Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a friend!


While I've always loved "What a Friend we Have in Jesus", I never stopped to consider the back-story.   Sobering, wouldn't you agree?

* * *

What a Friend We Have in Jesus” emerged from a life assaulted by and associated with much grief and pain and loss which make the words of this familiar hymn all the more genuine and authoritative.

Its author, Joseph Scriven, born in 1819 of prosperous parents in Dublin, Ireland, had graduated from college, and began his life untroubled facing a promising future. Then, the night before his marriage, his bride was found in a pool of water where she had accidentally drowned. He never recovered from the loss.

He emigrated to Canada and became associated with the Plymouth Brethren. He freely gave of his possessions, even his own clothes. His life focused on the poor with whom he was close in times of trouble and sickness. He repaired their homes and chopped their wood. He performed menial tasks for the handicapped, the sick, and the poor.

He never had a home of his own, moving from place to place. He again fell in love, but his second fiancée contracted pneumonia and died.

In 1857 he learned that his mother was seriously ill. Due to his poverty, he was unable to travel to her and bring comfort. He wrote her a letter and enclosed a poem.

Some years later, he himself was seriously ill and a visiting friend happened to see a copy of the poem he wrote his mother.

During his illness in October, 1886, he left his house and was found dead the next morning, drowned in a nearby lake in what was a strange parallel to the death of his sweetheart forty years earlier.

The poem he had sent his mother is the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” While not particularly literary, there are few hymns that prove to be as great a source of solace and comfort to those distressed and burdened!

--Pastor Ray William Stubbe

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daydreams n' Old Things

Thank you, Dayle, for hosting, Simple Pleasures ... what a mid-week "lift"! 

Having spent the last few days trying to out-wit a stubborn head cold,  I've rediscovered crazy pleasure -- simply by recalling a childhood ritual. 

* * *

In momma's household, there was no room for argument!

At the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat, out came the ceremonial application of Vicks VapoRub.   Liberally coated from chest to throat, my neck was swaddled in an ancient strip of flannel, then securely pinned.
Salt-water gargle,  a vaporizer and extra steamer blanket might accompany the ritual.

On special occasions, I was permitted to come downstairs to watch TV… to loll(!) on the living room sofa ~ which boasted not one, but two (top and bottom!) freshly ironed sheets.

Warmed “honey milk” and tapioca pudding.  Why, being sick was almost pleasurable!  

Who has time for that sort of thing nowdays?  
All grown up now, I'd laugh off any suggestion to re-enact.

Just the same, I like what Flavia has written:  "Remembering is a journey our heart takes into a time that was ... and our thoughts are the only tickets needed to ride."

Yes, Vicks still has a place in my medicine cabinet … and in my heart.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

They say there's a tree in the forest ....

Did you know .... there is such a thing as an Easter tree?!   

Around 1945, when he was just a young boy, Volker Kraft saw his very first Easter Tree (Eierbaum, Osterbaum or Ostereirbaum, in German), and decided he would have one of his very own, when he grew up. Time passed and young Volker became a married man, with a family. But his childhood dream stuck with him and he decorated his first Easter Tree, in 1965. He used 18 colored plastic eggs.

But the tree was growing fast and he and his wife, Christa couldn't afford to waste so many Easter eggs. So they began drilling holes into the eggs, using the contents in the kitchen, and the painted shells as decorations. When their children grew up, they started helping with the decorating,and the Easter Tree became a family tradition, known not only in their home town of Saalfeld, but all of Germany.

After their kids moved out of the house, it seemed the Easter Tree would finally catch a break, but grandsons arrived and the Krafts went back to decorating their giant tree. The number of Easter eggs hung on the tree branches grew every year,and in 2010 it reached an incredible 9,500 eggs!

Thank you to gal-pal Doris, for sharing this delightful bit of whimsy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Like my parents and grandparents before, I've a convoluted sense of pride; of independence if you will ... that's prone to backfire on more than one occasion.    

You see, I'm practically allergic to ask for help.  More comfortable in the role of giver, I'm not keen on feeling obligated.   Isn't that silly?

This week, we are focused on Jesus' having paid for our sins.   To receive ~ with grace ~ that which God has done for us ... I'm happy to be beholden!

I hope you enjoy the following parable.  Miles apart, I'm reminded we not only feed ~ but are fed ~ by one another's caring and concern.   Again, I'm happy to be beholden! 

* * *
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said,
Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.'

The Lord led the holy man to two doors.  He opened one of the doors:

In the middle of the room there was a large round table.  In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly.  They appeared to be famished.  They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms.  Each found it possible to reach into the pot and take a spoonful.  However, because the handle was longer than their arms they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The Lord said, 'You have seen Hell.'

They went to the next room and opened the door.  It was exactly the same as the first one:  There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water.
The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The holy man said, 'I don't understand!'

'It is simple', said the Lord.  'It requires but one skill.  You see, they have learned to feed each other.'

  Wishing you all a most blessed and JOYful Easter!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Panda Therapy!
What’s that old saying, “If you want to hear God chuckle, tell him your future plans.”
If that’s true, I’ve provided the Almighty plenty of comic relief these last couple of weeks!

It’s been a Spring Fever circus both at work and home!
Just last night DH made the observation, “You’re singing commercials again.”

All the same, I’m bent on keeping my big toe in the game!
Some mind(less) musings ...

…After two years’ rationalizing (and lots of whining), I’m the proud new momma of a “grown-up” phone. No, I don’t need all the bells and whistles … truth be told, I probably just wanted to look cool. LOL!
But!!!  After 10 days, it’s anyone’s guess which of us is the Alpha. No, I’m definitely NOT smarter than a 5th grader!

…Methinks we’ve all been guilty of making unfounded generalizations about others at one time or another?
What a pleasant surprise to learn the Suit from Park Avenue (yes, that Park Avenue) was just as nice and down-to-earth as home-made dirt! (Well, maybe not the “dirt” part.)
And, no matter my role, anyone who takes a moment to stop and shake my hand … making honest-to-goodness eye contact, has me at “hello.”

…Am I the only one who feels rebuffed if I yield to another vehicle (or pedestrian) and they don’t nod …or smile ….or even make one of those little finger-waves in return. Ya, I’ve got to quit taking things so personally.

…and finally, I wanted to share a quote from my granddaughter’s FB page.  Don't-cha love it?
"Never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting." -Peter Pan

TTFN dear ones!