2021 November 06

I was awake and I was cold. I was also in a state of sleep paralysis* which kept me from getting out of bed and turning off the ceiling fan. It only lasted for a moment. Yet in that moment, it is quite disturbing. At nearly three quarters of a century old, I’ve come to grips with my body no longer being able to do things that once were easy. However, the feeling of being betrayed by your body is very disconcerting.

*Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes.  Sleep researchers conclude that, in most cases, sleep paralysis is simply a sign that your body is not moving smoothly through the stages if sleep. It most often occurs as you are going to sleep or when waking.



On November fifth, approximately 50,000 people were in attendance at the Astroworld Festival in Houston,Texas, when the crowd surged toward the stage. Seventeen people, eleven in cardiac arrest, were rushed to the hospital. Eight are dead.

This is an example of mob psychology. Crowd behavior is heavily influenced by the loss of individual responsibility and the impression of universal behavior, both of which increase with crowd size. At that point the crowd becomes an entity of its own that both engulfs and separates from the individuals. So, in answer to the age old question, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” The answer is, if a large enough crowd jumps off the bridge, you will also.


The other night, what started as a discussion about chili, became a remembrance of our childhoods. We each lived in houses with elastic walls. That was Ella’s term for the fact that, no matter the size of the house, there was always room at the table and the food could always be stretched or transformed into something else. If people needed to stay, accommodations we made. No one was turned away for lack of food or bedrooms.


When in the early 1940s my father and mother purchased an acreage far north of Des Moines Iowa. There was a small house, with a bedroom, combination livingroom/kitchen/kids bedroom, and a small room that was originally a back porch, but was used as a bedroom.

They added on, doubling the space with a kitchen and adding a large bedroom. They already had three teenage children when I was born  in 1947.

My brother and oldest sister graduated high school the year after my birth and soon moved out. My brother to the Navy and my sister, now married, to another small house in the neighborhood. Within a few years my youngest sister was also married and away. My father died before I started kindergarten. 

They left just Mom and I at home. However,the house was always full. With the weekly cribbage game and soup / stew / chili / or goulash feed. Aunts and uncle’s, cousins, and cousins’s kids, and before long nieces and nephews were regular visitors and often overnight guests.

At one point my brother, his wife and five or six of their children moved back home. Even then, we adapted. Mom and I moved into what had been my father’s sewing machine shop. At another time my mother’s sister and brother-in-law lived I a small travel trailer in the back yard. 

Ella’s story may come later. She wrote it on her smart phone, but somehow it disappeared.

In our married life we carried on that tradition. Maybe it is less a tradition and more of a way of thinking. It is the tendency to focus less on the problem and more on the solution.

Our first home together was a 1940s square house of about twenty feet by twenty feet. At approximately four hundred square feet it would be well under the six hundred square foot designation of an official tiny home. It had two small bedrooms, a living room, a galley kitchen (I could actually touch both walls at once), and a small room that we christened the dining room, though it was of more use to reach the backdoor without going through the kitchen, which could become crowded with two people trying to squeeze past each other.

It was big enough for us. 

It was still big enough for us when we had our first exchange student. Vincent just simply used the other bedroom. After Vincent had returned home, that fall we got our second exchange student named Marie. And so she took over the second bedroom.

That was fine until Tom’s ex-wife decided that she had had enough of their youngest son and dropped him off at his work… when Tom was home and sick that day. Well now we needed three bedrooms. We put a wardrobe in front of one door in the dining room. We had enough room in there for the bottom half of a bunk bed and a dresser. That became Adam’s bedroom. So we stretched the walls and made room. 

Next Ella’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids came to live with us, because they had given up their rental property without having a place to go. We stretched the walls once more. The grandkids shared the living room as their bedroom. And Rob and Linnea moved to the unfinished basement. So once more we had stretched our walls and accommodated more people. Did I mention that Linnea ran a daycare out of our tiny home? She did. 

A few years later we moved into a larger house that had more bedrooms. Once more Rob, Linnea and two grandkids moved back in with us. We had to convert a place underneath the basement stairs for one additional bedroom for the granddaughter. At some point Rob went to Mississippi and picked up his his mother and brother and brought them to live with us. We also had an exchange student during this time. And occasionally we had two exchange students at the same time while this was all happening. We never ran out of room, we never ran out of food. With three or four or five teenagers living in the house, they would often have friends over also. So, when Ella got ready to make lunch or supper, we had to ask, “How many are going to be here for supper?” There was never a question that we would be able to feed them.

That’s our own miracle of fishes, loaves, and elastic walls.


Today’s devotional study was, as the title states “Inheritance”. It did not deal with monetary or possessions passed from one generation to the next. It was concerned with the spiritual and moral values that are left to us and asks us to consider what we will leave to the next generation.
Interestingly enough, I watched this week’s episode of “Bull”* and realized, at it’s heart, it dealt with the same theme. Oh it didn’t deal with spirituality directly, but could be seen as a subtext to the story of a wealthy business man who seemed to be acting erratic in an attempt to bring his warring family back together. It was more important to pass on his love for the family, than money, possessions, and power.

*Dr Jason Bull is the charming and cocky founder of successful trial consulting firm Trial Analysis Corporation, where he and his team of experts employ psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to understand jurors, lawyers, witnesses and defendants, and construct effective narratives to help their clients win.

(From Google search)
November 06: Today I am grateful for family. Today, in particular, several separate things have me recalling several events that all center on family: today’s Upper Room, discussion with Ella, a TV show, a Vlog, my family tree, and a story I was writing.

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