KAPOW! That’s the Power of Love!

The exercising women had just finished a 60-minute “strong bones, strong muscles” work-out. As a Valentine’s Day salute, they brunched together and toasted love with sparkling apple juice. While munching on deviled eggs and coffee cake, each woman shared a personal anecdote about the power of love. Here are their contributions with names changed.

Power of Love in Sickness

Vows of “in sickness and in health” hold fast under love’s power.

Sadly, one of the instructors was missing from the brunch, because she needed to be with her husband in hospice care. His long struggle with Alzheimer’s would end later that morning. Our hearts were with Ann and Bob. Instructor Georgia said Ann’s loving example was the love story she wanted to contribute to our brunch conversation.

Georgia recalled, that when Bob started wandering away from his exercise class, Ann brought him to our class. She kept him active,  taking Bob  on vacations; they even skied together with Ann’s leadership. As Bob became more and more dependent, Ann didn’t complain.

Last fall, Bob could not attend his daughter Kara’s out-of-state wedding. A few weeks prior to the celebration Kara put on her wedding dress, and Ann and Bob (then in a wheelchair) dressed up for photos. We agreed that Ann’s love set the high bar for vow-keeping “in sickness and in health.”

Tragedy to Transformation

Two of the exercisers, Sarah and Louise, shared how they were advocates for sexually abused victims during lengthy court proceedings. Both women said the circumstances were heartbreaking, but the good news was their loving assistance resulted in the groundwork for healing. Friendships developed. Decades later, both families are thriving.

Love in Surprising Actions

Blue-eye tiger striped kitten with white paws lays on some bricked while looking at the camera.
Furry cuddles and a generous Mom accomplish much.

Smaller examples of love’s power were also shared around the table. Jenna told of her husband making a surprise dinner for their first-year anniversary: steak , potatoes, and salad. Debbie remembered her Mom, who disliked cats, allowing her to keep the kitten a boyfriend gave her.

Becca marveled at her grandmother’s intuitive love. When Becca was confirmed at age 12, Grandma wrote a poem for her entitled “Springtime in Colorado.” At the time, Becca had never been to Colorado, but in her twenties she took a vacation to a Rocky Mountains dude ranch, fell in love, and made the Centennial State home.

Child Love Power

Children sometimes give the best heart-felt gifts, said Hannah. She shared how daughter Lizzie, age nine, called her into the bathroom.

A red bowl holds water with white and pink daisies floating in it. Red painted toe nails on two feet are raised above the water.
A surprise pedicure from a daughter shows love’s power through serving.

“Take a seat Mom,” Lizzie said, pointing to the closed toilet lid, with a footstool placed in front of it. Lizzie proceeded to give Hannah a homemade pedicure with a bucket of water, bath towel, fingernail file, and polish.

Love is not Arrogant or Rude

Remembering cordial courtesies of love was Denise’s contribution. She was thinking about a retired apartment president.  She recalled: After each meeting, he always thanked the officers by name for their hard work. No one does that anymore. We all just get up and leave. I miss him.

“Lose, Lose” Story

Two boxers in a ring are going at it with boxer on the left jabbing at the chin while boxer on the right delivers a blow on an anguished face.
Johnny gives Freddie a bloody nose!

The funniest story came from Jessie, who declared, “This is a lose, lose.”

She continued: In high school I knew a boy named Freddie, who liked me. I was interested in Freddie, until I heard Johnny also liked me. He was a nicer fellow.

Freddie found out about Johnny’s interest in me and wanted to beat him up.

The basketball coach found out about the fight and had Freddie and Johnny put on boxing gloves in the gym to settle the matter.

Horrified and worried, I watched from the gym door as Johnny gave Freddie a bloody nose.

After that, Freddie was mad at me. And Johnny wouldn’t have anything to do with me because his brother advised, “Stay away from her. She’s trouble!”

A six-year-old and her grandma take a selfie with green facial mask on their faces and sliced cucumbers on their eyes.
The facial idea came from a Hello Kitty book–a little work and a lot of fun!

A big red heartPut Love to Work

We each have our Valentine stories, don’t we? They are fun to remember and share during this holiday of the heart. For Valentine’s Day, may win-win love wrap around you and may you, too, spread that power of love.

 

Love in rust font is slanted sideways on the left of parchment paper. First Corinthians 13:5-8a is printed on the paper.

 

 

Cow Flies and the Naked Lady

Have you ever experienced nature’s violent turn, just when you thought all was tranquil in the great outdoors? I am thinking about cow flies and a naked lady. Here’s the story:

Beginning on a Country Road

It started on an isolated highway along the Rocky Mountain Front Range. I zoomed by a herd of 50 cattle, noticing that all the mommas were black and the calves were brown. They were lying contentedly in the corner of a pasture, near a watering hole, with no bull in sight.

The herd looked so darn cute, and the color contrast struck me as unusual. Photo op? With no other car around, I made a U-turn and parked along the ditch.

All eyes were upon me as I got out of the vehicle, leaving the door open. The cows chewed cud as I clicked and thought, Wow, their manure sure smells potent for meadow cattle.

Eight-year-old blond-hat Macaulay Culkin's holds hands to face, eyes wide and distressed, and mouth opened in an "ah" sound on the dvd cover of the movie Home Alone. Smaller images of the two burglars are behind him.
Eight-year-old Macaulay Culkin’s unforgettable verbal “aaaaahhhhh” in the 1990 movie Home Alone.

I tromped back to the car, and then I noticed them. Tiny flies ornamented my clothes and many dotted the window. I didn’t scream outloud, but have you ever had a primal Aaaaaahhhh in your thoughts? Yep! That was me.

What to do?

Driving Like a Maniac!

I jumped into the car and slammed the door. I touched my hair and was grossed out to feel hard, little flies. Aaaaaahhhh!

Flies on flowers
Imagine hundreds of these little flies in your car and on you!

Quickly, I turned on the ignition, fastened the seatbelt, and pulled onto the road. I accelerated in panic and opened all the windows as black specks went spinning for the ride of their lives.

Meanwhile, I flicked my hair with one hand and tried not to drive like a maniac into the ditch. It felt like a scene from a horror movie where a crazed old lady head-bangs in a death dance.

For 15 minutes, I drove with one hand while the other hand squished bugs with a tissue. Oh, why did these creatures have exoskeletal plates that reminded me of soft shell crabs? To make the driving more distracting, the little guys kept crawling in and out of car crevices. I rolled electronic windows up and down, up and down. Aaaaaahhhh!

How Now, Cow Flies?

Finally, I could sigh, seeing only a few bugs around me. Visible survivors had migrated to the rear window.

But this ordeal was not over. I had to figure out how to let myself into the house without a gang of flies. Surely, subversive one were still on squirmy me! It took the rest of the drive home to figure out what to do.

Here is the protocol, just in case you ever need it:

>Drive into garage.

>Close garage door.

>Strip to birthday suit.

>Run quickly into house and throw clothes into washer.

>Run quickly to bathroom and get in shower.

>Finally, dress and have drink of choice.

Moral of the story: Nature has a dark side. Pay attention or pay the consequences.

And by the way, the cow pictures were crap and went spinning into oblivion–just like those cow flies.

The Ends

The Ends

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, We Love Chick-fil-A!

NYC May Bill de Blasio is looking left with one hand up, and his mouth open like he is speaking. He has salt and pepper hair, is tall and stocky, and wears a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and red and white striped tie.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson recently said, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect–regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender”(Wall Street Journal, May 9, p. A14). This person was responding to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wants people to boycott the restaurant chain because the owners of Chick-fil-A have a different opinion than he does on LGBT issues. I assume they contribute their private money to organizations de Blasio is against. De Blasio reduces this to “Chick-fil-A is anti-LGBT.”

A two-year-old girl with a pixie face, squinting with a smile, has a bottle of chocolate milk and Chick-fil-A containers in front of her. She is sitting in a booth, wearing a purple shirt with white sleeves.
A satisfied Chick-fil-A customer

I really don’t want to get into the politics of this. I mean, there are laws against discrimination and courts to parse the troubles. But we are talking about chicken sandwiches here. Can’t we munch in peace with conversations about the movie Zootopia and how much cash the Tooth Fairy is going to slip under the pillow? Must we begrudge a successful company who treats the consumer as number one and employs thousands of people?

I had not been inside a Chick-fil-A restaurant until about two years ago, when a friend suggested we go there to feed chirping peeps. After that, we’ve been back several times. The Chick-fil-A experience consistently receives an A in my fast food book. The staff is trained to be polite, and they often ask if you need anything. The place is clean. The food is tasty. While we wait a brief time for our order, the kids munch on “appetizers” of Cheerios in small plastic containers. Our Chick-fil-A has a play area with slide, and there are little placemats and wipes to keep life tidy–perfect for the customers with munchkins.

Our culture wars are so deep these days that I feel we need to call “Time Out.” Let customers enjoy their chicken strips in peace around people practicing hospitality and civility.

One more commendable observation: since the chicken chain started in 1946, founder Truett Cathy’s decision not to be open on Sundays is still in place. That means, all the workers get a day off to spend as they so choose. It’s a win for the employee!

Mayor de Blasio, please be more selective about your rooster fights and try not to gulp the whole bird in one bite. You and I will both feel better.