And Momma still lives…

If I’ve heard it once, I have heard it a million times.  At least that’s the saying, and it’s close to the truth in my case.  All my life I have heard “Your mom will never be dead as long as you’re living.”

Dad and me on prom night

Dad and me before prom–for a second I thought it was Mom

And it’s true.  I look just like her.    I even sound like her.  From an early age.

One day many many moons ago as I was talking to someone, standing next to our vehicles parked along Main Street, a lady I didn’t know came up to me and asked, “Are you Amy Rutherford’s daughter?”  I was shocked.  When I affirmed that, yes, I was her daughter, the lady said, “I knew you had to be.  You sound just like her.”

So not only did I look like her, I sounded like her as well.  I’m sure I still do.

 

Mom isn’t the only person I resemble.  There are many similarities in my dad’s family as well.

It’s interesting to me the way the gene pool asserts itself across the generations, on both sides of the fence so to speak, Mom’s side as well as Dad’s side.

So who do you look like in your family?

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Rewards Are Just So Nice

If I have heard it a hundred times, I have said it two hundred: Poor people have poor ways.  I am not talking about destitute; that is a whole different animal.  Their ways are unique and sad and so very difficult, and I could use a thousand adjectives.  My mother grew up in the Great Depression, so I have heard stories of destitution.  If you have never read Grapes of Wrath, get a box of tissue and get the book.  I still cry when I think of that book.  I cry when I think of people who are destitute.  And I cry as I am spurred to do something tangible for these people.

Pictures of the Great Depression:

Pictures of current situations:

But this blog today is about poor.  About the perception of poor.  About really being poor.  And I have to confess, I really don’t know.  Not personally.  What I know is only because my mother was poor at one point in her life.  But that point in her life made a dramatic impression for all of her life, and she passed those impressions down to her children.Grandma Madeline and Mom 1925

That is Mom around 1925, maybe a year or two later.  She was born in 1920 and doesn’t look too old here.  Although the official date of the Great Depression is 1929, Mom’s family was already poor.  The ensuing years were to bring even harder times.  And those times are why she and her sisters and so many others who went through these poor times did so many of the very frugal things they did long after they were established in nice homes with good incomes and money in the bank: saving and reusing the wax paper from cereal boxes; only running enough water for the task; making their own clothes; growing big gardens and canning; hanging clothes on a clothesline with a clothes dryer sitting in the utility room.  That’s just a few.

And the older Mom got, the more she worried about having enough money to be able to take care of herself, so she wouldn’t turn on the lights till she absolutely had to and kept the heat down low and the air conditioner blowing warm air.  She would sit in her thin gown with her leg thrown over the chair arm in the 90+ heat while we who were taking care of her tried to cook and clean.  We finally rebelled and made her wear clothes as we turned the AC to a cooler setting.  Water was used sparingly.  Fans and air conditioners were turned off at night.  Food was bought on an as-needed basis with very little kept in the cabinets or the freezer.

And she would say “Poor people have poor ways.”  So even though I am not rich, neither am I poor although my upbringing has trained me to think that I am.

Which is why I love reward cards.  Which is why I shop where I get a little extra for my money (I love getting that 10 cents to a dollar off my gas at Kroger).  Which is why I use coupons.  Which is why I love Shutterfly (I have gotten so many cool free items from there).  Which is why I bring my loyalty card to be punched at CurleQ when I get hair cuts or buy merchandise.

No, I don’t need to use coupons or the reward cards.  But it is nice to be rewarded for my spending money at a certain place of business or being loyal to a certain business.  Even though I realize and understand those businesses are keeping close track of everything I purchase with that reward card, I don’t mind.

They just send me more appropriate coupons.

Open Letter to Mr. Warren Buffet

This little blog doesn’t make much difference in the world.  Not like your billions can.  All those billions you are dedicating to philanthropy.

Will this money go to better schools and universities?  I’ve read where some of your club members — for that really is all your giving pledge group is, a club for billionaires to pat themselves on the back that they aren’t really keeping all that wealth –have already given to the sports programs at universities.  I’m sure their name is on a building somewhere as it rightly should be.  They did give the money to that sports program.  I’ve also read where some have already given to Harvard for molecular causes of disease research and another to Cornell for medical research.

Will this money be given to the arts?  Perhaps to the schools in rural counties that can’t afford any type of art program, or music program, or dance program, or, well, any program except basic classroom classes.  Will there be a head honcho who decides who is in more need of these pledged billions?  Say, Harvard or Gallatin County K-12?

Will this money go to provide a stronger foundation of learning where it needs to be strong:  In the elementary schools, in the poor communities in dire need of funds,  in the high schools in these same types of communities?  These areas are where you will find your future Americans that will one day buy the products and use the services that made you the billionaires you are today.  Perhaps one of those industrious persons will become a hedge fund manager themselves someday and boost their rags to riches stories.  Anything can happen when one is given opportunity and has a drive for the bigger and the better.

The word “opportunity” is why I write this open letter that you will never see.

Most of the giving of the $373.25 billion dollars in private giving is given by U. S. citizens.   (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/content.view/cpid/42)

The giving per income level and amount given may rival your mighty pledges.  The boasting of your wealth sickened me from the very first media outpouring.  The fact that you are proudly giving your money away to charity also sickens me.  I and my friends give to charity.  With our paltry earnings we give substantial sums to charity.  We will never have a wing of a university with our name emblazoned on it, but we may have given a child in our local school system a chance to go to Washington D.C.  We may not be able to help with finding a cure for a dreaded disease, but we may have helped a family who has someone with that dreaded disease to eat and pay the bills.  We may not be able to provide opportunities for those in the arts to progress and sell their wares so to speak, but we have provided those who have lost their jobs with smaller, less-paying  jobs to provide for some of their needs.

This country needs less of your charity, Mr. Buffett, and more of your ingenious money-making ideas that will benefit its citizens, not just you and your chosen few. My first thought when I heard of your glorified club was Why doesn’t he take that money and provide incomes for people?

Build factories wherein  you don’t make one dime, but the people working in it do.

Provide those gum-selling opportunities where people are given the chance to sell their wares with less risk and more gain.

Give children the chance to learn well: The chance to use new books instead of the hand-me-downs of classes and classes before them; the chance to see the world with a field trip that’s beyond the public park; the chance to embrace those arts you speak of so highly with an arts program in their school.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  A man with your mental acuity, your influence on your billionaire buddies and their mental acuity, and all those billions you all are just eagerly waiting to give away should be enough to create jobs as well as promote all those things you want your billions to promote.

We need jobs, Mr. Buffett.  Can you and your cronies not come up with this fantastic Giving Pledge to constructively help the backbone of America?small town 2

You want a museum in which to give a billion?  Visit any small community whose coal mines are closing and businesses have dried up and blown away.  Visit any river town whose docks are closed and boat traffic floated off.  Visit any rural county.  Visit any rural school.

I thought this article by thedailybeast right on point.  I’ve been thinking this sentiment ever since your high and mighty giving pledge.

“Perhaps the most troubling issues posed by the Gates-Buffett crusade is its potential to intensify the inequities that exist both in the nonprofit world and in the rest of society.” wrote Pablo Eisenberg, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute, in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy column. “Foundations, corporations, and other forms of institutional philanthropy tend to favor the nation’s most-privileged citizens and neglect the neediest people and organizations.”  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/08/06/buffet-pledge-where-the-billions-will-go.html

Noaming

No, the title is not supposed to be “roaming;” however, it is sort of like roaming.  When we go a “roaming,” we learn all sort of things, discover wonders, revisit once-discovered favorites, learn something new, see something we haven’t seen before… the list is long.

So as I have moments of time during this day, I plug in my earphones and listen to/watch Noam Chomsky.  I may or may not agree with all he says, but listening to his perspective and educated opinions causes me to question some of the opinions I may have had or bolsters some that I still have.   Those opinions that we make based in feeling, tradition, or the biased/ distorted media.

Here is just a little sample:

One video leads to another to another to another.  And from Professor Chomsky, I then want to see the opinions of other learned people, people that really, truly know what’s going on in the world and know  who is/are making the decisions.  I want to find out just exactly what the decisions are that are being made and how those decision affect the world.

I will warn you:  It’s addictive to watch these types of things that inform and develop independent thinking, perhaps provide a thought outside the box of memes on Facebook.

But so worth it.

 

 

Thinking about Thanking

Today at my brother’s house, my little niece, Charlotte Ann, had a prayer/speech she had prepared.  In it she wanted us all to think about what we were thankful for, and the plan was then to share those thoughts.Brenda in thought

We never did get around to sharing our thankful thoughts.  We were too busy eating and playing games and eating and yelling over each other to try to be heard and eating and laughing and eating and accusing the guys of cheating and eating and actually cheating ourselves.  Until we were so full and so hoarse and so tired that we all scattered and went our own ways to our own abodes or wherever else we had planned to go.

The thing we didn’t do, of course, was share in our bounty of thankfulness.  And bounty is an accurate description of the list of things to be thankful about:

1.  My salvation through Jesus the Christ.

2.  Family who love and fight and play and strive to make time to get together as our families expand and that time is more precious.

3.  A home.

4.  Plenty of food.

5.  Work that provides me with a paycheck and work that must be done in order to keep a clean house, grow a garden, have a lawn… you get the drift.

6.  The opportunity to help others whether it is monetarily or hands on.

7.  Good choices.

8.  Good doctors and staff that actually care about one’s health.

9.  My church.

10.  You guys who read my blog.  🙂

As I ponder on my good life, my heart cries for those who are in real struggles right now:  mental health, the fight for life as they struggle with a disease, the loss of a loved one, drug addiction, sexual abuse, hunger, oppression of different forms…

God, pour mercy and grace upon these people.  Give me direction to turn my thanksgiving into theirs as well.

New Blog – New Theme Day

In my quest for just the right theme for my dear-to-me-yet-mostly-neglected blog in the last year or two, I am changing the theme (background and set-up of the page) about as often as I post a blog.  I want something clear and easy-to-read.

This one looks promising.

IMG_8489

I WILL find the perfect theme!

It’s bright; it states the name and purpose of the blog well at the top; I kind of like the apron signature on the top left with my mission statement and AAA, etc., at the top so anyone curious can click on them to find out a little more about me.

I haven’t changed much or any since I started blogging, so no need to update.  Maybe I’ll swing by there to make sure.  Maybe I should put an updated photo, but I haven’t changed too much there either:  a few more wrinkles perhaps, a few extra pounds that will be gone by spring or sooner.

summer in a nutshell

               OOPS!  NOT ME!  MY DAUGHTER!             But isn’t she beautiful?

Keep going all the way to the bottom, and it very precisely and easily lets you leave a message–

I LOVE MESSAGES! 

— as well as gives you other sites to visit, “Tasty Tidbits,” or topics from which to choose to read, “Whet Your Appetite,” or how to subscribe to my blog.  Free.  You can subscribe to something for FREE!  Now isn’t that an incentive?cropped-cropped-blogger-bren-20111.jpg

 

 

I Miss…

Mom

Mom

I miss my mom.  Even though she was 90 and had lived a good, long life, sometimes I want to just have a little sit-down like we did those last few years of her life.  Those years when she was forced to sit still.  Those years after she had fallen so many times she finally let us help; she finally laid it down.

Of course, it wasn’t long after that she took up residence in her new, finer home:  heaven.

Dad

Dad

I miss my dad.  There are so many times, after all these years that he has been gone, I still think, “I’ll ask Dad about that.”  We finally got to know him better those last months when we were staying round the clock with him, taking turns caring for him.  Enjoying his stories, the time with him, the good moments.  Like Mom, he didn’t care to live in this realm after he got really down, not able to care for himself.

He moved, too, soon after we started that round-the-clock care.

Where's my cigar?

Where’s my cigar?

I miss being a child.  We strive so hard, and seems so long, to become an “adult.”  My grandchildren are doing that right now.  How I would love to go back and walk on that hot, gooey pavement up the hill to play with friends again, run around and catch lightening bugs (at least that’s what we called them), get excited over things that I don’t seem to get so excited about anymore.  Look forward to going back to grade school in the fall as Kate is.  She is excited about going back this year.  She’s ready for it just as I was when I was her age.I Miss

I miss making pizza, Chef Boyardee in the box, with my sister and brother on Saturdays and eating ice cream, New York Vanilla.  I can’t count how many half gallons we ate of that delicious ice cream.  There is no ice cream that good anymore.  Covered in chocolate syrup.  There were a few perks to being children of the owners of a grocery store.  I can’t eat ice cream like that anymore.  Not unless I want to buy new clothes all the time.

I miss things I’ve lost, friends I haven’t seen or talked to in a while or have moved on like my mom and dad, stamina, seeing without glasses…

the list goes on and on.

What do you miss?

They’re Driving Me Crazy!!!

Brenda in thoughtNever start with I.  But in this case I have to because it is I who cannot wrap my raised-on-paper brain around all my computery gadgets.  It exhausts me even now just writing about it.

My motto “Never Give Up” (which I might add I have had since high school although I didn’t know that I had it since high school until right now actually) has kept me going and learning and surviving all these long years of my life.  Even when trying to master my computery gadgets.  I have a real love/hate relationship going on with them:  Kindle, MacBook Air, HP, iphone, Diamante and Case Catalyst, Roku… I’ll even include the DVD player for the girls.

music blog 6Today I’ve been trying to get the Amazon Prime music on the Roku. Grrrrrrrr                   It sounds so easy when I read about it on my Amazon page:  if you have Amazon Prime, you get all this cool music (gist of music blogthe Amazon music page).  The Roku has a music icon on my Amazon station because, yes, I did subscribe to Amazon Prime.  No problem.  Well, no problem after I figure out how to download-upload-inload-outload-whateverIneedtodo to get it on the Roku and get my yet another password going.

music blog 3If it weren’t for my good friend, Google, I would never be able to get anything accomplished.  Even then, it’s a slow, slow process.

Don’t Teach Your Children To Go To Church

Don't TeachLately, I’ve been thinking a lot about church attendance:  why people go or don’t go to church.

It dawned on me this past Sunday, as I listened to our pastor preach about John the Baptist, what the answer was.  He talked about the way John the Baptist lived, eating locusts and honey and wearing rough clothing because all he cared about was bringing the message that God had ordained him to bring to the world.  He cared for nothing but the job set out for him.  His love and focus was to do that job well because he loved the God who had called him to do it.

And that, my friends, is why we steadfastly attend church.  Unless, of course, you are a Sadducee or a Pharisee.  If that is the case, then you are attending church to be seen and let all your “good” works be known to the world, whether your world is large or small.

But for the Johns (hmmm)(I should rephrase that)… but for those John the Baptist church attendees (much better), it is because you love love love God and cannot stay away from the place Jesus brought into being, the church.  He went every week, and so that is what we want to do.  He set the example, and so we want to follow that example.  He is our focus, our engine, our sheep herder.  He is the reason we love to go to church.

So don’t teach your children to go to church because they will quit going to this social place their parents seem to like.  Teach them Jesus.

Because once you fall in real love with Him, you never want to leave.  Because once you learn who Jesus is, you want to be closer and closer.  Because once you really understand what it all means, you will always have it in your heart and soul and mind.

Nehemiah 8:8

They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.

Maybe, just maybe…

church

For the past few weeks I’ve been responding to articles and posts about churches and Christians being judgmental and cold.  Because I don’t think they are.  I’ve tried to explain why I feel the way I do, but either I’m not expressing myself well, (happens a lot) or I’m flat out wrong.

Maybe I have my head stuck in the sand.  Maybe all these things are true, and I’m just not noticing it.  Because the truth is I’m pretty busy on Sunday mornings.  I play piano for my little church, so as soon as Sunday School is over, I go straight to the piano.  After church is over, I’m back at the piano.  So I’m a bit out of the loop, I guess. Maybe, just maybe Perhaps all this negativity is going on around me that I don’t even know about.

But maybe, just maybe, we’re all too sensitive.  Maybe, just maybe, I am too sensitive about these posts.

Maybe, just maybeIn defense of my sisters and brothers in Christ, though, sometimes we just don’t know what to do because no matter what one does, it’s going to be wrong.  We were too pushy; we were too cold; we didn’t look at a person properly; we asked someone to do something.  I have heard all the excuses.  On the other end of that spectrum I’ve also seen some of the older members (most have died out now) protect their pew with a vengeance.  And I remember the dos and don’ts of my mother’s era.

It boils down to Do you really want to be in worship with a bunch of people JUST LIKE YOU?  Because that’s what it is.  People full of faults trying to overcome those faults because they love Jesus and want to be more like him.  Imperfect people saved by grace.  People with personalities that sometimes clash, sometimes mesh, and sometimes seem distant due to circumstances in their lives.  

I’ve been to many, many churches.  I’ve seen people so happy they dance in the aisles; I’ve seen people so heartsick it was all they could do to muster up the energy to be in God’s house; I’ve been hugged, really hugged, by the best huggers in the world; I’ve been encouraged by the best encouragers ever; I’ve prayed with the mightiest prayer warriors.  I’ve stepped over and talked to the quiet people, and I’ve joined the rowdy ones.  That’s only a few of the personalities.

Jesus set the example for church attendance.  Every week He was in the synagogue.  I’m fairly certain there were quite a few people who did not like Him and were more than downright rude.  But He went anyway.  Maybe, just maybe, He had the option of several synagogues to choose from when He attended.  But, unlike us, it probably wouldn’t have mattered to Him where He went.  His mission was His priority.

Our country, my little town, is full of churches that are full of personality.  Go until you find a church that is just where you belong. Hopefully, without bashing the one you just attended.  There is a church personality to fit your personality, a church in tune with your thoughts and behaviors, a church that will feel like home.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the church folk who are cold and hard and judgmental.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s you.