A Sound Solution

Do you notice how loud the music is getting in stores, restaurants, and other public places ? In addition to an increase in volume, the messages blasted by the ungodly music are becoming increasingly vulgar and vile. Is this a form of persecution of Christians, do you think ?

I was becoming super annoyed by the unwanted music we are being forced to listen to in public places, and I reached my ‘last straw ‘ moment in the waiting room of a medical professional.

Excessively loud music was blaring, and a country crooner was sending the message that he really loved his girlfriend, but he also loved his wife, and he didn’t know how to tell his wife that he as leaving her. Yikes !

Thereafter I visited an Audiologist, and told her about my dilemma. She recommended that I have a pair of musician’s filters hearing protection made.

These need to be custom fitted by an Audiologist, since everyone’s ears are unique.

Two weeks later, the filters, made by the Swiss Manufacturer Bernafon arrived, in a discreet carrying case. They have helped me to be more uncomfortable in too loud environments when I can’t escape them.

In addition, I was assertive in telling the physician I visited that the office music was too loud. He immediately told his staff to turn down the volume.

Hearing loss in the general population is increasing, and younger people are experiencing loss of hearing, often as a result of listening to music that is too loud.

I now have a decibel meter app on my telephone, and I have been checking the volume in public places. At 80 decibels or higher, the volume of sound in an environment is potentially damaging.

We have a responsibility to speak up when unwanted music is played at excessive sound levels.

This experience reminded me of Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous prayer : Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Yes, or No ?

What does your church say about alcohol consumption for Christians ? Our Baptist pastor taught us that a single drop of alcohol should never pass a Christian’s lips.

I was shocked when I saw that , in the Catholic Church, people receiving communion have the option of drinking communion wine in many churches. My son, trained in law enforcement, has told me that people leaving Mass after drinking wine , should not be surprised if a police officer would question smelling alcohol on their breath, if they happen to be stopped.

The Bible does not condemn drinking alcohol, but warns against the evil of drunkenness. I have been to Cana, (Kana, Israel ), where Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water into wine. A church is built there now, and six stone jugs, with purple stains on them, are on display above the altar.

Since moving to rural Newfoundland, I have witnessed the devastating effects of alcoholism, with its dire consequences of poverty, violent behaviour, broken homes and people’s involvement with the criminal justice system.

Therefore, I choose not to drink alcohol. My Baptist pastor was right.

Spiritual warfare is increasing these days, and I Peter 5:8 warns us of the importance of staying sober, since “the old enemy” is always on the prowl.

Pictured is Welch’s Grape Juice, one of my favourite beverages.

Holy Lip Conditioner

Can something like lip conditioner be considered a

‘ holy ‘ item ? It can, if the person using it desires to grow in holiness by using it.

I apply a lip conditioner by the brand ‘Caudalie ‘ every morning during my morning devotions. This conditioner, from Paris, is made of 99% natural ingredients, including grape seed extract. As I do this, I pray the words of Psalm 141:3 -‘ Set a guard over my mouth…’.

I have been doing this since reading, a while ago, that on the day of judgment, we will have to give an account to the Lord of every careless word we have spoken. (Matthew 12: 36 ). This made me blush with embarrassment, as I thought of all the idle words I have already spoken !

Yes, of course the Lord forgives us, and as we seek to draw continually closer to God by leading lives that are pleasing to Him, we becoming increasingly conscious of not wanting to offend God, and our neighbour, through the words we speak.

I am a “hands on”, tactile learner, and applying the lip conditioner helps me to remember to speak words that are worthy of a Christian.

May the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. ( Psalm 19:14 )

Saved By a Pen

Have you ever had a frantic experience at a restaurant ?

For months, we had been anticipating dining at a new Italian restaurant, in St. John’s, the oldest city in North America. It had been receiving rave reviews on the internet !

Every six weeks, or so, we leave our charming, laid-back fishing town, to partake in the joys of city living.

We arrived at the restaurant at 1:30, to avoid the lunch rush. The restaurant was somewhat noisy, but we were hungry, and specifically wanted to try the authentic Neopolitan cooking, so we came in, and gave our food request to the kind server.

The restaurant’s noise level increased quickly. Music was blasting loudly, and people, trying to make conversation, spoke even louder. It was evident that conversation was going going to be impossible in this noisy place !

Making the best of this dining chaos, I took my pen from my purse, and a piece of paper. The pen was a gift from my husband in 1990.

Using the pen and paper, we communicated to each other by writing notes to each other. It was fun, and romantic too. The act of writing calmed us, and made us laugh too.

Our food arrived, and it was delicious as promised. However, we ate much more quickly than we usually do, because we wanted to escape the noise.

Restaurants will sometimes purposely play loud music to encourage diners to eat and drink, and not linger, thus making room for more diners, and more profits.

However, working in such a noisy environment can be harmful to the hearing health of the restaurant staff. Decibel levels above 85 in the environment, for a prolonged time, can damage hearing. It is possible to download decibel meters onto iPhones, to check sound levels we are exposed to in an increasingly noisy world. We are all responsible to protect our precious sense of hearing.

I contacted the management of the restaurant to express my concern about noise levels. I may, or I may not ‘hear ‘ from them.

Let us thank God for our sense of physical , and spiritual hearing. May we increasingly become more sensitive to the quiet whispering of the Holy Spirit, and the cries of our brothers and sisters for help.

Shopping, Wind, and a Cap

Are there some people that you usually meet in the same place ? I often meet Wendy at the neighbourhood grocery store. She and I are ‘earlybird’ shoppers. The store is quiet in the mornings. Food shopping requires serious concentration.

I saw Wendy last Friday, and she greeted me in her charming NL accent and said :

‘It’s a windy old day ! I don’t likes da wind, maid.’

( women often call each other ‘maid’).

We talked briefly, and on my walk home, I thought of the speech I could have given about the importance of wind.

It was wind that allowed civilization to expand. Vikings came to Newfoundland on wind power, as did John Cabot, who discovered our tiny town in 1497. He sailed all the way from Venice, Italy.

I could have explained that without wind, there would be drought, and everything would dry up.

When water evaporates from the ocean, it forms clouds. Wind is necessary to push the clouds over the land, where they deposit rain to make food grow.

However, grocery stores are not the place to make speeches about the importance of wind !

On windy days, I bundle up, and wear my cap that belonged to my beloved father-in-law. It is cozy, and keeps my hair from flying around.

Lord, help us to appreciate the unique beauty of every day. Each day is a day that you have made. Help us to rejoice and be glad in it !

Uproar

Do you sometimes get up early in the morning to pray ? Sometimes I find myself in my prayer chair perched high above the North Atlantic , praying for something specific. Our house, geographically, is the most easterly in North America.

It is just starting to get light now, and I am praying for Father Gabriel, who has recently arrived from Ghana, and who will be celebrating Mass with us this morning.

I also ask God to bring healing to Catholic Christians.

Recent church scandals, and last month’s events at the Amazon Synod in Rome, have left the Catholic Church in a state of uproar. A great purification process is taking place, as it needs to.

I ask gently for mercy, that people, including fellow Christians, not hurl insults at a billion Catholics, saying that we are not ‘saved’, and are following a ‘false religion’.

The world is watching us, beloved. Will we be lights in the darkness, or will we cause division ?

Eternal Father, for the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

Enticed

Have you ever done something you know you shouldn’t do, but you did it anyway ?

Last night my husband enticed me to enter his T.V. watching room, (man cave), to watch a movie. He knows I don’t watch television, but he lured me in by saying that this was a funny movie. He knows how much I love to laugh !

And so I entered this dark room, with its zebra print carpet, and sat down on the leather couch to watch the funny movie, and I became fascinated with how clear the images on the ‘Smart’ T.V. were.

Initially, the movie provided a few chuckles, but then, as the film progressed, I reluctantly watched scenes of violence, gambling, alcohol consumption, racism, homophobia and lying. I am unsure why I didn’t get up and leave. Perhaps it was the comfortable couch.

This was no comedy ! However, it did remind me why I avoid television watching.

I have a plan, however. The next time my husband invites me to watch a ‘funny ‘ movie, I will politely decline.

Then I will make a delicious cup of Laura Secord hot chocolate, and retreat to my prayer and blogging room.

I will enjoy the tiny lights I have placed there, sip my delicious drink, and listen to the ocean waves.

Dear Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.