Saturday, December 31, 2011

Watch Night

I love the words, Watch Night. Praying in the New Year. But as I was reading in my book of Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals, Watch Night is when the slaves waited for the Emancipation to be legal on January 1,1863. The African American churches continue to celebrate freedom in their churches on New Year's Eve.
Today, I think of those in slavery. Human trafficking makes the back stories, not headlines. Even in America, we have more than you would think.
People are in bondage to many things, even if they move freely in their community. Can you think of slavery issues? Addictions, abuse, poverty and mental and physical illness are a few. And the name that encompasses them all is Sin. Yes, I believe that we are all born sinners, so I guess in this victim age, we are victims of our birth. We are all slaves to the bad in this world. I do not mean personal sin creates our illness, but in some cases it does. We live in a fallen world with no respecter of persons.
Jesus is our Emancipator. Many cannot believe as they are slaves to their own ideas. They will not accept the Truth of the Gospel. We tend to look only at this world and won't lift our eyes to the hills- from whence comes our help- The Maker of Heaven and Earth.
As we hope for the best in this New Year, I offer a challenge. Many claims about what it will bring- abundance, wealth, great favor- are circulating. Let us pray for those who are slaves. I do feel for the girls and women involuntarily kept in rooms with pimps and johns. I also think of the people out there every day, enslaved to their own desires, misconceptions and circumstances. Let us pray for all. And let us do more for them this year, than last. Reach out to one more person. Open our eyes to the hurting, the lost, the wanderers,who are just going to one funeral after another, losing hope with each day.
This Watch Night, resolve to give them Jesus.

Friday, December 30, 2011

End of Year Jitters

Sitting here at the computer, feeling like my dream is unattainable. I'm glad I try to ignore feelings. This morning, I could have conquered the world.
My body is tired. I believe it fought a virus that my great niece Gracie gave to Mary Ellen, but since Tuesday, I didn't throw up. Holiday week and one nurse already out with that "stomach flu" I couldn't give in to my gut. Tums, Tums, Tums and finding food to settle that pain, didn't work. Just grabbed my gut, rubbed my head and traveled on. No chunks at all,though, made me very happy.
I read all these articles on improving my writing. I read, but feel it is never enough. Been reading much on C.S. Lewis. Why haven't I read more of his books? I've read the Space Trilogy, Screwtape Letters, well, John Cleese did, and I scan through Mere Christianity. Listened to all the Chronicles of Narnia from Focus on the Family, and of course, thrilled at the movies, especially the first one.
I want to find my picture for the year and blog on that for Mary DeMuth's page. I feel my goals should have been set already and etched somewhere. Have I asked for time off for the St. David's Writer Conference, yet? Do I even know when it is? I forget to check that out. I did sign up for a teleconference Thursday evening with Jerry Jenkins and skimmed through the free download from his book this morning.
No wonder I sometimes resent my job. I have this dream to be an author and goals to make it happen. Then, the job gets busy and physically I'm down, need sleep, but can't relax in the mornings. Tomorrow, I'm on call, then two days off.
Ah, feelings, now I feel so much better. I need to write. Trust and a little bit of pixie dust? Will I fly this year? Keep my nose to the ground and work hard is the best I can do. Seat time writing will bring those goals closer. End of year jitters and excitement. Anything can happen, but then any time, anything can happen. So deep breath, knowing to do my best at everything. Love at all times and reach out to those in need.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Up on the Hill

"Up on the Hill" and yes "Hill" is capitalized, is a phrase I think my mother-in-law is growing tired. My father-in-law grew up on Bryan Hill in central Pennsylvania. Now he is in dementia, yearning in a way to be where his childhood was. His sister, Twila, still lives on the homestead, so he wants to revisit it every day.
We made the trip on Tuesday this week. I have been up on the Hill many times in the past thirty two years, in all weather. My favorite is fall, of course. The first time I went with David to visit his grandparents was a dreary fall day that dissolved into snow. Grandpa at the time sat in his chair staring at me. At the end of the visit, he said, "I'd like to kiss that girl." I didn't get to know him very well, as he also had that dementia that runs in the family and died in 1981.
Soon, it was the two ladies on the Hill, Grandma and Aunt Twila. David and I always made the visit up on the Hill. Susie Skillman Lyon, truly was a refined mountain woman, always gracious in her elder years. At her funeral, so many of the nieces and nephews and others visited that Ray, my brother-in-law declared she had a ministry to the down and out. They knew they would have a praying ear.
The church on Moore Hill played(still does in Aunt Twila's life) a central part in their lives. It had originally been on Church Hill, where all the ancestors are buried now, looking over the slope to the new church, which is a white old school house. One of Susie's proudest moments was when she could play the pump organ, as they had installed an engine to power it. Instead of Little Brown Church in the Dell they changed the chorus to Little White Church on the Hill. The Sunday after Labor Day is Homecoming when members that had moved away, come home for a day with a picnic in the pavilion.
I gazed out the window on our trip up the other day, looking on the high way so very far down. I remember when the road was paved, the biggest news in decades. There is the house on the bend that I wonder how many cars have run into it or at least how often headlights disturbed the peace inside. Hunting camps scattered over the area, old abandoned trailers left to rot. In the dreary rain with no leaves on the trees this is the least favorite time to look at the sights.
This day, a well is being dug in the front yard because the spring that never dried, did so this past summer. A buck's head with a rack always stares at us in the living room. Dad asks, "Did Dad get that in Hick's Run?" to the point I'm sure the buck was killed in Hick's Run.
I observe the living room, trying to imagine the family raised here. Dad was the youngest boy, Clark and Leon, the older brothers, Aunt Twila, the youngest and only girl. She remained on the farm. I think of the baby with a heart defect, that would stop breathing. Years ago, Dad spoke of him. When he stopped breathing, Susie would dunk him in cold water to shock him back to life. The baby didn't live longer than seven months, I think. The saddest part of Dad's dementia, now, is it is hard to carry on a conversation. He has to stick to the script.
Aunt Twila talked about a creek that Paul, David's older brother, played in. My husband sitting on his bent over legs, like a little boy, insisted, "I played in it, too."
I wish I had that time machine to go back for an instant to see a small boy, not in black and white, but flesh, splashing in the creek that isn't there any more, either.
After David helps his aunt move wood in the small basement, we load up the car and drive away. David chooses the other side of the mountain to go back into town. The old school, where Dad walked uphill both ways is gone. We go past relatives' homes, that remained on the Hill. David talked of riding his bike down this twisting road, after someone drove their bikes up to Grandma's.
The day is too cloudy and wet to stop at Look Out Point, but many times we rested and took in the town there. Before we know it we're crossing the Broad Street bridge, but it is a new one, not the humming bridge of years ago. No loitering on the bridge now. The first day of trout will not see fishermen on this new one.
On this day, I really wish the Hill was in my deep recesses of memory. The fact, they didn't have electricity until the 1950's. Who lived where, riding down that Hill with the wind in my hair as a free kid.
This is in my children's DNA, their ancestral history. They'll remember four wheeling, sledding parties, feeding the horses, and the rest deep down in their souls. I hope they take away from this family deep faith. Also from my mother-in-law's family that lived on the other side of town.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Visiting

The week between Christmas and New Year's brought the Christmas visiting season. The relatives came to our house for Christmas Day to see Grandma. An open house all day for anyone to pop in, too. One year the chex mix was the hit as everyone had tired of sweets.
Visiting let you see the toys and gifts that the other cousins got. They were displayed under the tree and shown off. Coffee for the adults and pop for the kids, cookies and other deserts brought out so that rolling out of the homes was expected.
One year, I ventured out on Christmas Day with my new bike to my neighbor's house, the Powell's. That was highly unusual to actually visit on Christmas Day. The day had been one of those green Christmas and we were older.
I mostly remember driving around in the gray, everything seemed dull outside, but inside, oh, the fun of seeing the others' toys. One year, even Uncle Dale had a fun "toy," a cigarette roller. I rolled a cigarette or two that day.
As sisters grew older, they came home with children. One of my gifts from my oldest sister was picking out a movie to see over the Christmas break. Such a hard choice since this is when all the Oscar movies opened.
A cousin, Paula, insisted on treating us to lunch, more affordable than dinner, at the old Masion Buhl. We were amazed to see the price of coffee double for the evening meal. We dressed in our best clothes and enjoyed the "girl" talk in the rich, dark setting. It seemed a rite of passage to me, and the older nieces, too.






This week, anyone could show up. Life held that wonder of who could walk through the door. Did anyone work that week? It sure seemed that no one did.
1978, Mom had the open house for all the family on both sides, the Saturday between Christmas and New Year's. Again, everyone dressed up and we all visited with a lots of food, probably the punch bowl set on the dining room table.
My dad's niece then took over for this party when the years and illness slowed down my parents. Christmas time, a time to be together and eat.
Come, visit!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Morn

Christmas morning was a bonanza of toys and gifts when I was growing up. Mom shopped all year long and I know one of my favorite dolls, Baby First Step, was found by my sisters at Triby's Hardware very close to Christmas because it was so hard to find.
Mom and Dad put the turkey in the oven early Christmas morning. I believe 530 or 6 am. My mom, not a morning person, still did this for a long time.
I believe I was 6, the year I woke I thought in the middle of the night. I crept downstairs to see the explosion of toys. This year, Dan and his friend Billy, stayed up putting together the Jane West set, with everything plastic, down to the skillet with eggs and bacon for the fire. She looked like the mold of her brother, Johnny West, only with molded blond pageboy haircut. A palomino horse and German Shepherd dog accompanied her with her brown pliable outfits for riding, and the saddle to put on. It was wonderful. I got a Barbie, books and learning books, a watch. The watch read quarter to 7, but I hadn't learned to tell time yet, so I didn't know the time. Since Santa didn't wrap my gifts, every thing was in working order, the watch set and wound.
Excitement couldn't be held in, I ran back upstairs to the back bedroom to blurt out all that Santa had left. I think, now, how my parents must have just gone to bed, so tired, probably just fell asleep. They joined me in my joy, acting as surprised as I was. I love them still for encouraging me in every way.
In fifth grade, I started suspecting that Santa didn't really set up these toys. My niece Debbie who spent most Christmases with us, along with her parents from New Jersey, didn't have unwrapped presents or the ones she did have left unwrapped, I saw my mother buy. I also pretended to not see the doll I got that year in the bottom of the hutch, because I so wanted to believe Santa came down our chimney. But the Velvet box is still etched on my memory behind that locked door.
Sixth grade saw the last of my dolls and my slipping belief in Santa or the beginning of the grown up belief in the jolly old elf. I got Baby Thumbelina, a soft body doll, that squirmed with a pull of a string from her body. She was small, and not as loved as my former dolls, like Baby First Step and Cheerful Tearful, but more than poor Dancerina, who was practically useless.
Christmas morning continued though to hold surprises through my teen years. A hooded red robe that lasted for many years, kept me warm in our drafty old textile mill apartment in Connecticut. A big box of Estee Lauder makeup brought a sixteen year old glamor. The fire and dinner preparing filled the home with coziness.
I often rode along with Dad to pick up Grandma for Christmas Day, her and Bitsy, her terrier. The vacant streets, the gray day but joy of a special holiday gathered around. Grandma was jolly. Bitsy had a red bow on her collar.
Relatives filtered in late morning for the big feast Mom and Dad had made. The leaves in the dining room table, the best china, and pop, usually ginger ale, in gold color glasses that were for holidays. Everything was special for this day.
Happy Christmas morning! God rest you merry!



Thankful for parents who taught me the lavish love of God through the years.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Expectancy

Oh, Christmas Eve day is here. The night of miracles and magic hedges on the horizon.
At six, the stores close ushering in the sacred mood. The rushing at the mall, plazas and grocer hushes. Now can God break through?
I was ten years old for my first Christmas Eve church service. Before eleven o'clock, we walked over to the church in the dark quiet. More carols were sung than usual. Before the last one, we exited the sanctuary silently, circling the circumference of the drive with candles lit. The last carol of the service was Silent Night.Then in our continued silence after singing, the bell rang in Christmas Day. I was thrilled. "Merry Christmas" on the Day greetings to everyone. Such joy. Hugs and cheer, the Day is here.
I also was overjoyed to be able to open one present. I still believe in Santa, so it was from my parents. Santa would come later with his unwrapped presents. My surprise, a black plastic horse with white markings. Friends of my sister's also sat up for awhile, creating a different Christmas.
What happens on that Eve and through the early morning seclusion? A transformation to wonder. The idea that a dream will come true. Our desires will be fulfilled. A miracle can happen. Sometimes they do, other times, our loved one is still sick. The car with a bow didn't show in the driveway. The kids tire of their toys quickly or they are disappointed with much emotion.
Each year, though, we anticipate the one Day of the year when anything can happen. Keep that belief of miracles. The greatest miracle happened on the first Christmas, as the Light of the World stepped down into darkness. Don't miss the Light.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Caroling

Living in a small town with sidewalks made the festive activity of Christmas caroling easy. In my church choir, we strolled through the streets, singing at houses in freshly falling snow. Yes, the Charles Dickens stereotype, but much warmer clothing, I'm sure.
Hot chocolate afterwards at the church with Christmas cookies completed the evening. As a ten year old, I sat on a step of a neighbor's home drinking the sweet hot drink, but I believe that was after a sledding party. I think the same year my little plastic toboggan slammed into a dog house at the bottom of the Haywood/Chestnut Streets hill, with the wind being knocked out of me. I loved the coziness after being outside with a cup in my hands, listening to the mulling conversations. Maybe even singing some more.
Years later, the choir continued the tradition of caroling around W. Middlesex. My mom paralyzed in bed and sick couldn't come to the front door, so the choir stomped through the snow singing outside the bay window in the room with my mom's bed. She could hear them through the old glass windows. I was already married and away when this happened.
Mom loved that window. My dad place a bird feeder right on the outside. At night, Dad closed the indoor shutters. In the morning, the birds knocked on the window pane. Mom would say,"Open those shutters, the birds are anxious to see us." This became known and Mom received many sun catchers with birds to hang in this three window bay.
I tried to recapture this caroling experience with my children and the class of sixth grade girls I taught. We found many empty houses on the Saturday before Christmas in my new neighborhood. And one year, we had had clear crisp snowy weather all December, except the night of my party, the deluge of warm rain made its way, melting all that snow. We sang carols in my living room with that warm cup of cocoa, homemade.
My girls as Girl Scouts sang carols in nursing homes. The residents appreciated that, but it saddened my oldest daughter greatly. I tried to teach her it is not about us, but spreading joy to others. This year, the girls' group at church, which Katie is a sponsor, gladly participated singing to the residents at Clepper's, a skilled nursing facility.
It's not too late this year. Anyone with a willing voice up for a stroll through the rain?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

White Christmas

I'm not sure of the year, but it is during the second World War in Macon or Marietta, Georgia. Uncovering little details as I remember her stories, I wish Mom were still alive.
The young Lewis couple were in the deep South with the land lady who spit tobacco in a spittoon while she talked to them in the evening. A small Christmas tree propped on suitcases for the appearance of a bigger size decorated their corner. Bing Crosby singing White Christmas on the radio filling the room with music and their hearts with homesickness. No snow in Georgia.
The sergeant catches a few extra pieces of silverware from the mess hall, so they can have some at home. Jean ecstatically told her boss at Westinghouse, that after two years her husband was returning stateside, and she was quitting to join him.
He urged her, "No, don't quit, just visit him for two weeks."
"No, my husband will be in Georgia and I'm going to him to stay," she emphatically proclaimed.
Jerry got her a blue velvet suit for Christmas. Her blond hair and blue eyes complemented the outfit. He thought he had the prettiest girl in the world. She knew she had the handsomest man.



When I hear Bing on the radio like this morning, I imagine this young couple again, especially in the rainy warm weather we're having today. Were love stories better in the 1940's? Or am I just lucky to have parents that love each other forever?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Lights

I drove by a house today with an almost gone roof on its porch. Yet, Christmas lights were hung on the door and windows. At night, they beautify the home. This evening, I drove my daughter out to Tara, a country inn, and basked in all the outdoor lights while her choral group performed.
Christmas lights in and out brighten up a home, no matter what it looks like otherwise. Sure we enjoy the tastefully decorated homes that look like post cards. I, though, am amazed at the transformation from dull to that warm glow even little LED's add to a scene.
A star in my window shines warmly to the neighborhood as well as bathing my living room. Steven, the Siamese cat, looks magical in the red glow of my poinsettia lights on my banister as he eyes me going down the stairs. A little light changes the mood of the room.
I love to lay under the Christmas tree lit up with all the other lights out. Growing up we had the fireplace as well to add to luminescence of the living room. In Christmas lights, it seems anything could happen. Expectancy and magic fills me.
That is the power of Christmas. The belief that miracles can happen. The lights symbolize that. With God all things are possible, like His birth in a manger. The Light of the World wrapped in human form.
It is no mistake Hanukkah is also this time of the year. A miracle holiday, the Festival of Lights, points to the Messiah. Let your lights shine as they transform your home to the glory showing the Light of the holidays.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent Wreath and Clothes

In middle childhood, seemed my church brought back some old traditions, like Christmas Eve service and the lighting of the Advent Wreath. Families took turns with the carrying out of this part of worship.
One Sunday, a family didn't show up or the church forgot to slide a family in that slot. We were unprepared, but with my father being an elder and responsible, stepped up to the plate. His partner, my mother, was home in bed as she didn't feel well. I eagerly agreed to be on the team with my dad.
The problem this year as a seventh grader, the skirt I had on to be in front of the whole congregation, was a short gray felt with flowers sewn on. I wore a white satin blouse as the style of the year- very in. It wasn't my best outfit or even a Christmas outfit. I'm sure we did a great job pinch hitting on short notice. My dad read the devotional and I lit the candle.
The problem came when we got home and told Mom about our church experience. She ran back to bed with the monster headache because her daughter wore that outfit on the dais. Dad and I felt bad, but knew we couldn't have said no for the worship service.
So, next time we criticize clothes in church, remember, maybe the mother is sick or isn't, now, even in the picture. The styles have changed as has the family. But let's accept the children's offering of worship.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Almost

A heavy snow blanketed the town of West Middlesex the Saturday before Christmas in 1972. Mom had to get up for the Deacon's breakfast they held(and I'm sure they still do) every year to pack baskets for the shut-ins. Not being a morning person, she, more than usual, had to fight to get out of bed. A headache and weakness needed to be conquered that morning.
Dad had his typical headache since his whiplash and thought nothing of it. He shoveled the walk so Mom could walk over to the church. Mom left just as he was finishing. He opened the door, smelling the natural gas stench or odor. Immediately, he ran up the stairs to wake me up.
"Mollie, hurry get up, something is wrong with the furnace. Get dressed, we have to get out of the house," he quickly told me.
I threw on some clothes, ran a brush through my long blond hair and exited the house with my dad, who just got off the phone with the gas company. The sun bright on the snow, but nerves kept me from enjoying the beautiful day.
We ate at the Isaly's counter. I can't even remember what we ate, I was so shook up. I had never ate there before like that or since. I'm sure I listened as he told Margaret about the fiasco. I sat still.
Dad must have called the gas company back, because we started up the hill back home.
We ambled on the other side of the Main Street, quiet. I threw up in front of Sam Clarke's old home, all that Isaly's breakfast on the fresh snow, my hair hanging down. Seeing my turquoise knit pants and black boots had missed the chunks.
An owl had fallen into the flue, and blocked the vent. It became petrified, but the furnace hadn't been needed until this cold night. Mom came home to all this drama, understanding why she felt better after fresh air and breakfast. The talk was if we had had a smaller house, we probably all would have died. So glad for that deacon's breakfast that morning, and our big house.

Christmas TV

One year after the all afternoon Sunday School program, we came home to watch a delightful new special A Charlie Brown Christmas, on our black and white television. So many of what we call classics now, sparkled with newness when I was a child. Some had copyright laws and we didn't see them as children, like It's a Wonderful Life.
Beginning in December the parade started of all the cartoon specials, the celebrity specials and any other Christmas TV you could imagine. And they had to be watched then or you missed it till the next year.
What was also special was all the TV series had their own Christmas show. They dealt with a Christmas miracle or change every time. A church service with a Christmas message threw a dart into a character's heart. They may never have gone to church any other day of the year, but most TV families showed up on Christmas, with the children in the program, only done on Christmas Eve.
Now, The Twilight Zone broke that mode of church service, and had drunken Santas or something bizarre, but they all ended with good will toward men and the like.
I think during the 50's and 60's, the United States TV land lulled us into thinking we were all Christians and safe with our faith. Because at least on Christmas, everyone proclaimed the birth of Jesus and how that holiday changed the world.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sunday School Programs

Oh, my! When I was a little girl, our Sunday School Christmas programs rocked. They were an all day affair, it seemed. A-L had to bring sandwiches, which my mother made Isaly's ham salad and cheese spread from Margaret's recipe. M-Z brought cookies. The bulletin announced it for weeks.
The kids did their program of songs and the manger scene. We would have a magician. The kids ran around the whole Fellowship Hall and educational wing. Did want those cookies, but not the sandwiches so much. We played silly games while waiting between segments of the program.
We got blue boxes with Christmas pictures of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus, filled with hard candy and sometimes some cream filled chocolate candies. The boxes were so pretty, and the candy, too, but not my favorite. I don't believe they tasted too great for me. Dad usually finished them off.
When the sandwiches were almost gone, Santa arrived to hear the kids' requests

for presents. As we got just a little bit older, we knew it was some man dressed as Santa, but could never figure out who. One year after Santa had listened to everyone and I mean everyone, he went to the bathroom. We stood for hours(well, maybe not hours)by the door, peering under the crack and trying to figure out if it really was Santa. Where was his sleigh, anyways? On the roof? Whoever was Santa that year waited us out, until we were whisked away by the preacher and our parents.
We always thought Rev. Hatch could be Santa because he was very jolly. But I guess he would be missed the most and the most obvious.
These programs promoted a family feeling. Any adult was free to scold a kid, if he got out of hand. We ate at the long tables. Many showed up at these events, probably two to three hundred. A mingling crowd of well wishers singing Christmas carols.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finals and Decorating

Katie is in the midst of finals this week. Changed a bit since I was in nursing school. She took one on line. I know it has really changed since my sisters were in college.
The finals were done and time to pick up Diane from the Youngstown Airport. Her flight from Sterling, Kansas came in there. Gerri Lee home from Grove City College. Actually, I'm getting the years mixed up, but a lot of excitement with sisters coming home.
We spent all day cleaning and then decorating, listening to that great Christmas music on the white and gray record player throughout the big house. I probably played and stayed out of the way more than anything.
Diane cut out snowflakes from red tissue paper, taping one on each glass window in the dark stained wood and glass door between our living room and middle room. I always tried to replicate that breezy, fluttery snowflake in various areas. Our third married Christmas in Connecticut at the Falls Mills apartments with the textile mill high ceilings, I insisted on the biggest tree we could get and put that on top of an Escort. Nostalgia has no judgment. The church we attended had the Christmas tree sale. We had the huge tree, but few ornaments, so I cut out fluffy large snowflakes and scattered them all over the tree. I thought it looked gorgeous.
I also used snowflakes the next year on the telemetry floor where I worked with red hearts hanging in between the snowflakes, of course. What else for a heart monitoring unit?
Even as a child, I was amazed at how a family could transform the home into Christmas magic in quick time. Diane made Christmas cookies, too. Cut out sugar cookies. I wonder what her girls think of that?
Now a days, this would definitely be too late to decorate around the third week of December, with most people all fancy before Thanksgiving and carols playing in the malls. But those days long ago, we celebrated more between Christmas and New Years, when the kids were out of school, college students home on break and some mills even closed during that time. Now, Christmas break goes faster than summer and some are ready to pack up the tree December 26, and the latest by January 1. I don't mind Christmas coming earlier, but let's keep it a little longer.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Audition, Audition!

Mary Ellen auditioned for the high school musical this morning. Mrs. Morris listens to the talent, then choses the musical. I'm sure costs are involved, the sets, the rights to the musical, in this decision. Our life has been revolving around the musical auditions for a long time.
I think back to auditioning for district choir, the practicing with Mr. DiSanti, the ride to Westminster College, the exposure to the music rooms there. It seemed that was in December.
I campaigned for Miss Hope of Lawrence County in November of my junior year of nursing school. I thought I did well, but was no comparison to Petey and her Pandora's box speech. She lit up the room with her expressions. David heard all the winner would have to do over the year and silently wished I wouldn't get it. A lot of parades, speaking on Cancer awareness and other activities to be this ambassador for the American Cancer Society. No, Petey was the best candidate.
Right as Christmas break started my freshman year of nursing school, I interviewed for student delegate for the Presbyterian General Assembly. I was weak from just getting out of the hospital, being dehydrated from a stomach virus. I think now, there is no way I would have been kept in the hospital for 2 to 3 days for just throwing up one night. I couldn't keep anything down and since I could walk to the ER across the drive way, the ever vigilant nursing student dorm mates insisted I go and escorted me twice.
The interviewers did not see any energy or maybe I was drifting from my safe harbor of Christianity at that time, as I mentioned in an earlier post. I'm not sure now even where the General Assembly was that next year in the summer, but I missed it.
In my senior year, I did get to be the senior director for the Miracle Worker. This proved to a be an awesome experience. I truly think our students at the time performed wonderfully, especially Dawna Rabold Crammer. During the elementary performance, she walked out to the water fountains, staying in character as Helen. The children gasped that she really was blind! Later we went to Edinboro's performance, as this was Mr. Munnel's ala mater. Maybe we were a little cocky, but again we all felt ours was better.
I just say to all the auditioners, "Break a leg!"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Music

A few days ago Katie borrowed a Julie Andrews CD from the library. Her clear crisp voice and the songs that were from the album we had many years ago reminded me of the Christmas music we heard. I Saw Three Ships come sailing in on Christmas morning, on Christmas morning.
We had a gray and white record player that you could load up to five 33 1/2, long playing records. You could also play singles, 45's, on it with special insert for the wider hole. I didn't do the 45's much until I was in sixth grade.
For Christmas, Julie Andrews sang, Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians from a church in a snowy place up north entertained, and several albums from Firestone filled our house with this music as we decorated, rested and relaxed. The Guy Lombardo tweaked my imagination as I listened to the crowd murmuring between songs, a big Christmas gathering, probably recorded in hot August. My favorite was Here Comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane.
As I got older, I liked my music. I had John Denver's Christmas album. My roommate in nursing school played Bing Crosby's White Christmas album. I liked the Hawaiian Christmas song. Again, liking that warm Christmas. I think ever since Denise from South Africa lived with us and said they went to the beach on Christmas Day, I have loved the idea of a tropical Christmas. Maybe why I liked the red pepper lights in the desert as well.
So many of our Christmas songs are really glorifying snow. Do we really have to have snow at Christmas? Well, it is better than rain and dreary.
Christmas concerts growing up were fun, as well as in younger years learning Christmas songs in school, like Up on the Rooftop andJolly Old Saint Nicholas. My favorite year in sixth grade under Mrs. Joy Tobin(with a name like Joy, she had to be enthusiastic), we sang Lo' How a Rose 'ere Blooming and our great finale, either Joy to the World or Let There Be Peace On Earth thrilled us as the Vietnam War was over, at least some peace treaty was being signed by Kissinger. Up on that auditorium stage looking over the audience, my spirit soared in the moment.
Now we enjoy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and general snow songs, sleighing songs at the concerts. I had the choral and string concerts this week.
Then there were the cantatas we labored so many months for in church or the Sunday School Christmas programs. Eugene Peterson wrote many of them. The last one I was in, Mary, Did You Know? had many great songs to find pleasure and meaning in singing. My favorite line about Mary knowing she is looking into the face of God, the Great I Am, crescendo surging. Hard to keep my feet on the ground with that one.
What would Christmas be without the music? The words to the carols telling the whole story from birth to redemption to the new Heaven and Earth. Joy to The World.
Or enjoy Burl Ives singing about the mistletoe, "Kiss her once for me" We have all types, but listen now, for it will all be gone December 26...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Habor

I think of a couple engaged for 6 months. A thin blond beauty, a skinny red head, she, just 18 by one day and he, 20. The red head has been working at Sharon Steel. He already has served 3 years in the Army in Panama. He lied about his age before his senior year in high school because he couldn't afford a suit. It was the Great Depression.He's been home about a year.
They met at Idora Park in Youngstown, OH, the summer before. The girl wouldn't accept a diamond on her graduation, but said yes a week later. Her dad tells her she is "crazier than that dog over there" His mom sees them "necking" in his living room, "I see what you're doing Gerald."
He replied,"I don't care, Mother."
Pearl Harbor, an unbelievable event happens, and their plans are changed. December 10, he signs up for the Army Air Corp for the duration of the war. I'm not really sure what their plans were before Pearl Harbor, probably get married in the spring.
So, I guess in a way, that didn't change.
He got a 24 hour pass from Roosevelt Field(I may be wrong-I could scream for not remembering all the names), came to Sharon, PA on May 17, 1942 and married the girl in a Methodist parsonage. They had a dinner in a restaurant in Mercer, PA where his sister lived. She was there, with the dog Mike. Billy Boal and France

s(not sure if they were married, yet) stood up for them.
She joined him two weeks later in New York City for their honeymoon. She rode a train with cars from the Civil War or so she thought since they were old and rickety. She covered with newspaper to save herself from the soot. But her face was black. He didn't care.
It's a story of patriotism and love that I grew up hearing. I wish now I could ask a few more questions. I never tired of hearing their love story.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mom's Birthday

December 6, 1923 Mary Jean Evans was born to William Lewis "Lew" and Hazel Evans. I wrote before that Grandma labored all day on Dec. 5 while preparing Lew's birthday dinner. Mom was the second child born to my grandparents.
Mom reports she was a sickly child. Very thin and didn't walk for awhile. She didn't believe Grandma thought she would live.
But Mom did live. She was 85 when she died. One of her childhood birthdays was recorded in the Sharon Herald. Grandma made her a checkerboard cake without the special pan.
Mom did feel a little cheated having a birthday so close to Christmas. She received many combination gifts and I must admit I was guilty of that when I was younger. She also had to share her birthday at times, first with her father, then with her youngest granddaughter. I don't think she resented the combined family parties we had for her and Mary Ellen.
I thought today, Woodland, her nursing home, had a spaghetti dinner fund raiser, always seemed to be on her birthday. My brother, his wife and daughter and the girls and I went, enjoying the entertainment as well. I wonder if they still have that fund raiser.
Her last birthday(85,) she didn't join the festivities, preferring to stay in her room.
We also had pizza and cake many years. When she still lived in her apartment, we crammed into it with an extra friend of Mary Ellen's. After I took the girls, Mary Ellen, Katie, Sarah, and Cassie to Kraynak's for Santa Land and pictures with Santa. I bought them all a photo.
The year I was large with child we went to a restaurant in Transfer. We relished being together. Afterwards, I took chocolate chip cookies to our new neighbors. Ambling up the hill with my oversize belly. The next night, I was in labor.
I can't remember many of her birthdays when I was little. One year, she bought shrimp cocktails in special glass bowls. Grandpa like shrimp cocktail, so I know it was for him, whether for his birthday or Christmas is hazy. But Mom always thought of her family first.
I miss my mom, but I know she has been having the best birthdays ever these last six years. Her last years on earth, she slowed down much and I'm sure she missed my dad. I know I miss them both and so does my family, but I am so thankful for all the memories.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Due Season

The first Sunday in December 1979 a beautiful snow had fallen through the night. We woke to this glory of sun, white and blue. I entered my Sunday school class in the Fellowship Hall banked with a row of windows allowing the wonder of the scene in.
The teacher, aglow, said, "It feels like Jesus could come today." He was a charismatic, new Christian and like many new in the faith, desired so much for Jesus to call us home in the rapture. I always believed in the rapture before the tribulation. Sorry, don't mean to lose those who are not familiar with the pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib theories of the end times.
I wanted Jesus to come, too. Yet, I was eighteen and life's expanse lay ahead of me. I had a hard time to truly hope it was that day that the sky opened and we flew to Jesus. It was almost a "Leave Me Alone" moment. The longing in his voice proved too intense for me that day.
I looked at the clear sky, almost perfect and understood the details to fuel that desire. The world was pretty bad, then, too. We lived under threat of nuclear attack. Americans were held hostage in Iran. Nobody liked Israel. Free "love" seemed rampant. The adults didn't like rock and roll, especially Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Ozzy Osbourne. I wasn't too sure about Black Sabbath, either. Alice and Ace Frehly from Kiss became Christians and rockers are mostly main stream, now.
I didn't even have a boyfriend,that day. I wanted to be married, have children, live a life. I wasn't sure I wanted to give that up. As C.S. Lewis explains it, I was happy making mud pies, not understanding the rapture meant being at the sea shore. Not as bad as the children in his illustration, who had no idea what the sea shore was, but I had forgotten. I wanted this life on earth. Soon after, I told God I would come back later.
I believe that is a natural response for an eighteen year old girl. To say one choses heaven over this life, could put a person in the mental ward.
Obviously, I came back to Jesus. It was December 10, 1988, as a Gideon spoke on Bible reading and how that Book changes lives. I knew what he said was true and I wanted my unborn baby to have a devoted Christian mother. In those eleven years, I remained a church goer, never actually turning my back on God completely. I followed the rules, but I had lost that first love. I didn't keep Jesus in my day to day life. I changed that December. I had to start growing again. God doesn't have grandchildren. I couldn't get in on my dad's testimony. John 14:6 blazed in my mind that day- Jesus said it, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father, but through me." No playing around anymore with the idea that all religions get you to heaven or being a good person will open that door. I always knew the Truth, but I had let debris cover the person of Jesus.
After thirty two years, a better grasp of end times and the rapture shape my longing. I feel more a foreigner every day. I also know there is much work to be done before we can be whisked away. In the Christian growing pains, I learned to live my faith in the open. And lately, to be more loving.
The Lord pricks my heart for some of the most unlikely people I remembered tonight as I watched a Broadway documentary. Boy George, who remembers him? I thought and still think he has a great voice. And of course, feeling he is tragic is not politically correct, yet I prayed for him.Another singer, is Elton John. I love his singing and piano playing. I pray for him. Ellen, the first time she was on the cover of Newsweek, her air of innocence and I know she is not innocent, none of us are, touched me. I have been praying for her for a long time. I prayed that her role as Dory in Finding Nemo would spurn Christians to pray for her.
I do believe that no one is beyond Christ's love and redemption, but many hardened hearts have blocked the way for themselves. We, as Christians, cannot give up. As Pastor Ken quotes often from the Bible, "Do not weary in well doing for in due season, you will reap a harvest."
I'm anticipating that due season.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Leave Me Alone

I thought of young mothers today, needing one day to sleep in. When my oldest was a baby, I worked afternoon turn in CCU, then med/surg to rehab. A lot of walking and stress. Most mornings I got up at eight to care for my baby and the household. We young mothers liked this because we gave our best to our family and home first, then slugged it out at the hospital.
Every other weekend I was off. On only the Saturday I asked for a day to just sleep in. Stretch in the bed. Get up when I wanted. I loved caring for my daughter. It is the best thing in the world, I ever do, loving my family, my daughters. But we all need a rest occasionally. I think how we can all say, "Just leave me alone."
I considered, what if our husbands did leave us alone? What if we got our wish? What if they were taken away from us? Oh guilt crouching at my door.
Then Felix, Festus, and Agrippa from Acts came to mind. Paul presented the Gospel story to all three on his way to Rome, during his legal trials. This is near the end of the book of recorded Acts, chapters 23-26. All three basically told Paul to leave them alone. Paul wished for them all to be like him, except for "these chains" (Acts 26:29.) It is never recorded if these men ever accepted Jesus as their savior.
In times of trial, I have felt very close to Jesus and I thought that thought, "except for these chains," I wish everyone could experience this joy of relationship with Jesus. Trials sometimes are what bring us to Jesus. Knocking us off our horse like Paul straight on our backs, so we can only look up. Don't follow the example of the three foolish men.
Because even though God wants none to perish(2 Peter 3:9,) He will leave you alone without a more convenient time like Felix said. He wanted Paul to bribe him, but the first time he heard the Gospel, he was frightened. He was not as tender to the message after the first time of hearing it. Don't roll over in your spiritual bed, telling God,"Leave me alone."
He just might.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wonder of Childhood

Baltimore Emma and I started this conversation on Sunday in the upstairs front bedroom of my in-laws' home. Children can see things few adults can. The world of magic, the "other" world. I have been thinking of many examples of this. Jesus said, "You must be like a little child..."
It is very easy to believe when one's a child. And I do think they are closer to the Truth than the adults hurrying and weighed down with cares of this world. The first snow fills a child with wonder, but as an adult, we think of the dangers and discomfort.
Christmas excitement overflows in a child's mind and body. How do they ever fall asleep on Christmas Eve? I can still hear the reindeer hooves on the house top from when I was six. If my brother and his friend Billy wanted me to go to bed, that was the wrong thing to say for me to sleep on Christmas Eve. I think I did go upstairs, but sleep eluded me.
J.M. Barrie had the idea that twelve was when childhood ended, but he lived his childhood other world called Neverland, sharing it with us. Children even then, grew up much too fast.
I know there is world close by that is not what we see. It is often in the Bible. In 2 Kings 6:16 and 17, Elisha prayed that his servant's eyes would be opened to see the heavenly hosts. We may entertain angels unawares.
I pray that we keep that childhood wonder and that like Elisha's servant, our eyes may be opened to the glory of God.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What NaNoWriMo Taught Me

No, I didn't finish the challenge this past month. I found out I can write with distractions. I can write thousands of words in a day. I couldn't catch up when I got too far behind with this deadline, unless I had called off, but I'm not giving up. I wrote over 27,000 words for the story, as well as had a killer weekend for my on-call week, a holiday with much travel and almost single handedly run a family. I'm patting myself on the back, I did well.
The story is not done or placed on the shelf. Even though a period piece didn't give me the flow necessary for NaNoWriMo, I'd been planning this story for a few years. I'm excited that I have written as much as I have so far. More research will be needed. I'm truly looking forward to revising and living with the Titus family- Abe and Irene, Christina and returning Eva and her daughter, Emma.
Speaking of Emma, my twelve year old great niece that I only see once a year and I'm not even sure I saw her last year, came into the room at my in-laws when I was writing, thought my story sounded interesting. I'm not sure, but I don't think this girl is given to dishing out flattery.At twelve years of age, not many are given to duplicity. I only wrote a few words because I connected with Baltimore Emma. Family is always more important than anything we do for ourselves.
November was a stretching month for me. I put my goals out there. I let people know I was writing. Did I meet my goal this month? No. Did I fail? No. Was I embarrassed of my writing? No. I have grown since I first started seriously writing. I'm glad I don't feel I have to get up at four in the morning to write. I'm also contented that I keep a notebook with me and write any time and anything I feel moved to jot.
January, I will seriously look into magazine writing. Since you must prepare ahead six months, calenders will be out to guide me as well as publishers guides. I'm not giving up. I really love the blog, as well. I love writing.
Soon I'll write the family Christmas letter that I haven't tackled in years. I think I have a thank you note to write and start a correspondence with Emma. We discussed some interesting themes and I want to explore them more with her.
So, look for this blog to explode as I whip off many of the ideas I have had, and will have. I still have to get out of sixth grade!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Before Christmas

One of the traditions or chores I enjoyed during the Christmas season was lighting all the red wreaths we had hanging in every window in the house. This picture in our kitchen is one of them. Quietly I ventured through the house as the early evening sun began to set. I'd take a moment at the window, glance out, think a few minutes and continue with the task.
I wanted to continue this tradition in my home. My husband couldn't understand why I didn't want to make it easy with timers. I couldn't explain the wandering through the house as gentle evening prayer for peace. The twilight is mystical, opening the magic of Christmas.
I had to let this moment go when my daughter as a toddler put the whole light bulb in her mouth. And then as the years past, the cares of this time of year have removed that desire. I love to sit on the couch with a cup of tea, watching the sunset on early winter eves.
It has been said many times, this time of year, simplify, reflect. A wander through your house at evening, whether to light candles or not, can be an evening prayer.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Observing and Wondering

Advent is here, somewhat overlooked by all the uproar of pushing Christmas shopping earlier and earlier. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for Christ's coming. A shorter season than Lent, but a period of reflection, too.
For which coming are you preparing?
Can revival break out in December? I think Advent or Christmas busyness is gearing up for Christ's first coming. The coming of the sweet little Baby in the manger. The safe Baby, who brings promise, but not action, at least in present day's view. The spirit of giving, but not the sword.
Simeon warned there would be a sword to pierce Mary's heart in Luke 2:35. Jesus is the Word made flesh(John 1). The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.-Hebrews 4:12.
I've been praying for revival for many, many years. I've studied different revivals. I wondered in our modern day world with nursery and children's classes during services(and I loved them when my children were young, one of many reasons I changed churches) how can this happen on any day, in any service, let alone in our program packed events during the Christmas season? How will we submit to the Holy Spirit if we know teachers and kids are waiting for services to be over? I don't even want to mention a Steelers game.
Dave Wilkerson in his blogs before he died, said this last revival will be different than any other. It may not be in our sanctuaries, but in the streets, marketplaces and homes. It will start with the "every day" Christian, maybe not the leadership.
I know this year we have been given a gift of time. It is more than a full month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have full weekends to get our "stuff" done. And the best of the time gift- Christmas is on a Sunday. I believe God is planning something special this year- very special.
With Sunday Schools canceled on Christmas Day and services combined to one in many churches, maybe revival can break out in churches this year. That is if we go to church on Christ's birthday and stay awake- from Mark 13: 33-37.
Revival starts in one person's heart. I get excited thinking revival could start like Dave Wilkerson said, but I anticipate it spreading like fire from our sanctuaries. I tremble from waiting for revival.
Can revival break out in December? If we stay awake, be aware of God's voice, be ready for His move of the Holy Spirit, I am praying. Can we be like Simeon and Anna in Luke 2: 25-38? Anna fasted and prayed day and night. They looked forward to the Messiah and they knew when they saw Him. Will I? Will you? Are we looking for the Messiah?
I'm still waiting for revival this year of 2012. Each year, we seem to need it more. I see so much the American Church needs to repent. Idols to be torn down. Can it happen? With God, all things are possible.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Thanksgiving

I saw one of my mother's dear friends yesterday as I bought my fall shoes at Vince's. Olga's husband, Vince, started the store and Anita continues the business. He was another man who died too young in my opinion. Olga sits in an easy chair in the store, minding it.
I spoke before of all these women friends of my mom, who not only cooked and baked, but they decorated so wonderfully. My mother for Thanksgiving used a wax candle family of pilgrims. I'm seeing gray, but also blue, so I'm thinking there were two sets over the years. They had rounded cheeks, painted blue eyes and the mother and daughter had blond hair peaking out from under their molded hats. The father held a rifle(and my husband could tell you what kind). She never burned them, of course. They stood quietly on the dining room table with the accordion style turkey, much bigger than the family combined. I think I remember wax turkeys too, maybe at one time. The candles, though not scented, smelled sweet. As a kid, I wondered what they would taste like. Maybe there was a tooth mark or two on the little girl.
We lived at 432 Main Street and I'm not sure if this happened on Thanksgiving. I think it did, because football covered the TV and I was bored. Fortunately this year, the TV was in the middle room, only one room away from the kitchen. Mom always yelled from the kitchen, but her voice never carried the words. I looked this day, she stood in the doorway of the kitchen. Her back was on fire.
"Mollie, get your daddy," she screamed.
"Daddy, Mommy's on fire," I shouted to my dad.
Dad jumped off his chair and smothered that fire on her back. We were thankful Mom had a thick robe on that day. Dad moved the gas stove soon to the other side of the kitchen. The passage between the flames and the cupboards proved too close that day.
A pink area on Mom's back was the only battle scar of that mishap.
Another fun memory comes from Emporium when the responsible young men of today- Sarge Scott and Councilman Mike, were tweens. The two tables put together are long. The rolls didn't get passed. Some pitching became our Thanksgiving sport. Pitching of rolls. They also became bored, crawled out the dining room window, as they were too big to crawl under the table. I'm sure that has been done, the crawling under the table.
One year, I must have worked midnights in CT, because we arrived after dark. I saw my mother inside the bigger dining room window in Emporium and thought it was David's Grandma Lyon. Sometime in my absence, my mother became a little white hair old lady.
My mother-in-law always had her Thanksgiving table open to all. Different in-laws gathered at the table, as the spouses died or families move away. My mother and father met us many times in Emporium. Then as mom became a widow,and felt healthy, she was always invited and welcomed by my dear mother-in-law.
My mother-in-law is up in years, I guess I shouldn't publish her age, but she is still preparing the large meal and the whole weekend of eating for many of us. Her husband often asks her, "How many are left in your family?" He means the past, but she looks at the present, her four children, their spouses, the grandchildren, spouses and great grandchildren. I believe 44 in all. He gets frustrated as he has dementia, "No, I don't mean that." She sees the present and future and is thankful.
I wish that this Thanksgiving. I enjoy the past. I'm thankful for the many good memories, great family, few fights or drama(except for fires and the dining room window escape,) the sharing and caring at this time of year. May we all rejoice at what we have and be thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

California Thanksgiving

I talked broadly of 50 years of Thanksgiving. Truly, I don't remember the ones on lower Main Street, maybe my sisters could chime in here for that.
I don't want to over look the year I chose to go to California. I wanted to extend fall warm weather and see my niece in the band. Michelle was a junior that year, Katie(still Katie Beth), a precocious four year old.
I finished working full time, ready to travel the per diem route after a stressful year as a full time case manager, my first in home health. David had great health insurance, better than my job, an argument to have more time to raise my daughter.
I believe the PA weather followed me. It even rained in Palm Springs, as well as snowed in the high desert. I loved being with my sister and her family. We relaxed in the swim spa, while the sun shone on the yellow aspens and the wind howled around the house. Windy days in the desert, cold, too.
Thanksgiving Day a gourmet meal prepared by Tony Kaiser, husband of my brother-in-law's sister graced the heavy dining room table. Organic turkey, cornbread stuffing, tarragon green beans are the dishes I remember most. We ate later in the day.
The wind died down that day allowing Diane and I to walk. The legging pants, in style then, too, provided little comfort when a huge dog raced out of a yard. He licked my upper leg, OK, buttock, but fortunately no biting. I held my breath.
I feel close to God in the desert with an incomparable quiet. The mountains rise out of Joshua National Park. These mountains also prevent a lingering sunset. The sun falls below them, darkness is upon us. No twilight.
That Sunday, the first in advent, we went to the Desert Nature Preserve* in Palm Springs. A zoo for desert animals, decorated for Christmas. The lights in the desert night charmed me. I particularly liked the red pepper lights.
We celebrate with so many traditions, but the important thing is to celebrate life and all God's glory. The heavens declare His Majesty.
*Do I have that name right, Diane or Michelle?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Over the Years


I wrote before about my Thanksgiving in sixth grade at the hospital. Another Thanksgiving at the same hospital was in 2000 with my mother. The transitional care unit at Shenango Valley Medical Center, aka Farrell, on the third floor became the place for our dinner. David and the girls traveled three hours to his parents where the Lyon gang gathers for the long weekend. I felt such a peace at that dinner. I wore a new gray suit with a pink long sleeve shirt, feeling fashionable with my pearls. That year, I felt would be my mother's last on this earth, so the urge overpowered me to be with her. Besides, I couldn't leave her alone on Thanksgiving Day in a hospital. Proved she had seven more Thanksgivings and some made my brother mad, as she went with friends to the Salvation Army, because we were obligated to be with the in-laws.
Thanksgiving as a kid most times was a big affair at our home. We had Grandma Evans and our own family. Diane attending Sterling College in Kansas prevented her from coming home for Thanksgiving, but Christmas break provided more time to travel.
Different years we went to New Jersey. This picture of Debbie was from one of those years. Pennsylvania, or at least rural PA, schools are closed the first day of buck season, so conveniently the Monday after Thanksgiving. The trip made longer for us to get away. City schools did not have the "Buck" holiday. Even in nursing school I lost that day. That was very strange the first year.
I remember learning about the Pilgrims, desiring to have some semblance of their holiday, like the games.
The year Dan came home in this picture, I believe I was in fourth grade, a snow storm delayed his arrival. I have another picture, but it isn't one of the slides of my grandmother and I forlorn that our Danny-boy wasn't there. We anticipated his joining us for the big meal. He did make it later. I believe this was his leave before he shipped off to Guam for over a year.
When we had the home Thanksgivings, Dad usually had a roaring fire in the fireplace. Football on the TV. Relaxing after the glorious meal and deserts my mom made.
One year, my mom came home on a Thanksgiving Day from St. Elizabeth's after her I 131 treatments for thyroid cancer and the fiasco of finding she had a tumor on her spine and surgery to relieve the pressure and an infected wound. My cat was given away and my dog went to New Jersey with Thom and Gerri. Mom had a urinary catheter. We were thankful she was alive, even though she couldn't walk and wouldn't for over a year.
The last Thanksgiving at my home, I had gotten over my morning sickness, which as anyone who has been pregnant knows isn't always relegated to morning. David and I walked into that dining room, as Dad put that turkey on the table. Nothing ever smelled so good in my life. I got my appetite back that day. I wore my Ceil blue scrubs because I worked that afternoon in CCU. I was thankful for a healthy baby and wonderful food.
The next year was my dad's last, but we didn't know that. David, baby Katie Beth and I joined the Lyon family in Emporium. Mom and Dad spent it with Dan, Jody and Megan in their new home. This year, Jody was pregnant.
Many years when David and I lived in Connecticut, my parents fit in with the confusion in Emporium when the parents of the third generation now were babies and small children. An ice storm one year cut off the electricity, the turkey finished on the gas grill. My mother described the trees as a fairy land with the ice on the branches.
Thanksgiving over the years. Definitely good food and too much. Some times at restaurants away from home, and no leftovers. Sometimes sad, sometimes glad. But I hope always with a grateful heart for all our Lord has done for me. If He did nothing else, I'm thankful He died for me to give me everlasting life with Him. Yet, Jesus offers so much more. He gives us life and more abundantly.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

So Much to Write

This week of on-call has been challenging and I feel often I do not step up to the challenge and pass the test. I get discouraged easily and bogged down by the charting. I worry too much and don't give it up to the Lord. I miss my family and then am upset because the housework bothers me much more that it is not getting done, than if I were here not doing it. Just think about that.
My youngest daughter is cleaning her room, now. What is up with that? I'm blessed.
My oldest daughter hitched a ride with her father to go to his parents to help her grandmother prepare for Thanksgiving. I am glad I don't have to wrap myself around a holiday dinner with the long work weekend I had. I'm used to driving, so 150 miles several times this week as we try to see family is more what I can do. Darn the Hornets for being such a great team this year. There is a play-off game on Saturday at Edinboro University, but it is in the afternoon, so maybe a quick trip back to Emporium Sat. for Sunday family, church and dinner. Can't get enough of those real mashed potatoes!
My friends have been encouraging me. I know I need to walk, just look under the dining room table, the dog has dragged a million things under it in his boredom.
I feel so tied to that phone for the week. It may never ring, but always seems to ring at the wrong time, like last night at the Light Parade, just when the sirens closed in on us. The risk keeps me prisoner.
But it is almost over. I read a great encouragement for the National Novel Writing Month. I can still write. And even if I don't finish it in nine days, I have a fantastic start on a novel. I have been mulling over many ideas as to where I want to go with it or where it will go.
Tomorrow is another Kinsman day. I wanted to blog about Kinsman on Wednesday, but alas, no time. My spirit soars in Kinsman and the surrounding flat farm land. I've had dreams of Kinsman since I was a little girl. The favorite house we looked at 24 years ago is there, and it graces my dreams sometimes.
One more day to go on call, because I switched with another nurse for Thursday. Mary Ellen performed in County Chorus, at one of the farthest schools in Mercer County from here. I thought of great stories to write about Lakeview, Sandy Lake. So stay tuned. Have so much to write!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is It the Right Challenge?

I'm kind of feeling burned out at the present. I know it is only November 14. I had high hopes of writing 9000 words over the weekend to get caught up, at least. I wrote about 4000. I go on call for a week today, which can wreck havoc with my life. The dread of this week lays heavy on all of us nurses. What will it bring?
I miss the regular blogging. It took me a half hour with proofreading; I accomplished something. I miss feeling like I'm connecting quickly with people.
Today, I doubted I picked the right novel to write for this crazy writing month. Is it really a novel? Does it have enough meat? Where am I going with the slight twist on the prodigal daughter? Should I have started a period piece? Or just write something without much research, so it would flow better? Does it matter as long as I meet my word count?
The busyness of life, especially this time of year, jumped on me. My daughter is in everything and it seems we are scurrying in the car. The sunset at five PM, and dreariness on a cloudy day, lends an urgency to me that I haven't accomplished anything. I look and it is only five-thirty.
I breathe. Slowly in and out. I am tired. I tell myself God is in control. If I can't finish NaNoWriMo this year, there is next. I challenge myself, but maybe this isn't the right challenge at this time. I will make it as a writer. I will get my platform. Writing magazine articles is my next challenge after this month. I want to trust in God's timing. I am learning.
I think though, I can go to 1918 and learn with Christina patience with a young niece that hasn't even learned yet how to brush her hair. Learn with Christina, love in service to Jesus and her family. Learn to love the prodigal sister and put up with town gossip.
I will continue with the challenge. Thank you for listening.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome Home, Scott

My post from November 11, 2011 honoring the veterans in my family:
Last evening we had the excitement of welcoming home my nephew from his year of Army service in Iraq. His daughter made a gold with black lettering poster for him- they are Steelers fans. A group of twelve stood in the baggage claim area of American Airlines to surprise the veteran. Soon we saw the tall head in the crowd striding down the hall. He noticed us with a faint smile.
A couple of the men who served under him waved good-bye to "Sarge" David commented, "Sarge means like you were born a sarge, not someone you held in your arms as a baby." His way of saying he is proud of his nephew. We are proud of Scott.
Today is Veteran's Day and as always there is the controversy of the "war" verses supporting our troops. I grew up with the Vietnam War and my husband served in the Cold War, speaking of unpopular wars.
I am proud of our country now honoring our Veterans. They clap at parades when the men and women who have served march by the crowd. Bumper stickers, signs and postings on Facebook about the sacrifices made not only by the service people, and their families raise awareness.
They fight and have always fought not only for our freedoms, but the bigger Freedom. It is a desire inbred in Americans to support freedom. We are blessed to experience it here in America. The founding of our country is unique, that no other country in the world up to that time in the 1700's had ever tried it. Yes, some of it is flawed, but we need to catch hold of the vision that ideas, religion, class structure were not to be forced on a people. Individual advancement would be in the people's hands.
Most could not even explain this. I can't really, but our country stands for Freedom of all. It is for that our soldiers and sailors fight.
Some times the enemy is very real. England in our early years, Germany and Japan in wars past. I just talked to a WWII veteran and he was proud to have killed a "Jap." Communism and now terrorism don't have a nation per say behind these strangling ideas. They limit freedom. The devil does not like freedom and we are always in a battle for people to chose.
I want to thank my relatives who believed in Freedom over the years by fighting and serving their country for the greater good:
Gerald T. Lewis-North Africa, Italy
Lyle O. Lyon, New Guinea and the Philippines
Their brothers, David Lewis,France, Clark Lyon,instructor, Leon Lyon, England. All in World War II
My mother's brothers, Bill Evans, 27 years in the Army, three wars, Ed Evans, Korean Conflict.
My brother, Dan Lewis-Vietnam,and willing to go to Iraq when he was in his fifties, but health prevented him- the War on Terrorism.
My husband, David Lyon- leaving his family for months at a time during the Cold War, on a submarine.
My brothers-in-law, Herman Galicia, Paul Lyon. Vietnam and beyond in active duty, reserves or Guard.
My nephew, Scott Lyon- Kosovo, Kuiate, Iraq
Sorry if I got anything wrong.
Thank you to all who love what our country offers enough to fight for others to have it. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Crooked Coronaries and Butterfly Ballots

The CCU had moved to another part of the second floor. It also was remodeled. But one of my former coworkers informed me it was still the same. There were no new nurses working there and I trusted these girls. My mother had a right sided heart attack, which is not as major as left sided. She appeared stable as she directed me to her Efferdent in her apartment and other toiletries. The plan was in two days she would be transported to Presby Hospital in Pittsburgh for stent placement.
I opened the apartment door to wintergreen's overpowering odor. In the bathroom, I glimpsed the half full bottle of Tums. Imagining the agony she suffered all night, I sighed, "Oh, Mom."
A quick trip back to the hospital with her belongings. Kissed her good night. Home to my anxious waiting family, wanting news about their grandma. I told them cheerfully how lucky Grandma was and that they would see her soon, maybe Sunday.
Visiting hours for CCU were at ten am to ten thirty and I was there on the dot. I knew the girls would probably allow me more time if the unit was quiet, but didn't want to chance it. As the visit started, one of the nurses told us that it sounded like Mom had congestive heart failure and she was being life flighted to Pittsburgh. Mom thought it was great she would be in a helicopter, wondering if she would see her apartment building. Up to that point, the exciting news of the day, was there was no news on the election. The count for the presidential race was too close.
Dan, soon, at the hospital decided we should leave quickly so we would be there when the helicopter arrived. The nurses rushed around to pack Mom's belongings, make chart copies and other necessary arrangements.
Dan had his own business then, driving a red van with utility ladders on the roof. When we arrived at Cardiac Hill between Children's and Presby, he worried that the ladders should have come off. We weren't expecting the Pittsburgh trip for another two days. They were able to park the van and we entered the hospital, following signs to the cardiac suite. At the desk in a huge waiting room, we informed them we were there for Mary Jean Lewis. She hadn't arrived yet. We made better time than the helicopter, listening to the non election results on talk radio.
Settling into chairs facing the television, our wait began.
Soon Mom arrived, telling everyone that people die near their birthdays. One doctor asked her if she thought she was going to die. "No," she replied, "just people do, I've been reading in the paper. My birthday is next month." We kissed her, letting her know we would be waiting through the procedure.
"Who's watching the girls?" she always worried about me leaving them alone. Like I ever did when they were that young.
"David, of course," I replied. Then she worried about Dan and I missing work. I'm thinking please! you're under going a heart procedure and you think we wouldn't be here?
Dan and I sat and sat, watching the whole story in several different venues about hanging chads, confusing butterfly ballots, and everyone remarking on this history making event. The hour procedure stretched on and on to two, then three. Surreal,the word played around in my mind. At the three hour mark, Dan growled, "This shouldn't be taking so long."
Finally at four hours, the cardiologist came out to tell us Mom's arteries were extremely crooked accounting for the length of the procedure. They put two stents in.
We found out that the reason they thought she was in congested heart failure is she had scar tissue in her lungs making the crackly sound of CHF.
That was the fun two days of crooked coronary arteries and no decision on the 2000 presidential election.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2000

Fortunately I was on my last call at Bentley House for work that day. I planned on picking up my mother, voting and going to a local church for pancakes. This was THE election- Bush and Gore, hanging chads, but we didn't know that then. I always vote.
The room reflected the gloomy day. My phone rang and since this lady, didn't have a clue if I answered my phone, I checked. It was the office. I clicked to say, "Hello"
"Mollie, you better call your mother, she sounds sick."
I looked at the lady and immediately pushed speed dial to Mom. A weak voice answered. "Mom, what's wrong. They said you called David twice, but only wanted to talk to me. He called the office to call me."
"Oh, I'm really sick, my left arm hurts, I've been rubbing Ben-Gay on it all night and I really have heartburn, but Tums aren't working," her voice sounded drifty.
"Mom, you got to call 911, you're having a heart attack!"
"Oh, really? You think so? Can't you just come and take me to the hospital?"
"NO! Call 911."
"They don't want us to do that here."
"Call the manager and get an ambulance. I'll meet you at the hospital."
The lady still just sat there in her haze, undaunted by my calm panic, "Good-bye" I told her and she did acknowledge that.
I quickly voted- patriot, first. Made several phone calls in the car- sh, don't tell anyone.
David stayed with home for when the girls came home from school.
Dan met me at Farrell hospital and we waited in the ER waiting room, the election on TV with early noon results- OK, I exaggerate. I think actually Oprah was on.
Just as they were calling us back to see Mom, Pastor Mike from my church had shown up. I only called for prayer, as Mom had her own church. We walked back to the room and I immediately went into CCU mode, checking her IV's, monitor, and anything else that would give me a clue what had happened. Pastor Mike talked for a short time, then asked if he could pray. Again, I am pleasantly pleased. We hold hands around Mom on the gurney. I sense peace.
(To Be Continued)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Good-bye Sun

I'm so glad as we say good-bye to the sun, it shone so gloriously today. Gloom is creeping around and I'm fighting hard to keep it at bay. I read today you should put on more lights around 5 pm- yes, when the sun is going down,now and that counteracts the early darkness. If it weren't a Sunday, I could go to the mall for bright lights. Because, I'm such a mall person.
I sat outside to watch the sunset and thought it really is only one month, then with the winter solstice, the days get longer and colder. Doesn't seem right?
But I am thankful for the sunshine that we had and hope we have some more. Just a quick post and on to writing my NaNoWriMo. I keep letting myself write and after awhile, I noticed it is freeing. I can fix a lot later. So, here's to my readers. I haven't forgotten you and I ask you don't forget me.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Save the Music

I love driving to New Wilmington, PA and today was an exceptional trip. The sun in the bright blue sky with wispy clouds. The hill before you reach PA state 208 to turn left to the town is Amish country to me with corn stalks in their triangular shaped formation and the Amish man tilling his garden with a team of draft horses pulling his tiller. Cool outside, but warm in the car makes for a pleasant drive.
Driving through town with businesses closed, new ones opened and some are name changes. Houses for sale make me think of my mother who always wanted to live in this or any college town. Trees are mostly bare with a few sporting leaves with less than vibrant colors of orange, red and dull yellow/gold. The peak has been over, but oh, that glorious sun.
We reach Westminster College where Jameson nursing students took classes. We were the "nurses with the purses" because at that time it was unusual for students to carry much with them- no lap tops 32 years ago.
The stage where my class graduated almost 30 years ago with our all white uniforms, stockings and spanking white shoes, caps with a solid stripe across the top now, not the side anymore. I wore it three times after graduation. The men wore all white suits with the white shoes, no caps.
Today, the stage is filled with multicolored robes from 22 different schools in western PA. High school students in red, kelly green, purple, gold, powder, dark and royal blue, black robes with red or orange shoals cross the platform. The voices blend harmoniously for just joining together only a few days ago. Honors Chorus is a "disciplined endeavor" states the director from the University of Delaware.
This music moved me today. I think music saves lives for some of these kids, a purpose in singing. Such talent and to think in some districts this is the first to go. Where would this talent have a chance to make beautiful music together?
The last song written by Moses Hogan, "I'm Gonna Sing 'til the Spirit Moves in My Heart" left tears in my eyes, not just because of the words, but the purity of the voices of young people. I could hardly sing the National Anthem with the audience and choir because I'm full of emotion after the performance.
I take a different route home and overlook a valley of the Shenango River. The sun has not given up and I think this has been a wonderful afternoon. Save the music to enrich and save lives.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just a Blip

I've been thinking of this passage from a story I wrote a few years ago and felt like sharing it in this fall season:
Standing at the kitchen window, Martha noticed the the leaves turning colors, they were almost at their peak. "Hattie,you ever notice, if you stand in a grove of yellow leaves, you feel enveloped in gold? It shines, even if it's rainy or cloudy. Do you remember that from being a kid?" Martha glanced sideways from the window, her eyes not wanting to leave the scene.
"Yes, ma'am, but it is so much better when the sun is shining like today," Hattie replied.
"Well, I want to be in that gold all the time. I want that glowing, something that you feel from the inside."
"Ma'am, I'm not sure how you get that. I just go by every day."
"Oh, Hattie, I know. I feel like that,too. But my mother and now Tillie seem to have that gold. Do you think it's religion? I can't seem to understand the Bible..."
She continues later:
"It is sad, that all this beauty lasts for a short time and we know it signals death. I guess to have that gold, you have to die, eh?"
Writing for NaNoWriMo whet my appetite for fiction writing again. I'm up to 3474 words, a little ahead of schedule. I'm happy since I almost didn't want to write last evening after a full day. I wish I could write and walk at the same time. Yesterday proved to be a beautiful day for a walk. Many ideas grow on those walks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Started!

The goal- 1667 words. I wrote 2064. At this rate, I'll finish Thanksgiving Day. I even wrote some it with the BBC program on J.M. Barry called The Lost Boysplaying on the DVD. I have always loved Peter Pan. I really didn't want to grow up, thinking I could fly away at twelve- seemed a good age to do so.
I'm also interested in stories about writers. I must say this program was probably closer to the truth than Finding Neverland Johnny Depp was much more handsome and whimsical than Ian Holme. The Johnny Depp movie also made it more of a love story, with Mary, Mr. Barrie's wife, much less sympathetic. The BBC one also included Mr. Davies more as well. I guess to show up the friendship of the Davies and Jim Barrie.
I gleamed this as I half watched and wrote. So glad, no editing now or I may scream and run from the whole novel writing adventure. I have written a story before, but I think the word count was about 17,000. This is to be 50,000.
Well, I must also sleep. I am excited to experience a write-in. The closest one is in Austintown, OH at a Panera Bread. I like that one, it has a fireplace. The whole NaNoWriMo promises much adventure. Something to shake up an otherwise drab month, but not today. The sun was bright, although mostly ruddy brown leaves and low 60's. Harrison enjoyed his walk, as did I.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can't Give It Up

One last post before the craziness begins. I didn't get up as early as I had hoped. Soon after one o'clock this morning, I found a cat on my legs, he probed open my bedroom door. We're one of the few people left with a water bed and this cat loves to play with the water after he has poked holes in the mattress. So, as comfortable as we felt, I knew he had to go.
Sleep disturbed, I didn't feel like leaving the bed at 445am. Curled up until 5. Then, lingered over devotions, journaling and the Internet. I am back to work today after an 10 day vacation. Who decided five days and the weekends were enough? Even with the Monday off, a big plus, I believe two weeks is the way to go for total rest.
Katie wrote until 215am. She has afternoon classes today. She met her quota of 1667 words. I'm proud of her. I'll start this evening.
I had to communicate with you, readers, one more time. I am anxious about the staying power of writing, which is one purpose of NaNoWriMo. Still undecided which story to start. Ah, the hardest part.
Reading Cec Murphy's blog today about purple prose- too much description, too many words. Always a method to this writing. But with this month's endeavor, more words the better? To reach the goal every day. I'll find out. And hopefully let you know along the way.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Who's Taking Back Halloween?

On walks after dark, I don't venture too much into the park. It is safe, but I'm cautious so I hug the streets near houses. One evening, I encountered an inflatable decoration of a black stagecoach, carrying a pumpkin with a Grinch-like face. The Grinch who stole Halloween, got me to remembering.
Saturday evening gobbling the pliable caramel pop corn Katie made brought a memory of homemade pop corn balls we got as treats for Halloween. In our plastic masks and paper thin cloth coverings as skeletons, princesses, or Batman, many homemade treats were offered: apples, plain or candied, cookies, and the big pop corn balls. Huge candy bars also made the mix, no small penny candy, unless it was a man size handful.
Knocking on the door, we were expected to come into the homes to be guessed about our identities. One couple, Grace and Sam Clarke, down Main Street, decorated their home and wore white sheets as ghosts talking to each other to question who we were. Maybe scary music in the background. The whole trick or treat in those days was a neighborhood event.
In first grade, my sister, Gerri Lee, must have been home from college because we went all over the town, even up over the viaduct to my teacher's home. Gerri Lee had graduated with her son. Mrs. Nottingham used that clue of who escorted me to acknowledge me. I was thrilled. I believe that was the year I ate too much candy causing me to be very sick.
Years later, another home health nurse and I cared for Mrs. Nottingham. She knew what year she taught us and who was in our class. She was such a caring teacher.
In sixth grade, I felt I was too old for trick or treat. I passed out the candy to now kids from all over, no more a neighborhood happening. My parents living on Main Street attracted up to 300 kids and teenagers, that didn't even bother with costumes, at which my mom made known her displeasure . They just grinned sheepishly.
My mom rescued me that night from being a treat giver, encouraging me to don a mask and go to the neighbors. I gleefully did that, feeling giddy as I embraced the last of childhood.
I have always loved seeing the children in their costumes. Some are very creative.
For awhile, there was the Tylenol scare and always the threat of razors in apples or candy bars. Halloween was being kidnapped.
And then, the glorification of death for this fun day, made me dread October. Fake blood, bodies hanging from trees, and truly gory images ruined an otherwise beautiful season. Why all the details? Nice spider webs, bats and black cats with cute little ghosts was enough for me.
The death decorating doesn't seem to be as overwhelming as that time around the 1990's, I've observed. As an adult having Christian beliefs, Halloween has been a mixed bag for me. Have I walked the fence with my children? Children love to dress up, play make believe, and especially love candy. I chose to dress them as Bible characters to counteract all the evil. I do dislike the greed also associated with this day. One year the youth group did a reverse Trick or Treat, handing out candy in costume. But I could never, ever not hand out treats to the children. Jesus welcomed the children. He didn't have a turned off porch light. As I give them the Milky Ways, I pray they will know the Maker of the milky way.
Money at times has limited my extravagant treat giving. One year I made treat bags with an article about Halloween and following Jesus. I believe we have to take back this day. And as always, to God be the glory. He made all days and to each one, we are to rejoice in it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

I want to get two more posts in before November 1. I hope Katie has installed all I need to write the novel on steroids. I was lettering away on my jet flight last evening in my lime green notebook about the trip. I practiced on word pad just to get better acquainted with my keyboard on the first plane out of Ontario, California to Houston. Practice keyboarding and storytelling.
Today was jet lag and just a bit of missing wonderful sunshine and family. Transitions. Mostly the sunshine because I came home to my husband and other daughter, my dog and cats, all glad to see me. 12 hours traveling created tension in my body. I recovered.
After a very late breakfast at the Diner in W. Middlesex, driving around the town and cleaning my parents' grave, the sun filtered through light clouds. I wanted to walk my dog. Forty degrees and no wind, made me think a sweater and lighter jacket would suffice and mostly they did. Just wish I had dug out a hat.
The park felt empty on the later Sunday afternoon. The trees, mostly bare, let more of the weak sunlight to the ground. We met a black dog with a knitted striped sweater jacket. A country dog new to the park showing off the new jacket from the neighbor, drool mixing with my dog's drool, happy to be in the park again. This dog, smaller than Harrison, let me pet her soft, shiny coat.
We glanced at Camo running circles with her long retractable leash. Her mistress calmly walked along behind her. Camo has lots of energy. No matter the weather, she is taken out every day.
Mostly though, the park is empty. With the nip in the air, Harrison, moves quickly, too. The leaves of red, pale yellow and brown piled under our feet. The huge red tree of two weeks ago is empty of all its leaves now. The air sounds quieter. The far off noises are faint.
I think and think about this month of novel writing ahead of me. Will I be able to blog? So much happened even this past week. I shared my lap top with my daughter and I loved being with my niece and her family. I could have made the time, sneaking off to the camper to write, but chose to be with the kids who will change by the time I see them again. I love those little people. Grace, long body and blonde hair, coming into her own person at six. Owen, a sweetheart, that can be very stubborn. Not a mean bone in his body, but he is still learning about getting his own way. He walks around with his hands on his hips and I think of my dad, my brother, my dad's brother and a distant cousin. How do these Lewis men share that trait? Owen is three, never met any of those men, yet there is that blood connection.
I think of the USC campus and the whirring of the students, on feet, on bikes, on skateboards. The blue skies that seem to never end. The smells of garlic food from the food courts, the rubber from the hundreds of bikes parked all over the campus. The newness of the buildings, yet the New England feel- also at UCLA. The old trees, the crooked sycamores, the straight pines, a hint of yellow in some of the leaves.
The ride to Big Bear, climbing thousands of feet through curves and hair pin turns. The vegatation adapting to each new foot of altitude. My ears popping and the sinuses pushing against my skull. When we arrive at the cabin, my legs ache to stretch. My ears hear the haunting sounds of wolves in the distance. I have never heard that before.
The night sky in the desert, even with the stadium lights, are vast. I am limited in my praise of the Lord. He stretched out His hands and made it all and named each star, calls them by name. My brother-in-law wished he had my belief.
So I hope as I write for NaNoWriMo in November, I can still write for you. New challenges. If you pray, pray that I can meet this goal of 1667 words a day. No editing, just writing. I love revision, so to just write will be different. Revision will come in December.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Perfectly Blue Sky

Under strong light, we stared at the laptop, figuring out tuition for various colleges, routes and times to visit. I placed the facts on the table, careful to not to dash hopes, but these are things we had to consider. The house, quiet after the rambunctious children have relunctantly fallen asleep, breathed apprehension. Halloweeners are on the loose, destroying a neighbor's pumpkin the night before.
With my statement of facts, I wonder will my daughter miss home? She is fitting in with her cousins, really adoring the young ones and they her. She seemed fine about living so far from home, until I mentioned the favorite cat, then gloom fleeted over her face.
I laid in bed, praying and praying for wisdom. The next morning, my head feels the strain of wanting my daugter's dreams fulfilled and how I can do that. With God nothing is impossible, I so want to trust, yet, this is modern America. I pray more.
After my shower and her phone calls, the schedule is opening up. There is no marine layer here on the coast, the sun is shining, my head feels sane. I used this chance to again remind her, prayer works. Why is trusting in practice hard?
And the pumpkins and decorations are still intact this morning under the perfectly blue sky.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christianese, Here?

Christian writers and most all of overly enthused Christians have been warned to watch our "Christianese" in talking to non-Christians. I've noticed that a radio station to which I occasionally listen has more of those religious, biblical phases.
I picked up listening to the Summit out of Akron,OH a few months ago after glancing a bumper sticker promising the "sound of New Orleans" on 90.7. It is easier at times to change radio stations while I'm driving around than fishing for CD's in the wallet. Plus I thought a new sound, with Mary Ellen so interested in the Disney movie, Princess and the Frog, of New Orleans would prove a change.
I'm not sure what radio station was advertised, maybe the car was a transplant because the format is a progressive rock station, a public radio station with no annoying commericials. I enjoy some of the songs, the ones that do not honor God, I quickly shut off.
I have noticed that there are many references to religious themes. Maybe not theologically correct, but Christianese is on these songs. "Roll Your Stone Away,"by Mumford and Sons, another group called Noah and the Whale, totally wrong person, but grabs your attention, now I hear heart of gold, and heavy load. What got me to thinking about this was, "cross to bear." I thought,"Wow, I'm hearing a lot of rededemption ideas, maybe more than even a Christian radio station."
Listening to this could make a person angry. I find myself instead praying for the "mixed up"Biblically challenged, instead enjoying the simplistic, clean format and a few memories, clever phrasing,and admiring the creativity.