A new lease on life

At the beginning of a new year, a lot of people make
resolutions that are easily broken. They are looking for a new beginning. Let’s
take a look at where this old adage came from, and then at how we can really
have a new lease on life. This is an idiomatic phrase meaning a fresh start at a
happy, healthy or prosperous lifestyle after a period of upset, sickness or
adversity. It originally had reference to rental agreements from the early 19th

Happy campers

This modern metaphoric expression is applied to
someone who is content with their present situation, and is likely used sarcastically
in the negative more than the positive. In spite of numerous claims that it
originated on a 1982 episode of Silver
Spoons when Ricky (Schroder) and his grandfather went on a camping trip,
there are two flaws in this. First, it was already in use at least a year
earlier; second, the Silver Spoons
use is a literal reference to camping. Though it is likely that in a literal sense it
started in summer camps earlier, the first citation of the phrase ‘happy
campers’ in a non-camping context is from an article by David Bird in The New York Times regarding homeless men
in 1981:

is not a group of happy campers that
gets off the bus.”

There’s an old classic bluegrass gospel ballad which was
popular long before the introduction of this phrase. It was written in the 1930s
by E.M. Bartlett and Albert Brumley and originally recorded by the Chuck Wagon
Gang in February 1951 titled Camping in Canaan’s Land.

At the eleventh hour

The basis for this idiom comes from the parable of the
Vineyard given by Jesus in Matthew
20:11-16, in which the workers hired at the eleventh hour, received the
same wages as those who were hired at the beginning of the work day. Since the signing of the armistice at the end of World War
I, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918,
the phrase ‘eleventh hour’ has come to prominence as meaning the last

A modern example is that of newscaster
Natalie Morales, who, on NBC TV’s Today Show on the morning of Friday, December
16th, 2011, announced, “An eleventh hour deal has been reached to
avoid a government shutdown ahead of tonight’s midnight deadline.” The deal,
however, proved short-lived and it was ‘back to the old drawing board.’

After Jesus conversation with the
Samaritan woman at the well in which he told her of her life and how the Living
Water would satisfy her longing, in John 4, His disciples admonished Him to get
something to eat. He told them He had food to eat, and that it was to do the
will of His Father. Then in verse 35, He told them that their saying, “It’s
still four months until harvest” was no longer true. “I tell you, open your
eyes and look at the fields.

In front of God and everybody

This saying arose to popularity in the mid-20th century,
and the earliest known printed reference is found in The Saturday Evening Post, 1947, Volume 219, page 137:

“I straighten up. I wink. I do not make
him answer right there in front of God and everybody…”

It was used in the Warner Brothers romantic drama, A Summer Place in 1959 starring Richard
Eagan and Dorothy McGuire, with young Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee.      “In front of God and everybody this

It became even more widely popularized by jokes and sarcastic
remarks, and the 1986 book, Confessions
of April Grace, In Front of God and Everybody, by K.D. McCrite, brought it to
the forefront of popular culture. The idea behind this is based on the biblical truth that God
is omniscient—He sees everything we do.

A Labor of love

This familiar cliché is biblical in origin. It is found in
two separate New Testament
scriptures. Hebrews 6:10, KJV, 1611,

“For God is not
unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward
his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” 

The other reference is found in I Thessalonians 1:3. “Remembering without
ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our
Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” (KJV)

It is unknown who penned the Epistle to the Hebrews, but those written to the Thessalonians are identified as being from the Apostle Paul. The similarities in writing style have led many to believe that Hebrews was also St.

It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness

I used a close form
of this in my newspaper column this week, but it is very appropriate her as
well. In today’s world
almost every day we hear or see in print or on television where someone is
lashing out against someone else because they don’t agree with them. Often
folks complain about the evil deeds and darkness in the world. All of that
bothers me too. A lot.