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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal

What's Happening Now

Asparagus is up! Come and get it! Picked while you wait! Now that is fresh, folks! $4.99 per lb. This is a very popular item, so reserving ahead of time, so as not to be disappointed, is a good idea. Serve your asparagus with Mulberry Lane Farm's own homemade Ranch or Buttermilk dressing. Deeelish! $4.99 per 8 oz jar or for a better deal, $8.99 per 16 oz jar.

Brown organic eggs will be on sale this Saturday, only! $1.99 per dozen, normally $4.99 per dozen. No reserves. First come, first served.

The tomatoes are doing great in our greenhouse. 'Beka, our resident greenhouse manager, says she doesn't remember a year when the tomatoes have looked so vigorous. Should be a great tomatoe year.

See you soon!

Please, Thank You and Other Niceties

In our current culture, rude is the new normal. Manners are sadly lacking, especially in the "under thirty year olds." Interestingly enough, 'Beka came home from school today after having listened to a ninety-something World War II veteran, talking about his war experiences. The first comment out of her mouth was, "My! The manners this man had! Such a gentleman!"

I'll turn sixty this year. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. But I don't think so. Manners have been around for a very long time, even before radio, TV, cars, telephones, and millstones.

Manners have no class distinction. I have observed people who have little of this world's goods, yet have first class manners. I have seen people who drive fancy cars and live in fancy homes that are so rude, they are like a gold ring in a pig's snout.

I think manners are an important part of having healthy, growing relationships with others. Without manners, relationships just don't flourish. Who wants to be around a person who constantly monopolizes the conversation or is texting to their boyfriend when you are talking to them?

Manners aren't that complicated. You don't need a six inch Emily Post rule book to follow when you wonder what to do at a fancy dinner. Manners are simply following the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I don't like it when people crawl over the top of me to get to the potato chips at the other end of the table. Therefore, I shouldn't do it to others.

Ever notice that self-centered people often have very poor manners? Good manners put the other person first. A person with good manners is kind and thoughtful. They really care about the other person.

Life is about them, not me.

"Don't merely look out for your own interests (we naturally do this and don't need any encouragement on that score), but look out for the interests of others." Philippians 2:4

If you find that people avoid being around you and that you feel isolated and without friends, you might want to take a serious look at your manners.

Some of us were privileged to learn good manners from our parents. Thanks Mom, for making me write thank you notes when people sent me gifts and for not allowing me to chew food with my mouth open. But, I am still no paragon of manners. I have much to learn about staying away from the "me first" scene. It is a constant battle, isn't it?

Others of you may not have been so fortunate as to have a good example and training from your parents. If you are one of those, you have a harder hill to climb, but you can still learn. Start by thinking of how you would like to be treated, and then begin practicing the art of thinking of others first before yourself. Watch others who have healthy relationships with other folks; people who have the ability to put people at ease. Learn from them. Ask your spouse or adult child to be an accountability partner for you, by kicking you under the table or to give you "the glare" when you are using poor manners.

Since quite a few young people read my journal, I thought I would start with some very basic manners. But I do know many adults who could use a little help too!

Cell Phone Manners

Like my Dad used to say, "Don't get me started.....!"

A few months back my husband and I went to speak to a lawyer about some business matters. Right in the middle of the interview, when we were explaining our needs, he took his cell phone out of his pocket and began texting someone. He did this several times during the interview! No apologies. Nothing. A "professional", no less! A very rude non-professional.

Cell phones are such a part of all of our daily lives. They have invaded the planet.

Teenagers must wonder how us old folks had a life when we were younger. When I was a kid I had to stand by the phone that was stuck on the wall, to talk to my boyfriend. I had to wait to get home to find out the news that my Aunt Sue just had a baby. I grew up even without answering machines or voicemail! How did we ever survive, us old folks?!

Life was peaceful. Unhurried. A lot less gab going on. No such thing as texting everyone every few minutes to tell them the latest trivia like, "I just had a carmel cappuchino at Star Bucks---awesome!" kind of stuff.

Yes, I do have a cell phone. Yes, I do text. Yes, I carry my cell phone in my pocket. Yes, I find it convenient; a great time saver. But it needs to be used with good manners in mind. It is my servant, not my master. No cell phone is going to tell me my priorities.

How many times have you been talking to someone, when their cell phone blasts boogie in your face and they immediately pick up the phone and start talking to the other person. And you were in the middle of a sentence! No apologies---nothing. And when they get off the phone, they don't return to the conversation and ask you what you were saying.

How does it make you feel? It makes me feel that this person could care less what I'm saying and that what they really want to do is to talk to the other person. This hurts relationships; closes down communication. Why bother trying to talk to this person?

So "what do you say, dear"*......

.....when you are talking face to face to another person, you know, in real life and time, and your cell phone rings or you get a text?

Cell phones are wonderful in an emergency. If you are expecting a call/text that is very urgent, simply tell your guest ahead of time that you are expecting a very important call/text and that you must respond to it when it comes in.

When the call comes in, simply tell your guest that you must take this call.

"Would you please excuse me while I take this call? I will be back in a few minutes."

And then go into another room and briefly take the call. When returning, apologize for the interruption and carry on the conversation where it left off.

"So, you were telling me about your aunt's hernia operation. So what happened after her stitches got infected?"

In most cases, when our cell phone rings, it isn't urgent. Cell phones have wonderful features like silent ring, vibrate and voicemail. Use them. When getting together with friends and family, simply turn the phone off! Don't faint at the thought. Turn the phone off. It shows folks you are with that you are interested in what they have to say and everyone and everything else can wait.

In our home, all five of us have cell phones. (We are now down to three adults and two teenagers.) We have only one major rule regarding their use. No answering cell phones or texting during meal times, daily family Bible reading time or during our Sunday morning house church service.

For me personally, I rarely pick up my cell phone when a call comes in. My husband's phone number is on a special ring on my phone so when he calls I know it is him without even picking up the phone. I always answer his calls. Most other calls go to my voicemail. I love voicemail! I then make return calls later in the day, when my creative brain needs a rest and it is convenient for me to do so.

Enjoy the wonders of cell phone technology, but please use your cell phone courteously.


*1 -- "What Do You Say, Dear?, by Sesyle Joslin, Pictures by Maurice Sendak. I used to read this book to my children whey they were little. A great fun read with easy to understand manners.


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