God’s Refrigerator

Almost every church near where I live has a marquee on the side of the road, usually right in front of the church proper.  The only exceptions that I have noticed are the Episcopalians and the Catholics.  I’m not sure what that says about those two denominations.  Perhaps they don’t like to proselytize in their front yard.  If so, they are missing a real opportunity to snag some new recruits. I love to drive by these various churches, especially the really small ones, because the sayings that are posted on those marquees are always wonderful and thought provoking – some so much so that I am tempted to join the congregation for a Sunday sermon just to see what the inside message might be. Each church changes its marquee message every week or so, and I...

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Friends Are the Family You Make – Thoughts on Father’s Day

Holidays celebrating family relationships are always a little difficult for me.  As Mother’s Day or Father’s Day approaches, we are bombarded with pictures and messages depicting “Ozzy and Harriet” parents, urging us to buy just the right gift or card for Mom or Dad, all the time assuming that this familial portrait is a one size fits all.  I am pretty sure that retail business drives these ads and hopefully with good motive other than money, but for many of us the only thing this marketing ploy does is illuminate how different our feelings may be towards those who brought us to this party we call life. I’m not trying to write a morose essay.  I am sure there are many who were raised in loving and nurturing homes.  But for those of us who weren’t,...

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Appalachia

I was born and raised a city girl.  It’s true that as a child I played in the woods near my house, but that was about the extent of my outdoor experiences until just recently.  The only vegetables I ever saw that weren’t in the grocery store were at the summer farmer’s market where my mother went maybe once a year.  Raising our own vegetables, even just a tomato plant or two, was a foreign concept in my childhood home, which is really weird when you consider that my maternal grandfather kept a huge garden his entire life.  Maybe my parents thought gardening was old fashioned, outdated or beneath them. Given my upbringing, and my acclimation over 50 plus years to suburbia, one has to wonder how and why I ended up in the mountains of rural western North...

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A Little Bite of Heaven

I’m on a fruit kick.  My last article for the Clay County Progress was about blueberries, one of my favorite fruits to use in pies, tarts, or on top of vanilla ice cream.  Thinking about blueberries naturally turned my attention to another fruit I like to grow – strawberries.  Actually thinking of blueberries and strawberries always makes me feel patriotic with all that blue and red going on. But, I digress. Strawberries are easy to grow in our neck of the woods, either in rows in your garden or trailing out of those fancy strawberry pots you can pick up at any garden center.  Who would have thought that garden strawberries had their start, so to speak, in Brittany, France in the 1750’s?  Yep, some French types successfully crossed a variety of...

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Facing Old Demons

This past weekend I attended a wedding in Knoxville, Tennessee.   It was a lovely event, from the thoughtful welcome gifts awaiting every out-of-town guest at hotel check-in on Friday afternoon to the fabulous and classic reception at the town’s oldest and most prestigious country club on Saturday evening after a five o’clock ceremony at the First Presbyterian Church.  An old fashioned society wedding in a “small” Southern town. I had struggled with the decision of whether or not to attend this wedding.  Knoxville held terrible and painful memories for me – ugly divorce, loss of children, ostracization by those I had thought my friends.  In truth, I had suffered a profound and devastating emotional and mental trauma there twenty-eight years...

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Valentine’s Day

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, that 24 hour period where lovers are celebrated, candy makers and jewelers make a fortune, and for those of us in a relationship, a day where we try to figure out what sort of gift is appropriate for our significant other. Gifting on Valentine’s Day can be a serious challenge. For the person early in a relationship, the question is “gift or card, or both?” And, if the decision is to buy a gift, question two becomes what sort of gift? Men and women have tortured themselves over this small but sometimes crucial decision, because the nature of the gift often symbolically conveys more than what the giver has ever been able to express in words. There are so many unspoken rules relative to the appropriateness of the gift to be given,...

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Civil Discourse – A Reminder

What follows is an essay I posted during the 2012 elections.  At that time I had become very concerned about the name calling and other mean spirited attacks being posted on Facebook simply because one person disagreed with what another said about the presidential candidates and their respective parties.  The current government shutdown has revived this ugly behavior, wherein persons who should otherwise know better have crawled into the gutter to sling mud at those holding opposing opinions, once again utilizing name calling and other immature tactics rather than engaging in civil discourse.  So, let us all reflect on what we say before we press that “enter” button.   Here is the comment I posted this morning on Facebook:  From time to time I...

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