BUTTERFLY AWARENESS DAY

TL 6-7 BUTTERFLY AWARENESS DAY

6-7 THE RIVER OF JORDAN

On a September afternoon long ago, I was made aware of butterflies.  I knew that God sent miracles on request because He loves us.  Today is BUTTERFLY AWARENESS DAY!!!  Thank You, God, for butterflies and the joy they bring.

In those moments where I’ve thought, ‘I need a sign,’ a butterfly appears, whether it’s a real one, an image on a T-shirt or a tattoo on a waiter’s neck.  – Roma Downey

I spent a week with my mom in the hospital.  On high doses of morphine for pain, she was blissfully unaware of anything, sleeping.  I sat and thought, “This is it.  I have to say goodbye now.”  I put Vaseline on her lips once in a while and tried to focus on a book.  I think I read each page about ten times.  I couldn’t think about what I was reading.  My mama was dying, and my life was about to change in so many ways.

Prayer:  The world’s greatest wireless connection.  – @JesusGraces on Twitter

You know, those phone calls you get at 3 am?  Those phone calls are never the Publisher’s Clearing House letting you know you won.  They are never good news.  No – and if someone passes in the night, what good does it really do to wake the family while they are sleeping and fortunately unaware of what has transpired?  Can this news not wait until the next morning?  At any rate, the phone call came.  My mother went home.

Her home going celebration was simple, as she wanted.  She was never one for fancy doings.  I knew what to do because she told me many times.  What dress she wanted to be buried in and what kind of flowers to order.  It was as if I was just carrying out the orders she’d given me.  I did it without much effort because I was so numb.  I tried not to think about the fact that I’d never get to have a talk over tea with her again on this earth.  I couldn’t think about that.  There would be time to grieve later.  Right now – details.  I have to attend to the details.  It must be right.  I had to make her proud.

At the viewing, friends and family were kind.  I just kept thinking I wanted to jump in that casket with her.  Dive right in there and go with her.  They frown on that though – turns out those caskets are made for one.  They don’t do twofer funerals.  So I moved on to plan B.  Wait…  what was plan B?  Oh…  well – prayer.  I prayed.  I prayed for a sign.

Dear God,

I am so sad today.  Would you mind just sending me a small sign to let me know that You are here and that you still love me – and that mama’s ok?  Thank You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God answered that little prayer.  I looked up from praying and saw some turquoise blue butterflies right around the bouquet of turquoise blue hydrangeas I arranged in a large vase beside the casket.  I’ve never seen turquoise blue butterflies in Kansas before – and I have not seen them since that day.  It’s my very special sign from God that everything is alright – with me – and with my mom.

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Oh – did I mention that the dress my mom wanted to be buried in was a turquoise blue dress?  Did I also mention that turquoise blue was her favorite color?  And – all of my family and friends honored that sweet woman by wearing turquoise blue to her graveside service.  Yes – God made sure those butterflies were the perfect color.  Don’t even try to persuade me that there is no God – and that He does not care deeply for His children.  I know better.  🙂

 

 

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MY WAY DAY

TL 2-17 MY WAY DAY

Today is MY WAY DAY!!!  It’s a day to disregard anybody else’s way of doing anything and forging ahead in your own unique style.  Stop laughing – it’ll be okay!  If I want to write at 2am and sleep until 10am the next morning, I will.  How do you like them apples???

Two popular artists recorded a song called My Way – the first was Frank Sinatra in 1969.

That’s the recording my mom liked best.  She was a fan of ol’ blue eyes.  The recording I like best was done by Elvis a few years later, in 1977.

I tried to play My Way at a talent show in 1975 at my junior high school.  I practiced and was as ready as could be, but the brilliant mind who put the program together put the most gifted pianist in the whole school right before me.  His name is David and he played The Entertainer with no music.  He wowed everyone, including me.  I wanted to run away.  In retrospect, I easily could have bowed out – but at that age, you don’t realize you have those kinds of choices.

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.  – Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name

I went ahead.  I followed the most awesome pianist in the school onto the stage, put my book up on the piano and with trembling fingers, I played My Way. 

It was a flop!  I was humiliated – they booed me off and I cried as I exited the stage.  Kids are cruel – really cruel.  But I’d love to tell the person or persons who scheduled me behind the best pianist in the school just how STUPID that was!  It was like someone wanted to set me up for failure.  It made me stronger in the long run.  God doesn’t leave us in despair for long.  He loves me no matter what.  I learned how to fail forward!  I went on to perform in recitals and contests, and I was church pianist at twelve and played for both the adult and youth choirs.  I was determined to be happy in Jesus!  I let go of my way and did things His Way!  It was best for me.

No kid in high school feels as though they fit in.  The smartest thing that I ever heard anybody say about high school was that “If you look back upon that as the happiest time of your life, I don’t want to know you.”  – Stephen King

Life goes on – indeed.   I let the pain go but kept the lesson tucked away in the back of my mind.

So today, I will do things my way – it will not be the best and I know it – but it will be my personal best.  My name is not David, it is Linda and I know how to play the piano, but I’m not a performer – not by a long shot.  Never wanted to be.

There is one remnant of that day left in my music book.  The day of the talent show, my mama drew a happy face on my music and wrote “Good Luck.  I love you!”  I look at that music now and it’s a precious memory because it was from my mom.  Whether I played well or not – whether my music was memorized or not makes no difference.  My mom had faith that I could play it and do well.  That meant a lot to me.

I was telling stories on the piano long before I ever directed a movie…  I like the image of the piano player:  The piano player sits down, play, tells his story, and then gets up and leaves, letting the music speak for itself. – Clint Eastwood

Sometimes the pianist is a female…  jus’ sayin’…  I played My Way…  MY WAY.  When you’re in school, it’s important that the other kids approve of the way you play – or the way you do anything else.  But as an adult, I’m not that concerned about what others think of my “performance”.  Take me – leave me.  Whatever. 

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.  – Karen Lorimer

I would suggest that if you celebrate My Way Day, you should separate yourself from the rest of the pack.  Don’t give anyone an opportunity to compare your way to anyone else’s way.  As a young person I learned not to stay in anyone’s shadow or follow a perfectly executed performance.  It’s a painful lesson, but one that has helped me more than once.   :-/

 

 

TALK TO A TELEMARKETER DAY

TL 7-16 TALK TO A TELEMARKETER DAY

 

If you lived in the 1970’s then you will understand the humor in the story I’m telling you.  Nixon was the President and the scandal called Watergate was in the news every day.

Mom and Dad gave me a cassette tape recorder for my birthday one year.  It was a fun toy and I used it to record music off the radio and my friend Linda Brumbaugh and I used to do funny little “interviews” with each other.  As I got older though, I outgrew the need for it.

I started at Wichita State in the fall of 1979.  I still lived with my parents and helped them out as much as I could.  My studies took priority and between them, my part-time job on campus and teaching over 20 piano lessons a week, I was pretty busy.   One day I walked into the house and saw the funniest sight!  Mama was “dealing” with a pesky telemarketer!

She was arguing with the person and trying to nicely explain that she was not interested in whatever was being pushed down her throat.  This went on for a few minutes.  Then mama took the little portable cassette player and calmly set it up on the phone stand.  She gently said, “Hold please” and put the receiver of the phone right next to the speaker of the cassette player.  Then she pressed the PLAY button and played one of the recordings I had made years ago!

Had she done it to some poor soul before?  I don’t know, but she did it like it was not a brand new idea to her.  She came into the living room, sat on the couch and asked me how my day went.  She didn’t mention the fact that she had just put a poor unsuspecting telemarketer (just trying to make a living) on perpetual HOLD.

Of course today we have no-call lists for which I’m thankful.  I will never forget the day I walked in to see mama putting the telemarketer on hold.   Wink!   😉

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (11)

A good-looking truck driver walked into the offices of Sun Records and the Memphis Recording Service on a Saturday night in the summer of 1953.  He paid $3.98 + tax to make an acetate record for his mother’s birthday.  Sam Phillips recorded Elvis singing “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin, ” and told his business partner Marion Kreisler something that made her write down “Good ballad singer.  Hold” in her notes.

Elvis would leave Sun for the big leagues of RCA Records by the end of 1955. But Phillips secured his place in musical history, and made a tidy profit even if it wasn’t $1 billion.

That was the beginning of an amazing singing career.  Elvis loved his mama and because he honored her, his life was blessed.

Elvis_with_parents_1958
Elvis with his parents. Army induction. March 24, 1958

There are literally dozens of You Tube videos of Elvis songs and tributes.  I invite you to visit You Tube today and listen to “That’s Alright Mama”.  What if Elvis had not wanted to honor his mother and make that recording for her birthday?  How different would his life had been?

What does the Bible tell us about honoring our father and mother?  It’s FOR it!  Pro-honor and pro-love of the parents:

 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.   – Deuteronomy 5:16

I think Elvis honored his mother in part because he felt bad about being the twin that survived.  His twin, Jesse Garon died at birth and Elvis often wondered why he was spared.  He never wanted to disappoint either of his parents, but particularly his mama.

The Bible instructs us to honor our parents.  It does not say obey.  We are to obey them when we are young, but when we are older we are to honor.  This is a wonderful example of honor:

THANK YOU MOM

To honor is to respect with patience and as much love as possible.  That is what makes our Lord smile and makes us good children. 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (23)

THE LITTLE NOTES
Remember Waylon Jennings & friends in their OUTLAW days?  They did a song called, “Put Another Log on the Fire.”  I guess really it was Tompall Glaser ‘cuz he wrote it.  Well, Daddy used to walk around the house singing this to Mama. They were crazy and I really miss them!  Go over to You Tube and listen to that song – it’s really funny.

I guess I can post the lyrics without getting in trouble.

PUT ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE

Put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you’re leaving me.

Now don’t I let you wash the car on Sunday?
Don’t I warn you when you’re gettin fat?
Ain’t I a-gonna take you fishin’ with me someday?
Well, a man can’t love a woman more than that.
Ain’t I always nice to your kid sister?
Don’t I take her driving every night?
So, sit here at my feet ‘cos I like you when you’re sweet,
And you know it ain’t feminine to fight.

So, put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
Go out to the car and lift it up and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you’re leaving me.

*******************************************

I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. – Rita Rudner

My Mom was a note writer, a hugger and very vocal with praise and support. It’s just who she was. God is a great matchmaker because He blessed her with a man who loved and appreciated all of that! Daddy was not easily embarrassed by it and actually encouraged her in that way. I loved watching my parents – love. They knew how to enjoy married life. They knew the secret – don’t be so serious and have FUN with it!

My Daddy found little notes all over the place. One year for Easter, my Mama put quotes and little tidbits of quotes on slips of paper, folded the paper and stuck them in plastic eggs. She hid the eggs all over inside the house (I think it rained that year). She had Daddy and I hunted all over the house for the eggs! When they were all found, we sat down at our kitchen table, opened the plastic eggs and read aloud the quote or saying enclosed. That was my favorite Easter! Oh, and of course there was a little “kiss” inside the egg too – just to sweeten the deal a bit!

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

After Mama died, I found many journals, books of poetry, verses, words of wisdom and miscellaneous diaries in a kitchen drawer. Mama was quite the philosopher! She knew how to turn sadness into gladness and was so clever and wise in her decision-making. In other words, she had a Master’s Degree in… LOVE!

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

TL I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE 3

PLASTER OF PARIS
Plaster of Paris is a quick-setting gypsum plaster consisting of a fine white powder known as calcium sulfate hemihydrate. It hardens when moistened and allowed to dry. Plaster of Paris is prepared by heating calcium sulfate dehydrate or gypsum to 120 to 180 degrees.

It is called Plaster of Paris because gypsum was early on used near Paris to make plaster and cement. Common uses for Plaster of Paris are making casts to immobilize broken bones while they heal, and crafts. I have fond memories of the late 1960’s which happen to be built around Plaster of Paris. Good memories, thank goodness. No broken bones needed mending.

I was so small when I was introduced to my mother’s craft craze, so what I share is going to be in snippets, but there are sights, sounds and definite smells about Plaster of Paris. They are unique and distinct. Once you have experienced Plaster of Paris at any age, you don’t soon forget it.

Our neighbor, Mrs. Harris taught the housewives on Charles street how to make home décor with Plaster of Paris. I was not old enough to go to school yet, so I got to go along with mama for classes. I remember Mrs. Harris having a ton of white molds hanging all over her craft room. I think the area she used for crafting took up most of the square footage of their house! She used to make the best Toll House cookies and gave me as many as I wanted with a big tall glass of milk. But I digress… back to the craft day.

Mama started out making wall hangings. Plaster of Paris nowadays is odorless but trust me, back in the old days is was not odorless! It reminded me of the times we went to the beauty shop for mama’s perms. It’s a smell that is like no other. If I smelled it again I’d know immediately what it was. Once it was mixed, they poured the plaster into the mold and inserted a wire hook at the top so it could hang on the wall. Then they waited a while for the plaster to harden. That’s usually when a lot of the women would join me in the living room with coffee and cookies.

When the molds were removed they had a white plaster base on which to create. Mama did one set of vases in black with gold specks on them. They used spray paint to cover the entire piece and that was another unique smell, but at least they went outdoors to do that. I’m trying to remember how they put the specks on the pieces but I can’t quite remember that. I think she may have put gold paint on a paint brush and shook the brush toward the piece to make the specks.

I’m sure it was a reason to get out of the house and be creative. Don’t we all need to do that once in a while?

I don’t think my angels are worth a lot of money, although the chalkware made in the 1910-1940’s for use as prizes at carnivals is now quite collectible and worth a lot of money. It’s considered folk art and is unsophisticated but a popular collectible these days.

Plaster of Paris is popular in homes still today, although it is much more advanced than the tiny hangings the neighborhood women got together to make.

The angels my mama made for me hung over my bed from the time I was four years old. Now they hang in my house to remind me that I was loved dearly. No, they are not valuable on the market, but they are worth more than anything to me. ❤

NOODLE DAY

TL 10-6 NOODLE DAY

10-6 NOODLES10-6 LET'S MAKE NOODLES
Do not overlook my qualifications. I am a dandy noodle maker! – Linda Palmer

 

Happy NOODLE DAY!!!

There are moments I bow my head and thank God that I am not a type 1 diabetic, but a type 2 diabetic. I got to enjoy a relatively normal childhood and ate pretty much anything I wanted. I didn’t have to measure or figure out how much insulin I would need for each meal like my type 1 friends do.

When I was a kid I used to help my mama make homemade noodles. It’s such a simple process, albeit time-consuming. Three simple ingredients: flour, egg and a pinch of salt. Mix it together, roll it up like a jelly roll, cut it into 1/2″ strips and let them dry for several hours. After the strips are dry, drop them into boiling chicken broth and let them boil for 15 minutes.

In this modern age, no one wants to take the time to make homemade noodles anymore and it’s something of a lost art. I think it’s sad because when mama and I were working together in the kitchen – that’s when we had some of our best chats. Now everyone is looking at a phone most of the time – texting.

One of mama’s favorite meals was turkey noodle soup. It’s like chicken noodle soup, but you use leftover Thanksgiving turkey in it. I miss the days when I helped mama make noodles. Knowing that there was something I could do to help her in the kitchen made me feel so very grown-up.

When mama died on September 28, 2004, I wanted to do something special for Thanksgiving. I decided to make turkey noodle soup for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was just my husband and myself, so to make a fuss for two people didn’t seem necessary.

I didn’t have to add much salt to the dough – I salted the dough with my tears. The first holiday without my mama was so difficult. I mixed the dough and rolled it as memories of the past came flooding to my mind and stinging my heart. I cut the strips with a pizza cutter and waited for them to dry. I read through the book from the funeral home while I waited for the strips to dry. I thought about each person listed in the book and said a little prayer for them. I wondered what they were doing this year for Thanksgiving. By the time I dropped the dry strips into the tall pot of boiling chicken broth, my enthusiasm waned. But I forged ahead – and we had turkey noodle soup.

Did you see me, mama? I did it all by myself. I would have given anything to have had her there with me – but it just does not work that way, does it? 🙂