The Burnt Offering of Thanksgiving

I just wanted to share a memory of our most comical Thanksgiving which took place almost 9 years ago. My sister is actually making the stuffing again this year. We’ll see if history repeats itself.

Write At Home

“Did you take this out of the fireplace?”

“It tastes like you crushed some Virginia Slims in it.”

Jennifer just ran to the bathroom to spit it out.

These were just a few of the reactions to the burnt stuffing my sister brought over to my house on Thanksgiving.  Have you ever cooked something that just really bombed?  Such was the case with Kiki’s stuffing. (Kiki is my sister Karen’s nickname.) However, this Thanksgiving tragedy quickly turned into comedy.  All day long we cracked jokes about this smoky sidedish.  My brother-in-law(Kiki’s husband) assured us that he was going to chuck the whole pot out the window as they drove over a particular bridge on their way home.  You might think we’re weird, but this really created a great Thanksgiving memory that none of us present will ever forget.  Everything else my sister made was wonderful. She cooked a moist turkey with delicious…

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Hope For The Middle Aged

My husband and I were having a discussion yesterday about middle age. It’s certainly been a period in our lives where we have seen a lot of changes, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m writing this post for a little comic relief and to give hope to our friends out there who are in the same boat as we are. I’m certainly glad for my physical body that some of these changes are only temporary. For reasons listed here and others, I sure am looking forward to seeing Jesus!

 

A strange thing has happened in our lives

They call it middle age

Which I think is overrated

Definitely not all the rage.

 

We don’t know what changes there will be

Upon awaking each morning

But there are signs our years are advancing

Our bodies are giving us warning.

 

One day, I found quite surprising

And much to my chagrin,

While gazing in the mirror

A granny hair under my chin!

 

And as my spouse was starting his day

His body moving about

I heard him utter a groan

As one of his knees gave out.

 

When we were kids, we played outdoor games

I remember when “tag” was in

But now it’s turned into this ugly little thing

We find hanging from our skin.

 

There are other changes I could mention.

The list goes on and on.

But it’s really not the type of change

That I wish to dwell upon.

 

The change that I am longing for,

For which my spirit does sigh;

Will take place in a moment,

In the twinkling of an eye.

 

When the Lord returns to earth

And splits the Eastern sky

Caught up to meet him in the air

To heaven, I will fly.

 

This body, now slowly fading

Puts on immortality

Gone, the limitations of this flesh,

In his likeness, I will be.

 

Truly this is the change

That I’m longing to see take place

And forever I will be satisifed

When at last, I behold His face!

9/2/16

1Corinthians 15:51-55

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

 

Psalm 17:15  As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob’s Bug Jar

Happy Birthday to my middle brother, Bob! It’s hard to believe that my younger brother is 49. In honor of your birthday and for memories sake, I want to share the article you wrote many years ago about our childhood time in the chicken coop. Although I’ve read this many times, it never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. I thank God for our family!

 

The Bug Jar

When I was a kid, not yet old enough to be enrolled in any science classes, I used to conduct experiments of my own.  One of my favorites was the Bug Jar Experiment.  It consisted of three states:  In Stage One, I would obtain an empty mayonnaise jar and collect as many different kinds of bugs I could find-spiders, worms, ladybugs, tiny red and giant black ants, bees, a centipede (if I was lucky), an occasional wasp, those roly-poly bugs that no one knew the real name for, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, anything that creeped, crawled or disgusted my sisters was fair game.  In Stage Two, I would shake the jar vigorously.  In Stage Three, my favorite, I would watch delightedly as the imprisoned insects bit, stung and generally destroyed each other.  Ironically (and justly, I suppose), when I got to be a bit older, the tables turned, and I experienced the bug jar for myself.

In the fall of 1974, my family had to give up a spacious, three-bedroom home with a big backyard to move into a chicken coop turned recreation room, but to us Home.  The edifice boasted a 15 x 30 foot span; no bigger than our former living room; a mere bug jar,  if you will.  We went into the venture expecting the worst.  Rather than tearing the family apart, however, being thrown into very close quarters under less than ideal conditions actually strengthened our relationships.

We called our new abode “the closet”, because to us, it seemed just about the size of a rich person’s wardrobe.  There was no room for complaining though (literally!).  After all, it was far from the gang-ridden neighborhood we had left behind; it was close to good schools; it was clean, it was much easier on my Mom’s filing clerk salary, and it came furnished with the best hand-me-down furniture that pity could buy.  So Mom told the six of us kids to make the best of it.  We were a Brady Bunch of sorts, with three girls and three boys ranging in age from five to fifteen, but no Alice to do the housework.  Also, we came in two generations:  The “big kids” were each born a year apart, and after a gap of five years came us “babies”, also born one year apart.

Peeking through the battered screen door after we had settled in, our curious neighbors beheld a new concept in interior design:  An afghan-covered couch next to the stove, an army cot bordered by our giant, prehistoric, dust-laden television set, a dining table surrounded by bunk beds.  You see, “the closet” had no rooms.  A tiny bathroom in the northwest corner, with a carpeted sliding door, provided the only privacy in the place.

This was new to us, and at first, we absorbed our living arrangements haltingly and delicately, like couples in a pre-arranged marriage.  Inevitably though, the fighting began.  Some of the most heated battles were waged over bathroom privileges.  Finally, we came up with a “calling” system to schedule bath times.  Cries of “First bath!”  “Second bath!”  “Third bath!” and so on were commonly shouted out in the waking hours, but only led to more arguments as calls were contested and challenged later.

Once while Mom was “using the facilities”, Johnny and I broke into a wrestling match right outside the bathroom door.  One thing led to another, and at the height of our struggle, we lost our balance, slammed into the bathroom door, knocked it off its hinges, and fell clinging to each other and the door onto the bathroom floor.  Mom screamed, powerless to chase us from her seated position, while we scrambled to fix the door and scurry away.

More often though, we were forced to depend on each other, to work together to overcome obstacles imposed upon us by our lack.  Laundry and kitchen duties had to be split and shared by all.  Providing enough food for six hungry, growing children was a constant struggle for my mom.  I remember times when ketchup packets and a hunk of government-issued cheese were the only things left in the fridge.  Whether we liked it or not, we had to share.  Though it was a small area, our home was heated by an aging, rusted space heater, located near the door.  On cold wintry mornings before school, while waiting for the bathroom to free up, the rest of us huddled together in front of the heater, wrapped in blankets, shivering in anticipation of the metallic clicking sound that signaled the release of a fresh blast of hot air.  That nondescript old heater became a great equalizer, bringing us together, if momentarily, to share warmth and exchange conversation at the start of the day.

Because we had no rooms of our own, we had no secrets; what one went through, we all experienced.  One dark night, returning home from work, Tom unknowingly rolled over a skunk with his bike.  When he got home, we immediately smelled the stench, except Tom, of course.  Strangely enough, the skunk encounter provided a bonding experience as we each offered creative, often ridiculous solutions for getting rid of the smell.

Then there was Mike Mester, a gangling youth from a neighboring community, who spotted my oldest sister Karen at a roller rink and immediately fell for her.  Not knowing her name or anything about her, he somehow tracked her down to our humble dwelling place.  He knocked on the front door; my mom answered.  He inquired after this mystery girl he had met at the roller rink.  Immediately, five more heads appeared at the door, checking out the tall stranger, while one head disappeared quickly into the bathroom hiding.  Mike instantly formed the impression that this was going to be a package deal, and he was right.  We couldn’t help but cheer and jeer from the sidelines as Mike and Karen embarked upon each new phase of their sometimes stormy but long-lasting relationship.

A flood of memories stirs in me when I think back to those bug jar days.  I remember us “babies” clinging to each other in the bottom bunk in fear and joy, begging Tom in the top bunk to be the “werewolf” again.  I remember Carol sharing with us her dark and searching poetry and inspiring me to try some of my own.  I remember the generational gap closing as Tom treated his kid brothers to pizza and bowling or Karen and Carol fixed Annie’s hair.  And why is it I recall the neighbor kids, with their nice houses and families of their own, always wanting to spend the night at our place?

We lived there for almost 12-1/2 years.  And a strange thing began to happen as we made the best of it in the “closet”.  We went from being siblings and a single parent, thrown and shaken together, to being friends; lifelong friends that time, distance and circumstances have not separated.

Poem For Dieters

If you have ever gone on a diet before, this poem is for you!

The DIE in DIEt

I would not know, I could not know, till time came ‘round to try it

Just why the word within the word, why is there DIE in DIEt?

I’ve eaten rich and sumptuous food that the holiday season brings;

Candies, cookies, sweets galore and a host of fattening things.

But now I lay those things to rest. Their beckoning, I must quiet.

I face again the simple truth. There is a DIE in DIEt.

Oh, the aisles of the grocery store contain such tempting stuff,

Like cinnamon rolls and chocolate bars and jars of marshmallow fluff.

Their voices sometimes scream to me, “Hey, you’ve got to try it!”

So with authority, I must yell back, “There is a DIE in DIEt!”

I must confess a kind of stress. It’s really kind of hard

To bid adieu to grease soaked foods and those enriched with lard.

Some cooking methods now must cease. I won’t deep fry or pan fry it,

As I beseech the help of God to keep the DIE in DIEt.

1/1/09

Then Laugh

I discovered this poem a few years ago in Best Loved Poem of The American People. It’s much more pleasant to be around people who can still laugh and smile in spite of what they may be going through than to be around a whiner and complainer. Lord, help me to remember that when the trials come! 🙂

Then Laugh
By Bertha Adams Backus

Build for yourself a strong box,
fashion each part with care;
When it’s strong as your hand can make it,
put all your troubles there;

Hide there all thought of your failures;
and each bitter cup that you quaff;
Lock all your heartaches within it,
Then sit on the lid and laugh.

Tell no one else its contents,
Never its secrets share;
When you’ve dropped in your care and worry
keep them forever there;

Hide them from sight so completely
That the world will never dream half;
Fasten the strongbox securely—
Then sit on the lid and laugh.

How To Scare The Liver Out Of Your Pastor’s Wife

It was Tuesday night, and it was just the dog and I at home.  My family and I were originally planning on going to a revival meeting in San Jose, but I chose to stay home with our sick dog who had just been released from the hospital at 5:30 that evening. After taking care of some chores around the house, I was sitting on the couch taking care of some business on the computer and also texting back and forth with my younger sister. (multi-tasking – LOL) It was around 9:30 p.m. when suddenly, I heard our side gate open. It’s very easy to recognize the sound of our side gate, because the wood scrapes against the concrete pavement when you push it open. My heart gave a start, and I wondered who in the world would be coming through our gate and into our backyard.

Immediately, I looked over at the latch on the sliding glass door that leads out to the backyard and saw to my horror that it was in the unlocked position. I quickly got up, went to the door, slammed down the latch and pulled the drawstring to close the curtain that hangs over the door.  The dog was also barking about this time too, for which I was glad. “Maybe whoever is out there will hear her and get scared away.”, I thought to myself. I also remembered that our latch doesn’t always work properly, and sometimes it doesn’t lock on the first attempt. Swiftly, I pushed with all my might against the door handle in case it was still unlocked. That way, if someone tried to open it, they would feel the resistance and hopefully assume that that meant the door was locked.  As I stood there listening with my heart pounding, 2 Timothy 1:7 popped into my mind.  Mi corazon was still rapidly palpitating, but I silently thanked Jesus for reminding me of the verse. I tried not to make a sound and just listen, but what I heard puzzled me.

 It sounded like somebody was doing something with the water spigit which is right next to the door. It seemed kind of odd to me that somebody would be messing around with the water. It was definitely way too late for someone from Diablo Water District to be in the backyard, and why would they be back there anyway? The activity in the backyard probably only lasted a minute at the most. Then I heard the scraping sound of the gate again, and all was silent.(except for my heart, which sounded like lots of cannon booms in succession)I stood there probably about 3 minutes still braced against the door handle and wondering if I should let go. I finally let go and decided to text my sister. “Hey, could you pray for me? I just heard the side gate open and someone was in our backyard. I’m pretty sure they’re gone now, but that sure scared the liver out of me.” Questions came to my mind. Should I call the police? Should I call one of our neighbors? I was a little unarmed by the incident, but oddly enough, I wasn’t really worried. A couple of minutes later, I get a call from my daughter. “Mom, are you okay?” she asked.  “Yeah, why?” I replied. Now that was a stupid answer. Obviously she would not be calling now unless my sister had gotten ahold of her. She is very close to my sister.(her aunt) I explained to my daughter what happened, and my husband was talking in the background too and said that he was going to call our neighbor Bill to have him come check the backyard. I hung up with Jen, telling her I would call back in a few minutes. Bill came to the door with his flashlight, and we purused the yard together. As I looked around, I noticed the black hose was neatly coiled and reattached to the water spigit. I knew it was not there earlier, because I went to use it the day before and noticed it wasn’t there. At that time, I thought maybe my husband had taken the hose off to use it somewhere else. Anyhow, as I saw the hose there, I had a hunch. Someone from our church had borrowed our shop vac a couple of days ago, and maybe my husband had loaned them our hose too. I called my husband back, explained my hunch and asked him if anyone had borrowed our hose. He said, “No, not that I know of. Wait a minute, let me ask Paul.” I heard them talking in the background and Paul explaining that yes, someone from the church had been using the hose. My husband came back on the phone and said, “Let me call Bro. So and so to confirm and see if he did return the hose.” A few minutes later, the hubby calls me back. Bro. So and so’s kind, conscientious son decided to come over and return our hose, thinking that all of us had gone to San Jose. After all, my husband had announced the revival in church and opened it up to whoever wanted to go.

The neat thing about this whole scenario is that even though my heart accelerated during the incident, God brought the Scripture in 2 Timothy to my mind and also a message I had just heard at Pacific Coast Camp preached by Bro. Frazier entitled The Spirit Of Fear. Y’all that went to camp remember that one? If it wasn’t for those 2 things, I think I would have been way more unnerved and almost panicky. Thank God for His Word and for putting a little excitement and laughter into my evening! 😆

When You Rearrange The Letters

My husband shared this with me recently, and I thought it was great, probably because I love words. Rearrange the letters of the following words or phrases to come up with new words.

DORMITORY = DIRTY ROOM

PRESBYTERIAN = BEST IN PRAYER

ASTRONOMER = MOON STARER

DESPERATION = A ROPE ENDS IT

THE EYES = THEY SEE

GEORGE BUSH = HE BUGS GORE

THE MORSE CODE = HERE COME DOTS

SLOT MACHINES = CASH LOST IN ME

ANIMOSITY = IS NO AMITY

ELECTION RESULTS = LIES-LET’S RECOUNT

SNOOZE ALARMS = ALAS! NO MORE Z’S

A DECIMAL POINT = I M A DOT IN PLACE

THE EARTHQUAKES = THAT QUEER SHAKE

ELEVEN PLUS TWO = TWELVE PLUS ONE

AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE……………..

 

MOTHER-IN-LAW = HITLER WOMAN

If you have a mother-in-law, I hope this isn’t true. 🙂

Have a good weekend, everyone!