Family is Always Welcome


(Old English wilcuma ‘a person whose coming is pleasing,’ wilcumian (verb), from wil- ‘desire, pleasure’ + cuman ‘come’ The first element was later changed to wel- ‘well,’ influenced by Old French bien venu or Old Norse velkominn .)


This month, I’ve had pleasure of saying welcome to my son and his family who live in Germany.  We haven’t seen them in 2 1/2 years.  While they were here for two weeks, Janan and Victoria (daughter-in-law and granddaughter) pretty much took over my kitchen and I’ve been completely spoiled.  Doesn’t happen often, so it was a real pleasure.

They left here to celebrate Janan’s parents’ 50th anniversary, and they all came back on Tuesday night, late.  Yesterday, my grandson Kyle, who lives in South Dakota, flew in to Philly and spent the evening and overnight with his cousins.  He and my son Mike will be flying to Germany later today.  Uncle Mike is treating him to a month touring Germany, France, and other points of special historic interest.  Kyle loves history, so he’s all excited.  This is Mike’s graduation gift to his nephew, and I think it’s pretty awesome.

Last night, my daughter and her husband came up to say hello and goodbye, so our little house was packed full–especially with their little dog Andy, who loves everyone and has a hard time making up his mind which of us gets the honor of his presence.

Missing from the party were Ken and Sheila, Kyle’s parents, with their other two kids; and Dan and Maria who have moved to England; as well, Deb and Aaron’s kids were committed to helping in a Vacation Bible School and couldn’t  be with us. I don’t know where we would have put them all, but we’d have figured out something 🙂

I love having all my family together.  It’s rare these days, so every moment is treasured.

RDP: Welcome


Family Lines


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


I’ve always wondered where this word came from, never looked it up.  So imagine my surprise when I discovered today that it comes from pé de grue ‘crane’s foot,’ a mark used to denote succession in pedigrees.

Do you see a crane’s foot anywhere in there?  I suppose, if you have a good imagination.  Here’s what a real crane’s foot looks like:

Anyway, the purpose is to prove the lineage of a person or an animal, typically horses and dogs.  Or kings and queens. Or American “nobility,” which of course is determined by the size of one’s bank account or whether one is connected to anyone who came over on the Mayflower or is related to some famous person in our nation’s history.

Here’s one family tree that is simply amazing to me:

You should read it. It’s short, and compares Edwards’ legacy to one of Max Jukes, a criminal.  Moral:  The life you live determines the legacy you leave.

Addendum:  Because I was curious about such a dramatic comparison, and because of a comment I read on the Jukes article, I did some further research.  Seems the Juke story has become something of an  urban legend over the years, not completely verifiable.  It pays to check your “facts.”  The Edwards story, however, stands as written. 

The really good news is that even if you inherited a legacy of alcoholism and criminal behavior, it is within your power, and God’s, to change that legacy for those who follow you.

One of my grandfathers was  a bit more than a rascal;  but my grandmother came to know the Lord while her children were small, and that one  change in her life changed the legacy of the entire family. It’s a wonderful story, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.

It’s an Interesting Word!


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


The original meanings were to call forth, to challenge, to invoke or summon.  Somehow, the word has developed a negative connotation over the years.  We tend to think of being provoking as being irritating and annoying.  That’s not all it is.

In the Bible, the word is used both ways–negative and positive. The negative is in Ephesians 6:4, where Paul enjoins fathers not to provoke their children to wrath.  How is it possible to do that?  Oh, it’s actually not difficult. Be sarcastic. Humiliate them.  Criticize them without ever complimenting them.  Slap them around if they don’t shape up to your expectations.  Treat them as if they are a nuisance to you. They will become provoked.  They will be full of anger.  That doesn’t have to be the end result of rearing children, and it ought NOT to be.  I’m not saying here that every kid who goes wrong can put the blame on his father. We all make our own choices.  Still, we parents are not to irritate and aggravate our kids to the point of no return.


The positive sense of provoke is in Hebrews 10:23-25:

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Part of the responsibility of the church family is to encourage, call forth,  challenge each other to love one another, and to be engaged in good and helpful ways of reaching out to others in the church who need some sort of assistance, as well as to people outside the church.  That kind of provoking is a good and necessary thing.

Since not all who read this post are interested in biblical nuances,  it is easy to make application  to all relationships:  Family, community, work.  We can provoke our neighbors to want us to put our homes up for sale,  or we can encourage them by our example to reach out to each other in friendship and community.  Either way,  we’re being provoking.



True Beauty


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LeeAnne was quite enamored with her own reflection. She found dozens of reasons  to go past any reflective surface, where she paused to admire herself and make sure everything was as it should be.

She was a pain in the neck. Those who had the misfortune of having to live with her and watch her intense love affair with herself were thoroughly fed up. Something needed to change. Her mother, who had watched LeeAnne’s growing fascination with herself, was convinced that Lee understood as a newborn infant that she was unusually pretty.  Maybe that was because so many people told her so.  It wasn’t long before she would lower her eyelids over her violet eyes and allow her dimples to wink off and on in response to some stranger’s awe of her great beauty.

Little brat. She used her appearance whenever she could to avoid doing chores she found distasteful, beneath her dignity as the reigning family beauty.  How she pulled it off was a mystery to everyone.  She never screamed or threw a temper.  She just smiled her entrancing smile and walked away, and someone else would end up doing her work.

One day, the rest of the family had a meeting without their queen. She wasn’t informed. What they decided was to remove every mirror from the house; to cover any shiny surface that could reflect Lee’s image. No window was to be left uncovered after dark. They even went through her handbag while she was in the shower, removing her mirror. They removed the visor mirror from her car. They were ruthless and thorough.

The day after the Mirror Project was completed, there was a mighty wail coming from Lee’s bedroom.
“Where is my mirror?  WHAT?? There’s no mirror in the bathroom!  Wait, who took the mirror from my purse?  I’ll call the police!   How can I get ready if I don’t have a mirror?”

While she grieved over the loss of her own reflection, the rest of the family ignored her. Mom, Dad, older brother and younger sister all went about their business as if The Queen were not there.

Her sobbing and crying having no effect, she resorted  to threats. “I’ll move out!  I’ll get a place where I can have mirrors on every wall!  In fact, the walls will BE mirrors!  How could you do this to me? What have I done to deserve this?”

Running her brush through her hair, she dressed quickly, grabbed her face kit, and ran out of the house. The drive to her job was tedious–no vanity mirror in the car.

Shoving her way through the revolving doors, she ran to the women’s bathroom to finish her beauty routine and was horrified to find—-you guessed it—NO MIRRORS!  She even dared to peek into the men’s room.  No mirrors there, either.  No mirror in her desk drawer, no co-worker who would loan her one.

Her day was ruined.  She had no idea how she looked, and it was all she could think about. At lunchtime, she raced to the nearest department store’s cosmetics department, knowing there were always mirrors there.

But not today.  The sales girls just looked at her blankly when she asked for a mirror.

“I must be dreaming,” she thought.  No one could possibly have removed mirrors in all her usual preening places.

What she didn’t know was that the people in all those places were just as sick of her narcissism as her family was, and they had happily agreed to remove mirrors.

Not one single person told her how pretty she was that day.  No one commented on her shiny hair, her beautiful eyes, her dimples, her radiant smile.  She was just like everyone else.  It was horrible.

It took about a week for her to get the point. Because she had no mirrors in which to admire herself, she began to see other people. She even started conversations with her co-workers, asking them about their boyfriends, husbands, children. There was a softening in her eyes that made her truly lovely, and not just beautiful. Even at home, she no longer spent her time on her hair and makeup. Instead, she enjoyed conversations at the dinner table with her family, who behaved as if this was normal.

She had lots of time for introspection, and she decided she wasn’t very pretty at all.  She was so full of herself and her appearance that she hadn’t bothered to acquaint herself with aspects of her character that needed some attention.

The day she went to her family and said, “I’ve been horrid, haven’t I?  How did you put up with me?  I’m so sorry!”  was the day the mirrors began to reappear. Lee was surprised to see her reflection in the bathroom mirror, but she didn’t pause to admire herself.  She brushed her teeth, washed her face, and went to bed. Less than five minutes, compared to her usual hour.

As she grew older and age began to leave traces on her face and skin,  she welcomed the changes. The only regrets she had were over the waste of her first 20 years, which had been spent in front of a mirror.

She only wished that her family had “cured” her sooner.

The Ties that Bind


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
Any time someone says the word tradition in our family, someone else will always break into that song from The Fiddler on the Roof.
It’s a tradition.
All  of us have a few traditions.  It’s traditional, for instance, to have turkey for Thanksgiving Day; maybe again for Christmas; and ham for Easter. Why? Well, we know the settlers had turkey on that first Thanksgiving celebration. Not sure why we have it for Christmas, except that it goes a long way, and there are often many mouths to feed on Christmas day.  Ham for Easter?  No idea.  It’s tradition.

I learned a new tradition two years ago in Slovakia. It is the greeting of the double-cheek kiss.  I was uncomfortable at first, because in America the traditional greeting is a handshake. I grew comfortable with it pretty quickly, though, and I actually kind of miss it.


Another Slovakian tradition is a bowl of some king of clear soup before the main course of the  biggest meal of the day.  I loved it. They’re amazing cooks over there. Lots of different soups, all delicious.


In our family, we hold hands around table when we say grace.  And it’s also a tradition that no one starts eating dessert until Mom has finished serving it and is able to sit down. This habit has made some guests a bit uncomfortable when they realized no one else was eating the dessert. Obviously, that wasn’t a tradition in their homes.
Many years ago, when I was about 14, we were invited to Sunday dinner by a wonderful couple and their two sons.  The lady of the house served while we ate, replenishing serving bowls and refilling water glasses. She never sat down until the rest of us were finished. I’ll never forget how uncomfortable my dad was with that.  He asked her once to sit and join us, but the reaction  made it clear that this was their tradition. She ate when all the guests were satisfied. If there had been any daughters, they would have been helping her. My mom offered to help, but was told firmly that she was a guest. It’s the way that family was comfortable.  I was more appreciative than ever, after that, for the way my dad insisted Mom be at the table with us before the meal started.
There was nothing subservient or forced about their behavior. It was their tradition, and they were comfortable with it.
For a long time, it was traditional for my sister and me to get a goodnight kiss and hug from Mom first, and then from Dad.  I don’t remember when we stopped doing that. It just kind of disappeared at some point.
I’m sure most of you have similar memories of some sort. If you didn’t grow up in a home that encouraged family traditions, then I hope you will develop some of your own. They are often the ties that help hold a family together.



Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


I hope I haven’t bored you all to tears by writing about my ancient back too much. When something claims so much time and attention, it’s just what comes out of my brain through my fingers 🙂

Today is one day post-surgery, so maybe you won’t have to hear about it so much. Yesterday, I had an amazing little procedure called a sacroiliac fusion. Took about 1 1/2 hours, and I was home three hours later.  Amazing. There is pain today, of course, from the incision, but already that nagging, aching, sometimes very sharp pain from the abused joint is gone.


Big however  here.  My diagnoses are such that I know there will be future pain across my lower back. That’s life.  I’m thankful for effective treatment that was not available to my mom, who had the same kind of pain.

So where does cling come into all this?

First, I cling to my faith in God and His goodness toward me. I went into surgery yesterday with no fear, only relief that my pain was going to be dealt with. He has been palpably by my side all through this long waiting period. I’ve probably done more personal chatting with the Lord this past three months than ever before in my whole life. I don’t intend to let that stop.

Second, I cling to my Bible.

Third, I cling to my patient, I’ll-do-whatever-it-takes husband, whose primary love language is acts of service.  If you’ve never read that book, you should.  Terry was up with me twice last night just to make sure I wouldn’t fall or otherwise injure the injury. He has brought me most of my meals for over three months now, and continued to do so this morning. During the five-day prep period, he laundered my bedding five times, helped me cleanse the surgical area six times; he’s done all the grocery shopping, cooking,  cleaning and laundry since early October.

And no, ladies, you can’t have him!

Fourth, I have a wonderful host of Christian family and friends who share my faith. I cling to their words of encouragement, knowing they’ve prayed for me, called, sent cards, just generally supported me during the long wait for this surgery.

If you need a lift today, count your blessings.



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Around this time of year, I find myself missing a lot of people. My father, mother, brother, and nephew who have all gone home to heaven.  Other relatives that are far away, including my three sons and their families. They’re spread from South Dakota to California to Germany. Last year, almost everyone got to be home for Christmas.  That was wonderful.

We attended a church for a very long time that has had a complete change over the last few years.  Many people who were lifelong friends have left not only the church, but the state.  Many of them have moved South to warmer climates and lower taxes.  I miss them.

One could become quite maudlin when life, in its natural course, populates and depopulates one’s landscape.  I’ve found it far better to cherish the relationships; to enjoy the memories; to stay in touch whenever possible, and the internet certainly aids that; and to continue to cultivate new friendships along the way.

I’ve loved this old saying for many years:  Make new friends, and keep the old; one is silver, and the other is gold.

After all, without people, life would be dreary indeed. Barren.  I am thankful for all the people who have populated my life’s landscape for 69 years.

What is Valuable

Day 24 Twenty-four Carat Gold

June 24, 1509. Henry VIII was crowned King of England. 

Henry the eighth valued a male heir. He wanted one. He wanted a wife who could give him one. He left the Church and created his own church so he could get divorced and marry a new wife.

Twenty-four carat gold is valuable. Some value riches above all else.

Tell us what is valuable to you. What do you treasure? Write about your treasure.



When I went to London with my oldest son over 20 years ago, one of the places we visited was, of course, the Tower of London.  That’s where the Crown Jewels are kept, in a well-guarded, all locked up tight set of rooms.  One of my favorite displays was the Gold Room.  Cases of pure gold. Crowns, jewelry, plates and goblets and platters and all sorts of things. I’d never seen so much gold all in one place, and it was positively beautiful.

I loved the silver, too. Same kind of displays.  Incredible beauty, and unimaginable value. Moving into the actual jewel rooms, we saw dozens of crowns, lots of fabulous necklaces, bracelets, rings, and more.  Gorgeous. The Beefeater guards, in their cool uniforms, kept us moving at a pretty good pace and wouldn’t let us just stand and admire any one piece for very long.


I didn’t covet any of it. I’m glad I got to see it, but it had no appeal to me in terms of getting stuff like that for my own. The truth is, I already had all I needed. Things I value more than any amount of gold.

Primary?  My relationship with God.  My Bible.  My upbringing in a pastor’s home that strengthened my faith, my knowledge of God’s Word, and prepared me for the rest of my life.

  My husband, my three sons and my daughter, and their spouses; my nine grandchildren?  Gold, solid gold.  More precious than any number of fabulous golden crowns.

My education is ongoing. It is more precious than gold. The work I’ve been privileged to do as a mom, teacher, and now a therapist?  So valuable, so satisfying. No amount of gold could ever replace the benefits of all that.

I am blessed.  My life has never been problem-free, and it isn’t now. But I have the Lord, I have my husband and family. and let’s not forget about my friends. What a rich life.

You can keep your 24-carat gold.

My Man

All Day I Faced the Barren Waste. . . .

Longing for Gravity

You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?


This sounds like a punishment for some dreadful crime!  Who would voluntarily leave family, friends and home to go on a mission from which there is no return?  Not me!

Let’s just say, though, that for some crazy reason I agreed to go on this horrible mission.  What would I miss most about the earth?

Water. Fresh water, river water, lake water, waterfalls, ocean water, rain and rain water, clouds, steam, vapor, mist, fog, snow. Tap water, bottled water, ice water, lemon water.

I know there have been reports of water on Mars, but there’s no real proof. Since our very  existence depends upon an abundance of water, it just makes sense that I would miss that more than anything else.

Except for family and friends.

Who Knows?

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post.


I don’t know, but God does!

Of course I have plans and hopes.  When we stop having those, we stop living. I plan to continue to walk with the Lord, to serve Him wherever the opportunity arises.

I plan to continue my journey to better health.  Progress is slow, but it’s there.

I plan to continue writing, with the hope of being published someday.

I plan to enjoy my family as I watch the grands grow up.  Amazing how fast that’s happening!

I plan to continue working as long as I’m physically and mentally able, and don’t start drooling and falling out of my chair.

I plan to enjoy my marriage for as long as God gives us.  It’s been 46 years.  I’m hoping for many more, but you just never know.

In my immediate future, I’m looking forward to the holidays: Family coming home, bustle and noise and lots of good food.

Life is good, most of the time.  I am content.