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The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Years May Wrinkle The Skin, But To Give Up Enthusiasm Wrinkles The Soul"

Greetings to all in Western Illinois. I'm a hop'n everyone kept their flannel long John's and warmer clothing handy for this colder weather we are a have'n.

The first flannel underwear was used in Boston by Lord Percy's regiment when they were encamped on Boston Common in October of 1774.

Now a days, flannel is more often used in the form of shirts and sheets. But, the idea of layering clothing for winter warmth has remained a tried-and-true method of beating the chill of our cold winter months. Traditionally, January 13 is the coldest day of the year.

Just for the record, on January 9, 1996, Newton, New Jersey, reported 40 inch snow cover. On January 10, 1982, Fargo, North Dakota reported a blizzard that produced a wind chill factor of -98 degrees F. On January 11, 1918, a blizzard struck the Midwest, halting mail service for 2 weeks.

"And, on January 11, 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt sent to Congress, a budget of $109 billion, $100 billion of which was for the war in Europe and the Pacific.

In comparing those weather days to today, we don't have it so bad. The budget of Roosevelts time seems interesting to compare to the dollar amounts spoken of today. All in all, Louisa Mary Alcott said it best: "Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more, than we can without potatoes".

Epiphany has come and gone on January 6. It celebrates the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus and marks the end of the holidays.

In days of old traditional fare was a cake with a lucky bean baked in it, oft times a mocha or spice cake with a whole coffee bean in the batter.

When visiting on Epiphany, as a nod to the three wise men, gifts of three were brought as a hostess gift.Three bags of spiced nuts, three bottles of sparkling cider, or three different breads were appropriate.

To avoid bad luck, it was felt all Christmas greenery should be taken down on or before January 6.

Noisemakers were traditional in days of old, to discourage evil spirits. Today, the radio or TV is simply turned on for the equivalent noise levels. I'm not sure, however, if the evil spirits are discouraged or encouraged. A good case could be made for both arguments.

A friend of mine from Iowegian land, L.M. sent me the following confession to be shared with others. It goes as follows as I share it with you'ns:

"I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened.

I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.

In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.

It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.

I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.

I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.

I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her, "How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina).

Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.

And being the gentlemen He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide).

We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "We reap what we sow.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world is going to hell.

Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how you can send "jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us."

There you have it then. It is hoped it gives you pause for reflection. For those that are in the winter blues, keep in mind this from Samuel Ullman,

"Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul".

It was good to see Cornelius and all of his neighbors in church last Sunday. We'll see what the next batch of bad weather does for his attendance.

Catch ya later,

Barnyard Bruke