Archive for November, 2013

At Your Thanksgiving Table

How long since that first Thanksgiving?                                                      Thanksgiving

393 years. Wow. Just think of all those calories.

This holiday is uniquely American in its foods and traditions. And what is its hallmark?  Why,  family, of course.

So here are a few things to think about as you sit at the table today surrounded by the people you love. Or maybe just barely tolerate.

  • Family is a Divine construct. It was conceived by God, designed by God, and, indeed, commanded by God. Go forth and multiply. Adam and Eve decided to obey this time, got busy, and began to do just that.
  •  Strife in families has been present from the beginning. This is an unfortunate (i.e. terrible) fact. The enemy has always had the family in his crosshairs. Why? He understands the power of blood and love.
  •  Family is the incubator of character. Here children should learn how to live, how to properly conduct themselves with other human beings. The family unit is meant to be the foundation of a civil society. More importantly, it is a type of the Church in the loving care of its members – the meaning of “is” here is, I confess, hopeful.
  • That being said, it should also be a place where we learn how to resolve our differences without killing each other in the field.  Our history together, our regard for one another should go a long way toward smoothing the rough patches. When these things are not enough, then we ought to learn how to establish firm, healthy boundaries without a blunt instrument.

“Meant to” and “ought to” are rather pollyanish, kind of utopian, you say? Well, maybe. One of the problems, as I see it, is that too many families are birthed with no goal in mind. When this is the case, kids with a wonky attitude are pretty much guaranteed. When they grow up and end up across from you at the Thanksgiving table, all your gifts of grace will then be called forth. Hopefully. And you will end the day having been tested and not found wanting. Hopefully.

I do pray, dear readers, that your celebration will be mightily blessed:

  • that laughter will be the music of your day
  • that the healing power of thanksgiving will be a balm for every sore spirit
  • that good memories will fill the hearts of everyone at your table

I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 12:6

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Why I Love My Age

This hangs on a wall in my house. It's true.

This hangs on a wall in my home. It’s truth.

My hundredth blog post and a big birthday coincide. Thank you, dear readers, for thinking with me.

~~~~~~~~

I love birthdays.  For each of us, this is the day I entered the world, drew breath, began my journey.

But this one has been weighing on my mind a bit. It is one of those thinking-back-on-my-life birthdays. With a zero on the end. And it feels sudden, like a light so far in the distance that you’re sure it will always be, well, in the distance.

Then, there it is.

Without a doubt I am blessed. Married to a wonderful man for 38 years. Three children who are mature, smart, accomplished adults, serious about their faith. Two daughters-in-law who would be the envy of any mother-in-law.  And two of the most beautiful grandchildren (and one on the way) who are the delight of my life.

So the journey has been on my mind. And how I got here, and the years left on the ledger. Here are a few of my recent thinkings:

  •  Worry is a waste of life. Not just time, but life. It changes nothing, improves nothing. It subtracts life from your life. I wish had done far less of it.
  •  Growing up without a television has made an enormous difference. Our church culture at the time taught that television was evil and having one in your home might keep you out of heaven. While that is unlikely (we don’t yet know), it does keep you from reading. I (and my siblings) devoured hundreds of books as youngsters and we’ve never stopped. Books have imprinted every facet of my life.
  • The two classes in high school that ultimately made the biggest actual difference were (stop here and see if you can guess): Typing and Home Economics. My typing teacher was a small, schoolmarmish woman who ran a tight typing ship. Her mantra? Speed and accuracy. I have both, thanks to her. And I type nearly every day. And then there was Mrs. Avey, pleasantly plump, thick glasses, and the maven of How to Do Things Properly. Those life skills things like cooking, sewing, health, and first aid.  Which I use every day.
  • I realize now that one must be very purposeful in building a family. Damage, injury, fracture, and brokenness are easy to inflict. Loving without strings attached, going the extra mile, not keeping records of wrongs, sustaining the joy in each other’s company – these can be the hard things. Being intentional in family relationships is, I think, not considered enough. Take nothing for granted, I say. Stand on the wall of your family, arm yourself with prayer, and guard it with your life.
  •  I am thankful that age is not what it used to be. My new age, according to reports that come out from time to time and which I always passionately believe with all my heart, is actually a couple of decades younger. Or something. But, honestly, what years would I subtract? That’s a great question to ask anyone wrestling with the age thing. A year is full of so much experience and emotion and discovery and struggle and triumph and growth and revelation. You wouldn’t dare eliminate even one of them, would you? Me either.

I confess that I like the view from this season. Way more wisdom, a calmer perspective, a lot more patience, and a greater willingness to give the benefit of the doubt. That’s the short list. But a good one.

And I am considering Lucille Ball’s advice: “The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” The first two are easy enough. The last one? Well, maybe I’ll just fudge a little. I’m allowed. At my age.

Do you have any words of advice/wisdom regarding growing up or growing older? Share them here.

Yes, said Wordmistress

Oh, dear.

Wordmistress, your faithful companion in the Land of the Well-spoken, must do something most unpalatable. She must revisit a verbal transgressor.

How it pains her.

WM enjoys tackling new conversational challenges. Lord knows there are enough of them.

But this word is like a verbal mosquito. While she may swat at it silently (one refrains from public correction), she is under no illusions that it is not multiplying at a most unfortunate pace.

Absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, absolutely.                                                                                   

Really? Really?

Really? Really?

It is the fashionable tic du jour, the new “awesome!” The favorite go-to response in any conversation.

WM, while taking pains to stay current with the news, can hardly stand to view it anymore. Every interviewer, interviewee, commentator, reporter, or bystander suddenly confronted with a microphone feels obligated to say that word.

  • Host:  “Senator, do you agree that the American people are overtaxed, poorly represented, and weary of the heavy hand of government?
  •  Senator, with lifted brows and an emphatic shake of the head: “Oh, ab-so-lute-ly!

While the Senator is not going to disagree with the obvious truth of that premise, somehow it eludes him to simply say “yes.” Why, WM wonders, is “yes” not sufficient?

Does the Senator (or the person with whom you are conversing) think you won’t understand the unplumbed depths of their feelings on the subject?  Or that you will be particularly impressed with a vigorous, four-syllable word?

One can, in fact, be both elegant and emphatic with that one simple response: yes. The short phrase“ I do agree” may accompany “yes” and leave the questioner with no less assurance of the strength of one’s conviction.

Wordmistress will not belabor this point any further. She has now stated her position clearly, twice, and retires to review other transgressions that must be addressed.

It is exhausting standing on the wall while hordes of verbal misdemeanants threaten at the gates.

Perhaps she will nap first.

You may read other engaging posts by WM by clicking on the link cleverly entitled “Wordmistress” in the sidebar. She welcomes your comments.

 

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