Wednesday, March 31, 2010

See What I Came A-Cross?

Shopping in the bakery section of the grocery store today, I spotted these. I wonder how many of you know what they are? Hot Cross Buns! Hot Cross Buns are mostly seen and eaten at Easter time. The cross on them is a symbol of the crucifiction. Have you ever eaten one? There is much folklore about them. It is said if you give a piece to an ill person, it will help them recover. Sharing one with someone else is supposed to ensure your friendship for the coming year. While the two friends eat it, they say "Half for you and half for me, between us two goodwill shall be." They are said to protect against shipwreck on a sea voyage, and if hung in the kitchen, will protect against fire and help all the bread turn out perfectly. This is Maundy Thursday, the day to commemorate Christ's last supper and what took place there. The word Maundy comes from the Latin "mandatum", meaning command. This comes from John 13:34 "A new commandment I give unto you." One of the things done at the last supper was washing of feet, so some churches will do this at this time. It is to symbolize humility and servanthood. Being Mennonite, not one of the so called "high churches", our church does not have a Maundy Thursday service. But most Mennonites DO have foot washing regularly. Our church does this at least once a year during a communion service. The men and women go into different rooms for this, and it is optional. On my next post, I'll show you a fun, colorful and surprising symbol of Good Friday.

"It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave tis world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love." John 13:1

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Living In The Past

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything -the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and it's desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15,17

Do you ever wish you could stop time, or turn it back? Well, here are a people who have actually done that. I took these pictures in Harrisonburg, a city about a half hour drive away. They are things we see on a typical trip there. Harrisonburg is home to a large population of Amish. The plain building in the first picture is an Amish church. The next picture is the church parking lot, full of hitching posts for the horses. They are an amazing people, full of fortitude and unending forgiveness. When Amish children were shot and killed in school a few years back, the Amish parents actually went to the shooter's family, held and comforted them, and went to the shooter's funeral. Do you think living in the past is a good way to witness? Jesus went to parties and hung out with tax collectors. He traveled and mingled. We are supposed to be a light in this world, but can we do that if we are cloistered and separated? They certainly did that with the example of the school shootings. They live this way to be a people set apart. Are there other ways we can be set apart, yet continue to do the work of God? Does it need to be all or nothing at all? I think we can be a powerful force for God, and still continue to live in the present.

"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it's own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." John 15:19

Monday, March 29, 2010

Out Of This World

The Worldly hope men set their hearts upon
Turns ashes-or it prospers; and anon,
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face
Lighting a little hour or two-is gone. Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam

Don't these three girls look like hip, with it, cool chicks? The play we went to last night was set in the 50's, and these actresses played the sassy gals who hung out at Skid Row Florist. They kindly struck a pose for me after the play, even patiently waiting as my camera messed up the first picture. My father-in-law would have said that these girls were way too WORLDLY. You see, he was an extremly conservative Mennonite preacher. No T.V.'s, no radio, no reading the comics in the papers. And certainly NO plays. He did not want his family going to any organized entertainment of any kind. The kids could not go to the go cart races, nor to gym, or any of the sport events at school. Not even band. All too worldy. This is a picture of Phil's parents with three of the children. It's about as far away from my first picture as you can get. But one day, when daddy was away preaching, mom decided to attend a play at the high school, and take her son with her. That would be my husband. I think she was a bit more more fun loving than his dad. Off they went, and both enjoyed it. But when dad got home and found out, he was NOT happy. The bible speaks many times of not being of this world, being set apart, so I'm not saying this was really a bad thing, as Phil and his five siblings have turned out really well. Not one of the six has ever gone astray or gotten into any serious trouble, and all are Christains. You can't argue with results. Tomorrow I'll show you some people who are REALLY set apart.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." 1 Co. 3:19

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Phil and I haven't been to a play in about 25years, but today we went to one at a local high school. A student who is a friend of ours had designed the sets. The play was "Little Shop Of Horrors". This was a movie and a play way back when. It's a campy, funny, science fiction romance. You get your money's worth with some of everything. For those of you not familiar with the story, it's set in a florist's shop where a plant has to have blood and human bodies in order to thrive and grow. And grow it does. This particular play is not one I would have chosen to go to, but I would have been wrong. It was delightful and wonderful, the best play I've seen. The songs were great, I'm still wondering how the students memorized all the lyrics plus lines. I can't even remember to take food out of the oven or take the laundry out of the machine. Ah, youth! I did not see one mistake, and they were truly in character and amazing. The last picture is of our friend, Melinda, who designed and painted the sets. There was a standing ovation given at the end, and well deserved. I think God likes it when we clap our hands for Him, and fold them in prayer. He deserves not only a standing ovation, but our lives dedicated to him in thanks.

"Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity." Psalm 98:8,9

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Welcome To The Fairy Princess Tea Party!

If you can see with a child's eye, there is a world full of color, joy, and wonder to be seen. The fairy realm reminds us to keep this joy and creativity alive. Ever flower, leaf, and blade of grass has a story to tell. Streams sing and the winds whisper ancient secrets into the ears of those who will listen - Unknown

Today our granddaughter turned four years old. Yesterday's post was about our private celebration for her with a mermaid theme. Today was her fairy princess tea party with all her little friends. Isn't the fairy princess house birthday cake cute? My daughter-in-law made most of it. There was lots of dancing and twirling, yummy food, and hugs. The last picture is a happy mommy and daddy (our son and daughter-in-law). Fairies are a race of small magical beings endowed with powers of magic and enchantment. They are invisible to most of us, but some have the gift to see, and some say that animals can also see them. Belief in fairies has existed from the earliest times. There are butterfly fairies, cloud fairies, Dryads (tree spirits), and flower fairies. Do they ever have parties and do they eat? Woodland fairies eat the nectar of flowers and drink the early morning dew.

"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily." Hosea 14:4,5

Friday, March 26, 2010

Our Little Mermaid

I grow old...I grow old...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing,each to each.
I do not think they will sing for me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the waves white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
From "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock"- T.S. Eliot

This is one of my favorite poems, and now I have an excuse to print an exerpt from it, because this post is about mermaids. This weekend is our granddaughter Anne Marie's birthday. Tomorrow is her party with her little friends, and tonight we celebrated with her at our house. Our own little grandparents party. I often call her My Little Mermaid, because she loves the water and is so fearless she'll walk right into a big wave, be knocked over, and won't care. This year she wanted a mermaid doll for her birthday. But there were so many in the store that all did different things. What's a grandparent to do? Get her three different ones, of course! The word mermaid is a compound of mere, the old english word for sea, and maid, a woman. Mermaids sometimes sing to people to distract them from their work, and can also carry humans down to their underwater kingdoms. In British folklore, they are unlucky omens, both predicting disaster and provoking it. To this day, there are reports of mermaid sightings.
They seem to be timeless. Oh, and one other thing. Some people say that mermaids have immortal souls.

"This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Tim. 1:10

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Golden Slumbers

"Visions for those too tired to sleep, these seeds cast a film over eyes which weep." Amy Lowell

"Bring poppies for a weary mind that saddens in a senseless din." William Winter

Behold the extremly rare Himalayan Blue Poppy. See a fable, a myth, a dream. On display for a very short while in Pennsylvania. This is what I saw in the paper today, and I had to snap it to show you. It is the national flower of Bhutan, and considered magical, perhaps the rarest flower in the world. In 1922, an expedition discovered it while trying to reach the top of Mt. Everest. They are so hard to grow and so few exist that they have become fabled. Poppies have long been a symbol of sleep and death, partly because of the opium extracted from them. The poppy is one of the most important medicinal flowers, because Morphine and Codeine are made from it. Poppies have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back 3,000 years. There was even a prescription given to children for poppies to stop them from crying. Remember the magical poppy field in The Wizard Of Oz that almost succeded in diverting Dorothy and her friends from their goal? Sleep can be good or bad. In that case, it was bad. It seems that most people have some kind of sleep problems, doesn't it? Not enough, apnea, nightmares, night terrors, etc. When King David slept well, it wasn't from poppies.

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Oh Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Democracy In Action

"When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." 1 Peter 2:23

What are your thoughts on the new Health Care Plan that is being passed into law? Whatever side you are on, you will still remain my blogging friends! See Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in the first picture, giving a press conference today. Why is he looking so serious and sad? He is telling the media that members of congress who supported the new health care plan have been recieving threats, even death threats. One has had a brick thrown through her office window. Va. Congressman Tom Perreillo's brother had his gas line severed. The vandal thought it was the congressman's house, but accidentally got his brother's, instead. These people are so mad and agitated that they're even messing up their own plans of vengence. Some congressional members have even gotten threats in person! This is just amazing to me. Have these people all gone mad? Democracy is all about having passionate debates and stating your beliefs without fear of being hurt. It's about fair voting, and the most votes win. We may not like the outcome, but the majority rules. Better luck next time. Now the Capital Police are involved and ten members of Congress are under security protection. These trouble makers need to settle down, calm down, and take a deep breath. It's ironic to me that someone who cares so much about health care would want to make so many people in need of it.

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." James 3:17,18

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Elephants On The Hill

These are the elephants on the hill. Mark Cline, the local artist who created the hot dog man from yesterday's post, made them last year. My husband took little Ella up the hill to see them. Being afraid of heights and having a bad knee, I stayed at the bottom and snapped them with a long zoom. You can see our red car and the view of the city down below. One elephant has a man riding it. This is Hannibal, the historical military commander who marched across the Alps to the homeland of the Romans with 37 elephants. Why? An elephant was the ancient equivilant of a tank, and could cause great destruction with their tusks and trampling opponents. Their smell and noise scared the men and horses. There were no elephants anywhere around that area, and to this day, no one knows where Hannibal got the elephants. It is one of the great mysteries of history. Down in the city, we could look up, see those elephants, and smile. They were whimsical and wonderful, something that gave our small city interest and color. There were favorable comments from as far away as Germany. But in our midst were people who would ruin it all. A small group of townspeople complained and wanted them removed. The town was divided into two groups: for or against the elephants. The small group of nay-sayers won, and the elephants were taken down and driven away. The picture in the paper was a sad one, because in order to transport them, the artist had to cut their heads off. There are always people who want to spoil things for others. I feel sad for these people, because it seems they don't know how to get any joy from life. Their misplaced joy is trying to control and conform others. But the elephants live on in these pictures and in the minds of many, and will live to be gazed upon again in a place where they are more welcome.
"Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they want to make other people miserable, too. But it never helps." Lemony Snicket

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe..."Philippians 2:14

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hot Diggety Dog!

Do you like hot dogs? Then welcome to the newly opened Boardwalk Cafe. I snapped these pics when we passed it this weekend, then saw it in the local paper. Our little three year old friend Ella saw it in the paper, too. You can see her here really laughing after looking at it. Well, the artist did say that he wanted this hot dog to appeal to kids. After seeing the hot dog man, I asked Ella if she liked hot dogs, and here's what she said "Sometimes we eat hot dogs, but they don't have eyes." Local quirky artist Mark Cline was commisioned to make this funny hot dog to draw attention to the new eatery. Mark has really made a name for himself with his wild sculptures. He's making a 30 foot octopus for a New Jersey park, and a whole Zombietown in Virginia Beach. It took him two weeks to make this dog out of styrofoam and fiberglass. They are having a contest to name it. Any ideas? Mr. Cline says that he makes these things because they will live on after him, and are "a form of immortality." I suppose that's why vampire shows and books are now more popular than ever, because they are immortal, never dying...But I have news for Mr. Cline and all the vampires out there. This whole world and everything in it will not be around forever and will all come to an end at some point. But there's still a way to be immortal., though not by what we make, but by what we do.

"In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality." Pro. 12:28
"To those who by persistance in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." Romans 2:7,8

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Bluebird Of Happiness

My birthday and my friend's birthday are only about two weeks apart, and tonight we finally got together. One of her gifts to me really surprised and touched me. It's this beautiful hand blown glass bluebird. It's a collectable, hand signed and dated. It's supposed to be tradition that a bluebird close by will bless you with good health and happiness. But here's one thing that my friend didn't know. Though the Bluebird Of Happiness is very elusive, I've had it for quite some time. She gave it to me when she became my friend, and she didn't even know it. She is a spunky cancer survivor who is up for almost anything, the stranger the better, and we have shared many hilarious and oddball adventures together. But it's just as much fun talking with her, which we often do for hours. She is a free spirit, indeed. Though sometimes we go for one or even two weeks being too busy to talk, we both know that we are there for each other. So every time I think of her, I smile. As I will whenever I see this little bird.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Fredrick Keonig

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rubies In The Snow

"Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." Proverbs 8:10,11

Friday, March 19, 2010

Attack Of The Mailbox Lobster Part ll

I have done a post on this mailbox lobster in the past. But we just drove by it again, and it tickles me so much that I had to snap a new picture and do a second post. It resides in the very tiny town of Ivy, Virginia. It's sitting right on a busy highway. In an earlier post, I said that I don't eat lobster, shrimp or crabs. I don't enjoy eating creatures whose eyeballs are on stalks. Also, did you know that lobsters are more closely related to insects than to animals? They are part of the anthropod group, which includes spiders, centipedes, shrimp, and crabs. To me, crustaceons are the spiders of the sea. Lobsters live a very long time, indeed. Perhaps even to 100 years! Long ago, they were so plentiful that Native Americans used them as fertilizer. And in colonial times, they were huge, said to grow to five feet or more. Back then, they were considered poverty food, served to prisoners and indentured servants. In Massachusets, some servants rebelled, and had it put it into their contracts that they wouldn't be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week! And we thought Oliver Twist had it hard! So If you're ever passing the town of Ivy, be very careful indeed, because those claws were made for pinchin'.

"Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales-whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water-you are to detest. And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses." Lev, 11:9,12


 On the outskirts of town, we happened to pass this building. It used to be a gas station. But what a difference now! What was going on? One...