Thursday, July 26, 2007

A time to plan

It's time - actually, it's past time - for me to plan the lessons for the upcoming year. I hope to be done with it by the end of the month. Email me or call me if you need something from me.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kitchen work

Joan and I spent several hours at Home Depot today buying paint, cabinets, a fridge, a sink, a faucet, and a microwave/fan to go above the stove Steve already ordered. It was exhausting, but fun because now we're that much closer to being able to complete the kitchen.

Steve comes home tomorrow and he and Tom and David should be able to complete any wall and ceiling work that still needs to be done anywhere in the cottage.

Next week - or perhaps sooner - we'll get the countertops and the hardware for the cabinets.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A visit with Beth W.

Beth W. probably deserves an award as "former JBC member who traveled the farthest to attend the reunion." Beth, Lauren, and Emily flew from San Diego!

We haven't seen each other in three years, and we talked so much, my vocal cords were aching by Sunday afternoon.

Beth and her girls met us at our motel, and we decided to get lunch to go from Ruby Tuesday and eat by the pool.

While waiting for our friends, Sam and Marley swam:

And the girls read:

Then Beth, Emily, and Lauren arrived and for Beth and me, it was like we'd just seen each other a few days ago. For the girls, the re-acquaintance process took a few minutes, but by Sunday you'd not know that they had spent years apart.

Aren't they cute together? Although Beth and I met and knew each other long ago (1989, at Community Bible Church in Beaufort, South Carolina), our girls didn't meet until Beth and I met again in Jacksonville, at JBC in 1995. Lauren and Sarah were both 4, Joan was 3, and Emily was 2. Now Sarah and Lauren are 16, Joan is 14 - almost 15, and Emily is 14.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Visiting Beth H.

Beth H. generously hosted us for supper on Friday night. We spent several wonderful hours with Beth, Aaron, Sarah, and Jesse - and it wasn't enough. Kim sweetly volunteered to take pictures and Beth emailed them to me so I'd have them here when I got home last night.
Beth and me in the window seat of her kitchen:

All of our children on Beth's front porch:

And mine showing their true colors:

Aaron and David:

Marley and Sarah:

Sam and Jesse:

And Jesse and Jacy:

I think, based on the number of gifts Jesse bestowed upon Jacy and the proposal he made ("Would you like to spend the night? You can have my new bed."), we should probably consider them betrothed.


Weekend travel

Last Friday the children and I drove to North Carolina for a reunion with church family at Jacksonville Bible Church and to celebrate twenty years of service and ministry by John and Tama and their children.

It was great to be back in Jacksonville - it had been over two years since I'd been there, and even longer for the children. But better than the place were the people. We were there for less than 48 hours, but we packed lots of fellowship and conversation into every minute.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Covenant Presbyterian Church - VBS 2007

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House work

Because of VBS this week we haven't had time to do much work in the cottage. However, we do have walls up for the bathroom - and the bathroom door.

And we have the greenboard up inside the bathroom (and on the kitchen wall that will have the sink). Here you see where the toilet will be, and the shower - complete with drain!

After Steve and Tom mudded, taped, and sanded, Joan primed the walls and the ceiling. I think we're ready for paint. (This is where the pedestal sink, the mirror, and the light fixture will be.)


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

VBS week

This week is Vacation Bible School at our church. The theme is "Running the Race." Steve and I are the "coaches."

Months ago one of us must have indicated an interest in helping out with this year's VBS, then promptly forgotten about it. In April we were mildly surprised to receive a postcard in the mail that said something along the lines of, "We missed you at the VBS kick-off meeting! The next meeting is __, and here's the tentative roster of people and positions for this year's VBS: ..."

Steve and Laura were listed as the "Coaches." We made it to the next meeting in May. Actually, at that meeting were Gary, Charlie, and Steve and I - that's all. I told Gary that there must be some mistake. While Steve would be willing to coach the children at the games, I was a bad choice for that job. He looked at us blankly, as though I was speaking gibberish, then started to explain the job of "coach." Before he finished I realized it was a euphemism for "director" or "administrator" or "organizer." Gary said they figured that since Steve had been in the Marine Corps for so long, and I had been a Marine wife, we must both be very organized and good at directing things. Steve and I looked at each other and howled with laughter! Then we explained to Gary that we're not super-organized people - although we manage to muddle through well enough to get by - and that throughout most of his Marine Corps career Steve was blessed to be surrounded by extremely talented corporals, sergeants, staff sergeants, and gunnery sergeants who made sure he knew what he was supposed to do and where to do it.

We are very inadequate for this VBS job, but we're doing it anyway as there's a need, and we trust that God will use us and equip us to do it. And so far (2 days into the 4 days of VBS) He has. Despite having a very small group of people to organize and execute the program each night, it's coming together and working amazingly well!

Each adult Sunday school class is volunteering in the kitchen each night, preparing, serving, and cleaning up after supper. The junior high and senior high youth are helping the kindergarten through 6th grade children with the crafts, games, and shepherding them to and from the lessons. Shea single-handedly decorated the church and did all the publicity. David and Helen are taking care of games and crafts, and Helen is producing the skits each night. Randy is the master of ceremonies for opening and closing. Robin has taken care of each night's music. Charlie has planned the menus and procured the food, and directs the kitchen crews each night. Many different families volunteered to serve in the nurseries each night, and Carrie and Christian volunteered to teach the 3-and-4-year-olds every night (an exhausting job!). Margaret, Steve, Ron, and Melissa each took a night to give the lesson for all the children. Gary lined up four speakers for the adults. Susan provided delicious desserts for all the adults each night. Victoria planned the crafts and got all the craft materials together, even though she and her family wouldn't be here to take part in the week's activities.

Steve and I were talking about how incredible God is to be working it all out in spite of us! We were reminded of Exodus 31, in which God tells Moses what people God has decided will help with specific work in putting together the articles for the tabernacle. God says to Moses that He has called certain individuals by name (Uri and Aholiab are two), and filled them with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all manner of workmanship to do the specific work of making the furniture for the tabernacle. And later in Exodus 35:21, it says that "...everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the the Lord's offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting... ."

It's so exciting to see the Lord bringing to Covenant Presbyterian's VBS "skilled craftsmen" whom He has given the skills and the willing hearts to use those skills for this endeavor.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Cocoa's collar

Cocoa got a new collar and a matching leash on Saturday. She looks much girlier with the flowers.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Antiques for the unfinished quarters

Karin selected two items from the antique shop to use in the cottage when it's finished: a mirror and a small two-tiered occasional table.

The table looks nice with her chairs, doesn't it? And the mirror is the perfect size for a small room.


A shrug for Sarah

I finally finished this shrug. (Last August I bought the yarn, Berroco's Glace and the pattern, Black Purl's "Angelina". )

I cast on when Penny came to visit in March, because she was already knitting the same pattern and I knew I could get plenty of pointers from her. One piece of advice she gave me was not to put it down and ignore it for very long, because I'd probably forget what I was doing and where I was in the pattern. So I knit the back pretty quickly. In May I worked on the front sides. In June I did the sleeves. Last week I seamed it.

And on Thursday night while watching Fantastic Four and listening to Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy's RiffTrax for the movie, I finished the band for the edge. Now it's ready for Sarah to wear.

(And the RiffTrax seem to be a great substitute for MST3K - Steve and I plan to watch The Matrix with The Matrix RiffTrax tonight.)

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Friday, July 13, 2007

5 things about Christ Jesus

Meg tagged me with this meme a few days ago and I've really enjoyed thinking about it (and trying to keep it to only 5 things) and reading through Scripture to find the verses I want, and being reminded of how amazing and incredible it is to know the Son of God.

Like Meg, the "dig" part is a bit much for me, as I'm thinking in terms of five things that overwhelm me, amaze me, and cause me to rejoice, so here are my five:

1. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. " 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.' " (Revelation 1:8)

2. Jesus created all things - everything that is - and holds it all together. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1: 15-17)

3. Jesus makes us spotless with His blood, and right with God. "...and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:5,6)

4. Jesus, although fully God, became God in human flesh. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

5. [I don't know how to summarize this, but it's one of the verses I love and think about a lot, imagining the entire world stuffed to bursting with volumes and volumes of books containing everything Jesus did, and yet, the world can't contain them all, and they continue out into space, on and on... ] "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen." (John 21:25)


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The plumbing passed!

The plumbing passed inspection and now we are moving to the next phase: completing the bathroom. Steve wants to get the greenboard in, the ceiling primed and painted, the walls primed and painted, and the tile floor in - all this weekend. Then Wayne can come and place the toilet and sink and finish the shower.

While Mark, Janet, Angelo, and MaryRose were here Mark and Angelo helped Steve, Tom, Peter, and David get more walls up.

They worked until they ran out of material. Tonight Tom is picking up more sheetrock and getting primer and bathroom paint. I think tomorrow Tom and Steve will tape and mud some more walls.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Peter can run!

Janet and I took the children out to the lake this morning and Peter spent most of the time racing Cocoa. He usually won - and she loved it! I think Peter will have to remain here as Cocoa's permanent playmate.


Hot and cold

Wayne and his son came out today and ran the lines for hot and cold water to the kitchen sink:

And the bathroom sink:

And the shower:

Tomorrow I will call City Hall and ask if the plumbing inspector can come out and check the work.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

O is for "outlet"

Steve and Tom put in lots of electrical outlets today. That was one of my requests - many outlets per room, please. I don't like to use power strips.

So the living area has three outlets (and one is the double pictured above); the kitchen has five; the bedroom has five; the study area has three (one a double); the dining area has one - a double; and the bathroom has one.


Friday, July 06, 2007

A Fine and Private Place

After reading a couple of disappointing books, I thought I'd reread A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle.

The title is a part of a line from Andrew Marvell's poem, "To His Coy Mistress." The entire line reads, "The grave's a fine and private place, But none I think do there embrace."

In this modern ghost story the dead don't go to heaven or hell. They just hang around the cemetery and slowly fade away. Some cling to what they remember life as being like; those ghosts may linger for a few weeks or months before subsiding into a ghostly sleep. In the summer of 1958 two ghosts, Michael and Laura, meet and spend time together trying to recapture what they didn't have while alive. Their one living friend is Mr. Jonathan Rebeck, a former druggist who has been living as a recluse in a mausoleum in Yorkchester Cemetery for nineteen years. Mr. Rebeck is fed by a raven - a talking raven - every day. (I still think that raven is pretty clever - a little bit of Elijah and a little bit of Poe.)

A widow, Mrs. Klapper, meets Mr. Rebeck in the cemetery one day when she visits her husband's grave. She begins to come more often to visit her husband's grave, and always manages to see Jonathan Rebeck, too. He starts to seriously consider rejoining the world beyond the cemetery gates in order to have a normal life and get to know Mrs. Klapper.

Michael and Laura argue and fight, but they end up in love with one another in a pale, ghostly way, and that love they have for each other is what finally gets Rebeck out of the cemetery and back to real life.

I'd remembered this book as a clever, witty, fun summer read. I was 15 then, and am 46 now, so it wasn't as hilarious as I'd remembered. And I was not a Christian then, so the blue language I noticed this time around slid right by me before.

Still, I don't know of another book that fits the description of fantasy/romance/ghost story as well as A Fine and Private Place does.


The perfect supper

Joan, Sarah, and Grace ate at Niffer's tonight. They brought back fried pickles for me. The combination of sour, salty, and fried is perfect - dill spears fried in a dillweed-seasoned batter - and probably cannot be improved upon!


Some friends learn quickly...

Peter dug this AU into the beach this afternoon - with no prompting from any of us.


Thursday, July 05, 2007


Yesterday Steve and Tom got a few walls up. (There's so much dust from the sawing of wood and cutting of sheetrock that it's impossible to get a clear picture - sorry!)
Today Tom, Peter, David and David will clean out the sawdust and bits of wood, sheetrock, insulation, bent nails, broken screws, etc., then Tom and Joan hope to get more walls up.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

July 4th

Due to the drought, our county has a "no fireworks" policy. Tom, Peter, David, David, and Sam are bitterly disappointed, and have floated numerous arguments for personal fireworks at the lake. I said they can swim.

Mom, Dad, Tom, Chuck, Kim, Kira, and Page will join us for lunch at our house, then some of us may go out to the lake afterwards. (Some will stay here and work on the "cottage.")

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Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" and her reply...

Yesterday Joan, Marley, and Grace took Cocoa on a walk through the cemetery and while they were there they took pictures of some of the graves.

I was reminded of the poem "To His Coy Mistress" by the Puritan poet Andrew Marvell. The arguments the poet uses to try and persuade his lady are so comical, yet earnest, and at the end of it I always wonder, "Did she give in?" A few weeks ago I found an answer written by an Austalian poet, Alec Derwent Hope.

To his Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

His Coy Mistress to Mr. Marvell

Since you have world enough and time
Sir, to admonish me in rhyme,
Pray Mr Marvell, can it be
You think to have persuaded me?
Then let me say: you want the art
To woo, much less to win my heart.
The verse was splendid, all admit,
And, sir, you have a pretty wit.
All that indeed your poem lacked
Was logic, modesty, and tact,
Slight faults and ones to which I own,
Your sex is generally prone;
But though you lose your labour, I
Shall not refuse you a reply:

First, for the language you employ:
A term I deprecate is "coy";
The ill-bred miss, the bird-brained Jill,
May simper and be coy at will;
A lady, sir, as you will find,
Keeps counsel, or she speaks her mind,
Means what she says and scorns to fence
And palter with feigned innocence.

The ambiguous "mistress" next you set
Beside this graceless epithet.
"Coy mistress", sir? Who gave you leave
To wear my heart upon your sleeve?
Or to imply, as sure you do,
I had no other choice than you
And must remain upon the shelf
Unless I should bestir myself?
Shall I be moved to love you, pray,
By hints that I must soon decay?
No woman's won by being told
How quickly she is growing old;
Nor will such ploys, when all is said,
Serve to stampede us into bed.

When from pure blackmail, next you move
To bribe or lure me into love,
No less inept, my rhyming friend,
Snared by the means, you miss your end.
"Times winged chariot", and the rest
As poetry may pass the test;
Readers will quote those lines, I trust,
Till you and I and they are dust;
But I, your destined prey, must look
Less at the bait than at the hook,
Nor, when I do, can fail to see
Just what it is you offer me:
Love on the run, a rough embrace
Snatched in the fury of the chase,
The grave before us and the wheels
Of Time's grim chariot at our heels,
While we, like "am'rous birds of prey",
Tear at each other by the way.

To say the least, the scene you paint
Is, what you call my honour, quaint!
And on this point what prompted you
So crudely, and in public too,
To canvass and , indeed, make free
With my entire anatomy?
Poets have licence, I confess,
To speak of ladies in undress;
Thighs, hearts, brows, breasts are well enough,
In verses this is common stuff;
But -- well I ask: to draw attention
To worms in -- what I blush to mention,
And prate of dust upon it too!
Sir, was this any way to woo?

Now therefore, while male self-regard
Sits on your cheek, my hopeful bard,
May I suggest, before we part,
The best way to a woman's heart
Is to be modest, candid, true;
Tell her you love and show you do;
Neither cajole nor condescend
And base the lover on the friend;
Don't bustle her or fuss or snatch:
A suitor looking at his watch
Is not a posture that persuades
Willing, much less reluctant maids.

Remember that she will be stirred
More by the spirit than the word;
For truth and tenderness do more
Than coruscating metaphor.
Had you addressed me in such terms
And prattled less of graves and worms,
I might, who knows, have warmed to you;
But, as things stand, must bid adieu
(Though I am grateful for the rhyme)
And wish you better luck next time.

-- A. D. Hope