Saturday, October 30, 2010

Divine Office of the Kitchen

Here is an old poem for your pleasure and inspiration, and then I added some humorous photos...I am not making fun of anything, but just adding a little humor to the day.

Divine Office of the Kitchen
Lord of the pots and pipkins, since I have no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things and vigilling with Thee,
By watching in the twilight dawn, and storming Heaven's gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals, and washing up the plates!

Lord of the pots and pipkins, please, I offer Thee my souls,
The tiresomeness of tea leaves, and the sticky porridge bowls!
Remind me of the things I need, not just to save the stairs,
But so that I may perfectly lay tables into prayers.

Accept my roughened hands because I made them so for Thee!
Pretend my dishmop is a bow, which heavenly harmony
Makes on a fiddle frying pan; it is so hard to clean,
And, ah, so horrid! Hear, dear Lord, the music that I mean!

Although I must have Martha's hands, I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots, I try Thy sandals, Lord, to find.
I think of how they trod our earth, what time I scrub the floor.
Accept this meditation when I haven't time for more!

Vespers and Compline come to pass by washing supper things,
And, mostly I am very tired; and all the heart that sings
About the morning's work, is gone, before me into bed.
Lend me, dear Lord, Thy Tireless Heart to work in me instead!

My matins are said overnight to praise and bless Thy Name
Beforehand for tomorrow's work, which will be just the same;
So that it seems I go to bed still in my working dress,
Lord make Thy Cinderella soon a heavenly Princess.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love and light it with Thy Peace!
Forgive the worrying, and make the grumbling words to cease.
Lord, who laid Breakfast on the shore, forgive the world which saith
"Can any good thing come to God out of poor Nazareth?"

-Cecily R. Hallack, 1927

So while we're on our knees....

Now for a little humor...

Did I hear any "amens"??!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ladybug Sunday

I've always been intrigued by the little Ladybug! This past Sunday we came home in the afternoon to find several around our door...I hollered at Julia, "Look! here's a ladybug! No, there's 2, wait, here's 2 more..." I had counted about 4 around the door before the children started going around the house looking for more, and they counted up to about 28 around the sides of our house! This is one bug that dosen't "bug" me if it lands on my skin...I did a bit of research and found that they can live 2 or 3 years! They hibernate in the winter so I guess they were trying to get inside to keep warm. Here is some information I collected from Associated Content News on Yahoo that I found interesting...(all pictures from Google Images, gathered by ME)

"Ladybug ladybug, fly away home, your house is on fire, your children are all gone." This rhyme finds its roots in the hop crops of England. Ladybugs are a type of small beetle with shiny bright orange, yellow, or red shells, a pattern of black spots (Usually 4), usually black faces (Though some varieties have white faces), and black legs. Some people call the ladybug the "Lady Bird," beetle. According to the National Geographic Society, they are indigenous to North America and Europe and usually have a life-span of between 2 and 3 years in the wild.

These are usually a very desirable predator species for farmers. These innocent looking little beauties are viscous carnivores of other insects and can be hazardous to your health if you are a bug! Farmers in the late 1800s actually imported these insects to California in an attempt to rid their crops of the Cottony Cushion Scale, a bug that almost obliterated their citrus harvest at the time. Cottony Cushion Scales  attach themselves to the plant, cover themselves and their eggs in a secretion and sit there sucking the plant juices out of its leaves; bad for the crops, easy pickings for the lady bugs.

Hop, or more specifically, the Common Hop, is a species of vine plants that produce the yellow-green flowers used to make beer. The buds secret an oily substance. This substance serves as an anti-bacterial agent, which also gives the beer its bitter taste. The above ground vine on a hop plant is perennial and can grow as long as 25 ft, but the main plant grows underground and lives from year to year.Each year in late summer/ early autumn, the hops are harvested and the above ground vines are set on fire; thus, the ladybugs are literally burned out of house and home. No fear, these pretty little creatures are smart enough to move on to the next farm and find another group of tasty insects to munch on until the next growing season.

It is the mass migration of the ladybugs, fleeing the crop fires to find a new home that inspired this nursery rhyme.

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home,
Your house is on fire, your children are gone;
All but one and her name is Ann,
                                                     And she crept under the pudding-pan.
-Mother Goose nursery rhyme

Friday, October 22, 2010

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

 My 7-year-old son came home from school yesterday wearing a pink ribbon made of construction paper...I asked what it meant and he said his teacher had cancer last year. He stumbled a little over the word, not because of embarrassment, but because he hadn't really heard it before. Today (Friday) they dismissed 2 hours early because of teacher/parent conferences, and I got to talk to his teacher a little. When I walked in her classroom I noticed a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of pink roses and asked what the occasion was. She told me she was a breast cancer survivor, had had surgery, chemo, etc and that it is now a year since...the bouquet was from the school staff. Her hair is coming back and she seems fine. Since we are newcomers to this private school, I did not know her background. I just thought her hair was very short because that was her preference! She said it was very scary for a while, not knowing if she would survive or not...all the classes walked down the street from the school Thursday to the Pioneer Woman Monument to see Pink Firetrucks! David's teacher got to sign it...The Pioneer Woman wore a large pink ribbon draped over her shoulder for the day.

Here are some photos from the Ponca City News article about the occasion.

" PINK HEALS TOUR firefighter, Josh Baker, is one of the drivers traveling the U.S. to raise awareness about the need to support women affected by cancer. The fighterfighters, clad in pink turn-out gear and tanks will bring their pink fire trucks to Ponca City's Pioneer Woman from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21. Baker says the pink trucks are 'basically a rolling monument to those who have suffered the battle.' " 
(from Ponca City news article)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sweet Spirit Comfort Me

In the hour of my distress,
When temptations me oppress,
And when I my sins confess,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the house doth sigh and weep,
And the world is drowned in sleep,
Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When (God knows) I'm tossed about,
Either with despair or doubt;
Yet before the glass be out,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the Judgement is revealed,
And that opened which was sealed,
When to Thee I have appealed,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

-a condensed version of Robert Herrick's
Litany to the Holy Spirit
Robert Herrick 1591-1674

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

His Mysterious Companionship

O Holy Spirit of God,
abide with us;
inspire all our thoughts;
pervade our imaginations;
suggest all our decisions;
order all our doings.

Be with us in our silence
and in our speech,
in our haste
and in our leisure,
in company
and in solitude,
in the freshness of the morning
and in the weariness of the evening;
and give us grace
at all times
humbly to rejoice
in Thy mysterious companionship.

-John Baillie

1954, Life Magazine

I just LOVE this prayer!!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumnal Meanderings

This past Sunday was a beautiful fall day...I did not get to write a post then, but I made a note on paper,  and some mentally, and now I have a chance to "git 'er done" .....

Autumnal Meanderings...

Sunday AM- driving to church...passed by the soybean fields waiting to be combined, and saw a pheasant running into the plants...a few rotations of the wheels and another pheasant flew across the road right in front of us- we could plainly see the ring around his neck, so beautiful! A pheasant in flight looks sort of strange, not at all the usual bird-shape I'm used to seeing...the clouds are hanging heavy like it may rain...the air is crisp and refreshing...

Sunday Afternoon- our pastor had invited us to stay for lunch at his home, just like we used to do so many times, before we moved away from that area for 10 years...seems like old times to be back sharing their table, just the two little children are not the same ones! Alison and Benjamin were almost the ages of Julia and David now, when we were back in the Enid area...Brother Leslie had made a pot of beans in the slow-cooker, his specialty! He also prepared cornbread, using his favorite Hodgson Mill cornmeal. Sister Sylvia told us that he cooked most of the afternoon Saturday, making banana bread, etc...She had prepared a Waldorf type salad of sliced apples, grapes, celery, and pecans, probably ones from their pecan tree...She told me she was so excited the night before, knowing we were planning to be with them, that she did not sleep very well! I told her I wished she hadn't been worrying about the mealplanning, and she replied that she had not been worrying, she was anticipating our company! They had just got back from holding a week-long revival in South Carolina, and she had not yet been grocery shopping to replenish her cupboards...She said the Lord brought to her mind how her mother used to fix meals for company with practically nothing on the shelves, and that the Lord kept bringing things to her mind that she could use for our Sunday lunch without going to the store. She had one carton of lemon yogurt and used that for the sauce of the Waldorf salad, explaining that the Lord suggested that to her! It was one of the best ones I have had, and Galen really enjoyed it also. The Lord knows what's good-tasting!!! We also enjoyed fresh cooked spinach, cooked with only butter, no salt, and garnished with boiled egg slices...very pretty and very tasty. I had never had it like that before...accompaniments for the beans included sliced onions, fresh bell pepper slices and tiny cherry tomatoes from their garden...the tiny tomatoes were so "cute"! For our dessert, Brother Leslie brought out his banana bread that he had made the day before and served it with ice cream...

Sunday Evening- the drive home was pleasant...heavy clouds still lowering, beautifully purple and blue... Galen napped while I drove...after we reached home he had a trailer he had to unload before the rain came, so he got the children to help him...I took a walk down our country road, enjoying the promise of rain that was sure to come, but hopefully not before I got back to the the soybean field across the road from our place, the combine was running...the neighbor's dog Jack ran out to see me and let me touch his nose...I walked on a little ways and thought I was alone, but he had followed me and was right behind me-gave me a little surprise, but he's not one to bite (they say...)  ...coming back to our house I saw a bright bluebird fly up into our apple tree...the clouds are producing lightning and getting darker and the light is that special quality that comes right before a storm...standing in my kitchen fixing supper I could hear the combine across the road working steadily into the dark, trying to finish the field before the rain began...Galen worked until after dark unloading the trailer...just as soon as he was finished, it was as if the storm had been waiting for him to get done, and the wind came up instantly...Julia and I ran into the house before the rain reached us...we had the windows facing the front porch open and the sound of the thunder and rain was delicious...(the field WAS completely finished before the rain started!)

Why is it that we love to ask "Why?"?  When things go bad in our world, we always want to ask, Why me, Lord?... and when things go RIGHT in our world, we want to ask, Why me, Lord?...I almost feel guilty with the enjoyment of my new home...but I know it is God's gift to me and the answer to my 'why' question is, because God LOVES me. I guess that is the same answer to the other 'why', when things are going 'wrong' (as we put it)...God is working out His purpose and all things are working together for good to those that love Him etc... I really believe this...I am learning to have Faith in the Purposes of God, Faith in the Presence of God, Faith in the Promises of God, and Faith in the Power of God.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Practice the Presence

"The time of business does not with me
from the time of prayer;
and in the noise and clatter
of my kitchen,
while several persons are at the same time
calling for different things,
I possess God
in as great tranquillity
as if I were upon my knees...
We should establish ourselves
in a sense of God's presence
by continually
conversing with Him."

- Brother Lawrence 1614-1691
The Practice of the Presence of God

(Brother Lawrence in the kitchen!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bonnie's Prayer

Thank You, Father
for these tears
that have carried me to the depth
of Your love.
How could I have known Your fullness
without the emptiness,
Your acceptance
without the rejection,
Your forgiveness
without my failure,
our togetherness
without that dreadful loneliness.
You have brought me to
and Oh!
the joy of finding You
already there!

-Bonnie Barrows Thomas

Bonnie travels extensively in her speaking ministry to women. She has served with Campus Crusade for Christ, Billy Graham's Women's Prayer Ministry, and northern Colorado conferences's Reflections In The Rockies.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lord, Hold My Hand

Lord, You understand!
You heard the crash
like sudden doom
You saw the fear-dilated eyes of my soul
survey the ground
where lay the gloom-wrapped pieces of my hopes,
shattered in less time
than it could take a second hand
to round the dial.

Lord, You know the agony
of a broken heart,
and so,
Dear Lord,
hold my hand.

-Ione Lyall

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Few Healthy "Don't"s

Don't think your case unique;
it can be matched many times over.
Don't give yourself to pity;
the temptation will be to feel sorry for yourself.
A self-pitying self is a pitiable self;
don't allow yourself to slip on that.
Don't give yourself to excessive grief.
Many do this, thinking they thereby
show their love.
Don't retail your sorrows;
doing so will cause them to grow.
Don't resign yourself to sorrow
and feel it will continue.
Don't complain;
the more you complain about things
the more things you will have to complain about.

-E. Stanley Jones

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why Some Need Solitude

I was a stricken deer,
that left the herd long since;
with many an arrow deep infixt
my panting side was charged,
when I withdrew to seek a tranquil death
in distant shades.
There was I found
by One who had Himself been hurt by the archers.
In His side he bore,
and in His hands and feet,
the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts,
He drew them forth,
and healed,
and bade me live.
Since then,
with few associates,
in remote and silent woods,
I wander,
far from those my former partners
of the peopled scene;
With few associates,
and not wishing more.

-William Cowper
written while suffering mental illness

Try to show patience and pity to those who are wounded with life- you may not understand their need to be alone, but respect their need, and give them space when they desire it. Be a friend they can call when they feel a need for companionship, but don't force their confidence. Say, "I'm here for whenever you need me." Just because you cannot understand their need for solitude, does not mean their need is not legitimate. Present them in prayer to the Savior
and Give The Space They Require!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Voice of The Shepherd


"Pluck up thy courage, faint heart!
What though thou be fearful,
sorry and weary,
and standing in great dread of most painful torments,
Be of good comfort!
For I Myself
have vanquished the whole world,
and yet felt I
far more sorrow,
and much more
inward anguish too,
when I considered my most bitter,
to press so fast upon me.
He that is strong-hearted
may find a thousand glorious valiant martyrs
whose ensample he may right joyously follow.
But thou now,
O timorous and weak, silly sheep,
think it sufficient for thee
only to walk after Me,
which am thy Shepherd and Governor,
and so
mistrust thyself
and put thy trust in Me.
Take hold on the hem of My garment, therefore...
From thence shalt thou perceive
such strength
and relief
to proceed..."

-Sir Thomas More,
'Treatise on the Passion'

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Excerpt- "Autumn"

Here is another little short excerpt from the book  "A Mystic Garden" by Gunilla Norris. Living in Mystic, Connecticut, she gardens and observes the seasons in a spiritual, meditional manner.

The plants in the garden are giving their all.
Stems and leaves surrender their energy to fruiting.
The days are shorter, the air cooler.
Autumn is a ripeness,
an urgency to complete,
to go to fruit and seed,
to give to the future.
Our lives, too, must be allowed to mature,
to be able to give to others.
We do not bear fruit for ourselves.

It is a strange paradox
that fulfillment is so much about surrender.
We recognize ourselves best
when we give our selves fully.
It is how we discover what we essentially are,
or rather what we have been allowed to become
from the gifts that were given us.

Now the leaves will turn tawny
or burning red and bright gold.
The joy of completion blazes
in every direction.
Fulfillment demands that we let go.
We must fall into unknowing,
open to expectation...
Then nonattachment can be felt as a great fruit...

-Gunilla Norris

(photos from Google Images)