Wonderful Peace

Wonderful Peace

W.D. Cornell

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.

Refrain

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

Refrain

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!

Refrain

And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:

Refrain

Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept of this peace so sublime!

Refrain

It Was a Shopping Quiz Flynn Fire Chai Party Day

This morning I was up early like every Saturday. Lucy came with me to load up on chai party stuff, and then we rushed home so that she could get ready to go to a service project at the church where she is now attending youth group. Meanwhile, Jasper went with the neighbors across the street to the church where he would be having his first quiz meet of this year.

The whole plan for the morning required two vehicles, because Walter had a job to go to, and I was planning on borrowing Spencer’s pride and joy, “Charlene.” Well, it turns out that Charlene was in dire need of coolant, and we didn’t have the right kind, but what could I do? I took Lucy up to her event and then drove over to the church where Jasper’s quiz meet was being held, holding my breath all the way.

I had a long wait for the meet to begin (good thing I brought knitting), but eventually the kids all arrived and I was asked to be a scorekeeper, which I have done before. Jasper and Ben both received perfect scores again–which has been the case for the last several quizzes that they’ve done. I was so proud of them both. I love watching Jasper focus and listen to the question, and then immediately choose the right number.

Since I still hadn’t heard from Lucy when the quiz ended, I drove Jasper home in Charlene and then was very glad to park that car. The “low coolant” light kept going on and staying on.

Walter and Spencer went out after lunch to do their yard jobs, and as there was still no sign of Lucy I made all the brownies and Jasper made rice crispy treats. Flynn arrive mid-afternoon, driving Valvados and towing his new car. He went to take the towing dolly to the U-Haul place, only to be stopped by a big fire on the other side of the street, which had backed up traffic and caused the street to be closed down. He will try again tomorrow.

Lucy finally arrived almost at supper time. By then we were having our second downpour and wondering if we should go ahead with the chai party. However, the Weather Channel said the rain would be gone by 8:00, so we just pushed back the time a bit and hoped for the best.

Well, we did more than that, actually. I had the kids haul our canopies down from the attic and set them up in the rain on the patio. (Remember we have no roof at all in back anymore.) They got some tables and chairs under the canopies and then Jasper worked very hard at putting up Christmas lights since our back door fluorescent lights were also destroyed.

Flynn and Spencer decided to make a quick run to the auto parts store to get the coolant that Spencer needed. You can imagine their surprise when they got to the store, only to find out that the auto parts store was the building that had burned down earlier in the day! Needless to say, they found another auto parts store.

Meanwhile the rain lessened significantly and sure enough people started coming! Even a two-week-old baby came. I didn’t get a very good look at her because she was swaddled next to her mother, but I didn’t complain because I highly approve of this method of carrying a baby.

My neighbor Sylvia came and we got caught up on what each other’s kids are doing. We should really do a better job of keeping up since we just live a couple hundred feet away from each other!

Flynn is staying the night and most of tomorrow so that makes it a happy weekend. Not to mention the fact that he brought us a car . . .

Poisoned

Well, when I woke up this morning, I was sorry. I had nausea and stomach cramps from sun poisoning, which of course means that it would have been better for me to stay asleep! It was frustrating because I was so careful about staying in the shade yesterday, yet I still got a sunburn and sun poisoning too.

I can hardly remember the days when the sun was my friend. My kids have grown up thinking that swimming just doesn’t happen between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. unless it’s very heavily overcast. Over the years, I’ve learned to adapt my behavior so as to avoid feeling like I felt today, so I’m always kind of outraged when my precautions don’t work. Thank goodness it has been a mild case–in addition to the stomach symptoms I had some fever and chills this afternoon, but the monster headache which normally joins the party never showed up, and for that I am very grateful, believe me.

I would like to say that the sun poisoning was the only problem with the day, but I’d be lying. Last night when I was getting the last of Lina’s boxes ready to mail, I ran out of packing tape, and this morning I didn’t have time to make a separate trip to buy some, so I bundled the boxes into the back of the van along with the microscope, bundled Jasper into the van along with all the supplies we’d need for the day, and took off for Dollar General.

When I pulled my purse out of my big blue plastic basket (where I had all my stuff), it was wet. Really wet. As I dashed into the store I told Jasper to check and see if my water bottle had somehow leaked.

I got the packing tape and some gluten-free snacks for my lunch, and then stood behind the van taping and addressing boxes.  While I was doing this I found out that my water bottle was fine, but that Lucy’s water bottle, which had been tossed into my basket without my knowledge, had leaked all over everything. My Kindle was wet. My book was wet. My knitting and yarn were wet. My notebook with my tutoring materials was wet. All my tissues had disintegrated. There was half an inch of water in the bottom of the basket. It was pretty demoralizing.

I had Jasper pour the water out and put the basket upside down to drain. Then it was off to the post office, where for the second day in a row my (perfectly good) credit card was declined. The poor clerk ran it twice both days and was very sympathetic, but of course I had to use my debit card instead.

I was still pretty damp when I got up to Robin’s place, thanks to my purse dripping all over me at the store and the post office. Sitting down to tutor was actually a welcome relief.

As I pulled out of Robin’s driveway to head up to the farm, I saw to my dismay that both of my gas tanks were on empty. I stopped to fill up at a gas station on the way, only to have my (perfectly good) debit card declined, which meant I had to go inside and prepay and that made us late. Grrr!

The girls had their lab and I had my nap on the couch. At least today I had the excuse of being sick with sun poisoning! Lucy felt like she had got some good pictures so that is good.

The final straw was arriving home and finding out that Walter’s contract was truly lost. Initially, it was clear that the contract had been terminated due to a dispute between the owner of the company and Walter’s business partner. The owner didn’t want to punish Walter for something that wasn’t his fault, so he asked him to submit a bid to do the cleaning on his own (not as part of the cleaning company’s business). It sounded like he really wanted to work it out so that Walter could keep cleaning there, and we were pretty optimistic that it would work out, but today Walter was notified that after Monday the contract is over.

I’m glad I haven’t been worrying about it, because that would have been pointless, but at the same time it’s kind of hard not to start worrying now. This is going to seriously impact our standard of living and our budget for the final quarter of this year. I guess now we need to pray for a new contract . . .

And finally, just when I thought the day had spent its malice, Jasper needed me to help him review his questions for the Bible quiz tomorrow. I was more than happy to do it. The only problem was that I could not find the book with all the questions and answers. I thought I knew exactly where it was. It wasn’t there. I looked other places. I tore my bedroom apart, rifled through the living room, the dining room, and my desk. It got later and later. I sent Jasper to take his shower and kept looking. I felt like the worse parent on earth. I wanted to crawl in a hole and weep. After everything else that happened today, how could I fail at finding a stupid book?

I took a deep breath and prayed a short, desperate prayer. “Lord, please help me find that book. Show me where it is.” I walked back into the living room (which I had already searched). I saw two books upside down over near the TV. I picked up the first one and underneath it was THE book I needed. Well that was a quick answer to prayer! Jasper went to bed late, but we did go through all of his questions and I think he’ll do just fine. Whew!

Tomorrow’s going to be crazy, but that’s okay because Flynn is coming!

Happy & Sad

Today I was determined to get out to the lake for the first time since spring. First, though, I had to mail some boxes for Lina. Between getting the boxes ready and getting the van loaded, we left a lot later than I wanted and we still had to go to the post office to mail the boxes and stop by Walter’s office to get our “nice” camera for Lucy to use for a photo shoot.

We also stopped at a grocery store for a few picnic items, but we did eventually make it to the lake. As we had expected, the lake was very low after our dry, dry summer. The “beach” was more like a lawn–overgrown with plants to the point that you could barely see the water in the “swimming” area.

It was just Lucy, Jasper and me. So different from the days when I would have a van load of excited children with me! After our picnic lunch, Jasper went to check out the water while I did some knitting and Lucy painted her toenails. (Yes, I questioned that too.)

Eventually, Jasper talked Lucy into hiking out to a better part of the lake and going swimming. They took our inflated tube which says “River Rat” on it and which Jasper insists on referring to as “the riffraff.” Though they were quite far away, I could still see and hear them almost all the time they were out there.

Meanwhile, I may have dozed off in the shade for a while, before realizing that it was a great opportunity to call and talk to my brother Jon in California. I think we talked for about an hour and it was good to catch up with him.

We had the entire beach area to ourselves for the whole three hours or so that we were there. I don’t think there was even a single car that drove by. Hawks and buzzards circled overhead, the heron that fishes that part of the lake strutted up and down by the island, and the breeze ruffled the trees and grass undisturbed.

This is one of the reasons I like to take the kids to the lake, especially when it is unlikely that other people will be there. I love the sensation of having a piece of God’s creation to myself, if only for a few hours, and I want my kids to love it too. For me, growing up in rural Africa, it was easy to get away into a world that seemed untouched by any human activity. It became my refuge–not just something I enjoyed, but something I needed. It still is. Being alone outdoors, with no one but God to enjoy it with me, satisfies one of my deepest longings. (And yes, if you didn’t already know, I am a type of introvert.) I want my kids to experience that as often as I can make it happen. Having the whole wide sky and water and wildlife and even the wind to yourself is such a sublime yet affordable luxury. I’m pretty sure we’re going to go again soon.

We dropped Lucy off at the farm on the way home, so she could do her photo shoot with her friend Ilse for the 4-H Harvest Festival. We’ll pick her up tomorrow after Biology. Jasper and I were hot and thirsty when we got home, and I freely admit I was more than ready to enjoy our air-conditioned house again. Walter and the boys had borrowed a motorized “lift” and they used it to cut down a bunch of dead branches in our back yard. In addition to the branch that fell and destroyed our back porch roof, there was another branch that fell earlier this week, leaving a small hole in our main house roof. So I am very relieved to have this job taken care of.

The sad thing that happened today was finding out that my brave little lettuce plant had died during our absence today. It was lying limp and shriveled instead of standing tall and proud like it did yesterday. It’s all my fault. Last night as I was admiring it, I noticed that the water it was sitting in looked very cloudy and slimy, so I dumped it out and replaced it with fresh water. Result: death. Kind of makes me wonder how good that water is for me!

I have a pretty impressive sunburn given the fact that I was in the shade the entire time at the lake, with the exception of a couple of brief walks to the wash block and back! I really, really hope I don’t wake up sick tomorrow.

Belated

Sorry this is late. I wrote it yesterday but then I couldn’t get on the internet all evening.

Wednesdays are long. The primary good thing about them is that they are followed by Thursday. This morning, after far too little sleep, I was cajoled into going to Walmart, after which I was pretty busy getting ready for my elementary English class and helping Jasper finish his homework also.

I have so much I’m hoping to accomplish with those kids that the class time just flies by and I never finish everything I planned to do.

Then after class there are piano lessons and then Jasper goes to Bible quizzing with our neighbors and Lucy heads off to her new youth group with her piano teacher, and Walter goes to work again and Spencer pressures me into driving him up to his youth group. I can’t wait till he gets his license because then he can drive himself and I will actually get an hour or so of time to myself on Wednesdays. When I got back from dropping off Spencer, it was just a few minutes before Jasper’s return.

This is why I asked for crock pot recipes. There aren’t even two people at home together to eat supper on Wednesdays. Everybody eats at a different time, and Spencer and Jasper don’t usually eat at home at all on Wednesdays.

We had a rather grim discussion about Obamacare tonight. We are currently uninsured, because we can’t afford to lose $600 a month in income. Under Obamacare, which is required, it will cost over $900 per month. Yeah, that will really improve our quality of life . . .

Quote of the Day:

The kids’ computer is having some issues, specifically with the fan, which has been making hideous noises. These noises were accurately described by Lucy when she said, “It sounds like a bumblebee is killing a mouse in there.”

Across & Down

You’ll never guess what I did today. Go ahead. Try. I did something I haven’t done in several years at least. Have you guessed yet? I bet you haven’t. I did a crossword puzzle and completed it from beginning to end.

Now you’re let down, aren’t you? But I am still smiling. This morning was Spencer’s Bible study morning, which means that I had to haul my exhausted self up to Panera, that place of torture where I can’t eat any of the food, especially at breakfast. I wasn’t about to order the melon-filled fruit cup again, so I settled for some orange juice, which prompted a conversation with the clerk, who was very interested in my gluten-free status and who told me that Panera is (finally!) testing some gluten free items for their menu.

It was such a gloriously cool morning, and the still-unrisen sun was lighting up the rims of the clouds in such a bewitching way, that I chose to sit out on the porch to sip my orange juice. I had my usual bag of tricks to stave off boredom as I sat there alone–my kindle, a real book (in case the 200 books on my Kindle weren’t enough), some knitting, and my phone. I had also thrown in a magazine at the last moment. I flipped through it only to discover that I had already read everything of interest. Then the crossword puzzle caught my eye and I thought, man, it’s been a really long time since I did a crossword puzzle.

I pulled out a pen and started reading the clues (there were about 100 across and 100 down). I became so engrossed in the puzzle that the time flew by. When Spencer was done, I hadn’t quite finished my puzzle but I was proud of myself for getting as far as I did. This evening, as I sat at the library waiting for my writers’ meeting, I pulled out that magazine again and finished the puzzle. It was a very enjoyable challenge for me–hard enough to take some effort, but not enough to induce tears.

I had my high school class today and then a very brief period of time to get ready to leave for the library. Now when this meeting was originally announced, there was an offer to submit some pages to be critiqued by our speakers, a husband/wife writing and editing team who have multiple books under their belts. I did not know if I’d be able to come, so I didn’t set anything up. Then yesterday, our fearless leader Vickie said that even if you hadn’t set it up in advance, you could bring some pages to be critiqued.

So in the few minutes I had after class, I went over the first few pages of Thorncastle for the umpteenth time and printed a couple of copies and stuffed them in my bag. Then I got engrossed in my crossword puzzle, and by the time I had triumphantly finished it I figured that the critiquing was over with. However, when I walked into the meeting room Vickie told me there was an opening and encouraged me to go talk to our speakers, so I did.

Well, they were brutal. Four years ago, I would have gone home in tears. Today, I was grateful for pros who could point out things that I had missed. I knew that opening needed work. I have never been happy with it. Now I’ve got some things to work on. I am not going to follow every single one of their suggestions, because I know where the story goes and they do not, but there are plenty of things that I can get working on.

Besides, I was just so thrilled to be back with my writer friends! I even found out that a mom from my homeschool group, who has been coming for about a year, writes in the same genre as I do. I had been assuming that I was the only speculative fiction writer in our whole group, because originally I was, but I am glad that there are now two of us.

Another friend offered me a ride home, and I enjoyed chatting with her. Next month I should have my own wheels! I won’t have to go so early anymore!

To top off the evening, we had a long Skype date with Mercy to hear all about her weekend in Seoul. I just wish I didn’t still have a bunch of preparation to do for my class tomorrow. . .

My Padawan

As you all know, Spencer’s hair has just been getting longer and longer all summer. He brushed off any suggestions that he should get it cut. That is, until Kat told him that he needed a haircut. Last night he decided that the time had come, but he was very nervous. He was sure I would screw it up. He kept whining about that fact that I am not “trained.”

Please excuse me while I rant for a minute here. I do not understand why my kids have so little faith in my hair cutting skills. I have been cutting all the family hair for 32 years. I’m pretty sure that counts as “training.” No one has had to go out in public looking like they lost a fight with a blender. In fact my skills have grown dramatically over the years. I know some of my children just assume that I am a slobbering incompetent at hair cutting because when the boys were young I cut their hair in a style that was related to the horrifying “bowl cut.” I did not do this because I was incompetent, however–I did it because I liked the way it looked on my boys. They should be glad I didn’t think they’d look cute in mullets!

As a result of this deep-seated distrust of my hairdressing skills, my kids always act so shocked and relieved when, once again, for the umpteenth time, their haircut turns out okay. Last night was no different. Spencer wanted a cut that was short on the sides and longer on top. He also wanted a little Jedi Padawan braid behind his right ear. (Yes, his hair was plenty long to braid.) He was sure I was going to mess it up and he’d be wearing hats for the next six months. Instead, I followed his instructions for what he wanted, and let him check in the mirror at several points so that he could reassure himself that I was doing what he wanted. A LOT of hair fell on the floor during this process, but there was still plenty left and he was happy with the results. He was also surprised. *sigh*

???????????????????????????????

Yesterday was a different Sunday for us. It was Gideon Sunday. Maybe you had a Gideon speaker too. I always look forward to the Gideon speaker because usually it means we hear a few great, touching stories about how the word of God has been so powerful in people’s lives, and I love that. Our speaker yesterday was a little different from the kinds we usually get, though. He was short and portly and he sat quietly through our first (communion service). Then, after the break, when it was about time to start the second service, the elder who starts off the service indicated to the Gideon that he could play a prelude to lure people in. I perked up at that because we have not had a pianist since Lina went back to Africa.

So this man sat down at the piano and started to play “At the Cross,” and at that point I think every jaw in the building hit the floor, though maybe not all for the same reasons. This man did not “tickle the ivories.” He bruised them. He pulverized them. He attacked that piano and played in a very powerful and flourishing gospel style that I think was a huge shock to most of our tiny congregation. It was a shock to me too, but for a different reason. He played almost exactly like my dad, and I was really, really not expecting that. Walter and I just kind of gaped as we sang through that hymn. Almost every embellishment that this man used was one that I’ve heard my dad use countless times. I cannot tell you how weird it was to be sitting there listening to that music and know that someone other than my dad was playing it.

After that we sang “I Love to Tell the Story,” which is why I featured that as yesterday’s hymn. Again, if I had closed my eyes I could have believed it was my dad playing. The man played one more hymn, as a special number, and I enjoyed it very much. While I think many of the others were very taken aback by this style of playing, I relished it. My dad’s playing was such a huge part of my growing up years, and I miss it. After the service I talked to the man and told him how much he sounded like my dad on the piano, and he made the rather laughable assumption that my dad must also be from south Louisiana. Hahahaha! I think he was rather stunned when I told him my dad was originally from Michigan.

Today turned into a lot of errand running. The credit union, the post office, the extension office for 4-H stuff, the health food store, etc. Lina has a bunch of boxes that need to be mailed ASAP, so I took one to see how much it would cost. It’s not cheap, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than sending them directly to Zambia! They are going up to North Dakota, from whence they will be taken to Canada and put on a shipping container.

Spencer took me for a spin in his new car and bought me a drink at Sonic. That boy needs to get his license SOON.

We had our Bible study tonight, and fortunately I remembered it before Robin showed up on my doorstep–but just barely! I need to get used to this new schedule.

Quote of the Day:

Our piano-playing Gideon yesterday: “Paul was all over them [the Romans] like ugly on an ape.”

 

I Love to Tell the Story

Once upon a time, a lifetime ago, we went to a much larger church than we do now, and every Sunday morning at the beginning of the service, I would walk to the front of the church and sit on the steps leading up to the platform, and all the little children would come up and sit on the floor at my feet, and I would tell them a story. Obviously, the story always had a point–a spiritual truth I was trying to convey. I enjoyed doing this and the kids enjoyed it too.

My theme song was today’s hymn–I Love to Tell the Story. My friend Sherrye would play it on the piano as the kids and I walked up to the front of the church. It has always been one of my favorite hymns, and I’m glad we got to sing it in church this morning, even if I did get rather teary.

I Love to Tell the Story

A Catherine Hankey

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love;

I love to tell the story because I know ‘tis true,

It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

Refrain

I love to tell the story!

‘Twill be my theme in glory–

To tell the old, old story

Of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story–‘tis pleasant to repeat

What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet;

I love to tell the story, for some have never heard

The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

Refrain

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best

Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest;

And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song,

‘Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Refrain

 Note: I tried to post this yesterday but we were having internet issues and I was unable to do it.

The Chai House Cloak Factory is Back in Business

Yes, Lucy is planning to enter some sewing projects in the 4-H Harvest Festival, and the first item on her list is a new cloak. The one I made her for her eleventh birthday is still awesome, of course, but she has grown several inches since then and it is no longer as all-enveloping as it once was.

What she really wants is a dark red crushed velvet cloak. Fortunately I was able to use a coupon to get the fabric for half price. Today she got to cut her cloak out. Since this is for the Harvest Festival, I made her do everything herself and only offered advice. Maybe tomorrow she can get it sewn together.

Meanwhile, I figured since she was cutting out her cloak, maybe I would cut one out too. See, I knew she needed a new cloak and I had some fabric I had been saving to make a cloak out of, and I had it handy. When she turned up her nose at it, I decided to appropriate it for myself. I got it cut out and have the body sewn together already. The fabric is rather loosely woven and in fact I think it’s supposed to be upholstery fabric. At any rate, I felt I had to sew it quickly because it started fraying instantly. I’m not sure if I like it or not.

Walter and Spencer were gone all day doing their yard jobs after yesterday’s incredible rain (we got 1.8 inches!). When they got back, Walter removed the rest of the damaged roof from our back porch so he can start figuring out how to replace it. It looks so bare and unroofed now.

All Rain, All Day

I can’t even remember the last time it rained all day here. It was a long, long time ago! It started raining before sunrise and it just kept on going. I had to go to Walmart to get an ink cartridge first thing this morning, so I went ahead and dropped Walter off at work to save him a drenching.

By the time we were ready to head up to Robin’s house, it was really pouring. Water, water, everywhere! It was so exciting! In fact, when we left Robin’s house after being there for a couple of hours, the pond was very noticeably higher than it had been when we arrived.

We all but swam our way up to the farm for Biology class. The boys played out in the rain all afternoon while Lucy and Ilse looked at microorganisms under the microscope. I was so sleepy I couldn’t stay awake so I didn’t. I napped.

It was still raining when we jounced slowly back down the hill, with Jasper anchoring the microscope in the back until we hit the real road. The inside of the van was pretty wet because it is leaking in a lot of places now.

It was raining pretty hard when we arrived home, but please note that I am not complaining. We need rain like this every few days until the end of the year!

It was warm but not hot, and what with the rain and the overcast skies I found myself thinking that just maybe fall is going to come this year after all.

I promised you a photo of my lettuce plant today. Here you go:

???????????????????????????????

It has grown noticeably in four days! Tonight I shaved a tiny bit more off the bottom to see if that will help it be able to keep growing. My goal is a free salad one of these days!