Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Time for a Few Thoughts

At last, fall has arrived.  This blessed season is the most fleeting--and it took so long to get here to us.  I am trying my best to savor it.  The hurricanes have kept our weather a little off kilter. Between the hurricanes we had little rain, but there has been some of late, and now some cooler temperatures. I am hoping the promise of brilliant golds, reds and oranges will be fulfilled in the next week or so.

We continue to have 10 or more different schedules to follow in a 5-person household.  I wouldn't mind a return to the homeschool days where we can spend an entire day reading together. When they were younger, I didn't make the mistake of looking forward to when they would be older; now I probably shouldn't look back!

I fixed a HUGE pot of vegetable soup this morning to be ready for anyone at anytime they come in between classes and rehearsals and work. I would like to make some fried corn bread, something I learned from Mrs. Donna last year, but I think I will have to stick to the method more time-economical in the oven.

We had such a busy weekend this last Saturday--the Singing Convention was at our Church so we fixed a great big lunch for everyone (20 pounds of potatoes!), and then we raced off to a wedding that dear daughter was in. Sunday, she had two performances with her school groups at Churches in faraway places.  Everything is good, but I am longing for some quiet and some slowdown. Dear daughter is learning that she will have to say "no" to doing certain things.  The students have learned that she knows how to hem and sew, so they all come to her for help.  She had been given a dress for a wedding (some time away), but the hem was very complicated.  I couldn't do it, and we even tried asking another friend who was unfortunately out of town.  She wisely returned the dress and said that she couldn't complete it.  A wonderful man at church quoted to me some time ago, "the worst enemy of best is good."  How do you figure out which is which?  I think we have to rely on common sense and more importantly, the Holy Spirit of God!

This all sounds like complaining--it is not!  It is thinking out loud, sorting through the day and the week.  I want to seize time and hold it tightly so it doesn't escape entirely.  I did spend some time last night working on a Christmas cross stitch project, and that soothed my spirit so much. I watched an episode of Lost in Space.  

Off to school shortly!  Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hometown Morning

This Thomas Kinkade painting is called "Hometown Morning." Our town looks like this today as we get some of the marginal rains from the latest hurricane this season.  I went ahead and got lunch ready--we are having chilli and chips ("petros") and some brownies. The brownies smell so good in the oven as I type this post. We are headed out to Church soon.
Hope you have a wonderful Lord's Day. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

I Don't Think He Would Approve


On one of my blogs, I have at some point extolled the virtues of a program on PBS called "Father Brown." The show is loosely based on a character created by the great G.K. Chesterton. I love G.K. Chesterton, and I have enjoyed this series and a previous series made in the 70's.  I have to call back my recommendation of the latest incarnation. While this Father Brown is written as a kind man whose primary concern is the soul of the individual, his current writers have taken egregious liberties with the Father and  with Christianity. I can't imagine my Catholic brothers and sisters approving of some of the positions taken by Father Brown in season 5, and I feel sure that Chesterton himself would be quite upset. So, if any of you have watched the show based on my praising of the show, I apologize for the direction some of the later episodes have taken. 

A Little Happy News for Your Day

With all the bad news on television today, I am pleased to share a little bit of happiness with you:  We are all so excited about a ministry project we have been working on for a long time at our Church.  Mrs. Donna, pictured bending forward on the right and Mrs. Linda, standing on the left, spearheaded a sewing project to make these beautiful little "pillowcase dresses" for as many little girls as possible. They ended up making over 50 dresses.  A local retailer donated a gift card and the ladies used it to buy some of the lace and ric-rac. Lace was also donated by a thrift-store owner we know. Much of the fabric was donated by other church members. Almost every family in our little congregation contributed in some way. The dresses were originally to be sent with the backpacks into the Appalachian ministry region.  Our WMU director, Mrs. Rosy, got the sad word that no clothes were needed or wanted. We thought that was very strange.  Michael contacted an area missionary from the region, who at that time happened to be visiting in a neighboring county to our church. He was THRILLED about the dresses and said that he knew of a ministry serving over 800 young mothers and their children. He saw the dresses as manna from heaven. I think he is right. We will get everything together for these families (and we have collected and laundered all kinds of warm winter clothing to send with the dresses) and hand them off to Brother Barker. I think, in true Baptist fashion, we are going to have a nice meal for him.

Wednesday night, we laid out all of the dresses to check the sizes and colors. We have ordered little long sleeve shirts to go with each of the jumpers. 

After sorting and counting sizes, the dresses were gathered and put into a bag. We all gathered around the bag and prayed for the dresses, the little girls wearing them, and Brother Barker.  The Lord's work comes in sizes, colors and textures as varied and beautiful as this collection of 'pillowcase' dresses.

And as if the coffee weren't already spilling over into the saucer, it was Family Night which means a meal together! It was chilli dog night!  Our resident hot dog lover and connoisseur, James Martin, was afraid he would have to miss the night because of a meeting, but all worked for him to come on to Church and have some chilli dogs (his employers are usually really great about working around his Church schedule). 

It was a great night for everyone. Thank You, Lord!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

An Exciting Week . . .

Virginia was able to attend a conference in Nashville this week with her TMU music ensemble, "3:16" led by Mr. Dennis Allen. Mr. Allen took them up to hear the speakers at this marvelous conference. They attended all kinds of "talks" and lectures, the theme of which was the eternal value of hymns and hymn writing. The highlight of her trip was getting to hear Joni Eareckson Tada speak and sing.  We were able to watch a live-stream of one of Joni's presentations.  She is amazing. 

This is a picture Virginia took at the first of Joni's presentations. 

Virginia was gone for 8 days. I was glad that she came home early yesterday.  She bought some books and some really nice tea at a tea shop.  They also were able to spend some time in a studio recording their group's music. She had a good time with that.
We all held down the fort here as best as could be. 
The boys have worked hard this week--John Thomas has had a lot of hours at work and a lot of school work. He is enjoying Hebrew, but it is a long class that meets only once a week (I think languages are like math--they should ALL be 5 days a week). He was saying the other day he wished it met more times each week. His professor is really a great teacher and scholar. James Martin continues working hard at the donut shop. His schedule is a wonderful schedule, and the owners gave him another hour each day.  He appreciated that. They have been really good to him, but I think it is safe to say, it is a two-way street. 
Hubby is doing well. He has been enjoying having his quiet time out on the front porch--the mornings have been cool and pleasant. 
Hope your week has gone well for you . . .

Time to start getting ready for Church--it's so good to all be together.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Back to Normal?

Not quite. 
Today promises to be quite a busy day. "3rd Sunday Sing" has rolled around again. It will be at our Church. Thursday is our food distribution day.  Dear Daughter is gone for the week on a music group trip to Nashville. Yesterday, we were able to a few things done around the house after getting her launched.

This new project is a series of alternating stitches, single crochet and double crochet. These stitches create a pattern of subtle ups and downs.  That seems to capture this last week--ups and downs of a more dramatic nature.  My heart is full of joy and happiness that my friends in FL made it through the hurricane unhurt with their homes intact. I hope to post about that soon. But on the other side, we lost two dear friends to illness.  I was able to attend one of the funerals, just as the storm was coming to our area. The Lord in His goodness withheld the rain and wind until the graveside service was over. There was a misty rain and virtually no wind. But on the way home, the deluge started--rain, wind, limbs falling. The Creator and Sustainer of all the universe cared about this heartbroken gathering of His sparrows.  His Tender Mercies are daily and  eternal . . .

The other passing was in my home state, and I found out about the service well after the fact.  I was privileged to know Kerrie and Lucy, and look forward to seeing them again.
I want to keep the posts positive, and I debated on whether to leave this one, but worry, fear, illness and loss--these are all part of our lives.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
lean not on your own understanding . . .

God bless and keep you all this week. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

New Mercies I See

My friends  who went through Irma have had some interesting insights into life without electricity and internet.  They have commented about sitting around their tables talking, playing board games and enjoying being together at home.  My friends in Florida went through some terrifying hours, but I think they will remember the Lord's mercies more than their fear.
The sweetest story came from one of families at church last night. Brother Travis and his wife are in their 80's and every bit as active as they were at any time in their lives.  They lost their power for a couple of days (as did several of our Church family).  Brother Travis told us  that he and Barbara read the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus by candlelight and that seemed to make everything better. I wish I could better recall his exact words. Another one of our members, Brother Jett, uses a wood stove, and he was really grateful to have it over these last couple of days.  I didn't hear anyone complaining--just gratitude to the Lord for His provision and goodness. We were talking about the King James word, "Lovingkindness."  It is a unique word in the Hebrew and used only to describe the LORD God.  

Speaking of around the table, here is a picture for my family in North Carolina-

We made the most of all being at the dinner table at the same time. and have enjoyed supper together. I made a meat loaf in the cast iron pan, not thinking about how heavy it would be with all that hamburger in it! We had both meatloaf and macaroni for leftovers the next day. That was great!
We have been out of school all week, and I have to be honest, I have really liked that. That sounds really selfish (because it is), but I have loved being home together. The kids have had a lot of extra hours at work because of their availability, and because everyone without power has wanted to eat somewhere with lights and hot food!  But we have still had more time together than in a typical week. Virginia leaves Saturday on a week-long trip to Nashville with her performance group, "3:16." I am grateful she is traveling away from the weather. 
Hope you all are having a good week, staying safe, dry and warm. Thanks to Sandra and others for their prayers. Thanks be to God for His Lovingkindness.

POST SCRIPT:  We all read with horror about how looters and predators are on the loose in these storm-ravaged areas, but love and thoughtfulness are also on the move:  a sweet friend in my hometown, without electricity fired up his grill and made steaks and potatoes for another friend without power at her house. These times reveal the character we have within ourselves. God bless you Jay, for your kindness.