Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday!

Junior and I will be at the Gallabrae Highland Games in Greenville, SC this weekend.  I hope your weekend is also filled with family,

(most of the) Reed family circa 1976ish
 good music, 

Palmetto Pipes and Drums 2013

and opportunities to remember and honor the heroes who have served our country.
 
Col. Robert Newton Clark during WWII


God's peace to your homes.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Life on Our Hill

Our experiment this year for the homestead is raised beds.  They are working quite well, with one exception.  Here's a look from this morning:

The cucumbers are in full bloom


 Can you see the teeny-tiny little cucumber at the end of the bloom?

 







It will not be long before I start picking beans







It will not be long before I start cooking squash!









I know it looks like we will be picking tomatoes soon
but it usually takes a few weeks for them to turn red.


  This is the sunflower that God planted for us.


 The melons, bless their hearts, are trying...


So is the corn.


Thriving artichokes make me smile.


 We learned a valuable lesson about doing potatoes in raised beds.
Do not use dead leaves as mulch!
We think a mole might have gotten in and done this damage.
Oh well.


The lettuce and radishes.
Anyone want some lettuce?!


The animals are also thriving.

The new Buff Orpingtons and the Leghorns.
Their job is to clear out and fertilize the front.


The not-so-little-anymore bunnies.
Their job is to eat and get fat.
Yes, we do.


The old Buff Orpingtons and Brave Sir Robin.
Their job is to lay fertile eggs for my 2015 animal experiment.


I'm hoping to successfully cross the two breeds.


We'll find out in about 12 days if it is a success.


Other than incubating eggs and new floors, what is going on indoors?

Getting canning started for the year!
This year's yield is 30 pints of jam for 4 gallons of strawberries.
Down a little bit from last year, but a gracious plenty for us.
And some to share, of course!


That's about it.  I'll be in Greenville, SC this weekend for their Highland Games.  Junior's band, Palmetto Pipes and Drums, will be competing.  If you are in the area, drive over to Furman and join us.  We'd love to see you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Names and Prayers

In my Bible study/Names Project, I have finally gotten into the book of Acts.  Earlier this week I was reading chapter 9 about the conversion of Saul.  When Jesus spoke to Saul from heaven, He asked Saul in verse 4, "Why are you persecuting ME?".  When Saul asked Who He was, Jesus said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."  (emphases mine).

What struck me about this encounter is that Jesus had already ascended into heaven.  Saul was racing around capturing Jesus' disciples, putting them in prison, beating them and terrorizing them.  Saul was not beating, terrorizing or imprisoning Jesus.  Yet he was.  Remember in Matthew 25:40 and 45?  Jesus tells the world at the last judgement that the things that they did to HIS PEOPLE are considered things done to Him personally: "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brothers, you have done it to Me"

That radically changes my perspective about the persecuted Church.  It is easy to feel remote from those who are persecuted ~ I blush to admit that, but it is the truth.  I have not traveled overseas on missions trips to countries of persecution.  I have not encountered very many people in my life who have been beaten for Jesus.  I have heard stories and seen a few movies, but that is not as real as personally meeting someone who has been in jail because they love Jesus and won't quit talking about Him.  However when I take the perspective that Jesus Himself is being persecuted and imprisoned and beaten and beheaded and tortured, that gives me a very, very different and much more real view of things.  How can I be still?  How can I be silent?  When I realize that it is Jesus Himself who is being persecuted, how can I not do something about it?

Yet what can I do about it when it is so far away?  In Matthew 25, Jesus gives us the answer to that question.  "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."   Matthew 25:35-36.

If nothing else, am I welcoming strangers?  Do I stop and speak and invite them to my home?  Am I doing everything in my power to help them see that I consider them a part of my family?  There are nursing homes around me.  Do I take time to go and visit?  Do I find someone who has no family left ~ no one to encourage and comfort them in the last years of their life ~ and do I step in to be family for them?

There are things that we can do.  Voice of the Martyrs has an excellent plan of action with numerous ways you can support the persecuted church.  You can even write letters to those who are imprisoned.  Can you imagine what a blessing that would be?  Suppose you had been in jail for years with little or not contact with anyone else who loves Jesus, and one day you got a letter of encouragement and prayer from another believer on the other side of the world?  If you think that those letters do not get to the prisoners but are kept by their guards, wouldn't it be a blessing for them to read the Truth?

Most of all, keep these people in your prayers.  Remember that they really are your family.  If your own mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife or child were being persecuted, wouldn't you be  storming Heaven's Gates on their behalf?

Which leads us to the prayer list for this week.

  1. Thank you so much for your prayers for Mark, Susan and Rachel.  The flights went well without any seizures that made the pilot want to divert the plane.  Please pray that Rachel will be able to eat and drink a little better; and sleep!!  Pray that the work goes well for the next three weeks, and that God's plan for them will be very clear.
  2. Nancy's energy is improving a little this week.  Thank you for your prayers regarding that.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  Next round of chemo is scheduled for June 2, with scans on the 18th.
  3. Benjamin, who lives in India, is having serious trouble with his vision.  Please pray that the doctors would be able to find out what is wrong.  Pray for his wife, who is understandably a little anxious for him.  Pray that God would be honored in him and through him.
  4. Anna's grandmother (a strong believer) died last week.  Please thank God for her life, and pray for comfort and peace for the family she leaves behind.
  5. For many, this is the last week of school.  Please pray for students and teachers as they wrap up another year.  For those who are not believers, pray that the influence of Christians they met this year will continue.
  6. Yesterday little Faith started her summer with brain surgery for cancer.  Please pray for healing, for comfort, for her parents and that God's people will remember to surround them with His love.
  7. Pray that God's word would spread through the influence of Vacation Bible Schools that are gearing up for the summer.  Pray for the directors, the teachers and all the behind-the-scenes folks, that God would use them to reveal Himself.  Pray that the hearts of the children (and their parents) would be prepared by Him to receive His word and Truth.
  8. Please pray for Jody.  It has been 9 months since her husband Danny died.  Pray for God's mercy and grace and comfort for her.
  9. Pray for those who are suffering for Jesus today.
Thank you for the work that you are doing.  Do not underestimate the importance of being a Prayer Warrior!

God's peace to your homes and hearts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Floors and Mr. Marvelous' Health

Mr. Marvelous has chronic sinus problems.  He struggles to completely recover from one infection before coming down with another.  It has been this way for years.  He has had surgery by one of the top ENTs in the country.  He has seen some wonderful doctors here in Alabama (and a few stinkers, I might add).  He has been evaluated by ENTs, Pulmonologists, and Allergy/Immunologists.  They struggle to figure him out.  He is very compliant with the suggestions the doctors make. 

Now step over here a minute and let me tell you about another track of the story.  When we bought our house, the lady who lived here before us had several dogs, some large and some small.  The dogs lived in the house.  We were not able to re-do the carpet when we moved in, and as she was on the verge of a foreclosure, she certainly was not able to do anything about it.  They were ugly.  They were not nice.  We shampooed (and shampooed, and shampooed) but still....



While Mr. Marvelous' sinus problems pre-dated our home, they seemed to be getting worse.  It was almost as bad as when we lived in a little house that was plagued with mold.  I fretted about the floors in this house, but I could never quite find the money in the budget to do anything about it.  It seemed that every time I would make any progress in that envelope, something would happen and we would have to add that money to the emergency fund to cover an emergency.

This past winter, Mr. Marvelous got motivated (multiple bouts of sinusitis will do that).  We started saving our pennies more diligently.  We had some unexpected income that we added to the envelope.  We scrimped.  We talked about the possibility of just pulling up the carpet and doing something quirky with the subfloor.  Pinterest has some terrific ideas for that if you are interested.  We talked about sanding and painting and then sealing the subfloors.  We started surfing the 'net.  I started a new Pinterest board.  Then we started thinking a little more.  In addition to the sinus problems, Mr. Marvelous has some serious knee problems.  We thought about being on hands and knees and sanding the floor.  We thought about the dust from the sanding getting into everything.   Including this.


We started cringing every time we talked about the painted subfloor.  I loved the idea ~ I still do! ~ but we began to wonder if it were really practical?

So we counted the money in the floor envelope and realized we had enough to re-do the living room and the hall way.  Mr. Marvelous was able to get a couple of days off and we got started.  Mr. Marvelous took off Friday and Monday.  He figured we would be done by Saturday noon and could do some other home improvements that needed doing (or play in the garden!) until going back to work.  Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!  I figured it would take us until Monday.  Guess who would have won that bet??

We pulled up carpet.


I pulled up tacks, hammered down nails, and lightly sanded the floors before spraying them down with a very strong vinegar solution.


We put down the underlayment and started laying laminate.  And tried to remember to take pictures for you along the way.  In the middle of the pulling, pounding, sanding, and being the weight to hold down one strip while Mr. Marvelous pounded in another....I sometimes forgot about the pictures.



I would like to inform you that you should purchase the thickest laminate you can afford.  If you can't afford very thick laminate, you might want to seriously consider waiting until you can.  I would also like to inform you that the first three rows of laminate you put down are the hardest.  The process is enough to make a saint swear sweat.  This Public Service Announcement brought to you by the Achin' Akins. 

Half-done



Finished


Or not really.




I am of the persuasion that the job is not done until it is DONE.  I had heard rumors that our trash service allowed their customers to bring one truck-load of whatever to the dump at certain intervals.  So I called our trash service.  Turns out they allow you to bring a load quarterly.  Hurrah!  BUT you have to have a voucher to do that.  Boo!  But they were mailing vouchers that week.  Hurrah!!  BUT I would not get the voucher until later in the week.  Boo!!  I really did not want that stuff on my porch for that long.  The dump is not open on the weekends, and we needed to make that run before Mr. Marvelous went back to work.  I begged.  I told the nice lady on the phone that we had ripped up carpet and needed to get it gone.  I explained that we had been customers for over a year and had never gotten any vouchers, nor brought any loads to the dump.  I promised that if she would let us bring this load this time I would bring the voucher to her as soon as it came.  Bless that dear lady, she completely understood (I found out later that she was getting ready to do her floors). 

So we loaded up the truck and we went to Beverly...


No, wait a minute, wrong story.  Actually we loaded up the truck and we went to the dump.  We had a couple of adventures along the way, but the most memorable one was about the "item" that flew off the truck along the way.  I driving the car following Mr. Marvelous who was driving Little Redneck Truck (it has been worked on and he wanted to make sure he had a ride if it broke down).  We got down off our little road and onto the main road.  Suddenly I saw something fly out of the carpet roll on the back of the truck onto the road.  I thought it might have been one of his work gloves, so I slowed down (thinking I could retrieve it and be a heroine for him).  Nope.  Not a glove.  I did not take a picture, but it looked something like this.

Click for larger image

I'm still trying to figure out if it was toxic fumes from the carpet that killed the poor thing.  I knew that stuff was bad....!  And how in the world he got into the roll of carpet to begin with?!

With that torture, I will leave you alone.  Until we can get to work on the rest of the floors.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday

The girls and I hope that you find a patch of sunshine today;





and we hope it makes you as happy as it makes us!

God's peace to your homes and your hearts.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday Prayers


My jars of names and descriptions are growing.  This morning I dipped in and found some names to share with you. 

In John 13:34 Jesus tells His disciples: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
Jesus is my Commander

If you have any military knowledge at all, you understand some of the implications of this.  He is the one Who has authority to give us commands and our response is to be quick obedience. 

In John 14:26 Jesus is continuing the conversation with His disciples and preparing them for what is coming.  He makes them a promise: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."

There are a lot of names and promises in that verse.  The one I want you to think about today is that the Holy Spirit will (not might, or could if you do everything on the check list, but WILL) teach you all things.  The Holy Spirit is the teacher of all things

Here are some things I would ask you to keep in prayer today
  1. Several weeks ago I asked you to pray for Elise (and her Mama!) as Elise was not feeling well.  Elise battled childhood cancer at a very young age.  Can you imagine how difficult that must be for her Mama when Elise starts acting sick?  Yesterday her Mama decided to call the doctor and beg for certain labs to be done.  We prayed that the doctor would agree to do what Mama was requesting.  The doctor exceeded the request willingly and we now have reassurance that Elise's problems are NOT a recurrence of cancer.  That will make you do a happy dance!  Praise God with us for this good result!
  2. Nancy's labs were stable enough for her to have chemo this week.  That's a mixed blessing.  Thank God that she was able to do this, and did not have a reaction to the chemo.  Please pray for a quick recovery from the side-effects.
  3. Yesterday I asked you to pray for my friend Susan and her family traveling overseas.  As I am typing this, they have just landed on the last leg of the journey and are taxiing to the gate.  Please pray that they will all be able to rest and be ready for the work that God has for them.
  4. John is hoping to start easing off some of his medications over the next few weeks.  Please pray for endurance in this process.
  5. Larry needs a kidney transplant.  His daughter was hoping to be able to donate one of hers, but has found that she will not be able to do this.  Please pray for peace and comfort for his daughter, and for a kidney for Larry.
  6. Please continue to pray for students getting ready for finals, for protection for students going on graduation trips, and pray for the teachers who are finishing up their work and getting ready for a busy summer.
  7. Remember the student pastors and ministers as they are getting ready to crank up for the summer.  Pray that they would be obedient to what God wants them to do for these treasures entrusted to their care.
Thank you for your work of prayer.  Please feel free to let us know how to pray for you today!



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sending

A little over ten years ago our family moved from South Carolina to Augusta, Georgia.  I soon discovered that God had already made arrangements for me to have a best and life-long friend all ready and waiting for me.  Susan is a woman of God who is not content to stand still spiritually.  We share many of the same loves, for things like a good book, a good chat, a good cup of coffee, and our families.  Susan's mother came from a part of East Tennessee, a part with which our family are quite familiar.  Mrs. Evelyn used to love to talk with my Dad ~ her pastor ~ about places and people they both knew back in Sequatchie County.  Mrs. Evelyn quickly became one of my "Other Mothers".

When we moved to Georgia I was still wheelchair dependent.  Susan and her husband just happened to have a van complete with a wheelchair lift.  She made it her mission to take me wherever I needed to go, whenever.  I'll never forget the time we were going and neglected to strap the chair down; for some reason I was riding in the chair that day instead of the front seat.  Susan stopped and I went over backwards with my legs straight up in the air!  We got a lot of laughs out of that one.

Susan shared with me the memories of her daughter Sarah, who died just before we moved to Augusta.  I loved hearing her Sarah-Stories and could listen for hours.  She shared with me her precious daughter Rachel.  Rachel may not be able to use a lot of words, but she speaks volumes with her eyes.  Rachel still always checks my hands when she sees me to see if I have painted my fingernails for her or not.

Susan is also married to a Mr. Marvelous.  Her Mr. Marvelous grows flowers, mine grows vegetables.  Neither of us really understands why our men can't grow vegetables AND flowers....or flowers AND vegetables.  Her husband and mine are similar in a lot of ways.  They are both very thoughtful and very deep spiritually.  As our son has grown, her husband has often taught him things that he needed to hear from someone other than Dad & Mom.

Susan was a huge help to me when our Beloved Meaghan died.  She was able to say things about losing a child that I needed to know in order to support my sister.  She prayed with a painful understanding for my sister, my brother-in-law, and my parents.  As my parents age, she reminds me to treasure every opportunity to be with them, having already lost her own parents.

I hope that I am half as much a help to Susan as she has been to me over the years.

Today Susan, her Mark, and their daughter (Her Most Royal Highness and Princess of Practically All) Rachel are getting on a plane.  They will fly to Atlanta where they will get on another plane and fly for fourteen hours.  They will have a four hour lay-over before getting on yet another plane and flying for another four hours.  They will spend a month there with Mark teaching, Susan grading papers, and Rachel teaching folks there about the treasure she is.  It will be a challenging month in so many ways.  Rachel is completely dependent with all of her ADLs (Activities of Daily Living).  While the place they are going is an English Language Learning campus, outside the campus is not.  New culture.  New people.  New world.  They will stay for a month before coming home.  Then they will make a decision about what it is God is calling them to do full-time.

Please pray.  Pray first of all that Rachel does not have any major, frightening seizures on the flights.  They have the medication she needs and they know what to do but Susan is concerned for the others on the flights having to experience those.  Pray that God will protect their health while they are traveling and while they are there.  Pray that God will show them very clearly what He wants them to do.  Pray that He will use all three of them for His glory and His Kingdom.  Pray for protection, especially spiritual protection.  Pray for Mark's mother while they are gone.  As you think of them between now and June 9th, please continue to remember them in your prayers.

As you pray, realize that you are taking part in God's work to spread His Gospel.  You may not be able to travel to where they are going in person this year, but you are a part of the going.

His peace to your homes.

Mark and Miss Priss waiting to board the plane

Mark, Susan and Rachel