Mouseless

I admit it. I am disgruntled. My computer mouse quit working to day for no reason. Replacing the battery did not help. I haven’t dropped it or done anything that might make it suddenly go on strike. I am not a fan of using the touchpad. Guess who will be buying a new mouse tomorrow?

Today we had school, of course, and I also had my class to prepare for. I have taught this class so many times, yet I still keep thinking of little ways to make it better.

I also had to go to Walmart to buy groceries and cook a chicken in my Instant Pot so I could throw a casserole together after my class. Jasper and I had a 4-H kick-off dinner to go to. It wasn’t a big group, but most of the new officers were there, including Jasper of course, who is treasurer this year.

I got a fair amount of knitting done during the meeting. Then I came home to the mouse situation. So, rather than fume over my computer, I did some more knitting! I’m trying to get a good start on my Christmas knitting, because there are only four more months!

 

Verily, Verily

This hymn was popular when I was young and the chorus especially was sung a lot at my boarding school, but I haven’t heard it sung in decades. I’m definitely going to learn it for the autoharp for old times’ sake.

 

Verily, Verily

 

James McGranahan

 

Oh, what a Savior that He died for me!

From condemnation He hath made me free;

“He that believeth on the Son,” said He,

“Hath everlasting life.”

 

Refrain:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Verily, verily,” message ever new;

“He that believeth on the Son,” ‘tis true,

“Hath everlasting life.”

 

All my iniquities on him were laid,

All my indebtedness by Him was paid;

All who believe on Him, the Lord hath said,

“Hath everlasting life.”

 

Refrain

 

Though poor and needy I can trust my Lord,

Though weak and sinful I believe His word;

Oh, glad message! Ev’ry child of God

“Hath everlasting life.”

 

Refrain

 

Though all unworthy, yet I will not doubt,

For him that cometh He will not cast out;

“He that believeth,” oh, the good news shout,

“Hath everlasting life.”

 

Refrain

Is Introversion a Sin?

I almost never mention in this space a traumatic event that changed our lives forever. Twenty-two years ago, we were forced to leave the mission field and subsequently fired from the mission we were with (which has since been absorbed by another mission). Our dream of spending our adult lives serving God in Africa came to a screeching halt.

I will spare you the details, because they are still very painful to recall, and because it might taint your view of how mission organizations operate, and I’d like to think they are not all as bad as ours was.

The reason I’m bringing it up is to discuss the fact that the primary charge against me in particular was that I was an introvert . And fat. I was a fat introvert and that was treated as a sin so monstrous that we had to leave the mission field. Now, of course, it was not put that way. Nobody said to us, “Well, you are introverts, and introversion is a sin, so you must be punished by being sent home.” But that’s what it all kind of boiled down to.

In retrospect, the charges against me still seem so ludicrous:

“At potlucks and other social events, you focus on taking care of your four young children [including a baby] instead of socializing with the adults.”

“Sometimes when someone comes to your door, you just call ‘Come in,’ instead of going to the door to greet them.” (Eg. when I was sitting down nursing the baby.)

“Sometimes you knit when you are taking part in a conversation.” (I thought people would be impressed that I could be productive while talking.)

Over and over the point was made that I was not friendly and outgoing enough, despite the fact that I hosted a group of young single missionaries in my home one evening a week, and despite the fact that I led and hosted a ladies Bible study/sewing class in my home every week also.

As an introvert, I could enjoy having small groups of people in my home much more than I could tolerate taking part in very large social activities. But, I was told in so many ways that being an introvert was sinful and unacceptable. (My husband, who is a much more extreme introvert than me, was off the hook because unlike me he is really good at small talk.)

As I have pondered this over the years, it has made me more rather than less angry, because I don’t believe that anyone’s personality type is inherently sinful, or more sinful than another personality type. What about someone who, like the apostle Peter, runs his mouth and says things he later regrets? Should he also be kicked out of a Christian organization for being too impulsive or too volatile?

Of course, as Christians we strive to interact with others in a loving way and avoid offense whenever possible. But we do that in the framework of our God-given personalities. What outreach looks like for an extrovert is quite different from the approach that an introvert will take. Yet I’ve always believed that God can and will use us all, if we are willing. Some people respond better to a quiet one-on-one conversation than they do to participating in loud, embarrassing group activities, and that’s how it should be. There is no one-size-fits-all human personality, no one true way to have a ministry.

What do you think? If you are trying to serve God in some capacity, is it wrong to be an introvert?  Do you see it as a handicap that must be overcome?

A Shopping Excursion

The big thing about today was that I had to go to Aldi. I hate it with a deep-seated loathing. It’s not the store itself I hate; it’s that I have yet to find a time when I can shop there without being subject to large crowds and long lines. It is a little better in the morning, but it opens too late in the morning for me to go without messing up our school hours.

So today Jasper came with me in the afternoon to get some of the chai party stuff. It was very crowded. If Jasper hadn’t been with me, I’d have been very grumpy. It is a lot more enjoyable to have a helper!

Bri was in and out all day. I got bunch of knitting done and worked on two new hymns for Sunday. I am trying to increase my repertoire during the weeks when I don’t have too many other commitments.

Tomorrow is our back-to-school chai party, usually the biggest one of the year. I’m glad Bri is here to help.

A Visitor Arrives

I guess I forgot to post last night. I got caught up in a writing task and then just went to bed. Today started off a little different as Lucy had a doctor’s appointment. I had hoped we could just get her prescription altered over the phone, but that was not an option, so we had to go back in. Her meds will probably have to be tweaked from time to time until they hit on the “right” combination.

Jasper and I still had school to do, of course, and this afternoon he and Spencer mowed our overgrown front yard. The rain has really made the grass grow!

I sent a couple of things off in the mail and then came home to talk to Mary on the phone. It is always good to catch up with one of my adult kids.

Later, Lucy and I drove to the airport to pick up Bri, who is spending the weekend with us before going off to Scotland for the fall semester.

In between all these things, I actually got quite a bit of knitting done. I am in full Christmas-knitting mode now and have a long list of projects I am hoping to complete.

More School & a Meeting

It’s hard to know what to say about today. We spent the morning doing school as usual. In the afternoon, I had a couple of errands to run and then I had to take Lucy up to her friend Martha’s house. I hadn’t planned on that, so it crowded my schedule a little and I was a few minutes late to my critique group meeting. I am so thankful for my critique partners.

After the critique group, we had our regular writers’ meeting, which was also a critique session this month. So everybody else read really serious and heavy-duty stuff, and mine was just a light-hearted few pages from the novel I’m currently working on. Made me feel like a lightweight!

Tomorrow, Daniel is leaving and we have a day with no houseguests before Bri comes. Sometimes I feel like I’m running a youth hostel. At least my knitting has remained gloriously untwisted!

First Day of Class

Today was the first day of school for almost every institution in this city. Of course for us, it was the third week of school!

In addition to doing school with Jasper, I had a class to prepare for. I am teaching my paragraph class as a once-a-week class this semester.

But first, right after lunch, Lucy and I went to the post office and mailed her visa application. It was more complicated than we expected, but we got it done. They are supposed to receive it on Wednesday, so please pray that they will grant her visa and also extend it for her full stay and then send it back right away!

I have six students in my class. Two of them I have known for a long time. In fact, I remember when they were born. It doesn’t seem possible they are so grown up now! It is a good bunch of kids, ranging from sixth grade to twelfth grade.

After my class, I recovered by working on some writing stuff and then ripping out thousands of stitches on one of my knitting projects. That was painful. I am now checking obsessively every row to make sure I don’t make the same mistake again.

Channels Only

Channels Only

Mary E. Maxwell

How I praise Thee, precious Savior,
That Thy love laid hold of me;
Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me
That I might Thy channel be.

Refrain

Channels only, blessèd Master,
But with all Thy wondrous power
Flowing through us, Thou canst use us
Every day and every hour.

Just a channel full of blessing,
To the thirsty hearts around;
To tell out Thy full salvation
All Thy loving message sound.

Refrain

Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me,
A clean vessel in Thy hand;
With no power but as Thou givest
Graciously with each command.

Refrain

Witnessing Thy power to save me,
Setting free from self and sin;
Thou who boughtest to possess me,
In Thy fullness, Lord, come in.

Refrain

Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit
Hearts that full surrender know;
That the streams of living water
From our inner self may flow.

Refrain

 

The ASP Method of Relating to Women

This is a real rarity for me, a post aimed at men, inspired by some recent unspecified events that happened to someone other than me.  Specifically, this is a post to help young men learn how to cope with a woman who is in distress. So many men struggle with this, when it actually requires a relatively straightforward strategy. However, it is not one that comes naturally to most men, so it must be learned.

First, some warnings about what NOT to do:

DON’T tell her she shouldn’t feel that way. This is a very common male response to female distress. She is distressed about something that he thinks is silly and he can’t understand why it bothers her, so he says, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” It doesn’t matter if he says it bluntly or very diplomatically. What she hears is “Your feelings are stupid and therefore you must be stupid too because if you weren’t you wouldn’t feel that way.” It is surprisingly difficult to suddenly stop feeling an emotion that is already raging through your consciousness, by the way.

DON’T tell her you know how she feels. A close female friend might be able to get away with that, but not you. It might be tempting to tell her about some experience of your own which you see as being analogous to hers, but please resist this temptation. There are some things that you simply will never relate to if you’re a guy. Like that time when I was in college and I had a guy friend who was kind, gentlemanly and thoughtful. However, he also believed that I was inferior to him mentally for no reason other than that I was a girl. His condescension enraged me. No man on this planet could have claimed to understand how I felt without risking his continued existence.

DON’T tell her how the problem is all her own fault or how she can fix it. If the problem is indeed her own fault and brought on by her own actions, I promise you she doesn’t need you to point this out to her. Her anger at herself is probably one reason she is in so much distress. Unless she asks you specifically, never ever offer her a solution. This falls under the category of “I am trivializing your problem by telling you how easy it is to solve so you can stop being so silly.”

DON’T spout sappy platitudes or, worse yet, preach. This falls under trivializing the problem, with the added wallop of making her feel guilty for not being spiritual enough to rise above her misery. Platitudes to avoid include, but are not limited to: “Everything happens for a reason. This will lead to something better. Someday you’ll look back and be glad this happened. If you have faith God will reward you. You just need to trust God. Let me quote you a Scripture verse that’s been helpful to me.” And my personal favorite, “Discouragement is a sin.”

So now that you know what NOT to do, here is a simple three-step approach that is likely to be much more successful.

First: Acknowledge her distress. Even if you don’t understand it, even if you think she has no real reason to be upset, acknowledge it. “I can see you’re really upset.”

Second: Sympathize with her. Express compassion. “I’m so sorry.” Depending on your relationship with the woman in question, a hug might be appropriate at this point.

Third: Pray for her if you are comfortable with this and if she would appreciate it. If you don’t think she wants you to pray aloud on the spot, then just tell her you will pray for her. If she is the kind of woman who believes in prayer, she will appreciate this and will count on it, so be sure to mention later that you have been praying for her.  Alternately, you can offer a designer caffeinated beverage and/or chocolate.

See, isn’t that easy? Acknowledge. Sympathize. Pray. It’s a simple sequence that has a higher chance of success than most of the things men are likely to try.

A Milestone Birthday for Spencer

Twenty-one years ago today, after being in labor all night, I gave birth to a very large baby boy just a few yards from where I am currently sitting. He was blue, and not breathing when he first emerged, but thank goodness the midwife got him to breathe! He did not cry for two days, preferring to emit a series of grunts instead. He weighed 10 lbs 14 oz at birth, and at three months weighed over 20 pounds! Now he is 6 feet 5 inches tall.

Spencer celebrated his birthday by having lunch with a friend, hanging out with Daniel (who is staying with us) and throwing a party on campus. Several friends whom he doesn’t often see showed up at the party, so that was nice.

Meanwhile, Walter and Jasper worked a long hot day mowing lawns. I made the cake for Spencer’s party, did some editing, put some stuff away, and worked on the music for tomorrow. I am hoping our violin player will have returned, because I have missed playing with him.

I took a break from Spencer’s party to go outside and call my own brother on the phone. His birthday was three days ago. Maybe tomorrow I’ll finally be successful in calling the other brother who had a birthday!