7 Things I Am Taking Into 2017

happy-new-year-1919727_1280  For most folks making New Year Resolutions is a normal and fun thing to do. The new year comes out from behind the curtain and there it is — 2017.

I gave up New Year Resolutions a long time ago. They did not work for me. After I made them, I got bored and would go onto something else. Or I just forgot about them as the weeks and months past.

Over  the last couple of years, I have started asking myself, “What am I going to take with me into the new year? After much thought, I have seven things that are important to me to carry into the new year 2017:

  1. My faith in a loving, compassionate God. Reading His Word, attending His church, and fellowship with the faithful.
  2. My commitment and study to improve my writing. I will continue to post this blog (lindafreetoblog.com). My focus will take a slightly different turn toward my thoughts about retirement and those who are 50+. Later in 2017, I will be writing a new blog on immigration and what is happening in that arena. I will let your know when this blog is set up.
  3. My desire to be intentional in my reading and research. I will continue to read the Classics as well as contemporary books even though I cannot get into vampires, horror, and zombies. LOL
  4. My advocacy work with our immigrant brothers and sisters. Instead of the “old” hatreds, fears and angers, I believe it is time to try something new like compassion, justice, and love of those who look different from ourselves.
  5. I am part of the “resistance movement,” started by Sojourners, against the new administration. On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, I will be directing and participating in a Prayer Vigil at Christ’s Foundry in Dallas, Texas.
  6. My active commitment to Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON-DFW) a low income legal services nonprofit for immigrants and refugees.  I am chair of the Board of Directors until July 1, 2017; then I will be doing advocacy work for the nonprofit.
  7. Last but far from least, the love for my family. The joy I get (and hopefully give) from my family cannot be expressed in words — so I am not even going to try.

That gives me a great start into 2017! I would love to hear about what you will take with you into the new year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MY FRIENDS!

Today do something that challenges you!!!

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The Delights of an Old House

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Our home was built in 1927.

When you own an old house, there is always another project to do. However, many projects are not planned.

The sound of hammering and sawing is a joyful noise of an old house renovation. But where is the joy when the week before Thanksgiving your husband begins exploring. “Where is that musty smell coming from??”

Yep, he found the smell: in the kitchen, under the floor —  you guessed it — water!

Under the stove, under the dishwasher and out through a brick wall.  He found old piping that was split, rusted, holes, and water every where. Yep, an unplanned plumbing job. And of course, Carl is going to do it himself.

20161114_160715     20161114_16075820161114_160806We love our little, old house. Even the unplanned projects do not dampen our joy of home ownership.

 Come on Thanksgiving — we will be ready!!

 

 Today do something that will challenge you! We are!!

 

Now Is Not The Time To Stay Home

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“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Now Is Not The Time To Stay Home!

It may seem amazing to you, but we ARE surviving the most hateful, unkind election year ever. I follow elections from beginning to the end. I may not always agree with what I am hearing and I may shake my head in unbelief, but in 46 years I have never heard the lies and threats on a candidate’s life and hatred toward citizens of the American community.

Now is not the time to stay home! Now is the time to VOTE!! Your vote matters to your country.  So if you have not voted yet, go to the polls on Tuesday and vote.

Today do something that will challenge you.     I Have Voted!!

Last of Year-Long Bible Readings

Wow, did I just say “LAST” of the Year-Long Bible Readings??!! With bibleonly two months left in 2016, this Daily Bible Readings is almost over, but that does not mean that daily Scripture reading is over. No, hopefully you have developed a daily reading habit.

“Blessed is he (she) who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” Revelation 1:3.

No matter how many times you have read through the Bible, you come to Scripture from a different place. Your life is different today than it was yesterday, or last year, or five years ago. Scripture opens our hearts and minds to the Word of God, and reading Scripture is different with a deeper meaning which makes Scripture reading real and alive.

In this post I will complete the Year-Long Bible Readings, but it does not end here. January 1, 2017 will bring a new year and a new understanding from the Scripture you read each day. May God open your mind and heart to truth and life.

November 2016

1   Job 24-27 ∼ Psalm 105: 1-15 ∼  Proverbs 1 ∼ Acts 19
2  Job 28-30 ∼ Psalm 105: 16-45 ∼ Proverbs 2 ∼ Acts 20
3  Job 31 & 32 ∼ Psalm 106: 1-16 ∼ Proverbs 3 ∼ Ephesians 1 & 2
4  Job 33 & 34 ∼ Psalm 106: 17-33 ∼ Proverbs 4 ∼ Ephesians 3 & 4
5  Job 35-37 ∼ Psalm 106: 34-48 ∼ Proverbs 5 ∼ Ephesians 5 & 6
6  Job 38 & 39 ∼ Psalm 107: 1-22 ∼ Proverbs 6 ∼ Romans 1
7  Job 40-42 ∼ Psalm 107: 23-43 ∼ Proverbs 7 ∼ Romans 2 & 3
8  Ezekiel 1 & 2 ∼ Psalm 108 ∼ Proverbs 8 ∼ Romans 4 & 5
9  Ezekiel 3-5 ∼ Psalm 109: 1-13 ∼ Proverbs 9 ∼ Romans 6 & 7
10  Ezekiel 6 & 7 ∼ Psalm 109: 14-31 ∼ Proverbs 10 ∼ Romans 8
11  Ezekiel 8-10 ∼ Psalm 110 ∼ Proverbs 11 ∼ Romans 9 & 10
12  Ezekiel 11 & 12 ∼ Psalm 111 ∼ Proverbs 12 ∼ Romans 11 & 12
13  Ezekiel 13-15 ∼ Psalm 112 ∼ Proverbs 13 ∼ Romans 13 & 14
14   Ezekiel 16 ∼ Psalm 113 ∼ Proverbs 14 ∼ Romans 15
15  Ezekiel 17 ∼ Psalm 114 ∼ Proverbs 15 ∼ Romans 16
16  Ezekiel 18 & 19 ∼ Psalm 115 ∼ Proverbs 16 ∼ Acts 21
17  Ezekiel 20 ∼ Psalm 116 ∼ Proverbs 17 ∼ Acts 22
18  Ezekiel 21 ∼ Psalm 117 ∼ Proverbs 18 ∼ Acts 23
19  Ezekiel 22 ∼ Psalm 118: 1-14 ∼ Proverbs 19 ∼ Acts 24
20  Ezekiel 23 ∼ Psalm 118: 15-29 ∼ Proverbs 20 ∼ Acts 25
21  Ezekiel 24 & 25 ∼ Psalm 119: 1-16 ∼ Proverbs 21 ∼ Acts 26
22  Ezekiel 26 ∼ Psalm 119: 17-32 ∼ Proverbs 22 ∼ Acts 27
23  Ezekiel 27 ∼ Psalm 119: 33-48 ∼ Proverbs 23 ∼ Acts 28
24  Ezekiel 28 ∼ Psalm 119: 49-64 ∼ Proverbs 24 ∼ Colossians 1 & 2
25  Ezekiel 29 & 30 ∼ Psalm 119: 65-80 ∼ Proverbs 25 ∼ Colossians 3 & 4
26  Ezekiel 31 & 32 ∼ Psalm 119: 81-96 ∼ Proverbs 26 ∼ Hebrews 1 & 2
27  Ezekiel 33 ∼ Psalm 119: 97-112 ∼ Proverbs 27 ∼ Hebrews 3-5
28  Ezekiel 34 & 35 ∼ Psalm 119: 113-128 ∼ Proverbs 28 ∼ Hebrews 6 & 7
29  Ezekiel 36 ∼ Psalm 119: 129-144 ∼ Proverbs 29 ∼ Hebrews 8 & 9
30  Ezekiel 37 ∼ Psalm 119: 145-160 ∼ Proverbs 30 & 31 ∼ Hebrews 10

December 2016

1  Ezekiel 38 & 39 ∼ Psalm 119: 161-176 ∼ Proverbs 1 ∼ Hebrews 11
2  Ezekiel 40 ∼ Psalm 120 ∼ Proverbs 2 ∼ Hebrews 12 & 13
3  Ezekiel 41 & 42 ∼ Psalm 121 ∼ Proverbs 3 ∼ Book of Titus
4  Ezekiel 43 & 44 ∼ Psalm 122 ∼ Proverbs 4 ∼ Book of Philemon
5  Ezekiel 45 & 46 ∼ Psalm 123 ∼ Proverbs 5 ∼ I Timothy 1 & 2
6  Ezekiel 47 & 48 ∼ Psalm 124 ∼ Proverbs 6 ∼ I Timothy 3 & 4
7  Lamentations 1 & 2 ∼ Psalm 125 ∼ Proverbs 7 ∼ I Timothy 5-7
8  Lamentations 3 ∼ Psalm 126 ∼ Proverbs 8 ∼ II Timothy 1 & 2
9  Lamentations 4 & 5 ∼ Psalm 127 ∼ Proverbs 9 ∼ II Timothy 3 & 4
10  Book of Nahum ∼ Psalm 128 ∼ Proverbs 10 ∼ I Peter 1 & 2
11  Ezra 1 & 2 ∼ Psalm 129 ∼ Proverbs 11 ∼ Book of II Peter
12  Ezra 3 & 4 ∼ Psalm 130 ∼ Proverbs 12 ∼ Book of II Peter
13  Ezra 5 & 6 ∼ Psalm 131 ∼ Proverbs 13 ∼ I John 1 & 2
14  Ezra 7 & 8 ∼ Psalm 132 ∼ Proverbs 14 ∼ I John 3-5
15  Ezra 9 & 10 ∼ Psalm 133 & 134 ∼ Proverbs 15 ∼ Books of II John
and III John
16  Zechariah 1-3 ∼ Psalm 135 ∼ Proverbs 16 ∼ Book of Jude
17  Zechariah 4-7 ∼ Psalm 136 ∼ Proverbs 17 ∼ Revelation 1
18  Zechariah 8 & 9 ∼ Psalm 137 ∼ Proverbs 18 ∼ Revelation 2
19  Zechariah 10-12 ∼ Psalm 138 ∼ Proverbs 19 ∼ Revelation 3
20  Zechariah 13 & 14 ∼ Psalm 139 ∼ Proverbs 20 ∼ Revelation 4 & 5
21  Book of Haggai ∼ Psalm 140 ∼ Proverbs 21 ∼ Revelation 6 & 7
22  Nehemiah 1 & 2 ∼ Psalm 141 ∼ Proverbs 22 ∼ Revelation 8 & 9
23  Nehemiah 3 & 4 ∼ Psalm 142 ∼ Proverbs 23 ∼ Revelation 10 & 11
24  Nehemiah 5 & 6 ∼ Psalm 143 ∼ Proverbs 24 ∼ Revelation 12 & 13
25  Nehemiah 7 & 8 ∼ Psalm 144 ∼ Proverbs 25 ∼ Revelation 14 & 15
26  Nehemiah 9 & 10 ∼ Psalm 145 ∼ Proverbs 26 ∼ Revelation 16 & 17
27  Nehemiah 11-13 ∼ Psalm 146 ∼ Proverbs 27 ∼ Revelation 18
28  Esther 1-3 ∼ Psalm 147 ∼ Proverbs 28 ∼ Revelation 19
29  Esther 4-7 ∼ Psalm 148 ∼ Proverbs 29 ∼ Revelation 20
30  Esther 8-10 ∼ Psalm 149 ∼ Proverbs 30 ∼ Revelation 21
31  Book of Malachi ∼ Psalm 150 ∼ Proverbs 31 ∼ Revelation 22

Another year is over, but God’s love continues. We all have challenges ahead of us in 2017. May we each reach for God’s hand and joyously face our challenges not alone but with the Master beside us.

Happy Holidays, my Friends.

Today do something that will challenge you!

 

Review: Ken Follett’s book “Hornet Flight”

 

hornet-flight“All my life I have got tremendous pleasure out of good story telling, good yarns that have taken me to a place I have never been and shown me life styles and periods that I have never known. When I started writing fiction, my impulse was to give the same pleasure to others that I had enjoyed myself.”

Ken Follett (www.ken-follett.com/first-steps)

Book after book, Ken Follett has given pleasure to others through his words. I have several favorite authors – William Faulkner, P.D. James, and James Michener – and now I have added another — Ken Follett.

The Hornet Flight is my sixth book written by Ken Follett that I have read. It is also the shortest book I have read of his – only 420 pages.  He has written, to date, 24 books. That means I have 18 more books to read; well, until he writes another.

As writers, we are always looking for the next story. Those tidbits often come from observing things around us like a good book, a story in the newspaper, watching TV, people watching, etc.

Ken Follett read a story about two young men who were living in Denmark during the occupation of the German army in World War II. The real-life story is of two young men who wanted to escape Denmark in 1941. The men wanted to go to England, but first they would have to cross “the Channel.”

The Channel is a body of water between England and Denmark. They could find a boat to cross, or swim across, or a miracle could happen. And a miracle did happen.

The two young men found an old, dilapidated Hornet Moth – a small, fabric and wood biplane. By stealing parts and gasoline, they fixed the biplane and hornet-mothflew it across the Channel to England. As they flew into the English air space, RAF Fighters (Royal Air Force) checked them out. One of the men put a white towel out the window; then they landed safety in a field in England.

Follett was so fascinated by this story that he fashioned Hornet Flight from bits and pieces of this adventure.

The Hornet Flight begins in the early days of World War II. It’s 1941 and the war is not going well for England. Late one night as the rain comes down, eighteen year old Harald Olufsen takes a shortcut through the fenced area of a German installation that he had never seen before. What was this place? Why was it here?

He passed through a stand of conifers and went down into a dip. As he came to the bottom of the declivity, he saw a structure of some kind looming up in the murk. He could not make it out clearly, but he did not recall anything being built in this location. Coming closer, he saw a curved concrete wall about as high as his head. Above the wall something moved, and he heard a low hum, like an electric motor ….

Harald was fascinated. It was a machine of a kind he had never seen before, and the engineer in him was spellbound. What did it do? Why did it revolve? The sound told him little — that was just the motor that turned the thing. He felt sure it was not a gun, at least not the conventional kind, for there was no barrel. His best guess was that it was something to do with radio.    pg. 23

England was preparing for its largest aerial assault ever, and what Harald discovered may turn the course of the war around.

If you have not read any of Ken Follett’s books, I highly recommend them. They are long and detailed. Follett writes in a way that you think you are watching a movie and you don’t want it to end. Rich characters, romance, and sit at the edge of your seat action. Out of 1 to 5 rating, 5 being the highest, I definitely give Hornet Flight a 5!

Follett, Ken, Hornet Flight, published by Penguin Group, New York, 2002, 420 pages.

Today do something that will challenge you!

New Campaign: BACK TO PAPER AND PEN!!

Today most of us are on the computer regularly. We look up interesting pieces of information; we send and read emails; we read books on Kindle or another downloadable book carriers.

Happy ComputerSome of us write stories and blogs, while others use them for business, other forms of art, play games and make up games. Computers have become an important part of our lives — even a necessary part of our lives.

I have to admit — I talk to my computer. Many times I “thank” it for working today, or “Why do you (computer) go around gathering up hundreds of emails that I can’t possibly get to?” And there are other conversations that I can’t repeat followed by computer silence.

All of us depend on the availability of our computers. They worked today, so we assume that they will work tomorrow. Am I right? Well, that’s what I thought.

         Seriously I am going back to paper and pen!!   leave-839225__180

My husband Carl is faaaaaar more tech savvy than I am. All I want is for the computer to work. I don’t care why it hiccups sometimes; I don’t care why it will shut down for no reason.

Sometimes an email will disappear — not all emails, just a few of them. And sometimes my computer friend just takes a little longer to come up in the morning. It’s no big deal — it takes me a little longer to get up in the morning also.

I had a Board meeting to plan. There were reports, a resume, and an agenda that I had to send out to the Board members. As the Board chair, it is not unusal for me to be sending out multiple emails about Board business. But last Tuesday was weird enough that even I knew something was not right.

In the course of the day, I had sent out a couple of emails with attachments. Then I began to hear from the Board members that they did not receive the attachments. So I sent out another email with attachments, and again I got the same response from the Board members.

So I sat down for the third time to send another email, when my email just “SENT” itself!! I saw it happen and had a not-so-nice conversation with the computer. I waited about an hour, then quickly send out a fourth email — “I am sorry and take full responsibility for my crazy emails. I quit for tonight. Will try again tomorrow.”

I had a more than full, tiring day and figured that it was “operator error,” and that tomorrow with a clear head, the emails would go out!!

I plugged in my friend to recharge, and said “Goodnight.”  (Remember I talk to my computer friend.) Goodnight to all!!

The next morning I got up and was ready to send out the Board emails with attachments before I did anything else. I did not even get a cup of coffee.

Looking down at my friend, I noticed the little blue light was not on; there was no quiet hmmmmmmm. I touch my friend and it was cold — cold and dead. For a moment I was sad until I realized that all my writing, over 200 Kindle books, reports, emails, and things that I had long forgotten were GONE!

I am not always good about backing up my stuff. Knowing this, my smart th3fotfzokhusband set the computer up to back-up my stuff to the cloud on a regular, daily bases. He kindly let me rant for a few minutes and said, “We’ll get another computer.” And just like that I got another computer!!

I think I am going to start a new campaign: BACK TO PAPER AND PEN!

But wait, my new computer is really, really nice! I love it’s color! I can send emails without them sending themselves! And I am back to my writing! Do you think Carl set up the computer to automatically back-up to the cloud? Yes, Yes, I am backing up to the cloud!!!!!

Campaign Over Until Another Day!!

Today do something that will challenge you!

What Else is Important?

Is the world getting louder and louder – politics especially – where you feel your voice is drowned out? I wanted to write something that would help and realized I already had written something. It goes back to reading God’s word. The following is a blog I posted in November 2014. The message is the same today as it was in the past and will be in the future.  Don’t let the noise keep you from moving ahead in the life that is meant for you.

What Else is Important?

I was looking at my previous blogs, and it seems like all I do is read. Although I do read a lot, I will never reach the point of reading 80 to 90 books a year like Steven King. How is that even possible? I bet he does not do the dishes, cook a meal, or do the laundry!!

I do read a lot and get a great amount of enjoyment out of it; however, I also do many other things that are more important to me. Like reading (there’s that word again) the Bible everyday.

Actually, reading the Bible and other religious books reminds me that I get up in the morning for a purpose. That purpose is to serve the Lord in every aspect of my life wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Easily said, hard to do!

Even though the Bible is the number 1 book for sales in the United States, it is also pretty much ignored once it reaches its destination — the bookshelf, the coffee table, the bedside table. What is it about that book that makes people buy it, and then not read it when they get home?

Buying a Bible is no big deal. It’s just another book whose message is not revealed until it is opened up to the pages between the covers. The Bible is not a “lucky charm” that keeps evil spirits away. It does not change people’s lives sitting on the bookshelf. It collects dust like any other book, and it does not magically jump up and down on the coffee table to get our attention. Like God, it waits for us to take action — pick it up!

The message inside the Bible is like no other book. The message tells the truth … “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in Him, won’t perish but will have eternal life” John 3:16. “God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all” 1 John 1:5. “Jesus replied, ‘Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe'” John 20:29. And “Every house is built by someone but God is the builder of everything” Hebrews 3:4.

The Bible’s message not only tells us the truth, but it also tells us how to live a life in Christ … “Throw all your anxiety onto Him, because He cares about you” 1 Peter 5:7. ” … Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry (This one I have to work on everyday … many times a day!!!) This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness” James 1: 19 & 20. “God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled” 2 Timothy 1:7. And “Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right” 2 Thessalonians 2:17.

Of course, there is a lot more (a lot more) to Scripture: more truth about Jesus, more wisdom about how to live a grace-filled and loving life. Scripture is not hard to read or understand. I have heard so many times, “it’s not the Scriptures that I cannot understand that concerns me; it’s the Scriptures I do understand that concerns me.”

Don’t let Scripture intimidate you. Just read it and enjoy the parts you understand. With continuous reading you will begin to understand more and more.

Once a month I am planning to write/blog a “religious” piece, hopefully with more substance than this blog. The Lord has way too much grace and mercy for us to let it rest on the pages of a closed Bible.

Today, do something that challenges you, Linda