Archive for April 2013

DIALING DOWN THE “PRESSURE”

April 30, 2013

Son has brought over some intriguing vegetable seeds,  and I’ve been reading and collecting articles,  planning,   putting a lot of pressure on myself about a summer garden.

Soil hands

It began to feel like “pressure” because I guess I’m not quite up to it yet, haven’t quite recovered all my strength,  and also because I’m going to have to travel off and on in the early summer —  not a good time to be leave a baby garden all by itself.

I believe in growing my own food.    I believe in lots and lots of homegrown vegetables and berries and herbs.     I already have some garlic coming up because it had to be planted last Fall.    But I’m not good at gardening.    I gave Hubbie many merry moments as I brought to him my harvests — scant,  miniature, or non-existent.   He had great fun talking about my cherry tomato sized potatoes!     We had some odd-shaped green peppers too, but they tasted really good.

No.    This year I’m going to leave most of the gardening to the experts..       We have  good Farmers’ Markets around here and  plenty of Amish who don’t use chemicals to grow their food.     Dollar for dollar I’ll probably come out a little ahead, buying just a portion of the crop I’d need each week.     And garlic goes well with just about anything I can bring home from a Farmers’ Market!

 

 

 

 

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NO FAITH IN THE PEOPLE OF MY CLASSES

April 28, 2013

threads

 

When I look around the tables in my Bible study classes,  I realize I have absolutely no faith in their attendance.   I don’t “believe”  they will come to class;  I’m looking at them – they’ve actually come –  I don’t need faith that they will attend.

There is something in the nature of faith that makes it necessary for our souls.   It’s hard to explore the nature of faith in modern times, because we are so used to the word “blind!”  being shouted in our ears whenever we speak of faith.  “Blind faith” !!   “Unreasonable faith” !!     “Useless faith” !!

But we must have the strength to shout back and say,  “Faith!    We come to God by our faith.   ‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him.’   The way to the One Living God is by faith.”     Faith is good.  Faith is saving.

Faith is pure and strong and sweet and single-minded.  It is evidence of things not yet seen.     Perhaps you read the lyrics of the song in my last posting:  “My Sweetheart Went Down With the Ship.”    How truly tragic.

ship

But did you notice that although she had lost her sweetheart and will see him no more on this earth,  her love was lasting and she confirmed her love by her faith.     It was her faith that  she will see him once again in Heaven that was strengthening and gave meaning to her continued existence.

Today, the Church gives us the gospel reading from John 16 in which Our Lord informs us that now is the time when He must leave all His disciples on Earth.   Leave them behind for a while.   He says, “Because I have spoken to you these things, sorrow has filled your heart.”

The sorrow is that we can no longer see Him with our eyes, but we now must see Him by our faith.   One day He’ll come for us,   but for now we can have Him only by faith.

Sometimes faith seems like tenuous golden threads that we hold in our hands, fragile, vulnerable,  connected to … what … we cannot actually see,  but we know – by faith – that God is on the other side of those golden threads.    There are things that we can do to strengthen our faith, but I’ve found that when we do nothing,  there are plenty of things in this life that make those golden threads dissolve.

What?  What can we do to strengthen  faith?    We need to know!    I need to know!

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And perhaps that’s why I still enjoy playing that piano music,   published in MCMXII (1912),  because there are clues in there, from our great or our great-great grandparents’  times:    The young lady’s faith was nourished by her love for her sweetheart.

We have faith in the ones we love, and when we love greatly, our faith is strong.    When we Christians love Our Lord greatly,  we open ourselves to the gift of Faith.

And  faith is the fitting work for our everlasting souls.

 

 

 

BEAUTY IN TRAGEDY

April 26, 2013

The Spruce Tunnel is considering the changes this past century has wrought on us.     Please consider with me  beauty from out of a tragedy and the sweet sadness that was once freely expressed and understood:

notes

“MY SWEETHEART WENT DOWN WITH THE SHIP”

Out of the bay

Sailing away

There went the steamship Titanic.

Stately and proud,

Gay was the crowd

As she steamed o’er the big blue Atlantic.

No one was sad,

All hearts were glad

Till early in the dawn

She struck a berg

A crash was heard

And soon the ship was gone.

My sweetheart went down with the ship

Down to an ocean grave

One of the heroes who gave his life

The women and children to save.

Gone but not forgotten. 

As the big ship rolled and dipped

He went to sleep in the mighty deep.

My sweetheart went down with the ship.

              (second verse?)

Out in the sea,

Parted from me

Down in the deep he is sleeping.

Fearless and brave,

His life he gave,

And the angels their watch will be keeping.

Tho’ parted now,

I know somehow,

Again your face I’ll see;

On golden shore,

We’ll meet once more,

For all eternity.

My sweetheart went down with the ship

Down to an ocean grave

One of the heroes who gave his life

The women and children to save.

Gone but not forgotten. 

As the big ship rolled and dipped

He went to sleep in the mighty deep.

My sweetheart went down with the ship.

 

Music   Sheet music, on my piano.

This was once parlor music,   for common everyday families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHILE A DX’ER IS DOWN

April 24, 2013

I’m a Dx’er.    I’ve been DX’ing since I was eleven years old.      Part of it was because I grew up as an “only child”  so I had a lot of free “alone” time on my hands, but part of it is because I’m genuinely interested in the people in this world.    People – so far away!   People – so different from me that I would seem “foreign” to them!

radio shortwave

Every day after school, sometimes during homework, I would listen to my Dad’s shortwave radio,  finding my favorite stations,  finding new stations,  marking down the call  letters, the frequencies,  the countries, and any other information I could glean.

CQ?  CQ?

radio ham  My favorite was the ham radio operators.    They weren’t professionals;  they were ordinary people saying ordinary things about their world – usually far away from me! – and I couldn’t believe how many  good, normal, nice people there are out there.

I never kept good logbooks.  I really didn’t know that I should have, but every once in a while I come across a page which I had written on to “report”  my finds.  I still  have a few QSL cards.   What a thrill!

Today,  I still keep the habit, although my favorite radio doesn’t have a Single Sideband function, so I miss out on the hams.  Mostly I stick to shortwave and AM radio.     radio am

I go to bed every night with my head on a….radio!

 

Mine has buttons so I can switch rapidly from one station to the next, but I am too tired tonight to take pictures of all my radios.  (And antennas.)     These pictures are really quite close to the ones I have.

DX’ing – the joy of finding new and distant radio stations, joining the radio world,  being connected to people and to information.    And this is why I’m writing about my little hobby.    Even though I’ve been “down” for a month now with this fever-and-lung thing,  and I haven’t been commenting much on the important things that are going on in the world,  “when a DX’er is down,  there is still information pouring in” !

So for the next few posts I want to “join the world”  and put out some of the information that has drifted in.     Either the world has taken a turn for the worse, or, having been “gone” for a month,  I’ve forgotten how serious things are getting.

When you start paying attention……

 

SERMON FROM MY OVEN

April 21, 2013

During the past weeks that I’ve been sick, I couldn’t eat very much….preparing food was a little above my energy level,  but occasionally I wished I had some of my good bread….mmmm.

So here’s a sign that I’m getting stronger:

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Cinnamon swirl bread.  It might not win any prizes for appearance, but it sure does taste good!   It’s just as I had been picturing;  just the taste that I’d been longing for.

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Bread means so much.   Bread:  the Staff of Life.    Symbol for physical and spiritual nourishment because we humans are both physical and spiritual.  A thoughtful person will see the need for both physical and spiritual things.

I thought about that bread as I sat in church this morning.    And it floated through my mind that as much as I had longed for my cinnamon swirl bread, so also do I – or I ought to –  desire the Bread of Life:   “This is my Body….”

“Grant, O Lord, that by these Mysteries it may be given us to subdue our worldly desires and learn to love the things of heaven….”    So said the priest today before the Mystery of Christ’s saving Sacrifice is offered up.

And so I pray, along with the Church, that I learn to love the things of Heaven more than the things of this earth;  that I learn to long for spiritual Bread even more than my good bread….ever more and more.

And I do.  I’m getting there.

Jesus offering  And I can feel the reality of the spiritual nourishment, and am still astonished by the Truth of it all.

His Body;   the Bread of Life;    Spiritual Food.

 

EASILY DISTRACTED

April 19, 2013

I had some things to write about tonight; certainly there’s a lot going on…but first I glanced out my kitchen doors, onto the deck:

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…and then I forgot everything else.

Fascinating.

Third week of April.

 

…AND THE MEDICINE OF BEAUTY

April 18, 2013

Well,   this should be my last reference to “medicine” !    But this is universally true and for all time.    Think of it as “health maintenance”  more than mere “medicine.”

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I’m just getting back to my “normal” life now, scarcely keeping up with a “normal” schedule, and nearly overwhelmed by getting caught up with the news.   But last night  was our monthly Book Club meeting  and it was best that I attend.

Our meeting was to be held at a very nice apartment complex, and there was, surprisingly,  a music recital for the residents just before our meeting was to begin.     We decided to postpone our own gathering to take advantage of this free concert.

We were treated to the “senior recital” program of this young lady from our local university’s music department.  She chose a varied program of Debussy, Chopin,  Liszt,  Ginastera, and Haydn.       I’d say she evidenced a good “feel” for all these composers,   especially Debussy, a difficult composer for me to listen to,  but she played him well, as though she understood him.

The beauty of the piano,  the beauty of some of the musical passages,   the grace and beauty of the pianist — all these spoke to a part of us in the audience that normally  is ignored.    It’s what’s missing in our lives –  it’s available to all of us,  but we starve ourselves, we deny our periodic doses of beauty.

But something in us was “fed” last night;  something was truly strengthened and refreshed.

I’m placing myself on a maintenance dose…of beauty.     Wherever I can find it.    It’s a matter of good all-around health.

AND MEDICINE OF THE COLORFUL KIND

April 16, 2013

“Are you feeling better now, Grandma?”

SAMSUNGI dare not not get better…there’s a little one out West who cares.

About a week and a half ago, I was feeling very, very tired and didn’t want to lift my head up for long, but the laptop was nearby…and Cooper Skyped in.    My muddled head somehow thought I could answer and say, “Hello, I don’t feel like talking….”   but that’s not the way it works when a little grandson calls.

Soon as they all realized I was sick,  Cooper ran to his little plastic toy piano and began banging the keys and singing out the ABC song,  loudly, clearly, and firmly.   When he was done he ran back closer to the camera and looked right in at me and asked, “Are you feeling better now, Grandma?”

No!  Now there were tears stinging my eyes and my heart was burning and my arms ached to hold him close to me!    Yes!   I was feeling better.

And then the flowers came.

 

 

SPHERICAL MEDICINE

April 15, 2013

Kind of a dumb title, I know,   but it says what I’m thinking:

SAMSUNGA big thank you to the Giver of these oranges…..

When Hubbie and I were first married and all our friends were newly  married and young –  oh, so young!  –  one of our friends developed Juvenile diabetes.  Being in her early twenties,  it still counted as “juvenile.”    Type I.     She was not able to eat what everyone else did at our beach parties and…well, other kinds of parties.   She told us that her doctor told her to consider all of her food to be “medicine”  –  she would be that immediately affected by whatever she ingested.

That made sense to us, and I’ve never forgotten it.   We are creatures of this planet, with material bodies which are made of “the dust of the earth.”   The substances.  The molecules.   It just makes sense that the things we need to keep our bodies healthy come from out of the earth too.

SAMSUNGIt took a lot of energy to juice these things,  but each sip delivered such obvious, needful, strengthening goodness.  The vitamins, minerals, and enzymes were all alive and availble….just the way our food should be.

Thanks be to God for giving us such delicious “medicine” !    And thanks to my friend and to Son for making them available to me!

Deo gratias.    I’m experiencing a bit of a resurrection….and my brain seems to be working again…..

 

 

STILL DOWN

April 6, 2013

Four days of brutally high fever….and then it got worse.

curtains

Apparently will power has only limited effectiveness and we are not really in charge of what befalls us.

But you probably already knew that.

FIGHTING THE HEAT

April 3, 2013

I think I lost of few days here….

lava sun

Been fighting an internal heat wave….  Can’t keep it under 101 for very long….I have some ideas what this is,   but the ideas fly out of my head right away.      Son is a pharmacist….he’s got some ideas…..

There’s chicken soup here…garlic is hanging by the front door….rotting cabbage under the  bed….dea string tied around a deaad cat’s neck,  ready to swing in the mooonlight.   (Oh, no….that’s how you get rid of warts…)     If any of you know a saint who’s good for fevers,  please give him a ring on my behalf.

Miss being in the Spruce Tunnel…..

lava

…….but I think I’ll flow off to bed now…..

 

BOOM !

April 1, 2013

Yesterday’s Easter post was just purely for me,  pure self-indulgent writing of something wonderful that I can’t hardly describe.   There is peace and order and decency and love in this world….if you seek it honestly, but also diligently, and it matters.  It so much matters to you, as an individual person!

Here is why:  I wrote a little while ago too about things changing “In a Flash.”    Woke up one morning to that Blue Screen of Death, and instantly my whole week was “ruined” as I waited for the computer to be fixed.

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One evening recently I was working quietly at my table, when all of a sudden I heard a “BOOM!” from outside.   (I hoped it was from “outside.”)      I felt the boom up through the floor, through my feet,  so it seemed like a big something had just happened.   Maybe a big explosion.    I went to my windows, but nothing was lit up in the dark sky.

I enjoyed breathing in the fresh cold air for a while,  but noticed it wasn’t really “fresh.”   It had that slightly chemical smell that reminded me of ozone —  if you’ve ever lived near the prairie and smelled the air after a violent thunderstorm had ripped the air apart and left behind the  ozone,  giving you the sense that something big and dangerous had just occurred.SAMSUNG

After a few minutes I returned to my work, and then another boom, a series of booms, occurred.  I ran back to the window, and this time I smelled the “happy” and familiar smell of caps – like after you shoot off a good round with your cap gun!

I turned the police scanner on and heard a call for an ambulance – at a location less than a mile away.

Well, the mystery was solved about an hour later when the local news came on with “first reports.”    Now they have to be cautious, I understand, and not jump to any conclusions,  but here are their main words:    “explosion,”  “trailer,”  “one person missing,”      “ammunition,”   “gunpowder collection,”  “oxygen tank,”    and “smoking.”

Two older people,  were sitting  in their trailer, probably doing things they always do  —  “BOOM!”

SAMSUNGThe injured man is all right now.   The woman’s body was found in parts.   I don’t think she ever knew what hit her.

But in the blink of an eye,  she is in the next world.

In “the twinkling” of an eye,  in a flash,  our whole reality can be changed and our present circumstances over and done with.    You know how many uncertainties there are in this chaotic,  disorderly world.    And as I wrote to a  young man in a Comment section here,  mankind is evil and wicked and frequently do evil, wicked, uncaring things to each other.

Where is the love and peace and order?  Where are the things you can count on?    What is it that never changes?

Who is it that never changes for us?    The Way,  the Truth,  and the Life.      Presented to you by:   Easter!

 

EASTER GIVING ALL

April 1, 2013

God gave His all today:  the Passion and Death of His Son,  the Approval and Reception of this Great Sacrifice, and the Glorious Resurrection of Our Savior, the Firstborn of us all….

lily

In return, we offered our very best to God:  our highest praises, our joy,  the best  human worship that developed throughout the centuries.   I closed my eyes at one point and felt the smooth rhythm of the twelve altar servers, each with a part to play, a motion, a position, a bow, a position, all with purpose and coordination;   the priest at the altar with  slow movements of his own, gestures and postures, each with purposeful intent, and coordinated with his servers;  with my eyes closed I smelled the finest incense,  I heard the bells, I absorbed the Gregorian chant coming from behind me,  and I assisted and coordinated with my own postures and gestures and prayers. . . .

It was the beauty and order that I had been craving all during a Lenten season of….less.      Everything was done with   purity of intent, and the grace of God  moved through the structure of the liturgy and manifested itself, assisting us, in turn,  as we offered up ourselves to this God who loves us this much.

I have never seen so many glowing, happy faces.     It was a two-way communion of Love.

A very Happy Easter to you all.