Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Holloween

This weekend is my husbands favorite holiday of the year.

The house is decked out with purple and orange lights. There is an overgrown cemetery where the garden once was, and a real casket is ready to go on display along the smokey walkway leading to our front door, where candy waits for the little goblins that call our little hometown, home.

The hearse is not a toy and will stay in the garage where it belongs. As that is our business, we can't afford anything to happen to it.

I'm going to do my best to take some photos when everything is in full effect and get them up here on the blog.

While we wait for the big day, enjoy your weekend and may you "Rest in Pieces"

Friday, October 29, 2010

It gets better video

Something a little different today....

For my followers on facebook, I know you've already seen this but I've enjoyed a good cry more than once from this and I offer it to you as well.


This goes out especially to Nickohlas.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tasting Life

Before the young man began his studies, he wanted assurance from the Master.

"Can you teach me the goal of human life?"

"I cannot," replied the Master.

"Or at least its meaning?"

"I cannot."

"Can you indicate to me the nature of death and of life beyond the grave?"

"I cannot."

The young man walked away in scorn. The disciples were dismayed that their Master had been shown up in a poor light.

Said the Master soothingly, "Of what is it to comprehend life's nature and life's meaning if you have never tasted it? I'd rather you ate your pudding than speculated on it."

.....Anthony De Mello, 1931-1987, was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hows and whys that we forget to just enjoy ourselves.

This weekend, a friend is entering a drag pageant. I will get out there and taste this thing called life (and maybe a cocktail) and be at the show, cheering him on. What will you do to taste life this weekend?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Warshing" Clothes Recipe......

Never thought of a "washer" in this light before. what a blessing!
"Warshing Clothes Recipe" -- imagine having a recipe for this ! ! !
Years ago a Bisbee grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe:
this is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook -
with spelling errors and all.


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.

Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs.. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do something nice for yourself

How often do we stay at home because we just don't have the money to go out or don't feel like dealing with everything out there ?

Every Saturday, I take my parents their medications for the week. I really did not feel like going this week. I was tired and just wanted to rest. But, they need what they need, so like the good son that I am, I sorted them all out and drove the 5 miles to their lakeside home.
After spending some quality time with them, I decided I was feeling a little better and walked across the street to the shopping center that is there. The clearance rack seemed to jump out at me and I found the kewlest shirt on sale for 80% off! It was $2.97 + tax. Now, who could pass up a nice shirt for 2.97? Feeling good about my purchase, I strolled through the rest of the shopping center and ran into a friend. We sat and had a wonderful cup of white chocolate mint coffee and talked for what must have been an hour.

There I was, feeling tired and not wanting to do anything. A simple choice of not listening to that little voice in my head that said to shuck my responsibilities, turned out to bring me a wonderful evening. So on this strangely warm autumn day here in Michigan I offer you a little advise, if you'll have it....

Buy something nice for yourself. Show it off. Be proud. Love your taste. Love yourself. Spin some secrets, tell a few. Stay out too late every so often and sleep in too long. Play loud music. Make a few mistakes. Celebrate everything. And when no one is looking, kiss the back of each of your hands in quick succession... Mwah! Mwah!

You are worth it. There isn't a moment in any day, when someone, somewhere, isn't better off because of something you've done.

And no matter what you do, or don't do, with the rest of your life, you cannot now comprehend the amounts of love, joy, and personal assistance that are already being pressed out to you in gratitude.

Kiss! Kiss!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Be as happy as you want

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
- Abraham Lincoln
My mother used to take me to a great sledding hill in a local park when I was a child. Little did I know that just a short walk from the sledding hills was a great old summer home of the areas most elite. The family has a building in downtown Detroit named after them and two roads in a neighboring county also named for their family. Evidently, while sledding here in the 70's, the old woman that lived there was enjoying her mansion just through the trees. They tore down her home in the 80's and all that is left now is a stone wall that surrounded it, the stairs that led from the tennis court up to the house and the old tennis court. There is a lovey tree lined lane leading up to the old estate grounds that takes your breath away. Then you come to these stone steps. Absolutely amazing. We ran across this last year while hiking in the woods and wondered what it all must have been. A little research has led to the fact that the family had donated the land where the park sits now.
The park boast over 35 miles of dirt trails and 6 miles of paved bike paths. It has 4461 acres of land including a small river and a lake with two beaches and an island. There is a golf course, disc golf course & ample picnicking areas galore. It seems to go on forever and they've barely scratched the surface when it comes to the land usage.
Growing up in the area, I really had no idea how grand this little park was. I've now got a new appreciation for it and plan on visiting at least once a week. At least that's what Pugsley tells me.
I've made up my mind to be quite happy with this new (old) find of ours.

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Just another bump in the road"

 How appropriate that I found this marker while waiting at the cemetery.

You just never know what each day will bring. It was a nice autumn day. We had a wonderful funeral honoring a young man that had been cut down in the prime of his life. After the long procession along the coast line, up to the old country cemetery, the pall bearers carried him to his final resting place.

That's when the his wife took me by the sleeve and pulled me closer. She whispered in my ear, "That's not his grave".

We continued with the service, so as not to alarm anyone. While they said their prayers, I was able to get the cemetery workers together and figure out what to do.

Once all the Amens had been said, we figured out where the grave was meant to be. Then after the family had gone, we pulled him out of the first grave, set him back into the hearse and proceeded to mark out where the proper grave was to be. Then filled in the first hole and started digging the second. Since the new grave was located under a 100 plus year old oak tree, there was a lot of roots to cut through and the weather started to change from sunny to wind and rain. But, as we always do, we were able to finish the job properly and he is now resting under that old oak tree.

Just another bump in the road in deed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It gets better

I was recently in one of the smaller towns in our area. One that isn't exactly known for it's friendliness to gays. While there, I thought I'd stop and enjoy a quick lunch along the riverside. Around me was kids skateboarding, boats going up and down the river, bicyclist navigating the path along the river and two young men sitting and talking on the riverbank.
Then suddenly, one of the men leaned over and kissed the other. Next thing I knew he was on top of him and they were making out, right there on the riverbank with others watching everywhere. Of course the skateboarding kids were the first to notice. I thought to myself, "this is not going to be good". I was at the ready to jump in and defend them if necessary. The kids made their way closer and I was getting nervous for the two guys. People in the passing boats, didn't seem to care. And then one of the kids yelled out "My friend wants in on some of that!" I couldn't believe my ears. I sat quietly watching. The men moved to a more secluded spot. The kids followed and eventually approached them. I wished that I could hear the conversation. Eventually the kids left them and the guys walked down the riverbank holding hands and talking. They passed by me and I smiled and gave them a reassuring nod. As they walked further, a cyclist passed them and greeted them. As they disappeared around a corner, I felt like I had just witnessed a wonderful thing.
Something truly wonderful had just happened in this small town. It touched me deeply that this young couple was comfortable enough to show their love in public and that they were not beat up or even prodded along by the police. Perhaps there is hope for this world after all. This event changed my view of not only this small town, but of the world.

This could never have happened when I was younger. Or even eleven years ago when I met my husband. So in the theme that we are hearing so much on the net lately, YES! It gets better. It has gotten better and it will continue to get even better.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Will you like me?

I remember back in 6th grade, I wrote a girl named Wendy a note that said, "Wendy - I like you a lot. Will you like me too? Yes No Maybe. Please circle one and return to me."

Yes... it's embarrassing. But what I realize is that many of us do this exact same thing as adults every day of our lives. Its as if we are handing out pieces of paper every day to family, co-workers, even complete strangers, seeking their approval. For instance, we say things (or don't say things) to family in hopes that they will "like us". We do things at work (or don't do things) to make sure we're accepted by others. We'll even dress a certain way to gain the approval of others; this is called trying to fit in. All these scenarios are like we are handing out slips of paper that say, "Will you like me?" It's really kinda crazy, when you think about it.

I realize I've sought approval from others my whole life. I've taken it to the extreme wherein I actually used to derive my entire substance of self-esteem from the approval of others. It put me in a precarious position, because it puts all the power in the hands of others. When the others disappear, or disapprove, what are you left with? An empty, hallow esteem. That's a horrible place to be.

Instead of handing out notes asking people to like us, wouldn't it be better to hand out slips of paper that say something like, "I like you, and I just wanted you to know. You're welcome to like me to, but either way, I'll be fine and I'll still like you. With love." Isn't that nice? No needs, no looking to others for validation and wholeness. This opens the possibility to have expectancy regarding including someone in your life, but to live with expectancy is far different than expectation. One is open-ended and is based on positive energy. The other is negative and focused on judgment and game-playing. This same concept holds true when dealing with sales, or driving your car. It's true in all areas of life and opens up new possibilities and opportunities.

Oh, by the way... Wendy circled "Maybe" and we held hands once. She never spoke to me again. But it's okay. I liked her. She didn't like me, then I realised that I like boys better, but I'm fine. With love. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thought for the week

As any dog will tell you, "It's the simple things in life that are the best".

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Keep your fork !

Once again, my friend Jack comes through with another wonderful story. The stories that he passes along to me are an inspiration. Not as much of an inspiration as Jack, himself is, but definately worthy of passing along to my readers. And Jack, I'll gladly take on that sweet responsiblity, anytime.

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things 'in order,' she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

'There's one more thing,' she said excitedly.

'What's that?' came the Pastor's reply.

'This is very important,' the young woman continued. 'I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.'

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

That surprises you, doesn't it?' the young woman asked.

'Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request,' said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. 'My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!'

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder 'What's with the fork?' Then I want you to tell them: 'Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.'

The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand.. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, 'What's with the fork?' And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share.... Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND...and I'll bet this will be an Email they do remember, every time they pick up a fork.!

And just remember...keep your fork!

And have a great day!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Corrected by myself

Although the research that I've done insist over and over that the stone individual markers started in the 18th century, I have a photo here of one from Plymouth Massachusetts that says the 17th century. History tells us that there are older graves in this particular cemetery. However, this is the oldest known stone here.

Burial Hill, as it's known in Plymouth was an active cemetery from the
1620's until 1957.
For those that believe in ghost, it is said that each night around dusk a woman in a flowing dress can be seen at the top of these steps leading into the burial grounds. She is supposedly looking for her man
that was lost at sea.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

History of a Tombstone

Here in Michigan the oldest grave markers that you will find average to have been erected around 1850. Before that, there was typically only markers made of wood.
A persons immediate family would be able to visit the grave of a loved one as long as they lived in the area. After that, it was neglected and forgotten. Eventually giving in to time and weather and fading along with the memory of the person who died. The only persons with a more permanent marker would have been dignitaries or important people of the area or time. But, often they were memorialized in a town square rather than a grave yard. Grave yards were not how we know them today. They were often outside of town because the art of embalming had not been developed and lets face it, a decaying corpse is not something that anyone would want to smell. Today, we not only have embalming, but we have cement vaults to contain our loved ones. They not only help to keep out moisture, bugs and tree roots, but they contain the not so pleasant side of death. We would all like to remember our loved ones for who they were, alive and not think about what's happening beneath the surface of the cemetery plot.

 Early markers were usually simple wooden crosses.
The cross being a symbol of death even before being adopted by Christianity.
Individual stone markers are only about three hundred years old and started in 18th century Colonial America.

18th Century American grave stones depicted images of death or mortality symbols. They were hand carved and could take months or even years to complete a more elaborate stone. Granite was the stone of choice. A  marble stone was easier to carve. Marble however does not hold up as well in the weather. If you find an old marble stone now, it's likely that you won't be able to read it at all. Most of the original stones had a symbol of a skull at the top. These were carved and kept in stock. Then upon death, only the name and dates would have to be chiseled into the stone by hand, speeding up the process.
Here is a sample of the original stones from a grave of a Revolutionary War Veteran in Barnstable Massachusetts. The wings at the side of the skull symbolize the ascension into heaven.

A few years later, people wanted a more pleasing image than the death image of a skull and opted for angels or like this one depicting a willow tree. The weeping willow represents sadness or mourning for the loved one that has passed on to their eternal life.

The idea of individual markers has caught on. You can see them across the globe in every country.
In the future, I'll try to post some of the styles and symbolism's that I've been able to find in my travels. And I'm always on the lookout for interesting epitaphs. Let me know in the comments if you've seen one that caught your attention.

Friday, October 1, 2010