A Serendipity

RDP Tuesday – collection

Image result for collection of ceramic birds

My mom had a collection of ceramic birds. She loved all sorts, but was particularly fond of hummingbirds. Of course, once the people in the churches my dad pastored discovered her love of birds, she was given all sorts of them as gifts. At first she was delighted, but after a while, there was just no more space for them all. She had one, though, that she loved more than all the rest because my dad got it for her. It was truly beautiful. I can’t remember what kind of birds, but the figurine was white, and it was truly lovely.

After she died, there was the chore of boxing up all her things and disposing of them in different ways. Someone, I don’t know who, must have taken a box of her birds to a local antique shop.

One day, my niece who lives in the same area as my mom had lived was shopping. She went into the antique store, just poking around to see if there was anything she liked, and she suddenly saw my mom’s favorite ceramic bird sitting there. She bought it on the spot. Later, she said that she had always wondered what happened to that bird. She and my mom had a special tie, and it seems to me she had asked my mom for that particular bird.

We’ll never know the whole story. When you have many hands helping, sometimes things get overlooked and/or under-valued. In any case, my niece was so excited to find that particular bird that she could hardly wait to get it home and let everyone know she had found it.

I have a collection of teapots, and a small collection of dolls. I love them all, never tire of their beauty. Someday, my female relatives will be left with the chore of “what to do with Mom’s/Grandma’s collection.” It is sad that the things we treasure often have little appeal or value to the following generations.

RDP: Collection

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Dignify

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

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I tried, really tried, not to look up the etymology. After all, we know what the word means. But I couldn’t resist it,  and I discovered that there’s  subtle undertone here that needs exploration.

The word dignify comes from the Latin dignus, which meant to make a person SEEM worthy.

Well now. That lends our prompt a whole other layer, because of one little word: Seem.

When I was doing my practicum toward my master’s, I did a school year in a local hospital’s rehab program. Part of my job was to record a patient’s progress–or lack thereof.  My mentor taught me to  write up my notes with words that leave some wiggle room, because sometimes things can change rapidly  in helping folks who are disabled through surgery, such as a knee or hip replacement

Example:  I once wrote “The patient is much stronger today.”

No. That’s an absolute statement, and leaves no room for change. I should have written “The patient SEEMS much stronger this morning,”

This is not done in an effort to deceive; rather, it is to allow for possible regression, which happens fairly frequently, especially among the older population.

So how does all this apply to the word du jour?

Simple.  If I dignify (make worthy) my behavior, I am making it seem as if I’m a dignified person.  Sometimes I truly am dignified. I know when to behave with dignity, and how to do it.

But I’m much more likely to see the humor in any situation than I am to see the dignity.

When my mother died five years ago, my sister and I arrived at the funeral home for the viewing well ahead of the scheduled time.  We checked to make sure things were as they should be when the funeral director, a young man who seemed quite nervous, asked us to please sit down.  He had something to tell us, and he hoped we would understand.

Mom’s body wasn’t there yet. The coffin my sister had chosen had to be shipped from Denver to Grand Junction, He was so embarrassed to have to tell us that he and his team would get Mom’s body into her coffin the minute it was unloaded from the truck, but the truck had a flat tire somewhere along the route.  It would be late. So very sorry.

 

As the poor man spoke, my sister and I had trouble controlling our mirth and behaving with dignity. When he said the fatal word late, we lost it. Completely. funeral-bcYou’d be surprised at how much funeral humor there is out there

 

Mom was always late!  Dad had teased her for years that she would likely be late to her own funeral, and now, here she was–fulfilling that prophecy.  I think she was watching the whole scene and enjoying a good laugh, sitting on some cloud holding Dad’s hand. I think she was enjoying the joke more than we were!

The poor guy finally regained his dignity, and Mom’s body was ready for viewing about 20 minutes past the published starting time.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dignify/

A Charm of Hummingbirds

Bury

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

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My mom loved hummingbirds. She had collected figurines of birds for many years, but her hummingbirds were always  her favorite.  She also did cross stitch embroidery, and she  made a lovely throw for me that featured a hummingbird in one corner.

She died five years ago this month, when she was 87. She had lived in Colorado for the last few years of her life, in the valley where she and my dad met and married and started their family. She loved it there in her little town of Fruita, not too far from Grand Junction, where my sister and I were born.

Sandy had already chosen a grave site in Elmwood Cemetery. The site was situated right next to a big bush.  I’m not sure what it was–possibly a columbine? In any case, it was a lovely spot, and we knew Mom would have enjoyed the setting.

Image result for cemetery in Fruita, Colorado

I tried to find a picture of the site,but  was unable to find one. It was just a little bit removed, in an area that hadn’t been claimed yet.

The ceremony went smoothly on that beautiful, crisp, but hot Colorado day. There had been music, and a comforting message from the pastor.

Just as things were winding down and people began to stand, someone shouted, “Look!” We all turned just in time to see a burst of hummingbirds rising from behind the bush over Mom’s grave site.  I don’t know how many there were, but it was an amazing sight to see. We had buried her, apparently, in a place where hummingbirds gathered.

A flock of hummingbirds is called a charm.  Fitting.  And I could almost see my short little mother, standing there smiling from ear to ear as her very own charm of hummingbirds honored her life.

Image result for a charm of hummingbirds

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bury/

She Started It!

Copycat

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

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“Copycat!  You’re nothing but a copycat!”

“Nu-uh!  I was going to wear this anyway.  I picked it out last night.  Maybe YOU’RE copying ME!”

“You’re such a brat.  I hate you. Why did I have to get YOU for a sister!”

Sherry sighed in utter frustration.  Every single morning for the last couple of weeks, she’d heard this or similar dialogue coming from the bedroom her daughters shared.  They were in 7th and 9th grade now, and just beginning to figure out their own styles and fashions.  They bickered constantly over everything from who didn’t put the cap on the toothpaste to who left her fingernail polish uncapped and how it spilled all over. The contest over who wears what outfit had begun with the opening of the school year, with Cindi, the older of the two girls, always claiming that Cathy was copying her outfit.  Sherry could have recited the daily dialogue word for word.

This morning was going to be the end of it. She was done listening to them.

She tapped on the door to their room and walked in, surprising them in a hair-pulling but quiet tussle.

“Stop that!  Right now!  You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Both girls blurted out “She started it” at the exact same moment. Setting aside her itch to slap them both, Sherry said, “All right, I’ve listened to your complaining and bickering for the LAST time.  You two are getting every single day off to a rotten start, and I’ve had enough.  Right now, both of you, take off everything but your underwear.”

Both girls stood stock still, wondering what on earth Sherry was going to do. But Sherry’s face was set, and they slowly began to do as they were told. “Now put away what you just took off. I’m going to pick out your clothes from now on, since you can’t seem to do it without fighting.  I don’t care whether or not  you like what I choose.  I’m just not going to listen to this squabbling any more.”

Image result for teenage sisters fighting

 Sherry went to Cindi’s closet and pulled out a pair of her favorite jeans.  She went to the dresser and pulled out a top. “There.  Put it on, and no complaining or you’ll end up with something you hate!”

She did the same for Cathy, choosing clothes that were very different from what Cindi was reluctantly pulling on.   Sherry stood with her arms folded, watching them both as they chose accessories, socks, and shoes. The girls kept glancing at her, then at each other.  They knew better than to argue, and they were quickly ready for the day.

“Good,” said Sherry.  “Now both of  you go get your breakfast, and believe me, the first I hear of a fight brewing, you’re both going to go to school with hot bottoms.  I’ve had enough. This is going to stop, and it’s stopping right here, right now.  Any questions?”

The girls left their room without a word, and it was very quiet in the house for the rest of the morning until the girls left to get on the bus.  Cindi stopped about halfway down the driveway.

“Mom?  Are you really going to choose our clothes every day?”

“Only if you make me.  You start to fight, and I hear the word copycat, and you’ll wear what I choose.  It’s up to you.”

Shaking her head, Sherry went back inside to enjoy a time of peace and quiet with her morning coffee.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/copycat/

I Love my Job!

Money for Nothing

If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.

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First, I have to say the title of this prompt doesn’t make much sense to me.

Now, jobs and satisfaction.

My first official job was being a cashier at a grocery store.  I paid my own way through college, so the job was good because the schedule was flexible.  That’s about the only positive thing I can think of to say about it.

Moving along, I got married, had four kids.  That was my main career for a long time.  I did some substitute teaching and tutoring during those years, and I was very satisfied to be mostly a stay-at-home mom.  I wouldn’t do it any differently.  It was hard, because there wasn’t a lot of money.  I kept house in such a way that every penny got pinched at least three times.  Terry has always done all our car upkeep and household repairs.  We lived on very little.

When my youngest was 10, I started teaching full time.  Loved the classroom.  Loved seeing those “Aha!” moments in my students.  Loved my subjects, loved the whole scene.  Even parent-teacher conferences weren’t so bad. Some were, but most were fine.  I about wore myself out during those years.  Terry was trucking and away from home a lot. All the kids were in extracurriculars.  I was the yearbook supervisor, taught the elementary school music for a couple of years, plus an eight or nine class daily schedule.  Crazy.

Then we moved, and my life changed dramatically. Fast forward to now.  I got a master’s degree, and for 15 years I’ve been working as a therapist in a Christian counseling office. There’s a big story behind all that which I’ve probably already written about.

(Because of what I do, I think this is hilarious. And true!)

I love my work. Sometimes I come home completely drained, but usually there’s been a victory somewhere during the day.  I’m an independent contractor, so I can work as much or as little as I please. At my age, that’s a nice perk. The satisfaction of being able to use the Word of God to help people find their way out of their pain is priceless.

And I’m blogging.  That’s not a career, but it’s important to me, a  wannabe writer all my life. Blogging has encouraged me to actually do some writing.

I’m very content. I’m not wealthy;  money has never really been my motivation. I have been blessed to do everything I’ve done. God is good. And even if I hadn’t been so blessed, God is still good. 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/money-for-nothing/

Eggs and Fear

Childhood Revisited

What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.

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Before my dad gave his life over to God, he was pretty difficult.  One of those snapshot memories I have took place when I was about three. We lived in a trailer house in a southern Minnesota farm town.  Dad worked  in an auto repair shop doing body work on cars.  Mom stayed home with Sandy and me.  My memories of the trailer are sketchy, but again, there are some snapshots in my mind that have stayed sharp and clear.

On the day of this event, it must have been either a Friday or Saturday late afternoon.  Dad was a weekend beer drinker, and would come home drunk and angry.  This would have been 1949 into 1950.  He’d been in a submarine during the war, and he came home wanting nothing to do with God or any form of religion. Some of this I’ve pieced together from hearing Mom talk  about it, but my memory is very clear on this part of the story:

Mom called us in for an early supper, wanting to get us fed and in bed before Dad got home. He had very little patience with small children, apparently, on his weekends.

Mom had fixed us boiled eggs, chopped up with butter and salt and pepper. To this day I love eggs prepared that way.  There was probably bread and butter, and milk to drink.  I don’t remember that.  After we ate, I remember Mom helping us wash hands and faces and hurrying us into our pajamas, tucking us into bed with strict instructions to go right to sleep.

But it wasn’t completely dark outside, and sleep was elusive.  I remember hearing the door open and close, and the sounds of Dad’s heavy tread on the kitchen floor.  I remember him being loud, but I don’t remember words.  He tended to set things down pretty hard, and I remember the sound of his lunch bucket slamming down on the table or a counter top.

I remember his loud voice, then Mom’s quieter one. However, both of them raised their voices a little at a time, and soon they were both shouting.  I wrapped my head in my pillow, because I hated when they yelled at each other.

stock-photo-child-or-teen-hiding-under-covers-in-bed-172927559

And that’s all I remember.  Eggs, fear, and falling asleep to their fighting.

Now, I want you to understand that this story had a wonderful ending.  My dad  changed when he yielded his life to the Lord.  He was always an opinionated, outspoken man; however, his life did a 180 when he decided to respond to what he knew was God’s calling on his life.  When I was five, we moved to Minneapolis so he could attend Northwestern Bible College. When I was ten, we moved to Oregon where he attended seminary and became the pastor of his first church.

Sometimes I think about how different my life would have been had God not been patient with my dad, if Dad had just continued on the path he’d chosen when he came home from war.

And I am thankful.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/childhood-revisited/

Busy Sixteen

Only Sixteen

Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

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(Another rerun I haven’t written to before. It’s a conspiracy.)

So.  When I was sixteen, I was a junior in high school.  I was rejoicing because I didn’t have to take gym any more.  It was the only thing that kept me from a 4.0, and I thought that was totally unfair.  Still do. I just wasn’t an athlete.  I tried hard, but it was never enough.

I had a two-year-old brother. My sister had left for college, and my mom was sick often, so I had a lot of experience in the care and feeding of a male infant and toddler. That experience stood me in good stead a few years later when I started having my own brood.  I was never nervous about handling a new baby.

I loved school.  We lived in a small farm town in southern Minnesota, where my dad was the pastor of a little Baptist church. I enjoyed my classes, and did well. Physics was a struggle that year, and I’ll never know how I pulled a decent grade because I never understood most of it.  I did learn how to figure out what formula applied to what annoying problem. I think our teacher was really good, but he just couldn’t light a fire under me for his subject.

I was in the school choir, which I loved.  I also worked on the school newspaper, and I was on the layout staff for the yearbook.  This was back in the day before computers, so layouts were done by hand, with pictures, rulers, scissors, and glue. Same with the paper. You typed your piece on a manual typewriter, and you had to know how to justify margins and all that stuff. I was the first page editor, so it was my job for two years to go down to the town’s newspaper office and watch the printer set up the page the old-fashioned way, with little metal letter blocks, ink, and a roller.  It was fascinating, and I never got tired of watching his hands fly over his tools. He was amazing.  Then I got to proof the page, and watch it come off the print machine.  I loved the smell of the fresh ink and new paper.

Let’s see.  I also participated in speech competition, known as Declamation back then.  I competed in storytelling, debate, and extemporaneous speaking. Loved it.  Did pretty well.

My greatest love was the piano.  I didn’t have lessons because that just wasn’t in the budget.  I’d taught myself to play when I was about ten.  When we moved back to Minnesota, an older retired piano teacher offered to take me on for free. I was thrilled.  I walked over a mile to her place each week, played for her, and walked back home. She introduced me to music I’d never thought I could play. That was a true highlight for me.

On a more personal level, I’d already been through my first boyfriend and the inevitable breakup.  He lived in Oregon.  We moved to Minnesota. After shedding the appropriate number of tears and sighing my way through the trauma, I recovered quite nicely and met a couple of new guys that kept my attention. Isn’t it amazing how we think we’re going to die, and then, Surprise!  we get over it and continue to grow up 🙂

A major event that year, 1963:  November 22, the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

All right, I’m sure you’ve had enough by now.  Kind of fun to reminisce.  Sixteen was a good year for me. So was seventeen, and eighteen. . . .just pick one.  I’ve had a blessed life.

This song was still pretty popular in 1963:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen/