Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

Good morning, Prayer Warriors.  Thank you all so much for your help over the past couple of weeks!  There have been some wonderful answers to your prayers and your help is appreciated.  Prayer is not easy work but it is blessed work.  Sometimes in life you just can't quite get a handle on what it is that God wants you to do.  Perhaps you are in a new season of life with the kids gone from home.  Perhaps your season of life is being up throughout the night with a crying baby.  Maybe you don't have the energy any more to do the things you used to do.  In all of these seasons, the work of prayer is calling.  If your home is newly empty and housework is no longer time-consuming, use that time for prayer.  If you are up at all hours with an inconsolable baby, use that time to pray.  If you don't have energy to chase toddlers in the nursery at church, you can still pray.

Take a few minutes as you begin prayer to settle down your heart and mind.  It is so easy to be distracted by the flitting thoughts of what to fix for dinner, or how to help your children, or your frustrations or irritations with family and/or co-workers.  Take a few minutes to think about Who you are going to.  Meditate on Who He Is.  Get lost in the wonder of His goodness and mercy and holiness and justice and peace.  He is infinitely good and He is the source of all that is good (Nahum 1:7).  He is infinitely just and the source of all that is truly just (Psalm 9:7-8).  He is infinitely merciful and the source of all true mercy (Psalm 25:6).  He is infinitely holy and the source of all that is truly holy (Revelation 4:8).  He is your peace (Ephesians 2:14).  You may not get any further in prayer today than to meditate on these things.  I think that is a wonderful use of your prayer time!
However, if you do manage to get to a point of intercession, here are a few things that we need to remember this week.

  1. Persis' baptism was a very sweet and precious time for four generations of family.
  2. John and Penny are moved into their new home and their children are thoroughly enjoying playing in their big yard.  Please continue to pray for healing for John's knee.
  3. Elise is feeling better.
  4. Kevin is in the hospital with an MRSA infection on his heart valves.  Again.  Please pray for complete healing, and for spiritual protection for he and his wife during this time.  Pray that the Christian community around them will know how best to show Jesus' love to them through this.
  5. Kate McRae continues to battle brain cancer.  This is her third bout of this kind of cancer.  She and her parents are weary.  Please hold up their arms.
  6.  Nancy's chemo was cancelled for this week due to some lab levels being off.  She is due to resume in two weeks.  Please pray for protection from infection and for joy in this small break.
  7. Please remember the Christians in Nepal.  Please pray for them in the aftermath of the earthquake and pray that God will use them for His glory in the days ahead.  Pray that they will be able to direct their unsaved neighbors to the Light of the world.
  8. Please pray this week for the folks ~ whether paid workers or volunteers ~ who staff the nursery rooms in your church.  This is work and it is crucially important work.  Can you think of any job more important than showing babies and toddlers (and their parents!) the love of Jesus?  I still thank God regularly for those who loved my son as he was growing up.  Thank you, Gloria Boy! 
  9. update: please add Amber to this list.  She was injured in a car accident this week and is in ICU.  Please pray for Amber, her husband, and their young daughter.  Thanks!
After writing this, the name that is most profound today is the one found in Ephesians 2:14.  I can never read this verse without hearing James Ward sing it.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man i place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Jesus is our peace.  He surrendered his own peace (Matthew 26:38) in order that we might have peace.  May His peace fill your hearts and your homes.  Thank you for joining in the work.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Homestead Update

Back in the saddle again....

That is my concession to the fact that I have been conspicuously (I hope) absent lately.

Tuesdays are normally for Jack South.  Sadly, Jack is still in a bit of a snit about being left in South Carolina in the car while Mother and I went to Vermont.  Even though I left him with snacks, he still turns his head away from me.


Apparently he prefers diet Mountain Dew, and he finds the prizes in modern-day Cracker Jacks less than wonderful.  I can't say I disagree with him.

I'm hoping I can smooth his ruffled feelings over the next day or so to get him back to posing and photo-bombing again.  In the meantime, here is a homestead update.

Mr. Marvelous has been busy being Marvelous and as a result, things look beautiful around here.  He even got enough of a break in the wet weather this weekend to be able to get the (much desperately-needed) mowing done.  It looks, well, marvelous.  Of course.  

Let's start with an over-view of the back garden.

This is the right side as you stand on the steps from the upstairs porch,

The left, or kitchen side...

 ...and the center.
The fire pit is normally right there but I moved it for the mowing.

I am very happy with Mr. Marvelous' work with mowing and weeding and laying down mulch.
I like a tidy garden.

 Now, how about those potatoes in the bins?

 You might think that they are looking not-so-good but the leaves and stalks have to wither before you can harvest the potatoes.  Think on that for a little bit.

The potatoes planted in the raised beds are blooming.  

The lettuce bed has already given us enough for several salads.

April 8th.
April 28th.  
Remarkable isn't it?

We are trying artichokes this year and hoping that we can remember to cut the leaves when we are supposed to.  We LOVE artichokes and have found that we keep about 50% of what we plant, so we planted a few.

Pay no attention to the weeds.  That is tonight's project.
We have a few more to get in the ground

Did I mention that we really, really like artichokes?!

The peppers are popping up

as are beans, peas and cucumbers.

Isn't he marvelous?  Plenty of men can train dogs and children to do their bidding but how many men do you know who can train plants to climb string?!

We are trying corn this year.  Again.  We'll see.

So far so good.  We'll see.

Tomatoes?  Why certainly!  He doesn't even tell me how many plants he is doing any more.  Something about making a hoopla about sixty tomato plants or something.  

 They are already blooming and that puts a marvelous smile on his face.

Let's not forget the squash

or the volunteer sunflower!

Mr. Marvelous has also planted a bunch of sunflower seeds.  He is hoping to have them scattered all around the garden.  They make him happy.

There is lots more going on out front (though not as much as last year), lots going on with the animals, and even a few things going on inside the house.  I'll get to those things later in the month.

We are enjoying what we have been given.  When Mr. Marvelous gets home from work at the end of the day I try to meet him outside.  Before he even comes in the house, we often take a few moments to walk around and enjoy our garden.  We think about how Adam and Eve would walk with God in their garden in the cool of the evening.  We find great delight in the treasure of those peaceful moments.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Names and Prayers

I was excavating my desk yesterday and found a few descriptions of God that I had set aside to write about.  This week has had its emotional ups and downs, like most weeks seem to have.  I was looking at the dozen or so slips of paper with these descriptions and the one my heart settled on for this week is:
Who surrounds His people.  Psalm 125 is a song of ascents ~ one of those that the people would sing as they walked up the mountains to enter Jerusalem.  Listen to these promises:

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people
                                                                                                                         Psalm 125:1-2

The city was surrounded by mountains.  In David's day, that meant that it was protected.  In the same way, we are protected by being surrounded by God.  Sadly, in this day, that is no longer much of a defense or protection for Israel; we are aware of the existence of missiles and air-strikes and advanced weaponry that can penetrate the mountain defense.  God, however, is as much a defense today as He has always been.  The advances of the enemy in penetrating God's defense are no match for the defense itself.  We are surrounded by God who is infinite and eternal (that means without limit in space or time) in His power.  We are surrounded by God who is Above All.

In prayer this week let's start with some rejoicing:
  1. MacKenzie entered the world safely on Tuesday.  Her parents and her big sister are thrilled to have her join the family.  And she is a beauty!
  2. Persis will be baptized on Sunday morning and her great-grandfather will be a part of the baptism.
  3. John and Penny are moved into their new home!
  4. Pray for healing for John's knee
  5. Thank you for continued prayers for Nancy.  The treatment this week had some unexpected challenges.  Praise God she did not have to stay in the hospital; pray for recovery from these challenges.
  6. Please pray for Richard and Melba.  Richard had surgery for cancer and they were not able to remove all of it.  Please pray for wisdom to know what to do from here, and pray that God will be glorified.
  7. Please pray for Elise, who is sick, and for her Mama.
  8. Please do not forget to keep your pastor in your prayers.  We have a responsibility to hold these men in constant prayer for spiritual protection for them and their families, and that they would do the work well that God has given them to do!
That's all, folks.  Thank you for joining me in this work.

His peace to your homes.

Thursday, April 09, 2015


I am walking to New Zealand by way of Hawaii and a lot of fascinating stops in the continental US. If you are new to the blog, you may look at the labels over there on the right and click on "walking".  Yeah, I have waaaay too many labels.  I will get that cleaned up by Monday!

It's been challenging keeping up with my mileage because my pedometer keeps being ornery.  I have finally learned that when I drop it, that clears all the data and it quits working.  So what I have finally figured out to do after it gets dropped is to drop it again gently from a lower height.  While that does not restore the data, it does jolt it back into working again.  Kind of like a defibrillator.  Kind of.  One day I'll splurge and get a FitBit (or win one in a Pioneer Woman give-away).  Until then, I'll do the best I can with writing down numbers every evening and dropping defibrillating it when I need to.

Since October I have accumulated a mere one hundred fifty-two and seventy-eight one-hundredths miles.  That's 152.78 if you prefer to use the left side of your brain.  I know I have put in a couple hundred more miles than that (at least!); however, I only use the miles that I log on the pedometer and remember to write down before it breaks needs to be defibrillated.

This gives me a grand total of three thousand one hundred eighty-three and eighteen one-hundredths miles (3183.18).

I am still in the Pacific Ocean east of Hawaii.  VERY east of Hawaii.  I have one thousand six hundred eighty-eight and sixty-three hundredths miles to go to get to tea with one of my favorite authors.  If you don't mind, I am not going to put that in numbers.  It does make me even more determined to keep better track of my walking, and perhaps even work on doing a bit more of that.  Hawaii for Christmas sounds good.  Hawaii for Reformation Day sounds even better.

I have noticed something interesting on using technology.  When you go to Google Earth and look at the maps of the Pacific Ocean, you notice very large mountains scattered here and there.  The satellite images are remarkably detailed and make me want to climb around and explore.  Then you pan out and realize that the entire thing is under water.  To me, that makes it even more fascinating.

Here is a shot from Getty Images of what I am "seeing" these days. 


The Majesty of His creation.  Breath-taking!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


Names and Prayers


Good morning!  It is nice to be getting back into a routine again.  For as much as I can be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-impulsive-and-impetuous kind of girl, I do crave structure, routine and organization.

The plastic is coming down off our back porch.  I have a view again.  We love the vast array of green shades this time of year.  I tend to look up and out to see it:

Mr. Marvelous tends to look down:

We are both happy.

I love the longer days of sunshine.  I enjoy being able to hang out clothes as late as noon and still have them dry by supper time (please don't tell my Mama I hang my clothes out that late in the day).

As I was reading in the Gospel of John this morning, I found some names that are especially important to me right now.  

God is the GIVER.  We see this throughout John 3 as Jesus talks with Nicodemus.  God is the giver of all good things (James 1:17).  Because He has given us life through Christ, and filled us with His Spirit, we are able to see Him more clearly in the world He has created.

Twice in John 3, he says that Jesus is ABOVE ALL (verse 31).  That's a good name to remember as we finish our Easter celebrations.  Jesus is ABOVE ALL in authority.  Jesus is ABOVE ALL in honor and glory and power.  Jesus is ABOVE ALL our troubles and hardships.  Jesus is ABOVE ALL the distractions and worries and busy-ness of the world we live in.

Just a few thoughts for your day.

Now, here are the prayer needs this week:
  1. Please remember to continue in prayer for Robert and Nancy as Nancy continues chemo treatments.  Pray too, please, that Robert will know how God wants him to balance his responsibilities to his wife, his church, his business and all the other things that are his to take care of.
  2. Melba Reid is battling cancer as well.  Her chemo has been difficult.  Please pray for wisdom for Melba and her family, and pray that this season with her daughter will be a blessing to both of them.
  3. Larry needs a new kidney and his daughter Tera is hoping to be able to donate one of hers.  Please keep them ~ as well as Vicky and her son ~ in your prayers through this process.
  4. Pray for school teachers this week.  In many places students are coming back from Spring Break and this is the long haul til the end of the year.  Pray that godly teachers will be a faithful example to their students of God's grace and of perseverance.
Thank you again so much for your prayers for Mother and I as we were traveling.  We are both grateful for your help.  Mom is continuing to improve and is thankful to be back home.  As am I!

God's peace to your homes.

Monday, April 06, 2015


I feel like Sam Gamgee again.  "Well, I'm back"

What a month March has been.  A lot has happened and much of it was unexpected. 

Mother and I traveled to Vermont to see her sister.  After talking to my Aunt's nurses on Thursday, we put together a trip and on the following Wednesday I drove to South Carolina.  By Thursday, Mother and I were on the train for our two-day journey to see Aunt Roberta.  We had a good visit.  Roberta seemed to be doing better than I expected and we had a good time together.  There were necessary business kinds of things that were all taken care of.  We got to meet Roberta's pastor and pray together.  Wednesday was the day we were leaving to drive back over and catch the train home.  By noon, it was clear that my Mother was not well.  We drove over to Burlington and checked into a hotel.  Within an hour I had mother in the Emergency Room.  She was admitted.  We spent three days in the hospital, followed by two more days resting and recuperating at the hotel.  Friends made it possible for us to fly home, as Mother was not up to another two day train trip.  Thankfully, the prayers of many kept that from being a problem for me.  I have medical accoutrements that make TSA nervous and make flights physically challenging.  TSA were accommodating and the accoutrements functioned throughout the flight without a problem.  Relief is not a strong enough word for what Mom and Dad and I all three felt to get her safely back home again!

Meanwhile, back in Birmingham, Nancy started chemo.  This time is different.  It lasts for 8 hours or so.  The side effects are a little more harsh.  I was taking care of Mom and I knew that was where I was supposed to be.  My job for this round of chemo was to care for Mom and pray for Nancy.  Nancy and Robert have decades worth of friends in Birmingham, and they are the kind of people that everyone loves and delights in serving.  I am not so arrogant as to think that Nancy could not get through this process without me.  It still hurt not to be here. 

As Mother and I were waiting at the hotel, my Aunt's nurse called to let me know that she had taken a turn for the worse.  Again, my place was with Mother.  There was no question of leaving her to go and see my Aunt one more time.  It would not have been good for my Aunt to have to go through another Good-bye.  It still hurt.

I have learned so much this month about surrendering people I love into God's hands.  I have known this but in March I deepened in my understanding of this. 

It is one thing to daily place my parents into God's hands when they are safely ensconced in their own familiar home and neighborhood.  In a pinch there are numerous people we can call to go and check on them and be with them until we get there.  It is another matter when I have taken Mother 1011 miles away from her home where neither of us know anyone and have her in the hospital and not be able to stay with her at night.  Or when Dad is 1011 miles away trying not to worry over her. 

It is one thing to place Nancy in God's hands when she is off traveling with her girls, enjoying a fun trip to the beach for sand and sun therapy.  It is another matter when she is in the hospital having chemo pumped in. 

It is one thing to daily trust my beloved Aunt to God when physically she is well and she is surrounded by caring nurses.  It is another matter when the doctor says she suspects cancer and is not sure what her life-expectancy is.

It is one thing to trust my son to God when he leaves the house to drive to work every day.  It's another matter when he packs up his possessions into his car and drives off to his new apartment. 
In each of these circumstances there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change things.  I am powerless to "fix" things and for a fixer, that is hard.  I tend to be a Jacob in my prayer life, wrestling with God and desperately trying to get a hold on the situation.  I am learning to be a Mary; to sit down quietly and listen to Jesus with a bold trust. 

Surrender.  If I am still planning how to help my parents "in a pinch", have I truly surrendered them to God's loving, tender, faithful care?  If I am making plans for what I think Nancy needs and making arrangements for her (whether she asked me to or not!), have I truly surrendered her care to the One who can take the best care of her?  If I am figuring out what to tell the nurses and doctors to do for my beloved Aunt, have I really surrendered her to His tender provision?  If I still have my hands in my son's business and am trying to manipulate his life to be what I think it should be....well!

As I finish this up, I will take up the work that God has given me to do today (that's another blog post).  With each step, each stroke of the vacuum cleaner, each load of laundry lifted in and out and sorted and folded, I will again surrender my loved ones into His care.  I will ask His forgiveness for having taken them back into my own care and by the help of His Spirit, leave them with Him.  I will rest in the peace and the assurance that He keeps His promises and cares for His own.  In this, I find His peace and His light.

His peace to your homes, my friends.