Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Birthdays and Fun- Happy Birthday, Lori Mild Dogan!

Hey, it's Lori Mild Dogan's birthday, as well as Debbie's, Darin's and Lori's little brother. Lori's birthday parties are the only birthday parties I went to for on this day. We started to be in class together in second grade. She called me after school and we would watch Barnie Bean together while on the phone. We also went to church together.
I think the first party was at her Grandma Mild's house out on 318 toward Greenfield, in third grade. Always winter weather, we stomped into her house. One of the last ones I remember was a slumber party at Lori's house in seventh or eighth grade.
Parties have changed since then, at least some. There were no Chucky Cheese's in the 70's. Well, not in the Shenango Valley. Bowling you did with a youth group or Girl Scouts, as well as, roller skating. We played fun games like pin the tail on the donkey, clothes pin in a milk bottle- it was glass- relays with eggs on a spoon, guessing games.
One year when I was an adult, my old church had a birthday party. We played all those old fashioned games, then sat at our birthday month table. We had cake, punch and ice cream, just like when we were kids. I think this was a great way to mix us up and get to know each other better.
When I asked Lori for permission to blog about her parties, because they were a big deal to attend, she reminded me of youth group fun, too. Rock-a-thon's, rocking for twenty four hours in our rocking chairs. We were allowed five minutes every hour to get out of the chair for potty and food- Wash your hands, please! I think the first one we had, we raised four hundred nine dollars. At fourteen, I had circles under my eyes. I had never stayed up twenty four hours before. I was so glad that much money was pledged while we had a blast. I slept from six thirty that evening until it was time to get up for Sunday School the next day, a good healthy sleep.
At Lori's slumber party, we danced, too. Always trying to learn the new dance moves, we let our new cheerleader, Janie Williams lead us. We ate a lot of food. I mean girls can pack away the food, too, especially after all those dance moves.
Well, no point really to this post. Just wonderful fun to be remembered and shared. Now, where is your birthday month table?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homesick, But for What?

Anticipation about an event now seems to deflate. I'm just not sure about what is happening and I feel flat. And I really don't want to write about it, but I do. I'm sorting through feelings.
How often does that happen? As kids we almost wish our lives away, waiting for summer vacation, spring break, graduation, Christmas. Young adults wait impatiently for higher education to be done, first high paying job, marriage, babies.Then we wait till retirement. And these things happen and are over as quick as a day, a moment. The packages left in tatters of wrappings soon on the shelf, no more intriguing.
I didn't want to think of this in the spiritual realm. Yet, how often does the service leave me wanting more? Either, I have a cold or am just tired. I wonder how my family is reacting. Will they want to leave? I wonder, too, how this is affecting everyone else. Are we ready for a change?
I think this is human existence on earth. We are programed to want more than this life, even in a moving church service. Yes, we are to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven." In Heaven, there is no sickness, disease or sorrow. Yet, these occur even to believers here on earth. I believe in healing. I have seen it. Sometimes, though, I wonder if going through troubles is what is supposed to happen to strengthen us. Are we ready for the miracle?
Katie has trouble with the book of Job. I'm just amazed at the last chapters when God addresses Job. God is sovereign and we were not there when He formed the earth. God spoke to Job, but didn't really answer the why of his sufferings. Yet He restored his fortunes.
I am longing for Heaven. God has set eternity in our hearts. We are always homesick, whether we realize it or not.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Big Breakfast

I'm kind of stuck in the doldrums of January in sixth grade. One story is coming to mind, but I lost my DVD of the old pictures and I want to post one with the story in my head right now. I shouldn't say I lost it, but with all of us using the computer, it has been misplaced by someone putting something else in the tower. It will be found, but I didn't want to extend the energy right now to look for it.
There is not much difference between the sunlight now and when I woke up four hours ago. A light snow is dancing around, occasionally blown fiercely by the wind. Just gray, gray, gray. I remember so many days like this growing up. And we hung around the house mostly on Saturdays. Kids weren't as involved in as many activities as today. As a teenager, I did do more on Saturdays, volunteering at the hospital, Rainbow practices, youth group projects. My daughter's Saturdays this month requires eight hours, practice and set building for the musical.
Saturday mornings did involve a big breakfast. A variety every week met me as I sauntered into the kitchen. French toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs(ketchup please, thank you,) oatmeal or cream of wheat were the usual fare. We had two brown sugars to use, dark or light, as well as white, if I so desired. At camp one year, I observed a counselor put just butter and white sugar on her french toast and I followed suit. Last week, I put sweet orange marmalade on mine and oh, heavenly, it was good. Mom and Dad used the old black cast iron round griddle, which I believed made it to California. The eggs scrambled in a big pan of the same material.
One time, my dad made french toast with orange rinds, some recipe he read. Some of Mom's less used breakfasts were corn meal mush or scrapple, corn beef hash, sausage gravy and biscuits. Very rarely, Spam made the table, putting to the test that anything fried can taste good. That failed. My parents were very creative with the breakfast foods.
As I got older, we all sat around drinking coffee after the meal, talking, reading the Pittsburgh Post, and magazines. In the winter we stayed in the kitchen. As the weather warmed, we took our coffee to the side porch, sitting there.
As a teenager, I took over some of the breakfasts if I wasn't running off somewhere. At an overnight for Girl Scouts, we fried up Pillsbury biscuits to make little dough nuts. I tried that by myself then.
I love those lazy Saturday mornings and breakfasts. After I married, Bisquick became my best tool. I continued the big breakfast Saturdays. Never made waffles, though. Mom's iron caused the waffles to stick, so she didn't make them and neither do I. But my sister made them with fresh fruit and whipped cream. She, too, loves the Saturday big breakfast.
Breakfast foods work well for supper, too. Hmm, what's for dinner?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Aw, Friday

www.marydemuth.com- The Shocking Thing I Learned about Last Year- post, really touched my heart this morning. After my post last evening, this fit the bill. How we need to rest in Jesus. His ways are so much higher than ours. I really appreciate Mary. I blogged about her before.(August 12, 2011) I get her e-zine and she always has a prayer for her readers. "May I pray for you?"
What a simple question that opens hearts. As the old saying goes, I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care. I feel that question is not offensive and I wish I asked it more often, and then prayed right there on the spot. It's part of that giving back I talked about yesterday.
I am so glad it is Friday. Every day I put more than one hundred miles on the car. I'm thankful that they provide the car. And I am still grateful I have a Volks Wagen bug. It does well in the snow. When I think how I always got stuck in driveways in Mercer and the streets in Sharon, I am pleased I'm a better driver than fifteen to nineteen years ago. After never getting into trouble during last year's winter, I got mired in mud at a patient's home in the spring. I think her spirit boy, Pete, who lived in the oak tree in her yard was behind it all. At least she claimed Pete hid things and was mischievous. My job can be quite interesting.
Weekend, time to relax and recharge. I need it every week it seems. I'm almost regenerated on Friday evening this week. I love how God answers prayers in sneaky ways, like blogs, e-mails, messages, radio and in a still quiet voice.
This weekend my church is having a special speaker on healing. I'm expecting awesome things. I hear an abundance of rain. Interesting Mary's picture for the year is a branch of lilac blossoms, symbolizing abundance. Hold on through the winter and don't let the Petes get you down.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Still Empty

My post from January 2 described my picture for 2012. I haven't found the real picture, yet. In my mind a wooden yoke sits in a forest with the dawning sun shining through it. This is the yoke of Jesus I'm to wear.
Three weeks later, I looked at that picture in my mind and thought, it's still empty.
I haven't truly taken that yoke upon me. I'm plotting and planning my own life, being anxious, wanting better. I haven't let Jesus guide me. I haven't yielded to His purpose. I stress if my page view numbers don't grow. I think about business cards. I'm bombarded with a million ideas about publishing, networking, platforming. I'm tired at the end of a busy day, driving and caring for the homebound. So many are depressed and my words seem to fall on unreceptive ears. I barely have time to breathe, it seems, and I don't write on my novel.
I need to write more than this blog. I don't want to give up on you, readers. I love that you pay me heed. Thank you. A nagging thought runs around in the back of my mind. Write before you worry about all these trappings. Do the best at the job you hold now. It is preparation for the publishing world of total lunacy, at least from what I can tell.
But most of all I need to put my neck in that empty yoke. I need to rest in Jesus.
My take away from this last webinar is write to make a difference. Give back. Funny that is what I'm telling my depressed patients, and have been for years. Give back, pray for the new people you meet, teach your grandchildren, enjoy the weather. Reach out to others and the focus will be less on you and your problems. Is anyone listening? Am I?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

High Pitched Roofs and Gables

The other day someone posted on Facebook about the snow falling off the roof where he lived. That reminded me of the snow sliding down our pitched gable roof. Even on the ground floor, the sound carried of the swooshing snow, then thudding on the ground. Sometimes, the white avalanche could be seen rushing past the windows.
One year, my father painted the house. It was summer, on one of his vacations. He had double ladders on a picnic table to get to the top. Every bump brought a gasp from my mother, on the nervous edge. She envisioned him falling to his death from the top of the house. She forbade him to paint the house ever, ever again. This was a job for professionals.
My dad did a lot of work around the house. He also hired professionals. The house was his pride. He had wanted to live there since he was a little boy. One of his last projects, he had Mr. Lilly lay carpet Mom picked out in Dalton, GA in their last big trip. It was a dove gray smooth carpet, covering the whole downstairs, except the kitchen and bathroom, all the way up the stairs. He also had the furnace replaced.
I find it hard to believe it has been twenty two years since Dad has lived there. My mom had to sell the house a little over two years later as the work was too much for a widow with no handyman around.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

English Teachers

Mrs. Jullian passed away on Friday. My friend from Georgia brought it to my attention. She was our English teacher in seventh grade, as well as creative writing teacher when we were seniors.  I feel I learned more about her today reading the obituary, than I knew at the time I saw her every day. She didn't share much of her personal life with us.
A petite woman, she could handle a class of rambunctious seventh graders and stare down the farm boys as my sister remembered. I thought I was a good writer by twelfth grade, thanks to the teachers before, Mr. Shaffer, a social studies teacher, picked apart my essays in tenth grade. Mr. Yarian encouraged me in eleventh. My first assignment with Mrs. Jullian came back with the red marks all over it. She picked out the laziness of a senior. An assignment that has lasted me most of my life is daily journaling. She wouldn't actually read them, if we marked them as private. She wanted us to get into the habit of writing every day.
I matured as a writer during that year. I think by the end of the year, she smiled at our offerings. I appreciated her scrutiny, as even at seventeen I desired to be a writer.
I think the tough English teachers bring out the best in us. I didn't have Mr. Munnel, only knew him as a director. He had a tough reputation in the classroom, yet was loved by the students. Mrs. Peterson, another that I didn't have, yet I heard students say they learned so much about English, writing by her strictness.
Mr. Yarian did encourage us so much. Still, if you did not tow the line, he toughened the class room. I cherish the memory of him dancing to the bag pipes when Bill Berlin played his in class one day. The music and frolicking spilled into the hall way. I felt we were following the leprechaun, Mr. Yarian. He believed in my writing back in journalism class and I hold on to those words to this day.  He shared his poems published for Penn State with me.
Mrs. Jullian, Mr. Yarian and Mr. Munnell have all passed away, ravages of cancer. Teachers, though, continue to live on to inspire their students, pour into their lives and shape our future. Thank you for those who do more than their jobs. Thirty years later, maybe a former student will blog about you with great fondness and gratitude.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mid-January Cold

The middle of January seems to be the coldest time of the year. Laying in bed under the down comforter all day warms me. Today, the temperature is 25, not really cold. The teens and single digits are colder, not to mention the sub-zero's. Yet, today has that mid-January frigid feel to me. I'm wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, can't wait to feel the soft heaviness of the down comforter over me on my 95 degree water bed.
Sitting in the Middlesex Diner with the solid mug of hot O'Neil tea cuddled in my hands radiating warmth to the rest of my body. Yet, on these days, I never get to the core of my body. I'm cold down to my depths. The sun hidden behind gray clouds never sharing the gold heat cheats me.
The roaring fire of my childhood brings pleasant memories. Laying next to it on these winter days was the only place to be. I put up with Lawrence Welk and Hee Haw, just to be near it. The rest of the house had a chill due to being so large. My second thing to do on a day like this was lay under the covers of my bed, reading Little House books. Somehow reading about the long winter made me warmer, yet wanting a hot potato.
Hard to believe in two days, the forecast claims it will be 50. I know getting out in the snow is the best remedy for this time of year. The blood starts pumping, and that is just with putting on all the clothes. I miss the sunshine of yesterday morning.
Winter night frolicking brought lots of fun, too. Tubing over at the school before the hill was gutted for the football stadium. Tramping around in the clear night. Ice skating at Valley Mould, or at least pretending. One time my dad took me to Swamp Road and the dachshund, Nicky, too, as he scattered over the ice on his short legs. Many people skating as well. The security light shining on us.
A night of movies sounds good to me, right now, as I nurse a sore rib. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Over Feyed

Not for my readers to think I was a total slacker after my evening on the couch, I did delve into my out of print book, England, Before and After Wesley, about John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. He is one of my heroes of the faith. If you are Methodist or have a Methodist hymnal, you need to read his instructions for singing the hymns- with  as much gusto as you sang the songs of the world before you were saved (or similar words, I'm not quoting).
John Wesley desired to see the Church of England transformed into a true vehicle of faith, not replace it with a new religion. I had also read Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas on William Wilberforce, during this same time period of the late 1700's. Revival does not occur in a vacuum. There was Wesley, Wilberforce, Whitefield, Newton(the Amazing Grace song writer), and women: Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, Hannah Moore and Hannah Ball. The poet William Cowper. The Sunday School movement to improve working class people's lives commenced during this time. Also,"The famous historian, Dr. J.H. Overton, a High Churchman, writes,'It was not Evangelicals, but Evangelicalism that abolished the slave trade.' "
The Church of England, as I read in the first few chapters and I remember from other readings, was corrupt, having little to do with Christ. The Bishop was in one room, while a royal woman dressed in the next room with the door opened under the painting of Venus. The leadership care more for their wines, estates and other luxuries than the Church being the Bride of Christ. Not much different than some things I see today, although, it seems much worse then. "As late as 1810, Evangelical clergymen, dubbed 'Church Methodists' officially considered a 'pestilence.' " from the The English Church of the Nineteenth Century.
The Church has been down this road before and in need of a great revival. I find it fascinating that men and women are called around the same time to start movements of God. Look around you for the next Wesley or Hannah Moore. I believe time is due for the next revival.
But as I was reading in Philip Yancy's book, What Good is God?, we also have cycles of faith. "Every generation of Christians puzzles over how to sustain the revolutionary character of the gospel." Christ brings life, but then complacency returns as people are blessed. Then we need a fresh move of God in our lives. Whether the next break out will be the last before Jesus calls His Church home or one to change things now, nothing happens without prayer.
Is God raising you up?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fey Fatigue

 A quick follow up to yesterday, since I really don't have as much time to write as I'd like today. I was thinking of something witty to write to continue on the "Fey" theme or word. The loops of  30 Rock seemed to soothe my malaise last evening after a nap. This series is created by Tina Fey and I thought after I watched a disc of season one of naming a post- All Feyed Out, or Too Much Fey, Fey for Malaise. I couldn't move off the couch. How about Feyed to Black?
I don't think this is developing into a cold. I felt better this morning, but still woke with a sore throat and left gland. Fatigued, but a little more energy. Still zero times zero does not much improvement make. My upper arms seem to feel it the most. My heart beats faster with the ambulation I do. The icy sidewalk in Warren added to the stress.
I read what I could do to improve my writing and I feel so listless, hopeless, no drive. I read about Writer's Digest Conference this week in New York City. Oh, I want to be there, yet, the energy is sapped. I wouldn't have anything ready, anyways. Must get back on track, I can't even seem to push myself.
I forgive myself and my indulgence into Fey world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Feeling Fey

I hate when I"m beginning a cold, if this proves to be that. I try to talk myself out of them. Most of the time I succeed. I'm achy all over, my head and throat feel swollen. I could just sleep all the time. This morning was the strangest, after eight hours of sleep, my arms seemed to do things on their own when I woke. I felt "fey" like Johnny Depp in Pirates. Every movement takes all my energy, like resting against the wall after stepping down the stairs.
The worst thing in this whole process, except for some forceful sneezes, no one can tell I am sick. I think my eyes may look glassy, but no one commented on that, today. I feel when we need to isolate ourselves is when it is most suspect that we are sick I've read that this is the most contagious time of a cold, if that is what I have.
If this develops into the common cold, I will sound much sicker in a few days, with the snot, congested head, scratchy voice or hoarse. But my body by then, has fought the fight and these symptoms will be the retreat of the cold. I will get sympathy,(not that I'm looking for it) and not need it then.
The worst thing that can happen with a common cold, for me, is for it to settle into my sinuses and thus they become infected. Some people, the cold settles into their lungs. I have seen many struggle with these upper respiratory infections for a long time. I feel if it choses your lungs, it lingers and lingers.
I wish it were easy to take care of oneself in the very early stages so there would be lesser chance of it worsening. Oh, if only we had that luxury. But for now, hot tea, other fluids, eat healthy- lots of citrus, hand washing, sleep as much as I can. I didn't like feeling fey this morning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vindy's Valentine Contest

The challenge came yesterday in the paper. A story about love that needs a completion in 750 words or less. I'm not interested in the prizes, although Julia's Bed and Breakfast $100 gift certificate for first prize, $50 worth of flowers and the third prize of candy would make life sweeter.
I want the opportunity to write and maybe be recognized. The problem, I'm not really interested in the beginning story. A new EMT working on New Year's Eve with his angry freshly engaged girl. Is she in the car that met head on with the telephone pole? And make the ending interesting., and of course, romantic. I'm thinking on it.
I do think on being upset when we were first married when David's fast attack submarine could go out on 24 hour noticed. And how many holiday eves did I work? Hmm, military and health care changing plans. 
I have until February 3 to write something that may be interesting.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rural Trumbull County

A visit to Kinsman always sparks my imagination. I love that rural part of Trumbull County. The novel I started in November for NaNoWriMo is set in a fictionalized town of Fairview, a conglomerate of this area. That Midwestern, yet New England flavor of a farming community I think we all in some way hunger. It seems to say Americana.
As I was driving down Rt. 7, I thought of the towns and could not remember the one starting with a B. My brain hurt. I left Kinsman, the main school now is in Vernon, and the next town after Vernon Center is... I could not think of the name. I could think, one of Mom's favorite cousins lived there(Howard Slater), the towns are like in Connecticut(yes, years ago it was Connecticut), there, all over the place. I ticked off Hartford, Orangeville, but that B one just wouldn't budge from my memory. Belview, no, Belvernon, shake my head no. Oh, just wait a few minutes and the sign will be there. My mind wouldn't let it go. I couldn't relax.
Just before I could see the sign, Burghill leaped into my head. Yes, and the pain went away. Burghill, the Christmas tree place. Twenty some years ago, a really good restaurant fed us many times, there.
Now, I could go back to thinking about Christina and Eva and where I left them in my writing. I feel sometimes, I can see the broad view, but the details bog me down. My writing is like my driving, slightly like flying sometimes. I'm three feet off the road, not in the  thousands of feet, as I skim over the landscapes, not stopping for anything, the destination the only thing in mind. I love seeing the scenery, but I don't see the details or the back stories. I do stop occasionally for the bald eagle or a flock of wild turkeys. A long time ago, I saw a red fox. No cell phones with cameras then or I would have snapped a picture.
What do I do next in this scene with Christina and Eva? Then, my mind floats to the stories I want to write about my dad, dubbed "JT stories." I wonder about the cross road story, too, the other day, as I passed through Johnson on 193. 
I need to write and then revise. I love all these stories, but they travel around in my mind, not on the computer screen. An extra blessing this weekend, I'm on call, but have no scheduled visits. I can go to Fairview, OH in July, 1918 and finish the scene I was writing. Good-bye! as I fly.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Primary Fun

I have been "blessed" to live in some of the ground breaking area for presidential politics. Yes, even WM, where Alf Landon was born. After all the traveling as a kid, touring president's homes, Mt. Vernon, Springfield, IL, Lancaster, PA- Wheatland, Harry S Truman's and Ike's houses, I imagined myself, if Alf Landon had won the presidency, giving tours of his house.
I didn't understand history at that time or too much of politics. Actually, Alf was just born in his grandpa's house, the Methodist minister, as his mother passed through to Kansas. I played with Ann Lighthall in her room, maybe where Alf entered this world. A plaque marks the house, now.
I lived in New Hampshire from 1983 to early '84. The primary then was still a respectable February date. One morning after work, we went to a diner in Dover. Joan Mondale and company, sat at the middle table. The nurse with me, much older- in her 30's, pointed the candidate's wife out to us sleeping joes. Joan was the nearest to a candidate I saw, although, they made the rounds believe me. That year, the Democrats had the swollen field of hopefuls against Ronald Reagan.
Working in Ohio, a key state now  more than ever, but not so much in primaries, except for 2008,  I have been rerouted for Presidents Bush and O'Bama. Watched those black limousines rolling over the Fifth Ave from  my old office. In 2004, it sat a yard away from Stambaugh Auditorium where Kerry or Bush talked while I was prisoner in the old church building. McCain and Palin stopped at the Vienna or Youngstown Airport. My daughter saw them. They were the size of a postage stamp, she said.
I don't care what party you are, I find it fun when celebrities are in your town. The TV crews tingle with anticipation. Radio loves to do on site shows. I look forward to the fall when Ohio will again be trampled often by candidates. Reroute me to Cadwallader- Sonk Road.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Snow Party

Today is Susie Skillman Lyon's birthday. Especially after she turned 90, we made the effort to celebrate her birthday on The Hill. The 90th birthday, the family got her a Troy-built rototiller, since gardening had gotten hard on her knees, afflicted from arthritis. David always remarked on the year she was 80, a tree was the gift and she outlived the tree. She lived to 98 and at that party, we sure felt we would celebrate 100 with her. That was 20 years ago, so I guess she would be 118 today.
David's cousin, Betsy, also was there with her family. Bill, her husband, is a great outdoors man. Family skiing vacations were not uncommon. During one of these parties, snow began to fall. Before we knew it, Bill had his daughter outside in the few inches to slide around. The genesis of snow party.
I believe the next year, more snow had fallen and the birthday party officially became the snow party as sledding down the hill in the yard- not The Hill. Munchies provided by us all and hot chocolate warmed us after the outdoor activity. Several years, we made the trip on the weekend around Grandma's birthday.
After Grandma's death in July of 1992, we moved the date to around Aunt Twila's birthday, which coincides with President's Day weekend, how convenient.
One year, as it tends to do often, a great snow storm visited that week around Valentine's Day. By the time of the weekend's Snow Party, although it had been quite wintry with frigid temperatures keeping the white stuff on the ground, the sun shone on us that Saturday and heated up the air. In fact, my neck got sunburned. We shed outer wraps, sat on the crunchy crust, as Aunt Twila served us cherry pie on china with silver forks. No scrimping on the finery, even though we ate it outside. Aunt Twila also rode down the incline on the old toboggan.
As we talked about this, I realized how long it has been since we did this, since my 17 year-old does not remember these parties at all. A rumor went around at Christmas, Snow Party may be resurrected.
The older grandkids got busier with school and activities. To get away any weekend proved harder as children get older. These older kids now are married, some are parents, scattered over the world.
Maybe it is time for the great, great grandkids' trip down the hill on an old toboggan.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mountain Top Experience

One time returning from New Jersey, I traveled with my brother-in-law's sister and her husband. I believe I was 13, going into eighth grade. Being an adventuresome college or just out of college students, they stopped at the Delaware Water Gap. I was forewarned we were mountain climbing and I was excited.
I hiked at Westminster Highlands, church camp with hills, so I figured this would be like that. At first, it was. The beginning of the trail, just deep green forest, sheltering us from the August sun, somewhat flat. We started climbing and turning and climbing some more. Sandy and I had to rest, but Ron impatiently waited. I remember even then being surprised that a young healthy girl couldn't keep up the pace of a mountain hike.
Heart pounding, I turned that last bend and way below the double ribbon of I-80 weaved with the Delaware River. Whatever praise song I knew at the time, escaped from my lips and I didn't care. I totally thrilled at the accomplishment I made in the climb with the delight of the view.
Last week I read about Abraham being instructed by God to climb a mountain, Moriah, and sacrifice his son, Isaac. Before the hike began, Abraham knew what was required at the climax. Would I have started that mountain hike if I knew something would have to be sacrificed? Would I do it now? (this is in Genesis 22)
In my Bible study with Beth Moore that same day, on the video, she urged us to go to those higher places with God. I thought how we always want the mountain top experiences, the exhilaration, the views,  the closeness to God. Yet, what is the thing He is asking me to give up for those moments?
Abraham left for the mountain, knowing his son was to be put on that altar. He even had Isaac tied to the altar. Isaac was a dead kid. God intervened, providing the ram.
I know whatever I give up, God will provide the replacement. He wants a willing heart and obedient servant. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012


My 200th post! Can I believe that I'm still under a year from when I started this blog? This is a celebration, again and a thank you to my readers. I think my number one is my niece, Michelle. I think of her father, Herman, reading it, too. Want to keep it real, as they say- whoever "they" are. My sisters enjoy the reminiscing. Old friends join in reading about the past.
So today, if you have sunshine, as I know the southern California people do and surprisingly we also in western Pennsylvania, get out, soak it up, Vitamin D and all. How pleasant to have this break so early after a snowstorm less than a week ago.
Winter sunshine possesses less intensity. The sun sits lower in the sky and clouds gang up on the upper atmosphere more. Yet, the sun is there, and staying longer on the horizon every day.
Celebrate life again and always. Take every opportunity to live life to its fullest. Nothing new here, just encouragement. Thank you, readers. You can't know how much I love that you read my blog.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Seat Time

Here I am with my seat in the chair time. I listened to Jerry Jenkins last evening on a web seminar. That is probably the most important take away, as they say, from anything I've heard him say at different times. He also updated the Christian Writer's Market, which is funny since I read on Twitter that the 2011 one has old publications in it, that have been out of business for 11 years, from another writer. She is attempting the magazine route in the new year as well.
I actually have two ideas for articles. One on the best roasted coffee in the world- well maybe a bit hyperbole, but O'Neil's is very good, roasted in WM. I grew up smelling that roast smell. They have been in town since 1951. I tried getting information on the internet, but couldn't on the company itself. I'm looking forward to interviewing and maybe touring. Above the roasting plant was the Degree of Honor Lodge, an insurance company. I was the president of the chapter for a year or two. Old wooden building with the enameled kitchen and bathrooms with leaking faucets housed our meetings and Christmas parties, always the aroma of the roasted coffee clinging to the air and our clothes. As I opened a new bag of O'Neil's yesterday, sipping that first cup, I thought, now this is a cup to stop your morning routine. It's that way at the Middlesex Diner, too.
My other idea is to interview Pastor Mark Bupp after his trip to India next week. I hope The Pentecostal Evangel will like it. I'm looking forward to really talking to Pastor Mark, how God is moving in his life and India. India seems to be the new mission outreach or as the popular saying goes- India is the new Africa.
Today was an up and down day, as the whole week seemed to grind me as well. I was excited to welcome the weekend, but Katie woke worried about her future. Then, David called at 930 am, with the news he had to fly out of Pittsburgh Sunday to go to Oklahoma for a month. The news gave me a swift kick into my lower chest, like the wind knocked out of me. I thought I'm going to be a beautiful diamond with all this pressure, looking for God's will in it all. Those words of his leaving brought us closer together, like an old married couple- oh, yeah, we are.
I texted a few friends and called another to call me during her lunch. Around 2 pm, I got a voice mail, "The trip was suddenly canceled." Back to normal, as much as we can be normal with a new appreciation for my husband, always a good thing.
After today and this week, I hope you don't mind sharing in my "seat time." I needed to write, but truly hadn't thought too much of any topic. My brain felt mushy, my body, too. I wonder how I can accomplish my goals, but "seat time" is the best start.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Day

New Year's Day can be thought of as blah. Ours this year certainly was that way with the weather of downpours and low hanging clouds that turned to snow and blizzard conditions by night fall. Cold or wet or both, there is not much to New Year's Day, so it seems.
New laws take effect. I remember the big deal in 1970 when cigarette ads were banned from TV. No more "I'd rather fight than switch," or the Marlboro Man. The Marlboro commercials showed beautiful landscapes. No editorial comment here, just the absence stood out.
One year, my brother, on a date with a girl not his future wife, Sandy Cone, got the old tan Ford stuck in Valley Mould, west of the town, near the Shenango River. Dad answered the call in what seemed like the middle of the night. Dan was none too happy that his date ended that way.
Sandy called sometime during the afternoon, which was a dark one. Dad answered the phone,"No, he doesn't want to talk to you, Sandy. He's not even talking to his sisters."
Even as a child, I knew you'd talk to a date before your siblings, but Dad was mad and not waking his son up for any girl who would get stuck in the mud in a car.
Most of these holidays saw us watching TV, football, what else? A fire roaring in the living room fireplace. Sometimes people visited us or sometimes we finished up our visiting. One time, I remember going to the Eastwood Mall, after blue laws faded.
I never appreciated the holiness of this day, until I was older. This was the last holiday I spent with my dad. He had had such a good Christmas at our house a week earlier, with Katie Beth as a baby. We hadn't gotten a dishwasher, yet, so Mom and I washed all the dishes. By New Year's Day, we did have the big meal, but Dad couldn't hold squirming Katie or enjoy an older, more sedate Megan on his lap with the fire in his bones. I watched the pain in his eyes because he loved his grandchildren.
By January 3rd, we were back at Cleveland Clinic because the pain returned with a fury. He entered and never returned home. So February made me shiver.
Many years, I struggled with depression with this month as each day I thought of Dad's last days. The anniversary looming on February's horizon. I put one foot on the floor every morning and tried to find joy. The hope of the resurrection comforted me plus having a small daughter. As a nurse told me on the oncology floor before Dad died, "A baby is God's way of saying the world must go on."
A time has passed since I have felt that crippling sorrow of losing my dad, I felt too soon. I miss him in snatches now. Yes, writing this has made me cry, but I know I can get up tomorrow. He is just in another place with my mother.

I have the blessed hope that we will all be joined again someday in heaven. I hope to bring a part of him back with my writing, where my tears aren't visible.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Have a Picture

My picture for the year came to my mind this morning as I was reading Matthew 11:25-30, an old-fashioned yoke with the dawn's light filtering through. So clear in my mind, I felt it would just show up in images, but that is not happening. I guess I have to capture the picture myself by going to the old farm museum in Mercer.
The scene describes how I want to be yoked with Jesus, taking His burden, that is easy and light. I do not want to step out this year without Jesus with me. The new day's rays behind the yoke would show the new year, the newness of following Jesus every day. I love to waken the dawn, that is when I pray the most and listen to the still small voice.
After I had felt this was my picture for the year, the sun shone brightly through thinner clouds than the thick ones smothering the day, but the blue sky didn't reveal itself. I absorbed the filtered sun as it penetrated my mood. A symbol that the Light is always shining in my life, even when oppression of gray bears down on me. The oppression, like the clouds today, may not go away immediately, but the Light shines behind the clearing of the layers, always ready for me to see.
Jesus said it best, of course, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
This year as I plow ahead with my writing, continuing with my nursing and living life, I pray for that yoke to never leave me as I allow the burden of Christ to be the only one I carry.