Merry Christmas!

Many years have passed since Jesus was born…
And the clock keeps ticking…

Once upon a time Jesus was a little child and walked on this earth just like you and me. He learned to crawl, sit up, stand, and talk. He had a mom and dad who loved and took care of Him. The mystery is that He is God in a human body, and He experienced everything you and I do.

Tick tock, tick tockHe grew up and when He was a young man, He spoke in the Synagogue. Everybody was astonished at His knowledge. And they didn’t know who He was.

As a young man, He walked around the country choosing disciples. He spoke on a mountain top to 5,000 people. He fed the crowd with two fishes and 5 loaves of bread. Everyone ate and were satisfied. And they didn’t know who He was.

Tick tock, tick tock…He was tried and condemned to death on a cross. He was buried in a cave with a huge boulder in front of it, yet three days later when Mary and the other women came to the grave, the stone was rolled away. He was gone, the grave clothes He was wrapped in were still there folded neatly. And they didn’t know who He was.

Tick tock, tick tock…Centuries have passed. The Bible was written to help us know this man, who was fully man and fully God. This little child, who is God in a human body, understands everything that happens to you and me. In our times of weakness, Jesus meets us with His strength and love. After all, He died so we could be with Him for eternity. Jesus says, I’ve got you. I understand.

Christmas is the time to remember the most incredible
gift ever given, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


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Davenport is back from the dead,
But can he live long enough to save his family?

The Davenport Daughters is set in the Cold War Era in the 1980s. G-2 agent and spy Josh Davenport was recruited by the President to stop the powerful Brotherhood, whose goal was a New World Order under their control. When Davenport’s cover was blown, he disappeared and was presumed dead. All efforts by the Brotherhood to force him into the open have failed, but in their last try they went too far, they abducted his daughters and grandchildren, and Davenport returns with a vengeance. Throw the Mafia into the mix and the situation becomes explosive as Davenport races against time to save his family.

Caught in the whirlwind of conspiracy and espionage, there has never been a time when Davenport could resign. Hidden deep inside him is a longing to go home, but he knows that’s only a dream.

About the Author:

Betty Kerss Groezinger worked for President Harry S. Truman, taught business courses at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, MO, and currently works for a Dallas law firm. A cum laude graduate of the University of North Texas, she writes a monthly column for the MacArthur Hills Senior Lifestyle bulletin

Irving, Texas Press Release – Former secretary to President Harry S. Truman, Groezinger released her first fast-paced political thriller, The Davenport Dilemma, at 78 years of age and now, ten years later, is launching the sequel. Her deceased husband, B. D. Kerss, was an intelligence agent in Army G-2. A lot of secret information passed through his hands, facts that were not allowed to go public. Groezinger says, “He told me a little about his experiences, but he shared no names or locations about where he was sent on missions. It was enough for me to become intrigued by his activities and to speculate about covert groups and shadow governments.” Coupling that with what Groezinger learned working in the legal office with President Truman convinced her of the existence of such groups and she wrote The Davenport Dilemma, and now The Davenport Daughters.

The Davenport Daughters
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Father’s Day … Sunshine and Scarlet Ribbons

Betty Kerss Groezinger

1935 Daddy and newborn Betty 2

This day has been filled with celebration of my dad.

Memories have flooded my mind, not the big happenings in life, but the small things that make up life. It’s impossible to remember him without thinking of the many gifts he gave me—no, not touchable gifts, but the intangible ones of love and security and a solid foundation to build my life on.

He taught me small things like reading a map. Dad handed me a map once when we were on a car trip, he showed me where we were and where we were going. Then he said the next time we came to an intersection I had to tell him which way to turn, pretty heady power for a ten-year old little girl. We got lost a few times but we got there. I can still read maps and find my way most anywhere.

1937 Betty at Great grandmothers in Blue Ridge

Now my dad could…

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Reflections from an Octogenarian…the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly





The words “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and Covid 19 run through my mind every time I watch the news. I’ve struggled to find the good. I’ve tried to think of something to say, but like you, most everything I heard and continue to hear has been negative, so I chose to remain silent. However, to the possible woe of many, I’m breaking my silence.

As you can see, I have occasionally forgotten to wear my mask and have had to “make do.” I do believe the masks, appropriate social distances, and hand washing are the only options we have right now to try to curb the spread of Covid 19. So in spite of what I’ve read about masks not working, I’ll continue to wear one, or something.

It appears that many of us born before mid century are “potential Covid 19 statistics.” Another article said seniors have become “cases of double jeopardy.” Until I read all this and repeated the word “octogenarian” out loud several times, I really didn’t feel that old. Well, it sort of put me in my place, didn’t it!

Looking back over my “many years,” as I’ve been so rudely reminded, some of my earliest memories are of my parents talking about what they needed and what they could afford. The United States was still recovering from the Great Depression of 1929. Jobs were few and salaries were low. I have a few faint memories of mother and dad saying, “You’ll have to make do with what you have.” As a little child I didn’t quite understand that money was scarce and a new doll or book wasn’t a necessity, but I learned to “make do” with what I had at an early age.

As Dallas was beginning to thrive and come back from the Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, and in 1942 our nation entered World War II. The world as we knew it changed drastically. There were bomb drills in elementary school. We were taught to hide under out desks with our arms over our heads and at times to crouch down in the halls. Food rationing started and everyone got a ration book filled with stamps for the purchase of certain items. Much of our nation’s food supply was sent to feed the soldiers. Mother learned to “make do” with honey when she couldn’t buy sugar.

The 1940s were a mixed bag of good times, bad times, and ugly times. I remember visiting a friend in the early years and finding a “Quarantine Notice” tacked to the door. There was scarlet fever in that house and no one was allowed in or out. My friend wasn’t permitted to go to school or play outside as her sister had scarlet fever. There was no medication for it at that time. Penicillin was used for treating soldiers during World War II, but it wasn’t available to the general public until the late 1940s.

Another friend’s mother had tuberculosis. There was no cure for it and she was isolated in a TB hospital when he was five years old. He never saw his mother again except through a second story window. He has no memory of her kissing him. During the 1940s and 1950s if you worked in any type of food service, you had to be examined and certified okay by the health department of Dallas. A treatment for TB was found in 1943, but wasn’t until 1990 that a cure was achieved, however, it still took about six months of treatment.

And then outbreaks of infantile paralysis, more commonly known as polio, hit our nation in the 1940s and 1950s. It was a terrifying illness, one requiring the victim to live in a huge metal chamber called an iron lung. Most people that had it were left with some sort of paralysis.  My friend across the street from me was in one. We’d visit her by standing outside her bedroom window. She could turn her head and look at us. We could hear the metal clank as the iron lung breathed for her, up and down, up and down, it never stopped. Scary, terrifying, you bet it was. The Salk vaccine was discovered in 1953, but didn’t come into commercial use until 1961.

So why am I talking about the bad things? 

Because I’ve observed in my long life that every so often the world does a reset. The hardest life changes that reset my world were the deaths of two husbands. The most significant thing I learned is with every major life event, whether personal or otherwise, the world as I knew it changed. And eventually a new normal emerged. And it wasn’t easy.

The world changed after the Pearl Harbor attack, men turned into soldiers and women had to pick up where the men left off. Former homemakers turned into factory workers, plumbers, electricians, and did the jobs men had previously done to keep our nation going. And a new normal showed up. And it was difficult.

During the times of tuberculosis, scarlet fever, and polio, we learned social distancing, although it wasn’t called that. Gloves were the norm when shopping or riding the bus. You seldom saw a woman without gloves on when shopping. The gloves went in the washing as soon as we got home. Hands were washed often and thoroughly. Another new normal and it was scary.

Change is always difficult when it’s not our choice, and sometimes even when it is our choice. We don’t like to give up what was customary and comfortable. Perhaps that’s why we hear people talking about the “good old days.”

So what do we do with this?

Covid 19 will run its course and a vaccine will be found, maybe this year, maybe next year. But it will pass and the youth of today will someday tell their grandchildren about it. Those in my generation didn’t like the restrictions any more than people do today. But the ones who survived did what they had to do and followed the guidelines set forth by the authorities. It’s worth noting that they survived all this without air conditioning or the internet.

Today, the news is reporting people feel their “rights” have been violated by having to stay at home. I’m hearing many people refuse to wear masks and social distance. They refuse to obey the rules that have been set in place to keep them safe.  And I wonder what has happened to common sense, compassion, and even just plain kindness and caring for others.

Isolation and wearing masks isn’t fun, but I remember so many other times in my life when I didn’t like things. That said, many of us survived and isn’t that what we all want. John Wooden said “Character is what you do when no one is watching.”

Take this opportunity to read, work a puzzle, play games with your children, learn something you’ve always wanted to, take classes and watch church online, support restaurants by picking up food. The challenge is to find constructive and fun ways to stay involved with those we love without endangering them or strangers.

There is a lot of loss and uncertainty in the world right now, but it will pass. It always does. The good, the bad, and the ugly—what will the new normal be?  How the future unfolds is up to each of us. It’s a choice.  What will you do?

Shakespeare was quarantined because of the plague
and he wrote King Lear.

Posted in Covid 19, Dallas, General | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Remembering Mother…the Past and the Present






MOTHER’S DAY — I’m looking through albums for pictures of my mother and am carried back to the past. So many memories fill my heart today. Each picture I see tells a story, some stories about family and others about the world in my mother’s time.

I look at the first picture of my mother Bernice and grandmother Nora in 1911, and think of the generations of women who have held newborn babies. The world, makeup or the lack of, hair styles, and clothes have changed, but that feeling of holding a baby never changes. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own baby or your niece or nephew or even a friend’s baby, your heart opens up and jumps in response.

I don’t know much about my mother’s life as a child, she never talked about it. I learned bits and pieces of her story through the years, enough to know her childhood was not very happy. Mother‘s left arm and leg were severely burned in an accident when she was around ten years old, She always carried deep scars. She also lost hearing in her right ear as a teenager. On a happier note, the middle picture is mother at seventeen in 1928 when she graduated from high school. She won a trophy for being the most valuable basketball player in her senior year. The third picture is my mother holding me, Betty, in 1935. It’s the only picture I have of us together when I was a child. I have a couple of pictures taken with my grandmother Nora, but they didn’t take very many pictures.

Mother was the COOK in our home and a wonderful one. I was never allowed to cook very much; mother said food was too expensive to be wasted. There were a few things I was allowed to do such as stir the yellow coloring into the margarine. When margarine first made its appearance it was white and you had to mix in yellow food coloring if you wanted it to look like butter. My chore was to dry dishes every night as mother washed them.

I remember World War II and the difficulties of war rationing. Mother loved to make cakes, pies, and cookies and the biggest hardship for her was the lack of sugar. She and her friends would get together and trade food stamps. Mother always wanted more ration stamps for sugar as her favorite thing to cook was desserts.

My dad was the happy recipient of all those desserts. Nothing pleased him more than good food and good company and nothing pleased mother more than cooking! I do remember dad coming in the kitchen when a cake was in the oven and opening the oven door to peek in. He had the bad habit of letting the door close hard and would turn and grin at mother. He said a fallen cake was always better, it was moister. Needless to say, mother was not happy!

Mother was a wonderful seamtress and made all my clothes as well as her own. She would see a dress or blouse or coat she liked and draw a picture of it. Then she would choose material and make it. I did not inherit that talent! I wish I had.

I would love to sit at her table one more time. I’d choose her roasted beef with potatoes and onions. For dessert, I’d have either mother’s Burnt Sugar Cake or her Applesauce Cake with icing, not frosting as we know it today, but a thin sugary one that makes my mouth water when I think about it. I’ve tried to make it many times. I can make the cake, but I’ve never managed to duplicate the icing. I searched mother’s huge collection of recipes for the cake and icing and neither was written down.

For me, Mother’s Day is a day of remembering the past and my mother, but it’s also a day of remembering the present and my children. And of the very first time I held my babies, oh, how my heart melted.

For me, Mother’s Day is a day to remember the births of my grandchildren and great grands. I think how blessed I am to have daughters and grandchildren and great grandchildren. And I wonder, where on earth did the time go? It happened when I wasn’t looking. How fast time passes—it feels like you just turn around and another year has evaporated.

So here’s to my mother and grandmother,
Happy Mother’s Day with love.

 And to my family,
I say again Happy Mother’s Day,
With love and hugs for making me a mother!

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Sheltering in Place–Another Tunnel to Go Through





When I first heard the words “sheltering in place,” that everyone would have to stay at home and not gather with family or friends for several weeks, I instantly thought “Oh no, not another tunnel.” Then I wondered how long it would take to get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

And now, many weeks later, I’m asking “How much longer, Lord?”

Tunnels have become a way for me to think about difficult times, an unexpected illness, the loss of a loved one, and other life events that take us by surprise. Looking back at the stories I’ve written in the past, I found that a tunnel of some sort shows up almost every Easter. Now you know me, my mind ran amuck again and created all kinds of crazy scenarios as to why and I wrote dozens of stories that went in the shredder. The important thing to remember is there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Check the picture.

As I struggled with not being with my family on Easter day, I traveled back in time. I pulled out my old picture albums and visited the 1960s when my daughters were little. Time travel via photographs and memories turned a sad day into a sweet and lovely day. How precious those times were.

One Easter I wrote about a scary tunnel, the 17-mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connecting Virginia Beach and Cape Charles, Virginia. When we started onto the bridge it felt like we were driving on the ocean, then after about three miles the bridge dipped and disappeared under the sea into the first of the tunnels. The tunnel is well lit, but it’s a very eerie feeling. You know you are under the ocean and you can hear the roar. The tunnel surfaces about midway and there’s a restaurant, gift shop, view points, and a fishing pier. After spending a little time there, we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way. You have no choice at that point because the only way to get back to land is to go down into the tunnel again. There were two more tunnels and lots of low level bridges before we reached the other side. And, yes, I was thrilled and relieved when we came up from under the water and saw daylight.

I remember many other tunnels in my life, day-to-day small problems to the more serious ones, such as taking care of a very sick loved one and the hard times of grief when I couldn’t find the light. The truth is—the light was always there if I looked for it. I’m thinking you might be remembering a few tunnels you have gone through, too.

Sheltering in place definitely qualifies as a tunnel. COVID-19 came out of left field and blindsided us as did sheltering in place. After so many weeks, it has become the new “abnormal,” I’m not going to say “normal.” Coronavirus continues to take its toll on mankind all around the world. Some people are feeling like it will never end, others are saying when this is over the world will be forever changed. Maybe it will. There are certainly things that need to be changed.

The one consistent thing about tunnels is they all reach the light at the end. It doesn’t matter if they have blasted through a mountain, gone under the ocean, or kept us in our homes. It doesn’t matter how long or short they are, what matters is that the light was and is always there. Sheltering in place will end. We will leave our homes, go shopping, go to church, go out to dinner with friends, and go to all the places we used to go. And maybe we’ll have a new appreciation of what is important in life.

But remember, when we get out of the tunnel and the world is back to normal, the Light will still be there. The Light of the world came wrapped in human form more than 2000 years ago. This little baby who was born in a manager grew up and took on himself the sins of the world when he died on a cross, but his Light didn’t stay out. Jesus defeated death and forever brought Light to this world when He rose three days later.

Tunnels—they show up in many different ways and most often when we don’t expect them. It’s just part of life. They are not all easy ones and we struggle to reach the light. The fantastic part is that the Light of the World is with us even in the tunnels…that’s what makes the darkness disappear.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  —John 8:12

Picture Credits:
1.  Blue Ridge Parkway Tunnel
2. Betty and her daughters
3. Betty’s great grandchildren
Posted in America, Easter, General, Jesus, Memories, Sheltering in place | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Remembering our Veterans … Freedom is not free

Veterans Day – memories of the past are very real today and I’m remembering all of my family who served. I wonder if the brave warriors had not fought if we would be living as free as we are today. We have the right to chose how we live, where we live, and where we work. Most everyone has food and clean water and warm blankets and a place to sleep. Many places around the world don’t have these privileges. This freedom is so precious men and women have given their lives for it.

My grandfather, Eldon Lowrey, was a foot soldier in France during World War I. He told stories about marching behind the men on horseback till he thought his legs would drop off.  He said they had to keep up with the horses. He was especially fond of telling about the time a Frenchman stopped his wagon and invited some of them to hop on and ride a while. He developed a love of champagne while he was in France. His doctor became his dearest friend when he prescribed one glass of wine every evening. About once a month, he would ask us to get him one bottle of champagne for medicinal purposes. He kept it in the garage because my grandmother didn’t approve of any alcoholic beverages and would not have it in the house. We tried to convince him that it went flat after opened and that some of the other wines would hold better, however, nothing would do but champagne, no matter how flat! He was a special man, my grandfather. And I remember…

Thoughts of my second husband, Ray Groezinger, and the stories he used to tell me are flooding my mind. He was not quite eighteen when World War II started in the 1930s. America was not yet in it. He tried to go to Canada with some of his buddies to enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces, but his mother would not sign the papers for him. As soon as he turned 18, he and a couple of his friends signed up, America was now in the war. They were sent to Pensacola, Florida for flight training. It was very different in those early years, they signed up with the stipulation they could resign at will. Try that one today! They were trained to fly open cockpit planes. These three friends formed a life-long love of flying. He and his three buddies were flight instructors at Luke Field in Arizona during the war and were frozen there—flight instructors were vital.

My dad, Homer E. Hayes worked for Dallas Power & Light Company during World War II. He tried to enlist several times, but was not permitted to leave DP&L. The electric company was allowed to freeze a necessary crew of men to keep the electricity going in Dallas, Texas. He tried many times to be released, but never was. It always bothered him. He felt he was not doing his duty to his country.

My first husband, Bill D. Kerss, served in the Korean War. He was a G-2 agent stationed at the News Center in Kansas City. During that time nothing could be released to the newspapers, radio, or television until it had official clearance from the military. Security was tightly controlled. His service here in the states didn’t feel any different from having a regular job—except for wearing the Army uniform and the time periods he was gone! We enjoyed our time in Missouri, but were glad to get back to Texas. My childhood sweetheart, friend, lover, and father of my daughters died in 1977. And I remember…

I’m also thinking about my brother-in-law, Ernest Lueck, who was wounded in Korea, but always felt lucky that he got to come home. Many didn’t. I remember one of the Christmases he was there when the family packed a metal trash can filled with presents for him. It was full of warm clothing, food and treats. This happy, laughing man lived until 2010. And I remember…

My cousin, Gary Morris, is a Marine and veteran of Vietnam. He carries many scars, both visible and invisible. He went to Vietnam a happy, laughing young man and came home with a sadness and pain that has never left him, scars of the mind. The two of us are the oldest in our families, the last holdouts of our generation. And that’s a sobering thought!. And we remember all the members of our family who fought for freedom…

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s more important today than it was several years ago so I’m repeating myself. Please pay attention to what is going on in our country today and stand up to those who want to change America to be like other countries of the world where people are not free. It’s important to know the principles on which our country was founded, not just to know them, but to oppose those who want to change them.

It’s important to enforce the laws of America. They are there for a reason, not to harm, but to protect and preserve the freedoms of American citizens. It’s important to welcome all who come into our country legally and stop supporting those who come illegally.

Study and learn about the price your ancestors paid for the freedom the United States has enjoyed. Learn about the founding fathers of our country, what they believed, and the reasons they came and settled this country. The cost was great. Then pay attention to the world today, to the erosion of the morals and values that all these valiant men and women fought for and are still fighting for.

I believe Gary would join me in saying to everyone in our great country, don’t let the hard-fought-for and cherished freedoms of America disappear … the American way of life has been unique in this world. I challenge you to preserve the heritage all of our ancestors fought and died for.

Oh, yes, memories cloud my mind today of the valiant men in my life, but also of a time when the world was more innocent, when a man’s word had meaning, when men could run their business the way they wanted to, when children could walk home from school alone safely, and of a time when no one had to lock doors …

We must never forget the cost of freedom…

 And I remember …

Posted in America, General, military, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

When things go clunk in the night …

This was first posted in December 2014 when I had the flu —
Today I dedicate it to all my friends and family who have the dreaded FLU !
May it make you smile …

Clunk . . .  in the middle of the night,
I heard . . .
a single solitary clunk.

It penetrated my sleep-fogged brain. It wasn’t a normal night sound and I sat up instantly alert, heart racing, eyes searching around the darkness for what had made this sound. I got up, tiptoed across my bedroom and looked down the hall. Then I cautiously turned on a light and glanced up at the clock that hangs on my bedroom wall. The pendulum was not moving — the darn thing had stopped again. Checking the time I saw that there was only one hand pointing at two o’clock. Okay, I thought, it’s ten after two. I’ll wind it tomorrow.

I proceeded to check the entire house and all was secure. Convinced that I was still alone, I padded with cold feet back to my bedroom where my eyes fastened on the clock once more. It was still ten after two. Can’t be, I thought. This time I got my glasses and checked the clock and found there was only one hand there. The longer minute hand had fallen off. I breathed a sigh of relief. That was the “clunk” I heard. It had happened before. Climbing into bed I fell into a restless sleep.

Waking at dawn with a vicious headache I found my night had not gotten any better. No matter which way I turned I couldn’t find a position to ease the ache. There was nothing to do but get up and when I did I knew I had caught what my grandson had on Christmas Eve. I was dizzy, ached all over, and my head was pounding so hard I could hardly focus. I’d had this before, years ago, THE FLU. I glanced at the time forgetting that the clock had stopped in the middle of the night. Oh, yeah, I’ll fix you someday when I can see again, I muttered.

After a couple of days of experimenting with the bed, the couch, and the recliner, I began to be able to focus once more. I was back in the land of the living. Hallelujah, praise the Lord. I have lived through another bout with … THE FLU. My Lord is good. I was finally able to shower and put clean clothes on, forget the makeup though, I don’t feel that good! Collapsing in the wingback chair in the corner of my bedroom I turned the television on so see if the world was still there and, woe to me, I looked at the clock again. Oh, yeah, the thing fell apart in the middle of the night last night – or was it last week!

After I satisfied myself that the world had continued to turn without my help, I decided that I felt good enough to wind the clock and put the hand back on. I had never thought about how often I look at the time and ten after two was beginning to irritate me. So up I got, opened the door on the clock, felt around and found the minute hand. Now, on tiptoes to reach it, I push the minute hand on to the center post just like I have done several times before when all of a sudden it reacts like a spring and goes flying. I look around and it’s not in sight. With a big sigh, I close the door on the dumb clock and look in the chair below it. No hand. I look all over the floor, still no hand. By now, I’m not feeling so good and I have to sit down in my chair and rest.

Sometime later, who knows because the clock still says ten after two, I decided I had to find that hand. How far could it have gone? I check both chairs that sit in the corner, I look on top of the bookcase, I move books, rearrange pillows and cushions in the chairs, but no hand. By now, I am determined this will not get the best of me – I may have been beaten down by … THE FLU, but I will not be beaten by the stupid minute hand of a clock! I grab one of the chairs and pull it out to the center of my bedroom, no luck. Shaking because I haven’t eaten in two days, I manhandle the other chair to the center of the room and there on the floor was a box of books. Now I have books hidden in every imaginable place in my house, who knows, I might just want to read something when I’m in my closet. Looking at the box of books I think, Ah ha, the hand will be in there. I carefully go through the box. No hand. So I separate the books into subjects and carry them to my library, which has no more space, so I just shove them on top of other books. I’ll think about it another day, I mumble, if Scarlet can do that in Gone with the Wind, so can I.

Back in the bedroom, I decide that the hand is stuck in one of the chairs. I carefully run my hands over every inch of two wingback chairs, shake out two throws, lay them flat on the floor and look carefully, then fold them and put them away. Well, I know where the hand is not. A little success is good for the soul, I mutter. Now to the bookcase that sites between the chairs. I remove every book, every scrap of paper, fill the trash can with useless papers, then I put it all back. No luck. Deciding that the hand has to be under the bookcase, now you tell me how it could have gotten there, but there is no other place for it to be, I attempt to move the bookcase. It doesn’t move. My husband has nailed it to the wall. My head pounds again. I find a long handle shoe horn and I “sweep” under the bookcase. I found two screws, several pencils, small and sundry bits of paper, and numerous dust bunnies.

I am exhausted. I am confused. I am frustrated.  Lord, I say, I’ve done my best to find that thing but I’m giving up now. What’s the big deal about a second-hand anyway?  So I pulled, tugged, and shoved those wingback chairs, which had gotten bigger while they were in the middle of the room, back to their original positions. THE FLU couldn’t beat me, but Lord, that minute hand has.

I gave up and sat down in my cleaned-up corner with freshly brushed clean chairs, with my organized books, even the pencils are neatly arranged. I picked up the television remote and thought I’d watch the oldies channel to get my mind off that ridiculous clock, clicked it and leaned back to relax. Or tried to relax when something stuck me in the back of my neck, and I jumped up. No, that’s wrong, I don’t jump anymore –I got up. I thought I had been stuck by a pin or bitten by a spider. Once again I ran my hand over the back of the chair. I found nada. By now, I am beyond exhaustion and … THE FLU is making its presence known. My head is pulsating like a rock band. I sit down again and lean back … and felt a crawly sensation on the back of my neck.

This time, I really did jump up and scurry to a mirror. I looked at the back of my neck. There, hanging in my hair, tickling my neck, was the darned minute hand. I was speechless. Words failed me … for a minute.

Lord, I said, if you wanted me to clean that corner of my bedroom, you could have just asked me!

Now, you tell me – does the Lord have a sense of humor or not!

Posted in flu, General, humor | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Cinderella Syndrome…and they lived happily ever after



“Find a need and Fill it” is an old saying in the advertising business. That’s what the Hallmark channel did a few years ago when it launched their formula happily ever after movies. They scattered a few here and there and, eureka, their viewership increased. Now it is the only movies they present.

The past several years Christmas movies have started long before Thanksgiving. Actually, Hallmark presented Christmas movies the entire month of July, they are still the same stories the Hallmark channel carries all year long. We live in a maze of dreams fulfilled where Cinderella always marries Prince Charming. And he is charming and loyal and has a castle and all the gold he can spend, and they live happily ever after in their fantastic castle.

And even more interesting is another advertising adage that says if you study the shows people are watching on television you will discover their basic needs. If that is true, by Hallmark channel statistics, it appears we have many people in our country who want and long for a peaceful and happy world without strife. Now the past few months I’ve noticed other channels are following Hallmark’s lead and adding a few feel-good movies to their lineup of programs. They are testing the waters to see if they can get the same viewership as Hallmark.

Hallmark channel movies always end happy and usually with a kiss; no quarrels, no lost presents, no disasters, no over-sugared children, no exploding water pipes, no ovens that quit heating leaving the ham and turkey raw when it’s for dinner, no disasters. In the movies, everything get fixed or cooked just in the nick of time.

We can go into a Cinderella Coma watching the happily ever after movies. There’s something very calming and comforting about them. The stories are always positive and hopeful and free of the combative people we generally see on television, a safe haven for those weary of violence and arguments and biased viewpoints churned out by the news media.

Maybe that’s why we watch the feel good movies…

Most of you know my mind runs amuck at times and it just ran smack into news, politics and the media. Oh, dear, I promised myself I would not get into that so I’ll just ask one question and you can form your own conclusions. Have you been watching less and less news and flipping on a feel-good program more this past year?

I know I am watching Hallmark movies more than I used to and it is because they never depress me. However, at times I do wonder if they don’t set the bar so far out of reach that life becomes disappointing—because after the movie ends, we come back to the imperfect world.

But, maybe we all just need to escape the world for 90 minutes…

It’s the new take on the Happily Ever After fairy tales of our youth—and wouldn’t we love to live that dream. That’s what we expected as children, that’s what every human being wants, it’s the eternal search for happiness. But somehow, life generally falls short of the movies, and we know something is missing. Hmmm…

We all seek to find something that doesn’t exist in this world.  Everyone has times when dreams come true, but reality dictates it won’t exist forever. So many issues cannot be resolved or changed, sickness happens, and the death of loved ones leaves us alone and in pain.

And I long to change or fix all that…
My nitpicky mind says the only thing I can realistically change is me…
My attitude, my words, and my reactions to events that happen that I don’t like…

I can let the world’s news upset me, or I can focus on the good in my life…
I can make peace within myself and where I am in life, in spite of the problems…
And I can choose joy with my Lord, my family and the people that fill my life…
It’s a choice.

Sigh…but something is still missing…

After all is said and done, isn’t Happily Ever After what the Lord Almighty promises all who believe in His son, Jesus Christ. A place where we will see our loved ones again, where illness and pain and death don’t exist, where conflicts are no more, and where the Lord is King.

In the midst of movies and news and shopping and Black Friday specials and rain and snow and ovens that die and pipes that burst and pain and illness and death, I need to remember that Happily Ever After hasn’t come—yet.

Jesus Christ said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3

So flip to a Christmas Hallmark movie and enjoy the quaint beauty of the little towns, watch the problems dissolve, and see Prince Charming kiss Cinderella, and smile…

We’re not home yet…
Jesus is coming back to take us to our new home.
And the best is yet to come…

 The miracle of Christmas is the real Happily Ever After

Posted in Christmas, Cinderella Syndrome, General, Hallmark channel, Jesus, movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Life is a Collection of Moments…Halloween Fun in 1923

Life is just a collection of moments, 
       Some tell us who we are,
                 Others what might have been…


During the past weeks of rainy weather, I looked through some of my mother’s keepsakes, and I found a little book entitled The 1923 Children’s Party Book. It shows games and recipes for the major holidays starting with New Year’s Eve and continues through the year ending with a Christmas party. 1923—a moment in time, and its fun to think about those parties.

The dedication at the beginning of the book is to …
Busy Mothers, whose first thoughts are to surround the health and happiness of their children with every safeguard,
To Better and Happier Homes—where the absorbing problem of getting the most out of life is ever subordinated to the joys and responsibilities of parenthood.

It’s difficult to imagine reading a dedication like that in any book that is published nowadays. It is certainly different from the thinking in today’s world. Times were simple, less hectic, and moms didn’t work outside the home.

1923—well, I don’t know about that year personally, but I do remember life in the 1940s before television brought the world into our homes. Children were not involved in a lot of never-ending extracurricular activities. I walked home after school, had an afternoon snack then sat down and did my homework. We spent time as a family, at least that’s how it was in my home in the 1940s.

I remember sitting down to dinner with my parents every night and we’d talk about our day. Today, we hear a lot about spending quality time with our children—quality time in the 1940s was mother washing dishes and me drying them. In the winter after the kitchen was cleaned and dishes put away, we would play games like Chinese checkers, monopoly, work puzzles, or read a book.

Summertime in Texas was always hot; think about it, there was no air conditioning. It was cooler outside than inside the house so after the evening meal we would sit in the front yard, visit with neighbors, and sometimes mother or daddy would tell me stories.

I remember elementary school, but I don’t remember any after-school activities, however, doing homework and reading books is a very vivid memory. I do remember walking to and from school with friends. My parents had one car that my dad drove to work, but I had many friends whose family did not even own a car so we walked or rode the bus. I remember going to birthday parties of close friends—birthday parties were the highlight of our life! It was definitely simpler times!



A peep into the past…
it’s October so here’s some  Halloween fun
from The 1923 Children’s Party Book.

 The book suggests making the house look as mysterious as possible with heaps of corn shocks, autumn leaves, and grinning pumpkin lanterns. It suggests sticking a scarecrow in one corner, a ghost in another, and “do not have too much light.” The written invitations were mailed and they asked each guest to come in costume.

Several games are devoted to predicting the player’s fate and who they will marry. The first game listed is Bobbing for Apples, but with a twist—it suggests trying to bite apples suspended on strings with hands clasped behind—especially if a mischievous person helps by swinging the apple! It goes on to say everyone must catch the apple then peel it. Pare in one long piece, if possible, and then toss the skin over the left shoulder. The letter it forms will give a clue as to the player’s fate!

The Grab Bag—into a large bag put a little bag for every girl present. In these little bags are small articles that will determine the occupation of the girls’ future husbands. A bottle of medicine (druggist), a pen (author), a hammer (carpenter), scissors and spool (tailor), and so on.

More Fortune Telling—in a tub of water, launch little half walnut-shell boats, each with the name of a boy or girl written on it. Stand in the center of each boat a tiny lighted candle. If two boats float together, those persons surely will marry. If the lights burn brightly their lives will be happy and unadventurous. Why unadventurous? I looked up the word and it means careful, conservative, cautious, safe, and stay-at-home. Different times!

And for more fun, Invisible Surprises—give each guest an orange envelope which must not be opened until quite late. The paper inside seems blank but when held over a candle,the surprises, which are written in lemon juice, become readable. Something like the following will be found to be lots of fun.
               In the front room two steps to the right…
                   Your lover waits for you tonight.

There are other games such as Guess Who where a person stands behind a sheet with only feet showing at the bottom. Guests must figure out who that person is. A version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey for Halloween becomes The Tom Cat Game. It appears Halloween was predicting the future in 1923—today’s Halloween is more about spiders and goblins and horror houses.

There are recipes for Halloween treats, Calumet Doughnuts, Tarry Apples, Halloween Sunshine Cake and Cookies, Cocoanut Pop-Corn Crisps, and the most unusual one is Lighted Ice Cream.

Lighted Ice Cream
3 cups cream
3 cups milk
2-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla
6 eggs
Mix and freeze until hard.
For serving, shape it with the usual cone-shaped ice cream scoop.
Quickly roll the cones in chopped nut-meats, place each come o a plate, top it with a tiny candle in a birthday cake candleholder, or the candles many be stuck in by means of toothpicks.
Pour around each cone a sauce made by cooking together maple syrup, a few raisins and a bit of stick cinnamon for ten minutes, then chilling the mixture.   Light the candles and serve!

After the games, the little book suggests ending the Halloween Party with dancing. It reminds us that the table must be as spooky as possible, and at ten o’clock the costumes will be judged!

I don’t remember ever going to a Halloween Party when I was young, but we did go Trick or Treating in our neighborhood. No tricks were allowed, only treats! If we had a costume, it was homemade and very simple. We just went to a few houses on our block and most people passed out homemade treats or fruit. My most vivid memory of Halloween was the year my little black and white cocker spaniel was stolen. Sigh…

I’m thankful for those simple times when I grew up, when family and family activities were more important than ball games, dancing classes, and the myriad of things available to the youth of today. It was quality time spent with parents, learning who they were, what they valued, and forming a strong foundation that we would need as we grew into young adults and entered a scary world. And I wonder—what is defining the youth of today?

Some moments are engraved on our soul,
Moments that can never be forgotten…
It’s who we are; it’s what defines us…

I’m hoping you will scroll down to the Leave a Reply and share a memory!

Posted in General, Halloween, Memories | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments