Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Dear Jesus!

Birthdays were always special in our household. Alhough the gifts were usually inexpensive, there was always a gift, a homemade birthday cake with candles and always singing! The honoree was awakened with the family singing, Happy Birthday to you."

One Christmas, four year old David asked, "Are we going to sing Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus."

Happy Birthday, dear Jesus,
Today with festive fare,
We celebrate Your birthday,
With music in the air!

Cakes are baked and waiting,
Candles light the tree.
Gifts are wrapped and ribboned
Is there no gift for Thee?

Jesus on Your birthday morning,
I kneel beside Your creche and see
Love incarnate - God's gift
And bring myself to Thee!

by Ruth Baird Shaw

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas! We are hearing a great deal of talk this year about the reason for the season of Christmas!

Christmas is a time of many meanings to many people. To some of us, Christmas is a season of frantic hurry, crowds and confusion. To others it is a time for partying and making merry. To others Christmas is just a welcome break in routines.

Even for Christian people, Christmas is a season of many meanings. The Christmas message of God’s great Gift of love for us in taking on human flesh is so profound that perhaps none of us can grasp it's full dimensions.
Augustine reminds us that both sexes are honored and blessed in the incarnation. The one giving birth must be female, since only females give birth. So the one receiving birth is male if both sexes are to be involved in the nativity event.
Augustine wrote; “God was not ashamed of the male nature for he took it upon himself. Nor was God ashamed of the female nature, for he was born of a woman. Thus God ennobled both male and female in the incarnation.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas At Trinity

At Trinity Church in Georgia's Rome, a live Nativity Scene has been a Christmas tradition since 1957 when Mary Craven , a Children's Sunday School Teacher, suggested the project to make Christmas a more Christian event for children.

Paul Carven, a Trinity member and Rome contractor built the first set. After two successful years, in 1959 Mr. Craven added 4’ by 20’ wings to the set.

When Paul and Mary Craven retired, Frank Craven and Allen Storey took the responsibility for building the set and Eulaine Camp directed the production. The Live Nativity has continued as a church wide cooperative project with more people than we can name.

Presently Judy and Lamar Allen are directing the event each Christmas with Frank Craven and family building the set each year.

The live nativity scene is presented each December for the five nights preceeding Christmas Day. Each scene is continuous and 13 people are in the scene at any one time. All characters are live with the exception of the babe and the camel. However, Trinity was blessed with a live camel for the 2000 and 2001 event. New angel wings were added in 1999 and 2000 while Eulaine Camp was Director.

Inside activity includes helping to arrange turbans and halos on heads; heating bricks upon which cold wise men and shepherds stand; and making hot chocolate or coffee for tired workers.

Kathy, deaf from birth, was a child when my family moved to Trinity in 1962. Kathy loved to play the angel. And she was, in spite of the clever way she had of seeming not to see her parents when they were about to “sign” a reprimand to her.

As I wrote the poem below, I could envision Kathy, the faces of the young people in our household who loved to stand in the Nativity Scene and many others who participated with great enthusiasm in this annual event.

Our Nativity scene is alive
In living color too!
With teen-aged Mary dressed
Of course, in blue!

She sits beside the manger
Carol, Beth or Anne,
With Joseph standing by
In brown. He’s Bill or Dan.

The shepherds stand alert
A turban on each head.
There’s Mike and Sam or
Allen, Cleve and Fred.

The wise men are bedecked
In jeweled crowns that hide -
Or almost hide - the tousled hair
Of Terry, Rob and Clyde.

The angels, Kathy, Fran,
And Deborah... truly dear
But they can only qualify
As angels - once a year!

I watch the twisted halos
And am amazed to feel
In spite of pomp and pageantry
They somehow make Him real!

By Ruth Baird Shaw

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Recipes, Rhymes and Reflections by Ruth

A second Edition of Recipes, Rhymes and Reflections,
recently published. RR&R is a collection of time-tested recipes from some of Georgia's best cooks!
The book would be well worth the $10.00 for anyone who likes cookbooks and for hard to find recipes like the Southern cornbread dressing recipe or Lisette's apple dumplings, not to mention the delicious chocolate pie recipe that can be quickly mixed and poured into the crust from a blender!
Along with the recipes are nineteen of Ruth's most popular poems .

Critics say "Ruth's poetry speaks of human emotions and experiences with a light heart and a profound faith."
The little book also includes written versions of 6 sermons given during her pastorial ministry. Her homilies have been described a "Poetry in the Making." Ruth is often asked to share both her poetry and homilies with a wide variety of groups.

When Ruth was speaking at a Homecoming service a few years ago,a lady came up after the service to tell Ruth that she read her "Butterfly Poem" every morning as a part of her daily devotional.

It is a book of 122 pages selling these last few books for only $10 each... add $2. postage if you wish it mailed to you. If you do not have our snail mail address, you can use my email address to request a copy giving you name and mailing address.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rick Warren Interview

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.
God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain."
But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.
It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.
So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better .
God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.Painful moments, TRUST GOD.Every moment, THANK GOD.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Joan on November 24, 2008


Joan is second of our seven children born to my husband and me while I was still in my teens and he only 4 years older. I had a lot to learn. But no parents of any age could have welcomed a more beautiful baby into the world nor cherished a child more.
Words and /or pictures are inadequate to tell how much each of our children fills my heart to overflow with love and how much Joan has a special place in my heart as she did in her Daddy's heart. She calls her blog, Daddy's Roses. There are all kinds of stories to tell about Joan as a child and as such an beautiful and outstanding adult.

Joan was a rising senior in High School when we uprooted her from Griffin High School, a small city school where her friends, including a “boy friend” lived. We moved to Ellijay, a small mountain town in North Georgia. If you have ever had to move a teen away from friends you know Joan was not a happy camper.

Ellijay was a town we had never heard of in 1958 when my husband, an ordained Itinerant Elder in the Methodist Church was sent to pastor a church there. The word, “itinerant“ in the Methodist Church then as now means “traveling” and pastors then even more than now were ask to “travel” to any place where the Bishop and Cabinet thought would best serve the overall church. Without much notice, but with committment to Christ and the church we were assigned to The Church in Ellijay.

As an aside, an old friend from Charles home town was a quaint never married nurse who was the epitomy of the Hollywood stereotype of “Old Maid. When our wonderful "Miss Weaver" heard we were moving to Ellijay she remarked, “I've heard they sure mash a lot of corn up there.”
The Annual North Georgia Conference moving day was a "fruit basket turn over" day. One pastor family moved out of a Methodist Parsonage and another moved in, sometimes just minutes apart. So with our moving van (actually a truck) following, we were finally on our way to a town we had never seen.

We had lived in Griffin four happy years so we had a week of sad good byes and “ going away parties” and packing and cleaning. Moving out of a parsonage and getting it ready for another family to move in immediately is work, work, work!

So Charles and I, committed to the Itinerancy, were happy to finally be on our way. The younger children were excited about “moving to the mountains and kept saying things like, “Mama, are those our mountains” as we drove nearer and nearer to a place which did finally become "our mountains and our home town."

Finally we got to the Ellijay city limits. Charles, in his own exuberant way said, “The population of Ellijay has now increased by nine.“ Joan, who had been very quiet finally spoke, “It has probably doubled.”

But Joan adjusted great to her last year of High School there, was elected treasurer of her Senior Class and even had the fun being on the Homecoming Court and a cheer leader for Gilmer High. She , along with all of us made life long friends with some of the finest people this world ever produced.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop

The stories belwo, whether factual or not, bears repeating. God bless America.

When in England, at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of 'empire building' by George Bush. He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.' You could have heard a pin drop.

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part,including French and American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?'

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?' You could have heard a pin drop.

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, 'whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'

The American Admiral replied 'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Ameri cans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.' You could have heard a pin drop.

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. 'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he h ad been to France previously .. 'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.'

The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.' 'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France !' The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look.
Then he quietly explained. 'Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in '44 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passpor t to.' You could have heard a pin drop.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

College Girls in 1904

Wesleyan College, at
Macon, Georgia
was the first college
ever that was chartered
to award degrees to
It was a Methodist
school chartered
in 1836 as the Georgia
Female College.

The present name of Wesleyan College was adopted in 1919.

As a lifelong Methodist, I knew much of the history of Wesleyan College.
But only recently (2008)
was given the photo of the college graduates
in 1904, which includes
one of our Chambers family
cousins, Blanch Burch Harp.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour
(posted at 12:58 am on November 11, 2009 by Doctor Zero )
On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, the terrible slaughter of the First World War came to a formal conclusion.

The day we now commemorate as Veterans Day is the quintessential heartland holiday, growing to honor all of America’s veterans at the urging of a shoe store owner in Kansas, in the early Fifties.

Over the century since a Serbian assassin’s bullet ignited a global conflagration that blasted and burned fifteen million casualties, the West has learned it is very good at war, but still having trouble dealing with peace. One of the reasons is that we often forget to render proper honor and respect to our soldiers.

American soldiers are not just the guardians of peace… they are its architects. They build it with the invisible bricks of atrocities that did not occur, because the murderers were sensibly afraid of tangling with them. They add the mortar of countless acts of kindness and mercy, performed in war zones and disaster areas. The elites of the Third World learn about America by watching CNN. Many of their people see their first American flag riding on the shoulder of a uniformed man or woman carrying relief supplies, or a medical kit. Some of those poor people have taken bullets from their countrymen, and been dragged to safety by United States soldiers who don’t hesitate to do the right thing, even when that American flag becomes a target. No wonder the people of the world generally like us more than their elites.

It is possible to achieve the peace that pacifists dream of, through disarmament and capitulation. This is the peace of subjugation, the peace of the grave. It secures the comfort of the elite, by allowing aggressors to make endless war on their citizens. It is a peace that burns hot and rancid in the bowels of a nation, leaving it unable to meet the gaze of those it abandoned to tyranny.
Soldiers are the only reason you can have peace and freedom.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of 2009, the wounded of Fort Hood will remember their fallen friends, and wonder how a man wrapped in enough red flags to turn him into a bloody mummy was allowed to infiltrate their base. Those wounded and dead rely upon us to ask the questions their superiors in the chain of command cannot comfortably answer. Calling the injured and dead of Fort Hood “victims” perpetuates the blindness that compelled those men and women to face the enemy unarmed. They are casualties of war… and as far as I’m concerned,
Sergeant Kimberly Munley, who took their cowardly attacker down, is a veteran today.

The terrorist enemy doesn’t have a formal chain of command that can sign an armistice, they don’t muster on clearly defined battlefields, and they’re quite happy to benefit from the efforts of deranged fanboys. If we don’t stand behind our professional soldiers, and give them the tools to do their jobs now, we will all become soldiers before this enemy is defeated.

Somewhere in the world tomorrow, an American soldier will ring in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day with gunfire. Another will arrive home after an honorable tour of duty, perhaps passing brothers and sisters in arms saying farewell to their families. A mother’s tears will fall on a letter from the far side of the world. Old veterans will spend a beautiful afternoon watching children play beneath the flag they raised at Anzio, Guadalcanal, Incheon, or Khe Sanh. Young veterans will put their lives on the line, to give the children of Iraq and Afghanistan a chance at a future free from murderous evil. A little girl will playfully salute a uniform she will one day grow up to wear. A pilot will land a machine that was impossible in his grandfather’s day on the heaving deck of an aircraft carrier. The USS New York will
ride at anchor, close to the site of the fallen buildings whose bones became her steel.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Living on Hazel Street.

My cousin Aubrey Simmss told me he remembered, as a boy of six, the very night in 1922 when my father told his father about his decision to sell his farm and move to town. My father learned he could get a job in one of the Porterdale Mills and move his family to Porterdale, a mill town near Covington in Newton County Georgia.

Aubrey said his Dad replied, "Uncle Wilson, I will go to share cropping before I will move my family to a Mill town." Aubrey told about his father's continued refusal to move his family and have his children raised in a mill town when cotton farmers all over the South during the Great Depression and the Boll weevil epidemic were giving up on trying to make a living in farming.
Apparently my father, a hard working and intelligent Christian man, was in failing health and thought this his only option. I am told he worked in the Old Porterdale mill until he became completely disabled. He was bedridden for over a year and died when I was nine.

(The Old Porterdale Mill) Cousin Jason Simms (the son of my father's sister, Margaret "Maggie" Baird Simms) did somehow manage to send most of his children to college. BTW, I called him and his wife "Cousin Jay" and "Cousin Annie." they were nearly as old as my mother.

Aubrey and I both grew up proud of the same grandfather. Colonel William Baird was a confederate Army Officer. If I recall correctly, William Baird was a lieutenant in the Confederate Army. In the devastated South the few returning wounded soldiers were proudly called "Colonel."

In retrospect, I think the reluctance to live in a mill town was a "Baird" thing. I do not know whether or not it was a good move, but it was the only one available to my family and many others in the southern states. The textile industry moved South looking for less expensive labor and found it in the war-torn southland part of the United States.
My mother told me one day she felt she had arrived at "the jumping off place" when they moved into one of the mill houses "behind the mill."

Mama often reminded me I came from "good stock, " meaning our ancestors had been owners of their own housing. Her well educated cousin, Opal Ficquit, was the wife of the Newton county school superintendent and drove her car out to visit Mama often. Mama never drove a car and neither we, nor most of our neighbors owned a car. By the time i became a teenager, more cars were on our roads.

Opal Lee(college educated)and Ieula Dick (my mother) two of the granddaughters of Rev. Bogan Mask, a properous farmer (for the times) and a Methodist preacher, had been raised on neighboring farms in Fayette County. My mother and her siblings were the poorer family, raised by a widowed mother, Elizabeth Mask Dick. Mama's father, Charles Dick, had died of pneumonia as a young man when Ieula was only 18 months old and her mother was pregnant with her eight child, a son.

I was interested a few years ago when Ferrell Sams, a well known Georgia writer and medical doctor from Fayette County, published his book, Epiphany. In the book he has Bogan Mask as a preacher who bought a slave for the purpose of granting freedom to him. This had been a family story.

Mama was well aware that the country and the world at that time, not only discriminated against people of different races but classes as well. In our egalitarian society, we would do well to try to put these years in the context of widespread illiteracy and worldwide serfdom. People born into a world of class and race divisions accept it as a part of life. (I will write later about how Charles and I began to take some licks for our approval of integration and our work for the breakdown of segregation between the races before it became a politically correct posture.)

When I was a child, we were taught in our civics classes in school about the three economic classes: Upper, Middle Class and Lower Class. I remember one day when this unit came up. One little boy raised his hand and said to the teacher, " We are the Middle Class?" My goodness, we knew people who were "poorer! The teacher paused and tried to find words to get around the label. I remember well knowing the teacher thought we were a part of the Lower Class. They call it "working class" now.

It seems that a family must have lived in the Porterdale Textile village for some time prior to renting a house more to their liking. After a few years we moved to Ivy Street, which was in front of the Osprey plant and had newer houses and was considered a better neighborhood.

(Osprey Mill) My brief memories of life on Ivy Street include a painful bee sting and a new pair of shoes. We seem to have always had a porch swing that would seat three people. I remember sitting on the swing on our Ivy Street porch when a bee sting sent me screaming to my mother in the house.

I also remember getting a new pair of black patent leather slippers while we lived on Ivy Street. I was walking down the street holding Mary's hand. I must have been about four and Mary fourteen. I could hardly walk for looking down at my new shoes.

Apparently my delight with the new shoes embarrassed Mary or perhaps she was afraid I would fall down. Anyway, as we walked, she kept reminding me to stop looking down at my shoes.

We lived on Ivy Street until a larger house became vacant on Hazel Street which ran parallel to Ivy just one street over. Much of my memories of Porterdale center on Hazel Street. Our house was one of the "new houses" built between the older houses, so it took up much of the yard space. But there was still enough yard for mama to have flowers growing everywhere and room for children to play in the back alley or front unpaved road that saw few cars and an occasional horse and buggy.

We thought Hazel Street the perfect location. We called it "our corner." Wonderful neighbors whose children were loved and disciplined: Albert and Blance Fincher's children were my playmates - Hazel, Dorothy and Lamar. Mr and Mrs Parnell and my good friends, E. F. Parnell and Mamie Miller. The Hornings with Guy, Sybil and Hazel, The Moores (Obie and Grace, Obie Jr. and Billie.) The Martins, Capes, Loyds.

I remember especially being close neighbors to Blanche Fincher (Hazel, Dorothy and Lamar's mother) and Mrs. Parnell (Mamie Miller's and E.F. Parnell's mama.)

Mrs. Parnell also had two older children by an earlier marriage: a son, Henry and a daughter, Lois, who married Woodrow Rogers. Henry had married an older woman, a "grass widow." What is a grass widow? A divorced woman (of which there were few in those days) was said to be a "grass widow." Henry's first wife was very slim and flat chested and had bright red hair that was said to have been “dyed.” They had no children and later divorced.

As I remember, some of the women in the neighborhood accepted Henry's divorce from the "grass widow" without problem because he was, they reasoned, "not Biblically married in the first place." Today we would consider this discrimination (a word we probably had never heard then), but I think the harshness or gossip toward Henry's first wife was that the neighbors felt this "older, more experienced woman" had taken advantage of the teenaged Henry.

Later, Henry married a pretty brunette his own age. I remember her name was Maggie. Henry and Maggie, in due time had a son. When i was eleven or twelve, I would occasionally go with my playmate Mamie to visit them and play with their beautiful baby boy.

Other neighbors were the Hornings, who had a son, Guy, and two daughters, Hazel
and Sybil. Mrs. Horning's mother "Grannie Brooks" lived with them. Grannie Brooks
was known in the neighborhood as devoutly Christian. I remember her as a boxlike short woman in long starched print dresses with her long gray hair pulled back in a large bun.

One day Grannie Brooks got very sick, and they sent for Dr. Baxley and Mama.
When Mama returned, I heard her tell my older sister that Grannie Brooks's bowels were impacted, and Dr. Baxley had "picked it out of her." Grannie Brooks had said, "Dr. Baxley, pray for me." Dr. Baxley brought a little levity into the sick room when he replied, “Grannie, you pray and I will pick." This is definitely more than you want to know! It is amazing what children hear and remember!

Hazel Street provided a slightly closer walk to school, church, post office and the few stores in town; one grocery store and one drug store. The Pharmacy had a soda fountain with ice cream cones going for five cents. However, in those days, nickels had to counted. We did not often patronize the soda fountain, It was a special treat on occasion.

One thing I remember buying at the grocery store was a package of six small cinnamon rolls for five cents. As delicious as my yeast coffee cakes are, they do not compare with the taste of those rare cinnamon rolls of my childhood memory.

One day Mama sent me to the store to get three cans of some kind of food. I keep thinking it was salmon. Was salmon ever just ten cents a can? I started up the hill home with the three cans of food and sat down for a few minutes the steps of the Methodist church we attended. The steps to the church came all the way down to the sidewalk that went down to the store.

I counted my change and realized the clerk had given me five cents too much change. I would have to go back to the store to give the man his nickel. When I handed the man his money and told him he gave me too much change he laughed and told me the cans were three for twenty five cents.

One of the benefits of not owning much is the simplicity of moving. Sometime after my father's death, we moved down and across the street from number 32 to 45 Hazel Street. One just scrubs the floors and any spots off the wall of their new residence. After it is all dried, my brothers carried (or toted) the beds, table and chairs down to the new place. There may be a need to drive another nail on the back of a door to hang the few clothes.

The Capes, Loyds, Browns, and Martins were also our long-time neighbors , along with the Finchers, Parnell's and Moore's on "our corner" of Hazel Street. We referred to this section of town as "our corner."

If we had owned the house, the block or the whole town, at least from a child’s point of view, it could not have been more ”ours” nor more “home."

Oh, the benefits of lack of ownership!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Get out and Vote: Womens Right To Vote

This is the story of voting 90 years ago! This is about our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who could not vote only 90 years ago.

It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

Some women were jailed for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

Authorities chained the hands of Lucy Bains to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

Dora Lewis was hurled into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.

Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms. (Alice Paul) When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited.

Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote. History is being made.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blog of the Day

I just discovered that Ruthlace was given the honor of being "Blog of the Day" again. Thank you so very much to whoever nominated me. What an encouragement to a an elder writing about growing up in the 1930's! Thanks!
Blog Awards Winner

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How Old Is "Old?"

A year or so ago, two of the teen aged girls at Open Door Home in our city needed to interview an older person for a school assignment. Open Door is a home for children whose parents can not or will not care for them.

I meet the criteria for “older person” so the Director at Open Door, Beth called me and asked if I would mind stopping by so the girls could interview me.

Beth, who holds a Masters in Social Work, has been at Open Door for 10 years and was instrumental in building a much needed Open Door Home for Boys 12 years of age and older in additon to the older home for young children and older girls that was established here in our city 50 years ago.

Beth's good balance between love and discipline has helped to grow the two locations into "Home" for the children and youth rather than a business.

I went by and Beth introduced me to the girls. One of the girls was a 14 year old named Sarah . Beth told me, in Sarah’s hearing, how proud she is of Sarah for making good marks in school. I congratulated Sarah and expressed interest so she immediately got her report card to show me. We had a nice visit.

When we started the interview, the first question Sarah asked was, “To what do you attribute living to such a long old age?” The other girls also asked questions related to "old age." Later when Beth was showing me out, she said she hoped the girls did not hurt my feelings by making such an issue of my “old age.”

Of course, Beth knew as well as I that it did not bother me. When I lived in the Atlanta area, I was not as ancient as I am now but I often spoke to Senior Citizens groups on subjects related to aging as my undergraduate degree included a certificate in Gerontology.

One of the persons I love to quote when I speak to a civic or church group about “aging” is Madeline L’Engle. L'Engle said,“One of the nice things about growing old is you do not lose any of the other ages you have been.”

Wow! Think of that!

It is true. Like Sarah, I know what it was like to be 14 and think 30 is old. I know what it is like to be 30 and think 50 is old. I know what it is like to be 50 and think 80 is old. I know what it is like to be 80 and know that 80 and even 100 is just a number! I know also it is a number nearer the end of the counting.

But at the end of the counting, a new day will dawn and the counting will start over. We gather in church every Sunday to celebrate the truth that what we call “time” does not have the last word over what God calls eternity. For the Christian, "Death" does not have the last word over what God calls "life!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

World War II Veteran still Flying Hang Glider at 89.

World War II Bombardier Still Flying a Hang Glider at Age 89

Anything about a WWII veteran gets my attention and today's piece (10-21-09) about Lieutenant Neal Goss is no exception, although I rarely post daily news items on my blog.

After flying 50 combat missions over two tours of duty in World War II, Neal Goss returned home a reluctant American hero. Sixty-four years later, he has done it again.

World War II veterans are said to be dying at a rate of 900 a day. So time has taken most of our heroes from, what has been said the most devastating and significant war in world history. Time has not robbed the zest from Goss. "I figure that they probably have hang gliders and sail boats up in heaven somewhere,'' he said after one recent flight. "I don't plan on being there anytime soon, but I want to be ready when I get there.''

Goss, a First Lieutenant in the Army Air Corp until 1945, served as a bombardier/navigator as part of the Flying Fortress squadron that dropped more than 9,000 tons of bombs and shot down 200 enemy planes during the war. Today, he flies only for the thrill of the sport, soaring in his light, unmotorized aircraft that takes him as high as 6,000 feet above the ground, using body control and thermal drafts to navigate his way across the countryside, providing a view and a freedom that few have enjoyed.

"I'm not a hero (from the war). I didn't think I was brave. I was just doing a job
for my country,'' he said. "This flying now is fun. It makes you feel like one of the birds. I never had this view from inside the bomber.''When he returned home from the War, Goss promised his aging mother that she would be proud, not so much for what he had done for his country, but for the way he would live the rest of his life, so grateful for coming home alive, making sure his time here was well spent. He certainly has gotten his money's worth.At a time when most of his peers have either died or turned to a sedentary lifestyle, Goss keeps pressing the accelerator.

Like many of us, Neal Goss's concessions to age still rankle him, yet he knows how far he can push. He no longer jumps off cliffs and mountains in other parts of the country with his hang glider, preferring the more controlled starts he gets with a tow. He gave up racing motorcycles almost 10 years ago. He no longer sky dives or goes deep sea diving with friends.

Goss stopped wind surfing shortly after he closed his dental practice at age 82, leaving behind patients of 50 years. He stopped making his annual week-long trip to Guatemala, where he provided free dental care to Indians in the poor parts of the country. He has cut back on his sailing, too, although he made a 200-mile voyage just last year down the West Coast of Florida, from his home to the home of his daughters who live in the Tampa area. His biggest regret is being bypassed by NASA several years ago when they were looking for a senior citizen to join a space shuttle flight."They wanted someone with a bigger name, but I've been very fortunate. I wanted to fly since I was a young boy,'' he said. "And I'll do this for as long as they let me, hopefully another 10 years. I would just tell anyone my age to go for it. You have nothing to lose.''Goss is amazingly healthy for 89.

Goss's body remains taut and strong, even though he suffers from a frustrating neurological disorder that affects his speech, making him difficult to understand. His walk is slower now because both his knee joints need replacing. None of that matters, though, when he is soaring close to the clouds, guiding his craft with a veteran's experience, surveying all that is below and above him. He calls it a peek of what to expect in heaven.

He will be part of a flying extravaganza at the nearby Fantasy of Flight attraction Nov. 7-8, when he makes his usual trip to the area during the week of Veterans Day

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Funeral for My Dear Sister

Below is a copy fo the Funeral remarks I made at my dear sister-in-law's funeral,for those who asked. As alays, the written version is not exact to the spoken.

I am the last of nine in my family. Rowena was the wife of my brother Tom and the last of the nine spouses of the children of Wilson and Ieula Baird.

Mrs. Rowena Edge Baird
August 8, 1924 –– September 24, 2008

In the midst of our living, death, in its intrusive way, has once again come to dwell among us. So we gather to comfort one another and to put arms of love around one another...

In my brief 22 years as a pastor, I have conducted dozens of funerals and graveside services, and have participated in dozens more. But today, I hardly know where to start because there are so many things I would like to say ––things that could be said and should be said as we gather this morning to celebrate the life of Rowena Edge Baird –– wife, mother, grandmother and now great grandmother to little Zoe.

Rowena was my sister-in-law, really, my precious sister. She was also Aunt Rowena to a long extended line of nieces and nephews. Numerous family and friends loved Rowena and gather with us today to celebrate her life –– Rowena’s beautiful Christian life . . . her open arms and open life love and her living witness among us.

We gather to celebrate life –– eternal life through our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the One whom Rowena trusted and faithfully served as her Savior and Lord.

Both Rowena and I were teen aged brides. My big brother Tom thought I was foolish to marry so young. Then, he later married a precious girl, also still in her teens.

It was 1941 and war clouds were gathering.

So it turned out that Rowena and I went through World War II together. We were both still in our teens when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and President Roosevelt declared war on Dec 7, 1941.

A draft was started and 1942 was a scary and bloody time for our generation.

If we were “The Greatest Generation," it was because we were perhaps the last generation where it was politically correct to openly talk about one’s Christian faith.

By 1943, my brother Tom, Rowena’s husband, and Charles Shaw, my husband, were both serving abroad –– Tom in Europe and Charles in the South Pacific.

Rowena lived with my mother who loved her like her own daughter . . . and Rowena loved and honored my mother like her own mother. At the time, Rowena was in a difficult pregnancy; she almost died in giving birth to their beautiful baby boy, Jack, while Tom was overseas.

It was a time when Rowena and I both learned –– or tried to learn –– how to pray.

Down through the years, it was always good for me to know that Rowena Baird was praying for me ...and praying for you…all of you whom she knew.

Rowena continued to be a happy witnessing Christian, devoted to her husband and her son and later her daughter. She had a great sense of humor, was active in her church, including teaching Sunday School. Rowena was a Christian role model any of us would do well to emulate.

Rowena and Tom’s Christian witness continued through some of the most difficult and heart breaking situations any of us could think to have to deal with. Jack, their precious son, died in an accident at age 22. Later, their grandson, Ray –– Jane and Warren’s older son –– died in a plane crash coming home from a Mission Trip to Venezuela.

Their faith in God sustained them and He held them close in His arms in the midst of unspeakable sorrow.

As both Tom and Rowena told me, one does not “get over” the death of a child or grandchild, but somehow they had to learn –– as we all try to learn –– that God doesn’t measure time in the same way we do. Death is a part of every life. We know that our children will die sooner or later. We always pray that it will be “later.” Psalm 90 tells us, “a thousand years is as a day and as a watch in the night.”

I heard Christopher Reeve being interviewed and asked what he had learned in the years since he was paralyzed. He replied that he had learned that “we are not our body.”

Christopher may or may not have known it, but this is the Good News we celebrate today. We all know that our bodies, at best, are wearing out. Thank God we are not our body.

In fact, we are not a ” body with a spirit” as much as we are a "spirit" in a temporary physical body.

Rowena seemed to know last Wednesday afternoon that her body had worn out, so she laid it aside. As Jane and I agreed yesterday: When Rowena took her last breath Wednesday afternoon, she was safe in the arms of Jesus and Tom was waiting for her at the Gate.

At death we come to the end of human knowledge, human power . . . and human comfort. Human beings can go just so far along the path of life with another person. Thus, our precious Jane went as far as she could go with her dear mother on Wednesday; she finally had to let go of her mother’s hand, knowing Rowena was safe in the hands of Jesus.

I am going to close by reading one of my poems that Rowena especially liked.

A few years before my husband died, we bought a cemetery lot –– sight unseen –– in East View Cemetery in Conyers, where Charles’ parents and grandparents are buried.

Charles was still pastor of a busy church, so it was some time before we went down to see the cemetery lot we had bought. We were there late one afternoon and remained as it began to get dark. I noticed lights beginning to go on in homes near the cemetery grounds. It seemed like a parable to me ––like the remembrance of parents leaving a light on until their children returned home at night.

So, I wrote these few simple lines:

My father always left a light for me
Against the nighttime shadows… lovingly
He left the doors unlocked…it opened wide
And I could safely find my way inside!

Beyond the grave…I see a light…I see
The lights of home…God left a light for me,
So I can walk on home…with faith…not fear
I see the Lights of Home…and God is near!

Regardless of what kind of shadows are falling around us today –– this week, Rowena would not want us to walk in the shadows.

Lift up your hearts . . . Look beyond the cemetery…
There is the Light of God … The light of the World
… There is resurrection. Thanks be to God!

Just a short time ago, in a daily email from “Word-a-Day,” a poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindraneth Tagor was quoted, “Death is not extinguishing the light….it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

For Rowena, the dawn of a new day has come.

Her race is run.

Henceforth is laid up for her a crown.
As I close my part of this time of remembrance and celebration of the life of Rowena Baird,

we praise God for this beautiful lady, rich in love and good works . . . friendly . . . always gracious and kind . . . a Christian lady.

Gratefully but ever so reluctantly , we yield back…the gift of Rowena.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is one of the most popular film musicals of all time, The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic stars Julie Andrews as a novitiate who becomes governess to a large family in Austria in the 1930's. She charms the five girls and two boys who were her charges as well as their father who was played by Christopher Plummer. The film was the winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture; with Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn. Songs include "Do Re Mi," "My Favorite Things," and the title tune.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites...When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad...
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Below is a picture of the stars forty years after playing the Von Trapp children.
Julie Andrews commemorated her 69th birthday on October 1. She made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed for the AARP was the version of "My Favourite Things" from the legendary movie "The Sound Of Music. Here are the lyrics she was said to have sung:
Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Cadillac's and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things..

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short, shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.
When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad!

Monday, September 10, 2007

School Shootings

Yesterday a lady told me her sister-in-law moved back to Europe when her children got old enough for school saying, "they had never had a school shooting in my native country."

Dear God:
Why didn't you save the school children at:

Moses Lake , Washington 2/2/96
Bethel , Alaska 2/19/97
Pearl , Mississippi 10/1/97
West Paducah , Kentucky 12/1/97
Stamp, Arkansas 12/15/97
Jonesboro , Arkansas 3/24/98
Edinboro , Pennsylvania 4/24/98
Fayetteville , Tennessee 5/19/98
Springfield , Oregon 5/21/98
Richmond , Virginia 6/15/98
Littleton , Colorado 4/20/99
Taber , Alberta , Canada 5/28/99
Conyers , Georgia 5/20/99
Deming , New Mexico 11/19/99
Fort Gibson , Oklahoma 12/6/99
Santee , California 3/ 5/01
El Cajon , California 3/22/01 and
Blacksburg, Virginia 4/16/07

Concerned Student

Dear Concerned Student:
I am not allowed in schools.

How did this get started?...
Let's see,
I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained
she didn't want any prayer in our schools. /\...And we said, OK..

Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school,
the Bible that says "thou shalt not kill, "thou shalt not steal, "
and "love your neighbors as yourself," ...And we said, OK...
Then someone said
teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave.
And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued.
And we accepted their reasoning...
Then someone said,
let's let our daughters have abortions if they want,
and they won't even have to tell their parents. ...And we said, that's OK
Then some school board member said,
since boys will be boys
and they're going to do it anyway,
let's give our sons all the condoms they want,
so they can have all the fun they desire,
and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school.

And we said, that's another great idea...
Then some of our top elected officials said
it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs.
And we said,
it doesn't matter what anybody,
does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good....
And someone else took that appreciation a step further
and published pictures of nude children
and then stepped further still by
making them available on the Internet.

And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech....
And the entertainment industry said,
let's make TV shows and movies that promote
profanity, violence and group sex...
And let's record music that encourages
rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...

And we said,
it's just entertainment
and it has no adverse effect
and nobody takes it seriously anyway,
so go right ahead.

Now we're asking ourselves
why some of our children have no conscience,
why they don't know right from wrong,
and why it doesn't bother them to
kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.

if we thought about it long and hard enough,
we could figure it out.
I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Grandma's Apron.

Grandma’s Apron! ANYONE REMEMBER ?

Grandma always carried eggs and apples and lots of other things in her apron - and what would grandma have done without the apron pocket?

Her apron was the perfect place to carry many things...perhaps sometimes, we are told, her teeth in her apron pocket to be quickly slipped into her mouth when company came!!

But the principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few dresses. It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. Along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

The apron was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. When the weather was cold, grandma could wrap her apron it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, Grandma's apron carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purpose

(Copied and adapted for Email)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tony Snow's Testimony

Tony Snow's testimony:

"Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in America today - find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will.

Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence "What It All Means," Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.
The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the "why" questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But despite this, - or because of it, - God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life,- and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter how their days may be numbered. within many non believing hearts - an intuition that the gift of life, once given,
Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, - but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension - and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

'You Have Been Called'. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at the side. "It's cancer," the healer announces.
The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. "Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler." But another voice whispers: "You have been called." Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter,- and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our "normal time."

There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.

The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.

There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, - for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.
Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples' worries and fears.

'Learning How to Live'. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love.
I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. "I'm going to try to beat [this cancer]," he told me several months before he died. "But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side."

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity, - filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, - and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, - to speak of us!
This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God's hand."
T. Snow

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cholocate Chess Pie (easy to make)

Chocolate Chess pie

1 stick margerine (melted)
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoon cocoa
3 eggs
dash of salt
I small can evaporated milk (6 oz,)
i unbaked pie shell

Put first seven ingredients into blender and blend well. Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. May be topped with whipped cream or Cool whip to serve.

I always make two easy as making one and use a 12 oz can of milk for the two pies. I use the "deep dish" frozen pie shells.

I like this pie recipe because it can be mixed in a blender in a few minutes and poured into the pie crusts. Of course it could also be mixed in a mixer or by hand. It slices nicely and would keep well in the refrigerator for several days or kept frozen for a few weeks.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Taffy Pulls and Tea Cakes in the 1920's and 30's.


In my childhood, we sometimes got together with the neighbors and made taffy or "pull candy" at our house.

Recipe for Old Fashioned Taffy (Pull Candy)

2 cups sugar 1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water 2 Tablespoon butter

Bring to a boil, cooking until mixture will spin a long thread (or to 275 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat, add I teaspoon vanilla and pour into greased plates until cool enough to handle.

When the candy begins to "set", we would wash and butter our hands, take alittle ball of the hot candy (about the size of a small egg), and pull and twist, andsometimes plait it until it began to get cool and hard. Then it would be placed on abuttered plate and cut into sticks of candy.

Recipe for Mama's Tea Cakes

1 cup shortening 2 cups sugar
2 eggs 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla 2 cups self-rising flour

Mix all ingredients together. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough, Roll out thin. Cut with cookie cutters and put on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 until brown, about 8 to 15 minutes .

Often Mama made teacakes -- thick, chewy cookies cut out with a biscuit cutter or teaglass. As a special treat she would make a chocolate fudge frosting (made from scratch,of course) and put two cookies together with the chocolate between. These cookies shestored in a washed flour sack. No aluminum foil or plastic wrap on the market early on.

Mama baked teas cakes often for children, grandchildren and the neighbor's childre.

These teacakes were sometimes brought out and served to neighbors as we visitedon the front porch. Our house was usually the visiting place. The younger couples, whose oldest children were near my age seemed to love to congregate on our porch and visit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Gingham Dress and Homespun Suit.

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard & probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. "We'd like to see the president," the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied. For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally >>become discouraged and go away.

They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted. "Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses >>and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus."

The president wasn't touched. He was shocked. "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard." The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard."

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it cost to start a university? Why don't we just start our own? " Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them. ----

A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes

Friday, July 13, 2007

Humor For Lexophiles Lovers of Words.


1. I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

2. Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest

3. Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

4. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

5. The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

6.To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

7. When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

8. The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large

9. A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

10. A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

11. Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

12. We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

13. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles , U.C.L.A.

14. The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

15. The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

16. If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

17. A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

18. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

19. A will is a dead giveaway.

20. A backward poet writes inverse.

21. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

22. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

23. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

24. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

25. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

26. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

27. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

28. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

29. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

30. A calendar's days are numbered.A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

31. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

32. A plateau is a high form of flattery.

33. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

34. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

35. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine .

36. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

37. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

38. Acupuncture: a jab well done.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Grandson's Wedding

Do you want to hear about our latest wedding. This one was my eighth granchild to get married.

After a couple of years of health issues, I was hesitant to make the long journey north. But I had a great time traveling to New Hampshire and Vermont for the 7/7/7 wedding in the historic chapel at Dartmouth College.

Thanks to the insistence and assistance of Janice and Gilbert and Debi and Gregg , the trip and the wedding was “just fabulous.”

I rode with Debi and Gregg up to Maryland July 3 and stayed with Jan and Gil while the Lewis' went on to New Hampshire to get ready for the Rehearsal dinner.

Gil and jan and I had dinner on the Fourth of July with Charmaine and Jack and family and saw the City of Arlington fireworks. I was pleased to see them and five of my great grands in their new home and again when they came over on Sunday to eat and swim at Jan and Gil’s.

Gilbert, Janice and I left on Friday morning, July 6 to get to Dartmouth in time for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

This country girl had never visited New York City, so Gil, my gallant son-in-law decided to leave early enough to show me the highlights of the Big Apple. We drove through Central Park, the huge United Nations Buildings, Theater district…well everything I had read about but never seen, including the Statue of Liberty in the harbor.

Debi and Gregg hosted a rehearsal dinner at a restaurant near Dartmouth. In keeping with Emily and Matthew’s request, it was a casual but delicious sit down dinner of Pizza, pasta, salads for nearly 50.

Deborah had requested and received 70 plus pictures of Emily from Mrs. Brown so she and Jonathan created a masterpiece 12 minute video featuring Emily and Matthew from birth to now. It was quite a feat of creativity with music.

Jan and Gil and I stayed with new church friends of Matthew and Emily. They live in what they described to us as a "Yankee Barn" type of house lots of windows, surrounded by trees. It was a joy to visit with them. It was “Southern hospitality” at its best.

As I wrote in an email to family, “ After sleeping on beds of the "Rich and Famous" for a full week, I am like the little girl from Milstead who went to Atlanta to visit her married brother and sister in law for a week. When she got home and sat again at the family table, she commented, "I have dined out so much it is hard to eat Mama's cooking."

Gilbert and Janice have a Pillow top mattress on the queen size bed in their guest room where I resided in luxury. I sleep like a baby every night! Well not exactly? You know how a baby sleeps? Sleeps an hour and cries an hour!

I slept two more nights in the luxurious home and on the same kind of pillow top mattress in the home of these new friends in New Hampshire! So slept well every night away from home.

You all know how I hesitate to be a participate in our "decadent consumer society" (s seminary term) but I am thinking (like the little Milstead girl) after seven nights on pillow top mattresses, my 25 year old mattress may have to be replaced.

Do you think I should go out tomorrow and spend my children’s inheritance on a new mattress!

The Wedding on Saturday night was beautiful. Did I mention they had the best
soloist in America? Ask anyone in Rome! Terry sang, "Great is thy Faithfulness" and the "Lord's Prayer."

We arrived early (thinking the wedding was 4 instead of 4:30) so Gil (remarkable man that he is) opened both side doors and turned on the fans so that the chapel had cooled off before people started arriving. It was a warm day.

Emily was very lovely! Stunning! Her dress was gorgeous with short cap sleeves, rounded neck, long train, delicate embroidery design. The bridesmaid's dresses were a simple design in light green – the same shade as Jessica had her bridesmaids to wear. Beautiful.

Matthew looked handsome in a gray tux, the groomsmen looked great in gray suits. Short neat haircuts...all. Benjamin and Jonathan were ushers and also looked nice in gray suits with green shirts.

Lisette and Emily’s grandfather each read a short passage of scripture.

The ceremony was similar to our beautiful Methodist ceremony. Their pastor also gave a meaningful short sermon and celebrated communion with them while Terrell sang the Lord’s Prayer.

It rained off and on all day -- but never when we had to be outside. Nice! We enjoyed a tour of the beautiful Dartmouth campus between the rehearsal and the dinner.

The reception was at a museum nearby and was very nice with a large group of over 100 present? My estimate? A buffet of barbeque and chicken dinners and a vegetable shish-ka-bob with salads were served...wonderful felowship and food. People could enjoy the museum or go into the community room for the reception and dinner.

We caravanned back to Jan and Gil’s on Sunday morning with the Lewis' -- through Pennsylvania and more wonderful scenery. Enjoyed talking, listening to music and recounting all the great aspects of the wedding.

Matthew and Emily stayed in an Inn nearby on Saturday night and then they were going to Maine -- perfect place for a honeymoon!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 233 Birthday America!

Random thoughts on our 233 birthday. God bless America.

Our nation's founding document declared independence from Britain, but, with equal fervor, declared dependence upon God. Expressing "firm reliance on the Protection of divine Providence," the signers committed the American experiment to their Maker.

The Spirit of 1776 was reverence and trust.

The 56 men who put their lives and fortunes on the line by signing the Declaration of Independence paid a great price for freedom.

Five were later captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons by death. Two sons were taken prisoner. Nine of the fifty-six died from wounds or hardship from the Revolutionary War. Most of the signers never recovered physically from the war, but I have never read one instance of even one who recanted.

How will we choose to serve liberty?

The references to God in the Declaration of Independence provide a foundation for a moral argument within civil society. And moral truths pervade our founding documents from beginning to end.

Without God as the source of all those moral principles, the public square would quickly revert to the law of the jungle. Brutish power would

I pray on this 4th of July 2009, we will seek a rebirth of true liberty, which is possible only when governed by divine law. For, without God, we can never have "liberty and justice for all."
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

When Thomas Jefferson penned the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence, he deliberately appealed to the Creator. He acknowledged an overriding obligation to "Nature and Nature's God." And he understood that ordered liberty is not just a subjective preference, but a divinely ordained condition for which human beings are designed. "Liberty and justice for all" is a Christian concept.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Statue of Liberty

Liberty Enlightening the World
The Statue of Liberty, located on a 12 acre island, was a gift of friendship from the people of France "Enlightening the World." to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.>

After the November 11, 2001 Islamic terrorist attack on America, destroying the World Trade Center Twin Tower buildings in New York and the Pentagon building in washington D.C., the Staue of Liberty was closed to the public until this July 4th 2009 Weekend.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My Name in Alice