122 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 12-1-18

  1. I went to school today and worked online on report cards. Mine are all based on assessment, so I have been assessing all sorts of things. Rhyming anyone? One little girl didn’t do well so the principal suggested that I have someone else assess her who speaks her language and teaches her mother tongue studies. Her results were pretty much the same as mine. The good news is that then I asked her to work one on one with the girl since now she knows how little she understands. Just the help she needs.

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  2. The rain and weather are too much for me to drive almost an hour to a critique group meeting. Atlanta is suppose to have about 400,000 more people in town this weekend for special events. I hope they brought umbrellas. Umbtellas are on my list for Christmas. One recently broke so I need to stock up.

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  3. Just 14 days until Art’s surgery. I hope we can stay well. Art got his flu shot yesterday. I have not gotten one recently. My brother got the new shingles vaccine that is in two parts. It gave him a fever and made him feel badly, but since he has been afflicted with shingles in the past, the temporary pain was worth it to him.

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  4. I can’t locate my simple pattern to knit a toboggan. I hope I can find what I need online or at the library. I looked at a book at Hobby Lobby and it was almost fifteen dollars. My brother’s old one is looking ratty and Art’s has holes in it. I made them years ago. I figure it is something I can do at the hospital.

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  5. Good morning, things are winding down here for me. I have officially passed my clinical course, although I will do a couple more days in clinical, not because I have to, but because I can. I have also completed the online course, final grade pending. I will be going home later this coming week, weather permitting, of course.

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  6. Morning! A fresh dusting of snow is on the ground and it is cold! That is a very lovely photo up there Cheryl!
    And Happy belated Birthday wishes to AJ’s Cheryl…..I pray the day held many blessings and joys!
    Happy Birthday to your husband Cheryl…. 🎂
    We have a wedding luncheon to attend this afternoon…we shall be seeing many old friends not seen by us for many years…it will be quite the celebration!
    Janice I have misse why Art is having surgery? I shall be keeping you in prayer and trusting our Lord to bring healing and peace to you….. ❤️

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  7. On yesterday’s discussion:
    The community is teetotaler by law. Alcohol misuse is an ongoing problem for Inuit and First Nations – there is the horrible history of greedy European fur traders giving ‘fire water’ to the ‘natives’ – so the more isolated communities have tried to solve the problem by banning the substance (contrary to popular idea, First Nations and Inuit are not genetically predisposed to alcoholism). Alcohol is still smuggled in and the physical effects I have seen every time there is a successful smuggling run are awful. But alcohol is not the reason for assault and abuse; rather, drunkenness removes inhibitions to commit evil (see Proverbs 23:29-35).

    I have, so far, chosen to not drink alcohol. My father was dependent on alcohol before coming to faith, and being very like him in mental and emotional temperament makes me cautious. Also, alcohol is very expensive, and there are other things I would rather buy. In West Africa, the team abstained in order not to give offence to the community being all things to all people, after Paul’s example (Christianity is associated with drunkenness in popular Muslim thought and there was, from the example of the only Catholic in the village, some justification for that perception). Those who come from the south here have no such motivation for abstaining, being very secular in mindset. There is a double standard in applying the ban, with consumption by those from the south being winked at, and active enforcement when Inuit are involved (see also Proverbs 31:1-9).

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  8. Nancyjill, Art has two large kidney stones, one in each kidney, that they have to cut into to remove. They are too large to do the less invasive blasting. Thanks for prayers. I think it will be a painful ordeal. He will have drainage tubes out his back and I am sure he will have a catheter bag like before. I suppose, on a lighter note, you can imagine how fascinated Miss Bosley will be when she sees tubes. In the past, Dec. has been a difficult month for us to get through. This one will be, too.

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  9. We’re off to Harrisburg, the half way point between us and M in L in VA. for lunch for Cheryl’s birthday. It will be nice, although I could do without a 4+ hour drive round trip. 🙂

    But if it makes Cheryl happy, it’s worth it, because she is. 🙂

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  10. Um, Janice? Toboggans are for riding down snowy hills, or moving firewood in the winter. Knit ones would not work very well. But that looks like a fun easy hat!

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  11. Tomorrow will be bittersweet. December 2nd is my father’s birthday. For the first time in the 10 years, he has been gone, my Uncle Charles will not be calling me to talk about him. That’s the bitter. The sweet is that they are together again. They were only 18 months apart. Charles was the oldest. Both died from painful cancers. Neither are in pain.

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  12. Cheering for Roscuro’s accomplishment!
    ❤🎄❤🎄❤🎄❤🎄❤
    Rah Rah Roscuro
    It’s been a tough yearo
    She did her best
    Outshined the rest
    Now on to other things
    Whatever the Lord brings
    ❤🎄❤🎄❤🎄❤🎄❤

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  13. Bittersweet . . . good description, Kim.
    I am in that frame today since my dad died on Dec. 7, my mom on Dec. 26, and Art’s dad died just before Christmas. It’s so rainy and dreary here today.Not a pretty start to Dec.

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  14. Congratulations, Roscuro. That’s a great accomplishment.

    Happy Birthday to your hubby, Cheryl.

    Janice, I’ll be praying for Art. That sounds like not much fun. May his recovery go well.

    As long as I’m on this thread and talking about prayers, I’ll just put my prayer request here. My mind’s a whirl with possibilities of weather-related woes. God’s got it all in hand, though, so prayers that I’ll trust Him to work out the logistics of a 24-hour winter weather advisory when each of the four drivers in our household have a different place to drive to for four different goings-on this evening, in four different towns.

    Have a good day, all, and thanks.

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  15. Poor Art, that doesn’t sound like any fun. But it’ll be good to get it behind you. My neighbor is having problems with a kidney stone that landed her in the hospital one night a week ago.

    Congratulations to Roscuro! (Spellcheck still keeps wanting to change you name to ‘Rescuer”) Chas is Has (on my computer) and Kizzie is Lizzie.

    I have the heater going this morning, but the sun is out and I’m hoping to have a productive day around the house after I wake up a little more.

    So the heater is going and there’s no rattling under the house. But in the evenings it’s very pronounced and I have to practice my attitude from the state of denial — I hear nothing that needs fixing, I hear nothing that needs a worker to come out, I need nothing that will cost more serious money on this house.

    There. It works.

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  16. … Until the noise started again.

    Almost sounds like it’s in the wall near the double-hung windows in the dining area — they operate on ropes and weights, wondering it it’s possibly one of the weights inside the wall that’s vibrating when the heater goes on? Weirdly the noise stops when I stand near the windows. But as soon as I move away it starts up again.

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  17. Snow is melting…31 degrees outside.
    That does not sound like a minor surgery Janice…we will definitely keep him in prayer and hopefully Miss B will steer clear of playing with tubes and such when ya’ll return home!!
    Today is the 7th Anniversary of my dear Motherinlaw’s homegoing….we miss her and the sound of her voice. In just a month a two days it will be the 7th anniversary of my Daddy’s homegoing…that was a difficult year for us…but now we do sit with a sigh and a smile at the blessing of having them in our lives and knowing they are “at home at last”…free of all pain….

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  18. The piano concert for tonight is canceled, and won’t be rescheduled for tomorrow, either (that idea was floated as an alternative, but weather conditions will still be iffy tomorrow throughout the day). Maybe the 20th or 21st.

    One fewer place to be tonight! Thank you Lord for the beginning to answered prayer. 🙂

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  19. Roscuro – Congratulations on the successful accomplishment of your endeavors!

    Your statement – “. . . I will do a couple more days in clinical, not because I have to, but because I can” – reminds me of Nightingale. There are nurses at the nursing home she works at who refuse to work on the TCU (Temporary Care Unit, aka rehab) because it is more difficult work, and keeps the nurse on duty hopping. But Nightingale wants to be busy, and she wants to learn more procedures and such, to improve her skills. She was told that she is considered a valuable employee for her abilities and willingness.

    I think you are the same way. Proud of you both!

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  20. That’s a good idea, Janice. I’ll do some experimenting today, see what I can move to that spot so I don’t have to constantly stand there whenever I’m home and want to run the heater. 🙂

    These are some of the old, original windows, the weights on the rope pullies had fallen down into the walls before though the windows could still be slid up and down. When I had the larger windows restored, I had the guys do these, also, so they put in new ropes and attached pullies so the windows operate very smoothly and as they should.

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  21. How do y’all pronounce the name Naomi?

    When I was younger, I heard it pronounced NIY-Omee, but as an adult, I heard it as NAY-Omee, which makes sense, since the letter is an a. Then recently, on an episode of a TV show, there was a character named Naomi, and the others pronounced it with the NIY instead of NAY.

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  22. ~ “It is fine to just stay by the windows, looking out” ~

    Except my neighbors might become annoyed with me staring straight across their driveway and into their kitchen window, nonstop, maybe? 🙂

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  23. Nightingale broke my Christmas tree! (Not quite, but that’s how I was kidding her about what happened.)

    She had taken it outside as a prop for photos with The Boy and Janie. (Remember, it is only a four-foot tree, not full-size.) After bringing it back in, the lights on the top third did not work anymore. Oops.

    So last evening, she went out to Dollar General for some inexpensive lights to put on the tree. Back at home, she took off all the ornaments and garland, then put the lights on. (You may also remember that I mentioned that I had put the tree in the basement still decorated from last year – which was still decorated from the year before, and maybe even the year before that. 😀 ). She then did a lovely job of draping the two different garlands on the tree.

    The ornaments that were on the tree were actually cheap ones that she had brought home with her after her time living with X, that she had bought at the local dollar store. My ornaments have been in the attic, and I guess last time I decorated the tree, I didn’t feel like going up to fetch them down. So Nightingale is going to bring them down, and we will decorate the tree anew with prettier ornaments. 🙂 (She is so good to me.)

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  24. Roscuro, when you say, “contrary to popular idea, First Nations and Inuit are not genetically predisposed to alcoholism,” what do you mean? I had heard of very high rated of alcoholism, but not any studies relating to the cause.

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  25. Yes, fur traders did that. Nobody made them drink. Fur traders don’t generally do that now, but alcohol is still consumed. It is a large problem on this reservation. But I don’t think we can blame it on the fur traders or we are saying the people are just lesser beings, incapable of thought and decision making.

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  26. I’m back from a trip 90 minutes away last night to judge a homeschool speaking tournament.

    The kids did fine.

    As usual, I had an unusual event. I stopped at Walmart on the way because it’s easier when headed norther, to shop for some “special gifts” my colleague suggested for the Adorable granddaughters.

    I got there about 5, so it was dark. I left the car and walked away, but noticed it didn’t chirp.

    So, I fumbled through my purse and did NOT find the key fob.

    I returned to the car, now worried I’d left the fob at home and the car wouldn’t start. It started.

    Eventually, I emptied my purse, the box of books, the small overnight bag and all the grocery bags. NO keys fob.

    The purse had ridden in the back seat, so I turned on my flashlight and hunted. The fob was under the passenger seat. My purse must have fallen over and the key fob fell out and then slid.

    Whew!

    Once in Walmart, I stopped at the restroom where an elderly fat woman was stuck in the stall.

    “Can you help me?”

    I laughed, wondering if that was why I lost the key fob. I got her up on her feet and moving.

    She volunteered to pay me!

    No thanks.

    The rest of the time in the start I felt very uncomfortable. Several people simply reeked of marijuana. Some looked downright dangerous. I began to wonder if I need to get out more to mingle with normal folks.

    Gifts purchased, shopping done and on to a pleasant evening as a judge followed by a three-hour conversation with an old friend. Her guest room had the most comfortable bed I’ve slept in for ages. I actually pulled back the sheets looking to see what kind of mattress!

    And now I’m home. Tired.

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  27. There is a Fisher Price Nativity Set headed our way.
    I have been showing Maddie all the presents under the tree that belong to her. She is not impressed.
    BG is getting a tea kettle. She asked. She also asked for a Polaroid camera. It seems to have made a come back although if memory serves the photos weren’t that great. I have a photo of my maternal grandfather and me that someone took with a Polaroid. She also asked for a new winter coat. Considering the one she wants is at American Eagle and she gets 60% off I suppose she will be getting that as well.
    I like buying toys better. The other two “children” have not responded to my message asking what they want for Christmas. I may spend their money on their daughter. 😉

    I am getting knives from my husband for Christmas. Thanksgiving day I asked him to sharpen my knives. Then later he was so excited to be over on the sofa ordering my gift. I just knew I was going to love it. 3 days ago UPS or FedEx dropped a box off at the front door. I heard them and brought the box in. The packing tape on the box said “cutlery and more” all over it. He has called the company to complain about the packaging.

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  28. Cheryl, there is a popular perception that First Nations and Inuit get drunk and addicted to alcohol more easily than those of European descent – you may never have heard of it, but I have since I was quite young. The reality is, where those of European descent live in similar conditions of poverty, overcrowding, high unemployment, and broken families, they have similar rates of addiction and alcoholism. Alcohol, as Proverbs 31:6-7 observes, allows forgetfulness of misery. There is much in the social conditions here that reminds me of the descriptions written by contemporaries of the misery and degradation of the working class during the Industrial Revolution, who similarly were uprooted from rural to urban dwelling in a matter of a few decades.

    Mumsee, fur traders did it to get their products cheaper, and ‘fire water’ was cheap liquor, high in alcoholic content. They were swindlers, seeking to cloud the judgement of their suppliers to their profit. It is on the authority of the Bible that sin has consequences, and those who deliberately lead others astray for their own evil purposes are accursed (Deuteronomy 27:17-19; Lamentations 3:35-36; Malachi 3:5).

    There was an added ugliness to the trade with Inuit, as whalers traded tobacco, a product that the Inuit had not previously used, for sexual favours. A staggering 60 percent of the Inuit population, 74 percent of those above the age of 16, is now addicted to tobacco, and the rate of COPD, among other smoking related diseases, is two and half times the national rate. In the case of both alcohol and tobacco, the products were introduced from evil motivations by European fur traders and whalers, and the population which they were targeting has ended up severely crippled by those substances. That past is not so very far off. Whaling only ended 100 years ago, the northern physician, Otto Schaeffer, was still campaigning in the 1950s and 60s against alcohol being sold by outsiders to First Nations and Inuit, and permanent settlement of the Inuit from their camps into this community took place only in the 1960s. There are those who still remember the days before settlement, and many of those who remember are slowly dying from lung disease.

    The European settlers built their countries in North America on the fur trade. The Hudson’s Bay Company, which held a monopoly on the fur trade in the north since its charter in 1670, is still in existence, the oldest stock and merchandise company in the world. A foundation like that cannot simply be discounted. The prosperity of North America has been partially built on sinful acts that cannot wiped from history. The benefits of the founding of our respective countries are celebrated yearly. If we recognize that the past has contributed to our benefit, then we cannot pretend that the evils of the past have no influence on the present.

    Finally, as noted in the original post, the wrongs are not wholly in the past.

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  29. Yes, some of the fur traders took advantage of people. But that was a hundred plus years ago around here. These people were not alive then. They still make decisions. Will the store people be held accountable? Probably. Same as the e cig providers to children. But, children should be encouraged to make good decisions just as adults are capable of making good decisions rather than “having to drink because somebody offered it”.

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  30. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I still have one more semester to go, and the registration exam after that, so this is just one more section of the journey nearly completed.

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  31. Mumsee, the Declaration of Independence was signed over 250 years ago, and its signers are long dead, yet you would not say the results of that decision are over, would you? If the results of the actions of your country’s founding father still reverberate, then so do those actions of your country’s fur traders. No part of history happen in a vacuum.

    Furthermore, why the assumption that nothing is being done to encourage the people now to make good decisions from what I have said so far? As a matter of fact much is, and those leading the way are not the outsiders, but the Inuit themselves. But the failure of outsiders to recognize both the wrong of the past and the present will only lead to them further hampering the efforts of the Inuit to heal the wounds of the past, as I have indicated previously. I speak from eyewitness experience.

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  32. DJ – It very well could merely be one of the weights from the window making the noise. I thought my microwave, only two years old, was having an issue because it started making a rattling noise. One day while leaning over to look into it, to make sure my instant oatmeal wouldn’t explode all over the inside, I heard the noise from a different area. Turns out it was the tray inside the toaster oven, which is on top of the microwave, was rattling as the microwave did its thing. I just needed to push the tray further back into the toaster oven to make the rattling stop.

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  33. I tried opening one of the windows but it made no difference; it sounds like it’s in the wall though so the weights sound most logical. Weird that it stops when I stand on a particular area of the floor though. I like the idea of finding something heavy that can be put there, though it’s an odd spot so a large planter or something like that — something that can be moved easily out of the way — would be good maybe.

    I’ll think on it.

    I should now embark on getting some curtains back up around here. I bought some new black cafe rods as the old ones have been here a while (and they’re thin) and a couple became quite bent in all the house turmoil. I also picked up some new sheers, the old ones are mostly ok but probably are due to be replaced, at least some of them are. Sheers at Home Depot are cheap and easy. I’m trying to make due with some old window hardware that is still up as I’m not committed enough to this current look of sheers to install new hardware for them. I just need something to cover the windows and look pretty.

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  34. Window “coverings” and curtains have always perplexed me. As a renter for so long I really didn’t think much about it, I made due mostly with the blinds or other things that were already in the apartments I had.

    My mom was a big believer in having “just” the right curtains, even if one had to make them oneself, but I seemed to have not inherited that sensitivity or know-how for choosing and installing them with all that confusing (to me) hardware.

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  35. From Webopedia — “What is a key fob?”

    A fob, commonly called a key fob, is a small security hardwaredevice with built-in authentication used to control and secure access to computer systems, network services and data. The key fob displays a randomly generated access code, which changes periodically — usually every 30 to 60 seconds. User first authenticate themselves on the key fob with a personal identification number (PIN), followed by the current code displayed on the device.

    History of the Phrase

    Key fob is also a word used to describe a key chain and several other similar items and devices. The word fob is believed to have originated from watch fobs, which existed as early as 1888. The fob refers to an ornament attached to a pocket-watch chain. Key chains, remote car starters, garage door openers, and keyless entry devices on hotel room doors are also called fobs, or key fobs.

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  36. I have a divide that I carry around for my Mercury. I can unlock doors and the trunk. It will also sound an alarm. Is that a fob?
    Chaos might be a good name for this Chas. 😆

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  37. Roscuro, and that is where I am baffled. I know that you believe as I do, each individual is capable of making decisions, and though we may have reprecussions from our father’s sins, we do not have to repeat them. I don’t drink because my grandfather was an alcoholic.

    I don’t get the connection between the evils perpetrated by the fur traders with their fire water to the present day fight with alcoholism in tribes.

    Our current challenge is people bringing illegal drugs into the country through the tribes. Is that the fur traders? No, it is the people allowing themselves to be misused by evil people.

    I acknowledge there were wrongs in the past, but we should learn from them, not remove them.

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  38. DJ, in Chicago I had a friend who made all her own curtains and also sometimes made them for other people, and she said it was super easy. Yeah, right. Not my thing. I’m happy enough with blinds, or with curtains that are already hanging when I move in if I like them OK. (In Nashville I kept the ones that were up, and likewise in our home up north. Here we had the previous owner remove them and leave the blinds.)

    For those who like decorative stuff, I posted a new post on R & R about our own fun new purchase.

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  39. I’d actually like to go back to the old “roller shades” paired with lightweight, sheer or semi-sheer curtains.

    My mom loved the unbleached muslin for curtain material, I could go for that, too. Because my windows are so large, though, I definitely need/want something simple, light and not fussy or patterned or heavy or overwhelming.

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  40. Hey, 62.

    Third Arrow is home from work. Just slushy roads, not icy, she said.

    Fourth Arrow works until closing tonight (10:00, which means she might be leaving anywhere from 10:30 to 11:00).

    Hubby and 5th and 6th Arrows won’t be heading back home until probably around that time, too, maybe later, and will have at least an hour drive. (That’s how long it takes under normal road conditions, so it could be much longer than that tonight.)

    Thanks again for those prayers.

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  41. Maybe we are leading up to a discussion of nature versus nurture considering alcoholism? I think if people have alcohol at a young age then they are more susceptible to have a problem. I did not like the flavor of beer but worked at tolerating it until I got use to it and then it was fine and I actually appreciated the flavor and density of dark beer best. But if I had grown up drinking it then I think I could have had a problem with it. I say this because I have seen a tax client give beer to his children. It seemed so wrong. I still wonder if those children, now grown, have a problem. That could have been happening through the generations with all the native people once the cycle got started. So much depends on the culture and what is standard practice in child rearing. I knew a nurse mom who would give her son Benadryl so he would go to sleep. That seemed so wrong to me, too. Now I wonder if that grown up child has children and gives them a med to make them go to sleep? But people can learn such things are wrong and put a halt to the cycle and lead others in their culture away from those cycles that perpetuate alcohol and drug abuse. That mom was the same one who told me how much I had missed out by not doing drugs in college. I almost thought she was wanting me to try some, but I wouldn’t have. I hope that the discussion about the abuse of alcohol will lead to people getting help.

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  42. My grandfather was an alcoholic. He gave me a drink of beer once. I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but since he died the month after I turned 11, I know I wasn’t any older than that when I got that sip of beer.

    It tasted disgusting to me. Maybe that’s the effect he hoped it would have on me; I don’t know. I do know I never had any desire to engage in underage drinking, but waited until I was legal age, at which time I drank socially without going to excess.

    I don’t drink much at all anymore. An open bottle of wine in the frig can go many months (maybe a year or more?) before it’s finished.

    I used to have one gin and tonic each week during bowling season when I was league bowling in my college years. Then I went decades before I had my next gin and tonic — at my daughter’s wedding reception two months ago. It didn’t taste all that great; not particularly refreshing, like the ones I remembered from years before.

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  43. DJ you know Michelle and I are secretly planning to descend upon you next summer. I make lively window treatments but will need you to buy an easy to use sewing machine and a tape measure. I cannot follow a pattern nor instructions.

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  44. Janice, there is also the possibility that growing up with small amounts of alcohol will lead to it being seen as normal and not something that you go crazy over. Some people who grow up in teetotalling homes go nuts once they are free to choose it on their own, since it has this big mystery to it rather than just being a beverage you drink in moderation and treat with respect.

    Several of my siblings have noticed that all of us, reared without a TV in the home until at least our teen years (the youngest three of us were 12, 14, and 15 when we got a TV, and the oldest ones never did have a television in the house) find TV far more of a distraction than it is to other people. I have a really hard time reading, for instance, if there is a TV within earshot, and if I am in a restaurant where I can physically see the TV, it is a major visual distraction and I cannot concentrate on a conversation nearly as well. Maybe that is a personality thing, maybe it is due to it not being a normal thing growing up, or maybe it’s a combination.

    Laws vary tremendously from state to state as to how alcohol can be handled. I am pretty sure that 21 is a federal minimum age in all states; that is, that in no state can a 20-year-old go to the store and purchase alcohol. In some states, minors can drink with parental permission, say at a restaurant with their family; in other states they can drink if it is in their own home with parental permission; in some states (including Indiana) a minor cannot drink under any circumstance, even religiously (which is, literally, none of the state’s business; God gave us wine for the Lord’s supper, and the state cannot refuse it to us). To me, the “parental permission” thing is the correct call. Yes, some parents are going to be irresponsible–but God did not give the state responsibility for our children, and the more we have allowed the state such authority, the more parents have stepped back and waived their own responsibility. But just as many parents tell Junior, “You’re too young to drink coffee / get your ears pierced / wear makeup / date,” parents can tell Junior, “You are too young to drink.” So at 10 you let him start drinking weak coffee once a month and he thinks he is nearly a grown-up. You tell her that she can get her ears pierced at 13, as long as she has kept her room tidy for a full month, and she looks forward to that as a sign of growing up (and she keeps her room clean).

    So why can’t you tell your child, “When you are 16, we will let you have a small glass of wine with the meal when we drink it, but only on holidays.” Then maybe your 15-year-old son volunteers to go with you when you are going with other men to cut down two trees for a widow in the church and cut them for firewood, and he works really hard that day. At the end of the day, the men go to your house for a beer. You tell your son, “You did a man’s work today. You showed yourself responsible. I am going to allow you to have a beer with the men.” Now, if he is drinking every weekend with the family, that’s likely not a good thing. But the reality is he probably won’t like that first beer very much–but he will treasure being treated with respect and honored as one of the men. Then he’s soon going to turn 16, and you remember the promise for holidays after he is 16. You spend a few minutes talking with him (a month before Thanksgiving) about responsible drinking. You remind him that he cannot legally drink out from under your direct authority until he is 21, and to do so would be sin. You tell him that in your household, a few times a year the adults have a single glass of wine with dinner, and this Thanksgiving you are going to allow him to join in–but you expect him to be mature about it, and by the way he isn’t allowed to tease the younger ones about not being old enough. And if he isn’t showing the maturity of an adult, this particular mark of maturity can be rescinded.

    When he goes to college, alcohol won’t be a huge big mystery to him. Further, if he knows of minors drinking, he isn’t as inclined to be among them, as he has committed with his parents to drink responsibly and legally.

    Does such a course guarantee that young adults will choose responsible drinking or abstinence from alcohol, that none will act irresponsibly? Of course not. Young people are sinners. But it seems wiser than the mythology that alcohol is a dangerous substance and you may be doomed if you go near it, this big overpowering mystery that may well prove irresistible to those drawn to rebellion. It isn’t alcohol that is the problem, any more than it is guns or money or sex that is a problem–it’s its misuse.

    We have accepted AA’s errors about alcohol as truths, and that has not helped anyone.

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  45. Well, sixteen would be too late for mine as the folks in town start doling it out much younger than that.. Plus they had all been well introduced to it before they arrived in this family.

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  46. I mentioned one of my grandfathers above — my maternal grandfather. My paternal grandparents, the ones who lived next door when I was growing up, modeled responsible drinking. No, I didn’t see them drink often — it may not have even been a handful of times I saw either or both drink alcohol. What I do remember is seeing a bottle of beer in the refrigerator door with one of those stoppers you’d put on a bottle of pop that you were planning to finish later. Sometimes Grandma or Grandpa would open the frig door, remove the bottle of beer, pull off the stopper, take a swig of beer, put the stopper back in, and the bottle in the door, and that would be it.

    One little sip.

    Like I said before, I didn’t see it often, but their moderation in using alcohol made a deep impression on me.

    Likewise, neither my husband nor I see any problem with doing a small amount of drinking in front of the children. I’ll have my 2 or 3 ounces of wine on occasion, he’ll have part of a can of beer out in the garage once in a while, and dump what part he doesn’t drink. (He works at a beverage distributor place, and sometimes likes to try new beers that come through.)

    Three of our kids have hit 21, and none has gone the “turn-21-go-out-and-get-smashed-on-your-birthday” route. The two who were living at home at that time didn’t see any big deal in turning 21, like, “Oh, good, now I can go out and really get plastered.”

    My one who was out on her own by that age also uses alcohol responsibly. That would be my married daughter. Alcohol at the wedding reception and dance was free the whole night for the bride and groom and the four parents. My daughter had hardly anything to drink.

    Unlimited drinks for free could be a problem for some, but for our nuclear family, it isn’t. It’s simply a thing to enjoy on occasion, and we do.

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  47. Cheryl, I was not talking about a responsible parent introducing a child to alcohol at an appropriate age. I was referring to someone who lets a three or four year old have sips of their beer. It was a bonding situation that over time I felt like could lead to dependence. I would think that your defense of alcohol would not include the situation I just described. I feel like parents who do such things set their children up for alcoholism. I was not referring to situations you presented.

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  48. Everyone’s back home now. Hubby & 5th & 6th Arrows got home right at 11:00, and 4th Arrow two minutes after they did. Funny that they had also left home two minutes apart, in the same order, just a little after 4:00 this afternoon.

    Fourth Arrow said she had to drive 20 miles an hour most of the way home, and still almost went off the highway off-ramp in a super-slippery spot. Pretty amazing she didn’t, for a newly-licensed driver in her first winter flying solo under those conditions.

    Your prayers are so important and much appreciated. Thank you, friends.

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  49. I made it home from the ‘dog park’ Christmas party, must have been 80 people there (but most were the hostesses’ friends from her hospital working days, only a few of us dog park folks). I hung out with the married gay couple who like me were sticking to unadorned 7-Up for the evening, there seemed to be a lot of drinking going on which is what I anticipated.

    Real Estate Guy, who at some point donned a long curly wig and was shouting “WOOO!” for no apparent reason, was told by the hostess that he was spending the night there with the others whom she wouldn’t let drive home. Apparently these parties end with several staying put and having breakfast in the morning.

    I’m glad I went though, I’ve not made it to one of her big holiday bashes and she really wanted to make sure I came this year.

    It was loud, there was tons of food, someone played guitar and sang, there were a few folks dancing. The house has Christmas decorations everywhere that she’s collected through the years.

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  50. I’m usually a decent “mingler,” but most of the folks there knew each other and were clustered in (loud) groups 🙂 So it was kind of pleasant just to sit and chat with a few folks I knew but hadn’t seen at the dog park in quite a while.

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  51. Janice, without knowing more about it than that, I wouldn’t condemn that, either. I was allowed to have tiny sips of Mom’s (plain, sour) yogurt from a spoon and of her coffee, and tiny slivers of uncooked potato, all as novelties, and none of those did I end up imbibing in adulthood. Mom raised seven children, presumably giving sips of coffee to all of us, and none of us ended up drinking coffee. So it would depend how big the sip was, how frequently the child got such a sip, the way it was done, etc. If it was a “wow, that was bitter, sure don’t want any of that anytime soon” then perhaps it simply satisfied the child’s curiosity and kept it from being such a huge mystery–like, say, showing the child what her new baby brother looks like without his clothes so that now she knows what a little boy looks like and she can go on with life with the mystery resolved.

    If you are talking about adult alcoholics letting children taste their beer because it’s cute to see their faces, that’s a different matter entirely. But a tiny sip of alcohol isn’t going to hurt a child, and I do think that under normal circumstances, God has given a child to his or her own parents to raise, and it’s their decision. Putting beer in the baby’s bottle to get the child to sleep is improper; giving a tiny sip of beer to a curious pre-schooler is a parental decision.

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  52. That it is but I would not say it does no harm. Alcohol does do things to the brain, which is why pregnant women are advised not to drink. One drink at the wrong time in a child’s growth can cause serious problems later.

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  53. I once had a Golden Retriever who would knock over a beer so he could lap it up. He taught the humans not to put down their beer. He only imbibed when there was a cookout at the River House.

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  54. Tess will finish off my coffee when I leave part of mug unattended.

    A border collie on caffeine, what could go wrong?

    Heater is on, washing machine churning and the cat has been fed, next up are the dogs, then it’s off to church. Today’s our last day to sign up for next Saturday night’s Christmas party so I need to do that — and I may be taking the young woman with her Aussie assistance dog with me that night, she lives in town and the woman who usually drives her to and from church has invited her (grown) son and other family members next week so they’ll be driving her to the party this year (I usually take her, too, she lives in town but doesn’t like to drive at night anymore).

    Yeah, last night’s gathering wasn’t my usual “thing,” but the hostess had so wanted me to come (I’d done a story on her massive Christmas decoration collection a couple years ago, the decorations stay up mostly year-round as there are so many of them throughout her entire house; most years it conflicts with my church party that I go to instead but this year they were on different Saturdays). She was raised Catholic (in Canada) and definitely hasn’t attended any church in some time. I believe Real Estate Guy also has a Catholic background from his long-ago childhood in Buffalo NY. Challenging to think about ways to minister to people who have been that detached from the faith for so long and are now at somewhat older ages.

    The one gal in the gay couple asked (when someone asked what if anything my church did for Advent) what church I went to, I told her, and then she commented, “That must be a nice place for fellowship,” I said yes, it was. But with the loud atmosphere (parts of conversations literally had to be yelled), it was hard to go much beyond that in any kind of ‘deeper’ discussion.

    I was more than ready to leave when we did after 2 1/2 hours or so — and several others appeared to be heading out around the same time, probably the first wave of departures. I suspect those who stayed on much later than that would wind up as part of the “overnight” slumber party/recovery crowd. The hostess, to her credit, is adamant about not sending anyone onto the road who appeared to be indulging in a little too much merry-making.

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  55. We had a really nice first Sunday in Advent service. I was so thankful to be in church today although my Sunday school class was so small that we cancelled our meal out. One of our members had been to the hospital with what was thought to be a heart attack, but it turned out it was an upper respiratory problem so she and her husband were not there along with some others.

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  56. Life is too short to continue in fruitless discussion of alcohol. God puts us each in our situations to judge what we should do and act wisely according to His word. It is okay to disagree on some things and still be friends. Cheers! I am lifting my sparkling cider to your drink of choice. 😀🍷🍹🍺🍾🍶🍻🍼🍯🍮😀

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  57. I agree it’s ok to disagree on some things, and that we can remain friends in the process. I disagree that this was a fruitless discussion of alcohol.

    There are two disagrees in the above paragraph, and one agree. Looks like I am being more disagreeable today. 🙂

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  58. Janice, I don’t see such discussions as “fruitless.” I grew up in a family that didn’t drink; most of my family still doesn’t. In fact, the two siblings of mine who did drink for a time are now abstaining, one because of developing an allergy to wine and one because his church frowns on alcohol and he is abstaining for now while he decides whether he can in good conscience continue to drink when his church doesn’t teach that it is OK, even though he himself is convinced that Scripture allows it.

    I personally have no problem with people saying “I choose not to drink, because ——” (it’s too expensive, I don’t like the taste, I associate alcohol with my angry grandfather, etc.). But at least two of my brothers would not grant me that same freedom to drink or not drink. I once told one of those brothers, “In America, Christians tend to see drinking as morally wrong, but that isn’t true in most of the world. What if you are visiting a pastor in another country, and he offers you a drink, and in his culture it is seen as rude to turn down hospitality. Would you see it as OK to take the drink he offers?” His response was “What if you visit a country where they think fornication is OK?” (Well, actually we live in one!) He is the one who made that connection with an absolute moral wrong.

    God gave wine as part of one of the sacraments! We can choose not to drink it as a beverage, and if we do choose to partake, we should do it with wisdom. But a good part of the world associates us with people who “don’t” do this or that, and that’s a wrong standard. My husband now regrets that in one job he had, some of the men would go out for a beer after work. They were professionals; they weren’t going out and getting drunk, but just having a beer together and then going home. And in choosing not to engage in an allowable activity, he was shutting himself off from them (and even potentially from a chance to witness to them).

    Mumsee, I don’t buy it that a single sip of alcohol is going to harm a child. I myself wouldn’t give it to a young child, but I don’t buy that it will hurt him. And if we are going to avoid it for that reason, we’d better also be avoiding giving him fried foods, sugar, etc. I don’t accept that a single sip of beer is worse for a child than a whole soda is or a bag of Halloween candy consumed over a week or two. Yes, giving it to him regularly is not a good idea, but if the child says “What does that taste like?” and you pour a little bit into a spoon and let him taste it, you have not committed child abuse. Also, I have read that most countries don’t have the ban on pregnant mothers having any alcohol at all and that the reason for birth defects in America among mothers who drink is that mothers who drink alcohol in America contrary to all social pressure are also taking drugs while pregnant, and it is actually the drugs that do the harm. I haven’t studied that, and I’ve never been pregnant myself. But it sounds like a reasonable possibility at least.

    But discussions on “What does the Bible say about this, and does it match the way I have understood the principle?” are very worthwhile among believers.

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  59. The new photo is from the first frost of the fall. It was beginning to thaw as the sun got onto leaves, but I thought that those new young red leaves were particularly pretty dusted with “powdered sugar” frost.

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  60. I agree that fried foods are harmful, as is pop, and candy. We have to weight what it is worth to us to eat it. God gave us an abundance of good food, we as humans tend to “make it better” to our detriment. Wine made by fermenting grapes is not the same as wine made by adding sugar and other things to make the fermentation stronger. Sugar in an apple is wonderful. Sugar in a lollipop, not so much. This from a confirmed sugar addict . It will kill me. I have weighed it and concede that I like sugar. But, now and then, I do think God is prodding me away from it to enjoy what He made instead.

    Fetal alcohol syndrome.

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  61. I’m familiar with fetal alcohol syndrome. But the possibility that it isn’t caused by alcohol but by some other drug, it might have been heroin, was an interesting one. Not that I would be encouraging a pregnant woman to have a couple of glasses of alcohol with every meal, but is FAS a major problem in countries that have wine much more casually than most of us do? I haven’t studied it, but neither have I heard of that being the case, and that may have been part of this author’s point.

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  62. I am behind on the comments, but had to jump in with this. This is what I wrote on Facebook a little while ago:

    “Just checked my mail from yesterday. There was an envelope with the return address of “Heaven”. “What can this be?” I wondered.

    Opened the envelope to find a couple pieces of yellow lined paper. Wrapped inside the paper was $120 ! No note or name on the paper. Tears of gratitude came to my eyes.

    If one of you reading this is the giver of that generous gift, this is a heartfelt Thank you! You have blessed my heart tremendously today. God bless you!”

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  63. One of the discussions last night was about curtains. To me, curtains “finish off” the look of the windows and the room. Without curtains or some kind of window treatment (such as a valance), the windows look plain and severe, as if the room is not fully dressed. (Sorry if this offends anyone.)

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  64. Alcohol most definitely does harm the unborn child’s brain. Alcohol displaces water in the human body, which is why men can tolerate larger amounts than women, because women have a lower percentage of body water than men, so the same amount of alcohol affects them more. The unborn child floats in amniotic fluid and receives all its fluid supply from its mother. Children with FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) are both physically and mentally marked for life.

    From the Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/toolstemplates/entertainmented/tips/FAS.html):
    ‘Most people with FAS will never be able to live independently. It has been found that 60% of those 12 years of age and older have been kept out of school at some point; 60% have been in trouble with the law; 50% have been confined; and 50% have exhibited inappropriate sexual behavior.’

    From the Canadian Pediatric Society (https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/fetal-alcohol-syndrome):
    ‘Alcohol is a physical and behavioural teratogen [Note: a teratogen is a substance that causes damage to the fetus]. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a common yet under-recognized condition resulting from maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. While preventable, FAS is also disabling. Although FAS is found in all socioeconomic groups in Canada, it has been observed at high prevalence in select First Nations and Inuit communities in Canada…

    Although all races are susceptible, FAS is disproportionately higher among American Indian offspring [7].
    There is increasing awareness of the extent of FAS and atypical FAS in native communities in Canada (8), especially the relationship of these conditions with developmental delay and difficulty in learning [9][10]. The few studies available suggest a very high incidence among Canadian Aboriginal people. Robinson et al [11] identified 22 (16%) of 116 children as having FAS in one Aboriginal community in British Columbia.

    Alcohol is both a physical and behavioural teratogen. It is one of the leading causes of mental deficiency in the world. Autopsy and magnetic resonance imaging studies have demonstrated microcephaly, with evidence of tissue loss, cerebral dysgenesis, and abnormalities of glial and neuronal migration [16]. Holoprosencephaly is characteristic of FAS. It is a condition that is associated with failure of the brain to divide into two hemispheres, and is usually associated with neurodevelopmental and facial abnormalities. There may also be associated abnormalities of the corpus callosum (eg, agenesis, hypoplasia), the brainstem and the cerebellum, especially the anterior portion of the vermis. Other findings may include absent olfactory lobes, hypoplasia of the hippocampus and abnormal or absent basal ganglia; commonly hypoplastic or absent caudate nuclei. Positron emission tomography scans have demonstrated abnormalities in glucose metabolism, especially in the anterior caudate nucleus and the vermis of the cerebellum, even in the absence of overt structural abnormalities…

    Even with a normal IQ, learning tended to be compromised in alcohol-exposed children. Features included poor short term memory with intact long term memory, difficulty establishing routines in infants (Brazelton Scale) [42], decreased academic performance, especially with ‘binge’ drinking, problems with verbal memory (recalling Word List) [43], and defects in spatial memory, with poor retention of learned tasks. Defects identified by testing include defects in replicating shapes from memory (clock drawing), and recalling and copying details. Problems with reading and mathematics are common [10].

    Speech delay and language deficits such as difficulties in word comprehension, naming ability, articulation, expressive and receptive language skills, and articulation disorders are also typical.

    Interpersonal skills tend to be impaired [34] and behaviour problems are common (Table 2). Difficulties include the inability to make and keep friends. Children with FAS and/or atypical FAS are excessively friendly, even to strangers, and lack the ability to discriminate between friends, family and strangers.

    Cognitive problems are also common in children with FAS. Attention, short term memory, flexibility and planning, auditory memory (tapping memory and number sequences), and spatial visualization all may be affected [24]. These children may also have motor problems, including delayed motor development, impaired fine motor skills and difficulties with balance [25]. Problems that can be exposed by testing include delay in motor development and fine motor coordination, uncoordinated motor patterns, ataxia, hemiplegia, defects in motor speed, precision, finger tapping speed and grip strength [10].

    Individuals exposed to alcohol in utero may have long term sequelae that requires life-long care and attention. LaDue et al [41], Olson et al [44] and Streissguth et al [45] have established a profile of psychological and behavioural manifestations of FAS and atypical FAS that do not improve with age. Poor judgment and the inability to appreciate the possible consequences of an action are common. If these characteristics are combined with frustration by poor school performance or a tendency toward impulsive behaviour, conduct leading to conflict with society may result. Furthermore, excessive familiarity and friendliness even toward strangers, combined with a lack of inhibitions, can also lead to exploitation and abuse.

    Other problems with long term implications, such as poor social skills [31], difficulty with organization, and difficulty with recognizing and setting boundaries, make day-to-day living difficult and hazardous [46]…’

    Incidentally, alcoholism in adults also causes significant brain damage, literally shrinking the brain. Alcohol is also the most dangerous drug to withdraw from – the danger of fatality from alcohol withdrawal is so significant that alcoholics in hospital have to be given IV alcohol to avoid destabilizing them.

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  65. Which pretty well describes several of my children, doesn’t mean they have it but the potential is there.

    According to the Irish Medical Times, Ireland is third highest in worldwide incidence of FAS, with Europe having a 2,6 higher prevalence of FAS than the global average.

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  66. In saying the discussion is fruitless, I meant that it is not helping any of the problems associated with alcoholism or other addictions. But maybe it is if it is helping us be better informed? Is anyone’s mind being changed?

    Thanks, Roscuro, for your informative post.

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  67. Cheryl, anyone can write a book and make claims, but that does not make the claims valid. FAS is a well established condition, and the literature on it is massive, as can be seen from the number of citations from the Canadian Pediatric Society just in the quotes I gave from a very long document. “In the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:4, 24:6). Heroin addiction in infants is another problem altogether, and one that has also been studied. Not every mother who is a heavy drinker is a heroin addict, and not every mother that is a heroin addict drinks alcohol. There is a difference between the two conditions, and FAS is a worldwide problem:
    “Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is the most common cause of preventable mental retardation in the world, estimated to affect 1–5% of live births each year [69,70].”
    (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4785906/)
    Alcoholism, by the way, contrary to the popular idea, is a very significant problem in Europe. I recall my mother mentioning hearing about the reduction in the male population in Russia from alcoholism, and I recall a news story about the high number of deaths of young men in Finland from alcohol poisoning. The WHO reports:
    ‘The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol…
    At a societal level, the European Union is the heaviest-drinking region in the world, with over one fifth of the European population aged 15 years and above reporting heavy episodic drinking (five or more drinks on an occasion, or 60g alcohol) at least once a week. Heavy episodic drinking is widespread across all ages and all of Europe, and not only among young people or those from northern Europe.’ (http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/alcohol-use/data-and-statistics).

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  68. I will get back to my review of Bible study lessons from prison inmates some of whom have gotten into the system because of addictions. I am helping them learn God’s word and be encouraged that His strength is available when they are weak.

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  69. Curtains: My cousin says curtains make her think “Dust.” So she prefers the un-clothy window coverings. 🙂

    Wine glasses: Kizzie made the comment that wine glasses have gotten very large, but I’m thinking they’ve always had that large, bowl shape, the idea being that a “glass” of wine would take up about 1/3 of the glass? (5 oz.)

    I began to think there’s a reason for that size and design, perhaps it allows the wine to “breathe” or some otherwise taste better after being bottled up.

    So I found this on wikipedia:

    Glasses for red wine are characterized by their rounder, wider bowl, which increases the rate of oxidation.[citation needed] As oxygen from the air chemically interacts with the wine, flavor and aroma are believed to be subtly altered. This process of oxidation is generally considered more compatible with red wines, whose complex flavours are said to be smoothed out after being exposed to air. Red wine glasses can have particular styles of their own, such as

    Bordeaux glass: tall with a broad bowl, and is designed for full bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah as it directs wine to the back of the mouth.

    Burgundy glass: broader than the Bordeaux glass, it has a bigger bowl to accumulate aromas of more delicate red wines such as Pinot noir. This style of glass directs wine to the tip of the tongue.[6]

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  70. We also had this reminder in our sermon today about how the elements of the Lord’s Supper can convey both blessing and curse:

    “Bread from heaven was a great source of sustenance for God’s people yet they incurred God’s disfavor when they grumbled due to how unexciting it was to eat (Num. 11:6). Wine was a sign of joy and blessing (Deut. 7:13). It gladdens “the heart of man” (Ps. 104:15). It also was something to be feared, something that can bite like a serpent and sting like an adder (Prov. 23:30-32).”

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  71. So this year’s Prison Fellowship Angel Tree tag I pulled is for a 15-year-old girl who wants … only gift cards ! Makes my job easier, I suppose, but not as fun.

    I was sorry that a friend from church is moving to northern Georgia with her entire extended family. She said her son-in-law said they’re “moving to America.” Lots of mixed feelings, but they felt for the grandkids it made sense to make the move all together at this particular time. They’re working with realtors on both ends, one to sell their house here and the other to find houses there. But I sure hate to see her go, she’s a very extroverted public school teacher who’s so on fire in her faith, it’s always a boost for me whenever we chat. 😦

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  72. I believe that alcohol, indeed the fermentation process in general, is a gift from God, which has served to safely preserve food and purify drink for millennia, but the first man on record as planting a vineyard is also the first man on record as getting drunk. But what is noteworthy about that passage is that it was those around the drunken Noah, not Noah himself, who are blessed or cursed according to their actions. Ham’s son Canaan is cursed because Ham mocked the naked shame of his father, while Shem and Japheth are blessed for still treating their father with dignity even in the midst of his drunken shame. As the later Biblical passages I cited earlier show, God is angered by those who mock at and take advantage of human frailty and weakness. But God blesses those who help the weak and the helpless. As Paul says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). Love, he later says in I Corinthians 13:7, “bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”

    FAS, incidentally, is a final answer to how the wrongs of the past can affect the present. The children of those who drank ‘fire water’ (for the women as well as the men would drink the traders’ brew) were, no doubt, affected by FAS, and those children would have grown up with the mental marks of FAS, including as poor judgement, leading to behaviours such as excessive alcohol drinking and thus having their own children with FAS, and so on down through the generations. They have been weakened, and we that are strong ought to bear with their infirmities.

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  73. How do you wrap gift cards to look fun and pretty? I may put them in boxes (the gifts are 2-parters, one for clothing, one for “toys” — or for teens that would probably be considered accessories, music, etc.).

    I missed getting in on the first round of Angel Tree tags this year and the younger kids go fast. By this week it was all the teens, who are more difficult to buy for; most of us prefer the younger children who are still into toys and don’t have such hard-and-fast preferences and tastes in clothing. Much more fun to shop for.

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  74. Carol called to ask if I were coming to visit this week (since I’m off work) and I told her I really couldn’t, I have so much I need and want to do — I also reminded her that I see her quite often, more often than I do my cousin or other girlfriends who are a lot closer. She doesn’t realize how demanding she can be, i guess. So I just reminded her that I have very little free time when I’m working and these staycation weeks, as a result, fill up fast, especially at the holidays. I really wish she had a wider circle of people who looked in on her, but she doesn’t.

    She’s still in the rehab, too, so I told her let’s just aim for Christmas Eve services at this point for our next time together. She asked if we could also come to see my house, but that’s a whole lot of driving back and forth so I hedged on that one. It’ll be all I can do probably to get off work a little early in order to get up to her place, find a night service with timing that works, and maybe stop to eat (which also is part of the routine, though again I do wish she’d pitch in just a little money for some of that, but oh well). Last year we went to the IHOP pancake house on Hollywood Blvd. which was open 24 hours, I also took her roommate.

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  75. DJ @4:54, that wise observation about the blessing and danger of wine demonstrates what makes wine an excellent symbol of the blood of Christ, which cleanses us from sin (I John 1:7) but brings damnation on those who partake of it unworthily (I Corinthians 11:29).

    Like so much of the Christian life, the permission and even, on the occasion of communion, command to drink a substance which is one of the most dangerous in the world is a paradox. As C.S. Lewis observed through his allegory, God is good, but He is not safe. Following Christ can only be accomplished by walking in the Spirit (Romans 8:1). The moment we use our human reasoning to try to determine whether drinking alcohol is right or wrong, we lose ourselves in a morass. The end of that reasoning is either consider even to come into contact with alcohol to be a deadly contamination, as Muslims do, or overindulge one’s freedom and become drunken, as a great many Catholics and Protestants have done throughout history. G.K. Chesterton, who, by the way, was utterly against teetotalism to solve the problem of alcoholism, said of Christianity, in his wonderful little book Orthodoxy:
    ‘The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable… It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom—that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands… But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.’

    Chesterton was speaking of the Church in general in that passage, but his observation hold true in the individual Christian’s life. Lived in the light of truth, it is fraught with pitfalls easy to be fallen in to on every side. To avoid both libertinism and legalism, both drunkenness and teetotalism, is indeed an adventure, but it is only one that can be lived by those humble enough to not lean on their own understanding, and instead follow the guidance of the Spirit (Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 18:3-4, Galatians 5:16).

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  76. Meantime, I am busily growing grapevines so when I get old and feeble, it can ease my discomforts. Of course, if we move to Boise, that will no longer be the plan.

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  77. Hi all,

    I haven’t been around here much, partly due to being busy, partly due to not knowing what to say to explain what’s been going on with us. One of the two churches my husband pastored has ended the pastoral relationship with him. Long story (the official end was November 5, but it was the culmination of conflict going on for at least two years), but the gist of it is that there was mutual agreement in the end that it was best for the health of the church and for my husband’s physical and emotional health for the separation to take place and healing to begin. It is painful for us, for course, and I’m sure for the church as well. I think there were probably about as many would have liked him to stay as those who wanted him to leave. He didn’t want a church to split over him.

    He still has the smaller of the two churches, so my younger son and I will switch our membership there. (Our older son is looking into finding a church closer to where he lives, an hour away from us, half an hour from the church we just left.) My husband can look for another small church to pastor part-time, but I don’t know how likely it is to find one within a reasonable distance. He has considered getting training as an interim pastor, and people have suggested he consider being an adjunct instructor teaching online courses. He has a severance package that gives us some time to figure out what to do next.

    On the positive side, our younger son finally got a job as a dishwasher at a local supermarket (they have a big deli area that is sort of a cross between a typical supermarket deli and a restaurant, with a dining room for those who choose to eat in instead of take-out, so there are actual dishes to wash, not just paper and plastic that gets thrown out, plus he has to wash all the pots and pans and the grill and rotisserie). It has been a challenge to him some days, learning how to get everything done in time, and having to keep track of a changing work schedule. But he is proud to finally have a paying job, and has been complimented by managers for being so friendly.

    Liked by 5 people

  78. Yes, DJ, I was thinking along the lines of Michelle, that you could buy an inexpensive gift, maybe a scarf or even a little wallet from Goodwill to put the cards in for a little additional surprise. Maybe a makeup bag with some Burts Bees lip balm included?

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  79. Hello, Pauline.

    The training to be an interim pastor sounds good from what I see here in Atlanta. There is always a need and it is such a help.

    Glad to hear about your son getting that work experience and respect from managers. That is such a positive reinforcement for those starting out.

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  80. Hi Pauline,

    We are enjoying our interim pastor. He has been filling in for several months now. Praying for you and praising for the youngest’s job.

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  81. Hey Pauline, so good to hear from you!

    The woman in charge of the Angel Tree program at our church told me about the one child’s ‘guardian’ who, when contacted, refused to even provide sizes, favorite colors, etc., just give her GIFT CARDS. As luck, or providence, would have it, that’s the one I drew, apparently. Thanks for the good suggestions.

    Ah, there’s SNOW on our mountains, a wonderful sight driving north on the 110 Freeway now, once again. Last year I think they were bare almost the entire winter 😦

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  82. I’ve bought gifts for my sister’s children for Christmas each year. Two of them have birthdays within four days of Christmas, a week apart (either side of the holiday, of course); ages at the end of the year will be 10 to 20.

    One of my friends said, “They’re getting to the age where kids really just want cash or gift cards.” I didn’t say anything in response to that, but my mental answer was, well, sorry, but I’m not going that route. Two years ago, when the oldest was turning 18 right after Christmas, I sent him a special gift (a Home Depot gift card to recognize him as a man). Last year I was in the middle of planning to move and hadn’t been buying them gifts through the year as I usually do. I called my sister, trying to say we couldn’t really afford something but maybe could get something small, and she suggested animal stuff, so I ended up buying a bunch of field guides, wrapping them separately so they would each have something to open, but considering them a family gift.

    Now my dilemma is that I really don’t intend to buy them gifts the rest of their lives; the oldest is now almost 20 and has a job, though he still lives at home, and the next will be 18 in February. Do I send a thoughtful letter to the 20-year-old and gifts just to the younger ones, or what? I don’t want anyone’s feelings to get hurt, but we are limiting gifts to our own family this year, and the idea of gifts for the kids was more to establish a relationship with them (and anyway, when I lived in Nashville I was nearly always there at Christmas time) than to make a lifetime commitment. In our family we have never bought gifts for anyone at Christmas unless we are celebrating with them; I only made exceptions for my sister’s kids and for Mom, when she was alive.

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  83. Janice, I’m not sure we were trying to help the problems associated with alcoholism–this forum by its nature can’t really do that.

    But I actually do think that looking at what Scripture says about alcohol, and comparing it to what secular wisdom says about alcohol, can help. Chesterton’s assertion that the church is wrong when she pushes teetotaling is part of my issue. Individual Christians are free to choose not to eat meat, drink wine, drive cars, etc. Where we run into problems is when people make those choices and see them as more godly choices–or when churches insist on such choices for their parishioners.

    Some statistics show that denominations with the largest push for teetotaling have the largest problem with alcoholism. If that is true, why might it be? I can think of several reasons. One is quite simply that people in those churches are not receiving a biblical view of wine and strong drink. They are hearing that it is a sin to drink, which is not biblical. These churches are relying on extrabiblical legalism to keep people in line. People who do drink in spite of the church’s prohibition, then, are likely to do it (1) in secret, (2) against their own conscience, (3) without seeing it as a gift from God, (4) likely drinking to excess, and (5) being afraid to admit it if they run into trouble. They are rather like the teenager from a home that believes fornication to be a sin, finding ways to sneak around and have sex anyway. It isn’t spiritually or emotionally healthy to sneak around and drink, nor is it biblical to say that drinking is wrong and try to bind others’ consciences on this issue. This is what I am arguing against.

    My move from being a teetotaler to believing it was OK to drink (but not actually doing it for 15 or 20 years, first because I was under a contract that said I couldn’t, and then because in Nashville I couldn’t afford it anyway, and didn’t have anyone to drink with) was gradual. And part of what I had to wrestle with was the idea that I’d heard all my life that drinking was too dangerous, because you never knew when you took that first drink whether you were one of the people who couldn’t handle alcohol, and you’d take just one drink and never be sober again, but end up in the gutter covered by your own vomit and urine. (I heard several such testimonies, always from men, but they were nevertheless effective in instilling fear.)

    Well, that’s an AA view of alcohol, but it isn’t a biblical one. Scripture says, “Do not get drunk.” If even with the Holy Spirit living in me I might be one of those random people who “just can’t help myself” and would be taking one drink after another, utterly powerless to stop myself, would the Bible talk about alcohol the way it does? No. It would say not to drink; it wouldn’t say that wine is a blessing, but just don’t get drunk. I reject the AA understanding that people are just powerless, that alcohol has power but people can’t choose to drink just one drink. I specifically refuse to accept it as a blood-washed, Spirit-filled child of God. God says wine is God’s good gift, and I refuse to live in fear of it. That does not mean that I “push” others to drink, or that I don’t realize how much damage misuse of alcohol can cause. It means that just as guns, sex, money, and our tongue can be used for great good or great ill, so can alcohol. And I refuse to let the world’s misuse of God’s good gift encourage me to reject it.

    One of the reasons I married was that I realized I was living a bit of a contradiction. I was saying that marriage was a good gift from God, but I was ambivalent about whether I myself ever wanted to get married. Now, I know several people who have never questioned this, who have always wanted to marry but never had a chance, and I myself had never dated (I’d never ever been on one single date that wasn’t “just as friends”) until I met my husband. So I am NOT saying “If you want to marry, you just have to want it.” What I am saying is that for me personally, I realized I was being ambivalent, and I turned around and said, “I believe marriage is one of God’s good gifts, and I’m not going to just say that. I am going to pray for God to bring me a husband, and I am going to sign up online so that I am available (without throwing myself at men).” And God chose to honor that. Well, OK, my husband had come to an understanding before he met me that wine is God’s good gift, but he was 50 years old and he had never had a drink–I had had two or three–and he had his first drink with me. Neither of us ever had alcohol in our house before we married each other, nor had we ever drunk it in a restaurant (we still haven’t), though we’d had it in homes a couple of additional times when we married. But both of us have been deliberate about “We believe this is God’s good gift, and so we choose to partake, in moderation, of it.”

    And I believe that is the “answer” to alcoholism, just as it is the answer to fornication and adultery and so many other sins: We see this good gift from God, and we see the restrictions He has put on it, and we accept it, but we honor His restrictions. It’s legitimate for an individual to say, “I know intellectually that the Bible says it’s OK to drink, but it still feels wrong, and it still feels like it would be violating my conscience.” It’s also OK to say, “I’ve just known too many people who misused it, and it holds no appeal for me at all.” And I also think it’s valid to say, “I don’t trust myself, and it just is not worth the risk to me.” (I would NOT have this discussion with someone who had been an alcoholic for 20 years and had only been sober for two years, or with a brand-new Christian.) I respect all those arguments. I don’t respect the argument that “well, when the Bible says wine, it really means grape juice” or “no, the Bible doesn’t forbid it, but it just seems better to avoid it anyway, just to be on the safe side, so I’m glad our church says we can’t.” If the Bible says something is bad, we dare not call it good. But it works the other way, too. If God calls it good, we can’t call it bad. In this case, the Bible calls it good but says to use it with caution (very much like sex and guns and fire)–and standing with the Bible seems the best place to stand.

    Liked by 1 person

  84. Gift giving, it can get complicated.

    Tonight on the phone Carol says, “Have you bought my Christmas gift yet?”

    Um, no, why?

    “Just wondering.”

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  85. Our pastor tells the story of going back to one of the five seminaries he’s attended — he graduated from this particular one but was returning at the age of 50 or so to pick up just one other class.

    They gave hi a morals clause to sign that included the restriction of no drinking of any alcohol.

    First of all, he told them, Jesus drank wine (try to get around that, but he just did); second, the church he pastors serves wine for communion every week; thirdly he and his family enjoy a glass of wine with dinner from time to time. He’s Italian, after all.

    Anyway, he ended up not being able to take the class there and went elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  86. Talkative bunch this weekend. We were out of town for the weekend, and I didn’t ask our hosts for the Wifi password.

    Heard the news about George H. W. Bush passing away. A very honorable man. I hope we can elect another person of integrity to the White House in 2020.

    Re: alcohol- The Bible only says not to get drunk. Consumption is not a sin. Over consumption is.

    Congratulations Roscuro!

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  87. Good to hear from you, Pauline. Sorry to hear about the situation you’ve been going through. May you and your family experience God’s provision and guidance.

    My nieces and nephews are the only young people close to me, so it is a pleasure to select gifts for them. I generally buy books for Second and Youngest’s children for both birthdays and Christmas, as that is my area of expertise. This year, Second’s and Youngest’s children will each be getting a general gift of a book. I tend to give Eldest’s children individual gifts – last year, my parents and I pooled our resources to give each a musical instrument – as I started giving them gits when the eldest four were the only grandchildren. They were the only ones for about eleven Christmases, starting from the time Eldest Niece was born. So the eldest three will be getting little gifts I picked up here, while the younger two are also getting books. I was delighted to find books for children about the Inuit, written by Inuit, to give. My siblings are each getting something, as are my parents. The artwork – the community is famous for its printmakers and there are a number of carvers and weavers, and every woman knows how to make clothing out of skins and their traditional qamiks, snow boots from sealskin, are works of art in themselves – can run into several hundred, even a thousand, dollars in price. It is definitely worth every penny, but as a poor student, I can only afford a few smaller works.

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  88. I am catching up on these comments…interesting conversation about alcohol. My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic…a very mean alcoholic who beat his wife and his children. Alcohol was never in our home and I only once saw my Dad drink a beer at the home of ol high school friends of my parents. The priest of the friends happened to stop by and since the priest was having a beer my Dad accepted one as well. You can just imagine the chatter of three little girls witnessing their Daddy drinking a beer…with a preacher of all things!!!
    I went to a Christmas Tea today in Calhan CO…out on the prairie. The hostess…my friend…came over to me and said “you look tired”…..I must need a face lift or a hair cut or something…I felt fine and was not tired at all…that sort of comment can ruin a girl’s evening ya know?? 😜

    Liked by 2 people

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