Friday, June 27, 2008

Quotes about marriage you'll enjoy!

Married life teaches one valuable lesson: to think of things far enough ahead not to say them.

~ Jefferson Machamer

The honeymoon is the vacation a man takes before beginning work under a new boss.

~ Anonymous

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experianced pain
and bought jewelry.

~ Rita Rudner

When a man and a woman marry, they become one. The trouble starts when they try to decide which one.

~ Anonymous

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing - and then they marry him.

~ Cher

and my fav;

Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

~ Rabbi H. Schachtel

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hell on Earth

Last Sunday during his sermon, our pastor David said that someone had once made a remark to him which was startling. But true.

"For Christians, Earth is Hell."

I have had the same thought. Think about it!

It is here that we suffer anguish, fright, dread, worry, misery and grief.

It is here that we may be mistreated, hurt in body, wounded in spirit, challenged in ways that trouble us.

Here we lose, here we misbehave (sin) and shame ourselves (Christians have a conscience most of the time!), here we know despair and anxiety and face uncertainty which is almost the worst pain of all.

Tough as life on Earth can be for Christians, what a blessing that this is as bad as it gets!

Then - Paradise!

Beyond that thought I got to musing about how we cope as we struggle through this "vale of tears." I realized that the people we are linked to (not by fluke or by accident, but through the design of God with lofty purpose), our families,, our closest friends, should be sources of comfort, inspiration and encouragement to us. With those special (truly very few) people we should be especially kind, loyal and patient. God attached them to our lives to soothe us and nudge us toward better behavior and by the same token we are entrusted to be merciful toward them.

In my life I see that the familiarity of being close also makes us "comfortable" about being mean, rude or downright taking advantage of those closest individuals. Yes, I am thinking of my own misdeeds. It is so easy to take loved ones for granted! Worse than that - to target them for the slings and arrows of our harshest criticism!

This year we gave our three sons copies of "Sweet and Low" for Father's day simply because Randall recommends it and I thought it would be a good read for those three business-oriented guys. Haven't read it myself, but ironically it describes the back-biting, greed and ruthless actions within the family which created that product. The achievement of astonishing wealth seems to have been a catalyst for the destruction of an entire family (surprise, surprise).

Maybe we all should be grateful that we don't have vast family fortunes to squabble over!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!

Our 2 1/2 year-old granddaughter, Maggie Belle, has always been on the timid side. Yesterday she and her three siblings , all aged 4, 3, 2 (Maggie herself) and 1, had a modeling opportunity for a company that produces pro sports DVDs featuring small children in mini uniforms. Cute stuff.

Of course we knew that rough and tumble Shepherd, aged 4 1/2, would warm immediately to the notion of suiting up like a real athlete and tossing foam rubber balls and bats around. Eva Rose at 3 1/2 plays dress-up all the time and the pom poms attracted her right away so all went well with her session, of course. Then little Ingram, still crawling and with the stick-up blond fuzz he inherited from his father, was of course pretty clue-less but adorable nevertheless.

I think we saved Maggie for last because the chances for a spectacular Maggie Belle melt down were home she might have been napping. Instead we were restraining her from walking around the tiny cramped studio. Not a choice situation with Miss Mags! Added to that insult was the fact that there were no snacks, but Shepherd and Eva Rose had discovered a cold water dispenser and were guzzling it as if H2O was the nectar of the gods. Two grandmas and one harried mother were barely enough staff to keep 4 kiddos from injury, outright carnage and towering rage tantrums!


At last it was Maggie's "turn". Missy decided at the last minute to pull her blond curls into twin ponytails and hurriedly we dressed her in tiny white baseball trousers and a white baseball shirt..."Dodgers". She looked like the one child in America least likely to ever play any game that involves roughness and sweat. Despite the sports gear that looked quite natural on the other kids, she in fact looked like a fairy, as always.

Nervously, I took Ingram for a spin in his stroller around the reception area, just knowing that Maggie was not going to like all this tightly controlled instruction, having to stay in camera range, being told to hold this or jump or spin or whatever the action might be. No way!

But hearing laughter and whoops of delight from Missy and crew, I learned that Miss Maggie had found her glory at last! Her personal spot in the sun! She was almost meticulously responding to every bit of direction, behaving like a professional between takes, standing solemnly to await the next shot, then springing into action with just the right amount of animation each time! I never knew she could stack a tower of blocks so high, smile so beguilingly for a camera-person she didn't know. It was astonishing!

When finally she was told she was "all done", she lowered her chin and frowned. She didn't budge. Come on, Maggie! Let's go! Time to go home!


Alright. Missy had to go walk right on the set and pick her up, weeping and struggling.

The video lady shook her head and said,
"She's a natural..."

Wait a minute, Mr. DeMille.

I'm ready for my close-up now!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mimi's high school - 1966-1968

Every Sunday morning on the way to church, my husband Winston and I pass by our old high school. Without fail, our heads turn to the left and take another look at it.

The facade of the building has changed since we were students there (as alas, have our own physical facades!), but we remember those long hallways lined all the way down with grey steel lockers, the enormous clock above urging us to stop lingering and get on to class before...before...The Bell Rings!

We remember how we admired the cheerleaders, each one cute as a button with a perfect "flip" hairdo, petite and perky every minute of every day. We would spot the football team practicing out behind the building in intense southern heat, and we thought that they embodied everything marvelous about perseverance and raw roughness. Winston and I were not among those elite. We were firmly entrenched in the "everybody else" population, but there were common denominators between shyest girl and Homecoming Queen, struggling freshman math student and Summa Cum Laude senior.

We were all Cardinals!

I recall the litter in the hallways in those days, trampled red and white "spirit ribbons"... GO, CARDS, GO!, folded hall passes, "David D. to office - 1:45", the random gooey mascara wand, the candy wrappers (acceptable if consumed after lunch) and the putty-like ball of chewing gum wrapped in foil (NOT acceptable on campus at any time!) To this day the fragrance of Aqua Net hair spray catapults me back to the girls' locker room...every girl carried a giant grandma-like purse to accommodate the colossal can of spray. By the handle...tiny shoulder bags were yet to come.

Would any teen today believe for a second that in my three years there, I never heard a vulgar word?
Never once saw a student sass a teacher (oh, but the fun we made fun of them behind their backs, poor souls) My boyfriend, Winston, won my heart by creating a fabulous caricature of a particularly unintentionally hilarious lady who shall remain un-named here.

The teachers! The charmingly courtly English history teacher, Mr. Dillman, who wore a black stocking over the stump where his hand had been before it was blown off in a terrible accident when he himself was in high school - actually AT his high school. Each year he commemorated the anniversary of that date by telling the entire gruesome story, about how he and a friend had decided to confiscate some chemicals from the science lab and mix them together in a jar and then stand around chatting beside his car while the jar heated to super-sonic temps on his Fry-Baby car hood. Next thing he one could tell it like Mr. Dillman!

My own father suffered a paralyzed arm as the result of an oil field accident when he was 19 years old, and I knew the story of that even, too. But the difference is that Mr. Dillman did not speak of it as tragedy at all. I do believe there was even a question and answer period offered following The Telling of the Story, but we all sat leaning forward, mute and awestruck, not by Mr. Dillman's familiar black-sheathed stump, but by his gentle gracious demeanor, wry awareness of our shameless curiosity and astonishing good will despite this calamity. Wow. Is this how we should bear adversity? I think so.

Winston's favorite teacher was also a man, Mr. Pedigo, who taught English with an irrepressible zeal and startling boxer-dude sudden moves when throwing the blackboard eraser - HARD! - at sleeping students. What would that get Mr. Pedigo today in terms of jail time and court dates?

Let me state what it earned him in my 59-year-old husband's memory....respect. After the first or second eraser blast, all eyes were on Mr. Pedigo and every ear took in every word he spoke. What did he call students who did poorly on a test? "You bunch of lazy, worthless hounds!" Did parents call the school board about little Johnny's self-esteem? Not one. Why does Winston remember this man with such regard to this day? Because here was a teacher who could TEACH!

Lest I speak too fondly, I must admit that the cafeteria lunches were gruel on a beige plastic plate (thus the profusion of candy wrappers), the hall monitors were mean and enjoyed their duties a bit TOO much.

Things were different in those days. Virtually all the students had two parents, a curfew and said "Yes, Ma'am" and "No sir". Failing grades were a disgrace. Let me tell you some time about the pink failing slip I hid in my bedroom!) Smart students were ultimately admired more than the beauteous ones. No one wanted to "get into trouble" largely because they didn't want to face the mortification of those vigorously strict parents. We loved them, after all.

So, the story continues. Winston (class of '67) and I (class of '68) married and left town for his Navy career in 1973. Our lives revolved around planes, ships and deployments all over the world while raising three kids in places that couldn't have been more different from home, places like Ewa Beach, Hawaii, snowy Brunswick, Maine and exotic Japan. Finally to our astonishment opportunity led us right back to a home only a few miles from our old high school.

Now every Sunday at about 9:15 we pass by that school and chances are we will swivel our heads to the left for a quick look. If anyone happens to riding along with us we might simultaneously exclaim, "There it is! That's the high school where we met!" with a glee our passenger is not likely to comprehend.

We might remark that "our bench", which had been precisely THERE, right, Honey? has long since vanished, and we feel a little bit sad. Then the rest of the ride down that tree-lined avenue, we are quieter, lost in our own red 'n white Go, Cards, Go!memories once again...