A Song of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t mix. Here is how I know: I’ll turn off the T.V. at the end of a Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movie, my eyes filled to the brim with red and green and glitter—all the colors of Christmas. I turn to my living room. Filled with orange and gold and brown and all the decorations of Thanksgiving. And everything tilts a little and my stomach gets queasy and I need to shut my eyes and allow them to adjust. Not a smidgen of Thanksgiving can be left in my house before the holly and ivy and other million billion things get put up. And THAT does not happen till after every bit of Thanksgiving dinner is digested.

But oh boy. What a great holiday Thanksgiving is. Worth celebrating every single day of November. At least till Black Friday.  After all, there is so much to love. Here are a few loved by me—

Songs: “Let All Things Now Living (a Song of Thanksgiving) “For the Beauty of the Earth.” (Folliot S. Pierpoint ) Oodles more, but I am too lazy to look up the composers.

Books: These three, among others. I have never bonded with an adult book on Thanksgiving.IMG_2997

The one in the center is the newest favorite with my grandchildren and I. SO FUN TO READ!

Vintage decorations:  These are my maiden decorations, purchased many years before I married and I was a fledgling Thanksgiving devotee.IMG_2996

Favorite show/movie: Movie? The Mouse and the Mayflower. Show? WKRP in Cincinnati‘s episode “The Turkey Drop.” As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Favorite Food: Apple Pie. MY apple pie. Oh, and my Tollhouse Pie. Then there is my sister’s pecan pie. My daughter-in-law’s cranberry sauce, my other daughter-in-law’s sweet potato casserole…that is more than one favorite, you say? Hey, I didn’t make the rules.

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Old tradition: The hayride after supper to jostle all our food into a corner of our stomachs so we can come back and eat the above-mentioned pies.

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New tradition: Spoons. Our crew plays for blood. And sometimes marriages are stressed. All in good, clean fun. (We hide the small children and tiny adults when the game begins.)

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At Thanksgiving, I’m surrounded by blessings. Family, friends, food, fun. So many good things begin with “F.” Faith too. The top of the list, the beginning and the end, the gift of God to grab hold of the grace so freely given.

I’m thankful for you, too, my friends. There are problems galore with social media and the blog world. But so far, none of them have showed up here. What a classy group you are. Happy Thanks Giving—even if you are not an American. You are a blessing.

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I is Understood

This post is from a few years ago. Long enough that I forgot most of what I wrote in it, so I’m hoping you did too, and it will all be new and fresh. AND I got really frisky and used hashtags in this updated version.

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Prudes are often self-appointed grammar nannies, making sure apostrophes are tucked in the cozy correct spots and participles don’t dangle dangerously.  The Tuesday Prude, however, hated diagramming sentences in school. Maybe it looked too much like math. When it was time to explore the beautiful world of grammar with our homeschooled prudlings, we choose a curriculum that didn’t technically require diagramming.

It was a good program and they learned enough not to embarrass me. The closest they came to diagramming was the requirement to pull prepositional phrases from each sentence and label the leftovers:  subject, verb, direct object etc.
Occasionally an imperative sentence reared its imperious head:
Shut the door.
Stop strangling your brother.
Rescue that dangling participle.

Where is the subject in the above sentences? We learned that the imperative is addressed to “you.”
You” shut the door.
You” stop strangling your brother.
You”. . .
You get the picture.
Their job was to label the subject as “You is understood.”
It was sort of fun to say. Try it. “You is understood.”

The fun didn’t stop when my boys finished school. There is a new way to use this rule.

It keeps the world from knowing just how inflated an ego I (aka The Tuesday Prude) am prone to.

One of the first rules a good writer learns: avoid beginning every sentence with the word
I.
Even in a blog, even on a Facebook status, or personal communication—start too many sentences with ‘I’ and readers get the notion that the writer is self-centered.

My readers would be right.

Ever hear the phrase “She thinks the world revolves around her?” Try as I will to convince myself that the world actually revolves on a tipsy axis, my id, ego and superego all argue the opposite. In the world of the self-centered, I am firmly in the middle.

Narcissism, however, wears thin. As an author, I don’t want to alienate readers. They want to believe I am interested in them, and I am. Truly I am. But I can’t seem to evict this nasty little core of me that wants to make sure no one bumps me from Centerville. Because no matter how much evidence to the contrary, deep down in my self-fascinated self is the idea that everyone else should be captivated with ME.

So I develop strategies to hide my absorption in spellbinding me. Look back and you’ll discover the sneaky ways I wrote an entire post about ME without once starting a sentence with ‘I’.
Sometimes, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to keep the
I-word anywhere but the engine part of a sentence. Unless one wants to totally convolute the syntax till the reader has to stand on his/her head to make sense of it.

That is where my ‘You is understood’ training comes in handy, with one crucial change.

Instead of writing
I am trying to avoid starting sentences with ‘I’”,
I drop the ‘I’ at the beginning of the sentence and it becomes a friendly, informal
‘Trying to avoid…”

The ‘I’ is understood but it sits modestly out of the reader’s line of vision, understanding that I am really the subject of me but not trumpeting the fact.

It gets easier:
“Loving this organic casserole that just came out of the oven!”
“Going to buy a new pair of jeans in a smaller size!”
“Just enjoying the cutest grandbabies on earth!”

All the above are just underhanded ways of saying:
#allaboutme  #mememememe #wanttoknowmoreaboutme #sureyoudo #stilldidntstartasentencewithI

Empaths: We feel your pain. Here, have some more.

Empath is psycho-shorthand for ‘someone who is empathetic.’

Empaths can put themselves in another’s shoes and experience their emotions.

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You want an empath around when you need more than someone to pat you on the shoulder when you are miserable and say “Poor, pitiful you.” That is a sympathizer. They serve a purpose. When you wallow in your particular wretchedness, the sympathetic person will not get overly-involved. The sympathizer will just feel sorry for you.
Then there’s the role of an aloof. This detached person sees your gloom, and wonders how you got there. And possibly is glad he isn’t in there with you.
Unlike the jurist—who will critique, censure, and castigate you from the edge of the pit of despair.

 
The sympathizer will offer you a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we need sympathy. And sometimes we need cool appraisal from the aloof, to give us a sense of perspective on our hurt. There could conceivably be times when we  need the jurist, who tells us exactly what we did wrong (if anything) that got us into the pit, and MAYBE even instructs us how to get out.

 
But the empath will mourn with you when you mourn. The empath’s cheeks will burn when you are humiliated, and the empath’s heart will beat faster when you are afraid.
The empath will climb right into the ooze next to you and sob along.

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I could always, from the time I learned to read, put myself into a character’s shoes. Shoes? No, I climbed into the character’s skin and walked around in it. If I were a more open child and had shared these tendencies with my parents, they might have been able to act as aloof, or even a jurists, and convince me that too much empathy is too much. By the time I was about seven the damage was complete. There was no going back.

 
That year, our family stood on the sidewalk in our little town, cheering as a parade went by. I think candy was thrown. (I wouldn’t have cheered as much otherwise.) When I heard jeers of some rascally-types up the street, I raised my eyes from the Bazooka Bubble Gum piece at my feet, and met those of a truck driver. He and his truck had somehow gotten caught up in the middle of the parade. All thoughts of that hard brick of pink adhesive wrapped in an incomprehensible comic disappeared. My heart and soul flew into the truck with the man. I was experiencing the humiliation from the jeering children. I was aching for the moment I could break free from the parade, park my truck on a private, tree-lined street, and salve my wounded spirit. The rest of the parade was spoiled for me. I was one with that miserable driver.

 
It wasn’t till decades later—I’m embarrassed to tell you how many—that I could call up that painfully vivid memory. And realize with a shock that the truck driver wasn’t humiliated or scarred or crushed in spirit. He was bored and had a route to finish and just wanted to get out of that treacle-slow speed of a small town parade.

 
And that is the problem with empaths. We might feel your pain. But some of us (I hope I am not the only -nth degree empath out there) will add more pain to what we think you are feeling. We might project, on you, our own perceptions of what we think your emotional state to be. We may assume you are reacting as we think we would. A seven-year-old should never suppose that she is simpatico with a middle-aged truck driver.

 
Us -nth degree empaths might be feeling your assumed pain long after you have moved on to a place of peace, contentment and even happiness. We may picture you in the Slough of Despond when you are actually only splashing your way through a mud puddle, regretting nothing but your dirty hem. We can be found weeping with you even while your joy is coming in the morning.

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The life of an empath is a tough one. Our emotions are constantly roiling around inside, looking for more tribulation and anguish to weep over. Sometimes we can be the most frustrating of friends.

 

 
But when you are in that pit, and the jurist has pronounced judgement and walked on, the aloof is peering over the edge wondering how you got there and how you’ll get out, and the shoulder of the sympathizer is too far to reach, wait for the splash. The empath has jumped in with you, and might even stay there after you’ve climbed out.

Version 3

A Wednesday Recipe from the Tuesday Prude

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This recipe might be all over Pinterest. But no one has shared it on Facebook with me yet.
If no one has shared it with you, let me be the first.
Please.
I’m never first.

It’s been languishing in a stack of old Macmillan activity packs I used with my boys in the mid-1990’s. None of them remembers me making this and I sure don’t. If I had, the recipe would have landed in my cherished recipe box Middle Son made for me when he was about 8.

My grandsons had them at Granny’s Preschool last week. Had them? They inhaled them. These pancakes (oh hey—this is the first I’ve mentioned what they are, isn’t it?) were in their tummies before I could cut them in tidy little squares.

After a glorious repeat performance this evening for Husband and Youngest Son, I realized they are too good to keep to myself. Without further ado, I give you:

Autumn Apple Cakes

2 apples, chopped fine (We cut them into reasonable, manly chunks)
2 cups pancake mix. Bisquick worked fine.
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
cooking oil

Mix all ingredients except oil until smooth.

Heat a skillet to about 325 degrees. Or whatever is your favorite pancake temp. Mine is “pretty hot but not smokin’ hot.”

Coat the surface with about a teaspoon of oil.

Drop batter onto hot frying pan (I’m going to call it a griddle from here on out. And the pancakes just became flapjacks. I’m feeling mighty autumn-y and yesteryear all of a sudden.)

The recipe says 2 tablespoons batter for each flapjack. I probably used about a third of a cup.

Fry till golden brown and turn. Ever notice how the first side of a flapjack takes almost a millennium to brown and side #2 is char in half an eye-blink?

Oil the griddle again and repeat.

The recipe make about 12 good size pancakes from this. Recipe says 25 if you follow directions. (Seriously. What are directions for if not to flout?)
We did top with butter and maple syrup, but Macmillan tells you to serve with applesauce. We like a little contrast, ourselves.

If you make them, let me know what you think, could you? I don’t always trust my taste buds. After all, I like Miracle Whip.

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No name is credited on the recipe but it is from a Macmillan Seasonal Activity Pack from 1996.

You’re not doing it right

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Ever hear of Bulletproof coffee? My boys introduced me. Start with rich, dark coffee, add approximately equal parts of coconut oil and butter, blend really REALLY well (trust me on this) and enjoy. Sound simple?
Forget it.
If you follow my directions, you’re not doing it right.

DOING IT RIGHT? HA!
Notice my instructions were vague? Dark, rich coffee. Forget about it. To do it right, according various online sites, you can’t just use the brand you bought on sale at the supermarket. Nope. Fairtrade, organic, low-toxin beans are the way to go.
Use $1.99/pound butter? Are you KIDDING ME? Grass fed all the way, baby. Unsalted.
Make sure to buy the coconut oil that boosts your brain power. I forget what it’s called.

 

Please hop on over to Heart”wings” via the link below to read the rest of the story!

http://www.heartwingsblog.com/2018/07/youre-not-doing-it-right/#comment-11154

#youtoo

#youtoo

You must have heard of this one. It’s more extensive than the #metoo campaign. #youtoo transcends race and gender and political parties. It’s in history books and news, both fake and not-quite-fake. It positively blankets social media. We don’t necessarily brag about it, but goodness gracious. We sure do practice it.

We’ve been adherents since we were children. The first time I remember engaging in #youtoo, I was about 4.
That rude gesture—the sticking out of the tongue, sometimes accompanied by a “NYA-nya” sound (difficult to articulate perfectly while the lips were occupied with keeping the tongue extended)—was strictly forbidden.
In case you got lost in the syntax of the previous sentence—I was ordered to NEVER stick out my tongue.

Then my cousin came to visit. My older, cleverer, mischievous cousin. She drove me to distraction one day by being older and cleverer. And more mischievous. So I chased her around the house.
She beat me to her car, leapt in, locked the doors and stuck out her tongue.
AhHA! An unwritten rule in my code of conduct was that when an older cousin disobeyed any commandment, all bets were off.
The command was null and void.

I stuck my tongue out at her.
Whereupon she promptly shouted with glee. I heard her through the closed window and knew that somehow something had gone wrong.

“I’m telling! You stuck out your tongue!”

I couldn’t deny it. But there was that null-and-void addendum.
“You did too! You stuck yours out first!”

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“No I didn’t! I pulled my bottom lip down and stuck it on the window!” She demonstrated. It did sort of resemble a stuck-out tongue. She was fairly dancing with delight as she exited the car to head for the nearest authority figure.

Cousin could have been pulling my leg. It still is a leg undeniably easy to pull. But all I remember was the dread knowledge that now I was in for it. How to explain YOU TOO to the first authority figure on the scene?
YOU TOO=any infraction of any rule is sanctioned when someone else of equal or greater stature does the infraction also. Try explaining that with a 4 year old’s vocabulary.

4 year olds still practice YOU TOO. So do 40 year old politicians and 400 year old nations.
We may not say harsh words in the course of an argument. Unless someone else says them.
We cheat on income tax because everyone else does.
We don’t declare war. Unless someone else does. Or at least does something warlike.
“You started it!”

#youtoo has always been around. Look at Adam and Eve, for goodness sake.

Instead of comparing our own rule-breaking, our own infractions of codes, our own sin, against the righteousness of God, we compare to others. If they are doing it too, we might not be any better than them, but at least we are no worse.

Dear Lord. We are sowing the wind with our devilry and reaping the whirlwind of compounded evil. All because of “You too!”

“Conservatives, you are cruel to immigrants.”
“But liberals, we have proof that your politicians are too.”

“Democrats, you support killing innocent children. Look at abortion.”
“Republicans, you support killing innocent children. Look at your illegal wars.”

“Women, you are demanding rights based solely on your gender.”
“Give us a break, men! You think you don’t do the same thing?”

Europe accuses the U.S. of discriminatory practices against minorities and the U.S. can point to a thousand years of mistreatment against the Romani people.
The United States North snips at the United States South about various procedures and policies and prejudices and the South, with good cause, can point out plenty of examples where the North does the same thing, just dressed up differently.

And nobody changes and nothing gets better because as long as someone of equal or greater stature is doing something similar, we don’t have to quit.

The world points at Christians for hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness and ignorance and Christians point back and—
Whoa. Wait a minute. This is where it has to stop.
Christians, of all people, are the ones who cannot point the finger and say “YOU TOO!”
The only standard to compare ourselves with is the one our God has set for us.
When someone else breaks a rule, that rule isn’t null and void for us.

We’re different, my brothers and sisters.
We can’t use anyone else’s sins to justify our own.
Instead, let’s take a giant step back from #youtoo.
Maybe, at least in the household of faith, it will go the way of #Jeb!2016 or #travelingpantsuit.

 

Combo Plate

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Something good, linked via “and” with something else good, becomes twice as nice.
Love and marriage, bacon and eggs, buttons and bows, Mickey and Minnie.
A lot of my favorite things double their pleasantness when I join them.
I started a list of some favorite combos, old and new. (The new haven’t replaced the old. Just joined them to make an even more superior combo.)

Favorite Combos by the Prude

Quote and the reason
New: “I have made this letter longer than usual only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” (Blaise Pascal)
And I am always in a frenzy of word-cutting to get my manuscripts pared down to the required length.
Old: “Be not the first by whom the new is tried nor the last by whom the old is laid aside” (My father quoting his father quoting someone else.)
And it kept me from being trendy, gave me a horror of group-think, and helped me fight an inborn tendency to stodginess.

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Dad, trying a new combo of his own

Beverage and concurrent activity while imbibing
New: Bulletproof coffee and watching local news
Old (very old. 1970’s old) Diet Dr. Pepper and sunbathing

Author and character
New: Patricia Wentworth and Miss Maud Silver
Old: Josephine Tey and Inspector Grant

Color combination
New: Sage and red
Old: Sunshine yellow and cobalt blue

Sacred song and place to sing it
New: “Merciful God”* and a worship service with my brothers and sisters
Old: “How Great Thou Art”** and a country road, walking, as a melancholy teen. Feeling all nature-y.

Word & its association
New: Hiraeth—A nameless longing and homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or that never was. And the longing for a Home that we’ve never seen.
Old: Serendipity—A happy accident. And my dad explaining the meaning.

Entertainment and simultaneous drudgery task
New: Old B&W Falcon or Charlie Chan detective movies and ironing.
Old: “A Christmas Carol” (1938 or 1951 versions) at midnight and wrapping Christmas gifts.

Flowers
New: Any color and any other color as long as it results in a riot of color
Old:  Wild chicory and Queen Anne’s LaceSONY DSC

Scents
New: Balsam and Cedar
Old: Pumpkin and Spice

Flavor
New: Dark chocolate caramel and sea salt
Old: Clotted cream and jam

Food
New: Naked cheese curds and ranch dip (Wisconsin is basically bathed in ranch dip)
Old: Chili and cold white milk

Poem and location to read/recite it
New: “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
and sitting on the patio just after sunset when it is still light enough to read. With feet propped up on the sandbox.SONY DSC
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Old: “Irish Peasant Song” by Louise Imogen Guiney and walking along country roads being melancholy. (no car as a teenager meant my pensive self was resigned to moody trudges along country roads.)

Version 2

This is it. The road I walked along as a melancholy teen, reciting poetry and singing hymns. Sort of the opposite of Betty and Veronica

I try to knead and spin, but my life is low the while/ Oh, I long to be alone, and walk abroad a mile;/ Yet if I walk alone, and think of naught at all/ 
Why from me that’s young should the wild tears fall?



The shower-sodden earth, the earth-colored streams/  
They breathe on me awake, and moan to me in dreams/ 
And yonder ivy fondling the broke castle-wall/ 
It pulls upon my heart till the wild tears fall.

The cabin-door looks down a furze-lighted hill/ 
And far as Leighlin Cross the fields are green and still/  
But once I hear the blackbird in Leighlin hedges call/  
The foolishness is on me, and the wild tears fall!

There you go. Some of my favorite combo plates. Got any others you can share?

*Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend

**Carl Boberg