For Your Child

Here are some thoughts from 19th century American evangelist Billy Sunday. He’s speaking about the concern of a parent for his child, as well as sharing a memory from his own childhood. I believe what he says here applies to all parents.

“As a rule a man wants something better for his children than he has had for himself. My father died before I was born and I lived with my grandfather. He smoked, but he didn’t want me to. He chewed tobacco, but he didn’t want me to. He cursed, but he didn’t want me to. He made wine that would make a man fight his own mother after he had drunk it.

One day a neighbor was in and my grandfather asked him for a chew. (The neighbor bit off a chunk and) He went to hand it back and I wanted some. (Grandfather) said I couldn’t have it. I said I wanted it anyhow. He picked me up, turned me across his knee and gave me a crack that made me see stars as big as moons.

If there is a father that hits the booze, he doesn’t want his son to. If he’s keeping someone on the side, he doesn’t want his son to. In other words, you would not want your son to live like you if you are not living right.

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An old general was at the bedside of his dying daughter. He didn’t believe in the Bible and his daughter said, ‘What shall I do? You don’t believe in the Bible. Mamma does. If I obey one I’m going against the other.
The old general put his arms around his daughter and said, ‘Follow your mother’s way; it is the safest.’ Man wants his children to have that which is sure.”

From BILLY SUNDAY, The Man And His Message by William T Ellis L.L.D. (© 1914)

Note re: Editing
I started this post with the Description + Image block pattern, then went to Paragraph for the quote, inserting an Inline image. You can regulate the image size, but there doesn’t seem to be much control over where the image goes. This is a Superscript.

Quarters For Thoughts

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is QUARTER

Penny.pub domainThis prompt could take one’s mind in several directions, but I recalled the old saying, “A penny for your thoughts?” Actually I thought of a millennial comeback for that one:
There’s no point offering grandchildren a penny for their thoughts when our “penny candy” costs a quarter apiece now.

So I’ll just give my thoughts freely this morning. You can decide if they’re worth a quarter. 🙂

The Word of the Day prompt this morning is UNDERSTAND.

There’s no sense to most dreams; you gain nothing by trying to understand them. But just before I woke up I had an interesting one, a hodge-podge of several flash scenes I’ve lived or read about:
A friend and I were going to a mall outside Edmonton and I was driving, but didn’t know the way. So a kind lady who was going there herself showed us the way.  Turns out she managed a store there, so she led us from the parking garage into the mall and we followed her into her store.
It was a shoe store, and we’d just started looking at sandals when they started shutting out lights. We were dismayed to find we’d just got to the mall in the last few minutes before stores closed for the night. Worse, we’d just followed her in, and now had to find our way back to our car in that huge parkade.

This dream reminded me how some streams of thought work. You start thinking about something — often something you’re not happy about — and your mind follows the flow, rehearses all the wrongs, etc. But when you get to the conclusion that something just HAS to be done, you realize nothing can be done at this moment. Right here, right now, you can’t change a single thing. You’ve taken a road to nowhere.

Yesterday evening I was thinking about some people’s attitudes that really annoy me. Finally I had to admit that, yes, it irks me, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do this evening to change everyone’s attitudes. So I just shut down those thoughts.

There’s no point stirring up all the mud in the lake when this is the only water you have.

Here’s another example I think everyone can relate to:
Let’s say I’m unhappy with the way our government is running things, or the way they’ve responded to COVID-19. I might be certain this govt should be ousted before they bring the nation to ruin, or we all die like flies.
So what can I do on a quiet Sunday evening at home to force a vote and change the government? Nothing. Zip. What can I do to change the way the govt — or society — or health care in general — has already responded to the virus? Nada. Pursuing this stream of thought is like getting to the mall and finding stores all closed for the night.

There are better things to think about. My home. My family. My Father in Heaven and his thoughts toward me.

So now that I’ve shared my morning thoughts, I shall occupy my mind with making my home a neater place to live. When I can, I will do what I can for situations that need changing, but for today the world will just have to run itself.
🙂

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Flags at Half Mast Today

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is FLUTTER

Our news media today is aflutter with news of the recent tragedy here in Canada. Our flags at flying at half-mast and our hearts are sorrowing this morning as we read the details of the worst mass shooting in Canadian history: seventeen innocent people in Nova Scotia plus the suspect shot to death.

For Canadians the incident is doubly shocking and grievous, partly because something as senseless as this would happen in some small Nova Scotia communities — no one yet has any idea what triggered this rampage — and worse, because the killer went out dressed as an member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, our cross-country law enforcers.

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Image: Pixel1 — Pixabay

The shootings began about 10:00 pm Saturday evening when a Dartmouth denturist named Gabriel Wortman, age 51, wearing full uniform and vest of an RCMP officer, went out to shoot people. He’d painted his car to look like an RCMP vehicle, and in one case he stopped a car and shot the occupants. He set fire to his own building and several others and shot the occupants as they fled.

According to news reports, Portapique is a beach-side town of about 100 residents on Nova Scotia’s Cobequid Bay, about a 90-minute drive from Halifax. The suspect owned two large properties on Portapique Beach Road, where the shootings started on Saturday night. The gunman then left this area and drove to a couple of other towns, was finally shot and killed around 9:00 am yesterday morning at a gas station in Enfield, NS. One officer was also killed in the effort to stop the suspect.

Our hearts ache for all these people and their families, including the troubled man who saw no better solution to his problems than to commit this deed.

I’ve given a very loose sketch here, you may well have read about this in your own news, and more details will be available as investigators piece the story together. And if anyone reads this who’s been directly affected by this horror, please accept my deepest sympathies.

Sunday morning my husband and I listened to messages from two different pastors, Pastor Hank from his home in Quebec, and our local pastor Warren. Later in the day we heard two other inspiring talks, a speaker from CA and one from MB. Then gospel songs from two different small groups — all thanks to Listen to church.com — giving us hope and courage in these uncertain times. Conversely, more details were trickling in about this tragedy in Nova Scotia. Such a sad contrast!

We Witness a Drive-By Shouting

At 7:30 last night I was just finishing up my shift at the Villa, the seniors’ residence where I cook a few meals every week. My husband, who was waiting for me to finish my work, asked if I could hear a siren. He’d already alerted the residents that something unusual was going on outside, so they were all watching from the large picture window that faces the car port.

We saw a Fire Department vehicle, sirens blaring and lights flashing, drove into the Villa parking lot. A moment later we had the opportunity to witness first-hand a Drive-By Shouting.* We were forewarned that this would happen, but it was to be a surprise for the residents.

Two of our seniors had birthdays yesterday; Melvin turned 86 and Wilbert 91, so their families, together with the Villa board arranged this birthday party on wheels. Wilbert’s great-grandson and a friend drove up to the carport in a sort of dune buggy with flashing lights; they jumped off and fastened a large banner between two pillars on the outside of the carport, facing the picture window. “Happy Birthday Melvin & Wilbert,” it read.

Then they led a long procession through the carport, the two men’s families, Villa Board member and a number of others from the congregation. Our guess is at least twenty vehicles passed through our carport, with passengers honking and waving — much to the delight of the two “birthday boys.” Many vehicles were decorated with signs and balloons; in the back of one pickup two young people held up a large plywood sheet with Happy Birthday painted on it.

As they say, “A good time was had by all.”

Actually, we later heard that the local Fire Department had been involved in an earlier drive-by shouting, together with friends and family, for a Mrs Smith who turned 95 yesterday.

*I don’t know how widely used this term is, but a Moose Jaw reporter recently wrote about “the increase in drive-by shoutings” in that city, so I’m borrowing it. When folks are supposed to be self-isolating, they find creative ways of interacting. And there’s no ban on drive-bys.

I’m happy to say that our residents — and most residents of seniors’ & nursing homes in the province — have escaped the virus thus far. The stats I’ve heard today for Saskatchewan are: 301 diagnosed with Covid-19; 187 recovered; 4 deaths. So we’ve much reason to be thankful to date.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is BAN

Fire in the Forest

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was COUNTLESS BRANCHES

A forest of living, greening branches can be an inspiring sight, but here’s an account of a raging blaze started in the felled trees on a homesteader’s farm. They were set ablze by the hired man, who had good intentions, but seriously lacked common sense. The REBLOG button on his post isn’t working, so I’ve reprinted this from Flatlander Faith.com. See the original post HERE.

[This is an excerpt from a Canadian Classic, Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie, first published in 1852.  At the climax of the crisis described here, she buries her head in her apron. It was her custom to  pull up her apron to cover her head for privacy when praying.]

The winter and spring of 1834 had passed away. The latter was uncommonly cold and backward; so much so that we had a very heavy fall of snow upon the 14th and 15th of May

A late, cold spring in Canada is generally succeeded by a burning, hot summer; and the summer of ’34 was the hottest I ever remember.  No rain fell upon the earth for many weeks, till nature drooped and withered beneath one bright blaze of sunlight; and the ague and fever in the woods, and the cholera in the large towns and cities, spread death and sickness through the country.

Moodie had made during the winter a large clearing of twenty acres around the house. The progress of the workmen had been watched by me with the keenest interest. Every tree that reached the ground opened a wider gap in the dark wood, giving us a broader ray of light and a clearer glimpse of the blue sky. But when the dark cedar swamp fronting the house fell beneath the strokes of the axe, and we got a first view of the lake my joy was complete: a new and beautiful object was now constantly before me, which gave me the greatest pleasure.

The confusion of an uncleared fallow spread around us on every side. Huge trunks of trees and piles of brush gave a littered and uncomfortable appearance to the locality, and as the weather had been very dry for some weeks, I heard my husband talking with his choppers as to the expediency of firing the fallow. They still urged him to wait a little longer, until he could get a good breeze to carry the fire well through the brush.

Business called him suddenly to Toronto, but he left a strict charge with old Thomas and his sons, who were engaged in the job, by no means to attempt to burn it off till he returned, as he wished to be upon the premises himself in case of any danger. He had previously burnt all the heaps immediately about the doors. While he was absent, old Thomas and his second son fell sick with the ague, and went home to their own township, leaving John, a surly, obstinate young man, in charge of the shanty, where they slept, and kept their tools and provisions.

The day was sultry, and towards noon a strong wind sprang up that roared in the pine tops like the dashing of distant billows, but without in the least degree abating the heat. The children were lying listlessly on the floor for coolness, and the girl and I were finishing sun-bonnets, when Mary suddenly exclaimed, “Bless us, mistress, what a smoke!” I ran immediately to the door, but was not able to distinguish ten yards before me. The swamp immediately below us was on fire, and the heavy wind was driving a dense black cloud of smoke directly towards us.

“What can this mean?” I cried. “Who can have set fire to the fallow?”

John Thomas stood pale and trembling before me. “John, what is the meaning of this fire?”

“Oh, ma’am, I hope you will forgive me; it was I set fire to it, and I would give all I have in the world if I had not done it.”

“What is the danger?”

“Oh, I’m terribly feared that we shall all be burnt up,” said the fellow, beginning to whimper.

“We must get out of it as fast as we can, and leave the house to its fate.”

“We can’t get out,” said the man, in a low, hollow tone, which seemed the concentration of fear; “I would have got out if I could; but just step to the back door, ma’am, and see.”

I had not felt the least alarm up to this minute. Judge then my horror, when, on going to the back door, I saw that the fellow, to make sure of his work, had fired the field in fifty different places. Behind, before, on every side, we were surrounded by a wall of fire, burning ferociously within a hundred yards of us, and cutting off all possibility of retreat.

I closed the door and went back to the parlour. Fear was knocking loudly at my heart – I felt stupefied. The girl sat upon the floor by the children, who had both fallen asleep. She was silently weeping; while the fool who had caused the mischief was crying aloud.

A strange calm succeeded my first alarm; tears and lamentations were useless; a horrible death was impending over us, and yet I could not believe that we were to die.

My eye fell upon the sleeping angels, locked peacefully in each other’s arms, and my tears flowed for the first time. Mary, the servant-girl, looked piteously up in my face. The good, faithful creature had not uttered one word of complaint, but now she faltered forth, “The dear precious lambs! Oh such a death!”

I threw myself down upon the floor beside them, and pressed them alternately to my heart, while inwardly I thanked God that they were asleep, unconscious of danger.

The heat soon became suffocating. We were parched with thirst, and there was not a drop of water in the house. I turned once more to the door, hoping that a passage might have been burnt through to the water. I saw nothing but a dense cloud of fire and smoke – could hear nothing but the crackling and roaring of the flames, which were gaining so fast on us that I felt their scorching breath in my face.

“Ah,” thought I – and it was a most bitter thought – “what will my beloved husband say when he returns and finds that poor Susy and his dear girls have perished in this miserable manner? But God can save us yet.”

The thought had scarcely found a voice in my heart before the wind rose to a hurricane, scattering the flames on all sides into a tempest of burning billows. I buried my head in my apron, for I thought that our time was come, and that all was lost, when a most terrific crash of thunder burst over our heads, and, like the breaking of a water-spout, down came the rushing torrent of rain which had been pent up for so many weeks. In a few minutes the chip-yard was all afloat, and the fire effectually checked. The storm which, unnoticed by us, had been gathering all day, and which was the only one of any note we had that summer, continued to rage all night, and before morning had quite subdued the cruel enemy whose approach we had viewed with such dread.

The imminent danger in which we had been placed struck me more forcibly after it was past than at the time, and both the girl and myself sank to our knees and offered up our hearts in humble thanksgiving to that God who had saved us by an act of His Providence from an awful and sudden death. When all hope from human assistance was lost, His hand was mercifully stretched forth, making His strength more perfectly manifested in our weakness.

“He is their stay when earthly hope is lost,
The light and anchor of the tempest-toss’d.”

Memories Within

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is LOOKING WITHIN

Today I plan to do some looking within my cupboards to make up a good shopping list. Shopping is one thing that seems to have changed a lot in this current crisis and I’ve always been rather haphazard about it before, forgetting the list at home, forgetting some important item. Now I need to sharpen up, when both our shopping time and store supplies are limited.

I’ve also been looking within my sewing closet; yesterday I took advantage of the grandchildren being home from school and took a box of sewed blocks (for two baby blanket tops) over to their house. I had the granddaughters help me lay out these squares out on the floor and decide their order.

Any project is a whole lot better when you have cheerful helping hands—especially when they belong to flexible children who don’t mind crawling around on the floor to set out the blocks and shift them around to a suitable pattern. And we get the added bonus of making sweet memories together. 🙂

Here’s a poem that speaks of another kind of looking within; no matter where we are and what our stresses, we can all take a moment to enjoy a stroll through the corridors where we store our pleasant memories.

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                  Image by Prawny  —  Pixabay