Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Laughing Corn

THERE was a high majestic fooling
Day before yesterday in the yellow corn.

And day after to-morrow in the yellow corn
There will be high majestic fooling.

The ears ripen in late summer
And come on with a conquering laughter,
Come on with a high and conquering laughter.

The long-tailed blackbirds are hoarse.
One of the smaller blackbirds chitters on a stalk
And a spot of red is on its shoulder
And I never heard its name in my life.

Some of the ears are bursting.
A white juice works inside.
Cornsilk creeps in the end and dangles in the wind.
Always—I never knew it any other way—
The wind and the corn talk things over together.
And the rain and the corn and the sun and the corn
Talk things over together.

Over the road is the farmhouse.
The siding is white and a green blind is slung loose.
It will not be fixed till the corn is husked.
The farmer and his wife talk things over together.

~Carl Sandburg

Monday, August 29, 2011


On this day in 1970, we had a beautiful baby boy.

Three years later, Daniel got a brother for his birthday.

"She'll never raise them," they said.

"She hadn't got a lick of sense," they said.

We rocked and read and cried and grew together.

"She spoils them boys too much," they said.
"She's too strict on them boys," they said.
"She even makes them read the Bible," they whispered.

Their little boy faces and voices changed into those of young men. We read and traveled and struggled and grew.

Apparently, we did something right. Today, they are strong men with gentle hearts.

Both are Christian.

Both have stable, loving families.
Both have professional careers that provide well for their families.

Both still read.

Both still respect their parents.

And they, still unable to comprehend that being different is not being wrong, just shake their heads and say, "You're just lucky."

We have been many miles since we read in the rocking chair, but I love them just as much, maybe more. I could not be any prouder of my baby boys.

Happy Birthday, Daniel and Mitchell.

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. ~Psalm 92:1-2

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Celebrate Saturday: Visit the Library

Florence Lauderdale Public Library.

It is one of my favorite places on Earth--a welcoming place that offers wisdom, adventure, travel, entertainment, and friendship. And it is all FREE!!!

Sometimes, like a child, I get so excited that I get way more books than I could ever read in two weeks. Books are like a dessert bar...just too hard to decide which might be the most delicious.

And it is always cool.

I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books. .......

Friday, August 26, 2011

Folklife Friday: Possum Grapes

The possum grapes are ripe.

Being a lifelong scavenger, I am constantly looking for wild and free food on my ramblings. Early this week, on my morning walk, I spied a vine of wild grapes, or possum grapes, as they are known around here.

Wild grapes grow in almost every state in the county. Here in the south, they are abundant in woods and popular with the wildlife. Most are hard to get to; they are sun-loving and will climb to the tops of trees for the sunlight, making them out-of-reach. Fortunately, some vines get tangled over bushes and limbs, keeping the fruit low enough to be available to us.

The grape itself is small and is mostly seed, not really that good to just munch on. Their real treasure is the juice, which has been made into syrup, wine, and jelly as long as we have been cooking. The juice is much more potent than tame grapes. Wild grape jelly is more tart and flavorful than what is usually available in the grocery store.

Back in the day, when we were unable to find all the wild grapes we wanted, we were told that the 'wild' teenage boys had picked them all to make some forbidden wine. If someone found enough wild grapes to can the juice, they had to store it carefully, out of sight and reach of those same boys. It was prized for the treasure that it was.

There were just a few bunches of the grapes I found, and they were on property not owned by me. There was not enough for more than a pint of juice, so I just left them hanging there.

I hope the possums find them.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Real Fasting 101

Isn’t this the fast I choose:
releasing wicked restraints,
untying the ropes of a yoke,
setting free the mistreated,
and breaking every yoke?

Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry
and bringing the homeless poor into your house,
covering the naked when you see them,
and not hiding from your own family?

Then your light will break out like the dawn,
and you will be healed quickly.
Your own righteousness will walk before you,
and the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard.

Then you will call,
and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help,
and God will say, “I’m here.”

Isaiah 58:6-9 CEV

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Sometimes, beauty doesn't come early.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa) would not catch your eye in the springtime, like the bright jonquils or forsythia.

It doesn't send out a fragrance like our beloved lilacs and roses.

In fact, the blossoms are so unremarkable, you might pass right by it at the nursery.

The tiny blossoms turn into clusters of tiny green berries that continue to go unnoticed.

Ah, but in late summer! In late summer, when there is a hint of coolness in the morning air, the berries ripen to a beautiful purple that practically shouts out, 'Look at Me'!

If the berries remain until frost kills the leaves, they are even more striking. The birds who visit me like them so well, the berries are usually gone before the leaves.

Planting beautyberries is just one way of rewarding the birds that brighten our summer days.

....and the man in charge drank some of the water that had now turned into wine. He did not know where the wine had come from, but the servants did. He called the bridegroom over and said, "The best wine is always served first. Then after the guests have had plenty, the other wine is served. But you have kept the best until last!" John 2:9-10 CEV

Monday, August 22, 2011

Can't Hold Back the Dawning

Dawn is my favorite time.

I sit on the porch and listen to traffic sounds on Cox Creek Parkway half a mile away, the distance muting them into something gentle. I number the sounds of birds starting their day. It is night cool, the intense rays of the sun still behind the horizon. The light is soft and pink and new.

It never stays.

Robert Frost says it best:

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Dawn, like everything else, is temporary.

Our clothing, jewelry, cars, houses, and jobs will not last. No matter how good, bad, beautiful, disgusting, old or new something is, it is temporary. Given enough time, even the mountains will wind up at the sea, one grain at a time.

This is the way the Designer of the universe meant for it to be, and we should not regret or question it. Every dawn should be a reminder for us to cherish the moments of the new day offered before the sundown comes.

They won't come again.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Celebrate Saturday: Throw off the Bowlines!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines!
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
DISCOVER! ~Mark Twain

....and as you are sailing to new ports this weekend, my beloved, remember the Master of the wind....safe travels!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Folklife Friday: Poison Ivy

Itch, itch, scratch, scratch. Cry. Scratch again.

Poison oak and poison ivy are horrendous, loathsome enemies of summer that disguise themselves as lovely green plants.

I've known the two pests since I can remember anything, as familiar to my youth as green apples and swimming holes. We had pink splotches from calamine lotion that gave temporary relief, and washing with baking soda helped some. We used every cure we heard about and had access to, but time was the only one that really worked.

Most of us got it, the rash scattered among the chigger bites. A very few escaped because of body chemistry or tough skin or whatever. My baby boy was in that group; a good thing because he has spent much of his life in the woods. My firstborn son, however, was ultra sensitive to it, and exposure required a trip to the doctor for a series of shots. Wise son that he is, if he suspects exposure now, he goes ahead with the shots while the rash and blisters are still immature enough to handle.

When our sons were small, we were living in an old farmhouse that had a wonderful garden spot. The garden was fenced to keep out wildlife and chickens and to keep the weeds under control. Y'all know I don't like clutter, so in the fall when I pulled up the bean poles (stakes, to the uninformed), I threw them over the fence to keep my garden nice and tidy. Next spring, when the young Blue Lakes began to put out tendrils, I rescued the poles and staked the beans. Turns out, the poles had been resting in poison oak plants for several months. It was a warm late-spring day, and I had to constantly wipe the sweat off my face while I was working. Next morning, I woke up feeling strange and nauseated. My face was a puff-ball with my eyes swollen almost together. It was a week, a long, miserable week, before all the swelling went down.
Lesson learned.

Years later, I prepared to pick blackberries by putting on appropriate protective clothing. I decided to wear plastic gloves instead of cloth ones; it made the picking so much easier. I picked for a long time. In some unexplained way, the poison ivy got on my covered arms and the sweat carried it down to my hands in the plastic gloves. The sweat pooled between my fingers. That time, I had huge blisters between my fingers that looked like something from a cheap horror movie. My hands horrified small children and adults alike. Another lesson learned.

Nowadays, if I see a plant lurking near my yard, I point it out to dear husband and he puts some sort of vile chemical on it and it dies. I love the dirt as much as anyone, but when it comes to poison ivy, chemicals are the only way. Its a lesson learned hard.

I try to end these ramblings with a positive note. I'm still thinking.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Need Revival???

Revive us Again was one of the first hymns I learned, possibly because we only went to church during revival meetings and it was always sung. It is still one of my favorites.

William MacKay was born in 1839 in Scotland. He trained and worked as a doctor, but left that profession to become a minister. In 1863, he penned Revive us Again.

We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.


Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.

We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.


All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.


All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.


Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.

Dr. MacKay must have felt the need for revival intensely. In his own words,
My dear mother had been a godly, holy woman, quite often telling me of the Savior, and many times I saw her on bended knee in prayer for my soul’s salvation. But nothing had made a deep impression on me. The older I grew, the more wicked I became…

One day a seriously injured man was brought into the hospital. His case seemed hopeless, he seemed to realize his condition for he was fully conscious and asked me how much time he had left to live. I gave him my opinion in as cautious a manner as I could.

“Have you any relatives whom we could notify?” I asked.

The patient shook his head. He had only one wish, it was to see his landlady because he owed her a small sum of money and also wished to bid her farewell. He also requested that his landlady send him “The Book…”

I went to see him on my regular visits at least once a day. What struck me most was the quiet, almost happy expression constantly on his face…After the man died, some things about his affairs were to be done in my presence.

“What shall we do with this?” the nurse asked holding a book in her hand.

“What kind of book is it?” I asked.

“The Bible of the poor man…As long as he was able to read it, he did so, and when he was unable to do so anymore, he kept it under his bed cover.”

I took the Bible and-could I trust my eyes? It was my own Bible! The Bible which my mother had given me when I left my parent’s home, and which later, when short of money, I sold for a small amount. My name was still in it, written in my mother’s hand…

With a deep sense of shame I looked upon the precious Book. It had given comfort and refreshing to the unfortunate man in his last hours. It had been a guide to him into eternal life, so that he had been enabled to die in peace and happiness. And this book, the last gift to me from my mother, I had actually sold for a ridiculous price…

Be it sufficient to say that the regained possession of my Bible was the cause of my conversion.

from: http://maranatha777.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/william-paton-mackays-testimony/

History doesn't tell us much else about Dr. MacKay, but just from the lyrics of the song, we understand one thing: He had his praise on! Praise is our best weapon to cleanse and bring revival.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lost letter Found

I love old hymns and have been collecting old hymn books for many years.

Recently, I bought a box of old books, including some songbooks, at an auction. Later, when I was going through these treasures at home, I found an old Cokesbury Hymnal. Inside, there was a letter written in pencil on fragile and discolored paper.

The letter is undated, unsigned, no address, or anything that would help me know who wrote it. I would love to return this to family members if I had a clue who they were. I'm attempting to copy it just as it was written.

I know not when my life on this earth will end, but if we are still
living near our Mt. Rainier Church I would ask our choir to sing.

by Grace.
and also
Beautiful Isle of Somewhere

if any time soon
I would like Rev. Banes assisted by Rev. Nevitt to preach my funeral

Herbert You will find my blue dinner dress in the cabinet in the front
room closet. you may have to have it pressed

My greatest desire as I
leave this earth is that you and my precious boys that we have loved so much may
meet me in heaven if I am so fortunate as to get there through the grace of God
and his shed blood for my sins. I have tried but know I have come far shy and
yet he knows the heart and I am leaving with the assurance that all is well

The letter was officially bought and paid for, but I felt like I was invading someone's privacy by reading it. I wonder if Herbert found the letter and the blue dress. If he did, why isn't it somewhere more important than stuck in a song book? Did she have a terminal disease or maybe just feeling worn out? Did someone love her enough to sing those songs for her service?

It sounds to me that she was worried about being laid to rest in a wrinkled dress, which lets me know that she probably had lived with Herbert long enough to know he wouldn't think about such things, and that he more than likely wouldn't be able to find the dress in the first place.

I'm wondering if her plea for them to meet again in heaven was heeded.

The hymnal was stamped 'Mt. Rainier M.E. Church' and it was published in 1923.

Any thoughts?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Do you blush?

I used to blush because I was embarrassed from blushing so much.

I hated it when someone said something that would make me turn a lovely shade of magenta, like "your legs are soooo skinny". (BTW, you should see me now.) Or, when one of my siblings announced that a certain boy moved his seat on the bus so he could be right behind me. Oh, and the worst one, when the teacher called on you in class and you didn't have a clue what the answer was. It didn't take much for my body temperature to rise and spread over my face and neck.

We all loved our colorful Coca-Cola calendars, the scantily-clad cuties who were always so happy to be drinking their Cokes in glass bottles. One relative wanted one of those calendars, but couldn't bring herself to hang it in the living room where just anybody could see it, causing embarrassment and prompting questions from teenagers! What if the preacher came to visit? Her solution: she got crayons and made the young ladies lovely outfits to wear over their swimsuits.

Those were the days when Lucy and Ricky slept in twin beds and we got to wonder how Little Ricky happened, instead of the play-by-play we would get today, the days when specific items of conversation were not for mixed company, and when we got dressed, we actually put on clothing that covered most body parts.

Things that were so awful then that we whispered about them, scared to say such things out loud, are said and shown on prime time television now, laughed about, sometimes even in the 'serious' newscasts. I don't even notice things now that would have turned me beet-red a few years ago. We have been desensitized, however unwillingly, little by little in a society where morals are old-fashioned.

That is NOT a good thing!

Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?
No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.
Jeremiah 8:12