Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Useless Spin Cycle


We have a lovely new washer with a glass lid. Sometimes I get satisfaction out of seeing the spin cycle throw off water. It makes the clothes easier to dry. But there's another spin cycle that only makes me laugh.

We were traveling to Idaho to visit friends. Some other friends said, "We're going north, too. Can we follow you to the Oregon border?" We said, "Sure. That sounds like fun."

Now and then we would stop so they could walk their cute little dog. It was fun to eat together, and sometimes we shared the map while planning the next break.

My husband was in the lead with our little Toyota Echo when we arrived in Boise, ID. The city was unfamiliar to us and we were trying to stay alert to one-way street signs. My husband kept going around and around the same blocks. He finally pulled into a parking lot.

Our friends pulled in behind us. When they got out they were laughing. "We wondered when you would ever pull out of that spin cycle."

We had to laugh too, because spinning around the same blocks was not getting us anywhere. The action was totally useless.

A Real Life Spin
As humans, we deal with another useless spin cycle. I doubt there's anyone who has managed to avoid it forever. Some people pass it off as a joke. They say, "I don't worry about anything. I'm just overly concerned about everything."

There are plenty of things beyond our control and lots of opportunities to feel anxious or worried. Sometimes it's about our current situation. Other times it's about the future. We worry because we don't see any forthcoming answers or changes for the better.

A spin can start off slow, but once in motion it creates its own energy. The result affects people in different ways. Some get uptight physically. Some lose sleep. Others find it hard to concentrate. And, of course, worry never brings a sense of joy, only frustration.

Have you ever had your washer get off balance during the spin cycle? It makes a disturbing sound that says, "Get in here. Change things around!" Mental spin cycles require some help to change, too.

What to Do
Ask yourself, "Is there anything I can do to change the situation?" If there is, do it. If not, begin to redirect your thoughts to positive things. Do not allow worry to continue its mental spins.

I've heard people say, "I do what I can and trust God to do the rest." There's some balance in that. Instead of being lazy or presumptuous, they are wise. While using foresight to plan for the future, they recognize their limitations and turn to God for help.

My mind was in a useless spin cycle this week. When I realized what my worry was, I took my own advice. Changing the cycle from negative to positive was worth the effort, but it took more than one adjustment to balance my load.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Don't Give Up


I enjoy my home office. It's easy to rest my eyes as I look out the window above my desk. Is it windy? All I have to do is look at the movement of the pine trees.

Will I see wildlife? That's always a special treat, except for the javelinas that seem to root around and travel in packs. It's much more fun to watch the birds peck the ground for food.

Relief Without a Window

Years ago, I worked in a large church as an administrative assistant. My office had been set up to suit me and I enjoyed it. I'd say the only thing missing was a window. But I could delight in lovely landscaping whenever I chose to step outside.

This church had a large staff with many offices. It was a busy place and I enjoyed it, because I like having plenty of things to do. But I still remember one day that had been particularly tiresome.

About four o'clock I took a break and walked over to talk with a secretary whose positive attitude and work ethic I had always admired. I surprised her with a question. "Do you have a scripture of encouragement for a very tiring day?"

She said, "I wasn't prepared for that. I'll have to think about it." We talked a little more and I went back to my work.

About twenty minutes later, she walked over to my office. "I've got it."

"Great," I said, "what is it?"

She quoted Galatians 6:9. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

That meant completing an assignment, no matter how challenging or how short the deadline. Our satisfying harvest would be the job completed and handed over to the person who needed it.

Recently I read another scripture that this lady fulfilled. Hebrews 10:24 says, "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."

A Wider View

Office workers aren't the only ones who need encouragement. And spurring one another on in a positive manner need not always be verbal.

My parents used to encourage me toward good quarterly grades by promising monetary rewards for A's, B's and C's.

Little League teams seem to enjoy food rewards after a game. It's easy to see this spurring them on after expending all that energy.

Cards can be a great source of encouragement. So many choices---Get Well, Thinking of You, Sympathy for Your Loss, Happy Birthday, Thank You and more.

Not into snail mail? Send an encouraging e-mail. Or make a call to say, "Hi. I've been thinking of you and wanted to say thank you for . . . "

You Can Do It

Perhaps you're thinking I haven't even started to do good this way.

That's OK. I'm thinking don't give up. It's never too late to get started.

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NOTE: I have reduced the size of my photos to make it easier for cell phone readers.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

How Can We Help?


Hurricane Harvey recently did its damage. People in Texas are still trying to recover. I rarely watch the Weather Channel, but today I saw Hurricane Irma working her way up from the tropics to Florida and beyond.

Mankind can prevent diseases, work to prevent earthquake damage on bridges and buildings and find better ways to fight fires. 

Wonderful accomplishments!

What we cannot do is prevent tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes. 

All we can do is prepare for them, and that's not easy. 

Be Prepared
I've heard a lot about preparedness. In California and Washington, it had to do with earthquakes. Here in northern Arizona, it's all about forest fires. In South Dakota, I remember being in the car as Dad was trying to outrun a tornado. I was too young to understand the implications of that.

What I do understand, as an adult, is that not all levels of society have the means to prepare for disaster. I read an article just last week about the high percentage of Americans that are now living from paycheck to paycheck.

Think About It

Nature's hard hitters leave a lot of problems to solve . . . and they all take time to overcome!

Let's get personal. If your job is gone because of a natural disaster, will you ever get it back? If so, how long will it be?

If your home is wiped out by fire, earthquake or flood will you be able to rebuild? If so, how long will that take?

How long will your community be able to supply food, water, sleeping quarters and sanitation for hundreds or thousands who have lost everything? Some survivors even prepared for disaster, but it happened so suddenly they could not save their provisions.

A Helpful Solution
Humans helping humans is God's principle since the day Eve was created to be a helpmate for Adam (Genesis 2:20-23). In the Old Testament, people were instructed to meet the needs of their poor relatives as well as others in need. This directive included a blessing for the generous (Deuteronomy 15:10-11).

Think about it. How can you help? You don't have anything to give? Think again. I once heard a former street person say that, in her experience, the homeless shared from what little they had.

Another example of giving from meager fare was shared by the Apostle Paul. He knew the Macedonian believers had gone through a severe trial, yet they insisted on giving to others in need before being asked (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).

Why Wait?
Giving before being asked is a good idea. It allows immediate disaster relief through the Salvation Army, Red Cross, United Way, Operation Blessing, Convoy of Hope and others. You've probably seen them at work on TV, just like me.

There has not been enough time to meet the needs of Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma will only multiply the problem.

How can we help? I only know what I can do. What you do is up to you, but . . . do something!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Watch Out! No Respect


Just this week I saw a huge trash truck trying to back out of a small street onto a larger one. He was on the opposite side from me and I noticed that he was on hold because cars kept whizzing around him.

My street curved where he was trying to back out. I felt uneasy about my limited view, so I stopped about a half block away and waited. There were no cars behind me.

He started to back up again, and once more a driver sped around him. I was thankful I had left some room since she crossed into my lane before swerving into her lane again.

At last the truck backed out into the street and headed my way. I was surprised to see him wave a thank you. As I drove on, the word respect came to mind. I thought I showed respect by waiting for him to back up and he showed respect for me by taking time to be polite.

Diamonds are for Everyone
Respect is like a sparking diamond. It has many facets to make it shine. Let's consider a few:

Regard: Your opinion of a person or their job affects the way you treat them. Do you treat higher ups with respect and people of less importance poorly?

Esteem: Your attitude reveals how important or valuable someone is to you. For example, do you esteem a waiter as much as a doctor? What would your world be like without each one?

Sharing: Every time you give respect to someone you share a part of yourself. Have you noticed how little sharing is done in a parking lot? People don't seem to have a second to spare.

Politeness: Our society has a "me first" edge. Common courtesy is no longer common. At the least, do you try to show respect with a simple please and/or thank you?

Empathy: This is the ability to share in another's emotions or feelings. In difficult situations, do you consider anyone besides yourself?

Control: The most important control is self-control. Losing your temper and lashing out at others shows a lack of respect, not just for them but for yourself, too. Do you ever feel good when you create a scene?

Thoughtfulness: This includes kindness and careful attentiveness to others. For example, when giving a gift do you consider what the receiver might enjoy? Or are you focused only on your satisfaction as the gift giver?

Your Attitude Matters
Respect is free and easy to give, but it's not automatic. Romans 12:10b says, "Honor one another above yourselves."

Do you really want to make a difference in this world? Consider how to give some respect. It's a good way to start.

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