One of Yvonne and my hobbies is to take pictures of barns. Like many other things barns, at least the non-metal type are disappearing from our landscape every day. We are determined that we will help preserve them at least digitally on the internet. We currently have close to five hundred in our archive. Here are a few of them.
Don’t continually put off things you want to do until later.
You never know how many days you still have on this earth especially when you are in your retirement years and the back door seems to be getting closer and closer. One of the things I think each of us should do is to make up a list of things you want to do before you die. I have made it known that one of my favorite travel books is entitled 1,000 Places To See in the USA Before You Die. Since traveling is one of those things I enjoy doing in my retirement years I am continuously leafing through that book to add to my life’s “To Do” list.
Yvonne and I try to do at least four trips a year now. Of course health issue sometimes prevents us from accomplishing that many but at least we try. We are definitely believers in taking road trips rather than flying. To us getting there is half the fun. As I mentioned we just returned from a week vacation in upper Michigan and Mackinac Island and in about three weeks we will be heading to upper Wisconsin for our annual trip to Door County. That is cherry country. I mean that literally not figuratively (ha).
But I am getting off my topic here. One of the reasons I say don’t continue to put off things till later is that I just got back from getting an MRI. It seems I have a potentially serious problem that was found in a recent series of x-rays. The radiologist said it is probably nothing but we should check it out to be sure. While lying perfectly still inside the MRI tunnel for one half hour I got to thinking what if this is something serious and I end up in the hospital for a long period of time or maybe worse. Will I be getting anything else off my list?
Life is just too uncertain to keep putting things off. The Bible constantly gives stories of people who are totally unprepared for the end of their life. They think they will live forever I guess. I think I am pretty tuned to my mortality but like everyone else the end will probably sneak up on me sooner than I want. Everyone wants to get to heaven but no one want to die to get there. Don’t leave this life with a full blown list of things on your To Do list. Keep on a track to accomplish some of them on a regular basis.
And the journey goes on.
Let’s do another post on my high school days or maybe I should say where I lived during my high school days. As I mentioned before I went to a Catholic school from the first through the seventh grade. So, I was primarily taught by nuns and priests. I have mentioned before that my mom deserted my dad, brother, and me when I was in the sixth grade. Soon after that dad could no longer afford the mortgage payments on our house. He did manage to sell it for a small profit and then we moved to a rented farmhouse southwest of Indianapolis. This, even without the cultural shock of a different school took a lot of getting used to.
We moved from a modern tract house of the 1950’s to a farmhouse probably built in the very early 1900s. The house was heated from a monster coal furnace in the basement and I mean it was a monster! So starting then it was a daily practice in the winter months to stoke up the furnace each night with just the right amount of coal so it would last over night. Since dad worked as a milk delivery man and my brother and I went to school there was no one there during the day so we let the fire go out. Since I was the oldest it was my job to get a new fire re-started when I got home from school. During the coldest months it was about forty degrees in the house when the school bus dropped us off. We did have a shower and sink on the unheated enclosed porch next to the kitchen but the toilet was outside the back door in an outhouse. I never got used to going outside to use the bathroom. Fortunately since I was young I could usually hold it until morning so I didn’t have too many late night trips.
We lived in that house about 3 years and then moved into a small bungalow in town. The total house measured about twenty feet by twenty feet. There were four rooms in the house which were all of equal size. There was a kitchen (with plumbing), a bedroom for my brother and me, a living room with an old fuel oiler burner and a bedroom for dad. I guess it was a step up since we no longer had to load up the furnace with coal each day. But I think the reason we moved there was because it was just cheaper than the farmhouse. This little house still had no toilet. Instead we had a key to the ladies restroom in the adjacent service station. The owner of the gas station of course also owned our house. After high school I said goodbye to our little rented house and moved to the Purdue Lafayette campus. Dad soon remarried after that and moved along with my brother back to Indianapolis. I went back a few years ago and found that the house had been torn down. It is now a parking area for junk cars. I managed to get through those years just fine. I became somewhat of an expert on “bird baths” in the kitchen sink.
And the journey goes on…
Gregory A. Boyd – Author and pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota,
Jesus reveals that, where God reigns, national walls will be torn down and national distinctions rendered insignificant. “In Christ,” Paul says, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.” In Christ “the dividing wall of hostility” has been abolished between groups of people and a “new humanity” has been created. A central aspect of the Kingdom revolution, therefore, is manifesting the beauty of what it looks like for a people to be freed from the idol of nationalism and to be reunited under the God who is Lord of all nations.
I always shiver somewhat when people seem to indicate that the United States has some sort of favored nation status in God’s kingdom. Jesus told us otherwise. He often warned us to have allegiance only to the kingdom of God. I guess there is no harm in us having illusions of grandeur unless we start thinking that the little boy who just died of starvation in Africa is somehow less important to God then our own children. That is where the trouble comes in. We cannot think of ourselves as some highly than others. Even the least of us. When we do we are trumpeting a worldly kingdom, not God’s kingdom.
Jesus told us to only have allegiance to God’s kingdom. In that regard I often think about that when we are asked to pledge allegiance to the flag of the U.S. When I do that am I going against Jesus’ words? Another thing that makes me somewhat uncomfortable is seeing the U.S. flag proudly displayed behind Christ’s alter in my, and many other, churches. We must always remember that we are to be members of God’s kingdom and no worldly kingdom can come close to measuring up to that standard.
I know from my studies of the first two hundred years of Christianity that the early Christians very much avoided pledging allegiance to worldly powers. Many of them went to their deaths with their refusals. Were they wrong or are we?
And the journey goes on.
The picture here is of the Indianapolis 2002 IndyFest, or at least I believe that is what it was called. It was put on by the Indiana Historical Society. Unfortunately this was the first and last one. I guess it fell to the budget ax. It was really a great event featuring the early founding of the State. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wish it would come back on the Indy agenda. Maybe if more prosperous times ever come again, and that is a big if I guess, it will be resurrected.
Will Rogers – New York Times, Apr. 29, 1930
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.
Or I could paraphrase this as “Stop and Smell the roses”
Don’t rush through life. It is the journey not a race. The same goes for our retirement years.
The above title is somewhat of a shocker from a person like me who is reflecting on his retirement years. So, let me finish the sentence here. Retirement is a meaningless void until you make it otherwise. The second part of the sentence definitely changes the first. Yes, retirement does usually clean off the blackboard of life so that it is ready for a new agenda. We no longer have the long string of responsibilities that tied us to a job for so many years. For the most part we are free to re-invent ourselves in a different light. That is, for those of us who are married, with permission of our spouse. More on that topic in a few posts.
So, if we don’t take any action or procrastinate too long retirement can become a meaningless void! There are certain things we have to do like eating, sleeping, breathing but many things are optional once we enter our retirement years. It is important that we realize this and take the opportunity to evaluate what we want to do. Of course we should not immediately jump onto the first thing that enters our mind. For instance you don’t want to necessarily sell everything you have and get a motorcycle and join a gang. But, by the same token you don’t want to take forever in deciding what you want to be in your retirement years.
One thing we must realize is that retirement living is not a one time thing but an ongoing process. For some of us that process might spread out over thirty years or more; but for others it might just be a year or two. Just because we initially choose a particular path does not mean that we can’t change it if it doesn’t work out. So take some time to dabble here and there to test the waters before you take a life changing plunge. If you think that getting out of snow country is a good thing then maybe you should do it; if you end up actually missing the snow (and there are many who do!) then you can always come back to the changing seasons. That is one of the great things about retirement. Everything is pretty much up to you and your hubby. Test the water here and there.
And the journey goes on….
“Stuff” has been on my mind lately so I pulled out a November 2008 blog post on one of my other blogs and re-posted it below. I am in the process of cleaning out my barn and it is loaded with stuff (shame on me!!). Sometimes I would just like to throw it all away and start over again; maybe this time I could refrain from the temptation of accumulating it all over again. But I kind of doubt it.
Ok this maybe anti-American but Jesus was definitely anti-stuff. When Jesus sent out his disciples to spread the Word he told them to take nothing with them. They weren’t even allow to take and extra pair of sandals for their long walk and they did a lot of walking in those days! And then remember the rich man who approached Jesus to learn how to get to heaven. That ended up with Jesus telling him to sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor and then follow Jesus and his ragtag team. Of course the rich man, as most of us today, could not even conceive of doing that. He just went away rejected.
We, especially in the United States, are totally addicted to our “stuff”. Of course being a capitalist country our whole economy depends on all of us buying more and more “stuff” each year. It’s not good enough to just buy the same amount as we bought last year; we have to always buy more.
If we fill our house with “stuff” then there is always the garage. If even the garage is full then how about off-site storage which is one of the few remaining growth industries. Or now we can even have our storage unit brought to us for filling up (PODS). If we run out of money to buy our “stuff” there is always another credit card offer in the mail. Let’s face it buying “stuff” is a vicious cycle that is difficult to break
Getting back to the rich man as mentioned above, many Christians now rationalize that to be just a story and not what Jesus really intendeds for us to do. From my studies of early Christianity that was definitely not the case with them. For at least the first few hundred years many, if not most, affluent people really did sell everything when they started following Jesus. I’m not sure exactly when this practice fell out of the favor but I expect it was around the time that Constantine made Christianity a State religion. I think we need to give up some “stuff” and then revisit the practice of giving to the less fortunate than us? But of course we could never go all the way as Jesus mentioned. The apostle John made the following statement in 1John.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.
Let’s put these word in today’s lingo or at least what I perceive it to be. John says you have to back what you say with actions or the words are meaningless. To me John is flatly saying that if you have faith in Jesus then you WILL do these things. That gets us into a much deeper subject of “works vs. faith” which I will tackle in a future postings. For now, let’s buy less “stuff” and help our less fortunate brothers a little more.
Here it is the first day of fall. I will be glad to see the summer heat finally dissipate. Yesterday was 96 degrees and tomorrow is supposed to be in the 90s again so I guess we will have to wait a while for cooler temperatures. The picture below were taken in late October 2009. No, we don’t usually have cows in our front year but it is an annual event for them to break out of their pasture nearby. It seems that the grass is just greener on our side of the fence. (ha).