Sunday, November 30, 2014

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
--Psalm 32:11

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Blessings

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US of A.  Now, everyday should be a day of thanksgiving, for scripture tells us,

" In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Yet it is meet and right that we have set aside a specific Day of Thanksgiving, for it is a reminder to us that we should live with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving.  May all your days be richly blessed!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ten Commandments

for the 21st century.



I am Football, which brought you out of servitude to family, community, and good sense.
Thou shalt have no other entertainments before me.
Thou shalt not respect stadia to other sports, nor honor them, nor patronize their venues, for I am a jealous sport.
Thou shalt not take the name of Football in vain, nor show contempt nor disrespect, for the scoffer and scorner shall not be held blameless..
Remember Sunday  to keep it sporty.  Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: and rest up from Monday and Thursday nights, which thou shalt also spend with me.
But  Sunday is Football’s day.  Thou and all thy kinfolk, thy pets, and the visitors amongst thee, shall do nothing that honoreth not nor respecteth not football.
Honor those who honor me, and only those who honor me.
Thou shalt not kill, yet those who scoff at me, eject thou from thy presence.
Thou shalt not be unfaithful to me, nor allow any other entertainment to cross thy threshold.
Thou shalt not steal time from me, except thou mayst refill thy plate and thy stein during commercial breaks.
Thou shalt not bear false witness, nay, even though the call may be in error.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s sixty-five inch screen, nor his wife who cheers his team with him, nor his pets, which verily wear his team’s colors.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Love of God

When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don’t take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am God, your God. 
--Leviticus 19:33-34 (The Message)

God's chosen people were given many directives relating to their mode of living. To fail in the observance of these rules was to sin, and atonement was required.

It was made clear to the People that those who were aliens and chose to dwell among them were to be treated with respect, and with the same consideration one would give to his own, to abide with them in love, in fact.

But this is Old Testament law, by which we are not bound.  Really?  Jesus said, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Matthew 5:17 KJV) And then He reiterated the law of love, stating that the two greatest commandments were to love God, and to love your neighbor.  Then he upped the ante when He said, But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44 KJV)

Thus I am asking myself this morning, Mister, are you living the love that Christ showed to you, and demands from you?

Probably to shut off the news channels and open the Bible would be of great benefit to most of us.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Disaster for Small Town Shoppers

 Photo: All ALCO Stores Going Out Of Business: Liquidation Sales Start Today!  

In a stunning surprise move, Alco announced today that they are closing their stores.  In our community, the announcement came by way of placard men standing on street corners.  I think it safe to say that virtually no one expected this.

Big deal, you who live in urban areas might be thinking, you who have such a plethora of shopping venues that it is hard for you to pick the one you will start with.  Not that way here.  "You have moved me to a place that doesn't even have a Walmart," BBBH wails betimes.  However she has adapted to small-town living and she typically visits Alco several times per month.  I mean, even I visit Alco, should I need a ream of copy paper or a can of coffee.

And now what is left?  Drugstores and a Dollar General; and by the way, Dollar General and its ilk have been credited largely with the financial woes of Alco.  Things change; and as I have been fond of pointing out for the past half-century, not all change is progress.

What about a half-century ago in this town?  Shopping opportunities virtually unlimited, and most merchants clustered around the courthouse square.  J.C. Penney, Danner's Five and Dime, Gambles, three jewelry stores, two shoe stores, a haberdashery, two women's boutiques, a great office supply store, a furniture store, hardware and drug stores, and a bunch a more, as we are fond of saying, all within steps of each other.  All gone.  Wait.  Not quite.  We still have a jewelry store and two hardware stores downtown, and just around the corner is, you guessed it, a Dollar General.

Yes, you might ask of me, but would you go back to that time in exchange for the conveniences of today?  In a heartbeat!  And I would be better off in ways too numerous to list.  Well, for the most obvious thing, I'd be thirty years old again, wouldn't I?

Alco was founded by Alva Duckwall in Abilene, Kansas in 1901.  Today they are closing all 198 of their stores  spread across 23 states.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Paucity of Posts

It is not that I have not been writing.  It is simply that the words have been stringing themselves into lines of drivel.

Pen in hand, I reread the opening paragraphs of the story I imagined I was writing.  Now, in order to receive the go-ahead to post, a piece has only to pass a very simple test: the author must find it interesting.  The pages I am examining fail to meet that criterion.

First, it becomes clear as I peruse that which I have written that it is rooted in cynicism.  That is a personality quirk I am trying to eradicate, and failing that, at the least to polish it a bit so that it is less abrasive.  Second, no "second" is required.  No post.

Footnote:  In the event that you imagined I did my writing at the keyboard, you would be partially right.  Sometimes the words flow right out my fingertips and jump onto the keyboard.  However, there are times when I have to concentrate all my brainpower and squeeze the words through the point of a pen.  Recently, neither technique has been effective.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Good and Perfect Gifts

We are in the season of gifting.  It is that time of year when we are searching for gifts to bestow on our loved ones, and soon the giving and receiving of gifts will take place.  The following is a rerun.  I think it worth looking at again.


Achsah's Heritage

In the fifteenth chapter of the book of Joshua we are told that because Othniel went up against Debir and conquered it, Caleb gave to him Achsah, his daughter, to wife. Tradition demands a gift to the bride. Caleb gave her land.

Achsah rode out to her father on her donkey, alighted, and confronted him. “ You've given me desert land, unproductive if it have not water. Give me water.” And so Caleb gave her springs of water, both in the upper region of the land and in the lower.

Achsah

We have a saying in our day, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Achsah was much smarter than that. The completion of a gift is in the acceptance of it. The girl knew enough to know that the “gift” from her father was worthless in the incomplete state. So rather than a simple “thank you” followed by abandonment of the worthless property, Achsah chose to confront the giver of the gift with an analysis of its value. This yielded the desired result, for now the additional gift of water made the land valuable and the woman secured it as a valuable inheritance for her progeny.

How often do we offer a tepid “thanks” for a present, shrug and go on our way never utilizing the offering? Why do we do this? Well, because we “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” And we are “polite” to a fault.

Are there lessons in Achsah’s actions in this story?  I think a deep spiritual lesson in the actions of this good woman in claiming her heritage is this. God offers us the gift of salvation, a good and perfect gift through the blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We must appropriate the gift by accepting it. Then it behooves us to ask for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit so that we can be productive citizens in the Kingdom of God. Without water, Achsah’s land is not productive; with water it is valuable and useful land. Filled with the Spirit we may be useful in the building of the Kingdom!  On our own, we are nothing.

(Verse 18 says Achsah “lighted off her ass.” (KJV) We might more likely prosper if we, too, get off our asses. Just sayin'.)

Image: UMC Global Ministries

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kooshdaakaa

A recent post here included a sketchy presentation of one Kokopelli, trickster of Native American legend.  Vee commented that it is interesting that legends among native peoples often bear similarities one to another, though tribal differences and locations are evident.  This is a subject area in which I am not well-versed, but it got me to thinking about my own limited experiences.

When I was a sophomore in college, my roommate was Bill Demmert,* a Tlingit from Craig, Alaska.  After considerable time had passed, and after the basketball season was over (Bill was on the basketball team) we found ourselves comfortable enough with one another to be able to share some of our thoughts.  After the lessons were completed in the evening, and before we extinguished the lights for the night, we would simply sit and perhaps munch on the seaweed which Bill carefully doled out from his stash.  It was in this setting that he would relate his family history and the legends of his people.   Fascinating.

One tale that I recall specifically was that of the kooshdaakaa.  The kooshdaakaa were the shape-shifting land otter people of Southeast Alaska.  I was informed that the Tlingit people were very reluctant to talk about these creatures, but I was privileged to hear a bit about them.  It seems that one of the goals of the kooshdaakaa was to steal the souls of other people, and failing that, they might on occasion kill a victim outright.  To the Tlingit, loss of the soul  was a big deal, indeed, for this deprived the victim of his chance at reincarnation, and hence his hope of eternal life.  This behooves one to be exceedingly cautious as he goes about his daily living.  Do not have an encounter with kooshdaakaa!

In keeping with Vee’s line of thought, I recalled that over the years I have read various stories involving shape-shifters in other locales and among other peoples.  At one stage of my life I “got hooked” on Tony Hillerman’s stories set in the American Southwest primarily involving the Navajo people, as well as the Hopi and the Yaqui to some extent.  One of his books was entitled Skinwalkers.  Skinwalkers, or yee naaldlooshii to the Navajo, were witches with the power to assume animal forms, and even, in some cases, the forms of other people.  Hillerman’s last book prior to his death was The Shape Shifters, and again we find the theme of creatures that assume various forms.

Shape-shifters have made an appearance in many novels, and movies and television shows over the past decades.  It is highly likely that if you participate at all in popular culture you have encountered these creatures, and hence you may fill in the rest of the story from your own memory.

*Demmert. had a very distinguished career. You may read a bit about it here.
William G. Demmert, Jr.  1934 - 2010  RIP

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reddin up the Office

Five years ago I posted this little tale.  I have resurrected it because I have just spent the better part of two mornings in the office attempting to restore a semblance of order to the chaos I have allowed it to fall into.

BBBH designed and we redecorated my office recently. (She is an HGTV enthusiast.) Since I was born and raised in Colorado she chose a "Western" theme. During our travels in the West BBBH found the Anasazi very interesting, and the ubiquitous appearance of Kokopelli throughout the Southwest inspired her to choose his image as a recurring motif.

Kokopelli is the little dickens depicted here. He is the music-loving flute player who also happens to be a trickster as well as the god of fertility. So it is said. He appears in the legends of the Anasazi and modern tribes such as the Hopi.  Historically it has been determined that his image appeared among The People well over 1000 years ago.

Many of the images more clearly suggest the "fertility" aspect of his behavior. Some legends say he carried unborn babies in the sack on his back.  The depiction of Kokopelli often shows a distinct hump. He was said to "distribute" these little tykes to young women so that they might bear them into the world. For this reason the girls were often frightened of this being, very reasonably fearing pregnancy.

There is much information about this personage available so if this little vignette has piqued your interest start by entering his name in your browser, and have fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Veterans Day 2014.  Commemorate the day by learning a bit about the honors the British are paying to their fallen troops of the Great War.

I give you this link to a Washington Post account.  Join in the spirit of this commemoration. Additional images here.

The Great War 1914 - 1918, officially ended November 11, 1918 at ll:00 A.M.

Addendum:  Grace has transcribed John McRae's "In Flanders Fields" in the comment section.   Please read it.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Forty-five days 'til, , ,

A week ago, Vee was longing for the end of the election cycle.  Well, it has ended, and her wish to see the last of the electioneering has been granted.  (I hope she is not still getting phone calls from party hacks, but with technology, flawed as it is, who knows?)

We do know, however, that the commercials for the candidates have been removed from the airwaves and the fibers.  (Unless, of course, you live in Louisiana.)  But with what have the commercial slots been filled?

Yep, you guessed it.  Do you reckon six and a half weeks will be long enough to make us weary of Christmas?




nomeny down
nomeny down
nomeny down

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Flameout

I walked out the front door on a very gray day.  Pulling my eye full into the lower center of the pear tree was a lone leaf among the dark greens and mauves and burgundies, a lone leaf that seemed to light up the world.  I stepped closer and observed that this leaf and all its companions are accompanied by hundreds of little pears. The tree at its most beautiful.  The tree just before its bare branches present themselves to winter's onslaught.

I thought how like this lovely tree are the lives of some people I have known.  Like the tree, they flourished in the springtime of their youth, put forth leaves, and flowers, and ultimately produced the fruit, the seeds within a promise of future life.  Then as they aged, their work finished, an inner glow emanated from them, radiating sunlight and cheer in the environs where they had thrived.  And they know, and we all know, that they will soon fall even as the leaves fall.

Imagine, if you will, a world in which everyone developed such beauty, a world in which our demise would indeed be our finest hour!

Brighten the corner where you are!


While the glory of young men is their strength,
    the splendor of older people is their silver hair.
 --Proverbs 20:29 (Names of God Bible)




Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fun Rerun

This post is from January nearly two years ago.  Rerun includes your comments, just for the fun of it.  Enjoy again.  I did.  Any new ones to add?


Express Yourself

“Hard scrabble” is not a difficult crossword game. Dad’s family lived a hard scrabble life.

A few other expressions we once used which are not heard so much today.

Carl is putting on the dog. Which of course is not to suggest that Carl is going to serve canine for dinner.

Matt earned his degree at the School of Hard Knocks.

Ernie has more degrees than a thermometer, but he he doesn’t have sense enough to pound sand in a rat hole.

Agnes went to college to get her MRS degree.

Liam is too smart for his own good; and

Louise is too clever by half.

I’d like to buy Dunc for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth.

WHAT’S SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE IS SAUCE FOR THE GANDER. GO TO THE COMMENTS AND ADD A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE EXPRESSIONS FROM YORE.  DON'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER.

14 comments:

Shelly said...
Most of these I knew, but a couple I didn't and I will look for places to use them today!
Jim said...
My grandmother used to call a person who regularly did unwise, disruptive things "a fart on a curtain rod." Boy, would I like to know what that means.
Grace said...
I typed out a bunch that my father used constantly - but they were very NYC-centric and I'm not sure they fit the criteria. One of these little sayings that I have never quite grasped is - 'Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth' - whenever I come across it (which isn't all that often of late) I have to look it up - my brain refuses to retain its meaning. 
vanilla said...
Shelly, use them to make them your own!

Jim, yes, that one bumfoozles me as well.

Grace, that's a good one. I've heard it used. Must be a really cold lady, or one whose disapproval is intense. Maybe some of these can be interpreted in different ways?
Secondary Roads said...
Sadder than a woman with champagne taste and a beer budget.

Slicker than snot on a door knob.

Prettier [cuter?] than a bug's ear.
vanilla said...
Chuck, good ones. I usually modify the second one by specifying a "glass door knob."

BBBH is sitting here suggesting some she wants to add. Her dad said, You squirm around like a maggot in hot ashes.

Get the chip off your shoulder before someone knocks it off.

Quit wearing your heart on your sleeve.

Your face will freeze that way.

Her grandma used to tell her, You're actin' all pizzle-sprung. Or, This old thing sure is pizzle-sprung.


Grace said...
And if all your friends jumped off the Empire State Building (or the Brooklyn Bridge) does that mean you should do it too? (Not one of my fathers, just a classic...)
Lin said...
Oh, I use a lot of these, but for the life of me, I can't remember them now!! Criminy. I think we use so many of these sayings that we don't blink when we use them--they are like second nature.
vanilla said...
Grace, that one may have NYC references, but it's pretty universal, I guess. "Royal Gorge" in my case.

Lin, upon my word, I believe you slipped a couple in there!
Vee said...
Finally thought of one: "He just grew up like topsy."
vanilla said...
Vee, I remember hearing that one. We have Harriett Beecher Stowe to thank for it.
Sharkbytes said...
Sometimes I think I'm Ernie. A boy named Jimmy and I were voted most likely to succeed, but the picture in the yearbook wasn't great and my mom said we didn't look like we had enough sense to come in out of the rain.
vanilla said...
Shark, I think you have exhibited an abundance of good sense. Success is not properly measured in terms of worldly possessions, and you have succeeded in living a good and productive life.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Indulgences

Rainy morning, driving home from the post office, Jefferson Street, half block east of Main.

The cute little vehicle in front of me sports a vanity plate.  At first glance, I thought it read "Mini Bug."  It doesn't.

I followed Mimi Bug through town.  At the fork she followed the highway,  I continued straight on Jefferson Street.

I have probably mentioned here in the past that I used to purchase vanity plates.  It is sort of like giving free money to the State.  But then, I suspect most of us, Self included, fritter away money on sillier things.

I once bought a 46" flat screen TV.  Account for that.  Frittering money away.

Unending, too, because I pay a monthly fee for a cable feed. I have several rants related to that, but I'll spare you for the moment.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Quiet Afternnon at Home


The Wife has taken the motor and driven to Kokomo.  She often bemoans the fact that I have ":moved her to a place that doesn't even have a Walmart."  I am in my recliner, content with my book, which in this instance is a Hiaasen novel geared to the teen set.  Yes, I am no doubt in my second childhood, but this is just the reading I need.  Keeps me entertained, doesn't make me work too hard.

As I open to my bookmarked page, I glance up and note the dolls on the balcony.  They are always there, ever keeping watch over the premises; and I seldom so much as notice their presence.  The Wife is a collector, and among the large assortment of arts and trivia and gimcracks that she amasses, she has a collection of dolls.  It is not a large collection, numbering perhaps ten or a dozen, but they are nice dolls.  Porcelain heads and hands, wonderful human-like hair, and gorgeous, well-made clothing, as you would expect of an item in The Wife's collection.  I am not referring here to the sixty or so "Expressions" dolls she owns.  That is a whole other collection.

The Bride and her Maid of Honor, as I said, are in their places on the balcony.  Why their names popped into my head as I opened my book is beyond me, but there it is.  The bride is Elizabeth.  Her dear friend is Annaliese.

I am in dire peril with Carl’s protagonist, and as the boat slips its moorings at the height of the storm, my head drops back onto the cushion and my book slips off my lap and falls to the floor  As my head snaps forward and both eyes pop open, I think it was the sound of the book hitting the floor that awakened me. But in the same instant, the delicate, ivory hand of a young woman pushes violently against my chest as Elizabeth says, "Cinch it tighter. We want nothing to go wrong here."

"Gotcha," says a voice behind me, as the hempen strands are jerked harder, binding my arms against my sides and my body against the chair.  I am tied.  Annaliese steps around front of me and stands beside Elizabeth.  "Now," snarled the pretty bridesmaid (how could such vicious sounds emanate from the delicate cherry red lips of such a beautiful woman?)  "Now, you will pay."

Trembling, yes, but not yet terrified, I asked, "Pay for what?  I have never bothered you in any way in the fifteen years you have been here."

"You are a man, and all men are evil.  You will pay for their sins, and especially for what Ward did to Elizabeth."

Okay, I'll let the charge of "evil" pass for the moment, because my curiosity has been piqued.  "And just what offense did this Ward commit?"

Now Elizabeth starts to howl as though in agony, keening as she wrings her hands and sobs, "Oh, Ward, Ward, how could you?"

"Knock it off," growled Annaliese, "we have work to do.  Here.  You must take your vengeance.  It is your retribution to deliver."  Annaliese handed a cane to the bride.  I recognized the cane as one from my collection that stands in an urn at the foot of the stairs.  This particular item was fashioned from a sapling that had been entwined by a wild grape vine, and as it grew a wonderful spiral pattern was embedded into the stick.

The first blow was not terribly hard, but it caught me just above the left eye, and before a second blow struck me viciously square atop my head, there was blood trickling into my left eye.  "Don't knock him out yet!" cried the red-haired vixen. "I want him to feel this," and she lashed my right cheek with a short length of hemp rope.  She struck again  "This one is for that stinking Ward, who left this angel standing at the altar on her wedding night."  Hit me across the chest.  "And this is just because all men are lice."  Across my thighs.

"Dirt!" cried Elizabeth.  The cudgel hit the left side of my neck.  Hard.  "Scum!" she spat yet again.  The blow landed I knew not where, for that one put out the lights.

I did not hear the car turn into the driveway, but something, perhaps the closing of the car door, awakened me, and I was shaking my head and looking around the room through the fuzziness of first-awakening sight.  The front door opened and The Wife stepped into the room.  "Hi, Hon!  Did you miss me?"  As I tried to focus on her, I saw from the corner of my eye the two witches in their wedding garb standing at their regular posts on the balcony.
"Oh,"  I was moaning.  "I did.  You have no idea."
She stepped in front of me, bent to give me the kiss I always receive when we've been apart for a few hours.  "What th'? What's been going on here?  she asked.  I flinched as her finger ran lightly across the cut over my left eye. 
 © 2014 David W. Lacy

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

What's Snew?

Oh, yes, there is still green in the grass, and in some of the trees, too. But trust me.  Fall is here.









Yard detritus to be hauled away.


The fountain is "winterized" and mums and gourds take the spotlight.







Cruelest joke of all:  the "s" word has returned to the weather prophet's vocabulary.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Loving Parent, Responsive Child

Even as we expect our children to submit to our correction, so should we submit to the discipline of the Lord.  Do those children sometimes push back?  Do we push back when the Lord directs us?  I suspect that God often finds His children to be as intractable as we sometimes find our children to be.

Heed wisdom:

11 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
    or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
    as a father the son in whom he delights.  --Proverbs 3:10, 11 (ESV) 


Matt shares some serious thoughts on parenting as he and his wife eagerly await their first-born.  Check it out here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Little Closer to Right

Yes, it is time for that nonsense again.

How many of you are 1) still up at 2 a.m., or 2) will get up at 2 a.m. to reset your clocks?

Which of you will forget the whole thing until you find yourself at church an hour before starting time Sunday morning?

How many of you wish they'd just quite fooling with the whole thing?

As I have stated on this blog in times past, I would not find DST objectionable were it not the case that we live in an area which is incorrectly zoned anyway, and hence DST is really double daylight time.  Clarification: When we go to Standard Time, we are really going to daylight savings time.  Okay?

I typed the title and later got to thinking, What is close  to right?  I believe close to right is just another way to be wrong.*

*As a mathematician, I am keenly aware of the fact that there are situations and circumstances in which close is the best one can hope for.  Yet, even then, the closer the better.