Showing posts from 2013

Lessons Learned

Three days before Christmas I gave a sermon/meditation at my church.  By the end of Christmas day I was totally turning around everything I said and fed up with everything and everybody.    Lesson learned: practice what you preach; LITERALLY. I may have had some joy on Sunday (especially when listening to our guest harpist) and carried a bit of that into Christmas Eve (although I was starting to get crazed with two church services and where and when to do what.  (Like dinner...which turned out to be fast food tacos).  Christmas morning started much too early.  (This should be no surprise, but my son had been up till nearly 10:30 the night before and hence I had been up till midnight, having started by day before 5 AM.  I had hoped that  with him being up so late that I might get to "sleep in" till 7 or 7:30, but I seriously misjudged the power of kid who knows there must be presents downstairs under the tree just waiting for him.)  The morning was great.  And as my boy unw

Finding Joy: Part 2

Well, I successfully made it through this morning's service.  Nervousness aside, I have to say that I enjoyed the experience.  Of course it's all the much better when you are surrounded by people that you know and care about.   For those who weren't there, here's the rest of the "sermon" Today we lit the 4 th Advent candle.  The circle is complete as the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are now glowing; only the center candle, the Christ candle is left; leaving us waiting with eager anticipation for his birth.  I find it interesting that the color of Advent and Lent are both purple, which happens to be my favorite color.  (Some churches now use blue candles in their wreath to differentiate between the two seasons. This is what we did last Advent, I’m not convinced that it had to do all that much with differentiation between the two seasons as with getting Advent wreath candles at the last minute, but I am glad to see that purple is back this year.) I

Finding Joy...

Congratulations, we have just about made it.   Hopefully by now all, or at least most of the shopping has been done; the cookies have been made and the choirs have been rehearsed.  We’re in the home stretch. Christmas is just a few days away.  Pretty soon we’ll all be able to sit back, and relax for a moment and say “It’s over for another year.  We’ve made it through another Christmas.” At that point will all the stress be gone?  Will we at last find peace or at least have a few moments of peace?  When the holiday is over, what will we remember?  Will there have been peace, love and joy? Or will we have spent so much time preparing for “the event” that we will have forgotten what the holiday is truly about?  And that the birth of Christ is just the beginning?  That the joy, the love and the peace of Christ continues on... ...if you want to know the rest of the story, you'll have to stop by the First Presbyterian Church of Verona (10 Fairview Ave, Verona, NJ) tomorrow morning a

Sick of Winter

Yes, Christmas is 8 days away.  The year is coming to a close.  And I am SICK of winter.  Even though it's not officially here yet!  (That honor will happen on Saturday.) Yes, winter is 3 days away and I am already sick of the season.  Probably because we've had 4 winter weather storms over the past 10 days.  And while I realize that I do live in the Northeast, isn't that a little much? I know there are people who have it much worse.  I see the news from the Midwest and upstate New York. (This is why I don't think I could ever live there). For the holidays I love to see fluffy white flakes falling from the sky.  Snow is beautiful...when I'm not shoveling it or driving through it.  But it's not just the snow that I have a beef's the ice.  Nobody likes ice (unless it's in a drink or you've got your skates on).  Sliding downhill in an SUV is not my idea of fun. I know there is nothing I can do about the weather (other than complain abo

"Sappy" Holiday Movies

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes.  While I am no fan of the cold weather,  my guilty pleasure of the season is watching "sappy" holiday movies. Now let me just clarify, there are plenty of movies out there that the networks will have you believe are "holiday" fare, but are not (at least in my book).  The Harry Potter series is fantastic, but it's NOT holiday fare.  And while "The Sound of Music" may be one of my favorite movies of all time, the movie itself is NOT a Christmas one.  (Don't get me started on "My Favorite Things."  Great song, but when it did turn into a holiday classic?  Is it the snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes that qualify it?  Or brown paper packages tied up with string?  I don't get it!).  And "Die Hard" may take place during a holiday party, but that does NOT make it a Christmas movie! While I love watching all those "women's" movies that fl

Worth Watching: Time of Death

A series about death;  "real" death, not the glamorized or sensationalized stuff that television usually brings us, has been one of the most remarkable shows that I have seen on ANY channel EVER.  The series aired on Showtime on Friday nights and consisted of 6 moving and often painful episodes. I'm not sure what the series is considered.  Reality?  It's realer than any other "reality" show that has ever aired on tv.  It's raw and emotional.  How could it not be?  It follows "average" people (although all are extraordinary in their own way) facing death.  It's NOT pretty, but it is incredibly moving.  Within a 52 minute period you are captivated by the stories.  Everyone has a story and "Time of Death" makes you realize that. It also to some extent took away the fear of death for me.  It is there on camera for me to see -- literally as some of the stories actually capture the person's last minutes.  But even when the camer

December 7

A day that will live in infamy. Do you know why that is?  Do you know what happened and where? Sadly there are Americans who don't. History IS important.  And we must NEVER it 72 years or longer.

Everybody's Talking...

Two topics seemed to be vying for the top spot last night and this morning; one serious and one silly.  I find it interesting (to say the least) how passionate people are on the silly topic and how much of less has been made (at least in the social/internet world) of the serious one.  So, in order to be "trendy" and "with it," I thought I'd post my thoughts on these two topics. The Passing of Nelson Mandela:  It came as no surprise.  When a man is 95 and has been ill for many months, the outcome is rarely good.  But if you believe that death brings peace (since no one has ever gotten back to me on what it's like, I cannot attest to one end of the spectrum or the other), then after so many struggles and health issues, the man is finally at rest/peace.  And if this is the case, then there is no man more deserving.  He fought the fight for so long, and for the most part peaceably.  While I thought I knew the story, his passing made me take another look at his

Hope For The Holiday

Thanksgiving is over; it's the first Sunday in Advent.  Although Sunday is almost over.  Like the rest of this long weekend, it's gone by much to fast. Since I never got to cleaning on Wednesday, Thanksgiving day found my family and I cleaning up for company.  And I'm pleased to say that working together we did a great job.  It didn't even take that long.  (Although when it comes to cleaning; it always takes longer than expected).  And then there was the cooking and finally the feasting with the family.  We are a small group, but I am thankful for each one that was around the table (and for those who weren't...I have a small immediate family, but a bigger extended family and though they are not there in person, each one is there in my thoughts). Amazingly I did do some shopping on Black Friday! And before I headed off to work!  No, I didn't go right after the Thanksgiving meal.  I did wake up in the middle of the night and thought about heading out, but was

The Little Things...

It's Thanksgiving and we're all thankful for what we have.  It goes without saying (or at least it should) that I am thankful for my family and friends, for my home (even though I may complain about how small it is and all the things that need fixing; I have a place that keeps me warm and dry), my job (though only part time will grow into something even better than it already is) and my health and good health of all those I love. But there are so many little things that I am grateful for.  Things that seem inconsequential on the surface, but in reality are so much more. For example, a friend of mine posted that she was off to work this morning.  She is a nurse.  I happen to have several friends who are nurses or in the medical field.  For those that have to work today, I am thankful that they are there for the people who need them.  For those who finally have the day off, I am thankful that after years of work that they can spend the holiday at home with family. And mostly

Thanksgiving Eve and I Am Thankful

Thanksgiving is less than 24 hours away.  And I know that I have a lot to be thankful for.  I will count my multitude of blessing tomorrow as my small, but wonderful family gathers around my dining room table (the same table which generations before me gathered) for an unconventional, but delicious meal.  (Unconventional because my allergy to poultry means that no turkey will roast in the house and my extremely picky son will take a few forced bites of what is served and will then feast on the special Jello that always graces our holiday table.) Tonight I am thankful for one seemingly small and simple thing; a friendship that is fueled by Facebook that made my evening easier and cleaner. Let me backtrack to last Thanksgiving Eve (or maybe it was Thanksgiving morning...I honestly don't remember which is was) when I went to make my Frozen German Sweet Chocolate Pie.  I make this simple recipe (just Google it) pretty much every Thanksgiving (and most every other holiday too).  It&

Holidays are Getting Closer

I know...we're not even at Thanksgiving yet.  And I truly believe in celebrating one holiday at a time.  (No matter what the commercials may tell me).  I'm prepping for Thanksgiving today.  I *think* all the groceries I need have been bought.  (Not including the wine...that will come later.)  I've already done some "pre" cleaning and hope the guys will help me with some finishing touches on Wednesday and early Thursday.  (Remember my last blog???). But with life gets hectic.  And I just don't want to face shopping once Black Friday arrives and goes.  The last of my holiday gifts I will get BEFORE Thanksgiving.  And in all fairness, I have a very small family and a very small shopping list, so I CAN do this.  And my holiday shopping this weekend does sort of tie into Thanksgiving and the season of gratitude (which should continue all year long). The finishing touches of my holiday shopping will be done on church of all places!  Every year my chu

If Only I Could Write So Well...

I love to write.  Why else would I have a blog?  I mean it's not as if millions are reading and heaping praise on me.  And it's certainly not a way to make money!  But as long as I can remember I've been a writer...OK, maybe not quite as long as I can remember, but at least since the end of 3rd grade when I started to keep a notebook (just like Harriet the Spy...which was my inspiration...thank you Louise Fitzhugh).  And I've been writing ever since. Good and bad.  (Mostly bad...especially through those teen years.) But I could never write as well, or as succinctly as what was said 150 years ago today: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We h

My Bad Habit: Cleaning

Or perhaps I should have titled this:  My Bad Habit:  LACK of a cleaning schedule. Please don't get me wrong.  I'm not a slob...or at least not a total slob (although my mother might disagree with me on this one).  I'm not going to be featured on any hoarders shows.  But I'm not going to be featured on House Beautiful either. The weekend has gotten away from me again and it's mostly because of this silly cleaning cycle that I have...and my bad habit. Here's the family and I go around doing the day to day things.  Caught up in life as most families are.  Certain things just don't get done.  Again I say we are not total slobs.  The dishes get washed (although the clean ones tend to hang on the drying rack much longer than they should).  The clothes get washed, dried and (eventually) put away.  But papers and mail do tend to pile up (not bills or things that need to be returned to school, but those "things" that I haven't thrown

Thank You

A friend recently pointed out to me that the next holiday after Halloween is NOT Thanksgiving, but Veteran's Day.  She is most definitely right, but how many Americans would know that (or even agree)? Veteran's Day is somewhat of a forgotten holiday.  Government offices are closed, but most businesses are open.  Schools are open (at least in my area).  Other than some commercials announcing the Veteran's Day car sale or department store sale, how do most Americans know about this Holiday? Do we know that Veteran's Day celebrates ALL men and women who have served in the military? That originally Veteran's Day was known as  Armistice Day, commemorating the end of "The Great War" (now known as World War I)?  That it was Woodrow Wilson who proclaimed the holiday on November 11, 1919? That it was Veteran Raymond Weeks who in 1945 came up with the idea that the day should honor not just those who served in World War I, but to celebrate ALL Ve

Election Day 2013

It's just after six here on the east coast as I type this.  The polls are open!  Yes, this is my friendly reminder to get out there and vote.  It (usually) only takes a couple of minutes to do and every vote really does count.  (Just ask the guy who ran for our town council and lost by one vote!  It's true.  And what's better is how gracious he was about contesting, no whining just a public congratulations to the winners.  Now if only EVERYONE would be that gracious). I could go into a long wide speech about how important it is.  How this is a sacred right that our forefathers fought for.  But the fact is, you should know that already.  (And if you don't you should re-read your history book...or at least Google!) This is a chance for your voice to be heard.  No matter how small.  There may not be much we can do to influence the system, but this is the one thing we CAN do.  Small steps bring forth great things. So take that small step today.  Vote!  (I espe

November 1

Happy All Saint's Day! Did everyone survive Halloween?  Hope you had lots of POLITE trick or treaters visit your home and that your candy bowl is now empty!  (Because we've got to get prepared for the next food holiday -- Thanksgiving).  Sadly our bowl is still pretty full.  With all of the bad weather over the last few years, we were hopeful that this year would be the one where things returned to "normal".  And although my son and I went out and saw kids, our little block saw next to nothing.  Don't know where our treats are going to go! (I'm NOT going to eat them!  Or at least that's what I'm telling my waistline!) Don't forget that on Saturday night/Sunday morning the clocks get turned back.  While I love it being a little lighter in the morning (who doesn't?  It makes it so much easier to get up and out of bed!), is there anyone out there who likes the darkness rolling in so early?  Give me a week and I'll be ready for spring again

Happy Halloween!

It's finally here!  The day of ghosts, witches and goblins.  Of children running around in costumes, over excited and over sugared.  A day of much chaos! But what wonderful chaos it is!  After 2 year of ruined Halloweens due to weather, I will take the chaos of the day and embrace it. I am excited to see all the children in my son's school dressed up in their most creative costumes as they parade in the morning. I will be patient as he fusses when there is homework to do before the fun. I will be happily exhausted as I walk with my son and his friends house to house in the evening. I will be tolerant and let him eat and enjoy more candy than he probably should have. Tomorrow November will be upon us.  But for now, I will celebrate Halloween with childlike glee.

An Anniversary to Forget

Today marks a year...can it really be that long ago?  It seems like yesterday and it also seems like it just happened. All East Coasters will know that I am talking about Sandy.  For us the word "Sandy" no longer conjures up Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band or John Travolta crooning/whining out a song.  Sandy was THE storm.  A "Super" storm because it defied definition.  Not a hurricane.  Not a tropical storm.  A Super Storm that changed our world. I was naive. I was uneducated.  I thought storms came and went.  You cleaned up and went on.  In our fast paced world, that's what it's all about. But I was wrong.  I didn't learn from images of other disasters that faced "other people."  Now my family WAS the "other people." There was little to no communication to the Barrier Island.  (Before last year I didn't even know that's what it was called.  I'd been going to the shore all my life.  I'd driven Route 35

You Know the Holidays Are Getting Closer...

Anticipation is at a fever pitch in our household.  Which means my son can barely contain himself because Halloween is just a week and a half away.  (That is if nature allows us to have one this year).  In reality, Halloween starts next Sunday when he is allowed to wear his costume to church and the Sunday School has a Halloween party after services.  (For anyone who says Halloween is not for church, I say nuts to you.  With all of the crazy weather we've had over the past two years, the only place my son has truly been able to celebrate the holiday with other kids is at the church.  I am so grateful that our Christian Education team have taken the time and initiative to make it special for all the kids of all ages.  Of course the adults love it too...where else can you see little kids whacking a mummy pinata and NOT being able to get it open???). The leaves in NJ are turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red.  It makes it a pleasure to drive anywhere during the day as t

That Lightbulb Moment

Recently a group on Facebook that talks about "the good old days" in my home town, has been discussing a teacher that I had in third grade.  The discussion has been very insightful for me as while I realized that I was probably not the only person who loved Mrs. Williams, I had no idea that she once taught sixth grade!  (How could that have been possible???) Third grade was a long time ago (longer than I care to admit), but despite all the years, I still remember Mrs. Williams vividly which just goes to show how much of an impact she had on me (and I'm sure a bevy of other children who passed through the town school system). I remember her full name, Mrs. Gladys Williams.  (I don't remember the full names of all of my teachers, but those who made a lasting impact I do.  If you had Mrs. Williams she made an impact!).  I don't know if there was a Mr. Williams by the time I got to her third grade class.  In retrospect, I realize that she was an older woman, altho

Bfth's Brilliant Solution: Take That Government

If you've read my blog before you probably know that I don't care what side of the fence you are on when it comes to politics.  I've got plenty of friends on the left and plenty on the right.  I even have some in the middle.  And while none of us agree on much of anything politically, I think we'd all agree that this nonsense in Washington (no blaming, no pointing fingers) has gone on way too long. But have no fear...I have a solution. We recall EVERYONE in the Senate and the House.  You've had your turn.  You've failed.  You're out. Then one person from each state in the US is randomly chosen to represent their state in Washington.  It's kind of like getting picked for jury duty.  Anyone from let's say 18-100 has a chance to get picked.  50 people randomly pulled from the pool.  Doesn't matter if you're black or white, male or female, gay or straight, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist...well you get the idea.  Because it's random

Rainy Days and Mondays...

...always bring me down. Well, maybe not always.  But today is Monday and this weather is definitely bringing me down. It's hot...when I do housework and run around. It's cold...when I sit at my computer and type. It's damp...everything in my house feels sticky and icky. The sun is out...for the next 30 seconds. It's raining...but now it's stopped. It's windy...yes, there goes another one of my Halloween decorations.  (I've already taken down two and much to my son's chagrin, have not put up the new ones he talked my father into buy over the weekend.) There are tropical storm and hurricane warnings in the south of the country...but up here we have a tornado warning. It's really not all that much to complain about.  But it being a Monday and all...I'm giving myself (and anyone crazy enough to read this) the chance to bitch and moan.  For just this rainy day and Monday.

Like Gambling, Only Healthier!

My husband is not a gambling man.  We've been to Atlantic City only once in our 17+ year relationship and while I enjoyed playing the quarter slots, I can't remember if he did ANY gambling at all while we were down there.  (Not that we were there for that long.)  As far as I know he's never been to Las Vegas (I've only been twice...and in the same year and although I would like to go back and visit again, it's  not on the top of my list of things to do).  So I guess you can say we are not a big gambling family. But just a couple of weeks ago I was pulling my husband away from a potential new "addiction" as he was saying he needed just wanted "one more". What did he want one more of?  Where were we?  We were apple picking at Riamede Farms. ( ).  With all the trees and searching for the "just right" ones, it was tempting for "just one more."  As a matter of fact, this family of three came h

I Think God Made A Mistake...

Not a big mistake in the scheme of things.  After all is pretty much infallible.   He/She created the earth and called it good right?  (No religious or theological arguments here...thank you very much).  However I do have a small bone to pick.  And it's a smelly one. Yes, I think God made a mistake when he/she created (or allowed the creation of) stinkbugs. Ok, so this is not a very serious topic.  And perhaps it wasn't even a mistake that God made.  Maybe there is some wonderful reason why stinkbugs exist in the world.  As a mere mortal, I just can't figure out why. It's that time of the year when they come creeping out and are suddenly in my house.  I used to get the house treated...although the pest company made no guarantees.  This year finances are a little tight, so I had to forgo it.  I really don't know if there are more or less than usual, but they are out and about.  But most importantly, they creep me out! They mysteriously appear in my home.  The

A Season of Change

October has arrived on our doorstep.  Even though it might not feel like it here in the northeast (it is supposed to be in the low 80s for the next few days!), autumn is here and the season of transitions is upon us. October to me is truly the month that exemplifies autumn.  The trees are brilliant with color.  It's a subtle change that starts in September and comes into full glory in October.  By the end of the month they will be mostly gone; and November will bring us the beginnings of the chill of winter.  (A season, which I must confess, is my least favorite.) My son embraces the month.  I think it is perhaps his favorite.  The anticipation of Halloween is upon him.  It's not just about the day, but about the decorations that keep popping up.  Every day brings new sights to see as more and more neighbors put up spooky skeletons and fat  jack-o'-lantern .     There are scarecrows, mums and cornstalks alongside the piles of leaves.  One neighbor has a yard filled with