Monday, July 18, 2011

The Packing is Over....

Helen has moved!

I am grateful to blogger for hosting this free site for blogging.  But I have come to realize how much these posts and your comments have meant to me, and after some technical difficulties, have decided that moving  is in my best interest.

So I guess you can say that Blogger and I are separating for a while, though the  cooking blog I share with Annie and my Lenten blog will still remain with him.   It's not Blogger, it's me.  I have grown past our relationship, but grateful knowing that I would not be the blogger I am today without him.  (That's right.  For that you can blame blogger!  Mwahahahahaha!

I am now at

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time Traveling Video..

I just wanted to share something funny this week, so I thought I'd travel back in time....

to April 1st, when Google first put out this laugh out loud video!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Letter to My Aunt

I mentioned earlier this week that Saturday is my Aunt's birthday.  I figured that if I can write a blog, I should be able to write a birthday letter to her.  The thing is, I don't want to make her sad.  I couldn't possibly write a letter that doesn't include something about my mom (her dead sister).  She is my aunt because I had the mom I did and she had the sister she did.  Leaving Momma out would be artificial.  If you were me, would you include the letter in her birthday card, give it to her separately and tell her to read it later, or mail it and let her read it on her own a week after her birthday?  I just don't know.  I'm past the point where all mentions of my mom make me said.  Should I assume she is, too?

I'm sharing here the contents of the letter.  I don't think there is anything so personal here that the world couldn't know it.  (Names of Aunts are changed just in case they'd feel weird about having their names broadcasted on the interwebs.)

July 16, 2011

Dear Auntie Li,

It’s your birthday and I’ve been thinking about all sorts of memories from my childhood which include you. 
I remember being a little girl looking through the photograph album and always stopping at your picture, because you were the prettiest lady in it.
I remember you inviting me to go downtown with you and my cousins to see the air show.
I remember the day we cousins were sitting on the porch where grandma lived on Bernard and we heard my Momma yell out “LYDIA!”  “LYDIA!” several times.   I could tell she was annoyed, so I chose to hide out on the porch, glad I wasn’t you.  “She hears me!  Why isn’t that girl coming?”  I heard my Momma say while you and Aunt Josie laughed and laughed.   I envied you all having sisters, because you could dare laugh at your sister right in front of her while she mad.   Now that’s what I call a good relationship!  It turned out, my Momma was distractedly calling the wrong name!  She meant to call my name, but said yours instead, I presume because she was busy and distracted.  (I wonder just a little if it was because she was bossy to you sometimes, too.) You and Aunt Josephine laughed and laughed, then told her she was calling your name not mine, and she laughed, too!  (And she was still mad at me for not coming, because  I should have known she meant me!)
Now Momma is in heaven, and I know you still bring her joy and laughter.  I don’t think Momma could enjoy heaven near so much if there wasn’t someone she could count on here to tell me to carry a sweater, wear sunscreen, and just overall care what happens to me.
Thank you for being my Aunt.  I love you.  Happy Birthday.  I hope this year brings you many happy memories!

Love Your Favorite Niece,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


When you start Mathematics, you do not begin with Calculus; you begin with simple addition.  In the same way, if we really learn to forgive, we had better start with something easier than the Gestapo.  One might start with forgiving one's husband, or wife, or parents, or children, or the nearest N.C. O., for something they had done or said last week.   That will probably keep us busy for the moment. (Lewis p.104)

One might start with the colleague who carelessly said something cruel.
One might start with one's doctor, who no longer makes one feel like a person being treated, but like chattel  being herded.
One might start with the clerk who was rude.
One might start with the driver who cuts people off.

there is peace in the self, there is peace in the home. When there is peace in
the homes, there is peace in the community. When there is peace in the
communities there is peace in the nations. When there is peace in the nations,
there is peace in the world."  I don't know who said this.  Google won't divulge that information to me.

Lewis points out to me that what is true for peace is also true for forgiveness.  Maybe that's because you can't have one without the other.

More posts on Lewis's chapter on Forgiveness can be found on my friend Sarah's blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Out of the Way Place

A bit larger and fancier than Grandma's back porch, but you get the idea
I don't think I ever lived in a home with a front porch (though the home I live in now has a wee bit of space next to the front door where I keep a chair and sit out sometimes) but growing up, I loved the back porch!  In our home, we had an enclosed porch where I kept my toys when I was little, and played loud music as I grew up.   I think the porch was my spot because it was a bit out of the way.  My toys weren't under foot when I was small, and my music wasn't blaring near the living room or dining room when I got older.  I remember cold winters when Momma and I would argue about whether or not it was too cold for me to be on the porch.   I had a bedroom I could listen to a small radio in after all.   But I loved being off by myself for a little while during the day.  (My mom was very protective, and it seemed my time away from home was rationed.  If I was ten minutes late from school I was read the riot act about Momma being afraid I'd been beaten and left in a ditch somewhere, while my mind wandered off wondering just where this ditch between my house and school was.  When I dared ask, I was told not to be a smart aleck.)

My grandmother's porch was also a good spot for being out of the way, though not alone.  My mother had two sisters and three brothers, so when we all went to my Grandma's two bedroom apartment for holidays and parties, it was a bit cramped.  We cousins used to like to visit on the porch when we'd first arrive.  It's not exactly like we were banished there, but we liked to share secrets and silliness away from adult ears.  After supper when everything was put away, we might sit at the dining room table and play cards, with some of the uncles joining us, but before eating we'd have just been in the way and made to shuffle around, so us being on the porch at first was perfect for everyone.

It couldn't have been a big porch, but in my head I remember the five youngest amongst us singing, playing charades, and telling stories right underneath the window.  And we laughed.  Man oh manischewitch what I wouldn't give to sit on the floor of that porch and laugh like that with them again.

Poor Bob.   I'm now contemplating asking him to move my desk away from the window, and build an enclosed space for my cousins and I to sit in and laugh.  Okay.  Maybe not.

You can read more about people's love for their porch by clicking this link and checking out Peter Pollock's One Word Blog Carnival. Yes. Todays word is "porch".

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dreams Coming True Slowly...

This is THE dress, but mine is a bigger size!
While I'm only up to number 39 writing my dream list, I am almost at the point where dream number four is coming true.   I tried on my sun dress yesterday, and it fit!  So why do I use the word "almost" in the first sentence?  Because I still think I'd feel more confident if the fit was a little looser.  It went on and it looked good, but I'm afraid to make any sudden movements.
This coming Saturday is my aunt's birthday and she is having a barbecue.  (My aunt's birthday is the same as Candy Steele's, so you can consider yourself reminded that it is Candy's birthday on July 16.)   I am hoping dream number four will come true by Saturday!   I think it will!
God loves us and cares about are dreams both big and small!  I know fitting into a particular dress is a small dream compared with dream #1 (becoming a mother) and dream #3 (becoming a healthy weight),  but it is because He helps me with the small things that I feel encouraged to hope for the big things!
I'm also doing better with number 26 "to have lots of energy".   I can't claim to have "lots" of energy yet, but I feel less tired than I used to, which is very encouraging to me.   Sometimes our dreams coming true unfold like a flower instead of coming true out of the blue.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Today we are discussing the chapter Christian Marriage from C. S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity.

 Lewis  said a lot of things I agree with whole heartedly, such as the importance of the promise made in marriage, and the explosion of being "in love" being replaced by the kind of love that is more like an engine keeping everything running ( I don't know much about engines, but I do know that the "in love" feelings return when they aren't desperately grasped at like the most important thing in the world, which is not something Lewis mentions, but then since he wasn't married when he wrote this, he can't be expected to get every aspect right.)  But he also left me something to ponder.

....I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused.  The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is a quite different question-how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws.  A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for everyone.   I do not think that.  At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.  My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.  There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage:  one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens , the other governed by Church with rules enforced by her own members.  The distinction ought to be sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

Now, substitute the words American for British,  legislators for Members of Parliament, and Gay Marriage for divorce laws, and you see my dilemma.     Should Gay Marriage be allowed in America?  Should a Christian (one who believes homosexual behavior is both a choice and a sin) attend such a ceremony / celebration?  Isn't a boycott unloving?  Aren't we supposed to love the sinner?  Can we say "best wishes" and give a gift, hoping for their happiness even if we ultimately don't believe they'll be happy with their choice?

I'm thinking Clive would say if they aren't Christian, to go and try to wish them well.  I don't know what I think, except in my heart, I truly want to show love, and wish people well, even when the picture I see ahead isn't rosy.

Thoughts?   Feel free to disagree with me.  I'm between many people in my corporal life who feel differently from me and each other on this issue.

Please join the discussion over at Connecting to Impact, where the discussion in the various links will be marriage in general, and not necessarily the paragraph I chose to ponder.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Hundred Dreams (Not Quite, But I'm Open to It)

These lovely toes are courtesy of photobucket.   Until, now
it never occurred to me I may need pictures of my nekkid feet.
In prayer meeting Monday a friend talked about a Conference on the Father's love where they were encouraged to begin a list of 100 dreams.  I have listed thirty dreams so far.

Last week I wrote a post about feeling more optimistic, and I really do.  It had hit me a few months ago that not only didn't I accomplish all of the goals of my youth, but that I didn't believe I ever would, and had felt I should put dreams away as youthful foolishness.  It did not help my outlook.

Many things on the list are actually related to each other:
3) Become a healthy weight.  (It's been so hard, and I've failed so many times I stopped hoping I ever could.   But today, I am dreaming about it, focusing on it, and asking God to help me daily in this quest.)
4) to fit in my new sundress.
5) to fit in the clothes in my box in the basement.
6) to be able to get rid of all of my large clothes because I need room for a smaller size.  (I guess I'm dreaming of a good reason for a new wardrobe.)
10) to be able to comfortably get up and down from the floor.
11) to be able to stand all day without a lot of discomfort.
12) to be able to walk around outside all day without my feet being in a lot of pain.
17) to walk several blocks without getting out of breath.
21) to fit in an airline seat.
24) to be flexible enough to give myself a pedicure.  (I feel pretty when my toe nails are pink.  I know it's silly.)
25) to be able to get out of the tub without worrying I'm going to slip and kill myself and the paramedics are going to find me nekkid.
26) to have lots of energy.
30) for my feet and ankles not to swell.
That's 13 things all related to number 3.  Obviously when I get dream #3, most if not all of the other dreams I shared today will have already been granted.  I still think it is important to list these other things.  They didn't come up because I asked "Why do I want to become a healthy weight?" but because I asked "What do I want?" .  I will not yet be a healthy weight the day I paint my toenails, but I will still have gotten something I want, and will need to thank God for His help.  Because I'll only get there with His help.  I know this, because I have been trying too long on my own.

So as frivilous as it sounds, I'm praying for my weight, size, mobility and flexibility.  

What about you?  What are your dreams?  You don't HAVE to list 100, 30, or even 13.   I'll be happy to know one or two, and will pray for your dreams, too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trying Again

I don't need a snazzy cover today.
The topic is snazzy enough!
...many people are deterred from seriously attempting Christian chastity because they think (before trying) that it is impossible.  But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility.  Faced with an optional question in an examination paper, one considers whether one can do it or not:  faced with a compulsory question, one must do the best one can.  You certainly get none for leaving the question alone.  Not only in examinations, but in war, mountain climbing, in learning to skate, or swim, or ride a bicycle, or even fastening a stiff collar with cold fingers, people quite often do what seemed impossible before they did it.  It is wonderful what you can do when you have to.  (Lewis, p.93)

I agree with Lewis's point.  I have heard lots of people comment on how it is "impossible" to expect people "nowadays" to refrain from sexual activity until they are married.    Sometimes it makes me fume, because it assumes our ancestors who claimed they did are liars.  (It assumes me to be a liar as well.   Call me a slut, and I'll be surprised, but I'll let you live, but don't any person dare call me a liar!)

I actually feel more charitable, though, when reading Lewis's words, because I, too, have my own "impossibility".   Sure, it's possible for most people, just not me.  What is this unworkability?   Well, if you can excuse the use of a four letter word in this post, it is staying on a d-i-e-t.    Once I fail in some small way, I tend to give up, because I wasn't perfect.  Sure, many people stay on Atkins™ until they are their desired weight, but it was "impossible" for me to do that.

We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity- like perfect charity- will not be attained by any merely human efforts.  You must ask for God's help.  Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given.  Never mind.  After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again.  Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself, but just this power of always trying again.  For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in the habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God.  We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair of even our worst, for our failures are forgiven.  The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.

So.... I suppose now is a good time to mention that I've been using Slimfast™ for the last two and a half weeks.   And I've been praying for me. (Lewis, p. 94)

For more discussion on this week's chapter of Mere Christianity, check out Sarah Salter's blog.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bunnies, Ducks, Hamsters, and Kittens, Oh My!

I have always loved dogs and cats, but allergies prevented me from having any.

My first encounter with a "pet" was probably when I was three years old and we went to visit my Daddy's family in Hungary.  They lived on a farm, and when my Uncle Bela took me to the rabbit hutches, I was thrilled.   I adored those bunnies, and even had favorites.  At the time, no one had the heart to tell me that the ones I hardly noticed would be fried "chicken" in the upcoming weeks.

The day we were leaving, my Uncle Bela wanted my daddy to smuggle my favorite bunny home on the plane with us.  My daddy said that wasn't legal, and my uncle tried to tell him I'd be heartbroken leaving that bunny behind.  Daddy said I'm going to be even more heartbroken leaving my cousins behind, and that he'd sooner be arrested for smuggling one of them home on the plane.  The brothers disagreed about what was best for me, but parted on good terms anyway. (And no cousins were smuggled in the luggage.)

It was soon after we came home (at least in my mind) that my Daddy and my Godfather (his cousin) came home from the farm with two ducks.  I named them Daffy and Daisy.  I loved them very much, and they lived on a diet of Fruity Pebbles™cereal for several months.   Then, however, neighbors complained that they were making too much noise (probably the sugar from the Fruity Pebbles™ making them hyper), and that keeping ducks was against city ordinances.  They either flew away, went to live on a farm, or were Sunday dinner.   I like to think they flew away, and the ducks at a nearby pond are their progeny.

When I was about six years old, my Daddy's friend's son had hamsters.  I thought they were adorable and wanted hamsters of my own.  That year, for my birthday, my Godfather came to my house with a table and a tank.  He and Daddy teased Momma that they were bringing in hamsters.  My mother threw a fuss that no rodents are being invited into her house to be nurtured!  They kept teasing her, but they brought in tropical fish. Though I loved Henrietta (named after Henrietta Hippo from "New Zoo Revue"), Henry (also named after Henrietta Hippo) and their little family of fishes, I still think that if they let me have the hamsters, I wouldn't be afraid of and repulsed by rodents.

When I was in college, a cat snuck into our basement window and had kittens.    Though I really wanted to keep the kitten I had named Tawney, my parents found them all other homes when they were old enough to be weaned.  I'd have preferred to keep Tawney and get allergy shots, but it wasn't my call.

Since then, I haven't had any pets, though I sometimes tease Bob that I'm going to take him to Church to have him blessed on St. Francis Day.   He is a good sport, but he doesn't want to deal with my allergies any more than my parents did.  So for now, I have to be content with BunBun and her family living in my front yard.

This post is part of Peter Pollock's One Word Blog Carnival. Today's word is "pets". Click here to find his and other posts about pets.

I still remember the words to the theme song, btw...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Can't Switch My Phone Plan Because....

I have allergies!

Really, otherwise I'd think about it, but to impulsively buy a dog that would make me sneeze is just too much of a deterrent.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Don't Feel Crappy Anymore!

I know.  I have such finesse with titles.    I suppose I could have started with a more positive sounding "I'm feeling optimistic", but that sounds so "Little Miss Mary Sunshinish".   I have nothing against Mary Sunshine, but I haven't been her for a long time.  If anything, I felt like I was fighting pessimism.
In the beginning,  fighting pessimism was a lot like stomping on a spider:  annoying and a little messy, but a minor blip in the day.  But for a few months  I felt like I was trying to fight a dragon with a hair pin.  But one day last week, I felt a feeling that seemed familiar that I couldn't quite name.  I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized it was optimism.  I feel optimistic that this year I will be subbing, maybe even teaching.  I feel optimistic that my test results will be fine.  I feel optimistic that I can get done what needs to be done to do what I want to do!  I admit, it's not the eager optimism of my youth, but it is a weight off of my heart.
Why?  The only thing different in my life right now is that my thyroid prescription has been increased.  (Hey, God answers prayers in interesting ways.  I prayed to feel better and be more motivated, and I got symptoms that made me feel bad enough to go see a specialist in another area who said "Hmmm... You have an underactive thyroid listed under previous conditions...   Last checked over six months ago?  Let's go with a simple blood test, first..")
What's my point?  Not much.  Just that I'm feeling really good for a change.
How are you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Surprised by Our Choices

Today we are discussing the Chapter Morality and Psychoanalysis in Mere Christianity.  The gist of it is that people with psychological issues will not be held by God to be responsible for acts committed which they did not have the ability to control.

Last night when I went to bed, I was thinking about my aunt.  My Aunt June* died about twenty years ago. Actually, she was murdered.  She was leaving Church after lighting a candle and was on her way to do some Christmas shopping when someone tried to snatch her purse.   Auntie June fought back.  The snatcher became her attacker.  He banged her head against the sidewalk repeatedly and took the purse.  She went to the Emergency Room and had Christmas with the family a few days later.   The next week she had a brain hemorrhage and died the week after that.

We have always believed that the attack and her sudden illness were related.  Over and over we in the family have said to one another that she shouldn't have fought back.   She should have let him have her purse.   She couldn't have possibly had so much money in her purse for it to be worth the risk.  I said to myself that I'd learn from this, and if caught in the same situation, I'd give up the purse.

Guess what.  I lied to me.  Two years later I was on my way home from a job interview in a neighborhood my daddy TOLD me he didn't want me to work in when a woman grabbed my purse while I was crossing the street to catch a bus.   I yanked my purse back and looked at her.   She kept walking like nothing happened.   How much was in that purse?   Five whole dollars and a bus pass.  I didn't even have a credit card.  One could say that I needed the bus pass to get home, but honestly, I could have gone into a store, called the police, asked them to call my daddy, who would have picked me up without even an "I told you so."  (My daddy didn't say "I told you so."  He gave a look which said volumes, but those four words never passed his lips.)  But my  instinct was to fight for what I thought was mine, not to remember what happened to Aunt June, and submit my purse.

I was young, though, right?   With age and experience, I'd be able to learn from what happened to my aunt.  Sure.  But not yet.  Two years ago while Christmas shopping two young men tried to grab my purse outside of Borders.  I fought back, and they quickly moved on.  They were gone before I could dial my cell phone on the other side of the door.  (Yes.  I did get to keep my purse.)

I didn't understand my Aunt's state of mind twenty years ago when she chose to fight back.    I judged her to be in the wrong, but I didn't understand that in that flash of a moment, there was no thinking, only reflex.  One could reflexively let go of the purse, or fight back, but there is no time to think or to choose. Honestly, I don't even know what I was thinking.   I first remember thinking when I was dialing the phone.  (And that thought was "What the french toast did you just do?   Didn't you learn anything from what happened to Aunt June?")

I never judged Aunt June's reaction to be sinful, just unwise.  Yet I was unwise twice, even after promising myself I'd react differently if I ever found myself in similar circumstances.  I can see how sin could be similar, even if time isn't a factor.  One may not have the presence of mind to be mindful of their actions.  Sin is not just a bad action, but the choice to do something bad.

We see only the result which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of a man's psychological make up is probably due to his body: when his body dies all this will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see everyone as he really was.   There will be surprises.

Yes.  There will be surprises,  I'm sure.

More discussions about this Chapter can be found on Connecting to Impact.

*Auntie June's real name wasn't June.  I don't know that her children would be okay with me telling her story, so I changed her name.

Monday, June 20, 2011

His Voice

My friend Jason is hosting "Warrior Poet Circle" today. The theme is "Voice of God."    It seems strange to be to join, like I'm hoarding in on a party I don't belong at, since I feel like neither a warrior or a poet.  Yet we are are told to dress ourselves as warriors and be prepared,  and I can't remember when I didn't love reading poetry (at least if you count Nursery Rhymes).  I was in second grade the first time I tried to write a poem.  It was awful!  My teacher liked it though.  Having been a second grade teacher myself,  I know why she liked it.  She liked it because she liked me.

So anyway, here we are with a short poem.

Softly whispered comfort as I try to hang on to things that slip away.
Gentle commands to guide me through the labyrinths in which I find myself trapped.
Silent lullabies sung to my weary soul.
Is that really Him?
Wouldn't the voice Inifinity boom?
No.  Not when speaking to one He calls "Daughter."

Friday, June 17, 2011

How I am Coping With Psych Withdrawal

Ignore the day and time in the picture.  No one knows
Yet.  I know.  Talk about "psych", huh.  Oh yeah,
and this photo is courtesy of Photobucket.

Raise your hand if you are disappointed to find out that Psych isn't coming back until Fall.  Now wave.  Thank you for that nice cool breeze.  It's finally starting to get warm here in Chicago, and that was refreshing.

I don't know whether it is lucky for me or not, but I didn't have cable when Psych first came out.  I missed the first two and a half seasons.   The good news is that just like a pre-owned comfy chair, it's new to me!  I saw the first half of season three a couple of months ago when I first started suffering from Psych withdrawal.  I was better for a while, but then found myself in desperate need again, so I went to our local library and took out Season 1 of Psych.

That is why I saw the following for the first time on Wednesday.   I laughed so hard, the room was spinning like the stars in the sky!  Watch the following video to find out what I mean by that.

The aftermath went better for me.  My DVD player has a pause button.

What about you?  What show do you think is the funniest you've seen?  What scene makes you giggle every time you think of it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How Would a Christian Society Look?

Today we are discussing Chapter three of Book Three of Mere Christianity, which is titled Social Morality.  In it, Lewis describes what the New Testament says a fully Christian society would look like.  He describes a society where everyone works, people don’t fixate on luxuries or posturing, authority is obeyed, and people are courteous and cheerful.

“If there were such a society in existence and you or I visited it, I think we should come away with a curious impression.  We should feel that its economic life was very socialistic and, in that sense, “advanced,” but its family life and its code of manners were rather old-fashioned- perhaps even ceremonious and aristocratic.  Each of us would like some bits of it, but I am afraid very few of us would like the whole thing.  That is just what one would expect if Christianity is the total plan for the human machine.  We have all departed from that total plan in different way, and each of us wants to make out that his own modifications of the original plan is the plan itself.  You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian:  every one is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest.  That is why we do not get much further:  and that is why people who are fighting for quite opposite things can both say that they are fighting for Christianity.”

The first part of the paragraph reminds me of something my father said when I was growing up.   He came to the United States of America during the Hungarian Revolution.  I vaguely remember asking him how a system he felt compelled to stand against and eventually leave (which meant leaving family and friends) came into existence.  He said to me “Honeygirl, if Christians behaved like Christians, Karl Marx could have taken his manifesto and stuck it up his @$$. ”

Here I think comes into play the idea that people want to take bits and pieces of it.  First of all, you can’t remove God from it.  Second of all, Christianity is a choice, and Communism as a political and economic system was not.

Am I guilty of “taking bits and pieces of it”.  I’m sure I do.  I know that when I see the words “Communism” and “Socialism”, my hackles are raised.  My daddy had to leave home and family because he stood against those things.  Sure, and argument could be made that if he hadn’t I’d never have been born, since he met my mother here in Chicago.   But I still feel badly for him, since I know it would have broken my heart to leave my mother and father and never see them again.  

I do not, however, think that Lewis was making a case for Communism.  He was pointing out that such a society would not resemble our own.  I’m sure if he had been communicating with a Communist audience in mind, he would have emphasized other points, such as family life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Where is Home?

This building looks exactly
 like the one I  grew up
 in in Chicago.   We lived
 on the first floor.
When I was little, I considered a two flat a couple of blocks west of Pulaski and a block north of Lawrence my home.  Being an only child, I had my own bedroom (painted apricot, just as I requested), and was just spoiled enough that the enclosed porch in the back was converted to a playroom (painted pink), which became the room I listened to music in when I got older.  We had arched doorways leading to the living room (painted off white) and dining room (painted light green), with a huge picture of Jesus in the Garden over our China cabinet.
Either this depicts Jesus in the Garden or when He cried out how
  He longed to gather His people like a hen gathers her chicks.

On the opposite wall was a picture of the Last Supper.  
My mother always bought pictures of the Last Supper (not necessarily this one,
 though this is the one that hung in our  dining room) as house warming gifts,
 unless she new the family already had one.

In the living room hung a painted portrait of my mother on her First Communion Day, a picture of me on my First Communion Day, my parent's wedding photo, and a collage of photos of friends and family.

None of these things made that house near Lawrence and Pulaski a home.   Oh, don't get me wrong.  I loved that my home included all of those things.   But that isn't what made them my home.   Indeed, when my Mother became ill and "temporarily" came to live with us, I'd do routine checks on that house, and already it no longer felt like home.   It was only home as long as someone who loved me was there.  Maybe that's why we tell people to make themselves at home when they visit.  It's like we are saying "Hey, you are loved here.  Don't be afraid to let your guard down! It's all good!"

I imagine that is also why we Christians say that our true home is in Heaven.   Who loves us more than God?  No one.  Who accepts us more fully, "as is"?   No one.  So then it only makes sense that Heaven is our real home.  And now with both my Momma and my Daddy there,   Heaven is an even more welcoming place, though it would seem impossible, like adding to infinity.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not overly anxious to leave this world.   I have a wonderful husband who makes this world more "homey", and I dread the thought of leaving him in a world less loving with a house less homey.  But I have become more joyful at the prospect of Jesus preparing a home for us together in Heaven.  A home that includes those we love.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beginning of Summer Twitter Ho Down Post

kelybreez After 3 weeks in Uganda, kelybreez posts again... Read all about it! (dangerous Breeze)…

Helenatrandom @kelybreez Welcome back! I missed you! I thought you were boycotting the twitter because @weightwhat hasn't been around.

kelybreez @Helenatrandom What happened to @weightwhat ? Why hasn't she been around? Was she in a tizzy because I was gone?

Helenatrandom @kelybreez No tizzy, just busy. Life is just a whirlwind when one is as popular as she@ @weightwhat

kelybreez @Helenatrandom Yeah, that's just her cover excuse. She's mad at me. I know it.
Helenatrandom @kelybreez Maybe it was because you refused to pack her in your carry on case and take her with you. @weightwhat

weightwhat @Helenatrandom @kelybreez Oh, and because I started a new job.

@Helenatrandom@weightwhat Really? Congratulations! What do you do?


SarahBeeC My office smells like wet dog

@Helenatrandom@SarahBeeC Maybe you should rethink that candle scent...

katdish @SarahBeeC @helenatrandom's tweet reminded me of this. Perhaps you can create some of these?

SarahBeeC @Helenatrandom Leather - check, freshly cut grass - check, wet dog - scratch that --- done

@Helenatrandom @katdish Red meat candles! AWESOME! (But sadly, no bacon...)
Helenatrandom @SarahBeeC How about bacon scented candles? YUM!


@makeadiff21@Helenatrandom @sarahmsalter All I know is I've missed the snark that the twitterverse adds to my daily life :-)

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 I know. I miss it, too!

sarahmsalter @makeadiff21 Oh, so you need SNARK, do you? *evil grin* @Helenatrandom

makeadiff21 @Helenatrandom @sarahmsalter One has to have it to survive at times, ya know? Hahaha

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Yellow beans seeds are planted along side the driveway and next to the patio.

Tomatoes, squash, onions and cucumber are planted alongside the garage and in planters.

Flowers are planted in front of the house in the space where we removed two dead shrubs.

Now when it rains, it will save us the work of watering the garden, instead of preventing us from working in the garden.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So Long as No One Gets Hurt

In Book Three, Chapter One of Mere Christianity, Lewis proposes that there are three parts to morality.  The first part is universal:  don't do things that hurt other people.  The second has to do with one's own inner moral condition, and the third with one's relationship with God.

It's so much easier to live in the first part of morality.   Who wants to hurt people?     I doubt there is anyone who wakes up in the morning and says to himself (or herself) "Oh wow!   Look at how the sun shines so bright and the weather is just right!   Perfect for carrying out my diabolical plan to hurt as many people as I can today!  MWAHAHAHA!"

But we manage to hurt people any way.   I imagine that most of the time, it is because of selfishness and a lesser developed inner moral condition.   But sometimes we hurt people because we can't agree with their choices.   We can't agree to "live and let live" (though I do think we can agree to "live in love") because the choices being discussed are so clearly against what God has said in His Word that we can not in good conscience condone it.  I suppose on some level we risk causing them more hurt my condoning things that must not be condoned, but the person involved may not ever see it that way.

I guess the point of my little tangent, which lost Lewis somewhere along the line, is that morality is tough on any level.   I am so thankful for forgiveness.

Please visit my friend Sarah Salter if you'd like to read a more in depth discussion of this Chapter of Mere Christianity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Children of God

This week's book discussion focuses on Chapter 5, Book Two of Mere Christianity.

The passage which hit me right away, and my mind kept drifting back to while reading the rest, is this:

"In Christ, a new kind of man appeared: and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us.

How is this to be done?  Now, please remember how we acquired the old, ordinary kind of life.  We derived it from others, from our father and mother and all our ancestors, without our consent- and by a very curious process involving pleasure, pain and danger.  A process you would never have guessed.  ... Now the God who arranged that process is the same God who arranged how the new kind of life- the Christ life- is to be spread.  We must be prepared for it being odd too.  He did not consult us when He invented sex: He has not consulted us when He invented this." (Mere Christianity, p.62)

 I must admit to being amused by how Lewis points out that God didn't ask our opinion on sex (which a majority of us seem to like just fine, I gather), which really is an odd process when you think about it, so the concept of new life in Christ really was no odder than that, and at least as beautiful.

But what I really love is how this paragraph points me back to my favorite verse in the whole Bible.  (I know it's supposed to be John 3:16, but I can't help it, this one makes my heart go pitter patter.)

John 1:12-13 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God.

I just love how Jesus didn't just stop at saving me from destruction, but chose to make me a child of God.  How awesome is that?  That's what I call a new life!

I suppose there is a lot more "meat" to discuss in this chapter, but I can't think anymore.  I keep coming back to being a child of God, and just feel thankful and elated.  If you would like to read a deeper discussion of this Chapter, please click here. You will be transported to my friend Jason's blog, where you will find links to others posting on the same chapter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Puddles on the Dance Floor

One of my favorite old songs growing up was "Sway" by Dean Martin.

The funny thing is, it was my mother's LEAST favorite Dean Martin song.   She misheard the lyrics as

Other dancers may pee on the floor
Dear but my eyes will see only you (kind of dangerous if they actually are peeing on the floor, no?)
Only you have the magic technique
When we sway I go wee (Great.  Now we are both really in danger of slipping.  Maybe we should just sit this one out...)

My mom knew that wasn't what he was singing, but somehow she couldn't get that picture out of her head during the song.

Much as I love the song, I like to kid people about the "violence" in it.
"I can hear the sound of violence long before it begins" (That would make you a great cop, but what does it have to do with dancing?  Are you expecting to have to fight over me?  Just let him cut in...)

My friend Katdish did an awesome post in January about misheard lyrics, with some hysterical comments.

If you are interested in what Dino is really singing, here it is..

When marimba rhythms start to play
Dance with me, make me sway
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore
Hold me close, sway me more

Like a flower bending in the breeze
Bend with me, sway with ease
When we dance you have a way with me
Stay with me, sway with me

Other dancers may be on the floor
Dear, but my eyes will see only you
Only you have the magic technique
When we sway I go weak

I can hear the sounds of violins
Long before it begins
Make me thrill as only you know how
Sway me smooth, sway me now

Other dancers may be on the floor
Dear, but my eyes will see only you
Only you have the magic technique
When we sway I go weak

I can hear the sounds of violins
Long before it begins
Make me thrill as only you know howI'm labeling this as a "Life is Funny" post and linking this to my friend's blog to encourage her to bring the carnival back!
Sway me smooth, sway me now
You know how
Sway me smooth, sway me now

This video may be more to your taste.  It's not Dino, but I still like it!

I'm linking back to my friend here, and hoping she brings back the "Life is Funny" blog carnival.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Prayer Today

My friend Jason hosts "Warrior Poet Circle" every other Monday.
I'm not sure which seems more convoluted, thinking of myself as a warrior or a poet, so though I admire both warriors and poets, I seldom participate.    Today, however, the "assignment" is to write a prayer.   That didn't seem so hard.  I think I pray every day.   So here it is.   Not quite warrior like, not quite poetry.   It is just my prayer today.

My Prayer Today

Thank you, Lord for loving me.
I often question why you do
When I myself would wipe me off my shoe if I could
I understand that Your Son washed me and dressed me in wedding clothes
But look at me!
I have gravy on my dress, my hair is a mess from dancing and my hands are sticky again!
If I could only stay clean and lovely
I'd understand that You love what He made me to become...
But how is it you can love me?
Because you made me in your image?
You mean I haven't rubbed that out?
I couldn't possibly rub that out?
Where is your image in me?
The ability to love?
Then help me to love more greatly and more purely.
Help me to love even those unlovely
like me...
Then draw us together close to You

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Accepting the Mystery

Such is my own way of looking at what  Christians call the Atonement.  But remember this is only one more picture.  Do not mistake it for the thing itself:  and if it does not help you, drop it.  (Mere Christianity, p. 61)

As I read the last paragraph of Chapter 4 Book Two of Mere Christianity, I was reminded of what Jesus said about one needing to be like a child to enter the kingdom of Heaven.   

 I have had the privilege of teaching the faith to children for seventeen years.  While it didn't start out so in the beginning, my favorite part of the whole year is that day when some brave child asks about the great mysteries of the faith.

How can God have no beginning?   Everything has a beginning!

How can God be three individual persons in one God?   Yes, we know about the shamrock and St. Pat, but aren't those leaves really just part of the shamrock?   So aren't Father, Son, and Holy Spirit just parts of God?

How can one man, no matter how good, pay for the sins of everyone in the whole world?

I can't pretend that any of those questions are easy.   Each time the questions are asked, I have to ask the Holy Spirit to help me.  Each time I have to ask the Holy Spirit to help my students accept.  You know what?  The Holy Spirit has not let me down ever!  

My favorite part is when I look at their faces after doing my best to answer them, and then admitting that these things are a mystery to me, too.  Indeed, great theologians have contemplated just such questions their whole lives long and come up with the answer "It really is a mystery."   Many times I have seen the faces of the children who ask the question relax when they get that answer.   They can accept a mystery.   Some ask "Will we know when we get to Heaven?"  My answer?  "We will see God in Heaven face to face, so we just might.  And if not, we can at least ask Him?"

Children are able to get the concept that if it doesn't help, they can drop it.   My students have taught me well.     

For more discussions about this Chapter of Mere Christianity, check out my friend Sarah's blog.