Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday....

Many of you don't know me personally...and that's cool. If you did, you would know that I'm not a shopper. I'm a buyer. I go to the store only when I need to purchase something. I also do the majority (which means all of it I can) of my Christmas shopping online. Given this information, you should not be surprised at the following quotes about Black Friday:

But, to each his own. For those of you who will be shopping, I dedicate the following clip from an old television series called "Hill Street Blues"...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving...fact or fiction?

While you're waiting on lunch or dinner or supper or whatever you call your big meal on Thanksgiving, or waiting on everyone to arrive, or waiting on the ballgame to's a way to entertain your guests...all are Fact or Fiction...

1. Thanksgiving is held on the final Thursday of November each year.

2. One of America's Founding Fathers thought the turkey should be the national bird of the United States.

3. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln became the first American president to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving.

4. Macy's was the first American department store to sponsor a parade in celebration of Thanksgiving.

 5. Turkeys are slow-moving birds that lack the ability to fly.

 6. Native Americans used cranberries, now a staple of many Thanksgiving dinners, for cooking as well as medicinal purposes.

 7. The movement of the turkey inspired a ballroom dance.

8. On Thanksgiving Day in 2007, two turkeys earned a trip to Disney World.

9. Turkey contains an amino acid that makes you sleepy.

10. The tradition of playing or watching football on Thanksgiving started with the first National Football League game on the holiday in 1934.

Compliments of The History Channel...all answers are here!

 Wishing you and yours a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dear Other Parents...

Excellent thoughts from a mom teaching her children to do things for themselves...

Dear Other Parents At The Park:
Please do not lift my daughters to the top of the ladder, especially after you've just heard me tell them I wasn't going to do it for them and encourage them to try it themselves.
I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up. I am sitting here because I didn't bring them to the park so they could learn how to manipulate others into doing the hard work for them. I brought them here so they could learn to do it themselves.
They're not here to be at the top of the ladder; they are here to learn to climb. If they can't do it on their own, they will survive the disappointment. What's more, they will have a goal and the incentive to work to achieve it.

In the meantime, they can use the stairs. I want them to tire of their own limitations and decide to push past them and put in the effort to make that happen without any help from me.
It is not my job — and it is certainly not yours — to prevent my children from feeling frustration, fear, or discomfort. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that those things are not the end of the world, and can be overcome or used to their advantage.

If they get stuck, it is not my job to save them immediately. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn to calm themselves, assess their situation, and try to problem solve their own way out of it.

It is not my job to keep them from falling. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that falling is possible but worth the risk, and that they can, in fact, get up again.
I don't want my daughters to learn that they can't overcome obstacles without help. I don't want them to learn that they can reach great heights without effort. I don't want them to learn that they are entitled to the reward without having to push through whatever it is that's holding them back and *earn* it.

Because — and this might come as a surprise to you — none of those things are true. And if I let them think for one moment that they are, I have failed them as a mother.
I want my girls to know the exhilaration of overcoming fear and doubt and achieving a hard-won success. 

I want them to believe in their own abilities and be confident and determined in their actions. 
I want them to accept their limitations until they can figure out a way past them on their own significant power.

I want them to feel capable of making their own decisions, developing their own skills, taking their own risks, and coping with their own feelings.

I want them to climb that ladder without any help, however well-intentioned, from you.
Because they can. I know it. And if I give them a little space, they will soon know it, too.
So I'll thank you to stand back and let me do my job, here, which consists mostly of resisting the very same impulses you are indulging, and biting my tongue when I want to yell, "BE CAREFUL," and choosing, deliberately, painfully, repeatedly, to stand back instead of rush forward.

Because, as they grow up, the ladders will only get taller, and scarier, and much more difficult to climb. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather help them learn the skills they'll need to navigate them now, while a misstep means a bumped head or scraped knee that can be healed with a kiss, while the most difficult of hills can be conquered by chanting, "I think I can, I think I can", and while those 15 whole feet between us still feels, to them, like I'm much too far away.

Copied from: Kate Bassford Baker's Blog

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just cool....

No, this image is not animated. Matter of fact, it's not moving at all.

This is a result of what's called "peripheral drift vision"'s rapid eye movement that occurs constantly...even when you think your eyes are perfectly still...

Like I said, it's just cool...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hand me down Thanks...

In this week of Thanksgiving, I found this excellent article. 

In light of Thanksgiving, I’m sure we’ve all learned numerous ways to be thankful, especially in this season that outwardly reminds us to be. As in, “Just in case you forgot to express gratitude the rest of the year, here’s a seasonal reminder to say, ‘Thank you!’”
In a lot of ways, we shy away from our natural desire to show our gratitude. Sure, it’s great to be thankful in our own minds, but have we forgotten how to reach out, say it aloud, or write a thank you card?

Yes, prayerful thanksgiving is important. But it’s not the only way to show our thanks. Gratitude isn’t private; it’s lived out loud.

You can read the rest here...

Like the author, I have been blessed with beautiful friends who share their clothing with me. It is a wonderful experience...not only do I receive some excellent new additions to my wardrobe, I am prompted to think of them each time I wear one of their pieces. I find great fun in responding to someone who has just complimented something I'm wearing by saying, "Thank you! It's a hand me down from a lovely friend"...

See, what an easy way to be Thankful!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book of Discipline

A friend posted this on his Facebook account...

Top 25 ways I’ve observed United Methodist clergy and lay leaders not upholding the Book of Discipline in its entirety (2012-2014 edition)...

Check out the list, it's lengthy to say the least and the basis for arguments galore! I'm not trying to open a can of worms, but to stay informed. I know, for a fact, the majority of people in the UM Church today know little to nothing about the Book of Discipline. What they do know is how their Pastor shepherds his flock. The bottom line is, if there has to be a choice between ministering to the people and following the Discipline, ministry to the people should come first. Christ was a notorious rule breaker!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Male and Female

Because my 9 year old grandson lives with us, I find myself much more involved with children than I probably would be at this point in my life. I listen as he tells me of his I can revel in the joy he has found...but I also listen, intently, for those small ways someone may have hurt him. Not physically, because in his school that rarely happens. But emotionally or psychologically. Perhaps someone made a comment about his size, or he was picked last for a team, or his friend yesterday didn't want to play with him today.

He has a heart the size of heaven, but that heart can be easily broken. And I know there are thousands of others just like him...happy, silly, warm, intelligent children who want only to be loved...and accepted.
But we, as a society, make it so very easy for our children to be hurt.

Because we designate behaviors as either male or female, we make it hard for children to freely experience life. Society indulgently smiles on the little girl who is a "tom-boy"...who gets dirty, or plays backyard football, or likes to hunt, or play with cars and airplanes. But not so the little boys, who may really enjoy helping bake a cake, or is interested in dance, or can draw or paint (unless it is something "male"). Boys such as these make society uncomfortable. They are not masculine enough...and so they are made to feel bad about the things they enjoy or even worse, feel they have to hide them.

One year, during the Christmas season, I took my children to watch a performance of the Nutcracker. It may not have been exactly what my son wanted to do, but he indulged a mother he loves. He truly is a unique individual and has always been strong enough to march to his own drummer. But ballet was not something he would have ever chosen to do. On the way home, I remember the awe in his voice as he spoke of the male dancers...their muscle control and more importantly their strength. He marveled at the ease with which they lifted the female dancers who, although they probably only weight 90 to 100 pounds, were lifted flawlessly. He wondered out loud how many men could dead lift that amount over their head without a struggle. Many believe male ballet dancers are "sissies", but that day, my son's estimation of their abilities changed that thought, if he'd ever had it. He was impressed!

Why can't we encourage our children to follow the path that intrigues them the most? Why can we not speak with same pride about our male child's dancing ability as we would if he could throw a football 80 yards? Why must we pigeon hole all people because of their chromosomes?

What do we accomplish when we break the hearts of our young because they don't fit the mold society has chosen for them? Have we done a service to our children when we teach them to "make fun of" or to "bully" those who are different from them? Children are what they learn to be. We can encourage them if we are willing to break the mold which our ancestors created...We can change, if we but have the courage to try...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's an illusion....

As you move your eyes around the image, dark dots quickly appear and disappear at the intersections. However, whenever you look directly on any intersection, the dark dots vanish.For years it was widely believed that the illusion worked because of 'lateral inhibition' - the term used to describe the complex way in which the cells on the back of the retina respond to areas of black and white. 

A few years ago this explanation was shown to be completely untrue, and so the explanation for the illusion remains a mystery.

To read about a couple of others...check here...

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Thanksgiving lament...

First and foremost, I will tell you I am NOT a "Black Friday" shopper. Have never understood why anyone would fight such crowds to shop for a holiday that's supposed to be all about peace and love. And what's with the name?

To me, this says it almost says it all:
The only reason it isn't totally spot on is that it doesn't mention those who pay the biggest price (pun intended) for all the Black Friday shoppers...the employees of all the stores.
It isn't enough that we can no longer allow the holiday's and the seasons to flow from one to another in their natural courses. Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter, Christmas...
Even before the shelves are cleared from Halloween, we see Christmas decorations...even before we've finished digesting our Thanksgiving dinners, the frantic shopping starts...advertisements, decorations and now store openings are destroying one of our oldest traditions as Americans. Thanksgiving itself. Once upon a time, the Christmas season officially started with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which EVERYONE watched. Especially us kids who wanted to get our first glimpse of Santa! In those days, the Christmas season was a magical time and in no little way was helped by the fact that it didn't have to compete with Thanksgiving.

How does it make you feel to know that because of this vicious cycle, the workers themselves have no choice but to leave their holiday festivities early or forego them entirely in order to stock, fold, check out, and sometimes even break up fights?

Some of the biggest offenders are:
Macy's, Best Buy, Toys-R-Us, Wal-Mart and K-Mart.
But, never fear, Wal-Mart assures us their employees want to work...all 1million of them...even though over 30,000 signed a petition asking the hierarchy NOT to open on Thanksgiving. And then there is K-Mart, not content to open at 5pm or 6pm on Thanksgiving...they're opening at read that right...and will stay open for 41 hours straight in order to better serve you.

I applaud those companies (and yes, there are a few of them) who refuse to decorate or advertise for Christmas until it's proper time...

In case you haven't guessed, you will not see me fighting the crowds at 6pm on Thanksgiving or at midnight or at 4:35am on 11/29/13 in order to get special pricing. You see, I like to take my time, enjoy the season and the lights and the music, and wander the stores waiting for that special gift for that special someone to jump out at me. Shopping is part of the fun of the season...and there is really plenty of time to get it done.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

St. Peter

For years, the Vatican has insisted that the bones of St. Peter were under the Basilica in a stone ossuary.

The relics of St. Peter, the first Pope, were found in a necropolis under St Peter's Basilica as it was excavated in the 1940s. Jesus' words in Matthew 16:18 state "And I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of Hades shall not overcome it." Whether they really are Peter or not (the bones are said to have been of a "sturdily built man in his 60's - 70's consistent with the martyred saint"), it would certainly fulfill the words spoken.The Catholic Herald said the bones had not been formally declared authentic by a pope. However in 1968, Pope Paul VI said they had been “identified in a way which we can hold to be convincing” after scientific tests were carried out.

History / legend says that the bones had been found in the fourth century and had been wrapped in rich cloth, remnants of which were found. They were placed in a marble-lined niche in a wall in a monument to St Peter that was erected at the same time and had lain undisturbed since then. The cloth of purple interwoven with gold-thread in which the bones were wrapped at that time confirms the highest dignity then attributed to the remains.

According to news sources, for the first time ever, the relics will be put on display later this month and that Pope Francis will celebrate Mass that day. 

Even though I'm not Catholic, I must say it would be exciting to be a part of this event...

There is an interesting and in-depth article about the tomb here...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Young people

I am fortunate in that I've been allowed to work with the young people of our congregation. They range in age from 6th grade to 12th grade (technically, we still have one or two who are now in college)...and if I've learned one thing over the years, we (the church) are trying to minister to the young people in the wrong ways... 

Any time I hear the phrases, "We've always done it this way" or "When I was young, we..." I tend to want to scream, rant, pull out my get the picture. Just because it used to work, doesn't mean it still's young people are head and shoulders above where we were at the same time, for 2 and information!

This article gives some interesting (important!)'s worth the few minutes it takes to read...

"5 Churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials"

Monday, November 11, 2013

In Need!

This is a picture of Typhoon Hayian which has devestated thousands...and is continuing on into Vietnam this morning. Our hearts go out to all in it's path.

Most of us are too far away to effectively help with hands and feet and hearts...but we can
help with our prayers and our pocketbooks.

Donations can be made through UMCOR

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I know you'll be surprised to learn there was recently an article in the Washington Post Opinion Page titled
5 Myths about Jesus ...Like I said, Surprise!

A quick glance at the article shows that, once again, someone is trying to convince "believers" that they are being sold a "Bill of Goods" by the church. The sub-title of the article was "Challenging everything you think you know"...Oh NO! I suppose my point is that the author offers nothing new...nothing that hasn't been mentioned hundreds of times before, nothing that even we (who READ the Bible) haven't pondered and discussed. Myth's my foot!

His "myths" include...Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem", there weren't 12 disciples, Christ did not go on trial before Pontius Pilate and He wasn't buried in a tomb. Truly issues that would shake the foundations of a Believer's faith! 

If we study God's Word, we recognize that Luke is the only one who mentions Bethlehem. If we look at our Nativity Scenes with Bible in hand, we know that we're combining more than one of the Gospel accounts what with Luke telling of the stable and the shepherds and Matthew bringing up the kings/wise men. The Gospels were written by different people, with differing backgrounds, speaking to different audiences, they are not a carbon copy of one another. It's viewpoint!

Pilate was an important person, we all know this whether we like him or not. And while it's true he probably wouldn't have bothered with a trial for someone known to be a Zealot...UNLESS, there was something about Jesus that made Him stand out. Many of us believe He did have that special something...

Bottom line, as much as articles like these are a waste of paper (in my humble opinion), and they will never shake my faith with there repetitions of what they believe doesn't add up...they are proof that Jesus still has the power to challenge, fascinate and engage us beyond anything they may be able to prove historically or scientifically. Not too shabby for a myth!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Although this is not the "normal" list of 7 wonders, they'll get no argument from me!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Check it out!

Unfortunately, unless you live on the East Coast, you won't see it...unless you check it out online! The Slooh Virtual Observatory will broadcast beginning at 6:45 am Eastern Time. If you miss this one, the next one will be in 2017!


The internet is a wonderful way to hear the teachings of others we might not otherwise even know exist...

Nadia Bolz Weber is one of those people for me. A couple of times a week, I spend time catching up on her newest sermon, or reading (or re-reading) some of her older ones and I rarely come away without at least one..."she's talking about me!" moments...

For those who haven't read or heard her before, I will warn sometimes her language might seem coarse but it's real...don't get hung up on the word choice because she does have a way of putting thoughts together that will speak to you (or at lease she does to me)...

Today was one of those days. While reading "Sermon on the Parameters We Prefer For Jesus to Work Under" God once again used her words to smack me in the head. (Don't be offended by that term, I know we serve a gentle and loving God but sometimes He has to resort to extreme measures to get my attention, or slow me down, or pull me out of the pity hole I have dug and jumped in to). Anyway, these words jumped off the page at me...

"...Because I noticed that in the text, Jesus rebuked the religious leader for valuing parameters more than people – not for defending the practice of Sabbath-keeping.  Sabbath was still a valid way in which divine love, and healing and grace happened. The leader of the synagogue was not wrong in his love for keeping Sabbath. He was wrong in assuming that if God works within the parameters of Sabbath keeping that God cannot also work outside the parameters of Sabbath keeping.

...I think what we are so prone to do is to think that if there is an experience of the Gospel within a particular set of circumstances, that means that only under that particular set of circumstances can the Gospel be experienced.  As though God’s agency is limited to the ways in which we happen to experience God.

A couple weeks ago I got to hear Catholic theologian James Allison talk about how we think faith is about striving – keeping parameters, calling people out for not having it right, spiritual practices, doctrinal purity… whatever – but that really faith is about relaxing. Specifically, relaxing in the way we do when we are with a friend who we know for certain is fond of us.  We don’t have to strive around them and we somehow still become our best self – funny, spontaneous, free. Allison suggests that faith is trusting so much that God is fond of us that we just fricken relax.
I think that is what Jesus was saying to the religious leader, not that there is anything wrong with Sabbath keeping, but that Oh my gosh, just relax.
And if that’s true…if faith is akin to relaxing and if relaxing about stuff is hard for us, I wonder if on some level that’s because It’s hard to relax when we think that grace is limited, or there is only so much divine love to go around. Which is when we should remind each other that divine love, healing, grace….. these are not economic categories.
Divine love is simply not a limited resource and it is most certainly not something that happens only here or only in this way or only among us or and… I can’t wait to see the blog comments on this one…only among Christians."

Take a few moments and read the entire text above...