Good Morning! Now doesn't that look cheerful and pretty and Autumn-ish? I'll bring back one of my smiling images with a coffee cup after a bit, but in the meantime let's enjoy this lovely scene.
We have no cookies this morning. I should get busy and make a batch. About time, per my husband who has waited patiently, sighing occasionally as he's gazed at the empty jar. Poor dear. I've spoiled him utterly with homemade cookies. He said to me last pay period as we stood before the display of cookies, "Let's just have the ones you bake." Well I never did take time to bake.
We took a flying trip down to Kingsland early this past week. I didn't know John had a couple of extra days off this week, but when he discovered I was going to be gone he opted to go with me. I thought we'd stay a couple of days then head home with a bit of sightseeing at one of the many historical sites near there before we officially headed home, but that's not the way things worked out. I was unable to get anyone to feed the dogs and John pointed out he had several things to tend to at home before going back to work. He said he was hoping we could come home earlier than I'd thought we might. Oh well. That was just my idea of trying to fit a 'vacation' of sorts into a week of busyness. I was going down to sit with the children while my daughter-in-law had an outpatient procedure. So Monday afternoon, in the midst of the rainy weather from Tropical Storm Karen, we headed out. I was reminded a great deal of a rainy trip I made down that way last winter. It was much nicer with company in the car.
We arrived in good time and thoroughly enjoyed the children. The twins spontaneously hugged and climbed over us this time. I think the ease of being in their own home makes us seem less strange to them. Daniel displayed quite a bit of imagination and after the twins went to bed he and I had quite a good time playing that Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore and Rabbit were sledding down the chair arm to the snowy floor below. Daniel eventually decided they must be cold and needed a campfire and cocoa to warm up. Our sled was one of Hailey's plastic tea set plates, the campfire was built of legos and the hot cocoa was purely invisible because it was made with...get this...'Pissy dust' aka known as pixie dust. Is there anything more adorable and amusing than a four year old with a slight, oh so slight, lisp? Oh we had a grand time!
The next morning we were ready to take on the task of babysitting. Thankfully our shy grandson decided that after all Mama and Daddy leaving him at home with a sitter wasn't that unusual and cried for only a moment or two. Hailey allowed him to snuggle up next to her while they watched their favorite morning cartoon. Normally she is Miss Independent, but she's a comforter at heart.
The morning went along well enough and I was getting lunch ready to go in the oven when we got a call that Lori's procedure had been cancelled on the Friday before...only no one told her. Here she'd done all that prep work before hand for naught.! When they called to say they were headed back home, I told them we'd be going home ourselves when they returned. I hated to have to leave. I knew Lori was upset about the way things had gone that morning for many more reasons than I can share. But, I still had needs at home to attend to. We headed home Tuesday afternoon and arrived just as the evening began.
It was still sprinkling rain and fairly miserable outdoors there on the coast but as we got a little further inland it was just cloudy. By the time we were halfway home the humidity was gone and it was nice and cool outdoors. We drove the rest of the way with the windows down. Lovely!
John stopped at Hardy Farms and we bought what he referred to as 'A Southerner's Kryptonite', green boiled peanuts. Oh, it's peanut season in our state and we passed numerous fields that were turned up and drying so they would be ready to harvest. Boiled green peanuts are truly a Southern seasonal treat. I used to boil peanuts at home, but it takes forever and a box of salt at the least to get the peanuts tender and flavored just right. So much easier to stop and buy a bag. These days it's a zippered plastic baggy but in my childhood, peanuts were bought roadside and handed over in a brown paper bag.
John called them Southern Kryptonite because people will stop and purchase a bag and stand about eating a few. He says time schedules all stop for Green Boiled Peanuts, lol, and he's not too far wrong. I don't suppose anyone ever got rich selling boiled peanuts but it's a nice side line income for many. It's not uncommon to see a truck with a small flat trailer pulled over to the side of a road in a parking lot or old driveway. Usually you'll see a propane tank, a burner ring, and a huge pot with a lid and a handmade crooked lettered sign Boiled Green Peanuts propped near by. The aroma of boiling peanuts is unique unto itself. To me they smell like a normal part of autumn.
In long days past, a peanut boil was an occasion which involved a social gathering at many farmsteads. Parched peanuts and taffy pulls were common as well at these gatherings. In my childhood, I recall the farmer from whom we rented our home giving permission for my parents to gather peanuts for a boil. They invited friends down and Mama cooked them in a big water bath canning pot. Daddy piled us all in the back of his pickup truck on hay bales, we drove down dark dirt roads and ate warm peanuts on a chilly full mooned autumn night. It was a very memorable occasion in my childhood, the only time I recall us ever having such a great amount of fun.
Yes, green boiled peanuts are an autumn scent to me. Oh other aromas smell like autumn to me, too. As we headed home Tuesday several homes had piles of burning leaves and limbs. Pine and pecan have their own aromas when they are burned, as does oak and hickory and apple. Perhaps it's just unique to the South, I don't know, as I've never been elsewhere, but now and then one of those fires would have a bit of asphidity thrown on it. This is an herbal 'remedy', 'preventative', etc. that I've grown up smelling all my life. One of my first aroma memories involved the smell of asphidity (colloquial spelling, it's actually spelled Asafatida or Asfoetida) on the cold morning air in the city where we lived at the time. It's uncommon to NOT smell that aroma in rural Georgia when fires are burning. Yes, I smelled that aroma now and then as we drove home and it seemed to say "Autumn is here!" as much as any other scent.
Because it was cool and so many had windows open, I could smell supper cooking in the towns and little neighborhoods we drove through. It was almost as good as peeking in lighted windows at night before the curtains are drawn to pass a home and smell a bit of cooked onion, or garlic, or tomato sauce or a pan of chili. Those aromas were most common that cool breezy day. We all tend to want our cool weather favorites on these first autumn days, don't we? Soup, spaghetti, chili. Comfort in a stock pot, that's what we want when the weather finally cooperates and acts seasonal here.
I was so weary tired when we arrived home. Not dropping, but just worn out. I looked tired and there is nothing worse than a tired looking middle-aged (or just slightly older) woman. You just feel frumpy and unpolished when you look as tired as you feel and no hope for it except a good night's sleep. I'd just passed through two very poor nights of sleep (if you can call it sleep when you don't sleep) as well as two long road trips back to back in a few hours time. I confess an immense sense of relief when I realized that I was HOME, my house was clean and neat and I had a viable and easy plan for supper. All I really had to worry about was helping to unload the car and doing my share of the unpacking.
I felt like a weight came off my shoulders when I walked in the door. I told John that as much as I enjoyed seeing the kids and grandchildren, as much as I love to travel those roadways and see what's changed and contemplate side-roads I'd love to travel down someday, I really do like being the rutty sort of person I am, in my own home, amongst my own things, gazing out over my own familiar views, sitting in my favorite chair, sleeping in my own bed.
And honey, did I ever sleep that night! I mean, real honest to goodness deep sleep. The few times I awakened I was able to drift right back to sleep with a slight adjustment of position. There was none of that lying awake contemplating the dark room around me or trying to pray and getting all the way through my prayer list and then thinking of other things to pray for. Nor making lists of things to attend to the next day or planning meals, etc. Oh I've done all those things. It's a frustrating time of life to hit these periods of wakefulness and it's not just us women who go through it either. John is almost as bad as myself! One day I think we'll both be up around 4am as Granny and Mr. Harry often said they were.
I don't much care to start my day in the dead dark...I'd rather the sunrise was at least on the horizon when I get up, wouldn't you? I've missed a good many of the summer sunrises though because I'd fall asleep just about the time the sun was coming up and sleep was needed.
We didn't do much of anything at all on Wednesday. We were just too tired. I had wisely left milk and a pan of macaroni and cheese to thaw in the fridge while we were gone. I had only to make a salad and bake the macaroni and cheese to have dinner Wednesday. To say I did no housework wouldn't be quite the truth. I did light housework that day but I gave myself permission to rest plenty, too. It was a good time to finish the book I've been reading/savoring over the past month. I purchased Susan Branch's newest book, A Fine Romance which was all about her trip to England in May 2012. Oh it was a lovely book. She doesn't type but hand writes her narrative and there were small illustrations and recipes and photos and quotes sprinkled all throughout. It was a very interesting, in a diary sort of format, one I'll happily read again.
I couldn't help but take up another book right behind Susan Branch. Her book really put me in the mood to read once again, so I'm reading Emilie Loring's For All Your Life. Loring is probably best known by my generation as a 'paperback romance' author. The truth is her books are better than that, but her sons re-published many of them after her death. Most of her books were written in the 1920's thru the 1950's. Her attention to detail in descriptions is what makes the books come alive. I can 'see' the interiors of rooms and the outfits the characters are wearing and the scenery of the villages or cities where the stories take place. There is almost always a mystery of sorts ongoing. I've read critics who said her books were formulaic and I suppose in some ways that is true, but there is enough variety in setting, descriptions and situations that it's never tedious to read several of her books back to back.
Thursday I really let the morning get away from me. I'm not quite sure how I did. I made waffles for breakfast, fed the dogs, read my Bible study, did some light housework, and then I showered and got ready to leave home. I was out for a morning of thrifting and running a few errands. The trouble was I didn't leave until well after 11am and then I had to return home to get my phone and remind John to turn up his volume. Due to work messages coming in all throughout the days he's off, he typically puts it on vibrate. I realized as I was heading home to pick up my phone that it really wasn't going to do me any good to call him if he couldn't hear his phone ring, and the ringer on the house phone has pretty much been off since the last elections when we were getting many calls back to back from senators and committees and such.
I really have to decide just how I'm going to approach this thrifting business. I need to stock my booth, but don't want to get too much stuff ahead. I find I am loathing the need to cram it into an hour or two before dinner, rush rush rush, come home put dinner on the table and then feel frustrated and exhausted all afternoon long. I'm think I need to plan to spend at least a full day at it. And I am most definitely going to have to branch out and get away from Goodwill. As much as I love to plunder and even though I often find nice things there, the three stores in my immediate area are getting too high priced for my small budget. Not only that but the quality of what I can afford is rapidly becoming just this side of trash. A plain straw wreath for $4...I can buy a new one for less at Hobby Lobby! I found only a few items not enough to feel a bag.
I did find the sweetest little blue creamer pitcher at Goodwill, but I'm finding it hard to put in with the flea market stuff. It's so pretty that when I unwrapped it, John saw it and said "Oh I like that!" Yes, yes, so do I...Now what shall I give up of mine to offset that cost? Hmmm? Because that's the way I've decided I must work this thing. If I bring home something new that was meant for the flea market and I simply have to live with it for a time, then I shall have to give up something I have now to go in the flea market booth.
After I went to Goodwill, I went to the little church thrift store I like so well, the one where they found the snake moments after I walked down a hallway during my last visit...Yes, I went back, figuring at that point they'd have found all the snakes. They'd had a massive clearing out apparently and then re-organized it all and wouldn't you know it, they also went up on their prices. I found a few items there that were affordable but I admit most of those were for my home. A new teapot, a pretty set of place mats and napkins in the exact shade of green I'm using all over the house at present.
Later that afternoon, I was working on straightening a messy drawer when I got a text from Katie that just made me feel the world was crumbling. I think it's because I'd already felt a heartache for my daughter in law earlier in the week and then the news from Katie was pretty rotten. I texted family and close friends to start praying and then my eldest daughter called me to commiserate over Katie's news and told me more rotten news. Oddly enough, that sort of steadied me. I got serious about prayer and contacted my own prayer team, people I've called upon before and who know they can call on me for the same. It's marvelous really, to know that so many are so willing to go into battle with you. I got on the internet and looked up a few things and found reason to be very hopeful about Katie's situation and in the meantime my prayer partners were calling their prayer warriors in to pray as well.
Ten years ago I decided to study prayer in the Bible. I just went along and every time I saw the words Pray or prayer, I studied that scripture. Now I can't quote a lick of those verses to you, but I was convinced that prayer was a powerful thing. About eight years ago Richard Roberts asked viewers of his program to send in photos of loved ones who were unsaved. Within a week the studio walls were plastered with photos! That was a powerful testament to me of the desire of people to have others pray with them, so I went to my pastor at the time and told him about that wall and asked him if we could start a prayer wall. We had a huge bulletin board put up and people brought in photos of family and friends who needed healing in one way or another. I prayed over that wall each time I went into the church and I saw others do the same and the testimonies began to trickle in.
Well it taught me something. It taught me I had to be faithful in my prayers and so I learned to pray at a certain time every single day. I mentioned as many names as I could remember, I recalled photos of people to mind if I didn't know the names. Mind you I was not alone in this process. There were many others who prayed right along with me and we were all mightily encouraged to hear of a healing or a miracle or of a person coming to give their life to Christ. Not all the answers were instantly there. Sometimes we prayed for years before we saw the results, but we did see miracles and that encouraged us all to hone that skill.
I can be a bit of a stickler about prayer. I don't give it lip service. I don't say I'll pray and then forget about it. When I say I will pray, I do and I'll check back periodically to ask if there are results. I don't accept the situation and say it's all for the best and I'll pray for acceptance. I pray for a miracle if a miracle is needed and a healing if that's what is required and I pray for understanding and faith and trust above all. Prayer is powerful! Christ told Peter in the Garden that he needed to stay awake and pray, that Satan was going to test him...And oh look at the test before Peter in just a few hours time following that statement!
I'm passionate about prayer. Even after we left that church and moved on to a Messianic church, I remained a prayer warrior. It's been my privilege to pray for many and to hear their stories of salvation, of healing, or peace in tough situations, or resolution of impossible situations. Prayer has truly changed me forever.
I don't know what the outcome will be of this situation with Katie. I am hopeful because I have trust in God. I'm hopeful because I know that many and many are praying. I'm hopeful because I was led to information that was unknown to us. And so we wait.
Yes, news on Thursday was just hard and having it come atop the disappointment of my daughter in law's situation it seemed even more harsh. But aside from a temporary buckling of the knees, it just made me more determined to pray MORE for all these disappointments and pray more for my daughters, all of them. I was shown an area where I've prayed but perhaps have been too weak in my prayers. Now they are more determined, more specific.
John called in his prayer warriors, too, but he did something more, something he's taught me to do. He went back to the music room and he sang every PRAISE song he could find in his music book. He's taught me to praise God in the storms and it was most certainly a rainy day in spirit, if not in fact. I was uplifted and at peace by the time he'd finished and he came out of the room with a face that fairly glowed with his own peace.
In Thursday's mail we'd gotten a brief note from Katie (prior to her news) and in that note were two complimentary tickets to the fair. John said we were going to go to the fair Friday. You might think that sounds odd considering how things were going but it was very important to us to accept the gift that Katie had given us, for her sake and for ours. Had we stayed home worrying and sick with fear we wouldn't have been showing any confidence at all in our trust in God to handle this situation. I texted with her a bit as we drove over to Perry and encouraged her strongly to look for her own answers. I told her, "You've got to have something to hold to...if the fear gets too bad, you put your Bible on the floor and stand on it. You tell God, "I'm standing on Your Word!" and you keep saying it until that fear goes away.
So we went to the fair and yes, we did enjoy it. We're not the kind of folks who go on rides or eat a ton of foods (gracious the prices will make your blood race in your veins!). We are the sort who walk and look and sit and rest and listen and smell and look and walk some more. We stopped in the Marketplace and looked at all the new and wonderful items for sale ("You'll get a far better price buying it here, sir, it's $50 more to order from the website!")...We walked down the food aisles which is the only way to get to the tractors and hot tubs and mobile homes and sheds that are displayed. We stopped at the VFW booth and got a burger and ate it behind the booth overlooking the lake where we were liberally sprayed by the mist from the fountain that the steady breeze pushed our way. We ran into two young men we know and love well and were so happy to see (one of them was one of my prayer partners) and then we walked all the long long way back to the gates.
At our last 'rest stop' on our way to the gate, John asked if I wanted anything. "I'd love an ice cream but from Dairy Queen," I told him. So we went to Dairy Queen and got a medium cone which is twice as large as any we usually get and we ate it on our way home, driving with the windows down, taking the long cut through a little town that I love dearly for it's beautiful old homes and down a little back road that John likes because there's a hidden little old community with a church and a Masonic lodge, an old country store building, a lake and a house that I suspect is really really old among the other old homes there.
When we got home, John looked at me and said, "We're probably the only people in the state who've gone to the fair and walked out again spending only $8..." He's probably right. Oh and we were given free packets of dog and cat food, enough for all three pets to try it. Bonus!
My feet ached, and my hips, too, but I had a great time. Our Shabat table was ready and waiting for the evening prayers. John kindly vacuumed the living room while I made up a quick supper of chicken salad and sliced Cripps Pinks apples. Katie texted to say she'd found peace and was hopeful. We had Shabat and poured out our hearts in gratitude and petition. I went to bed early and read and fell asleep reading. It was a good day.
Saturday was very quiet. It was just what we needed. I'd made spaghetti sauce Friday afternoon after we got home and a salad, too. I put the sauce on to slow simmer. I fed the dogs and picked a few spinach and lettuce leaves from my own little garden (so healthy and prettily green) to add to the salad. I tell you truthfully, I did no work beyond that, the morning flew by as did the afternoon. I found two blogs that I read from start to finish, every single post. It seemed before I knew it, John was off to work and my favorite Saturday evening shows were on, (Good Neighbors and Keeping Up Appearances).
I always feel a bit restless just before Shabat is fully over. When time was done, I loaded the dishwasher, hand washed a few pots and pans, thought of ten dozen projects and jobs I could attend to and realized that I needed a 'To Do' list to focus me. Of course, I hurried right into the living room to take up pen and paper and watched an episode of "Chopped" instead. And Saturday was done.
Here we are, chatting away in the morning and I've a list to make and cookies to bake and dinner to prepare. It's time for my weekly menu and I'm thinking perhaps of working on my quilt or starting a new quilt, I had an idea for one last night, and there's the yard work that wants doing and it's cool enough to plunder about in the shed and straighten it up and...Perhaps I really ought to start with the list first? Good Morning dears. See you next week!