She Came Crying, Begging, and Trembling…

It happened during our tiny tornado that passed over us and never did a bit of damage except for felling one oak tree in the woods.

Storm CloudsWe saw the clouds coming. We knew the predicted danger was upon us. Watching it was like watching time-lapse photography. I’ve never seen clouds approach so fast.

We were ready. We have a basement and I was about to suggest we go there, except the amazing display of the skies held me entranced. There was no funnel cloud, just incredible force.

Incredible force.

Think: Can you move a tree? Even a small tree, such as an apple, is difficult to shake, even when we desperately want those apples. Yet, huge trees, with branches as large as some tree trunks, were swaying as if they were grass, as if they were dancing. Do they like tornadoes? Do they love the chance to sway like the grass? It seemed it.

Yet, reality kept me in check: Water was leaking under the front storm door, impossible except during tornadoes. As I fetched a couple of old towels from the laundry room, to protect our living room floor, I heard the honking of an automobile through the exterior door. I heard the wild, mad, honking of someone desperate.

My husband had the sense to open the door, exactly at the moment the banging began. There stood a rain-drenched woman, blonde and petite.

“Oh, PLEASE let me come into your house! Please let me come in!” she begged, trembling all over and almost jumping in the door once we opened it.

Who could deny such a request at such a time?

So it was that she stood just inside the laundry room, dripping, running, water all over the tiles. She blessed us, thanked us, and blessed us again. And I stood, dumbly, astonished, with two towels in my hands, finally thinking to thrust them at her. She began drying herself as if she were a family member. Mentally, I remembered the flooding front door, and I remembered the Scriptures: do not neglect entertaining strangers, for thereby, some have entertained angels, unaware… (Or something like it–that was how I was remembering it.)

As if she were an angel, we encouraged her to come inside the rest of the house. We anticipated a black-out and wanted her where we could seat her if darkness made our unfamiliar house a hazard to her. We offered her more towels and a drink. We showed her the astonishing view outside our front door, as more storm flew over us. We apologized as we needed to tend to that water coming in with more towels.

She, feeling SO at home, asked to borrow a phone. She told her mother she was okay, but would be late. We chatted. The storm passed.

Then she apologized: She usually drives through a storm unafraid, she said, but this one was like NOTHING she had ever seen before. We assured her we felt the same and she was extremely wise not to drive in such wind with the ground so saturated that trees might fall across her path, or even on her car. She thanked us profusely and promised to bring us a cake. We told her we would love a cake, but she owed us nothing.

Then she left for where she belonged, and, just like that, this golden moment of people helping people was over.

I miss it.

_______________

Storm Clouds (Photo credit: mcdett)

Do You Live with an Editor?

I can find anyone’s mistake.

Writer

Writer

When folks misuse an adjective as an adverb, I mentally add, “-ly!” Yes, I mentally add the exclamation point; cannot let it go.

When someone picks up the wrong fork for his salad, I have to concentrate on my own salad or I forget to eat it.

When a word is misspelled in a published book, I mark it, if it’s my own copy.

When clothing colors are a bad match, when a car needs detailing, when a hand print (or, worse, a nose-and-forehead print) appears on my storm door, I notice it all. (And I say “for-red”, not “for-head”.)

If you find plates upside-down at the beginning of the service line in a self-serve restaurant, I’m the one who did that. Those plates needed rewashing.

My kids can tell you: I’m precise about particulars. They learned how to diagram sentences. They learned to distinguish between the “i”, the “:”, and the “!” in math. They learned the new names of the new countries in eastern Europe.  They learned to spell before I let them learn to type, which came before I let them learn to use our computer.

They learned to say “-ly!”, mentally, whenever appropriate.

I cannot imagine how stressful that must have been. I worry about it, although I always attempted to make learning fun and exciting.

In fact, one of my kids recently told me of his thankfulness at being forced to learn spelling and typing first.

He’d noticed.

Someone else was hunt-pecking at a keyboard, someone employed to sit there and hunt-peck. He told me of his astonishment and the difficulty he had in concentrating on his own business. Hmm.

I am training myself to let some of it go, though. Wish I’d trained my kids to do that, too. It’s heavy, all this noticing and editing of other peoples’ goofs. Sometimes I just smile and keep going.

After all, I can spot anyone’s mistake.

Anyone’s but mine.

Wax Wanes

Sincerity

The word “sincere” mean without wax.

Really.

Well, we use it to mean believability, but “sin-” means without and “cere” means wax.

You see, long ago, when the best container for holding liquids was made of some sort of fired clay, of unknown quality and skill, it was totally easy to mess up and crack one of these containers.

Totally.

Not like having engineered, mass-produced, tempered glass, at all.

Even the vendors and potters, themselves, could accidentally cause a small crack to occur in the product.

Oops.

A rather useful way to fix this problem, back then, was to pour melted wax over it and let it soak in, to seal it, buff the wax to make it shine, and if no one noticed, you could pass the container off as whole.

Not a cracked pot.

The trouble often came, though, that when a homemaker poured hot liquid into one of these waxed pots, she would discover a leak and realize what she had: damaged goods. She might not know whether she bought it that way, or bumped it herself, unless she could observe wax floating atop the liquid.

She might not discover it until the next  morning.

She never could prove she had not waxed it, herself, though, so never could get any satisfaction, aside from spreading the news to her friends, to help them avoid this vendor.

While she might enjoy that as payback, she still needed a new pot. One that was without wax, “sincere”.

______________________

I recently signed a letter “sincerely” and immediately thought of the word history. I asked myself: Really? Am I sincere? Am I laying a coating over cracks in my believability? Am I pretending? Is this the truth? If not, will I be discovered?

I did not answer. Maybe I did not like the answer. Instead, I wrote this post.

Safer.

Maybe I’m a cracked pot? Should I avoid all heated content? Is there any other way to fix it besides waxing it over?

Yeah.

Germ Warfare – 1

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

She was holding back tears of frustration. It had failed, again.

Every time she’d tried to duplicate her mother’s lemon pie, all she could produce was lemon soup.

She had asked her mother.

The many possible explanations made her head swim.

Were the eggs too small, too old, or too cold?

Was the cornstarch under-ripe, or were the lemons over-ripe?

Was the water filtered? The sugar sifted?

How many times she’d watched Mother make that pie! She mentally ticked off the ingredients, desperate for a clue . . . .

She forgot one ingredient.

No, she did not omit anything on the recipe card. Actually, she forgot to examine carefully one item that she always, unthinkingly, added to her mother’s formula.

Human saliva.

Yes, in her youthful ignorance of scrupulous hygiene, she always sampled the pie filling with the same spoon, several times. Her family often shared apples, ice cream cones, and drinking glasses, she reasoned. No one would care, or even know.

M-m-m! So delicious! Sure hope it sets up this time…

If you have ever fed a child from a jar of baby food and refrigerated the left-overs for later, you may have had the same experience of soupy consistency. The food isn’t exactly spoiled—just somewhat digested. God created the enzymes in saliva expressly for that purpose and they work very well.

Cleanliness in the kitchen is of crucial importance. The lack of it is considered rudeness.  In this country, a guest has a right to decline to eat where food is not protected from contaminants. You wouldn’t expect a person to eat a helping of casserole with a fly on it, right?

That’s because of the germs.

The battle against germs must be fought on all fronts, though. The ice-cube that hits the floor, the meat juice on the cutting board, the dust in the vent hood, the film on the refrigerator handle, and the licked spoon are some of the prime targets in this battle.

And if you think your hands are pretty clean, I challenge you to try this for one day: rinse them a little and then dry on the same white towel each time you begin to work in the kitchen.

The importance of cleanliness skyrockets, though, with the added factor of food storage. I mean, why bother to preserve dirty food? It is especially important to realize the part that germs, enzymes, etc., can play in the failures experienced in dry storage and raw storage. Uncooked food stuff can save your life or kill you, depending on its quality.

Generally, home dried food that is quick-dried and then stored frozen is safe. Some of it is delicious. Peaches are superb. If you dry food out-doors, though, do use netting to protect it from insects and do not choose a day when dust is blowing everywhere. If you use a mechanical dehydrator, clean it between uses. Check it for six-legged occupants.  In fact, if you know that your house is not bug-free, you should clean every utensil you need for each meal.

When you prepare foods for storage, clean your kitchen counters and tables first. Use an ammonia based spray, dish water, baking soda, or vinegar. Any of the extreme acid or alkaline substances usually does a good job of killing and removing bacteria, etc. Then spread clean towels over the work surfaces you plan to use. I use towels from garage sales and bleach them often.

Next wash the utensils. The colander is dusty, the tongs are rusty, and the cutting board is musty!

I hope you have a wooden cutting board because they are the most sanitary.

Wash the jars, carefully. Hold them up to a light to check for little bits of last year’s food. Wash the bands and flats. (Especially the flats, because they have direct contact with the food, just like the jars. They can have metal filings, stray bits of rubber, mildew and roach hairs on them. Ick.)

Tomorrow, the food.

__________________

Photo credit: David Maddison

The New/Old Hate Target

ABC-TV has decided that it can take direct aim at Christians with what amounts to hate speech. This is the premise of its new program GCB (which stands for Good Christian B****es).

This program ridicules Christians, Christianity, the Bible, and Christian symbols in ways that would be unthinkable if aimed at any other religious group. For example, in the official Facebook page for GCB it said that “cleavage will help keep your cross straight.” Can you imagine the reaction in the Muslim community if that kind of message (complete with a highly suggestive photo) would have been made aiming at a symbol of the Islamic faith?

To read more of this, including who sponsors it and why it affects home schooling, go HERE. It’s an amazingly scary world out there, still filled with hatred but aimed in a new direction.

Well, not really so very new . . .

God’s Dishonor Roll – What to Do, Part 2

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation ...

The Annunciation by Rubens

Jesus knows we are weak.

That is why He told the disciples, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised . . . ” Luke 2:49

The promise was the Holy Spirit.

Let’s track this Holy Spirit from the beginning: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis1:1-2

You can’t go any farther back than that, the first page of the Bible. But there’s lots more.

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18-20

The Holy Spirit appeared visibly at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. Luke 3:22

It was prophesied that Jesus, Himself, would baptize people with the Holy Spirit. Luke 3:16

The old man, Simeon, recognized Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, when Jesus was a week-old infant. Luke 2:25-26

Jesus taught that the heavenly Father would delight to give His Holy Spirit to His followers, even more than our own fathers would give us food. Luke 11:13

Jesus said His followers should never worry about what to say in His defense, because the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say. Luke 12:12

Jesus taught that one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to keep teaching us, because of so many things we must learn that we cannot grasp all at once. John 14:26

Jesus said He could not send His Holy Spirit unless He went away. John 16:5-7

Jesus said, “Father, into Thy hand I commend my spirit,” when He died. Luke 23:46

Jesus promised power to be good witnesses after receiving the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8

Having the Holy Spirit is how we get godly love. Romans 5:5

Righteousness, peace, and joy come from the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

Our bodies are to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19

Purity and patience come from the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 6:6

The Holy Spirit seals us. Ephesians 1:13

The Old Testament was written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21

Jesus did an amazing thing after He returned to the Father. He sent His own spirit, the Holy Spirit, to be IN the disciples and IN us!

Without Him, we have no power over sin, the flesh, or the devil. Without Him, we are doomed to fail. We need Him every hour of every day and our Father wants us to have the Holy Spirit.

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

________________

Image via Wikipedia

Sunday Scriptures – Ready

House Servants at Stonehouse Hill, estate of F...

House Servants at Stonehouse Hill, Estate of F. L. Ames

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, and will have them recline at the table, and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.