Lines I’ll never forget

imagesDo you have a favorite line or two from a movie?  I bet you do.  I’m going to share two of my favorites, then I’ld love for you to share yours.  One more thing: my favorites always make me laugh.  Do yours?

One of the problems with sharing these, of course, is that   1)  everyone won’t enjoy my favorites and 2) quoting lines from a movie the other person hasn’t seen usually goes to prove that “you had to be there”.  Nonetheless, I’m going to do that.

From The Blues Brothers:   Everyone loves and quotes on line, “We’re on a mission from imagesGod”, but my favorite is when Jake and Elwood are sitting in their car and Elwood–in a neutral voice–says, “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses. ”  Describes the situation perfectly but why does that line make me laugh?  The absurdity of the situation?  The deadpan delivery?  The sunglasses?  Probably all of them but, like so much humor, you had to be there.

imagesIf you’ve read my book Taking a Chance, you know I love the movie The In-laws.  If you haven’t read Taking a Chance, I’m telling you now that I love this movie–the first one, the classic with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.  One of the many sections that always make me laugh is when Falk, a CIA agent, describes a village in South America:   “They have tsetse flies down there the size of eagles. Really. In the evening, I would stand in front of my hut and watch in horror as these giant flies would pick children off the ground and carry them away.”  I know why that’s funny.  It’s absurd and it also created a really absurd picture in my mind.

Also from that movie, George would turn to me every now and then and say, “Serpentine.” Always made me laugh.

What are some of your favorite lines, scenes, etc., from a movie, book or television show?  Share the laughter.   images

 

 

 

 

 

Arachnophobia

“What’s the big deal? It’s just a spider.”

 

“They shot my belly out”

 

 

 

..They have tsetse flies down there the size of eagles. Really.

In the evening, I would stand in front of my hut and watch in horror as these giant flies would pick children off the ground and carry them away.

They shot my belly out.

Professor Fate: Leslie escaped?

General: With a small friar.

Professor Fate: Leslie escaped with a chicken?

tsetse flies  the size of eagles.

A house is not a home without a resident nag

Maggie, the little girl cat, looks sweet and loving, and she is.  However, there is a dark side to her personality.  She’s a nag, a terrible nag. Fourteen pounds of fur and she controls my life.

When she wants me to sit down and pet her, DSCN0438she tells me–loudly and insistently no matter what else I may be doing–my duty is to leap to my feet and obey. When her water bowl is nearly empty, she searches me out–not hard in my small apartment–and gives me a hard time, screeching at me until I follow her.  Then she wants me to pour the water from above so she can lick a few drops as it goes by.

Yes, Maggie knows exactly what she wants done and how I should do it.  I must be a great burden and disappointment to her.  I hate hearing her ME-OWW!  because I know somehow I’ve failed terribly.  Listed below are some of the things I say to her when she demands I do what she wants me to do.

MAGGIE:  Mee-ooowimages

JANE:  Hold your horses. I have to answer the phone.

or “Just a minute. I have to check my blood sugar.”

or “I’ll be right there. Let me finish typing this word.”

or  “Hold on, I have to scoop the cat box.”

or  “Keep your furry little pants on, I’m eating now.”  or “I’m sleeping now.” or “I’m pottying now.”

images“Be patient.  I have to call a friend. . . Okay, I’ll feed you first.”

“In a minute. I have to load the dishwasher.”

Or get a glass of water or clean up the kitty vomit (usually from Scooter, Maggie’s big, furry brother) . . . or . . . so many things.

What Maggie says after I explain the delay:   ME-OWW.

Who nags you? I’d love to hear.

 

Beating the Holiday Blues by Diane Perrine Coon

Today my marvelous sister-in-law, Diane Perrine Coon, shares remedies for Holiday Blues.

imagesWhen you’re sick over the holidays and still trying to cook meals and your head’s all stuffed up and you really don’t plan to make it to midnight and celebrate the New Year because all you are doing is coughing up mucus, then you have the Holiday Blues.

Here are my suggestions of how to ward off the Holiday Blues.

  1. Share your misery with the first person on your phone callback button, especially if they are trying to sell you something.
  2. Wander in and out of the bathroom looking for something, anything, everything because you can’t remember what it was you thought you needed.images
  3. Watch college basketball and if it gets too much, watch NBA basketball. Do not watch football, there are too many players on the field and you will get mixed up.
  4. Wrap up in a sweater, a coverlet, and a quilt over the top off all and then wonder why you feel hot when you don’t have a fever.
  5. Drink fluids – soft drinks, tea, coffee, ice water, fruit juices – and stay real close to the bathroom.
  6. imagesMake the dog go outside by himself. If the dog police come get you, hand them the leash.
  7. Read lots of recipes. Think how long it will take to prepare them, and then discard all of them. But the bright photos showing fabulous meals will brighten up the room.
  8. Play computer games, many of them. Mindless almost fun even when sneezing all over the keyboard.
  9. Send your soul-mate to the liquor store to get Plum Wine. It cures everything and especially the Holiday Blues. Guarantee it.images
  10. Think back to the last time you had a great holiday. Was that twenty years ago?

Get well all of you out there with Holiday Blues.

 

 

What word do you wish would never be spoken again?

imagesLake Superior State University comes up with a “words that should be retired” list every year.  This year, these words and phrases, among others were suggested:

Polar Vortex.  One person wrote, “Wasn’t it called ‘winter’ just a few years ago?”

Skill Set   One nominator wondered why we had to use two words for this idea instead of the perfectly good word skills.

*-Nation.  Living in Texas I get very tired of hearing about Aggie Nation.  For that reason, I agree with retiring this concept.  A nominator suggested only a country can be called a nation.

imagesI really don’t have words I dislike although “whatever” as used by teenagers with the rolling and the eyes and dismissive shrug,is probably my least favorite.  No, I’m more a grammar cop and hate poor punctuation and “Where’s he at?”

For that reason, I’m asking for your help.  Is there a word you hate to hear other people say–clean, please–or that you don’t use because you don’t like it?  Please tell me.  I’d love to know.

About passion

imagesTed Ligety is one of the best American skiers and an international skiing champion.  In 2006, he won an Olympic gold medal for the combined; 2014, he won another in the giant slalom.  In all, he’s accumulated twenty-three giant slalom world cup wins.   I think I know at least two reasons he’s so very good.

Ligety’s known for his all-out effort, taking the gates close and at an angles to the ground that defy the laws of physics.  As he cuts so close the the gate, he often drops his hand and drags his wrist on the snow around the turns.  November 22, he hit the gate with his left hand.  He’s had bones broken in the hand so often, he designed a glove to protect it.  Didn’t work this time.  He broke his wrist and tore many ligaments.  Four screws were inserted surgically into his hand.  He had to practice without ski poles because he couldn’t hold one in the left hand.  From that, he said, came a positive.  Skiing without a pole helped his balance.

A few weeks later, I watched an event at Birds of Prey.  Ligety had a slow first run–slow for him means he was only tenths of seconds behind the best time.  The announcers suggested that hand could be causing him not to be able to hold and move the ski poles as he usually did.  On the second run, he smoked everyone, even with the mangled hand, and won first place in that event.

How does he do it?  I said there were two reasons.  First, he must have an incredibly high pain threshold.  But I think the main reason is that skiing is what Ted LIgity does.  That’s his focus, his life, his passion.

Most of us don’t have that level of passion and commitment.  I have a friend who wrote a imagesnovel when she was hugely pregnant and had a broken wrist.   I don’t know if I would.  I don’t like pain.

I have no idea of what Ligity’s life is like but most of us have more balance than I assume he has.  As well as what we love to do–which could be being with family, working, cooking or skiing–one of those doesn’t dominate our lives in terms or time and thought and effort.

But I keep coming back to one question: what is important enough in my life that would lead me to hurl myself down a snow-coverd slope at an incredible speed while winding around posts stuck in the snow while facing constantly the threat of terrible falls and broken bones?  I can think of nothing but I admire the man for being so devoted to something so difficult.

I’d like to say I live my faith like this.  I’d die for my faith, but I’m not sure I’d live for it with so much depth and commitment and possible injury.

What is your passion?  Are you as devoted to it as Ligety?

Waiting for the Light

imagesMy dear friend Jean brought her family to the children’s Christmas Ever service a few years ago.  When the time came for the children’s sermon, Jean stood with her five-year-old great-granddaughter Mercy and accompanied her to the chancel area,  They settled on the choir bench together.  After a few seconds. Mercy decided she didn’t want to stay and ran off the platform and back to the rest of her family, leaving Jean alone.

Jean was much too poised to show embarrassment.  In fact, I doubt that she was embarrassed , this spectacular and faithful ninety-year-old woman on the platform with all the young parents and small children.  She sat calmly, listening to the minister.  It must have been one of the longest children’s sermon in the history of children’s sermons, nearly fifteen minutes long.  And through all that, with the very young children rolling around the floor and the older ones getting bored, Jean sat peacefully and confidently, waiting for the end of the story, for the announcement of the birth of the Savior.  images

As we plow through the commotion that is Advent for most of us, I think of Jean and wish I were more like her, preparing calmly for that moment when we welcome the long awaited king, sitting patiently and unbothered by the chaos around us as we await the baby Jesus who becomes the one who took on the sins of the world.   I pray that some day I will possess as deep a faith in the coming Savior,  her certainty that the Lord has come and comes now and will come.

Oh, Lord, fill me with quiet when there is noise outside and within, with calm during the clamor of the world. Let me know that when I’m alone, you are with me.  When I am unable to find you, you find me if I will sit quietly and listen.  Amen

Down many paths we travel in a lifetime by Roy N. Martin

ImageDuring my lifetime, many Biblical passages have guided me. Some have become so much a part of my thoughts that they often surface to give insight into a particular situation. Deuteronomy 30:15-20 is one such passage. This passage is near the end of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. It represents Moses’ final words to the people of Israel, where he interprets God’s will for them. The image I carry in my mind is more personal but which is consistent with the message to that ancient people. This week of Advent, I want to share my personal reflections.

In verse 15, God speaks: “.. .today … I have set before you life and death…”

Yes, today there are two paths I might follow.

God’s message is always present, for “today” is always with me. No matter how hard I might try, I cannot escape the meaning of these words. They speak to me on all past “todays.” Every “today” in the future God’s message will again challenge me.

Yes, today there are two paths I might follow.

The two paths may be interpreted in ultimate terms, the culmination of one’s sojourn, “Life and Death” with capital letters. I prefer to think of these words as referring to various paths we pursue. Consequently, my journey may consist of actions which affirm blessings in others and in myself, the paths of life. Or my actions may lead to adversity for myself and for others who are affected by my actions, the paths of death.

What actions mark the paths of life and what actions mark the paths of death are known to me, through God’s continuous messages to me throughout history, as recorded in the Bible, in the life of Jesus whom we know as the Christ, and in the living testaments of fellow travelers who have heard the same message.

Yes, today there are two paths I might follow.

God gives me the choice to make. Having provided all the data I need, God permits me to choose how I shall turn. On most days the choice is easy and does not require much thought, for I am traveling familiar territory. I trust past decisions to be sufficient for me to choose the paths of life. On some days, I must evaluate past decisions to determine whether the circumstances under which they were made still exist or whether new circumstances suggest alternate paths of life. And then there are those days, thankfully infrequent, when I am confronted with a situation which calls for painful choice-making, guided by long hours of reflection and prayer. And there are times when I am confronted with realization that I have been on a wrong path, and need to change.

No matter the circumstance, the choice is mine to make, and clearly it is my choice.

And God continues in verse 19: “Choose life…”

While I am free to choose the path I will take, I do so with full knowledge and faith that God has clearly defined what I am to do. Divine Concern cares whether I make the right choice. Divine Wisdom understands that I, a human with limited knowledge, will make wrong choices. Divine Grace forgives my transgressions, providing opportunities to return to the path of life.

Divine Love etches that Concern, that Wisdom, that Grace in my life, and in all of your lives, through the Life of him whom we call Jesus the Christ.

Welcome the Kingdom with Song by the Rev. Wayne Barnett

Isaiah 35: 1,10

images35:1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; … For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;  35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Did you ever wonder way we sing Christmas Carols? One year I put a sign on our outside church bulletin board that read we sing Christmas Carols. I did it because in most U. S schools children are not allowed to sing Christmas Carols

When Israel suffered complete destruction, when the land was barren, when the temple lay in ruins Isaiah promised a complete reversal. When outward circumstances offered no hope, Israel hoped. The Judeo-Christian hope is different from a wish. When I buy a lottery ticket I have the wish my number will win, but I do not start spending the money. But when my dad was living he often told me he would send a check to Transylvania for my living expenses. With his promise I could start spending the money even though I didn’t have it. You cannot count on a wish, but you can base your life on hope. Christians and Jews do not wish, they hope even when all seems hopeless.

Christians believe that the highway into the heart of God comes when a person lets Christ into their life. When a person’s life is touched by the finger of God, dryness and dust are replaced by moist, fertile soil. In place of living death life blooms.

You and I have seen persons who had no vision, no hope, no direction, and who lived in hopelessness find a highway into the heart of God and that highway was Christ.

We have seen Christians crushed beneath seeming unbearable burdens, and yet those Christians have gone on believing that good can come out of evil, believing that a birth in a stable is the sign that God is with us no matter what because that stable is the cross – resurrection from another perspective. We believe that the suffering and death of Jesus Christ has conquered all suffering and death. We trust the angels had good reason to sing for joy in the skies over Bethlehem. We believe that beneath the wounds and scars that life inflicts on us all, deep at the heart of eternity, joy still awaits us in the presence of God. On the cross as Jesus was dying he said, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” On the Cross, Jesus let us know even as he died he experienced God’s love but also looked forward to the heavenly banquet that he promised his disciples when he said, “This is my blood of the covenant poured out for the remission of sins. I tell you I will not drink it againimagesuntil I drink it anew with you in the Kingdom of God.” It is that kingdom that lives in us now and that we look forward to in eternity and that is the reason we sing Christmas Carols. Joy to World, The Lord is come. Let earth receive her king let every heart prepare him room.

Advent blogs

imagesI asked two special friends from George’s and my long-ago days in seminary to write a blog for Advent for another point of view than mine.  Both of these men were George’s roommates while he was in seminary.

Wayne Barnett and George were friends from CYF Conference (summer church camp) and all through college.  Wayne and his wife LaDonna were parts of our lives for many years.  George performed their wedding and Wayne was George’s best man.   He retired from a long pastorate in Kentucky but still keeps busy.   His blog will be up this afternoon.

Roy Martin lived down the hall from me in seminary until he moved in with George and Wayne.  We lost touch but with the magic of Facebook discovered each other–and Roy’s wife–two or three years ago.  Roy retired from years of ministry but keeps busy by going back to school, picking up degrees and learning things he shares.   His blog will be up December 16.

I cannot tell you the joy I feel that these two ministers and dear friends agreed to write a blog for Advent.

Advent 1

imagesI’m not the best little homemaker in the country.   I seem to have a very high threshold for clutter.  Although I keep my home clean, there may be (and usually are) stacks of papers or unfinished projects or notebooks filled with books I’m editing on tables and chairs and even a few in baskets on the floor.   For that reason, before anyone enters the house, I have to clean, clear the clutter, sweep out the corners where dirt seems to collect,  use a feather dust to get rid of cobwebs on the ceiling.

This is what preachers do: we tell a story, then say something like, “This reminds me of why we celebrate Advent.”

For many years, George and I hosted a Christmas open house for church members and neighbors and, yes, I had to plan and clean and cook until the time came and we opened the door to our guests.

This reminds me of why we celebrate Advent.  Christmas doesn’t start with the hanging of the greens and shopping.  That’s Advent, the period of preparation.  Christmas starts withimagesthe birth of the Savior, when the prophesy comes to pass and the miracle is shared, but even with the joy of the season, there is a reason for Advent, those days before Christmas.

Exactly as I prepared for our guests weeks before we welcomed them, Advent is the time we prepare ourselves for the new birth, the light, the appearance of God made human.  And, yes, I do this before He arrives because I have clutter in my brain and unpleasantness lurking in the corners of my soul and cobwebs covering my often unused commitment which makes me less able to receive God’s gift to us.

What is the clutter in my mind? Can I admit to the racism I attempt to pretend doesn’t exist there?  What about my certainty that my beliefs are the only true beliefs–the clutter I hide behind a smile?  What about that ugliness hiding in the corners of my mind, jealousy and pettiness?  And my uncertain and wavering commitment to love and spread the good news?  I need to sweep all those away before the arrival of our Savior so I can welcome Him with open arms.

Preparation:  this is why we celebrate Advent.