Posts Categorized: Goodness

…By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

Possibly there are folks out there who don’t recognize this partial quote. (The title of this post) It’s Shakespeare, from the play Romeo and Juliet. The longer quote is:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”

The speaker is Juliet, and she’s unhappy that the young man with whom she’s recently fallen in love is from a family on the outs with her family. Her point being that his last name doesn’t matter; she loves him anyhow, in the way that the scent of a rose is going to smell just as nice, even if we called it, for example, “stench-plant.”

The name “Romeo” has come to mean a lover, a ladies’ man, etc. (you can look it up). I don’t know what Shakespeare meant by it; maybe it was just a common name in those days.

But … moving on. A while back, I kept reading in the newspaper’s television page about the program TURN, the story of George Washington’s spy ring during the Revolutionary War. Like: “Tonight on TURN, the spy ring finds a new ally.” That sort of thing. Finally, during season 4 (the final season), I got interested and discovered that the library had DVDs of the first three seasons. (Yes, I know. We’re archaic. My kids think we’re ridiculous because we don’t have Hulu.) I watched all those videos and then watched the fourth season on the AMC website.

Then I found, also at the library (how old-fashioned am I!), an audiobook edition of the book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. I’m listening to it. All 13 hours and 19 minutes of it. I’m a little more than halfway through it, but sometimes I have to go back and start a chapter anew. When I’m listening to an audiobook, I’m almost always doing something else, like working in the yard or doing housework, and, at some point, I realize that I’ve been thinking about herbs and not paying attention to patriots, and I have to skip backwards a little bit. And, for this one, a book of Revolutionary War maps would have helped. And a complete list of all the characters. And which side they were on.

Which brings me to Benedict Arnold. The only thing I knew, and pretty much still know, about Benedict Arnold is that he was a traitor during the American Revolution. I think that may be all that most of us know. And some of us probably don’t know that much. But the name means “traitor.” As in: “That which we call Benedict Arnold, by any other name would still be a traitor.” Even knowing more about him and the positive things he did during the Revolutionary War (before he changed his mind about us), he’s still famous/infamous for trying to sell us down the river, almost literally, and would have, if the plot hadn’t been discovered. And the British guy he was working most closely with, John Andre, got captured and hanged. Arnold slipped away and got himself to a British ship and fought with those guys until the end of the war. And then, afterward, in England, tried to stir up things anew! Give it up, Ben!

It’s interesting, at least to me, maybe you, too, that there are names out there, that, when bestowed at birth may just have been names that parents liked, but they’ve come to mean something that no one might have imagined. Like Benedict Arnold. Like Adolph Hitler. Like Benito Mussolini. Like Josef Stalin. Like Caligula.

And there were other names, that have come to mean something that the name-givers (or name-takers) might not have expected. Or, maybe they thought, all the time, that those named would become so significant. Like Mother Teresa. Mohandas Gandhi. Martin Luther. Marie Curie. Johann Sebastian Bach. Alexander Graham Bell. Anne Frank. Francis I.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (New International Version)

A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold. (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 22:1

 

I guess “a good reputation” is what scripture means by “a good name.” Our actions, our behavior, and our attitudes, are what make our “names” good.

 

 

Ring! Ring!

(When I typed in the title of this, I made a typo, and put in “Ring! Rong!” instead of “Ring! Ring!” When, in truth, “Ring! WRONG!” was really more accurate.) Here’s what happened:

West Avenue School

West Avenue School

On December 15, I attended the Christmas program presented by students at West Avenue Elementary School, where I volunteer each Tuesday at lunchtime for Reading Club. I have three second graders this year. I asked them about the program, and two of them said they weren’t going to go. One said, oh, yes, he was going to be in the program. I like to support the school and the kids, and I said I was going to come.

Usually, the programs are on the school cafeteria stage, and the lunchroom is REALLY crowded! But, the younger kids sing first, and, as the Pre-K’s finish, their families get them and go on home. Then the Kindergartners sing. And leave. So, things thin out a little bit. But, it’s something of a fire hazard, I suppose, for a little while.

13631542_1062690100433815_5233553297212274195_nThis year, however, the event was at Waco High School’s Performing Arts Center. Big ol’ stage. LOTS of seats. Plenty of room. And lots of parking space.

The program was scheduled to begin at 5:30, and I arrived in plenty of time to park and get inside and settled in my comfy seat. Previously I would try to get to school to be able to park close, so I wouldn’t have to walk too far in the dark at the program’s end. But I would sit way at the back, so all those other parents and families could be close to watch their little kids perform.

I must admit that, in this larger venue, I chose an aisle seat, so I, too, could leave early. In previous years, I had fourth or fifth graders, so needed to stay until the very end, to watch my own kids and maybe get a chance to meet their families. This year, I looked forward to getting on home a little earlier.

The program was fun and the children were cute. I took several photos, to be able to print one out to give my Reading Club kid. I did stay all the way through the third grade group, but there was a lull while the stage was reset for the 4th and 5th grade play. I made my exit.

At home, I relaxed and did some work on the computer, and then looked for my phone to download the pictures. I patted my pockets. Not there. I looked around on my desk. Not in sight. And, instead of spending time searching the house, picking up ever single piece of paper and magazine and Christmas card, instead of going out and going through all the nooks and crannies of the car–I signed in to ICloud.

I’m sitting there, watching everything, waiting for the right screen to show up, and yes, here comes the map, and I’m ready to punch “Play Sound,” but THE PHONE IS NOT ON COLLINS DRIVE!!!! IT’S IN HEWITT!!!

OLLIE!!! MOLLIE!!! GOLLIE!!! WHAT’S MY PHONE DOING IN HEWITT?!?!?!!?

I then did the sensible thing–I called Kevin. In full panic mode. “MY PHONE’S IN HEWITT!!!” He was just about as alarmed as I was. But not screeching about it. I explained that I’d been to the Waco High Fine Arts Center, and that I was 100% positive that I had the phone there because I’d taken pictures with it. After that, I couldn’t remember anything I’d done with it. And, I’d seen the “Lost Mode” button, next to the “Play Sound” button, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that did. I was, however, pretty sure I didn’t want to select the “Erase Phone” button until I knew if I should.

We did discuss, briefly, the Worst Case Scenario version–that someone had found it and was, at that very moment, trying to sell it.

He signed onto my screen (because he knows how to do that) and activated the “Lost Mode” which puts a message on the phone that says, “I’m a lost phone. Please call this number . . .” and Kevin added my phone number. Then he said he would “Play Sound” every few minutes, to let whomever had the phone to know that we knew it was lost. After I’d calmed down a little (and handed over the phone-finding responsibilities), I said, “I suspect that that’s the principal’s house that’s showing up on the screen. I bet someone found it and gave it to him. Him or the music teacher.” That was really the most sensible scenario. Kevin and I hung up, to let someone who did have the phone call me. And, unbeknownst to us, the principal actually was at that very moment, frantically searching his house to try to find out what was making that HORRIBLE noise!!

Once he found the phone and saw the “lost” message, he called (and I said I would let Kevin know, quickly, so he would stop that awful pinging). I went to the school the next day to get it. And all was well.

 

Jesus told the people another story:

What will a woman do if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them? Won’t she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? Then she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, “Let’s celebrate! I’ve found the coin I lost.”

Jesus said, “In the same way God’s angels are happy when even one person turns to him.”

Luke 15:8-10 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Ah, yes. I do understand, a little, about lost things being found.

I really am trying to be a better phone-minder. I’m trying to always purchase clothing with good, deep pockets. I’m pretty good about plugging it in regularly. But every now and then I’m caught off-guard. A few days ago, I was at the computer when it pinged to let me know a text had come. I also heard, down at my left-hand side, a text message ping from my phone. I touched my skirt pockets. No phone was there. I looked down on my desk. No phone. I moved papers. No phone. I moved a little basket w/coupons in it. Nope. I leaned over to look behind the computer. Nothing there. And then I noticed:

My shirt pocket was all aglow.Okay. So I AM responsible, after all. Usually. Often. Sometimes.

My shirt pocket was all aglow.Okay. So I AM responsible, after all. Usually. Often. Sometimes.

 

 

 

Oh, Those New Yorkers!

I saw a story a couple of weeks ago about some kind, helpful, brave New Yorkers. A man fell from a subway platform onto the tracks, just a few minutes before a train was due to arrive. Three men saw him fall, jumped down onto the tracks, picked up the unconscious man, and, with the help of others on the platform, hoisted him back up, and were then themselves pulled to safety. A young journalism student was sitting on a bench nearby, saw what happened, and grabbed her phone and began to film the incident. It’s been seen by a couple of million people. The place where I first saw the report had a space for comments. One person wrote that, yes, New Yorkers rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done for their fellow man. Another person (apparently in a bad mood) wrote that the three were most likely not New Yorkers at all but people from somewhere else. And, she said, if they were actual New Yorkers, they only began to help when they saw someone filming, and helped because they thought it would be good for their images to be seen being so helpful.

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Happy Easter Weekend

I thought that Kevin and April (and PETER!) weren’t coming for Easter. But, then, they decided to!!! Which made a good weekend even more anticipated, more delightful, more satisfying.

I had Peter all by myself on Friday. There was a little shopping. A little napping. And a surprise! April’s birthday is coming up soon, and I thought we could make a surprise for her. I planned to make treats to serve on Sunday. However, when a three-year-old prepares a surprise on a Friday, you just have to have that surprise on a Friday. I asked what kind of cupcakes he thought Mommy would like. White. And what kind of frosting? White. With sprinkles. So that’s what we did.

 

Saturday was a beautiful day.

 

 

Peter was the first one who arrived with flowers.

Peter was the first one who arrived with flowers.

Sunday morning–We have a large cross that stays in the Worship Center all the time.

We have a tradition of putting fresh flowers on it on Easter Sunday morning.

 

 

 

 

I handed Peter over to David when I arrived at church. Then I went on along to my Sunday School room to prepare for preschoolers’ arrival. As I was rushing around the room, suddenly, something seemed a little odd.

Of all the things we do at my church, and maybe ever have done, my most favorite is how we do baptisms these days. Instead of sitting in our pews and watching from afar (well, it’s not that far), we gather forward. Kids in front, so they can see well. The rest of us packed behind them, on the platform, on the steps, pressed together.

Welcome, young lady. Welcome into your faith family.

DSC_0066

“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”

Matthew 28:7 (The Message)

Christ is risen. Christós Anésti, or Χριστός Ανέστη. (We have Greek relatives.)

Let’s face it, for people who love Jesus, every weekend is a happy Easter weekend.

Who in Their Right Mind Would Go to the Grocery Store Three Days Before Christmas?!?

Note the late date of this e-mail, and the lack of suggested deadline for answers.

Note the late date of this e-mail, and the lack of suggested deadline for answers.

Who would do that? Well, maybe it would be someone who waited until the last minute to ask family members what specific kinds of food they want to have during the holidays. And, if someone is going to ask the question, then someone feels a little bit compelled to prepare/provide those foods. Since she asked. If she’d been thinking more clearly, she’d have asked weeks ago and given a deadline for responses, but alas, she did not.

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Brushes and Paper and Paint–Oh, My!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Peter’s being here when we had lots of rain here in Waco. We couldn’t get out to do some things I had planned (zoo, play outside, have worship service in the park on Sunday). Although we were able to take a rainy walk Saturday afternoon, we mostly did inside things instead (reading, making cupcakes, watching Mighty Machine videos, playing with dominoes, playing with colored craft sticks). And we got out the art box.

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We Have New Neighbors

Mike and Sandy, who were lovely neighbors, put the house next door to us on the market a couple of years ago.

We got this card in the mail from the realtor, the day the new folks arrived.

We got this card in the mail from the realtor, the day the new folks arrived.

It didn’t take too long to sell. New neighbor Bill was pretty quiet. We didn’t see much of him, but he was friendly when we did, and he kept up his yard and didn’t let his garbage/yard waste/recycle bins stay out at the curb for days (which isn’t usual anyway on our block, but David keeps an eye out for that). But, Bill decided to move back to Seattle, and the house was for sale again. It sold really fast this time, to “a young couple with a kid about his age,” said Bill, pointing to Peter, when we strolled over there to chat. Bill left early last week and the new folks arrived a day or so later. I looked out and saw a young man, chatting with another neighbor out walking her dog. There was a toddler, about 18 months old. And I began to wonder what I could take over there.

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