God’s Parenting Difficulties


Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)

See July calendar folder 2016 for more details

June 1  Global Day for Parents


If God had trouble handling children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?


NATIONAL PARENTS DAY – Fourth Sunday in July

Email July 1999


Whenever your kids are out of control you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence did not extend to God’s kids.


After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.

And the first thing He said to them was: Don’t

“Don’t what?” Adam replied.

“Don’t eat the forbidden fruit,” God said.

“Forbidden fruit? We got forbidden fruit? Hey, Eve…we got Forbidden Fruit!”

“No way.”

Yes, WAY.”

“Don’t eat that fruit,” God said.


“Because I’m your Creator and I said so”

A few minutes later God saw the kids having a fruit break. He was angry.

“Didn’t I tell you not to eat that fruit?” God, the first parent asked.

“Uh huh,” Adam replied.

“Then why did you?”

“I dunno,” Eve answered.

“She started it,” Adam said.

“Did not.”

“DID so.”

“did not.”

Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.

But there is a reassurance in this story. If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give your children wisdom and they haven’t taken it don’t be hard on yourself.

If God had trouble handling children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?


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The Sixth Day of Christmas—the Six Days of Creation

Carolyn’s Online Magazine



Each year my husband Monte and I design a Christmas ornament to use as our Christmas card—a 41 year tradition. Through the years I’ve been incorporating ornaments created on the gifts listed in the popular song, The 12 Days of Christmas.

At first glance this song appears to be a secular song with nothing to do with the reason for the season: the birth of Jesus Christ. The gifts seem nonsensical:

a partridge in a pear tree

turtle doves

French hens

4 calling birds

5 golden rings

6 geese a-laying

7 swans a-swimming

8 maids a-milking

9 ladies dancing

10 Lords a-leaping

11 pipers piping

12 drummers drumming

However, according to the HANDBOOK OF CATHOLIC SACRAMENTALS two phrases, my true love and a partridge in a pear tree, are code words for Jesus Christ, and each gift hides a secret.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the Church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

Thus, the

turtle doves represent the Old and the New Testaments

French hens represent faith, hope, and love

calling birds represent the 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

golden rings represent the Pentateuch: the first 5 books of the Bible…

Which brings us to 6 geese a-laying—the theme of the Holland family 2015 Christmas card/ornament. The 6 geese represent the 6 days of creation related in Genesis 1:1 – 2:4:

Created the heaven and the Earth, day and night

Divided heaven from Earth—sky and sea

Created the land, sea and vegetation

Created the sun, moon and stars

Created creatures of the sea and the sky

Created land animals mankind

This year there is a set of 6 different ornaments, each depicting one of the days of creation. Included in the 6 copyright-free photographs of geese a-laying I found on the Internet are two considered “hero geese.”

One is the goose representing the first gift, the creation of the heaven and the earth, night and day:

On Mother’s Day, in mid-May, 2015, a Canada goose was sitting on her nest of eggs. Two walkers noticed smoke rising from the ground as they passed by. Investigating, they found a smoldering goose nest, a little blaze around it. It held 6 eggs. They saw the mother, who was nearby…a large section of her flight and tail feathers were burnt clean off in her attempts to smother the fire…(her) bill was also damaged by the flames of



The fire was deliberately set when someone put cigarette butts in the nest.


The Canadian goose did the motherly thing by taking the brunt of the heat and the fire.

Later she received daily shots of antibiotics to prevent infection. Five of the eggs, some having scorch marks, were placed into an incubator at a rehab center, even though there was a possibility they were damaged beyond repair—and would perhaps not hatch.



The second goose’s heroism is depicted on creation days 2 and 5.


On May 2, 2013, during a blizzard hit the Midwest, a storm with a snowfall…likely exceed a foot…a goose was nesting on a city-owned retention pond at the back of a man’s property. The goose remained on her nest even though she was buried up to her beak by snow.


The goose remained on the nest even as some of the snow melted from her back, unburying her some. Temperatures were predicted to climb from near freezing to about 700, putting the mother’s eggs at risk to loss by flooding. However, during flooding due to the rapid snow melt this mother persisted in protecting her unhatched brood from the elements. She worked feverishly to rebuild her nest after an overnight water rise.


I wrote to you last Friday with news of a goose buried up to her beak as she dutifully continued to incubate the eggs on her nest amidst our record setting snowstorm of May 2nd.  I thought you might like to know that since then the rapidly melting snow has created more difficulty for her – flooding, but she persists in protecting her unhatched brood from the elements…working feverishly on building up the nest after water rose overnight.



NOTE: the man on the 6th day of creation ornament is my brother, Hugh Kerry Lipsius.



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What Kind of Dressing & A Sour Cream Dressing Recipe

Carolyn’s Online Magazine


Including a


Life offers many choices. Some are spicy, others bland. Some contain regular ingredients, others exotic ingredients. Some are appropriate, others inappropriate. Our choices take us down paths of delight or discontent. Once made these choices mildly or greatly change who we are.

While cleaning out boxes stored in my garage I found two copies of a booklet, Family fare — food management and recipes. I received one copy revised in 1960 from Congressman T. J. Dulski and the second copy reprinted in June 1966 from Congressman Frank M. Black (as best I could make out the signature stamp). At both times I was single, living in Buffalo, New York. Below is a discussion on salad dressings and the recipe for sour cream salad dressing, excerpted from these Home and Garden Bulletin No. 1, U. S. Department of Agriculture publications.

Like life, dressing your salad can enhance it or denigrate it. So the question is: What will it be—sweet or tart, thick or thin—for the salad dressing. The answer lies in your family’s taste. Continue reading

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What’s a Green-Turtle Silver Soup Ladle Worth?





Billionaire newspaper publisher Richard Mellon Scaife (Dick Scaife) was a serious collector who could and did purchase very dramatic one-of-a-kind objects. The former Tribune-Review publisher and billionaire heir to the Mellon fortune died on July 4, 2014.

Items from his four American estates (in Shadyside and Ligonier, Pa.; Nantucket, Mass., and Pebble Beach, Calif.) were sold by Christie’s auction house in New York.

The most valuable lot, the star of 533 items on the auction block, was

  • Lot 150 in ‘The Collection of Richard Mellon Scaife’: The Washington Augustus Roebling American Silver-Gilt Dinner Service, Mark of Gorham MFG. Co., Providence, circa 1889. Estimate, priced at: $200,000 to $300,000. It sold to an anonymous buyer for $293,000.

The gleaming set of more than 1,000 custom-made, engraved dinner service pieces included 18 salt cellars, 28 butter dishes and 36 seafood forks. It was made by special order for the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Augustus Roebling, and belonged to multiple generations of the Roebling family, including Mary G. Roebling, the first woman to lead a major bank and first female governor of the American Stock Exchange.


Washington Augustus Roebling was the engineer responsible for building the Brooklyn Bridge. On Aug. 1, 1889, 6 years after its completion, an extravagant silver-gilt dinner service arrived at the house of John A. Roebling, whose firm became the world’s largest supplier of electrical wire and bridge cable and the exclusive supplier to the Panama Canal.

So why am I sharing this story?

Because I’m on the search for information on a green turtle silver ladle marketed at auction and priced at $6,000. Had it been unrealistically priced at $100 or less I might have been enticed to purchase it.


About November 2009 my friend Fran called me shared an Internet link to the Neal Auction Company. She’s been very helpful to me so I immediately clicked on the link and scrolled down to Lot 219:

Turtle earrings a friend gave me after hearing the story of the green turtle soup ladle.

Turtle earrings a friend gave me after hearing the story of the green turtle soup ladle.

  • A Rare George III Silver Green Turtle Soup Ladle of Caribbean Interest, c. 1800, intaglio mark J R or I R in a rectangle, possibly John Robin, the ladle in the form of a green turtle (Chelonia Mydas), the bamboo form handle with palmette collar and pineapple finial, the interior of the turtle’s shell with presentation engraving…With every Sentiment of Respect from Francis de Ridder, To the Hon F P van Berckel 1807…

Now my interest piqued. The note on the auction site provided information I already knew:

  • Franco Petrus Van Berckel was the Netherlands’ minister to the United States during George Washington’s first term and was later appointed fiscal of Demerara (today part of Guyana). The fiscal’s legal function was to enforce Dutch laws in the colony; as payment he received 1/3 of all fines. (James Rodway, History of British Guiana, Volume II pp. 192 & 200)

What it didn’t say was that Van Berckel was the husband of Rosalie de Leval, the French woman who is the main character in my historical novel.

The engraving on the soup ladle continued:

  • Friends form’d in ‘Union’ of heart and aims, Prove firm supporters of each others claims, Victorious Virtue warms Thy gen’rous breast, Be thine ‘enjoyment’, and perennial ‘Rest,’

The listed/expected cost of the soup ladel, 14 1/4 inches long weighing approximately 9.5 troy ounces, was $6000/9000. Perhaps in the same range as the price of the silver service set in the Dick Scaife auction lot.


Fran and I researched further. Also being auctioned off were several wooden bowls. This indicated to me that there was probably someone who’d collected items belonging to Van Berckel.


I’ve discovered it’s almost impossible to discover the root sources of who owned and collected such items. I researched it because the results might reveal more about who this man, Van Berckel, was. There’s little information on this man in the records I’ve researched.

Contacting the auction house proved unsuccessful.


There was a second note on Lot 219:

  • The depiction of a Caribbean sea turtle in a silver form is exceedingly rare. A tureen in the shape of a green turtle by Paul de Lamerie, now in the Paul Cahn Collection, was included in the Victoria and Albert exhibition of de Lamerie silver in 2006.

More questions. Who are de Lamerie and Cahn? Where were their pieces exhibited? And just what are green turtles?

And, why am I being taken down these research roads? Will the results prove helpful in writing my novel? Or  am I just being aggravated into learning more than I want to know?

This journey is in progress. For now, I’ll end with the above questions. Perhaps the answers will be revealed in later articles.

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Remember the television show FANTASY?  A show making dreams come true? A show where ordinary people (like you and me) from all over the United States wrote in to have their wishes granted on national television? Well, below is a letter written to Peter and Leslie, the co-hosts of the show that befits my husband Monte’s June 12th birthday and June 18th Father’s Day.170612 IMG_8158 EP

Sept. 18, 1983

Dear Peter and Leslie,

Our dad is the greatest dad in the whole world, but also a most unusual person.   For 19 years he was a physics professor. For 13 of those years he taught at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.   In spring of 1982 he sent shock waves through the Physics Dept. announcing he was going to take early retirement to return to school.   But not just any school, he decided to go into the seminary.   As a result we moved almost 800 miles from Slippery Rock (Pa.) to Stone Mountain (Ga.).   (Do you know what happens to a Stone Mountain when it rains?   It becomes a Slippery Rock.)

Now back to the letter.   But what most people don’t know is th

at my dad has a secret passion.   And that is watching “All my children”.   He is enamored with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) and fascinated with Opal Gardner (Dorothy Lyman).   (He just loves the way she dresses)   Our Dads fantasy is to meet Erica and Opal.   But we would also like to add to his fantasy.   We would just love for him to play a bit part with Erica and Opal. Because we feel that this would be a very appropriate activity for an upcoming minister.

Of course he does not know this letter is being written but if this fantasy does come true, my dad will be the happiest minister that ever set foot on this earth.

Sincerely yours,

Sandy Holland

Nolan Holland

P. S. My mom said they both were going off the show in November.


170528 _MG_4663 EP

Happy birthday and Father’s Day. (Pix taken on the Buffalo NY waterfront.)

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Microsoft Office Installs Windows 10 Without Permission

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)



What angers and worries me is Microsoft’s ability to take over my computer and change my choices without my consent. I’ve continually hit the ‘no’ button when asked to install it. That is my preference.display

I carefully set my laptop on a chair, then went to fix dinner. My hunger satisfied I returned to my work, when to my surprise something strange happening on my laptop.

What the… What was going on? Windows 10 was being uploaded (replacing Windows 8). I was certain I hadn’t hit any pop-ups by mistake.

That was June 15, 2016, one week ago. It’s been a struggle to use my laptop ever since.256-256-7445783d3f1d95d69c226587e0962cb5-emoticon

Not knowing what to do I waited out the download. I waited…and waited…and waited, unable to return to my work because I feared what would happen to my flash drive content if I removed it.

By the time the download was completed I was mad, a frame of mind rare for me. In fact, I was irate. How did this happen on my computer?

When Windows 10 was done uploading my struggle to access my laptop wasn’t over. Updates were now being loaded. Frustrated, I pulled out my flash drive, hoping not to lose more than my latest current work. I plugged said flash drive into our house computer and discovered my work was safe.

I lost almost 3 hours of computer time. When I began working on Windows 10 I was confused. Enough was new—different—that using it was a struggle.

After all, I didn’t grow up using computers. My computer advisers know I struggle with each new computer challenge.Desktop_computer_clipart_-_Yellow_theme.svg (1)

The next morning I whined to a friend who is much more computer savvy than I am. Fred told me that the same thing happened to his wife. So I wasn’t crazy after all.

A week later I saw my sister Jane. I told her what had happened. At first she didn’t believe me, convinced I must have authorized the Windows 10 installation even if by accident. She went to her fancy phone with Internet access to determine if my tale had validity. The second site listed was Continue reading

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A time to Be Born and a Time to Die: Issues At the beginning & end of life Pt. 3

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)



Medical Technologies at the

Beginning and End of Life Cycle    

Part 3 of 3 Parts: Living Wills

NOTE: This is the last post in a series of three that are an edited version of the first two articles I wrote, launching my work as a freelance photojournalist. They come from a two-part article from a public round-table discussion on the topic in the title. Panel participants included medical, professional, religious, and community members.

Click on the links to read parts 1 and 2:

It was suggested I update these articles written 24 years ago. I decided not to, in order to show that issues we were wrestling with at the beginning of the electronics age still remain—although the struggle may have intensified.


Questions today surrounding the preservation of life are different today than in the past. Formerly, “not breathing” was the criteria for determining death. Today, breathing can be maintained for decades in an otherwise vegetative body. Thus, technology has created a struggle in the redefinition issues of life and death.

One issue arising out of this milieu is Who has the responsibility to make decisions in life and death situations?

Consider medical practices surrounding life support systems. What is the right of the patient? Does he have the right to determine Continue reading

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