Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lazy Mary

It’s been so cold the last couple of days with frosts and snow down in the south. I have been quite tired too and yesterday I really didn’t want to get out of the warmth of my bed. I have suffered a little of depression in the past and so I know that sometimes I have to really shut out the black dog and talk myself into getting out of bed.

This morning the song Lazy Mary came to mind. 
Lazy Mary, will you get up,
Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up,
So early in the morning?
No, dear Mother, I won't get up,
I won't get up, I won't get up.
No, dear Mother, I won't get up,
So early in the morning.

Lazy Mary, will you get up,
Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up,
So early in the morning?

What'll you give me for my breakfast,
For my breakfast, for my breakfast?
What'll you give me for my breakfast,
So early in the morning?

A little bowl of bread and milk,
Of bread and milk, of bread and milk.
A little bowl of bread and milk,
So early in the morning.

Then, dear Mother, I won't get up,
I won't get up, I won't get up.
Then, dear Mother, I won't get up,
So early in the morning.

A nice young man with rosy cheeks,
With rosy cheeks, with rosy cheeks!
A nice young man with rosy cheeks,
So early in the morning.

Then, dear Mother, I will get up,
I will get up, I will get up.
Then, dear Mother, I will get up,
So early in the morning.

As with the nursery rhymes I know, I am intrigued to know their origins so wondered where this one came from.
After reading the books listed on the literate housewife website for Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Novels I recalled the life of Queen Mary and thought the song had been sung about her.

Queen Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558) was Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She was the only child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. From the age of 15, Mary was often sick with irregular menstruation and depression, although it is not clear whether this was caused by stress, puberty or a more deep-seated disease.  She was often bedridden for some days and on one occasion in 1542 Mary fell seriously ill and may have been in danger of losing her life. Her father King Henry was concerned enough to send his own doctors to look after her.

She married very late at 38 although numerous suitors were sort for the good of England and the throne but none were carried through until Prince Philip of Spain. He was never in England for long and this upset Mary. She had two false pregnancies and never gave birth to a child dying at the age of 42. Mary was weak and ill from May 1558 and died at St. James's Palace during an influenza epidemic. She was in pain, possibly from ovarian cysts or uterine cancer.

So I naturally assumed that this song was about Mary not wanting to get out of bed either through illness or the lack of a husband. The prospect of “A nice young man with rosy cheeks,” was a sure motive for her to ‘get up’

On searching the web I could only find references to a song from the early 1900’s. It is related to a song called “She Won’t Get Up,” by Randolph which is more related to just wanting to get the girl out of bed. In an Alabama version they try to get her up first for breakfast, then for dinner and finally for supper. The rewards are different in the two versions.

Lazy Mary, will you get up? Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up, Will you get up this morning.

What will you give me for my breakfast? for my breakfast, for my breakfast?
What will you give me for my breakfast, if I get up this morning.

Ham and eggs (spoken)

No, no, mother, I won't get up, I won't get up, I won't get up.
No no, mother, I won't get up, I won't get up this morning.

Lazy Mary, will you get up? Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up, Will you get up today?

What will you give me for my dinner? for my dinner, for my dinner?
What will you give me for my dinner, if I get up today.

Chicken pie (spoken)

No, no, mother, I won't get up, I won't get up, I won't get up.
No no, mother, I won't get up, I won't get up today.
Lazy Mary, will you get up? Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up, Will you get up this evening?

What will you give me for my supper? for my supper, for my supper?
What will you give me for my supper, if I get up this evening?

A nice young man with red rosy cheeks (spoken)

Yes, dear Mother, I will get up, I will get up, I will get up.
Yes, dear Mother, I will get up, I will get up this evening.

Source: Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 72-73 (1915)
It is sung to the tune "The Mulberry Bush." A melodic relationship with "Marry-Ma-Tansa" is suggested.  "Lazy Mary" was collected by Maude Minish Sutton from Miss Nell Searcy, Chimmney Rock, North Carolina, ca. 1927, in the "Game and Rhymes” section (Ed Paul G. Brewerster) of the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore Vol. 5, "The Music of the Folk Songs," (Ed. J. P. Schinhan) Duke University Press, Durham, North Caroliina. The words to this song are provided by Iona and Peter Opie's The Singing Game {Oxford University Press, 1985} "Play-Pary, Courting, and Kissing Games and Songs."

In this game Lazy Mary lies down in the centre of a ring with her mother kneeling beside her, attempting to persuade her to get up. Butter and bread is not much of an inducement, but a young man with rosy checks is quite a different matter. Again, it is a pairing game with a kiss to seal the getting up.

Another of the game song's performance is described as:
"A ring with mother and daughter in the centre, the daughter with closed eyes. The mother advances and retreats. Not surprisingly the game does not appear in any collections aimed at children...Crofton found it jumbled up with other games in Dukinfield, Chesire, c1875. The daughter sits with 'wi' pinny up to her face' in the ring and asked
 What shall I have to my breakfast,
       If I get up today?
       Tea and toast to your breakfast
       If you get up today.
       No, Mother, no! I winna get up,
       I winna get up today.

And in still another: All the children sing the first verse, while dancing around the child chosen to be "Lazy Mary." Then they all sing the second verse together.
Lazy Mary, will you get up,
Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up,
Will you get up today?

No, no Mother, I won’t get up,
I won’t get up, I won’t get up.
No, no Mother, I won’t get up,
I won’t get up today.

Source: Newell, Games and Songs of American Children (1903)

It had become entangled with 'The Keys of Heaven' in Devon and Somerset by the 1920s, but by that time was fully alive as an independent game in the United States and Dublin, where it was 'still very popular' in 1975."

Today was not a good start. I was woken by my eldest (just as well she rung) at 8.15am and after a chat I got out of bed and a quick ready for work. However, while in the shower I was beginning to feel quite unwell. After thinking of the song again I thought no wonder she wasn’t keen to get out of bed if she felt like I did and no tempting food would encourage her. In fact my breakfast and morning cuppa ended up down the drain so for me I wouldn’t be getting out of bed for food... but maybe a nice young man!
Well not really, but I could well understand!

See also Eloise Hubbard Linscott, Folk Songs of Old New England (Macmillan, 1939,).
William Wells Newell, Games and Songs of American Children (1884; rpt. Clearfield, 1992)
American Folk Poetry - An Anthology

Monday, May 27, 2013


I collected the mail today and there was just one letter, a request for money. It seems these days I can get up to one a day from various organizations asking for donations for one thing or another. I have my favourites that I do give to through the year, but at times I do wonder how much of my donation is being actually given to the cause or whether it is just used to ask for more money!!

I was feeling a bit low as "stuff" has been going on in our lives. On Saturday we were with others as they buried a lovely man who had died from cancer. On the way there we were very close to arriving on a scene as it happened of a horrific accident (well it wasn't really an accident as she had been kidnapped) and we could see some of the horror of it as locals were redirecting us. I had taken today off work as I am sort of trying to get over an issue that involved a truck and my car while I was driving it a month ago. Harry and I are still sort of coming to terms with the "ENS" (empty nest syndrome) as he now calls it. I know that was a few months ago but its actually still taking us a bit of time to get used to it after having children in the home for over thirty two years.

So today after popping into town to do a few errands I thought I would check the mail - I had forgotten to do so before hand. I could tell it was a request of some sort as the envelope was bulky and that usually means a letter of request and free post envelope enclosed.

On opening it there was a lot of 'stuff' from the Starship Foundation. I was thinking of just throwing this lot away
when I noticed a book mark. It photos of four children who had obviously bee treated at Starship but on the other side it had this quote:

"The soul is healed by being with children."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It was such an inspiration to me as I thought "yes, that is true".
You see I had spent the morning before the funeral at our youngest grandson's first birthday and so that meant I was seeing all the grandchildren and three of our own children (although they are all adults) but it certainly made the morning great. To be greeted with "Nana!" and having the grandchildren run up for a hug does wonders to the soul and so it carries on through the day.

And what is more it made me realise that it will happen again tomorrow as I go to babysit another one of the grandchildren tomorrow.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Grandma’s Cornflake Biscuits

Both my grandmothers were homemakers with baking, preserving and cooking as just part of everyday life. I used to watch them in the kitchen not realising that they were implanting a love of food and homemaking in my heart. I still have some of their recipes and this one was my paternal Grandmothers. I remember helping her to roll the biscuit dough in the cornflakes before she placed them on the baking tray. I probably flatten my biscuits a little more than she did so you could probably bake them more like a rock cake (ball type) biscuit.

125gr butter
125gr sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond essence
175gr self-raising flour
1 cup cornflakes

1 - 2 extra cups of cornflakes

Cream the softened but not melted butter and sugar until creamy.
Add the egg and essence and beat well.
Add the flour and beat then stir in the cornflakes so as not to crush them too much.
Take teaspoon fills and roll them into balls dropping them into the extra cornflakes.
Flatten in your palm and place on a baking paper lined or greased tray.
(You could put them whole on the tray as mentioned above.)
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 180°C until just turning a light brown.
Allow to cool on the trays for at least ten minutes before you move them to a cooling rack.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost - Confusion to Clarification

I took this mornings Pentecost service at out 8.00am service and this is the sermon from then.

This morning’s sermon is focusing on the Bible readings from Genesis 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-21

Genesis 11:1-9
The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward,[a Or from the east; or in the east] they found a plain in Shinar[b That is, Babylonia] and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel[c That is, Babylon; Babel sounds like the Hebrew for confused.]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Acts 2:1-21
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a Or languages;] as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b That is, the Roman province by that name] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” [a Or languages;]  12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Peter Addresses the Crowd
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says,  I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[c Joel 2:28-32]

We read this morning from the book of Genesis how God scattered the people of Babylon but in Acts they were coming together. One describes confused languages and scattering while the other looks to renewed understanding and gathering.

It bothers me how the first one plays out. God said, “These folks have it all together – there’s no telling what they’ll do going forward! Let’s make it so they can’t communicate.” They became a scattered people because they lost what held them in common. God didn’t want the people to communicate. The language was confused. The conversations stopped.
Was it because they weren’t ready for the leaps knowledge/technology they would make?
Was it because God thought they would turn evil?
Could it be this is more a Bible story that seeks to explain why there are so many different languages, and puts the blame on God as if God needed folks to have a limited ability to work together?
No. There’s something wrong here.
It doesn’t fit the theme. God creates, we mess up, God redeems, we mess up . . .  In this case, we create, God confuses, we scatter . . .

In today’s Pentecost reading, the Holy Spirit arrives and instead of people being confused and scattered, they start understanding each other. The conversation begins again! A whole long cycle of God creating, us messing up, and God redeeming is on the upswing!

There are times when communication can be very confusing.  Even when we all speak the same language, there are cultural and psychological differences that cause all kinds of problems when we try to share our thoughts with one another.

Communication was not like that before the Tower of Babel.  Everyone spoke the same language.  They could work together as a team - like a finely managed emergency department. A common language made it so that it almost seemed like everyone could read the minds of everyone else.  God Himself said, "Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them."  God was not concerned that they would do something worthwhile and noble because they understood one another so well, but He was concerned that they would use their fertile imaginations to dream up all kinds of evil and then bring those evil things to reality.
In order to slow down the growth of evil in the minds of man, God confused their language. 
Vocabulary and grammar changed.  No one made any sense to anyone else.  The Babel Tower project was thrown into confusion and the people dispersed over the face of the earth. 
Now Mankind could list confusion of language with all the other frustrating curses that our sin has brought into the world.
What was the precise sin that the people did to earn this curse? 
The direct violation of God's law of His command to Noah, [Genesis 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.]”Fill the earth."  God commanded mankind through His servant Noah to spread out over all the earth and care for it as God's agents.  But the people stayed together and created a city to glorify their own name.

If we look deeper, we can see the same sin that got Adam and Eve kicked out of Eden.  Before we reach for the forbidden fruit or start making bricks for the tower - before we commit any sinful thought, word, or deed - we must remove God from His rightful place in our lives. 
When you break any commandment, you must first break the first one, "You shall have no other gods."
We may not think it consciously, but before we can commit any other sin, we must first assume that either God does not know what is best for us or that He does not want what is best for us.  And even move away from Him.
The lie that Satan told to Adam and Eve when he said, "You will be like God." is the same lie that the people told themselves in today's Old Testament lesson when they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." The seduction of sin really doesn't change through the ages.

The first breakdown of communication already happened in Eden.  When God created Adam and Eve, they had a sweet, intimate, loving communication with God who was their dear Father.  Then they sinned and broke our relationship with God.  Our communication with God became a time of fear and trembling.  God was no longer intimate or sweet.  God was far away and something to ignore or even despise.

In today's reading from Acts 2, we receive a glimpse of the reversal of Babel.  The Holy Spirit revealed Himself with an audible roar and the visual appearance of something that looked like flames resting on the heads of the approximately 120 disciples who were waiting obediently in Jerusalem.  On that day, the communication barrier dropped.  The Holy Spirit prepared these disciples to witness to the works of Jesus Christ in every language under heaven.

Because Pentecost was one of the three great feasts that God gave to His Old Testament saints, the city was full of Godly pilgrims from all over the world.  The rumble of the Holy Spirit drew these God-fearing pilgrims to the disciples.  They heard, in their own languages, the mighty works of God. 
6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
In church we gather and talk with what folks call a common language, but too often we speak so exclusively that no one else can understand. I call it “churchy” language
Pentecost – that’s today - is a churchy word. It means 50 days. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter.
“The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways” is a churchy phrase. It means, “I have no idea what is going on.”
“I was convicted to say something”   means “I thought I should say something”
Churchy words are a conversation ender. So are ‘draw a line in the sand’ arguments.
It seems everyone knows the truth and no one is willing to listen to anything that may be different from their version of it. But that is not the message for us today. Today we’ve heard about an amazing event.

The Holy Spirit arrived in dramatic fashion.

Close your eyes and imagine if you will
The wind in the house sounded like a tornado. Fiery tongue-like things appeared and rested on the people gathered there — and then they started speaking in other languages. And then other people who gathered there started hearing words in their native languages. The believers were all gathered in a house — and all of a sudden there was a violent and rushing wind that filled the place where they were. It was intense — thrilling — moving — troubling . . . Strange things seemed to be flying all over the room. It was unsettling! And after the wind came, things would never be the same. Some were excited by the change. Others were angered and just wanted things to get back to normal.
Oh – and folks talked about the experience. They told people what they’d felt, seen, tasted, and heard. They shared stories with one another. They engaged each other in conversation.

On that day, in that place, there was a unity of communication from God to man that had not existed since Eden.

In the sweet, intimate, unity of the divine communication of that day, the disciples did not utter heavenly gibberish, but they proclaimed the divine story of salvation in the native tongues of every person who was there.  They told how Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah.  They spoke of His perfect life, His innocent suffering and death, His resurrection, and His ascension.  They spoke of sin and its forgiveness.  In the perfect communication of that day, they praised God by telling of His mighty works, especially the work of saving us from our sin.

Can we rediscover the life-changing art of conversation?
We can no longer be a people of exclusive “churchy” language. We can no longer be a people who shy away from conversation with folks we disagree with. We can no longer be scattered and apart. We are all in God’s family. We are all people who should be part of the conversation. The conversation with those who don’t know or understand.
Through the perfect communication of that day, the Holy Spirit changed God's church. 
Before Pentecost, God's people looked forward to the day of the anointed one, the Messiah, the Christ.  We, who live after Pentecost, look to Jesus and believe that He is indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God and the saviour of the world. 
On that Pentecost day, the church of the Old Testament became the church of the New Testament through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today's readings are like two bookends in history. 
As a result of the Tower of Babel, God confused the language of the people and dispersed them over the earth. 
On that Pentecost when the Holy Spirit rumbled into Jerusalem and revealed Himself with a fiery appearance, He drew the people together and clarified their languages so they could hear the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
The Tower of Babel teaches us what happens when we rely on ourselves. 
The fulfilment of Pentecost teaches us about the power of God the Holy Spirit to work faith in our hearts so that we might believe that God the Father has saved us by His grace for the sake of his Son Christ Jesus.

From today's readings, we receive confidence to confess our faith to the people in our lives.  The pilgrims who were drawn by the Holy Spirit's rumbling noted that these preachers were Galileans, common labourers, fishermen, tax collectors, liberation fighters, and so forth – really people just like us today.  The message of Pentecost encourages all of us to confess our faith confidently, for no matter how clumsy our communication is, the Holy Spirit has promised to use it to bring salvation to the people we meet.  Then they too can participate in the rumble and fire of Pentecost.  
John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Let us pray
Come, Holy Spirit. Set our hearts on fire! Let us experience the excitement as we are amazed and astonished as at the first Pentecost
Let us be the people who are willing to start and continue conversations.
Let us be a people who seek to understand more through sharing and listening.
Let us be a people who are part of the Holy Spirit’s world-changing wind.

Sermon Fiona Van Lent 19/5/13
 All scripture is taken from New International Version 1984