Merry Christmas everywhere . . . . .

Columbus house

I am in Columbus, Texas, one hour west of Houston, having Christmas with my daughter and her husband. This is a delightful small town full of well preserved old homes with front porches and lots of decorative detail. And here I have been surprised.

On Saturday I gave readings from my book at the local library. More people came than I expected and my daughter Sara welcomed them and said a few words of introduction. Then, as she went to her seat, half the guests rose and began to sing.

It was the choir from the Methodist church and they came to sing for me the song I had written so many years ago and printed last year in my book.

If you’ve read my book you will remember that I once wrote new words for The Old Rugged Cross at a minister’s request, because he said his congregation loved to sing the song but the words were depressing and rather detracted from his sermon. But he didn’t use my words and I never heard my words sung.  Now I was hearing them and I must say it brought tears to my eyes.

 The New Rugged Cross 

There’s a new world of thought

In the truth Jesus taught,

There’s a new world of living for me

When the way that I choose

Transforms and renews

And lifts me to all I can be.



So I’ll walk in the light of his truth,

Turn from suffering and sorrow and sin

To the joy and the sunshine of youth

That live in my kingdom within.


There’s a new world of love

When my thoughts rise above

All that’s human and petty and low,

For the good that I see

Is the love within me

That shines on the world that I know.




There’s a new world for me

For my spirit is free,

Though in flesh, yet a part of the Word

When I know that I am

And I shall be again

And forever a child of the Lord.



So I’ll walk in the light of his truth,

Turn from suffering and sorrow and sin

To the joy and the sunshine of youth

That live in my kingdom within.

So this Christmas I will look upon that cradle scene with thankful thoughts for the one who came to bring us new ways, new thoughts, new hope.  And I  shall hope we now find it time, instead of worshipping the teacher , to take his words to heart and realize a positive life based on love.

Merry Christmas and, as we say in Hawaii, Mele Kalikimaka.

– Doris Markland




Tweaking the Pancakes . . . . .




I was in the mood for pancakes this morning and fortunately I had just bought a box of pancake mix last week.  I pulled it off the shelf and realized at once that I’d bought the wrong kind.  This was the simple version, the one with directions to just add water.

Oh no, I thought.  That would be ideal if I were a working mother with kids to feed and get off to school before I could also leave the house.  Drat.  But I am often disappointed in the sinple version of things.

Then it occurred to me that it would take no more than seconds to use milk instead of water, and to add a bit of oil and an egg.  I did, and the pancakes were good.

It set me to thinking of all the ways that parents, bosses, ministers and society have given me rules and instructions to keep me safe and to save me time.  Being kept after school uses up precious childhood freedom.  Going before a judge and spending time in prison can disrupt an entire life.  Being selfish, argumentative or disrespectful of the rights of others can certainly curtail time spent with family and friends in a happy social life.

Yet I think of all the times I have needed to adjust the rules as I grew stronger and as I learned by my own experience.  Never speak to strangers?  But now I must, and my experience has given me my own set of rules for that.  Never tell a lie?  But I will, to save another if it’s justified . . or to save one’s feelings (You look great!).  Never wear white after September?  Well, I’ve gone a step further.  Now that I’m old and with white hair, I never wear white.  Period.

I realize that society continues to create things that make our lives simpler, but that doesn’t always make life better in quality.  At times I feel the need to unsimplify and to return to doing things by the long version.  I bake a red chocolate cake from scratch.  I iron my sheets.  I drive to the store and shop there instead of in my easy chair.  And I still write letters, at times, even to people who use email.  Sometimes I enclose pictures.  Or money.  And always, in my own handwriting,

All my love . . or . . With much Aloha . .