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.

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)

Frienemy — March 1, 2017

Frienemy

frienenemy

This morning as I was looking at Facebook I saw a post from a friend who said, “ I am removing  the fake person who tried acting like my friend but thought I wouldn’t find out about you running your mouth. Just wanna make sure you can see this and know why I will never have anything to do with you ever again.

Do you have people in your life that you just sit back and observe and think, “That’s my friend!”

On the other hand, are there people in your life that you know are only your friend when they are facing you but when you aren’t around they talk about you in unflattering ways?

Remember, no one is perfect. The difference between a good friend who happened to do something you didn’t like and a fake friend is that a good friend does not keep on doing or saying bad stuff about or to you.

How can you identify a frienemy?

·         They are two faced. They smile and laugh with you, but then slander you behind your back.

·         They always gossip about their other friends. 

·         When you’re alone with each other it’s never a problem, but when others are around they constantly try to make you look bad or they ignore you. 

·         They make fun of you. 

·         Everything is a competition to them. They always try to one up you.

·         They purposely give you bad advice so you don’t succeed or surpass them in something. I once knew a lady who, if asked for a recipe, left out a key ingredient so no one else’s food would turn out as good as hers.

·         When they are with others they don’t have time for you. 

·         When you make a mistake they always gloat. 

·         They use you for what you have or know.

·         They are never there when you need them. In your time of need and when you’re going through bad things they disappear. 

·         They never build you up and make you a better person, but are always bringing you down. 

·         They close their mouths at the wrong times. They let you go down the wrong path and allow you to make mistakes. 

·         They are critical. They always see the bad they never see the good. 

·         They are manipulative. 

 You will know them by their fruits.

1.      Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

2.      Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

3.      Psalms 55:21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

4.      Psalms 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

5.      Luke 22:47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

I know who keeps it real and who is only a friend to my face, and if you think about it you do too. I’m wondering why we do this.  Why do we not call them out? If you are like I, then you just smile and pretend you believe they are your friend and go on about your life knowing they will betray you the first chance they get. 

So here is a big THANK YOU to every one of you who are my real friends.  I know who you are. I know who motivates me and keeps it real. I also know who talks about me and then smiles in my face. I know who I can trust and who to keep at a distance. I know who’s really for me and who is being fake. Whether or not I let you know you’re fake, I know!  And so does the young woman I quoted at the beginning of this blog and who sparked this whole thing.

He Chose Me — February 8, 2017

He Chose Me

marriage-ours-is-my-favorite

It was always a puzzlement to me why a tall, dark, handsome man would choose me instead of a woman who was more eye candy than I could ever be. But he did.  He chose me. Not just to ask out for one time, but to be with for all time.

He chose me to for the first date and took me to see How to Murder Your Wife starring Jack Lemon. We both laughed all the way through it and I was hooked. He has such a big laugh that sounds so happy and merry I’ve never tired of hearing it.  And he laughed at all the right places in the film so I saw that he understood the subtle underlying humor in it too.

Then he chose to ask me out for another date, and so it went, from Mother’s Day in May, the day we met at the Dairy Freeze until the middle of September when we said, “I do” to each other.

He chose me again and again through the last 52 years and I’ve got to tell you it hasn’t always been easy.

marriage

Some people ask how a marriage lasts as long as ours has and what to do to make one last.  It comes down to choice always choose your mate, again and again.

We are headed as fast as we can toward Valentine’s Day and he asked me today if I would rather have roses or an orchid and I told him I would rather have purple fabric.  He understands that. And that is why I choose him. Every time, I choose him. He gets me.  He knows me.  And he loves me anyway. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Growing Older — January 24, 2017

Growing Older

Written by a 75 year old

“To celebrate growing older, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned in my 75 trips around the sun.  When your odometer rolls over one more time it makes you stop and think of stuff. Here is some of the stuff I’m thinking.

I hear a lot of folks talking about one thing and another being “fair.”  Well, I’m here to tell you that in 75 years I’ve never seen life be fair. And no one can tell me where it is written that it is supposed to be fair.  But I can tell you that it is good to be living, so to heck with fair.

Sometimes doubt sets in and I wonder what to do. After 75 years I can definitely say, “Take the next step and see where it leads you.” You may be amazed.

It is ridiculous to realize how short a time span 75 years is, it goes fast so quit wasting time and enjoy life. Just between us, life is too short and goes too fast, so enjoy the heck out of it.

And if I had not already discovered this, just rethinking the election we’ve recently come through would make me say that staying true to what you believe is important.

Don’t neglect family or friends because they are more important than you know.

If I could go back and re-do these years I would have saved more for retirement from the very first paycheck.

Irresistible describes something you cannot successfully resist.  That is why chocolate is described as irresistible. Go ahead, give in, life is short

Truly, it is all right to let your children see that you are not perfect.

Be like the flowers and don’t compare yourself to others. Bloom where you are with whatever kind of bloom you have. Daisies and roses don’t bloom alike but are both beautiful in their place.

Some old wives sayings are truer than you think.  I know for sure now that what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

You cannot sit around waiting for others to make you happy, happiness is a choice you make, so if you aren’t happy don’t blame others.

happiness

You cannot make a quilt by looking at fabric.  You have to cut and sew to get it done and there will be a mess made while you do it. It is up to you to decide if the mess and work are worth the finished product.

Every day is special. Do what you can at the time to celebrate that specialness.

Really and truly it is better to be over prepared and then just go with what happens than it is to not be ready and get in a dither.

If you like purple and red, wear it now. Don’t wait until you are an old woman like I am. Some never make it to old age. Enjoy the moment.

Always choose life.

Let it go!  Remembering and clinging to old hurts doesn’t affect anyone but yourself. And that not in a good way.

Every thought in your mind doesn’t have to roll off your tongue. After 75 years, I’m still trying to master this one.

Nothing is forever except God, so don’t throw in the towel. The situation WILL change.

I have seen so many miracles it is easy for me to believe in miracles.

Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.  I’m doing the first, my sister did the second.

For those of you still raising children, our children get only one childhood, don’t make them grow up too fast. Clothes and faces will wash, scraped knees will heal, memories and adulthood last a long time.

 Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a “gift” and in the end the only thing that really matters in this world is whether you loved or not.  Love your neighbors, even when they are unlovable, love them anyway.

love-and-give

 

New Year Resolutions — January 3, 2017

New Year Resolutions

new-year-resolutions

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. At least that’s the way they seem to work for me.

But I do firmly resolve to be more careful in the kitchen and try not to drop things on my feet.  Especially heavy things.  And believe me when I tell you that a Club Aluminum lid the size of a dinner plate is heavy enough to do some damage. That’s what I dropped on my foot yesterday and wound up with this lovely new shoe.  Don’t be jealous!

foot

And since I know you are going to ask, yes, that is a stick between my great toe and the one next to it.  The lid hit just at the base of the big toe and I will tell you it HURT!

foot2

 

If I could just resolve to not fall this year, or drop something heavy on myself, and have that resolution keep me safe, how wonderful would that be?

 

 

Dreams and Resolutions — January 2, 2017

Dreams and Resolutions

god-gives-dreams-too-big

It seemed to me that growing up in a small town meant opportunities were limited, so all my dreams were of going somewhere else where there were more and better possibilities.

Looking back, I remember wanting to be a prima ballerina.  Mom tried to make me understand that I needed to have started with lessons before I was eleven years old, which was my age at the time, and there was nowhere to get lessons if one lived in Imboden, Arkansas.

Then there was the time I spent preaching to anyone who would listen for a minute because I was sure God was calling me to be a missionary.  I didn’t want to leave my country and I wanted to be a wife and mother, but somehow in that mix I felt the call to be a missionary. Hm-m-m-m.

Thankfully, that vision for my life only lasted a month or two.

I wanted to be a teacher, a counselor, a bookkeeper, and became none of those things.  Looking back I can see how childish these dreams were and I’m thankful God didn’t place those dreams into my heart.  But there seems to be a connection that each of these silly and childish dreams had to the real job God had for me to do.  He put those drives and ambitions into me to lead me to the place He ultimately intended for me to occupy.

So the obvious question is, “How does one know when a dream is from God?”  It’s an important question. Just think about it!   If your dream isn’t from God, it isn’t worth pursuing. It could lead you down a wrong path or into something that you never should have been tinkering around with.

We humans have a tendency to skew our selfish ambitions around to make ourselves believe they are God-given dreams and desires, but you need to run your idea through a filter or two to determine if it is truly God-given.

First, ask yourself if it will ultimately bring glory to God. “For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36).

Why is it so difficult to see that God made everything for His glory?  It is so everything, including your dream, will bring Him glory in the end!)

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your dream will involve ministry in the church, or mean that you have to wear some sort of clothes to set yourself apart from others so they can see how God-honoring you are.  No, it just means that what you do will bring glory to God.

For instance, if your dream involves something that isn’t quite ethical and you excuse yourself because “everybody does it,” then your dream isn’t from God and will not bring glory to Him. God will never ask you to do something contrary to His Word. But a dream that demonstrates hope, love, peace—God gets glory in that.

“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (Isaiah 1:17).

If you read that scripture you have to realize God’s plan for you includes you treating others well and nowhere does it mention it will result in material success or fame. God isn’t concerned with those things, so if your dream is for vast wealth, no matter what you have to do to get it, the dream isn’t from God.  Sometimes He rewards folks with material things, but those are not priorities for God. His main concern is for people and how we treat each other..

Any dream that involves taking advantage of people or capitalizing on someone else’s misfortune isn’t from God. Stay away from any business endeavor or plan like that. Instead, God will ask you to do something that meets people’s needs. That might mean becoming a foster parent, crocheting a sleeping pad from plastic grocery bags, making tiny soft baby quilts for a local NICU or any number of other things, but if it is from God it will benefit others.  If it benefits others, you are likely closer to achieving the plans God has for you.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

A dream from God Will Seem Bigger Than What You Can Handle On Your Own.  God doesn’t give little dreams. God loves doing significant things through seemingly insignificant people, though no one is insignificant to God.

What would be a seriously audacious dream for you?  Do you want to start a home for elderly women who now live in a nursing home but could be in their own home if someone stayed with them?  Or one for men in similar situations?  Or is your dream big enough for you to dream both of these?  Are you trying to love an unlovable spouse because God has given you the dream to build a marriage like you didn’t get to see while growing up?  Maybe you are being called to foster a child or six?

Whatever your dream, dream it.  God gives us big dreams that we cannot accomplish on our own so that when we see them come to pass, we know it was because of God’s hand and not our own.

God used my dreams to turn me into a wife, mother, bookkeeper for the farm books, teacher of women in our church, teacher of my children and counselor to women who needed a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. 

 

Take a moment to evaluate the dream that’s in your heart right now. Does your dream fulfill these qualities? A dream from God is not trivial. It’s vital. It’s not childish. It’s powerful.

If God gave you a dream, you should pursue it. You should fight for it. Don’t ignore a dream God has given you. Your dream matters.  So make that resolution today to follow that dream and be resolute in keeping after it.

Happy New Year everyone!

gods-plan

Ready for Christmas! — December 21, 2016

Ready for Christmas!

christmas-gifts

Ready for Christmas! Something made for each child, check. Something bought for each child,

check. Santa gifts ready, check. Baking and candy making done, check. Everything wrapped, check.

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I’m so-o-o-o ready! Or, wait, am I????? 

Ready For Christmas?

Ready for Christmas, she said with a sigh,

As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high,

Then wearily sat for a moment and read,

Till soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.christmas-stocking

 

Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,

Ready for Christmas? What do you mean?

Ready for Christmas when only last week

You wouldn’t acknowledge your friend on the street?

 

Ready for Christmas, while holding a grudge?

Perhaps you had better let God be the judge.

Why, how can the Christ-child come and abide

In the heart that is selfish and filled with pride?

 

Ready for Christmas when just last week

To your mother and father you wouldn’t speak?

They do so much for you and ask so little

But you can’t spare them a jot or a tittle?

 

Ready for Christmas when only today

A beggar lad came and you turned him away

wIthout even a smile to show that you cared?

The little he asked – it could have been spared.

 

Ready for Christmas? You’ve worked, it is true,

But just doing the things that you wanted to do.

Ready for Christmas? Your circle’s too small –

Why, you are not ready for Christmas at all!

 

She awoke with a start and a cry of despair,

There’s so little time and I’ve still to prepare.

O Father, forgive me, I see what You mean,

To be ready means more than a house swept clean.

Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree,

It’s the heart swept clean that He wants to see;

A heart that is free from bitterness, sin –

Ready for Christmas – and ready for HIM.


This is a revised version of the poem by:
Alice Hansche Mortenson

vintage-christmas-card