Archive for the 'Humor' Category



18
Jan
10

Aprons

Recently a friend shared stories with me of growing up with two grandmothers: Big Granny and Little Granny. I found these stories quite poignant. How lucky he is to have had these two wise women loving him into a fine person! And how lucky were his parents to have had extended family to help with the nurturing of their little birds. The extended family, common in Mennonite culture, is becoming rare in the nuclear-family-is-all Americana of today.

The other day he forwarded one of those trips down memory lane emails full of pictures and clever quips. It was about aprons. He says,

This was sent to me from a dear friend, who thought it might resonate. It certainly did, with memories of both Big Grandma and Little Grandma. I had to laugh at the dusting reference, and cry at the overall memory of what amazing, hardworking, capable and loving women they were—all stirred by a simple piece of cloth.

The Apron email begins this way:

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for dusting, drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

My own grandma came from the old country at a very advanced age, having survived the Armenian Genocide. She did not speak English. She probably wore an apron, but I don’t remember.What I remember are the black clothes she wore, head to toe and the sadness she carried about her. However, my mother wore aprons, big-time…it was the 1950’s and aprons were still a practical piece of clothing for older women like my mother. I remember her nagging me to “put on an apron,” but I was headed for the 60’s and 70’s. By then aprons were getting smaller and smaller until by the 80’s they disappeared into jeans and sweat pants. Do I wear one now that I am o-l-d? No, I’m still doing the 80’s thing and wiping my hands on the side of my pants leg!

Here’s a little composite I made for you in honor of aprons…the face on the chubby lady in the center is my mother. The chubby body is not. Ah, the miracle of Photoshop!

Hi Mom!

28
Oct
09

and the winner is…

Hello everybody,

The Bennie Award-72 I am pleased to announce that the Blog Comment Award has been won by non other than…Mr. Ordinary Mostly… for bravely going where no man or woman has gone before. He has written a candid and insightful, comment to my post, “Please leave a comment” (September 25, 2009). What a guy!! OM gets the Brave and Handsome Bennie Award for… yes… you guessed it: bravery in leaving a comment!!

So, anyone else out there want to try for the Baby Kitty Bella Award or the Grumpy Old Frank Award? (Neither baby talk nor grumpiness need be a prerequisite for winning.)  Yours truly, Called by Name

30
Sep
09

let’s be creative for a change

I am a member of an online listserv whose purpose is promoting open dialog on various aspects of LGBTQ inclusion in the Mennonite Church (MC USA).  This subject has been kicked around for the past 30 years in this denomination—one that is not given to hasty decisions, obviously! Much of the time the members of this broad based group contribute erudite views—all very worthy and many quite thought provoking. But sometimes I get tired of the effort, because inclusion is a no-brainer for Christ followers.

For the past numbers of days the subject of focus has been homosexual desire vs. homosexual practice. The other day, in the midst of a flurry of intellectual postings, one of the members—Natalya Lowther—posted a view that totally took me by delightful surprise. She set forth a slightly unorthodox view, but reasonable nonetheless, with insight, clarity and creativity, and has graciously granted me permission to re-publish here on Called By Name. More from this author (including her profile and raison d’etre) can be found on her own blog:  http://www.pinwheelfarm.blogspot.com

Having been raised by a physics professor, when I hear the word “orientation” I think of magnetized particles orienting themselves  towards magnetic north.

Magnets are attracted to one another because of this shared alignment.

Magnets are attracted to iron because it has a potential for shared  alignment.

But whether magnets are “mating” with other magnets or with iron, they are always “practicing” their orientation. The physical force of the attraction is weaker the further they are from what they are attracted to…but it’s inherently there and functioning at all times.

People are attracted to God, and to other people, when there is a shared alignment. Mentally, intellectually, physically, emotionally.

Unlike magnets, our various alignments can be at odds with each  other…we may think that because we are aligned physically with  people of the same sex, we must be misaligned with God. But I do  not find that to be so. We can also use some senses to restrict the  alignments of other senses–the mind putting the flesh into subjection, artificially, by force. But then we are at war with  ourselves, creating chaotic conditions. Such a condition is not  sustainable, not healthy. Put the “south” poles of two magnets  together, and incredible force is needed to keep them in proximity.

In my life, I seek the natural alignment, the harmony, the sympathy  among all parts. If my life, my soul, my spirit, is given freedom  to fully express its natural orientation towards God, then the  other orientations that appear “not of God” will naturally tend  towards a natural alignment that does not conflict with that  primary orientation, even though it may not fit some artificially  imposed “norm.”

Just reflections, not clearly followed through but a beginning sketch.

Blessings,

Natalya Lowther, Lawrence, KS

Sacred Bird of the North

25
Sep
09

please leave a comment

So why don’t readers leave comments? Do they know that they can be anonymous or even use a pseudonym? I love to read what others have to say about my musings…and I often reply. One can contribute another point of view, add from one’s own experience or anything else, so long as it is appropriate and not end up in the Spam file. So what’s the problem? My dear friend OM has 300 comments on his blog. Called by Name is nowhere near that. I had hoped for an interactive blog. Maybe I should offer rewards for comments…

I could have the baby kitty, Bella award

Bella - 2 years old

Bella - 2 years old

or the brave and handsome, Bennie award

Ben - 2 years old

Ben - 2 years old

or the grumpy old, Frank award.

Frank - 18 years young

Frank - 18 years young

Or, I could just go on talking, and musing, and wondering who is reading the stuff.

08
Aug
09

mince meat or death?

There are times in one’s life when deciding what is most important, then triaging or shelving the rest, is important business. In times of crisis this is a relatively simple matter. After all which is most to be savored, life or death? Then there are times when even  eating, sleeping and bathroom business are beyond one’s control. Of course, some would say that we humans don’t really have control over anything at all. As a Christ-centered person, I live in a state of grace 24/7. Many of the things I think I have control over are really things in which I merely have investment and/or influence. Control? No, my house is still unsold; I cannot fix the cracks in the congregation I had to leave; nor can I fix the broken heart my partner has because of this, as well as a few additional afflictions.

We are both maxed out in those areas of life that are beyond control. That is why I chose to take  the anger that under laid my depression and digestive unrest to God, where it exploded like a Roman Candle, and then fizzled out from lack of currency. There was no point. I knew that, so I let go of what I was holding and chose to go forward into the days I am given. Does the anger come back? Yes, it tries to, but I am triaging for life now. See, I spent the summer 3 years ago, dying from advanced, stage 4, non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I also watched my sister die of this disease last year. I am not afraid to die, but I don’t want to do it before I’ve had time to complete the task God and I are collaborating on: Making my life of many errors meaningful for others.

I receive maintenance Rituxan treatments on a 12 week cycle. These prolong the most dangerous part of my remission, but they also lower my immune system and generally leave me in a state of malaise for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks afterward. Not fun! I complained to my primary care doctor that oncology was making mince meat out of me—a 92 lb,  golden years lady. His response to me was something like this: Yes, the way they look at things…it’s either mince meat or death! Because stress has a deleterious effect on the immune system (mine is not that great) I am using this as a rule of thumb. Is the expensive grill out on the deck that we can’t get the company to take care of worth my life? No is the obvious answer, right? Of course! So it’s mince meat or death. I’m going for mince meat!

Ginko leaves

03
Aug
09

one more for cats

While I am yet in a cheery mood, let me post another little kitty story for your feline pleasure:

Toulouse the Tabby Cat Saves Christmas, by Darling Daughter

Brown TabbyOnce upon a time there was a brown striped tabby cat named Toulouse.  Toulouse lived in a big old house in Chicago with his person, a nice girl who fed him well, and a big yard full of birds and leaves to chase, and if he was very lucky, and very quiet, a mouse or two at night.

Toulouse was happy in his house and yard.  His life was well ordered in cat-like fashion:  meals twice a day, sleep as needed – most of the day, in the spring and summer he hunted, in the fall he chased dried leaves and in the winter he curled up contentedly on the soft red couch in the living room and watched snowflakes fall or the flames lap up the fireplace walls.  “Birds, mice, squirrels, food, bed, what a nice life,” Toulouse thought as he purred himself to sleep.

Then one day, Toulouse’s world was turned upside down in a most uncat-like way: his person got a new cat.  The new cat was gray and white with silver tips where the sun hit the edges of his fur.  The new cat had long elegant whiskers and a way of striding around the house that gave no indication that he was going to be the second place cat.  The new cat was soon named Pablo and just as soon tried to take over.  “Yes, I’ll be king of this house,” he thought firmly.  “What a perfect setting the girl gave me to rule.”
Toulouse was focused on his orderly pursuits – hunting, sleeping, eating.

******

It was that time of year again, the time when the house began to smell of warm, nutty baked goods, when the snow began to pile up against the cat door and when the girl began to spend lots of time with the shiny strings and paper that Toulouse loved to play with.  “All those good smells, Pablo,” said Toulouse, “you know it means we’ll be getting salmon and turkey ourselves.”

“Yeah, especially when we steal them off the counter when the girl gets careless,” purred Pablo.”

All was cozy and content in the big house in Chicago until one day the girl and her friend brought home a fir tree.  Pablo and Toulouse stared wide eyed as the two humans lugged it in and set it up in the living room.  “A tree, a real live tree, just like the ones the birds live in!” thought Toulouse to himself.  “Maybe, if I’m real quiet and stay hidden under the couch I’ll catch one.”  But Pablo had other thoughts.

“Wow, my own climber!  How nice of them to get a tall one for me.  I’ll just wait ‘til the girl goes into the other room to try it.”  And when evening came, the tree glowed with lights and jangly, bobbly, twizly toys that cats love and the girl soon went to bed.  Pablo crouched low at the living room door, “a running start, that’s what I need,” he plotted.

“No!” Toulouse shouted, “you must not, Pablo.  You’ll ruin Christmas for the girl.”

“Out of my way, Toulouse,” Pablo growled, “try and stop me!”  And Toulouse did just that.  From under the couch he shot, tackling Pablo full on.  The two cats tousled, brown and gray balls of fur rolling and flopping and spitting at each other.  Until finally, Toulouse backed Pablo into a corner “say you won’t do it, say it!” he hissed at Pablo.  “No!” A quick swat of a brown paw and Pablo conceded, “I didn’t want to climb that stupid tree anyway,” he said licking himself.

And so it was that the next day the girl and her friend woke to a perfect Christmas morning and enjoyed a happy Christmas with Pablo and Toulouse, who got their extra turkey, plus what they managed to steal off the counters.

Finis




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