Thursday, July 30, 2015

Spot On

Coming after swim lessons, dinner, baths, stories, prayers, etc.----If I don't forget.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"In the Boat"

I have just started reading, The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown., even though I had said that I was going to ease up on "war" books because no matter how well written, there was an element of horror that saddens me. At least this one is pre WWII.
Brown had me in the prologue. To Joe, "the boat" was something  mysterious and almost beyond definition.It was a shared experience--a singular thing that had occurred in a golden sliver of time long gone, when nine good-hearted young menstrove together, pulled together as one, gave everythng they had for one another, bound together forever by pride, and respect and love."(p.2)
If the rest of the book grabs me like the prologue, I'm in for a "goodread."
I get it, albeit in less dramatic experiences. In my Christian walk, I have found a depth to relationship shared with believers on the same side of the struggle, whether it be grief, worry, or cancer.

Growing up, I knew what it meant when someone said, "we are all in the same boat." But I like Joe Rantz's positive meaning better.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Surprise Scenario
Church pastor, who happens to be my son, is injured playing “adult” league soccer. (That part wasn’t surprising at all.)
Possible bone bruise. Pain continues. Conscientious, somewhat perfectionist, ortho doc orders MRI. 
MRI completed. Tear in ACL “clearly” shown. Surgery recommended. Surgery to repair ACL scheduled for July 24, tho time changes occurred up until the day before the procedure.

Warriors praying before, during and after the surgery ---double digit in number.
God’s best. Diminished pain. Quick & complete recovery.

Surgery Day--Required scope ensued as part of ACL pre-surgery protocol when harvesting tissue from a cadaver.
Unexpected twist occurred---no tear in ACL was found.
Doc cleaned out, sewed up, bandaged up and sent home with crutches. Doc said, "ACL tear shadow seemed apparent MRI but.....scope showed NO tear.
Unexpected twists. Shock. Astonishment. How about just a good old-fashioned prayer answering miracle?

So why do we act surprised when things turn out better than expected?

Just like saints praying for the release of imprisoned Peter in the book of Acts---we’re often astonished at the outcome!

The whole “church” is praying for Peter’s release. The angel of the Lord (12:7) comes and releases his chains. Peter realizes the Lord sent the angel and he went to Mary’s home .(John Mark’s mother) Peter had an encounter at the gate with a girl who saw him but the thinking of the pray-ers was, “That can’t be Peter – he’s in jail. It must be an angel.”

“We’re here praying for his freedom, so he can’t be free” seemed the mentality.

“But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.” (Acts 12:16)

Is it because our prayers sometimes seem to go unanswered, that we find ourselves expecting God to do little or nothing when we pray?

Too often, we’re even hesitant to see answered prayers for what they are----God’s best surprise!

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Neighborhood pool provides a refreshing respite for John Parker and Andrew from those TEXAS TEMPS! (Which locals think aren't as HOT as some years) 
The 3 older boys were all at different Performance Course conditioning workouts. 
To me, that's brutal in this heat, but....that's what "sports" folks do in Texas. 

So.....tomorrow I'll once again choose to accompany my water buddies to the "cool" pool.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


71 years ago Mommar and Grandaddy eloped. Of course, they didn't have their affectionate grandparent names at that time----they were just Mary (18 for 9 days) and Robert (17). 
Young love.
Looking for a "young" picture to post.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Roller Coaster Week

The week began with (7/13/15) birthday prayers for dear, dear friend Ashley Bryan, one of my "young at heart" friends, who celebrated 92 years of vibrant life this past Monday. Ashley says he celebrates everyday the good Lord gives him as a new "birth" day and he is grateful. I was grateful for hubby and I to have been able to celebrate his 90th with him at Isleford, ME.
Ashley's 90th w/ Larry 2013
Monday ended with reading the Jesus Calling reminder of " "fix your gaze on ME, the Lover of your soul" coupled with hospice prayers with sweet sister in Christ, Patti J., who could barley speak. 
She uttered "A-men" as I  concluded. It was the last word I would ever hear her say.
Jégkrém in Kővágóörs Hungary with Patti, who always chose frozen yogurt when available.
....the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21)

Ashley celebrated with friends all week. Patti went home to be with the Lord early Thursday morning---and I share at her funeral in a matter of hours---a roller coaster ride orchestrated in heaven.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. (Psalm 116:15)

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 16, 2015

Patti Lauren Johnson 
January 4, 1951-July 16, 2015

Nothing bonds the household of faith together quite like serving the Lord side by side----and in this case, on foreign soil.
A 1997 mission trip to Hungary is how I first met Patti. My first trip, her third. She was the veteran, I was the newbie. I was frantic, she was calm. I only knew a few on the team, she even knew some of the Hungarians. None of that mattered, as I discovered, because....we, as members of the household of faith, were all in it together---to share, along with English lessons, the good news of the One who was the "cornerstone of our faith." Patti did it well. I followed.
Oh, what a team we were at the Cornerstone House in Kővágóörs Hungary!
1st row l-r--Cindy E. Suzanne C. Cynthia G. Patti J. (I stood behind Patti)
2nd row l-r Jane M. Bill B. Garland T. Mike H. and Steve C, our leader
Most recently, I have spent the last month with Patti as she walked the final days of her cancer journey. I was not the only one from the "household of God," who came to minister to her and that was encouraging to both of us.
When I was asked to speak at her upcoming funeral, I wondered what I would say about the life of this quiet, gentle, beloved daughter of the Lord. And then I knew----share what she taught me about both living and dying as one who remains faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22, ESV)
For Christ was the "cornerstone" of her faith.......from the day I met her, until the day He took her home---July 16, 2015.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Thrust of Trust

This summer has been a time of transition, concerns and difficult decisions for many of my dear ones, both friends and family: Farming friends rushing to get hay in before the rains; Special needs births, both here and in Mexico; A distressing cancer diagnosis for a young mom; Joblessness; A child's poor decision resulting in life altering consequences; Housing needs/renting/ selling/buying; Impending surgeries; School needs for children when money is lacking; Marital disappointment/discord, here and abroad; Ministry decisions; End of life approach for one's sibling. 
Today's Jesus Calling (7/15) once again speaks to me right where I am in my concern as I seek to pray for these difficulties. Sarah Young writes" "Throw off this oppressive burden with one quick thrust of trust,"
Do you, too, need a thrust of trust? If so, here's a trove of my favorite "trust" verses to help you in your thrusting.
  • Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9, NIV)
  • But I trust in your unfailing love; (Psalm 13:5a) 
  • Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)
  • But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."(Psalm 31:14)
  • O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:12)
  • Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Keep on thrusting; It increases trusting.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More Peas, Please

As friend Doris reminded me, no one knows peas, especially field peas, like Blackberry Farm's John Coykendall. John and his colleagues plant about a dozen varieties row upon row row at the Farmstead. The Blackberry Farm garden's manicured rows are just outside the Garden Shed and around the corner from the Red Barn where many "pea" varieties appear on the "farm to table" menu.
Heirloom peas, which John collects from everywhere, openly pollinate. This just means that when a plant survives, its seeds can be saved and planted the next year. Not like those we buy at a garden center which have been treated (think genetically engineered by Monsanto) to produce for only 1 season.
For me, the shed itself is a great place to sit and observe the activity. For Doris it's a perfect setting for her to participate and ask questions as she pores over ---she even likes his washtub basin and had me take a picture for her to recreate in her own garden "shed" near her kitchen garden at Full Circle Ranch.
Drying beans and pea pods hang from the ceilings. Old-time tools are everywhere. A comfortable hodgepodge of a place that is really like a working laboratory.
Spread across the workbench are bowls of peas of unusual names like Turkey Craw and Siddlin' (a pea that grows well in the foothills of Tennessee, according to John's friend, Weavie Stevie, who has since died)
Doris spent much time at the shed and left with an envelope of Calico Crowder seeds (buff-colored peas w/ splashes of vibrant maroon) & other heritage samples as well. Directions included were written in John’s distinctive script. That alone made them a treasure for her.
Having both seen and tasted some of the freshness of the peas which John and his staff have coaxed to fruition, I appreciate all the effort that is taken for preserving the ""pea."
I appreciate Doris' enthusiasm for "pea" preservation as well.
Doris returned home inspired---often doning her straw hat, rolling up her pants legs when necessary, slipping on her croc gardening shoes---ready to spend an entire day with her "peas."
She, who takes her stand for the Lord every Sunday morning at Berlin United Methodist Church as she worships with faithful folks from her small community, can be found taking a "stand in her garden" on weekdays.

Her diligence reminds me somewhat of Shammah, one of King David's mighty men. Shammah "stood." He resolved in his heart that he would fight for a pea patch....and he won a great victory. (2 Samuel 23:11-12)

As it was for Shammah, sometimes there is a time to "take a stand"----to fight for what is right, even if it's just pea pollination. The resolve of folks like John Coykendall and friend Doris benefit all of us---enabling us to continue to  have "real" peas in our lifetime and for our future generations to be able to say, "More peas, please" .

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summertime Contentment

Question---Where does one find contentment in the "dog days" of summer in The South? Those July days of seemingly inexhaustible heat and high humidity.

Answer----at the kitchen table, of course.

Nothing says summer like homegrown or local produce. Just going to the Farmer's Market can calm one's spirit. Kentucky pole beans. Shelly beans. Mounds of squash. Cartons of okra. Baskets of tomatoes---Bradley, Cherokee purple, Ripley. Ziplocs of shelled purple hulls, butter beans (aka baby limas) and cream peas---the lady peas aren't "in" yet.
Then, hurrying home to "prep" and cook for friends, neighbors and loved ones adds to the excitement.
Bread and butter corn. White Corn. Silver Queen. 
Milking that corn from the cob, a labor of love-----a season all its own---- mixed for me with sentimentality and salivation. A touch of sentimentality as I lightly cut the tips and milk the corn just as Mama Davenport taught me 60+years ago. (Note--best done outside & with an apron or old shirt because "milking corn" is a splattering endeavor.)
Nothing better than fried corn for this gal, who can salivate/drool just smelling it cook. 

Whether it's peach juice dripping down your chin----the smell of cornbread baking in a black-iron skillet in the oven*---or peas, with strange names like pinkeyes, shirt and britches, zippers, and whippoorwills, simmering on the back burner, there's solace found when "sharing" summer's bounty. All served, of course, with sliced "homegrown" tomatoes and a BIG glass of "sweet tea" with lots of ice.
King David might not have had sweet tea, but he and his people were recipients of the bounty of others, as their hunger and thirst was refreshed by others.

They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils,...
The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness. 
(1 Samuel 17: 28-29)

Gratitude for the local harvest. Sounds, smells, tastes of freshness. Supping with others.
Summertime Contentment at its best.

*2nd serving---"poor man's cornbread"---another Mama Davenport "recipe" for frying a mixture of cornmeal (Sunflower SR from Hoptown is the best) and HOT water. Mixture is about the consistency of pancake batter and Mama always fried them in bacon grease, which she kept in a "grease" labeled aluminum container of the back of her stove top.