What, Me Worry? At The Ranch Pen


That image, for those who don’t know, is Alfred E. Neuman, the face of Mad magazine since the 1950’s. My dad used to do a creditable imitation of Alfred when one of the front teeth fell out of his top denture plate and he went around grinning and saying, “What? Me Worry?”.

I can’t recommend Mad Magazine as Christian reading material, but while I was putting together this post, I visited Mad’s website and pulled the graphic below from Mad’s Horrifying Cliches. Maybe one needs to be a writer to fully appreciate horrifying cliches, but this one is too funny.


Oh, goodness. I have released an insane cackle, or two, in my time.

Let’s see. What was I talking about…? Oh, yes. Worry.

As almost all good mothers do, I have a tendency toward worry. My late father-in-law used to tell me, “Quit wearyin’ your mind, Snooks.” His words did help. My annoyance at the term Snooks made me forget to worry for a while. Now, m’dear Gramps–who has always been an Alfred E. Neuman type, too–often exhorts me to “Settle down and go to sleep. You can’t do nothin’ about it before morning, anyhow.” He knows better than to call me Snooks, but when I’m in worry mode I find his advice just as annoying as his dad’s used to be.

However, worriers rejoice! I found a sign in the western wear store last weekend that vindicates us, at last.


(I worried about laying down sixteen bucks for that sign, so just took a picture instead)

Unfortunately, sometimes the things that never occurred to us to worry about DO happen. Like drunk drivers’ that crash into our lives as one did to my middle son in November. Anyone who has had a drunk driver wreak havoc and heartache in their family knows why the organization Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is called MADD. Good mothers have gone to bat for their kid all the kid’s life. That’s in the job description. Drunks, however, leave mothers swinging at the air–addicts hardly ever take responsibility for their actions. So, we cope as best we can. As a Christian, I’m thankful for the peace I find in Jesus when I remember He’s got this handled. He was there, after all, when Venus was carefully placed in the evening sky like she has been lately, an abiding and silent reminder that there is One mightier than I who still makes order and beauty in the world. I’m grateful for that.


A  southwest Oklahoma sunset with Venus to the right of the tree

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Jamie Wilson and her friends tearin’ up, Ain’t No Grave.

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just love their music.


Chaos, Humor, Beauty, and Grace At The Ranch Pen


I looked at my drawing board a few days ago (above) full of old projects, half-finished projects, and ideas for possible projects, and it struck me–my drawing board is a reflection of life at the home place right now. Chaos, humor, beauty, and grace.

As I mentioned in my last post about a month ago, a fifty-two-year-old man–who was most likely intoxicated and shouldn’t have been driving–plowed at 85+ mph into our son’s pickup and it is only the grace and mercy of God our son’s wife still has a husband, his kids still have a dad, and Gramps and I still have a middle son.

Our son is recovering from his injuries–which we are unutterably thankful for–but since the wreck I fully understand why the organization Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is called MADD. Gramps used to work with an alcoholic who liked to joke that he was a member of DAMM, Drunks Against Mad Mothers, but I wonder if the alcoholic would think that cute little acronym was still funny if a drunk killed or maimed his wife or child?

We are a family greatly blessed because we didn’t receive the news that #2 had been killed–so many other families have, and many more will as long as people continue to drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs and while the justice system continues to release repeat offenders. Sometimes we hear that the state doesn’t have enough money, or the jails are too full to keep all the impaired drivers off the roads…well, families, hospital beds, and graveyards are full of drunk drivers’ victims, too.

Next week if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll try to run a few of the top Ranch Pen posts of 2014. Until then enjoy the Piano Guys doing a beautiful job on Come O Come Emmanuel and my prayer is for God to help all y’all through your chaos with humor, beauty, and grace. And, please…stay safe out there.