Getting To Know Myself

20190414_150111-1 ©jb katke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlx6gQWfjp0

When I entered the seventh grade I walked into a new school and a different life.

There were lockers and every subject having its own classroom. All of them in different halls. Anything new and different can be scary.

One of my teachers, Mrs. West, knew that. As we entered her classroom her record player was on playing a song from the musical play The King and I, Getting To Know You. First impressions of our teacher were accurate, she cared for us and desired for us to see our own potential.

New and different. These are the times we are living in. Fortunately there is a light at the end of the tunnel. At least a recess until the fall comes when Coronavirus may make a return engagement.

In the meantime I have gotten to know myself better.

I liked staying home with no place to go.

In addition, I  realized it wasn’t just having family in the house that kept me from cleaning. While I love a clean house, I didn’t want to be the one doing it.

Because our days are melting together, it’s easy to say why do today what can be done tomorrow?

Former neighbors, Deirdre and Thom, introduced a notion that I embraced. On a visit to their home, we observed Thom was vacuuming the floor. He explained that the handle of the vacuum didn’t fit Deirdres’ hand well, so he did the vacuuming. I like that idea.

Some have put this time to good use and dug into dark corners and purged their home. Six weeks into this I decided maybe I should too.

Last week I started in my favorite room, the quilt room.  Fabric was shuffled from here to there. I confronted scraps saved from previous projects. Still good, mind you, just little bits of pieces. My problem is I can see their potential.  I just know they would be good for something,

“No!” I must admit I’ll never use them and they’re in my way. The time to be ruthless is now.

Something else I’ve learned about myself. Don’t be thinking about my next project until the current one is done. I get enthused, start a new one while the other is in my way.

Now you know how to create a quilt mess.

It, and I, are a work in progress. I’m still in the quilt room, but I’ve learned something else. Releasing and letting go is liberating. I’m feeling free!

In the midst of a mess there is always something to be grateful for. I’m glad Jesus isn’t ruthless and hasn’t pitched me because I got in his way. Instead He kept me all these years knowing my potential. He has a unique plan just for me.

That’s why I’m still lurking about. My guess is that’s why you’re still here too. Pitch the unnecessary and make room for Jesus’ unique plan just for you. It’s way more fun than shuffling baggage around.

A Thought

20200419_165706                                                                                          © jb katke 

Before it’s too late, I’ve got this idea to bounce off you.

The news is talking about a gradual return to work. A cautious step must be taken because we are still in the midst of the Great Coronavirus Lockdown.

But my thought is this: What if we made a time capsule type of thing with how this experience impacted our lives? I don’t have a time capsule and you might not either. But we could probably find a shoe box or anything with a lid.

The obvious could be a job loss. Or maybe if you are in the medical field or shipping industry, you are working nonstop. Write it down!

Keep track of the changes your life has taken in recent weeks. Cooking three meals a day, finding grocery shelves empty. The frantic hunt for toilet paper.

What about the Zoom app? Did you learn how to get on it to stay in touch with family or friends? How about suddenly having to stay six feet apart from others?

Maybe it was visiting your elderly parent through a window because they were quarantined. Or worse yet, a family members death. Alone.

The birthdays that came and went with no celebration. Weddings and funerals continue to be on hold.

School that was closed ahead of schedule forcing parents to suddenly become teachers so their kids don’t fall academically behind. Not to mention the graduating seniors that had to do without a ceremony.

To one degree or another we all have been impacted. Tell how you had no income but somehow got by. Document it, otherwise the future generation may not believe it.

Sacrifices never come easy. Particularly when we had to celebrate the greatest sacrifice of all privately at home. I’m referring to Jesus’ death on the cross for all the stuff we have done wrong. He loved mankind enough to willfully die, knowing that a better life was in store for us.

So maybe when all this is behind us, our lives will be better. We’ve renewed the act of being neighborly and became sensitive to the needs of others. Businesses have stepped up to provide what the medical field was lacking.

This is America. This is love in action. This needs to be recorded, don’t you think?

Its Just Another Miracle

20200413_221021 © jb katke

You might think, ‘Here she goes again.’ Cue the eye roll. Or maybe ‘I’m so happy…for you.’

Today was like any ordinary day. My husband Dave and I had a few errands to run. I suppose you’re going to remind me COVID-19 is still lurking about and our lockdown continues.

We are doing our best to stay home, but life does go on. Besides we were wearing our masks.

Because of the mask that I had this incident. I lost one of my hearing aids. There is only so much room for things around my ears and I maxed out. My hair is thick, I wear glasses, and donning my mask took me over the top.

I never felt it go or heard it drop. Of course not, we were in a store among other shoppers.

When I finally did realize my loss, I retraced my steps. An employee was near the entrance, when I inquired if he might have seen it?

“No, but I can alert the people at Customer Service for you. “

Maybe it happened in the parking lot. Nope. Inside the car maybe? Nothing.

Thoughts of having to replace it brought me down. We can’t afford this. But I also knew Jesus was on this. Nothing gets by him.

Mentally I started thanking him for how he was going to provide. Either by unexpected funds coming our way or my finding it.

All the while Dave is conducting our shopping with some help from a store employee.

“Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Only finding my hearing aid I lost.”

“Oh, someone found a hearing aid and turned it in at Customer Service. I just heard it on my two way radio.”

Arriving at the front desk, I had to wait my turn to be helped.

I hadn’t even opened my mouth when the clerk asked, “Are you here for your hearing aid?”  I marveled at how he knew what I was there for. Then it dawned on me, I’m old. I look like some lady that would wear hearing aids. The truth hurts.

The reason I share this little saga is I want you to be aware of Jesus in a life. It pleases him to meet our needs. But we gotta acknowledge his presence.

Extraordinary things can happen in an ordinary life. I’m proof.

An Easter to Remember

20200411_190602                                                                                           © jb katke 

Considering we are still in lockdown because of the coronavirus, this year will be remembered.

We fondly look back at previous years, when new clothes were purchased to wear to church. Eggs were hardboiled and ready to dye. Festive baskets came out filled with chocolate and marshmallow bunnies. Some families hid the eggs for children to hunt down.

But this year? Our new outfit consists of a face mask. Churches are closed but providing services online for us to watch at home. No doubt many things will be traced back to ‘the year of the lockdown.’

I’m certain too, that in nine months or so we will witness another baby boom. The country will be ready for new life.

Spring time reeks new life. Our lawns come back from dormancy, the flower bulbs start to make their presence known. Gardeners are poring over their seed catalog, designing their new flower beds. After a long cold winter, the greenery of new life is always a welcome sight.

I heard a speaker recently. While gardening was not the subject matter but an analogy was used of a simple seed. We walked through the growth of a seed. When put in the ground, providing the seed has been properly nourished, will grow. But looks radically different. The seed breaks and dies in order to be transformed into a new and different life.

The message was timely. At Easter thoughts turn to Jesus. His life of helping and encouraging others is spoken of with admiration. We hear about a solid week of false accusations, imprisonment, mockery, an unjust court trial, and beating. All leading to his brutal death on a cross.

I’ve heard this story on many Easters. What I find astounding is he intentionally left heaven to make certain these events would take place. Why?

Because he also knew what would happen afterward.  Jesus didn’t stay on the cross. He didn’t even stay in his tomb. His earthly body was broken and dead. But he rose again to a new life.

He wants us to have that same opportunity.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by belieiving in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point his finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted…                     John 3:16 The Message

Jesus returned to heaven to be at his dads’ side. Because of him you and I have the same opportunity. If we consider Jesus our friend,  we try to follow his direction on how to live. After he left, Jesus even sent a helper for mankind to make it easier for us.

In your remembering today, I hope you remember Jesus and what he did with us in mind.

That gives us reason to celebrate wherever we are, even in this pandemic crisis. Will this be the year your life is transformed to a new and better life?

Happy Resurrection day!

 

 

In The Meantime…

geo drake - Copy                                                                                              © geo. drake 

…we carry on.

The COVID-19 virus continues to be with us.

We are in week, I’ve lost count, of lock down.

And now the masks. Who would have ever thought the ensemble we put together to wear on Easter Sunday would be face masks? That is if we absolutely must leave the house. Otherwise stay put and attend church online wearing your PJ’s.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, more people are out walking. The dogs of the neighborhood have never been so physically fit.

All of us are thinking outside the box for sanity sake. I heard of one family that packed their children a lunch in individual baggies and hid them. If the kids wanted to eat, they had to search for their food. Sort of a bend on the Easter egg hunt.

I’ve become aware of many seamstresses now making masks, easing the demand and keeping the N95 masks in the medical field.

Neighbors continue to stay in touch with each other within the 6 foot guidelines of course.

Jigsaw puzzles are coming out. Non-techy people such as yours truly are learning how to get on Zoom to stay in touch with loved ones.

A new normal is beginning to take form. When this is said and done with, and it will, because scripture says this too, shall pass. It will be interesting to see how we do life after coronavirus.

Many have already learned what was once essential to living, no longer is. Are restaurants going to reposition tables a little further away from each other? Will we rush to theaters and sporting events to sit shoulder to shoulder with others? Only time will tell.

Hopefully we will carry on those good hygiene practices forced upon us now. America may have become too lax. Each of us has had our consciousness raised.

One thing is certain, we have a much better handle on who is really in control. At the risk of offending, not mankind.

Some have turned to Jesus in this crisis time. They want answers, explanations at why this was insidious virus allowed to enter our lives. We may get answers, but don’t count on it.

Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?                     Romans 11:36 The Message

Not me. The choices are to ditch him completely or trust him. Considering he made the world I’m thinking he knows what he is doing. I chose trust. Faith in him has made my life bearable.

In the meantime, I’m curious to know what you are doing to maintain sanity. Share please!

Coping With COVID19

20200329_143109 © jbkatke

The whole world seems to be hibernating.

That’s fine for us introverts but seems like torture to the extroverts. However, if you are able to wake up feeling good, count yourself among the blessed.

As they say, it could be worse. The duration is what has thrown so many into a tailspin. No one knows.

So in the meantime some of us have gotten mighty creative at keeping our sanity.

I’ve seen a few things, and heard of others.

I live in a close community where many neighbors enjoy interacting. So they bring their lawn chairs, meet in the driveway, chatting it up at a respectful distance.

Those on social media have been sharing on an hourly basis. Some teachers formed a parade of cars, driving through their students neighborhood, waving and shouting out greetings. What a caring way to let these kids know they are missed.

Another on Facebook spoke of trying out new recipes. Not I.

Someone else has dusted off the board games they used to play with the kids, and enjoying them all over again.

A grandma I know is missing her grandchildren big time. So they met together at the local ice cream shop, parking their cars next to each other and enjoying their treat together separately.

But I saved my favorite thing for last.

A young mom traced the hands of her children on paper and cut them out. She then measured a piece of string the length of the childs outstretched arms. She attached the string to the hands and gave them to the grandparents. That way grandma and grandpa can wrap themselves in a hug from the children whenever they need it!

This is priceless stuff. No doubt you have come up with some novel ideas too. I’d love for you to share them with us all.

Moses Encounter With God

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 I’ve taken this from Exodus 3 and felt it was too good to keep to myself. In light of the current world-wide Coronavirus crisis I’m hoping it means as much to you as it does for me. It might help to read it from the Bible first.

Verse 2 God appears suddenly-Sometimes where we least expect to see Him

Verses 3&4 He catches our attention-When our mind & body is always busy God will use whatever it takes to get us focused back on Him.

Verse 5 He is Holy-How we see God is crucial to our relationship together.

Verse 6 God has a history-We have heard of Him before and still speaks to those who listen.

Verse 7 God sees, hears & is aware –Sometimes we may wonder, but if scripture is truth then there is a reason for what is going on right now.

Verse 8 He rescues & leads-Acknowledge the good results of what we had no control over as his rescue.  He purposely uses the people in life for our benefit.

Verse 10 He sends-We may find ourselves in places or situations we would never have voluntarily gone.

Verse 11 Mankind reeks with insecurity-How do you see yourself?  Are you willing to help others in crisis times?

Verse 12 God is with you and knows the future-This gives us hope & a reason to continue on, if for no other reason than to see how God works things out.

Verse 14 God is who He has always been-It’s the same guy, the One who created life itself all the way to where we are today.

Verse 15 God is known through all the generations-You have heard of Him, it’s our responsibility to tell others about him.

Verse 16 He watches over you-As bad as things seem, they could always be worse.

Verse 17 God promises a better future-Take that as a fact from Someone who knows.

Verse 19 God is the Supreme Motivator-To comply with his will avoids him having to apply heavy pressure to reach us.

Verse 20 God strikes at the heart with His miracles-He can and will amaze you in ways you never imagined.

Verse 21 He will see to it that His will is done-With or without help from you and I.

Verse 22 God provides-He gives us what we need when we need it; in ways we would never thought of.

These recent days have brought the uncertainty of life home. Literally. Instead of panicing, lets join together and see how our future will unfold. Keep in mind, God is still on his throne.

 

 

 

Say What…?

20200315_155307 © jb katke

“I think the best thing is for you is to not go to church.”

My words. Never would my children, or even I, imagine me saying that.

My youngest was checking in on me. I have just gotten over the flu. A ‘normal’ flu that left me feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Several times. Naomi was still battling a cough that doesn’t want to quit.

I told her our church was taking a time out for two weeks, conducting services online only. She wished her church was doing that, hence my above statement.

What has come over me? For that matter, what has come over our country? Answer: Corona Virus. AKA COVID-19.

The pandemic has overtaken not just the world, but our senses. A couple days ago my husband and I did our grocery shopping. Some of the shelves were bare, reminding me of third world countries I have visited. The top selling product first to run out? Toilet paper.

As much as I hate to admit it, we were among the maddening crowd. It becomes a survival of the fittest mindset. Inconvenience is not widely accepted in this country.

Hunkering down is another new concept. Also not warmly received.

But as I have scanned through the Bible, I have seen this isn’t a new thing. Famines and plagues have been going on and off for centuries. Read this for a mind-boggler:

What has been, will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

So it’s just us and an unfamiliar experience. Very much like waking up to the realization that I’m a senior citizen.

Opportunist that I am, it has been a life mission of mine to offer spiritual encouragement to anyone who will listen. Many life questions are addressed in a church setting. Good news can be heard there that generally is not broadcast outside the doors of Jesus’ house.

There is a fine line between encouraging and harping. No doubt I have crossed that invisible line on more than one occasion. It’s not that I know so much, I just know where to turn for answers. It takes time, patience, and an open heart that wants to know.

This week I attended church in my family room. It was a timely message. I’ll be there next week too, join me won’t you?

journeybible.org

The Haircut

20200301_160056                                                                                          © jb katke

“My God girl, who got ahold of your hair?”

Spoken by the hairdresser who was about to give me my first professional haircut. I was appreciative of her expertise concerning what to do with the mop on my head. But I could have done without the belch in my face.

I was a twelve year old, soon to enter my teen years and junior high school.

Finances dictated how our family lived and Mom knew every shortcut in the book of economizing. During my childhood, she cut my hair.

While I don’t recall any of that, I do remember hiding whenever she came at me with her comb. My hair was thick and full, combs hurt. Why didn’t we have a hairbrush in the house?

Thankfully, Aunt Jane was sensitive enough to realize the potential ridicule I would receive if someone didn’t intervene. She took me to her hairdresser. That became a regular practice until I was able to continue it on my own.

I marveled at having so much attention to the grooming process. Long strands of hair fell as I got snips here and clips there. The beautician put her face up to mine to get a precise measure of evenness at my ears. That’s when she chose to let loose with a healthy burp, compliments of her drink.

The Detroit area is known for more than just the automotive industry. We also take pride in Verners Ginger Ale and Sanders Hot Fudge topping too.

It was the Verners that did it. For being non-alcoholic, it still packs a punch.

Since the hairdresser brought up God, I’ll continue that thought. I’m grateful for mom teaching ways to save a few bucks. I’m especially grateful God put it in Aunt Janes heart (and purse) to rescue me from what could have been a devastating school experience. Kids can be cruel.

On one of our later visits I recall the weather getting stormy. The sky was an ominous shade of green. There I sat under one of those cone shaped hair dryers.

Thankfully we arrived home before the sky let loose. I shudder to think of what might have been. As always, God was on duty looking after my well-being.

 

Kitty Katke

Kitty © jb katke

Perfect. We can afford this.

Ours is a family of cat lovers. Visiting my mother-in-law gave us the golden opportunity of picking a kitten from a litter her cat had a while back. We enlisted our son Jamie to be the selection committee.

I wasn’t hot for the couple yellow/orange ones and hoped he would choose one of the others. Of course he did not.

“Are you sure you want that one Jamie?”

“Yep.”

Piquing my husbands’ curiosity, he asked, “How can you tell the difference between the two orange kittens?”

“I don’t know, I just like this one better.”

For sure we didn’t want a female. Mom’s husband insisted Jamie’s choice was a male. She wasn’t. Maybe that’s when things went sour.

On the four hour drive home, the kitten positioned herself on the back of the driver’s seat. She yowled her displeasure inches from my husband, Dave’s ear. Jamie and I took turns trying to comfort her but she would have none of that. Never had I ever heard such a small cat produce such loud cries.

It took us several weeks to come up with a name for her. But it was all for naught. We had called her kitty for so long, she wouldn’t respond to anything else.

We had intended Kitty to be an indoor/outdoor cat, but she had other ideas. She freaked each time the wind ruffled the grass. That might have been for the best. We discovered she had an extra claw that didn’t retract. If she got hung on something it could put her in danger.

Later on, we took her to the vet to be spayed. She was so upset she wouldn’t let the attendant bring her out to me, I had to go get her. If cats can suffer depression, Kitty did.

But Christmas day made everything better. Nothing brought her more joy than running through the giftwrap littering the floor and making it crinkle.

I couldn’t decide if Kitty had anger issues or if she took delight in tormenting people. When family visited, she would either race up the back of the couch scaring people or growl at them to feed her. My dad declared we needed a sign at the door warning others of the attack cat. She appeared to have the temperament of a Siamese.

Our daughter Cindy loved all creatures great and small. Sometimes she would hug Kitty too long or hard. The claws came out and thankfully Cindy’s eyes never were the recipient. We probably shouldn’t have kept her, but she had crept into all our hearts.

Kitty had a special friendship with Dave. As pets do, she would beg at the dinner table. If Dave took too long sharing, Kitty would gently pat his leg. If she didn’t get a treat, she would remind him of her presence with claws extended. When he was finished, Dave would wipe his hands together indicating that’s all. Only then would Kitty walk away.

For the most part Kitty enjoyed her position in our family, until she was dethroned by a puppy. Her nose was permanently out of joint. It was a grudge she held to her dying day.

Looking back on her life, I recognize Kitty had some human-like traits. She had days when she was up and others down. Like a child, she didn’t appreciate smother love. With the arrival of our puppy, Kitty felt a type of sibling rivalry. Unfortunately, she allowed someone else to ruin her life. When that happens beware, you may turn into…wait for it…a sourpuss.