All posts by Patty LaRoche

Splinter by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Trivia containing “Home Hints” or “Fun Facts” often are sent to me. Years ago, when I was teaching high school, one such Email– two pages full of such tidbits– made its way into my Inbox. I recited them to my students who found them as interesting as I did…until, that is, I read #10 which stated, “It is impossible to lick your elbow.” Immediately, a junior in the back row licked his elbow, making me skeptical of the other “facts” I was asked to believe.

All that to bring me to the story of my splinter. A few months ago, Dave and I were in Springfield, Missouri, picking up our kayak after having a hole repaired at the shop where we bought it five years ago. This was a good plan, since the option was Hubby’s grandiose idea to glue his stash of Gatorade lids together, melt them into the puckering cavity and call it good. The kayak shop seemed a better bet.

We had borrowed a trailer which, to our surprise, ended up being one we had loaned our son a decade ago and hadn’t seen until it turned up—suffering multiple maladies, including rust, rotting boards and no taillights– behind my nephew’s shed.

I digress.

Sliding the mended kayak onto the trailer, I immediately felt the pain of a splinter in my thumb. Dave’s attempt to remove it by using a fishing lure–one he found latched onto a web pocket in the kayak—left me with a bloody thumb and an embedded sliver of wood too deep to extract. Once home, I referred to my “Home Hints” on how to remove the little demon. The first suggestion was to lather it with honey, sit back, and watch the sweet goo do its magic. And get this! It worked. Within 5 minutes, the splinter had finagled its way to the surface. A “fun fact” that panned out.

So, I now am rethinking my decision that all of these “fun facts” are hogwash. Just because one student could lick his elbow doesn’t dispel the other 20 pieces of information that might just come in handy someday…like in a trivia contest or as a painless remedy. We need to determine what is truth and what isn’t.

I have a friend who considers the Bible nothing more than a collection of useless, truthless trivia. She is a splinter to my soul, for she believes that there is no “Absolute Truth” and that only fools buy into Jesus’ claim that he is “Truth.” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn. 14:6) The irony, as I have pointed out to her, is obvious: “So, to you, your Absolute Truth is that there is no Absolute Truth. Interesting.”

For me, the Bible works. It is not simply 66 books of useless minutiae but is a personal, love letter from God to everyone who seeks Him. Psalm 119:105 refers to it as “a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

The Bible brings me peace and promises me a future. It tells me of a loving God who became man and suffered everything we have suffered, exchanging His life for ours. It makes me a better person as it reminds me to be forgiving, selfless, honest, patient (still working on that one), loving and kind. It tells me that I may have some ugly splinters in my heart that need to be extracted but that “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov, 16:24)

Useless trivia? I can’t imagine anything further from the truth.

Kids Disappoint by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

This morning, while walking with a friend, I shared that I was writing this week’s article on what parents go through if their children disappoint them. Her response? “Don’t you mean “when” instead of “if”? Perhaps you agree, so let me ask this question: how do you respond when your kids disappoint you? You know, when they fail to live up to the standards and values you have tried so hard to instill in them?

Many of you readers know what I’m talking about. You helped your kiddos in their studies, faithfully took them to church every Sunday, encouraged them in whatever activities they loved and taught them right from wrong. But they make choices that clearly aren’t wise and ones you never would recommend.

They begin to run with the wrong crowd. Fail to take their studies seriously. Sneak out at night. Act promiscuously. Spend too much time on video games. Vape. Do drugs. Close you out of their lives and build a quiet resentment towards you. Marry a slug. Turn from God.

And you, as a Christian, enter into the world of “cover up.” After all, what will other believers think? You know, the ones who birthed the kind of child you deserved. The ones with the perfect sons and daughters who were potty trained before they could walk and wrote math manuals in first grade and will grow up to be keynote speakers at Christian conferences and lead others to Christ on a daily basis.

You sit in study groups with those parents and listen as they share the depth of their children’s faith while you squirm and silently, desperately, try to conjure up something somewhat spiritual you can brag about, hopefully redeeming the reputation of your child. Let’s see…this week you didn’t get a call from his teacher, and no police officer has shown up at your doorstep this month. Yippee!!! Time to hang the piñata and celebrate.

Dave and I were embarrassed on more than one occasion with the behavior of our children. Behavior that we did not cover up. Behavior that was discussed openly in whatever town we lived at the time. Oh, we would talk to our kids about their actions, and for a while–like an hour or two–they would follow our guidance, but within a short time, they would revert to a life of disobedience. In response, I would sign up for every Christian conference dealing with raising godly children.

The speaker’s story was always the same. She had prayed and fasted from the time she was ten years old, just anticipating the day she would have children. Her kids now were missionary doctors in the Cambodia jungles, as were her adult grandchildren. (I’m not exaggerating…by much.) I would sit there, wanting to smack her upside her cheery little head, fearful that my children would end up in the penitentiary…and they weren’t yet in kindergarten.

What had Dave and I done wrong? We looked to the Bible for comfort and were introduced to parents who loved God but had children who disappointed. Eli, the high priest at the temple and the one asked to raise Samuel, had two sons who died after defying God’s rules. Samuel, the prophet whose life was dedicated to God, had sons who did not follow in his virtuous footsteps. King David (“a man after God’s own heart”) birthed a rapist, a murderer and two sons who started a coup against their dad. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so bad.

Being filled with guilt over how we hadn’t parented well was pointless. Sure, we weren’t perfect, but it’s not like we trained our kids to defy us…or God. I mean, our sons might have used each other for target practice, bloodied each other’s lips on a semi-regular basis, tackled too hard, pushed a brother through the dry wall in retaliation for a ping-pong paddle to his head, or hung the younger sibling upside down from the tree fort, but none of them turned from God or committed the crimes of these Biblical children.

Is it any wonder I find great comfort in reading my Bible?

Little Things Matter by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Little things matter. Need proof?

Ask the players on the Dallas Cowboys football team when the holder failed to turn the seams to face the kicker.

Ask me when I ignore auto-correct while texting and my friend reads “You look greasy” instead of “You look great.”

Ask my friend who trusted the pop-up thermometer on her Thanksgiving turkey and sliced into its bloody center.

Ask the bachelor who mistook salt for flour in the birthday cake he prepared for his date.

Ask the families of the Challenger disaster after a fifty-cent O-ring failed to do its job.

Ask my husband when, after I set off the fire alarm by burning mashed potatoes, he gave the security company the wrong password.

No doubt, you readers have your own tales of some minor issue escalating into a major problem. Hopefully yours are more on the humorous side instead of resulting in a more serious outcome like some I have mentioned.

Every day we can make little things matter. A smile to a stranger…perhaps even a “Good morning.” An offer to help a wheelchair shopper nab something on the top row. The will power to resist that chocolate chip cookie (so I’ve been told). A giggle.

If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” – Luke 16:10

Jesus addressed the crowd with a story of a rich man who had three slaves to whom he gave an amount of money, referred to as talents, and told them to care for what had been handed them. The first steward was given five talents, the second, two, and the third, one. The first two servants used the talents to trade and gain profit, returning to their master with double the talents. The third servant was fearful of his master and hid his one talent, returning only that to his master.

The story concludes in Matthew 25:29-30: For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Oopsie! No mere slap on the wrist for this guy. He did nothing to grow what he had been given, to improve someone else’s life. This master is ticked off because, according to him, little things definitely did matter.

Jesus took time for the little things. He chose 12 disciples, not 120. He always was willing to stop to heal one hemorrhaging woman, one blind man, one paralytic. He fed 5000 with two fish and five loaves of bread. Little things with big impact.

Not all of us will become preachers at mega churches or have a Grammy-winning album or translate the Bible into the Jieng language, but most of us will start 2021 with at least one resolution. Instead of setting large goals (I will lose 100 pounds this year/witness to everyone I meet), how about aiming for a pound a week or being in tune with God’s prodding? You know, attainable goals.

We just need to know that in taking care of the small details, we will be serving our Master well. In doing that, large things—God-pleasing things–can be accomplished.

Zoom Calls by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

This was a hard week. Two ZOOM Bible studies brought news no one wants to hear. Monday night’s group has prayed for Adam, a thirty-two-year-old husband and father, for months. Today, Karen, his mother and ZOOM member, forwarded the email he sent her: The tumor in my colon did not shrink nearly as well as the surgeon had hoped. So there will be no reconnection after my colon is removed. Additionally, the lesion is right up against my prostate, meaning my surgeon is unsure if just removing the colon will be enough, and potentially the prostate will need to come out as well, and if that’s the case, there is the potential that they may need to remove my bladder too. Finally, the liver will need to be addressed after all of this takes place.

Again, my surgeon said that she is going to do her best, and if the Lord wills it, I am more than willing to sacrifice my “quality of life” to spend more time with my wife and children.

If you all could be praying for me and my family. This looks to be a very deep valley that we are currently walking through, but we know that God is good through it all.

Our current prayer is for nothing short of a miracle, as we move closer to surgery. At the very least, we are praying that the cancer can be clearly removed without touching the prostate/bladder, and that God halts the cancers growth and spread in the liver. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support of my family as we continue to walk with God through this. Praying that He blesses you all for the blessing you have been to us. We love you all.

Please pray for Adam and his family.

Tuesday’s ZOOM call had its own share of tough news. My dear friend’s beloved father passed away that morning. When she found out he did not have much time left, she booked her flight to Switzerland, only to be told that because of Covid, she would need to be quarantined for two weeks before visiting him, and if she stayed with her mother, her mother would not be able to visit her father. She canceled her flight and will have to settle for visiting her dad’s gravesite at a future date.

The same day, a text shared a Pet Scan revealing a friend’s esophageal cancer has spread.

We all have our stories, and through our tears, we cry out to God, the One who knows our beginning and our end, the One who can make a difference, imploring Him to fix things. Sometimes we see the miracle; sometimes not. Still, we know that Jesus lacks nothing in the miracle department. The book of John gives seven signs demonstrating Christ’s vast powers:

1. Water changed into wine—Jesus’ power over quality

2. The nobleman’s son healed—Jesus’ power over distance

3. The impotent man healed—Jesus’ power over time

4. The five thousand fed—Jesus’ power over quantity

5. Walking on the water—Jesus’ power over natural law

6. The blind man healed—Jesus’ power over helplessness

7. Lazarus raised from the dead—Jesus’ power over death

Of course, the fact that Jesus can does not mean he will. Our job is not to second-guess but to know that—for all of us– the end-game of this life on earth is death. Unless we are raptured, it is a certainty we cannot deny. We. Will. Die. The key for all of us is to be prepared. All three of the men mentioned above made Jesus the Lord of their lives, and because of that, they will spend eternity with him. I pray you do the same.

Know-It-All by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Jesus knew what he was talking about. Every time he spoke. He literally was a know-it-all.

Can you imagine how much fun that would be? I mean, sometimes I act like I know more than I do, but really KNOWING? Wow! As the wife of a former pitcher/coach, I probably have seen a few thousand baseball games in my life. Our house has been filled with players and staff who sit for hours and talk about the mechanics of pitchers. I should know the difference between the movement of a sinker and a change-up.

Dave and I watched this year’s World Series, and periodically I commented on a pitch. “Was that slider really outside?” Dave’s corrections were annoying. It was a “curve ball.”

He was wrong.

I watch “The Voice” on television and remark that the singer sounds just like Celine Dion. No judge turns his/her chair. Their observations stun me. The vocalist was “a little pitchy” or “had an irregular vibrato” or seemed “a little breathy.” WHAT?

Last week, I attended church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pastor Loran Livingston was livid about what he had read the previous week on social media. He called Christians into account after they had written defamatory statements about the presidential election on social media, reminding his congregation that none of us have all the facts, and that we act unloving when we pretend we do. Sometimes (most times) the best thing we can do is keep our thoughts to ourselves. Know-it-alls find that an almost impossible task.

The amazing thing about Jesus is he didn’t have to prove he knew anything…like we think we do. Sometimes, what he knew he refused to disclose. Before being crucified, he remained silent—instead of defending himself–when being interrogated by Herod, the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate. I’m fairly certain I would have had some pithy thoughts I could not keep to myself.

My granddaughter’s husband, Tyler, is in seminary in North Carolina. Recently, I was there to visit them (and meet my new great grandson—so cool!) and asked Tyler about his experience. He answered that he thought that seminary would provide more answers, especially after learning Greek so he could better understand and explain the true intent of scripture. He said that he has more questions now than when he entered seminary.

I shared with him how my former pastor explained the seminary experience:

The first year in seminary you don’t know what you don’t know.

The second year in seminary you know what you don’t know.

The third year in seminary you don’t know what you know.

The fourth year in seminary you know what you know and how much you still need to learn.

Know-it-alls expose their insecurities when their opinions are the only ones that matter, and I don’t know about you, but until we reach Heaven, none of us have those bragging rights. More times than not, we just need to keep our thoughts to ourselves.

That being said, I still think it was a slider.

Produce Fruit by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Jesus cursed a fig tree. He was hungry, and when there was no fruit on that particular tree, he put a hex on it so it never again would bear figs.

And even though I’ve never been a friend of figs, I always felt kind of sorry for that tree. But, typical for the Bible, there’s more to this story.

Fig trees are mentioned 60+ times in Scripture. They’re sort of unusual because they can produce up to three crops a year. The first crop appears on the trunk; the second in the branches; and the third in the leaves.

And therein lies the problem. Let’s look at the passage in Mark 11: The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

Did you catch it? “…a fig tree in leaf…” although “it was not the season for figs.”  Actually, it was just before Passover, about six weeks before the fully-formed fig appears, the time when the leaves are accompanied by “taqsh,” small edible knobs that appear but fall off when the real fig forms. Leaves with no taqsh meant no figs for that year.

Jesus understood that. These leaves failed to do their job. All promise and no follow-through. So, Jesus cursed the tree. Not because he couldn’t create a fig from dirt, should he so choose, but to teach his followers that this tree was an analogy of Israel.

Jeremiah 8:13: I will take away their harvest, declares the Lord. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them.

Those Israelites wouldn’t follow through. They appeared spiritual, but there was no fruit. And they were without excuse. God had given them the Promised Land where bumper crops were the norm, yet they took them for granted. They had prophets telling them how to act, yet they refused to heed their messages. They had been told that one day a Messiah would come. They were seeing miracles and hearing of Baptism and forgiveness and redemption, yet they were in such a spiritual drought, they refused to open their eyes and ears and understand the power of the one walking in their midst.

I just have one question: What’s the manna with those Jews? (I couldn’t help myself.) Probably the same thing that’s the manna with us.

God wants us to be fruitful. Trees are known by their fruit. If we see apples hanging from a limb, we know that we are looking at an apple tree and not a thorn tree. (This is not rocket science.) Christians will be known by how much they produce for God’s kingdom.

In Matthew 7:17, Jesus says that every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Look at what follows: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.

 Serious stuff. This is no mere cursing. This is a grand finale that calls us to account. We are to be the real deal. We are to represent Christ in the way he deserves to be represented. We are to be fruit-full. Fortunately, as long as we have breath, we have time to make it right, to produce fruit in a way that brings honor to our Savior. So, here’s the good news: We don’t have to wait; no matter what season, now is the perfect time to plant. Apples or thorns? Our choice.

Amy Coney Barrett by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

A recent email exchange with 14 people involved the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. Her Catholicism came into question as some writers were positive that she was pro-life and would fight to reverse Roe v. Wade. I responded that I know several Catholics who are voting for Joe Biden, even though he, a Catholic, is pro-abortion. That being said, the fact that Barrett has seven children (five biological and two adopted) makes me believe that she probably endorses laws respecting the sanctity of life. And so do I. I know someone who has had 3 abortions. To her, birth control is “such a pain.” I also know others who have aborted their babies and live in guilt for the rest of their lives. It is a haunting shame and one that therapy rarely can solve. Sadly, quick solutions seem to be the mode of our microwave, drive-through generation. Who wants to be inconvenienced?

If that “piece of tissue,” aborted baby had been you or me, how differently we might see this predicament. (And yes, I see the futility of that sentence, but hopefully you get the point,) A person I know recommended an abortion to his daughter. I asked if he considered that this “fetus” could be a future president of the United States or inventor of a cure for cancer or the most beloved janitor the school had ever seen. Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently at our son’s ranch here in Ft. Scott. His mother did not follow through with her thoughts to abort him, and because of that, he delighted dozens of military guests who spent an entire morning catching his passes, not to mention that his Christian faith has encouraged many who are persecuted for their beliefs.

If you watched the RNC, you heard Abby Johnson share how she joined the staff of Planned Parenthood to help women in crisis. Having experienced two abortions of her own, she wanted to offer support to those women who didn’t think they could care for their child. Planned Parenthood began to push her to be more proactive in selling abortions because “Abortion is how we make our money.” Her new quota was double the number of abortions at her clinic the previous year. A month later, Abby’s eyes were opened when she was asked to assist an abortion doctor to do an ultra-sound guided abortion. For the first time, she witnessed the bloody, violent business that takes a human life. “Nothing prepared me for what I saw on the screen,” Abby said. “An unborn baby fighting back, desperate to move away from the suction. And I will never forget what the doctor said next: ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’ The last thing I saw was a spine twirling around in the mother’s womb before succumbing to the force of the suction.”

Last year a relative became pregnant with a baby that had the Trisome 18 syndrome. She carried the little guy into the 5th month where it was diagnosed that he had no esophagus or stomach and only a fragment of a brain. It was her second miscarriage. Should the parents not be able to have a baby, how thrilled they would be to adopt one of those rejects…you know, those “inconveniences.” The numbers are staggering: Two million American couples want to adopt. (That’s 36 families for every one child placed for adoption.) As for the argument that abortion is necessary for rape victims, read the story of Lianna, a 12-year old rape victim who was told to have an abortion. When she asked the doctor if an abortion would ease her pain and help her forget about her rape, her doctor told her it would not. Lianna chose life and soon found that the love of her daughter replaced the pain of the rape. Google her story. It is a tremendous read. There have been 62,252,920 abortions since Roe v Wade, and I have to wonder how grieved God, the One who creates life, must be. The most amazing thing about this Life-Giver is that He’s also a merciful God who forgives those who call on His name, no matter how grave the sin. He is a Father none of us deserve.

I am so grateful that we serve a merciful God who understands the desperation of women who make a choice to abort a baby and offers forgiveness when they do.

After COVID Passes by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

After this Covid-19 virus passes, I hope we learn a few things.

Like the importance of saving. Proverbs 21:20 offers advice we cannot discard. The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. According to Bankrate.com, more than one in five Americans don’t save any of their annual income. For those who do, twenty percent have put back only five percent or less of what they make. What would have happened if our government had not bailed us out? My widowed mother raised three of us on minimum wage. She believed in putting a little money away each month “for a rainy day.” The day she received her paycheck, she set aside her tithe. If she did not have enough money to purchase something, we went without, including a television and a car. We rented until she saved the cash to buy a home. She never had a credit card. Had this virus hit when we were young, we probably would have been much better off than some of my friends’ families…you know, the ones with the impressive homes, the Country Club memberships, and, oh yes, a huge amount of credit card debt.

I am grateful that we live in America where Uncle Sam is looking after us. My Hispanic friend from Mazatlán recently sent an email sharing that, since the Mexican government is doing NOTHING to bail out businesses or individuals, people are figuring out ways to help each other. She shared that fishermen catch fish and offer them to anyone who was hungry. Department stores host giveaways. “If you need something, take it; if you could donate something, leave it.” My friend ended with this: “By my place 3 days ago a lady was passing by, yelling, ‘Tamales, 2 per person for free.’ Senora Patty, this kind of things make my heart feel good.”

We in America could learn from our Southern neighbors.

Proverbs 6:6-8 encourages us to learn our saving habits from the lowly ant: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” The Bible has much to say about saving. For one, our money is not ours; it is God’s. In times such as this, how nice would it be to help our neighbors because we had “stored” some provisions and not lived above our means? Instead, I’ve met too many Americans who save only to relax when their working days are over. A leisurely “Retirement” becomes their payoff, yet even Jesus admonished the person whose goal was to save in order to have a comfy life instead of taking care of real needs as a thank-you for God’s provisions given to them.

In Luke 12: 16-21, Jesus shares a parable about a rich man who had so many crops, he tore down his barns and built bigger ones to store his grain and goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Christians, saving for retirement should not be self-centered. It should be the time when we devote ourselves to serving others.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am grateful that we live in the United States where businesses can be saved and families can eat because of the bail-out. I just hope that when this virus is over, we all might rethink our financial priorities and learn from the lowly ant…the wise, working, lowly ant.

Warnings by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

The DVR on my television remote allows me to watch previously-aired shows, avoid commercials, fast forward and rewind. It is my new electronic BFF.

Last week, while watching the recorded version of The Voice, severe storm warnings appeared in that rolling strip of news that scrolls across the bottom of the show (technically referred to as a “news ticker” or a “crawler”). The viewers were to “expect damage to roofs and siding.” I could read where the storm was headed and how fast it was moving. “People and animals outdoors will be injured.” Serious stuff.

Had I been watching the show live, I would have taken the alerts seriously. Patio furniture would be moved so as not to blow away; tornado preparations would start (Put on shoes with hard soles; ready my computer/phone/flashlight to be taken to the basement, etc.). But in this case, the danger had passed. This storm alert had come from the previous week. There was no stress. I knew the ending. No damage to our area was forthcoming.

Let’s face it. We don’t live in a DVR world, and warnings need to be taken seriously.

  • Read medicine labels for side effects.
  • Smoking is bad for your health.
  • Beware of curve ahead.
  • Wear a mask and socially distance.

Others cause us to wonder why they are necessary.

  • Do not submerge electrical appliance in water.
  • Danger–Do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw.

The list goes on and on, some carrying harsher consequences than others.

There is one warning, however, we are foolish to ignore, and the good news is, if we have made Jesus our Lord, we don’t need to be stressed about its outcome. He will come again. We don’t know when; we just know we need to live as though it could be today. John 14:3 brings us Jesus’ words to his followers: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

So, how does Jesus take Christians to himself? Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: For the LORD himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And so we will be with the LORD forever.

Like the alert on the television ticker, there is no stress for the Christian. We have read the “Manual” and know the ending. As the renowned preacher D.L. Moody once said, “Some day you will read in the paper that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.”

Woo-hoo! Like the television crawler, Christians can rest assured that there is nothing to fear; they have heeded the warnings of Scripture and know that the only thing ahead of them is the glory of Heaven. I pray that you all are living each day as if it were your last.

Apologies by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

On mornings when I walk on the east side of the lake, two dogs—from houses a half-mile apart–join me. They frolic, munch on each other’s necks, scamper after squirrels, drink from mud puddles and sometimes walk down the center of the road. Neither listens to me when I explain the dangers in that decision. I ask them to mimic me: walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic. They pretend not to understand.

Yesterday, a truck came over a hill in time to brake for the dog that was in its lane. If looks could kill! The woman driver and male passenger glared at me. Not the dog. Me! I mouthed very clearly, “It’s. Not. My. Dog.,” but when they pulled away, they still were shaking their heads.

Sooooo not my fault! And yes, I love it when I’m innocent, probably because it’s rare when blame belongs to the other person, or in this case, dog. Typically, I am responsible for whatever has gone wrong, and most of the time, I have no problem admitting it. (Do not ask my husband to verify that statement.) My frustration comes from other people who cannot admit they make a mistake, politicians in particular.

Republicans and Democrats, take note: sometimes the best thing you can do for your country is to admit the error of your ways. (Am I hearing an “Amen”?)

Nancy Pelosi was videoed having her hair done inside a San Francisco salon. My granddaughter is a stylist in California and, with the exception of two weeks, has been out of work for months because of state mandates closing those businesses. I understand Ms. Pelosi wanting her hair colored and trimmed. She is in the spotlight almost daily, and gray roots would cause her constituents (and certainly her enemies) to murmur. Walmart’s root-dye probably wouldn’t have worked for her, like it had to for the rest of us during this pandemic.

But her apology left me aghast! “I want to apologize for being caught in a trap set for me. I should have seen it coming.” In other words, Ms. Pelosi considers herself too sharp to fall for being set up. Her apology was, in essence, nothing more than bragging about her cleverness.

I was more than aghast. I was aghastest. Wouldn’t it have been better had she admitted to making a bad judgment call and say that she was sorry? You know, the truth?

When one of our sons was younger, he was marched back inside Walmart to return a stolen package of gum and apologize to the manager. There was no “I apologize that I wasn’t smart enough to hide this better from my mother.” That wouldn’t have been an apology. That would have been reason for a spanking. Yet, that’s what Ms. Pelosi did.

Perhaps Ms. Pelosi needs a spanking.

The Blame Game began in the Garden of Eden. Eve listened to the serpent, juiced up on a piece of fruit, shared it with her hubby, and the rest is history, eternal history. We are only three chapters into Genesis when God asked what happened. Adam made a life-altering boo-boo with this response: The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” In other words, God and Eve were responsible.

Adam needed a spanking. Actually, what he got was worse than a few swats. He and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. Eve forever would be under the authority of her husband who would have to do manual labor to survive. I wonder how different things would have been had they both apologized and asked for forgiveness. God, who is rich in mercy and grace, just might have treated their punishment differently. We all should learn from their sin.

I’m still hoping Ms. Pelosi will come to her senses and take responsibility for her actions. I have a feeling I’m in for a long wait.

Air Quality Alert

KDHE shares steps to protect health amid potential

air quality impacts from wildfires

 

       

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) wants to alert Kansans to potential air quality impacts from Western wildfire smoke. Ongoing wildfires across the Western U.S. continues to produce dense smoke that is being transported into Kansas by the atmospheric winds. While a majority of this smoke is remaining high in the atmosphere there are times when this smoke is being observed at the surface and impacting air quality. These air quality impacts may continue to be seen as long as the Western U.S. wildfires continue to burn.

Smoke can cause health problems, even in healthy individuals.  Common health problems include burning eyes, runny nose, coughing and illnesses such as bronchitis.  Individuals with respiratory issues, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children and elderly may experience worse symptoms.

Steps to protect your health on days when particulate matter is present in your community include:

  • Healthy people should limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart-related illness should remain indoors.
  • People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in particular respiratory or heart-related symptoms, who are currently infected or recently recovered, should remain indoors.
  • Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running the air conditioners with air filters.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.

Current air quality across the U.S. can be viewed online at https://fire.airnow.gov/.

Protestors by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Scene #1: Protestors looted stores, torched the American flag, threw frozen water bottles at police, and destroyed their own communities.

Scene #2: Protestors created hand-made signs, lined the toll booths, gave drivers the thumbs up and waved them through.

Guess which scenario represented Mexico? Definitely not the first one.

A few years ago, my husband and I were driving from Las Vegas to Mazatlán, Mexico. Nearing our sixth toll booth, we noticed several adults waving signs protesting the gas price-hike in Mexico. Most Hispanics were concerned that because America was pulling businesses out of their country, they would suffer economically. They felt slighted and fearful.

Yet, no one appeared angry. No one blocked our path. No one chose to teach us Gringos a lesson by smashing our car or hanging us from the overpass. Quite the opposite. We were given the thumbs-up and waved through without paying a toll.

Last year, as Dave and I crossed the mountains in Mexico, we were stopped before our first toll booth by dozens of protestors, many resting in tarp shacks while their amigos blocked the road. Three smiling men approached Dave’s side of our truck and told him to pay them 50 pesos instead of the 31 pesos in tolls. I asked “¿Por qué?” (“Why?”) and was told “because that’s what we are doing.” Apparently, these men and women—along with their police escorts– had taken over the toll booth. We paid the money; the protestors removed the barrel from the front of our truck and we were waved on. Not for one second were we anxious.

Peaceful. Unified. Safe. Very unlike today’s American demonstrations… which makes me wonder, why is it that so many of America’s protests are becoming more barbaric than our less-advanced neighbors, they who have so much less than we? What happened to a code of morality where objectors show a modicum of self-restraint like they do in Mexico? When did a civilized society turn into brutes that rant, rave, curse, steal and burn Bibles (which, as we know, contains the answers to our problems) as a gesture of disagreement?

Christians must take action. We need to offer hope. That’s what happened at the “Riots to Revival” event in Portland, Oregon, Saturday night. CBS News reported that between 4,000 and 7,000 worshippers united for a night of “praise, worship, and to hear Bethel Music’s Sean Feucht speak” at Waterfront Park in an effort to heal America’s brokenness.

“White, Black, Hispanic – we came and released our song of hope over this city,” Feucht said. “People gave their life to Jesus. Hundreds of people. We baptized people in the river behind us. There was so much joy that took over the streets of that city last night.”

For those of us with less musical ability, here’s another idea. Let’s follow Franklin Graham’s Instagram call for specific prayers: for PEACE because “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20); for PERSPECTIVE, because “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17); for PATIENCE, because of God’s “kindness and forbearance and patience” toward us all (Romans 2:4); and for the OUTPOURING of God’s wisdom and direction for our leaders and officials who are dealing with this crisis. Ask God to change hearts and heal this divide in our nation.

Graham’s way is much more in line with the Mexican way. I think that God likes that way best.