Dusting is to Blogs as Chores are to ???

March 15 – Now that the most recent trifecta series of blogs is out there for all to read, I will try to write up another. Whenever I hear younger folks ask older ones to do the jobs waiting to be done, “because I work and have a job, so I just don’t have time,” I wonder about the hours in the day for everyone. Not 24 for one, and only five or six for another! We’re all in the same boat as far as having the same amount of time to work is concerned, and it’s the same the world over.


[ Task: making marmite butter ]

However, I surely am not trying to say that a person who faithfully puts in 40 hours or more each week on his job, has the same spare time (if there is such a thing) as those who are retired. I just want you to think about the time you really do have to choose work or play or fun, or whatever you do to fill your hours.

A good bit of everyone’s day is spent on your choices. How well I remember the many tasks I just HAD to accomplish in a certain number of hours, and then in the few hours that were not spoken for, I could be the boss of that time, deciding what I wanted to do and accomplish. These days are very much the same, actually. Outside of getting the food ready, the clothes washed, doing the dishes (and I don’t even have a dish washer, but Dale is a great dish dryer), keeping things tidied up, and helping with outside jobs from spring through fall, I do not have to report for duty every day.

Now why did I pick that topic to write about here at the end of the week? Maybe I had kind of a guilty conscience as I thought about the fact that Dale takes care of the dusting along with his other “duties,” while I do the washing, etc. as I just mentioned. So that’s why I am mentioning the dusting this morning.


[ Nicely dusted brass pieces ]

We have so many curios, mostly from Africa, and shiny brass animals and other things that really glow in the sun! As they are polished and then returned to the place where they will sit until the next dusting time, it makes a real difference. Since our house is close to the road, the wind blows dust all over the place, and somehow it manages to slip under the outside doors, trying to make me work harder than I choose to. Now sweeping and vacuuming, need to be done, but that dusting is something I really couldn’t say I enjoy doing, until the job is over, and that brass stuff really shines! THEN I’m glad!

But now there’s where some problems might arise. I really do enjoy working every day, but I am the one who chooses how to use those extra hours. And sometimes when I just don’t feel like writing or sorting the files, or keeping in touch with folks, I have a hard time just going on my merry way, because questions like these keep popping into my head: “When are you going to finish the church bulletin? When are you going to write a letter or send a card to Tom or Ben or Susie? Have you answered the cute note you got from one of the church kids? When are you going to write another blog?”


[ African curios ]

Three and a half years ago when our son David suggested that Dale and I write a blog, we agreed, and all went well. But what a change in the number of blogs from the first year to this, the fourth one! In the beginning I had the idea that I had to write a long one just about every day! But that doesn’t always work out for a number of reasons.

Through the years we have cut down, until now we might be writing only once each week. Maybe that’s not good because many of our friends look forward to the blog, and when they don’t have another one to read, they worry that we might be sick! A number of times we have received e-mails or phone calls to make sure we are OK. So just as polished brass is beautiful, so is friendship with so many folks everywhere showing love and kindness to us. If we need help, they are ready to give it, not because they have to, but because they choose to! – CHRIS




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Hugs and Kindness (Part III)

March 12 – (and now, the third and concluding episode of Hugs and Kindness)


[ Our local Price Chopper ]]

Awhile back when Dale and I had finished shopping at the local Price Chopper store, we were going through line with our groceries. As usual we were in the line served by one of our good friends. And again as usual, he knew from many past experiences that he would get a big hug from me and a handshake from Dale.

Just as my hug was being delivered, I could hear a comment from a lady in two lanes away from us. Talking quite loudly she called out, “If you’re passing out hugs, I sure could use a couple!” Well, I thought that was unusual. Since Dale was right there behind me, he picked up the bags from the cart, while I delivered several hugs to the lady who had asked for one! It was easy to see the huge and friendly smile on her face while she told me how much she appreciated that hug! Yes, many people “out there” really do need some attention freely given!


[ Even the potatoes are cheerful! ]

The boss looked at me a bit strangely and asked something like, “Is this called random acts of kindness?” I assured him that it was, and how it brought people together instead of pushing them away. Just then a short man with jet black hair came by. He takes canned pop to a list of stores in this area, traveling quite some distance. Awhile back, he told us that his mother wasn’t doing well, and I could tell that he was discouraged and worried about her. Every week since, we try to check in with him to see how things are going and to assure him of our prayers for his mother.

How did we become acquainted? One day he was putting the pop back in order in the display shelves. He reached way up to the top of those shelves and then made sure that all of the ones were in order right on down to the bottom shelf. “Well,” I told myself, “You need to thank him for a good job. Bet hardly anybody does that, and it might make him feel better and less tired.” Talk about a change! As I talked to him, he smiled and thanked me over and over for talking with him. Since then, he will track us down before we leave the store, just to say hi and hope we have a good day.


[ Beautiful Lady Lola ]

In that same area a young girl works in the deli fixing up special foods like pies, rolls, fruit breads, etc. She is so cute and has a beautiful smile that lights up the area. Also working there is our friend Lola, who for some strange reason calls me, “Beautiful Lady!” No matter how many times I have tried to change her mind on that idea, she continues to call me “Beautiful Lady,” and comes quickly out from behind the counter to deliver a huge hug, to Dale and me! Such a lovely person with about THIRTEEN kids!

A couple weeks ago, when we were standing with one of the bosses talking about the news, an older lady came zooming in our direction. When she had stopped for a bit, she looked right at me, opened her arms for a big hug and asked, “Where’s my hug? That’s why I come to this store on Thursdays, because I know you will be here!” After a bit, she went on her way, pushing the cart, and smiling at everyone along the way!


[ Cheryl and Dale visiting ]

Just a quick note about Cheryl who leads out in changing the prices of various items when sales are going on. We hadn’t seen her for over a month as she recovered at home from surgery. I had just mentioned to Dale that it must be time for her to return to the store. As I talked with the girl who has been taking her place (well, nobody could do that), I happened to look down the aisle where a smiling lady was waving her arms up and down and hurrying toward us as fast as she could go! CHERYL! At last. I can’t remember which of us hugged the longest and hardest. Probably just about the same, but it was so good to see our friend of so many years and to learn that all is well with her!

And Robbie, head of the produce section! He always has a shy grin and welcomes us as long lost friends. He remarked that many folks simply choose to stay away from those who are doing their best to please their customers. Too much bother or maybe they don’t feel that they can take the time to give hugs and kind words.


[ Lenita and Siehna from the pharmacy ]

There are others, too, that I have written about before: Kim, the sweet and helpful young lady at the pharmacy window; Lenita, and Sieahna behind the customer service counter; Zach, the cheerful bagger who always does a special job; Scott, whose smile is shy, but so meaningful; and Richard and Dale who have somewhat recently started working at the check-out counters.

Sometimes I have a hard time trying to remember the names of new workers at Price Chopper, but not Richard or Dale! Why? First of all, Dale, tried to make us believe he was a parrot, as he talked with us as if he really were, screaming in that foreign language! Also, I could hardly forget his name when my Dale has the same one! Then Richard, so polite and helpful, has a name that is very common among my relatives! One brother and three nephews!

180308_HugsThen there are our good friends whom we have written about before: Clyde and Nan, Don and Ann, Dana and Dennis, Anita and Stan, and so many church and school folks that we consider ourselves really blessed to know and love them. We count them as very special and friendly, those who enjoy being with others and trying to be near and dear to each one. – CHRIS

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Hugs and Kindness (Part II)

March 8 – (continuing from our Part I post, we are still at the Thrift Store…)


[ Stuffed animals from Thrift ]

As we are checking on our lady friends who work at the Thrift Store store, we find many customers whom we love and appreciate as well. Lois, (2 of them), Carole, Jan, and many others whose names I can’t remember. However, that does not lessen in any way, the love and kindness they show. Some bring their young grandchildren along with them, and how they enjoy looking through the farm and garden and barn toys, the lovely dolls, and stuffed animals: bears, lions, tigers, lambs, and all the rest.

Then out of nowhere then, comes Darlene, one of those who work with the clothes that folks donate to the Thrift Store. After a big hug, she too asked, “Where were you last week? I didn’t see you, but I really did miss you! I’m so glad that God takes care of you, and we need to thank Him for that right now! After her short prayer of thanks, she said, “Now don’t go home right away because some of my family and I made dozens and dozens of cookies, and I want you and Dale to have one of the full plates. We took a long time to make them. Even my husband helped!”

An interesting item about Darlene. Since my memory isn’t quite as good as it used to be, I sometimes have a problem trying to match names with their owners, especially if it is a more common name. But Darlene? When someone introduced her to me for the first time, I chuckled, gave her a hug and said, “Well, I’m going to remember your name, for sure! Know why? Darlene is the name of my one and only daughter-in-law!”


[ Interesting books and magazines ]

Normally we enjoy a friendly chat with Susan who works in the big back room that holds books, games, puzzles, and many other items, too numerous to mention. Susan has been helping out at the store for a number of years, even before Dale and I began to check out our specialty, books. Actually, that’s the first thing I check out when we are in the store. Not books for adults, but those for children. There are several shelves full of good books, and every week I go through them to find the special ones for good friends of ours who have several children who have learned to appreciate those books.

In the small back room of the building, I found, as usual, Joyce, who is always busy sorting out and checking the clothing donated, before walking out to the main room to hang it on the line. She has told me a number of unusual stories of things that have happened to her and to her grandson. Sometimes when I walk into that room, she and Darlene are just waiting to hear the answer to their question of, “Well, what have you been doing lately, and where were you last week? We know that you are always into something!” With their cheery spirit and happiness galore, they always make somebody happy!


[ Our friend Bebe ]

As we drive down the highway after leaving Thrift, we pass Tom’s Auto Repair where the owner takes care of problems we might have with our car or truck. Always smiling and exuding joy, he does a great job. Farther on, Bebe and her family have taken care of us as well. It’s great to know that business folks have love in their hearts and hugs with their arms, even though we may be “just customers.” Business people have the right and privilege to pass out hugs just as we do.

Now just a little side note about those hugs! When we first moved out here from Pennsylvania, I kept up the practice of closing off my e-mails or other correspondence with “Luv ya,” before signing my name. At first, I think the people must have thought I was just a little crazy, as people then did not send me the same words. However, after awhile, they seemed to think it was OK to write “Luv ya,” just as I did, and were glad to know they really were loved. These days I hardly ever receive an e-mail from anyone who hasn’t written “Luv ya,” or “Luv and hugs,” or “Luv you lots.”

180803_LuvYaInteresting story about that. Recently we received an e-mail from one of our friends who has been teaching in the field of Self Defense. Though he is a big brawny man, he still wrote his note and then added, “Love YAH.” Now that might not sound like a big tough man, but inside a big body there can still be a heart of gold with love for others! – (to be continued…part III coming soon) – CHRIS

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Hugs and Kindness (Part I)


[ You get a hug, you get a hug, EVERYBODY gets a hug! ]

March 7 – I have been thinking of this blog off and on for quite sometime now, and wondering if some of our readers might have the same experience we have had along the way. On the other hand, though, it’s just as probable that you need a little more of the hugs and kindness given by friends and neighbors, clerks in the stores, or even in your own families. I remember reading that “love truly does make the world go round,” and gives folks a new outlook on life.

Sometimes, because we are somewhat shy or hesitant to express our love and appreciation for others, even in our own families, we just don’t say anything to show that folks are really special to us and a good part of our blessings through every day. If we smile shyly or broadly, and we see the answering smile on others’ faces, we build up enough courage to try that experiment once again. The warm feeling that comes over us is brought on only by our showing love to others, many of whom we don’t even recognize by their build or their clothes, but just by their smiles. After a bit of time goes by, and we see those same folks in the stores or post office, or even on the sidewalk, the next week, we feel a bond with them, and tell them how good it is to be a part of their lives.


[ The Postoffice Gang ]

Every week when we travel over the back roads to our little town, we look forward to seeing our friends who work in the post office there. Even Richard, the former manager stops in to see us each week before he kindly helps with any problem that may have arisen since last week! He sometimes tries to hide around the corner of the area so we can’t see him, but that is, for him, a real problem! It’s hard to hide his height no matter what he tries to stand behind. It’s always good for us to see how many of those who come for stamps, or to mail packages, call out a greeting to him, and what a surprise to hear him call those folks by name! Richard was not only devoted to his customers, but always did what he could to make people happy.

One day as we discussed our activities, we mentioned that we had taken part in the Harvesters program at our church a few days before. Right then he decided that he would drive over to help the group as they distributed the food—if that would be okay! Be okay? Of course, and his work would be greatly appreciated! He has now come a number of times and plans to continue helping others, while using his special big smile to introduce himself to those who come for food. Not just food to eat, but love and kindness that will keep the folks counting their blessings!

I wouldn’t want to forget our friend Kim who works at the counter or Rick, the present postmaster. Both have delightful smiles and always give us handshakes across the counter as they continue to take care of the business that must be done. And if some of us procrastinators don’t get our letters to the post office as quickly as we should, the recipients will later receive an unexpected boost, as they relish the good thoughts sent to them by their friends, even though those wishes are late!


[ At the Thrift Store ]

After we leave the post office, we move on to the nearby Thrift Store to greet our good friends there. When we occasionally miss a week, we are always more than surprised at the greetings from both the staff and those who were purchasing items. Once recently just as U opened the front door, Pat, the director came over to me. After her usual big hug and huge smile, she asked, “Where were you last week? Were you sick? Were you too busy to come? Are you all right?”

When she had asked all her questions, with a hug or two in between, I replied, “No, not sick, and not too busy, but we had our yearly check-up with the doctor, and yes, we are all right!” Now Pat does not weigh very much, and she is taller than I, but I managed to hug her several times while talking with her. Her eyes sparkled while she said, “Well, I’m glad you’re feeling well and happy as usual. And where’s Dale?” When she saw him across the room, off she went to deliver one of her loving hugs! (to be continued – parts II and III coming up…) – CHRIS

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February and Birthdays

February 27 – Recently sent a birthday card to Jim Krause, one of our former pastors when we lived back in Erie, PA in 1985. Although he and his wife Eileen have lived in Florida a number of years, we still keep in touch. His son and daughter were some of my students years ago, but they are still as dear as they were when they were pre-teenagers. Many good thoughts came to me as I wrote Jim’s card!

Through the years, after we had returned from Africa where I was teaching Standard 6, or eighth grade in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), I stayed home with our two kids until they were in their teens. Then, when the school board asked me to go back to teaching part time specifically, as the teacher of Grades 5-8, I thought it would be fun, as teaching had always been a joyful occupation. I accepted! I really could tell you lots of stories, mostly of happiness and joy as it should be in all grades, and in all classes.


[ LEJA kids and all the birthday ones ]

But because of the birthday card for Jim, I was reminded of the one year when there were so many birthdays in just a little over two months, from late January to early March. I couldn’t forget that time since our daughter Biz was born on Groundhog’s Day on February 2 with David arriving on the 27th. Two days inside the month and two days before the end! Moving on, Diane was born in the middle of January. In the month of February several of the kids were born. Our two already mentioned, plus Debbie, Kim, and Gordon. Then in early March Carol celebrated. I still try to keep in touch with my students of long ago, but don’t always make it.

For instance, I sent an e-mail birthday note to Gordon when he had already celebrated weeks before. However, as I check over recent e-mails, I find that he answered my congratulations with thanks on the next day. (An interruption to tell you about where “my kids” are now. Several back in the Pennsylvania area, where their parents lived, somewhere near home, one in Kansas, another sleeping in the grave in Missouri till Jesus comes back, another in Tennessee, and Texas, and I think the last is in southern Pennsylvania.)


[ Presidential ]

I have always had a difficult time as I have grown older, understanding why we can’t have a special day for both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln instead of just “Presidents Day”. How well I remember while I was still a kid in school that we celebrated both of their birthdays, and that on the actual day they were born, rather than just on Mondays. Of course, the stores could stay open all day to make a few extra dollars. Since then we have added Martin Luther King’s Day to the list. We always had special assemblies and celebrations for both Washington and Lincoln, with King added later.

While I was teaching, we spent a whole week studying the lives of those men. Before school began in the fall, I planned an entire special week of reading, writing, music, and art so that each student would remember some of the most important things that had happened in our country to make it great, to make it one that would welcome so many people from all over the world, and to help them realize how thankful they might be that they were receiving so many blessings day by day. We often enjoyed an assembly program where parents were invited to come to celebrate with us. Those kids in the classroom had been taught enough about their country that they knew they were blessed and hoped to stand tall for her.

180227_HistoryPostHow different is the atmosphere around many of our schools today than it was when I was growing up, or even when my school kids and our own two were adding a few years to their ages. Now that really wasn’t so long ago if we compare it to all of the history that had gone before. Our children have so much to distract them, to take their minds off the really important things that make such a difference in their lives.

This has been a rather disjointed bit of writing this time, but no matter where we look or what we hear, we know that something must be done to keep our dear country from going the way of so many nations before in history. Let’s do all we can to show them what an American can be, an American who loves instead of hates, and one who does his best to help all who need him!

I’ll close with one of my favorite songs which again reminds me of what we did first thing in our classroom. By the time school was over for another year, the kids knew all the words to all of the verses in our special songs we sang every day. Of course, The Star Spangled Banner came first but we also sang America the Beautiful, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, and this one, God Bless America by Irving Berlin… – CHRIS180227_GodBlessAmerica

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Winter, With a Distraction of Pears

February 21 – How really fast time skips on these days! When I get up in the morning, I plan on doing a lot of jobs all through the day, but I don’t always do them all! I fact, as I sit here right now, stopping long enough to remember if I accomplished this or that or the other, I am pretty pleased to find that I really did put in a good day’s work, even if I substituted some tasks for others.


[ Cold and cloudy days ]

Well, for one thing, I had no TV around when I was a kid. We didn’t choose to have one for our kids either, so that gave us several hours daily to do more important tasks. And, of course, who ever heard of a blog when I was growing up! Even today folks ask me what I’m talking about when I mention writing one!

OK, since we went to bed very late last night, we thought we should stay in bed a little longer. Lying quietly on the desk beside the bed, in the special spot she enjoys, Cat was sleeping soundly. Must be that she had chosen to come inside when called this time. She must have remembered trying to sleep outside in the cold and didn’t plan on doing that again.


[ A typical breakfast ]

How different was the weather this morning, than it was during the early evening and through most of the night. Never sure how I feel about rain, dark clouds, and sleet! And yes, it has been chillier for the last couple of days. After our worship time together, we were off to the kitchen for breakfast. Nice to have a husband who enjoys putting that meal together. Cereal and milk, jam or dip on zwieback, several kinds of fruit, or other items like those mentioned. I know that breakfast is Dale’s favorite meal, and he probably has more calories with that than he does for supper. When he retired from work years ago, and didn’t have to eat a third meal, we decided to stick with breakfast and supper.

While I worked at the computer, he worked around the place to get some jobs done. I won’t mention them here, because he may write a blog about what he had done during the day, so you could read it directly from him.

For some reason or other I had a hard time getting the pictures to go where I wanted them to go! I know it’s my fault, but I never could figure out why putting in pics works so well most of the time, but then at other times, nothing works, no matter how hard I try. Usually I can send six or more photos at once, but today, as sometimes happens, I was lucky to get ONE in the right place.


[ Ye olde pears ]

By the time I had moved away from the computer to work in the kitchen, an hour had gone by! While doing various kitchen chores I thought how much busier kitchen times can be when things are outside GROWING!

For example, if this had been mid-fall, there would probably have been sitting on the floor beside the sink a bucket pretty well filled with pears that I had knocked down out in the pasture by the fence. If the pear falls by itself, it isn’t long until the wounded areas become food for yellow jackets and other kinds of insects.

Down in the basement, we would often have five or six trays of those Dale and I had harvested when we had the time. After peeling a batch, and filling the big kettle full, I just had to can them since we wouldn’t be able to eat a whole batch in a day or two.


[ Rummi-kub before bed ]

Then I’d tell myself that since I was canning that first batch, I might as well go down the stairs to the basement and carry up a another big box full of pears which I would ALSO get ready for canning while the first one was cooking. And when that job was done, I often had four jars of beautiful fruit.

Now how did I get distracted onto that subject? At any rate, once the kitchen was done and there was nothing more to take care of in that area, it was off to play our usual games of Rummi-kub before we go to bed. And may the best man (or WOMAN) win! – CHRIS

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My African Mongoose

February 13 – One day while I was hiking with my German shepherd dog, he suddenly paid attention to a burrow along the way, from which issued angry animal sounds. Peering into the burrow, I saw a mongoose sitting just a few inches in, loudly scolding the dog for intruding. Having long wanted a mongoose as a pet, I pushed the dog aside and decided to take a chance and put my hand in and try to grab the mongoose without getting bitten. Somehow I managed to do that and was able to push it into my coat pocket and keep it confined there until I got home and was able to take it out in my room.

180213_Goosu 1250

[ Goosu ]

The taming process only lasted for a couple of days before I was able to handle my new pet without getting damaged. Fortunately it was a young one, for an adult would have been hard to tame and would doubtless have bitten me in the capture process. This was a diurnal variety, about the size of a squirrel. I fed my mongoose on insects and mice and lizards and dog food.

Only once after being tamed did it try to bite. It had soon learned that my bed was a great place to spend the night sleeping, and would crawl in with me and would sleep curled up on the back of my legs as I slept face downwards. One night it retired early. Later I too was ready for sleep, and pulled back the bedding to get in. My bare foot was met by an angry show of teeth as it was attacked by the mongoose. Mr. Mongoose had taken his supper to bed with him, and supper consisted of half a mouse, which he was protecting. Not a pleasant thing to find in one’s bed. This required a change of sheets, of course, but it never happened again.

My mongoose liked the same biscuits that our dog did, but not to eat. These dog biscuits required a special technique, as they were too hard to chew. Mongoose handling of hard objects was to place the object between the hind paws and then throw it violently back with the front paws against something hard. That was how eggs were handled, for instance. Dog biscuits did not break easily, however, and would usually rebound strongly with a good thump to the rear. Goosu, as I called him, would leap with fright at being attacked so unexpectedly from behind. Dog biscuits were usually discarded eventually as being “inedible.”

180213_GoosuCat 1250

[ Goosu and the cat ]

Goosu was friendly with our dogs and cat, but they were not quite at ease with him. Sometimes while the dogs were lying on the floor sleeping, Goosu would come along and begin to search their fur for ticks to munch on. The dog would lurch menacingly at the mongoose sometimes, and Goosu would flee at high speed across the room and hide for a while beneath the furniture until it was safe to emerge and try again.

Mongooses are known as destroyers of snakes, so one day I hung a large dead puff adder over my pet’s cage while Goosu was in it. Fearful of being cornered and unable to escape, he began running around inside the cage at high speed, not touching the floor but rather running around the walls until finally I removed the snake and he returned to earth!

When my summer vacation was over and I had to go back to boarding school, it was decided to let Goosu return to the wild. He was really not dependent on humans to feed or care for him, and could flee enemies and catch his own food very easily, so one day we took him out into the wild country far from any civilization, and let him go. He scampered happily away and we hope lived long and safely in the African bush. – DALE

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Prescriptions & Prayers

February 5 – I often wish that I didn’t want or need to have everything that I do turn out perfectly! Things such as blogs! Since some of my thoughts and words are in that category, I take much longer than most people, trying to make sure that I won’t have to be ashamed to admit that I did write that particular blog!

Dale doesn’t have that problem. I think I spend at least twice the time he does with the same amount of words. His colorful words bring his stories to life and help the readers to enjoy what he is writing about. Not very long after he has begun to write, he asks the same question he always does when his blog is finished. “OK, I’m done. Are you going to help me out by getting the pics ready to send along with the blog? I would really appreciate that!”


[ Bottle-o-pills ]

Now for the first time in about four years since I first started blog writing, I made a big mistake, as I hit the wrong button when I was getting ready to send a note about Dale’s last prescription!

No, the blog didn’t go to our son David for publication. Instead it disappeared as if I had hit Delete. In the beginning I wasn’t even concerned, thinking that I could somehow bring the words back. However, I must have hit the wrong button again, rather than the one which could give me the help I needed! After searching here and there and just about everywhere, I knew I had no idea in the world how to remedy the situation.

About a week later, after trying everything I could think of, I wrote to David asking if he had any idea of what I needed to do. His reply? Three points that I had already tried, with no success. That blog was gone for good and would never be seen in Pakistan or Great Britain, or France, or anywhere else on someone’s computer!

But I was worried for another reason. In the first writing of the blog (the one I lost), I had written about Dale’s prescription for methotrexate which he takes for his Rheumatoid Arthritis. When he went to the pharmacy, he was given the prescription, supposedly the correct one, but found that there were only FOUR pills, rather than 24 which had been prescribed for several years already. The lady said that some mistake had been made, and if we waited a bit, she would use the four she had and add another 20 to bring the total to 24 as prescribed.

After waiting awhile, we made our way to the checkout with two envelopes, one for the methotrexate and the other for Dale’s second prescription. We were so late in getting back from the dentist that none of our friendly workers was there. A tall young man and a shorter one with a big smile took care of us. Finally, we were out the door and going home.

Since it was such a long time we had been away, we decided to eat our breakfast, dinner, and supper all at once before unpacking our groceries. Down the stairs to the basement and the food shelves went the juices and cans of vegetables. Into the cupboards in the kitchen went the vegetable oil and cornstarch. Into the refrigerator went the cottage cheese and yogurt.


[ Were they in the basement? ]

But where were the small white bags that held the prescriptions? No worry. We would just go back to the basement and check the plastic bags to see if maybe the methotrexate and Gabapentin had not yet been taken from the bag. No, the prescriptions were not in sight. Out, then, to the garage to see if they might have been left in the truck. No again!

Ever since we noticed that the prescriptions were not on the counter, I had been praying, silently, that we would find them. I even checked the glove compartment to see if, by any chance, they had found their way to that space. No, for a third time! By this time, I noticed that Dale was coming up the stairs from the basement. “What are you looking for?” I asked. “I can’t find the prescriptions,” he said. “I’m going out to check in the garage, in the front seat, and everywhere. They have to be somewhere, as we haven’t even put them away yet!” “Well, don’t forget to pray,” I said. “God knows where they are!”

After checking all through the house, even in Dale’s pill case atop his dresser, we finally gave up and he was ready to phone the pharmacy. But it was so late in the afternoon by then, that he had to wait till morning.

180205 PCKarenKim

[ Karen and Kim from the Pharmacy ]

Early the next morning, he made the call, only to find that nobody had turned in the prescriptions. Now what to do? What else was there to do except keep praying? God truly is all-powerful, omniscient, kind, and loving, and He always does what is best for us. We know that from past experience when two weeks later Karen from the pharmacy told us someone had found Dale’s prescription there in the store and had turned it in to her.

Due to our prayers, we were not especially surprised, just grateful. She was so pleased and happy that all turned out well. As we said goodbye to her, I wondered if she might be wiping tears from her eyes. I just held her hands across the counter, gave her a big smile, and thanked her for being such a good employee and friend!

Once again my faith was strengthened, faith in a God Who loves us so much! Often He gives an answer right away, but sometimes, as we learned, He takes longer as He strengthens our faith. – CHRIS


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A Tale From the (C)old Days


[ Snow, anyone? ]

January 31 – I have never been able to figure out why I don’t want to bother with extra clothes for outside unless I really absolutely have to! Whenever we go out to help with the Harvesters’ distribution on cold mornings, I think to myself that I “will absolutely have to!” whether I want to or not. Especially when I stand out in the wind for around three hours! Yes, there is lots of running back and forth moving the foods from a big wooden pallet to the people in the cars, but it will still be too cold for my enjoyment.

I must admit that I’m not the “same kid” that I was over eighty years ago when I could stay out all day with mittens that soon were so wet from fooling around in the snow that I was sure my fingers were frozen.

Once during that time period of my life, the city cut down on kids being able to ride the school bus if their school was less than five miles from home. I was probably about a half block away from being able to ride the bus, and by the time I reached Wilson Junior High, I was COLD! A heavy jacket didn’t help either.


[ Now that I have a REAL hat… ]

But the worst part of the day began not too far from home when I came to the place where I knew Mom couldn’t see me, even if she were still outside waving! I yanked off the kerchief I was wearing to keep my ears from freezing, because I didn’t want anybody to see what kind of “hat” I had! All of my friends had real hats, in nice bright colors, but I didn’t!

As soon as I reached the school I hurried into the classroom, and rushed to that old-fashioned radiator where I lay my head down on the top to make sure my ears were still with me! Now that was a really silly thing to do. After this had happened a few times, my ears began to peel, and I didn’t like the pain. Each night, after I had walked out of sight of the school, I put the kerchief back on and arrived at home just the same way I had left it that morning.


[ Warm up my ears! ]

Only a few days into this exercise, Mom very carefully checked my ears and told me that she knew what I had been doing. The red and peeling ears had told her! I often wondered if maybe my teacher hadn’t called her and told her the story, as she was kind and didn’t want a student of hers to go through that pain every day. – CHRIS

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In Which We Discuss Poison Ivy

January 30 – One of the things we see on I walk that is NOT a pleasant sight is the poison ivy that seems to be spreading out a lot more than it did in the beginning. Even the mention of this “horrible plant” reminds me of my teaching days back in Pennsylvania.

180130_Poison ivy leaves

[ Red poison ivy leaves in the fall ]

A number of the kids had much too close contact with this three-leaf plant no matter how hard I tried to keep them from it. In those days just about the only thing that could help to ease the burning pain was calamine lotion. Repeatedly I cautioned the kids to stay away from the poison ivy, but life in the woods around the school was so much fun, that they couldn’t resist.

One day, around lunchtime, I was sitting at my desk, enjoying a little time off from teaching and just finishing my lunch. Several of the kids walked up to my desk and asked, “Mrs. F. you said you had never had poison ivy, right?” “Sure! I just don’t get it,” I said, “but my mom was full of it all summer. Some people just aren’t bothered by such things, but I am lucky!”

“Well,” answered the ringleader of the little group,” I’ll bet you’re going to get it now!” He said this as he carefully rubbed a bit of paper towel full of poison ivy all over my arm! Now that surely wasn’t very nice, and looking back over forty years, I suppose I should have turned him in to the principal, but I didn’t! How often those kids had to come up to my desk for a question or checked out my arm in discussion groups! And how disappointed they were when just a tiny little bump came up in the area before school was out. No poison ivy the next day, or the next, and finally they believed me!

180130_Chain swing

[ Trees along the trail ]

Now back to our poison ivy in Missouri after moving out here from Pennsylvania. One day I was clearing out a section of the woods, including tall trees with vines growing up around the trunk. Grabbing the first vine I held it tightly in my hands and pulled, and pulled until the tree was clean, and there was a big pile of vines on the ground. I kept at this task for most of the afternoon and did a fine job of clearing off the trunks of those very high trees.

By the next morning, I thought some reddish spots on my arms and neck looked pretty strange. As I remembered, the job I had done the day before, the thought that crossed my mind was poison ivy – no, it couldn’t be! But several days later when the redness and itching had spread, I began to wonder…

After about a week had passed by, and the red places were seeping and burning, I thought I had better go to a doctor. And he said first thing, “Have you been around poison ivy?” “Well, maybe,” I said, “but I’m not sure because all of the stuff that I cut down didn’t look like the kind I knew back in Pennsylvania. Besides, I DON’T get poison ivy. Never had it in my whole life!”

“Well,” said the doctor, “you’ll never be able to say that again if you tell the truth! You DO have a very bad case of poison ivy, and I’m going to prescribe medication to help you get rid of it!” And in the days to come, I could see that he really was right!

180130_Poison ivy stalks

[ Poison ivy bare stalks ]

Sometimes I still try to get rid of at least some of the unwanted poison ivy, but I am very careful to wear long pants, long sleeved shirt, and gloves, and to wait till the poison ivy has stopped growing for the winter and has lost all of its leaves. I must admit that I can’t really have a conversation with it, but sometimes when I am cutting down these unwanted plants, I say right out loud, “OK, my friend! I gotcha that time!”

Knowing that I wanted to write something more about this plague, I walked back to one of the paths just outside the woods, carrying my camera with me. Would you believe that the trail I was walking on had absolutely no signs of the poison ivy flowers I was looking for? Not even one, and it seemed as if I wasn’t in the right place to find any of those reddish flowers.

So I would leave that area and march back through the trail to another place where I had always been leery of straying from the path, lest I end up with the much unwanted poison ivy. I had to walk three quarters of the trail before I finally found several low plants with some “lovely” reddish poison ivy. Now they had just the bare stalks, but no flowers I could easily identify (which is what I was looking for), because I wanted something more than a completely bare and unlovely stalk, just waiting to nab another walker next year. Oh well! – CHRIS

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