Sunday, November 30, 2008
Oh goodness. What a lovely day it's been as we wandered aimlessly along every inch of the tree lined lanes of lakes Couer d'Alene, Liberty, Newman and Houser. Yesterday's snow gave way to today's drizzle and fog, with temps warming all the way up to 40 degrees!
What a perfect setting for dreaming; something we've been known to do when we feel a close coming to one chapter of living, and as a new one is yet to unfold. Adventures are made of this stuff. Though we are not quite ready to hang up our pistols & spurs (we're still in cowboy country), we have begun to think in terms of a summer or retirement retreat. We don't yet know where that'll be, but it's the theme of our drive-about.
Tomorrow we'll trek further west, back into the clan land of my forebearers in the Okanogan Valley. We'll pause awhile to connect with family before heading further into apple growing country in the Wenatchee and Yakima Valleys.
As I put a wrap on this day I pause to reflect on something I saw this morning. It stirred my thoughts the entire day and will, no doubt, surface again and again.
On the billboard of small church was this message: Godisnowhere. Just like that ... all one word. I don't think it was intentional, just a cramming together of letters to make it all fit in the small spaced alotted. Immediately I sorted it out to read: "God is now here". Beautiful.
Then I saw it differently - as so many do - to read: "God is nowhere". How bleak.
It's all in how you see it. .
Saturday, November 29, 2008
There is no speech or language
Friday, November 28, 2008
Long before sunrise we snuck away from home for the first leg of K & Ts Big Adventure. We made our way north out Phoenix's back door, leaving behind all our care and woe (a thimblefull) to begin day one of our cathartic drive-about.
In Australia the indigenous tenants are known to have their walk-abouts - a temporary return to traditional Aboriginal life, taken especially between periods of work or residence in white society and usually involving a period of travel through the bush. Such a grand concept must have a four wheel counterpart, or at least that's why we opted for tires versus toes. .
All day we traveled this road and that, winding our way along amazing mountain highways and through the painted desert, then along scenic plateaus. Across valleys and plains, up steep grades and through a smattering of snow we were most definitely about.
Between thoughts of indians and pioneers, or the singing of a particular Christmas song (oh how I love the velvety renditioin of "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by Vince Gill), our conversations were dotted with hopes and dreams for tomorrow, or reflections and joys of yesteryear. .
At last the light of day ran out long before our childlike eagerness did. From Arizona to Utah, from Utah to Idaho. Bush travel, indeed!
Sleep comes slow in chilly Pocatello as I lay awake wondering why night falls and day breaks. Why not the other way around?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
By Walter Stoiber
The Great Depression began on Thursday, Oct. 24th, 1929. It would become known as “Black Thursday,” and rightfully so. The stock market crashed, and a record 13 million shares were traded that day. Some of the larger banks tried to help by buying shares at above the quoted prices. It didn’t work. After five days, banks began to close. Most depositors were left “holding the bag,” and an empty one at that!
We were an average blue-collar family in Altoona, Pa. My father worked at the silk mill, as a shipping clerk and later as a supervisor. As businesses in Altoona cut back and then closed entirely, the silk mill did too. My father had a backup career, giving piano lessons and playing in a five-piece band for weddings and other events. As the Depression got worse, though, those things were no longer affordable. He took a job as an insurance agent. But people didn’t have the money to buy more insurance.
I was in the sixth grade in 1929. I got a job at our grocery store, stocking shelves for 25 or 50 cents a day, plus a bag of penny candy. My sister, Charlotte, who was in the third grade, helped Mother with chores and meals and made her own doll clothes out of odds and ends. Mother was a great cook. She got vegetables from other families in our neighborhood and made soup. Our butcher would give us soup bones (leaving a little meat on it), free of charge. He remembered that we were good customers in good times.
We couldn’t go to the movies on Saturdays anymore. But we kids had no trouble finding fun things to do. We had a makeshift baseball diamond in the city park. There were eight or 10 of us, and not everyone had a glove. So we would just keep swapping. A ball lasted us a long time. When the cover came off, we would get black friction tape and wrap the ball with it. Eventually we would all have to contribute the pennies we had saved to buy a new ball.
We also had a favorite swimming hole about 10 miles away. We would ride there on our bicycles. Somehow everybody managed to have their own bike. My father’s friend had an old bike gathering dust in his basement, so he gave it to me. We had to work on it, but it lasted me a long time. We also made our own scooters. We’d get a wooden soap box from the grocery store, a three-foot piece of 2×4, and a pair of old roller skates. Soon we were set to go.
Things didn’t get easier for a long time, but we managed. My last two years in high school, I got two part time jobs — ushering at the State Theater, for 25 cents an hour, and delivering special-delivery letters and small packages on my bike for the Altoona Post Office. I was paid a percentage of the postage, and sometimes I made $4 on a weekend! When my father was no longer with us, we couldn’t afford the $35 a month to stay in our home. Luckily, we got an apartment across from the Dutch Kitchen, where my mother got a waitress job. My mother liked her job and made good tips. On a good day, she would make as much as $10.
We got through it. In 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected our 32nd president and brought with him a number of wonderful programs and signs of recovery. I graduated from high school in1935 and went to work as a meter reader for Penn Edison. Charlotte graduated three years later and got a job as a secretary. Things just seemed to get better as time went on.
So now it’s 2008. We’re now in the midst of another financial crisis — this one global — brought about presumably by “the powers that be” on Wall Street and in the upper echelons of the federal government. A classic display of selfishness, greed, and politics. I’m 91 years old, and I sure don’t want to see another Great Depression. But I wouldn’t part with the experience I had 80 years ago. I learned that we could do without things that we thought we had to have. I learned how to “stretch” a dollar. And I learned that the words on the back of the dollar bill, “In God We Trust,” have merit. Hoping and praying isn’t all we need to do, but it helps.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Home Team Peeps
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Then again, most Sundays you can find me - scissors & coffee in hand - exercising clipping prowess as I snip grocer coupons. Come Wednesday, when the new grocery ads are published, I sit down with a pen & pad in one hand, and coupons in the other. In my first pass I spy out the ads to select those items I also have coupons for. I then go through the "must haves". Sometimes the two match up, but never do I purchase an item that isn't on ad, or that I don't have a coupon for.
It tickles me no end when the clerk rings up my purchases, and then deducts my double or triple coupons for a huge savings! I don't cheer, nor do I skip out of the store, but I want to. It's so fun saving both pennies and dollars - sometimes LOTS of them!
There's somethiing quite satisfying about a good value.
When I run across a good resource online I tuck it away for future use. Today I've decided you might be as penny conscious as am I.
Check them out.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Short. Sweet. Powerful. Poignant. Mysterious. Marvelous.
How timely and appropriate for days such as these. Confusion, doubt, fear and no little concern about America's future plagues so many. It's as if our worldly habitations - literally and figuratively - are crumbling at their foundations. Some are living on life's ragged edges.
I have many thoughts and equally many questions about this subject. But this I know: He comes so very near when I acknowledge Him. Whether it's His holiness, or His majesty, or His might, or His mercy, of His love, or His ____ (fill in the blank with the thousands of like-attributes), it matters not. When once I turn my heart in the direction of praise, it runs hard after Him, after His habitations. It is quietest when every room is filled.
I found the following summary in cyberspace. I've now tethered it to my other thoughts on this subject, though the referenced questions will have to go on, and on, and on ... at least for now.
First, God deserves to be praised and He is worthy to receive our praise:
"For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
Monday, November 17, 2008
Yesterday morning I decided to go for a bike ride before heading to my office. Usually I walk in the morning, but now that it's dark until 6:30 or 7:00 AM, I'm not real keen about heading out unless Terry accompanies me.
So far, so good.
Terry wasn't interested in walking, so I quickly developed Plan B: I'd ride my bike. My thinking about riding versus walking went something like this ...
... If I walk in the dark and come across a critter (we have coyotes and cougar here in AZ), or some ill-intentioned human (don't know that we have any in our quiet community), I'd be easy prey. But if I were to ride my bike, I'd be too fast for them to get me...
Big, brave sort am I! So far, so good.
When I turned up in my riding helmet to let Terry know I was headed out he gave me this quizzical look before saying: "You have to be kidding! It's pitch dark out there and you could be hit by a car". With feigned offense over his lack of confidence in my riding ability I told him I planned to ride the sidewalks and side streets. I'd take my cell phone. I'd be hunky punky.
So far, so good.
What an incredible morning it was to be out riding. The night sky was filled with stars and the air was scented with newly mowed lawn from the nearby golf course. I stuck to familiar routes as I made my way downhill (we live at the top of a hill). I'd been out maybe ten minutes when I turned down a particularly dark side street. By now my momentum had picked up and I was traveling pretty fast (for a sassy granny, anyway), and I just didn't see the mound of rock & gravel that reached out and stopped me like a brick fist.
Not so good.
In a flash both me and the bike went down went from upright to downright. It's a good thing I was wearing my helmet, because it was the 2nd part of my body to hit the ground just after my right arm did.
For several minutes I sat there in the road looking like Eeyore and feeling like Rocky after a bad boxing bout. Befuddled, I began assessing the damage. It's a wonder I didn't knock myself completely out, but oh did my arm and posterior hurt!
Definitely not good.
It took awhile to catch my breath, determine nothing was broken or loose, and get up enough courage to stand up. Momentarily I held my cell phone as I considered whether I'd need to call Terry or an ambulance. Thank God a call wouldn't be necessary. The only serious damage was to my stubborn streak, albeit I hurt from tip-to-toe by now.
So far, really not good.
It took me awhile to make my way back home, all the while chatting with myself about why I hadn't taken Terry's quizzical look as the cue to put away Plan A, and forget about a Plan B. I could have spared myself a whole lotta pain had I done so. Then again, it was and is an age-old affliction I deal with here.
Get this: whether I like it or not, and whether I agree or not, God has given me a protector in Terry. It's the gift embedded in the dynamic of marriage. When I heed his cautions and respect his wishes (be they major or mundane), my life - for some inexplicable reason - runs smoother. We might just joist awhile about that, but in the end I know where the joisting would leave me.
Today I'm black and blue and swollen in places visible and invisible. Eeyore says it well: "They're funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you're having them."
Well, one thing's for sure. I hear a lot better today.
So far, so good.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Beneath the vast, starlit beauty of Phoenix skies, Pastor Greg baptizes Terry and Dan while Judy and I, along with our Home Team of 22 look on with stirred hearts.
How the Lord rejoices at the obedience demonstrated by this simple, humble act.
... don't you know that all of us who were baptized
into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were therefore buried with him through baptism
into death in order that, just as Christ was raised
from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may live a new life.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Though it's been 42 years, I cannot look at these photos without remembering the event and the thrill of it all. Though the parents are now deceased, and those darling babes now grown with families of their own, this day stands still in my heart. All is as it was - timeless - when the heart wraps itself around a precious memory.
The years would be both kind and cruel to Terry and me, so it is with utter amazement, gratitude and pride that we cheer our 42nd year of marriage!!
Life is good. God is better.
And the best is always yet to come!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
By the President of the United States of America.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
That's among today's boldest headlines. A news story about how God ( or should I say god ... little g ?) is not all He's cracked up to be! Never mind that the Bible is still the #1 book of all time, outselling every other. Never mind the changed lives that found hope and meaning by way of God's mysterious yet undeniable work in them. Never mind the value and richness given life because of God's high esteem for us. Nope ... best that man forget all that rubbish and take on the pond-scum mantle of the pagan (call it whatever you want, but atheism is not new!!).
Well, the illustrious Madeline Murray O'Hare would be proud. Her efforts managed to have prayer eradicated from public schools - no doubt the outcome of her prodigious legal background, coupled with her outspoken bent towards Socialism and Atheism. She was not alone. She is not alone. Her voice is among the many today that clamor to remove, once and for all, any religious connotation in this once predominantly Christian nation - unless, that is, it profits them economically or politically. Never have they been freer to clamor than now - their freedom bought by the blood of many a godly Veteran to boot!
I know, I know ... I'm not being nice. I'm sure Madeline and all her followers are wonderful people that just want we fanatical idiots that believe in God to shut up and go away.
This newest effort in the way of an ad campaign is not the beginning of some slippery-slope descent. It is long past mid-way and gaining momentum. I hope people understand what lies ahead, and what it means to get what they want in the way of a godless, religulous nation. History can explain it far better than I can.
So much for my soapbox. Snarl."Shout and be glad, O Daugher of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the Lord. "Many nations will be joined to the Lord in that day and will become my people." Zechariah 2:10-11
Monday, November 10, 2008
I can only imagine their lives together in the Aquitaine, and no doubt they were as overjoyed as any young couple when they first discovered they were pregnant. That joy was to be short-lived.
To gain a better sense of my French roots, I did a little research into Dordogne's history. Quiet and tranquil now, the Dordogne has had a tumultuous past. It's legacy has left deep marks all over the region. It is a land and a people rich in culture and heritage ... the stuff of caves and castles, damsels and warriors. It is where my Protestant ancestors (on my mother's side) fought hard against the oppression of my Catholic ancestors (on my father's side). Sort of the Hatfields & McCoys of their day!
Starting from the earliest inhabitants thousands of years ago the caves in the region have been decked with artwork that has attracted tourists down through the ages, and to this very day. The region was first invaded by the Celts who were dislodged when the Romans, in turn, invaded them. Eventually the Romans were routed as well, and strife in the region became more of an internal struggle.
.During the Middle Ages, the Dordogne was overrun with the 100 Years War. During that time there were numerous famous battles, including the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The war was all but lost for the French, and it was agreed that Henry V was the heir to the French throne. But then Henry V died unexpectedly, leaving only a baby as his heir.
Soon after the young Joan of Arc appeared on the scene and remotivated the French king - now Charles VII - and his armies. It was in 1451 at the Battle of Castillon the English were finally defeated (a battle now spectacularly recreated each year for the enjoyment of tourists).
Simultaneously, in the year 1492 and on an entirely different continent - when the young Pierre Grenelle was but 12 years old - Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. He wrote in his Captain's Log: "At two hours after midnight, sailor Rodrigo de Triana spotted the outline of land. We fell to one knee and gave our thanks to God.". We know he bent that knee many times as he paved the way for others to the new world that would, one day, become home to Pierre and Marie's descendants. They would bend their own knees on the shores of New York.
A contemporary of the Grenelle's was Martin Luther. Luther was born in 1483 in Germany, where at a young age he entered the priesthood. History tells us of Luther's struggles and strife; strife that lead straightaway to religious reforms in Germany and elsewhere.
In the next century, followers of John Calvin (1509–1564) instigated the Reformation in France. Several massacres of entire towns took place, and much of the earlier heritage of the Dordogne was destroyed. French Protestants, called Huguenots, were brutally suppressed, with the latter decades of the century occupied by civil war between Protestant and Catholic groups. The warring ceased when, at long last, the 1598 Edict of Nantes granted Protestants freedom of worship under Henry IV who was originally a Huguenot himself.
Combined, this was the era and the culture into which Pierre and Marie were born, and lived, and died - Pierre in 1509, and Marie at some unknown, later date.
A son, Charles was born to the Grenelle's in 1510 - the year following Pierre's death - with obvious implications. Marie lived out her pregnancy and delivery without the comforts of her beloved spouse. Whether she lived a long life, married again, or had other children my search does not reveal. But I do know the son of Pierre & Marie went on to beget Gratien, who begot Gratien of Piemont, who begot Matthew (who changed the spelling to Grinnell), who begot Daniel, who begot Jonathon I, who begot Jonathon II, who begot Nathaniel, who begot John, who begot Thomas, who begot Elisha, who begot Fred, who begot Helen Evelyn - my mother - in 1907.
An unexpected by-product of my genealogical bent has been to meet several distant cousins by way of the Ancestry.com website. They are doing the same thing I am, and it's been with some sense of forensic serendipity that we embrace in cyberspace. Their heritage and mine are blended. Our blood runs kindred - and a deep red on the soils of Aquitaine.
Pierre and Marie have left us a rich heritage and equally rich speculations on the drama that was their lives. Fact is, the facts themselves are already a darn good story story!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
While my own parents did not live long into old age (my father succumbing to leukemia while a young man of 62, and my mother dying of a stroke at 69), many - if not most - of the greatest generation lived well into their 80s and 90s. A few remain - and these among a generation that ate butter!
... it adds flavor
... it heals wounds
... it creates thirst
... it preserves
... it prevents decay
... it melts cold/ice
... it kills unwanted growth
I wonder what happens when a generation of the great sort are no longer among us? It's a rhetorical question, actually ... so no need to answer. Certainly there are always those noble characters that grace every generation, yet when an entire generation of character-laden lives pass, so too the saltiness of those very lives. Methinks the implications are obvious.
We need only look to today's heroes to see what's happening with the salt in our midst. Yes, there are noble heroes among us - great men and women that leave a mark on their world, be it subtle or significant. But those wearing that title that hail from less-than-noble enterprises ought to give us pause. They are NOT a greatest generation; not even a good generation. Yet they are often the ones our young people look to for cues.
I don't mean this to be an indictment of all that ails our land, or even of the generations that now steer it. Mostly I'm hoping to leave more than a pinch of salt as a heritage for my children and grandchildren. I trust them to affect their own generation as salt. A few grains are powerful.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
While it's not quite yet time to ponder the imponderable, I ponder it still. Everything has changed.
Teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what’s to come
A baby changes everything
Not a ring
On her hand
All her dreams and all her plans
A baby changes everything (x2)
The man she loves she’s never touched
How will she Keep his trust
A baby changes everything (x2)
And she cries, oh she cries
She has to leave, go far away
Heaven knows she can’t stay
A baby changes everything
She can feel it’s coming soon
There’s no place, there’s no room
A baby changes everything (x2)
And she cries and she cries O she cries
Shepherds own they got their …
Star shines down…
Choir of Angels say
Glory to the newborn king
A baby changes everything (x2) everything, everything, every day
My whole life is turned around
I was lost and now I’m found
A baby changes everything
Friday, November 7, 2008
Pay her a visit. I promise you'll laugh and cry, ponder and peruse, and finally know what, exactly is a Techno Nana!
I heard of it by way of Elaine's blog (http://peaceforthejourney.blogspot.com/), and found myself wandering around Lisa Leonard's website with a shopping list in mind.
Check it out: http://lisaleonardonline.com/
And, if you read Elaine's post first, you can claim a 20% discount when ordering a Lisa Leonard design. How cool is that! In fact, you can even custom design your piece, adding whatever script suits you.
Myself, I'm thinking maybe I need a "Sassy Granny" trinket.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
THERE ...AND EVERYWHERE !!!!!
Pictured: Greg, Julie, Lori/Mrs. Greg, Adrienne/Mrs. Ryan, Julie, Christina, Daniel, Darius Paul, Ryan, Derrick, Jeremiah, Bob, Jillayne, Nancy, Sean, Dennis, Daniel, Kathleen/Moi, Lisa and Marge.