Kissing Cousins

The three quarter length sleeves on the red dress were flattering as was the fitted waist.  Even though it was a warm day in September I could not resist wearing the new dress on my date.  Johnny picked me up and said, “I’d like to stop by my house – there are some people I’d like you to meet.”

We were greeted by a friendly crowd of all ages.  Picnic tables were spread with what looked like old sheets and it seemed like every one was bringing food to the tables.  Johnny disappeared in the crowd and was kissed by several beautiful young ladies.  I knew his two sisters and they were not the ones kissing him.

Later in the car I asked about the pretty young ladies kissing him.  He said, “Oh those were my cousins!”  Kissing cousins I thought.  Ummmmm.

Those kissing cousins, Sue, Lee and Betty would become lifelong friends.

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Sue, Betty and Sue’s daughter Kim

 

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Lee and daughter Melodie

 

That was my first introduction to a family reunion.  My boyfriend’s mother was one of seven children; six girls and one boy.  Virginia, Lenora, Zora, I.V., Jessie, Ethel, and Cleo.  When they all got together on the fourth Sunday in September there was feasting, fun and pictures.

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The original gang minus Aunt Lenora

Now that handsome young man is no longer called Johnny but John and my husband of 52 years and I did not wear a red dress but a dark blue dress which detracted from my not so small waist.

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John with Benny and Gene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many gatherings have been enjoyed over the years at family houses until the crowd grew too large and then church halls, recreation centers and once at Vogel State Park.  The last several years we have meet in my sister-in-law Gayle’s church basement.

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Gayle, Tommy and Uncle Dutch

 

All the original seven sisters and one brother are gone but we still meet in their memory and in their honor for what they taught us – to love God, love our family and our neighbors.  The crowd has dwindled a bit but the food was still good and we try to keep up with each other’s lives – the babies born, growing children, those graduating from high school and happenings in our lives.

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Nana Pat, Cameron & Chalonda

 

 

 

Our almost seventeen-year-old grandson drove us to the gathering and our son and his daughter led the way in another car.

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed the food and fellowship.

A few years ago, we gathered around the keyboard and sang old hymns as our cousin Keith played.

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Sanders Family Singers

 

I couldn’t help but shed a tear thinking about how John’s mom and dad and all the others who are gone now would have loved to hear that singing.

But I imagine the original gang is having their own reunion in heaven!

Exodus 20:12New International Version (NIV)

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

 

Sugar or Starch?

How could something so sweet be good for you and yet stick to the bowl like starch?

Corn

July and August may be the dog days of summer because of the heat but they are our time to ‘put up corn.’

Sweet corn is my family’s favorite vegetable.  When the family gathers for Sunday lunch or at holidays, we serve a large container of corn. Not just any corn but fresh corn that is frozen quickly to preserve the taste.

To have enough corn to serve at these special family gatherings, we schedule several processing times. Our goal is to put at least 50 quarts in the freezer.

A local farmer provides the corn, hopefully family gathers to help Papaw shuck the husks and then into the house for me to blanch, cool, and cut off cob.

I thought I would record the process for future generations, in case they want to have that fresh tasting corn we have every Sunday for lunch.

Our son and grand kids and whoever might be around help shuck it and then John and I prepare for freezer.

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Cha, Kelley, Johnny, John, Cam, Gavin

 

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Just a few more ears to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few tips to make sure you get that fresh taste!

 

Well, which is it sugar or starch? It is both. The grain can produce corn syrup which is placed in most of products we use.  Read the labels.  The corn plant also provides edible starch to make corn starch, jellies and candies.  The dextrin from the raw starch is used to make glue, fireworks.  Crude corn oil is used in making plastic resin, glycerin for soap and refined oil for salad oil, cooking oils and medicinal oils.  Corn is also used to produce ethanol (ethyl alcohol) for fuel.

Of course, our ancestors used corn to process by wet milling, fermenting and adding yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol, also known as “white lightning.” Sorry no video for this process!

Several years ago I was told there was no nutrition in corn.  But read today that corn has vitamins B and E as well as minerals – phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper with traces of selenium. Also good source of fiber.

Get the fresh corn and enjoy the sugar and starch and even some nutrients.

Fake Strawberries

John 15:4-6 New International Version (NIV)

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

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TOMATOES

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh, you accomplished this did you?”

 

 

 

 

After working in the garden at 100% humidity– I stopped to rest and drink some water. Even though I was exhausted, I looked around and took pride in the garden.

My husband told me that he would not be able to help in the garden this year because of his back problems. Stubbornly I pursued the task of planting and weeding. We failed to place a layer of wood chips in the fall which would have kept the weeds under control.

 

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Squash – newspaper to block weeds???

 

Observing the thriving  plants, I thought, “Look at this, I planted all this by myself and it looks so good.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immediately the Lord reminded me that all I did was plant and weed the garden – he caused the growth with the abundance of rain and sunshine. I felt like Job when the Lord challenged him for using words without knowledge in Job 38-41. Oops, sorry Lord.

He encouraged me to look at the strawberry patch that was overgrown with weeds.

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Right side (before)

 

 

“That is what you can take credit for – a mess. Without me you can do nothing!”

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, after four days of pulling weeds the strawberry patches are cleared of those tall weeds.

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Right side (after)

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Left side (before)

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Left side (after weeding)

 

Just like Job, I was challenged that God is the creator and sustainer of life. Success comes from acknowledging his majesty and authority over all I attempt. Whether it is gardening, volunteering, or any area of my life, the praise should go to God.

It is important to recognize the weeds as they creep into the strawberry patch.

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tiny runners are weeds – fake strawberries

 

 

 

Just like these fake strawberry vines, we must be aware of the invaders.

 

 

 

 

 

Are we taking pride in ourselves and our accomplishments without acknowledging that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father and without Him we can do nothing.

 

Thank you Lord for giving me strength and stamina to pull those weeds!

 

Job 38  New International Version (NIV)

The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?

Which Season Are You In?

One of my hobbies is color analysis. I enjoy the process of helping someone discover what colors are best for them to wear.  Each person can be categorized in one of the seasons of the year – fall, winter, spring or summer.  It is amazing to see how one’s hair color, eye color, eye pattern, skin tone and color preference reveal the season.  Sometimes it is hard to determine their season without the draping process.  This is done by comparing several pieces of drapes in the four season’s palettes.

Some have compared our lives to the seasons of the year.  Spring for youth, summer as the prime of life, fall for maturity and then winter for the older stages.

My favorite way to feature the seasons is the flowers.

The first signs of spring are the bulbs pushing up through the barren ground– crocuses, daffodils, tulips.  Forsythia (or yellow bells) take over the landscape.  They swiftly fade away.

 

Warmer days cause the azaleas and rhododendrons to take the stage only to last a few weeks if we are lucky.

 

Summer begins with my favorite- the glory of the day lilies. If there is enough rain – hydrangea upstage all.  Wish they could last all summer.

 

Summer’s heat ushers in the crepe myrtles and black-eyed susans.

Cooler days are welcomed as the trees take on the show with the rich, brilliant colors of fallview.johnny.house

It seems only a few more weeks and the flowers shrivel and waste away as the leaves drop from the trees and give way to winter’s barren cold.

 

 

Blooms of the Christmas cactus brighten winter indoors.thanksgiving-cactus.jpg

Chronologically I am in the winter of my life.  Although I can view the flowers in my gardens and I feel like a spring chicken.

We often think of someone as we knew them 20 or 30 years ago.  It is fun to look on Facebook and see friends from “way back when” and see how they have changed.  Not me???? But suddenly I look in the mirror and see a grey-haired person who is slightly overweight! Well, maybe more than slightly. Who’s that????

“I’m 17”– my friend Beth says!  In our minds, we are all a certain age – 17 or maybe 30 or even 40 for us over the hill gang – 60 is the new 40 these days.

Don’t you know that time passes faster as we age?  Maybe something to do with our brains and how we process time.

Just like the flowers in my garden, our lives are swiftly fading away.

One day we will be a memory to the younger generation.  What will they remember? I asked my granddaughter “What words would you use to describe me?”

“Flowers, food and family,” she said.

When I am no longer able to take care of the flowers, prepare the food and serve my family, will she and my grandsons remember my faith and desire to follow God like their Nana? Our lives are just like a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow but the word of God endures forever.

So, what season are you in?  It will pass so swiftly.  Enjoy each season and share God’s word with your family.

 

James 4:13,14 (NIV)

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I Peter 1:24 (NIV)

All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

 Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Fill in the Blanks

How many times have you heard people say “I wish I had asked my parents……………..”  You fill in the blanks.  Shekinah Lane is our story of those blank spaces.  We want future generations of our family and your family to realize that God can use us in our weakness if we dare to dwell in the secret place (the Shekinah glory) of the most High God. 

That glory is only found as we step out in faith, out of our comfort zone, and out of preconceived restrictions.  We experienced the freedom of serving God with people from various backgrounds as well as those who had no religious background to restrict their faith journey. 

 Join us for a book signing of Shekinah Lane

at Union County Library on Friday, May 19, 2:30 – 4:30 pm

 

 When we are young children we depend on our parents.  As teens we tolerate our parents.  Young adults depend on parents again to help with their children.  Midlife finds us busy with our teens – ball games, school activities, and before we know it – we are the grandparents.

Many times only in the later years of our lives do we start to reflect and wish we had spent more time talking to our parents and asking those questions to pass down to future generations.

My family a few years before my parents died.

My parents died in the midst of our sons’ teen age years.  My mother suffered a major heart attack and died a few hours after I arrived at the hospital.  Two years later my father died of lung cancer.  Since I was in that midlife time, I had not asked those questions about my parent’s lives to fill in those blanks.

 

John’s parents both lived long lives.  They moved close to us here in the north Georgia Mountains.  For eleven years we shared them with our sons and their families.

First great-grand child

Second great grand-child

Cha and Cam enjoyed their Mee maw and Great Pa paw

 

Having four generations interact was a delight.

 

 

We enjoyed the twinkle in Great Pa paw’s eye and the smile on Me maw’s face as he shared the story about their wedding night.  Every December 23 he disclosed, as if it was the first time he told it, about when he and Me maw were married and the house caught on fire.  We made them an anniversary DVD one year and the background music was Johnny Cash’s song “We got married in a Fever.”

Third great grand child (Mitchell) with hands raised.

Even though we shared many years with John’s parents, there are still some blanks.  We wish we could talk to them just once more and ask the lyrics to so many jingles that Great Pa paw loved to recite or his secrets for successful crappie fishing 

and also to ask Me maw about her faith journey, her visions, her determination to teach without a formal education.

Shekinah Lane is our attempt to complete many blanks for our children, grandchildren and future generations.  We want them to know the joys as well as the struggles we experienced in our lives.  Our spiritual journey is the train that drives all the adventure.

 Psalm 102:18Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.

Dogwood Winter

Dogwood blooms

I failed to take the hint. Admiring the Dogwood blossoms on my way to church made me think they were a bit early. Don’t they usually bloom at Easter time? Easter is almost two weeks away. However, not having John’s folks to remind me I just admired the dogwoods and that was it.

It snowed on March 12 and then a week later it was summer time – well almost. Daffodils bloomed in late February and our Bradford Pear tree budded out as well. Tulips were beginning to pop up.

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This picture was taken prior to the March snow.

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The day after the snow the blooms were burned from the cold.

Surveying the yard, I found a cluster of purple tulips. What a delight!
Thank you, God, for the promise of spring. How did these tulips burst in bloom when others have not even come out of ground? It is all in the timing, the angle of the sun, the protection of plants around them. You see these bulbs were surrounded by bushes that absorbed the frost. Also, they were exposed to the first rays of the sun to warm them as they struggled to shine. They were close to the house which provided shelter.

Lord help us to seek you as these tulips sought the sun. May we stay close to the protection and encouragement of others and stay under the shadow of the almighty.

Playing golf in 80-degree weather in March is unusual even in Georgia. Time to put away the winter clothes. After ten zillion trips down the basement stairs to the cedar closet and back up for another load I was exhausted. Contrary to my husband’s opinion, I do not have that many clothes or shoes. I just can’t carry much at a time. Sweaters, sweat pants and boots packed away. Must confess, I was so tired, didn’t finish putting up winter shoes and boots – they are still on table in closet waiting to be placed in boxes. But at least they are downstairs.

Yesterday, April 6,  the high temp was 45 degrees. It was then I realized – it is Dogwood Winter. My in laws were the prognosticators of seasons. They would have warned me not to put winter clothes away too soon. You need to wait until Dogwood Winter and of course Blackberry Winter. When the Dogwood trees bloom, it will turn cold and when the blackberries bloom even though many times in mid-May – we will get a cold spell. They did not need a weather app.

Just like us – we kind of stagnate in our mundane life, complaining about cold weather then we receive a few warm days, or even hot days, and we complain about the heat. So, it gets cold again. We just can’t be happy. What is going on? Does God really know?

Please don’t let my blueberries die when it possibly frosts tonight. They are loaded with blossoms.

John’s dad always said if the wind is blowing the frost won’t hurt the plants.  May it be so ! God sends the rain and snow to water the earth and cause it to bud and flourish. He knows what he is doing.

He also sends his word to us. It will not return to him void. Can he trust me to use his word to encourage, comfort and challenge those I encounter? Am I as concerned about sharing his love as I am about my flowers and garden?

Don’t forget Blackberry Winter is yet to come!

Isaiah 55:8-11 (New International Version)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.


							

In-laws and Out-laws

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Captured

Don’t call the nana police – this was just a fun time with my grandchildren playing. I was obviously the “bad guy” that got tied up.

“In-laws and out-laws, we all have them!” Words of wisdom from my father shortly after I was married. At the time, I did not comprehend the meaning. It seemed cruel to call your relatives out-laws.

I’m sure my daughter-in-law wanted to consider me an out-law when I rearranged her kitchen shelves while she and our son were on a trip. I love to organize and it seemed the thing to do. She did not agree. Another daughter-in law was not pleased with me when I cleaned out her flower beds. They were weeds weren’t they???? Both of our sons, said, “Mother, please don’t.” My husband said, “I told you so.” It is not easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

My cousin calls her in-laws by a different name. She refers to her son’s wife as her daughter-in-love. When I heard this the first time, I thought, “I want to be a mother-in-love to my girls.”

This time of year, you may relate to the term – out-laws. Some need to be handled with kid gloves and those who, let’s be honest, we’d like to tape their mouth and tie them up – just for a few minutes.

If you are fortunate to have family gather, don’t just be an in-law – please don’t be an out-law. Instead choose to be a

mother-in-love

father-in-love

brother-in-love

or a sister-in-love.

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Just so you know the grandchildren
above still love their Nana Pat and hopefully my daughter-in-loves consider me a mother-in-love – most of the time!

 

 

Romans 12:10 (NIV)

Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.