Category Archives: 6 Looking Back // Memories!

I’m at that age where you have lots and lots of memories. When I am waxing melancholy…

Blog Birthday Re-posting about my Endless Baby Book Regrets

Ay-yi-yi…this blog-o-ver-sary is telling on me TOO much!  Not only have I gushed over God’s great love and faithfulness towards us and simply melted in sappy, love-oozy words about these grandbebes who call me Nonna, I have also laid bare my junk and my faults and confessed my regrets and sorrow over everything I meant to do, tried to do, FAILED to do…with epic grandeur.  I do, at least, have some pride at that.  If you are going to fail, fail REALLY badly, –really, really badly.

In its’ own way, that is also wholehearted living, n’est ce pas?

Baby books.  The records of first teeth emerging and the brilliance of the first roll-over from back to tummy and the first ma-ma or da-da.  Who wouldn’t record every single second of these life-altering moments with extemporaneous memorandums?  Who?!  Well, me…and oh my, the regrets it has brought me, as proven by various blog posts from the past seven years.

repost baby books

Confessions of a Baby-Book-Challenged Mom {October 2007}

The lead character in the musical, Oliver sings:

Who will buy this beautiful morning and put it in a box for me?

So I can see it at my leisure, whenever things go wrong.

And I can keep it as a treasure to last my whole life long?”

Tara, Stephanie and Tredessa's Baby Books from Hallmark

I failed my children in baby-booking. I did. I just stunk at it. Their entire lives, the guilt of the knowledge that I had not filled out the dates on the teeth-cutting-arrival charts gnawed at me relentlessly. Pages with the words paste photo here nakedly jeered at me, taunting my inability to create a wondrously meaningful book for posterity.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have photos to paste.  It wasn’t that I didn’t delight at the clink of the spoon on a newly emerged tooth or want to remember every single, tiny moment of their first days. I saved everything for each of my children from the second I knew they were coming. It was almost a sickness, induced, I fear, by having a parent who saved nothing. We took untold thousands of photos of these 5 incredible children. They were also often undeveloped for a really long time.

But somehow, I just didn’t do well at putting things in their books. I think my perfectionistic tendencies (aka my all-or-nothing sickness) interfered. “Today I must focus entirely on the babybook and fill in each line and glue the proper photos as directed,” was my heart’s desire, but didn’t happen, couldn’t happen, because life was happening. When you are deeply involved in your husband’s ministry, right at his side AND almost annually producing a new human being, leisure time to cut and paste and record gets put on the back burner – or in my case, books safely tucked into their original boxes, high on a closet shelf.

The other day my daughter Stephanie kind of snickered that when I’d presented her baby book to her there was nothing in it.  I guess I thought maybe “the thought” would count. “Yeah-there is nothing there, but look at this beautiful book I was thinking about fixing up for you!?” Stephanie has Gemma’s babybook close by, on top of the television armoire and is a really good baby-booker. She obviously did not inherit this from… {{READ MORE HERE}}…

Stephanie Baby Book

Then, on Mother’s Day, I filled these giant hot pink bags with the scraps of my children’s past and tied them with big bows and attached my apology letter to each bag.  From “Sincere Apologies from a Baby-Book Challenged Mom” {October 2007}

“THE CHOSEN TREASURE OF YOUR HEART ~  To my children – What do with this stuff…

I know receiving all these odds and ends and bits and pieces of your lives may cause you to wonder: what am I suppose to do with all this stuff? And why is mom giving back to me the things I made for her as a kid?

Well, I am keeping plenty of little momentos and scraps myself. As you know, I am hard at work cataloguing our lives, creating a chronicle of the adventures that we have enjoyed. I am placing everything in books that I can pull out at a moment’s notice and peruse and enjoy, but I am simplifying at this stage in my life. I hope the fact that I have held onto these things for so many years will speak to you of the importance they have had in my heart.

As I have prepared to give these things to you, I have looked at every single item again. I have touched each memory, smiled and cried over piece after piece of our family history. There were little scribble drawings and coupons you gave me along with your incredible artwork and report cards filled with teacher’s notes (nearly always good!), and it is all so precious to me. Now I hope you can enjoy it, too…

…Memories are a tough thing sometimes. They can play tricks on us. At [48], I have made a decision to spend the last half of my life remembering the good stuff, the laughs, the successes, the wins – my chosen treasures. This is why I am cataloguing the blessed life I have been given. I am remembering the goodness of the Lord, the heritage He gave me, the legacy He is allowing me to leave. I am recalling His provision and His confidence in me to be your mother.

This is my chosen treasure. I hope you’ll find some of yours in this collection of stuff.”  {{READ MORE OF THIS POST HERE}}


baby books

Come back tomorrow.  We’ll dig through the archives again!   :)


A Tale of Three Cakes

You lucky, lucky people, you.  I am going to share how you can bake and enjoy three amazing cakes that are so easy to make (because you get to start with a boxed mix), and yet so moist and rich and dense and tasty ~ people will think you’ve been mixing an old, secret family recipe and baking all day long.

I like making cakes from scratch…sort of.  Developing unique flavors and pairing them with tantalizing fillings brings me a special joy – way more so than “decorating” a cake does, which actually gives me anxiety hives – even when they turn out really well.  I have found that using a Duncan Hines mix and adding a special ingredient or two gives me something a grocery-store bakery  cannot hope to achieve.

Here are three yumm-il-i-scious (and I do not use that word lightly) cakes…

Pumpkin Spice Cake

 ben and audrey's wedding cake

I first created this one for Audrey’s wedding a few years back.  She requested 3 off-set square tiers, each a unique flavor and custom filling. Like this: cake-filling-cake-filling-cake-buttercream x 3 tiers!  She allowed me to test out a cake dream I was having based on a very fortuitous mistake I’d once made on another recipe and a pumpkin-spice cake with cream cheese filling family-recipe was born!  It totally turned out, scrumptious!

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake made according to box instructions, except, add an additional egg and use milk in place of water.  Then add:
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond or coconut extract
  • 1-3 teaspoons cinnamon (you might think it is overkill here, but I love cinnamon with a passion, so mine gets 3)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin

Blend well with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.  Pour into prepared pans.  I used 3 9″ rounds.  Bake for 30 minutes.

cake pumpkin spice

I basically doubled Martha Stewart’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, so I’d have lots for filling between the layers, but for Jovan’s birthday I also added a few drops (just a very tiny bit) of orange extract and it was so so so good.  It added just the right twist of fresh and tangy and sweet and surprise.

Aunt Dawn’s Banana Cake

The one thing I missed on my last visit to northwest Indiana (in the greater-Chicago region), was my sister-in-law’s rich, dense, but somehow still light banana cake.

Basically, Dawn just prepares a boxed banana cake mix and adds a mashed, ripe banana and bakes it in a regular 9 x 13 cake pan.  That is what makes it denser and so moist.  Then she whips up a simple buttercream, made with real butter, please.  Use about 2 sticks of softened butter, 3-4 cups of powdered sugar, which is about a pound (sift this in as you beat the butter), a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, and 3 tablespoons of milk (more if you want it softer).  Dawn says she is still tweaking the icing recipe, but all I can tell you – I still think about how good it tastes and want to make one soon!

There is no picture because – well, we ate it.  Fast.

Aunt Robin’s Chocolate-Cherry Cake with To-die-for-Frosting {the quick, “cheater” version}

There is no picture of this one, either and Stormie just made two last week for her workmates.  But no evidence can be found…

Since the official Ross-and-Norma-Moslander Family reunions got into full-swing in 1995, Aunt Robin has always been our go-to dessert and baked goods specialist.  She has surprised us many times with fresh-baked cookies and a variety of cakes and this Chocolate-Cherry Cake with a cooked icing you just cannot get out of a can, people!  So- well – it’s a treat!  On my recent trip to Indiana, my sweet-niece-Elise replicated her mom’s amazing cake using a boxed mix and it was still, as ever, amazingly delicious!  Because anything you spread that icing over is crowned with royal goodness.  DO NOT let the fact that it is cooked scare you away.  Make this and serve it warm from the oven the next time you have company and they will talk about you behind your back for days to come – really good things about how amazing dessert was.  :)


  • 1 Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 20 oz. can of cherry pie filling

Mix  well and put in a greased, floured cake pan.  Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes.  While it’s baking, make frosting on the stove.


  • 5 Tablespoons of butter
  • 5 Tablespoons of milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Bring the first three ingredients to a boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips.

Want my advice?  Double this recipe so you can just eat some of this frosting because it is soooooooo good!

There you have it: 3 amazingly delicious, scrumptious cakes.

If you’re very sweet, I may try to get some of Patrice’s cake recipes to share, too.  One year Patrice made a different cake every single day for a week for the staff and leadership at the church where I worked.   Everyday she increased the WOW level!


And just for good measure, don’t forget the world’s moistest, richest, creamiest, richest Coconut Cake by Heather, see {{HERE}}.


This woman.

My mamala.

mamala and me

She has been teaching me about childlike faith and following Jesus for 54 years,  6 weeks and 4 days.  Each time I get to see her,  I learn more about loving life and finding joy in the beauty around us.   Whether it’s a clear blue sky, a Cocker Spaniel’s floppy ears, hedgeballs (the woman can get some distance on those things, “bowling” them across the yard) or falling leaves ~ all of life is to be treasured, enjoyed and celebrated.

norma moslander with blake, her 11th great grandchild

This was the day mom met Blake , Elise-the-Niece’s baby boy, and my mom’s 11th great-grandchild.  they were fast friends.

To my mom, there is nothing that isn’t just {{wow-isn’t that wonderful!}} stunningly, marvelously, unbelievably fascinating.  She has 75 years and counting to back it up (even though, people, even though the beginnings were hard, tragic, even, the middle was challenging and the things she faces these days are heavy on the heart)!  Still, she can give you a million reasons to stay the course because God will be faithful.

I drink them up, all her reasons.  I soak her in.

Is it any wonder I still want to be just like my mom when I grow up?

Countdown to the Blog Birthday with a Repost

I started blogging on November 29, 2006 when I had things I needed to say, but couldn’t bring myself to utter aloud.  I figured it was a way to tell the truth on myself without actually knowing if anyone would ever see it, but knowing I needed to be brave, anyway.


For the next few days I am re-visiting posts or parts of posts that I remember writing.  I have written many, many words in almost 2000 posts.  But I promise, the birthday will arrive and be gone soon.  Meanwhile…


“I am at the start of a new year. Because I got another year older. But I am choosing to focus on the part about starting a fresh, new thing, instead of the wow-a-lot-has-happened-over-the-course-of-my-very-long-long-long-life.

I love new things, don’t you? I love fresh starts and second chances. I love beginnings and renewals and refreshment. They are always so full of hope, so anything-amazing-can-happen.

to do


List-maker that I am, a new year or season or even month (not to mention any Monday morning) will get me looking ahead with excitement and hope and jotting notes about all the things I want to see and experience and accomplish and produce and become…

Today, this:

I want to unleash my creativity (it’s been much too locked away) and have all the crazy creative thoughts I can find that will lead to a life of abundant fruitfulness and productivity and wholehearted living. Because wholeheartedness is HUGE to me (why be anything else, ever?) and it includes being both WHOLE (this is me cooperating with the work of God in my life in all areas: spirit, soul and body) and HOLY (which can come about only by the completed work of Christ and the blood He shed). This is actually possible because of the aaaa-mazing GRACE of God, “the empowering work of the Holy Spirit to be everything God created us to be and to do everything He created us to do.”

Yep. On my list. Happy New Year!”

Come back tomorrow.  We’ll dig through the archives again!   :)

A Repost for the Blog Birthday ~ The Stoning

repost the stoning

 “She was an adulteress, a cheater, a sinner.  She was a disappointment, a law-breaker.  She had let so many people down.

Now she was being exposed to the Light of the World.

The scribes and Pharisees brought her to Jesus as He was teaching in the temple.  They’d caught her in “the very act of adultery,” they told Him.  They were testing Him, who claimed to be the light of life, the One who, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” (Phil. 2.6)

“Moses, in the law, commanded us that such [a person] should be stoned to death.  But what do You say?”

Would Jesus respect and follow the ancient law?  Would He condone her sin?

Their purpose, those learned and religious men, was to trip Him up – to find a way to discount His teaching and refute His words.

Jesus says nothing, but stoops down, writing with His finger, ignoring their demand for a verdict.

The religious kept asking, pressing the matter like the playground tattle-talers they were.

His answer was short.  “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  Then He leaned over and continued writing on the ground.

And none of them wanted to be the one to start the stoning.  From the oldest to the last, one by one, they walked away until only Jesus and the woman were left.  He looked at her and asked her, Where did your accusers go?  Hasn’t anyone condemned you?

“No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more,” the Embodiment of the light-glory of God said to her.  Your sin is not unto death.  I will not serve you a death-sentence, either.  Go.  Be well.  Be whole.  Be at peace.  Find true love.  Live in honor.  Sin no more.

Jesus didn’t condone her sin.  God hates sin because it interrupts the beauty and wholeness of the life He planned for us.  God didn’t forbid adultery to mess up our good times, but He forbade it because it will hurt us and some one else and probably more than one other person.  It will wreck lives and break trust and hearts and disrupt the peace of homes and rip families apart.  It is violence towards the “one flesh.”

People often wonder what Jesus wrote on the ground.  Did He list the sins of the people standing there that were also punishable by death?  I don’t know.  Did they leave because they were ashamed or did the encounter with Truth fill them with mercy?

I just know that I have always related to the woman.  I have always been keenly aware of my sin, my inability to measure up to religious standards imposed upon me.  In church life, my imperfections have been publicly touted, I’ve felt shunned by fellow Christians.  I’ve read this account of the woman and felt what she must have felt.  I have ranted and raged against the people who told me what a disappointment I was.  I have pointed out the futility of religion and condemned the spirit of religious superiority that hurts people as being no different than the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time.

Then today, very quietly, Jesus wrote upon the ground of my heart.  Suddenly I wasn’t the woman, left with her head hanging – thinking I was about to die at the hands of the holier-than-thou religious.  I was one of them – I was in the crowd – looking at her:  the Church, the Bride of Christ, the one for whom, because of great love, Jesus died.

In my hand I have held stones.  The church has sinned.  She has been unfaithful and faithless, a disappointment, a cheater.  She has hurt people and broken hearts and sinned against God. And I have stood in the crowd, ready to take my stand, taunting God, “Well – can you see this?  What are You going to do about this?”  I have been one of them.

I opened my hands toward the ground, symbolically dropping the stones I have wanted to hurl with great pain-infused force at churches and pastors and leaders in the Church who have let me down.

I am turning my hands upward with this prayer, “Replace the stones I have wanted to throw –  with mercy for Your Church.  She has failed.  She has let me down, but show me how I can be an agent of Your mercy towards Her, as You have been towards me.”

It is humbling to get a new perspective of yourself and see the enemy you have been flailing against is yourself.  It is humbling…”


Come back tomorrow. We’ll dig through the archives again!   :)

Joyeux Anniversaire, Cher Blog


I started blogging in the dark ages with absolutely no technical no-how at all.  Everything changes and people are so much better at it, but I am still rattling around here in the dark yelling “Hellllllllp, Tristan,” to my long-suffering son-in-law with some regularity.  I mean, the whole blog crashed like 3 months ago and I am still puttering around some default template, unfixed, un-personalized.  Tsk.

www.jeanierhoades.comThis was the header when I first started, 11-29-06.  The leaves actually fell and swirled.

As I approach the date of the 7th (the 7th!!!) anniversary of my first dip into blogging waters, I am restless and embarrassed not to have gotten better at it.  It doesn’t feel like me right now.  It should be about something specific, right?  It shouldn’t be all over the map of serious-to-ridiculous, of well-formed thought-to-explosive opinions and stupid jokes, should it?  By now, I should have found my voice and my rhythm and a nice tidy package labeled “identity.”


my out.

Oh well.  That is why I named it after my favorite elementary school art unit: collage.  I named it Thought Collage because that meant I could cut colors and scraps and shapes and symbols and pictures from any and every area of the magazine of my very existence and paste it all together to say: Look.  I think this – all of it, even if it sometimes conflicts with itself.  All the pieces make up the whole.

Collage (From the French: coller, to glue, French pronunciation: ?[k?.la??]) is a technique of an art production, primarily used in the visual arts, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

brace yourself.

Worse yet, I am going to quote myself from these very blog pages over the next 10 days or so to celebrate this monumental anniversaire.  Yes, I am!  You’ll be forced to reread something I already said that I still like when I read it.


“It’s a trail of bright colored Play-Dough bits and crayon drawings of “piles of snow” and stickers and paint and Light-Saber battles with vacuum hoses and cookies and orange pop and more cookies and dancing to the Fiesta Latin music channel (learning to do the twist and to shake our booties) and announcing, “Watch Nonna, I’m gonna fly now” as we jump from 3 steps up and Nonna’s heart is temporarily arrested until the landing is obviously successful.

It’s Guini loving the most dangerous thing a one-year-old could love: neon-colored plastic jacks, which she likes to pull one by one from an old Quaker Oatmeal cannister and place on the floor and then immediately one by one they go back in. She actually squeals with delight as she pulls them out, dazzled over and over by the colors and we just watch her and she dazzles us.

It’s Hunter begging to be frightened again and again. He makes me put on the Darth Maul mask and chase him, but screams in utter terror when I truly surprise him and then lifts the mask to make sure: “Nonna?” Ok. Relief. It is just Nonna. Back to being chased. Then, time to cuddle and repeated requests to sing “Jingle-bells-all-the-way.” With Hunter, nothing is ever done once. If once was good, many times are better.

Gavin, Guini and Hunter

It’s Gavin “posing” me with a couple of stuffed animals as he cranks and adjusts Grandpa’s tripod, pretending there is a camera there. He tells me to wait “just one second” then instructs me, “Say cheese.” He squinches his eyes and I smile as he creates a clicking sound with his tongue and then he tilts his head and says, “Awwwwwe…” because I smiled so prettily. And as he thanks me for sitting still, I wish I were aiming a real camera back to capture this exact moment of pretend into which I was invited. And I force myself to see it deeply so I can never forget this February afternoon…

Being a mom was the most wonderful thing. Being a grandma, I am completely undone.”

It is proof beyond any possible reason: God is good and He rewards you even when you couldn’t possibly deserve it.  I am so thankful to have had this little bit of cyber-real estate where I have captured the great record of His faithfulness and find reminders of the glorious color of love and life I have experienced so far…

Come back tomorrow.  We’ll dig through the archives again!   :)


Good Movies on Netflix Right Now

Sometimes I get on Netflix and find nothing, nothing at all among the 8-million titles.  This could be because too many choices causes me mucho brain fog.  Am I alone in this?  I don’t think so…But then some days I am pleasantly surprised at how many great options I see on Netflix.  Even though we actually already own all of them.  :)

Here is a list of 10 great viewing opportunities (streaming) on Netflix right now.  How many have you seen?  How many do you own?

In no particular order.  Watch them all!

You’re welcomed.


Love Actually (2003)

love actually theater poster

It’s  a British Christmas-themed story with dozens of plot twists and at least 27 feel-good endings.  The music is wonderful, the cast is top-notch.  It’s energetic and colorful and even has some sniffly parts.  Sure, I fast-forward through a couple of scenes, but I still hold my breath wondering if her answer will be “Yes would be my answer,” and I annually smile like crazy as the girl in the red coat and flies into the Prime Minister’s arms at the airport {cuteness overload}…more than once!  I like this movie!  “Love actually is ~ all around.”


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Christmas Vacation

Classic family movie and all of my relatives are represented, including Clark Griswold, aka Dave Rhoades!  Another great soundtrack, lots of wry humor and you have to watch it to see  and shake your head over cousin Eddie if nothing else!


Return to Me (2000)

return to me movie poster

Well, first you must know I think Bonnie Hunt, who co-wrote this movie, directed it and plays a great role in it, is pretty much very cool and sort of a genius or something.  I love the Chicago backdrop and Carroll O’Connor’s performance in his final film (he died in 2001).  It is a smallish romantic comedy, a clever storyline, hilarious neighborhood characters played by an extraordinary cast and just a really lovely love story.  Plus?  Such great music – Dean Martin, people!


An Officer and a Gentlemen (1982)

an officer and a gentleman

Well, I mean it is one of the best endings ever.  And I am not talking about all the Richard Gere be-hind shots, either.  Hehe.   Soundtrack!


As Good as it Gets (1997)

as good as it gets poster

Romantic comedy that is just thick with Jack Nicholson’s talent.  He plays a writer with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the tagline, “Brace Yourself for Melvin” is sage advice.  He is simply abrasive and horrible and yet somehow redeemable.  The film is filled with quotables – almost always said by Jack Nicholson.  Of course.


Big Night (1996)

big night movie poster

Set in the 1950s, Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci play immigrant Italian brothers who own and operate a failing restaurant.  It is beautiful to look at and the food, oh the food…get yourself a plate of spaghetti while you watch.  And plan to join them for the magnificent timpano feast on a sparkly dress-up night.  Stormie has made it for our family {see it here}.


The Breakfast Club (1985)

The breakfast club movie

One of the best of the 1980s coming-of-age movies.  It’s one day in the life of 5 kids in high school detention finding out that they are more alike than different.  “Don’t you forget about me, don’t don’t don’t don’t…”


A Room with a View (1986)

a room with a view 1986

Some days you just need a cup of hot tea and a Merchant-Ivory film.  It’s an adaptation of an early 1900s novel.  It is loveliness.  “Feign to deny it.”


Far and Away (1992)

far and away movie

The fabulous Ron Howard directed this awesome historical-drama-adventureous-romance starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.  It’s a story of Irish immigrants seeking great fortunes in America culminating in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1893.  I haven’t watched this in years, but I love stories of the immigration-era (when dreams and hopes were high) and the formerly-marrieds have great chemistry in it.


Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (1954)

irving berlins white christmas poster

Seriously?  You’ve seen this, right?  Because it has everything, every-thing: music, romance, incredible sets, choreography, snow, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, counting your blessings, a black dress to die for, the hilarious Danny Kaye and Christmas by the truckloads.  Watch it with the volume up and God bless America! “Snow, snow, snow, snow ~ Snowwwwww”

This is like – 20 hours of great movie time for free!   Well, free if you already have Netflix, anyway.  :)

P.S.  As I look back over the list, I’d give most of these 4 out of 5 stars, but two of them would get the coveted 5 stars from moi…do you know which ones???

Music on a Monday // Best TV Themes from the 1960s and 1970s

TV Themes really are woven into our musical-brains in a unique way.  They signal certain years and seasons of our lives with distinct and focused clarity.  If we loved the show, the theme probably added to it.  When we heard it coming on, we ran from the kitchen with our popcorn and Pepsi in hand, it’s time, our hearts beating faster.  **Smile.

In these days of Tivo and Apple TV, Netflix and Hulu-Plus, we watch whole seasons in a week or two, treating shows more like a mini-series than episodic TV, and if you watch more than one episode at a time, it does become monotonous to hear many of the themes over and over.   But if the theme actually adds to the fun or the intrigue or the feel of the show, then I must insist on experiencing the song again and again.

Like with Mad Men: the musical theme is a must.  It sets a sexy tone of intrigue whether I am marathoning or just fitting one episode into my evening.  When the grandbebes are here, they beg to watch Gilligan’s Island over and over and the song is key to the slapstick fun!

I want my own theme song

Wouldn’t that just be fun?  If, right before you arrived to meet your friend for coffee at Starbucks, or as you were coming down the stairs in the morning, a song started playing – a song that captured your essence and impish sweetness and set the tone for a special half-hour with you?  I want that, dangit!  I want to be wearing a yellow dress, just sort of gliding through life and have the world break forth in song in my wake.  Hahahahaha!  I laugh, but I may not actually kidding…*ahem

I sat down with a pen and wrote a quick list of some of my favorite TV theme songs from my growing up years.  It is one of the fastest lists I have ever made.  I had to keep crossing things off to keep the list from being my top FIFTY favs to just being 20…or so.  ;)

A Spotify Playlist follows.

Favorite TV Show Theme from the 1960s and 1970s

BEST TV THEMES from the 1960s and 1970s (in my humble opinion) ~ In no particular order…

  1. Brady Bunch. Well, I mean, if you were going to have a blended family, how wonderful for every single person to be so cute, looking at each other sweetly from blue boxes.  The Brady Bunch was a social-landscape-changing show, and like many shows of the time, told the whole background setting in the 30-40 second theme song.  Hilarious!  “Here’s the story of a lovely lady,” sing along with me now!
  2. Partridge Family.  OMYGOODNESS!!!  Have you never read this blog before?  This is THE quintessential show of my childhood and really – the theme of my life in its’ entirety, is it not???  Everybody – let’s SING!

    “Hello, world, here’s the song that we’re singin’
    C’mon get happy!
    A whole lot of lovin’ is what we’ll be bringin’
    We’ll make you happy!

    We had a dream we’d go travelin’ together,
    We’d spread a little love and then we’d keep movin’ on.
    Somethin’ always happens whenever we’re together
    We get a happy feelin’ when we’re singing a song.

    Trav’lin’ along there’s a song that we’re singin’
    C’mon get happy!
    A Whole lot of lovin’ is what we’ll be bringin’
    We’ll make you happy!
    We’ll make you happy!
    We’ll make you happy!”

  3. Rockford Files.  Instrumental.  It was really my dad’s show.  But the song charted on pop stations and is an earthy, sexy, adventurous, upbeat, ornery-cool song.  Mike Post won a Grammy for best instrumental arrangement in 1975.  Can’t sing to it, but can love me some James Garner – and those cute answering machine messages he’d leave for his creditors!
  4. Happy Days.  This show just took the early 70s by storm.  It was set in the late 50s-to-early 1960s with Poodle skirts and saddle shoes and the Fonz.  I recall my mom totally not getting the appeal, as she had “already lived through that era” and was glad it was over.  But the jukebox and the bobby-soxer were the rage and this show was just the thing!  Thumbs-up, “Aaaaayyyyy!”
  5. Andy Griffith Show.  The whistle.  It was one of the earliest shows of my memory.  I watched it with my mom while she’d be ironing clothes and she always  whistled along.  She taught me how when I was 3 or 4.  But I can’t do it now.  What’s up with that?
  6. The Beverly Hillbillies.  A little Bluegrass, here.  Just such a fun song to sing, and again, one of those that gave you the whole back story in a theme song.  Genius!  “Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed…”
  7. Gomer Pyle, USMC.  This one didn’t have words, either, but what a rousing, fun intro that made you want to watch Gomer smile that big, goofy smile and stand at attention in an attention-getting way and say, “Well, goll-ll-ll-ll-y!”
  8. I Love Lucy.  Who wouldn’t love Lucy?  Partly why I always wanted to have red hair.
  9. Perry Mason.  Those eyes ~ and the broadest shoulders on TV ever!  I LOVE a man in a well-cut suit and tie.  Don Draper does it best these days (besides Dave, of course), but Perry was my man.  I still think about becoming a lawyer and shaming people into a confession!
  10. Sesame Street.  This show came on when I was all of about 10 and I just remember thinking, “How wonderful that the little children have such a cool show they can watch now.”  Secretly, I wished I could, too, because of this TV theme song which got lots of play on the pop stations in its early days.
  11. The Dick Van Dyke Show.  Perfect example of an instrumental TV theme that absolutely captured the fun and sophistication of the cast and characters and everything about this show.  It really has to be one of the greatest ensemble casts with more talent per square-minute than almost any other, ever.  It was beautiful, it was funny, and this song was the platform for the genius performances.  SO good!
  12. Batman.  It had words.  Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na Batman!
  13. The Love Boat.  In one hour, all your romantic problems could be fixed on the high seas.  “Love exciting and new, come aboard. We’re expecting you…”  I came aboard every Saturday night for 4 years.  :)
  14. The Monkees.  Now this one is weird.  Because I love the theme, but the actual show was totally beyond me, really.  I wasn’t in tune to the humor, but I watched because I thought if I kept trying, I’d get there.  But I loved their songs.  Still do.
  15. I Dream of Jeanie.  Well.  Don’t make me explain why I had to like this one.
  16. Welcome Back, Kotter.  A teacher returns to teach at his old school after his dreams had been his ticket out.  John Travolta = Vinnie Barbarino.  Good song.  Cute Vinnie.
  17. The Patty Duke Show.  See what I mean?  Not only did Patty Duke get to have her own theme song, she got to be 2 different characters.  Ok.  That’s it!  Now I want my own theme song AND I want to be able to have more than one personality!  But both – engaging and wonderful!
  18. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.  Well, mid-century-modern cool, period.  Seeing a dad as a friend was foreign to me, but I was very impressed at how Bill Bixby did it.  I think it changed American perceptions about dads.  The images during the theme song (not to mention those voice-over low-key conversations between a boy and his dad ) are undeniably strong.Courtship of Eddies Father
  19. Green Acres.  “Green Acres is the place to be.  Farm living is the life for me!”  I could not have sang that better myself!  I get Mr. Oliver Wendell Douglas.  I get him.  Now where is my version of that house and farm and cast of silly characters, including a pig named Arnold?  Where, I ask you?
  20. My Three Sons.  This theme song also has a particular visual I could not NOT watch!  It is so scaled-back hip, animated line-drawing cool!  HAD to watch it whenever I could!

I recall quite a few shows for a girl with no TV at home from the mid-60s until the World Series of 1971, huh?

Bonus info…THESE two shows (also my favs)

UNO:::The Mary Tyler Moore Show, “Who can turn the world on with her smile?”  I wanted to grow up and wear the outfits she was wearing and “take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile,” and toss my hat into the air in the middle of the city just like Mary.  The great strength of this show was an incredible supporting cast, strong characters and how it visually captured changing times.  Great lyrics, warmth, memory-making, fun-to-sing!  One of the best ever  ~ and the one that sparked me thinking about TV themes because this actually could be a theme song for my great niece, Emilee.  :)

Mary Tyler Moore Show collage

DOS:::That Girl! (Marlo Thomas) I loved this show, but Marlo carried most of it.  She did have the amazing Donald (her TV boyfriend), but her supporting cast didn’t do enough for her, I don’t think.    “She’s everything that every girl should be….That girl!”

That Girl collage

have led to today’s:

New Girl Jess

Uno + Dos + Tres = ::: New Girl starring Zoey Daschenal.  This is one of my fav TV show themes ever, really!  “Who’s that girl?  Who’s that girlIt’s me!”  Oops, “It’s Jess!”  Well, I mean – I was wishing for some props like these and ya know: my own theme song.

Here is a YouTube playlist of all three openings.  That Girl ~ Mary Tyler Moore Show ~ New Girl.  Do I need to submit any further evidence of the need for a personal theme song?  It ensures good lighting at all times, a fabulous wardrobe, and hats and good hair days, together or on their own.  *sigh….

The MAIN problem I had was when I went to create this playlist on Spotify…

I saw so many other shows with great themes, too.  Like Room 222, which I think I wrote a whole blog post about a few years back.  Of course you cannot deny the power of Gilligan’s Island to make. you. crazy!!!  I hate it, but the theme song is catchy.  There was Hawaii 5-0, Bewitched (which I wasn’t supposed to like because of witches), and Family Affair, not to mention The Munsters…and so many more!

Many of these are not actually the original, but this is a fun, happy, good-memory kind of playlist, anyway!

What were your favorite TV themes?  Do you have 20 or 50-some like me?

I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For

“My needs are small, I buy them all at the 5 & 10-cent store.  I’ve got plenty to be thankful for!”

Bing Crosby sings those words in Holiday Inn, 1942

bing sings

The video wasn’t embeddable, but fun scene.  Watch it! CLICK ABOVE.

A November Space

It’s November.  I don’t know exactly why I tend to so expressly observe times and seasons and months like I do.  I just need to understand the time I am in…what is it for?

They taught us that in elementary school: in September it is yellow school busses and rain galoshes and sharpened yellow pencils and cursive handwriting practice.  Then came the jack-o-lanterns of October, coloring spooky houses and friendly ghosts on math worksheets.

“Over the river and through the wood to grandmother’s house we go,” got trotted out each November in music class.  I couldn’t have dreamed I’d ever be a grandmother and to this day I trace my grandchildren’s hands and make “turkeys” just the way I learned to do it in Kindergarten a hundred years ago.  November was thankfulness and cornucopias and the browns and oranges and deep golds of crispy leaves blowing along the curb while we walked to school.

I like to mark the times, the days, the seasons and this IS a month for gratefulness.  So many things should be marked with an official “thank-you,” and sometimes in the hurried months we forget.  So November comes and reminds me.  That is what this time is for.

O God, you have been good.  You have been faithful to all generations.

fallen leaves anne of windy poplar

It’s November.

It’s topaz and crisp mornings and where did all these falling leaves come from?  It’s pumpkin-everything and Thanksgiving time and ok to start watching Christmas movies now.  It’s All-Saints-Day (count me in!) and sweaters and scarves and good friends and coffee and building altars of remembrance.  It’s a good time to rest and enjoy from the abundance of the storehouses the blessings of God on the year.

It’s taking a deep breath and leaving a space for quietness and reflection.  It’s leaving a space to live today, in this moment and not already stressed about the holidays and the crazed shopping and every possible thing that must be completed before the year comes to an end.  You know that will just take all your joy, don’t you?  It’s November – leave some space, just wait a bit…

The earth sinks to rest until next spring…

“November comes

And November goes,

With the last red berries

And the first white snows.

With night coming early,

And dawn coming late,

And ice in the bucket

And frost by the gate.

The fires burn

And the kettles sing,

And earth sinks to rest

Until next spring.” – Clyde Watson

Be careful, my sweets, not to rush into 2014 – not to begin making lofty plans or elevated goals for next year.  This one isn’t over yet.  November serves a purpose.  It is not a month without noble intendment.  There are things that need to rest until spring.  Let them rest…

Happy November, one and all.  Be sure to leave some space in your November…and be filled with thanksgiving.  This is the time for it.

It’s a Skill, Like Anything

Houzz had the BEST article today (by Alison Hodgson, my FAV writer there).  It’s about “How to Build Your Housekeeping Muscle,” but honestly – it is just a great perspective on how to develop your abilities at anything you might find perplexing.

She shares an example of a man who has loaned lots of money to friends and relatives over the years and how he isn’t bothered by it because he just sees himself as some one who is really good at saving money, as in “skilled at it.”   His viewpoint took something we usually judge others about and turns not being very good at handling money from being some irreparable character flaw  (the writer’s profound revelation about this totally hit me) in them as people ~ to something we can, with a little effort, actually become skilled in ~ whether that includes housekeeping, or managing a budget well, or making new friends, or good communication, getting fit or whatever it is that perhaps has been pointed out to us as being a weakness or imperfection calling our very value into question.

While we are often quick to judge other people harshly for what we see as a major character impairment, a proof of a lack of development in who they should be as a person (#don’taskmehowIknow), maybe they are just good people who have not yet developed skills in certain areas – just. like. us.

I won’t tell on myself, but…

My mom was the most “distracted” housekeeper on the planet, which drove my perfectionist dad up the proverbial wall and caused him to rule the roost by making endless, demanding lists of to-do for every member of the family.  Even after I was married,  and moved hundreds of miles away, when we came for a visit, I was given a list!  OH-Yes,  he did!  :)  It’s an honor for me now, to get to be helpful to my parents, but in my early 20s I was probably pretty incredulous.  Haha.

Now, my dad is known to be highly competent and get-things-done-well NOW! and I like that.  He is a high-capacity leader, a pastor trusted for high-impact ministry and church growth.  But my mom is also known ~  as the woman who makes him bearable.  She is without guile in any way, so loving and non-judgemental.  She can make a lifelong-wholly-devoted friend from the most snarky and committed enemy.

There were church ladies and relatives who judged my mom’s housekeeping as inferior, but her character: above reproach.  There is not a person in the world who doesn’t want to be around her because of how she cheers them on and showers them with love.  Over time, she learned to follow my dad’s “guidance” and keeps a lovely home.  But she wasn’t born that way and she is in NO WAY deficient in her character!

comparison is the thief of joy quote

Source: here

It is interesting, I think, how we like to compare some one else’s weakness in skill against our own strength as though it automatically makes them flawed.  Or we do it to ourselves, thinking, “I wish I weren’t so awful at ______,” feeling doomed forever by some label (“I’m the messy one,” or “I’m the one who can’t do _____,” or “I’m the clumsy one,” etc).

So, the article:: This was just so thought-provoking to me, I wanted to thank Alison Hodgson and share it here.  Hope it gets you thinking, too, and giving yourself and others GRACE and great hope for the future.  Just simple tips to follow to get the skill you need to strengthen the area you feel condemned about, housekeeping or whatever else.

It is never too late to become the person you might have been…or to develop a skill that will help you to the end!

Your character is fine, you’re no villain or person of lack and nonsense.  You just need to adjust a bit.  Read these great tips!  Get hope!