2021 October 26

Breakfast with eggs, bacon, and toast on the patio. Lunch with grilled cheese sandwiches and tomatoes soup in cups. Supper of cold cereal with banana and strawberries.

There were four at bible study this morning. We started with the feeling of belonging and them strayed far afield. It was good conversation.
Ella spent time making jewelry in the craft room.
Tom spent time working on next Sunday’s F.R.o.G. class lesson.

It was a slow day for us. We pray you are well and behaving smartly.

GOD BLESS AND GOODNIGHT

©2021 Thomas E Williams . ?

2021 October 25

This it’s NOT a black and white photograph. This morning is just a black and white day, however.
There was a bit of irony in today’s devotional reading about the colorful symbol of God’s promise on a colorless day as today. But, in spite of – or perhaps because of – present circumstances, we lean on God’s promises.
A couple of games in the morning and a few later in the day.
Laundry day. After the first load of wash was into the dryer, we drove to the church where someone had dropped off seven large leaf bags full of beer cans for our monthly gathering.
The Grandies ministry collects food and other items once a month for the local food bank & thrift store. At the same time we collect aluminum cans to sell for the metal reclamation. We do this on the first Sunday of the month. However, these cans were donated early.
Normally, we would take any non crushed cans home where we would detab and crush them. However, I decided to forego that this time. Even had we crushed all these cans we still would probably have had five large bags full, which would not have left much room for the first Sunday donations to come. I chose to take them to the recycler today. Thirty one pounds netted us nine dollars to be used toward our ministries. Ella and I donate our time, energy, truck, and gasoline.
From the recycler in Jarrell we drove to the blood / plasma center in Round Rock. It is a drop off point for pull tabs / pop tops. These are donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Today Grandies donated between 15 & 20 pounds of tabs. That’s a lot of tabs.
It was well past noon by that time, so we stopped at Micky D’s for lunch. We planned to “dine in” however that wasn’t allowed. We drove around the drive through and picked up our order to take home.

God bless and goodnight

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 24

Though it is Sun day there is no sun to be seen.
Cross Tracks Church
Sermon
“Abundance > Comfort”
Susye & Mike Bowles

Lunch: roast beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, spinach, and fruit salad (peaches, pears, grapes, and strawberries).


SPRING CLEANING

     The sun was shining so brightly that morning that it warmed my soul.  It made me flash on a memory from when I was a child of around ten years old.  

           It was springtime and one of the first truly warm days after a cold winter had arrived.  To my mother spring meant cleaning.  Not just sweeping and moping cleaning. This meant deep, deep cleaning.  This was when the living room furniture was hauled out onto the front lawn.  The room was stripped bare of furniture, pictures, curtains and me.  I was exiled to the front yard with the furniture. 

           With a cotton cloth over the straws of the broom, Mom would sweep the ceiling and walls.  A dry cloth followed by a wet cloth wiped away the dust from the window and door frames.  The baseboards got the same treatment while she crawled around on hands and knees.           

     The windows were cleaned with white vinegar and gave the house a pungent smell that lasted for days.  The outside of the windows would be cleaned the same way at a later date when the storm windows were taken down and stored away in the cellar.  

          The walls were inspected and spot scrubbed before a general wipe down with another damp towel.  Touch up painting might follow the cleaning or possibly the walls would get a completely new color coating of fresh paint.  That year no painting was needed. 

           The wooden floor was swept and then a well soaped scrub brush was applied to the floor, again on hands and knees.  The floor was then rinsed several times and then a few coatings of liquid wax were applied.

     While this was taking place inside the house, it was my job to clean the furniture.  The cushions came off the couch and Mom’s chair.  This was a special treat because I got to keep any coins found in the couch.  I usually came up with more pencils and small toys than I did money but it was still a treasure hunt.  And then I got to whack the overstuffed and upholstered  furniture with a rug beater.  What young boy could pass up a chance to beat up a couch? 

    Of course in my imagination I was taking down a buffalo or some such beast with my bare hands.  Clouds of dust would come out into the bright sunlight and sparkle like flecks of gold in the air.  Sometimes they were stars as I went hurling through the cosmos in my space ship.  

          The wooden furniture got a dusting and then I was allowed to rub them down with furniture oil.  This was long before I ever heard of lemon scented furniture polish.  I don’t know what kind of oil it was but it had a pleasant earthy aroma. 

     With the warm sun soaking into my skin I was transported to the old west where I was wiping down my horse after a long ride through the desert, where I had been tracking down rustlers.   

         I was always done with my job before Mom finished her cleaning.  Sometimes I would transform the couch into a car and go for a drive.  Sometimes I would be chased by spies! I might be held prisoner in a jail cell formed by the back of wooden chairs. And sometimes exhausted by all my adventures I would lay on the cool green grass and be filled with the smell of earth, the sounds of robins and cardinals, and the heat of the sun with the feel of the breeze tickling the hairs on my arm.  And then I would sleep.

After church we needed to stop for Werthers candies for Ella. Dollar tree was locked up and the following was posted on the door, “Now hiring manager and assistant manager”. So we circled around to Walgreens.

GOODNIGHT AND GOD BLESS.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 23

      DRY BONES

     I was reading from Ezekiel,  “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.  He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’  I said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’

     “I thought to myself that if the Lord had asked me that question I would have replied, “Are you nuts?   Of course not!” I realize that Ezekiel’s story is meant as a symbolic story to help visualize a lesson that God was teaching Ezekiel.  I can easily accept the story of dry bones coming to life as an allegory but not as a true event. At the same time, I do believe in the bodily resurrection.

     Strange thing is, there was a show on the Discovery Channel about “gene hunters”.  These guys are trying to piece together the genome of saber-tooth tigers to be implanted in modern day lion or tiger.  Another set of scientists is working on recreating mammoths.Hmmm!  ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’

     Perhaps these scientists have more faith than I do. Though theirs is perhaps misplaced faith in science and their own abilities.

Certainly, the Master of Creation could bring new life ad He pleases.

Arik and Jenny took us to Starbucks this afternoon. So we got to see Sofia for a minute or two, since this is where she works. While we were there, we came up with a game plan, (or rather plans A, B, C. & D) on how to deal with our housing crisis.

Plan A is to stay put and try to lower the rent. Part of plan A is to seek aid on lowering our monthly bills for food, transportation, electric, and more. Another part of the plan is to get our names back onto lists for other (lower cost) housing in the area. Plan B will widen the search area. Seeking part time employment may be an option but it may be counter productive while seeking income based housing.

These are clouds in the east just prior to sunset.

God bless and goodnight.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 22

Chili with beans for lunch. This came from our emergency food supply, not because it was an emergency, but because I was hungry for chilli.

HOW TO NAME A CAT

We lived in a too small house.  A house built for two and we were more.  I needed an office space for which I would not be obliged to pay rent. My publishing business could be run as easily from a home office as from the office space it was currently occupying.  All I needed was space to put the equipment; computers, printers, copier, light table, files and more files.  But we lived in a too small house.

We found a house.  A big house.  An old house.  A house with a basement room with an outside door.  An office space where my sales staff could come and go without interrupting life in the home.  We bought the house. The house was Victorian architecture built with huge, red, Colorado  sandstone in 1890. 

Although it was now in Des Moines, at the time it was built, newspaper stories about it wondered, “Why would anyone want to live so far outside the city.”  Although it was no longer surrounded by fields and forests, we soon discovered that there were wild creatures who wanted to share our home.  Mice.

We need a cat.  A tom cat.  An old cat.  A cat wise in the ways of mice.  We need a cat.  We need a hunter.  A slayer of mice. Having overheard that I wanted a cat, our daughter, knowing of a person who raised cats, brought us two female kittens in a cage.  A cage in which they’d lived most of their lives.  In a cage that they were to afraid to leave.  Two scaredy cats.  Two kittens ignorant of mice and their ways.  Kittens.  Not cats.  Not what I wanted, but I couldn’t send them back to that pet mill from which they came.

Names.  They needed names.  I don’t really know why people give names to cats.  Cats seldom come when you call their names.  They may come when you say, “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty” and have food for them.  Or they may just lift their head from where they lay curled in the sun, and stare at you with the most dismissive of looks.  But we feel the need to name them.  It is our God given duty to name the animals.  Read Genesis chapter two and verses nineteen and twenty, if you don’t believe me.  Names.  They needed names.

The black cat was easy to name.  Aren’t all black cats named Midnight?  The gray tabby cat … what to name the gray tabby?  Something to match her personality.  Crazy Cat?  Kitty Retardo?  Skittish Kittish? It happened when my son and I were sitting at the table in the kitchen.  The kitchen was one of only three rooms in the house without carpeting.  The other two being bathrooms.   So, there we were sitting and pondering names.  That was when the gray tabby made and entrance.  I don’t mean to say that she came into the room.  I mean to say that she made an entrance. 

And it was an entrance that we recognized.  We had seen that entrance many times.   On TV.  On Seinfeld.  The kitten came sliding sideways into the kitchen and then did a little twitch and looked at us expectantly.  Kramer!  It was obvious that this kitten’s name was Kramer.

We had taken our game to the great room in hopes of finding more players. However, it was a vain hope as no-one had an interest in joining us.

Good night and God bless

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 21

I missed sunrise

We had several chores that I wanted to accomplish today. One – pick up my prescription, two – deliver all of the pull tabs we’ve been collecting, three – check apartment availability in Liberty Hill, and four – deliver food to Liberty Hill food bank. I was able to only check two of those off my list, the prescription and food bank.

The rest of the day was was not worth mentioning.

I missed sunset.

God bless and good night

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 20

There was no sunrise today, just a gradual lightening of the sky.
I participated in an hour long Zoom meeting with Cherry Hill Productions (and hundreds of fellow Santa’s) about the upcoming Santa Season. I’m so ready for this to begin.
Last year at this time, I was dreading how Santa in the time of Covid was going to play out. All in all, last year went well, because, for the most part, parents and children took the precautions in stride.
Amazingly, it was reported that people are already scheduling appointments. CHP said that appointments were well over those of even the pre pandemic 2019 numbers.
Ella’s floral arrangements
We found out today that our rent for the apartment starting in January will be $1056. That is adjusted down from the market price of $1200. It is also $357 MORE than the $699 we are currently paying. We have been able, by skimping, to manage the $699.
For reference, Tom’s monthly social security is $1048.
Help!
If we can find someplace cheaper, we are required to give 60 days notice. We have only 103 days before the higher rate takes affect and only 43 days before we would need to give the 60 day notice. And we really don’t want to go through another move.
Any suggestions? Any way that a nearly 75 year old couple could make an extra $400 a month?
Please pray for us.

WAYBACK WEDNESDAY

************

God bless and goodnight

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 19

An interesting fact about my military life: I never once pulled KP. KP stands for kitchen police, which has nothing to do with the common use of the term police. Police means to maintain. So when ordered to police the parade grounds, it has nothing to do with law and order or guard duty. It means to clean it of trash (cigarette butts, scrapes of paper, bits of broken glass, et all). Likewise kitchen police means to clean, fetch, and anything else the Mess* Sergeant orders to be done. *When it first appeared in English, mess meant a portion of food. Therefore in military parlance; mess, chow, and dining mean the same thing.

Back to what I was saying about never being on KP duty my entire military life. During Basic Training I became a Squad Leader and wore corporal stripes on an arm band. Because of that extra duty, I was exempt from kitchen duty. While in Advanced Individual Trading (where you receive the specialized training for the job you are assigned – in my case it was Military Police), they asked if anyone knew how to type. There is a joke that begins with that question and ends with being handed a shovel. However, they truly were looking for someone to do typing in the orderly room. At the time, I could type 50-60 words per minute. If you remember M*A*S*H, think Radar O’Reilly. Though he was from Ottumwa, Iowa while I was from Johnston, Iowa. The office staff were exempt from KP because of the extra duties already being performed. 

After completing AIT as an MP, I was assigned to a NATO missile base in Germany. The MPs were not in the rotation for KP. 
And my last six or seven months in the military, I was once again in the Orderly Room (office) as Publication and Training NCO. The military really likes their capitalized initial abbreviations, don’t they?
Four burgers and a large fry door less than seven dollars. Not exactly fine dinning but it was enough while we waited for time to go to our next destination.
Brighter Days Food Pantry at the Leander Church of Christ was our next stop. We received non perishable canned goods, oatmeal, rice, and macaroni, as well as frozen hamburger, another two dozen eggs, two heads of lettuce, two loaves of bread, two cartons of shelf stable milk, and more fruit and potatoes.
Once we sorted through everything, we prepared a box of items that we will regift to the food pantry in Liberty Hill.

God bless and goodnight

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 18

9:30 this morning was set aside for a VA doctor visit via phone all. However, my phone’s spam filter didn’t recognize the number and didn’t let it ring through. Why’s I saw what it had done, I called them. After nearly thirty minutes on the phone with the receptionist, she was unable to get through to the doctor (who was working from home) or the nurse, or the clerks. Finally, the receptionist, apologizing for not being able to get a response from the medical staff, set a new appointment for Thursday afternoon. In the mean time, I’ve added the clinic’s number into my contacts.

Today’s devotional told of a person who had been involved with children’s ministry for many years. Due to staff changes, that position was removed. They prayed for guidance and found themselves starting a music ministry with dementia patients.

It struck a cord with me because I had done a similar ministry with dementia patients. Originally I was going to do a bible study. I soon realized that the bible study was unrealistic. I’m no musician but I have a lot of Christian music and hymns on my laptop. I created a booklet booklet with the words to the music. With external speakers for the computer it worked fairly well. This experiences gave me a better understanding of how selective and tragic dementia is.

Monday equals laundry day at our home. This is Ella’s self chosen job. I neither properly sort the clothes for washing nor correctly fold them once removed from the dryer.

One thing that kept me going, while in the service, was getting letters from home. Mom sent letters sometimes as did my niece Kathy. Technically she was my niece, my sister’s daughter but since she was only three years younger them me, she was more like a sister. But the letters I most looked forward to were from my girl friend. She once sent a letter written on a whole roll of toilet paper. Packages with food in them were the best. Of course those had to be shared. 

God bless and good night.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 October 17

The nearest elevator in our apartment building is named Cara. I don’t know the names of the other six elevators.

Ella posted:  Well, l guess fall is really here. It was 48° when we got up at 7am and the high is supposed to be 70.
It really changed my mind about what I wore for church today.

The F.R.o.G. Sunday school class began by recapping the first 11 chapters of Romans before progressing in to number 12. And the first question was, Why do you think Paul used the term ‘living sacrifices'”?
To church, to purchase gasoline, to
pickup curbside groceries, and to home again

God bless you and keep you.

©2021 Thomas E Williams