I’ve been struggling with frequent migraines for the past few years. It’s not the most fun part of my life, so I very rarely talk about it. Who wants to talk about a big bummer all the time? Not me!
But the experience of chronic pain has taught me more than a few lessons about life, faith, and perseverance.
Today I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned (lucky you!).
Living with pain isn’t fun. It sure can derail a lot in our lives. But it can also be used by God in order to refine us into what He’s forming us to become. And, for that, I’m grateful.
(Note: I’m scheduled for an appointment with a new-to-me doctor to look into finding solutions to this problem. If you’re a person who prays, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you thought of me once or twice. Thanks!)
Hey…pssst! Yeah. You! Have you preordered your copy of All Manner of Things yet? You can go ahead and do that now. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going anywhere.
Friends, I want to talk to you today about one of the more disturbing things that was common place in the 1950s and 60s.
I’m here to talk about…
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a good Jello once in awhile. Put on a little whipped cream and we’re talking. Hey, I’ll even let you throw in some fruit.
But that’s not what I’m getting at here, and I think you know it.
I’m talking about people putting weird stuff in their Jello. It was a phenomenon encouraged in all the ladies’ magazines, cook books, and swooned over at church potlucks.
Sure, they usually used flavorless Jello in these recipes. Still, there is something gravely and texturally wrong about these. Wrong, I tell you!
Let me show you some of the more troubling concoctions.
It appears we have some celery going on in there and some funky looking lettuce. But what I find most troubling are the GREEN OLIVES! Why? Why would someone do that?
Please, please don’t tell me that’s green pepper, zucchini, eggplant, and tomato in there. What’s that you say? That’s exactly what’s in that monstrosity? Goodness gracious.
This right here? This is PROOF that Jello knew what people were doing with their product. They can’t even pretend that this didn’t happen. People. Seafood salad with lime Jello? Nope. This is not a good idea.
That’s shrimp. That. Is. Shrimp.
Nope. It doesn’t. I mean, where’s the gravy? Just kidding. Don’t bring gravy into this.
Now you’re just messing with us, aren’t you?
You guys do know that hamburger doesn’t deserve to be treated like this, right?
Hey! That’a fun Jello mold! Hold up. They put salmon in that? Nope. Uh-uh.
I SAY NO! I SAY NO FOREVER!!!!!
Thank goodness this fad fell out of favor (or should I say flavor) in the 1980s. Still, over two decades of this nonsense? That is shocking.
Did you ever eat such an abomination? If so, did you do so willingly or under duress? Even more importantly, did any of you MAKE this kind of Jello salad. Don’t worry, this is a safe place. We won’t judge you.
Well, maybe we will a little.
Unless you’re the kind of person who reads through all of the names on an album’s “credits”, you may not have heard the name Hal Blaine.
Honestly, I hadn’t until I saw a Tweet reporting that he’d passed away.
After doing a little digging, though, I realized that I’ve been a fan of his work for my entire life, I just didn’t know it yet! You see, Hal Blaine was what those in the recording biz call a “session drummer” or a “studio musician”.
Essentially, Hal Blaine recorded with some of the great artists of the 1960s and 70s as a temporary member. The cool thing about a gig like this is that Hal got to play in all kinds of bands. I thought I’d highlight five of my favorite songs from the 60s that he played drums for. You can find out more about Hal Blaine over on Wikipedia.
Listening to these songs and hearing Hal Blaine’s beats in each of them makes me appreciate the unsung nature of his work. His name isn’t next to the title, he’s not an official part of the band, his picture isn’t on the album cover.
Still, he took part in the music. His fingerprints are on each of these songs and so many more. His work made a difference to the world of music.
I, for one, am grateful for his contribution.
Life can be scary. We’ve been at war for over a decade, there are rumors and hints of new wars in our newsfeeds near daily, our kids go to schools where they have to practice hiding in the case of a shooter entering the front doors. And on and on and on.
As Mrs. Whatsit said, “Only a fool is not afraid.”
In this world we will have trouble. Jesus let us in on that truth. BUT, we can’t quit. We can’t curl up in a ball and despair. We’re to take heart. Because as bad as it is and as bad as it might get, Christ has overcome.
Move through your day, loving through the fear. Radiating joy beyond the pain. Bestowing mercy and gentleness and downright goodness on whoever you encounter (that counts for online, too).
Because we know that, ultimately, we are not meant for this world but another. We are created for a place where there is room for us, where nothing will rot or decay and where violence is abolished.
That’s the hope that we have.
Walk in that hope today, friends.
We have a lot of cool toy that we can thank the 1960s for. Many of these you may still have in your house now! Check it out!
So many GREAT toys! So much FUN! Which do you have? Which did you enjoy when you were a kid?
And, just for a fun bonus, check out this TV ad for Chatty Cathy (and keep your eyes open for Marcia Brady):
My mom loves liver and onions. I know this because she cooked them for us more than a few times when I was a kid, making our house smell like a dirty penny.
I, obviously, do not love liver and onions. I know this because I ate them when my mom cooked them. Sometimes the flavor made me cry because I found it so abhorrent.
See above comment about dirty pennies.
At one point in my life, I questioned my mom’s soundness of mind. How is it possible for someone to actually love liver and onions? Had her tastebuds been damaged by some freak hot coffee accident?
I believed with the whole of my existence that something was dreadfully wrong with her to make her adore such a vile meal.
Now, though, I’m not so sure that it’s a black and white as that.
Don’t get me wrong. I still think liver is one of the most horrific food items. It’s up there with cow tongue and bologna. But this is an opinion, not a fact.
A fact is something that is true and can be proven. An opinion is how I think of, feel about, or perceive something. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, but a matter of preference.
It’s a matter of taste.
De gustibus non est disputandum. There’s no accounting for taste.
In other words, matters of preference are not debatable.
The other day I finished listening to an audiobook that I didn’t care for. The writing was good, the imagery vivid, the literary elements spot on. But I just couldn’t manage to care about a single character.
It wasn’t my flavor.
But, I noticed on Goodreads that several of my friends LOVED it. They gave that book rave reviews.
It obviously WAS their flavor.
For a minute I wondered if I’d missed something. If maybe I was wrong in my opinion. But then I remembered that there’s no accounting for taste.
See, authors can’t write books that everybody will like. That’s just not possible. So we focus on a specific type of reader. And, in writing for those people, we offer the very best book that we can.
We refine the flavor of what we serve, happy when it’s to the liking of our readers.
And just like I let my mom have all the liver and onions she wants, filling my plate instead with the white meat of a turkey (which she’s not altogether fond of), I leave my reader friends to books they love while I enjoy stories I can adore.
In doing so, we all get what fits our needs most.
So, when it came time to research for All Manner of Things I just HAD to know what books my characters might read. I found that some of my favorite books were published in the 1960s.
What follows is just a sampling of what released from 1960-1969, all of which I’ve read. I hope you find a few great books to add to your to-read pile!
What have I missed? What are some of your favorite books to come out of the 1960s? I’d love to add to my book list!
I’ll admit it. I’m late to the game.
For years, friends have been talking about audiobooks, recommending that I give them a try. But stubborn old me refused. I said that they weren’t for me. I shrugged them off.
Then I got a new car.
And that car has a bluetooth thingamabobber that allows me to stream from my phone.
“Maybe I’ll try one audiobook,” I thought, installing the CloudLibrary app from my local library.
Once I started, I got hooked. I can listen to books while I drive, clean the house, exercise. It’s this nerd girl’s dream come true!
But then, after listening to my 9th audiobook this year, I realized something amazing.
Listening to audiobooks is making me a better writer.
Wanna know how?
I’m glad that I (finally) took my friends’ advice and added audiobooks to my day. It’s a great use of my time.
Oh! And this is a massively shameless plug, but…
Did you know that the Pearl Spence books are now available for audiobook readers? A Cup of Dust and A Trail of Crumbs released recently and A Song of Home releases on March 12.
If you are an Audible member you can download them from Amazon. If you prefer a disc check them out on the Oasis site. Or you can request that your local public library make them available. In fact, that’s more helpful than you’ll ever know.
So, what audiobooks have you enjoyed? Which should I add to my list?
Yesterday we learned the sad news that Peter Tork of The Monkees passed away at the age of 77. In honor of my personal favorite Monkee I’m devoting this post to some fun facts about this goofy band from the 1960s (and 70s).
Their first four albums (The Monkees, More of the Monkees, Headquarters, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd) were released between October, 1966 and November, 1967. Each hit #1 on the charts.
While the theme song for their hit television show is recognizable around the world, it never managed to get in the top 5.
Peter Tork was the only one of the band who actually played an instrument on the first two Monkees records. Even then, he only played guitar for one of the songs. Instead, a studio band covered the instrumentals.
Davy Jones was on The Ed Sullivan Show the same night at The Beatles’ first appearance. Davy performed a number from Olive Twist.
Jimi Hendrix Experience opened for The Monkees for seven shows before he left the tour. Maybe wasn’t the very best fit…
David Jones changed his last name to Bowie so as not to be confused with Davy Jones.
The fellas even had a series of comic books based on them!
According to Rollingstone, Daydream Believer is the fan favorite Monkee song. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite Monkee song? Did you watch the show when you were a kid or read the comic book? Who is your favorite Monkee?
Last week I had the following conversation with one of my 10 year old boys.
Him: Hey, Mom. I think I’m going to write about an author who wrote a Dust Bowl novel for my Oklahoma state report.
Me: Oh, buddy! You’re going to write about A Cup of Dust?
Him: Well, no. I’m going to write about Steinbeck.
Me: But…I’m your mother!
Him: Steinbeck’s more famous.
Me: Yowch! Betrayed! By my own child!
Him: Sorry. He’s just a bigger name for my report.
Now, for my kids, having a mom who writes books is normal. It’s no more exciting than having a mom who teaches or manages an office or is a nurse. In fact, they (rightfully) think moms who have those jobs are amazing!
Having a mom who writes?
It’s just regular for them.
You know what? I’m cool with that. It doesn’t bother me. In fact, I’m glad that they see my job as — well — just a job.
Besides, my boy is right. Steinbeck is more famous. He’s a bigger name. He won all kinds of awards and pretty much owned the bestseller lists in his day. He made bank from royalties and translations and movie deals.
I’m not as famous as Steinbeck.
And that’s all right by me.
Because I’m who I was created to be doing the work I’ve been given to do. I’m not John Steinbeck. I’m Susie Finkbeiner.
I’m a wife. A mom. A novelist. In that order.
But more than that, I’m a child of God.