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Saturday, December 23, 2023

Peace

                                            Peace 

You may be very busy this Saturday before Christmas Eve. You may not read this until after Christmas, which somehow has become hectic. The Christmas season is not one or two days, but hopefully every day.
I share with you part of a poem written by Edna Hong.

Let us not walk through the Christmas season
With eyes that see not those whom Thy eyes saw first,
    the lonely and forgotten ones,
    the sick, the old and blind,
    the lost souls and the fallen,
    the hungry in body and soul,
   the anxious and worried,
    and those who mourn and are not comforted.

Many of us think of the words ' Peace on earth', and we think there is no peace in this world of war and violence.
We need to remember these words, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives," said Jesus. (John 14: 27)         Christians know the Peace beyond understanding. Merry Christmas and a Blessed One, And to my English friends, Happy Christmas and a Blessed One. 

And a Blessed New Year of 2024.   
                                                                 Pat











Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Hanukkah

                                      



                                 Hanukkah 





Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, began at sundown on December 8th and will end at sunset on the eighth day. Hanukkah is not the most crucial celebration the Jewish People have, but it is the one that happens in December.

This year, the Ukrainian and Israeli people are fighting for their homeland. Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish people winning the war against the Syrians, as they wanted their land and the freedom of religion.

Many years ago, in the time of B.C., the Jewish people lived in peace, and their Holy Temple was in their capital city of Jerusalem. The army of Syria came and conquered Judea and defiled the Holy Temple. The Syrian king had idols placed in the temple and ordered all the Jews to pray to his gods or die. Some people did as the king ordered, but many Jews refused and, led by a priest named Mattathias, went to live in the caves of the surrounding mountains.

Mattathias led the men in battles with the heavily armor-protected Syrian army. When Mattathias became too old to lead, he chose his son Judah Maccabee, nicknamed The Hammer. After many years of fighting, the Jews won and drove the Syrians out of their land.

The people cleaned the temple and destroyed the false gods. Then, they sought oil to light the grand menorah. They found enough to burn it for one day. A miracle happened; the oil lasted eight days, giving them enough time to make more.

Today's menorah has a nine-branch candelabrum. Eight candles are for the eight days the oil lasted. The ninth candle is called the "servant" candle. It is used to light the other candles, one candle each day. The celebration is called the "Feast of Lights."   




The family plays a dreidel game to remember the time of the Syrians. The people were not allowed to teach the boys to read. So the teacher (rabbi) would put different words on the sides of the dreidel. If a Syrian soldier asked the teacher what he was doing, he answered, "We are just playing a game to entertain the boys while the parents work."

Today, there are anti-Semitic people in our country and the world. The people who are prejudiced against Jews are not Christians. The Christian faith is one of love and peace. The Christian faith would not exist if the Hebrew people had not become God's people. He had many groups from which He could choose. There were the Syrians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, etc. Yet God chose a small, unimportant group of slaves to be His. Even though they were imperfect, He stuck by them and chose an unknown, poor Hebrew girl to be the mother of His Son. While Jesus walked upon this earth, He was Jewish and followed the Hebrew religion when it did not conflict with his Father's will. The Christian faith has its origins in the Jewish people.

May this time of Hanukkah be a blessing to all who celebrate the miracle of God who made one bit of oil last eight days. 

Happy Chanukah to all the Jewish people, and may you have peace. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

                           Peace on Earth    

    With war waging in many parts of our world, I wanted to share this poem by Helen Steiner Rice.   She understood that the peace Jesus gives us is not peace from war or hatred but an inner peace no one can take from Christians.  We need to realize the peace Christ gives us in today's world.

                           Peace on Earth
Bless us, Lord,
This Christmas
With quietness of mind-
Teach us to be patient
And always to be kind.
Show us that in quietness
We can feel your presence near,
Filling us with joy and peace
Throughout the coming year.    




Sunday, November 12, 2023

November/ Thanksgiving


I've researched and found most country, religion, and culture has a time to express gratefulness.

We have one day to recognize in our land as a day of thanks. Some folks use this time to thank the Sovereign Lord for his blessings. They gather around a table with family and friends, pray a prayer of thanksgiving, and then feast on their favorite foods. 

Other people do not recognize any blessings or give thanks to God but do enjoy time with family and friends and favorite meals.

Last year, I blogged about the Puritans, the Native Americans, the food they ate, how it was prepared, and even the quaint way the pilgrims spoke.

Today, some people are having difficulty finding things to be thankful for. Innocent lives lost in wars, freedom and democracy put into jeopardy, refugees without homes, food, and other things we take for granted, and the homeless, the abused, cancer, other life-threatening illnesses, and grief over loved ones lost to accidents, diseases or violence, and mental illness inundate the news.

                                          SO,

my blog will remind us of our blessings if we take the time to shut out the negative and think of the positives around us. 
Let's start with 

                Blessings of Friends 

                                          The Gift of Friendship by Helen Steiner Rice


  Friendship is a priceless Gift.

That cannot be brought or sold,
But its value is far greater
than a mountain made of gold-
For gold is cold and lifeless,
it can neither see nor hear,
And in the time of trouble
it is powerless to cheer-
It has no ears to listen,
no heart to understand,
It cannot bring you comfort
or reach out a helping hand-
So when you ask God for a Gift,
be thankful if He sends
Not diamonds, pearls or riches,
but the love of real true friends.

                                                                   Blessings of a New Day


                                      A Daily Miracle

The supply of time is a daily miracle. You wake up in the morning, and lo! Your purse is magnificently filled with twenty-four hours of the remanufactured tissue of the universe of life. It is yours! The most precious of your possessions. 
By Arnold Bennett

                                         At Dawning
I hear a lark at dawning:
The day in music starts,
While roses fair are blossoming
In the gardens of our hearts.
There's magic in its music,
A thrill in every note...
I hear a lark at dawning
And love flows from its throat.


                            And


There are so many problems in our lives and in the world that we have little control over. Sad, helpless feelings overwhelm us at times. However, there is the blessing of people who care. People who help with humanitarian relief, help refugees, look for abusive situations for people and animals and rescue them, scientists working on cures, and neighbors helping neighbors. These people are a blessing to us as well as they do what we cannot.  Maybe all we can do is give a little of the financial resources we have been blessed with to help others continue their missions of love. We have been blessed with more than we need, a blessing from our Sovereign Lord.

                                   Smiles


We can all smile, whether we can give financially or volunteer to help. It is a blessing for me to see smiles at others. In offering a smile, I feel God is using me as a blessing to others.

True story. I didn't have enough money for lunch when I was going to college, but I had just enough for bus fare. The first day I got on the bus, the driver didn't look at me or say anything. His behavior was the same with others getting on his bus. The only time he said anything was to say, "Move back. Go back in the bus." His voice sounded cross.
The next day, when I got on, I made it a point to smile and say, "Good morning." No response from him. When I left the bus, I said, "Thank you."
I kept this up, and in a couple weeks, he started to look at me, and when I smiled and said, "Good Morning." He mumbled, "Morning."
I always smiled and said, "Thank you," when I got off. There were times when I stepped off the bus,  I smiled and said, "Thank you." and added, "That was a very smooth ride."
In a few weeks, he greeted me with a smile and said, "Good morning," or some other greeting, and he didn't do it with just me. He had smiles for all who entered, and he would say, "Please step back to the rear of the bus. Please step back."
Sometimes, when a woman with a baby stroller tried to get on, he would go down the steps and help her. When she said, Thank you." He would respond politely. Smiles worked. 

I'll share some lines from a poem on smiles. The author is unknown.

Your beautiful smile makes one's life more beautiful.
Your beautiful smile is a precious ornament God has given you.
Your smile is a ray of sunshine that brightens the day for those who see it.  





                               And 

Those of us who have pets, from fish, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, cats, dogs, birds. or any other creatures are blessed. We are needed to give a good life to our dependent little ones.




Illian was born in Korea and was headed to a dog meat slaughterhouse when he was rescued by the International Humane Society and sent to the U.S. He was adopted and later broke his leg, which did not heal correctly. His family moved and could not take him with them, so they sent him back to the Golden Valley, Mn. Humane Society, where they had to amputate his right front leg. I asked God to help me find a dog to adopt, and Illian was the one. He is a wonderful friend and a great companion, and I am blessed to have him. And I think I am God's blessing to him.



Dogs, Cats, and other Animals want loving homes. They are a blessing to us, and we are a blessing to them. 



There are many more things we can be thankful for; we just need to stop, shut out the negatives, and concentrate on the blessings.  

Whether you believe in God or not, you can be thankful. I believe in God, and all I have and experienced is from God, and I thank Him big time for His blessings.

                      God Bless You All on Thanksgiving and Every Day.

 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Halloween Poems

                                  




                                                            Halloween Poems

Poems are often scary for Halloween, but some folks enjoy a chuckle or two. Here are a couple.

(Remember, all poems are best read out loud. These two are no exception.)


                                     Colonel Fazackerley

                                                        by Charles Causley

Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast

Bought an old castle complete with a ghost,

But someone or other forgot to declare

To Colonel Fazack that the specter was there.


On the very first evening, while waiting to dine,

The Colonel was taking a fine sherry wine,

When the ghost, with a furious flash and a flare,

Shot out of the chimney and shivered, "Beware!"


Colonel Fazackerley put down his glass

And said, "My dear fellow, that's really first class!

I just can't conceive how you do it at all.

I imagine you're going to a Fancy Dress Ball?"


At this, the dread ghost gave a withering cry.

Said the Colonel (his monocle firm in his eye),

"Now, just how you do it, I wish I could think.

Do sit down and tell me, and please have a drink."


The ghost in his phosphorous cloak gave a roar

And floated about between ceiling and floor.

He walked through a wall and returned through a pane

And backed up the chimney and came down again.


Said the Colonel, "With laughter, I'm feeling quite weak!"

(As trickles of merriment ran down his cheek).

"My housewarming party. I hope you won't spurn.

You must say you'll come and give us a turn!"


At this, the poor specter- quite out of his wits-

Proceeded to shake himself almost to bits.

He rattled his chains, and he clattered his bones

And he filled the whole castle with mumbles and moans.


but Colonel Fazackerley, just as before,

He was simply delighted and called out, "Encore!"

At which the ghost vanished, his efforts in vain,

And never was seen at the castle again.


"Oh dear, what a pity!" said Colonel Fazack.

"I don't know his name, so I can't call him back."

And then, with a smile that was hard to define,

Colonel Fazackerley went in to dine.


I included the following poem, which has an elf, part of Halloween lore.

                             

                             The Elf and the Dormouse

                                                  by Oliver Herford






Under a toadstool

Crept a wee Elf,

Out of the rain

To shelter himself.


Under the toadstool,

Sound asleep,

Sat a big Dormouse

All in a heap.


Trembled the wee Elf,

Frightened, and yet

Fearing to fly away

Lest he get wet.


To the next shelter-

Maybe a mile!

Sudden the wee Elf

Smiled a wee smile,


Tugged till the toadstool

Toppled in two.

Holding it over him

Gaily he flew.


Soon, he was safe home

Dry as could be.

Soon woke the Dormouse-

"Good gracious me!"

Where is my toadstool?"

Loud he lamented.

__And that's how umbrellas

First were invented.


In a National Geographic article, William Shakespeare wrote about witches in Macbeth as  King James I of England believed in witches and witchcraft. The King wrote Daemonologie in 1597 and presided over the persecution of witches in Scotland.

I hope you enjoyed my blogs on Halloween. I will close by posting my favorite poem by Harry Behn.

                                  Hallowe'en

Tonight is the night

When dead leaves fly


Like witches on switches

Across the sky,

When Elf and sprite

Flit through the night

On a moony sheen.


Tonight is the night.

When leaves make a sound

Like a gnome in his home

Under the ground,

When spooks and trolls

Creep out of holes

Mossy and green.


Tonight is the night

When pumpkins stare

Through sheaves and leaves

Everywhere,

Where ghouls and ghost

And goblin host

Dance round their queen.

It's Hallowe'en.


I'm glad it is dead leaves that fly like witches and make a sound like a gnome, and it is the pumpkins who stare.

In my mind, it's great that "real" witches, ghouls, and ghosts don't exist. Still, I wish you all a Happy Halloween! 




 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ghost Story




                                                  True Ghost Story


First, a little history of this cemetery in Minneapolis to put the story in context. 

Minneapolis's first cemetery was established in 1857. The Maple Hill Cemetery had five thousand graves by the end of thirty years. It was located at Broadway and Fillmore. The graveyard was not cared for, the paperwork was shoddy, and some graves were only two feet deep. After a storm, some caskets could be seen. The people in the area complained of the health hazard, and efforts began to move the graves. But lack of funds halted the removal, so graves and markers were left.

In 1908, Minneapolis Park Board decided to acquire the property and make it into a children's park.

By 1916, the children's park was opened at one end of the land. But the cemetery section was still a mess.

Thirty men from the neighborhood went under cover of darkness and hitched up three teams of horses to clear the land of all the debris. They dumped the headstones and markers in a ravine.

Eight of the thirty men were implicated in the "vandalism." Two of the eight were charged but acquitted at the trial.

The Park Board decided they needed to do something, so they had the land cleaned up, and a skating rink, a warming house, and horseshoe pits were added. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts used the park and also a hockey team. In 1948, the park was renamed Beltrami Park.

Two small gravestones and a monument to forty-six Civil War veterans who were once buried there are still on the northwest side. 



                                              Now, On To The Ghost of Maple Hill Cemetery.

                                                             (Before it became Beltrami Park.)

Ida Olson slipped her arm through Ole Johnson's arm as they walked on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. Despite the blackness of night surrounding them, they could see the smile on each other's faces.

Ole asked, "Will you go to the movies with me next Saturday night?"

Ida opened her lips to speak as she looked at Ole when she caught a movement in the cemetery they were walking past from the corner of her eyes. "What is that?" She pointed to a white shape that rose up from the ground.

"Run!" yelled Ole. "A ghost." His long legs went at full speed up the street.

Ida froze for a moment before she began running and screaming. She saw a man walking further up the street past the cemetery and ran toward him, shrieking, "Help! Help!"

"Calm down. What's the matter?"

Ida gasped and shook and could not speak coherently.

"My name is John Adams. I work at the Columbia Heights mills. Let's go into this drugstore, and you can tell me what has happened." He led her into the nearby lighted warm store with other customers.

"Please, everyone, listen to me," said Ia frantically. "There is a ghost in the cemetery. I saw it. It chased me. A ghost!"

One customer said, "I think she is a bit looney."

"I think she has had too much to drink, " said another. The customer stepped over to her and smelled her breath. "Nope. Don't smell any booze."

"Believe me. I saw a white figure rise from the graves. It had horns and a long white beard." After describing the ghost, Ida became hysterical. 

Ole Johnson came into the drugstore. "Ida, are you all right? I've been looking for you."

"You ran off and left me. I'm never going to the movies with you."

"After I saw the ghost, I ran toward it to see what it was, but it disappeared. I thought you were right behind me. Believe me. I would never leave you alone."

"I don't believe you."

John Adams spoke up, "Mister, what's your name, and did you see this ghost she is raving about?"

"My name is Ole Johnson, and yes, I did see the ghost with my own eyes."

"I'm going to the cemetery to look for this ghost. Anyone want to come with me?" asked John Adams.

Several men from the drugstore, John, Ida, and Ole, walked to the cemetery. In the pitch darkness, they entered the graveyard carefully so they would not trip on gravestones. 

Ida stopped. "This is where the ghost rose up."

The men could see the crushed dead leaves and the dried grass, indicating that a body had indeed lain there. 

They whispered to each other and stayed together in small groups. After an extended search where nothing was found, they headed back to Central Avenue.

A gasp of horror from Ole Johnson as he sank to the ground caught everyone's attention.

A few yards away and hardly visible in the blackness, a white figure with horns and a long white beard loomed up from the ground. It made no sound.

Silence gripped everyone as they stared.

A group member drew his gun from his pants belt and said, "Speak, or I'll shoot."

The figure remained silent and did not move.

"Speak up, or I'll shoot."

The horned white shape moved a trifle and then broke the fearful black silence with "Ba-a-a-h!" It moved toward the men. "Ba-a-a-h," issued forth from a huge white goat with beautiful horns and long gray whiskers as it approached the men and began nosing around for food.

Tension broke like a dam, and laughter split the air until everyone had tears streaming down their faces. 

Ole Johnson was nowhere to be seen after the 'ghost' had been spotted, and Ida was walked home by the brave-hearted men.

It was learned later that the goat's owner had pastured it in the graveyard for the summer and had not yet come to claim it.


This true story is taken from the book Minnesota Mysteries by Ben Welter. The story was published in the Minneapolis Tribune on November 6, 1899

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

What about that black cat?

                                         What About That Black Cat?





A witch can have familiars, and cats are one of them. All the familiars have magic powers.

It may have started in Egypt, where they were first tamed to keep the grain storehouses free of mice. They soon worshiped a cat-head goddess named Pasht. They carved cat statues and made furniture and jewelry shaped like cats.

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed the goddess Hecate ruled over witches, wizards, and ghosts. The priestess was a cat they thought was once a woman.

Freya was a Norse goddess of beauty, love, marriage, and of the dead. After warriors were killed in battle, she was allowed to claim the souls of half of the slain by gathering them in a chariot drawn by cats. 

The familiar cats in days of yore could be any color, but as time passed, it was decided the cats were black because, in the shadowy night, all cats were black. The cats were feared because they crept; their yellow eyes looked sinister, and they could see at night while humans couldn't.

Some people believed a witch could become a cat. 

Some sayings developed, such as the following. Being honest as a cat when the cream is out of reach. Never let a cat into the same room with a corpse. It might be a demon and turn the dead soul into a vampire. A cat that sits with its back to the fire is raising a storm.  

Cats could be a good omen, and these sayings developed: If a cat rubs against you, expect good luck. If it yawns, an opportunity awaits. A ship with a cat on board is never wrecked, for the cat acts as a countercharm.

                                         OWLS

Owls can be a familiar to the witches.

In ancient Rome, owls were thought to bring evil, while in Greece, the owl was a familiar of the Creek goddess of wisdom and, therefore, was sacred.

The Screech owls nest in hollow trees during the day and only come out at night and make a weird, trembling call and hollow whistle, frightening travelers.

I have never read this tale by the Brothers Grimm, and you may not have read it either, so I will post part of it here.

                                                                Jorinda and Joringel

Jorinda is the sister of Joringel, who is a boy. They walked too close to a witch's castle. An owl circles overhead, screeching. The boy, Joringel, is struck motionless and speechless. His sister Jorinda turns into a nightingale. The owl disappears into a thicket, and a bent old woman emerges. When she takes the nightingale away in a basket, the boy, Joringel, realizes that the old woman is a witch. To read the whole story, go to Grimm's Fairy Tales online. 

Still, some people believe the owl's screech means death or disaster.

                                       Bat



Bats are creatures of the night, which in itself makes them scary. Their heads are oddly shaped. Some bats's heads are shaped like tiny bulldogs. Other bats's heads are like miniature bears with long, pointed teeth. Their bodies can be two inches long, but their wingspan can be over one foot. They live in scary places such as caves, abandoned homes, empty barns, and deep in a forest. By day, they hang upside down with their wings wrapped around them like a witch's cloak. They fly quickly in the deepest dark of night. To the ancients, that meant they were evil.

                                        Toad

During the witch hunts in Europe, most people lived on farms. There were toads in their gardens, under their porches, in the fields, and along the road.

Rocks were thrown at the toads as they were thought to be poisonous. If a dog or a human caught a toad, the catcher soon regretted it. Their eyes, nose, and mouth would burn or itch.

And a toad can change its size from minor to larger by absorbing water through its skin.

William Shakespeare wrote:

"Round about the cauldron go;

In the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad that under the cold stone,

Days and nights hast thirty-one

Swelter's venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!"


Much of the above information is from Edna Barth's book Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts.

My next blog will be about sighting a "ghost" in the Maple Hill Cemetery in northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stay tuned.

Peace

                                            Peace  You may be very busy this Saturday before Christmas Eve. You may not read this until afte...