Thursday, November 25, 2010

God Bless The Weary Pilgrim

God bless the weary pilgrim whose journey never ends. May he rest eternally in the arms of God. - The Notorious Meddler Nov. 25, 2010.

As weary pilgrim, now at rest
Hugs with delight his silent nest
His wasted limbs now lie full soft
That mirey steps have trodden oft
Blesses himself to think upon
His dangers past, and travails done
The burnIng sun no more shall heat
Nor stormy rains on him shall beat
The briars and thorns no more shall scratch
Nor hungry wolves at him shall catch
He erring paths no more shall tread
Nor wild fruits eat instead of bread
For waters cold he doth not long
For thirst no more shall parch his tongue
No rugged stones his feet shall gall
Nor stumps nor rocks cause him to fall
All cares and fears he bids farewell
And means in safety now to dwell
A pilgrim I, on earth perplexed
With Sins, with cares and sorrows vext
By age and pains brought to decay
And my clay house mold'ring away
Oh, how I long to be at rest
And soar on high among the blest
This body shall in silence sleep
Mine eyes no more shall ever weep
No fainting fits shall me assail
Nor grinding pains my body frail
With cares and fears ne'er cumb'red be
Nor losses know, nor sorrows see
What though my flesh shall there consume
It is the bed Christ did perfume
And when a few years shall be gone
This mortal shall be clothed upon
A corrupt carcass down it lies
A glorious bodyu it shall rise
In weakness and dishonour sown
In power 'tis raised by Christ alone
Then soul and body shall unite
And of their Maker have the sight
Such lasting joys shall there behold
As ear ne'er heard nor tongue e'er told
Lord make me ready for that day
Then come, dear Bridegroom, come away

Anne Bradstreet - Aug. 31, 1669
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
The Notorious Meddler

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ronnie's Apple Cake

"Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown." (Marcie, from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving Day?

My kids think of it as a long weekend away from school. A lot of people look at it as the start of the Christmas shopping season. For me, it is a special time to reflect on the many things I am thankful for. One special thing I am thankful for this year is Ronnie's Apple Cake and all that it allows me to remember. You see, Ronnie's Apple Cake is more than just a is a door that leads to a time in my life that holds many wonderful memories. Memories of my family, when we were all there...together as one. It was a special time in my life.

Ronnie's Apple Cake was not always known as Ronnie's Apple Cake. Originally, it was just known as the delicious apple cake that mom baked. I am not sure how many pieces of that cake I ate from the time I was a youngster until I reached the age of 21, but it was a lot. We all loved it, but Ronnie, my brother, man he loved it more than any of us, and he let it be known that it was his favorite dessert. That was fine by me. I didn't mind who asked her to bake it, as long as she did. Only later did it matter which child asked her to bake it the most. You see, that apple cake was the very last thing Ronnie would ever eat of my mom's cooking and baking as he sat down at the kitchen table on the afternoon of May 6, 1981. At 5:30 a.m. the following morning, we found him dead of a car accident just five-tenths of a mile from home. No long after Ronnie's death, mom announced that she could no longer bare to bake another apple cake again and that was the end of it. We understood. Never again would anyone ask her to bake that apple cake and that was the end of it.

"Isn't it peculiar, Charlie Brown, how some traditions just slowly fade away" (Lucy, from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.)
President Dwight David Eisenhower once said, "There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." Things have never really gotten back to the way they were for us following Ronnie's death in 1981, but one day recently - 29 years, 5 months and 3 days later to be exact - one very nice memory came back. It was Sunday, and after Church my son, J.D., and I drove to mom's house for lunch. I wasn't expecting to see mom's apple cake sitting there on the food bar, but there it was. Naturally, as soon as I saw it a ton of memories came flooding back as I recalled that time in my life when things were the way they used to be. I never expected things to remain the same after Ronnie's death, but who would expect that after such a tragedy? I am not really sure as to when exactly it happened, but somehow, over the years, I managed to put that part of my life in its special place in my mind, as I struggled to go on with my life.

Standing there, staring down at the apple cake I said, "Wow, you baked that apple cake!" Mom had forgotten about it, because she said she had found the recipe but did not know why she had not baked it. I reminded her it was Ronnie's favorite dessert and that after his death, she had said she could no longer bake it. She just said "Yeah," and that was it. It was nice to sit there and enjoy something I once thought to be the best thing I had ever tasted. 29 years, 5 months and 3 days. That is how long it had been since I had eaten that cake. The best part was that I was able to remember something my brother had loved so much during his short life. That day, I renamed mom's apple cake, Ronnie's Apple Cake.

As I write this, Thanksgiving Day is almost here. As Governor William Bradford of the Pilgrim Colony once said, it is a time to render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings. This year, as we always do, my family will gather together to enjoy one another in food and fellowship, and I look forward to it. I have witnessed many Thanksgiving Day's in my life and I have many blessings to be thankful for, including Ronnie's Apple Cake and all that it now means to me.

For those of you who are curious as to why my brother loved that apple cake so much, here is the recipe. I hope you will enjoy it as much as he did.

Ronnie's Apple Cake

3 cups diced apples
1 1/2 cups of oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs well beaten
3 cups self-rising flour
1 tp cinnamon
1 tp vanilla
1 cup raisins or nuts (mix well)
optional -1 cup powdered sugar
and 1/2 cup of milk for a glaze

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Hill (And Sometimes A Mountain)

I have spent almost the entire day listening to this song and it has blessed me tremendously.  The words speak volumes to me and I just wanted to share it with you. I hope it touches you as much as it has touched me today.  Thanks.  nm

I've been scorned by a neighbor whom I treasured
I've been deceived by a friend I held dear
So many times I've just wanted to give up
Then I remember my Lord is right here

Another hill and sometimes a mountain
Another road with rocks to hurt my feet
But when He walks along beside me
I can make it, there'll be no retreat

Well I questioned the loss of a loved one
I wondered why it had happened to me
But through prayer I found the answer
It was all so plain to see


I’m so glad that I learned to trust Him
His promise to me He will keep
I have no fear of tomorrow
For the Shepherd takes good care of His sheep


The singer is Donald J. Shockey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

O Brave Warrior

Today is Veteran's Day, an opportunity for Americans to thank the 24.9 million military veterans who have served our country as a member of the armed forces. So, on this day, I pause to pay tribute to you, O brave warrior.

General Douglas MacArthur once said, "The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." Many members of my own family, past and present, have served this great nation of ours, from the American Revolution to Desert Storm. Some had to travel far from home leaving their families behind. Some suffered the shedding of their own blood, while at least two never made it back home. Another died at home protecting his family and community. All were grateful to serve their country because they believed in the one thing that none of us should ever take for granted - freedom. I am thankful to you, O brave warrior, because you were willing to do whatever it takes so that I can enjoy the freedoms I have in America today.

Singer Ysabella Brave said, "You don't get very far in life without having to be brave an awful lot. Because we all have our frightening moments and difficult trials and we don't have much of a choice but to get through 'em, and it takes a lot of bravery to do that. The most important thing about bravery is this - It's not about not being scared - it's about being scared and doing it anyway - that's bravery.

You don't have to look far to see that America truly is the home of the brave. I pray that she will always remain the land of the free, so that those who sacrificed in whatever way will not have done so in vain. I am proud of you, O brave warrior, past and present. Long may the flag of freedom fly in your honor. Happy Veteran's Day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It Has Always Been...

It has always been the soldier not the reporter who has given us Freedom of the press

It has always been the soldier not the poet who has given us Freedom of speech

It is the soldier not the campus organizer who has given us the Freedom to demonstrate

It is the soldier who salutes the flag who serves under the flag whose coffin is draped by the flag who allows the protesters to burn the flag!

It is the soldier... It has always been the soldier!



Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom's Holy Light

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but after voting to approve it, a draft do...