Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Auld Lang Syne?

Good times past. That's what those words mean. It's Old English or something like that. And, we sing that song in remembrance of the passing year. Oh, and there's a question mark at the end of the line..."Should auld acquaintance be forgot?" The song implies that you shouldn't forget what has past, but we should look forward to the future.
2011 has been a year of mixed blessings, but then what year isn't? We all had our share of good times and not so good times. People died and babies were born. The winter was long and cold and the summer was hot. Daily life went on. We were happy, and we were sad.
Someone asked me recently about the "meaning of life." I suppose everyone has a different idea about why we exist, but I am pretty sure that my purpose in life is to always do my best. I think that's what God wants us to do. Yes, do our best and love God and all of our fellow earthly dwellers (humans and non-humans) maybe with the exception of snakes and spiders.
That's my philosophy and my theology.
Blessings for a great 2012.

God, we thank you for our lives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree"

I am tempted to do a short dissertation on the prevailing idea that Christians only want to"give to the needy", at Christmastime. But, I won't. Someday, Christians everywhere will realize that God's message of Good Will to Men, is a 12 month lifestyle, and not just a 12/25 thing.
Instead, I want to share another Jolly Holiday observation. I want to tell you all about a small town, near my home. This quaint little town has very unusual holiday decorations.
Along both sides of the one-street. six block long shopping area, participating businesses have all decorated, for public display, very large 7-8 foot evergreen trees. The trees are placed outside the shops. These trees, with their colorful and sometimes whimsical themes, are all chained to the street lamp poles.
Now, I know that the merchants are concerned that someone will steal their festive trees, but the whole effect brings to mind terms like "Hostage Holiday", "Chained Christmas" and "enSlaved Santa". No matter what the caliber of decoration, the trees all appear to be straining to break free from their bondage. The effect is totally bizarre. But, no matter. The city has been doing it for years. It's a tradition.
The idea of having to lock and chain your decorations to prevent theft, goes against the very theme of the season. If someone wants a tree so much that they feel compelled to steal it.......then let them take it. Don't we believe that it is always better to give than receive?

Baby Jesus: How you must laugh at our attempts to celebrate your birthday. This year Christmas even falls on Sunday. The Lord's Day, for Christ's sake, and your churches are scaling down the number of regular Sunday Services! Oh, Lord, help us to remember that You are the real reason for the season.
Have a great birthday, Jesus.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Today's sermon was from the book of Daniel. The pastor spoke of the heroes in the fiery furnace. Hot stuff for a cold December morning. However, my mind was doing a bit of wandering, particularly around the word hero. Because, I am convinced that I met a real "hero" last Sunday.
Last Sunday morning, was a particularly big day at church. A family had four of their children baptized. The four siblings, three boys and a girl, had been adopted into this family, only two weeks before. And, that evening, the whole family went Christmas Caroling with a large group of church folks.
The new Christians were the youngest among us, but they were a sensation at every place we sang. Armed with bells, they provided the backup to some really rousing renditions of "Jingle Bells".

I'm in awe of a mom that would take on four small children and make them part of her existing tribe. She's a real hero.

Everlasting Father: Open our hearts and minds to the possibilities of service all around us. Show us ways to better the lives of all of your children. We thank you for our many blessings.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"a rose by any other name..."

The word was VEHICLE. Our students were being taught the word "vehicle", and it was a word that needed quite a bit of explanation.
When our English Language Learners encounter a new word, they will ask the meaning of the word and then they want to know other words that have the same meaning. They will keep asking for synonyms, until they find a word that sounds similar to a word they know in their native languages.
With vehicle, I explained that it was a word that I very rarely use. I say car or even automobile more often than vehicle.
Naturally, I have had vehicles on my mind. Tonight on my bus ride home, I turned to look out the left hand windows and in my immediate sight there were many vehicles. First there was the big old bus that I was riding in. Then, there were quite a few cars of many shapes and sizes. They were sharing the road with some trucks and vans. A bit further to my left was a moving freight train, loaded with coal cars. And, then finally I sited a small personal jet airplane taking off from the nearby airport.
We have lots of choices when it comes to selecting a vehicle.

Gracious God. We are often in awe of our abundance and our choices. You have given us so much and yet you ask so little of us. Why is it sometimes so hard to follow your simple directive....to love You and to love our neighbors and ourselves? We are such a selfish bunch of folks. Please, don't give up on us. We want to do better. Guide us and help us to make wise choices.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Suite Life

In the middle of class today, a cell phone rang. Now, that's not too unusual. Every high school student has a cell phone, and most adults carry cell phones. And, even where I work, which is an institution teaching English to adult immigrants and refugees, most of our students carry cell phones.
Cell phone etiquette is often a topic of discussion here between students and teachers. Periodically a phone will ring and a student will blurt out, "Africa calling. I talk now." The teacher then directs the student out into the hall, to complete the transcontinental connection.
But today, the ringing phone just tickled my funny bone. The ring tone seemed so out of character for the setting. The ring tone was Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies Theme" from "The Nutcracker Suite". The bearer of the cell phone, can speak and understand only a few words of English.
I didn't have a chance to ask her why she had chosen that particular ring tone? Did she just enjoy the music? Was she familiar with "The Nutcracker". Were fairies or dancing toys part of her native culture? I'll probably never know.

Great and all knowing God. You challenge our simple minds with all sorts of conundrums. Life is such a delicious cornucopia of experiences. We thank you for all of our experiences and surprises. Your blessings abound.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In The Eye of the Beholder

Photographic images can be deceiving. Every photo, taken of me recently, portrays someone who doesn't resemble the image I have of myself.
Once, perhaps not so long ago, I was a young woman. My hair was dark. I could see without wearing bifocals. My face was unlined. I was actually five foot three. That remains the image I have of myself. But, when I view a current picture of myself.........well, I see someone quite different.
This week, I needed to mail off a recent photo of myself and I just couldn't choose one that I could live with. Every one I found was a photograph of some little old lady!
So, I asked my husband to choose one. I know that our 40 plus years together makes him extremely biased in his view of me, but he understands my issues. I trust him to make me look as good as I possibly can.

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)
Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ask and you shall receive.

I was sincerely blessed yesterday with the gift of 61 bottles of dish soap. Several weeks back, in this blogspot, I explained the need for liquid dish soap at my place of work. Well, lo and behold one of our local churches heard the plea, realized the need and took action.
This amazing congregation (with the help of its very creative pastor) held a Dish Soap Sunday Ingathering. I understand they used some of their pre-teens to demonstrate the sizes and colors of bottles, much to the delight of their Sunday attendees. The congregation was charged! They brought in the bottles. Now, we can supply 61 households (that's probably about 305 people) with a whole lot of clean!
Believe me, this is not a big church. It's not a wealthy church. But, by their actions, they have proved that they are God's Church.

All powerful Lord. We can serve you in so many ways. Allow us to keep our eyes and ears open to your people's many needs. Every one of us has the ability to do mission. Even when we think that we are sorely lacking in our abilities, we can help someone with something. Help us to seek out that need.
We praise your holy name.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Change is......

I've changed the title of my Blog. I sure hope it hasn't confused my readers and that no one currently following will "un-follow" themselves.
Change is never easy, we are always being told. And, often things never do get changed. Some people have been sitting in the same spot, in the same pew, in the same church, for more than 60 years. I have learned, over the years, that when I visit a new church, it is very important to ask those seated near me, "Am I sitting in your seat? If I am, I'll move."
Believe me, most folks will tell you if you are in their spot. You want them to tell you, or else for the next 55 minutes, someone will be staring at you, willing you to drop dead or something.
However, it occurs to me that if you ALWAYS sit in the same place, you are apt to always see the same view. How enlightening is the back of the same head, every Sunday, for 60 years?
We should put ourselves in another seat, occasionally. That stained glass window could be more beautiful in a different light, or that weird shaped piece of wood, might actually be attractive when viewed from another angle. Putting ourselves in another seat, not only brings the risk of seeing a different view, but it might really change our outlook dramatically.

Good God. Help us to get out of our pews. Things look very different when viewed from the other side of the room. Allow us the flexiblility to change, and to sometimes even enjoy it. We know that you will be there with us every step of the way.
Thank you, God, for our many blessings.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ain't That Good News?

WOO HOO, folks. I just celebrated the beginning of my big Anniversary Year. You see, it was five years ago this month that I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. So, now I can begin to count down all sorts of milestones. Five years since the surgeries. Five years since the end of Chemotherapy. Five years since the end of radiation, and on and on. All those months ago, my doctors told us that the five year mark was a big milestone for survivors. At that point, my chances of having a recurrence of cancer are the same as anyone who has not yet had the disease.
I'm feeling really blessed right now. I am thankful to have survived, but my mind is also on those folks, that I have known in the past five years, who battled, with their whole being against cancer, and did not win the war.
It is not possible for us to know why some of us win the battle and some of us do not.
We can only pray for healing. Sometimes that healing occurs in our bodies, and sometimes that healing is of our minds and souls.
I do know, however, that God is with each and every one of us, as we make this journey. Our job is to rely on Him.

Holy Savior. We have so much to be thankful for. Your blessings abound. Guide us as we travel along our roadways. Help us to be ever mindful of the thoughts and feelings of our fellow sojourners. Keep us on the right highway and please remind us to use our turn-signals and to keep our seat belts fastened securely.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chapter 3

Since the untimely murder of my car, my faithful and loyal spouse has been driving me to and from work. Well, with the price of fuel these days, those unnecessary trips were becoming too costly. So folks, this old lady has become a public transit consumer. I'm riding the city bus!
Oh yes, I have brazenly ridden public transportation in the major cities of the world. But that was a novelty. I was on vacation. Even in Mexico City, this five foot tall Senora stood TALL, standing in the subway beneath the streets of the Zona Rosa and the Zocalo. I have taken the Metro in London, Paris, New York., and D.C. But, in my hometown, I always had a car. I had never ridden a local bus.
Now, after a couple of weeks, I am a veteran commuter. I can handle transfers, all-day passes, and yes, I now even use my Medicare card, which means that I can ride for half price. Being a Senior Citizen is beginning to have a few perks.
Since I take the same bus route at the same time every day, I am beginning to recognize my fellow travelers. There is a kind of camaraderie among bus riders. We are a proud bunch. We are saving fuel, saving the planet and above all, saving money.

Great God. This is an amazing world. Please allow us to continue to experience new things. Keep our minds open to explore what you have created.
We are in awe of your knowledge and we are humbled by our insignificance. Keep us in the palm of your hand.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

...of red and gold.

Near the traffic circle, or round-about, that I have written about in a much earlier post, there is a large public wading pool and fountain. All summer long, groups of children and even whole families have cooled off by splashing in the water. We had a very warm July and August, with many 100 + degree days. That water sure looked refreshing to those of us who were just driving past. To the folks actually in the water, it must have been Divine.
All but one of the splashers and waders took advantage of the pool in the hot afternoons and sweltering early evening hours. Just one person was in the pool almost every morning about 7:00 a.m. That one early morning pool user was doing just what you might think. He was taking a bath.
Truly, when I think I have seen everything there is to see, in my work neighborhood, I happen upon something truly strange. This bather was one of the most unusual sites I have seen, to date.
Mr. Bather, as I called him, was really taking his morning bath, complete with soap and towel. Every weekday morning he was there, suds-ing up or toweling off.
I never stopped to talk with him, after all it was none of my business to know why he was bathing in public. Maybe he had no bathtub or shower? Possibly it was the custom to bath publicly in his native country. Maybe he was an exhibitionist? Could it have had anything to do with his religion? Maybe he was just having fun. Who knows?
Now that it is cooler, and the leaves are beginning to turn, he's no longer bathing in the park. I miss him.

Gracious Lord. You must have a great sense of humor. You make me smile. You made us all so different and yet we are all alike. We honor you and are in awe of your total creation.
Bless us and guide us as we go about our daily living.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Soap is Soap, I guess.

Last weekend, I shopped at my local grocery for items to use in the incentive store at work. We stock the store with items our English Language Students are desperate to have. These items are generally hygiene or cleaning products that they cannot purchase with Government Food Stamps.
You see, the regulations for Food Stamps, require persons to use them only for food. Never mind that you have to be clean and smell good, to get a job ....but you can't buy soap! Or, you might want to wash your clothes to look good......but you can't buy detergent. Explain that reasoning, will you?
So, on Sunday, I bought 40 bottles of liquid dish soap, two 24 packs of toilet paper, 6 bottles of shampoo, and a large pack of paper towels.
Dish Soap is our biggest "seller". (Actually, we trade the items for our in-house, printed play money. Students earn the money in their classes.) Immigrants and refugees, apparently wash everything (clothes, bodies, hair, hands, and dishes) in Dish Soap. Dish Soap is cheap and it makes a ton of suds. Lots of folks think that it's the suds that make things clean.
Anyway, we opened our "store" at 8:30 on Tuesday, and by 9:00 everybody in school that morning, had "bought" a bottle of dish soap, along with a few other items.
Believe me, I look at dish soap in a totally new way, now. Dish soap makes a lot of people happy. Donald Trump may be excited over a new office building or a hotel, but I really don't think he's as satisfied as a Somali woman holding a new, full bottle of dish soap. Even Barack Obama could up his poll numbers, if he ran on a platform promising Dish Soap for every family!

Good and giving God. Thank you for all that you have given us. Our blessings are great. Come into our hearts. Make us whole. Show us how to be loving, giving and forgiving children of your Kingdom.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

To Me

Yesterday, I had a milestone birthday. And frankly, I don't feel a day over 35. But the facts and the numbers say that I'm waaaaaay over 35.
Age, you know, is just a number. I have a dear friend, who was recently honored with a Human Rights award. She and two well-known gentleman, from our area, received lots of applause and a nice plaque. The two gentlemen accepted their awards graciously, but spent a great deal of time bemoaning the fact that they were past their prime.........in their 70's and 80's.
My friend was the last to speak. She talked about people who had helped her achieve recognition and how her expertise had been to always work behind the scenes. Then, she mentioned she was 91 and still going strong. Whoopee!
That's the way I want to live my life. Strong and passionate until the very end.

Great and powerful God. Please allow us to be strong and always willing to work for the good of others. Help us to act, not only for our benefit, but to better the lives of all our brothers and sisters.
God, grant us peace and patience.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Please and Thank You

In the past year, I have learned quite a bit about my fellow human beings from different cultures. Most folks, it seems, do react kindly when kindness is done to them. Somalis will smile when you smile at them. Dominicans and Haitians get a kick out of a good joke, and I am acquainted with a Vietnamese woman who likes to give me hugs.
But, I am amazed at the number of 100% natural Americans who have forgotten the rules of common decency. Some of the people, that I interact with every day, just refuse to say "please" and "thank you". They don't ask. They demand.
That kind of behavior is not nice and I don't appreciate it. My father had a great line that he used to use on me when my manners weren't quite up to his standard. It was "Were you born in a barn? "
Some of the immigrants and refugees that I know, weren't even born under any kind of roof, but their manners are a whole lot better than some of those who were born in an immaculate maternity ward. In fact, you all know of one man, who was born in a stable........

God. I hope people remember to say "thank you" to their creator. I'm thinking that they probably don't. Anyway, thanks a lot. We are blessed.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter Two

If you were perplexed my tale of "hit and run", wait until you hear Chapter Two.
You might remember that my car was totaled on a Thursday afternoon. On the same street corner as my wreck, on the very next Tuesday morning, I spotted a TV remote truck and police cars.
My first thought was that my poor old Oldsmobile had made the local news. Havalina (the deceased car's name) had maybe become a celebrity, in the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood.
In reality, a violent murder had occurred on the very corner that my car had met her demise. It was a case of domestic violence, and I am sure many lives have been altered by the act of one unhappy person.
Chapter Two made the events of Chapter One seem terribly insignificant. What is one ruined car compared to a human life? Well, you really can't compare them. Tragic.

Lord God. Life is so precious. When we are young we think we are going to live forever. As we age, we realize that we all have such a short time here. Help us to always do right. Help us to show others that we care. Help us to protect those we love. Give us patience.
We honor you and your creations.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Here today, gone by 4:30.

My car was totaled on Thursday. I parked in my normal spot about 1:30 p.m., and went into the office to finish some paper work. About a quarter after four, I went back outside, intending to drive home. On approaching my vehicle, I noticed a pile of something in the street beside it. As I got closer, I realized the pile was actually the crumpled back end of my car. Someone had hit my fully paid for, rusty, thirteen year old car. Hit it hard enough to knock off quite a bit of metal (it was an old car, folks), and then drive off.
I was immediately very thankful that I was not in the car at the time of the accident. The policeman and the tow guy were very nice. My co-workers helped me gather my belongings and take them back to my office. Scott came over to take me home. All in all, for a car wreck, the whole experience didn't even reach 5 on a scale of one to ten.
But, what kind of person, does damage and then drives off? What prompts a person to leave behind damage that they know they have caused, without so much as a "Hey, I'm sorry."? Maybe the driver was in a stolen car. Maybe he or she didn't have insurance or maybe they had a body or drugs in the back of their car.
So, I'm trying to be forgiving, but the truth we don't have the time or the money to buy another car. However, the bottom line is.......I'm okay and it's just stuff. I'll get over it.

Dear Lord, You spend a lot of time forgiving us. We mess up all the time. You accept our faults and allow us to move on. We should try to be more like you. We need always to forgive(even if we don't want to). Teach us forgiveness.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

To Flash or Not to Flash!

Last night, I attended a gathering of "grandma-agers". A topic of discussion was the recent flash mobs of teens, creating havoc, at a local shopping area. The newspaper had reported children, as young as eleven, being dropped off by adults and left to roam the area in gangs. The kids were there until the wee hours of the morning. One of them was a recent shooting victim.
As we continued to discuss the situation, we all related how we, as moms, had refused to drop off our pre-teenagers at the Mall. That was way back in the 70s and 80s. Every one of our kids had whined to us that "all the other kids are doing it." Well, each of us had been wise to that trick.
Here is how we solved the issue.
One mom said, "I asked for a list of names", and of course the child couldn't come up with a single one. Another queried, "Where's your money? You can't go unless you're going to buy something." While another said her kid could go, but only by herself, and that she would have to walk!
There, urban parents, that's your solution to roving gangs of pre-teens. Very simple. Keep them home and occupied. Don't contribute to the problem by escorting them to the scene of the crime.
The grandmas have spoken.

Good Lord. Aren't you amazed out how totally clueless your creations are? And, yet you continue to bless all of us. You have given us free will and the brains to figure things out. We should be thankful.
We are smart, but painfully unwise.
Guide us in what we do.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pie not?

It's August, and the craft stores are already displaying fall and winter merchandise.
Aisles are bursting with colorful Autumn leaves and artificial Christmas Trees. It seems early, but apparently there are many folks who are happiest when they are in the midst of preparation...of any kind.
So, I offer a few words on pumpkins. Pumpkins are grown everywhere in the world, except Antarctica. They are used for decoration, for eating and for cooking pots.
In America we use them to make pies. More correctly, some of us take a can of pumpkin and add milk, sugar, eggs, and spices to concoct a pie filling. We also need to make or purchase a pastry pie shell and whipped cream, or its substitute, to top-off the cooked pie.
Delicious eating and it's so traditionally American.
But, the appeal of pumpkin pie is limited. Immigrants and refugees really don't like it. Further more, they do not know what to do with numerous cans of pumpkin puree that they are "given" at holiday time.
Think about this. What can a refugee family, from Somalia, do with a can of pumpkin....if they have no eggs, milk, sugar or spices? Right. Not a thing. And, then think about the skill of using an oven. Oh, wow!
So, don't even consider bringing a can of pumpkin to a charitable food drive.
Try beans, corn, rice, canned milk, tuna or macaroni and cheese, instead.

Lord. We sincerely want to help others. But, help us to understand that not everyone thinks and acts like we do. Show us ways to be generous in a common sense way. Help us to appreciate what the needy might really want.
We are truly blessed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The best laid plans........

Part of my job is planning events where groups of volunteers gather together to wrap holiday packages. The packages are later distributed to needy clients. Therefore, I try to encourage groups to come to our facilities to have wrapping "parties." They come and I agree to provide water and snacks, the gifts, the paper, the scissors, the tape and a place to do it all.
It takes quite a bit of planning. I have to arrange for the items to be brought from storage and for the wrapped items to be returned to storage. The room has to be arranged for the wrapping assembly line, and the groups need to have everything they need, including directions to our building and space for parking.
I've been scheduling the wrappers since February, and I receive calls or emails daily from both church and corporate groups, wanting to come and wrap. Groups have come from Minnesota, Mississippi, Colorado and every part of Kansas and Missouri. I fit them into my Volunteer Calendar, and it's starting to fill up. I have just a few open dates between now and December.
Last week, I was informed that the space we've been using to wrap is no longer available. Well, that was a problem I had not anticipated. So, I arranged for another space, and rescheduled many of the groups. Today, I found out, quite by chance, that now, I could not use that building.
Needless to say, I am frustrated. Really frustrated.
But,as we say in the Midwest....."there you go." Since, I am powerless in this situation, I have to buck up and move to Plan C. Frankly, I don't have a Plan C, but I am sure God will provide.
Life is like that, fellow travelers.

Dear God. You never promised us that our lives would be without trials. Put your arms around us and help us face our problems. We can accomplish anything with your help and guidance.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Back of my neck is dirty and gritty"

Well, it's really hot. It's late July, and if this city has experienced a hotter summer in recent years, I can't remember it. Everyone is talking about the weather. One Facebook Group, that I belong to, has been responding to a continuing "When is it going to cool down?" thread, for over a week.
In the past two weeks, our home AC AND my car AC have both needed repair work. Thankfully, both of those machines are up and running. Bless the inventors of air conditioning. We do have relief from the blistering sunshine.
And, of course, although we cannot seem to talk of anything else, it's just talk. We can't do a darn thing about the weather. We cannot control the weather.....just the temperature.
So, sit down, relax and cool off, inside. Winter will be here before we know it.

Good God. All kinds of weather makes life so interesting. Some of us like hot weather, others prefer the cold. Your world is amazing. Help me to focus on things that I can change. I need to relax and leave the weather to YOU.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Question Is???????

I had the opportunity all this week to teach English to some recent immigrants to the United States. Yesterday, we were cruising right along with our lesson, when we reached a major roadblock. Six blank stares...and their under-trained teacher terrified over just what to do next.
Just then, something from back in my grade school days came bubbling up into my small brain. I recalled a teacher saying "all questions begin with the same 5 or 6 words." Could that be true in all languages?
So, we began talking about WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY,and How (much)? My four Spanish speaking students responded immediately. Que, Quien, Cuando, Donde and Porque? The Sudanese(Arabic)student understood and responded accordingly. The Eritrean (some language that begins with a T) student got it, also.
My lesson was successful. What a breakthrough for all seven of us.

All Knowing God. Not a day goes by when we do not experience your help and guidance.
Help us to recognize your presence. You are all-powerful and all-knowing. We are your children and we need your help. We can't do this life on our own. Stand beside us.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It is possible to learn many things from a cross country car trip. Most people prefer to make long trips by airplane these days, but pat-downs and extra baggage costs are not on my list of favorite travel moments.
Traveling by car, offers unique and varied experiences. The brochures at State Highway Rest Stops (well everyone has to rest)fascinate me. I want to look at every one. Those leaflets make me realize that there is still so many things I want to see in this country. And, Rest Stops generally give away maps. Checking out the names of cities and towns, rivers and streams, lakes and colleges can keep me occupied for hours. Did you know that most of our 50 states have a town or city with the name Springfield?
Then, of course, there are the "what the heck was that" moments which always occur on a road trip. Something catches your eye, as you travel past it. And, you wonder if you really saw what you thought you saw.
Driving through Princeton, New Jersey, I saw a sign emblazoned with the word Drumthwacket. What????? I figured it was likely an Indian word. New Jersey has a bunch of those. But, I was stumped. Who or what is a Drumthwacket?
Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, I discovered that Drumthwacket is the residence of New Jersey's Governor. The land was once owned by William Penn, founder of the Pennsylvania Colony. It was also the site of a Revolutionary War Battle. New Jersey purchased it in the 1960's, and after a massive renovation in the 1980's, it became the Governor's Mansion.

Wondrous Lord. I am thankful for this amazing country. I stand in awe of all that you have created. Help me to keep my eyes and heart open to your glorious world.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"to know them is to love them"

Well, I want to talk about pre-teen girls. Some of you are well acquainted with those females. They are those creatures who generally place one hand on one hip and roll their eyes, while asking "Who me?" when they are addressed.
Believe me, as a a Middle School Substitute, I have witnessed enough eye-rolls an attitudes to last a life time. I know their type. I was one.
You know, I generally introduce myself as a former Middle School Teacher. Then I say, don't mess with me, because I can take you down!
This week, however, I was blessed to work with a group of pre-teens from Littleton, Colorado, who made me reassess my opinion of their age group. This group of 15 young women and their leaders came to work at our Mission, and they worked like no other group has!
I was astonished at their work ethic. Wow! They wrapped packages, sorted clothes, filed papers,and made packets better than most adult groups. They would have worked longer, but they wore me out!

God. You are so awesome. I thank you so much for sending me some of the most wonderful young ladies in this universe. I have been so honored to know these young women and their leaders. Bless them. Bless their futures. They are so worthy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

During the past two weeks, I've been on the road. Della Lamb(my 2 foot high papier mache traveling companion)and I have driven all the way out to Hutchinson, Kansas, then to Springfield, Missouri, and then down to Leawood, Kansas.
As we traveled, we found that most mid western folks were very friendly and all but a very few were willing to listen to my spiel about our urban mission here in the heart of Kansas City. Of course, when you greet people with "say hi to my friend Della" and then lead them to a cotton-ball covered statue, it does have a tendency to break the ice or should I say, soften the message!
But, I'm tired. Last night, I slept in my own bed. I fell asleep quickly. Didn't even have to count......you know what. It was great.
Dorothy Gale was right. "There's no place like home."

Lord. I'm so thankful to be home. I'm thankful that I have a home. My prayers go out to those who are searching for a home or need a home. Help all of us remember that we have a safe place with You.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Live Like You Were Dying"

In the past few days,our area has experienced some of the most horrific weather imaginable. Everyone I speak to has personal ties to the numerous tornadoes, windstorms and floods that have hit us so hard this Spring. With our instant media sources we have been bombarded with photos of before and after views of the devastation. We have been talking of nothing else.
Lives have been changed in a matter of seconds. People, their homes, and businesses were fine and then, in the blink of an eye, everything is gone. The stories of loss are so moving. A simple afternoon trip to WalMart, and dozens of lives are lost forever.
Everyone affected by the storms needs our prayers and our support. Lots of churches and organizations are participating in relief projects. We can all join in the effort to help the victims.
And, it might just be a good idea to hug on your own loved ones just a little more. Life is so fragile and precious. We take our blessings for granted.

God. We believe that you are the one constant in our lives. We ask for physical, emotional and spiritual healing for all of your people. Help us to be strong. Help us to be the best that we can be during our time on Earth. Show us how to be a truly loving and thankful people.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Wrinkle in Time

Recently, I viewed a picture of myself taken at age 11 or 12. Well, most of us have photos of ourselves at that age, however, I had never seen the particular photo before. I found it in a book published about my hometown. Never even knew that such a photo existed.
Wow! Seeing it brought back some really sweet memories. There I stand, frozen in time, in a glass window front above the main street in my home town. I'm the ninth little Girl Scout from the left, singing Christmas Carols. All of us are in our uniforms. It's a black and white photo (we're talking the nineteen fifties here, after all), but I can recall the green uniforms, green socks and yellow neck scarves.
I remember the names of almost all of my fellow scouts. The point is, I had forgotten all about doing the caroling on Broadway, all those years ago. It was a big deal then, but it had slipped from my memory.

Gracious Lord. In your wisdom, you have made us imperfect. Our memories are selective. We don't like remembering the unhappy pictures. But, sometimes all we can do is remember the sad and bad pictures. We forget about the good pictures. Thank you for helping us, against our natures, to recall the good pictures.

(I'll try to get this photo posted.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Now you see it........ Now you don't.

Yesterday, I needed to go to a county office on a car licensing issue. The person who waited on me had a BIBLE, visible on his desk. What a great idea! Put your faith right out there for every one to see. This clerk wanted people, that he deals with every day, to know that he is a Christian. We are known by our trappings, for sure.
I once worked for a man (not very long, PTL)who had a calendar of naked women on his desk. It was pretty obvious what kind of creep he was. He made everyone who dealt with him really uncomfortable.
So, look around your workspace. What can your visitors and co-workers determine about you from that desktop, kitchen counter, computer station or whatever you call work?

Good God, thank you for eyes. Sometimes what we are looking for is right there in plain sight. A Bible may be only a collection of papers with words on them. But, to me it's a collection of words and stories that help me make decisions on how to live.
I want people to know Whose I am.
I know that I am far from the best Christian, walking and talking today, but with YOUR help, You can show me how to live.

Monday, May 2, 2011

1, 2, 3, go.......

I've been doing a lot of counting recently. During a recent "Volunteer Recognition Week", I handed out small beaded ropes to our volunteers. The explanation attached to these small gifts was one that came from one of my many crocheting activity books. Seems like most major religions use beaded objects for prayer count, etc. So, I reasoned why not give these little things out and suggest that my volunteers use them to "count" their blessings.
The volunteers accepted the gifts, and maybe we'll have a few more thankful folk in the world.
I have also been using a counting trick as a means to speed up my "falling asleep" at night. Here's what you do. Pick any large even number. Now concentrate on subtracting three from that number..then three more....etc. It puts me to sleep right away.
Now, maybe this only works for mathematically challenged people. But, I suggest you try it.

God. Our blessings are countless and our worries amount to nothing. Keep our eyes on the future. Looking back does none of us any good. Help us to focus on what is to come. Thank you, God, for your guidance and assurance. Amen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where's the blue bird?

Okay. I'm going to risk being called a grouch and a grump, but I've had it with the April Showers. Enough is enough. It's almost May, and we are in severe need of some Spring-like weather. Yesterday, a friend told me that she thought she had moss growing on her north side. It may be July, before my flower beds will be tillable!
It's cold and wet and miserable in most of the country.
My son once told me to quit complaining about the weather. I have a car he said. Leave, if you don't like it here. I've reached the point where if I thought I could....I would. It's time to "get out of Dodge". A warm Caribbean Island sounds great, about now. Honestly, I would settle for stepping out of the shower in the morning and not be freezing cold.

Hey God. My list of "wants" is pretty short, today. I want some sunshine. I'd accept just a couple of hours of warm, dry weather. I don't want to seem ungrateful for all of the wonderful blessings that you have given me. I do appreciate them. But, can we have some nice weather soon? Please.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


If you have ever had any connection with the Cub Scouts of America, you know DYB. I think I even remember the boys yelling it as a cheer. DYB! DYB! DYB! And,I sincerely believe, that DYB beats all the fancy codes, mottos and mission statements, ever created. It's the greatest.
Last Sunday, at our current church, my husband, aka "the Silver Fox", aka "the traveling choir director" directed three presentations of Vivaldi's "Gloria". He's spent, since January, countless hours coaching, coaxing, plodding and pleading with the Chancel Choir, two vocal soloists, and 10 instrumentalists to DYB. The results were spectacular. Everyone, including the congregation, pastors and musicians were pleased. It was a project well worth the effort.
It's always worth it to DYB. Although, he was told, not too long ago that some Churchy Folk think "sorta good is good enough for God". God expects you to DYB. After all, he gave everything, including his life, for us.
This Holy Week, as we contemplate the sacrifices God made for us, let's try to remember to always "Do Your Best" for Him.

God, we know that you want us to do our best. There just isn't any other way to practice our Faith. Lead us in the way that you would have us go. Teach us to follow where You lead us.
Keep us focused on the Joy of Easter Morning.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"One is silver and the other gold."

Do you know how to make a stranger a friend? The answer couldn't be any easier. You just find some work to do, together.
This past week, I invited "10 Mission Workers from Wichita" (sounds like a sports team, doesn't it?) to come and do some volunteer work, at my place of employment. They came on Thursday, and by Sunday afternoon, when they departed, eleven complete strangers had become eleven fast friends.
A common bond, which in this case was a desire to help those people who truly need assistance, makes for a great connection. My new friends tutored our non-English speaking clients. They copied, pasted, stapled and even wrapped Christmas Presents. Over 400 Christmas Presents!
Well, doing all of that work together became more fun than a barrel of monkeys. We talked and laughed and told stories. We shared our faith and our life experiences.
Monday, I woke up and I found out that in my heart of hearts, I was missing 10 members of my "family".

Lord, you must take real joy in knowing that your children can become friends and sharing companions. How unhappy it must make you to see us become enemies. Show us how to love one another and truly mean it. We really want to please you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Techno Folly

I observed a confict today that took 13 emails, over a period of four hours, to resolve. It was a simple issue of conflicting dates and personnel. I wasn't directly involved, but I was copied on all of the transactions. As I went about my work, I kept checking my inbox regularly to see when and if the dispute would be resolved.
With each continuing message, the original issue became muddier and muddier, until, quite frankly, I had pretty much forgotten what the problem had been in the first place. It occurred to me, long before the trail of messages had come to a resolution, that a short phone call could have solved the whole thing in a few minutes.
Technology is a great thing, but I fear that we are losing our sense of perspective and along with that, the ability to think reasonably. We've let our fingers do the walking, when what we need to do is a little more talking.

Most holy and knowledgable God, keep those life lessons coming. There is so much I want to learn. Help me to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to the pure and right things. Thank you for allowing me to have the opportunity to listen and learn....from others.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What are you, anyway?

I recently came across John Wesley's writings on "What are the distinguishing marks of the people called Methodists?" Wesley goes on to list some of the things that make Methodists. One is that Methodists "ARE HAPPY PEOPLE". Oh my goodness. Did John Wesley ever sit in on a Staff-Parish Meeting or a Stewardship Campaign Meeting? How about a budget meeting? Those in attendance are usually some unhappy folks, for sure.
So, what are the distinguishing marks of your faith? How can people tell that you are what you say you are? If you are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, or a male Jew, you would be labeled by your outward appearance. But, Christians don't have a distinguishing outward mark or costume. Do you remember that song..."They will know we are Christians, by our love, by our love."?
Well, I'm going to start smiling more. Wesley says that, "Methodists are happy in God. Perfect love has cast out fear and brings joy." Maybe folks will know that I am a United Methodist by my mark.....er, grin!

Lord, I have nothing to be unhappy about. I am so blessed. I'm clothed. I am not hungry. I have a roof over my head. I'm healthy. Good Golly, I should be happy.
Help me to remember my blessings. Show me how to love more and whine less. Let the light of the Holy Spirit shine through me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What do you care?

My friend made an observation yesterday, and it was from a stand point I had never considered. I had always held the position that it was important to "dress for respect." In other words, if you want to be treated with respect, dress in a manner that demands it. Because,if you look like a zero, that's the amount of respect you will get. Zip, nada, zilch.

But, my wise friend had another philosophy. (We were observing some pretty sloppily dressed folk.) She said, "It makes me sad to see the way these folk dress. Do they dress the way they do because the people they deal with are poor and needy? By looking so sloppy, they are showing disrespect to their (students, clients, fellow workers, etc.).
So, I am thinking that I have had it all wrong. My thinking is backward. As usual, it's all about me.

Good God. Thank you for slapping me up the side of the head. I know you want me to think of others. Show me the way to make a difference in your world. Guide me feet, Lord, while I run this race.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mary and Martha

I want to tell you about my one and only sibling. My sister (I've referred to her as my "Much Older Sister", since we both passed the half-century mark. After all, I figured someone always has to be older than me!It might as well be her.) My MOS and I have maintained a long-distance relationship since we reached adulthood. After college, she ventured off to teach in California and I remained in the Midwest. Maybe that's what has kept us friendly all of these years?
This week, my MOS has a birthday. I flew out to surprised her for her last big birthday, but for this milestone birthday, she will just have to read about my best wishes for her.
Younger Sisters often admire their older siblings, but I am extremely proud to call my MOS "OUTSTANDING". She is a Loving Wife (actually, anyone would love her Pizza- Cooking, handsome, grocery shopping husband), FANTASTIC Mother (of 3 productive adult children, who actually are on speaking terms with her) and a Dynamic Grandma (of 7 delightful kiddos, who love to be around her and enjoy her company). She was and is an excellent teacher (OMG, she knows more kiddie songs than Barney), and she is also a very caring and faith-filled Christian.
If you have a sister, tell her that you love her today. Right now, don't waste a minute. If you don't have a sister (you're missing a special relationship), but we all have special friends. Tell that person how important he or she is to you.

I love you MOS.

Gracious God. In the middle of our busy lives, it is easy to forget to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. Lord, You never forget to show your love for us.
Thank you for our many blessings.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lenten Lint

Different Christian Denominations have different ideas about Lent. I'm okay with that. Disagreement is the reason we have many denominations in the first place. Luther thought the Catholics had it wrong. Wesley thought the Church of England had it wrong. And, on and on and on.
As I child, I tried to give up candy for Lent, and I never succeeded in getting through the 40 days plus weekends, without eating some. Too much of a sweet tooth and chocolate has a powerful pull. Then, as an adult I began to focus on bettering myself and adding something new to my spiritual life, during the Lenten season. I decided it was a much more realistic approach. After all candy isn't good for you in the first place.
Our new place of worship is a "giving up for Lent" type of church. So, I'm keeping my "adding things for Lent" opinion to myself. But, you can rest assured that I will be doing some reading and studying in the next few weeks.....and eating CANDY!!!

Oh Lord. We are preparing. Lent comes every year. Help us to reach our goals to become improved Christians.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bass Ackwards

Today my task at work was filing. We had lots of student files to pull, fill with new papers, and refile. For most people it's a very simple and routine job. But for me, it's the most difficult thing I do.
You see, I am alphabetically dyslexic. I don't know if that is a real condition, but it describes my condition perfectly. I have definite alphabet issues.
When I was 2 or 3, and just beginning to talk, my grandfather taught me to recite the alphabet backwards. He thought the two of us were very clever. And, to this day, I can rattle off my z,y,xs as fast as my a,b,cs. People are always amazed at this skill of mine. It makes for great party conversation.
However, my alphabet talent makes me unable to rapidly alphabetize, quickly look up words in the dictionary or encyclopedia. I have real trouble with phone books and most of all filing.
It isn't all my grandfather's fault, although most of it is. I should have told all of those sweet teachers about my issues. Some of them would have probably let me do my papers backward, or taught me some way to get those 26 letters going the right way in my head.
Instead, I have suffered in silence, knowing that I'll never really inherently know if it is pqrstuv or vutsrqp.

God, grant us wisdom and courage. Life seems to be a struggle sometimes. We get caught up in what we can and cannot do and with what we have and haven't got.
Teach us to be more accepting, more patient and more kind with ourselves and others.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


In my workplace the use of Acronyms is rampant. Employees toss them back and forth like baseballs. Unfortunately, being the new kid on the block,I have no idea what the acronyms stand for or what they mean. I am like a alien in a foreign land.
But, this is a good thing. Since my workplace deals with speakers of languages other than English, my ignorance of these specific acronyms makes it easy for me to identify with the students. They can't understand my language, and I can't understand the language of the teachers. We are almost always in a blissful state of total confusion.
However, I have found that a smile, kindness, and a hearty laugh can go a long way in inter-cultural relations. Did you know that the signal for craziness is nearly universal? Just twirl your hand around the side of your head and everyone understands.

Lord of All, help us to focus on the sameness of your great variety of people. We are
alike in so many ways. The differences that we see are in our eyes only.
Help us to celebrate and embrace our fellow life travelers as our brothers and sisters.
We want to follow where you lead us.

BTW....Keep It Saucy Sister

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Have Gas

I know this is usually an indelicate subject, but I have to let you know that we have gas. A big old gas leak.
Yesterday, our kids came over for a quick visit and they let us know that they smelled gas when they came in the house. So, this morning I called the local gas company and reported the smell. Now, if this happens to you, report it immediately do not wait for 12 hours, because the gas people will come right out. They work weekends. They do not want you to wait to report an odor. In fact they are down right nasty about procrastination.
The gas folks found a leak, right at our door. (Smart children, or at least they have smart noses)The gas investigators turned off our gas service, right away. So tonight we have no heat or hot water.
Next, I followed the advice of the gas people and called a plumber. Who knew gas line repair was done by a plumber?
The plumber told us he will have to redo our entire line from the meter to the furnace. We have "illegal entry", it seems, and we have to get up to code. It will cost a bundle, but it will be finished tomorrow night.
Thankfully, we are having a warmish spell in our otherwise brutal winter.
Oh, well. Sometimes life hands you a bunch of raisins when you are expecting grapes.
We are alive and well and we are not going to be blowing up anytime soon.

Holy God. It is so great to be alive. Our lives have ups and downs and ins and outs, but we know that you are there with us every step of the way. Give us courage and the ability to accept what we cannot change and guide us to make the right choices in our daily decisions.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The event we attended on Saturday, had an overall theme of "Balls". There were inflated soccer balls, baseballs, big balls and litttle balls. The room was decorated with ball shaped balloons. All of this was in honor of Leo, age one, who says one word....."Ball".
Guests at the party, held at a local pizza parlor, were his mom and dad's friends and assorted relatives. Being the paternal grandma, I knew all of the relatives.
However, it was the parents' friends that held my attention.
Our youngest son's friends, the same rug rats that wrestled in our family room twenty years ago and played monopoly until the wee hours of the morning, came to the party, toting their own little ones. I was fascinated.
A couple of the toddlers were carbon copies of their dads. Another one resembled his grandpa. Some of their personalites were reminiscent of their elders.
What a great time I had. And, what great memories seing those little ones evoked.

Lord God. Life does go on, in spite of us. Little children are so precious. Help us, as adults, to us remember our responsiblities toward them. Remind us to savor each and every minute of a lifetime, because all to soon, those babies become teenagers, then parents of their own babies.
We are blessed.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Trails to You.......

As I write this, my husband is stuck in Tulsa. This morning he left Kansas City, to travel by plane, to St. Louis. He intended to return home tomorrow, but because all of his meetings were cancelled, he booked the last flight back to Kansas City, this afternoon. Well, our airport was iced in. Closed for the remainder of the night. So, his plane was diverted to Tulsa. A one hour flight became a two hour flight and then became a point of no return.
Life is a lot like that, I think. Our plans become way laid, and we end up somewhere we never intended to be. How many of us planned to be where we are today? (I had briefly planned on becoming a nun, but had settled on the life of a cowgirl......they had the cooler outfits. Nuns didn't wear cowboy boots and leather fringe!)
Life just never works out the way we plan it. I like the phrase, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Truthfully, just as life has its disappointments, it also has it's mountain top experiences.
But, I have come to this conclusion. No matter what the route, I intend to enjoy the journey.
Oh, and I hope Scott finds his way home,sometime soon. I intend to be like Motel 6, and "leave the light on for him."

Great and all knowing God. You travel with us on this journey of life. Help us to remember that we are all, every last one of us, on the same journey. Allow us to release our burdens to you, and remind us to travel light.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"And the skies are not cloudy all day."

My home state, Kansas, has a birthday this week. She's 150 years old, which isn't very old, of course, when you compare her to the really old states of New York and Rhode Island. But, believe me, I'm thinking Kansas is pretty darn old, because I remember the big celebration when she turned 100.
Back in 1961, I marched as a high schooler, in a parade to honor the Centennial of the Sunflower State. I remember witnessing the speeches and all of the hoopla. I seem to recall it was quite a big deal. There were time capsules unearthed and new ones buried. New songs were written, played and sung. Streets were renamed or created with the name "Centennial." Our classmate animated a cartoon movie entitled "The Kansas Kitty".
All of that was fifty ago, which is so hard for me to believe.
Time flies. It really does. And, it flies whether or not you are having fun!

"I was born in Kansas. I was bred in Kansas. And when I get married I'll be wed in Kansas. There's a true blue (Crimson and...) guy, who promised he would wait. I'm his Sunflower from the Sunflower State." Rock Chalk, Jayhawk. KU.

Holy Lord. We are truly thankful for whatever time we have. Our blessings are great and our burdens are small. Teach us to use our time wisely. Guide us along a path that will allow us to experience the richness of life and to savor your great universe. We are thankful for our years of life.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Letting go and letting God

Along about the time your child turns two, you began to realize that you cannot make every decision for for him or her. All through the growing up years, one of the hardest jobs to do, as a parent, is to stop rushing in to try to "save" your kids from making choices that you know are going to be disasterous for them. I'm not saying that you should let your 2 year old ride his bike down the middle of the street (if you can help it). But, when your nine year old insists on wearing his roller blades, indoors and out, on pavement or grass, in sunshine and snow...who is it going to hurt? Only the kid when he falls down, (I did tell him that roller blades were never intended to work on sledding hills coverd with ice, but I knew he was going to try it anyway.) will he know he made the wrong decision.
So, kids, don't be too hard on the old folks. We're not perfect. We have made a lifetime of decisions, good and bad. So, you think it's hard now, chasing after that toddler or teenager, but believe me, you haven't tried anything yet.

God, will you give each of us, no matter what our age or stage in life, the wisdom of silence? Help us to keep our opinions to ourselves, especially if what we say will cause lasting hurt to others. Let us rejoice in the decisions of our children, friends and even those whom we chance to meet.
Remind us that Your wisdom will prevail and that all good things come from You.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wearin' of the Red

Proper attire for everyone in Kansas City, this past Friday, was bright red. That's the only color for fans of our local National League Football Team. Everybody was wearing red, because, this year, after a very long, win less drought, we are in the post-season playoffs.
Our team has STUNK for a lot of years, so this winning season has everyone stunned. We have cried and whined about how bad the Chiefs are for so long, we are having a hard time believing they can be winners.
The last time the Chiefs won a play-off game was seventeen years ago. This morning, the Kansas City Star ran a picture of a young man, a high school junior, who was born on the day of the last post-season win for K.C. Like I said, we are all having a hard time believing we can win.

Lord, I am not naive enough to think that if we "believe" enough, the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl. But, I do know that all you have required of us, as travelers in this life, is to believe in you.
Sometimes when the "going gets tough", it's hard to keep the faith. We want to give up. Often we put our faith in something or someone else.
But, when we truly believe that you will always be there for us, the "going" gets so much easier. Jesus, you make us winners.