I’m giving myself a couple of days off, so will pick up in the book of John again after Christmas.
You know, we can hardly think of the birth of Jesus without also thinking of His death and resurrection. The whole story is one of great love, sacrifice, suffering, and triumph–not just for Him, but for us as well.
If you are not sure you know you are born again and on your way to heaven, I urge you to read John’s gospel. The whole story is there.
I’m praying that you all manage to put aside all the negativity and anger this year has engendered as you take time out to enjoy this holiday and the reason behind it. Here’s a lovely song to help you get into the spirit of Christmas.
I’m up a bit earlier today, so I have time to just stop in.
We had such a good time last night. The friends who are housing three of our family came for supper. Janan and Mike put on a veritable feast :). We ate, laughed, ate, talked, sang a little bit at one point, laughed some more. After a while the. young people had enough of listening to us oldsters, so they peeled off for a hot game of Phase Ten and a lot of uproarious laughter.
Two things: I’ve reached an age at which I am more than happy to surrender my kitchen to capable younger folks. It’s a huge blessing to go lie down while someone else occupies your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to do that. I felt like a pampered queen.
Second: I was glad when the young adults felt free to drift into another room. You shouldn’t be required to listen endlessly to the older generation reminisce. They had a blast, and so did we.
Don’t make a lot of rules when your family is visiting. Just relax, enjoy the clamor and the mess. Treasure the moment.
You don’t know if it will ever happen again!
I had a restless night, and woke up late this morning. Took me several seconds to get oriented to what day of the week it is. Lots of people say that not being in their regular routine makes one day seem like all the others.
Anyway, I got to thinking about Saturdays as I was growing up. Saturday was chore day. Mom took care of the week’s laundry down in the basement. It was a lot more work then. Wringer washer, no dryer. In good weather, she could hang things outside. In not-so-good weather, there were lines in the basement for hanging the wet clothes. It was also the time of mixing her own starch, blue and pleasant-smelling, for Dad’s white shirts. As things dried, she took them down, sprinkled from a coke bottle filled with water and corked with a gadget that had holes in it. She rolled the clothes up, put them in her plastic ironing bag, and zipped it shut. In hot weather, the bag went into the fridge. We didn’t have the conveniences of wrinkle-free fabrics back then. We learned to iron pillow cases, handkerchiefs, and all our own clothes when Mom felt we were capable of handling a hot iron. I always enjoyed the smell the heat of the iron released from the clean clothing.
While all that was going on downstairs, my sister and I were cleaning. We had it divided up, and switched off every other week. I don’t remember the details now, but it seems that the one who did the floors also cleaned the bathroom. The other did the dusting (lots of woodwork back then) and the general picking up, putting away, and taking out the trash. I hated dusting. Still do. Boring and futile.
Our tools: Dust mop, carpet sweeper, rags, furniture polish, cleanser. We didn’t have a vacuum until later, but that carpet sweeper did a good job.
Once the chores were finished, we were free to go outdoors, or, if the weather was bad, to stay in and read, play games, listen to music, or maybe bake a batch of cookies or some other dessert. Mom rested on Saturday afternoons. She worked full time at a bank in downtown Minneapolis, and she treasured her Saturdays.
Saturday night was bath-and-hair-washing night. Afterward, Mom would set our hair by making tight pin curls anchored with Bobbie pins. The result the next day was a Shirley Temple look, but parted down the middle, no bangs. I remember asking her if I could start doing my own hair when I was around eight years old. There were some disasters along the way, but at least I didn’t have that awful headful of fuzzy curls any more!
Well, it’s just the two of us now, going on 51 years together. No little kids to help with household tasks. Saturdays are not organized the way they were when I was growing up, or even when our kids were still at home. It’s a relaxing day, though, now that we’re finished with extracurricular school activities and such. And right now, it seems like any other day. I’m hearing different predictions: The lockdown ends May 1; no, June 1; no, depends on statistics; no, partial lifting of suggested restrictions. Bottom line: No one really knows for sure.
I noticed a post on Facebook this morning about old-fashioned Depression-style cooking. I’ll probably take a look, but I grew up with a mother who grew up during the Depression. I already know how to cook inexpensive, hearty food. I know how to substitute one ingredient for another; and how to make meat-free meals that really do fill you up. Nothing new, is there?
Happy Saturday to you, however you spend it 🙂
I woke up around 2 a.m., attended to what woke me up. Crawled back into bed, realized quickly that sleep was not going to come easily. Struggled to get comfy, turned on my bedside lamp and opened my book. Right now I’m reading A View Across the Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman. It’s a story about the Nazi occupation of Holland, their brutal extinction of the Jews in Amsterdam, and the end of WWII. It’s not an easy story to read, but it is well worth the effort.
I found I was becoming more and more restless, however, and finally had to get up around 4 a.m. I have restless leg syndrome, and it’s usually under good control due to the advice I received on Facebook from many friends. But this time? Not any relief. I finally resorted to an excellent standby–veterinarian horse liniment! The old gray mare is feeling less jumpy 🙂
I get mine at the tractor supply. My chiropractor suggested it some years ago, and it truly is helpful.
However, I’m awake now. Wide awake. It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’ve been awake since 3:30 or so, finally got up at 4 a.m. I wonder what the day will bring. Brain fog will set in early, I think!
Anyway, thinking about some things. I had a delightful day yesterday. It was what I’ve begun to call my Teaching Day at church. At 11 a.m. I have a women’s Bible study group. We had some new faces there yesterday. We had our first session in the book of Hebrews, and boy, am I ever loving it already! A friend suggested a book by Nancy Guthrie, Hoping for Something Better. I don’t usually like to teach from any book but the Bible, but this book is outstanding. I am definitely using the Bible as the main focus for study, but Guthrie has done an outstanding job of breaking down the book of Hebrews into clear and simple terms.
Yesterday, we looked at the theme of the book of Hebrews, established in chapter one, verse one: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.” The very first word in the book is the theme of the book. God is the center of the whole Bible.
I’m blogging the book of John right now, and it’s very easy to tie it to the study in Hebrews. John is all about Jesus, the Son of God. Let me tell you, these studies are life-changing!
I go from the Bible study group to my homeschool co-op history class. A great bunch of young people, they are interested and they participate! Can you imagine, we actually have FUN in history class? Right now we’re looking at some of the ways God intervened in the efforts of the Pilgrims to leave Holland and journey for 66 storm-filled days in a ship that was approximately the length of a volleyball court. It was tossed in those storms like a cork, up one gigantic wave and down another. Seasickness was terrible and unavoidable. They didn’t have Dramamine back then 🙂 There are stories of the way God both took life and preserved life.
When the Mayflower finally dropped anchor near what is now Provincetown, the first thing they did was thank God for protecting them during that miserable voyage. Then they set about to write a short document about how a “civil body politic” could be governed by rules agreed upon by all of them. The Mayflower Compact was the first written constitution, if you will, in the New World. It was about 150 years ahead of America’s Constitution.
I was curious about that wording, “body politic,” so of course I did some research. Simply stated, a “civil body politic” is a group of citizens acting together as a law making body.
Being a word nerd, I like to go to etymonline.com to learn the origin of words. Here’s the breakdown of the word politic: early 15c., “pertaining to public affairs,” from Middle French politique “political” (14c.) and directly from Latin politicus “of citizens or the state, civil, civic,” from Greek politikos “of citizens, pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life,” from polites “citizen,” from polis “city” (see polis). Replaced in most adjectival senses by political. From mid-15c. as “prudent, judicious.”
I wonder what those Pilgrims from 400 years ago would think of politics in America today. Probably not much. They prayed about everything, seeking God’s leading. Most of today’s politicians don’t spend a whole lot of time in prayer unless it makes them look good to their constituents. How do I know that? Well, people who walk with God and seek Him daily are not typified by lying.
Okay, that’s enough. I’m feeling a bit sleepy!
I’m so interested in what we’re studying in the book of John right now that I hesitate to leave it even for a day, never mind two! But I’ve had a rough couple of days, physically, and my body is aching and weary. I think I’m going back to bed in a little while, and that’s probably where I’ll spend most of my day.
Getting older comes with a whole host of physical challenges that I never even thought about before.
I hope you, also, are enjoying this study in John. I’ve read the book many times, but never to teach it on a verse-by-verse scale. It’s a huge blessing to me. Every word that Jesus speaks is purposeful and profound.
This is a challenge: Every word! So many of the words we speak are anything BUT purposeful and profound.
Now I realize that God does not expect us to go around with folded hands and long, sad faces. There is nothing wrong with laughter. After all, a merry heart does good like a medicine ( Prov. 17:22). We just need to make sure the things we’re laughing at are not inappropriate, and not hurtful to others.
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). This is certainly a challenge for me. I have a very fast mouth. That’s nothing to be proud of. When one has a fast mouth, things come pouring out that really ought not, need not, be said at all. Has it improved over time? Yes, I think so. I hope so. I’ll be so glad when I get to heaven and God gives me a new body, including a sanctified mind and mouth!
Well, this has turned into a ramble that I wasn’t planning to write–but that’s okay. Sometimes I just have to start typing, and let God take over.
This is a ramble. Saturdays are good for rambling.
We’ve had a horribly hot and humid week, but today we have our AC off and our windows open. I can hear birds, frogs, lawnmowers. I can even hear the breeze that’s moving the tree branches. Well, no, I can’t hear the breeze itself, but I can hear the leaves fluttering and brushing together. The air smells clean and sweet, and it’s a totally pleasant out there. A beautiful summer Saturday.
My mind goes back to summers in Portland, Oregon where we lived for five years from about 1955-60. It often rained a little in the morning, but then it would clear up and be warm, not hot. Very little humidity. We’d walk to the municipal swimming pool and spend the afternoon there, then walk back home. On the way, we could enjoy big fat blackberries that grew wild along the roadside. Back then, nobody worried about safety for kids walking over a mile just to go swimming. This was in the little town of Milwaukie, a suburb of Portland. It was a delightful place, and I was sorry when we moved into the city.
There was so much to enjoy out there. The beach. The roses. The Rose Parade. Jantzen Beach, an amusement park. Just being able to be outdoors and not worry about mosquitos! And Mount Hood, too.
That was a golden summer for me. I’ll never forget how much I loved it there.
I love it here, too. We live near Philadelphia, but you’d never know it. Lots of green, lots of trees and other vegetation. Rolling hills. It’s a beautiful drive to church every Sunday, and on Thursday morning when I go down to teach a Bible study class.
And then there’s Lancaster County, which is a beautiful place just to go for a drive:
I am often reminded of I Timothy 6:17:
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”
God didn’t need to make the earth beautiful. He could have just made it practical. Aren’t you glad for the beauty of the earth?
There really is no place like home.
Our flights were problem-free. We had wheelchair help arranged at each place, from check-in to baggage. What a wonderful help that was. You get taken to the front of the line, and everyone seems to be perfectly okay with that. All our helpers were polite, kind, and efficient.
It’s very hot here in our corner of PA. Supposed to be record-setting highs tomorrow, up to 100. Ugh. I’m missing the cool mornings and evenings near Oxford. We had wonderful weather the whole time we were there. This heat saps my energy. I’m looking around at all that needs to be done, and I don’t want to do any of it! We do have central air, which is a huge blessing, but there’s just something about the atmosphere that changes with that kind of heat.
I was just looking through Dan’s pictures, and this one made me hungry 🙂 This was the meal they prepared to celebrate our 50th anniversary. The rosemary was cut fresh from the garden. The aromas of the rosemary, meat, and veggies roasting was unbelievable. Sooooooo good!
I can’t remember if the Peacock Garden was at Blenheim or Warwick, but this photo perfectly captures the peacock in full display:
Josh, Victoria’s boyfriend, is from New Zealand. He certainly met a lot of us all at one time–not sure, maybe that’s not a good thing. Hope we didn’t scare him off 🙂
You can see that when I get started posting everyone’s photos, it’s hard to stop. They all bring back such a good time.
Well. It’s good to be home, and we have memories of a lifetime with everyone who was there.
I’m hoping to get back to my regular blogging tomorrow with Sunday Morning Coffee, and then back to Ecclesiastes on Monday.
I haven’t posted since we went to Blenheim, a week ago today. Lots and lots has happened, and I can’t sort out what happened on what day, so I’m just going to hit the highlights, along with some photos. There were 15 of us, so we didn’t always go as one big group. When we could, we wandered to whatever grabbed our interest, and made a meeting place and time to re-gather.
We didn’t go to the most well-known Stonehedge, but a smaller one that is nearby.
There’s more, but this is getting too long already.
We fly out of Heathrow at 8:30 tomorrow morning, have a layover in Frankfurt, and then nonstop to Philly. I’m looking forward to being home, but I’m really going to miss all the people we’ve spent nearly two weeks with.
Special thanks to Mike, who has done the lion’s share of planning and has been a driver; also to Janan, who has taken on driving on the wrong side of the road and in the wrong side of the car 🙂 Thanks to Dan and Maria for housing everyone, and for helping to find a lovely place for Terry and me to stay at night. Almost everyone got involved in the cooking, which was SO good! On Sunday, they prepared a feast, literally, in celebration of Terry and me and of our 50th anniversary in June.
One evening, we all gathered around the piano and sang for maybe two hours, maybe longer. Ken even found a violin, and it was so good to hear him play. Sheila manned the piano, and she always does such a lovely job.
In Oxford, we came across a Baptist church that was open to viewing. At one point, Mike and Janan started singing. Connell, Kyle and I joined them, and we were caught on video by the little elderly man who was the welcoming committee. He was so pleased to have us there and listen to us. He gathered us all around when it was time to leave, and blessed with a heartfelt prayer on our journeys.
There’s more, but I think it’s past time for me to stop.