I Didn’t See It Coming

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Before the storms….spidey in the summer shadows
After our first frost…we shall see.

This pretty Spider Plant may have “bit the dust” on my watch. As the photo comparisons over a couple months show, Spidey has grown in spite of being thrown to the ground during three summer storms. Finding a lower perch for her did help, but only after losing several of the ‘babies’ and leaves. After all that, last night’s frost may be her demise. She looks good enough this morning but only a day or two of sunshine will tell for sure. The same for the prettiest roses I’ve had all year. Roses do not appreciate too much rain so they have only lately had their richest color and fragrance. I’d have covered Mr. Lincoln had I seen it coming. I have hopes that the chrysanthemums were not hurt, but this was a 36 degree white frost so, what should I expect? Wasn’t this a bit early for frost in western Kentucky? Oh yes, this IS 2020!

Why didn’t I see it coming? First, I stopped watching. I stopped listening. My mind was not open to hearing the news so I even missed the weather forecast with its frost advisory. Secondly, complacency; I was enjoying the amazing weather so much that I couldn’t think of it having a possible down side. Thirdly, and hardest to admit, I kinda dreaded dealing with it. She is heavy, cumbersome, and where am I going to keep it all winter? She resided with all the other house plants in our sunroom last winter, but she has put on some bulk since then. Just picking her up after the storms was almost more than I could handle and now I need to figure a way to pack her into the house. That is, if she survived.

Mr. Lincoln long stemmed rose below the autumn berries of Washington Hawthorne

Does any of this sound familiar? Am I watching and listening to the cues of loved ones, friends, or scripture? We may become so engrossed in day to day pleasures or pain that we miss the hints that a friend needs encouragement or a loved one may be falling off the edge. Do we grow tired or discouraged when reaching out to someone hasn’t reached far enough? As much as we love God’s Word, do we subconsciously look past the heavy verse that might change a comfortable aspect of our lives? It is difficult to admit, but yes, I do. All of these, from time to time haunt me and last night’s frost serves as a reminder. However, the beauty of the day also reminds me of God’s grace, shielding me and providing new opportunities every day to be watchful, to provide care and compassion, while enjoying His blessings all the more! “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Hopefully shielded by the roof overhang.

The New Testament writers were inspired to warn us to be watchful for the wiles of the devil; for the return of Jesus; for our souls’ well being as well as the welfare of others. Here are just a few. “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33 ESV) “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (I Corinthians 16:13 NKJV) “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (I Peter 4:7). “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2 ESV) ” Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28 NIV)

Have a beautiful autumn. It is still my favorite even with it’s surprises.

The Good, The Bad, and The Horse-flies

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The vicious swarming back-biters returned just as we knew they would.  As I was writing a prior post about aggravating corn-flies, I predicted there would be worse, and the worse wasn’t long in arriving. If like some folks, you are not bothered by the presence of the Tabanidae family, I am more than willing to send a few horse-flies your way. I read that the larvae grow in semiaquatic habitats, and adults feed on nectar and plant exudates, so if more of you would please dig ponds, install pools and plant a nice variety of nectar dripping blossoms, we who have been inundated by these overgrown blood suckers would like to see the population spread more evenly. Thank you in advance:) Some presume dinosaurs may have been early hosts for the horse-flies, which in my book, accounts for their gigantic size.

With no known purpose other than to produce more horse-flies and food for wasps and birds, their presence is most unwelcome. From hammering the sunroom windows like hail, to darkening the 3 by 5 screen in the garage window, they remind me of the Hitchcock movie, The Birds. On the day I used a porch ceiling fan, we had to battle our way in and out of the house, flinging arms and waving hands, until we discovered they actually liked the fan. Fan off, horror film over. Some types of horse-fly aim low and nip at the ankles; others attack from above, zapping whelps on my back more than once. But like all evils, there will be an end. The life of an adult horse-fly is under two months, and usually only noticed for a couple weeks. At the opening of September, there are still plenty of these winged missiles, but the garage floor and window sill are covered in corpses to sweep away already. Soon peace will fall upon the farm in timely company with anticipation of cooler drier air.

Horse-flies seem to embody the difficult parts of summer like they have to run it by us one more time to ensure we know how to appreciate Autumn. They gather up the heat and humidity, and exit in a storm of activity as if our relief was their idea. I suppose all pain seeks gain; adversity cries for appeasement.  Sadly, on a spiritual plain, the evils thrown upon the Lord Jesus Christ were necessary for His pain and our gain. If no adversities, it would be difficult to appreciate peace. The body of Jesus personified the beauty and grace of a loving God Who wants to relieve us of the evils that ugly up our world; to apply balm to the bites and save us from a swarm of sin. You probably know this already; but perhaps if you do not, may I recommend the book of Romans, where in chapters 5 and 6 the inspired writer tells us that tribulations produce hope; hope because Christ reconciled our lives to God by His death. The stark contrast between the problem and the perfect answer flows throughout those verses. Without the bad, we don’t recognize the good. May the grace of God be our desire as we seek separation from the pestilence of this world’s ills.

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 5: 20b-21)

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Don’t Go Searching In Empty Baskets To Find God

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Several of those who “like” a blog are actually inviting you to read their blog, and probably didn’t even read your post through. Occasionally as I check out their blog, a title catches my attention and I read it. One such article this week posed the idea that either there is no god or else the God of the universe must hate us very much to allow all the evil, referring to everything from intentional molestation of children to natural disasters like hurricanes. My first reaction was of gratitude that I have been introduced to a perfect God to walk with me through an imperfect world. Next was to see how others reacted. One comment from a reader touched me especially. She is searching, honestly and tenderly. As she worded her questions and thoughts I pictured a young child stepping gingerly through a waist-high meadow of wildflowers and grasses, wondering which to pick, sniffing some blossoms and smiling; backing away quickly from the prickly weeds; glancing around from time to time at unfamiliar sounds; wandering further, lost in her wonderment. So, how DO we know what to pick – what to hold onto in a world of battles and betrayals? I am not wise enough to adequately meet one so embittered and brash as the blog author. But for the searching one, I offered my source of hope, my peace, my joy found only in Jesus Christ. In Him, God embodied all – His all – the grace and the love we need for hope, peace and safety from the devil’s schemes.

A hummingbird was investigating two empty plant baskets this morning where in years past had been colorful blooms and sometimes ferns. She seemed puzzled that a hanging basket had nothing to offer. I don’t believe she blamed me, for she just moved on to the many blooms and feeders we do provide around the yard. My advice to the searchers is, don’t look in empty baskets. Look where the good is being done and see the image of the Provider Who was the beginning of all that is good; we can’t blame this amazing Creator. ” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God saw that it was good….and indeed it was very good”. (Genesis 1:1-31) He has already given us everything. (John 3:16) Yet in all His provision, God gave us free moral choice, and desires that we seek Him. (Matthew 7:7) Who are we to demand answers from God? He should (and will) demand answers from us as to what we have done to make it a better world. I hope to do a better job of filling those baskets; with nectar from God’s word and sweet smelling prayers to God on behalf of the searchers. May the children fill their hands with bouquets of blessings and find their way home. The meadows are bursting with possibilities.

And God saw that it was good.

FROM THE PORCH: Much Has Changed, Much Has Not

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The other day I ran across a picture of my husband and me sitting on the front porch of a house we rented for a year in a subdivision off Hwy 94 West. I don’t know who took that picture, but I could hug them.

Who were those youngsters? Lean and strong, the summer of 1983, and that was our real hair color! It is no longer; and that’s just one of many changes. The two sweetest kids on earth, ages “almost 4” and 6 years old called us Mama and Daddy. Thankfully only the ages have changed – they’re still sweet, and we’re still Mama and Daddy. We were ten years into our marriage with no clue as to what would become of our dreams and aspirations, but we just got up and did what we did each day to make those come true. Some of that changed too. I cleaned a lady’s house for $10 once a week and stuffed envelopes for a neighbor. I have no idea what he paid me but it was rich for me just to stay home with my little ones and still earn enough gas money to get one to kindergarten, then first grade, and keep the other one and her sippy-cup safe. It let me pay a little each month on the Sears account that carried our important ‘must haves’.  My mother told me, “As long as you send ten dollars each month, they can’t say a thing about it.” (She knew from experience.) Boy, has that ever changed!

But now,  that man in the picture – oh my oh my, that right there was my giant. And that hasn’t changed! He kept two or more jobs going at once; farming for us and driving spreader trucks for Hutson’s Ag Co. from before daylight ‘til after dark. By night, we remodeled the farm house on the 50 acres we were finally able to buy that fall. There on our rented porch sat the desire for our own home and the gumption to get it done. If he spent five dollars on himself in a week, it was rare. As long as his little family was safe and sound, he kept his nose to the grindstone and then came home to love us just as hard. I did what I could to help in farming, which was mostly running him back and forth since we didn’t live on the land he tended. I think I helped in the tobacco fields that summer as I always did, to some extent, but without his leadership and determination my part would have amounted to nothing. The experience he brought to that porch was of doing everything the hard way, as his dad had also farmed alone, and seemed to make any task all the more tedious. Well, the truth is just the truth. 

As the year on that porch went by we encountered several other alterations; a scary diagnosis for our son, which was resolved, but grew our faith and proved the love of our family and friends. It was from that porch we saw our children make new friends, and learn to ride a bike. Carrying our belongings up those steps one January and back down the next, my husband shouldered more than furniture and boxes. He knew it was make or break time. Never a fan of paying rent, he wasn’t about to any longer than necessary. That year though, renting was exactly right for us. The span between getting back up on our feet, and easing back into the saddle of debt, was the breath of confidence we needed. It was both humbling and inspiring. I’ve always suspected that someone was paying a portion of our rent because it was so affordable, and because my mother was determined to get her grandchildren back in her school district. I smile as I write that. But we managed to pay what we were told, and still believe, was the monthly rate, and I do recall a portion of the rent was paid by my husband hauling in dirt and single-handedly shoveling it around the foundation of the house to take care of a water drainage problem. Seems he was always moving earth to make ends meet. We were too busy to know we were living at poverty level, as we were told later; but we never were hungry for anything and slept like babies.

I am not proud to say our focus was not on God those years. Oh we believed, and took the kids to church;  we listened to John Dale’s encouraging lessons on the radio on Sunday nights, but our focus was surviving and enjoying our children. God’s focus however, was on us, as His hands were all over us, preparing us, pruning us and proving us. Somebody was praying mightily for that young couple sitting there on that porch. The hardships we had faced for a decade were lain on the steps of the porch and we stood on them to look forward in spite of our imperfections. The fear and uncertainty that must have gripped my husband’s heart each morning were felt by our Lord Who anointed  his head for protection and filled our cup to overflowing. 

None of us know what the next day will hold, but I can tell you Who holds each day, and He sees your pain, your effort, your joy. He works wonders with the poorest of seasons. “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders and the judgments of His mouth.” (I Chronicles 16:12 NKJV) One day, you see an old photo and think, oh my, who were those children? It doesn’t matter. It does not matter, if they didn’t know who they were, for God did. If you’ve never been through a drought, you can’t imagine how good the rain feels. 

“For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” (Deuteronomy 2:30 NKJV)

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO PDQ?

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As we travel through life, with so many branches in our journey, there comes along every so often a twig of something from the past. Something we hadn’t thought of in years and we wonder, why had I forgotten that, as much as I liked it, or as important as it was? 

PDQ is a sore spot between my husband and me because I had it and he didn’t. Well, he is kidding, mostly, but I was more privileged he says, in some ways; maybe because we lived in town when I was in those formative years, being exposed to a number of things he wasn’t.  When I say, ‘formative’ I’m not referring to the Wonder Bread use of the word, but rather to those elementary school years being a time of forming tastes and attitudes as well as some really great  memories. Throughout the tapestry of my life, I have changed many of the threads but the basic shape and design are still the same. Because of the people and landscape of those years, we learn to be the adults of our future. My point is not to debate nature versus nurture, nor even the pros and cons of more versus less. I would tend to be on the “less is more” side, but I digress. Back to PDQ, you probably know it was a granular form of deliciousness; light-as-air pellets of chocolate, strawberry or eggnog flavor to add to milk. One day years ago, I asked my kids and husband if they remembered it, and they had no idea what it was.  Recently I googled its whereabouts and found it was not manufactured past the mid-90’s. I haven’t seen it since the 70’s. It’s just one of those things, among many, my mother bought for us when we were living at 1709 Miller Avenue in Murray, Kentucky, 1961-1965.

Murray, like all towns, has changed with growth and has been cloaked with advances in technology and modern moralities. But underneath, it’s basically the same caring community, proud of its heritage and revolving around family and faith. From the beautiful autumn leaves along Ninth Street where I walked from Poplar to the Austin Building as a third grader, to the current day walking park of the MSU Arboretum, the beauty of our town is evident. I was seven when my parents moved us from the Lynn Grove community into town, where we lived by the water tower. I liked having that point of reference and when I was nine or ten, I almost resented it when Edwin Cain built next door, between us and the tower. No longer could I say, “we live next to the water tower”.  I loved our neighborhood and formed life-long friendships there. We didn’t all stay in touch, but there was the recognition of happy times when I ran into any of them. Some have passed away, most still live around here, and my first BFF who lived across the street now lives across the country. Sandy Perfilio Jordan, you know Arizona with all its natural beauty just can’t measure up to the beauty of MKY (wink). Well, at least our trees; which brings me to another “what ever happened” thought. 

One of my favorite autumn experiences has always been the raking and burning of autumn leaves. I know, smoke, smoke, smoke, right? The rustling sound of walking through shin high golden leaves; the aroma of clean burning leaves similar to wood fires; and the charred ditches along the roads – the whole bit – I loved it all. We had two huge pecan trees and several maples where we raised our children on Brandon Road. One of my happiest memories is when it was time to rake leaves, sweeping them away from the house toward the road, often piling the masses onto an old sheet to drag them to the shallow ditch. Along the way, my kids would run and jump into one of the crunchy mountains, followed by the dog and shrieks of laughter and “stop scattering my leaves”! After sundown, we lit those leaves up and sat back satisfied with a clean yard and good exercise. By that time of day, it was often chilly, so the heat of fire felt good too. It wasn’t too different from sitting around a fireplace on a winter evening sizing up the day’s work. Then, looking up into the trees at the remainder of red, gold and brown, I decided God probably meant those leaves to best serve as a ground mulch and insulator for perennials. 

Now, I am not naive enough to think any of that leaf raking is a popular opinion; but it’s mine. My opinion, and I have a right to it;  like so many differing opinions and attitudes developed from somewhere deep in our history, we have a right to them as long as we aren’t hurting someone else in the use of them. I think maybe my right to voice my passions, stops when I allow it to take priority over common courtesy. What ever happened to that? It would be difficult to convince me there are any issues which legitimately require hateful tactics, or hurtful words in order to be heard, or made better. From the man who cuts me off to get somewhere first, to the meanness of property destruction, there is less courtesy and consideration than there used to be, but if we do not allow those exceptions to take our focus off the right thing, we will see all the kindness and sunny dispositions for which this community has been rightfully known.

God has always known what is best for us. He did not say “Be ye kind as long as you’re ahead” did He? He did say, “add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (II Peter 1: 5-7 NKJV)  Guilty as the next person in speaking my mind, I really have to watch myself or I become “that person”. But with the faith and knowledge, I should persevere in self-control until kindness is my automatic reaction. I’m truly sorry to all who’ve been the victim of any unkindness from me. Having said that, I am moving on.

I would sure love for them to bring back the ten cent Mr. Malty! That was my favorite Dairy Queen treat; back when we as children could walk the five and a half blocks with a dime in our pockets and no fear. What ever happened to that?!

Confound Corn Flies!

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It seems everyone wants to bellyache these days about something. I don’t know if it’s the weather (because we complain about that too; too hot, too rainy, too windy, too still) or if they’ve been social distancing so long they’ve forgotten how to be nice. There seems to be a protest about everything now, from masks to monuments. One person wants more protection while another wants lawlessness. Folks are running down our leaders while the leaders themselves can’t even find enough common ground to hold up one another. From city councils to international relations, everyone wants to be heard but no one wants to hear. News is filled with snarling, hissing and snapping like a room full of sore tailed cats and junkyard dogs. Bullies are forging ahead while bystanders gasp and do nothing. Now, far be it from me to complain, but I’ve about had it; only not with any of the above.

I tolerate heat and humidity with a bandana, a Yeti full of ice water and a couple showers a day. Combatting weeds, grass and European House Sparrows requires no mask; but the behavior of some grocery patrons makes me glad my expressions are masked in that battle. I handle the news with the off button. I turn a deaf ear to the political propaganda because their behavior speaks louder than words anyway. I tolerate the protesting as long as it’s peaceful because, well, it is one of our freedoms, and after battling my own back yard, I have no energy left to argue anyway.  I am not married to any monument nor flag; just my husband and my Lord and it’s a full time job explaining one of them to the other. In the face of Covid, I’ve turned green lights on the front of our Kentucky home and made a few batches of masks and tried to send some encouraging words to shut-ins. So I try to be a positive person, so help me I do! But today my patience has reached its limit. Corn tassel flies. I feel like I’m swearing when I say their name. Temperatures of “feels like 101” did not drive me in. Whether rain or sunshine, there are always blessings within and reasons to thank God.  Wasps, no problem; there’s a spray that shoots higher than our second story window. Ants, put down the Terro or call the exterminator. But there is no relief – NONE – from these pestering tassel flies! It has been suggested that a fan will drive them away. I took a standing fan onto the porch, turned it on high and the longer it ran the more tassel flies I had coming in for relief from the heat. That incessant tickling as they hover over my skin is unbearable. The military should capture millions of these for torture tactics, but I don’t guess that’s a thing now. Come to think of it, maybe Nancy and Donald should come sit on my front porch and fight these little pests and then they’d be glad to go back to solving government issues, contending only with one another.

Google says these minuscule monsters are helpful as they eat the excess pollen from corn stalks and aid in aphid control. I protest. I believe we could find another use for all that pollen. Leave the aphids for those adorable ladybugs who do not hover over me until I surrender the porch to them. No doubt the corn tassel flies will stay until it is horsefly season. Then I’ll really have reason to complain!! Y’all be calm and summer on.

Margrette Ann

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Margrette had a beautiful soprano voice as I recall. Occasionally I would be seated in worship services near enough to hear her singing in the spirit. She also used her voice more than a few times to speak her belief that something ought or ought not to be; although, never did I hear her belittle anyone nor speak in any fashion that would have been unbecoming of a lady. Margrette Enoch wore her Christianity in the form of love for her family; cooking for neighbors and visitors (her baked beans with ground beef and brown sugar were my husband’s favorite!); teaching bible stories to youngsters; working side by side with her husband to provide for themselves as well as foster children, mission work and the various functions necessary for a local congregation to do the work commissioned by Christ.

I met Margrette in 1984 when we moved into their community and continued our farming operation there. I feel sure she was the first woman to love on my husband in a way that showed him neighbors are good. Neighbors are kind. Neighbors look out for you. Just being in close proximity does not make a neighbor. “Love thy neighbor” (Matthew 22:39); and who is my neighbor? Anyone who poses an opportunity to provide some kind deed (Luke 10:25-37). We were blessed with friendship and food from her home. We were stewards of their farm land for about 35 years and never heard a complaint nor a grumble. We shared recipes, garden produce (my favorite being her blueberries) and love for a peaceful country life. She made her husband’s old family home into their home for their three boys, in-laws, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Easing  down the long gravel lane from our road to their house always ended with “Hey there! Come in!”

My husband and I both sobbed yesterday morning, June 13, 2020 when we received the news of Margrette’s passing. Tears for our loss; as well as tears for time we’ve lost on things that just won’t matter in the long run. Although Margrette was 80 years of age, she was so steadfast in her life that even her use of a walker hadn’t prepared us for the extent of her failing health. Margrette did not need fancy clothes, cars nor an exquisite house to love and be loved. She did what she could for others and built a quiet legacy of service.

I spent the day outside processing the news as well as all else that’s going on in our world lately. No matter what I did near the nests of our resident wrens, they kept singing and singing; beautifully doing what God created them to do. These small brown birds hide very well in our Washington Hawthorn tree, but I knew they were there by their song. Like Margrette,  doing what she was created to do, usually unseen, and singing her song of friendship for us and her Lord.  I  will miss you Margrette Ann Enoch.

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SUNSET

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Orange, pink and lavender streaks filled my rear view mirror as I drove away from the heartbreak I had been both dreading and denying would come to be. Having just left a loved one who came into my life at the age of nearly nine, we had parted sobbing as I bent to hug him in his wheelchair. Due to the Covid 19 precautions I was not allowed to see him to his new world; a room in a building of strangers to whom we would be entrusting his healthcare as he struggles to rehabilitate his legs to function once again. Wearing his Wranglers, a UK Cats t-shirt and his farmer’s cap he was wheeled into the unknown. From outside, I could only make out reflections and shadows within as I drove away wondering how such great changes can envelope us in a very short long time

The reasons and excuses for why we do what we do, regardless of the expected consequences, are not the focus of my heart when a loved one faces dire straits. The fiery pain within the hearts of grief and guilt are equally shared when love is there. I do not have to understand why in order to feel heartbroken over the loss of independence, dignity and self-confidence. Anger is replaced by sympathy. Frustration is replaced by compassion. Youth is replaced by the effects of living, however that living is done. Good or bad, we age; some better than others. But when the clouds clear away after all the storms of life, there will be the sunset. As surely as we draw one breath after another, the sun will rise and the sun will go down. There is the hope of another day; a better day.

The beauty of the glow in my mirror that evening hushed my crying. I was reminded that God is forever the same; regardless of how we thrive or how we mess it all up, He is eternally good, present and loving. Loving in a way I cannot comprehend, my Lord Jesus Christ is true and just and will judge everyone by the same standard – that standard being a love immensely great and compassionate. I, on the other hand tend to be critical, harsh against the things I want changed in the lives around me, and picky to the point of distraction. Lord help me. Without kindness and patience how can our love be known? Those are the least we can do. Pray, yes. Plead, yes if need be. Petition for help, certainly. But above all, love. Be kind. Be fruitful. Let your loved ones know how important they are while you still can. We never know when we might leave them in the sunset.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind, love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:1-8a)

Dear Mama

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Another Mother’s Day has arrived; the sun envelopes the morning, whose stillness is only broken by the song of birds. “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)  Of all the blessings God has given me, you, dear Mama, are at the top of my favorites list, just behind Jesus and that is exactly as you would have it, for He made all this possible. No, you couldn’t walk on water, but there was a time in my life when I just about thought you could! Thank you for instilling in me a faith in God, by keeping it alive at a level young eyes could see, at a depth mature eyes can reach.  “Her children rise up and call her blessed…” (Proverbs 31:28a) And through her, they learn to see Him.

I had a surprise visit from my sister last evening, ending the day with good memories, and looking forward to today without feeling “socially distanced” at all. Before turning out the light, I wanted to tell Mama about our visit.

Dear Mama, Thank you for bringing home a little sister to me back in 1958. For the first 15 years I only saw our differences and it must have been hard for you to wait. Knowing we were cut from the same pattern, but of different pieces of cloth; you knew we’d figure it out and find the sister in each of our hearts. We still sit and talk about you like you  never went away, and come to think about it, you’re more present everyday. You’re woven through the tapestry of our lives, I know it’s true, for the things you cared so much about, I find living with us too. Your expressions and excitement live on in your second child; and your passion for teaching, your quick wit and smile. What she sees of you in me, I really couldn’t say, but I see you in the mirror every single day! Your love for birds and flowers, gardens and sweets – we share those too. A little wren sings every morning – I think she sings of you. Our hearts first beat beneath your own; three hearts you birthed and took us home. Protected, encouraged, pampered us all, and covered life’s booboos with laughter. Thank you for putting so much of yourself into us, that we would find some part of you in each other, ever after. Love, Trisha

To those boys and girls who did not find your life so encased in a mother’s love and guidance as I did, I pray you will find in your memory the hands and face of someone who did work that magic of training up a child, of holding your hand and being a mom-figure for you. May I assure you also, that you had another. Though you may not have known, my mother tried to be the best friend, teacher and guide to you, to all children, young and old, as she could be. So many faces and names come before me now who were in Mama’s heart and prayers.

Happy Mother’s Day to all women who have carried the thought of another within their heart.

 

Easter Thoughts

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My thoughts have whirled about in my mind this weekend like little Maple tree wings caught in the wind. Like everyone, I’m adjusting to new firsts. The year has had a strange beginning, from climate to Covid; demanding a new norm.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Dreary describes the weather today, Easter Sunday, with another cold Kentucky rain. Memories flit through my mind of sunny breezy days with young children running through grassy tufts, peering into shrubs and up the downspouts. Baskets of brightly colored eggs swing on their arms;  plastic eggs with coins or jelly beans rattling inside, some hard boiled eggs dyed and decorated the day before and some cellophane-wrapped marshmallows. I never have understood the connection between egg-laying rabbits and the resurrection of Christ. Nor do I get the connection between baby chicks that were dyed pastel colors and curly paper grass in a basket. Still, I did all of it. From brand new patent leather shoes to a pair of white gloves, my memories run strong in the wake of Easters gone by. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This year is a new memory for everyone no matter our ages, for never before have we been socially separated from one another on Easter Sunday, or any other day for that matter, unless someone in the family had the measles or chicken pox or such. For several weeks now we have had a new place of worship, at home. Here is ours.20200329_093346

We are thankful for online live worship services, just one of many things I have taken for granted up until now.

A whole new appreciation for the smart phone emerged today as I video chatted with each of our children, showing them the meal we wish they were here to share.

Receiving pictures of two great nephews on the day they hunted Easter eggs; two others as they played with their baby chickens; and video chatting great nieces with new hair color were the highlights of our day before Easter. At first I felt lonesome to see them, but knew too, that we have no idea what lonesome is as long as we can be there electronically. You know, the more I think about our distancing, the more I see us coming together. Thinking of ways to overcome the voids is a tradition that goes back, way back, to a time I have only heard of, and not seen.

Traditions are cunning little comforts. Whether the practice of worshipping with a church family, or meeting with friends for a game of Rook, until something is taken away, we don’t realize what a comfort it is. It has been good to be reminded of times I have taken for granted. Linda Pugh reminded me this morning of a time I now miss. She said her mom always handmade a new Easter dress for her.  I remember several little Easter frocks I made for my daughter. Just as I am sure Linda remembers the love her mom sewed into those dresses, I remember, and miss, the pleasure it gave me to create a garment for my little girl. Good times.

There was an Easter tradition in my childhood in which Mama bought each of her three children new outfits, right down to the little white knee socks and bow tie for our little brother. I recall the excitement of spreading out all the new items on the bed the night before – dress, cancan (ruffled slip in the South), socks, shoes, an accessory such as gloves, or some years a purse. She certainly did not have the extra money to do it; but working 50 hours a week outside the home, she had not yet developed sewing skills. I believe she did it to show us how important we were to her; to symbolically give us a new spring start. The first few Easters of adulthood when I didn’t have a new Spring outfit, felt like I was doing something wrong; the comfort of tradition was missing. I soon learned that tradition is not essential.

Linda also recalled her dad buying pink and blue baby chicks for her siblings and herself each Easter. Now there’s a tradition serving two purposes: fun for the kids now, and fried chicken later. Or eggs to gather; eggs that in future Easters would be boiled, dipped in food coloring and hidden for another hunt.  I guess bunnies and baby chickens are like the newness of Spring, when all things are being resurrected. The eggs though…I just don’t know.

I hope your new norm is working out, and that Easter wasn’t too hard for you. I do know one who was very sad and alone today; we talked late in the evening and all I could do was assure him this will pass. I encouraged him to take care of himself, get some exercise, eat healthy, hang in there – at home. Jesus said something similar to His disciples as recorded in John 13, paraphrased, He said, Love one another, keep my commandments, take care of each other and I will be back for you. On the resurrection morning He said to Mary (John 20) I am ascending to the Father, so you go tell the others.   Later he let the disciples know they had a job to do until He would come again; to spread the word everywhere that forgiveness of sins could be had through Himself.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28: 19). And when He comes again, we too will have a resurrection day. Happy Spring!