Friday, February 29, 2008

Fun Times A-Coming!

This should be a good weekend coming up. Monday is Dexter's 90th birthday, and the folks are having a party tomorrow. Lib says that after this one, he doesn't get another one until he turns 100! Seeing that he is in pretty darn good health right now, 100 isn't out of the question. On the subject of birthdays, I heard on the news of a lady who turned 24 today--pretty impressive, when you realize that her driver's license, if she has one, says she's 96! We're going to Deck's party tomorrow, taking a 3-milk cake that I ordered last week. I hope we're taking one 3-milk cake. I have to be really careful with my order, since last June I ordered a 3-milk cake and ended up with 3 being baked!

The Nashville kids are going to be coming up this weekend for the party, and then they are staying over for church on Sunday. They plan to leave as soon as early church is over. I'd like to talk them into staying a little later, but understand that they need to hit the road, if they're going to get a good rest before work on Monday. David knew a little old lady in Whitley County who occasionally had family visitors from Detroit. She could never understand why they had to leave early on Sunday morning in order to get back for work on Monday. I don't guess the sweet thing had ever been out of the state of Kentucky and had no concept how far Detroit was from her home, bless her heart. (By the way, I guess you know the meaning of the phrase, "Bless your heart"...)

This weekend (Sunday) also starts our babysitting gig with our "grandson" Baw Baw. We'll be keeping him while his daddy works and his mom attends a job fair in New Orleans. I went to Big Lots today and bought a few supplies--sippy cups, Elmo place mats, jigsaw puzzle, bubbles, a ball, two kinds of cereal...The checker asked me if I had a spoiled grandbaby at home. I told her no, but that I did have a little fellow who was coming for a few days, and I thought I needed to put some new stuff in the toy box. I also sorted out the books in the living room and left a bunch that I thought he might enjoy. He isn't much for stories and I was reasonably sure he wouldn't be interested in the Greek myths or child's anthology of poetry. I think he'll like what's in there, though. Now I have to put away one of the sets of nesting blocks and bring up the building blocks from the basement...

I have a question for anyone who cooks for little people: What should I fix for Baw Baw's school lunch? He goes to a preschool in the morning, then stays in daycare until about 4:30 or 5. His daddy said they had been taking leftovers from supper, and his mom (who worked near the school) had been going over to heat the leftovers in the microwave at lunch time. Well, it's a little far from Georgetown to Lexington to do that, so either Baw Baw is going to have to eat cold leftovers, or Tooz is going to have to think of something else to feed him. Apparently he isn't a big fan of sandwiches--can you believe it?--but he does like fruit and vegetables. If you have any ideas, please comment.

I still have some things to do to get ready for our weekend and next week, so I'm signing off for now. Love to all, and God bless.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why monkey mama?

Seeing as how there's nothing on this site about monkeys, a person might wonder from whence the name Monkey Mama's News came. It all goes back to my first computer experiences, in the early 90's, I guess. I was teaching a particularly squirrelly group of fifth-graders at the time and often called them my monkeys. Hence, I became, to myself anyway, Monkey Mama.

A couple more monkey tie-ins: Probably the first big word I ever managed to read on my own was orangutan, which I pronounced orange utan. (Yes, spell check, I know utan isn't a word, but I don't care.) It was in the guide book to the Cincinnati zoo.

And finally, I just love stuffed monkeys and coconut monkeys! And sock monkeys, and Curious George, and gibbons, and I always wanted a chimpanzee. I even knew (for a short period of time) a person who owned a pet chimpanzee. She managed the laundromat in my hometown, and brought her chimp to work with her. I remember watching it ride around in a cart. It was wearing a little dress and diaper, and I thought it was the cutest thing!

So now you know. Love to all, and God bless. (And by the way, it snowed again today in Kentucky.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wonderful weekends

David and I have had a couple of great weekends lately. February 16, we traveled to Mt. Vernon, Illinois to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of our best man and his wife. It was a great trip, although southern Illinois is NOT my idea of beautiful scenery. That is, unless you enjoy looking at oil wells and flooded corn fields. But the folks we visited were terrific folks, and they have been happily married for 13 years longer than David and I, which is very inspiring.

This past weekend (February 22), we traveled to Chattanooga to visit the Princess and her mom and dad. It's been almost two months since we last saw our little granddaughter, and you had better believe we have missed her! I was just talking to my cousin Lib. Lib said it was a shame we didn't live closer to the Princess. I told her I believe I could see that baby every day, and I wouldn't get tired of her! They change so much in just a few months' time.

Our little granddaughter is so helpful. I do not remember any of my three children being as obedient or helpful as this child, especially at the tender age of 18 months! She starts off her day by "putting away" her pacifier (she pitches it into the crib), and then clapping for herself. She puts away her toys (or at least makes an effort), puts away her shoes, puts away pot holders, puts trash in the trash can...Absolutely a wonderful helper.

Sunday morning, her mama left her at the house with Grandpa and Granny (who she calls Bub-baw and Bubbi). She was already dressed this time, so I didn't have to pick her up by the seat of her little white tights and bounce her up and down to get her the rest of the way into them. We puttered around getting ready for church. Just as we were about to head out the door, grandbaby grabbed a little bowl of cheerios from me for her diaper bag. The lid came off the bowl, and cheerios flew all around the living room. Grand hopped down and started picking up cheerios to put in the trash. She ran into the kitchen, popped the lid on the garbage can, dropped in a handful of cheerios, then peered over to look into the can. What did she see? A banana peel! She grabbed it and pulled it out. She had been watching grown-ups peeling and eating bananas, but still hasn't mastered that skill herself. Apparently, she also hasn't learned that the PEEL is NOT the part you eat! I came in and took the peel from her and then gave her some fresh banana. She had several pieces ("Mo, peese"). When she was satisfied, she put her piece of banana into her little Dora chair and started to sit down on it. Fortunately, I stopped her before she got banana all over the seat of her dress.

I tell you, you have to watch that child like a hawk. It's a job I relish.

Good night to all, and God bless.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Be still and know

Seems like I quote Mikey's Funnies fairly often. I don't know how many of you subscribe to his email newsletter, but I know that it's been a real blessing in my life.

Last night we had an ice storm. Today there is no school in Scott or Fayette County (neighboring county), and even little old Frankfort Independent had a two-hour delay. I assume they're in session by now, but I really don't know for sure. Anyway, we had a pretty bad ice storm several years ago. Trees broke, power was out all over Lexington, the city was pretty much paralyzed. This time, though, there didn't seem to be as much impact.

One thing I always enjoy about the winter storms is the sense of quiet and peace that prevails following the precipitation. I really enjoy waking up to the silent, white world.

Mikey's newsletter today made reference to these silent moments and pauses in our busy lives. I hope you are as blessed by the message as I was.


By Michael A. Halleen

"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Fine restaurants have the right idea. After each course, they serve a small sorbet, something to clear the palate. It is a timeout, a minute or two to let go slowly of what has been and to allow the tongue--and mind--to prepare for the pleasures to come. Too often we live at a fast food pace, moving from one experience to another without reflection, from one encounter to the next without clearing the head. Our lives need more sorbets.

It is in those in-between times that we can put things in perspective, reflect on what has occurred, let the flavors subside before moving on to the next course. I encourage my business clients to take time to celebrate, if only for a minute, a victory of the past week, congratulate one another and consider what contributed to that success, however small. We benefit from contemplating for a moment the conversation we have had before rushing ahead to the next call. And we gain something by allowing ourselves to acknowledge a mistake or missed opportunity, even to feel the pain of a loss, before plunging into the next minute of the day-or phase of life.

Some monastic orders, I am told, have a practice called statio. It means they stop one thing before beginning another. Rather than rush from one activity to the next, they pause and recognize this time between the times. It is an idea which I try to communicate to churches I serve as an interim minister. The gap between pastor leaders can be a beneficial time of reflection and refreshment for a congregation. The Psalm writer suggests that it is in pauses--stillness--that we recognize the reality of God's presence, both in what has passed and in what is yet to come.

The father of cellist Yo-Yo Ma lived in Paris during World War II, holed up alone in a garret during the years of German occupation. In order to restore sanity to his world, he practiced violin pieces by Bach during the day, and through the long night hours of blackout, he played them again in the dark from memory. His son Yo-Yo took up his father's advice to play a Bach suite from memory every night before going to bed. "It isn't practicing," he says, "it's contemplating. You're alone with your soul."

Sorbet...statio...Bach suite. Stop for a moment. Experience stillness. God is there.


You can contact Mike at to be added to his weekly devotional email list, "Monday Moments."

Also check out Mike's book "You Are Rich: Discovering Faith in Everyday Moments": (Amazon info)

Copyright 2008 Dr. Michael A. Halleen. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.


The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success.


Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want. And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Who wrote the book of love?

Officially, it's the day past Valentine's, but since I haven't been to bed yet, I am still going to call it Valentine's Day. Happy to all of you! I'm don't know who wrote the book of love, but I do know who collected a bunch of silly jokes about it, Mikey.



What do farmers give their wives on Valentine's Day?
A hog and kisses!

Why did the pig give his girlfriend a box of candy?
It was Valenswine's Day!

What did the Valentines card say to the stamp?
Stick with me and we'll go places!

Do skunks celebrate Valentine's Day?
Sure, they're very scent-imental!

What did the chocolate syrup say to the ice cream?
"I'm sweet on you!"

What did the paper clip say to the magnet?
"I find you very attractive."

What did the French chef give his wife for Valentine's Day?
A hug and a quiche!

What did one pickle say to the other?
"You mean a great dill to me."

What did the elephant say to his girlfriend?
"I love you a ton!"

What did the bat say to his girlfriend?
"You're fun to hang around with."

Did you hear about the nearsighted porcupine?
He fell in love with a pincushion!

What did the pencil say to the paper?
"I dot my i's on you!"

Liz: "I can't be your valentine for medical reasons."
Jon: "Really?"
Liz: "Yeah, you make me sick!"

Why do valentines have hearts on them?
Because spleens would look pretty gross!

What did one light bulb say to the other?
"I love you a whole watt!"

What does a man who loves his car do on February 14?
He gives it a valenshine!

"Do you love me more than you love sleep?"
"I can't answer now. It's time for my nap!"

What did the man with the broken leg say to his nurse?
"I've got a crutch on you!"

Did you hear about the romance in the tropical fish tank?
It was a case of guppy love.

What did Frankenstein say to his girlfriend?
"Be my valenstein!"


Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.


Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want. And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it!

Love to all, and God bless.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Snowbound and loving it!

Today is day two of the great snow of 2008. I've only left the house once in the last 48 hours, to go to the mailbox to post valentines--I walked very carefully, mind you, and I didn't go back out after the mailman came. I had plans to go to exercise class today at the Pavilion, but my car was sort of snow-covered and I didn't want to dig it out. I called Dorothy, a fellow Silver Sneaker who lives near me, to see if she were going. She laughed and said no, that she didn't want to dig out her car! So we are enjoying a day of hooky.

This evening, we had reservations for the youth-prepared fellowship meal at church--sounded good, too, chicken parmesan. I called the church to see what the plan was for that, and it has been postponed until next week. Matter of fact, all the evening activities at church were canceled! (At least Carla thought they were--we're not sure about choir, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going!)

How bad was this snow? Who knows? Our road is clear in front of the house, but I'm not going out to measure the depth. Looks like about 4 inches on the car. David was home by 3:00 yesterday afternoon--apparently Toyota did not have a full house, and efficiency was suffering, so they let folks leave. And here's a sign that my girls can relate to: Frankfort Independent canceled classes for two days in a row. They were already posting cancellation notices by yesterday afternoon! I talked to Joyce this morning. She said that there had been a problem with a leaky roof. Considering this is the school where my son watched the principal and vice-principal circumnavigate the playground in a row boat, it must be some leaky roof!

Love to all. Stay warm, and God bless.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Simplifying my life, one closet at a time...

Something I got today on email said something about anti-procrastination day. I figured I'd probably best do something I had been procrastinating, but I did wait until after lunch.

Today I tackled the pantry. I had inspiration--my friend, Jane, has just refinished her kitchen. It looks beautiful, lovely new cabinets and appliances, beautiful new floor, shiny new stainless sink...(We have a new sink, too, only it's not been installed yet. It's still in the driveway, where we put it when we came home from Habitat's Restore with it maybe last year. It'll most likely be a while before it's installed.) Maybe I don't have new cabinets, but at least I can maximize what the cabinet space I do have!

After an hour and a half--I just looked at the clock!--all the shelves are straightened up, gobs of partially depleted boxes of miscellaneous are discarded, "use by" labels have been checked and honored, and it looks a bunch better! Of course, I still haven't found the source of the "smell" that we catch whenever we open the pantry door, but I DO know it isn't a rotten potato or a dead mouse. That's a relief. And since the smell is on the pleasant side (some sort of spice I "inherited" from Ann, more than likely), I think I'll just let it be.

Enjoy your anti-procrastination project! Love to all, and God bless.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Love "Funny"

Straight from Mikey...



If I talk a lot about God and the Bible and the Church, but I fail to ask about your needs and then help you, I'm simply making a lot of empty religious noise.

If I graduate from theological seminary and know all the answers to questions you'll never even think of asking, and if I have all the degrees to prove it and if I say I believe in God with all my heart, and soul and strength, and claim to have incredible answers to my prayers to show it, but I fail to take the time to find out where you're at and what makes you laugh and why you cry, I'm nothing.

If I sell an extra car and some of my books to raise money for some poor starving kids somewhere, and if I give my life for God's service and burn out after pouring everything I have into the work, but do it all without ever once thinking about the people, the real hurting people-the moms and dads and sons and daughters and orphans and widows and the lonely and hurting-if I pour my life into the Kingdom but forget to make it relevant to those here on earth, my energy is wasted, and so is my life.

Here is what love is like--genuine love. God's kind of love. It's patient. It can wait. It helps others, even if they never find out who did it. Love doesn't look for greener pastures or dream of how things could be better if I just got rid of all my current commitments. Love doesn't boast. It doesn't try to build itself up to be something it isn't. Love doesn't act in a loose, immoral way. It doesn't seek to take, but it willingly gives. Love doesn't lose its cool. It doesn't turn on and off. Love doesn't think about how bad the other person is, and certainly doesn't think of how it could get back at someone. Love is grieved deeply (as God is) over the evil in this world, but it rejoices over truth.

Love comes and sits with you when you're feeling down and finds out what is wrong. It empathizes with you and believes in you. Love knows you'll come through just as God planned, and love sticks right beside you all the way. Love doesn't give up, or quit, or diminish or go home. Love keeps on keeping on, even when everything goes wrong and the feelings leave and the other person doesn't seem as special anymore. Love succeeds 100 percent of the time. That, my friend, is what real love is!


David serves as adjunct professor of journalism at Western Baptist College ( David and his wife, Renée, are co-authors of the 400 pages of devotional application notes in the "Living Faith Bible":

Copyright 2003 David Sanford ( ). Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.


You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.


Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want. And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it!


Just call me Ron

You know Ron Popeel? The guy on the infomercials who makes all those wonderful inventions, like the Ron-co pocket fisherman? Well, thank you dream, I now have something new for him to work on.

Chia pets. I know what's wrong with them, why they're always left over after Christmas. First off, they cost too much--somewhere around $15 to $20 dollars. But even at the 90% off sale, they're still there. Here's my suggestion: instead of some weird looking plant, make those suckers grow chocolate! I'd buy one in a heartbeat. (Here's another idea, Ron, if you're reading: whatever chia is, don't mess with that. We have a cash crop in Kentucky that'd grow and sell a lot better.)

Love to all, and God bless.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hmmm--any clues?

The latest pun from Pastor Tim at Cybersalt Digest:

Today's CleanPun - "Toilet Theft"

Police in New Zealand were mystified by the apparent theft of a complete toilet bowl from a police station in Auckland.

When a local news reporter asked the police sergeant if they had any leads, he replied, "At present we have nothing to go on."

And while Pastor Tim is making us smile, how about today's oneliner?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Chinese movie

Yesterday I went to sleep in front of the tv, watching the British comedies (our usual Saturday night routine). I woke up in time to catch the end of a bluegrass show and then watched the next show, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (which was great, by the way. Sometimes I'll have to post on bluegrass music.). David went to bed then (1:00), but I hadn't finished my evening scripture reading, so I stayed up to finish.

The next show was an independent film festival. I'm not a huge fan of things like that, but this one caught my attention, as it was Chinese with subtitles. I have no clue what the name of the movie was, nor do I really know how to describe the plot. I tried to tell David about it this morning. He said, "If it had been a book, you would call that the stream-of-consciousness technique, sort of like Virginia Woolf." It might have been a documentary about a Chinese film maker, who had written a script about a character who went to northern China in search of the Northern Lights. The whole movie centered around this film maker and his creation of his character--I never did figure out whether the film maker was a real person or not.

Anyway, to make a long story short, both characters (the film maker and his character) ended up in a small town called, I think, Mope (Mo-peh). If you're familiar with the area where I live, I could say it is comparable in size to Sadieville or Ballardsville. (I realize that won't be too helpful to those rare birds who happen here that aren't familiar with central Kentucky.) It was a two-store, two-road town, one school, some horse-drawn transport still going on. It was on the Siberian/Chinese border, the two countries being separated by a frozen river--it was the middle of winter, around the time of Chinese New Year (which is this week, by the way). I found the visit to the small village the most interesting part of the film, and this is what especially piqued my interest:

The film maker was staying in the home of a retired Chinese policeman. At one time, he asked the policeman what the folks in the village did at night. The policeman replied, "They all go to the Christian church. I can't go, because I'm Communist." Lo and behold, they had some footage filmed in the church of a Bible study of sorts, with a woman leading the study, and the little room was packed. There were probably 100 or more people in there, mostly folks from the age of about 40 to 60+. They were listening intently to their teacher, looking through their books to find the references she gave. Later, there was a shot of them singing some sort of song, pentatonic scale, of course, and not a recognizable tune. What surprised and delighted me, though, was that there was a church, there were people in attendance, and they appeared to be honestly trying to study the word.

Of course that wasn't the focus of the movie, it wasn't an evangelistic movie by any means, but great to know that God is still working in the Far East. Love to all, and God bless.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I don't know about the rest of you, but I enjoy a good dream just as much as the next person. I always have. I remember when I was a child, I had a great dream about my Aunt Elizabeth riding on a merry-go-round. (Sorry, that's all I can remember of the details.) I told my mama about it, and that I woke up before it was over. I wanted to know what happened next. Mama told me that was the end of it, I'd never know, you never had the same dream again. Hah! I proved her wrong, I had the same dream again the next night! Only it ended just like before, so I still haven't found out if I got to ride the merry-go-round.

Speaking of recurring dreams, how many of you have the final-exam dream? It's the end of the semester in college, finals week, and you have just discovered you have a final in a class you never attended! It was too late to withdraw--drop/add week was over a LONG time ago--and now you have to face the music. I've heard that is a very common dream for former college students. Both David and I have that one, usually about the time of finals.

Another recurring dream for teachers is to go to class and find your class has extra students--and no roll to find out who they are! Then there's the class with the elusive schedule--you never know where they are supposed to be at any one time. And the class you didn't know you were teaching, and when you finally locate them, you breathe a sigh of relief that at least there's no blood on the floor! (That was always my reassurance--no blood on the floor, everything must be okay.)

Lately, I've had some good dreams. In a couple, I was teaching again, but things were going right, not like that nightmare that ended my career. I had enough help, I was enjoying the kids, they were learning, they were responding, and I (most important of all) was being respected. Thank you, God, for those dreams.

Last night I had a couple of interesting ones. I always enjoy the ones where my kids are young again. I had fun raising them, and I have fun now being with them in the dreams. Except for that one little booger, who always has different names and was born after Ann. (Ann is my official youngest child.) Of course the fact that last-night's-name Andrew never existed doesn't stop me from trying to be his mama. It's a little difficult at times, since I sometimes can't find him in the house, and when folks ask me when he was born, I'm clueless...

Phase out of the Andrew-dream: This next one woke me up. I was just going into Kroger's in the dream, regular day, probably fall, not too cold, but not hot. One of those days when you can linger outside and chat with folks you know. I met Frances H with another woman and was enjoying the chat, except something was a little off. I knew something wasn't right. Then I realized the woman she was with wasn't Donna, her daughter and usual caretaker. Something was in the back of my mind, but I just couldn't put my dream finger on it. Then another woman joined Frances and her companion, and they got on the bus to go home. Before the second woman got on the bus, she turned to me and said, "By the way, you do know that Donna died, don't you?" Yes. I knew.

That's what woke me up. It was true. Donna did die, yesterday. I am still trying to come to grips with my feelings on this. I'm going to post another entry about Donna, but the time isn't right. I need to grieve.

Dang, dreams. You either enjoy them or you hate them, or they make you cry. Love to all, and God bless.