Monday, February 19, 2007

Respect Your Elders

In most of the civilized world, Grandparents are highly respected and cared for. They do not get put into nursing homes, ignored, or treated as a nuisance. In the United States of America, it is all to common to see the elderly treated with disrespect and contempt. The irony of it all is that unless we die young...we will all be the elderly one day. We are training the next generation by setting the example. How are we training them to care for us?

I have a neighbor who lives a lone. She cannot drive. She has children. Where are they? She depends on her church and neighbors to help meet her needs. Unless invited by a neighbor who wants to be blessed with her company, she would spend Christmas alone. She is funny and entertaining to have around. She's kind and generous.

America, home of the free and the brave....

How free are the elderly? How much courage does it take to care for them? To treat them with respect? To love them?

It is their generation that fought in the wars that have kept us free. It is by their hands we were housed, fed, clothed, cared for in sickness and loved even when we were not loveable. Our parents and grandparents pray(ed) for us. It was Mom and Grandma who wiped our noses, changed our diapers, cleaned our home, and kissed our injuries to make them better. It is our fathers and grandfathers who worked to put food on the table, provide a home, cuddled us in their laps, and held us when we were frightented. They were our caregivers, our protectors. When they are old, shouldn't that be seen as an opportunity to do for them as they have done for us? Shouldn't we consider it a blessing to do for them what they can no longer do for themselves? How do we show our appreciation?

In other countries the elderly live at home with their children. They are the most respected individuals in the house....not here in the home of the free and the brave. We're too busy trying to live the American dream...big career, power, possessions, fame and fortune. The pioneer days of yesterday have turned into the entrepreneur days of today. It is much to common to find those who brought us to where we are, locked away in some nursing home...forgotten, mistreated, neglected, and/or abused.

This is the destiny of my generation and of my children's...the destiny we have created for ourselves. It is a destiny that we can change. But are we willing? Do we have the courage? Can we just stop thinking of our own prosperity that will die with us and start thinking of those who made it possible?

These are God's instructions (take note that "if" is not present in either quote):

"Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD." (Lev. 19:32 NIV).

"Honor your father and your mother....." (Exodus 20:12).

This is how we love God.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Mountain

MountainThat's me at the top of this mountain in the Badlands when I visited there nine years ago. Yep, I climbed up there all by myself and then I struck a celebratory "woohooo!" pose while my friend T took the picture.

The thing about being on top of the mountain is that I worked really hard to get there. I was "woohoooing", but only after huffing and puffing for a few minutes after reaching the summit. It was no Mt. Everest, but as you can see, it was a ways up there and was a physically exhausting endeavor.

While on top of the mountain, I could look out and see for miles and miles. I could see all around me and I felt invincible! With the wind blowing up there, it felt as though I was soaring, as free as an eagle!

I've been on a spiritual mountain too. It felt great to be there. Just like a mountain on earth, I was raised above the valley below and could only look down, leaving troubles behind. I felt invincible! Being on a spiritual mountain is a great high...a spiritual high, and it is there I felt closest to God.

But, I could not have made it to either summit, spiritual or earthly, without trekking through the valleys. There is no way to make it to the peak without walking through the valley. It is the valley that allows us to experience the mountain, and appreciate it.

You know, the deeper the valley, the higher the mountain.

I'm longing to visit that mountaintop again. To enjoy the view, the "invincibility", the freedom. I must begin my climb again...with my mind's eye focused straight ahead, and my gear: Bible, prayer and worship. God has been carrying me through the valley, and He will raise me up again! Please, Lord, hear my prayer!
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G'ma & G'pa

Grandma and Grandpa.

I miss them.

I have that lamp and table in my home now. I remember that lamp in the window of their house in Canton, OH. (This is a picture of them in their apartment after Grandpa became too ill to stay in their large house.) Grandma's organ was to the left in the corner, and Grandpa's recliner to the right. He took many a nap after dinner in that chair.

It was so warm there. Comfortable and warm.

When I look at the lamp that is now in my home, I remember Grandma and Grandpa with all the love they and my family warmed their house with.

Yep, I sure do miss them.
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Friday, February 09, 2007

What Mystery?

Anna Nicole Smith
The Drudge Report pasted this headline across it's page, about the death of Anna Nicole Smith and calls it a "mystery". What mystery I ask?

Anna Nicole Smith Dead At 39

Ummm, this woman abused her body for years and the only mystery to me is how she lasted 39 years at all.

What exactly did she accomplish with her life on this planet?

She "respected" herself and her body enough to be a Playboy playmate.

She was a jeans model and starved herself and probably drugged herself in order to maintain the "perfect weight" and physique for that job, I'm sure. Unfortunately, she had trouble maintaining her weight and rode the rollercoaster between obese and thin quite often.

She married a very wealthy and VERY elderly man and surprise! Became a VERY wealthy widow and from the looks of her lifestyle, never really learned the value of a dollar.

Her son recently and tragically sufferd a drug related death, and one would have to wonder if his upbringing influenced his tendency and dependency on drugs. After all, his mother was the butt of many jokes, and made herself that way by showing up in public, even as a presenter on an awards show, obviously under the influence of some mind altering drug.

Anna Nicole Smith's life was a tragedy.

The real tragedy though isn't her physical death, it is the fact that Anna Nicole Smith was spiritually dead.

She never ever experienced living.

There are too many Anna Nicole Smith's out there in this world. They are the walking dead.

Christians! Wake up! Look around! See the dead! They are what you once were! Share what you know about the giver of Life!

John 10:9-11 (New International Version)

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

Too many people in this life attempt to find fullfillment in things; the thief uses looks, possessions, status, etc. What happens when people look good? Anna Nicole Smith looked good, did she find fullfillment in that?

Anna Nicole Smith had lots of stuff, she obviously wasn't fullfilled in that because she kept trying to alter her mind into a different reality.

She had status, she was a superstar celebrity, and that didn't seem to bring her fullness of life.

Looks, possessions and status may bring satisfaction for a little while, but that wears off. In fact, my bet is that once many people acheive a certain level of success, they eventually wonder why they still feel somewhat unsatisfied.

No, the only thing that brings fullfillment to a life is Jesus Christ and grasping (to the best of our finite ability) the role we have in God's plan as He reveals it. Talk about a mystery!

It bloggles the mind!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


This is a hypothetical conversation between the "afflicted" and "caretaker".

"Ok, here are the symptoms."

"Right, ok, now do this...any better?"


"Well, then, try this."

"No, still not better. In fact, it may be worse."

"Oh, well, that's not good. In that case, try this. It works sometimes."

"Ugh, it is still no better and I'm a lot more frustrated."

"These things sometimes take time. What are the symptoms again?"


"If we could only find the cause."

"Yes, if only."

Funny, (not in a ha ha sort of way, but in a coincidental-bizarre-unfortunate way!) how similar a conversation Katie has with her doctor sounds an awful like the chats I've been having with tech support lately.