Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Shake it up Baby"

It's another long holiday weekend. Memorial Day comes around every year and we welcome it as the beginning of the summer season. But, as an older American, I can remember calling the same holiday Decoration Day. The designation changed sometime in my childhood, as it became a day to honor our deceased Veterans, as well as relatives and friends who have gone before us.
I have many memories of the old fashioned Decoration Day.
My maternal grandmother had a large yard with an abundance of blooming bushes and flowers. Early in May, she prepared for Decoration Day, by cutting her pink, white and red Peony (she said,"Pee OH nee") buds and placing them in water filled Mason Jars. The jars were then set in rows in the ice box. They would stay there, several weeks, until it was time to go to the cemetery.
Then the icy jars, brim full of cold of water and buds, would join bundles of purple and lavender Flags (the local name for Iris) on the kitchen table, as she prepared for the yearly trek to the Wintle family graves.
To this day, I remember sitting in the back seat, alongside my sister, with jars of flowers on the floor between our ankles, and more jars on our laps. Between us, on the seat, were bundles of newspaper wrapped Iris. The scent of the cut flowers was overwhelming and disarmingly sweet. Iris and Peony scented perfume has never been marketed, for good reason.
We were cautioned to sit still to keep the jars from spilling, but no matter what we did, we always arrived at the cemetery with damp anklets, cold arms and legs.......and squirming. An interesting fact about Peonies is that they are always full of tiny black ants. During the trip, the ants would travel up our legs and end up in our underpants.
Never wonder again about the origin of the phrase "Ants in your pants."?

Dearest Lord; We are thankful for our memories. Looking back is often a good thing. We have so much to be thankful for.
Looking forward is good, also. You give us many opportunities to help others as we live our lives. Guide us and allow us to make good choices and improve your world.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Could you repeat that, please?

A good part of my afternoon was spent speaking with a knowledgeable "support representative" from a major technology company. I ended up actually speaking with this "support representative" after I was unable to download some material from an Internet site. I called for help.
I admit that I am techno-deficient. Some of my inability to cope with the latest electronics has to do with my age and the rest of my stupidity has to do with the fact that I apparently need not only written, but spoken directions and hands on manipulation to understand things fully.
The young woman, with whom I spent my afternoon, was from a county other than Middle USA. I did have some difficulty understanding what she was trying to tell me. I had to keep asking her to repeat what she had just said. AND, she kept using terms like USB and Analog Telephone Line. She kept telling me I needed a blue cord, and I didn't have one. Then she wanted me to put that blue cord into the fax machine port. I didn't have a fax machine, either. More than once, I had to say...I have no idea what you are talking about, madam.
Finally, she gave up on me and suggested that I stay on the line to schedule a maintenance call. Tomorrow, I'll welcome the maintenance person, with open arms and an open mind. Hopefully, he or she can teach me how to get the information I want and improve my knowledge and skills so that I can successfully learn how to download what I need next time. I intend to take copious long hand, and then use my handwritten notes to improve my 21st Century computer skills.

Dear God, help me to be all that I can possible be. I yearn to appreciate what I know and what I don't know. Guide me and allow me to use the skills that you have given me. Show me how to use my gift and graces to do your will. I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"What's your name? Is it Mary or Sue?"

In the past few months, I have become acquainted with four women named Wanda, four more named Helen and three named Edna. Three Marys, two Margarets and two Virginias have also made their way into my life.
Names run in cycles, you know. It is reasonably easy to determine the age of a women by what her given name happens to be.
There is, of course, no woman over the age of fifty named LaToya or Brie. Most women,  around 60, have names like Nancy, Susan, Sandra, or Pat. Women, around 70 or 80, are Margaret, Wanda, or Betty.
The same phenomena occurs with men's names. Harold, Herman, John, William and Robert are, for the most part, all senior citizen names. Cassidy, Connor, Chase and Clint are names that have become popular in the last 20 years
Whatever our name is, the word defines us. Our name is what we are known by......forever.

Great God. We pretend to know how powerful you are. Your goodness and mercy are beyond our comprehension. We do know that you are always with us, through any difficulty. We know your name and you know our names. Watch over us and keep us ever mindful of your will.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lost Cause!

There is a long list of things that I don't want to lose. I don't want to lose my car keys, which I actually do, at least once a week. My purse gets misplaced about the same number of times. Both, of course, are always right where I left them.....usually under my nose.
It seems that I can't read a book without losing my place, every chapter or so. The thought of using a book mark just doesn't occur to me until it's too late. I'm lost.
Although, I have two pair of eyeglasses, it is often the case that I can't remember where I put either pair. Unfortunately, my vision is nearly to the point where it is fairly difficult to SEE where I have misplaced them. Crunch!
At the top of my "no lose list" has to be a positive attitude. It must be easier to be bad tempered, as we get older, than to "accentuate the positive". Sometimes I think, getting old is synonymous with getting cranky. After all, the movie was titled "Grumpy Old Men", not "The Joys of Aging".
I just pray that no matter how old I get, I can continue see the bright side of things.
If my meal at the restaurant is a bit under average, help me to remember that it most likely will not be my Last Supper. A better meal is just a couple of hours away.
If I'm chilly, in my old age, please let me remember to put on a sweater. And, likewise, if I'm hot, I hope I have enough sense to take off that same sweater, and cool off.
Help me to remember that patience is a virtue. Waiting should remind me that I am blessed to still be here, living my life.

Our happiness often depends on our own attitude.

Good and gracious God. I want to count my blessings. You have given me so much to be thankful for. I am truly blessed. God, I want to keep my sense of humor. Bless me with the ability to appreciate what I have.
Your goodness endures forever, and I will appreciate your mercy until I am no more.

Friday, May 2, 2014

"Open my eyes, that I might see...."

Spring this year has been a bit strange. We have experienced cold days and warmish days. We've had frosts and even April snow showers. Tornadoes have been spotted all over the Midwest. There have been quite a few injuries, a great deal of property damage and even several deaths related to the severe weather. We've had an unusually dismal Spring. We are all wondering....will it ever warm up???
However, right in the midst of this really bleak Springtime, there is, growing right next door to us, the most gorgeous blooming pink dogwood that I have even seen.
Our next door neighbor is rarely home. His house needs painting and the gutters are falling off of the eaves. His electric yard lamp has been useless for years, with the wires hanging limply from the light less pole. He mows his yard only occasionally, but since the green consists mainly of weeds, it doesn't grow very thick and long. Yet, in spite of this, the dogwood tree, in his front yard, is stunning.
Our neighbors, on the other side, have a beautiful house. They repaint every three or four years. Their lawn is manicured to perfection, and the trees are trimmed to perfect spheres. And, every Autumn, their wrought iron fence glistens with a new coat of black paint.
These neighbors also have a pink dogwood. And, this year, it looks pretty sad. There are a few spindly pink branches, but it looks pretty thin and scrawny.
Thinking about these two very different trees, I decided that we just don't know where and when God is going to bless us. In a perfect world, the beautiful house would have the beautiful tree. But in our real world, the run-down shabby house was awarded, this Spring,  with a gorgeous bloomer.

Stop and consider the wondrous works of God.

Kind and gracious Lord. Your handiwork is awesome. You surprise us with beauty everywhere we look. Remind us to look in unexpected places for your grace and glory. Your steadfast love endures forever.