Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today is my kind of day. The sun is shining, there is a slight breeze, baseball is on TV and I have energy to attack projects that have long been buried.

Our lawn service men came Thursday for their regular cutting service and to do all the clean up things that needed to be done in the areas all around our house. They worked five hours and then had to take all the cuttings and debris to the dumping site when they left here. The men pruned and trimmed, dug up and propped up and the results are amazing. They cleaned out the raised bed at the back of the yard and I have been watching the sun all day so as to determine how much actual sunlight it gets. Most of the privet is gone! The only thing they didn't accomplish was pruning a large crepe myrtly at one corner of the house. It had put on too much new growth so we'll have to wait until Fall for that.

Now the dilemna is what I shall plant where. I'm debating about tomatoes, wondering if I'd be better off to rely on the "Tomato Lady" at the Farmers' Market. For sure we'll have a few herbs--parsley, basil, thyme, maybe dill. Lantana is a must. It's hardy, blooms well and attracts butterflies. It is a perenneal in Mississippi, but is more of an annual here. I'll probably put annuals in the front where some shrubs had to be removed and replace the shrubs in the Fall. How refreshing to be able to turn one's thoughts to the yard and away from health issues!!

Earlier today I took the iron patio furniture off the back porch, hosed it down and gave it a good brushing. After it dried, I sprayed it with black, rust resitant paint. That's a project that's been buried for a "loooong" time and it's good to have it done. The cushions I bought last summer should look nice on freshly painted chairs.

There is pastry dough chilling so I can make a strawberry pie. I just hope the berries taste as good as they look. Somehow it never seems like Saturday if I don't bake something or get ready for Sunday dinner, however the strawberry pie won't last past tonight's supper.

As I sit by the window watching the birds at the feeder in the freshly manicured yard, I can't help but be thankful that I have energy to even think about yardwork and to enjoy our Saturday. It's so much better to think of what I can do than what I cannot. I hope you have a special weekend and that you will have an opportunity tomorrow to worship our Creator.

Pastor Margaret

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My daughter can be described as a serious blogger. She knows the lingo, has a large following, has attended a couple of blogger conferences/conventions and at times gets nice perks. For instance, recently the publicity folks at a family resort contacted her to offer an overnight stay with all expenses paid in return for her writing about them on her blog. That's a pretty nice perk! She has also made some good friends on the internet--some she has met in person; some not, but they are friends who have supported her in both the bad times and the good. That may be the best perk of all.

A blog Marty posted one day this week made me think about what I write and how often I post. Originally, this site was started so friends and family could keep up with us when we were in the midst of medical misery. Our children birthed it and faithfully kept it going until we moved and got semi-settled in Tennessee when the task fell to me. Now I write mainly as a means to keep up with those same friends and family who started reading in the beginning. For me blogging is a means of communicating, though I'm aware that for many others it is so much more.

Marty and a blogger friend and their little boys had a play date one day last week and the question was asked if quantity or quality was most important when blogging. Had I been present for the discussion, I might have said that a more important question for me is: why do I blog? Good grammar, proper sentence structure, correct spelling have always been high on my list of priorities, so in that sense, quality is important. If quality means content, I'm not so sure my writing is up to par. I write about the things that matter to me: children, grandchildren, God's creation, what God is doing in our lives. Just because these things matter to me doesn't mean you care to read about them. As I've gotten older, I've begun to write like I talk and that doesn't always translate into proper sentence structure; plus, there is no spell check available--quality is questionable. As for quantity, I try to post at least once a week--depends on what there is to say.

Possibly I need to be more diligent in posting. Certainly there is room for improvement in the content. Once again, one of my children has made me think.

Pastor Margaret

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The dogwoods in our neighborhood this year are absolutely incredible. I probably think that every Spring, but somehow, this year seems different. Almost every yard has at least one of varying sizes and shapes, mostly white, but there are few pink ones. Driving down some streets you see a mass of white blooms, while in other places the white is sprinkled in with evergreens. No matter the landscape, they are truly beautiful. I am reminded of visiting the Kukenhof (sp?) Gardens outside of Amsterdam with Marty several years ago. We would look at a bed of flowers and think there couldn't possibly be another as beautiful. Then, we'd round a curve in the sidewalk and change our minds about what was most beautiful. Thus, the dogwoods in the neighborhood. Each one seems to be more beautiful than the one before it.
As I said to someone, we are being teased with Spring. We'll have a few warm days and then wake up to frost. The storms that continue rolling through the area are typical for this time of year and for this part of the country, though they are worse closer to the Gulf Coast. That's my opinion anyway. Fortunately, the fickle weather hasn't hurt the aforementioned dogwoods or the azaleas. Spring always brings out suppressed planting urges which are not deterred by my two brown thumbs. The yard men came to start pruning and cleaning up from winter last week and will hopefully finish this week. One of their biggest jobs will be to uproot, dig out, destroy all the privet hedge that has sprung up all over the back. The teacher in me tells me there is a spiritual parallel.
A raised bed planted with perennials and flowering shrubs was put in by a former owner. I'm sure it was pretty at one time, but privet threatens to overtake it. I have tried cutting it back and pulling up the sprigs that don't have established root systems, but it grows right back. As much as I try, I can't get to the roots. I should be as diligent attacking bad habits and "little" sins that threaten to overtake me. Those habits and sins have to be uprooted, not just cut back or they will continue to flourish and grow like the privet.
God's creation is full of lessons for the Christian. Take what we plant, whether it be bulbs, vegetables or grass. All need to be fed and watered, given the proper nourishment and light requirements. So do we need to be fed and nourished by the Word and encouraged by other Christians.
Enjoy God's beauty in your neighborhood and in your own backyard.
Pastor Margaret

Friday, April 10, 2009

After all these years and hearing an explanation, I still arrive at the Friday before Easter and ask, "Why do we call it 'Good' Friday'?" Tom and I attended the noonday service at the church today and, again, were reminded of the horror of what happened to Jesus on that day over two thousand years ago. I sat, listening to the words from John's gospel, thinking not of those who tried, condemned and crucified Jesus, but of how much a part of those events I am. It was for me Christ died. He died so that my sins would be forgiven. I am just as guilty of His death as those who hammered in the nails. It was a sad day in history----but you and I know the rest of the story.

Tony Compolo tells a wonderful story about being in a "preach off" with and elderly, black minister. Compolo preached and was convinced that he had done his best and that no one could beat him. The other minister got to his feet and began in a soft, deliberate tone, "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming." That was his sermon and he kept saying those words over and over until he had the congregation on their feet, proclaiming along with him, "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming." They brought the house down, as the saying goes. As we drove away from our church today my somber mood was turned upside down when I thought of those words, "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming." Hallelujah and amen.

Have a glorious Easter.
Pastor Margaret

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Finally, we are getting back to normal or whatever our "normal" is these days. Treating the lung symptoms has helped so much! My breathing is better, the energy level has gone up and over all I'm feeling better. What a relief!! Tom is to have an upper GI scope the early part of next week. He had his annual check up with the gastroenterologist this past week and we're still looking for answers and help for his weight loss. I think we all suspect that Parkinson's is the cause, but we need to be sure.

Yesterday Tom spent about four hours watching the webcase of a Parkinson's symposium in Houston. I am amazed with the technology! Other than sitting for all that time with a laptop perched on you, it's an easy way too tune into the latest information. The symposium yesterday was about the effects of exercise and creativity on Parkinson's and it was excellent.

Jacob is growing up too fast. I saw him last Sunday after Sunday School after his having been out of town for five or six days. He was standing in the fellowship hall visiting with a young lady, but when he saw me, he stopped, gave me a quick hug and said hello. I didn't see him again until Friday night when we went to their house to eat supper. His first words when I walked in: "Mawmaw, you got a hair cut." Actually, I had gotten this extreme hair cut while he was out of town. He had seen me on Sunday--without really seeing me. The young lady must have held his total attention, a sure sign that adolescence is on its way.

Yesterday afternoon I had a phone call from Christopher. Marty said he had been playing with the phone, saying "Nana," so she said, "Why don't we call her?" Of course, when I said hello, he got really quiet for a while, but I did hear "hi" before they hung up. We can't wait to spend some time with him this summer.

We had supper with Tommy and family Friday night, the first time we had been to their house for a meal in five weeks. In honor of the occasion Tommy copied a dish he had eaten in one of his all time favorite restaurants, The Crescent City Grill in Hattiesburg, MS. He made andouille and pecan encrusted salmon on the grill--a real treat. I had planned to make a dessert, but got involved making something else to take and ran out of time. True to form, Drew walked through the kitchen and asked if I had brought dessert. You can bet I had something ready last night when we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers together.

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. It is a week when the thoughts of Christians turn to the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. But, just as surely as these days bring sorrow, the resurrection which follows brings great joy and celebration. May this be a week of reflection and repentance, culminating with the proclamation: I know that my Redeemer lives.

Pastor Margaret