Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Royal Roses

Queen Victoria

 Queen Marie Antoinette 

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Beatrix 

Princess Grace

Princess Caroline

Empress Farah

Princess Diana

Empress Michiko

Empress Josephine

Princess Margaret 

Princess Alexandra of Kent

Princess Anne of England

"It's Midnight. Can You Smell The Rain?"

Once upon a midnight, dearies,
As I pondered, not weak, nor weary
Insomnia reigned...

But, alas there ravens
Tap-tapping at the door or the pane,
Or tap dancing across my chamber floor
For that matter!

No ravens for sleeplessness' cure
Just good ole rain that
The heavens are gonna pour...
That's right, folks,

Rain, Rain, Rain,
Good ole steady rain for sure!

I think the rain 
Must be a real pain,
And surely a bane
To those who dwell
Beneath the swell
Bereft of a gutter

Or some kind of drain...

"It's Midnight. Can You Smell The Rain?"
A poem by Pamela Denise Brida

Chasing Lightning Bugs

Looking out the window the other night
I was surprised and delighted to see
my woods all aglow 
with the twinkling of
 lightning bugs.
A clear sign that summer
is fast approaching!

Some Enchanted Evening
Compliments of the
Lightning Bugs

I remember one of the greatest delights
of my childhood summers was
running around in the front yard
after dark trying to catch
the lightning bugs!

These mysterious little creatures
usually come out right after sunset,
in the time of the gloaming,
or twilight, 
flashing their greenish glow
in warm summer air
awash with the lingering fragrance
 of wild honeysuckle and flowering
Indian Cigar trees.

My mother always
 managed to hunt up 
a  few glass canning jars
 and helped us kids poke
 air holes into the metal lids
 with a kitchen knife.

However, catching these
elusive winged creatures
often proved to be a lot
more challenging then
it seemed.

Prancing about barefoot 
across the front yard
 in the balmy night air,
 the first stars appearing
with the receding red glow of sunset
still visible in the western sky,
I would be homing in for the capture,
my jar in one hand and lid in the other,
when suddenly the little glow bug
I was chasing after
would turn off his light
and seem to vanish
right before my very eyes!

It has always made me wonder
if those tiny winged insects
 somehow knew they
were being pursued by
a little girl eager to
capture them in a
Mason jar!

Of course, when I did
catch one or several of them,
making sure there was a nest of
soft green grass at the bottom of
the jar for the bugs to rest in,
I never kept them for more
than a few hours.

Watching them crawling
up the sides of their
glass trap to the
 air holes in the lid
made me realize that the
little creatures
longed to be free again.
So, after a while,
off came the lid and
the beautiful glowing bugs
 eventually flew away, 
into the night...
and into my memories
of simple summertime pleasures
and the innocence
of childhood.

This classic song reminds
me of those happy days!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Real Life Runaway Princess Bride

The innocent Bavarian beauty
who became the Empress of Austria
and Queen of Hungary
was actually a tormented
free spirit who never
adapted to life at court...

Beautiful Empress 
Elizabeth of Austria
24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898

Although her husband, the
Emperor Franz Joseph I,
 loved his 
young wife dearly,
 their marriage
was deeply affected by his
meddlesome mother,
Princess Sophie, who
called Sisi,
"a silly young mother"
 and actually took control over
the upbringing of the 
couples' daughters, even forbidding
young Elizabeth to breast feed
her children.

As a result,
Elizabeth greatly suffered,
 for many years from
bouts of depression.

She internalized her
emotional pain by
becoming vain about
her appearance,
through starving herself
and vigorous bouts of exercise
to stay thin.  She even
resorted to wearing corsets
in order to maintain a
sixteen inch waistline.

after Elizabeth
 gave birth to
a son, Rudolph,
her standing in
the Austrian court seemed to
improve, but, she was often
too restless for 
the restrictive atmosphere.
Sisi developed
a lasting kinship with the
people of neighboring Hungary,
which she often liked to visit.

Perhaps the carefree lifestyle
of the Rom, or Gypsy folk of
not to mention her
eccentric father's
 love of following
after traveling circuses
when she was a child,
  contributed to
the Empress' own wanderlust.

After the sudden death of her son,
Elizabeth withdrew from 
court duties and traveled widely
around Europe.

It was while
visiting Geneva in 1898,
that Sisi's own life ended
through a senseless tragedy.
The Empress was stabbed to
death by an Italian anarchist.

Empress Elizabeth of Austria
Postage Stamp

The Empress Sisi 
Barbie Doll

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Praise In The Storm

"Who has ascended 
into heaven
and descended?
Who has gathered
the wind
in His fists?
Who has bound
the waters
in His garment?
Who has established
all the ends
of the earth?
What is His name,
and what is
His Son's name,
if you know?"
Proverbs 30:4

"And He arose and rebuked the wind
 and said to the sea,
" Peace! Be still!"
 And the wind ceased
 and there was a great calm."
Mark 4:39

The "garment of praise"
 in place of the spirit of heaviness.
 “The spirit of heaviness,”
 in modern English, is depression.
 Many of you have heard me testify as how
 I struggled for years as a preacher with the
problem of depression.
 One day God gave me those words,
 the garment of praise 
in place of the spirit of heaviness.
 He showed me that
 my problem was a spirit,
 an evil spirit, 
the spirit of heaviness. 
He showed me how
 to be delivered from it 
and I was delivered. 
And then He showed me how
 to keep free,
 to put on the garment of praise.
 When you wear
 the garment of praise,
 the spirit of heaviness
 finds someone else to bother
 because you bother him
 more than he bothers you."
-Derek Prince

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His Sanctuary;
praise Him in
the heavens of His power!
Psalm 150:1 

 "Lord You are
My hiding place
Come now and cover me
You are my safety when storms are raging
Surrounding me with songs of deliverance
Come and surround me now."

-Tommy Walker

"Be well balanced
be vigilant and cautious
at all times;
for that enemy of yours,
the devil,
roams around like 
a lion roaring
in fierce hunger
seeking someone
to seize upon 
and devour."
1 Peter 5:8

The key phrase in
the above passage is
that the enemy,
roams "like a lion."
The devil's fangs
and claws were
pulled out forever
when Christ
triumphed over him
and all his works
at Calvary.
The enemy has no
authority whatsoever
over the lives of
believers in
So stand firm in
your faith.
Resist the devil
and he will flee
from you!

"For I am persuaded 
beyond doubt
that neither 
death nor life,
nor angels,
nor principalities,
nor things impending
and threatening
nor things to come,
nor powers,
Nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else
in all creation
will be able to
separate us
from the love
of God
which is in
Christ Jesus
our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39

“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”
 Song of Solomon 2:1

Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom within my heart;
Beauties of Thy truth and holiness impart,
That where’er I go my life may shed abroad
Fragrance of the knowledge of the love of God.

Jesus, bless├Ęd Jesus, Rose of Sharon,
Bloom in radiance
And in love within my heart.
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, sweeter far to see
Than the fairest flow’rs of earth could ever be,
Fill my life completely, adding more each day
Of Thy grace divine and purity, I pray.

Jesus, Rose of Sharon, balm for ev’ry ill,
May Thy tender mercy’s healing power distil
For afflicted souls of weary burdened men,
Giving needy mortals health and hope again.

Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom forevermore;
Be Thy glory seen on earth from shore to shore,
Till the nations own Thy sov’reignty complete,
Lay their honors down and worship at Thy feet.

 Lyrics By Ida A. Guirney
Music By 
Charles H. Gabriel

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Tammy Wynette

Remembering the
lovely and legendary
 country songstress 
whose birthday was
this week.

From humble origins to worldwide fame,
Tammy's songs often reflect the
good times as well as the 
disappointments,the loneliness,
 and heartbreak experienced by
men and women
from all walks of life.

Born Virginia Wynette Pugh near Tremont, Mississippi,
she was the only child  of  William Hollice and Mildred Pugh.
 Her father, a farmer and a musician, died of a brain tumor when 
 Virginia was only nine months old.

During World War II, young Virginia was sent to 
live with her maternal grandparents while
her mother worked in a defense plant in Memphis.

At 17, and barely out of high school,
Virginia married Euple Bryd,
a construction worker.
It seems her husband had trouble holding down
a job, which often left Virginia to be the
family's sole breadwinner.
She worked as a
waitress and a bar maid, and was once
employed in a shoe factory.

Although the couple moved several times
during their marriage,
Virginia managed to attend the 
American Beauty College
in Birmingham, Alabama
where she studied to be a hairdresser.

Even after becoming
a successful singer years later, Virginia renewed her
 cosmetology license  every year for the rest of her life ,
"just in case" she had to go back to working a daily job.

Virginia dreamed of being a country-western singer.
Although she often sang in local night clubs,
her husband would not support her dreams.
When she took their three daughters and
left him,  Byrd's parting shot to
his wife was, "Dream on baby."
Years later, he showed up backstage
 at one of her sold out concerts
where she obligingly signed an autograph for him,
"Dream on baby."

Virginia's first break into show business came
in 1965, when she sang on a local
television program,
the "Country Boy Eddie Show"
 on WBRC-TV in Birmingham.
This later led to a singing appearance
with  country crooner Porter Wagoner.
In 1966, she and her three daughters
moved to Nashville where Virginia worked
as a hairdresser.  And, where she also hoped
to break into the recording industry.
After much frustration and disappointments,
Virginia landed an audition with famous
Nashville producer, Billy Sherrill.
Although initially reluctant,  after hearing
Virginia sing the song,"Apartment #9"
Sherrill offered her  a contract  with Epic Records.
He also suggested that Virginia
 change her name.
The pretty young woman who
wore her long blonde hair in a ponytail
reminded him of Hollywood actress,
Debbie Reynolds in the movie,
"Tammy and the Bachelor".
 And so, they decided to 
change her name to
Tammy Wynette.
And the rest is history!

The song, "Apartment #9" just missed
 making the Top Forty on the country charts,
coming in at a close #44.
However, Tammy's second hit, 
and one of my personal favorites
"Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad".
was a smashing success!

Released in 1967, it made it to #3 on
the Country Singles chart.

That same year,
Tammy also recorded the song,
"My Elusive Dream"with David Houston.
The song was a number #1 hit
 record on the country charts
 in the summer of 1967.

This success was followed by
a string of other hit songs for Tammy, including,
"I Don't Want To Play House""Take Me To Your World"
"D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and, perhaps her
 most famous and recognizable
signature song, 
"Stand By Your Man"
released in 1968.

When Tammy met George...

"We're Gonna Hold On"
George Jones and Tammy Wynette

Not only did Tammy and  legendary country artist, George Jones
make beautiful music together,  but I believe he was the great
love of Tammy's life. They were married in 1969.
 Unfortunately, Jones' violent mood swings, often fueled
 by his battle with alcoholism, eventually brought
 their stormy six year marriage to an end.
Fortunately, Tammy and George were able to remain
on friendly terms and would once again team up
to do an album together in 1995.


Tammy's Most Recognizable Song 
Was Not Without Controversy...

"But if you love him, you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him, oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a man."
-Tammy Wynette

Stand By Your Man

In her infamous "60 Minutes" interview in 1992,
  soon-to-be First Lady and leading feminist icon,
 Hillary Clinton used, or rather misused,
 Tammy's song in  her response
to the interviewer's pointed question
about her husband's alleged infidelity. 
  In a huff of self-righteous indignation, 
 Clinton countered defensively, 
"You know, I'm not sitting here like some little woman,
 standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette."

  Her thoughtless response was said to have infuriated Tammy,
 who was watching the interview at the time.
"With all that is in me I resent your caustic remark,"
Tammy shot back later in a letter to Hillary,
 I, with no apologies, am as angry
 as I can be with your statement."

Personally, I never understood why Mrs. Clinton
 made reference to Tammy's song in the first place.
I think if she wanted to make a real impact,
she should have offered up this song instead:

 Tammy's Standing Tall

 Furthermore, if "standing by your man" is foolish,

   so was Hillary by deliberately evading the question asked, 
when, thanks to the intense media coverage 
of the subject matter, everyone watching 
already knew the answer.  

The only fool that night was Hillary.

But so much for trying to understand
the intricate subterfuge of national politics...
and personal ambition...


Now back to the beautiful young woman
from Mississippi...

"Till I Can Make It
On My Own"

  ...who rose from poverty with the determination to 

"to make it on her own", and who dared to "dream on"
to become a country music legend...

Bedtime Story

...and who, despite the
criticism from feminists for,
"Stand By Your Man"  
  made it big time back in the day
 when country music was an
essentially male-dominated
industry in the 1960's and early 1970's.

Tammy's life is a classic American
 rags-to-riches success story, and a great
inspiration to dreamers everywhere,
to never give in, and never give up! 

Although she has gone home 
 to be with the Lord, Tammy's legacy as
 one of greatest queens of classic country 
music will live on forever in the hearts
of those who love her and her songs
about love, and loss...
and life.

In honor of 
Tammy's birthday,
here's a
 sweet and delicious
dessert I first learned
to make during a
trip to meet my relatives
in Australia
 in 1987

Cherry Trifle

2 pints heavy whipping cream
2 16-ounce jars of cherry pie filling
1 cup sugar
2 packages ladyfinger sponge cookies
cherry kirsch

Line a large round dessert bowl
with a layer of ladyfingers
enough to cover the bottom
and sides of the bowl.
Drizzle cookies evenly with
about 2 T cherry kirsch.
Set aside.
Beat heavy cream until
thick peaks form.
Carefully fold in sugar.
Spread alternate layers of
cream and cherry pie filling
on top of ladyfingers,
finishing with the
whipped cream.
Garnish with remaining
cherries if desired.
Refrigerate for several hours
or overnight if possible.