Meanderings

Not every post has to be a theological masterpiece (not that I’ve ever written one – masterpiece, that is). Nor some nugget of revelation gleaned from examining a scripture for the umpteenth time or an in depth word study of the original Hebrew or Greek texts. Sometimes, I like to simply let my mind wander – well, a lot really, but then responsibility calls or I pick up on the frustration in Karen’s voice when she asks me a question for the 3rd time.

“Uh, sorry, honey. You married a ponderer and dreamer. Remember, it’s that ability of mine to shut out all else and lay hold of the creative Spirit of God that lets me write songs like the one I sang for our wedding. Remember that? Should I sing it for you? What? What salad dressing do I want? Um, oh, uh, blue cheese, of course. No, wait, how about Tuscan Italian for a change. Thanks, hon!”

What an amazing woman she is; a Proverbs 31 wife through and through.

Huh? What? What do I want to drink? Hmmm … how ‘bout a small glass of milk. Thanks, babe!”

meanderingRetirement is still new to us after 3 years. No longer driven by a list of responsibilities, schedules and appointments, busyness still consumes us at times. As first born children we were both proxy parents since the moment we Continue reading

Bed pan duty*

A year ago, the Lord gave me and the misses a funny lesson about the power of personality. The small country church we attended for several months wanted to revive a helps ministry known as “Community Angels”. The woman spearheading the effort was bubbly and enthusiastic about it and my wife responded with excitement in kind. They met and discussed ideas, eventually coming up with a framework for the ministry and a presentation for the congregation to kick it all off.

"You haven't been using your bed pan, have you, Mr Hopkins!"

The first sign of trouble came when the pastor suggested a change to the presentation; specifically from “What is your God assignment?” to “What is your passion?” The women bristled at the pastor’s suggestion – after all they’re both mature believers who’d prayed and talked at length about this ministry they would found and manage. When the women resisted his suggestion, the pastor tried to pull rank and direct them to change their presentation. The word-smithing tug-of-war went on via email and phone for a day and a half.

Finally my wife told him “Look, I’m passionate about Continue reading

Where’s the off button?

I’ve had enough.

power_switch_350Television lost its appeal years ago when I began to recognize the repetitive and predictable story lines. Canned laugh tracks, musical crescendos and commercial interruptions timed to stimulate viewer excitement, annoyed me even more. And the news programs so obviously crafted to influence my thoughts and monopolize my attention, grieve me deeply. What little news I do get, is from the internet. But the agendas of news web sites are no different than broadcast news.

Not long ago, I read this:

Cable news is a cancer. It is not even news anymore. Whether it’s CNN … FOX, or MSNBC, there is almost no news. The programming is primarily designed to keep you angry and outraged and self-righteous. Cable news also manufactures an alternate reality that doesn’t exist out here in the real world — it’s a propaganda machine designed to influence opinion-makers and most especially lawmakers … Living in the cable news ecosystem completely skews your perspective away from reality and what actually matters — like jobs and security. (LINK)

Continue reading

Still in love

Gone are the days when I could wile away the hours playing my guitar; responsibility trumps making music. More than a hobby or profession, playing is a means to work out what I’m feeling when words elude me. With everything I need to do in caring for my elderly father and working with my wife to make a home for us, there is no more telltale sign of self neglect, than the dust buildup on my guitar. So when our wedding anniversary rolled around this year, I took my wife and my ‘girlfriend’ Roseanna* to Orcas island.

deck

A place to reconnect

The ferry out of Anacortes to the San Juan islands affords many awe inspiring views as it weaves between the islands. Secluded on 80 acres, our room at the B&B overlooked a working sheep farm, from which the comforters in our room were made. Fresh eggs are collected and served for breakfast together with ripened fruit from the orchard. There is no television in the room; it is a place for rest and to reconnect. Continue reading

Buzzed with wonder

One afternoon last winter, my wife and I stopped for coffee and spotted a hummingbird sipping nectar from a feeder above the porch. Surprised by the sight, I asked the barista about it and was told the Anna’s hummingbird winters over here. Once home we found our feeder, mixed a batch of nectar and hung it in front of the bay view window. For several months, there was one hummingbird who visited throughout the day and a single batch of nectar seemed to last indefinitely; that is, until the local hummingbird experts scolded us for not cleaning the feeder and changing nectar regularly.

Hoping to attract more hummingbirds, we added 2 more feeders the first week of June and within the past couple of days, our little outdoor bistro has been “discovered”. It turns out that there are two species of hummingbirds here on the Olympic peninsula, Anna’s, which winter over, and Rufous, which migrate. Daily my wife, our cat Tigger and I, are dazzled by their gravity-defying displays of aerial acrobatics the likes of which any “Top Gun” can only dream.

Continue reading

Cleave for the win!

This is a follow-up to the post Facing our greatest weakness, together (link).

When my wife and I were married following our year-long Seattle to Chicago courtship, one or the other of us had to relocate. Since she loved teaching more than I loved my career in aerospace, I resigned my position of 20+ years and moved. My hope of finding employment in the rural Midwest was naive at best and after a year of job hunting without so much as an interview, we began to clash, often. Tension was fueled by our old fashioned expectation that a husband should be the principle bread-winner, despite the fact there was no employment in ‘Cornville’ for a former aerospace employee. Consequently, we were forced to make a number of adjustments for the reality of where we chose to make our marriage home.

Jack_and_KK

Feisty!  One of many joys marrying another first born. ;^D

I could write an entire article on how the experience affected my sense of manhood, pride, accomplishment and self worth, going from a highly paid professional position with excellent benefits to earning a few hundred dollars here and there for performing odd jobs while my wife supported me. Yet God’s hand was apparent in our situation, as He taught us to trust and rely on Him and replaced our system of valuation with His own standard of worth. Still it was a rough go at times that ultimately saw us swap typical gender roles. Karen worked hard and long, as most teachers do, while I took over the Continue reading

Facing our greatest weakness, together

1988 was the first time I lost 100 pounds. I’d dieted before and lost as much as 40 pounds but this was the big one; the diet to end all diets. Reaching my ideal goal weight according to a medically accepted height to weight table, took 10 months on a pre-packaged meal plan with rigorous daily exercise. Naturally, when I reached my goal weight, friends and family were thrilled and wanted to celebrate my success with a festive meal. Here and there I slipped a bit, all the while assuring myself I could balance out the pounds gained by cutting back “next week”. But next week never came.

lightheadednessA year later, I had regained all the weight and then some. Compliments ceased and my self-esteem nose-dived. When finally I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I hoped it would be the solution to my obesity. Sadly, the pounds so easily gained with a slow metabolism, didn’t come off when I began taking Synthroid®. At least I had more energy and my frequent bouts with lightheadedness, caused by very low blood pressure and a slow heart rate, subsided. Still it saddens me that 5 or 6 doctors over as many years didn’t suspect thyroid problems in a chronically dizzy and exhausted fat man with the heart rate of a marathon runner. Continue reading