Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

On this Mother’s Day, I took time to play and sing one of my own mother’s favorite hymns.

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

Henry F. Lyte

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah
Praise the High Eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.



A Festival Day

Well, the week has ended and we still haven’t heard the results of Lucy’s cat scan. I called the doctor’s office yesterday and she wasn’t there, so I’m sure we won’t hear until Monday at the earliest. *deep sigh*

Yesterday was my grocery shopping day, and thankfully Aldi was much less crowded than it was last week. I hope I got everything I needed. Mercy is doing all the cooking tomorrow for Mother’s Day.

Today I was up earlier than usual for a Saturday so I could drive to Tyler for their annual free Celtic Festival. I went to the first one two years ago, but last year I was out of town when they had it. I really want this festival to succeed, and they have some great things going, but I think they are still finding their stride. I’d like to see more variety in vendors and more quality entertainment for sure.

So anyway, I drove over there early hoping to get a great shady spot in the parking lot where I parked two years ago, but that lot actually belongs to a Hispanic church and they have fenced it off and put up a sign saying it is only for church-related parking. *sigh* So I parked across the street at the Salvation Army.

I texted my dear friend Sybil, who lives in Tyler, to see if she might be free to meet up with me, and as it turned out, she was free right then, so she drove up to join me and we sat and visited in the rose garden while the festival got underway. It was so good to see her and to hear all about how her kids are doing. When the kids were little, we got together every month, but now I’m lucky to see her more than once a year.

When Sybil had to leave, I walked back to the main part of the grounds where the festival was taking place. I found myself near the back stage behind the house, where a lady in Steampunk attire was orating a fascinating biography of pioneer missionary Amy Carmichael. I really enjoyed it! After that, on the front stage, I heard an Irish storyteller who was pretty good.

I also watched an entertaining hoop dance act. The girl who does it also performs at the Renaissance faire and has so much energy and coordination. I might be a little jealous.

I had really been hoping to spend much of the day sitting in the shade and listening to some great live music. I did pretty well on the shade-sitting part. I had high hopes for a couple of music performances, but to be honest they were mediocre at best. I could have done better than either one with my autoharp and my lackluster singing voice. So that was a little disappointing.

I cruised past all the booths and found very little to tempt me—although I did end up getting an inexpensive pair of earrings and a bracelet which I plan to take apart and remake to suit me better. I often do buy things that I then take apart and use to make something else.

By midafternoon I found myself thinking longingly of a mug of tea, so I shouldered my chair and headed back to the car. Although everything didn’t live up to my expectations, any day spent outside with music and a breeze is a good day! And my visit with Sybil was the best treasure of all.

Mercy and Daniel were here for supper and in fact Mercy is spending the night since she will be getting up early to cook breakfast. I called my mother this evening since tomorrow is likely to be quite busy. Sometimes it’s frustrating to have the family so spread out.

Free Food

Mary left today, along with her giant beanbag blanket. She tried it last night and said it might take some getting used to! It sure was nice to have her here and I’ve been missing her ever since she left.

Meanwhile, Bri is here now but will be leaving in the morning.

I have done a lot of cooking lately, much of which resulted in food that I cannot eat, so rather than cook some more tonight, I decided to go get some pizza for the family. (I can’t eat that either, but at least I didn’t have to make it!) We have a Little Caesar’s pizza place right down the road from us.

I pulled up to the drive-through window and was ignored for at least 10 minutes, during which time two other cars pulled up behind me. Finally a girl came to the window and took my order. Since Bri is here, and Mercy and Daniel might stop by, I ordered three pizzas.

Then I waited. And waited. The girl walked outside and took orders from the cars behind me. They paid, got their orders, and backed out so they could leave. I continued to wait. And wait.

After half an hour or so, a young man opened the window and asked me if I’d like a free two-liter drink to make up for the long wait. Well, why not? His first offer was Pepsi. My family would rather drink warm spit than Pepsi, so I asked if he had anything else. Fortunately, he had root beer and was happy to hand out a chilled two-liter bottle of it.

Some time later, the girl returned and asked me if I’d like extra pepperoni to make up for waiting so long. Again, why not? Who wouldn’t want extra pepperoni? However, when she finally handed over the pizza boxes, there were four instead of three. She had actually offered me an entire free pepperoni pizza!

So, there was a LOT of pizza in our house tonight. Everybody got all they wanted. Mercy and Daniel stopped by and had some. We still have a whole pizza that hasn’t even been touched. Jasper can’t wait to have pizza for breakfast.


Waiting for News

STILL no word on Lucy’s CAT scan. I hate the uncertainty!

Mary had planned to leave today, but then decided to extend her stay until tomorrow. No one complained! After she came back from Mercy’s and went on her morning run, I took her to my favorite bookstore/coffee shop to look around and have some coffee. I was also able to show her the standing desk there that I envy every time I go!

We made it back in time for lunch and I took a nap because I didn’t have to sew. It is such a relief to have the sewing project done.

Oh, did you want to see it? Well, here it is:

5-9-18 Mary's weighted blanket

The 25-pound blanket. Now Jasper and Lucy want them too. If I make any more though, they won’t be pieced!

I did some reading this afternoon, and Mary took some photos for me, and I made brownies, but mostly I just goofed off and enjoyed not having to sew. I LOVE sewing—don’t get me wrong—but this project was very difficult to do because of the weight and size, and I am glad to have finished it.

This evening Jasper went to youth group. Lucy went out with Bri, and my husband spent hours showing Mary his Russia photos.


Also Comes in Handy as a Weapon

This morning Mary and I went with Lucy to get her scan. She had to drink a large quantity of a barium “milkshake” and then wait for 45 minutes. I didn’t envy her. I had to do that once and once was enough!

The scan itself was very quick. We have no idea when we might hear the results. When we left the imaging center, I took the girls to their favorite coffee shop to get coffee by way of celebration that the scan was over. The place was so full there was nowhere to sit so I waited for them in the car. It’s not like I was going to get a five-dollar drink anyway!

By the time we returned home, it was almost lunchtime and the whole morning was gone, which meant I had not had a chance to work on Mary’s blanket. I rested while everyone else ate lunch and then went back to work, after putting supper on to cook. I found I could get three rows of squares filled and stitched before needing a break to rest my shoulder. Four days of hunching over a sewing machine has been very hard on my “bad” shoulder.

I had hoped to finish the blanket before supper, so we could finally use the table again, but I didn’t quite make it. Spencer came over for supper and everyone ate in the living room while I kept sewing.

I finally finished the binding at 9:10 this evening, and let me tell you—that blanket is HEAVY. It contains 21 pounds of weighted beads. With the weight of the fabric added, I’m sure it’s in the neighborhood of 25 pounds. My arm and shoulder muscles are sore from manhandling all that weight for the last two days. This blanket can double as a workout aid—or a weapon. Can’t you just see it? “One step closer and I’ll whack you with my blanket!”

Mary is spending the night with Mercy tonight, but she’ll be back in the morning. Hopefully we can get some photos of the blanket tomorrow also. I like to think it is pretty in addition to being functional.



A Weighty Commitment

Today has been all about the therapeutic weighted blanket I’m making for Mary. I actually stayed home from church yesterday to get some work in on it, as it is a very time-consuming project. I did finally get the top pieced last night, which was my first goal.

Meanwhile, when I wasn’t sewing yesterday, I was cooking Mary’s birthday dinner. She had requested a Greek dinner, and especially falafel, and of course for her everything has to be gluten free, so I can’t just buy falafel mix at the grocery store. In addition to the falafel, I made gluten-free Greek lemon chicken, and Greek salad and salad dressing. The tabouli I had made yesterday. Mary made her own gluten-free cheesecake for dessert!

Mercy and Daniel and Spencer all came for supper. The food was fabulous. I had made a large batch of falafel, thinking how nice it would be to have leftovers, but then I remembered that no matter how many I make, they all get eaten!

After supper we watched a movie of Mary’s choosing, which is a family birthday tradition, and then I went back to my sewing.

Today I have sewed and sewed and sewed. I had to mark out all the channels first and then sew them before marking out all the rows. Now I am in the process of sewing the plastic beads into the squares. The blanket is already very unwieldy and heavy, and I’m only half done. I am dreading having to do the rest, although I have learned some shortcuts along the way. I only have one more day to get this done!

Please pray for us tomorrow as Mary and I go with Lucy to get her CAT scan.

God Will Take Care of You

In light of the uncertainty we’re facing at the moment, I thought this would be a good hymn to sing today.

God Will Take Care of You

Civilla D. Martin

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.


God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.


All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.


No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.



A Welcome Guest

Today was a busy day, but it was mostly a good kind of busy. My husband was up and out the door before 6:30 because he had to work during the university’s graduation today. I had accordingly thought I might sleep in a bit, since I have been sleeping so poorly lately, but guess what? Someone got up and started banging on an anvil outside my window at 7:30 this morning!

I rolled out of bed and got going on my day, thinking all the time that I could always take a nap in the afternoon. As it turns out, I have not yet learned the trick of napping to the sound of a hammer hitting an anvil. Jasper had a great time working at his forge, though, and was happy with his progress. He is working on another knife and a spear blade.

Lucy was up earlier than usual also, to get ready for graduation. A lot of her friends graduated today, and she went to both the morning and the afternoon ceremonies.

Poor Walter had to go right back out to work again when he came home from working graduation. He and Jasper still had their yard job to do.

I had to make a supply run to get some gluten-free soy sauce for tonight’s dinner, and then go to work on housework, cooking, sewing, and grading. I finished all the actual grading and just have to figure all the semester grades.

I made a big batch of gluten-free tabouli for tomorrow’s dinner (Mary’s birthday celebration). I was so tickled to be able to harvest the fresh mint and parsley from my own tiny little garden.

The really big project, though, was getting started on Mary’s birthday present. I am attempting to make her a weighted blanket, but not just the kind where you have a top fabric and a bottom fabric and sew them together. I spent at least two years collecting fabrics for something else I was going to make her, but then realized she would never use it. So I am piecing the top of her blanket out of all those fabrics. Today consisted of lots of rotary cutting, figuring out which fabrics in which widths to include in each of the five strips, and then piecing the strips together. Tomorrow I hope to get the whole top sewn together and maybe start on the really hard part—sewing the channels and then starting to add the weighted plastic pellets. I already know it’s not going to be fun.

Mary herself arrived a little after 6:00 this evening, and was duly impressed by the transformation in Spencer’s former room, where she’ll be staying. Mercy and Daniel joined us for supper, and Lucy made a big stir-fry.

Tomorrow’s going to be another full day, one in which I somehow have to find a lot of time to sew!


An Anniversary

The geeks among you have no doubt been celebrating Star Wars Day today. May the Fourth be with you!

Soon after posting the obligatory Star Wars meme this morning, however, I had a nagging feeling that today had some other significance. Then I remembered. Three years ago today I had emergency surgery to remove my appendix. On that same day, I was diagnosed with diabetes and very high blood pressure. Not one of my favorite days to remember.

Except . . . look how far I’ve come since then! In the last fifteen months I have taken charge of my health and experienced some dramatic improvements. In order to do this, I had to ignore what I was told to do while in the hospital. But here I am now with normal blood sugar and normal blood pressure and no medications! Even my rosacea has improved dramatically. So, yes—I still say my diabetes was a gift. That gift has (indirectly) resulted in a drastic improvement in my quality of life.

Today was my grocery shopping day. I had to make my list very carefully because Mary is coming this weekend and we have to be very careful to make sure everything will be gluten free. We will also be celebrating her birthday while she is here.

We had quite a bit of rain today, which was wonderful, because we needed it. And it saved me from having to water my plants today too.

I finished reading my book and really enjoyed it. No more fiction until I finish the sewing project I’m trying to do for Mary!

Disquieting News and a Goodbye

Today was laced with sadness and a little anxiety. My doctor finally called today with the results of Lucy’s ultrasound. She does have some gallstones and “gravel,” but the doctor is not concerned about them. They are most likely the result of Lucy’s recent weight loss and they should resolve on their own, especially if she watches her diet and keeps taking the supplements that have been recommended.

Of more concern is an enlarged lymph node in the region of Lucy’s liver and gallbladder. This is worrisome enough to warrant a CAT scan, which I will be scheduling tomorrow for sometime next week. The scan should show if just the one lymph node is affected, and if (heaven forbid) it might be some kind of cancer. It might be a bit tricky since CAT scans normally involve the use of iodine dye, and we now know that Lucy is allergic to iodine. So anyway, your prayers are greatly appreciated. I am trying very hard not to borrow trouble from tomorrow and just take this one day at a time.

One of the first things I saw online today was the news, posted by several people, that musician Jed Marum has died, and when I saw the news, my heart sank. The music world suddenly seems like a poorer place. Jed was for a while a frequent performer at the late lamented Renfaire that I attended for so many years. He played multiple instruments and had a mellow voice. He knew all kinds of historical songs and was also a gifted songwriter. I have had a couple of his CDs for years and never get tired of them.

As a person, he was kind and friendly, humble and classy. I have very fond memories of a couple of lazy afternoons at the faire, sitting with Jed and others and listening to him tell stories. He had so many great stories from his long career in folk and historical music. I had a couple of fascinating conversations with him about music, about songs we learned as children with our very different backgrounds. I think he was surprised that I knew some songs he had never heard of—his own knowledge was encyclopedic!

So today, when I saw the news that he was gone, I felt a lump in my throat. I always thought I’d get to hear him sing live again. Lina and I had talked about going to Dallas to hear him sometime. And now the time is all gone. To honor his memory, I’ve been listening this evening to one of my favorite songs of his. He wrote it to sing at the funeral of a dear friend, writing his own words to the old Scottish tune “Wild Mountain Thyme.” You can find it here, if you’re interested:

Sarah’s Mountain Time by Jed Marum

Jed Marum—a fine musician and a true gentlemen. He will be missed by so many.

Jed Marum