Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

Sorry to have been so long again between posts. We have been really caught up in Christmas activities --a party at Church and a special meal for our food distribution program. We've had company--friends of the Virginia's (and they are pretty close to the boys, too), shopping, cleaning, and the ever-present laundry. Tomorrow, we will have morning services only, but that's ok. We are having company (those same friends) over for hot chocolate and cookies after Church. 
Michael and I went Christmas shopping yesterday--we spent a lot of time in Big Town--the traffic was really beyond 'bustling.' We did get to go to Cracker Barrel for supper which was really nice. They seated us right in front of the fire place, and that was wonderful. The weather was cool and rainy--today it is really windy outside.  I don't know what is going to happen on the snow front. I don't think we're expecting any soon, but who really knows for sure?

Tomorrow we are having a Christmas communion, and  that will be marvelous.
I have to relate what happened Thursday at our food distribution--a couple came in who had been led by the Holy Spirit to give a financial gift to a family with children.  They had stopped at a business which they believed would be able to help, but that business didn't know really what to do.  The couple saw our sign for the "Free Hot Meal" and stopped.  They talked with Michael about what they wanted to do.  We have a family at our Church now that has three precious children. Mom and Dad are tying their best to follow the Lord.  As a matter of fact, the Mom was one of our Church youth some time ago, but she left when she moved out of the area.  They have very limited resources but share with the Church what they have in terms of love, service and money.  Michael believes they are the perfect ones for this blessing, and I agree. It is just amazing. 
Our Catholic brothers and sisters seem to have the Spiritual gift of watching for and seeing miracles.  I think we as Baptists need to keep our eyes open a little bit wider for these wonderful moments.  They're there. 
He is still with us!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Loving this Week

I found this on Etsy today and just had to post it. (For some reason, the link is not copying, but you can find this on Etsy searching for the Dollface Embroidery shop.  
Classes are done and exams and grading remain. My stressful work is done for the semester. I had stress right up to the last day, having to deal with a student that had given me fits for most of the semester.  Not my favorite thing to do.  I had another situation early in the semester that I thought might end like this, but she has been a treasure--a complete attitude reversal. You just never know the direction things like this will take.

This week, I do have to give an exam on Friday and then another on Tuesday of next week. My upper division History classes are working on papers. 
 Being at home is just so wonderful. No lectures to write or review. I can just concentrate on home.
I am trying to do one major project around the house each day. Yesterday, I tackled the boys' bathroom. So much of it involves laundry. I sorted and bagged up everything, knowing I would be home most of the day. WHAT A GREAT FEELING!  I cleaned everything in the bathroom except the floor which I will do today. I washed down the walls with my Mrs. Meyers all-purpose cleaner. I added a little tea tree oil to help with mildew issues (there is no fan). They have drawers full of clean underwear and a basket full of clean socks. Towels, pj's, jeans and t-shirts AND school clothes!  ALL DONE! (Well, I am still working on the jeans).  I would love to get in and clean up Virginia's room, but I need her help on what goes where.  We need all get rid of some things from our closets and drawers.
Looking forward to "Family Night" at Church tonight (our monthly meal together as a Church family) and getting to come home and cross stitch!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

If Only . . .

I love this pattern. It captures exactly what I would like to do--keep them close and safe under my wings.  This has been quite a long week for our family.  But, we are all ok. Discouragement and fatigue, as I always say, go hand in hand.  I think that after this week, we will have some perspective and rest.  John Thomas is still worried about his Hebrew grade, but I think he will be fine. He worked so hard at his school assignments during break. I think that helped him immeasurably with regard to what is coming up in the next few days.  James Martin has had months of ups and downs, and he does a good job of handling it, but the disappointments are starting to take their collective toll on him. Michael and I are praying for him that something will turn around.  Virginia is more herself which makes us all happy, but pressure of performances, recitals, and academics is pushing her out of her comfort zone.She wants to do EVERYTHING, but is learning that is a problematic philosophy.
These are not bad things--just life. I recognize had kind the Lord has been to us--EVERY DAY. 
But, I do wish sometimes I could  do something meaningful for them beyond folding their socks . . .

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

This has been such a semester!  Our family has been on a roller coaster of events, emotions, and exhaustion for quite a while.  Last week, before classes were out, Michael started feeling bad as if he were coming down with something.  It hit him Friday, the last day of classes.  By Saturday, I had it. I didn't go to Church on Sunday, but Hubby did as bad as he felt.  The kids had moved heaven and earth to get the week off so that we could make our annual trek to Tennessee to see Michael's family. We had hoped to spend a day or two at Ridgecrest, but by Sunday night, we knew pretty sure we would be staying home.  
This is the best thing that could have happened to us. We both feel like we had the flu--all the symptoms except a significant fever.  How could the flu at Thanksgiving be the best thing?  It forced us off our feet.  We stayed put. The kids stayed put. John Thomas caught up on heavy school work. and James Martin was able to get some rest and perspective. Ima Virginia was in sore need of rest, too. She was able to spend a day Christmas shopping with a friend (who had also been sick). 
By Wednesday,we were feeling a little better, and John Boy had completed a major research paper. We celebrated by going to Outback for supper. Michael said that was our vacation.  The kids love getting the "Bloomin Onion" and they brought us the biggest one I have ever seen with an extra serving of the dipping sauce.  Everyone loved it.  We don't have Church on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving because so many are home working on the next day's menu items.  We went to the grocery store after planning our dinner for Thanksgiving. It was nice to be out and about, and it was wonderful to be together.
Today, Virginia, James Martin, and I worked on the dinner.  She made the bean casserole, the broccoli casserole and the sweet potatoes.  I bought some of the Sister Schubert rolls John Thomas loves so much. James Martin made a cream cheese dessert, and helped with the casserole prep.
We had a small turkey breast, a nice little ham, tea, cranberry sauce, dressing.  
This was the first Thanksgiving we have had here together since we moved here. We always go to Tennessee. We missed seeing everyone for sure, but we pulled it all together and had such a good day. I even bought a package of hambones for all the dogs. Each of the dogs had his/her own bone to eat on all day.  
We watched TV and played games after dinner (and our naps).  It was just such a good day.  We have ALL had much-needed rest this last week, and I am especially grateful for that.
Hope your day was restful and filled with love of family!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Family Snaps

Each Fall term, the university sponsors a community choir. Virginia and James Martin sang in it this year. After singing 4 years in the University chorale, JM was glad to be back in the bass section for this group.  Virginia loves singing--she is in the back right, and JM is on the far left front.  It was a wonderful concert. This picture represents about 1/2 of the singers.  

It's been a while since I have had a post featuring Ginger. This is a picture I took this morning of her sleeping as the sun rose with a glow almost as orange as Ginger! She had been out all night and found herself in some trouble with a neighborhood dog.  She was really glad to be safe in her house!
Looking forward to having some time at home tomorrow!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Good Morning!

Thursdays have always been my favorite days. This promises to be a busy one, but that's ok. I think we are on the short road to completing a difficult semester--the eclipse, the hurricane damage, and lots of other little things have thrown us all off schedule. Michael says our Church motto is "we're flexible"--there really is a spirit of flexibility and accommodation in our Glade Creek family that makes everything work a lot more easily.  Today is our food distribution day, and I am headed out in a few minutes to make some sloppy joes for everyone attending. I think the fellowship hall will be very inviting in this cool weather. We have the fall decorations in place--won't be long before we put up the Christmas decorations. Anyway, we will have several out of pocket that are usually there, and M has to be at a meeting (I am supposed to be, too, but I am happy to be where I am going), but we will make the most of the day.
We have been through some storms this semester, and we have tried to be flexible on things that are best served from that position, and also to stand firm on things that need steely resolve. This is the nature of life--trying to figure out which position is right. 
Having George here this last weekend lifted the boys' spirits. Church last night gave us all a boost-we have a friend of the boys' from the college who attends on Wed nights with us even though he is a Methodist minister. His church does not have Wednesday night meetings, and he likes our fellowship. There is often a lot of good-natured ribbing back and forth between John Thomas and his Methodist friend. 
Next week, we have the entire week off from school for the Thanksgiving break. I think that will help us all catch up and catch our breath. 
Hope your week's end is as lovely and calm as this painting!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Historians Three

Three goonie History grads!
 This weekend was the University's Homecoming, and George Loomis (center) came to stay with us and attend the festivities with the boys. John Thomas had to work most of the weekend, so he didn't get to go to some of the events and to the movies with the others. But they all had a good time this morning at Church and at lunch.  John Thomas and George do really good impressions of a current President, and James Martin can do a marvelous JFK.  Michael and I were laughing listening to them do their imitations. 2 Donald Trumps in the room is just about enough. 
We really enjoyed having George here with us. The house is too quiet with Virginia gone with the chorale. I think this is the last Sunday they are singing for the semester. There are a couple of concerts before the end of the term, but they are local. 
I am grateful for the friends James Martin and John Thomas have--they are blessings to the whole family. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Kinder Days

Wouldn't it be nice if we could tuck our children in and close the door to the outside world with all of its pain and unkindness? This has been quite a week for our family, but I think we are the better for it. Friday came just at the right moment. 
Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Morning By Morning and Evening By Evening

This has been a dramatic week of work, worry and more work for my family--nothing insurmountable but lots of ups and downs. We have felt like we were in a kayak on the rapids with no oars or paddles to help us navigate. My brother reminded me that we all have the same number of hours in a day, but sometimes I am not so sure!   But I truly do understand this is life with lessons that will help us in one way or the other.

Wednesday, one of our kids received difficult news. He handled it so well, but was devastated on the inside. Thursday, the news was reversed and life is better than ever. 

I asked Michael last night when we went to the big town to do our grocery shopping, "what is your sermon going to be on tomorrow?"  He said Lamentations 3--"morning by morning, new mercies I see." Written in the midst of God's long-delayed judgment against His stiff-necked people, Jeremiah's words pointed out the mercy, love and hope still given so generously by the Father.  

Last night at the grocery store, it was just the two of us, and a little later than we usually like to be out. The kids were all scattered doing their thing.
After we loaded the groceries, the van wouldn't start. It sounded all the world like a bad battery, but the battery had been replaced not too long ago. Hubby takes such good care of the van with oil changes, tire rotations and replacement--he does everything right he can BUT neither of us are good at fixing anything mechanical. He sat for a moment. He was upset, and so was I. What to do?
He said, "Father, morning by morning, evening by evening. We need Your mercies."
We are not "name it and claim it" Believers. We know the Lord answers at His pleasure. But He also tells us to ask. We asked last night. He tried the van again--it still wouldn't start."
A couple was coming out of the store going to their van, and the man stopped and said,
"I work at Hayes (the dealership where our van came from); can I help you?"
They were also getting into a van that was just like our's. Their names were Charlie and Janet.
 He did jump it off for us to see if that was the problem, and miraculously, there was an empty parking space right in front of us. Another young man stopped to see if we were ok and said as he parted, "God bless you all."

Many prayers are not answered that quickly or dramatically. But He loves us and will not abandon us. If Charlie and Janet had not stopped to help, and if that other nice young man had ignored us, the Lord would still have been with us. 
What a sermon illustration the pastor will have this morning!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Dad has Spoken

My goodness, have we had a week!  So much going on in every direction. I am usually the town crier talking about how much we have to do and how scattered everyone seems to be. But, it was Dad's turn this weekend.  He declared three interesting things this weekend, in the span of less than 48 hours:
1. We have to say "no" to anything we can this week.
2. I feel better when everyone is at home.
3. I'll be glad when she gets back (referring to our daughter).

If I say these things, no big deal--business as usual.
BUT  . . .
when Dad says them, he must be pretty worried about everyone. 

The good news is that although our oldest was worried about his Hebrew class, he is pulling through. With our blessing, he asked for a lighter work schedule to help him have more study time for his course load. He made a good grade on the mid term. He had thought about dropping the course, but the professor said "don't push the panic button" before the exam. Turns out, he is going to be ok.
Our middle son is  awaiting on word from his application to graduate school.  I think he is going to make it. 
Dear daughter has had some tough lessons this week, but is handling them well. 
I think we will all be home late tonight and maybe tomorrow night!
Maybe a good popcorn night!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Paula Vaughan

There are few patterns more lovely than those based on the paintings by Paula Vaughan. In fact, I think her patterns really made cross stitching as popular as it was in the 80's. I have posted before on how much I miss this aspect of that particular decade. My friends and I used to grab every spare moment we could to cross stitch. We worked in their parents' seafood restaurant until late at night, then we would come back to my house to sit and cross stitch to all hours of the morning. These days, I am pooped before midnight! 
I am currently enjoying so much a simpler Christmas pattern for hubby.  The colors are vivid, and there are no 1/4 stitches (and very few half-stitches). The outlining is simple and easy to do. 
I have a stack of Paula Vaughan patterns, with at least two underway; they are, however, so frustrating for me. My faithful friend, lamp and magnifier Mary Ethel, is a major help. I am thinking of trying these after Christmas, maybe using 11-count. As usual, I am getting big ideas.  I miss the 80's rose and blue color scheme, and would love to have more of it in the master bedroom. Hubby is fine with anything I want to do. I don't want to take too much advantage of his sweet nature and paint EVERYTHING pink, but I would love to bring out these colors more.  If I completed these pictures, they would be beautiful on either side of our bed. He likes quilts, so he probably would like the theme.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dresses Delivered and Rambling Thoughts

Brother Barker picked up the dresses and all of the other wonderful bags and boxes of love we had for him. We received the blessing of getting to spend some time with him, listening to him tell of his life as a servant of God.  He is as good a listener as he is a talker. There are no words to describe what it meant to Michael and me to have this time with him. What we thought would be about an hour-long meeting turned into hours of conversation between Believers who have experienced so much. 
Brother Barker said that these clothes will be given to a ministry that serves between 600-800 women and single mothers a month. For each of these dresses, a long sleeved shirt was included, and he was especially pleased about that with the cooler weather coming up. 
I want to try to relate a story that will surely lose something in the retelling, but here goes:
our ladies made blankets, quilts and even a sleeping bag to send--most were made out of gently used items from their homes.  We have a man in our Church family that everyone loves. He has had lots of valleys in his life, but lives now near the top of the mountain with the Lord.  He loves the Church, and we all cherish him. He lives very simply with not a dime to spare. He performs COUNTLESS acts of kindness and service for everyone he can. 
When he was helping us fold the blankets and pack them, he commented on one of the quilts as being the prettiest thing he had seen. The ladies gave him the quilt, and there were tears all around. We all agreed that love does begin at home with our family, and Brother J is surely a member of our family, and we, members of his. This WHOLE project has brought more blessings to us than it could ever bring to those receiving the dresses. I write about this not to sing our praises and share how many alms we are giving. But I write about this to praise the Lord for giving us something to do that binds us together even more closely. We try to teach our children to look out for one another and to be happy to be able to do something for one another. The same lesson applies to the family of God. 
"What can I do for you?" 
This body of Believers makes this question so easy to ask. 
There is another side to Church life that I don't understand, and I wish I could talk to Brother Barker about it:  some time ago, for reasons I will never understand, a family left our church angry and unhappy. They had seemed to love Michael and appreciated his ministry when their son was ill. But, when we have seen them out, they would be speak or smile.
Last Sunday, we saw them at a local restaurant after Church, and they looked at us and wouldn't speak. They went out of their way to show their disregard. What in the world gets into people?
First, I think this is a good lesson in our on-going debate about eating out on Sundays! Eat at home--keep the Sabbath Holy! My roast is in the crockpot this morning! Second, we are saved from condemnation, but we're still ALL imperfect.  I don't know why this incident hurt us all so much.
Brother Barker did tell us quite a few stories about how difficult some churches can be--one minister who took over a very hostile church would set his .38 down by his Bible on the pulpit!  WOW! 
Let me close this post as I need to finish getting ready:  The joys of the Christian life and service outweigh the heartaches. 

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. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017


This afternoon, I was able to spend some time on the internet trading pictures about crochet projects with my friends who  down in the path of the hurricane in Florida.  I think it was a pleasant diversion for all of us. One of my friends is teaching another down there how to make the different stitches, and they both post neat pictures of what they have done. Margaret and I even exchanged pictures of our crochet hooks.

I do about a row every night.  
Think I will try to finish up the pretty light olive color I am working on now. 
Hope to get back to the cross stitching soon.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Is Supper Ready, Yet?

Buttercup came down from her usual perch on the stair railing and made a bed out of a cardboard box.  She peeked up over the edge at me as I walked past, and I had to get this shot.  
Tuesday was a good day,but we all seemed to be coming and going all day (except me--I was home most of the day). The crock pot will have a full workout by the end of the week. I made vegetable soup for our supper . . . ready for whomever and whenever . . .

It was really particularly good, because rather than just two great big cans of Veg-All, I used a bunch of cut-up potatoes, tomatoes, carrtots and onions (then, I threw in the veg-all!).  It was really good. I also made a pound cake for Church Wednesday night (our 'Family Night' meal). The crock pot is full again, cooking away at the "calico bean" soup we are bringing.  Brother Henry will make Mexican cornbread, and Mrs. Donna is bringing her cole slaw. Sounds like a feast.

Taking advantage of my time at home, I made another of JES's recipes from her Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth blog.  These little spray bottles are wonderful.  One, the Peter Rabbit room spray, is for sleepy time; the Raggedy Ann spray is just a sweet, nice spray to lift your spirits.  My spirits were lifted making these, and I appreciate JES's blog so very much.  

There are lots of difficult things going on around us these days. We have a family friend who is in the gravest of health; another potentially horrendous hurricane is bearing down on Florida, my home state. Tensions abroad continue to plague the nation. But the Lord is aware of all. His love will sustain us all through these times. God bless each of you as you serve and love Him this day.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Bathroom Blues

Do you like my jars?  I bought them at Hobby Lobby (the small one I bought was $2!). The little labels were available free at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. I printed them out and used some laminating paper to affix them. I loved this project.  It was my inspiration to get in and deep clean our bathroom and bathroom closet.  Getting this done is such a good feeling.  I will try to tackle the boys' bathroom this week as well. I probably won't make them their own apothocary jars, though!

The towel shelf makes me very happy.  I washed them all with detergent and white vinegar. The vinegar disinfects and also makes the towels nice and fluffy.  
This has been a pretty good day. Lots of laundry, cleaning, and cooking.  
Hope your day was "nice and fluffy"  . . .

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Week in Review

With August coming to a close, we are approaching the fall season (my favorite!).  Busy back-to-school schedules are especially long on Tuesdays.  Virginia has a full day of classes, lessons, and then community choir.  James Martin is singing in the choir as well, so he has just a little time between work and getting to the college.  John Thomas has a Tuesday night class, too, I think.  So, we decided to make Tuesday night, "Crock pot night"--that way, a hot supper is waiting whenever everyone is able to sit down--5:30 or 8:30 and all time in between.  Last Tuesday, I made vegetable soup; this week, we had James Martin's favorite, "Redwall Stew."  This is a recipe gleened from the Brian Jacques' Redwall series of books--the boys' favorite growing up. I am actually on the lookout for a bigger crock pot.  This pot was filled to the brim with chicken, carrots, potatoes, onions and chicken stock.  It was really tasty. 

On the 31st of each month, the Baskin Robbins side of Dunkin Donuts has ice cream cones for $1.50.  So, we loaded up to go take advantage of the special.  Michael had a "german chocolate" flavored ice cream--he loved it.  It really was tasty. Virginia had mint-chocolate chip.  I had this beautiful strawberry ice cream. M had to hold it for me while I snapped the picture. It was as tasty as it was pretty. JM was tickled to pieces to "play host."  John Thomas had gone in earlier in the day to get the ice cream cone deal, but he ended up going for a banana split.  

M took me to Hobby Lobby in big town Friday night.  That was a lot of fun.  I didn't need to get any yarn, but couldn't resist taking a quick shot of the beautiful Soft Secret colors. I bought a couple of stitching notions--I want to make a post about those later on this week. 

Yesterday, I spent much of the day working on laundry and emptying the laundry basket that was full of about 100 white socks. I did some "deep" laundry--washing forgotten things like mattress pads. Washing all of this puts me behind with other loads, but it just needed to be done.  If I could cycle those things through about once a month, I would feel good.  There are some wonderful "recipes" on Pinterest that tell how to "clean" the mattress with baking soda and essential oils.  It is really easy, and it smells so good.  I will try to post on that one day soon. 
The basket was full of about 3 loads of whites I had washed over the week but didn't sort and put away.  I put on Gunsmoke on TV and got it done in short order. That was great! I love my pink laundry basket, but sometimes laundry baskets become agents of procrastination--keeping things in the baskets rather than folding them and putting them away. 

Speaking of agents of procrastination, my beloved green chair too often holds all of those things for me that I don't want to put up.  Yesterday, I cleaned it off  and put the newest afghan on the back.  Dorcas is ready to stitch with me. 
I hope all of you have had a good week, taking pleasure in the everyday tasks that bless our homes and families.  God bless and keep you . . .

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nice to Be Home

This has been a good week, but we are all struggling to find the routine we need to make things run more smoothly. M, JM, and I were able to go to the grocery store in Bigtown (G'ville) last night and really stock up the pantry.  I bought two great big bags of chicken and lots of vegetables.  I am going to depend more than ever on the crock pot this semester, I think. Tuesday nights will be the busiest. JM is singing with Virginia in the TMU Community choir--I am so happy about that.  JT has a night class.  So, I am thinking that just having a slow cooker full of soup and some bread on hand will make it easy for everyone just to come in and eat as their schedules allow. I can put in some chicken, carrots, potatoes and onions for our favorite "Redwall" stew this week. If I make the tea in the morning, it will all be ready when my eaters are. 
I feel like I talk about busyness too much--sorry about that. I am not unhappy, just trying to figure out how to manage the days and get the most our of them AND take care of the family the Lord has lent to me for this season.  I treasure having them at home with Michael and me. 
God bless and keep each of you this week as you serve Him . . .

Saturday, August 19, 2017

That Smells Really Good!

For the past couple of years, I have been playing around with essential oils. I don't know that I will ever get as involved or as enamored with them as some of my friends.  However, there really is something to how they work.  Today, I cleaned our mattress with lavender oil and baking soda. I can't tell you how good it smells. I have done this before using lavender and peppermint--the peppermint was supposed to keep away any little critters that like to invade that space (dust mites, etc). I recently discovered how much I like the scent of the mandarin orange. It is not a orange cream-sicle flavor like some orange scents.  It is also a little sweeter than an orange essential oil  Like lemongrass oil, there is something about it that makes you feel better.  
This company, Eden's Garden, has been a blessing to our family. If your are interested in trying essential oils, give them a look-see.  (this recommendation is from my heart, and I am not a paid endorser). Shipping is free in the US. 

Today has not only smelled good, but it felt good--good to be home and working around the house. School has been so demanding lately that the housework fell apart.  Today, I cleaned out the fridge and did lots of laundry. I will have Monday off from school (the eclipse!) so I can get caught up on school work then. 
The best things in life are often right here at home. 
Hope your weekend is a wonderful one!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Back to School

Yesterday was a good "First Day of School." Our classes typically start on Wednesday, so yesterday felt like MONDAY all day.   Virginia was very excited about starting all of her  music classes as an official student within the music division (as opposed to a dual-enrollment student), and she has a Bible Survey course with one of our family's favorite professors. James Martin is hanging in there with his job--he feels strange not being back in school, but maybe that feeling will make library school even more appreciated once he starts.  John Thomas is enjoying getting back into the swing of things.  He will have Hebrew all this year. I would love to take that with him, but I am not sure my tired old brain could handle it. 
Many of the local school systems are suspending classes on the eclipse day (which happens to be M's birthday!).  TMU has given us the option of doing so, but I think we will meet. since my classes are in the morning.  Apparently, our part of the world here is a particularly good spot to watch it in the early afternoon.

I am still working on getting the office in good shape.  No, the picture above is NOT my office, but wouldn't that be great?  I had a little time to sit down and work on class writing yesterday, but I need more.  With my rearrangement of shelves, I have all the books I need for my classes this term within literally an arm's reach!  I had no idea what they would do to help until I actually sat there yesterday.
I may try to post some pictures once it is all finished.  This is not a redecorating project--just a rearranging (and book-thinning) project. 
Today is our food distribution day at Church.  It is also our 26th wedding anniversary. 
Tomorrow night, all of our little chicks will actually be off from work, and even more miraculously-they don't have plans or obligations. SO . . . .
we might get to all go celebrate with a nice dinner together.  
Sunday is our quarterly "3rd Sunday sing." Brother Travis suggested we eat lunch at Church after the morning service before the singing, and he has pledged a gallon of Brunswick stew.  That is just fine with me!!
Busy week, but a happy one. 
Hope your week is going well.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Getting Ready for School

Getting ready for school again . . . there has been quite a flurry of activity lately with the kids and their social calendars:  weddings, work, friends visiting . . .  all good stuff. This week at the University is our week of meetings. Next week, more meetings and then classes begin on Wednesday. I wish I had spent more time reading this summer. 
 On another note, it is time to break out my well-worn copy of Anne of Avonlea.  I like to read this book before the school year begins. Like Anne, I am a little anxious about a new teaching assignment. All my years of teaching hasn't done much to help me with back-to-school butterflies. 

She had sat up until nearly twelve the preceding night composing a speech she meant to make to her pupils upon opening the school.  She had revised and improved it painstakingly, and then she had learned it off by heart.  It was a very good speech and had some very fine ideas in it, especially about mutual help and earnest striving after knowledge. The only trouble was that she could not now remember a word of it . . . .

Sunday, July 30, 2017

What a Great Weekend

This has been such a great weekend--we had a wonderful visit from a young man who has been a friend to all of the kids for 4 years.  Everyone had something special and fun to do with friends Friday and Saturday. Last night with everyone back home, we all watched an episode of  Father Brown together, enjoying our favorite meal of "petros." 
Josh went to church with us this morning; his father pastors a church very similar to our's.  Everyone was tickled to have him.  Today was communion Sunday, and it was a blessing for all of us.
Tonight being a 5th Sunday, we had something different in the evening service:  we all went out to the fellowship hall and watched  Joni . The story is a wonderful today as it was when it was first released in 1979.  We watched the whole thing in one sitting (complete with popcorn, cookies and cokes).  We got home a little bit later, but that was just fine. We had BLT's for a late supper and watched The Andy Griffith Show.

I can't think of a more relaxing way to end one week and prepare for the next. 
Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Busy Week At the Ponderosa

What a week here at home!  The week has been a pretty good one, but so busy.  The start-up activities getting ready for the new school year have begun. The kids have been put on some tough work schedules--Dear Daughter and Dear Son 1 have had their share of 11-hour shifts. Dear Son 2 is enjoying things at the donut shop, but it has had its own challenges. They had a day when friends and family could come in to get whatever they want, and we certainly enjoyed that. We were able to talk to his boss, and he seems to really like JM.  JM is so tall and big-built that he is able to help with a lot of the moving work.  I think that has been a blessing.   Virginia got her learner's permit, and on the same day,  took the ACT for official admission into the university (as opposed to the dual-enrollment status she has had the last two years).  She is still working hard on the skirts for the wedding. Two of the three are almost done.

A happy spot this week has been the arrival of a couple of the boys' friends to visit for the weekend.  One has been staying with us, and it has been a lot of fun.  The other night, they all went to the Chicken House together, and Virginia took this picture.  This has been great. Our visitor, Josh, has been a friend to all our kids for 4 years.  Nathan has been friends with them for even longer.

Today, everyone was scattered in their own directions, and M and I sat and watched westerns most of the afternoon.  We watched Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone, and The Virginian. I made a little progress on the pink and cream afghan. Having done a lot of housework getting ready for Josh, I didn't have as much to do. That was really nice. I am going to make a pot of chilli