Tag Archives: Nostalgia

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Smart Kid

O Lord, years ago, this little guy declared his blue Play-Doh snake was bigger than God. Upon further reflection, though, he decided that no, the thing he’d made wasn’t nearly as big as the God of the universe.

OMG, thank You that he continues to mold his life with that wisdom!

Leading God’s Choir

Some elementary classmates considered choir cruel and unusual punishment. Not me. Although stuck in the back row because of my height, I didn’t permit boys’ cooties to lessen my joy in music. I grew up singing.

As an adult, I directed my church choir. We developed spiritual closeness and musical mental telepathy … that didn’t transfer to sitting/standing together. I’ve never seen another choir do the wave every Sunday. Still, we sang with gladness and authenticity.

After moving, my husband and I joined a large church with a bigger choir and classically trained director. How I missed old friends! But now I didn’t direct while belting out alto and/or tenor to compensate for members lost to the flu du jour. I sang my natural soprano!

Image by CCXpistiavos from Pixabay.

However, our director discovered my past. Would I substitute for him? I attempted the game all God’s people, beginning with Moses, play: Ask Somebody Else.

Other directors weren’t available.

The director believed in miracles. He also promised his compassionate pianist would cover my back.

O-kay.

What to wear? Often, seams split and zippers opened as I conducted. In the past, arm motion sent shoulder pads traveling. Once, I appeared to grow a bust on my back.

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay.

Wardrobe decided, I caught cold. While I directed, would God send an angel to wipe my nose?

What if singers didn’t show? Without them, I was only a crazy woman waving her arms.

They came, though. A row of Bach’s descendants gave me the eye.

We practiced well, but questions erupted about missing music, standing up, sitting down …

“Only God is infinite.” I answered. “Ask Him!”

When I stepped up to direct, congregational eyebrows rose. But it wasn’t about me. Or anyone else.

We worshipped an audience of One: Jesus. All who lifted heartfelt praises to Christ belonged.

In His choir, nobody has cooties.

Those singers were so patient with me.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you deal with feelings of inadequacy?

Joy to the World? At Easter?

Who needed baskets? Our kids thought “Easter shoes” were normal.

Does your family celebrate Easter in traditional ways?

My siblings and I hid Easter eggs so well, truants were located weeks later by their potent odor. We awoke to yummy treats … in our polished shoes. Years before, Mom had possessed only pennies to spend on Easter. Having poured out frustrations in prayer — Mom talked to Jesus about everything — she recalled reading about Dutch children receiving Christmas candy in their shoes and nested jelly beans in ours.

My father, a pastor, celebrated Easter wholeheartedly, his bass voice leading “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” “He Arose” and … “Joy to the World.”

Image by AvocetGEO from Pixabay.

I thought everyone sang that hymn at Easter. As a teen, though, I realized other churchgoers sang it only at Christmas. I kept our odd custom a deep, dark secret, hoping no Easter visitors knew me.

Fast-forward 20 years. My children and I dyed eggs, their clothes and mine. One helpful toddler knew egg-zackly what to do with eggs.

Crack them.

Image by Couleur from Pixabay.

Our family could afford Easter baskets. Repeating the story of their grandma’s faith, though, I filled my kids’ shoes with grass, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans.

My grandchildren still receive Easter treats in their shoes and hear of their great-grandmother’s prayer. They will dye Easter eggs — and their clothes. Our congregation will sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” and “He Arose.”

Joy to the World”? Probably not.

I’ll save that hymn for a visit to our parents’ graves. I didn’t want them to die. They weren’t crazy about the idea, either. But because Jesus came alive again, they will too. Someday, we’ll all be together with Him.

Joy to the world! To all who believe in Jesus’ Resurrection.

Image by Arnie Bragg from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you celebrate Easter?

His and Her To-Do Lists

Should I bother with a spring to-do list?

Image by Michéle from Pixabay.

This past winter, I could have scraped old wallpaper in three rooms. Instead, I read books. Enriching my mind inspires me so much more. Hubby’s enriched his mind too, finishing a thousand-page book on American history.

We’ve enriched our minds so much we’ve lost them — when recalling winter to-do lists. But a little repression never hurt anyone.

Besides, it’s spring. Why waste time indoors when we can stay outdoors?

Between snowstorms and tornadoes, I mean.

The only problem: our enriched minds cannot agree on priorities.

Items on his spring to-do list:

Clean the camper versus clean the garage? On Hubby’s list, the camper wins every time.
  • Conducting intense research on camping gear.
  • Buying lots of it.
  • Arguing with umpires and Cubs podcasts while cleaning our camper.
  • Arguing with mice that established winter quarters in the camper.
  • Tilling and planting the garden he knows deer will eat.
Image by Teodor Buhl from Pixabay.
  • Negotiating with dandelion and violet armies determined to conquer our yard.
  • Coaxing the mower into eating grass, despite its lack of appetite.
Image by forstephany from Pixabay.

My list:

  • Conducting intense research on spring shoes.
  • Buying lots of them.
  • Arguing with The Weather Channel.
  • Arguing with ants demanding the deed to our house.
  • Buying enough plants to create a second Eden.
  • Planting maybe four I know the deer will eat.
  • Applying fertilizers only weeds like.
We should move spring walks on Taylor University’s campus to the top of our lists.

Do Hubby and I share any common items on our to-do lists? A few:

  • Taking hand-in-hand walks, spotting new blossoms on Taylor University’s campus.
  • Pretending we’re students again.
  • Glorying in growing old like two aging maples sporting rings of experience, yet plenty of new buds.

Maybe we should put these — and, of course, enriching our minds — at the top of our spring to-do lists.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s on your list?

Night Fright

Image by 51581 from Pixabay.

People often say they conceive their best thoughts at night.

I’m missing this microchip. My mother often told me that even as an infant, I wasn’t a positive thinker during the wee hours. When I grew old enough to read, I added hundreds of new items to my nocturnal Scary List. Take, for example, the 1960s obsession with outer space. If I read a story in Look magazine about flying saucers above a wheat field near Boring, Nebraska, I knew the little green guys would like Indiana sweet corn better. I resolved to eliminate bedtime in order to protect my state from alien invasion.

NASA spent millions to supply me with worry material — until monsters took over the task: Frankenstein, Wolf Man and TV vampires. When tired Mom nixed movie and television viewing, the local paper kept me informed. I read about a hairy, Bigfoot-like creature that cried like a baby and haunted Detroit. Nowadays, sports writers would deduce it was a Detroit Lions lineman, lamenting their playoffs loss. But then, I never knew whether the unearthly wails from the next bedroom came from my baby brother or the monster.

Thankfully, I outgrew all that. The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West no longer scares me.

At least, not much.

Image by 51581 from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do some childhood boogeymen still haunt you at night?

Stupid Spring Flowers

Have you noticed spring flowers don’t possess high IQs?

After years of “surprise” March blizzards, you’d think clueless flowers would wait until April before peeking out.

Brave or foolish, my crocuses herald the hope of spring.

My daffodils also are poor communicators. Having often turned into flower-sicles, they should have the decency to warn the younger generation. New bulbs should don furry little mittens like spring-smart pussy willows. But they never do.

So, every March, I lecture my flowers about the virtues of sleeping in.

I never had to instruct my children about this.

But flowers don’t get it. Each year, they hear the same weather wisdom: come out too early, and you’ll freeze your buds off. Wait until the sun shines more than one day out of 30.

But do they listen?

Image by Ryan Minion from Pixabay.

No-o-o-o. While the ground remains iron and silvered with snow, dumb flowers poke their heads above icy earth and shiver in their shoots.

Not too bright.

Though I admit that doesn’t apply to color. Yellow daffodils and purple crocuses look like fresh, brilliant paint dropped from God’s brush onto a color-starved landscape. His gift after a long, weary winter?

Maybe spring flowers aren’t so dumb, after all.

Image by Ralph from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: When does your favorite spring flower first appear?

An Ordinary Drive

Image by RitaE from Pixabay.

My husband and I often drive to Ohio to care for his elderly father.

Not like traveling along California’s coastline, with its infinite, sparkling waves. Not like coaxing our car up Appalachian heights, where scary curves rival breathless beauty.

A between-snows drive on Midwestern highways doesn’t raise pulse rates — unless a semi crosses the line.

Or if we focus on a sunrise. Pastel hues stripe the gray horizon, then amid sherbet-colored clouds, the butter-cake sun shines on dark chocolate fields —

Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

Sorry. I’m driving under the influence of a post-Christmas diet. But the delicious scene raises my pulse rate. Maybe a bakery lurks nearby?

Hubby points. “The sun’s position has changed considerably since the fall equinox.” As he continues enthusiastic commentary on light angles, his pulse rate probably rises to new heights.

Mine doesn’t. Until he mentions ancient tribes who built mounds in the Anderson, Indiana, area. They marked seasons by studying scenes like this.

That’s how those Native Americans survived without phones?

My fascination with human behavior — Hubby calls it nosiness — quickly spreads to houses we pass.

I indicate a typical Indiana farmhouse. “Do they like strawberry or grape PBJ? Whatever, I’ll bet it’s homemade.”

Image by Stephen Marc from Pixabay.

Hubby’s look silences my mouth, but not my mind.

Yards that sport tired-looking Santas warm my heart. Someone’s farther behind than I. Others boast shining windows and perfectly sculpted bushes. Even their snowdrifts appear symmetrical. How do people live that way?

Pristine Amish homes grab me, though, with their simplicity and clotheslines full of black shirts and dresses dancing wildly in winter wind.

Slowing for buggies lets us enjoy trotting horses and large families snuggled like birds in a nest. However, rumspringa Amish teens skating down the middle of the highway don’t generate warm fuzzies.

Later, after a day of hugs, time with Dad and conversations with health care workers, we say bittersweet goodbyes. Hubby and I could drive the route home in our sleep, but watch each other closely so we don’t.

Against the sunset’s fiery rose, orange and purples, steeples along the way reach for Heaven. My thoughts do too.

Glory to God in the highest.

One more extraordinary ordinary drive.

Image by adonisbluemusic from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Describe your latest amazing, everyday drive.

Classic Post: The Love Trials

Image by Maura Nicolaita from Pixabay.

This post first appeared on February 10, 2016.

Even successful speed dating requires major time investment to identify Mr. or Ms. Right. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those longing for true love could detect it within one day?

Ta-da! My revolutionary concept, Love Trials, cuts to the chase. This approach will benefit all humankind, plus make me a few million dollars. Each participating couple will know whether they have found their soulmates after five short sessions in which they:

Trial #1: Pack a suitcase. The girl and guy are given one small bag. Not one each — one. She does her best, but it only holds a weekend’s supply of lipsticks. And is he really going to wear that?

Trial #2: Visit a buffet with one plate. When a woman’s salad vies for space with the guy’s giant nachos topped with five pounds of bacon, she may reconsider. His passion may cool when she doesn’t want his food touching hers.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay.

Trial #3: Dig a car out of a snowdrift. Even without debate as to who should have known about road conditions, speed and directions, this trial proves invaluable in unmasking polite claims of gender equality. She dubs him the stronger; therefore, he should push. He thumbs his nose at her so-called dedication to equal rights and claims superior judgment in rocking and rolling out of the predicament.

Trial #4: Hang wallpaper. Participants ask themselves: Do they really want to pledge their lives to someone who can’t distinguish a rectangle from a trapezoid?

This is the way they imagined remodeling together. Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

Trial #5: Buy each other a $10 gift. She purchases an extra-long towel and embroiders his baby-in-the-bath picture on it (winning his mother over). He buys her a heavy-duty ice scraper.

Have the starry-eyed lovers fled the scene? If not, do they still speak? (Grunts count. So do weepy “how could you!”s.)

If so, light up a huge neon Congratulations! sign. Release balloons and confetti!

In the Love Trials, if he and she have not escaped to Mars and Venus, a relationship with a real, live human being has begun. Break out the chocolates, flowers, music and romance! This couple can celebrate true love until the next great Love Trial:

Planning a wedding.

Image by Pintera Studio from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What tried-and-true Love Trial would you suggest?

I’m Glad I’m Not in Florida

Image in PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

Maybe you think I, from chilly Indiana, have finally flipped?

Perhaps I can persuade you to see things my way.

First, pleasant weather conditions during winter confuse us Hoosiers worse than a time change. Is it January or June? Has someone sneaked six months past us?

Lovely weather also demands we go outdoors. If I’d been raised in Florida, my mother would never have let me inside: “Sunshine’s good for you!”

If I were a Floridian, I’d have to do (gulp) yard work. I much prefer curling up each winter with my sherpa throw to read or watch basketball.

In Florida, forget about warm fuzzies. Or the waistline-camouflage layers I love.

Besides, we Midwesterners enjoy griping about weather. Could we survive without our favorite pastime?

If Indiana’s environment resembled Florida’s, our state would be flooded with touristy relatives. Hoosier parents do bribe grown children to come home for Christmas. Soon, though, bored offspring return to nests elsewhere. As a result, parents truly own their homes and cars.

Speaking of cars, no one in the Midwest keeps vehicles clean during winter as expected in Florida.

Besides, without wintry mix, we and our cars would miss the joy of doing figure eights on the interstate. That’s the only wild life we experience after New Year’s.

Regarding Florida’s wildlife: boo for bugs the size of Volkswagens! While winter camping might prove more fun there, alligator warning signs made me rethink my antipathy toward raccoons. They might steal a week’s groceries, but raccoons don’t abscond with several limbs as well.

Becoming a snowbird requires the packing and moving I despise. Besides, snowbirds inhabit rows and rows of mobile homes so close dwellers know their neighbors are eating Popeyes’ fried chicken for the third time this week.

Finally, wouldn’t Florida’s continuous green grow monotonous? The never-changing, brilliant blue of sea and sky?

Sure, we Hoosiers endure dreary months. But nothing will excite us like the first baby leaves that invade Old Man Winter’s domain. Sunny daffodils will send us into spring ecstasy.

Poor Floridians know nothing of these extreme Hoosier joys. Pity them.

And move closer to the fire.

Image by s-wlocyzyk 2 from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Where would you like to spend the winter?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: No Gripes Here, Lord

Jesus, You know I often struggle to assume an attitude of gratitude. But on this chilly, damp Monday, with one flush, I remembered my papaw’s outhouse.

Image by Dieter Scharnagl from Pixabay.

OMG, for cleaning two-and-a-half indoor baths, I am THANKFUL.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.