I like animals. I try to be kind to them and take care of them. Even bugs, though I do kill mosquitoes. There are limits to my kindness.

Back when we had one of those heavy rains, we had some worms up on our carport floor. They were escaping drowning, getting up where it was drier. But they stayed longer than they should have – the rain stopped, and things started drying out. Good for people, bad for worms. They were getting all coated with sand and dust, and from their worm perspective, they couldn’t see that they were headed IN to the center of the carport, instead of out towards the cool, moist grass. They were headed to their death.

Then I stepped in. I had the benefit of height, and hands, and perspective. I could see and do things they couldn’t even imagine. I plucked a piece of grass, slid it under the middle of the worm, picked him up, and carried him to the grass. Well, that was my plan. The worm started wiggling and trying to escape, turning into a worm-ball that wasn’t working with my plans.

I finally got him, I think by using two pieces of grass. As I’m walking my rescued worm to the grass, I’m talking to him. “Mister worm, I’m only trying to help you. Won’t you cooperate, please?“

Later on, I started thinking about Mr. Worm, and Mr. Steve, and God. About the many times He has rescued my life, physically and spiritually. About the times He has spoken to me – I know the plans I have for you. He leadeth me beside the still waters. And about how hard I can struggle against doing what is best.

And I’m sure that God wishes I would just trust Him and do what He says. That’s what Jesus did – nevertheless not My will, but thine – and the outcome of that obedience is what we are celebrating now. I invite all Christians to partake of the wafer and the juice, symbolizing Jesus’s broken body and shed blood. Let’s pray.

Father God, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for His sacrifice and for His example, and His resurrection. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

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I did a couple technological things today.  One has shown itself to work, one is still in a test phase.

We were out last night, and after getting the mail, somebody forgot to turn off the dome light in the car.  I’m not naming names – he would probably just scratch his beard and look glaringly at me. We tried going out tonight.  No battery.  The dome light did its work well.  This is not the first – nor the second – time that this has happened to this car. The remediation after last time was to buy a little jump starter.  Specifically, this one from Amazon. Last time this happened, we burned a call to the roadside assistance company, and waited a half-hour.  This time, we had the answer in the glove box.  It worked great – the car started up and we were driving within 5 minutes.  I charge it at the start of each month, off the same type of charger as my phone uses, just to keep it topped up.  Highly recommended.

The other thing that is still in a “wait and see” mode is our home wifi.  Not content to stick with normal consumer stuff, I have a Ubiquiti Unifi access point.  I got the long range version to make sure we have good coverage, and we do. I can walk almost to the mailbox and still have usable signal.  What I messed up on was the placement within the house.  Yes, you can misplace something with long range like that.  The placement wasn’t wrong because of the output, but because of the input.  I was trying to get perfectly centralized placement within the house – in a pantry in the hallway.  We don’t have a wired connection there, so I was using ethernet over electric – something like this. And we were getting wifi disconnects on our phones, much more than we should have.  So I moved the access point to the office and now it has a hard-wired connection to our switch.  We’ll check it over the next week or so, see how it’s doing. Losing wifi can be frustrating.  I know it’s the wifi portion because my wired PC does just fine at the same time as my phone is having an outage.

Next up on the crazy list is setting up a home server, in order to run a house wiki (and provide some extra storage).  It’s a discarded HP  Proliant – a rack mount.  He’s going in the basement.

Today is a good day.

When trying out new things – even breakfast cereal like Raisin Bran – buy it from Kroger in a normal size, instead of from Costco.

Have you ever been talking to someone and then you realize they aren’t there? They walked out of the room or something, and you didn’t know it.

This week I had a discussion like that – a disagreement, really, and with a guy who lived 400 years ago.

John Donne was an English poet, back in the early 1600s. He was the one who said “no man is an island” – yeah, he would have fit in with the inter-connectedness of everything now-a-days. That isn’t what I had a problem with.

He also said “every man’s death diminishes me”. We have had several deaths recently, including Starla’s mom just this week. Now I understand what he is saying – there is a loss each time someone breathes their last.  That’s true. But he used the word “every” – not some, not most, but every. So that has to include Jesus, who was fully man, while being fully God. And what I disagreed with, talking to the man from 400 years ago, is that Jesus’s death actually enhanced his life – and mine – rather than diminishing it. Yes, there was very much pain and suffering on the cross. I am sorry that Jesus had to suffer so, and I am terribly sorry that He had to do it for my sins.

I am also glad that He did, and my life is enhanced in uncountable ways because of Jesus’s death, and I will spend eternity in heaven because of that death. If that isn’t an enhancement, instead of a diminishment, I don’t know what is.

As all Christians take the bread and the juice, let us remember that death – and that resurrection. Romans 14:9 says “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”  Let’s pray.

Lord God, thank You for sending Jesus to pay the price for our sins – for my sins. Thank You for His death, and thank You for His resurrection. It’s in His name I pray, amen.

(communion meditation for March 26, 2017)

I did a very non-scientific study recently, of love songs on the radio. After removing all the Oooooohs and Babys and Yeahs, I was left with these three themes:

  • I will always love you
  • I will never leave you
  • We’ll be together forever

Now I’m not a scientist. I don’t even play one on television. But I see a common thread in those. And I know the reason why. Believe it or not, it’s God.

Laugh if you want, and considering some of the stuff they play on the radio, God doesn’t seem to enter the picture. But Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has put eternity in their hearts“. These people are trying to replace God with something that won’t last. Human love is wonderful – it’s a gift from God! – but it isn’t eternal, regardless of what the songs say.

But Godly love is eternal, because it doesn’t depend on humans. It depends on God, who never fails. In Romans 5:8, it says

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

That’s true love, eternal love. It says “I will always love you, I will never leave you, and We’ll be together forever”. That love, that sacrifice, is what we are celebrating with the wafer and the cup. Let’s pray.

Lord God, I sometimes imagine you up in heaven, looking down at our silly efforts to fill that God-shaped hole in our lives with something besides You. Thank You for providing for that need, in the person of Jesus. It’s in His name that I pray, amen.

(communion meditation for January 8, 2017)

Sunday morning, January first 2017, started off foggy. 

That makes for a good year for headlight manufacturers and body shops – not for me, just in general. 

Sunday ended with me winning (through no fault of my own) a fantasy football league I didn’t want to join. 

Thanks, Mark

Monday morning, January second, starts out foggy again. I’d like to make a prediction about how this year is going to turn out, but the crystal ball is, predictably, foggy. 

When the nurse asks you which arm you want the tetanus shot in,  there are consequences when you sleep on your side. 

It all started innocently enough, just a regular day-after-Christmas organ delivery. While releasing a tie-down, I got a scrape that needed to be band-aided. My last tetanus shot was about 8 and a half years ago, so it was time. 

Show up at the doctor’s office at my scheduled time (missing work), and they tell me I can’t do it because I haven’t seen the doctor in over 6 months. Wish they would have known that when I made the appointment. I do mention in passing that I could get it at an urgent care place without having seen their doctor, but to no avail. 

The Little Clinic at Kroger filled the bill (with an upsell to include diptheria and pertussis – whooping cough). No reaction, so all is well. 

It could have been weller had they mentioned that if I was a side sleeper, I should get the shot on the ceiling-facing shoulder to avoid a few nights’ discomfort. They didn’t, and I didn’t think of it.

All is well. Still,  note to self . . . 

. . . frying pan?

Yes.  Despite rumors of my best Christmas present being a rubber band (it was fun, but it came in second), I am currently elated with my non-stick Food Network frying pan from Kohl’s.

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It’s really more of a cream than white, but let’s go with a good title.

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To break it in, I made an omelette with these ingredients (although a late adjustment dropped in crumbled bacon bits instead of the pepperoni).  I used some egg nog instead of milk.  Note to participants in the great 2016 eggnog-off: this one doesn’t rank highly.

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It warmed up nicely on low heat – you can see the cheese (white, of course) starting to sweat and melt.

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I finished topping it off with the salsa and bacon bits – the egg is firming up nicely.  The salsa spattered on the inside of the pan.  That was OK.

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The omelette slid off the pan smoothly. The butter (and the pan) did its job!

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And the cleanup was, as they say, a doddle.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for another fun piece of culinary gear.