Mrs. Turtle ~ a day in a life

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Every life has value, and God pronounced them all “good.”

While walking my dog, I came upon her one morning. She sat on the sidewalk that surrounded a group of apartment buildings in my condo complex. My neighbor thought she’d walked across our wide asphalt parking lot to lay her eggs in one of the areas our landscapers had planted with all kinds of tropical foliage.IMG_2968

When I approached her, she became afraid, ducked her head in.

The problem was, in the time it had taken to lay her eggs, the sun had risen and this is Florida. We’ve been having record highs. It was very hot and she’d have to get across hot asphalt to get back to the creek…where she had no doubt come from. Not to mention, landscapers were driving their trucks in and residents were going out.IMG_2971

I was born in the wilds of rural New York State, so touching a turtle is no problem for me. I picked her up, carried her across the parking lot, and placed her on bank of the creek at the other side of our condo complex.

A simple thing really. It took no more than five minutes out of my day. An intentional and truly good moment, one that I count as joy. I hope God considers this an act of good stewardship in terms of His creation and a small creature who could not navigate modern existence.

He Chose His Mother ~ over his wife

50 Something Woman

I’m no expert on marriage, but I’ve been on this planet several decades and have observed a few things. So, Let’s talk about three couples (nice people) where the husband chose his mother over his wife. Minor details will be slightly changed to protect the innocent…there’s really nobody guilty here. They are couples who went into marriage seeing hearts and roses and made terrible mistakes.

Couple number one: He was raised by his mother in a rural American community after his abusive father abandoned the family. His mother sacrificed and insisted that he go to college, which he did, majoring in business. In his senior year he met and fell in love with a young nursing student who grew up in a middle class suburb of a medium-sized city. They were both ambitious and wanted success in their respective careers, they wanted children in a few years (and had one), they read the same novels and liked the same movies,  went crazy for the same types of food. What could go wrong? Those are similarities in life-style and that’s important, very important. But are these things core values? She was startled and dismayed when he insisted on using money she thought they were saving to go on a luxury cruise to move his less-than-affluent mother to an apartment in their town. He also wanted his mother to babysit their child. She thinks his mother has too much say in their immediate family’s life. The marriage now has serious cracks.

Couple number two: He was born in India and came to America as a teen and grew up seemingly very American. Now he’s a manager in a fast food chain. His parents and cousins live in a close-by neighboring city. He calls them and sees them fairly often. She’s working in the Big Apple and is an energized, happy-go-lucky New Yo’Rican. She’s born and bread in New York City with a family heritage from Puerto Rico. She has some serious family baggage (don’t we all). When they met, she frequently said of him, “He’s amazing.” He commented that she knew how to do so many things. What they shared in common was a burning desire to make some money and build a successful life in New York City. She had no idea that when push came to shove, he’d revert to culturally eastern core values. He’s very close to his mother, and now that his parents are struggling financially, he’s been helping them out in a significant way. His wife is not pleased with the money leaking out of their bank account.

Couple number three: He’s a bit of a buttoned-down middle-management guy who came from a working class Puerto Rican family. His father died young and his mother worked hard to make sure the family of two stayed secure. His wife is a millennial with pink tipped hair and a certified professional in her field. Her family background is more middle-class. They share similar professional goals, want to own a house and be seen as successful. She was shocked when he insisted his mother move from another city (where she had no family) and come live with them. Although his mother is quiet and tries not to interfere, shortly after she moved in, the marriage began a downward spiral.

What I see here is making the mistake of thinking lifestyle choices (what TV shows they’re both fans of, what foods they like, if they’re both athletic) are core values. And yes, these are very important. But they might not be bedrock values. Core values are things that will take precedence. They will rise up and over-rule other likes and lifestyle choices.  Core values might be deeply held religious values. When it comes to raising children, this core value will be very important and could become a source of huge conflict. Core values rise and move to a prominent place when trouble comes. Is it a core value to care for an ailing parent? Then again, what do you want for your children? Is it really totally okay to place small children in daycare while both parents pursue careers? Or is resentment brewing over this choice? What about when he has a picture in his mind of a successful professional couple, then she announces she wants to be a stay-at-home-mom because she’s found profound value in motherhood? Then again, it could be that one partner in the marriage has a firm concept of family legacy and what their children can and will become, while the other partner has a much more lais·sez-faire attitude toward parenting?

Today we lose sight of the fact that marriage is a contract. That’s why they had a longish period of “courtship” in days gone by. It’s important to take the time to intentionally find out if this other person is really suitable to be your life-partner and the parent of your children. It’s important to discover who your in-laws are and how they live…and if you can live with that. Because that is what you are doing. You are entering into a life and living contract with another human being. That’s marriage.

 

Outdoor Work ~ a small slice of intentional living

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Workers removed the old damaged siding.

Workers have taken the water damaged siding off of a portion of the outside of my condo unit. This is Florida, you get water damage. I’m pleased with the attention my Home Owners Association (HOA) pays to detail.

I feel the Holy Spirit guided me to chose this particular condo. My move here was very intentional. I took my time looking before purchasing.

Prepare your work outside
And make it ready for yourself in the field;
Afterwards, then, build your house. ~ Proverbs 24: 27 New American Standard Bible [NASB]

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flowering bushes in front of and on the sides of my unit

 

The Lord doesn’t “speak” to me in earth shattering ways. I don’t have visitations and visions. I find the Lord’s voice in the peace I have inside with a particular situation. Of course I do have to pray about it and ask the Lord what His will is. Then after that, I seek inner peace about it.

 

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. ~ Proverbs 14: 1; New American Standard Bible [NASB]

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a bloom of the type behind my unit

To me, yes, this Scripture is talking about the physical house, housekeeping. A wise woman knows how to keep her house. So many young women don’t know a thing about housekeeping today and that’s a shame. Housekeeping isn’t only about dusting the furniture and floors, though it starts with that. It’s about keeping the house, holding onto it…not being foreclosed. It’s an intentional way of living.

At one time, I lived a much more haphazard lifestyle. And let me tell you, there are many more ‘hazards’ in a haphazard life than in an intentional one. At some point, metaphorical skinned knees lost a lot of their appeal to me.

Yes, bad things can happen to good people, to planners, to intentional livers. What I wanted to do was cut down on the self-inflicted wounds.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1:5; New American Standard Bible [NASB]

I would say, this next verse is most closely the way I hear from God…that is as long as I’m also hearing the Word of God (Bible) and praying. For me, it only works in that order.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. ~ Isaiah 30:21; English Standard Version [ESV]

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Elephant Ear behind my unit

 

 

 

College Courses on How to Date? ~ so, gals, why is that necessary? Should it be?

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Several colleges are now offering courses on “how to date.”  A few of these schools fall into the category of prestigious institutions of higher education. Some students enrolling in these classes might be registering thinking they’ll find someone to date there. In my day (and I’m truly not that ancient), girls and young women learned about the opposite sex and dating from their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, older sisters, cousins, and such.

In all honesty, our mothers usually didn’t open up too much about their romantic lives, and though we were curious, maybe that was a good thing. But, aunts could be a surprisingly good source of information. Oh, yes. I recall (as a pre-teen), nearly holding my breath so I wouldn’t be noticed and sent away, as my aunts discussed a situation in town where it was suspected a particular husband had been unfaithful. I think my little ears grew as large as Dumbo’s as the convo got salacious (to my young mind). Trust me, my aunts were not happy with that husband. What made the most impression was how awful they felt for the wife. One generation of women was passing on to me, on a total experiential level (emotional, conscience, societal norms) when I was a little gal that you don’t do that to another woman. It was so intense, I still have near total recall of the situation.

But you had to be there. This life lesson couldn’t be experienced so profoundly online, or via texting. Sometimes I get the feeling that Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z/Centennials don’t feel Baby Boomers have anything of value to contribute to their lives and they run from deep interaction with us. These younger generations don’t want to let in any info they’re uncomfortable with. They forcefully block it out.

In many cases young women block out the extremely valuable information they can only get through a relationship with an older woman. Without a doubt that older woman will hold different viewpoints on many things from the younger woman. The very act of fleeing from a differing viewpoint disallows for a skill needed in dating and relating to a potential spouse. Yes, it takes a skill-set.

Dating is messy, and it might be frightening in the era of apps where individuals get what they want in a clean-cut way and it’s immediate. That’s not dating.

So, what is dating? And what’s it for? In days gone by, it used to be a ritualistic way to find out if the other person was in the running to become ones eventual spouse. Way back in the ice-age, it was called “courting.” That isn’t the function of dating today, not even for Christian singles who do see marriage as the eventual outcome of a serious relationship.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? ~ Ecclesiastes 4: 8-11 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

If a young woman googles “dating”, she’ll find thousands of links, many aimed at Christians. There are online dating sites, matchmakers, speed dating, and more. You’d think with all this online help, dating would be easy. It’s not, and many women are left depressed and bitter by the negative experience.

Today, young people are getting career skills, going to college, creating a resume and may be putting marriage off a few years. If these younger women are waiting until they’re more secure financially, one of the things an older woman will tell them is, “Don’t wait too long, the odds are you’ll never be totally financially secure.” The older woman will probably give a good hard laugh when she says that, and the laugh will travel up and fill her eyes with mirth.

Dating means taking a risk. When you “meet a guy online”, you haven’t actually met him. Even if he’s been totally honest online from his point of view, when you meet him face-to-face, you might be surprised. If he isn’t what you thought he’d be and you know a relationship is impossible, the mature route is to be gracious. Get through the date (and it should be a coffee-date) and tell him briefly why you don’t see a future connection. “It’s too bad you’re allergic to dogs. I have three.” Or…”Did I tell you I’m planning a one year mission trip to Ecuador? How are you on long distance dating?” Then don’t count it all a waste of time, another loss. No! Consider it spending a couple of hours with a pretty decent human being, rather than sitting home alone for two hours. How he takes it is his responsibility.

Likewise, if you’ve met a guy within the confines of a larger group of friends, you haven’t met him one-on-one and don’t know him as a potential partner. Again, you have to take a risk and “meet him” outside of the safety of the group, or the classroom, or the church group, or the work environment. In this type of scenario, my best advice is don’t rush it. No matter how cute he is, no matter how much you seem to have in common when you’re both in the group…take it slow. Go for coffee and take a walk in the park, or around the mall. Make that first “date” a very low key, casual “non-date.” That way, if you immediately know this guy is not for you, you can keep it light and return to the safety of the group without having gone through an apocalyptic event that destroys the former “friends/colleagues” relationship.

If you want to find a long-term relationship, a life-mate, and from my Christian perspective that means marriage, you’re going to have to do some plain old fashioned courtship type things. You are going to have to get past how cute he is, how witty. Are you going to be able to live with this guy and respect and honor him? If you can’t, that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad-guy, but you still have to move on.

You might have to further refine your search criteria. You might have to find a better pool of men to choose from…better for you.

As far as taking a college course in dating, I’d rather you order pizza and have a good-long, no-holds-barred talk with your aunt or older sister.

Sophie The Wonder Dog ~ to have surgery

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Soph on her fav perch, the back of my easy chair

When I first saw Sophie, she was in a cage in the small dog section at the ASPCA in New York City. She was so cute, but so unhappy. Those who wanted to adopt a little dog were drawn to her, especially their children. But as cute as Sophie was, she was also angry. She hated the cage, and she growled at a few people who approached. I thought no matter how appealing she looks, she’s not going to get adopted. So, I asked to hold her. At first the attendant was reluctant. She took Sophie out of the cage, but said she’d hold her. I gave her a “Nike look” and said, “No, I’ll hold her.” How else can I know how she will be? But I already knew, no matter how she was, she was mine.”

As soon as she was in my arms, she burrowed into me, plastered herself to me. I whispered to her, “I’m coming back for you.” Then I had to go downstairs, fill out paperwork, pay the fee, and wait a week for them to check references. When I came back to get her, I whispered, “I told you I’d come back.” That was seven years ago.

Sophie is HIGHLY allergic to flea bites. One bite will cause her to scratch and chew herself to bleeding. We’ve battled this for years. We tried Trifexis for dogs (flea med and heartworm med combined. I’ve heard it works miracles on some dogs, not Sophie. Then we tried Comfortis which is more expensive because you have to purchase the heartworm medication separately. It works better on Sophie, but not perfectly. Summertime is still gruesome for her and for me when I see her bleeding. We’ve tried Apoquel for dogs, a med for atopic dermatitis, that is supposed to stop her from feeling the allergic reaction. Several vets have tried to push this on me, but she doesn’t have atopic dermatitis (allergy to pollen, dust, etc.). Sophie is allergic to flea bites. Boy is she.

What does help is a flea and tick killing spray called Nature Care that Walmart carries. Chewy also carries this line of products. I use that in combination with Comfortis. I have sprayed carpet, upholstered furniture, and of course Sophie before she goes out. It not only kills fleas (which you will see before your eyes if one walks into a sprayed area), it also kills flea eggs. In addition, adult fleas don’t like the peppermint smell and it keeps them off a dog that is walking outside.

She also has had cataracts growing since I got her. They were not a problem, and now they are. She can’t see much any more. We’ve always gone for a 3/4 mile walk twice a day. We went down to a 1/4 mile walk twice a day for a few days. She trusted me completely to see that she didn’t run into anything outside. I’m her seeing-eye-person. But outside noises, such as a loud vehicle, unnerve her. She gets around very well in the house she knows so well. She jumps into my chair, then up onto its back…no problem.

After only a few days as her seeing-eye-person, I knew this would not do. I phoned the Animal Eye Clinic in Orange Park, Florida and Sophie has an appointment for a consultation next week. I’m slightly  concerned about Sophie going under anesthesia for the surgery. She is in excellent health at 11 1/2 years of age. She came  through a dental cleaning last year with her regular veterinarian with flying colors. I’m praying for cataract removal with no problems and that’s what I’m expecting. Please pray for Sophie in the next few weeks. Bless you.

Tipping Percentages ~ now a vehicle for shaming

tipA recent report stated millennial are the “worst tippers.” I’d heard this before and I’ve also read a large number of articles extolling raising the tipping percentage from the traditional 15% to the new 20%. The result being that some groups of people aren’t tipping at all, but they are being shamed. Even traditional 15% tippers are being shamed, which is ridiculous.

Why is tipping important? Well, how we handle money shows character. Does tipping 20% show better character than tipping 15%? Not in my opinion. However, in our culture where we all know service employees depend on tips, not tipping at all does show a lack of character. It’s common knowledge that in many cases your server might be a single mother supporting her children, or a student over-burdened with college debt.

Deuteronomy 15:7 ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]  

If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;

Younger adults starting out in their careers as well as retirees have a lower income than middle-aged adults and so ‘have always’ tended to be on the lower end of the tipping spectrum. This should not be surprising and I can’t understand why a study was needed. What I don’t like is the shaming element in reporting this study to the public. It seems, in today’s accusatory environment, many perfectly understandable things get twisted and  reported in the media in a shaming manner. Then they go viral on social media…or vice-versa. Sometimes the shaming gets to be a fevered pitch. This is so unhealthy, so unnecessary, so unproductive.

Tipping is a perfect symbol. How we tip shows how we treat others, how we value their lives. It’s  not ‘they should do something about that’ or ‘there should be a program to fix that’. Tipping comes out of our pockets. It’s personal to us. It’s what are ‘we’ doing to show we value the other person? We have some skin in the game.

Contrary to unfounded popular belief, shaming doesn’t make the shamer feel super-duper. Quite the contrary, shaming others often leaves the shamer let down and in a state of anger, which is mentally and physically damaging.

And, of course, it goes without saying, shaming is extremely damaging to the one being shamed. Interestingly enough, both the shamer and the shamed are so preoccupied with their own behavior and feelings, they have little empathy for others. There is no win here. It’s a lose-lose.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.