Thursday, August 31, 2006

Move over Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie; have I
got a mystery for you.

This morning when Tyler went outside he said, as has been
said so many times at our house, "The cows are out." We
have spent a lot of school hours chasing cows that somehow
got out and didn't want to go back in. So I went out and
got the two mama Jerseys and their calves back in. I was
pretty sure I knew what had happened. Last night Princess
Daughter and her second cousin, Nathan, were feeding apples
to the cows. They had left the barnyard gate open, I know,
because I noticed and closed it last night before dark. So,
I assumed, they must have left the big gate open too.

Okay, no big deal. We've had cows on the loose a lot. When
we were given our first cow we didn't even have a fence. If
you want a fence, get a cow. If you want a chicken coop, get
the chickens first; you'll soon build a coop!

Dark, scary music begins to play. About an hour later
this morning the cows were back in the yard again...only this
time more were out. I know Princess Daughter didn't leave
the gate open this time, she hadn't been outside and I had
closed it myself. How did those critters get out? Is your
heart beating fast yet? I think I'll make you wait 'til tomorrow
to hear the exciting ending. I can be irritating at times, just
ask Kent.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I like living in Mayberry for lots of reasons. Two of those
reasons are called Kenny.

Mayberry has two famous Kennys. Both are handicapped
and work at the sheltered workshop. (BTW I am on one of
the sheltered workshop boards because my older sister
works there. My dad is on the same board that I am and
my mom is on the other board.)

Kenny M. goes to my church. He is in his early 50's and is
very beloved around the town. He is a little heavy and has
this huge fuzzy beard. We tease him that he keeps his beard
like that so he can go digging around in it if he gets hungry.
He is quite an icon around town. He gets to play Santa for
the yearly town visit and the kids love it. He stands in front
of his boarding house, which is on one of the main Mayberry
drags, and waves to all the passersby. Usually he has a huge
hat on which tickles us all a lot.

Kenny M. got hired for a side job this year which suited him
to a T. He got to dress up in a Statue of Liberty suit and
wave at people to advertise an income tax office. I think the
name of the business is Liberty Tax (that would be appropriate!)
Can you imagine a heavily bearded Statue of Liberty. His pointy
hat was a riot. People loved it and he got such a kick out of it.
He did it from the middle of January through April 15. Next
year they told him he could be Uncle Sam if he wanted to. He
will be the heftiest Uncle Sam I have ever seen.

Kenny F. is our other friend. He is a lot older, I would guess in
his seventies. He goes to one of the grocery stores and hangs
out after work and on weekends. He wanders through the
store and tells everyone "Hi" and gets and gives lots of hugs.
Sometimes he plays his harmonica, and is much admired, even
though no one can figure out what he is playing.

The churches in Mayberry take turns having services at the
nursing home and the two boarding homes on Sunday afternoons.
We are scheduled once a month to visit one of these three places.
When we are at the Colonial Home, Kenny F. never misses, and
Kenny M. is always there when we hit the Walnut Street Home.
Both are believers, and I felt such joy the time Kenny F. gave
a testimony and shared his faith that when he goes to heaven,
he will be "like everybody else."

Kent and I gave both our dads the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn
for Father's Day this year. As he was reading through it my dad
said to my mom one day, "You know, when we get to Heaven, Tandy
will be able to relate to us just like our other children do. We'll be
able to communicate on such a deeper level than we can now."

Wow! My sister, able to relate; my son, who has epilepsy, will leave
that handicap behind. All of creation will be released from its burdens.

Romans 8:21

...because the creation itself also will be delivered from
the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of
the children of God.

Wow!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

There has been a lot of activity in the old grey matter
this week, but, alas, not the opportunity to actually get
to the computer to commit the activity into written words
that can be saved for my posterity for all time. There have
been computer issues, internet issues, and time issues at hand,
but, while everyone is out and about, I am choosing to ignore
the clothes to be folded and the dishes to be washed and I am
going to get these thoughts written before they vanish into the
great big basin in the sky that is filled with poor, soppy, never fully
developed thoughts.

The really interesting part of my not getting to actually commit
my thoughts to blogdom is that wherever I have turned this
week in my reading I have come across others going in the same
direction, though perhaps not down the exact same path. For
instance BooMama has this post, and Camponthis has this post.

I know that God created us to be emotional creatures. I love the
Psalms and all the depth of feeling that is expressed there. God
certainly loves it when we feel love and awe for Him. But that is
not the only response He is looking for, and I am not sure it is even
the highest one He is looking for.

Sometimes we try so hard to squeeze out those emotions. Friday
night at camp when they say the line, "We'll never all be here
like this again," listening to a soul moving song at a concert by
one of our favorite artists, at Sunday morning worship when
the worship team orchestrates the music so perfectly, or on a
mission trip during group devotions--these are all so charged
and it is easy to feel that these are the ultimate places in our
relationship with God.

But really, I have had emotional experiences eating an Oreo cookie.
I've had good cries over long-distance commercials. I stayed home
Friday night by myself, the first time in ages, and read for an hour and
a half and cried the whole time. Wow. It was very emotionally
moving. Is it the crying and the feeling that make one spiritual?

No, it isn't.

I Samuel 15:22
So Samuel said:
"Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings
and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to
heed than the fat of rams."

Old Testament worship was built around the sacrifices, but God,
even then, wanted something more.

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

How do we please God? How do we obey? What will tickle Him?

The New Testament makes it so clear. My own comments are
interspersed throughout the following Scripture.

II Peter 1:5-9
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence
(sounds like work to me),
add to your faith virtue (right action
and thinking),
to virtue knowledge (now that is very hard work),
to knowledge self-control (wow, what a kicker,
self-control in what areas? Emotions, thoughts,
words etc.), to self-control perseverance (when do
I just get to, you know, feel things?), to perseverance
godliness (that is just really going too far!), to
godliness brotherly kindness (I can't stand much
more), and to brotherly kindness love. For if
these
things are yours and abound, you will be neither
barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our
Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things
is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten
that he was cleansed from his old sins.

The Oreo cookie experience, the long-distance commercial and
the crying over my book did not change the way I acted the next
day. They had no jurisdiction over my temper, my honoring and
loving of my husband, my kindness and wisdom in teaching my
children, my telling my neighbors of my hope in Christ, the way
I treat my mom and dad, the way I resond to those in authority
over me etc. ad naseam. I wonder if the emotional experience
at camp, or for that matter in church last week, left any lasting
impressions in my life. I am not in this for me. I want to be
God's woman and that is an everyday, day in and day out,
journey. I am not my most spiritual when I am emoting. I am
my most spiritual when I am obeying.

And here is the wonder of all wonders. When I line up with God,
when I understand more fully who He is and how He works, oh the
amazement of it, the delight and joy spring up and they flow deep
and they don't leave when the music turns off, but they become
more and more a part of the everydayness of life.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

This morning I was delighted when I looked out of
Tyler's bedroom window as I was waking him up.
First I noticed that one of our Jersey cows had a
really big bag and I thought to myself, "Oh she is
gonna deliver any day now." Then I saw a fawn...
only it wasn't a fawn when I looked closer, it was
a sweet little Jersey calf, and a heifer at that.

When I went outside later to water, I was surprised
to find another little red heifer calf. That takes
care of half of our mama cows. And what a relief it
is. Last year we had some major calving problems.
Kent and Billy are in St. Louis and I could not have
handled pulling calves by myself. (Ty is here, but
not during the day.) Last year we had to pull a
900 pound cow up a ramp as she was lying on her
side unable to get up. It was an ordeal of the first
order!

That reminds me of when I was in doing my student
teaching for my Agricultural Education degree. I was
the only female in our teaching block classes. And I
was certainly the only city person in there. I was
definitely out of my element. Don't ask me why I
chose Ag Ed...there is no earthly reason that would
suffice. Mr. Mac, the man I was teaching under,
asked me to do a unit on cows. I told him I couldn't.
He insisted. I insisted right back.

He said, "Listen, all you have to do is teach the material
from the book."

I said, "These guys have cows; they'll know I don't
know what I'm talking about."

He said, "Do it!"

Isaid, "Okay!"

A week or so before I was supposed to start teaching the
unit I leaned over one day during class and whispered
a question to Mr. Mac, "Mr. Mac, what is the difference
between a heifer and a Hereford?"

He said, "How about teaching on beekeeping." So bee-
keeping it was.

If you want to know the difference between a heifer
and a Hereford just ask...I've got it figured out now.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sallie at A Gracious Home has some great quotes for
us to wrap our minds around.

To them I would add this one by Peter Reinhart.

The spirit of this age is one of personal power; the spirit
of Christ is one of humility. The spirit of this age is one
of ambitious accomplishment; the spirit of Christ is
one of poverty. The spirit of this age is one of self-
determination; the spirit of Christ is one of abandonement
to Divine Providence.











Psalm 127:2a
For so He gves His beloved sleep.

Sleep is beautiful; it is refreshing; it is delightful;
it is a gift from God; it is sadly lacking in my life.

Sometimes I think that from the moment one has one's
first child until one's last child is moved out of the house
there is never a night when one gets enough sleep.
To do a good job of raising kids is exhausting. You know
you are sleep deprived when you fall asleep while
reading out loud to the kids.

It is right next door to impossible to stay in bed for an
actual 8 hours a night, but I have a solution that works
for me in overcoming my sleepiness during the day.

Power Naps

As soon as possible after lunch as I can, I start a pot of
coffee, then I take my timer, set it for 20 minutes and lay
me down on my bed. I always fall asleep sometime during
that 20 minutes. Sometimes I doze and wake 10 times...
sometimes I sleep the whole 20 minutes. It matters not.
After that time I drink my coffee and the face the rest of
the day refreshed and awake.

I've done this driving, well, okay, not while I am actually
driving, but I pull over, park, doze for a few minutes and
am very awake afterwards. I have heard of people who do
this during their lunch breaks at work and it works for
them too.

Happy napping! When you wake up, go check out Shannon
at Rocks in My Dryer for more good tips!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Last week, starting school again was overwhelming. I
just wasn't prepared. But with lots of perserverance
and sweat, all the school books have been organized.
It is good to see their honest faces once more. Some
have been used in my family so long they feel like
family.

I was babysitting a shelf of Landmark Biography books
for Philippine Sister while she was in the Philippines.
They parked their little selves on my book shelves for
about 10 years. But this week Philippine Sister and
her husband Derrill are closing (God-Willing) on a house
and so I packed up the books to send to their new
home. I will miss them.

At least they stayed where I put them. One summer
we babysat a big old Palomino named Charlie. He was
a pretty expensive dude. Twice he ran away and
talked Puddles, our little Shetland, into going with him.
What a relief it was when we found him again! And
what a greater relief it was when he went back to
his rightful owners! He even knocked our old barn
over one morning. He was quite the personality.

There was a little excitement here on the farm Saturday
night. We were in town and when we arrived back home
we could tell it had stormed pretty good: there were
leaves and branches all over the roads, the ditches were
filled with water, a canopy tent in our yard had blown
over, I had to drive through about 2 inches of water to
take Grand-Kitty home.

About two hours later, near midnight, Billy and Tyler
came home. Tyler went in his little nook of a bedroom
and came bouncing back out. "My window shattered!"
he told me.

Oh boy! Had it ever shattered. There was glass all over
his floor. And it had rained into his room. Rained is a
pretty tame word, it had poured in his room. The worst
of the worst, in his opinion, was that his bow and one of
his guns had gotten rained on. The worst of the worst,
as far as I'm concerned, is that now we have to call our
friend from church, Larry the Window Man, to come and
give us an estimate. We'll get an estimate on changing out
Princess Daughters window too. It is old and leaky, and
when the wind blows the curtains do too.

That could be a song.
(Tune of Rock-A-Bye Baby)

All of our windows have got very old,
They neither keep out the rain or the cold.
When the wind blows the curtains do too,
And then when they break we must buy them anew.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Notes from beyond.

Elizabeth Elliot says in "Trusting God in a Twisted World":

God does not promise solutions to all our problems.
The Gospel is not a guarantee of the healing of all
diseases, the dissolving of all debts, the mending of
all marriages, and the fulfilling of all desires on
this side of the Jordan. The Gospel, as the good
news of freedom from sin and self, is in fact also a
guarantee of what Jesus called tribulation. You can't
live in a sinful world without tribulation. Jesus
came to bring not peace but a sword....What I have
to say is infinitely more important than solutions. It
is a matter of obedience. In other words, if you are
the one deeply longing for help, there are answers--
answers which will please God and enable you to
do his will....But be careful. The disciple cannot
test the answers in terms of earthly success or
satisfaction or solutions.

You know, it always seems to come back to the words
of Job so long ago. "Though He slay me, I will hope in
Him." Job 13:15 He is the King. Where else can I go?
He is my home, my safe place, my refuge, my hope.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Notes from Mayberry and beyond.

There are aspects of the social life in Mayberry that just
aren't a part of the life of anyone who lives in the Big City
or Suburbia. Take cemetary dinners for example. That
is something that most people have never had a chance
to attend. Let me explain...no let me sum up.

In Mayberry there are dozens of small community cemetaries.
There is also a bigger town cemetary. The small ones are
supported by people sending in donations. For instance, the
one in my neck of the woods is the Elizabeth Cemetary. It used
to have a little Methodist Church associated with it, but even my
Grandma doesn't remember the church being there. It is just a
small place, maybe 2 acres or so in size. If you are a member there
is no charge to be buried there. You become a member by making
a yearly donation. The money goes towards paying the man who
mows, weedeats and rakes the gazillion oak leaves. I have great-
grandparents, grandparents, uncles, and gamillions of cousins
buried there.

The dinner part will happen this Saturday. We all get together, at
the cemetary, have a big pot-luck, make our donations and wander
around looking at the old stones. It is truly a big social event! I will
think, as I wander around, about the day that my happy little bones
will be lying in this very cemetary. I know they will be happy bones
because they will be looking forward to the resurrection of the body
that God promises to those who trust in Christ.

Tomorrow, in this very cemetary, my second cousin once removed
will be buried. Her mother was Grandma's first cousin. When I
called Grandma to tell her that Marjorie had passed away she said,
"Well, she was 86. She lacked from March to October being 10
years younger than me." That is another amazing quality about
Grandma. She knows how old everyone is and when their birthdays
are. And she complains about her mind going soft. May God bless
me with such a soft mind!

Notes from the farm, Mayberry and beyond.

Two fawns have taken up residence in Joel's yard. Everynight
when we take Grandkitten back to Joel's house we see them
grazing. They are sweet.

A few nights ago we were visited by a skunk. I hate when we
are thus blessed. We all get headaches. Yech. Luckily he
seems to not have made us one of his nightly rounds so we
don't have to worry with how to deal with him.

A big racoon was in our feed box two nights ago. He led Kent
and Billy on quite a merry chase. I don't think he'll be back.

Last night Tyler looked up from the kitchen table to see a huge
grey tiger cat looking back at him from the porch railing. She
tried to get in the house when he checked on her. We think she
must be flea-infected because she was writhing all around. Hattie
couldn't go to sleep worrying over the cat's wailing. We told her
if it stuck around for a few days we would take it to the vet for
their adopt-a-pet program.

There was a big fat spider in the washing machine this week. Not
quite as exciting as a frog, but fun nonetheless.

The house is in catastrophe stage I condition. I usually prepare
for the next year's schoolwork in May or June. Our busy summer
kept interrupting me and so I am now scrambling to get it all
lined out. There are hundreds, even thousands, of books that I
am sifting through. Once I start on the boxes and shelves I
figure I may as well make a thorough job of it.

The mornings are beautiful and cool, they are like pearls slipping
off of a string. The nights are bursting with stars. I just read today
that 50% of Americans live in coastal counties. I love the ocean and
have always dreamed of living where I can go to sleep with the sound
of the tide whooshing in and out, but really, I don't think I'd trade my
little corner of God's country for the shore afterall.

Think I'll save Mayberry and beyond for a later post.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Today is my birthday. I am closer to 50 now than I
am to 40. Getting old is a blast. I keep waiting to get
respect, but when you are as short as I am people
just assume you are young, no matter how many
wrinkles you have.

My grandma was at my birthday dinner last night and
we were discussing how many inches she has shrunk
since she was 46. She used to be 5'1" and is now about
4'10". At that rate I'll only be 4'5" when I am 96. Whoa!

That reminds me about a story I grew up with. My dad
always told it to me. It has to do with a man going on
a journey down into Arkansas. He meets with an old
man on a woodpile who is crying his eyes out because
his grandad is dead. The man on the woodpile is just a
pile of wrinkles and when the traveler goes into the
house he meets the dad, a pile of rags, and the grandad,
an oilspot on the floor. Anyway the oilspot gradad is
not really dead...he revives for another 100 years or
so. It is a funny story!

Someday I'll be that oilspot on the floor!

My dear mom made Rum Cake for my birthday. Yum!

Rum Cake

1 pkg yellow cake mix with pudding
(Or 1 pkg yellow cake mix and one box
vanilla pudding)
1/2 c oil
4 eggs
1 c cold water
1 TBS rum

Beat the above ingredients together

1/2 c chopped nuts

Place the nuts in the bottom of a greased tube pan.
Pour batter over nuts. Bake 45 minutes at 350 deg.
Pour hot sauce over cake as soon as it comes from
the oven. Cool. Loosen with knife and turn onto
cake plate.

Sauce

1 stick butter or oleo
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp water
1 TBS rum

Boil all together for 1 minute

Monday, August 14, 2006

The words "election" and "predestination" are galvanizing
words. The troops will hit the trenches over such words.
But there is one aspect of election that is not controversial.
One aspect that everyone can agree to, but, yet, is seldom
actually practiced.

That aspect is what we are elected to do. Dr Mouw, in his
book, "Calvanism in the Las Vegas Airport", gives an
example of a president of the US who is elected for a four
year term. He spends all four years thanking the people
and the legislature for electing him. All his speeches center
around his thankfulness at being elected. He never actually
gets down to the reason he was elected. He never puts his
hand to the plow and accomplishes the job he was elected
to do.

I Peter 2:9, 10 gives the elect their marching orders.


But you are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, a holy nation. His own special
people, that you may proclaim the
praises of Him who called you out
of darkness into His marvelous
light
,
who once were not a people but are now the
people of God, who had not obtained mercy
but now have obtained mercy.

Sometimes methinks I spend an inordinate amount of time
thanking God for what He has done for me and not quite
enough actually proclaiming His praise to my neighbors and
to the nations.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Grandma post.

I've always loved hearing her sing this song. She frets though
because she can't remember all the words. But, she knows
enough to give body to the song.

Bluebell

Bluebell was the hired girl's name, a fire she tried to light.
She jumped in a can of coal oil with a handful of dynamite.
It caused a great explosion, sad, sad to tell.
It blew the stove through the ceiling and also Bluebell.
She went up one morning and came down the very next day.
(Missing part)
Oh, where is Bluebell? Nobody ever did learn,
But, I guess she's in Heaven, for she's too green to burn.














It was a mystery. My sister (a/k/a Philippine Sister)
was down for a few days with her youngest daughter.
We had had a great day. We went to Campbell, MO and
got a trunkful of peaches. We went to eat at a Mexican
restaurant for lunch. We came home and puttered and
talked and played and then after dinner we decided to go
visit Grandma (the 95 year old Grandma of the quilts).
We (Dad, Becky, Kent and I) hopped in the truck and
headed down the road.

But, it was a mystery. Grandma's house was open. The
lights were on, the T.V. was on, the fan was fanning, there
were cards on the table, but there was no Grandma. We
checked everywhere in the house. We checked the garden;
we checked the yard. She wasn't there.

So, we walked over to Uncle Jim's; he lives in a home at the
back of her yard. His door was open, his lights were on, his
T.V. was running, but he was gone. Aunt Jenny, who lives across
the was was gone too, but we knew where she was, Thursday
night...Bingo.

We were worried, but only a bit. So, Becky wrote a note and left
it on the table. And then we piled into the truck again and, just
as we pulled out, Jim and Grandma came driving up. They had
had a chocolate bar craving and were on the prowl for one. The
corner gas station was closed, though, so they had to do without.
Shucks!

Wonder if I'll get cravings for chocolat bars when I am 95. I hope
so!

We played High Five, of course. Becky and Grandma beat Kent
and me, but just by a bit. Grandma did not hesitate to tell me,
though, what Princess Daughter had done. "That stinker, she beat
me at Rummy yesterday!" I knew. The stinker had already told me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What a sweet idea! Kent told me the other day that
if he had to have two wives he would want the other
one to be exactly like me: same height (see, I am so
short that two of me would make one regular person)
same color hair (whatever that color happens to be
this week) same faults, same strengths, same mind,
same disposition. What a compliment. Or, so I
thought.

Just exactly what would it be like to have two of me?
I wonder how well I would get along with myself. I don't
think it would be a very comfortable home for me to
live in. I know myself too well. I know my sin too well.
I recognize the depth of my dirtiness as no one else can.
I would not like to have another me constantly looking
my way with a knowing smirk.

David, long before my time, realized this very same thing.

Psalm 51:1-12

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of
Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight--
That You may be found just when
You
speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother ocnceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to

know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.


Oh, but thank God for I John 1:8,9

If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness.

I guess I'd be not harder to get along with than any other
fallen creature on this planet. Maybe.











As children enter and move through their teen years the
parenting game becomes much less physical and much
more mental. Schedules becomes ever more complicated
and mealtimes can be difficult to work in. One of our
favorite quick meals is egg sandwiches. These are always
a hit a our house and can be depended on to get me
through the "We just got home and everyone is starved"
crisis that hits so often in the summer. Plus they are
inexpensive, and that is a definite plus to anyone on a
budget. And, on top of everything else, they are simple
and don't require very much use of the grey mass, which
is often a very good thing. My poor grey mass is worked
today in ways that far outstrip my college days.

Egg Sandwich Recipe

Two slices of bread (toasted or not, your pleasure)
One egg fried (if you don't like the runny you may scramble it)
One slice of cheese (any flavor)
Mayonaisse (or as one in my family prefers-mustard)

Assemble and enjoy

Just for fun here is a good breakfast recipe

Mexican Egg Sandwich Breakfast

Two slices of toast
One scrambled egg with cheese melted on top
Salsa

Place egg and cheese on a slice of toast and cover with salsa.
Cover with the other slice of toast...enjoy.

Head over to Rocks in my Dryer for lots of great ideas.

Friday, August 04, 2006














Grandma did it again. She said something that was so
funny that when I repeated it to Billy he could only
say, "She is so awesome." Pretty high accolades from
a 19 year old.

Kent, Joel, and I were at Grandma's playing High Five.
The guys were partners and Granma and I were partners.
We split the two games we played, so we have to go back
for the tiebreaker.

During one of the games Joel yawned enormously. As his
mouth was gaping Grandma, nonchalantly, looked at him and
said, "Joel, I wish you wouldn't open your mouth so wide,
you're making me homesick." Kent and I looked stupidly at
her. I have to admit that I thought, "She is losing it." Then she
continued, "I used to live in a cave." Oh, boy. Kent had just
taken a drink of water and to keep from choking he kicked out
his leg and hit the sore, concrete burned ankles on the table.

How funny she is.

Yesterday she sent up a bag of okra with Princess Daughter who
had gone for a visit.

Here is my favorite recipe for okra.

Slice the tender pods, throw away the tough ones.
Make a mixture of half cornmeal and half flour, sprinkle the
mixture with salt and pepper. Pour it over the okra and
stir well.
Pour the the okra into a pan of hot olive oil or bacon grease.
Stir fry until tender.

Sorry that I never measure. I just cook as much okra as
I have because it always gets eaten. Yesterday I probably had
three cups after slicing it and I used 1/2 cup of cornmeal and
1/2 cup of flour. I filled the pan with 1/4-1/2 inch of oil. I cooked
the okra all at one time. I just kept stirring it so new pieces would
get to the bottom to get browned.

My boys and their cousin are camping on the Current River.
It is thundering out, wonder if they'll come home early?

Genesis 11:9

Therefore its name is called Babel, because
there the Lord confused the language of all
the earth; and from there the Lord scattered
them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Trying to communicate in Mexico was both funny and
frustrating. Happily, at the church there were about
7 or 8 Mexicans who could speak a little or a fair amount
of English and one could always go grab them for help.
Oscar, who is with Campus Crusade for Christ in Mexico
was with us most days and he speaks English very well,
that was a lifesaver. But, at the retreat center where we
were staying, if Oscar wasn't around, there were no English
speakers.

Maria, the main cook/worker at Chula Vista (the retreat
center) and her sister Felipe, were such good sports to
put up with our antics in trying to communicate. Trying to
get fifteen towels for the group, or asking for toilet paper
took quite a bit of my pigeon Spanish and pantomime, yet
somehow they always understood in the end. There were
always lots of giggles during the interaction, giggles on both
sides. Maria even understood when I needed her to heat
water and put salt in it to soak Kent's ankles which had
bad burns from working in the concrete.















On Friday, Kent and I, one of our sons and Hattie and a
young woman from our church, Jen, had lunch at Pastor
Gerardo's home. (That is the pastor and his wife above,
he has the large sombrero; Oscar and his wife Sylvia
are on the left.) We had a delicious meal of BBQ lamb
tacos and cosomme made from the lamb drippings. As
we were talking, using their 20 and 16 year old children
as translators, we teased that the language in Heaven
would be English, Lapita (Gerardo's wife) laughed and
said, "No, Espanol." Gerardo laughed and said, "No,
Hebrew." But, we all agreed that it will be wonderful
when the effects of Babel are over and we can all
understand one another perfectly.

That made me think though of how we communicate with
unbelievers. Often in our everyday language we use words
that are meaningless to non-churchgoers. I am asking God
to make me more aware of my own choice of words as I
bumb into people everyday, people that God has put in my
path for me to actually communicate with. How, if they
can't understand me, can I tell them of His overwhelming
grace and the hope we find in Him. In Mexico it was so
obvious that there was a communication gap that I was
willing to work hard to overcome it. May I work as hard
in Mayberry.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

If I were to stay in Mayberry for more than a day or two
I could catch up on what is going on here. Princess Daughter
and I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Six Flags and
the Muny. Kent and I are allergic to amusement parks,
so it was her first experience. Unfortunately she loved it.
My tummy wasn't so happy. Isn't that ironic. My tummy
was a hero in Mexico, but Six Flags put it to rest. Actually
I just felt a little whoosy and dizzy and was glad to get back
to my in-laws house to recup. We only had two free tickets,
so the guys were in the clear on this one. My sister and her
daughter also had free tickets and we, even I, did very much
enjoy spending time with them! Tummy and all!




Can you guess
which one is
Princess
Daughter? The
skirt and top
were presents
for her from her
new friend Eunice.



The Mission Trip to Mexico was such a stunning success for
a number of reasons. One of the two main reasons was that
there was so much work to be done. Between organizing all
the crafts and puppets for VBS, getting the floor ready and
working the 16 cubic meters of concrete, and working on
the retreat center where we were staying there was always
work waiting to be done. Nobody felt that they were in the
way or just sitting around watching others work. And in
most of that work there were matching contingencies of
our American group and the Mexican church members.
Our work was side by side.

The second main reason was that we were so intermingled
with the church members that we connected on a fairly
deep level. We were with the same group of people for eight
straight days. We miss them. We want to be with them
again. We don't just miss Mexico, we miss them.

Concrete doesn't dry out. A chemical reaction happens to it
that actually locks in the moisture. In the concrete of
Torres Fuerte there is locked in forever the sweat and
blood of two groups of men; the DNA of both the Mexican
men and our Oak Grove men are connected for the duration
of that floor.