diggingupbonesbratkin

This blog is just me, talking about whatever is flipping my switch on any given day. Sometimes that will mean I’ll be exhuming things better left alone.

Doing the Right Thing — April 23, 2017

Doing the Right Thing

doing the right thing1

When I was perhaps five years old, my mother and I attended an auction of some neighbors and mom bought a rather large box of old pictures. I asked her who the pictures were of, were they some of our kinfolks?  No, they were the kinfolks of the people whose stuff was being auctioned. I wondered why Mom would want pictures of people we didn’t know.  The next day she took me by the hand, held the box of pictures in her other arm, and we went to the people who had been our neighbors and were now residents of the County Poor Farm.  She gave the pictures back to the people to whom they meant so much.  I asked her why, “Why did you do that Momma?”

Her reply was simply, “Because it was the right thing to do.”

We often came home from school to find food sitting on the table and Mom would watch us like a hawk to make sure we didn’t touch it. Then she would gather up however many of us it took to transport the food to whomever she was giving it to. Someone’s loved one had died, someone was sick in bed and couldn’t prepare food for her family, someone was too busy with harvest to have time and energy to prepare food for the family, or whatever reason there was, Mom was such a blessing by providing a meal when it was most needed.  And I remember asking why we were carrying food to others.

Mom would simply say, “Because it was the right thing to do.”

doing the right thing

My Sunday School teacher was relatively new in town and was a widow with two sons. I was twelve years old and Mom told me to invite her to Sunday dinner after church. So when Sunday School was over I invited Mrs. Valentine to dinner. She asked me if my mom knew I was asking her and I assured her that Mom was the one who told me to ask her. So Mrs. Valentine came for dinner and was surprised that her two sons were also there. Mom had told my brother to ask the boys to lunch and he had. Mrs. Valentine knew her sons were going to eat at a friend’s house but didn’t know she was going to the same place. 

When I asked Mom what made her invite the Valentines to dinner she simply said, “It was the right thing to do.”

As a teenager I saw my mom wear herself out sitting up nights with a neighbor who was at the point of death. I could see how hard on Mom it was to keep losing sleep and asked her why she kept doing it.

She just smiled and said, “It is the right thing to do.”

doing the right thing5When my mom passed away, someone came to me at her visitation and said to me, “You probably don’t remember me but I’m the grandson of the old people you mother and you visited at the Poor Farm. My grandparents never quit praising your mom because she gave them their box of pictures that contained so many memories for them and was practically their only consolation during their years living on the Poor Farm.”

Another lady brought some delicious food to the house to help feed us while we prepared to bury our mom and then the next day after we buried Mom we buried my only sister. The lady told us of how our mom had fed her family during a very difficult time and she was so pleased to be able to do something she knew would please Mom.

That Sunday School teacher? Mom had heard whispers about her that she wasn’t truly a “widow” but was just saying she was to cover up having two children. She was about to  be asked to resign her position and no one in town was friendly toward her.  Mom got acquainted with her and introduced her to others who found out what an intelligent, caring, and yes, truly widowed woman she was and friended her too.  She said my mother was the kindest woman she had ever met.

The granddaughter of the man Mom set up nights with told of how her own mother was worn out from caring for the old man through the day, couldn’t afford to hire a night nurse, and Mom heard of the need and volunteered for night duty. It made it possible for the family to keep the old man out of a nursing home as he had requested. They never forgot Mom’s generous help and what it meant to all of them.

I was sixteen when a teacher at my school was moving away.  I told Mom how I felt about her and she told me when class ended that day I needed to go to that teacher and tell her what I had told Mom.  So I did. I have no idea now exactly what I said to the woman but she came into a store where I worked thirty some years later and when she saw who I was she asked me if I remembered what I said to her. I had to admit I didn’t remember and she didn’t tell me. But she did say she had never forgotten the words I said that day and there was no way she could make me understand what they had meant to her.

I had told her what I was thinking because Mom encouraged me to do so and told me it was the right thing to do. Words I couldn’t remember meant so much to a woman that they still remained with her and gave her a good feeling thirty some odd years later. So it must have been the right thing to do.

doing the right thing3

Don’t ever underestimate the power of doing the right thing. Sometimes, it’s the only gift life gives you and the only gift you can give another.

Am I a Nice Person? — April 12, 2017

Am I a Nice Person?

cell phone drive-thru

Generally, I believe, people consider me a reasonable, caring, nice person. I will hold the door for you even if it means you will get in line in front of me. If I’m checking out at the grocery I’ll not vie for a spot ahead of you in line but will graciously let you ahead of me. If you need directions I’ll give them to you no matter how long it takes and even if I have to translate “north” or “east” into “straight ahead” and “right” for you. I’m generally patient, understanding, and pretty much a what you see is what you get type person and when folks look at me they generally see a placid, old, cow. I admit that I have about as much animosity in me as that grazing cow.

So, why then did I get in such a rage when the car pulling into the Kroger pharmacy pickup lane blocked both entrances?  It just set off my “this is outrageous” meter and made it clang at the highest level of disturbance.  There was a car length between him and the car in front of him. Why didn’t he just pull up and others could have gotten to the second lane? Even when the car in front of him pulled up he kept sitting there. I finally found a close parking space and parked, took my granny cane with the four feet on it and hobbled into Kroger. There my cane and I opted for an electric cart and drove into the pharmacy and picked up prescriptions that were waiting. Carted back to the door, got my cane and purse and prescriptions and hobbled back to the car.

Do you know why the man was so rude?  Well, as I passed his vehicle on my way into the store I could see the cell phone he was doing something on that made him oblivious to what was going on around him.  But the woman in the car with him was eating popcorn and looking around so why didn’t she tell him he had traffic blocked?

What I wanted to do was grab his cell phone, slap him on the side of his head and tell him, “Pay attention!”

What I decided to do was ignore him and come home and meditate. That’s the same thing as ignoring people except you do It while sitting cross-legged on the floor. Well, my knees won’t let me sit cross-legged and if I got down on the floor Bob would have to rent a crane to get me up. but I can do some pretty good meditating at the sewing machine. 

Why, if I truly am a nice person, do I get in such a rage at a nincompoop with no upbringing?  I just want to tell him, “Buddy, you suck!”

Pray for me, I think I may need counseling.

cell phone

 

The Last Time — April 8, 2017

The Last Time

mom reading to baby

Looking back is something we all do  but it  seems we  do it oftener when we get older. Perhaps because there is more to see behind us than before us?

When my children come to visit now and I see they are in pain, or that they don’t feel well, I think back to other times when they were young and healthy and full of life.

Remember when that child of yours was a baby?  I do, and it seemed like there would never be an end to the diaper washing (yes, we washed diapers back in the day) the bathing, the burping, the spit-up, the floor walking and the singing of the same song at nap time or reading the same book at bedtime.  And you thought you would never get to read anything of your own because your child was saying, “Read it just once more, please Mommy?” And you read it – – – just once more, never realizing that this would be the last time that request would be made. Because believe it or not, young mothers, there is a last time.  And there is no way to know which time will be the last time.

One day you will sit and hold that sweet child while it sleeps and never know that this is the last time you will get to hold him while he sleeps.

One day you start to read your baby’s favorite book to him and he says, “No, Mommy, I’ll read it myself.” And he does. How could you have known the night before that that was the “last time.”

One day you start to tie the shoelace and he says, “No, Mommy, I’ll tie it myself.”

There is the last time for everything.

It doesn’t seem possible when you are hauling a kid around on your hip everywhere that there will come a day that you set them down to walk away and you’ll never pick them up again that way. Just like you will scrub them good in the bath one day and from that day on they will want to bathe by themselves and you will have bathed your child for the last time but you couldn’t have known the night before that it was the last time.

mom with baby on hip

There will come that day that you hold their hand for the last time in the store and suddenly they are too big to hold Mom’s hand in public.

When thunder is rolling, is anything sweeter than a little voice in the dark saying, “Mommy, I’m scared can I get in bed with you?” And you get to cuddle that sweet child without knowing it is the last time he will feel the need for Mommy in the night. 

One day they need you to go to school with them and the next they are so embarrassed if Mom is seen at school You never know when it will be the last time.

One day they will run to you with arms raised for the very last time. The sad part is, you won’t recognize it as the last time until there are no more times.

So while you are living in these times, enjoy the heck out of them and remember there are only so many of them and when they are gone, they are gone. And yearning for it won’t bring back that one last time so you can know and it enjoy it – – – one last time.

Mother-And-Child-Holding-Hands-Silhouette

 

Waiting for Your Ship to Come in? — April 7, 2017

Waiting for Your Ship to Come in?

 

Ships InWhen my siblings and I were young we spent a lot of time shelling peas for mom to can, capping strawberries to be made into jam or put into the freezer for strawberry shortcake, shucking corn, stringing beans, and all sorts of other vegetable preparation. Needless to say,  while performing these duties we talked about hiring all of this sort of work done when we were grown and “our ship comes in.” We had lovely dreams of that “someday.”

Mom, a very practical lady, would tell us that we better be prepared to meet the ship when it arrived. And she would tell us if we wanted to win the spelling bee we had to be prepared by practicing our spelling skills.  If we wanted to win the speech contest we needed to learn to make speeches before audiences.  If we were going to have a big, beautiful home one day we needed to be prepared to earn it when the opportunity arose. Then she would say, “Sometimes you ship doesn’t come in, sometimes you have to swim out to meet it.  You need to learn to swim so you can do that.”

waiting_for_your_ship_to_come_in_word_play_postcard-raa2edecfe394481283c6c5fa8fb4e5b0_vgbaq_8byvr_324

For each of us, the swimming was different.  My oldest brother longed to fly planes.  He eventually did that by studying hard and taking flying lessons. He flew 3 combat missions over Viet Nam.  Another brother was always interested in electricity and how it worked and eventually became a lineman for an electric company and then the owner of his own electric company when the opportunity presented.  And so the story goes for each of us.

My grandmother, a Godly woman who knew her Bible would quote II Thessalonians 3:20, For, even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

When I see young people sitting around waiting for someone to hand them a career I really want to say to them, “Swim out to that ship!”

ship comes in

But You Don’t Know My Family — March 22, 2017

But You Don’t Know My Family

family-9568941-happy-family

Really and truly, as a Christian, I try to live by what the Bible says.  And when I read Romans 12:18  which says, (KJV) “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men,” the first thing that pops into my mind is, “But God, you just don’t know my family.”

Isn’t it a shame that sometimes it is easier to get along with everyone else than it is to get along with family? Why is that?

When I visited a funeral home to make my condolences to a grieving family friend she was surrounded by a loving family and they all were consoling one another and I thought, “Why can’t my family be like this?”

Last summer the last sibling I had passed away.  That is so sad and made me feel almost abandoned because I’m the youngest of mom’s nine children and they are all gone now except me. And people were kind and came to the funeral home and the cemetery and were supportive. Except for one close relative. She came after the service started and left while the last prayer was being said and didn’t speak to any of the family. Why would anyone do that?

This same relative came and spent a week in our area visiting her stepmom’s family, then called me on Sunday morning of the day she was leaving to go home wanting to know if she could run by and tour my new home.  No, I was about to leave to go to church and there wouldn’t be anyone there to conduct her on the tour she wanted.  Not a word about wanting to see or visit with me – just wanting a tour of my new house on her way out of town.

Yes, I want to live peaceably with others but “others” make it hard.

Social media blows up with images, too, that make me say, “Aw-w-w-w-w-w, why can’t my family be like that?” Brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, gathered around a bride and groom, cooing over a new baby, helping celebrate a graduation. Yes, I have to fight my envy because while I have all these relatives and some of them do all those things, there are those who just seem to make it impossible to “live peaceably” with them.

This week another relative passed away.  I’m sorry, and I sent condolences to her grandchildren, my great-nieces and nephews. Then I got a sweet note back with appreciation for the condolences and a request for prayers for peace this week because there is friction among family members that is making it difficult for those who are grieving.  Why are people like this?

No one person can make everything right and peaceable but one person can control their own tongue. I’m praying I’ll be able to control mine when I’m around people who act like everything should be run in accordance with their rules and for their convenience.

Sometimes I ask myself when I keep my mouth shut for the sake of peace, is it really the Christian way?  Or am I just a wimp?  Maybe I’m not being either; maybe I just need an intervention!

 

Proverbs 21:23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

Please, Lord, help me guard my mouth and tongue!

happy-family-of-5-clipart-addafdb1fc030db4d5a82f1585501240

National Quilting Day — March 18, 2017

National Quilting Day

blue skies block

Does everyone know when National Quilting Day and Worldwide Quilting Day is?  It is the third Saturday in March. Oh my, that is TODAY!

So I’m going to show you what I’m working on, quilt-wise, on this day set aside to recognize quilters and quilting.

I have a huge box of neutral strings just waiting to be sewn into something lovely and another box full of strings of fabric in every color I’ve ever worked with. I rummaged through the colored strings and began sewing together the blue ones and then I made squares of the neutral ones.

Then I split them and sewed the triangles together to make the center of the block you see above.  Then I cut a lot of triangles from blue and from neutral fabrics and sewed them together.  I mean a LOT.  There are 1,188 of the little square blocks that are half neutral and half blue.  And yes, every single one of those triangles was cut by hand, by me, and sewn with its mate, one at a time.

blue skies HST being sewn

And then they were sewn one square to another square.

And then squares were added until there were three sewn together and enough to go at the top and bottom of each block. Then I had to make sets of five to go on each side of the block.

.blue skies hst x 5

I could hardly wait to see these come together!  Here is the first row:

blue skies 1 row

And then here it is with two rows sewn together:

blue skies 2 rows

And I have now gotten four rows sewn together – half way done!

blue skies 4 rows

And my inspiration for this came, as so many of my quilts do, from Bonnie Hunter and a quilt she made and called Blue Skies.  Here is her quilt:

Bonnie Hunter Blue Skies

So this is what I’m working on this National Quilting Day.  I hope your day is as much fun as mine.

 

Why the Bees are Dying — March 17, 2017

Why the Bees are Dying

bee on flower

When I was a young girl, not in the Neanderthal era but shortly afterward,  Grandmother told me why some places have more clover and therefore more bees than other places.  No, you didn’t ask for this story but I’m going to tell it to you anyway.

There were two towns along the same road and one town had hardly any single ladies and the other town was full of old maids.  The “Old Maid Town” had lots of clover and an abundance of bees while the other town had crops that needed the bees for pollination but had very few.  Things were getting disparate for the farmers and so they sent a delegation to the Old Maid Town to ask if there was someone there who would like to move, with their beehives, to the bee-less town.

The town council called a meeting and invited all interested parties to attend. The bee-less town made its pitch to get some beekeepers to come over but no one would volunteer.  But one man stood up in the back of the room and told the visitors from the bee-less town that all they really needed to do to increase the bee population was to import some old maids.

This caused quite a hullabaloo as no one could get the connection between the bees and the old maids.

So the man asked them, did they not know that mice eat bees and destroy beehives?  And isn’t it true that cats catch mice and keep the mouse population under control?  Don’t you realize that old maids keep cats?  If you import old maids your bee population will return.

bees on honeycomb

So I’m thinking of this story today and thinking what is wrong is we just don’t have enough old maids around anymore.

old-maid-2-boxes

Your Greatest Power —

Your Greatest Power

You probably think you don’t have any power, but you are wrong.  You have a vast amount of power and I want to encourage you to use it.

My super power is the ability to turn scraps of fabric into quilts for people to love.  But I have other powers and so do you.

One day at work a teacher I had in 7th grade came to me and I had not seen her for years. We chatted awhile and caught up a bit on each other’s life and then as she was leaving she asked me if I remembered what I said to her the last day of class as I was leaving her room and I had to tell her I did not.  Then she said to me, “I’ve never forgotten what you said to me that day, and it got me through some really bad times.”  She didn’t tell me what I said and I have no recollection of it but the impact of her telling me this was profound.  I just learned that my everyday words held power and could influence someone even when I did not know it.

Everyone who speaks holds this same power. Words affect people so we should be careful what we say.

But the greatest power any of us have is our power to be.

You and I have the power to be more loving to each other and to our fellow man. We have the power to be more friendly, forgiving, tolerant, and humble.  We have the power TO BE.

What are you going to be today?

The power to be

Women’s Day — March 8, 2017

Women’s Day

Womens_Day_vs_Mens_Day_Funny_Meme

It never occurred to me that I’m an International Woman but I read today on the Internet that today is YOUR day and the finger was pointing right off the screen at me.  So it must be true since I saw it on the Internet, right? 

I don’t know what all the brouhaha is about, women in my family have always felt that every day is our day.  You see, we know who actually runs the show. 

Yes, even in things as simple as feeding our families we run the show.  And one of the secrets our women know is that our kids and our husbands have better days when they know and like what they are having for dinner. 

It was baffling to me when Bob and I first married and he would finish a breakfast of sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy and before he left the table want to know what we were having for supper.  We had just finished eating, the dishes were still on the table and I was NOT thinking of supper yet.  But he was.  And I discovered if I could tell him what we were going to have, his day was a better day.  He would come in at the end of the work day and say, “I’ve been thinking about this supper all day.”  Not only did it sustain him because he ate it, it sustained him all day as he worked and thought about having some of his favorite foods to look forward to. His day was better and trust me on this ladies, when his day is better yours will be too. 

So although I wasn’t the sort who usually knew at 6:30 in the morning what we would be eating at 6:30 in the evening I began to sort of plan ahead so I could at least give him a general outline. “We are having a roast for supper.”  Or, “I think I’ll fix some greens and cornbread for supper.” Now I for sure would be having some vegetables with the roast but he was happy just knowing he would have roast because he knew enough to know there would be bread and gravy with it and probably more. He looked forward to coming home and his day went better. 

It is no small thing to realize that your spouse or children are more relaxed and happy the whole day when they know what’s for dinner.  This probably seems silly to some. Why would it matter so much? I can happily eat a bowl of soup everyday and call it dinner but not my family!   

When Bob or the kids liked what we were having for dinner their whole day was happier. Then at the supper table they talked more, they shared more about their day, and they had fewer complaints making them much more fun to be around. Happy faces at the table are much more fun to be around than whiny faces. 

So in my little world this woman is going to celebrate because my family is happy. Yes, I still announce what we are going to have for the next meal because it still makes Bob happy to know and anticipate that meal. So he knows we are having beans cooked with hambone, cabbage, and salmon patties for lunch today.  And when I told him that he smiled, really big!  Then he said, “I like cornbread with my beans.”

 It should be a given that there will be cornbread with beans, but I reassured him that yes, there will be cornbread.  He is happy. When he is happy I’m happy.  So from this happy woman’s home to the rest of you I wish you a delightful International Women’s Day.

women right

 

Lord, Prop Us Up on Our Leaning Side — March 6, 2017

Lord, Prop Us Up on Our Leaning Side

 As I grow older, I think of the story of the old fellow who always prayed, “Lord, prop us up on our leaning side.” 

When asked why he prayed that way, he answered, “Well sir, you see, it’s like this…   I got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time. It’s withstood a lot of weather, it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years. It’s still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn’t fall. 

Then I got to thinking about how much I was like that old barn. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms, and I’ve withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I’ve withstood a lot of hard times, and I’m still standing, too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop me up on my leaning side. 

And last Saturday I leaned enough I fell. Twice. But because my wonderful children came to help me and brought Bob’s wheelchair out to the vehicle so I could get from there back into the house I didn’t fall a third time.  God knew I needed good kids and I’m so thankful for those he gave me.  Kevin knew what to do for me but so did Tracey and this morning I had these wonderful Easter cookies with my coffee because Tracey shared them with me. Vanessa took me shopping and Kent picks up my groceries so I am so very blessed.

 oreo

I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times. Not just in our bodies but sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward unfaithfulness, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t. So we need to pray, “Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again to glorify You.” 

We need You, Lord, to give us the strength to stand whenever we get out of balance.  In those times, “Lord, prop us up on our leaning side.” 

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)