Archive for May, 2009

Amazing Gifts in Brown Paper Packages

May 30, 2009

By the time you read this I’ll be in New York City attending the BEA (Book Expo American) in New York.

Exciting things always happen there.

But, of course, exciting things happen everywhere at every moment. Most often we fail to notice them. They are so subtle, so ‘unimportant looking’… like packages wrapped in plain brown paper.

Some of the most important things and some of the most important people fail to impress us at first blush.  We tend to judge a book by its cover. We make an early snap judgment based on appearances.

If someone is bigger than life, famous, and throws around the names of their ‘important cronies’ or their ‘grand accomplishments,’ we tend to look on them in awe and rush to be near them and their perceived power. We look right past what we consider to be the small, inconsequential people standing right in front of us.

Sam Walton drove the same old pickup for years. You could likely to run across him in a bibbed overalls looking like an old farmer. Imagine him driving on a new car lot in that truck. Can’t you just see the salesmen looking at each other, hoping someone else will go out and waste their time on the old man?

Jesus was born in a lowly manger. No innkeeper would even make room for him. Mary and Joseph came into town, dusty from a long trip… not looking very important. An amazing thing was about to happen. Some lucky innkeeper could have played a big part in the story, but it all looked very ordinary and unimportant to him.  He dismissed them without regard.

And now who can forget Susan Boyle, a Scottish matron with the voice of an angel. She came on stage a few weeks ago on a UK talent program. The camera shot to the judges who were all rolling their eyes. The audience was snickering. She didn’t look like a star. In fact, they thought she was joke. Then she opened her mouth and brought the world to its feet.

Each person born to earth is amazing in their own special way, not to be looked past, or around, not to be ignored.

Brown paper packages…  amazing gifts inside.

I Pride Myself on Being Tolerant, but…

May 22, 2009

All of a sudden I’m finding myself battling with a lack of it. I’m beginning to think we have been too tolerant. We have been tolerant of the rights of the minority while trampling on those of the majority.

Most people in our country have some kind of spiritual belief and practice. A recent ABC poll indicated their findings that 83% of Americans are Christian. 

That is a dramatic majority.

So I don’t get it. Why is there even any consideration to the idea that we remove “In God we Trust” from our currency?

Almost all of our ancestors, at one time or another,  came to America from non-English speaking  countries.

My grandparents did not speak a word of English when they came to the land of opportunity where they could work hard and make a better life for themselves and their children. School was not taught in Dutch.

They did not expect it to be.

They came to America to become Americans

I’m thinking, “Of course the citizenship test should be in English.”  Part of becoming a citizen of a country should be the ability to speak the language well enough to pass the test.

Why, after over 200 years as an English speaking country would anyone even question whether or not English is the national language?

If the United States wasn’t an amazing country in the first place, then people from all over the globe would not be clamoring to get in here. They wanted to come because of who we were, and now we are bending to be something else just for them. That is backwards. 

Some will say of the Christians that they are intolerant, and I must admit that I have held that same view from time to time.

But now I believe that the Christians, people of faith and conviction, those willing to stand up to defend our freedom, the hardworking Americans, are actually the most tolerant groups in the country today. 

When I see what is going on in our government right now, I believe a little more intolerance would be serving the citizens of our country better.

Dina Dove

Basement Safety in Tornado Alley

May 15, 2009

Being as I live in Kansas, a state well publicized for its tornados, I was thrilled when I moved into my latest house. It had a basement.

We’ve had lots of tornado activity in our area over the 3 years I’ve lived here, and I’ve retreated to the basement on several occasions. However, up until this week, none had ever come so close that I heard the banging of flying building materials smacking at the house.

A couple of days ago my town was in the path of what they call a ‘straight line wind’ of almost 100 miles per hour (Hurricane force winds).  I was roused from sleep by the ferocious storm at about 6am. Soon after, the electricity went out, so I grabbed my flashlight and retreated to the safety of my basement.


As shingles and siding were thrown against the outside of the house, for the first time, there was a real danger. And, in the event of a tornado, a REAL basement might have saved me. However, as I sat in the dark, it suddenly dawned on me that my basement is only 2 feet underground. The entrance to my home is high above the ground. When you open the door from the first floor and step down, it certainly seems like you’re descending deep into the earth. But the first floor is about 6 feet above the ground.  So, 8 feet down is actually only 2 ft. below ground.

It turns out that my basement is the perfect depth to protect the inhabitants of Lilliput. A mouse or a squirrel might be safe, but this is no kind of shelter for a person.

A creepy feeling came over me at that moment as the town outside was ravaged. I took up a spot under the stairwell and prayed for the best. Then I marveled at how a person can be totally oblivious to the real truth about a situation even though it’s been right there in front of them for years.

Well Developed, Well Nourished Lady in No Distress

May 8, 2009

Recently I went to an Allergist.

I think I must be allergic to something, being as I sometimes bloat up after eating.

(Isn’t this a lovely subject?  But keep reading, I think you’ll see the humor in it.)

Something  that  I am eating must be adversely affecting me and I can’t figure out what it is.

It can hang on for several days and then, as quickly as I gained a belly indicative of an 8 month pregnancy, it disappears overnight.

So there, the worst of this story is behind you.

The doctor did not find any allergies, so I’m still in a quandary.

Today I received his formal assessment in the mail.

Reading down the page I got to the heading,


My height was in cm. I skimmed past the weight at first not realizing that it too was worth a chuckle. It was in kilograms.

(Note to all mature, healthy, renaissance women, your weight in kilograms will make you feel lighter than in your high school yearbook.)

But, I digress.

It was the next sentence that gave me my first great laugh of the day.

It stated: 

“This is a well developed, well nourished lady in no distress.” 

Isn’t that just the nicest way you have ever heard to say big boobs and an ample layer of fat distributed over the entire body?

Sheila Johnston Hensley Johnson

May 1, 2009

If you look back at the short history of my blog, you’ll see 2 other stories about Sheila. (May 7, 2008 and June 14, 2008) No one has been written about in here any more than Sheila. And now, here is the latest update on this woman who lives her life so much in the tradition of Rose, the lead character in my book. For those of you who were not following my blog then, go back and get the history. It’s a delightful story of love between a man, a woman and their friends.

Anyway, back to Sheila…

Sheila’s life has come full circle, almost. Born Sheila Johnston, she married Charlie in her twenties, making her a Hensley. After 30+ years of marriage, Charlie passed away and that was where I picked up her story in the previous posts.  Yesterday, I attended the wedding reception of the new Mr. and Mrs. Bud Johnson. And what a celebration it was.

Sheila is one of those special people who have always maintained their child-like joy and delight for life. She is never going to “act her age.” Acting our age is SO over-rated and boring anyway.

I wasn’t able to attend the wedding, because Sheila and Bud ELOPED! And I don’t mean that they just got in their car and went to Miami to get married.  They eloped in the old style you hardly ever see anymore.

  1. I mean that Bud got a ladder and climbed up to her second floor window to pick up his betrothed. They both climbed down the ladder and set off on their new adventure, to be married at Laverne’s Wedding Chapel in Miami, Oklahoma.
  2. Three cheers for the man of the hour, Bud Johnson, and his blushing bride, Sheila, who was born a Johnston and is now a Johnson.   Three cheers for all those who grieve their losses and find love again.