Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Word for the Church United

We stand at the edge of the marking of time, the old year looking into the new year. My niece in Guam is already there in 2014,"where America starts the New Year." Time is odd when one thinks deeply about it. Mind boggling comes to words.
Tomorrow, I reveal my picture of the year. Fitting as Wednesdays are my wordless days, but I will also write some words on it. Defining the year in a picture strengthens the hope I have for that year.
2012 an empty wooden yoke with a morning sun in winter showed me to give control of my life to Jesus. 2013, the stylized lion in winter at Buhl Farm Park changed through the seasons to reflect my needs for courage.
Today, though, I have a word for the Church this year. Yes, it should be a word all the time for the Christ followers, but I see if we get a hold of this, revival can begin. It is not prayer. It is not Bible reading. It is not more praise and worship. These are great words and actions I have promoted many times, but I see "Forgiveness" as the word that will open the clouds for a downpour from Heaven.
I have been hit the past two years with many disappointments, hard developments and blows to my plucky ego. I believed God always had my back so to speak, but the many blows culminating over years from my father's death to giving up on the white picket fence dream in my late twenties and early thirties to just never feeling I've made it, grew to a bitterness I refused to recognize. Yet, I clung to God's promises. Then physical blows of growing old as a woman, and the removal of my idol of what I wanted for my family in the past two years led to me taking what I saw as a step down in my nursing career. I had seen nursing less and less as a career, putting my efforts into being a wife and mother. It all seemed to crash in the last years. Yet, to realize this year, those sacrifices to the career seemed to leave me with less than what I should have at thirty one years of nursing left me off balance.
I read Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge last month, a book on looking at Jesus differently. Chapter fourteen stopped me in my tracks. I realized I needed to forgive Jesus for life. Yes, this sounds sacrilegious, John pointed out. Jesus didn't do anything wrong. Still, when I am disappointed in my life, how I was made- forgetting I was fearfully and wonderfully made- when my prayers seem to not be answered, at least the way I wanted them to be answered, I knew deep down I was mad at God. I couldn't admit that. I knew intellectually God hadn't done anything wrong. Didn't I know the answers? The Fall. The devil. Bad things happen in this world. It was the one promise I took to heart that Jesus told us, "In this world, you will have trouble, but fear not, I have overcome the world." He will never leave me nor forsake me. I had to forgive Jesus for seeing Him as the blame of my discouragement.
This is complicated and hard to confess. I know Jesus wants what's best for me. Words from the Bible stories echoed in my mind as I pondered all this. "Lord, if only You had been here," from Martha and Mary, as their brother died and laid in the grave. "I want to go with You," the saved demoniac pleads with his Savior. "No, stay here and tell what happened," Jesus tells him. Jesus sends His disciples into a storm and would have walked past them, had they not called out. "Today, you will be with Me in Paradise," Jesus comforts the thief on the cross, but I stay here on earth when I wanted to escape this world on my darkest days.
So real or imagined hurts have to be forgiven. I have to forgive Jesus in my deep heart. The next person to forgive is myself. I have to forgive myself for not being the super woman I think I must be. I must forgive what I perceive as laziness or thoughtlessness or any of the other flaws I have. I have to forgive myself.
Then I must forgive the other slights, hurts and deep slayings I perceive from family, friends, acquaintances, church leaders and bosses.  A flood of forgiveness churns in my life and in your life as well. I see that flood in a service that releases the revival the ladies and I have been praying. My ministry isn't appreciated, my work is over looked, I am underutilized are all thoughts I'm sure we can admit to.
I have walked the humility path this past six months, not very well, as I am writing about it. I have been met with kindness that sometimes tears creep to my eyes as I serve. I must follow Jesus, no matter where I am. I must introduce people to Him. Until I do, nothing will grow. But first, forgiveness. Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they are doing.
This Sunday, the first Sunday of 2014, look across the aisle. Many churches observe communion on this Sunday. If you do, glance around. Forgive the slights, hurts, and maybe even real actions, as you think on this. Allow forgiveness to rule. As we reflect on the death of Nelson Mandela this past year, with the real offenses to him, he forgave. He left prison a free man. We can, too.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Dawns Christmas

Dawns Christmas


I'm not having a Martha Christmas time.
But I'm not much of a Mary either.
I'm reminded on a Sunday
-Emmanuel-
God with us, me.
It came upon a Midnight Clear-
the angels I need to hear
In the dark, the plains, the sadness of the earth,
I hear the angels sing.
I'm coming back to the heart of Christmas
I'm sorry for the thing we've made of it.
It's all about You, Jesus.
I feel stripped of all the trappings, the fussing,
the gatherings, the family,
Gone to heaven or far away.
It's down to Jesus.

Dawns Christmas Morn
A Savior is born.
A relief, a breath.
Quiet.
It's done.
Put that pesky John 7:7 away.
A Baby is born today.
The world loves the Babe.
John 7:7 come another day.
Today is peace.
Today is still.
Today the Savior lives in a manger.
                                                                where He  poses no danger.

Tomorrow the trees go down.
Tomorrow we go back to the world
But today, today, we worship
the Lord
The Savior in the manger
Brings peace for a day and
poses no danger.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Writing

I finally signed up for Hub publishing. I took time today to read the guidelines and the money making aspect. You do not get rich blogging, generally. I read about brands and some of the featured blogs.
Now, I rebelled in my soul. I have addressed this before. I don't have a brand. The name with "musings" should clue anyone into that. I have a hard time with bullets, numbering and how-to's, although I have played around with that style of posting.
The money making part is from Ad-sense, a fiasco for me last June. I asked readers to click on the ads. The noticeable increase created suspicion causing Ad-sense to shut down the ads. I had forgotten two years past that bringing attention to the ads was a blogger no-no. Big, heavy sigh and embarrassment crept over me. I continued writing.
I read an article about Southside Johnny today. He is a free spirit and never complains he didn't make the "big time." He loves his music and performing. He lives a comfortable life in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a dry town which I find ironic. I call it the Lyon spirit and I have been living with it for over thirty years. I wish I had embraced it much earlier, instead of fighting the expected "fit-in-a-mold" life.
Yet, as Martha often says in my novel, Main Street, "No regrets." I have a lot to learn from the women in my stories. Writing becomes my breath now and not writing is the regret I must avoid.
Godspeed in writing for me and I pray enriching reading for you.

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20131227/NJENT/312270008/New-Year-s-Eve-Southside-way

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

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 glamour. 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.







and it is still very dark at six forty five in the morning, so get back in bed!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Teddy's Law Tuesday


The Teddy's Law introduction had a bit of a back lash last week and the bill was withdrawn. As in any battle, pitfalls litter the path. The wording of the bill created difficulty with home school families. Intentions fall short at times, yet the battle must go on to protect children. As with much legislation, the hardest part is changing the hearts. We need a heart change in America. Keep praying for children in abusive situations and as always, keep your eyes opened.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December Twenty Third in Summer Triangle

December twenty third in my novel- Summer Triangle:
Allison crept into the family room that welcomed her as the cozy lights in the new dark glowed. Her mother slept with her empty tea mug depicting Santa Claus on the stand beside her. Allison looked in shock and wonder at her mother, appearing so young in this subtle light with her blossoming belly. She was beautiful, she had to admit.
She hadn't seen her mother since homecoming weekend in the beginning of October. She came up to help Amber adjust to all this drama. She wanted to string her parents up then for both being incredibly selfish, worse that it was in Amber's senior year of high school. They should be enjoying each other, like the past years. These were supposed to be happy years. Allison wondered where her dad was. It was after five and he should have been home. Maybe he was doing his last minute Christmas shopping. So like a man.
Allison hung her coat up and dropped her bags in her old room. She passed the den and saw the permanent bed her dad set up. What has happened to this family? This was going to be a banged up Christmas. Unless Jesus intervened. Mom could believe that, but Allison didn't. If He had wanted to help, Mom would never had been raped. Grimm would be following her around right now. Amber would be loving her senior year without wondering when Dad would leave the household. He was already living like a separated man.
Allison returned to the family room and got comfortable on the cushy love seat. Maria opened her eyes, “Oh, Allison, I didn't even hear you come in,” she jumped up to hug and kiss her oldest daughter.
Hey, Mom. You looked so beautiful and peaceful in the Christmas lights. It seemed like a Christmas card. How are you feeling?”

As they conversed they walked into the spotless white and cobalt blue kitchen. Maria turned on the gas stove burner under the tea kettle. Then opened the refrigerator, “You feel like chicken?”
Sure, Mom.”
I made those homemade noodles like Dad's mom and grandma used to make. All I have to do is heat them up.”
You were busy, huh?”
Always for my family.”
Mom, you are the greatest. I can understand why you want to keep the baby.”
Why, Allison, that is nice, but unusual.”
You are such a good mom. You should have had more kids. You did so much for us and you still do. I bet you were feeling a little sad about Amber moving on, too, in the spring.”
Well, I wouldn't have gotten pregnant, if that's what you mean.”
No, I know you felt you were done, but this unfortunate event has led to something that gives you a glow. I'm sorry Dad is having a hard time accepting it.”
Well, it is a stranger's baby. I just couldn't get rid of the innocent child. I mean what did he have to do with it? He has no voice, yet. I'm afraid, though, he's going to be from a single parent home. I have a feeling after Christmas and the New Year, your dad will make a decision.”
Why do you say that?”
I overheard him asking Larry for a divorce attorney's name. Larry is the family lawyer and he couldn't fight against me.”
Mom, are going to get a lawyer, too?”
Not yet. Praying for a Christmas miracle.”
Me, too,” as the tea kettle screamed.
Tea? Since I have the water hot.” Maria smiled. She felt such a closeness this evening to Allison that hadn't been there for a long time. Maybe because Allison showed a genuine concern for her mother and didn't show a favoritism toward one parent or the other. She was rooting for the family, which is what Maria was doing also.
The chicken, breaded and on the pan, baked. The noodles would only take a few minutes to heat up in some boiling water. Maria hardly ever used her microwave. She like the way things tasted not cooked in the microwave. Pizza was too soggy. The meat had a metallic taste. She did like hot chocolate with milk and Hershey's syrup in the microwave, if she was just making it for herself, other wise she dragged out a pan and warmed it up on the stove top.
Allison washed the dishes as they went along or put the dishwasher safe ones in the dishwasher.
Brendan still hadn't arrived at the house. “Is this now the normal, Mom?”
No, he has still been making it home for supper. You know, he'll read the paper before, clean up from being at the mill. I did tell him Amber worked until six and we wouldn't eat until six thirty.”
At six fifteen, Amber strolled in, “Mm. Chicken. Like Grandma's, huh, Mom. Homemade noodles, too?”
You know it, girl,” Allison hugged her sister, “How was work?”
Crazed. All those Christmas shoppers and tired, whiny kids. Everyone had their last day of school today. Mom, I'm glad you like to cook.”
That's encouraging to hear. I may get spoiled with you two girls complimenting me.”
Amber crooked her eyebrow at Allison. Usually by now, Allison has managed to make some argument, from Christmas isn't actually Jesus birthday to all the pagan traditions. She just couldn't leave Mom to her Christmas celebrations. Well, if anyone would ruin Christmas this year, it would be Dad, with his talk of divorce.
He tried to hide it, but Amber read the writing on the wall. Dad was ticked about Mom deciding to keep this baby. Not that she blamed
Dad, but oh, these adults. Up to the kids to keep the Christmas spirit going. Too bad, Allen wasn't coming tomorrow for Christmas Eve. That would so brighten everyone up, especially Mom. She loved Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day.
Brendan arrived right at six thirty. He acted glad to see Allison. He hugged and kissed her. Asked her how her trip was through the West Virginia mountains.
Not bad. Actually I made good time. I was all packed and left from work, which is just that half hour closer without the rush hour traffic. I could just hop on I-70. No problem.”
I'm glad, I'm glad,” he glanced at Maria, “You made my mother's dinner.”
Yes, and your grandmother's”
She did like to make it the day before Christmas Eve,” Brendan breathed in the fresh smell of baked chicken.
The table was set with the Christmas china. Creamed green beans, the chicken gravy, the homemade noodles and the crispy oven fried chicken arrayed the plates. The pitcher held ice tea. Tall glasses with ice cubes sat at each setting.
I just wish Barry and Allen were here. Oh, and Amy, too.” Maria flushed.
They sat down and looked at Amber. She bowed her head and prayed for a blessed Christmas season. Brendan engaged the girls in conversation. They joked and laughed. This was the first non silent meal at the table for quite a few months. Maria smiled.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hope in a Dark Corner

I attended the movie Saving Mr. Banks this afternoon. I sobbed, alone in my dark corner seat, glad of the isolation, and again without tissue, dragged rough napkins over my face. The levels of emotions set me off from many directions.
These are as close as I can find to my memory
First of all it is Disney. I grew up loving Disney. He greeted us every Sunday evening with Tinker Bell. I remember when the man died, the picture of the editorial cartoon of the globe tied with a black ribbon of mourning, with the characters he brought to the screen surrounding the world, all with sad faces. His last character, Mary Poppins, long face, with her open umbrella above her lowered head gazing at the memorial.
Saving Mr. Banks shows the last glimpses in a way of Walt. He died December 15, 1966. The setting of the movie is the early 1960's, my early childhood time setting.
Mary Poppins, the movie formed much of my childhood. I had almost forgotten the magic of the movie when in 1986 on our trip to England the children of the people we visited, had the VHS tape of this tale. I felt more comfortable with the children than the adults and again became entranced with the musical. I discovered as I grew older that Disney movies provided more than child entertainment. We also traveled on to London the day after watching the movie where the tale is set.
When I heard Saving Mr. Banks would be coming out, I became immediately interested. I devour stories of writers with their formation of ideas. With Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson playing the lead roles, I imagined I would not be disappointed. I did some background homework before the movie was released. 
P. L. Travers I didn't know much about. She was born in Australia a year after Grandma Evans, 1899. Mrs. Travers led an unconventional life, rather as how I see Grandma's life. None of Mrs. Travers' affairs with both men and women entered the movie I saw today. The movie only touched on her very early life with her father. She performed briefly on the stage. Grandma loved performing, but never left the area to do so professionally.
I think of this generation, Disney born in 1901, Travers in 1899 and Grandma 1898 with their hardships. Grandma lived with the pain of losing her mother when she was seven. Travers was about the same age when her beloved father passed away. I got the impression that these children had to be adults way before our modern conventions would allow. Disney, in the movie, relates how his father expected him and his brother to be unpaid newspaper boys for his paper to save a dime. He was so cold in the winter delivering papers twice a day in drifts over his eight year old head, that he couldn't concentrate in school. But he knew he had to do it to avoid the strap of punishment from his father's hand. Whether this was true, hard to say, as many memories we have made are, but Disney used them to bring the world hope and so in a riveting scene he convinces Mrs. Travers to do the same with her hurts.
I see a young Hazel with farm work in the early images of Traver's farm. Pamela saves her mother from suicide and I think how my great grandpa suffered from melancholy. Dealing with the death of a spouse grieves in any generation.
My character, Eva, in Country forms more in my mind. She is only twenty in my story, but life has already dealt her tough blows, being widowed, having an abortion and dragging herself home to her family and wagging tongues. I can almost see her in the 1960's like Emma Thompson's P. L. Travers. I haven't finished writing my story. This is the character's time period, and I am seeing the hard life they must overcome. This generation guided my parents which then influenced me.
I sat in the dark theater, first with tears gently rolling down my cheeks. The hard life of Grandma, then Eva, bring stronger tears. I think of how my realization as an adult  of the beauty in the movie Mary Poppins. The whole family is saved with Mr. Banks learning to love the family. We take our darkness and make hope. I'm glad Mr. Disney influenced Mrs. Travers to sign the rights, which gave us this movie. The sobbing I control as I think of hurting families today, who need the fathers saved.




















































Saturday, December 21, 2013

Chains of Christmas Vacation

The gray warm weather of the last few days, as well as knowing school children started their Christmas break yesterday surrounds me like chains of unpleasant Christmas memories. The endless gray and rain filled many thoughts of my times in high school, when a girl shouldn't have been depressed. All the tests were over, relatives coming in for the holidays, yet, waking to the oppressive clouds and not quite darkness all the time kept me from all the joy the season promises.
My mother would take to bed during these days at times, too. She experienced disappointment. She held large lofty ideas of Better Homes and Gardens Christmases that only those with a paid crew could create. One day my brother-in-law and I tossed a pillow causing a clean break of a glass basket. This incident threw my mother into a spiral of depression. A dear friend had given it to her. She ranted about our carelessness at breaking this treasure. My sister picked it up and downplayed it. Simple gluing fixed the handle. Herman and I slunk around like the scolded children we were made to feel.
The Shenango Valley during the mid seventies also experienced a depression as the steel mills slowly lost ground in our economy. I escaped the house depression with Diane and Herman on the annual tour of the Valley in the wet and foggy gray of the dirty factory houses, and bars down Roemer Boulevard, seeing the skeleton of Sharon Steel at the end of the hill. We joked and laughed, sang the All in Family theme song. Soon it got so dark as early afternoon turned into night. We awed at the lights but without snow they aren't as pretty.
So today, I feel the chains of these vacations. I'm not on vacation. At one in the afternoon, I need to turn on the light as darkness surrounds me, literally. I will go to work today and rejoice with carolers as I'm passing my medications. I will gladly give out hugs that warm my body as well. I will shake off these chains of Christmas past and remember on Christmas day, I never was disappointed.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why Do We Celebrate Snow at Christmas?

My post from last year. We had a snowy December, but the temps have risen to the forties and though snow remains, it is the patchy, gray, dirty kind. I think the temps are to fall again. Why snow at Christmas? We celebrate snow, it appears sometimes. What does the snow mean?

 As the low milky sun visits my window in the fifty degree weather, I'm amazed every year at how people marvel at the mild weather. I want to scream, "It's still fall in early December." Winter will come. It always does in the North. Maybe not as wild as some years, but we have a change in seasons. The winter solstice remains on December 20 or 21, depending on the timing of all that solar stuff.
December of 2001, the forsythia bloomed. Last year and the year before, I saw violets in October and late November. The year Mary Ellen was born, 1994, an extremely warm December, made it difficult to dress a newborn. I felt guilty not bundling her up, but we saw seventy degrees on Christmas Day. I wore a red light weight skirt and a white and red blouse, but it didn't look Christmas-like to me. I still felt warm, thank you, hormones.
Some years, I have seen snow start in October and early November. Two years ago, snow came before Thanksgiving and we didn't seen bare ground until April. Then it was muddy through June because of all the rain. Fifty days out of sixty one in April and May of rain. Now, that was depressing.
So why do we think we have to have snow and cold for Christmas? Folk lore, Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, Clement Clarke Moore, Santa living at the North Pole? Or is it my idea about the magic of first snow, that symbolizes cleaning the earth. Our sins will be cleansed by the blood of this Baby born on Christmas Day. I don't think we realize this consciously, but in our spirits we are open to a new start, being a new creation. Is that why we want snow at Christmas? Why we are disappointed when no snow shows on December first? We're ready for purity, the innocence of Christmas. Jesus said,"Unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Mathew 18:3.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

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 by 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?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teddy's Law Tuesdays

I'm sad because this is a time of year, we get caught up in our big to-do lists that important messages like this are missed. I'm posting this today anyways. I will probably post it again. Country will focus on child abuse as one theme. I feel we so need to be aware and do something, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fetgRAchmjs&feature=youtu.be
 http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/dec/17/cafaros-bill-aims-to-protect-children/ 
This is the news today for Teddy's Law. As his father stated, this isn't just for Ohio alone. All the states' laws need changed. Please take a moment to hear him or read about it.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Teddy's Law Tuesday, a day early

From the first time I heard about Teddy's death, a movement in my soul captured me. This has been a journey. I wanted to post this again near the year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Many more shootings have occurred this year. Many more kids have been killed due to abuse. Become aware,pay attention and reach out to that kid you know is acting differently this year. Defiant, moody, withdrawn are some symptoms that signal abuse. Pay attention. All our children are precious. 

 http://teddyslaw.org/our-mission/http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/jan/31/community-stands-vigil-murdered-struthers-teen/?nwhttp://sharonherald.com/local/x1303535632/Ohio-pair-facing-charges-in-13-year-old-boys-deathhttp://www.vindy.com/news/2013/jan/31/what-happened-teddy/
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.
 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Do We Ever Know for Sure?

I wonder if western Pennsylvania or at least the Shenango Valley will miss the snow storm. Light fluffy flakes appeared for a short time, but then stopped. I look on Facebook and east is where the snow is on the map. Is the snow sweeping from the south? I think so, but I really didn't investigate it.
In central Pennsylvania, in my husband's home town of Emporium, the parade is canceled because Penn DOT needs the road opened. It is a state route. I love seeing all the towns doing more to garner community support. Last week, we ended up being in the end of my home town's Christmas parade, as I wanted to ride down Main Street. No red wreaths in the window of my old house or really any lights gave a bit of disappointment. We waved at the people stilled lined on the street.
But back to the snow storm with the hype or not, I always question. Niantic, Connecticut stated the snow started at seven am. The east, again, hit hard by the weather. I know we need to be warned. Still, bad weather sells. There is a channel banking on people's interest in the weather. The warnings blur together sometimes and one is not sure when it will happen or for how long.
My question is, do we ever know for sure?
What are your questions about life? What hasn't happened that you thought for sure would happen? Tell me your disappointments as well as surprises of events turning out much better than you thought could ever happen. For life can be full. Depends on how you see it, do you agree?

 
Emporium waiting for Christmas celebrations.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Richness Grows

Ever have one of those days where you wake early, thinking you'll take this bull of a day by the horns and instead find yourself looking at the sun make dust circles in the air? Well, my day isn't over and sometimes it is just beginning by this time in the morning, since I changed to afternoon turn. The sun is lovely, but the brief encounter with the ten degree weather determined I would have flavored coffee, since it was still hot, and read. No, not even write.
I am going out for lunch. One girl has to be at work at noon and the others break is at twelve fifteen. I think that so much has to do with the waiting to drive, not wanting to make anyone late for work.
I am enjoying this morning C.S. Lewis' Perelandra. I love his preface:
  This story can be read by itself but is also a sequel to Out of the Silent Planet in which some account was given of Ransom's adventures in Mars-or, as its inhabitants call it, Malacandra. All the human characters in this book are purely fictitious and none of them is allegorical.
                                                                                                                       C.S.L.
I read this the first time, again after thirty one years, and laughed. I hear Jack saying this is just for fun, "I had fun writing this." Maybe not, but that is what I hear. He wrote so much heady stuff, I think imaging a world in outer space provided a lot of fun. This book is an exciting read.
Years ago, I looked into books about spiritual warfare. The usual fare suggested was Lewis'+ Screwtape Letters, a listen to John Cleese reading it. Also Frank Peretti found himself on that list. Yet, this space trilogy shows a rich side of demon possession and oppression. I anxiously want to read the third one, That Hideous Strength. I vaguely remember Merlin plays in that one.
As a twenty one year old reading these books for the first time with no Narnia experience, much of Lewis' writing flew over my head, like the space ships in these books. I did enjoy them, but with all my knowledge now, a richness pours forth that I couldn't understand before. The levels peel off, from the spiritual, to historical to cultural, that I have learned over the years, or at least I should have learned.
The first time, I probably read them because they were by C.S. Lewis to impressed myself. Now, I read C.S. Lewis because the story is entertaining and engaging. I read the first time in that paneled walled second floor apartment with no TV, or internet, just a radio and no good radio stations. I read a lot that first summer we were married, as well as studied for my state boards. I never felt bored, as it was all new: marriage, housekeeping, Connecticut, submarines, a large river and Long Island Sound. I won't say those were the best days. Like my appreciation of Lewis' writing, our marriage is richer than those early days. The levels build up.
I have been out in slightly warmer weather, up in the teens, this afternoon. I ran errands and checked on my book at the downtown store. Now, in the pale sunlight of the last of the day, I think, a cup of chai and finish the book. I will be richer for it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Teddy's Law Tuesdays

As you know, I hope by now, that I write about child abuse on Tuesdays in support of Teddy's Law. I am wavering on how to write today. The Christmas song from the British and Irish rock bands of 1984 plays in my mind. I watch it and read the lyrics on You tube. I think how does this all fit in?
When those images of the Ethiopian children with their huge bellies from starvation first came on the nightly news, yes, we were in the midst of celebrating Christmas in Connecticut. Our loft apartment in an old textile factory screamed "yuppie" all over it, or as we later came to be know as D.I.N.K's- "double income, no kids." A somewhat, but not completely self centered time in our lives was that Christmas time.
We had our two cats we bought in New Hampshire. They were in a sense our children. The male, Arthur, a fluffy sweet Himalayan developed those bladder stones that had killed my first Siamese, Ho Chi. I made better money than an unemployed dad did twelve years earlier. We could save Arthur. Then those pictures of those kids blasted on the TV. Yes, it was their government's fault. Whatever food we sent would sit on the docks because the their government wouldn't distribute it, yet, my heart went out to those kids. But I had a sick cat at home that I could pay two hundred dollars for the operation to save him. How could I let a creature in my care suffer because I felt guilty about starving children across the ocean? Actually, if my money would have helped, I could do both.
I prayed about this, wracked with guilt. Guidepost magazine, that month, ran a story about a cat, a Siamese cat, that a woman prayed to be healed. The point was God cares for our pets, as well. This was well before all this modern obsession with our pets. I took care of Arthur. We had the surgery and changed his diet to the sophisticated cat science food. I still feed our cats this diet.
Sunday, in church, a man spoke of Indonesia. There is a different kind of starvation going on. Peace. They don't know Jesus. They are slaves to religion, but have no peace. They have no hope. They have not the Bread of Life. "Feed the World" played in my mind, again. I heard it this morning on the radio. I thought of how my husband would comment when this song first came out, "No, they're Muslim," in answer to the question, "Do they know it's Christmas time again?"
We can't feed the world. Just as in 1984, often times the food would sit rotting on the docks unable to reach the children, our efforts thwarted. We have to find the key to reach the ones we can. And we need to give them more than physical food. We need to reach one.
So what does this have to do with child abuse awareness? Governments, religions, world systems abuse the children. This man from Indonesia showed a picture of a girl, one of sixty children of a father's many wives, who gave her life to Jesus. She changed and the father knew he couldn't trade her like property anymore. That is just one life out of millions. It is mind boggling. How can we help? We try with one child. We try to reach one person.
Our challenge at church this Sunday: Think of one person here who needs to know Christ, that you can reach this Christmas season. Pray for that person. Then pray for one Indonesian to have that divine appointment with a Christian to meet Jesus. The trickle of one life at a time changes the world. The president of the country told this man that the future leaders of Indonesia will some day all be from this school because lives are changed there.
But don't forget after Christmas about feeding the world. They may not know it's Christmas time, but if we introduce them to the One of Christmas, they will have more than the water of their bitter sting of tears. And don't just thank God it's them, instead of you. Jesus told his disciples against all odds, "You feed them." He will take the little and make it great.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIxj7Ew_99w

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Questions

Re-posting that story on my parents' love story on Pearl Harbor, got me to thinking. What did they do December sixth, 1941? Did Dad take her out to dinner? It would have been Mom's eighteenth birthday, and a Saturday night. So many stories I don't know. Did they celebrate with Grandpa Evans? Mom lived with him then. What did they do December sixth?
Last night, we chose to dine at the Middlesex Diner. I grabbed a Way We Were on the way in, a paper published to reminisce with old pictures. This featured the story of WPIC, the local radio station, with tid bits of its history. It left out, Mom's best friend, Jane Mowry, having her first job there in 1941, after they graduated. Jane was tall and Mom was short. Mom said they were "Mutt and Jeff." Jane hated to read in school and on their long walks to the building in the mornings, Jane would greet Mom with, "Tell me a book, I have a book report due."
Mom read vivaciously, always ready with a different book. On their journey to the school, Mom told Jane a book.
I thought then of the Regule's restaurant on Dock Street in Sharon. It has been torn down recently, as was the Case Avenue School that had been Mom's high school. I cared for the lady who owned it when I did home health. The upstairs was a motel and that is where she lived. Numbers stuck out in the hallway above the doors, and public bathrooms remained in her living space. I had many great conversations with this lively, intelligent lady, regal for any age at ninety four.
Mom remembered her. Mom and Grandpa ate there sometimes. The men from Camp Reynolds spent time at the establishment. Mom's cousin, Paul Goetz, the son of her father's younger sister, Anna, served at Camp Reynold's. He married Jane, so Mom kept her best friend as a cousin. Jane traveled over the years with Paul, as he remained in the Army. They settled in Land of Lakes, Florida. Mom visited her after Dad died for one of their last visits before Death took them.
So I wonder tonight of the details. I wonder how did Paul and Jane actually meet. Did they meet at the Regule's restaurant? Did Paul happened to visit his uncle? When did Aunt Anna move to Sharon? She had stayed in Pittsburgh for awhile. Aunt Edith and Aunt Anna lived here, but the other sister, Aunt Verna remained in Forrest Hills, Pittsburgh.
I see so many stories and I think they will have to be fiction for me to write them. I love the forties time period. My daughter, whose birthday is today, at one time very much looked like she could fit into the forties, from her luxuriously long brown hair curled, her forties style clothes to her demeanor. She hinted she wished she had lived then. Mom said Mary Ellen looked like her dad's sisters, and she always said they were beautiful.
I use these antidotes to make new stories. I don't know all the story. Mom has taken them with her. I listened much, but times change and new questions arise, as my writing career seeks answers.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pearl Harbor- A Love Story

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, Ohio, 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 tenth, 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 and 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, Pennsylvania, the town his sister lived. She was there, with the dog Mike.  Billy Boal and Frances,


(not sure if they were married, yet) stood up for them. His mother died before they married of cancer at age forty two.
The young lady 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 or telling it.

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Friday in December

First Friday in December meant the Garden Club's Christmas party. I loved when my mother hosted this at our house. That meant the decorations went up early and the house was especially clean. And she was calmer through the month, as well as not comparing our home to another. I loved our house, well, still do love the memory of my home growing up. That will always be home to me.
Mom would have been ninety today, if she had lived. She has been gone five years, yet I still feel the need to gear up for today. The two days after is my youngest child's birthday. Yes, they had to share Christmas and each others birthdays. We had parties at Mom's apartment downtown Sharon. We got so we love pizza from a pizza shop just over the line and at the top of the West Hill- Hill Top Pizza. I still made their birthday cakes.
One year, I think before Mary Ellen was born, I found Scottie dog candies to put on the cake. I made a layer cake and we celebrated here at my house. The first year we moved in to this house, I had a birthday party, here with my dad's brother and his wife. Mom's brother didn't like to drive at night, so he was unable to come. I made sloppy joes and a cake. I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, then, just getting over morning sickness.
The year I was pregnant with Mary Ellen we took Mom out to eat. I made cookies that year and walked up the hill to our new neighbors with a welcome plate for them. I went into labor early December eighth. They moved this past spring. Neighbors for almost nineteen years.
The last four years of my mom's birthdays we spent in the nursing facility where she lived. Pizza continued and I made the cakes. Or their fund raiser, spaghetti dinner Christmas party with local entertainment filled the billet. Early dark evenings bubbling over with family and friends. Then the last one, Mom spent in bed, alert, but too tired for all that activity. I knew then life shifted once more.
Rainbow Girl Christmas Party
This year, my daughter works on her birthday. I am a little let down. Life changes and goes on. The dreary days of late fall rush by. Our small Christmas tree is up with red poinsettia lights. Decorations are slowly appearing. I am geared up for something special, but I haven't bought the cake mix, yet. Maybe a Birthday breakfast with heart shape pancakes. Then again, she is nineteen and sleep may be the best gift of all.
Christmas entertaining


                                                                     
Rainbow Girl Christmas Party

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

My courage still peaking through near the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teddy's Law Tuesday





 Speak words of life into every situation...Remind others to do so, as well. When you are out, shopping, eating at restaurants, at school or church presentations, be bold and speak an encouraging word, even if the adults belittling the child are annoyed with you. Do it anyways. We must be aware and help where we can.
Later today after I first posted, I went to our prayer meeting. Three requests for families that are using verbal abuse toward children, young and grown formed a topic that I felt today is always on God's heart. "Suffer the little children unto Me," Jesus said. Call it what you want, I am always amazed when a cause pops up all over the place.
Be careful little tongue what you say. Speak life.



Photo: Watch your words because your words have power. You have the choice today to bless somebody or curse somebody, and the Bible says choose life. Hear all of these Points of Power here... http://buff.ly/1gwuktp

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent is Here. Can Revival Follow?

Advent arrives quietly, 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 of Christ are you preparing?
Can revival break out in December? I see Advent or Christmas busyness today as 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 Christ comes with 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. Jesus is that sword. We don't think of that Jesus, the warrior, at Christmas.
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 revival 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 the anticipation on a day of 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.
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 that we will experience it. Can we be like Simeon and Anna in Luke 2: 25-38? Anna fasted and prayed day and night for the coming of the Messiah. 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 2013. Each year, we seem to need it more. I see so much the American Church needs to repent of with idols to be torn down. Can it happen? With God, all things are possible, as Gabriel told Mary when he announced she would carry the Messiah.