A Day to Show Love

Sometimes we just need to hear the words.

Memories of clutching my valentine box that I spent hours on still runs through my mind. It was the day that everyone in my class was my friend because I received a card from everyone. The teachers gave us lots of time to read each one, and I hope everyone felt special at least for a little while.

Valentine’s Day brightens the month of February and many people put hearts on their front doors and in my neighborhood some even have red lights on their bushes. We all have a need to celebrate, but we don’t need a special holiday to do that. Anytime we give a compliment brightens someone’s day.

I was listening to someone talk about the gift she was giving herself this Valentine’s Day. She said she was making a list of all the things people said they liked about her, and she was writing them on a big heart. Depression this winter has been an ongoing battle and she needed to give herself a boost. I found it sad that she needed other people’s comments to put on the card because she couldn’t think of anything she liked about herself to write.

That must make God sad that we don’t say I love how special you made me. He gave us so many gifts. The gift of music, intelligence, patience, or the ability to see beauty in someone or something every day are just a few. I sent my family valentines, but I need to take time and send God one. I’ll sign it with love and gratitude.

I’m Stuck!

Life can be overwhelming.

There are times when I just feel stuck. I can’t think of anything to write, I’m preparing the same meals, and I’m doing the same things. Sound familiar? The solution for me is to find a book.

Reading a good book helps me relax which frees my creative side. It also gives me ideas. I know the saying, there’s nothing new under the sun which was adapted from the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 1:9, but there is always a way to create a new twist on an old idea.

What do I read? I read uplifting books. There are so many sad and disturbing things happening in the world that I don’t want to waste my free time on reading more of that. I also like historical novels and some romance novels. The romance novels I like fall into the Hallmark version according to my husband.

I have a cupboard full of cookbooks and most are old having been handed down by my mother. I can spend a couple hours just reading recipes. That has helped me add a few new items to our dinner menu. Breakfast for dinner was one thing I’d forgotten about. There is never a bad time to make waffles!

I feel like my little angel on some days, and I have to push myself to do things. I’m only stuck if I refuse to dig myself out. Books are great shovels and one won’t hurt his/her back lifting them. The libraries are open and it’s a nice place to go. It gets me out of the house, and I come home with an armful of pleasure.

When Less is More

There are times when a little goes a long way.

I love the snow. I love how it sparkles in the sun and how a dark night becomes light because snow has covered the ground. All the fun things one can do in the snow make it a major source of entertainment. Saying all this, a little can go a long way.

Shoveling under four inches is actually an activity I enjoy. As you can see, this has exceeded that number quite significantly. The sunshine will help some, but it’ll take a while before we can use the front door. It is so heavy it’ll take time and patience to get it shoveled.

This excess of snow made me think of other things where a little goes a long way. Seasoning food is a good example. I always regret when I overuse salt or a spice. Instead of enhancing the flavor it dominates. Eating a large serving of a rich dessert is another example. The small serving is delicious and enjoyable, but eating too much just makes me feel sick and I forget how wonderful it tasted.

Listening to speakers can also fit into the area of a little goes a long way. I’m sure everyone has listened and felt at some point they got the point five minutes ago. Yet, the speaker drones on.

One of the best examples of the saying is the following. A child cried that he wanted to go home and his father said, “but aren’t you having fun?” The child answered, “I’ve had enough fun, I just want to go home!” I can relate. The snow could have stopped at four inches.

What I Never Thought I’d See!

This is unexpected, but not shocking.

My grandmother was born in the late 1800s and saw many things in her 98 years. She went from riding in a horse and buggy to seeing a man land on the moon. She lost loved ones to disease and wars and the only thing that was constant was her faith in God. Even though there were many times she thought the world had gone crazy, she knew God was with her.

I shake my head in disbelief at what I recently saw in the news. I can honestly say I never thought I’d see this and I wish I hadn’t. Satanic groups are opening after school programs. Why? They say they are just offering arts and crafts and games. Many other groups do the same, so why do they really want to work with children if not to indoctrinate them.

I’m a Christian, but I know people of the Jewish faith and Muslim faith are taught that Satan is evil. Why would communities allow a group that proudly uses Satan in its name be allowed to work with children?

Over the last couple years children have been told they can’t wear crosses, can’t bring Bibles to school and can’t meet for prayer in schools across America. Now they can meet in a group sponsored by Satan worshippers?

When religious statues were vandalized and torn down I waited to hear the outrage. I didn’t. When churches were vandalized and some destroyed I thought people would be furious. It could be those voices were raised and the news media didn’t care to share the distress of Christians. Now I wish all those who love the Lord will speak out against these Satanic groups whose only purpose must be to bring them to Satan.

This is not just a battle for Christians to wage, but it is a battle for all those who believe in God. Please pray for our children and our country. I know I am.

Newfangled Appliances are Noisy!

My house is filled with talking appliances!

Something is definitely wrong if I’m telling my dryer I’m coming. That’s what happens when it beeps repeatedly to tell me the clothes are dry. It obviously has no patience. My washing machine plays a little tune, and the lid pops up when it has done its job and then thankfully it sits in silence. I appreciate that.

My coffee maker tells me when the coffee is ready and when it is shutting off. My dishwasher is just plain noisy while it runs, and it lets me know when the dishes are clean. They aren’t always dry, but they are clean.

The other two kitchen appliances that feel it necessary to make noise are the refrigerator and microwave. The microwave talks about everything it’s doing. I think it has its own broadcast system. The refrigerator doesn’t talk, but its ice maker loudly announces each new load of ice it deposits into the bin. Talk about being a prima donna!

The only thing I loudly announce is dinner being ready and that is important. I am old enough to remember quiet appliances, and I must say these newfangled ones are way too chatty!

What will 2022 bring?

A picture from the past but the message is still the same.

Julius Caesar created the Julian calendar and moved the new year to January 1 from the vernal equinox. This was because the existing calendar no longer was aligned with the sun. After consulting with astronomers, he added 90 days and honored the Roman god Janus who had two faces. It was believed that Janus could look into the future and was able to examine the past. The year was 46 BC and the calendar is very close to the Gregorian calendar that Pope Gregory XIII issued in 1582 and is still used today.

It is amazing that the calendar has not changed in centuries, but we did add daylight savings which I am not a fan of. I say choose a time and stick with it! The other thing that hasn’t changed are all the joys each year holds. Births, weddings, holidays and graduations all provide opportunities for celebration. I look forward to all of these in 2022.

I have mentally been comparing leaving 2021 to taking a shower. I want to wash away all fear, nastiness, and negativity. When I am mentally clean, hope, joy and positivity will replace all negativity. I wish that for everyone. Attitude is everything and I choose to believe 2022 will be a great year full of opportunities and great blessings. I wish you all a year filled with happiness and one filled with delightful surprises. They are the best!

Christmas Nostalgia!

Christmas items awaken memories.

Unpacking the boxes filled with Christmas items is an emotional time for many. My mom had two strands of bubble lights that were glass. Mine are plastic, but when I see them I remember how she arranged them around a table and being told not to touch them. Of course I touched them and quickly pulled my hand away because they were so hot. I still enjoy watching them bubble, and they don’t burn my hand.

My grandmother made a delicious fruitcake. People make fun of fruitcake but I like it. She made it with fresh coconut. I buy Claxton every year even though I’m the only one who eats it. It’s a memory.

The Christmas quilt was bought for my daughter years ago, and I put it out every year. It’s on the bed the granddaughters sleep in and it brings Christmas into the room. I told them they could take it to their house since it belongs to their mother, but they said they like seeing it here. That makes me happy! After all it provides a memory.

Last item in the picture is sugar cookies. I can’t remember when I didn’t make sugar cookies. By the time I was in high school I was the baker who made them. My family has turned cookie decorating into a competition and watching them this past weekend was hilarious. Of course we all had a different opinion on whose was the best and that made for a very loud discussion!

I would love to hear some of the things that evoke memories for you. Please share and Merry Christmas!

The Reason for the Season

Has baby Jesus been forgotten?

I love this simple drawing of the manger scene. It represents Christmas. There are are no Christmas trees, giant candy canes, red bows and no Santa Claus. Just baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph.

I’m a fan of Christmas Hallmark movies, but it would be nice if the people went to church on Christmas Eve. Instead they have parades, dances and concerts. Every movie has a Christmas tree lighting, a Santa, and an abundance of Christmas decorations in homes, businesses and even on the streets of the towns. However, I don’t see Nativity scenes in any of the decorations. Movie after movie has a similar theme and they all omit the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the season.

Some of the movies have miraculous events because as the characters say, Christmas is the time of miracles. The miracles in the movies can’t compare to the miracle of a shining star guiding wise men to a manger or angels telling shepherds that a child has been born and singing in celebration. When a wonderous event happens in the movie, no character thanks God. After all, he is the creator of miracles and should be given credit.

As I said, I do like watching Hallmark movies, but Jesus is never mentioned and he is Christmas, not Santa. Santa should be moved aside and Jesus be allowed to take center stage. After all, it is his birthday.

Thanksgiving Memories

Over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house we went.

My parents didn’t have a sleigh and we didn’t go through the woods, but we did cross streams and drove by woods on the way to Grandma’s. It was tradition to go to my grandparents farm on Thanksgiving. I still remember the smell of turkey and dressing and all things good when we entered the kitchen.

As an adult my children have heard me complain about having to sit at the children’s table. In truth, it was fun but it made me feel like a baby. The four granddaughters sat together while the older boy cousins ate as quickly as they could because this was hunting season and they went hunting every year after we ate. Dinner was at 1:00 and hunting must have begun at 2:00. The fields had many pheasants back then.

Hunting season in Ohio began on November 5 this year and will end on January 9. The Ohio Wild Life Division released move then 14,000 rooster pheasants on public hunting grounds for avid hunters. Hens are not allowed to be hunted. I don’t remember eating pheasant as a child, but I probably did. I do remember the pretty feathers.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. As you can see I decorate for it. Christmas decorations wait until after Thanksgiving. It was established as a day to give thanks, and each year I seem to be more aware of all the blessings I have. I hope all of you will be filled with thankfulness and enjoy this wonderful holiday.

Poe’s The Raven

Many students read The Raven and wonder what it means.

I never got tired of reading and talking to students about Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. The rhythm sells the poem and even if students didn’t understand it, they enjoyed hearing it read. To understand it, one has to understand the time period. The Raven was published in 1845.

The question asked of many writers is what was your inspiration? Some have tried to answer that on Poe’s behalf and some attribute it to the loss of his wife, Virginia, but she died two years after The Raven was published. However, Virginia died of tuberculosis and she would have been suffering from it at the time the poem was written and published. Poe could have been looking ahead to his life without his beloved wife. There was no cure for tuberculosis and one suffered an average of three years before passing.

Poe clearly believed in an afterlife and the suffering man in the poem questioned the raven about being reunited with Lenore when he passed. The raven was thought to be a messenger between the living and the dead, so this conversation was appropriate. The bird was merciless in answering Nevermore when asked if he’d “clasp a sainted maiden name Lenore” in Aidenn which is heaven.

The man asked if angels sent the bird, and if there is balm in Gilead which means relief in heaven. The raven is shouted at and called a prophet and a thing of evil, but anger did not change the raven’s answer from Nevermore.

The ending is painful because the prophetic bird’s words have been realized. Hell is spending eternity in that room with the demonic bird and never being reunited with Lenore. That is Halloween horror!