Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dear September.....

Dear September,

I went for a walk this morning in your chilled air, but I know by afternoon you will have warmed to feel slightly sticky.  Oh, September you are so confused.  Part of you wants to declare that you are of the summer time. Flowers still bloom in the garden though they are but a few. Pretty fall leaves lie upon the ground reminding us that summer will soon be only a memory.  

I am confused too Miss September.  I still want to wear my summer attire.  Sweaters, jackets and long pants beckon me to pull them from the receded parts of my closet. Even my stomach joins in the fray by saying   "Nay", to another salad.  I feel the urge to make a pot of chili or vegetable soup.  My kettle taunts me telling me that it is time pull out my supply of tea bags.

Already the sunny glow of summer is fading from my checks.  I will revel when fall comes in all of her majesty and color.  I will take delight in building small fires on a chilled evening just so I can watch the smoke curl into the darkened sky. I will enjoy long  nights of  deep sleep as the temperatures drop chilling the night air.  
But for now I am caught up in September.  I understand you dear.  For you are a picture of where I am in my life.  I know that fall of my life is just ahead.  I know that I will delight in the fruitfulness, the beauty and the rest that fall will give to my soul, but I also know that the winter of my life looms where everything will be stripped away. 

I would lie to say that I am not somewhat saddened by the thoughts of impending winter, but a greater  thought lies within my heart.  I want to embrace all of the seasons of life and what they have for me. When my days here are past, then with hope against hope I will awake to that eternal spring.  
So my dear September, I am going to enjoy what you have to offer me right now.  I will not the disdain your few blossoms that raise their little heads to the sun amidst the spent foliage from the hot summer sun.  I will not fight against your morning chill or complain of your afternoon heat.  You have secrets that I need to learn Miss September.  Let me not wander your path without discovering the treasures of wisdom that I must learn in this season of my life.

Yours truly,
September Girl

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Weekend Wit 19

I believe that in a marriage where two people have moved past infatuation and genuinely love one another from the heart that a veil is removed from their eyes where they are able to see each other in a holy beautiful light.  I think it happens incrementally, but only for those who are willing to persevere in the relationship.

I have many friendly acquaintances, but only a few genuine friends.

There is a time to spoil your kids.  After you have raised them and they have become self supporting with good character, then you can spoil your adult children to your heart's content.  Lavish them with gifts and treat them like kings and queens.  At this point it will not hurt them.

A propensity to do good is one of those oft unappreciated and sometimes largely unnoticed  but absolutely necessary parts for a society to thrive.

What you believe is more important that what you see.

Pray about it, no matter what it is, pray about it.

For those willing to wait, He shows Himself faithful, He shows Himself strong.

There is a lie floating around in our heads that if we do right then somehow we will be energetic, filled with happiness and throwing our fist in the air on the top of some majestic mountain top.  Often doing right results in being tired to the bone, depressed and filled with doubt.  How we feel has nothing to do with it, but doing the right thing will always set us on the correct path.

I think it takes a lifetime to know God even a little bit.  The problem lies not with Him, but with us.  I think we come into this world so very full of ourselves that we have to let go of the self idol in the core of us in order to even begin to acknowledge who He is.

Seldom have I met God in a quiet room with the candle lit and a cup of hot tea.  Mostly I find He is able to speak to me when the sun is beating on my head and I am digging in the dirt or trying to cut brush.
There are  theological ideas that scare me, but when I think of the character of God, then I am comforted.

Evangelicals are afraid of folks finding God without grasping the doctrines of the faith,  but I am more  afraid of evangelicals who find the doctrines but miss God.

It is pretty easy to find a system to believe or even have some mystical experience,  it is much harder to come to a Person who has revealed Himself through the written Word.  We can't make God into anything we want.  We have to bow to who He really is and what He is really about.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pound Cake, Pimento Cheese and Kryptonite

I grew up as part of the local church.  As an adult I have come to appreciate the incredible amount of support and stabilizing impact that the church provided to me growing up, but I still have had a skewed view of some of the ministries of the church.

I'm a Southerner and church in the South has some unique characteristics, one being food.  The church thinks food is the solution for any and all problems.  Somebody dies and the bereaved family's  house will be over run with gallons of sweet tea, pound cake, creamed corn, fried chicken and homemade pimento cheese sandwiches.  Go to the hospital or have a baby and here they come carrying casseroles and apple pies.  Visiting evangelist, missionaries and college students just home for the weekend have ended up being diagnosed as diabetic or having gall stones from all of the rich food that was thrust upon them.

Another characteristics is visiting the sick and the suffering.  If you end up in the hospital, then some little grey haired couple dressed in polyester will be at your bedside politely chatting and quietly putting pieces of wrapped up homemade pound cake on your night stand.  If a family member is in the ER, having surgery or in ICU, they show up out of the woodwork to come sit with you a spell.  They pat your shoulder and go get cups of hospital coffee for you.

Sending cards is another one of those things.  Cards will show up in your mailbox with the shaky script of some dear old saint who can't visit the hospitals anymore but she can put a card in the mail to just let your know that she has not forgotten you in the midst of the troubles you are experiencing.

The church hugs in all situations.  We hug when there is news of great joy.  We hug when there is grief or troubles.  We hug when we see you in the mall or on the other side of the gas pump at BP.  It is just one of those automatic things that we do.

In a world filled with desperate troubles and evil, I have often wondered how any of these things were of real value.  Were they just a temporary bandaid because we were really just kind of powerless in situations?

I have come to understand that these acts are true kindness and kindness is something that breaks strongholds.  Kindness steps into a situation and in her pocket she brings hope.  When kindness comes she also endues a measure of strength to sustain those that are struggling.  The enemy of our souls wants us to give up and hang it up.  He wants us to abandon our faith in the middle of our troubles so that we never make it past the hump to the joy and victory that our Savior has for us.  Those little ladies with the teased hair, those odd gentle folks that show up to minister and that person from your church that tracks you down in the grocery with the big smile and who is always trying to hug you are in reality super heroes.   Most of them have lived through some serious troubles and they know what it is like to suffer.  They have learned the power of compassion.  If you could see past their disguises, then you would know that sweet tea, homemade pound cake and those pimento cheese sandwiches are the enemy of our soul's kryptonite.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

There's A Storm Blowing In

When I was a child, the front porch was a good place to get a little breeze and cool off a bit in the summer.  We had five huge poplar trees in the front yard.  Four of them were planted just right to work as permanent bases for  rousing games of kick ball.  There was an ancient cedar on the left side of the house and then numerous tall trees around the perimeter of our yard.  Our little house was nestled under those giants making for some great summer shade.

The front porch had Grandma's houseplants hanging from every conceivable place. She had lots of wandering Jew, devil's ivy and pots of mother in law's tongue.  Many of her plants she had kept alive for decades.  Each plant held some kind of memory for her as relatives and friends had passed along a rooting or cutting of each.  No one went to the plant nursery and bought house plants in those days.

We had an ancient metal couch and metal garden chairs on the front porch.  The furniture had been painted and repainted fifty times with every conceivable shade and little bits of color could be seen through the cracks in the paint.  The plethora of random colors always fascinated me.   The wooden slat porch floor was painted blue gray and for some reason it buckled slightly on the side opposite the front steps. The warped wood caused me a lot of consternation as a little girl.  Hydrangeas and snowball bushes grew up next to the porch hemming it in on both sides.

 A couple of pencil cedars stood sentinel in the front growing in hard almost barren soil.

The sturdy ornate screen door that led out to the porch had a brass handle and door knob and a spring that caused it to make a distinctive slamming noise as we went in and out of the house.  From the front porch one could see the Sutton's woods across the road and the two big mill stones that stood upright on each side of their driveway.  Our mailbox lurched slightly by the left side of the graveled driveway and a tall lone black walnut tree stood on the right by the road.

Nothing much changed in our house and yard.  The same shrubbery, black walnut tree, screen door, and mailbox were still there when we finally cleaned out the house to sell after my dad passed away in his 90's.  The metal couch and chairs were stolen from the front porch when he had to go to assisted living in the last few years of his life.  That furniture probably brought a couple of hundred bucks to the thieves but it contained the invaluable collective memories of thousands of days in our family history.

Some hot afternoons we would all be sitting on the porch listening to the crickets and cicadas when the sky would grow dark with storm clouds.  The wind would pick up and a sweet cool breeze would blow across that front porch.  The first big drops of rain would splatter hard against the ground and sometimes onto the porch, but we would linger smelling that musty good smell that a summer rain brings.  The winds would grow higher causing the trees to creak and bend. Sheets of rain would beat down hard until the summer green was barely visible through the gray of the rain.  Mama said it was time to go in when the thunder clapped loud and hard and the lightening strikes were close by.

Mama or Daddy would kill the breaker to the water heater for fear as they said  "that the lightening would run in on it." Often the power would be knocked off causing Mama and Grandma to light the kerosene lamps.  Storms were exciting and just a bit scary.  We unplugged everything electric in the house and we were weren't allowed to use the faucets for fear we would be electrocuted.  We were even admonished by an uncle not to use the toilet for the same reason.  We had a lightening rod beside the house.  My parents took storms seriously, maybe a bit too seriously.

The storm would rage but we would be snug and dry as we waited for the storm to pass.  We felt safe though.  We were with our parents and our grandma.  In our little white frame house we believed nothing could touch us.  The storms would howl and rage outside and the big trees around our house moved in tune with the wind.  Finally the storm would pass and the sun would shine again sparkling on the rivulets of water as gravity pulled them to the lowest spots.

Life has its storms as well.  They are coming no matter what we do to try and prevent them. We can do some damage control just like my parents did by seeking shelter and looking for ways to minimize the impact.   The storms of life do not have to destroy us.  They can cause us to seek shelter and find fellowship and help from our Father.  They can help us to gain the right perspective that we are not the ones in control.  They can even reveal something of beauty that we would never behold apart from the storm. One thing about a physical storm is that it comes in fast and hard threatening to undo us.  Usually within a short time, it has expended all of its fury and peace will return.  It is the same way with the storms of life, they will soon blow out their energy and be past as well. Until that happens we have an anchor, His name is Jesus.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary.

Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you, and establish you. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dirt Clods, Green Beans, and Potatoes

Daddy always had a big garden.  He really had two gardens.  The small one was around 50 feet long and 15 feet wide.  It was near the house on the other side of the cherry trees.  The big garden was several times bigger and was down past the barn and pasture.  In the big garden  he grew corn mostly but also lots of rows green beans, potatoes, field peas and whatever else struck his fancy.

Daddy was a hard worker but he could not keep up when it came time to plant or harvest.  That meant that everyone helped. My sisters and our grandma were the farm hands. Mama seldom worked in the garden although she was kept busy putting the produce up for the winter.  In the spring we walked along the rows dropping bean seeds, okra, butter peas and pieces of potato and then going back with a hoe to cover whatever we were planting. Cucumbers, squash and melons were planted in little hills.   We set out tomato plants, green peppers, and cabbages. We put little newspaper tents on the transplants to shield them from the sun until they were able to get established.  It was hard to water anything way down in the big garden.  Daddy put old milk cans full of water on the back of the wagon and we dipped the water out  of them to give each little plant a drink.  My granddaddy had at some point in his farming career sold milk to a local dairy and there were still several of the old metal milk cans on our property.  Daddy seldom threw anything away.  He just knew it would come in handy one day.  Later on Daddy would collect plastic milk jugs and fill them with water.  He would put a small hole in the bottom of the jug  to slowly water his tender young plants until they established a strong enough root system to make it.

Amazingly, Daddy seldom lost any of his plants regardless of the weather.  He didn't appear to be a master gardener and he seldom discussed his way of doing things.  He was incredibly knowledgeable about gardening but he had such an off hand way of handling himself that it just seemed natural that he produced huge crops without a lot of fanfare.  Someone with his skill today would be on You Tube giving tips on gardening success.  Daddy grew up farming as did so many of the people of his day.  Knowledge of the "dirt" came as natural as breathing to them.

 It was fun to find a ripe cantaloupe or a juicy watermelon. The watermelons were put in a big round tin wash tub that was filled with the cold well water.  When the melon cooled, it was cut into sections for us to eat.  We ate watermelon outside without utensils.  Juice dripped down our faces and arms and we spit seeds as we dug into the melon.  There was nothing civilized about it.

I liked gathering the tomatoes, peppers, and squash.   Most of it to had to be tended to every day. That kind of picking was fast and it didn't require a lot of tedious work.  Homegrown sun ripened  red tomatoes that are cut thick and made into sandwiches on fresh soft white bread are one of the world's best delicacies.

Pulling corn could be scratchy but there was always fun to be had in a stand of corn.  My sisters and I played a kind of tactical warfare in the cornfield.  We threw small hard dirt clods at each other and hid between the rows trying to keep from being clobbered.  I would still enjoy a good game of "dirt clods in the cornfield".  Nothing was better than corn on the cob that was shucked and thrown in the hot water while it was still fresh.  It was quite a feast salted and slathered in butter. Corn turns starchy the longer it is left.  Fresh from the stalk it is sugar sweet and tender.

Daddy planted long multiple rows of green beans.  Mama canned hundreds of jars of green beans and it seemed that we had them at every meal. It would not have surprised me to find them on the breakfast table next to the scrambled eggs and grits.  When it came time to pick, everyone was given the privilege.  It was a sweaty and back breaking chore to bend over a row of beans even as a child.  It was my least favorite gardening chore, probably because Daddy did not practice moderation in his planting of green beans.  We each got our own extremely long row and a brown paper sack.  The brown paper grocery sack was filled up and completely maxed out by the time we finished our row.  Then after picking, we had a party.  It was a green bean stringing and breaking party.

One of my favorite chores was picking up new potatoes.  After the vines had died, Daddy would take the tractor down the rows and dig up the potatoes.  Sometimes the tractor plow would slice through some of the potatoes.  Those we separated and used first.  The plow turned over the dirt and it gave off a wonderful aroma.  I love the smell of good dirt.  The dirt was slightly moist and cool.  We would walk barefoot in it and pick up the potatoes in bushel baskets.  When our basket was full, we dumped it in the back of the wagon.  We would work until almost dark and then Daddy would pull the wagon to the house with his Allis Chalmers tractor.  We would sit on the wagon as it bumped its way back to the house with our red clay streaked legs and feet swinging from the sides of the wagon.

Daddy grew food so that we could survive.  I don't think he knew that he was teaching us to work hard and to persevere.  Daddy didn't know what kind of troubles we would face as adults.  He didn't know that all of that sweat, slapping bugs and coming up from the fields dead tired was really building a backbone in us.   We learned to find small pleasures and fun in our work.  The only time we were ever paid was on rare occasions when our grandma would give us a dollar that she pulled out of her apron pocket but  mostly we experienced the reward of our work  giving us great tasting food.  Our work was meaningful. Mama and Daddy really needed our help to bring in the produce.

Those days were good.  We weren't always overjoyed when we were told that we needed to go work in the field, but it is still rewarding me today with a thousand life lessons and a good home ripened tomato is still way up there on the list as being one of the best foods in the world.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Weekend Wit 18

Rebellion and Stupidity (the Siamese twins) 
Most of us have the freedom to play life out any way that we choose, but I have seen enough to know that there are built in consequences in the universe.  Those consequences encompass the physical, the spiritual, the relational and the emotional realm.  Part of the common human experience is that we are  rebellious to our core.  Our rebellion blinds us to the point that we think that we can do it our way and the results will be to our liking.  If that perspective is not altered, the results will be an empty soul and a wasted life. The saddest consequence of a life lived out of rebellion is the wake of destruction in the lives of those who looked to us for sustenance and support.  Unfortunately the wake may continue to impact even our future generations.

Do you want to see a truly liberated woman or for that matter a truly liberated man?  It comes only from being liberated from our self centered ways.  When we learn to love those in our care by sacrificially serving, then we become truly liberated.

Humor is the wheels under the difficult and heavy situations of life.

Never argue with someone who has dementia.  Just smile and nod your head.  I refer to the law of the lowest common denominator as a justification for my belief.

Bank of Truth
If we want to be have something of substance from which to draw from then we have to put truth into our hearts and our minds.  Our whole lives should be an exercise to imbibe truth and make it part of our very make up.

Growing Up
If you are still alive there is always more opportunity to grow up.

Realities of Life
Life has a way of pressing us all into the corner.  We can look down in despair or look up in faith.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sunflowers in a Lowly Place

I planted sunflowers this year probably because they are just so incredibly cheerful. I just couldn't wait for them to open up. I love the big bright petals and their big sturdy presence.

The thing about sunflowers is the beauty of the blossom does not last very long at all.  They bloom and raise their big beautiful heads majestically to the sky and then in a few short days it is over.

Their heads drop and the petals droop like an old woman with saggy clothes. The sunflower just looks washed out and spent. I have a real temptation to cut them down when they have finished blooming.

The heavy seed head cannot hold itself upright because fruit is being produced.  It takes weeks for the sunflower seeds to become mature and all the while the sunflower grows more and more unattractive.  The leaves wilt and the head bends low as the seeds grow ripe and fat.

In my world I want to be like the beautiful and cheerful sunflower while it is in its full glory, but the  sunflowers real purpose it to produce fruit and that is our real purpose as well.    Life has the ability to press as though placed under a heavy load.  Very few of us desire any kind of hardship especially if the hardship lasts a long time.  Most of us are pretty uncomfortable with the idea of enduring in a lowly place. We don't want to be humbled like the sunflower with our heads bowed down.  In this place there are very few accolades and no one finds us winsome or attractive.

Most of us will find ourselves smack dab in these special seasons of life where we do feel dull and drab, just out of sorts and overwhelmed.  Maybe part of the reason is that we are carrying a load that one day will produce something worthwhile.  All of the sunflowers energy goes toward making those little seeds. I think it is the same for us.  All of our energy is going to produce a harvest as well.  Hopefully it will be a harvest of righteousness where we produce fruit to sustain those around us.  Often this is a place of confinement, drudgery and even pain where we actually become something of substance that we can share with the generations who are coming behind us.  Don't give up my friends.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Monday, June 19, 2017

June the Month of Birds, Butterflies and Flowers

I woke up this Monday morning feeling as though I had lost control of my house and yard.  It rained last night and the weeds have grown like they were on steroids.  My front porch was damp and all of the wind blown debris was stuck to it.  I started cleaning the porch and as I was doing that I decided to water the window boxes and I unfortunately watered this little guy's nest at the same time.  His siblings immediately flew out and this one tried to climb the window screen.  Mom and Dad came back and were rather upset with me.  I looked and looked for the two that flew out but decided that "One in the nest was better than two lost in the yard."  Later on I went and peeked in the nest from inside the house and all of the little birdies were back safe in the nest.  I haven't a clue how the bird parents managed that.  I was trying to help but Mom and Dad had it under control.

 I got a free promotional packet of flower seed from the Kellogg company that was an effort to draw awareness to the plight of the disappearing honeybees.  I planted them under my sunflowers and so it like a surprise package to see what is coming up and blooming.

I planted sunflowers in a six foot circle this year.  We had used the area as an outdoor fire pit and so all I had to do rake it and dig it up a bit. I think the ashes from the fire have enriched the soil.  I planted the tallest sunflowers in the center.  All the sunflowers are almost in bloom from the tallest to the smallest. 

A swallowtail butterfly was out hanging out on one of the tallest sunflowers.  The butterfly was totally distracted by the big sunflower, which gave me quite the opportunity to take a few pictures.   

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Whose Really Frail and Hanging at the Old Folks Home

Years ago I worked in  a private facility that housed older folks. The care was not commensurate with nursing home care and the words "assisted living" were not coined yet so it was called the "Old Folks Home".  Folks who could no longer live alone lived at Parkers.  It had two big  social areas with couches, chairs and televisions, a dining room and an indoor courtyard that served mostly as the smoking grounds. I worked on the third shift from 11 at night until 7 in the morning.  There was one other woman and myself that made up the entire night staff.  My partner would be responsible for one half of the building and I the other side. I was only around 21 years old at the time.  Let that sink in that a 21 year old kid was responsible for 50 people that could not be responsible for themselves.

It wasn't a hard job. I folded leftover laundry. I checked rooms and walked the halls.  In the early hours I read the medical charts  and distributed the medicine into tiny little cups for when the next shift arrived.  I changed shriveled up and mean Mr. Arnold who wet himself and his bed every single night of his life probably because of orneriness.  There were a few other people who required things during the night shift but my main job though was drinking 16 cups of coffee, nibbling on cookies and reading.

 Some of the folks had dementia like Mr. Bob.  He had been a barber and he carried a razor and a comb in his pocket at all times and would pull out his razor and start shaving at the dinner table.  He also would carry on conversations with himself in the bathroom mirror in the middle of the night to find out which pair of shoes his reflection wanted to wear.  He was an exceeding sweet man but his mind was wobbly.  We had one lady who was truly schizophrenic that wore really heavy blue eye shadow and black eye liner.  I was always a little unnerved by her. She was probably only in her 40's or 50's.  One little old lady who was in her 90's was an escape artist.  She once hid in a ditch on a bitterly cold night wearing only a thin gown like she was escaping from the Gestapo.  One really young guy lived in the facility who had burned his mind out on drugs.  There were some super sweet folks like Mrs. Weast you kept a crocheted doll setting pretty on her bed or Mr. Louis who never had children.  He didn't have anywhere else to live even though he had been very successful financially in his life. He had invented something impressive for one of the car companies.  His mind was sharp but his body was failing.    One man we had was Mr. Carl.   He seemed pretty harmless but he loved to peer around the corner with just one eye to spy on you.  It was a little creepy to see that one eye right at the edge of a doorway tracking your every movement.

 The night staff was the responsible party for the drug cabinet, night time security, any clean up and any medical issues.   When folks wandered the halls in confusion or woke up their roommates, I had to  deal with it.  Anyone could walk out of the building at any time as the doors could not be locked in case of a fire or other hazard. I look back now and realize it was really overwhelmingly huge responsibility.  I was young though and I didn't really grasp what could have happened in the middle of the night with all of those folks and all of their individual issues.  Nothing really traumatic ever happened and I actually remember the job with fondness. I look back now and think it is miraculous that nothing ever really terrible happened while I worked those night shifts.    

Life can be a lot like Parkers.  There is great potential for disaster. Most of the time the disaster doesn't come but if you live long enough from time to time you will be thrust into situations where you will feel pretty alone and pretty overwhelmed. It can feel a lot like being plucked down in the middle of  a quagmire and you are unable to move forward or backwards.

I am old enough and have lived through enough to know that it really doesn't depend upon me.  I am not one making the world spin on its invisible axis.  I can't protect and provide for anyone, in fact I can't even keep myself breathing.  God is the One who is in control and we are a foolish ridiculous people who think that somehow "we have got this".  We don't, but God does.  We need to look to Him not just for our salvation, but we need to look with a humble dependence upon Him for our everyday everything.  It is hard balance because we are called to be responsible and to work hard and we should because He does use our efforts but He is really the One who is making all things work together for the good of those who love Him and who are the called....  He is the One who opens His hand and provides for every living creature... He is the One whose mercies are new every morning... He is the One who is able to do more than we can think or imagine...He is the One who can make streams in the desert and the crooked paths straight... He is the One who can make all things new...He is the One who can bring joy out of a dark night...

I am past my oh so innocence of being a naive 21 year old who doesn't grasp just how really frail I am, but thank you Jesus I know that there is not a single thing that is frail about You.

When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.

There comes a time that we really do need to move past our pride and independence.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

How To Be One of the "Country Folk"

Make sure to use the most inappropriate vehicle for the occasion.  Go in your small economy car when hauling lumber or shingles.  Attend a wedding in your huge, noisy and dirty truck.

Improvisation is the key to a successful country redneck life.   Use whatever is in your line of vision to accomplish your goals. Do not let the lack of proper tools, training, skills or good sense prevent you from completing a task.

Live a life of complete contradiction.  Use ain't in your sentences and poor diction.  Purposely give many folks the idea that you might be dumber than dirt, but have a seldom publicly exposed intellectual or artistic side to your nature.  i.e. Be able to quote classic poetry, understand the nuances of the stock market, or exegete the Greek New Testament.

Use unexpected colorful language that has nothing whatsoever to do with swear words.

Speak of  your relatives in a way that other folks feel personally related to your Aunt Betty.

Be well acquainted with duct tape, WD 40 and a shovel.

Seldom meet a stranger but be a tad bit strange.

Give advice to all of those souls who are mysteriously drawn to you and feel the need to share their life stories whilst you are waiting in line at the DMV.

Drive at least one vehicle that is older than most of the people that you work with.

Know someone named Tater, Bubba, or Stick.

Enjoy cooking or at least eating hearty and delicious simple foods.

Use sarcasm as a means of expressing your true thoughts in such a way that folks seldom take offense because they are not quite sure what you just said and how it applies to them personally.

Have a backbone made of steel, keep a little grit in your nature and always be ready to laugh at yourself.

Be completely forgiving but don't turn your back on someone.who has proven their unfaithfulness by their actions.

Wear shoes if actually necessary.

Be at ease in your own skin.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Art Show 2017

I teach art in a small private school.  I have kids from age 3 to the 5th grade that I see each week.  We have an annual spring spaghetti dinner fund raiser, spring concert. As part of the festivities, I fill the cafeteria with artwork from the school year with the help of parents, students and other folks from the school.  The kids do an amazing job with their artwork and l always love seeing the final products.  Everyone has success in art class but it is at varying levels.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.