Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's News

Last week I had surgery on my leg.  A growing lump beneath my knee was removed and the surgery took just over an hour.  When I woke up I had someone asking me if I wanted Ginger Ale and chocolate pudding.  I laughed and thought, "Is this heaven?"  When the fog in my brain cleared, I was able to go home and Paul was there to fill me in on the doctor's report.  Thankfully, the lump does not appear to be a cancerous growth.  The pathology report will be back next week.  I'll have my stitches removed next Monday morning.  The first couple of days after my surgery I had time to look at recipes for my two Rosh Hashanah celebrations, and time to sit on the floor to play with Qavah and my grand kids.  They helped fetch things for me, and with their boundless energy, they enjoyed doing it.

The graces that I have received from the Lord over the past week are boundless energy, and perseverance.  I won't say it was painless to use my leg so much, but it was a pleasure to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets with friends and family.  My favorite dish was a salad that I hadn't tried before.  It was refreshing and fruity.  I think I'll put it in my "favorites" folder and pull it out for a big family reunion.  I enjoy using the internet to find new recipes.  I even discovered how to extract the seeds from a pomegranate. It made the job much easier.  Best of all I have felt the joy of being able to celebrate a meaningful feast in a worshipful way, and serve good food to those I love.

seeds from one pomegranate
12 cups washed and dried salad greens of your choice
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup slivered almonds
3 11-oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 purple onion, sliced

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. parsley, snipped
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Shake all dressing ingredients in a tightly covered jar. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
2. Cook and stir almonds and sugar in a skillet over low heat until sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Cool on wax paper. Break apart. Set aside.
3. Toss dressing with salad greens and arrange on plates. Top with orange sections, pomegranate seeds, onion slices and sugared almonds. Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

When Troubles and Commitment Meet

A popular Christian television evangelist answered a caller on his program two days ago.  His answer was heard around the world.  The caller expressed a desire to date another woman because his wife with Alzheimer's disease no longer recognized him.  The evangelist answered that since his wife had no ability to relate to him anymore, a divorce would be advisable if he planned on dating.  My own moral compass hit true north, and I thought, "What happened to for better or for worse?" I was so troubled by his answer to the caller that I sent the link to Paul asking him to view the news clip and tell me what he thought.  

Paul listened to the story and came into the kitchen where I was cleaning up after dinner.  Soapy sponge in hand, I looked at him with trepidation and asked, "What would you do with me if...."  He looked me right in the eye and said, "When I took my vows, I meant them, til death do us part!"  I was so relieved that soapy hands and all, I went to him and threw my arms around his neck. "I'm not holding a bouquet, I'm not wearing a fancy dress, and there are no guests here," I said, "But I do believe that you just celebrated our marriage by repeating our wedding vows!"  I was so comforted by Paul's resolve to stick by his commitment.  I told him that I had always planned to do the same.  Then he said, "I might be seated beside you reading a book, but I will be there!"

I hope scenes like the one in my kitchen took place all over the world as the words of this well-known evangelist spread through the news media.  There are men and women all across the world tonight, feeding and caring for their childhood sweetheart until death parts them.  Wiping their drool, helping them bathe; caring for the one who is helpless.  That is a picture of Jesus, Who said, "I will never leave you or forsake you."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wedding Day

Nathan and Elisabeth Talbott are somewhere in the ocean cruising and resting.  There were many photographers and guests with cameras capturing their wedding day for them and we were among them.  I am beginning the work on Paul Burton's life album and will include some of the pictures I took of him last weekend.  The music was absolutely beautiful, and I know Paul Burton had fun playing it.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins pitched in to help make the day a beautiful memory.  Aunt Jackie did another splendid job on the flowers.  Everything was elegant but the day flew by too quickly.  Congratulations to the Sullivan and Talbott families.

Practice, practice, practice
 Michael and Abby, niece and nephew of the bride.
Qavah, cousin of the groom.
Beautiful music for the most special day in the life of a couple.
Qavah and Abby
Pure sweetness!
Three beautiful girls!
Nathan and Elisabeth September 10, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wedding in Ohio

We just returned from a trip to Ohio where Qavah was a flower girl in her cousin's wedding.  It was all so much fun and I have pictures to prove it.  I will post them soon.  I just wanted to update the blog to let everyone know that the girls are doing well.   More to follow....

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Qavah's Creative Prayers

I sat beside Qavah, the lights were out, she was tucked in, and she began to pray.  "Dear God, thank you that the Bible says that when we are afraid we can just go into our Mom and Dad's room and sleep with them."  I didn't hear the rest of the prayer for laughing. When she finished praying, I asked, "Qavah, where in the Bible does it say that about being afraid?"  "Well," she began, "Remember when we went to church that other day and Pastor Elijah said that sometimes we are afraid of the dark?"  

I remembered the children's sermon a little bit differently.  "Yes, Qavah, I remember Pastor Elijah said that when we are afraid, even if we have the night light shining in our own room, it still feels safer in Mom and Dad's room.  Their room might be pitch black with no night light but it still feels better in there".  "Yes," she agreed, "But I feel even better if I wake you up and sleep in your bed."

I took a minute to remind Qavah about the rest of Pastor Elijah's sermon: Jesus said in His word that we can call on His name when we are scared, and at the name of Jesus, things begin to get better.  I further explained that courage comes to our hearts when we remember that He is always watching over us and defending us. She thought about that a minute and said, "Well, I will just come in your room if I get scared tonight."

Don't we all want the Bible to say what suits our own will and desires?   Thanks, Qavah for another teachable moment that went both ways.

This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt.  And my Spirit remains with you. Do not fear.  Haggai 2:5

Monday, September 05, 2011

Days to Remember

Paul got home Sunday after a long flight.  He showered, shaved, ate dinner, and went to sleep. At nine o'clock Sunday night we gathered by candlelight to have a tea party for Kathryn's birthday. She was so happy with her gifts and dessert; a fresh-baked coffee cake topped with fresh blueberries and whipped cream.  After celebrating until midnight we all went to sleep.

We woke up to rain;  a very welcome rain, since our summer has been dry.  And throughout the day we have gathered for some good conversation and sipped cups of coffee together.  Paul Burton and I worked on a sewing project.  He learned how to use my sewing machine and how to hand-sew a blind stitch for hemming.  Kathryn worked on a computer problem, while Qavah hung around her Daddy like a fruit fly on a ripe banana.  We were a family.  We discussed some recent sermons we've heard, listened to Paul Burton play music, and took afternoon naps.  It was such a special time, just sitting together in our home and soaking in the peace which was plentiful enough for everyone.  Contentment and a peaceful place to abide made our home a very nice place to be.  I treasure these good things and thank God for them.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Mommy Guilt

On Friday morning I had two working vacuum cleaners.  One upright, and one hand-held.  The first one had a crack in the cord near the handle that I hadn't noticed.  As I was vacuuming, the cord shorted out and a large spark followed by smoke came from the handle.  I set the vacuum aside wondering if I could fix it myself, since Paul is away.  Meanwhile, Qavah had the small hand-held vacuum and was doing a beautiful job vacuuming the stairs.  However, at the top of the stairs, she continued vacuuming into the bathroom. In the bathroom sat Qavah's soaking tub which I hadn't yet dumped down the drain.  Qavah decided to vacuum the water out of her tub.  By the time I discovered what she was doing, I found the hand-held vacuum back in the storage closet dripping wet, and a huge puddle on the bathroom floor into the hallway.  That vacuum didn't start up either. After questioning her, I decided that she needed a serious talk about the dangers of electricity and water, and the foolishness of using a vacuum cleaner to empty a tub of water.

After our talk, I sent her to time-out on her bed.  She fell asleep and stayed that way all night.  When Paul called from Sweden, I told him about what had happened.  "What could she have been thinking?" I asked.  "She watched me use my Shop-Vac last weekend to suction up the last of the water in the pool,"  he explained.  I gasped and groaned, "Oh no, Paul! By vacuuming her tub water, she actually thought she was helping me!"  My soul suddenly felt a rush of guilt and compassion.  Paul said, "Well don't beat yourself up about it, now."  But I did.  After the phone call I went to see her and that's when I discovered Qavah had fallen asleep.  Mommy guilt set in big time.  Mommy guilt is that sort of feeling that grabs you by the throat making it hard to swallow. 

A week of being both mommy and daddy wore me thin I suppose.  I woke up Saturday morning and met Qavah in the hallway.  She was smiling as though nothing traumatic had happened.  I walked her to the bathroom for her morning bath and said, "I've been thinking about why you might have used my vacuum to empty your tub water, and I just want you to know that I love you, and that I forgive you."  She looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, "And I was saying to myself this morning that I am going to do better thinking today!"  We smiled and we hugged.  If that wasn't a happy enough ending, Paul Burton rewired the upright vacuum and I finished my cleaning.   The hand-held vacuum dried out overnight and now it works.  

Qavah went to bed happy tonight.  She thanked me for the fun day we had.  She named the things she enjoyed most about the day.  I reminded her that Daddy will be home very soon.  Then we said her prayers together, and I kissed her goodnight. While I would like to think I won't have any more situations ahead in which I will have parenting regrets, I know that isn't possible.  For Mommy guilt, there is a remedy;  asking forgiveness, and then total dependence on God for His grace and mercy.  For all those moms reading this blog entry, I will add on behalf of all of us, "Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers!"

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Swedish Sauna

Paul called this afternoon to tell me that the meeting he attended today in Sweden was held at a lake.  A large sauna beside the lake was heated to around one hundred and twenty degrees.  The idea of the sauna being beside the lake is that once you've had all of the heat you can stand in the sauna, you jump in the cold lake until you cool down.  That's certainly an interesting way of keeping everyone alert during a corporate meeting.    We are thankful for the work being done in Sweden that will keep the doors open to the company here in Roanoke.  

After another day of meetings tomorrow, Paul will travel by train back to Stockholm, and Lord willing, he will begin to make the journey home.  While that all sounds exciting, Paul told me today via Skype that he has been thinking of us and being at home.  That's fine with us.