The Seasons Change

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Always has been and always will be. It seems to connect with my soul in a way that the others simply do not. Are you like that? Which season connects best with you? Why do you think that is?

Each brings its own uniqueness and beauty to our world. Winter’s beautiful snow falls and long restful nights. Spring’s reemergence of life and the lengthening of daylight. Summer’s thrill of thunderstorms and the longer hours of warm sunshine. And Autumn’s transition of beautiful colors and the glow of bonfires at the end of the shortening days. Each in its own way is special. Each brings its own joys and challenges. Each shows us that our world is at constant change.

And so are our lives. Over my nearly 60 years or 240 seasonal transitions, I’ve experienced many changes. Moving from one season of my life to the next. Many seasons were fantastic times in my life while others were horrible. Most memories I cherish while others I dread recalling. And a few I wish to never experience again.

But I can honestly say each season of my life brought to me something special. Something to learn from. Something to share with others and something to experience just by myself. Something that has become a part of me and has helped shaped me into the person I am today.

I’ve experienced the long nights of darkness and cold with the passing of those I’ve loved. I’ve enjoyed the birth of new life through my children and grandchildren. I’ve thrilled in the times of family vacations and road trips with friends. And I have found great joy that I can now look back to and see that what I experienced, as easy or difficult it may have been, was just part of the transitions that must occur in life.

The world and our lives were not made to stay the same. Everything around us and in us is constantly changing. Growing, dying, and coming back to new life. Just as we see nature shine and dim through the seasons, we too experience the same shining and dimming in our lives. The world goes on and so do we.

There may be seasons where we feel it’s our last and eventually that season will come for each of us but until then I say let’s roll with the changes. Let’s make the most of each season. Experience it. Take it in. Let it change you. Let it become a part of you that is special and unique.

At the end of November, I will turn 60. Just another number and actually I’m way more excited than apprehensive about this change. Just like yours, my life has not always been easy but transitioning into my seventh decade, I’ve accepted the fact that I cannot control much if anything in this world. So I choose to accept what comes and live both in the current season and look forward to the next.

As Autumn comes to me, I’ll be admiring the beautiful colors of my surroundings in both nature and in the people I’ll meet. And I’ll be enjoying the warmth and light of the bonfires where ever I find them over these days ahead. And probably some roasted marshmallows as well.

Live well during your season my friends and see you down the road….

The Fun In Puns

A Pun: the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound.

If you’ve seen my posts on Facebook then you know I enjoy a good or maybe not so good pun from time to time. I think a little laughter is always good in our lives considering all the shouting and arguing going on these days. If we can’t laugh at ourselves then I’m not sure we’re living in reality. Humor is good. After all, we’re all born with a humerus bone. ūüėČ

The origin of punnery has long been debated. Some feel it began with Old English in or around the fifth century. A recent article from the New York Post sites the first recorded pickup line, “I asked, it must have rightly hurt when such an angel as thee fell from heaven?“. Guess that line wasn’t first used in the seventies after all. You know who you are.

Thankfully Shakespeare improved the art of pun by the sixteenth century when he wrote these words spoken by Mercutio; “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.” A little morbid perhaps but still a good ‘play’ on words. Get it. A play.

And now in the twenty-first century we have raised the pun bar to new heights with memes. Here’s one that made me chuckle:

And another:

It doesn’t really matter if you get a laugh or eye roll from a pun. The joy is in the sharing and I’ve been pretty joyful these past few months.

Our lives are full of serious things and tough times. This world is not always kind. But life is meant to be a balance of joy and sorrow, good and bad, happy and sad. We need to find ways to even the scale. The sharing of laughter is one of those ways.

So let me encourage you to jump on the pun wagon. Share a favorite on social media to help our world smile a little. Dads, keep those jokes coming. Moms, continue to silently laugh at those dad jokes. And kids, remember one day you’ll be just like your parents.

As one light bulb said to the other, “Lighten up, watts your problem?”

See you down the road….

The First Thanksgiving

By no means do I consider myself a scholar of history. Some of you may think of me in more hysterical than historical terms but I have always enjoyed studying history and understanding who and what have gone before us in this world. This is true for our national day of Thanksgiving as I’ve always thought there was more to the holiday than just overeating, napping, and watching football (the latter two usually done concurrently).

So with the aid of the historical records, aka Google, here are a couple historical facts of the holiday which I have come to learn. And to some surprise, the Pilgrims along with their native American neighbors were the first to hold a Thanksgiving feast not the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys as some may think.

In autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims had much to be thankful. After the harvest, Massasoit ( the chief of the nearby Wampanoags) and about ninety other native Americans joined the Pilgrims for the great English tradition of Harvest Festival. The participants celebrated for several days, dining on venison, goose, duck, turkey, fish, and of course, cornbread, the result of a bountiful corn harvest. This tradition was repeated at harvest time in the following years.

I don’t see football listed in the day’s festivities but I’m sure that began soon thereafter with the forming of the New England Patriots.

So the Pilgrims and Wampanoags celebrated Thanksgiving with a whole lot of food, especially corn from a bountiful harvest. What I have learned¬†from the historical record is that their corn harvest was bountiful¬†because another native America named¬†Squanto had taught the Pilgrims to fertilize the soil with dried fish remains to produce a stellar corn crop. I’m glad Squanto shared that little secret with the Pilgrims as¬†one of my favorite dishes at Thanksgiving is corn casserole. Although the fish fertilizer¬†usage may drop this dish down my list of favorites a little.

Did you know that it wasn’t until October 3rd, 1863, that the United States declared Thanksgiving a national holiday to be observed by all states on the same day?

Apparently, the states had been, up to that point, celebrating Thanksgiving on different days each year. Although I have not found archived evidence yet, I believe that this confusion of which day to feast and give thanks caused great stress amongst the states¬†due¬†to shortages of cranberry sauce and¬†getting everyone to grandma’s¬†home at the same time. Splitting of the Union was inevitable.

You probably know that it was President Lincoln that instituted the national observance of Thanksgiving day but did you know he made this decision partially based on the urging of Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor. She had written President Lincoln the following:

“You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authorities fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

Through the encouragement of Sarah Josepha Hale, our president and nation began the practice of giving thanks together, mid Civil war as it was, on the same day. I like to think that establishing this national day of Thanksgiving aided in bringing our nation back to unity in some small way over the years after the Civil war.

Thanksgiving for our family has always been about unity and giving thanks for the things we hold dear to our hearts. Family is at the top of the thankful list for us and this year is no exception. Although this year, this Thanksgiving day, will be very different as we gather around the table at grandmas.

This will be the First Thanksgiving without Barb and Bill.

It can be, no, it¬†IS¬†very difficult to be thankful¬†as we continue to mourn the passing of my wife Barb and her father Bill. They both have left us in 2017. Barb at age 55 and Bill at age 90. And this is after losing Barb’s brother Greg back in 2014. Too much loss in a few short years.

The holidays for our family have changed. It’s very hard to overcome the grief, sadness, and even anger that we have experienced and continue to live with. Thanksgiving 2017 will be tough but through the love we all share for Greg, Barb, and Bill, and for one another, we go on.

We’ll gather this Thanksgiving¬†to lean upon one another, to cry a little together, and to remember all the years of love we’ve shared at grandmas. We’ll remember Greg’s ornery smile as he¬†would yell¬†down the basement stairs at the boys, Barb’s joyful face as she held the newest baby, and Bill’s prayer at the table. Bill almost always ended his¬†prayer of thanks with the words “So that we may walk¬†hand in hand¬†with you through eternity.”

And that’s exactly what Greg, Barb, and Bill are doing their First Thanksgiving in Heaven together again.

Even in my grief, I find joy in knowing that they are walking with their Lord hand in hand now. No more illness, no more pain, no more worries. Just pure joy. And for that, I am truly thankful and look forward to joining them someday.

As some of you know, Barb liked to tape bible verses and encouraging quotes on the inside of our kitchen cabinet doors. Every time I or the kids would open them we would see her little messages to us. She claimed they were just reminders to herself but I know and appreciate her dual purpose in posting these.

I am so thankful for her unending faith and love in her God and in her family. Her cabinet encouragements are precious to me. They will not be coming down anytime soon.