Friday, March 16, 2018

Heartthoughts: Pie in the Sky

I was feeling like the woman in the Bible who had only enough meal to make a little cake for herself and her son before they died of starvation (I Kings 17:12). We had bought a bag of peaches a couple of days before, and I wanted to make a pie before they disappeared. Gathering ingredients and supplies, I saw there was only a little flour in the bottom of the canister.

I knew I was working at a disadvantage, since much of my cooking equipment is in storage after our merging with our son's household recently. He travels for work, so I have complete domestic say-so, and my husband and resident grandson are easy to please.

My "Joy of Cooking" cookbook was not available, and even though I've fed my family for years, I still like to check out recipes in case I forget something. I pulled up Peach Pie on the internet, then promptly forgot most of the quantities advised by the time I got back in the kitchen, except for the requisite 2 cups of flour. I managed to shake that much out of the flour container, even having a dusting left over to roll out the crust.

Not having my measuring cups, I guessed at the shortening and estimated the water, finally getting a hopefully satisfactory mound of dough. Dividing it in half and placing it on floured wax paper, I realized I had no rolling pin! What would I use? A jar? Lord help me, I prayed. Just then I lifted my eyes to the paper towel rack. It held a roll of paper towels on a roller that was a decorative rolling pin! Though not quite as thick as a regular rolling pin, on top of wax paper, it worked perfectly for my purposes!

The peaches I had sliced earlier were a little firm, so I was hopeful the pie would be juicy enough. Then I realized I had no pie pan! Why did I even get into this! The only thing I could come up with was a glass cake pan with straight sides. It would have to do. My rolled-out crusts were skimpy and kept tearing, requiring considerable piecing and patching from not enough water!

I finally got the pie in the oven, and miracle of miracles, it was delicious: flaky crust, soft fruit, sweet and juicy. It even looked like the magazine pictures popular now of rustic, imperfect pies with rough edges, shouting "homemade!"

Thursday, March 15, 2018

To Whom Honor is Due...

After several years in ministry, our Youth Pastor son, Benjamin, has recently resigned his position to further his education. He already holds a Master's degree in Linguistics, where he studied Greek and Hebrew. It turns out that he will have to wait until next year for admission to the Doctorate program due to space limitations. He has a heart for youth and has continued to serve as Youth Pastor on a voluntary basis until a replacement is available. Now the change-over is imminent.

Jamie, as we call him, telephoned the other day saying he was surprised Sunday by a time of recognition and appreciation from the leadership and the congregation. His voice dropped when he said wonderingly, "Mom, they gave me a standing ovation!" A standing ovation! The congregation there is large, and sometimes numbers upward of 1,000!

My mind goes back several years to when our son first began attending the church. Ever straight forward, he went to the pastor and leaders and told them he wanted something to do in the church, to help and get involved. They were taken aback and told the newcomer he would have to prove himself before that could happen.

New to Houston, having found a job in a French company (French being his college major), he was gregarious, yet lonely. One day he approached a lovely young woman at church and abruptly asked, "How old are you?" I guess she gave the right answer, because they have just celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary.

As time passed, it seemed Jamie became invaluable to the church with his willingness and creativity. He wrote and directed many outstanding plays and productions. He was ordained as a minister in a moving ceremony with congregants being allowed to give instances of what he and his wife, Tammy, meant in their lives and Christian growth.

Until he starts back to school, Benjamin is employed in a French school, teaching English to French children and French to English kids, or a little of both to both. He is a great dad to his and Tammy's three wonderful kids!

From supervising the teens at Youth camps to taking them on trips abroad, Jamie guided and taught them the Word. He deserves a standing ovation!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Heartthoughts: Hitting the Hay!

I was in the house at the computer when the phone rang. I saw it was Howard, obviously calling from the chicken house where he had gone. "Thelma, get down here right now! A chick got out and the dog is trying to get it!" He needed me to help him, so I dutifully, if unwillingly, hurried, even running, down there.

There was the baby chicken dodging the attempts of the family pet, Pebbles. I reached to grab it, but it darted the other direction. Then, scrambling to another corner, the chick was within my reach, but my reach wasn't good enough. My feet slid out from under me on the scattered hay, and to my terror I felt myself falling! Oh, no! All I needed was to break something on the concrete floor!

I felt a scrape on my back as a hit the floor! A jutting corner of a 2x4, I surmised. This was frightening, and I was bawling and scared. "Why did you make me come down here!" I yelled, to which my worried husband replied, "I told you to get Adam (our grandson) out here right now! I didn't ask you to come down."

Well, I had misunderstood, but that didn't help much. When I heard him telling our son Greg about it on the phone, I got the full story. "I was cleaning out the chick's cage, and I saw that the cardboard box they get into at night was very dirty, so I dumped it out and several chicks fell out, too. A little later," he went on, "I saw Pebbles eyeing that box on the floor."

"I shook the box and a little chicken ran out, and Pebbles was after her. I tried to catch it, but it got away, so I called Thelma to ask her to get Adam down here right now!"

Long story short: Adam saved the chick, and my only injuries were the scratch and to my dignity. The scrape was minor, duly tended by my spouse with ointment and band-aids.

"Why didn't you help me up?" I demanded of my husband later, still smoldering at the event and remembering my limping to the house in righteous indignation.

"I tried to, but you wouldn't let me!" he exclaimed. Well, I didn't remember that, but it was highly possible. In my haze of anger, fear, and confusion, I was probably lashing out at him and didn't want to be touched, so I got up by myself! I'm not convinced that hobby farming is for me. Maybe I'd rather just go to Hobby Lobby!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Heartthoughts: The Box Saver

Birthdays tend to slip up on me, with as many grandchildren as we have. I had settled on a small gift for Maddie, the birthday girl, turning 9 in a few days, also planning to tuck something in the birthday card. But I needed a box, and it had to be mailed today!

When we moved recently, any and all boxes I had stowed away for such purposes had been discarded. I didn't have my stash, and I didn't want to go to town to buy a box. I mentally calculated the size I would need. Let's see, at least 3 or 4 inches deep, so as not to crush the contents, and fairly wide to accommodate the gift.

Having used boxes for drawer dividers before, I thought about looking in our bureaus, although I didn't recall any dividers recently. Looking in my husband's dresser was fruitless, since he had re-arranged everything to his liking after our move. Oh well, I would search in my things, as a last resort.

Wait! What's this? I discovered a box in my drawer beneath a pile of socks! I pulled it out, and realized it was perfect! It was even decorative and pretty! If only I had the lid. Just then I felt a stiff edge under my hand. The lid! The glossy green surface had something stylishly printed in one corner. MADELINE, I read! It even had her name on it! (Although she spells it Madeleine.) Thank you, Lord!

I felt the warm assurance that God meets our smallest needs and desires! I felt buoyed all morning! My lighthearted mood was still with me a little later as I waited in the car while Howard went into the bank for a crisp, new addition for the birthday envelope. Just then I was delighted at the sight of a baby deer bounding down the slope toward a stand of trees bordering a stream!

A little later at a lunch diner, I heard a sweet, high-pitched voice of a curly-haired moppet in the next booth. When she turned around, I was melted by the darling, smiling face of a two-year-old girl. All this, and mailing the package, too! It was a very good day!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shopping Fiasco!

I have heard of losing a child while shopping, but never a husband! We had been shoe shopping for Howard, but he didn't find anything he liked at this store. A granddaughter's birthday is coming up, so I told him I was going to look at girls' dresses, assuming he would browse around.

The dresses were quite cute, but I couldn't decide, going from one to another, putting them back and taking them off the rack again. I mused and considered for a long time, then gave up for fear a selection wouldn't fit, or maybe it would not be to a nine-year-old's liking.

I looked around for my husband, but I didn't see him anywhere. The aisles in the shoe department were empty, so I looked in Men's Clothing. No Howard. I walked around the store repeatedly, then asked the clerk to page him. She did, but there was no response.

Maybe he went for coffee at the Starbucks in the supermarket down the block, I thought, knowing he loves to sit and linger over a cup. Getting worried by now, I hurried to the grocery, even scanning the snack area and the salad buffet. He wasn't there.

Why couldn't I find him? He wasn't in our van parked in front of a Hallmark store. I went inside the store, and searched to no avail. Calling him was not an option, since I remembered he plugged in his phone to charge and left it at home.

Getting panicky, exhausted and almost in tears, I returned to the department store. A man was walking in my direction, and I said, "I have lost my husband in this store! Would you mind checking the restroom?"

"What does he look like?" he asked. I was flustered, but I described him, telling him that he wears glasses down on his nose.

"He's almost 80, but he doesn't look like it!" I volunteered.

"I think he's still in Shoes," the man, obviously a manager, said. "There's a chair back there."

I hurried to the back, and there, out of sight at the end of the aisle, sat my husband, slumped down and sound asleep with his cap pulled over his face!

He said he thought I knew where he was! Relief mixed with anger and fatigue flooded my eyes. I was exhausted and spent and just wanted to go home.

I felt like Mary in the Bible when she and Joseph found Jesus in the temple and her exclamation was something like, "Why have you treated us like this?"

Well, it was innocence on Howard's part and a jump to conclusion on my part, but it will be a few days before I go shoe-shopping with him again!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Heartthoughts: Covered!

Oh, no! I felt sick! Since we are trying to sell our house, we've been freshening it up to its best advantage. The floors looked a little dull, so I purchased floor cleaner/polish and applied it. It looked great! The floors glistened and brightened the whole house!

There were other areas calling for attention, and my husband got the idea to rinse paint brushes in the bathtub. By the time I discovered it, the tub was (almost) hopelessly stained! He'd also left a mop draining in the tub. I managed to scrub the bathtub clean with a lot of elbow grease and scouring pad.

I moved the heavy string mop, but I disdained wringing it, so I carried it to the kitchen. But a workman was in there, so I took the mop through the house to the porch. Looking behind me, I saw it had left a trail of drips, but I supposed they would dry soon. Imagine my chagrin when a little later I saw my path was dotted with white spots! Bleach! I hadn't known it was in the mop!

What to do? I was almost crying! Maybe I could go over the spots with the floor polish. Oh Lord, I prayed, let it work! It did! The spots were covered perfectly and everything looked as good as new! Thank you, Jesus!

I couldn't help thinking of the comparison to sin that is blotted out and forgiven when the blood of Jesus is applied to our repentant lives!

The Bible says, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin," I John 1:7. "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," I John 1:9.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Heartthoughts: Narrow Escape

"I think I will go check on the chicks and give them water," my husband said last night as we drove up from Bible study at the home of friends. The car lights illuminated the shed as he went in, and soon Howard got back in the car. "We lost a chick!" he announced grimly.

"Oh, one of them was dead?" I questioned, to which he replied that no, it had jumped out of the cage when he opened it! He had tried to catch it, but it disappeared into a dark corner. I suggested that it might show up by morning, but he was sure a cat would get it by then.

When we got inside the house and told our grandson, Adam, what happened, he quickly grabbed his coat and said, "I'll go find it!" I had little hope, but shortly he was back with the good news that he had rescued the baby chicken.

"How did you know where to find it?" I asked, amazed, but he shrugged and said, "I didn't! The cats showed me! They were crouched with their noses against an opening in the barn. I reached in and felt something soft squeezed in between a post and the wall. I thought sure it was dead, but it was fine when I put it back in the cage!"

Wow! What a relief! It reminded me of the scripture about the devil going about as a roaring lion, seeking who he could devour! "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour," II Peter 5:8.

To the helpless chick, the cats were lions! Well, a lion is just a big cat! Adam had saved the chicken's life! He was a savior for it when it was in danger and sure to be devoured! Figuratively speaking, he snatched it from the jaws of death.

The well-known evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke, says the purpose of his ministry is to "Plunder Hell to Populate Heaven!"

Where can we find sinners? They are everywhere, often searching for escape from loneliness or desperation in drugs, alcohol, or getting lost on line with so much available technology to distract from problems.

Share the good news with life-giving water from the Word of God. Be a life-saver for someone soon!