Thursday, November 30, 2006

Recently Kent and I watched the Lou Gehrig Story
starring Gary Cooper. It is certainly a very
heartrending film. We both were teary-eyed at the
end when Lou and his wife were trying to be brave for
each other.

But after the movie was over I felt cheated, let down...
and empty. The feeling haunted me some and finally I
was able to pin down the reason for it. With no reference
to the Creator and Sustainer of life, all you had was a
movie about a "nice" guy. And after it was all said and
done, all you had at the end was a "nice" guy who had died.

Chrysalis has a wonderful post on what it takes to make
literature great and worth our time to read. Quoting
Kathleen Nielson Chrysalis says that there are three parts
to great literature (and I think great movies as well.)
They are:
1. We create words (and movies) because we are created
in God's image.
2. In great books (and movies) we encounter the depth
of the fall.
3. The best books (and movies) reflect a redemptive
worldview. This is I think crucial. She says
I’m not talking about a happy ending, but about
a sense of the restoration of something lost,
even if that sense is only a haunting one.

All of this brings me finally, to the true reason I am writing
this post...a book review of Ambassador to the Penguins: A
Naturalist's Year Aboard a Yankee Whaleship by Eleanor Mathews.

What an interesting twist this biography has. Robert Murphy, a
naturalist and museum curator is given the opportunity to travel
on a whaleship to the far south for the purpose of studying
wildlife, with a special concentration on penguins. However he
is engaged to be married and so turns the opportunity down.
Grace, his financee, insists on him grasping the chance he has
been offered. They marry ahead of time and he leaves within a
few months of the wedding for a year long trip on an old time
Yankee Ship.

Murphy's actual diary was published many years ago, as was a book
of photos he took, but in this book, his grand-daughter has taken
the two previous books and combined them into a nice narrative.

Murphy is never tired of watching, catching and preserving the
teeming wildlife, especially the birds, by which he is surrounded.
His time on the ship give a good picture of what life was like on
an whaling operation. The skipper is quite the typical taciturn
sailor, but he has an interesting personality facet. He will not
allow any cursing by the men on the boat, but when he, himself,
gets out!

Mostly the book is a love story between Murphy and his beloved
and greatly missed bride. It is filled with snippets from their
letters to each other and from the posts in his diary. It is a
lovely book.

And yet, I can't help but wish he could have turned his thoughts
as the Psalmist did in Psalm 104:24-31 toward the Creator.

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions--
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.
There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.
These all wait for You,
That You may give them their good in due season.
What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath,
They die and return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oscar and Sylvia
dancing at the
Torre Fuerte

The very air itself is aquiver with excitement
here in Mayberry. It is semi-official that our
dear friend, Oscar Gonzalez, from Cuernavaca
will be with us the first week of January.

When our Mexico Mission Team was in Cuernavaca
this past July, Oscar was our guide and
translator. We rather exhausted him in the
translation department. Sometimes after a
church service you could see the tiredness in
his eyes. He would have to translate the entire
service from English to Spanish, and from Spanish
to English, depending on who was speaking at the
moment. And then all along the way we were always
calling for Oscar to come over and translate for
us as we tried to communicate with the ladies
who worked at Chula Vista (the mission we stayed
in), ordered food at restaurants, or chatted with
our friends at Torre Fuerte church.

But Oscar let the love of Christ show through him
at all times. He exuded grace and dignity and
a wicked sense of humor. Our whole group loves
him, and that is not flippantly said. From Hattie,
through the teens and middle agers (Kent and I are
included in that group)to my Hobbit mother (who
will call him Carlos by mistake...told you
she's a hoot), we consider him our dear friend.

We are only sorry that Sylvia and Eunice, his wife
and daughter are not able to come with him.

What a lovely way to start a new year, with a dear
friend in Christ.

Oh, Oscar had only one request for his time here
in Mayberry. He asked for NO VEGETABLES.

So I am going to honor his request. I sent him back
the following menu:
Tuesday---Green beans
Wednesday---Cabbage and broccoli
Thursday---Brussel sprouts
Friday---Beets and cauliflower
Saturday---Sweet potatoes
Sunday---Vegetable soup.

I Guess Oscar will like it! If he doesn't, I'll
send ol' Carlos down the gravel to my mother's

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This will surely get you in the Christmas mood.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Strolling down the gravel on a lovely fall day a few
weeks ago I was imagining what it would be like to
be blind. I was trying to take mental snapshots of
all the beauty around me so that if I ever were to
lose my sight I would be able to pull up the pictures
and enjoy them from memory.

Then, because I am built to look for object lessons, I
began to think of Princess Daughter and what I could
teach her from this train of thought.

Princess Daughter is a lovely little girl. In fact, I think she
is beautiful. But beauty is very fleeting. It changes definition
with every new commercial.

If I were blind, I would not be able to see her pretty self, but
I would still be able to hear whether or not Hattie had inner
beauty by listening to the way she talked. I could catch the
tone of her voice; I would be able to judge her attitude and
words to see if she was filled with a loveliness that is fulfilling
and lasting.

And so, after I got home, I talked to her about these things.
I let her know that it is the eternal that she needs to be
developing most of all. I reminded her of I Peter 3:3,4.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward--
arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on
fine apparel--rather let it be the hidden person
of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of
a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious
in the sight of God.

Did it sink in? Maybe not yet, but she is still a young and
very moldable piece of clay in the Maker's hands. And I think,
just maybe, as she is hanging upside down from a branch 20
feet up, these things come into her little mind from time to time
and she ponders them. Cute little monkey.
You know you live in Mayberry when the folks at
the local tire joint hang around and discuss the local
gossip for ten minutes AFTER their car is ready to

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Overheard by me; said by Kent.

"Laurie, please don't sing that song right now,
I don't want to get in a bad habit by learning
the wrong tune."

Shocked silence...riotous laughter.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Somewhere in the middle of spending a delightful Thanksgiving
Holiday in the Big City my Darling Mother-In-Law made the
following comment:

"Well I guess I'm just thankful God didn't put our noses on
upside down. Just think, your hat would blow off when you
sneezed and when it rained you would drown."

Just put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Who would imagine that here near the end of November
Grandma Opal would still be picking lettuce out of her
garden. She brought a home-grown lettuce salad to the
party last night. (It was to go along with the Pumpkin Pie
she baked.)

Paul told Timothy to not look down on his youth. Turn
that around and it is just as true. We should not look down
on what is further along in life.

There are delightful surprises that are dropped down into
our 70's, 80's and even 90's...maybe 100's. And beyond that,
we can't retire from serving God. I look at my and Kent's
parents and am so thankful. All are in their 70's. Three are
closer to 80 than 70 and all are active in their service to the
Lord. They teach, they fellowship, they work at the "little
jobs", they even go on mission trips. What a heritage for their
children, grand-children and future generations. May I be
as they are in the Autumn of my life.
Tyler is now an official 17 year old. His birthday party
went off without a hitch...except I cooked the noodles
too long for the Pasta with Blue Cheese Artichoke Sauce.
I do hate mealy pasta.

The two Hatties (ages 9 and 96) made pies. (Grandma
Opal's real name is Hattie.) I also made a pie. Old Hattie's
Pumpkin Pie and Young Hattie's Chocolate Pie had far
more pieces eaten than my Lemon Pie did.

I sat at one table and played Peanuts with my Hobbit Mom,
my sister, Tandy, and our friend Jenn. Grandma Opal
and Tyler stood Kent and Hattie in High Five. The birthday
boy and his great-grandma lost. G'ma Opal doesn't take
losing with very good grace. So my mother, who is VERY
competitive in her own right moved over to take Tyler's place.
Her words, to Kent and Hattie, on sitting down as G'ma Opal's
partner were, "Now you have some competition." Alas, Kent
and Hattie are not easily intimidated. G'ma and Mom were
losing heavily; G'ma even resorted to a bit of cheating; they
still lost.

I hope they were able to sleep okay last night. Their
dreams were most likely haunted with hands of cards that
just wouldn't go together.

Oh, and the birthday boy, who took Mom's place in Peanuts
scraped by me in the last hand and won by two points.

Happy Birthday Son.

Everyday living is a joyous gift from our Father. May He keep
us faithful in it.
Two Graces (from The Faber Book of Children's Verse)

Some hae meat, and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit!

by Robert Burns

Hurly, hurly, roon the table,
Eat as muckle as you're able.
Eat muckle, pooch nane,
Hurly, hurly, Amen.


May I be kept from fate of this lady:

There was an old woman, and what do you think,
She lived upon nothing but victuals and drink.
Victuals and drink were the whole of her diet,
Yet this plaguey old woman would never be quiet.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

We're having birthday party tonight for Tyler,
so I have to get cookin'.

On the menu:

Toasted Ravioli
Pasta House Salad
Pasta with Blue Cheese Artichoke Sauce (recipe to follow)
Peaches (from the freezer)
Lemon Pie
Chocolate Pie

If you're in the Mayberry neighborhood tonight consider
yourself invited!

Pasta with Blue Cheese Artichoke Sauce
(adapted from Southern Living Cooking
School Cook Book)

1 (12 oz) package noodles
1 (13.75 oz) can quartered atrichoke hearts, rinsed
and drained
1 (8 oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 TBS olive oil
2 c milk
2 (1.25) packages creamy garlic Alfredo sauce mix
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese
1/4 c chopped pecans, toasted
1 tsp basil
Garnish: crumbled blue cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Saute artichokes and mushrooms in hot oil till tender.
Whisk together milk and Alfredo sauce mix. Bring to
a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, whisking often, 2
minutes or until thickened. Add artichoke mixture and
blue cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Drain pasta, and place in a large serving bowl. Pour
blue cheese sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Sprinkle
evenly with pecans and basil. Garnish with blue cheese.

Makes 4 servings. (I'll double it at least.)
Chrysalis posted on parlor games and it inspired me
to write about large group games that we have
enjoyed over the years. I'll post one now and follow
up with more later.

As a family we always play Round Robin on Thanksgiving
day. This is a ping pong game that is a hoot for groups of
from 10 to about 30. Everyone lines up around the ping
pong table; try to start with a relatively even number on
both sides of the table. One person holds a paddle at both

The first person to serve does so and then sets down their
paddle and moves to the side. The person following them
picks the paddle up to hit the return shot and then they
lay the paddle down and move aside. This continues on
both ends of the table so there is a continuous circling of
the table. If a person misses a shot they get a "P"; their
second miss gives them an "I"; their third miss gives
them a "G" and they are out of the game.

As the group becomes smaller the games becomes more
challenging because the participants have to run to get to
the other end on time to hit the coming ball. When only
two people are left the final stage of the game begins.

One person serves and then lays down his paddle and then
must turn around before he can pick it up to hit the return
shot. The person at the other end must lay his down and
turn around each time also. The last one to spell PIG wins
the game.

Monday, November 20, 2006

News from the farm.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,2

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;

This past week we had the full circle of farm life. We
lost our beloved Fezzik, our Great Pyranees goat dog,
to bone cancer. He was a wonderful dog. He wasn't
a barker by nature and so at night, when his deep
bark would sometimes ring out, I'd feel very secure.
It would wake me from my sleep and I'd think, "There's
nothing to worry about." I knew that if there was a coyote
after the kids or a fox in the field Fezzik would take care
of the varmint.

One day we were sitting at the kitchen table and we saw
a dog jump over the fence into our field. Fezzik never even
barked, he just went bounding towards the intruder and
that foreign dog turned tail and jumped back over the
fence like a streak of lightning. We're going to miss our
gigantic fuzzball.

A few days after losing Fezzik, I came home to a bouncing
and excited Hattiegirl. Newborn twin goats were the
culprit of all the hooplah. She'd been out to hold them and
they were, "So sweet". Hattie is very patient with taming
down our goats and cows. They are her buddies.

So life goes on here on Fernnook Farm. Sorrow and joy are
intermingled at every turn.

Ecclesiastes 3:4

A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
There is a new Mayberry Blog. Our dear friends
Steve and Ruth are the posters, although so far,
Steve does all the posting. Ruth thinks she is
perhaps a little too opinionated, and I know from
experience that she can vocalize her ideas quite
well. She is especially good at telling people where
they might be going if they continue in certain ways.
She is also quite accomplished at performing the
Turkey Trot.

These Cool Older People are also one of my college
son's lifelines. They help to keep him sane up in the
Big City.

There Steven, now that I've plugged you will you
forgive the turkey and the soda last night? Afterall,
shirts will wash.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Up-to-date Deer Count.

Billy-0 (Still hasn't hunted. Too much homework.)
Hattie-0 (Still hasn't hunted. Billy has too much homework
and Tyler was waiting until he got 1 or 2 before
he took her out. Maybe she'll still get a shot.)

Freezer-"Burp. Thank you. I feel a little better now. A little
more meat would still be nice though."
I found a new nightly blessing for my children. In
II Corinthians 13:11 Paul is giving the Corinthians
a benediction. He gives them several instructions. One
of those instructions is only a two word sentence. It is
tremendously focused and terse. It rather sums up
his whole ministry to them. And it sums up what I
want for my children.

Become complete.

Paul is saying, "Okay, you've made a start, but don't
rest on your laurels yet. Keep going. You still have
a long way to go; you still have a lot to learn."

Questions pop around in my head like popcorn over
these two words. Complete in what way? How does
one become complete? When is one finally complete?

Complete in what way?
Knowlege of God (both theological and personal)
Development of character
Desire to serve Him as Lord totally

How does one become complete?
Study of the Scriptures

When is one finally complete?
When we get to our true home.

II Peter 1:5-8 adds depth to this.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence,
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. For if these things are
yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor
unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That's what I want for my children. It is more than
just a sweet little prayer for them. I want them to have

Then they will be complete in Christ.

So tonight when I creep into their rooms to say goodnight,
I'll add these two words.

Become complete.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Old traditions are comforting and stabilizing, but new
traditions are fun too. Philippine Sister and I have forged
into a new tradition with our mother. For two years running
we have spent a day with her near her birthday. This takes
a bit of planning as Becky (PS) lives in the Big City and has
to drive three hours to even get to where Mom and I are. Becky
drove the three hours Friday night and we spent Saturday junking
and eating out. We decided to eat at Penny's Diner in Dexter.
We ordered one meal and split it three ways. How's that for cheap.
Their burgers are so huge that we were all quite full afterwards.
And blessings on the waitress who didn't even blink an eye when
we told her we wanted to split the meal three ways.

Then Mom insisted on paying, even though it was her birthday
celebration. "Aha", we cried in unison (Philippine Sister and I),
"a new tradition!" Don't you think it is a good idea for my mom to
pay for us to eat out on HER birthday?

Becky said that was a very Filipino way of doing birthdays. I remarked
that it seemed rather Hobbity to me.

So Happy Birthday to my Filipino Hobbity New Tradition Setting Mama.
Besides all that, she's a total hoot. You've gotta believe me on that one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Notice to all you Jane Austin fans:
MommyBrain is having a contest and the prize, really
and truly, is the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice on
DVD. I hope I win, but I'm being nice and giving you the
heads up so you can have an equal chance at the prize. All
you have to do to enter is to go visit her and leave a comment.
I do hope I win, because, after all, who can resist Mr. Collins?
Lessons From a Leaf

Here in Mayberry we have had a very wet and yet
quite lovely Autumn season. More than once I have
stood watching a scene that would not seem real if
I were to see it painted onto a canvas. A few days
ago, as I was tramping through the backwoods, I was
enthralled by all the leaves that were being shaken
from the trees and swirling down to rest on the ground.
The wind was blowing in gusts. There were quiet lulls
and then with a big swoosh of air thousands of leaves
were released at a time to make their short trip to

As I stood in front of one large oak tree and watched
at least a hundred leaves launch from one blast of wind,
I began to wonder how the leaves might feel if they
could think. It was fascinating to see the different ways
they each approached their time of freedom in the air.
Some would come barreling straight down, as though
there were no time to waste in getting to their destination.
Some reminded me of my neice Kinsey Jo, they twirled
and danced their way to their landing. Others would float
first one way and then change directions completely and
finally land in a place totally unexpected.

Think of the people you know. Some are barrelers. They
race to their goal. They accomplish much. Others flit their
way through life. They quiver with delight. Some we put
in a box and we expect them to be the same way forever,
but then we must catch our breath in surprise as they grow
into a totally different person than they were at first.

I was also fascinated with the knowledge of an omniscient
God. He knows every sparrow; He knows every hair on
our heads; He knows every leaf. Each one is in His mind.
Their release came at the appointed time. They each glady
joined in the great dance of life. They fulfilled their purpose
without complaint. Whether or not their journey to earth
was seen by anyone they made it with grace and dignity.
There is a lesson in this. Maybe several. I can learn trust;
if God has the leaves in His hands, I know He has me there
too. I can learn humility and pride. Who am I that God has
chosen me to be a part of His plan for the ages, and yet how
incredible that He has. And I can learn worship. All
praise to the God who is, and Who works, and Who cares.

Psalm 135:5-7

For I know that the Lord is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases He does,
In heaven and in earth,
In the seas and in all deep places.
He causes the vapors to ascend from the
ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain;
He bings the wind out of His treasuries.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yesterday I sat down with the two youngest to
have a short devotion and prayer time. My Bible
just happened to fall open to Proverbs 30 and my
eyes lighted on verse 17. So, though that wasn't
my original intention, I thought it would be funny
to read it, and I did so using my most serious and
dreadful voice.

The eye that mocks his father,
And scorns obedience to his mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.

Princess Daughter looked at me in disbelief. She took
the Bible out of my hand and said. "It doesn't say
that." She looked down and saw instantly that it did.
But she quickly covered it with her hand and said,
"Here's what it really says." Oh No, I knew what was
coming next, but I couldn't react quickly enough to
stop her.

She read verses 18 and 19.

There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,
(And I knew it was coming, it was one of those dream-
like experiences....I just couldn't move.)
And the way of a man with a virgin.

So there you have it. Our devotion for the day.

I quickly looked over at verses 5 and 6 which I had
underlined. I said, "What I really meant to read to you
today was this."

Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

I guess I won't be soon silly again in our sanctifying
systematic seizing of the second for searching the
Current Deer Season scores

Billy-0 (hasn't hunted yet)
Hattie-0 (hasn't hunted yet)


Monday, November 13, 2006

Mayberry Meanderings

In August we have our Graveyard Dinner; in November,
over the first weekend of DEER SEASON we have a
Firehouse Chili Supper. The local volunteer fire department
is a rural institution. Ours (Highway K Fire Department)
came into being around 18-20 years ago. Besides putting
out fires, their main business is to raise money. If they
don't raise money, they can't put out fires. Therefore
the Chili Supper. Our family was represented en force.
Mama and Papa (my parents), Kent, Princess Daugher
and I, and Philippine Sister (visiting from the Big City)
and niece Annie all attended. Oh, and of course,
Grandma Opal came.

A few days ago Kent and I were at Grandma's house
playing cards. Do we ever do anything else there? I
trounced her. It was great. I looked at her hands and
I said, "Why Grandma, your nails are painted, who did
that for you?" "I did," was her answer, "I don't have
any problems with the left hand, but the right is tricky."

She is gloating over being 96. I have noticed a funny thing
about people. From the time of being 2 or 3 until the early
20's we want to be older than we are. "I am 4 and 1/2" or
"I'll be 18 next month." We feel that once we get to that
next step we will have arrived somewhere. Then from the
mid-twenties through about 75 we want to seem younger
than we are, and there may even be a little fudging of the
true age. Some of us get stuck at 29 or 39 for years. But,
sometime after 75, we want to be older again. I guess we
feel there is more honor or achievement in the next year
up for us. And so, Grandma was talking about her age as
96 well before she got there, but now she is an honest
woman again and truly 96. For a few months that is, I'll
let you know when she begins to speak of being 97.

But, back to the Firehouse Chili Supper. Philippine Sister
(Becky) came in after us. She had the privilege of bringing
G'ma Opal there. We watched her follow G'ma through the
food line and then make it over to where we had seats
saved. Becky got there first and she said, "Grandma is
so stubborn. She wouldn't let me get her food for her,
she wouldn't let me help her carry her food. She just kept
saying, 'I can do it myself.'" Now that was big news. She's
finally in on the Big Family Secret. How'd we keep her
in the dark so long. She found out about Santa when she
was 12; we did really good on this one.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

As I was filling the water troughs a few minutes ago, I
amused myself by watching three calves play a head-
butting game. It wasn't 'til I turned to walk away that
I realized I hadn't tried to stop them from participating
in that politically incorrect game in which they just might
hurt either their little bodies or their little feelings.
Mayberry News

Or I guess that should be Mayberry Newspaper. I love
Wednesdays because that is the day our local newspaper
is delivered. It is late afternoon before we get it. The
townies get theirs in the morning or even on Tuesday
night, but those of us who live way down Rt. 2 don't get
it 'til late on Wednesday. Except once, a few weeks ago,
when I noticed someone stopping by our newspaper holder,
which is next to our mailbox, at the end of our driveway
and across the gravel, and naturally I thought, "Hmmm,
what is going on?" A little hike to the boxes and the
mystery was solved. Our newpaper had been delivered,
but it was only Tuesday night. That was kind of fun. It
like getting a birthday present from your parents a day or
two early. I waited for the next Tuesday eagerly, but
alas, it was to no avail...there was no newspaper. I guess
it was a once-in-a-lifetime treat. But small minds will be
occupied with just such trivialities, "Why was it delivered
a day early?" and, "Will it every happen again?"

You may ask, why such excitement over a newspaper? And
really, that is quite a good question. I think the answer is
that in a town like Mayberry the newpaper is just one more
thread that ties us all together.

There are the first few pages that are filled with the BIG
news of the week. That may range from a local lawsuit
to the candidates for homecoming in the local highschool.
There are always pictures throughout of people receiving
awards for this or that or of businesses that donated money
or items to this or that club. (They get good free advertising
that way.) This time of year there are always one or two
pages dedicated just to pictures of hunters and the deer
they bagged.

The sports section includes both school sports, city sports.
and traveling teams. There is the community news where
ladies (it's always ladies), write about the news in their small
microcosm of a community. A lot of times these are based
around a community church. I always feel sorry for one lady
who says almost weekly, "Well nobody called with any news
this week, so I don't have much to write. Please, somebody,
call me with some news." (I'd never put that in this little
blogpost if there were one chance on ten-million of her seeing

Twice a year pictures are printed that advertise different
stores in town. If kids color them and turn them in to the store
they can win a $5 prize. Several times my kids have won. In
fact ,just yesterday, the Christmas Coloring pictures were put
in, so Princess Daughter will get started on them today.

My kid's favorite parts are Speak Out, Letters to the Editor
and Street Talk. We have our share of entertainment by being
amused or getting angry over what is said.

Maybe I like the Mayberry Newspaper so much because someone
or other of my family is in it quite often. Between sports and
community activities we frequently end up with a picture
in the paper, or perhaps it is just a name of ours that is mentioned,
either way it is fun.

Really though, I think that I like it so much because it reminds me
weekly that I am part of a living, thriving community. I am not
just a commuter on a lonely, car-filled highway, but I am part of
something that is thriving and interconnected. I may not talk
like one, but, in my heart, I have become a true Mayberrian.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Psalm 93 teaches us that God's sovereign rule guarantees the
stability of the world against the forces of chaos.

vs. 1-4

The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established,
so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
The Lord on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.

Psalm 93 also comfirms the trustworthiness of all God's
spoken words and directives. It calls for the worship
of His people.

vs. 5

Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O Lord, forever.

The entire Psalm expresses joy, hope and confidence in the

We do not trust in men, and we do not depend upon govenments,
but, rather, we trust in the God who reigns on high.

And that is the brilliant political commentary of one who is licking
her wounds!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I gave up ironing many years ago. It was a good decision;
not an easy one, but a good one. It wasn't easy because
I was raised to iron. In my growing up years my good mother
taught her daughters how to iron. We ironed everything in
sight, from t-shirts to dress clothes. It also wasn't easy to give
up because I enjoy ironing. Ironing gives a person lots of room to
exercize thinking and dreaming; and therein lies the root
problem to my ironing and the ultimate reason I gave it up.

My nephew, Paul, from Orlando, was visiting Mayberry last
week. He is twenty-something, a wonderful christian man,
and lots of fun to be around. He is also the reason I gave up
ironing so many years ago. It all ties together, and his visit
just reminded me of the whole story.

Many years ago, somewhere around 23, I was standing in the
living room of our little duplex and I was ironing. I was also
pregnant and perhaps a wee bit hormonal. As usual, there was
a nice big basket of clothes that needed to have the wrinkles
lovingly smoothed out of them, and, as I was ironing, I began to

My brother and his wife had just signed on with Campus Crusade,
they wanted to go to Africa, but Crusade had need of them in
their main office, which was in San Bernadino, CA at the time. So
Mike and Debby were preparing to leave for CA, which is a good
four day drive from Missouri. I was mulling all this over while I
was pressing the warm iron to Kent's shirts. Then I started to
think about Paul and I imagined him all grown up. He, in my
daydream (which seemed so real to me at the time), was the one
to be called to Africa. I went through every detail of him preparing
to leave and then actually getting on the airplane to fly away from
his family and friends. Now, please realize this, Paul Michael was
only, maybe, 2 or 3 at this when time I was imagining his life away.

I had to quit ironing because I was soon crying so hard that I
couldn't see the clothes on the ironing board. Kent came home
to a wife who was sobbing her heart out over an incident that
was tricked out of her own imagination and which, even if it were
to come to pass, was twenty-something years in the future.

I missed Mike and Deb and family, and continue to miss them as
they have had to live far from the home base all these years. I missed
my sister, Becky, and her family, when they spent seven years in
the Philippines as church planters. I ached over missing them. Being
mission minded myself, and believing with all my heart they were
doing God's work there didn't take away the missing. But I must
admit that I have never in my life missed anyone as much as I
missed my nephew Paul when he got on that plane in my daydream.

So, there was only one thing I could do. I gave up ironing, except, in
emergency situations, like Sunday getting ready for Meeting times.
You know, I kind of miss those hours of daydreaming. Maybe I'll
take it up again in my old age. That isn't so far off, now that I think
about it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Pecan who?
Pecan on somebody your own size.
(A very appropriate joke for someone who is
4'9" tall.)

Semicolon is hosting a pecan contest. She wants to honor the
lowly pecan and raise it to a place of distinction. She would
relish any recipes, jokes or stories that feature pecans.

Here is my newly favorite pecan pie recipe.

Caramel Pecan Pie

36 caramels
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. butter, cubed
3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 and 1/3 c. chopped pecans, toasted
1 unbaked pie shell
pecan halves, optional (not in my opinion)

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the caramels, water
and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until caramels are
melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until
smooth. Gradually add caramel mixture. Stil in the chopped
pecans. Pour into pastry shell. If desired, arrange pecan halves
over filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire
rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

Pappy told me the sad news a few days ago. I'm still reeling.
I am no longer a "Hillbilly"; Officially I am now an "Ozark American".

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh, thou wert a foolish possum indeed to come creeping
around our back door last night when the mighty hunters
Kent and Tyler were not yet in bed.
In our afternoon ramble through the backwoods yesterday
Kent, Hattie and I came home with cold hands and red
noses. The trees are becoming more stark each day. The
layer of leaves we shuffled through almost obscured the lane
we walked down.

And, yesterday for the first time I had to break a thin layer
of ice in the water troughs. I could relate to Emily Bronte
in her poem Fall leaves, fall.

Fall leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day,
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autun tee.
I shall smile when wreahs of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

With an outlook like that no wonder Wuthering Heights
contains so much of darkness and despair.

But this morning, even though I need to go break that
ice again, the smiling of the sun, and the sparkling delight
of the morning hold at bay the dread of the cold, dark
days ahead.

Besides, II Corinthians 4:16-18 helps to set me straight.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward
man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day
by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight
of glory, while we do not look at the things which are
seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things
which are seen are tempoary, but the things which are
not seen are eternal.

Psalm 93 clinches the matter

The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established,
so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established form of old;
You are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
Tje Lod on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.

Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O Lord, forever.

I will greet the day with a blessing, even if I have to wear
a scarf on my afternoon traipse through the woods.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tammy tagged me. I'm it and that makes me feel powerful!

How wierd is wierd?
Wierd is as wierd does.
Normal is on the outside, but wierd goes all the way through.
A normal in the hand is worth two wierds in the bush.

Now down to business.

Nine wierd things about me. Only nine...the list could reach to
infinity and back.

1. I am only 4'9" tall and wear a size 2 shoe. That means I do not,
own, and never have owned, a pair of highheels. It also makes
it extremely hard to find dress shoes that do not have Barbie
on them and tennis shoes without lights in the heels.
2. I luxuriate in thin towels and thin pillows. I will keep my towels
till they are practically see-through. I never feel dry with the
big, fluffy kind.
3. I like spiders and will almost always let them live, no matter
where I find them. If they are REALLY big and in the house,
or if they are on the bed, then I show no mercy. Otherwise my
philosophy is "live and let live."
4. I read the first chapter of a book and then read the last chapter.
Then I go back and read the rest to see if the author has done a
good job in getting from A to B. And, no, it doesn't spoil the book
for me.
5. As a child, I had to read all the books on my shelf in order. I didn't
want to leave any out. That meant reading some I really didn't
like, but I felt sorry for them and forced my way through them.
One book I really didn't like to read as a child, but forced myself
to was "Are You My Mother" by P.D. Eastman. I really like that
book now! Silly child.
6. I can't throw out a crossword puzzle until it is finished. Sometimes
that means, because of my peabrain, they stay in the house till the
newspaper is old, yellow and brittle.
7. My family says I often sing my sentences. For example, if I say,
"It's dinner time," it will be to a tune. Unfortunately they also
reassure me often that I don't, haven't and never will sing well.
8. My pillowcases have to have a firm edge. No lace for me. I will
even take my own pillowcase when I travel (like to Mexico last
summer.) There is a reason for this. I have a wierd habit of
feeling the pillowcase edge and it has to have a certain feel, I guess
it is a comfort thing.
9. Jewelry makes me feel claustrophobic. I can wear a little for a
short period of time, but then I have to remove it or I get bothered
by it.

Now on to those I am tagging.

Reading Is Dangerous: Part II

As parents we are so very careful of our little charges
physical safety. We guard them, as best we can, from
injuries. We work hard to build good nutrition into their
diets so they will have healthy bodies. We teach them to
avoid dangerous situations. We fret when they are away
from us, worrying over what may happen to them.

How odd then, that we so often ignore the spiritual, emotional
and mental dangers they are surrounded by. In fact, we often
encourage them to stay in areas of danger. A child's heart and
mind can be such tortured places and as parents, we have a
a charge to guard, not just the bodies, but the hearts and minds
of our children. The bloom of "innocence" is so easily wiped off
from their lives.

Reading can be dangerous. Even those who are extremely careful
of what their children may watch on television often encourage
those same kids to read anything, as long as they are reading.
There is a feeling that, if it is in print, it must be good. That is
simply not so. In fact, reading can be more dangerous than viewing
TV because it is more private and there is far less parental
guidance in the way of discussions over what might and might not
be appropriate.

This post is not about Me giving You standards. It is about Me
challenging You to guard what comes into the hands of your kids
and to be proactive about it. I once had the goal of reading before
hand any book my kids wanted to read. That goal got left on the
wayside of life many years ago, however, I do know what authors,
and types of books I will allow.

I have tried to set a standard by making it know that there are
many books I will not read. I strive, like Mr. Collins of Pride and
Prejudice, to give my little comments as unstudied an air as
possible. As we are eating dinner, I might say, for instance, "I
checked out an interesting looking book from the library today,
but you know, after the first chapter I decided it wasn't the type
of book that would be appropriate for me, so I'm not going to
finish it." I want my kids to see me having to say "no" to things.
They are not the only ones who face temptation. (And not the
only ones who fall into it, but that is a post for another day.)

My younger years were blessed with books that encouraged me
to think in ways that were good and wholesome. Romans 12:2
has great wisdom for us here.

And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind, that you may prove what is
that good and acceptable and perfect
will of God.

Of course, it is reading God's Word that renews our minds, and
yet, good literature, from babyhood on up, plants good seeds
in young heads. It will train, teach and guide our children to
seek after that which is best. Good books can come along beside
the Bible as helpers. They can hlep bring about Proverbs 19:22
in the lives of our children.

Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.

There are just a few household jobs that make me
growl. One of them is putting new sheets on top bunks,
I invariable hit my head, or my knee or my whatever.
The other growly job that must be faced on a regular
basis is cleaning the tub/shower. My tendency was
always to put it off until we had overnight company and
then spend enormous amounts of time making it look
as though it had never been used before. (Good thing
we often have overnight company or the ickniness would
have built up to a gargantuan level.)

But I came up with a solution a few years ago that works
for me.

Every time I take a shower (which isn't everyday, no "icks"
please, I take baths in between showers since I don't need
to wash my hair everyday), but every time I take a shower
I clean one part of the tub/shower stall. It isn't so daunting
when taken in bits like this. One day I'll clean the tub,
a few days later it will be the walls up to the middle and then,
finally, I attack the upper walls. Basically the entire assembly
gets cleaned once a week. I no longer have to panic if I get
unexpected company. This is a system I've been able to keep
going for several years now.

For more Works For Me go over and visit Shannon at Rocks
In My Dryer.