Friday, October 31, 2014

A Tradition Continues

It's that time of year again.  

I know you have been waiting all year for this day, so without any further ado, here it is.  Turn on your sound and get ready to dance with The Reformation Polka.

Happy Friday!

And just in case you missed it, here are the words:

 Author: Rev. Robert J. Gebel
When I was just ein junger Mann I studied canon law;
While Erfurt was a challenge, it was just to please my Pa.
Then came the storm, the lightning struck, I called upon Saint Anne,
I shaved my head, I took my vows, an Augustinian! Oh...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

When Tetzel came near Wittenberg, St. Peter's profits soared,
I wrote a little notice for the All Saints' Bull'tin board:
"You cannot purchase merits, for we're justified by grace!
Here's 95 more reasons, Brother Tetzel, in your face!" Oh...


They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exempleror;
The Pope, however, hauled me up before the Emperor.
"Are these your books? Do you recant?" King Charles did demand,
"I will not change my Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand!" Oh...


Duke Frederick took the Wise approach, responding to my words,
By knighting "George" as hostage in the Kingdom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin's model if the languages you seek,
Stay locked inside a castle with your Hebrew and your Greek! Oh...


Let's raise our steins and Concord Books while gathered in this place,
And spread the word that 'catholic' is spelled with lower case;
The Word remains unfettered when the Spirit gets a chance,
So come on, Katy, drop your lute, and join us in our dance! Oh...


Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Many, many thanks to Rev. Gebel, who provides me with great fun every year.  And Mr. Marvelous (both Sr. and Jr.) with lots of cringing and eye-rolling.  

And Anna Elizabeth?  Happy Birthday tomorrow!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

About Ricotta Cheese

Our home is in the country.  Just ask the city folks who know us!  We live on a 3.5 acre wooded, hilly lot on a private road (which means that we have to pay for repaving) (and the Google people don't come up and take pictures for Street view). 

We are not, however, remote.  It takes about 8 minutes to get to the Walmart to the west of us and 10 minutes to get to the one to the east of us.  Honestly, that is closer than most of our city friends.  If I run out of something in the middle of cooking, it is not that big a problem for me to get in the car and run to the store.  Especially since I now have reliable transportation!

But some days I just don't want to stop in the middle of what I am doing, change clothes, and go to town.  I also don't like to go to the store and spend money unless I really, really need something (it's a Dave Ramsey thing).  I find ways to work around or make substitutions and move on with life.  I also like the satisfaction of making things myself.

Perusing the internet and some cook books a year or so ago, I discovered that one can make ricotta cheese.  From scratch!  I kept meaning to try it.  This week I wanted to make a casserole for a friend.  I had everything I needed except the ricotta cheese.  Aha!  A golden opportunity!  I found some cheese cloth and picked up a bottle of good quality white wine vinegar and I was ready to go. 

I found a recipe from The Barefoot Contessa (any woman who cooks barefoot and refers to herself as The Contessa has my attention).  Four ingredients.  Minimal fuss.  Rave reviews (except for the one purist who insists that this is not REAL ricotta cheese but only a "nice" cottage cheese.  Bless his heart!).  Here is the link to the recipe

This recipe is easy, and it is GOOD!  So here we go, in case you run out and want to give it a try.

The Ingredients: 
1 quart whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, (the Contessa uses a full 2 cups)
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tablespoons good white wine vinegar

 You also need a good sieve and enough cheese cloth to make a double thickness in the sieve.  Dampen it before you spread it out in there.

Put this over a tall pot of some sort so you can drain the whey after you finish the cooking.

Once you have that set up and ready, put the milk, cream and salt into a sturdy pot.

I prefer to use the copper bottomed pot I inherited from my mother-in-law.  It's one of my favorites, for many reasons.

Here is the hard part.  Turn on the stove and stir frequently.  Heat it to boiling.

That's right.  You are going to boil the milk.  I know, I know; our mothers always told us that you NEVER  let milk come to a boil because it RUINS IT.  Make yourself go ahead and let it come to a boil.  Console yourself.  As soon as it boils, you are going to turn off the heat.  Does that make you feel better?  It helped me.

After you turn off the heat, add the 3 Tablespoons of vinegar.  I have heard that you can use plain ol' every day distilled white vinegar.  I decided to live on the wild side and use "nice" vinegar.

Stir the vinegar in for 1 minute and watch it curdle.

It doesn't inspire confidence, does it?  Hold on.

Now pour it into that cheese cloth that you have lining the sieve sitting over the tall pot.

It doesn't really strand like that; it's just a lucky shot with the camera

And just let it sit there and drain for a while.  The Contessa says to let it go for at least 20-25 minutes.  I prefer mine moist rather than dry and 15 minutes was plenty long for me.  Partly because my pot is so tall.  If you have a shorter pot, you will have to drain the whey once or twice to keep the cheese from sitting in the liquid, so that might take a little longer.

When you get it to the consistency you want, put it in a container.  After you taste some, of course!

Then you take the whey and pour it into a clean quart jar.  Go look on Google and you will find plenty of suggestions for how to use that.  I'm going to be trying it in some whole-wheat bread this weekend.

Look at you; you just made Ricotta cheese!  Someone asked me tonight what in the world I am going to do with all of this Ricotta cheese?  This stuff is so good that in addition to lasagna and the casserole (Spicy Italian and Cheese Noodles), I think I may put some on an English Muffin for breakfast in the morning.  Now I just have to go make English Muffins.....

Have fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


If you are new to the blog and my names project, there is an explanation of it here

I have been reading through Psalms again recently.  I came to this passage in Psalm 28:

"Blessed be the Lord!
     For He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     in Him my heart trusts and I am helped;
my heart exults,
     and with my song I give thanks to Him.
The Lord is the strength of His people;
     He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
     Be their shepherd and carry them forever."                              Psalm 28:6-9

There are a lot of names and descriptions of God in this passage ~ all of which I need to remember this week

God is:
  1. Blessed
  2. The Lord
  3. The One Who hears
  4. Merciful
  5. The Lord
  6. MY Strength
  7. MY Shield
  8. Trust-worthy
  9. Helper
  10. The Lord
  11. The Strength of His people
  12. The saving refuge of His anointed
  13. Saviour
  14. The One Who blesses
  15. Their Shepherd
The thing that really jumps out at me this time is that these descriptions are personalized.  He is MY strength.  He is MY shield.  He is the strength of HIS people.  He is the saving refuge of HIS anointed.   He is the shepherd of HIS people.

God is a very personal God.  The One who made everything and keeps everything in place from the largest macrocosm to the smallest microcosm is a personal God.  He KNOWS us.  He CARES about us.  Can you imagine?  He is never too busy with really important stuff to pay attention to the least of His children.  It's not just a matter of "Oh yeah, you are over there and need this; here ~ I'll toss it to you.  Catch!".  No, it is Him hearing my cries and coming to me, kneeling down and picking me up and carrying me.  Giving me His strength.  Shielding me from the enemies around me.  Saving me.  Carrying me.  Blessing me.  Loving me.  Giving me the strength to stand when I want to collapse.  Giving me the courage to fight when I want to run.  My place of refuge.

That is Who I serve.

His peace to your home.                  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Friend

Recently Mr. Marvelous and I traveled to South Carolina to visit my parents.  We had a lovely time that included a brief stay at the beach.

We had an unexpected encounter while we were there.  We went to Walmart one morning and while we were there we met a gentleman (I use that term lightly).  He was a little....different.  He seemed to be imploring us to give him shelter.  After a quick conference, we decided that he did indeed need a home, and that we were indeed the people to provide him with the refuge he so desperately needed.

We discovered that his current residence was being revitalized to make room for some new occupants.  I didn't quite catch all the details, but there was something about making room for more appealing clientele in the neighborhood.  We were asked by the developers if we couldn't help out some of his neighbors, but as there were about 50 of them we had to decline.  He promised that they would be no trouble and would not take up much room, but when he asked us to pay him for the privilege of providing these unfortunates with a place to live, we had to be firm.

He was rather quiet on the way back to my parents.  I wondered if he was a little nervous about meeting my folks.  We have since learned that he is always pretty quiet.  I'm beginning to think he may have been the victim of some nefarious experimentation that perhaps destroyed his ability to communicate verbally.

We also discovered that he absolutely LOVES having his picture made.  Personally, I think this is a desperate attempt to find his family and be reunited with them.  We have found solid evidence that he came here from China.  I think he was separated from his family on the trip over and is still trying to reconnect with them.

I am pleasantly surprised at his cheerful demeanor.  He always seems to have a smile on his face, no matter what the situation.  The developer who was trying so hard to convince us to bring him home was right; he doesn't eat much and he really isn't any trouble at all.

As long as you don't mind the constant photo-bombs.

Since he is unable to tell us his name, we chose one for him after much thought.  He smiled when we told him what we had chosen, so I guess he is happy with it.

Meet Jack South.

He likes to hang around with the animals

He's a little quirky at times

My men think he's pretty "chill"

 I think he's going to fit right in to our house.

You will be seeing a lot more of him in the days to come!

Monday, October 27, 2014


Recently our pastor preached some excellent sermons on prayer.  He challenged our church to focus on spending more time in prayer.  You can read some of what he has written about prayer here; it is well worth the time.

I started thinking about the HOW of prayer.  In Christian circles there is a lot of talk about ACTS prayers; the acronym for Adoration Confession Thanksgiving and Supplication.  Have you ever wondered just how to pray prayers of adoration?  If the acronym includes Adoration and Thanksgiving, that indicates that there is a difference between the two.  Adoration is different from saying, "God, thank You for Your love".

A few years ago I made a commitment to spending a couple of hours one day a week in prayer for a specific need in our church.  It was a time of learning a lot of the hows of prayer.  One day as I was praying, I started thinking about a catechism question that I learned as a girl.  The question is from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and there is a terrific story about how it happened that I will share another time, but the question is, "What is God?".  What is God?  How in the world would anyone dare to answer that question or begin to come up with any kind of answer to that question?  Through a lot of prayer!  The answer that was discerned after days of prayer was this: "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth." 

That was the beginning of how I learned to pray prayers of adoration.  I would confess to God that:

His being has no limit in space or time and never changes.
His wisdom has no limits in space or time and never changes.
His power has no limits in space or time and never changes.
His holiness has no limit in space or time and never changes.
His justice has no limit in space or time and never changes.
His goodness has no limit in space or time and never changes.
His truth has no limit in space or time and never changes.

As I thought about these things and prayed these things, I thought about what the Bible says about Who God Is.  The verses that I kept coming back to are the verses from Galatians 5:22-23.  It says:
"The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law"  (Are you singing the song?)

So God is love and the source of all love.
God is joy and He is the source of all joy.
God is peace and He is the source of all peace.
God is patient and He is the source of all patience.
God is kind and He is the source of all kindness.
God is good, and He is the source of all goodness.
God is faithful and He is the source of all faithfulness.
God is gentle and He is the source of all gentleness.
God is the source of all self-control.

As I prayed through these attributes I was overwhelmed by them.  Some days it was all I could do to move on to the other parts of prayer.  
Mr. Marvelous often says that prayer does not change God, it changes us.  We have certainly lived that in our lives!  As I learned to pray prayers of adoration, I learned that one of the things this accomplishes is to help me better keep my focus on God.  And as I keep my focus on Him, more than me, I am changed.
Hope this is helpful to you today!

Friday, October 24, 2014


I was informed this morning that there were snow flurries in northern Vermont yesterday.
Winter seems to be closing in on us.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine this weekend while you can.

Spread your wings a little.

Remember to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the good gifts He sends you!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
    and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psalm 28:7                                   

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Homesteading In The Fall

I love autumn.  

I love the colors that come out.

I love the shift in the light (although I do NOT love the shorter days.  Sorry, Martha!).

I love the cooler days and nights. 

I also enjoy fall canning even more than I enjoy summer canning.

It's not that summer canning is so hot (although it is).  I love my outdoor/back porch kitchen that Mr. Marvelous set up for me and it keeps the heat out of the house quite well.  

I just like the stuff that gets put up in the fall. 

Last weekend Mr. Marvelous and I made a trip to the farmer's market over near Finley Avenue.  We were looking for pears and we finally found some.  I'm not just talking about a few pears, or even a bag of pears.  Oh no!  We came home with a BOX of pears.  That's 50 pounds, in case you didn't know.  Yeah.  That's a LOT of pears.

Last year I did not get pears and therefore did not make pear relish for Mr. Marvelous.  Of all the things I can in the fall, I thought that was his favorite.  That man can put away some pear relish!  I use his Mama's recipe, which probably has a little something to do with the fact that he likes it so much.

After I got all those pears peeled, cored, quartered and ground, and after I got busy cooking and canning, I had 36 pints of pear relish on the shelf.  Half of them are regular and half of them have a little jalapeno kick.  And I still had pears!

That's when I discovered that pear relish is not Mr. Marvelous' absolute favorite; pear preserves are.  You would think I might have figured that out after 27 years.

Did you know that trying to make the syrup and the pears come out evenly is like trying to make the milk and the cereal come out evenly?  It is.  I have 9 pints of preserves canned and 2 quarts of syrup left over in the refrigerator.  I figure I'll get 9 or so more pears this week and any left-overs after that will go to the chickens.

After pears come pumpkins.  I found 2 nice pumpkins at the Green Up Garden Shop (another of my favorite places in case you hadn't noticed).  This week I got those pumpkins de-goo'ed, chopped and peeled and put up 28 pints of canned punkins.  Home-made Pumpkin Spice Latte, pumpkin custard, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread.....Oh boy!

There was one startling moment when I was taking apart the second pumpkin.  I discovered that it had developed a little more than it should have before it was picked, and there were not only some seed strands inside, I found a few leaves INSIDE the pumpkin as well. 

Let's see; 28 pints of pumpkin + 36 pints of relish + 9 pints of pear preserves = some big canning!

And I'm not done yet.  I still have to get apples to put up apple pie filling.  Then I'll make some apple jelly and some grape jelly, and then the fall canning should be finished.

                                   Unless I think of something else.

                                                                     But for right now I think I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


It is hard to find good books to read that I have not already read.  I did not realize how hard until I asked the question on Facebook one day, "Anyone have a favorite book?  Prefer Christian and prefer NOT romance novels".

Every single book that was suggested was one I had already read. 

I have since found the Christy Awards website  (although the Wikipedia page can be less cluttered and confusing in my opinion).

I have also discovered  the Novel Crossings page which lists award winners from several different awards.

Both of these have been helpful and both have led me to some authors I would never have stumbled across otherwise.

One of my new favorite authors is Chris Fabry.  I started with his book June Bug, about a little girl traveling with her father who finds herself on the Walmart wall of missing children.  It is the second of a trilogy, but I read this one first and had no trouble figuring out the different characters.  Mr. Fabry gives credit to Les Mis and I can see some influence there, but it is a unique and charming story on its own.  Perhaps I like it so much because it ends in the Appalachian Mountains.  Perhaps it is just because Mr. Fabry is an excellent story-teller.  Likely it is a combination of both.

I have read all three of his Dogwood stories, and Every Waking Moment.  Now that was a story with which I connected.  I enjoy the way the plot unfolds.  There are a few twists and turns along the way, but that is not overdone.  The characters are nicely developed. Check out the link above for an in-depth review.

It looks like this weekend will be a good one to curl up on the porch with a cup of coffee and a good book.  I hope you find these suggestions helpful!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Few Last Views

Here are a few last looks at the fall view around the homestead.


I have a fun project coming.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Memories: The Beast

Many years ago my doctor informed me that it was time to start using a wheelchair.  That was a difficult thing for this independent red-head to hear.  I went home and called the wheelchair rental company and within a few hours a man was at my door with a wheelchair.  Oh joy!

That weekend, Mr. Marvelous and I had to go to Nashville.  Mr. Marvelous ~ being the marvelous husband that he is! ~ took me to the Opryland Mall for an outing.  I was surprised that we were able to have fun, not "in spite of" but "because of" the wheelchair.  I was able to explore and enjoy the whole mall instead of sitting on the benches by the front door because I was worn out from the walk from the car.  Mr Marvelous did some interesting race maneuvers.  Yes, I squealed!  We decided to name the chair and it became The Beast.

I realized some things on that trip.  I realized that people were watching me.  Some surreptitiously, others a little more openly.  I realized that I had a very important choice to make.  I could choose to focus on myself and be consumed with being miserable, angry, depressed and generally unpleasant because things were not the way I wanted them to be.  Or I could choose to focus on God, trust His overwhelming love for me, and pray each day that He would once again give me the grace of peace.

When I choose to focus on God the "stuff" of life becomes less important.  Please understand; this does not mean being fake and pretending everything is fine when it is not.  There are times when I have a genuine smile on my face and a thankful attitude.  There are also times when I am sad, frustrated, hurt or mad.  Yet when I am sad, frustrated, hurt, or mad I am also confident that my loving, gracious Heavenly Father has everything under control.  Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6?  I can trust Him completely to take care of me and to love me. 

I messed up.  A lot.

                                 I still do.  A lot!

The wheelchair is sitting in the basement these days gathering dust.

The feeding pump and walker are down there beside it.

 It is nice to not be dependent on these devices.  I enjoy being able to drive again.  I don't know how long this good season will last.  I do know that whatever my circumstances and however I feel about them, God loves me and He is NOT going to stop taking care of me. 

May His peace fill your home.  And may you have fun!

Friday, October 17, 2014


Sometimes it is a little hard to find the horizon.

Whether your weekend takes you here...

...or here.....

     ....or perhaps just someplace like this....                     

 is my prayer that wherever you are, God will shine His Light straight into your heart.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.                                                                                                        II Corinthians 13:14

Thursday, October 16, 2014

An Open Letter To Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

First of all, thank you very much.  Of all the things I have to say, that is the most important.

For several years (OK, decades if you want to be exact), my husband listened to you and tried to get me on board with your plan.  I resisted.  I did read the book, Total Money Makeover and it just made me angry.  In retrospect, I think it is because your plan was so radically different from my plan which meant that you (and my husband) were not smart enough to realize that my plan was the best plan.

A lot of life happened, including a 50% reduction in income when I had to quit working due to illness, several moves, a job loss, some medical crises, getting out of debt only to get back in again.

On December 5, 2012, I suddenly became sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I went online and found your website and started reading.  I discovered that you were having a Christmas give-away and I thought, “why not?” and registered for it.  It seemed terribly rude to (potentially) accept money from you without listening to you, so I turned on the radio.  Suddenly, everything started making sense.  I heard you ask someone if their plan was working and since it wasn’t, were they willing to give your plan a try?  I almost yelled “YES I AM!”  

When my long-suffering husband came home, I’m sure I made his head spin with my sudden dedication to all things Dave Ramsey.  Bless his heart!

Since we began this journey we have done the following:
  1. Started listening to the radio show
  2. Attended Financial Peace University class ~ one of the best things we have ever done
  3. Learned to view life and choices a little differently
  4. Reset some priorities
  5. Accumulated a baby-step emergency fund
  6. Started doing a monthly budget BEFORE the month started, instead of waiting until after the month was over and saying, “Hmm.  Now where did the money go this month?”
  7. Cut up all the credit cards
  8. Started paying down the debt
  9. Started paying cash for ALL purchases
Some tough stuff has happened along the way, and some good stuff.  But we have learned that it is all a matter of how you look at things.  For instance

  1. We totaled a car.  Bad thing?  Not really.  We took the insurance money, put some of it aside to be able to buy a replacement vehicle (affectionately referred to as Mama’s Little Red(neck) Truck) and used the rest to buy some household necessaries.  After we finished that baby-step emergency fund, that is.
  2. The husband had a work related injury that kept him off work for 6 weeks.  While the income was tax-free, (worker’s comp) it was only 66% of his regular income.  Bad thing?  Not really.  You see, my envelopes were already stuffed for the month.  I knew what things on the budget form could be cut back and they got cut back.  We paid minimum payments on debt and just kept plugging away.  It happened at Christmas time, but that wasn’t a problem.  We had an envelope for that!
  3. The husband got a new job (this was a huge big deal/answer to prayer).  This came with a 20% salary increase, but we suddenly had to buy another car as he would no longer have a company car.  We had been keeping a storm cloud fund for potential knee surgery for him.  The new job dramatically decreased the likelihood that surgery would be needed this year, so we renamed that envelope “Car”.  Through a rather convoluted set of mixed blessings, two different family members each decided to give us a car.  When we told the second one that another family member had given us a car already, the response was, “Great!  Now you both have reliable transportation.  Just use your little unreliable red(neck) truck for hauling stuff”. 
  4. In the course of changing jobs we were not at all sure how the pay schedules were going to work out.  I simply budgeted a month with no income and the storm cloud  car envelope became that months’ budget needs. 
  5. When we did get some payment from both jobs that month, instead of being frustrated on the income decrease for the month (since they were both only partial payments), we rejoiced that even more had been provided for our needs.  Remember?  I had budgeted a “No Income” month.
All of these things are rather new for us, the old us would have just charged up the credit cards and applied for a personal loan, after financing a car loan for a new car.  In addition to that, we have been able to gently advise friends who have asked us financial questions, and share the precepts that we have learned from your class and your daily radio show.

Yup.  Life is rather different for us now.  Easy?  Not really.  We still have debt and it is still going to take us a while to pay it off.  I still get nervous when I think about the fact that we are in our 50’s and have no retirement set aside.  When that happens I remind myself of how God has provided for all our needs over the past 27 years of marriage.  We are working hard now to be more faithful stewards of what He entrusts to us.  We are confident that He is not going to let us down!  We are determined to finish well.  

Thank you!  One of these days we will be calling to schedule our own Debt Free Scream.  Until then, we remain thankful for all you have done for us in the areas of finance, stewardship, and marriage.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University.  Picture courtesy of Wikimedia

I love books.  I grew up with parents who love books and put a high value on reading.  We were read to, and we were encouraged to read ourselves.  Even when we were old enough to be reading, Mom would still read to us.  Granted 8 years old was a little young for The Lord Of The Rings series (it was years before I could go back to that!), but that was the only one I can remember that was a "Miss" rather than a "Hit".   There was Peter Pan, and The Wizard of Oz, Treasure Island and Tom Sawyer, Christopher Robin, both the stories and the poems, A Wrinkle In Time, Narnia, The Jungle Book and the Just-So Stories, all the E. Nesbitt books, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the Arthur Ransome sailing books.

I learned that books are friends.  Books can be an escape and a refuge in the tumultuous pre-teen and teen years.  Good books, like good friends, can and should be revisited to renew one's acquaintance ~ even though many of you disagree with me on that point!  When I was in college, one of the reasons I looked forward to breaks was because I could read whatever I wanted instead of whatever the professor wanted.

I am a very eclectic reader.  I still read what is referred to as "Children's books" and I read some of the Russian writers.  I read silly stuff like the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde (if you like English lit and appreciate sarcasm you might get a kick out of those).  I read Amish fiction but I'm choosy about which authors in that genre (Beverly Lewis and Julie Woodsmall are about the only ones I like).  I like good mysteries; Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey being one of my all-time favorite sleuths.  I like older stuff like Jane Eyre (she gets an annual visit).  I like newer stuff like Chris Fabry, Elizabeth Musser and Lisa Wingate.

And I have gone back to Tolkein and read him almost every year.

A couple of years ago I discovered a three-book series written by Stephen Arterburn and Nancy Rue.  They are known collectively as The Sullivan Crisp novels.  These have become some of my favorite books.  I was not as crazy about the first one but the second one in the series, Healing Waters, is one of my all-time favorite books now.  I suppose one of the reasons I like it so much is because it speaks against the prosperity of body and wallet ministry that is so prevalent in our culture.  It is not a "heavy" book; it is a good story that has a solid theology.  If you are looking for a good read to go with your coffee on these cooler fall days, I would highly recommend it.  You might even find it in your library.  Be warned: you may have trouble putting it down and getting back to housework once you start it!

Here is the link to the book and the author's website. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The View From My Window

I love the look of the ground with its carpet of fall leaves.

There's a big thunderstorm rolling in, so there should be a thicker pile next time.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Memories The Low-Country

Many years ago my parents moved to a very small community in the Low-Country of South Carolina.  It is a wonderful place.  Agriculture is one of the main businesses of the area.  The people there are hard-working, kind-hearted folks who love God, their families, and their neighbors.  In that order.

Mail came to the post office as General Delivery.  You would walk to the post office after the post-mistress got there and had time to sort through things.  There were no boxes, you simply walked up, visited with her, asked about her family, her grandchildren and her Mama, visited with the other folks there, got your mail, and walked back home.  If you were lucky, either Peaches or Okra, two of the neighborhood dogs, would accompany you.  If you were ill and couldn't get there, either one of the neighbors would bring your mail to you, or the postmistress would drop by to check on you and bring your mail (and quite possibly a meal) after she closed up.

The church was the other main attraction in the community.  See that little road behind the post office?  That is the road to the church.

Next door to that, of course, is the manse where my parents lived.

Chest-high azaleas, live oaks, Spanish moss, resurrection ferns; all the loveliness of the low-country!

Next door to that is where Mr. James E. grew up and where his Mama lived until she died.  It also happens to be where Mr. Marvelous (Sr. and Jr.) and I lived for a couple of years.

Next door to that is where Mr. James E. and Mrs. Gladys lived....

And next door to that is Mrs. Christine's new house.  New as in, it was the replacement for what Hurricane Hugo destroyed 25 years ago. 

Hard to believe it has been that long

These are the houses where "The Girls" lived; My Mom, Mrs. Gladys, Mrs. Christine.  Mrs. Fannie Louise lived down the road a piece and around the corner, and Mrs. Olivia lived down the road a piece, around the corner, and down that road a piece.  I'll get to Mrs. Doris' house in a minute.  It is special.

Across the road from the houses are a few other houses; 3 old (at least one is still lived in) and 1 new.

There is also one of Steve's wheat/corn/soy/whatever is in season fields.

My guys built spud guns while we lived there.  They learned that spud guns can shoot squash if nothing else is available.  Steve learned that squash shot from a spud gun will grow in a corn field!

There are some dear folks who live on the other side of the highway from the old post office but I did not make it over there to take pictures this time.  Another day I will tell you about these folks who still do what they can to love my parents every chance they get.  Mack, in particular, still comes over frequently to see what kind of shenanigans he and my Dad can get into!

When we lived here, Mrs. Doris lived down the street just a little ways in this house.

Mom and Dad have moved back to the area and are now living in what will probably always be known as "Mrs. Doris' house". 

Many of the folks we knew and loved in the short time we lived there have died.  It feels odd to go back and not see their faces there; we miss them!

There are a few new faces; most of them new babies.  The babies who were babies when we lived there are growing up quickly.

In general the fundamental character of the area is still the same.  The church is still the center of life for the folks who live there.  Agriculture is still one of the main businesses of the area.  The people there are still hard-working, kind-hearted folks who love God, their families, and their neighbors.  In that order. 

We are better people for having been there.