Friday, March 31, 2017


I had a small hiking adventure of my own on Tuesday.

Be prepared to laugh at me.

I took Doug the big dog out for our usual morning stroll through a harvested corn field. After we left the house, strolled through the windbreak, crossed the 75 or so yards of empty cow pasture and a small creek, we walked along the west fence line of the corn field until we got to the north fence line, where we turned around and headed home. This gives us about a 1 mile walk.

I headed back toward the house. When I reached the wind break, I turned around and saw Doug running full speed ahead north along the creek, obviously chasing a trail. I yelled for him, but he chose to ignore me. Considering my husband would never forgive me if I let him run off with a pack of coyotes (I never did see what he was tracking, but it might have been a coyote) I had to go get him on the leash.

I headed through the cow pasture, picking my way through the puddles of water and the piles of manure. The farther north I got, the boggier the ground became. At one point, I sank into a puddle up to my ankles. So much for my good Keenes being waterproof! Up ahead, I saw Doug finally stopped and was looking back at me, though he refused to come to me. He was still looking to the north when I finally caught up to him and got him leashed.

Unfortunately, he had decided to stop in the wettest, muddiest area of the pasture. I looked around and thought I could see a way we could pick our way through the puddles back to solid ground. So we set out in a southwesterly direction. It wasn't long before the puddles got deeper and the mud got thicker. Just as I was thinking I might lose my shoes in the muck, my feet stuck fast and I went down face first. Now, I am up to my elbows in water, unable to pull my feet free of the muck.
I was having some very unChristian thoughts at this point.

I couldn't get my feet underneath me in order to stand up and when I tried to pushed myself up with my hands, they just sank deeper into the mud. It took all the strength I could muster to get myself into a standing position. I looked around and saw a pickup on the road, slowing down. It stopped and turned around in our driveway, so I'm wondering if he was taping my muddy struggle with his phone so he could post me and my muddy dog on FB. So far, I haven't seen anything.

We finally reached solid ground. Every stitch of clothing I was wearing was either wet or covered with mud and manure. Doug was only muddy on his legs & belly, but I spitefully made him stay on the porch while I got out of my clothes and showered.

So... when it started to rain on Wednesday and Thursday people were saying, “We sure needed the moisture.” I'm thinking... well you don't want to know what I was thinking!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lyons, Nebraska 1960

It's September Sunday morning
And the sky is blue and fair.
The sun shines bright and warming,
Pealing church bells fill the air.

A beef roasts in the oven
We're all in our Sunday best.
The Preacher teaches about loving
Then we take our day of Rest.

There'll be no shopping done today
(We got that done last night).
All's quiet up and down the way
Main Street's shops are locked up tight.

That's how it looked when I was small
I'm thankful to have known:
Worship and rest for one and all

Sweet September Sundays long ago.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses...” Heb 4:15

Some 16 years ago, our old mother cat, whom we called Patches, disappeared for a few weeks and then one day she came strolling up to the house with a tiny little tortoise shell kitten – an only child. Patches was so named because the right half of her face and her right front leg were patched with golden tabby while the rest of her was calico. The kitten had no such coloring so we called her 'Patchless.'

Although I'm sure she felt it beneath her dignity, when Patches weaned her, Patchless adopted us as as her family and became a house cat.

We entertained each other for many years and kept each other company until a few months ago when we noticed a swelling on her face. We thought it was an infected tooth, but it turned out to be an inoperable tumor in her sinus. Dr. Hartwell, our vet, sent her home with us and we waited. We waited and watched the tumor grow and distort her face. Eventually, the hair around the swelling fell out and she began to get nosebleeds. In late January, we decided she was miserable enough and I made the appointment for her final visit to Dr. Hartwell.

January 29, I sat in the waiting room area with Patchless in her carrier on my lap. I couldn't pet her, so I held my finger through the screen door and she rubbed her face on it – both sides of her face, but more so on the side that wasn't swollen from the tumor. She meowed softly. Brandy, the vet's assistant came in smiling – she really has a beautiful, cheery smile and said, “We're ready.”

Dr. Hartwell welcomed me into the examining room with a gentle smile. “Who do we have here today?” He asked, opening the carrier and coaxing my old calico out. Dr. Hartwell is a tall man, over six feet, with large gentle hands.

“This is Patchless,” I mumbled.

Brandy took her by the scruff and held her still on the examining table. I stood by Brandy and placed my hands on Patchless' back, just wanted her to know I was there. She cried another little soft meow and crouched down. “It's okay, Mama kitty,” Dr. Hartell said as he applied a tourniquet to her right front leg and shaved off a patch of fur in order to locate a vein.

“She's purring,” Brandy said, rubbing her behind an ear.

Finished with his prep work, Dr. Hartwell inserted an IV needle into her leg and then filled a syringe with a clear liquid. He bent over the table and injected the liquid into my little cat.

I said, “Bye, bye sweetie pie.” She visibly relaxed. Brandy let go and quietly left the room. In only a matter of seconds, Patchless collapsed and Dr. Hartwell and I helped her lay down on her side.

Then she was gone. I kept petting her anyway. Dr Hartwell ran his hand down her side. Then he looked up to me and reached across the examining table and wrapped his arms around me, “I know how hard this is for you.” he said and I cried on his shoulder for a short time. It was at that moment, that I came to an understanding of why Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as The Comforter.

In the ensuing weeks, Dr. Hartwell's phrase seemed to follow me. When confronted with a situation that gave rise to the temptation to respond to cruelty and anger with more cruelty and anger rather than kindness and forgiveness, (Rom 12:21) I felt the Spirit in me whisper, “I know how hard this is for you.”

Forcing myself to go the extra mile when I'd rather quit and rest: “I know how hard this is for you.”

Remaining “joyful in hope” when I'd rather sink into despair; “patient in affliction” when I'd rather cry out in pain; “faithful in prayer” (Rom 12:12) when I feel like no one is listening... “I know how hard this is for you.”

When confronting a weakness that I know in my head God has said His Grace is sufficient, (2 Cor. 12:9) I felt in my heart, “I know how hard this is for you.”

I don't know if Dr. Hartwell is a Believer, but I am pretty sure the words he spoke to me will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How the Sheep Spent the First Christmas
By Janell Carson

An EXPLOSION of light lit the sky one dark night
Giving sheep and their shepherds a terrible fright!
The shepherds were trembling, the sheep wanted to run
Didn’t know what it was, but it didn’t look fun.

Then an angel appeared in the sky, calmed their fears,
Saying, “The Son of God has been born near here.”
“We must go and see!” the shepherds cried with delight
And off they went dashing into the dark night.

The sheep looked around, getting very concerned,
Being left all alone was ba-a-ad they had learned.
Then another dear angel came walking among them
And they quieted down with the songs that he sung them.

When at last they were quiet and calm once again,
The angel said, “Please let me explain:
The child that was born in the stable in town
Is your Creator as babe in a manger come down.

“He’s starting out small and will need time to grow
And learn of this world and its joy and its woe.
So that’s where YOU come in,” he said to the sheep.
“So listen up good – this is no time to sleep!

“The ewes out among you can show what it’s like
To be fallen, cast down and in fear for your life.
He’ll learn how to help you get back on your feet
He’ll learn what you mean by the sound of your bleat.

“You ovines alone are the ones to convey
How dangerous it is to be gone astray
Away from your herd, lost and alone,
He’ll learn how to find you and bring you back home.

“He’ll see what it’s like to have His heart ache
When one lost lamb, the family tie breaks.
He’ll learn to rejoice and sing right out loud
When the one gone astray is back with the crowd.

“And a small flock of sheep is the one who can show
How the voice of their Master tells them which way to go.
He’ll learn what to say and to call you by name
And show you the way to the shelter again.

“You must also show what it takes to be brave
When you stand for the shearer and wait for your shave.
He will need to know this for a task He must do
The Father has sent Him, it really is true.

“The most serious lesson that He has to learn
Will be from you lambs, and this one concerns
The Passover Feast and your painful role in it
The atonement for sin, this Lamb will win it.

“So you sheep have been chosen to teach Him these things
Until His time comes and a dirge we must sing.
He knows you can do it or He wouldn’t ask.
In fact, he created you for just this task.

“Now don’t let His sacrifice make your hearts sad
Because what it will conquer will make all hearts glad.
God, with all people will be reconciled
And that will make all that He suffers worthwhile.”

And when he had said all that he’d come to say
The angel took flight and went on his way.
The sheep watched him go and then contemplated
All the angel had told them and then they just waited.

When their shepherds returned, in only a while
They were singing God’s praises and smiling big smiles.
Then up went the hand of one of the boys
Asking for quiet, he’d heard a small noise.

“What is it?” they asked him as he looked around.
But the source of the noise was not to be found.
“Must have been nothing,” he said with a sigh,

“But just for a moment, thought I heard someone cry.”

Merry Christmas

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Living in CST

No. Not Central Standard Time, but Confused State, Terminally.

So, we morning people finally get our hour of daylight back today, November 3rd. Here's how it happened at my house.

We have several clocks in our house: two in the kitchen, one in my sewing room, an alarm clock in the bedroom, one on the microwave, one on the coffeemaker, and a wall clock in the living room. Also, the ones in the computer and the cell phones.

I like to change the clocks early in the evening, rather than at bedtime, so I can start orienting myself to the change. I reset the living room clock around 5:30 while watching the comeback of the Century Cornhuskers last second win over Northwestern. That particular clock was about 5-7 minutes slow, but it didn't occur to me to correct that while I had it down and messing with the time.

One of the clocks in the kitchen is needing a new battery and the only time I think about that is when I'm glancing at it and I'll think, “I need to get a new battery for that clock.” And then, I promptly neglect to write it on a list. So I just turned that one around for the time being.

The clock on the microwave has been way off for a long time, because it bounces back to 00:00 anytime the thing is unplugged, which happens when I need to use that outlet for some other electric device, like the vacuum cleaner or electric mixer. The clock on the coffeemaker is correct, but I completely forgot to reset that one to the new time.

With help from the hubs, I got the bedroom clock reset and the alarm set for the time I actually wanted to get up today. I also like to use my cell phone for an alarm. Now the cell phone clock resets itself, but when I turned on the alarm function, I left the alarm set for the time I wanted to get up yesterday (4:30) instead of today (5:30). So, the cell phone alarm goes off at 4:30 and I look at it and think, “How come my cell phone didn't reset itself?” Well, it did, but since it can't read my mind, its alarm went off at the time it was set to go off. Then, I look at the bedroom alarm and it reads 4:30. Forgetting that we had reset it, I thought maybe it might be 5:30 and I'd better get up.

So I stumble into the kitchen to make coffee, and sure enough, the clock on the coffeemaker reads 5:30, the microwave says 3:25, the living room clock says 4:24. I know I didn't change the sewing room clock, so I didn't even go look at that one. The computer and cell phone both say 4:30 and, since they reset themselves, I have to believe them.

How did I ever get this done before I had a computer and cell phone?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Customer Service

I saw this quote on FB:

“Whoever said, ‘There’s no such thing as a dumb question’ never worked in Customer Service.” Well, I work in Customer Service, and here are a couple of things that happened recently:

Part of my job includes weighing packages and putting postage on them for mailing. A young lady approached me with a package to mail and said, “This is a birthday gift for my mother, but I don’t want her to know it’s from me until after she opens it. I want her to be surprised. Would you write her address on it for me? If she sees my handwriting she’ll know who it’s from right away.”

Always happy to oblige, while she answered a call on her cell phone, I wrote the address on the package, weighed it, applied the postage and placed it in our outgoing bin. “That will be $5.60,” I told her.

She lowered her phone, looked up at me and said, “Did you put my return address on it?”

“Ah… no,” I said.

“Well, you have to put my return address on it! What if it gets lost!?”

I wonder how surprised her mom was to receive a package from her daughter addressed to her in my handwriting?

We often get lost cell phones turned in to us and we usually let them sit on our counter and within a half hour or so, it rings and then we are able to explain to the caller that the phone they just called is in the lost and found at our store. They are usually able to contact the phone’s owner and get word to them about where their lost phone is waiting for them.

One day, a phone was turned in and after a couple of hours, it still hadn’t rung, so I picked it up, found the phone’s list of numbers and called the one labeled ‘Dad’. Dad answered and I said, “Hi, this is Janell at Customer Service and this phone was turned in to our lost and found. I found your number on the list as ‘Dad’. Did one of your kids lose a cell phone today?”

“Oh!” he said. “I’ll bet it was my son. I’ll give him a call and let him know where it is.”

“Okay, thanks. Good bye.” About 30 seconds later, the phone began to buzz and tweet and spin on my countertop. I answered, “Hello?”

“Hello?” I recognized the voice of the ‘Dad’ I had just spoken to. “Is John there?”

“Um…. no this phone is in the lost and found at my grocery store. I think I may have just spoken to you?”

“Oh! So you did. You have John’s phone?”


“Okay, I’ll try to call him and let him know.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Another 30 seconds later, the phone began to buzz and tweet and spin. Caller ID said ‘Dad’.

I elected not to answer it.

This next one didn’t happen to me, but it’s too good not to include.

This happened shortly after the USPS first started issuing Forever Stamps. One of my co-workers, Bea, (not her real name) waited on a young lady, who requested to buy a Forever Stamp. The stamp was handed over and the young lady paid for it, placed it on a letter and dropped it in the out box. She turned to leave, but then turned back and said to Bea, “Now, how will the mailman know to get that stamp back to me?”

“What do you mean?” Bea asked.

“Well, it’s a Forever Stamp, right?”


“How will I get it back when I need to use it again?”

“Ma’am, Forever Stamp just means that if you still have some of these,” holding up the familiar Liberty Bell stamp, “in your possession next time the price goes up, you won’t have to pay the increased cost. Uh… each stamp is only good for a one time use.”

My favorite one didn’t happen to me, either, but it’s too funny. It came from a computer telephone helpline worker. A caller wanted to know, “Where is the any key?”

Friday, December 07, 2012


When some people doodle, they draw pictures. When I doodle, I doodle in words.
For instance, On an excruciatingly slow Sunday morning, I doodled the following on the pages of my grocery store ads.

On the page advertising pasta sauce –

Prego, Barrilla, Basilico, Ragu,
With meatballs, Alfredo or Parmesan cheese;
Or chicken or pesto, whatever you do
Don’t leave me out! Pass the pasta, please!

Don’t serve the spaghetti
Until it is ready.
Don’t let your poodles
Get into your noodles.
Mac & lasgne are best served with cheese
And lotsa meat is sure to please.

But nothing rhymes with orzo….

Tuna and noodles
Followed by streudel
I surely could eat
The whole kit and caboodle.

On the sherbet page –

Sherbet is yummy and fruity and cold
In a cone or a bowl with sprinkles on top
It cheers us up, both young and old.
It’s sweet and makes our taste buds “POP”!

On the snack page –

Does Curious George like Gatorade,
Turkey Hill tea or lemonade/
I’ll bet he’d like carrots in AE Dip
And Kemps ice cream singles and Itti Bitz,
Cookies and popcorn and gummy worms
Too much sweet stuff makes tummies squirm.

Peanut butter and Kettle chips
A slice of bread and a choice of dips;
A pat of butter and lots of jelly
Would be a treat for a hungry belly.

On the “Dollar Days” pages:

Dollar Days and taco shells,
Lunchables and cabbage,
Sour cream and chicken fries
Would crush tomatoes in the baggage.

Yabba Dabba Doo!
And pineapple, too!
Apricots, tomato soup
All for only 2!
By the picture of the Baby Wipes:
Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full.”

By the picture of the grilled cheese sandwich:
Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

On the vegetable page:
Daniel 1:12-15 “’Please test us for 10 days. Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare us with the other young men who eat the royal food, and treat us in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days they looked healthier and better nourished than the other young men who were eating the royal food.”

The Vidalia onion is the best thing to come out of Missouri since TS Eliot, Sara Teasdale, Bob Barker and Rush Limbaugh!

Corn is a-maize-ing!

By the picture of the applesauce:
Psalm 17:8 “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”

The wonderful thing about tomatoes is
Tomatoes is wonderful things!
They make sauces divine
Ev-er-y time
For tomatoes lets rise up and sing!

By the bottled water:
Genesis 1:2 “And the earth was formless and void… and the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the deep.”

On the meat page:
I love steak.
Broiled, fried or baked.
But one on the grill
Gives me a thrill.
Did I mention that I love steak?

On the dairy page, by the eggs:
In Zoology, an egg is an “organic vessel in which and embryo first begins to develop.”

On the Wine & Spirits page:
Whiskey, vodka, wine and beer;
We’ve all had way too much, I fear!
We don’t hafta go home, but we can’t stay here
So get outta the car and let the sober one steer.

And finally:
A helpful smile in every aisle,
We’ll wait here while
You shop in style.
You can bring your child,
But if he is wild
We’ll put you on file
And the checkers and I’ll
Surely be riled
And our bouncer named Kyle
Will toss you in a pile!