Big Lot in Boyertown!

This weekend I went to the new Big Lot in Boyertown and I liked it.

Why did I like it?  Well, mostly because I have yet another daughter headed to college and it can get expensive outfitting them for a year in a dorm.  I’m not advertising for any stores on here, when I say I shopped some place I really did.  I found my trip to Big Lot helped me put a dent in the back to school list my daughter had created and I’m pretty pleased.

They have office supplies and tote bags and bins with funky zebra fabrics or decorated in bright colors.  There are alarm clocks and bean bag chairs and desks and personal care items.  There are book bags and food products and wow, a lot more.




I’m finding I’m not half as smart as I thought I was!

Remember I told you about Coursera?

Well, I signed up for four classes.  I figured what can it hurt?  They are free.

What I hadn’t planned for was the intensity of each of the courses.  These professors aren’t playing school with their students.  They are teaching actual courses that are really really hard!

I just wrote an essay for a course on Science fiction about the Brother’s Grimm.  It was an open essay on anything I thought would be pertinent for another intelligent student in my class.  That sounded easy peasy at first!  I mean, really, how hard could it be to write about fairy tales?

Zoiks!  It wasn’t hard at all till I sat down and started doing it.  The first couple of essays I wrote were embarrassing.  They were words with no meaning.  Then I came across a  poet who said something about the Grimm Brother’s tales and suddenly I knew I had to rewrite an essay with that as my starting point.

The poet by the way was W.H. Auden and I’ll show you the bit of his poem entitled September 1, 1939 that inspired me:


“The lights must never go out,

The music must always play,

All the conventions conspire

To make this fort assume

The furniture of home;

Lest we should see where we are,

Lost in a haunted wood,

Children afraid of the night

who have never been happy or good.”





Tia Saves Roz!

I love this story for two reasons…the first is I know Tia! And she’s a hero!  The second is it’s a feel good story because no one was permanently injured.  I’m sorry about Roz’s house but I’m glad Tia listened to that still small voice that made her check in on her best friend…well, I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I?  Read it for yourself-

Rescue workers said they have never experienced anything like it before, a woman trapped in her basement under several feet of sewage.

Friends say Roselyn Willis had gone into her basement to check the circuit breaker when the stairs collapsed.

Tia Quarles, a good friend of Willis, said she hadn’t heard from Willis in days.



“I was just praying. I was like what is going on with Roz,” Quarles said. “I just kept praying. And I said well, Lord, if she doesn’t answer me today, I’m going over there.”

When Quarles went over to Willis’ home in the 800 block of Douglass Drive in Douglass Twp., she found her friend trapped in the basement.

“And that’s when she told me she was stranded in the basement since Sunday,” Quarles said.

Willis was trapped in 4 feet of what officials describe as water, heating oil and sewage, officials said.

“The house is structurally not sound, and with the stairwell collapsing and the partial collapse of the first floor into the basement, it made it difficult,” said Assistant Chief Art Heist, Amity Fire Company.

Officials said it is likely the sump pump in the home stopped working due to a loss of electricity, and as a result, the basement flooded.

“The groundwater is very permeable just from the exterior. It leaks in,” said Chief Mike Zomolsky, Amity Fire Company.



What Happened To That Used Furniture Consignment Shop on Rte 100

The other day I noticed that shop over near Daisy Point Road which I hadn’t even visited had closed!

I was so glad that they had opened and suddenly they were closed.  I guess there wasn’t a lot of business for them.

I really like the idea of re-using things.  It makes me feel good to see and touch things that I know were loved by other people.  If I have a choice between a brand new living room and a gently used but gorgeous dated set I think I’d tend to choose the older pieces as long as they were well cared for.  I’m sure famous furniture makers are glad that I’m part of a small minority.

It isn’t only furniture that appeals to me if it’s used.  I also like cookie jars and table cloths and garden statuary and art.  I’ve been disheartened all too often after trusting a glowing package blurb.  You must know how it is.  You think you have something wonderful only to find it’s at best only satisfactory.  What a bummer.

With used goods, you can see the items because they are generally loose and unpackaged.  What you see is what you get.  I have learned to like that.

Anyhow, I was sad to see the consignment store didn’t take off and I hope that something else livens up that corner soon.




One of My Kids Is In Kentucky Building A Home!

I’m proud of my kids!  This week one of my sweet kids is in Kentucky helping a family with their home.  She’s not building a home of her own, she’s doing this for the second year  as part of her Honors board with her college.  They send a group of young people down South to live in a church basement and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a week while they paint or re-roof, or tile, or build ramps to help make things a little nicer for folks who need a break.

I never imagined this would be something she’d be doing.  It isn’t that I didn’t see her as a giving person, it’s just that I didn’t spend a lot of time imagining this kind of stuff when I was busy tying sneakers and parceling out snacks of cheerios.  Kids grow up though!  And that little girl who once was afraid of getting her fingers messy is now sweating her butt off while painting someones home without financial renumeration.  She’s doing it because she’s found it to be rewarding in a lot of other ways.

I’m proud of her!



You Go Laur!




Free Hugs!

True story!  The other day I was sitting on the beach in my little sand chair watching beach walkers and two young men walked down the beach sporting identical t-shirts that said “Free Hugs”.  Now these kids didn’t look like the sort of young people who’d welcome a stranger walking up to them and asking them to hug, but they were wearing the shirts!  Shouldn’t that mean something?

I felt a little miffed.  It wasn’t that I really wanted or needed a hug, although who can honestly say they don’t need a hug most of the time?  I think I felt badly about seeing those kids in their brightly colored t-shirts because I guessed they were just being cutesy.  They didn’t really mean anything by  wearing those shirts.  I just knew that there have been people who have gone out en masse sharing simple hugs and I wanted those two Justin Bieber styled kids to be the kind of people who understood that hugs were awesome.

Then I saw another t-shirt…it said “Zombie Killer”.  I decided to stop reading t-shirts.



PS, if you need a hug, let me know! 🙂



Henry David Thoreau

He’s a hoot!  To whooo, To whooooo!

Have you read or heard anything Thoreau has written about his period of semi-isolation out on Walden’s pond?  It’s pretty gripping stuff which is funny because he’s often writing about sitting in his doorway facing scrub pines from dawn till noon while nothing happens.

I liked one particular lesson he taught me.  He was talking about the dawn, not as a period of time that can be checked on a watch.  Instead he was saying that all of our days should be filled with the feeling of newness and that we should experience dawn at any time of the day.  Each new day we throw off our “somnolence”.  That is true especially if we are lucky enough to wake on our own when our bodies are ready for a fresh start, rather than being awakened by a machine like a clock  that we set to disturb us from sleep, it is  then when we awake on our own that our sense of being awakened is close to thrilling.  It is then, at that moment that we are the most ready to start our day.

I never thought of dawn in that way.

So yesterday, after a bit of storm passed I looked out my back window and I saw some wispy fog floating through some trees on the tiny hill behind my house.  I imagined it was dawn and I imagined what it would feel like to step outside in that new day.  It was pretty darned exciting!

Today I’m going to hope you experience the dawn!  Do it any time you can!




Pray Without Ceasing!

I’m a mutt when it comes to religion.  I suppose I’d say I was a Roman Catholic because that was my first official faith.  My parents decided to “leave” their local parish- which meant they no longer attended or paid any money to the church and for a while we were “nothing’.

When I got a little older I started attending Catholic school.  During the same year I visited a small Presbyterian church for a Bible study.  The sudden introduction of all of that Christianity on my life has certainly left a mark.

I convinced my parents that the folks at the Presbyterian church were wonderful and they soon became members there.  I often took my services in that building instead of the Catholic church and I was pleased that I was able to answer my teachers questions each Monday about the services because I found that it didn’t matter which Church I was in, the calendar of readings was generally the same.  Imagine how pleased I was with myself to be studying the word in a Protestant church and getting credit for having attended Mass.

Still later my parents attended a Christian Science Church.  I went too.  I liked that my Sunday school teacher was a man named Mr. Moses.  He was a wonderful teacher and I truly admired him.  He was one of those people that glowed.  In a faith that disregards human frailty or human illness he stood out for me because he had a distinct hump on his back.  I sometimes wondered how he could teach about a belief that taught that human imperfections were the result of poor thinking, or poor relationship with  Christ while he had a visible hump!  Somehow I avoided asking.  I probably saw that his mind wasn’t all tied up in his “physical flaw”.  To me that was the real mystery.

Also, during this time I was introduced to TM.  A lot of people were afraid of meditation back in those days.  They thought it was of the devil, or at least they thought it was from a religion that wasn’t normal for those of us in the West!  Eastern religions were a little scary for dyed in the wool Christians.  Afterall, look how their introduction has subverted Christianity! 🙂

I’m sorry I’m laughing about it.  I wasn’t really talking about subverting Christianity as a whole, I was talking about how it may have subverted my own personal walk.

When I got older I married a Methodist.  He had no interest in exploring his faith.  He was what he was and he was hoping I’d join him and our children would be what he was.  ( That I did.)

My new church was very open to people like me.  I was filled with such different takes on some of the stories in the Old and New Testaments that I think I was given more credit than  I deserved in my new church.  I was allowed to become a Lay Speaker but all I really had was a lot of personal questions about the meaning of faith.  I’d spend serious time looking for answers and that appeared to my new friends as a genuine love of God and their faith.  I’m sorry that that wasn’t what was going on for me because I’m afraid I let quite a few people down when I couldn’t honestly preach Salvation to them.  I needed more learning myself.

To make a long story short, I still have a yearning to experience the sacred and they mystical and the meaningful in my life.  But I’ve taken to looking in a very quiet way.  The bad news is I have forgotten about my own children.  I haven’t been raising them up with a strong connection to any faith.  I took it for granted that they’d know how to handle their own relationship with religion.  I imagined our traditions would strengthen them.  It turns out I was both wrong and right.

In a deep conversation about faith with one of my children my child started crying.  It seems they are living in a community with people that trumpet their positions on faith.  They live in a community that teaches  that if you don’t go to church you go to Hell.  Through my neglect, they have accepted that they are almost “orphans” when it comes to seeing a supernatural being as a loving father.

According to Christian teaching that means I’m to tie a millstone around my neck and toss myself in the deepest part  of the ocean!  I have inadvertently hurt some of “the least of these”.  I’ve come all this way in faith, only to screw up the bond between my own kids and God.   But I don’t think I’m going to pitch myself in the ocean  just yet.  Because I know what grace is.  I know that even when I’ve done everything possible to sully or to tear apart my children’s relationship to their faith I know that as long as I”m not dead, I can get a clue and I have a chance to try to rebuild what I’ve messed up.  I believe in the depths of my being that God honors trying.  ( I could be absolutely wrong!)

So lately, I’ve begun praying a lot.  I’m not petitioning God for favors.  I’m just spending a lot of my waking days repeating childhood prayers.  Prayer has taken place of a walking mantra.

I’d like to be honest and say all this prayer hasn’t lifted me up wholly.  I’ve had some powerful anxiety even while focusing on prayer.   I am not one of those people who will fill anyone’s heads with visions of golden gates and pearlized harps attended by flying musicians.  For me prayer is concentrated thought, and it isn’t a passport to Heaven.  As I said in my childhood when I first learned to pray, my reason for praying is to acknowledge God’s kingdom here on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Don’t bother asking me what that means for truly it’s beyond me!

I still want mystery.  I want beauty.  I want peace.  I want a feeling of God’s presence in my life.  I feel a little silly talking about it here, because it’s like I’m advertising how NOT to find God.  But a still small voice is insisting that I tell my story.  And I thought I can’t write about this, because it will make me look bad.  And the feeling that was informing my plan to write all of this seemed to acknowledge my fears.  It was as if I heard ” Ayup, you might look stupid alright.”

On the other hand, I might be a tiny candle burning in a dark way.  Maybe my mistakes will show others what to watch out for.

I just imagined I heard once again ” Ayup, you might look stupid alright.”  🙂