Tuesday, October 31, 2006
of the Protestant Reformation. October 31 stands as the day
that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle
church in Wittenberg. Luther, when he did this, surely had no
apprehension of just how significant an event this would be. And
yet this act now stands as a defining moment in history, a moment
which marked a point of no return. With the luxury of hindsight
we can see that Luther was now committed to Reformation. There
would be no turning back. The true church would rise from the
false, the gospel would finally shine forth once more."
Tim Challies at ChalliesDotCom has gathered a plethora of
resources to enjoy on the birthday of this most important day in
church history. I urge you to spend part of today reading and
contemplating how the reformation has been used by God in your
1. Last week was Grandma's 96th birthday. We had a party
at my parent's home where we feasted on cream of broccoli
soup, wild rice soup, fried apples, pumpkin pie and chocolate
cake with chocolate icing. G'ma Opal got to play High Five.
I'm not sure, but I think she won. That is enough birthday
present in itself for her! We gave her a potted plant and she
said, "I won't thank you for this. You are not supposed to
say 'Thank you,' for flowers or they will die." Somewhere
during the evening she also quoted the following little poem.
If a task is once begun,
Never leave it 'til it's done.
Be the labor great or small,
Do it well or not at all.
That pretty well sums up her philosophy on life. We had a
lovely night. Four more years to 100!
2. Yesterday Kent beckoned me outside and we climbed the
gate and walked through the field. There was the sweetest
newborn red-baldy bull calf nestled in the grass. His momma
was still licking him. He is looking great. That brings us down
to one mamma that still needs to calve. If she doesn't, she'll
be hamburger. Our cows make the BEST hamburger, delicious
and very lean. It evens out all the bacon grease I cook with.
3. We are still giving shots twice a day to Fezzik, our Great Pyranees.
His leg is getting better. He is putting weight on it, though he still
limps some. I had to order more penicillin, hopefully it will get
4. What a loverly windy day it was yesterday. We took a long walk
and Hattie, who has been enjoying the story about Daedalus and
his son, told me that someday she would collect a lot of feathers,
melt some wax and make wings to fly with. I think I'll do it with
her. The trees weren't just dancing and swaying in the wind, they
were swooshing madly back and forth. What a day for a daydream
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Reading is dangerous. Reading can put you into precarious
situations. 'Tis a good thing when those situations turn out
to be relatively private, as was the case a few days ago when
Princess Daughter and I were driving in the car and she said
something about a bowket (a what?). She went on to explain
what she meant and understanding flooded my mind. A
bouquet, as in, a bouquet of flowers. I corrected her and she
Quite different was the time my brother stood up in speech
class to, you know, give a speech...in front of people. Somewhere
in the middle of the speech he mentioned hors dee vors. How red
does one turn when you say, "hors dee vors" but you meant "hors
I'll never forget the blank look on the faces of my sister-in-law and
niece when I mentioned some book as being "mackabree". At least
they looked blank at first, then they broke up into hoots of laughter.
"Oh, Laurie, you must mean 'macabre'." And I was a grown woman.
I should have known better. (Okay, I was a short woman, but quite
old enough to know that word.)
My sister insisted as a girl that the word she was reading was
"conqueer" rather than "conquer". And as a young person I
felt so romantically "mellonchallie"; I wouldn't have know
"melancholy" if I had met him on the street.
Reading is dangerous territory. Enter at your own risk.
Photo courtesy of Flickr
Originally uploaded by BookMonger.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
than sloshing through a soggy field in the gloaming of a late and
drizzling October day. Especially if said sloshing ends with
a wrestle with a Great Pyranees and a shot (for the dog, not me.)
Does it seem fair, I ask you, that Kent got to give the shot
and I got to hold down the dog? Of course, Princess Daughter
helped hold, but that ddidn't stop me from becoming mud
caked and hair covered. Somehow, in holding down Fezzik,
I found myself totally sprawled on top of him. When the shot
was safely administered I was trying to get to my feet by
moving west and he was trying to roll to the east, it was a
hopeless situation. Hopeless, that is, until Kent reached down
and hauled me up.
Oh, and we get to repeat the fun two times a day for a week.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I become while reading it. The hungrier I become the better
the book. Can you read Heidi without stopping to eat
toasted bread with butter melted on it and thick slabs of
cheese on the side? I cannot even image that a person could.
I recently finished the Singer series by Calvin Miller. It was
actually a reread. Way back in my highschool or college years
I read them for the first time. Ever since then they have
been sitting on my bookshelf waiting patiently to be picked
up again. Last year my sister, known to some of you as
Philippine Sister, borrowed them to use in a homeschool
drama class she was teaching. They put on a big performance
using one or the other of the books. Sadly, I was not able to
make the showing and so missed my sweet niece Kinsey's
acting. After Philippine Sister returned the books I decided to
read them again before putting them back on the shelf.
These books are poetic narrative. They are a retelling of the
life of Christ through to the end times. The Singer begins the
narrative. The Singer represents Christ and is put to death for
the saving of the people on Terra (Earth). The Song tells of
the spreading of the gospel and the persecution of the church.
The Finale represents the end times and the final conquering
of Sarkon (Satan) and evil.
These are good books. They tell the most wonderful story.
Yet somehow the characters are flat and I have difficulty in
sympathizing with them. The end war, which should make
the heart just tremble with excitement, is lacking in oomph.
I recommend these books, but with this warning, they will
not make you hungry.
Dorothy L. Sayer's The Complete Stories, on the other hand,
will leave you craving tea (with cream luv), duck and ale. She
always tells a ripping good tale. The stories in this volume
are grouped into categories. First are the Lord Peter Wimsey
stories. Lord Peter is, as always, enigmatic, brilliant, and
yet, somehow, down to earth. What a personage Dorothy
Sayers has created. These are followed by the Montague Egg
stories. Who can resist a seller of fine wines and spirits, especially
when he (the fine wine seller) can't resist speaking in couplets.
"'Whether you're wrong or whether you're right, it's always better
to be polite,'" as it says in the Salesman's Handbook."(The
Poisoned Dow '08, p. 485) The volume ends with a series of
rather macabre stories. They will make you shiver as you cuddle
under your blanket. It is hard, hard, hard to beat Sayers for a
dose of delightful mystery reading.
Monday, October 23, 2006
A small chill stole across the landscape of my life last week.
Billy went down to Grandma's house to take out her air-
conditioner for the winter, and when he got there she confessed
that she had been crying. Grandma never cries.
Princess Daughter and I went down to visit her a few days ago
and Grandma told me the whole story.
She had gone shopping in the Bluff and had a great time. She'd
been wanting new clothes and came home with a bagful. But,
being a Fleetwood, she needed to shorten the legs of her pants.
She carefully measured and cut three inches off of each leg. Then
she sat down by the window to hand baste the hem before she
sewed it on the machine. It was a dark, dreary day and the pants
were dark, as was the thread. Threading the needle was frustrating,
but finally that was accomplished. One leg was neatly basted. Then
when she lifted the other leg she saw that it was not cut. Oh, a little
grinding of the teeth (joke here, she has no teeth!) and then the
tears, she had double cut one leg of the pants.
Enter Billy. Said confession of tears occurs. The chill arrives in my
heart because that is not like Grandma.
But, the story continues. Grandma set the pants aside for a few days.
The sun came out and she began to feel better. She took those pants
back up and decided to resew on the part that should not have been
cut off. Then she hemmed the pants. She said, "The pants are dark
and I don't think anyone will notice. If anyone goes nosing around
close to the hem of my pantlegs I'll just kick them." So, you are
warned. Keep your nose away from those feet.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I wondered, tiredly, which of my boys put it there for me to enjoy. Then, I think, I picked it up to assure myself that it really was a snake I was looking at. It was. One of the boys, right now I can't remember which it was, carried it out for me. I WIPED the table. Then I forgot about it.
A few days later Princess Daughter casually said, "Oh yeah, I was walking down the road the other day and there was a little snake. I didn't know if it was poisonous or not so I smashed its head and carried it home for you to see."
I am not really bothered by the odd snake or two. Still I think I liked the flowers she picked for me the other day just a wee bit more.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I did the errand thing in Mayberry today. If I have to get out
on a gloomy, drizzly, icky in everyway day, I'd rather go to
Mayberry than anywhere else. You can always count on a
warm welcome everywhere you go.
The trees are really becoming quite stunning. I do not remember
such a lovely autumn in recent years. Maybe it is because we have
had a wet fall. (Refer back to previous paragraph.) The colors are
really glowing. I feel quite sorry for William Paul, Paul Marion, D.Jay
and Jimmy Lynn, because they just can't rhapsodize over the trees
as the rest of us can. Poor things they are color deficient. How much
they miss. It does make me grateful that I am a woman...since this
terrible malady runs in families but tends to skip over the females.
Let's see, what was interesting in town today. Two of the ladies at
the bank were changing lightbulbs in the overhang of the drive
through. I volunteered to help since I am so tall, but they just
laughed at me. Pat's (librarian) arm is getting better but is still in
a sling. She is going to Las Vegas for a family reunion at Thanks-
giving. I saw Oscar. You can't miss Oscar. He works for the local
phone company which is now a new phone company for us. Wind-
stream bought out Alltel in our area. Windstream has a quirky bent.
They make one phoneman in each area drive a lime green vehicle.
Oscar got chosen. You can see him for miles. He loves it. Not.
I caught up on gossip at Fred's and the grocery store, so I am set for
What's cooking? Pork chops in the crock pot for BBQ sandwiches.
What books did I find at the Sheltered Workshop the other day
that are now on my to-be-read-bookpile? Beowulf, Clouds of
Witness & The Unpleasantness at The Bellona Club by Dorothy
Sayers, War on the West by William Perry Pendley. I got a few
other books for Hattie and myself, but they went into her pile or
onto the regular shelf already.
What other books am I already reading or about to embark on?
The Complete Short Stories by Dorothy Sayers (almost finished
with this one...I just love Dorothy Sayers), In the Steps of Moses
by Louis Golding, Ambassador to the Penguins: A Naturalist's Year
Abroad a Yankee Whaleship by Eleanor Mathews, The Singer Trilogy
by Calvin Miller (finished this morning) and Above All Earthly Pow'rs:
Christ in a Postmodern World by David F. Wells (this one Kent is
reading, but he wants me to go through it too.) Maybe if I quit working
on my crosswords I'll make some progress through these. Maybe not.
What big projects am I working on? Garage Sale. Mom and I are doing
the garage sale thing this weekend. The money will go towards getting
my family back to Mexico for a mission trip next summer. We really
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
up is that they do not say so many bloopers as they
once did. But, Princess Daughter came out with a
really good one Sunday night at church.
She and I, along with a few adults, were standing
around fellowshipping after the service. I used the
word hesitate and she misheard me. I am sure she
misheard me. Surely I didn't really say what she
thought I said. I said, "Billy is hesitating...." She
turned to me and said, "Mom, that is hes-i-ta-ting,
not hes-i-pa-ting." Then she turned to the others
and said, "My mom always pronouncinates words
The looks on their faces was priceless. And she took
the laughter well. She is even telling the story on
herself. She is growing up. (Now a little lecture is
due on politness.)
Monday, October 16, 2006
Notes from up and down the gravel.
1. I wish I could show you a picture of our two Jersey
calves. They have two different mamas, but look
like identical twins. They are doing something we
have never seen before. Whenever they nurse, they
both nurse at the same time off of one of the mama
cows. Usually a mama cow will not let any other calf
but her own nurse off of her, unless she is trained to
nurse others, but both of these mamas will let both
calves nurse at the same time. It is strange but
2. I may not have mentioned it yet, but it is bow season
here in Ripley County. The deer are beginning their
rut. We have been seeing quite a few bucks as we
drive up and down the gravel and blacktops and even
as we look out our windows. Tyler is quivering.
3. This morning Tyler told Hattie to look out her bedroom
window if she wanted to see something special. He ran
and got the binoculars and also a gun with a scope so
they could see better. Ducks were having a grand old
time splashing in the pond as it was raining.
4. Grandma had me giggling the other day. She wants to buy
a shed to put at the corner of her garden so her implements
will be protected. The shed she has in her yard gets water
in it and is stuffed full of odds and ends. She found a shed
she likes and when she told her son Jim about it he said, "I'll
bet I can find one cheaper on the internet." She said, "Fine,
but I want it to have a lifetime guarantee against termites
like the one I found does." Just how long is a lifetime guarantee
if you are going to be 96 in two weeks? I hope 100 years!
This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at 'The Traveller's Rest,'
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.
This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.
-- Thomas Hardy
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Daily Lit will email you a portion of a book everyday.
Why, you may ask, would one wish to be mailed a
book portion? There is a good answer. Really.
If you've ever had a book you wanted to read but
have never gotten around to reading, this is a great way
to accomplish your goal. They take the entire book
and break it into small bits and email you one bit each
weekday. That way you can go through the book in a
They have over 200 books listed from which you may choose.
Authors from Shakespeare to Austin and Lewis to Twain are
included. I dedided to start with Dante Aligheri's "Divine Comedy".
I am about 1/3 the way through the "Hell" section. Not that
I understand it. But, at least I'll be able to say I've read it!
Friday, October 13, 2006
1. Psalm 84:11
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
What a beautiful blessing for our children. I love to remind
my children as they lie in their beds of my love for them
and of their Savior's love for them. God is their light; He is
their protection; He saves and He will keep them; He will
not withhold from them anything needed by them that will
make them the man/woman He wants them to become.
2. Psalm 85: 10,11
Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down
There is only one place where mercy and truth met together.
There is only one place where righteousness and peace have
Thank God for sending Christ to be our Restorer.
crossword puzzles for example. My family probably
wishes you would take my crossword puzzles, but that
is a discussion for another post.
I like to do crosswords because:
1) They are fun.
2) They keep your mind active.
(I read a story one time in the Reader's Digest
about a lady who took her 90 year old mother to
the doctor. The doctor insisted on talking to
the daughter rather than the 90 year old
patient. Finally the older lady became totally
exasperated and asked the doctor if he did cross-
words. "Yes, I do," he replied. She shot back a
second question. "Do you use pen or pencil?"
"Pencil," he answered. "Well, I use pen," she
said, 'You can direct your talk to me!")
3) It is a family tradition.
(My family, parents, siblings, grandparent (G. Opal),
neices/nephews etc., all do crosswords. BTW G.Opal
does do hers in pen!)
The Mayberry newspaper does not have crosswords in it, so
my parents have figured out a solution. The Mayberry library
saves all the Big City newspapers for them and they go collect
them once a week or so. Actually, they only save the Everyday
Section for them. My parents then divide the donated puzzles
into two groups, one for them and one for me. They give me
the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays and keep the Thursday-
Sundays for themselves. See, Mon.-Wed. are the three easiest
days of puzzles. They get harder as the weeks rolls by. They
are not convinced of my deep intelligence and wish to save me
from self-humiliation. They are pretty correct in this evaluation.
I have a fetish with these puzzles. I cannot put one of them on
the fire-building newspaper pile until I have totally completed
both puzzles in that paper. When I get stuck I will put that
particular one in a "stuck pile" and go back in a few weeks or
months and try to rework it. (I am getting close to the point
of this whole story; aren't you glad?)
I pulled a puzzle out of the stuck pile this week and began to
try to rework it. It is dated January 11, 2006. (So, you see,
I never give up, I told you--it is a fetish with me.) One of the
clues was "The Three Coins..." fountain. So, finally I googled
it and after digging a little, slowly coming to realize that it was
a fountain in Rome and re-Googling I came up with a name.
This was yesterday. This morning I was reading in the National
Geographic about Rome's underground treasures and what do
you think they mentioned? The Trevi Fountain. What a
coincidence! Isn't it odd, that I would read that months old
(July 2006 ) NG this morning?
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
A few years ago Grandma Opal told my boys she had
a hankering for possum. She promised to cook one if they
could catch one. The hunt was on, but, even though
there are something like 1,000 possums for every acre
here in the county surrounding Mayberry, none could
Finally, one icy night we pulled into my parents driveway
and a possum was pinned in the headlights of the car. Both
back doors burst open and the boys began the chase. It was one
of the funniest sights I have ever beheld; legs, arms and furry
things were sliding all over the ice. They finally got him backed
into a corner of the house where one of the boys stood guard
while the other ran for a trash can to cover him with until they
could get a cage.
After caging the possum they grain fed him for a few weeks.
Their cousin Bobby (from Orlando) was coming for
Christmas and did not want to miss out on the fun of eating
such a tasty dish. I wasn't sure they would make it through
skinning and dressing the possum. According to Bill it was the
dirtiest, stinkiest job he's ever had to do.
Once he was prepped they headed down to Grandma's. She boiled
him (to get out the enormous amounts of fat possums contain) and
then baked him with sweet potatoes. We told the boys we were
willing to try the delectable dish (even though I have been told that
liars have no part in the kingdom of God), but sad to say they ate the
whole thing before they remembered to give us a call.
If you are interested in possum recipes check out the Possum Cook
Book. I should think this story will redeem me in the sight of the male
part of my audience. Just let me know if, when you come over, you'd
rather have me make the Hummingbird Cake (previous post) or the
Cake. I was too full at Patricia's Tea Room to order dessert,
but that didn't stop me from sampling three different desserts
that other ladies at my table ordered! They were all delicious,
but this one seems so very ladylike...now if only I were.
3 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs beaten
1 c. vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. butter flavoring
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1-2 c. chopped nuts
2 c. chopped bananas
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Cream
well. Beat in eggs and oil. Stir in both flavorings, pineapple,
nuts and bananas. pour into three 9-inch cake pans. Bake at
350 deg. for 20-30 minutes. Frost with Hummingbird Cream
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. shortening
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. colorless vanilla
Combine cream chesse and shortening, beating until smooth.
Add powdered sugar and flavoring. Stir in nuts. Spread on
This may or may not be the exact recipe that I tasted at the
Tea Room, but it sounds delish either way.
Monday, October 09, 2006
When twenty-something ladies, ages seventeen to
seventy-something descend on a tea room it is not a
soft cackling that is heard; it is rather more of a roar...
until the food arrives. Then there is dead silence.
But though there is no soft cackling there is definitely
friendship felt, laughter lavished, teasing entwined,
joy juggled, and sorrow shared. There wasn't even
much real tea sipped; I'm afraid most of the ladies
ordered sodas, and some even went for the pumpkin
coffee. But, really, coffe, coke or Earl Grey all lead
to the same thing-bonding. There was plenty of that.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
used to play on the fiddle. It is a little gruesome I guess, but
as a child I just thought it was plum funny.
It is an old ballad and there are many versions of it. It goes by
several different names, the one I know it as is The Brown Girl,
but here is an online version you can listen to--Lord Thomas.
The version I am typing is not exactly as I remember, but
it is the closest one I can find.
THE BROWN GIRL
1. "Mother, O mother, go riddle my sport;
Go riddle it all as one:
Must I go marry fair Alender,
Or bring the brown girl home?"
2. "The brown girl she has house and land,
Fair Alender has none;
Therefore I warn you as a blessing,
Go bring the brown girl home."
3. "Go saddle up my milk-white steed,
Go saddle him up for me;
I'll go invite fair Alender
All to my wedding meal."
4. He rode, he rode till he came to the hall;
He tingled on the ring;
Nobody so ready as Fair Alender
To rise and let him in.
5. "What news? what news?" Fair Alender cried,
"What news have you brought to me?"
"I've come to invite you to my wedding,
Is that good news to thee?"
6. "Bad news, bad news," Fair Alender cried,
"Bad news you have brought to me;
I once did think I would be your bride,
And you my bridegroom be.
7. "Mother, O mother, go riddle my sport;
Go riddle it all as one;
Must I go to Lord Thomas's wedding,
Or tarry with thee at home?"
8. She dressed herself in scarlet red,
Her maidens they dressed in green,
And every town that they rode through,
They took her to be some queen.
9. She rode, she rode, till she came to the hall;
She tingled on the ring;
Nobody so ready as Lord Thomas himself,
To rise and let her in.
10. He took her by the lily-white hand,
And led her across the hall;
And led her up to the head of the table,
Amongst the fair maids all.
11. "Is this your bride, " Fair Alender cried,
"That looks so wonderful brown?
You once could of got as fair a lady
As ever the sun shone on."
12. The brown girl had a little penknife,
It was both keen and sharp;
Between the long ribs and the short,
She entered Fair Alender's heart.
13. "What's the matter? What's the matter?" Lord
Thomas he cried.
"O don't you plainly see?
O don't you see my own heart's blood
A-trickling down by me?"
14. He took the brown girl by the hand,
He led her across the hall;
He drew (his) bright sword, he cut her head off,
And threw it against the wall.
15. He put the butt against the ground,
The point against his breast;
Here three young lovers all died to-day,
God send them all to rest!
Wonderful memories I have of sitting under the great oak
trees in my grandparents yard and listening to the background
of crickets and frogs while this and many other fiddle tunes
were played and sung.
The feathers of the willow
Are half of them grown yellow
Above the swelling stream;
And ragged are the bushes,
And rusty now the rushes,
And wild the clouded gleam.
The thistle now is older,
His stalk begins to moulder,
His head is white as snow;
The branches are all barer,
The linnet's song is rarer,
The robin pipeth now.
R. W. Dixon
and, my mind has been rather consumed with what a friend
of mine calls "everyday living."
1. Harding side of the family company at the end of last week.
2. Big contingency of Fleetwood side of the family this whole
week. (Doesn't matter if it is over 90 outside today, we
are having a bonfire tonight because Fleetwoods and bonfires
go in pairs.)
3. OFC Conference baseball play for Tyler was this week.
4. Joel's car died and so we are in the midst of dealing with that.
5. Lots of paperwork details to deal with, insurance and tax mix-ups.
6. And, sad for our community and especially our church, Kenny
McMillan, a Mayberry icon, died last night. How amazing to think
that he is in the very presence of Jesus and is no longer handicapped