Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Based on the number of times we are told to be thankful in the Bible, I can only surmise that it is not a natural part of our makeup. 

Our parents taught us to say "Please" and "Thank you" until it became a habit and part of our automatic response to certain situations.  It is good to teach children to be polite and kind.  It is so easy for nice treatment to go by the wayside amid frustrations.

To actually be thankful is different.  So often I take my life and all its benefits for granted,  How easy it is to focus on what I don't have than to remember how blessed I am.  It is hard for us (by this I mean me) to bring a thankful heart to all circumstances.  "in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

And how familiar is this word of Jesus "and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."  Even communion, no, especially communion is a time for giving thanks.

So on this day set aside for remembering our blessings, give thanks to the One who gave us life.  One of my favorite hymns says it best.

For The Beauty of The Earth

by Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1864

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour,
Of the day and of the night;
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind's delight;
For the mystic harmony,
Linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child;
Friends on Earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thy church that evermore,
Lifteth holy hands above;
Off'ring up on ev'ry shore,
Her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For the martyrs crown of light,
For Thy prophets eagle eye,
For Thy bold confessors might,
For the lips of infancy.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thy virgins robes of snow,
For Thy maiden mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
Jesu, Victim undefiled.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thyself, best Gift Divine,
To the world so freely given,
For that great, great love of Thine,
Peace on earth and joy in heaven.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

May your Thanksgiving Day be blessed with the recognition and appreciation of all you are and all God made you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas Movies

Every year at this time the Hallmark Channel runs back-to-back-to-back Christmas movies, usually on a Sunday.  I really like these sappy movies, but with few exceptions they really aren't movies about Christmas, they are heart-warming stories set in the Christmas season.  Actually the movie I love to see every year is "A Christmas Carol". 

There are so many movie versions of it that I can watch a different one each night and not run out of versions for a month!  I just looked it up, there are actually 32 adaptations of the Dicken's story! The Muppets, Mr. Magoo, Blackadder, Bugs Bunny, the Flintstones and Barbie all have their own versions.  While those are silly or fun, my favorites are the serious treatments.

Let's see, my favorite Scrooge actors are Patrick Stewart and George C. Scott.  I think they were the best.  I am looking forward to seeing both those versions in the coming weeks.  Of course, "It's a Wonderful Life"  and "A Christmas Story" (you'll shoot your eye out) are must see movies too. 

I just find it sad that the REAL Christmas story is best told in "A Charlie Brown Christmas", when Linus recites the Bible story of Jesus birth from the gospel of Luke.

He says, "'8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"   "......That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Yes, that IS what Christmas is all about.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mongoose and Puzzles

When I was young, from 5-8 years old. my Grandma and Aunt Elda regularly received visits from Willard and Nita.  I think they may have been related to us, but I'm not sure.  Regardless, they were so interesting.  They traveled all over and at that time, it was not a typical thing to do.  They always brought pictures of their trips, stories and tricks.

Yes, tricks.  Willard always had tricks and puzzles and I was his favorite target.  Often the puzzles were metal shapes.  He would hand me two entwined shapes for instance, and tell me to figure out the trick to get them apart.  I'd finally get them apart, and Willard would tell me to put them back together.   After several visits, I really got pretty good at figuring it out.

Heart puzzle

One visit, he asked if I ever saw a mongoose.  Well, he was a trickster so I thought it was like a snipe - non existent.  I actually ran and got the encyclopedia, looked it up and there was a picture of a mongoose.  It existed!  So did I want to see it?  Of course!

Willard brings in a wood box.  The box is about 12" x 12" x 24" with a carry handle on the top. You can't quite see inside even though there is a mesh grate, like a window on one 12 x 12" end.  He warns me not to get too close because these are really dangerous animals.  In fact they can kill snakes!  That's why he has it, because they have a snake on their property in Illinois and he knows the mongoose will get it.  He goes on to describe the battles mongoose have with cobras in the far east.  They are so fast, the cobras can't strike them. (By the way, this is true!)  Still, I can't see anything inside.

"Look closer" he says.  "He's hiding towards the back of the box.  But be very quiet, people make him jumpy."  So I am primed - on alert and trying to see it.  I get my face about 3 inches from the box and Willard surreptitiously releases a door on the back of the box. Willard yells, "Oh No!" The door flings open and attached to it is a piece of fur.  I can't believe I didn't wet myself.  It sure did scare me. 

While I HATED this trick, I always loved when they came to visit.  They laughed and told stories and were so much fun to be around.

To this day, puzzles make me smile.  I bought a trio of wooden puzzles.  I have had them for quite awhile but had never taken them apart.   Katie and Micah found them and asked if they could try and figure them out.  Soon Katie got the one puzzle apart, but they couldn't get it back together.  No problem, I think.  I do have the diagram showing how to put it back together.

So, I have been working on it for the last 4 days - with the answer sheet!  And I still don't have it back together.  Bill has worked on it too.  I am officially losing my touch.  These puzzles used to be conquerable, now not so much.  So here is the puzzle in pieces and the directions.  Can you figure out how to get the last pieces in?  I CAN'T!  Maybe I should say, I haven't yet.  There's always hope, isn't there?

Monday, November 8, 2010


Our womens group at church was looking for a service project.  Last year the group made health kits for Haiti.  We talked about repeating the health kits, or making childrens kits.  But we finally decided on hand tied fleece blankets.  Actually it was my idea.  I have a blanket that was a gift many years ago.  My daughter-in-law made it for me.  There is something very cozy and comforting about it.  That is the kind of item that people in need would appreciate, something comforting.  The bad thing about offering an idea is then you end up "volunteering" to manage the project.   So of course, I researched the fabrics and including shipping the blankets would cost us more than $25 each.  I found a company, that has kits priced for charitable or fundraising use.  And shipping is only 1 cent!  So I ordered the kits and we set the date and invited the women to bring sharp scissors - because all you have to do is cut fringe and tie the pieces together.  Here is what a finished hand tied blanket looks like.

Well today was the day designated for making the blankets.  I got to church about an hour early.  We have a rather large all purpose room used to open Sunday School, serve dinners and many other functions.  I moved tables in pairs and set up two blankets for us to work on.  I thought it would be good if we could get these two done in the 1 1/2 hours planned.  As it got close to the stated hour I was beginning to think nobody would make it today.  Then, 14 women arrived almost at the same time!  Soon in a frenzy of activity, blankets were getting completed!  In the end, 5 two-layer blankets and 8 one-layer blankets were completed in the time allowed.  We have 8 one-layer blankets left to complete next Monday.

I am so delighted with our undertaking.  The blankets have turned out to be a great service project.  They are simple to make yet are quite lovely, soft and comforting when complete. As important as the finished product is, much of my delight is in making connections and friendships with these generous, fun-loving women.  Getting "stuck" running a project has never been so rewarding. 

Maybe I'll offer up ideas again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spiderman vs Superman

There are all important sides we have to choose, Republican v Democrat, Eagles v Cowboys, Phillies v Mets, etc.  How do you choose between two favorites? 
They had a fierce web battle - and if I'm not mistaken, Spiderman won!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A New Attitude

I just got back from the grocery store. 

In the front of the store, when you first walk in is the flower shop, then the pharmacy, then the bakery, then the produce section.  I strolled through the flowers first, looking at the new birthday balloons and finally checking out the cakes in the display case.  They make really cool cartoon characters and pretty flowers, but nothing like the cakes on TV. 

As I am thinking about how much those specialty cakes on TV cost (I looked up Ace of Cakes bakery, Charm City cakes and they start at $1,000!) I am jostled out of my reverie by a strange noise.  I see that an unfortunate man on a shopping scooter has made a mistake and bumped into the free standing two-sided pie rack.  As I watch, he doesn't stop.  He is slowly plowing the pie rack into the bread rack and into the cookie rack and it is on its way to.... ME!!!  Baked goods are now falling everywhere.  It is a tidal wave of pâtisseries.  Bread loaves, pies, cakes, cookies, shoefly, pastries, and rolls slowly, slowly keep coming and coming.  I realize I am getting trapped behind the wave and in front of the display case.

With fancy maneuvering, my cart and I escape the oncoming cookie and cake boxes as I skirt the wave.  I look back now to see what is happening.  The man, at least in his late 70's, has finally stopped the scooter.  With hands shaking, he backs up, turns and leaves the area!  I don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry.  I get to produce and the young employee asks, "Are you alright?" I tell him, of course I'm fine.  Pointing to the damage he says, "Glad it's not my problem." 

While I chuckle as I finish my shopping, I actually don't know what to make of it, except to laugh.  I use the self-checkout although I don't know why, I hate it.  As I am leaving I look back at the bakery.  There are two women cleaning up the damages.  So, the young man says it's not his problem.  The old man drives away because it isn't his problem.  Figures - they left it for women to clean up.

(Men bashing done for the day - hahahahahahahaha!!!!!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 2 - Women Honor Your Vote!

Throughout the course of time there were many groups and conventions promoting the right to vote for women. Lucy Burns and Alice Paul organized the Congressional Union eventually changing the name to the National Women's Party which got them noticed. Their tactics were more radical and militant than the groups that preceded them and included hunger strikes, picketing the White House, and engaging in other forms of civil disobedience to publicize the suffrage cause.

In 1917 members of the movement staged a massive protest in front of the Whitehouse in Washington DC. Hundreds of women were arrested on charges of "obstructing sidewalk traffic." And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the women convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and 2 weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920, changing the face of the American electorateforever.

So ladies, we need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women . Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

PS: Portions of this days blog are plagerized from various sources.