Monday, March 31, 2008

I dropped by G'ma's house yesterday afternoon for an hour
or so. She was playing Sol and had already lost, so she was
cheating. She told me she'd played several evenings last
week for 3 or 4 games and lost everyone. Then a day or so
ago she played one game and won and got up from the table
and left...she knows when to fold 'em.

She is tickled pink because she had Uncle Jim pick her up
a new floor lamp in town this past weekend. It is quite bright
and makes it much easier for her to read and do crossword

Saturday night when she went to bed she pulled on her favorite
jammies and the elastic in the pants was totally shot. She
pulled them off and put on another pair, but the next morning
when she woke up she found a piece of good elastic and decided
to mend her jammie pants. The pants were a little short in the
waist and she decided to extend that as well. So she went to
look through her scraps and found the pieces that she had cut
off from the pants when she first bought them. Being a Fleetwood
she has to hem everything she buys. (But who, besides G'ma Opal,
would ever save the cut off part from the bottom of the pants

Anyhow, she laid out the two leg bottoms and they didn't quite
make it all the way around the waist, so she added a few inches
of a different material. She used her new lamp to pin it all
together and then her machine cooperated and let her sew everything

She is just as happy as a clam with her mending.

As she said yesterday, "Counting from when I was conceived I am
going on 99 and I can still bathe myself and take care of myself.
And I can fix my own jammies!" Well I admit, I paraphrased a
little, but she said something like that.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The idea of "contextualization" by adjusting Christianity to existing beliefs, values, and traditions was probably the twentieth century's most significant contribution to ministry strategy—and it is not a good one. It has made the church indistinguishable from the world, indistinct in its message, and (frankly) ineffectual as an evangelistic force in an unbelieving culture.

You can find the whole article at Pyromaniacs.

Likewise Mark Dever in the book A God Entranced Vision of all
Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards

Conformity to the world in our churches makes our evangelistic
task all the more difficult. As Nigel Lee of Inter-Varisty
once said, "We become so like the unbelievers they have no
questions they want to ask us." May we so live that people
are made constructively curious.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I am a light sleeper. Last night, about an hour after I
went to bed I was awakened by a noise outside my window.
It took me a few seconds to wonder what was making the
noise before I lifted my head and looked out. Though
there was a cloudy sky, enough moonlight shone through
to show me a black plastic bag caught in the eddy that
the wind always makes between the back of the trailer,
the side of the new room, and the side of the furnace
room. The bag was swirling along the concrete pad and
making a raspy noise as it went.

I was hoping I could ignore it and fall asleep, but just
then there was a funny beeping from my dresser. I listened
to the beep two or three times and then went over to
investigate. The cordless phone hadn't been settled tight
in its cradle and the battery was getting low. I settled
it and it became quiet.

I went to bed, but the bag was swirling and rasping and I
knew I'd better just deal with it. So I went out the back
door, collected the bag, and brought it into the house out
of the wind.

Then I lay back down and began to listen to all the other
night noises. I was rather wide awake by this time.

There was the wind itself as it found its way about and around
all the corners and sides of the house. It always makes some
eerie howls in doing so. Then farther away was the whooshing
of the wind through the trees along the big pond at the edge
of the field.

There were the peepers, my little buddies, just peeping away
like mad because it was a warm night.

There was the sound of a vehicle going down the gravel. I tried
to figure out who it was and since it sounded like a motorcycle
being driven slowly I figured it was KM (Fernnookians will know
who I mean.)

There was distant thunder rolling about somewhere. I love distant
thunder. I love close up thunder, too. Both have their merits.

And finally, the sound that was keeping me awake most of all, there
was a gentle snore coming from beside me. Hmmm.

I got up, went into the kitchen and took a melatonin. I lay back
down, carefully poked Kent and asked him to roll over, which he
very obligingly did and then I drifted off to....dreamland.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Up and Down the Gravel

Things have been buzzing up and down the gravel lately.

First, there have been a lot of card games. G'ma Opal and
Dad played Mom and Hattie in High Five a week or so ago.
Mom almost did her famous Shirley Shuffle when she caught
Dad cheating. She and Hattie were vindicated though, and
they won the game.

Derrill and Becky and the girls were down from The Big City
over Easter weekend. Becky played G'ma in several games of
Gin Rummy and G'ma lost every one.

Then for Easter dinner, Gm'a, Jim and Jenny joined us down
at Mom and Dad's for the Big Feast. Stacy and the kids came
to visit after we had eaten. Of course there was a ritual
game of High Five and G'ma lost again! I'm surprised she
is able to sleep at all these days with all those plays she
must be mulling over during the sma' wees.

G'ma has had some other excitement this week as well. She
had a new roof put on her house Saturday. Along with putting
up the roof the workers cut down some trees for her and
they even managed to break a window in the meantime. It
happened during the cutting down of one of the trees. One
of the men was between the house and the tree to brace it
and keep it from falling on the house. He was backed up
against the window and he was pushing so hard against the
tree that his bottom just went through the window.

Things are pretty much back to normal from all the flooding.
We've sent what we had here down into Arkansas as the Current
River flows into the rivers down there.

Tandy really, really wanted to bake Easter cupcakes this year.
She began asking me to help her make them 2 or 3 weeks before
the holiday. Finally on Friday we were able to make them.
We made chocolate cupcakes with green and red dyed coconut
on top. Then we put jelly beans in the red and green coconut

Life is going to be busy for the next several weeks as Tyler
enters his final ball season during his high school years. It
is a good thing we enjoy watching as much as he enjoys playing.
There is a dark lining to this silver cloud is his
white ball uniform. Actually though, I have gotten to the
place where I really don't care how it turns out anymore. It
has become a hopeless cause and not worth a half hour of
scrubbing after each game. I'll just toss it in the washer
and hang it up to dry.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"The enjoyment of him is our highest happiness, and is
the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.
To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely
better than the most pleasant accommodations here; better
than fathers or mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or
the company of any or all earthly friends. These are but
shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered
beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God
is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean."

Jonathan Edwards from his sermon "The Christian Pilgrim"

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Mayberry Flood of '08

Our favorite fast food restaurant knocked out of business.

Greenville Ford

The west side of the Current River Bridge


Thursday, March 20, 2008

If, for those of you who are Mayberry expats or wannabes,
you are wondering just how flooded we are right now,
imagine the restroom/concession stand at the ballpark
standing with just its roof above water and you will have
a good idea.

When the deluge fell, Tyler was cut off from home. He
called from the church and said that he couldn't get home.
Since the church is warm, has facilities and water, and
has food in the kitchen, we thought he might have to camp
out there overnight. Tandy hadn't been able to get home from
the Sheltered Workshop either, and had gone home with her
van driver. He and his wife are good friends of the
family and were more than willing to keep her as long
as needed.

In the early evening on Tuesday, though, the rain slacked
off a tich for an hour or so. It was long enough for the
creeks to ebb a bit and for Dad to take his truck to gather
the lost chickens of Fern Nook so they could be on their
home roost for the night. I'm thinking it would have been
a LONG night for Tyler to have had to sleep on a pew in the

We even had two leaks in our home; we've never had leaks in
our house.

Uncle Jim, official weather keeper that he is, sent me a
report of 10.6 inches. There may have been a wee bit more
than that all told, since that report was slightly before
the clouds started to break up.

I am glad to be one of the hillbillies that live ON the hill
and not at the bottom of it.

Tyler went to check Over The Hill last evening. I wish we
could have seen it Tuesday! It was still incredible though.
He said at one point Little Black Creek was probably 80 feet
across. He could tell how far up the hill the creek has risen
during the night.

I apologize for no pictures. The camera got left in Dad's
truck yesterday. Maybe I can get some before the Sparkling
Jewel (Current River) completely recedes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Early this morning Tyler needed some plastic eggs to take
to an Easter party he was helping to host for the kids from
the State School. I sent him to the shed to get the box
that stores our Easter baskets, grass, and plastic eggs.

It is times like this that make me covet my neighbor's

When he brought the box in I told him to watch out for roaches
as they are notorious for running around in the boxes I have
stored in the shed. Little by little I have been able to
either find places to store those boxes in my house, or I
have decided we didn't really need what was in the boxes after
all and they've been eliminated, but the Easter box still
lives in the shed for 51 weeks out of the year.

As we were digging around and counting out plastic eggs for
the kids, Tyler pulled out a ziplock bag with pink grass in
it. This particular bag of grass, of course, is always
destined for Hattie's basket. The boys do not do pink. She
does. Tyler said, as he held the bag aloft, "Look, it is
filled with mouse poison pellets."

Sure 'nuff. It was. Some little mousy has been entering
the bag, which was not quite shut tight, and he has been
storing mouse pellet poison in there. We took the bag out
to the porch and that was when I noticed THEM...the roaches,
dozens of little babies, all crawling around in the bag of
pink grass and supposedly chomping down the mouse poison,
which doesn't seem to hurt roaches AT ALL.

They snuck in when I wasn't looking. Isn't that what happens
to the church? When we are not looking, falsities sneak in
and before we know it they have settled down as though they
are expecting to stay a long time.

I Timothy 4:16
Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them,
for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who
hear you.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bookworm Room posts this video of the Great Chinese State
Circus performing Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.

Make sure to watch the whole thing. It is incredible!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Political Commentary for Today from Plutarch's Lives
Vol. I

"For a ruler's first aim is to maintain his office which
is done no less by avoiding what is unfit than by
observing what is suitable."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Up and Down the Gravel:

1. Uncle Jim took G'ma Opal to the Cape to visit a cardiologist.
They had quite an adventure. Jim decided it would be best to
go the night before and stay in a motel. We all agreed. G'ma
has a harder time in the mornings. But I think they both missed
their own beds a lot.

The end result of the trip is that G'ma decided not to do anything,
at least not now. The results would be iffy even if the procedure
were successful. She toddles around pretty good yet and at this
point the status quo is a good option.

Since yesterday was a gorgeous day, she was just absolutely crazy
about getting out and planting something, ANYTHING, in the ground.

Dad went to town and bought her some manure and took some wood
down and built a largish box to put the manure in. Then she
got to work planting onions. It was a glorious day for the

3. G'ma and I had a disagreement about time zones and, though
I truly hate to admit it, the General was correct.

3. Dad took Mom to The Big City for her chemo treatment and this
time her white counts were high enough for her to get it. She
had to get a white blood shot as well and that has her feeling
all over achy.

4. Joel and Hattie had quite an adventure with the bull the other
day. Everyone else was gone and Hattie was trying to get Max
away from the bull. When she did she accidentally left the gate
open. It took them about 2 hours to get the bull back to his
own field.

5. The last two weeks have been strewn with breakages and spills.
First the breakages. My niece Kinsey hit her elbow to some glass
bowls I had sitting in my parent's living room. Inside the bowls
I had set a glass syrup container. The bowls survived the hit,
but the syrup container didn't. A few days later, Kent and Hattie
were playing ball in the living room and the ball hit a picture
of the Gonzalez family, it fell over and the glass in the frame
broke. Then Joel borrowed my nutgrinder to crunch up dog food for
the ducks. Apparently nutgrinders are not made to crunch up dog
food. Finally, a few days ago I was boiling eggs for tuna salad
and I asked Hattie to set the timer on the microwave. She totally
by accident just started the microwave and it ran for 8 or so
minutes with nothing in it and then conked out.

The spills started with the same ball game that broke the picture
glass and a glass of cranberry juice was spilled on some tax
papers. They weren't that important, so no big deal though. Then
Hattie spilled a large glass of water in the new room when she
was painting. Easily sopped up. On Sunday, one of my two year
olds spilled a glass of water during snack time. Oh well! And
then yesterday a glass of water was spilled during lunch time and
ran down onto the floor.

All these things keep life fun and interesting. They also serve
as a continued reminder that the things of this life are to be
held onto very lightly. What is a spilled glass of water or a
microwave in the light of an eternity to be spent with our
Almighty God?

6. Kent says we will probably have a calf today. That would be
fun. Maybe. As long as the birth is easy. We've had some
doosies in the past.

7. Joel says he has to get a chicken/duck house built NOW. It
just goes to prove what Kent and I know by experience. If you
want to have a fence, get a cow. You'll put up a fence as soon
as you quit chasing the cow all over the neighborhood one time.
Just so, if you want to have a chicken coop, buy some chicks.

The coop will be built. Trust me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

From "The Digital Age--A New Dark Age?: A Look At How
Christianity Can Speak To Those Lost In A Storm of Information"

Complicating such a view is the fact that we are now living
in what is now being called by some thinkers a "post-literate"
society. Many, especially in the West, are technically literate,
that is, they technically can read, but are functionally
illiterate, or, they choose not to read or they can only
read in a simple way or understand literal meanings. Some
champions of the new media forms do not see this as a
negative and embrace new forms of communication. But one
only needs to read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death
to understand the dangerous implications of a media-driven
epistemology. And Postman was writing even before the advent
of the internet and other such technologies. It will take
decades to fully understand the results of a shift away
from a fluent, text-based literacy to a "computer" literacy,
but so far, the studies in education and psychology have
not been positive. In short, our advanced technology has
left us dumbed down and numbed, unable to think critically
or in a sophisticated manner.

For the rest of the article go to The Resurgance

Tip of the Bonnet to Challies

"...I picture historic Christianity as a broad river whose
main stream flows along a central channel while eddies,
stagnant pools, backwaters, and expanses of mud abound
along its banks. Then I cite the teachings of such men
as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Owen, and Warfield, and Edwards
with them, as so many buoys marking out the central channel
for all who are concerned to be found in it."

From the essay "The Glory of God and the Reviving of Religion"
by J.I. Packer which is found in A God Entranced Vision of
all Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards
by John Piper and
Justin Taylor.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The birds are this year's key to a Fernnook Spring.

Of course, there are the ducks and chicks that Joel
has (BTW one of the fat ones that will eventually
ask to be eaten bit the dust). Chicks can be
tricksy like I well know.

There are the chubby and cheerful robins that are spread
hopping all over the front yard.

There are the many smaller birds that are busily building
their nests in the bushes in front of our home. Hattie
worried yesterday because one of them is in the midst
of thorns. That seemed rather painful to her, but I
explained that the thorns were really a protection for
the little bird family.

On Saturday Kent and the kids were playing basketball
outside when Tyler came running in to get his binoculars.
They called me out to see the bald eagle that was
swooping to the east. Tyler got some pictures with
his binoculars, but the eagle was too far away to get
any that were clear. I think that is the first time
I have seen an eagle in a natural setting.

On Sunday I was puttering in the house when I heard a
raucously loud noise outside. Thinking it was a gaggle
of geese flying over, I ran out to see. No geese. Rather,
the noise was made by a large flock of (ugh) starlings
across the gravel in an overgrown field. They were perching
by the hundreds in a brushy group of trees. Suddenly,
on my left, not more than 20 feet away, a hawk, flying
like a bullet, shot past. He was calling out his high
pitched eee eee eee battle cry. Unfortunately I was not
able to see what happened when he reached the starling
flock. Hopefully he got himself a good dinner.

I guess we'd better think about getting the hummingbird
feeders out and cleaned up, though we still have a little
time before they arrive.

Oh, lovely, lovely, lovely spring. It is such a beautiful
reminder of the hope God has laid before us for eternal life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just For Fun...I have to admit this was my second time
to try it.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

In the wee hours of Friday morning, somewhere around
2 a.m., I was out putting wood in the fire. It was
cold and it was snowing, and it was mostly silent, but
one brave little peeper was peepering. The calendar
(my Missouri Conservation calendar) says that mid-March
is the time that peeper calling is at its peak. That
means there must be some building up to the peak time,
and the peepers have just not had much build up time
this year. But, I guess, that little fella is going
by what is real and not by his miniscule feelings. It
is time to peep and he is going to peep no matter what
circumstances are surrounding him.

Often, and often again, we need to respond to God in the
same way the little peeper is responding to the onset of
spring. We may not feel so blessed...yet God is faithful
to His own.

Jonathan Edward's daughter, Ester, lost her husband Aaron
Burr and in just a short time her infant son, Aaron Jr.
was deathly ill. She wrote to her father to tell him that
even in the midst of her grief God was sustaining her, and
his response showed her the way to deeper trust.

"Indeed, he is a faithful God; he will remember his covenant
forever; and never will fail them that trust in him. But
don't be surprised, or think some strange thing has happened
to you, if after this light, clouds of darkness should return.
Perpetual sunshine is not usual in this world, even to God's
true saints. But I hope, if God should hide his face in some
respect, even this will be a faithfulness to you, to purify
you, and fit you for further and better light." (Letter
written November 20, 1757)

My friend keeps peeping because he knows it is time to
peep. Even so we trust because we know it is time to trust.

Friday, March 07, 2008

On the Book Pile:

Kent- Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
Culture Shift by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
The Truth War by John MacArthur

Laurie-The Church & the Age of Reason 1648-1789
by Gerald R. Cragg
A God Entranced Vision of All Things:
The Legacy of Jonathan Edward
by John Piper
and Justin Taylor
Plutarch's Lives Vol. I

Joel-The Von Trapp Family Singers by Maria Von Trapp

Billy-A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
by Mark Twain
Anne of Windy Poplars by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Tyler-Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
Charles Spurgeon (A Biography)
The Legacy of Sovereign Joy by John Piper

Hattie-Little Women by Louis Mae Alcott

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Of Interest:

Could Repunzel's hair withstand the climbing prince?
Look at what the folks at Live Science say.

Tip of the bonnet to Wittingshire

This rendition of The Star Spangled Banner will have you
standing as you listen.

Tip of the bonnet to Amy of Amy's Humble Musings

I changed the picture for this update of Up and Down
the Gravel to remind me that somewhere in the world
it is warm and the sun is shining. This picture is
from when Becky and I were crossing from Cebu to CDO
back in September. Believe me, though it may look
luxurious and romantic, being on this particular boat
was like being on Noah's Ark. All night long there was
a huge rocking back and forth which caused the public
toilet doors to bang loudly and regularly. There were
dogs barking, cats meowing, and roosters crowing. There
were roaches crawling around and lots of unpleasant smells.
Yet, despite all that, it was an incredible experience and
one I wouldn't trade.

Speaking of Becky, her flight was delayed 12 hours due to
weather in St. Louis. She is now home though and probably
experiencing quite a change from hot tropics to snowy Big
City weather. She'll never believe that she missed some
lovely spring days while she was gone, since she flew out
in an ice storm and flew home in a snow storm.

Mom couldn't get her chemo treatment on Monday because her
blood counts were too low. At least that meant we were able
to caravan back to Mayberry before the worst of the storm
hit The Big City.

Billy had to spend the night with Kent's cousin, Mike, who
lives very near WU. He's offered for Billy to come there
if Bill needs to and after the storm Tuesday it looked like
a good idea. Mike picked him up in his four wheel drive
vehicle and dropped him back off on Wednesday morning. Billy
also found out that he got the internship at Ozark Border
that he applied for. He is very pleased, and by the end
of today will be even more pleased, as he heads home for
spring break.

Joel has been bringing the ducks down in the evenings to
our place. They are cute and they are already getting quite
large. He lost one of his Rhode Island Red chicks. Max just
continues to be huge.

I don't have any news on G'ma Opal or Jim or others since
getting back from my trip up north.

But, even in the snow the peepers are going at it full force.
That does give one hope. In the morning the birds are madly
chirping. Spring is right there; she wants to burst out,
but this year it is a fight to the finish with Winter. We
are supposed to get more snow tomorrow. Oh well, live is
still delicious, and such a beautiful gift from God. All
that He pours into our days are His grace surrounding us.
The difficulties, the heartbreaks and the sunshine things
are all part of His incredible tapestry for us. I will
embrace it all today.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Jonathan Edwards on our relationship to God

"God himself is the great good which (the redeemed) are
brought to the possession of and enjoyment of by redemption.
He is the highest good and the sum of all good which Christ
purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the
portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure,
their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament
and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory."

From The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 17

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

We've got snow again, but Dad and Mom and I were able to
get clear of The Big City before the worst hit there.

The question is will Becky (aka Philippine Sister) be able
to fly to St. Louis tonight? They are expecting a pile of
snow up there.

Joel's chicks are a mixture of Rhode Island Reds and Cornish
something or others. That is a confusing sentence. What I
mean is he got two different breeds. He told me the Cornish
something or others are really big chickens. They are meat
birds. They are so big they will break their own legs just
by walking around. He said they practically ask to be eaten.

Ha! As though I am going to clean one for him. He cleans it,
though, and I'll cook it.

Which reminds me of my all time favorite chicken joke. I know
I've told it here before, but a good joke is a good joke.

Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?
A. To prove to the possum that it could be done!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

This is not a Mayberry story, but it is too good not
to share. This is straight from the history of Jim
and Gerry, my in-laws.

Years ago, probably 40 or more, they lived in a little
house on the corner of a street. Gerry wanted to add
a room onto the house.

Their neighbor, Mr. Beem, worked for a concrete business
and he told them that if they would dig out for the footings,
he would have the company trucks stop by at the end of a
work day and pour their leftover concrete into the spot
where it was needed.

So Opa began to dig. They wanted to go three feet down
for the footings and the room was to be about 20 by 10.
He dug and dug and dug...and finally they rented a ditchwitch
to finish the digging.

The machine threw all the dirt into a big mound in
the yard. The mound resembled a new grave. Opa got a big
rock, set it at the top of the mound of dirt and wrote the
following words on it.

Here lies Gerry,
Friend so true,
'Til she found digging
For me to do.