Six Drops of Sinister Sauce

Those of you who were children, or had children, around 1973, may remember Count Kook chanting his tried-and-true Monster recipe:
“Five drops of the essence of terror
six drops of sinister sauce…”

For some reason that little snippet popped into my head this morning, probably because I was searching for words to describe the tsunami rolling through my emotions. Too bad “opaque” wasn’t today’s Word Press prompt, because it fits so well.

As I awoke this morning, this wave threatened to submerge me. I detected a tinge of terror, certainly some sinister sauce — it goes so well with cancer scares! I’m getting a whiff of foreboding dissolved in a cup of anticipation, a handful of hope, a chunk of resignation. All in this boggling batter of suspended animation.

So what brought this on? I had a blood test yesterday in preparation for my check-up at the Cancer Clinic tomorrow. Up until now I haven’t given this visit too much anxious thought but the blood test somehow brought it all to the forefront again. What will the results be? Will I still be stabilized, or will my leukemic white cells be multiplying with gay abandon? How bad, how fast? Will I need more chemo before long, or will I be okay for a few more years?

Another cancer survivor, Stacey LePage, wrote in her blog about these same feelings, wanting to avoid the checkup-visit, not wanting to hear a verdict. Not wanting bad news to flood her plans for a happy summer. Read her article here.

Even though I’m not really fearing the visit or anticipating bad news, the impending arrival does something to my body chemistry. I saw this funny, numbing emotional wave of blue coming at me and I felt like crawling under the covers until I’ve heard the score. Then to top it all off I have a bothersome tooth, starting yesterday, and woke up from a nightmare this morning.

Thankfully the sun has come out, the birds are filling our morning with their songs, I’ve painted the swallow houses a friend built for me. Spring is my favorite time of year, especially when my swallow friends return to greet me — something I’ll write about more in another post. I’m happy to get their homes ready for them.

I have some blanket squares to sew together today, too. While I’m eager to put tomorrow’s visit behind me, come what may, I do have lots of cheerful things with which I can dispel this opaque feeling. And Stacey tells us in her recent post that she’s writing a memoir about her experiences as she battles stage-four ovarian cancer. She’s giving it the neat and very apt title: Overcoming Stage Fright.

Yes, something good really can come from life’s hardest, most painful lessons. That faith is what keeps us plodding on.

Lemon Pie


The world is full of gladness;
there are joys of many kinds;
there’s a cure for every sadness
that each troubled mortal finds.
And my little cares grow lighter
and I cease to fret and sigh,
and my eyes with joy grow brighter
when she makes a lemon pie.

When the bronze is on the filling
that’s one mass of shining gold,
and its molten joy is spilling
on the plate, my heart grows bold.
And the kids and I in chorus
raise one glad exultant cry
and we cheer the treat before us
which is mother’s lemon pie.

Then the little troubles vanish
and the sorrows disappear;
then we find the grit to banish
all the cares that hovered near.
And we smack our lips in pleasure
oe’r a joy no coin can buy
and we down the golden treasure
which is known as lemon pie.
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Ben Franklin’s Bright Idea

According to one biographer, when Ben Franklin wanted to promote the idea of street lighting for the city of Philadelphia, he didn’t just make speeches to enthuse his fellow citizens about what a great idea it would be. He installed a long bracket in front of his home and hung up an attractive lantern. This he always kept spotless and lit it every evening as twilight fell.

Passers-by could see his cheerful light from quite a distance and this one bright spot in an otherwise dark street beckoned to them. The glow silently recommended to everyone walking along the sidewalk what a great idea it was to see where they were stepping. As time went on the citizens of the town were sold on the idea of street illumination.

P.S.:
We could all take a lesson from Ben’s example. There are a zillion people who offer brilliant suggestions, but if we can think of something that will brighten the way for folks who pass by, let’s do it.

Plans Gone South?

Have you ever had it happen that something seemed a disaster, but turned out to be a blessing in the end? Have you been tempted to grumble to God about delays and messed up plans, then later thank Him for trouble you’d been spared?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ran along the dock one day to catch the ship heading for home. He’d been delayed too long by a fussy editor and was grieved to see the ship just pulling away from the pier. When he reached the ship it was still so close he contemplated a big leap, but the possibility of landing in the ocean didn’t appeal to him so he sadly turned away.

The ship never reached its destination; it struck something en route and down it went with everyone on it. The Longfellow family were expecting him home on that ship. When they got the news of its sinking they were heartbroken — until they got his wire the next morning informing them he’d missed the boat and was still among the living.

I read an account recently about soldiers engaged in combat near the city of Sevastopol in Russia. At one point they heard the whistle of an enemy shell and covered their heads, preparing for the worst. Thankfully the shell passed over them and landed on the side of a hill nearby, blowing a crater in it.

To their surprise a little trickle of water began to flow out of the hole. Soon it was a tiny bubbling fountain and they realized that the explosion had exposed a hidden spring. As the battle continued the spring became a gushing stream where they filled their canteens and drank of the refreshing clear water.

That which was intended to kill them, which did indeed strike fear into their hearts, actually proved a moral-lifting blessing and source of new strength.

Consider the story of Joseph. If ever someone had cause to be dismayed and lose hope at the way circumstances were unfolding, it must have been that Hebrew lad. In a fit of spite his brothers tossed him into a pit, stripped off the beautiful coat his father had made, dipped it in blood and headed home with the evidence that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Joseph they sold to passing slave traders.

To add to his woes, after some years of faithful service to his master Joseph was falsely accused and sent to prison. Then he was forgotten by his fellow prisoner — the only one who could have done him a good turn — as soon as the fellow was released.

Yet later he told his brothers (my paraphrase), “You meant to do me harm, but God used my situation here to accomplish his purpose.”
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7. See also Genesis 50:20.

So if you’re going through a rough patch, give it to the Lord and soldier on. Time will tell what He will do with it — but it will be for your good, if you leave it in His hands.

The thickest clouds often bring the heaviest showers of blessing.