Tag Archives: Christian

Just Saying: Obituary for Decency….Meanness Runs Amok!

casket in grave with spray

Decency died the week of June 17-23, 2018 from neglect and abandonment.

Sadly, its long decline and demise went unnoticed by those who profess to love it the most.  The cause of death is communicable and was determined to be from gross impoliteness.  This contagious epidemic is most often found in the not able to mind my own business, because I know what’s best for everyone divisive and nihilistic ideologies.

Decency is survived by hypocrisy, self-absorption, arrogance, grandstanding, rudeness, hate, meanness, mob violence and many bullies and ideologues.

It was preceded in death by respect, kindness, acceptance, tolerance, selflessness, manners, polite conversation, open exchange of ideas, and patriotism.

Decency will be missed by all who cherished its memory.

Behavioral change in lieu of excuses and escalation is requested.

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For those of you who do not read Grandma Pat’s Thor Stories, you will find that each creative action story is used as a teaching moment to encourage young people become good humans and not just another animal in the jungle.

The latest story,

Thor Stories: The Fence….Nothing Is Harder to Defeat Than Grandma and Minnesota Gophers

 

provided rules for acceptable behavior so simple children can understand them.

So, help bring decency back from the dead!  Learn about it and teach it to your children.  You will be amazed at the difference it makes at home, school, work and in public.

Grandma’s Rules of Acceptable Behavior:

1.  Treat everyone just like you, yourself would like to be treated.
2.  Be respectful of your elders and others.  Always say please and thank you.
3.  Kindness like cleanliness pays.
4.  Be responsible and take responsibility.
5.  Always be honest with your words and actions.
6.  Don’t use bad words, unless you like the taste of soap.
7.  If it isn’t yours, it is not yours.
8.  When you want something, work for it.
9.   Don’t pick your nose.
10. Be thankful to God and count your blessings.
11. Never, ever, pull Grandpa Walter’s finger in grandma’s presence.

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

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Recipes: Uncle Ing, Aunt Doris, Orioles and the Treasure Box ….Grandma’s Salad, Zucchini Freezer Jam and Kathryn Hepburn’s Brownies

bird oriole

My husband and I have lived in this home for over thirty years and for the first time I have Orioles at my bird feeder.  This morning I had both a male and female Oriole singing to me from my grape jelly feeder. Actually, I can still hear them singing.

Each time I see an Oriole, I always think of my Great Uncle Ing who was the first person to ever show me one of these gorgeous orange and black song birds.

Uncle Ing Kronbeck lived his whole life on the farm where he had grown up north west of Litchfield, MN.  He was the youngest in a family of six children. Esther the oldest was my grandmother, then there were Hilda, Anna, Ida, Victor and Ingvald.

Their childhood was one of hard work, poverty and a very sick mother.  My grandmother once told me that she was more of a mother to her brother Ing than her own mother.

This family worked together on their farm and survived World Wars, economic depression and contagion. Several of their family members contracted the flu during the deadly epidemic of 1918.   Aunt Ida told me she once spent an entire year lying in bed with an ice pack on her chest, due to an enlarged heart from an illness.  I do not remember anymore if it was the flu or Rheumatic fever.

Against all odds, all of the children survived to adulthood.  Not only that, but these strong people, while suffering through bouts of depression and sadness thrust upon them by the circumstances of life, always were steadfast in their faith in Jesus Christ and kept their sense of humor and wonderment of simple things.

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Uncle Ing holding his daughter Marion

Uncle Ing married Aunt Doris and they had two daughters Marion and Kathy.  What probably was more important to me at the time was that they had two amazing dogs Penny and Skippy.  Penny was the softest tri-color collie in the world and Skippy was a magnificent fetcher of a Springer Spaniel.

Penny                                                                Skippy

Not only were these dogs friendly….they were generous.  They had no problem with me climbing on on top of their dog house and pretending it was my pony.  At that age anything and everything became a pony.

Skippy’s favorite toy…a cow teat holder

In those days, Sunday’s were for church and visiting relatives.  For those of you that do not know what visiting is, it is actually taking time to be with the people you love.  You share stories, laughs and very good food.

Sometimes at Uncle Ing’s home, he’d play guitar and sing us songs in English and Swedish.

guitar Ing twelve string
      Uncle Ing played a twelve string guitar 

He would also let me sit at his “Seed Corn” sales desk and draw with his remarkable little pencils.  They came in a case that had bright colored advertisements on them.

pencils

To use the pencil and you had to pull the pencil out and insert its metal capped end into the back of the case.  They were dainty and delightful, and a perfect gift for a little girl who needed a pencil to fit into her tiny Sunday School penny offering purse.

purse

Visiting Uncle Ing and Aunt Doris was one of my favorite childhood stops.  It sure beat visiting the Aunties in town as every child in our family knew that their house was dark, scary and haunted.  However, had I known then that both of my great grandparent had died in Uncle Ing’s house, I probably would have been a bit more jumpy when the back door would open and close on its own.

Cow Ing

Everyone else had black and white milking cows, not Uncle Ing, he had the only weird brown cow in the whole community. 

What I remember most was that Uncle Ing and Aunt Doris’ home was filled with happiness and peace.

On one Sunday’s visit Uncle Ing walked us kids to a big tree in his front yard and showed us the nest of an Oriole.  It was a funny looking bird’s nest. It hung off of the branch of the tree just like a beard hanging off the chin of a Mennonite.  There, too, in the tree sat a male Oriole. It was the very first time I had ever seen an Oriole.  He was beautiful! We stood silently and listened to its beautiful song.

bird nest

Beautiful memories like beautiful days and people are the real treasures of this life.  That is why I have a treasure box.  I do not think even my daughter knows about my treasure box. It is a very stained and tattered little cardboard box where I keep all of the handwritten recipes given to me by the greatly loved women in my life who have found their eternal rest in heaven.  One of those was my Great Aunt Doris.

My first year in college, I lived with my Aunt Doris during the winter months.  I had a great time.  One day we sat down at the kitchen table and she had me go through her recipes and choose which ones I wanted.  Then, in her own hand, she copied them for me.  They are in my treasure box along with Grandmother Helen Vacinek, Grandmother Esther and Great Aunt Ida’s handwritten recipes.

I get a kick out of the great interest in DNA ancestry tests.  A DNA test can only tell you what you are. It is family tradition, lore and heirlooms that tell you who you are.

When I think about it, I have come to the conclusion that it really is a shame that email and text messaging were ever invented.  It saddens me to think that future generations will not be able to take out a treasure box filled with handwritten notes, letters and recipes from the people that loved them.  The expressions of love and wisdom from past familial generations that provide comfort and strength will surely elude children of the electronic age for their communications will be no more.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. I have shared them as written by my Great Aunt Doris.

grandma's salad

Grandma’s Salad

1/2 cup salad dressing (mayonnaise)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice – blend these and add
1 cup crushed pineapple well drained, so it’ll be a firm salad

Add
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup small marshmallows
1 cup grated carrots
Stir only to distribute evenly

zucchini-zucchini-jam

Zucchini Freezer Jam

6 cups grated zucchini, peel, add water to cook for six minutes. Drain well.

Add
6 cups of sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon or orange juice
6 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

Boil six minutes, take off stove and add
2 3-ounce packages of apricot jello. (Or, one each of lemon or orange jello.)

Pour in jars

Keep in freezer.

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Kathryn Hepburn’s Brownies

This is just the way Hepburn did it

First melt two squares of unsweetened chocolate and 1/4 pound butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in one cup sugar, add two eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat like mad.

Stir in 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Not all mashed up you know, just chopped, good sized pieces, now mix all that.  

Butter an 8 X 8 inch pan and dump the whole thing quickly, stuff into 325 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cool awhile and cut into one and a half inch squares and dive right in.

Editors note, tested in the kitchen of Ladies Home Journal and is delicious because of the 1/4 cup flour they have a pudding like texture.  Pat, I’ve also made them. (No baking powder or soda) 

 

 

Recipe: Tornadoes, Naked Chickens and Angel Lemon-Coconut Bars

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After posting about my love of storms and tornado nightmares I was reminded of a real tornado story told to me by my Great Uncle Alec.

Great Uncle Alec was married to my Great-Aunt Ida whose recipes have graced this blog many a time.  She was a fabulous cook and baker. They had a family of seven children and lived on a farm in Amery, Wisconsin.

As a child I had visited their farm several times.  I remember that the house was quite a bit like the old farm house on our farm, and that they had a wonderfully big barn.

Of course, what sticks in my memory the most was the warnings not to wander down by the creek as there was lots of quick sand down there.  I have always wondered if there really was quick sand, or if the quick sand was like the skunks in the “skunk woods” back home and a very busy God always seeing everything I did…deterrents employed to protect inquisitive children from roaming physically or morally too far astray.

For the record, I still believe there was deadly quicksand by that creek, rabid skunks in those woods and that God never lets me out of his sight.

All of my great uncles were fabulous tellers of tales.  They had a gift of observation that could convert the ordinary into the hilarious.  Except for death, they could find something to laugh about in almost any situation….including storm destruction.

Uncle Alec’s story began by recounting the beauty of that summer day…the day that the tornado hit Amery and their farm.

He was outside working and hadn’t paid too much attention to the sky as thunderstorms were a common occurrence and a welcome one. They the cooled off man and beast while providing much needed rain for growing crops.  Thunderstorms were an exciting gift from God himself.

When lightening begin to flash and thunder rolled, Alec, like all farmers knew it was time to leave the field to work inside.  He had barn chores to do, so into the barn he went to ride out the storm.

As the storm approached it became louder and louder.  Alec looked out the barn door to see a large tornado barreling right towards his farm. There was no time for him to get to the house and the storm cellar so he hunkered down alongside the foundation of the barn.

The winds of the tornado were terrific as they attacked Uncle Alec, trees, house and barn….mostly the barn.  When the storm had finished leaving its mark on the farm, Alec sprung up to look about and see what the storm had taken and what it had left behind.

It had taken trees, parts of buildings and all of the feathers off of his chickens.  “Why, there were all my hens strutting around calmly clucking as if they did not have a care in the world…totally naked! There wasn’t a feather on them!  All I had was a bunch of naked chickens!!!!”

Angel Food Cakes like tornadoes seemed to always appear on our farm during the summer months.  Maybe that was because they are both funnel shaped? This recipe for Angel Lemon-Coconut Bars will give you the moist texture of Angel Food Cake along with the tang of lemon and the rich sweetness of coconut with none of the eternal egg white beating. This is the easiest Angel Food Cake or bar recipe you will ever make and probably the most delicious.  Enjoy!

Angel Lemon-Coconut Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 Angel Food Cake Mix (one-step method)
1 can of Wilderness Lemon Pie Filling
2 cups of shredded coconut

In a large steel or glass mixing bowl stir together the Angel Food Cake mix and lemon pie filling.  The mixture will foam up as you stir it. (Children love helping with this part.  It feels just like a science experiment in a laboratory that may just explode.  It doesn’t, but sure is fun to watch.  Gee, I wonder why both of my children are chemists.) 

Add coconut and mix in thoroughly.

Spread batter evenly on an jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.  The bars will be lightly browned on top when done.

Frost the bars when they are completely cool.

Frosting

3-ounces of cream cheese, (softened)
1/3 cup of butter (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

This frosting should be the texture of a spreadable cookie icing.

I have made and used this recipe when I did not have any cream cheese in the kitchen and the bars were still absolutely delicious.  Also, I have baked this in a 9 X 13 cake pan and served it as a dessert.

What Is On My Mind Today? Memorial Day Hymn…I Vow To Thee My Country

 

Pat
Introductions in Capitol Rotunda

I spent almost two decades working for the State of Minnesota.  Mostly, at the State Capitol.  I worked for a Senator in the Republican Senate Caucus, As a Constituent Writer and Committee Administrator for the Republican House Caucus, and as Press Secretary and Assistant Communications Director for Democrat Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

I also spent several years working for the Minnesota Department of Veteran’s Affairs as Assistant Director of Communications and Management Analyst IV.   I was the project manager for Minnesota’s World War II Memorial Dedication ceremony.  Over 25,000 people came to that event.

I experienced a lot of diversity during those years of employment in both political parties, but one thing was always the same.  Whether in my office or tacked to a wall in a cube there was a copy of this hymn, “I Vow To Thee My Country.”

The words to this song always remind me of my Uncle Wendell and the thousands of young people just like him who gave their lives for our nation, freedom….and you and me.  Their sacrifice was not abstract it was real and personal.

The words to this hymn captures the power of love and sacrifice. Just reading the words would steel my spine on days when:

  • it seemed like every taxpayer in the state had yelled into my ear about the senator that was my responsibility.
  • frustrated political or bureaucratic leadership got snarky, because they made a dumb decision and felt it was their sworn duty to take it out on staff.
  • try as hard as I might there was just no helping a veteran or the family of a veteran.
  • an entire nation and world is watching a recount between two senators and, lucky me, got to answer press calls….and calls….and calls.
  • Surprise!  The complete crash of a neither internally, externally or user-tested new business services online filing system which was foisted on an unsuspecting public and untrained staff the weekend that sales taxes were due. I was instructed keep the issue from the media and help the “really angry” business folks…because I was good at it.
  • you are told to go fix the business services online filing system disaster.

During those times and many others, I would read the words to this hymn to remember why it was that I decided to be a civil servant. In my case, it was because I love my country, people and wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, and the military had rejected this girl with the equivalent of one working lung.

Then, I would remind myself that there is no crying in baseball or at the State Capitol and that at least I wasn’t getting shot at.

The people that this song was written about were shot at in World War I.  Cecil Spring Rice wrote this poem sometime in either 1908 or 1912.  It describes how a Christian’s loyalties are to their God and country.

In 1912, Mr. Rice was appointed Ambassador to the United States of America.   He successfully lobbied President Woodrow Wilson to join Britain in its war against the German Kaiser.  Before he returned home to Britain, he re-wrote the first verse to emphasize the love and sacrifice of soldiers.

This beautiful patriotic poem was privately distributed among friends and acquaintances for years before it was set to music by Gustav Holst.  It was first published as a hymn in 1925 in the Songs of Praise Hymnal.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful patriotic song.

 

I Vow To Thee My Country

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,

That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;

We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,

And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

God Bless all of our soldiers and their families!  Thank you! 

 

What is On My Mind Today? God Is Dead, Nietzsche, Ego and a Miracle

friedrichnietzschequote

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

― Friedrich Nietzsche

Yes, Nietzsche was on to something. Too bad that his quote,”God is Dead,” has too often been removed from the entire context. I like this quote by Friedrich Neitzsche….it seems so very true. God is dead to many people, because they killed him.

When God died, the human experience changed. Life ceased to be precious, as people became addicted to being precious.  Human existence no longer had any meaning, life became merely a “journey”.  Suicide is an acceptable end to the journey and death a celebration.  The loving God, that cannot do evil or tempt anyone with evil, only resurfaces from his public demise when a scapegoat is needed each time evil rears its ugly head.

Reverence and fear of God has been exchanged for worship of science, nature, wealth, power, social justice, atheism, gender, fashion…basically anything and everything. Becoming gods, humans worshiped at the alter of self-esteem.  Sometimes, I fear our generation’s entire earthly existence will be represented by the “selfie”…the symbolic moralization of self-absorption.

Why did humans kill off God?  They had too!  It became obvious that human brains had evolved to be smarter than God, especially the Biblical God. Nihilism replaced hell and eternal life in paradise.  When nihilism was combined with scientific advancement and social justice God became obsolete.

Obviously the Creator of DNA and all of the laws of physics and chemistry that makes life on this planet possible did not mentally, morally or socially keep pace with human intellectual development.  Those in the know, understood that as humans increased in intellect, reason and stature, God did the opposite.  He became an impediment to the advancement intellectualism and the social goal of extinguishing personal responsibility, conscience and guilt. He had not kept pace and it was time for Him to go.

And, these folks were right!  It is true.  God does not change.  It says so right in Bible.

Hebrews 13:8 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 

Jesus himself said,

Matthew 5:17-18
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Revelation 22:13

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

So, did you ever wonder why it took thousands and thousands of generations before humans convinced themselves that they were smarter than God because they could ponder the mysteries of the universe?  Thinking requires free time and a certain amount of wealth.  It’s hard to delve into complex theoretical concepts with an empty belly while fighting a saber-tooth tiger trying to save yourself and your prodigy from an unpleasant end with stone tools tied on to a stick. Deep thinking requires uninterrupted time in a safe environment.

The early church, specifically the Catholic Church, provided that safe place.  Christianity and science have not always been diametrically opposed and in reality they are not now. The early church encouraged and helped finance scientific discovery.   After all, what does the church have to fear from science?  Science will not ever prove the existence or lack there of…of God. Science is the study of the known and unknown.  Religion is, by faith, the acceptance of the unknowable.

An example of an unknowable that science cannot explain are miracles.  Most scientists will admit that miracles do occur.  Such as the story this week about Trenton McKinley who was brain dead and woke up after his parents signed organ donation papers.  Even, his doctors attribute his miraculous recovery to God.

Trenton McKinley recalled, “I was in an open field walking straight. There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way. Even doctors said it.”

Saints preserve us, but educated doctors in the year 2018 acknowledge that God is alive, well and still performing miracles.  The miracles performed in biblical scripture are no different, than those that defy explanation today.  A miracle is a miracle.

I do not believe that humans will never have the ability to out think the creator of the universe. To think so elevates arrogance to a whole new level.   Only God is all knowing and He is not mocked.  Did you know that God laughs at those who plot against him?  It says so in scripture:

Psalm 2 1-4

“Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.”

 

Many great cultures that no longer exist have rejected God and worshiped secular humanism.  Human rejection is nothing new to God.  All the same, he continues to love us unconditionally.  His loving and merciful nature provides humanity with a pathway to reject and escape nihilism, give earthly lives meaning and ensure spending eternity in heaven.

John 3:16 

16 God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.

The real miracle is that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and he loves us. 

 

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? My Two Published Books For Sale on Amazon

Golden the Goose was the first children’s story that I wrote for my daughter Aurora and the only one for sale on Amazon.  When Aurora was four years old, she announced that she needed a story about a golden goose.  I told her there already was a story about a golden goose. To which she replied with a dreamy look on her little face, “I want mine to be in love.

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So a goose love story was written by a young mother, fighting Thyroid cancer who knew that her little girl was too young to remember her, should her cancer battle go poorly.   I thought that writing and illustrating Aurora stories with a motherly moral message would be a great way to leave a legacy.

Golden the Goose’s message about domestic abuse…”being a princess in a palace is not worth the price, if you spend your own life with a king who is not nice.”

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Over the next several years “Golden the Goose” was followed by other children’s stories written by a young mother to her young daughter.   Such as:

Golden the Goose.  A goose love story

He Who Thinks Well and Runs Quickly.  Native American Anti-Bullying Story.

Aurora’s School Bus Rules.  This is exactly what she said…almost.

The Evil Lizard of Nid A story about conquering the mighty tantrum.

Chloe the Water Lily Fairy Princess The best way to get willy-nilly children and busy, bouncing baby bunnies to go to sleep at night is to read to them.

Going to Get the Calves.  A story about growing up on the farm.  I did illustrate this story, but used all of the originals in a book I made as a gift for grandchildren.

The Hen Who Wanted to Fly.  Dreams can come true.

Pete the Christmas Apple.   The Christmas Story about Jesus and Santa Claus is told from the viewpoint of an apple.

A Family’s Farm Christmas Is a inter-generational family portrait of tradition.

On Grandmother’s Knee I wanted my daughter to know her Great Grandmother Esther.

On the Day I Was Born, Frost Killed All The CornIs not on my blog, but has illustrations.   It is a silly farm parody of another Children’s book, “On The Day You Were Born.”  Instead, of wonderment, the day is filled with chaos, but ends with farmer marveling over his new baby girl.

And, then there was “Carina the Brave.”  Several years ago I re-wrote this story to personalized it for my three-year-old niece who was battling leukemia.  Laney did not win her cancer battle.  “Laney, The Brave”,  is about loyalty, family and conquering fear.

book cover

https://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Dreamed-Commander-Chief/dp/B00ACPK2GA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523024124&sr=1-1&keywords=Patricia+Turgeon

The other book that I co-authored and published is a biography of Robert E. Hansen called “More Than I Ever Dreamed“.  This biography chronicles Bob’s childhood, military service during World War II, his tenure as Commander of the VFW during the Kennedy years and cold war and the Minnesota politics of his time.  Bob personally knew John F. Kennedy and most of the world’s post-World War II leaders, he lived and extraordinary life.

These books were sold through the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Science Museum, Dakota County Historical Society and online.  They sold out rather quickly.

The prices being charged for the limited copies available of this book on Amazon are the very definition of optimism.  Interestingly, after working with Former Governor Tim Pawlenty on the World War II Memorial Dedication, Bob’s indicates in this book that he was no longer a fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is On My Mind Today: A Recipe for Human Greatness…Back-Pew Christians

church pew

It seems to me that human greatness is rarely found these days because it is sought in all the wrong places.   I am not even sure that our society even knows what qualities define human greatness anymore.

Human greatness is not measured by the size of bank accounts, popularity, power, appearance or charm.  Nor, does it result from attaining higher education or belonging to social movements.  Human greatness can only be found in the very thing that separates us from animals….our God-given soul.

I am not saying that human greatness cannot be found among the rich, famous, showy, socially or politically motivated, rarely it can.  It seems to me that human greatness is most often found in people who avoid drawing attention to themselves as they go about their daily lives.  You know, common people.

One of my favorite Abraham Lincoln quotes is about common people.  He said that God especially loves common-looking people, that is why he made so many of them. Common people spend their lives minding their own business and working hard to provide for their families knowing that their very existence will be judged as unremarkable and earthly history will remember them no more.  Objects of ridicule on this earth, common people, like my grandmother Esther, tend to keep their eyes focused upwards on heaven and God.

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Grandpa George and Grandma Esther

My relationship with my Grandmother Esther was very special, because she was special.  I bet you could count the number of store bought dresses that woman had in her entire lifetime on one hand. She wasn’t physically beautiful, had only a fourth-grade education, never had the opportunity to travel much and expressed most of her opinions in Swedish or just kept them to herself.  She was common all right. Yet, she was uncommon in her Christian faith.  Grandmother Esther served God, because she knew God.  She was a back-pew Christian.

You may not have met many of those.  They aren’t showy and are often found in the very back pews in most churches.  They don’t attend worship services to be seen, socialize or sing. Sunday was the day God set aside for them to worship and rest.  It was a time to humbly meet with their maker in his house to repent for wrongdoings, seek forgiveness, express gratitude for blessings, partake of the sacrament of Holy Communion and assess and assist the needs of other members of their faith family.

Grandma knew her Bible and loved the Lord.  She would never have dreamed of shouting out a hallelujah in public for fear of being mistaken for a Biblical Pharisee.  Prayer was private, on your knees and between her and God. To be moved by the Spirit meant seeing human hurt and need and doing something about it. Faith was action. Grandma would stealthily go about doing good whenever and wherever possible, not needing or taking credit for those deeds.

My grandmother would have never stood for anyone teaching a Biblical falsehood. She took very seriously God’s admonishment,”that it would be better to have a mill stone tied around your neck and be drowned that to ever teach one of his little ones to error.”  Grandma believed in right and wrong, she also believed that everyone, including herself, had fallen short in the eyes of God and had no cause to boast. The, “judge not, less you be judged” was taken every bit as seriously as the drowning thing.

Back-pew Christian people, like my grandmother, are quick to turn the other cheek. Their people patience is often misinterpreted as weakness. I will point out that mistaking mercy for weakness is a mistake. These people are strong.  Inside and out. Their steel has been honed. For,they have been tested hard and have survived body and soul.

Yes, grandma weathered the great burdens that often drove her to her knees.  Too broken and weak to rise again on her own, she sought strength through prayer.  Relying on Jesus’ invitation to, ” Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) 

The grace from God she experienced during those hard times steeled her character. She developed the patience of a saint; learned that a kind word turns away wrath; forgave and bestowed undeserving mercy.  Most importantly to the best of her ability she followed the moral law of God…to do onto others as you would like done onto yourself.  The law of human greatness.

On this blog when I write history lessons disguised as letters to grandchildren, I deliberately choose examples of good and bad leaders.  The historical record provides many examples of famous leaders whose epitaphs should read, “what goes around, comes around.”   Many of these historical figures spurned the law of human greatness in exchange for earthly pleasures and in the process brought much pain, suffering and death to common people.  They turned their backs on God and humanity in pursuit of self.

Oh, sure these men and women from history had great wealth, power, oratory and leadership skills and found much earthly success, but they never achieved human greatness, because they had no fear of God and lacked a moral compass.

Today common people who value a moral compass are constantly mocked. While common people maybe ridiculed, the Bible tells us that God is not mocked.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7   

And,  

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”  Psalm 2:4

The good news is moral compass can be restored.  The Gospel of Jesus found in the New Testament is the perfect recipe to help find a moral compass that has gone missing and unleash your human greatness.    However, when it came to practical moral application Grandma Esther had her own recipe.

Grandma Esther’s Recipe for Human Greatness 

…truth will out (liars eventually get caught)
…cheaters never prosper (be honest)
…well, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black (don’t be a hypocrite)
…a kind word can turn away wrath (deescalate)
…leave it go (compromise)
…turn the other cheek (refuse to sink to their level)
…forgive them (forgiveness is good for them and for you)
…move on (accepting that there are things you can change and things you cannot)
…show a little mercy once in a while (everyone makes mistakes so be kind)
…there but by the grace of God go I (have empathy)
…no good deed ever goes unpunished  (do good anyway)
…pretty is as pretty does (manners and social skills count)
…have you lost your mind (do not make blatantly stupid decisions)
…if your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you do that too (think for yourself)
….who do you think you are (practice humility)
…who do you think you are talking to (show respect to your elders, they are your betters
enough is enough (there are times to stand up, stand firm and fight)
…if you aren’t the limit (Love, “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7)

Human greatness is, as human greatness does.  It can only develop through the consistent utilization of the God-given parameters of the soul…conscience.  Souls need feeding as much as the stomach.  God’s holy word, found in the Bible, is nourishment for the soul.  It will make any conscience grow.

Conscience is like a grandmother….listen to it more or ignore it at your own expense.

Just saying……

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Bloggers Note: After teaching Sunday School for over 30 years and being a Christian mentor to middle and high school young adults for decades,  I have been asked lots of questions about my faith, Jesus, God and the Bible. Maybe answers to some of your questions can be found in these blog posts:

What is Easter?….A Promise Fulfilled By A Loving God

Believable Bible?…The Criterion of Embarrassment and Translation Accuracy

Historical Jesus?…Non-Biblical Evidence

Intelligent Design?….The Bible, Science and Scientists

He has Risen, He has Risen Indeed!…Resurrection Witnesses
God Bless You!