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Mothers Day wishes

1971, Christmas.  I was 21, hadn’t met my husband yet. Mom was 63. These are from left to right Ralph (Buddy), Margaret Anne, Mom, me, Sharon Rose. Four of her five children in the same room, something that didn’t happen more than a handful of times. Missing from the photo was her first, Mary.

I wish I’d known Mom had 20 Mothers Days left. Had someone told me I would have called that a lot, that it was way far away. Twenty years are nothing in retrospect.

I wish I’d have made more of those 4 day weekend trips. We were only 500 miles apart, an 8 hour drive.  Phone calls and cards were sometimes late.  I had two little ones and time got away from me.  Although we did call. We did visit. Just not enough when I look back.

Time flies.

I think she understood.  I think, having been transplanted away from her family by 600+ miles and two states, she wasn’t surprised that visits were sometimes far apart.

I wish we’d taken better pictures.  I wish we’d had digital cameras so we could keep snapping until we were all looking at the camera, nobody was talking and nobody got cut off.  I wish we’d gone to a studio.  Although there are studio pictures here and there, the vast majority of our collective memories are captured in shadow, on faded Polaroids, in black and white, somebody with their eyes closed.

I wish I could call her in the middle of the day on a week day and hear her ask “who died” because it was higher phone rates.  If she hadn’t been in her 40’s when I came along unexpectedly, I wouldn’t have lost her in my 40’s and I could still visit.  She’d be 103 now.  Some things we can’t control.

I wish we’d had a movie camera.

I wish I’d listened more closely to her stories of her youth and the family. I did listen, but I wish I’d written them down.

I’m almost her age now that she was in the snapshot.  Buddy’s gone. Sharon’s husband, gone.  All our kids are grown.  The good lookin’ husband I hadn’t met then has white hair now. Still my man.

My family got together for a week last year, 2010. I wanted a professional set of pictures, pro shots as well as snapshots.  A mother-daughter pose, a father-son pose, a mother-son, a father-daughter, a girls only and a guys only, a Nana with the grandsons shot, a Poppy with boys, a three generation of men and of course the group, goofy and formal.  I want. I didn’t get. I’ll try again next time to arrange it. I’ll even pay for it.

Sixty-three sounds old to the young. “Hey, Grandma, that’s almost to the end” from my four year old son to my mother-in-law when she turned 68.  Yeah, well, you live long enough and at some point you’re almost to the end.  I’m a ways away from the end.  But once you cross the 44 line, statistically you’re halfway there.  I am a ways away the other side of 44.  I’m forty-twenty-one.

I do have a long term retirement plan in a dwelling place far far away close enough to visit Mom frequently.  In the meantime, I wish I could see her face and wish her a Happy Mothers Day, like she’s moping around in HEAVEN!!!

So. That settled, here’s a happy wish to all the mothers of young ones, grown ones, new mothers, grandmothers, mothers to be.

All we ever have is the current.  Love your moms now, don’t put it off.  Take a picture of her, of yourself or kids, write down that you love her. Thank her for raising you. If the least you can do is send a picture in a card, send it.

And have a great day.

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Christmas Day

On the way home from midnight service, we listened one more time to The Gaithers’ Christmas CD, The Greatest Story Ever Told, pulling into the driveway to the last delicate note of Mary, Did You Know, blessing us as our heads hit pillow approximately 1 am.  I am up ahead of Honey, talking to you in the pre-dawn morning light, waiting to grind the coffee beans.  We have exactly 7 gifts under the tree for the two of us.  The stockings each have DVDs, a jolly tradition to fatten the movie collection, and somebody got a new cologne to replace the Old Spice (finally).

Christmas. It is what it is, a day set aside to honor and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  We dress up, buy gifts, give to the poor, bake and cook and eat, send greeting cards and letters reporting the year on one page or just sign the card, and attend an extra worship service.

And this is good in its simplicity and adornment.

Then we diet or plan to diet.

I’ve posted many times my complaints of the Christmas machine, how it needs a face lift, a tweak here or there, that we should move the date, tear away the pagan symbols, etc.  I still want to move it, I still want to retire the jolly old elf. Greg Laurie, a prominent minister in California, suggested we at least eliminate gift exchange in a effort to tone down the unrealistic expectation factor for people who become depressed or in debt trying.  I don’t know if I agree with elimination, maybe reduce the pile under the tree and give more to those in need.

In short,

  • research states Jesus was conceived during the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, and born the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall.
  • Santa was originally a false god called Obed or Obid or some such name but is now publicized as a 19th century morph of Nicholas, born in Turkey in the early 300’s, who was a bishop in that early church father group, performed miracles, gave extravagantly to the needy, attended the Council of Nicaea from which he was thrown out and jailed for slapping another attendee who insisted Jesus wasn’t deity
  • from that Council, Constantine made Christianity legal, profitable, and state run, adopting nearly all the pagan symbols from Babylon BTW (and we know how God just loves Babylon), renaming them Christian to attract the multitudes to the new easy religion and pay taxes to him. He was baptized and allegedly converted. If that’s right, I’m going to have a serious discussion with him in heaven right after I ask “Why snakes?” and look up the relatives.

Christmas today resembles nothing of Jesus’ day, Constantine trashed all things Jewish and lest we forget, Christianity is grafted into (not from) the Judeac root, Jesus Himself.

In spite of it all, those who get it worship not the baby, but the existing risen Lord Jesus and rejoice, celebrating through gift exchange and fullness of food, sharing both in Jesus’ name.

The world has gone overboard, twisting each detail.  Christmas is an opportunity to profit, eat, drink, and be merry in all its temporary loud emptiness and glitter, avoiding the intent and meaning of Luke 2. It’s misplaced but we’ve mentioned that already.

(sigh) I can’t fix it.  But I can tell it better.  So can parents teach the real meaning, and please understand you are confusing your children when you let them actually truly believe in the unrecognizable morph of a false god, then a righteous servant of God into an elf in a red suit who can do magic.  Let’s have some fun with fairy tales but call them fairy tales, games if you wish. Consider this.  If they believe in Santa because you said to, and believe in Jesus because you said to, and find out Santa isn’t real, what about Jesus? Is He real or not?

The coffee is on.  The stockings beg attention.  One of my gifts is a tallit, a prayer shawl like those worn from Moses’ day, like in Jesus’ day, like He Himself wore.  I can hardly wait to see it.  I replaced Honey’s worn out Thompson Chain Reference study Bible.  What a blessing he wears out Bibles when years ago he didn’t open it.

May the peace of the season dwell in your hearts.  May your giving give all year. May the Messiah of the manger live in your homes.

As soon as I find that little camera cord …

Since the SD card I used in the camera this weekend is the weird one that won’t function simply by inserting it into the slotty thing, I need the cord to connect from the camera to the laptop.  It’s 8:45, I’ve been up since 5:02, worked two extra hours and am in no way excited about digging around for a connecting cord.  Besides, Fringe is coming on.

We spent 4 short days with our Seattle kids, daughter and son-in-law.  If I could retrieve it, a picture would go here.

We played games, went to a movie, shopped, shot fireworks, ate at a way cool restaurant on a bluff, talked, grilled, celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, grilled some more, shot off fireworks, laughed, went to Ripley’s Acquarium in Gatlinburg, ate carmel corn, played mini-golf, and watched a couple of  movies at home.  All that took 4 whole days to pack it in but we managed.

Tuesday morning came all too soon and early too.  So did clock in time at work.

Our workload is heavy if not heavier than it was before they cut staff.  Now they have to kick in with the overtime, begging for it in fact.  After 3 weeks of  “thou shalt not clock in earlier than your appointed time, nor shalt thou clock out later than your appointed time, not one minute!”  So much for cutting expenses.  Speaking of cutting expenses, I headed for the kitchen for my coffee and saw a monstrous machine that actually requires MONEY, 50 cents to be exact.  HAH!  I went to Wally’s and got an air pot!  Too bad, so sad.  They’re not getting my 50 cents a cup.  I figure it will take a couple of weeks, then my coffee is freeee, freeee, I tell you! And mine, miiiine….

I miss my kids.  We’re scheduled to fly out there the first full week of June for a combination trade show for Honey and the rest of the week with the kids.  They want to take us to Seaside for a couple days of fun on the beach.  In the meantime, that feels like a long time away.

Gotta run.  Fringe is on.  There’s a heavily clawed mysterious people eater on the loose and I have to concentrate on the plot.  I hope I’m not so tired I fall asleep in the middle and dream about it.

Party time

We partied as hearty as 8 people over … over …. hovering around …. all of whom are grandparents can party.  If laughter extends the life span, we’re all going to be centenarians plus some.

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God let me have another birthday

They have changed drastically over the years.  Such mile stones in youth, such millstones when we’re closer to the end.  The feelings are mixed.  I told Phyllis today that I’m not a year older until tomorrow at 7:04am.  As I hurtle down that slide toward the inevitability of the next number I am hanging onto the sides with my fingernails.  “You’re plenty-nine?”  Plenty-eight, thank you.  “It’s better than the alternative.”  Oh, I don’t know.  Jesus has quite the retirement plan waiting for me — no pills, no wheelchair …..

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Veterans Day

vet·er·an      [vet-er-uhn, ve-truhn] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation

–noun

1. a person who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or the like: a veteran of the police force; a veteran of many sports competitions.
2. a person who has served in a military force, esp. one who has fought in a war: a Vietnam veteran.

–adjective

3. (of soldiers) having had service or experience in warfare: veteran troops.
4. experienced through long service or practice; having served for a long period: a veteran member of Congress.
5. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of veterans.

[Origin: 1495–1505; < L veterānus mature, experienced, equiv. to veter- (s. of vetus) old + -ānus -an]

I appreciate #2 of the definition above, pulled from dictionary.com, that illustrates a military veteran as a “Vietnam veteran.”  All too often our focus ends with a WWII veteran.  We’ve just about run out of WWI vets and the WWII vets, now called the Greatest Generation, are dying at the rate of about 1000 a day.  In the flurry to honor them while we still have them, we can lose sight of the men who fought in Korea because that was a police action headed up by the United Nations.  Our Viet Nam vets often take a back seat.  Those are the men who were spat on when they came home.  They are the ones who sometimes don’t tell people that they are veterans who were fighting to keep communism at bay and were trashed by a generation of college students whose motives are still under debate, many of whom themselves embraced Karl Marx’ communist socialist policies.  At least one of them is currently running for president.  Personally, I believe their politics were wrong then and they’re still wrong.  Enemies don’t stop fighting and back down because we yell “peace.”

Honey’s great-grandfather, George Wesley Brock, at the age of 16, volunteered to preserve the United part of USA in the War Between the States.  Geo.Wesley’s grandfather, also a George, fought in the War of 1812, the “second revolution” against Britan’s attempt to recapture us, was himself captured by Indians sympathetic to Britain and survived a gauntlet because he said, “I’m half Indian.”  My father wore the army uniform in WWII to defeat two nations who would destroy our freedoms.  His great, great grandfather, John Murphy, Sr, fought to create a free nation in the Revolutionary War at Valley Forge as did his father-in-law, William Cooke.

So, which veterans are we honoring and if you say “all” are you limiting the celebration to those who served in combat in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, The Gulf War, and Iraq?  What about Bosnia? Afghanistan?  What about the desk jockeys, and those who put in duty in Germany in peacetime?   Anybody who’s worn the uniform, whether he or she is shooting a gun or working at the PX, signed a contract that committed them to following orders, giving up their right to free speech, and going wherever and whenever, even at the cost of their lives.

Honey enlisted in the Navy in 1968 while Viet Nam was still in full swing.  He signed the contract, put on the uniform and boarded ship.  He’s a veteran by definition #2.  This morning he had the privilege of honoring men and women in our congregation as well as veterans in general.  This is what he wrote:

Today on the Veterans Day we gather together around the Lord’s table to give a tribute to our forefathers who paved the way for the freedoms we so richly enjoy today.  But more importantly, we come here today to honor a savior who died for our eternal freedom.

Today, we salute the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel for their mission.

We remember the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

We honor the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat, but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and then teaching them how to watch each others’ backs.

We salute the barroom loudmouth, dumber than a box of rocks, whose overgrown fratboy behavior is outweighed a hundred times by four hours of exquisite behavior near the 38th parallel.

We remember the parade riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

We remember the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket–palsied now and aggravatingly slow–who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife was still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

We remember our Navy signalman who still holds close a tear stained picture of a best friend who lost his life in the line of duty.

Yes, we honor the ordinary, yet extraordinary human beings who offered some of life’s most vital years in the service of their country, and sacrificed all of their life’s ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

Most importantly, we honor and remember the greatest soldier of all, Jesus Christ our Lord, who came to earth to fight the Good Fight, Who took up the sword of righteousness on behalf of all mankind and became the greatest testimony this world has ever known for the greatest promise ever given.