Thursday, February 28, 2013

Will You Join Me in Praying?

I do ask you to read my posts from last year on Prayer:,,,
Prayer holds an important place in my heart. God finds it important to hear from us. He has granted us the privilege to enter His throne room- Hebrews 4:16, because of the blood shed by Jesus on the cross, we are made righteous. Communion with His people is a great desire of the Creator of the Universe.
Power comes from corporate prayer, people praying together. Jesus said, "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in Heaven. For where two or three come together in My name, there I am with them." Matthew 18: 19-20. We enjoy a sacred fellowship, also when we pray together.
I have been praying on Monday evenings with three other women of like spirit since this summer. We gather in the sanctuary for some of the sweetest times I know. I call this group, Ladies Prayer for Revival or L.P.R. Our main purpose is to see revival break out in our church, in the Valley's churches, in the nation's churches and in the Church Universal. We pray for almost every aspect of our church to draw closer to God.
I have felt power in praying together. I have experienced a hush filling the darkened room. Peace overflows more than ever in me. I look forward to those times of prayer on Monday nights.
Our pastor has not missed the impact of these prayers. He has asked me to organize prayer partners at our church. I read the book, Partners in Prayer, by John Maxwell. I had read it years ago, so this was a refresher. What are benefits of having a team pray for the pastor?
1. It makes prayer a top priority in the church.
2. It creates a farm team for spiritual leaders.
3. It enhances the leader's personal ministry.
4. It blesses the prayer partners.
5. It creates an atmosphere where God can work.
A prayer team symbolizes the power working behind the scenes. The invisible power of the Holy Spirit winding His way through the congregation, settling distracted minds and crying babies; convicting listeners to the Truth by opening eyes to Heaven and Jesus. "When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works." Max Lucado.
I'm asking you for prayer as I organize this renewed venture. I pray for greater days than before. I pray for a like mind and spirit in the partners.
I had a dream over the weekend of auditoriums filled and throughout the sunny halls, groups of people praying. People of all ages were hearing the Word of God and worshiping Him. We need renewal in this country, as they called it before, Great Awakening.
Why God uses our prayers, I do not know. I know He does. Great and mighty adventures are promised with prayer, when we partner with Jesus to ready His Bride. Will you join me in praying?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Village Green Fair

I keep thinking about junior high and what I can write about. I wonder if I come up blank, because the winter rolled into sameness. In February or beginning of March, the school hosted a Village Green Fair. As a small child, I had no idea what a "Village Green" was. Did the Jolly Green Giant live there? I didn't see him at this event, held in our high school gymnasium, although I expected him.
I was much older when I realized what a "Village Green" was and that West Middlesex didn't have one. We made it up with this fair inside near the end of winter. In those days, less events were planned, so this happening created some excitement.
I, as a seventh grader, looked forward to this year as I could go on my own. I began to get more independence. My clothing theme that night was red and white, with bright cherry lipstick. I didn't own platform shoes like the style, but my shoes were a red and white patent leather with wooden heel. I stepped out in style, maintaining confidence, unusual for a seventh grader. I believe I even chewed a red bubble gum, probably strawberry.
The Village Green Fair, sponsored by the Women's Club or PTO, provided games of chance, very easy games if I recall.  Small ducks with numbers on the bottom waiting to be plucked out of the wading pool. The number corresponded with the prize. Food booths were probably the most popular. This year on my own, I sat a bistro table, imagining I lounged in Paris, watching the peasants come to town or some kind of fantasy.
Now craft shows and art festivals replace these once a year events. We travel more from town to town in our Valley. I enjoy mingling with the community. I love the food. I miss the games of chance.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vow to My Readers

I'm refocusing my writing. I'm afraid, I may have been lazy the last few months. I pledge to you, my readers, to hone my craft. I only want to improve.
I have sent two novels to be reviewed and edited. Overly confident, I thought one was ready in September to get out there and make money. After a distracting fall, I re-read the first one, seeing how I didn't show the story, I told it. I needed another fresh pair of eyes and a re-look myself.
My dedication to quality drives me. I desire my novels to not be weak or sentimental. I'm not expecting to be on any level with classic authors or even the best sellers, but I want my stories to connect with the reader, uplifting them in some way. I'm excited to have my best on the market to be read.
In this blog, my intentions consist of relaying memories for my family and friends. Maybe these musings encouraged strangers, along the way, as well. This exercise in discipline improves my writing. I try different styles. Some posts stir up controversy to get people to think. Mostly though, I create a mood.
I only want quality. I do apologize for any sloppy writing and not giving my best at times, in an effort to get on the page so my numbers do not lag. I ask you to continue to read as I grow in my writing with more dedication to the craft.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Race Against the Clock

We only have a half hour till the Oscars start. I need to write. We use our internet for TV, when we watch and we don't have wireless, yet.
In junior high I started to pay attention to the Academy Awards. I had a boyfriend in ninth and tenth grade. He is very artistic, knew a lot about film making. This was before all the commentaries on DVD's. Heck, this was before beta or VHS. He found books, I guess. But that was his dream to make films. My dream, then, involved me beside him on Oscar night, wearing a black dress, in that auditorium in Hollywood. That is how I watched them, while he was in his own home.
I stayed up late. The show is live and long. All the women then seemed to wear the "black dress." My favorite actors never showed, like Al Pacino. Where were you?
My senior year, in California visiting my sister, I watched them early, like at six in the evening, then they were over early. The next morning, all the minor, I mean very minor stars were on LA talk shows, acting superior, because at least they had a seat at the Awards and had gone to several after parties, looking the worse for wear.
My favorite Academy Award night was when Beauty and the Beast, was nominated, but Silence of the Lambs won best picture. They had animated Bell and the Beast give out one award. Also live action of the first song of the movie. Richard White, the man who voiced Gaston, sang in it. He was very handsome, climbing on the roof of a village shop.
So pop up some pop corn, get small pop (soda for you in any place, but western Pennsylvania), plop down and see the spectacular event of the Academy Awards- twelve minutes to go!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chasing Structure

I read a woman's post on losing structure to her day. Boy, can I relate to that. If I do not get up before everyone else, I feel lost. I always want that schedule. An hour of prayer and Bible reading or my quiet time. Then, social media showed up. I have a routine with that, e-mail, check Sharon Herald for the deaths, then Facebook. Seems I spend too much time there, scrolling and scrolling. I keep up with friends and statuses. I imagine I'm like the ladies of old, like in Rebecca, keeping up with correspondence after breakfast. We just have different tools.
I wish to post on my blog after writing in my journal. I'd like all this done early, so I could then do chores or walk the dog. I so want to be in some rhythm. I have found over the years, even before social media, distractions always ruin good intentions.
Phone calls used to disrupt the day. My mother, whom I love, when she lived alone, seemed to need something on my day off or would have a medical crisis. I don't mind, just saying that I seemed to never have the routine I craved.
Once in awhile, that would happen. I would have a day that seemed to be in synch. Years ago, in an apartment, on a Saturday, I'd have the cleaning done by noon, grocery shopping then, come home with fresh flowers to place on the clean table. Sun streaming through the ten foot windows. Yes, this is when I lived in an old textile factory. Maybe it didn't happen as much I think I remember it happening.
I made the comment about this desire to my pastor during a Bible study when I lived in Norwich. She said I was a Methodist at heart. I suppose I am. I guess that is why I loved camp. It provides routine, even if just for a short week. Any schedule should include a FOB time. Flat on back or bed or bunk provides time for quiet and reflection in the middle of the day.
Life though throws in other people. Husbands changing shifts, or days off or retirement. Children in summer and days off school. Elderly parents needing something. Neighbors with crisis situations. Life is not routine, which I think is a blessing, as we crave adventure.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What? Me Worry?

Well, I haven't meant to take a break, but as happens, life stressors crowd into the creative process. I hardly took time to write in my own journal. I'm caught up with Senior Independence work and now I'm closing the door on a place I have worked at off and on for twelve years. I'm opening a new door to a life of peace.
I won't miss the on call. I will miss a little of the driving, but with gas prices climbing, I don't want to do that every day. And a lot of the documentation I won't miss.
I love gathering the stories, but I'm could hang out at the new general stores- Panera and McDonald's to hear the old timers' stories. I'd sit and listen. I loved in one picture I saw they called themselves "Stove Hounds" in 1918. Sounds like a great title to me.
I feel free. Katie remarked I had that "I quit my job" giggle. I am anticipating new opportunities and am not worried.  As another friend encouraged me, when grace leaves, then it is time to leave that place. Grace left years ago and I didn't like the temper uncovered. I didn't feel the strong push till today, but I knew I had to leave.
Novels in the fires, almost bronzed, if I spend some more time on them. My love is writing. The nursing became a job to put food on the table and gas in the car. So if I stay in nursing, I think a job right now with less driving could help with bacon.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rhythms Change

I feel my circadian rhythm is changing drastically. I, as a young mother, loved getting up early. Now, seven in the morning seems too early. As I mentioned yesterday, I slept, knocked right off, on the couch. As I woken, posted on the blog, then freshened up, my daughter and I left to shop at eight thirty at night. The store is opened till ten.
This morning, I crawled out of bed. Saturdays, I always woke early as part of the routine. Teenagers do keep me up in the evening. Maybe that is why waking at five or five thirty is so difficult, I'm going to bed much later and then even reading more than a page of a book before drifting off to sleep.
Last Saturday evening, my husband and I did the same thing of leaving late for our Valentine's Day dinner. I took a shower at six in the evening. We had a wonderful time, pretending to be in New England at Red Lobster and reminiscing about our time in those states. We star gazed and that not only reminded me of when we lived in those crisp climates, but also the first winter we dated, a very cold harsh winter, but also few clouds for those late dates.
Tonight, I'm wandering to downtown for a winter art show. I could have been there at five, but I have till ten. Between four and five, I read, drank some coffee, since I rushed out the door this morning without any. I crave being creative. As I sat down to post such peace flowed over me. I'll freshen and check out the community art.
This change could be seasonal. My problem the last summers have been just not wanting to sleep. I stay up late enjoying the freedom of summer and can't wait to get up to soak in the morning cool and peace. I'm glad I don't live in Alaska.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Restful Lunch

I'm getting over bronchitis and I think I have been dragging a bit. Last night, I fell asleep on the couch, and tonight, for a few minutes, I did the same. This winter so far has not been harsh. We noticed near the end of January and now into the middle of February, the daylight hours grow and some days, we even see the sun. I walked last weekend, but the evenings had been busy this week.
Today, I started by being quiet in my living room. The children of my niece laid on our two couches, sleeping peacefully. Did not want them to wake. The sun lit the room, even with the curtains closed, by nine thirty. Little Jacob couldn't sleep any longer. He, too, is a writer and had "dibs" on the computer, composing his dinosaur story with illustrations.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first admission today. The quaint ranch with polished wood. We enjoyed talking. The best part of my job.
I traveled over the country road, even though it is a state highway. Mike Tyson's house stands empty for years. I glance at the house through the gate with his name and wonder what bad vibes live there. Scattered through this part are some Amish homes, but they increase as I head farther north. They look peaceful.
I stop at the End of the Commons General Store in Mesopotamia, or Mespo as the natives call it- for good reason. I know I love the fry pies and the ice cream is divine. I think, though, I better have some food, too. Throughout the wooden floor store, samples of jams, dips and relishes with crackers to try start to fill me up. I peruse the blackboard for the sandwiches, I chose the pulled pork. I also picked out raspberry cheesecake fry pie. How can food taste so wonderful and even knowing the fry pie is laden with calories, yet not feeling them. I don't eat like that often, but oh, my, it felt glorious today.
I sat at a wooden table, an inlaid of old record collections under glass, gazing out the window as the snow floated down, the black Amish buggies rolling over the streets with the old white homes lining the divided roadway.
This general store has all those items not seen often. The penny candy, the old fashioned candy, the different shaped sprinkles, hearts for the holiday yesterday and pastel colored eggs for the next and bright flowers for spring. One hall had a hundred colors of sugar for baking, too. I only had a short time, so I couldn't shop long, but I promised I would be back soon with my family, when I'm not working.
They have to see the architecture. The gabled houses with gingerbread and tiers. The gently rolling land and flat river bottom that has a swamp look. The large wood board horse and buggy structure for the tourist thing of pictures. And we have to get the ice cream, so many flavors to ogle. I had peach a few springs ago. The chocolate chip cookie dough caught my eye this time, but I didn't indulge. I know why I don't come here often. I don't want to leave. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Finding the Truth

With last week being Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday, as well the anniversary of her death (February 7, 1867 to February 10, 1957) and many tidbits coming out in the news, like Mary didn't become blind because of scarlet fever, I delved into how I feel when stories you believed growing up aren't quite what they seem. I have liked a few Face book pages on Laura and the truth behind the books makes me ponder. As I write about my childhood, I wonder what will be discovered to have not exactly been that way. If I were writing them for children, what changes would I make to develop books easier for them to understand, or as the accusation thrown at Rose and Laura to promote political ideas. Pa really didn't have to leave his land in Kansas territory, but moved back to Wisconsin because the man who bought their land couldn't make payments anymore.
I'm also reading some books on John Wesley. Again to bring out the truth as best able, with his diaries, what contemporaries wrote about the man, both friend and foe. Be ready for the stories held dear, to maybe not be what the legend portrayed.
This weekend, David opened up to why nine years ago, he quit a job four and a half days into it. I had thought just before this weekend, that I remember him looking so haggard working the midnight shift there. He seemed to have aged ten years in those four days. He never was clear why he left, but I thought the midnight shift taking a toll on his body the reason. Yet, now he has been working midnights for a long time, without that defeated slump I observed at out kitchen table. I found out, crazy people worked there without a clue as to what they really wanted him to do. He would ask for clarification, and they would tell him never mind doing that, trying to find something else that they didn't know what they wanted him to do. He couldn't work under those conditions. Still they paid him for the four and a half days, plus an ESOP check a few months down the road. They couldn't understand why he questioned getting this check, didn't seem right. The man he talked to, just said, "Cash it. Why are you questioning it?"
I'm not sure if this industry is still in the Valley.
My point tonight is often what we think happened, maybe didn't really happen the way it was told the first time. For whatever reasons a story is not as we want, protection of children, protection of self, promoting self or ideas. A story may be told a certain way so it flows better. Or new information discovered make the first telling different than the truth, not by anyone's fault.
Look for the truth. Dig for facts. Relay the truth. Unless, of course, the fiction is better.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

After School TV
In junior high and senior high school, the after school viewing grew up from Barney Bean, Daniel Boone, and Gilligan to the variety talk show of Mike Douglas, not the tough Michael Douglas, Kirk's son. Also the four o'clock movie interested us before supper. The Birds did not scare as much in color as when I watched it on a Saturday night on our black and white TV at six years old. Seemed more real in black and white.
We also watched game shows like, The Match Game. I had a minor crush on Richard Dawson. I still think it's the accent. The show felt sexy and grown up, as the adults pushed innuendos. Also gave us a great feel for fashion.
But Mike Douglas, he got the guests. I sat in the audience of his show twice. Richard Conrad, Frankie Valey, John Davidson (John Edwards' clone), the Sassoon couple and David Brenner, I saw live. They performed their talent and then talked to Mike.
Mike, I believe, started in Cleveland in the 1960's. He moved some time to Philadelphia. As often as I watched it, I was surprised to catch this clip the other night on You-tube of Southside Johnny. I thought I had never heard of them. Maybe in 1977 I was doing some life thing, like any reason to drive anywhere, being sixteen and all.
David introduced me to the Jukes. I already loved Bruce Springsteen at the time (Baby We Were Born to Run), but David being David liked the less popular band from Asbury Park, New Jersey. Maybe because John's last name is Lyon. An involved prank with a college friend set the stage for Johnny to be David's cousin. "My cousin came to Erie to play a gig with his band." A girl at Edinboro College that David and his friend hung around with, loved the Asbury Jukes. I think John brushed past her at a concert and Denny played up on David being his cousin. She almost believed those two. So the story goes. I hadn't met David, yet.
This girl rode the bus to Mercer to see the Jukes in concert at Youngstown State University. We all three went. I listened to WSRD, the Wizard as they highlighted their songs the day before the concert.
The band showed up on All My Children, and the movie, Adventures in Babysitting. I got to say one thing about John Lyon, he has had staying power. Now he still plays with the Jukes, but he has another band, Poor Fools, doing more folksy songs.
As he told Mike Douglas in this clip, being part of the band, you have to be crazy. One of the first things my future father-in-law said to me as David and I got more serious, "You don't have to be crazy to join this organization, but it sure helps." I do think they are related.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Morning Poem

My head hit the pillow on the couch
Under a soft blanket with two cats
I drifted off
The director on the commentary droned
I wasn't alone
Soon she was home
I opened eyes briefly
Yet stayed on the couch for an hour
Bed finally and slept the night through
Thank You, Thank You

Monday, February 4, 2013

Too Tired to Write

Tired tonight
Waiting for the daughter to return home
Bed, I hope for the night through
Oh, come home, safe from the snow
Pillow meet my head
As I snuggle in my bed
Come home, come home
Sleep tight, sleep tight.
Tomorrow I write.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

More on Teddy system failed Teddy. His mother failed Teddy. A man without a job, too much time on his hands, raped and killed Teddy.
Two school districts reported abuse and because Teddy denied any abuse, the child protection didn't investigate. He said his twin brothers gave him the bruises.
A family tried to penetrate the mother's fortress, but she defied them. The neighbors showed concerned, but the children were forbidden to talk to them. Teddy was let down by society.
I think back on stories of the Great Depression and no, I didn't check facts, so I'm going to try not to state them as such. This is my impression. The men didn't have jobs, but they tried to get work any way they could. I'm sure there were moochers, but they didn't have the government to help them out. I know, we pay into unemployment and when jobs weren't steady for my husband at Trinity Steel Car, we used the unemployment, but I had to work full time. Men get depressed without a purpose of working. FDR at least made jobs building the country. I love Pymatuning Dam.
Men back then, traveled the country looking for jobs. Many men did have jobs, like my grandfather, and could stay with their families. People grew their food. People took care of themselves. Still, I'm sure there was abuse then. There always has been. My mother was physically and verbally abused.
Our focus in this country, now, should be creating jobs, a climate for growth. I want to be positive. The president is focusing on the wrong problems- gun control, immigration, women in combat. If men and women can have jobs, feeling useful and contributing to their neighborhoods, a few more Teddy's may not have to face the trauma of a sick, bored man and a woman desperate to find belonging in the wrong places.
We will always have ills in society. We cannot legislate morality. But as the old saying of idle hands are the devil's playground, I believe if we can get our men and women working again, some of the time wasted will be spent instead at a job.

Friday, February 1, 2013

For the Teddy's
This is a controversial post, not for the squeamish. It lays heavy on my heart. Teddy woke me up this morning. I wanted to write last night, but I was too disturbed by the story and I got other bad news about a friend. I am a Christian and conservative, so my thoughts on solutions may not be yours. I make no excuses for what I am. I don't want to inflame, but I feel I need to write for the Teddy's in our country.
I heard this story first on the radio, as I was driving. Immediately, sickness overtook me. Then I saw Teddy's picture last night in the Vindicator out of Youngstown. Just over the line in Struthers. I've had patients on Creed Street, I know the area.
Harm can happen anywhere. In the print paper, the article on the right side reported on Brother Steven, an athletic instructor at a Catholic high school in Warren, accused of sexually molesting boys. He killed himself on Saturday. This sickens and saddens me, as well.
A line from the story on Teddy, is the ex-boyfriend's unemployment ran out two weeks ago. Now I get controversial. Men need to work. Young men. The man accused is forty three. The scenario in my mind, is he's bored, frustrated, agitated, taking it out on this innocent young boy. Teddy also has ten year old twin brothers. They are in protective custody.
The mother of the boys, isolated them from their natural father. (Who happens to live in Sharon). I see a desperate woman wanting any kind of attention and "love." Although, the accused is an ex-boyfriend. Is she so tired from the responsibilities of single motherhood and did not know where to get help? Does she work? Need free babysitting? I don't know these answers now. I'll find out more as the case unfolds and I read the comments of the neighbors.
How often are there Teddy's next door and we don't have a clue? Although, this woman was investigated often. She punished the children by throwing their toys out in the front yard when they told her about the abuse. She said they were lying. She pulled the boys out of school in October.
Evil is everywhere. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Like the Sandy Hook shootings, this is shocking because it happened in small town America and involved children. In this case, only one boy was killed, suffering over years, and no gun was used.
Do we need a change of heart in this country? Do we need Jesus? Do we need a revival? For the Teddy's, I say we do. This has driven me to my knees and I hope my Christian readers will also be so moved. God is weeping for our disobedience, our hard hearts, our thumbing our noses at him. I'm reading I Timothy. The law is not for those who do good, but those who murder their father or mother or other people. The laws are for those people who are sexually immoral.