Michelle, Ma Belle

I was browsing through some old Beatles music on the internet and came upon the song “Michelle.” As I listened, I was back in the 1960’s with “Beatlemania.” The term described the hysteria over John, Paul, George and Ringo, “the Fab Four.” They lived in a bubble floating high above the world and every fan watched them float over England, Germany, Europe and North America.  They seemed to be the answer, but who knew what the question was. They were a movement.  Within a very short period of time, they had knocked folk music off the pedestal and were themselves up there along with the rest of the “British Invasion.”

In that sweet, but crazy period of Beatlemania, the Song “Michelle” was released and it sounded like something from the streets of Paris, describing a young man’s struggle to communicate with the woman he loved.  It did not sound like rock and roll,  but then the Beatles were always exploring new venues and genres.  The words “Michelle, ma belle” translate as “Michelle, my beautiful.”  The young man had found the most poignant words to express his feelings.  It probably spoke to a number of young people who didn’t have the words to confess their true feelings. It spoke to me.

Hearing the song the other day carried me back to those first emotions I felt: emptiness  because the woman I thought I loved was not interested in me, reassurance that love can be a beautiful thing, desire to continue looking for the “right one” who had be out there.

What a powerful force music is: allowing us to go “back there” for at least a little while.  For a time we can connect at least emotionally with part of our past.

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A Glimpse Into (Eternal) Life

While doing the things of my life (routine and worthwhile tasks) I started thinking about Eternity in Heaven.  Eternity had no beginning and will have no end.  All of time is but a tiny nugget occurring within eternity.

What about my body? The Bible talks about resurrection of the body. What will mine be like?  What will it be like to never have to think about death anymore.  What will it be like to realize that a pleasant experience in Heaven’s Eternity will never end.  It just goes on and on and on…

I would like to talk to St. Paul and tell him how much his honesty in the letter he wrote to the Christians at Rome helped me see I could be a part of the Gospel blessing too.  He didn’t have his act together and neither did (or do) I. Also, it would be interesting to ask him how he was able to have so much passion for spreading the Gospel.  Then I would like to take some time, maybe a month (how would I know) to talk to St. Peter and tell him how helpful his letters were to my friends and me in the Tuesday night Bible study right now.

I won’t ever have to take a nap in the afternoon or sleep 8 hours after being up 16.

In a way I am starting to unplug from all the hoopla and hysteria of life right now.  I am Eternity Dreaming in Heaven.  This month I will be another year older, but so what.  The transfer to eternal life will come sooner.

And I will see God and…highway-of-life

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While I Pondered

A Simple Idea Multiplied in My Mind

By Waiting on the Lord I am:

  1. Surrendering-I give up my expectations and judgmentalism. I let go of the controls and turn the outcome over to the Lord.
  2. Trusting God-I admit that God is trustworthy. My trust brings me significantly closer
  3. Loving God-I express my complete and deep affection for God because I am traveling the channel of communication from my heart to God’s
  4. Disciplining myself-I curb my will which wants to do everything I can to please myself. I learn that I can get along without something, some person, or some experience. I am also learning patience.
  5. Feeling relaxed-A wonderful calm comes over me because the stress and worry is now gone.
  6. Finding strength-I acknowledge, pursue and discover strength far beyond my own.
  7. Finding freedom-I learn that any chains holding me to that person, place or thing is now severed.
  8. Finding grace-It comes in still, small voices, experiences, and outcomes. When I am quiet, I can see signs of God’s help.
  9. Finding peace-Connected to the feeling of relaxation, I let out a sigh of relief. All will be taken care of.
  10. Finding self-worth-I realize again I am loved by God.   This thought fills my mind and warms my heart.
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It’s a Test!

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

scantron

Do you remember dreading tests in school?  I was never fond of the cramming method and was always looking for the best way to take a test.   One fellow I met suggested having a drink beforehand because it helped him relax.   I don’t remember trying that, but the idea of going into a test in a relaxed state made sense.  My goal was always to stay on top of the material so I didn’t have to cram or stress when test day arrived.  I don’t think that ever happened.  And then there was immense feeling (sometimes) of relief after the test was finished.  If I thought I had done well, I was relieved.  If I didn’t know the answers or had to bluff my way through, I felt a bit lost and a whole lot of regret.

According to the dictionary a test is “a short written or…

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Imagine This

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

It seems like I have always lived in this dark, smelly cell.

I cannot remember when this day began.  A memory of Passover with my men flickers for a few moments and puts itself out.

The door clangs open.  Two soldiers yank me off the floor and drag me to the Governor.  I see faces with open pits for mouths and hear a sound like the sea.  Distant and alone I stand before the crumbling pillars of justice.  A man’s voice says “I am innocent” but he is not speaking for me.  No one is, not even me.

I fall under the weight of the woody bulk.  For the first time, I see the busy “Skull.”   Whenever I stumble, I hear cheers slowly bouncing off the city walls.  A nightmare is invading these holy streets.

And now giant nails rip open my flesh and splatter my blood.  A throat burning…

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Holy/Maundy Thursday-New Covenant

A reminder for this day.

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

maundy-thursday-photos-9

What is Happening:  We don’t know anything about what happens earlier in the day other than Jesus is focusing on the Passover Meal (start reading at Matthew 26:17).  At some point his disciples come to him and ask where he would like to eat the Passover Meal.  According to Wikipedia, the Passover Meal is:

“The Passover Seder (Hebrew: סֵדֶר‎ [ˈsedeʁ], “order, arrangement”; Yiddish: Seyder) … a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient…

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A Second-Second Chance

Still true

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

second chanceA Gust of Grace: blew through my life when I was in the US Army.  I was in during the height of the Vietnam War (1967-1970).  I had finished basic training at Fort Knox and the class ahead of me and the class behind me all were sent to Vietnam.  Then ten months later everyone in my class except another fellow and me were ordered there.  I had an office job, but my heart was heavy with concern that someday soon I would have to kill people.  This became my entire focus and so in August of 1969 I left my post and headed to Canada.  There were a lot of other young men also leaving because they had serious reservations about that war.  For me, however, the bottom line was fear.  I was afraid and so I drove north.

I contacted a man who was in the business of…

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Prayer: It’s Just Telling Him What’s Going On

A good reminder.

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

The two men were desperate.  They couldn’t see, but they could hear.  A multitude was passing by.  Who are they?  What’s going on? Jesus is passing by.  Jesus of Nazareth…the healer.   They started screaming “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

More sounds….commotion…people telling them to be quiet.

Suddenly, nothing…

“Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32 NRSV)

It’s him.  It’s really him. 

They quickly told him:  “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”

He did it.

I wonder if we would have spoken up or gone quiet.

Jesus stands still and asks us:  “what do you want me to do for you?”

Our answer is our prayer.

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Getting Past the Fear of Computers

atari2

Living in the Past What was it like to live through the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy’s Assassination and other historic events. It might be of interest to learn how things were done in the past as a curiosity. Descriptions of other events that might be of interest  (eg. the first personal home computer).

Computers

Computer– an electronic device for storing and processing data, typically in binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program. (source: Apple Dictionary).  Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, originated the concept of a programmable computer. Considered the “father of the computer” (source:  Wikipedia)

My first encounter with a computer was in an introductory class taken so long ago I am unable to recall where and when it happened.  I do recall being awed by IBM punch cards that carried code which when fed into a computer, that looked like a giant reel to reel tape deck, could solve problems at lightning speeds (eg. calculate the amount of money you would now have if you had started with a $1 back in 1492 and a bank paid you 5% interest compounded quarterly).  I remember the teacher trying to take away our fear and awe of computers by telling us “computers are only as smart as the programmer” and that we should not be afraid of them.

It was exciting to get my first personal computer back in 1986.  It was manufactured by Atari, a company more known for games than for work applications.  I didn’t buy a monitor, just used my 19″black and white portable TV as a screen.  My keyboard was similar to the one on the lower left in the picture.  I used a cartridge which slipped into the little opening above the  “6”,” 7″, “8” and “9” keys.  Everything about that computer seemed powerful and mysterious.  I believe the fact you could so easily correct a typed mistake was my favorite feature.   I cannot remember how many apps I had on the computer, but I do remember having to occasionally get out of a program and into DOS so I could run some utility or open a different program. My work was saved on a 5 ¼ inch floppy disk.  I remember that I had 48k of storage which seemed mind-blowingly  large to me.  I bought  a floppy disk that had a program called Lotus  Works which was a word processing program,  a data base manager and a spread sheet program.  Even though Lotus Works was intended for work applications, I found it was fun seeing how it worked, although there were times I wanted to trash the whole setup.  Maybe computers were not for me.

As nice as that Atari was, I soon tired of it and wanted a computer with Windows on it.  Eventually I was able to get a computer with Windows on it and my life became more complicated.  Many times I found myself scratching my head wondering what the computer was doing.  I had an operating system called Windows 3.1 which was soon surpassed by the release of Windows 95.  There were several more operating systems developed and for sale from Microsoft, but eventually I became very frustrated because it seemed like with every upgrade I would have problems with my existing programs.  It eventually seemed like the whole computer was out of sync with itself.  I had no idea what it was doing.

There have been many upgrades I’ve purchased including changing from a Windows based computer to a Mac system.  Switching to their operating system took a long time.  Here too there were times I had no idea what the computer was doing or wouldn’t let me do.

I have, however, learned a few things in my thirty one years of computing which have taken away much of my fear of them.

  1. Always, always make a back-up (maybe two or three to make sure).  I once accidentally erased a theme paper I had been working on for several hours.   I sat in shock staring at the now blank computer screen. Nowadays, I normally make three additional backup copies (two of them are free online services)
  2. Get familiar with a new program when there is no outside pressure.  Trying to learn a program under a time demand is a good way to put out bad work and also to get sick.
  3. When learning a new program, use only a few examples.  For example if I am exploring a spreadsheet program, I make only a few entries to see how the program handles them.  If I am working with a word processing program, I type in a few words to see if my printer is connected, how the program saves my work, what commands are needed to copy and paste.  This has saved me a lot of time.  At first, I was inclined to type in a lot of words or numbers  then discovered something didn’t work and lost all my work.
  4. When encountering a problem, stay calm-I have learned over the years that when I get an unexpected result, I need to stay calm, believe there is an answer, take a break from the work.  When I am calm and relaxed (usually the next morning), I come back to it and assume the computer has reacted properly, that I missed an instruction or I made an error putting the information in.  When I am relaxed the problem becomes more like a game or a puzzle and I am much more likely to see the mistake.
  5. When there is time (i.e. free from pressure), read the owners manual for your software to spot any additional capacities which you may have overlooked when you first started using the program.

I would love to hear of other’s experiences with computers

 

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This Present Moment

General Observations on Life: Observations on life and suggestions for a Happy Life.   The advantages of forgiveness, thankfulness.  The ability of family relationships to produce lasting pleasure versus the short pleasures of instant gratification.

 

When I was quite young, I couldn’t wait until I was ten years old because then my age would show as a double digit instead of a single.  The first time I joined a record club, it felt like my free records would never arrive.  I just kept thinking about how great it would be to have my own records to play on my sister’s stereo.   I was always looking ahead for some great experience I wanted to have like my first kiss, first car, or my first laptop computer.

Other times I would look back with longing for a time in the past.  A couple of years ago, while watching a movie from the 1970’s, I suddenly felt sad and trapped because I could never go back to that period of time.

Too often we are either remembering the past  with regrets or looking forward to some event in the future.  But all we ever have is the present moment.

Someone had a song many years ago that sort of followed this thought when it suggested that we ought to learn to enjoy every moment of our life.  I have tried this at times with doing chores like the dishes and mopping floors or some other “unpleasant”task.   I remember one time contemplating whether to mop the floor or not.   I thought If I wanted to do it, then it might feel like fun.  But, if someone told me I had to do it, then I might hate it.  The difference in perception seemed to lie within me and not the task.  If true, then it would seem I could enjoy whatever activity I was involved in.  Why not consider it to be enjoyable.  It could make all the difference in how I go through my days.

Life can seem an amazing miracle if I look at it with baby’s eyes.  Coming home Friday night, I noticed the trees, empty of leaves just standing there with their limbs outstretched to the sky as if either pleading for sun or rain or the covering of leaves.  Each one had it’s own unique stance, like an array of sculptures placed worldwide for the delight of every person on earth who stopped for a moment and enjoyed the view.  How pleasant.

So when I am doing chores, I have the freedom to do it any way I choose.  When doing dishes I can stack the dishes a certain way or I can reverse how I do them.  When cleaning the floors, I can see how many creative ways I can do the work.  Maybe I’ll start downstairs, or maybe I’ll start in the upstairs bedroom.  Even raking leaves can be a great time, looking at the number of leaves there are and thinking how every one of them was on a tree just a short while ago.  Those trees while empty of leaves now, will soon be filled with brand new leaves (today is the first day of Spring).  How can such a massive drop of leaves be completely replaced?  Where is the machine that produces such a quantity of leaves for the world?

Even visiting someone who is sick can be pleasant.  I have seen appropriate humor relieve the most tense situation.  Sometimes the other person wants to share deep feelings and worries and even that can be seen as a blessing to that relationship.  Last night we watched the movie “Sully,” a movie about the captain of a commercial jet who had to ditch the plane with 155 passengers on board into the Hudson River.  What touched me was how fast the emergency people moved out to the slowly sinking plane.  They didn’t stop to consider if it would be too cold (it was) or too wet (they were in the water), or a hassle.  They just put on their gear and moved out into the middle of the river.  Sometimes, sickness or accident can be a motivator for people to come together who might otherwise not.

Each day has it’s own opportunities, rewards and challenges. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 (English Standard Version)

 

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