Saturday, November 24, 2012

A wonderful thanksgiving feast was enjoyed by all - LH and I, my SILs, and, of course, the greys!!
The table was set simply with fall tablecloth, autumnal ombre candles that I forgot I had bought in South Africa and found in the china cabinet, china, crystal and silverware and naturally, bit turkey paper napkins. We took a turkey pool for when Turkey Tebow would be ready. My one SIL won!!! (The prize: a piece of Swiss Chocolate!!!)
My SILs had to leave by 6 pm for their long drive home at the other end of the state and I spent the evening decarassing the bird - making doggie bags and people bags. Then, it was onto the washing and drying the dishes - crystal, china, silverware, bowls, pots, etc. I took my time. I soaked the roaster overnight. And I left the dishes and silverware on the table to put away in the morning. I was just too tired out at 9:30 pm.
It had been one of the warmest Thanksgiving Days we've ever had - 61 degees, blue sky and sunshine. We could have almost sat outside!
We enjoyed the time together with family and the day.
I am behind on my knee exercises and will have to catch up this coming week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

As if coming back to life wasn't gift enough, God provided another wonderful opportunity. Anne Lamott, the author, was in town (nearest bigger city) and the public library was hosting a free hear the author speak and book signing. Something I simply could not pass up.
Last Friday, I had scurried to B&N to get her latest book - Help, Thanks, Wow on prayer. LH had a gift card for two years and never used. So, when he gave it to me and I knew her book was available last Tuesday, I couldn't wait to make the trip to B&N to get the book.
It wasn't until Sunday as I read the paper that I saw the article about Anne Lamott coming to the library.
I brought it up to LH, since I didn't want to go alone. The timing wasn't too great since on Tues. I had my workout at the therapy place, a quick trip to the grocery store for produce for Thanksgiving and an afternoon of cooking stock (what a wonderful aroma filled the house), two kinds of rice, and sauteeing veges and Italian sausage for the stuffing. I also had to puree the stock after it was cooked, take the meat off the neck, chop the gizzards and heart for the Boys, and clean up the mess. I got everything done and after an early and quick dinner, LH and I left for the library.
The auditorium at the library was filled to overflowing and they had an overflow room with a simulcast. Thankfully, we arrived early enough to get seats in the auditorium.
What a delight to hear and see Anne Lamott, to hear her speak, read a bit from her book, share her wisdom, and answer questions. With humor, she engaged all of us and the hour and a half flew by. She was unabashedly firm with her faith. I even got my book signed without too long a wait. I thanked her for the gift and grace she is and her writing. Even LH enjoyed the evening, though he is not a big reader.
There were two other Lutheran pastors present, that LH and I knew. Since I don't know any Presbyterian clergy really in that Presbytery, I couldn't tell if there were any there.
If you ever get the chance to go hear and see Anne Lamott, go without any hesitation. You will not be disappointed. She is honest, real and down-to-earth and projects the very same. Truly human and without fuss, which is very much part of her appeal.
Just a great pre-thanksgiving treat to savor and enjoy. Thanks be to God, for Anne Lamott, her gift of writing, her sincere and genuine faith and ability to put it out there for all to be touched and to consider their own faith, and for such a fantastic opportunity to be inspired and encouraged.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

when he walked forth from the tomb, alive, after being dead and was unwrapped from his burial cloths. It happened last night.
For 15 years, I have collected jokes, Joyful Noiseletters, several sermons and a couple of joke books that I stored in a W-Mart plastic bag (double-bagged). For most of the last ten years I have celebrated Holy Humor Sunday the Sunday after Easter at most of the churches I served. I thought that at the last church-of-another-denomination I served, would truly benefit from celebrating Holy Humor or Bright Sunday earlier this year. However, they were too raw and fresh in the struggles they were having as well as being somewhat straight-laced formal Lutherans, and I after prayerful consideration deemed it unwise to introduce them to this. Although I know, in my heart and soul that they really needed to do engage in this. I remember going
out to make pastoral visits, running a wee bit late, and having my hands full and leaving the bag at the church. I also remember, the voice within saying I should make a second trip and put the bag in my van. I ignored the voice. (I should never ignore that voice - I know it is God's Spirit talking to me)
Things got busy and several weeks later, the bag was no longer in the office. I asked the custodian if he had inadvertantly placed it in the recycle dumpsters. No, he insisted, he hadn't seen the bags. Since the secretary also has access to the pastor's office, and she often did things without asking questions, although I had from the beginning of my time there and on several occasions, given her permission to ask questions if she was unsure of anything regarding the liturgy, etc. Sad, to say, she never did follow that advice and permission. I felt that she had seen the bag full of papers and put in the recycle bins.
I was heartbroken when LH asked about my file since the church he was serving at the time were going to celebrate a Holy Humor Sunday in the summer with a church picnic.
I did an archaeological dig through the basement, searching everywhere for that bag, I went through my study upstairs (which is filled with stacks of books and clothes that fit and no longer fit) and couldn't find it anywhere. I even searched in places I knew it couldn'te. All to no avail.
I was convinced that someone at the church had thrown it out and it was as though a part of me died. All those years of collecting tidbits, quotes, Reader's Digest pages of funnies, my sermons that didn't all make it to flashdrive, my bulletin covers and copies - all gone, forever destroyed. I was angry. I was bereft.
It grieved me so that whenever I thought about it, I was inconsoleable and my spirit hurt. Joy had left my very being. I was simply not the same any more.
With the knee surgery, healing and therapy, I was occupied elsewhere. But from
time to time, I remembered my loss and grieved the joy, the light that had left my life. I started a new file, but knew I'd never recapture all the funny stuff I had printed out from the internet. It would take years to make a new file. I could remember a few things but certainly not all from the services I had crafted.
With losing that Humor file, humor and joy had left me. Oh, I could still laugh at some funny things, but it was no longer the same - there was a unfilled void.
On my way to bed last night, I put my cardigan in my study, and wanted to find a pair of brown knit pants for Thanksgiving Day. I dug through a pile on a collapseable hamper - not there. I dig through two piles on the futuon and the cardboard box of
turtlenecks. I did find the brown pants buried under a pile between the hamper and the box of turtlenecks and I uncovered a plastic bag - and wondered, what was this plastic bag doing there tucked between the hamper and turtleneck box.
And glory be! It was none other than my humor file - all the jokes, funnies, sermons, bulletin covers and I hugged it to me. I was alive once more. My humor file was not lost or gone forever. I could die happy now.
Of course, when I told LH, he chided me for my mess! I took the bag with me to bed and marveled at all it contained as I looked through it and reacquainted myself with all its bits and pieces. I was ALIVE!!!! I who was dead, suddenly, unexpectedly, roared back to life. A Resurrection, of sorts. And I couldn't have been happier.
And it happened, just a day after I started a new bag - this time a green cloth grocery bag, with the latest Reader's Digest clippings (from the past 5 months) and a couple other funnies.
Just when you least expect it, when you aren't looking for it, when all hope has been exhausted, God steps in with one last laugh and surprise! "Here I am and I bring life - new, abundant, and eternal." "Come back to life, my child." "You died and now you are alive once more!" What a gift, what a grace, all I could say was, "Thank You, Thank You, Thank You." God has not forgotten me. God has come back into my soul like a Tsunami and overwhelmed me. How glorious to be swept into life!
I did pause to ask forgiveness for blaming the secretary and to ask God's blessing on her. I never did outright accuse her or confront about this.
I am alive this Thanksgiving. And when I die, I will die happy, for my joy has been recovered and lives within me once again. I know now how Lazarus felt.

Friday, November 16, 2012


So this Friday before Thanksgiving, think about Aunt Bert and how she'll celebrate Thanksgiving! And how about YOU?
1. What is your cure for the "mulleygrubs"?
Rubbing my greys! A spot of Swiss chocolate.

2. Where will you be for Thanksgiving?
Right here at home!! With a house filled with savory scent of a turkey roasting!

3. What foods will be served? Which are traditional for your family?
Obviously, a roasted turkey, stuffing with wild & white rice, bread, Sweet
Italian sausage, bacon, turkey stock, white wine, onion, garlic and herbs a
plenty from the garden, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole
compliments of my SIL's (thanks sisters!), turkey gravy and Pumpkin Mousse
Dessert. All served at a table set with real china, crystal and silverware.
A gurgling cod dispenses ice water, white wine in crystal glasses and a
Brown Swiss cow serves half and half for the coffee.

4. How do you feel about Thanksgiving as a holiday?
I enjoy having the family over, small though we are here, and all the great
smells emmanating from the kitchen, entailing two days of cooking, and a
lovely table using our wedding china and crystal and my silverware given to
me from babyhood through age 17 by my Grandma and Godmother. Through the years
I have carved out a routine that makes it all happen. It's the only the holiday
besides New Year that we can host. Christmas is not possible - too tired and
worn out and the same with Easter.

5. In this season of Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for?
LH, of course! My greys, my family and extended family, my friends, a home,
a van that runs, that my therapy is ended, that I have a place to serve part-
time though it is, smaller clothing size, and the best of all happened today!

I went to get my haircut (after refreshing its color last night) and wore my
nearly everyday sterling silver square hoop earrings. I took them off while
the stylist cut my hair and put them back in as I went to pay. Then it was
off to the local grocery store and the W-Mart for just a couple items. I got
home, fed the boys (greys) lunch, made my spinach salad. Then went upstairs
to shower to get all the little hairs off my back and out of my hair. When
I took my jewelry off, lo and behold, the left earring was missing. I was
heartbroke. I wear them everyday when I'm home and have done so for years.
They are my favorite go to pair. I showered furiously. Changed into my
therapy workout clothes to use the gym and left to retrace my steps with
just a wisp of hope that I might find the lost earring. I went to the Hair
Place looked around the parking spots and went inside, all the while looking
at the ground, nothing. I asked if anyone turned in the earring - nope.
I drove to the local grocery store. Looked around the parking spots where
I had parked earlier. Retraced my steps into the store, went to the bathroom
since I had used it and nothing to be seen. I walked through the gift, floral
area just like I had done earlier, but to no avail. Since I didn't have time to
totally walk the entire store (needing to get to my workout) I went up to the
customer service desk and said, "I know this is a long-shot, but did anyone
turn in a silver square hoop earring?" The woman behind the counter lifted
her hand and slid my earring across the counter. I couldn't even believe it.
I showed her my other earring so she knew it was mine.
I mentioned that there were still some honest people left and she said good
people shop there. I thanked her profusely and thanked God even more profusely
for what had been lost was now found and reunited with its sibling and more
profoundly, with me!!! My spirit lifted from the pit into the clouds and I
rejoiced, rejoiced, rejoiced with a heart overflowing with thanksgiving.
So, I am exceedingly thankful to have found my lost earring.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Today was my last day of therapy, according to my insurance. In a way, I am glad not to have to endure any more bending of the knee. I bend at about 115 degrees. I can live with that. The fact remains that my quad muscle is still so very weak and I am not yet able to do stairs normally. So, I am able to pay a minimal amount for a month of wellness at the therapy place and use all their machinery. And I can use it as often as I want. I will be doing that at least for the next couple of months - going in twice a week to work on stengthening my quad.
I still wear the knee brace whenever I am outside the house - work, running errands, grocery shopping, etc. I look forward to the day when I can lose the brace. It looks like I will still need to wear it when we go on our anniversary cruise. I know the knee is not strong enough to walk through the airport concourse and all. I'm thinking I'll have to wear it on the outside of my pants, as dorky as that will look, so I don't have to take my pants off for security!!! I'd rather be safe than risk reinjurying my quad. Sigh. Three months of therapy and four months since surgery and I'm stil not back to normal. I will continue to work at it doing exercises at home and in the gym. Thanks to all the therapists who had to do what they did, even at great pain to me, in order to get me this far. I appreciate all they have done, knowing theirs is sometimes a very tough job inflicting pain on a person in order to heal them and break up all that scar tissue. For now, I must continue to be patient and determined as I do all I can to get to "normal".

Monday, November 12, 2012

to the article in the local newspaper business section regarding JCP and its sales being down -
as one who has recently visited JCP, it's not so much the new pricing, as it has to do with, at least in the women's dept:
~sleeveless and short sleeves tops in the winter in NE OH, it gets cold here - where are the sleeves?
~the too low cut tops, not all of us amply endowed professional working women want
to show off the girls or draw more attention to them. Leave that for the runway and
Hollywood crowd.
~basic cotton/spandex pants in normal colors. Hey, it's winter, we want something
other than polyester dress pants and knit pants
~ outrageous patterns and colors - what happened to some normal, classy patterns and
tops made out of something other than polyester? How about some basic cotton, cotton
blend layering pieces?
~what happened to St. John's Bay label? Liked the basic casual items.
~too much polyester for winter
~fine gauge cotton/arcylic sweaters in normal colors - black, off white, blue, pink,
tan, green (that isn't emerald city green in your face), etc.
~cotton blend blouses with some classy patterns - not early 70's psychodelic hard
on the eyes designs
and this can apply to Macy's as well.
How about cashmere blend sweaters for us larger women. Think we don't get cold and love the feel and warmth of cashmere? You're missing a market.
I have been shopping or should I say, tried. I wouldn't give a nickel for most of the items in your stores. Yes, follow trends, but be aware of keeping to some of the basics and this sleeveless, too low cut tops and sweaters are not in keeping with most of your normal, professional women, especially during a Great Recession from which we
are not likely to rise up any time soon.
So, there is your answer to why your sales are down. I will wait until more reasonable and basic items are available. In the meanwhile, there are some catalogs that have come in the mail and have some of those basic items for sale...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Election is Over-
I am glad that this election is over and all the political ads of the last year and a half - far too much time spent on campaigning, are finally done.
I continue to appalled at the money spent on campaigning that could have gone to pay off the deficit or fund programs that are being cut. What a waste of money, especially here in OH where advertising has been non-stop and our mailbox overflowing with
slick brochures that go right into the garbage.
In this economy, with the world hurting and victims of Sandy without power, food, water, shelter, it is obscene that millions upon millions are wastefully spent on
campaigning. Wasteful even to the eyes of the world of resources, time, people power and money that are simply thrown to the wind. As Americans, we could do so much more than flinging money around that could actually do some good for our nation for the world.
Each party ought seriously consider changing the way we elect candidates - time limit for campaigning and dollar limits for spending.
Where have all these resources gotten us - our economy is still in the dumps, people are without jobs or underemployed, the education system is in shambles, and Congress does little - except talk and reap their own benefits. If Obamacare is so good, then let our elected government leaders be part of the same system as the rest of us. Why should they be exempt? It's an outrage. They should be the very first ones signing up for the health care program/insurance. How does one lead, but by example and with integrity. We are creating a class system that bodes no good.
America, we can do so much better. I pray that we will for apparently we have lost sight of our founding principles and we are paying for service that is woefully lacking.
Why should my tax dollars supporting local schools go to lawyers to settle which school should be in the football playoffs or not? My money should be used for books,
equipment and good teachers. School is first and foremost about education and less about sports. How many administrators in the school system are truly needed at the expense of teachers in the class room?
Enough. I am just glad it's all over and now we have to live into the next 4 years
and pray that things will get better rather than worse no matter who is President.