Monday, October 31, 2011

Blue Ribbons and Other Things

This autumn time of year reminds me of my dad and the great mum shows which he participated in. All summer long he nursed his babies. He built a wooden box with a top to shade them just so. He was always pinching and fixing up and nourishing them in one way and another.

He was greatly rewarded for his efforts. First he conquered the Mansfield Garden show in Ohio where he lived. He won many of their best prizes and then he went to Columbus. Here he was no second best either. He often took first prize in many categories and a few times he even got best of show. That means that one of his entries was the best of all the different venues.

Lest you think that this doesn't look like too many prizes, let me tell you that he had a hand made glass case in the basement with row upon row of ribbons. When he passed away, we had boxes and boxes of them saved. I wish I would have kept one. I guess I was just too busy or upset to think about it then. I'm so glad I have these pictures. My dad was an excellent photographer, woodworker and gardener. His one sad point was that he couldn't write. He thought he couldn't, but he wasn't that bad. He just felt nervous when he had to type a letter to somewhere important. He was very nice to say how much he enjoyed my stories about him.
I see flower beds everywhere and I think of how he loved gardens everywhere he traveled. It's wonderful how we all have different gifts. His gift was that he was not an artist but a craftsman and he worked very hard to make sure that his offerings showed the best that he had.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Big And Small

One of the things that helps me to remember the majesty of God when I need that memo is to think of big and small. I once had a great book that showed that perfectly. It was called Powers Of Ten. In it, we see the stars in all their massive beauty and the picture is far out in space. The next series of pictures is a bit closer as we go from vast swirling stars to the galaxy to the planets and then a gorgeous blue earth, stunningly alone. Then we zoom closer as each page gets us nearer a couple napping in a park on a blanket in the grass.

Then we zoom in on a closeup of them and then to one of their hands and then to a patch of skin. The next set of pictures is where I find myself in awe of God and His wonders. We go to cells and in page after page we go outward in tiny specks that rival the stars until the last picture is almost identical to the one in deep space.

If the stars don't impress you, the intricate make-up of the human body should do something for you. Our God is not small, but He can do small. He is HUGE. He is a God of great details. He creates both small and large.

So whether you need God for something truly important or something small or for tiny details, He is the one who knows all about it and can help like no one else can. I do praise Him for He is truly deserving of the word AMAZING.

Monday, October 24, 2011

God Speaks In An Anecdote

Today I was vacuuming the kitchen floor and I saw my Vitamin E pill I had lost a few days ago. That morning, I had put three vitamins on my plate so I wouldn't forget them, and went about getting my breakfast. I had my bagel and almonds with raisins and an egg on the plate. I picked up the plate quickly and swished it to the opposite counter, forgetting about the pills. They went flying off onto the floor. I looked around and found my two calcium tablets, but search as I might, I couldn't find my Vitamin E.

So as I was vacuuming way over by the side opposite where I first had the plate, there was the pill on the floor. I was happy that it was found so that it wouldn't get squashed. I thought, "Lord, do you have a message here?"
"After a time, I felt that He said something like: "Well that pill rolled, the others didn't." I know He has a delightful sense of humor. I said, "No, really, does this mean anything?"

He said, "You have to go a little farther, reach a little more. Everything you want isn't right at hand. Go over to the other side and look for it. You're trying too small, try bigger. There are big fish out there. You have bait. Go get some."

Well that conversation reminded of the book Rocket Boys where Homer HIckam and his friends tried to build a rocket. After finally getting one to work, they entered it in a local science fair. Even though they made it to the next round, one judge called them dangerous and mostly they just didn't "get it." At the higher level fair, they won easily and the experts were amazed and totally understood what they were about.

So I feel I am led to try some things that I might not have done before. Maybe some of you can enter a higher market. Those enlightened experts just might be impressed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Play The Name Game

Here is something I found when I was looking for an old article. My writing friend and I had fun with these kinds of activities. This one is about naming. Do you have fun naming your places and things?

Thing To Be Named -Serious Name - Funny Name

  1. Writer's Magazine - Writer's Talk and Tidbits - Dream Big Digest
  2. Band - Up and Comers - The Howlers
  3. Sailboat - Good Winds - Stayafloat
  4. Detective Show - Firearms and Fingerprints - He Gets His Man
  5. Beauty Parlor - Designer Cuts - Nice Hair
  6. Twins - James and John - Billy and Bob
  7. Small Town - Little Haven - Missit City
  8. Dog - Bernard - Flyscratcher
  9. Motel - Mayfair Motel - Last Place Inn
  10. Restaurant - Maria's Table - Unida Bib

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Importance Of Placement

There's an old play/movie called The Odd Couple where a very neat person lives with a sports slob. The neat one, Felix, has just made a plate of spaghetti. Oscar, the sports guy, gets in an argument of some type. He says, "See that spaghetti. It's dinner." He throws it against the wall where the sauce splashes all over and noodles drip down. "Now," he says, "Now, it's garbage."

I have always remembered that scene because it was so funny and interestingly enough, profound. Things in one place can be great, but in another, not so good. I love eating salads in restaurants. If I get some lettuce, especially with dressing on the table, it bothers me. I don't want to look at it. I try to push it under my plate or hide it with a napkin. It's just lettuce, I know.

Words we speak can be like this. You can't cry "FIRE" in a crowded room unless you see one, but it you are witnessing a real fire, you better scream all you can. When a person is sad, you don't want to tell them the latest joke. You want to console them and pray. Words I may say in one situation to a person on a certain day might hit the mark and be all wrong on another.

Placement is important. When the time is right, even criticism can be good. You can correct a child lovingly or exhort a person who asks for help. You can't just speak against anything at anytime. The Bible says "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Pr.25:11 NKJ.

I want my words and my actions to be given with wisdom and discernment. I'm reaching for this. I want my offerings to be food, like good home cooked spaghetti, not garbage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ohio Treasure Basket

We have had about 5 days of the most beautiful fall weather anyone could want. Fortunately, I was able to get out and enjoy it just a bit.

This warm spell reminds me of the lovely fall walks we three girls had with my father on my grandmother's farm. There was a great unknown woods out back of the farm and we grabbed a bushel basket and went looking for treasures. The first stop was the sheep field. They were always so cute and cuddly looking. Then we went through a gate. This put us directly into "wild" territory. We stopped to visit a well where the water was so cold. It smelled of eggs, but to this day, I think it was the best water I have ever tasted.

If one of us found brightly colored leaves, we tossed them into the basket. This was in Ohio and the red leaves were gorgeous. Going on a little farther, we found a beech tree. They have beechnuts. There is an outside prickly shell and then a smooth shell inside. You have to peel this with your teeth. Then you get a tasty treat. We roamed here and there seeing the step stone type of fungus on a tree. Then we hit a clearing. The sun was just piercing the trees. Its rays landed on an old stump and butterflies were dancing around it, doing their fairy dance.

The girls and I were getting tired. We found the traditional buckeyes, shiny mahogany seeds in their shells and some on the ground. You couldn't eat them, but I just loved having one for the joy of its beauty - until it dried up and then it didn't look as nice. My dad found an unusual fruit called a paw paw. He put one or two in the basket. When we were home, he cut it in half. In it nestled beautiful purple seeds. He said it tasted somewhat like a banana.

On our journey home, we took turns carrying our treasure basket. This trip was such a little thing to do. My dad was the type of person to do things like that - to make a memory.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Just A Few Of My Favorite Things

I enjoy decorating for fall. I put my fake leaf garland up on my curtain rod, put out my pumpkin salt and pepper shakers and my new tan and brown stoneware pumpkins. I also add some lovely yellow, blue, and brick red flowers in my large ceramic jar. These aren't real, of course. My mom loved fresh flowers and tried to have everything real. She and my dad had very green thumbs, a trait which was not handed down to me. I have killed more plants and flowers than you can imagine (and you can probably imagine a lot.) I start out well with them and then somewhere along the way, they seem to get over watered. I don't know how that happens.

So that's about the extent of my fall creations. I do add my favorite Toby mugs. These are little British men in tri-corner hats. They are so cute to me. Some people think they are ugly. Well, I guess I can see it, maybe, but I love them anyway. The figurines just seem to go with fall.

What about your house? Do you go to extensive decorating gyrations? Tell all.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do You Smell That? Ummm.

When I came inside my grandson's house, I detected a lovely aroma. He was perched on his little stool and was busy pushing doughy blobs into disc-like medallions. Yes, close scrutiny revealed that he had discovered Play-Doh. He had so much fun pushing out images of Cookie Monster and Elmo. Not too many days later, he was sitting there as neat as you please and was single-handedly pushing a blob of dough into a channel with an arm. He pushed the arm down and a perfect row of "bricks"came out of the little blue hole. He could then cut them and build, if he chose. I was amazed at how well he could do all of this by himself at 2. He played for a long time, sometimes using the device that made long spaghetti tubes. We were both so happy playing together. Well, it was because of the smell.

When I was a little girl, we got a Play-Doh Factory, almost like grandson Ty's under our Christmas tree. Open a can and it smelled heavenly. We also had the brick maker. The sturdy toy has changed little over the years. How many toys can be so creative? My sisters and I made jewelry and had a store, we made cakes and cookies for our bake shop, and we could always use cookie cutters.
In one of my pictures here, you can see Baby Bear which I made for Ty, who is going through a bear phase. He loved it. He squashed it and I made two more which met the same demise. What a fun was to use and use again. Play-Doh Factories, you rock. Did you have a factory or other related items? Are you enjoying them again with little ones?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Miracle Service

Dear Friends and readers: Recently, my husband had a knee replacement. He is still at the hospital but is coming home today and is doing much better. I wanted to tell my readers ahead of time that I was going to be gone a week, but something happened to my blogger mechanism and I couldn't publish. What a bummer! I couldn't connect with you and it felt awful. My son, Ben, fixed it for me. On Wed, before the fix, I was able to use the hospital computer and blog from there. That was fun. Then hours later, I logged in and saw 4 responses. That was such a great thing. You do have to nearly lose something to know how important it is to you. I later got 4 more cheerful comments. Thanks for all of the love you sent my way. And you didn't even know that I needed it.

Last night was one of those rainy nights where you just want to stay home. I had been to the hospital and didn't want to go out again. But my son, Ben, was going to play guitar and sing at a small walk-in church near me. I just had to go. It was so lovely. His songs were like little praise stories. Such a sweet spirit came over me. When I first arrived, I met someone from my past. This wonderful lady had prayed a prayer that turned out to be answered in a wonderful way. We both remember it. She was so cheerful and she prayed for something similar that was going on in my life now. Then I almost giggled. Here was my wonderful God sending my gifted son to minister to me and this lady who always means so much to me, all rolled in a package of hope. While the evening wore on, I saw that even though my prayers weren't all answered right now, that they would be. I felt I had the answer now, as the Bible says you are to pray and believe (Matt.21:22) I'm sending this to any of my friends who are discouraged. I was totally "undone" my pastor calls it. Just being obedient and going to fellowship with the Lord and worship Him gave me the answers I needed to go on to more of what He has for me. What He's done for others, He'll do for you. Love, Nancy