Category Archives: abundance

A little church humor

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When you usually think about church you may not include funny

memories.  I can remember being a single mother in Lancaster,

Ohio at the Presbyterian Church with two little ones in tow. I would

use a little ‘bribery:’ “We will go out to eat at (choose one of the

following choices) Bob Evans, Frisch’s or Jolly Pirate if you only

behave today.”  I would also include some behavior allowances for

crayons and scribbling on church bulletins and donation envelopes.

 

I have fond memories of my being at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church

in Bay Village, as a teenager. I remember our minister, Reverend Lynch,

would include the comic strip, Peanuts’ philosophy. There is a book,

“The Gospel According to Peanuts.”  I also liked his use of humor when

he would refer to other comic strip characters like the Wizard of Id,

Dagwood and Blondie.

 

Hope these chuckles bring some smiles and I hope that you will also

throw in any humorous memories of church in the comments part

of this post.

 

“This Sunday in a Midwest city, a young child was ‘acting up’ during

the morning worship service. The parents did their best to maintain

some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle.

Finally, the father picked the little cherub up and marched sternly

down the aisle on his way out.

Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called out

loudly to the congregation,

“Pray for me!”

 

I would like you to visualize this cute picture of carolers, one upon

the other’s shoulders, almost like the Bremen Town Musicians.

They each have their mouths wide open and above them, upon a

balcony, is a family of music ‘listeners.’

Here is the ‘punchline:’

“The Hickory Knoll Church carolers were always ready to make

necessary adjustments.”

 

“Six year old Angie and her four year old brother were sitting

together in church. Joel giggled loudly, sang a song with lots of

enthusiasm and talked out loud,

“Who’s going to stop me?”

His big sister had had enough. Angie pointed to the back of the

church,

“See those two men standing by the door?

They will!

They are the ‘hushers!'”

 

This last one reminds me a little of my waffles post.

“A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin and David.

The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity to give a lesson on morals.

“If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have

the first pancake. I can wait.'”

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said,

“David, you be Jesus.”

 

Hope you have a relaxing, fun-filled and spiritual day.

December Wonders

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Making your spirits bright and your home fires warm,

makes me think of our Winter’s blustery cold and the

upcoming holidays. There are several directions your

faiths and belief systems may go- Kwanzaa, Chanukah,

Christmas or other ways. You may not be living in a cold

climate, you may be in the exact opposite of my location,

being greeted daily with warm sunshine, gentle breezes.

Wherever you are, I try to write a monthly newsletter to

keep up with various customs, cultures and faiths.

Please feel free to add in the comments section, a special

family tradition to make this interactive and meaningful.

 

Thomas Kinkade’s ‘healthy habits’ message for December is:

“Take care of your body, keeping your

body running the way it is supposed to

can be effective in lifting your spirits.”

(12/2001)

In a December issue of Prevention Magazine,

there was a list of “7 Foods to Keep You Healthy.”

I took the list and added a few personal favorite

ways to use these in the Season of Peace:

1. Eating almonds over the holidays will add some

much needed Vitamin E.

2. Serving different peas or beans, not only add

extra fiber to our diets, fill you up more, but also

give you a great source of Zinc.

3. The special addition to carrots, sweetens your

salads or grated can be added to various casseroles

(even mac and cheese), along with Vitamin A.

4. Mushrooms, cooked or raw give you Selenium.

They can be used in dips, stuffed caps or in gravies.

5. Drinking tea, either black or green, boosts your

antioxidants. Over a warming cup of tea, sprinkle a

dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to create some festive

flavorings.

6. Tomatoes give you Vitamin C, which can be so great

at fighting off colds. I like to have them in salads, but

also enjoy the way you can stuff them with crushed

croutons and Italian flavorings. Nutritionists advise

heating tomatoes releases more of its healing power.

7. Yogurt, which you can include in desserts, sauces and

dips gives you those probiotics that we all need, especially

as we get older.

 

DECEMBER

Birthstone:  Turquoise or blue peridot gemstone

Flower: Narcissus

I think of Poinsettias, when I think of December.

 

There are so many new and old books of Christmas,

along with other December holidays. This is a book

which can bridge any personal choices: “Rabbit’s Gift,”

by George Shannon and Laura Dronzek

(Harcourt Children’s Books) Snowfall, blue skies with

the beautiful effect of snowflakes and a message of hope.

 

December 6-

Full Cold Moon.

Full Night’s Moon.

 

December 7-

Pearl Harbor Day

and

Remembrance Day:

Wherever you live, take some moments to

honor your heroes. Those who serve and

protect us and our freedoms deserve our

meditation and gratitude.

 

“Believe in a Higher Being.

Believe in others and yourself.

Believe in miracles and wonders.”

(Author Unknown)

 

December 14- Quarter Moon.

 

15- Bill of Rights Day.

 

December 16th (sundown)- 24th:

Happy Hanukkah!

 

18-

This is the 50th anniversary of the Pink Panther

theatrical short featuring Pink Panther harassing

his foil/enemy. These characters are the creations

of Fritz Freleng. This won the 64th Academy Award

presentations in the department of “Animated Shorts.”

 

Definitely, this is a reminder that December is the time

to enjoy, laugh and be playful. Pink Panther was so silly

and fun.

 

22- New Moon.

 

December 25th- Christmas Day.

Many religions celebrate Christ’s Birth,

Rejoice and Follow the Stars wherever your faith

takes you.

“December is a time

of celebration and joy.

A time of promises kept

and Love reborn.”

~ Flavia, 2003.

 

26th- First Day of Kwanzaa.

This is a festive celebration of African American

community, culture and faith. This continues

until January first.

Boxing Day- Canada, U.K., Australia and NZ.

 

Many people shop for the following holiday

season (2015), finding bargains and gifts for

the coming year.

 

28- First Quarter Moon.

 

December 31st-

New Year’s Eve.

“Another fresh new year is here. . .

Another year to live.

To banish worry, doubt and fear,

To love, laugh and give.”

~ William Arthur Ward

(American Writer, 1921-1994)

 

May you and your family enjoy many experiences of

happiness. This final month of the year arrived far

too quickly! I hope you find ways to make December

stretch, savoring these special moments. Include some

meditation to help you to relax and not get too stressed.

For me, nostalgia arrives as I take out the ornaments

and decorations of Christmas past.

May this lovely time of year fill your senses with joy and

wonder in the simple things.

Most of all, wishing all of you to experience feelings of

Hope and Peace.

 

 

 

Serene Sunday Musings

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Here are a few quotations to induce feelings of grace and gratitude

this chilly, busy month of November. (Here it is chilly, in your part

of the world, you may be having a nice warm day.) If you wish to read

my past research about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, you may browse

the tags on my blog.

 

“Let us not become weary in doing good.

For at the proper time we will reap a

Harvest if we do not give up.”

(In the newer version of the Bible,

New Testament. Galatians 6:9)

 

A short story shared in a church bulletin:

“You are Here”

As I approached a brightly lit, vertical floor plan at a Mall,

I noticed a woman standing in front of it for quite a while.

“Can I help you find something or a store location?”

I offered her help.

As people scurried by and around us, she replied,

“No thanks. I’m just pausing for a moment.”

Then, pointing to the arrow she explained,

“You are here. I need to be reminded sometimes.”

How profound.

Don’t we all need reminders of how blessed or lucky

we are to be here?

When life gets crazy, especially during the holidays, perhaps

we need to stop. Like the wise woman at the Mall, remind

ourselves we don’t have to try to be everywhere at once.

We’re “here.” That is the only place we can be.

Better still, we can imagine a bright arrow pointing to where we

are in life. We can go farther still, acknowledging, “God is here.”

 

A funny set of thoughts:

“You’re over the hill when you think all of your friends are showing

their age. . . but not you.”

“You’re over the hill when styles come back for the second time and

you still have some left from the first time.”

“You’re over the hill when your train of thoughts frequently derails!”

 

“You are NOT totally, personally, irrevocably responsible for

everything.

That’s my job.

— God”

 

Be watchful of signs of nature which lead you to peaceful moments.

Remember them later, cherishing the details in your memory.

Absorb fully, your family member’s words while you listen to them speak.

 

 

 

 

A Tale of November Events

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Last week, the Earl of Sandwich had his special day,

We enjoy his creation of a portable edible delight.

While knowing by asking his servant to make this,

Earl was able to continue playing his game of cards.

(John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, November 3rd)

 

Next, came the Honor Roll Call of all who have served,

The sound of a Trumpet recognizing their heroism.

Those who stayed behind needing some recognition,

Letters sent overseas showed their loving devotion.

(Veteran’s Day, November 11th)

 

Graceful origami birds are world travelers on their way,

Celebrating an intricate Japanese paper-folding craft.

The peaceful days will bring brightly colored paper,

Creating delicate treasures to hang or put on shelves.

(World Origami Days, October 24 – November 11th)

 

It began with Little Violet holding the football,

For Trusting Charlie Brown to kick.

She became scared and pulled it up and away.

From then on, Fearless Lucy was the “mean girl,”

Who every year prevented Charlie Brown’s kick.

Poor Charlie Brown, disappointed again,

Ever optimistic for the coming year.

 

November 11, 1951 (Violet) only once.

November 16, 1956 (Lucy) annually ever since.

Celebrating Memories of

Charles M. Schulz’s

“Peanuts” Gang’s

Annual Football  Ritual

 

Kindness spreads far and wide across the globe,

Adding importance to this joyful day of giving.

Find someone who is quiet or seems lonely,

Smile at neighbors and share special times.

(World Kindness Day, November 13th)

 

Purse your lips they may be sour, as in Dill,

Lick your lips they are sweet, as in Bread and Butter.

Chew and crunch down on those crisp vegetables,

Enjoy this yummy, centuries’ old way to preserve food.

(National Pickle Day, November 14th)

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

~* 11/12/14 *~

 

 

 

Motivational and Elevating

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The book, “Before I Die,” ( 2013, 304 pp.) is ‘chock full’

of ways that you can choose to savor your life and make

the journey more meaningful. Candy Chang painted black

a side of an old, abandoned house in her New Orleans

neighborhood and created a ‘ripple effect.’

She painted it to be a dynamic chalkboard and printed

out the words, “Before I Die I Want To…” These words

were meant to develop a dialogue and encourage some

interactions among her neighbors.

Ms. Chang’s efforts produced a safer neighborhood,

less police calls, brought people out to sit on their

porches, made people become motivated and it united

them. Incredible results are given in Ms. Chang’s book!

Also, due to the popularity of the book and bloggers

passing the word around, became an international art

movement.

I love it when some action creates the impetus for

uniting people, like the songs that groups of famous

singers have gathered, using their talent to break

or remove barriers. One example of this was, “We are

the world.”

The house, another positive side effect of Chang’s

ingenuity, was saved. It has become a home to a family.

Some of the global samples of how people completed

their own projects like Ms. Chang’s includes more

black painted ‘clean slate’ walls outside. Along with

blackboards in other places, businesses and malls.

Each setting has had profound results.

The reason Candy Chang was inspired to start the

project, then complete the book, was due to the

sudden loss of her loved one. This took her mind

and emotions away from dwelling on the negative.

Instead it became both motivational to people who

lived around her and the book became elevating to

distant areas where they were seeking more of a

purpose and answering needs for change.

Here are a few samples from the book,

“I will grow a garden.”

“I will help others.”

“I will spend more time with friends.”

and even fantasy thoughts such as,

“I will eat a salad with an alien.”

Hey, going into outer space or to a different

country are good dreams for the young to become

inspired. I hope that education will be more

available and likely in the future, to all.

By writing a ‘bucket list,’ you are putting those

ideas on paper or on the chalkboard for all to

see, whether it is family and friends (inside your

home) or neighbors and passers-by, (outside your

home, posted in your garden or on a gate…)

You are building connections by the written word,

communicating with those around you. Also, a person

is less likely to ‘turn back and give up’ on some of

those far-fetched dreams. Once it is in print, painted

on the wall, you will find yourself thinking of the

steps to reach your goals.

I imagine this being quite a creative springboard

for break rooms, coffee shops, or anywhere people

gather together. Oh, how about senior centers and

church social rooms?

Do you have a place, in mind, where this would

generate a new sense of community and creative

thoughts?

“Cleaning House:”Clutter in Mind and Life

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This is an amazingly quick and carefully pruned list of

questions to ask yourself in January, 2014. I hope it

will be a successful and productive year for you and

yours, along with a balance of a carefree, uncluttered

mind and life.

Here are some New Year’s Resolution questions to help

you to organize and clean your life and house:

1. Do I love it?

(Oh, this can be handled in so many dimensions and give you

quite a week-long “pause” before you act on this one!)

2. Will I use it?

(This one is so important and yet, so tough to act upon!)

3. Can I afford it?

(I love this one, especially with all of those after

Christmas sales and January clearance items!)

4. Live “Large” on Less. Can you do this?

(I like to call this, ‘trimming the fat in your life.’)

5. Can you keep focused on what matters most in your

life?

(This is also an important one to keep in mind, whether

at work, with family or at play. I also would include,

Are you doing what makes you happy? Can you take steps

to get to where you will be happier?)

This has no references to weight loss, per se.

This list has no improvements given to you.

This is one to get you thinking and to start living a

better, much improved and satisfying life NOW!

Don’t put off for tomorrow, what you can DO TODAY!

Abundant Gifts

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This title suits the enormous pile of gifts that

I received, along with the tremendous feelings of

love and admiration for my family’s varied gifts.

We are definitely blessed with a wonderful family

and hope that you had many moments where tears

were close to springing forth, for either your

‘laughing till the tears came’ or because you feel

this also, about your family being so meaningful.

You want to be like Norman Rockwell, but sometimes

your family is like the one in “Christmas Vacation.”

Much of the joy flowing at my brother, Rich, and

sister in law, Susan’s house was due to the one and

only grandchild present when Mom, youngest daughter,

Felicia, and I arrived late on Christmas Eve.

We had seen said California Theo valiantly portraying

a solemn shepherd at the Bay Village located, St. Barnabas’

Episcopal Church.

Theo, his grandparents, Rich and Susan, along with his Cali.

parents, Dorothy and Jon stood up in front, by joining the

adults singing in the choir. Theo and Grandpa Rich had

practiced with the children’s choir for the Nativity portion

of the program,during the week Theo had been there.

Why was Theo valiant? Because his mother and he had had

a horrible bout with either food poisoning or a strong

and fast flu, along with half of Jon’s side of the

family. They were queasy and pale, but stalwart along

with some joy and jubilation once they got through the

sweet children’s “early Christmas Eve service.”

Theo tooted on a long and unusually decorated South

African horn, while we ate and savored turkey, homemade

corn bread stuffing with mushrooms, cranberries and nuts

along with grilled asparagus and other side dishes. We

are much more ‘mindful’ now of our health since Randy’s

quadruple bi-pass surgery and Felicia’s health and

wellness accreditation added to her marketing and

communication degree from UD. She is trying ‘gluten-

free’ due to her aggravated RA which started as a

pre-teen as JRA.

Now, there is never a reason to ‘brag’ about actual

gifts, but I am so pleased with the variety and scope

of the gifts, I hope you will just skip down to the

comments area and add your own favorite gifts you

received. I will be including some my family received

to add some ‘unselfishness’ to my listing gifts!

My friends at work and I exchanged gifts at work on

Monday, along with bringing a snack to share, too. I

am always amazed that I would never have met these

hard working and more manual labor workers than I may

have met through teaching. They are definitely the

light that keeps me going when I am exhausted while

lifting repetitively 30-50 pound hampers!

My friends from the Philippines shared food, of course.

I had given Kridia a Mary Poppins Madame Alexander older

doll right in her precious box. I was happy with Felda’s

gift of saying that not only had they watched the old

“Mary Poppins” movie, they had enjoyed the older version

of “Sound of Music,” but Kridia “votes” for the newer one

with Carrie Underwood. They are planning on taking her to

see, or maybe due to little restless ‘Zachie Poo,’ may

wait to see “Saving Mr. Banks.” That movie is the one

based on the “real” Mary Poppins and “real” Banks Family.

I am anxious to get a chance to see that one, too!

Tammy brought a red, green and white swirled cake with

vanilla cream frosting with coconut and it was in the

triangular shape of a tree! It had red and green M & M’s

on it, too.

Melvin caught me in the parking lot, giving me a German

wine that had spices and tasted like a hard mulled cider,

but was 10 % alcoholic content. I drank this with my family

up in Cleveland, warmed and yummy. He said when he had

heard me talking about my immigrant grandparents, he had

thought of me, then while at the Rickenbacker Air Force

Base commissary, had purchased it to give to me. I cannot

pronounce nor write the name of the wine, but you may

look up holiday German wines and find it! Melvin was once

stationed there, so he says that carolers travel around

the small towns, shops have tables outside their doors,

enticing shoppers by some of their wares and little cups

of this heated wine. I kept the bottle, but did am not so

great at reading the ornate lettering on it, so am not

totally sure of the name of that wine!

Susan had put the South African gifts unwrapped under the

tree, we opened them, since Felicia and I would be leaving

on Christmas day to travel almost 2 and 1/2 hours back to

my son’s ‘party’ and family gathering with the 6 grandies.

I took Trista the giraffe printed purse that was a cloth

tapestry material with a sling kind of strap. It will be

a great “Mommy” purse. I took Jamie a polar bear mug and

its little goodies from Mom, along with hot Cheetos. He

used to get tins of sardines, herrings and tuna fish from

my Dad, my Mom tried to continue this tradition for

several years, but had decided to downsize her gifts, more

out of having to haul them from the bus to her apartment,

than a budgeting issue. My daughter got a snowman mug with

dark chocolates from Mom, I received a card with $10 and

a big hug, along with her little saved cookies from the

dining room to take home. She also ‘re-gifted’ for Jamie

and Trista, a big box of Fannie Mae chocolates. Felicia

and I had both given her boxes of dark chocolates, and

Randy had gone to the Cleveland Malley’s chocolate shoppe,

where he had given us all yummy and great quality candy.

Susan gave my oldest daughter a Cape Town calendar. (These

gifts for son, oldest daughter and daughter in law were

taken to them. Son and family had gone up for Thanksgiving,

daughter more than once had brought the two boys up, too.)

I received, in the mail, a wonderful book that I have been

reading and studying about writing. It is called, “On

Writing Well,” by William Zinsser. It is a 30th Anniversary

Edition, given by my friend, Gary, who is the man I kept of

the match.com group of men, who writes for the sports section

of the Columbus Dispatch. I was thrilled with the UPS package

on a few days before Christmas. I have read and recommend the

forefather of this book, “Elements of Style,” written by E.B.

White with his English Professor friend and colleague, William

Strunk. Strunk and White’s book was one I read in college about

writing.

Bill had taken me to eat, twice in December, although both times

I offer and he accepts money for a hefty tip or the whole meal,

in the case of the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays. His gift is always

a big dose of philosophy, analyzing our lives so far, cheerful

talks about his Heather and my current ‘love,’ at the time.

I thoroughly enjoyed and reveled in the Christmas concert and

meal with that special friend. I loved the fact we walked from

my apartment, across one of the three bridges and up the steep

and slippery hill and steps to Gray Chapel, Ohio Wesleyan Campus.

Although there was a constant attempt to keep the salted sidewalks

from getting slippery, the walk was a little treacherous, as I

wore a nice pair of heels! I wore an attractive “ensemble” and my

old, herringbone woolen long coat and gray cashmere (previous year’s

gift from youngest daughter) scarf. This was what I had worn when

I met up with my ex-husband on First Friday of Delaware with a green

cashmere sweater, that gift from a friend, and jeans, that night.

There was Chaos! upon arrival at my son’s but the children were

overall very well behaved. There is always a long table set up with

the munchies that I adore, pineapple slices, veggie tray with ranch

dressing, a relish tray with my sweet gherkin pickles, along with

my bringing two balls of the chipped beef cream cheese ‘logs’ with

100% whole wheat crackers and Triscuits. My youngest daughter

ignored the beef part of the logs and ate it anyway, since the

cream cheese and chives interior is basically healthy and gluten-

free. She ate all the veggies, the pineapple and watched herself

by eating a bite of the famous 3 cheese mac n’ cheese, Trista

makes for all family gatherings.

I was able to get photographs of most of the children with

their opening the gifts (I gave school and play clothes)

while my brother’s gifts of toys were a welcome relief!

Too bad he could not have seen the hour long play with the

two girl cousins (Jade and Makyah) with the wooden painted

and unusually shaped beads and strings. Randy gave some

awesome gifts of coffees to my girls and also, Mod Podge

in two big jars, to my oldest artistic daughter. He got

a great Crock Pot for the main meal planners, Jamie and

Trista, along with some candies to share at the party.

You see, at Jamie and Trista’s house, they have two

rooms, the play room and the kitchen set up with food!

The revelry and comraderie, includes Trista’s father,

Jerry.

He seemed, understandably, lost and saddened by his

wife, Chris’ passing, her son and his wife, Jerry’s

son and wife, friend, Alan, Theresa and Hailey, Zena,

Emily and Jason, along with my three children and six

grands.

There is always an atmosphere of joviality with the

men sometimes imbiding some ales or beers, the women

having a glass of wine, too. The children ‘munch and

run,’ or grab and take on the go snacks but they are

required to stay with food in the kitchen or playroom

areas. The little girls, Kyah and Jade, were using

water in their tea cups and using the play tea pot

in the living room, before being scolded and sent

back to the playroom. The boys were having fun with

their tablets or DSL’s? is that what they are called?

Nana never looks at those games nor tries to play

them, unlike Wii games of bowling or other fun things

on the big screen television in the family room. I

was once a Donkey Kong “Queen” amongst my son’s

group of Nintendo friends. That is the last time I

attempted that sort of game!

Children everywhere, the tree lights glowing and the

atmosphere was warm and toasty, filled with the

abundance of love flowing all around us. Such a gift

that is beyond words…

A final quotation that pertains to “abundance” by

Thomas Kinkade:

“Perceptions of beauty vary. We should delight in the

diversity of taste, just as we rejoice in the

abundance of experiences that life has to offer.”

Although, I attempted, really tried to shorten this!