Valentine’s Day: Eros, meet Agape

That most tender of emotions . . .

Love. Oh me, and while love runs rampant daily, at Valentine’s Day, it’s more so, for all ages from childhood, to neighbors to just acquaintances, it’s the main subject of conversation, behind every marriage, and its lack behind every divorce.

All for Love? So what is love? It’s not food for the hungry, or drink for the thirsty. It will not knit the broken bone or give rest to the overworked. It isn’t a drug for the suffering . . . and yet . . . today, right now, there are people giving up their hold on life and slowly dying for the lack of it.

Love is the T.L.C. recommended for children. So important that every infant in any hospital is actually scheduled to be tenderly held, fondled and played with. And this in addition to the routine times the child is also scheduled to be fed, bathed and otherwise attended. It’s also the reason that some ‘qualified’ visitor is asked if they have time to hold and caress infants whose parents are unable to make frequent visits.  I was once so honored and asked to be such a one, and   it was well worth the time and satisfaction I felt.

Love is the magic that changes homes for the aged from dull, lifeless places where, so often, men and women sit silently and dully in empty rooms, waiting for their lives to pass. Yes, love changes them into homes. (no more affluent) of quiet activity, alert eyes, contentment and days that are lived. Not just endured.

Love, Every civilization, culture, people or tribe from earliest times until now, have recognized its strength and made rules and provisions for it. Oddly, too, the more ‘un-modern’ the culture, the better their overall concept of love has been.

Only in modern America has love often become almost solely synonymous with sex. Other environments recognize and explore the other aspects as well, such as, the mother playing with her children, the grandparent caressing the infant, listening to the older child’s woes, or giving cautious monetary aid to the college student who is always short of cash.  Are these not also love?

Yes, and there’s the often forgotten taken-for-granted, love of the parish priest or local bishop for their flock. Only those close by could know of the countless hours that are cheerfully, thankfully given.  Hours whose very numbers make the task seem impossible.   And it would be, too, if it weren’t for love.

No, love is not actually food for the hungry or drink for the thirsty. It cannot be put under a microscope, analyzed and then prescribed for a broken body or diseased mind. But yet . . .

It is both food and drink for BOTH body and Soul. It is rest for the overburdened and new energy to the sorrowing. the bored and the listless. It has given more peace than all the tranquilizers ever made, and brought a shine and glow to tired eyes and faces. It is the magic medicine that every doctor in the world wishes he could patent, bottle and prescribe for his patients.

Love. That most tender of emotions. With it, life and the world is a happy place to be. Without it, life loses its savor, its ability to revitalize itself. and people die. Yes, that’s how vital love is.

It is now Valentine’s day. Give all the love you can, and of all varieties you can find. See, I’m not knocking Eros one bit, but take time to remember   there is Romantic love, Mother/Father love, Brotherly love, and, really and finally, the strongest and most far reaching of all . . . . Agape.   Spiritual love, from as far back as The Garden of Eden, until, yesterday, today, and on and on, as long as God lives, Love will also live. Even, if you can imagine, on Valentine’s Day.

 

May The Force Be With You

Dancers in pirouette, roulette tables, eddies in a stream, the trade winds, and the Gulf Stream obey it . . .

I was fussing with my climbing ivy plant the other day, tucking stubborn shoots around supports, but also  being careful to follow the ‘natural’ twist  the Ivy wanted to take, and  as I did so,   I mused over the ramifications that  cosmic force, that we call Coriolis, making  counter-clockwise ‘right,’ and clockwise the ‘wrong’ way.

And with no exceptions, either.  Well, I  take that back,  for if  you cross the Equator,  into the southern, (or northern) hemisphere, there is an  immediate 180 Degree switch into the Rule’s  exact opposite law.

It also awed  me to realize the same force that made my vine go  ‘its own way’, no matter how I might try to force it another,  is the same powerful force that aviators, sailors and astronauts must also learn to cope with.

And making the whole thing more wonderful and almost unbelievable is that if you live north of the Equator and move to the south side of the equator, everything switches to the exact opposite way. See my above words, and each time I think of this, I wish there were someone to tell me if it’s an abrupt ‘change’ at that thin line of the equator, or if there are a few miles of ‘waffling’, giving us a few miles of a trial and error’ time of finding ‘which’ law, the North or the South,  is going to work?

Think how long it must have taken sailors, and later pilots, to learn to circle a storm by flying to its right, (going with the wind, instead of to the left which would be against it.) Pilots trained south of the equator are naturally taught the opposite and it is one of the basics any flyer must quickly learn if they go into the ‘other’ side of the globe.

This phenomenon was the cause of many a fatal accident in the maelstrom of WW II air fighting before these basic Laws of the Universe were discovered and made known.

Of course, you probably know more about this force than I do, but still in my elementary way, I plod along. And if it is new to you, that basic power is called Coriolis. Read on and see what it means.

Your vines grow counter clockwise and it is ‘right’ for them to do so and your efforts in trying to change them is useless. The water swirling down the drains from a full bathtub, sink and our toilets all agree.  And watch your dogs and see how they observe the identical rule as they circle to ‘make their bed.’  Dancers as they pirouette, roulette tables, eddies in a stream, the trade winds and the Gulf Stream pouring its pathway across the Atlantic, all obey this planetary law.

It comes, as you may know or guess, from the force made by the earth turning beneath us. We shoot a man to the moon, but we don’t aim where the moon is when the shot is made. No, men who understand this force to its ultimate (?) strength, take care to aim the capsule to where the moon will be, in relation to the earth, when the arrival time is scheduled.

During World War I, records tell us the Germans knew, but didn’t understand  this law, but they knew enough, when shooting  their “Big Bertha” cannon, only 70 miles to Paris, their goal, they aimed it a mile to the left to correct for the distance the world would turn in that short three minute time lag.

And a rocket fired to New York from the North Pole, unless adjustments made would land near Chicago after an hour’s flight. For in that hour, the earth’s turning would put the Windy City exactly where the Big Apple was. And we don’t even know or feel that we’re buzzing through space.

It is why an airplane flying east (moving faster than the earth) is lighter than the same plane going west; why a pendulum clock, taken to a northern country runs fast and it is the secret (but don’t ask me why) of the gyroscopic compass.

People at the time of the Mayflower knew the trip to the New World would be faster than the return to the Mother Country and adjusted their provisions that way.  I doubt if they knew why, but know they did, and careful plans were made to provide the amounts of food and water.  More needed one way and less the other, giving them more space for Cargo and other commercial products.

Coriolis…a new word? It was to me, but I read lots of stuff and found that while the word people invented to describe it, was once new, the force it tells of has been with us since God created heaven and earth and while you can’t rise in the sky to feel the constant trade winds, can’t see the adjustment made on a moon flight, or can’t travel south of the equator to test it out, you can still see its force.

Watch your Morning Glories twist and turn. Watch your bath water going down the drain, ask any air pilot. Coriolis, unseen, unfelt, mysterious, but oh so real.

And I have no doubt that some smart men and women are, or have already, studied to figure out how it affects you and me in our daily lives.  The way we walk? Our car’s miles-per-gallon of gas?  I’m smart (?) enough to know that if it affects the birds, animals and vines, why should we be ignored?

The name is used for the dozens of products on sale that ‘guarantee’ to straighten and reverse the natural curl found in some human hair.

Coriolis. Know it or not, or even give a dang about it, it’s here, and always has been and always will be.  Next time you take a bath, take time to wait a moment and just try to change how the water goes down the drain.  Good luck.

You Can’t Take God Out Of History

Thousands of people have and are trying to take God out of History, but it won’t work. And on January 20. 2017, at the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th United States President, that sacred name was used reverently, over and over doing all 48  hours of that unique span of time, and from both sides ‘of the aisle’, TYG.

Those who know me even slightly know I am not a religious person, but those same people know also that I am a deeply spiritual  person.

Most of us skirt around the name of the Deity, and MCs at most public ceremonies are uncomfortable, not knowing whether to pray or not to pray and I can’t blame them, when we find the subject matter given on some of the programs they are asked to present.

In ‘olden’ times, it was accepted that we give thanks to some Higher Force at Public meetings and inasmuch as most were Christian, the name of God was used, and our coins still say, “In God We Trust”.

What we do in private is our own business, but publicly it has become another story, and with the name God beginning to be removed, our history books are changing and showing signs of becoming nothing but ‘once-upon-a-time’ tales.

If we go back and scan our history books, however, we’ll find that every battle, war, Crusade, or tale coming from both, or any side, claim their instructions, and motives for war, were received from their God. And the names cited were many and varied.

So, if the name of God, the driving Force,  is removed from print, within a generation people would not learn of the Pilgrims, Amish, Quakers, Mormons, or such. Thanksgiving would naturally, and nationally, more and more  become Football Day, and Christmas no more than Rudolph and Santa.

The Crusades of the Middle Ages would have to be left out of our books entirely, for although they spanned several centuries, . . . every Crusade, even the Children’s,  were fought to take The Holy Land from the power of the infidels, who called their God, Allah.   And you can’t relate even history without mentioning the main Character, which, era after era, time after time, area after area, has been God.

The Koran, re-written with each   new conqueror,  has, at times, been almost decimated and scholars of old manuscripts would have to go back to their ‘beginning’ when the Angel Gabriel ‘gave’ the words to Mohammed. And, unless such a group could be found, and given that freedom, the result would remain as it is today, in the hands of the World’s  strongest Economic Power.

Without God, Utah’s Pioneer beginnings would be lost, for history would simply say that thousands of people traveled west, and groups would stop at different places to make homes.  Our Twenty-Fourth of July celebration, would, more swiftly than ever, become a larger and fancier rodeo.

Not mention God in history books?? How then could anyone explain the Dark Ages when those daring to differ with prevailing beliefs were ‘tortured and burned at the stake?  Joan Of Arc would be even more forgotten,  and who would dare tell of the Wise Men who outlived Christian enemies and so were able to keep our Bible pure(?) for you and me.

How can the plundering of towns, cathedrals, cities, and Jewish Pogroms be explained without mentioning the name of God? How can we tell of missionaries who went into the wildernesses becoming the very first outposts of civilization with their staffs and Bibles.

How can literature be studied without referring to the most powerful books in the World?? The Holy Bible, The Koran, the Bahgavad Gita and China’s  Book of Changes? They all tell of that   Unknowable Force, calling it by such names as God, Jehovah, Providence. Allah. IT. Brahma, Old Heaven, All Our Relations, The Lord God, The Unknowable, or as our scientists euphemistically say, The Unknown Factor.

But. by whatever name you know IT by, you should also know that there are those who are attempting to make laws to prohibit any mention of God in schools, school books, TV, history and certainly not in public meetings.

Take that Imponderable out of our history books and how can our children know about the Amish, Quakers, Mormons, Jews, Muslims . . . or, finally how are they to know of our Pledge of Allegiance and             join in singing our National Anthem? It came home to me forcefully back in the 1990’s, at a National Press Meeting, where, in their effort not to offend anyone, or to break any law, the Prayer was nothing but a hooshmi of words, and when it was over we all looked at each other as if to say, “Is this where our laws have taken us?”

Use whatever name you will, but the history of the world cannot be written unless the Cause, or the ‘why’ of it all is given. Our scientists euphemistically have called it, the Unknowable and, Einstein, who gave us so much of our basic, essential Knowledge, called IT Pure Essence. I call IT God.    And while respectfully recognizing all the others, still stick to my beginnings, and  never even think of any other Name when I think of My Diety.         And so, TYG.  with naught but reverence from Ethel.

 

It Might Have Been Otherwise Redux

Here is a poem from my refrigerator door.  It has been there many years and I wish to share it again . . .

I got out of bed
With strong legs
And an alert mind.
It might have been otherwise.

I ate cereal with fresh yogurt,
Juicy blueberries
And home-grown walnuts
It might have been otherwise.

I drove to the office
And did chores
Others could easily do,
But for now they are mine
And I did them.
It might have been otherwise.

I sat at my window
Seeing fields and mountains that
Generations of Bradfords have also seen.
It might  have been otherwise.

I spoke with and laughed
With Robert in Maine,
Emailed Ken in California
Bob in St. George
Dewey in Santa Monaco
Laurel in Mesa,
And chatted with LaRee
Just across the valley
It might have been otherwise.

I did my nightly yoga
Murmured words of praise,
Slept in a bed in a room
I’ve slept in for sixty-odd years,
And whose walls hold
Beloved paintings and words,
Fully aware that one of these days
It will be otherwise.

(This poem was written by Jane Kenyon.
To reflect MY life, I  have changed
Every single word except the last line Of each verse. )

Read it again and put your own
Actions where I ‘ve put mine.
Made me a bit more aware of
Just who and what I am.
Good luck.

Hands

The tools of our soul . . .

Our hands are tools we use every moment of our day, and, no matter how large or trifling the task, our hands do what’s needed.

Yes, I know,the mind gives birth to what we accomplish, but it’s our hands,  tools we seldom even give a thought to, that do the work.   Unacknowledged,  but from the most delicate stroke of an artist, to knocking down some unneeded wall, to  the almost thoughtless act of scratching an obscure itch . . . we turn to our hands to get the jobs done.

The first hands I was aware of were my father’s.  Basically they were well formed, but a life-time of carpentering, plus the   manual labor that came with a farm,  and  its fields, and animals, had toughened the skin and nails until they were rougher than none other I ever saw.

Yet, Dad’s  hands were sensitive.  I remember him  gently feeling the edges of a piece of wood to see if it needed more smoothing.  Saw his hands follow the grain of  wood to make certain he had maximized its beauty, and it was then that I became aware of the beauty of polished wood . . .  and of the hands holding it.

I didn’t know how he could feel any roughness,  but Dad’s  work proved me wrong for his work would rival  the best of  today’s fine wares. I recall seeing him, almost without thinking, reach out to gently touch some fine piece of furniture.  I sensed it then, and  could not have named the feeling, but now know, that his touch was a caress.  Yes, worn or not, his hands were  the sensitive, sensual hands of an artist.

And  then I remember Gram’s hands.  I heard her once say, that when she wanted a job done well, she had to ‘get her hands into it’.    And I see  that dear woman’s hands with nary a fumble, go from stove, to fridg, sink, counter, and table to serve the meal she had prepared.  Each movement sharp, clean and precise.

And perhaps most vivid of all, because it seemed so ‘out of character’,  was when she used their ancient Remington  typewriter, But, incongruous as it seems,  she sat at their dining room table, and  with her two ‘pointer’ fingers, completed  her husband’s, (Gramp’s), weekly reports to be mailed to the Smelter’s N.Y.C. office.

My husband’s hands were far more beautiful as a man’s than mine as a woman’s.  I had seen those same hands on his father, and then on one of our sons and knew that the genes ran straight and true.

When our son, J.R. still a teen, reached across the dinner table,   I, for one moment  thought it was the father, not the son reaching out.  Yeah, hands follow the blood line as any other feature.

I watched young Michael’s  hands, of a later generation.  They had lost their baby shape, yet, I knew his hands would be replicas of Gram’s. And  I smile, for though Gram is now long gone, I am reminded of her as I watch Mike, her grandson, reach out with a gesture in the same delicate manner.  Hands that seem to never be meant for menial tasks, yet Gram did many such a chore and I’m sure Michael now does the same.

Then there was Stan G. whose supple fingers brought the keys of his piano to life in a way that. even in memory, brings goose bumps to my skin. And, in a different manner,  I watched Bob Prince, down at the old Murray Printing Company, where, swiftly and surely, he, with his hands,  put togeher a full-page  ad for Allied Development (6400 So. State, remember?) in the manner it was  it was then done.

Oh, and the hands of Brad, my husband; Spencer, my brother; and Bill, one of my sons; as they each, in their time. made their fingers bring life to the dots and dashes of their Morse Code Keys.  Yes, only a changing  jumble ot clicks and pauses  to the untrained ear, but also into a clear sound track to the knowing  ones.

I  see  the magic of my Carol’s hands as she makes beauty from thread and a crochet hook, and recall John Nuslein’s hands  as  he bent over his cello and pulled one’s heart strings with the beauty of hands and music.

Yes, I watch  hands . . . and pray God that, someday, when we will all meet and perform beloved chores in another of His   Rooms,  that  the Heavenly Music will still need talented hands to make it possible.  Please God, what joy, what joy,  what joy

The Ten Commandments plus One

Nothing new under the sun.  Except for Me . . .

It’s too late to call these Resolutions, but these words are too good to wait for a year, and so  while I’m no expert on Life, but after we live a while, we find that whatever our life is, it has been of our own making. And that if we don’t like what our life is, that we, and no one else, can change it.  We define the events that come to us, or those events will define us. Shiver, shiver, shiver.

  1. Take time to work.   Each day you have 24 hours to use, two hands that need something to do, and ‘work’ is the answer to each. We all need the satisfaction of a job well done, and ever since Eleanor Roosevelt set the example, even every First Lady has done volunteer work. And our tired bodies sleep better at night, knowing “Today I saw a need and tried to help.”
  1. Take time to play. It is the secret of youth and while youth in years cannot remain, youth in spirit is ageless. The old, familiar words still ring true. “There are ‘old’ young people, and there are ‘young’ old people.” Take your pick.
  1. Take time to read. The wisdom and humor of people from all ages and climes are in books, free of charge, on any library shelf. Oh, read, read, take time to read, for a life’s pathway without books can be sterile and empty. What a difference a book makes.
  1. Take time to think. The Mind is a Power source and the power I speak of is the power to master and control our own lives. Milton knew all about that back in 1666, when he said: ‘The Mind can make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven”.
  1. Take time to worship. The pathway to inner joy, doesn’t mean just sitting bored on some church bench, although it can happen there. It can happen any place and no matter what task you are doing, take time to remember that Adam, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, et al, had no fancy clothes or buildings for worship. In times of labor, play, relaxing, or in a crowd, no one will know what your mind is doing. Worship.
  1. Take time to make friends. There is no life as barren as one so full of busy-ness that no time is found for friendship. Lover, spouse and ‘significant’ other, often come and go, but friends are friends before, during and after such changes. Make friends and don’t let them get lost. Ever.
  1. Take time to love. It is the most sacred sacrament life can offer, and if you limit your love life to the sexual aspect, you’re missing a lot. There are  other kinds of love, and marriages flounder unless young love develops into deeper realms. Marriage without sex would be sterile  and boring, but marriage for sex only is doomed from the start.
  1. Take time to laugh. It is Balm of Gilead for life’s burdens. A great big hearty laugh that rocks the room is so healing it relaxes places you didn’t know were tense.
  1. Take time to dream. Dreams lift you to the stars, and don’t ever apologize for your dreams. Because every accomplishment on earth, from going to the moon, to writing a sonnet, began with ‘just a dream’. Ah, yes, take time to dream.
  1. Take time to plan. It is the secret seed for all the rest. You know the adage, one found on many a refrigerator door, or bathroom mirror, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”
  1. Turn Off the D= = = = TV. Its hypnotic with unending fake laughter, people giggling and trying to persuade you to buy something, or discussing subjects they know nothing about. Foolishness by the hour, obviously doing anything just to fill those 24 hours a day, day after day, and ends up with at least 22 hours of pure trash that no one wants or needs.   Turn it Off and find out what you think. And don’t let your kids grow up thinking TV is the answer to all life’s questions.

Yes. All are good, and some are easy and some aren’t, and the ones that will be ‘a piece of cake’ for you , will probably be the ones that broke my back. And while they might not make a new person of you, they’ll make the most of the kind of person you already are. Be happy.  And isn’t it great that the choice can be ours? Especially that curse of today that can be cured quickly by simply pressing one button. The OFF one to Television. It’s all our choice.

 

My Secret Dreams

You tell me yours, but I won’t tell you mine . . .

And so we dream. Every night you have your dreams and every night I have mine.

We joke about them and often our first words at the office the next day are,   ” My gosh, I had the craziest, (weirdest, saddest, wildest, sexiest, puzzling, etc.) dream last night’ and then we go and tell about them.

Once you begin in understanding the meaning of your dreams, however, you stop broadcasting them to the world, for it’s much the same as disrobing in public.  Indeed, you learn to share them only with someone you trust implicitly, or you save them in your dream notebook so you can later ponder them in the silence of your own heart.

Because our dreams . . . the experts tell . . . are of the unconscious part of a person, trying its best to communicate with the conscious part of the person. My dreams are the wiser part of Me, talking to the more foolish part of me. Your dreams are the wiser part of YOU talking to the more foolish part of you. And not to be taken lightly.

The Native Americans say, “Cherish your dreams for they are the children of your Soul, the blueprint of both your achievements and you deepest hopes.” They (the dreams) are trying to tell us what is missing or out of balance, in our daily lives. Dreams seek to put balance and harmony into our lives.

If my life . . . I am taught . . . is too free, undisciplined and unstructured, then my dreams will be structured, disciplined and with restrictions. And vice-versa.

If my life is restricted and hemmed in by laws and customs. then in my dreams, I will be free. Free and untrammeled as any bird and I will fly and dance far and wide. See, our dreams seek balance.

Our dreams also reflect the culture and thinking of the era we happen to live in. Freud dipped deeply into the dream’s life and came up with the theory that almost all (95%) of dreams were concerned with sex.

And he was right . . . for his day and  age . . . for you see, when he did his exploration of dreams, the world was an inhibited place to be.   Sex was not spoken of.  It was a no-no. restricted, Unmentionable, and most certainly ‘not nice.’ So. quite naturally, his clients, in such a locked-in- atmosphere, had dreams of freedom, sexuality and sensuality.

But along about the 1960’s, the era of the Baby Boomers, therapists tell us, our dreams again began to change. Dramatically. The world as a whole, was living with a lack of discipline never before experienced in the modern world. And our dreams???

Yes, yes, yes. They told of balance, balance, balance And even today, our dreams are, as a whole, becoming more and more disciplined.

Home, picket fence, garden, man and wife, children at play. The old idea of family and cottage with no divorce or retinue of lovers. No drugs, no partying. Structure is what the basic dream of today points toward. Balance, for when the pendulum swings too far our dreams tell us it’s time to pull it back.

The experts tell us to look at our dreams carefully, for they are all in symbols, and have no printed  sub-titles.  They are to be pondered and thought through deeply. silently and privately..

Keep a notebook by your bedside and in the moment of waking from a dream,  quickly make note of the important parts, and in the morning, the details will fall into place.

And if you have a partner you can share   your life journey with, take turns being the sleeper (dreamer) and the one charting the course. The waking one watches the sleeper’s eyes, and when the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) period occurs,  the sleeper is immediately wakened and the dream related.  It’s a sure-fire way to catch your dream but a trusted person must be found. REM is the clue to when a sleeper is dreaming. Always

But remember, your dream’s symbols are explicit. Terribly explicit. Surprisingly explicit. Horribly explicit. So when you decide to figure out what you are trying to tell yourself, don’t hide half the dream as being not ‘nice’. Don’t laugh about it and say,  “I’d never do that”. Look closely, because some part of you would do exactly what your dream is trying to show   you,

Get yourself a good dream book and begin to listen to yourself.  It’s doing the best that part of  you  can do,  to bring balance into your life. It’s sorta fun as well as one great big eye opener. And a helper, too.   I rely upon “The Dream Book” by Betty Bethards. You’ll get a good bargain at AMAZON on the Internet,  Get a copy and find out what the wiser part of YOU is trying  to tell the   ‘other’ part  of YOU.    Give it half a chance.

 

 

“I Love You”

Three small words we all long to hear, yet, those same words are three of the most dangerous ever, ever, ever spoken.  And also . . . the most innocent.

Children prattle them, mothers croon them, women have lied for them and men have died for them. You have said them. Careers have been dashed by them. Kingdoms toppled.

All because someone whispered (or failed to say) that fatal phrase of “I love you.”

We all think we know what they mean. Yet they can mean, “I pledge you my undying devotion and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” While another one doing the whispering might just be saying, “You’re a real sexy gal, why don’t we spend the night together?”.

What a difference, but I bet we’ve all stumbled and cried over them, before we wise up to their thousands of meanings and learn to protect ourselves from getting hurt too badly.

First, there’s Eros love, where those words mean, “Hey, you’re alright, let’s spend the night/weekend/year/or who knows how long together.” That, my dearies, is when Cupid is at work and thank heavens, for without Cupid, there’d be no next generation.

But to complicate life, there’s Brotherly-Motherly love, which has not a smidgen of sex attached. But you’d better be certain, that when you say, “I love you” in a brotherly way, that your opposite one knows what you mean, for your partner might be in ‘the Cupid’ mood and you’re going to be in trouble. Trouble with a Capitol T.

And, vise versa, you’re in for a shock if Cupid is in your driver’s seat and your current partner loves you dearly, but in a wonderful brotherly manner. Back up, my loves, and fast. So, we better take a moment and ask yourself (him or her) just exactly what is being said.

Are you saying you’re ‘crazy’ about me? That you like me? That you like my tight fitting Levis? That you like to talk to me? Or is it, ‘The Big One’ and you really LOVE me”.

Sheesh! Me thinks we’d better either re-write the dictionary or start using new words.  Like for instance, I read where some innocent woman testified in court, as she sued for financial support for her child, born without marriage . . . ‘but he said he loved me.’

Poor Soul. I imagine even the judge smiled, for the man being sued, had probably also told several other women the same thing. As his mother, best friend, favorite wine, guru, and so on and on.

Those three words have been and can be pure tragedy. Helen of Troy told them to Paris (or was it the other way around?) and the Hellenic wars changed history. Cleopatra told them to Caesar and, when, because of the ramifications, he was killed; she whispered them with the same result, to Anthony. When he too was assassinated she took the hint, hurried out of old Rome as speedily as possible, back to her Egyptian home and in tears, ordered an asp be brought to her, and she killed herself. And left a deep scar on the old Roman and Egyptian World that still echos through the centuries. Innocent words? Think again.

Napoleon met his Waterloo, (and again changed the world) because Josephine’s last letter did NOT use those words. There was no phone or email to sooth his troubled heart, and so, in turmoil, lost his concentration toward his problems at the battle of Waterloo and that name, Waterloo is still used today for the havoc that can come from the mis-use of those three words.

So, as you can see, caution isn’t just for beginners, but also for those who’ve been around long enough to know better,  Bill Clinton would/could  have been right at Hillary’s side in her bid for the Presidency, if, yes, if he hadn’t used those three little words too often, and too many times, until he became unwanted anywhere near her campaign.  Otherwise,  his influence just might have been strong enough to have  tipped the scales and helped her attain The Presidency.

And then . . . . at the top of all forms of l love you . . .  there is Agape, spiritual love, but that is for another day . . . another time. Love a lot, but oh, ho, ho, love carefully. Eros, Brotherly, Agape. they take one’s breath away with their power, have changed many ones personal life to one of joy and bliss, but also with the wrong use, have and still can also cause changes that echo throughout personal lives, as well as the ages. Only three word, but oh, what power they have.

King Edward  8th abdicated from his English Throne and died a bitter man because he whispered those words to Wallis Warfield Simpson, and to her they had been and still were too often heard, and little heeded, and though they remained wed, ‘ tis said the union was a bitter one, and again history changed.

I love you. so sweet, so feared, so longed for, so dangerous. Be careful with them, in saying them and in heeding them. They can make you bless them forever, or to take your life into pathways you never wished to enter.

Gift Giving

Let’s make it really count this year . . .

Holidays always occasion a storm of gift giving. Expensive gifts, purchased at fashion marts of the world; cherished ones made by loving hands; and childish tokens to be treasured as long as life and memory last in the mind of the parent who received them. All are exchanged.

But, humanly, we often overlook the most wonderful gift of all, the gift of words and acts of love. We shy away from words that come from within, the true coinage of the heart. Strangely, we will sacrifice and go without to save money for a gift, yet will withhold the more precious gift that costs not one cent.

For it doesn’t take money to give of yourself. We all can give of warmth, hope and courage. We can all offer a shoulder for someone to shed a few tears, and there is not one among us who hasn’t at sometime also needed that understanding shoulder for our own tears.

We can give comfort to someone who is ill, disturbed or in sorrow. This also should be easy, for everyone—even you  and I have – – – and will probably again  be in need of love and encouragement.

These gifts may be difficult the first times you give them, for the words may be unfamiliar to your lips. But it takes so little time to pat your husband on the shoulder as he leaves for work, to tell him you understand how hard the day sometimes must be but that you love him for doing it for you and your children.

It takes so little time for a husband to put his arm around his wife and speak words of love to her. To tell her how much he loves her, the home she makes for him, the time she gives to prepare the food and to care for the children.

It’s such a little effort to phone a friend and say “I’ve been thinking of you” or send an email, or write a note, “I haven’t heard of you for so long and wondered about you.”

We even become so accustomed to our own children we forget to tell them that “No matter how much I scold you over little things, I really think you’re wonderful.”  Or to a friend, “Thanks for the many hours I’ve shared with you. Your friendship is precious to me.”

I’m reminded of all this because recently the husband of a friend suddenly died during the day.  But that very morning as he was leaving for work he turned back and said “I think I’ll take time for another cup of coffee,” and they shared a few precious, unexpected moments of quiet.

It was so un-like him, so different from his usual morning rush, that when, in just hours,  an accident took him and he never returned, she cherished these few moments like gold. “In his own way,”  she said, “he told me that morning that even though we’d had rough times, he loved me and our children.”

Now, of course, most of us leave home in the morning and very routinely return that night. But sometimes some of us don’t.  With such awareness we shouldn’t let our gift-giving be only for special occasions or limited to material things. It takes such a little time, and not one cent, to give the more precious ones.

Words of love, friendship and understanding are, after all, the best both to give and to receive. Not as a formal ritual, but naturally, almost casually. So, during every one of the thirty-one days ahead, in word or in deed, tell someone you love them.

It’s in our power to make another person’s day special. Let’s do it and hope this special gift-giving will spur others to do the same. Worth a try.

The Power Of Love And Christmas

Pass it along to the kids . . .

Time folds back upon itself at Christmas and we see ourselves as once we were. My sister Bernice (Mrs. Wayne Ursenbach), is again a four-year old, lying with her head under the Christmas tree with no lights except the magic ones above her. She says ‘it was pure enchantment then and when I’ve tried it again today, it’s still magic’.

One year Santa brought her a coloring book and dozens of colored crayons and she soon became absorbed in creating a multi-colored dog. Brad, then still to become my husband, carefully told her that dogs don’t come in those colors, and Bernice still feels the frustration of that time, because she says she knew dogs weren’t those colors, but was experimenting in trying to do so, and yet didn’t know how to tell Brad. Oh, the frustrations and problems of being a child.

Another memory of my little sister, is when Brad had Santa send her a telegram, and today, a life-time later, and without pausing a moment, she word for word, repeated to me:

“Tonight when you’re asleep, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
“My sleigh I’ll stop and out I’ll pop.
“And leave some toys for you,” Signed, Santa.

My sister Fern (Mrs. Walter Scott) remembers one Christmas Eve when she and I were washing the dinner dishes, there were suddenly sleigh bells outside, and Fern says she thought it was Santa, and begged Mama to let her go to bed, but Mama insisted we finish our chore first and, what else?

The bells, no doubt were on a neighbor’s horses and Mama knew they were out Bobsleddling, but Fern again thought that Santa had passed by us, and silently worried and fretted until morning when she found that after all Santa, had come back.

Fern also recalled when we used real candles on the tree, and though Dad carefully clipped all the branches from around the candle flame, she was petrified until the flames were put out. Such was Christmas in the long ago..

Another sister, Amber (Mrs. Angus Bodine) remembers when those candles burned low, but leaving the wax still warm, Dad would take the wax and mold small animals from it. Amber remembers playing all day long with the little lambs he made for her.

She also remembers when Santa gave our brother, Spencer Ohlin (later of Richfield, Utah) a whistle and a drum. The house rang with the noise and it was only when Spencer cut a hole in the drum, to find out what made the noise, that any kind of peace once more arrived in the home. And Santa was far wiser in his choice of toys from then on, too. Such is the power of Christmas.

Spencer remembered one Christmas Eve when there was a great knocking at the door and Mama called, “Run to the bedroom and hide. Santa’s at the door.” Well, in a few years he knew it had been Grandpa Ohlin at the door, but he also remembers that was the year Santa brought him an Eskimo Sled which was large enough to be used until he was 15 or 16 years old.

He also recalls worrying how Santa could get down our small chimney . . . how Mama decorated the house with large folding strings of colored paper ropes . . . how we threaded buttered popcorn in long cords, to drape on the tree , , , and like all children of that era, the fascination yet fear of the live, flickering burning candles.

Such are the memories of Christmases that linger on when the children have become mature men and women.

When I was a child, my siblings and I still decorated at least one chair to keep alive Dad’s Swedish tradition and even today, I’ve been known to put a ribbon, bow or such, upon a chair, in silent memory of Dad. God love him.

And there are amusing ones too. Bernice as a child, for some reason loved to claim and play with Mom’s large, long wooden spoon. It was HER spoon and when mom needed it she had to find and wash it well. Well, one Christmas one of us bought Mom a nice big wooden spoon that would be HERS, . . . . and you know w hat happened. Yeah, Bernice claimed the new one and passed the old play yard one on to mom.

Oh, yes, we all experience a time warp at Christmas and no matter when or what kind of holidays they were, to us they were wonderful and are engraved forever on our minds, hearts, Soul, and fresh as if they happened just   yesterday,

Dip into your memory book this year, and some night, perhaps as you all trim the Tree, tell those tales on to your own kids, and they will remember how ‘odd’ your celebrations were. Maybe to them?????   But to you????? Treasures of your youth. Make them happy.