This morning I woke up too early, made coffee and began to prepare for the morning's church service and sermon. I heard rustling downstairs, heard a pot rattling, and soon Rose came up the stairs with a fresh cup of coffee and a beautifully made omelet. She told me she knew that Dad usually made me a Mother's Day breakfast, so she wanted to do that this year.
We chatted for a few minutes, I ate my breakfast, then returned to the hymnal. More noises downstairs, Patrick's voice admonished me to stay upstairs. Well, since that was my plan anyway, it was easy to accommodate.
Next thing, I heard a car drive up.
The Thomas family entered the kitchen, Rachel joined me in my bedroom and Jason organized the troops to milk Coco, take care of other chores, and to work on my second breakfast! They cooked four pounds of bacon, stacks and stacks of waffles with blueberries, even brought maple syrup since we are out. They made more coffee. They set the table.
What a gift.
They blessed me and Rachel and loved on us and even got the table cleared and the dishes washed before church started.
We had an amazing service. The readings, as usual, were perfect. We spent time in Joel 2, reading about how the Lord is slow to anger and quick to offer compassion. How he will restore what the locusts have eaten. We spent some time talking about locusts. Did you know that there have been locusts 6 inches long? That they are voracious migratory grasshoppers? That they release seratonins and that is part of what draws them together into a swarm? That they eat their body's weight in one day? A small section of a swarm can consume the same amount of food as 10 elephants, 25 camels or 2500 humans. A swarm could be 10 miles long and 4 miles wide.
We discussed how devastating a swarm of locust could be. What would a people group do if their food supply was decimated for hundreds of miles? We then spoke of the different troubles we deal with today. Not too many of us have ever witnessed a plague of locusts. But there are other troubles equally violent. People who have lost a child. Others who have lost more than one child. Acquaintances in India who had their churches destroyed, their homes destroyed and pastors beheaded, children burned with gasoline. Strangers in Haiti who lost everything they own and family members as well. Friends who have lost jobs. Marriages that fell to pieces. Dreams that fizzled. Homes burned down. We lost Philip.
The end of Joel 2 comes with a promise that God will restore what the locusts have eaten. The big locusts. The small locusts. The great swarm of locusts. He will bring back green grass for the animals and grain and wine and oil.
We decided that we would pray for the many who have had lives decimated by the locusts to be able to see the powerful hand of God intervening in their lives. We talked about lots of other things too, and then shared bread and wine and remembered.
I love our little home church.
Then, church continued as we cleared away the hymnals, the Bibles and the Book of Common Prayer to make way for Sunday dinner. How could we eat after the two breakfasts? We managed! Roast chickens from the farm, barley, okra from the freezer (thank you Julie!) sauteed with onions, garlic, assorted curry powders and cream, salad from the Thomas' garden and our garden, and fresh bread of course. It was too cold and windy to have church and dinner outside so we piled around the table and set up an extra one for kids. Noisy and chaotic, we feasted.
When dishes were done, goodbyes were said, Nora and I took a walk up to the highest point of the farm. We sat, bundled up, and were still. We looked across the road to the Jefferson National Forest. We then moved down a bit, so we could look the other direction, down to our ridge and the creek bottom. The wind in the grass was an exercise in meditation. Nora remembered different things about Philip and chattered. She observed different wildflowers growing. I watched the trees and the skies and wished I could sprawl out in the field for hours.
But I didn't. I noticed that the upper hay field is in very poor condition. I won't make hay off it this year. That is disappointing, but it is time to do some intensive grazing up there to lay down some fertilizer and hopefully improve the soil. Then I need to overseed. I think the bottom field should make enough hay for our winter if the winter isn't quite so harsh as this past one. I looked at the manure pile by the barn door that needs to be spread on the fields. I looked at the fence that needs to be fixed. Then I remembered that is was Sunday and I cancelled shearing today for the simple reason that I need to take one day off a week to rest. So I returned to the house with Nora and the whole family gathered around my bed and we watched Babe together.
So thankful for my dear sweet children. And for Philip who married me and gave me the opportunity to be their mother. And for a day of rest.
Especially thankful for my mom and the many other moms in my life, who love me and encourage me and pray for me. You all know who you are and I love you.