Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Well done, good and faithful servant."

Thank you! Thank you, very much! Completing this article will mean that I accomplished one of the goals I set for myself this year. I mangaged to post 52 blogs, one for each week of 2013. It's taken me a couple of years to achieve that number, but I finally did it.
Goals are essential for a meandering soul like me. I tend to just live my life, from crisis to crisis, just doing what comes naturally. That does not mean, however, that I am not a hard worker. I work pretty darn hard. It's just that I have found myself in a "survival" mode for a couple of years. And, since I'm still living and breathing, you will have to admit, I've been pretty successful at that.
But, striving to achieve designated goals keeps you moving forward.
I actually met some other goals this year. I found a really great job. Actually, I found two, but ended up settling on just one.  (There's nothing like gainful employment to make you feel successful.)
And, I made some awesome new friends. I've really cherished these new contacts. Learning and caring about new lives has enriched my own existence. I connected with some old friends, too. That song about "one is silver and the other gold", rings true.
Lastly, I became a Notary Public. The process was a little complicated and time consuming, but after I complete the last task of being sworn in, at the Clay County Courthouse, I will be an Official Certified Notary.
Becoming a Notary, must make one "Notorious", which Webster says is "well known or famous especially for something bad". Add Notorious to my favorite self-describer, "Infamous", which means MORE than famous, and you have a whole lot of Nansense.
Happy New Year, 2014.

Great Almighty Lord. We look forward to this new year, full of hope and joy. We are continually humbled by the wonder of life and we are blessed with our bounty of  riches. Help us to be forever grateful, giving and forgiving.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


It appears that I will be ringing out the old year with a full blown head cold. It was bound to happen. No amount of hand sanitizer, Air Borne or Lysol can keep the germs away forever. My spouse and grand kids have been passing around a similar illness for the last two weeks. They have been coughing and sniffling for days.
Whenever I catch a cold, however, my voice just goes away. Today, I cannot say a single word, above a raspy whisper. I catch colds like this because I talk too much and this is God's way of occasionally putting me in my place. That's my personal theory, but dozens of fine folks would agree with me.
It's so hard for me to keep quiet. I am a vocal person. My current job has me answering the phone, for Pete's Sake. I couldn't do that at all, yesterday. It's difficult for a teacher and receptionist to loose her voice. I have so much to say to so many people.

Great and powerful God. You have my attention. I am slowing down, keeping quiet and catching my breath. You have made your presence known and I am thankful for your healing power and grace. Remind me that I am not nearly as important as I often think I am. Remind me that I am just one of your beloved children. For that and many things, too numerous to mention, I am eternally thankful.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"We need a Little Christmas, Now"

Just name one person who doesn't get just a little sad during the holiday season. As we get older, the holidays become bittersweet, don't they? We remember Christmases from years gone by. For many of us our parents and maybe some of our siblings have passed on. We remember celebrating with them and we can no longer do that.
Even the Jolly Old Elf, Santa Claus, must shed a few tears every Christmas.
That's the bitter.
But, Christmas is still a great time. The joy of the holiday remains. For those of us who don't have our parents, we have our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Life continues.
The music is beautiful, the lights are bright and Christ has come again. That's the sweet.

Dear and Glorious Lord: We think of your birth at this time of year. We remember the presents you received and the miracle of your creation.
Help us to keep the Holiday Spirit, all throughout the year.
We are thankful for your coming.

Friday, December 13, 2013


The giant tree has gone undecorated for several weeks now. It has been sitting, sort of naked looking,  in the two story lobby of our brand new building. Yesterday, was the day that my co-worker had set aside for finally hanging the balls, tinsel and garlands on the tree. Many of us were looking forward to seeing the tree in all of its glory.
But, of course, "the best laid plans...". You know the saying. 
Well, the pre-lit tree wasn't lighting. Just part of it was working. To quote the Grinch, she had more than "one light that won't light on one side." The whole top third was lightless!
So, she went to the giant box store and purchased more lights. Then, she had to climb the ladder, numerous times, to get them looking just right. Her two hour project turned into three, and it was time to go home before she got it finished.
So, she'll do the final trimming today, and we will all finally get to enjoy her "toil and trouble" this holiday season. Better late than never.

Dear Lord: Sometimes we get to feeling like our lives are one long cliche. Our big time ideas never seem to work out the way we plan them. When will we learn that we are not in charge?
Give us the patience to go with the flow. Grant us courage to face what we don't want to face and the wisdom of acceptance.
Dear Lord: You are in charge. We don't need to be.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Merry Christmas, Carol"

Walking out of the office last Friday, I was heralded by a familiar Christmas Tune, "The Twelve Days Of Christmas." I've heard that song every holiday season for the last 55 years or so. I've sung it, and listened to it being sung many, many times. It's really long....twelve verses. And, although it's on the Hit Parade of Holiday Classics, I will never remember how many Leaping Lords or Ladies Dancing there are supposed to be. The only phrase I always get right is the Five Gold Rings verse. Actually, past five and I'm lost.
The song has a bit of history. It's been around since the 1700s, in one form or another, but it is not a 16th century secret catechism lesson. Someone in the early 1990's started that Internet Legend.  And, there is no factual theological symbolism in the numbers. However, if you want to believe the Three French Hens are really Faith, Hope and Charity, then go right ahead.
The 12 Days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day, not twelve days before. They end on Twelfth Night (January 5th). Centuries ago, gifts were exchanged on St. Stephen's Day, December 16th, Twelfth Night and some of the days in-between. Today, of course, we give the whole wad on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning.
By Epiphany (ETA of the Magi, and the beginning of the Gift Giving tradition), January 6th, when the Twelve Days are officially over, most of us have all of our wreaths and trees stored away until next year. We are already looking ahead to St.Valentine's Day!
However, if you feel the need to get your math-juices flowing this Yuletide Season, try adding up all of the gifts in all of the verses. There are quite a few.Then add one more gift. The final gift of Jesus. What number do you come up with?
Think about the meaning of that one!

Oh, my Lord: We get so caught up with this season of giving and receiving. We fuss and worry about buying the right present for everyone on our list. We try to make the holidays bigger and better, every year. More of this and more of that.
Help us to remember the real reason for the season. There is only one gift that matters.
Thank you for coming to us as a tiny child.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Beam me up, Scottie.

In order to access some pertinent electronic data,  most efficiently and easily, my new employers asked that I update my antiququated cell phone. I hadn't realized that my phone was an antique, until I noticed that all of the other folks, in the office, were using items they all called "Smart Phones". Their phones did all kinds of stuff and my simple phone could only receive and make phone calls. After all, it was a telephone!
So, I ventured out, one Sunday afternoon, to a nice retail venue, to purchase a new device. Device is the word the salesman used for what would become my new phone. The salesman started his pitch by trying to sell me a tablet AND a phone. It could have been my blank stare or my raised eyebrows, but he quickly moved on describing my singular phone choices.
We settled on a simple "I Phone". He was the one who described it as simple. I would now be able to have 4 Gs, or maybe it was 40 Gs, I can't remember what the number was. I must have been dazzled by the flashing whistles and bells, as he kept moving from screen to screen, because I walked out of the store with the phone, a snazzy cover (new phones are more easily broken than the older models), a charger, ear buds (something about I tunes), and a half-dozen other items that he had placed in a nice shopping bag.
Back home, I looked at the stuff and browsed through the User's Manual. What had seemed so simple in the store, was now way beyond my 20th Century mind.
My colleagues at work were quite impressed by my purchase. I had gotten a really good deal, they informed me. This new device could do anything. They all wanted to try it out.
It has taken me a couple of weeks now, but guess what? I can make and receive calls on my new phone. But, I haven't been able to figure out any other APPs (whatever that means). As soon as I run into a clever 9 or 10 year old, I am going to ask him/her to set up the other options on my device and explain them to me. Maybe then, I will finally be able to access that pertinent data from cyber space.

Lord: Sometimes we feel totally inadequate. Our lives are so complicated and confusing. We find ourselves longing for a simpler time. We reach out to You for help and guidance. Surround us with your counsel and peace.
As we wander through life, we know that Your love surpasses all of our weaknesses. Show us how to live our lives in the very best way possible, always keeping You, Lord, as our Guide and Redeemer.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Enough Already.

Too much Thanksgiving and its tasty remains have left me in a sluggish state. I only seem to be able to move from the table to the couch to the bed, in no particular order. Thanksgiving weekend does it to me every year. Last night, while staring at some inane rerun on early-night TV, I saw myself in a commercial.
Perhaps this phenomena has happened to you. Hopefully, you see yourself as the recipient of the Bow-Covered Mercedes or the proud new owner of the matching set of (every Kiss begins with K) diamond earrings. Maybe you picture yourself in the snow covered mountain retreat sipping bubbly surrounded by loving family and friends, while ringing in the New Year. Or, you could be the most interesting person in the world, drinking unpronounceable Mexican beer, in a remote exotic bar.
Moi???? I was in a US Postal Service Commercial. Maybe you've seen it? The mom of the family is talking, by phone, to the long-distance Grandma. "Yes", the mom says, "we received your Christmas package." The scene changes to the Christmas tree, the dog, the lamp, the couch, the father, etc., totally encased in knitted attire.
The grandma (me) continues......"I just kept knitting and knitting until I filled the (one price for shipping) box. It was such a bargain." Then a head-to-toe sweater covered child inquires...."Is that NANA?"
OM Golly. That is totally me. Two years ago I made EVERYONE of my family and friends stocking caps. Last year, all of the ladies, on my list,  received crocheted shawls. Another year it was baby blankets and afghans.
I must be stopped. Enough is enough, But, what am I going to do with the 25 dish cloths, pretty pink tutu (my granddaughter is very frilly), two scarves and 12 tote bags that I have already completed?

Dear Sensible God: Why do we over-do? When will we learn that one is usually enough. Help us to keep a blanket (O Lord, forgive that very bad pun.) on our craziness and listen to reason. Sometimes less is the best.
You are our anchor in times of doubt and fear.
Keep us wrapped (oh my) in your protective arms.
We are so very thankful for your steadfast love.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Hallmark Moment

My mother had a saying that she used frequently when she meant something was not going to happen. She only said it when she really wanted to emphasize the importance of her conviction.
So, I'm going to use it here, with the same vehemence.

"Hell will freeze over", when I go shopping on Black Friday.

There you go folks. I won't be shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, or even on Thanksgiving afternoon or evening. You will not catch me darkening the door of any retail establishment. NO. Not going to do it! Not this year. Not any year.
I sincerely ask you, what is wrong with the people of this country that they choose to use the very day set aside for Thanks Giving, as a day to push, shove and run around trying to find a bargain? What could be such a great deal, that causes us to leave our homes and family (the stuff we all say we are  thankful for) just to save a few bucks?
Count me way, way, out.
What happened to the joy of finding just the right presents for those you love? Where is the love when you say, "Look at this, honey. Here's that great deal I found for you. I don't care whether you wanted it or not. It was a bargain and I had to be at the store on Black Friday at 5 a.m., to get it. Pushed three old ladies out of the way to grab it.  Now, you better like it. It was really cheap!"
Oh, don't have a retail hissy fit.  I'm still going to be doing my regular Christmas shopping. And, I am aware that there are fewer shopping days, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this year. But, I will buy thoughtfully and carefully. Choosing the gift, for each person on my list, with deliberation.  I believe the real reason that you "gift" someone, is that you want to give them a tangible token of your love for them. 
The Magi.......the historic reason we give Christmas Gifts........weren't bringing Jesus a bargain. They brought the best that they had.

Dear Precious Lord: We should care enough to send our very best to you. After all you were the greatest Christmas Gift ever. All honor and glory are yours, forever.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ambitious and/or Honourable

This week the United States recognized the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's delivery of his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. Teenagers today would find it hard to imagine, but most folks, now in their 60s and 70s, were given the task of memorizing that speech during their high school years. I did it as a Sophomore, for an A, in Ms Sara Stephens' English class.
It was a daunting task for a fifteen year old, to stand up in front of 30 or so classmates and recite, word for word, such a document. The memory of the event remains vivid in my mind and that was two score and nearly ten years ago.
We also had the task of memorizing fifteen lines from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". Most everyone chose the first fifteen lines of Marcus Antonius' "Friends, Romans, countrymen" recitation.
Why don't students do memorization today? Well, for one thing, memory work is not a measurable  skill on a standardized test. And, to be perfectly honest, when was the last time most of us had to memorize anything? Memorization is hardly a marketable skill these days. There is just no "app" for it. There isn't much of a need to memorize or learn anything, when all you have to do is "Google" the  answer.
Bottom line. I still believe "memorization" is a life strengthening skill. Ms Stephens taught me well or is it good? Whatever else I learn in life, I can still recite, nearly word for word, the Gettysburg Address, and about a third of those 15 lines from Shakespeare. Care to hear them? Just "lend me your ears."

Good God. We think we are so smart. The things that we try hard to learn are insignificant in the whole book of life. You are our guide and guardian. Your lessons should be our life's textbook. Help me to do your will.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Sight for Sore Eyes

In our part of the country we have need for large storage containers. Sometimes these large storage containers stand in sentinel groups of 10 or 12. And, because they are very large and tall they can be seen for miles across the rolling hills of the prairies. The largest of these bins are called grain storage elevators and they can hold billions of bushels of ground grain or corn, or whatever else anyone wants to put in them. They are made of reinforced concrete, for the most part, and like many industrial items from the 20th century, we are seeing more of them being torn down than we see of them being built.
There are, of course, other types of storage containers in the plains states. On the smaller farms, around Kansas City, we see what we typically call silos. Individual farms have them built for silage (animal food) storage. Everyone knows what they look like. They are the tall round buildings that usually stand next to the barn. Folks constructed them of brick or maybe they even used the rocks that they found in their fields. Sometimes you can even find a metal one on a newer farm.
But, when farms are abandoned or their buildings fall into disrepair, a very unusual thing happens to silos. Silos often start out as topless tubes or sometimes the original tops collapse or blow off. Because silos are often topless, it is very likely that you might someday be driving down the road, as I did last week, and have the chance to spy an abandoned silo with a volunteer tree spouting out of it's top.
It's a very natural phenomena. Strange, but natural, and sure to bring forth a smile.
Trees will grow just about anywhere. Maybe someone should write a book about it........A Tree Grows in Kansas!

Dear Lord. May we always have a sense of wonder about your universe. We know that we will never know all there is to know or understand half of what is explained to us. Keep our eyes open to praise your wondrous works. We are forever in awe of the everyday surprises in our lives. Life is an ever changing journey and we are blessed to haveYOU traveling with us, every step of the way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


As the self-designated chief of my neighborhood Fashion Police Force, I have been observing a frightening fashion trend this Fall. I've kept my mouth and my poison pen silent until now, but I can't stand it any longer. I'm blowing my whistle!
 Perhaps you have noticed what I call, to use the most polite terms possible, the "Sequins on the South End Syndrome". This new trend can be observed anywhere at anytime. It's a sight that is appearing more and more often, from formal gatherings, to casual dining at your local barbecue joint. And, by my standards, it is not a pretty sight.
Young women under the age of 14, might possibly get away with wearing faux diamonds on their bottoms, but any woman older and broader than your average skinny pre-teen should not be doing it.
Glitz and glitter are not pretty on a size 16 rear end. Silver studs strewn across a woman's broadest area is grossly unattractive.
Yesterday, I saw a broad-beamed woman, with two matching shiny Gothic crosses on her jean's back pockets. Is that some type of pro-religious or anti-religious statement? Holy Bling!
This new trend possibly rivals the "Too Tiny Tops Trend" of several years ago, when women were wearing midriff bearing shirts along with low-riding pants. Muffin tops are a gourmet treat, not a fashion statement. That was an equally disturbing era.
We women are slaves to Dame Fashion. Too many of us will wear anything, attractive or not, if we think we are in style.

Good Lord. We are such goofy creatures. We are vain. We are oblivious to the truly wonderful things in lives. Our attempts at glorifying ourselves are pathetic and silly.
Help us to focus on others instead of ourselves. There is so much for us to do, to glorify your Name.
Help us to realize that we shine outward from our hearts, as we work to do your will.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall"

The older we get, the more we seem to take things for granted. It's a given that the newspaper is going to be in our driveway, around 6:30 each and every morning. And, when it isn't, we are extremely annoyed. It's also a given that our stove, microwave, refrigerator and furnace work, when we turn them all on. Our garage door always goes up, when we push a button. The car always starts when we turn the key. There will always be bread and milk on the shelves at the grocery.
We take a whole lot of things for granted.
Well, we had a visitor this week, from the sunny state of California. You know, that's where the weather is always perfect and of course we all know...... "it never rains in California." It's the Golden State.
But, you know what they don't have in California? They don't have the fall colors that we have here in the Midwest.
So, our visitor was astounded, from the get-go, by the oranges, yellows and reds that dotted the landscape. The trees have been especially gorgeous this year and our California visitor was thrilled with the panorama of color. As we traveled the streets and highways, the display presented by the oaks, maples, ash, and even sumac, provoked oohs and aahs, from our visitor, at every turn.
Frankly, changing leaves mostly mean to us, in Kansas City, that it's time to get out the rakes and that aging limbs and backs will soon be aching from trying to get all of those fallen leaves raked up. We don't even stop to see the beauty that God has created. We take it all for granted.

Good and Loving Lord. Your Universe is Spectacular. Open our eyes that we might see the Wonderous Works you have created. We are truly blessed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Peaceful Easy Feeling"

I am imagining the headlines now......"Old Lady Attends Her First Rock Concert". Yes, by golly, I did. My longtime "Desperado", Jeanmarie, and I went to the largest indoor venue "In The City", last Wednesday night, to see the Eagles.
Everyone knows some of the songs that the Eagles have done.They are not the "New Kid in Town". This band has been around since the late nineteen-sixties. I've been told that they are one of the top-ten best bands of all time. And, after attending the concert, I certainly believe it.
Jeanmarie and I had a chance to "Take it to the Limit". We had a super time. As "Pretty Maids All in a Row", we were perched two rows from the top of the arena, and if there hadn't been a roof on the Sprint Center, we could have stayed to see a "Tequila Sunrise".
This "Witchy Woman" has now heard live Rock, Jazz, Zydeco, Classical (including Russian Liturgy), Pop and Country. "Life's been Good" in "The Long Run".

Great God: Sometimes it is good to step out of our comfort zone. We know that you have given us life in order to experience whatever we can. Life can be so full. Keep us ever mindful of your omnipotence and your omnipresence. We are your servants.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sweet Dreams

Halloween is approaching. Time for ghosts and goblins. It is my least favorite time of year. And, here's why......
I am going to state, with authentic surity, that nothing good ever came from watching scary movies. Don't like them. Never did. Never will. Scary movies will keep coming back to haunt you.
The first really scary movie, that I can remember seeing,  was "Snow White". It was very frightening. It has to be the all-time kid-scarer of cinema. What was Walt Disney thinking? That movie has a scary looking queen, who becomes an even scarier looking witch, a killer woodsman, creepy trees, creepy logs that chase, a trecherous swamp, long falls in darkness, etc. It has poisoned food, a talking mirror, and to top it all kind of creepy little men, who expect one small girl (although she has a big voice) to cook and clean for all of them.
The Indiana Jones movies scare me. Spiders and snakes creep me out. Cobwebs are just as bad. War movies are scary. Gangster movies frighten me. The Godfather movies are way too violent. Don't even get me started on the monster genre. I don't like murder scenes on TV. And, all of those Crime Scene Investigation shows are way too bloody and explicit.
I prefer not to watch anything that is the least little bit scary. I want to see nice, happy stuff.
Real life is frightening enough.

God and gracious God. My faith should keep me from being afraid, but it's hard not to be frightened. Keep me strong and be my anchor in times of trouble.
Keep me "safe and secure from all alarm".
I am ever thankful for your everlasting arms.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Deja Vu, sort of.

The bad news is, my car got towed this week. I parked in a no-parking zone, but I didn't know it. The no-parking sign was installed backwards, so when I pulled into the spot (the same one where I had been parking for a couple of months, where there was no sign), I couldn't see the lettering. Not seeing the sign, whichever way it was facing, is apparently not a valid excuse. Installing a sign, facing the wrong way is not a crime. It's just stupid.
Reason, it seems, in so many aspects of our daily lives, has disappeared.
The good news is, the car was not stolen or wrecked. Just removed, very expensively, to a tow-lot. You may remember the account of my last automobile loss. A couple of years ago, my former car was a victim of a hit-and-run. I called it the "Automobile Murder on St. John Avenue".
I don't have very good luck with cars.

Kind and all-knowing Lord: Teach me to focus on all of the positive things happening in my life. I know that my blessings are many. Help me to always be aware of the wonderful people and events that come into my life. Bad stuff should be the little stuff. Each new event is a learning experience. I am blessed beyond belief.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Short People got.....

Just the other day, I entered into a serious discussion regarding chairs. My employer asked me what type of desk chair I would prefer to use in my new cubicle?
Now, that might seem like a very easy question to answer. Many folks might reply brown or black. They would choose either slick upholstery or nubby. Some might even ask for leather, or more likely "pleather" these days. Most people prefer a black metal or silver toned frame for their chair.
Me?.....I replied, "Small and adjustable, please."
You see, I am vertically challenged. I'm shorter than the average American. I do not do TALL chairs! I avoid going to restaurants that have those fashionable, taller-than-average-tables. When faced with that type of seating, I can almost always climb up onto those tall stools by myself, but I have a really hard time dismounting, without assistance.
And, I don't like deep booths. That's a different type of chair challenge for shorties. Deep booths are built for tall people. My legs stick out straight and my feet don't touch the floor in that style of booth. (Think of a toddler on a regular chair.) Not only do I find them uncomfortable, there is something slightly off-putting about not having your feet on the floor. In a deep chair or booth, I must sit on the edge, never relaxing, in order to touch the floor with my toes.
In both of those seating situations, I often think about how I would not be able to hurriedly unseat myself, and run for the door. I can imagine the headlines now. "Short Lady Stuck on Stool".
So, I asked for small and adjustable. Kind of like myself.

Gracious Lord. Our lives are full of challenges and adjustments. It is the rare time that our published and carefully thought out plans are played out just like we hoped they would be.  Give us strength and courage. Keep us ever mindful that whatever happens, You are always with us. We open ourselves to you and your plans for us.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"All of me. Why not take all of me?"

Have you ever heard the statement that women are more skilled at multi-tasking than men. Men are supposed to be more single-minded than women. Men are supposed to be able to accomplish only one thing at a time. While women, it is said, can manage to do several things, equally well, at the same time.
My vast experience seems to speak to the truth of the above mentioned statements.
Take for example, someone I know quite well, who just happens to be a male. That someone can create a marvelous cream pie. I'm talking about 3 inch high meringue on top of a tasty cream filling. Or, the same person can make delicious chicken enchiladas or a spectacular pepperoni chicken entree. But, that same talented cook has a very difficult time creating an entire meal, let alone the meal and the clean-up afterward.
That fact noted, women often take their ability to multi-task to limits they should never attempt. I had a friend who damaged her eye quite severely, because she tried to apply mascara while driving in rush hour traffic. That was way before everyone had cell phones. Who knows what would have happened if she had been putting on eye make-up, while talking and driving, to boot?
I have a good friend who watches TV, while she talks to me on the phone. I never have her full attention. To me, it is very obvious that I'm getting only 1/4 of her awareness. She is listening to me with one ear, watching TV with both of her eyes and listening to the program with her other ear.
My multi-tasking takes a less dangerous path. I like to crochet, while I watch TV. Of course, while I hear 100% of the program, I only see about 50% of the same show. I also like to check my email, while I let my nail polish dry. Truthfully, my computer key board is a bit messy. Hot pink polish really highlights a black keyboard!
Maybe, multi-tasking is not all it is cracked up to be.

Great God. It is entirely possible that we would be much better off if we really gave 100% of our time and effort to the task at hand. Life would so much more intense. Prayers would be so much more heart felt. Help us to get it right.
We honor You, when we allow You to come into our whole being.
We praise You, Lord.

Monday, September 30, 2013

"Reunited and it feels so good."

I attended a High School Reunion this past weekend. And, as you can imagine there
sure were a lot of senior citizens in attendance. I was not a member of the Pittsburg, Kansas,  High School Class of 1963, but my very best-est, long time-st girlfriend is married to one of that year's graduates. My special friend and I were able to get in a good visit and I enjoyed being on the outside, an observer of the festivities.
It occurred to me, as I watched these folks chat and reminisce about their high school days, that their ages no longer made a difference. They were all 17 or 18, in their mind's eye. They were cheerleaders and football players, debaters and band members. They were the "shop" guys and the basketball players. They were the curly-Q eaters and the Coke drinkers. They were the kids that were "dragging the gut", or working at the IGA.
Yes, it was true and certainly obvious that most of them were heavier and shorter and slower, but they were all enjoying the moment. For just a little while on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they were young again and having a great time.
Life is long, if we are fortunate. We experience a great many things over a lifetime. Some of them are good and some are pretty awful. But, after 50 years, we all should rejoice and enjoy the blessings of greeting our oldest friends. They knew us when we were raw and rough edged. Now, that the edges are smoothed, they still care enough to greet us with love and warmth. We are all survivors on the road of life.
Keep on, keeping on. The good may die young, but the tough keep on truckin'.

Gracious and ever-lasting God. We love you. We treasure our blessings. Our expeiences have made us the people that we have become. You have been our guide throughout the long journey. We know that you are always with us....every step along the way.
We praise your name.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blogs, Journals and all that junk!

I heard a statement the other day that went something like this. "There are two types of people. There are those folks who use their time to keep a diary/journal and there are the others, who are too busy doing stuff to write it all down!"
I fall somewhere in the middle. Before starting this blog, I kept a journal, trying to add insightful entries every night, before going to bed.  My journal was supposed to help organize my thoughts and help me to become a better person. But truthfully, I think it just helped me rehash the junk that was going on in my life. I poured out a lot of anger and vengeance into those pages. Journaling didn't help me sleep, but it did keep me from grabbing something sharper than a pen and using it!
Now, of course, I blog. I've gone from daily journal entries to weekly (or almost weekly) posts, and I am trying to focus on the humor, the blessings and the oddities of daily life. This is my medium of choice. And, I am a better, happier person because of the change.

Lord Almighty. Our blessings are many. Why do we focus on the messes we make? You are all-forgiving, but yet we find it hard to forgive ourselves and others.
Keep us ever mindful of your promises of abundant and everlasting life. We praise your steadfast goodness.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day by Day

I'll be having another birthday, in about a week or so. We baby-boomers are aging, and we are beginning to realize that getting older isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Remember when you couldn't wait for another birthday? Turning five, meant you were ready to go to Kindergarten. And, at ten, you were in the double digits. Wow! That was old. Then, when you hit 13, you finally became a teenager. Sixteen, driving the car. Eighteen, voting. Twenty-one, a certified adult.
The last milestone I passed was becoming eligible for Medicare. Whoopee! That makes me a genuine senior citizen.
Most adults don't really boast about their ages. In other words, what's the difference between 65 and 80? Another year is just another year. My mother used to say that a Lady who would tell her age or weight, wasn't a real Lady!
But, after we reach 80, then we can start boasting about our age, again.
With just a few exceptions, most folks between 85 and 100, are extremely thrilled to have reached each and every birthday.  They will proudly declare their exact age, often adding on the extra months. They start sounding very much like that "just-turned four year old, who declares that he is almost five".

Dear God: We thank you for our time on Earth. We pray that you will show us how to make the most of the time we have. Guide us and show us how we should live our lives, to your greatest glory.

PS.....Send me a card in another 15 years or so!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Who on Earth?

There are a couple of things that most of us do, while traveling by air. First and foremost, we all try to find a comfortable position to doze, relax or just sit in a very uncomfortable, much too narrow seat. Then, most of us attempt to read.  Prepared folks bring a book or a magazine. Techno savvy travelers tote their electronic notebooks or Kindle Readers. Others just read the display on their phones.  And, the remaining souls read the airline sponsored in-flight magazine.
Generally, the last item to be read on an airplane (not counting the emergency instruction card, found in the back-pocket-of-the-seat-in front-of-you) is the latest edition of "Sky Mall". Between the slick covers of this amazing publication are pages and pages of  "you-can't-possibly-do-without" items. You simply must have that tripod for your I Phone. How about the 2 foot high Big Foot statue for your garden, or the deluxe spandex security vest with enough pockets for all of your travel valuables? The "Sky Mall" also offers fine jewelry, mounted squirrel heads, faux shrubbery, and even a solar powered generator. Did I mention the singing tooth brush?
Before you scoff at the foolishness of impulse shopping, thousands of feet in the air, consider how many times you and others have read these catalogs! Somebody or a whole big bunch of somebodies must be buying this stuff.

Dear Lord. We witness your awesomeness as we travel along our life paths. When we travel your universe, we are amazed at your wondrous works.  Our insignificance smacks us in the face, when we consider all that you are and all that you have made. Thank you for loving each of us, individually, as your children. We are blessed to know that we are "one of a kind" to you.
We treasure our world and our fellow travelers.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Two For One Discount

My thoughts on childhood obesity were shared with my readers a few posts back. I  have written that modern children need to walk more. They need to run or walk, to and from school. We need to stop being private chauffeurs for our offspring. KIds have legs. Let's make them use them.
However today, while careening through South Kansas City, on my morning commute, I saw a sign that made me realize that the problem was much more serious and complex than I had previously imagined.
The sign I observed read "Huge Childrens Sale." Oh my goodness. Did it mean that parents are so obsessed and incensed by the appearance of their overweight children, that they are selling them? Or is there some kind of Chubby Police, removing kids from their Cheetos and Twinkies filled homes and putting them up for sale, on the street? Just how much is a Huge Child worth these days?
Parents and grandparents, listen up. Get a handle on the diets of your children and grandchildren. Promote exercise. Cut down on the sweets and sodas. This could happen in your own home town.

Gracious Lord. We need humor in our lives. Show us the healing power of laughter.
Sometimes we get so bogged down with the really serious side of life, that we forget to recognize our silliness. We praise your Holy Name, forever and ever.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Pirates are very hot. Johnny Depp has made millions being Jack Sparrow. Walt Disney Enterprises has taken a fun little animated theme park ride and created a whole series of vastly popular, wildly profitable, full-length motion pictures. Even our local museum is currently featuring an exhibit that promises to tell us all about the "Real Pirates."
We've been  fascinated by pirates for years. It's a safe bet that most of us have played at being pirates or at least chosen to wear a pirate costume at Halloween, as youngsters. We all love the romance and thrill of a pirate's life.
I spyed (get it???) a Pirate License Plate, just the other day, on a nice SUV parked near my place of employment. I work in a state that requires only a state-issued plate for the back of your car. Any plate in the front of your vehicle can be your choice.
But this particular car not only had a pirate logo plate, it also had a handicapped mirror-tag. What a bizarre combination, I thought. Was the driver a peg-legged, swash-buckling matey? Did he or she have a hook for a hand like the infamous Captain Hook in "Peter Pan"? I eagerly anticipated the return of the sailor. Had he or she gone into the Hardware Store, next door, to repair or shapen a rapier? Perhaps the evil soul would be sporting an eye patch or have a colorful parrot on his blouson sleeve?
But alas, I got busy and by the time I looked up again, my pirate and the SUV had vanished. I'll never know what manner of dastardly suburban pirate was piloting that hardy vessel.

Great God. May we never stop enjoying your mysteries. Life is amazing and you give all of it to us, everyday. Help us to grab the gusto. Life is not for the weak and meek. We are truly blessed.

Just Not Worth a Darn

I don't know about you, but I get some of the strangest stuff on my email account. I'm not counting the Viagra, scooter and walk-in bath tub ads. I know I get those because of  my advanced age. The ones I mention here, this time at least, are the CRAFTERS web sites.
I suppose it's my own fault. I crochet quite a bit and over the years I have searched for and opened some sites dealing with free crochet patterns and supposedly great deals on yarn. And, I'm okay with yarn companies sending me notice of their sales, even though I have never bought anything from them. It is, after all, a free-enterprise country.
But, the crafter sites have me baffled. My hand-crafted crochet items are useful, I think. At the very least, they can be used for dish cloths. Keeping my family and friends supplied with baby blankets, stocking caps and scarfs takes up most of my spare time and keeps me off the streets. But, I wonder just who has time to create some of the items on these sites? And, why would anyone who has the time, attempt them?
Today, I was sent a pattern for a empty toilet paper roll nativity set.
Yes, folks, with only three empty toilet paper rolls and some bits of fabric, you can create a splendid and unique Christmas display for your home or office. Oh, and don't forget it's a great way to use up all of those old light bulbs that we have all replaced with the new squiggly type. Those old light bulbs are perfect to use for the heads of the Holy Family.
Happy crafting.

Dear Lord. Excuse us in our craziness. We know that we must supply an endless source of merriment for you. Help us to enjoy the humor of life. I believe you want us to laugh. You have created so many beautiful and wondrous items in this world. Teach us to enjoy this life and enable us to live it to the fullest.
We praise your bounty.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Excuse me?

I pass numerous roadside advertisements, on my daily commute. One of my favorites is a large billboard that reads, "Your wife is hot. Fix her air conditioner." That's just too cute. And, I once drove up to a panhandler who held a hand-lettered sign that said, "Cereal Killer. My bowl is empty." Very clever. So, I gave him a buck.
Every day I drive by a suburban office building that displays a large, professionally lettered sign, "SMALL TENANTS WELCOME".
Excuse me? Does that mean that I, at 5 feet 3 inches, can apply, but my 6 foot husband cannot? What about my feisty friend, Shirley? She's about 4'10".  Can children rent there? Will they accept toy poodles as tenants, but not the standard breed? How about elves, leprechauns and munchkins? (Okay, the sign isn't in OZ...but it is in Kansas.)
So far, I have resisted the urge to pull over, leap out of my car and dash into the lobby. Will I be greeted by one of those life-sized posters, reminiscent of Disney Parks? "YOU MUST BE smaller THAN THE PRINCESS' MAGIC WAND TO ENTER".
I'm genuinely puzzled.
How often do we say or write something that makes perfect sense to us, but is totally confusing and misunderstood by others? The owners of that office building know exactly what type of tenants they want. But, to the passer-by, it's confusing, and slightly humorous. Words and phrases can often have double or sometimes even triple meanings. Often our words are just plain funny, but sometimes the misunderstandings can be hurtful.
Wise folks always think before they speak, or even post signs.

Gracious Lord: Teach me to hold my tongue. Help me to realize that my words can surely praise You and your children. Remind me to be thoughtful of others and to watch my mouth. You give us choices. Help us to make the right ones.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Over Troubled Waters

Because I live North of the Missouri River, and my job is South of that same river, my knowledge and appreciation of bridges is increasing daily. Twice a day, I must choose one of the five nearby bridges to complete my journey. A couple of the these bridges are located on major highways and the traffic and speeds are such that there is no significant difference between the regular roadway and the span over the river. You never even realize that you are on a bridge.
But, the one I prefer to use is a "bridge looking" bridge. It has graceful steel girders in an arching design that strikes me as quite beautiful. My favorite bridge was built in the 1950's to provide access to our smallish island-like airport, from the downtown area.  Howard Hughes' office was in a building, still sporting its Thunderbird-like designs, immediately adjacent to the southbound lanes of the bridge.
From the center most arch, you can see the dramatic curves of the Missouri and the point where the Kansas River, aka The Kaw, meets its much wider sister.  KC, Kansas, and the industrial river bottoms are to the West of the span. These views are possible because of the 45 mph speed limit and the narrowing lanes, which cause the traffic to  go very slowly across the bridge.
Today, while creeping my way over the Missouri, I noticed two large snags in the center of the river. Snags are large logs or even trees that get washed along by the river and at some point get caught on the bottom and stay lodged in one spot. Dozens of 19th century paddle wheelers were sunk when they hit river snags.
I think every one of us has had our share of snags. Nobody has smooth sailing or even easy paddling all the time. Life isn't easy. It's how we choose to deal with our snags that makes life real and meaningful.
Any day now, someone or something is going to dislodge those two snags, and we will all be better for the experience.

Lord: You never promised us a perfect existence. Guide us and lead us as we travel down life's highway. Keep our bridges strong and our pathways clear. Your steadfast love endures forever.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dust it off, brother!

Except for July, the fourth day of the month is nothing spectacular. And, unless it happens to be your payday, birthday or some other kind of anniversary, chances are, it's just another day of the month.
But the fourth of July, is Independence Day in the United States of America. We're busy celebrating with fireworks, picnics, parades and band concerts. Every year, our local newspaper prints a copy of the Declaration of Independence, on the editorial page, along with a nice colored photo of the painting, by John Trumbull, depicting the 5 member committee who drafted the document.
That photo got me thinking about (stay with me here) powdered wigs. Why were many of those men in the picture wearing powdered wigs? What is a powdered wig?
So, I did a bit of research and this is what I discovered. The word wig is a shortened form of the word, periwig. Historically, a wig was a decorative head covering made from human or animal hair. Today there are synthetic ones, but that's another story.
According to my sources, wigs were generally worn by men. Women used hair extensions and various accessories (maybe even small animals) to poof-up their hair, in the style of the era. Wig powder was made from finely ground Talcum powder and must have created a kind of dusty aura around the wearer. There are paintings, from the 17th and 18th centuries, which show residue of powder on the shoulders of gentlemen.
Powdered wigs were the style. They were "in". We can relate. Imagine our founding fathers today in backward baseball caps and sagging pants.
Men might still be wearing powdered wigs, except for a very unpopular British Tax on wig powder. Uh, didn't they have enough of a problem with that one on tea?

Creator Lord: Our independence is very precious to us. We are blessed to have freedoms and privileged to enjoy our many blessings. May we also have the sense to respect the rights of our fellow earth dwellers and to use wisely the resources that we have been given. We are ever thankful for our existence. Show us how to work for You.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Hey there. You with your nose in the air."

Pooh, pooh to those who lament the loneliness prevalent in our modern society. Naysayers are always whining about how no one knows their neighbors. It's true. We don't know all of our neighbors. But, it's not because we don't try to get to know them. They just aren't interested in getting to know us.
Let me give you three examples. Today, it was one of the 5 or 6, great weather days, Kansas City has per year. Pleasantly warm and breezy. The humidity was way low and the temperature was moderate, for the last day of June.
It was the perfect day to sit on our porch and enjoy the day. It was also a perfect day for taking a walk.
Three folks passed out house within a half -hour span. We called out to each of them. "Hello! Isn't it a lovely day." "Yoo Hoo. Hi there." No answer. The folks just kept right on walking, ignoring every attempt we made to interact with them.
No. Not all of our neighbors are physiologically hearing impaired. They aren't deaf. All of the walkers were plugged into ear phones. They couldn't hear anyone or anything but their own noise. So much for being a good neighbor!

Oh Lord: You didn't put us all here on this earth to ignore each other. Just as we need You, we need contact with our brothers and sisters. We need interaction. Show us how to accept and help one another. Your kingdom is for all of us.
We honor and thank you for our lives.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pepperoni and mushroom, please.

Yesterday, we were mailed an advertising flyer, with a money-off coupon, for a new restaurant down on the traffic way. Wow, I commented to myself, sarcastically. Just what we need.....another pizza joint.
You see, there are already seven pizza restaurants within a 3 mile radius of our house. Apparently, everyone in the neighborhood must be eating pizza, 24-7. What else would explain the persistent plethora of pizza parlors?
But, what really struck me as odd, was the name of the new pizzeria.
I don't think we will be chowing down at The Pizza Ranch, in the near future. Because, what does a ranch have to do with pizza? Cowboys in the old west didn't eat pizza. Even movie cowboys didn't eat pizza. There were no delivery persons carrying thermal bags on those cattle drives. Imagine those crusty old ranch hands sitting around the campfire passing the Parmesan and extra peppers. Everybody, including Mel Brooks, knows they just ate beans!
So, don't look for me at Jose Wok's Taco Pagoda anytime soon.

Oh, Lord. Life is an abundant joy! Thank you for our many blessings and challenges. Our choices add spice to our lives. We glorify your name forever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Again and again, over and over.

Last week, I listened to a very thought provoking devotion, that dealt with our old friend, "Mr. Stress". I've attached the title Mister, because my main stress agent, believe it or not, is male.
The devotion, in a nutshell, dealt with the following analogy. Stress, it was explained, is like a full glass of water. We carry it around for a long time and because we do, our arm gets very tired and sore. The glass gets heavier and heavier, the longer we carry it. We should set it down periodically for relief. Then we can pick it up, again, and carry it around a little bit longer. That description creates an interesting visual, don't you agree?
But, how about dumping that stale H2O down the sink? How about pouring it on that half-dead house plant we keep forgetting to water? Voila. A empty glass and no more stress.
Whatever causes us to worry and stress out, needs to be dealt with. And, the sooner the better, dear readers. Undone chores and issues keep us from going to sleep at night. They give us weird dreams and cause us to wake up at 3 a.m. The same unfinished troubles and unsolved problems distract us from the really important issues of life. Procrastination causes stress.
There is a comedian who simply states, "Git 'er done".

Great God. Your "eye is on the sparrow". Help me live my life stress free, and focused on Faith, Family and Friends. We know we shouldn't worry. Help us to stop it.....right now.
Your arms are around us, and you are constantly watching over us. We seek your mercy and guidance.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Good and Gone

I regularly attempt to solve the New York Times Daily Crossword Puzzle. The Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Puzzles are pretty easy to complete. These puzzles have clever clues, but are not too terribly hard to figure out. Then come the later part of the week's offerings. Saturday's clues are often extremely difficult and they regularly include puns, grammatical nuances and word tricks that drive me slightly crazy.
But, on Sunday, the puzzles are the best. They are extra large and usually contain clues that baffle many of us pseudo-wordsmiths. Some of the hardest clues involve words that we no longer use or words that have disappeared entirely from our vocabularies.
Take for instance the word, "gusset". The last time I used or even heard the word gusset was in 7th grade Home Economics Class. A gusset, by the way, is an extra piece of material sewn or attached to a custom made garment. And, I remember having to make several.
Think about it. What words, that you once spoke daily, have disappeared forever? How about icebox, dishrag, or divan? Here are some hyphenated ones: eight-track, sock-hop, white-walls.
Linoleum and oleo are a couple more. All of those words are essentially dead and gone.
But, they make terrific crossword clues and answers.
Change is inevitable. Our lives are ever changing, and so is our language.

Ever Present Lord: You are the Constant in our upside down, everyday existence. Help us to acknowledge your greatness, your faithfulness and your power. Calm us in our times of distress. With You we can accomplish anything.We praise your never changing Holy Name.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stressed Out

A lot of us use the term "stressed out" when we feel pressure to do something out of our comfort zone. It's probably not possible to live one day without dealing with our own or hearing about another person's "stress". But, did you know that the word "stress", used as a syndrome or symptom of behavior didn't come about until the 1930's.
A man named Selye coined the the use of the word. He lectured about distress (bad stress) and eustress (good stress), for the rest of his life. Most scientists, at the time, thought his theories weren't soundly researched. There was, they said, no way to scientifically measure "stress". Poor Selye. He must have felt a whole lot of "stress"!
If I were going to define modern stress, I would use one word.....worry. Stress, I firmly believe, occurs when we worry about the future or worry about the past. It's there when we worry about our health, our children, our finances, our spouses and our retirement funds. We get stressed when we look back and worry about we have said or done, days or even years ago. We find it vewry hard to live in the present. We cannot predict the future or change the past. When we live in the present, we eliminate a whole bunch of stress, and our lives seem so much better.
When I get to worrying too much, I refer to two resources.... my mother and the Bible. Mom always said, "Nancy, quit being such a worrier. Whatever you are worried about won't make any difference 100 years from now!"
And the Bible says, in Philippians 4:6-7, to stop worrying and start praying. All things are possible with prayer. 

Oh Lord. Why do we worry? Where is our Faith? You have promised us everlasting life. What else is there? Help us to make wise decisions and to live life abundantly, praising your Name forever.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ring-around-the Rampsies

I took my longest route to work the other day and shaved 10 minutes off my commute time. No, it wasn't a national holiday, but a regular, everybody-goes-to-work Thursday. Feeling very lucky, I dared to reverse my morning trip and made it home in record time that evening.
What miracle occurred, you might ask?  Well, I stepped out of my comfort zone or actually drove out of my comfort zone. Truth is, I was in a road routine rut. You see, we have lived in the same neighborhood for over 30 years and we have faithfully accessed a near-by highway by the same entrance and exit ramps, for that exact period of time. This route takes us through a small business area and is, I now know, a time consuming stretch.
A while ago, maybe a couple of years now, there was some construction between our house and the previously mentioned ramps. We knew they were building one of those traffic roundabouts (a double one, no less) but, we didn't even notice that they also built new off and on ramps, to the highway.
Lo and behold, the new ramps allow us to by-pass the shops and offices, and get right on and off the highway. Voila! A shorter commute.
Will wonders never cease?

Good God: We are so thankful that you allow us to learn new things everyday. Keep showing us that just because "We've always done it that way", routine can sometimes hurt us and keep us from growing both emotionally and spiritually. Change can be a very good thing. Open our eyes, that we might see the visions you have for us. We are ever blessed by your faithfulness.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"...when you're perfect in every way."

I wear an nice brown apron at my new job. To some of you that might not be such a big deal, but believe me, I find it very humbling. Certainly not humiliating. Just humbling.
For years, I have been ANTI-APRON. Often, I have volunteered
with groups who have sought to designate their members by some type of uniform. Matching bandannas, tee shirts, hats, collars, pins,  etc. And, every once in a while, someone would suggest wearing aprons. At that point, I would always voice my opinion and declare aprons as sexist, cutesy and way too demeaning. After all, women have important work to do, in and out of the kitchen. Aprons just smacked of cooking and dirty dishes. I refused to wear an apron, at any event, under any circumstances.
Now, I'm wearing a cobbler's apron, every day at the store. It is very possible that God is trying to get my attention.

Wise and loving Lord: You always know what is best for us. Keep us ever mindful of our limitations and show us the best ways to do your work. We give you thanks for the lessons that you teach us. Humble us. Bless us as we go about our daily lives.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Photo Op

My attention and interest has been inexplicably drawn to photographs, lately. Maybe I am getting bored by the printed word or I could be just slipping into another phase of aging. There really could be a stage, as yet unresearched, where seniors just start ignoring the printed word (a post-reading syndrome, perhaps) and just look at the pictures. Perhaps this phenomena is the beginning of my intellectual reversal.
While perusing the pix, several questions have popped into my head.
Why are the faces in most publicity photos of boy bands, rock groups and rap artists so serious? Not a smile from any of these folks. I thought making music was considered a joyful pursuit. It's not as if any of these musicians are being photographed in a salt mine doing forced labor! And, I think they are all making above minimum wage.
And likewise, why do all 20-30 something women now pose with their hands on their hips? Who started that? Was is Madonna or Lady GaGa? Honestly,
attendance at a local charity event, dressed in a Jaquelyn Smith ensemble, doesn't require the same pose as a red carpet celebrity wearing Prada.
And, finally. When did baseball caps get so big? Have they always rested on the ears of the players? Today's fielders resemble children wearing the uniforms of their fathers and uncles.The obvious comment would be about brain size, but I'm not going there.
So, maybe I am a bit crabby this morning. But, what is this world coming to?

Good and Gracious God: It really takes all kinds of folks to make up your marvelous world. We are truly thankful for our differences and our similarities. We honor your
creativity. We are thankful for our many blessings. Be with us today as we work toward your Glory.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Surprise! Surprise!

A few of my previous posts have dealt with happenings on my daily commute to work. Today, it is a bit more of the same.
Sometimes in the course of human events, an incident or perhaps an accident will cause me to veer off my usual route. Due to lane closures on the downtown freeway loop, I've found myself on unfamilar roads twice this week.
My first experence led me down one sparsely traveled trafficway through the center of an industrial district. As I approached an intersection, I looked up and saw a 1940's era DC-3 airliner, attached to a bunch of steel girders, and posed or maybe I should write poised for take-off. I'm not describing a model airplane. This thing is the real deal. It's huge and acts, I later read, as advertising for a local coffee company. Well, it certainly is eye catching.
The next afternoon, I decided to angle my way across downtown, to avoid the loop and some equally annoying congestion around the entertainment district. This route led me past the red and white TWA Mooliner Rocket Ship. (TWA stands for Trans World Airlines, for any readers that I might have under the age of 60.) This decorative (TWA did not actually have flights to the moon.) piece of 1960's memorabilia sits atop an office building, as if it is ready to blast off into space.
Life is full of great surprises and we can experience them if we are able to persuade ourselves to make a few changes in our daily routines.
It's the road less traveled.

Heavenly Spirit. You created the wonders and glories of this planet. Show us how to enjoy all that You offer us. There are many branches on Your trees and many stars in Your heavens. Help us learn to focus on what we have and not so much on what we don't have. We honor You.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Me Generation

In the past month, I have been fortunate enough to secure suitable part-time employment. The work is enjoyable and the environment is safe, clean, comfortable, and empowering. My fellow workers are especially nice. This new job, my first adventure into retail sales, is proving to be fun and rewarding. It's a pleasure to get up and go to work.
Because of what we sell, nearly all of our clients are senior citizens. One day last week, every one of my customers was well over the age of 90. It appears that when folks become nonagenarians, they WANT to tell you their age.
Many of our elderly clients are accompanied by their adult children, and these care-givers, most of them senior citizens themselves, are amazing. They open doors, adjust walkers, provide stability and gently offer advice to their parents. They are kind and caring. They are beyond generous, often paying for their parents' purchases. I have not heard one harsh or impatient comment from any of them.
Gee whiz. Wasn't our generation supposed to be the most selfish and "me" directed group of folks ever produced? We weren't going to look out for anyone but ourselves. Well, I'm not seeing it.
What I am seeing is heatwarming. I am truly blessed.

Oh Lord, giver of all that is good, thank you for the opportunity to serve. Bless all of those who honor their parents. Continue to guide and direct them.
Life throws us all kinds of challenges, and we know, with certainty, that You are there to help us.
We glorify Your name.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

..after all.

The world appears to reduce in size every day. With our pads, pods, notebooks and other electronic devices we have the ability to connect with our friends and family in an instant. We can tweet, skype and chat with anyone at anytime. We can talk, listen and view the entire planet, with the touch of a finger.
Odd as it may seem, however, the folks at this house still read a daily newspaper. There is just something about holding the printed version of the news and reading it at one's leisure that continues to appeal to us.
Yesterday, we noticed something new about our morning journal. My husband opened up the paper for a quick scan of yesterday's sports scores and it fell out of his hands. Then, I leaned over to grab the local news section from the coffee table and promptly dropped the front page.
The entire newspaper was smaller than usual. Our paper had shrunk! Overnight, the publisher of our local paper reduced the size of the newsprint by about 1.5 inches, on all sides.
Now, before you retort with a disgusted "so what", think about it. Besides causing old folks to bend over, what will this change do to people who use the newspaper to line their bird cages? What about when someone needs an makeshift umbrella, a paper sailboat or a "yankee doodle hat"? What am I going to use to protect the floor, the next time I start a painting project? Size does make a difference.
Walt was right. It really is a small, small world.

Holy Lord: The more the world changes, the more it stays the same. Help us adapt and embrace everything that comes our way. Be with us as we meet the challenges of our lives. We thank you for your steadfast love and presence.

*Oh, and I think the print is getting smaller by the day, too!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"O'er all the way".

I've been bothered all week by a friend's recent post. His child is ill with a rare, although diagnosed disease. This boy, poked and prodded by numerous doctors and stinging from continuous blood draws, has complained, to his worried parents, that life is "just not fair". My heart reaches out to those young parents. Nothing is worse than not being able to "make it all better" for your kids. It's such a devastingly hopeless feeling.
But, haven't all of us witnessed the unfairness of life? If you've lived, you've felt it.
Years ago, when I first whined about the unfairness of life to my mother, she responded in the same way that all of us have, at one time or another. She simply said "Nancy, life isn't supposed to be fair."
Well, what kind of answer is that? Life is not fair when dozens of babies are gunned down in a public school. Life is not fair when drunk drivers cause accidents that hurt and kill innocent people. Heart attacks are not fair. Cancer isn't fair. None of those things are fair. Life just isn't fair.
But, why isn't life fair? God loved us enough to let his son die for our sins. Wasn't that enough? So, why aren't our lives perfect? Why do we have to suffer?
I don't profess to have the best answer, but I do know that God promised to help us survive the un-fairness of life. He does not prevent all of the fatal or near fatal illnesses and trials of life. But, we can KNOW that the one constant, in all of the bad and good stuff that happens, is the love of God for all his children. Life isn't fair...It's real.
"God will take care of you." He can't "make it all better" for us, but He can hold us in His arms and make it do-able.

Good and all knowing God. We know that you are there for all of us, no matter what happens. Help us to keep remembering the promise of your ending love. We thank you for our many blessings, and we hold strong to our faith in your unfailing power and grace.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Up from the Gravy and the Roast

Yesterday was Easter Sunday. Our church was filled to the brim with people of all ages. Children and adults were decked out in their Spring finery, on a glorious sun-filled morning. I don't think I have ever seen so many babies in one place! The Sanctuary was decorated with lilies, tulips, palms and daffodils. The music from the choir and the congregation was uplifting and thrilling.
But, Easter was different this year. The lead-up to this day of resurrection and joy was missing something really important.
Our week before Easter included coloring eggs, as usual. We attended Wednesday choir practice, Maundy Thursday Services and Good Friday Church. Everything was normal and regular. But, we skipped Palm Sunday.
 On Palm Sunday, the folks in our town woke up to a huge snow storm. The streets were covered and it was too dangerous to do much traveling. Fortunately, we were warned that the storm was coming, so many (over 500) city and rural churches cancelled services, as early as Saturday morning. We all ended up having to dig or be dug out, in order to go anywhere!
Well, I like to think that I am not a slave to tradition and routine, but I guess that I am. I missed the parading of the palms and the whole idea of Jesus' triumphant arrival in Jerusalem. The events of the past week were less dramatic to me, because we skipped Palm Sunday. Something was missing.

Dear Risen Lord: We have heard the story of Easter many, many times. The journey of Easter Week renews our faith and revitalizes our spirit. Thank you for coming to save us from our sins and sillyness. We glorify your name.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Trust and Obey, for there's no other way....."

Today, I totally exhibited the behavior of a seventh grader. Yes-siree. I was right back there at Lakeside Junior High School, thirteen years old, and unable to keep my eyes from staring out of the big glass windows overlooking Adams Street.  I was fascinated by the rapidly falling snow. It was as if I were eagerly awaiting the announcement of one of those blessed snow days. Maybe there would be no school for the rest of today...and maybe no school tomorrow!
The truth of the situation was, of course, I was wondering how bad the snow-snarled traffic was going to get, before I could head home from my job. How many fender benders would I have to avoid? I was thinking about the hills, the bridges, the overpasses and the crazy drivers. I was wondering whether my usual 25 minute drive would be stretched into several hours.
Luckily, the streets were just wet and not icy for my commute home. I cruised home at the usual pace, 27 minutes, door to door. No delays.
But, I can't get over how anxious I actually was. Never once did I stop to "consider the lillies of the field." Oh, Me of Little Faith.

Good and gracious God. When will I ever learn? I am so old and yet I haven't matured enough to trust in you, completely. Forgive me. Continue to watch over me, even when I think and do really stupid things. You are so wise. You deserve my total trust.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What do you think?

I would list my number one character fault as being quick on the trigger with judgemental thoughts. Jumping to conclusions are an unfortunate part of my being. And, you know what? It turns out that I am very often wrong.
Someone once said, " Snap judgements are liable to come unfastened.", and they were right.
I have just finished the novel, "The Paris Wife." It's the tale of Ernest Hemingway, his first wife and their short life together. The story takes place in Paris (duh) shortly after World War I. It's fiction, but I am sure there were diaries, first hand accounts and historical facts to back up the author's account.
Now, it shouldn't surprise you that Hemingway comes off looking like a jerk, in this novel. If you know anything about Hemingway, you have read that his life was a total mess....before and after the period of  "The Paris Wife". Alcohol, womanizing, 3 or four wives, drugs and eventual suicide.
However, because I have learned that maybe I need a few more concrete facts in order to pass judgement, I have decided to read "A Moveable Feast", which is Hemingway's personal account of the same time period.
But maybe, just maybe, I should stop passing judgement altogether and just enjoy a good book.

Holy Lord. We know that only YOU have the right to judge us. Keep us on the straight and narrow. Lead us in the decisions that please you. Guide us toward the life that leads to your Kingdom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Show Me State

I sincerely believe that we all have our "gifts and graces". Each one of us is truly good at something. That noted, I would like to add that every one of us has things that we cannot or should not do. It is a blessing to know the difference.
Last week, I was downtown waiting for a friend. As I sat, I observed a woman attempting to parallel park her car. Parallel parking is a practiced skill, and if you have a valid driver's license, you are supposed to have learned how to do it.
With empathy (I have been known to circle a city block two or three times looking for a spot where I won't have to parallel park), I watched this woman. First, she tried backing into the space. Unable to park that way, she tried going forward and pulling into the space. Then she tried backing in, again. She gave it three more tries before she finally gave up and drove off.
So what makes this so unusual, you querry? The woman was driving a Smart Car. Those cars are made for small spaces. You can park them on the sidewalk, for Pete's sake. OMGolly. Those tiny vehicles have no front or rear end.

You could say that she was too dumb to park a Smart Car.

Oh God. Be our teacher and help us in all of our endeavors. But, help us to learn our limitations. Keep us ever mindful that we are not all-knowing and all-powerful. Only You can do all things. We praise you name.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just a pretty face.

My spouse went to renew his driver's license, yesterday. As residents of our state, it is something we do every six years, whether we want to or not.
Luckily, our closest Department of Motor Vehicles Office is located not far from our house. It used to be even the back of a pet store. Most of the licensing locations in our state are housed in local businesses. I've renewed my license, over the years, in a laundromat, a grocery store, a hardware store and the above mentioned pet food store. That pet food store smelled like birds, cats litter, dog food and pet poo. Believe me, waiting in line, next to the Fresh Step, was very unpleasant.
Driver's licenses serve as our state's photo ID. So, the photo you have on your license is a six-year reminder of how you looked on the day you received your license. When I last renewed my license, I had no hair. I had just finished a 6 session round of chemotherapy. I remember asking the surly clerk/photographer if I could just keep the last picture (when I had hair). She said, "No. Of course not." For the last five years, when I have needed photo ID, I'm always asked, "Who's this bald chick?"
Yesterday, at the DMV, was a tale of "not-who-you-know-but-what-you-are". The young, very attractive women directly in line in front of my husband, was having her ID photo taken. The young male clerk took her photo 4 times, before she decided it was okay. When it was my husband's turn it was ONE and DONE. He didn't even get to look at it before it went into the laminator. Oh, well.
The moral of this little tale. Life just isn't fair.

Gracious and all knowing God. Thank you for our many blessings. Our stumbling block are minor. You will catch us every time we trip. We know that you are with us each minute of every day. Open our hearts and minds to see all aspects of your wonderful world.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"When I was younger, so much younger than today."

It was a terrific "learning experience". On Thursday morning, the snow began to fall. By 4 p.m. on Thursday, we had a total of between 10 and 12 inches. The drifts, caused by the powerful winds, had accumulated to up to 14 or 15 inches, in some spots.
Friday morning dawned cold, clear and sunny. It was time to shovel the driveway. I am the designated shoveler at our house, and from years of experience, I know that in order to move really deep snow, it must be removed in layers. First you skim off a couple of inches and then you dig up the rest on the second or maybe third shovel full.
After about 15 minutes, I only had three to four square feet cleared. At this rate, it appeared, that I would finish by Sunday morning...maybe.
Then a young man drove up and offered to clear our driveway, with his SNOW BLOWER....for a price. I immediately said YES. Twenty miunutes later, our massive expanse of pavement was clear and he had his check.
The lesson is, I cannot do everything by myself. Clearing the driveway was way too big a task for me to accomplish alone. I needed help. I needed to accept help. And fortunately, help came my way.
God is always there, ready to help us along our life journey. All we need to do is ask and accept. We are not on this path alone.
More snow is expected on Monday.

Dear Lord: We open our hearts and minds to you. Guide us and allow us to accept your help. We are in need, always. We thank you for the gentle and the not so gentle reminders that you are in charge.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


This morning I had the opportunity to attend two Sunday morning services at two different churches. Now, that's not terribly unusual. I imagine that many folks do that kind of thing. Preachers with more than one congregation or folks who are asked to be a guest speaker at a church, other than their own, are often called to attend several services in one day. And, maybe even some families do it. First the family goes to one church, then they hop in the car and travel someplace to attend another.

Anyway, it's a bit unusual for me. I've done it, but I've never experienced what I did this morning. In the course of a couple of hours, I witnessed two of the most diverse worship services this little old church lady has ever encountered.

At 8:00, I was formally attired in my choir robe, complete with the appropriately colored liturgical stole, ready to sing all of the formal hymns, responses and group prayers a Lutheran Church can offer. It was a really nice service. The preacher was spot-on as he combined personal stories with the scripture message of the Good Samaritan. Formal communion, at the rail, completed the worship service.

At 10:30, I attended an extremely informal Praise Worship at a United Methodist Church. The preacher wore sneakers. The Praise Band, which consisted of a drummer and a couple of guitars, accompanied the congregation in several songs.
Scripture for this service was the temptation of Jesus. By blending what it means to be a child of God, with the experience of Jesus, as the actual son of God, the message was very meaningful. Communion was by Intinction (some have called it Drive-By), but it was very worshipful.

So, what did I learn? What did I gain from this double-whammy of contradictory worship practices?
God does work on us in mysterious ways! His message is meant for all of us. He's going to get to us one way or the other. Only God's way is the right matter how it is delivered.

Dear God. We're different. You know it. Thank you for being the very thing that we all need. You are all things to your children.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I understand that one of the highlights of the recent Super Bowl of Football was the half-hour black-out. I've been talking to friends who were so engrossed in the game, the commercials, the half-time show and the inane commentary of former jocks that they continued to watch the mostly darkened arena, eyes glued to their TV screens.
Come on folks. It's a game. And, there was nothing going on.
Which leads me to a burning question (no pun intended). When is the best time to  leave the viewing area, to visit the bathroom? Fans, tell me, please?
Is it best to leave during the play-by-play? What if you miss a great touchdown pass or a really long run. What if the receiver catches the ball, falls down and jumps up to run into the end zone for a touchdown? If you are in the potty, you missed the whole thing.
Do you hold everything necessary until a commercial break? What if you miss the commercial everyone is talking about, at school or the office, for the next two weeks? You know, we're all waiting to see a better pitch than that old "Coke and the kid" ad, of two decades ago.
What about during the half-time show? But, if there just happens to be another wardrobe malfunction (a la Janet Jackson), you don't want to be the only viewer that misses it.
And, should you make your break during the riveting re-hash of every play ever played on the gridiron? Those 3-5 old guys know EVERYTHING about the game. They know, because they played it, back in the day.
Maybe the whole Super Bowl broadcast is a plot, created by the Urologists of America, to get you into their offices for a check-up. Just a thought.

Lord: We are the craziest bunch of folks. You must get a big laugh out of what we think is important. You made life so simple for us and we make living it so hard.
You said....Love You and love others as ourselves. That's what you teach us, daily.
We are thankful for the lessons you give us.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Whole Truth and Nothing But .....

The Scripture this morning was I Corinthians 13: 1-13. Well, it's February, and these familiar verses, which we Christians consider as the "Love Chapter", are perfect for the month of romantic love. Chapter 13, is almost always read at weddings and often printed in Valentine Cards. We know the words by heart. "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious..." and so on. Great words for lovers to hear. And very appropriate.
But (and this was a light bulb moment for me this morning) Chapter 13,  follows Chapter 12.  This morning I read them together for the first time. And ZOWIE. A light bulb went on in my small brain.
The verses describing love in Chapter 13, are in reference to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Chapter 12. This isn't Valentine stuff at all!
I am a great believer in Gifts and Graces. I know in my heart that we all have worth and that each one of us is talented in our own special God given way. In reading Chapter 12, we are given a list of the Gifts that we might receive, through the grace of God.
Then in Chapter 13, Paul writes that the "greatest of these Gifts, is love" and furthermore, if you don't have this Gift of love, then any other Gift that you might have been given is totally worthless. If what you do isn't done in the Spirit of love, then you are not using your Gift in the way that God intended it to be used.
What a great lesson for me this morning. God was telling me to read the whole story and I just might get the real picture.

Gracious and all knowing God. You understand us and our shortcomings. Keep our minds and our hearts open to your words of wisdom. We need your knowledge and guidance. We thank YOU for our Gifts. Help us to use them in Love.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I told you so.....

The winter weather and my current mood has led me to revisit some of the literary classics of my youth. This week I embarked on a reread of Silas Marner. Written in 1861, it must have been on the list of  "must reads" in the middle of the last century, because most everyone of a certain age has read it.
However, I don't think many folks, under the age of 55 or so, have even heard of it. It has disappeared from the required reading lists of modern education. Kids are reading other things, now.  And, I am admitting that it didn't make much of an impression on me at age 15. But, I think it was supposed to.
Silas Marner is a highly moralistic tale. The good characters prevail through all of the trials posed to the them. The bad guys get their come uppance, in the end. No doubt young readers were supposed to learn something from the story and heed the written warnings to make good choices or regret it.... for ever and ever...for generations to come.
Honestly, in my reread this week, I found I had retained very little of the plot. I can't blame my morals...or the lack there of....on Eppie and the coal hole. The ending was a pleasing surprise.

Gracious and all knowing Lord. You show us the right path. We know that our decisions do have consequences.We don't have anyone to blame but ourselves, when we make the wrong choices. Open our eyes and our ears to your guidance. Shut our mouths, so we can listen to your direction. Praise the Lord, always.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How cold is it?

In Southern California, it snowed recently. From the weather reports, it's actually near freezing in San Diego. San Diego, you know, almost always has practically perfect weather. Warm, rarely HOT, and cool, never COLD. Their current weather phase is a rarity, indeed.
I cannot imagine how the folks out there are coping. People in Southern California, even stay inside when it rains.....because it rarely ever rains! They don't have snow boots. (My Orange County sister once put baggies on her kids feet, when they took a day trip to the mountains, to play in the snow.) They don't have warm coats, hats, gloves or scarves.
What can I say, as I sit here, all cozy in my turtleneck, lined jeans, fuzzy socks and faux fur slippers? We adapt to cold weather, here in the middle lands, just as we adapt to our sweltering summers.
As my nonagenarian friend says, "this too shall pass." It will warm up soon, folks.

Oh, Lord. We are hard to satisfy. We complain about all kinds of things. We rarely remember to give thanks for all that we have. Our blessings are mighty. Tomorrow is a brand new day. You are with us, Lord, rain or shine.

Have Faith

The choir sang a catchy anthem last Sunday. It was based on the the Bible verse..."Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened..... ". It had a great message. But, the problem was, we were having trouble singing it with conviction. We just couldn't get our level of excitement up to match the words we were mouthing. We were singing about God answering our prayers, but it sounded like we didn't really believe it.
Faith is so easy catch and so incredibly hard to hold on to.

Great God. You are always with us. Hold us tight. Open our eyes so that we can imagine what you have in store, for those of us who have Faith in you. We are of your Kingdom, always.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year, Folks

It's a new year. The old one is toast! Stick a fork in it! It's so last year!
Aren't you looking forward to starting anew? The new year is a time for making resolutions and promises to ourselves and others.
Last year, I resolved to write a blog entry every week. I didn't make it. The year before I think I had one about losing some weight or maybe it was exercising regularly. I wasn't very successful at those, either. Several years ago, my resolution was to eat a fresh fruit daily. Change fruit to snack food, and I would have made that one, in spades.
But, the optomist in me, says "Go ahead and shoot for the stars. Make those resolutions, no matter what your success rate has been".
So, all of the above. Ditto, again! Why not? Those hopes and dreams are still valid. Add to the above... find meaningful and lucrative employment and maintain a strong sense of humor. Oh, and be a better friend to everyone I care about.
I've got a big and busy year ahead of me.

Kind and gracious God. There isn't a single doubt in my mind that you are with us every minute of every day. Open our eyes that we might be willing to see what you have in store for us this year. Guide our feet, the race is sometimes very difficult.
We thank you for our many blessings. Amen. Amen.