Today’s Joy: March 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tuesday Notebook
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah (pause)” — Psalm 68:19

March winds down, and the C-19 is still with us. I share observations today.

Yesterday I ventured out for the first time in two weeks of being homebound. I had a routine blood draw with a result, 2.5 (excellent).

Two nurses met us as we entered the clinic, a check-in triage. Temperatures checked, followed questions, and verification of my appointment at the coumadin clinic. I wore a mask and protective gloves during the period inside the building. I touched only the chair I sat in during the blood draw.

Lighter traffic flowed through the roadways. Construction workers were busy working on the expressway. The number of people circulating about surprised me.

Today reaches the deadline to have our taxes finished. The tax preparer’s period requires us to sign our taxes before the month’s end. .My wife will receive the taxes at his office. She will bring the taxes to the car, where I will sign them. Then, she will return them before we return home. 

Our travel had a specific destination that we accomplished and returned home. I suggest you limit your trips out for a designated task and return home immediately. I enjoyed seeing people beyond my home at a distance. 

I washed my hands upon walking inside my home. I will do the same. My wife made masks that we can wash after usage. Take care in detail to avoid C-19. While at home, I have been listening to choral music on YouTube.

March closes. Keep safe as April begins.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Melody Goes On
“who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music;” —Amos 6:5

The spring musicals, recitals, concerts, and all such events got canceled. Musicians all over the world have found new and creative ways to perform.

Television news showed how students at the Berklee School of Music (near Boston) stayed at home and recorded a powerful rendition of “What the World Now Is Love” with each student showed singing or playing an instrument. TV showed a small portion of the song with commentary over the music. I listened to the entire version on YouTube with no interruptions. 

I hunger for music that lifts my spirit. I stayed on You Tube listened to several groups of stay-at-home musicians displaying their talents. The melody feeds my soul and brings joy to the heart. Music groups bring healing to the world community. Several television networks had shown concerts with stars performing from home. The music brings us together while six feet apart.

My colleague, Dr. Brenda Schaeffer, wrote a blog on “The Power of Love and Covid19.” She teaches that love is a powerful healing tool that can heal the individual, groups, and society. She gives scientific evidence that love heals the body, the mind, and the spirit of the individual. Love heals relationships and ultimately improves the entire community. I will post Dr. Schaeffer’s link in another post. The FaceBook format does not work well here to link to a site.

Above the six feet apart, stay at home orders, the melody goes on. Musicians creatively find new ways to share their melodies and bring notes of love to our hearts.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fear Is Fear
“but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die.” — Genesis 19:19b

Each of us is afraid that we will contract the coronavirus. The fear is real because fear is fear.

Yes, I am fearful. How do I respond to fear? I decided to accept the fact that I am scared? God created fear as a radar to protect us from danger.

God also gave us a brain to solve problems. My wife and I have been sequestered in our home for over two weeks. We have studied how to protect ourselves. We wash our hands after we touch mail and packages. 

My wife had to go out on business. She wore a mask and got the tasks finished. When she returned home, she put her clothes in the washer. She followed the procedure recommended by doctors we watched on YouTube.

When I reach my informational saturation, I take a nap to break the stress. I serve in my church as a chair of the Christian Education board. We are meeting on a Conference Call to check-in with each other. I also serve as the convener of the United States Transactional Analysis council. I have been in touch with TA people from over the world who support one another.

I have video conferences with my son each day. I text the other one, too! I talk with friends via FaceBook. The television has been a good source of inspiration with stations which show “good news,” too!

Yes, I share my fears. My suggestion is to stay in the present. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Don’t allow fear to cause panic. Keep thinking, protect yourself, exercise, video your friends, and be creative during this crisis.

I will not allow my fear to take over my life. I decided to use all of the other tools God gave me to take care of myself even though I have fear.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

More Yeses
“your servant has found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me” — Genesis 19:19

The Biblical search engine looked up “kind” this morning. The first reference was the scripture above.

As people are sequestered at home for long periods, I thought about the tensions. I think about the children. I suggest that we decide to interact with them positively. 

Children respond naturally to affirmative conversations. We can say “No” with kindness. Friends came to visit me when I lived in Montana. Their family and I were cooped in a car traveling to the Black Hills. 
One of the four kids asked the adults, “how much further?” We answered in general terms. I decided to check the mileage markers and give a figure. The next time I answered 62 miles. Fifty years later, she tells me that I am the first adult who gave her a factual answer.

I also know that if a child receives more “no’s” than “yes’” the effect creates knots in the stomach. Medical people teach negativity has an adverse impact on the body. I have been in meetings or situations that are very negative or toxic. I feel my stomach getting tight. We internalize the atmosphere around us.

During the C-19 crisis, let us remember to be kind to one another, especially to our children.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Find a Special Project
“Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,” — Colossians 3:23

I have to move my workshop scheduled for April 25 from my church to online. 

First, I am working on how to get my presentation online. I am scrambling to learn which formats will work before the testing begins. I have the presentation well underway. This was my presentation that was grounded last summer due to a hospitalization. The main work now is getting the technology ready for use.

New energy emerged as I began to work on this project. The goal moved me above the depressing stay-at-home mandate. My mind focused on new thoughts, which gave away to new energy. I feel the excitement growing. 

The weather warmed enough to get outside for the first time in 10 days. I walked with my walker down the sidewalk and felt energized by the fresh air.

I invite you to find a project that you can do from home. My wife has been doing spring cleaning around the house. What can you do to occupy your time to move your mind off the C-19? My project was a fresh idea and hope you may find one.

Today, I will use my time to study the technology so my workshop can successfully go online.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sadly, A Bankrupt Faith…
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” — James 2:26

I became deeply troubled when I learned of a church in Florida called people “pansies” who are afraid of the coronavirus and won’t close the church doors until the “Rapture.” His church was packed with worshipers who touched and hugged with glee.

I will not dismiss them as a bunch of crazy people. One friend said, lock them up and throw away the key. I prayed and thought about them as Children of God.I meditated about them overnight

I finally decided that they have a bankrupt faith. The pastor seems to be teaching a faith that only values God and the God that has a magical Holy Spirit that offers joyful euphoria that only includes them.

This style of faith ignores the Biblical witness of a thousand years of a faith journey. They use only a few portions of the New Testament. The human being is invaluable. The reality of the world is ignored. The pastor’s grandiose beliefs rise above all other’s beliefs. 

I am sad for they miss the joy of life, the eternal gift that God has given every person ever born. Life itself is not essential. For many years, I have been sad for folks who miss a full-service faith that offers joy and life abundantly.

I will continue to pray for the people in the Florida church and its pastor. May the Holy Spirit guide them in their faith journey. I pray they will not get the coronavirus.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Kenny, “you picked a fine time to leave us…”
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3

The title line comes from Kenny Rogers’ song, “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.” We lost him over the weekend. He left us with a great legacy of pop/country music.

His music was in my background until a few years ago. I was busy listening to Brubeck, Ellington, Basie, Fitzgerald, and Holliday. A friend and I attended an educational place where the secretary’s name was Ruby. He coaxed me to go into the office and sing, “Ruby, don’t take your love to town.” She bristled immediately, calling out my friend’s name.

My wife, her friend, and I attended his farewell concert in the Chicago area. I enjoyed every song including, “Ruby,” “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” and others from his songbook. An excellent female singer filled in for his duets with Dolly Parton and with others whom he sang duets. The performance chronicled his acting in movies.

Kenny was on the stage for practically every song during the concert. The closing number was a medley of his greatest songs. As he sang, ”you’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them,” my body was singing, “you’ve got to hold it.” (I made it to the room safely after the concert.)

Yesterday, I played the YouTube’s recording of “Kenny Rogers Top 20 Songs” during the afternoon. I sang along. He was a man who came out of poverty in Houston to become a great singer. He left us with a wealth of music and entertainment. Kenny, you left us a “fine legacy” of wonderful music. Rest In Peace, Kenny Rogers.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Creating a New Church
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” — Isaiah 43:19

Sunday, March 22 is a new day in the life of all faith denominations. Thousands of groups are streaming their services online via FaceBook, Zoom, YouTube, and other platforms.

The Coronavirus forced government officials to order stay-home policies. Streaming worship services in all denominations is a “new day” in the religious community. During illness, I found only a few services in my faith tradition. Day1 from Atlanta and Madison Ave. Baptist in NYC delivered intellectual Biblical sermons and liturgy in my Protestant tradition.

Churches are forced to use new technology for the first time. In a matter of a few days, church leaders scrambled to update their tech information in order to stream. Many pastors are rehearsing and sending online bulletins via email. 

The situation teaches us that the church, synagogue, or mosque are not limited to a building. We don’t need an enclosure in a location to worship. Children often associate the building as where God lives. We need to offer a new teaching. We must teach them, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew18:20).

I close with a quote from James Russell Lowell from the 1800s, “New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;”

I invite you to take part in this history by joining a live-streaming service from your religious institution. I will be a part of my church’s live-streaming service as though I am in a pew.

Friday, March 20

Springtime in America
“In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.” — Psalm 90:6

I am confined to home. I remember smells and pictures. Close your eyes and join me on a spring trip to the states where I lived.

TEXAS: I smell the honeysuckle and see yellow blossoms outside the kitchen of the family home. My dad planted the honeysuckle. The bluebonnets, buttercups, and wildflowers adorn the Texas roadways.

CALIFORNIA: I drive on a foggy morning in Marin county up to the peak of Mount Tamalpais and look down at the Golden Gate Bridge, the bay, and over the beautiful city of San Francisco. I look to Oakland and Berkeley over to the East Bay area. I turn to the west toward the Pacific Ocean and hear the foghorns blaring from the Golden Gate below.

MONTANA: I remember birds flying over the remains of snow in the valleys and creeks. The chilly morning reveals the winter wheat plants peeking out of the ground. Some tulips by my home are starting to wake up. The Northern Lights may be visible on a clear night.

IOWA: I see flowers starting to peak from the ground. Farmers drive their tractors into the fields to open them up. The big machines plow the fields in preparation for planting corn and soybeans. The sunrise over the plains is spectacular. 

ILLINOIS: I see the cardinal family flying around our back door. Two robins are dancing on the driveway. The sparrows from the backyard tree dart around. The grass shows green after the cold winter. Spring rain waters the ground and washes the winter grime off the streets and parking lots. The rising sun penetrates the sky and warms the air. The temperatures rise and fall as winter gives way to spring.

I hope you have enjoyed our journey around America. I invite you to share how spring looks from around your home below.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

TODAY: Time Management 
“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.” Colossians 4:5 

REMEMBER THE BASICS: You and everyone in your space are valuable, God’s child. Remember to stay connected to the outside world. 

WORK WISELY: Work for an hour. Get up and walk around. Play with a pet. Spend a few minutes doing what is fun. I chaired a productive meeting with 11 persons from the USA and Canada yesterday for an hour on a phone conference call. 

INTAKE: Drink plenty of water —stay hydrated. Eat healthy, balanced meals. Limit the news, and there is only so much you can digest. Listen to your favorite music. If you play an instrument, play it for a while. Read a relaxing book. Watch the movies on your bucket list.

BODY CARE: Exercise or do yoga, for there are free online exercise classes. Walk outside for a while. The massage therapist in our family stresses stretching. Be alone for a few minutes and take deep breaths. Nap and get a good night’s sleep.

BE CREATIVE: Write, paint, compose music, keep a diary of this crisis. Work on that novel you have wanted to write. I have slides I want to organize. My friend, the opera singer in NYC, will give vocal lessons online. PM me for details.

If you do one of these in the above categories, you will be busy, happy, and continent. I want each of you to remain alert and feel healthy during the C-19 crisis.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Homebound—Day 4
“And you will have confidence, because there is hope and take your rest in safety.” — Job 11:18

The phone rang at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. I answered. The voice at the other end said, “This is the church police checking to see if you are at home.”

The voice was my son, Eddie, who wanted to make sure I was at home. He told me to worship online which we did. 

Aaron, the other son, came home and set-up movie services so we could watch them. He suggested to wipe down the doorknobs, remotes and all he touched with disinfectant.

The four days have been okay. I made one trip out on Monday to my primary physician who gave me “very good” bill of health.

I have managed my time fairly well. I have gotten tasks around home done. I answered my emails and phone calls. I am ready for a meeting today via a conference call with people from around the country.

I have eaten well and taken naps. My greatest failings is I haven’t done the exercises that I did in physical therapy after my summer medical issues.

My emotional health appears to be okay. I have felt stress and anxiety. I changed my focus when stress has been too much.

Those of us in the senior category are isolated for at least another week. I hope you’re doing okay. Elaine and I are well. Trust you are, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Irish Laughs 
“…and a time to laugh…” — Ecclesiastes 3:4b
On this St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago River is normal without green dye. The parades postponed. Irish or not, we are all grounded.

I need a comic relief today. I have a little Irish in my blood. I searched for Irish jokes. May you laugh at these.

“When Billy saw Paddy with one of his shoelaces was undone, he said, “watch you don’t trip up over your laces, Paddy.”
Paddy said, “Yeah, it’s these bloody instructions.”
Billy said, “What instructions, Paddy?”
Paddy replies, “Underneath the shoe, it says ‘Taiwan’.”

Liam had left Dublin to go up to Belfast for a bit of skydiving. Late on Sunday evening, he was found in a tree by a farmer.
“What happened?” said the farmer
Liam replied, “my parachute failed to open!”
“Well!” said the farmer “if you had asked the locals before you jumped, they would have told you nothing opens here on a Sunday!”

An Irishman is struggling to find a parking space.
“Lord,” he prayed. “I can’t stand this. If you open a space up for me, I swear I’ll give up the Guinness and go to mass every Sunday.”
Suddenly, the clouds part and the sun shines on an empty parking spot. Without hesitation, the Irishman says: “Never mind, I found one!”

The barman says to Paddy, “Your glass is empty, fancy another one?”
Looking puzzled Paddy says “Why would I be needed two empty feckin’ glasses?”

If you have an Irish joke, we you are welcome to share one below. Did these bring a smile to your face? Top of the morning to you’all.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A Source for Truth
“You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.” — Psalm 51:6

I woke up this morning. I asked how I can be most helpful during this national crisis. 

With strong support from my children, my wife and I started volunteer isolation because of our age. With a strong internet connection and skills as a pastor/psychotherapist, I offer my services as a source for truth.

Nancy Ogilvie Navasard, a long time reader of T.J., commented yesterday, “…As a retired R.N., I ask people to be careful about what they post on Facebook about the Coronavirus. Know your souce and don’t just copy and paste. I have seen a lot of incorrect information posted on Facebook.”

A family member has a friend in public health, and the Coronavirus is a dangerous world problem. The Illinois governor has closed down our state. Health officials are saying that the United States may face the Coronavirus peak in weeks to come.

I am using my time at home to finish up the census and cast my vote by mail in the Illinois March 17 primary. We worshiped online with Madison Avenue Baptist Church in NYC yesterday and sent our regrets for a birthday party.

I have a doctor’s appointment this morning and a plan an agenda for a Wednesday conference call I am chairing. I plan to schedule some fun activities during the day. 

Schedule your day to find time to finish tasks at home. Work, exercise, eat wisely, take a nap, do nothing by staying away from the screen. Do a phone call, FaceTime, or Skype call to friends and family daily.

I ask you to check your sources before posting on FaceBook. I will be here every day to share my thoughts about joy.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Joy Essential NOW!
“Constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.” —Philippians 1:4

Joy becomes essential during these days of isolation, staying at home, and fearful times. Relatives are terrified and demanding their seniors remain at home. 

Please understand the emphasis here is very serious and not a glib response to the pandemic. Joy brings healing.

We need this definition of Lent as a favorable response for our well being. “The Season of Lent is not about giving up the things that give us joy, but about giving up things that are keeping us from our joy.” —The Rev. Sal Sapienza, Douglas United Church of Christ, Douglas, Michigan.

The Christian Century, a Christian weekly journal, reports that the top three items that Christians will sacrifice for Lent are alcohol, social media, and chocolate. These are the typical type of things that people have been giving up for Lent.

The middle of the Lent passes. Please consider looking at those ideas that keep you from joy. These are the negative thinking that stops you from experiencing joy. Give negativity up so you can experience joy. Joy is our gift from God. 

The Bible teaches that Jesus came to bring love and joy to the world. God calls us to leave behind anger, fear, and violence so we can experience the love and joy that comes from God.

Friday, March 12, 2020

Sing: “Wash, Wash, your hands” (20 seconds)
“So I will always sing praises to your name, as I pay my vows day after day.” — Psalm 61:8

The injunction suggests washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds to clean your hands of harmful germs, especially the coronavirus. Health officials called us to sing, “Happy Birthday,” twice. I find this activity VERY dull. 

Immediately, I thought about several better songs.

1. “The Jeopardy” Theme-song. You can time it to 20 or 30 seconds. Play the song on your smartphones.
2.“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is about long enough to get the hands clean.
3. I thought of a variation of a summer camp song, “If you’re happy and you know it, wash your hands, If you’re happy and you know it, wash your hands, If you’re happy and you know it, then your hands will really show it, (slowly with gusto) I’m happy for my hands are mighty clean. Amen.”

Women may sing, “I’m gonna wash that C-19 right off my skin,” using the tune, “I am going to wash that man right out of my hair,” from South Pacific. 

British folk got a suggestion from the B.B.C. to sing the first verse of “God, Save the Queen.”

I have a suggestion for my sons and their age group ——“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.

My country-western friends can sing “Jolene” by Dolly Parton.

I believe I have a good sample of songs you can sing while washing my hands. I know there are many more songs we can sing while washing our hands. Think about your choice. You have it?

Now, post the song you will sing while washing your hands below.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Keep Mind Alive
“My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.” — Lamentations 3:20

The Coronavirus took center-stage this week and continues to determine how our society functions. Travel, sports, colleges, and other events have restrictions. 

How are we to respond during this crisis? I thought about this morning, and the first thing is “to keep our minds clear and crisp.” Let us make decisions that keep each person safe.

I have NO appreciation for fellow ministers and people who profit from a crisis. I heard of one preacher who is selling an ointment forced to take it down. I heard of hand-sanitizers costing outrageous amounts. Pay only for reasonable charges.

First: Listen to medical professionals. Check with doctors and be aware of symptoms. If you have them, contact your doctor and follow their directions.

Second: Please wash hands frequently, as described by health professionals. Keep hands off your face—extremely difficult for me.

Third: Senior citizens, including me, should go out of the home as little as possible. I have two Sunday events, which I will perhaps attend. Eat healthy meals to keep your body healthy. Keep your home cleaned, clean surfaces, phones, and objects touched frequently.

I plan not to let this crisis drag me down into the doldrums. Find ways to be joyful and laugh during this situation. As Shakespeare said, “This too shall pass.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Finding Joy
“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” — Psalm 33:3

I sought to find JOY in this space for the past two and a half years. Each morning I wake up and ask myself what is joyful today? Some times I have an idea that I have forwarded from yesterday. Other days, my antenna seeks to find joy in the morning events.

Yesterday, I had a couple of ideas that did not get any traction. I opened my email and found the Rev. Gillette’s prayers for the Coronavirus epidemic. I read the prayers and felt the words spoke to my heart. I decided they hymn-prayer was the right word for yesterday with so much attention paid to the disease.

One morning, I took a sip of coffee and started singing “The Java Jive” from the forties by the Ink Spots. The Manhattan Transfer’s version in my music library. I wrote about the joy of drinking coffee. Several of you equally loved your coffee.

My first piece was easy as my late pup, Wrigley, danced for his morning cup of food. My mind referenced Peanuts’ Snoopy saying, “Mealtime is the most joyous time of the day.” 

You, too, can easily reference your joy by using your intuition, which I call my radar. What are you aware of in your heart? What excites you? What positive thoughts command your attention?

Readers, please post the first joy that comes to your mind in the Comments. 

PS: Chicago Area Readers: I am leading a workshop on “Energize Your Joy: Creating Caring Community” on Saturday, April 25, in Westchester, IL. Please private message me if you are interested.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Prayer for the Epidemic
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” — Proverbs 16:24

The most joyful word this morning was an email from the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, the hymn writer, who has written a prayer-hymn response to the Coronavirus. I quote:

God Whose Will Is Health and Wholeness
IN BABILONE D (“There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”)

God whose will is health and wholeness, hear your people as we pray:
Many now are facing illness; more face sickness every day.
As we lift our song toward heaven, may we use the gifts you give—
science, justice, and compassion— to help others safely live.

Jesus taught that your commandments call for us to use the mind.
May we use the gifts of science to seek health for humankind.
Bless the ones who work for healing; bless the ones who seek to be
Builders of a health care system that protects society.

God, you call for love and justice, yet our laws are far from wise:
Many don’t have good insurance; lack of health care threatens lives.
Many workers must keep working, sick or not, to pay the bills. 
Turn us round when we have sanctioned greed that leads to greater ills. (Used with permission)

Monday, March 8, 2020

Naps Are Valuable
“Thereupon, I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.” — Jeremiah 31:26

I watched a story on CBS Sunday Morning about the values of napping. Brian Halligan, C.E.O. of a Boston tech company, schedules a thirty-minute nap each day on his job. His company has a heavily booked nap-room. He says the rest helps him relax and collect his thoughts better.

There is scientific evidence that a 30-minute nap may increase productivity by 30%. The Spanish siesta is a good idea all along. 

My wife tells me not to sleep my life away when I take a nap. I know that I feel refreshed and clearer-headed after a rest. In the CBS story, the nap is like a person who comes in and sweeps up the clutter in your mind and lets you wake. 

The 2013 Boston Red Sox had a nap room in their clubhouse during their World Series season. 

The Sunday afternoon nap was so helpful in recovery from a vigorous Sunday morning routine. One pastor admitted that her favorite part of Easter was the nap following.

The science on naps was welcome news to me, for I nap often and on during the day. I feel my mind cleared, and I work easier following a nap. My conclusion. nap is a valuable experience.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

International Women’s Day 
“Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him.” Matthew 27:55

Jesus’ included women as equals in his ministry. He knew all along that the Creator had deemed women as necessary in the scheme of The Creation. 

Historically men valued women as less than equal to them. My “shero” was a woman who treated me as her brother. Geraldine Hill Roberts only lived 48 years. Jeri made a lasting impression on me. 

Her husband, Denton, learned that my chaplain’s job was about to be terminated. They invited me to a meal to support me during that bad news. He left for a church meeting, and Jeri continued to nurture me with good Livermore wine.

The conversation moved to talk about our fundamental human and theological values. I shared for the first time that I held women as equals with me as a human. She told me what she wanted as a woman. She wanted to be paid as much as her husband and share equally in the payments to maintain their family of two young boys. She supported women to work in the workplace. She shared how horrible it felt in second place. 

She taught me about women’s issues and how women wanted to be treated in the world. She did not put down men as many aggressive women did in the time frame. She deeply loved her men: her husband and two sons.

Fast forward, she argued with men in her Sunday morning Bible class about women’s equal rights. Her charismatic personality drew people to her. When she was ill, the hospital had to limit her visitors so they could give her medical care. The men she argued with at church cried like “babies” at her funeral. 

I remember “Jeri” on the International Day of Women. She deserved to be in the spotlight, for she truly loved God’s creation and the principles of God. She treated men and women equally as God’s sons and daughters.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Spring Forward
“For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” — Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Spring forward” means the nation will set its clocks ahead for one hour. Daylight savings time begins on March 8 and ends on November 1.

Memories immediately travel back to the Sundays when I was in the ministry. There are people who will arrive Sunday about the time of the benediction, for they failed to set their clocks. Freddie and Ella were one such couple. 

Daylight Savings time began in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada. Regina, Saskatchewan, in the wheat farming area, followed on April 23, 1914. Germany and Austria were the first countries to use DST. Today 40% of countries worldwide use DST. The concept believed to save energy and make better use of daylight. The idea is not unique to the United States.

The idea of losing an hour of sleep on Sunday creates a lot of anger. People lobby governments to repeal DST. There are arguments on both sides of the idea. I was happy to learn that it is an international issue. Some years I adapt quickly, and other years I get grumpy with the time change/

I decided that I can’t change the coming of DST. I say adapt and set your clocks ahead.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

“Just the Facts, Mam”
“… let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill,” — Proverbs 1:5

I define looking and listening as God created us with two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. I taught in a children’s sermon that God wanted us to look and hear twice as much as talk.

My University of Houston journalism professor told a story about his first class at the University of Missouri. The course neared the end when someone jumped up and came to the professor. A large man in the front row jumped up to stop the intruder. 

After everyone calmed down, the professor said that the person who first jumped up was a plant. The gentlemen who stopped the intruder spontaneously responded. The professor gave the assignment to write a one page summary about what happened at the end of the class. 

The assignment resulted in separate accounts of the classroom antics. Some wrote a factual account while others wrote reports that were different from what happened. The professor told them they would be writing stories like the classroom antics as reporters. The prof suggested students learn to use their minds and calm down so they can report the facts. Dragnet’s Sgt. Friday always asked, “Just the facts, mam!”

This story teaches us how to discern what is happening in the world around us. In every situation, we must observe our surroundings. God created each human with the skills to live in the world. Our human radar determines if our environment is safe and healthful or dangerous. 

The mind must keep in charge to keep us safe and decide how to respond n every situation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Coronavirus: Panic or Be Thoughtful
“Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind.” Luke 7:21

The coronavirus spread eastwards from the middle east. We have two choices in the wake of this epidemic. We can use science, useful information, and informative solutions. Or, we can panic or ignore the danger.

I choose to follow medical science, which says it spreads by touch or being in contact with those who have. It may have some airborne spreading. It seems to spread mostly by those who have traveled internationally. I was delighted that a medical receptionist asked me if I had gone abroad. 

Our country has a few deaths, and many hospitals, schools, and public places have taken precautions to keep the public safe. TV morning people suggested making a heart shape with your hands instead of shaking hands when greeting people. Fist bumps were exchanged when a friend had to take precautions. Health officials tell us to wash our hands frequently and use careful precautions on touching surfaces. Using wise suggestions is the best option.

To panic or hide shuts down our problem-solving options. Panicking will send your fear activity into overdrive. To ignore and hide shuts down your ability to reason. 

The coronavirus is here. Let every one of us use our best rational reasoning to follow the directions of medical professionals. Let us not panic or hide from information that may help keep us healthy.

March 3, 2020

Ballot by Mail; In Person!
and this was done by public vote of the city. When they accepted, because they wished” — Second Maccalbbes 12:4

My wife wants to cast her vote by mail. I want to cast my ballot in person. This is the typical wife/husband issues that arise in marriages. Either way, we will cast our ballot as the early voting in primaries begins in Illinois.

I remember the first time I voted. It was in Texas and I was 21 in 1958. My mother paid the poll tax so I could vote. She told me that she expected me to vote in elections. 

Over the years, something in me feels that you must vote in persons. I want to see the clerks identify me by checking off my name and address. This was identifying me as a voter. I enjoy taking my ballot and checking off the names on the paper or the electronic ballot. I prefer the electronic ballot which I can do easily. I gladly take the sticker that says I had voted.

I encourage each of you to exercise your civic duty by voting in the elections, no matter who you vote for. I believe that not voting gives away our civic responsibility.

Monday, March 2, 2020

His Light Shone
“Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand?” —Mark:21

I had a joy-filled Sunday afternoon attending the musical, “Annie,” at a local community theatre in a Catholic parish. The performance quality was as good as most professional stage productions. I drove a mile down the street from my home. 

Fifteen persons from my church sat in a cluster about a third-way back from the stage. Ten more persons were in the audience. The reason our church folk turned out was for our pastor, who performed in the role of “Daddy Warbucks.” 

With a shaved head, Pastor Joe Mills gave an incredibly powerful performance as he interacted with the young woman who played “Annie.” She was equally compelling. The orphanage children were excellent as the rest of the cast, which was backed up a supportive orchestra to our right. The performance was SOLD OUT!

Our congregation supported Pastor Joe after listening to him on Sunday morning. We cheer him in the pulpit and on the stage. He has a remarkable talent that bridges both genres. He is a gifted minister who has the God-given ability to star in a community theatre musical. He sings very well, also.

I can understand his passion for the stage. I hosted a public radio program that highlighted my love of jazz. Twice a month, I spent an afternoon in a recording studio recording two 30-minute shows to present my favorite music over the 100,000 watts of KTPR-FM in North Central Iowa.
Let pastors shine their talents in the pulpit, stage, or airwaves to let their light shine to the world. I think is a worse sin to hide them under “a bushel basket.”

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Holy Joy
“… when the morning stars sang together, and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?” — Job 38:7

My intuitive core belief believes there is HOLY JOY. A fellow minister and I recently talked about HOLY JOY!

I am sure that each child that is born contains essential JOY that is God-driven. As children grow into adults, JOY becomes dormant. 

I discovered overwhelming evidence from my experience here on FaceBook. I found an adorable little girl who dances to music while displaying an abundance of JOY.

Her radiance attracted over 2.7 million likes, thousands of shares and comments. 

Tashara Parker, a newsperson from Texas, posted this baby for a “Monday Morning Smile,” on August 26, 2019. The post has gone viral. The natural JOY shone by this baby is a human magnet to adults all over the world. 

Babies’ display of joy is the light of the world that God has given us. The task of every human is to keep that JOY active. Find ways to let your HOLY JOY shine today and every day.