Miscellaneous Favorites of Mine

March 31, 2008

As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that quotes and sayings aren’t just, well, “quotes and sayings.”  In many cases, they actually contain good advice! 

So, here is some of my favorite “stuff” floating around in my head.  BTW, I am only listing things that I can quote from memory, to keep the list short (because we all know — I have a REALLY short memory!):

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”    Dante

Courage is contagious.  When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of other are stiffened. ”   Billy Graham

Lefty loosey, righty tighty.”  (I wouldn’t be able to unscrew anything without this one!) 

 “Thirty days hath September . . .”  (Are there actually people who remember how many days are in each month WITHOUT using this little ditty?!!)

The truth of the matter is, we always know the right thing to do.  The hard part is doing it.”  General Norman Schwartzkopf 

All things work to the good for those who know and love God.”  Romans 8:28  (My favorite bible passage, that has helped me through many a rough time.)

I learned this poem in high school and have always been charmed by the pictures it creates:

~~Outwitted by Edwin Marcum~~

He drew a circle that shut me out.

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

Ah, but love and I had the wit to win.

We drew a circle that took HIM in!

If you have a favorite quote or bible passage or memory jogger or any kind of tip that helps you get through life, I’d love for you to share it in a comment!

Good Thing We Had This Conversation!

March 29, 2008

I said:  “When are you leaving for your trip?”

She said:  “We’ve moved it up.  We’re driving down on Saturday now.”

I said: “You mean tomorrow?”

She said: . . . nothing, for a second.  Then she said, “I’ve got to go now.”

I laughed.  “Why?”

She laughed:  “I have to pack.”

I said:  “One more thing.  Do you want me to call you in the morning to remind you that this is the day you’re leaving?”

She laughed:  “No, thank you.  I think I can remember now.”

I hope our rooms are next to each other in “the home.”  We crack each other up.

Whinin’ Time in Indiana

March 26, 2008

In my writing class a couple weeks ago, I didn’t have a good day.  I was unprepared for the quiz (I had forgotten what an icky feeling it is to be unprepared for a test).  Then I had a little problem hearing when a soft spoken young girl read her story in class, which made me feel just plain OLD.  And, as  a topper, I felt Dr. H was just a smidge sharp with me when I asked where the draft of my story was that I had turned in last week.  (Full-time students have on-campus mail boxes, so everyone else received theirs back that way.) The way he said that I must not have checked my home mailbox, because he had mailed it to me and it should have arrived the day before, made me feel somehow remiss that I hadn’t known that it was coming that way (I think he assumed I would know).

On my way home, in terrible snowy weather, requiring white-knuckle driving, I had just a good old fashioned pity party for myself.  I was thinking,  “I don’t belong in this writing class. . . .I should ask if I could get some of my money back. . . .These kids are way out of my league. . . .This Prof doesn’t really like having an ‘old’ student.”  Whine. Whine. Whine.

When I got home I didn’t go to the mail box right away because I didn’t think it would help my “funk” if the paper was there, and his comments weren’t kind.  But, later when I was feeling better (because Hubby had listened and sympathized), Hubby went out to get the mail.

My paper was there and Dr. H had made very constructive comments on it.  And, at the end, he had written, “Thank you for reading your story in class.  You are a wonderful addition to this class!”

Immediately, an amazing transformation occurred.  Just those few kind words turned my whole day around.  I hope he really does like having me in the class, because his comments have motivated me to stay with it “for the long haul.”

I tell you this story because I think all of us need to be reminded once in a while what power there is in a few kind words.

P.S. I’m mailing that first story today to the magazine contest we are required to enter with each of our three stories.  I haven’t shown it to you here because the instructions for the contest say stories must be “previously unpublished” and I’m afraid they might consider writing it on my blog “published.”  Once it’s through at the magazine though, I’ll definitely post it here, because I have to say I am kind of proud of it.  I have learned so much from this first story, especially how a story evolves from draft to draft.  Whether I never write another story, or I write a hundred more, I will always remember the thrill of mailing out this first completed story!

P.S.S.  Wouldn’t it be funny if  some day I found out that Hubby took a pen with him to the mail box, and that the kind comments “from Dr. H” were written by Hubby! 

I LOVE Spring Break!

March 24, 2008

Yes, I LOVE spring break.  No, not because we go to some exotic place and lie around in swimsuits, tanning and drinking drinks with little umbrellas in them.  But, because we usually get to see grandchildren then!

We met DD half-way yesterday afternoon, and brought Coco and Lulu home with us for a few days during their spring break.  Mimi would have come too, (even though day care doesn’t really have “spring break”) but she and her daddy are sick.  Poor Mimi.  Poor Daddy.

We don’t have a DVD player in the car (thank goodness), so, when we travel with grandchildren, we find other ways to entertain ourselves, like singing songs.  We like “Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” but it’s a little long, so we skip some of the less interesting numbers (that would be pretty much from 90 to 20) so that we can get to the grand finale — NO BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL!! — which we sing with gusto! 

We also like to sing a version of Ol’ MacDonald which Papa learned when he was growing up.  It’s called “Ol’ MacDonald Had a Ford.”  In case you have any road trips with children coming up, it goes like this:  “Ol’ MacDonald had a Ford, E I E I O.  And, on that Ford he had some wheels, prettiest little wheels that you ever did see.  Wheels on the ground.  Engine in the Ford makes the wheels go ’round.  Bump-de-de-ada, some Ford!”  Next would be “Ol’ MacDonald had a Ford E I E I O.  And, on that Ford he had a floor, prettiest little floor that you ever did see.  Floor on the wheels, wheels on the ground.  Engine in the Ford makes the wheels go ’round.  Bump-de-de-ada, some Ford!”  Each time you sing it you add something in ground-up order: next is seat, driver, hat, feather, fly, flea, (this is where it should stop, but we got creative yesterday), we then added Who (apparently smaller than a flea?), (Who’s) vest, and (vest’s) button.  We stopped there.  But, it is fun.  Coco and I especially get into it.

We also like to play word games.  The first one we played yesterday was looking on road-side signs and buildings and the sides of trucks for words that begin with each letter of the alphabet.  Of course, we start by looking for a word that begins with “A” — not very hard.  But it is always fun to be the first one to call out a word that starts with the letter we are looking for.  And some of them are very challenging, i.e., we’ve learned that there is a trucking company called Xpress — very handy for X, if we happen to see one.  Hubby kids me about the time we were looking for “Q” and I said, “Where’s a duck farm when you need one.”  Hubby, being my long-time straight man said, “A duck farm?”  And I said, “You know, the ones that would have quack signs out by the road.” (I just say that kind of stuff because it’s fun to be able to make him laugh, even after all these years.)  We have been known to ask him to find a hospital to drive by, so that we can see if there’s a “Quiet Zone” or “X-Ray” sign.  He doesn’t do it, because he thinks it’s more important to get where we’re going than to play the game.  Men are strange like that, aren’t they?

The other word game we like to play: Someone starts out with “A, my name is A_____, my best friend’s name is A______, we live in A______, and we sell A________.  Each person, at their turn, fills in the blanks for the next letter:  “B, my name is . . . .”  Our rule is that you have to try to come up with names and places and products that haven’t been used earlier, so it gets harder the more rounds you play.  (And we get more creative, especially with the names.  I am kind of the “expert” here because I worked at the Jail where there were many verrry interesting names.  So, if I haven’t heard it, we assume it’s NOT a name!)  Obviously, Q’s, X’s and Z’s are really challenging in this one too.

We also just like to talk. (Kids who are confined and bored, can be quite the little conversationalists!)  Yesterday, we talked about the time three years ago when they came to stay with us in late June and Hubby and I decided to take them to pick strawberries.  When we got to the “pickin'” farm, we were told the picking had stopped yesterday!  But they took pity on us, and pointed to a field that might still have some left.  They gave us buckets, and off we went.  It was about 90 degrees and there were very few strawberries left, so we really had to look, and the ones we found were very small, but we ended up, an hour later, with about three quarts.  We came home soooo sweaty and tired, but the girls were soooo proud of their “picks.”  And, for supper that night we had some of the best strawberry shortcake EVER, because they were strawberries we had picked ourselves. (Before this, the girls didn’t think they even liked strawberries!)

They will go home Thursday, and week after next Gunny’s children, Nikki and Jay, will be here for a week.  I LOVE spring breaks! 

Grandchildren are the best.  They are just little memories in the making with everything they do.

He is Risen! Hallelujah!

March 23, 2008

He did what “couldn’t be done” for us sinners who didn’t deserve to be saved.  

Because He DID return from the dead, He DID make it possible for us to be saved.  It’s called grace. 

When I first heard and said the words in church, “I am a poor miserable sinner, saved by grace alone.”  I thought, ah, now I understand.

Thank you, Jesus.

A Milestone (or a Bump?) on the Road of Life

March 22, 2008

Wellll, I will turn 62 in May, so it’s time to sign up for Social Security.  So, Hubby and I took a leisurely little drive yesterday to a town close-by where there is a Social Security office that generally isn’t as busy as the one’s in the bigger towns. 

After retirement, you develop a real aversion to “busy.”  That’s why you tend to go to public places during the day, so you don’t get involved in all the “busy-ness” that involves working people, in their off hours.

Good thing for the guy in a pick-up truck who cut us off in traffic and almost caused an accident, that Hubby is retired.  If he had still been a cop, that guy’s butt would have been arrested sooo fast he wouldn’t have known what hit him.  (When he saw he had made Hubby mad, he gave him the “one finger salute,” which Hubby felt “obligated” to return!  Nice Christian “witness,” Hubby!)    

But, other than that, it was a pleasant little drive.

When we walked into the Social Security office, there was an elderly (that means at least 15 years older than us) gentleman standing at the counter, and just one other couple sitting in the waiting area.  The prospects of a short visit looked good!

But, looks can be deceiving.  How many times have you picked a line at the grocery or toll booth, only to find out that its “look” of being the quickest was deceptive and you would have been much better off in ANY line but that one.

Well, in this case, there was no choice — only one line.  (You took a number and then sat down to wait.  So, no real line-standing, per se.)  And at the head of the “line” was a little old gentleman who probably had nothing better to do than talk to the nice lady behind the counter.  This might take a little longer than we first thought. 

The man was talking to the clerk about his monthly checks.  He had apparently been owed some “back pay” so he had received two checks in January. It’s nice to get a little windfall, unless you’re old, have a certain way of doing things. are easily confused by change, and apparently have no relatives to help you figure out what you should do.   He wasn’t sure what to enter into his checkbook.  I knew it was going to take a little while, when he got out his checkbook and handed it to the clerk.  She really impressed me (she has probably had alot of experience with confused old people) that she was so patient with him.  I never once heard her interrupt him or talk down to him.  She just, patiently, kept telling him why he received two checks in January, and kept explaining that he needed to make an additional deposit in his checkbook.  Finally, after he handed it to her,  she checked to see if he had made the additional deposit.  When she was convinced that he hadn’t, she just wrote the deposit into his checkbook for him!  I liked her even before I had any dealings with her myself. 

When the gentleman was finished, and happy, he had to walk out right past the other couple and us.  So, on his way out, he stopped to chat and chat and chat with the other couple, and Hubby gave me a look that strongly suggested, “Don’t make eye contact!”  He knew from experience, because I’m a question asker, that if I had started talking to him, we could have all missed lunch!  But this old guy didn’t even need me to ask questions.  By the time he left, we all knew his whole life story.  And, he was probably the happier for having had an opportunity to tell it!

While we were waiting, I noticed that there was a small desk over to one side where a man in a police uniform was sitting reading a book.  My first thought was, “He is probably the one who gives the driving tests.”  I thought that because I am on my way to being a “confused, old person.”  But, since I’m not quite there yet, I then thought, “Oh, wait a minute, that would be in the license bureau — this is the Social Security office.”  So, I asked Hubby why he thought there was a need for the police officer.  He said — security —  that there are probably some very angry people who come to the Social Security office, and that the police officer might be there to “keep order” at those times.  Immediately, because that’s how my mind works, I had a picture of a “gang” of little old people attacking the Social Security office, swinging their canes and walkers — and shouting things like, “Fiddle-de-de and “oh, fudge!”

So, now I’m signed up for Social Security.  Kind of hard to believe.  It seems like yesterday when I was 21.  Where did those 40 years go?  It’s been a great ride, but my “parts” are all out of warranty now, and beginning to really show “wear.”  I look forward to getting the new improved model in the next life!

That reminds me, I once discussed Heaven with my sister who died a few years ago.  We decided we would play tennis (a game we both thought we would enjoy, but never tried) with each other when we got to Heaven.  So, since she got there first, I picture her practicing like crazy, so that she can be ready when I get there!  I love that thought.  Sis had a strained relationship with Mama most of her adult life.  So, I also love the picture that now that they are both in Heaven, they each see the other as they really are, and can truly love each other.  That picture brings happy tears to my eyes.

May we all savor whatever time in life we are experiencing right now.  It’s a short trip — enjoy the ride. 

Sunday’s Coming!

March 21, 2008

What was it like to be Christ’s followers on Good Friday?  It had to have been unbelievably dark and hopeless.  Their hearts would have wanted to believe what He had told them, but their eyes surely must have wanted to believe what they saw — Him beaten, taunted and killed in a cruel way that was reserved for the worst criminals.  They must have had a lot of fears and doubts.  What a relief His resurrection must have been for them! 

And, on this Good Friday, there are still people who have similar fears and doubts.  May they be blessed with understanding of the gift we celebrate on Easter, and then experience the relief and peace that can only come from that understanding.  

May we all be blessed with renewed appreciation for the Gift we have been given.

Sunday’s coming!  Hallelujah!

Cancel My Food Tour of Sweden!

March 19, 2008

Hubby is reading “Eat The Rich” by P.J. O’Rourke.  He just read a quote to me that made me laugh out loud:

“There are many delightful things about Sweden, but almost none of them are meals.  The Swedish idea of ‘spicy’ falls somewhere between communion wafers and ketchup.”

Doesn’t make a “food tour” of Sweden sound very appealing, does it?  Especially for those of us who think any food can be improved by covering it with very spicy salsa!  (But, of course, they have many other fine attributes — like skiing and great blonde hair!)

By the way, in case you aren’t familiar with “Eat the Rich,” it’s about economics, not food OR cannibalism.

Does A Writing Class Necessarily Need to Make You a Good Writer?

March 17, 2008


A point to ponder.

I am now reading a collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway that Gunny sent me because he is a fan of Hemingway’s writing.

It has occurred to me that maybe what I will get out of this Fiction Writing class isn’t an ability to be a writer myself, but the ability to appreciate good writing in others.

I don’t ever remember reading a Hemingway book.  So, maybe I have finally “grown up” so that I can appreciate his writing. 

A very interesting, unexpected turn of events that I would never have predicted when I signed up for a writing class.

A Missed Opportunity and Surprising Blooms!

March 16, 2008

I just realized I didn’t tell you about my jury duty experience. 

There was none.

I called the phone number after 5 pm on the day before I was supposed to report, as instructed.  The message said, “For jurors who were supposed to report on Thursday, all trials have been canceled for that day.  Your commitment to jury duty is complete.  Although, you may be re-called sometime in the next six months.”

Rats.  I was kind of looking forward to seeing what that was like.  But, they did “throw me a bone” — I might get called again in the next six months.  Or maybe they just say that to let you down easy — so that you’re not too disappointed.

I think to cheer me up because of my missed opportunity, my Christmas cactus has six (6) that’s SIX blooms!  I have no idea why.  But when I pointed out this little miracle to Hubby he said, “Hey, let me see your thumb.”  When I held up my thumb, he said “Not as black as I thought!”

That’s how he won my heart — charming words.