Posts Categorized: Peace

Catching Up. Filling In. Telling the Rest of the Story.

A friend at the knitting group meeting, a couple of weeks ago, asked what the Tall Painting from Fun with Friends looked like, when it was all finished. “Oh,” I said. “I should do a follow-up. Like The Rest of the Story.”

She looked a little confused. So I explained (because she is somewhat younger than I am, and I couldn’t remember how many years earlier Paul Harvey had been on the radio). “There used to be a radio commentator, named Paul Harvey. And he would share news items, and sometimes, he’d talk about the first part, and then, after a commercial break, he’d say, ‘And now: The Rest of the Story.’ He was kind of a folksy guy. Like Garrison Keillor, on ‘Prairie Home Companion?” And I began to wonder if anything I was saying made any sense.

“I didn’t grow up in this country,” she reminded me. Oh, yeah. Well, she’s at least heard of Garrison Keillor.

Anyway, here’s some catching up, filling in, and more story:

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Catching Flies with Honey

Last week, on Wednesday morning, I happened to glance out the front window and saw some big equipment in the street.

There was a truck with a smaller truckish-thing on it. And there was a much larger truck thing with two very large utility-looking poles on it. And there was a guy standing by the curb, sort of between our yard and the neighbors’, holding a post-hole digger-ish sort of thing. And I thought maybe I should go out and investigate.

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I Recycle-All Sorts of Things

Our recycling day is Monday, when we put out our blue bin with cardboard, plastics, newspapers, etc. Or, on alternate weeks, the green bin, with yard waste.

Today, I’m recycling a manuscript.

A couple, or so, years ago, our Associate Pastor at church, Mary Alice, asked some church members to submit devotions for a booklet she wanted to put together for our church members, especially those who were on teams going on mission trips. Her plan was that we would all be reading the same words, whether at home in Waco, on vacations, or in China or Lebanon.It would be a bonding experience for us all. She enlisted some of us to write and gave each of us the theme and a Scripture reference. We wrote, sent our words to her, and she edited and compiled them all into a booklet. The response was positive, so she kept on doing it. Now, we do them for Advent and Lent and for the summer mission trips (which, this year, included China, Lebanon, South Texas, and many missions-related trips individuals and families made, all over the place).

There are, as you might imagine, deadlines for the submissions of these things, and I’m always pretty close to getting them in on time. I asked once if anyone was responsible and got them to her early, or did everyone else skid in just under the wire (or a little beyond the wire), like I did. “Oh, I do what most of my seminary professors did,” she said. “I set the deadline a little bit before I really need them, to give me some wiggle room.” Possibly not a good thing to admit, but there you go. And possibly not the sort of thing to tell me, who is now exposing it to all sorts of people. Anyway …

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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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I’ve Never Been Particularly Good at Knowing What Two-Year-Olds Are Thinking. Why Do I Keep Trying?

Left side opened w/car inside; right side closed w/car outside

Left side opened w/car inside; right side closed w/car outside

This is how our garage looked, all my growing up years in the house where we now live. Well, except for the cars. Not for the years and makes of them, but just the fact that they’re there. My Dad would get up each morning, open the garage door and go out to get the newspaper, and leave the door open. After he left for work, it stayed open, all day, as did most other garage doors on our block. He closed the door each evening after dinner. The right-hand door wasn’t opened very often, as there wasn’t a car there.

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Having to Spend Each Day the Color of the Leaves*

Years ago, I read books by Don Aslett, a man who grew a college cleaning job into a huge cleaning supply industry

Some choices from Home Depot

Some choices from Home Depot

and authored several books about housecleaning, starting a business, organizing, de-cluttering, writing, and public speaking. You can find some of his books in libraries, bookstores, and of course, on Amazon. In one book (and most likely some others), he talked about how much of modern life is overkill; we have, and consistently seek, more, more, more, and more. He specifically mentioned paint colors. And, most pointedly, green. He quoted a number (and I am so very sorry that I cannot recall what exactly it was, but it was HUGE, in the hundreds), of how many colors of green paint one could buy at a paint store. “You don’t need that many greens,” he said. “There aren’t that many greens.”

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Medicare

The AARP card, along with some gift cards from places I get my medications

The AARP card, along with some gift cards from places I get my medications

When I was 50, I joined AARP. It was like a joke. “Oh, I’m so old, now. I have an AARP card. Ha-Ha!” And I Ha-Ha’ed myself through the next fifteen years.

 

 

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Mozart Effect.ive

Years ago, sometime in the 90’s, I was watching Dateline and they were reporting on a study that seemed to indicate that test-takers did better on some parts of a test if they were listening to the music of Mozart. I was really interested in that.

thFor several years, I’d been writing preschool Sunday School curriculum. And I thought that listening to Christian music and/or hymns might help me write. It was not so. Not at all. The music was distracting, and I couldn’t get anything done. So I opted for quiet. Now, I thought I’d try a little Mozart. Kevin was with me at the music store when I was looking for some Mozart cassette tapes. (Here is a link to Cassette Tapes, in case you are so very young that you don’t know what I’m talking about.) I explained what I’d heard in the Dateline report and that I thought I’d try listening to Mozart when I was writing. Kevin said he thought I’d just been brainwashed by Jane Pauley (the Dateline reporter).

 

The idea caught on and, with all sorts of folks jumping on a bandwagon that didn’t really exist, the Mozart effect became famous (or, infamous) and all sorts of benefits were attributed to the phenomenon. There were books, there were recordings, and when all was said and done, there wasn’t really much research to support all the hoopla.

However, and this is really important, I put that first Mozart tape into the tape player, punched “Play,” and was able to write while I listened to the music.

So, whatever the research does or doesn’t say, it worked for me.

Last Monday morning, I had NPR on the car radio and something familiar came on. I couldn’t identify exactly the piece but I thought, “That must be Mozart.” For years, I listened to a variety of the composer’s music regularly, almost every week. Because …

When I began teaching at the community college, on the first test day, I explained about Mozart and the research that said that, maybe, possibly, there was a positive relationship between his music and spatial reasoning, and how I thought anything that might help people think a little better and more clearly would be an asset. So, I was going to play Mozart while they took their test. Another benefit, and not Mozart-related, was that in total quiet, any little sound, chair-squeaking, throat-clearing, pencil-dropping, makes a big, disruptive noise. Playing quiet music helps cover those interfering noises. Most students liked it.

One semester, I had a student who complained about the music. I hated to stop using it, because so many others said that it did help. I went searching for other Mozart tapes (and by that time, there were scads of them). I tried Mozart at Midnight. Not good. Mozart in the Morning. Nope. Mozart for Your Mind. Not that one, either. I bought Mozart for Mothers-to-Be. After playing that music while students were taking a test, that student brought her completed test to my desk and handed it in. “How was the new music?” I asked, hopefully. “What music?” she said. BINGO! It was so peaceful and soothing, she didn’t even notice it, much less be distracted by it.

Another semester, in another class, a student related this story: She was taking Algebra in addition to my class. She had a couple of teen-aged kids and a busy household. One evening, she had some algebra homework that she had to get finished, but the house was full and busy and noisy. So she went off to a bedroom and turned on the radio to block out the family sounds. She said there was some classical music on. She worked on her algebra. She said she was able to relax and work and she finished quickly and easily. As she was finishing up, the music ended and the radio disc jockey came on, “And that was,” he said, “Mozart.”

“I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “I guess it does work.” Yes, I think it does.

 

Your singing will be like that on the night of a holy festival, and your heart will rejoice like one who walks to the music of a flute, going up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 

Isaiah 30:29 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

 

(Listening to good music may not really help with test-taking, but it certainly can make a heart rejoice. So, it might be a win-win.)

 

Last Monday, when I got home, I raced into the house and pulled up the local NPR website. 51ehtEqeg7L._AA160_They always have a link to “What’s Playing Now.” I clicked the link and read to identify the music I had just been hearing. It was Bach. One of his Brandenburg Concertos. Hmmm. I wonder if anyone’s been doing Bach research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thunderstorm

Many evenings, I don’t stay up and watch the television weather forecast. Sometimes, I don’t see any of the late news at all. I actually still read a newspaper most every day, and get my information that way. (We do still get a paper each day. And I scan it, reading the headlines and the first paragraphs at least, of most stories. David on the other hand, reads every single word! He’s paying for all those words, and, oh, yes, he’s going to read each and every one of them! But!! I’m not really talking about newspapers. I’m talking about the weather! ref: the title of this piece)

Anyway, Sunday night, I hadn’t watched the weather report. So, I don’t know what the forecast was. But, whatever it was, I was unprepared for what happened.

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