Sunday, August 14, 2011

Enjoy God . . .

Psalm 68:4 in The Message says Enjoy God, cheer when you see him! That instruction was on my mind as I drove to church this morning. I cheered as I drove past the Mom and Pop vegetable stand just down the road, being thankful for all the fresh produce we enjoy. I cheered as I took a look at God's creation, ordinary sights I often take for granted. I cheered when I approached two Petal churches, their parking lots filled to capacity. And I cheered as I reflected on the celebration of Tom's birthday we had last night and the night before.

Friday, August 12, Tom would have been seventy. It was a day I had been dreading. For lots of years I had tried to make it the most special day for him. Now, what would I do? The day would be lonely; there would be no surprises, no plans just for him. I need not to have worried. Friends who have long been part of some of those surprises and celebrations called or wrote notes. Family here said I could remain by myself or be with them. The day was full. I went into Petal to the yarn shop to meet some new folks and knit for a while, then met our pastor for a two and a half hour lunch. That night, after teenagers had been taken to their activities and the little ones had gone to bed, we enjoyed one of Tom's favorite meals--grilled steak, twice baked potato and green salad with homemade dressing full of horseradish--just the way he liked it. Last night when all the children were present we poured champagne for the adults, sparkling grape juice for the children and toasted Paw Paw. Liz asked each child to share a memory. This morning I cheered when I thought of what they had shared and I felt Tom smiling, tears glistening in his eyes. I cheered as I thanked God for Tom's birthday. It was a special day and a special celebration.

I pray that I will always remember to enjoy God and that I will cheer when I see Him in things both great and small.

Pastor Margaret

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Popcorn Runs in the Family . . .

(*Dedicated to my FOP popcorn buddy.)

Until Monday I thought I was the only member of our family who feasts on popcorn for lunch. When I checked in with Sarah, chief baby sitter for those who had not yet started to school, to see if she had any ideas for lunch, she replied: I thought I'd pop popcorn. I knew she loved it almost as much as I, but didn't know it was a lunch time favorite. Being the conscientious grandmother that I am, I said that was fine by me, but they needed something that at least sounded more nutritious. I offered grapes. After everyone except Elisa and I ate, she and I walked back over to my house. The thought of popcorn and the lingering aroma was a reminder that it had been a while since I'd had such a lunch so I popped a bag for Elisa and me. She consumed almost the entire bag, leaving me to wonder how such a little girl could eat so much popcorn. Best of all is the memory of seeing her snuggled up in the chair beside me, holding the bowl, munching away.

Jacob started to school Monday and the other three went today. Elisa spent the day with me.
Meredith had her first day in kindergarten and looked so grown up in her uniform of khaki shirt and red polo, topped off with a white bow in her hair. She has matching backpack and lunchbox. She reported that her favorite part of the day was the playground and getting a snack from the teacher. No one could get all their supplies in their backpacks. Hopefully, those things will be less filled from now on or they will all be bent over from carrying such loads. Sarah made some new friends and said she had a good day. I have just finished making colored letters on the computer for a folder she is making about herself. When we came to the office to print the pages, I saw the same kind of folder that Tommy made when he was her age. Maybe tomorrow I'll hear about Drew's first day in a new school.

As for me, I drew lots of pictures and watched a lot of Sponge Bob Squarepants. I'm still trying to figure out if it has any educational value. I did get some more things unpacked and put away. Maybe I'll print colored letters for Elisa tomorrow and for sure, we'll tune into a different program!

Happiness is being a grandmomma to eight special children! Now, if only I could see my North Carolina ones more often!!

Pastor Margaret

Saturday, August 06, 2011

August . . .

What happened to June and July? It seems like just yesterday that we were frantically packing, saying our goodbyes and heading south. The children just finished school for the year and suddenly they are a few inches taller, brown from the sun and "eagerly" anticipating the start of a new school year Wednesday--all except Jake who starts Monday. (Of course, that's not counting the two weeks he has already spent at band camp.) I look around, still seeing boxes and clutter and wonder what I did during the preceding months. And, I wonder if things will ever be decent and in order.

One great stumbling block is taking time to go through boxes of memorabilia. I have both "who cares?" and "I surely can't throw this away" attitudes. Do my children want to have to go through a box containing cards they made for me when they were little? Will they care about their first grade writing exercises? If I save all of Tom's awards and commendations will his descendants know any more about him? I've been going through such a box this week and have found that I can't look at all those things in one sitting. I have to remember - - - and that takes time.

Today has been a lazy day, simply because I designated it as such. Only necessary chores have been done. For the most part I have sat with my knitting trying to figure out instructions to finish one project and begin another. I learned yesterday that the shop here in Petal has a "sit and knit" session every Friday and I look forward to going this next week. Hopefully, I'll meet some new friends and learn something too.

Mornings don't start that early, but they begin with getting the coffee ready and settling down in the recliner to read a page from a John Calvin devotional book and my daily Bible chapters. It has been a while since I have followed my suggested pattern of reading a Proverb and 5 Psalms a day, so I started that the first of August again. Only this time, I'm reading from The Message and find the translation interesting and refreshing. Many of you have heard me repeat this recommendation made to me by friend and mentor, Joe Rightmyer, and I find that each time I follow this practice I learn more and draw closer to God. A more serene setting helps really focus my attention where it needs to be. Ah! Retirement in the country!!

Tomorrow is the day of worship and our minister will be back in the pulpit, back from vacation. I look forward to being present, to hearing the message, and to sharing communion with a new church family!

Pastor Margaret