I’m ready. I’ve been dishing it out for years, riding the success of Tom Brady, sending my football fan friends teasing memes and razzing text messages.
So, yesterday, at the start of the bulk of another NFL season, I prepared myself for an avalanche of payback because Brady is but a memory here in New England.
All the Chicken Littles signaled the end of the Brady era, declaring that our day of reckoning had come. I prepared to eat crow or seagull or whatever bird dishes my friends served up. I deserved it.
But, here I am, waking up to NFL scores that are pretty much the same as usual. Let’s see … Cowboys lost. Check. Tampa Bay, with TB 12 got crushed and Gronk was invisible showing that Tamba Bay may likely continue as the Tampa Bay we all know, except they have a GOAT on the field now. Oops.
And the Patriots? They won. Same old, same old. Yeah, they had lowly Miami and TB12 had the mighty Saints. But still … if the Steelers lose tonight, all will be golden.
In non-football world …
I missed getting a first day of school picture of my girl today because I was still asleep! What??? I know, it’s weird but I seem to sleeping like normal people sleep.
Are these “smart” watches accurate in measuring deep sleep? If they are, that could explain why I feel like a post-marathon-running sloth every afternoon. 1.11 hour of “deep sleep?” That’s not good, right?
Now I have a dilemma. Do I take a picture of her tomorrow morning and fake it? Or, will she let me take a picture of her if she survives today’s masked and distanced chaos? Stay tuned…
It was an awesome weekend. Our church has been meeting outside, in the beauty of the park, since the start of July. It really has me charged up and feeling like we are connecting more, meeting needs and having more of an impact. Today I will deliver another tent from one in our congregation’s attic to another recently unhoused person who has found himself now sleeping on the ground. outside.
We’ve also transformed our food closet, which COVID prevented from opening, into a mobile food pantry. It’s cool. Sunday mornings we have bags of groceries for the unhomed living near the park who have been joining us for service. Then people take bags to deliver to people who they know are in need. I love that!
Have a great week. If you had memes and texts ready to fire my way to razz me about the Patriots without Brady, just hang on to them until Monday. I doubt you’ll get to use them but you can still hope.
It’s 46 degrees, 6:50 AM and, apparently, there’s a beaver on my roof.
While I am putting our pellet stove through its first test of the season, Ethan is telling me an elaborate story.
A beaver, not just any old beaver but, a rock-climbing beaver, made his way to the top of our roof. This beaver must be of the “petram scandere-fiber” species and be a bit confused because my roof is not made of rock.
Anyway, according to the story teller, this buck-toothed fella became trapped. A neighborhood cat went to investigate but also got stuck.
So, now we have a confused beaver and a confused cat stuck on our roof.
Ethan says that a rock climber with a special “trouble phone” will come to rescue the beaver.
“He rescues the fierce animals first because they are da best,” according to Ethan. A beaver is not fierce so he has to wait a bit.
The guy with the special phone is rescuing a bear stuck in his cave that is blocked by a boulder with a big T-Rex on it and they are, “um, um, um… very strong!”
Apparently this animal rescuer has something that has “two grapple hooks.” One will move the T-Rex and the other will move the boulder and the bear will go free.
I asked if the T-Rex was going to be chill with some dude using a grappling hook on him. The storyteller had no interest in this sidebar and refused to give more detail of the bear rescue.
“Then he will come to our house for da beaver,” he went on, ignoring my questions.
According to Ethan, the rock-climbing, animal rescuer also has a “special gun that shoots ladders” that he will use to rescue the beaver. He will use yet another gun that shoots treats to get the cat to come down.
It’s going to be a much more eventful day around here than I thought with this rock-climbing, beaver-saving adventure in the works.
Our tenants are under contract on some land in Gorham. Their builder is telling them to expect occupancy in January. Most with experience in having houses built advise adding 30-60 days to that estimate but hopefully their builder is one of those on-time types. I’m in no big hurry to be left in an empty house but I won’t root against them.
The animal rescue guy is like the cable guy … Ethan has no idea when he’ll be here. We just have to hang around and wait.
I hope you have a great Saturday planned. Our ton of wood pellets arrives in 9 days so we will need to start organizing our garage for the delivery. Maybe that will begin today.
Some people have big stuff happening that worries them. My biggest concern today is that my pumpkin spice coffee is lacking something. I can’t decide if it’s not “pumpkinny” enough or not spicy enough.
I bought 5 pounds of these grounds so I am pretty committed. I figure that since I am wild about this coffee roasting company’s chocolate-raspberry that I would be equally as wild about the pumpkin spice. Nope. Not wild.
Did I really buy 10 pounds, two giant 5-pound bags, of coffee grounds like I am some sort of trendy coffee shop or breakfast restaurant? Yes. Yes, I did. I bought 5 pounds of chocolate raspberry and 5 pounds of pumpkin spice to get free shipping.
But, I’m not a café. If I were a restaurant, would I have a goofy Golden Retriever chewing on my foot as I write this? Probably not.
Anyway, I’m not sure what I will do. I might just forge ahead with this “okay” coffee. But, part of me thinks that life is too short for “just okay” coffee.
I asked Pompom and Bailey their opinions. They are totally apathetic.
I asked my granddaughter, Emma. She was too busy informing me that I don’t have hair except on my face which, according to her, is the color of white, milkweed goo. (Ew) She just shrugged about the coffee question.
Is the pumpkin spice coffee I love flavored by sugary syrup? If it is, that is not okay. My fat, COVID bum, and the rest of me too, tipped 230 on the scale Sunday morning. 230 is my alarm number. It used to be 220 but, well, you know… So, sugary syrup is OUT!
I ate myself to 330 in one stretch of my life and then went through a liver transplant largely because of it. I will not do that again! Nope, nosiree-Bob!
I’m at 225 this morning so I’ve dropped from DEFCON 5 back to DEFCON 4 on the fat-bum scale. Nana’s Best Treat Shop has slowed production since she is now back to school for the first time since March. That was brutal with warm cookies, brownies, dipped waffle cones and new flavors of homemade ice cream coming every week.
In other news, it’s Friday. Some people love Friday and hate Mondays. I love Friday but I can’t really say I love it more than any other day. All my days look a lot alike except for Sunday when I am allowed out of the house for church in the park. That is definitely my weekly highlight.
The rumor is that this week’s Church in the Park will include coffee. Will it be good coffee or “church coffee?” We use K-cups when we meet at the building and that offers good coffee varieties. We have coffee-shop carafes for Sundays in the park. I could offer some of these pumpkin spice grounds and see if it’s just me or if others say “meh” too.
Have a great weekend. Come on over to Riverbank Park on Sunday morning for some music, message and people viewing at 9:45 ish for coffee and then the rest.
Method can overpower message. The cliché of “actions speak louder than words” is more than cliché. It is truth.
I noticed the message in this photo painted on a fence post as I walked along admiring the gorgeous scenic views on Portland, Maine’s Eastern Promenade Trail. “Jesus loves you” graffiti was scribbled four or five inches above a paper product sticker, both littering the landscape.
I thought, “Yes, Jesus loves me but I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t advise vandalism to spread his message.”
I wonder how many other people have walked by thinking the same thing and shaking their heads?
Method matters. It matters a lot. It matters in Jesus circles, in political circles, in marketing circles and in every area where getting a message out is an important part of the plan.
When we claim to be all “Jesus is love” one minute and then switch to spitting venom the next, the message is obliterated. When we say, “Jesus is truth” and then spread conspiracy theories and misinformation, our credibility is shot. When we rightly say that our Bible teaches that we need not fear, but then, live continually panicked and fearful, we demonstrate that we don’t believe it ourselves.
Is it any wonder the world is confused when they look at us?
I know that I am confused when I compare our book, the Bible, to what the press calls the beliefs of “evangelical Christians.”
Method often overpowers message. When people march peacefully in the streets to call for an end to violence and injustice their message is damaged when the much-smaller, angry, after-crowd shows up intent on violence and destruction. It is the after-crowd’s fires, angry shouting and destruction that gets the headlines and the video playing on loop all day, every day.
We “evangelical Christians” know what that’s like, right? How many times did we have to see that hateful church picketing soldiers’ funerals while a reporter described them as a “conservative Christian group?” The Christian reputation meter traveled steadily downward as people who looked nothing like Jesus pretended to be his spokespeople.
Faith without action is dead, according to James. Justice without Jesus, the Jesus of scripture, is just us. If your gospel is good news for you but not the people you disagree with, it is not the true gospel of Jesus.
I’d like to suggest something radical, if I may. I’d like to suggest that we who consider ourselves “Christian” submit ourselves to two processes, before we act, in an attempt to make sure that our methods do not obscure or nullify the message of new life and Hope in Christ:
Might we first pick up the book we say that we treasure and use it to study the person of Jesus Christ? What I mean is, rather than search for trite answers and bumper sticker “moral to the story” slogans, we study the character, personality and passions of our Christ to know his heart and character. Might we read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to discover what author Gayle D. Erwin called, “The Jesus Style.”
Might we then, confident that we have a better-educated sense of the personality and motives of the one we call “Lord,” take the WWJD bracelet cliché of the 1990’s and make it more than cliché? Might we allow it to shape our methods and flavor our interpersonal interactions?
“Our motto will be, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Our aim will be to act just as He would if He was in our places, regardless of immediate results. In other words, we propose to follow Jesus’ steps as closely and as literally as we believe He taught His disciples to do.”
Charles M. Sheldon, “In His Steps,” 1897
How would that impact our methods online? How would it impact our tone? How would it affect our interactions? Our attitudes? Our opinions?
The Jesus of the Bible that we say we adhere to reacted most strongly to those who misrepresented his Father and his Kingdom. It is that same Bible that says we are to be “ambassadors” of Christ, reflecting him.
I think we must ask ourselves, “are my actions, my methods, reflecting my Christ?” If they are not, we need to make changes.
...let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
By Scott Linscott The question came from a friend who noticed that my former Facebook fascination faded recently. (Nice alliteration, huh?) “You okay? You’ve disappeared.”
My lack of selfies has left her concerned. My posts have decreased to one a day or less and those are these blog things so they kinda don’t count.
It’s true. Facebook and I have decided to see other people and I have retreated to my top-secret lab where I am working on a game-changing invention.
What invention? In my patent application I have called it “Woof! Pants.”
Sounds like something to do with dogs, right? But, trust me, it has nothing to do with dogs.
I am working on an invention that will make pants combust at the very instant anyone posts a lie or forwards lies.
“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” is the song that gave me the idea. I think there would be less lying if people’s pants burst into flames with every lie.
Oh, wait, I probably offended someone. Lies are not lies now but are something called “misinformation.” That’s so much less offensive.
I don’t think my mother would have bought into that. “Mom, I didn’t lie. I gave you misinformation.” She’d reach for her paddle immediately if I tried that.
Anyway, my invention would ultimately either wipe out humanity in an apocalyptic fire, or, it would end the social media love for libel and lying.
“Scott, are you suggesting torching me if I repost or share something that is misinformation?”
“You mean a lie? Yeah, that’s exactly the idea. It’s spontaneous combustion – WOOF! PANTS ON FIRE!'”
“But what if I didn’t know it was a lie … er … I mean, misinformation.”
“WOOF! Not “woof” like a dog, but “woof” like a charcoal grill doused with a whole bottle of lighter fluid.”
“I probably wouldn’t share anything until I checked it. That’s crazy talk.”
“No, actually, that’s exactly the idea. People would be a lot more careful.”
So, say, you share:
Migraine cure found: cream of tartar. “WOOF!”
Mail-in ballots are different than absentee ballots. “WOOF!”
CS Lewis wrote this big thing about politics in Screwtape Letters. “WOOF!”
I could go on and on. Woof, woof, woof.
I’m stalled at the moment trying to make one addition. I’m trying to think of a modification that will maybe shock or stun someone who switches the burden of proof onto disproving things. I mean, basically, they say anything that cannot or has not been disproved is therefore true and factual.
The rationale goes like this:
“Well, you can’t disprove that there is a hidden society of weather gnomes hiding in the Himalayan Mountains controlling the world’s weather and making it worse!”
Proof requires demonstration to establish fact. Consider the following claims. Which can easily be proven? Which could I say, “well, you can’t prove it didn’t happen. I know what I saw?”
A pterodactyl landed on my lawn this morning. I know it was a pterodactyl because it urinated and the p was silent.
My dog, PomPom, urinated on my lawn this morning. I could not hear it, so the p is silent again meaning I should call her “om-om.”
What do you think? Well, both questions deserve more exploration before just forwarding this breaking news to all our social media pals.
I’m really stuck on this part of my invention. The “liar, liar, pants on fire” concept is fairly straightforward but I know no catchy rhyme for the prover stunner/shocker part. That might have to wait for phase two of my invention.
I may be back to Facebook if I get this up and running. I can’t promise it will be ready for mass distribution by November 1.
Honestly, right now it’s just in concept form all up here in my head. I was planning to go on Shark Tank to get funding but I have no answers to these questions:
1) Will government fund this? (No, it would mean WOOF for Washington.)
2) Will “evangelical Christians” buy it? (Oh, geez, that would bring “fresh fire” for sure.)
3) How about Wall Street? (Um, no, definitely not.)
4) The media, then? (Bahaha! That’s hilarious!)
5) Facebook? (And lose all the income from click-bait and viral misinformation??? That’s a big no!)
I guess my invention is doomed. Dang it! I really thought I was onto something.
Anyway, I’m not on Facebook much anymore beyond these blog babblings and pics for family and friends who love us and want to see the kids.
Don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m feeling better actually. I’m trying to focus more on those old manuscripts I like to read.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
It was Cousin Sleepover weekend and I was rockin’ it. I was the hero for setting up the movie on the lawn. And, even though I confess having fled from the 190 decibels of noise on at least two occasions, I was doing well.
Granted, my risk was small because Nana was here. She is used to lawless, toddler mobs. She has secret skills that she uses on them. As long as Nana is around, I’m safe with the whole crew.
“I need to run to the store to get some bread. Ethan is in his room upset because his bandaid came off and the other three are playing. I’ll be right back,” Robin said.
“Um, wait, what?” I said with fear in my eyes. I need more information like what does “upset” mean? And what are they “playing?”
When I went in I could hear “upset” very clearly. It was probably an 8 on the 1-10 upset scale. I tried to settle him but he was having none of it. That’s when I ruined my grandchildren.
It was easy. It’s my “go to.” I turned on Thomas the Train on Netflix. Within 3 minutes I had 4 entranced, little, zombies sitting in the corner of our sectional.
I live with educators. “Screen time” is a precarious equation. If a child crosses that undefined threshold of too much screen time they are forever destroyed.
Perform worse on tests
I don’t get it. Thomas the Train is good at solving problems. He’s as big as a train but I don’t consider him obese. He seems chipper all the time so it appears he sleeps well. And as far as violence goes? Thomas is less violent than a Golden Retriever puppy!
Nana came home just as the episode ended. She is letting me stay and I don’t even have to sleep on the couch. So, I guess the damage is either reversible or not permanent.
What’s a Grampa to do? It was either ice cream just before lunch or Thomas. I was desperate.
There’s been an escape! Call the zoo! Someone left the door to the monkey cage open.
I’m pretty sure these are howler monkeys because they are LOUD.
I think they came here because they heard someone say “Nana” and they thought they said “banana.”
These little monkeys are calling me “Grampa” and laughing at my headphone ear protection. They like to rush me all at once and beat on my belly. It must be a strange jungle ritual of worship for the alpha male in the troop.
I asked them who they are and why they are in my house. I told them that all my children grew up and moved away but they claim they are related to me somehow. I asked the oldest one, “are you my little boy’s little boy?” He thought that sounded silly.
The smallest male in the troop appears to be called “Ethan.” He is telling me that this chaos is something called a “cousin sweep over.” However, I see no brooms or any sign of “sweeping.”
The youngest female wants to climb to the highest point on my chair where I normally sit in quiet reflection while drinking my morning coffee. She tells me she is called “CoCo Loco” but the others appear to call her “Coco-zilla.”
The one they call Nana instructed to me to set up a movie on the lawn last night. I complied. No one messes with the one called Nana. This attracted other yellow-haired monkeys to our lawn. Winnie the Pooh kept them transfixed for 75 minutes.
Nana tells me this troop of monkeys is mine. I am apparently the patriarch of this troop. Another is due to arrive in February.
9 years ago I made no plans for a future because my survival depended on my getting a liver transplant. As my MELD score increased and I spent more and more time being managed in the hospital, I gave up hope for my future here on Earth and started focusing on moving to Heaven. Others told me “God is not finished with you here yet. You have more to do.” I just nodded and smiled.
Life can and does turn around even when we can’t see it coming. When we sit in total darkness, our friends tell us that dim light in the distance is “the end of the tunnel.” We don’t share their optimism because we are certain that, if we even see any light at all, it’s a train. I was at that point.
If you’re at that point, sitting in hopeless darkness, I want you to sit up for a second and look at me. Listen closely.
I was where you are. After being taken off the transplant list, too sick to survive, everything changed. It’s a long story … but the short story is that today, 8 years after having my transplant, I have a full and very blessed life.
Keep fighting. Hang on. I know how dark it is. Keep praying. Keep doing what the docs tell you to do. That phone will ring eventually and your second chance at life will begin.
Every day, even my toughest day, is a bonus day now. I couldn’t have even imagined being where I am now, when I was back there in the dark.
It turns out that this troop of monkeys is indeed my troop. This “cousin sweep over” is one of many to come.
Today, I plan for the future. I never thought I would be able to do that again. But, my friends were right. God, had more for me to do right here on Earth.
I’m glad he did.
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten …
Yup. They got all kinds of fancy-shmancy new things for schoolin’ nowadays. My wife is a teacher so I get to see the newest stuff.
She brung this thingy home. You point it at your head and then pull the trigger. It beeps and, boom, there you have it! Your IQ is right there telling how smart you are. (Usually it’s a bad idea to point something at your head and pull the trigger.)
At first I didn’t know what it meant. My score was “9L6.” I just figured I needed one of them teaching degrees from a college to understand it. My wife has one of those. She’s wicked smart.
But then, when I set it down it said “97.6.” Woah! That means I got an A on my IQ. That’s pretty darn close to 100!
Them teachers got all kinds of gadgets now. Even the kindergardeners get themselves those Eyepads to bring home with them. They say they are for online learning over the Interwebs. The interwebs must make your eyes hurt so you need to have them eyepads.
You know what we had when I was a kid? We had chalk and blackboards and if I was good enough and didn’t cause Miss Saddleback no trouble, I might get picked to go outside and bang those chalk erasers together and make a big, white cloud of dust. The goody-goody kids have chalk-lung now because they got to do it so much.
One time, when I got to go out, I learnt that if you banged them on the brick wall, you could spell your whole name. I also learnt that if you did that you never got picked again until you got a new teacher.
We also had little white jars of paste for craft time. It was delicious. Miss Saddleback told me I wasn’t ‘sposed to eat it but I didn’t listen. I figured if they didn’t want you to eat it they wouldn’t have put that little, orange spoon in there attached to the cover.
When I was in kindergarden we only went for half a day and even had blue mats so we could take a rest. Today, they got them poor kids going all day, reading, taking tests and meeting something called “standards.” I don’t think we had any standards. If we did mine was probably “stop eating paste” and “stop pulling Mary-Jo’s ponytail.”
We definitely didn’t get no EyePads unless we got poked in the eye. I wore an eye patch for my lazy eye when I was a kid. I don’t think it worked. I think my lazy eye just spread to the rest of me. Now, I’m just altogether lazy.
In first grade, my teacherwas Mrs. Walls. She had hair like a porcupine and was very funny. I’m pretty sure if she had one of these IQ measurers she would be at least a 98. She was a great teacher, but she stunk at kickball and tetherball and every type of game that had a ball.
I tried the IQ measurer on everybody in my house. It’s weird but we all got A grades. Mine was lowest though. That’s okay. I’m proud of my overachievers all getting 98 point something. Smarties!
They just announced that they are delaying starting school for another week because of The COVID messing everything up. That means my teacher wife is going to probably be a painter wife and get to paint her classroom. She and Darlene have wanted a decent paint job for years.
Have a great weekend. It’s Labor Day Weekend so that means lots of babies will be delivered. Come on by and I will tell you what your IQ is if this thingy works from 6 feet away.
It’s me. I admit it. I’m the reason so many Americans have their undies in a twist. It’s my fault. Eight years ago I was given a second chance at life with the gift of a liver transplant and now I am delicate and fragile.
There are a lot of nice people out there who actually want me and the nine-year-olds with Leukemia to have a little bit of freedom. They willingly don uncomfortable, ugly, hot, inconvenient masks to try to stop a virus that most-likely wouldn’t do them too much harm even if they did get it. Sure, there are those 10,000 or so totally healthy people who caught it and croaked within the last six months, even with all the lock-downs, sanitizing, and over-reaching government stuff, but, let’s be realistic here, that’s only like 200 people per state. Right? Psshaw! That’s nothing.
I saw a guy post that he is more worried he’ll die from a shark attack than COVID. I’m no math whiz but 10 people a year, give or take one or two, die from shark attacks GLOBALLY, so that’s about the same odds, right? After all, sharks have got to be more of a risk because they have “Shark Week” on cable. They don’t have “COVID Week.” I just can’t argue with logic
But, regardless of all the arguments, I truly do appreciate all of you who have chosen to try to watch out for me and Great Grampy. I am glad that the caring hearts have won out so far to try to keep nature from having its way with us weaklings. You guys rock and we wuss-babies love you.
I apologize for my sarcasm. I kinda think this COVID thing is real and would prefer that everyone take it seriously. I don’t mean that we should live in fear. I mean we should give it the respect of at least being cautious while we go about living our lives.
I believe that my God, in his providential love, will grant us the knowledge to develop a safe and effective vaccine as he has done in the past. I pray it comes soon. I pray that politicians do not push to cut corners for their own gain but, instead, allow scientists the time and freedom to do things safely.
I don’t like masks either. I don’t like that I have only been inside 5 different buildings since March. I don’t like social distancing at all.
On the other hand, I like being alive and as healthy as I can be. I guess I can put up with all these inconveniences while we wait.
But, when a vaccine is made available? It will take all my self-control to keep me from pushing and cutting to get to the front of that line!
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
I like typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings that make me laugh.
For example, the girl on Twitter who tweeted, “I love the smell of my boyfriend’s colon.”
Now, I’m the last person to have the right to throw stones, but I am pretty sure she meant to say “cologne” not “colon.”
Churches have these little sheets of paper they call “bulletins.” They are basically programs or mini-newsletters with announcements. I love reading their bloopers.
“The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.”
“The peace-making meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.”
Life is always funny even though people are less willing to laugh at themselves nowadays. That makes it tougher for people like me who see humor in almost everything. I have to laugh on the inside quite a lot now.
Autocorrect is making us all look stupid. Why does it insist on changing “its” to “it’s” and “love” to “live?” When we don’t catch the mistakes our Grammar-Nazi friends get all over us. I pat them on the head and try to comfort them with a gentle, “there, their, they’re … everything is going to be okay.”
Autocorrect can be deadly, like in this example:
Wife: Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to dead husband! Happy Birthday to you! Husband: Thanks. I assume you meant “dear”.
(Um, by the way, that period should be inside those quotation marks, dead husband.)
I normally catch most of my typos and autocorrect silliness after I hit the “publish” button. That allows me to then hit the “edit” button and then the “publish” button again. Such fun.
Why is it that we’re so sensitive now? Why does everything offend or make people mad? Why do we take ourselves so seriously?
My theory is that it all comes down to insecurity which triggers fear. That fear then sprouts into defensiveness and anger.
I run in lots of “evangelical Christian” circles. (I put that in quotes because the word “evangelical” has evolved into a weird thing that, in my opinion, has mostly lost its bearings.) It seems to me that a lot of my Christian friends look like they are packed into a giant blender worried that it is about to kick on and go straight to puree.
I don’t get that. The book I read, with the red letters, says a lot about fear. It has the same message, page after page, that those who trust in God do not have to live in fear because he has everything in his control and steps in wherever and whenever he wants in his timing. Granted, that is frustrating because we all think we know what God needs to do and when he should do it better than he does, but he promises that we can trust him and not fear through it all.
I’m pretty self-confident (some would say “cocky”) on the whole. I’m not scared of much, except, being a wimpier member of the male population, I’m scared of pain. I have to battle my fear of doctor’s offices and procedures but, otherwise, I do pretty well in life. I owe that to my Faith which has given me security.
Insecurity breeds fear and fear breeds a giant pile of ugliness including vicious attacks, dishonesty, irrational behavior, selfishness, etc…
If faith does not produce security, is it really faith? Yes, this world does feel like a giant blender at times but Jesus said, “take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Seriously, guys? I believe he meant it. Are we operating in faith or allowing fear to shape us?
But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, (insert your name), he who formed you, … : “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.
I’m going in for a quick procedure today where they will take some pictures of my heart using sound waves. I hope it smiles at the tech.
My heart is usually pretty nice, I think. People tell me I have a good heart and a kind heart.
But last time they did this test, a few years back, they told me I have a “thick heart.” I knew I am thick-headed but that was the first time I heard I was thick-hearted. They said not to worry because it’s pretty common. So, of course, I worried.
Hopefully I can get my flu shot while I’m there. I always get a flu shot. Some people think the flu shot gives them the flu. I think they payed less attention than I did in science classes even though I don’t know how that could be possible.
I’d also like to get my standing blood lab orders drawn while I’m there. Transplant people know the CMP, INR, Tacro drill pretty well so we can check those AST and ALT numbers. My numbers have been about the only thing perfect in 2020 so I’m hoping that continues.
I’m kind of like a car you put in the garage. “Yeah, um, can you do an oil change, rotate the tires and, um, change the coolant while it’s here.” If I could, I’d go to a doctor mall and just take a day every year to get all my checkups done. Skin, bones, blood, heart, liver, prostate, lungs, colon … It would be a LONG and expensive day but it would be worth it to get it all done at once.
The docs always show me the pictures of procedures like I know what I’m looking at. I nod and say, “uh huh, yup, I see that” but I never have any idea. It’s like opening my good when the car stops working, “yup, that engine thing is still here.”
I am a way better photographer than all of those docs put together. I won’t be ordering a canvas of my heart portrait, I can guarantee that.
I set up my stuff for self-portraits yesterday. Taking my own pictures always feels weird but I needed an update since all my facial hair is now COVID white.
There I was with lighting set up, camera on a tripod, backdrop set up and remote in hand, taking pictures of myself.
I took some “happy me” photos and some “mad me” photos and some “Grampa me” photos. The mad me photos seem appropriate for today, since everyone seems mad about something. But, the mad me photos don’t look all that convincing.
Grampa me is definitely more me. Of course, that’s not the official headshot for all the online stuff but it feels like the most realistic.
Maybe I should post my portrait of “heart me” after my appointment later today. Could I use that as my social media profile pic? Nah, that’s probably not a great idea.
Have a great Tuesday. Be kind to people even if they don’t deserve it. If you give them back the same crap they give you it will just put knots in your stomach. That’s why the Good Book says that thing in Luke – it’s best for you.
Well, there she goes. My cute, little, 5’1″ wife (she’ll say 5’2”) just kissed me goodbye and walked off down the sidewalk, headed to school. The last time she did that it was mid-March.
I wonder if she left Shara instructions on how to take care of me. We always leave instructions for people who take care of Pompom.
I don’t see my daughter up here making scrambled eggs and fresh fruit for my breakfast. I’m afraid that means I’m on my own. I wonder if I remember how to feed myself?
It’s my day off. I try to do non-work type of stuff on my day off. What shall I do?
Stinky dog, Pompom, needs a bath.
After about 2 years of saying, “I need a new computer,” Robin bought a new computer. That means I need to set it up. She could do it but she pretends she can’t so that I will feel needed.
I need to pull the yucky, rain-soaked, birdseed paste out of my feeders. I am Old Man Fookwire.
I need to switch over to Pumpkin Spice coffee grounds for tomorrow, Sept. 1. Labor Day is late this year so I can’t wait.
I normally catch up on all my shows that Robin hates on Mondays but none of them have been filming new episodes. No Naked and Afraid for me. Booooo.
I can sit around and wait to see what all the delivery drivers bring us today. That’s always fun.
I need to update my headshots. My facial hair is now COVID white and I’ve been told I look “distinguished.” (I think that’s the male form of “she has a great personality.”)
Life is good. I enjoy it. Even the tougher days are good being on the top side of the dirt.
We’ve been having church in the park and I love it. People hear the music and wander over to join us. I think I’ve met 15-20 new people this summer.
One of my pet peeves about churches is that they can be like secret societies meeting in buildings that no one can see into. Churches even took the public ordinance of baptism and hid it inside in little fiberglass tubs. I love being outside. I’d do it outside year-round if I could.
Have an awesome week. I dare you to be a missionary to outrage rather than a missionary of outrage
I didn’t realize the survival skills I learned in the year before and year after my liver transplant would be needed again. Back then I went through a lot of discouragement and depression during so much isolation.
In the year before my transplant, it was my health that cut me off from humanity. I was too sick to join in on much of anything. After my transplant, most of the next year had me distanced to protect me from any illnesses others might be carrying. During that time, 8 & 9 years ago, Facebook was mostly pictures of families, recipes, and original posts. It helped me feel connected and was a mostly-positive input.
Now, we zip ahead 9 years and I feel as though I am repeating aspects of 2011-2012. The caution flags are back at full staff except now, the masks, sanitizers, and caution signs are for everyone, not only me. Today, Facebook has evolved into sparce original material and is mostly copy-and-pasted or forwarded posts, misinformation, and it is far less friendly. It’s also ad after ad after ad. For me, it is now a mostly-negative input.
From May, 2011 through April 2013 I experienced loneliness, loss-of-purpose and some pretty severe depression. I think depression is pretty common for those facing transplant or living with chronic illness but, for me at least, connecting online was a mostly positive interaction. I found my primary support groups through Facebook.
Now, again largely cut off from people going into six months, I am feeling some of the same feelings I felt back then. I am struggling with a loss of purpose to a degree even though I am still able to teach on Sunday morning. I enjoy teaching and speaking but am realizing how much I am missing all my coaching (Christians say “discipleship”) meetings. I sometimes wondered if local breakfast establishments would start charging me for office space!
During my transplant journey, my writing and online interaction sustained me to a degree. But, during this current time of separation, I have not been writing much and social media provides little positive input. I have been trying to use things like Zoom and Google Meet to bridge the gap with classes or live discussions online. At first, it worked pretty well but now everyone is tired of interacting with talking heads on computer screens. The result is that I’ve ended up being even more discouraged after planning meetings and classes that no one shows up for even though I can’t blame them at all.
What is the solution? I have decided to resume blogging while backing away from Facebook to see if I can get to a healthier place mentally. Though I have been writing almost daily posts on Facebook, using a mix of satire, humor and an occasional entry addressing a timely topic, I have decided that platform has become too unstable. I have decided it’s time for me to pull away from its constant barrage of outrage and misinformation.
I will link my WordPress blog to my Facebook account hoping to provide something positive, encouraging and hopeful but, I will not be posting much else beyond pictures for distant family.
What will my blog posts look like?
My blog will now be a little bit of everything. Sometimes it will relate to transplant and sometimes it will be the silliness and humor that Facebook followers have become used to but blog subscribers have not been subjected to. Sometimes my posts will teach, provide resources or provide more writing in the inspiration, motivational, and spiritual genres that Facebook users have not seen. It will be a smorgasbord of what is happening in my head.
If you are a Facebook regular, I invite you to subscribe so that you receive my blog entries by e-mail. That will also be the best route for others who have also decided to pull away from Facebook and spend less and less time there.
Of course, if I get tagged in things on Facebook pics or comments, I’ll still see them. I can’t dump Facebook altogether because so many still use it to communicate. My goal, however, is to spend far less time there so I will not be reading all the memes, forwards, mean-spirited attacks, slanderous assaults, and misinformation.
I’ve been noticing that garbage in is indeed resulting in garbage out in my own life. My garbage out is my increasingly-cruddy attitude, my lack of motivation, and a somewhat fatalist, cynical view. That is not like me at all.
Yes, YOLO (You Only Live Once). And, yes, GIGO (Garbage In: Garbage Out). If I only live once, I want to limit my garbage consumption.
I feel like a shepherd who has fallen into a deep hole. Every now and then, I hear one of my sheep pass by, up there somewhere, or I catch a glimpse of a shadow, but I have little idea how my flock is doing.Subtle differences but deadly.
Sheep like to huddle together closely. It’s how they find comfort and security. When wolves hunt sheep they like to spread them out and pick them off one by one.
Across the country, we shepherds are seeing evidence that our sheep are indeed getting “picked off” by wolves providing a selection of delicious, but poison, food. These wolves are gradually convincing our flocks to live in fear. They are luring them away from being ambassadors of Truth to becoming ambassadors of fear, paranoia and rage. They are convincing them to spend all their time in a new cause that truly appears worthy.
That’s what the wolves do. They dress up in sheep’s clothing and redirect the sheep away from the Shepherd into a different flock where they are eventually devoured or, at least, totally cut off.
In my case, I am a shepherd working under The Shepherd, Jesus Christ. The new life and salvation he brought gives peace, hope and eternal security, not fear and paranoia.
2 Timothy 1:7 (Young’s Literal Translation)
“for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind;”
The wolves are subtly appealing to the good, caring values of the sheep, implanted by the Good Shepherd, to enlist them in a false war so that they lose sight of the real enemy. The sheeps’ time, effort, attention and resources are being pulled away from the mission of Christ to be invested in a battle with imaginary enemies.
Even some shepherds have abandoned “sound mind” and solid, biblical teaching to chase after shadows. They are spending their time convincing their flocks to focus on the “hidden, shadowed, covert, underground” activities of the enemy while his clear, overt actions go unchallenged.
More and more of the Good Shepherd’s sheep are gorging on the poison food believing it is the best food. They are ignoring even the most educated, expert sheep within their own flocks, their brothers and sisters. The experts bleat strong warnings and plead for sound minds but the wolves have convinced the sheep that even their formerly-trusted experts have been blinded. Sociologists are calling it “the death of expertise.” It stretches far beyond just the Christian ranks.
“Trust only us,” the wolves say, “Read what we provide, watch what we produce. We are sent by God. This is God’s will for you,” they say to the church. It is happening in politics, in medicine and other areas of daily life.
Meanwhile, I sit, calling up from my hole, praying that my sheep, the sheep that the Master Shepherd put in my care, might hear me.
“Live like Jesus,” I call. “Be his ambassadors. Trust in him. Don’t fear! Don’t hate! Stop fretting! Study his word. Seek his kingdom first…”
I feel like most of my words are echoing off the walls of this deep hole while my phone shows me another meme, another forward, and another venom-filled post coming from the sheep of Jesus who have been convinced that they are doing what he has called them to do.
“Damn wolves! Get away from my flock!” I yell and then sink down, my face in my hands, discouraged and distraught.
“God-damned wolves,” I mutter. I know the wolves are damned but what can I do from this hole? What can I do?
I pray. I pray hard. I pray nearly continuously. I pray that the sheep who are being lured away will see the wolves under their sheep’s clothing.
“If you hold to my teaching, … you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” is what the Shepherd told us.
I want my sheep to live in the freedom of Grace. Free from fear. Free from paranoia. Free from believing that our hope rests in man, in politics, in economies, in possessions or in relationships. If we hold to, focus on, grasp, digest, live by, and seek, Jesus’ teachings we will be set free.
Some are calling what the wolves are offering, “a new religion” because it is so very different than the Jesus of the Bible.
I love my sheep even though, in my head, I know they are not really mine. I know that they belong to God. I have only been given the privilege of shepherding them for this brief moment. But, in my heart, I love them as my own.
Literal shepherds have tools to smack the wolves and chase them off. They have ways to rope or hook their sheep to drag them back. I’m a figurative shepherd. The sheep in my flock can and do walk away whenever they want. That hurts my heart but the Master Shepherd made them that way. They are free to choose whatever path they want.
“Dear God, these sheep you have entrusted to me? I need to release them to you and trust that you will stay with them and bring them back, close to your side. I pray you will open their eyes to the subtle tricks of the wolves. I’ll keep doing what you have called me to in 2 Timothy 4:2. I will, ‘Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching’ whether distanced, locked-down or back to normal.”
I pray that life in my pandemic hole does not go on for years. I hope that God allows an effective vaccine soon. But, if he should wait, I’ll try to learn the lessons that the Apostle Paul gained in prison where he wrote, “I have learned to be content no matter my circumstance.”
Donald W. Linscott Jr, (9/21/32 – 3/29/20) of Auburn, Maine passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 29 at the Maine Veteran’s Home in Scarborough, Maine after a long battle with diabetes resulting in renal failure.
A memorial service will be held later in the year after travel restrictions and stay-in-place orders have been lifted and it is safe to gather again.
Don was born in Portland, Maine to Donald and Lois Linscott on September 21, 1932. He married his beautiful bride, Beulah B. Cochran on December 22, 1951. He attended South Portland High School. Over his career, he worked in either administration or sales at General Foods, Lyn-flex Industries of Saco, Hillcrest Foods of Lewiston and JW Penny Industrial Supply, of Mechanic Falls and Diversified Pumps and Compressors of New Hampshire.
He was a veteran of the Korean War (1950-54) and served in the US Marine Corps where he achieved the rank of Sergeant. He was awarded the US Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with 4 stars, a Navy Occupational Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a National Defense Service Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation. He was a 2nd Degree Mason, a life member and officer of the VFW, the American Legion, and a member of the Lions Club for years. He also served dutifully in each church he attended over the course of his life. He was a very active volunteer, serving as the founder of the Blue Flames Drum and Bugle Corps and Color guard, and a youth sports coach in Little League and Lewiston’s Football League for Youth. He continued to serve even in his retirement volunteering numerous hours with the Auburn Police department and as a certified tax preparer, helping the elderly and underserved complete their annual tax filings.
Those who knew Donald knew that he overcame a number of military service-related obstacles and emotional baggage to build a tight and loving family and social circle. Determination to affect change was one of his core beliefs shown through his constant willingness to serve in whatever capacity needed. His commitment to his veteran comrades showed in his dedicating thousands of hours to VFW causes and activities including serving as an officer at his local posts, serving as State Adjutant and even State Commander. He was also involved regionally and nationally in veterans’ issues.
Presence was his gift to his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, as he would drive hours to support them in their activities whether a color guard competition in the Midwest or a middle school football game an hour away. He spent countless hours in auditoriums, on cold bleachers or standing on sidelines cheering them on.
Humor was his gift to all who knew him whether from his playful teasing, and quick wit or his willingness to wear silly hats and play the clown even in public settings. He brightened the room wherever he went, carried lollipops for kids and whistled and sang his Frank Sinatra favorites. He teased his grandchildren by acting gruff with a, “Hey kid! Did you bring me any money?” or “Hey kid, come back when you’re 18!” They ignored him and climbed onto his lap for tickling and wrestling. He loved his children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews dearly.
His wife heard his “I love you, Mummy” coming from the den to the kitchen throughout their marriage. When Alzheimer’s Disease started to rob his memory, she would hear, “I love you, Mummy” dozens of times a day. He called her his bride, mummy, dear and honey throughout their marriage and never was able to walk past her without some form of touch whether a kiss, a caress, a tap or even a little pinch. He loved her dearly.
His service to veterans brought about positive change in numerous areas right up until he was physically unable to continue. From transporting veterans to the Veterans Hospital in Augusta, to stopping for conversation with homeless veterans on the street offering to help them get connected to available support services. He could not turn his back on brothers and sisters who served.
Donald is preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Billie Linscott, and his siblings John, Ruth and Ernest.
He is survived by daughters Gail Silva and her husband Louis of Cumming, GA, Gloria Caldwell and husband Tom of Poland, Maine, and son Donald Linscott III and wife Robin of Westbrook, Maine. He is also survived by sisters Carol Dobson, Barbara Nelson, Mary Armstrong, Wanda Dubuque and Elizabeth Splettstoesser and brothers Guy and Dana Linscott. He also leaves behind seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be given to the activities fund at the Scarborough Maine Veterans Home where Don received excellent care, love, and tremendous support. MVH Scarborough 290 US-1, Scarborough, ME 04074 online at https://mainevets.org/memorial-giving/
Don’s family wishes to extend our sincere thanks to all the staff at the Maine Veterans Home who clearly demonstrated, day-in-and-day-out that they are not just “going to work every day” but having the honor and privilege of caring for those who have sacrificed so much for us. Their love, care and detail to attention and connection were amazing.