Sunday, June 15, 2014

Things My Father Said

So, it's Father's Day and like most of us I'm sure my thoughts have been full of my father today.

My father was just on old Missouri farm boy. Born at the turn of the century-1903. Born a week after the Wright Brothers made their little flight at Kitty Hawk. Born of a different time and place.

So, I was reading something, and the person involved in the conversation is at the very least a rather strange person. So, having my father in my head I could hear him. "This one is nuttier than a peach orchard boar." Now, that is a colorful colloquialism, and I grew up hearing him say it,and while I knew what he meant by it-today, I went off in search of why that was a saying, because most sayings come from somewhere.

This one has several variations I learned on the internets. Crazy as a peach orchard boar, drunk as a peach orchard boar. It turns out that quite often farmers used pigs to help in the orchard. Pigs root, so pigs would be useful to help keep the ground around the trees from becoming compacted. Trees grow better. Pigs eat, so fruit that dropped to the ground would feed the pigs. Fruit that had been on the ground a while ferments and pigs who ate too many fermented fruits would behave in crazy, humorous ways. I knew what the phrase implied, I just don't think I ever knew why, and now I do.

My father was a soft spoken man, but he always got his point across. If you were someone he considered worthless, or someone who had perpetrated something he considered heinous he would say "That one should have been drowned as a pup."

If the weather was cold and raw-it was "Colder than a well digger's ass" , which made sense. But his "colder than a witches teat" I had to look up, and it is fascinating.
..there's some history behind this wisecrack. A witch's tit (or witch's teat, to use the older spelling) supposedly left a marking
that witch hunters and courts would look for on the body of an accused person. Supposedly, witches would suckle their
familiars, and sometimes the Devil himself, from this "unholy" body part. To find these marks, as well as insensitive spots on the
skin called devil's marks--caused by the Devil's claws or teeth--the suspects were stripped, shaven, then closely examined for
any blemishes, moles, or even scars that could be labeled as diabolical. To find marks invisible to the eye, the examiner would
poke the victim inch by inch with a blunt needle (called a bodkin) until they found a spot that didn't feel pain or bled. Discovery
of these marks or spots--one supposes they would be considered cold since they were a sign of communion with the
Devil--would be "proof" of the person's dealings with Scratch, so they would be shown in full court before the execution.

Now as I read this, it dawned on me, that had someone accused me of witchcraft a few hundred years ago, I would have been executed. I have a polyneuropathy in my legs, feet, and hands. The 'bodkin'  would have found lots of spots on me that could have been used in court.

So, happy Father's Day Papa, and thanks for the lessons. A day is never lost when you have the opportunity to learn something. Only people who die young learn all they need to know in kindergarten.

Peace and blessings,

Friday, June 13, 2014

Just needed to remind myself

The quote for today is...

Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems.~~Bill Watterson~~

Sometimes when we get a problem in our life we worry that sucker to death. We look at it, and dissect it, and second guess it. Sometimes we make elaborate plans to deal with it. Sometimes we decide to ignore it, and we have to construct wieldy ways of pretending it just isn't there. Like the elephant in the living room, we have to find ways to live around it without acknowledging it. We spend tons and tons of energy without accomplishing anything. Sometimes we just try to hard. Perhaps we need to let our mind just relax, and play for a while. This is not denying a problem, we are aware that there is a problem, we are just allowing our self a time of relaxation, so that we can come back to the problem with renewed energy. Sometimes when we allow ourselves to relax a bit, and we all know this is true, the answer comes to us, seemingly out of the blue. Perhaps, out of the blue, is just us having let go long enough that our higher power could get the message through. Sometimes when we are in crisis worry mode, we make so many plans in our own power, that the answers we have been praying for can't get through. Our Higher Power is calling us, but the line is busy, our inbox is full.

So, no matter what is going on is your life, always, always remember that taking time to relax and take care of yourself is not a selfish act. It is a necessary act for your good and the good of those you love. If I didn't spend my hours meditating and praying, my life would be much more complicated. And we all know my life is way too complicated as it is! So here is to letting go for a few minutes today. Let your mind play, let your spirit relax so that you are able to make the best choices you can from a place of renewed energy. Choose to let go for awhile, it's a good choice.

Peace and Blessings,

p.s. the donate button is to the right, I hate saying that, but you never ever know.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


When did we lose the ability to empathize with people?

Last month when the weather should have been spring like, and we were still in the grip of what felt like Narnia winter I posted on facebook what I thought was a joke about being behind on the gas bill...

Dear Mother Nature,
It's the middle of MAY-I don't care how many shares of Missouri Gas Energy you have in your retirement portfolio-I am NOT turning the heat on today. 
Shivering under a quilt

Dear Mother Nature,
It's May 16. 36 degrees and a frost advisory, seriously? I'll need to find a corner and a cardboard sign to ever catch up on funding your retirement.

One of my 'friends' messaged me that they would be unfriending me because I was 'whining about being poor again.' Granted, I am not always as funny as I think I am, but 'unfriend' me for a couple of jokes about the weather?

Recently, on a message board I frequent a woman who is being treated for breast cancer vented about the paperwork needed to apply for medical financial assistance, and another poster went off on her. How dare she whine about wanting charity. She called her an ingrate and churlish. Seriously. Of course in the resulting conversation we find out that the one calling the cancer patient out had received 'financial assistance' in the past. So, for her it was 'financial assistance', but for someone else it was 'charity'.

So how did we get to the place where I can't joke about the weather or my financial problems without being considered a whiner, or a cancer patient can't vent without being shamed for needing help?

"Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It's the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else's pain is as meaningful as your own."~~Barbara Kingsolver

Empathy goes many directions. When we lose the ability to empathize, we not only lose the ability to understand and share when people are having hard times, we lose the ability to be joyful when they are being blessed. And I think that, leads to what Barbara Kingsolver describes as spiritual meanness.

So, do I need to not make jokes about my hard times? A sense of humor (and some awesome friends) helps me get through the days. Do we need to censor and not share our frustrations for fear that some else in our community has lost the ability to empathize? That won't work for me.

What will work for me is to remind myself and others that even though life is hard, I will get caught up some day because my list of blessings is longer than my list of troubles-even on days I can't see that.

So, I am sorry to have lost a friend. I wish I could have taught her to laugh with me. Because the truth is being behind on the gas bill, or having a really bare pantry because money is tight may be a problem. But, losing the ability to empathize is a far worse affliction.

The truth is in that old saying...Shared joy is joy doubled. Shared sorrow is sorrow halved. THAT is empathy in a nutshell!

Peace and Blessings,