 5, 2017

About the Pot

I ordered a new pot last week...a four quart dutch oven.  I'm not sure why I ordered a new dutch oven other than it was on sale and it is a pretty blue.  I don't have a dutch oven and I make a lot of meals that could be prepared in a dutch oven, but I do have lots of sauce pans and stew pots that have served me quite well up until now, so I could have easily done without a new blue four quart dutch oven.  But I don't have to do without because now I have one.

Okay.  I fell prey to a sale email.

The pot is enameled cast iron made by France.  Not that it matters, but I think staub is the German word for "dust."  I don't know what that has to do with cookware made in France, but whatever.  I'm just easily amused and entertain myself pondering such inconsequential things.

My new pot is quite pretty!

Just in case you don't believe that it was made in France, it tells you so right on the lid.

And I don't know what the Nike swooshes have to do with a dutch oven made in France...maybe a new ad campaign...Just Cook It!  Who knows?  This pot was becoming more entertaining by the minute.

Then I saw this:

Apparently this pot requires an instruction manual, a 100 page instruction manual!  How can that be?The pot has no cords, or dials, and doesn't even require an app to use it.  
And to further confuse things, this!

These 100 pages are the mini manual!  If this is the mini manual, I wonder what the maxi one looks like!  Forget that.  Let's start with what's in the mini manual.  

Relief!  The manual contains information in nine different languages so the required information for use only encompasses ten pages per lanuguage and within those ten pages, there are lots of pictures.  But still...

The manual begins with some history about the Staub company and then moves to an explanation of their unique manufacturing process.  Interesting, maybe even a little bit fascinating if you are sucked in by reading about resistance to thermal shocks and majolique enamels.  I did learn that the Nike swooshes aren't really Nike swooshes; they are "spikes"to help with humidity retention and even basting.  Just Baste It!

The important stuff, which is the same important stuff they tell you when you purchase almost any new pot can be condensed into about four sentences.
  1. Wash with warm water, dry, and season with a light coat of oil before using.
  2. Use either wooden or silicone utensils only.
  3. Use a pot holder when handling and do not place hot pot on unprotected surface.
  4. Do not use abrasive cleansers or sponges to clean and do not put pot in the dishwasher.
Pretty much common sense.

I should not make fun of these instructions.  They assume a far greater level of intelligence than do such instructions as the one included with a hairdryer that says, "Do not use while sleeping."  Or, "Do not iron clothes while on body." as instructed in the manual to a Rowenta iron.  

It does seem to me that all of the necessary information needed to successfully use my new pot could have been contained on a concisely written single page, even a mini single page.  And even if all nine languages must be included, still a mere nine pages.  But, because booklets must be constructed in multiples of four for pagination purposes, this leaves three pages available for a nice cover, some pictures, and space to print the company's web address so that I can go there to read all about the company's history and manufacturing process on my computer in something larger than 5 or 6 point type!

All that said, the first meal that I made in my new pot was a hearty vegetable beef soup and it was delicious!  It cooked and simmered beautifully.  Yeah, I do like my new pot very much!

And as per the instructions, I used a wooden spoon!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On A Somewhat Positive Note

A friend recently texted to ask if I was OK because I haven't posted here in the last week.  I am as OK as anyone is who is sad and angry about what is happening in this country right now.  I have not written because all I had to write about were things that I didn't want to write about.  Lol!  More words about discrimination, families being torn apart, innocent people being treated like criminals, power and money prevailing over wisdom and service are not needed.   I have chosen to keep quiet.  I remember learning that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  I don't always adhere to that teaching, but I have in the last week.

And now I have some more uplifting things to share...

The first month of 2017 in pictures.  Its hard to believe that we are 31 days into the new year already.

And, today's post from Sifted Together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Looking for Inspiration

I am kind of in a creative slump right now, but I keep on keeping on, trying to work myself out of it. One thing that always helps is seeing this sweet little face...even when this face is up in my face at 3am because it needs to go outside.  No matter what she does, it is impossible to get upset with Piper because she is such a happy and lovable little girl.

Today's Capture Your 365 prompt was open.  You know you are still in the slump when you take a photo of an outhouse as a daily photo.  Lol!  But, as the quote says, you never know where you will find inspiration.

I will also share here the link to my Tuesday in Texas post on Sifted Together.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Nature of Things

There is so much going on in this world right now that is not pretty that for the last few days, I have tried to stay away from the media, searching elsewhere for alternate truths. :-)  It hasn't been easy, but even in the midst of winter, the natural world is still full of beauty; it and my camera provided just the diversion that I needed!

Seeing the movie Lion on Friday evening and the musical 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Saturday night rounded out the weekend's retreat from reality.

Oh, and a trip to the Lego Store!

Tomorrow it's back to the real world.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

One Down, Fifteen To Go

Week one of the Spring 2017 semester is over.  Let me just say that re-entry was tough!  Though I never really slept late over the holiday break, I was not up any day at 5:30 like I have been every day this week.  This adjustment to my morning alarm would have been much more tolerable if I had made a similar adjustment to my bedtime, if it also had moved three hours earlier.  I missed that step.  The result?  Three hours less sleep every night followed by a full day of work.  This definitely was not a good combination!!!  On the bright side...I have a great group of students.  Except for one...

Why is there always one person in every situation that upsets the chi?  One person who doesn't want to play by the rules.  One person who has to be in the spotlight all of the time.  One person who spends all of their energy trying to figure out how to beat the system rather than how to succeed within it.  Right now, my tolerance for such behavior is bordering on non-existent.  This may be because in almost every circumstance in which I find myself these days, not just at school, "this" person exists.  Perhaps it is all just some cruel learning experience that the universe is foisting upon me.

Dear Universe,  
I am too tired for this lesson right now!  Can we please wait until I am getting more than four or five hours of sleep at night to start this?  I will be a much better student then.  Thank you for your consideration.

In all seriousness,  I really do have a great deal of patience with those who are sincere, genuine, humble, compassionate, humorous,  a hard worker and responsible.  Conversely, I have zero tolerance for insincere, fake, arrogant, hurtful, mean, lazy, and irresponsible people.  Yes, I know we all have moments where we are not our best selves; however, for most of us, such instances are infrequent.  My rant here is directed toward those whose normal modus operandi is to consistently put themselves first, never considering how their actions and attitudes affect those around them.  Sadly, there are more people like this than I wish there were.  And right now, they all seem to be too close for comfort.

The best I can do when my final nerve has been stepped on is to put myself in time-out.  Some alone time with my camera, or a book, or my knitting will usually calm me down and help me to gain perspective and patience.  But not always...

This afternoon, I had camera time and knitting time.  This time to chill out made me fit to spend time in public having dinner with some close friends,  people who are good and thus are capable of restoring my faith in humanity.

A good ending to my day.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Body - 1: Mind - 0

I made healthy food choices today, which my body greatly appreciated, but it is not at all happy  with the "sleep diet" that has been imposed now that I am back in school.  Though my mind would like to tackle a few things on my need/want to-do list tonight, the body said, "NOOOOO!!!!"  For once, I am paying attention.  No mind over matter.