Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
I've concluded that there are no two words in the English language that can knock the sense out of me quite like "Easy Victor". In an emergency situation, when the words "Easy Victor" are heard from the cockpit it technically means the airplane has come to a complete stop. For us, it means Act 1, Scene 1, and we are the sole performers. It is imperative that we say our lines verbatim and that our actions follow the script exactly. Just when I think I've got my "role" down, I hear those words "Easy Victor" and suddenly I can't even remember the first word of the first line, much less what my hands and body are supposed to be doing. If a "take 2" is required we are not allowed to be told what we did wrong in "take 1". We think about it and start from "Easy Victor" again. If a "take 3" is required we take a break and go think long and hard about how we're going to perfect our "role" because there will be no "take 4". After three days of numerous "performances" I've decided that I absolutely detest the words "Easy" and "Victor."
Lest you think I didn't learn anything useful I will conclude with something I learned that was helpful (we even watched an ever-so-helpful video on it): Do not send any incapacitated crew members down the escape hatch head first.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Nanny wouldn't hesitate to label anyone exhibiting less than desirable behaviour as horse's rosettes. I picked up on this too. I didn't realize until years later that it wasn't exactly the quaint little moniker I had assumed it was.
How about, "there's more than one way to skin a cat"....eeeek. I can honestly say I had NEVER used that gruesome little phrase UNTIL the other day. A passenger wanted three cookies and I told him he'd have to wait until everyone got a choice and then promised to bring him back whatever extras we had. The passengers seated next to him didn't care for anything so he craftily announced that they'd just changed their minds and that they both wanted cookies. I gave him the three cookies and told him "I guess there's more than one way to skin a cat, isn't there?" What?? Where did that come from? Who knew that was even in my repertoire of phrases?
"Loose cannon" is one of my personal favorites. My understanding of a "loose cannon" is someone that is always on the cusp of over the top behavior and must be carefully monitored at all times. Howard Dean is a perfect example of a "loose cannon", though Biden is right on his heels. They're also prone to going off "half-cocked".
My dad always told us to keep our "eyes peeled" for our baby sister. Meaning to keep careful watch over her. Eye's peeled? Ick.
I'm not even sure what a "whip stitch" is...but because I've heard it all my life, I use it every whip stitch.
How about all the ways we could be knocked or slapped? "I'll knock you into the middle of next week" "or "knock both eyes into one". "I'll slap some sense into you", or "slap you silly", or "slap the crap out of you". To be fair, my mom was way too proper to ever say crap, I believe her favorite was knocking us into the middle of next week...which I always personally thought might be a nice place to be (under the circumstances).
Craig used to come up with some outlandish facts. When my parents would ask him how he came upon such knowledge his answer would always be the same: "a kid at school told me." It became our family's response to anyone that came up with questionable facts...."did a kid at school tell you that?"
My mom liked nothing better than to "scare the living daylights" out of us. I haven't a clue what "living daylights" are, but she derived enormous pleasure from telling us scary stories and pulling nylon stockings over her head and poking it around corners to terrify us. When Kristie was little (too little to have the use of her pronouns down pat) my mom would tell her scary stories about abominable snowmen and Kristie would always ask apprehensively "Their don't come to Michigan, do their?" We started using that phrase about any bad people or bad news, "Their don't come to Michigan...do their?"
If we asked Dad if he had time to help us with something, he'd often respond with, "What's time to a pig?" It always made him chuckle but I never really got it. I just learned the other day that it's a line from a joke he loved. The joke goes something like this: an old farmer used to walk his pigs a long way so they could drink from the river. A neighbor offered to run a pipe from the river to the farmer's house but the farmer wasn't interested. When the neighbor insisted what a huge time saver it would be the farmer just asked, "What's time to a pig?" All these years later and now I get it.
Another phrase I use (but have no idea where it came from) is, "you guessed it Nester!" It's the equivalent of "Well...duh!" For example, if I get my uniform on and someone asks if I'm going to work, I say..."You guessed it Nester!" Or, in a lame attempt to be funny, I might say, "No, I just like wearing this outfit".
I'm sure if everyone in my family put our heads together we could come up with quite a "dictionary" of our own. What a gift it is to be "placed in families" (Psalm 68:6). Sometimes I think we forget how therapeutic it is to share our memories. I miss being able to rehash stories with Craig (no one could recount a story better than he could), but I know it won't be long before we'll be laughing it up together again in Heaven...probably sooner than any of us think. I have a distinct memory of us laying on a hill "watching for Jesus" and I can still hear him singing (in his own little rendition), "When those gates are open wide, I'm gonna shove my butt inside, I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna shout...PRAISE THE LORD!"
Sunday, September 13, 2009
In our spiritual life this same feeling of being "owed" certain things robs us of joy-giving gratitude. I've worked hard, I'm entitled to a good time. They really hurt me, I'm entitled to hurt them back. I've been disappointed with some of the things that have happened in my life, I'm entitled to feel sorry for myself and resentful of those that haven't suffered similar misfortunes. They didn't treat me with respect, I'm entitled to be rude to them. They made some rude gesture at me while I was driving, I'm entitled to be angry and wish bad things on them. They're driving 40 in a 55, and I'm running late for work, so I'm entitled to ride their tail and flash my lights (I learned that trick from somebody...could it be...Bob?).
God's life instructions are in complete opposition to the "entitlement" mentality. He asks us to bless those who curse us. To pray for those who are evil. To work diligently, "doing it all in the name of the Lord Jesus." To give thanks in all situations. To consider others better than ourselves. To be peacemakers and live peaceably with all men. All the very opposite of what feels natural to us. The only thing we are really "entitled" to is a life in Hell separated from God for eternity. Yet when we do things God's way He is faithful to give us inexplicable peace and joy. It's just so darn hard...some days MUCH harder than others. I know God is faithful, that He did begin a good work in me and that He is continuing to mold me more and more into the image of His Son. So eventually I know I'm gonna be nicer...in fact, I think I must be nicer than I was last year and I should be even nicer next year. Isn't that what growing in grace and knowledge is all about? (2 Peter 3:17). I know Bob, for one, will be especially be encouraged by this possibility.
"Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near! Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)
P.S. Babe, please don't tell me to do any of this, okay?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
"The concept of 'entitlement' is at the very least presumptuous. I don't accept the idea! Why should any hard-working member of the productive element of our great nation be 'herded into' the notion that we owe the non-productive element anything?....Believe it or not, I am actually benevolent. But, I DECIDE to whom I will be benevolent....I do not need government to facilitate my giving (at my cost). There is 'pleasure' in giving. This pleasure is obliterated when giving is mandated."
A few paragraphs later he continues with, "You may find this a bit hard to believe, but I consider paying federal income taxes a great privilege. It is an opportunity beyond comprehension for people in third world societies. We, the productive element of our great society, can buy-into the ownership of the United States of America in proportion to our income! Yet, my vote counts exactly the same as Bill Gates or Steve Forbes. Think about it. The operative word is "income". There is no need to tax citizens that have no income (and by that I mean disposable income). Just look at last year's form 1040. You tell me, are there no opportunities for improvement? (1) If you had the misfortune of paying $5000.00 for medical treatment, why shouldn't 100% of it be a deduction from income? (2) People are our most valuable national resource. If you can prove that you paid out $5000.00 for the education of your dependant children, why shouldn't 100% of the expenditure be a deduction from income? (3) If your labor paid you $30,000 for an entire year's hard work, why should you be required to pay any income tax? (4) If you decided to sell your home that served you well for 20 years, but nearing retirement, you and your wife decided you don't need, why should you pay any income tax on your 'capital gain'? I could go on. ....Certainly there is room for improvement in our federal income tax code. But, what is vastly more important is where the money goes! As of today, our hard earned dollars are going to things that most of us don't believe in and would not support, if asked."
My dad was particularly concerned about our national debt. He quotes the great economist Milton Friedman: "The problem to address is spending." He goes on to say that what needs to be balanced is our national check book! ....Most of us hardworking suckers must live within our means. If we want something a little beyond necessity we plan ("budget") our income. Pretty simple. ....But, your federal government elitists are not constrained by this simple philosophy. The have infinite resources: tax on the hard-working suckers.
....But in fact, your elected representatives are your employees. Unfortunately, you and I have abdicated our responsibilities as an employer. We have "excuses": We've been too busy trying to make ends meet. We've been focusing on raising good citizens. We work.
....In case you haven't thought about it, you and I are going to die! Our time is not infinite. Before I die, I am going to do all that I can to leave this United States in the shape it was given to me: With no entitlements."
Sadly my dad went to be with the Lord in 1999. Can you imagine how horrified he'd be with his beloved country's debt now??? My dad was constantly stressing to us kids how important it was to contribute (he DID like that word). He wanted us to be involved, to know who our representatives are and to hold them accountable to follow the will of their constituents, always stressing that they work for us. We are their employer. I don't think there's ever been a time in our country's history that we need to understand and act upon this more. I've always been in awe of my dad's prescient wisdom. A day doesn't go by that I don't miss getting his "take" on things. I know if he were still with us his heart would be broken by all that has happened and continues to happen. I was overcome with nostalgia after reading his letter and was moved to share his thoughts with you. I hope you can appreciate how opportune they are today....more than 14 years after he wrote them!