Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Memories: The Family

I have an amazing family.  I am one of the original Gang Of Five which has grown over the years to Gang of Six, then Seven and finally up to Gang of Ten (we all got married). 

That's my wedding; I was the last of my generation to get married, and by that time we had six ~ with two more on the way ~ in the next generation!

Within a decade or two of that, we had added another generation that was 14 and has now grown through marriages to 20 and still another generation of ~ currently ~ 8 (I'm including the one who will make her appearance in October). 

We are scattered to the four winds these days.  At least we (currently) do not have any out of country, but we are spread from Washington state, Utah, Washington D.C., Tennessee, and the South Carolina Low-Country; with the main emphasis being in the Birmingham area (and I'm still trying to figure out how that happened!)

My parents this year celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  Yes, we are all very aware of the blessing that is.  Ten years ago they celebrated their 50th and most of the family (at least most of those who were family at that time) made it to the celebration and reunion. 


The only thing Mom and Dad requested for their anniversary this year was another reunion.  Unfortunately it wound up being only those east of the Mississippi and south of the Virginia-Tennessee border, but we still had 19 there (almost 50% thanks to the Coming Attraction).

We shared some hilarious stories. 

We ate.  A lot.  Once we got the charcoal going (Thanks, Ben!)


We picnicked.

                    We talked.

                                   We laughed....a lot!

                                                    We went out on the boat (Thanks, Robert!)

My gorgeous girls!
And even went swimming....


We hung out by the pool.

         We played games.

                We watched a beautiful slide show (Thanks, John and Diana!)

                         We rejoiced in the recent scan that shows no cancer (Thank You, Jesus!)

                                We prayed over our cousin who is battling his cancer.

                          We teased each other.


Most of all, we rejoiced in God's goodness and faithfulness to us as a family. 

On our first morning together, some of us (*ahem*) met together for family prayers (that's what we grew up calling it) and read together Psalm 34.  There were a lot of other Scripture passages I thought about reading, and a lot of things I thought about saying.  But through the night before, I was impressed that most of all, we needed to focus on giving thanks to God for His goodness, and love, and mercy, and kindness and faithfulness to us as His children.  Between a clean scan for my sister-in-law, sixty years of marriage for my parents, and a new baby on the way, it seemed most appropriate.

So "Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt HIS name together"!

Now I can start planning next year's reunion!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekend "Doin's"

What are your plans for the weekend? 

I'll be spending my time here...

...celebrating these two and their sixty years of marriage....

.....and admiring this kind of scenery

So whatever you may choose to do this weekend, I hope it is full of the grace that I have learned from those two, and that it is committed to the glory of God.

       Happy Weekend!                

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Mr. Marvelous has gently objected to the way I have written about him planting SIXTY tomato plants this year.  He reminded me that one-third (that would be twenty) of these are determinate tomatoes.  That means that they all get ripe at the same time and then they die and I don't have to fuss with them anymore.  That also means that one week soon I am going to have to deal with twenty tomato plants worth of tomatoes all at the same time.  That also means that there are a mere forty tomato plants left that will be producing all summer long. OK, maybe only 35-38; a few of them maybe didn't make it.  Still.....

He loves me.  This is his way of keeping me occupied, giving me something to do with my time during these long summer days, keeping off the streets and out of trouble (I don't know how to fix everything that happens to Little Red(neck) truck) (Yet).

All that to communicate that we have a tomato plantation this year.  That's what I get for fussing about running out of tomatoes in January.

There is a little something that comes with tomato plants.  In truth, there are a LOT of little somethings that come with tomato plants.  Meet our Nemesis, TOMATO HORN WORMS!

Ugly little things, aren't they?

Every morning and every evening Mr. Marvelous walks out into the plantation and starts looking.


 There are signs that you can look for to help you find them; they are well-camouflaged little buggers.

You look for droppings on lower leaves

You look for plants that are missing leaves (!)

You look for half-eaten tomatoes

Then you pluck the little nuisances off the plant and put them with the half-eaten tomatoes in an old coffee container.

Then you go have fun!

Turns out chickens are not just for eggs and meat!  

Ha Ha, you evil Horn Worms; take that!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Little Walkabout

I went for a walk this morning to try and find a turkey poult.  I was not successful, but in the process I found this little ham.

 I do love country life!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The View From My Front Door June 23 2014

Do you remember the turkeys who came to call last fall and winter? 

In the past we have had them visit in the fall and winter, and then they disappear until the next fall and winter.  It seems that this year they are much more comfortable around us.

Over the past week, Mr. Marvelous and I have noticed the turkey hens wandering across our road in the mornings and then back in the afternoons.  It has been fun watching them and we have even caught glimpses of a few poults.  The poults at this point are as big as a very large dove and are fully feathered out.  It's vastly amusing watching them get distracted by something, look around and realize that Mama is not in sight, and then race like mad to catch up to her.  Sound familiar to any Mama's??

Monday morning I was bustling about doing my "morning chores" while Mr. Marvelous was working from his home office (also known as his recliner) (he really was working; that Monday morning conference call thing).

I glanced out the window and for the first time saw turkeys in the front yard.  There was one hen with two poults trailing along behind her.  I felt as though I were watching a parade.  Unfortunately Mama and babies are all a little bashful at this point, so they were gone by the time I grabbed the camera.  However, this hen was most happy to pose for me.

Hopefully they will come back soon for a longer visit.  In the meantime, the camera is waiting by the front door, and I have adjusted the settings to silent.  I'll keep watching!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Morning Memories: Twenty-five

Twenty-five can seem like a big number.  Once upon a time it felt like forever.

When some things hit twenty-five they become an antique. 

Earlier in June some of us noted the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.  I remember when that happened.  I was in the hospital trying to NOT go all the way into labor. 

I could go into great detail here about the ensuing few weeks (I almost did).  If you are a Mom, you have your own stories.  If you are not a Mom, you probably are not interested in the "Mom" stories.  I'll just sum it up.

Twenty-five years ago Mr. Marvelous and I were blessed with Mr. Marvelous Jr. 

He was the biggest baby born into my family and no one is interested in beating his record of 10 pounds 9 ounces. 

He was the light of his Grandpa and Grandma's lives as he was their first and only grandchild. 

He is incredibly talented musically.

He is an avid historian, especially of western Europe.  His Grandaddy loves that about him and they can talk history for hours.

He has a gift for languages. 

He understands grace.

I am so flawed as a mother but he is very forgiving.  God has used him to teach me some very, very important lessons. 

Here is one of my favorite pictures (and the one that will get me in the least amount of trouble).

Happy Birthday son!  Thanks for giving me the gift of a life-time; that of being a mother.  Better yet, of being your mother.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Friday!

Bury your face, take a nap, and have a great weekend!

Or else grab a cat, a cup of coffee, your favorite book or magazine, some Chinese chocolates, and relax.  Either way, Happy Friday!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


We have rabbits.  White New Zealand rabbits, to be exact.

We breed our rabbits and raise baby rabbits. 

It's a lot of fun!


We had a rabbit catastrophe back in the early spring and as a result we had to put down most of our rabbits, including the buck ~ Edgar ~ who was our breeder, and all the young rabbits in the grow-out hutch.  Not a pleasant task.

We still had George (she is curious about everything, that's why she is named George) and her youngest crop of babies.  They all survived and no one showed any signs of illness, so we were able to raise them and eventually *ahem* "harvest" them (or as my Dad says, give them a free ticket to the North Pole).

I worked to socialize these babies while they were still in with George because we knew we would be keeping three of them to replace the other breeders.  The day came to separate them from Mama and we chose three to go into the breeder cages and the rest went into the grow-out hutch.

We kept Woolly-Booger who is VERY fluffy.

We kept Smoochie who is rather sweet and gives me kisses (and who is named for a VERY special baby but I'm not allowed to tell you who he is or that he lives in Utah).

We kept Nellie.  Who is very nervous.

When the time came to harvest the others, I had decided that Nellie needed to be exchanged with someone in the grow-out hutch.  Nellie's disposition was frankly getting on my nerves.

We decided to check the breeders to make sure we had at least one male and one female.

Turns out they were all females!

So we went to the grow-out hutch to try and find a male.  I told Mr. Marvelous to grab a particular one who was larger than the others and sure enough, he was a he.  So he got put into Nellie's cage and Nellie.....went to the North Pole.

I thought and thought and thought about what to name that male.

Suddenly it dawned on me.


His name is Barabbas!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


It has been a while since I have shared any of my Names/Descriptions of God with you.

I am working through the book of Isaiah right now which is packed with names of God the Father as well as God the Son (look at Isaiah 53, for instance).

Here is a verse for you today:

The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, 'I will gather yet others to Him besides those already gathered'"  Isaiah 56:8

He is the Lord God.
He is the gatherer of outcasts.
And we are told two more times, He is the gatherer.

God seeks the outcasts and those considered unacceptable ~ He particularly mentions the foreigners earlier in the chapter ~ and He gathers them into His arms and into His family.

Be comforted by that Truth today!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kitchen Window June 15, 2014

I got up early Sunday morning and when I saw my kitchen window view, I grabbed my camera.

"And God saw that the light was good."  Genesis 1:4

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Memories: About Okra

A number of years ago Mr. Marvelous, Mr. Marvelous Jr. and I moved to a wonderful community in the low-country of South Carolina.  The community is so small that when we moved there we caused a population gain of 10%.  It was a great place to live. 

We rented a very old farm-house from one of the most wonderful families we have ever met.  The house had been built in the early 1800's.  It had a few quirks but we enjoyed most of those quirks.  Those were the days of my wheelchair, aka The Beast.  Another wonderful family helped Mr. Marvelous construct a ramp to get me up the few front steps and into the door.  The boys would push me up the ramp and into the door and let go.  I would roll through the living room and into the dining room.  If I leaned ever-so-slightly to the left, I would roll on into the kitchen and end up at the kitchen sink.  If I leaned a bit more to the right when I hit the dining room, I would roll into the den/office/computer room and wind up right in front of the computer.  It was better than a roller-coaster!

There are so many wonderful things about a small community, and that particular community is among the best.  My parents have moved back there and we go as often as we can to visit, although that is not nearly often enough.  A number of our heroes still live there (I mean heroes besides my parents), like Mr. Ralph and Mr. Billy and many, many others. 

But lets get back to that wonderful house.  No one had lived there for a year or two, and no one had done anything with the back gardening area for even longer.  The rains had fallen, the grass had been mowed, the leaves had composted and that was Black River Swamp dirt.  Mr. Marvelous was in hog heaven!  The first time he got out there to till, he came in so happy; the dirt was so rich and black he just knew he could grow anything there....and he did!  We grew some whopper pumpkins that year, and some of the best crops of everything he could imagine. 

There was just one problem.  At the time, Mr. Marvelous was working for a company repairing machines.  The territory he had been assigned when we moved to South Carolina from Tennessee was the Savannah territory.  That is a 2 1/2 hour drive from the little farm-house.  He covered the area mostly north of Savannah, but there were times when he had to drive all the way to Jacksonville, Florida (a 4 1/2 hour drive).  So he was on the road a LOT that year.  That meant that he did not have quite as much time to maintain the garden and keep it tidy as we all would have liked.  So one day in a fit of disgust over the untidiness of the garden, I went out back and WEEDED.  I was yanking up weeds and casting them dramatically to the side.  I meant business with those weeds!  When Mr. Marvelous came home that evening, I proclaimed to him (somewhat self-righteously and probably using a martyr's tone of voice) that I had weeded his garden.

Mr. Marvelous went out back to check things out.  He was gone for a little longer than I thought necessary since after all, I had weeded the garden for him.  He finally came back to the house shaking his head and trying (unsuccessfully) not to laugh.  I waited for him to tell me how much he appreciated me weeding for him in spite of my frail condition.  I waited.  He did not say anything.  I waited some more.  He just kept shaking his head and trying not to laugh.  Finally I asked him what was so funny and why he had taken so long when I had already done all the weeding for him.

"Well", he replied, "I had to put the okra that you 'weeded' back into the ground!"

It survived.

                          But I will never live that one down!

Nor will I dare to complain that I don't care that much about okra!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Friday!

I don't know quite what got me started down this rabbit trail, but yesterday evening I started searching Google for the Toccata by Charles-Marie Widor.  It is one of my favorite pieces of classical organ music. 

That's a little out of the ordinary for me because M. Widor lived from 1844 to 1937.  Normally my cut-off date for really fine music is the early 1700s (what can I say, my baroquer is G. F. Handel.....).  However when I was in college I got to be friends with the young man who was the official organist/accompanist for the school.  Robert was incredibly talented.  As I watched and listended to him play this, it became my favorite organ piece (next to Albinoni's Adagio in G minor) (and this one is happier than the Albinoni.  You're welcome).  Due to the mix of pedaling (feet) with manuals (hands), it is quite a showy piece.  Watching a good organist play this (and Robert was excellent) is entertaining.

As I mentioned, yesterday evening I got started down the rabbit trail of finding some information about this piece of music.  Like most rabbit trails, I have no idea how I started but it took me over to Youtube (which isn't really that surprising).  I found this piece by a master organist who performed the Widor at a cathedral in Newark.  It's a good one and they even show his feet periodically, which gives you a better feel for the whole of the music. 

As I was listening, I glanced over to the side panel and made a discovery.  Youtube has a recording of the composer performing this piece at the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris in April of 1932!  Not only do they have this recording, it is a pretty good recording. 

So happy Friday and here is some wonderful classical music to get the day off to a good start.

Just so you know, I really don't know much about the person who posted this, so I can not recommend their channel as something that is or is not wonderful.  I just like that he has this recording.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Garden After Pictures

A week or so ago I confessed to the state of our garden here.  It was weedy and not very tidy (I like a tidy garden.  Mr. Marvelous thinks I'm a little obsessed)

Here are some pictures of how the garden looks after totin' and spreading out the wood chips.  Thanks again to my amazing brother The Tree Doc.

It always surprises me how quickly beans grow
These pole beans are coming along nicely too, don't you think?

Sweet potatoes!

Our favorite zephyr squash.  I've already cooked up a huge mess and shared with both my sister and the UPS driver!

We are trying melons again this year.  Every year we try.  Every year Mr. Marvelous says, "If I can't make it work this year I'm giving up on melons!"  Every year we try again.  I love his persistence!

I didn't know how much I love peas until this past winter.

Okra.  One day I'll tell you a story about me and okra.

We have been trying to grow artichokes for five years and it looks like this just might be the year we are successful.  I'm very excited about this!

Here is an over all view of the front with wood chips and some healthy plants.  We'll be digging up potatoes pretty soon. 

There now.  Isn't that a prettier, tidier garden?!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Kitchen Window June 9, 2014

"Zed, we have a bug"

That's what it looks like to me anyway.  

I'm not a big fan of bugs.

Light falling on trees however, makes my day

That is not a reflection from anything in the kitchen, that's just how God made the sun shine that evening.  Lovely, isn't it?