A New Year Begins

What are your thoughts as you look forward to the beginning of 2017? Are you excited and hopeful for a new beginning or anxious and fearful of what lies ahead?   As you reflect on this past year, are your memories sweet and happy or does your heart ache remembering the unexpected sorrow and sadness?  Whatever the case I hope you will be encouraged as I share this snippet from The Valley of Vision which spoke to my heart.

          . . . Thy goodness has been with me during another year, leading me through wilderness, in retreat helping me to advance, when beaten back making sure headway.  Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead; I hoist sail and draw up anchor, with thee as the blessed Pilot of my future as of my past. . .

While none of us knows what the future year holds, we do know the One who determines the future.  And we do know His promise that He will never leave nor forsake us.  Armed with this really good news, let’s move forward with courage and hope into this new year.

Have a Happy and Blessed 2017!!

Pam

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – Delicious!

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photo by allyartist via pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

This is a glorious time of year and I hope that you are enjoying the crispness of fall.  As the weather starts to turn cold and I pull our outdoor pumpkin decorations inside, I’m reminded that when my children were little we used to roast the pumpkin seeds.  Digging the seeds out of the pumpkins is a bit of a messy process, but end result is delicious.  Here’s the recipe I used:

seeds from 1 or 2 pumpkins, rinsed
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt

Mix the seeds with the butter and the sauce.  Spread on a shallow pan and sprinkle generously with salt.  Bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours. Then eat and enjoy!

Kathy

 

GRANDCAMP #6

Another year, another Grandcamp!  For the sixth year, we had Grandcamp at our house.  This theme this year was “farming.”  My husband has a new interest in gardening and has turned part of some unuseGrandcamp 1d space in the garage into an aquaponics center.  He’s not been overly successful in harvesting a variety of crops, but we have had some great lettuce and spinach.  So, we decided to teach our grandchildren a bit about gardening and farming.  Our activities outside were limited because of the heat, but the grandgirls did plant some edamame, water our church garden, shop at the farmer’s market, and pick blueberries, corn, tomatoes and blackberries at a local farm.  Inside, we read books on farming, discussed the history of farming, the challenges of farming and how inventions have changed farming.  Much of the information was new to me, so I was learning right along with the girls.  We made animal puppets and had a farm puppet show. We also decorated canning jars and whipped up some blueberry jam and refrigerator pickles.  It was a busy and fun week!

I love the tradition of Grandcamp.  Honestly, it’s quite a bit of work and planning, but the rewards are worth it.  Knowing that the girls love to come makes it worthwhile.  Although none of our grandchildren live close to us, I’m grateful that the Lord gives us this opportunity to love them in a unique and fun way.  I’m already thinking about what Grandcamp #7 is going to involve!

Blessings to you,

Kathy

 

Valentine Reflections

 

heartsValentine’s Day has come and gone again.  Although I always like to remember my family with small gifts on Valentine’s Day, the idea of shopping for presents again so soon after Christmas is always a bit overwhelming.  So, many years ago, I standardized the process a bit and decided that I would give each person three items: a book to read, something red to wear, and a bit of chocolate.  That has really smoothed the process for me and actually allows me to gather presents throughout the year – clothing that’s on sale, books that are being discounted – they all go into my “present’s drawer” for future use.

On Valentine’s Day, when I was praying the prayer for our grandchildren found in our book, My Grandmother is…praying for me, I almost wished we had written something specifically about love.  Our theme and focus for the month of February is “Teachable” so the scripture and prayer on February 14th relates to listening and responding to godly instruction.  Upon reflection, however, I realized that God’s desire to have us learn from His Word and listen to His instructions, is indeed a reflection of His love for us.  Without the physical, spiritual and moral guidance of the Scriptures, without knowing that we need to draw near to Him, we would not be able to understand the love of God.  One of the most comforting verses of the New Testament, to me, is found in 1 John 4:18 – “perfect love casts out fear.”  As we grow in our understanding of God’s perfect love, we don’t need to fear anything in our lives – knowing that we can trust Him, walk with Him, and rest in His love – should bring us a great calm and peace.

Blessings to you,

Kathy

 

Grace Presbyterian Women’s Conference

It was a privilege for us to speak at the Grace Presbyterian Women’s Retreat this past weekend.  We enjoyed the welcoming lodge and massive stone fireplace at the Horton Haven Christian Camp, but especially enjoyed the sweet fellowship and wonderful worship time with the women from the church.  We hope that our words were an encouragement to them in the faith journeys, but know without a doubt that their testimonies of God’s work in their lives were an encouragement to us. IMG_0468

Grand Moments

In our book, My Grandmother Is. . . praying for me, we have included an application with each proverb and prayer.  These ideas have been helpful, but lately I have been thinking I would like to do something more with my ten year old granddaughter, Mary Chase.  The answer came in the form of an announcement at our church about the Very Special Bible School (VsBS) to be held in July. This is a three day Bible school for children with special needs and their siblings.  What a great way to serve these children and their parents, I thought.  But would my granddaughter think so?

I broached the idea with Mary Chase’s mom (my daughter) and Mary Chase.  At first she seemed a little apprehensive.  She had several questons about people with disabilities, i.e. what do they look like? how do they act?, etc.  After assuring her that these children needed what all children need–much love and attention, she agreed to come.

Wearing our new T shirts she and I set off for our first day.  What enthusiasm and excitement that first morning, first with the volunteers and then with the children!  It was obvious everybody was glad to be there!!  I was especially impressed with the children and teenagers who had volunteered to be buddies for the attendees.  This job required a lot of responsibility.   The buddies had to remain with their child, always attentive for any medical or safety issues, make sure he/she participated in the activity, and received a snack.

Mary Chase and I received our job assignments.  My job was team leader for the “Yellow Team” which meant I had to make sure everyone arrived on time to each activity.  Mary Chase was a helper for the “Craft Team”.  Her main focus was offering help to make the crafts if a child found it too difficult.

And so it went from 8:00 to 12:00 each day for three very busy days.  Mary Chase and I were tired at the end of each day, but were amazed how fast the time passed.  Before we realized it the three days were over.  Seeing the delight in the faces of these children and their parents was definitely a highlight of the whole Bible school experience.

Mary Chase seemed to like it, but did she really?  As we were leaving the church that last morning and driving back to her home several hours away, I asked her what she really thought?  “It was good, she said.  In fact, next year I want to be a buddy!!”  🙂

Aren’t Grandchildren GRAND?!!

Blessings,

Pam

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Contributions

gilett_house_archivesMy father’s family is originally from the Westfield, Massachusetts area.  When I was growing up in Minnesota we would take trips “back east” to visit the family homestead.  I remember running through the rooms of this large rambling home, sliding down a robust stair bannister, and attempting to climb a large beech tree in the front yard.  Last weekend, I had a chance to attend a ceremony at the Westfield Athenaeum that honored donations from my relatives to that institution and to the community in general.  I learned a great deal about my family genealogy, saw portraits of my great, great, great grandparents, and discovered relatives who I didn’t even know existed.

Another important event happened this week in my family’s life – a dear friend who had been actively involved in leading a Young Life ministry for more than 40 years died suddenly on Sunday morning.  As with much of the news nowadays, word of his passing moved quickly through Facebook and soon the pages were filled with tributes to his life.  However, unlike my relatives, his contributions would not have been very visible to a community.  Because of his quiet, sacrificial life, hundreds, if not thousands, of lives were undergirded by faith, given hope and purpose, loved and encouraged, and pointed to an eternal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Both of these types of contributions are important.  However, as I have reflected on the visible and invisible nature of each, I know what I want in the end.  I want the Lord to use me in the lives of individuals.  As I was reading in my Bible this morning in Exodus 33, I came across these words in verse 13 where Moses is speaking to the Lord:  “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so that I may know you…”  Moses’ desire was simply to know the Lord more intimately, but the result of spending time with God was the development of a strong spiritual leader for the Hebrew nation.  My heart resonated with that verse – I am praying that the Lord will teach me His ways so that I may know him more deeply.  I don’t expect that leadership will be the result, but like our dear friend who is now in the presence of the Lord, I hope the result will be the encouragement of faith in all those I encounter.  Have a great week,

 

Kathy

 

 

A Granddaughter’s Tribute

Please see the beautiful tribute given by my friend, Ellie.  I have adapted it to fit here.  It is certainly instructive for grandparents as to what will be remembered by our grandchildren.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  Blessings, Pam.

I am Ellie, one of Penny’s granddaughters. To me, however, her name is Mimi.

Most of us knew Mimi in her adult life. She was kind, thoughtful and loving. But I’ve heard stories of her childhood and she was a little stinker! Her father was a Methodist minister and in her eyes he was second only to God himself. She would always talk about how challenging it was to be in the family of a minister. The ladies of the church would raise their eyebrows if she were to play cards, and they weren’t even gambling! She had to beg her daddy to let her attend any dance. The one time he relented thinking no one would see her, she got her picture in the paper!

I have my own memories of her that I’m sure I share with many of you.

I remember Mimi working at Bob Bell’s pharmacy and would make coffee for Becky and me. It was mostly half and half with several sugar cubes and a little splash of coffee.

I remember Mimi and Papa dancing to the Lawrence Welk show in their bedroom.

I remember her “party food”. Butter brickle bread. Cucumber sandwiches. Fruit tea. She couldn’t make too much else though. I remember Uncle John teasing her about how she would burn the toast right as the smoke alarm went off!

I remember the smell of tea rose perfume.

I remember her bedtime ritual of hairpin curls and ponds face cream.

I remember sitting on that pew and watching her worship. Most Sundays, I sat right beside her. Many times I wouldn’t say the Lord’s Prayer so that I could hear her say it. She had the most lovely praying voice.

I remember 3 minute eggs and tomato slices for breakfast.

I remember Mimi was such a social butterfly. She was a member of the Book Club, the Sewing Club, the Merry Methodists and the YYs. Once I asked her what book she was reading in book club and she said they stopped reading books a long time ago! I never saw her sew anything either. I always wondered what happened at those meetings.

I remember her teaching my senior high Sunday School class.

I remember how every morning she would do her Upper Room Devotional. If you happened to be there, you did it too!

I remember Glen proposing to me in her house on Easter Sunday.

I remember how grateful she was. When the disease started to take its’ toll, two things held out the longest. First of all her manners. She would thank you profusely for the smallest kindness and she meant it every time she said it. The other thing was the name “darling”. It was her term of endearment. When she could no longer remember our names, she could still call us “darling.”

I remember her daily attendance of the McDonald’s coffee bunch. Sometimes twice a day. Most times twice a day.

I remember watching her bounce my first baby on her knee.

I remember Mimi having to pick up Becky from the Jr. High because her shorts were too short. She got so mad at Betty Denton because, “I don’t care what the rule is, she’s looks cute as a button!”

I remember cards for every holiday, with every word underlined three times.

I remember her loyalty. You wouldn’t doubt it for a minute if you ever saw her at one of Clayton’s ball games. She was, without a doubt, the loudest one in the stands. She was also a loyal fan of UT and Vandy. She would get so worked up she couldn’t watch the game and would call dad multiple times asking for the score. Andy, Becky and I had it the best though. She came to every band concert, school play, scout ceremony, dance recital and Strawberry Festival.

I remember Easter Egg Hunts in her yard.

I remember driving with her to Jackson, MS to see uncle Jim’s ordination. I was 17 and she was 77. I’m not sure which of us was the better driver but it was an exciting trip.

When Papa, or Bill, died, I was 16 years old and full of teenage angst. I spent the night with Mimi a lot in my high school years and I even slept in the bed with her. She was such a comfort to me and those days were precious. I heard her pray for each of her children, grandchildren and probably most of you by name each night.

Years ago, Mimi wrote a letter of all things she wanted her grandchildren have. Most of it was about her jewelry because you know she was always dressed to the nines! But the most important part was what was closest to her heart. I’m ending with that today.

I leave to all my children and grandchildren all my love. My prayer is that each of you shall love and worship Christ in God. I pray that each of you will live lives of love and concern for all of God’s children and glorify God in all that you do. Live moral and forgiving lives in all that you think and do. All my love,

Mother

Clara Louise Pennington Fisher

And I’ll add on to that, “remember who you are. ”

 

Even the most bizarre

Every month we receive the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Newsletter which is “chock-full” of great information and encouragements to get and stay healthy.  Last month, however, there was a humorous addition citing some new billing codes that doctors are allowed to use when submitting claims for treating patients:

V91.07XA:    Burn due to water-skis on fire, initial encounter

W5922XA:   Struck by a turtle

W6133XA:   Being pecked by a chicken, initial encounter

V9542XA:    Spacecraft crash injuring occupant

V97.33XD:   Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter

There are many unusual circumstances that can and do happen in our lives, and, I am grateful that our hospitals are ready and willing to treat them all!  However, it is more reassuring to me to know that our God is sovereign and that everything, even the most seemingly bizarre, is under his control and power.  Nothing is out of the reach of our Lord.  Have a great week and keep on praying,

Kathy

Just Hanging Out

Castle Extraordinaire

It does not seem that long ago when my children were small that I remember my daddy saying “Just give them the boxes.  Those are the best toys!”   Once again Father does know best.  Recently my three granddaughters were here for a visit over spring break.  Unfortunately it was cold and rainy greatly limiting our time outside.  So what to do?

It just so happened that I had been by the Sears Appliance Outlet and garnered a large appliance box.  You just never know when such things might come in handy (Wink! Wink!).  The girls’ assignment was to come up with something creative out of this cardboard box.  And did they ever!

A castle extraordinaire (at least to this grandmother)!  I helped them cut, cover with freezer paper (what do you REALLY do with freezer paper?), and paint.  Each girl took a side, and I helped Jane my four-year old granddaughter.  One painter was very deliberate in her style, while another was quite the Jackson Pollack, requiring a little more supervision with airborne paint.  As we painted we talked about all kinds of things–their favorite colors, animals, art lessons, etc.  Our family calls times like these “just hanging out”. Before we knew it the afternoon was gone.

My granddaughters are gone now, back to their home in Memphis.  The house is quiet, but there is the most wonderful castle in our basement.  I’m thinking about going back to the Sears Appliance Outlet and getting two more large appliance boxes.  We could connect them; one for each granddaughter. Sort of a “Castle Condo” decor.  Wonder what they will do with that?  🙂

Delight in your grandchildren this week.

Pam