Thoughts

Bug Repellent

What’s Going On?

At the end of last week, I began to get a large number of emails from WordPress. Apparently my website login was under attack. I could not believe how many attempts were being made to sneak into my website! I need some bug repellent.

I am not sure why anyone would care much about this site. I do not sell anything, nor do I collect confidential information of any kind.

What Can I Do?

I started looking for a WordPress plugin that would make my site harder to hack. One promising candidate is apparently no longer being updated and may not be compatible with my (up-to-date) version of WordPress. That was disappointing.

Two things I did end up doing may help. First, I made the settings on my “Limit Login Attempts” plugin much more stringent. Second, I strengthened my administrator login password. I certainly hope that the brute force attacks will be reduced.

An Interesting Year

It has been a long time since I have posted anything here on my blog. It has been an interesting year: three felines have departed our household, and I have learned about something called the “Romance Scam.”

Feline Losses

Cara Mia

Last July, my oldest cat, Cara Mia, lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. Participation in a study with an experimental medicine extended her life in an almost miraculous way. Cara Mia was a beautiful calico with a loud and insistent voice. She was not thrilled with my administration of her medication, but she was—for the most part—happy with her circumstances. At the end, she began to have breathing difficulties and enlarged tumors on her belly, so I said goodbye.

 

Gobblin’ Goopuss

Later in the year I noticed that Gobblin’ Goopuss had lost some weight and his appetite. Melissa took him to the vet, who did bloodwork. I was anticipating that with his thyroid under better control, the tests would reveal some underlying kidney disease. When I took him back in for the test results, I got a very unpleasant surprise: markers in his blood indicated the presence of cancer, probably lymphoma. I reluctantly bid farewell to a second cat on December 2018.

 

Charlie Chompers

My mom’s male kitty, Charlie, was the family favorite. When Jim and I brought him home for Mom back in 2003, Charlie—then about a year old—quickly charmed his way into our hearts. He had the most distinctive set of facial expressions I had ever seen on a cat. He developed a habit of coming out to Mom’s kitchen at dinner time and meowing to be allowed downstairs to visit my cats. Until a year ago, he would return home at bedtime.

Charlie had a number of health problems. He had idiopathic cystitis, an irregular heartbeat (which changed from test to test), and abnormal kidneys. He also had a nasty tendency to barber his belly. A tiny daily dose of generic Prozac took care of the barbering. He also got compounded budesonide and azithromycin cream daily. For a long time he did well on this regimen.

In his old age, Charlie was not fond of change. When Melissa and her cat, Choco Latte, moved in a year ago, he was not happy, and his idiopathic cystitis got worse. Mom and I decided that he would be allowed to go wherever he wanted to go in the house. He spent more and more time downstairs with me and my kitties.

Charlie was still doing quite well in January 2019, when he saw his veterinary internist, Dr. E. In the next month, however, he lost nearly one pound as his appetite lessened. On February 28, I took Charlie and Mitchner to the local vet. Both of them had blood tests. Charlie’s revealed that his kidney values were very elevated. Since I could not get him to eat anything by then, the family decided it was time to say goodbye. Charlie crossed the Rainbow Bridge on March 3.

 

False Love

In October I was contacted on Twitter by someone who wanted to chat with me. The chat moved to Google Hangouts—which I had never heard of before—and my “chat buddy” quickly professed his love for me. It was not long before I discovered that the name and location he gave me were not genuine. The pictures of himself he shared with me belonged to someone else. His name, age, and location changed over time. Worst of all, he had the chutzpah to request money for various purposes.

I would like to warn anyone who reads my blog to be careful with online contacts. Not everyone is who he or she claims to be. Both men and women can be targeted by romance scammers. Here are several websites that provide information on romance scams and what to do about them.

Many of these scams originate in other countries. Nigeria, for instance, is famous for a variety of types of online scams. It is a good idea to do a background check on anyone you meet online, whether it is on a dating site or other social media site. The requests for money began to make me fearful of reprisals when I refused to comply, especially since I had no idea where this person was, so I made a report to my local police. They were able to assure me that I was likely in no danger. I am certainly glad that I took these steps to discover the truth and protect myself!

Final Look

As you can see, it has been an interesting year for me. It is my hope that the coming year will be personally and professionally fulfilling, but not quite so “exciting.”

The Ideal Job

What is the ideal job? As one who continues to work although she has passed the age at which the typical American retires, I have given a good deal of thought about this matter. My current position provides me with a great deal of personal satisfaction and enjoyment, more than any other I have ever had. So, what makes a job ideal for me?

Education & Strengths

For me, the ideal job is one for which I have the requisite education. It is important to me that I have the knowledge necessary to excel in the tasks that my job requires. I can still remember nightmares during my years of public school teaching in which I would be assigned to teach classes in subjects about which I knew little or nothing.

It would be accurate to describe me as a perpetual student. I love learning! My choice of subjects has been eclectic:

  • Major in history, minors in music and education for my A.B. from Oberlin College
  • Secondary social studies education for my M.Ed. from Wayne State University
  • Curriculum development for my Ph.D. in Education from Wayne State University
  • Computer programming and desktop publishing courses at Macomb Community College
  • Biblical Greek and Hebrew, biblical studies, and church history courses at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Classes in Microsoft Office programs, PhotoShop, PageMaker, Quicken, and HTML at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers

It is also important that my interests and preferences are consistent with the requirements and duties of a job. One often hears of individuals who have what would normally be considered “good jobs” but are deeply unhappy because their temperament and interests do not match up with the requirements of the job. To love what one does is necessary for a job to be considered ideal.

Experience & Skills

The ideal job also is one in which I can employ the expertise and skills I have developed through my previous work experience. At each position that I have held during the more than fifty years since my first job as band librarian at age sixteen, I have gained valuable experience and learned important skills. My employment history evidences a great deal of diversity:

  • High school band librarian
  • Hospital dietary aide
  • College/university research assistant to professors of government and statistics
  • Statistics tutor/consultant
  • Secondary Social Studies teacher
  • Computer programmer and flowchart designer
  • Bible institute instructor
  • Church volunteer/office assistant
  • Professional technician doing billing, budgeting, and photo editing

The ideal job would allow me to use as many of my skills as possible for the glory of God.

Environment & Style

Recently I have come to realize that the work environment and style of leadership in the work setting are significant factors in determining how close to ideal a job is. As a Christian laboring in a Christian workplace, I would expect to find a microcosm of the Body of Christ, as the Apostle Paul describes it in Romans 12:3–5 and 1 Corinthians 12:12–27. Every member is valuable and contributes something necessary and vital to the functioning of the body; even those of lowest status (“more feeble”) are both necessary and worthy of honor.

Similarly, in an ideal work environment all who labor there view one another as valued and essential parts of the team. Although each one has a different role to play, with specific duties and responsibilities, each is esteemed and appreciated for the contributions he or she makes to the overall functioning of the organization. Status differences exist, but are not emphasized. No one disparages or ignores another’s role.

As Head of the Body, Christ is our model for the Christian style of leadership. Scripture portrays Him as Shepherd, Servant, and Savior. Of course, no human boss can fulfill the role of Savior; that position is Christ’s alone. A Christian leader can, however, model himself or herself after the shepherd and the servant.

A shepherd leads his flock with strength, love, and compassion. He provides for, protects, and is willing to sacrifice himself for those under his care. We can see these characteristics of the shepherd in Psalm 23:1–6, Isaiah 40:10–12, and John 10:1–15.

The servant leader ministers without selfishness or self-aggrandizement. He is cognizant of the importance of his leadership role, but approaches his duties with humility and recognizes that God has called him to his position (Philippians 2:3–8). He models humble, self-sacrificing service to those under his authority in order that they will likewise serve one another (John 13:3–17).

Endowment & Service

Ultimately, it is God who guides the Christian to the place He would have him serve. No matter what field of employment one enters, his job offers the opportunity to meet people’s needs, employ his God-given gifts and the skills he has acquired, and express (or explore) his deepest desires. For me, it is important to feel that God has placed me where He wants me and that I am able to serve Him and others through my job.

Evaluation & Summary

In light of all this, have I ever found the ideal job?  I would have to say, “No, but my current job comes as close as is possible in a fallen world.”

Anniversary Post

It has been exactly one year (to the day) since I last posted to this blog.  Happy Anniversary to SweetMewsic’s Musings!

The last year has, for the most part, been a happy and productive one. There are two exceptions to this worth noting:

  • My handsome orange polydactyl, Pawscar Awesome, had to have his right eye removed in June 2016. The pressure went out of control, and he had no vision remaining. A laboratory examination could find no explanation for the eye problem, which made me glad I had not agreed to a risky procedure to remove and analyze fluid from his eye that had been recommended some time ago. In the next few months we struggled to keep the pressure in his left eye in the normal range and cope with the diabetes which resulted from long-term steroid use for his eyes. In November, Pawscar’s left eye experienced the same rising pressure, and it seemed that I might soon have a blind kitty. Then I noticed the feel of “bubbles” under the skin of his hindquarters. I took Pawscar to Dr. R., who was able to remove some fluid under the skin for analysis. By the next day Pawscar was clearly miserable, unable to use his litterbox without pain. I made the difficult decision to let him cross the Rainbow Bridge on November 16, 2016. It was only when I returned home that evening and got a Facebook notification email that I realized that November 16, 2012, was Pawscar’s “birthday”: the day I first met him at Gasow Veterinary Clinic and determined to adopt him.
  • My husband, Jim, injured his back in the summer. One morning in late August he awoke and was not able to get out of bed, even with my help. He had a fracture in his back, which was repaired surgically. The surgeon said he could come home, but our internist wanted to wait a day. By then, Jim was weak and not eating well. So began five months during which Jim alternated between a nursing home (with rehab at first) and the hospital. Finally, on January 20, 2017, Jim passed away. I am now a widow, like my mother and my sister Judy.