Friday, February 27, 2009

Seven Wonders of the World

The number "seven" is a good and important number to me and was to my husband because we are blessed with seven "wonder" children.

It is interesting how many people will ask a couple, with a laugh, as if no one had thought to ask before; "Are you Catholic or just careless that you had so many children?"
We sometimes just smiled with them but sometimes replied we had hoped for eight children but had stopped with seven because "seven" in the Bible means "perfection" and "completion."
Then one day a college girl asked a more respectful question; "Mrs Shaw, was it your decision or was it your husband's or a joint decision to have seven children?"

Pleiade (PLEE-uhd), a noun meaning a group of (usually seven) brilliant persons or things. It is a word I love!
It reminds me of my husband's poetic words about each of "our seven," He loved to say, "if I had searched the ramparts of heaven, I could not have found a more wonderful baby."
To the left is the photo of the Pleiades Star Cluster. All kinds of myths are written about this seven star formation. "Seven" continues to be an interesting number.
A group of students were asked to list their present "seven wonders of the world."
Though some disagreement, the following got the most votes:
l. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes the teacher noted that one student hadn't turned in her paper and was still thoughtfully working. She asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.

The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there are so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have and maybe we can help."

The girl hesitated and then read from her paper, "I think the seven wonders of the world are...
l. To Touch
2. To Taste
3. To See
4. To Hear...She hesitated a little and then added...
5. To Feel
6. To Laugh
7. To Love"

The most "wonder filled" things in life are often the things we take for granted.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life After Life.

Back in the seventies, I heard about the bestseller, "Life After Life" by Raymond Moody, Jr. M.D. "Life After Life" was on the New York times best seller list for several years.
It is about people declared clinically dead, and against expectation, came back alive to tell of an experience of being outside their own physical body, looking down at their physical body and hearing themself pronounced dead by a doctor.

Some tell of being in a bright light, after moving rapidly through a dark tunnel. Some tell of glimpsing the spirits of relatives and friends who have already died.

In the back of my mind, I thought the author must be the same Raymond Moody, a few years older than I, who grew up on the same street as I, who married a girl named Josie, who was a classmate of mine in high school.

I married in my teens and moved away from my hometown but had been told that Raymond Moody went to medical school. So when I heard after the book, I wondered if it was the Raymond Moody I had known as a youth.

My husband and I raised a large family. He served in World War II, went back to school. Every day of my life seemed to have been filled to the full.
Then, A few days ago, I stopped at a Flee Market and among shelf after shelf of used paperbacks for 25 cents each, I picked up Life After Life and read the interesting book. I learned Raymond Moody, Jr. born in 1944 is too young to be the Raymond Moody who grew up in my town and on my street!

So after checking the internet and found page after many pages about the famous doctor. Yes, he was born in my town in Georgia and is the son of the Raymond and Josie I knew as teenagers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Other Worlds to Sing In.

Like many of us in 2010, I have several phones in my house and a cell phone in my purse but this has not always been true.

One of my favorite stories is about Wayne, a young boy whose Dad installed one of the first telephones in their neighborhood. It was a polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box.

Wayne was too small to reach the telephone, but listened with fascination when his mother talked to it. He tells how he discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person! Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.

His personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while his mother was briefly visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, he whacked his finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

Wayne tells how he walked around the house sucking his throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, he ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, he unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to his ear.

"Information, please'" he said into the mouthpiece just above his head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into his ear. 'Information… I hurt my finger" ... he wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that he had an audience. "Isn't your mother home?" came the question. "Nobody's home but me," He blubbered. " Are you bleeding?" the voice asked. 'No,' he replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.'" "Can you open the icebox?'"she asked. He said he could. 'Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,' said the voice.

After that, Wayne called "Information Please" for everything. He asked her for help with his geography, and she told him where Philadelphia was. She helped him with his math. She told him his pet chipmunk that he had caught in the park would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, his pet canary, died. He called, Information Please, and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But he was not consoled.

He asked her, 'Why is it that birds sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?' She must have sensed his deep concern, for she said quietly, 'Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.'

Somehow he felt better. Another day he called and asked, "How do I spell fix?'" All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest.

When Wayne was ten years old, the family moved across the country to Boston. Wayne missed his friend very much. but "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and he somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As he grew into his teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left him... he would recall the serene sense of security he had then. He appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on his way west to college, his plane put down in Seattle. He had about a half-hour or so between planes. He spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with his sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what he was doing, he dialed his hometown operator and said, “Information Please.”

Miraculously, he heard her small clear voice; “Information.” He hadn't planned it but heard himself saying, “Could you please tell me how to spell fix?'”There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.” He laughed, “So it's really you,” he said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?” "I wonder," she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.”

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. "Please do," she said, “Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later he was back in Seattle.. A different voice answered, “Information.” He asked for Sally. ”Are you a friend?” she said. “Yes, a very old friend,” He answered. “I'm sorry to have to tell you this,” she said. ”Sally had been working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”

Before Wayne could hang up she said, “Wait a minute, did you say your name is Wayne?” “Yes.” Wayne answered. "Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.” The note said, 'Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Computers and Automobiles

I have a friend who "passed along" over ten stories. I am putting only one on my Ruthlace Web Log!
This story is a "fun piece" for all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives!
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated... "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Presidents Day 2011

George Washington(1732- 1796) (familiar picture on the right) as our first president of the United States. He was the Comander in chief of the Continental army in the American Revolution and was called the Father of our Country. The photo to the left is the inarguatiion of George Washington as the first President of tthe United States.

The Star Spangled Banner

Lyrics By Francis Scott Key 1814
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave ...O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The birthday of both Abraham Lincoln (on February 12) and of George Washington (February 22) were celebrated for many years as two our our greatest presidents. Washington as the first President who was so respected some wanted to make him king but instead of honor for himself, General George Washington lead the new nation toward democracy.
Abraham Lincoln is celebrated for saving the nation as "one nation under God" during the turmoil of Civil War. Linclon's Gettysburg Address is a long remembered masterpiece: It would be well for all of us to read it often.
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. "

President Abraham Lincoln was mistaken when he said, "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." In truth, the world did note and hopefully will always remember this speech , which was said to have first been written on the back of an envelope.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Valentine Day!

For Valentine Day 2012, I will include a poem written 35 years ago. It is a fun piece I penned at the request of the Program Chairman for a Preachers' Sweetheart Banquet. The poem is full of cliches and inside humor for preachers by design but is a favorite of many.

I was I and he was he - A ceremony made us "we.”
When in the sight of ... God and men . . .
We pledged our troth ...And kissed our kin
And set our sails . . . ...Breathlessly
On the matrimony sea.

My handsome prince . .. ...He held my hand.
My every wish . . . ...Was his command
Then one day . . .
I said, "I think we . . .
Should see my friends
. . . More frequently.

He said, so loud . .
It shook the house
That he was man . .
and not a mouse

And furthermore . . .
he said we should
See his friends . . .
he said we would.

He said, we would . . .
most certainly
I said, we won't . . .
We both said "we"

Strange, when we do . . .
Or don't agree
One thing is clear . . .
We both say "we"

Now here's the secret . . .
For love to grow
Through Summer's sun
. . . and Winter's snow

Through diaper rash
. . . And teething ills
From P.T.A. . . .
to college bills

Through three-point circuit
. . . And inner-city
And Pastor Parish
Relations Committee

Through Conference moving
time . . . again
When you’re not one . . .
of the "bishop's men."

Through covered dishes . . .
Well...thick and thin
Love like this . . .
will never end

For when we do . . .
or don't agree . . .
We still find joy . . .
in being '"we".
~by Ruth Baird Shaw

Monday, February 02, 2009

Keep Laughing

Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong preaching on the devil. One said to the other, 'What do you think about all this Satan stuff? The other boy replied, 'Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your Dad.'

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, 'Why is the bride dressed in white?'' The mother replied, 'Because white is the colour of happiness,> and today is the happiest day of her life.' The child thought about this for a moment then said, 'So why is the groom wearing black?'

A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, 'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late!'> While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again! As she ran she once again began to pray, 'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late...But please don't shove me either!'

Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, 'My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50.' The second boy says, 'That's nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100. The third boy says, 'I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all the money!'

An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers.> In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, 'They wouldn't take me out while I was alive,> I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead.'

A police recruit was asked during the exam,'What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother?'

He answered, 'Call for backup.'

A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem . A small child replied, 'They couldn't get a baby-sitter.'

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to 'Honour thy father and thy mother,' she asked, 'Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?' Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, 'Thou shall not kill..'

At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and she said, 'Johnny, what is the matter?' Little Johnny responded; 'I have pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife.'

Remarks by President Bush at Breakfast

Hilton Washington Hotel
Washington, D.C. 9:09 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. (Applause.) Thanks for the warm welcome. Laura and I are delighted to be here. This lovely personality said this morning, keep your remarks short. (Laughter.)
I appreciate this prayer breakfast, and I appreciate the spirit in which it was formed. Ike said he was living in the loneliest house in America ...the rent is pretty good. (Laughter.)

It's great to be here with distinguished guests from all around the world. Your Majesty and Prime Ministers and former Prime Ministers, friends with whom I have the honor to work, you're welcome here. I appreciate the fact that people from different walks of life, different faiths have joined us. Yet I believe we share one thing in common: We're united in our dedication to peace and tolerance and humility before the Almighty. (Applause.)

I want to thank Senators Pryor and Coleman for putting on this breakfast. I appreciate Senator Frist, Representative Blunt, Representative Pelosi, other members of the United States Congress who've joined us on the dais and who are here for this breakfast. I thank the members of my Cabinet who are here. Get back to work. (Laughter.)

I find it interesting that the music is from Arkansas. (Laughter.) I'm glad it is, because they know how to sing down there. (Laughter.)
You know, I was trying to figure out what to say about Bono -- (laughter) --
BONO: Careful. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: And a story jumped to mind about these really good Texas preachers. And he got going in a sermon and a fellow jumped up in the back and said, "Use me, Lord, use me." And the preacher ignored him, and finished his sermon. Next Sunday he gets up, and cranking on another sermon. And the guy jumps up and says, "Use me, Lord, use me." And after the service, he walked up to him and said, "If you're serious, I'd like for you to paint the pews." Next Sunday, he's preaching, the guy stands up and says, "Use me, Lord, use me, but only in an advisory capacity." (Laughter.)
So I've gotten to know Bono. (Laughter.) He's a doer. The thing about this good citizen of the world is he's used his position to get things done. You're an amazing guy, Bono. God bless you. (Applause.)
It is fitting we have a National Prayer Breakfast, because our nation is a nation of prayer. In America, we do not prescribe any prayer. We welcome all prayer. We're a nation founded by men and women who came to these shores seeking to worship the Almighty freely. From these prayerful beginnings, God has greatly blessed the American people, and through our prayers, we give thanks to the true source of our blessings.
Americans remain a prayerful people today. I know this firsthand. I can't tell you the number of times out there traveling our country, people walk up, total strangers, and say, Mr. President, I'm praying for you and your family. It is one of the great blessings of the presidency, and one of the most wonderful gifts a person can give any of us who have the responsibility to govern justly.

So I thank my fellow citizens for their gracious prayers and wonderful gifts.
Every day, millions of Americans pray for the safety of our troops, for the protection of innocent life, and for the peace we all hope for. Americans continue to pray for the recovery of the wounded, and to pray for the Almighty's comfort on those who have lost a loved one. We give thanks daily for the brave and decent men and women who wear our nation's uniform, and we thank their families, as well.
In this country, we recognize prayer is a gift from God to every human being. It is a gift that allows us to come before our Maker with heartfelt requests and our deepest hopes. Prayer reminds us of our place in God's creation. It reminds us that when we bow our heads or fall to our knees, we are all equal and precious in the eyes of the Almighty.
In prayer, we're reminded we're never alone in our personal trials or individual suffering. In prayer, we offer our thanksgiving and praise, recognizing our lives, our talents and all that we own ultimately flow from the Creator. And in these moments of our deepest gratitude, the Almighty reminds us that for those to whom much has been given, much is required.
In prayer, we open ourselves to God's priority, especially His charge to feed the hungry, to reach out to the poor, to bring aid to the widow or the orphan. By surrendering our will to God's will, we learn to serve His eternal purposes. Through prayer, our faith is strengthened, our hearts are humbled and our lives are transformed. Prayer encourages us to go out into the world and serve.
In our country, we recognize our fellow citizens are free to profess any faith they choose, or no faith at all. You are equally American if you're a Hebrew -- a Jew or a Christian or Muslim. You're equally American if you choose not to have faith. It is important America never forgets the great freedom to worship as you so choose. (Applause.)
What I've found in our country, that whatever our faith, millions of Americans answer the universal call to love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. Over the past five years, we've been inspired by the ways that millions of Americans have answered that call. In the face of terrorist attacks and devastating natural disasters here and around the world, the American people have shown their faith in action again and again. After Katrina, volunteers from churches and mosques and synagogues and other faith-based and community groups opened up their hearts and their homes to the displaced. We saw an outpouring of compassion after the earthquake in Pakistan and the tsunami that devastated entire communities. We live up to God's calling when we provide help for HIV/AIDS victims on the continent of Africa and around the world.
In millions of acts of kindness, we have seen the good heart of America. Bono, the true strength of this country is not in our military might or in the size of our wallet, it is in the hearts and souls of the American people. (Applause.)
I was struck by the comment of a fellow who was rescued from the Gulf Coast and given shelter. He said, "I didn't think there was so much love in the world." This morning we come together to recognize the source of that great love. We come together before the Almighty in prayer, to reflect on God's will, to seek His aid, and to respond to His grace.
I want to thank you for the fine tradition you continue here today. I pray that our nation will always have the humility to commend our cares to Providence and trust in the goodness of His plans.
May God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 9:17 A.M. EST