What Church People Really Need To Know About Once-Churched People


It was never in my plan to belong to the group of the Once- Churched people. In a way that building is till ‘my’ church, and I love the friends I have who still attend. Reading this shed a bit of insight to me on why I no longer feel as though I belong there. Thank you for this blog. This was written by blogger John Pavlovitz.

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:

This message is for Church People.

It’s for those of you who are part of a faith community every week; a physical place  where you usually find yourself on Sundays. You come there willingly, expectantly, and in that place you receive encouragement and find community and feel acceptance, and where you regularly experience moments of challenge and inspiration and joy.

You feel at home there in that building, connected to those people, confident in the creeds you recite there, comforted by the songs you sing together. The sum total of what you find in that place makes you certain that God exists and makes that God feel close enough to touch. Your presence there on the inside of it all makes you better. It leaves you feeling lighter. It takes your faith deeper.

If that describes you, I celebrate what you’ve found and what you feel and what you have, because it is well worth celebrating.

But what you…

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Pretty Happy

This was written for the August 12 issue of my hometown paper, The Prospect-News.

Pretty Happy

All kiddos hear variations of ‘pretty is as pretty does’ growing up. Where did Momma get that idea anyway? Probably from Grandma, who heard it from her granny, who heard it from hers, all the way back to the 1300’s. Chaucer used it in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” around 1387. In 1776 Oliver Goldsmith penned ‘handsome is as handsome does’ in “The Vicar of Wakefield.” The lesson is universal and timeless that it isn’t the perfect pair of shoes or britches, the right hat or dress, that generates accolades. It is the actions of the ones in those shoes and britches that matter most – a life-long lesson.

In the 1994 movie favorite, Forrest Gump’s mother expanded the thought to ‘stupid is as stupid does’ that served Forrest well. A lesson learned.

“Happiness is as happiness does’ is yet another life-long lesson plan for most of us. Maybe it isn’t as elusive as it seems. We pull the strings that bring happiness our way with our thoughts, choices and actions. Benjamin Disraeli said it this way: “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”

How can we go wrong with actions filtered through ‘pretty is as pretty does’ and ‘stupid is as stupid does’ on our way to happy? We’re there before we realize it.

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A Perfectly Peelable Egg

This revision of an earlier blog post appeared in a July issue of my hometown paper – The Prospect-News.

A satisfying boiled egg eluded me for a while. I wasn’t boiling eggs in a drastically different way, but the results seemed to be drastically different.
So much so that I sensed the disappearance of one of this household’s traditional summer fare, the deviled egg. It has been one of my personal favorites to prepare and share because its simplicity is underplayed by the complicated palate of flavors, colors and textures.

A boiled egg is even more delectably delicious because it doesn’t delete dollars in a grocery budget. A lot of bang for the buck in nutrition, taste and culinary delight is waiting inside each in its own biodegradable packaging that doubles as fine food for flowerbeds.

I was almost tempted to buy Eggies, plastic containers that one empties raw eggs into before dropping into water to boil. Or was it before plopping into the microwave to heat? I didn’t really read much beyond the price tag, so I’m not positive on the correct use of the contraptions.

The fact that I am retired surfaced as the primary argument against the purchase. With all this ‘free’ time, why should I care that I have to spend several minutes peeling one silly boiled egg? Reality… Lately I was pulling off edible chunks of egg with the fraudulently fragile shell, so at the end of several minutes, I had much less of a tasty egg to slice onto a tuna sandwich or crumble over a salad.
Before I gave in to substituting mashed scrambled eggs in those dishes, I thought I would make one last calculated effort to get it right. I surfed the web for all sorts of how- to suggestions on boiling a cooperative egg, but the value of those hints is measured by consecutive successes, which I had not experienced.

Until lately! For the third time in a row, with varying numbers of eggs in boiling water containing no added ingredients, I perfectly peeled a boiled egg in seconds! No mess, no fuss.

So, I will not be grimacing at the thought of using scrambled eggs where boiled ones are preferred, nor will I be wasting my precious ‘free’ time fashioning my own experimental eggies with plastic colored eggs left over from last Easter, to the relief of my taste buds and my health for sure.

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Occupy Doghouse

Occupy Doghouse

One morning Cletus was missing, so my rooster waited and watched from a sunny spot normally shared with her, his pal and protector. Cletus was a mostly blind and somewhat deaf 13 year-old redbone hound mix. She had the rooster convinced he was safe relaxing anywhere she was close.

The second and third mornings, after signaling the days arrival from his perch in a nearby cedar, he set up post in her doghouse. He came out briefly to eat his portion of her food and drink a bit from her waterbucket. Then he marched right back to the doghouse, sitting in the doorway watching and waiting.

Later in the week when I called for Cletus, knowing that was silly since she couldn’t hear my yells, the rooster circled me in expectation, anticipating the hound’s appearance from the brush she seldom ventured into anymore. But I did venture into the thick woods searching for our beloved hound.

The rooster waited for me, turning his back the moment I appeared without Cletus at my heels. That last week or two, she had strolled at my heels often, nudging my hand to get me to rub her ears or pat her belly if she dropped and rolled over playfully.

The night before she vanished, the rooster and I both visited Cletus a bit longer than usual. She was stretched out on a bed of straw, a comfortable option if she didn’t feel like using the doghouse. As I rubbed the tops of her ears and the soothing spot under her chin, she wagged her tail lazily to let me know she was enjoying the extra attention. The rooster hung around as though he wanted his ears rubbed, too.(I guess roosters have ears, somewhere).

I heard her that night, barking at the edge of the woods as she did sometimes if she caught the scent of a deer. Later, I remembered thinking her barking sounded far away.
She didn’t return. I gave the rooster her name.

Seemed fitting.

This appeared in the Prospect-News, my hometown weekly, on July 15, 2015.

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July Freeze

July Freeze

Mid-summer sun and heat and fun
Have folks smiling and on the run,
Wearing shorts and flip flops and genuine smiles,
Enjoying the Ozarks in a variety of styles.

Current River may be calling your name,
Or you may watch the Cards in their baseball game,
Maybe you’re mowing as you hear the grass growing,
But one thing for sure, it isn’t snowing.

You’re not thinking of holly and stockings,
To Christmas sales you are NOT flocking!
You float and boat and barbecue,
No boots and mittens and snow cream for you.

Did Walmart and Amazon miss the memo
That season is summer, there is no snow?
Their plans for sales tagged Christmas in July
Leave you soothing your sunburn and wondering why.

You’ve caught on to their sneaky tricks
So you’re not making early gift picks.
Till Christmas the days number 153,
There’s plenty of time for a shopping spree.

Holiday sales already crowd Halloween,
Blacks and oranges mix with reds and greens,
Thinking of the cold now is really a bummer.
Let’s not hurry the end of summer.

This first appeared in my hometown weekly, the Prospect-News, in July, 2015.

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Frankologies on $$$

A friend’s philosophy on making money, gleaned from car conversations over 300,000+ miles. Not sure if a financial planner would agree, but works for him.

1.Gotta want it…eat, sleep, breathe, love making money. It has to become your focus. Trick is to balance that so you still have a bit of a life cause it is those you meet in life that provide sources of more money.
2.Carry money in your wallet, not necessarily to spend. Having money draws money.
3.Don’t go into business with anyone you don’t trust with your money. If you trust them with your money then you can trust them with your life.
4.Live within your means.
5.If you can’t pay cash for it, make do until you can.
6.Know what you’re looking for. Wait till you find it. Don’t settle unless it can be turned into a money-maker when the right item comes along.
7.Save a portion of every amount you earn. That way when an opportunity comes along, you are ready. Money is not a means to an end. It is a means to a beginning when opportunity knocks.
8.Credit/debit cards are too easy to abuse. Have ONE that can be used for have-to online orders or when making travel reservations.
9.Don’t carry a balance on that one card.
10.It’s okay to buy 90 days same as cash if you have the cash at moment of purchase. Good way to build credit.
11.Giving someone a good deal helps two make/save money which helps keep it flowing.
12.To protect your identity and privacy, be mindful of paper trails. Limit them as much as possible.
13.Eating meals prepared at home is cheaper than eating fast food all the time.
14.Crockpot meals are healthy and cheap.
15.Don’t get attached to possessions. There is always a market for what you have if you search in the right places.
16.When you have it, don’t flaunt it. What you have is no one’s business.
17.Don’t share all your sources. If you do, there goes your market as well.
18.Don’t keep all your money in the bank. Some deals don’t happen during banking hours.
19.Trade services. That keeps goodwill alive and money in both pockets.
20.Maintaining is cheaper than repairing.
21.New is not always better.
22.Listen and learn when out and about where people are milling and chatting.
23.Be willing to do a few small chores for nothing to be in the running for deals when they arise.
24.Don’t buy on impulse. Study and research prices and workmanship.
25.Providing rental services is a great way to make money.
26.Selling for price you paid beats taking a loss.
27.Don’t be stingy with knowledge. Sharing know-how is a generous gesture.
28.But, that is not the same as telling everything you know. Don’t talk too much.
29.Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
30.Help connect other buyers and sellers. They will both keep you in mind when they see a deal you would like.

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Fruit Loops and Birthdays

A simple task – hanging a jacket by that little loop on the inside of the collar – sent my mind down memory lane to a red corduroy loop I once had in a scrapbook. It had special significance in the eighth grade if a girl had one from the back of a shirt of a favored fella. We called them fruit loops.

The Urban Dictionary describes the fruit loop perfectly then adds that the purpose of the loop had never been determined. That meant continued searching. The Original GarnetGlitter, apparently a go-to gal affiliated with Yahoo, affirmed its significance to kids in the 50’s and 60’s and offered several options about its purpose. Most sensible to me was that a guy could hang the tie he wore with that shirt through the loop when he put the shirt on a hanger, thereby resting assured he would have it pronto the next time he wore it. That was back in the day when boys wore ties regularly, and everything ‘matched’ perfectly: headbands matched the color of an outfit; shoes matched belts and/or purses; hats matched coats and ties matched shirts.

Am I ever dating myself here! Then I had an A-HA moment. I read recently that if a female wants to dress to reflect a youthful spirit, she shouldn’t worry so much about the matchy-matchy aspect. That is a dead give-away to the era of one’s raising, I guess. Earrings and necklaces don’t have to come from the same set. Mixing clothing patterns in the same outfit can be okay sometimes, too.(GASP) .

Purses must not have to match with anything, either, based on trends in handbags. What would one wear to complement correctly those original creations of color, design and bling?
That is why my one trendy bag adds color, design and bling to my bedroom decor as it hangs from the reading chair.. Not sure I want to go out in public in an outfit that would ‘go’ with it, even if it isn’t matchy-matchy. Anyway, carrying it wouldn’t camouflage the fact that I am an ABB – that’s my term for ‘aging baby boomer‘ that I so cringe at hearing. I can’t yet mix patterns on purpose and leave the house, either.

Not sure that wearing earrings and necklaces from different sets is the reason for the spring in my step, but it’s a safe rebellion from my early years of conformity to the few fashion facts I knew.
Anyway, a bounce in my step and a smile are all I really need to reflect my gratitude for being an ABB for one more glorious year, and change that to Amazing Baby Boomers!

PS. The favored fella who wore that red corduroy shirt my fruit loop came from? His name was Dan.

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