2013mandelaI started messing with the name and format of the newsletter ultimately returning to The Christian Chatter. The "Dear Abby" of March is all too true. April and May have some interesting information in them. The rest is average, maybe.

The event of the year is the passing of Nelson Mandela. He lived from 18 July 1918 to 5 December 2013. He spent 27  years in prison for conspiring to overthrow the South African apartheeid government. In later years he became President of South Africa  from 1994 to 1999. His government focused  on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation. I elieve he won a skirmish against Satin.


New Start; The staff had second thoughts about going out of business so we are back at it. We have changed the name from The Christian Chatter to The Methodist Monthly.

There were two reasons we changed. The first is that the Christian Church is down on front street and their newsletter should have “Christian” in it. The second reason was that “Chatter” sounded a bit gossipy. The staff wanted “Methodist” in the title and from many possibilities chose “Monthly” as the noun.

Even with “Monthly” in the title, the staff does not guarantee monthly publication of it.

Please PUSH
When everything seems to go wrong, just push.
When the job gets you down, just push.
When people don’t react the way you think they should, just push.
When your money looks funny and the bills are due, just push.
When you want to tell them off for whatever the reason, just push.
When you ask the question, “When is my ship coming in?” just push.
When people just don’t understand you, just push.

Let me tell you what it stands for:

(From the Jan 7, 2001 Christian Chatter)

A Prayer for Dodo
Dear up in heaven, hear my humble prayer’
Though I can’t be with Dodo, I know that you are there.
I’d like my prayer to be, please Dear Lord, keep Dodo here with me.
But Dear Lord, I can see she’d be happier up there with you than down here on earth with me.
I know the angels will sing when she walks through the golden gates,
‘Cause the price she had to pay to be a Christian on earth has been fully paid.
Oh, Dear Lord, I love her but you love her, too,
So I won’t be too sad ‘cause I know she’ll be there with You.

December 1, 1976

14-year-old Kellie Silvey, Joyce Silvey’s daughter, Lola Stafford’s granddaughter, my cousin, wrote this prayer when Dodo left us for heaven . All of us in the Abbott family affectionately knew my Aunt Lola as Dodo.

We should all accept the death of a loved one Kellie’s way.

 Author'current comment; I made another exception to using names, this time on my own. The folks named are of my family and I hope will not object.


 Another Format; The TMM staff didn’t care much for the landscape format of the first issue, so we will try again. This time it’s back to portrait but with two columns mostly. The calendar remains landscape. If you have a strong opinion or suggestion let the staff know. We will try to make you content, or at least, more content. Otherwise WYSIWYG. 

Junior UMYF; We have a new Junior United Methodist Youth Group for ages 7 to 11 years old. They meet at 6pm on Wednesdays in the fellowship hall. They play board games, talk about God and eat cupcakes. So far, the best-loved game is a Disney version of Candyland. It’s important for the younger kids to have their own group.

This from our pastor, their new leader, “When I was young, I don’t ever remember a time where a pastor knew me by my name or called me by my name. So, it is with great intent that I not let that happen here at Vanceburg UMC.”

Did Noah Fish?; A Sunday School teacher asked, “Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark?

“No,” replied Johnny. “How could he with only two worms?”

The Bible’s Center; Psalm 118 is the middle chapter. Psalm 117, before Psalm 118, is the shortest chapter. Psalm 119, after Psalm 118, is the longest chapter. The Bible has 594 chapters before Psalm 118. If you add all the chapters except Psalm 118, you get 1188 chapters. 118, or Psalm 118 verse 8 is the middle verse of the entire Bible. What does this central verse say? It reads, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” This central verse is also the central theme of the entire Bible.

Last Word; If the page is full, it’s time to quit. This one is.



George Washington’s Birthday; In our Sunday school class on the Sunday before President’s Day, George Washington’s actual birth date was questioned. Googling produced this result:

“George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, which placed Washington's birth on February 22, 1732.”

Burma Shave Roadside Signs; Us older folk will remember the row of signs providing a jingle that ended - Burma Shave. The first of those roadside ads was put up in 1925 in desperation by the two men who invented Burma Shave. It read: SHAVE THE MODERN WAY / FINE FOR THE SKIN / DRUGGISTS HAVE IT / BURMA-SHAVE. The last one was erected in 1963. It read: OUR FORTUNE / IS YOUR / SHAVEN FACE / IT’S OUR BEST / ADVERTIZING SPACE / BURMA-SHAVE. There were hundreds in between, all published in a book titled “The Verse by the Side of the Road” written by Frank Rowsome, Jr. IN 1965.

Wisdom – As the sender noted, I found this while going through some old papers ---



What Became of the Twelve Disciples?;

John died of old age in Ephesus.
Judas Iscariot hanged himself.
Peter was crucified; head down during the persecution by Nero.
Andrew died on a cross at Patrai, in Achaia, a Grecian colony.
James, Jesus’ younger brother, was thrown from a pinnacle of the temple and then beaten to death.
Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.
James, son of Zebedee, was beheaded in Jerusalem.
Thomas, the doubter, was run through with a lance in Coromandel, East Indies.
Philip was hanged against a pillar in Heropolis, Phrygia in Asia Minor.
Matthew was slain with a sword in Etheopia.
Thaddeus was shot to death with an arrow.
Simon died on a cross in Persia, now Iran.

I found this among some old papers in my house. I suspect there is little proof of some of these events, but it does show the dedication of the disciples. If any of you can add to or correct this list, please call me.

A Poem; I found this poem on the same typewritten page.


…let me not judge my fellowmen,
But understand them, Lord, and when
the casting of the stones begins,
Remind me of my many sins.
…let me not envy all my neighbors
As they bring home fruits of their labors.
I’d like to share their joyful measure
and be sincere about my pleasure.
…let me not be blinded to
others’ needs and the things I could do:
Teach me to listen with heart and ear,
Thus hear the cry of doubt and fear.
…let me not live my life in haste.
Speed for me, Lord, is surely waste.
I like to pause along my way
To enjoy your world, to think, to pray.

                     Joanne Vandegrift

Humor X 2;

  1. Two psychiatrists met on the street and one said to the other, “You’re fine, how am I?”
  2. First man, “The man who ran away with my wife was my best friend.”
    Second man, “Good looking?”
    First man, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen him.”



The Dogwood Legend; I heard this legend while growing up and watching a small ugly (except when blooming) dogwood tree grow along with me outside my bedroom window. It is still there, still growing, and still beautiful in its gnarled ugliness (especially when blooming). Here’s the legend.

An old and beautiful legend has it that, at the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood was comparable in size to the oak tree and other monarchs of the forest. Because of its firmness and strength, it was selected as the timber for the cross, but to be put to such a cruel use greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this, the crucified Jesus in his gentle pity for the sorrow and suffering of all said to it: "Because of your sorrow and pity for My sufferings, never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a gibbet. Henceforth it will be slender, bent, and twisted and its blossoms will be in the form of a cross - two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints - brown with rust and stained with red - and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see this will remember."

There was nothing of general interest in the June issue



Methodist Episcopal Church South; I am attempting to compile bits and pieces of information from our early record books into the new record book we are starting.

My Mom and Dad were married in the Methodist Episcopal Church South and I suspect I went to it as well although I have no recollection of it.

I am interested in looking at any record books or papers of the Methodist Episcopal Church South that any of you might possess or know of. I was given a copy of a “Directory and Yearbook” for 1933-34. It has a list of pastors between 1883 and 1933. The congregations reunited, I believe, in 1939.



Dumb Bird or Dumb People? – My cousin, Joyce, has been reading The Upper Room for many years. A few months ago, I decided to follow her example. By reading it I have found many inspirational thoughts. I recommend it highly.

This one struck home. How often do I, do we, jump to conclusions and blurt them out? How often are we wrong? We would be far better off if we kept our mouths shut until we know more. Then we could speak with “right judgment.”



Giving and Getting; Much of this month and particularly today have been spent discussing giving - stewardship, tithing, gifting to further God’s work by our church. I, the editor and chief bottle washer at the offices of The Methodist Monthly, feel a need to write of getting.

For many years, I held a good job and prudently put all that was allowed into my retirement account. I watched it grow to a point where I could retire in luxury. I was prepared to “get” in a big way.

Then the dot comm. bubble burst. I watched my IRA shrink to half its value. It went below the amount I thought I needed to retire comfortably. It went below the amount investment houses said I needed just to survive. It looked as if I wouldn’t be getting much.

I got scared. I started worrying about how to skimp in order to live out my life. I wondered if I might have to go back to work.

As things got worse in New Jersey, financially and otherwise, an idea came to me; it was time to go home. I came home. With the lower cost of living, I found my IRA was OK. I started going back to church soon after that.

That’s when I felt, knew, I had to start paying God back. I made Him a promise that I would give my share to Him and that the remnants of my IRA would be used for His work. (I could easily do this for I have no offspring to worry about.)

Somehow, the underfunded IRA has always stayed afloat, even grown a bit, so that I “get” what I need to live comfortably and give God his due. I am getting more than I am giving. I know it will be that way until the day I die.

I have stopped worrying about how to pay for the future. My IRA is in better hands than mine. My financial advisers are a Methodist friend in New Jersey and God in heaven.

I cannot describe the peace of mind I have by sharing with God what I am “getting” from God. I also enjoy tipping now and then for the extraordinary “getting” that as been mine. I do not worry about money.

I’m “getting” far more than I have given or will ever be able to give.

And, if it is ordained that the future holds a disaster and my IRA collapses, I know I will find I do not need as much. I will have enough, and God will still get His share. That’s just the way it is.

A Coincidence?; I am reading the Bible on a yearly schedule. This is the reading for today, the day I am finishing this page.- Haggai 1:4-6.

Hag 1:4  "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"

Hag 1:5  Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways.

Hag 1:6  You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."



A Song with a Long Title; Johnny Mercer, With Paul Weston and His Orchestra, recorded, “Never Make Eyes At The Gals With The Guys Who Are Bigger Than You” in 1948.

Shorter Days; Earth's slowing rotation is making days longer. The National Institute of Standards and Technology says this about that.

"The Earth is turning 2 milliseconds slower each day than it was a century ago, and the change is affecting everyday life, say officials at the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The tiny shifts matter because an increasing number of technologies rely on precise timekeeping. We naively think there always has been 24 hours per day. But that is not the case," NIST's Thomas O'Brian said.

Honeybees smell trouble in diesel exhaust; Diesel exhaust is upsetting honeybees' ability to recognize flower scents, according to a study. Even the cleaner, ultra-low-sulfur type of diesel used in the U.S. and Europe can wreak havoc on a honeybee's senses, according to the research published in Scientific Reports. The exhaust causes certain chemicals in floral odors to degrade, disrupting a bee's ability to recognize distinctive floral scents. 



Delight In the Lord; This is a page from The Upper Room as many of you know.

It reminded me that every day when I look out my kitchen window I can take delight in what God has given us for everyday use – a beautiful ever-changing world.

I would like you to see what I sometimes take for granted – a view of God’s creation from the spot Mom and Dad chose to build our home after the 1937 flood.

So, if you want to see my view, delight in God’s work, give me a call and come up for a look-see. You might want to bring a camera, too.

A Story; One Sunday the minister preached about family life. After the service little Johnny began crying. He cried all the way home. His father kept asking him what was wrong. Finally, Johnny blurted out, “The minister said every child ought to be raised in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you and Mom!”

Sunday Evening Meal and Movie;  Sundays at 6 P. M., a number of us gather to have some good food and to watch episodes of the TV miniseries, “The Bible.” So far, we have watched three episodes, namely In The Beginning, Exodus, and Homeland. Tonight we will watch Kingdom. Future episodes will be Survival (the Babylonian exile), Hope (Jesus’ early years), Mission (Jesus’ ministry), Betrayal, Passion, and Courage. The series is worth watching and the food is good, too.

Cats; One of our Congregation has four, maybe five (one had disappeared when last we talked) adorable kittens available for adoption. Based on my experiences with my nasty tempered rather large and overweight cat, Grumpy Cat aka Tigger, I can recommend having a cat. For example, my cat is still on Daylight Saving Time. Another habit she has is to jump on my chair table when I sit down to read my Bible in the morning and patiently wait for me to finish and then brush her. She sleeps on my bed most of the morning, comes out for lunch, and then crawls under the covers to sleep until early evening. They are fun to watch and not much trouble.

The newsletter staff urges you to adopt one of the kittens.

Family Movies; The Hallmark Channel (9482 HLMRK on the Dish satellite) and Hallmark Movie Channel (9444 HMC on the Dish satellite) have excellent family movies especially from now until Christmas. The downside is that after the first commercial break, you get about 7 minutes of movie to 5 minutes of commercials, repeated to the end. A recorder with fast-forward is suggested.


The Rural Pearl from the December/January issue of Country magazine; “A little bird never flies so far that his tail does not follow.” It was sent in by Ina Slocum of Booneville, Arkansas who added, “This was my mother’s favorite quote when lecturing us to live clean, moral lives.” 

TMM Staff Christmas Card; Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may all God’s plans for us come true. The TMM staff is saving money by using this paragraph as a Christmas Card. The staff thus saves both card money and stamp money. The UMYF will receive the savings. 

A Big Thank You; The editor thanks all the newsletter contributors for their effort. It is they who make the newsletter worth reading.

The following four entries are from Kentucky Explorer, Volume 28, Number 7.

Getting Attention; To get maximum attention just make a great big mistake. 

Driving and Walking; If you are driving today, please drive carefully – I’m walking. If you are walking, be even more careful – my wife is driving.

Four Bones; Someone once said that membership in every association is made up of four bones:
There are the “wish” bones who spend their time wishing someone else would do the work.
There are the “jaw” bones who do all the talking and very little else.
Next, there are the “knuckle” bones that knock everything anyone ever tries to do.
And finally there are the “back” bones who get under the load and do the work.

Spirit of Christmas
God bless you all this Christmas Day
May Bethlehem’s Star still light the way,
And guide thee to the perfect peace,
When every fear and doubt shall cease,
And may thy home such glory know
As did the Stable long ago.