December 31, 2007

From Our House To Yours

Very Happy New Year's Wishes From Our House To Yours!

Today, I wish you a day of ordinary miracles. A fresh pot of coffee you didn't have to make yourself. An unexpected phone call from an old friend. Green stoplights on your way to work or shop. I wish you a day of little things to rejoice in.

I wish for you the fastest line at the grocery store. A good sing along song on the radio. Your keys right where you look. I wish you a day of happiness and perfection--little bite-size pieces of perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on you, holding you so gently because you are someone special and rare.

I wish you a day of Peace, Happiness and Joy.

All these things I wish for you today, and more, throughout the coming New Year.

May your fondest wishes come true, and may you realize the desire of your heart!

December 30, 2007

Happy 44th, Guyk And Sweetthing!

This song could have been written with you two in mind!

Happy Anniversary, friends...and many, many, more!

Through the Years

I can't remember when you weren't there
When I didn't care for anyone but you
I swear we've been through everything there is
Can't imagine anything we've missed
Can't imagine anything the two of us can't do

Through the years
You've never let me down
You turned my life around
The sweetest days I've found
I've found with you
Through the years
I've never been afraid
I've loved the life we've made
And I'm so glad I've stayed
Right here with you
Through the years

I can't remember what I used to do
Who I trusted whom, I listened to before
I swear you've taught me everything I know
Can't imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more

Through the years
Through all the good and bad
I knew how much we had
I've always been so glad
To be with you
Through the years
It's better everyday
You've kissed my tears away
As long as it's okay
I'll stay with you
Through the years

Through the years
When everything went wrong
Together we were strong
I know that I belonged
Right here with you
Through the years
I never had a doubt
We'd always work things out
I've learned what love's about
By loving you
Through the years

Through the years
It's better everyday
You've kissed my tears away
As long as it's okay
I'll stay with you
Through the years

~Kenny Rogers

December 29, 2007

Sandy Dundee

My mind seems to have gone to the dogs, lately. I don't know why, but everywhere I go, I read something about a dog, or someone sends me something about one. I even went to the New York Times today (forty lashes: I deserve at least that many for going to TNYT for any reason) to read a dog story--well, a story about dog trainers. Anyway, it has conjured up the memories of some of the dogs I have known, at one time or another. They haven't all been nice ones, either, but mostly they have been.

I haven't always been that fond of them---in fact, for many years I was terrified of them, having had a nasty bite from one, requiring several stitiches, and the subsequent rabies shots to follow. I was only thirteen years old, at a carnival, just strolling along, minding my own business, and the little critter came running from one of the tents and chomped down on my leg. It was a traveling carnival, and by the time that I had gotten treated at the local emergency room, the carny people who owned the dog, packed up and hightailed it out of town, taking the dog with them, of course, which was the reason I had to take all of those shots--no dog to test for rabies.

Daddy always owned a dog of one kind, or another, including a lot of hunting dogs, and a few others, but Daddy was lord and master, and only a look, or a word, and they obeyed any command, so I was never afraid of them. After that little carnival episode, all other dogs scared me, and I had no fondness for them, whatsoever, until I had my two sons, and all little boys have to have a dog. It was after that, that I began to see, that just like people, they are not all bad, not all good, not all pretty, and not all ugly, and it only takes a little "getting to know you" on both sides. And just like children, some are naughty, and some are little comedienes.

One of our dogs, Sandy, was one of the funniest dogs in the world! We got her, and her sister, Buffy, when they were just old enough to wean from their mother. They were beautiful Golden Retrievers, and when they were about six months old, they both came down with Parvo, which is a deadly virus, and wreaks havoc on the poor animal. They both spent time at the veterinarian's hospital, but Buffy didn't make it. The doctor told us, finally, that there was nothing more to be done for Sandy, either, and the kindest thing would be to euthanize her. We refused, and brought her home, and my son, Mike, nursed her back to health. She was a pathetic case, too. She would lie on her side, with her tongue hanging out, and that was about all she could do for several weeks. Then she began to grow stronger and stronger, until she was bounding around just as before. The only after-effects of the illness was that she stopped growing. Just like that, she grew no more, and stayed the size of a six month old pup! She adored Mike, and was his constant companion, and she kept us laughing at her antics all the time.

When we lived in Florida, she was almost caught by an alligator, and had a couple of tooth scratches on her haunch to prove it. After that, we would put a bandana around her neck, strap a toy knife in a sheath around her, and when we would say, "Sandy! Alligator!" She would snap her head around, taking the toy knife into her mouth, and look at us with her Barney Fife look! While wearing her outfit, we called her Sandy Dundee!

One Labor Day, she got out of the yard, and we couldn't find her, anywhere. A short time later, we saw her running up the street with a whole bag of buns in her mouth. We had no idea where she had gotten them. Right after that, she took off again, and this time, she came back with a whole block of butter, dropped it, and took off again, disappearing completely. Next, here she came with a piece of meat of some kind, and ashes all around her nose and mouth! She took off again, and we tried following her, but there was no sign of her anywhere! This time, we met her coming up the street, with a deflated beach ball, soaking wet, from head to toe! We were horrified, because it seems that she had found someone's Labor Day cookout, and had made off with just about everything they had! She had been cutting through yards, which was the reason she disappeared so quickly, and we were unable to find her. We figured that she actually went into the pool after the beach ball, or they finally caught her snitching all their stuff and squirted her with the hose. We asked around, trying to find out who was missing their Labor Day cookout stuff, but never found out where she had been! And Sandy? Well, she was so proud of herself, and walked around all day with what we called her Barney Fife look--you know the cocky, smug one that he always got when he thought he had outsmarted Sheriff Taylor, or the local bad guy? We laughed so much, but I'll bet that poor family wasn't laughing at all!

When she was nearly four years old, she was hit by a car, which was flying up the rural road where we lived, at about sixty miles an hour. The driver didn't stop, or even slow down, and we lost our precious girl who had given us so much joy. And even as she faded away, lying there surrounded by the people who loved her, and were telling her how much, her eyes were full of fear and pain, but even so, they were filled with love for her people--especially for her Mike. Her eyes never left his face.

Do you think that dogs really do feel all the emotions that humans feel, like love? I do.

December 28, 2007


I know that there are a lot of tired puppies out there after all the festivities with family and friends--with all the preparations and clean-ups afterwards--and there are even more to look forward to in the coming days. So, I thought of all of you, my friends, when I saw this, and it was just too good not to share!

An old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home. He followed me into the house, down the hall, and fell asleep in a corner. An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out. The next day he was back, resumed his position in the hall, and slept for an hour.
This continued for several weeks. Curious, I pinned a note to his collar: "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."
The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar: "He lives in a home with ten children -- he's trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?"

December 27, 2007

Natural Laws Of The Cherokee

These "laws" have been passed down from generation to generation. This is what the Cherokee based their life on. By following these, one would live in harmony and balance with all of Creation.

1. The first thing one should do of the morning is to praise the Creator for your life and all of Creation. Asking Him for guidance through the day and thanking Him for providing another day for you. Recognizing Him as the only one true God.

2. Always keep fresh in your mind that everything has been created by God and deserve respect. Everything God has created has a purpose in life. We should honor these and treat them with kindness and generosity. Always assume that others are in need of something. Offer what you have to give.

3. When you find that you have more than you and your family need, then give the excess to someone who can use it.

4. When you say you are going to do something, or otherwise promise something, you are bound by your words. You cannot break it without permission from the person you have told this to.

5. Practice silence. This shows self-control, true courage, patience, dignity, reverence and internal peace. And by practicing silence you can build these characteristics up through time.

6. Never overindulge or underindulge on anything. Do all things in moderation. And this includes boasting or attracting attention through your behavior. Eating, sleeping, working, learning and so on.

7. Know what helps you and what hurts you. Learn from your experiences and be open to new ones, remembering to live each day in itself, not worrying about tomorrow or living in the past but retaining the knowledge learned. Listen to advice and guidance offered by elders and friends. Listen with your heart and then follow up through prayer to the Creator for His guidance.

8. Always ask permission before doing anything that involves someone else, including all living things. Always give something back in return for things received, including a simple "thank you." Remember that a smile can be shared.

9. Beware of what is inside you and outside of you.

10. Always, always, always show respect. From the youngest to the oldest, from the rocks to the trees, from all animals to all peoples.

11. Never stare at someone and drop your eyes in respect to an elder or teacher.

12. Always give a sign of greeting, even to strangers.

13. Never talk about someone in a harmful or critical way. Remember that what you say it will always come back to you one way or the other.

14. Never touch anything that is not yours without permission from the owner.

15. Respect the privacy of everyone. Never enter into their place or space without permission. Do not disturb anyone's quiet time or prayer time.

16. Never offer advice or ask questions of another without their permission.

17. Never interrupt.

18. When you are in someone's home, follow their customs out of respect.

19. Always treat other things held sacred by someone with respect even though you may not understand why.

20. Treat Mother Earth with respect. Protect Earth as well as all of Creation on her in all ways.

As I read these natural laws of the Cherokee, I was struck with the realization that much of it is exactly what my maternal grandmother, who was Cherokee, taught me. And, of course, my mother, who was taught by her mother. I can just hear them now--"If you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all." "It is bad manners to stare." "Always say 'thank you.' " "Always knock first, and never enter anyone's house unless they ask you to come in." And they always taught me to respect others, and their property, and to be thankful for what I have, and to share with others.

They taught me so much, and so much of it was by example.

They are both gone now, but I thank you, Mama and Big Mama, for teaching me important lessons which have helped me throughout my life. You would be happy to know that I, too, have passed them on to my children.

December 26, 2007

Forrest Gump In Heaven

I saw the neatest analogy, recently, about blogging, ( Aint' it Funny... )and a box of chocolates, which reminded me of this story of Forrest Gump in Heaven.

I have discovered since I started blogging that there are an awful lot of differing opinions on here, and on just about any subject. I get a few of them in my comments, and I try to allow each one to express his, or her opinion, while hoping all the time that no one will get too offended, or get their feelings hurt. I try to express my own opinion as tactfully as possible, and with as much sensitivity as the topic allows, but I am not sure that I always succeed.

The thing that surprises me, is how something can be viewed from so many perspectives, and yet each person feels, adamantly, that they are right. I am not speaking of those commenters to my blog, particularly, but of the myriad of blogs found on here--the bloggers and their commenters.

Forrest Gump in Heaven

Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter himself. The gates are closed, however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. St. Peter says "Well, Forrest, it's certainly good to see you. We have heard so many good things about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and we've been giving an entrance quiz for everyone. The tests are short, but you need to pass before you can get into Heaven.

Forrest responds "It sure is good to be here, St. Peter. I was looking forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope the test ain't too hard; Life was a big enough test as it was.

St. Peter goes on, "I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions: -- What days of the week begin with the letter T? -- How many seconds are there in a year? -- What is God's first name?"

Forrest goes away to think the questions over. He returns the next day and goes up to St. Peter to try to answer the exam questions.

St. Peter waves him up and says "Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers."

Forrest says, "Well, the first one how many days of the week begin with the letter "T?"

"Shucks, that one's easy. That'd be Today and Tomorrow."

The Saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims "Forrest! That's not what I was thinking, do have a point though, and I guess I didn't specify, so I will give you credit for that answer."

"How about the next one?" "How many seconds in a year?"

"Now that one's harder" says Forrest, "but I thought and thought about that and I guess the only answer can be twelve."

Astounded, St. Peter says "Twelve! Twelve! Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?"

Forest says "Aw, come on, St. Peter, there's gotta be twelve: January second, February second, March second. . . "

"Hold it" interrupts St. Peter. "I see where you're going with it. I guess I see your point, though that wasn't quite what I had in mind, but I'll give you credit for that one too.

Let's go on with the next and final question. Can you tell me God's first name?"

Forrest replied, "Andy."

When St. Peter asked how in the world he came up with the name Andy, Forrest replied, "You know, St. Peter, that song we sing in church: "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me."

The lesson: THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW, and just because another person doesn't see things the same way or understand the same way that you do, does not mean that it's wrong.

Author Unknown

*Now, I know that this story is meant to be humorous, and I can go along with that last paragraph to a degree, but when it comes to certain things, such as how one treats another, or if they live life in such a way that it is offensive and harmful to another, I will have to stick to my own personal convictions.

There are elements of society, violating the laws, trampling on the rights of others, causing general havoc and chaos, all the while feeling that they are right, entitled, and have a perfect right to do so. And there are those who stand behind them, encouraging them to demand those rights. That's just wrong, their point of view is wrong, and they will never accept another point of view.

In light of this, I can never agree that just because their view, or understanding is different, does not make it wrong. It is true that many things we can overlook, and agree to disagree, and even laugh about, but on certain issues there is just no middle ground.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were more Forrest Gumps in the world?

December 23, 2007

December 22, 2007

He Shall Direct Thy Paths

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October, excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days . On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor,and not knowing what else to do but to postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors, and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus, 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet.. "Pastor,"she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?"The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. Thewoman explained that before the war, she and her husband had been well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth;but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island, and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a house -cleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, thepastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety. How he was supposed to follow her, but he had been arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door, and there he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine, as the man and his wife were reunited after thirty-five years!

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:6 KJV

December 20, 2007

Just An Old Fashioned Christmas

I know that I have, recently, written about a wonderful memory of Christmas past, and I'm sure that most of us do have those fond memories. We long for things to be that way again, and wish that we could see through the eyes of a child again, where everything is good, and right with the world. We all long for just an old fashioned Christmas.

I have my precious memories, but now, as I write this, I just cannot get into the "spirit of Christmas" that everyone speaks of, and longs for, because try as I may, I can't get into that state of "willing suspension of disbelief"-- a semi-concious decision in which you put aside your disbelief and accept the premise as being real for the duration of the movie you're watching, or the story you're reading--because this is real life, with real people, with real emotions, and I am acutely aware of the pain which exists all around me.

This is the time of year when people try to achieve a level of perfection, which in most cases, just does not exist. They long for the perfect life, the perfect family, perfect kids. They think of peace on earth, and good will toward all men--that does not exist, either, and I can't pretend it does, because I can't forget that there are children going to bed hungry, that there are old people who are sick, and alone, and cold because they can't pay a heating bill and a prescription bill, too.

I am aware that there are young mothers, struggling to make a living for their children, yearning for some kind of normalcy in their lives, but knowing that it is pretty much a lost cause. I am aware that there are whole families who are next to being homeless, through no fault of their own, with no way out of their hopelessness.

I am aware that people are fighting, and killing each other, for no reason other than self-gratification, and I can't forget that there are wars where people are killing and being killed for the sake of peace.

I can't pretend that all of that is not happening. I can't close my eyes to reality and and pretend that this is a season when everyone is happy and satisfied, and loving his fellow man. I wish that were true, but I know that it is what it is, and I can't change it.

I am so thankful for what I have, and for anything that I am able to do to make things better for others, and I will never, ever, take that for granted.

My heartfelt wish is that all of you will have peace of mind, love in your hearts, and peace in your homes during this Christmas and Holiday Season. May it continue long after the season is past.

December 16, 2007

A Christmas Memory

By the mid 1800s the American Christmas tradition included much of the same customs and festivities as it does today, including tree decorating, gift-giving, Santa Claus, greeting cards, stockings by the fire, church activities and family-oriented days of feasting and fun.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, who became one of my favorite authors when I was very young, wrote about the preparations of a Christmas on the prairie. She said: "Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses." She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.

That very Christmas, Laura Ingalls was delighted to find a shiny new tin cup, a peppermint candy, a heart shaped cake, and a brand new penny in her stocking.

With all the movies on television now, many with the theme of Christmases gone by, I cannot but remember, with great nostalgia, the first Christmas on Sand Mountain after Mama married my stepfather. If you have read my earlier posts, you will remember that I was nine years old, and we were sharecroppers, so there wasn't a lot of money to spend on presents, but Mama tried to make it as happy as possible, by sending Daddy out to woods to chop down a nice tree for us to decorate. For decorations, we strung popcorn on thread to make garlands, and cut strips of paper to make chains to wrap around the branches, which were garnished, beautifully, with little ornaments which Daddy cut out of tin cans. Since part of our duty as sharecroppers was to pick cotton, there was plenty of that saved in old Mason jars, and it worked just fine as big globs of snow on the branches! Of course, there were no packages under the tree, but we didn't worry about that--we expected Santa to take care of that!

I remember that Mama made a cake, Daddy parched some peanuts (which we also grew) and Mama made taffy, which took few ingredients, and the best part about that was pulling the taffy! It was great fun! So much fun that we hardly noticed the cold which swept in through the large cracks in the walls, and floor--besides, we had a cozy fire in the old fireplace, and you could get warm there--one side at a time! The wind whistled around the house, and through the cracks, but there was a warmth there, that did not come from the fireplace, nor the old stove in the kitchen. It was warmth which only comes from loving, and being loved, which cannot be understood unless one has experienced it.

Daddy played his fiddle, Mama and we sang, and I danced the buck-dance that Daddy had taught me to do. That night we went to bed, we girls snuggled in one bed, the boys in another, and Daddy and Mama in their bed, in the next room, where they kept hollering, "Y'all better get to sleep, or Santa won't come!" I don't know what the dreams were of the others in the house, but I'm sure that mine must have been delightful!

The next morning, we awoke to the sounds of Mama in the kitchen, and Daddy laughing, telling us we had better jump up and see what got left there last night! Of course, we all scrambled, and there, just like the best dream in the whole world were our treasures! One of my stepsisters was the very same age as I, so we got exactly the same thing, except for the colors of the dolls' dresses, and their eyes--mine had a pink dress and brown eyes, and hers had a blue dress and blue eyes! We, also, got a "diamond" ring, which cost all of thirty-five cents, as I found out a few years later, an orange, and a box of chocolate-covered cherries! I think that Christmas was probably the best Christmas ever!

Although I have many real diamond rings now, I don't think that any could compare with the one I received that Christmas. Even as I write this, I have a lump in my throat, because I know, now, what a sacrifice that was for Mama and Daddy. To some those few little presents are of little significance, but I'm sure that they did without something to be able to give us that much. To this day, I still give to those whom I love, a box of chocolate-covered cherries for Christmas.

My precious Mama passed away six years ago, and this past week would have been her birthday. She was a treasure and a blessing to all who knew her. Her name was Sarah, which in Hebrew means "princess" and she was, in every sense of the word.

Mama, the very memory of you is a blessing to me.

A Reason I Don't Care For Hotels

December 15, 2007

White Christmas

If you like the older Christmas songs you will enjoy this one, and be entertained at the same time!

Just click on the title, then click on "Play" and enjoy!

December 13, 2007

Alabama Herbalist

This is a picture of Alabama herbalist, Buford Stitcher. I met Buford (that's what he asked me to call him) several years ago. I had a little store at a local Trade Day, or flea market, and he had his regular place where he set up, there.

He traveled around, selling his herbs at various flea markets in the area, and I had met him at one of those, a couple of years before.

He was an interesting person to talk to, very friendly, and the perfect Southern gentleman. I can't recall seeing him dressed any differently than he is in the picture, either.

The following is an excerpt from an article featured in Alabama Folkways/Center For Traditional Culture, which is a division of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

When he returned to his family farm in later life, he said he began to have a lot of questions about the old herbal treatments. "I got to thinking about it more and more-- what I grew up with. Who’d done this and who’d done that and how the ailments were healed just by simple, little herbs. It could be bark, roots, leaves, or just weeds. It’s amazing how they work," he said. "I would talk to elderly people about different remedies they had used."
In his quest for more knowledge, he met the late Tommie Bass of Leesburg, Alabama. Bass, by then, had gained national recognition as a traditional herbalist. Stitcher visited Bass frequently in order to learn from him. "I spent eight years with him in the woods and the mountains and he taught me his ways. A lot of them were like mine. A lot of them were different."
Among the medicinal lore that Bass passed on to his student, were his recipes for a skin salve and a liniment, both of which Stitcher makes and provides to customers. His business, based in Wedowee, is called Little River Botanicals.
He advises people to consult a doctor first about a medical problem. "That’s one thing Tommie the old herb man taught me. Said, ‘Don’t you ever diagnose anybody. You let the doctors do that. That’s what they’re for.’ "
"We can’t claim this to take the place of modern medicine. I don’t mean to do that," he said, explaining that he goes to doctors for his own medical care. "This is what I like about herbs. Anytime you give the body something to help heal itself, more than likely it will."
Stitcher enjoys educating others about the traditional uses of herbs and is invited all over the state to talk about plants and their medical lore. He brings labeled samples of many of the plants he’s collected and holds each one up for his audience’s inspection, as he discusses its identifying features and medicinal properties. He cautions against using a plant unless one is absolutely certain of its identity. A mistake could be dangerous.
At a recent festival at Landmark Park in Dothan, Stitcher held up a sprig of peppermint and sniffed its distinctive scent. "Anybody that has gas or heartburn, just chew a leaf of this thing and it’s mighty good," he explained. "If you can’t sleep at night, make yourself a cup of peppermint tea and it will calm your nerves."
As another sedative, he recommended peach leaves. "If you can’t sleep at night and you’re just hollering at everybody, strip you a handful of leaves and put them in a cup of hot water. Put a saucer on ‘em and let ‘em steep for about ten minutes, and then strain it up and drink it. Then you’ll feel good to everybody. It’ll relax your nerves and settle you down," he said.
He recommended drinking a cup of peach leaf tea before bed. "If you’re there 20 minutes and you’re not asleep, get up and make a second cup—but bring your pillow with you. You’re going to sleep."
He mentioned catnip as an old-time remedy to soothe fussy babies. "Growing up in the country, people would come up with a baby just a-screaming and crying. And they would get a leaf and crush it and rub the little baby’s gums and just instantly it would quit crying." It works for adults too, he claimed. "It’ll make us calm and sleep at night. You can boil it and make a tea or rub it on your gums."
Buford Stitcher’s pharmacy includes hundreds of native plants. And he can recommend one for almost any health concern.
For gout he advocates eating collard greens twice a week. Drinking a tea made from Queen Anne’s lace will help you lose weight, he said. Chickweed is another plant that will "take the weight right off of you," claimed Stitcher. "You can eat it green in a salad, or you can boil it and make a tea."
According to Stitcher, a tea made from wild blueberry will treat high blood pressure. Smoking rabbit tobacco, also known as "life everlasting," is good for "sinus, head colds, and congestion." Mullein is also useful for treating sinus problems and lung congestion.
"You may wonder why I talk about the same ailment and different herbs," he said. "I have people come to me and they want one herb that does everything. God didn’t make it like that. As a matter of fact he made several herbs for one ailment. Well, why is that? I guess it’s because everybody’s system is different. What works for one may not work for the other one."

*Tommy Bass, who is mentioned here, is probably the most reknown of all Alabama herbalists. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I met several people who had, and all agreed that he was quite an unique individual.

Below is a link to a video featuring Mr. Bass, along with a transcript. If you are at all interested in this subject, you will certainly enjoy this.
FolkStreams » Tommie Bass

December 12, 2007

The Faith Factor

Here's what columnist, Cal Thomas, had to say about the faith factor, recently:

"Atheists are the only people who appear to have been offended by Mitt Romney's speech about his Mormon faith. Judging by the reaction contained in some newspaper columns, editorials and letters to the editor, atheists are said to have felt "excluded" by Romney's failure to acknowledge that tolerance of the anti-religious is part of America's tradition.
Most everyone else thought it a good speech and that Romney had the correct view of the proper roles of church and state while refusing to compromise his personal convictions.
What no one mentioned (so I will) is the curious practice by a substantial number of voters who require our presidential candidates to acknowledge faith in God. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution prohibits a "religious test" for office, but that hasn't stopped many, especially in Iowa, from requiring statements of evangelical faith before deciding for whom to vote.
Does one expect to know the spiritual bonafides of an individual, other than pastor or religious worker, for any other job?
In the 1970s, a curiosity called the "Christian Yellow Pages" made the rounds of churches and certain businesses run by evangelicals. It contained names of professions one finds in the regular Yellow Pages — plumbers, taxi drivers, auto mechanics, dry cleaners — except these were owned and operated by certified, God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians. The clear implication was that businesses found in the Christian Yellow Pages would do a better job at a better price than the presumed "heathen" who advertised in the bigger yellow book.
I never saw any data that proved a connection between faith in Jesus and the ability to repair a car at a reasonable cost, so I usually went with the shop that did the best job at the lowest price and didn't bother to ask if the repairman went to church.
Voters who require statements of faith from presidential candidates risk disappointment. Many evangelicals who voted for Jimmy Carter regretted having done so when they saw his post-election policies and what they regarded as his incompetence as president. Bill Clinton could quote Scripture, but not many would hold him up as an evangelical icon, given his roving eye and impeachment for lying under oath.
Much of this fixation on audible faith has to do with evangelicals having been ignored by culture following the embarrassment associated with the Scopes Trial 82 years ago. Emerging from their political catacombs in the late 1970s, these Christians basked, if not in new respect, then in the intoxication that comes with public attention. They were told they were now players in the kingdom of this world and in presidential politics. Their leaders were invited into the corridors of political power. They exchanged real power and its ability to transform lives for temporal power, which changes little of lasting importance.
While requiring politicians to express belief in Jesus and the Bible, many evangelical voters ignore Christ's statements about the source of genuine power. They also conveniently forget what Christ said about how they would be regarded and treated by a world that had rejected Him (and still does as the best-selling atheistic works of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins attest).
It was Jesus, in whom Mitt Romney said he believed, who warned, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18) and "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:20). Those warnings are not the creed of contemporary evangelicals who think persecution is a negative newspaper editorial or a disparaging remark by a skeptic on a cable TV show.
Too many contemporary evangelicals want the blessing without obeying their real commander in chief, who said doing things His way would bring real persecution.
This election should be more about competence and less about ideology, or even faith. It shouldn't matter where — or if — a candidate goes to church, but whether he (or she) can run the country well, according to the principles in which the voter believes. And, if those principles include a person of faith, so much the better. God can be the ultimate check and balance on earthly power.
If a car hits me, I care more about whether the ambulance driver knows the way to the nearest hospital and the skills of the emergency room doctor than where they stand with God. That's the attitude we should have toward those who desire to be president of the United States in a fallen world."
Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

* I must say that I have been disappointed a few times in people I chose for services based on the fact that they were people of faith. Once, I chose someone to redo my kitchen, based on the fact that his ad in the yellow pages alluded to his faith, and when I called him to set up an appointment for the estimate, I was impressed with his cheerful, "Praise the Lord!" greeting. He was cheerful, alright, but I felt that he overcharged for the work, and not being at home the day he completed the job, I didn't know that he had left damages which, in the long run, were costly, and he denied causing them. The fact that I, in my blind faith in his honesty and ability, had paid him in advance, didn't help matters--nor, did he care that I was a woman of faith.

I would like for our President to be a man of honor and integrity, whose goal is to do the very best for all of the citizens of this country. If his, or her, religion is not the same as mine, it doesn't matter as long as it does not influence his decisions in a negative way, nor cause harm to anyone.

I think that if Mitt Romney was required to explain his religion, then all of the candidates should have to do the same. I'm not too sure that many of our politicians, past and present, would darken the door of any place of worship, if they didn't deem it neccessary to garner votes. That's just my personal opinion, of course--besides, we, as a diverse nation will never agree, totally, on anything, including religion and politics.

December 11, 2007

Where There's A Will, There's A Way

This may look like just a silly cartoon, but to me it says a lot. There have been many recent, tragic events involving guns, and much talk of gun control. Here where I live, they even had a gun buy-back, trading food and gas cards for any gun turned in, no questions asked. I don't remember the exact number of guns collected, but it was a large number. Maybe, the idea behind it was a good one, which was to get guns off the street, but I think it was a futile one.

Passing laws to prevent responsible citizens from owning weapons is not the answer to what is happening in this country. Posting gun free notices in public places will not help, either. Those wishing to cause harm, and violate the laws of the land, will find a way to do it, one way or another.

December 09, 2007

Computer Problems

And..the past few days, I could have, probably, gotten more use out of the one above than I have this one. I shouldn't blame it on the computer, though--all the credit goes to my Internet Server. After days and days of unpredictability, on sometimes, off sometimes, and wire and cable jiggling and adjusting, doing all the fixes on here, talking to technical support, having a new modem delivered and installed, running numerous virus scans which showed no viruses, spies, or adware, I finally called them again, and they sent another "more experienced" tech to the house. He spent at least three hours here, running new cable, in the house, and outside, and we were up and running at high speed again. For one whole day! I couldn't sign on all day, until just now--after a bunch more cable jiggling, button pushing, on-and-off stuff. There are no guarantees that it will stay on, either, so I thought I would at least let you know why I am being lackadaisical in my posting recently, and to let you know that if you see no new posts for awhile, it simply means that I couldn't. I will call the tech again tomorrow--he left me his personal number, and told me to call him anytime if I had more problems, so that's just what I will do...first thing in the morning! was your week?

December 07, 2007


This was just too good, not to share. This Statue of Liberty is made up of 18,000 officers and men. I found it on this blog: The One Acre Wood This picture, and others like it can be found here. When you go to the site, click on the pictures so that you can see the detail in the pictures! Amazing!

Thanks, Linda, for sharing this!

December 06, 2007

In The Words Of A Cat

Cat-mas Season
Cat-mas season is here. This is a wonderful time of year when the humans decorate the home for us cats in anticipation of the visit from Santa Claws.
The tree went up yesterday, and so did I. Made it to the fourth branch within the first five minutes before the Big Owner chased me out of the tree.
So, as I do every year, I waited and watched the humans decorate the Cat-mas tree with all sorts of what the humans call "ornaments." I call them "cat toys."
Ornaments are invitations to a cat, bright and shiny spheres just daring a cat to knock them off. Every year the humans hang the ornaments a little higher out of my range, forcing me to elevate my game to knock them off.
Humans "ohhh and ahhh" as they decorate the Cat-mas tree. I salivate in anticipation of the night's activities. The humans retire to bed, as is custom during Cat-mas season, leaving me to play with my tree.
Tonight is a challenge, the ornaments are at an all time high. I crept under the tree and began to scale branches.
This is great! A tree in my own home, why don't they do this year-round? Five, six, seven branches, I climb like a pro. Ten, twelve, I am half way to the top, and there is the first ornament! This is easy as Cat-mas fruitcake. I make my way down the branch approaching the first ornament. It lightly jiggles as my weight causes the bough to bend. Almost there! One paw away and I feel a shudder.
Something is not right, I begin to lose my balance. The room is tilting! No, the room is not tilting, the Cat-mas tree is falling! It seemed like forever as the tree leaned, then pitched, and finally crashed to the floor in a resounding bang of exploding bulbs, ornaments, and broken limbs.I quickly extricated myself from the splintered tree just as the Big Owner came bursting in snapping on the lights. There I was, sitting next to the tree, as innocent a look on my face as any other in the household.
"What happened?" he growled. Not a peep from me, I turned and looked at the tree. "I guess we hung too many ornaments on one side of the tree," I heard him say later as he hoisted the mangled Cat-mas tree back into place.
"Good answer," I thought. The Big Owner staggered off to bed, and I retreated to the living room. Maybe I'll tear down those stockings that were hung by the chimney with care.

It was a good day.

December 05, 2007

Confederate Monument

Recently the Confederate monument on the grounds of the state Capitol in Montgomery was vandalised, and some of the faces and hands spray painted black.

While the Southern Poverty Law Center is saying that it is not a hate crime, those representing Confederate veterans couldn't disagree more, and the representatives of the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are asking for an investigation into the matter. They're also offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the vandalism.

The commander of the Capitol police said that they have no evidence that it was anything more than vandalism by misguided people, but I know that there are a lot of people who would adamantly disagree.

Here's a letter written to my down-home newspaper, by Roger K. Broxton, President of the Confederate Heritage Fund.

Gov. Bob Riley should receive much of the blame for the recent vandalism at the Confederate Monument in Montgomery.

The governor’s false claim in his annual Confederate History Proclamation that Lincoln’s Tax War (mistakenly called the Civil War) was caused by slavery helped create an atmosphere of hatred for our Confederate veterans.

Abraham Lincoln made the following statement in his first inaugural speech, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Lincoln then endorsed a constitutional amendment recently passed by the U.S. Congress, preventing the U.S. government from ever interfering with or abolishing slavery in any state, thereby eliminating slavery as any possible cause for the war.

Also in this same speech, Lincoln promised there would be no invasion of the South, except to collect taxes, now raised to 40 percent from 20 percent.

One month later, Lincoln started the war by ordering the illegal invasion of Charleston Harbor, S.C., with 11 armed warships to fortify Fort Sumter, a tax collection fort.

Riley has no official historical proof to support his false statement about slavery.

I challenge Riley to produce irrefutable proof or remove his false slavery language from the proclamation and help end this atmosphere of hatred for our Confederate veterans.

Roger K. Broxton, PresidentConfederate Heritage Fund Andalusia

Sherri Shepherd Thinks the World is Flat

I know that I am smarter than this!

Grandma Moses

Her name came up in conversation with a friend, and since I have been an admirer of her work for as long as I can remember, I thought I would share this article from Encyclopedia Britannia. She was born Mary Ann Robertson, on September 7, 1860, in Greenwich, New York, and died December 13, 1961.

"Anna Robertson had only sporadic periods of schooling during her childhood. At age 12 she left her parents' farm and worked as a hired girl until she married Thomas Moses in 1887. They first farmed in the Shenandoah Valley near Staunton, Virginia, and in 1905 moved to a farm at Eagle Bridge, New York, near her birthplace. Thomas died in 1927, and Anna continued to farm with the help of her youngest son until advancing age forced her to retire to a daughter's home in 1936.

As a child the artist had drawn pictures and coloured them with the juice of berries and grapes. After her husband died she created worsted-embroidery pictures, and, when her arthritis made manipulating a needle too difficult, she turned to painting. At first she copied illustrated postcards and Currier & Ives prints, but gradually she began to re-create scenes from her childhood, as in Apple Pickers (c. 1940), Sugaring-Off in the Maple Orchard (1940), Catching the Thanksgiving Turkey (1943), and Over the River to Grandma's House (c. 1944). Her early paintings were given away or sold for small sums. In 1939 Louis Caldor, an engineer and art collector, was impressed when he saw several of her paintings hanging in a drugstore window in Hoosick Falls, New York. He drove to her farm and bought her remaining stock of 15 paintings. In October of that year three of those paintings were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in a show titled “Contemporary, Unknown Painters.”
Making Apple Butter, oil on canvas by Grandma Moses, 1958; in The Art Institute of Chicago.
Gift of Mrs. Ignatius Jelinski, 1976.428/The Art Institute of Chicago

From the beginning Grandma Moses's work received favourable criticism. In October 1940 a one-woman show of 35 paintings was held at Galerie St. Etienne in New York. Thereafter her paintings were shown throughout the United States and Europe in some 150 solo shows and 100 group exhibits. Throughout her lifetime Grandma Moses produced about 2,000 paintings, most of them on masonite board. Her naive style (labeled “American Primitive” by art historians) was acclaimed for its purity of colour, its attention to detail, and its vigour. Her other notable paintings include Black Horses (1942), Out for the Christmas Trees (1946), The Old Oaken Bucket (1946), From My Window (1949), and Making Apple Butter (1958). From 1946 her paintings were often reproduced in prints and on Christmas cards. Her autobiography, My Life's History, was published in 1952."

*Naïve Art is the work of artists in sophisticated societies who lack or reject conventional expertise in the representation or depiction of real objects. Naïve artists are not to be confused with hobbyists, or “Sunday painters,” who paint for fun. The naïve creates with the same passion as the trained artist but without the latter's formal knowledge of methods.

December 04, 2007

A Story Of Two Pictures

The part of history that I read concerning the Apache warrior, Gernonimo, was sad, to me. When I posted that, I, obviously, was unaware of another part of his history depicting the heinousness of his treatment of his captives. I know that he went after his enemies with a vengeance because of what happened to his wife, children, and mother, and I don't know how to evaluate that. Why do any of us do the things that we do, that go against the values and morals of another? I think in the grand scheme of things that the choices we make in our lives are greatly influenced by past circumstances, whether good or bad. That said, it is still our choice to make. It could be said that our environment has everything to do with what we become, but if that were completely true, I would hate to think of where, or what, I would be now.

Thinking about all of that reminded me of this poem:

A Story of Two Pictures

Two pictures hung on the dingy wall
Of a grand old Florentine hall-

One of a child of beauty rare,
With a cherub face and golden hair;
The lovely look of whose radiant eyes
Filled the soul with thoughts of Paradise.

The other was a visage vile
Marked with the lines of lust and guile,
A loathsome being, whose features fell
Brought to the soul weird thoughts of hell.

Side by side in their frames of gold,
Dingy and dusty and cracked and old,
This is the solemn tale they told;

A youthful painter found one day,
In the streets of Rome, a child at play,
And, moved by the beauty it bore,
The heavenly look that its features wore,
On a canvas, radiant and grand,
He painted its face with a master hand.

Year after year on his wall it hung;
'Twas ever joyful and always young-
Driving away all thoughts of gloom
While the painter toiled in his dingy room.

Like an angel of light it met his gaze,
Bringing him dreams of his boyhood days,
Filling his soul with a sense of praise.

His raven ringlets grew thin and gray,
His young ambition all passed away;
Yet he looked for years in many a place,
To find a contrast to that sweet face.

Through haunts of vice in the night he stayed
To find some ruin that crime had made.
At last in a prison cell he caught
A glimpse of the hideous fiend he sought.

On a canvas weird and wild but grand,
He painted the face with a master hand.

His task was done;'twas a work sublime-
An angel of joy and a fiend of crime-
A lesson of life from the wrecks of time.

O crime: with ruin thy road is strewn;
The brightest beauty the world has known
Thy power has wasted, till in the mind
No trace of its prescence is left behind.

The loathsome wretch in the dungeon low,
With a face of a fiend and a look of woe,
Ruined by revels of crime and sin,
A pitiful wreck of what might have been,
Hated and shunned, and without a home,
Was the child that played in the streets of Rome.

Origin and Author Unknown

December 03, 2007


“I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.“

“When a child, my mother taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom and protection. Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us, and to Usen.“

“I had no weapon, nor did I hardly wish to fight, neither did I contemplate recovering the bodies of my loved ones, for that was forbidden. I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything in particular, for I had no purpose left. I was never again contented in our quiet home.”

“I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I was living peaceably when people began to speak bad of me. Now I can eat well, sleep well and be glad. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.”

“I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.“

“I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved to prove worthy of the trust.“

“The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians.“
“We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme against each other.”

*Geronimo was the leader of the last American Indian fighting force formally to capitulate to the United States. Because he fought against such daunting odds and held out the longest, he became the most famous Apache of all. To the pioneers and settlers of Arizona and New Mexico, he was a bloody-handed murderer and this image endured until the second half of this century.

By the time American settlers began arriving in the area, the Spanish had become entrenched in the area. They were always looking for Indian slaves and Christian converts. One of the most pivotal moments in Geronimo's life was in 1858 when he returned home from a trading excursion into Mexico. He found his wife, his mother and his three young children murdered by Spanish troops from Mexico. This reportedly caused him to have such a hatred of the whites that he vowed to kill as many as he could. From that day on he took every opportunity he could to terrorize Mexican settlements and soon after this incident he received his power, which came to him in visions. Geronimo was never a chief, but a medicine man, a seer and a spiritual and intellectual leader both in and out of battle. The Apache chiefs depended on his wisdom.

Geronimo's final surrender in 1886 was the last significant Indian guerrilla action in the United States. At the end, his group consisted of only 16 warriors, 12 women, and 6 children. Upon their surrender, Geronimo and over 300 of his fellow Chiricahuas were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida. One year later many of them were relocated to the Mt. Vernon barracks in Alabama, where about one quarter died from tuberculosis and other diseases. Geronimo died on Feb. 17, 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland. He was buried in the Apache cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.