Tuesday, April 16, 2013


May my hands be open to receive God’s gifts: I need to be humble, not trying to earn the good things I want, but to take what God will provide by His grace.  I need to accept what comes, even if they aren’t the things I want, and trust that they are good. 

May my eyes be open to notice God’s blessings: I want to notice where He’s at work, the way He’s supplying my needs and granting my prayers and showing me mercy when I’m not even asking for it. 

May my lips be opened to praise God for His works: I should express my gratitude when I see the way He’s been involved in my life.  Others should hear me give testimony of my experiences with the God of the universe’s lovingkindness.

To God be all glory.

Eating a BLT

Have you ever done it?  Eaten a BLT for the first time, willing to eat the lettuce and tomato on a cold sandwich even though you don’t like cold sandwiches?  In fact, the only parts you really like are the bread and bacon and usually not together?  And when you were eating that, did you bravely add the offered slice of avocado – even though you’ve never eaten that mushy green fruit before in your life?  All this to try to overcome being a picky eater, and to take away the impression that you don’t like any foods at all?  Have you done this, and then laughed in a verbal throwing-up-hands because the only thing your friends having lunch with you notice about what you’re eating is that you aren’t having mayonnaise? 

I have.

To God be all glory.  

Ode to Mud

What starts as plain dusty earth gets stirred up by the splattering of raindrops.  The grains of soil move to welcome moisture in their midst.  Lines between earth and the sky’s offering are blurred.  Ground becomes darker, soft and fragrant.  More water falls and mingles, and there it is – sloppy, squishy, and smooth: mud.

Mud is so much fun to play in.  When it’s muddy you can search for worms.  You can mix mud-pies to bake when the sun returns.  I love to feel it between my fingers or toes.  It reminds me of being a kid; of thunderstorms; of summers in a warm, wet country; of days with nothing to do but to sit still and soak in the world around me. 

To God be all glory.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Meld and So Forth

I like the word meld, because it sounds basic and hard-working and makes me think of blacksmiths forging swords and armor.  Another reason to like it I just discovered: it’s a mystery word; etymologists have not uncovered its origins.  We know it was around by 1910.  It might come from Canasta, in which a player can “meld” certain combinations of cards for a score.  This sense of the word is derived from the German melden, “to make known, announce”, going back to the Proto-Germanic attested in the Old English meldian: “to declare, tell, display, proclaim”.  Or meld might be a past participle of the word mell, of which I’ve never heard before today.   

What does mell mean, then?  It is a verb we received from the Old French way back as far as A.D. 1300, meaning “to mix, meddle”.  Aha!  I have heard it!  But only in the compound: pell-mell, “confusedly”. 

This brings us to meddle, another word I’m fond of.  It is said to come from the same Old French, who received their word from the Latin, miscere, still meaning “to mix.” 

Though they sound much the same when speaking these days, meddle doesn’t have too much to do with metal, and it’s too bad, given my unfounded association of blacksmiths with the word meld (which may or may not have anything really to do with meddle).  Metal is English’s inheritance of Latin’s borrowing from the Greek metallon, used to refer to ore, but originally applied only as a verb “to mine, to quarry.”  Etymonline.com says that though the origin of that Greek word is unknown, there is evidence to suggest its relation to metallan, “to seek after.”

Medley does have to do with meddle, however.  Surprisingly, this word made its debut in English referring to a “hand-to-hand” combat, waiting 150 years before it took on the meaning of “mixture, combination” and then another 150 years or so before being applied to music. 

Melody was hanging out in the French language, thence visiting English at about the same time that medley meant “combat.”  Melody has always had to do with music, though.  It came from the Greek melos, which has two roots seen in melisma (from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning “a limb”??) and ode

Mellow can refer to music in the vernacular of the 21st century, but it actually began by referring to the characteristics of ripe fruit: “soft, sweet, juicy.”  It may have come from mele, “ground grain”, the root of meal, and been influenced by the Old English mearu, “soft, tender.”  Beginning in the 1680’s (less at present), mellow has described someone “slightly drunk.” 

This brings to mind the words mead and meadow, but they received their own article in 2007, so I’ll simply refer you there: http://ladyoflongbourn.blogspot.com/2007/04/mead.html

Before I close I would like to visit two other words that are similar (by reason of sharing all the same consonants) to meld:
Mold may be the most interesting, because it is the same word now, but its diverse definitions have had parallel (never-touching) evolutions. 

Mold meaning “hollow shape” from which we get the verb meaning “to knead, shape, mix, blend” has been part of the English vocabulary since A.D. 1200, originally “fashion, form; nature, native constitution, character”.  This came via the French from the Latin modulum “measure, model” from the same root as mode

Mold referring to the “furry fungus” is sometimes, especially outside of America, spelled mould, from moulen in the Old English related to the Old Norse mygla.  It is possible that these words derived from the Proto-Germanic root *(s)muk- and the Proto-Indo-European *meug- (found in the word mucus).  Or, it may come to us from the third definition of mold:

Mold, archaically, means “loose earth”.  In Old English molde meant “earth, sand, dust, soil, land, country, world”.  It is Proto-Germanic, attested in Old Frisian, Old Norse, Middle Dutch, Dutch, Old High German, Gothic.  Etymonline.com suggests that it also comes ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European root *mele- “to rub, grind” (as, once again, the word meal).  It is strange to me, given the similar sounds, but apparently this word has no common etymology with molt

Middle is my final word for today, and I appreciate that it comes into this essay after the Old English word, molde, “earth”, because Tolkien paired middle and earth as the name of his fantasy world.  (I have absolutely no evidence, but I wonder if Tolkien thought there was some relation?)  Middel is the Old English form, from Proto-Germanic root *medjaz directly bringing us mid, “with, in conjunction with, in company with, together with, among” probably from the Proto-Indo-European *medhyo once more meaning “middle.” 

(my source is www.Etymonline.com)

To God be all glory.

Monday, April 01, 2013


Tonight my arms ache.  It’s faint tonight.  Some days the feeling is stronger.  On other days I couldn’t detect the longing at all.  But for this moment, I really want to hold a baby.  I want to. Pour. Out. Love.  To wrap myself around and into the future and the past of a little one, their pain and their happiness and their needs and their giftedness. 

The more I love and want to love, the more I want to hug someone tight.  And the more I don’t get to, the more all this physical reality demands to be expressed.  If my body can’t push out, against another human being to love them, then it will push from within, and it’s so weird!  My emotions will so react to being a physical being restrained, that sometimes I’ll do something physical just to be real.  I’ll throw something, playfully shove a friend who’s teasing me, or on a very good day – find a friend (or friend’s child) to hold tight for just a few moments. 

I don’t want to forget.  I want these experiences to form me.  I want to prepare to express love well.  I pray for gentleness to balance out all this feisty energy right now.  I want the desires of my heart to cast me into the arms of my good God.  I wait on Him. 

To God be all glory.