Poems from Friends for NaPoMo 2017

“We never have to hold our feelings inside. Whether we express ourselves through speech, poetry, or photography, every one of us has a voice with something of value to say. Now, we can be heard.”~ Brandon Fernandez, who as a teenager founded “Expressions,” a program designed to teach young children how to express themselves through poetry and photography.

So, today I want to share two poems submitted by friends, one original, and the other by the famous poet, Ogden Nash. It’s not too late to send me a poem! There are still three weeks left in April!  🙂

Title: “When Grey Clouds Gather”

Author: John Tobasco
Date Written: 7/16/2016

“When grey clouds gather and cover your sky,Just put on your wings and fly up real high. Above those grey clouds you’ll find brilliant blue, So lift up your head and look for a clueOf things not yet here and others gone by.

And when you look down to those on the groundRemember the times when you weren’t found, And think of the times when you couldn’t find Anything that resembled real peace of mind,And all the people that helped you touch down.

And, here’s a poem to make you smile (or wince):Author: Ogden Nash  (but shared with us by Linda Davis)

“One thing I like less than most things is sitting in a dentist chair with my mouth wide open.
And that I will never have to do it again is a hope that I am against hope hoping.
Because some tortures are physical and some are mental,
But the one that is both is dental.
It is hard to be self possessed
With your jaw digging into your chest,
so hard to remain calm
When your fingernails are making serious alterations in your life line or love line or some other important line in your palm,
So hard to give your usual cheerful effect of benignity,
When you know your position is one of the two or three in life most lacking in dignity
And your mouth is like a section of road that is being worked on
And it is cluttered up with stone crushers and concrete mixers and drills and steam rollers and there isn’t a nerve in your head that isn’t being jerked on.
Oh, some people are unfortunate to be worked on by all thumbs,
And others have things done to their gums,
And your teeth are supposed to be polished
But you have reason to believe they are being demolished.
And the circumstances that add to your terror
Is that it’s all done with a mirror,
Because the dentist may be a bear, or as the Romans used to say, only they were referring to a feminine bear when they said it, an ursa,
But all the same how can you be sure, when he takes his crowbar in one hand and mirror in the other, that he won’t get mixed up, the way you do when you try to tie a bow tie with the aid of a mirror, and forget that left is right and vice versa.
And then at last he says, “That will be all”, but it isn’t because he then coats your mouth from cellar to roof
With something I suspect is generally used to put a shine on a horse’s hoof.
And you totter to your feet and think, Well it’s over now, and after all it was only this once,
And he says, “Please come back in three months.”
And this, O Fate, is I think the most vicious woe that thou ever sentest,
That Man has to go continually to the dentist to keep his teeth in good condition,
When the chief reason he wants his teeth to be in good condition is:  so that he won’t have to go the dentist.”

      Finally, here’s a little poetry from the Bible’s book of Psalms:1  “I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121, selected verses, ESV)

(Thank you to my son, Daniel, and his dental team for the last photo. The others were taken on my last trip to Hawaii.)

Groundhog Day Giddies

ground-hog-dayIn honor of Groundhog Day and the prospects of 6 more weeks of winter, getting-to-know-youI thought a few good jokes might brighten our scans! marajuanaEvery once in a while I get cartoons passed along that make me laugh, the-children-of-israel-with-cell-phonesand I just need to share them!  birds-need-potty-breaks-tooToday is one of those days. o-c-d Hope you enjoy!  biscuits-and-gravyHere’s lookin’ at you, Rick,tire-pressure-tool and here’s one for your sweet wife, Cheryl (or me). bearsHere’s one for my dear friend Sarah up in Alaska, whose husband actually saved a man’s life by shooting the bear who attacked him.  smart-car-and-a-smart-aleckAnd here’s one for my son Michael and all lovers of especially small cars.
(Some of these jokes are only funny if you don’t think about them too hard.) trying-to-pound-sense-into-someoneSome jokes are funny but make a serious point & could be used against any of us. greatest-accomplishmentAnd, some cartoons are pretty much right on for all of us! 🙂

“Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise:
and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding”

(Proverbs 17:28).

Public Thoughts on the Secret Life of Walter Mitty

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-coverReady for a little comic relief? If you’re a movie aficionado, you may have seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty when it was released two years ago. If you’re a movie snob…then you wouldn’t call yourself that, you’d call yourself a film critic, but anyway, you might have bypassed this one because it only garnered a 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and 54% on Metacritic. the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-great-photography-from-icelandHowever, someone recommended it as fun and clean (PG, although there is some profanity 😦 ), with stunning photography from Greenland, Iceland, and Central Asia, so I was intrigued. the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-photography-from-greenlandAfter watching it, I think it totally deserves the 7.3 rating from IMDb. If you remember reading James Thurber’s short story by the same name (which was a staple in high schools a zillion years ago), you get the gimmick, which is a dull-appearing dude with an overactive fantasy life. the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-ben-stillerHowever, this version is so much more fun, and the protagonist is a thoroughly lovable, naturally athletic and super competent person who sacrificed his own ambitions at age seventeen in order to support his mom and sister after their father died. As the story goes, Walter is in a desperate search for a missing negative intended as the cover picture for Life magazine’s last edition, and he tracks halfway around the world in pursuit of the famed photojournalist whom Mitty believes has the negative. Of course there’s romance, but pure and simple: he has a crush on her, and she inspires him to greatness and success in his amazing adventures. sean-penn-in-the-secret-life-of-walter-mittyDoes Mitty get his man? Well, you might have to wait and see, but I will tell you Mitty has many dogged endeavors with gorgeous backdrops…a helicopter drop, shark attack, volcanic field crossing, mountain top trek in the Himalayas, etc. (to name a few). Whew!the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty Does he get his woman? Things look hopeful. Does he get his negative? Yes, but he had it all along and didn’t know it. In fact, he had no clue what and where the treasure was so almost lost it.   helicopter-jump-the-secret-life-of-walter-mittyWithout spoiling the climax, I want to hit the pause button at this scene: Mitty realizing his terrible mistake, which cost him his job and could have cost him his life. How about you? Are you like Walter Mitty, searching the world for some priceless missing treasure? Love, joy, faith, hope…the ability to sleep in heavenly peace?? God has already given all this and more to you as a gift in the form of His son, Jesus! Don’t throw out Jesus and go halfway around the world in search of something to satisfy your heart. Embrace him as your Lord and Savior, and rest in His love!  the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-adventures“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:22-23).

Humorous and Provocative Reflections à la Rogue River

launching-canoes-on-the-rogue-riverTime for another break! My oldest son, Aaron, was born on my 25th birthday, ducks-on-rogue-riverand we’ve had the joy of celebrating most of our birthdays together ever since.swans-geese-and-ducks-on-rogue-riverbankThis year was no exception, although it was exceptional canoeing-on-rogue-riverthat we could share the pleasure with Aaron’s entire familyshady-green-bows-over-rogue-river as well as Alan and Joel during a leisurely canoe ride down the Rogue River. old-snag-in-rogue-riverThis entire week, I want to share some photos from that serene afternoon canada-goose-island-on-rogue-riveralong with three series of favorite quotations on various subjects great-blue-heron-fishing-on-rogue-riverthat I’ve been saving up.bubbly-water-along-the-rogue-riverToday’s quotes are ones I kept because they made me smile:green-glow-of-indian-summer-on-the-rogue-river“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems,
but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”~Herm Albright
canada-geese-in-flight-on-rogue-river“People with a negative attitude brighten the whole room when they leave.” ~Anonymous leaf-and-sun-on-rogue-river “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
~Robin Williams sunshine-streaming-down-on-canoeists-on-rogue-river “I’m far from perfect, but I’ll be perfect for that imperfect person that’s perfect for me.”  ~Amanda Bynes  turtle-on-a-log-in-rogue-river“People often say to me that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing … that’s why we recommend it daily.”~Zig Ziglar quiet-paddling-along-the-rogue-river “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”
~Ray Kroc  reflections-of-birches-along-rogue-river“There is no magic in magic, it’s all in the details.”~ Walt Disney  trees-overhanging-rogue-river“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living.
The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” ~Mark Twain
canada-geese-along-rogue-river“To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.” ~Theodore Roosevelt…I can only wish that were still true today, but it’s not. 😦trees-reflecting-in-rogue-river“One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie
is that the cat only has nine lives.”~Mark Twain   study-in-sun-and-shadow-on-rogue-river“Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you.
Tell him a bench has wet paint on it, and he’ll have to touch it to be sure. Murphy’s Law” ~(read in Walk the Talk…but not always true, thankfully!)cormorant-on-rogue-river “Need a new life? God accepts trade ins !!”
(~shared by a friend, Pam Hembroff)

  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (~2 Corinthians 5:17)






Quotable Quips for a Rainy—or Sunny—Day

Alligator v.s. CrocodileI love jokes and quips. Do you? Here are a few I’ve been saving up for just such an occasion as today. Hope you enjoy them, and if you’ve already heard them, I hope they still make you smile!

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” ~Lily Tomlin

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” ~Phyllis Diller

“If you love something, set it free. Unless it’s chocolate. Never release chocolate.” ~Renee Duvall

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” ~Milton Berle

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” ~Paula Poundstone

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ~George Carlin

“He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”~Ben Franklin

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”~Erma Bombeck

“The best time to give advice to your children is while they’re still young enough to believe you know what you’re talking about.” ~Evan Esar

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” ~Doug Larson

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” ~Milton Berle (and I hope you’re enjoying some vacation during this beautiful summer!)

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad” (Psalm 26:2-3).


Fun for the Fourth of July!

Hot dog on iceYou know it’s hot when you see photos like these! Plastic cup melter on railing Just for the record, none of these pictures are mine. Cookies baking on car dashI am shamelessly passing them along to you from an internet forward,-2but I think they’re funny and apropos for July heat, so I wanted to share them.Pigeons in shade Anyway, hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July,
warm with the love of family and friends but not too hot, -4and full of all the abundance which God does intend for us. Plastic hanger melted in car heatIf you are suffering today, -10may God bless you with relief, peace, courage, and hope.  -5Much love to you from Michigan, Melted Highway conewhere it’s not nearly so hot as it is in these pictures! 🙂

-3A man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land” (Isaiah 32:2; This passage is speaking of the Messiah, whom I believe is Jesus Christ.)

(If any of these pictures belong to you, please let me know so I can credit you and/or remove them from this post, depending on your wishes. Thanks!)

Dr. Thorne: A Charming Account of Love and Forgiveness

Doctor Thorne Mini SeriesIf you’re a fan of Downton Abbey and the writing of Julian Fellowes, then I think you’d also enjoy Dr. Thorne, a light-hearted retelling of Anthony Trollope’s 1858 novel. Julian Fellows, with his inimitable wit and playful delight in causing his characters consternation, wrote an adaptation of this Victorian charmer (#3 in the Chronicles of Barsetshire) as a costume-drama mini-series which was just released to Amazon Prime on May 20, 2016.

The story revolves around the loves and rejections of sweet, young Mary Thorne, who is of questionable birth but has become the love of her childhood friend, Frank Gresham, the only son of the local squire. There are all the usual dilemmas dealing with illegitimacy, social class, alcoholism, and the love of money versus the love of goodness.

Thankfully, both Trollope and Fellowes like happy endings, as do I, and so the tale concludes on a somewhat predictable but charming high note, with goodness abounding and Mary being the picture of amazing grace and forgiveness. As an extra plus, Julian Fellows introduces and debriefs the audience each time, which made me like him even more. His concluding remarks give some insight into his own philosophy: The greatest transformative power for good is love. Amen to that!

Dr. ThorneBear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

Food for Thought: Good-Reminder One-liners

Steve Toasting Marshmallow copyForbidden fruits create many jams.
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.
God loves everyone…
but probably prefers ‘fruits of the spirit’ over ‘religious nuts!’
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.
He who angers you, controls you!
Peace starts with a smile.
If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats!
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose…
but mosquitoes come close.
Don’t let your worries get the best of you…
remember, Moses started out as a basket case. 🙂
When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.
We don’t change the message; the message changes us.
Be ye fishers of men. You catch ’em – He’ll clean ’em.
God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
The best place on earth:
in someone’s heart and prayers, and in the hand of God.

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
(John 10:28-29)

Crazy Christmas Questions

Snoopy Hanging Christmas StockingsJust in case you need a few more riddles to make your season bright:
(I’ve dedicated a few to various loved ones for fun…hope you don’t mind…)

How many presents can Santa fit in his sack when it’s empty?
Only one; after that it’s not empty anymore. (What do you think, Ru?)

Did Rudolph go to school?
No. He was Elf-taught. (God bless all homeschooling moms this season!)

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

Frostbite! (Olivia M….)

How do snowmen get around?
They ride an icicle.

What did the beaver say to the Christmas Tree?

Nice gnawing you!

Who delivers presents to baby sharks at Christmas?

Santa Jaws.

Oh, ya? Well then, who gives presents to puppies?
Santa Paws, of course! 🙂

What do you get if you cross a bell with a skunk?

Jingle Smells. (Dedicated to the memory of our beloved Abishai, who could never resist chasing skunks, and for all of you who love and own dogs.)

Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
A mince spy. (This one’s for Annika. Congrats on your new bakery!)

What carol is heard in the desert?

O camel ye faithful! (Dedicated to my son Stephen and all musicologists.)

What do you sing to a snowman who’s depressed because he’s melting?
Freeze a jolly good fellow.

Why did Santa’s helper see the doctor?

Because he had a low “elf” esteem. (These 2 are for all my psychiatrist friends~)

What do you call a bunch of chess players bragging about their games in a hotel lobby?
Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer. (I’ll try this one of my son Aaron!)

What’s green, covered in tinsel and goes ribbet ribbet?

Mistle-toad. (For all grand kids who love toads [which includes all mine!])

What did the stamp say to the Christmas card?
Stick with me and we’ll go places! (This one’s for my husband.)   🙂

Why don’t you ever see Father Christmas in hospital?
Because he has private elf care. (Dedicated to all dedicated physicians.)

Why did no one bid for Rudolph and Blitzen on eBay?
Because they were two deer! (For all fellow lovers of second-hand stores.)

What is the best Christmas present in the world?

A broken drum, you just can’t beat it! (For my drummer boys, Dan and Joel.)

How is a Christmas tree like a clumsy knitter?
They both drop needles. (Did you almost guess this one? I did! Dedicated to all knitters, especially Sarah J. and my son Michael, who are the best knitters I know!)

How did Mary and Joseph know that Jesus was 7lb 6oz when he was born?
They had a weigh in a manger. (Now here’s one I couldn’t guess, dedicated to Kari, the best Ob/Gyn I know!)

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV)

Need a Laugh? Here are a few Christmas Jokes

gingerbreadhouseIf your Christmas holidays have been as challenging as mine, then I thought you might be ready for a bit of light-hearted humor. I don’t think I have a funny bone in my body, so I have to resort to perusing the net to find silly jokes to share with my grand kids when they visit. But, whether you’re young at heart or old in body and looking for some fun to pass along to the young’uns this holiday season, I thought you might enjoy these from the Boys’ Life magazine:

Darth Vader: I know what you’re getting for Christmas.
Luke: How do you know?
Darth Vader: I can feel your presents. (Mark R., Barrington, RI)

Luke: What do elves do after school?
Jeffrey: I don’t know. What?
Luke: Their gnome work! (Luke C., Somers, NY)

Joe: What nationality is Santa Claus?
Moe: What?
Joe: North Polish. (Joe B., Huntersville, NC)

Will: Where do snowmen keep their money?
Bill: Beats me.
Will: In a snow bank. (Will M., Big Canoe, GA)

Tim: Did you know Santa had only eight reindeer last Christmas?
Jim: Huh?
Tim: Comet stayed home to clean the sink.
(Tim S., Merriam, KS)

Josh: What does Jack Frost like best about school?
John: What?
Josh: Snow and tell. ( Joshua S., Lafayette, IN)

Teacher: Johnny, define claustrophobia.
Johnny: Fear of Santa Claus? (Ronesha M., Allen, TX)

Santa: Knock, knock.
Elf: Who’s there?
Santa: Olive.
Elf: Olive, who?
Santa: Olive the other reindeer. (Joe R., Saint Charles, MO)

Amanda: What’s the difference between Santa’s reindeer and a knight?
Robert: What?
Amanda: One slays the dragon, and the other’s draggin’ the sleigh. (Amanda M., Springfield, MO)

Josh: Knock, knock!
Samantha: Who’s there?
Josh: Dexter.
Samantha: Dexter, who?
Josh: Dexter halls with boughs of holly.  (Josh B., Dublin, OH)

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God” (Isaiah 40:1).