Sunday, October 3, 2010

Give My Regards to Blogspot. . .


As of 3:10 p.m. EDT on this day, Sunday, October 3, 2010, my blog, known as:

  Reflections From a Cloudy Mirror

has been completely and permanently relocated to WordPress!  The URL for my new site, while bearing the same name, is :

All of my previous posts have been transferred to that site, as well as the comments.  This move was necessitated by the large number of problems I started to experience with the Blogger domain, not the least of which was the inability of readers and followers from other domains to post their comments on the site.   I'm sure you all know by now that I love the comments and discussions from my readers as much as I love writing the blog in the first place!  If you are a follower or subscriber from the Blogger domain, please be sure to transfer your "membership" to my new digs.  I look forward to visiting with you all in my new home. You are welcome any time, and you don't have to come alone - bring your friends!  The larger the party, the better!

I offer you my love and especially my thanks for spending some of your time with me and sharing in my "Reflections." I have attempted to give you a "Paula's-Eye-View" of what I see - and the view is always changing!  You have always given back to me exactly what I have needed, and it is always, just exactly, enough. . .

Some Sinless Pleaasure for a Sunday Afternoon

I need only post this link:  Click here and enjoy!

Hope you all can get enough. . .

My Lazy, Stole-it-From-Cin, Sunday Morning, Before Church, Nerve-Calming, Too-Tired-To-Come-Up-With-Anything-Else Blog Post

     1. Where will you be in an hour? -  In the bathroom, getting ready for Church, fixing my hair, etc.
     2. Who will be your next kiss? - Probably our dog, Princess.
     3. Is there something purple within 10 feet of you? - Yes.  It's on my left arm.  A rather florid-looking painless bruise.
     4. Are you wearing socks right now? – No, I am barefoot.  (Me, too, Cin!)
     5. When was the last time you went out of state? – One of the last Sundays in August, we were in Athens, Tennessee; Ashley was a guest preacher at a church  we  served many years ago.
    6. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days? – No.  Ready to go anytime, though!
    7. What was the last thing you had to drink? – A sip of Coke Zero, (it was handy, and I was thirsty).
    8. What are you wearing right now? – Mismatched pajamas – flowered pink capri-length bottoms, and a pink Outer Banks T-Shirt on top.
     9. What was your last purchase? – Assorted items at “Wally-World” last night, including a few groceries.
   10. What’s the last thing you wrote down? –I scribbled down a few quick biographical notes on a character in a story I am writing:  “Coralee born when he was 30, disappeared when he was 48, day after her 18th birthday.”
    11. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? –Gerald Jacobson, who called for Hubs, and to whom I transferred the call.
   12. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week? – Yep!  Among the items purchased last night were a new bra and a package of panties.
   14. What’s the last sporting event you watched? –Ryder Cup golf this weekend.  (HEY CIN!  WHAT HAPPENED TO #13?)
   16. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be? – With my granddaughter, Zoë, rockin’ away the morning!  (HEY, CIN!  WHAT HAPPENED TO #15?)
    17. What is the last thing you purchased online? – A wireless mouse and tote bag, both for my new computer, and some photo paper.
    18. One thing you hate about yourself? – My eagerness to answer quizzes like this instead of doing something truly productive.
    19. What’s your favorite soup? – At present, Tortilla, but ask me again tomorrow.  Soup is a favorite food, and I love all kinds!
   20. Do you miss anyone? – Yes. Many, many people. (And a few beloved pets!)
   21. Last play you saw? – “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”  Not sure if that’s the last, but it’s the first one to come to mind.
   22. What are your plans for tomorrow? – De-cluttering the house as prep work for housekeeper on Tuesday, and a Dr.’s appointment.
   23. Ever got to go camping? – Took a bunch of Jr. Girl Scouts once – we were completely rained out just after getting our tents up!
  24. What do you want right now? – My back to quit stabbing me in, well, my back!
  25. Were you an honor roll student in Elementary school? – Yes.
  26. What do you know about your future? – There will be sorrow, but mostly joy, and I will be happy.
  28. Where are your best friends located? – In my heart.  (HEY, CIN!  WHAT HAPPENED TO #27?)
  29. Do you have a tan? – Only the books by Amy Tan in my bookshelf.
  30. How old do you want to be when you have kids? – I was 26. (Even if I hadn’t been old enough then, I would’ve gotten there pretty fast after!)
  31. Last person who made you cry? – Rosemary Clooney, singing “Time Flies.”
 32. Do you have any tattoos or piercings? – Pierced ears.
 33. Have you ever sipped your soda through a straw? – Yes.
 34. How do you like your soda? – Preferably cold, but never with ice.
 35. Last time you took a shower? -  Friday.
 36. What is one thing you’re afraid of? – People finding out I didn’t shower yesterday.
 37. What is your mood right now? – Anticipating singing a solo in church this morning.
 38. Are you someone’s best friend? – I flatter myself by thinking I am.
 39. Do you have a crush on someone? – Other than Hubs, there are several actors I can think of right now. . .
 40. What are you doing right now? – Wasting time answering this quiz.  Now it’s your turn!
Thanks to theonlycin for her post this morning, and therefore mine!  Have a wonderful day, Gentle Readers!  May it be filled to overflowing with enough. . .

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Christ v. Christianity. . .and the Winner Is. . .*

"I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike your Christ."  M. K. Ghandi
This quotation is surely one of the most haunting challenges to those who earnestly endeavor to live their lives according to the example set by Jesus Christ - those who choose to call themselves Christ's Disciples - in other words, those who are known by the dreaded "C" word:  Christian

Almost daily I am confronted with the reality that many people are completely turned off by the whole concept off Christianity because of the attitudes and behaviors of some of those who call themselves Christians that they have known or met or observed.  There are many people I know or have heard of who will not call identify themselves as Christian, because they are so offended by, and do not wish to be associated with, many of the people who do.  It is a hard thing to take from those that I love, because I feel that they are missing out on the greatest joys of living.  But becoming a Christian is most definitely a personal choice - and no one can be forced into it (not that throughout history it hasn't been tried, more's the pity!). 

Christians of late have suffered greatly from a very poor marketing campaign.  Efforts have been made by "believers" to gather converts by pushing their own agendas, and not living out the words and deeds of Christ.  Those agendas frequently include hatred, exclusion, division, hierarchies, and intolerance. While some of these ad campaigns sound "good" at first, by purporting to be  truly representing all that is good - "family values," "salvation," "freedom," "love," and "peace," etc. - a deeper look into their operating methods reveal some very disturbing truths.  There are too few people who, having ascribed to a particular brand of Christianity,  bother to measure the statutes of the institution against the stature of Christ.  Too many don't want to have to think for themselves.  They want to be told what to do, say, think, believe.  They want to feel "safe" and "saved," and that they have purchased their non-refundable and non-cancellable ticket to Heaven by simply singing "Hallelujah" on Sunday morning, repeating the Lord's Prayer with everybody else, and filling a church pew once or twice a week.  The saddest part of all this is that so many really mean well - at least on the surface.  But, in my estimation, they have failed to make the connection between what Christ asked of those who would follow Him and how they actually behave.  True discipleship requires a direct connection between what is required and what is attempted.

I began this post with high hopes of being able to articulate my passionate concern for the church of Jesus Christ - the "Body."  Generally when I begin one of my "rants" I have little trouble with the flow of my words and thoughts.  This time I kept hitting snags.  I wasn't sure exactly why until the day after I set aside what I managed to write above, thinking perhaps I just needed time.  What I needed, it turns out, is an "accidental" perusal through some papers on my desk that needed filing.  I happened upon a reprint of the article in the following link.  This "accident" was no accident.  In this article, Shane Claiborne manages to say, so much more eloquently and clear-headed than I, what is at stake in the battle of Christ v. "Christianity."  

My thanks to Shane for his message, for the wonderful work of healing he is facilitating wherever he goes, for his passion and dedication in a world that often does not want to listen, but surely does wish to see.

Here's the link:   
What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?
The following few paragraphs (highlighted in green) are condensed from some information included in one of my pastor's, Dr. Chuck Wilson's, recent blogs:

By the way, did you know that in 1997, 12% of Americans believed that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc?  Surely we're better educated today, right? 
Perhaps not. George Barna describes the spirituality of today's young adult as "extremely wide, often shallow and always compelling." Consider the "extremely wide" category: 56% of those under the age of 25 believe that "the Bible, Quran and Book of Mormon are the same expression of truth." Heading the "often shallow" category, young adults view Paris Hilton more favorably than Billy Graham. Only 30% believe that the Bible is "accurate in the principles it teaches."

But there's good news in the "always compelling" category: according to Barna research, young adults "see spirituality as connected to all of their life, not a compartment within their life." They don't want to discuss spiritual ideas so much as they want to see spirituality lived in ways which make the world better.

I think Jesus would have agreed with them. His strongest sentiments were reserved for religious leaders who "... for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them" (Matthew 23:3-4). Early Christians lived their faith so practically and sacrificially that Tertullian (great Early Church father who died AD 220) could quote their enemies: "How they love each other."
Today's culture is remarkably similar to the first-century environment of early Christians. People in their day worshiped the emperor, the gods of Mt. Olympus, and the mystery cults; others followed neo-Platonists, Skeptics, Cynics, Stoics or Epicureans. Jews worshipped Yahweh; Christians worshipped Jesus.

Early believers showed people that their faith was right by showing that it was relevant. They couldn't outlaw slavery, so they purchased slaves and freed them. They couldn't make prostitution illegal, so they bought prostitutes, set them free, and gave them homes. They couldn't outlaw the abandonment of unwanted babies, so they rescued them and raised them as their own.

Our world today wants to know if Jesus is relevant to their lives and problems. Ken Medema says in one of his songs, "Don't tell me I have a friend in Jesus until you show me I have a friend in you." 

*  There really is no contest - and never a doubt as to Who the Winner was, is, and always will be.

Dear Gentle Readers, may your lives be filled with exactly enough. . .

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm Moving. . .

(This post is being published on both of my blog-sites in preparation for the complete change-over which is hopefully coming soon. I have attempted to change some of the content of this post, depending on where you are when you read it!)

Frustrations with Blogger have led me to transfer my blog to WordPress.  If you arrived  here by accident, then WELCOME!  Welcome, in fact to all of you – no matter how you got here.  This blog is, has been, and will continue to be  a forum for me to share my reflections on what is going on in my life, as well as ideas and observations about what’s happening in the world at large.  You will find some poetry, rants, memoirs – a general stream-of-consciousness collection intended to not only unclutter my mind, but to share with whoever is willing to take a sail, some of the things I see when I stop to take a glance at the mirror of my mind’s eye.  I’ll do my best to supply my readers with a paddle – but don’t count on it!  Sometimes when you set sail on my stream – you’ll be on your own!

As soon as I’m able, I will have a Photos page set up for the WP site, too.  Stay tuned!

Until everything gets transferred over, you are invited to view my posts at both addresses: 
(Where you are now!)

- or -

WordPress visitors will find it easier to leave their comments on the WP blog, however!  I look forward to hearing from you all!
Please remember to leave your own comments and reflections. . .I’d like to take a voyage up your stream, too! (No paddles required. . .)

 Until we read again, I wish you all, wherever you may find yourself, enough. . .

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What a Sh***y Idea!

Now, that title intrigues you, doesn't it?  Don't worry - I have gone neither completely profane, nor insane.  Hubs and I were turned in this evening to a wonderful segment from a great "Public Radio International" program called "Life on Earth."  The segment we were delighted to have caught while on the way home from dinner was about the "Park Spark Project"  If you do nothing else today, please click on the following link and read a little bit about this wonderful, innovative, and highly creative idea that takes advantage of readily, continuously available resources heretofore gone to "waste," in order to create infinitely renewable energy, at almost zero cost!

Link #1 - The Park Spark Project    

Link #2 -  The Scoop 

I am so encouraged to learn that the creative spark of genius is still alive and well, and fully functioning here in the good old USA!  I encourage you all to "spread it around!"

After reading the first link, click on the second - it will take you to the "Life on Earth" web site where you can find the transcript of the program we listened to this evening, as well as the Real Audio link so you can listen to it yourself!

(I posted this today because my newest ode, "Ode to Homonyms," is giving me more problems than at first anticipated.  I'm not giving up on it, but it will be a while before I'm ready to share it - stay tuned!)

So, until then Gentle Readers, I won't tell you exactly what I'm wishing you enough of - but follow the links - you'll figure out what I mean this time when I wish you all enough. . .

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Death and Taxes

Oh, goody, goody goody!  The wonderful event I have been waiting for is on the way!  Let's all hear it out there for the great, fascinating, joy-filled, consciousness-raising, edifying time called. . .(wait for it!). . .MID-TERM ELECTIONS!!!!!  Ah, yes - you can smell it in the air - all that expensive and expansive crap pouring out of the mouths - the very pores - of all those delusional candidates.  Quite frankly, at times like these I can say, along with Lt. Col. Kilgore: * 

Actually, about the only good use that napalm could ever be put to would be a complete burn of all the misinformation, misdirection, malfeasance, manipulation, and malevolent manifestations that make up the once-noble calling of politics.  I could really get started now on a rant that would likely seem, if not actually be, never-ending.  I won't (so sorry to disappoint) - but it's only because my one handed typing can't keep up with the erupting, (perhaps) infammatory diatribe that is flying through my brain.

Here is the issue that has been occupying so much of my thought these last few days and weeks. . .when did the whole concept of  (*gasp*) TAXES become synonymous with evil?  Exactly how does the (apparently) large and vociferous (agonizingly so) group of American citizens expect our nation to operate without them?

Now, I am not so ignorant that I believe that there is really a significant number of people out there who feel that there should be NO taxes at all in this country.  But to actually listen to some of the "antis" speaking now, one could be led to think that taxes really are the root of all evil, and a nefarious plot cooked up by the Democratic Party to part all good, hard-working, and God-fearing citizens from as much of their income as possible.  All of us, regardless of our political, social, spiritual, and/or ethnic persuasions, have a right to voice our approval (seldom heard), or disapproval (abundantly heard)!  But, I feel that this huge issue regarding taxes has become so mired in the seamy, underhanded side of politics, that the essential need of our communal dollars to fund the physical infrastructure, and other necessary aspects, of our country has been completely drowned in an ocean of tea and hogwash.

The knee-jerk response whenever the word "taxes" is heard is "No, no, no!  No more taxes!"  Of course, I understand that what many are objecting to is the misuse and poor management of monies that are already being collected.  The problem comes when the "baby" of needed funds gets tossed out with the "bathwater" of assumed malfeasance!  Mismanagement is very expensive, no doubt about it. But even more costly to us as a nation is slashing or eliminating aspects of our corporate lives that enrich and nourish us and keep us moving ahead all because we don't want to shell out one more dime of our personal incomes.  (Did you ever wonder why it is that the ones most able to afford it are the ones who complain and are heard the most?)

We are a democratic society.  That wonderful moniker is largely a blessing, but sometimes can be a curse in that we must come up with a consensus on how to operate.  When everyone is allowed to speak, there are few left to listen.  And, unfortunately, the ones who get heard are the loudest and most obnoxious.  It seems to me that those obnoxious voices too often drown out the still, small voices of sanity and reason.  Health care for all costs money.  Good, sound, well-rounded education costs money (and considering the shameful level of teacher salaries these days, it doesn't cost anywhere near enough!). The better our education, and the better and more available good health care for all, the more able we are to progress and grow as a nation.  Short-changing our public schools, giving in to the self-interests of big business (and letting them decide for us what is best), and holding up as an ideal the possibility of "shutting down the government" in order to get what "we" want (and the devil take the hindmost) is to me the highest form of me-first, uncompromising folly.

Many of you, I gather from what I hear on the news, are going to differ with me.  OK.  That is one of the perks of being an American. (Yay!  You get to disagree with Paula!)  I have these requests of you all, in particular:  just because you may like what a candidate has to say, or agree with what s/he may stand for - listen to ALL sides of an issue.  Make up your own mind (most of you have good ones in there!).  More important:  NEVER RELY ON ONLY A SINGLE SOURCE FOR YOUR INFORMATION!!! Read widely, listen with both ears.  As wonderful as the internet is, it is also a huge problem.  It has become a rather unwieldy, bottomless depository, not only for information but misinformation in equal amounts.  The misinformation is not only endless, it is forever.  There is (as I've said before) no "truth filter" available that automatically separates fact from fiction on the web, and once there, it will always be there, ready to be cited and quoted by anyone who chooses to.  Consequently there is a virtually continuous stream of junk being spewed from the airwaves and in cyberspace that, for those who refuse to take the time to discern the truth, is causing many citizens of our nation to be led, far too easily, very far astray.

OK, I'm tired. . .my hand is giving out, but my brain is still furiously churning on.  In order to preempt some of your objections, I will say that I, too, will listen to my own advice, and listen to ALL sides - as hard as that may seem.  As we await the outcome of election day 2010, let us pray that saner heads all around will prevail, and that pointless rhetoric will not.  Liberals, conservatives, middle-of-the-roaders; Democrats, Republicans, Independents, all political persuasions; Christians, Jews, Muslims, all faiths; all races; all socio-economic brackets -- WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER!  We need to stop, breathe, then listen to, and respond to one another with respect and love.  There is no substitute for patience and tolerance (did you know that in Chinese, the character is the same for both words?) in a democratic society.

So. . .Death and Taxes.  Both inevitable, but when their times both come around, (and they will), how will you approach them? 

Finally, with a quick reminder to you all to VOTE in November. 
* Will it smell like Victory then?

I hope that each of your lives, Gentle Readers, may overflow with enough. . .

Monday, September 20, 2010

Your Tuesday (or late Monday) "Awwww....."

Couldn't resist posting these after I saw them.  Actually, I have a little stuffed (toy!) hedgehog, about the size of the one in these photos, and the real thing is apparently as cute as the stuffed - or even cuter!  I had a girlfriend in Jr. High School (she was Andrew Carnegie's great-granddaughter) who visited her grandmother in Scotland each summer at Skibo castle. (The castle has now been made part of a public trust, I think!) She would send me postcards occasionally telling me about the hedgehogs in one of the back gardens there and how adorable they were.  She was right!  But, are they pests?  Anybody know?  Whatever - prepare to say "Awwwww. . ."

So, as you see - today I took the easy way out.  I'm working on a more traditional post for the next time - tomorrow or Wednesday, but for now, surely this is enough. . .

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Matt! Go Long. . .

 I couldn't help but share with you one of my new grandmother stories. I have been amazed about the feelings I have as a Granny!  The situation of being one generation removed from a child completely changes your perspective on that child!

It came as a surprise to me that my feelings and emotions related to a crying, screaming infant (named Zoë) have remained so calm.  I vividly remember many long, sleepless days and nights fretting and crying myself because it seemed I was completely unable to console my babies.  I was their MOTHER for goodness' sake - if I can't comfort them, does that mean I'm no good at it? And I was SO TIRED!  "Please, little darling, just calm down long enough for me to nap - then I'll do better, I promise!"   My memory is that my pleas  went unanswered!

I had the joy and privilege of breast feeding our sons throughout each of their first years.  It's still one of my favorite memories of motherhood (among many); however, it is definitely a job that is only learned by doing.  No amount of instruction or reading on the subject can adequately prepare a mother for her own unique experience. You just begin, use your instincts, and as long as your baby is growing adequately, there are no worries. (Well - not many!)  That's not to say that advice from experienced Moms isn't helpful - it is, and the support (beyond a good nursing bra) is always welcome!  But there is no substitute for just doing it!

Through trial and error, and time, you discover, especially at the beginning, that having to nurse every hour is not a bad or unusual sign.  It is a natural, built-in process that helps increase the mother's milk supply, and also increases the size of the infant's stomach in order for them to take in more at one feeding, and therefore sleep more between them. Actually, it's a very efficient and miraculous system.  Also, sometimes, babies just CRY!  For one thing, they have no other way to communicate so effectively, real words not yet being in the picture.  They want and need your attention, and they learn quickly that crying generally gets it, and should!  Parents ACHE over not being able to comfort their children.  Their constant (at times) and baseless (it seems) piercing crying and screaming is unnerving and exhausting.  For the parents.  I have found that grandparenthood gives a whole new take on that situation.

Grandparents don't have the first responsibility, for one thing, and the onus is not squarely on their shoulders. But, more importantly, grandparents can relax, knowing that babies cry - it's all a part of the package, and that life with an infant gets better, and routines are eventually established.   Grandparents through their own firsthand experience as parents, know how to take it all in stride.  That's small comfort, though, to a stressed out and exhausted Mom and Dad.  Hence the reason for this post:

Two or three days after our son and daughter-in-love brought Zoë home from the hospital, she had an extended hours-long cry.  Zoë's Mom, Suddie, sat on the edge of her and Matt's  bed late one night (or early one morning), silently cradling and bouncing the swaddled Zoë  on her lap.  Finally, near the end of her rope, she slowly turned her head to her husband, and said, emphatically,

"Matt . . .go long!"

Anyone who watches or plays American football will understand the meaning of that phrase, which is for the receiver to run way down the field and prepare for a long, "Hail Mary" pass.  I still haven't stopped laughing over that story!  It so perfectly evokes a parent's frustrations and distress and feelings of helplessness.  At the same time, it said to me that we have absolutely NOTHING to worry about as far as Suddie is concerned.  Her sense of humor will be a great source of help as time marches on.  Laughter really is the best medicine.  God bless her, and God help her - and Matt!  It's not an easy job being a parent, but it certainly gives the greatest return on your investment.

So, with this story I send to all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. my prayers and hopes that you may all get your needed rest, and above all, of love -

enough. . .

"Granny!!! Quit with the camera already!"

Friday, September 17, 2010

"I'll rock you gentle, I'll rock you slow. . ."

Apparently, I ROCK! And I have it on the best authority!

My new best friend, Nancy Hatch, (Nothing wrong in groveling a bit, is there, Nancy?) honored me earlier this month by passing one of her own numerous awards on to me and several others in her own blogosphere.  It is called the "You Rock!"  award, and I will admit to feeling enormously proud and pleased to have been included by a writer whom I respect into a circle of such extraordinary bloggers!  So, with all my heart, thank you, Nancy!  What a boost for the ol' ego!

But, as my new best friend will tell you, almost every time she posts something (and she is an incredibly prolific blogger) it reminds me of a story, which I then feel obliged to include in my often lengthy comments at her site. Her "award post" was no exception, so here goes my comment (the only difference here is that I'm taking up space in my blog instead of hers, thus condensing my posts to one instead of having to come up with two!):

Years and years ago, when our eldest son was an infant, Ashley and I served a church in upstate New York, a lovely little village known as Middleburgh.  It was during those all-too-short 27 months that we had managed to start a wonderful summer program with the youth in the community - from all the different churches in town.  We produced a musical both summers we were there, and always had a blast.  We also taught the kids a lot of other music, and we did as much singing as possible.  Ashley and I had become familiar with the contemporary Christian music of a pair of Presbyterians - one a pastor, the other a church music director - (Richard) Avery & (Donald) Marsh.  Their music was easily taught, melodic, and the lyrics expressed a sound theology.  Ashley and I attended a seminar during those months in which Avery & Marsh were the featured clinicians.  We brought home all sorts of their music, and not just for the youth!

There were two particular Avery & Marsh Christmas songs that were (and still are) a perfect match for my fairly limited vocal abilities. One was a lovely melody coupled with equally lovely and descriptive lyrics written about Mary's labor and the moments leading up to Jesus' birth.  It is called "Mary, Too."  The first line starts with "The sky was very heavy; Mary, too."  I still will sing that on occasion, but the other song that I try to sing each year around the Epiphany season is called "Baby Sitter."  Here are the lyrics:

(by Richard Avery & Donald Marsh)

I'll rock you gentle, I'll rock you slow;
Rock you gentle to and fro.
You're awful handsome, you're awful bright -
Whatever comes your way will turn out all right.

Verse 1:
Your mother's gone out shopping, for food that's fresh and good.
Your father's at his workbench, building things of wood.
Later they will stop at the synagogue to pray -
That's where we go to worship God, and you'll be there some day.

Verse 2:
Your mother entertained once what she described as kings.
Remember those three people with crowns and fancy rings?
They spoke a foreign language, but what they meant came through.
Now, don't you get conceited, but they came to look at you!

Verse 3:
You're going to be important, I feel it in my bones,
A man who will be noticed, perhaps you'll have a throne.
You're going to help the people, the hungry and depressed -
It's going to take a lot of work, so now you need to rest.

Verse 4:
If ever you're in trouble, remember what I say -
Just call your baby sittter, and I'll come right away!
We'll laugh and cry together, and make your troubles go
And then someday, when I need you, I'll come to you and know. . .

You'll rock me gentle, you'll rock me slow
Rock me gentle to and fro.
You're awful handsome, you're awful bright
Whatever comes your way will turn out all right.
So close your eyes, dear Jesus -
Sleep well, good night!

So now I rock my own sweet granddaughter - whenever I can (and in spirit, always!).  Zoë will be important - I have no doubt!  She already is; having changed the world from the moment of her birth.  This is true at the birth of each new life on earth - the world can never be the same, because everyone is unique, precious, and irreplaceable.  We each leave our own unmistakable footprint.  So watch out world - Zoë's here!

And, thank you, Nancy for telling me I Rock!  It might not be in the same sense that you intended, but to me now, rocking has taken on a whole new meaning.  And you are right -


Rocking gently, to and fro. . .

Gentle Readers, may you all be rocked gently, and enough. . .

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Dance of Love

When first I saw you
I wondered
Are you for me,
     Am I for you
     Will we belong to each other?
I show you myself
I love who I am
     Do you love yourself
     Enough to love me?
Will we care for each other,
As we care for ourselves?
     I've learned to receive
     Do you know how to give?

Thankful for instinctive grace
Let us dance -
     In unison we walk -
     We run upon living water!
Our hearts joined, we move -
     To our own life-music,
This endearing, enduring dance of love.

© Paula Tohline Calhoun - 2010

Dear Gentle Readers, I hope you find love, even when you have not sought it, give love, even if it is not asked of you, and nurture love, that it will grow - an ever-broadening, life-affirming dance.  Of all good things, I wish you enough. . . 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some Photos of Our Perfect Granddaughter

I invite you to go to my photos page and see 7 more photos of our beautiful Zoë.  (Scroll down to last entries - you won't be able to miss them!)

For a taste of what's in store for you over there, here is a photo of our little one, age 2 hours!  You can't see it here, but her hair is red, like both of her parents!

"Practically Perfect in Every Way" - was there ever any doubt?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Zoë Alyson Calhoun

Zoë Alyson Calhoun was born this morning at 10:21 a.m.  at Nags Head Hospital on the Outer Banks of NC.  She weighed in at 7 lbs. 2.6 oz. and was 20 long, and "practically perfect in every way!" Since both her parents are redheads, she has lovely strawberry blond hair.  I will try and post a picture soon, but until then, ring out praise and joyous thanksgiving for this splendid birth!  Can hardly wait to hold this treasure in my arms - so lately come from God!

My gratitude and joy know no end.  Both Ashley and I cannot wait to spoil her rotten, (and then give her back to her parents!)

Love, peace and joy to all, and as for grandchildren everywhere - may you always have
enough. . .

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Butterflies: They might not be free, but they are relatively inexpensive. . .

Of course by that I mean, that in order to attract them, it' a good idea to have the right kinds of food-source material in and around your yard.  That generally requires, for folks like Hubs and me, a trip to our favorite nursery, and a few minor - sort of - purchases.  (Plug for a great and helpful bunch The Grass Root, in Waynesville, NC. .If you ever come to the Waynesville area, drop by and introduce yourself!  Tell 'em I sent you!)

OK, once you get to your favorite nursery, find out what sorts if local indigenous plants attract butterflies.  Also ask what other plants are available that will attract these wonderful insects.  Color and nectar are the prime attractants of butterflies, and different butterflies are attracted to different colors or flavors of nectar.  I suggest you go to the following site, here in the USA to surf and find the sorts of butterflies that frequent your area, and what sorts of foods attract them. The site can sometimes be a bit confusing, but once you orient yourself to how it works, this is the one that gives the most information. Or, check out the 'net for other sites you find more helpful.

When I started learning about photography last April, I decided that I wanted to capture the beauty of the area I live.  It was a spectacular Spring, and I didn't want it to go by unrecorded.  This decision was helped along when I found out that photographing people was not my forté, at least not yet!  I took to nature photography with a heart full of passion for the natural world around me, and when I started noticing the assorted varieties of the butterflies and moths (another fascinating insect!) around us, I really wanted to try and get pictures of as many as I could. In order to attract some more, Ashley and I purchased some butterfly bushes.  These wonderful plants bloom all summer and fall with different shades of purple and violet cone-shaped blossoms.  (You'll see some in the photos below.) They are easy to grow (if WE can, ANYBODY can, believe me!), and grow quickly, spreading out in all directions.  They no sooner started blooming than we had several butterfly varieties that had not previously appeared feasting on the abundant nectar.  Clover blossoms are also favorites, as well as raspberry bush leaves, and clematis.  We have a flowering plant on our arbor (can't remember the plant's name - just saw it and liked it!), that turned out to attract my first Viceroy of the year, which came along about two weeks ago!  It was a thrill for me, because I had not seen one up close since I was a young girl.

(The following slide show is an experiment.  Not certain I will use this format again - I don't like the inserted ads.)

I will stop typing and start attaching a slide show of my butterflies and moths that have visited us this beautiful year 2010.  I hope you can enjoy viewing them as much as I have had taking them.  Wonder what more is in store this year, and what next year will bring?  Whatever butterflies come, I don't think I'll ever get

enough. . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Heartwarming Laugh for the Day

Just scroll down and smile!  This came to me via Ashley via an e-mail he received from an unknown source.

Some people living in Colorado Springs wondered why their water barrel was almost empty
every day. They set up a camera and caught a bear bathing.

Well, he's ba-a-aaa-ck!

Big Al came for his weekly bath again this week. He really looks like he enjoys the experience. He
needs a bigger tub, will think about that for next year.

And so, dear Gentle Readers, I send a laugh and a great big BEAR HUG!  (It's OK - 'cause it's clean now!)
Go out and spread it around, and be sure to hug just hard enough. . . 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ode to Tea

Thanks be to God for the gift of tea:
          The favored drink of many societies
          steeped from leaves of many varieties
          Tea is its name - a delightful beverage
          And many a merchant has gained some leverage
          Exporting tons and tons of tea
          To satisfy the likes of me.
          The fragrant  leaves, from which it's brewed,
          White, green, or black - are multi-hued.
          With or without a sugar lump, it's
          Often paired with toast or crumpets.
          Tea can be common, or quite high-brow -
          Indeed, the study of the tao
          of tea can lead one's mind to ponder
          How it came to be, and wonder
          Who was first to sample its flavors
          Or dole it out as royal favors
          Offered to some concubines
           Instead of finest silks or wines?
          No coffee brewed could ever win
          A taste contest that tea was in.
          And putting exceptional flavors aside
          The truth just cannot be denied:
          For its medicinal values alone
          To tea belongs the crown and throne.
          Served piping hot, or over ice,
          Plain or with some added spice
          Sugary sweet, with lemon or cream
          (Or on cold nights, a shot of Jim Beam!)
           Tea's possibilities stretch to infinity
          Depending upon your desire or affinity.
          And so unto this royal treasure,
          My praise is offered without measure!
No finer quaff will ever be!

Needless to say, I love tea!  If you've only used tea bags - I don't care who makes them - then you have never really had tea!  For a wonderful treat, find a store or shop that sells loose tea, either in a packet or box. Choose two or three varieties, (Start by sampling the aroma of the leaves.  If you like that, you'll like the tea!), and for your first taste of each, drink them separately, brewed according to directions given by tea salesperson, or by reading the package.  Some tea should never be subjected to the insult of boiling water.  Too hot can ruin the delicate flavors of some varieties.  In my 1-quart teapot, I spoon in 3 or 4 heaping teaspoons of the leaves (I like my tea STRONG!).

What I love to do is blend varieties:  I particularly like a half-and-half mixture of Lady Grey and Jasmine.  Have fun discovering your own blend!  I pour the hot water over the tea, immediately put the lid on the pot, and swaddle it in a wonderful cozy my niece Abby (Knitter par Excellence!) made for me.  I usually let the leaves infuse for about 5-8 minutes.  My first cup is weaker than the last cup, but that's OK!  It's all good!  I also like my tea sweetened sometimes (I know, I'm not a purist), and will add honey or sugar to my liking.  If a quart of tea doesn't get me through until lunch time, then I just heat some more water and pour it over the same leaves.  I have been known to eke three pots-full out of one portion of leaves!  If you desire, you can put your leaves in a porcelain or stainless steel tea ball, however, I don't believe those gadgets allow the tea to steep properly.  I use my antique hammered silver over-the rim strainer.  The fine holes in its shallow bowl keep out all but the tiniest leaves from your brew - you really need a few strays to be left at the bottom of your cup!  Otherwise, how will a gypsy tell your fortune?

I lift my china cup (or pottery mug) to you all, Gentle Readers!  It is filled to the brim with prayers for your happiness and wholeness.  And remember - from the first sip to the last little drop from the pot, when it comes to tea, there can never be enough. . .
(Unless you are miles from the nearest restroom!)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

OH! The E-Mails I receive!

I received the following e-mail earlier today from a friend of long standing.  (For now, that is.).  My snarky comments are in boldface green.

Don't tell me your age; you'd probably lie anyway-but the Hershey Man will know!
Maybe I would, and maybe I wouldn't, and who the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks cares what the "Hershey Man" knows?  And who is the "Hershey Man?"

This is pretty neat.
Neat?  Neat?  And "pretty neat" at that?  This doesn't come even close to being neat.  I have spared you from the ridiculous form - with multiple fonts and colors - that this communication came in.  Suffice it to say, it was not "neat." Besides that, it came loaded with all sorts of photos of enticing chocolate treats!  How cruel could one be?  Perhaps she is jealous of my recent miraculous weight loss?  Ah hah!  Now I get it!  For your safety, I eliminated those photos.

What a stupid directive!  What person with any brain would not scroll down after being told that?

It takes less than a minute ...
Sure it does!  If you scrolled down - which of course you did - you will know that for all you math idiots - like me - this will take way longer than a minute.

Work this out as you read ...
What does she expect?  That I'll work it out as I sleep?

Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!
We've already covered this, haven't we?

This is not one of those waste of time things, it's fun.
Fun?  Is her life so pitiful that such a truly COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME would be considered FUN?

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more
than once but less than 10)
Good grief!  Of course it would be more than once!  But who on earth does not want chocolate more than 9 times a week?  Who doesn't want it more than 9 times a day, let alone a week?

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)
Why is that bold?  Sounds rather limited to me!

3. Add 5
No, absolutely not - that's enough of that!  I'm done with the math!

4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator
Yeah, RIGHT!  If I won't multiply by 2 or add 5, what makes her think I will multiply by 50?  I mean, really!  50 for Heaven's sake! Therefore, I don't need a calculator.

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1760 .. If you haven't, add 1759...
Isn't that prejudicial?  What does it matter if you've had your birthday yet or not?  Perhaps you have chosen not to have one at all?  And if you can't choose both, some of us will definitely be left out.  Also, I thought the "Hershey Man" knew your birthday already anyway!  But I give in (for argument's sake only) - we'll say my birth year is 2050.

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
That's an egregious assumption!  Why do I have to be born in a 4-digit year?  I won't even admit to a 3-digit weight , let alone a 4-digit year! (Except if there's an argument.)

You should have a three digit number.
Says who?  How would they know, really - unless they know the results of my calculations in advance! Hmmm...I smell a rat.

The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).
 Oh yeah?  Oh yeah?  We'll see about that!  And does she really think we're so stupid as to not know what our original number was?

The next two numbers are YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)
Indeed, YES, it is!!!!! Interestingly enough, they got this one right - although I fail to see how!  (See my answers below.)

At least she gives us fair warning!  Wait out the rest of this year, and then you won't have to do this test at all!

My answers:
1.  I'll be conservative and say 375.
2.  750 - OK, so I multiplied by 2 (did I get it right?)
3.  Nix
4.  I repeat, NIX!
5.  2050
6.  So I get a negative number . . .-1300!

This  test is wrong, wrong, wrong!  -1300 is no 3-digit number!

I thought I wasn't supposed to like chocolate less than 2 times a week!  But negative 1?  No way, José!

So I'm 30 - Well, here they got it right!  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day (and this test succeeds only once!). 

This whole thing ends by retitling it "The Chocolate Calculator."  She needs to make up her mind!  Besides, if it IS a calculator, why would you need one for #4?

I have now come to the end of the snark.  Apparently, I, too, know when enough is enough. . .

(This post comes with a wink and a smile ;-D and an apology to Linda, who will forever be my dear friend!  Oh, and thanks for the e-mail - it made my blog easy today!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


(Keep It Simple, Stupid!)

So, taking to heart  the advice so often offered to me, I give you today's ode - the Ode to Simplicity. You'll see. . .I am trying!

I've heard it over and over again -

The bigger the word, the more the pain

To understand what one is reading!

But I'll not heed such lazy pleading

To simplify the things I write -

No! I can't give up the fight

To use the whole vocabulary

Comprising my own formulary

Of words I use for the edification

Of those who lack my sophistication!

Sound condescending or high-fallutin'?

My reply is "Yer darn tootin'!"

Though I've come at last to the conclusion

That precise expression is my delusion.

Still - I struggle every day

For exactly le mot juste to say.

(Therefore, when I'm in a pinch

I will resort to using French.)

But knowing the distance words can create

'Twixt poet and reader, I know my fate:

Continue to complexify

and use those words that vexify

Or reduce all words to just one syllable

Like "cash is due" for "services billable."

I see it now, my choice is clear:

For my readership will shrink, I fear,

If I continue on my path

And thus incur their scorn and wrath

For my poetry, often complicated

With words long and unaltercated.

Were I to define, their minds would atrophy,

And explaining to them my lofty philosophy

Of language, most surely would perturb me,

Irritate, nettle, rag, disturb me.

So if the reader's always right,

Then I must give up and cede this fight!

From this day on I'll do my best

To satisfy my rhyming quest

By using words both short and easy -

Even when they make me queasy.

But, until I get the hang of it

You can expect me to harangue a bit!

©Paula Tohline Calhoun-2010

This shameless act of self-promotion, by posting my odes several times on multiple sites, is my attempt to put myself  "out there" as much as possible. My bust won't, so I have to distinguish myself otherwise.  Besides, it is my blog, after all.  Please feel free to write your own and publish new material every day.  Me?  I'm lazy, and loving it!

Regards to you all, my Gentle Readers, and when it comes to my sterling poetry, may you never get

enough. . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More about getting old...

I venture to say that "You know you're getting older" when you start writing multiple posts about getting older. Such is the case for us all (getting older I mean). Now, what was I writing about. . .? Oh yes, getting bolder. Don't know why I decided to write about that, as I am certainly not getting any bolder. Maybe I shall try. In the meantime I share with you this wonderful video, shared with me by my friend Linda.

Enjoy - and I wish you all, as ever, enough. . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Mother's Wedding Rings

My Mom's first wedding ring, nestled inside of Dad's.  Note the two "black eyes."

I  wrote a post recently about a ring that my father had given me many years ago:

Well, here is a bit of a different story of two others.  It's about my Mom's wedding rings.

Neither of my parents came from affluent backgrounds, although they did come into some affluence through work.  When they were engaged to be married - and I have no idea how long their engagement lasted, although I suspect it was not for long - there was no engagement ring.  Perhaps it was not the fashion, but I assume it was because there was not the money for that sort of extravagance.  I do know that they were married on a Tuesday, with family and friends in attendance, and that my Mom wore a nice brown suit, and my Dad his best (or only) dress suit.  My Dad had a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and had an incredibly analytical mind - extremely intelligent and insightful - he was at that time someone who would today be considered a "nerd."  He always carried a slide rule - might have been born with one clutched in his hands, instead of sporting a "silver spoon in his mouth" that others are said to have.  His habit of always carrying his "rule" around led many to believe that he would consult this device before answering "I do" at the wedding.  Sure enough, the slide rule was in his shirt pocket at the ceremony.  I am told, however, that he did not feel the need to consult it when asked those most important questions.

He must have splurged in the cash department when it came time to purchase the wedding ring for my Mom.  He bought a lovely platinum band that held a 1/2 circle of small diamonds.  It was not an enormously expensive ring, I'm sure, but it probably represented a good chunk of his savings, and its value was in the love represented and not the money spent.  Mom had that ring throughout their almost 49 years of marriage, but she did not wear it in the last several years.  Two of the tiny diamonds had fallen out and been lost.  (This ring, with inferior diamonds removed is pictured above,with Dad's ring.) My Dad took the ring to have them replaced, which they were, but unfortunately they were replaced by stones so inferior to the others that they stood out like sore thumbs on the ring.  He was very disappointed in the jeweler's work, but rather than make a huge fuss, he decided to pay for it, and then get my mother a new ring.  What he got for her - and I do not remember when in their marriage that this happened (it was sometime in the second half of their life together) - was a beautiful yellow gold band with 5 decidedly larger diamonds set on it.  She was thrilled, of course, but she always treasured both.

As I am the only daughter of their three children (and the youngest as well), her jewelry was left to me when she died.  Other than her rings and a few other pieces of semi-precious stones jewelry, the main piece I received was her beautiful string of pearls.  My Mom's name was Pearl, and she wore those pearls every day.  She liked to say that she wore her name.  If you forgot it, just look at her neck!  Daddy had given that beautiful strand to her around their 10th wedding anniversary, I believe.

When our sons became adults I told them that they could both have one of my Mom's weddings rings as engagement rings for their brides if they desired, as both rings were set with diamonds.  Our youngest could have the second ring, our oldest the first.  They both had adored their Granny and were pleased that they would have this token to offer their intended brides.  Our youngest son, Matt, took us up on the offer.  He was the first to marry, and on New Year's Day 2006, at 12:01 a.m., he asked Suddie to marry him after calling her up to the stage where he and his band were performing.  Everyone was in on this proposal except Suddie, and we love seeing the pictures from that night and see the love and excitement in the eyes of them both.  Four years go by, and Josh is ready to propose to his lovely girlfriend, Sarah Beth.  I reminded him of Mom's first wedding ring, and that it was his should he want to use it as an engagement ring.  He was delighted to accept the offer.  That's when the problems arose!

Being a Methodist pastor's family, we have moved around a lot in our almost 35 years of marriage.  As a matter of fact, we now reside in the first home of our very own, since we lived in church parsonages up until Ashley's retirement.  This is our 11th residence together.  I won't say it's the last, because I never know if Ashley will get itchy feet or not.  Since I have seen evidence of recent "foot-scratching," I'm holding my breath.  But that's another story entirely!

When we moved to our current home here in NC, I was still in recovery from my last round of serious illness.  Although I was able to participate in most of the packing to move, my mind didn't hold on very well to exactly where I had packed everything.  This included my jewelry.  I remembered seeing the ring and her other precious items, and putting them in her jewelry box, and I could have sworn I remembered unpacking that box when we arrived at our new home!  But when late last year I went to retrieve Mom's first wedding ring, in order to have it repaired and ready for Josh to use when he was ready, it was nowhere to be found.  *Cue the eerie mystery music*

I went crazy.  For weeks, even months, I searched for that ring, as well as for my Dad's wedding band (which I had also misplaced) and I knew that I had packed them together.  Well, I remembered wrong.  I did find my Dad's ring, and it was by itself in a box hidden deep within another box in my dresser. The hiding place of Mom's ring was still a mystery.  I found her jewelry box and the ring was not in it, so I began to wonder if it had been lost in the move, or perhaps even stolen.  Knowing that it is just a "thing," I tried not to obsess over it, but I felt a very sentimental attachment to that ring and I really wanted to find it.  As earlier this year it began to appear that Josh was nearing the time he would pop the question, Ashley and I decided to take the next "logical" step.  (*Cue ironic laugh*)  We contacted a dear friend of long standing, currently living in Arizona, who is a genuine psychic!   She has always had the reputation of being able to find lost things, and while we had never consulted her in that capacity before, we knew others who had had success with her gifts.  Kathleen has always contended that her "finder of lost things" is the spirit of her deceased father, and at our request (by telephone) she agreed to consult him as to the whereabouts of the ring.  She said immediately that she knew it had not been stolen, and that it would be found, and told us that we were to put it completely out of our minds and to cease looking for it.  So we did.

About a month later, I finally had the determination to tackle cleaning up the clutter and mess that was our bedroom.  It was a huge task, as I had let things go for far too long.  Along about day three of that job, I got down on my hands and knees (no small task, let me tell you!), to pull out things that been pushed under our dresser.  Lo and behold, what is there but my Mom's jewelry box.  I had completely forgotten that she had two of them.  They are of similar style and color, and I then recalled that one of them had been my father's, but she had started using it in addition to her own after Daddy died.  With trembling hands I opened the latch and lifted the lid to discover that precious ring, so long sought after, sitting in the spot where I had placed it more two years earlier.  The relief and joy on finding it was indescribable!  I went shouting through the house to find Ashley and show him what I had found!  We called Josh to tell him that the ring had been recovered, and then decided to call Kathleen that night to let her know that it had been found - just as she said it would be.  We unfortunately forgot to call that night, but we did several days later, and recounted to her the whole story of the recent discovery.

What she then told us added a whole new wrinkle to the story.  She said her father "came" to her one night several days before the day we had found the ring, and said that he knew where the ring was, and that we would find it "by accident" very soon.  But, she also said that when he came to tell her this, he had a very sad and distressed look about him, so she asked him what was wrong. *Cue more eerie music* Her father said that I was not to give this ring away; that I was to keep it, have it repaired and sized for me to wear.  He was adamant.  On hearing this we felt a bit dismayed.  First of all we wondered, if we decided to take that advice, how we would tell Joshua, and second we wondered what could possibly be the reasons for not giving this ring to him and passing on one of our family's legacies? Rather than telling Josh one way or another how we felt, we told him what Kathleen had said. He was also mystified, and seemed (to me, anyway) disappointed.  We left the issue up in the air for a while and sort of waited a while for our feelings to settle a bit.  We offered Josh a financial advance whatever he decided to do - either get a new ring entirely, or to have Mom's repaired.  Nothing was said for a while.  Then one day Josh sent me an e-mail photo of a ring he had found while searching online.  Sarah Beth has a Celtic heritage as well as Josh, and he decided to look for a Claddagh ring to give her.  Below is a photo of the ring Joshua decided he wanted to give to Sarah Beth.  It turns out that the more he thought about it, the more he felt he wanted to give her a ring that would symbolize their own relationship and one that had to do with both of their lives.  As much as he liked the idea of the "legacy" ring, he decided he wanted to go another route.  Problem solved!  I had told Josh that our reason for backtracking on our original offer simply was not good enough.  The idea that we would acquiesce to a psychic vision as the basis for such a personal decision simply did not feel right, and that with all our hearts we wanted him to know that the ring was once again offered to him without reservations whatever!  "Please tell us, Josh, if you feel at all bad about our withdrawal of the offer.  If there is any desire on your part to have your Granny's ring, please say so - it is yours, and we give it with joy!"  Josh said, and we believed him, that he really wanted to give the Claddagh to Sarah Beth, as it would mean so much to them both.  And so, he ordered the ring, and last weekend he offered it to Sarah Beth, and she accepted joyfully!  Needless to say (but I will anyway), we are very happy for them both, and we are looking forward to having another daughter in our family -  especially one as delightful and beautiful as she is, both inside and out.  Wedding plans are being made for the autumn of 2011.

So, what of my mother's first wedding ring?  We are going to have it repaired and sized for me.  It will look very lovely with my own engagement set and wedding ring, and will serve as a beautiful memory of my wonderful Mom.  We hope Kathleen's father is pleased and relieved.

Besides, our granddaughter, Zoë Alison Calhoun, is due any day now!  Maybe someday. . .

Until the next time, I wish you all enough.

The Claddagh ring, with natural emerald and diamonds - and it's even more beautiful in real life!
. .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Ode. . .

Ode to Eating
©2010 Paula Tohline Calhoun

When did the joy of eating
become a sinful passion -
and our senses take a beating
from being slaves to fashion?
The richness of a frosted cake
the salty crunch of chips
are given up, and in their wake
leave rock-hard abs, and bony hips.
Which in and of themselves are good
being slim is no disgrace -
but surely tasting, savoring food
still has its rightful place!
Sweet aromas in the air,
fresh bread with honey dripping,
a newly ripened peach or pear
and dry white wine for sipping.
Can we without a sense of guilt
enjoy in moderation
the pleasures of our stomachs filled
and voice appreciation
for meals by loving hands prepared
and laughter 'round the table shared?
          Here's to the wonderful sense of taste
          I will not have it go to waste,
          or foolishly give up its pleasure
          for the sake of a smaller waist to measure!

Enjoy, with thanksgiving, the pleasures of taste - and remember that moderation is a virtue.  It is a good thing to know when enough is enough. . .

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How do you pronounce English words? And NO, the answer is not. . .

ngglsh wɜːdz! English is a tough language - or so I've heard - I can't comment on that as I have been speaking it since I was a child. I progressed rather rapidly through the "WAAAAAHHH!!!" stage to better words including above all: "Feed me!" I got better and faster results that way. Up to that point I had wondered why on earth people would change my diaper when all I wanted to do was eat! I kept saying (so I thought) "The OTHER end, you dopes!" Live and learn.

Recently, a blogger friend of "My Literary Quest" fame (see link on right of this page) published a portion of a poem I remember reading when I was in grade school or thereabouts. Here is the link to that wonderful post. Read and enjoy!

So! Get the idea? (Try reading that poem aloud! - and I still have an argument going over whether query and inquiry rhyme. I say NO, and most others say YES! I think I'm right! My blog, my prerogative.) It must be a mind-boggling task to learn such variety and to know when certain rules apply and when they don't. I'm still getting some of those rules straight - particularly when it comes to the ones I have forgotten over the years. It's one of the reasons why I always have a hard-bound copy of a dictionary close at hand, or go to one of the various free dictionary sites online. As a comment on the above post, I posed a quiz. Many of you have seen it before, but if not, can you guess the pronunciation of the following common English words?

GHOTI? OK, that's an easy one (perhaps.) How about GHOUGHPTEIGHBTEAU?

Use all the pronunciation rules you can think of and figure them out. Anybody who doesn't, can comment and I'll send the answers - or maybe I won't! I may someday post them on my blog - you'll just have to read it occasionally to find out!

Until then I close with my hope for you all - that your education has been adequate and that you use good English enough. . .

OK, OK, I'll give you a hint to one of them: