Tag Archives: life

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts

Galatians 4 001

Well, I seem to be spending a lot of time in Whataburgers lately.  They are good places to catch wireless internet, and (when they’re not overrun with rowdy teenagers… thankfully they left…) it is even possible sometimes to concentrate and write a blogpost.  I’ve got to play chauffer again in approximately 15 minutes, so it will have to be a short post.

Festival day went very well; the weather was amazingly beautiful, the crowds crowded, and the fried pies… well.  It was all good.  And it’s over for another year!

Our minister is in the midst of a sermon series which currently is focusing on Galatians 4.  We all stood for the Scripture reading before the sermon, which was verses 13-26, the same as last week, and the words were just as powerful.

Love.  Love.  Real, self-sacrificing Love.  That is it.  Did you know, for example, that the word “serve” in Galatians 4:13– as in , “only use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another“– is not just a feel-good word, but in the Greek actually means slavery?  Whoa.

One thing I’ve noticed (he has been emphasizing it!) is that, while we generally see this passage as applying to individuals, the you is plural.  This is about the church as a body.  The middle eight– the majority– of the “works of the flesh” in verses 19-21 have to do with how we relate to each other.  In other words, the flesh is out to destroy relationships.

There is a lot more, of course, and he said it better; but my time’s up!


Fall Seems to be the Season for Change!

shop window

Well, summer has been giving way to fall in fits and starts here.  It rained steadily from Tuesday night until this morning, then the clouds broke and the sun came out, and by all accounts it should be a beautiful weekend.  There is a festival in the town where I work (now much less… see following…) at an antique mall, annually our single biggest day of the year, and we sure do need the nice weather.

More than the weather has been changing!  About a month ago, in a dizzying combination of converging happenings, I quit my job, began homeschooling my brother, and got started in a new from-home job.  Talk about change.  I was apprehensive at first, but on the whole, it has turned out very well.  I am enjoying being at home, enjoying learning along with my brother, and spending lots of time hanging out with him; I am struggling with adjusting to having a lot of time to manage.  The home buisiness has taken longer to get going than I anticipated– technological issues!– but that has been blessing in disguise, because it has meant less stress and more free time as the Bro and I get started with what is a new schedule for both of us.

God always knows what He is doing!


We have an old septic system.  It may have been here before they built this house, before the house that was originally standing on this foundation burned.  That would have been quite a few years ago.  Apparently our septic is feeling its age, because it has recently begun leaking and stinking and taking up all manner of annoying habits; and until we are able to find a solution, we family of five have been scrambling to reduce the amount of water that goes down the drain.

That is why we were at the laundromat tonight, and many other nights recently.  Thankfully, the nearby town has a 24-hour self-service place, since Mama and I tend to finally be able to focus on the washing when all the menfolk are tucked away in their beds.  Call us crazy, but that’s when it works for us.  You do what you gotta do.  Besides, after about 11 p.m., the place mostly clears out and there are enough washers open to do all your loads at once.  That is important.

We usually have to start by picking up drinks from Wal-Mart.  The drinks are important, but what is really important is being able to get cash back in $5 denominations or less for the change machine, which cannot digest anything larger.  I succumb to the temptation of bottled frappucinos in the coolers up front, and tell myself I need the caffeine to keep me awake.  Which is very unhealthy, but actually usually true.  My mother opts for bottled water, no doubt a much wiser choice.

Then it is on to the laundromat itself.  I noticed again tonight, the smell that hits you when you walk in the door.  It must be a particular fabric softener, or maybe a combination of all of them, but it is always familiar and brings back the summer I was 16 and babysat for a friend who was single-parenting his three kids in an apartment complex.  They always had copious amounts of laundry hanging around, and one of my assignments was to wash for them in the little on-site laundromat just off the pool.  I remember thinking with frustration that I could have had any given load dry in a much shorter time if I could hang it out on the line like we did at home, where acres and acres of unbroken pasture let the wind blow unhindered.

Our clothesline poles were the same ones my grandma had used when Mama was growing up.  They still stood, in a line parallel with the cement walkway that split my grandparents’ backyard, when the house was finally cleared out and sold.  My grandparents had lived there for over 50 years, all my mother’s lifetime.  The yard actually belonged to two houses, but when the childless neighbors died during Mama’s teens and the house was deeded over to my grandma, they took down the fence between them and it became one big expanse.  There was a grapevine behind the garage, an old one that had been there as long as the clothesline; underneath its short, rectangular trelis was an area just big enough for a couple of cousins to play house in with old pans and camp stools we ferretted out of the garage.

Mama talks about when she was growing up and they would buy chickens from the egg lady, Grandma wringing their necks and hanging them up to bleed out from the clothesline.

I was twelve when we cleared out Grandma and Grandad’s house.  Mama, myself and a friend of mine made one trip up there to clean out the garage and the house next door.  We slept on air mattresses and played marathon games of Monopoly after days of hard work and dug up my grandma’s peace roses from the front flowerbed and discovered a stash of babyfood from the early 80’s in a can pantry behind a hooked-back kitchen door.  We dug up the clothesline poles one night– it must have been the night before we left– and brought them back from West Texas to use in our own yard.

A couple years later, just after Grandad died, we moved into the house we had designed and built on 7 acres in the country.  It had a seperate apartment for Grandma, and a screened porch and lots of big windows.  The clothesline was finally reunited with the earth there, several yards off the back porch, and I learned what Mama already knew, that hanging out the washing is a peaceful time of a woman’s day, a time when she can think and breathe.

I was babysitting that summer when Mama called and told me something had happened that rocked our family and still hangs around in the back corners of our minds.  It turned out to be one of the most difficult and frightening summers we’ve ever faced.

It’s funny what all is wrapped up in the smell of fabric softener.

We did four large loads tonight, assembly-line fashion, me loading washers while Mama went down the line pouring in detergent, then again with quarters.  After the washers are all started, we have about 25 minutes to rest, so we usually retreat to the car instead of hanging around inside with the other folks and whatever absurd sitcom is blaring from the television.  Whether it’s in Spanish or English depends on who else is doing their laundry.

Tonight, Mama curled up under a blanket in the driver’s seat and took a nap.  It’s been a very long, at times dramatic, day.  I pulled out my notebook and pen, and proceeded to write a letter, while the satellite radio which came with the car several months ago (when we actually have to pay the bill I’m sure that little luxury will go by-the-by) played French music.  Mama almost had a double major, journalism and French, when she graduate college.  She even named me in French, although she knew from the get-go that no one else would ever pronounce it that way.  She doesn’t have much opportunity to speak or hear her second language, so when she found the French-language stations on her fancy-schmancy satellite radio, she was hooked.  And while she doesn’t usually subject my brothers to non-stop French pop, it has become tradition along with my frappucino that we will listen to her French music on laundry nights.  I even have my own favorite song now, which I think sounds like a French Simon and Garfunkle, and as near as I can tell, is called “I’m Not Listenin to You”….  Which makes me picture myself plugging my ears in front of someone and singing the chorus defiantly.

It was playing as the washers stopped, so Mama went in and began moving the laundry over while I finished the song.  Then I went in myself and fed quarters to the dryers.  She went back to sleep after that, and was sleeping so hard she didn’t wake when I finished my letter around 12:30, got out and went inside to unload the dryers and fold the laundry.  I was almost done when she finally came in– Daddy had called and woken her.  We loaded up the car and drove home, chatting a little on the way, she half-awake and exhaustion hitting me  as I sat quiet in the dark.


I should have gone home.  You know, if you are sick and have worked all morning and waited around in town until time to drop your brother off at his Boy Scout event and have a couple hours to kill, you really should go home and take a nap and forget about the gas expense.

And I was going to.  But alas, I decided to stop at Chick-fil-A for a big sweet tea, which paused my homeward motion enough that I reconsidered.  Maybe I would go to the library instead, at least for a while, and use the computers.  So I turned away from the highway and started off through the residential streets of our quaint little Town toward the library.  I had almost made it… within a mile or so… when I was stopped, dead in my tracks, by some force eminating from a sign on the side of the road.

“Estate Sale”, it beckoned.

Never mind I am trying to save whatever cash has made it through the week still in my wallet.  I stopped and went in, and realized that some acquaintances were running the sale.  And that there was very little left.  I found a cute little americana-painting-style metal sign and had obtained a nicely discounted price when Mrs. Acquaintance said, “I want to talk to you about making me something.”  She had to run over and help some other customers first.

You see, several years ago this lady, who was running the cafe at the antique store I work at, found out that I crochet, and commissioned me to make a few name doilies for herself and as gifts.  She was my guinea pig, and I went on to make several more special orders for people until demand waned and I gladly stopped.  I was ready for a break.  In fact, over the last few years I have not crocheted all that much at all.  Then I started my current doily   (I decided I wanted to give this one as a gift), was spotted crocheting by a vendor at the antique shop, confessed that I also have made “those name doilies” (here’s what I get for bragging!), and was so overwhelmed by the lady’s delight that I agreed to make her one (or was it several?) when I finish my current doily.  So I have (at least) one in my queue.  It is not that I don’t enjoy making them; indeed, I make up and graph out my own patterns, which is fun, since I like playing around with alphabets.  I just have always gotten sick and tired somewhere in the middle of crocheting the body of the doily (you use two basic stitches, which make either empty or filled squares, on and on and on), and in the past it has always taken me quite a while to actually finish one.  I’m sure it is due to a lack of discipline.

But back to Mrs. Acquaintace.  It turns out she wants me to come over to her historic victorian home so she can show me a type of window covering she wants me to recreate, in a set of two.  Then, since her brother who recieved one of my creations years ago was so delighted with it, she also wants me to make name doilies for all of her homebuyers (she is a prominent realtor here).  I told her I had at least one on my waiting list, but I would get back with her.  She instructed me to take one of her cards and call her when I am available.

Hmm.  I suppose I shall just have to see how much my speed has improved since I finished my last one.  Do I really want to get myself into this again?  I could just point her to one of the many websites I’ve found that make doilies to order.  But then again….


Did you hear that?  It was me running by on my way to somewhere else!

(Intended to be an update on my life.  In another week or so the schedule should calm down to a regular ebb and flow, and perhaps I will then be able to reaccess the brain cells that currently shut down and go to sleep whenever I consider posting.)