Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lilacs in March. Unheard of. Unthinkable.
Unimaginable. True.

Yesterday I saw both a frog and a turtle
cross the road. In March. Incredible.
Amazing. Wild.

I am needing a really good thunderstorm
to let off some energy. We could stand
out on the porch and watch it roll past.
That would be a marvelous way to wave
good-bye to March and hello to April.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Straight from the Mayberry Times-

"Hello from our town where two exciting events
took place. Betty Abernathy's dog ran away from
home and I have two black eyes."

I love it. I absolutely love living in Mayberry!
Ooh La La...Red Buds AND Dogwood AND a waxing moon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Now I know how to make a ball if there is no ball.
Take an old tire, from a model T if possible, and cut
a round piece of rubber from it. Find some old feed
bags and unravel them. Then take the string from the
feed bags and wrap it around and around and around until
the ball is the size you want. And then, well, go play

G'ma Opal was on a roll (no pun intended) last night.
The spring weather just fills her to the brim with
nostalgic feelings. She is rather amazed when she
stops to think that her children range in age from
60 to 76. Can you imagine having a son who is 76?

Her garden looks good too. She's got spinach, lettuce,
onions, beets, cabbage and even some tomato plants out
already. And everything is just picture perfect.

I can't wait for her to call and say, "Laurie, I just
picked a mess of (fill in the blank), do you want some?"

Do I? Boy howdy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kent and I are not originally from Mayberry. (True
Mayberrianites still shake their heads at us and wonder
about our strange ways.) We both were raised in The Big
City. When we first moved down here we would lie in bed
with the windows open and say, "I feel like I am at camp."
The sounds and smells were so different from those in The
Big City. That feeling still haunts (in a delicious way)

This morning, as I was sitting on the love seat with an
open window at my back, I felt the sweet, cool breeze
blowing in, I smelled the dust and pollen floating upon
the air, and I listened to the outside world waking up
with its riot of bird calls, rooster crowings and dog

That is what I would miss most if I ever had to leave
Mayberry, the smell and sounds and softness of a spring
or summer morning.

It is funny though, because there are other sounds and
odors that make me homesick for places that I have only
visited for short periods of time. I am homesick for the
ocean. A few times I have been able to be in a hut or
a motel right on the beach and listen to the incessant
swooshing of the waves and feel and smell the salt laden
air blowing in the window. Sometimes I ache with missing
those sounds and smells.

I miss The Big City too. Even though I grew up in the
suburbs, there is something I miss about being "downtown"
with all the energy and creativity of the people, the outside
restaurants, the folks walking their dogs, the highrise
apartments that make you wonder what is happening inside
all those windows.

I guess this feeling of being at home and yet never feeling
quite at home is just a symptom of living on this earth.
When even creation itself is groaning for its completion
(Romans 8:22-25)how can I expect to be totally comfortable
in it? Oh, may that day, that day of completion, hurry!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I've read some interesting articles over the past few
days. This one, by Po Bronson in New York Magazine
is extremely though provoking. If you have children,
or you work with children, you need to read this article
on the negative effects of praise.
Tip of the bonnet to The Beehive.

I found this article on great reasons to have kids at
Mommy Life.
Tip of the bonnet to Amy's Humble Musings.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I forgot; I did; I truly forgot how difficult it
is to get dirt and grass stains out of a WHITE
ball uniform. WHITE uniforms for an outdoor
game played by boys? The person who ordered
those should be hung and quartered. Now I am
descending into the Middle Ages.
I pulled a book off the shelf that we've had
for probably over 20 years yet I've never read.
It is Christianity & Liberalism by J. Gresham

I can't give a full review here because I am
only on page 8, but I was captivated from the
first paragraph of the introduction.

"Light may seem at times to be an impertinent
intruder, but it is always beneficial in the
end. The type of religion which rejoices in
the pious sound of traditional phrases,
regardless of their meanings, or shrinks from
"controversial" matters, will never stand amid
the shocks of life. In the sphere of religion,
as in other spheres, the things about which men
are agreed are apt to be the things that are
least worth holding; the really important things
are the things about which men will fight."

Already I have used my underlining pen a lot.
Expect to read more about Machen's book in the future.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Peepers AND Johnny-Jump Ups. Life is delicious.

And I can't even show you because my camera is
on a trip to The Big City. Billy kidnapped it.

Spring is not a good time to have a kidnapped
In thinking it over, it seems a little presumptuous
on my part to think you'd really be interested in the
few books I manage to read these days. In my younger
days I read constantly, but now so many other voices
call to me and distract me from reading time. I do
squeeze in a little reading in the wee hours of the
morning during my time of devotions, and I crunch in
a tiny bit at the end of the day as I am falling exhaustedly
into bed, but that is pretty much the extent of my time
spent between the covers of a book.

However, assuming you are interested-here goes with the
few I've managed to make it through in the last several
bits of time I've had.

1. Robert the Bruce: King of Scots by Ronald McNair Scott.
This is truly a history book. It took me a few chapters
to get my bearings on who was who. I was a bit surprised
that William Wallace, though he was a big part in the
fight for the independence, really played second fiddle
totally to Robert the Bruce. The setting is definitely
Middle Ages, so if you have a squeamish stomach this is
probably not the read for you. But, if you like to know
exactly how and why things came about-go ahead and tackle
it. Now I understand where the Stewarts came from that
are so much a part of Scotland by the time of RLS's
I loved the Robert Burns poem that the book ends with.

Scots wha hae with Wallace bled
Scots wham Bruce has aften led
Welcome to your gory bed
Or to victorie

2. In the Name of Jesus:Reflections on Christian Leadership
by Henri J.M. Nouwen.
Here is a thought provoking book on the Christian leader
becoming a servant. While Nouwen does have a sense of
mysticism that I am uncomfortable with, he has a sincerity
of purpose that is commendable. How many Christian leaders
will purposefully give up lucrative and high-profile positions
in the Christian realm in order to follow the mandate of Jesus
to become a servant? I am afraid that most of our radio/
television personalities and book writing gurus wouldn't
come close to the humility and honesty that Nouwen offers

3. Found: God's Will by John MacArthur, Jr.
You can't go wrong with John MacArthur. He is sound.
He is solid. No slippery slopes here, just a good
reminder of where we are and where we are headed.

4. I started a book last night that I picked off the shelf
in the library. It took about five minutes to decide to
shut it and forget it. It reminded me of most modern
day sitcoms on television. There were too many references
to s*x, even though they were couched in a playful, seemingly
rather harmless story. My time is too precious to watch
or read such nonsense. Now that leads me to speak of one of
the good things that has come about in modern day Mayberry.
A year or so ago the library got computerized. We now check
out our books electronically. Previous to that there was the
old library card you signed. My name is on some books that
I never read past the first page. I would be so ashamed that
others could see that I had even checked that particular book
out...of course, it could be fun to see who else had checked
out such horrid books and play the goody-goody who would
exclaim to herself, "Oh my, look what they have been reading.
How shocking!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One last (maybe) post on peepers. Did you know
that the warmer the temperature the faster peepers
pees? They are like crickets in this way. Now, this
is not something I have read, it is just a little
something I have noticed myself.

And that is a great help. When I get up in the
morning it is still dark and they are still
peeping. If they are peeping fast, I don a
short sleeve shirt. If the peeps are stretched
far apart I head for the sweater drawer.

Who really needs noaa anyway?
Yesterday a most truly amazing thing happened. I
still can not quite believe it. Our bull practically
loaded himself into our stock trailer.

We, and especially Kent, had been fretting for several
weeks over how we could go about loading the Big Boy.
We needed to get rid of him and we already had a new
bull waiting in the wings. Our problem was we are just
Mom and Pop homesteaders. We are not really set up to
handle a lot of the intricacies of raising cattle. So,
we try to keep our 8 or 10 bovine pretty tame. That
doesn't eliminate all the adventures at loading time,
but it does help.

The problem was that Big Boy was scared of us. He
wasn't necessarily belligerent, but rather more on
the petrified side of things. That could be as
dangerous as belligerent if he were cornered.

But yesterday, ah now, that was just amazing. Kent put
some food in the barn and he (the bull) wandered in to
eat it, along with two other cows. Kent snuck up and
blocked the door. Then he sent Hattie to get me. I
ran outside and stood in front of the barrier to keep
the bull from jumping over it while Kent ran and got
the truck and stock trailer. It is so comforting when
your husband shouts to you as he runs to get the truck,
"If he starts to jump, get out of the way!"

The trailer was duly backed up to the barn door and the
only way the cows could go was into the trailer. Kent
went to get feed to try and coax them that direction.
The other two cows just jumped into the trailer as
though they were headed to a party. I was blocking
the small gap to keep the bull from trying to push the
trailer away from the barn and escape. He came to the
gap and stood there for 3 or 4 minutes. I didn't look
at him, because I didn't want him to think I was thinking
about him. Then, before Kent could return with the
feed he just stepped right into the trailer. I reached
back and slid the gate in place and dropped in the pin
and BINGO. We had ourselves a bull.

Then we had to drive to the other field and the cows
were lined up perfectly so that when we opened the
back gate the two we didn't want to sell stepped right
off again. Then Big Boy scrunched himself up towards
the front so we could close the middle door and trap
him into the front where he had to be in order to
balance the weight.

I am sorry to trouble you with such a long story.
It is just that we are still in a fog of amazement.

And, of course Hattie went to the sale barn because
she loves to bid on cows. And now we own a new black
heifer and a new black with white face heifer.

Monday, March 19, 2007

One of the most precious moments of being a
mother is when a little person comes running
inside with a handful of flowers and presents
them-"For YOU, Mommy. I picked them for YOU."

But, it gets better still. When that little
person is nine, or seventeen, or twenty or
twenty-three and they bring flowers in and
find vases and carefully arrange them for you-
that is beyond precious. It is the very fabric
of life.

Not only is my little heart warmed to its very
cockles, my faith is strengthened. I look at
my pretty little bouquets and am reminded of
Matthew 6:28-30--So why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:
they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you
that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed
like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass
of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown
into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O
you of little faith?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

If you will insist on fishing when the weather is a
tich cold, you might just look like this.

But then again, any day spent on the Sparkling Jewell
is worth it in my guys estimation.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Why doesn't anyone in Mayberry ever live up the gravel?

I wanna know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Last night I found this gem.

"How foolish we are to think we are in control.
As parents we are far better off preparing our
children for eternity than for life.
That, I
think, is ultimately the point of classical
education. We are not preparing our children
for careers since we hardly know what career
or careers they will have but rather we are
preparing them to live as servants of God in
this world and beyond."

You can find the rest of the post at Dominion
Last night Joel called from work. He is thrilled
and so are we. He just found out that he gets to
move to days. And on top of that, he gets to move
to the line he was wanting to be on. Life for him
is often difficult, so these blessings are huge to
him and to us.

I think a party is in order. I told him to be
thinking about what he wants me to cook.

He giggled.

Speaking of food. Last night I make chicken and
dumplings. I wanna know why I can't make c & d
without spinach as a side dish? They go together
in my mind like peanut butter and jelly. I also
love pickled beets with c & d, but am out of them
at the moment. I need G'ma Opal's garden to get
in gear!
This is not the post I intended to write. That will
have to wait because, when I stepped out on my front
porch to say, "Good Morning" to the morning, I was
enveloped in a cloak of a deep, drippy, dark, delightful
fog. I wanted to take a picture, but I knew it would
not turn out.

As I stood there, I was listening to the morning wake-
up sounds and they were blending with the end of night
sounds. The peepers were there but slowly fading away.
The occasional bull frog was still making his presence
known. Across the way a rooster was letting his consorts
know it was time to get their sleepy heads to open their
eyes and begin looking around for breakfast. The birds
were beginning to trill and cheep and sing.

The Lord is good to us. These kinds of gifts are beyond

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I know I am in a rut with these peepers, but I thought that
you might enjoy listening to them. This site has a lovely
peeper sound. Just click on the words "Listen to its call."
And then, just be jealous of me and mine. For the full effect
set your computer by your bed and let it play the peeper noise
all night long. Nice.

For a good picture of a peeper go here.

See? I told you!
Oh, we are thankful for each and every sign of Spring.

The fields turning green. I wish I could truly show
you how green the fields are becoming.

The daffy-dills in bloom.

The trees that look a little furry with the tiny flowers
popping open.

The peepers (we must never forget the peepers).

The thunderstorms.

The rush of life that is trying to burst through
the cracks of winter.

Stand back a safe distance because here it comes.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Order from chaos. That is my usual Monday routine.
The house, Hattie's schoolwork, my brain and my life
in general need some straightening out come Monday
morning. There is a lot zipping around in the grey
matter this morning and perhaps to pin some of it
down would help to bring a little order. That would
be nice.

1. I was just reading in the Missouri Conservationist
a little article about introducing kids to the "Outdoors".
It had oodles of suggestions and then emphasized that,
of course, you want to protect your kids from snakes and
black widows etc. That reminded me of the time that
Joel caught a black widow and put it in a jar. Then he
said, "Now if I can get a brown recluse I'll have a
collection of all the poisonous spiders in Missouri."
And there is no end of times he has picked up snakes in
order to either move them to another spot or protect
his precious chickens. My dad once came home from school
with a snake wrapped around his pants as a belt. Snakes
aren't always so bad!

2. My brother and sister-in-law popped into Mayberry for
a surprise visit this weekend. We've had a lovely time
with them. (Hi, Debby! you lurker!) When we stopped in
last evening to say, "Howdy!" and to enjoy some of Tandy's
delish popcorn, I heard a new springtime sound. Bullfrogs.
They were just getting cranked up. They are not loud yet,
but they will be soon. Sometimes, in my yard, the bullfrogs
are so loud a person has to almost yell to be heard.

3. I've been reading several books lately on "Finding the
Will of God." There is certainly a lot of garbage written
in this department, but when you come across a statement
like the following you sit up and take notice.

" Is it not Biblical to suggest that peace in taking the
next step arises out of knowing God rather than in finding
the right set of rules for guidance? Do we not in
retrospect see that some of life's greatest doors swung
open or shut on hinges too small for us to perceive at
the time--hinges that were set by the Sovereign God?

God, the Sovereign. The Great Initiator.
The Awful Interrupter. The Shepherd who leads
His flock. The Predestinator. The One who
opens and no man can shut, who shuts and no
man can open.

'This God is our God for ever and ever; He will
be our Guide even unto death.(Ps. 48:14)'"
This is from the preface of Essays on Guidance.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oops, I forgot a few things in that last post, but,
then really, it was quite long enough already.

1. I knew I was home when I got out of the truck
and heard the blessed music of the peepers. They
were peepering with all their might and it was

2. Dad says I get preachy sometimes on this blog.
Sorry. I won't promise to quit, but I do apologize
ahead of time for doing it. I don't really want
to be said of me what Churchill said of Sir Stafford
Cripps, "There but for the grace of God goes God."
Kent, Hattie and I left Mayberry for a few days to
go be with my parents for my mother's third chemo
treatment. Her white blood count was fine and she
was able to take the treatment and we were glad for

I had been looking forward to seeing her in her
Chatty Cathy mode. We met them at 7:00am and went
to the hospital together. Her schedule was a full
one because she first had an internal radiation,
then a doctor visit and then the chemo.

Of course, since she had a bad reaction during the first
session of chemo, she now must start her steroids the
night before. So, she was pretty pumped by the time we
met her at 7:00am. She already had 10 decadron pills
inside her.

Mom moves pretty fast anyway, especially when she is
walking, and I noticed that she led the way wherever we
went, and Dad, Kent and I were strung out behind, trying
to keep up.

She was especially thrilled (and so were we) by the news
that Dr. Thaker gave her. Her CA-125 level was down to the
normal range. It was a 23 and normal is 0-30. CA-125 is
a blood test that checks for ovarian cancer. And, on top
of that, because she is responding so well, Dr. Thaker said
that if things continue so she will move Mom's fifth
treatment back a week so she can go to her oldest grand-
daughter's wedding in Florida.

Friday we met my sister's family over at Hope Lodge, which
is place my folks stay while they are in The Big City. Becky
brought lunch and I brought a barrel of pretzels. It
was fun. Derrill (Becky's husband) is still jet lagged from
their trip to the Philippines and he sacked out on one of
the couches. But then, come to think of it, so did Kent and
Billy. Dad may not have been sacked, but he was very
comfortable. What was Mom doing? What else...playing
High Five with her three granddaughters.

There you have it, a Shirley Update. She probably feels
rather rotten today, and probably will tomorrow too, but
that will pass and she'll just keep being the hoot she
always is. Oh, I didn't mention that as the afternoon
wore away during her chemo treatment she actually turned
rather mellow, at least mellow for her. She did talk,
but even the nurse said it was nothing like the first
time she was there. She didn't sleep any, but she was
pretty much just MaMa.

The chemo room is not very big and really Dad, Kent
and I couldn't all stay in there all the time. So Kent
and Dad went out for lunch and they toured the Cathedral
de Basilica while they were out. I was jealous because
that is a place I really want to see. It is just a few
blocks from where my folks are staying at Hope Lodge.
Kent loved it. It is rather breath taking I gather. If
you are ever at The Big City and looking for something to
go, head to Lindell and take in the Cathedral.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The whole purpose of the previous post was to write a
book review or two. It certainly goes to show you how
far astray one can wander if one is not disciplined in
their writing.

My original intention was to zoom through the book
In the Steps of Moses by Louis Golding. A friend
found it at a used book sale, read it, and wanted to
have me read it. My pile of books is huge and really
it just didn't look too appetizing. I let it sit on
the pile for probably a year before I actually picked
it up and attempted it.

My thinking was, I'll just read the first sentence of
every paragraph, then I'll have a good idea of the book
and be able to give it back. Oh, how wrong I was. I
did that for a few pages, and then, I absolutely could
not help myself, I found I couldn't just skip over all
those sentences. Here was a man who could made every
word count. It is brilliantly written. I loved it;
every sentence shines.

It doesn't matter a whit if you are interested in tracing
the footsteps of Moses or not. For that matter, it doesn't
matter whether you are interested in Lawrence of Arabia or
not (he fills nearly as many pages as Moses does.) Golding
will draw the reader in, and you will understand what traveling
through Arabia was like in the early part of the last

Perhaps if you are stuck in the Christian love dribble book
world this would not appeal to you, but for everyone else I
highly recommend looking high and low for a copy of this book.
As a teenager I remember wanting to make my mark on the
world. Somewhere in my diary I have written the following
excerpt, but this is paraphrased because I really don't want
to take hours to find the exact wording.

"I know I'm supposed to do something big. I must be either
a dancer, writer, artist, musician, or singer. I have so
much inside of me that needs to be expressed to the world."

Now that is funny. I've been noticing posts by several people
where they write a letter to themselves at the age of 17 or
so. I think rather than a letter I should hit my 17 year
old self over the head with a baseball bat and say, "Wake up
honey! You've got it all wrong."

Of course the first problem is that I am not at all graceful,
just ask Philippine Sister who tried to help me in this regard,
therefore nix the dancing. I can't carry a tune, ask Kent on
that one, so nix the singing. I am really rather lazy AND I
am a little tone deaf so nix the music playing. I have really
a hard time drawing much besides stick figures (though my niece
Carolyn Fleetwood is a very accomplished artist) so nix the
artwork. Okay, that brings us to the writing.

The problem is I see a little too clearly my own faults. Once
in a while I can turn out a sentence that is nice. But mainly
they are very run-of-the-mill productions. I can very easily
see that with my 46 year old eyes; the 17 year old was slightly
blinded by immaturity and inexperience.

In fact, I judge writing by whether they do a better job than I
do. The Baroness Orczy did that too. If I correctly remember
the story, she was listening to a story one day that had won
a contest and she thought, "Why I could do better than that."
And so we have The Scarlet Pimpernel, which just happens to
be one of the greatest books ever written.

I take rather the opposite approach though. I am not driven to
write a novel because of some drivel I read. But I do toss it
aside and say, "They can't write any better than I can. They are
not worth my few moments of leisure." This applies to a lot
of books, Christian and secular. It applies to novels and to
serious works. If a person can't turn a sentence to make a
work of art out of it, I refuse to waste my time.

Basically I avoid a lot of book conversations with people
because of this. I don't want to offend by saying, "Well really,
I thought that was a horrid bit of writing." Better to just
not go there.

This was all supposed to be an introduction to a book review,
actually two book reviews. But I do believe I have exhausted
my reader as well as myself. So I will save the reviews for
another day.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pretty completely this past weekend was devoted to a
volleyball tournament our Mexico Mission Team was hosting
to raise funds for the materials we'll need when we
travel to Mexico this summer.

Friday was filled with details in preparation.
Saturday was the tournament which began at 8:00am
and lasted until about 7:00.
Sunday was the achy and jammed finger part.

But, Jackie and Laura eat your hearts out, my Red-Headed
Snippets and Gang took second place. See what you
missed out on Ruth, you could have been in this lovely

If you've ever read my profile you ought to be able to pick
me out.

Friday, March 02, 2007

G'ma Opal's mouse take for the month of February is 6.
She really gets a kick out of this ongoing rodent war.

My good friend, Jackie, gave me her own mousey update the
other day. Eight. And she had a mole to boot. She walked
out her door and her cat had left eight mice and one mole
on her carport. Beat that if you can.
Signs of the Times

March came in like a lion yesterday. At least it did
10 miles from here. There was a good, strong storm
that blew through Mayberry yesterday morning. They had
wind; they had dark skies; they had hail.

All we had was a tich of rain and a blowsy wind.

So does that mean March will go out like a lamb ten miles
away in Mayberry, but not here?

The weather, warmth wise, has been creeping towards
spring. It has rushed towards spring in another way.
The Japanese beetles are out in full force. I will

A few years ago the Japanese beetle migration reached
Mayberry. They look like ladybugs but aren't. They
smell bad when smushed and they sting too, if you let
them. They leave an ugly spot on the wall at times.

My poor mother and grandmother are nearly driven to
distraction by these beetles because they will come
in by the hundreds and sometimes thousands. You can
not stop them. They hibernate between the siding and
the outside wall and creep in when the weather begins
to warm up. Mom and G'ma Opal will smush, vacuum, sweep,
knock, just do anything possible to eliminate them, but
they keep coming. I have them in every room right now

But, if having to deal with Japanese beetles means that
I also get to hear peepers every time I step out the
door at night, I'll deal with them right cheerfully.
I love getting to the ends of the various epistles of
the New Testament because the benedictions that are
given are so apt for nightly blessings for my own

Hebrews has a beautiful benediction (nightly blessing).

Hebrews 13:20-21
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus
from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through
the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete
in every good work to do His will, working in you what
is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to
whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

I don't say the whole of the two verses when I glide
through the rooms at night. I pick out the kernel and
whisper those words.

I got a funny feeling though when today, as I continued
in James, I read these words.

James 1:2,3
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various
trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces
patience. But let patience have its perfect work,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.


I don't want my children to endure trials. But then again,
if it causes them to become "complete in every good work
to do His will," maybe I do.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I get a little irritated when I hear people say,
"I am not sure I want to bring children into this
world the way things are today." Sometimes it may
be older folks and they say, "Things are just so
much worse today than they used to be, I don't
know how young people can make it now."

We think that if we could have lived in some other
time and place things would have been simpler and purer,
and it would have been easier to raise our children.

I always rather thought I should have been a pioneer
Me, who can't stand a cold house, HA! I've loved
the thought of hoop skirts and lots of crinoline, yet
I am somewhat claustrophobic and would probably have
been locked up when they tried to tighten the stays.
Joel always wanted to live in the time of Knight
Errantry. He wanted to fight the dragon and win fair
lady. Hattie thinks the Indians and their way of life
was a better and higher way.

But God is sovereign. He has put me and each of my own
children into this particular time and this particular
country and even his particular community for a very
particular reason. (Okay that was a little repetitious.)
But, the point is made. God is never caught off guard.
He is not surprised by what happens around us. If indeed
history is really what we claim it to be, His Story, then
He has put us exactly where He wants us and it is all for
some very glorious purpose.

Now there is great confidence in that truth.

Finrod in The Lord of the Kingdom says it more eloquently.

"‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’
said Frodo.

‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live
to see such times. But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that
is given us.’

Throughout my life I periodically have indulged in
wishful-thinking: I have dreamed of having been born a
century earlier, or perhaps several hundreds of years
before, when the world (in my imagination) was much
simpler and more to my liking than these days in which
I find myself. Many of us long, I suspect, for days
that never really were as we want to believe they were.

But God did not fall asleep on his watch, only to waken
and discover that he was late in tossing me into life.
I am where I belong. I do not get to choose the state
of the church of my time, or the cultural battles that
rage, or the theological slide that I perceive.

My - our - only decision is what Gandalf lays out:
“what to do with the time that is given us.” Paul said
as much, too, exhorting us to be always “making the most
of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-17).
This means I must choose wisely and I must be diligent:
I cannot live either in the past or the future; I can
only live today and do what I may as long as it is called

These days may seem black and dark, but all days are so
to those engaged in spiritual warfare. There is glorious
light to behold one day, but not yet - not while the Enemy
still opposes our King and his purposes. My job is to do
as I’m told and not wish it were otherwise."