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.

Celebration

She’s a celebrity now!

After all, her pictures are displayed on the big screen. Pictures ranged from kindergarten to her wedding, small children, family group photos, the wedding of her oldest daughter and then the first grandchild to an intimate scene with her husband as her health was waning.

Not the theatre marquee for this saint but on the big screen in the sanctuary, the one that holds words of songs and Scripture for Sunday services. She would be embarrassed with all the focus on her as the lines of family and friends streamed past her five precious daughters, only son and loving husband. This celebration is of the life of a godly lady who lived a quiet, reverent life.

Reeda Fay was known as a woman of faith and prayer and a proclaimer of God’s truth from His word. She lived in the Shekinah Glory of God. She was of the old school, “God said it and I believe it!” Continue reading

The Porch

View from my swing

View from my swing

A cup of green tea and my Bible accompany me to the swing on my screened-in porch.  The humid July day requires the ceiling fans to be pushing the small amount of cool air available for a few hours.  The furnishings remind me of people in our past who have blessed our lives and to pray for them.

The black wrought iron table and chairs were on my in-law’s porch the 11 years they lived near us – just off Shekinah Lane.  The overflow of relatives sat at this table for many family gatherings.  So this set reminds me to pray for family.  Also, on the table is a twig man made by talented neighbor – bless her Lord.

Warning sign

Warning sign

The “Do not Pee from the Porch” sign brings a chuckle of a Sunday School class Christmas party.  The sign was transferred around through a White Elephant game.  We won it.  Dear friends sharing the celebration of Christmas with fun times. Bless them Lord. Also, my grandson who the sign applied to when he was younger.

A wood plant stand was made by a boy at Teen Ranch in Michigan causing memories of our “boys” who are now men –  praying the short time they lived at the ranch they were exposed to the Gospel in flesh patterned by staff who loved them in the Lord.

A plaque from my daughter-in-law encourages “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” She is going through a time of physical pain and can use this thought and my prayers.

Plants thriving in the heat of summer – one from former co-worker, another a gift from a neighbor when my husband had surgery.  These plants have grown, been divided and are flourishing.  May my prayers increase the blessings for my friends.

Tall table for a view

Tall table for a view

A tall table and three chairs make our mountain view easier to see – a gift from neighbors who are struggling now with major surgery.  Please heal and restore Lord.

Wicker chairs from a new friend look so elegant on our porch.  Bless my friend as she helps me finish my book, Shekinah Lane, to be printed soon.

Welcome wicker

Welcome wicker

Can’t help but think of my economical husband who did not want me to purchase furniture for the porch.  Did he know, or did God know that I needed these gifts to help me appreciate family and friends, and pray for them in my quiet time on the porch?

Zephaniah 3:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

Teen Ranch Pizza

Thirteen hungry boys (if you count my husband as a boy) sat around the dark eight foot table in anticipation of dinner.

1974.teen ranch

Our first ranch family – minus one boy.

My husband and I were serving as house parents at Teen Ranch in Marlette, Michigan.

Ten ranch boys, our two sons and my husband John savored the aroma of fresh crust, oregano, tomato sauce, garlic, ground beef and pepperoni as they ate their salads.

It was my first attempt at making homemade pizza.  Sure I had used packaged mixes to make crust.  But this was really from scratch – yeast and all.  The dough rose and even smelled good at that stage.  Preparing enough pizzas for fourteen people was a challenge.  I doubled the recipe to make enough pizzas.

The recipe was obtained from a seasoned ranch cook.  Cindy Smith was so good to share her pizza recipe with me.  I scribbled the recipe down on a piece of paper and placed in my purse.  A few weeks later I tried to decipher the recipe that was crumpled up but survived that much time.   By the appearance and smell of the dough baking, it must be a success.

Two large pizzas were placed on the four foot lazy susan of the eight foot dark table and the guys began to move the turn table slowly (this was the rule) so that each boy would have his turn in sliding a piece of the delectable pie on his plate.

Jim was the first to dig in.  He took a large bite and said, “Yuk!”

I was shocked and said, “What’s wrong?”

He said, “It is sweet!”

Several more boys agreed with Jim’s verdict.  But they were so hungry, they ate their fill.

Sure enough the dough was sweet.  I checked my recipe again and found that I had used two tablespoons of sugar instead of two teaspoons of sugar.  Never made that mistake again.

Over the years, whole wheat flour was added to my pizza recipe to give it a different texture and also to be a little healthier.  Wish I had known that at the ranch – you just can’t eat as much of the whole wheat pizza – it is more filling.

While I learned to make pizza, bread and pies large enough for fourteen, the ranch boys learned to drink sweet tea, and eat southern – like pinto beans and cornbread.

This is one of the many memories that will be shared in our book Shekinah Lane to be published next year.  Our ten years at Teen Ranch were some of the most memorable and rewarding times of our lives.

Here’s the recipe for six pizzas (I doubled for the ranch, now half for us):

20151118_203632

Dissolve: 4 pkg. yeast in 1 c. warm water and 1 tsp. sugar

Mix together – 8 c. flour (I use plain flour and about 2-3 c. whole wheat flour), 2 c. water, 1 c. oil, and 2 tsp. salt

Add yeast mixture, knead (I knead in my Kitchen Aid Mixer), shape on pans or let rise:

The dough will be soft.  It is best to grease your hands with shortening and spread out to thickness you desire on cookie sheets, or pizza pans.  I also use Pampered Chef stones which makes a crisp crust.

You can use marinara sauce – I make my own with tomato sauce, garlic, oregano and other Italian spices.  Place sauce on pies, then mozzarella cheese, your choice of toppings and bake in very hot oven 450 – 500.

Enjoy!

First not possible without last

An evaluation of my book proposal arrived.  The same questions were posed, the same things I have been wrestling with for over three years – Who is your audience? Why are you writing? What is the thread that will pull the book together?

After searching my first five chapters and the questions presented by the editor I answered the questions.  Who is your audience? – My family and friends mostly, really anyone who wants to follow God (although I learned that if you say anyone that means “no one”).  Why write – to show how God worked in our lives.  What is the one thread to pull it together?  – The glory of God.  Seemed simple enough to me.  But it was not enough.  Or it was not clear enough.

Examining my writing and trying to answer the questions, I prayed for wisdom to help me find that thread and something people who read my book can grasp for their lives.

Then the inspiration came.

I just reviewed the chapter about our time in Mississippi and the small church my husband served that needed a piano player.  We prayed for a piano player and God provided five piano players.

I was one of the piano players in the Mississippi church although not much of an answer to prayer since I was very limited in ability.  Although I have not played much since my husband retired from preaching ten years ago, I was impressed – no God seemed to speak directly to me,

“Go downstairs to the piano.”pat.piano

Even though my piano skills are still limited, I love to play old hymns and choruses and worship the Lord.  Thinking the Lord wanted me to worship and take my mind off the book for a while, I obeyed.

The hymnal was open to the chorus on the right side of the page “Oh How He Loves You and Me.”  Surprisingly I picked up the song in A flat and remembered the chord inversions and arpeggios I learned years ago in an adult piano course.

After relaxing my mind I turned to the left hand page and the song was a familiar hymn “My Saviors Love.”  You may know it better by the first line, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.”  After playing this song for a few verses, I thought, “Ok, the love of God.  Yes, that’s what I am trying to convey in my writing.”

Then I noticed the scripture listed under the title of “My Saviors Love.”  It showed, “The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.”  Then I observed the scripture reference Galatians 2:20.  My life verse is Gal 2:20.  A chill of confirmation of God’s purpose.

I always concentrated on the first part of that verse – Christ living in me –  and how I determine to live by faith in the Son of God.  Yes, but it seems God wants me to focus on the last part  – for the first is not possible without the last.  Here is the verse:

Gal. 2:  20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Then I looked at the scripture under the song, “Oh How He Loves You and Me.”  The verse is John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.”  Another Holy Spirit chill.  This is the concept used in my book introduction from John 17 where Jesus shares his high priestly prayer.  Here is an excerpt:

In John 17, known as the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, verse 23 says God loves us even as he loves Jesus.  Hard to comprehend he could love us that much!  Reading this chapter again recently I realize not only does God loves us as much as He loved Jesus, but Jesus shared the glory God gave him with us that we may be one so that the world may know about him.  That is powerful.  God gives us his Shekinah glory through Jesus.

John 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

Have I found the thread to pull the book together?  I’m not sure.  I do know that the purpose of the book is to share the stories of our lives and help readers know that Jesus loves them and gave himself for them.  They cannot live for him until they truly comprehend how much he loves them.  For the first is not possible without the last.

 

Who will Purchase My Tupperware?

My treasure’s worth was soon to be discovered.  Browsing in a thrift store I spotted a large Tupperware cake carrier.  It was a deep yellow color from age.  Only $1 made it mine.

I wondered how many cakes were prepared and stored in this relic.  How many church dinners or family reunions were topped off with a crunchy crusted pound cake, carrot cake or maybe (heaven forbid) a devil’s food chocolate cake.

Was the previous owner a good cook?  Did her family gather with delight to see another confection revealed from the cake carrier?

Did the store realize the value of this container?  It looked like an extra tall cake carrier.  Back in the day it would have cost much more.
I brought it home and filled the laundry room sink with bleach and hot water and soaked the cake carrier all day.  I learned that at my first Tupperware party many moons ago.

It did not look as tall after removing the yellow stain.  Comparing my prize with my cake carrier in the pantry was a disappointment.  Not an extra tall cake carrier as I had assumed and needed (on occasion) but exactly the same size as mine.

Now what do I do with it?  The plan has been to DE clutter our house and eliminate things we don’t use and here I have another container that I don’t need.  Making a cake for a funeral or for a new neighbor and telling them to keep the container is a possibility.  But most people purchase a cake from the local grocery store and use the plastic container and then throw it away.  They may not realize the prize they have in this refurbished cake carrier.

Can’t help but wonder who will purchase my Tupperware cake carrier.  When I am gontuppewaree and my family cleans out the kitchen will they sell my large Tupperware cake carrier that stored many a carrot cake?

It may end up in a garage sale or donated to the local thrift store.  Hopefully someone will realize the value of the container and maybe bleach it and make a cake or at least place a bought cake inside and keep fresh a few days longer.

More important –

  • Will they remember how valuable they were to me?
  • Will they remember how much I prayed for them to be filled with the love of Jesus?
  • Will they be willing to share that love with others?
  • Will my culinary skills be my legacy
    or my love for God
  • and desire to be filled with His Spirit?

What will your legacy be?  Will your family know how valuable they were to you?

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Unlimited Data Plan

“I love my phone.”  “I hate my phone.”  How can one be so fickle?  When you upgrade to a new cell phone it is easy! 
 
After using an android smart phone for several years, I upgraded to a newer version.  At the same time my husband changed from a flip phone with no data plan to an android.  I convinced him it was time to join the “smart phone” generation. 
 
My son and his family were at our house for Sunday dinner and we were all trying to help Papaw with his phone.  His new phone has a speaking capability and you must use the words exactly to activate the service.  He needs to say, “OK Google now,” wait for the beep and then give a command.  He was frustrated trying to remember the exact words and shouted, “Go Google.”  We all exploded with laughter. 
 
Today we went to the store and the lovely, patient sales lady gave him more lessons in using his new phone.  He is making progress – he has fourteen days to make a decision about joining the “smart phone” generation.
 
It is amazing how the cell phone can pull up contacts and make a call or access your calendar or information on the internet with just saying, “Go Google Now” and then making your request.  It even tells you who is calling and asks if you want to talk or send back a text message.  Amazing stuff.
 
Aren’t you glad we don’t need a smart phone or APP to contact God.  He is always available even without Wi-Fi.  Not necessary to remember a password or pay for a data plan.  We don’t need to pay for an upgrade because he is constantly transforming us.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
God’s smart phone equivalent – a vehicle for information and communication – is the Bible. 
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.
The password is Jesus. 
Jesus answered, “I amthe way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The data plan is unlimited
Ephesians 1:11-14
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
 and the upgrade is Glory. 
2 Corinthians 3:18(NIV)
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Go God!!!