Saturday, March 31, 2012

Get That Tea Cup Ready

When The View came on the scene, Barbara Walters pitched it by saying how she would love to sit around a table with coffee with very interesting women talking about current topics, introducing the women she picked. I thought of that way before Barbara Walters. Only my forum would be a cottage or cabin with fascinating women I know. We could spend a weekend, drinking tea or coffee, conversing about Jesus.
I have a few women that I haven't met to add to my group from my Bible studies. I mentioned Anita yesterday, from England. Mary DeMuth, another writer, from Texas, but she has also lived in France. These women are just two of many with whom I would love to sit down and have tea.
When I was a small girl, but able to appreciate intelligent TV(I know, an oxymoron), Steve Allen hosted a show on PBS with a similar concept called Meeting of the Minds. Three or four actors portrayed historical people from different time periods. Steve's wife, Jane Meadows, was on frequently as the woman of the week, like Queen Elizabeth I, my favorite. The actors discussed ideas in a round table format, with Steve being the present day moderator.
I know I may never meet these women with whom I would so love to chat on this side of Heaven. I think Heaven will be so awesome as we exchange ideas and stories. There is no time frame in Heaven, so no rushing through the topics. Heaven is full of joy and what brings us joy. I believe fellowship will be a major activity we will relish.
All those people you can't physically be with now, whether with time restraints, financial set backs or death, I know the time will be redeemed with them, if they know Jesus. Take heart and look forward to the day with no clocks, cell phones beeping or insistent children needing something. Just relaxed time to truly enjoy each other. I'm not even sure how we'll communicate, but it will be perfect. Get that tea cup ready.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wonderful World
Here is another blog post that so keeps with my theme of needing that spark in my life. I haven't really gotten away to pray, just spend time with God, in too long of a time. I do wake every morning to read and listen to His voice, but so tired some days. Does make me wonder how badly I would face life, if I didn't take that time with my precious Lord.
My favorite go to place for a prayer retreat that is local for me is Pymatuning. I walk and talk, and listen all morning. I watch the eagles soar outside the Nature Museum on the northern end of the lake. Truly has been too long since I've done that by myself.
I like Mahaney boat launch closer in Sharpsville, too. I sit on a bench gazing at the water, praying. A crisis brought me there one time, long ago. Hmm. That crisis involved work as well. The balancing act of work and home brought me to my knees, as a young mother, grieving my father's recent death. No one realized how much I depended on him, how he was my rock. My daughter was to have the full joy of him being her local grandpa. My dream of bliss died on February 6, 1990.  The white picket fence illusion blown away by leukemia.
But I survived. I have survived many down times. I thought as I read the Psalms this morning, too. David could be very depressed and he expressed it, but his hope was always in the Lord. The Psalms have expressed my feelings exactly some days when I read them. My copy is all marked up with little notes, underlined and highlighted verses. I love reading them when the crisis has passed and I'll write a note there, then. Joys are in the Psalms, as well.
I wanted to also talk about this blogger, Anita. She started following me on Twitter. I started reading her blog. I love the England background, with charismatic Christian flair. She is insightful, sharing many of the same battles I have. Always being an Anglophile, I find this most satisfying, like the pen-pals of old. What a wonderful world that is opened to us.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't Lose the Make Believe

I feel like I haven't been writing the best or concentrating on this blog. I just sat here wondering what I shall write about. I need to write now because small children will be coming to my house in a couple of hours, then writing will be really hard.
As I alluded to earlier, I have had many distractions to drain my emotions. I try to rise above it. A professional should be able to do that, so I'm told. But writing is so subjective, is it not? When one thinks of writers in the past, many have drug, alcohol or relational problems.
I have struggled with that question for a long time. You don't have to be crazy to be a writer, but maybe you do. I have read many fine books written by supposedly sane, happy people. Yet, a writer lives in her story, doesn't that make you a little odd?
Think back on childhood, if you were pressured to give up your make believe friend. My dismissal of Betty Jo, unfortunately, was purely selfish. I wanted the two dolls my grandpa brought for us. Betty Jo died for a doll.
Still I remember strolling home from school by myself on a wintry day in fifth grade. Talking to a "date," I turned suddenly, sensing a person behind me. A not so popular boy a few feet behind me wandering home as well. My face blazed.  I said no more. This boy never said anything about it. No one came up to me later reporting that they heard I was enamored with a mystery date.
I thought this morning as pressures don't let up, I want, I need to play. Play refreshes. I want to skip like a calf in the spring, just kicking around. I will get to play soon, I'm sure. Nothing lasts forever.
Mostly, I want, I need to write. I just hope my readers continue to have joy with my writing. Be inspired. Think of your long lost friend or mystery date. Tell me about them. It's OK. Don't lose the make believe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Spring Musings

I think I feel like the magnolia tree blossoms right now, rusty brown, shivering in the cold sunshine. This cold spring day reminds me of when we lived in New Hampshire. The first late spring I experienced.  The sun shone, but no warmth until Memorial Day. Lilacs hid until this holiday. Bare trees opened the view of the sea shore. Cold breezes whipped hair around as we sat on sea walls.
The first Sunday that temperatures rose, we drove all around, avoiding bicyclists in Portsmouth. The sun seemed brighter in New England. David called his parents to report on a spring day finally arrived. We truly were not prepared to wait this long for spring. I relished all the historic homes, like John Paul Jones' yellow house, made it to a Sear's commercial for paint.
Tomorrow the temperatures rise again with thunder storms in the morning. Seems rain and warmer air go hand in hand. We had a long run of wonderful weather that lifted our spirits, that will soon return.
I hope to feel like the daffodils bright and perky tomorrow, too.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Spring Unusual

The evening sun drifted through the pink magnolia blossoms. At first very pretty, till I see the wilted petals. A heavy frost warning tonight predicts the flowers will be brown, faded tomorrow afternoon. I look at the tight buds of my lilac and wonder if they will be affected. The paper reports the flowers bloomed a month early. I even glimpsed violets coming up through the cracks of my front step.
We had a run of summer, so unusual for a few weeks. We can get warm days, even a week in March, but this run lasted two, two and half weeks. It is not even that cold now. Just the normal temps appearing for this time of year. In two days, the degrees will be in the high sixties.
I was happy my magnolia tree had a fair run. So many years, it will just get to the peak, to be knocked down by a blizzard. The taste of summer brightened everyone's life, it seemed. The sun made the hardness of everything soften. The dullness of life disappearing for a while. The heaviness lifted with vibrant colors.
Tell me, how do you feel in spring?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Go to the Place Together

David and I reminisced about the house songs bringing the song back to our life. Life problems, responsibilities and dreariness creeps in, weighing a couple down. Laughing hides and disappears. A shared song is silent, forgotten.
I mentioned hearing the House song and immediately the words sprung to our lips. Memories flood, causing a tie to strengthened. We laughed about our two cats in the yard, although, the cats we had then never ventured in the yard. Funny, though, before owning a house, life was not so hard.
Couples have these ups and downs. They must find a common thread to tie the loose ends. A song, a memory, a value draw the couple into the love that started the relationship. A secret is to keep our senses open to the notes of life, the beauty of life, the breath of life. One needs to lead the other to this place. Extend a hand or grab the hand to get to life together.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

House Songs

Last evening we went out for ice cream. The weather has been delightful, window down driving, warm, humid, almost summer feel. Our House in the Middle of Our Street, by Madness came on the radio as the ride started. Cranked up the music, as the air blew back my hair, I could see the bay in Maine.
When the song was first popular, David and I lived in New Hampshire in a garden apartment. Many garden apartments, built in the seventies I suppose, dotted the land. My brother and his wife's first apartment was a garden style, too, in Fredricksburg, VA.  No gardens showed up around these complexes. David and I drove around the area often, listening to the radio, so different than now, as we are old most of the time. Can't hear each other over the music. But twenty nine years ago, we had fun.
We loved the house songs, because our desire was to own a home. This song brought a fun jaunt to the ride. I could see the lobster boats, the sun reflecting off the ocean. We sang together. I wonder at what we were sometimes.
The second year of marriage was hard with David's sub being in dry dock causing long working hours. I worked midnights, full time, my first summer to do that. A large amount of adjusting for a young woman to do. And unlike Connecticut, no trips home for the weekend. I got incredibly  homesick, so much that by fall, my head nurse told me to take a break and go home, which I did, the first week of December.
We enjoyed the area and were blessed that summer with the best weather. The TV station reported it as the summer to set records. Tourism is the main business, so locals were ecstatic that year. The ocean only allowed me to get into it up to my ankles, totally freezing, even on July 31st, David's birthday.
A simple song last night brought all those pleasant memories of younger years. Now I'm listening to the other house song-Our House, by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. We had two cats, so this one pulled at our hearts more. It also sang of a sharing of a house, not a house of childhood. We planned a life together in those car rides and walks around old forts and hotels, like the imposing white prison on the base's island and Wentworth Hotel, abandoned on Newcastle island. Every sight took my breath away. I love the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. I loved more seeing the scenery with the love of my life and sharing a song with him. Oh, to do that again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23rd Blizzard Surprise

My brother and his wife married thirty eight years ago today. The day was warmish, but gray. The ceremony took place in the Good Shepherd Church- the building is round. They chose to have a small wedding party. I sat with my parents for this one.
For some reason in the receiving line, I cried like a crazy little girl. I wore the yellow dress that Diane wore in Paula's first wedding. I'm sobbing at not quite thirteen at my brother's wedding with no idea why, feeling foolish as people filtered through the receiving line. Soon though, I overcame the weepies.
The reception at the Knights of Columbus was a lot of fun. A spring wedding, we, women, donned sandals and fancy long dresses. These were the days before weather channel or twenty four hour news. Saturdays we didn't watch much TV during the day, especially with a big event to attend. The snow storm came as a great surprise.
We all tromped through the inches of snow. Someone chose me to ride with Hank, the best man. He was a Marine with Danny, a gator man from Florida, loved his chew. My brother-in-law, Thom, laughed that it was like the blind leading the blind. I rode home with Hank, in his big Cadillac, him chewing and spitting into a beer can between his legs, talking fast with that southern accent in the blizzard.
We made it the six miles from Sharon to West Middlesex safely. My brother is still married. When people always talk about the St. Patrick's Day blizzard, I remember the March 23rd one.        

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Last Forty Years of Your Life love this sentiment. It is mine, exactly. I plan on living and doing exciting adventures for the rest of my life. Mine aren't as thrilling as Johannes' but I believe we need to have that spirit living inside us. My ninety four year old patient has the best saying, "I'm gonna live until I die."
I have so many books to write, research to do, stories to hear. I observe people and wonder how I can fit them into a story, how would I write about them. I adore the stories I hear.
I love the promise of Job, too, that Johannes references. Notice Job prayed for his friends and then was blessed. I've addressed this before but life is blessed when we give. When we think of others, wishing the best for them, it comes back around to us. God honors our selflessness.
Retirement in quite a few years, I pray, will still be giving to people. I want to pour into fresh faced writers. I want to encourage. I want to be in the mission field, wherever that may be. I want to be like Caleb in Joshua 14:10-11 when he demanded the land he saw when he was forty and a spy. He proclaimed,"I'm eighty five and as strong now as when I was forty." He was, too, as he battled for Israel.
What do you think? How do you want to live? Start it now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I am always amazed at how articles, readings, TV shows, and conversations prepare me for something that comes up in my life. Even my writing leads me to cope with a situation. Again the present situation is personal, but over the years, I have seen this happen over and over.
I have heard preachers say that people will comment to them after the sermon, "That is what I needed right now," or "How did you get in my bedroom or mind?"  Most of the time, the orator does not even remember what he said. My scripture readings through the week will line up with the sermon. This occurred even before sermon series.
Tell me some of your serendipity situations. How everything came to a big point to teach you a lesson. I'd love to hear. If you don't want to share, just respond "Yes," for I've experienced this or "No" for you're crazy, Miss Mollie. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Hug From Above

Do you ever have dreams that are so full of light and goodness that you're walking on air the next morning? I seemed to have one of those last night. A glow flooded through the whole dream. I think because we have been having such exceptional May weather in March in western Pennsylvania.
I married in May, Memorial Day weekend. I have always loved May, although lately June is a close second due to our Mays being drab at times. I examined my mother's album of our wedding last evening before I went to sleep. I looked through it several times, noticing people sitting in the sanctuary, how my oldest sister resembled Cousin Paula, how young my in-laws appeared, realizing they were not much older than we are now. Warm weather and my childhood home nestled in my subconscious.
In this dreamland, I woke in the back bedroom of the house. I knew I was on vacation in this gold room, as the glow started. My niece, the adult Michelle, also visited. My parents talked to us, determining what we would do on our vacation, now sitting on our front porch in glorious sunshine with luxurious green leaves.  I walked to the pool. But the pool did not resemble my childhood memories, instead looked when as an adult I took my children there. No conflict in this dream, no running or falling sensation, no soaring either, though. Just a comfortable vacation feel surrounded me. Near the end of the dream, my husband also joined me, then the ringing alarm woke me. The first time in weeks the alarm actually woke me.
What do you think about dreams? A dream like this feels like a hug from above, don't you think? At least to me it does.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Local Stuff

Funny how when you grow up in an area you don't realize all the unique culture until you travel or meet people from another area. Last week, an ice cream stand opened, the Corral. I rhapsodized about chili dogs, french fries and coffee stirs- um, I could go for one now. My brother-in-law remembered them from an old drug store in Sharpsville, with those thoughts he dug up some research. Coffee stirs are original to this area.
I sure didn't know that when as Candy Striper with the dull red stripes on white apron over a white(you guessed it, Girl Scout) blouse, I had to learn how to make all those coffee shop recipes. I dreaded when someone ordered them. The coffee shop really was not my favorite assignment. I dreamed when I signed up for this volunteer program of reading to sick kids on pediatric floor. In the coffee shop, we had to wear hair nets, and make all those specialties.
So before Starbucks fancy coffee drinks, the Shenango Valley had coffee stirs. Sugar mixed with left over coffee made into a syrup, soda and ice cream, but it was not a soda. Soda not being a soft drink around here, but a drink made with soda water. Pop is what we called the soft drink, like Coke or Mountain Dew. I still do call it that. I won't give it up.
The old restaurant, The Cookery, had a sign that they had the Sharpsville pharmacy recipe. A claim to fame as you entered the door, green printing on creamy background. The Cookery first built by IHOP and they kept the theme of international flags. Now it is a Dairy Queen or as the kids first called it, "The Chill Grill." When it first opened, the family was not allowed to go the same time as Mary Ellen. It has lost it's charm. Something too commercial in the food and service, now. Lost its old fashion appeal, but the walk up on State Street remains popular with only ice cream.
The DQ's in this area also had a product only made here, coffee ice cream. They used Folger's instant coffee mixed with vanilla soft serve. I loved them dipped in chocolate. But the corporate Dairy Queen butted in, forcing the franchises to only use the national menu. No unusual blizzards,either, originality dashed. I wonder if the executives are in the Sears Tower where all the smoke from the seized pot filters into the offices.
Another custom I grew up with that I found out later started in this industrial area is the cookie table at weddings. These are sources of great pride and enjoyment for the guests. Families bake for months, freezing cookies forever for the reception. Guests line up at the cookie table while waiting to eat the meal. An appetizer, Steel Valley style. I always had to sample almost every one. When you do that you may end up with a plate full overflowing of just one cookie, each. Nut horns, kiss cookies, lady fingers, petite sandwich cookies with flaky pastry, chocolate chip, bar cookies, thumbprint, the icing in the bride's colors form the array of delight. Now, we get to enjoy them at open houses, too.
High school graduation open houses originated here as well. Having planned one, it is crazy, trying to figure out how many people will show at the spread. You don't want too much food, but you sure don't want to run out. Katie's turned out pretty well. Next year, I get to do it again for Mary Ellen. Better start baking cookies, now, and rent a freezer hidden from us all. I guess there is Hermitage Bakery.
I think this is all part of growing up, realizing that home has some really great ideas. The first time I lived away, I was surprised that there were no open houses, no Texas sheet cake, or great bakeries. If springs remain like the one we're having this year, I may decide, I really don't want to move away. I guess there is no place like home.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Missionaries

Today I got to meet two wonderful missionaries. I have been reading their blogs for a while. I love that I can read missionaries' blogs now. This couple had a table set up in her home church in Youngstown, OH, actually Coitsville on US 422. I took the time this morning to meet them in person.
I always had a love for missions. I have blogged before about Mission Conference in New Wilmington. With my dad being an elder, we often had dinner with them. Dad's heart was for missions, also. We loved when missionaries came to speak. I remember being so surprised to hear nay-sayers  grumble about a mission speaker the first time. I'm not surprised anymore, but I still don't understand.
Dad wanted to be a missionary, but did not want to have his children in boarding schools, back in the fifties when boards felt that was best. I, too, wanted to be a missionary, one reason I became a nurse, but marriage followed me instead or I followed it. One day as I drove to Mercer when I first became a home health nurse, I felt God speak into my heart that this was my mission field.
My children I hope will be missionaries. Mary Ellen stated her mission field is Hollywood because "someone has to be a missionary there." Katie teaches Missionettes.
So what is missions? Is it always going to a foreign field? I think missions is telling people wherever you live about Jesus. Dad's field was Sharon Steel. At his funeral, so many people told me they came to Jesus because of my Dad's witness. He was not afraid to testify.
Gabrielle and Samuel are led to where no one has heard of Jesus. They are have been in Ethiopia, India and live in Sweden. I pray for them daily as they continue in their journey. India again in the fall. They are a sweet couple in love with Jesus and each other.