New Year’s Day 2024 came and went swiftly, moving us into the freezing winter weeks of January. Belatedly, I bid all a Happy New Year! I expect this will be a year filled with promise as well as trials. May God teach us through both.
Considering it’s an election year, I couldn’t help focus on how quickly things have heated up (metaphorically, anyway). At least one presidential hopeful caught my attention with a description of the US Senate as a “privileged nursing home.” Though others are more cagey with their rhetoric, similar opinions abound. The leaders of our country are old. How old? I did some research.
The old saying “Beauty is as beauty does” was a phrase my mother used often when I was a child. Naturally, she desired to impress upon me the maxim that outer beauty is mostly irrelevant (or worthless) if there’s no inner beauty. In my teens, I might have offered this observation about the rose. It doesn’t do anything. A rose is beautiful simply because it is.
Today, we have beauty consultants, beauty tips and trends, spas and wellness clinics … all these and more revolving around the pursuit of beauty. In fact, according to one source, the $532 billion beauty industry is “growing faster than ever before.” Indeed, multiple market forces combine everyday to expand this already-significant effort at satisfying consumer demand.
A SELF magazine post from 2017 indicates women spend amazing amounts on beauty products: $15,000 during an average woman’s lifetime, including $3,000 on mascara, another $2,000 on eyeshadows, and a whopping $1,700 on lip colors to match the multiple shades contained within one woman’s makeup bag! These are averages; some women will spend more. Ah, the pursuit of beauty does come at a hefty price. Continue reading “Behold, The Rose”→
The dictionary uses evocative terms to define and describe the unique properties of Gold (chemical symbol Au): durable, malleable, resistant to corrosion. It is a precious metal, connoting beauty and elegance as well as great value.
These definitions may be applied to a 50-year marriage: durable, malleable, resistant to corrosion. Likewise, the long-lived marriage is precious, signifying beauty and elegance in addition to great value. Continue reading “Striking Gold”→
With her 92nd birthday approaching (the end of August), my mother Ruthe must contemplate the final days (or years, we hope) of her incredible life on this planet. I’ve shared her stories more than a dozen times in this space, among them Everybody’s Fine, The Tale of Bobbie Pringle (in 2 parts), and Safe In His Arms. I’ve also posted poems where she was my subject: Mother of Mine, Touchstone. Along life’s journey, she has embraced numerous adventures, taken surprising risks and absorbed monumental losses. What a blessing she has been to me (and her other offspring)!
The photo above was taken a couple weeks ago. She needed groceries and I was in town, so we drove to the nearby SuperCenter. Because she lacks the stamina she once had, I suggested she try the motorized shopping cart. I’ve never used one of these devices … nor had she until that day! (Keep in mind, she’s almost totally blind, with only a sliver of cloudy light squeezing into the uppermost corner of her left eye.) Still, I figured the electric cart was worth trying, since I worried her knees might give way during our trek through the massive store.
As things turned out, we managed to collect her groceries without inflicting excess damage to the cart or any merchandise lining the aisles … and thankfully, no customers were permanently injured during this endeavor! When she first grasped the forward/reverse lever, the cart unexpectedly shot forward, leaving me far behind. I caught up quickly and decided to set my hand to the “wheel” to control the cart’s speed and direction. It was my chance to walk beside her, guiding her to the k-cups, the oatmeal and her other important purchases. Making our way (slowly) around the store, she depended on my guidance, but strange as it might seem, she was leading the way … as she always has! Continue reading “Leading The Way”→
As in Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, our “stockings were hung by the chimney with care” … save one minor detail – we don’t actually have a chimney, just a mantelpiece (where a gas insert is supposed to go). Twenty stockings in all were hung, one for each of our grown offspring, as well as the in-laws and grands, with an extra stocking included for my Beloved’s brother who lives nearby.
Given the number of people coming together, our Christmas gatherings usually have a boisterous and sometimes chaotic quality. Children are everywhere, running inside and out, upstairs and down, constantly asking when we eat next, or more importantly, is it time to open presents yet!
The pandemonium was short-lived this year. Because Christmas fell on a Monday, out-of-town family members were quick to depart. A ski slope beckoned. Others had work responsibilities. The adults didn’t even have time for a customary late-night poker match.
Once the house fell silent, I remembered a blog post I’d read before Christmas: Why Christmas Never Lives Up to the Buildup. Posted by Tony Reinke, a senior writer at DesiringGod.org, the post mainly addresses Christians living in what Reinke calls “the space between.” (With both Christmas and my birthday coming on the same day, I experience this “buildup” as a kind of double whammy.)
Given the bleak title, people may automatically expect to read a wretched tale announcing I’ve contracted a dreadful (probably incurable) illness. Not so for this post, though there’s no avoiding the truth: my days are numbered.
Frankly, so are yours. Though we try to forget it, we are all mortal. As 2016 wound down and the obits began to stack up, we became ever more cranky reading the list of friends, family, celebs and high-profile individuals whose days had ended, some whose days were seemingly “cut short.” Mortality sucks, doesn’t it?
Not long after our December wedding, I acquired two heart-shaped metal pans, perfectly sized for use in baking a suitable Valentine’s cake for my Beloved. (Though we were relatively broke, I justified the purchase … the cost of a new card every Valentine’s Day over our lifetime together would add up, but these baking pans could be used over and over, every single year!)
As the number of our shared Valentine’s Days now edges ever-closer to fifty, our focus swerves beyond the traditional declarations of heart-shaped love. Few store-bought cards and still fewer cakes have surfaced because the occasional hastily-written love poem or hand-drawn note represents a sweeter treasure. Continue reading “Care Bear”→
Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended!
But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue reading “Random Vicissitudes”→
Posting Monday about the death of Elisabeth Elliot, I used a couple pictures of her … one was a familiar publicity photo and the other was a pen-and-ink sketch used on her website. In the World Magazine tribute noting Elliot’s death, they used the photo below. A follow-up post noted that some readers of World had expressed their dismay, wishing instead that the magazine had attached a more flattering picture, an image reflecting her youth and beauty.
In response to its readers, World posted another photo of Elliot in her youth alongside the more current photo. World writer Mickey McLean titled his piece “Old and beautiful,” noting her “smile and twinkling blue eyes” reflected her “joy of living as a child of God.” I am in complete agreement! Continue reading “An Elisabeth Elliot Smile”→
Children (and grandchildren) are such great fun! When we’re at play with them, they have a way of wringing every possible measure of delight from whatever activity has captured their attention at the moment. Push a child on a swing, push him or her high, high, and higher! You’re bound to hear the child squeal, “Again! Do it again!” Ring around the rosy, all fall down and inevitably, the activity must be repeated. (They scramble quickly to their feet for another round.) It’s rare for any child to lose interest before the adult begs off from the tedium.
I’ve heard my young grandson tell me from time to time, “I’m bored.” This high-energy kid loves to be active and doing-doing-doing things non-stop. The idea of a child being bored amuses me. (I wonder if boredom is simply a modern invention.) What my grandson is really telling me … he needs direction. As I guide him to a new activity, he’s immediately distracted by it and moves forward quickly to entertain himself. Continue reading “Exult In Monotony”→