Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spreading the Reading Bug

I love to read – especially when I’m on vacation. The problem I encounter on vacation is that my husband, John, isn’t much of a reader. If he does read it’s usually either some outdoorsy magazine or an optometric magazine (being as he’s an optometrist I suppose this is understandable.) But carrying a boat load of magazines on vacation isn’t practical. Plus, I feel bad for the poor people who end up sitting next to John on a plane while he’s looking at pictures of diseased eyeballs. It’s just gross.

Anyway, back to the problem. What ends up happening when we’re on vacation is that I’m peacefully sitting on the beach reading my magazine and John is just sitting with nothing to do but look at me (and the water) until he can stay quiet no longer and then he starts talking. To his credit, he can stay quiet for a fairly long time. I knew I had to find a way to change this if I was ever going to get the type of vacation I really wanted – one on which I could do a lot of relaxing and reading. So, on our vacation earlier this month I came armed with a plan – ONE Kindle – ONE iPad – both fully loaded with books.

It took a day or two of cajoling before I finally came upon the method of getting John to invest his time in a book. I handed him the iPad, showed him how to turn pages (he’s not much into technology) and said “Here, just read the preface. If you don’t want to read it after you’ve read the preface, I will stop bugging you about it.” Five minutes later he sighed and said, “Well, now I have to read the whole book.” “YES! SUCCESS!” I screamed giddy with excitement. He responded with “Well, that was hardly fair. It was like handing sugar to a baby.”

All totaled, I read three books on vacation (after finishing one I’d already started) and John read two. The second one took just much cajoling as the first one by the way, but now at least I know the successful method of attack.

I’m sure you’re wondering what books I convinced John to read that were so good, so I’ll give you a brief synopsis of each one (and save my reviews of the other two for a different blog post.)

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand - This book is a page turner. It might take you a few chapters to get absorbed but once you do you’ll have a hard time putting it down. It’s the story of Louis Zamperini, once a defiant boy, who eventually used the talent he’d acquired running from trouble into being a high school track star, and later a major contender in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. But the story doesn’t end there. Though it was expected that Zamperini would again participate in the 1940 Olympics his career was interrupted by the start of World War II. During the war Louis served as an airman which eventually led to a crashed plane, floating on a raft in the ocean for weeks before being captured and taken to a Japanese prison camp. I’ve got to warn you, there are some very gruesome descriptions of his life in this book. But, in the end, you’ll see that Louis had an undeniable resilience and God had an amazing plan. If you aren’t sure if you should read this book – just read the preface and decide for yourself.

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Susy Flory and Michael Hingson – This book was offered as a free download for Kindle a while back and it looked mildly interesting to me, so I decided why not? It's free! Now I feel as though I should send a donation to someone; it was that good. The title of the book (lengthy as it is) sort of sums up the story but in reality there was so much more to it than how Michael and his guide dog, Roselle, escaped from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center North Tower on 9/11. This book gives the reader amazing insight into the world of a blind person. As Michael says it’s not so much a story of how he escaped the World Trade Center on that fateful day as what got him there in the first place.

Check these books out. John will attest to the fact that they are worth reading.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wedding Rings

Today I did a little survey on Facebook - just for fun. My question was this: If you are married (whether male or female) do you take your wedding ring off at night or wear it 24/7?

To be honest, I was surprised at the number of people who leave their ring on 24/7. Personally, I'm a taker offer. It's not because I don't love my husband, or don't like my ring. I just don't like having any jewelry on when I'm trying to sleep. Sometimes I even take my jewelry off for a 20 minute nap. Please don't take this as an invitation to break into my house at night and steal my rings. We have an amazingly advanced security system. Our system is so advanced I can't even begin to describe it.

As for my husband? I don't believe his ring has been off his finger more than five times in the last 36 plus years of marriage, which makes me wonder why in the world I spent that money having it engraved? I mean, were mine engraved on the inside I'd take it off and read it during the tough times. In fact, I'd probably read it TO John! The reason it's not engraved is not because John didn't have anything to say it's just that my ring was not "stable enough" to withstand engraving (which probably explains why it eventually split and had to be replaced.)

John's ring is now permanently embossed to his finger. I wonder if the engraving is permanently etched into his skin as well? We'll never know. It's not going anywhere.

If you stopped by my blog today for great spiritual insight, I'm sorry - this isn't it. But, I do have a word of advice regardless of how often you take your rings off. Take it to the jeweler regularly to have it cleaned and checked, especially if you have any kind of a stone in it. Those puppies can get loose and fall out. No one wants that to happen.

One more thing. Whether your ring is gold, titanium, silver, rhodium or even a tattoo; whether it has lots of sparkle, a little sparkle, or none at all; give it a gander every now and again, remember the excitement in your heart the day it first went on your finger, the commitment that it stands for and cherish the one who gave it to you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Whatever it Takes

During my devotion time one day I was reading Acts 23 and all of a sudden I found myself laughing out loud. There is nothing comical about Acts 23. The story really starts in Acts 21 when the apostle Paul decides to go Jerusalem. Long story short, Paul had been persecuted and was basically fighting for his life. He's sitting in a prison cell (for his own protection as much as anything else) when the Lord appears to him and says “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have told the people about me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)

What made me laugh was thinking that I might know what went on in Paul’s mind when the Lord appeared to him that night. Though I can’t be sure of Paul’s thoughts I think I can make a pretty educated guess.

A couple of years ago, I hit a pretty low point in my life. I’d just been told that I had some health issues that, if left unchecked, would eventually leave me pretty debilitated. The problem was that the cure wouldn’t come in the form of a “one-a-day” vitamin, or even through surgery. The cure would come through a complete overhaul of my diet that would, at the very least, require a lot more cooking on my part. I am not a cook. I can cook, I can even cook pretty well, but I’m not much of a fan of the whole process. The menu planning, the shopping, and preparing of food just seemed so time consuming that I oftentimes found myself running to the local fast food joint for a quick bite. Yes, I’m aware this is an unhealthy habit, but did you not see how stressed I get about cooking?

So, there I was, having to cook, not liking it, and giving up some of my favorite foods (a couple of food intolerances were thrown into the mix to make it even more fun.) As crazy as it may seem, this turn of events led me to a very low point in my life. In hindsight my response was perhaps a bit overdramatic but hey, I do overdramatic well. It was during that time that a woman, whom really, I barely knew, came to me and told me that God had given her a message for me.

Getting a message from God through someone else is not the kind of thing that happens to me on a regular basis, but I was in a bad spot and I know that God sent her to me that day to give me encouragement. The truth is that her message for me wasn’t all that different from what the Lord told Paul while he sat in prison. No, she didn’t tell me I would go to preach in Rome (though I’m not opposed to that idea) but she did tell me, essentially, that God had plans to use me in a big way. This was great news but do you know what I really heard that day? What I heard, and what I think Paul might have heard also, is this, “You’re gonna live!” That’s it. I had to ask my friend to write down the message she'd given me because I really wanted to hear it all but at that moment I was focused on the “you’re gonna live” part echoing inside my head.

You see, when God tells you He’s got plans for you, and you’re thinking that you might be on the road to your demise, it changes things up. It gives you a reason to do whatever it takes (in my case, embrace the whole diet change and cooking process) so that you might be ready for all that He has for you.

I don’t want to miss out on any of God’s adventures for me because I was unwilling to change something as simple as the way I eat. Is there anything God has asked you to change? Are you willing? I encourage you – make the change. You won’t regret it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Idea for Inventors

I’ve got what I think is a great idea for a new invention. Since I have more ideas than I do the creativity and smarts to bring them to life, I’m going to share my thought with you, the general public, in hopes that someone will pick it up and run with it. Basically, I’m giving you the opportunity to make millions of dollars with my idea. You’re welcome.

Recently, at our house, we installed a new thermostat. Well, by “we” I mean “we paid” and a qualified heating and air-conditioning person did the work. The new thermostat is one that can be programmed thereby eliminating the need for me to drag myself out of bed to turn the temperature down immediately after I have settled in for the night. I thought it would be the answer to my “I’m too hot/I’m too cold” issues, but as it turns out, not so much.

While I do enjoy not having to get up out of bed, I’ve come to the conclusion that a programmable thermostat is not exactly what I wanted. What I want is a thermostat that reads my body temperature and sets the thermostat accordingly. I mean, if they can send a man to the moon . . . . a body temperature regulated thermostat should be possible, right? I’d be more than happy to wear a bracelet, patch, or even get a chip embedded to enable the thermostat to work properly. Well, maybe not the chip; that seems kind of extreme, but you get the idea.

So, there you go inventors. If you take my idea and make it happen you will be a hero to middle-aged women everywhere. And really, what more could you possibly ask for?