Archive for November, 2009

Years of teaching preschoolers taught me to appreciate short prayers that three-year-olds can easily memorize. Many times the children would introduce the prayer to their parents at family meal times, and a new tradition would be born.

For each new morning with it’s light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything thy goodness sends.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


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I am deeply grateful for the freedoms that allow me to celebrate Thanksgiving according to my own convictions and my own conscience. Empty chairs around Thanksgiving tables of many military families will be visual reminders that our freedoms are bought with a price. Although it’s appropriate to express prayers of gratitude for our military each and every day, I look forward to a special, designated day to offer thankful prayers to the Lord for the men and women who serve and sacrifice on behalf of our great country, here in the United States and in far-off lands.

Not only am I grateful for those who currently serve, but also for those who served in the past, like my dad and uncles. Dad celebrated Thanksgiving in Korea when he was twenty-two years old. In the following letter, he describes his Thanksgiving holiday and activities.

Nov. 28, 1952
Dearest Folks,

The last couple of days have been holidays and we have taken full advantage of them.

Yesterday morning we went hunting, few of us guys. But we couldn’t spot anything. We really fired our weapons a lot. I have an automatic carbine and it fires about 30 rounds as fast as you can blink an eye.

When we got back we had a big Thanksgiving dinner. It was good and seems as though everybody done their best to make the day enjoyable. Today the whole Regt. had what is known as a field day. We stayed out all day and played organized games & sports of all kinds. We had a good time but we all are very tired. In the morning I played football and this afternoon we had vollyball & relay races & tug of war against Co’s & different plattoons.

Tomorrow is inspection day and we get back to business.

While chow was being served today George Co. had some more trouble. While on line they were always getting a bunch of men killed or wounded. It wasn’t anyones fault, just seemed bad luck. One of their guys stepped on something today, it exploded & injured 13 of them. None of them were hurt too bad, but so many things like that happen on the hill it just makes them seem very unlucky.

After all the activity I’m pretty tired so will go to bed early.

How is Margaret & _____. Hope all are well. Tell her if Ray gets over hear while were off line I’ll get a pass and go see him. He’ll have a good deal if he stays in the artillery.

Guess I should have a little nephew or cousin by now. Wish Margaret & it a Merry Christmas for me.

I’m just waiting for the 1st of the year so I can say next month I’m going home.

Well guess I’ll close for now and write more later.

Lots of Love,

Happy Thanksgiving! And I hope you have a field day!

I am the keeper of Grandma’s Bookcase and this is what I found.

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Pastor John E. Packo wrote Coping With Cancer and Other Chronic or Life-Threatening Diseases in 1990, nine years after his cancer diagnosis and treatment. I purchased the book while receiving treatment for breast cancer, in 2001, but never got around to reading it. As I headed back to familiar waiting rooms for additional cancer testing during last two weeks, I chose Coping With Cancer as my book-companion.

Mr. Packo described how he journaled his “heart-talk,” which he defined as that continuous internal conversation “about every daily experience of every waking moment.” He utilized a heart-shaped, graphic organizer as a guide for his emotions, mind, and will to make creative choices in coping with cancer.

Graphic organizers are great tools for solving problems, clarifying information, and communicating more effectively, and Mr. Packo’s organizer is an effective way to internalize biblical thinking. Following Mr. Packo’s example, I journaled the following:

Emotionally (I feel): I feel discouraged because cancer means suffering, and I don’t like to suffer.

Intellectualy (I think): In spite of my previous memories of suffering, I am mediatating on the Word of God that declares:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Volitionally (I choose): I do not choose cancer, but I choose to believe that my life is in the hands of a sovereign God, perfect in love and wisdom, who controls every circumstance of my life, and who rejoices to do me good (Jeremiah 32:41).

Even though I’m still dancing a jig (King David style :)) that my recent medical tests revealed no cancer, I plan to continue to use the heart picture as a way to help me speak fluent “Bible,” and not to allow emotions or experiences to control my reponses to circumstances.

The ideas presented by Mr. Placo in Coping With Cancer are equally valuable in obtaining God’s perspective concerning any of life’s challenges that threaten to turn one’s world upside down. Mr. Placo shared his pictorial “heart-talk” and journaling discipline with thousands of people until his death earlier this year, at the age of 72.

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Today would have been Grandmother Rachel’s 98th birthday. Grandmother taught me many things that became an integral part of my life, and that I have passed on to my own children. I am thankful that Grandmother taught me:

1. how to grow pot plants—Grandmother Rachel cultivated my interest in plants when I was eleven years old by handing me a piece of ivy and an old bottle to root it in. Several years ago, I consulted the Texas A & M website about the pot plants that she grew, and what she taught me about those plants matched the TX A & M information exactly. The only thing that Grandmother didn’t teach me was the Latin name of the plants.

2. how to put supper on the table with practically nothing—Grandmother put together the most scrumptious and satisfying meals on very short notice from what looked like a pretty bare cupboard. Now I know that she was cooking from basic ingredients, and not relying on prepared foods.

3. how to welcome visitors—“Get on in here!” was Grandmother’s standard invitiation when she saw me or another visitor at her door. I literally felt pulled into her cozy house with those four words.

4. to read Christian-themed books—Grandmother loved to read, and encouraged me to read the books that she read. She told me a little about the book as a “hook”, and left it out on the coffee table. I read everyone of them, and now those books are some of my favorites.

5. to visit the sick and elderly—I accompanied Grandmother on many visits to nursing homes, and to the homes of her friends. I learned that when you visit a dear friend who can no longer can smell their own urine that you don’t just ignore it, but gently tell them that they need to change their panties. Then you help them do it.

6. that cooking without a recipe takes practice–No matter how many biscuit recipes I tried, my biscuits were tough and didn’t rise much. I asked Grandmother to teach me, and was surprised when she mixed all the ingredients in a center of a large bowl of flour. Deftly, she rounded up whatever flour that clung to the liquid and formed the biscuits. I thought, “No way will these biscuits be edible.” They were the tenderest, flakiest biscuits that I ever ate! “How did you do that without a recipe?”, I asked. “Oh,” she replied, “It was my job to make biscuits for my family every morning when I lived at home. With all that practice, you learn to make good biscuits without a recipe.”

7. that cooking with a recipe yields good results—One day Grandmother told me to help myself to a golden-brown mound on a cookie sheet. She added, “You can eat it plain or with milk, if you like.” As I munched on a bowl of the sweet, crunchy goodness, I marveled that Grandmother had made her own granola. Grandmother’s granola is one of the first things that I taught my children to make.

8. to read your Bible every day—Grandmother read her Bible every morning, sitting in her chair in the den and drinking a cup of coffee. She never told me to read my Bible, but I followed her example because she was so faithful in reading hers that I knew it was important.

9. to kill mice with a broom—When the weather turned cold, we found fresh mouse droppings on the kitchen counter each morning. One evening, we spied a mouse dashing from under the cabinet to the refrigerator. I was the closest, and Grandmother exclaimed, “Get him with the broom!” I had only swatted flies and mosquitoes, so I was unsure about how to kill a mouse. But with Grandmother yelling, “Hit ’em! Hit ’em again!” I managed to beat a mouse to death with a broom. Today I have no qualms about killing mice.

10. to use your hands to bless people—Make “Uncooked Cookies” to give away; crochet colorful rugs with plastic bread wrappers; write letters; shell pecans and make pecan pies; plant irises; make plum jelly; point to God’s handiwork in the night sky.

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2009 Word of the Year

It’s that time of year of again—time for the New Oxford American Dictionary to announce their Word of the Year. And the winner is . . . unfriend. It’s a verb that means to remove a person from ‘friend’ on a social networking site. As in, “I decided to unfriend my neighbor on Facebook since his pit bull attacked my cat yesterday.”

Most “un-” words are adjectives (unsocial, unmannerly), along with a number of familiar “un-“verbs (unlock, unmade). As a verb, unfriend is unique because it assumes an unusual verb sense of “friend,” instead of the common noun usage.

Other words in the running:

intexticated—distracted due to cellphone texting while driving a vehicle

funemployed—taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests

zombie bank—a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

deleb—a dead celebrity

In addition to the words mentioned above, other words considered for WOTY, including a slew of Obamaisms, can be found at Oxford University Press.

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All the talk of eating squirrels, squab, possums, rabbits, and soft-shell turtles in a previous post reminded me that I’m thankful that those animals are not part of my diet. Here are some other food and food-related items for which I am thankful.

1. standard measurements in recipes—Although I get a kick out of reading old recipes, I’m thankful that I don’t have to estimate the amounts for ingredients, e.g., “butter size of walnut,” or “one tea cup of flour”

2. seedless raisins—Older cookie recipes called for “stoned raisins,” which are raisins with seeds removed. Seeing as how a raisin was a grape in it’s former life, I’m thankful that the tedious work of picking out two to four seeds from each raisin is not one of my prep chores.

3. cream of tartar—An acidic powder (a by product of winemaking) combined with baking soda, makes Snickerdoodles rise just right.

4. pastry blenders—When I first started making pie dough, I would “cut shortening into flour using two table knives until the particles were the size of small peas.” As soon as I discovered the efficient pastry blender, I ditched the knives.

5.cast iron skillets—They make the best cornbread with a crispy crust.

6.farmer’s markets—Locally grown vegetables taste better.

7.tabouli and hummus—My tastebuds would be happy if I ate these every day.

8.refrigeration—I’ve been thankful for electric refrigerators ever since Grandmother told me how Dad would go to town to get a block of ice for their “ice box.”

9.electric stoves—Although I sometimes like to do things the old-fashioned way, I’m thankful that I don’t have to deal with the fluctuating temperature of a wood stove.

10. frozen peas—Hannah refused to eat cooked peas as a toddler, but she loved them straight from the freezer. I’m thankful that I wasn’t coaxing her to eat peas prepared with the following recipe for Christmas dinner.

To Keep Green Peas Till Christmas

Take young peas, shell them, put them in a colander to drain. Then lay a cloth four or five times double on a table, then spread them on. Dry them very well, and have your bottles ready. Fill them, cover them with mutton suet fat when it is a little soft. Fill the necks almost to the top, cork them, tie a bladder and a leather over them and set them in a dry cool place.

From The First American Cookbook: American Cookery, 1796″ by Amelia Simmons.

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Have Booster Seat Will Travel

Booster seat 022

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