Saturday, October 29, 2011

Who Knew . . .

*that buying a car tag could be so difficult? Mississippi has extremely high car tag prices, so you would think the state would be anxious to take my money. I have been to the tax collector's office twice and both times have come away empty handed. At first, I didn't have the registration and finally had to have a duplicate faxed to me. Now, I have no title because it's in Tom's name; it's not legally a part of our trust so I have to have my children agree to "let me have it." The law says you must register your car in your new place of residence within the first thirty days. Oops! I'm a little late!!!!

*that fall could be so beautiful in south Mississippi? I know I've said before how beautiful the colors are, but they keep getting more beautiful with every passing day. Today, as I was driving home from the grocery store, I was struck by how beautiful the picked over cotton field was. There stood brown stalks, with empty bolls and remnants of cotton missed by the picker framed by red, yellow and green trees in the distance. The psalmist said, "Enjoy God." How can I help but enjoy Him when His creation is so lovely?

*that I would have been in my new place five months and still not be settled? The clutter is getting to me! Last week I spent hours in the office filing papers, (looking for the car registraton), sorting, and throwing away stuff I'm sure no one wants. The memories uncovered keep me company.

*that I would have the opportunity and privilege to be involved in some of my grandchildren's lives on a daily basis? The Petal High School Marching Band is competing in its fourth competion of the month in Clinton this weekend. Liz took the children, met her parents and her two brothers and their families, but I elected not to make the trip. I have seen the complete show and am amazed at how good they are. I have volunteered to pick Jake up when he gets back to the school at 1:30 A.M. Elisa will be four on Wednesday--hard to believe she's the same little baby that Tom and I cuddled and kept as an infant. She made him smile then; I can only imagine how much he would smile at her now! Soon I'll be packing for my visit with the three North Carolina grandchildren. Can't wait to see how they have grown and changed.

Only God knows what our futures hold. Only God knows the plans He has for us. If I've learned anything in these 70+ years it's that life is best left to God. We cling to Him in times of trial and crisis, but how much more important it is to cling and trust for every day things. As long as we draw breath, we belong to God. In fact, "In life and in death, we belong to God." Every day is an adventure, a day to be lived in obedience, a day to give thanks for the faithfulness of God. "Who knew?" God knew; God knows.

Pastor Margaret

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Excuses, excuses . . .

Life is happening! It seems like every day has it's own special task to perform and all the while I'm reminding myself that I'm retired - and tired at times. Then there are those annoying, continuing computer problems. Is the internet at fault, is the computer being cantankerous or is the user too dumb to answer either question? Some days I don't even want to sign on!!

Last week I attended the annual POAMN (Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network) conference, held this year in conjunction with the Association of Retired Ministers, Spouses and Survivors. I had not been able to attend for the last three years and so enjoyed seeing special friends and colleagues in ministry. POAMN and I invested in one another over twenty years ago. Much of what I know about older adult ministry has been learned through print resources offered, conferences and the network experience--sharing with one another. It is a ministry of the PC(USA) that I have supported and loved--as did Tom. The keynote speaker last week was Cynthia Rigby, professor of theology from Austin Seminary. She, without a doubt in my mind, is the best keynoter we have ever had: inspiring, encouraging, delightful, knowledgeable, brilliant! I also took in a few workshops. I've come full circle. I was in my forties when I began in older adult ministry and often felt it necessary to apologize for my age and for "presuming" to talk about growing older. The between years have brought me face to face with practically everything about which I spoke, but I'm still not, nor will I ever be, an authority on any subject. We experienced many changes, some associated with loss; I became a full time caregiver; personal illness tried to turn my world upside down; and one of the most difficult things was having to insist on taking car keys from my husband. Through all the changes, the illnesses, the trials, my POAMN friends and colleagues have been present and praying. I will be forever greatful!!

Fall has come to Mississippi! Monday I drove to Jackson for the monthly oncology visit and was happy to see slight changes of color in the woods. We don't have the sugar maples or the aspens that provide the spectacular color that draws tourists, rather our color comes from sweet gums, Chinese tallows, some ghinkos, dogwoods, crepe myrtles and fields of ragweed, black eyed susans and cotton ready to be harvested. Those deep reds and yellows contrasted against the very present pines are a beautiful sight. Cotton is planted not far from us on the road to Meredith's school. I have loved watching it grow from small plants, to the blooming stage, to open bolls, then to defoliated plants, waiting to be picked. As it stands there waiting, it is white as far as you can see--the inspiration for the popular tee shirt that sports a picture and caption, reading "Ski Mississippi." Such simple pleasures!

Also visible on my trip to Jackson were several pick-up trucks parked on the side of the road, loaded with Mississippi sweet potatoes to sell. They are the best. Now, don't confuse a sweet potato with a yam. They are not the same thing. To quote an internet site: The yam tuber has a brown or black skion which resembles the bark of a tree and off-white, purple or red flesh, depending on the variety. They are at home growing in tropical climates, primarily in South Amnerica, Africa, and the Caribbean. I don't know that I have ever eaten a yam and I bet many of you haven't either. Serve sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving and Mississippi ones at that!!!

Tomorrow is Presbytery in Vicksburg and I am going before them to move my membership from Mid-South Presbytery. Guess then, I will officially be home.

Now, I absolutely must find my car registration. I am long overdue in buying a Mississippi tag. Life continues to happen. I need to be ready.

Pastor Margaret