Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dancing in the Streets

The public schools of Jackson-Madison County officially closed yesterday. Most, including teachers, were happy to say goodbye to another year. Liz has had a particularly challenging time with one "special" child. I know it has been frustrating and tiring to deal with this child in a loving manner, but she's done it. Wednesday the child's mom and grandmom came and heaped thank yous and praises on Liz--proof that they know a good teacher when they see one. Makes me proud! The school board is doing a grand job of moving people around for next year. Some pupils don't know yet where they are being assigned. It's a mess, but it's not peculiar to this town. I learned when Marty was here that their daughter, Mallory, had everything set to enter high school and got a letter telling her she was being reassigned in the Raleigh area. I picked up Jacob from school yesterday and loved being able to go the last day. He and I have a routine of getting ice cream on the way home and if he talks to me at all, it's then. I'm a grandmother, so I'm safe.

The week was long for us--didn't have that much to do, but we both were tired every day. Things started looking up this morning and I'm hoping blood counts will rise and I'll feel better. Our dishwasher just quit a week ago Friday. It was FULL, controls set and it wouldn't start. It was Tuesday before a service man could come and he gave the "good news" that it would cost almost to fix it as a new one. We're talking about a 3 year old Kitchen Aid! Aren't they supposed to be the be all and end all? Let me tell you. They are not. The KA had a one year parts and labor warranty and when it expired I bought a two year extended warranty which expired
May 7--exactly one week before it decided to just sit there and occupy space. After much discussion, we determined to buy a new one, but couldn't make it to the store until late yesterday. We have always searched, researched, compared stores, compared warranties, before deciding. This time I said: "Let's just go to the place where we know and trust what we are told and buy it there." We did and ended up buying a machine with a warranty longer than my life expectancy. Sometimes I have set goals of living until my children are adults, living to see my grandchildren graduate from high school, or living to be Tom's carepartner. Never have I had the goal of outliving the warranty on the dishwasher. Now I do!

Tomorrow is Pentecost and it also the preschool graduation for the Presbyterian Day School at Humboldt. I have really enjoyed the sermon preparations for Lent, the Easter season, Ascension etc. and I've been focused on Pentecost. Then, I wondered how to combine that with a focus on the children that would be spotlighted tomorrow. After Wednesday night Bible study I mentioned my dilemna and my friend Mel said "go for Pentecost." Proven point. That was the work of the Holy Spirit, speaking through Mel to tell me where to focus. God promised us His presence and His power through the Holy Spirt; Jesus told the disciples to use that power to be His witnesses, first at home, then in the workplace, the community and out in the world (my words). Who better, who more important do we have to bear witness to than the children God has entrusted to our care? Happy Birthday Church!!! I'll be wearing my stole that is mostly red made by my friend Joan at FOPC.

Sometime in June or July we're going to Raleigh to see our family there and for me to baptize Colin. What a blessing to hold your grandchild, declare him a member of the family of God and to pray for him to follow the way of Christ! It will be a wonderful day!

Pastor Margaret

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back again . . .
Has it really been over a week since I've posted? Makes me wonder where the time goes. After all I am retired and have nothing to do or so I've been led to believe. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. We still have to eat, wear clean clothes, keep appointments, etc.--all the things that make life fun. Retirement is a concept I can't quite grasp. It's much like age. The years keep piling on, but I forget the numbers. Surely I won't be seventy in a few months! A wise man once said: the only retirees are in heaven. I believe it! After all the catechism says that a person's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. It doesn't say when to start, nor does it end--forever is a long time. In the eyes of the world I'm retired and have lots of time; in my own mind I'm busy as I can be and love every minute of it.

Today is a good day! Forty one years ago while Tom was at the Law School taking two of the most important exams of his first year in law school: Contracts and Torts, I was at the hospital giving birth to Tommy. It almost seems like yesterday. Then I look around and I think about the "remember whens" and I know years have passed. We will have birthday dinner with him, Liz and all the children later today. I love celebrating family birthdays and didn't think anyone loved them as much as I. That was before his children were born. They make every birthday, every holiday an event. That's part of the joy of the day. Liz has made lasagne and I'm taking German chocolate cake at his request--baked the cake yesterday and will make frosting in a bit.
In our family we call it "elbow cake." Before Tommy married he and his friends came in one night after I had gone to bed. The next day was Tommy's birthday and I had made the requested German chocolate cake late in the day, leaving it on racks covered with dish towels to cool overnight. When I uncovered the layers I noticed one was sagging through the rack and I wondered why it fell. I carefully pieced it back together, went ahead and frosted the cake. We had family dinner and friends came for cake. One said, "Hey, Tommy. What did your mom say when she saw I had put my elbow in the cake?" Thus the name; thus a memory; thus a laugh all over again.

After worship this morning the congregation at Humboldt honored Tom and me with a "thank you" luncheon. It was a bittersweet time. A new pastor will begin on June 15, a pastor we believe God has called for this time and for this church. That's good. We, on the other hand, have gotten so attached to our Humboldt friends that we are sad to be saying goodbye. What a wonderful year it has been for us!

On the health front we're doing okay. Tom continues to gain a little weight and recover strength. The therapy he's had has worked wonders. I have had my root canal and await an appointment to have the crown measurements taken and then installed. Treatment continues and seems to be going well. God is good!

Pastor Margaret

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Here's the story . . .

As I've received e-mails and facebook messages in the last few days, I realize that some of you might have wondered about our safety and the condition of our property. I am happy to report that, though we seem to be water logged, we have remained safe and dry inside. Water got inside our garage and several things got wet. The tornado sirens woke us about 3 a.m. Saturday morning, we got up, turned on the TV and made arrangements to go to our "safe place." Tom went back to sleep when the warning was lifted about 6:30 and I stayed up until I could get in touch with our daytime sitter to tell her not to leave her four year old. Also, roads giving way, sink holes, bridges washing out and flash flooding was already a problem and we weren't sure she could get here. Then I went back to sleep for a couple of hours. Saturday it rained off and on all day, with the emergency management people recommending that people stay off the streets and roads and that all activities for that day and Sunday be cancelled. I talked with two of the leaders in the Humboldt church and one told me his rain gauge registered 16 inches. They weren't sure I could get there from here, so we cancelled our services as well. That night the rain continued and there was a tornado touchdown in Humboldt. About 3:30 I heard my phone signal that I had a text message--Tommy around the corner to see if we were up watching the weather. We weren't, but I stayed up the rest of that night as the severe storms came through all around us. The pump under Tommy's house died sometime Saturday and when the plumber finally got to him at 8:30 that night, he diagnosed the problem and out of the goodness of his heart told Tommy that he would loan him his personal pump until he could get back on Monday to install a new one. Meanwhile, the downstairs, consisting of a shop, a big storage room , laundry and large playroom all flooded. What a mess they have had! Finally things are beginning to come together to repair the damage and I cannot say how generous and considerate the service people have been.

Our friend LaLa, recent graduate of Bama took four of the children to spend the day at her house yesterday. That in itself was a gift, but she also washed, dried and folded six loads of clothes for Liz. (Before the storms came, Tommy had planned to put a new motor in their dryer. The motor burned out last weekend so they could wash, but not dry at home.) I took hamburger patties and hotdogs out of the freezer and we fixed supper. Nobody seemed to care that Paw Paw made the fire too hot and some of the burgers looked like charcoal briquettes. It's disappointing to realize our limitations and how little we can do to help these days. So much of what Tommy knows about fixing things, etc. he learned from his granddaddy who was always the first person we called, either to come help or give advice. Tommy laughed at one point and said: "At times like these, I really hate Dad's Parkinson's. If he could he would be right here next to me doing all he could to help." Tomorrow the schools reopen and hopefully, things will get back to normal.

We went to Corinth Friday and resumed treatment. Dr. Reed decided that three doses of Neupogen to stimulate development of white blood cells this week before the root canal were in order. This is a drug I had taken in California with few side effects, but when taken here last fall, the effects were such that the doctor discontinued it and rearranged my treatments. I have had two of the shots and so far only extreme fatigue and some back ache are affecting me. I was going to have to travel to Corinth three days this week to be given the shots, but our friend Marge who frequently drives us has a retired oncology nurse friend with whom she paints. Through that contact, the nurse has come by my house to give the shots. As a result of the storms Saturday night there are stretches of the highway leading to Corinth that are impassable. Liz commented this morning, Marge is a good friend to have. I couldn't agree more for lots of reasons!!! My CA125 is not as low as I would like it to be, but it did go down about 3 points.

For the rest of the week I'll be busy reworking Sunday's sermon which is entitled, Extreme Makeover. Inspired by lectionary tasks, I've been preaching about the difference that should be obvious in our lives because we have "seen" Jesus or we have spent time with him. Peter was one whose whole being changed after the Spirit was given him by Jesus and certainly after Pentecost. My challenge is tying it to Mothers' Day in some meaningful way. Circle meets Monday and that lesson has to be prepared so I'll be studying---except on Friday when our dear Mississippi friends come for the day. We can't wait to see them.

Two prayer requests to share: Susan at 1st Church, Humboldt who recently had surgery for ovarian cancer and has started treatment and Boyd, retired medical doctor, who left Sunday for a medical mission trip to Haiti. He's from our home church in Mississippi, but has gone with a church in Fayetteville, NC.

This has gotten to be longer than I anticipated, but we had a little more news than usual.

Pastor Margaret