Thankful Thursday ~ One Mediator

O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. ~ Psalm 107:1

I am thankful that my precious Lord, and not sinful man or woman (whether living or dead), has the ability to forgive sin. 

For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; ~ I Timothy 2:5

I am thankful that Jesus did away with a need for a priest to offer sacrifice and forgiveness when He died on the cross and caused the veil of the temple (which represented the separation of man and God) to be torn in two!

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; ~ Matthew 27:51

I am thankful that I can always go to Him with all my petitions and that He hears my cry in the night, my joys in the morning, and my heart all day long.  Every day!

[The righteous] cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. ~ Psalm 34:17

I will close with one of my all time favorite hymns:

SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER
by William W. Walford

  1. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    That calls me from a world of care,
    And bids me at my Father’s throne
    Make all my wants and wishes known.
    In seasons of distress and grief,
    My soul has often found relief,
    And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
    By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
     
  2. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
    Of those whose anxious spirits burn
    With strong desires for thy return!
    With such I hasten to the place
    Where God my Savior shows His face,
    And gladly take my station there,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
     
  3. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    Thy wings shall my petition bear
    To Him whose truth and faithfulness
    Engage the waiting soul to bless.
    And since He bids me seek His face,
    Believe His Word and trust His grace,
    I’ll cast on Him my every care,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
     
  4. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    May I thy consolation share,
    Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
    I view my home and take my flight.
    This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
    To seize the everlasting prize,
    And shout, while passing through the air,
    “Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

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Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 8:41 PM  Comments (4)  

Thursday Thirteen ~ Beautiful Words

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Header from Samulli

“Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life…”
~Phil­ip P. Bliss
13 of the most beautiful words in the English language:

   1.  Jesus
  2.  Love
  3.  Salvation
  4.  Hope
  5.  Faith
  6.  Joy
  7.  Children
  8.  Laughter
  9.  Peace
10.  Happiness
11.   Family
12.   Home
13.   Sandwich :)

Once you get going, it’s hard to stop!  I wanted to add simplify, inspire, touch, life, freedom, purity… 

What word would you have on your list?  Which one would you add to mine?

View the New Thursday 13 here for a list of participants.

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 4:13 AM  Comments (17)  

Can you sleep while the wind blows?

When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. ~ Proverbs 3:4

I have spent many nights tossing and turning and praying for the dawn of day while making bedfellows of sleep’s nemeses: worry and stress.  As someone who has suffered from sleep deprivation, I can attest, there is nothing quite as sweet as a good night’s sleep.
 
But how does one rest when one’s heart is heavy? The answers lies in the following verse:  “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

When you lie down at night, there is no law that says you have to replay all of your past mistakes or burdens or heartaches.  
Sleep is a gift.  A gift that allows you to forget all your troubles.  A gift that often reveals a solution or affords you the opportunity for a fresh start to conquer your concerns!  

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8

“Lay me down in peace” has no part in lying in bed with visions of all the uncompleted tasks you have to accomplish, especially when these task are a result of procrastination. 

Therefore, part of being able to sleep is living a life of preparedness; like the parable of the wise virgins, we need to be prepared for the return of the Lord.

However, we also need to be prepared for the day to day challenges that come our way; because with preparedness, comes fewer challenges.

To illustrate, allow me to share one of my favorite sermon illustrations:

CAN YOU SLEEP WHILE THE WIND BLOWS?

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Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.
 
Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked him. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him.  The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.
 
Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!” The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.” 

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.
  Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew. 
~ Author Unknown

The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. ~ Ecclesiastes 5:12

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 12:16 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Simple Woman’s Daybook for 2-23-09

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FOR TODAY FEBRUARY 23, 2009
Outside my window…
“Blue skies smilin’ at me.   Nothin’ but blue skies do I see.”

I am thinking…
“May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.”

I am thankful for…
“the God on the mountain is still God in the valley
When things go wrong He’ll make them right
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times
The God of the day is still God in the night”
~Tracy G. Dartt

From the learning rooms…
we are learning patience for a restored health to return to a young body.

From the kitchen…
salmon cakes, steamed vegetables, baked potatoes

I am wearing…
a jean skirt, blue top

I am creating…
articles, blog posts, for sale ads

I am going…
to the library but I’d rather stay home.

I am reading…
“how to” articles.

I am hoping…
for a better week health-wise, that the washer can be fixed, and for good news all around.

I am hearing…
Keith & Kristyn Getty

Around the house…
Housework – and lots of it!
My second favorite household chore is ironing.  My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.  ~Erma Bombeck

One of my favorite things…
 “honest open smiles,
kisses from a child,
tomatoes on the vine,”
and Tom T Hall 

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Pancake Day, Sewing Class, and Church

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

clock-before

Hideous Indoor/Outdoor Clock the my dear husband insisted on putting in the great room.  I believe that homes should reflect the personality of all the individuals living in it and that husbands have every right to some prime locations and not just be banished to the den or the garage.  However, I also knew that my handsome man wouldn’t mind a bit if I gave her a much needed makeover…

The reveal!

clock-after

Hideous no more!  I washed her face with a bit of leftover craft paint and created something with which both my honey and I can live.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook is hosted by Peggy Hosetler.  Visit her blog to learn more!

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 6:24 PM  Comments (2)  

Monday Musings

Monday Musings is hosted each Monday by Barbara at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

mondaymusingslady

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” ~ Bill Cosby

 

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 3:21 AM  Comments (5)  

Thursday Thirteen – Say “I love you”

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Header from Samulli

Today is my first time to participate in Thursday Thirteen.   Since this is the month of love, my first post will be 13 ways to tell your husband “I love you!”. 

  1. Write him a poem.
  2. Send him a card – to his work?  Or leave it in his vehicle. 
  3. Call just to say “I love you!”
  4. Make him his favorite meal or favorite treat.
  5. Treat him to a foot rub.
  6. Do one of his chores.
  7. Do something nice for his mother.
  8. Leave little notes around for him to find.
  9. Rent one of his favorite movies and watch it with him.
  10. Tell him how much you appreciate him – be specific.
  11. Compliment him in public.
  12. Forgive him instantly – for the small stuff – without him asking.
  13. Be open and honest with him – he can’t read your mind.

View the New Thursday 13 here for a list of participants.

Published in: on February 20, 2009 at 1:46 AM  Comments (3)  

Words of Encouragement

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  ~ Phil 4:7

Reflection
God gives us a peace that is able to transcend all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Because we have been given peace with God, we are now able to experience the tranquility that He offers to His children. This peace is the product of prayer, petition, thanksgiving, and the presentation of our requests before God as it is described in the previous verse (Philippians 4:6).
For additional promises see
http://promises.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm?doy=70

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Bill & Gloria Gaither’s “Because He Lives” has been on my heart all day.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Isn’t it wonderful that even when we are in a valley God’s love and peace will find us there and we can face tomorrow because He lives!

Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 3:57 AM  Leave a Comment  

Monday Musings

Monday Musings is hosted each Monday by Barbara at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

mondaymusingslady


Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
–Albert Einstein
Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 11:41 PM  Comments (2)  

The Simple Woman’s Daybook for 2-16-09

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FOR TODAY FEBRUARY 16, 2009

Outside my window… 
there is a gray sky, a slight chill in the air, and evidence that children live here.

I am thinking…
my kingdom for a bed.

I am thankful
that I live in a country where I can have access to good drinking water.

From the learning rooms…
we have spent the afternoon with friends celebrating President’s Day.

From the kitchen… 
Tuna Casserole

I am wearing… 
a jean skirt that I’ve not been able to wear since I’m not sure when.

I am creating…
lesson plans for President’s Day Math. 

I am going… 
to the library today.

I am reading…
Reader’s Digest.

I am hoping… 
that Jesus will soon return.

I am hearing…
the washing machine that doesn’t seem to be working properly?

Around the house… 
the Valentine’s Day decorations are down.

One of my favorite things… 
Campbell`s Bean & Bacon Soup – I must learn to cook this from scratch and avoid all the salt and MSG!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
We are going to the museum, getting the housework caught up, and having life as usual…

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

cabin1

This is the log cabin craft that my daughter and I created a few years ago.  I thought she just wanted to do the traditional Lincoln cabin with craft sticks on construction paper like this but she insisted she wanted a “real” one so this is our finished project.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook is hosted by Peggy Hosetler.  Visit her blog to learn more!   

Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 11:22 PM  Comments (7)  

Food Waste

The March 2009 issue of Reader’s Digest claims that we will pitch 12 percent of what we purchase at the grocery store (Thirteen Things Your Grocer Won’t Tell You).

According to  a CBS news report in July of 2008 The average American family wastes $1,200 in food each year, says Timothy Jones, who’s been studying food waste for almost two decades.

That is just disturbing.  So, even if I am slightly better than average and only throw out 10 percent that means if I bring home 10 bags of groceries then I will end up wasting 1 of those full bag of groceries? 

I wondered what I could do to avoid wasting food, thus wasting money; something most of us cannot afford to do in these tough economic times.  I went to the internet, of course, and I found this article, that gives tips on how to avoid food waste, complete with links on food storage. 

Here are some more links to other articles addressing this issue:
Ways to avoid food waste
Avoid being a chronic food-waster
Avoiding food waste
5 ways to stop wasting food
Why do we waste so much food?
Reduce your food waste by using up odds and ends
Are you throwing away food?

After reading on this subject I believe that waste is mostly a result of poor planning.  We do not plan according to our inventory, our schedule, the expiration dates, or we just do not plan, period! 

In the future, I will definitely be putting some of these ideas into practice.

How do you avoid food waste?

Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 3:47 AM  Comments (3)  

Hobbits, hoods, and everything ‘tween

I was doing a random blog surf looking for template ideas and noticed that there is a slew of young bloggers out there – mostly with blog titles that include words like “maiden”, “young lady”, “man”, “girl”, “(insert favorite celebrity or animal)” rocks but mostly (insert given name)’s blog. 

As I was surfing I  came across the word “tween” on one such blog.  I wasn’t even sure what a “tween” was so I looked it up on that most trusted site Wikipedia and still I am not certain.   According to said site, some figure a “tween” to be anyone between the ages of 10-12, while others between the ages of 16-22.  Futhermore, there are hobbit “tweens” who are between 20-32. 

Maybe middle age people could start calling themselves “tweens” also – as in ‘tween the cradle and the grave?

 However, I believe the most common meaning is “pre-teen”.  I can’t express how much I hate that word “tween” when ascribed to a person.  Admittedly, I am not overly fond of  “teen/teenager” either, but I’ll address that in a moment.  

It’s like grandma wearing leather and low cut tops trying to be something – unnatural.  Maybe that’s what happens if you aren’t allowed a slow natural slide into young adulthood.  You go too fast and then you try to reclaim your lost youth by wearing your granddaughter’s wardrobe.

What’s wrong with just being a child and enjoying every moment of life as it comes?  Why do parents brag about their children being “5 going on 30” like there’s some grand prize for getting to the end of childhood first?

When a child turns 13 it shouldn’t be a rite of passage into the world of rebellion, disrespect, and apathy.  It should be a time to reflect on childhood and a sweet celebration of the coming of an age of accountability into early adulthood.  I much prefer the term “young adult” to “teen”.  

For some reason “teen” conjures up the image of a hoodlum dressed in the most outlandish fad attire of his generation with an “I’m above the law ‘cuz I’m young and stupid” attitude and an exuse for a wasted youth.

On the other hand, “young adult” reminds me of a mature youth with a clear vision of who he is,  living life with a clear purpose.  This young person brings honor to his parents and glory to the Lord. 

When a young adult makes a mistake, it shouldn’t be excused or “expected” simply because “he’s a teenager and that’s what they do”.   Neither should a person be ignored or looked down upon if his only crime is being young.

Parents are not supposed to carry their children over the threshold of adulthood, neither should they hold them back from entering, but by prayerfully giving them the tools needed so their children will be able to walk on their own.  To walk with their shoulders back and with their head held high, their eyes focused on Jesus, their heads full of the love of Jesus and a mind with a clear purpose.   They know they are loved and have been encouraged to know others (past and present though books and life experiences) of Godly character and example.  They have been taught morals and truths and opportunities which have, in good time, grown them into the independent person that they were meant to be.

Be careful what you call your children – they may live up to their name.  Do you really want people to see them as a “spoiled brat”?  The way others treat a child is often a reflection of his parent’s own treatment, or illtreatment.

Now, I know most parents are in jest when they use these terms.  My Darlings or my Little Buddy sounds just has a tad nicer ring than “my little snot-nosed kid.”  (OK, little buddy might sound a little too Skipper/Gilligan-y…)

All that to say, parents just love your children.  Tell them you love them.  Tell them often.  There is truth in the popular email signature that  declares: “Your presence. It’s the greatest gift you can give your child. ”  Parents are human, we all make mistakes.  May we all seek God’s wisdom daily.

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Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 7:12 AM  Comments (2)  
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The Simple Woman’s Daybook~February 9th Edition

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FOR TODAY FEBRUARY 9, 2009

Outside my window… All is calm at near nightfall.  The lingering cool from this morning’s early showers serves as a reminder that God has blessed us.  Once again.

I am thinking…
I had an sharp ache in my head.
I could barely rise up from my bed.
After reading what my ‘net search said,
I think I might possibly be dead!

I am thankful for… the gift of being able to listen to the song of my child, sung off-key and at the top of her tiny voice.

From the learning rooms…
Divide
Multiply
Subtract
Compare
Bring Down

From the kitchen…  HM Chicken Noodle Soup

I am wearing… a T-Shirt and old worn out jeans that really are no longer decent to wear in public.  :)

I am creating!  However, it may not be the best use of my time.  *Sigh*

I am slowly going… out of my mind.

I am reading…too many scary things on the internet!  Time to quote Philippians 4:8!

I am hoping… that typing this list will magically get my dishes done.

I am hearing…voices in my head.  Nevermind.  Just the radio turned down low. 

Around the house…  are scattered reminders of the chores I intended to acomplish today.

One of my favorite things… Norman Rockwell’s America.  

A few plans for the rest of the week:  A memorable Valentine’s Day – thus far unplanned, cleaning – thus far long over-planned,   and lots of leaning on Jesus – always a good plan! 

Here is picture thought I am sharing… Well, graphic – but it’s cute and I wanted something for Valentine’s Day and I honestly tried to get a good shot but nothing I had was as sweet as this!valentine-girl-swing

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

The Simple Woman’s Daybook is hosted by Peggy Hosetler.  Visit her blog to learn more!   

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 2:44 AM  Comments (4)  

Monday Musings

Monday Musings is hosted each Monday by Barbara at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers.

mondaymusingslady


Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death. ~Author Unknown

Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 5:21 AM  Comments (4)  

Times Like These

When today’s headlines read:

  • Doctor loses license in live birth abortion case
  • Tough choices for America’s hungry
  • Afghan bomb kills 2 U.S. soldiers
  • Small company reaches far and wide in salmonella scandal
  • Storm floods SoCal homes, threatens mudslides
  • FDA OKs 1st drug from genetically altered animals
  • Deflation: When low prices buy high anxiety

I would say that it’s safe to assume that we are living in the “end times” as described in the Bible.   People are nervous, with reason!   The country is dealing with an economic crisis that has everyone wondering if they are the next in line for a lay-off.  As we enter a new political era full of uncertainity, many wonder what’s one to do in times like these? 

It’s a question as old as time.  And the answer lies in One older than time.  Jesus.  He is our Rock, as the great hymns remind us.  Just as music ministered to Saul in I Samuel 16,  a good old-fashioned Gospel hymn can minister to the  soul of  one living in “times like these”.   In fact, In Times Like These is the exact title to one such hymn. 

After reading II Timothy 3:1 “This know also that in the last days perilous times will come,”  Ruth Caye Jones , or Mother Jones as she was called, penned the words to the popular hymn In Times Like These.   The year was 1944.   And the world was at war.  While WWII was being fought on the battle field, fear and uncertainty was gripping the hearts of those on the home front.  In response, Mother Jones felt inspired by the Holy Spirit to write these words of comfort: 

1.
In times like these you need a Savior
In times like these you need an anchor
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

Refrain
This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One
This Rock is Jesus, the only One
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

2.
In times like these you need the Bible
In times like these O be not idle
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

3.
In times like these I have a Savior
In times like these I have an anchor
I’m very sure, I’m very sure
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

Christian, don’t lose hope.  You have an anchor! 

[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  ~ Hebrews 13:5

Published in: on February 8, 2009 at 7:51 PM  Leave a Comment  

Remember the frogs!

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; ~ Romans 12:12

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When you are tempted to give up, remember the frogs in the following examples.   As long as there is life there is hope. 

Always remember to “Fully Rely On God” or F.R.O.G.

TWO FROGS IN CREAM
by T.C. Hamlet

Two frogs fell into a can of cream,
Or so I’ve heard it told;
The sides of the can were shiny & steep,
The cream was deep & cold.

“O, what’s the use?” croaked Number One,
“’Tis fate; no help’s around.
Goodbye, my friends! Goodbye, sad world!”
And weeping still, he drowned.

But Number Two, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise.
The while he wiped his creamy face
And dried his creamy eyes.

“I’ll swim awhile, at least,” he said-
Or so I’ve heard he said;
“It really wouldn’t help the world
If one more frog were dead.”

An hour or two he kicked & swam,
Not once he stopped to mutter,
But kicked & kicked & swam & kicked,
then hopped out…
via butter!

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Two Frogs

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches two lessons:

There is power of life and death in the tongue.

An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say.

Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of words…it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way.

So from this day forward, think before you speak…

~Author Unknown

 

Published in: on February 7, 2009 at 6:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

For all your pride

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. ~ Daniel 4:37

For All Your Pride

Be careful of how you look at me with judgement in your face
As if I were some unlawful, unfit, disgrace.
Your shoes are Bally while mine are borrowed
Like the time of both of our tomorrows.
There’s naught you’ve done to deserve your lot ~
Any more or less than I, standing here on opposite side?
I pity you for all your pride!
For I serve a God who is able to the proud abase
Soon another shall look at you with judgement in her face.

~ Auntie Quary (Written without anger or malice, but with sincere sorrow for those who lack pity.)

Published in: on February 7, 2009 at 4:22 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Old Pickle Jar

The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents’ bedroom.

When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate’s treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.

When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank. Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. 

Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. “Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You’re going to do better than me. This old mill town’s not going to hold you back.” 

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. “These are for my son’s college fund. He’ll never work at the mill all his life like me.”

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. “When we get home, we’ll start filling the jar again.” He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. “You’ll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters,” he said. “But you’ll get there. I’ll see to that.”

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed.

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done. When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me.

No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. “When you finish college, Son,” he told me, his eyes glistening, “You’ll never have to eat beans again…unless you want to.”

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad’s arms. “She probably needs to be changed,” she said, carrying the baby into my parents’ bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes.

She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. “Look,” she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.

~Author Unknown

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 11:33 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Mayonnaise Jar and Coffee

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar…and the coffee…

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things-your God, family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions-things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else-the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

~Author Unknown

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 11:01 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Old Mason Jar

I am an old soul and have always loved antiques, the smell of old books, black and white movies, homemade meals cooked with care, the sound of  vintage vinyl records playing in the background, the creak of an old rocking chair, folks gathered on the front porch sipping lemonade and talking about the weather, classic literature, the smell of fresh clean sheets hanging on the clothesline, and a simple life where words like “hurry” and “microwave” and phrases like “soccer mom” and “extra-curricular overload” are seldom heard. 

What could be more old-fashioned and simple than an old mason jar, the kind that: held grandma’s famous preserves, contained Great Granddad’s savings, and displayed Mama’s button collection?  And so began the blog entitled “The Old Mason Jar”.

old-mason-jar2

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 10:37 PM  Comments (2)