Sunday, November 27, 2016

Warning: this may not be 
   politically correct 

but we're friends!

***
The Book of Revelation brings laughter?

Who would think you’d hear so much laughter when studying the book of Revelation in the New Testament?  It’s full of such gruesome details. 

Approximately 15 women and men, from different Christian denominations, gather at Wangen Prairie Church every week.  There is no hesitancy about sharing their opinions!  Or their laughter!

And each scripture verse gets a “going over”.

The book of Revelation is filled with symbolism and horrible descriptions of pestilences that will be released on the earth at the “end of days”.

As the group progressed in their study, they came to an interesting point in Revelation 8:1. It stated: “When he opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven…”

They all became very quiet when pondering this serious thought: “silence... in heaven”? 

But then one gal spontaneously quipped: “Guess that means none of us will be there!” 

The laughter bounced off the walls!  I think it’s even possible it could have broken up any “silence in heaven”!

***
Can you handle not being “politically correct”?

The volunteer board of directors at the local public library was discussing the plan for the staffs’ vacation days for the Christmas holidays.  

It wasn’t until I had heard that religious reference several times that I realized we were not all Christians here. 
I began wondering if maybe we should rather be using the term of winter holidays or something.

At that point I looked at the board chairman and said: Oh, I just remembered... you’re Jewish!

He retorted: “But I put up my stocking!  I accept presents!”
And he had me laughing!

How delightful that we can share moments of humor and comradeship even though we have differing concepts in our beliefs.

(Now I’ve got to figure out what kind of celebration Hanukkah brings that I can enjoy too!)

:)


.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The "Ripple Effect"...


“Pass it on!”

The idea of “acts of kindness” has been popularized in recent years. Before that - folks just did it naturally I guess!
Last Sunday was even titled: “World Kindness Day”! (I don’t know how well that came across in some areas on this planet!)
Anyway... I got this suggestion from my son, Scott:  Can acts of kindness be like a pebble dropping in the water and causing a good ripple effect?  He explained: “For all the people pissed off about the election - this is a perfect time to use their ‘pebble’ (meaning themselves) to cause a positive ripple in the ocean in which we all live and positively affect someone near to them.  
“Do what you can... do the right thing for someone of a different color, or religion, or economic status, or just out of spite if that helps motivate you, and begin by creating that ripple.  This is the perfect time, with our problems out in the open, to begin with our own little ripples.”

So here goes my "Pebble - Ripple"...
So I’m starting a new column in the Beacon with some of the good things I’ve seen and I hope you’ll share your stories with us in the future.   

Oh oh!  Warning light in car...    
The warning light in my car came on and showed that I needed to get the oil changed.  My husband had recently died and I couldn’t find any records on when he had last done this.  So I brought it to Soulfisher and they explained their charges.  Go for it, I said.
A short time later, owner Mark Norton came out to the reception area and explained that they didn’t need to do anything.  Everything looked good and all the fluids were at the correct level.  
They had checked on the internet and found the oil had been changed but it didn’t say where.  They think the previous time the mechanic just didn’t reset the button.
It could last another 5000 miles.
I looked at the rust on my old car and wondered if it would even last that long!
But I was good to go - at no charge. 
Keep in mind that I would never have known it was OK -  if they hadn’t taken good care of me!

 Whoops! I hadn’t remembered the price!
Then there’s the time I was getting apples to slice up and dehydrate for the grandkids.  I’m not a grandma who makes cookies... but the kids seem to like these apple slices!  
So I headed out to one of our local orchards and brought a tiny bag of my dehydrated apple slices from last year as a treat for John Zimmer, the owner of the Sogn Valley Orchard.
 I was planning to select some of the softer apples that are easier for me to core.  But the price was a higher than I expected and I must have looked a little disappointed because John asked me: is that OK?  What were you thinking?  
I had been thinking about $10 less. 
He said, OK.  
And I replied, No... you do a lot of work to produce these apples.  Just give me what the normal charge would be.
He smiled and headed to the back room for the apples.
When he came back I questioned him... is this what you normally sell for that price?  He just smiled again.  
I said, “OK, I’ll pay more.”
He refused.
He said my gift of dehydrated apple slices was worth the difference!
(Sometimes it’s really hard to do business with the local folks!) 

Now it’s your turn!
So Pass It On!  Start new “Ripples”!  Share your good stories by emailing them to Rosie at mailrosie@me.com or call the Beacon, 263-3991 or drop them off at the Beacon front desk.

And by starting a "ripple effect" by the good things we see or do... we might help make the world a little kinder - every day!

Friday, November 11, 2016

You change... not me!

The plane was loading and I found my seat.
It was in the middle of three.
I settled in to make the best of the flight home.
I tend to be a bit tense when flying. (Like really!)

You want what?

A woman next to me in the aisle seat (the place I would have preferred) started a conversation.  She asked me if I would move over to the window seat because her friend was coming and had that one and they wanted to sit next to each other.
I considered this although I didn’t want that seat because I don’t like heights and the temptation to look out and see clouds below me is not comforting!  (Yes, I know I could lower the shade on the window.)
But then I had another idea.
If she wanted to sit next to her friend, would she trade her aisle seat for my middle seat?
Then they would be together.
She shook her head strongly and stated: “No.” She wanted the aisle seat.
Oh, I thought... so you want others to change but not you.

Hmmmm.

I could consider that she might have had a medical condition that she didn't want to share.
But this episode made me smile.  I should probably wonder how many times I also want others to change... but not me.
Anyway, I took the window seat and was really more comfortable than I would have been between the two of them!
But I texted my family that I was not in the seat that had been assigned me.  This was to let them know in case we crashed and all the bodies were burned beyond recognition, etc.  
Yep, I’m that kind of flyer!
But also - once I recognize a negative thought, I can also think on the positive side of flying and how safe it is compared to just driving to the airport!
And somehow just writing this stuff down makes it better.  Guess it helps to laugh at yourself too.

He’s a “what”?

This brings to mind another time I was sitting in the middle seat.  My husband Paul and I were taking an early morning flight to the west coast.  Paul had the aisle seat and the fellow next to me in the window seat was wearing a hoodie and had consumed two or three Bloody Mary’s or something - and it wasn’t 7 a.m. yet!
It crossed my mind that he might be living out the old saying... “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!”... or was a terrorist.  (I don't know why I had that last thought but I figure they can come in all forms and sizes.)
Because we were so tightly seated next to each other I didn’t dare whisper this thought to my husband. Then the fellow settled down and fell asleep.
When we were almost to our destination he jerked upright and slung his arm across me pinning me in my seat.
My initial reaction was: “Oh SH#%T!  He really is a terrorist!”
But then he looked at me startled and slid back down in his seat.  It was just a muscle spasm.  
We landed without incident and as we walked away from the plane my husband whispered to me... “Doesn’t he look like a terrorist?”  

I just smiled.



.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Can religious folk have a sense of humor?


Offensive or not... it's just me!

I figured I wasn’t dressed correctly.  I just hoped nobody would mind.  Or be offended.
The public presentation of Muslim beliefs at the Cannon Falls Library recently had not been publicized much.   
And it was at the same time that I had volunteered to help some folks do some fall clean up at a church.  I’d try to do both.
It so happened that I was one of only a couple people who were there at that time and I got to ask lots of questions.  I love asking questions.   
They were representing a segment of the Muslim community from a northern Minneapolis suburb that was reaching out to share their belief system.   
Apparently they were part of a moderate group and they showed respect for Christian and Jewish religious prophets.  
My apology for my clothing...
The first thing I did in this informal setting was apologize for the clothes I was wearing as I hadn’t wanted to offend them. 
My old jeans and shirt had seemed appropriate for the cleaning project but not for meeting them.
The speaker said they understood and explained that as a woman I had the right to choose what I was going to wear.
That surprised me a little.  I was used to seeing their women wearing full garb covering most of their body.  Now I was also covered but it wasn’t the same!
Asking to shake hands...
A while later as I was getting ready to leave, I went to each of the men and held out my hand and asked if I could shake their hand.  I meant it as a demonstration of respect and as a good-by.
They did shake my hand but one explained that a Muslim man usually would not shake a woman’s hand out of respect for her.
Be careful in Cannon Falls...
That seems to be a nice idea... but if they are that cautious I thought I should really warn them about folks in Cannon Falls.  Here they do more than just shake your hand.  They like to hug you!
I’ve been here for many years and they’re still trying to get me used to that!  :)
Another question...
Also - here’s a question I didn’t ask them.  I wonder if Muslims can laugh at each other like Christians do?  At least the Christians I know!  
You see, someone sent in some more “light bulb” jokes in response to my column last week.
These came from a person named Johnson....  or at least someone using a Johnson email address!  
So don’t be offended.  Just enjoy!  

***
How many  Christians does it take to change a light  bulb?

Charismatic : Only  1.
Hands are already in the  air.

Presbyterians :  None.
Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

Roman  Catholic: None -  Candles only.

Baptists : At  least 15.  
One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.

Episcopalians: 3.  
One to call the  electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to  talk about how much better the old one  was. 

Pentecostal :  10.
One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Unitarians :
We  choose not to make a statement either in favor  of or against the need for a light bulb.  However, if in your own journey you have found  that light bulbs work for you, you are invited  to write a poem or compose a modern dance about  your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in  which we will explore a number of light bulb  traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent,  3-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are  equally valid paths to luminescence.

Methodists :  Undetermined.
Whether your light is bright,  dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can  be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb.  Bring a bulb of your choice to the Sunday lighting service and a covered dish to  pass.

Nazarene :  6.
One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

Lutherans :  None.
Lutherans don't believe in change.

Amish :
What's a light  bulb? 

:)

Friday, September 9, 2016



“Keep the dream going...”

The Olympics!  
A miniature replica of the world - 
or of the USA!

That’s because every day in the USA we can see a similar variety of human beings and ethnic heritages that populate the entire planet.
  Sometimes while watching the games I could identify the athletes and their countries because their features looked similar... whether it was the color of their skin... the shape of their eyes... the texture of their hair... etc.
But not the athletes from the US!
What a variety!
They had an idea

Who knows if this mixing of heritages was even a probability in the creation of this “Great Experiment” back in 1776.  That’s when a few men, looking like they were wearing some definitely uncomfortable clothes, decided to announce to the world that they were forming a country in which “… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...”  etc.
I know it hasn’t worked perfectly.
But how many other countries have tried to do it?

Keep trying

As Timothy Egan explained in an opinion piece in the New York Times, “... there is no country on earth with our size, our racial diversity, our mix of religions that is close to bringing most of its citizens the rights and comforts of the modern age.”

So keep trying USA.
It's definitely worth a gold medal!
The world needs your dream.


***
     Can you match the athlete with their country?  

                                              


Answer:  They're all from the USA!  1) Gymnastics - Simone Biles    2) Soccer - 
Julie Johnston    3) Fencing - Muhammad Ibtihaj   4) Table Tennis - Lily Zhang   
Para Olympics Track and Field - Josiah Jamison   6) Water Polo  - Alex La    
Swimming - James Feigen    8) Wheelchair Basketball - Matthew Scott   

Pictures-GettyImages

Monday, September 5, 2016


“He followed me home! 
Can I keep him?”
 
 “This grouse just followed me home... can I keep him?”  This is how Ray LoPresto of the Sogn Valley recalls telling his wife Judy about his new friend who accompanied him back from his hunting trek near home last fall.
 He named him “Gord”.  He had a book identifying the sex of a grouse by a description of its tail.   
How they met...
The two first met when Ray was hunting in his hills with a muzzle loader.  Ray was situated in a ground blind.  Gord was up in a tree but flew down to be near him.
Another time Ray was bow hunting and walking through the woods looking for a lost arrow   Gord flew down and decided to run alongside him.  He was so close Ray was concerned he might step on him!
Gord would also fly along with Ray’s ATV when he headed back home.
Or he would fly onto his head and knock his hat off.
Back at home Gord was comfortable too.  With Ray sitting on the back porch, Gord would sit on his arm.  
 
Or after supper, when Ray would went outside on the deck to smoke a cigar, Gord would show up to sit on the next chair.
And when Ray would split wood, Gord would come to watch. 
Did Gord like anyone else?
It took a while, Ray explained, but later on Gord adopted Judy too.  Gord would jump and whack their legs when he wanted attention.
  It seemed like Gord enjoyed being part of the family.
When the grandkids came to visit last Christmas, Gord would repeatedly jump up to the window in the front door to be able to see them inside.
Later on, when their youngest son and family were driving away, Gord was seen running after their car... down the driveway.
He likes to run, Ray explained.
Then when their oldest son was packing his car to leave, Gord was there too.  Ray looked out the window and saw his son on his knee talking to Gord.  He even patted the top of Gord’s head.
The future?
Recently Ray was gone from home for awhile and and hasn’t seen Gord since he got back.
He’s a little worried.
Ray and Judy are hoping that Gord might have found another bird-friend and that might mean more grouse friends for the LoPrestos.




. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

The “itch” that wouldn’t go away!


A constant refrain seemed to come through the speeches given at the Dedication Ceremony for the upper body exercise equipment along the Cannon Falls city trail recently.
This was the idea of “persistence”.  More likely they were also thinking: “pesky” or “you’re still bugging about that”?
But the speakers were all too polite!
But they were right.  It’s taken a few years of campaigning to get the exercise equipment along the trail.
In the beginning I considered what I needed to get this accomplished and found I was lacking in many areas.  But I did have “persistence”.  It’s like an “itch” that won’t go away!   And persistence is free.
I had decided not to get a committee together to work on this project.  That could have helped a lot probably.  Or not!   You see I had a “vision” of what I wanted to accomplish and other folks might have had a different one.
And then folks can get to “fussing” with each other.
I only had to fuss with myself.
And I do that very well.
But without a committee...
Keep in mind that without a committe you can make your own rules!   For example: I knew I didn’t want to hold the checks that I received from the  sponsors.  So I told the city not to cash them until I had several pieces of equipment ready to be placed.  
My reason was that I was going to give the sponsors their money back if we didn’t get enough equipment! 
Getting money back from government if a project doesn’t work out?
How cool is that?
(I’m not running for public office but I would include this in my platform!)
Other delays...
Besides my embarrassment and horror when asking people for money to sponsor the equipment, I took time out when my husband was hospitalized or had his own project I was involved in.  
Or more often when I just gave up.
Why get this equipment?
But I had a reason to back this project.  Several years ago I was pretty sick and exhausted.  And it appeared I had to work on myself to get well.
So along with suggestions like using your mind to change your body and eating differently... drinking more water... all those good things... I finally added walking and exercise.
I’m still working at it but am better than when I was younger.
But I really hate being sick and I want to help other people feel better too.  And by getting this equipment along the trail - folks can do this at no extra expense.
 Where did this idea come from?
My encouragement came from growing up in a big city.  There was a park across the street from my home.  For me to run around in... play baseball (I wasn’t the first one chosen!)... fly a kite, etc.
It wasn’t until I was grown up that I realized that someone had planned those parks many years before I was born.
So I started researching the idea of outdoor exercise equipment for adults.
And even though I didn’t have the funds to sponsor such a project... I kept in mind that persistence is free.  (Yes, it can really get boring and feel stupid but just keep the end in sight.)
 Thanks...
Thanks to the guests and speakers at the ceremony.  I treasure your coming because I hoped I wouldn’t be the only one to show up!    And it was great to see folks using the equipment.

Thanks to the encouragement and advice of Cannon Falls Public Works DirectorTom Bergeson, the staff at Flagship Recreation, sponsors Dr. Karl and Cynthia Molenaar, People In Business Care, VFW Post 4452, Mayo Health System Cannon Falls, Kay Molstrom and all those I pestered these past few years!