Friday, April 30, 2010

Back in the Garden:

The weather's been glorious: warm, sunny days; cool, breezy nights. Last week we put in our tomatoes. We may be premature, but so far, so good. We put in 18 plants, with a variety of Better Boys, Goliaths, Mortgage Lifters (haha!), Romas, and I also had 3 Brandywines.
Our garden is filling up. We have: peas, watermelon, lots of lettuce, strawberries & tomatoes. Today I added potatoes. I've never planted them before, but I had a handful of softening potatoes in the pantry with lively-looking eyes, so I thought, "why not?" Julia helped. We put in 25 potato pieces with at least one eye apiece. We'll see what happens with that! If nothing, then I've lost nothing!

Our neighbor lent us the use of his gas-powered wood splitter. Adam has been having fun with it ALL. DAY. LONG. Peter did a little splitting too:
Julia shows off the wood. That long line of split wood is probably only 1/3 of what we'll end up with.
And this? Well, this is Mama's spot, while all this work is going on!

Love that little poacher!

Recently I pulled my egg poacher out of the dusty recesses of my cabinet. Isn't he cute?
Both girls enjoy a nice, simple, white egg. Perfectly cooked. Never burned.
With some crusty homemade toast, it makes a delicious breakfast.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anna's Senior Photo Shoot

Today, Anna and I did a little photo shoot in the yard. She put on her favorite formal dress and dolled up her hair. I was happy the rose and azalea still looked bright and beautiful. Here are a few of the loveliest. This is her "Senior Photo Shoot":

I think that last one is adorable, with the dappled light playing on her dress. It's hard to believe she's 18 and so grown up. She has always been a little, petite princess. It's hard to let them go!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Garden Lettuce

I picked a big bowl of fresh lettuce for supper tonight. We had chef salads with grilled chicken strips and boiled cheese potatoes on the side. I'm so happy to be eating fresh veggies and summer food again - yummy!
Adam has a brilliant idea for a new diet for us both: whenever one of us feels hungry, we should just kiss the other one, and that will distract us from food! Haha -- typical male idea!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Some Neighborly Excitement Today

We had a friend over today (Ron) who parked his car on the street. It's a nice, wide street where he's parked before -- no problems. Until...
(That's Ron, with Peter, Sandy and Anna.)
An 18 year old girl accidentally banged his back left corner and really smashed it up. Her car was even worse:
Adam says her tie rod must have broken, and this might have actually caused her to run into Ron's car.
Poor girl! She was very distraught! But it gave us a good opportunity to meet our neighbors (they live around the corner), talk with sweet Christian people who love the Lord, show ourselves (well, actually Ron did) to be gentle, kind and forgiving, and all in all, it was some fun neighborly excitement that unfortunately also produced a broken vehicle. Maybe next time we'll meet in happier circumstances!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two Banner Events:

Somebody had a birthday this week!
The man of the house turned 44. Now, for a little while, he's only TWO years younger than I am :)
And tonight Peter is going to his first prom. Here he is with his date.
And here is a great shot of him in front of my rose bush. I wanted to take pictures of the couple here also, but it started to rain before his date arrived here, so we had to use the front porch, as you see above. He's a good-looking young man, if I do say so myself!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ah, Darling Spring!

This is my Lady Banks Rose in the backyard -- she's just HUGE! And in full bloom right now. I trimmed her a bit the past 2 years, but she just keeps coming back. She is draped over an old monkey-bar set, giving that lovely arching shape.
Underneath the monkey bars, it's cool and green, a little cave. Julia likes to play in here.
Yellow roses against white azaleas.
Our lettuce is up! We had some last night in our fajitas.
Sandy is enjoying the spring. Isn't she cute with her little white tail-end?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Wasn’t Naomi fortunate to have Ruth? Sometimes we forget about Naomi, in the face of Ruth’s compelling story, her blessing in finding Boaz, her nobility in David’s line. Naomi seems only the vehicle to get Ruth to Judah, a sad older woman who finds unexpected joy in a foreigner.

One-fourth of “Ruth” is devoted to the study of Naomi. She endures, in the span of a little over 10 years, famine, removal from her nation, the deaths of her husband and both her sons. She is left with no protection, no provision, no companionship. Even in her daughters-in-law, she sees young girls who don’t belong with her. She is old, hopeless, Jewish. They are young, fresh, ready to marry again. What do Moabite women have to do with a Jewish widow? Her loneliness consumes her. She returns to Judah only because she hears rumor that God has begun to bless the people there again. This is her last family connection, a broken distant one.

And God? Yes, she knows him. But she describes their relationship like people do who have been tested and broken by struggles. “The hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.” Naomi doesn’t see her trials and losses as random events, nor as punishment for her sin, nor as the natural course of life. She knows that God has designed her trials for her. In a series of deliberative, intentional acts, God afflicts her. He throws oppressive burdens on her back – one, then another, then a few more. She collapses under the weight of her despair. “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me; the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me.” This is her own God, the only one she has. She is returning to her people, the people who belong to this God. She is returning to him, and more than before tying herself to him, in spite of his oppression of her. Why?

This question must be asked, because Ruth does the same thing. Watching Naomi, listening to her describe her God, Ruth volunteers to claim this afflicting Deity as her own. “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth might as well say, “I’ve watched the horror that is your life for the past decade. You say your God did this to you. Well, I want that God for myself too.”

What kind of lunacy possesses these women?

What kind of God possesses the power to turn your life to ashes and bow you to the ground? The same kind of God who can then reverse all those losses. If he’s powerful enough to do one, he’s powerful enough to do the other. He is the redeeming God – the one who turns losses to gains and reclaims all things of his that seem beyond hope. Naomi’s story is all about redemption, just as Job’s is: how much can God strip from a human, and then return? How much will a human, in his despair, still look to God for redemption, because there is hope nowhere else? Naomi must have thought these thoughts as she dandled little Obed on her knee.

When we suffer, we must acknowledge that God’s hand gives the suffering. We must admit that, without the affliction we would have neglected to think of God. Then we must hold that afflicting hand and trust that it will return to us all that is lost. There is no other way.

Naomi’s friends said of baby Obed, “A son has been born to Naomi!” – a replacement, a redemption, for the sons she lost. She is no longer Mara; she is Naomi again.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Things have been falling in our yard! Please note the tall ivy-clad trunk in the center of the photo. This was a very dead tree; the city came and trimmed off all the branches and left this single trunk standing. Can you find Adam in the picture?
Had to insert this one too, b/c there's my tall son, looking on.
Adam watched the professional tree-taker-downers who came to our neighbor's house and removed huge trees in his yard. Then he figured out exactly where he wanted to lay this tree trunk down, in our front yard. He got it within inches -- which is good b/c there were electrical lines/pole beside it, and a street next to it, not to mention our other neighbors' yard and shrubs. I was sitting in our living room and felt the heavy THUD as it hit.
What else is falling? Well, all the glorious pink blossoms from our neighbor's tree! Each year they make a magic carpet. The effect when they fall is like pink, drifting snow. Adam and I stood and kissed each other as they fell yesterday onto our shoulders.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Where are you going, my little one?"

Anna is 18 years old now, and I think this is a harder adjustment for me than her other birthdays. I feel that my children are flying away. It's wonderful to watch them mature, adjust into their skin, so to say, find a niche and learn who they are.

I lifted these pictures from facebook, and they are so small! But hopefully they give a glimpse of the development of a winsome, beautiful, sometimes-sassy young girl who is dearly loved, and lovely:

Happy Birthday, dear!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Thou Shalt Not Covet"

This is a commandment we don't take very seriously, do we? Of the ten in Exodus 20, I think it's the only one that is hidden fully in the heart of the sinner. Such a quiet sin, a feeling of longing for something lovely that doesn't happen to belong to us. We can disguise it to ourselves and say we're only appreciating a friend's belonging. Or as my humorous mother-in-law has been known to say: "I wish I had yours and you had better"!!

Of course, coveting doesn't apply only to material possessions. I'm far past desiring my friend's Corvette, or his beach house, or his pool. I can see from watching others that those things aren't making them happy. But what about your friend's job, or his attitude toward life, or his wife -- you know, his life. Have you ever coveted someone's life?

This, I think, is where the rubber meets the road. We pine and complain about our lives; we look at others' seeming happiness; we desire it.

Recently I heard someone bemoan her marital state. After a gruelingly long, sad divorce, she is realizing she spent many years with someone who made her feel terrible. After some heart-to-heart talks with old male friends (now, sadly, unavailable), she realizes there are nicer men in the world, men who would have made her feel affirmed, loved, free, confident. Men who wouldn't have been such "downers." She, perhaps, is coveting men that she can't have, longing for something she hasn't had, doesn't have.

Covetousness is a lying sin. We look at something distant from us and imagine what it would be like if it were in our possession. How can I tell this woman that the man she desires might not be so kind/loving/affirming if he were married to her? That he is so wonderful because of the woman and marriage he chose? How can I tell her that the man she DID marry might have become a different person, if he'd not been married to her?

That desired object could turn to ashes in my hands.

Instead of wishing for things out of our grasp, we should spend our days making sure that the little scraps and rags of life we do hold, are made more beautiful, more good, more precious to us, in our holding them. This will keep coveting at bay.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Beach Bow-wows:

I've been surprised at how many people have their puppies on the beach. It's a regular doggie drama! Isn't this a cute Westie? He was comfy in his new cut. He didn't want to go back home; his owners are pulling on the leash, toward the exit.
Pooch protection. There were lots of runners on the beach, but this was the only human/dog combo I saw.
These interesting pals are called Bouviers. Majestic beasts, and also recently trimmed of their long locks.
A pair of Dachshunds, making new friends:
I saw this pair of Huskies several times. Very sweet fellows. Wouldn't you think they'd be uncomfortable out in the sun, with all that coat?
We miss our Sandy, but we know she's having a blast at home with her friend, Penny.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Give you three guesses where I am!

Don't these girls look relaxed? Anna's been working on her embroidery and quilting, and Julia's been painting watercolors (a little) and collecting shells. She has quite an impressive collection now.
Toes in the sand
Julia has loved her boogie board.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Laying Up Treasures

These are thoughts that are related to a poem I wrote a while back*, about occupations and heaven. This was on my mind today because Adam is still looking for work, a minister of the Lord, gifted to preach, teach and comfort, and he is still looking. If you hear a little sigh in all that, you should. I visited the home of an acquaintance today, a lovely home. It reminded me of our old Victorian house in Edwards. I asked the husband how long they'd lived there -- 14 years, he said. They hadn't planned to stay so long, but they did. I smiled, and said that some of us plan to stay longer, and don't end up doing so. He said now they'll never leave. Statesville is home.

How I wish I could say such a thing, but I can't. We will move again, and maybe again after that. We will always move in search of employment, because work is hard to find for some people. Not for my friend -- he's a successful businessman with his hand in multiple enterprises. That kind of money security must be very pleasant.

And I wondered about the vocations we value. Who makes the most money, and therefore has (generally) the most job security? We all know the list: doctors, lawyers, bankers, politicians, dentists. We pay people well to come into our broken lives and fix things; mend my sick body, get me out of this legal bind, make my money grow, repeal that horrible law, straighten my kids' teeth.

And I wonder if we value most those occupations that are designated to mitigate the effects of the fall in our lives. I think we pay a lot for that.

Think of it: how much time do we spend trying very hard to make a little heaven, a little Eden, of our lives? The beautiful lawn. The comfortable, welcoming, safe home. The security of never worrying about money. The enjoyment of God's beautiful, pristine creation in places where it's not been soiled. I'm sure I could go on with that list! And this effort is a good thing; it shows that our longings are healthy and alive -- we know little bits of what heaven should be, and we want it. We want it now. We'll pay people quite a bit, just to get a watered-down taste of it.

How DO we lay up treasures for the New Earth? Jesus tells us that trying to lay up those physical treasures here is a mistake. But do we only lay up heavenly treasures with spiritual acts of goodness and kindness? Bible study? Church-going?

What WILL we do in the New Earth, and is it valuable for me to be doing those things now? Are those valuable activities? What does one do in a perfect world? Stitch up torn legs? Sue for divorce? Pull teeth? Clean up vomit from the bathroom floor? Cry about lost employment and look for work? Fear for losing a house and sock away cash? Of course not.

I'm afraid that the vocations we value on this earth, and pay so dearly for, and praise ... and envy ... will be of no value, of no significance, in the New Earth. Is it good to want our lives here to be better? To pay our bankers and doctors? Sure -- they're working hard to reverse a little of the fall in this poor world. But let's not fool ourselves into EVER thinking that their work is laying up treasures in heaven. It doesn't point us to heaven; it reminds us of hell.

I want to remember to value also the cooks, bakers, vintners, singers, dancers, growers of plants, and lovers of beauty in the world. We don't always pay them much, and work can be hard to find. But in their employments they will slip easily into that heavenly life. Perhaps that, too, is "laying up treasure."

*(Here's the poem I referred to above.)

What To Do

The lawyers, doctors, dentists
Loggers, congressmen, firemen,
Butchers, prosecutors, garbage men
Police officers, judges, air traffic controllers,
Crossing guards, wardens, janitors
And social workers, among others,
Will have nothing to do.

The bakers, however, with the painters,
Designers, writers, storytellers,
Librarians, photographers, dancers
Sculptors, musicians of all stripes, farmers,
Glass blowers, hair stylists, and all creators
Of beauty will be very busy there.

Invest wisely.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Our beautiful Sheltie, Lacey, died in her sleep last night. I can't tell you how much she is already missed. She suffered with very bad joints and cancer, and I know she had been in some pain, but she never complained and stayed such a loving, obedient dog.
Here she is, sitting in front of my in-laws' Christmas tree several years ago. She was such a regal animal, noble and elegant. She was a real lady.
Her full name was Autumn's Dappled Lace Princess.
Here she is with Julia, just before we moved to Statesville.
I have other digital shots of her, but they are backed up and I'll need to access them on a separate drive. I'm hoping to do another post of her with puppy pics too, but I'll need to scan them.

We love you, Lacey!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Asheboro Zoo

Today, Julia and I went with some friends to the NC Zoo in Asheboro. And it was the PERFECT day for it: brilliant sky, lively breeze, cool temps. Just gorgeous!
Here the girls posed on one of the bronze statues that littered the park.
I thought this fellow was so noble-looking. It was harder to get good shots than at some zoos, because they really have large landscape exhibits, with dense foliage between humans and animals. Mr. Zebra obligingly looked up several times.
Julia and Ruth pretend to be baby dinosaurs?
The polar bear was a huge attraction. By this time, our feet were very tired. This is an extra-large zoo, and much trekking about is required to see every last animal. We did not quite make it to the final wolves!
Julia and Ruth have been best friends since early in 2nd grade, and even though they no longer attend the same school, they've maintained a sweet, close friendship.