Friday’s List – Ticket to Ride

I shared earlier this week a new game my husband and I have discovered and that we love. The game is so popular there are many different versions.

https://barblaneblog.com/2022/11/23/from-one-addiction-to-another/

If you are interested, check out one – or two – or more of these.

  1. Ticket to Ride (original version)
  2. Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails
  3. Ticket to Ride Europe
  4. Ticket to Ride Heart of Africa
  5. Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries
  6. Ticket to Ride India
  7. Ticket to Ride Germany
  8. Ticket to Ride Asia
  9. Ticket to Ride France
  10. Ticket to Ride Poland

And there are more. Twenty-seven versions.

From One Addiction to Another

For those of you who have followed my blog for awhile you know how much my husband and I love to play Scrabble. I have referred to it as an addiction.

Confessions of a Scrabble Addict!

My children say when I die instead of a visitation, they will have a Scrabble tournament. Sounds great to me. Too bad I will not be able to take part in the competition.

However, Scrabble has a rival in our love of games now with a board game we recently discovered.

Ticket to Ride is a board game created by Alan R Moon. The game publisher Days of Wonder first offered this game in 2004. It has grown to be one of the most popular board games in the world selling more than eight million copies all over the world.

The original version shows a map of the USA and southern Canada. Each player has a set of plastic trains and starts out with four cards that show train cars in different colors. When it is your turn you can add more cards to your hand or claim a route on the map. In order to claim a route, you must have enough cards of the same color as the track.

Each time you claim a route you are given points – the longer the route, the more points. This continues until one player has two or less train tokens left. The player with the most points win. To add interest to it, the player with the longest continuous train gets extra points.

The original game was a map of the USA but the game has become so popular that there are multiple versions of the game. You can now play it online, on your iPad or on Xbox. Although the basic concept is the same in each game, there are variations for each game that make it each one unique and keep it interesting.

We currently have:

Original Ticket to Ride (USA and Canada)

Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails (two-sided board with the world on one side and the Great Lakes on the other.) Since we live in Michigan, we love the Great Lakes side.

Our latest addition is Ticket to Ride the Heart of Africa

While this new game does add variety to our game nights and perhaps helps to keep our old age brains working, it is doubtful that it can totally take the place of Scrabble. We have had a long-term love affair with that game. We celebrated reaching 1000 games in 2020 – and while we continue to keep a record of our scores, I doubt we will ever make it to another 1000 games (since I am 74 and my husband is 82.)

If you are looking for a fun board game for yourself or for a Christmas present, I can recommend one of the many different versions of this interesting game.

Extravagant Worship

My Bible reading this week included this story and I was going to write about it – then I remembered I had posted a blog on this about 3 years ago. So – here I go sharing it again.

Grandma's Ramblings

worship.jpg

My devotion today told the story of the woman who anointed Jesus with costly perfume as he sat at dinner with his disciples. Her action was criticized by those who thought it was money that could have been better spent on the poor.

Jesus responded that she had done a beautiful thing and this act was in preparation for His death. He also added that this wherever the Gospel was told this woman’s story would be included.

According to the Gospels, this was not a cheap jar of perfume purchased at the local storefront.

Matthew referred to it as “an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment.” Mark called it “an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly.” John says it was “an expensive ointment made from pure nard.”

Researching the fragrance “nard” it appears it would probably have been imported from India and according to the complaint of…

View original post 359 more words

View From the Parsonage

(This was my first post when I started my blog. Revisiting it still makes me laugh. Hope it will you also.)

For many years I was a pastor’s wife.  In many ways, it was a blessing for which I am thankful.  What a privilege to be allowed into the lives of families at those very joyous times:  weddings, baby dedications, graduations, anniversaries.  I have enjoyed providing the music for many a bride to walk down the aisle.

It was also an honor to share with families at those sad times:  deaths, divorce, sickness.  While “enjoy” is probably not the right word to use, I have felt blessed to provide music for the funeral of many a dear saint.

What a joy to share God’s Word in a class with the children or young adults and to see that moment when their eyes light up with understanding, to watch them grow in their walk with the Lord!

But if I am honest, I must admit that there are also times when being a pastor’s wife felt anything BUT a privilege and honor.  Times when I wanted to run from the parsonage and say, “I quit!”  It’s hard to hear your husband criticized and hold your tongue.  Frustrating when you have planned a date night, are all dressed up and about to walk out the door only to have it cancelled because someone in the congregation calls and needs your husband.  Or, you are just about to sit down to a family meal when the phone rings – and off he goes.  There were times I wanted to pull the phone out of the wall.

But along the way, I have had moments when I wanted to laugh!  Some silly and funny times.  I always said when my husband retired, I was going to write a book about “The View from the Parsonage.”

Well, there’s no book – but I certainly want to share some funny stories in my blog.  I promised my husband –

the names will be changed to protect the innocent – and the guilty.

For now, let me just share with you some thoughts –

You might be a pastor’s wife if:

  • You’ve ever had a church board hand you a job description with no attached salary package.
  • You are the secretary at the church.
  • You are not the secretary at the church, but people assume you are.
  • You think about burning down the church if that would give you more time with your pastor.
  • You used communion cups to serve your grandchildren orange juice.
  • People automatically assume you know the inside scoop on everything going on at church…and you do…but your lips must remain sealed.
  • You are expected to attend 2 baby showers, 3 birthday parties, 2 weddings and 1 graduation in a month (and, of course, brings gifts for each one).
  • You’ve ever had someone angry with you because you sent a card, but didn’t come to see them.
  • You’ve ever had someone angry with you because you came to see them, but didn’t send a card.
  • Your house sometimes feels like an extension of the church with all the traffic it gets.
  • Your husband always knows someone or someone always know him, everywhere you go.
  • Your husband is constantly excited to tell you something else he’s learned…and you struggle to remain as enthusiastic as you wish you could be.
  • You get roped into proof-reading or listening to the rough drafts of sermons…all the time.
  • You’ve resigned yourself to the fact that there will always be more books that your husband will want but will never read…but will buy anyway.
  • You could pay off your house if you just sold all the Bibles laying around the place.

There will be more stories to come!  Believe me, I have plenty.

If you read this and are a pastor’s wife, I would love to hear from you – to hear some of your stories!

Friday’s List – Thankfulness

Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving. As I began reflecting on my many blessings and making a list of things to be grateful for, I realized we often mention the “big” ones (which we should) like knowing Jesus Christ or our family. Then I thought how often we just take much for granted without stopping to be grateful. Things that are “small” in and of themselves, but that add so much to our life.

So, here’s my 10 things I am thankful for this year.

  1. The freshly fallen snow outside my patio window.
  2. The birds gathered around the birth bath.
  3. The sound of the children’s laughter playing next door.
  4. The leftover chocolate bar I found in my daughter’s collection of Halloween candy. (Don’t tell her I took it.)
  5. The smell of clean sheets taken from the dryer.
  6. Holding my husband’s hand under the covers as I drift off to sleep.
  7. Finding reruns of the Flip Wilson show on YouTube.
  8. The smell of the apple pie as it comes from the oven.
  9. Texts I get with pictures of great grandchildren who live in other states.
  10. My Amazon package bringing me more coffee from around the world.

As I look at this list I realize it reflects the many “big” blessings for which I am thankful. Eyes that can see, ears that can hear, the ability to taste and smell. Family. Finances enough to be able to have food, entertainment, a home.

How often do I just take those things for granted.

This week my prayer is:

Lord, thank you for my eyesight and the beauty I can see each day; for my hearing and the joy of my family’s voices, the music and the bird’s songs; all my senses that help me experience and enjoy the world you have made. Thank you for being able to get out of bed each morning, dress myself and take care of my needs. Thank you for my every breath that keeps me alive. For the love of family and friends which make life worth living. Thank you for another day of life. One more day to love and be loved. One more day to laugh and maybe even cry. One more day to know You better.

And may my gratitude not be a momentary thing as we approach Thanksgiving, but may I be more aware of all my blessings each and every day. Amen.

Want Eternal Life?

A rich young ruler came to Jesus with an important question: “What can I do to inherit eternal life?”

Depending on what religious background you come from, there could be different answers.

Some religions reject the very idea of “eternal life” and believe your spirit will live on in some form or another and that reincarnation depends on how you lived in the present life.

Other religions believe you inherit eternal life by the good deeds you do in this life.

Christianity is unique in stating there is nothing we can do to inherit eternal life, but that it is a free gift given by faith in Jesus Christ.

Yet, when we look at this young man’s encounter with Jesus, the answer Jesus gave seems to imply we do inherit eternal life by what we do.

Jesus told him “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Is Jesus saying that we are saved by obeying the commandments? What about the verses that declare we are saved by grace and not by our own efforts?

When the young man asked Jesus exactly what commandments he should keep, Jesus recited six of the ten commandments. The young man informed Jesus that he had kept all these commandments all his life, but then asked, “What do I still lack?”

The rich young ruler was confident of his goodness. Still, he apparently recognized that something was missing. He had been honest and truthful. He had kept himself pure from sinful deeds. So what did he lack?

Jesus saw that this young man was leading a selfish life. He had not cheated anyone, but he had also not been willing to share his riches to help others. He lacked the love of God for others.

Jesus was pointing out the one area where the man did not fulfill the Law. If inheriting eternal life meant giving up his wealth, he was not willing to do that. His love of wealth became the obstacle to his following Jesus. His love of money prevented him from obeying the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love you neighbor as yourself.”

Today many look at this story and say that only applied to this young man because Jesus knew the young man’s heart was focused on money. He would never ask us to sell all we have and give to the poor.

Probably not. But I think the lesson for us is to examine our own heart. Is there anything we want to hold on for ourselves and not surrender to the Lord. Maybe it is our money. Are we generous with the financial blessings we have been given? Do we spend it all on ourselves or reach out to the needy in our community? Maybe it is our time. Are we willing to turn off the TV and spend some time in prayer and God’s Word. Or give up that nap we had planned and go visit someone who is lonely and in need of encouragement. Maybe it is our talent. Do we seek how we can use the God-given abilities to not enjoy ourselves but to help someone else? Bake that cake for a neighbor, knit a scarf for the homeless, play music to the elderly in the nursing homes.

Eternal life is a gift from God. But we need to make sure that there is nothing that stands between us and a love for God that puts Him first, others second and then ourselves.

Is there anything I lack? Lord, show me.

Friday’s List – Honoring Our Veterans

In honor of those who have faithfully served our country.

My father who served with the Navy in the Pacific during WW II. My mother was left at home to care for three small children. (I was not born until after the war.)

My first husband who was with the USMC in Vietnam. Wounded while there, he earned the Purple Heart and was given 10% disability for problems from his injuries there. Sadly, when he came home, he was met with protesters who called him “baby killer.” After he was discharged from the USMC, we came home with a USMC sticker on our car. One night in St. Louis we were followed by a car full of young people yelling obscenities at us. It was a scary time. He survived Vietnam and then was killed in an accident working on our car in our front yard. He never lived to see the Vietnam vets finally given some respect. I hate that!

My second husband is a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He served in Thailand, France and Germany overseas and in Texas and California here at home.

My two sons (stepsons but still mine) also served in the USAF. The oldest one was disabled as a result of his time in the service. He was a disabled veteran who died over seven years ago.

The youngest served at the Pentagon while in the USAF.

Our Father’s Love

Reading this week a familiar parable Jesus told about the prodigal son that took his part of the heritage of his father and then proceeded to waste it away on careless living. The Bible says “when he came to his senses” he went back home to ask his father to just let him be a servant.

It is a very familiar story to anyone who has ever attended church or read the Bible. Being so familiar, I truthfully began to read over it quickly.

But this time something caught my eye.

The scripture says that the father saw his son “when he was a great way off.” Imagine the father every day going out to the road and looking down the path in hopes of seeing his son returning home. Imagine every evening before retiring for the day, taking another look down the road. Hoping, praying to see his son coming home.

The days, weeks, maybe years of disappointment as his glances show no sign of his son. But he never gave up. He kept looking, hoping, expecting an answer to his prayer.

As I read that this week, I thought of those who I am praying for. Loved ones, friends who have walked away from fellowship with others – some out of hurt, some out of misunderstanding, some out of losing sight of a relationship with God.

Honestly sometimes I lose hope that they will ever return. But this parable reminded me that I must remain faithful in praying, expecting and never stop looking down the road to see them returning home to God.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Friday’s List of Quotes – from our Founding Fathers

As election time draws near, I often wonder what the founders of our nation would think about the people we have become.

  1. The God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God….Thomas Jefferson (This from a man who went through his Bible and cut out all the things he did not agree with. )
  2. We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalianable rights; that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness….Thomas Jefferson (All men – not women. And while saying all men, he continued to hold black men and women as slaves.)
  3. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased as the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!….Patrick Henry (How ironic. Give me liberty or give me death and talk of slavery while he owned slaves and would deny them the right to declare – give me liberty or give me death.)
  4. I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever….Thomas Jefferson
  5. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society…..George Washington
  6. And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. …James Madison
  7. We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States…..George Washington
  8. No sooner has one party discovered or invented an amelioration of the condition of man or the order of society, than the opposite party belies it, misrepresents it, ridicules it, insults it and persecutes it….John Adams
  9. Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths … A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking….James Madison, Federalist Papers No. 10.
  10. Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos….John Marshall

Words to Build a Life On

Although I wrote this 8 years ago, it is still true today.

Grandma's Ramblings

DSCF0001
When I was a young girl just learning to read, my primary storybook was the Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible for Young and Old.  Originally published in 1904 it was the complete Bible story including the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Unlike most of today’s Bible Storybooks for children, this book was a continuous narrative of the Scriptures told in one hundred sixty-eight stories.  I loved reading about the Old Testament characters – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samuel and King David.  While other children of my generation read books about Dick and Jane that said,

See Spot run!

I was busy reading about the prophet Samuel who said,

Is the Lord as well pleased with offerings as He is with obeying His words?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen to God’s word is more precious than to place offerings on His altar.

Today I am an avid and…

View original post 1,067 more words