Judging an Election

When we moved to Chicago, 3 years ago, I registered to vote. It’s something I usually do everywhere I move. Shortly after I registered I recieved a letter in the mail asking me to sign up to become an election judge. I thought about it for a minute then filled out the paperwork and sent it off, and forgot about it. Last fall I recieved another letter telling me that I was an election judge!

Ta Da!

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Talks Chicago, Talks God, Talks Home, Uncategorized

The, “Could You Live Here?” Game

On our drive to breakfast today, Bruce and I played a game we’ve played for most of our marriage. I say most, because we’ve always dreamed about places to live and what they would be like, but usually we didn’t have the means to make those dreams come true. Today was really no different. The game starts with this:

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42 Years Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away…

So….who saw the last episode of Star Wars this weekend?

We did!

As we looked (on my phone) for tickets in a theater with recliners, cup holders, warm beverages, gourmet popcorn, and that had a matinee price we liked, and a showing we wouldn’t fall asleep to, we reminisced about 1977 and our first trip to see Star Wars. I was 18 yrs old, Bruce was 21. We hadn’t met each other, lived in different states. I was in Fremont CA, he in Portland OR. That first movie was defining for our generation. It ushered in an era of movie runs that no longer exists. If memory serves, Star Wars played in theaters in the Bay Area for up to a year. VHS and DVD hadn’t been invented, no one waited for it to come to television. People saw it in theaters so many times their bottoms were seat shaped by the end of that year.

I wasn’t interested in seeing the first movie, my dad dragged me to it. He and mom were avid moviegoers. They had a young family plus my 13 yr old sister and I. Getting out to a show was their comfort food. When they saw Star Wars dad was so taken by it that he pestered me to go. He finally offered to take me himself and I relented. Before I walked out of the theater I was hooked. I came away believing thatThe Force=The Holy Spirit.

At that time, Brother Andrew was smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, telling stories of guards who looked at but never saw his contraband. When Obi Wan said, “These are not the droids you are looking for” with a wave of his hand, those droids could have been Bibles and Obi Wan Brother Andrew.

When I moved to OR and lived with a roommate, we went to The Empire Strikes Back on Halloween one year in a group. Late night show (10pm) and a couple of our group in costumes because they’d served at the kids’ harvest party prior to the movie. One even asked for “Exploding kernels with grease” in a robotic voice, eyeglasses with blinking lights moving along with his words.

He’s now a grandpa with a Facebook page

Ultimately the Star Wars collection (which I predict will eventually sell in a full digital download or Blue Ray DVD set for $200+), are nothing more than Cowboys in Space. Good vs Evil. Underdogs against the mighty evil powers. John Wayne would have loved these, I’m sure they would have written a part for him. He might have even been able to swagger and use the word “Pardner”, tipping a well worn hat to the ladies.

All of the visuals lend themselves to this theme. Bad guys inhabit icy, barren lands with large weapons of mass destruction. Good guys live in jungles teeming with life and old, dilapidated vehicles, missing parts and paint. At times the Empire might as well have worn Swastikas, their uniforms, marches and leaders were so Reich-ish.

As Chandler would say “Could they BE anymore like the Nazis?”

Eventually those first 3 movies came out on VHS and we owned them. They were put to good use, Bruce showed them to our daughters. It doesn’t take much to hook your kids on what you love, he did it with Motown and Monty Python too. New additions came along and we saw them together, until they got too action packed for me. I’d nod off during all the battle scenes. Bruce and the girls and eventually their friends and husbands carried on the tradition. I saw them when they came to DVD. But this last installation was meant to be seen in the theaters.

Just so I could say I completed the journey

I won’t spoil anything for anyone. It’s a good movie, worth the ticket and time (2hrs and 22 minutes-my recliner demand was no joke). It might not be my favorite one, and I wouldn’t take small children to it, but it was fun and exciting. One thing remains consistent,

The bad guys have terrible aim

While the era has certainly changed, theaters have changed, culture has changed, effects and story lines evolve, you can count on Star Wars to deliver a consistent good vs evil story. One that leaves you feeling uplifted and relieved. They didn’t ruin the entire series with this movie-phew!

In my case, the best part was when our ticket agent sold us regular matinee seats at $.75 more pr ticket because she didn’t think we were seniors…

Best $1.50 I’ve spent in a long time!

Talks Chicago, Talks Church, Talks Relationships

Fall is Here, Winter is Coming and Sewing is life…

It’s fall here-really fall. It’s like a switch went off in the sky and all of a sudden our dark nights begin at 5:30 instead of 7. Our mornings are dark until 8. The temps are in the mid 40’s and leaves are scattered all over the ground. Rain causes the trees to shed like a dog loosing its winter coat. It’s beautiful and ominous all at the same time. For people living in warmer climates fall is wonderful. For Chicagoans fall is the bell toll for winter’s advance.

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Talks Relationships

Brother Ray

We’ve been wrestling, over here in Chicago, with disturbances in the healthcare force. I had a planned surgery on my knee and Bruce is battling shingles. We feel like we take 1 step forward and 2 steps backward depending on the day. Life is sort of like that isn’t it? Forward and backward, moving and standing still. It’s taught me patience and to accept that problems are part of normal life.

But what has made our circumstances more tolerable are the relationships we’ve made since moving here. So many prayers, so many cards and encouragement, meals and help from all the avenues of service we’ve been dedicated to. They’re sweet, comforting and they provide hope.

I can’t imagine life without them anymore

One of the first relationships we made when we moved here is with a gentleman named Ray. It came about while we all served on the costume team for the church’s Story of Love event. And it grew through that year’s KWA season. Bruce made the innocent mistake of forgetting to include Ray in a project and Ray brought it to our attention with love. It opened a door for him to share his story with us and for an eternal relationship to grow.

Because of his past, Ray has some physical and cognitive disabilities that prevent him from working a regular job. Serving at church is his heart. His past is riddled with wrong choices, sin, rebellion, anger and hatred, abuse and self destruction. Serving is now his way of expressing his gratefulness to God for the redemptive and transformative work that is ongoing in his life.

Between the various busy and down times of the production, Bruce shared our moving story with Ray. Ray then told Bruce he’d received a prayer request card on a Tuesday night that asked for a solution for a couple who wanted to serve more in the church but lived too far away to do so. As it turned out, it was a request that Bruce submitted for us!

As we got to know Ray and began to share things with him, encourage him, listen to his story and watch God further his transformation he became family to us. He’s absolutely in love with our dog Maggy, and she knows it! He loves to help us walk her when we can’t be there. We’ve even added a lock box to our fence so he can come on a moment’s notice.

Ray was a scavenger of cast off items. Things like food, meats, packaged goods, one off items and especially candy. He loves to bless those less fortunate, people who are in great need. But we were on his list too! Thoughtful things came our way, face cream, meats for Maggy, a tens unit for back pain. He even sent a ham to our upstairs neighbors.

Because of some years spent in hospice, alone and lonely, Ray wrestles to keep his mind whole and at rest. He’s learning to reach out and do things to help himself through those times. Recently he found a dog bed for Maggy and was excited to know how she liked it. We were late in getting it in the house to her and on one of those darker days Ray called to see if she liked it. His hope was that she’d fallen in love with it and it would cheer him up.

Bruce brought the bed into the house the next day and set it in his office. I later saw that Maggy was buried in it, chin on the edge in guard dog mode. I snapped a picture and texted it to Ray.

Because of a leftover iPhone that we had, Ray was able to afford a smart phone plan. It expanded his world in some pretty cool ways.

He started taking photos, texting, he has an email address and he discovered the internet. For a guy who was previously dependent on others for those things it’s been revolutionary. His hands are not always cooperative with small things so he and Siri are tight!

I’ve become aware of how stagnating life is with the absence of new relationships. Something about connecting with new people keeps us fresh and growing. All of our old stories are new again! We become too complacent when we settle for a life centered only around those we’ve known a long time. Ray is a person whose path we never would have crossed if we hadn’t answered this call. And his life is a consistent testimony to the transformative power of God.

Jesus is still in the business of calling people out of dark places into his Kingdom!

And we’re incredibly humbled and grateful that we get to participate in that process.