Thursday, March 31, 2016

As I Lay Me Down To Sleep

As I lay me down and reflect upon my day,
I see all the beauty that was placed before me.
I experienced so much goodness in my interactions,
Random people blessed me as a fragrant bouquet.

May tomorrow be like it, may my steps be blessed.
Let me be an influence, like a cool drink of water,
To those who thirst or hunger for kindness,
Help me see their needs are addressed.

gk

Call Your Mama

One word daily is better than a thousand words yearly.
Kind words are always appreciated dearly. - gk

Write a note, make a call to a loved one. It will bless your life and theirs.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Easter Message of Hope

On one hand I cannot believe I wrote a Passover message prior to Easter.  What was I thinking?

Just let me say this...I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives, who once was dead. He lives, my ever-living Head.He lives to bless me with his love. He lives to plead for me above. He lives my hungry soul to feed. He lives to bless in time of need. Source

This Lenten season, Ash Wednesday through today has been a season of continual reflection.  One holy day merged into another, and now the Jewish holiday of Passover begins soon..  The Bible story can not only be wonderfully broken down into individual messages of inspiration and wisdom, but it also must be look at as a whole; the same with one’s spiritual life.

Long before I was positively influenced by Christ’s disciples in my high school (thank you), I was taught by my family and the religion of our past generations, the LDS Church.

Forty years later I recall some of the teachings and hymns of my childhood and fondly sing them under my breath, so as not to be seemingly judged by some of my main stream Christian contemporaries. As I think of Easter, this song comes to mind which is a traditional LDS hymn. I only included the first verse and the chorus because that is what rings in my heart and causes me to sing aloud.

The Day Dawn Is Breaking

The day dawn is breaking, the world is awaking,
The clouds of night's darkness are fleeing away.
The worldwide commotion, from ocean to ocean,
Now heralds the time of the beautiful day.

Beautiful day of peace and rest,
Bright be thy dawn from east to west.
Hail to thine earliest welcome ray,
Beautiful, bright, millennial day.

Now a message of hope written by a friend suffering from depression, that end in a message of hope reflected in Easter...

On My Finite Depression

Is it possible to be happy again, normal?
I get by daily by following my routine,
But sometimes it can get very dark.
Knowing deep inside I'm blessed, sometimes joyful.

Family, friends, a loving wife. A life blessed.
But shadows are comfortable and darkness my friend,
Hours pass, accomplishing nothing.
When I was younger, unstoppable this didn't need to be addressed.

I see a light ahead, just out of reach.
One week, month, year of this yet to go.
I'll hang in there, because of faith.
Faith in a a power greater, that will let this wall be breached.
I can because He is risen!

-author's name withheld.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Matzah 2016

I really have an appreciation for Jewish people. I'll never understand what they've been through, or the discrimination they've faced or face today. However, I have a deep respect for their traditions, therefore the following recipe, an adaptation from recipe Matzah.

Matzah - the bread made by the Jews during the Passover...I know Wiki is not the best source for information. I am only including this link as a reference for general knowledge...

In preparation for the Passover this year, April 22-30, this is how I made my Matzah, and it is a superior recipe to previous years...

Move an oven rack near the top of oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose, unbleached kosher flour
about 1/3 cup water (more/less if needed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour for dusting on the counter and the roller

Yields: about 4 – 5 inch diameter pieces of unleavened bread. In a religious ceremony, this amount would serve approximately 100 people.

Add in all ingredients to mixer bowl.

Move an oven rack near the top of oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Preheat a heavy baking sheet or baking stone in the oven. Dust a clean work surface and a rolling pin with 1 teaspoon flour, or as needed. Place 1 cup of flour into a mixing bowl; set a timer for about 16 minutes (18 minutes maximum). Start the timer; pour the water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, into the flour. Stir the water and flour together with a fork until the dough forms a rough ball, remove the dough to the prepared work surface, knead rapidly and firmly until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Swiftly roll each piece into a ball. Roll each piece of dough out into a 5-inch pancake and it will be about ¼ inch thick, dusting the top and rolling pin with flour as needed. Gradually roll the pancakes out to a size of about 5 inches  Roll from the center out. The bread rounds should be thin about 1/4 inch thick. Using a fork, quickly pierce each bread about 20 times, all over, to prevent rising. The holes should go completely through the bread. Flip the bread over, and pierce each piece another 20 times or so.

Place the rounds onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet onto the rack near the top of the oven, and bake for 5 minutes; turn the breads over and bake an additional 4 minutes, until the Matzah are lightly browned and crisp.

Recipe Modification! - April 2, 2016 - Today I didn't want to mess with a rolling pin and flouring the cabinet today so I mixed it in a bowl and made it flat like a thick tortilla, then popped it in the oven.  Bake @ 475 for 8 minutes, flip then 8 more minutes.  A longer baking time.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Lightly anoint each Matzah with olive oil, using a brush, and sprinkle generously with salt.

Footnotes:
  • Making Matzah breads kosher for Passover requires using special Kosher flour that has been guarded from contact with liquids. I used Gold Medal, Kosher, unbleached all-purpose flour.
  • The cook is allowed no longer than 18 minutes from the point they combine the flour and water to when they remove the Matzah from the oven in order for it to be considered fit for Passover.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Prison Teacher Begins His Day

A Prison Teacher Begins His Day

Safe light. I look across a field of blue,
Moving, stirring, coming this way.
A vertical white stripe runs down the pant leg.
An inmate comes into view.

They enter the classroom willing to learn,
Some more than others.
A few eager, and some not enthusiastic.
Many just come because it’s a safe place for time to burn.

Teaching men who committed crimes,
I’m here to do my part, to help transform.
Hopefully they will become anew,
As they survive and do their time. Some decades.

We all have our role to which we’ve been ordained.
Mine to help these men who’ve been imprisoned,
That they may eventually resume their lives,
And return to our communities again.

gk
3/21/16

Saturday, March 19, 2016

This Week's Limericks

My Friday Note to Sandy

Today is Friday!
Wa Hoo! It's my day! (and yours)
May it be blessed,
Free of stress.
And your greatest challenge be child's play.

gk
3/18/2016


Outdoors Geometry
(Oh, the Wonderful Wedge)

Useful is the polyhedron,
Made of steel, preferred in Sweden.
Most call it a wedge,
Used with a sledge.
By lumberjacks before winter season.


Mathematically, its plane geometry.
Working equally on pine, oak and mahogany.
Splitting wood fine or coarse,
It works like a horse.
The finest of low technology.

gk
3/16/2016


A Tribute to Wimpy

I'd gladly pay you Tuesday, for a Hamburger today!
No, I'm not Wimpy, or the Galloping Gourmet.
A hamburger for lunch is,
The climactic ever-best is,
A sandwich, a bun, some cheese and mayonnaise.

gk
3/14/2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What Do You Think Of Me?

What Do You Think Of Me?

Father in Heaven
What do you think of me?
I am so rich,
But feel I don’t deserve any of this.
What do you think of me?

My life is so blessed.
Strength on this journey is my request.
What do you think of me?

Have I helped someone in need,
Or passed by them, neglecting a good deed?
What do you think of me?

Please help me make my life,
To You a living sacrifice.
What do you think of me?

This gift from above,
Of unconditional love.
This is what you think of me! Thank you.

gk
3/15/2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Great American Love Story

Every once in a while I’ll run across something extraordinary that is brand new to me, but has actually been around for a long-long time. When that happens I am always so surprised and occasionally dumbfounded that I haven’t come across this earlier in my life. I ask myself, “Where have I been?” or “How did this wonderful thing exist without me knowing about it?”

The story and letter below knocked my socks off when I heard it the first time on public television (PBS).  It is the story of a Union officer and his last days before he was killed in action.  It is a love story in the form of a letter; expressing love of country, duty, honor, family and romance.  At the bottom I included references so you the reader can research further.

One last thought before the letter of Sullivan Ballou. Heroes such as these can be found all over the globe and throughout time.  The difference with this one is that it was recorded, archived, and shared.  I urge the reader to investigate and record your own ancestral stories so as to honor the heroes we have in our own families and in our communities.

The setting is Union Headquarters, Camp Clark, Washington, D.C., July 14, 1861, near the beginning of the American Civil War.  Major Ballou died in battle fifteen days after he wrote this letter. - gk

By Sullivan Ballou

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Sullivan Ballou
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure—and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows—when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children—is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar—that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.

Sullivan

By Major Sullivan Ballou
Union Army, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment
Born: March 28, 1829, Smithfield, Rhode Island
Died: July 29, 1861, Age 32, KIA 1st Battle of Bull Run, near Manassas, VA
Survived by wife, Sarah Hart Shumway, and children William and Edgar

Buried: Swan Point Cemetery
585 Blackstone Boulevard
Providence, RI 02906
Tel: 401-272-1314
Location: Group 205A, Lot 6, GPS (DDS) Location: (Lat./Lon.): 41.85405, -71.38027

References:
National Park Service Record of Sullivan Ballou
Wikipedia reference
Swan Point Cemetary

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This Week's Limericks

Sunrise Over Edgewater (My Drive to Work)
I set out and I’m greeted by sun on the rise,
Blue and pink glowing - blessing my eyes.
The animals stirring.
The birds are a chirping.
Beaconing all of mankind to arise.

gk, 3/7/2016

The Romantic Elephant
There once was an African elephant,
Who learned to paint with great eloquence.
He courted his sweetie,
With art and graffiti.
On a tree with picturesque elements.

The Chewing Giraffe
A giraffe from afar Mozambique,
Kept a chaw 'tween his gum and his cheek.
Other animals didn't get it.
They said, "You'll regret it,
You'll be hooked in less than a week."

This next one is a tribute to my wife Sandy.  The other night she just got home from work and  was watching our grandsons.  At the same time she was cleaning the house and cooking a marvelous rib dinner with fixins.  This was all done between 6 and 7 pm.  She's such a champ and I appreciate her so much.

My Daytona Woman
My wife, Nana and sweetheart,
Faster than Daytona and Earnhart.
At cookin' up dinner,
She's a First Place Winner;
and shows all evidence of a good heart.

The Tootsie Roll
We all enjoy a Tootsie Roll.
Of which I’m willing to pay a toll.
The chocolate is sweet,
and is such a retreat.
It has to be good for one’s soul!

gk