Friday, May 29, 2015


What will you do this weekend? 

Will you work indoors?

Will you work outdoors?


 Perhaps you will do a little of both?

Whatever you find yourself doing,

and with whomever you find yourself,

I hope that your gaze is continually drawn upward, and that you find yourself first and foremost seeking His Kingdom.

May His peace and joy fill your hearts and homes.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursday. But It's About Jack....

Jack was in a snit again.  He finally got over his little tizzy about the Vermont trip and started coming out and photo-bombing everything again.  He waited.  And he waited.  And he waited some more.  Until he ran out of patience, which honestly took longer than I might have thought it would.  Jack was back, but I was not posting his pictures for his fan club.  In Jack's mind that club is quite large.  Let's just leave him with his illusions intact, shall we?  He believed he had no choice but to take drastic measures.  He took some of my books hostage.

So even though it is Thursday and technically I have designated Tuesdays as Jack's day, here we are.  Oh, that Jack!

Earlier this month Jack went to the Big City with me to run errands.

I told you he had adapted to car trips in the South, didn't I?

It was grocery shopping day, and I do grocery shopping like my mother used to.  I scope out who has the sales and I go to multiple stores.  On this particular day we wound up at Sprouts Farmers Market (new to our area and still have their introductory prices going on)

Then we went to Aldi's (my favorite)

Jack likes the roomy cart.

We also went to Sam's and later to Walmart, but Jack was worn out with shopping by then and opted to take a nap in the car.

Later, we went by my brother's house to drop some things off for him.  Jack was quite impressed with all the potted plants they have.

He finds container gardening more suited to his stature.

When we got home Jack directed the unloading of the groceries from the car (what would I do without him?!).  

This  past weekend Junior invited me to go to Gallabrae with him in Greenville, SC.  Having grown up in Greenville and not having been back for many  years, I hastily and gratefully accepted.  Junior is not, however, a member of Jack's fan club.  What Junior doesn't know won't hurt him, right?  Jack rode in the back seat this time.

When we got there the pipers started tuning for the Great Scots! parade through downtown.

Oh, that Jack!

I'll write more about the trip later ~ this is Jack's post after all.  It was a fun walk down Memory Lane.  I was all ready to take Jack's picture where we stopped for supper that night, but I had to measure Junior's displeasure with Jack's hurt feelings.  Jack got over it.

The next day we took off bright and early for Furman University.  Furman is a lovely place.  Both my brothers, my middle sister, my oldest brother's wife, one of my cousins, and numerous family friends all attended there in the 1970's and 1980's.  One summer I went to String Camp there for two weeks.  Yes, I used to play the violin.  Despite String Camp, it didn't take, but it was a fun two weeks.

Once we got Junior unloaded, Jack and I took off for a walk.  We found so many lovely places.

 Furman's famous Bell Tower,

The dining hall that looks over the lake,

The rose garden,

The old Italian gazebo in the rose garden,

I have to tell you, that is one big campus for a small(ish) college.  We felt as though we had walked for miles.

We were both relieved to find these at the Activities Center.

We walked past the football stadium.  Jack wanted to have his picture made, but it was locked up tight and he did not want to try to balance on this fence.  Can you blame him?

There is an interesting story about Furman football.  Back in the 1970s Sports Illustrated wrote a little blurb just before the national championship about Furman.  That was the year that Furman should have been in the championship game.  And they should have been playing themselves.  You see, Furman beat the team that beat the team that beat the team...etc....etc....that was in first place.  Furman also beat the team that beat the team that beat the team...etc...etc.....that was in second place.  Those may have been the only two games they won that year, but win they did.  So truly the game should have been Furman vs. Furman.  You see?

Jack saw.  He was so excited he called Sports Illustrated to confirm the story.  Jack has connections; I don't know how he got through, but they confirmed the story.

After the games were over ~ and Palmetto Pipes and Drums gave a respectable performance ~ Jack and Junior and I went for a quick tour of some of my favorite places in Greenville.  

We visited Second Presbyterian Church where my Dad was the pastor from 1964-1975.  It is a beautiful place.  I still dream about it sometimes.  It has more buildings now, and more security concerns (which means we were not able to go inside.  Sniffle).  A funny thing has happened since 1975.  My memory is that there were two stories above the Sanctuary level in the main building.  Oddly enough, they have torn down the top story so that there is only one story above the Sanctuary now.  I don't know how they managed to do that and leave everything looking so good from the outside.  Junior suggested that my memory was slightly impaired.  Nonsense!  

When we were little the Scout Hut was out back in the far corner of the parking lot.  
It is still there.

Then we drove from the church to the street where I grew up.  It was a loooong drive (and an even longer walk) when I was a little girl.  Somehow they have removed some of the distance since then.  Before I knew it we were turning onto West Prentiss Avenue.  When I was a little girl, West Prentiss Avenue was miles and miles long.  Again, somehow the city of Greenville has managed to shorten the street.  Before I knew it we were right in front of the house we lived in as children.  I stopped.  I informed Junior and Jack that I was going to take a picture.  They elected to stay in the car blushing at my boldness.  The family who live there now have three small children, and the entire family were playing in the yard.  I asked if I might take a picture and they were so kind and gracious about it.  The Mother took a picture of me standing on the front porch.

The window on the top left was my room.

After a brief visit, I got back in the car and we drove home.  I would have loved to have seen the old schools, and playgrounds, and zoo, and friends, and cousins.  However it was the tail end of a long day, so we opted to go on home.  We were all quite glad to get back again; Jack is still recovering from all the excitement. 

I imagine that we will be in the car and going again soon.  It's hard to keep still when your Garden Gnome is an adventurer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Names and Prayers

 I am still working through the book of Acts in my Names Bible Study.  It is fun to be in Acts, because this is what our Preacher has been focusing on for.....well.....let's just say we have been there for a while!  I'm not complaining; I am grateful when a preacher takes time with a book of the Bible sermon series. 

This morning I was working through Acts 14 and 15 and this description jumped at me.

In Chapter 14, Paul and Barnabas go to Lystra where they heal a man who had been crippled since birth.  Because of the healing, the crowds went wild and started proclaiming that they were gods.  Paul was NOT pleased with that!  He began to preach and explain who is the real God.  He says that God is the Creator of all, that He allowed people to go their own way, and then we get to verse 17:

Yet He did not leave Himself without witness, for He did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.

God is our Satisfier.  The New King James Version says that He fills our hearts. 

Wherever you are in your faith, I pray that today you will see how God is your satisfier.

Prayer needs for today:
  1. Please pray for Nancy as she prepares for another round of chemo on Tuesday.
  2. Anna is on a trip to Israel this week and next.  Please pray for safety as she travels and for a time of spiritual insight and great joy.
  3. Ted is battling cancer and is not doing well.  Please pray for him and for his wife Tina.
  4. Mark, Susan and Rachel are doing well.  Rachel is perking up, and the work seems to be going quite well.  Please continue to pray that God will be able to use each of them for His glory.
  5. Praise God for little Catherine.  It has been over four years since she had surgery to repair multiple heart defects; you would never guess she had been so sick!
  6. Continue to pray for the churches getting ready for VBS over the next several weeks.  May God use this time to bring children to saving faith.
  7. Pray for the education department in your church as they start planning for the next year.
May God continue to strengthen your heart and soul as you do the crucial work of prayer.  May you be a light for Him in your home, your neighborhood, and your work-place.

His peace to your home!

Friday, May 22, 2015


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. 



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.