Why I Don’t Like Fishing

As I write this my husband is preparing sixty pounds of cod and haddock filets.  Tomorrow night we will have a fish fry with our family group. The remainder will go to friends, family and the freezer.  Two days after Christmas Wyndham went deep sea fishing and caught so many fish that his hands were cramping from the strain of pulling them all in.  (It might have also had something to do with being out on the ocean during winter in New England during high winds and 4-7 foot waves as well).  He had a blast! I was so happy for him, and I have to say – the fish tastes pretty fantastic!

I wish I could enjoy this sport with him.  However, if someone wanted to torture me they could wake me up in the wee hours of the morning, load me on a boat and take me fishing.  No need to chum for fish…  I’d automatically provide the chum.  I can get sick just looking at a wave.   It hasn’t always been this way.  When I was a young girl, I loved to fish for brim and bass in the pond in my back yard.  I caught fish on bread wads, bacon – and once while using bubble gum for bait.  I never could do the worms, however.  They were just too slimy for me.  I fished day after day and loved it.  However, something happened between now and then.

Today,  I could enjoy about 10 minutes of fishing if I was standing on the ground by a beautiful lake with the air temperature about 72 degrees Fahrenheit… and a gentle breeze was blowing to keep away the bugs. Someone else would bait my hook…I’d catch a fish instantly and then they would also take it off the hook for me (and throw it back).  It would be nice if a tasty picnic lunch was there to enjoy as well.  I could munch on this while I stared at beautiful mountains in the background overlooking the lake.   That would be okay.

I know what happened…..  Shortly after we were married I went deep sea fishing with Wyndham and his uncle (who loved fishing as much as he did).  It was raining and the waves had deep swells.  I turned green and went down to the cabin in order to stay dry while I threw up.  That proved to be a bad idea.  My sea-sickness got worse and worse, so I ventured outside to sit in the rain and hurl over the side of the boat.  As I sat down in the rain …. his uncle began chumming ( putting whole fish..guts and all in a meat grinder to dump in the ocean to attract fish.  That helped…(not so much.)  His uncle then gently put a tarp over me and assured me that we would turn back when the tide changed.  (He was the boat captain so made the decisions.) When I learned that the tide would change in six hours I seriously contemplated the decision to throw myself overboard.  Ever since that day, I have stayed far away from fishing.  It was a fast and firm decision.  I’m not even tempted to try it again.  I don’t want to get close to deep sea fishing…it made me completely miserable.

I thought about two scriptures I read today.

2 Tim. 2:22-23

    Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. [23] Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

1 John 2:15-17

    Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. [17] The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Every day…from the mall to the television the world tries to lure us with money, things, pleasures and all sorts of distractions from what really matters.  Satan is chumming for our attention and wants us on his boat.  That boat ride ends very badly.  May I (and we) always remember how empty and deceitful the world really is and stay as far away as possible…not setting foot on that boat.  Rather,… pursue faith, love and peace…with a pure heart.  These will not disappoint.

Out of Gas

…Funny  how empty the house can seem after Christmas.  The last of the family members just pulled out of the driveway and the house is suddenly quiet…  No more squeals, pitter patter of little feet, giggles or “Mom…she’s trying to get my stuff!”  I miss that “music”. I’m so grateful that my children and grandchildren live close by…but there is still something a little sad about the day after Christmas.   Part of the reason, I think, is that I’m exhausted.  I love Christmas time and all the music, baking, cooking, decorating and wrapping that goes with it.  Most of the time I love it…but sometimes I’m just tired.  Today, after some cleaning up, to be honest I felt like I was all out of the “giving spirit”.  I then caught up on the on-line news and read about a tragic fire in New England, killing a woman’s three children and her parents early Christmas morning.  I then felt very sad all afternoon.   This made me feel even less like giving.  Frankly, I felt like I was “out of gas”.

Have you ever been driving and run out of gas?   I have.  I remember years ago (pre-children days) when our dog ran away.  I had let him out last thing before going to bed… and he didn’t return the entire night.  I couldn’t sleep from worrying about our little cocker spaniel.  The next day, as we searched the neighborhood I discovered that a neighbor living about a half mile away also had a dog that was missing.  It was an Afghan hound who happened to be  “in heat”.  I put two and two together and figured that my male dog was likely wherever her female dog was.  I called the local animal shelter (local in that it was in the state…about thirty miles away in a rural area) and was told that in fact they had picked up a cocker spaniel and an Afghan hound the night before.  I asked my neighbor if she would like for me to retrieve her dog when I got ours.  She was happy with my offer.   I hopped in my little Volkswagen and drove to pick them up.

After getting them “out of jail”  I began the drive back home when I noticed that my car began sputtering…and sputtering – and then stopped.  In my worry and haste upon leaving to get the dogs I had failed to notice that my car’s gas tank was nearly empty.   I was completely out of gas.  There were no cell phones yet, so I surmised I would need to walk to the nearest phone (which was quite a distance) to get help.  Meanwhile, I had my dog (and the neighbor’s dog in heat) sitting in the back seat of my little car.  Agreeing to pick them both up in my little car was the first stupid thing I did that day.  Not only had I failed to fill my tank, but now that I was on empty – havoc was preparing to rule.  I had not mentally or physically prepared myself for this journey.  I then somehow found some kind of rope (not sure what kind – perhaps it was even dental floss) and tied one dog to one door handle inside the car and the other dog to the other door handle.  They began to howl.  It was not a pretty sight.  I then ventured out (I think with tears) to find some fuel.   Fortunately, I was able to summon some help and received enough fuel to make it to a gas station.

This is sort of what I felt like today.  Out of gas and feeling “on empty”.  I thought about the choices I could make.  One was to get some much needed rest (which I did).   I remembered how Elijah had gone from an incredible day of great victory and rejoicing to feeling weak and “down” the next day.  1 Kings 19:4-5

    while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” [5] Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

    All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

The rest and some nourishment helped.  I could then choose to think about all things sad and pick up other’s sorrows as well or set my mind differently.  (While it is good to feel compassion…when there is nothing I can do for a situation I realize I “simply” need to take it to God.)   Most of all, I needed refueling.  This meant I needed to humbly seek help and to search for a “filling station”.   It’s not necessarily simple to get there right away.  Sometimes we have to “tie up” the distractions in the back seat and get out of the car to find help and a source for fuel.  So, I tried to “tie up” the distractions that were howling in the back of my mind and searched for spiritual fuel.  I was ministered to by the scriptures I read.  I count on, and prayed to claim the promise in  Ephes. 3:16

    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Then I read some more scriptures.  It never ceases to amaze me how “alive and active” they are.   I prayed that God would fill me up so I could give some more, and he did.  I have been so very blessed by God.   I know if I imitate Jesus that means I need to keep on giving and loving even when I’m feeling tired of giving. Jesus did this again and again, no matter the circumstance.  Amazing!   I’m so grateful that God, through His Spirit, continually fills us so that there is always something to give.  Romans 5:5

    And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

 

Through A Mother’s Eyes – Mary’s monologue

…Been thinking today… as I’m busy cooking and wrapping – of the amazing and incredible difference the birth of Jesus has made in my life!  I’ve often thought about what life must have been like for Mary, Jesus’ mother – and the difference his birth made in her life.  I was able to share some of these thoughts for a Christmas service about ten years ago. I found the video footage someone had made for me (amidst some other “antiques”). Though the footage (and acting) is rough…I hope this can help you connect a little more closely to the birth of Jesus.  (Thanks to Ali Mackall, Anthony Ciotti and Diana Mouzakis for the songs they sang – clips of which I included).  Though I left out most of the singing from the program, if I were more technically astute I would have put the remainder of the songs in the background.  (I haven’t learned how to do that yet.)

Click on this link to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnSrWjLtSds    

(while the script is longer and has a copywrite...I'm eager to share it. Just please contact me. Thanks.)

Have a wonderful Christmas.  May the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord make all the difference in your life as well.

‘Twas the Night Before the Christmas Picture

Something was seriously wrong with this picture.  I had been looking through family photos and was reminded of a scary looking photograph taken a couple of years ago (and 4 grandchildren ago).  Our good friend and photographer, Vanessa, had a bit of fun in her workshop.  This is what happened:

“Twas the night before the Christmas picture and all through the house

No one was stirring, not even my spouse

The camera was charging on the counter with care

In hopes that the photographer soon would be there.

 

The families were in their homes all snug in their beds,

While visions of mischief…roamed through the photographer’s head

And nana in her Red Sox T-shirt and Papa in his Patriot’s cap

Had fallen asleep, for at least a short nap.

 

We arose the next morning to picture taking and fun chatter;

And the picture was snapped; but what was the matter?!

Confusion arose from the moment of the camera’s flash

So, I checked out its shutter…even checked through the trash

 

Something had happened with our picture…yes it’s true…oh no!

Our heads had been switched (as you can see below)

…Then what to my wondering eyes should appear…

But a miniature Wyndham and ten others held dear!

 

With a sly ol’ photographer…so sly and so quick

I knew in a moment…she must be quite sick!

More rapid than eagles, her mischief it came

And she photoshopped and chuckled, and called them by name.

 “Now KevJean and WynCa! Now EmLeigh, Now CaMel and JeanKris!

On SamKev, JakeGus! On, MelJake, GusWyn! On EmLeigh and KrisSam!

From the top of their heads for the short and the tall!

Now mix them up! Change them up! Mess them up all!!”……..

It’s a frightening sight to see these switched heads.  I was thinking how much scarier it is when we try to “photoshop” our head onto God’s.  I am quite sure of the scripture in Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
        neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord.
    [9] “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
        so are my ways higher than your ways
        and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Yet, how easy it is to try to make our thoughts God’s thoughts.  I’m grateful he does not hide his thinking from us, but gives us his word of grace and truth (through the scriptures and in the flesh through Jesus) to tell and show us so many of this thoughts. Amos 4:13

    He who forms the mountains,
        creates the wind,
        and reveals his thoughts to man,
    he who turns dawn to darkness,
        and treads the high places of the earth–
        the Lord God Almighty is his name.

At times it seems all too easy to try “switch heads” with God and tell him how to “be God”.  Perhaps that is why it seems easier for many to picture Jesus as a baby in a manger, where he is silent and “smaller than us”.  Yet God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, .. Eph. 1:22

While it is humorous to see our heads switched in a picture….it is sobering to realize how futile,dangerous, and ultimately arrogant it is to “try” to control God and His thoughts.  When I fail to humbly read his word, a subtle shift can happen where I attempt to put my thoughts and feelings onto God’s – instead of changing my thoughts and feelings to be like His.  One of my Bible heroes, Job, tried this line of reasoning – and then got “his head on straight”.   Job 40:2-5
  “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
        Let him who accuses God answer him!”

    [3] Then Job answered the Lord:

    [4] “I am unworthy–how can I reply to you?
        I put my hand over my mouth.
    [5] I spoke once, but I have no answer–
        twice, but I will say no more.”

May we all keep our heads on straight!

Deworming the Earworm

Eeeew!  This is my reaction to this disgusting-sounding title. However, this post is not really going to be about slimy creatures living inside the crevices of our inner ears or about long squiggly worms “gracefully” cascading down from the openings in our ears.

“Earworms” is a word coined within the last decade used to describe catchy phrases, jingles or songs that get stuck in our minds – and while there are replayed over and over (and over) again.  Several recent happenings brought “earworms” to my attention. One is an article I read yesterday, while in the Zurich airport, in a magazine entitled “Hear the World”. (My mother was deaf the last twenty years of her life, so articles about hearing often catch my attention).  This particular article was about “earworms” – what causes them (they don’t know) and how to get rid of them.

Also, this past weekend my oldest granddaughter, who was visiting us, began to sing a jingle from an advertisement for a jewelry store – “Every kiss begins with Kay”.  As she was singing I  began to randomly say the word “Kay”, and then give her younger sister (who was sitting on my lap)  a kiss each time I said the word.  This brought on laughter, which brought on more spoken “Kays” followed up with kisses. Unfortunately, I was left singing this little ditty in my head all day long.  Now that I have mentioned it, if you are familiar with the song I may have just passed this annoyance on to you. Similarly, If I were to write a paragraph encouraging you not to think about a red airplane – and then kept repeating instructions, “don’t think about a red-colored airplane” – chances are you would have it clearly pictured in your mind.

I read in the magazine article that studies show that the best solution for ridding our minds of “earworms” is to to sing a different song or say another phrase. Funny thing, the scriptures have always taught this God-given principle.  A scripture that has become a well used tool for me is found in Romans 12:21.  It simply states,
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Another scripture that teaches this principle is told in Matthew 12:43-45
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. [44] Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. [45] Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first…”

When I have an unrighteous thought, word or attitude come into my head I can be sure it will want to “take up residence” in my heart.  I can let it fester and take root, or I can decide (with the help of God) to send it away.  These scriptures teach me that, just like the earworms, I won’t be able to get rid of these thoughts, words or attitudes just by thinking about getting them out of my head.  Instead, I need to replace them with something else, such as what is described in Philip. 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

When I keep scriptures, songs and righteous “good thoughts”  in my “arsenal of memory”. they prove again and again  to be antidotes for having the “sinworms” take me captive. These “sinworms” are far more destructive than “earworms”, which can just be annoying.  Either way, I never have liked worms.