God Bless America

As our praise team was practicing patriotic songs for this Sunday’s service, I reflected on the powerful words of God Bless America: 

“God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above

From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home
God bless America, my home sweet home”

Even in the midst of so much turmoil, we need to remember to thank the Lord for those who went before us and sacrificed, to pave the way for the freedoms we have today.  We pray that today’s leaders would not make decisions based on their own gain, but for our country’s good.

Memorial Day. (Formerly Known As My Birthday!)

Today is the first Monday I am going to try to blog.  I intend to also post two of my radio shows weekly too that aired recently on KSIV, AM1320 FM95.9 in the greater St. Louis area. So many wonderful stories out there to cover. By subscribing at my web site, judyredlich.com, you can get an email notice each time something new arrives on my website.

Today is Memorial Day.  We commemorate those that serve and have served us in the  Armed Forces.  Let’s also include those who are first responders serving on the front lines to keep us safe.

My Dad was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army in World War II.  He received a purple heart for his bravery and quick thinking to protect others in his charge.  Think a moment about those you know who either served, or serve today and let’s thank the Lord for them.  

This week I will be posting two shows featuring heros in the military.  Watch for them. Check them out and share with others.  

Another aside about Memorial Day… Prior to 1971, my Birthday, May 30, always fell on Memorial Day.  Friends at school were always envious because I was always off on my Birthday.  It made me feel so honored to be born on such a special day.  But in 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, designating Memorial Day as the last Monday in May.

Have a good week.  Follow me on face book; send me an email if you’d like at jredlichspeaks [at] gmail [dot] com

A Gift of Presence

For Christmas most years, we’ve been choosing names among the five of us adults in our family.  We give one nice gift to the person whose name we drew and a small give to each of the others.

This past Christmas my son, David, had my name.  On Christmas day he informed me my gift would be coming later.

About a month and a half ago, he asked me to keep March 1st open.  I put it on my calendar and expected we would get together and he might help me enhance my web site, or some other projects around the house.  March 1 arrived, a beautiful Sunny day in St. Louis.  After church he picked me up and we drove about 15 minutes.  Then he parked his truck and we went inside.  I thought we were eating lunch somewhere.  We were greeted cheerfully by the hostess and ushered into a room with a long counter and other voices greeted us.  We each were handed a name tag and an apron. What was this all about, I wondered.  After thanking us for coming, our instructor said “today we will be making these recipes.” She handed out a packet and asked us all to wash our hands. 

Wow! A cooking class!  I had never been to one before and it was so much fun.  My son enjoys cooking, too, and when he lived at home, we did a lot of cooking together.

This was my Christmas surprise.  We stood side by side and not only learned a lot, but carried out tasks needed to complete the meal.  All 12 of us worked together with the instructor to create the casseroles and desserts.  When I needed a visual, either David or the instructor let me hold or showed me the technique.  When she explained how to get the papery outside off a clove of garlic, she let me borrow her cleaver to try the technique myself.  My job became to remove the outside of the clove, and chop it finely for one of the recipes.  I got plenty of practice as there were quite a few cloves for me to prepare.  David and I also cleaned and prepared mushrooms for one of the recipes.  Did you know that you aren’t supposed to wash a mushroom?  Instead wipe it clean with a paper towel.  That’s because mushrooms are porous and adsorb water like a sponge?    

An hour and a half later, we all sat down to our scrumptious meal and enjoyed every bite.  Since I could not read the paper copy of recipes, I asked for them electronically. By the time I got home, they were in my email. 

What a fun afternoon, and unexpected belated Christmas surprise.  Too bad my husband had to settle instead for left over spaghetti and home made meatballs for supper. 

Joni Eareckson Tada Shares Our Story

For the past ten years I’ve been on staff with Joni and Friends, an international ministry founded by Joni Eareckson Tada. It has been amazing to get to know Joni and hear her vision for reaching those with disabilities with the message of hope that Christ offers. Recently, Joni featured my seeing eye dog, Thelma, and I on her daily radio show. She shared a bit of our story and we were  so honored to hear it.

Picture of Joni and I

Take a listen on her blog! Or, if you’d like to read more adventures that Thelma and I have had, check out my blog. I will continue to write, as having a dog as my constant companion always brings unexpected surprises!

Going Back Through Yesteryear

This weekend I got a tub of old goodies out of the garage and set my sights on the dozens of floppy disks I found inside. Yes, floppy disks. For you millennials reading who have no clue what I’m talking about, floppy disks are 3 and a half inch square disks that hold 1.2 meg of data. They were used in the 90’s and preceded the CD (compact disk). For those of you in Generation Z who might be reading and wondering what a CD is… just Google it.

After pulling out my (seldom) handy external floppy disk drive, there were a few great “finds.” One was a paper my daughter had written in 2002, and the other a the book I started in 1996… 21 years ago. Wow! How had I forgotten all about it? And why hadn’t I finished it? My sister, Donna, edited it and gave me additional suggestions for improvement. Those two files made the cut, the rest didn’t.

Who knew I’d find those two gems when uncovering the box of junk in the garage. I felt a sense of accomplishment. Who knows, maybe this book might actually end up getting finished.

What are some old treasures you have laying around? I have phonograph records (in 3 sizes), reel to reel tapes, floppy disks, cassette tapes, mini disks, beta tapes, VCR tapes, CD’s, flash drives, floppy drives, etc… not to further date myself.

What criteria do you use in deciding what to save and what to discard? Leave a comment. Let me know your thoughts! Your creative strategy could help liberate those of us who “save” thinking our kids will appreciate all we leave behind. In reality, how many commercial sized dumpsters are rented to haul away one’s “fine treasures” when they are gone, leaving their kids too overwhelmed to sift through them?

Now Listen to Me on Bott Radio Network!

How do you feel when you are asked to do something that reflects one of your life’s passions? Does excitement well up within you? Does it confirm in you that you’re making a difference? Does it cause everything else in your life to become a little more bearable? That’s what happens to me. I can climb a higher mountain, go the extra mile.

When I was recently asked to be part of the KSIV Encounter radio show team, I knew the Lord was opening a door specifically for me. Bringing people thought provoking content, and helping folks tell their stories exhilarates me.

Listen to our Encounter team every weekday at 1:30 p.m. on KSIV Radio 1320 AM in the metro St. Louis area.

Listen online for interviews that will make you think, stories that will inspire and uplift you, and current events shared from a Christian World View. For questions about Encounter hosts or show topics, call KSIV Radio, 314-961-1320. Subscribe to my web site to get notified when new interviews are posted.

What is YOUR passion, and what are you doing to pursue your dreams?

LinkedIn might be great for some, but for most Screen Reader users – we feel LinkedOut!

Tonight a friend came over to update my LinkedIn summary. I tried using my screen reader, Jaws for Windows, but just couldn’t get everything in the right places. So my heroic friend, who designs sites for a living, began entering the data for me–with Jaws turned on. It took us an hour to do a fifteen minute project. She said “This site Is so flaky, no wonder you don’t update or post new things here.” It seems every time we conquer the quirks of this site, they change it. I Do know how to accept new friends on LinkedIn, but don’t know how to reply to any messages up there for me. So, if you are one of my LinkedIn friends, just email me at jredlichspeaks [at] att [dot] net instead. I’d love to hear from you. Contact me, too, if you’d like to be part of a petition drive aimed at sites who don’t have accessibility as one of their priorities.

Is it my brain, or the computer!

I don’t know about you, but sometime when I sit here to write something in my blog, I either forget my password to get into my web site, or how to get to the right place to add a new entry. So, by the time I get here, I’ve forgotten not only what I’ve wanted to write about, but the excitement about communicating here has faded. So, I ask myself, is it my brain, or my computer playing tricks on me? After polling others, I’ve come to the realization that no one knows everything about most computer software they use except maybe the program’s creator. We learn, especially if we are 50 or more, just what we must learn to keep afloat. Then when the software is upgraded or we must get a new computer, we tear our hair out because of the steepness of the learning curve. If we’re not careful, we want to take a hammer to the computer and forget we ever learned how to use it. How do YOU feel?

Now, add another component to this scenario. Some of us must use adaptive software to enable us to communicate with or operate our computer. I, for example, use a software program that reads my computer screen aloud to me. That software must be able to work hand in hand with each program I am running for me to accomplish each computer task. This means I must learn the commands of both my screen reader plus the commands to run a particular piece of software. I, and other blind persons, use key strokes rather than the mouse. If software creators don’t build their software, or web sites according to accessibility standards, the screen reader can not process the material properly. If you do a google search on “Where can I find accessibility standards?” not only do they show up for software developers but also web site developers. Some web site developers are trying very hard to make their sites accessible, and so are some software companies. For those of us who use adaptive technology, we really appreciate you for going the extra mile to accommodate us. I fear the only way developers will take the needs of persons with disabilities seriously and make “accommodation” a “must” is if companies refuse to buy their software, or patronize their web sites.

So, daily, my computer and I diligently work together to do our best, and with excellence. When I get frustrated because I just can’t figure something out, I pray and reassure myself that countless others are also asking themselves “Is it my brain playing tricks on me, or is it my computer?” Your thoughts?

Don’t Let Those Pesky Little Varmints Ruin Your Peace

I was putting the finishing touches on preparing for “the big day”, when the rod I had carefully been placing my clothing after it came out of the dryer bent under the weight of the clothing. I tried to spread it out evenly, but I guess the weight of this project had gotten to the rod, just like it was trying to get to me. Could I keep my peace till tomorrow,” I wondered, as my husband came to my rescue to help pick up my heap of clothing. They used to hang so nicely in my closet, matched, clean, and ready to wear. Now… well, at least I had followed instructions and should never have to do this again unless…..

It all started about 3 months ago. My husband and I began waking up with several new bites per night. Often, they were in clusters, but sometimes here and there. My husband claimed they were chiggers. He thought he was getting them from working out in the yard. But, chigger bites, I argued, are different. The bites continued and new ones only seemed to appear in the morning.

I mentioned to a friend about the rash I always seemed to have and she asked me a few questions. Bed bugs? Could it be? Where did we get them? The internet research began. Our startling findings showed these pesky, persistent critters were almost eradicated in the 1920’s because the chemical DDT was used to kill them. Then laws passed to no longer allow the use of pesticides containing DDT. Recently, within the past decade, these varmints have invaded bedrooms with a vengeance. People travel more, and so do the bed bugs. They could be your companions for the rest of your life if you don’t Aggressively treat them.

We read articles; read horror stories of other home invasions. We got bids from exterminators, and their treatment options varied. We heard more stories… They live in library books, too? Someone has them in their home and comes to work at a nursing home as a care giver.. He or she is around a patient in bed and… you guessed it. That house can also be a hiding place for those insidious little demons. They seem to come out between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and they are drawn to the sleeping person because of the carbon dioxide they breathe. They attach themselves to the box spring and live in the mattress. They also crawl along the bed frame, and sometimes even up the bedroom wall. If you move to another room, because of the bites… they are your travelling companion. Wherever you sleep, they find you. They are no respecter of persons, and it matters not to them whether they reside in the poorest of poor dwellings, or in a million dollar mansion. We think ours might have come in a basket of Braille books given to me when someone moved. Or, my husband could have unknowingly taken one or more of them home with him from the homeless shelter where he works.

Wherever they came from… Tomorrow is our Big Day. Since we caught the infestation early, we are having one room treated, and the whole house treated around the base boards. We have to leave for 24 hours. During that time they will heat our bedroom to 140 degrees. They will do whatever other things they do and prayerfully the bugs will flee… for good.

We’ll keep you posted. We’ll also offer you some other tips, insights and great web sites to browse, about these invaders so you, too, can be on the look out.

**Feel free to share our story with friends, especially if you suspect they are sheltering bed bugs unaware.

You wouldn’t want them to share them with others—now would you?