Hey, Honey, What's for Dinner?
An essay for a Wedding Shower

For my generation, one of a mother's solemn duties in raising a daughter was to
teach her how to be a good cook. However, my daughter wasn't interested in learning
until the last minutes before her marriage so I only had time to offer her one
special menu for the perfect dinner. It always satisfies and is easy to digest.

To begin with, the table should be set with PLATES and FLATWARE. These two
elements represent Love and Service. The love is responsible for holding the
rest of the meal together and service to one another is how it is to be delivered.

The first course to be served is the SOUP, which represents Acceptance.
Sometimes the soup is served cold, sometimes hot - it may be thick and robust
or it may be thin and weak. Whatever the temperature or consistency, it is just
right for that cup of soup and must be accepted for what it is.

A little GELATIN salad represents Flexibility. Things will always be changing
in our lives - that is one of the things that can be counted upon. Flexibility
within the circumstances allows room for growth and change within ourselves, as well.

Bring on the STEAK! The stake in a relationship is Commitment. Now some will
argue that stake is rare. For the sake of a good marriage I believe the stake
must be well done.

Do you like your steak with MUSHROOMS? I do. Some would say that mushrooms
are the mark of Trust. "What makes you think the guys in the cannery can tell a
good mushroom from a bad one any more than you can?" they would ask. Trust is
imperative in a marriage, knowing that your partner would not do anything to hurt
you in any way. You can count on them to be on your side.

Although they may being on tears, ONIONS should always be served. Forgiveness
is essential in any relationship, even though it may bring tears. Those not
serving onions are rubbing SALT in the wound.

Those who want Honesty serve up POTATOES AND GRAVY. This plain food, beloved
by all, sticks to the ribs and fills up the belly. For a fulfilling relationship,
you must serve honesty.

Love and Laughter ho hand in hand, so I'll recommend being a little CORNy.
A sense of humor (not at one another's expense, mind you) can go a long way
toward making the facing of life's responsibilities together a pleasurable experience.

Ah, the BREAD of Life...do not forget how important it is to maintain your
devotional life, both personally and jointly. Make God the center of your home.

Many times the scriptures direct us to be Kind to one another, so don't forget
to pour a big glass of the MILK of human kindness. Be tender toward one another.

For dessert, you'll be serving PIE! You may exclaim "Oh, yum!" before I will
you that it is a special kind of pie...Humble pie. Humility is being willing to
say "I'm sorry," "I was wrong" "I was hasty...pushy...grouchy...judgmental...etc."
You have to be willing to ask forgiveness as well as give it.

This is a meal I would like to see prepared every day. I hope I've done a
better job of teaching my daughter how to fix this kind of meal through the
example of my own life.

And now, as you prepare to sit down to this meal, let us say grace:
"God Bless This Home."


Bringing up Baby
An essay for a Baby Shower

It seems there are a lot of parents who are rejecting the 'pink for girls
and blue for boys' rules of old. Instead they select a gender-neutral color
like green or yellow. Some even refuse to have toys that may be considered
gender-based such as "dolls for girls and cars for boys". Why? Well, we
wouldn't want to create any stereotypes!

While I won't make any recommendations on colors or toys, the scriptures
do say that we have a responsibility to set a child on the right path.
Proverb 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is
old, he will not depart from it."

Now I know you're pretty busy just getting the essentials done - feeding,
changing, feeding, changing, and MAYBE a little sleep here and there. So how
are you going to fit in this special training?

Well, you know, a child has to be taught everything...so find ways to teach
her in the ways of the Lord as you go along day by day.

As you change your baby, pray for her purity. Make sure she knows early on
that she can make good choices.

When you are bathing your baby, bathe her in prayer. As she gets older,
prayer will not be a new thing to be added, she'll be used to hearing it
from your lips.

While you feed your little girl, feed her the scriptures, too. Children
memorize things much easier than we who are older. Let Bible verses become
her 'cradle language'.

When you teach her to share, make sure you are sharing the gospel with her
so she has an early understanding of saving grace.

When you cuddle her for lullabies, sing songs about Jesus love.

Babies learn to walk in what seems no time at all. When you are helping her
learn, you can caution her about letting her feet take her into dangerous

As you dress your baby, and later teach her to dress herself, talk to her
about how she can be clothed in righteousness.

Your little girl will mimic your very speech. Make sure that when she
learns to talk, you have nothing to be ashamed of having repeated from your
own lips.

When you buckle her into the car seat, pray for protection from the
evil one.

As you discipline this little one, teach her that it is not for punishment
but for learning self-control.

And the best thing you can do for your precious baby is to help her make
friends with Jesus. This life-long relationship, with one who will never leave
her and is closer than any family ties, is one she will never outgrow.


There Are THINGS Out There
A true story!

“Over hill, over dale, over anything in the trail”; since I had invited
myself along on this weekend outing with Dad and my brother, I was
determined to stick it out and muttered under my breath so they wouldn’t
hear that I was having a lousy time. It would only have brought an
“I told you so.” It wasn’t too difficult to gather that my presence
wasn’t exactly welcome, judging from the way their mouths gaped and
their eyes shifted to one another when I showed up with my sleeping
bag and newer-than-new hiking boots.

They said everything they could think of to make me stay home but, as
it turned out, my boots didn’t raise the promised blisters (thanks to
two pair of heavy-duty, also brand-new socks) nor did I go screaming
back to the truck when a rattlesnake crossed the footpath. In all
honesty, I cannot attribute this display of great bravery to anything
but the fact that I was totally unaware that there was such a snake
until I overheard their admiring comments on the subject some two
miles down the trail.

We each carried our own sleeping bags and fishing gear. I suppose the
men thought it great fortune that I wasn’t also carrying the food
since, while packing out, I slipped and then watched helplessly as
my sleeping bag floated away in the river. Mysterious undercurrents
brought it back within range of my otherwise unused fishing pole
about a half-mile later but it still required my wading in 18 inches
of freezing mountain water to retrieve it. Thankfully, I had shown
enough foresight to pack dry socks...neatly rolled up in my sleeping bag.

Even now I find it hard to visualize myself inching over those sheer
mountain faces, searching for the ideal fishing hole. And inching is
exactly what we did. When you get right down to it (the ground,
that is) there was nothing to get a grip on except moss and thimbleberry
bushes. Fortunately, those bushes loved their mountain home and clung
to it tenaciously, and I in turn clung to them, all the while wondering
if over the next clod of dirt would come my fateful eye-to-eye encounter
with the dreaded reptile. Although I wouldn’t admit it to those guys,
I am basically chicken-hearted, being terrified of heights and of the
woods at night. “There are THINGS out there.”

After several hours of such undignified progress, I could understand
the reason the goal of our weekend excursion was named “Old Man Creek.”
The simple fact is that you would be a little old man if you succeeded
in stomping around long enough to find the dumb thing. We never did.
Having begun at early light we still had not, at dusk, reached this creek
which was reputed to be ‘just around the next bend.” Then, out of time
and energy, we decided to stop and ‘fish our way out’ in the morning.

When the fellas started talking about dinner I began to worry anew. I’d
heard that bears are attracted to the smells of cooking and are known
to attack campers. I realized I had no reason to worry once I had a taste
of what was reported to be macaroni and cheese. I could barely choke it
down and was certain no self-respecting bear would touch it. As we washed
out our dishes in the river and waited for the coffee to brew, I thought
to myself that if the food hadn’t repelled the night things, surely
Dad’s camp coffee would. I’m sure his version of the beverage would
single-handedly support the acid indigestion industry for years, given
enough people willing to strain coffee grounds through their teeth
like so much sawdust.

I was aware, however, that I needed that coffee if I were to succeed
in my plan to stay awake all night watching and listening for the THINGS
that were out there in the woods waiting to attack if I relaxed my vigil
for one moment. Despite my fervent prayers, nighttime eventually settled in.

Having some little bit of sense built in, I had brought along a lightweight
hammock to sleep in, being very careful not to reveal it until the
last possible moment before sacktime. Dad and Jerry looked sideways at
each other and snickered but tied it between two small trees for me
anyway and I, thinking THEM the fools, snugly settled into my suspended bed.

When the tapping on my backside began, I nearly perished from lack of
oxygen. I held my breath while my mind ran down the list of possible
explanations. Snakes, of course, were at the top of my list, but I
discounted them by calculating that the ground and my bottom were at
least 8 inches apart and I had never heard of snakes that tall. Skunks
were next on the list and porcupines were right up there near the top
as well. As a matter of fact, the list was quite long and I didn’t like
the sounds of anything on it!

Quick, think! What is short and attacks people in the woods at night?




When I finally got enough air and the courage to yell loud enough for
the guys to hear me over the roar of the river which they were nestled
next to, they naturally came charging into the woods to rescue me.
Dad’s flashlight revealed nothing, no footprints, no gleaming eyes.
Just the same, I stayed inside my zippered sleeping bag and hopped out
of the brush and down to the beach, not being willing to walk in bare
feet over what I couldn’t clearly see in the dark, and not wanting to
take a chance that SOMETHING was already occupying my boots. Certain
that IT would shortly be after me down on the beach, I gathered the
top edge of my sleeping bag together in my fist so there was no way
anything could get in. Still, I slept fitfully - probably because very
little air could get into the bag under those conditions.

Compared to the terrors of the night before, the hike out seemed
uneventful except for the near loss of my bag in the river, the single
8-inch trout Dad caught (which had rotted by the time we got back to
the truck anyway), and the sting of cruel laughter from behind me on
the trail. When we had awoken we found that beastly, attack-chipmunks
had continued their nocturnal rampage after I had departed to the beach,
and had managed to totally shred my brand-new hammock.

No, I didn’t pack the embarrassing remains out with me. I left them
there as a warning to future generations - THERE ARE THINGS OUT THERE!



Whether you're new to stamping, or just brushing off your old skills,
this review guide will assist you with the basics.

Start Small

Stamping is really a simple process but one must take care to start
small to avoid injury.

Select a cause for which you wish to stamp

Visualize the desired end result

Ball fists lightly

Balance on one foot

Raise other foot from the floor about three inches while also
raising fists to about waist height

With sudden movement, bring fists to sides as the raised foot
is slapped smartly against the floor.

Advanced Stamping

With practice, your stamping can be raised to a true art form

Try raising the foot higher for a more satisfying sound effect

Ball fists tighter and raise them to shoulder height for visual effect

Add impact to the message by adding vocalizations such as grunts, whimpers,
growls, or piercing screeches (depending upon the situation)

Stamp Maintenance

Stamp on everything
Don’t limit yourself to the BIG issues. It is appropriate to stamp
whenever you want your way!

Use props
Holding objects that may be considered threatening by themselves
sometimes enhances the message.

Never let them see you sweat!

Repeated images
Impact can be added to your stamping by repeating the movements in
series (think 3-year-old)

Given these simple guidelines, anyone can learn to stamp with truly
remarkable results. HAPPY STAMPING!


For links to poetry and quotations sites
click here.