Stop!

Stop! (Psalm 131:2)

In 1982, our company published the biography of a Hawaiian woman who, as a child, had contracted leprosy. Because of her popularity among her fellow Hawaiians, we decided to launch the book in Hawaii with a great media event including the governor, the mayor of Honolulu, and many other dignitaries. As the publisher, and with a voracious sense of duty, I felt an obligation to also attend the festivities!

Colored locator map for the island of Oahu
Colored locator map for the island of Oahu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the months leading up to this trip, I had actually not been feeling well myself. It wasn’t bad enough to send me to a hospital, to bed or even to consult with my physician, but I had just felt weak, lethargic, no appetite . . . just blah. Finally, at Bobbie’s insistence, a few days before flying from Dallas to Oahu for the book party, I went in for some blood tests.
Early the second morning of my stay in Hawaii, my hotel telephone rang. Glancing at the digital clock on the nightstand, I saw that it was only 3:30a.m. The voice on the other end of the phone was Darlene Tate, my secretary. “Robert,” she began, “I’m sorry to be calling you so early, but I have terrible news.”
My heart froze. “What happened? What’s wrong?” I responded, as wide awake as I have ever been in my life.
“The report came back from your doctor,” she replied. “You have hepatitis . . . .”
In 24 hours, I was sitting on the examining table in my doctor’s office. “You’re going to have to go to bed,” he said, his face telling me that this wasn’t the opening line to a joke. “There is no medicine I can give you. No prescription except rest.” After a dramatic pause, he spoke again, “Robert, you‘ve been running too hard. Your liver will shut down if you keep up this pace. But if you come to a complete stop long enough, your body will actually fix itself. No other medication will be necessary.”
I turned off the radio for the short drive home. How can I afford to stop? I wondered. Who’s going to take care of the business?
But for the next ten days, I did absolutely nothing but rest. I took no medicines. I didn’t even watch any daytime game shows on television. I just slept. And incredibly . . . I got well. In a week and a half I felt brand-new.
Today’s psalm was written by a busy and frazzled king. Can you imagine the work of keeping a whole country in order? So David stopped. He set the “wonderful things,” “great matters,” and even his pride aside and in the quiet, he felt God’s arms, like those of a compassionate mother, literally heal his soul.
This is a serious matter. Stop running, turn off the computer, set down your smart phone and sit quietly . . . let God touch your soul. Speak with Him. In the quiet, listen to His voice. No other medication will be necessary.

Taken from NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible

I need to heed this lesson as much as anyone else! That is why I take time off.

Shirley Anne

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All very well but……

…..it can be boring! What? Public holidays. Over Easter the weather can be warm and sunny but can also be wet, cold and windy. Where I live it was a mixture of all and at times wasn’t pleasant at all. Many folk take a trip somewhere but unless it is to a warmer country it hardly seems worth it unless the weather isn’t a consideration.

English: Easter holidays On a cold North Sea b...
Easter holidays On a cold North Sea beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does one do if the weather is poor? Well there are all sorts of things of course and for some being outdoors is great no matter what the weather is like. For those who wish to remain indoors there are still things they can partake in but it all depends on the individual. My Easter Day was spent indoors and as it was Sunday I did no work for Sundays I rest. However it is hard for me to spend all day doing nothing so I get bored. There aren’t many recreational activities which interest me these days except playing my guitar or watching documentaries on tv but even those things can’t satisfy all the time. Social events are fine but for me they would be boring if all I did was socialise every day. So I rested uneasy for most of the day with only the thought of being able to continue with my projects on Monday! Had the day been warm and sunny however everything would have been different, I would have been out in the garden and on the patio most of the time. I could have gone walking but I had done that only two days before and I wanted to rest anyway. I often wonder what other people get up to when the weather is poor and they remain indoors. To be honest I don’t really want to know!

Shirley Anne

Last Monday?

I write this mid-afternoon on Tuesday 27 th. The day feels cool and uninviting because of the wind and overcast sky. Not a day for sitting out in but earlier I had been out for a walk which was pleasant enough though the wind took the edge off things. I was having a day off work, no intentions of continuing with the project in the cellar, I just wanted to take a break. As it happens I had been working the previous day and had completed most of the basic work anyway. One very minor thing needs to be done, a sticking door. One of the doors on the cupboard needs a little shaving off near the bottom as it is sticking to the other door when closed. That will take all of two minutes to do at the most! So apart from filling in a few cracks in the floor and then sealing the whole floor the project is complete. Maybe it will have been the last Monday of the project if you disregard the floor. The room as it stands this afternoon simply requires tidying up but as you can see from the pictures it is in use as a laundry drying room which it always was anyway.

Clothes don’t hang in the room too often and in the warmer months seldom at all for we hang them on the washing line in the garden. It is very handy having a drying room for when the weather is bad. It appears at the moment that the floor inside the cupboard is slowly drying out now but it is a very slow process. The walls have dried out at least which only leaves the floor to do the same. Had we been aware of the problem months ago I am sure it wouldn’t have gotten so damp. I am at that stage now where I am looking for another project to tackle.

Shirley Anne

Nice but…

Sundays are nice but for me they can be boring as I don’t do much in the way of work. It isn’t just the work which keeps me occupied and happy, as long as I am doing something I am happy. Putting it another way I am not the kind of person who can sit relaxing for long periods unless I am exhausted. So Sundays are nice if I am not totally unoccupied. On Sunday, that is 25 th of the month, it was a brilliantly sunny day and I made a couple of attempts to sit outside in the sunshine but the wind was blowing and it was cold sitting outside unless I was sheltered from it. Unfortunately there was little shelter to be had because of the wind direction. I was outside inspecting my work of the previous day the cementing around the grid, to see how it had set. All was fine but as rain was forecast for Monday and especially Tuesday I wanted to apply some water-repellent sealant on the cement. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible as the cement hadn’t dried out completely. E was pressing me for the use of the washing machine but had agreed not to use it until Monday to allow the cement to dry out more thoroughly. I took the opportunity to spend a few minutes replacing the drain pipes and lengthening two of them then I placed a plastic sheet temporarily behind them so that the cement would be shielded from water splashes when they were in use or when it rained.It is a pretty much sheltered spot anyway and doesn’t always get wet when it rains. It looks as if  the grid had been the source of the ingress of water into the cellar room cupboard for on the day it appeared to be slowly drying out. It would take days for it to be completely dry though. One place it was really warm was in the greenhouse. I had been in there watering the flowers we have growing in tubs. It would have been an ideal spot for sitting in the sunshine had I been tempted to fetch a chair!

Shirley Anne

And the plans which……

Best Laid Plans
Best Laid Plans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…didn’t happen! I was writing about making plans in yesterday’s post but on Friday, that is today as I write, I overslept. Over sleeping isn’t really true for had I not needed the sleep I wouldn’t have taken it. In real terms it meant I awakened at nine-thirty instead of eight o’clock which would be more my usual time. So it wasn’t the sleeping-in that prevented my doing some more work in the cellar but more the other things which got in the way. Prayer time, a shower, getting dressed, applying make-up, putting the soiled towels into the washing machine which had piled-up during the week and chatting with E all before I grabbed a quick breakfast, those were the things which prevented any work being done before noon. Following that I decided to venture out into the rear garden to sweep up the enormous piles of fallen ivy and some holly leaves that had been nicely stored in a couple of places by the high wind. It was another miserably cold day though it was showing signs of getting warmer for the snow had been slowly melting. According to the forecast it would be far warmer by the following Monday.  It was now almost twelve o’clock and time to return indoors to thaw out! I had been to the garage to collect the brush and bucket with which to sweep the leaves but returned later to empty out some things from my van and sort them out for storage. Now it was time to hang the washing after which I fitted a coat hook behind one of the doors upstairs. I was about to prepare lunch when E asked if I could help search for something in the cellar so off we went to do that. I had lost count of the number of trips to the cellar I had made in the previous couple of hours which is often quite normal in this house! At last it was time for lunch, it was one forty-five. By the time I had finished lunch I was in no mood for starting work, which would have been painting the room in the cellar. What can I say? There’s always tomorrow.

 

Shirley Anne

 

Just making plans

We’ve had a few bad days of cold and windy weather from the east but today as I write this on Thursday 1st March it looks as though things are about to change for the better. It has been snowing but not that much, in fact we’ve probably had only a few hours of it during the time it has been falling. I guess we’ve had three centimetres  of the white stuff at most as it comes and goes. What is worse is if it doesn’t melt away it freezes so although there might not be much of it the snow can still be a problem. We are very fortunate though for in many parts of the country conditions have been far worse so we mustn’t complain. It never ceases to amaze me though that this country cannot cope as well as it should when it snows whereas many other countries take it in their stride. I had planned to go for a walk but changed my mind and worked out on the Elliptical Trainer instead. That’s the beauty of being able to have the space in which to fit exercising machinery and equipment and I humbly acknowledge that privilege. Having gym equipment was never on my thoughts when we first moved into this house thirty years ago. Funny how things change I suppose. For most of the day I stayed indoors relaxing but I did wander about making plans for other projects E and I have been considering. My current project is to decorate the boiler room which houses the gym equipment and as you have been reading part of that work is already complete. However there is some preliminary work that needs to be done in other parts of the room yet to be decorated, tidying up wiring, replacing some of the pipe lagging, perhaps replacing the main light and installing another just to name a few. So over the next few weeks I shall be doing that work whilst decorating those areas which require no preparation. A little here and a little there is the way it will go. One other small project E would like have me do is to install a couple of 5 amp power points in the hallway for the two table lamps we use there. She wants them to be automatically controlled and I have the plans to do it. It will mean installing a photo-cell similar to those controlling the garage lights as shown in this picture…

and in conjunction with a time switch. The photo-cell will supply power to the 5 amp sockets when it goes dark and the time switch will prevent the lights remaining on all through the night. Once it is daylight again the power will automatically shut off. The system of operation is similar to that supplied to the porch light and the garden street lamp-post via the ‘part night’ controllers except that the new one will use cheaper parts and will be manually adjustable if required. Nothing like having plans as long as I can get around to doing them!

Shirley Anne

Set in concrete

I have been writing a little about concrete in my latest posts and that will continue in the next post at least. Since my retirement ten months ago I have kept to a routine and have kept myself busy doing things at home, projects and maintenance. It is good to keep one’s self occupied, especially when retired from full-time work. I set myself routines and kept to them for the most part, everything set in concrete but along the way I have learned it is best not to be too regimental with schedules. I found myself breaking my own rules, usually because I was tired or simply wanted a change. Working on my latest project made me realise that I have to take a break now and then. In fact I have been forced into doing so, that is my body tells me it wants to rest! This morning (I write this on Sat 10th) I slept in. I had a bit of a restless night again and found it difficult to get to sleep even though I was really tired after the day’s work. My thoughts were all over the place, an over-active brain has always been a problem for me. I simply cannot stop thinking about things when lying there in bed. My body says sleep but my mind won’t let me! It didn’t matter that I had a lie-in, I needed it. My project has kept me from a ritualistic exercising regime and it has proved to be of more benefit to me. I realise my schedules don’t have to be set in stone (concrete) for I can and do exercise at will more so now than I have ever done.

A dirty concrete cupid
A dirty concrete cupid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday after a hard day at the office so to speak I found myself taking exercise on the Elliptical trainer for a while. At the time it wasn’t a problem because I find that it is only when I stop working or exercising that I feel tired or feel the effects of the day’s workout. I suppose that is the same for everyone. In any case I should have fallen asleep within minutes but I didn’t. I guess I am more relaxed about flexible workouts than I am in thinking about them. Things play on my mind as if they are supposed to but they are not, especially when I am tired. So now my life is taking a turn or rather my habits are, work, play and exercise are now to be followed in a more relaxed way and concrete will be kept solely for the work department.

Shirley Anne

Warming up

I slept in late on Friday, deliberately so as there was nothing planned for the day. It was warm and there was only a slight breeze. I chose to sit out on the patio with a drink and E joined me. Unfortunately it clouded over after thirty minutes and E went back indoors. I mentioned that as soon as she went indoors the sun would probably reappear and it did. Not only that but it remained sunny after that for quite a few hours. By now the house’s shadow had placed the patio in the shade for a while so I moved my chair down into the garden in front of the Mound and it was even warmer there than it had been on the patio. My chair was sitting on the pathway on the far left in the picture below. 

That side of the garden is such a heat trap as well as it being less windy there. I sat there for over an hour just relaxing in the warm sunshine. It was almost time for lunch when I returned indoors but whilst I was outside I heard and saw a couple of RAF airplanes flying over to the west, which would be over the left wall in the picture.Today (Friday), Saturday and Sunday the annual Southport Air Show was being held so I guessed the pilots were warming up and checking the lay of the land so to speak. The skies get quite noisy during those afternoons. If I was to go for a walk northward along the coast I would be denied as the whole area is cordoned off and patrolled for three days. I would have to choose another route instead. For a time after lunch it went dull again but by late afternoon it was bright and sunny again. Unfortunately the weather forecast wasn’t very promising for Saturday, thought supposedly it would be better on Sunday. This is how it is weather-wise in this country but we are used to it.

Shirley Anne

Bits and bobs

It felt great just lying there in bed on Sunday morning with no pressure upon my shoulders to do anything but rest. I didn’t stay in bed too long however as by then I had slept for four hours and following a very short break had a further five hours of sleep. It’s unheard of in my life to have anything more than four or five hours at the most. All I can say is that I must have needed it. Late on Saturday afternoon our neighbour had asked if I could look at a problem with her kitchen light but even then I could hardly keep my eyes open. I stayed the course until eleven o’clock when by that time I was in bed, or rather upon it as it was still too warm to get under the duvet. I fell asleep straight away. After my breakfast, an hour after my breakfast, I went for a short walk, short as in two miles. It was just enough to satisfy my need for a little exercise though in my heart I wanted to walk much further. It had been sensible of me to keep it short however on my day of rest. I did call in to my neighbour but evidently she was out in her car because the gates were open. I knew her son was at home for his car was there but I didn’t wish to ring the doorbell knowing he was probably asleep after working through the night. He is an inspector in the police force and he works different shift patterns. I only wanted to let my neighbour know I would investigate the faulty light on Monday morning. I went home and had a coffee, sitting on the patio to drink it. In the meantime E was in the bathroom having a shower. She is a strange person to be sure, it was almost noon! When I came back indoors I began listening to some music on YouTube using the tv.

PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 19: A general view of atmosphere at the YouTube “Dear White People” Reception on January 20, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for YouTube)

E came in with a coffee she had prepared for me not knowing I had just had one. We both sat and played around with YouTube trying to master navigation with the tv remote control. It would have been far easier to turn on the computer and use that instead of the tv. That is the problem with the television control, it isn’t the best thing to use as it takes ages to do anything when using it. We gave up in the end. I had a light lunch and E went out with her mom for a couple of hours to do some shopping. I wouldn’t dream of shopping on a Sunday……isn’t it supposed to be the sabbath? That’s the world of today I have to say with a sad heart.

Shirley Anne

A more restful weekend

Usually there is always something to do on a weekend for me but I make the attempt at ensuring I get the rest I need. Sunday is the day when I do no work other than perhaps mow the lawn occasionally. Other things I might do are only normal domestic chores of a very minor nature, washing dishes or cooking and things like that. Saturdays however are days when anything goes and I will work on whatever comes my way. There are days when I don’t want to be doing anything at all but those days are few. On Saturday last week I had it in mind to do little or no work but I wasn’t completely successful. Before getting ready for an early morning walk I stripped off the bed linen and put it in the washing machine. By the time I had showered and dressed the linen had been washed so I hung it in the cellar boiler room then set off on my walk in the cool, dry but quite windy weather. I returned home quite exhausted because of the wind. I hadn’t taken a coat but wore a cardigan instead as it hadn’t felt that cold. That was a mistake because it took some time before the sun began to raise the temperature and I was glad I took the return path through the built-up areas to home. By the time I got home I was in full sunshine and warm. It is difficult knowing what to wear when going for a walk. Too many clothes and I get too warm but too few or the wrong outer garment and I feel cold. It was never a problem when going for a run, I would get warm in minutes, even in the depths of Winter! I decided then to just take the day off and do little. just prior to lunchtime I received a call from an old customer who was having problems with her electrical installation. Although I am officially retired I accepted the work for a couple of reasons, one, the house was close by and two, it was an old lady of 90 who had nobody there to help. I was there for an hour or so before returning home. After lunch I spent the afternoon out on the patio with E just relaxing for once. It would be Monday before I would even think about doing any work or so I thought. Our next-door neighbour called and asked if I could sort out a problem she was having with a ceiling fitting. As she had more than one light in the room I told her I would look at it on Monday morning. They say there is no rest for the wicked but I hope I am not that.

Shirley Anne