Thursday, November 27, 2008

I didn't have to wait 'til Thanksgiving.

I got my wish yesterday. (Remember all my moaning in my Tuesday post?) I spent the day yesterday in the kitchen.

It all began around 10:00, and I didn't leave the kitchen permanently until 9:37 last night. What fun!

I was helping Mom by doing Thanksgiving-prep work. Those hours of kitchen work resulted in:

~ One double-size pumpkin pie. (Made in a casserole dish. This recipe is a traditional dish at Thanksgiving, for us. Mom wanted to make two separate regular pies this year, but when I begged to be allowed to make the double-size one, she graciously let me. :))

~ One loaf of bread. (That honey-molasses recipe I wanted to make!)

~ One dozen rolls. (I'm SOOO pleased with how these turned out!)

~ And...are you ready for this?...Thirty-six biscuits. (Sweet potato biscuits, with brown sugar and cinnamon. Yum!) To mix the dough, I used the largest bowl we own, and it was still a tight fit - I got flour everywhere. :) that I write it down, it doesn't seem like much, but it sure took awhile to make those four things.

And guess what else I was creating in that kitchen?

A mess.

In particular, messy dishes.

And you can guess who had dish duty yesterday.

Yup. Me.

That's why I didn't leave the kitchen until 9:37 last night. It took me 15 minutes just to empty the sink of dirty dishes! I'm very thankful Mom decided to make a light lunch, and use paper plates for supper. Thank you, Mother!!!!

Anyway, to make the job more fun [oh - I did mention we do our dishes by hand, didn't I?] I decided to keep track of what I washed - you know, like those memory games where you look at ten items, then cover them up and try to remember what you saw.

After a good night's sleep, here's what I remember:

~ 21 cups
~ 1 dinner plate
~ 10 cereal bowls
~ 4 mixing bowls
~ 2 pots
~ 1 pot insert
~ 2 pot lids
~ 1 glass casserole dish
~ 4 measuring cups
~ 1 small frying pan
~ 3 pitchers
~ 1 blender
~ 3 cookie sheets
~ 2 biscuits cutters
~ 1 bread pan
~ 1 rolling pin
~ 2 spatulas
~ 1 serving spoon
~ 2 or 3 mixing spoons
~ ...and I decided not to count the silverware. [grin]

...So, why am I posting this on Thanksgiving?

Because while I was splashing around in that sudsy water, this poem was playing over and over in my mind:

Thank God for Dirty Dishes
author unknown

Thank God for Dirty Dishes,

They have a tale to tell.

While others are going hungry,

We're eating very well.

With home and health and happiness,

I shouldn't want to fuss.

For by this stack of evidence,

God's very good to us.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I can't begin to name the ways I'm blessed! Thank You, LORD!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I must be "into" short posts lately...

...cause I have a feeling this one will be brief, just like the past few posts.

I just wanted to say that I'm SOOOO in the mood to cook and bake.

In particular, bake bread. I'm so in the mood to make bread.

But it's a little late in the evening to start bread.

Maybe I will anyway.

I made biscuits yesterday - hoped that would help. I think it whetted my appetite. I still want to make bread!

First, I want to make a regular loaf.

Then, I want to make a molasses-honey-bread recipe that I haven't made in ages.

Then I want to try my hand at making burger buns. (Sure could use those tonight!)

Then I want to try flat bread.

Then maybe that Irish-cornbread I made up. (By the way, does anyone know if the Irish ever used corn?)

Then I want to try using different grains; I LOVE using a variety of grains in my breads! I'm just beginning to understand the science in bread making, and watching the different reactions I get by combining different ingredients fascinates me. (Hence the experiment with corn in the Irish bread!)

I love the confidence I feel in the kitchen - thank you, Mom, for putting me there at an early age! You patience astounds me, now that I look back on it. I sure made a mess of your kitchen plenty of times! Not to mention the un-edible creations I produced. :)

Give me unlimited access to ingredients, and I would be thrilled! I would love to try cooking with barley, millet, freshly-milled oats (not quick oats!), hard flour, soft flour, pastry flour, prairie gold flour, King Aurthur flour, bread flour, rice flour....just about any kind of flour! ...Except white. [grin]

That reminds me - one week from now, I plan to do a post on a "secret" ingredient I've just recently discovered the joy of using in anything bread. Stay tuned for that!

So...where was I?

Oh yes - a short blog post. Oh well for that idea. I just get carried away, thinking of all the recipes I would love to try. Isn't God good to me, to plant me in a spot where I can dream this way? I'm so thankful to be part of home life. No moving out into an apartment for me! (Who would eat all the stuff?)

I'm glad Thursday is Thanksgiving. I can't wait to spend all morning in the kitchen!

P.S. Yes, I do know Thanksgiving is about more than food. I'm just thankful for the chance to be in the kitchen!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I admit it: I'm a theif!

I feel like I could burst.

I've been feeling this way a lot lately - and I love it! I'm just so overwhelmed with the beauty, goodness, mercy, ....ect....of God. He is SOOO good to me! And He is SOOOO beautiful!

So when I read this post at Leah's blog, I HAD to join in. I left a comment there...and then got to thinking that I want to hear more. I want to hear other folks talking about what they love about the LORD.

So I'm stealing Leah's idea. (Thanks, Leah!) Please, tell me what you love about God. Overflow my comment section.

This isn't a plug for comments. If you don't leave them, I'll write them myself, because I'm soooo bursting full of admiration for Him!!!!!

But I really want to hear from you too.

Let's write - shall we?

God seems to speak on the same theme to many people at once

For those of you who enjoyed reading this recent post of mine, I want to let you know that there's a great post on that topic over at Jasmine's blog. I'd encourage you to skip over there and read it!

New Life!

I'm so excited; we just got word this morning that a lady in our church gave birth to her little girl.

I know babies are born everyday, but how can I ever get over the miracle of life? There's a new little life on this earth!

And guess what? I've been blessed beyond that; I've been asked to come over to their home and help out around the house this afternoon and tomorrow. I'm so thankful they asked me!!!!! I can't wait to see the little one, and I'm praying that I'll be helpful to this family.

Thoughts during a sermon

I hope y'all had a blessed Sunday. I certainly did. There's nothing like going to church to help a week feel back to normal.

Pastor preached in the morning about prayer.

A few things to think about:

When we're friends with someone, we talk.

If we're typical humans, we talk a lot. [grin]. And about everything under the sun.

But if we fall out of fellowship with someone? If we're mad at them? If our feelings are hurt?

We stop talking. Gone are the phone calls. Gone is the chitchat at home. Gone are the deep conversations.

Oh, we may be - probably are - formally polite; "Hi, how are you?" "Fine, thanks." Anybody can exchange pleasantries. But there is no true communication. You know those deep conversations I'm talking about; the ones you have in a quiet corner after the service is over...or the ones you have in bed with a sister late at night...or the ones you have on the phone when both of you are crying.

So what about prayer?

Ya know, when we are in fellowship with God, we talk with Him. A lot.

Am I the only person who sorta gulps when they hear that? Am I the only one who wonders "what does it mean if I DON'T talk to Him a lot?"

You know what I'm talking about here; not the pleasantries. In prayer, those would be the "bless the food" prayers, the ones you offer at family worship times, or the ones you are expected to offer during the day. The prayer you pray after you've read your standard chapter for the day.

Generally speaking, those are the "how are you?" "fine, thanks," prayers.

That isn't true communication. O, to pray without ceasing! To be constantly talking with my Lord!

Those are the things Pastor brought up during service yesterday morning. And here's something that the Spirit whispered to my heart privately while Pastor was speaking:

"Prayer is the natural breathing of the Christian. If I were the normal Christian, I would be talking to my Father a LOT. ...I don't pray like I should because I don't obey like I should."

If communication lines are broken when we are out of fellowship, and sin is what puts me out of doesn't take a genius to figure out why I don't pray.

Just something to think about.

Excuse me.

Just something to pray about.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Heather's home.

Mom and Dad are back.

They're all napping, or heading that'a way.

The house is quiet.

The house is clean.

There's nothing to clean.

There's nothing to cook.

The younger siblings are all occupied.

I can go back to being just a sister.

In a few hours, I have to make supper.

I still have responsibilities.

I just remembered that I have to bake bread.

But they're home.

And I'm happy.

I'm also tired. :) :)

But I'm happy.

(outside this summer)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Thank y'all for praying!

Heather's surgery went well. Both plates were removed, and now she has no more metal inside to set off airport detectors. :)

Of course she is still in a lot of pain. This is the first surgery she's had that involved both sides of her body at the same time. Early this morning she had to have two pints of blood given to her - that's the first time she's had to receive blood after a surgery. She also isn't eating much at all, which her family completely expected, since we often tease her a little about her weak stomach, but the hospital staff wants her to eat - with good reason, of course. We were hoping that she could head home this afternoon, but now we're not sure she'll be able to do that until tomorrow.

Here at home, things are going well. I've had some great relationship-building times with my siblings today and yesterday. I really mean that. God has reeeeeally blessed me these two days. My siblings have been so wonderful. I am so thankful.

We haven't seen Mom and Dad much - they got home late last night, and left again this morning - but that's just the way things are for the present. Our extended family, church family, and other friends have been calling our house to see how Heather is, and it's been nice to be reminded how many people care.

My siblings and I are actually having quite of bit of fun. Once in awhile, it's interesting to see if you can get along alone, ya know? Of course we miss Dad, Mom, and Heather, but we know it's only temporary, and for the present we are enjoying running the house by ourselves.

Justin, my youngest brother, made lunch for us yesterday (he's quite a good chef!), and I wish I could show you a picture of how marvelous he made the table look. I didn't know he had that much artistic arrangement in him. :)

Tiffany went the extra mile in her chores yesterday, and cleaned the microwave for me. I loved that, since I hate cleaning that thing, but it needed to be cleaned.

School work is being done... on a small scale - Mom was good to me, and slacked the requirements for these two days. Most of my younger siblings' work this week is memory work. (Curtis, my older-younger brother, takes care of his own work.)

I love watching how everyone memorizes with a different method. Justin paces back and forth in a solitary part of the house, quoting his lines to himself over and over until he has them down. Tiffany sits by herself and murmurs the lines quietly, the stares into space and mouths the words. Lezley worked with me; skipping from one end of the living room to the other while she repeated what I read to her.

Oh - and I finally found something to do outside! By the way, thanks for all the input on that post. I really loved reading all the comments.


No, not "real" soccer. It's the way you play it with five people. You make a big pentagon all over the back yard, and kick a ball clockwise from person to person.

Then you add in a second ball. After sending one ball off to the person down the line from you, you have to turn back to receive the second ball from the person above you.

And you try to actually kick the ball in a straight line. :) (My siblings say I can't do that.)

It's fast paced, it's fun, it involves everybody - big and little....and I like it!

We spent a good amount of time outside yesterday. It's one of the first rules of peace; tired children are good children. :)

Today we were only out there 15 minutes; it was cold! We even had flurries this morning!!!! That is unheard of in our part of Virginia - snow before Thanksgiving!

Oh dear - I just remembered I'm suppose to be getting laundry done. I'd better put that load of towels in the dryer and put some clothes in the washer.

Bye for now! And thanks for all the prayer. God is good! God is good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pray for us

Hey, I'm posting this quick before going to bed, 'cause I know I won't have time tomorrow.

My older sister, Heather, is having hip surgery tomorrow in another city. She'll be having metal plates and screws removed from both hips. (She's had previous surgeries...obviously.)

I'm staying here with my four younger siblings. Mom and Dad will be in the waiting room of the hospital.

Please pray for all of us. I don't have time to list all the requests; successful surgery, witnessing opportunities, a peaceful home, ...but you can think of them on your own.

Thank y'all in advance.

Rejoice! God is good!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've got cabin fever

And it's still November.

I've been outside so much this summer that staying indoors now is really hard.

I guess I could just bundle up well and go out in the bare yard - and I might if things get desperate - but what would be the point?

In the garden, there's only lettuce to pick - and that's only every few days. [I think the frost will get our late-planted peas before they start producing. :(]

Hanging clothes on the line would be rather useless.

Going for a walk on the road would be cold on the upward stretch, going away from the wind, and freezing on the downward stretch, going into the wind.

Shooting baskets with the basketball is hard with frozen fingers.

I can't rake leaves without coming down with a fever for two days (though don't think I haven't been tempted to do it anyways!).

I've already done the fall trimming on the hedge.

The grass doesn't need to be mowed.

So I haven't been outside much.

Now, please don't think I have nothing to do indoors! I have plenty; dishes to wash, sewing projects to work on, emails to write, a blog to update, clothes to wash, dry and fold, music to practice...

...But nothing extremely active. Not the kind of active you get outdoors. And absolutely no lovely fresh outdoor air is floating around in my sewing room.

And I miss the abundance of green peppers, onions, squash, and tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes that were in our diet some weeks ago.

Yes, I think I've diagnosed myself with cabin fever.

I have to make it at least five more months. That's one month short of half a year!

Please - any suggestions for what I can do indoors that will give me that exhausted, full-of-fresh-air, boy-that-was-a-worthy-cause, feeling of being useful?

Yeeeesss....I could clean the bathtub. Definitely a profitable, useful job. I might even be panting by the time I'm done. (But - ugh - didn't I just clean that?)

And....I could make supper for Mom tomorrow. I think I would like that.

Hmmm...what else? I'm drawing a blank. I would sure appreciate any and all ideas y'all have!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm a little lonely...

I'm wondering how all y'all are. Are all my blog friends doing well?

Ya know, I'm thankful the Lord has made it possible for me to have friends from all over the world, through technology. Some of you, ladies, I know in "real" life, but many of you I would not know if it weren't for the blog world. I'm so glad we've met.

I guess I just want to say hello, and thanks.


I have a full day ahead of me, and I feel ready to meet it. I had a whole hour to spend reading my Bible this morning, which felt soooo wonderful. I don't always make enough time to do that before breakfast.

By the way, ever since Saturday I've kept asking myself, "who in their right mind could read Hosea and not understand God's heart?" It's all there - judgment for sin, warning of wrath to come, pleas for repentance, and promises of enumerable blessings for those who walk in righteousness. The last two chapters, especially, just bleed with emotion. Who can read those words and doubt that God longs for His people to love and obey Him?

I guess you can tell that I finished reading Hosea on Saturday. :)

I can't get over how amazing God's Book is. How can paper and ink be so alive?

It's strange that such a beautiful book should be so often put aside for lesser things. When I have my Bible open on my lap in church, for instance, I feel as though I could eat it up. I don't just read the text for that sermon, but many of the surrounding verses. Sometimes I flip to other portions on the same theme and read them. I feel as if I can't shut the covers. But of course I'm in public, and can't just sit there and read the whole book from cover to cover. I promise myself to sit down and have a good long read when I get home.

And then I get home.

And then other things come up, and I end up never sitting down to have that good long read. I just wait until my reading time the next morning.

And, of course, in the morning I turn to my bookmarked page and read my planned chapters for the day, then pray and go off to my work. That ravenous hunger is pushed to a back burner in my mind.

Why do I feel as though I should feel guilty for taking the time to satisfy a hunger like that? If it were a fluffy novel, now, and I was neglecting my chores to pursue its pages, I ought to feel guilty. But God's Word?

If I were still in school, and I had a reading assignment, I wouldn't feel guilty about setting aside several hours to cozy up in a chair and engulf myself in history. Those hours would be considered well-spent.

So I tell myself that, if I could do it with a history book, surely it's right to do it with the Bible.

But then there's the sad fact that I'm no longer in school, and I have more responsibilities. I don't have several hours every day to spend reading anything. I just don't.


I guess I'm just thinking on paper - uh, screen - this morning. I'm wondering if I could make time, and just don't, or if it's true that I have less time in my life. I'm wondering how life will be when I become a wife and mother, and have even less time in the morning.

I'm wondering where the balance is between being practical and giving in to every whim of desire. I'm wondering if it's possible to do good things at the wrong time. I'm wondering if all of this is just an excuse for a lazy me.

I don't know.

...Wait. I do know one thing.

I know that I waste many minutes every day. Every day I "give in" in some area, and spend precious time doing something frivolous.

What if I were to use that time for reading?

Silly Amber. How can you complain about not enough time, when you are wasting time in other areas of your day? Get the horse before the cart, Girl, and live like you talk. You'll make time if it's important enough to you.

Okay, folks, I'm signing off now, because talking to myself on world wide web is a little too personal for my tastes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Realization

You know, I was thinking lately about friendships with girls younger than myself.

I've mentioned that topic a few times before here, but the idea was brought to my mind in a new way this week.

As a part of a good-size homeschooling family, I have been raised very close to my siblings, and been in fellowship with other families that do the same thing. In social interactions, the world around me has always said "segregate by age," but that concept wasn't adopted by my parents, and thus I never thought much about it myself.

Sure, I went to Sunday School classes that were separated according to age, and I was puzzled every once in a while by a mother who inquired to my age and grade, as if that determined whether I was a fit playmate for her daughter. I even learned to ask girls how old they were, first thing, as if they had to say the magic age or I wouldn't associate with them.

But I don't remember ever turning down a friend because she said an age that was younger than my own. I was too busy trying to understand why "the older girls" didn't want me around.

I remember that feeling very well. That feeling of being invisible. Those "older girls" were never once mean to me. They never said cruel words, that I can remember. I can remember them walking away from me, but I don't believe that even that was done on purpose. The reason it was done was the reason I felt hurt; to them, I wasn't there. They really, honestly didn't notice me. Some magic of social law said I was not worth recognizing if I wasn't their age, and they had unconsciously acted upon what they had been taught.

"Something isn't fair!" Though I didn't understand what caused this heartache in me, I sorta declared war on whatever it was that made folks act like that. I purposed in my heart that, when I reached that elusive age, I would give my utmost effort to spotting the younger girls and talking to them.

Looking back on that decision now, I think that it was a good one. Though I am aware of the times I threw caution to the wind, stuck my pug nose in the air, and tried to act like one of the "older girls" I remembered, those times were short-lived and much regretted afterward. In general, I saw younger girls as just as much potential friendship material as girls my own age.

After all, I have sisters! One is close to my age, and there are two little ones. I will admit, there is a difference between my friendships with my older sister and younger sisters. I can't have the same relationship with a person eleven years younger than me as I can have with one two years older than me. Our friendships are different, but they are all very good. I loved being friends with my little sisters! So why shouldn't I want to be friends with other young girls?

Sadly, I've never learned to look at older girls and automatically see friendship possibilities. The idea that "older girls" are looking down their noses at me was almost branded into me at a young age. I need to pray about my preconceived bias, because it hinders me a little bit. You see, not all older girls are like that. I've been pleasantly surprised several times by older girls who are very opening and loving towards me, and each time it happens I nearly melt.

I've seen that look in a younger girl's eyes when I offer friendship to her. She can't believe it, either. Everything in our society has taught her to expect the opposite. Sometimes she refuses my offer. She can hardly believe I'm in earnest.

And you know what?

Sometimes I'm not.

This is the new angle of thought that hit me this past week. I've become so caught up in being the "lady on a white horse," if you will, that I have almost stopped considering my motives.

Is it really fair for me to offer companionship and friendship to a timid young girl out of pity or feelings of "well, it's the right thing to do,"...and then let her think I did it because I really saw something in her that made me want her to like me? Is it fair to enter into a friendship feeling as if I'm being a benefactor? Isn't true friendship more... equal ....than that?

I know it is. Jonathan was likely older than David, as well as richer, higher in the social strata, and held more power, but I challenge anyone to find anything condescending about the way he related to David. They were equals. When Jonathan gave David those princely gifts, I guarantee you there was nothing patronizing or false about it. I don't believe for one minute that Jonathan was just trying to "do the right thing." First Samuel eighteen one says, "...the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul."

I would call that genuine, equal, from-the-heart friendship, given by an older youth to a younger youth. And that was what I was failing to start out with when I was offering friendship to those girls.

I know I can't be close, knit-to-the-heart friends with every young Christian girl on the planet. But if I'm going to offer even a light friendship, it ought to be sincere. It isn't fair to offer anything else.

And those were the thoughts going through my head this week. I felt so ashamed of myself.

Why did I think about that this week? Because I was suddenly slammed with all sorts of memories. ...Memories of the ways my "young" friends have blessed me through the years. They've been true friends to me. They've been loyal to me in a way that even other "my-age" friends haven't been. Because I felt secure, more like an older sister, I had been more of myself with them. There was no flattery, no playing the game of keep-the-friend. They saw some of my nasty self at times.

And they loved me anyway. I am so amazed. They love me anyway.

And I discovered that I love them, too. I know I started some of those friendships with totally the wrong motives, but it was a wonderful feeling to suddenly realize that I had been blessed; God had not allowed me to stay in that same state of mind, but instead had changed my heart without my noticing it.

I love the friends I don't deserve to have! Girls who started out as "mission work" for me have become dear sisters in Christ. When did that happen?

I don't know.

But I sure am thankful for all those dear girls who have given me so much more than I have given them. They gave me true friendship, without asking for anything in return.

I was never the benefactor. I was the one who received. I was the one who was blessed.

Thank you, sisters.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Confession is good for the soul

Just for the record, I do NOT like hanging out in my pajamas all morning. I'm one of those people who can't stand going to the breakfast table until I've gotten all dressed and ready for the day. (Well...maybe except for my hair.)

But every so often I'll get a little lazy or rushed, and end up eating breakfast in my pajamas and slippers. (PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one who has days like that!!!)

...So, now that you know I don't make a habit out of it, here are....

Thirteen Great Reasons to Always, Always, ALWAYS Get Dressed Before Breakfast:

#1 - Because you tend to feel lazy and sluggish if you don't.

#2 - Because it is more pleasant for your family to look at you.

#3 - Because a relative might unexpectedly knock on the front door just as you are getting up from the table.

#4 - Because your mother might answer the door before you have a chance to run to your room.

#5 - Because the front door just might lay between the kitchen and your bedroom.

#6 - Because you might have to hide in the corner behind the stove for fear of being seen in your rumpled state.

#7 - Because that certain relative might like to stay and talk for a loooooong time, and squatting down behind stoves is uncomfortable.

#8 - Because it is unpleasant for your siblings to die slowly from choking on swallowed laughter.

#9 - Because that certain relative might ask where you are, and your mother may call for you, and your little sisters may have to whisper the truth in her ear.

#10 - Because your siblings will have to block that relative's view so that you can duck into the room that contains your proper clothing.

#11 - Because you will have to rush really fast to get dressed.

#12 - Because that relative might greet you with a pleasant "so, have you been asleep all morning?" and your family will all choke in concert.

#13 - Because when that relative leaves, the house will be a rather warm place for you.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it will be a long time before I feel like eating breakfast in my pajamas again!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Way to Stop Unwanted Phone Calls

My older sister, Heather, thought of this. You have to give her credit; it's really ingenious.

This past Sunday afternoon, she and I were practicing a piano-violin offertory together. It was going fairly well - she always plays great anyway, and I was starting to get the hang of the very simple violin part.

(My younger sister Tiffany had been playing with us, too, until I broke two of her violin strings, trying to tune them. Bad me. Ugh. I hate breaking things. ...But I might as well get used to it, because I seem to be one of those people who is always breaking things. By the way, please congratulate Tiffany; she has just received her first instrument of her own; a violin! She's learning fast - 'specially considering that she only has me to help her.)

Anyway. Back to the topic at hand; phone calls.

Solicitors can be very annoying. But "unknowns" are even worse. If you have an ID on your phone, you probably know what I'm talking about; the ID says "unknown," and when you say "hello," no one answers.

Or there are those calls that have a number and name, and there's still no answer. We have several companies like that; they seem to love our house, because they call us at least every other day, if not more often, yet they never say hello to us. There's only silence on their end of the line. We've finally figured out that it's not worth answering the phone when we see those numbers on the ID.

During the week, the shrill ring of a call that no one wants to answer is bothersome. But on a Sunday afternoon? Come on, folks - don't you ever take a break? Heather and I both sorta groaned when that call came in on Sunday afternoon, but then Heather got a certain sparkle in her eye that I recognized.

She had an idea.

"Here - let them listen to you!"

Giggling, I came close to the phone with my violin, and nodded for Heather to push the "talk" button.

I gave the person on the other line a rousing edition of the song we had been practicing. After I was done, Heather listened to the silent phone for a moment, then hung up.

Okay; maybe that wasn't a very wonderful thing to do....but you know what? We haven't had a soliciting call, an unknown call, or any other unwanted call since then!

I told you I don't play well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I can hardly believe it

Well, this morning I did have a bunch of pictures to share; I was even going to try uploading a video of that music-making we did with the missionary family a while back.

But try telling my computer that.

Yes, ma'am, my computer has decided to take a holiday from uploading pictures, until further notice. Ugh.

Oh well. I suppose I'd better write about more pleasant things.

I hope y'all had a lovely Lord's Day. We did, though it was a busy one. Last night we had more music at our church. Squire Parsons, and the Squire Parsons Trio blessed our church with a visit. Listening to the singing was wonderful. Those men sure have some talent! The harmony was great - 'specially the bass singer. :) What's more, after the singing, Squire Parsons even preached for us!

Well, our little country church was packed to the bursting point last night. For the first time ever, Dad had to search for a place in the church parking lot to park our red 15 passenger van. We all got a kick out of that.

Two of the visitors last night were special friends of ours; you might call them our adopted Aunt and Uncle. They live in town, but we are only able to get together once in awhile. It was so good to see them! After the service was over, we got a chance to talk for a time.

After what we had just heard, of course the topic was music. Knowing they liked to hear my siblings and I play (they ask for songs nearly every time we're together), I told them about the group we young folks at church had formed; The King's Strings. I asked if they'd like to hear a song or two. They said yes with smiles.

Off we went into an out-of-the-way back room, after collecting everyone in the group. We sat around on the couch, chairs, and table, and started playing. We were just hanging out and having fun, playing for Aunt Jan and Uncle Phil. I could tell they were loving every minute of it, and I was glad. Our music didn't compare to the fancy stuff we had heard from up front that night, but we didn't care about that. We were having fun!

Well....out in the foyer of the church, Dad was well aware of what we were doing. He also loves to hear us play.

And he also likes to find audiences for us.

Well, it just so happens that Mom has a friend who is a personal friend of Squire Parsons. This lady also sings, and she is in charge of concerts and things...I'm not sure of all the details. I just know she sings, and she knows Mom.

This lady, with her mother (another singer, I believe), was at church last night; she had come to hear Squire Parsons and say hello to him, I guess.

And this is the lady Dad found, and asked to come back and listen to us.

And she did.

And she said that her mom had to hear us, so she went and got her.

Her mother said that one of the men who sang with Squire Parsons (his son), had to hear us, so she went and got him.

All of this was going on rather behind our backs. We could see people coming in the door and hanging around, but we were kinda focused on our playing.

Well, Squire Parsons' son came in and said (so we've been told) "Dad has to hear this," and then he....yes, you guessed it...went and got his dad.

So, the long and the short of it is, our little group got to play for Squire Parsons. I thought that was really neat.

Of course, by the time he got to that little back room, we had become wise as to what was going on, and knew very well that we were playing for an audience. An audience with a lot of talent, at that.

I don't know about the rest of the group, but I was so jittery, I could hardly play my fiddle. I don't think I did very well at all.

But Squire Parsons said he liked it. He was very kind to us.

Oh - I forgot something else. This lady - the one in the very beginning - is in charge of a concert that will take place some time in February. After hearing us play for awhile, she asked "Can you guys come up with 30-minutes-worth of music?"

We all just stood or sat where we were and looked at her.

She told us about the concert, and said, "I hadn't found any pre-concert music yet, and now I know why. The Lord wanted me to come here tonight and hear you guys. Will you play for me? You'd entertain the audience while everything was getting set up. Like a prelude. How many songs can you play?"

"Well, uh, we all play by ear, so we could basically play any song..."

"...But we have trouble of thinking of what songs to play..."

"...If we made up a list..."

Suddenly, we were all looking at each other with identical expressions. I still can't figure out if it was thrill, shock, or fright.

Us? Play for a concert? Little old us?

This wasn't the first person to ask us about something like this. On the way home from church, Curtis reminded us that a lady we know had asked for his phone number, wanting to know about our group, and if we'd play for an event. And I reminded everybody about a lady had I met several months ago who had wanted our group to come play for her church.

But we were still sitting in that dark van in shock. We had sorta purposely forgotten about the other requests; after all, those folks hadn't heard us play! If they had, of course they would have changed their minds, right?

But this lady had heard us play.

...Had we really said yes? And why in the world had that lady thought we could play well enough to do pre-concert music?

We are not that good of musicians! I can say that about all of us without being unkind, because we all tell each other that and we agree.

Well...except about our two lead players; my brother Curtis, and one of the other boys. They really have some talent (though they claim they don't). ...But the rest of us are just amateurs.

This is really going to cause us to depend upon the Lord. All seven of us are scared. We know that most of us aren't talented enough to do this.

I'm not one of those folks who spends hours everyday practicing music. And you can tell when you listen to my playing. I love to play, but I haven't devoted the time I should to become better at it. Perhaps this is God's way of motivating us. Maybe He has plans to use us.

I don't know. I do know God can use music, and I do know that in the past He has chosen to use vessels for His work that are weak, filthy, and despised by the world.

Well...weak and pitiful would describe us pretty well. Maybe we're in His plan. I'm praying that whatever the case, He'll give us all the ability to do what He'd have us do. Also the strength of character to do what He wants us to do - even if it happens to be something we're terrified of doing.

There are times in my life when I can see God working so clearly that I get really...well, not scared exactly,...but awed and trembly, with a knot in my stomach. Usually I feel that way when things start happening that have no logical explanation.

Things like someone liking music that isn't professional.

Things like several people in a row asking about the same thing.

Things like "coincidences" that aren't coincidences.

Things like people listening to mistakes and hearing music.

Right about now, I'm getting that feeling in my stomach.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm Finished!

All except for the floor and walls ...and sink. I'll mop and wipe those on Monday, I guess.

Whew, does that cabinet look better!


Wow. I wish I dared post a picture of the bathroom right now. I've been working on it basically non-stop since I wrote that last post and, even after three hours, I still have quite a ways to go.

So far, I've cleaned the tub (got that out of the way first thing!), cleaned the toilet, gotten the cobwebs out of the ceiling corners, and begun the organizing process on the shelves, linen cabinet, and the under-the-sink cabinet. To start with, I pulled everything off the shelves and out of the cabinets.

I once saw a movie clip of Mary Poppins pulling things out of a "magic" bag. The bag itself was small, but she pulled lots and lots of large things from it; a wall mirror, a hat stand, etc. I believe our bathroom cabinets and shelves must have taken lessons from her. Stuff just kept coming and coming and coming.

There were things in the back recesses of that cabinet that must have been there since Mom and Dad got married. Never mind that they didn't move into this house until later, and the cabinet has been sorted through numerous times since then. I'm sure that has nothing to do with it. ...Well, actually....perhaps it's been cleaned a few times. :)

Okay. In all seriousness, there was a LOT of stuff in there. I think I must have uncovered 25 bars of soap, five toothbrushes still in the packages, four bottles of expired iodine, an unlabeled jar of something that smelled terrible, lots of other expired stuff, bedsheets I hadn't seen in months, duplicate bottles of things...

And then there's the under-the-sink cabinet. The one a bottle of liquid soap somehow managed to spill in, and escape unnoticed. ...Until today. Did anyone ever tell you that using wet paper towels to clean up soap makes suds, and spreads the soap further? :)

It all makes me wonder what why we humans collect things as if there's no tomorrow, and then let 75% of that stuff go unused and unnoticed. We're strange. Our basic physical needs are so simple, ...aren't they? I suppose it depends on your definition of simple.

I hope the bathroom will have an air of simplicity by the time I'm finished with it. Right now, the stuff that was in the cabinets is all over the bathroom floor and hallway floor. It seems like a momentous task to tame those heaps of clutter, and I'm feeling tired. It's a good mood to be in, 'cause I'm more than ready to throw stuff away; and that's unusual for me. Usually, I don't even like to send glass jars to the recycling center; I'd rather keep them in the basement so I can look at my collection. :)

I've taken a quick lunch break, and I suppose I ought to get back to work. I think the first thing I'll do is collect all the cleaning supplies into tidy little red containers and put them neatly under the sink. Then I'll put the TP and paper towels on a shelf of their own. ...Then perhaps I'll feel ambitious enough to attack those millions of bottles and tubes of whatever it is that collects in bathrooms.

You know something? Right now, cleaning the tub doesn't sound bad at all.

I'm off to clean the bathroom...

...and I mean REALLY clean the bathroom.

Clean the toilet, clean the sink, clean the (yikes) tub [I don't like that one!],organize the cabinet, clean the floor, wipe down shelves, clean the mirror, empty the trash...

Have I missed anything? Let me know if I have.

I used to hate cleaning the bathroom. I would even do dishes to get out of it - and dishes used to be that chore we children would toss back and forth; "it's your turn!" "No it's not!" "Mommy, I have more dish turns than she does!"

Now, in my old age [grin], dishes don't seem so bad, and neither does the bathroom...with the exception of the tub. I actually LIKE cleaning the toilet. I think it has something to do with the fact that I've got it down to a science. I've done it so often, all the steps are memorized, and I can almost do it in my sleep.

The tub, now...well, that's the one chore I'm still good at getting out of.

It used to be cleaning the toilet that I ran from, but then Mom gave me the sole responsibility to clean it. When no one else is cleaning that little gadget, you quickly decide that a few minutes of cleaning is better than having a clothespin stuck on your nose every time you enter the bathroom.

So I learned to like it.

I guess that proves what my parents say; you can learn to like a lot of things, if you just get to doing it. My Dad taught me to like green peppers by making me eat them every time they were served, instead of hiding them in my napkin. I'm glad he made me do what I didn't want to do. Now I can enjoy his omelets so much more!

...But I'm not quite ready to start liking to clean the tub.

...So, please, don't remind Mom of that.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Strange Friendship

After several weeks of doing little but work on sewing projects for others, it felt great to be working on one of my many projects today. I don't mean to sound selfish, but that big stack in my sewing room does have to be attacked at some time or another. Today I worked on a brown corduroy jacket. It will be lined with a pretty red floral.

I also made bread for the first time in ages! I made up a new recipe that uses molasses, olive oil, and flax seed. May sound strange, but it turned out really tasty. I also made Tizza for lunch.

Oh - I suppose I ought to explain what Tizza (tease-ah) is. Well...It's our own family name for my creation of "tuna pizza." I make the crust like for regular pizza, top it with a sauce of cheddar cheese, mayo, butter, and anything else that sounds good, and then add canned tuna and onions on top. Baked until the crust is crispy, it makes a great lunch. felt good to be back in the kitchen after an absence of several weeks. I had made a few dishes during that time, but not really done real cooking.

I also stepped out to visit the garden, which I'd neglected to do for several days. I discovered that frost has finally gotten my hardy marigold plants. Remember this?
This was what my marigolds looked like back in May. They were the first things I've successfully started from seeds. What a feeling - to nurse life out of tiny specks! Out of fifty seeds, about ten survived to be transplanted to the garden, and only two plants survived the drought of this summer. They were small and scraggly.

Several weeks ago - maybe a month - Dad removed the tomato plants from the garden. The marigolds had been planted at the shady bases of the tomato plants. When the shade was removed, I was thrilled and surprise to see my two plants abound forth in new growth. (I think there's a lesson in there somewhere, don't you?)

Before they 'passed away' this week, the two plants were each about a foot across, and had 50 or so blooms between the two of them. Brilliant orange and deep green lit up that little corner of the garden. They were absolutely gorgeous.

Those marigolds taught me something this summer. They were out there every day, and I could see them growing and changing before my eyes sometimes, ...or suffering and dying at other times. They were beautiful. They were hardy. They started small. They depended on me for water.

I can't quite put my finger on what it was they taught me, but I know I'll not soon forget my first experience with seedlings that I grew myself. I kinda developed a special feeling for those little plants. They were mine. ...Yet not mine. They were gifts...from Someone I know.

All in all, I'm gonna miss them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I don't understand

I've just heard of the death of a baby girl our church was praying for. She was only 2 and a half months old.

How heartbroken her parents must be! Death is never pleasant, but when it visits the young, there is something even more awful about it.

God is just and good; I know He knows exactly why it was best for that little girl to remain on earth for such a short time. But even so, my heart bleeds for her parents.

Thinking about the way her parents must feel at this time makes me think all sorts of thoughts.

About abortion, for instance. How can people think it's a tragedy for a 2 and a half month old baby to die, but think nothing of killing a baby in the womb? There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of little ones killed all the time, and it's done legally. How? Why?

That kind of tragedy defies my mind to think logically. I can't understand it. I don't want to understand it.

Today is election day.

Who knows what this world will be like one year from now? Things could be very different. I would like to say they will certainly be different for the better, but I don't know. I don't know what the outcome of today will be.

I do know God is on His throne, and His man is already picked out. I do know God is good, and righteous and just and holy...and plentious in mercy. I can trust Him with what happens to this nation.

All I can do is pray, and obey. Obey in big things, and in little things. And speak when I can.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Real Fruit

Remember this quilt?

I heard from the mother who received it for her baby. Well, not really from her, but from the person who bought the quilt from me and gave it to her.

I don't know all the details, but apparently this mother was touched and blessed by the scripture verse I embroidered on the back of the quilt. (You can see where I did it if you look for the white square on the back.) I guess God used His Word to do something in her life.

Telling you something like this is what this blog is really about.

The Fruit of Her Hands.

The tales about everything else should only fill in the gaps. I would love to be able to tell you something new every day about how God has used something I made with my hands; a quilt, a meal, a clean room, a letter...anything.

The days when I can are wonderful for me.