Language Humor

Learning to speak well is sometimes nurture and sometimes nature. When I was growing up one of Mom’s favorite TV shows was “Kids say the Darndest Things,” hosted by Art Linkletter. I can remember my sister coming home from Nancy’s house once. Nancy had a brother quite a bit younger than the girls. Paula quoted him as rushing in his parents dinner party shouting, “Mom! I’m blooding! I’m blooding! I can see the bleed!!” He eventually grew up to play professional baseball.

When our kids were young I used to write the funny things they said on pieces of paper and slip it in a drawer. It was so much fun to find those papers later and reminisce.

Emily was introduced to bagels when Great Grandma Pat and Aunt Ra came to visit from Queens. She was also learning that dogs differ in kind and have various names. For a while she referred to beagles as bagels.

Adults can speak silliness, too, me included! When the kids were young we often crossed the Little Miami River over a bridge with steel grating on the deck. It made a racket when we drove over it. At ages 4 and 1 year I did not want the kids to be startled, so I would always warn them, “We are going over the Woo-Ba, Woo-Ba bridge!” That was the sound of the car traversing the grating. As they got a little bit older I added the fact we were crossing the Little Miami River. Once right after crossing the bridge, Jeff asked, “Where’s my bridge?” Many times in his life this child has given me pause. It took me a bit to realize he often called his sister, “My Emmie.” Yep, he wanted the location of the “My Jeffie” bridge! No competition there!

We went to the beach with Grandgirl Lizzie when she was very young. As usual the typical beach town had flamingo signs here and there (although there were never any flamingos in that part of the USA). Lizzie decided they were better named “Falingos.” Sort of make you want to dance, doesn’t it?

January 1991

It must have been a warm day when I ventured into the Cincinnati Nature Center in January of 1991. I noticed these things at the Avey’s Run stream.

“The creek has cut a new route. The deep, dark, quiet pool has changed. With the force of last year’s rain the bank gave way and several trees lie intertwined in the water that was a pool. The force of the water has moved debris into a tidy four foot pile. The stream has carried sand and stone, changing the creek’s prior route into a narrow, almost dry channel. The water gurgles in joy over a few fallen branches as the flow takes a new direction.

“River of life flow forth in me. Gurgle in joy, splash with abundant life as I flow on in God’s river of love towards the next challenge.

“A green rock says, “Pick me up.” Green – color of life and that more abundantly!”

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “

John 10:10 NRSV

Gratefulness

Every January I try to make English Muffin Bread. It makes terrific toast, and who doesn’t like warm toast in January? With all the purging and packing going on in this house as we prepare to move it has been a challenge to get the bread made!

Thursday we worked on house things. I was getting tired in the late morning, but was determined to mix that bread! I had looked for a CD to inspire us while we were cleaning the pantry and could not find it. As my energy flagged I needed music to spur me on! Finally found the recording I wanted on You Tube music. If you every need a musical motivator try “Hooked on Classics.”

Muffin Bread is one of our son’s favorite foods. Measuring the flour with Mom’s flour scoop, I remembered how much she liked that bright yellow scoop. I think perhaps she got it through Gold Medal Flour? In the 1950s plastic kitchen items were uncommon. I am so grateful to have her flour scoop. It makes me smile.

Meanwhile, Hooked on Classics moved to Liebestraume by Liszt, the only piece of classical music that I remember my Dad liking. I was using a Kitchen Aid mixer. I only bought one a few years ago. (Wish I had owned it when the kids were growing up and I was baking all the time!) I remembered my daughter asking for one on her wedding registry.

Next thing I knew Hooked on Classics was playing the Wagner wedding march! All of these within a few minutes! You see, Hooked on Classics arranges the most memorable portions of classical music and puts those portions to an up tempo beat.

So much gratitude! Fatigue from cleaning the kitchen pantry, because we are going to move to a new house. Our son on an even keel and knowing he would enjoy his muffin bread. Our daughter, Emily’s wedding and stable marriage. My mom’s flour scoop all these years later. My dad’s favorite love song, because that is what Liebestraume means. My wonderful husband who has been working EVERY SINGLE DAY towards packing and cleaning up the holes in the walls and preparing for our move. Occasionally I can talk him into a day off, but not every week.

Before I knew it the bread dough was rising and I was out walking the dog! When was the last time you had an avalanche of gratitude in a short, intense burst? Did you give thanks?

Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV2011)  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,  for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Psalm 107:8-9 NIV

January Flowers

January is the month to purchase flowers at Kroger’s. They had roses for $10 a dozen. I ordered the color I liked through Click List. They were gorgeous! There is no certainty these days that roses will open in a lovely fashion, or wilt and bend over, or stay frozen in the pose of the bud. These opened gradually and in a remarkable fashion. Especially at $10 a dozen! I also splurged and ordered a bunch of tulips. They did not have the small bunch I ordered, so they queried the proposal that I mighty want to accept the larger bunch in its place. Well, certainly! Especially since they only charged me the smaller bunch price.

The wonderful thing about tulips, once they are cut – they are the only cut flower that continues to grow after being cut. (I think I learned that from a weatherman on TV.) So I made arrangements of the two flowers.

Four days later the arrangements looked rangy. The tulips had grown, as Tim Hedricks told us. So I cut the tulips back and changed the water, letting them bloom on!

Aren’t they sweet? Too bad they have no fragrance!

I liked them so much I bought the two flowers again this week, although in different colors! They are especially soothing as we tear up the house, take down photos and favorite things off the walls getting ready to show this house. We have lived here about 15 years. Last time we moved we had lived there 30 years. Raised two kiddos there. So this is not as emotional as leaving where the babies grew up. We do have some wonderful memories here, though. As I went out to walk Lucky last night I remembered the Peter, Paul and Mary song that started, “This house goes on sale every Wednesday morning And taken off the market in the afternoon.” Written by Tom Jones. Now Taylor, if you read that, it’s just a song! You know we intend to move!

I counted in the bedroom. Bob had about 20 nail holes to patch. And my favorite deep purple wall will need painting according to realtor advice. The realtor wants to meet in about 4 weeks and show the house March 1. Seems too early to me, but we are adamant about a clause that gives us two weeks to move out AFTER we close on the new one.

Glad we did not wait until we were any older to do this! Every evening we are weary and making lists of what else needs to be done. Quite a pandemic distraction!

Oswald Chambers

I have read his book My Utmost for His Highest for many years. This year I bought myself a perpetual page-a-day calendar with his personal prayers entitled Knocking at God’s Door. Here is the prayer for January 11:

Lord, the hilarious simplicity of trust in You seems almost levity until I remember You, and dare not not be glad! Spread joy and gladness all around us this day.

Oswald Chambers

Usually there are things of joy and gladness around me IF I will simply notice. When our children were young, say 1977-1987, we were able to purchase a small vacuum called a “DustBuster.”

A CLASSIC CREATION – – An original 1979 model of the Black & Decker DustBuster (pictured here), as of 1995, is a permanent part of the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., right next to one of Thomas Edison’s first light bulbs and Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephones in the National Museum of American History wing. The handy vac is celebrating its 30th birthday in 2009. (Image courtesy of Black & Decker / NOT for sale via The Times)

Today I learned from Wikipedia: “The design originated from the Apollo space mission, where NASA required a portable, self-contained drill capable of extracting core samples from the lunar surface. Black & Decker was tasked with the job, and developed a computer program to optimize the design of the drill’s motor and ensure minimal power consumption. That computer program led to the development of a cordless miniature vacuum cleaner.”

We got rid of that appliance years ago. Now we are going to build a new home that will have mostly laminate floors that look like wood. I found a good sale at Kohl’s and on the advice of a friend purchased a Eureka vacuum called a Blaze. It has a long handle and a floor attachments which can both be removed to create, yep! a ‘Dustbuster.’ Bob is using it right now as he patches places where we have hung photos frames, sands and paints the patch. No, it is not cordless, but it seems more powerful than the original one we owned.

Wikipedia continues: “By this time, (about 2008) it is estimated that over 100 million “Dustbusters” had been sold. “Dustbuster” has become a genericized trademark for a handheld vacuum cleaner in some parts of the world, due to its success as a design and worldwide recognition.” Just like we call facial tissues, Kleenex, and cotton swabs, Q-tips.

I find it so amusing that over 40 years ago we needed one to clean up after kiddos and now we need one to clean up after ourselves and our hairy dog! Yes, Beagles do SHED!!

Be glad and spread some joy today. Even if the gladness comes from a simple appliance like a Dustbuster!

Comfort

When I was 17 by family of origin blew up. I ended up in Juvenile Court and was made a ward of the state until my 18th birthday, several months later. My mother and stepfather were deemed unfit to finish raising me. I went to live with Becky’s family. She was my friend all through our public school years. Her Dad drove me to high school everyday, with Becky and her brothers. Those mornings Dwight was on his way to teach music at the elementary school where my cousins attended. Her parents attended the same Episcopal church where I attended. They had at least 5 kids and were willing to house me until classes began at University of Cincinnati.

Becky’s mother’s name was Maria. I admired her so very much. She was a tremendous comfort giver without trite sayings or false wisdom. Once when I was upset over the family blow up she drew me into her large kitchen. They had a huge gas range with a drawer on one side.

It might have looked like this.

In the drawer she kept her saltine crackers. They were never stale from humidity because of the pilot light in the range. They also were warm. She sat me down at the table, made some tea and brought out those crackers with jelly. I was comforted by her listening skills, but also by her comfort food.

Maria was a lovely lady of faith and artistry. Her home was a comfort. I saw her many years later with a brace on both wrists. She suffered from arthritis. My heart was saddened by her pain. She assured me the braces helped. I never dreamed then that I too would someday wear a wrist brace.

She told me once how her beloved husband, Dwight, courted her and brought her a bouquet of Sweet Pea flowers. I planted Sweet Peas and was able to take her a bouquet.

I miss her dearly and think of her often. She is one of those women I want to emulate. May God bless her soul and keep her close in heaven. I look forward to seeing her again!

Epiphany

Generally in today’s culture we think of epiphany as when someone has an enlightening moment. When it is capitalized Epiphany is referring to the Christian holiday with several meanings depending upon your denomination. Today is the celebration of The Epiphany. We do not currently attend church because of Covid 19. We are members of a non-denominational church. My roots are in the Episcopal church which I chose for Baptism and Confirmation at age 15. I learned much about church tradition and prayer in the Episcopal church. I learned Scripture by following the Daily Office Scriptures through the publication “Forward Day by Day.” It is still in print and available in paper copy or online.

The celebration of Jesus being presented to the world is recognized when the Wise Men (Magi) arrived to honor Him and bring Him gifts. This is understood as the Presentation of Christ to the Gentiles, God in the Flesh, Immanuel, God with us. In the Eastern churches this is commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus. When we were traveling and visited Arches National Park I was stunned by this image of the Wise Men, created by the sun and shadows.

I have printed this photo and it holds a prominent place in our home. whether it represents the Magi or the Trinity, I never want to forget the power of God with Us – right here, right now.

The Book of Common Prayer lists this prayer for The Epiphany. “O God, by the leading of a star You manifested Your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know You now by faith, to Your Presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

As far as the presentation of Jesus this passage sums it up well.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now, Lord, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples: A light for revelation for the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Luke 2:25-32 NASB

Epiphany is celebrated and then the Episcopal church calendar counts celebrations for nine weeks called the First Sunday after the Epiphany, Second Sunday after the Epiphany, etc. right up to Ash Wednesday. May the arrival of the Revelation of Christ, His presentation to the world, enlighten our hearts and minds forever.

Windy December

The change of seasons always seems to hit hard in December. In southwestern Ohio we tend to have high winds during those times. The folks who display blow up decorations are hard pressed to drop their displays in time not to have them suffer permanent damage.

In years past people tended to buy hard plastic decorations. You have likely seen something like the one below over the years.

One year at Christmas time we were bringing our oldest Grandgirl to our house after her nursery school had let out for the day. At our encouragement she was looking at decorations along the way. It had been one of those windy December days. We passed the home of a Catholic family. They tended to not place the baby Jesus in the display until December 24th.

As we passed their yard Lizzie said, “I see Mary. I see Joseph. I guess Jesus blowed away!”

Sweet memory!

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:6-7 NIV

Make room in your heart for Him this year! You will not regret it.

A Favorite Memory

When our daughter was 3-1/2 years and our son a mere 6 months old, we were preparing to attend Christmas Eve service. I had done my best as a young mother to provide decorations and memorable things for our daughter’s third Christmas. I had even found a tiny creche set with a baby Jesus in the manger. He was about 1 inch long. My daughter was given her very first purse that year. I got her all dressed for church and then began getting our son ready. He was not one to be patient if he got at all overheated. Before he hollered over being bundled up we were out the door and in the car.

As our family settled in the pew, I noticed our daughter was holding something in her hand. I finally asked to see what it was, fearing some sticky candy or something. Slowly she opened her hand to show me. Turned out she had taken the tiny baby Jesus out of the manger scene while I was dressing our baby. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and solemnly said, “I thought He ought to come, too.” I almost burst into tears!

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 NIV