Making A House A Home

LANDLORD AND TENANT

by Edgar Guest

The landlord wouldn’t paint the place
or keep it in repair,
yet at the window panes was lace,
though every board was bare
and those who passed it by could trace
the tenant’s tender care.

And those who passed it by could see
a blossoming plant or two.
Despite the tenant’s poverty
a little garden grew,
lovely and gay and orderly
the blazing summer through.

The landlord Life at times seems cold
and deaf to every plea,
yet to our dreams we still can hold;
courageous we can be
and round the place plant marigolds
for passers-by to see.

We, too, with faith, can plant a rose
where all is bleak and bare
and fashion pretty furbelows
for windows of despair,
and work, till our poor dwelling shows
a tenant’s tender care.

From his book, LIFE’S HIGHWAY
© 1933 by the Reilly & Lee Co.

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The Sun Still Rose

Word Press Daily Prompt: Primp

When I poked my head out the door first thing this morning I noticed the pinkish clouds in the western sky. It seems the sun decided to specially primp before it made its appearance today. In doing so, it managed to smear the thin lines of clouds in the western sky with a baby pink blush something like this:

clouds-pink-morning

And when I looked through the trees of the woods to the east of us I saw the sun was preparing for a dazzling entrance, having painted a strip in the sky with intense orange-red. Something like this:

red-sky

I had to think of the poet who wrote, “God’s in his heaven; all’s right with the world.”

Then I thought of many American voters who might choke over that line this morning.

As the sun rose this morning in the US, the various presidential candidates were primping for their “after the election” public appearances. There would be huge smiles from the winner and his team and brave, if trembling, smiles from the also-rans and their supporters.

My mind took a quick flight back through time, wondering how many “morning after” shocks and blues American voters have faced before? Were disappointed voters of yesteryear convinced their new President would bring the country to complete ruin? Of course the other half of the electorate were convinced Lincoln, Taft, Truman, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Nixon, Bush, or whoever, was best for the job. Some were better and some were worse. Were even some of these men elected because the thought of their opponent running the country was too terrible to contemplate?

And now today. I do hope and pray this turns out like Y2K, that the total disaster some folks are so dreading will fizzle and the US will still be around to hold another election again in four years. I trust Americans will get behind their duly elected leader now and pull together for the good of the nation. Division leads to disintegration.

I really hope the new Chief Officer has what it takes to lead and inspire his people to work together for the good of the country. But I don’t envy his job! In a free country everything a leader does is scrutinized and criticized. You just can’t please everybody.

Bloggers all over the world have been commenting on the US election results. Here’s another post you might find worthwhile reading: The Race Is Still On

 

 

Stubborn She Was

I prepared this article for yesterday’s Daily prompt, but my internet was down last night and wouldn’t let me post anything. So here it is, albeit belated.

I’ve written this bit about my mother-in-law before, but the Daily prompt word brings back memories of her, so I’ll post it again.

Mom prided herself in being stubborn. She was born in 1908, long before x-rays and other diagnostic tests that would have explained her deformity. An x-ray, when they were finally invented, revealed that she had no hip joints. There’s a technical term for this: congenital hip dysplasia. The newborn’s hip sockets never formed. And there’s a simple cure for it — nowadays.

Back then doctors had no clue. The only explanation they offered back in 1910 was, “Somebody must have dropped this baby.” This made Grandma angry; she knew this wasn’t the case at all. Still, nothing could be done for the child. They just had to accept her condition and make the best of it.

Grandma told her to just sit still and never mind that her siblings were running around, but Mom had no ears for that idea. Enduring constant pain, she did walk. Being number six in a family of fourteen, she wasn’t going to be left out of the action. She wasn’t catered to, either; she was expected to do her share of the work. Overall, she was accepted as an equal and well treated at home. Her father was blind and she was less mobile than her siblings, so she became his eyes, reading to him and doing the family farm book-work.

Mom often commented about how, if her folks went away visiting on a Sunday afternoon and she was home reading a book, when they got home her dad wanted her to repeat the complete story. No matter what it was about, he wanted to hear it all, in detail. Thus she developed a great memory.

At age 3o Mom went to keep house for a couple of bachelors, Walter & Morris Goodnough. The next year she married Walter and they had a baby, a 9-lb boy born by cesarean. (Mom was 4’10” at her tallest, so she told us that in the last months of her pregnancy she was four-foot-square.) “That’s it!” the doctor ordered. “You can’t put your body through this again.”

Mom ignored the pain and walked almost all her life, cooking, canning, cleaning, playing with her son — doing all the things a normal farm wife would do. And she kept walking right up into her 90s. She walked long after arthritis had immobilized some of her cronies. When people would marvel at her ability to keep going, she’d answer, “I’m just so stubborn.”

I benefited in one way from her stubbornness, as she was determined — come what may — that when her son married she was going to get along with her daughter-in-law. She would explain in later years something to the effect that, “When you only have one child and you alienate them by criticizing or fussing with their spouse, then you have no one.” This is a wisdom that would have blessed the lives of a lot of mother-in-laws I’ve known — had they only applied it.

WE, her children, marveled at Mom’s amazing determination. Then again, there were times when her stubbornness really annoyed us, too. For every virtue there’s a vice on the flip side of the coin.

Mom never talked much about her health. In fact, the few times when she was really sick or had been injured in some way, we never heard about it until she was better again. I suspect she didn’t want us to worry, or ask frequently how she was doing. However, often the ones who say, “I just didn’t want you to worry,” give you three times more worries than the ones who come out with the truth, or call for help, and let you worry together with them.

Another downside of Mom’s being stubborn was that she held a few life-long grudges. For instance, back when she was in her twenties on the family farm, she often told us, the XX Dairy didn’t give them a proper grade for the cream they shipped. She never forgot that, and even in her eighties she wouldn’t buy products from that company. We could tell her that the people who did the grading for XX Dairy, as well as the entire management of the company, were all dead and gone. (Probably a lot of their children, too.) It made no difference; by this time she just couldn’t let it go.

Mind you, if I’d struggled through the “Dirty Thirties” on a farm in one of the driest part of the province, I might better understand why the price the XX Dairy paid Grandpa for his cream in those years was so significant to her.

After age 85 Mom developed dementia, but she didn’t realize how bad her memory was until the last few months. Only then did she talk on not wanting to live anymore. She died just two weeks short of her 99th birthday, a week after a serious bout with a ‘flu virus. So she lived a good, long, and happy life in spite of her faults.

The Muse and the Ball Game

A few mornings ago the Word Press daily prompt word was “muse.” Since then I’ve contemplated what writers call “the Muse” and how it works — at least for me. A picture came to mind about how. in one way, writing is much like baseball, with inspiration (AKA the Muse) being the pitcher.

As I sit down at the computer and read what others have written, or see the Daily Prompt word, I feel rather like a batter standing at home plate with random ideas being pitched my way. Or I read a new book and have some impressions of it that I want to share with the world. Sometimes I see only scraps of thought coming at me, loosely wrapped together like a rag ball, and sometimes I can discern the complete story or article as it sails toward the plate. The bat (pen) is in my hand. Will I make good use of it?

There have been many times when I’ve given my bat a good swing, connected, and away I went round the bases while my ball of words flew out toward a receptive audience. Home run! Other times the connection wasn’t as good and the ball didn’t get very far. Some may have said as they read my piece, “What a half-baked idea! Foul ball.” Maybe I need to work on my swing.

Of late I’m still getting the inspirations — thankfully the pitcher hasn’t quit throwing balls my way — but I haven’t been swinging. Ideas come but instead of batting and sending them sailing toward the outfield I rather watch them fly into the catcher’s glove without even raising my bat. Is it a lack of energy? Lack of focus? Simple laziness?

I weigh my options. At times I’m ready to toss the bat and get out of the game. “Discipline, focus, perseverance are the things that make for a successful writer,” they say. Right now I seem to lack everything I need to be a successful writer, so shall I turn in the uniform? Or go sit on the bench awhile and wait out my current health issues? Other times I think perhaps I just need to discipline myself and start swinging again. At least try to bunt some for awhile.

This post can be my attempt at a bunt. (Or grunt. Or overall moan. 🙂 )

I see the prompt word for today is “praise” so I’d better go muse on that awhile and come up with something cheery. Have a good day, everyone. Wishing you all at least one “homer” today.

The Race Ahead

Here’s an inspiring article to start the day — a good comparison between physical and spiritual endeavor written by Australian biking enthusiast Jonathan Camac.

Jonathan Camac

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I love cycling.

And I don’t use the word love lightly either. At times I wonder how I’d have gone on if not for cycling. It was my release – huge to me in my high school years, and I still love to get out when I can.

There are tons of things I love about cycling.

Summiting a mountain solo. Alone, but not lonely. Guided by my bike light; a hum in the darkness. Morning fog thickening as I rise higher. Sounds of my raspy breathing. The occasional dog bark or cow’s moo. The chain cranking as it propels the wheels around. Life’s problems fading on each pedal stroke. The sun rising over Adelaide – a whole city wakes from sleep. Wind in face as I’m propelled down the mountain. Sweat in hair, eyes wide open. Feeling of aching, tired legs. I’m stuffed, but I’ve never felt more alive

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Answers to Prayer

Sunday Morning Musings

Apparently someone once asked George Mueller if he spent a lot of time in prayer, to which he replied that he prayed for hours every day.

“I endeavour to live in the spirit of prayer,” he added. “I pray as I walk, when I lie down, and when I rise. And the answers are always coming. Tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered. The great fault of the children of God is that they don’t continue in prayer… They do not persevere.”

When we consider that George Mueller successfully pastored a church of 1,200 members, housed, fed clothed, taught and evangelized 2,050 orphans annually, supported 187 missionaries, organized a society that distributed vast quantities of Bibles and tracts, and went on lecture tours in his old age, one can believe that he received all those answers to prayer!

Apparently he never accepted a salary, nor mentioned financial needs to others but depended on God to supply their needs. And he never went into debt.

Oh, me of little faith!

When I read this account of George Mueller, I found his life of prayer an inspiration and a reproof. God does answer prayers. It’s not all about maintaining a loud enough, persistent enough wail that God will finally give in and give me what I want, as I see some children do. It’s about having the confidence to ask and the faith to leave the need in His hands. “Not my will, but Thine, O God.”