Taking a break from the series about Java Joe, I picked up something I believe Joe would approve of. Because, of course, it involves coffee!
The following story is being picked up and is popularly seen all over the Internet and the media, but neither sourced nor credited as to its authorship, the original author. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and I do believe the credit is due to:
ABHISHEK KUMAR SINGH,. CEO
TAJ PHARMA INDIA (MUMBAI)
The Carrot, The Egg, and The Coffee Bean
By Abhishek Kumar Singh
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’
‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.
Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, grandmother?’
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
As the end word (a suffix actually), in the title suggests, this is all about a Martini.
I call it, The Mano a Mano Martini.or The Mano-tini for Short. I am a curios fellow in that when I become interested in something, I dig or dig into the details. Perhaps this in part due to my training in journalism in that the very first paragraph should contain— WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW. It is my intention to fulfill this by paragraph’s end. I am a gregarious fellow in that I like to share my discoveries with others (YOU)! I would like to think that even if you do not drink alcohol or like martinis, you might find the following interesting and maybe even humorous, for your time spent here. This perhaps ‘long in the tooth’ piece will conclude for you that do like martinis, would like to try one and try a new recipe for one IF, you keep reading until the end. You could, skip or scroll all the way to the bottom if you want to. 🙂
Like a bartender’s or mixologist’s list of ingredients and preparation, here, there are some parts of fact, parts of fiction and some history in our list of ingredients, for preparing this alcoholic libation.
Often ingredients are mixtures of other ingredients combined or infused in certain ways, like our word “libation,” for example. Libation has its roots in Greek and Latin and its simple definition was an offering, a liquid poured out. Well, this is certainly how we may think of it today and with this liquid being offered and it being most likely an alcoholic liquid or beverage with its effects, bringing up the ideas of ‘Happy Hour,” “getting a buzz” or “high,” it’s a drink most likely shared at least between two lovers, two friends, two people or two associates, for a good time, to celebrate or just for a happy time among people, even if the two are the bartender and the bar-sitter. 🙂
That’s great, but not so fast. Libation was originally a beverage offered to some deity (god or goddess), as a form of sacrifice, seeking favor of the gods?
OK, just suppose there were no gods or goddesses, but the root word of mythology is, myth. 🙂
Alright, maybe they were made up, but people did and may still believe in them (the gods). How easy would it be to pour out some liquid as an offering for some god or goddess and when others weren’t looking, get yourself a nice, free drink! “WOW,” so they might think, “Not only did the gods take the drinks, they must have accepted them (liked them),” especially if, the beverages constantly just seemed to disappear. 🙂
Cue the myth reel for our next word, ‘Ambrosia.’
“In the ancient Greek myths, ambrosia (pronounced am-bro-ze-yah Greek: ἀμβροσία, “immortality”) is sometimes the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it. It was brought to the gods in Olympus by doves. Ambrosia is sometimes depicted in ancient art as distributed by a nymph labeled with that name. In the myth of Lycurgus, an opponent to the wine god Dionysus, violence committed against Ambrosia turns her into a grapevine.”
Also, at the above link, there is an image of a plate (a majolica plate), thought to have been made in 1530 by Nicola da Urbino. It’s title is, ‘The Foods of the Gods on Mount Olympus’. Oh, that sounds familiar, like the 19th Century USA invention, most of us know as, ‘Ambrosia Salad.’ Well, if this fruit, whipped topping concoction was or is the modern-day equivalent of, “Food for the gods,” what about Mead, originally a fermented beverage of honey, water and yeast some called, ‘Ambrosia’ or, “nectar of the gods?”
Forget the fact that in an area where grapes were not grown too well, but they had to have something alcoholic to drink. And forget the idea that real mead does not taste much more than like just watered down honey water. But like a bartender’s or mixologist’s special add-ins, add some folklore and a little bit of well, whad-di-yah-know’ there is something to be said about all those B vitamins that do increase as the stuff ages. Could they actually help a hangover from too much drinking the night before with drinking some more of the ‘tail of the dog that bit you?’ Supposedly, the word ‘honeymoon’ (honey + moon), came from the celebratory wedding drinking of Mead. The couple was to wed when she was close to being able to conceive. They were to wed during a lunar cycle and drink Mead for a month. WOW, how about that, a month long honeymoon, for you that may have never had one? Mead was supposed to make him more virile and the lady more fertile. Hmmm, is there something more to those B Vitamins in Mead, the ‘Nectar of the gods?’ I don’t know, but people believed it. So what’s my point? Drinking is supposed to be associated with special times and happy and high’ times. Get some gods and goddesses involved and the traditions continue. 🙂
So what? So what does this have to do with Martinis? We’re going there next? 🙂
According to all the sources I checked, a martini may in fact, be a ‘Made in America thing, what it is, but not its name. You ‘re gonna’ love this!
In 1863, an Italian vermouth maker started marketing their product under the brand name of Martini, after its director, Alessandro Martini and the brand name may be the source of the cocktail’s name?
Then another theory is, ‘The Martini’ evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez, served sometime in the early 1860’s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, CA. People hung out there before taking an evening ferry ride to the nearby town of Martinez. And of course, the people of Martinez say, the drink was first created by a bartender in their town? But a, “Martinez Cocktail,” was first described in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 edition, of his “Bartender’s Guide, How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks”
Are you ready for the following? 🙂
“By 1922 the Martini (the vermouth), reached its most recognizable form in which London dry gin and dry vermouth are combined at a ratio of 2:1, stirred in a mixing glass with ice cubes, with the optional addition of orange or aromatic bitters, then strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Over time the generally expected garnish became the drinker’s choice of a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.
A dry Martini is made with dry, white vermouth. By the Roaring Twenties, it became common to ask for them. Over the course of the century, the amount of vermouth steadily dropped. During the 1930s the ratio was 3:1, and during the 1940s the ratio was 4:1. During the latter part of the 20th century, 6:1, 8:1, 12:1, 15:1 (the “Montgomery”, after British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s supposed penchant for attacking only when in possession of great numerical superiority), or even 50:1 or 100:1 Martinis became considered the norm.
My father-in-law thought just passing the cork over the martini made it dry enough! 🙂
“A dirty Martini contains a splash of olive brine or olive juice and is typically garnished with an olive.
A perfect Martini uses equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth.”
“Some Martinis were prepared by filling a cocktail glass with gin, then rubbing a finger of vermouth along the rim. There are those who advocated the elimination of vermouth altogether. According to Noël Coward, “A perfect Martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy,” Italy being a major producer of vermouth. Luis Buñuelused the dry Martini as part of his creative process, regularly using it to sustain “a reverie in a bar”. He offers his own recipe, involving Angostura bitters, in his memoir.”
“In 1966, the American Standards Association (ASA) released K100.1-1966, “Safety Code and Requirements for Dry Martinis,” a tongue-in-cheek account of how to make a “standard” dry martini. The latest revision of this document, K100.1-1974, was published by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the successor to ASA, though it is no longer an active standard.”
“There are a number of variations on the traditional Martini. The fictional spy James Bond sometimes asked for his vodka Martinis to be “shaken, not stirred,” following Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which prescribes shaking for all its Martini recipes. The proper name for a shaken Martini is a Bradford. However, Somerset Maugham is often quoted as saying that “a Martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another.”A Martini may also be served on the rocks, that is, with the ingredients poured over ice cubes and served in an Old-Fashioned glass.”
WOW, does all that not sound factious, factitious, facetious or something with a superfluity of facts?! 🙂 I suppose one could start a religion over a martini, not to mention heated arguments as to its authenticity and origin. But there is, still more.
I have long been fond of James Bond, 007, the fictional character created by Ian Fleming. There is no cocktail served up better to “Bond, James Bond,” than the ‘Vesper Martini. This was from Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Vesper Lynd was one of the few ‘Bond girls’ that he truly loved. She is the reason Bond’s drinks are always, “shaken not stirred.”
According to the author, the ‘Vesper’ is “strong and cold and very well made” —much like 007 himself. That’s all fine and dandy, but neither you nor I will ever get to try it!!! Its ingredients and preparation is specific with Gordon’s Gin, and vodka. The type of vodka was not specific, but the accepted gin was Gordon’s. Gordon’s Gin is thought to be the gin of gin with its strong start and finish of juniper.
But there was also, one unique ingredient that is no longer available, Kina Lillet, the aromatised wine that gives the Vesper its distinct, bitter edge. Kina Lillet was a proprietary blend of sweet wines and macerated fruits with the unique addition of quinine, its signature ingredient.
In the 1700’s, a French scientist named Charles Marie de la Condamine discovered that quinine, a compound found in cinchona bark, is an excellent treatment for malaria. Cinchona is a genus of flowering plants. It is native to the tropical Andean forests of western South America. Cinchona bark is used in powered or distilled from, of the bark of the shrub, to make quinine.
Having some remedy for mosquito-infested territories, where the British and the French Foreign Legion were expanding into, like India and Africa in the 1800’s, this was great news! But quinine is very, very bitter. What to do? Mix it with something else like today, in Tonic water or as in yester-years, Kina Lillet. These drinks were called qinquinas (kɛ̃kinas), or wines flavored with quinine. So, the idea worked successfully. The soldiers got the quinine they needed in a drink they enjoyed. It worked so well, the soldiers developed a taste for qinquinas and kept drinking them after they came home. France’s most popular one was, Kina Lillet. So popular in fact, it spread oversea to even post-prohibition America.
Oh, and if you sit at the bar too long or develop leg cramps, quinine just might help? 🙂
Gin has long been a favorite clear alcoholic drink in the United States. People even made ‘bathtub gin’ during prohibition. Vodka was not favored for a long time. It was thought to be mostly a drink of Russia and there was a time in this country where WE were on an anti-communist kick and WE the People, certainly were not about to drink vodka. A man by the name of Smirnoff (a Russian), sold his livelihood for cheap to an American and with some ‘creative’ marketing, some ginger beer, lime and special copper mugs, with Smirnoff vodka, the Moscow Mule was born in America, with Vodka made right here. 🙂
Now, some prefer their martinis to be solely based on vodka where others prefer gin. Adding vermouth or olive juice to make a dirty martini came later. But that Vesper, the Vesper used both gin and vodka and Kina Lillet.
About 1986, tastes changed and Kina Lillet fell out of favor and Lillet dropped the name Kina, along with the quinine. Today, they offer Lillet Blanc which is supposed to contain quinine, but it’s not the same. Calling this a Vesper today, is just not the same either. In Rochester, NY, there is a pub and grill named,‘The Vesper.’
The Vesper (pub and grill), have of course, what they call, The Vesper Martini. Just remember, Kina Lilliet has not been made since 1986. The Rochester pub relies on Lillet Blanc, which is labeled to contain quinine. But it’s not the same as Kina Lillet. If you scroll down the page of the website to their signature drink offerings, you will find what they call, ‘The Vesper’ and how it is made.
“A twist on the classic martini. James Bond made it famous, and if it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for you. You’ll feel classier immediately. Shaken, not stirred, with Zamir Vodka, Plymouth Gin, Lillet Blanc & lemon twist.”
The description according to their website at rocthevesper.com
There are two main problems with this. For one thing, missing is Gordon’s Gin. I’m not so concerned about their choice of vodka, but Lillet Blanc is NOT, the same thing as, Kina Lillet. So how could this be good enough for you, when it would NOT be good enough for 007?
The original drink was 3 parts Gordon’s gin, 1 part Vodka and ½ part of Kina Lillet, shaken (“not stirred”), with lemon peel. Despite that Lillet lists quinine on the label of its Lillet Blanc, it’s not the same and no mater what The Vesper of Rochester calls itself or its drink, it is not The Vesper Martini!
This entire post all began with my trying to discover and make for my brother-in-law Kevin, a Vesper Martini. Before continuing, this is a good spot for some back story.
I have painted a lot of houses inside and out in my past. I used a lot of oil-based or alkyd paint. To clean my brushes, I often used turpentine. Turpentine smelled like gin and gin like turpentine to me. I was danged if I was going to paint all day then drink anything that smelled like what I cleaned my brushes with! I did not like gin to put it mildly! Then in 2014, my wife and I were in Australia.
After a local fair one evening, son Jonathan and I stopped for a nightcap on the way home. He ordered a gin and tonic. I was in a curious mood and I asked if I could try it. I did and thereafter, it has become a favorite drink. Even it has certain ingredients I like. The gin is Bombay Sapphire. I like its blend of botanicals. Recently, I have once again confirmed my mother’s description of my personality which is, I have, “Champagne tastes with a beer pocketbook. “ 🙂
I have an acute sense of smell so what can I say, if I don’t like how something smells, I will not like how it tastes. I discovered Fever Tree brand of Tonic. A four pack of 12 ounce bottles can cost around $5.00. One can buy other tonics for a lot less, but to me, there is nothing better than Fever Tree tonic which has, real quinine in it!
I was never fond of vodka. To me, vodka was mostly a clear alcohol with little taste that blends well with other ingredients like fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup, for my beloved Vodka gimlet over ice. Believe it or not, I also use vodka in my pie dough to retard the gluten process when making pie. Maybe you can make pie? I could not. My recipe is about the same as any other, but I use half as much chilled water and replace it with chilled vodka. Science allows me to make a flaky, tasty crust every single time. The alcohol cooks out and there is no taste of vodka left behind, just delicious crust which really is, maybe 90% of what makes great pie! By the way, my taste buds have evolved. Not all vodkas are equal!!! I use and prefer Tito’s. And it’s made in the USA.
Martinis? Gin? Vodka? Some of both? Me? No way, until discovering…
…micro brewed beers (micro-breweries), are no longer a niche market. They have become the standard for excellence and quality, our tastes demand. Local wines? The same has become true. Local hard ciders are becoming hugely popular. Local distillers are producing gins and vodkas (and other spirits), which worry the big-name-brands. They should be worried! Often the locals are far superior in quality, purity and most importantly, taste, but also, they are often less expensive! Why? Put your money into the end product and less on marketing, transport overseas and hype!
These small independent breweries, wineries and distilleries may not have the volume of the big ones, but they certainly make up for it in quality and imagination and incredible innovations and taste explosions. Why in fact, the US government hold them to greater standards than the big established brands. Pretty much, you do get what you pay for from the little ones and a whole lot more!! And on the economic side, these small drink makers probably contribute greatly to the employment market. Small breweries, wineries and distilleries are everywhere nowadays, state by state. And all those that work in them that I have met, all seem to love their work where they see themselves as personally invested crafters of quality, rather than mere unknown workers of volume, for BIG-corp’s profit and bottom line. Hey, I believe there is much to be said about putting love in what you do. I believe love can actually improve the quality and taste of what is made!
We recently returned from a trip and visited two small distilleries in Tennessee. One makes a true, 100%, excellent bourbon and a gin (more about the gin later), and the other had excellent and to my surprise, both a clear whiskey not oaked (not aged in oak barrels for that distinct taste and color of traditional whiskey), and a clear Rye (also not oaked). We bought some of all mentioned. That good? Oh, YES, that good!!! Oh, and one more thing about that little distillery (maybe a few thousands of gallons made per year as opposed to the big boys that produce tens-of-thousands of gallons an hour, day after day. H Clark Distillery is the first distillery in 106 years that can accurately and legally call its product, bourbon. Not even Jack Daniels, Dickel or Pritchards can call their offerings Bourbon! To do so, certain ingredients must be used and in certain ways. They all do this. The big three mentioned have another step they use, which is an organic process, but it disqualifies them from calling their product, bourbon. H Clark Distillery in TN, only uses the standard practice and ages their bourbon in brand-new oak barrels, for the taste, smoothness and amber color of true Tennessee, 100%, pure American Made Bourbon! And they make an incredible gin to rival say, Gordon’s gin! Again, more about this later.
So, what have we seen and learned and where have we been up to this point? Taking all the best points, our libation should be poured liquids to share with one another; to celebrate life, toast each other to-the-day and share some moments together. Should these beverages include alcohol, they should be finely crafted to produce the best taste possible and should be consumed responsibly. Now to be true, to drink responsibly, would NOT include alcohol or any drug or substance which can diminish our ability to act in an emergency, in the best and fastest way possible. But if we do drink or will drink, let us do so as the old adage says, with—“All things in moderation!”
One last thing to do here before giving my recipe for the Mano a Mano-tini or in short, the Mano-tini. What is in a name or what’s in a name? For one thing, I for one, am not about to try to make a Vesper, when ALL of the exact ingredients are not used (Kina Lillet is NOT available)! And I am NOT going to try to replicate it, while using alternatives and call it a Vesper. I will not even use the words Vesper Martini. But I will do two things. First, I will make, name and claim my own drink. Secondly, I will shorten Martini to just ‘tini,’ which will still suggest the type of drink it may be listed under, in the world of bar guides and mixology.
Have you ever heard or seen the words “mano a mano?” For a long time, I thought they were Latin words. They are not, they are originally, Spanish. I and many people thought and many still do think that they mean, man to man. That’s an easy stretch when the first three letters of mano is man. Is that sexist? Could not “man” be an all-inclusive noun, to describe all men, women and children as in mankind or humanity? I think yes, yes it could. But what is its meaning?
The god of words since 1823, Meriam Webster, defines “mano a mano” as: “in direct competition or conflict especially between twopeople.” Please note the words “two people” as I have underscored them.
OK, I can sort of understand how these words have and are still being used today. Perhaps images of hand to hand combat come to mind? And the original meaning of these Spanish words are pretty close to that (minus the combat part). 🙂
“Mano a Mano” just means, “hand to hand.” I like that, especially when talking about making a drink by hand, making it by hand and hand-ing’ it off to another to enjoy! From the hand of the bartender to the hand of the bar-sitter, from one lover’s hand to another’s hand, from one hand of a friend or an associate (even a stranger), to another’s hand, let us celebrate life and each other!
So without further adieu, I give you, ‘The Mano a Mano- (from my hand to yours) tini! 🙂
Most of its ingredients are made in America, and fitting and proper since most likely the “tini,” began in the USA!
Mano a Mano-Tini or Mano-Tini
3 Parts H Clark Distillery Tennessee Gin (prevalent juniper notes at the start and finish)
Note: Previously, I was using Tito’s Vodka, but they have gotten “too big for the britches” in my opinion or for sure, they have priced themselves out of my pocketbook! I now use New Amsterdam Vodka. Just as good as Tito’s (that was compared to Absolute), if not better, is made and bottled in Modesto, CA USA, and is moderately priced.
1 Part New Amsterdam Vodka (made in California and comparable to Absolute and less expensive)
½ part of Lillet Blanc (French)
3-4 drops Cinchona (quinine distillate from South America)
3 parts H Clark Distillery Gin (made in Tennessee, USA)
1 part New Amsterdam vodka (made in California, USA)
1/2 part Lillet Blanc (made in France)
3-4 Drops of Quinnine Distillate (made with cinchona bark from South America)
Lime peel twist
Add gin, vodka, Lillet, and the cinchona (quinine) drops to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with lime peel (I like lime better than lemon peel, but use either to your liking.
If you use lemon peel, maybe you can call it, ‘The American 007’ and when “Bond, James Bond,” is in the USA, he will like it. 🙂 But mine is made with lime peel. I am for short just calling it, ‘The Mano-tini’
Walk on a darkened life stage
Unannounced and unknown
You are a stand
You are a microphone in hand
A single focused spotlight is upon you
Silent expectation rises
Will you sing A cappella
Will you voice something written
Will you sing impromptu
The eyes and ears of hearts trill
Waiting loudly in the seats of silence
This is not, as Shakespeare wrote, “To be or not to be…” I don’t believe that is either “the question,” or the only question. And neither is the point in time in anyone’s life that like their first birth, none has really much to do with their second birth either or as the Bible refers to it as, “being born again!”
The difference between these is, we had no choice in the first and merely a simple yes or an acceptance of the second. The work of the first was on our parents. The work of the second is, on God the Father by what he accomplished through his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. I did not deserve my first birth nor my second, but God, not me or my works, but His, made me worthy.
So, with that all being written and simply understood by anyone, what is it, ‘On Being,’ on being a Christian?
‘On Being’ a Christian Is the simplest thing, but it is not ever or rarely never easy. It is simple because, even a fool (like I once was) or a child (or child-like, like I still am) can understand. That is the beauty and simplicity in presentation, of the Word of God, rightly divided.
see: II Timothy 2:15
“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
Isaiah 35:8 King James Version (KJV)
There have been and are, many, many people who were not or are not Christians, do not believe or in some cases, do not know or believe they are. And there are those that are not yet. If you have a child or some other member of your family or a dear friend, do you not want the best for them? Is it an easy thing for you to bear if, all is not right with them? It is the way I often feel and it is not easy. As a matter of fact, it hurts me with a hurt as any other hurt, if not real pain. I can put a band-aid and some ointment on my wounds, but I cannot always be there to do that, for others and that’s not easy. It hurts, it hurts like hell!
It’s not easy, when you have something which will take away the pain and replace it with joy, but it cannot or will not, be accepted.
Have you ever seen something so profound; so wonderful and yet, you have no knowledge, no words; no experience whatsoever to explain, what it truly is? How can you share something with anyone else, if you do not know what it is? How can you articulate something in words, if you do not understand it yourself? Let me give you an example.
Of all my favorite stories, passages and verses of scripture in the Bible, the story about two men on the road to Emmaus, when Jesus Christ draws near and walks with them is, one that to this day, stirs deeply within me. Let me set this up.
Jesus Christ had been crucified. Many in Jerusalem were fearful, depressed and confused. Even his own disciples (then apostles), were in hiding behind closed doors, afraid that they might be found, arrested and perhaps, subjected to same punishment? Two men were out walking on a road, from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which was, about seven to eight miles away. This would have been what we think of Sunday or what the Bible refers to as, “the first day of the week.”
“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
Luke 24:13-32 King James Version (KJV)
On the Road to Emmaus, by Peter Mathios
“…Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
I have repeated part of the verse above and highlighted it, enlarged it; emboldened it to emphasize it. This is how I heard it and read it, when I first was taught it. It seemed to leap off the page to my eyes. I tried to put myself into the shoes (sandals) of these two men. I tried to imagine what they saw and heard and felt. What must it have been like for this stranger to teach them, just two simple men (neither of them one of the original 12 disciples nor apostles)? What must it have been like, for all the Old Testament scriptures about their promised savior, messiah and king to have been taught to them?? My strong suit is my imagination, but I could not imagine, any of this!!
When I heard these verses taught to me, for the first time and when I saw these words, for the first time and they seemed to jump off the page, I know exactly when it was and where I was. In fact, I was what some think of as, within ‘spitting distance,’ of the man who taught me, along with hundreds of others in the same log chalet room in the Sierra Mountains, in California. All I knew is that I had just been taught, I had just heard; I was just shown something so profound and so incredible, but it seemed far beyond my limited ability, to comprehend it or understand it! To me, it was as if, everyone in that room and everyone else on earth, knew these things, but me, and I was the last person on earth to have heard them!
Now, many, many years later, I still cannot fully appreciate what it must have been like to have been one of those men on the road to Emmaus, but I DO understand my heart burning, when scriptures are opened to me!
Many people and even some Christians want to see signs, miracles and wonders, before they are going to believe squat about the Bible. If they don’t, they won’t. And there always seems to be some un-reasonable explanation to justify why, they don’t. Things like— he, she, they and I, am not a Christian or not spiritual enough. Another is, these were, for a different time; they were special and not needed today because, we have the Bible now. Well, this is NOT what the Bible says or how it is, supposed to work.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
This is still, the only way to do it! First, the rightly divided word must be taught, to those willing to receive it. The importance of it being rightly divided is that it is only the truth that “makes” one free, not just sets them free. See. the gospel of John, chapter 8, verses 31 and 32. And while seeing there, notice that that there nor anywhere in the Bible does it say, the truth will set you free. It says “make” you free. What’s the difference? You could be set free from prison. The door to your cell unlocked, you could walk out. But you could also stay there as in what some call being, “institutionalized.” It’s like all you know, having been in prison for say, a long time. You are not prepared to go out and live free. But to be made free, God would open the doors to that prison and take you out, having prepared you to live free. This is what the Word does. It opens the heart, your heart; my heart burns, we understand, we get it, just like the two on the road to Emmaus. Only the truth can do that! Only believing the truth can and will produce, the signs, miracles and wonders. And it all begins, by being taught, what the Word says!
My first exposure to the story of the two on the road to Emmaus was by a teacher, my teacher that many called, ‘The Teacher.’ He was a master teacher. How can I say that? Because when he taught me God’s Word, God caused my heart to burn within me, as he opened the scriptures to me. Whether I understood it or not is, not important. The spirit of God in me understood and leapt within me. It took my fleshy mind, quite some time to grasp. But it was still a miracle because, it was instantaneous and it followed the teaching of the Word, rightly divided, true and truthful, and it made me free!
One of my favorite quotes about teaching is, a line from a poem by, Henry Van Dyke.
“Who teach because they love the teacher’s task, And find their richest prize In eyes that open and in minds that ask;”
from the IV stanza, ‘Spirit Of The Everlasting Boy,’
(Ode for the hundredth anniversary of Lawrenceville School)
June 11, 1910, By Henry Van Dyke
There is a synergy and like a symbiotic relationship between teacher and student. Public speaking should never be pushed by fear to speak. That’s not fear you’re feeling, ‘thay be butterflies’! 🙂
The student has come, expecting to receive. The teacher is, expected to give. And in so doing, the teacher too, gets their eyes opened and their minds ask, as well. If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, study the Word – II Timothy 2:15; II Timothy 3:16,17! If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, be a student of someone, anyone that teaches God’s Word, rightly divided! If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, teach God’s Word, rightly divided! If you desire daily, signs, miracles and wonders, learn the rightly divided Word of God and teach the rightly divided word of God, every day! Want to have your heart burn within you, feel those butterflies, experience the spirit of God move in you, make your eyes seem to glow to others? Learn, Do and Teach the Word of God, rightly divided. Another often spoken and always remembered by myself, is another something, The Teacher often said while pounding his fist on a podium, a desk or etc., “It’s the Word, It’s the Word and nothing, but the Word!!”
It is not how I feel, how I think, how I, you or anyone else wants to interpret it, but—
“What does the Word say? God says what he means and He means what He says and God has a purpose for everything He says, When He says it, Where he says it, How He says it, and to Whom He says it!”
Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, December 31, 1916 – May 20, 1985
If God said it, that settles it! It doesn’t even matter if I believe it or if anyone else does, it’s still the Truth and it’s only the Truth that can make anyone free!
Christians or not, we are people; we are human and subject to human frailty, error and corruption. Remember not men and women who impressed you, but who have blessed you or bless you still. My teacher failed and he has died. I remember him not for his faults and failures, but for what he taught rightly divided; how he stood for God Word. That is a memory worth keeping and worth sharing; not hiding it away for some wrong he did or some error, some bitterness, some shame. But stay thankful, remain playful and bitterness and shame, will not overtake and break you.
Often during or at the conclusion of his teachings, which I have sat through over the years, ‘The Teacher’ would pause, take a sip of coffee, smile and just simply say, “Lot’s of things kids.”
The Teacher— “Lot’s of things kids.” –VPW-
Everyone that were in his presence, no matter what their age (some even much older than he), felt like they were his kids. He made us feel this way. He once called my brother son (as he did all of his kids) and my brother thought of him as more a father, than our own. Then he would just talk with us and share things on his heart and mind about life and living. Often he would say, “You know, sometimes you get so high with God, you just want to ask Him to cool it.” I’d scratch my head and think, now why would I ever want to do that? Maybe it was like Moses’s hair turning white, after being in God’s presence up on Mt. Sinai, when he first received the 10 Commandments? Nah, that can’t be it, I’ve had white in my hair, since I was a young child. 🙂
Could be that you get so excited you can’t sleep, even though you need to? Now that I can relate to, but purposefully and willingly, cut off the flow of God to me? Not something I am inclined to do. Here I am Lord, let er’ rip! 🙂 And then, in my simple commonsensical wittle’ mind I figure:
A. God knows what He is doing and I know what it feels like to give someone something and they don’t want or won’t take it!
B. Since patience, paying attention and listening to God are not strong suits with me, I better take all I can get when the getting is good or maybe God will just move along to someone, anyone who WILL listen to Him!
Sometimes, tears would well up in The Teacher’s eyes and then, he would say the most peculiar thing, “I wish I was the man I know to be.”
O.M.G.! What was he talking about? How could he say such a thing? What kind of confession was that to make?
I grew up in the church. I went to Sunday school. I guess I was a Christian, for as long as I can remember? Most people then, would not believe me as I seemed to be, just as so-called normal, as everyone else. In one sense, how could I believe in this or much of anything, when I had been lied to about many things, by many people (including family and trusted confidants) and had been disappointed, deceived, disrespected, and disadvantaged (taken advantage of) by often, the most sincere people? But, but, but…
…what about the young man we took into our home that nearly tore our family apart? What about a young darker skinned man I picked up hitchhiking that only had the clothes on his back, a soccer ball and had been surviving on nothing but rain water and wild green onions? Yes, what about taking him home, feeding him? By the way, you know someone has not eaten in a while, if they have difficulty eating and eat very slowly. But, but, but, we gave him clothing, we fed him, allowed him to bathe, set up a tent for him and a sleeping bag in our back yard. (the outside temp was warm, not hot). We gave him work to do around our home so he would not feel like a charity case and well, that whole giving and receiving thing. We drove him around to find a job. He got a job. Little by little, we trusted him more and moved him into our home. Then, he robbed everyone in the house, but me. I guess I did not have anything of value to him? I felt bad that my friends were robbed, but not me and because, I was the one that brought him home. I was livid and mostly angry at myself, for I’m the one that picked him up and brought him home. Then, after, I went looking for him. Thank God I never saw him again because, if I had, I’m not sure what I would have done to him. One person said, if they would have found him and if they had a gun, they would have killed him. For quite some time, whenever I saw a person of darker skin, especially male, I would get angry all over again. Then, I came to understand, if I cannot forgive anyone, for anything, I did not understand what God forgave and forgives me of! I do now!! Holding onto un-forgiveness is toxic! Forgiveness is not an option, it is a commandment of the Lord! And forgiveness is one of the many things that are true, that makes one whole and makes them free!
How would you have liked to have been a man named Saul that actually cast his vote as a member of the ruling body of Israel (the Sanhedrin), that had voted to condemn and crucify Jesus Christ? This same man under his authority put many of those heretical Christians into prison, The same man, later was called the apostle Paul and under his ministry, the whole of Asia Minor heard the Word of God in about 2 years and 3 months! Do you think he forgave himself and could forgive anyone? How about another man I met, his name like mine, Donnie. He was probably responsible for distributing illegal drugs in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and likely, the entire midwest, in the 1960’s. Through him, his distribution network, I probably bought, used and sold a lot of his stuff, myself. This same man, became the greatest evangelist I have ever known. He even taught a class called, Witnessing & Undershepherding (under the Shepherd, Jesus Christ). Do you believe he forgave himself or had problems forgiving others?
Many people today, may not think I could possibly believe such as I still do and I suppose, there are just as many that cannot believe I’m a Christian because, I guess, they just don’t think I act, like whatever one is supposed to act like? In my twenties, I spent a lot of time on my own, reading the Bible and studying it, trying desperately to understand it. Oh, I memorized a lot and could quote this and that, but understand it? NO. So, I decided a long time ago, I believed in God, but I sure didn’t believe God much, if at all. I had little if any results, no signs, miracles or wonders. Is there any wonder why? Well, if you are wondering, it is because, I was never taught. I had ideas, thoughts, opinions and theories about God and the Bible. But I believed little if anything and could certainly not, put it together. Can you show others why you believe what you believe? And remember, a witness is just a witness, not a prosecuting attorney, jury or judge. We are neither defense attorneys either. Truth needs no defense and cannot be defended, nor can error be. We are called to be, witnesses!
Then, a woman picked me up, while I was hitchhiking home. That never happened to me before! And it was twice in the same week and in two different cars, same lady. By the second time, I guess I thought we were friends, since I had seen her briefly just once before? 🙂 I started telling her about my allergies. It was at that moment, time seemed to stand still. She looked at me and almost demanding an answer and said, “Are you a Christian?” My standard church-taught response was, I guess so, I hope so, if it’s God’s will? After all, you had to be humble and God might have thought I was being cocky or prideful, if I answered in the affirmative. She stared at me and her radiant smile became a focused, serious and angry face, “Well don’t you know that by his stripes we were healed!!!!” Well, I guess not. In fact, I felt like I was the only one left on earth that didn’t know! And on top of that, I had no clue what she was talking about! But I certainly had never heard anyone, say anything, about the Bible with such conviction. It was one of those moments where I just knew, I was a part of something extraordinary, but I had no idea what it was.
Shortly after this, I met ‘The Teacher.’ Here was another person that had the energy of their conviction, love for God, love for His Word, love for God’s people and anyone that he came in contact with. He knew the Bible, he understood it and he taught so simply that even a fool and a child-like, like me, could understand it. There was just something about being in his presence! There was life in his eyes and it affected me greatly. So, when he said, “I wish I was the man I know to be,” I had a real problem with that! I thought, surely, if anyone on earth could understand those two and could empathize with what they felt, on the road to Emmaus, it would have been him! I mean, it’s like the little poem I came to really like—
“God has no hands but our hands with which to give them bread, He has no feet but our feet with which to walk among the almost dead, We say the we are his and that HE is ours, Deeds (ACTION) are the proof of this, not words and these are the proving hours.”
As the Word says, first, someone has to be sent, then teach and then the signs, miracles and wonders, follow. Jesus Christ is not here. If we want to see him, then we have to be like him. This is the reason they were first called Christians and by those which were not Christians, I might add. It’s Christ in us the hope of glory! Imagine standing in front of a mirror. What you see is your own reflection. But as our minds are renewed to The Word of God, it allows the spirit of God within us to project and then reflect, Jesus Christ to our own eyes and to the eyes of the world that see us. Why? Because as he is, so are we in this world!
Now I, as an ignorant and unlearned man, may not be a Biblical scholar, the greatest believer to have ever walked the earth or the greatest witness, but ‘On Being’ a Christian, there is a thing or two I do know. I know of whom I have believed. And I know that study of the rightly divided Word of God will transform me or anyone to be like him. ‘On Being’ a Christian is neither a spiritual plateau to reach in this life nor an elusive dream to never obtain because of, the limitations of my flesh. It is a forward-looking journey, always reaching, always looking, always asking, always studying, always doing my best and always expecting, God to do the rest.
“On Being, in this life, it is neither a final destination, nor its often detours, it’s the journey!”
I would just like to believe that if He sends an email, sends me a text message, sends a tweet, posts something to me on Facebook or sends something by the messenger app, calls me on the phone or knocks on my door, I’m smart enough to have my smart phone with me or that I answer the freaking door!!!! 🙂
As far as I am concerned, music has two purposes in a worship service. It is to bless not impress, by opening the heart to receive the Word of God. Its second is, to sustain and stir that Word in a heart, after it has been opened by the Word of God. Sometimes, after he taught and the room grew quiet and still, with his eyes moistening, the Teacher would call out, “Where’s my Debra?” One of ‘The Teacher’s’ favorite songs and mine is, ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus’. It is an old song, written in 1918. This song has been performed by many including: Elvis Presley, Alan Jackson and Amy Grant, among many others in the past and currently. I looked for and listened to these on YouTube and other video sites. None are equal to how I first heard it from “Debra.” She sang it A cappella. A cappella is Italian for, “in the manner of the chapel”. It is music that is specifically sung by a group or a soloist, without instrumental accompaniment. I can still see and hear in my mind, the beautiful young woman and her soulful voice. Her name was, Debra Sleeper. I looked for information, audio and/or video of her singing this song to have shared it with you, but to no avail. So, I will share the lyrics to this beautiful song and information about the author.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
His words shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Author and Composer, Helen H. Lemmel, 1864-1961
Published by Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics Provided By LyricFind Inc.
Let him project from within and reflect out
‘On Being’, on being Christian is, to continually and continuously, turn our eyes upon, Jesus Christ.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“The author and composer of this hymn [‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’], Helen H. Lemmel, relates that one day, in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled, ‘Focused.’ The pamphlet contained these words: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.”
These words made a deep impression upon Helen Lemmel. She could not dismiss them from her mind. She recalls this experience, following the reading of that tract:
“Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.”
“Helen Howarth Lemmel was born on November 14, 1864, in Wardle, England. She was the daughter of a Wesleyan Methodist pastor, and she came to this country with her family at the age of twelve. Helen lived briefly in Mississippi before settling in Wisconsin. Soon, she developed a reputation as a brilliant singer, even studying private voice in Germany for four years. She traveled widely throughout the Midwest during the early 1900’s, giving concerts in many churches. Later, Mrs. Lemmel taught voice at the Moody Bible Institute and then at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. In 1961, Helen Lemmel settled in Seattle, Washington, where she remained active with Christian activities, as a member of the Ballard Baptist Church of that city, during the last days of her life.”
“In addition to being known as a brilliant singer and musician, Mrs. Lemmel was also widely recognized as a woman with remarkable literary ability. She wrote more than five hundred hymns and poems. Mrs. Lemmel also authored a very successful book for children entitled, ‘Story of the Bible’ and composed many children’s musical pieces. She remained active for God in her musical and literary pursuits, until her home-going at the age of ninety-seven.”
‘On Being’, may this, The Gathering Place, here be (for all those which come here), be like a mini gathering together until we are gathered together with him—
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons [and daughters] of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons [and daughters] of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man [or woman] that hath this hope in him [or her] purifieth himself [or herself], even as he is pure.”
ROTTALTOTAYBO Rolling on the tummy and laughing to tears your belly off
Good Morning. It has come to my attention (incredible as it seems) that there may be some that have never heard of, have never experienced and have never enjoyed the MANY benefits of, The HA HA Game!
Each person places his or her head on another person’s tummy, so that everyone is connected. The 1st person says “Ha”, then the 2nd person “Ha-ha” and so on. The goal is to get all the way through the group without anyone laughing. Right, like that will ever happen! It’s infectious, contagious and hilarious! See how long it takes for everyone to roar and literally stream tears of joyous nearly uncontrollable (dare I write belly) laughter!!!
Now the best way is to form a circle. Obviously the first person would have to rest two heads on their belly, the second and the last person’s heads. I volunteer as I can easily accommodate 2 heads on my present belly! 🙂
As an icebreaker. What a Great way to meet people! Right, try this at a party or at work! Maybe a political rally? Sure, put the DEM’s, GOP’s and INDY’s together doing this and we just might become, the UNITED States of America again! Caution, people who laugh together might just not only get-along, get things done and etc., but they might actually learn to like each other!
For those that seem to have no sense of humor or have forgotten theirs, they just might discover or uncover what has been there all along!
As a stress reliever. “Do I need to explain how this would be possible,” said the person whose head is bouncing off another’s tummy and someone’s head is bouncing off of yours? It’s kind of hard to be depressed too, if you are LYAATO (laughing your ass and tummy off)! 🙂
Good medicine! OMG, YES! Laughter is good medicine. It increases “endorphin rushes,.” like exercising and other activities which produce euphoric highs!
Increase of dopamine. Dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Increase of serotonin includes the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Increase of circulation. Increase of oxygen intake. Do this long enough and maybe it will become your new favorite weight-loss program! WHAT? All this from the HA HA Game? YEP and more! It’s Good medicine!
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…”
Proverbs 17:22a King James Version (KJV)
Well, what are you waiting for? Ha. Ha, Ha. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. HaHaHaHaHaHa!!! 🙂
“Darn it, hurry the heel up, I can’t stand to hear “sock it to me one more time!””
I’m sure they went in the wash, but were missing in the dry
I’ve searched high and low, it made me want to cry
Some say the Sock Monster ate them, but I’ve never seen a one
Or evidence of sockfuzz poop, No there’s never, ever— been none
The ones remaining were lonely, lamenting inside their drawer
Some got mad and I could hear them, yell and scream and roar
What happened to them, could they just never cope?
Was it just the hard water or did they not like the soap?
Oh why, oh why, did they all just suddenly disappear?
Was it an Alien snatch, through the atmosphere?
Was it the Sock Gnome— That took them home?
Or was it tutu attired and hairy,
The twink of the Sock Fairy?
I ran an ad that they’d be found and quickly returned to me
“HELP, Missing Socks, Footloose and Fancy Free”
Well, that didn’t work— I felt like such a jerk
So, I tried to help and made a sign and tried to get them dates
“Single, Clean and Lonely Socks, Looking for New Sole Mates”
Well, not either nor neither did that work, Oh forlorn am I, alas
And every time I walked by their drawer, they tried to kick my ass
I tried to find something useful, for the singles all to do
But they all just stared at me, as if I had no clue
No, they did not take too kindly and they’d all moan and gripe
If ever I wrapped them around, some stupid leaking pipe
I’d turn them into friendly sock puppets and then to my surprise
The next time I saw them, they were missing all their eyes
I’ve tried decorating them, so they’d feel more cool
And every time I did, they just called me a fool
So I’ve learned to sleep with all their complaining and their noise
Stuck in the drawer the single socks— both girls and boys
Sock Puppet? Heel No! I’ve got feelings!!
Sock Bird of Paradise
But long l kept inside my heart, what truly was their missing fates?
Yes, what has befallen, all those missing mates?
Then I noticed, my bank account was overdrawn,
Little by little and for a long time, this went on!
For food and drinks and beachy stuff, the charges read
Oh my conundrum and Oh— the grumbling of anger shed!
Just when I thought they were dead and buried in the sockyard,
Out of the blue and in the mail— a postcard
But adding insult to injury, it was NOT addressed to me
Oh no, it was to all the single socks,
“Footloose and Fancy Free”
It went on to say, “No Worries Be Happy, Will Send for You Soon,”
And now, all my single socks, dance and sing a different tune.
Well, at least now I know— Where the missing socks all go
Some tropical paradise, with cool ocean breeze
Warm sunny rays where nothing will freeze
Lakes and lush and green is the highland
Basking socks on— Missing Sock Island!
Posted: NO NUDE FEET ALLOWED!
These are the major, missing sock myths: The Sock Gnome, The Sock Alien and The Sock Fairy
There is a final revolution for all, in this circle of life. And the day comes when it seems that circle no longer turns. But not only does it continue to turn, it never stops turning!
It hurts, when we lose someone we love. It hurts when those we love, lose someone they love. And it hurts, when we meet loves of those we love and lose too, those we come to love as well.
To those that never have had nor may ever have a pet, you may never understand how a pet could ever become one of your family. And they may never understand how their loss could be, as one as any other member of your family. But I suspect, all can understand hurt and its opposite, wholeness and well being. We love in part because, in some measure and in some sense, someone gets under our skin, is absorbed into our bloodstream and goes directly to the heart.
I could have wanted to have written this yesterday 1/22/16. I could have grieved or shared something with those to whom this event first came to know and feel its sting, first. But it was difficult (if not impossible), for me to have done, when I was surrounded by three grandchildren, full of life and joy that were contributing to my wholeness and sense of well being, for most of that day. And now, I am mindful, not of the hurt so much as, remembering, wholeness and well-being!
Such for me was Punk, not my cat, not my care and concern, but a cat I met in Australia, just a few short years ago, that got under my skin.
He was unique in that he only had three legs and it took me an entire whole 24 hours to figure that out, that he only had three! He was unique in that he moved as well as, if not better than, most cats with four legs. He was unique in that he would just make himself at home on your lap or where you slept and right into your heart. He was unique in that I had never before or since, met a cat that loved so much to get underneath the covers! He was unique in that he loved most everyone. He was unique in that his curiosity usually always, resulted in some very imaginative and creative play. It is not always what we’ve not, but how we use what we’ve got that really matters the most!
Having Punk get under my skin the way that he did, surely could not linger because, my time with him at his home in Australia was just a month, How attached to someone could we become, in just a month? After all, he was not my cat; not my care and concern. He was there and I was here.
Then— Punk came to live with us. And he came to get under my skin, again, and into my heart for days and months. Almost daily, we’d talk about some things and often just about nothing that mattered at all. The conversation was mostly non-important, the ‘hanging out together’ was really all that mattered. While most cats love to crawl up and lay upon a blanket on your lap, Punk would crawl up and get underneath that blanket or under the covers of our bed and sleep this way through the night, under the covers, under my skin, into my bloodstream and into my heart.
Punk was a survivor! He survived the loss of one leg and thrived with three. He had a heart condition and he survived that anyway. When he came to live with us, he survived and thrived in a new country, with new people and in a new environment. He survived the many run-ins with our one and only cat, Bella. To her discredit, Bella is a scaredy cat and pretty darn anti-other-cat-social. To Punk’s credit, he usually won all arguments! 🙂
Punk even survived me! 🙂
Punk survived surgery here, for Hodgkin lymphoma. He never complained about all that was done to him, before and after his surgery.
Punk survived to be returned to his immediate family; his ‘first family,’ here, after they came home to NY.
When I first knew that Punk would be coming to live with us for awhile, his human father Jonathan, said to me, “Your’e never going to want to let him go!” My only edit to that statement is, I never will!
Cats are curios creatures, but Punk found such creative ways to enjoy his joy, from the simplest things as a ‘cat pillar,’ a box or a bag.
Punk’s ‘sunny side up’ disposition, at our home 2016. Notice, Punk uses the window for the full effect! 🙂
Yesterday, Punk’s heart gave out, but not before imparting it to many others. Yesterday, Punk left a hole in many hearts when he left this life. I would have loved to have seen him one more time, but he left me some things that I’ll never forget and they remain with me still!
Love is NOT a measurement of how much, how long; how much stronger or deeper one loves over any other. It is something that either gets under your skin or it doesn’t. It survives anything and everything! It enters as a contribution to one’s wholeness and sense of well being, which are opposite of the hurt we experience, throughout our lives. Yes, it comes and gets under our skin, enters the bloodstream and goes straight to the heart. And when we feel its loss and grieve and mourn, we should be mindful that what we got under our skin, that entered our bloodstream and that got into our hearts, still remains! Memories are the token reminders of wholeness and well-being. Thank you Punk, for so entering me and for your ever reminder to—
Be WHOLE – Be WELL!
Punk – Mr. Punkle Pants – January 22, 2016
A sense of wholeness and well-being is, in the bag! 🙂
How was your December? We just got home yesterday on December 30th. After unloading the car, and putting most everything away, some laundry, checking in with family that we safely made it home, catching up on the mail and news and some dinner and a great amount of joyful reflection, we realized that there are many whose lives living or lost, have not had the same joyful December as we have been blessed with. And I feel their woes and pains, truly I do. But isn’t this an apropos time to share some good news? I believe so!
This true life story began with just a bunch of notes.
Just a bunch of notes in a jar presented to the new Mommy 12/25/15
Just a jar of nine months of notes in Joshua’s room
For us, December has been fraught with birthdays, announcements of coming births, a new born little bundle of miracles from eight years of trying, meeting new family, making new friends, celebrating Christmas with family with before mentioned new baby boy, enjoying culinary delights made possible by many participates, enjoyable and safe travel with conditions made perfect by the unusual warm December and even passing by the World Headquarters of Duct Tape! 🙂
Duct Tape World Headquarters, near Cleveland, OH
What is more cooler and useful than duct tape except, for one this large? LOL 🙂
For 40+ years, I have been cooking and particularly, holidays meals such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the very first time (this past Thanksgiving) was I able to not only enjoy the cooking, but to actually enjoy the service that I always seek to serve others. For years, I have forewarned and warned others, NOT to come into the kitchen or even speak to me while I am cooking, less I bite your freaking head off! At a meal prior to Thanksgiving, I tried something new. I played some low volume classical music in the background while I cooked, hoping it might take off the edge. It worked, but I didn’t know why at the time.
Having some success, I hoped this was no fluke and I wanted to repeat the classical music thing at Thanksgiving. By then I understood why. When we were growing up, us, three chil-ren, listened to what our parents liked, Big Band, Swing, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis and so, but certainly NOT classical music. However, coming home from school and after homework and chores of course, we were allowed to watch cartoons in the afternoon and on Saturday mornings. From Walt Disney, Hana Barbera, Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker), Warner Brothers and everything else, they all used classical music.
When I grew up, I knew nothing about this music or who wrote it, but when the music played, I sure recognized the tunes from the cartoons. So, in my adult mind, I equated happy times as a child and when the music played, my little old heart just thumped and fluttered happily while cooking! 🙂
Besides the music, there were two more things never done before, I started the actual cooking. I cooked the dressings or stuffing the day before and my wife had beautifully set the table, the night before, Thanksgiving. I was organized; everything was set. The results? Not only did everyone enjoy the food and the fellowship, so did I! I was determined that this would be my new normal and it would be repeated at Christmas! It was, but with another first.
Our Christmas dinner was actually on the 26th. I started out a little tense because, we had to open stockings and presents before the table could be set. The table would be in the living room. The dining room was used for delicious breakfast cinnamon rolls and scones and mimosas, all lovingly prepared by others. I had the low classical music playing in the kitchen as I prepared the turkey and got it in the oven, set and ready to check again in ninety minutes. I made coffee and eggnog lattes, before my cappuccino/espresso machine literally blew up. No one was hurt and no damage was done and no one other than myself and my wife knew. We heated the eggnog in the microwave and I made espresso in the brew coffeepot. No one knew and they still loved the results.
So, after breakfast, stockings and presents, the kitchen and dining room were mine. Our host and hostess reminded everyone that there was “a force field” around the kitchen and to not go in. The word was out, don’t come into the kitchen and talk to me. The first person I allowed in was my bother-in-law Lenny, the husband of my sister. I wrote “allowed,” but better words would be, ‘OK with,’ as I don’t think he would have accepted NO as a response from me. 🙂
But Lenny became the de facto kitchen manager, keeping everything clean and organized, even though I told him I clean as I go. He just smiled and kept doing his thing. I had only two choices, to freak out or just accept his help graciously. He later carved not the one turkey, but both, yes, two turkeys. I wanted everyone to have leftovers. The next day there were leftovers. Then our sister made incredible soup. Yesterday, she made Shepherds pie with all that was left. This all as she wrote was, the turkeys’, “delicious history.”
The first of 2 turkeys, the beginning of its “delicious history”
A couple of people came around the corner and asked if they could help me do anything. I kept my peace and politely said no. Then they proceeded to just have a conversation in the kitchen while I was cooking. I had to laugh because, I was totally OK with this. Then I discovered, I was not playing the music in the background. Still, I was OK. Later, I found out that one of the ladies that had asked me if she could help, has great difficulty in staying out of the kitchen because, she loves to cook too.
Say what? Three people in my kitchen away from kitchen? 🙂
I gathered everyone in the living room and made an announcement. It was something new to me and I was going to give it a try. I asked anyone that wanted to help, to help me!!! OMG was this a big deal to me, huge! It’s not so much that I was a control freak, but I suppose I was. Everything has to look good, be hot and served at the same time. It has to smell good, taste good, rekindle fond memories and promote good conversation before during and after. There is a reason for everything I try to do. It’s a lot of work and I take it seriously. So, instead of doing everything myself as I’ve done for years, now I was going to allows others in. How was I going to pull this off?
I have everything any chef in the world has, except for the paper, the certificate from a culinary institute. I am confident in my ability. I have cooked and prepared this menu countless times for countless people and have perfected my own recipes as much as a perfectly imperfect being can perfect anything. Still, I brought my own notebook of my recipes. I had previewed this not-my-kitchen and knew where everything was. I was set and nothing was left to chance. I was prepared, for any unforeseen thing.
I am not about praise! I am results oriented and happy to be in the background, to work behind the scenes and to SERVE and spatter joy! But others wanted to do the same thing. I just wasn’t until this moment sure, who would be found in the kitchen, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Well, I opened the front door and kicked Mr. Hyde in the rear and out, never to return again! No matter how great the conductor, it’s all about the music. One can conduct all day long, but people want to see the musicians play and hear the music swell. Other people wanted to spatter joy too!
Our Table – Japanese theme plates, Christmas Tree folded napkins, Chrisitmas Tree butter pats and even a nice warm crackling fire on TV in the background 🙂
Christmas tree napkin folding was done by my wife Susan and Quin, the mother of the husband of my niece. My sister peeled and mashed and made the potatoes. Others set out the pre-made Christmas Tree pats of butter I made and brought and they set and decorated the table.
Everything was being taken care of, lovingly, graciously and happily! As I watched, there was no classical music playing. I was watching a beautiful symphony played out on their faces and by their hands of service and all before my ears. And the finale?
Comments from those that did not like turkey was, “I loved it” and “it was good.” A comment from one that did not like dressing or stuffing was, “I loved it.” Other comments were, “the Best Christmas Ever!” For myself personally, this was the best meal I have ever HELPED to prepare and have so thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish! This is HOW to cook! Spatter Joy!
Though I have tried to source the following quote and I believe its origin was Ralph Waldo Emerson, I have not been able to corroborate it. But it fits here.
“A true man(or woman) is absolutely confident in their own inspiration (or ability).”
Now, I have not only permanently kicked out Mr. Hyde from my kitchen, and now understand, not only the science and art of cooking, but the heart. Now, I can honestly teach others not only how to cook 5 star culinary delights— anyplace and at anytime, but NOW, I can show HOW it can all be enjoyed from start to finish! I highly recommend a movie we watched in Ohio, ‘The 100 Foot Journey’
How was your December? Mine was just getting started! The draw of the figurative centerpiece of all the festivities was a brand new baby boy, born on December 19th, 2015. He could have been born on the 18th, but that date remains the birthday of one of our sons. And he could have been born on his due date of the 29th, but that date remains our brother’s birthday. So each have their day and were born precisely, right on time. But this brand new little baby boy, named Joshua, is the first and only Great Nephew to my brother and I. He is our sister’s first and only grandson and grandchild. Babies draw people together.
Proud papa and baby Joshua in his camo outfit
My sister and her husband came from Raleigh, NC. My wife and I came from NY. My brother and his wife came from IL. We three all, came to Ohio and at different times of arrival. That’s a big deal. There were long drive times, costs and other matters involved for all of us to get there and I for one, am deeply appreciative and will forever appreciate their efforts! For myself, I only could get in three hours of sleep before we made the (2nd) 7 hour trip to Ohio. One has to stay awake somehow! Well, I am a mischief magnet, TRE (a Target Rich Environment), a silly man, an Unky (uncle), a Gunky (great uncle) and probably only about, fo-yeer-ohd (four years old). 🙂
Chef Donnie-nay from Paris 🙂 OK, Macedon, NY, in his Red silicone spill-stopper beret 🙂
Me and My Minion
My Minion from Joshua
My parking ticket in this life has been validated and acknowledged, revealing in a comment, “the secret to my success.” A single image and a quote confirms this—
And just so you do not misunderstand, it is confirmed again by a single video—
Dancing with Dahni
If it’s still not clear, try this—
“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oh, but there’s more, much more. And if you think this is about me, or my family or December or the holidays, keep reading my friend, KEEP READING!
On December 29th, 2015, we took my brother and his wife out to dinner and our family treated them, to celebrate his birthday.
From left to right: Baby Joshua, Daddy Larry, Mommy Sierra Lee, Nanny Grandmother Carol Lee, Popi Grandfather Lenny, Susan Great Aunt, Donnie Great Uncle, Susan Great Aunt and sitting on the floor, brother Richard, Great Uncle and birthday boy. 🙂
All these many events culminated with something that has not occurred in some thirty+ years around the holidays. Our brother, and sister and I were all together, TOGETHER!
Richard, Carol Lee and Donnie
The craziness, silliness and love and heart remains after all these years and though the time was short, it was FULL and it was as if, we never missed a single beat.
So, as this month and this year comes to a close, I will raise a glass to our grandparents, Lilian & Stanley, Papa & Nanny, all our ancestors before them and to our parents Calvin and Jean, from which all those we have been touched by and whose lives we touch, has been made possible!
And this is the purpose of the Gathering Place. Though it is our home, we were not here, we were in Ohio. The Gathering place is not just a place, it is a heartbeat, where ever and with whomever it may beat. Though many could not be there with us and many had not the same kind of December or year as we have and many suffer, this is how life is supposed to be, should be and for us, it was, it really, really was this way! So, much has spilled over, into so many, many lives.
So, to you for the new year and forever, SPATTER JOY!