Daily Archives: December 6, 2020

Resetting

I should have realized that I was having a problem, but I ignored the symptoms.  Those of you who know me, could have seen it coming.  Several days ago, my phone decided to ignore my “send” directive and told me that it would not send a text.  I tried several more times – no joy.  Then, suddenly it started texting again.  It happened again yesterday and then today the phone refused to send any texts. Even my attempts of sending “test” texts brought no relief.  So frustrating!!

But it wasn’t as frustrating as my recent experience in trying to resolve my medical insurance situation.  You see, I purchase my primary insurance through my former employer and, as a secondary insurance, I have Tri-Care as a military dependent.  In February, I hit the big “65” and I need to begin Medicare.  Medicare will cost money.  My plan was – suspend my primary insurance and use that money to pay for my Medicare.  What a plan!!

But I could not figure out how to make that happen.  Surprisingly, my Medicare card appeared in the mail one day.  First step done!

Second step – get my former employer to pick up the cost of Medicare.  I decided to call Medicare to find out how to get that done.  I can hear some of you chuckle.  Yep, that was a mistake.  The screen shot of my phone (that cantankerous thing that will only receive texts), shows that I spent just about 2- and one-half hours on hold. 

There was music and announcements the first hour and then that stopped.  After 90 minutes had passed, the call was ended on their part by asking me to reply to several survey questions.  “You betcha, I’ll answer your survey,” and I did.  I never spoke to a person. 

The next day, I started over and this time called a gentleman in the Office of Personnel Management (the folks who manage my retirement pay including health care benefits).  He explained that they would not pay my Medicare cost, but that they would suspend my health care program with them when I was ready. 

Second step…Done.  I did not like the answer, but I did get an answer.

Then, I noticed that I had been ignoring some “advertisements” from a company who wanted to sell me health insurance.  Whoops, I should have read those letters!!  I learned that I was going to be charged for Tri-Care.  What???  I thought it was part of John’s benefits of 30 years of military service.  After reading the last letter (then one that says “Pay by December 31 or die” – I might not have that wording exactly right), I decided that John had to pay for his Tri-Care also.  I informed him thusly.  Whoops.  Now not only was I frustrated, but my very patient spouse was excited – not good.

After reading the multiple letters I had received, I discovered that I had no idea what we needed to do.  None of it made any sense.

And so, I called the nice lady at the Tri-Care contract provider.  I put her on speaker so that John could hear both sides of our conversation.  She apologized for the confusing notices; she said that she had heard many others report the same.  She was kind as she assured me that John did not need to pay; his Tri-Care was good to go.  But, she continued, I would need to pay for mine. 

She looked at my record again and said, “I see that you are turning 65 in February.”  Note that this declaration did nothing to improve my mood.  I calmed my heart and replied, “Yes.”  She went on to let me know that I only needed to pay for one month of Tri-Care coverage – I owed a little more than $12.00.  (I would only need to pay for until my Medicare started.) I asked her if I could make payments.  😊

Insurance craziness done (for now).  Back to the phone.  This afternoon I pulled the trigger – I shut down the phone, waited, and restarted it.  And wonder of wonders – it worked.  My phone is again sending texts (for now).

So, what have I learned? 

  1. My phone did not care about my problem. 
  2. The various folks I called had only the information I provided to them and that was included in the file before them. 
  3. The insurance folks knew nothing about the calls I had made previously to others or the time I had spent on hold.
  4. When I reset the phone – it worked, I can send texts.
  5. When I reset my attitude and started each new encounter in a positive way and with information that the experts needed to help me – it worked, I got answers. 

Every morning when we wake up, we need to reset our minds and hearts.  Some of us awake with fear or apprehension about the day ahead.  Others wake unsure about their status at work, in the family, in the world, with God. 

We need a reset every single day.

We need to reestablish the settings that we have worked so hard to develop.  John and I do this by starting our day reading scripture together and praying.  Our morning prayer time (nothing written or formal; we talk to God like we talk to each other – except, I try to whine less) often include the following two thoughts:

  1. “Thank You for the opportunities You will give us today.” 
  2. “At the end of the day, we pray that we will be able to see that we have been obedient to Your calling and Your love.”

It is our way of resetting ourselves to start the day.

Frustrated with the way things are going?  Having tough conversations with others (or yourself, or God)? 

Why not try a reset?  Those things that we learned along our path make sense:  “Start on the right foot.”  “Begin with the end in mind.”  “Trust God with everything.”

Just a thought on a Sunday afternoon.

Love,

Jill (just one of God’s kids)

p.s.  Check out this promise from the Bible:  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;  great is Your faithfulness.”   (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Praemonitus, praemunitus

Thanksgivings were always crazy days at the Mullins’ house.  The fun started the night before the holiday.

Mom would save the heals of the bread loaf throughout the fall.  She would put the heals into the freezer and remind us that those were for “the dressing.”  And, oh, what a joy it was for me to discover that my mother-in-law and my mom made exactly the same dressing recipe.  (I dated a young man in college and we nearly married.  But his mother put oysters in her dressing, so I should have known that the relationship was due to failure!)  Mom and Mom’s dressing recipe was pretty simple: bread chunks, celery, onion, sausage (cooked and crumbled) and sage.  A little bit of chicken broth was used to moisten the ingredients.  That stuffing or dressing (depending on if it was cooked inside the bird or in a casserole dish outside) was amazing! 

Anyway, the night before the holiday we would begin to break the bread.  Mom had a huge metal bowl that was used to break the bread and to mix the dressing.  The bread was never broken into small enough pieces, so Poppa would turn the bread chunks over and over with a large spoon to identify the pieces that needed to be torn into smaller pieces.  It was fun and such a great chore.

On Thanksgiving, the bird would usually be in the oven before we kids got up.  The morning was spent watching parades and noticing the growing aroma of turkey, baking in the oven. 

We kids would help set the table.  The table was fine with the plates and water glasses and special napkins and tablecloth.  Mom had a “Thanksgiving family” of pilgrims made of paper towel and toilet paper rolls – they were a perfect centerpiece.  But there was never much room on that table.  That beautiful table (now residing in our home) seemed to moan as side dishes were added. There was the “relish tray” of pickles, olives, celery sticks and pickled beets.  There were the hot sides of sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and dressing with gravy.  There were two salads: one of cranberry, one of pears for my brother and me who did not care for cranberries.  I loved Mom’s homemade dinner rolls, always served hot with butter and jam on the side.  And, then there was the turkey.  It was so amazing.  The table was full of such amazing food.

After dinner, the dishes were washed and dried and the leftovers were piled into the refrigerator.  Now, it was time for football and more parades.  And, eventually, we would get to the pumpkin pie.  Such wonderful memories. 

John and I got married the day after Thanksgiving and our Thanksgivings have been less consistent in our traditions.  Rest assured that we always had great fun and our meals were amazing.  We had a great time this year, amazing food, and a wonderful day.  But it was different in many ways.  We were surprised with a ZOOM call that involved many family members and so much laughter!  We enjoyed a camping trip.  It was different, but great!

As I read social media posts about Thanksgiving two thoughts came to mind: some families were closer than ever, and others struggled more than ever.  And I cannot tell you that there was a reason for either group.  It was just a “different” Thanksgiving than ever before.  And for some, it was not a joyous day for a variety of reasons.

My point with all of this – Thanksgiving was different this year.  And, if that is true, if my impression is true across our families and friends….then what should we expect this Christmas?

Think about it…if 2020 brought a “different” type of Thanksgiving, then should not we prepare for Christmas to be even more different than ever before? 

I do not want to be discouraging, I want us to prepare. I want us to have a better Christmas not a 2020 Christmas. 

There is a Latin saying, “praemonitus, praemunitus” which can be loosely translated as “forewarned is forearmed.”  In other words, if you have advance information, you can prepare yourself.

This is also a Biblical truth.  The Apostle Paul writes about it in Ephesians 6.  He says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

In other words, know that your struggle is not against the person who is tormenting you, but against the evil in this world.  When we prepare and when we use the tools (the armor of God) that He has given to us, we can stand ready and be protected from the things that might harm us. 

We do not have to have a “2020 Christmas.”  No doubt this Christmas will be different, but we can prepare and make it a better holiday than one could ever imagine. 

Friend, it is time for us to not give in to the masses who will say “it’s COVID, it’s 2020.”  The struggles that many of us had over Thanksgiving will be worse during Christmas if we do not take and use the very tools of God:  truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation the word of God and prayer. 

We need to prepare.  Our families, our lives, our spiritual health depend on it. 

Love you!!

Jill (just one of God’s kids)

+++++++

Ephesians 6:10-18 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.