A Time for Self-Assessment

Dr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, asked four questions about blogging.  She calls the questions “retrospective introspection.”  Reading your own work, she says, is sometimes called a form of narcissism but she thinks a better description might be self-evaluation or self-assessment.

With that in mind, I have responded to her questions.

Here are her four questions:

How old is your current blog/website? 

Do you ever look back at your site i.e. read through your old posts?

How long ago did you update your about page ?

If you were to start a new blog today, what would you do differently?

 

And my answers:

I started my blog in October 2014 but never really was consistent in regular posts until last year.

Occasionally I will look back for a particular blog when I am posting again on a similar topic.

Five months ago I updated the picture of me.  I was a redhead and after losing all my hair from cancer I still wore a red wig.  After turning 71 I decided it was time to go with grey so I updated my picture then.

I would be more consistent with my posts.  Since I became more consistent in 2019 my response has been much better – gaining more followers and getting more comments to my posts.  I would engage more with other bloggers.  Since I have started doing that I have made some great friends and have enjoyed hearing/seeing other places/countries and enjoying other viewpoints.

Check our her website at:  https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/

Today is His Last Chance

Those of you who have followed my posts for awhile know that my husband and I are Scrabble addicts.  We play with a super scrabble board.  It has more spaces for words than a regular Scrabble board and 200 tiles instead of 100.

We have kept a record of our scores since 2008 and are very competitive.

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As we come to the last day of 2019 I am one game ahead of my husband.  He is determined to end this year with a tie between us as we did last year.

So this evening we will play our last game of the year.

If he wins and we end in a tie – all is well.

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I did it!

But if I win – I will end the year two games ahead.

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Champion!!!!

Of course, you know I’m rooting to win and be the champion for 2019.  However, if the last two games are any indication of how it will go – I’m nervous.   Most of the time our scores are very close but the last two games he has not only won but beat me by over 150 points.  NO!

In our game last night he had three seven-letter words.  For those of you who don’t play Scrabble playing all of your letters in one turn adds 50 extra points to your score.  NO!

The game tonight will be our 829th game since we started keeping scores.  This year we played 136 games.  My husband has figured out that if we play 171 games in 2020 we will reach 1000 games.

So – while I am sure I will at some point today or tomorrow be more serious about goals for 2020 – for now that seems like a worthy goal.

Think we can make it to 1000 games in the coming year?

Think I can win the game tonight and be the champion?

We still see.

For all my readers, Happy New Year!  May the coming year bring you God’s peace and joy!

 

 

 

Where Are the Peace Makers?

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.  

Those words are from Jesus as He spoke to the crowds about what it meant to be a part of the kingdom of God.

Where are the peace makers?

We are so divided as a nation today. So many divisions.

  • Democrat vs. Republican
  • liberal vs conservative
  • Trump is “God’s Anointed” vs Trump is evil
  • CNN’s version of news vs Fox’s version
  • pro-abortion vs. pro-life
  • “We need more gun control” vs. “You ain’t taking my gun!”

These divisions in and of themselves are not wrong.  That has been one of the more amazing benefits of being an American.  Freedom to think – and to speak – as you feel.  May that freedom always be.

But over the past few years there has entered a very ugly element in our conversations.

Growing up in the America of the 50’s and 60’s it seemed to me when people disagreed the attitude toward the other party was basically ‘ “you are wrong, you don’t have all the facts, your logic is faulty .”  But there remained an element of respect for the person with the different opinion.

Today it seems when two sides disagree there is no debate on the reasoning behind the different opinions.  There is no trying to understand where the other person is coming from.

The answer to disagreement now is to call the other person names.  Names that imply the other person is stupid – or even worse – evil.

I grant you when I find myself debating an issue with someone sometimes that thought of “stupid” or “evil” does enter my mind also.

But what bothers  me is how Christians are falling prey to that temptation to call those with whom they disagree names and belittle them instead of debating the actual issues.

I see it so much on Facebook when a controversial post is made.  How quickly the two sides end up not really debating the actual issue itself but saying the other person is “crazy” or “evil.”

What ever happened to the peace makers?

No matter what the “other side” does or says, as Christians we must remember who we claim to follow.

Years ago there was a saying “WWJD”  (what would Jesus do).   It got a little overused, but I wonder if we should not revive it.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In the volatile political season coming on us as we enter into the 2020 election, may I ask my fellow Christians please remember that Jesus said the sign of a true disciple was not which side of the political fence they walked, but rather was

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

By all means share your opinions, your ideas, vote as you please, but remember that Jesus died for liberals and conservatives.  He loves Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi both – as much as He loves you!

And also remember Jesus said:
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800 Games and Still Counting

If you follow my blog you know my husband and I are avid Scrabble players.  Very competitive, we started keeping a record of the scores of our games in 2008.  We laugh that we are actually addicted to the game.

My Addiction has Returned

Thankfully we are evenly matched.  It would be no fun if one of us was much better than the other.  We go back and forth on winning the games.  Usually we are never more than one or two games apart.  A few years ago my husband actually pushed way ahead of me with a seven game lead.  I was so discouraged as I did not know how I would ever catch up with him again.  (Do you think losing too many games of Scrabble to your husband would be good grounds for a divorce?)

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Some of our kids bought us a Super Scrabble board a few years ago.  The board has more squares to play on and twice the number of letter tiles as the regular Scrabble game.  We have used it so much that it is falling apart.  We have it taped together but have agreed for our Christmas gift we will purchase a new one next month.  We also need a good Scrabble dictionary as our present one is falling apart.

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This week we played our 800th game.  After eleven years that is roughly 73 games a year or 6 games a month.  Since I did not retire until 2013 we are actually playing more games each month now.  Winter finds us playing more games as we hate going out in the snow and cold.  Summer finds us making road trips so the games take a back seat for a few weeks.

When we played that 800th game I was two games ahead of my husband and he was really hoping to win the game.  I beat him and that put me three games ahead for the eleven years we have kept score.

He threatened to never play again.  But he was only joking as I often whine when I get behind more than two games that I do not want to play any more.

In the 800 games played we have actually tied three games.  When I told one friend of how close our games are she felt one of us was just being nice and letting the other one win to keep our scores close.  However, she clearly does not know us.  We are very competitive and would never willingly let the other one win.

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I am thankful that my husband and I share this common love.  Along with giving us hours of enjoyment, we figure at our age (71 and 79) it may very well help keep our minds sharp.  When we get to 1000 games we are going to have a party! (If we continue at this pace, that means we will be 74 and 82.  Who wants to bet me we will still be going strong in three years?)

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Do you and your family play board games?

What games do you like?

Are you addicted to any games?

Are you a good loser?  Good winner?

 

 

Idle Words

Reading in Matthew this week with my husband for our devotions I found a statement by Jesus that made me really stop and think about what I say.

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken….New International Version.

Other translations speak of idle words, careless words.

The Greek phrase used here means “careless or inactive or unprofitable words.”

I tried to research how many words the average person speaks per day but there are all kinds of conflicting studies on this subject.  It is clear from all of them that most of us do speak thousands of words a day.  There are studies that indicate women talk more than men (at least we are accused of that) but other studies say that is just a myth.  (For all the women who, like me, are often waiting on their husbands who keep talking and talking, we know that is a myth.)

But of those thousands of words I may speak each day, I wonder how many are really helpful to others.

Taking a closer look at my speaking, I ask myself:

  • How often do I truly listen to others speaking to me?
  • How often do I resist the temptation to jump in and offer my opinion when it is not really needed?
  • How often do I wait until the person is done speaking before I respond?
  • How often do I “think before I speak” or do I just blurt out whatever comes to mind without engaging my brain first?
  • Are my words always kind?

When I read the rest of what Jesus said that day on speaking, it makes me want to be more careful when speaking.

“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

How about you?  Do you think before you speak?

 

Good Advice from the Apostle John

In our devotion today my husband and I read the New Testament epistle 1 John.  Written by one of the disciples of Jesus the letter is, of course, giving advice about spiritual matters.

However, in light of today’s constant barrage of information from cable news, newspaper and magazines, twitter and Facebook accounts, I find his advice very timely and practical for our daily life.

His words:

My dear friends don’t believe everything you hear.  Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you.  

Oh, that we would all be careful and examine what we hear.  I see many people on Facebook sharing something they see that expresses their own view on a subject and they post it on their wall without ever checking to see who the post was from and if it is accurate.

Then, sadly, people begin repeating things they heard or saw as if it were true.

Let us follow St John’s advice and check for facts behind what we see or hear.

Something my husband says a lot applies here too:

Be careful of listening to half-truths.  You may have heard the wrong half.

 

Smart Phones and Southern Twang

I was born in southern Illinois but much of my adult life has been spent in northern Illinois.  Everywhere I have gone people ask me where in the South I was born.  Most guess Tennessee, Kentucky or even Mississippi.  Often I have been told that I have a “southern twang” – whatever that means.

My husband and son-in-law tease me about many words that I pronounce wrong – at least according to them.  My husband has tried to get me to said the word as he says it.  When I listen to others I can tell the difference, but try as I do, I cannot pronounce it as they do.

While we were missionaries in the Philippines several asked us why my husband and I “talk different.”  They recognized my speech pattern was not the same as his.

With my recent purchase of a smart phone I now can just speak my test messages instead of typing them out.  The result has been so funny.   Alexis – or whoever she is – does not understand my speech.  Some of the texts she has sent have made me laugh.

Some words she doesn’t get

  • I say “said” – she hears “set”
  • I say “wash” – she hears “warsh”
  • I say wrestling – she hears “rassling”
  • I don’t dare say “oil” or any word with “oi” in it because who knows what she will think I am saying.

Not really being from the south (although southern Illinois is very close to Kentucky and if you look on a map it is as far south as Virginia), I just assumed living that close to the south my ancestors may have been southerners and that speech pattern was passed on to my parents and now to me.  There must have been some southerners in our background because the first secular song I remember singing was “I Wish I Was in Dixie.”

Recently doing more research into my ancestry I found most of our ancestors were from Scotland and Ireland.

Further research into my speech pattern gave me some interesting facts.  The linguist Barbara Johnstone at Carnegie Mellon University has determined that many of the words I mispronounce can be found in the regions of the country that were settled by Scots-Irish Protestants who came to America from Ireland and Scotland for greater religious freedom in the 1700’s.

Since most of those immigrants settled in the Tennessee /Kentucky area and the Appalachian mountains that would explain the “southern twang” people hear.

Anyway, it is going to make for some fun texts as I speak and Alexis tries to understand my dialect.

So – if you get a text from me that does not make sense, try to imagine how a Scots-Irish southerner transplanted to the north would say it.