Sunday, December 30, 2007

10 year old misquote of an overused figure of speech:

"Oh, that's just a turtle path."

I think what she meant was....

Friday, December 28, 2007

The majority of the men folk left this morning for the Reality
Check Conference in Chattanooga, TN. Some friends went with
them and they all met here at 6:00 am for a breakfast send off.

I made them bacon, sausage, biscuits, scrambled eggs, and

But while they're gone I get to take over the outside chores.
That is always fun, or funny, depending on your point of view.
First, I get to load the wood box. That's not so bad. In fact,
I often do it just for the exercise, but over the last few weeks
the boys have been doing it for me.

More fun by far is feeding and watering the cows. The mamas and
the goats are not too hard. I just have to open the gate to give
them access to the hay, and then after about 40 minutes I have
to shove them back through the gate and into their own section of
the field. A can of feed will help me to shove them through.
Kent reminded me that our hay has to last a long time and if I
leave the cows, by accident, with hay access all day IT WILL NOT

But, the most fun of all is taking care of the bull. He is not
really mean, but he is big and he wants to get right up in one's
face. So his hay I just drop over the fence, and then at some
point when he is way off and his attention is elsewhere, I am
to climb the fence, pour out a can of feed, bang the post so he
knows it's there and then slosh through the mud as fast as
possible and get over the fence before he arrives.

I'd show pictures, but the guys took the camera with them to
the conference. However I do have a picture that will work,
now that I think about it. You can find it here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

And now, to strive to bring order out of chaos, perhaps
more inside my being than outside, although the outside
needs a Great Attending To.

These verses from Romans 11 bring order, beauty, and
wonder into our lives.

Vs. 33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge
of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past
finding out!

For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to
whom be glory forever. Amen.

Friday, December 21, 2007

On the finished pile--

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

What a fun and rollicking read. I am still trying
to catch up on what I was never offered in H.S. or

I did not even know that Twelfth Night is the source of
the following quote.

"Some are born great,
some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."
You know you live in Mayberry when your son asks for
the following menu for his birthday bash:

Pot of beans
Fried okra
Fried bread
Earthquake cake

We rounded it out with:

Corn casserole with jalapeƱos
Homemade applesauce
Canned pears
Festive cranberry salad

AND--G'ma Opal's Chocolate Pie

G'ma Opal herself couldn't come; she wasn't feeling very
well. But she stirred herself around enough to put
together the pie.

We finished the night off with two games of High Five.
Kent and Joel beat Mama and Hattie in both.

Happy Birthday Joel!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Billy sent us this You Tube video on Monday morning.
We watched it several times. It features Steve Saint
speaking about his father's and his daughter's deaths.

Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint. His father was
one of the missionaries that were killed by the Waodani
Indians. The movie End of the Spear features Nate and
his companions. Jim Elliot is perhaps the better known
of the five men killed because of the writings of his
wife Elizabeth Elliot.

This video is especially meaningful to us right now because
we just found out that my mother's cancer is back and she
will be starting chemo treatments again within the next
two weeks. The doctor basically said, "You had a good
seven months without chemo, you'll never go so long without
it again."

It is a bulwark of strength to know that all things come
from God's hands. He is not rushing around trying to put
out fires that Satan starts. He is not swinging His head
from right to left saying, "Oh dear, now look what I need
to attend to over there; how could that one have slipped
by me?" It is not just that He "won't give me more than
I can handle", and it is not just that "He will walk with
me through the dark days", it is that He is completely in
charge and all things are working toward a glorious end--
they are all working toward His glory and exaltation. That
does not make Him impersonal. It brings Him very close.
He can be depended on. He began this good work of salvation
in my mother and He will complete it until the day of Christ

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kent and I wandered down to G'ma Opal's place on Sunday
afternoon. Sunday is just made for visiting-so we went

G'ma was in the middle of cleaning out her spice cabinet,
and she took the old ones she had found, tossed them
in the trash and sat down with us at the kitchen table.
The evening was coming on and the kitchen was growing
dim. G'ma started to reminisce about days gone by. She
told a story that I've heard before, but never really
paid much mind to.

The Christmas she was four, which would have been 93 years
ago, there was an older, childless couple that lived a mile
down the gravel from them. This couple came up to my Great
Grandma and Grandpa Simon and begged them to let little Opal
spend Christmas Eve night at their house. And so they let

She carefully hung her stocking at the fireplace and then she
crawled between them in their bed and slept all night. In the
morning she found her stocking stuffed with goodies. There
was an apple, a banana, a sawdust stuffed dolly, and way down
in the toe of the stocking a bright and shiny nickel.

I asked G'ma if there was more for her from Santa at her own
house when she went home on Christmas Day, but she couldn't
remember. That stocking though, with the fruit, doll and
especially the nickel is a memory that has been very precious
to her through the years.

A little later G'ma started speaking of all her neighbors and
friends that she lived in this community with all her life. One
by one they've all passed away. She said she often feels like
the last rose of summer. Then she quoted the poem by Sir John
Stevenson and Thomas More.

'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming all alone,
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred,
No rose bud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one,
To pine on the stem,
Since the lovely are sleeping
Go sleep thou with them,
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o'er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow
When friendships decay,
And from love's shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone!

But we didn't part on a sad note. The conversation turned
to bacon grease and salt and she duly noted that those
two things must be good for you. She said she decided
when she turned 80 she'd just eat whatever she wanted.
Mostly she wants bacon grease and salt and the two have
keep her going now for another 17 years!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yesterday, glorious yesterday, the sun shone for about
37 seconds. We've had rain and clouds and then clouds
and rain for days without number. But for 37 seconds,
as I was driving down a marvelous curvy road in Mayberry
County, there was sunshine. I started singing. Hattie
said, "Mom, you're scaring me."

Then last night, when Tyler was getting a load of wood for
the woodbox, he found this little fellow in the rafters
under our carport. We've seen him before. I like owls.
I like the fact that they eat rodents. I do not like rodents.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Evangelism Mayberry Style

Chains of events are interesting. Yesterday a neighbor's
cows got out and it is all my fault, yet I wasn't even

A week or so ago Hattie and I were chatting and I mentioned
to her that I've always wanted to have all the neighbors on
the gravel over during Christmas. It would be great to have
a little Christmas party, sing some carols and share the
gospel with them. Somehow it has just never happened.

Hattie thought for a bit and then asked if she couldn't
deliver invitations to our church Christmas program to our
neighbors. What a great idea!

So we made invitations and printed them off the computer. We
rolled them into little scrolls and tied curly ribbon
around them and she went out delivering.

A day or so later she was thinking about it again and asked
about delivering some on the gravel road that is opposite
ours across the highway. That was a little farther afield
than we felt comfortable with letting her roam alone, so
yesterday Kent and Hattie hopped on their bikes and rode
across the highway and up and down that gravel road.

When they got to the Hopkins place they left their bikes
at the beginning of the lane and walked up to give the
invitation. The problem was that two large dogs had been
following them for awhile and they followed them right up
the lane.

The dogs went ballistic when they saw a pen of newly weaned
calves, and the cows went loco when the dogs started barking
at them. One burst right through the fence and broke it.

Kent ran up and blocked the way so the rest couldn't get through.
He yelled to Hattie to go get the men that lived there and she
did. Then Kent helped to mend the fence. It was exciting all
right. Just another fun day in Mayberry.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It would be hard for me to leave my home. I mean it would
be hard even to build a new one nestled back against the
woods that are behind us. We've talked of this on and off
for years because our place is a burned-out mobile home
that has been rebuilt. We could build a snug little place
back behind us and be away from all the dust of the gravel

What about the sunrises and sunsets that I can see from my

Would the peepers be as loud?

I like looking out the window to see who is driving by. You
may call me nosy-Nancy, but I think I am no different from
most Mayberrians when it comes to seeing who is driving by.
I've seen G'ma Opal leave a sentence half-spoken to run, as
fast as a 97 year old can run, to see who is driving by.

I love looking out my bedroom window, as I lay in bed, in the
month of May, and seeing all the stars of heaven flickering and
flitting about.

I just wonder if my little place here can last another 50 years?
I hope so.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Book Review and a snide comment on the Prosperity Gospel

Finally on the finished pile is History of Christianity
in the Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Fall of
by William Ragsdale Cannon.

It was informative and interesting though not written in an
absolutely fascinating style.

And now I am all excited to read The Reformation of the
Sixteenth Century
by Roland H. Bainton. His writing goes
down very easily. Probably in part because of the time
period. What a crucial, crucial time in history. And how
thrilling to understand it was part of God's big plan.

Anyway I loved this bit from the Introduction.

"Prosperity itself corrupts. A medieval monk formulated
the law of the monastic cycle: "Discipline begets abundance,
and abundance, unless we take the utmost care, destroys
discipline; and discipline in its fall pulls down abundance."
The next day, the day after G'ma called being so
cold, she called again. This time she asked for
Kent. She needed him to come down and blow out
her little gas furnace. Hopefully she is toasty

I haven't talked with her myself, but Hattie rode
her bike up yesterday and beat Granny in a game
of Rummy. I'll bet that heated the old girl up
a bit!

We moved the cows again yesterday. It was a cold
soupy day and when I said, complainingly to Kent,
"We might as well live in Scotland with this weather."
He shot back, "After the hot, dry weather we had
this summer be grateful!" So, I am trying.

Friday, December 07, 2007

G'ma Opal called yesterday evening. She was cold; she was
just shivering. She thought making some peanut butter cookies
might warm her up. She asked me if I remembered the recipe
that the Mayberry Times had printed some weeks ago for
Easy Peanut Butter Cookies. The recipe just happened to be
under a magnet on my refrigerator door. I cut it out when
she did, but I am not as industrious as she is. I have been
contemplating removing it from my fridge door because
I don't like cluttered fridge doors, but I am glad my
non-industriousness had me leave it there this long.

I hope baking those cookies warmed her up. I'll have to
call and ask.

I offered for her to come to our house which was somewhere
between 90 and 110 degrees due to our wood furnace. She
said she'd rather stay home and bake cookies. That was
probably a good idea; we'd have wasted her time with a game of
High Five.
The Boundless Line blog has some interesting news on the global
warming conference to be held in Bali.

Tip of the bonnet to Challies

Thursday, December 06, 2007

by U.A. Fanthorpe
from The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems

This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazardly by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Every time I leave town I come back and forget to
blog. It seems to take forever to get back on track.

But here and here are two really fascinating articles by