...and all is well...at least I'm feeling content since my son George, is coming this afternoon to celebrate Christmas Eve with me tomorrow. I made a tomato free lasagna for our dinner tonight. As with all of my cooking experiments, we'll know how well this went once we have a taste. All the spices and ingredients usually go together well, but we shall see if son George, will find a second helping worthwhile! LOL! I may be freezing it to eat later in the week. Tomorrow's menu is baked ham steak seasoned with cloves, baked sweet potato/yam casserole with browned marshmallow topping (son loves this one), might make apple salad replacing nuts (since I don't any) with crunchy chow mien noodles...again, this will be an experiment and we'll see how it goes tomorrow.
Chewy Buddy, aka, Chewy always rejoices when son George comes for a visit and when he stays overnight Chewy sulks when he leaves to return to his own apartment. This mother is so very grateful that my special son is so capable (with assistance) that he can live in his own place, have his own friends, go to two different cleaning jobs, and have a life! Rumors of funding cuts concern me as my son needs the level of assistance that he has. He's physically capable of a fair bit even with his palsied hands, but it's his mental incapacity which causes the need for helpers to come in to assist him. He doesn't have the ability to cook for himself, but he can heat something up in the microwave. Ergo part of the need for help. His visual challenge comes in the form of perception difficulty. He simply cannot discern what is in front of his face. Also, his damaged brain won't let him retrieve information he has learned. He thumps his forehead with the palm of his hand and says, "It's in there, Mom, but I can't get it out!" It's so frustrating for him.
When I was a kid, when my friends didn't want to play what I wanted to play, my response was often less than Christian. I'd go whining to Mom (picture on the left) who dried my tears, fed me cookies or brownies washed down with a glass of cold milk, then while I munched we'd talk about it. Mom believed in the golden rule. She'd repeat it, then say, "Dear, you get what you give."
Huh? I wasn't giving anything. I was getting hurt.
She explained herself. She said that the way we treat others determines how we will be treated. Then she asked, "Have you been treating the other kids the way you want them to treat you?"
Head hanging I'd say, "No."
Then she'd say, "Why don't you try it?"
I'm pretty sure this kid was too self-centered to learn that lesson right away.
Why is it we expect others to treat us like royalty when we treat them like peons?
Seems even some world leaders haven't learned this lesson.
If we want respect, we must respect others. Simple, isn't it?
Whenever I nap, that night is usually restless. Last night proved that not much had changed since my last afternoon nap several weeks ago. I came home from my eye surgery appointment totally bushed. Thus I napped much longer than I'd intended. Later, after the late night's news program, I crawled under the covers. Even though the old body ached for sleep, the mind refused to shut down. I tossed and turned...you know how it goes. Insomnia is not fun.
Sleep must have come, because in this morning's wee hours something on the front porch set Chewy off on a barking rampage, again! Woke me (as well as half the neighborhood) from what was just becoming a restful sleep. I walked with him outside, and impatiently waited.
Not Chewy! He sniffed every porch slat, every square inch of sidewalk, and every blade of grass. When he was satisfied, he hopped onto the porch as if it were noon instead of three A.M. Since his "guard dog" instincts had been aroused, once he was back inside the house, he kept watch, totally alert, growling at every sound... and yes, I heard every growl...even with a pillow over my head. (It is said hearing is the last sense to go.)
Evidently I must have fallen into a fitful sleep because not even in the laneway's early morning hustle and bustle pried my eyelids open...until what sounded like insistent knocking on my front door pulled me out of bed. At the door, I saw no one except the cat. Had I dreamed the knock? Had the cat leaped off the wooden rocking chair knocking it into the porch railing and replicating the sound of a knock on the door?
Now it's well past two o'clock in the afternoon, and my body still aches for rest, but experience tells me that I'll pay for a nap tomorrow if I crawl back under the covers anytime today. Since I really don't appreciate what I call my "yo-yo" nights, I'll carry on with the day's tasks until dark o'clock rolls around again.
Now may you have many blessings on your day and many more in the days to come.
End of post. You may return to your regular internet scrolling. ;) Winking.
Yeah, right! NOT!
I was nicely winding down for the evening when dog leaps up, growls, and barks furiously at the door. So I latch him onto his lead, open the door, and he bolts off the porch yammering to beat the band.
Cat sedately walks the porch rail. Hops onto the table. Sniffs her empty dish (which I had just refilled). I check her water bowl. It's filthy (I just refilled it not half an hour ago). I reach for the bowl and Cat CLAWS me! As if it's my fault that some critter has been on her porch, eating her food, and washing its paws in her water bowl. (Lest you worry, I've washed and slathered antibiotic ointment where Cat clawed my arm.) Not feeling particularly happy at that moment, I emptied the dirty water from her bowl in her face as her reward for clawing me. She lit out from the porch like she'd just been threatened with a bath. Meanwhile dog's yammering threatened to wake the neighborhood so I grab his lead and haul him back into the house.
Now, I don't mind feeding a neighborhood cat or two, but racoons are another matter all together. How do I know it's a racoon when I didn't see it? Racoons are fastidious about washing their paws when they eat...ergo dirty water bowl.
Ah the joys of country life. You may now resume what you were doing. Have a blessed, interruption free, peaceful rest of your day!
When two people say "I do" in a church in front of a minister of God, something miraculous happens. The twain miraculously become one flesh. When my dear husband died, it felt like a gigantic hand had reached into me and pulled half of me away. My soul bled tears through my eyes. My heart lurched as if it too felt wrent in twain. Twenty-nine years later, my heart beats a bit erratically and my soul still feels as if someone is missing. At church, I feel the comforting Presence of God, and at home He affirms His Presence in small ways through a kind word over the phone, a friend's email, or a particularly apt devotional arriving in my inbox...all tangible ways that God tells me that He is still with me and will love me eternally. Grief will have its way, but God...but God's Holy Spirit will always comfort me. Praying that you come to know God's comforting Presence, too.
Alberta Chloe Sigley Jackson—A Bit of Family History
My mother, Alberta nicknamed Bert, was born in 1910. She would have been 109 in this year, 2019, had she lived. Every year around Mother’s Day, my mind drifts to her gentle soul because she was always doing good things for others. Her nature was to think of others first, to help others even at her own self-sacrificial expense, instead of herself. She was the most selfless woman I’ve ever known.
The things Mom told me about her childhood, made me aware she’d experienced great poverty during her childhood which gave her deep compassion for needy souls. She said the Salvation Army fed her family at Thanksgiving and Christmas when she was a child. At other times, a meal might simply be a crust of bread, or nothing at all. Evidently her mother Grandma Helena, my mother and her five siblings became destitute when Grandpa (William) Sigley left to work in a Pittsburgh steel mill hundreds of miles away from their Kansas home.
During WWI, when supplying steel to the shipyards and to the government for military tanks was a priority, the steel mills worked full bore. The way my Mom told the story, the workers were paid, but Grandpa Sigley's paychecks rarely found their way home. After working hard in those grimy, steamy, steel mills, he went to the pub where grub and companionship eased loneliness.
The Salvation Army found him in the pub and cleaned him up. Once cleaned up and thoroughly saved, Grandpa returned home to his family. He probably brought with him the brass instrument he'd acquired courtesy of the Salvation Army. He applied at the local high school to be their bandmaster and was accepted.
In those years, he taught my Mom and many of her siblings to play the violin, marimba which is a form of xylophone, and also the glockenspiel, the trombone, trumpet, and the piano. He enlisted his own children in the band. Throughout the remainder of Grandpa’s life, he became a good provider, even if the Depression years were very tough for them.
Most of the stories Mom told were about her father, but she also indicated her mother was a devout Roman Catholic woman who bore six children. With her husband gone to the steel mills, she supported her family as a maid-of-all work, cooking, baking, and cleaning for well-to-do families. When the best she could do was to bring home crusts cut from the tea time sandwiches of her employer for her children to eat, she never had the where-with-all to teach her daughters to cook or bake.
Evidently her sons went to work early in their teens. Her eldest, my Uncle Herbert, who was six feet tall, went to work for the Santa Fe railroad. Another son, Merville, nicknamed “Shorty”, for his five foot fully-grown stature, went to work for the same railroad as a station master and telegrapher. Two other Sigley sons were William O. and Aaron. Grandma Sigley’s petite, musically gifted daughter Helen married my Merle Jackson. She’s written a family history titled, “Backtracking LaBelle Years”, so I won’t repeat any of it here. Aunt Helen introduced her sister, Alberta, to Merle’s brother Wilfred. The two young people fell in love at first sight and married in 1936.
During my childhood, my Mom, Alberta, went to great lengths to give back what she had been given by reaching out to others through the Salvation Army and other charitable organizations. I can remember her sitting up to all hours to clean, polish, and lace up shoes she had collected for the needy. She mended everything she gave away to them and sent money from selling Avon products to charities, our church and other organizations. Mom was a true gem of a woman, all five feet nothing and 120 pounds in her old age, but she'd been a slip of a woman when she was young. Pictures of her like the one here show a rather comely young woman with whom my father had fallen head over heels in love.
One more memory serves to keep me looking forward to seeing her again in eternity. When Mom was dying from the ravages of cancer before a coma claimed her in those final days, as I sat beside her, she suddenly sat up, hugged the air, and exclaimed in her clear, sweet voice, "JESUS"! With that she fell back on her pillow never to awaken again. Her heart gave up three days later. We buried her in 1984 over yonder in the Venus, PA, cemetery. The love of her life, my Dad, Wilfred, joined her there in 1990, after his heart gave out, and their only son, my brother, Ronald is now over there, too, after early onset dementia claimed him. My husband is there as well awaiting the resurrection away. Sorry, if this has become maudlin. I am feeling a bit weepy as I remember them, but I'm also rejoicing because I know whose I am, and whose they were, that is, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and I know where they are, Heaven.
When I was a preteen, I went with my Dad to buy our trees around ten o'clock on Christmas Eve after the prices were slashed in half by the vendor because he needed to stretch his salary from the New York City design firm where he worked as a drawing board artist. After handing over a dollar or two, we'd lug it home tied to the top of the lemon yellow Dodge station wagon with fender fins in the back.
The year Dad had his stroke placing him on VA Disability that was a lot less than his usual take home salary, our trip to the tree lot very late on Christmas Eve became a necessity if we were to have a tree at all. Now a teenager, I went with Mom to pick a scrawny tree from the back of the lot. Then Mom began her bargaining magic. A sweet redheaded Southern woman, her soft accented voice melted the hardened heart of the New York tree lot owner so that he gave her the tree for a dollar. He probably knew he wouldn’t be able to sell it anyway. Half its needles already littered the lot floor! Fire hazard or not, Mom and I attempted to wrestle it to the top of the silver grey station wagon. The lot salesman's sympathy for us extended to securing the tree on top of the car. To top off his generosity, he wouldn’t even take the quarter tip Mom offered him. She probably was clueless that such a small tip would normally be an affront!
Back at home, Dad was able enough, in spite of his nearly paralyzed right side, to help us get the tree from the top of the car, saw off the bottom (I held the tree securely), and together we secured it in the tree stand set up in the living room. As I recall, he generously watered it. The thirsty tree sucked up that water so quickly I could almost hear it suck and slurp! I do believe it may have given a satisfied sigh, L.O.L. Before bedtime, we refilled the tree well, then again in the morning. Strange or miraculous as it may seem, that tree lasted us until New Years Eve when all used trees got hauled to the curb for garbage pickup.
These days, fresh evergreen Christmas trees have prices ranging from $5 - $10 per foot! Thus I don't have one. I set up my wee two foot "tree" on the living room coffee table where the gifts around its base dwarf it! I decorate it with mini-colored and white lights, mini glass balls and tiny gold bells. Gold garland and a string of tiny red beads complete the decorations. It's kinda cute! Well, enough from me for today. As my dear Mom would have said, "Don't be strangers, now, you hear. Y'all come back." Blessings, Cass Wessel
If you peeked inside my overflowing closets, you would wonder why I keep all that stuff. Admittedly, my dear departed brother's things are still in one of them. I gave away his clothes, but other stuff like old family photos have yet to find a new home.
Meanwhile, my flotsam and jetsam jam the others. I rationalize that I still use these items, but do I need them? Probably not.
Last month, someone reminded me to clean the detritus out of my house before I was gone. How did I feel about that statement? Hurt. What did I think? Yep, they're right. I need to get rid of some stuff, but not just yet. After all, if I did, wouldn’t that be acknowledging my days are drawing to a close? I’m not ready for that, yet. I’ve still got things to do, books to write, and a life to live hopefully for the glory of God.
Recently, I found myself pondering how to pare down my stuff. Donate it? Yard sale? Trash bin? Ah, but the memories attached to certain items cause me to shift them back onto the shelf. It seems almost traitorous to dispose of them. How can I when a dear person gave them to me? Even though the person is long gone to glory, or maybe because the person is gone, I still find it tough to part with the item. It’s as if by parting with the gift, I would be saying goodbye, again.
Then there’s the things I inherited from my parents, things they hoarded, like my mother’s ceramic angel figurines . . . made in the orient . . . worthless, but oh so priceless to me because they remind me of her. And Dad’s paintings appraised at lower in value than their frames, but they were painted by him. How can I part with them? It’s like parting with him all over again.
So what am I to do with all this stuff? I think I’ll just let my daughters and son have the joy of dealing with it. Then I won’t have to feel guilty when it all ends up in the dumpster, or yard sale, or wherever. That will be their worry.
I’d finished preaching, greeted everyone at the church door who had braved the icy temperatures chatting with them about their fearlessness in the Arctic cold. We had a good laugh. I don’t remember anyone mentioning that the Ontario Provincial Police had closed Route 11 from where we were in Cochrane all the way South to North Bay due to the extremely frigid conditions. Even if they had told me, I still would have gone since I had animals at home that a friend had been caring for, but was expecting me to return that afternoon.
I packed an emergency kit adding bottled water and a thermos of hot coffee and dressed myself warmly while the Explorer Sport’s engine warmed. I checked for the amount of gas in the tank to make sure it was full enough. It was. Then I set out in the warmest part of the day leaving the warmth and safety of Cochrane for the barren plains of Northern Ontario.
Before I reached the next town, my trusty Explorer went silent so I steered it to the side of the roadway. Now what? Stranded in life threatening cold (-30F) with zero cell phone bars, I prayed.
“Lord help! My car just quit and I haven’t a clue why, but you know. Please send someone. It’s too cold for me to leave my vehicle and walk. I’d freeze to death. Is this how you will be taking me home to you? I have animals waiting for me! Rescue me, please.”
Within minutes a speck of a car appeared on the horizon. As it drew closer, I saw it was an Ontario Police car. I thought, “Yes! A Policeman might give me a ticket, but I’ll get help.”
The cruiser sped by me. My heart sank . . .
Then I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw the cruiser make a “Uey”, a U turn. An Officer hopped out of his car and came to my window, tapping on it. I spoke through the glass explaining I couldn’t lower it because I had no juice in my engine. He motioned for me to pop the hood. After checking, he walked back to his cruiser, pulled around me doing another U-turn so that his vehicle’s hood faced mine. He attached jumper cables.
Within minutes I was able to lower my electric window and talk to him. He merely gave me a warning, then said, “In this cold your engine freezes up quickly from the below zero wind chill. The faster you drive, the higher the wind chill and the quicker it freezes. If you want to make it home, don’t go over 30 kilometers per hour (about 25 mph). You should be at your home in Kirkland Lake before dark.” I thanked him profusely then set out at the recommended speed. He followed for a bit, and then did another U-turn to continue traveling north.
After I pulled into the Manse driveway, my dog Frisky greeted me at the door energetically wagging his tail then made a beeline for the back door. After he did his business, I fed and watered him. Then we snuggled beneath blankets on my sofa to watch the weather report on TV. Think I should have checked that before I started for home? Yep, I do too.