Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Ridvan Garden

April 20, 2015

On this very night

they sang and prayed,

drank tea with Him, in the Ridvan garden,

Roses piled so high between,

they could not see each other over them,

their fragrant perfume filled the air,

but His presence is what kept them there,

Though strong winds blew about their tent,

Nightingales sang with joy content,

With humbleness, He served their needs,

while pondering what was decreed,

Banished forever from their midst,

and yet, He gave to them a gift,

The people cried, God’s will be done!

He is here with us, the Promised One!

For ages to come, they will celebrate

this great Announcement, this very date,

Rose petals leave our hearts undone,

O Blessed Beauty, the Promised One.

                     on the first day of Ridvan, April 21, 2015      heart

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New Year’s eve and 60 years

December 31, 2013

It is New Year’s eve on my 60th year, and you would think I have something to say. By the time you live on this earth for 60 years, you realize that nothing you say will be particularly life changing for anyone else. Each one of us has to live our life, through trials and suffering, celebrations and triumphs. We each come to truth in our own way. Some of us give up along the way, Some decide to persevere.

 

At 60 years, I realize my biggest accomplishments are already done. I birthed 4 children, 2 in the hospital and 2 at home with a midwife and helpers, my husband always at my side. I had one miscarriage between child no.3 and no.4. We took 2 other teenager temporarily into our home, at different times, for about a year & 1/2 each. We now have 5 grandchildren, 4 boys & 1 girl; and 4 step-grandsons. These are always and forever, my biggest accomplishments in life, and being with any of them at any time, brings me the greatest joy.

 

I assisted a mother and brother through their last week of life, both times happening through life circumstance, nothing I really planned. I was with my mother when my father died in the hospital, when I was 16 years old, and we cried together for an eternity before returning home to tell my siblings.

 

In my life, I have held few jobs, though I have worked for most of my life. My first job was to be the hat check girl at the roller rink, checking coats and handing out skates, all while on skates myself. That was at age 15. Since then, I have worked Mr. Donut, Ponderosa steakhouse, Waffle House, Kings Food Host, and Panky’s restaurant from which I got fired. I worked at Ball State Library and then Purdue Libraries for 16 years, enough to get a small retirement check for the rest of my life. At PU Libraries I was a clerk, filing cards in the card catalog, checking in and binding periodicals and later mastering research on the computer to the point where I quit my job and returned to graduate school, eventually earning a PhD at age 55. This was another big accomplishment in my life. It has inspired my kids, other women and friends more than I ever imagined. I became a professor of sociology, and a good one. My other job was being a stay-at-home mom for 11 years, which was the best of times. I reached a point where I needed to be out with other adults, but still wouldn’t have done it had we not needed the money.

 

I have also remained married to the same man for 42 years. This is an amazing accomplishment but one I can offer little advice about. It takes 2 people, forever continually coming back together and making the marriage work, for this to happen. You can only control 1/2 of that partnership. Sometimes he did better at this and sometimes I did. But we always came back to the center.

 

At age 60 I will say that our focus now has to be health. For reasons of self preservation, if we don’t do it now, it’s not going to be good. We have to lose weight, find a way to do some exercise regularly, and eat healthy. We are playing with fate and it’s all a matter of time now. The more we fight, the longer we live, and that’s the reality.

 

At age 60 I have learned that you can live through almost anything if you decide to. Sleep is the greatest healer. If today feels terrible, go to bed. Things nearly always feel better in the morning. Make a plan for your next step, anything, just one thing. Do it and make another. Just move forward and things tend to open up or work out. Have faith. Trust in God and go forward. Sometimes that is all you can do. Do some service, something nice for someone else. We are all connected.

 

On this night, I remember nights as a child, staying up late and running outside to bang pans loudly and shout to the neighbors, at midnight. When our kids were little, many games of Uno and Trivial pursuit, and many movies with people sprawled all over the living room, snacks being available. Tonight, our kids live in 4 different states from us, and we are alone. Tomorrow I put a small corned beef & cabbage in the crockpot just for the 2 of us. How very strange. Happy New Year.

fireworks

what Martin Luther King Day means to me

January 19, 2013

What MLK Day means to me

A day to remember all the sacrifices that have been made by those who have paved the way before us,
A day to go back once again and listen to the voice of one of the greatest speakers and motivators toward peace and brotherhood for all of America, that we have ever known,
A day to ponder how we are living our lives and what efforts toward making a difference we are involved in,
A day to rededicate ourselves to the cause of creating a more just society,
A day to remember the struggle it has taken to get here, the ferocity of hatred and the entrenchment of discrimination, that took sacrifice and courage, and for some the loss of their homes or their lives, to overcome,
A day to realize we are still in the fight,
A day of celebration of the oneness of humankind.

poem, Dr. Martin Luther King holiday

January 16, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King holiday

You got no mail today.

Did you notice? Do you know why?

Because this is a National Holiday,

a day set aside

to honor someone

who made a difference.

He was not some rabble-rouser

Tryin’ to stir up folks for no good reason,

He was a preacher of the Word of God,

which is where he found his strength to go on,

Because when God gets behind you,

It doesn’t matter who is in front of you

Calling you names,

Spreading hate like wildfire,

Bombing your homes

threatening your family,

Because that is what he faced,

Not in ancient times –

though it may feel that way

If you are 21,

But 50 years ago,

in my childhood,

In the days of MY lifetime.

He was a gifted speaker,

who could inspire crowds

And uplift hearts,

like no one you’ve ever heard,

He inspired collective ACTION

through non-violent means,

inspired those who had no hope left

inspired politicians to change their laws

to DO SOME WALKING to go along with their TALKING

about equal opportunity.

He wrote a letter from the Birmingham jail,

to his fellow ministers, and asked,

Was this not America – home of the brave, land of the FREE?

What would it take to bring about EQUALITY?

But 50 years later,

A man looks at me,

In a business in the rural south,

and asks me, “What was the attraction?”

When I spoke of the service today,

when I joked about spending 3 ½ hours in CHURCH,

listening to speakers and choirs sing,

celebrating this man.

“What was the attraction?”

And I don’t know what to say, except,

“This is a NATIONAL HOLIDAY!”

This was a man courageous enough

to stand up for justice

In the face of death,

To face hatred

With never ending love,

To face bombings of churches and his home,

With a dream of a better America,

And I want to say, “Where were you?”

Because there were hundreds in that church today,

and where ARE we today – exactly?

Because today was a NATIONAL holiday,

And we have much work left to do,

because … “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence . . . in a descending spiral of destruction…

The chain reaction of evil . . . must be broken, or we will shall plunge into the dark abyss of annihilation…” 1

 

and “When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response . . . I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life . . .” 2

and “Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.” 3

 

1,2,3  quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King

new year’s eve post 2011

December 31, 2011

New Year’s eve 2011. The eve of a new year in my life. What will it bring?

First of all, wordpress thinks it is bringing snow, as it has snow coming down in the background as I write this. That CERTAINLY is not true. Just took a mile or so walk, w/ a hooded sweatshirt on, unzipped, and almost had to remove it. The sun was out most of the day, an absolutely lovely day.

Hopefully this new year will first of all bring my husband a job. Unemployed for 7 mos. now and no unemployment check. He is owed an unemployment check but will never get it. This was explained in a past post.

My life has become very simple. We have what we have for money, & that’s it. The only thing we have to decide is, how to juggle the bills to not get sued or attacked, and keep the lights, water and Internet on. The TV is gone– have lived w/o it now for a few months. Our phones have to stay on. Even those I would get rid of, but the companies have you in some assenine contract for 2 years, and you CAN’T turn them off!! You can turn off 1 line for 3 mos., & then they turn it back on.

As we go through this hard time again, I am amazed how cruel a society we live in. Absolutely cruel. People want to blame everyone else at the bottom besides those at the top making these decisions to keep the rest of us groveling for a decent place to live, a car to drive to our jobs in, and enough food to eat. It is just ridiculous.

The hardest thing for me, is to just wait. Wait and wait some more. Wait past the time you thought you couldn’t wait any longer. You have no choice, really, there is nothing else to do except possibly make a huge change and move back to the land of industry, where my husband COULD at least have a JOB. But we have friends here, we love our community, & we promised the Fedl govt. we’d live in this house at least another year, or we owe the President his kick back money. Don’t want to be in that situation. We can’t afford it.

So my life is simple. I don’t even consider Starbucks anymore, it’s 1/2 hour away. Have grown used to making my own coffee every single day. We eat simply. We have eggs, toast, cereal, or oatmeal every morning, a salad for lunch, and one actual meal per day. The night meal includes meat, usually potatoes and onions, and some sort of vegetable. Nothing elaborate. Same every day. We find ourselves buying occasional candy bars or cokes, because of the craving for sweets, and just something a little bit FUN. OH BOY! We don’t go out to movies, don’t go out to eat, don’t even go into town really because we have to save the gas money. Certainly did not make it home to Indiana this holiday season!

Take a 3-mi walk as often as possible, watch a few tv shows days after they’re on real tv, on our computer, a few movies, play games on computer, read, go see friends, for “entertainment”. It’s an exciting life.

This break for me has been an organization break. I went thru stuff in our garage once again, made a list of everything we own for will purposes, organized my children’s class stuff again for whenever it will be used, read one children’s book I’d never read before. In this next week, I hope to finish major work on a journal article for publication; get my syllabi done; go in to another school where I’m teaching a class part-time for extra money this Spring; work on family history a little; read my text books;

and be thankful. Thankful for my kids, my 4 grandkids and 1 new one on the way. Thankful for my husband & friend & our time together. Thankful for faith which brings hope. Hope is about the most important thing I could wish for everyone this new year. There is always hope.

We have a small pork roast in the crockpot which I bought on sale tonight, and which will be ready late this evening while we watch movies together…. that’s nice and cozy.

Sitting Bull: a true American hero

November 20, 2010

a true American hero: Sitting Bull

I am astounded and angered at Fox News’ recent denigration of the choice of our President to include Sitting Bull in a children’s book of American heroes. Evidently, Fox news wants to brand Sitting Bull, one of the greatest Indian chiefs of all time, as “someone who killed a US general”. All I have to say is: MY GOD. Are we going to rewrite textbooks and burn other books that told the tru(er) story of what we really did to the Indian people in America? Really? Are we going to turn into a fascist state so we can feel good about how Sitting Bull died? Are we going to shame ourselves by once again denigrating his memory– one of the greatest leaders of the Indian people of all time, and one who still is considered a spiritual leader among Indian peoples? Wow. I thought we were beyond this reality, but we are not. Below are some comments I wrote while this realization fell upon me:

Sitting Bull is the Indian chief of all Indian leaders. He has always been my favorite Indian leader since I read a number of books, in my 40s, about Native Americans and their history in the US. He was the last to bring in his starving, freezing people to a reservation before they all died. He had taken them up into Canada at the last. He was a true leader, really a spiritual leader to his people. After coming in, there was a brief skirmish while they were all lined up in front of cavalry who stood over them with guns on the reservation, a shot was fired, and Sitting Bull finally died, an old man in captivity, gunned down while standing there unarmed.
 
What astounds me about news like this is the realization that people’s hate and lust for power could, even in 2010, lead to history books being rewritten, great heroes becoming known to children as someone who “killed a US general”. Amazing. I really thought we were beyond that, but we are not. Living through the 70s when we had a new rash of “cowboy & Indian” movies where they tried to show the history from the Indian viewpoint, I find it astounding that we could once again go backwards away from this realization. Some of those movies were:
Little Big Man
A Man Called Horse
Return of a Man called Horse
Soldier Blue

what was the recent one about the Indian in the army who helped raise the US flag in WWII and they became heroes? He died a drunk. That film showed prejudice and ignorance about Indian people during the 40s-50s. I’ve shown a number of films in my classes, documentaries. Some of those are:
Matters of Race: We’re Still Here
Spirit of the Dawn

Books I read, on my own, as an adult:
Black Elk Speaks
The Life of Sitting Bull
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

and others…….
 
Who do these people think they are? How do they sleep at night? It is well known how US soldiers lined up Indian peoples, took away their guns, then simply gunned down all the men, women and children standing there defenceless. This happened many times. The people who gave these orders were not heroes, they were murderers. Wounded Knee was the last time this happened in a major way. The “Battle” of Wounded Knee was a massacre such as I just described. It was a retaliation on some of those who had beat Custer at Little Big Horn. One Indian group was trying to make it to another group they were going to join with, to escape living on the reservation, I believe. It was families, moving, as nomads, trying to reach another group of tribes. They were detained, weapons taken from them, and then gunned down. This is well documented.

This photo is in the Smithsonian Institution. I wonder if his photo is there because he killed an American general. I think not. I located it on the web connected to this webpage: http://www.pkwy.k12.mo.us/intra/professional/student_work/west_web3/lanceswoundedkneefinal.htm 

This website seems to be an online report from a K12 student. Even this young student knew the real history of Wounded Knee.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving and Christmases past

November 19, 2010

This is a story of Thanksgivings past. The story of life with my parents has sharp dividing lines. The first part is a story of feeling safe, being sheltered from suffering, and living a life based in love. I grew up in upper middle class homes with 2 parents and 3 siblings. There was many a dinner party where my parents entertained friends. These were true friends, not just formal gatherings. My father played dixieland jazz, my sister and I would dance, my mother would serve food and martinis, and my father would sit around enjoying himself, sharing with friends and being with his family. The dividing line is his early death at the age of 50, after which our mother went into a tailspin for a while, was dropped from the elite social circle that was connected to my father’s position at the university, and alcohol became her main companion. She later reformed, recovered, and never went back to her old companion, which was helpful in our having any relationship at all. These periods in my life are: before age 16, age 16 to 32, and then life after age 32 until her passing 22 years later. The following is a segment from before age 16, recalling “Thanksgiving and Christmases past”.

My parents each trained me well and gave me certain lessons in life. Our holidays were filled with delicious home cooked meals, and much spirit. We always made a big deal about decorating the Christmas tree. It was an event we looked forward to. My mother always read us “The night before Christmas” on — the night before Christmas. 🙂  My mother took us to church regularly, usually United Methodist or Presbyterian, depending on where we lived. She grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church. My father was a strong Baptist in his young adulthood and even sang in the church with his parents and some other relatives. But as he aged, he became more and more disenchanted with organized religion. He would go about twice a year, to please my mom. My father taught me a love for education, dedication to his students, a love for life, a commitment to contributing to the advancement of life on earth.
 
Our Christmas holidays were unfortunately, centered around gifts, and we received many. But they were happy times.
 
I used to go to church when none of the rest of my family would go with me. I would also go to a chapel which was to be open for prayers at any time. I always love sitting in a church and looking up at the stained glass windows. In high school, I was president of my church youth group for about 2 years. We organized a “coffee house” for youth, held every Friday night, where we had snacks and dancing. We also met every Wed. night. At a slightly younger age I attended a Presbyterian youth group called “Chi-Ro” where we gathered every Saturday to make crafts together. So my youth is filled with memories of the church as a place to go, where we liked to go. I also have wonderful memories of Christmas caroling, the old fashioned way, where we actually walked around singing carols at people’s houses. We never knew if they would come to the door and acknowledge us, but the joy was in the singing. It was always cold. We usually gathered together at the end for hot chocolate.
 
My father died when I had just turned 16, in August. That December, I organized a Christmas caroling group all by myself, and we went around the neighborhood. I remember there was a dog that followed us and would start howling every time we started singing! It was as if he wanted to be a part of the singing. When we got done that year, I returned home to find some of my relatives from Indiana had driven out to Pennsylvania to spend the holidays with us, as a surprise, since it was the first Christmas without my father.
 
The next few years were more difficult, but I wanted to write my pleasant memories of the holidays. At the end of her life, my mother found her faith once again, and always had a Bible and certain little booklets from a women’s Bible group she would keep in her living room and read from. She returned to her roots, the Dutch Reformed Church, now the Christian Reformed church, and found much solace there. Her faith was childlike and somewhat based in fear: Her best friend, who died before her, told her, “We won’t know each other Marti, We’ll be angels!” She had no concept of life as an angel except perhaps floating around on clouds and singing praises of God. It was a somewhat childlike faith. But she believed.
One of the strongest auditory memories of any Thanksgiving dinner was my grandfather’s voice reciting the Lord’s Prayer. He always said it the same: He bowed his head and devoutly recited it at a speed so fast you could hardly follow the words. It was a lower voice, a respectful, more formal pronunciation of words, but one he memorized and recited at a zooming speed, without stopping to think. This was a man who had to quit school at the 6th grade, in order to work to help support his family. At some point in his life, he memorized this entire prayer.

Nov.14

November 15, 2010

Figured budget, paid bills, payday tomorrow, bought groceries, decided we don’t have the money to go home to Indiana for both Thanksgiving and Xmas. I am very bummed about it. This is the longest we’ve been away from Raven & Caspian, probably ever. It is really difficult not to see them. And they think we are coming. They will have to wait until December. But one main goal for us now is to make our budget work. We have to. And that is a primary responsibility we need to fufill, for ourselves but also for our kids.

We are planning to have a meal w/ the family in Raleigh, which is WONDERFUL, it’s just that we’ve never missed a Thanksgiving “back home”.

Went back to the diabetic cookbook tonight. Neither of us are diabetic but it’s a good diet. made “Hungarian chicken paprikash” which is a fancy name for chicken & noodles with paprika.

My son may take a job in northern North Dakota. Right now their HIGHS are in the 30s and lows in the 9s…. like 9 degrees. They are having light snow every day this week. I would’ve said, “Nope, not that one!” but he wants a job. He will feel really good if he secures this job in his field of journalism. He will write for their local paper and cover all high school sports, for some random middle-to-small size city about an hour from the Canadian border.

I think I have mild depression due to menopause. Not that I’m depressed about MENOPAUSE — I waited for it long enough! But it just goes with the territory. There is no rhyme or reason to it, I’ve just been noticing “it just is”. It’s hard to explain to someone who does not experience such things, like a husband maybe. It may be the highest show of my character to go forward every day, while feeling this way. It is mild, after all, but something that such an outsider may feel “shouldn’t be there” or “should be overcome”. I am different, I like to feel what’s there, embrace it and observe it. But I’m thinking of getting some mild meds, for the 1st time in my life.

Still trying to think of some majorly fun thing to do in class tomorrow….! haven’t hit on anything yet….. Heaven forbid, the last full week of class could be B-O-R-I-N-G…! Aaaah, what a tragedy. Will they survive it?

My children’s class at Grant Homes this week will be about “cleanliness” and I think we’ll try to make soap! Sounds like an adventure. I need to find a little story or children’s book about cleanliness. I’m thinking of bringing a blow-up picture of some lovely germs.

*peace out*

Halloween memories

October 29, 2010

Boo! 

Halloween is kind of a dumb holiday, or a fascinating one. I mean, what is it based on, really? Does anyone know? I think part of the reason it is so popular is that it is just fun. It’s fun to dress up, pretend we’re something other than what we are. It’s fun to play. Adults love it because they rarely take the time to play. Half the fun is dressing up your kids, finding them a new outfit every year.

When I think about it, I cannot remember one cool Halloween outfit I had as a kid. All I know is that my mom would never have made us one! They were always store-bought. And I hated the masks. I might have tried it on for pictures, but it always came off during the walk. The heck with that, you can’t SEE. Or breathe.

I can remember Halloweening in snow. It was rare, but something that happens in the north that never surprises you. It’s just part of life you know you have no control over. Kinda ruined some of the coolest Halloween outfits, but you just put a jacket on underneath the outfit…. But usually, it was just a cool, Fall evening. And I know that my parents did not go with me. We went out with our friends and walked until we were so tired we didn’t care anymore. We went as far as we could. There was always more candy just around the next corner. I think we were given limits of distance and streets, especially when we were very young.

I remember being back home and being scared of the older kids who would come to the door “late at night”.

I have better memories of walking my kids around the neighborhood, and always looking for crappy old clothes we could make an outfit out of, or sometimes going to Goodwill. I was not good at costumes. My kids were usually better at it than me, and the main thing they wanted was candy. We bought store- bought ones sometimes.

There is a funny story of our neighborhood on Perrin Ave. in Lafayette, which all my kids know very well, but I will write it. Walking up to one porch which was all decorated, there was a mummy sitting in a chair. Just as the kids would go to ring the doorbell, the mummy would come alive and say, “YOU WANT SOME CANDY??”  Turns out, it was the man of the house sitting out there. Funniest time was when his daughter came out onto the porch with a phone, “Dad it’s for you! Dad– Dad…”  The mummy then responded very irritated, “I TOLD you not to bother me!”

grandkids

April 6, 2010

There is nothing like being with grandkids and my kids. It makes life worthwhile. Spent a happy weekend up north. Al’s family always has a big easter egg hunt for the kids. They have a lot of cousins and 2nd cousins.

Saw a few good friends as well. Saw a couple bad accidents both on the way up, and on the way back south. If I get stuck in traffic, I always thank God it is not me in that accident stopping traffic, and things are not so bad. One car was absolutely flattened and had knocked down about 100′ of guard rail, then evidently smashed into the mountainside cliff on the side of the road. Maybe they rolled the car, because it was smashed. Probably a fatality or close to it.

Saw stars when driving thru the mountains with no city lights nearby, that I haven’t seen in a long time. Breath-taking view.

Got back to the south and all the purple flowering trees have burst into  bloom everywhere. Gorgeous weather, sunny and in the 80s. Got back at midnight, got to campus this morning by 8:30 & my teaching is already done for the day. Now just grading and catching up. All is well.