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Archive for January, 2013

Which one doesn't belong

Remember those kindergarten worksheets where a group of objects were pictured, and you had to circle the one which didn’t belong with the rest?  Well, if you play that game with the above photo, I certainly hope you circle the broken piece of junk in the upper left corner!  That doozey not only “doesn’t belong” because it’s broken, but also because it is BRAND NEW—whereas the other items are vintage or just downright OLD.  And some of us know that OLD is often best!

The piece of junk is (allegedly) a jar opener, recently purchased at (you guessed it!) WalMart for (would you believe?) $3.98 plus our Wisconsin sales tax.  We bought one a few weeks ago.  That very night I used it and it broke in my hands—without even beginning to open the jar. 

Being nice folks, we gave the silly contraption a proverbial benefit of the doubt, returned it to WalMart (they are good about returns there), and bought another identical alleged jar opener.  That very same night Joe used it, and it broke in his hands without even beginning to open the jar.  So we wrapped #2 non-jar opener in a bag with its sales slip and for all I know the goofy thing is still sitting in our van.  Returning purchases, even to “good” WalMart, gets old.  We may save ourselves a hassle and simply forfeit the $3.98 plus Wisconsin sales tax.

Meanwhile, back to “OLD is often best”!  The other items pictured above have been with me (or someone else) for a long time, and I am still using them. To the right of the silly piece of junk is a genuine jar opener which was in my family ever since I can remember.  But some jar lids are made differently today, and my family treasure no longer works on every new jar of jam or whatever.  Yet I will never part with it.

The other vintage items have been picked up for a song.  (I do a lot of singing during garage sale season!) I dearly love them, and they warm my heart for 2 reasons:  1) they haven’t broken with decades of use and 2) they are drop dead gorgeous.  I am one of those odd individuals who cannot live without ambience and charm.  OLD normally abounds in ambience and charm, and NEW often does not—with the exception of babies, kittens, and puppies.  They have charm, plus!

Most of our kitchen and dining room items are OLD:  my Grandmother’s (1880) dishes plus our wedding china and a plethora of auction and antique mall gems, Victorian era glassware, old sterling and silverplate, practical utensils like those pictured above, charming tins (mostly made in Britain), wonderful old mixing bowls, etc. 

Contemporary brides register for exotic cookware.  I always smile inside when the gifts are opened at showers.  I truly wonder if those “out-of-the-home” career women are really going to do all that much cooking!  As the latest in French cookery is unwrapped at bridal showers, I fondly think of my circa 1953 pots and pans—the classic Revere Ware which never wears out. 

Over the years I’ve tried an occasional non-stick this, and trendy-pretty that, always to return to my beloved first choice of stainless steel with copper bottoms.  Along with the Revere Ware, I treasure my old cast iron frying pans and Dutch oven.  There is nothing in the world like cast iron for creating rich brown gravy on a brown pot roast baked for hours in a slow oven.  Crock pots can’t do that, and I challenge the exotic French stuff to even try!

Conversely, we do have a few new kitchen items of which I am inordinately fond:  my lime green digital scale (the above-pictured scale doesn’t measure to the ounce—a feature I need for making perfect soap), my flaming red Kitchen Aid hand mixer with 5 speeds, and a funky orange collander (would you believe, plastic?).  Also our coffee pot is new, but actually the concept is vintage; it’s a percolator!  Not many are made today, but there are a few out there—accessible on AMAZON. 

Percolators make real (strong!!!) coffee with a mellow flavor.  Since my mother used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”, I won’t even tell you what I think of that other kind of coffee maker—currently ubiquitous. 

Where is all of this Monday morning diatribe going?  Simply here:  it’s only late January, and already I’m chafing, chomping, straining for those garage sales to start.  🙂  In lieu of garage sales, Joe and I may take a spin over to St. Vinnie’s this week.  Just like our home, St. Vinnie’s is a charming place where OLD is often best!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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Messiah Has Come--4

“And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer . . . .”  Romans 11:26

“The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of they feet; and they shall call thee, The City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 60:14

Try backtracking to November of 1945.  Imagine that you are 12 years old, in the 7th grade.  However, you’ve only attended 10 days of school so far during that entire semester.  In September you picked up a cold that mutated into a strep throat, hanging on for weeks and finally resulting in a serious case of pneumonia.

You lived in a small Wisconsin town which had no hospital.  Your home was located 8o miles north of Milwaukee.  You were sent to Columbia Hospital in Milwaukee for treatment—because a new miracle drug, penicillin (having been used in the armed forces during World War II), had recently been released to that hospital for civilian use.

You were a human guinea pig, alias pin cushion.  Every 3 hours around the clock a nurse came at you, wielding something that looked like it could innoculate a buffalo.  The needles hurt, and the serum was bulky and painful as it was administered into alternating buttocks.  This delightful scenario lasted for 2 weeks, after which you were well enough to go home where you continued penicillin treatment—inhaling the drug through an apparatus that looked like a hookah.

I was that guinea pig/pin cushion.  Praise God, I lived to tell about my introduction to penicillin.  But what does my story have to do with the above-pictured Star of David?  Specifically this:  those 2 weeks were turned into a happy and memorable adventure by a loving Jewish family.

My hospital roommate was a middle-aged Jewish lady.  I don’t remember her name, but I can still see her face and hear her voice in my mind.  She was a serene, friendly lady and she talked and listened to me a lot.  During visiting hours, our room filled with visitors–my roommate’s husband, other family members, and friends.  Since my family members were miles away, this family “adopted” me instantly.  They included me in all their greetings and conversations.  They brought me candy and gifts, just as if I were their kid.

One day the husband (a large, jolly man) brought me a glass elephant with a turned up trunk which pointed skyward.  He said he got it for me because the elephant’s trunk reminded him of my nose.  Since his nose was definitely not turned up, we all laughed hilariously about that.

As I grew older, the hospital experience faded into the misty realm of nearly-forgotten nostalgia.  But it left me with a priceless gift which I now realize is straight from God:  a Jewish heart.

Years later, shortly after becoming a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ at age 37, I attended a Bible study on the book of Romans.  The pastor explained in detail the truths of Romans 11:  how the Jews have always been and and always will be God’s beloved, chosen people, and how the Lord Jesus will return to reign as King in Jerusalem—when “all Israel shall be saved”.

My response to the truths of Romans 11 was drastic.  Love for the Jewish people welled up in me, and I did something I rarely do in public:  I wept.  As I sat there I recalled my Jewish family in that hospital room, and I reviewed the centuries of horrors endured by God’s chosen people—through the Holocaust, right up to the strife occurring in the Middle East at that very moment.

As a Christian, I realize that every moment of my life is known to God.  In Eternity Past, He knew me and He planned my life.  The hospital scenario was no accident; it didn’t “just happen”.  God knew in Eternity Past that I would stand firmly with His nation, Israel.  Years ago, long before I knew Him, God gave me a Jewish heart!

© Margaret L. Been

NOTE:  I first published this account in 2008, on another one of my blogs:  http://gracewithsalt.wordpress.com/ .  It is still available on that site, via GOOGLE under the search term “My Jewish Heart”.  Currently the reference is 7 down on the 1st GOOGLE page with those search words. 

A repeat of this entry was precipitated by current events, our U. S. president’s policies, and a purchase I made recently at an antiques mall in Waukesha WI:  a beautifully made sterling silver ring with a Star of David on it, and some Hebrew symbols—which I hope to research.

I have Star of David earrings, and a large Star of David pendant.  I also have (and wear most of the time) a smaller Star of David with the Christian Cross in the center of the Star—and a ring with colorful stones representing each of the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Several times I’ve been questioned by Jewish people about my Jewish jewelry.  When asked whether or not I’m Jewish, I always answer:  “I’m a Christian with a Jewish heart.”  On each occasion, this answer has been greeted with a spirit of friendship.  One Jewish woman, a nurse at the hospital where Joe and I spent many days and nights in 2010 and 2011, replied:  “Oh!  I love you!”

As an ambassodor for Christ I love sharing that the Jews are God’s chosen people, and that Israel is His chosen nation!  Since much of Scripture (Old and New Testament alike) proclaims this truth, it’s shameful and totally reprehensible that so many churches have discarded God’s unfailing truth for the un-Biblical notion that the Church is a “new Israel”. 

When I hear of Replacement Theology I always wonder, “What Bible are these people reading?”  Certainly not the precious Holy Bible which I hold in my hands!  MLB

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Vaseline Glass--1

Glass has been a major interest and source of delight for me as long as I can remember.  When I was a child, my parents took me to antiques shops which were often located in homes back in the 1930s and 1940s.  When visiting or traveling via small towns (there were no interstate or toll highways to bypass communities in those days) we would cruise through neighborhoods looking for window signs which read:  ANTIQUES. 

Some children might have been bored to distraction by such a pastime, but I was not “some children”.  I can’t even begin to express the joy I experienced when touring these home shops.  My hands were well-trained to remain with fingers interlocked behind my back, so there would be no temptation to touch anything.  In this rather uncomfortable position, I would quietly inspect every shelf within reach of my eyes, and every table-top arrangement of gorgeous Victorian and Art Nouveau glassware.

My parents were collectors of American glassware—especially abundant due to the soils of states such as Ohio, West Virginia, and parts of Pennsylvania and Indiana, and often created by skilled immigrants from Eastern Europe where glass blowing and molding were time-honored arts.  Thus, in the manner of individuals with a happy childhood, I grew up to continue pursuing that hobby which my parents enjoyed so much.  FENTON, NORTHWOOD, AND HEISEY are practically household words for me!

Given this background, my recent weekend in Toledo was memorable.  Joe and I went with our son, Eric, and his wife, Cheri, to visit their daughter, (obviously our granddaughter) Nicole, and her husband, Travis.  Along with being together, the ultimate highlight of this weekend was attending Nicole’s Christmas concert with the Toledo Masterworks Chorale.

But a runner-up to Nicole’s concert, was the fun of being involved in MAKING GLASS!  The Toledo Glass Museum offers ongoing workshops, in which participants make different glass items around the year:  roses, pumpkins, and whatever.  Since my workshop was near Christmas, I made an icicle.

Here are some photos of stages in the exciting process of making a glass object.  I let the workshop expert do the 5000 degree oven phases—and I just did the easy stuff:  rolling the molten glob and shaping it into a rectangle on a metal table, and crimping my icicle with a pincer-type tool to form spirals while the teacher pulled the substance up at the top.

Glass 1

Glass 7

After a glass item is formed, it must cool down very slowly in an insulated container over a period of 2 or 3 days—depending on size.  Since we returned to Wisconsin the next day, Nicole picked up my icicle and brought it to me at Christmas.  And here it is!  ↓

My Beautiful Glass Icicle

Indeed, there are some instances where a picture is worth a thousand words!

Margaret L. Been, ©2013

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