Happy Birthday Dad!


Happy Birthday to Dad

Today would have been my dad’s birthday. I’m always sad at this time of the year. Not so much, on the date my father died. But the date of his birthday. I think, I was overwhelmed with the loss and no breathing time, before the loss of my youngest brother. Then, I was also going through a ‘stripping away.’ I had lost my job with Eastern Airlines, because of the strike and the immediate loss of income.

My ex-husband was also ill. He  in the hospital, and at the same time, the home which we were renting, being foreclosed on.  I came home from the hospital, to find a notice on the door. The owner, apparently was involved with another woman, and stopped paying the mortgage. I had called his wife, and she was hysterical. I would soon realize the same desperate feelings, of despair and hopelessness.

I remembered, being in a panic, as I was trying to figure out how I was going to feed my daughter. A little toddler. Since we were not approved for any kind of unemployment. I remember being in the Unemployment Office, and I was given the bad news. I had no pride left, as I looked at my little girl, and asked the woman, “How am I supposed to put food on the table, with my husband in the hospital, and no income?” She looked at me with compassion, as she said, “Go down to the Food Stamp Office. You should qualify.”

I went straight down to the office, and after filling out a series of papers, I was called into a room. “I’m sorry to tell you that you don’t qualify.” The man said. “Your pre-strike income is too high.” “What?!” I was so angry. “That is my “pre-strike. Which means, I’m no longer getting any income!” “I’m so sorry,” he said.

I stormed out and got into my car. I remember this as if it was yesterday. I was so low, I couldn’t breath. I was a new believer, and here I am, being hit from every side.  As I drove home, I remembered asking God what I should do. I couldn’t understand how all of this could be happening at the same time. I felt so alone. “At least, take care of my daughter.” I pleaded.

All of a sudden, I looked up. It was pouring out, and I felt my tears in the rain. Hitting my windows, hard. I wasn’t sure if I couldn’t see because of my own cries, or the torrential downpour. Then a song came on the radio. It’s words were an answer, which I heard. “If He is watching over the sparrow, I know, He is watching over me.”

It was this time which was the most miraculous time in my life. Yes, as much pain and suffering as I endured, I had an equal balance of miracles. And I’m positive, that my faith would not have grown, in the leaps and bounds, it had, if I wouldn’t have been so keenly aware, of my need.

I believe, that my feelings of sadness, He uses remind me. To point to these times of trouble, and make me aware of the Lord’s divine hand in my life. He held me up through all of my suffering.

Today, I had another argument with my mother. I told her it was important to exercise. I had gotten information for her, to help her have some socialization. She fights me on everything. Then she told me again, “It’s none of your business! I am leaving here anyway!” Then I asked her how. I was so upset. She has the plan, but she cannot execute it without me, doing everything. I have a very difficult time, with her. She is totally dependent on me to do everything, yet she tells me to ‘butt out.’

She began to go up the stairs in a huff. After trying to help her, by giving her a calendar of social events, from the center down the street, she ended with, “You’re evil!” I had already spoken with some social workers, and they agreed, she is a tough candidate, for their center. Since she doesn’t want to go. They seemed more concerned about me and the tough road I have, with her non-compliant behavior. They seemed aware of elder’s with this type of attitude.

I went into the next room to be alone. I was upset, as I asked the Lord to help me. “I am tired, Lord. I’m tired of trying to help my mother, to hear her constantly berate me. I’m angry with my siblings, who have left her in this state and me to pick up the pieces. Why didn’t they just leave her where she was? Now I’m the one to shoulder all of this. I’m trying to balance, your commandment to honor my mother, and my feelings of hurt.”

My daughter came down the stairs, and she sat next to me. “Mom, you can’t help her if she doesn’t want the help. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. At some time you are probably going to have to give her an ultimatum. She just doesn’t understand how much you are doing for her.”

I was broken, as I told her, that “Today is always difficult. It would have been your grandpa’s birthday. I’m the age which he was, when he left. And I feel alone. Especially after, what my own siblings have done.” “You’re not alone, mom.” She said. She gave me a big hug, and I was so thankful for her love and sensitivity.

In her words, I heard so much wisdom. It was a comfort to have her consoling me. I longed for this type of relationship with my mother. But she won’t allow it.

I realized that we had come full circle. The little toddler, which I was trying to provide for, was now providing for me. In ways, she didn’t yet understand. Just as my own mother, does not understand.

I said, a prayer of thanks, to the Lord. On the day, I begged the Lord, to care for my child. I felt like, Hagar, in the desert, crying out. And He reassured me, “He watches over all of us, just as He does, the sparrows.” He revealed His glory and provision, in a time when I was most desperate. And I’m reminded, with each painful experience, that He is also watching over my mother. He’s mindful of every detail of my life and hers.

So, today, I thank Him. Even for the suffering. I know it’s His hand, to refine me. As my father, was not perfect, my Heavenly Father is. This is a day to memorialize my father and to remember the good things that my Heavenly Father has done. And it was during these times of darkness, which I had grown in my relationship to Him. So today, as I draw close, I will tell Him to give words of love to my father and tell Him that I understand the day He went to be with Him, was truly his birthday! Happy Birthday Dad!

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Dirty Glove’s


Flygurl!

Well, tonight, the long-awaited premier of Pan Am, is on.  I’m a little curious to watch. I have so many Pan Am colleagues, as friends. I am formerly Eastern Airlines. And my saying goes, “In the airline industry, we’re all recycled.”

I believe that I came into my flying career, right at the tail end, (pun intended) of the glamour. I trained with Eastern Airlines, in 1984. We stayed at a little hotel right on NW 36th Street, in Miami Springs. It was right across from the airport. And Pan Am’s training facilities, were literally side-by side, with our own. We used to see them and felt equal in our stature as an airline. Although, to be honest, I was from the Midwest, so United Airlines, was the premier airline, in my part of the country. I had really not heard much about Eastern, at the time, I accepted their offer. But the thought of training in Miami, was the best thing going. To escape the winter blast. I flew down, in the middle of March.

I never intended to move back. I loved the hot weather, and would gladly exchange it for the bitter cold. I missed my friends and family, but they couldn’t even compete with Miami.

I read a few articles about the show. It is a career, which, I believe, may have been planted in my subconscious. I remember someone giving me a copy of, Coffee, Tea, or Me, when I was in middle school. And I read, The Flygirl’s, right after this.

Coffee, Tea Or Me

Of course, these books, were pretty racy, even at this particular time. But hey, it was the 60’s. Besides, I’m thinking they embellished a little, for the readers. At any rate, I can’t really say, that I had a burning desire to become a flight attendant, Or Stewardess. As many claimed, when they spoke at the orientation. I think I just naturally gravitated to this position. I hated office work, and realized early on, that I was happiest with people. And the daily routine of any corporate structure, is what I loathed. The micro-managing, and petty gossip. It all made me weary to think I would spend my days, in such a manner.

I was actually in a bar, with a friend, after work one day. I was in my early 20’s and I was getting bored with retail. A guy that we knew, came in and he was just back from collecting information from Northwest Airlines. He was going to fill out the applications. “He said to me, “You should do this! I think you’d love it.” “I’m not sure,” I said. “Besides, I’d have to move away and I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” This was a reason for my not wanting to work in Lake Geneva, Playboy Club, among other reasons. Come to think of it, that’s another show which previewed, to a not so popular audience. Thankfully, I avoided the stigma. Even though to some, it may have been a privilege.

Well, a few years later, I was sitting at my typewriter, in my office, and I typed up all my resumes to the different airlines.

I heard from Eastern Airlines first. And like a Wisconsin snowstorm, the other airlines, followed. But I had already started training with Eastern, and was quite happy with the fact that I would be based in Miami. Who would have thought that years later, I’d be with my favorite airline.

This is all a big gamble in the airline industry. But it is the flexibility of the job, which attracts most. It had been the glamour as well. But that faded at the first meal service. As I saw a male flight attendant, just throwing dirty trays, into a cart. While he was on his knee’s, sweating. We were flying the Atlanta/Miami, route. He asked me, “Is this the glamour, you were looking for?” I still remember this, as if it was yesterday.

Yes, I had a great time, in the training. We were at the Viscount Hotel. And it was very reminiscent of the stories, I’d read. Especially when we had the training in the swimming pool. I would go running around the park, right by our hotel. And we would all hang out together. We were a tight-knit, group.

We were all sent to Bal Harbor, for a makeup and hair session, with a woman named, Miss Ginny. She was a representative for Elizabeth Arden. I always wore makeup, so I wasn’t intimidated. However, we were all issued, standard, bright red, lipstick. And some had their hair chopped off. I saw a lot of girls crying, as if they’d been traumatized. Nevertheless, we all were expected to have the red lips and nails.

At graduation, Colonel Frank Borman, pinned on our wings. It was very special to all of us. Having a former astronaut, doing the honors. He stood with his sidekick, Ms. Winnie Gilbert. No one really understood her position.

I remembered, years, later, when my ex-husband, had a carpet job for the ivory tower. He called to tell me that there was a safe in Frank Borman’s bathroom. I replied, “Well, that’s where he hides all the money, he’s stealing from us.” I used to say it about Bart Star, and I used the comparison with Frank Borman. “Bart Star was a great quarterback, for the Green Bay Packer’s, but he sucked as a coach, of the team. Just shows you, that you may be very successful at playing the game, but not, steering the ship.” Ahh, some things never change.

Yes, we had the experience of dealing with Frank Lorenzo, and allof his,  low-blow tactics. We were not the airline we used to be. Corporate greed, replaced, the need for glamour. It became the bottom line. and that was us. We did indeed, become, flight attendants, and not, inflight stewards and stewardesses. The mantra, was , “you can be replaced.” This coveted position, is no longer so coveted. And the people in marketing haven’t yet figured this out. The traveling public, still, longs to see an element of aesthetics, in our industry. Especially the business travelers. But this comes at a price, which has been compromised by the desire for profits.  The attendants, were expected to live in poverty, while taking care of the needs, of the public. We were supposed to “sell the dream, while living the nightmare.” Frank Lorenzo’s remarks, were constantly repeated, “That flight attendant’s were not important. And their career’s should only span a few years.” He went on to say that they should only own a record-player (?) and a car.” And a very cheap car, at that. He revealed his own ignorance and disrespect of the job we do. I have worked with many professionals, and highly intelligent people. They have even left lucrative careers, to become a flight attendant.

Then 9/11, happened. It was painfully obvious that, we were expendable. And although, we had sympathy for our position and responsibilities. It didn’t last long.The fun and excitement of our career. The glamour. But it’s also a stark reminder, that flight departed, long ago.

Although, the show was fun to watch. It is a reminder of how far we’ve fallen, at the hands of terrible management. I like the quirky, story-line, which incorporates, a stewardess, operating as an access agent. I wonder how they came up with this. Although to some, it may seem a little cheesy, in my own life, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched. I’m not sure Frank Lorenzo, would approve. He never thought, any of us had the intelligence, to investigate anything. Especially his own, corrupt practices. This was almost his ‘undoing,’ for underestimating his work force.

Smart senior management, in the airline industry today, should realize, as far as ‘The Brand, is concerned; We ARE the Brand. It’s not the coffee, or the tea. It’s me!

So, the final analysis, is this movie, may leave people longing for those days. The glitz, the class. The fun. But there’s a price. And we’ve paid it. The profits, went into the pocket’s of a select few. But what has been lost is immeasurable. I wonder if they would like to interview, those who had lives invested in their career’s to see them crumble. The tragic events, surrounding people, who had been loyal to this iconic, company. After, closer inspection;  those pretty ‘white glove’s,’ reveal the dirt, which was left in the aftermath, of Pan Am’s demise.

A Whitewashed Tomb


The Whitewashed tombs

As often as I speak to people about the Lord, I’m still amazed that so many just don’t get it. I will still be asked the question, “So what religion are you?

I explain, once again. None! I don’t follow a religion and I sure don’t claim to be holy.

Yesterday, I was working with a woman, who was telling me about some woman in her life, Her friend sounded much like a friend of mine. But this woman, seemed disgusted by her and made all kinds of moral judgments about her. Then she told me about her niece. Who happened to get pregnant. “I just don’t understand it. I’ve talked to her about sex and my sister and brother-in-law have gone to church with her every Sunday!” As if any of this was the secret cure. If any of that really works, then our society would be a reflection of this. The whole issue, of passing out condoms, going to religious ceremonies. Etc. It’s all so exhausting, and in the end, we’re worse than we ever were.

The woman told me another story of someone she had worked with, that ‘claimed to be a good Christian, yet she had cursed.” This is when I began to laugh. I realized that she didn’t really have a grasp on what makes someone a Christian.

Then she looked at me in shock, as we were talking about the shows which are on television. I said, “I absolutely hate the show, Jersey Shore. My daughter enjoys watching it though.” “Oh, I know, what is that junk?” I said, I told my daughter, “If  being promiscuous, and getting drunk was celebrity material, me and my friends should have all been famous, years ago!” “You told your daughter that?”The woman’s eyes, opened wide. “Of course, I did. I share my past with my daughter so she knows, that I realize what a mess I am.” I told her, but I could discern, that this woman, was still hiding her own.  She had already shared that she had the same boyfriend all through college, and thought she was going to stay with him, after she did the deed.  But she didn’t. So, to her, she had the moral, high ground. 

“I use this as a powerful tool for educating my daughter.” I told her. I want her to understand that I’m in no way perfect, and never was.How can I expect my daughter to share with me, if I’m pretending that I never sinned? Who can live up to this?”

When we try to act perfect, it’s too heavy a burden and line, for other’s to tow. And it is for us, as well.We set ourselves up as the judge and the jury. I told this woman that there was a guy my daughter had been involved with. I didn’t care for him, and I saw things right after my first meeting which disturbed me about the relationship. My daughter told me, “Mom, I have to learn things by experience, just like you did.” Ok, that’s a valid point, but I would say this is only when it’s a positive lesson. I responded, “A wise person, will learn from people who have gone down that road. And they avoid the painful consequences.”

Later, when she did, indeed, have trouble, I reminded her of this conversation. “Yes, I wish I would have listened,” she said. And for me, it was difficult to watch her suffer. But knowing the Lord, makes it easier to deal with. He has promised that He will make everything work out for her good. I told her this. He does this, in spite of ourselves.

Now, when I was sharing with this woman, I told her, “Look, when it comes to being bad, I was really good at it. But I am a Christian. And Christian’s aren’t different from anyone, in the sin department. In fact, Christ had pointed this out, just in case, the religious zealots, got it wrong. “We all have sinned and fallen short, of the glory of God. “Yes, I told her, every one of us.

The most difficult time that Christ had been with the religious people. Blinded by pride. We cannot even begin to see out need for Him, until we’re ready to acknowledge that we are hopeless. The sin, disease has infected ever one of us. I was beginning to ‘chip away at her own religious pride, as I spoke. Using my own examples, I could see her searching herself, as I spoke.

I had been in Jerusalem, just recently. And I was so impressed with the words of Christ which came to life. “At one point I stood on the huge steps of Solomon’s Temple, and the guide told us, “look to your left. You see all those tombstones? This is exactly where Jesus stood when he cried out against the Pharisees.” “Look at those tombs!” He said. “You are just like them. Whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones and corruption!” This was such a powerful word picture, as I saw thousands upon thousands, of these tombs. And I had learned from teachers many years before, that they would painstakingly, paint these white. So that they had a clean, pristine look.

Yes, this is what Christ was pointing out about these teachers. They thought they were hiding, because they were covered in this white paint. But how far from the mark, they really were. They were masking the truth. And the truth was, that they, were desperately in need of a savior. But by pretending, they were without sin, negated the sacrifice, which Christ made, with His own blood.

How many of us, still believe, that our salvation is found in some religious ritual, or the pretense of, “I’m better than you. Because I didn’t do that!” No, when I found out the truth, I had to look at myself, and say, I’m a disgusting mess in need of you, Lord!” He said, that, “Although your sins are as scarlet, I will make you white as snow!”

His blood, cleansed me and it is only in the recognition of this, that I’m saved. And this is by His grace. Nothing that I’ve earned, not that I ever could earn it.

Paul told us, “It is by grace that we’re saved. And where sin, abounds, grace abounds, much more. But he was also quick to point out, “Does this mean, that I should continue to sin, so that His grace abounds even more? Heaven forbid!” So, he wanted to show us that this understanding in itself, would lead to religious rituals, that man created, to reduce feelings of guilt. This is exactly what man does. We always want to believe that God needs our help.

Christ did this for us and His powerful point to His disciples was to allow Him to wash their feet. At first the pride in Peter, was appalled, that Christ would stoop down to wash his feet. But Jesus was making another picture for us to follow. “Unless you allow me to do this, you have no part in me.” He said. This is what we do, when we come to Him. We accept His sacrifice, which He made for us. Our pride must be broken, to allow Him, to wash us. He started with the part of the body, which was so symbolic of the dirt of this earth. But in reality, it is our hearts, which He cleanses and heals.

I reminded this woman that there isn’t any program that really works when the goal is rehabilitation. It doesn’t involve the heart of a person. It only involves works. But when we accept this salvation, it becomes a regeneration, which means, a new heart. It is a known fact that only, ‘faith based ministries,’ are successful in these dark places. The statistics have proven this.

So, sex education, passing out condoms, and these programs don’t change a person’s lifestyle. And the Lord pointed out that knowledge, in and of itself, is useless, and can only lead to puffing someone up with pride. But, wisdom, is the truth that can bring change. Yes, it is the only way possible. And we know that “The fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom.

I shared many things, with this woman, who was searching and I felt the Lord tugging at her heart. At one point, as I told her about my life and the Lord’s touch, she said, “You gave me goosebumps!” I could see the Lord doing His work. It certainly wasn’t me. I am only the vessel, and I love to watch the Lord answering the questions of a person, who is searching.

I look back at my life, and wonder how He could use someone like me, and He reminds me that, it is all of this junk that has made me fit for His use. He shows us this picture with His disciples. They were ordinary, sinful men, with short patience, bad tempers, and all kinds of junk. Just like me. This is why He chose them. Because we were to see the contrast between, these men, who had recognized Him, because of their need, versus the religious teachers and their pride. They never knew it was their own deliverer, standing before them.

In the end, I said, “It is only the need, which we’ve recognized, which makes us, Christian’s. When I was leaving, she gave me a big hug, and said, “it was so nice to work with you.” I told her, Yes, it was nice.” But I know, that today, the Lord had set an appointment for her. I feel blessed to be a part of the process.

Under Pressure


Ground Zero

I am always sad on this day, as most of us are. We experienced such terror at  the loss of so many great men and women.

But, the Lord reminds me that the glue, He has given us, is love. The love to bind us together. The suffering which makes us priceless. The compassion and empathy born of our heartache and tears.

He spoke to me the other day, as I drove to the airport. Exhausted and sad, at my visit to redeem my mother’s lost belongings.

He reminded me that this is what He has done for us. We were His lost belongings. He redeemed us with His own blood.

As I looked up, I saw a billboard. “Israel Diamonds,” I drove a few more miles and there it was again. Another billboard with the same thing. I understood the Lord’s message to me. He has told us that all who love Him are a part of His covenant. Israel.  The coal under great pressure, is transformed into a beautiful diamond. His little signposts along the highway of life.

I said a silent, “Thank you, Lord. For encouraging me, and reminding me of the final outcome.

This day, as I watch the memorials and remembered, I thought of all those amazingly beautiful diamonds, which have been formed from the ashes left behind. “He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear.”

What the enemy had meant for evil, the Lord transformed into a love and unity which is unshakable.

Challenge Your World!


This is something that we should do. Question authority? Yes, I’ve always been one to question. How do you find answers, if you just walk in submissive obedience to everyone, who has a title. Just because a person, is educated academically, and has the position, does not guarantee wisdom. I learned that this, is very different, from knowledge. For example; I have met very young children, with more wisdom, than their age conveys. And by the same token, I have seen people in high levels, of authority, with no sense, whatsoever.

Wisdom can only be given by the source of all wisdom. And that is from God. Wisdom, apart from God, so-called “conventional wisdom,” is just another term for, foolishness.

I had to remember reading the accounts of Satan’s fall from heaven, many times. I was intrigued that he, along with a third of the angels, “abandoned their positions of authority.” And the next account was, their being cast down. Hmm, where are they now? Well, we know Satan made his next appearance, right in the Garden of Eden, and he’s been wreaking havoc ever since. But we were told that he is, “the god of this world.” (small g, here) For a limited time. So this means, he rules this world. And how does he do this? Well, by inspiring evil and corruption. And it’s not difficult, since we all have this predisposition.

I started questioning when I was a very young girl. Always inquisitive. I wondered, why my Lutheran pastors, believed what they believed, and why I should believe this. Because they told me to? I would read the Bible, and see things in it, that the Lutherans, didn’t practice, so I would ask: “why can’t we do these things? Christ says we can.” The standard answer was, “Oh, those miracles ended with the disciples.” What kind of answer is this? I wondered. “And why would I want to believe in a God, who is this impotent?” I would wait for someone to sell me on this.

I realized many years later, that these ministers didn’t have the answers, although, they were the teachers. I did find the answers I was looking for, but not without a lot of searching. And a willingness to challenge, the powers that be.

My generation, not only challenged authority, we defied it. It was them versus us. ‘They,’ were known as, The Establishment. The rulers of the free world. Yet, being in the midst of the Viet Nam, turmoil, showed us, that ‘they,’ didn’t always know what was best.  So, questioning the methods and the motives, became the theme of our generation. No, contrary to the commercial’s, we weren’t the “Pepsi Generation.” And the Peace movement, all but fizzled. How could it be possible, when we are mere mortals? “Peace,” was just a way of people promoting violence for their cause. And “Free Love,” was just a term used to have sex with anyone we chose. It couldn’t possibly work, when we have corruption in our hearts. However, it isn’t all bad. What we came away with, was the tenacity to challenge.

Now we have children, and they are inheritors, of our spirit. This is why the man in my post yesterday, has gained some admiration, from me and others from my generation. To outsmart the authorities, at their own game. Yes, it is what riles them. The first thing that came out of their mouths was, something could have happened to a patient. Yet, how many medical errors, do we have every year, with the real doctors at the wheel? In fact our whole health care system is a mess. In every facet, there is corruption, at work.

I found that God tells us, to question. He tells us to search for truth. It doesn’t come easy. It is a gem. And the wisdom gained, just from the search, is priceless.

I had someone tell me just recently, that it was his stint in prison, which led him to the answers. He said, “Everything you have a question to,can be answered in the Word of God.”

Yes, I know, years ago, I would have laughed at this. But that’s why God is so great. He knows, and He allows us to doubt. But, this guy was so right. When I found out that this truth was, absolute, everything in my world began to make sense. I could see that Jesus Christ was one renegade. He challenged all of the authorities of His day. He told us to question our world. In in the end, He told us to pattern ourselves after Him. This is why He was hated by the religious authorities. He made a mockery of their rituals, as they didn’t know the first meaning, of why they did the things they did. They didn’t know that He was the one, that theirs prophets spoke of. They had been blinded by pride.

I have had many experiences in my life which made me ask, “And why am I supposed to do this?” And no one could give me an answer. And “Because I tell you to,” isn’t enough for me. In fact, sometimes, the foolishness of men in authority, placed my life in jeopardy. And I wasn’t going to listen, in spite of the fact that everyone else, seemed to fall into the trap.

Just this morning, as I opened my Bible, I read the words, “I am greatly afflicted, and in my dismay I said, “All men are liars.” (Psalm 116:11) No, I wasn’t seeking dating advice, but some women would certainly agree with this! I started to ponder this and as I did, I understood; we can’t trust man, since we are all liars. Just look at the mess we’re in. If the heart of man is corrupt then we are all headed in a downward spiral. As the economy is full of fraud and corrupt practices. Law enforcement has its own share of corruption. The sports arena, has become a huge ponzi scheme. And you question why young people, are getting into trouble? Who do they look to as an example?

Well, this is why we come to a point, where we have to ask the question, “Who is the final authority?Who leads us?” That is the conclusion I had to come to in my own life. I said, “Surely there is only one truth.There’s no such thing as, “many lives, many masters.” Sorry, but that would mean “many truths.” How can this be? If truth was relative, to each person, then my truth could tell me to rob a bank, when I’m in financial trouble. Or take whatever I want, when I need it. This is the ‘truth,’ which corrupt men walk in. Which we know isn’t truth. But people love to practice this type of ‘religion,’ because it justifies their actions.

I am not telling people to defy the powers, but to challenge them. To defy authority is just anarchy. I propose we do question. Why am I doing this? Does this make sense in a world which is falling apart, because, “everyone is doing it?” And where are these people, which were supposed to evolve into Godlike status? No one has stepped forward. Where is this person as our example? Though we may have many good leaders, none of them has reached perfection.

After watching the, so-called leaders, long enough, I concluded that Christ, was the only example. And I was ecstatic to know, that to question, people in place of authority, was an example which I could follow. Even those in authority, try to paint a picture of Him, as a pious, religious fanatic. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There are many pictures of the man, full of grace, and yet, full of righteous anger. I saw Him, lose it, with the people in the temple. He challenged those who would place corruption inside the temple. He took a bull-whip and turned over tables, as He screamed, “My Father’s house, shall be a house of prayer! And you’ve turned it into a den of thieves!”

Gotta love that. I see the real, person, exhibiting his anger and indignation, at what these leaders have done. And His greatest anger, is that they’re using, a religious excuse to promote their practices. How many times has this been done? Even now.

Christ spoke plainly about the authorities of His time, and nothing much has changed since then. He said, “Blind leaders! The blind follow the blind, and they both fall into a pit!” You can read all about Jesus, challenging these authorities, in the “Seven Woes.” (Matthew 23) A part of scripture, which will give you a real picture, of the conflicts between Jesus and the religious leaders. For those of you who don’t think He got into ‘name-calling,’ guess again.

So, I would challenge anyone, to walk on the little narrow path, that has been marked out for you. Don’t be afraid to question things that don’t line up. It’s your world too! Of course you’ll be despised, when you walk a different direction. “Christ said that too, “When they hate you, remember, they hated me too.” He also tells us, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever. The Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him, nor knows Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you, and He lives in you.” (John 14:15)

We challenge darkness, when we walk in truth. This is where we find life.

“I tell you the Truth; Among those born of women, there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist: yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven, is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it!” (Matt 11:11)

Oh Those Darn Teenagers!


Dr, Who?

Well, my post yesterday, covered a part of my teenage years, and it’s plain to see I was pretty rebellious. The day before had a post about my mother, in her belief that almost anyone could be a doctor.

Well, today, on the front page news, I see a story of this 17-year-old, who had practiced as a physician’s assistant, in a hospital, in Florida.

Apparently, he had already done physical exams on a few people, and even CPR, on someone for 5 minutes, before applying a defibrillator. So it’s obvious, that he was also good, at what he was doing.

When you read the account of this, it’s clear that it wasn’t this teenager’s first rodeo, either. They said, he had already been in a “Sheriff’s Program, and he “was kicked out, for giving the impression, that he was a deputy.”

I just had to share this with my mom. “Mom, you’re right! Look at this kid. He told everyone he was 23, and started working with a doctor, in the hospital!” My mom said, “See? I told you anyone could do that!” Sounding as if she was totally vindicated. I’m already expecting her to use this as ammunition, once her test results arrive. And I was dumb enough to hand it to her.

I said, “My question is,” What’s the problem? Hey, he’s a teenager, and he actually wants to work! My 24-year-old daughter doesn’t have that kind of work ethic. And forget about my son. It’s difficult enough to get him to take out the trash. I think this kid should get some kind of an award! We can blow this whole thing, if it’s handled wrong. We have teenager’s everywhere, who are going to use this against us.

I can already hear them, “Oh no. I have to take my time, in my job search. I sure wouldn’t want someone to think I’m impersonating, a hard-working teenager. That could land me in jail.  I’ll never forget that guy, Matthew. Look what happened to him. He was just trying to make an honest living, and he now has a rap sheet.

Teenager’s are highly manipulative. I remember washing dishes, as a teen. That’s right, it was ‘pre-dishwasher. I had cut my hand on a jar. This was my excuse, not to do any dishes again.

When I was that age, I just didn’t know any teenager’s who would go to the lengths this guy went to, just to get a position. And he did it more than once.

I mean, I want to meet this guy and shake his hand! I want to say, ” Wow, how in the world did you acquire the creative boldness and energy, to come up with this plan? This is, even to people your age, ‘ over-the-top . It’s not like someone, dared you to get a job. Your parents must be very proud! Not to mention, all the cash you’ve saved them on college tuition. Hey, you should skip ahead of everyone, with the “Life skills credit, you’ve received.”

I thought about it, and asked my son, “Who would you impersonate?” I was kind of hoping, he was going for a major league baseball team, but he chose, a firefighter. “Well, that’s a good job,” I said.
I think you should go for a government job. I don’t think he understands, job security and benefits, since, as I shared, he already has that. But he may be right. Who knows how much will be left in a few more years.

Now I know, all of you are thinking, “Hey, this was a crime! He needs to be punished!” Yea, yea, but  isn’t the real crime, that the prosecutors and anyone involved, are thinking, “This is outrageous! I’ve spent all this money and years in school to get my degree. Only to have this punk come along and get away with this? He’s just a reminder to everyone, that we can all be replaced.

So I’m thinking that acting lessons, would be a better investment for my son. And for those who are responsible for bringing punishment to this teenager, I have a better suggestion. He could be a Motivational Speaker, for teens. Why not have him teach our kids, how to build such an impressive resume, before they graduate from high school?

Daze Gone By


camping 74

I was watching an episode of Benny Hill, tonight and I thought of my dad. He loved this show. He’d sit in his favorite chair and watch this show, while just cracking up. I didn’t think it was that funny back then, but now, watching, I was very amused. It was another reminder of my father and his own sense of humor.

I began to think back to my own youth and the days with my friends. We were straight out of, ‘That 70’s Show. Sometimes, I thought they must have modeled it after our lives. So similar. Even the state of Wisconsin, was chosen for the setting.

I had different people in my life for different seasons. And I was fond of all of them. But for this early 70’s, I was particularly fond.

It seemed I was just discovering so much. I had more challenges in my life,than most of my friends. But I learned to adapt. For example, I didn’t have a car until, I was 19. I rode my bike, everywhere. I loved my bike. My father bought it for me, and it was so light. I could pop the tires off the front and the back. And when I arrived at a party, I could easily fit it into someones car. i usually rode places, with my friend, Heidi. She lived a few miles away from me, and she didn’t have a car either.  My girlfriend, Grace, was joking, that I seemed to get around everywhere. She was amazed that I knew the streets so well, and rode to the lake front multiple times. This was a jaunt, and it sure beat the days, in high school, when we would hitch rides everywhere. Heidi and I hitched a ride by our house once, and these guys scared the crap out of us. It was a huge ghetto-cruiser. I think an Impala, or something. I just remembered, it was all pimped out. After getting in, the guy looked at his buddy, and flipped the locks down. I had a vivid recall of the big, silver globe, locks. When they went, “Click.” The saw us give each other a panicked look, and they started laughing. When we realized they were just trying to scare us. They chatted with us to our stop, and unlocked the doors.

When we were in high school, we would have groups of us hitching rides together. One day, my friend Carol, and I were with a few other girlfriends. We had two guys with us, and one, Frank Hyack, had beautiful long hair. He turned around with his back to the traffic and stuck his thumb out. Yep, in short order, a van stopped. We were laughing as we came running up, and the guy driving realized, he’d been duped.

Another night, I was with a group of girls, and a guy picked us up. He was so drunk. He had a case of beer in the back and we had to put our legs up on it. We were so terrified, as he was driving, and just told us to let us out, miles ahead of our destination. We talked about the nerve this guy had to stop and pick us up! I have to laugh, now, at how stupid we were, and thank God, for protecting us in our stupidity. But those days, seemed more innocent. It’s not to say that they actually were. Even now, on the rare occasion, that I see someone doing this, I’m shocked. I imagine, I sound like a typical mom. “I can’t believe a person would do that, in this day in age!” I say. “I mean times were different when I was young.” Come to think of it, I sound just like my mom, right now. She is always saying that.

We heard about so many terrible things happening to people. A friend of my brother’s, named Hillary, was picked up by some guys. She was thrown out of a car, and she was found. She later ended up in a nursing home. She had no recollection, of anyone or anything after that, tragic day. My brother was heartbroken as after his visit.  But those of us who did these things, felt immortal. This stuff only happened to other people. 

My best friend in high school, was a friend named, Carol. We would arrange to meet each other, and hitch rides together. We usually would go to a place at the Lakefront, called, The Site. All the hippies, hung out here. We would ask people to stop, so we could buy some Boones Farm, before arriving. It was the only wine, that teenagers, on a budget, could buy. The normal drinks, were either,  Boones Farm  Strawberry Hill, or Apple. If someone had beer, it more than likely was, Pabst Blue Ribbon. And we all thought, we had a secret code, because in the year book, people would answer, the favorite’s section with, PBR. Yea, like the teachers could never figure that one out.

One day, my friend Carol and I were being very cool. Our methods were probably no different from most teens, trying to buy wine or beer. We would ask the adults to make the purchase. The drinking age was 21, and that was way too long for us to wait. One night, we decided to go to East Side of Milwaukee. Another hippie hangout. Head shops everywhere you looked. Panhandlers, were common. And they were usually teens or young adults, trying to score pot or something else. I loved the area. Everyone wore Army jackets, and Navy Pea Coats. We were all about being so cool and anti-establishment. I would ‘freak my hair.’ Meaning, braid it very tightly, and let the braids out the hours later, to a full afro. And as anyone knows, with me, it’s all about the hair.

On this particular evening, Carol and me, stuck out our thumbs, and two guys pulled over. We got in and Carol asked, “Hey would you guys mind buying us some wine?” “Oh, no problem,” the driver said. We have a liquor store we go to all the time. We’ll just stop there.” A few minutes later, we were on our way. We gave them our money and they both went in. After getting into the car, they handed us the brown bag, with our two bottles of  Boones Farm. Hmm, “that was easy I thought.” “Where do you want to get out?” The driver asked. “Oh, just drop us off a few blocks from here,” Carol said.

So, we drove a couple blocks away and got out of the car. I had the bag in my hand and Carol was going to take her’s when she stooped down to tie her shoe. As she was getting up, a young-looking guy comes walking past. He says, “How you doing girls?” Just as I was about to say, “fine,”I see his hand reaching out toward us. He flashes a badge and says, “Police Officer. Let’s see what you have in the bag.” I felt the sickest feeling come over me. Wow, in less than a second,  I just lost my coolness.

He took us into the car as we were both crying and yelling about the unfairness of this. Of course we mentioned that their were, way more important things they could be doing, but making a bust such as this. I mean look at all the drug dealers and real criminals walking by.

As the officer explained what would happen, they said, “Because you were the one holding the bag, you will be the one going to court.” “What? I said. I finally understood, what “left holding the bag,” really meant.They drove both of us home. I thought my mother was going to explode, but she didn’t. All she said was, “I was a teenager once too.” “Wow! I didn’t see that one coming from my mom. And I had a hard time imagining her as a teenager. Living in a small town with her grandmother and my grandmother. I just couldn’t picture the connection to my experience. But whatever. I was happy enough, that she wasn’t angry.

That was a lot easier than I thought.” But no, that was the end of it. I had to go to court. I had to sit in a little hallway, as I heard the police officer tell me, that the guy that actually made the purchase, was not the driver of the car. He was also under 21. “Oh, that’s just great.” I thought. How did we assume, both of them were of age? Next he told me that they’d been watching this liquor store for a while. They’d heard they were selling to minors, and were just waiting to catch them. I also had to see the owner of the liquor store.  I got a warning and a strong reprimand from the judge about the dangers of hitch hiking.

I’m good friends with her. We still laugh about it every time we talk about it. At any rate, God was trying to teach me a valuable lesson. “Don’t get caught with the bag!” Ok, I know, that wasn’t the lesson, but hey, it was funny.

Hanging out behind our high school

Now, when I started going out with my boyfriend, John, we had a group of friends, that went to a public high school. I suppose, going to a Christian High School, made it uncool, to hang out with too many people from our school It was the public schools, which we always heard about. They were always behind in academics, but ahead in everything else. So we had parties with the people from Marshall. We were always hearing about their escapades,which made us seem tame.

We would all meet at Lannon Quarry and go night swimming. We would have huge parties. We once had a caravan of people driving out to a farm. We only had just arrived and we were laughing as we watched, all the cars, driving down through the cow pasture. We thought we were in a secluded area. But even so, police arrived shortly after tapping the half-barrel. We hadn’t counted on the owners of the little farmhouse, calling authorities. What a waste that was.

I liked the groups. The inner circle was, Scott, Dave O., Dave H, Jim H, Jim B, Claude, Dean and a few others. Then there were others, who would come to the parties. We would cross paths at other parties. But John and me, hung out with Scott and Dave O, most of the time. They all worked at ‘Go-Clean car wash, or Bagels and Bialeys. We would go to Go-Clean and hang out until the guys were off work. They would start the pumps at $1 or $2, for people filling up, so that they could use the extra $$$ for, John’s car, or someone else. Yes, in the old days, when attendants pumped your gas? You didn’t always get what you paid for. Especially when their were teenagers as attendants. As the cars were going through the car wash, they’d clean out any change they could find, as they were detailing the car. So, ‘Go-Clean,’ made sure your car was totally clean of anything. As long as these guys were on the job. The owner’s son, went to Marshall as well. And he’d show up every once in a while, to hang out with us, and peel out in the parking lot, with the new car, daddy gave him.

We would stop by Bagels and Bialeys, and wait for Jim, his girlfriend Robin, or their friend, Marcy. After they got out, we would take a ton of bagels, that were meant for the trash. We’d end up having bagel fights, from car to car. If you had an opened window, and happened to get smacked with one of those, you’d believe they could be used as a dangerous weapon. Especially when they were stale. I’m thinking of making this suggestion to the Israeli Defense League. You can  use them for food or ammunition.

We all went on a camping trip to Minoqua, Wisconsin. I was about 15. I rode in my boyfriends, Mustang. Bright orange, and breaking down, constantly. There were 5 of us in that car. My girlfriend, Susan went with her boyfriend, in his Volkswagen Beetle. They brought, Dwight. We were going to stay outside, of John’s family cabin. To this day, I don’t know why, we picked that place. We didn’t have a key, so it didn’t matter where we camped. We drove for hours, just to get there.  I just chalked it up to pure stupidity.

One night, we heard could hear one person complaining about the cold. It was Jim H. All he brought was a thin, little blanket with holes in it. It looked like a baby blanket.  Each person stuck their head through one of the holes, so we could get a picture. I wondered how he could go on a trip with it. Homeless people had better blankets.

Community blanket

 

I murdered the melon!

My friend, Susan and I, were left alone, while the guys went into town. We were screaming, as we heard something outside and held the flashlight to see a big racoon eating the melon I smashed earlier.

We just weren’t cut out for camping. On the way back, Sue and her boyfriend, had car trouble. Everyone was fighting.

Still, it was funny later to remember, our time in this little town. These became priceless memories. Especially years later, when my boyfriend had been killed in a car accident. I lost touch with most of our friends from this group, after that.

I did hear about our  friend, Robin. She  married Jim. Later, they split and she married his brother. She had a girl and named her, Carrie. I was so touched by this. I went to visit her and her little baby. We reminisced about our days, before responsibilities.

I do speak to Sue, on occasion. And I was happy to find out that Scott is now a man of great faith.  After our experience with the loss of John, we were all affected. We “put away childish things.” We lost many people and it was the Lord’s grace to protect us in our wildest times. But although, I am not unscathed by my foolish days, I am much stronger. And the friends I’ve had throughout my life, helped to weave the fabric of my being. I think we are all like, Jim’s blanket. We have our flaws. The holes in the protection.  But the friends, who are able to fill the gaps, keep us covered. And God’s grace, covers us all!

I had to laugh one day, when I met a girl at work. She told me her name was, Keri, and she was from Wisconsin. “I’m from Wisconsin!” I said. “What part are you from?” I asked. “Oh, you’ve never heard of it,” she said. “It’s way up north. A little town called, Minoqua.” I began to laugh, as I asked if they still had the little grocery store. I worried that she might say, her family owned it. I may have to pay for those eggs or watermelon. Of course, the statute of limitations, must have certainly worn off by now. But, thankfully, they didn’t own it.

Yes, as I look back,  I thank the Lord, for the good, and the bad. I thank Him, for my blanket of friends, that have kept me warm, when I was cold.

Eggs and beer! Breakfast of champions!

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