God Moves in a Mysterious Way

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

William Cowper

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

 

Faire Well Till Next Year

This is the last weekend for our most local Renaissance Faire. It is only a fifteen-minute drive away. I have been twice already this year, but knew I’d be going again this weekend because I had promised to take Jasper as a reward for finishing his math book a couple of weeks ago. And it’s not like anyone had to twist my arm.

So after breakfast we headed out. Jasper actually needed some new pants to go with his outfit, so I told him we’d stop at Walmart on the way. It wasn’t till we got in the car that I realized this meant we’d be parading through Walmart in garb. Oh well . . . we still looked better than the majority of people we see in Walmart!

We had a slight disagreement about what size pants to get. I let him make the final call, and when he emerged after changing in the rest room, he appeared to be wearing leggings! So, he has some new pajama pants. He was stuck with wearing them today though. (He also wore his Desert Adventure cloak all day, so it wasn’t too bad. And he got lots of compliments on the cloak!)

The stop meant that we got to the faire a little more than a half hour after opening, but that was okay. We had all day. Jasper roamed around while I sat in the shade and listened to music, and then we met up for the birds of prey show, while is always both enjoyable and educational.

4-28-18 Hawk landing on handler's head

As usual, I spent most of the very warm sunny day migrating from stage to stage to listen to live music. Carrying my own chair means I can usually find a shady spot to sit, which is crucial for me because of my sun exposure issues. Jasper sometimes was in the same place and sometimes he wasn’t. On one occasion when he came to find me, he told me that two of my former students were also at the faire, and that they had ignored him.

Now I had seen these same two guys on one of my previous visits, and they had also ignored me. So when we ended up at the same show, I accosted them afterward and gave them a little friendly talking-to. They claimed they had never seen me despite looking right at me. Well, they’re boys, so I guess it’s possible. For the rest of the afternoon, Jasper hung out with them and had a good time.

We were all together for the final joust, and cheering for the same knight. After that Jasper and I stopped to look at some gorgeous knives he had seen earlier, but agreed they were not worth the asking price of $75 and up.

We had to head on home so we could help get ready for the chai party. Lucy had done the baking and Mercy and Daniel had done a bunch of cleaning and preparation, so everything went pretty smoothly. A Chinese girl showed up and Walter enjoyed talking to her.

Playing With Fire

That’s every boy’s dream, right? Jasper has finally assembled everything he needs to begin blacksmithing, and today he fired up his forge for the first time.

4-27-18 Jasper with forge

The fan worked beautifully and created a nice hot fire. Jasper invited his neighborhood buddies to come and watch the inauguration.

Once he had a good hot fire going, he started work on a railroad spike knife.

Jasper with anvil

He got to use his new anvil and made good progress on the knife. He is hoping to work on it some more tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, Lucy and I were out the door early to get her to her ultrasound. We haven’t heard the results yet.

Once I brought her back home, I headed up to Aldi to do the grocery shopping, then came home, took my belated shower, and made a batch of spiced walnuts so I’d have something to offer my friend Robin when she came over. We have both been so busy I think it’s been close to two months since we’ve seen each other.

After Robin left, I raced to the credit union to deposit a check, then headed up to Kroger to buy tea. I don’t normally shop at Kroger, but it is apparently the only store left in town that carries the kind of tea we like, so I have to go there to stock up from time to time. (I, alas, am relegated to decaf these days.)

After that I still had to go to Walmart to get the rest of the stuff we’ll need for tomorrow’s chai party. I am tired of running errands!

 

It’s Always Something

Yesterday, I focused primarily on talking about Jasper, but in fact I had to take Lucy to the doctor. She has been dealing with suspected gallstones for some time now, but they hadn’t really bothered her much until this past weekend, when she was in agony for over two days.

So anyway, the doctor ordered a sonogram to find out for sure if she has gallstones. She is fasting tonight and we’ll head out for the sonogram first thing in the morning. Regardless of what they find, the options aren’t very encouraging. Gallbladder surgery only “helps” about half of the time, and of course is very expensive. And what a thing to be faced with when you’re only twenty! I’ll let you know how things go tomorrow.

Today I got a little gardening in. I also had a meeting with a retired professor who is interested in having me edit a manuscript for him. It will be a thought-provoking challenge if it works out.

I also got a bunch of wedding invitations addressed and did some reading with Jasper. Tomorrow’s going to be another busy day.

My Birthday Boy

Today is Jasper’s seventeenth birthday. What can I say about my youngest son, Jasper? I often think how much poorer my life would be if we had “stopped” after six kids. Jasper is a one-of-a-kind gift to our family.

When he was a baby, I could lay him down in his crib wide awake and he would go to sleep without crying.

When he was a toddler, he woke up every morning with a huge smile on his face and couldn’t wait to start the day.

When he was a preschooler, he started every day by telling me, “Today is going to be a GREAT day!” He could always tell when I was stressed or unhappy. He’d say something like, “You’re so beautiful,” or “I think you need a hug.” Some days, his hugs were the only thing that kept me going!

When he was about seven, he heard his siblings complaining about having to take turns going to Walmart with me to do the grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. So he volunteered to come with me every week, and continued to do so until he was fifteen! He never complained. Some Saturdays it was cold and rainy, and I was tired and grumpy—but Jasper remained cheerful, and as we loaded the groceries into the car in the rain, he would grin at me and say, “See? It turned out to be a great morning after all!”

When he was thirteen and Lucy and I had a booth at a nearby Renaissance Faire, and couldn’t seem to sell anything, Jasper hated to see his sister so disappointed. He loaded up a basket with merchandise and walked around the faire with it and made several sales and many friends!

From early childhood, he has willingly helped me whenever I need it. He’ll drop what he’s doing instantly and come to my aid with a smile on his face. In every situation, he sees the silver lining. He chooses to believe the best about everyone. Recently I was telling him about the time I was a victim of road rage (before he was born). A very irate woman rode my bumper for a full 30 minutes before I stopped and then she jumped out of her car and screamed in rage at me because I had pulled out in front of her when I turned onto the highway. Jasper’s take on this story? “She must have been having a really bad day.”

He tries to treat everyone with kindness and give them the benefit of the doubt. He is also creative and very skilled with his hands. I am so proud of this kid and I can’t believe he’s almost grown up!

Today I made him his breakfast in bed and took the tray in while singing “Happy Birthday” to him. His big sister in Africa called and had a video chat with him for more than an hour. And after youth group, his local siblings (and future sibling-in-law) took him out for coffee. Actual celebrations will be forthcoming, but I didn’t want anyone to think I forgot his birthday!

Parting Shot:

Jasper's cloak

Jasper back when he believed he was “Super Boy.”

Of Dirt, Debit Cards, and Primroses

Yesterday my debit card was declined three times in a row. I couldn’t understand it. I always track my spending and knew I was in no danger of overdrawing my bank account. This morning I called the credit union and discovered that my card had been summarily canceled because I used it to buy gas at a station where “skimmers” had been discovered. Not having a debit card is going to seriously cramp my style until the new one arrives at the end of next week.

After getting this depressing news, I got Jasper to help me with mixing up a big pile of dirt so I could plant my last two grow bags. The first three are doing very well and one of my tomato plants already has a blossom! Now, in addition to my three tomato bags, I have a squash bag and a cucumber bag. All the bags also have some flowers—mostly marigolds but also lobelia and hopefully soon some borage.

After lunch (not that I ate anything!) I headed off for my monthly watercolor session. This time it was all ladies, mostly of my generation or older. We were painting (or trying to) some flowers that had been placed in vases on the table. I chose to try representing a couple of primroses. These lovely pale pink flowers are really more of a weed around here, and are often found growing beside roads and highways.

Well, my primroses apparently were sunburned. They turned out to be a rather deep magenta color. Otherwise, I was happier with them than with my previous watercolor projects. However, I realize that if I ever want to improve, I will have to paint more often than once a month!

Since it was my painting day, that meant it was also my critique group and writers’ meeting day, which is always a highlight of my month. The only downside is that we meet in the public library, which is kept at arctic temperatures. I took a cardigan, but was still chilled by the time I left!

When I wake up in the morning I will no longer have a sixteen-year-old . . .

Bittersweet

Yesterday was rather bittersweet. We lingered over breakfast with Arnold and Geli, but when church time neared, we could not put off the goodbyes any longer. Goodbyes are not my favorite at the best of times, but saying goodbye to these two loved relatives is especially hard because we never know when we will see them again. Another six years? Or maybe longer? There is no way of knowing. They drove to New Orleans yesterday and back to Atlanta today.

We probably would have just skipped church if I had not signed up for the mother-daughter lunch afterward. Lucy and Mercy both came. We have never had a chance to do a mother-daughter event like that before. No one joined us at our table, so it was just the three of us.

As things were still being set up, a woman came over and introduced herself to me as “Beth.” She remembered seeing me at an event many years ago, and I was more than a little astounded, to be honest. I was also deeply embarrassed after she moved on to another table and Lucy informed me that was the pastor’s wife! We have been attending the church since January, but no one had ever pointed out the pastor’s wife before and I had no idea what she looked like!

We played a couple of games, one in which the girls had to answer questions about me, and one where I had to answer questions about them. We all did pretty well!

Back home after the luncheon, I made a massive vat of chili for supper and still found time for my traditional Sunday nap. Lucy made some gourmet cupcakes and I hear they were very good!

After supper, Mercy worked very hard at cutting Daniel’s hair. She is still learning, but she took it slow and did a good job. That is a skill that has saved us many hundreds of dollars over the years.

After a very busy few days, this morning got off to a slow start. I eventually struggled out the door to buy milk, and Jasper, who is still sick, eventually got up and made himself some breakfast before starting on his schoolwork.

This afternoon he came to Lowe’s with me to get more dirt so we can set up the other two grow bags tomorrow. My squash and cucumber plants have sprouted! There is still so much work to do in the yard. It’s been neglected for so long. I definitely won’t run out of things to do for many weeks to come.

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

This is an old favorite of mine, especially if sung to the “Diadem” tune. I’ve included a link at the end if you’re not familiar with it.

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

by Edward Perronet

Tune: Diadem

 

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!

Let angles prostrate fall; let angels prostate fall.

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him, crown Him, crown Him, crown Him,

And crown Him Lord of all!

 

Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race,

Ye ransomed from the fall, ye ransomed from the fall.

Hail Him who saves you by His grace,

And crown Him, crown Him, crown Him, crown Him

And crown Him Lord of all!

 

Let ev’ry kindred, ev’ry tribe

On this terrestrial ball, on this terrestrial ball

To Him all majesty ascribe,

And crown Him, crown Him, crown Him, crown Him

And crown Him Lord of all!

 

O that with yonder sacred throng

We at His feet may fall! We at His feet may fall!

We’ll join the everlasting song,

And crown Him, crown Him, crown Him, crown Him

And crown Him Lord of all!

Diadem

 

A Birthday and Family Time

So, it’s been a busy couple of days. Yesterday was spent mostly just hanging out with Arnold and Geli. I did quite a bit of cooking. Everyone came over for a big evening meal (by everyone I mean Spencer and Mercy and Daniel). Afterward Walter finally showed us his pictures of his Russia trip.

Today, we had a family breakfast (Mercy and Spencer came) and then, because Jasper is still sick, Arnold helped Walter with his yard job. We had thought Arnold and Geli would be leaving today, but fortunately they were able to extend their stay by another day.

While the guys were out mowing, I took Geli (a fellow knitter) to our lovely local yarn store. Neither of us bought much, but we enjoyed browsing the store and talking to the serene sisters.

This afternoon, I was able to help Geli replace the elastic in a pair of pants she wants to keep wearing. Like me, she has lost a lot of weight and many of her clothes are now too big for her!

I also measured Lucy for her bridesmaid dress and we found out, to our astonishment, that she is taller than we thought! For years she’s been telling everyone she is 6’1”. Well today I measured her very carefully and we discovered she is actually 6’2½”. So she is now my tallest daughter and is in fact taller than her dad!

Mercy, by the way, has a new job at the public library which is a huge answer to prayer. We are not sure when she is starting but probably sometime next week. It’s only part time, but it’s a start.

We had another big family dinner tonight. I love that Mercy and Spencer have been so willing to come over and spend time with their aunt and uncle. While we were all sitting around the table, I called Mary and put my phone on speaker so we could all sing Happy Birthday to her—because today is Mary’s birthday!

I remember so well the day she was born—ten and a half pounds and with skin so pale it was transparent, as was her hair. I am so glad she had friends to celebrate with today, and we are looking forward to a family celebration when she comes to visit next month. Guess I’d better get to work on the handmade gift I promised her . . .

 

The Germans Have Landed!

Today started with a grocery shopping trip, followed by another grocery shopping trip, followed by housework and cooking. We see our German relations so rarely it is a big deal when they come.

Arnold (Walter’s little brother) and his wife Angelika arrived at suppertime while Walter was at his evening job. I had already finished making a super-supreme pizza to have for dinner, but we chatted and waited until Walter came home.

After supper, Walter took Arnold and Geli on a tour of the campus while I went shopping once again to pick up a few items I hadn’t known we needed when I went shopping earlier today.

After I returned home, Mercy and Daniel and Bri came over to greet and meet Arnold and Geli.

Tomorrow, I’m sure there will be a lot more talking!