Monday, January 25, 2016

How Are You Unique?

 Image result for free harry potter images

Snape. Who could have played him as well as Alan Rickman? And if you don’t know Snape or have never heard of Alan, think Harry Potter. Rickman had one of the deepest voices God ever gave a man and he knew how to use it. Therein lay his gift. He played the would be villain in the Harry Potter movies and kudos to the genius who chose him for the part. When the man opened his mouth you listened. What he said might escape you but his voice was like a magnet. You had to stop and listen. He had quite a body of work before Harry Potter, of course. For instance, he was a fabulous Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves back in 1991. You just loved to hate him. Alas, when Rickman died last week, the voice was silenced.

This got me to thinking about the uniqueness of every individual who has ever lived. Each one of us made as though we were Adam. A brand new, never been seen on the world stage before, human being. That’s you and that’s me. The hard part about that idea is figuring out what sets us apart from each other. Why am I different from my sisters or my best friend? How were you gifted differently from a great football player or a world famous sushi chef?


May I suggest that it’s not up to you to decide what your gift is? It’s up to God first and then to others. Hang on – let me explain. Suppose you have the gift of a lovely singing voice. Would you know it if you only sang in the forest and nobody, not even the trees, clapped when you sang "Billy Jean"? If you performed an appendectomy brilliantly on your teddy bear and even he didn’t notice, would you realize you had a gift? Um – no. But it’s kind of sketchy leaving this identification of your gift to others, isn’t it?

Still – what I propose is that we all take a few days and look around at the uniqueness of others. Really plumb the depths of your relationship with family, friends, your house pets, neighbors and maybe even a politician or two (for ‘tis the season) and see what you find. Help one other person discover his or her uniqueness. There’s one special thing about every person that sets him or her apart from every other person. What is it? When you see it say it. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll return the favor. Of course this could open up a whole can of stinky worms, but maybe not. Yeah, let’s go with not. It’ll be fun.

Tough gig, I know. Report back if you’d like. Alan and I will be waiting. My gift is communicating with the newly dead. Ha! Just kidding. Really – just kidding. Don’t call me about it. Okay?

Image: Free Harry Potter Images 

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Repeat and Then Some

I wrote this a while back but my sentiments remain. Hope you don’t mind the repeat and enjoy the photos.
So I opened my Chrome browser a couple of months ago and saw a link to “the first peek” into the NYC apartment of Chelsea Clinton and her husband. Beautiful – of course. And what drew my attention the most wasn’t the furnishings in the living room or the opulent bathrooms. Nope, in cases like this, I go for the kitchen. It’s the room I relate to the most. My two passions in life are writing and cooking. But I have to tell you I could NOT relate to the kitchen in the virtual tour before me.

Without crumbs on the counter, a broken hinge on a cabinet, a mysterious sticky spot on the floor and above all – a refrigerator suffocating in artwork and magnets, well, it’s just not a kitchen to me.

A sterile stainless steel everything kind of kitchen with a few carefully placed pears on a spotless counter? I mean, c’mon, where are the humans here?

I know, I know. If you’re doing an expensive shoot for a glossy mag you can’t have mysterious sticky spots under your feet, right? Or if you do, you get the maid to clean it up pronto before the big cameras come out. I’m so glad I’m not saddled with wealth and position so I don’t have to face these dilemmas.

Here’s a short story that would make Chelsea, Martha, and maybe the Princess of Panama cringe if it happened in their realm.

Before we did our kitchen over, we had a portable dishwasher. Remember those? On top sat the toaster, butter dish and anything we had to lay down for a minute. Our cat at the time, Puss, loved that old kitchen because there were enough holes in the baseboards to provide mouse snacks all the livelong day. One night my husband was out late and as he came through the kitchen door he saw the cat perched on the dishwasher staring intently at the toaster. Hmmm, he thought, what could be in there? So he crept softly up to the toaster, smiled at Puss, pushed the handle down, and stepped back.

How long do you think it took for that mouse to scramble out of the hot coils into the grasp of a happy kitty? Mere seconds, my friend, seconds. A chase ensued and I really don’t know the outcome of the cat and mouse game, but it sure is a good story. Cringe worthy to the wealthy and famous but priceless to us.

My kitchen is inhabited by ordinary humans. This grandma plasters the pictures next to the magnets next to the construction paper artwork to cover the fingerprints on the fridge. I hang long dill branches over the fireplace and pile the get-to-later mail on the table. I have Mom’s picture of “Grace” hanging over the old deacon’s bench and there are almost always crumbs on the counter. 

2013 Melodi (on stool) and Sierra decorating for Easter

That’s what you get for having a human kitchen. I sure hope Chelsea and Martha and the Princess of Panama get to experience that at least once in their lifetime. They’ll be truly wealthy then. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Girl World

Yesterday afternoon I attended a birthday party. Our youngest granddaughter, Sierra, has turned five.  Five is such an iconic year, isn’t it? So much so that I have memories of my own birthday party at that age. Okay, okay, they’re not all that clear, but images of a party dress, playing games in my Aunt Dee’s rec room and other kids hovering about remain.

While we waited for the men to come back with the pizzas,  I plopped myself down for a chat with my two daughters-in-law. I noticed Heather had boots on – part of her ensemble.

“Are those comfortable?” I asked. “I just bought a corduroy skirt and I want a pair of boots to go with it but I’m thinking I might be too old for them.”

I was very pleased with her immediate response. “No, you’re not. You dress nice and they’ll look fine.”

Kate, sitting right next to her, piped up. “And I’m sure you wouldn’t wear them with leggings.”

We laughed. We’d all experienced the horrors of “leggings abuse”. Heaven forbid they should be seen on bodies of a certain age. No, no and no. Leggings are for young skinny stuff and, like most women, I want to be fashionable in my age bracket not an embarrassment to my children. But still with an eye towards all that’s current, of course. Like boots. You see them everywhere. Plus, there are big sales all the heck over the  place right now. I'll be on the hunt soon.

What a joy it was to sit there temporarily ensconced in Girl World. Pure fluff, but such a part of what it means to be a woman. How we look. Where we shop. Hair. Let it go gray? Brighten it up with highlights. Let it grow? Change hairdressers. Chunky necklaces or delicate gold chains with a small plain heart? To diet or not to diet – that is the question. Kohl’s or Macy's coupons and where to go for lunch before we get our second wind. All these delightful conversations. Not a permanent dwelling place, but deep down in the girl soul satisfying. 

I looked over at our just-turned-five little darling. Laughing and playing with her party guests. She of curly blond hair, Paw Patrol decorations, and owner of powder blue cowgirl boots herself. I wondered if she’d think Grandma was too old for fashion boots. Nah – she’d tell me to go for it.

Yesterday I attended a birthday party. Lots of girls in the mix. Lots of food, fun and frolic.

I love being a girl.  

Image: Free Digital Photos

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Beat Goes On

Oh, wow. A new year – again. Don’t we get one of those every twelve months or so? And do the sun and moon know about this or do they stay where they are, lighting the day and the nighttime, oblivious, while we churn away below? I think the later.

“I vow . . .” I used to say at the end of December. But life scrambles on and the vow  fades into next Tuesday and I settle back into my comfortable ways. But on further reflection what I will say instead is . . .

I’m beyond grateful that I have some comfortable ways to turn back to. So many don’t. The mom who has a child sick with cancer and has to quit her job to care for him. The girl who’s been bullied for so long that every single day gets a little darker and less worth living. The homeless man who suffers the glares and rejection of others. Stuff like that I’ve been spared.

I’m humbled to think I’ve never had a hungry day. Do battle with the urge to overeat almost daily, in fact. What a luxury that would be for someone in a far country who’s lost a home and livelihood to war or violence. I’ve never had to live there.

I have great kids. They talk to me, let me hug and be a part of their children’s lives. I love baking the cookies and treats they come to devour and I pray for them daily. Whatever I do to annoy them, they forgive me, or so it seems.

My husband makes his own breakfast. He frequently carries coffee to me as I rally from sleep just like my dad did for my mom for so many years. A small act of love and nurture that means the world. He suffers my addiction to Downton Abbey, too. What a guy, huh?

My friends are wonderful. What girl doesn’t need another girl to be “girlie” with? Bargain shop, share the news of our community, cry, laugh and be outraged at the world together? It’s a gotta have for me. Dear, blessed friends.

So, for this new year, whether the sun and moon stay in their appointed places or not, I’m simply going to stay grateful for every blessing, pass them on when I can and thank the Lord each day for my life.

How does that sound?

Thank you so much for reading and Happy New Year!  

Image: Free Digital Photos