Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A few thoughts from the country . . .

The honeycomb pattern continues, though I did take out about eight rows. There are obvious (to me) mistakes on the back, but they are interesting, add to the pattern and with the advice of the expert at the shop, I decided to leave them. She asked if I could recreate them on the front. Again, knitting parallels life. I'm not really sure how I made the mistakes. I only know I didn't follow the pattern in those particular places. Don't we at times ask ourselves the questions: "what did I do wrong?" "Why didn't I listen?" In knitting, we can take out the mistakes, begin again. In life we ask for forgiveness, regroup and pray for wisdom to follow God's direction.

News from the compound:

  • Sarah fell off the rip-stick Saturday and broke her arm.

  • Last Tuesday I met Pastor Steve for an afternoon of visiting shut-ins and serving communion. It was a great time!

  • Friday night I took Sarah to Petal's Homecoming. She loved the court, the game and especially watching Jacob in the outstanding band show. I loved some of those things too, but most of all loved that time with her.

  • Saturday I went to knitting class, the grocery store and spent the afternoon cooking. By bedtime, I was exhausted. Lesson learned: my energy is not limitless!

  • Sunday I drove to Jackson for some R&R w/ friends. We ate well, visited well and on Monday went to the (new to me) Mississippi Craft Center. It has always been one of my favorite places to go to buy gifts and had been housed in a log cabin structure right on the Natchez Trace. Now it has moved to a much larger, new building closer to the Ross Barnett Resevoir. We also went by the "old" Farmers' Market--only two vendors remain. Others have moved to a newer spot a few miles away. Sad, but I guess that's progress. I'll just have to gaze at the Wyatt Waters' watercolor print of my favorite produce place that is hanging in a prominent place in the house. It brings memories of three generations of our buying there, hours spent pickling, canning and freezing what we bought.

  • When I arrived home, my door was unlocked, the airconditioner was going full blast, the lights and the TV were on and the Suttle cat was asleep in a chair. I had been invaded!! Shortly, Tommy walked in and asked if I noticed what all had been done. I had given him a list of things he needed to do for me and he had done almost all of them. Wow! I should go away more often. Light bulbs had been changed, filters in vents replaced, a leaky commode fixed and all the stereo equipment hooked up--though the CD player looks a little quaint resting on four giant legos. Next time he says, "Just give me a list," I'll be more prompt in responding!

Coming up is a trip to San Antonio for the annual Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network conference, being held this year in conjucntion with the Association of Retired Ministers and Spouses. I have not attended in three years and I'm looking forward to seeing friends. In November I'm headed to Raleigh to see Marty and her family. That will be great!!!

The lectionary epistle readings right now are in Philippians. This morning I read the book through in The Message and the words Peterson had translated gave additional insights. I have always heard that if one word were used to describe Philippians, it would be "rejoice." Paul's joy in knowing Christ, his joy in his relationship w/ the people of Philippi and the joy he wants to share with them literally jumps off the pages. Have you ever been so grateful for things in your Christian life that you want more than anything for others to know/experience the joy you have? I often have those thoughts. I want so much for my friends and loved ones to share the trust I have, yet words are inadequate. Paul tells the Philippians to live the joy, let their lives show the love they have for God. He says "Enjoy God." Amen and Amen.


Pastor Margaret

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life is like the Honeycomb pattern . . .

Several weeks ago I found a men's sweater pattern that I liked. It was labeled "easy," and looked like something I could do. After many starts, stops, ripping and frustration I think I finally have the pattern and instructions nailed to my brain and in my fingers. Much to my dismay, I discovered that some of what I thought were mistakes were not. The complete pattern is eight rows and has to be completed at least a couple of times before it remotely resembles the picture. The owner of the yarn shop encouraged me yesterday to keep on following the pattern, step by step, stitch by stich and I would discover that I had indeed knit a finished product. As I sat and knit last night, I realized how similar to life her instructions are. We don't always see the finished product, we don't always know where we are headed, we don't always know just where it is that God is calling us or what God wants us to do--it doesn't matter. Our task is to keep on following the pattern God has laid out, step by step, faithfully and obediently doing as God instructs. When the time is right, we'll see.

I've had a fine Saturday. I put the finishing touches on the sermon I'm preaching in Laurel tomorrow, made a pound cake for Tommy and Liz to take to a family with a new baby, had a phone visit with a lady from the church, knit, watched football and played with three of the grandchildren. Whew! Now I'm tired, ready to eat a hamburger fresh off the grill and go to bed. Morning will come and I have to allow myself enough time to find my way through the country backroads to Laurel--about thirty miles from here. It's the church where Tommy worked before going to Tennessee and I baptized Drew there. It will be great to be in the pulpit and to see old friends.

Monday, I'm up early again, but this time headed to Jackson for a doctor's appointment. He has scans scheduled again--nor sure why. I continue to wait for some idea of what consistent treatment will look like. Meanwhile, I pray to know what it is God has in mind for me now. There is a cross stitched poem haning over my computer desk. It was a favorite of a friend's mother and when she died, the friend had the poem printed on notecards that she used to acknowledge remembrances for her mom. I charted it for cross stitch and made one for the friend and one for myself. It reads:

Help me, O God,
not to put off a task or
delay a decision until tomorrow
that I should do or make today.
May I live this day in such a way
that if your call for me should
sound at morning, noontime, or evening,
it may find me ready. Amen.

It's part of the honeycomb pattern. Funny how losing a spouse affects our outlook on the future. For so long, we lived a life of "when" and "later." When we realized just how illness would alter the course of our lives, we knew that the whens and laters didn't matter. Life is now. Life is very much today. It is taking things step by step, focusing on obedience, being ready.

God bless you as you worship tomorrow!
Pastor Margaret

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A gazillion reasons I haven't posted . . .

  1. Problems with the computer responding--drives me crazy, so I just turn it off.

  2. I have become addicted to knitting.

  3. Discovered books by favorite authors that I hadn't yet read.

  4. Granny day care two days a week and some afternoons.

  5. Continued efforts to stash all my stuff.

  6. Boredom and loneliness don't need to find their way to printed page.

Even now, as I type, letters and whole words appear seconds after I type and the cursor jumps around all over the place. Is my problem the computer or the internet connection?

I discovered a knitting group at the local shop and I try to go every Friday for a couple of hours. In between times I work on projects. Actually my skills have improved, especially those necessary for ripping out, fixing mistakes or starting over.

When I'm not knitting, I'm reading. Lately I've read some real "page turners" and can't put them down until I'm finished. Friday I went to the Petal Library to get a card and to get the schedule for storytime. Elisa and I will check it out this Thursday. Coincidentally, the library is just across the street from the yarn shop. How's that for convenience?

Elisa spends Tuesdays and Thursdays with me. It's great fun and company for me, but when she's here I do little else but talk to her, read, color or play outside. The fact is: everything else can wait!

It seems as if I've spent hours and hours going through boxes in the office. That is tedious, but also it can be quite emotional. There are so many signs of memories. Tom is everywhere!

Every once in a while Elisa will say to me: "I'm boring." Obviously she has heard older brothers and sister complain about being bored. For sure, she is never boring and her saying that makes me wonder if part of my boredom at times is because I'm a bore myself. I'm working on being alone and not lonely. It's hard and that's all I'll say.

Our God has promised never to leave us alone.


Pastor Margaret