Archives for posts with tag: webcam

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States and I have much for which to be thankful. I am thankful for (not necessarily in this order):

– comfortable shoes that fit

– one shoulder that does not hurt

– the Atlanta Braves baseball team (but I am not happy with the front office for recent rules violations).

-my wife of 49 years (in 35 Days)

– my three children and their spouses

– my church where my faith is nurtured by excellent preaching, exceptional music, and friends that are invaluable

– good health (for a man my age)

– the rhythmic sound of ocean waves crashing onto the shore

– civil discourse where mutual respect is practiced

– the privilege of living in the United States

– the Bible and the guidance it gives

– opportunities to travel and experience the wonderful world and it’s diverse peoples and cultures

– my bed and pillow when I return from traveling

– opportunities to serve others

-blues singers like Etta James, B.B. King, Diana Krall, Muddy Waters

– my extraordinary grandchildren (a biased opinion but true nonetheless)

– ice cream

– the laughter of children

– people who are smarter than me who don’t make me feel like an idiot

– Skype webcam

– air conditioning (I live in the Deep South)

– people who love me in spite of myself

– the Comics- especially Peanuts, Pearls Before Swine, Get Fuzzy, Baby Blues, Zits, and Garfield

– preachers, politicians, and other public servants who know it is not about them

– the Church (with all it faults)

– teachers

– the diverse community in which I live

– good food and good friends

– quiet time

– coffee in the morning

– Alex Trebeck and Jeopardy

– hats that protect my bald head from the cold and sun

– neighbors who look out for each other

– soul (southern) food and cornbread

– growing older without getting “old”

– folks who are not like me who like me

– God who loves and forgives me

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday

I celebrated another birthday last week. No big deal. But it is a big deal. Every year is a gift from God and I am grateful.

There was no party (didn’t want one) but there were a lot of birthday greetings from friends and family. A good morning hug and kiss from my wife of almost 49 years. Phone call from my daughter in California. A webcam with my oldest son and his family (especially the grandchildren). A trip to Mercedes Benz Stadium for an Atlanta United soccer match with my younger son. Dinner, compliments of a very dear friend. Nothing is better than to know that you are loved and appreciated by the folks who are closest to you.

family and friends

I remember years ago when one of my nephews asked me how old I was. “I replied that I was thirty. By the look on his teenaged face I must have appeared to be ancient. 30! His expression indicated that he thought I was surely on my last leg. He probably could not imagine that I would still be alive 44 years later.

I can remember when I thought persons my age were “old.” I still catch myself referring to people just a few years my senior as “old” or “elderly” although I don’t feel that way about myself. You are probably thinking, “He is out of touch with reality,” and you may be right.

There are many benefits to aging especially if one enjoys good health, and I do. I am alright with getting older. I just don’t ever want to get “old.” In thinking about the aging process I came across the following “Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess” by Margot Benary-Isbert.

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so. Amen.” (Margot Benary-Isbert)

Life is good but another birthday brings with it the realization that life on earth is not forever and I am reminded of the psalmist words: “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a wise heart.” (Psalm 90:12)

Jamie Jenkins

 

As I write this I have been without television, internet, and phone service for 7 days. No Braves baseball, no webcam with the grandkids, no email, and no phone calls. Communication with the outside world has been cut off- unless I leave the house and go somewhere that has wifi.

apple, coffee, computer

It is a long story but the simple explanation is that a week ago we experienced a power surge at our home that disrupted normal life. The culprit was an underground device that regulates the voltage coming into the house. Light bulbs broke, one light fixture exploded, the oven quit working, two air condition units ceased cooling, my computer crashed, the internet router died, the coffee maker is dead, and a few other minor problems occurred.

No Power Words Electrical Cord Outlet Electricity Outage Stock Image

The internet service provider is supposed to be here tomorrow- the fourth one that has paid us a visit. I am hopeful that everything will be back to normal by the time you read this. But who knows.

This has been a frustrating week. Yeah! It has been a stark reminder of how much we/I depend on technology to be able to stay in touch and how helpless I feel when the devices fail.

Pen and paper

I don’t use pen and paper as often as I did in the “olden days.” So simple things like preparing a Sunday School lesson, a funeral eulogy, and writing a letter seemed almost impossible. My research for a series of upcoming classes was locked away in the metal box that houses the hard drive of my computer. It was complicated to make an appointment for service personnel to assess the damage and make repairs.

Concept Or Conceptual Abstract Word Cloud Stock Image

Under the best of circumstances communication is complicated. Words have different meanings to different people and at different times. Tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, environment, and a myriad of other factors make it difficult for accurate information and feelings to be shared. Effective communication is extremely important and incredibly complex.

Talk to God though short little prayers

I am glad that communication with God is not that hard. You don’t need any devices. Sometimes not even words (Romans 8:26). Our thoughts and intentions are known by God (Acts 15:8) so we don’t have to learn any technique or a new language. We can have confidence that our prayers are heard and, when offered with faith, are answered (Matthew 21:22).

 

The lyrics of an old gospel song has a simple message about how to communicate with God. “Jesus on the mainline, tell him what you want” suggests that the Lord is “on call” and you could just relay your needs to Him. Simple, huh?

Black Rotary Telephone at Top of Gray Surface

Although all our conversations with God should not be about “what we want,” talking to God is that easy. We can use our everyday vocabulary because God understands our language.

However we do it, we need to stay in touch with each other and with God.

Jamie Jenkins

 

Change 4

I don’t like change.

I am comfortable starting my day pretty much the same way all the time, or at least most of the time. An occasional break from routine is good but before long I want things to get back to normal.

I know that change is sometimes necessary but most of the time I resist it. Once you find a way to do something, why change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why mess with something that works? That is the way I am wired, but I realize that my way of doing things is not always the best or only way.

John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I understand that. It’s just that I am comfortable with most things the way they are. At the same time I understand that progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

 

Change

Although I don’t like change, I am willing, with some reluctance, to alter my routine and try something new. After a while I can even embrace change but it is not easy.

I mentioned in one of my previous writings that I recently acquired an electric vehicle (EV). It is quite different from an internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile in many ways. I was a bit skeptical at first but after almost three months and 2400 miles (with no gasoline) I have been converted. I have come to really enjoy the quiet and comfortable ride. And contrary to what many people think, it is a real car with plenty “get-up-and-go.” I have also contributed to better air quality because it has no emissions.

For several years I have paid my bills electronically through the bank’s online bill pay service. No stamps or envelopes to buy. No checkbook. Beginning in 2015 my church pledge will be charged to my credit card.

In 1925 Mayor Walter A. Sims leased an abandoned auto racetrack and committed the city of Atlanta to develop it into an airfield. The 287 acres of land was renamed Candler Field after its former owner’s family, including Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler. That was the first step that led to Atlanta becoming a major transportation hub. Today it is home to the world’s busiest airport.

Change 3

I am grateful for the ability to hop on an airplane in Atlanta and go just about anywhere in the world. How else could I visit my grandchildren, and their parents, on the other side of the globe.

My son reminds me that I once said we would never have a cell phone. Why did we need to be able to talk on the phone from anywhere at anytime. Later I succumbed to the advanced technology and purchased my first “bag phone” that was about the size of a small briefcase. And today I won’t leave home without my “smart phone” in my pocket.

Although most of my retail purchases are transacted in a brick and mortar business, I have done my share of shopping online. In fact, with the last four cars purchased I went to the automobile dealer’s showroom only to sign paperwork and pick up the vehicle. Research and negotiation was all done online or by phone.

Email, text messaging and webcams which are a regular part of my routine could hardly have been imagined when I bought my first computer, a Commodore 64. The first video game was Pong, a far cry for the realistic graphics in today’s video arcade.

Just last night I had a conversation with my thirty-two year old son about Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Crackle. If I understood it , I would explain it to you. The digital age has transformed the way we work, play, and relate to each other. It offers far more than I can comprehend.

With all the advances in technology and the changes they bring to our everyday life, I am grateful for the words of the Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada: “We are not alone, we live in God’s world. We believe in God who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit. We trust in God.”

We are not alone. We live in God’s world. We trust in God the Creator and Sustainer of all that is good.

Change. Scary. Hopeful.

Jamie Jenkins