Monday, April 30, 2007

Where Did Selah Go?

Originally uploaded by podso.
I took my mother to her old church yesterday. It's a big church in a beautiful building. I opened my eyes during the prayer––I confess––and what to my wandering eyes did appear––but musicians and others scurrying around the platform. Getting themselves ready for the next thing. (And probably not focusing on God in prayer.) The second syllable of "Amen" was barely out of the pastor's mouth before music broke forth in full force. Apparently we have so much to include in a service we can't waste a "nano second." It's not this church alone, it seems to be a trend in all churches.

I don't like to be one who recalls and compares to the old days ... but there is something to be said for a pause, a "selah," so indeed, one can pause and meditate. Yes, in the old days, after a prayer, for instance, there would be quiet, the rustling of pew sitters changing position, while a quartet or soloist made its way to the pulpit to sing (yes, a lot used to go on "behind" the pulpit). Back then they even had a book to sing from, and, I might add, the harmony was beautiful.

Technology has probably enabled crammed-full worship services. There is just so much we can include. And we are almost out of breath by the time we settle in to listen to the preacher. I think my vote, not that anyone is asking, is to slow things up a tad and have room for more "Selah."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Let There Be White!

not as white as snow
Originally uploaded by podso.
Nine years to make the decision; one minute to be glad we did! And two seconds for Spouse to be thankful he's far away on the other side of the Big Pond.

I am blessed ...

Originally uploaded by podso.
... in Christ, and with a friend who would paint the hard parts.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Blue eye
Originally uploaded by podso.
By popular demand.

Family Heirlooms

Originally uploaded by podso.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Fountain of Joy

Originally uploaded by podso.
What is it about a book club? There's something very special about a group of friends gathered around the table discussing a book we've read. Colorful teapots, an apple tart, fruit, dancing votives, faded tulips, and books decorate the table in a delightfully cozy room. We come together, loving each other, caring about the written word and ready for a good time sharing our thoughts. The discussion is profound as we read favorite quotes and cite thought-provoking passages. In a dimly lit room it seems like CS Lewis himself shows up and speaks to us through the pages of his books. At times it 's almost tangible. We laugh and then grow thoughtful as our discussion tangents to thoughts and ideas spurred from words written long ago but relevant for us today. God meets us too as we talk about heaven, forgiveness, and the fountain of joy.

"REAL Men Eat Quiche"

for real men
Originally uploaded by podso.

Or so Spouse use to say when I made quiche for a meal. But it's been a long time since I made one. So long I had to phone Lydia Grace twice for instructions. Thanks, LG! And Boniface, now that I have practiced, you may see this next week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

getting a handle on My broom

with handle
Originally uploaded by podso.
After the grass is cut I reach for a broom. It's just how I was raised. Mow, then sweep. No power blowers for me. No electricity drain, no fuel smells or loud noises to disrupt our quiet cul de sac. Green readers should appreciate this. And not only is it environmentally helpful, it works those arm muscles too. I don't reach for just any broom now, but one my dad used that we stashed in our garage after my parents downsized yet another time before my dad's promotion home.

I love the sound of sweeping (like I love the sound of tires on gravel, sister). I remember the sound of sweeping early mornings in Ghana when people were getting their houses or front doors in order for the day. Now when I sweep I can't help but think of my father and how he loved to sweep (or it seems he did, for he used his broom a lot.) He taught us to sweep the front stoop before guests arrived. "Do you want them tracking dirt into a clean house?" he'd query. So it's almost inborn in me. When the meal is ready for guests, the last thing I do is go out and sweep the porch. And remember my dad. Apron on, of course (was I not born for another time?)

Which reminds me that tomorrow is "National Hang Out your Laundry Day" ... even in the better neighborhoods where it might be against "community guidelines." There could be a whole lot said about hanging clothes outside on a line and what it can do for a person, as well how it saves a ton of energy resource.

Does any of this have anything to do with the tragic events at VT a few days ago? Probably not much, though it does take us back to a simpler time when life was not as complex. We knew our neighbors and spent time with our families. Slowing down enough to do these simple chores allows us time to think––to mull, process, wonder, pause. And one person and then another and then another, doing that, could in time ripple* change for the better in our mixed up world. I really think so.

*I may have just made a new verb. I love it!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Chore Time

Originally uploaded by podso.
Anyone who knows me well could call me the "Queen of Flight of Ideas." My mind usually is on overload as I dash from one thing to another throughout the day. I confess I have never known boredom. It is amazing, when I get a chance to focus on the "mundanity" of household tasks, such as dishes (I seriously LOVE to wash dishes), lawn mowing, folding laundry, etc., how my mind eventually slows down and better focuses. It's therapeutic. That's when the contemplative thoughts come; that's a good time to pray; that's a time when I can hear God's voice.

I love a quote from Brother Lawrence that was in my devo reading today. "The time of labor does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and, in the noise and confusion of the kitchen where I am at work, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

afternoon tea
Originally uploaded by podso.
If only boys grew up in your house, one way to enjoy girl time is to borrow some (see below).

no quilting bee ...

no quilts here
Originally uploaded by podso.
... but an afternoon of card-making can be just as fun. Followed by tea, of course.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

What's In a Pie?

whipcream anyone?
Originally uploaded by podso.
Strawberry pie has a rich history in our family. When it's strawberry season, the pie begs to be made, and usually is. At least once every spring. Going back about 30 years now.

Favorite recipes are like family heirlooms, in a way. I love it when I have a recipe from a friend or from my mother. Making the recipe brings them to mind. Sometimes I remember the meal we had at a friend's house when I asked for the recipe and then made it a favorite of my own.

I always think of Betty when I make strawberry pie. The recipe is in her handwriting. Thinking of Betty then makes me remember the morning I baby-sat her little girl, and later realized it was the exact time number one son was being born. But more than that, strawberry pie takes us right back to northern Ghana.

We had left our southern city and gone up to the "bush" to visit a good friend. While there we piled into the pickup truck and went across the border to shop. In Burkina Faso the markets were plentiful (compared to practically empty stalls in Ghana, at that particular time). I always enjoyed visiting Ghana's neighboring French countries...there were potatoes for one thing. They had become a rare treat for us. They also sold apples...another thing we never saw in Ghana in those days. I remember coming up to a market stall where there were fresh strawberries! A wonder to the eye! We had to have some. So we bought them, put them in the cooler, and never thought about the trip home over bumpy roads and what damage might come to them.

We got back to the mission station. No electricity and an outdoor shower and toilet. No other houses around for many kilometers. It was a "Little House on the Prairie" experience for us. On the way there from B.F. we talked excitedly about making this strawberry pie. Our host thought he had a package of strawberry jello.

Sure enough he did. It was in a sad state of affairs, rather old, brought from the states a few years ago. When I opened the package it was no longer red, and rather a big lump. But we crushed it into granules, found some sugar, margarine, and flour (though the flavor was distorted by weevils). I went to open the strawberries and was dismayed to find the bumps on the road had turned them to mush. Never mind, it would work. And it did. Maybe not to the standard of taste we might expect today, but it was delicious to us and a work of art.

When I saw strawberries at the grocery store this week it seemed the time to make one again. So at our Easter dinner today, as we celebrate the resurrection, we will enjoy the pie ... and the memories.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Nothing like Spring in the South!

Originally uploaded by podso.

Swinging into and out of spring

Originally uploaded by podso.
I'm so glad we made it home in time to catch at least part of the spring color!
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