Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My New Year's Resolution

I think I have made this resolution every year for at least 10 or 20 years.  I want to compile a family history for my children.  I'm not sure that they want a family history, but it seems like something I should provide. 

I have done some genealogical research and found lots of information, locations and, maybe, fabrications about my ancestors.  I find it a fascinating study.  Once in a while someone, grandchildren that do it for a school project usually, will take an interest for a while.  I would really like to travel to some of the locations where they lived and research in county courthouses.  I want to include all the pictures and stories and fables.

Since I have tried this before, maybe this will be the year.  Some things can indicate progress.  I take joy in the fact that I have completed some parts of the family history, mostly my husband's family.  Mine is less complete, but then I want to include memories in mine.  I need to do this soon because I fear my memory gets foggier the farther I get from the event.  I want my children and grandchildren to have some knowledge of the people I knew.  Maybe its a selfish wish--I have memories to share and, in the process, I get to relive them.

Lots of books are written about families.  They are not famous books mostly, but like mine, a memory to share.  In the grand scheme of things including New Year's resolutions, this is not a bad goal.   

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Mother's Recipe for New Year's Celebration

I remember my mother's New Year's Eve party.  I must have been eight years old.  I am sure it was tame by today's standards, but I felt very mature to be allowed to attend and stay up until midnight.  I assume that there was some alcohol, but I don't actually remember it; after all a child was present. 

I got pretty bored after standing around for a while since I was the only child, and grown people didn't talk about anything I was interested in.  There was music from the record player, but not many people danced.  There was food, but so what? 

The things I remember were Boiled Custard and Auld Lang Syne.
Auld Lang Syne  is the song traditionally associated with New Year Eve.  It means "for the sake of old times."  It is intended to fix in the mind the joys of times past.  It was the theme song of a band that was popular with my family--Guy Lombardo.  If you are reading this, you may have figured out that I like to remember the good times and I value the memories.  When I hear that song, my eyes often well with tears of joy for good times.

Boiled Custard is one of those memories.  You can buy a poor imitation of Boiled Custard in the grocery store around Christmas and New Years, but it is not nearly as good as the homemade stuff.  Egg Nog is spiked with some kind of liquor, rum or whiskey, and Boiled Custard can be, but it is a stand alone delicacy. 

In the summertime, it is topped with whipped cream accompanied by a fine sugar cookie and  eaten with a spoon from a lovely glass custard cup.  At my mother's party it was drunk from a punch cup, perhaps with the alcohol mentioned above.  As an adult I came to appreciate the addition of a small amount of rum or brandy, but it was not necessary.  

The custard and the song still come with the memories, and I still enjoy them even with the tears.  

Boild Custard Recipe

1 quart of whole milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (you may substitute  brandy or rum flavoring)

Beat the eggs very well with 1/2 cup of the milk.  Heat the rest of the milk in a pan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and stir well.  When the mixture is scalding and ready to boil, stir in the eggs and remove the pan from the heat.  Stir well.  Add vanilla or other flavoring.  Stir well.  Cover the pan with a lid and allow to cool.  When cool, chill in refrigerator.  Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Have Friends I Don't Even Know

It's really funny how blogging works.  I'm getting to know and have fun with people I don't even know.  Bag Lady is in England, and she reads my blog and I read hers.  It's funny how easy it is to read her blog and visualize her life.  I identify with her.  She said she was learning to blog, but I think she is very good, better than me, anyway.

I read King of the New York Hacks and laugh at his antics and view his pictures of New York.  Gee, it was fun to visit New York without even having to buy a plane ticket.

I read Aprons in the Kitchen.  This one really isn't fair, because I do know her.  On the other hand, I have never seen her house, and I learn things about her every time read an entry--about the things she values and the people she loves and the hopes she cherishes.

My mother didn't tell me about blogging, but she knew a lot about being a friend.  I am so happy to have become friends with these nice people.  I forgot about 52 Weeks of Wordage.  She offers me opportunities to refine my writing--mostly, I don't refine it--I just do it.  But I really appreciated her attention to how we put things on paper--or on the blog, as the case may be.

I don't have time to read very many blogs, but once in a while I drop in on a stranger, check out their desk, see if they have time for a glass of tea, share a recipe.  Maybe I'll find a new friend.  It might be you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Deal with Christmas Depression

With everybody else happy and excited, do you ever feel sad and abandoned? Read this and see how you might change.
How to Deal with Christmas Depression

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Am I Doing for Christmas?

My kids keep asking me what I am doing for Christmas, and I tell them I haven't decided.  I have.  I want to stay home alone--not like the movie with the burglars--but with certain memories and some reflection, and maybe a good book or TV show, if there is such a thing.  I read poetry.  I like to read it alone with hot cocoa, some of it I even wrote, and Christmas Day is an excellent time to do it.

Does this sound depressed or sad or, worse yet, pitiful?  Not to me.  It sounds like a time to be blessed by memories, to remember people who are not here and those moments of joy we shared.  Going to somebodyelse's in-laws, no matter how nice they are, makes me feel very isolated and lonely. 

I will enjoy the lights and decorations, and I will worship in the candle-lighting service, and I will savor the tastes and smells of Christmas goodies, and I will even join in some of the hugging and chatting and games and gifts.  But my most important celebration of Christmas this year will be the stories and blessings recaptured from Christmases long gone.  Maybe I'll share them with you. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Mother Told Me to Say "Thank You"

Not very many people read my blogs.  I have another one that is called "Does the Bible Really Say That?"  I was very excited when I got a few readers.  Hey, people I don't even know are reading my blog!  What better high is there than that?  Readers are wonderful!

Then I found a link that told me where the readers lived.  I couldn't believe it.  People in many different countries were reading my stuff.  Now, that's a high I couldn't imagine.  Maybe they were translating it.  Maybe they were just studying English.  I wondered if they understood my references and enjoyed my analogies.  Writing is so much fun I forgot to thank the readers.  So here it is.

Thank you readers, for reading my blogs.  I think some of you have read it more than once.  That is really the most exciting think I can imagine--people who read it once and come back again must have found something meaningful or funny or insightful.  At least that's the way it feels to me.  If you are from India or South Korea or Romania or Russia, or if you are from the U. S. or even right here in Texas, I appreciate you reading and returning for another visit.

My mother would want me to make you feel welcome and offer you a glass of iced tea.  Thanks again for reading and coming back.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stories Old Folks Tell

Now it's called genealogy, but when I was a kid, it was just the stories the old folks told.  Now it is important as a source of history.  We have these memories that should be told or written, but surely shared. 

It's funny how we think of history as something that happened two hundred years ago, but the things that happened when I was a child as just my memories.  No, that's history too.  I know it is just my memory, maybe just my history, but it is part of the events and the thinking and the attitude of the period.  And it is still history if it just happened today.

We think that for something to be historical it has to be an explosion or impact great bodies of people or cost lots of money.  No, some of the smallest things are still historical and they may be of great value to future generations if they are recorded.  If Abraham Lincoln's mother had kept a diary, we would have valued her memories on the day of his birth. I have read diaries of ordinary people and been amazed at their insight.  Sometimes I have been astounded at the mundane lives they endured.

Now we write blogs.  Is it the same?  A few are.  In fifteen years thay may be more or less than now.  In a hundred years, they will be trash or treasure.

I guess the thing is that for some of us writing is the important part, and for others the joy is in reading and agreeing or arguing with the author.  History will have to determine the ultimate value, whether what we write is significant or just an exercise for the mind.

Check out this article for more information about genealogy .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life Games

On Monday morning when I got up
Life was waiting at the door;
standing there, demanding there
that I come out that day.
But the games of life are hard to play.
It was plain to see the pain would be
Too much for me to bear.
Then I thought I'd run away.
Life would follow me, swallow me.
I could hide if I found a place inside.
Then I chanced to see
That Life was there with me,
Inside of me.
I could not get away.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Science Teaches Things It Didn't Know It Knew

The truths and facts science teaches are sometimes analogies and parables for philosophical or spiritual realities.  I have read about black holes for several years, and I have come to believe, the more I read about them, that they are an excellent way to describe some of life's more difficult events.

A black hole occurs when a star collapses.  It burns up all its fuel and becomes so dense and heavy that it no longer glows or shines or gives off any light.  Its gravity is so intense that light cannot escape from the mass.  It is very small because of its compact construction.  It is also highly magnetic and everything that gets close to it is sucked into it.  In the middle of the black hole everything stops. 

I am sure that Stephen Hawking would provide a much better description of the black hole than I can.  This is about all I know about it, but I have experienced black holes.  My husband was in the hospital for a long time several years ago.  He was very ill and he was getting worse every day.  Everyday I was drawn deeper into the black hole of his illness.  They ran tests and tried all kinds of treatments, but he still got worse.

The power of that black hole was slowing time and no light light was coming through.  The edge of the black hole is called the event horizon.  That is the place where you cannot get away from the deep magnetic draw of the dense center.  I could feel the black hole claiming me.

After about three weeks, they discovered what was wrong with him.  Then other things took over and he still got worse.  The black hole would not let go.  Medical science finally got it right and the analogy fell apart.  He left the hospital.

There are other things that act like a black hole.  Depression fits the model.  When everything in your life is drawing you into the blackness that no light can penetrate and no power can untangle, remember the black hole.  Avoid the event horizon because the deeper you allow yourself to sink into its depths, the harder it is to retreat, and it is invisible to everyone else.  Nobody but you knows it's there.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's Wrong with a Little Fear?

Various prescription and street drugs may caus...Image via Wikipedia
I often comment on trends and events that happen in the world at large as if I had any control or influence to change them.  When I reflect on that, I see how silly it is.  I usually can't even influence my own family, but I still gripe and rave.  Well, here goes--what's wrong with a little fear?  I don't mean the kind of neurotic panic that Monk expressed.  I am not suggesting we hire armed guards to go to the grocery store.  But let's be real:  There are things that we should fear and we should teach our children to be afraid of.

Start with drugs.  We have accepted drugs into our society so completely that nobody thinks they will hurt you.  This includes prescription and recreational drugs.  Get this folks--they are the same.  They work in the same place in your body--the neuronal synapse.  Well, maybe antibiotics really attack a bacteria, but they may play around in the synapse, too.  Some substances never leave your body once they have gotten in.  Some change your body in ways that are permanent.  Some of the lasting effects have not been discovered yet. 

We need to be very cautious about using them.  It's O.K. to tell your children to be fearful of drugs. 

I am amazed at how we reframe and sanitize ideas and language so that really disgusting things become accepted.  Illegal drugs are now called recreational.  It's so much fun to become a blithering psychotic! 

I'm really out of it in the drug thing.  The minor tranquilizers that were prescribed by the doctor caused internal feelings and emotional experiences that I did not enjoy, so to me it was not recreational at all.  I did avoid the ulcer, but I told him that I had to find some other way to deal with my stress and anxiety.  Drugs were not my out. 

Maybe that was a good lesson.  I hope I can share it with other people.  Here it is:  Face the hard decisions in your life.  Taking a drug will not change the reality of your siuation.  When you come down or sober up, life is still there waiting.  The corollary to that lesson is this:  The drugs may have consequences you didn't expect, but living a righteous and honorable life will, too.

Teach your children to fear drugs.  Surely the fear is no worse than the drug.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Muslim Sharia Law: Americans Wake Up!

I am amazed that the impact of the Muslim residents in American are challenging our laws, government, and freedoms.  I always assumed that people came to America to share our way of life.  In the past three weeks, I have come to understand that Muslims are coming to American to confiscate our land, government, schools, and privileges.

How blind I was!  The Sharia Law is derived from the Koran.  The Muslims want to live under the Sharia Law, but that doesn't mean what I was assuming it meant.  I thought it meant they wanted the freedom to worship and live in their homes as Muslims, wear traditional dress, and eat their special diet.  No!  They want to control everything--where their people can live, and who can enter their territory.   And they want the Sharia Law to prevail in our nation.  They have already made attempts in Oklahoma to institute the Sharia Law so that people who are Muslim would be judged under that system, and, thankfully, it failed.  Now they are moving to other states to try the same thing. 

Wake up, people!  We are Americans, and our country is in danger of becoming a Muslim nation.  The president has been anxious to announce that we are not a Christian nation, but that does not preclude the possibility that we could become something we never thought we'd be.

The style of our laws is intended to guarantee the most possible freedom and the highest level of personal choice in life, work, education, and worship.  It we sit by while the Muslims in our midst take over our laws and government, we will have none of the freedoms we now value.  The freedoms we value are the very thing that makes us vulnerable to this assault.  Be aware and alert to this danger.

This scares me.  I hope it does you too!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Fine Romantic Thought

Our society has become so obsessed with sex that we blithely dismiss fornication, adultery, and  the very old-fashioned notion of "living in sin."  A boyfriend or girlfriend now means someone a person is sleeping with.  The idea of family has dissolved into some notion of grandparents and "my baby's daddy."  Teenagers don't date with the intention of becoming engaged and married.  They "hook up" to see if they are good in bed.

Is it any wonder that marriages don't last?  Is it a shock to anybody that children are the liabilities of our foolish attitudes?

I don't know that  civilization ever conformed human behavior to the ideal that men and women should commit to one another and form a loving relationship in marriage before they produce a child, but I think there was the idea presented in past decades. 

Maybe somewhere there are a few people who remember that fine, romantic thought.  It would take a few generations to see the proof and truth of it.  Maybe a few would find comfort and security in the loving relationships and high integrity these ideas produce.  Maybe God would be glorified by the obedience to the principles he laid down.  

What if?  What if we built that kind of society?  Would it last a generation?  Probably not.  But it sure it something to think about.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Things My Mother Didn't Tell Me

I find daily new things that my mother never warned me about.  Today has been truly enlightening.  For a month or two I have been amazed at the ads for the TV show about the guy who is married to three women and in the show he took on another wife. 

I can't say this is shocking.  I heard about Warren Jett a long time ago, and the Mormon groups that practice multiple marriage.  I thought it was illegal for people to engage in polygamy.  When did they change the law? 

I have never watched the show.  I suppose it is prejudiced to make up my mind about it without even watching it, but the idea is offensive to me and I don't choose to watch it.  I think the idea is contrary to the customs and practice of married life in the United States.  Why is media and television so intent on trying to promote ideas that are offensive, illegal, and otherwise, unwholesome? 

Of course there are lots of things that are unwholesome and disgusting on TV and the Internet.  There is porn and Satan worship,  and that is just the beginning.  Somehow, porn and Satan worship try to keep out of the spotlight, but there are other things that are blatantly offensive that are scrambling for the spotlight. 

Besides being offensive, I find this is be destructive to our stability as a society.  Of course, most of what is going on in the world is destructive to society.  Terrorism, child abuse, pornography, mob killings, cholesterol, and high sugar content are all threats to our way of life. 

I find it funny that everybody is trying to keep kids safe without scaring them.  How dumb!  We need to scare them, but that is tomorrow's post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seasons or Cycles?

Fall has begun.  It is my favorite season.  It represents harvest and the relief that comes after the crop is gathered in.  It means we can celebrate and party till spring.  The only hard part now is feeding cows and making sure the calves don't get in the fence.  We have to put out hay two or three times a week, and check the cows every day to make sure none of them get down.

The year is dependent on these seasons of planting and harvest; life has that too.  The seasons come and go with their special flavors and moods and rhythms.  Life does that too.  I am have entered the autumn of my life.  There are still things I have to do and obligations I have to attend to, but most of the feeding and chores are over for me.  My kids are grown now, so I don't have much of the real raising of a family to take care of anymore.  My husband has beat me to Glory, so I don't even have him to share the last tasks with.

What is there that graces my life now?  I still yearn to study and understand the new stuff.  See?  I have this computer I'm still trying to figure out.  I studied Latin a couple of years ago, and I still read it sometimes.  I'm not any good at it, but it does inspire me.  I have taken up the study of Hebrew.  Now there is a life long task, but I'm too late to do much with it.  So here I am in autumn with the crisp, new feel of the season on my skin, and the odor of burning leaves in the air.  I want to continue the joy of life, but I know that winter and the long sleep is next.  My only option is to enjoy the fall as long as I can.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Learn to Be Frugal or How to Slaughter a Pumpkin

My mother was very careful with money.   I was young, but I knew that she did not spend money foolishly.  Her sister said she could stretch a dollar until it snapped.  I did not learn that lesson from her.  I wish I had. 

Frugal does not mean cheap.  Frugal means you use goods or resources to the fullest measure.  You don't waste it.  I did learn that part from her.

This week I was frugal.  My church participated in the Pumpkin Patch.  To engage in an activity to extend the money making potential of the Pumpkin Patch, the youth department hosted a bake sale.  That is being frugal:  Use the activity to the best advantage. 

It so happened that the local grocery store did not have any canned pumpkin.  I thought it would be nice to have pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, but because of a bad crop last year, they had run out of pumpkin.  The obvious solution to this dilemma was to cook the pumpkins from the Pumpkin Patch.  I did it.

I bought a small pumpkin.  They call them pie pumpkins.  Now if you have never slaughtered your own pumpkin, take it from me, it is an experience.  I had pumpkin blood and guts all over me, the cabinet, and the floor.  I baked the pumpkin, per instructions from the Internet, on a cookie sheet with a little water to prevent it from burning at 350 degrees for about an hour--maybe not that long.  I don't know.  It was soft and squishy.  I scooped the pulp from the peel.  It was perfect; it made six cups of pumpkin. 

The recipe called for 2 cups of pumpkin pulp.  I had bought 2 pie crusts. Obviously I had to make three pies.  Frugal, remember?  The problem then was when I adjusted the recipe to triple it, God blessed it, and I still had filling left after I filled three crusts.  I bought more crusts.  I made five pumpkin pies. 

I later did it all again and made pumpkin bread.  It did the same thing.  Instead of the two loaves I intended to make, I ended up with four.  And I roasted the seeds.

I truly hope my frugality helps the youth make money for their trips and activities.  And I have learned a lesson that I don't think I will soon forget:  the lesson of frugality.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Did You Know that Christians Are Still Being Persecuted?

We studied in school the terrible assualts made on Christians by people like Nero in the First Century, but I never would have thought that those kinds of terrors were still occuring.  The thing that bothers me most is that we don't even know about it.  The information is available, but it is so terribly unpleasant--lets just remember that in many places Christians are not respected, and the Christian faith is denounced. 

NO!  It doens't work that way.  In our nation we honor those who fell in battle.   It is time for Christians to acknowledge those who persevered and lived their faith in the face of opposition and death.  Wake up Church!  Pay attention!  You are under attack!  Pray for those who are dealing with this challenge.  Learn from their struggle, and be inspired by their sacrifice. 

For other information, click here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Keep Your Mouth Shut

My mother told me to keep my mouth shut, but I don't.  She said you will get in more trouble for what you say than for what you don't.  She was right.

My uncle told me a story about himself and his brothers.  He said his father would correct him and the brothers or gripe at them about something.  The three of them each had a different response.  Their names were Ed, Mack, and Jimmie. 

Ed was the oldest.  When his father corrected him, Ed did not respond.  He just hung his head in shame. 

His father said, "Look at me.  Do you hear what I'm saying.  I told you not to do that."

Ed just nodded and dropped his head again.  No matter how angry or serious the infraction, there was nothing else to say.

With Mack, things were more fun from the observers point of view.  When Mack committed an infraction, his father would tell him where he erred.

"But Papa, I didn't mean to do that.  I just want to..."

"Mack, I told you not to do that.  You do this every time I tell you not to, you just have to do it anyway."

"No, Papa, that's not the way it happened.  I tried to fix it and then it slipped anyway."  By this time Papa's anger was mounting to explosive ranges.
"Mack, get over here and fix this and don't do this again."
"But Papa, I can't fix it now..."
"Get out of my way, Mack; you are useless.  Now you get your hoe and get to work."

Jimmie did get corrected, but he used a different response.  When he made a mistake in working in the field or with the cow, he just owned up.
"Jimmie, I told you not to let the cow out."
"Yes sir, I'm going to get her back right now.  Should I let her loose in the lot or tie her up?"
"She's all right in the lot."

Ed's infraction may have been the worst of the bunch, but he didn't get much yelling while Mack got yelled at for a long time because of his defense.  Jimmie tried to see what his father's goal was.  His questions were focused on his father's intention.  Let's all remember this is all from Jimmie's viewpoint.  I'm not absolutely sure he was as good as he reported.  He did have great respect for his father though.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Am Concerned About the Environment

So many people are promoting environmental concerns in the news that we must all take note of it.  It is definitely something we should be aware of, but biofeuls are not the cure-all.  Read my article
Facts About the Economics of Renewable Energy  for further information.
Cars run on biofuels, but it takes more fossil fuels to make the biofuels that it produces.  I think they call that dimenishing returns.
It worse than cutting the dogs tail off to feed him.  And it's detrimental on several levels.  All this production of a fuel causes more polution, removes resources from the food chain, and increases a complacient attitude toward to real problem.  There is a source of biofuel that may be viable.  I haven't heard near the same level of hype about it, though.  Maybe someone with a vested interest is driving some of this feeding frenzy.  Look at the use of algae as a source for making biofuel, and leave the corn and soybeans for the cows.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

There Is Soooo Much to Learn

I am too old to be concerned with how much there is to learn, but then I'm never going to be any younger.  I guess that means I have to learn all I can beginning here. 

I wish my grandchildren could see the opportunity they have to learn, see, experience, and participate in the adventure we call life.  There is literature to read and investigate.  Biology is exploding.  With DNA and microbiology, what are the limits we will find?
Physics and math are limitless.  And music--I've been reading about muscians who took their discipline beyond the borders of the Old Masters.  Art, too, is without limits, and drama. 

All of it swirls in a mass of energy that describes the human experience, and we are all connected by it.  It is so much fun to learn the things I never knew before.  And also great joy to write about it.  I guess this is not necessarily new to the people who read this blog, if there are people who read it, but it is all so novel to me, so new, so huge, and so tiny. 

I love the paradox of the vastness of space with galaxies and stars and black holes, and then the infinitesimal point on which a whole universe of atoms rests.  And God directs it all.  There is no end of mystery in Him--in His nature or His love--and he calls us, you and me to view and touch and rejoice in His creation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blogging is the Newest Way to Torture Yourself

I love to blog.  This is a wonderful way to express yourself and even have people read what you write.  Sometimes I even get comments--YEAH!  But I can't find anything to write about that I think anyone would want to read.

It shouldn't be just a random diary of my daily activities.  I don't do anything interesting enough to do that.  The King of the New York Hacks does.  Boy what a job.  Dangerous though--driving in New York Traffic is probably life threatening. 

Sometimes I have written articles about cows and going to shows and grooming calves for competition.  Does anybody really want to read that?  Probably not, but I enjoyed writing it.  I write a lot about genealogy and "visiting with dead relatives."  Does anybody care where their ancestors lived?  I do, but I'm old and dull.  I have even written about the prison system--fascinating subject--but most people want to pretend that it doesn't exist.  It does though, and we need to know what we are paying for with our taxes.

I guess there are a few of the topics I am familiar with.  In the next few days I'll try to write about some of them and the others I keep as my secret vice.  Does anyone have a request?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Internet is Evolving

The internet is growing faster than I can keep up with it.  I keep finding new things to explore.  One of them is online writing.  I love to write and the different ways to write and learn and explore the world and events around me is becoming endless.  I have even earned a little money in this very interesting platform.

The site offers instruction on how to share this wonderful innovation.  All I have to do is post this link and invite you to write online too. Click here to sign on and learn about online writing.    There are other sites too, but this one is the best one I have found.  You will have to write a lot of factual stuff.  If you have a degree or a lot of knowledge about some field of interest, consider yourself set.  There are a lot of things you learn as you go along.  There are lots of articles on the site that tell you how to maximize your potential.  Read some of them.  Learn about SEO.  Publisize.  Or just write about what you want to share.  But remember--it has to be factual.  No poetry or fiction.  There are sites that accept that too, but they pay less.  

There is some formula that determines how you get paid, and you may want to investigate that, but I didn't.  Maybe I'm vain or egocentric, but I just love to write.  I even do it here.  It really inflated my ego when they called me an expert in some subjects.  Boy what  high!  So far I haven't gotten paid much, so I'm not expecting to go on a cruise.  Mostly it is just what I said--an ego builder.  But man, it is fun! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The World I Live in

I have a large map hanging on the wall of my office.  There are many countries defined on the map that I never heard of.  In the history books I love, there are many civilizations I never knew anything about.  Even in my own country there are cities and wonders I can't even imagine.

Fifty years ago seeing and learning about these places and events would have been difficult, but with a computer at my disposal, nothing is out of reach.  And yet here I sit and there they are and never the twain have met.  I could make some trial explorations into these places and find the mysteries they contain. 

OK between my Bible study which meets on Monday night with homework every day, and choir practice and work with the Church Youth group on Wednesday to write and assemble the Advent Devotionals, and going to Carol's once or twice a week to do whatever I can for her, and writing all I can about all I can, I will begin a systematic study of countries and cultures.  Oh, I forgot I have to save time to study Hebrew. 

It sounds like I'm not going to make it doesn't it?  The problem is that I am old and I need to get this started soon or I wan't get it finished before you know what.  Oh, yeah, I have some more genealogical work to do too.  Maybe I need to work faster or delay the you know what.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Still Trying to Learn How to Blog

I read other people's blogs to learn--imitation, you know.  And they argue that we don't descend from monkeys.  Well, I don't consider myself a descendent of a monkey, but I do share characteristics--and imitation is one of them.

One of my favortie bloggers is King of the New York Hacks--he is great.  Today I read his blog about the memories and consequences of 9/11.  It is moving and memorable.  I get caught up in reading and forget to analyze and copy, but I'm still trying.  I guess I need to use pictures like he does.  I don't know that I have anything compelling to post like the collapse of the Towers, but it would make the page more interesting to look at.

Just for fun I'll try this one. 

A Coyote watching, waiting, wary

Lesson Learned from Coyotes

By Gayle Haynes

I saw two coyotes in the pasture yesterday.

They saw me first and stopped

to watch with questioning, amber eyes,

Then turned and trotted silently away.

I regretted insufficient light.

It was early, the sun not risen.

Threadbare fields swallowed them up.

Their forms faded quickly from my sight.

I could not guess their destination

or follow to find their winter den.

They were a part of another world

beyond the scope of exploration.

Howling memories sneak through the fence

like coyotes, who lurk about the yard.

Their delicate presence recalls another world

beyond the scope of sense.


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Friday, September 10, 2010

I Think of You

Roses are red, violets are blue.
I hear those words and think of you.
I see your eyes creased with laughter.
Determined, you got what you were after.

Blinded, I loved you from the start,
And failed to see how far we were apart.
So many things we should have shared
Were lost, for we were wrongly paired.

I wrote poems that bored you so
You quoted the want ads so I would know.
I shared feelings and things that I thought,
But you rejected the sharing I sought.

We were, for each other, completely wrong,
But love soared above the old sweet song.
It would have been charming, more like the books
To have had the romance and tender looks.

But the love we've known was a stronger kind
That surmounted the differences of the mind.
We've traveled far and seen many a season
And this love of the soul defies all reason.

                                by Gayle Haynes

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall in East Texas means fairs and art festivals

I am writing about the fairs and art festivals that are popping up all over the place.  They are all unique and none is better or worse, just different.  I usually don't spend much time at them because I always want to spend money and I can't afford that, but since I am writing about them, I thought I should try to go to some this year. 

What I really want to do is go to the towns where they will be held and see what things are like before the event and look at the local shops and offerings in the windows.  If the fair depends on visiting artists and craftsmen, then the town shops may not have a lot of merchandise, but if there are artisans in town then it may be better shopping when there isn't a crowd.

Of course, the big one is First Monday in Canton, but I'm not rich enough or energetic enough to go up there.  I ask somebody else about it.

The ones I'm going to write about will be the Chandler Pow Wow, the Arts Festival of Edom and the new fair in Ben Wheeler called Rebuilding a Community.  Look for my article on Associated Content by about Sunday.  Then go check out the fun and shopping in East Texas in September and October. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Am Becoming a Recluse

I really like being alone.  I almost used hermit, but that is to strong a word.  A hermit is a person who lives alone, maybe in a crumbling old house with their memories and tea cups.  I'm not that isolated.  I still go to church and visit some of my children.  I still go to the grocery store and pay bills.  But I am really not much into the social scene. 

Psychology says that the more contact with people you have the longer you will live.  I'm not sure I quite believe that, much less agree with it, but I find that much of the social pazazz is a bore.  I spent two hours one day with two very good friends whom I love, but the conversation and subjects were pointless and empty.  Better to spend the time alone in a more profitable way.

My vision is becoming so bad that reading is difficult, but a magnifying glass helps.  I can write in the word processor and magnify things to my own comfort.  Driving is becomming more of a challenge.  For these reasons I can stay home and enjoy the books, and the even world, on the computer.  Yes, I need to get new glasses, but I'm doubtful that my social engagement would improve if I could see better.

Seeing better probably wouldn't make me more socially acceptable.  I don't even have the social awareness to engage in conversation.  I don't care what Lindsey Lohan does, and I don't think I know who George Lopez is.  I do have an opionion about the president, but it is probably the wrong one.  Why would I expose myself to public scrutiny?

I have built a case to justify my current track, so if nobody gives me a better reason to change than I have already established, I can see myself moving farther along that road.  I guess "hermit" comes after "recluse."

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Blog on the Horizon

I want to learn how blogging is really supposed to work. So far, my blogging efforts have been a rambling diary, really pointless and non-instructive. I would like to do something a little more intentional, and maybe even get some followers. I will have to read up on the subject since I just jumped in before. I want to really know what I am talking about and have a goal now. I’m not sure I know enough about anything to write for very long, but maybe this will be instructive for me too.

My mother wanted me to be intelligent, and I don’t think she ever got her wish. I would like to at least have something to say. Maybe that will be a good enough substitute for intelligence. Now I need to pick a subject. I think I’ll use the Bible as my jumping off point. Of course, I will have to read it, examine a passage, relate it to my life, and comment or otherwise explore the text. That should take me the rest of my life. OK, that it then. My new blog will take the Bible as my focal point.

It looks like this could get dicey.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wrong Season?

It's not Easter, but sometimes I misread the seasons.  It seems like something is nagging me that I should post this. 


           John 18 and 21
          by Gayle Haynes

Charcoal on the embers made a warming fire;

Bitter smoke swirled up and burned my nose.

"You were with Him," a servant said three times

"He had friends and you were one of those."

What threat could my love of Him now pose?

"Not I," I said, and stepped back in the dark.

I could not speak or witness of his power.

Danger was everywhere; when the soldiers came,

I took a sword to defend him in that hour.

What recompense to pay if now I cower?

Suddenly the cock crowed twice and my heart froze.

His words came back with bitter taste and tears.

"You will deny me, I who washed your feet."

He knew my weakness; the knowledge burns and sears.

What judgment waits for me in future years?


Again, beside a charcoal fire, agony was ripe.

“Do you love me more than these?” he said.

Now my fear was of a different type

For He asked me to follow where he led.

How could His amazing love swallow all my dread?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Help! I'm in the wrong universe!

I read a blog tonight.  I'm really trying to get people to read mine, but I thought reading someone else's might help me understand why I don't get readers.  I did!  I don't live in the same world with the people around me.  I meet them on the street and at church, but they live in another universe than I do.  I'm amazed that I could understand most of the language, and the pictures were good, but this lovely girl lives in another universe.  Her language and references and goals are foreign to me.  Maybe I shouldn't try the computer thing at all.  Maybe I should read my books and watch "The Closer" and go to church.  Blogging may be beyond my reach.

I'm old, no doubt about that.  I am located somewhere in the 1950s or 60s; I like this new world, but I sure don't understand it.  Blogging may be the dividing line that separates the winners from the losers.

Time Gone

Time Gone

By Gayle Haynes

I always thought that in ten years I'd have it all together.

Ten years have come and gone a half-dozen times,

And all I have that's left to show are memories and rhymes.

The meanings have become all cloudy now;

I thought they were just beginning to clear.

I've entered a fearsome stage where the end is drawing near.

The time to change or start again has fled.

It's now too late to fix what once was new.

Future joys are far between and few.

Has there been a theft of golden days?

Have bouquets of hours wilted for neglect?

Time does not wait while I pause to reflect.

I no longer stand and fear the onward press.

Time has taken on a different hue.

Heaven has time enough for all I have to do.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Thought about Auditing a Class at UT Tyler

After my husband died, I went back to school and enrolled in an interdisciplinary master's degree program.  I attended class for four semesters and enjoyed it very much.  One day I had a brilliant revelation:  I don't need another master's degree.  I can audit classes and get the same information and enjoy the same company and enrich my mind without paying out this much money.  Great! 

I did have to rethink one thing--vanity.  I am uncommonly proud of going to college.  I enjoy it.  Getting grades may be tough to give up.  On the other hand, I can do with out the stress of tests, and sometimes the grades weren't anything I could brag about. 

Next time I enroll, I may branch out into areas I have never experienced before--physics, or art history, or music appreciation.  Being old isn't so bad when I can find things to entertain myself.  It is a real shot in the arm, or attitude, to visit with and talk to students who are just beginning the journey into the vastness of accumulated knowledge.  I like it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deeper meaning--Higher level

Every now and I learn something that gives me a deeper understanding of things I thought I knew.  These advances do not make life any easier, but they often raise me to a higher level where I see a wider responsibility.  It's funny that I thought life would get easier when I got older.

One new or increasing pressure I have expereinced lately is need to witness to my faith in Christ.  I have witnessed through my writing, but I have begun to feel an urgency lately to write more about Christ and my relationship with him.  I like to explore scripture, to read it and wrestle with the meanings I find in it.  I don't have much readership, but I don't know if that will change or not.  I don't have many readers anyway, so if I write for myself anyway nothing much will change.

I have learned that I am not responsibile for success, just obedience.  If I write honestly about Christ and me, about what he teaches me, and put it out there for people to read, then I have done my part. 

I went to church this morning and the sermon centered on Acts 1:8 "And you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will  be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all the world."  On the internet and in my writing on any site I am involved in, I am able to witness to the love of God through Christ and his sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit will use my words to reveal truth (if I am obedient).  That is an old lesson that I have been practicing for a long time.  It takes on a new meaning when I see it from a higher or deeper perspective.

Praise God! 

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's all in your viewpoint!

I reflect on my life sometimes, and I like most of it. I live alone and I'm not lonely.  I like doing what I want to.  I like to write and read and study.  I wonder if anyone even understands that.  It would be nice to discuss things I wrtie and study with my kids, but I can't make them like my stuff anymore than they can convince me not to.  

Last week when I went to Temple with Nicki, I was telling her about one of the articles I wrote after we lay down to watch TV.  I rattled on for a while, and finally, I looked over and noticed she was asleep.  I tell Carol sometimes when I have some wonderful idea, and she nods and says, "Uh huh."   Becky didn't care about what I wrote when she was in this part of the state.  Now she is still an acquaintance.  I whine a lot, but I really want someone to talk to about ideas and writing and God.  That's why I write.  I get to say the stuff.  It is so great when somebody reads it.   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Help! I am living in the wrong universe

I read a nice girl's blog tonight, but she doesn't live in my universe.  I really wanted to find out how to get someone to read mine, but this is never going to work.  It's like trying to get different species to mate.  We just don't match up.  No, I don't want to have sex with her, but how can I interact with people in a world where I have no way to communication.  She could write in English, and her pictures were clear, but I just wasn't in heer world.  I was sorry, too.  I think she was nice.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Family Reunion--Arghhhh!

I am going to the FAMILY REUNION.  I don't want to go, but I promised Carol and I should  go.  I need to see these people because Frank would like it.  He loved seeing the family and talking to everybody and telling the old stories and being part of the family.  I never felt all that much a part of the family.  I was just Frank's wife.

Some of the family, like Square, were really fun and engaging to talk to.  Square is an inlaw like me.  He said we should get a private room so we could talk about the "family" and keep it between us.  So I'll go get ready and go to the big event.  We may leave early.  If I take Carol, we can leave when she gets tired.  It won't be too bad.  And I'll get to see a few people I really like.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Writing Short Stories

Writing short stories is hard. I have to know these people and understand what their life is like. I have to decide what part of their story you will want to hear. I have to figure out how much of what they did matters to the story or to you.

And then, I hate the part where things get bad for them. I know there is going to be a problem. Life is just full of them, and the people in my stories are no different from you and me: They have problems too, and the story is better when the problems are bad. I really hate to put them in that dangerous or disgusting situation.

But that is what story-telling is all about. Even the Bible stories I loved as a child had the problem, the risk, the danger, the sacrifice. Even my life and also the lives of my story characters have the problems. The part I don't like about writing stories is that I have to focus on the problem. I have to make the problem bad. I like my characters and I don't like to see them do dumb things or get hit by a car. But that is the nature of telling a story.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I feel a whine coming on.
I feel the irritating tickle in the back of my mind.
It could last for days.
I feel a whine coming on.

I sense a gripe blooming out.
It is the kind of hacking that disturbs my sleep
accompanied by a feverish delirium.
I sense a gripe blooming out.

There is the itch of a snit in my head.
The disturbing blockage prevents clear thinking.
There is the hesitation of a sneeze.
Oh, yes, the itch of a snit.

There is the choke of a moan rising up.
It starts in my heart and ascends to my attitude.
It is nourished by self pity.
Oh, no, the choke of a moan!

I hear the sound of humor erupting.
A snicker breaks loose, a guffaw pours out.
The fever is vanquished,
alas, by a potion of laughter.
By Gayle Haynes

If you read this first, it might make sense.

I Think I Am Going to Write about Depression

Depression is a really big deal.  Everybody either has it now or is planning for it soon.  The commercials for it on TV are truly astounding.  They tell you how to get it and what to do to make it worse.  If you can arrange for a recession or a car wreck it helps, but you can manage if your team lost the World Series or the Superbowl. 

Hating your mother has always been a good one, but now it has shifted to messing up your children.  In any case you can name, depression is just waiting till you open the door.

Now notice that the doctors and drug companies are waiting too.  They can give you medication that will not only give you side effects and permanent debility, but lead you to suicide.

Am I vilifying a cherished symbol?  Are there those of you who read this that think I am overstating a point?  Of course, I am.  I really love to overstate.  Depression has been described and addressed by doctors at least since the second century.  It is recognized and researched--and REAL.

My complaint is that as a society we take everything as crushing and defeating.  For most of us, depression is a problem we face and deal with throughout our lives.  Its victory yell is that self-pitying whine that resounds in every family argument and every friendly conversation.  In comes in lots of ways--"I just can't do this right," "He (she) doesn't love me anymore,"  "Nothing ever goes right!" 

So you practice until you get it right, find someone who does love you, and recognize that things mess up on everybody--you are no different.

Yes, I am going to write about depression now that I have gotten over the testiness of the moment.  The poem included here helps.

I do understand depression.  I have even had it, and the medicine didn't do much good. 

If you really want to get depressed this is the road map.

An Overview of Developmental Stages of the Life Cycle

An Overview of Developmental Stages of the Life Cycle

Friday, August 6, 2010

My mother said to do things well

I am trying to do like my mother said--do things well!  Sooo---I am investigationg the net more, looking into the infromation sites like Twitter, and writing a lot.  I am amazed at the amount of information that is available.  It is fun.  But I can't take it all in.  I can't organize it in a useful way.  There is so much I want to know and use.  Am I not bright enough to grasp it?  Or do I not organize well enough to use it?  Maybe I don't have enough time left to say the things I want to say or experience the things I want to do. 

I guess the truth is there would never be enough information, intelligence, organization, time, or truth to satisfy this yearning I have to know and do and be.  But there is one hope--heaven will take care of all of it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Social Security--I think that is an oxymoron

I am researching and writing about Social Security.  Nobody ever warned me about this oxymoron.  There is no such thing as security in social situations.  There is no guarantee that anything is secure.  There is no assurance that I will wake up in the morning.  Boy, I really know how to mess up a day! 

I am writing this article to submit on about Social Security.  The main thing I am finding is that the Law of Unintended Consequences is hard at work.  FDR never meant for Social Security to be the mainstay of old age, but a lot of people think that if they have Social Security, they are set for their golden years.  It was meant of the aged caught in the extreme poverty of the Great Depression.

I doubt if he knew when he signed the law in 1935 that there would be a war and the resulting baby boom when it was over.  Even if he could have forseen that, could he also anticipate that in 65 or 70 after the war was over this great volume of people would make claims on his Social Security in excess of the amount that was being paid in by the working public. 

Is there a meltdown coming?  Everybody uses that word to describe the collapse of systems and economies and mental faculties.  Meltdown is the result of the Law of Unanticipated Consequences.  The lesson seems to be that we need to anticipate better.  Pay attention to the things we don't want to recognize. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

It did it to me again!

I wrote a long really expressive entry last night, but the computer lost it!  I don't know where to look for it.  I guess it's out there in cyberspace enrichng the ionesphere(sp).  I don't think I can recreate it, but I may try.  It asked some questions I really wanted to discuss.

It was a complaint that I don't fit in at church, and I don't do anything else.  I guess that really makes it my fault.  I love the Bible.  I love to read it and examine it and talk about it and translate it.  But I don't fit in very well with the people that I see everyday. 

In the previously described blog, I enumerated other things that I like to talk about and engage in, like kites, and psychology, and history, especially Roman and medieval.  I can be conversational and talk to people.  I enjoy talking to the people I pray with.  We share scripture and talk about God's grace.  It's good.  Why can't I enjoy a little social interaction?  I shouldn't complain.  I really like being alone and writing to fill the solitude. 

Oh, Lord, You meet me here when I write and when I pray and commune with You.  Maybe I've got the good part, like Mary, to learn at your feet.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Computers don't play fair, but neither does anything else.!

Sometimes I don't like my computer.  I don't think it understands me.  I just want it to  do what it says it will do, but it doesn't.  It says save or publish, then it eats my text and I can't find it.  Life is sort of like my computer.  I think I know what I am doing every day, but my predictions don't work out.  I plan and work out the details, but glitches and bugs get in the way.

I ask God what is happening, but he is not sharing with me.  I keep having this thought about the glories of Heaven, but something in the back of my mind keeps nagging me about the reality.of my expectation.  I think it is O.K. to believe in God and His glory since after all, there is no way to prove it until you experience it.  Then nobody will be bothering me with faith challenges.  When I'm in heaven, I won't care that it is a fantastic belief.  It will be all too normal then.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This Girl Just Wants to Make Money

I am writing on three websites, well, four, but one doesn't pay, so I may not use that one anymore.  I have made a few cents on two of the sites.  I realize that the way to make this work is volume.  How many articles can I write in a day? in a week?  Do I have that much to say?  It doesn't seem like it.  I'm not doing all that good on the blog!  But I do keep trying.  I don't think the blog has a real focus.  I don't have any readers or followers.  I could poll them and see what I need to do, but there aren't any!  I like to write, but I find it very important to have something to say.  And then I want to make money!  Help!  Please Lord, Help!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't ever give up

It is easy to get discouraged.  I don't like to try and work and not see results, but you can't give up.  I can't anyway.  Sometimes I want to, though.  Somethimes I don't want to try again when I have no reason to think I can be successful this time when I haven't been in the past.  Failure is too sad or bitter to face again. 

Somewhere in my childhood, somebody, my mother would be my guess, taught me that once you say you will do a thing, you don't give up or quit or withdraw from the race.  You keep trying until you  accomplish it.  When I have a reason to quit something or run out of time or I'm just plain unable to complete the assignment, I feel horrible guilt.  Logically it doesn't follow that I should feel this guilt as if I had committed a sin or offended someone.  Who should I apologize to?  What is my penance?  Is it really just me that I am responsible to, or do I need to ask my mother for forgiveness?  Can't I just decide not to proceed?  I signed up to enter the Master's program at the university.  Then I decided that I didn't want to continue in the program.  It wouldn't benefit me.  I'm not going to work in the field.  I just wanted to take classes and learn this stuff for my own gratification.  So who am I offending? 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Keres and Norman Lear

American TV writer and producer Norman Lear.Image via Wikipedia I just heard an interview with Norman Lear.  I found it facinatiing.  He said a couple of things that really stuck with me.  One was his view of God and how we as humans interact with Him.  He took the position that nobody should tell us what we believe or how we should respond to that.  He was fearful of TV evangelists, but they are not the ones that I fear.  I don't even fear the people who disagree with me.  I fear the ones who don't fear God.  I am truly afraid of people who have no concept of a God who reigns over the activities of mankind.  Their power for destruction and disorder is astounding.  The responsibility to respond to God who holds power and control throughout time and enternity is basic to being human.

He said another thing that impressed me.  He did not rest on the accomplishments he had in the past.  He said life is in "now and next."  I want my life and energy devoted to now and next, not the success or failure of past years or any anticipation of the future after I'm gone.  I want to engage "now" to be able to write and live for myself and for those I can benefit.  I want to use the past to identify how I got here and what the lessons are I can learn from that.  But all the time I want to understand "now" and to be excited about "next."
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Titles and Subjects and Causes and Rants

What to write about is the eternal problem with writing.  I love to write.  How can I love to write when I don't have anything to write about? 

I clean house or cook or watch TV and suddenly this switch turns on.  The light shines.  Voila!  There it is:  something I want to write about, a viewpoint to share, an opinion to explain.  Now there are lots of things to write about.  The history or the subject needs to be traced and the relation to the rest of the world must be explained.  Then I think about the future, what happens now?  These questions and answers are the germ of an article or a short story or a poem.  Sometimes I have to do something else to let the germ develop.  Too much anxiety and angst in bringing it to light is like an antispeptic that hinders growth. 

Those wonderful rambling, unfocused blogs that seem to go nowhere and answer no questions and bring no conclusions contain the seed of many new pieces of writing.  Oh, I'm so excited.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What would my mother say about the strippers?

I read about the strippers that want to sue BP because their income was reduced by the oil spill. I wonder if we could sue the strippers for their contributions to the decline of the morals in the United States? Can the woman whose husband was unfaithful sue the prostitute for alienation of affection?

One of the bloggers who responded to the story equated, them with single mothers, and he felt we should support them. I suppose he thinks it is a moral obligation to support all the shady and disruptable businesses affected by the oil spill. I can't assume that all strippers are single or mothers, and I don't think all single mothers think taking off their clothes in public to an appropriate job for a parent. It is funny that people who are old enough to have sex don't know the consequence of that act. We must be doing a worse job on sex education than I thought. Our society wants everyone to have the option to have sex; indeed, society says we have the right to have sex. Even knowing that sex is the main cause of pregnancy, we don't tell anyone not to do it. We don't seem to want to restrict anyone's freedom. The children that are born to the "free" people are the losers. The original design would provide two parents for a child, but the actuality may not even provide one. A working mother may leave the child to day care or a baby sitter.
I am afraid this blog entry has rambled and tried to cover too many issues. That's really bad, but on the other hand, it is my blog and I can ramble if I want to.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What can I blog about?

I think I'm going o have to change my blog or quit blogging at all. I can't think of things I want to rattle on abut anymore. I'm not very good at this, I guess. My mother might be very disappointed. Do I have so few memories of her that in this short period I have exhausted them? When I was taking Latin we studied some of the Greek and Roman myths about gods and goddesses, and I remembered that she had told me some of those stories. She had studied the stories though I not sure she studied the language. I was strangely touched by remembering that. Maybe the answer to my problem lies in thinking about the scenes I remember and the stories she told me. Now I have to be sure I know who those guys she told me about were.