Sunday, August 15, 2010

Showers of Blessing

Today was home church.

We thought about setting up outside underneath the willow tree, but menacing black clouds slowly marched toward us across the Jefferson National Forest. The heat and humidity were oppressive. It felt like a sauna outside.

Church around the dining room table worked just fine.

Before church we hovered around the table, perusing an article written about our farm by Beth Macy. Rachel and Jason bought a copy of the Roanoke Times on their way to the farm. We were a bit stunned. We knew the story would be in the paper, but I assumed it would fall in the Virginia section, not the FRONT PAGE! I was so embarrassed.

Maggie was disappointed that all the pictures of Fred and Tabby's wedding didn't make the spread. Patrick was glad that one of his quotes made the story. I cried when Rachel handed me the paper and I saw Widow in the headline and she and Jason gave me a big hug and missed Philip with me. Then we laughed because we all knew how proud he must be to see our pictures in the paper, if he ever has a chance to get a sneak peek from heaven.

Then it was time to put away the paper, grab that last bit of coffee and begin our service.

We sang our hymns. We read the readings. Then we began the joyful work of tackling the scriptures.

We usually start with the Psalm and then try to find the thru-line with the other readings. Some of them were a bit confusing, but there was nothing confusing about the passage in Hebrews. We camped out in Hebrews 12, first 14 verses. It was a powerful passage, encouraging followers of God to run the race with perserverance. We had a great time dissecting the verses, grabbing the dictionary every once in awhile to help flesh out words like perserverance and righteousness. Talked about the difference between discipline, getting in trouble and discipline, training to develop strong bodies, spirits and minds.

We shared the bread and the wine then rushed out to the garden to pick a tub full of corn to take down the road for Sunday dinner. Right as we began to shuck the corn, the black clouds ran down the mountain, stirred up a breeze, and exploded over the valley. It rained and rained, but never mind! Tim just moved the grill under a roof outside and dinner happened anyway.

Have I ever mentioned that spending Sunday afternoons with friends around dinner is one of my favorite things? Thank you, Mom and Dad for teaching us the value of Sunday dinner. Slow and relaxed, late enough to cover both dinner and supper. Plenty of time for kids to play and grownups to visit. Perfect way to make certain that a big tub of corn is put to good use. A cup of coffee, probably a bit later than is good for me seemed like the perfect way to end the day. Looking at Tim and Linda's dating and early marriage years back in the late 70's and 80's was a delightful bonus. We laughed and laughed at the hair styles and the shiny shirt. Tim's, not Linda's! We wondered why all those great photos are stuffed in an album instead of framed on the wall.

The clouds moved on, the sun returned and with it a steam bath.

But, thanks be to God from whom all blessings flow, the afternoon storm almost filled our pond to the brim! WOW!

The little showers along have been greening up the pastures, but haven't done a thing for the drying up pond. Today's gully washer definitely made a difference. Yeay for end of summer thunderstorms.


Anonymous said...

Read your article in todays paper. I am sorry about the death of your husband so young to pass on. I admire you for all that you are doing. Would love to have some of your good bread. If I ever get down your way I will stop and buy some. I live in Bland VA. You are blessed in so many ways. Although you may not see it at times.

Jennifer said...

I enjoyed the article today and getting a glimpse of your challenging life. You run circles around many of us and as I read it I said to my husband "this woman is a super hero!" Next time I want to complain about being too busy, I'll think of you and count my blessings. Wishing you and yours all the best.

Diana said...

I read the article in the paper, and your faith and perseverance are what I think of when I think of a true Christian. I admire you and your family, and the friends and community that show what true neighbors are all about. God bless you!
( I'm in Bland county VA too!) said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments, everyone. Please introduce yourselves if you ever make it to market.

But know for sure, I am positive that I am no superhero! Just a busy, tired, working mom who happens to love her job, even though sometimes she thinks it might do her in! I know so many other gals with similar stories, different flavors.

We miss Philip deeply and sometimes wonder why our path went this direction instead of another one, but even so, we are so very thankful for our life. I hope that others will be encouraged to keep on keeping on when all seems futile.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts and for taking the time to write. Hope to see you back in blog world.

Tall, grey, nonbeliver said...

I read your story in the paper yesterday...and re-read it several times last night and this morning. I used to be a very religious person, but somewhere along the road, I lost my way. With all you have to do, you still manage to minister to your own small flock and that is what impresses me the most. I would like to meet you some day, and talk for hours, but I know that is not a item you would have time for. Maybe someday you'll have need of a master carpenter and then we could have a chance to talk. Its lonely being without a spirit, or rather a damaged one. said...

Hi Tall, Grey, Nonbeliever,

Thanks for commenting.

I wrote a really nice long response to your comment, then the lightening and thunder struck and it got lost.

So I will be brief and say that I will be praying for you to get some answers. Or at least for you to know the right questions to ask.

And if you ever drop by the farmer's market, come say hi.

Anonymous said...

When I read your story in Sunday's paper, I quickly thought about the story of JOB. Through all that Satan had put him through, he never lost his faith. You've been through a lot, and all it's done is make your faith stronger and you a better person for it all. Would that I could believe as strongly as you. I have asked for some sign, some showing that he is there for many years, and things have just gotten worse. I still believe in the one true being...I just don't know how to reach out to him/her. I can find no spiritual map, or guide that can "show" me the "way". It's hard to believe you can make lemonade out of grapefruits because a book says you can. I still remember getting a Silver Dollar for reciting all the books of the Bible in order. Isiah has the same number of chapters as books of the Bible. I was an apt pupil, but as I grew older, things happened that I could not understand. If one truly believed, then these things did not happen to you; but they did and do. Can you tell me why?

Anonymous said...

Noticed that you are a follower of the Quarry House Blog. Just wanted to caution you about this guy. He is currently facing charges for contempt of court which is amazingly ironic considering that his last post is about self-righteousness and that is exactly what he is doing. He thinks the law doesn't apply to him if he believes he is doing the right thing. Be careful out there. People are not what they seem. said...

Hi, Anonymous who memorized the books of the Bible.

I wish I had answers for you. I guess I can say that there are many things in the Bible that confuse me on a regular basis. And sometimes I pray about things, and they just get worse. I do not believe that my prayers are about getting things, or not getting things. They are about communicating with my creator, trying to line myself up with the bigger picture.

I do believe that there is more. More to this life than what makes sense or what I can see. Believe me when I say I come nowhere near Job and his trials. I lost my husband, and it gives me grief, and I feel alone and I miss him and seeing him love on me and the kids and the many people in our circle. But I still have my children alive and well. I have health and a strong body that is able to work hard. I have a home and a barn and a bunch of animals and friends and vehicles. I have a business.

There are people I know in India who lost their husband and children thru a horrible massacre. They lost their homes, their jobs, everything they owned. Those widows who believe are the strong ones. We try to pray for them daily.

I guess I say all this to say that there is more out there than just my belief, faith, strength, etc, and I can only describe it as the MORE. More than I can understand, describe or explain.

Perhaps I could share with you my theology that believes that we live in a broken world, with broken parts, broken people, broken systems, broken politics, and unfortunately bad things happen. Sometimes so bad that we shudder to think.

But even though I pray that my children stay healthy and that I stay healthy and that our farm continues to be alive, I would have to say that if it all were to come crashing down around and I lost them all, I would still believe. With tears. With pain. With agony. With crushing sorrow and confusion.

But I have had encounters with my divine creator that make me know that even if I were to find out that the Bible were a complete hoax, I would still believe.

It is a mystery. I can't explain or even try to ever convince.

No way could I even begin to try to answer why. But I encourage you to not give up. The answers might be to the questions you never thought to ask.

And here's to the other anonymous, I read quite a few other blogs, for many reasons. Have to say that the real truth is that few of us are what we seem on the outside.

If you guys put your name on your comments, I will feel a bit more like we are having a real conversation with real people!!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and to comment. I know everyone out there is busy. Hope you all spend a few minutes listening to night sounds and searching out the quiet moon.

Tall, Grey, Nonbeliver said...

I have posted two comments on here Ms Hillery. One as Tall, Grey, Nonbeliver and a run on as Anonymous comparing you to JOB. Just wanted you to know they were the same person