Reading and more reading and Words and more words!.

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I have been playing Lumosity for about 15 months now for the sole purpose of improving my brain’s ability to think, process, improve, grow, and just overall, become better and, of course, prevent it from “going limp” – it does that some time, you know.  Well, today I think that I am losing the battle.

Granted, the longer one plays the games, the harder they get, but that mean little program tracks my improvements or non-improvements on a daily basis and as I am about to log out of the program, there it is on a chart right before my eyes.  Just like the stock market graphs, it looks great when it is going up and up and up, but not so great when it is going down and down and down.  I am not even fussy about the level lines.  It does mean that I am maintaining, but I like the upward spiral.

Oh well, I guess each day I am getting older too so I am fighting that as well as the fact that today I have a lot on my mind.  I mean, have you counted how many days are left before Christmas?  Have you figured out what you still have left to do?  But hey, it snowed most of the day today and “It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, so smile and be happy and hope that the Brain is more cooperative tomorrow when you want just the right word and it’s misfiled once again.  Things will get better!!

I had the pleasure of picking up our two grandson, ages 7 and 2 yesterday at about 2pm and had them until 4pm today.  The little one-Grandson #2- had only slept over once before and since he is generally not a good sleeper at nights…..meaning he doesn’t sleep right through the night, I was prepared. 

We had a wonderful time during the day, playing with multiple toys, reading many, many books and getting lots of exercise to tire him out.  I gave him a “fun bath”  early in the evening, put on PJ’s and read more stories.  He loves book and we have a special chair which I must sit on and he climbs up on my lap.  At 2, he is already reading pictures, pointing out his favourite things and he has very definite opinions on what he likes and often wants to just go to particular pages in the book so he can laugh at the picture or say “Ouch” at appropriate pictures.  By 9pm, after all the hugs to Poppy, Daddy and Brother, we were off to bed.  All went well and he was almost asleep when he heard his Daddy’s voice talking to “Big Brother”.  That was it….he wanted Daddy.  Since he had not had any milk since supper, I decided perhaps he should get up again and have a sippy cup.  Back out to the living room we go, he chats to Daddy and Brother and drinks every last drop of his milk, and then without any complaint, he grabs a few “stuffies” and sensing I was serious this time, he curled up in his bed and was asleep within a few minutes.  Aaah!  Time now to spend some quality time with Grandson #1 and give Daddy a break as he was up since 6am for work and didn’t get home until 5:30pm.  After playing a few “Brain Training” computer games, we decided to watch a number of old videos of various events in his life with Momma, Poppy, Daddy, Auntie, and Big Sister.  He delighted in seeing himself at the various stages, two, three, four, five and laughed at his own antics.  Even though he kept insisting he wasn’t tired and didn’t want to go to bed, when his head hit the pillow, he was out like a light.

Now my bedtime!  I had a fear that if the little one woke up, I might not hear him, so just to make sure, I ensured there was a bright nightlight in the hallway, I blocked the hallway off from the stairs and just as an extra precaution, I closed their bedroom door and left mine open.  Did I need to worry whether I would hear him if he woke up?  Not for a second – as soon as he whimpered, my feet hit the floor.  I wonder – what is it about a mother’s makeup which, when her child or grandchild whimpers, she can rise from a deep sleep and be there in two seconds, ready to hug and console.  Men might hear if the child makes enough noise, but generally they just sleep through it all.

Thank God that He gave us that instinct – to not only hear instantly, but to also have the ability to comfort and console even when we are exhausted ourselves, and thank God for grandchildren whom we can love and cuddle and nurture, and then send them back home so that we can rest. 

High Five to all the Mothers and Grandmothers out there who see their children through the good times and the bad.  The time you spend will not be forgotten.  Dads and Granddads, you are important too, but this article is about Motherhood.

 

 

Am I a procrastinator?  Sometimes I think I am and sometimes I think I am not.  What makes one a procrastinator?  I will think and write on these things.

I started off writing and naming this blog site as Family Memories, but I have written very little about family and very little about memories.  I had planned to write a new blog at least on a weekly basis, but that hasn’t happened either.  Was it because I am procrastinating, was it because I didn’t feel like I had anything valuable to write that day, or was it because my plans for the day are always changing based on someone else’s plans for me, or someone else’s needs at the moment.  e.g. How many times have you been about to make a phone call when someone else phoned you or asked you for a favour or said they were hungry and then you stopped what you were doing to do something else?  Do we always think that we will have more time, that we will make that phone call another day?  Do we really believe that we know for sure that we will have another day to talk to that person?

Today, I WILL call my Mother.  Today, I have written a blog.  Yes, it is a short blog, but who says that blogs have to be long?  Who says that blogs have to be full of wisdom?  Today, writing this blog has not been easy.

Yes, phone lines go both ways, but we need to keep in touch with those we love, because we never know how long we will have them around or how long we will be around.  Never miss an opportunity to say “I Love You” to those you love.

As I read various readings this morning, my mind was so confused.  I read Psalms 25 and was struck by the words in verses 4 and 5.  “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me they paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”  Beautiful words which we like to hear.

But then, I was led to Psalms 137 which starts out with “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.”  Most of us would remember hearing these words and would even break out in song, upon hearing them, but how many of us really think about them or about the rest of this Psalm – a song of sadness and a song of hate…..yes, hate!  And yes, why not hate, when we remember what happened to the peoples of Israel, what happened to the people of Africa, what happened to the peoples of many of the Caribbean Islands.  I recently read two books – “The Covenant” by James A. Michener and “The Book of Negroes” by Lawrence Hill and also read “Roots” by Alex Haley some time ago and believe me, they are not easy books to read; and reading through the Old Testament alone gives us lots of examples of what Israel went through.

Eugene H. Peterson calls Psalms 137 the Scandal Psalm and says many people would like to remove it from the Psalms because it does express hate, but as I contemplate what would have been in the hearts of people who were torn from their land, their families, their loved ones, their people and who also had their children, their precious babies torn from them, would I not feel hate. Yes, when we are hurt, when we are violated, when we are in great pain, when we don’t understand why things are happening, God wants to hear how we feel.  God is a big God – He can handle how we feel and He can help to turn us around and help us work through our hate and our great sorrow.  God does not want us to suppress our feelings.  He wants us to express them and the Psalms illustrate this over and over again.  Peterson used this sentence which really struck me – “A ship that is dead in the water can’t be steered”.

Yes, sometimes we will feel actual hate – admit it, but then pray it out to God and let Him guide you in His ways. Many, many things we don’t understand, but all will be revealed to us one day.  Psalm 136:1 ” O Give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever.”  He will understand us even when we don’t understand ourselves.

A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,  for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  He will receive  blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates!

And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

 Who is this King of glory?   The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!

Lift up your heads, O gates!   And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?   The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!  Psalms 24

As I read Psalms 24 this morning, my mind was on the US election and how passionate the voters were, even standing in line-ups for up to six hours to place their vote.  I also thought about how close the overall results were.  I prayed for the results of the election before, not for any particular candidate, as I did not have a clear and definite opinion on which man would do a better job.

Reading over this Psalm, I am now praying that Barack Obama will keep a “clean heart and clean hands” and that God will use him to lead America in the paths that it should go.  There are many things that don’t look right to me at the moment, but God can change things in His own way and in His own time.  Pray for America!

Psalm 18: 46 The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

The more that I read from the book of Psalms, the more I get excited about God and the place that He should have in our lives. Psalms 18:2 says that God is our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our God, our rock in whom we take refuge, our shield, our horn of salvation and our stronghold.  I am purposely putting these in the third person, because even though He is mine, He is also yours.

Eugene H. Peterson in his book “Answering God” says “Significantly, while the psalmists called God a rock, they never set up a rock and called it God.  They called God a shepherd but never found a good-looking shepherd and made a statue of him to preserve the form of God.  They called God a shield but never embellished one with precious stones, hung it in a sacred place, and worshiped it.” He goes on to say that “An idol reduces and confines; a metaphor expands and connects.”

God cannot be measured … He is immeasurable!  He is not the rock, He is not the shepherd, He is not the shield, but the metaphors help to provide our insignificant minds with an understanding of God.  I keep getting drawn back to an illustration of what we must look like to an ant. When we stand over an ant running across our kitchen floor, we have complete power over it. We can crush it, pick it up and carry it outdoors to safety or give it poison to eat so that it will take it back to it’s colony and unknowingly kill all of it’s “relatives and friends”.  We can choose to pour gas on the anthill which took months and months of labour to build and burn it all up in just a few minutes, killing each and every one of the residents,or we can choose to dig it up and carry it away to another place.  And yet, even though we have the power to eliminate the ants or choose to just be amazed by their ingenuity, the comparison is not really even close to us and God.  We did not create the ants – we can only watch them; God created them and gave them the ability to do such amazing feats of carrying, building, and designing and His inspired word even tells us to consider them and how they work.

Yet, in the great scheme of things, who are we?  We, who are so much greater than the ants; we, who were created, even higher than the angels, and yet, we are still just a part of a creation.  But, not just part of a creation, God’s word tells us plainly that we are created in His image. And, not only are we created in His image, but that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

How can we read this and understand it?  We look around and we see what is happening and has happened all around “the world” that God has created and we don’t understand.  We don’t understand the suffering, we don’t understand the sickness, we don’t understand the pain, we don’t understand how God could or would create man with the potential to be a rapist, a murderer, a pedophile, a sadist; but we also don’t understand the power of Satan in the world.  Maybe we just need to trust God that He knows what He is doing; we are just part of His creation, but a very significant part, and one day we WILL understand.

Walker Percy very wisely said “Metaphors are very strange because when you put two things together, it’s a way of discovering meanings which haven’t been discovered before.”

For today I will believe “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalms 18:2

Again, reading from the book titled “Answering God”  – The Psalms As Tools For Prayer – by Eugene H. Peterson, I came upon this paragraph.

“A lot of people reject the word of God; they not only reject it, they turn their rejection into a world power. These people command most of the armies of the world, direct the advances of science, run school systems, preside over governments, and rule in the marketplaces. If these people are in active conspiracy against the rule of God, what difference can prayer make?”

Jesus told us in His teachings that we should pray for our leaders.  We should pray for them that God will direct them in decisions for our country and for our families, and that the policies and procedures that they put into place will be policies that will be in accordance with God’s will.  As we pray, we should also make a personal commitment that we will learn everything that we can learn about our politicians who are running for office, and vote for those that we feel best exemplify the morality and doctrines that are represented in God’s word.  We also need to be willing to write to our government representatives and leaders about issues that we know need to be changed, and become active wherever and whenever we can in implementing these changes.

The US election is currently a big issue in the news, and even though I personally cannot vote to influence the results, I can pray that God will direct the leaders and guide the representatives who do get elected to the positions in power.

Prayer does make a difference!  Don’t forget to pray for our government leaders, our church leaders and our educational institution leaders.  Pray that God will make our countries better for our children and grandchildren, and all those who follow after us.

I have just spent a considerable amount of time reading the blogs of other people, and wondering about the people and about what they write.  I have also spend a great deal of time reading a variety of books in the last several months and contemplating the information in them and the authors who wrote them.

I wonder – what does reading tell us?  Do the people who write believe what they are writing?  Is the author trying to get across an internal belief by writing a story which he or she clearly indicates is fiction?  Obviously people who write self-help books, or books of religious instruction or teachings would readily admit that they believe what they are writing to be true, but how much of the author’s true beliefs comes out in the fictional stories.

When I read a book, fictional or non-fictional, there is always something in it that I would love to discuss with others but others are seldom around to discuss the thoughts with me.  Perhaps I will start blogging on the subjects that I would like to discuss.

Today I was reading a book by Eugene H. Peterson called Answering God on the Psalms as Tools for Prayer.  Here is a section that really made me think.

“Two things are prominent in Psalm 1: an action and an image.  Torah-meditation is the action; a transplanted tree is the image.

Torah (law) is God’s words that hit the target of the human condition.  The noun torah comes from a verb, yarah, that means to throw something, a javelin, say, so that it hits its mark.  The word that hits its mark is torah.  In living speech, words are javelins hurled from one mind into another.  The javelin word goes out of one person and pierces another.  Not all words are javelins; some are only tin cans, carrying information from one place to another.  But God’s word has this aimed, intentional, personal nature.  When we are spoken to this way, piercingly and penetratingly, we are not the same.  These words get inside us and work their meaning in us.

As we prepare to pray, to answer the words God addresses to us, we learn that all of God’s words have this characteristic: they are torah and we are the target.  God’s word is not a reference book in a library that we pull off the shelf when we want information.  There is nothing inert or bookish in these words. God’s words, creating and saving words every one, hit us where we live.

The moment we know this, that God speaks to us, delight is spontaneous.  ‘The Psalms are the liturgy for those whose concern and delight is the torah of the Lord’. These are not words that we laboriously but impersonally study, as if for an exam.”

The writer goes on to describe how we need to meditate on the words, relating it to the sounds that a lion might make over its prey, describing the word meditate as a bodily action, involving murmurings and  mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, shaping them on our lips, tasting them.  Meditation is mastication.

Have you ever read the Bible like that?  Have you ever read a poem or any writing like that and just “felt it in your bones, your soul, your heart, your spirit?

Thinking about words in this way makes me appreciate so much the wonderful opportunity that I have to read, read and read.  I have always loved to read ever since I was a little girl, seeing books as adventures, and I hope that I will never lose that love.

I am tired but tired in a good way.  What a busy, busy summer I had.  It started with a trip to Orlando to meet up with two very good friends and join up with many, many women from around the world to praise and worship God.  After several days of intense listening to great speakers and amazing singing, I was transported to a resort for a week of renewing memories with my two great friends.  We talked, we read, we walked, we ate and we slept.  It is amazing that after 30 some years of us not all being together at the same time, we were transported back in time as we recalled our memories of our working together in Jamaica and sharing so much of our early married life.  Many things have changed since then, but the friendship remained strong.  Thank God for the friendship of other loyal and faithful women.

Following the wonderful 10 days or so in Orlando, I was joined by our lovely young granddaughter who just reached the age of 12, and she spent from June 30th to August 31st with us.  What a delightful young lady she is and we shared many happy events as we toured NB, PEI and even parts of Quebec and Ontario.  And then time with our two grandsons all summer – delightful, active little boys – our house was buzzing with activity and our pool was seldom empty.  Having our third son and only daughter with us much of the summer was also wonderful and gave me a break every now and then to catch my breath.

If that wasn`t enough activity, we then drove to Ontario for 16 days of visiting with our two oldest sons and some updating on their lives and getting to know more about their lives.  Of course, the highlight again was spending most of this time with our youngest granddaughter.  I love all our children dearly, but they are all grown up now and there is nothing much better than spending time with grandchildren, and especially when one is not solely responsible for them all the time.  This beautiful little grandchild kept me smiling through our whole vacation in Ontario, except of course, when she received bumps and bruises in our care.  So sorry, sweetheart, but a kitchen is not a race course and was never intended to be so.  We really, really did try to protect you.

Summer is over, and now I am resting and hopefully I will get some more time to blog.