Saturday, May 31, 2008

In one of my first ever posts I quoted from Chesterton's

I tend to put down a lovely quote from a book and call it
a review. I'm lazy like that.

John Piper has a much better review of the book.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Up and Down the Gravel

There used to be a commercial where a pretty lady with gorgeous
hair that she was swishing all over the place said, "Don't hate
me for my beautiful hair."

That's the way I feel about my gravel road. We just happen to
live on the most beautiful gravel in the county. Please don't
hate me for it.

Anyway the summer is quickly filling in. We have our yearly
big church BBQ at our home this Sunday afternoon.

Hopefully next week we'll get in the hay.

My brother and his wife are coming in the middle of June for a

Uncle Ken and Cousin Kenny are coming at the end of June.

Nephew D.Jay, from PA, and his sisters are coming at the
beginning of July.

The entire 4th of July holiday, plus a day or two on either side,
is given over to the Family Reunion on Kent's side of the family
that we host. The them is Hillbilly this year. There will be
a Hillbilly fireworks display, a Hillbilly golf tournament, and
a Hillbilly canoe trip as the big draws this year.

Add in several softball games a week and other odd events and it
looks to be a lovely summer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

For the men in my life.

How to be a modern Renaissance Man.
Subway and Homeschooling.

Jube Dankworth at American Thinker Blog posted on it.

Amy, as usual, has some solid comments worth reading as well.

Of course there's a problem here. Mayberry doesn't have a Quiznos
and my boys love to get their Pa to take them to Subway. I think
we'll just take this one on the chin.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On the Finished Pile:

Faith Beyond Feelings by Jonathan Edwards.

Here is a quote that sums up the book:

"The more a true saint loves God with a gracious love,
the more he desires to love Him. His uneasiness
concerning his lack of love for God will increase. The
more he hates sin, the more he will want to hate it.
He will regret that he still has so much remaining love
for it. The more his heart is broken, the more he will
want it to be broken further. The more he thirsts and
longs after God and His holiness, the more he will long
and breathe out his very soul in more longings after
God. Like a kindled flame that rises higher, the more
ardently it burns, the more it will continue to burn."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Yesterday I walked down to G'ma Opal's house for a good,
long visit. We started out in the screened in porch, which
is where I found her when I arrived. We sat down and she
read some funnies to me from some old magazines. They were
funny sayings by kids that were sent in by their parents
or grandparents. The one I remember the most is the little
girl who looked at herself in the mirror after losing 7 teeth
and said, "My mouth is bald." G'ma can relate to that.

After a while we wandered out into the yard because Uncle Jim
came out and had the Cardinal game on the radio. By this time
Kent had wandered down the road also and so we were a cozy
foursome sitting in the shade on a hot and humid day.

G'ma's feet started to swell from sitting in the lawnchair, so
she and I went into the living room where she could sit in her
recliner for a bit and rest her feet. Finally I said I needed
to go, and she said, "But you haven't eaten yet."

We headed to the kitchen where there was a pot of beans and
a pan of meatloaf. After adding a piece of bread and a glass
of milk, I made a pretty good meal. Hattie, who was popping
in and out all day, had a big bowl of beans as well. Kent
then came in and ate several helpings.

Then Hattie proposed a game of High was Kent and Hattie
against G'ma and me. We (G. Opal and I) won. We took the last
bid and went out at 53, and, even though Kent and Hattie actually
ended up at 54, we won because G'ma had taken the bid. Jim says
you can't make more than 52 in the game. That is new to me, but
even with his reckoning, it would be 52 to 52 and we still won
because we took the last bid.

I only made one really stupid play. Clubs was trump and Kent led
off with the Q. of spades. I was holding the five of spades. For
some reason I was thinking spades was trump and the five was the
last trump I had, so I plunked it right down. Hattie then countered
with the Ace of clubs. So she caught my five when I didn't even need
to play it. That's why my 97 year old G'ma doesn't prefer me as a
partner. I am easily distracted.
Today Challies featured an incredible testimony by Richard Ganz.
You ought to read it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last night, at about 9:30, Kent and I walked down to the
middle of our driveway and watched the moonrise. It started
with a glow of orange over the trees and moment by moment
the brightness increased as Mr. Moon raced up from behind the
treeline to finally shine forth in all his glory alone in
the sky. Then Kent spoke, "Then God made two great lights:
the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to
rule the night."

I'd been hearing rumors that the fireflies were beginning
their nightly show, but I'd not seen any yet. As we turned
and began to walk back to the house I saw them. Little bits
of twinkling magic scattered throughout the field and yard.
They aren't thick yet, as they will be one night soon; then
it will look as though all the stars of heaven have fallen
into my field. But, they were there.

It was a lovely way to end the day. Kent and I celebrate our
26th anniversary tomorrow. He fulfills my definition of
romance. Romance is being there. It is being there when I
wake in the morning, when I am crabby, when I am cute, when
I am in distress, and when I am tired. That moonrise was our
anniversary gift to each other. What else is needed?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Last week was Kent's birthday. Since we were all busy on Tuesday,
which was the actual date of his birthday, we put off having his
birthday dinner until Thursday.

When I asked him (I don't know why I did, I know what he wants)
what he wanted for his dinner he said, "Quiche and pie, please."

So I planned on making Asparagus Quiche, Quiche Lorraine, salads,
side dishes, and both an Apple and a Peach Pie.

We were at G'ma Opal's house the Sunday before and we invited her
to the birthday bash. She offered to make the Apple Pie because
she was planning on baking one that week anyway.

So on Tuesday I got this phone call. "Laurie, this is your
Grandma. I thought that we were having the dinner today since
it IS Kent's birthday and I already baked his Apple Pie. You
better come get it so it doesn't go bad."

So I sent Billy to get it and it was delicious.

Then on Thursday she called and offered to make a Banana Pie.
We said, "Yes!"

So, Kent got two Quiches and three Pies for his Birthday. Spoiled,
ain't he?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Reviews of Caspian by Stand to Reason and Brandywine Books.

Some of the main themes in the Books of Narnia are discussed by Leland Rykan in Tabletalk.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Here's a sneak preview at my favorite sentence from Kent's
sermon for tomorrow (which is based on I Thess. 4:9-12).

"Make it your ambition not to be too ambitious."

If I have time, energy, and enguogh thought provoking ideas,
I'll write more on this later. If not, you'll just have to
think it through for yourself.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Two days ago there were only two of them. We were wondering
if they would all come back, but they have. There are a dozen
or more hummingbirds happily buzzing around my porch. At least
two of them are major bullies, and it provides us never-ending
entertainment to watch them. It also keeps Tyler quite busy
filling the three feeders.

Overheard at Kent's birthday party was this statement by Uncle
Weatherman Jim, "Last year we had May in March and this year
we have March in May."

Billy, Kent, Dad, Hattie, and Tyler took the boat out for the
first time this afternoon to see if it was in working order.
Either it is and they are having a grand time, or it isn't and
they are desperately trying to paddle the river.

Billy starts his internship at CMS Monday. He has had a good

Joel is loving being in the junk business. He is cleaning up
Ripley County and putting a few dollars in his pocket at the
same time.

I've wanted Crepe Myrtle bushes for at least 16 years, but we
never got around to getting any. This year we got some with
a vengeance. We bought 10 of them and Kent has been planting
them for me.

We're enjoying fresh lettuce and onions from Dad and Mom's
garden. Tonight they are bring a wilted lettuce salad to
our house for dinner. Yes!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Been gone. Up to The Big City. Off to ballgames.

But in between all the goings and doings we snuck down
to G'ma Opal's house on Sunday and played a game or two
of High Five. What Grandma said while we were playing
will only resonate with those who are Fern Nook Ex-pats
or Fern Nook Wannabees.

Kent and Dad were partners and G'ma and I were partners.
It was G'ma's turn to bid and Kent (the dealer) came after
her. That was when she said, "If I bid 9, he'll bid 10.
If I bid 10, we'll go set."

So, she bid 10, and we went set.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Christmas comes early. This is great fun!
"It is a reasonable affirmation then that the basis of a
true love for God is His intrinsic worth, for He is
worthy to be loved for His own sake. It is this that
makes Him so worthy of love. His divine excellence is
so glorious. This is why God is God: to be loved for
His own sake."

Jonathan Edwards in Faith Beyond Feelings

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Up and Down the Gravel

1. Mom and Dad got back from a trip to The Big City for Mom's
latest chemo treatment. So far, so good.

2. Billy comes home today from his 3rd year of college in The Big
City. He is flying high! He will be working in The Big City
this summer, but only Monday-Wednesday, then he'll head home
to dear-to-his-heart Fern Nook for the rest of the week. He
has a full week and a half break before starting his internship.

3. Joel's geese, Amanda and Abagail, have gone missing. Some of
the ducks and chicks are gone also. He's suspecting a dog or a
pack of dogs is getting them. No worry though...the man at work
he got his goose eggs from told him he could have more to

4. Joel has also gone into the scrap metal business. If you have
anything you want hauled off then he's the man for you.

5. Aunt Jenny is going to make garden in our old garden spot again.
Kent and Tyler have been working at putting up electric fence to
keep the rabbits and deer out.

6. Yesterday G'ma Opal called me to see if Dad and Mom had made
it back from The Big City. Before we got off the phone she said,
"I have to tell you my big problem." It seems her favorite pair
of shoes had gone missing. She'd had them just the day before.
They are the ones she cut the toes out of and has been wearing
for over a year. She loves those shoes. She looked all in the
house and all outside, but nary a sight of them did she see. Then,
just as I was going to offer to go down and look she said, "Oh, I
just lifted the dust ruffle at the side of the bed and there
they are!" (She'd already looked under the bed.) She hung up a
happy camper.

7. The goats and the cows are fat and happy.

8. Hattie is cooking up a storm. Yesterday she made Lemon Pound
Cake Muffins. They are delicious.

9. Tyler is almost at the end of his spring ball season. One
more regular season game and then they're off to districts.

10. This is not from The Gravel, but it is interesting. Niece
Kinsey is going to be in one of the productions for the Muny
in The Big City again this year. It is the one called, "90
Years at the Muny" (or something like that.)

11. Uncle Jim has The Park looking just lovely. He is not
complaining about the water tables being low right now. Last
week we got another 3+ inches of rain (which washed all our new
grass seed down towards Montgomery's place) and we're fixing to
get more today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

You know you live in Mayberry when at dinner one night your
oldest son calmly picks 3 or 4 ticks off himself during
the course of the repast, and you further confirm your
residency when no one else even pauses in their eating and

Everyone was hoping that the long, cold winter we had would
cut back on the bugs, but I think that is it is an old wives
tale that this happens. The bugs are just there--always and
ever and forevermore.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hattie's Art Lesson yesterday was on form. Somehow it
formed itself into her creation of this...

and then this.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sometime ago I posted about judging a book by how hungry it
makes me get while reading it. There is one other very
important criteria I have for reading a book. The author
has to be able to write better than I do. If they can't
then they are not worth my time.

Before you judge me as a silly goose, listen to my reasoning.

Years ago, many, many years ago, I was sixteen. It is hard to
be sixteen and not be full of yourself. I remember writing
in my diary one day (thankfully that diary is hidden in a
deep, dark place, hopefully never to see the light of day again)
but, I remember writing something horribly gushy in the following
vein--Not an exact quotation by any means, but close in the main

"Dear Diary,

I know I am destined for some great thing. I have considered the
ways and have come to the conclusion that my destiny is to do
something that will contribute to mankind and beautify this world.
Maybe it will be singing, or dancing, maybe art, but I think it
most likely to be with words. Words make me feel alive." blah,
blah, blah, ad nauseam.

Oh, how I love being closer to fifty than forty. I wouldn't take
sixteen back again for all the tea in China. (Never use such cliches
they PROVE you are not a good writer.)

Well, it is obvious to all that know me that singing could not
be the great thing I do. I am the only one in my immediate family,
meaning by immediate my husband and four children, who cannot
sing. The poor ole' girl can't carry a tune in a bucket (there
I go again). However my dear niece in The Big City is going to
be singing The National Anthem for the River City Rascals in June.
Go Annie!

Dancing is also out of the question. Although I took dance lessons
for nine years sister Becky falls into the cockroach laughing position
when she remembers trying to teach me some basic dance moves
when I was a teenager. My lack of rhythm has continued to plague
Kent to this day. He has this dance step he loves and has had to
resort to dancing with Hattie-girl. Dancing does run in the family
though, as proven by niece Kinsey who will be dancing Sleeping Beauty with the St. Louis Ballet Company the same weekend Annie
is singing for the Rascals.

Art-now there is a field with great possibilities. There are several
professional artists in my family. Uncle David is a professional
artist in California, and niece Carolyn Fleetwood-Blake is one in
Florida (she even has a website devoted just to her artwork for sale).
My home is decorated with artwork by the two of them. Even son Billy
and daughter Hattie are rather artistic. But once again, the talent
fairy passed me by at birth.

You can easily see why I quickly narrowed my options to making a
splash in the world down to writing. Everyone can write. At least
they think they can. But what I've come to discover over the years is that, sure, anyone can write, but only a few
deserve the title of "Author worthy to be read".

I can easily be grammatically correct. I can even, once in a great
while, write a lovely sounding sentence. But to put together a whole
string of interesting sentences, page after page, and to connect those
sentences to a plot or idea worth continuing writing about, that is a
gift that relatively few people through the ages have been given.

In the long run, my writing is stilted and boring...even to myself.
If I cannot hope to amuse my own ego, how can I hope to amuse
others for any extended length of time?

Besides, there is something bewitching in the idea of having to make
a great impression on the world. God has given me my little spot and
it is His grace to me to be surrounded by my own little set of
circumstances. What I can be good at is doing the next job that is
set before me (kudos to Elizabeth Elliot). I can cook the next meal,
make the next bed, wash the next load of towels, attend the next
ballgame, teach the next VBS class, care for the next sick person,
share Christ with the next person I meet and enjoy the life I have
been blessed with.

Maybe I lack drive or intensity, but at least I am a happy and
contented little soul as I plod along through my allotment of days.