Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another update . . .

The visit with the doctor in Jackson yesterday went well, but all the news didn't reach me until this morning. There is both good and bad news and some inbetween.

  • Good news first: NO progression of disease

  • Then, the bad: Protein count is still to high for treatment with Avastin, so we wait, praying that will correct itself and that there will be no permanent kidney damage

  • And next the in between: My appendix is enlarged and needs to be watched.

The nurse commented that "someone" is definitely looking out for me. I could tell her, with joy and conviction, that He always does!

I drove through some torrential rain going to Jackson Sunday afternoon and before I left to come home yesterday, Tommy called to alert me to the bad storms in our area. Thankfully, they had passed before I got here. For several days in a row, the heavens have opened and the heavy rains have come. Saturday afternoon Tommy had to run into town to get a couple of things from the grocery and on the way in, he called me. He had driven past the other house we had considered before settling on this one and he just wanted to tell me how glad he was that we made the decision we had made. He said front yard of the other house looked like a lake!

You know, God showers blessings on us like the clouds dump the rain. Blessings overflow in our lives, pooling around us like an abundance of rain floods our yards. Around here everything is so green. The crops are flourishing, cotton is blossoming; signs of abundance of the blessings of Nature. As I drove past those abundant fields this morning I asked myself: Should this sight not serve as a reminder that just as God showers us, we should likewise grow and flourish? God's goodness is all around us; it is within us, waiting to be acknowledged and shared.

Rejoice and be glad!

Pastor Margaret

Saturday, July 23, 2011

South Mississippi . . . is hot but not as hot as the rest of the country. We have been spared, maybe because of the thunderstorms that call on us almost daily. We had a sudden, terrific downpour yesterday that is bound to have put more water into the unfinished room underneath my house. We have had to have a plumber and a foundation man out to advise us about the problem and we were to call the next time we had such a downpour so someone could check the origin of the water. I forgot. Today it rained just enough to keep Tommy from doing yard work. We are so prone to complain--too hot, too cold; too much rain, not enough. Why are we never content?

Things around the "compound" were quiet today. Liz and the girls went to a neighboring town for the day to visit some friends down from Jackson, TN, Drew went to a movie with a friend, Tommy worked inside. The only sounds were occasional barks from the dogs and Jacob practicing his saxophone parts for band. I'm not used to such quiet!

In the morning I'll preach at the church where I attend. I will never cease being grateful for every opportunity to share God's word. After lunch I'll pack up and head to Jackson so I'll be there for an early morning appointment for scans, tests and a visit with the doctor on Monday. I'm ready for some answers and to learn what kind of schedule is in my future.

One of the lectionary passages for tomorrow is Romans 8:26-39, familiar verses that are mind-boggling. Studying for the sermon caused me to reflect on the many times God has worked to bring good from seemingly dire circumstances in my life or in the lives of people I know and love. God is in the midst of every circumstance. Once again, I was overcome with the knowledge that God chose me to be His child, not because of anything I have done, but because of His love and grace. God loves me and nothing will ever change that--absolutely nothing! I pray that what I know to be true and the gratitude I feel will be obvious tomorrow and that God will be glorified.

Pastor Margaret

Saturday, July 16, 2011

There's no place like home . . .

Familiar places, familiar foods, familiar sounds and scents, they are part of the feelings of contentment. It's not utopia, the cost of living has risen here just as in other places, it's the year for state elections in Mississippi and the commercials are tiresome as I remember them in the last two states where we have lived. But, it's home! I'm not even a native Mississippian, but it's where most of my roots are sunk and it's home.

My little house is beginning more and more every day to look like home thanks to friends, both old and new who have come to help unpack, put away things and help decorate. The unpacking and putting away is more time consuming and tiring than anything else, but I don't have a decorating bone in my body. The bonus in having them come, of course, is the visiting. What would I do without friends to help make this house my home?

I'm settling into my kitchen and that makes everyone happy. In the past week I've put up a bushel of lady peas, made a cobbler kind of dessert for church night supper and I have a sour cream pound cake in the oven right now. I have fresh peaches to put on top if anyone wants that. Of course, Tom thought it was sacrilege to put anything on his cake. He never thought there was anything in the house to eat if there wasn't a sour cream pound cake in the pantry. I haven't had a kitchen with this much counter space since we left Jackson, MS. I love it!!!! Tom would love it. When I can cook, I know it's home.

As contented as I am, I cannot forget that this world is not my home. There are many mansions in my Father's house and there is a room waiting for me. At times I try to imagine what that room will be like. I can only believe that the home I love now, the contentment I feel will not begin to compare to what awaits in heaven. I have thought a lot this year of those who have gone ahead. Obviously, I think of Tom, but also of several friends who have passed since he did in February: Bob Harris, Pat Pattillo, Larry Huggett, Larry Rhodes, Elma Allender, Shannon Kruser and our dear, dear Bob Bohn. I know there are others. These are freshest on my mind. I see Bob Harris's twinkling blue eyes, hear him sharing his Navy experiences; there is Pat with his infectious smile looking for a pinochle game; Larry Huggett knows from experience, now, that "God is good; all the time God is good" and is ready to get everyone singing; Larry Rhodes is telling of his travels, being an encourager; Elma and Shannon speak softly as they share their tender hearts; and there is Bob with his gift of hospitality, ready to entertain with stories of his life. Tom is in good company. Whether my sanctified imagination is stretching things or not, I don't know, but I remember such good times with these folks on earth that I know it has to be even better in heaven. One day I'll be able to say: "Without a doubt, there is truly no place like home."

Pastor Margaret

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ramblings . . .

It's after nine and supper is cooking--Suttle's version of "Low Country Boil." Tommy has shrimp, sausage, red potatoes and corn cooking in his fish cooker. I've got French bread ready to go in the oven and blueberry cobbler cooking. It's late, but it will be worth the wait.

The little girls spent several hours with me this afternoon. Mainly, they do their thing--dressing up, playing house, using those wonderful imaginations of theirs. I am royally entertained. Today I was busy working in the office, unpacking books for the bookcases that Tommy put together for me yesterday. I unpacked lots of family pictures, including several of Tom by himself and him with the children and our beloved Mastiff, Sugar. Meredith and Elisa wanted pictures of their Paw Paw to put in their room and seeing the telephone in there, they began imaginary phone calls from heaven to talk to him. Their talk was full of "I love you, Paw Paw" and "I miss you." He is SO present with them. Their love for him is a real comfort, but, at the same time, it reminds me of how much I miss him, how he loved them and how he would have loved watching them develop and grow.

Things are coming together, albeit slowly. Getting books on the shelves in the office is a major accomplishment. I've set aside things for both children and have tried to determine which pictures I will hang and which ones I'll eliminate. What a chore! Several things are still missing; lots of things just sit, waiting to either be thrown or put away. As Jacob said, this will be a real cozy place when everything is settled.

I'm looking forward to filling our pulpit on July 24 while Pastor Steve is away on vacation. It's good to be studying again. By my chair sits a book on cancer Steve wants me to read in preparation for possibly being part of some sort of support group in the fall. One of the elders has asked Tommy if it would be alright to call and ask me some questions about intentional Older Adult Ministry. God continues to open doors for ministry, both in my front yard and in the church. It's an exciting time! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

Blessings to you and yours,
Pastor Margaret