Wednesday, October 31, 2007


As Bro. Mark says, "You know it's scary when you can go into your office and come out looking like this." He found all this just lying around his office. (You can tell he was recently a youth pastor!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What's in Your Job Description?

There is that item that is in every job description: Other duties as assigned. For Danny Carter, head of maintenance at ABC, this is one of those other assigned duties.


Wild Weekend

This past weekend was action packed. Have you ever hosted a sleepover with seven 7th grade girls (plus the little sister and her friend)? There was running and squealing and jumping and squealing and just plain squealing and squealing. I picked them all up from school (did I mention that I have a mini-van?) and we looked like a sardine wagon. I don't think there has ever been that much weight in that vehicle! We almost didn't make it over the lip of the parking lot. When we got to our house, I know our neighbors thought we were a circus act (you know, where the clowns keep unloading and unloading from the tiny little car.)

Dinner was easy though: bonfire, hot dogs, and s'mores. I have found that if you can get them all out of the house, they will stay out to play in the dark. Hide and Seek, excuse me, Man Hunt (Hide & Seek is for little kids) is a ton of fun in the dark when it's cool and clear outside. They finally came in about 10:30 for Mr. H's cheesecake and presents. Then they had movies to watch. Mr. H and I went to bed. At some point after 2:30 a.m. (I guess the movies were over) I had to go shush them up. But all in all, they are a great group of girls. Several of them we have known for at least 3 or 4 years. One, we've known since she was 2 years old.

It was tough to get them moving the next morning. I don't think they went to sleep until after 4. But there were more things to do this weekend. The eldest came home for her sister's party and we had to go shopping for some winter shoes. She and I both got some Sperry Top-Siders. My last pair was purchased for Christmas 1978. They lasted for about 20 years. I'm hoping for similar longevity in this pair.

Sunday was our church bike ride. We left right after church and headed to Penn's in Petal for catfish. It was a gorgeous day for a ride. We go back roads, usually 2 lane, for these rides. Our pastor was in the lead. He took some pictures along the way. You can see them here. Look for a post on 10/28 called "The Ride."

Sunday night was also our monthly KidStuf presentation. We had special guest Curt Hale from Pinelake Church to come do some of his music. Curt has led our Kid's Camp for several summers and is a favorite of my kids. Curt's wife Noel came with him and they led the music portion of our evening service. Wow! As good as Curt is on his own, they are even better together!

When I got home Sunday night, I was ready for the weekend to be over. It was great, but it was long.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Out of Date Technology

I was straightening up some in my office today when I ran across a box of 3.5 disks that I used to back up my financial software before I got a flash drive. I need to get rid of them, but just throwing them away is out of the question. They have several years worth of contribution records for our church members. My shredder won't shred them. It's made for paper and CD/DVDs. I thought about just reformatting them before I trashed them, then I realized that my computer doesn't even have a drive that will accept them anymore.

I've been through a lot of technology changes. When I was in college, desktop PC's had just come out. I didn't have one. I could have done of my assignments on one available in the business office, but it was only open during "business hours." I had classes during those hours. The engineering computer, however, was available at all hours of the night. But that meant typing out your program on IBM punch cards, handing them in at a window and waiting for your green bar printout and cards to be returned at another window.

Back then PC's saved info on a cassette tape (which was more convenient than a deck of cards.) Then came floppy disks (and they really were floppy). Then 3.5 disks. Those started out holding so little information, that it took a stack of them to back up very much data. They got bigger on the inside as time went by. Then flash drives came along. I have one on my key chain. It makes taking things from home to the office much easier than disks. Until we got DSL here at the house, I hated having to e-mail pictures because it took forever. Now, just save it on the flash and take it with you. I wonder what the next new thing will be and how long it'll be before it's obsolete, too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Turning 13

Today is M's 13th birthday. She was born on a Sunday morning, in time for her big sister and grandparents to tell everyone at church that she was here.

Thirteen is an odd age to be. You are officially a teenager, but still too young to do so many of those teenager things, mostly due to the lack of a driver's license. It's especially difficult if you are in the middle. You want to dress and be like your big sister, but you see all the fun your little sister is having with her friend and their games. You feel the pull of growing up and can't wait, but it's scary, too. There are all those 'what if's: What if I can't do it? What if I get lost? What if someone laughs at me? (I think this is the one that's hardest at 13)

If you think about it, those 'what if's never go away. We just grow into them. We learn that whatever we have to 'do', we usually have time to learn how to do it. We learn that if we get lost, there are people who love us that will help us find our way. And we learn that sometimes, we just have to laugh at ourselves.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Soup

There are some dishes that just don't jump up and scream "Try me!"
Pumpkin Soup is one of those dishes. But sometimes the situation is just right for a trial.

Last week the Ladies Ministry at ABC had a soup swap. (One of the great "extras" about working at our church is the food opportunities.) You bring a pot of soup and some empty mason jars. There were little 4 ounce cups for just a taste and larger bowls for more serious research. When you found your favorite (or favorites) you could take some home in your jars.

There were all kinds of soups: vegetable, bean, cream of different things, a couple of seafood bisques, and pumpkin. With that many to choose from, I didn't have anything to loose by trying just a spoonful of the pale orange stuff. Wow! I was surprised. It was really good. And easy, too! (The ladies sent home a cookbook with everybody's recipes in it.) I made some for Mr. H when he got home from his trip and he liked it, too.

My very favorite was made by Bro. Neil, our Worship Leader (Minister of Music). I believe that man can cook better than just about any lady in the congregation. His was a seafood bisque that I'll have to make some other time.

Here is Sheila Brown's recipe for the pumpkin soup:

1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (OR --I used a small "for pie" pumpkin, cut in half, cleaned, baked for an hour, then peeled and mashed)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream

1. Saute onion in butter in a medium saucepan until tender. Add 1 can chicken broth; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor. Blend until smooth.

3. Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining can of broth pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in whipping cream and heat through. Do not boil, ladle into individual soup bowls.

This is really good with cinnamon croƻtons on top. (cinnamon toast cut into small squares). Try it, you just might really like it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Insights from My Eldest

I talked to my oldest daughter last night. That's not unusual. She told me about her interesting day. That's not unusual either, although the day itself certainly was. There were tornado watches all around Mississippi State. Her single Thursday class was canceled and she was "encouraged" not to leave the dorm for several hours.

Being an intelligent girl (and a meteorology student as well), she kept an eye on official weather sites. She knew when the watches were canceled and it was safe to bail out. She and a friend attend a BSU bible study on Thursday nights and that's where they went.

As we talked last night, she told me something that she had learned at the bible study. They were talking about marriage, discussing the verses in Colossians and Ephesians about submitting and loving. She knows how lots of women today feel about that word "submit." Then they talked about some of the basic differences in men and women. Men, for the most part, want respect more than love. Women, generally speaking, value the love more than the respect. In essence, the bible is telling married couples to give each other what the other needs and values most. It made so much sense to her. And it is valuable truth. I know it's true in my marriage. I know my husband respects me, but I need to feel and hear the love. He knows I love him, but he needs to see and hear the respect for his worth.

I have high hopes for my daughter's future. She has a head start on so many things.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Morning of Rain

I'm sitting in my office listening to the rain outside. It is such a nice sound. It surprised me this morning at home when I heard it. I walked past the closet housing all the utilities and heard it hitting the vent pipes. I didn't really trust what I was hearing, so I went out on the front porch to make sure. It was still dark, so I couldn't really see it, but I could feel it and hear it.

I had promised the girls that we'd get breakfast on the way to school (since we ran out of milk and I forgot to get some on the way home from church last night.) In the 12 miles between my house to the school, there is only one place to get anything to eat: Courtyard Lane. It's a convenience store, deli, gas station, tanning bed, public gathering place. For breakfast, you can get biscuits with bacon, link sausage, patty sausage, eggs, cheese (and probably anything else you like) and take it with you. They will make you a plate of breakfast if you want to stay there and eat. There is a regular crowd of guys that meet there almost every morning, but we were earlier than them this morning. It was a little cool in there for my youngest's comfort, so we took ours to the car. I moved over to the edge of the parking lot, so others wouldn't have to walk past us while we were eating.

It was fun, sitting in the car while it was still mostly dark outside, listening to the rain all around. There wasn't much conversation. They were eating and the rain was hard to talk over. My youngest, who hardly ever eats anything, polished off a man-sized biscuit with bacon. By that time, we saw a school bus go by, so my middle schooler said we could go now. You know, it is just not cool to be the first one at the middle school bus stop!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Some Pastors Are Just Cooler than Others

Our pastor left this morning for a few days out of town. If you see this man on a road somewhere in Mississippi, drive carefully. We want him back in the same condition that he was when he started!

You can see his blog here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Perfect Day

Today was one of those days I would like to keep forever. I was driving back from Jackson this afternoon and tried to take in every detail. It was perfect for every sense.

For the eyes, it was green tinted with gold, covered by cloudless blue. The temperature begged for the windows to be rolled down. Sometimes the sun would paint a distinct warm rectangle across my legs. Later in the day, when the sun was low enough to reach through the passenger window, I could feel it, like a warm hand. touching my neck and shoulder. Freshly harvested hay, burning leaves, and warm pine needles took turns to scent the air all afternoon. The only thing missing was a soundtrack. And then I found that, too: "Forever Autumn" came up in the music rotation.

The day could only have been better if my beloved had been with me, but I suspect I wouldn't have recognized the glory around me. It was simply heartbreakingly lovely. I want to paint it into my heart so that I can always find it again.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Sound of the Love of God

Isn't it weird how different things excite different people? Tonight at our church we had our annual meeting of the committees. All the committees that were recently elected met together for "dinner & a meeting." After the meal, the crowd regrouped from its social configuration (spouses and friends together) to its functional arrangement: each committee or ministry gathered around its own table.

At this point, you're thinking: How incredibly, mind-numbingly, unspeakably boring.

But you're wrong!

I'm on the finance committee (now you're thinking: She's really lost her mind!) but hear me out. What I could hear going on around me was the sound of ministry. Okay, that's a church word. Let me translate. It was the sound of people who want to show the love of God to the world, planning how to do just that.

Here are some examples: We have a Mom's Day Out at our church. On Tuesdays and Thurdsays there are lots of little ones there: playing, learning, eating, napping. Most of the families represented by those little children are not members of our church. For quite a number of them, this is the only contact they have with any church. There is a group of people who gathered around one of those tables tonight whose main desire is to use this contact to put a face on the Love of God.

At another table was what we call the Staff & Personnel committee. Their goal is to enable our pastors to devote all their energy to the responsibility God has given them: to reach, to teach, to lead, to equip, to encourage, to counsel. This group understands how important these men and their families are to the goal of showing God's love to the world around us.

All around me I could hear the sound of the love of God at work. None of these people get paid for this, but they are storing up treasure in Heaven. (There's another of those church phrases.) All those present tonight were there because they know some things are important . . . eternally important.

I'm so glad I was there tonight. I've been to this event in years past, but tonight was the first time that I understood what God could do with it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Have you ever learned something about a person that profoundly changed your understanding of them? It happened to me yesterday, and the person was my daughter.

This weekend she made a sacrifice that I would never have expected. And she did it with absolutely no fanfare, no self-seeking motives. In fact, I would probably never have known about it if I had any other job in the world but this one.

I am astounded by her maturity. She may be young, but she has a wise heart.

Monday, October 8, 2007


These are our 2 cats: Grisabella (the calico) and Mrs. Jones (black & white).
These two creatures really can't stand one another. They are NEVER this close together without hissing and spitting at each other. Well, to be truthful, it's Mrs. Jones that does the hissing and spitting. Gris just wants to play. She's several years younger than Jonesy. Mrs. Jones doesn't play. I suspect that she was there first and Gris eased up afterward without starting something. This was such an unprecedented event that I thought it should be recorded for posterity. We may never see them this close together with both so relaxed again.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Middle Child

Our middle child has been neglected. She always does everything well, so we've come to expect that from her. Our youngest has recently made some dramatic advances at school, and we've praised her. But the middle one says, "I always do that and you don't think I'm special!"

I really do think she's special. She's a lot like me and I'm afraid if I make too much of that, it will show. Of all our girls, the middle one is most like me physically. (I wish I had her hair, though!) She likes so many of the things I like.

Here's an example: Last year our pastor was preaching through Psalms. He asked for volunteers to illustrate all or part of the 23rd Psalm. I was all for giving it a try. So was she. I had seen a journal that she decorated the end papers of with angels, so I knew she was capable of this. Even so, I was amazed at her creation. She really captured the "at home" aspect of 'I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.'

Check out the details of the throne! She told me, "Jesus will be on that throne forever. He'll need to be comfortable." She's a very practical kid.

Here's my contribution to the 23rd Psalm art show:

I get intimidated by all that blank space. Since I am much more comfortable with words than I am with drawing, most of my artwork takes this form. I concentrated on the 'paths of righteousness' aspect. All the things that He is to us make up the way of righteousness.

Well, now I've given equal time to all the girls. I feel better.