Life’s DVR can’t rewind, so take care

Day by Day
Life’s DVR can’t rewind, so take care

By LIZ THOMPSON

Dec 18, 2017
This Week News

When I graduated from using a correcting Selectric typewriter to a large Xerox Memorywriter with floppy disks, I asked the trainer, “How does it work?”

He looked at me and said, “Unless you’re going to repair them, don’t worry about how it works and make it work.” I was overthinking but I learned to make it work.

I’m dating myself, but this is how I began using computers in the early 1980s.

I learned slowly, one detail at a time without feeling overwhelmed.

VCRs, floppy disks and typewriters are technological history. Now we have DVDs, DVRs, streaming, computers that sit in our laps or are held in our hands.

I like the convenience of our DVR (digital-video recorder, for those who might not know). We can hit rewind, fast-forward or pause as many times as we want. It’s interesting to see some details when we use pause: The background that sets the scene, the expression on actors’ faces in still and all the minute details we miss when watching or fast-forwarding.

If we move too fast through our days, we miss the details of life that make it worthwhile. We easily can overlook the beauty of simplicity and of nature and the moments with the important people in our lives.

Here we are at the end of another year, and it’s almost like God fast-forwarded time. I want to pause and look back on the past 12 months and remember the highlights and the choices I’ve made — good and bad.

A sign on a restaurant wall in one scene of a movie read, “This is our life, not a dress rehearsal.” I paused the DVR to read it and wrote it down to remember.

But we can’t rewind or fast-forward our lives and make different choices, take back words we wish we hadn’t said or rewrite our history.

We are figuring out day by day how to make our lives work and how to make the best choices and react in loving ways.

I love quotations that give me pause to think.

One of the reasons I love to read is the different perspectives I see in everything, from daily lives to profound life choices. It helps me firm up my own opinions to make the most of every day.

In a novel by Karen White, her 93-year-old character, who still types on a typewriter, notices a 10-year-old girl who spends her days with her face in a computer, checking Facebook.

The older character notes we’re building a generation of “backspaces and delete buttons,” in which people believe they always have a second chance to say the right thing.

I related to this after having been a secretary for 28 years and then a reporter, typing away as noted above. On a typewriter, when you made a mistake, you either started over with a fresh piece of paper or used correcting tape or Wite-Out to type over it.

Obviously, with computers, we no longer have that tedious task.

But as soon as your words are on the internet, you can’t take them back.

Similarly, once we say something, we can’t take it back.

My dad used to say, “Think before you speak. It’s not just what you say but how you say it.”

I wrote a poem years ago about how our words were like feathers on the wind. Trying to retrieve the words is impossible, just like gathering feathers flying high and away into the sky.

So if our life is our personal novel and we are not yet at the end, consider this quotation by historian Carl Brand as we start a new year: “Though no one can go back and make a new beginning — anyone can start from now and make a brand-new end.”

Our histories are riddled with choices we have made.

Right now, we’re thinking about how to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Hopefully, we will be overwhelmed with joy, save time for reflection, speak kindly and focus on new beginnings.

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Simple Gifts

High schooler believes in power of a simple gift
By LIZ THOMPSON
THISWEEKNEWS.COM
Thursday January 3, 2013 11:40 AM

She sees God in simple gifts.

“I trust in God more than ever (now) and make my decisions by His word and what He would do rather than what’s popular or what I want,” Kristina Myers of Grove City said. This year she was coordinator for Operation Christmas Child for her church, St. John’s Lutheran in Grove City.

Simple gifts, yes, but not simple decisions or tasks.

Kristina shadowed the coordinator of this project last year and knew that in order to do that job, she had to make some decisions. When she was not able to help as much as she wanted due to marching band competitions, she opted to drop band.

“I was sad to give up marching band, but I knew that this was the plan God had for me,” she said.

The Central Crossing High School sophomore chose instead to run cross country. Her coach, Doug Boggs, never blinked an eye when he learned what she was doing at her church.

“God provided me with an awesome coach who totally believes in Operation Christmas Child and putting God first,” Kristina said. “I never had to miss a meet but I did have to leave practice early quite a few times for things regarding this project. My coach was always very supportive.”

Doug said Kristina is a great person and hard worker, no matter what she’s doing.

“It truly has been a blessing to have Kristina and her family become a part of the cross country and track programs. Kristina’s mom and dad have been great helping out with the team needs. It’s obvious to see where Kristina gets her kind and giving spirit,” Boggs said.

This project, founded in 1990, is led by Samaritan’s Purse, an organization founded in 1970, to give kids all over the world something they normally wouldn’t have — a Christmas. Kristina said that churches and people across the United States take a simple shoebox, fill it with items that include toys, hygiene items, school supplies, other small items like socks or sunglasses and sometimes a personal note.

“This project is bigger than just shoebox gifts; it’s the power of a simple gift. This one shoebox brings the word of God into the life of a child.”

The work is done and Kristina Myers can look back with a grateful heart.

“If I had to thank one specific person it would be (one of my youth leaders) Laurie Pecuch or my mom,” Kristina said. “Mom taught me to love God, helped with transportation and anything that needed done.

“Laurie was a big help when it came to planning, organizing, getting in touch with others, and making the project something our whole church was excited to participate in.”

Pecuch said, “She is devoted to helping children in poverty-stricken countries know first-hand the joy that comes from receiving a gift of love at Christmas. Her devotion, sacrifice, and time spent in leading this project are noteworthy. She collected 169 shoeboxes full of gifts and love.”

Although Kristina coordinated these efforts, she said her family and friends provided invaluable support and flexibility. The church’s high school and middle school youth shopped and had a packing party. They put donated items and things they purchased with money gifts into the decorated shoe boxes, checking to make sure everything was ready before they were dropped off at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church — the official drop-off location.

The boxes soon were on their journey to a child somewhere in the world.

The idea that Christmas is a time for giving is nothing new to Americans. Often the gift giving and wish lists get out of hand and we don’t worry so much about the national debt as our own debt.

What do we have to sacrifice to buy the gifts on our list? Or should we simply rethink our gift giving and consider the real reason we have Christmas?

Kristina made her choice knowing the recipients will never know her name. She has heard stories how one shoebox changed a child’s life.

“I am so blessed to be able to show God’s love to others through this project, and tell people I don’t even know that I love them and that they have a Father in heaven who loves them even more. This project is life-changing.”

That’s what Christmas is about.

The Angel

DSCN6600This little angel is close to 35 years old and landed in our trash yesterday. When I was decorating our Christmas tree, I sorted some really old, broken or badly bent decorations and threw them out. This little gal blessed the top of our tree for all these years and along the way lost her wings and her bad hair got even worse.

Her body is merely stapled cardboard and I probably bought her for about fifty cents or a dollar “way back then.” We never spent much on decorations because we were typically short on money for any extras; but we never were without necessities.

Last night when I was compiling the trash collected into our kitchen  trash can, I tossed her in (yes, on top of coffee grounds!) and said, “Good-bye little angel” and I dropped a tear.

I headed back to bed and told my husband about the angel farewell and I started to cry.

“What’s wrong with me?” I said through tears and embarrassed laughter. My husband laughed, too. But I kept crying.

“She probably cost us fifty cents more than 30 years ago. She’s stapled cardboard!” I said trying to gather myself. With toothbrush and paste in my mouth, I headed to the kitchen to retrieve her from her doom. To no avail. She was too deep in trash.

After I rinsed and was still wondering what was wrong with me, I said, “That’s it,” and headed back to the kitchen.

As I dug through who knows what, I was saying, out loud mind you, “Where are you little angel?” Then I saw her head and pulled her to safety. She had coffee grounds on her gown which I washed, being careful not to dampen the cardboard.

I took her back to our room and showed my  husband and we laughed.

“She graced the top of our tree all while the kids were growing up,” he said. By now we were laughing and thinking we had really lost our sanity.

“I’ll make new wings,” I said as I propped her on my dresser. I’m quite sure I would have dreamt in some way about the angel in the trash had I not retrieved her. As it was, I slept soundly.

This morning I told my daughter this story and she said, “Oh, poor little angel!”

I’ll never live this down. I can hear this story reverberating for years and now I have written the story.

Go ahead and laugh – I sure did! But memories are funny in the way they get inside your head and heart. They can cause tears of sadness and tears of joy. This experience was a mix.

But I’m intact, as is our little angel who will have new wings soon. Maybe she’ll last another few decades as the story is retold.

If not, I’m not the one who will toss her in the trash. I learned my lesson.