Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Little More Chemo Humor

My friend mailed this to me and it's just tooooo funny!

One day a woman (that's any chemo lady) looked into the mirror and there were only three hairs atop her head. She said to herself, "Hmmmm, I think I'll wear my hair in a braid." And so she did. And she had a super fine day.

The next day she looked in the mirror and there were only two hairs atop her head. So she said to herself, "Hmmm, I think I'll part my hair down the middle." And so she did. And she had a fantastic and marvelous day.

The third day she looked in the mirror and there was one hair atop her head. So she said to herself, "I think I'll wear my hair in a ponytail today!" And so she did. And she had a very good day indeed.

The fourth day she looked in the mirror and was startled to see there was no hair at all atop her head. So she jumped up and down and joyously shouted, "Hooray! I don't have to fix my hear today!" And she had the best day ever!

(Makes me laugh everytime I tell this one! And even if my hair is practically non-existent right now, I want you to laugh right along with me!)

Proverbs 17:22 is today's verse. Place your cursor over the reference to read the verse.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Bit of Chemo Humor

My chemotherapy for ovarian cancer was delayed this week because of my low platelet count. That's okay, it just so happens that I also had a bout of hay fever. That is under control, so chemo should occur next Wednesday. I was soooo looking forward to completing chemo on schedule in early June. Now it appears session six will occur in late June. That means a two-week delay on new hair growth. (Ah, Vanity!)

But I don't mind that. It's just that this week my eyelashes have just about disappeared and my eyebrows are pretty sparse as well. You have no idea how weird one looks without eyebrows unless you are familiar with alopecia. (At least sunglasses add a bit of disguise!)

If you don't mind my chemo humor, I can safely say I am obedient to Paul's command as expressed in I Timothy 2:9. "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.."

(Said the bald lady giggling in front of her 'puter).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Next Time Be Sure to Ask This Question

Tip of the Day
The next time a tele-marketer calls and asks you to donate $$$ to what you perceive as a deserving charity, i.e. veterans, law enforcement, fire fighters, ask one simple question.

And this is the question you should ask: "If I donate money to you, can you tell me what percentage will go to the charity?" They HAVE to answer that question and you may be surprised when the response is a mere 5, 10 or 15 percent and when you get that kind of answer, it will be painless for you to hang up the phone.

Many times paid professional fundraisers eat up to 90 percent of the donated dollars.

So next time, ask! And if you still want to donate that $100, mail a check directly to the charity.

I'm Very Happy to Have Hay Fever

Most people who have seasonal allergies would question my sanity in stating that I am happy to have hay fever. However, in my case, during this week of my life, I'm very happy that the runny nose is due to hay fever and not to a cold. With my immune system compromised due to chemo, it simply would not be a good idea to come down with a cold. But hay fever? I can handle that with a bit of nasal spray and an antibiotic to preclude possible infection of the bronchials. This chemo stuff sure brings a whole new perspective to one's life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There's Always Something New to Learn!

We're always learning. There's always something new to learn! And one thing I've learned in my gardening experience is to NEVER let garlic go to seed. You'll have baby garlic growing the garden the flower the footpath. And when multiple seeds sprout in one spot the plants are too crowded to produce decent sized bulbs. So my gardening hint of the day? Never let garlic go to seed!

There is always something new to learn in our spiritual lives as well!

I grew up in Sunday school and Church. I believed that Jesus was the Son of God but I always thought he had his origins in Bethlehem (or at least at his conception). My misunderstanding may not have been the fault of teachers or could have been simply that I did not understand what was being taught.

And so at the age of 28 when a new preacher began to expound on Christ the Creator, teaching that Jesus was God from before the beginning of time, I was astounded! I began digging into the Scriptures to learn more and more about the divinity of Christ. Scriptures such as John 1:1-5; 14 and Hebrews 1:2-3 and Revelation 19:13 and Colossians 1:16-17. (Place your cursor over the Scriptures to read them!)

Suddenly Jesus became more! There was more to learn! And I began digging deep.

Since then (many years have passed) I'm constantly delighted to understand more deeply the things of God. There's always something new to learn and I don't say that in the sense that I jump from one belief to another as some folk jump from one church to another. I say that in the sense of deeper and deeper. I believe one could read through the Bible twice a year (not that I manage that!) for all the days of their life and they would discover things that they did not understand the previous reading.

If you've never read through the Bible in its entirety I recommend you read at least three books of the Bible...Genesis, the Gospel of John, and Romans. Three books...a short part of the Bible...and yet so rich in what they convey.

Genesis takes us back to the Creation. Chapter 1 ends with "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." And then, in Chapter 3, Adam sinned and took all of posterity (every last one of us) and all of creation into death. Things weren't so good anymore! In my Bible that takes up only five pages. The rest of Genesis tells us about God's mercy towards His people. It's fascinating!

The Gospel of John was written by Jesus' beloved disciple John. John's intent was to help readers see that Jesus is who He claimed to be. John was there with Him, listening to Him preach, watching Him heal, watching Him bring the dead to life (Lazarus in ch. 4). He saw Him die on the cross and John, along with the other disciples, went into hiding for fear the Romans would arrest them next. But on the third day John and Peter see the empty tomb! And soon thereafter John is with the other disciples in hiding when Jesus appears to them in His resurrected condition! He is one of the witnesses to whom Jesus presents Himself alive over a period of forty days (Acts 1:3) and he is witness with the others when they see Jesus ascend into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

As for the book of Romans? Ah, that's complex. Not in the sense of being not understandable (although preachers sometimes take years to preach through Romans) but in the sense that the Apostle Paul presents much. Much, I say, Much! I have many favorite verses in Romans (in particular Romans 8:26-39). (Don't forget to click on More at the bottom of the popup!) But you will have to find your own favorite verses.

So...if you don't think you have time to read the entire Bible (that's a lotta words!!) then consider reading Genesis, John and Romans. You can do that easily. Then read them again and again, asking questions as you read. God will give you answers.

(By the way, don't be afraid to write pencil notes in the margin or to underline or circle key verses or phrases. This has always been helpful to me in studying. )

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Today I Thought to Myself, "Alcohol Is My Friend!"

Hah! If you've been following my blog you may be a bit startled at the title above for it doesn't quite fit "Me".

My blood counts are down again due to the chemo. Especially my white blood counts. That means my immune system is low and I've been trying to avoid crowds. But one cannot sit in the house like a recluse 24/7. And so when I am out and about and when I return to the car I automatically reach for the bottle of alcohol lotion for my hands.

Today as I left the grocery store parking lot I thought to myself..."Alcohol is my friend." But that doesn't make me an alcoholic. She said with a grin.

Hopes that Ignore All of Human History

Today Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke to the graduating class of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

I read this news article today and the following statement by Gates jumped out at me...

"After each war, we always hope we have fought the final war, the war to end all wars," he said. "I believe that such hopes ignore all of human history."

Gates hit the nail on the head. All of human history reveals the evil within the human heart. While we live in this world with wickedness all around us, we will need brave young men and women in our armed forces. And we pray for God's blessing upon us, whether at war or in peace.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rachel Barkey Explains Why Death is Not Dying

I want to preface this post with the mention that I have cancer. Ovarian cancer. That means, in all probability, that I will not live (as I once thought I might) to be 90 years old. My paternal grandmother and grandfather were 90 years old when they died. My father was 86. My mother is 88 and still drives her car the three blocks for lunch with her friends. I used to think that in all probability my genes would take me to a healthy old age. But here I am, 64 years old, with ovarian cancer. If I live to be 90 (or anywhere close) it will be purely by God's grace.

Having cancer is like knowing you are under the sentence of death. It's not that I didn't know death was down the road somewhere. Nobody reaches the age of 64 without having looked honestly at the fact that death comes to all...even to oneself. But somehow the diagnosis of cancer makes it all seem so abruptly close. If one has already acknowledged their own mortality, that knowledge has now become more point-blank, right in your face, in your daily thinking, in your prayers.

Oh, I'm undergoing chemotherapy and I understand that chemo will somewhat prolong my life. But I also know that my life will be much, much shorter than I used to believe. So I've looked at all that, wrapped my thoughts around it, talked to God about it, cried about it. And I've bowed down to God in all of it, knowing that He holds all my days and that however He chooses to deal with me will be right and just and good. Who am I to argue with God about His plans for me? I can only bow down and submit, knowing that His love is sure and certain. AnRachelbarkeyd I am grateful for that love.

This morning, I took an hour and watched a video. Rachel Barkey, 37 years old, is a wife, a mother of two children, and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is not expected to live to see her 38th birthday. Several weeks ago she shared a message with a large group of women entitled “Death is Not Dying: A Faith that Saves.” It's an hour long and I hope that you will take the time to listen as well. If you wish you can download Rachel's message to your mp3 player.

Rachel's faith is strong and her understanding of the Gospel is clear and good. And she says so well what I would like to share with all whom I love.

So having asked you to listen to Rachel's message, I also ask you to consider what the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth in regards to death:

"I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
"Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

.(Thanks to Laurie at Beauty for Ashes for reminding me of this good Scripture.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why Did the Watermelon Cross the Road?

Our daughter and grandson drove 293 miles one-way this weekend to join the rest of us in celebrating another grandson's high school graduation. Five hours can be a long time on the road. To pass the time they counted the number of critters that met their demise on the highway. Springtime must cause them to venture forth into hazardous territory...the highways and byways! Poor things! We were amazed at the total roadkill tally!

Bird - 14
Rabbit - 7
Raccoon - 3
Pheasant - 3
Cat - 1
Squirrel - 1
Skunk - 1
Goose - 1
Watermelon - 1
Unidentified flattened animal - 25

So why did the watermelon cross the road?
To get to the other side, of course!
Everybody knows that!

(Romans 8:22 -- Death has come into all of creation because of Adam's sin. Even the animal kingdom suffers until the day when the earth shall be made new again.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

They've Never Eaten Iowa Sweet Corn But Please Don't Hold That Against Them!

Sometimes I check the blogs of those who follow my own. Today I want to point you to Paul Mathers of Chico, California. Paul was discussing the mortgage meltdown for his son's econ homework and gives us the gist of the conversation. He says he is no economist but I believe his explanation is quite accurate. You can read his explanation here. If you want to read more of his blog, be sure to click on his blog title Disjecta Membra . That will take you to his home page.

Actually I found Paul by clicking from the blog of his wife, Laurie. (She has never tasted Iowa sweet corn but please don't hold that against her!) You can check her out at her blog, Beauty for Ashes. Her writings about daily life as well as her commentaries on Christian living are insightful and useful.

And now! We have company coming for the weekend. So I need to get to the tasks of the day. Sure wish Iowa sweet corn was in season but that's still nearly two months away! (She said with a sad smile.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When Your Wife Was Raised as an Iowa Farm Girl....

My beloved and I were at the grocery store yesterday. In the produce section. Where he spotted sweet corn. Corn with husks that were already beginning to dry. You must understand that I was raised on an Iowa farm and I know what genuine Iowa sweet corn tastes like when picked, husked and dropped into simmering water within ten minutes of the picking. We're Talking Sweet Corn!

I argued with my beloved that this corn had to be days old! Look! The husks are starting to dry! The sugar has turned to starch! It will not be sweet! The kernels will be tough!

Every Iowa farm girl knows that Sweet Corn is best when picked and cooked and eaten all within ten minutes of the picking. Or at least within the half-day and not days down the road. Every Iowa farm girl knows this! And every Iowa farm girl knows that you may as well forgo store-bought corn and wait until July when the early corn will be available -- either in your own garden or by some Iowa farm boy down on Main Street selling sweet corn from the back of his pickup...corn he picked early that morning.

But my beloved insisted. (You have to realize that he is a California boy and doesn't understand all of the above.)

So we walked out of there with two large ears of corn. (I wouldn't let him buy more! Two large ears make us four servings!) They rested in the fridge overnight and this noon I shucked (now There's an Iowa word!) them and dropped them into a pot of boiling water. I have to admit they were tasty. Not Sweet Corn by any means, but at least tasty enough to be called Sweet Enough Corn.

I had to eat my, my corn.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today's Magazines and How They Stink!

Oh, oh! This is a rant! Be patient with me. You do know, don't you, that I'm old and gray, old enough to be your grandmother. But that doesn't mean I am stupid, witless, or without thinking ability, nor indeed without life experiences that you may not have experienced...experiences that have caused me to grow in wisdom and knowledge and understanding. That's hard-earned wisdom, earned at the expense of often painful experiences... wisdom that was earned by the grace of God, by His goodness, and not by my own bright thoughts, believe you me! So, please bear with me!

As a young mother, a young homemaker, and young adult I learned much from women's magazines and I subscribed to several. These were magazines that provided articles on being a good mother, on learning to wisely use my paycheck, on gardening or making my home attractive. The editors provided me much good information.

But for a long time now I have been completely disenchanted with today's magazines for women. It's enough to make me puke (I hope that word does not offend) sometimes. I don't have to tell you to check the covers of those mags where you stand in line to buy your know... those magazine covers touting articles that proclaim something akin to "20 gazillion ways to fool a man on your first date into thinking that you are that one and only". And they are not talking about your lovely sense of humor nor your ability to look deep into his eyes and give attentive ear as you dine at some fine restaurant. Of course, I've toned that down a bit because if I quote exact words I'll get a million hits from weirdos who are seeking some "R" rated site where they can fulfill their latest weird fantasy. But you know which magazines I mean.

Even the old standbys have resorted to worthless, witless articles that do nothing but promote irrational useless foolishness. A friend gave me her mags recently and yesterday I read how to have good luck in a New Year...something about carrying 27 one dollar bills in one pocket and 42 coins in the other. And changing the position of 29 items in the house prior to New Year's Day...moving the salt and pepper around counted as a change. This is WISDOM? The writer obviously believed it...she has written an entire book on the subject!

But back to the headlines at the supermarket. I'll tell you about my personal boycott, my personal resistance, my personal sabotage (are Christians supposed to practice sabotage?). Here it is. Whenever I spot a magazine with particularly objectionable photos or racey titles, I casually pick up a more family-oriented magazine, glance at it a moment, then place it in front of the one I find distasteful. Sure, someone else will come along and remove it, but at least for a few moments or hours, I've prevented or postponed a sale. I consider this my personal expression of "freedom of speech". If dissenters can burn the flag, I can relocate magazines at the grocery store.

I think my mother mentioned once or twice that I was a stubborn child. Not in a malicious way, but as a part of my personality. Yep. I'm stubborn. And I'll stubbornly dislike and find distasteful these kinds of magazines as long as I have breathe in my body.

Now...if your mind thinks like mine, next time you are in a grocery store, find a nice cooking magazine, glance at it a moment, then place it in a different magazine slot. You'll know which cover to cover.

Yep! This is a rant!

Today's Scriptures:
Proverbs 9:10
Psalm 111:10
Job 28:28
Ecclesiastes 8:12

P.S. Cat Rocketship makes a valid comment that there are many good magazines out there that relate to career, finances, home improvement, etc. In fact one of my favorites is "This Old House" and I often clip pages from cooking or interior decorating magazines for future reference.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Best Place to Find Morel Mushrooms

Fresh Morel Mushrooms

Morels! These mushrooms in a paper bag may not look very appetizing but we know these are a true prize!

They are the best of the best! Each spring local mushroom hunters impatiently wait for those first warm days for they know the morels will be popping. Those on the sandy soils of the Missouri River bottoms pop first! Morel Mushrooms Ready to Dip and FryAnd that's good! However, those tend to be dirty with sand and with teensy bugs. Of course you can wash and rinse until they are clean. But the BEST morels come from the foothills. The slopes warm a tad slower than the bottomland soils so this makes them a second crop, so to speak. These are the best and the cleanest. Free from sand. And most years free from bugs.

We don't hunt mushrooms anymore but we have family and friends who bring us enough of a supply to eat a few tasty meals each spring. Look at these cleaned morels. They've been lightly rinsed and sliced through the middle and they're ready to cook!

Folks cook them different ways...a simple saute in butter...dip in egg and flour and fry till crispy...or dip in egg and cracker crumbs and fry. You can go online and find various recipes but everyone is in complete agreement that morels are wonderful. I've also used them in a creaMorels Dipped in egg and Flour and Friedmy pasta dish. They're easy to store in the freezer...simply freeze on a cookie sheet, then place in a freezer bag for storage. They can also be dried and later rehydrated.

This morning we had a few with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Yum!

By the way, morel hunters are as close-mouthed as fisherman. They'll never tell you their favorite hunting spot. It's each man for himself when it comes to morel mushrooms. And we thank friend Mike and son-in-law Mark for keeping us supplied with these tasty gems!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rain Before Seven, Over By Eleven or How to Be Your Own Weather Forecaster

We've been getting those little morning showers, not even enough moisture to observe in the rain gauge. I doubt we will get the storms forecast for this afternoon. I think this falls into the category mentioned in the title. The early shower precludes rain later today.

I've seen this happen with stronger morning showers or thunderstorms. If they begin in the early dawn hours, regardless of how much rain is dumped, the storm will be over by noon and the sun will be out.

So even though the weather forecast is for 65% chance of a thunderstorms this afternoon, we'll wait and see if the weatherman is more accurate than the old saying, "Rain Before Seven, Over by Eleven."

There is another old saying that if there is dew on the grass there will be no rain that day. That one is pretty accurate.

Oh, And another one! Red sky at night, sailor's delight. It is almost 99 percent accurate that if we have a red or reddish sunset, we will have sun the next day. The Red sky at morning, Sailor take warning, doesn't seem to apply in Iowa. Perhaps because we don't do much sailing here. LOL

At least in my neck of the woods, in western Iowa.

P.S. Well, I missed the call on this one. We had a mini-thunder storm move through about noon. Tiny. One minute of rain and pea-size hail. Then about ten minutes of wind. Not enough to even call a rain, but enough to call me wrong on my forecasting. (wry smile)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chemo #4 and Lots to Do Today

Today's photo: My hair before Chemo. It's a lot, lot shorter now, like 1/4 inch in length and need I say "sparse"? However, I'm hoping it comes back black and curly. Sometime in July/August. I mention that just in case I get my druthers! (she said with a big, big smile)

Had my fourth chemo session for Ovarian cancer yesterday. Sessions are three weeks apart. Many seem to suffer greatly with chemo but I am blessed in that I feel really, really good. Except for days 2, 3 and 4 afterwards. Those days I experience some bone and joint pains. Not bad. Not debiliating. Just enough that I empathize with my body and groan and sigh a bit. Still, I don't mind much, for I know they disappear in 3 days. I could take ibuprofen but frankly, I don't need to, and I prefer not to add one more blow to my kidneys, stomach, etc. I can deal with mild pain. No biggie! (It's my poor hubby who has to deal with the sighs!)

Today is Day 1 after. That means my energy is still good and I have lots to do today. Clean the fridge. Wash the bedsheets. Water the flowers on the deck. Cook up some apples that are getting old. Make a couple phone calls. Take salmon out of the freezer for the grill. Yum. Oh! And work on establishing a new sourdough starter. I think I killed my last batch. It lost its sourdough aroma and it no longer fermented so I had to dump it. Sigh! Thankfully, I still had some of the original dry sourdough yeast to start a new batch.)

Just because I FEEL good doesn't mean things aren't happening to my body. My blood counts fluctuate up and down and undoubtedly by early next week I'll be taking neupogen shots to boost my falling white cells. The shots can cause aches deep in the bones where the cells are made but I seem to experience only mild pain. Another sigh or two gets me by. (she said with a sighing laugh)

I thank God that my symptoms do not have me flat on my back. And, weirdly, I actually look forward to each chemo session because I know the chems they are kicking into my body are themselves kicking in to kill off cancer cells. Aren't we blessed to be living in a time of medical care that was not available to our ancestors!

Just a note if you are politically active. Senator Ted Kennedy (Dem-Mass.) and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Rep-Texas) are co-sponsors of a bill (S-717) that would overhaul the 1971 National Cancer Act. The bill's intent is to improve early detection, improve insurance coverage for clinical trial treatments, encourage use of biomarker tests which might provide early detection, etc. You can read more about this at Medical News Today. I was pleased to see this bill sponsored by a leading Dem and a leading Republican. Go BiPartisanship!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jacob's Ladder? What's That?

This quaint quilt was the first quilt I made using a "real pattern". And this quilt book (copy thereof) was the first quilt book I ever purchased. This was in the 1970s and I had made some scrap quilts but I wanted to sew a "real quilt". The pattern in 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby McKim was not the pattern of today with complete cutting and sewing instructions. No, it was a simple line drawing. I traced the pattern pieces onto cardboard template. I was faithful to her suggestions of color for I wanted this quilt to appear as she might have made it in the 1930s. Compared to some of today's quilts this one is pretty simple. But I love it for its simplicity. (Don't forget, you can click on photos for a larger view.)

This pattern is called "Jacob's Ladder". You might be interested to know that many of the quilts sewn by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were made up of blocks with Biblical sounding names. For the most part their homes were Christian homes and their choice of patterns reflected that fact. In this book alone I find Cross and Crown, Dove in the Window, Grandmother's Cross, Greek Cross, Jacob's Ladder, King's Crown, and Palm Leaf. I've also seen patterns called Job's Tears, Job's Troubles, Joseph's Coat, Caesar's Crown, King Solomon's Temple, Armegeddon, Balm of Gilead, Crosses and Losses, Rose of Sharon, Tree of Life, and Tree Everlasting. The list goes on.

So what is so Biblical about Jacob's Ladder, you might ask. Oh, I'm glad you asked!

In the book of Genesis Jacob spends a night outdoors while traveling from Beersheba towards Haran. (He's going there to find a wife.) His campsite must have been a bit primitive for he used a stone as a pillow. Eww, that must have been comfy! During the night in the dream he saw a ladder extending from earth to heaven. On the ladder angels were ascending and descending (traveling up and traveling down) between heaven and earth. At the top of the ladder, the LORD spoke to him. (Genesis 28:13-15) Specifically in verse 14 the Lord says this..."in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

Now you might think this was an ordinary and not a significant dream. So he had a dream! So he dreamt about angels! So the Lord speaks to him in his dream! Soooo???? Aha! I thought you'd never ask!

Let's look at John 1:51 where Jesus speaks to the brand-new disciple, Nathanael, who is astounded that Jesus knows him when he himself has never met Jesus. Jesus tells him, "Truly, truly (which means, Listen up, I'm telling you something true and I'm telling you something important), I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Jesus is saying that He is the ladder, so to speak. It is because of Him and through Him and for Him that the angels serve mankind. He, Himself, is the ladder, the only access, the one through whom we have access to heaven and to the Father. He is the mediator, the intercessor, the path, the way. He says it Himself in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

You might ask, "How can that be?" Aha! You ask very good questions!

John the disciple tells us this in 1 John 2:1-2, "....we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins...."

Stop! Don't ask! I'm one step ahead of you. The word propitiation means "satisfaction". Jesus' death on the cross satisfied the law's demand that death is ours due to sin. Do you remember in Genesis 3 where Adam deliberately disobeyed God's single command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? God had told him that when he ate, he would surely die. And he did. Spiritual separation from the Source of Life, God Himself, occurred when Adam turned his back and deliberately followed Satan rather than God. Spiritual death occurred. And physical death came upon him. Oh, he continued to be physically alive, but death was his, and after he had lived his allotted time, he died.

You and I are subject to death as well. Why? Because when Adam died, we died. Death became ours. As Adam's children we are born in his condition of sin. You sin. I sin. We are all subject to the penalty for sin which is death. EXCEPT! Except that Jesus took our collective sin upon Himself at the cross. He died our death. He "satisfied" the demand of the law. And in return! Oh, this is the good and gracious part! In return he gave us His righteousness. To all who trust in Him. To all who are His. In John 5:24, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him (that's God the Father) who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."

There is only one mediator (one ladder) between sinful man and the Creator God. And that is Jesus Christ who took upon himself our death and offers us His righteousness so that when we stand before God on judgment day, we are counted as being clean. Jesus is the ladder in Jacob's dream. He is our access to heaven.

Oh! By the way! If you are a quilter you can go to to read more about Ruby Short McKim and find reprints of her quilt patterns. As I say, her's are very simple instructions and you may have to adjust quilt sizes for today's queen beds. And I'll bet you can adjust the patterns to today's new cutting techniques.

Bless you!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Before We Lived in Castles We Played "Andy Andy Over"

When we drive into the city (which is not a large city, only 83,000 population) I am always amazed at the size of today's new homes. They look like castles with three stories plus basement and I hesitate to even guess their square footage. I wonder to myself, "Who does the cleaning/dusting/vacuuming in those huge homes?" Even though we have carpet in only two small rooms, vacuuming is not my favorite task of the week. I can't imagine having the job of cleaning a mansion. (At which point I concede these people must hire someone to come in and do such a menial task.)

My aunt and uncle lived almost their entire married live in a 660 square foot house. They moved from Nebraska to Iowa some time prior to 1945. Soon after, my uncle purchased a chicken house and moved it onto a lot in town. Then he renovated it inside and out and made a tidy little home where he and Antony Overhis wife raised three children. My aunt was a wonderful homemaker who could sew, cook, clean, garden. She kept their little home spotless. They were a God-fearing (or God-loving, whichever you prefer for both are true) couple who lived a simple life. They lived there until they both passed away a number of years ago.

As children my brothers and I often visited their home and always felt welcome. They didn't put up with any nonsense, though, and sharply reprimanded my brother when he threw rocks high into the air for their dog to catch and fetch. (His poor teeth!) And Aunt forbade another brother to play the victrola after he kept dragging his fingers on the records, causing the record to play slower and slower and lower and lower.

Outdoors, in the cool of the evening, when the adults were busy indoors visiting, we played Antony Over with cousins. I used to call it Andy Over but Antony Over is the more original name. The Dictionary of American Regional English mentions the game as being played in the Appalachian area in the late 1800s and being possibly of Scots origin. Players gathered on opposite sides of the house. One person would yell "Antony Over" (or Andy Andy Over) as he tossed a rubber ball over the roof of the house. On the other side the team members would try to catch the ball. If they failed, they yelled "Pigtail" and would themselves toss the ball over the roof, again yelling "Andy Andy Over." If those on the far side caught the ball in the air before it bounced they would speed around to the other side of the house and try to catch a player before the members of that team ran to the far side of the house. I don't remember the rules exactly, but that is the gist of it.

Recently I found this game mentioned in an old book that I am reading. One British bookseller says this about the book: "S.R. Crockett's The Stickit Minister and Some Common Men, published in 1893, was among the best-selling works of fiction of the decade. Set mostly in Galloway, in the south west of Scotland, these spirited tales offer an entertaining blend of wry humour, subtle pathos and social observation, told in energetic prose and vigorous Scots (Scots dialect)." So there you have it...the game was played in Scotland and in all probability was brought to the Appalachians by Scots immigrants.

I don't think anybody living in today's castle-like homes will be playing Antony Over. They'd have a difficult time tossing a rubber ball high enough to clear the peak. But then, I'm not certain anyone ten years younger than I will have even heard of the game.

Andy Andy Over! Pigtail!