Thursday, October 31, 2013

Frames and Paintings

I like picture frames. I mean I like to hang picture frames on the wall with no pictures in them. My family stares at them and says, Why’d you do that? I got the idea from a magazine, where I get 99% of my ideas. Whether ornate, simple, made of wood, metal, or ceramic – an arrangement of lowly rectangles artfully arranged on a blank wall is impressive to me.

But really, frames are purposed for better things. The goal of a border-surround is to outline a watercolor or oil creation, a portrait or a print. It should be unobtrusive, never calling attention to itself, but drawing interest to its contents! It’s all about the picture.

You know, one’s outward appearance is similar to a picture frame. Our bodies (and the way we dress or don’t), our eyes, hair, smile, speech, body language – all meld together to constitute a “frame” or enclosure for our inward selves, our spirits. Accordingly, in a spiritual sense my inner woman should be the centerpiece of my whole self, not the visible part of me.

Yeah, I like empty picture borders as d├ęcor. But they’re still empty. They surround air; nothing is there.

Spiritually, I can find myself in a similar situation: mostly frame, surrounding quite a bit of air. If I regularly lavish attention on my outward person and accompanying trappings, but ignore that inner woman,then the real me can be obscured, or fade away.

Just as an appropriate frame showcases a particular picture, so my outward personal appearance can and should speak of God’s beauty living within. If I profess to adore Jesus Christ, but belie that declaration by my sexy, scanty clothing, others will scratch their heads in confusion, wondering which to believe. If my expression invariably is joyless and dark, dare anyone think a joyful, vibrant Jesus-follower resides within that “frame”? If my words cannot be trusted or believed, or slanderously afflict others, or if I am indifferent to pain and suffering around me, it could be that a painting exists, but so faded and dim it’s almost impossible to see.

Just something to think about.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Being Open

Did something impulsive the other day. Walked in my kitchen, surveyed the cabinets and asked my long-suffering husband if he’d remove the doors from some of them for me.

Sure, he said. So he did.

At first the effect of all that nakedness was disconcerting. I felt as though I were peeking in someone’s window. So much openness! Too much, I secretly thought at first. I didn’t share my misgivings with Jim. I really wondered if I could deal with it. After calming down a bit, the second thought was just as unsettling: a little more order was in order. Actually a whole lot more order.

I began prettying up the view. Jumbles were separated and either placed side by side, or relegated to another area. Little-used bowls and glasses moved to a different location; paring down the number of objects so one didn’t get jittery just looking up.

Some reworking: propped saucers upright against the cabinet back so everyone can enjoy their pretty faces; ditto, big platters on the shelf below, and situated black dishes at intervals to “anchor” the display. Surrounding the stove, metal mixing bowls, Pyrex measuring cups and miscellaneous stuff stared back at me. Not suitable for confrontation by the public. So I switched out bowls for glass canisters of flours, sugars (brown and white), an old coke bottle with coarse pepper therein, a lovely tall green bottle of sunflower oil and the wonderful rusty-red hue of Old Bay seasoning making a plain bottle special.

It’s kind of like having a limb removed though. You still think it’s there. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to close cabinet doors, and grabbed air; I even ducked a couple of times so one of those phantoms wouldn’t deck me.

I’m slowly getting used to my “new” kitchen. Now, however, I see what else must be done because the holes left by hinge nails aren't attractive. I’ll have to sneak up on Jim one of these days and broach that little subject. He thinks his job is done and he’s gloriously free to deer hunt to his heart’s content. Poor guy.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Watching God

I bless the Lord for where I am, right now. Each stage of my life has been rich. Of course, nothing can ever measure up to life as it was when our children still lived with Jim and me, growing into adults under our extremely imperfect tutelage. As it seems to happen, Jim and I have become a bit older, and now our house is home only to the two of us. Oh, well, it was great while it lasted, guess we need to gather our rocking chairs and lap robes and …

Not quite yet, the Lord says!

He has not forgotten us! Within the last couple of years, God has led us into a place, once again, of privileged ministry. No, we’re not rearing more children – well, not in the sense of housing-feeding-being responsible-24/7 child-rearing. Rather, we’re smack in the middle of watching the Master work incredible miracles in singularly desperate situations.

We are his cheerleaders in this work; praying and praising as the One who spoke the universe into being touches broken, scarred, and bleeding lives with his healing. He infuses hope into precious ones who have no hope, and, worse, believe they deserve none; he rekindles the light of purity in eyes that for so long have been dark with Satan’s twisted visions. We rejoice as this LORD woos each one to himself, plants the seed of his word, then over time transfigures a wounded woman into wellness and wholeness.

He promises them:
“I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.
I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless,
nor forsake nor let you down (relax my hold on you.) Assuredly not!” Heb 13:5 Amp. Bible

When the light of that promise breaks forth in each one, she responds with grateful, passionate devotion for this Lover of her soul. They all pour out their adoration in constant singing and praying. They read copious amounts of Scripture daily. This new relationship with God surpasses any attachment they’ve ever, ever known. They are quick to speak his name.

Do some reject this healing? Yes. Some have ears to hear and don’t hear. We grieve with the Lord and press on, praying they will someday really hear.

Among those who do hear and accept Jesus, do conflicts, bad attitudes, pride, anger, meanness and selfishness raise their ugly heads? Yes, about as often as these sins appear in the rest of us Christians. When the inevitable occurs (they are still human), problems are confronted immediately, however uncomfortable, and worked at until they’re worked out.

God is gracious enough to allow Jim and me to be his fellow workers – we get to experience the pleasure and joy the Lord must feel when each of these souls turns from darkness to serve the Living God! I am humbled by the awesome power of the Lord and his Word. I’m seeing before me in living color the mind of Jesus take root in, sprout up in, and transform bitterness, weakness, worthlessness, and skepticism into a love for the Savior that revolutionizes every area of their lives!!

It’s a great time of our lives.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dinners on the Ground

I’m so glad I was born soon enough to experience a “dinner-on-the-ground.” Actually I feel sorry for all you late-comers who’ve never had that privilege. Our little church family hosted these delightful affairs about twice a year; of course, an afternoon of singing always followed. That’s still a puzzle to me. We could hardly grunt, let alone sing with our tummies so full of good food.

I guess saw-horses bore the planks that served as our tables – they had to be sturdy to stand up under all that weight! The ladies of the church flexed their best culinary muscles in the days before those Sundays. Chicken were chased and quickly dispatched to the better land so that they could be floured and fried to a crunchy but tender brown in the iron skillet. These chicken chefs didn’t measure, or fret about whether they’d added enough salt, or if the lard was hot enough. They just knew. The plump chicken parts were laid in the black pan’s crackling grease and proceeded to do their thing. In some families obnoxious kids snitched pieces of this delectable offering before the bird made it to the plank tables. They were willing, however, to pay the price for thievery.

If the hen was long in the tooth, she probably stewed for several hours in her own juice. Then the lady of the house would pull the meat off the bone, returning it to the pot of broth. By the way, the idea of skimming the fat off would have made this cook’s eyebrows fly off her head in surprise. Eliminate the fat?!!! That’s what made the dish rich and filling! Shaking her head at such foolishness, she proceeded to mix up the dumplings, rolling them thin before cutting the tender dough into rectangles. When the broth rolled to suit her, she’d drop them into the pot, one by one, patiently poking each one down, then adding another. When that mixture was uncovered on Sunday, people started drooling a mile back.

Another good lady might show off her expertise with chicken ‘n dressing. Everyone envied and revered the woman who could turn out this dish. The cornbread had to be prepared just so (no light bread/flour in southern dressing!!!), the spices and black peppery/saltiness combined skillfully to tingle the tongue, and just the proper amount of broth so that the finished product was neither sloppy nor dry. Baked until it crusted a little on the edges, with soft, golden good eating on the inside. Perfect with a river of tasty chicken gravy in the middle.

How can I describe the last course- the main course for many of us – the desserts!! Chocolate layer cakes with thick chocolate icing in the middle and piled high on top and sides; sweetly tart blackberries hiding underneath a flaky lattice crust. Chess pies, their transparent fillings golden and buttery, coconut cream with lightly browned meringue towering proudly on top, Karo nut pie so rich one piece could blast you into permanent diabetes.

Yes, I miss the dinners on the ground. Most of all, though, I miss that church family – they were the first persons I came to know outside my family unit. They still are a part of me in the sense that each one, through some trait, action, or word impacted my life for good. Ordinary country folk who loved, earned a living, tried to please the Lord, and encourage each other. They were far from perfect. They didn’t always speak or behave as they should, but their hearts, influenced by God, spilled over into that little body of saints, and I was one of the glad recipients. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Way back in the dark ages Jim and I, along with two very small children, drove inland every weekend from Charleston, SC, to a tiny hamlet named for a state senator. Jim, a machinist’s mate on a submarine, aimed to be a minister, and longed to get some preaching experience in and around his final two years in the Navy. So, God arranged for us to meet the Barnwellites.

Forty or 50 generally showed up for Sunday morning worship in the small, red-brick building on Dunaway Boulevard. Friendly and hospitable, I believe we saw the inside of every home in that little church family during our time with them.

The Green family never failed to fill the second pew from the front on the right side: four beautiful daughters and their equally attractive mother, Gladys. She, Mary Francis, Anna Sue, Kay and Sharon carried the song service as their voices blended in graceful harmony. Song-leader husband and dad, Johnny, gazed proudly down at his little chorus as he directed.
Johnny hailed from Tennessee; Gladys was a dyed-in-the-wool native of South Carolina. You had to hear her accent to believe it – a typical greeting to a newcomer would sound like this: “Hello, Am’m Gla-a-dis Gree--en. So happy to meetchu-u-u!” I loved it, and her. Only about a third of their offspring still lived under their roof; two married sons and a daughter completed the family. Sitting at the kitchen table once, watching her stir a pot, I asked her if she had gathered lots of recipes over the years. She looked at me with disbelief and replied, “Honey, I just try to keep stomachs filled up, I don’t have time to try recipes!”
We loved visiting them in their miniscule three-bedroom home, filled with teen girls primping, carefully spraying their bouffant hairdos, giggling, talking on the phone to boys, and listening to mama’s admonitions about life. They lavished attention on Ginger, age two– she loved it, of course.

We dropped in unexpectedly on the Hammet family one Saturday afternoon. Homer, Dip and their two children welcomed us with delight and insisted we share their meal. Peas, rice and hoe cake -- what a feast!!
Dip had cooked since before she could remember. She learned to make biscuits (a necessity for every South Carolina cook) when she was five or six, standing on a cardboard box to reach the counter-top. With her mother’s apron tied around her a couple of times and drooping to her feet, she mixed and rolled and cut out every morning until she arrived at perfection (much to her daddy’s relief). Her mother left very early every day to clean houses; Dip’s dad had a problem with drinking and didn’t work often. However, working or not, he “had to have biscuits” for breakfast so his little girl stepped in.
Because Dip’s adult responsibilities began when she was so young, I wasn’t wildly surprised to learn that she married at age 12. Her military husband left immediately for England for three years’ duty. During that absence Dip matured to the ripe old age of 15 and began life as a married woman. I never heard her groan or complain about her experiences; she wasn’t bitter toward her dad or mom, and loved Homer and her children deeply. She especially loved her Savior and enjoyed the church family.

Another family seemed to have a revolving door policy: they welcomed anyone, anytime, for any reason. Young people constantly dropped in because they knew Claude and Shirley really liked, and even enjoyed them. Shirley could bake biscuits that would do any South Carolinian proud, even if she was a Georgia cracker!! She looked Hispanic with dark hair and skin, and remained reed slim though mother to five boys. Shirley’s parenting was mostly carefree: she didn’t worry overmuch about waxy ears or little boys making themselves dirty. Hugs and kisses abounded, however, and she had been known to weep with a pre-teen son over a broken romance.
Claude was a metallurgist at the Savannah River Plant. His expression of sternness belied his dry wit and humor, which he used on everyone. Some men carry with them an air of calm authority, and Claude was one of them. Despite the outward appearance, though, he was a bucket of panicky goo if one of his boys met with an accident or was in pain for any reason.
Several of the church’s teen girls vowed quite openly in Shirley’s presence that if she died, they were going to marry Claude. How they planned to narrow the group down to one was never discussed.

Then there was Jean and J. C. Satterfield. This couple adopted at least eight children over the years. As with most parents, they struggled mightily with each one. Either they were waking every few minutes night after night to feed twin preemies, or caring for a severely handicapped toddler, or winning the trust of an abused child, or wrestling with teens, just to mention a few situations. Jean was a former Mormon from Utah - blustery, strong-minded, plain-spoken, yet with a golden heart lurking underneath those protective layers. She missed her home and family very much; she never quite acclimated herself to the obscure little town. Too, the church her husband cast his lot with certainly differed from the latter-day saints! Though Jean was baptized into this group, she remained aloof in many respects and provoked members over the years by questioning set-in-stone tenets. I believe the greatest source of her unrest resulted from prevailing pronouncements about divorce and remarriage. A youthful Jean had divorced her first husband, and eventually married J. C. I felt she was never at peace in the Lord because of those early mistakes. I so wish I had another chance to encourage her! How insensitively we treat the wounded ones at times.

Jim and I left that area in 1967 when he was completed his time with Uncle Sam. We’ve returned infrequently since then, and both rejoiced and grieved at various changes in the little church family. I wish we had emphasized love and compassion much, much more, and strongly championed the love of Jesus instead of some other issues. But we were very young, and fairly new in the faith … so there you are.

I thank God that he blessed us through the sisters and brothers in Barnwell. I still love them dearly.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just a Day in the Life of ...

I’m in the stage of life when something has atrophied in my skills as a caregiver for the young. I can no longer chase after little children all day and still be my energetic, lovable self. In fact, I’m barely able to put a coherent sentence together after 5 p.m.

I cannot tend to kids and look presentable for very long. Doesn’t matter how perky my hair-do at start of day, in two hours every single strand strings pitiably around my nose. No matter how clean my clothes, they’re colorfully re-decorated by noon with splotches of cereal, smears of bananas, a spot of two of cheese dip and a generous helping of runny noses.

By 10 o’clock I long for the baby to fuss, signaling her nap time. I consider pinching her to hurry it up, but, thankfully, catch myself in time. NAP TIME is my new Geritol, because when little-bit gives it up, I can plop the other three in front of cartoons while I … swoon and doze blissfully too.

When day is done, I shuffle instead of walking briskly as I did at breakfast time. I have to be extra careful with bedtime rituals. Is that really toothpaste I’m squishing onto the little toothbrush? Yikes!! It says “K-Y” on the tube!! The toddler seems to find this substance that’s coating her mouth interesting instead of awful so I relax a little. Maybe it’ll retard cavities, who knows? Mankind may thank me one day.

But even as I fall into bed at 8 p.m. I get little relief. My dreams are wildly populated by little kids gleefully doing such things as: holding down the water thingie on the frig door and cackling while getting a very cold bath (we old people forgot to lock it again), pushing lamps off tables with pummeling little feet while supposedly sleeping on pa-pa’s bed, or finger-painting with you-know-what. E-gads! I need to wake up!! Never mind, I was awake the whole time.

Why then do I look so forward to these little humans coming to see me?! I have no scholarly answer for that; I just know I love those sweet little faces lighting up when they see me as they run through the door. I adore tiny voices shouting “Granmama, we’ve come to see you!!!” And together we cherish these fleeting moments of childhood.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Morning Hour

I became so frustrated with my scanner the other day. When I tried to open it to copy some stuff, it responded with a thunky sound every time. The light glowed greenly; it seemed to be alive, but couldn't perform the work I asked of it. I pushed the on/off button several times; low and behold, the thing wouldn't even turn off! Thinking, oh, no, wonder what a new one costs?, I decided to test the plug-in, in spite of the fact that it looked perfectly all right. I jiggled and wiggled it, then pushed it in tighter. Viola! Pay dirt! The familiar buzzing emanated that meant it had connected soundly with the power source and would now do its part in the world.

Believers are all around us who seem to be okay, who on the surface appear to be living in the power of the Holy One, but who, when pressed by trials or temptations, possess no inner strength to survive. All they can manage is a "thunky" sound. They sometimes find themselves crying with David: "I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning ... I groan in anguish of heart." Their green light may have been shining, but it proved to be a false reassurance.

How vital is it that I examine my spiritual life? Essential!! Commanded! "Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine" (1 Cor 13:5). Haven't we learned by now how deceitful our adversary can be? He'd like nothing better than to rock us to sleep in the cradle of complacency. Don't assume anything - be alert, be diligent to consume the word daily and trust in the Spirit's power to keep us connected tightly with the power source. Which will eliminate thunky sounds.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I'm disturbed.
Time is passing much too fast
for me to keep up.
My head whirls to keep track
of dates and events I thought
so recent.
Are you sure that was
last year?
Two years ago?
I'm getting old - well,
older, anyway.
What I mean to say is that
I'm getting older too fast
to be possible!
This isn't real - how these
days zip by like soap
slipping from wet hands.
I can't seem to get a grip
on my life.
Lord, please supply
some traction!

I wrote that when I was 34 years old. That was 34 years ago. And time is still zipping by just like those slippery bars of soap! I'm so glad that in heaven we'll be free from time - no clocks, no calendars, no device of any kind telling us that time is streaking on by.

But you know, each stage of life has its own rewards. You may not possess the energy to work circles around others any more, but you probably now have the wisdom to give encouragement in a situation that would have left you tongue-tied earlier. You can go to bed any time you want; no waiting on a fussy baby to fall asleep first! No list of baby-sitters! No getting up bleary-eyed rushing to get ready for work (well, no rushing anyway).

We must not take advantage of being older to be a bossy know-it-all, or sharp-tongued, or think we deserve special permission to be abrasive and rude. Several years ago I was waiting impatiently in the speedy check-out at a grocery store. The aisle was narrow - several were behind me. An elderly gentleman in overalls and straw hat came in pushing a cart, looked around, then took careful aim squarely at our line. He stopped and looked at me through his thick lenses, his mouth open in a silent "O". Seeing he didn't understand the nature of the problem facing us, I said politely, "Sir, I don't think you can get through here - it's way too narrow." I spoke clearly and rather loudly, expecting him to nod and toddle off seeking another entrance.

Instead, he looked down his long, straight nose at me and said, just as loudly, "Well, cain't you get outta the way?!"

All sorts of retorts ran through my mind. No, I did not want to get out of the way! I was in a hurry! I was tired! I was aggravated at his rudeness! After a minute, however, I turned to the frowning folks behind me and said "Someday, if God lets us live long enough, we're going to be old. And we're going to want others to be kind to us. So, let's just get out of the way and let him through." The tension broke, we all laughed, and with one accord backed up. Our elderly friend pushed right on past us without a "thank you, kiss my foot" or any other acknowledgment. We forgave him.

Then there was Marie. In her 60s, she was one of the most interesting, refreshing women I had ever met. She lived vivaciously in the present day. You couldn't mention a current event she didn't know something about. I'm sure Marie could have regaled us with good-ole-days stories, but she chose instead to focus on NOW.

Marie gave her life to Jesus Christ when in her 60s. When her neighbor invited her to a home Bible study, Marie's response was "Sure, never too old to learn!" She soaked everything up like a sponge, and asked a thousand questions. My husband, Jim, happened to be teaching that study and afterward came home raving about her intelligence, thirst for the Word, and her interest in everything around her. Marie was baptized after only two studies and began loving and serving her new church family in any way she could. We moved away, but after many years were privileged to see her once more. Marie held court from her wheel chair by then, but she was still Marie: optimistic, smiling, loving. Her 80-something years had clipped her wings, which saddened us; however, I'm quite sure that by now she's talked some angel out of his. He didn't stand a chance.

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.'" Enjoy being God's older child!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's so refreshing to hear about the humble boldness of a child of God. Today a wife related how that when she and her hubby are in one of the local tributaries of a ginormous chain store, he in no way is there to shop. Spotting someone he doesn't know, he strolls over and engages him or her in chit-chat for a few minutes, then simply says, "You know, I may never see you again, so I'd like to talk with you about ...." He then proceeds to wade off into a discussion about Jesus Christ with this stranger!

The remarkable thing is, according to the wife, not one person has ever stomped off in a huff, or told him to mind his own business. As a matter of fact, they usually wind up pouring out their souls to this one who walks in where angels fear to tread. I'm sure one reason he is received so well is that he's one of the kindest men I've ever known. This isn't a new venture, he's been seeking out people in this same store for years.

In another instance, a lady was humbly bold enough to say in a brief exchange with a rough-looking acquaintance, that "Anyone is blessed if they're washed in the blood of Jesus." End of conversation. Oh, yes, this also happened at the tribulation - uh, I mean tributary of the big chain. However, some time later he called this Christian sister and pleaded with her to come pray for his sick wife. "I can't - I mean, I can't pray for her," he admitted, knowing he hadn't cultivated much of a speaking relationship with the Lord.

Not without misgivings, she nevertheless set out, asking God to be with her. The woman was indeed ill. After praying for the man's wife and visiting with her for awhile, they so connected with each other that a new friendship was forged. Who can say what eventually may result from this one interaction in the store?!

These comments came from a discussion of this question: How are you working to make a difference in your community? My thoughts immediately went to holding a public office, or beginning a shelter of some sort, or you know - big stuff. These two testimonies humbled me, yet greatly encouraged me to be aware of the seemingly less noticeable ways to do the work of God.

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin ..." (Zec. 4:10).

Morning Hour

My mother hated the word, "darn." This was particularly puzzling since our family used every other euphemism under the Arkansas sun: dadgummit, gosh, golly, shoot, heck, etc. No cursing; that carried a severe penalty, such as getting your backside warmed. However, "darn" must have carried the same awfulness in mama's mind as using God's name in vain, because once when I made use of it (quite unaware of her prejudice), she went into a major meltdown.

When she'd finished venting her objections, I ventured a small "Why is that word ...?" Didn't get to complete my question. She showed signs of heating up again and I backed w-a-a-y off, thinking it wise to wipe that word from my heart and life (at least when around her).

Even though I never solved the mystery, I'm still curious. Did she as a child get into big trouble on account of that word? Or did someone - perhaps a mean neighbor kid - make it into an acrostic designed just for her? Such as Dames Are Really Nauseating? Probably not; country kids didn't know words that long.

That reminds me of the indignation of our then three-year-old daughter when the creative sons of a friend recited, "Myrtle the Turtle Without No Girdle" solely for her benefit. She had no idea what a girdle was, but her wrath knew no bounds. And she still doesn't like the word "girdle." Words are powerful.

Words are responsible for a lot of childhood suffering. My uncle was traumatized by saying a prayer his older brothers taught him - can you imagine? They carefully instructed him in when and where to employ it. One day when the family gathered around the farm house table at noon, uncle asked to say the blessing. He was standing between his mama and poppa because, unfortunately, with that many children, the chairs ran out. When he received permission, uncle said, with enthusiasm,

"Bless the meat,
D____ the skin,
Back your ears
and cram it in!!!"

A calloused hand from the chair next to the pious little guy swatted his bottom; immediately a smaller hand delivered another swat from the chair on the other side. Guffaws erupted from the male section of the table. Poor Uncle Lonnie.
He found out that words are powerful.

Remember that as you interact with others today - your words are powerful.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Afternoon Hour

I like to pour over decorating mags as much as anyone, but had to snicker over one of the features the other day. This guy had prettied up his whole house by himself, and the living room sported "antique French toile covered pillows on a sofa upholstered in (get this) linen sheets from a European monastery." I said out loud, "Aw-w-w, please!!"

But perhaps I was too hasty to snort: could it be that his ordinary sofa became hallowed when clad in material from such a venerated location? Surely this fabric would have absorbed some amount of superfulous goodness, just from the surroundings. Or maybe the holy sheets were assigned to that couch just to keep those French throw pillows in line. You know what they say about the French.

I wonder, did the monks themselves weave the flax into linen? More than that, did they, with their own hands, pull the flax out of - wherever that plant grows? Or, on a more realistic note, was the linen simply delivered to them in a cart by the people of the nearest village for a pittance, then sold by the brothers for more than a pittance?

I have a hard time visualizing making my bed with linen, epecially since I slept on muslin sheets growing up. I don't what that stuff's made from - I do know that after being laundered several times, your bed clothes will sprout little "pills" of wadded fabric that can make for an interesting night.

I really don't have any animosity toward linen sheets; I'd like to try sleeping between a set before I die. Don't you think that surely Wal-Mart will stock them one of these days?

Sadly, this post has no point - it's just the musings of my mind.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

afternoon hour

I was reading a recipe for a cheesecake in Southern Living magazine recently and couldn't believe the instructions on the crust: "trim and discard excess dough."

You've gotta be kidding! Why, for goodness sake? Trashing those scraggly pieces of leftover pastry is agin to discarding pieces of gold. Well, almost. We would never have even considered those leftovers as something of no account. In fact, as a child I always hoped there'd be lots of "excess dough" left when mama was making pies, because that part of baking day ritual belonged to me!

I'd press the odds and ends of the soft pastry into one piece, then roll it out with mama's ancient green bottle (rolling pin). I would spread the united dough with soft butter, then sprinkle it with sugar - more like a downpour than a sprinkle, actually. Next came slicing it into fairly thin sticks; carefully lifting each onto a baking sheet and sliding it into a hot oven, drooling noticeably. I didn't dare leave the kitchen; these delicacies required very close attention, otherwise they'd burn black so fast - usually one instant after the just-right stage.

A blast of hot air never failed to hit me in the face upon taking the pastries from the oven - but, oh how luscious the scent that accompanied that blast! Waving the heat aside I put the pan down, wondering if I could possibly, possibly try to eat one right away. It never worked - I already knew that sad fact from past experience, but would chance nibbling anyway. With lips slightly burnt, I fan them instead.

Cool enough at last, I gather all of them onto a plate, pour a big class of cold milk, find my book and spend the next few minutes in pure bliss.

Sometimes we decide it's better just to do a discard with someone whose life is in bits and pieces. We reckon there's just not enough there to fool with. Especially is this so when someone is on his or her "70 times 7" mistake.

Thank God that he doesn't reason as we do!! He delights in taking bits and pieces of souls ravaged by the adversary and creating beauty and usefulness - a work of art. Lord, enable me to look no longer at others through the eyes of my reasonings, but gaze through your merciful and powerful perspective.