Feast on which beast?

NR thanks
Thanks to Norman Rockwell for this amazing painting: Freedom From Want.

This is the time of year I really kind of wish I had a chest freezer down in the basement.  The 20+ pound turkeys are on mega-sale, and the fresh cranberries will only be around for a month or so.

No matter, as the traditional American Thanksgiving Day feast that so many of us are blessed to gorge ourselves on will, by God’s grace, come around again next year.  My sister-in-law is the usual head chef at our yearly family gathering.  (Personally, I prefer to stay in the background and help with the clean-up.)  The main thing with the traditional meal, however, is the fun and hilarity that can follow shortly after about the first ten minutes of feasting and before the tryptophan kicks in. Continue reading “Feast on which beast?”

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Somebody clean the ox

IMG_20150103_172451138My house is not a clean house. 

Well, I mean it’s hygienic.  We have indoor plumbing and clean water, which, for context and perspective, is more than can be said for most of the planet. 

It’s just that, as Bob says, “my girl is a messy girl”.  Truth.  I really had to acknowledge that when all the girls moved away and the empty nest didn’t really reorder itself.  Nope. 

Just too many books to read, too many posts too write, gardening, projects, and then there’s this thing called a full-time job.  And a husband.  (They take time, too.  Well worth it.  And he’s the clean one of the duo.)

So I find at least some solace in this:

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”

Thank you, King Solomon.

Not that I consider myself a strong ox, although Bob says that I “come from good stock”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.  (He also says, however, that I can “work him under the table”.)

I think it’s probably also easier in parenting, for instance, to take a DIY attitude rather than let the kids learn by doing, because of the potential/probable mess, which makes more work for yours truly (which may or may not get done, see above disclaimer.)

Extrapolate: it’s likewise easier (translate “safer”) to not care so much, try so much, dream so much, reach out so much in this otherwise hostile world we live in this side of eternity.  It gets harsh, uncomfortable….messy.

This citation will probably put me over my word count, but it’s worth the read:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt

I have not a clue whether or not good ole’ Teddy would have made it into the White House in today’s climate, but I sure do like this quote.  And if ever there was an ox in a Washington china shop (other than, of course, now) it was Teddy.

sweepSo while the laundry piles up in the stairwell and the dog hair in the kitchen, I’m off to a workday at the church.  The laundry will be there when I get home, and the dog hair never really goes away.

Proverbs 14: 4  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Ties that bind…or strangle.

IMG_20150103_172451138Several years ago, I read a study synopsis from a well respected site indicating that the most influential power in a child’s life was his parents. (Golly-gee-whiz, I wonder how many man-hours and tax dollars went into that one.)  Of course, ask any of the teachers in my middle school, and they could have told you that.  Better yet, I have a Book that pretty well spells it out from years of experience and Wisdom. 

Needless to say, there are some forces in the Universe that are inherently powerful, for good or evil, and parenthood is certainly at the top of that list.  It’s not that parents can take credit for all the choice their kids make (positive or negative), but their influence is still credibly incredible in some capacity throughout a person’s life. 

So it takes some real courage when a child, even an adult “child”, has to back up and re-evaluate patterns of thinking and doing that Continue reading “Ties that bind…or strangle.”

Devilish details

IMG_20150103_172451138I have to fix this. 

If those words don’t actually cross through my brain, they certainly are present in some form somewhere in my psyche. 

I figure part of that pseudo-neurosis may just be hard-wired from birth.  Certainly being a nurse hasn’t helped it along.  When people know you’re a nurse, whether in the hospital or out, whether at work or at home, you’re expected to diagnosis and treat.  Everything.  Appendix?  Just give her a dull spoon, she can take care of it. Continue reading “Devilish details”

Pass the salt, please

IMG_20150103_172451138I suppose Bob and I are at that age where we should be skimping on the sodium.  I’ve cooked low fat for so many years, no problem that.  But cooking low salt?? Man, that’s just plain HARD!  I know, whine, whine.  I guess we could just live on celery…

…until I found out that celery is a culprit for gout.  Then there’s all the fuss about sugar. 

My daughters try to tell us that flavor in food is actually not a bad thing.  Now, c’mon, in our defense we do have flavor, but really there’s just nothing quite like salt.  After all, there is one whole Continue reading “Pass the salt, please”

Hindsight is not always 20/20

IMG_20150103_172451138Somebody once said that hindsight is 20/20.  I don’t think so.  I think we can still be blind as a bat without some well-fitted spectacles in the form of serious contemplative wisdom. I don’t know much (at all) about physics—that’s my brother the Purdue engineer’s department.  But I’ve heard there’s something out there called Chaos Theory.  I like that term.  I sometimes feel I’m the embodiment of it.  No need to take classes on that one, just come read my autobiography, which I haven’t written yet since I’m still living it.  As I’ve said before, my life seemingly doesn’t come in “seasons”; it prefers to come in “spasms”. 

Of which I will spare you the details… Continue reading “Hindsight is not always 20/20”

Casting call: princesses and mermaids

IMG_20150103_172451138The most-darling-three-year-old-in-the-Universe, (my oldest granddaughter) is R-E-A-L-L-Y into princess stuff.  Like, it’s a struggle for her mom to get her to change out of one of her (many) princess outfits if they need to go public somewhere, like to the grocery store.

Graciemermaid (1)Of course, then she got a mermaid bathing suit, and it’s been rough getting her out of that one, as in this recent chat with her mom:

“Don’t ever make proclamations about how you’ll parent or what your child/ren will do.  That’s how you end up in a suburban bank with a 3-year-old mermaid perched on your hip.”

Ah, parenting…

But, along with Pooh Bear, mermaids, and tea parties, the princess things still rank pretty high on her radar for now.  And as with all things (grand)parenting, it give us great pleasure to follow those interests with her.  What will develop next? Continue reading “Casting call: princesses and mermaids”

A personalized present

IMG_20150103_172451138When it comes to summertime, my husband kind of makes out like a bandit.  To begin with, there’s Fathers’ Day in June, followed by his birthday in July, and (dare he forget) our anniversary in August.  So he can just stay in celebration mode all summer long, and keep Amazon pulled up on the computer 24/7 as the gifts roll in. 

Now, lest I make Bob sound like E. Scrooge sitting at his table fingering his coins, nothing could be further from the truth. But even with his generous spirit, I’m the one doing most of the Amazon gift giving, for my husband’s special moments, as well as for other family members. 

C’mon, ladies, you know how we do.  Check the list, buy the gift, wrap it, put Dad’s name on it, take it to the post, whatever.  No biggie.  Just gotta remember to tell him what “he” sent so when the phone call comes in… Continue reading “A personalized present”

Ayn Rand meets Moses

IMG_20150103_172451138Bob reads to me while I sit in my great-grandmother’s rocking chair and crochet, complete with the dog on the rug—seriously, we look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, only in blue jeans. 

Our most recent book (at this writing) is Ayn Rand’s tome entitled Atlas Shrugged.  Not for the faint of heart, mind you, and not something you’ll find in the religious section of Barnes and Noble, but with some very timely and important ideas on economic integrity, possibly more applicable now than when it was written.

In her novel, she refers to the conflict between the “producers”, those who put their hand to the plow and make stuff, and the “looters”, those who somehow feel entitled to live off the hard work of the producers without significant contribution of their own, simply because they feel they need it.  Of course, “need” is precariously defined to the destruction of those who produce.

Sound familiar?

My disclaimer: I’m not an economist.  Anyway, that’s not the thought I want to convey here. 

Context: the Hebrew nation is (still) about to step into the Promised Land, and Moses is (still) giving them last minute instructions.  Check this out:

 “When the LORD your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land,…”

I see a definite partnership with God here—the Almighty will destroy the enemy while at the same time the Hebrews are to clean house (“drive them out”, which is dirty work as well) and occupy.  The Promised Land was just that—land that was promised, but that didn’t mean they weren’t going to have to work for it.  And hard. Sweat, blood, sacrifice, mistakes, and try again.  (Read about it, it’s pretty dramatic, and makes me feel better about myself…)

Interestingly, when I compare that to my personal salvation, and that 21st century idea that turning my life over to Jesus is “all there is to it”, uh, I don’t think that’s what God has in mind:

“But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’”

…and:

“He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

…and:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

…to quote only a few.

Do we earn our salvation?  Of course not!  Do we partner with God to change into the likeness of all He purposes for us to be after He saves us—absolutely!  And it calls for blood, sweat, and tears, hard work, mistakes, and (oftentimes) self-forgiveness. 

historically-1093192_1920Because I don’t want to be a “looter” of God’s amazing grace, but a “producer” in His kingdom on Earth. 

Hand to plow, and keep it there.

Deuteronomy 12:29; James 2:18; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:2  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What color is your cheese? (and I can’t even find my parachute…)

Dawncartoon[1] (1)The past decade or so I’ve read a few books that have touched on the idea of following your heart, professional choices, changing careers, all that, (although, not the ones alluded to in the title, but their titles are rather clever.) Since I work in a middle school, I also see similar encouragements  for the kids.  I love that, because I think it’s just so very important for that age group to start evaluating and exploring and looking at life and the future in those terms, and how their choices now effect their horizons later. 

From where I stand, 58 years down my own path, I guess I should know…

I don’t recall ever having those kinds of tests or questions or books to read back in the 70’s.  The reason I chose nursing was (at least in part) because it looked exciting on TV and I thought Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy was pretty cool.  So there it is.  Such a well informed decision of a 17-year-old would surely have nothing but successful results.

Needless to say, the Continue reading “What color is your cheese? (and I can’t even find my parachute…)”