Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Showers May Bring a Hodgepodge

April Showers...let's just say "showers" is an understatement here in my state.  April floods. April deluge. Maybe you can relate?

Anyway, let's jump into the Hodgepodge, shall we?

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Are you blooming where you're planted as we begin the month of May?

I think so.  In my home I've gotten a surge of energy to redo some things.
In my part-time job as a tutor I definitely feel like I'm in a beautiful garden brimming with the fragrance and color of learning. Spiritually I'm not quite blooming, but I feel the roots have gone deeper in Christ in the past two years and I feel ready to bear new fruit.

2. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no big deal, and 10 being full scale panic, rank your fear of spiders.

The size of the spider is directly proportional to the number on that scale.  Actually, my fear of imagining a spider to be where I can't quite see is frightening.  But generally if I see a spider I kill it if I'm alone. If my dragon slayer is around, he does the deed.

3. May is National Salad Month (who knew???)...besides lettuce, what are two must-have ingredients in your favorite salad?

tomatoes and cucumbers   OR tomatoes and bacon   OR tomatoes and cheese  OR tomatoes and croutons

My hubby hates tomatoes and so I can always count on getting his share as well as mine when we order salad in a restaurant.

4. I mentioned on my blog last week that my Daughter1 will be moving to Washington State after she is married. Of the following sites in the Northwest, which would you most like to see in person-Crater Lake (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Vancouver (British Columbia), San Juan Islands (Washington),  Mt. Rainer (Washington) Oregon Coast (Oregon), Mt. St. Helens (Washington), or Olympic National Park (Washington)

I've never been to the Pacific Northwest, but I'd love to.  I think I'd start with the San Juan Islands.

5. This coming weekend marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby...when did you last race (literally or figuratively) to cross a finish line?

Literally I have not run a race since middle school.  Figuratively, today it felt I was in a race to get from my son's school at 9 am, to my daughter's school by 11:30, which included a stop at Home Depot and the florist for my daughter-in-law's birthday, then to her house for a surprise delivery, then back to the florist because I decided I really wanted to give my daughter a pick-me-up bouquet because she's overwhelmed. Then had lunch with her and a few kids, then tutored, then returned to my son's school because he became ill in the late afternoon. All this in POURING, FLOODING RAIN in two counties and a beltway. 

6. What is something little you love?

My baby niece. Pictures coming soon.  

7. Would you say you are more of a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Elaborate.

Visual, definitely.  I have to see things written down. I like pictures, charts, graphs, and such.   I'm a flashcard queen.   But I tend to be a kinesthetic teacher--getting kids to hop while counting by twos, learning letters by writing in sand, playing review games that involve throwing things. I only remember things auditorially if they're put to music.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Our family welcomed a brand new baby today.  A little girl, long awaited, and she was born to my nephew Danny and his wife Lisa.  I can't wait to meet her! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Youthful Goals

This is one of my favorite pages (number 94)  in the whole legacy book that my dad wrote.   Not only does the content make my heart swell--to know how many of my father's dreams he realized (and these were written in 1999)--but his organized, methodical, structured analysis (and underlined conclusions) of those dreams makes me nod and say to myself, "Yup. That's Daddy for ya."  Gushy husband, proud father, humble pastor, brilliant engineer.

The question at the top of the page reads as such:

What were your youthful goals and ambitions for life? Which ones have you been able to fulfill?

Daddy said,

I aspired to a good life filled with happiness.  I wanted a good, professional job, a beautiful wife, lovely and loving children/grandchildren, a home with yard and trees, and a good education.   All these came to be fulfilled
                              I wanted to work for God and be pleasing to Him. I wanted respect. I wanted a car that didn't have to be cranked or pushed to get it started.  I wanted to be able to travel. 
All these have, to a good degree, been fulfilled. 

I wanted to serve in the Army. I wanted to be a scientist and inventor.  I wanted to become an athlete of renown.   I scored a 10, a 5, and a 0 on these respective ambitions. 

I can't boast very much about my accomplishments, but I can boast about the goodness of God, the loving relationship of my wife, Brenda, and my progeny.  No man has been blessed more than me!

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xtraordinary Man

I won't be copying from my dad's journal today but I do want to highlight what I find extraordinary about this man.

1.  I've never heard him disrespect my mother in my whole life.
2.  He has never raised his voice in anger.  He has been stressed and we knew it when his voice          would squeak a little and he'd call us "dear heart" or "honey-child."   When bills came due,              we knew not to ask Daddy for money for anything . "Honey-child, not now, please."
3.   I've only ever heard him use a 4-letter word one time, and that was when he was trying to tell
      some terrible tenants why he had to evict them.  "There is dog S@#$ all over the basement!"
      he told the man on the phone. When I asked him later why he said that bad word, he very
      apologetically but firmly said, "Because some people just don't understand any other language."
4.   I've never heard him use God's name in vain.
5.   He has never told an off-color joke.
6.   So honest is he, that one time after driving away from a toll booth, realizing he had received back  ten cents too much, he paid it back at the next toll booth--the kind that looked like a urinal
for change? Do you remember those?

Oh, there are plenty more reasons why I think Daddy is extraordinary, but those six right there
set him in class of his own.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Words of Wisdom

W is also for wondering "Are we there yet?"   I'm weary.  Just a few more letters to go.  Anyone who is blogging for the A to Z Challenge understands this odyssey.

My daddy's words continue in list form today.   I think they are wise words worthy of the worldwide web.


Recall for me five of the most important lessons you have learned in life.

He replies:

1.  Don't believe an hypothesis without first checking it out.

2.  I'm not always right.  Respect other, even when you disagree with them.

3.  "Common sense" is not always common to all, an on examination sometimes makes no sense.

4.  Find the loveliest, most loving, godly woman in the world, then marry her. I did.

5.  Don't try to please everyone.   Everyone is different.   Just do what is right.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Valentine

I know I've said this a lot in the past month, but this page from my dad's journal is one of my favorites.

Describe the most memorable Valentine you ever received. Who sent it to you?

My most memorable valentine was not a card. It was, and is, the person I call my wife--Brenda. She has been the truest expression of love any man could ever want. She has stuck with me "for better or for worse" (has seen much of the latter),  "for richer or poorer"  ("....."the latter), "in sickness and in health" ("..." the former), and has overlooked more of my blunders than I can count.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Uh-Oh at KU

Once again I am copying questions and answers from a blank journal that my dad wrote for me.
The journal is called "A Father's Legacy."  Yesterday I wrote of a tragedy in his life; today I will include a fun little triumph and a bit o' celebrity.

If you're middle aged or older, you might recognize the celebrity. My dad tutored the 7'1" basketball star in college algebra at the University of Kansas.  But basketball and math weren't the only ways my father was linked to the Jayhawks' (and Harlem Globetrotters') iconic figure back in the day.

1956 Kansas WILT CHAMBERLAIN Glossy 8x10 Photo College Basketball Print

         Describe an unforgettable experience that took place during your college years. 

One experience stands out at the KU dormitory.  Our dorm was filled with athletes and a few non-athletes like me. One night I was met by 3 or 4 angry fraternity brothers from across the street . They said someone had been shooting a BB gun at their fraternity house and they intended to stop it.

A large football player from my dorm joined me and firmly told them to go back to where they came from.  They didn't want to tangle with him--he looked mean, and big.  They left.

We checked into it and found out that it had been Wilt Chamberlain who had done the shooting.

Poof! My Hodgepodge Vanished!

I went back to edit my post because somehow I had deleted a question . I had the answer but hit "publish" without realizing it.

Then, in the process of editing, I must have deleted the whole post. It's gone! Can't find it anywhere. A couple people commented before I did that stupid move. Thank you!

Oh, well. Life goes on.

Have you ever accidentally deleted a whole post?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Tragedy

Continuing the A to Z Challenge, using "my daddy's words" as a theme, I continue here with a question that evokes both sadness and hope. 

The question put to my father is this:

Did a tragedy ever strike your family?  If so, how did it affect you?

When I was almost too young to remember, a baby sister was born, Delores Allene. She was a "blue baby" and lived about six weeks.  She weighed 2+ pounds at the time of her death. 

I remember very little about her, but her death had a profound impact on my parents.    They often talked about the intense loss they felt, the anguish of spirit, the fragility of life.  When Mom became very old and unable to remember recent happenings, she could still draw from memory the birth and death of Delores Allene.  She talked of wanting to go to Heaven to see her and be with her.  Dad sometimes referred to her coming, then going, in his sermons.  With others, I look forward to meeting the sister I never knew--someday in Heaven.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Starting a New Life Together

I appreciate the following words from my father  because they show a range of emotions that he felt on his wedding day.

Tell me about your wedding day.  What happened? How did you feel? Were you nervous, scared, happy? 

Our wedding day...was windy--not uncommon in Kansas.  The wedding came off smoothly and beautifully.   As a part of the ceremony we sang a duet "Seal us,  Oh Holy Spirit."  We had many emotions to deal with.  I had been offered a job [in] Maryland, and had negotiated a starting date after the wedding.  

The wedding marked not only the beginning of a life together, but it marked the saying of "goodbye" to friends, family, and other ties.  As we left the church, friends followed our soaped, tin-can-ridden '61 Dodge Lancer--all a-tootin'.  I was too successful in letting them chase--we lost them within five short minutes.  We then drove to Brenda's house, packed the car, said goodbye to tearful eyes, and set out for Maryland, our new home. 

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl

My girl turned 25 years old today. She is our one and only daughter, surrounded by three brothers.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever of my sweet Sarah.

I'm blessed beyond words.  And that's saying a lot.  I thank God regularly for giving us such a priceless gift.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Rendezvous

This is literally  the eleventh hour of the day where I sit, but I will squeeze out a blog post.  I was going to cop out and say "R is for Respite, which is what I am choosing to take today from the A to Z Challenge."   Too cheesy, huh?  I thought so.

Instead of quoting from my dad's journal, I just wanted to share one word that always, always, always makes me think of Daddy.

That word is rendezvous.

Daddy doesn't "meet up" with people.  No, he has to rendezvous.
Some folks say, "Okay, let's get together at five-thirty at such-and-such a place."
Not him.  He queries, "Shall we rendezvous at half past five?"

I teased him once that I was going to name a daughter Rhonda Voo.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love French words.  I took French in high school and  college; I just love the language.  I think Daddy had something to do with it, because I remember asking him when I was very young, "What does rondeevoo mean, anyway?"

Daddy usually answers a  question with a question.  The quintessential socratic teacher. Often he just repeats your question back. "What does rendezvous mean?"

I remembered the definition he gave me as a little girl holding his hand:  "Rendezvous means to meet at a given time and place. It's a French word."  I  didn't know what "a given time" meant or that French was a foreign language. I just knew I liked learning grown-up words that Daddy used when most people used ordinary, child-size words around me.

I'm tempted to tell Daddy that, at his funeral, we might tweak the words to an old hymn just for him.

Shall we rendezvous at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river? 
Rendezvous with the saints at the river that flows from the heart of God. 

I think he would chuckle on the way to that beautiful river.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Our Nurse Queen

As promised, I will add in a poem or two that my father wrote.  He has written them for special occasions--birthdays and retirements, mostly.  The following is one he wrote for my mom when she graduated from nursing school-- at the tender age of 57, I might add.  She has always loved to study, having received a few other degrees before the RN.  But she had put her desire to become a nurse on hold for 37 years in order to raise a family. I'm so thankful we got the best of her energies and time!

Side note of a flirtatious type: she told me once, with a wink in her eye, that Daddy just loved when she'd wear her white uniform at home. Whether getting ready for a shift, or coming home from one, she preferred to wear the most traditional white uniform as opposed to scrubs.  To him she was just irresistible in that thing. ( I would've gagged had she said that when I was a teen, but I was 33, so I found it amusing.)

He prepared us girls ahead of time that he'd be reading this poem to her at the big party we threw for her. There was something important we were to do collectively after the last line.

                                                         Our Nurse Queen

                                                             by Lyle Dauber

I met her in Lawrence, a coed nineteen--
She was lovely and sweet, an absolute dream.
A farm girl by background, she understood work,--
Read books by the armload, a lifelong quirk.

We courted at church, at library, and at movie.
I asked her to marry me and was thrilled that she wed me.
She put nursing on hold and buoyed up the family:
Gave us four daughters, they're all very lovely.

When her children were little, their mother was there
To apply bandage and blanket, and dry every tear.
When her parents became old and survived on small pension,
She counseled with medics, and gave full attention.

Life's insults brought insights, and showed what is needed
To relieve hurt, and deep pain, a call that she heeded.
Student again became she--prepared for nursing at age fifty-three.
She studied drugs, and bugs, and hugs --and human anatomy.

At length she was pinned, given a cap of distinction--
Became an RN and thrust into action.
She'll continue as our queen (though no longer nineteen)
Till the day that we die and the time in between.

We wish we could more honor this person so precious
For all of her love, and her giving so generous.
Will say more 'bout it later--can't do justice now--
We'll simply enjoy taking this genuine bow.   

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Picking Cotton

Here's  a story my dad clearly remembers about getting a raw deal as a child laborer.  This took place in about 1944.

Who gave you your first job?   What kind of job was it?   How much money did you make?

A neighboring farmer in Arkansas gave me my first job--picking cotton.   The going rate was 1.5 cents per pound.   Mom sewed a bag into which I would put the cotton.  She made if from feed sacks.   My friend's mom did the same for him.  We were the only hired hands.

The farmer showed us how to pick the cotton, whereupon we each took a row.   We chatted about how much cotton must now be in the bag and fantasized it was a great many pounds.    At length we asked the farmer to weigh our cotton and empty the bags.    Each of us had picked only 4 pounds. Since it was time for lunch we asked to be paid before breaking;  the farmer gladly gave each of us 6 cents.  We chose to not go back after lunch.   I think the farmer was not surprised. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for One and Only

On Page 96 of Daddy's legacy book is this Q & A:

When did you know that Mama was the "one and only" for you?  How did you know?

I knew that she was my "one and only" almost from the first date. I say almost because  (1) I wanted to be absolutely sure, so needed a little time, and (2) I had had my heart broken before and needed to find her love for me as strong as my love for her.

She seemed to have no doubt about me and I had no doubt about her: our love matured very quickly.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Norman but not Normal

Before I jump into today's topic for the A to Z, I have to talk about the weather because it's just not normal.  I've been feeling under the weather, and that's not normal, either--BUT,  this little tidbit HAS to be mentioned:

 it snowed here last night.

Snow--you know, that white powdery stuff that's supposed to come down during Christmas break, not Spring Break??!! This is just NOT NORMAL !

But fell it did here in the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland, where mid-April weather is typically gloriously sunny, tulips have bloomed, and there just might be the aroma of steak coming from a neighboring grill.  In fact, the day before yesterday was just such a day--in the upper 70's--sans tulips.  I'm only half joking when I say our town's 4th of July parade might get cancelled due to snow.

Allrighty, enough of that. I interrupted our regularly scheduled program, aka the

A to Z Challenge.


My theme is Daddy's words, and I'm sharing pages from A Father's Legacy, which is a journal he wrote for me at my request, in which he answers writing prompts on each page.

On several pages, he writes of his older brother Norman, and with adoration that teeters on hero worship. Truly I don't think I've ever heard my dad utter a negative word about Uncle Norman. He's always used words like smart and strong and brave and talented and good-looking and, well, you get the point. Norman was the firstborn. Daddy was third of five.

One time, Daddy recalls,  that while out skating one winter (on shoes, not skates because he was poor), he fell into a ditch.  The harder he tried to get out, the more impacted the walls of his ditch became. Norman and some other kids were skating and sledding.  It was Norman who came with a sled for him to grab hold and pull him out of his icy ditch.

But sometimes the desperation was not accidental in its cause.

Daddy, did you ever get into fights with other kids? Did you ever start a fight? Or stop one?

Yes, I seemed to get into fights quite naturally. I was smaller than most of my classmates (started school when I was five), so I was a natural target to be picked on.  And I fought back. I  don't recall starting any fights, but other kids would say I did. (They probably had poor eyesight!)  But yes, I would step in to stop a fight from time to time --and sometimes end up in the fight.

My brother Norman didn't have that problem.  He had a better size and demeanor.  He once complained that he was always having to rescue me.  I think he was right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Majestic Music, the "Messiah" with Mother

calligraphic vintage red ...
Today I'll condense a page from Daddy's legacy journal. The question posed to him that I have chosen for the Letter M is...

What extracurricular activities did you enjoy most?

In addition to saying track and field, rollerskating with the youth group, and Youth for Christ rallies, Daddy said this:

My mother and I sang in the city (Hutchinson)'s Handel's Messiah chorus.  Rehearsals were held each sunday afternoon beginning in January and performed on Easter Sunday.


Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Love for Mama

If you're just popping in here for the first time, I'm participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. (See sidebar button for what it's all about.)  My theme is "My Daddy's Words," and I am lifting topics from a little blank journal that he wrote for me in 1999.

I have his permission to do so, don't worry!

For the letter L, I knew I'd choose a question about love.  Here's one of my favorites because I never get tired of hearing my daddy's sappy but genuine words about his love for Mama.

Question: What do you love best about Mama now? 

Her ability to love me, warts and all. Truly our honeymoon hasn't ended. We love to be together, plan together, confront obstacles together, go to school together, eat together, and on and on.  Being in her presence gives me intense joy.  A big part of what I enjoy about Mom is her sense of humor and our fun with words.

At the beginning of our honeymoon , we found a plaque that she insisted I buy.  It says:

I am the master of this house.
Whatever my wife says, shall be done.

She sharpens my thinking as we talk about things.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Daybook: Spring Break Edition

Even though I get a blogging break today from the A to Z Challenge,  I thought I'd update my regular readers on what's going on around here. In case anyone cares.

This is a Daybook, a slice-of-life meme hosted by The Simple Woman.


Outside my window...

Daffodils in bloom! Sunshine!  Birds tweeting! They're tweeting about the spring weather. #finally! #glory to God!

I am thinking...that something is wrong if I've linked up with a 2000+ other bloggers, but yet my comment box hasn't had more than 5 comments per post.  It's discouraging, to say the least. 

I am thankful...for Kleenexes, Benadryl, ibuprofen, and sleep. I think my allergies are the worst they've ever been.  I have a cough and low-grade fever that kept me home from church. 

In the a carryout bag from Bob Evans.  The hubs was in the mood for their meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which was fine with me. I'm wiped out.

I am wearing... a company-logo white polo, jeans, grey socks, black clogs and no makeup. 
Do you know what a rarity no makeup days are for me? I did put on lipstick to go pick up our dinner, but
normally I'd put on eyeshadow, mascara, blush, AND lipstick on any normal day.  But puffy, watery eyes and eye makeup are a miserable duet.
I am creating... 

a doll quilt design I'm calling "Ellies in Wellies" (elephants wearing rainboots) because I just love the sound of wellies, and thought I'd design a quilt around the cute rhyming sound of it.  Depending on how much time it takes, I may keep it for my niece instead of giving it away to Operation Christmas Child. We shall see. 

I am going... to take everything out of the master bathroom tomorrow.  My husband and son will start demo tomorrow night .  I haven't seen this 12 year old so excited since his last video game purchase. He can't wait to start destruction.  My brother-in-law, who is a master builder, is supposed to come Wednesday and Thursday to start tiling the shower, for starters. 

I am wondering...if choosing the rest of the bathroom fixtures will be as easy as it has been thus far. We have agreed on the tile, shower pan, vanity, and flooring.  Will we agree on medicine cabinet, mirror, lighting, and paint?

I am reading...very little. 

I am attend the Passover seder with my parents' congregation on Tuesday evening.

I am looking forward to... not having to get up and out the door this week. Spring break is niiiiiiicceee.

I am learning... that I have changed, for the better, in my ability to "go with the flow." I used to insist on my own way, thinking my way was best.  I'm sure that's a lifelong struggle with self, but it's heartening to see that I've had victory in something that used to be a strong character flaw in me. 

Around the laundry that has been piling up while I've been feeling crummy. 

I am pondering... taking a trip somewhere. I've got this yen to fly!

A favorite quote for today...  Something one of the first graders said when we were having lunch bunch together. (Lunch bunch is a hand-selected group of students who have earned, by good behavior, the privilege of having lunch with the teacher--and her mom, when I'm there.)    My daughter was wearing a  cross necklace. One boy asked why. A girl piped up , "Because she loves God, DUH!"

One of my favorite the smell of men's cologne after my guys take their showers.

A few plans for the rest of the week: It's spring break, and I'd love to be going to Kansas or New Mexico, but I will be helping redo our master bathroom, catching up on laundry, and cranking out A to Z posts because I'm no quitter. Ha!

A peek into my day...

Someone mentioned me in her blog today! Don't you feel like a celebrity when someone does that?  Check out my friend Preeti's blog.  If you're a quilter, you'll espcially appreciate it. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is Keys to a Good Marriage

My parents have been married for 52 and 1/2 years, so I'm pretty sure that counts as being committed for the long haul.  This next question that my father  answered in his legacy book  is a noble set of points to remember for anyone who wants to stay happily married.

Record your ideas here for what it takes for a husband and wife to maintain a healthy marriage.

1.  Maintain a good sense of humor.
2.  Consider first the needs of the other.  In so doing yours are most apt to be met.
3   Be patient.  Time cures a lot of ills.
4.  Maintain sexual fidelity.
5.  Live within your financial means.
6.  Give each other time for non-mutual interests.  Guys need time for guy things and ladies need time for lady things.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jesus

One of the most hopeful things my father has ever said, which gives me tremendous comfort, is stated below.  It couldn't be any plainer.

What Bible character would you most like to meet?  Why?

My father answered, "Jesus--and I will meet him.  He saved me, is saving me, and will save me .  He made this life so much better for me and will give me an even better one in the hereafter  Thankfully I will get to meet all those other Bible characters whom I might have named as the one I would most like to meet.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Ice and Insurance for an Iota of Income

Reading about people who lived during the Great Depression  has always piqued my interest, but never moreso than when those people were my own relatives.  My dad was born in 1934, so he was just  a little squirt when the stock market crashed in 1939. He remembers the poverty, however,  and some of the ways my grandparents made ends meet throughout most of his youth.

For the letter I, topically speaking for the A to Z Challenge, this next question is one that my dad answered about his dad.

Where did your father go to work every day and what did he do?  Did his work interest you?

Daddy was a preacher, and except for a few years during the 1950s was bivocational.  He did a variety of things--farmed, sold real estate and insurance, sold furniture, worked at an ammunition plant during World War II, hauled ice.   Generally preaching brought in very little income. 

Sometimes during the Depression, he would return from a rural church with 50 cents, $1, or $2.  Often he would be given farm produce, chickens, a ham, or ground beef.  His sideline work brought in most of the family's meager income. I remember an occasion in about 1940:  a farmer stopped by and offered Dad a job shucking corn for $2 a day.  Dad jumped at the offer,.  

For whatever reason, Dad always considered preaching his profession. 

Yes, I was interested in all that he did. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

H is for Second Honeymoon

My dad has always been such a romantic.  This is one of my favorite pages in his little legacy book. Short and sweet. Very, very sweet.


Daddy, if you could go anywhere you wanted on  a second honeymoon, where would you go? Why?

I have no interest in a second honeymoon. I want the first one to continue till the day one of us dies.
We are enjoying the splendor of it! 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

G is for Gutsy

Day 7
Letter G
Theme: My daddy's words

Important thing to know before reading this:  Daddy has never had a drop of alcohol in his life.  He is 79 years old and it is anathema to him.  He holds just a few very strong convictions, but abstaining from alcohol is one of them.  As a chaplain and pastor, he has heard countless stories of how alcohol has ruined lives, families, careers, and reputations.  He has seen it firsthand.  

One year, when he working for the federal government as an engineer, Daddy got "fed up" with the expectation that everyone should attend the Christmas party and that everyone should have to buy the ticket that included alcohol.  Daddy didn't believe that alcohol should be present in the first place. He was willing to take his stand in front of the head hauncho.

Question: What is the gutsiest thing you ever did in your life?  Why did you do it?

Answer:  The gutsiest thing I ever did , I suppose, was to ask my management to leave out alcoholic beverages at a Christmas party.  At first they tried to blow me off by siding with the large majority who wanted to include alcohol. 

Bosses finally arranged for me to talk to the commander.  When we met, he was angry at me.  I made my case strongly.  He asked me to get out of his office, or better--ordered me to get out. 

I was surprised to learn that he then directed that there would be no alcohol. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

F is for Favorite Foods and Forevermore

Moving along in this A to Z challenge, I'm lifting "interview" type questions that my father answered for me in a journal called A Father's Legacy.

On page 37...

Tell me about your mother's cooking.  Can you recall your favorite meal? What made it your favorite? 

Daddy responded:

Mom never claimed to be a good cook--she much preferred to work outside or at a sewing machine.
But actually, she fixed some wonderful meals!  We were quite poor so she had to be very resourceful.
Each summer she would can vegetables, rabbit, chicken, and fruit--maybe 500 quarts--and put the jars in the cellar.

Through the year she would draw out the jars and feed us well, even if there was no money in the house.
I can't recall a favorite meal, but I can recall the rich puddings, caramel dumplings, and chocolate goodies she would make.  And her gingersnaps were heavenly!

Note from Zoanna to my readers--

To this day, Daddy actually prefers burnt cookies to properly baked ones.  It hearkens back to the way his mom used to make them, because she wasn't fond of kitchen work, so between being poor and having a mother who didn't especially enjoy baking,  cookies were a doubly rare treat.   

Every year since we girls started baking on our own (probably in high school), Daddy requested burned cookies. Every Christmas after  I got married,  I would make him a batch of gingersnaps or chocolate chip cookies and wrap them as a gift under the tree.  He would gush gratitude, as if I'd just bought him a '66 Mustang convertible.

One year I thought he wouldn't miss burnt cookies--maybe he was just being polite--, so I  gave him a few other gifts and skipped the burnt cookies.  He didn't say anything directly to me  that day (and I was a grown woman with teenage kids) but all evening he seemed to sulk just a little.  As we were leaving their house, I asked Mama about it. "Is Daddy okay? He seems a little down."  She said, "He's okay, but he told me a little while ago he really missed your burnt cookies."

Oh, for heaven's sakes, really?!!  I went home and burned some gingersnaps as soon as I could-- and delivered them promptly.  

When he opened the wrapped tin,  he let out his phrase of highest delight: "Well, forevermore!  What have we here?  Aaah, burnt cookies! How did you know!! Thank you SO much!"

I'm sure that when my father is gone from this earth, I will get a big lump in my throat at the very smell of cookies starting to burn in the oven.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

E is for Engineering

Whoa, here comes Day 5 of the A to Z challenge already. They don't call it a challenge for nothin', people!  Is anyone else asking, "What was I thinking?"  Well, I knew from experience that I would be asking myself that question  sooner or later (and it has come sooner rather than later this time).

So, what did I do to help bolster my chances at success? I decided for my theme I'd borrow my father's words.

Like Judge Judy says, "They don't keep me here because I'm gorgeous. They keep me here because I'm smart!"

I'm sharing excerpts from an autobiographical journal that Daddy wrote for me back in 1999.  Educated at the University of Kansas in the late 1950s, he earned a BS in mechanical engineering. Much of his 39-year career, however, he served as a chemical engineer for the Department of the Army. 

From the legacy journal comes the next question I'm using as a prompt for the letter E.

Question: Did your high school  have college and career days? What field interested you most?  What did you want to become when you grew up?

No.  We didn't have college or career days, but we had special assembly periods during which we were entertained by groups from various colleges.  We weren't given much exposure to counselors who could discuss career choices.  Mostly, we followed hearsay information or role models.  I enjoyed mechanical drawing, architectural drawing, and math.  So I reasoned that architecture or engineering would be fulfilling.

Other possibilities that I considered were Optometry, Veterinary Medicine, and Mortuary Science.  In the end, architecture or engineering seemed to hold the most promise and interest.

My dad's DNA with the good drawing genes and head for math have clearly been passed down to my youngest son. Here he is in second grade (four years ago) posing with my parents after the art and music show.  I couldn't find the picture I was really wanting to show in which he is sitting in my dad's lap at Thanksgiving. My dad said, "Why, come right on up here. We engineers have to stick together."   And my boy repeated, "Yeah! We en-zin-eers hafta 'tick togedder!


Friday, April 04, 2014

D is for Danforth Chapel Proposal

Danforth Chapel on the grounds of KU.   I lifted the image from
Google and I imagine the chapel looked much this way in late
March, when the following event took place in 1961.


Share a memory about the way you proposed to Mama.

Three weeks and three days after our first date,  my sister Belva married Jim Chang, a dental student, at Danforth Chapel on the KU campus.   I was the soloist.  Brenda was my date.  The event was quite romantic.

After the wedding.  Brenda and I  were sitting together and I spontaneously erupted, "I would like you to be my wife."  

She replied, "I would love to be your wife and the mother of your children."

Since we had been dating for only 3+ weeks, we felt it best to not announce an engagement just yet.  But soon our friends learned. A few weeks passed, we purchased rings, and  we went to Danforth Chapel for the placement of the diamond on her finger and the "formal" proposal.

Once formally engaged, our guy friends ushered the gang to the center of the campus and threw me in--a  KU tradition at the time of engagement.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

C is for Calling

The third question that I've chosen from the legacy book that my daddy filled in was this:

Did you ever feel that God had a special calling on your life?

He replied:

Yes. I have always felt that God calls out particular persons for particular tasks by various means.  That calling may come rather climactically, or may come over a prolonged period--a process rather than an event.

In the early 70s, I felt God wanted more of me, whereupon I offered myself for the Gospel ministry.  Brenda and I packed our belongings and went to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, from which each of us took a degree. 

My focus was institutional chaplaincy.  After taking the degree and working in a mental institution (an internship) I felt the doors closing: 200 applicants for each chaplaincy position. 
When I now tell people at my Government office that I had planned to work with crazy people but went to work for the government instead, they often retort, "Same difference."

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Heidy-Ho, Good Hodgepodge

Do you remember Tim-the-Toolman-Taylor's  "Home Improvement" sitcom where his neighbor Wilson always greeted him with, "Heidy-ho, good neighbor!"?  That's what comes to mind when Wednesdays roll around and I want to say hello to my Hodgepodge host, Joyce, and all the "neighbors" in our 'hood.

1. Since these questions are posting on the first day of April it seems only right to ask-when was the last time you did something foolish? If you can't answer that one, try this one-when was the last time someone fooled you?

Yesterday I was foolish to take directions from my "smart" phone to a house I've been to a handful of times before. Why not just rely on my memory or personal sense of direction? Why end up going in a four-mile CIRCLE, not just once but TWICE? The face in my mirror was a fool's face.

 2. What's the last biography or non-fiction book you've read? Was it any good?

Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den, by Janet and Geoff Benge. I read it along with my sixth grader for his school assignment.  It was excellent.  These authors have written a series of missionary biographies, and  our home library has almost all of them (most when homeschooling back in the day).

 3. Garlic-friend or foe? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?

Friend.  I love a dish with bacon,  shrimp, spinach, mushroom, garlic, and gorgonzola cheese served over linguine.

I call my recipe "Don't Invite the Rabbi, Just the Pasta."  

 4. Several Spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April. Of those listed, which would you most like to see in person...
The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Washington, The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville Tennessee, The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington North Carolina or the Daffodil Festival Weekend on Nantucket Island, Massachussets?

Oh, the tulip festival, hands down.  I love tulips and I've never been to Washington, so mixing the two (lip) would be a win-win. 
 5. How do you choose which blogs to read?  What is something that will make you stop and read every time? Something that makes you say, 'eh, think I'll skip this one and move on to the next'?
I choose:
  • Humor
  • transparency and vulnerability, not simply a recapping of where you went and who you hung out with and what you ate, unless you can make all of those humorous or touching somehow
  • good writing  (must have a "voice," must use good grammar, must "hook" me from the get-go)
  • uncluttered background, simple font, a photo or two (but not too many selfies)
  • content featuring everyday family life, most often written by a Christian woman in midlife or older
  • sewing, quilting, and home organization blogs from time to time
I avoid:
  • politics, profanity, or subjects I deem petty
  • fashion/book/music/movie reviews
  • very long posts  
  • posts in which sentences start with that trendy lowercase letter style of writing
  • chronically serious or poetic posts
  • dark, depressing or really deep writers
6. April is National Mathematics Education Month so tell us, when did you last use math?

Today, twice.  The first time was to teach a preschooler, using skinny dowel rods, how adding one to any number gives you the next number.  She caught on so fast.   The second time was tonight when looking over a problem my sixth grader missed on his math test.  It had to do with calculating cubic liters of water lost, which triggered my bladder, of course.  The ratio of water terms to water I can hold is ....

Never mind. Next question?

7. In honor of the A-Z challenge kicking off on April 1...choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe your yesterday.

Arid!  Alleluia! Amen! Wait, that's three.  But I adore assonance (a lot like alliteration, but sounds like a bad word, huh?), and above all, admire arid air after an acutely Alaskan atmosphere around my abode.

 8. Insert your own random thought here

I think I was born to teach kids to read. It is absolutely one of the highest highs on earth for me.
The little girl I'm tutoring is four years old, and in just six sessions with me, she  read a seven-word sentence today. I almost cried, I was so happy. And her mother and father heard her, as did her grandmother who was in the room.  There were hugs and laughter and high fives and dancing with joy at their house. Other than leading a soul to Christ, and being a mother, there's nothing than brings deeper pleasure quite like hearing a child read for the very first time. 

B is for Ball Games

Continuing with my theme, "Daddy's Words,"  the next question was one about ball games. My dad has always loved baseball, and this is what he wrote  (in my keepsake book) about a particular memory involving a baseball game in about 1948 or '49.

Did you go to ball games as a boy? What kind of food did you eat?

Of baseball--

During high school days, our school had a Class C franchise with the Pittsburgh Pirates--the Hutchinson Elks.  We sometimes attended a game as paying customers, but more often  I watched, along with friends, from a tree limb outside the right field fence.  There, we could chase down a souvenir any time a home run was hit.  
I don't remember ever succeeding in taking home a souvenir.
But I do remember the chase.
You see, the ball club had an official retriever who was paid to chase those balls and bring them back.
Half of one of his ears was missing--it reportedly had been bitten off during a wrestling match in his youth.   He would pounce on any kid who tried to make off with a home run ball. 
So---when we saw Tarzan running toward us, we would run for cover or act like we had no interest in chasing the ball.
Of food, I ate hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggies!  (Pizzas came to the US--or to  my awareness--in my college days.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A is for Airplane

My April A to Z Blogging Challenge theme is "My Daddy's Words."   

Wanting to have in writing as much of his autobiography as I could, I gave him a copy of the book you see pictured here,  
A Father's Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words
That was back on Christmas Day of 1999, and I asked him to return it to me, filled out, on Christmas Day, 2000.  He did. This book is one of my most treasured possessions. At the top of each page is a question--a writing prompt of sorts--and Daddy answered each one as well as he could in the space provided.  
I may also include a poem or two that he penned. He liked to do that for people on special occasions. 

My dad is now 79 years old, still in good health and humor, still my hero.  I have his permission to share these parts of his story.

Did you attend church as a young boy? What are your earliest memories of church?

Since daddy was a preacher, I had no choice about attending church.  My earliest memories were of the churches--Free Will Baptist--that daddy served, in northern Missouri.  I remember the cars--Model T's, Whippets, and the Model A's. Some of the parishioners came to church in their buggies.  The rural churches always maintained facilities for tying the horses.

On one occasion a well-known radio preacher named Hitchcock flew in from Springfield, Missouri, in his Piper Cub.  He landed in a pasture opposite the church.  He gave our family our first airplane ride--in about 1940.  He preached but, of course, I don't remember the sermons--only the airplane.