Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Friend Who Just Stands By

Oops ... I hope you'll please 'scuze my tardiness!
This little poem means a lot to me; I hope it will touch your hearts as well. Thank you, Charlotte and Ginger, for providing such a warm and welcoming place for us to come together each week!

The Friend Who Just Stands By

When trouble come your soul to try,
You love the friend who just "stands by."

Perhaps there's nothing he can do--
The thing is strictly up to you;
For there are troubles all your own,
And paths the soul must tread alone;
Times when love cannot smooth the road
Nor friendship lift the heavy load,
But just to know you have a friend
Who will "stand by" until the end,
Whose sympathy through all endures,
Whose warm handclasp is always yours--
It helps, some ways, to pull you through,
Although there's nothing he can do.

And so with fervent heart you cry,
"God bless the friend who just 'stand by.'"

...B. Y. Williams - From the book Tea For Two

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wheeee! Today is DH’s Birthday!

I don’t know if it’s a gender-thing or what …. But so far, he’s stymied my best efforts to script the day. “Why don’t we wait and see what I feel like?”
(Yes, as a matter of fact, that IS the sound of my teeth grinding!)

Oh, what the hey ... I love him, and love hanging out - whatever the occasion. It's all in our attitudes, hmmm?

Still, I couldn’t resist publishing this evidence of his 2nd birthday party celebration "a while back" … together with an excerpt from the invitation I sent a few years ago:

Nursery Supper
- Excerpted from Jane Stern‘s delightful book, Square Meals.

How nice it is, in a world filled with mean, scary people like landlords, motor vehicle bureau personnel and headwaiters, to set aside time for milk and cookies.

Everybody has some special food that makes them feel taken care of: A culinary escape from danger: Noodles and pot cheese, Mom’s chicken soup, rice pudding with raisins, or a tall glass of chocolate milk with vanilla wafers on the side.

Nursery food is the supreme comfort. No wonder, because however, abysmal it really was, childhood looks so appealing the farther away it gets. You remember warm farina served in a bowl decorated with dancing bunnies, or the ritual cup of cocoa after school.

Compared to grown-up worries like earning a living, developing a double chin or thermonuclear water, the childhood horror of spilling grape juice doesn’t seem all that awful.

It’s rumored that the more emotionally evolved a person is, the higher his required take of baby food. Well, not exactly pabulum and gruel, but nice food that takes the edge off a not-so-nice world … like pudding and Horlick’s malted milk powder

Please help us celebrate Tom!
Birthday hats … snicks n’ snacks and CAKE!
(Suggested attire ~ Pajamas)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Trusting again

Learning to trust, to "let go" is something I've resisted , struggled with most
of my life. Yet, last week I found myself confessing: "I trusted him."

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'm not certain why I was chosen, but my company saw fit to include me in a recent two-day leadership program, facilitated by our Corporate Director of Training... a gifted and charismatic fellow I've known for several years.

One problem-solving exercise still lingers ... if only because it left me at once feeling VERY vulnerable, outside my so-called "comfort zone."

Situated in an empty parking lot, 11 of us were double-blindfolded ..... led this-way-and-that so as to disorient. Then, hands extended, a portion of 50-foot of ski rope was placed across our palms. Instructions were simple: Do NOT let go of the rope at any time. Our sighted colleagues might laugh, but could not offer advice or encouragement.

"You have 10 minutes to fashion a perfect square."

As expected, nervous laughter and chatter ensued. I'm thinking, the Tower of Babel, ca. 2010.
Unexpectedly robbed of vision, I remained in place, trying to to identify the voices around me, to "read" the feel of the sun. Then, above the confusion - a calm, controlled voice. Not a "ringer" or a "plant", my AGM quietly assumed control, offering solutions, suggestions.... feedback.

8 minutes into the exercise, we'd reached a consensus: We felt ready to lie down the rope, to reveal a perfect square.

Of course, this is laughable. Permitted to remove our blindfolds, we assumed oh-so-sweet sight. Then, the Q and A:
Why didn't I speak up; offer a solution?
"Honestly? I trusted Steve."
But you didn't offer suggestions?
"In this situation, there can be but one leader."

I think our everyday challenges beckon us toward the Spiritual working out of any problem. Our fear comes from not trusting in the Power greater than ourselves to provide the direction we need, to make known the solution. One of my favorite devotionals reminds us, "Children instinctively trust those who take care of them. We can learn to trust, once again, when we apply His word to our lives."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What a Background!

Next time you're feeling rather unimportant, try a little arithmetic based on the undebatable fact that it took two people, your parents, to get you here.

Each of your parents has two parents, so in the generation just prior to that of your mother and father, there were four people whose pairing off and sharing love contributed to your existence.

You are the product of eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great grandparents, etc. (whew!)

Keep on multiplying the number by two.

If you figure an average of about 25 years between each generation, you'll discover that a scant 500 years ago, there were 1,048,576 people on the planet beginning the production of YOU!

Written by ~
The Rev. Gene Britton
East Point, Georgia

Friday, February 12, 2010

Angels, as Explained by Children

Out of the mouths of babes!

I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold.
Gregory, age 5

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his Son, who's a very good carpenter.
-Jared, age 8

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth.
-Ashley ~ age 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God
has to go do something else..
-Mitchell, age 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good for science.
-Henry, age 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!
-Jack, age 6

Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead.
Daniel, age 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath again, somewhere there's a tornado.
-Reagan, age 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy.
If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter..
-Sara, age 6

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if
they don't make the animals get better, they help the child get over it.
-Vicki, age 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them.
- Sarah , age 7

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Favorite Prayer

Do you recall the first prayer you were taught as a child?, Have you a favorite?

Like so many children, I expect mine was the standard, "Now I lay me down to sleep ....".

Oh, but that line "....if I should die before I wake" was so unsettling! Akin to boogey-men who hide in little girls' closets. Sweet dreams? I'm thinking.... not.

Rather than confiding my fears, come bedtime I'd take a mental detour. The lips are moving, but no-one's home. Gone fishing; wherever.
Even in my adolescent years -- reciting liturgy, the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed: my mind was somewhere else.... far, far away. No, I'm not particularly proud of this fact, but there it is, in spite of my parents example, their best efforts.

Then along came Malcolm Boyd, the "hippie priest." By this time I was attending my best-friend's church -- one which boasted a large youth fellowship, whose leaders who actually seemed to connect. In retrospect, our group was anything but "hippie." Perhaps we enjoyed the shock value? "Are you running with me, Jesus?"

Thankfully I now enjoy listening "on purpose", going inside prayer consciousness. In his book, The Power to Change Today, Gregory Dickow advises us: "Each morning, choose a silent, peaceful place and talk to God. Greet God as you would a friend. 'Good morning, Lord! I'm looking forward to spending the day with you'."

OK, that "peaceful place" would be my car. Backing out of the driveway ... ensuring the garage door is descending ("Houston, we have lift-off.") ... I greet the empty expanse with my favorite prayer:

The light of God surrounds me;
The love of God enfolds me;
The power of God protects me;
The presence of God watches over me;
Wherever I am .... God is!
...and all is well.

Prayer for Protection
by James Dillet Freeman

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


An old man died alone last month. Well, not exactly alone. The only witnesses -- his many canine companions ... each beloved, but mute.

The news came yesterday morning as I sat at my desk, slightly annoyed by yet another interruption: A "shirt-tail" relative of our SIL had been found Monday evening, midst conditions I'll only refer to as "horrific."

Reclusive by choice since his wife's death, "R" was a pleasant enough fellow. Oh, we'd had occasion to brush shoulders now and then at some family get-togethers, but I never really took the time to visit with him.
Like an apparition, he'd appear out of nowhere... sit to the side, watching the children ... then quietly disappear again. A neatly-dressed, shy little man, sporting an oversize crucifix and a sweet smile.

My heart is hurting tonight for DH's daughter and SIL ~ barred (er, protected) by the police from entering his modest house. Guilt-ridden, I suppose, for not thinking to pick up the phone when many days passed without a word. So busy, we presume all is right under the sun.

I think, too, my unrest stems from a fear of dying alone -- no-one the wiser. How isolated we've become from our neighbors, arriving home each evening and burrowing into our little sanctuaries.

Some years ago I heard the story of a lady who, at her husband's casket, leaned down to whisper: "Someday, please tell me what happened."

I'm not big on making resolutions, but I hope this incident serves to make me more aware of my fellow travelers. Don't we owe it to one another?