Saturday, January 31, 2015

Motion/ Blackbirds


Like a cyclone they come;
A whirlpool of black.

Rotating and dipping, swirling and twisting,

blocking the sun
with their funnel of life,

swooping to Earth on their ancient pathways.

They flash their red like a politician’s vest

or a dance hall girl, out on the town.
~Wanda Stricklin Robertson

Friday, January 30, 2015

Double Doors

Old church buildings, including the Waterloo United 

Methodist Church shown here, often have two doors at the 

entrance.  More than a century ago, when this church house 

was built, it was the custom for women and men to enter

different doors and sit on different sides of the building.

Some say it was an "appreciation of the natural order", while

others say it was a safeguard against temptation.

I'm thinking they probably appreciated having two sets of doors to keep open during the humid Alabama summers before air conditioning was invented.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Waterloo Methodist Church

The Methodists were the first organized religion here. As early as 1808, when white men first came to settle Lauderdale County, Methodist preachers Tobias Gibson and Lorenzo Dow traveled the Natchez Trace and stopped here. They preached in log cabins, forest clearings, and fields that had a stump to stand on. 

Waterloo United Methodist Church was established in 1853, making it one of the oldest congregations in the state.  Major James H. Witherspoon served as the preacher in its early days.

It is a beautiful place, both inside and out.  I didn't go inside the day these photos were made, but I have been inside it many times.  Some people that I know and love were married from its pulpit.  I have friends that are members of the current congregation. 

I'm thankful for the strong, determined people who raised a place of worship that lasted.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

  1. Image from Wikipedia

  2. Elisha Albright Hoffman composed more than two thousand gospel hymns.  He was a Presbyterian  who spent his life in the ministry, other than serving in the Union army during the Civil War for a brief time.  Hoffman wrote Are You Washed in the Blood, Glory to His Name, I Must Tell Jesus, and many other hymns that are still popular today.  In 1887, he penned one of my favorites, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.  

  1. What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
  1. Leaning on the everlasting arms;
  1. What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
  1. Leaning on the everlasting arms.
  • Refrain:
  • Leaning, leaning,
  • Safe and secure from all alarms;
  • Leaning, leaning,
  • Leaning on the everlasting arms.
  1. Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
  1. Leaning on the everlasting arms;
  1. Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
  1. Leaning on the everlasting arms.
  1. What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
  1. Leaning on the everlasting arms?
  1. I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
  1. Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Many, many people have sung this song in the 118 years since Brother Hoffman wrote it.  We used to sing it at school during music; great quartets and humble beginners have repeated the lyrics well.  However, no one can sing it quite like Iris Dement

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quilting Class: Week Two

There was a lot of sewing done in the class last night, and all the students are doing a great job.  They seem to be having fun, too.

We talked about different ways that 6 1/2" string blocks can be used in quilts. This one was made by fussy-cutting 6 1/2" blocks from Campbell kids fabric and putting them together with the string blocks.  It is a cute and colorful quilt. It is in the stack I'm saving for my as-of-yet-unborn-great-grandchildren.

Last week, Thyme put her sewing machine on the back seat of her car as she was leaving the class. She had to slam on her brakes in traffic, and the machine tumbled off the seat, and pushed her thread holder down into the sewing machine.  She was not able to fix it, so she borrowed a sewing machine from a friend for tonight's class.  I have never heard of this happening, and I'm hoping she will be able to get it fixed. In the meantime, she produced several beautiful blocks on her friend's machine.

This class is made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Roses in Winter

God loves to look at us, and loves it when we will look back at Him.

Even when we try to run away form our troubles...God will find us, bless us, even when we feel most alone. . unsure...God will find a way to let us know that He is with us in this place, wherever we are.

~Kathleen Norris
I thought we all needed some sunshine and roses on this dark, dreary winter day.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Scripture: Don't Conform

And be not conformed to this world: but be 

ye  transformed by the renewing of your 


that ye may prove what is that good, and 

acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

~Romans 12:2

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Shake it Off

Stop a minute, right where you are.  Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water.  Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.

~Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, January 23, 2015

Edith Newman Culver Museum

Hub is from Wright, just a few miles up the river from Waterloo, Alabama. During the seventies and eighties, we were there a lot.  Driving down Waterloo's main street, we would go by a beautiful old house, empty, abandoned, like a strong Southern lady standing lonely after her children were gone.  Sometimes, we would stop and gaze over the fence and imagine grand parties and dressed-up gentle folk sitting on the front porch.  We had no idea who owned the house.  I wanted to live there, but Hub insisted that it wasn't for sale, and even if it was for sale,  we couldn't afford it.

It has a new life now.

I still want to live there.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Roe VS. Wade January 22

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the legal decision that has caused the murder of almost sixty million babies in the place they should have been safest, their mother's womb.  You can find the sobering statistics here.

Since then, children have been taught that life is worthless unless it perfect and convenient: not by our words, but by our actions. Still, we shake our heads and wonder at the rate of teen suicide.

LORD, have mercy on us all.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Building a Raised Bed

It is way too early to start dreaming about spring. We have had several days with temperatures in the fifties and sixties, and Hub took advantage of it by building a raised bed.  He plans to build two more. There are many advantages to raised beds, including being able to grow a lot of plants without a lot of space.

It went together surprisingly quickly.  Now, it is ready to be filled with some good soil and compost.  More about that later.

Right now, its back to the seed catalogs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quilting Class: Week 1

I am privileged to teach another quilt class this winter.  During this one, we will make a string quilt using 6 1/2" paper squares.  I have four students, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, and they are already hard at work on the first night.  We don't worry about being neat when we are paper piecing.

We are going to sew the squares together to make a quilt like this

or maybe like this.

Trust me, these strings sewn together are going to turn into something beautiful, useful, and lasting. 

I know it is going to be fun.  We are all so excited to get started! There probably won't be any dining on the dining table for the next twelve weeks, but we are totally okay with that.

This class is made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Thanks!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gravelly Springs

Gravelly Springs is a quiet community now.  They say that during that cold winter of 1865, all the trees were cut and buildings, tents, and stables went on as far as the eye could see.  Here, young U.S. Army Major General Wilson trained 22,000 cavalrymen for the planned spring invasion of Alabama and Georgia. 

You can find additional information about this camp in Civil War Tales of the Tennessee Valley by William Lindsey McDonald, in addition to other Civil War history books.

I wonder if the troops had time or inclination to see the beauty of these limestone cliffs and water flowing in natural springs, or if they were concentrating on staying warm and finding enough to eat.

One hundred and fifty years later, the land has recovered, and there are no visible scars of that terrible time.

Gravelly Springs is located on Highway 14 (Waterloo Road) about 16 miles Northwest of Florence, just past the Natchez Trace Parkway intersection.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Scripture: Rescue

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus

 the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing 

counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through 

hard times, and before you know it, he brings us 

alongside someone else who is going through hard 

times so that we can be there for that person just as

 God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times 

that come from following the Messiah, but no more

 so than the good times of his healing comfort—we

 get a full measure of that, too.

~2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The Message

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ice on Blue

Ice on blue, and then the sun.

Winter can't hide the beauty around us.

It is cold, but the sun is shining.  Go out and find some beauty today, even if the winter is growing long in your life.