What Is It, Really, To Be Redeemed?

(this image from the blog Na-Da Farm)

What part of you is redeemed by the blood of Jesus? Only the parts you are able to polish up?

When you mix legalism with Gospel, you end up preserving the Gospel as a priceless artifact, instead of living it as the scandalous reality Christ meant it to be. You relegate it to a supernatural idea, or a stern standard. The law cannot vivify anything, and make it leap to loving life.

But grace! Ah, grace is alive with earthy life. We encounter grace in exactly the way we body-bound mortals encounter all of life, that is, by "doing the dishes." We encounter grace in our flesh, through our work and through our relationships.

Ordinary living, when you finally "get" grace, becomes the powerful vehicle that drives the message of the Gospel deep into your consciousness - and not because there is some transcendent secret to be found in cooking, cleaning, crying, forgiving, friending, laughing, shopping, drinking coffee, doing dishes or making love. Rather (in light of the fact that you are the very righteousness of God, in Christ) all those activities simply serve to mediate the mystery to you - namely, the mystery of "Christ in you, the hope of glory".

Christ in you, Christ "as" you, Christ as your wisdom, sanctification, and redemption. Your choices become the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as your mind renews itself to the exact proportion you apply the Gospel to your day, not just your destiny.

No easy road, this. Those who talk of "cheap grace" have never understood grace at all.

Why I Say "Amen"

I am a one-woman amen corner. And it doesn't matter who is speaking, whether it be my husband or someone else, when I hear True Truth, I say (a sometimes enthusiastic) "Amen!"

I feel sorry for anyone too self-aware to speak that simple but powerful declaration in church. It is so much more than a mere affirmation to the speaker. It is so much more than even myself agreeing with what has been spoken. Oh, the Amen is so Biblical!

Let's go to the Principle of First Mention. We first see the Hebrew "Amen" as the required response to the law of God. In fact, first mention is something about the belly swelling and the thigh rotting, and all the women were to declare...."AMEN!"

Then, if you study it out, the "Amen" was significant in the Old Covenant, as the primary response of God's people to what was the Word of the Lord in their time. There was no real "Amen" before the law. And after the law was given, the law was all they had. (That sounds so simplistic, but it is profound!) All God's people had, as a means of relating to the One True God, was Mosaic law...of course they loved it. The law was the mechanism that set them apart from all the other nations of the earth. Of course, the "Amen" was spoken by them in response to what they heard.

That small-but-powerful word, "Amen", in all its Hebrew glory, and in its original form, found its way into the New Covenant Greek. How did this happen? Because Christ is "The Amen". He was the plan, from before the world began.

Look, if you will, at almost every "Amen" declared in the New Testament. You will find it is a hearty response to the Word of the Lord in our time. You will find it is the hearty response to....grace.

The "Amen" is the hearty response to the person of Christ.

No longer is it the hearty response to a list of rules and their blessings and consequences. No longer is it a response to anything we can or can't do, should or should not do.

Now, the Amen is the heart's response to what Christ Has Done. And my gospel-loving-girlfriend, whenever you hear this Gospel being preached, it will do your heart good to declare, "Amen!"

It is plumb powerful. Every time you do it, you are declaring your heart with your mouth, and that can't help but change you, bit by bit, declaration by declaration.

For crying out loud, say it out loud. Don't whisper it. Say "yes!" to the good news!

The way we relate to God has changed radically. The veil has been torn all-two-pieces, all of human history cleaved into two separate epochs, Before Christ, and After Him. The law was given, then Grace came (John 1). In Christ, every word of the law was fulfilled and finished. His obedience has become the Only Obedience - and all our obedience flows as a response to His gift of righteousness. Any "obedience" other than that which is grounded in this belief- and this believed radically - is self righteous sin, it does not flow from faith, and it will not cut muster.

The message of the grace of God - Christ Alone - is all we have. Christ is the Word of the Lord, declared to us, in our time (Hebrews 1). Of course we love it!

My heart throbs with emotion and my eyes well with tears as I say to you right now:

Oh, if David, the man after God's own heart, knew in his day what we know in ours, what do you think his response would have been?!?! Do you really think he would have clasped the law to his bosom, and insisted that he remain, even to the smallest degree, in the Old Covenant? Do you really think he'd not fall to his knees in awe and ceaseless praise at the sight of Jesus, died and risen for his sin? Oh, this was the man who prophesied, "Blessed is the man whose sin is forgiven, whose iniquity is covered - blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute sin!"

What if David were told, "Not only does Yahweh not impute your sin to you, David, He credits to you His holiness!" What if David had been told what he did not yet understand about Yeshua - God coming to earth as man to keep the law in David's place? What if he was told, "Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away your sin, David!" Do you really believe he would desire the shadow more than the Substance?

No, I tell you by the Spirit, David would completely unclothe himself and dance, at this kind of Good God-News. His heart would throb with passion, his eyes would spill with tears, and he would, in our time, say something like this:

"Thou hast commanded us to keep (understand, implement) your New Covenant diligently - O that my ways were directed to keep your New Covenant! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto the gift of Jesus Christ! I will praise you with uprightness of heart, when I will have learned of your Gift of Righteousness! I will keep this New Covenant - for you have promised you will never leave me nor forsake me. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Thy Gospel...Jesus Christ have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, Oh Lord, teach me this New and Living Way. With my lips have I declared all this Good News from Thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your New Covenant as much as in any and all riches!" (a few verses in Psalms 119, reverently paraphrased and transposed into New Testament reality.)

It is all about Jesus, in our time.

At the very least, King David would respond, "AMEN." When we join him and others, in this very ancient and Biblical response, we finally step from our solipsism into True Community. "The Amen" has always been as much a corporate response as it is individual. The "Amen" lets us take our place among the elect of God.

"The grace of the Lord JESUS Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen."

"Grace be with all those who love our Jesus in sincerity. Amen."

"I am the First and the Last. I am He that lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death."

It's Official - I Am a Geek, Because I Buffer My Tweets

I guess I am forced to admit to being a techno-geek. Because today, I read about a new thing that can buffer my Twitter, and I slapped my forehead in epiphany. It will so simplify my Twitter-existence. And yours, if you follow me.

Yeah. My tweets can get buffered.

And I instantly grasped the magnificence of this. It is an idea whose time has come.

Grandchildren Are a Joy Unspeakable

He is growing so fast. Too fast. As a grandmother, I know this down marrow-deep.
When it comes to this baby, Timothy, I won't pass this way again. I know every grandmother says this, but aw man...this kid is special. He's amazing. (And for the record, I'm not the only one who has taken note of it.)

You better know that I savor these days.

Snapshots of Life Lived In Community

Our friends the "wee Scottish Prophet" Joe Ewen, and his lovely bride Yvonne are here from Scotland. They flew straight across the pond, landed in Atlanta, rented a black Dodge, and drove until 2 A.M. to get here, yesterday morning.

Joe will mess with your idea of a prophet. He is a people-person, down to earth, pleasant, and delivers a spot-on word from the Lord, if the Lord gives him a word for you. He has always "just so happened" to be scheduled to speak at Harvest at pivotal points in our history as a church. Moreover, when he hasn't been with us, he has called us on the phone, from across the pond, on a couple of random occasions this past year or two, because the Lord spoke to him a word concerning us.

If you miss getting to be with us in the morning, to receive from the Jesus who Joe incarnates, don't hate on me for saying it: you really will have missed a blessing.

Today is his bride's birthday, so we felt a celebration was in order...

There is no other way to be truly blessed, than to be part of a local church.

And I do mean a part...not scaffolding, helping to build only up to a point, and then disappearing...I mean a load bearing wall. Integral. Part.

If you think you are blessed, and you are not an integral part of a local church, that is because you have only known a measure of blessing, and you think that what you know, is all there is to know.

There is so much more in store for you, if you'd but let go of the bitterness and pride, and become part of something that actually requires you to stick it out, love past your limits, past your pain, beyond the imperfections you find in local church leaders.

If you could...oh, if you only could become part...you'd understand the privilege of knowing people like this:

The Finished Work of Christ

I say this with decisive confidence, as a student of the Scripture, and a disciple of Jesus Christ: authority will pass more and more into the hands of men who have the courage to preach the "whole gospel", which is the New Covenant gospel...

...and it does take courage to preach it...great courage. When you get the chance, ask Paul the Apostle how much courage it takes. The New Covenant is the completion (and replacement) of the Old - and any gospel that gives greater weight to the law is an incomplete, "unbalanced" presentation.

The man who preaches the Finished Work of Christ will bear authority and rule, because all authority flows from the gift of righteousness we have been given. We have no authority based on our own puny, filthy efforts.

The New Covenant man will rule lovingly and modestly, because wrapped up in the revelation of the grace of God, is a revelation of his own falling short, and the manifold power of the atonement.

But make no mistake - the Grace-man will rule. The fact that anyone may disagree with that observation does not make it not so. Hound dogs always howl at the moon, but the moon is unaffected.

These men (and women) will be able to bear authority with a trustworthiness that far exceeds their self-aware antinomian-legalist friends, because they have taken the trouble to educate themselves in the whole gospel.

Grandaddy and Grandson's First Trip to the Hardware Store

Poppy and Timothy decided to go to the hardware store recently...Poppy is pricing the supplies for a very special project for me...to be revealed in due time.

Said project has the potential to be very interesting, having to do with our ongoing dabbling in urban homesteading! But it might be a 2012 kind of thing, instead of this year - simply because of our schedule between now and the end of the year. We don't have a lot of breathing room. This project will take some research, then the building of it, then the ongoing maintenence. More time for all that next spring, perhaps?

The gist is this: we are developing a clearer and clearer vision for the sort of life we want, in this brand new season called "Grandparenting". After a lot of wisdom-seeking, we are seeing that we will, Lord willing, grandparent babies and young ones for even more years than we parented babies and young ones.

Grandparenting will be vastly different than parenting - we have no desire to hold the place of mom and dad in the hearts of our grandchildren. We don't even plan on being always the default babysitters - our children will have each other for that. We fully plan on having our own good thing going on, just us two. But at the same time, Biblically, we still bear a large measure of joyful responsibility to grandchildren, our present one, and all future arrivals.

We think there will be a wagon load of 'em. Each one, as celebrated as the first.

So we are going to spend and invest a few years(and it will take some time, even though our plans are simple, our time is limited) designing the sort of lifestyle we want to have with them, in hopes that the payoff will last for years, through the childhood of each grandson or granddaughter. It is a big and blissful job, this creating the back-ground against which all their future memories with us will be made.

Our vision is for our grandchildren to one day, when they think of us, to immediately think of church, of church family, of picnics and tire swings, of our cul-de-sac (if we are still here) of tree forts, and maybe three or four urban chickens and one nanny goat, all in storybook cute enclosures, of course. I would have it no other way! We want them, even after we are in heaven, which is not a morbid thought at all, to be able to conjure images of Mimi's flower and vegetable gardens, and her Engldoodle (my next dog - my dream doggie - expensive as all get-out, but I am allowed to dream!)...

(my next dog...huge!)

...of Poppy and his pond, and of his "Tracker Rides" - getting to ride with him in his Barbie jeep to drop the canoe-boat into the lake and go fishin'!
(This is a replica of Poppy's Barbie Jeep - tiny! post-edit: Both the canoe and the Barbie Jeep are no more. We are on the look-out for another one of each. We aren't in a hurry, but if we find a crazy good deal....)

When his present Tracker gives up the ghost, as it certainly will eventually, he will get another - at least that is the plan. But believe it or not, these little cars are becoming collectible, and sometimes it is hard to come by a good one!

And then....inside this home, music always being played by hand, all of us singing for our supper, a supper made of garden fresh beans, potatoes, squash, and crusty loaves of homemade artisan bread. There will be small to medium projects always having to be laid aside for supper...shelves or cubbies inside the house, and out in the garage,with each grandchild's name on it, for storing each little one's project until the next visit, where it can be resumed with fresh eyes and energies. ...we want these tiny little "flesh of our flesh" humans to have a solid sense of all that is simple and fun and hard work but good, here at Mimi and Poppy's.

Once again, as we already have, (and according to the premise this blog was begun on!) we shall prove that no one has to live the rural-McMansion-agenda, to have it all. (I wrote a book on the unsung joys of suburbia in 2004 - this has been a theme of mine for many years...)

We'll have a nanny goat, maybe, and berry bushes, we already have a teeny tiny "catch and release" pond, plus we have more time to enjoy it, and people who are actually always here, who truly visit. We have a very detailed plan (a conglomeration of several books I've read on the subject of suburban/urban gardening) that will allow us to do as much as we want, right here with our 3/4ths of an acre, oddly shaped plot of suburban homestead.

Vision. We set out with a vision when our children were being born. We are satisfied with the results of it - things didn't turn out perfectly. Perfection visits no one, so it is quite a good thing to simply be fully satisfied, so far.

We gave our children a beautiful childhood, replete with read aloud books, music, uncounted nights spent around our outside firepit, woodworking, crafts, and time with mom and dad. And we did it on very little income, at the time. We did it right here, in quintessential suburbia.

Now, we set out with a new vision for the "grands"....those ones we will assist in raising up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but only to the precise point their parents ask for our assistance. Mostly, we'll be here, ready to make a childhood memory, which is what raisin' children or grandchildren is all about.

Our kids are, and will be great parents, so we don't anticipate doing a whole lot of  raisin' - maybe a summer or two, or a weekend, here or there, from time to time. But we want to be ready.

Ninety-plus percent of living is doing the mundane work that prepares the way for mere moments of glory. We want, when our job as grandparent is done, for the suitcase that is in each little heart, to be stuffed brim-ful with quirky, hilarious, serious, moving, and musical memories.

This means we must continue to be vigilant about living this life we've dreamed, being unafraid to tweak it and change it until it looks just like the life we further imagine. What we imagine is so sweet.

Proven fact: people grounded in the doctrines of grace have the ability to project themselves into the future ("For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord!"), and come back with a happy set of blueprints for today, and the optimism to always be working hard - building towards the freedom and joy they see in all their tomorrows.

The Reason For the Garment of Praise

Proverbs says that heaviness in the heart of a woman makes it "stoop", but a good word makes it glad.

There is no greater heaviness than to be, to even the smallest degree, responsible for your own righteousness before a holy God. (If you think you can handle that, you don't understand His holiness. Or you have a skewed opinion of how very much you fall short.)

There is no greater good word than the Gospel. If you are continually exposed to the preaching of it, if you continually soak yourself in the reading of it, your mind begins to be renewed in it. There is such power in the good news of the finished work of Christ.

Your falling short was credited to Him, and His obedience is credited to you. The mountains will melt away and the hills depart, and in fact, God will no longer be God, if He breaks His promise to never be angry with you, once your life is hidden with Christ. God would have to be angry with Christ.

Your woman's heart, with all its overload of guilt and depression, loneliness and stress and responsibilities, can completely trust in the lovingkindness of God, through the cross of Jesus Christ.

The law as a standard of righteousness?


The law as a means of righteousness?


When a woman's heart looks to the law, even partially, as a means of right standing, and therefore blessing and favor, the door is thrown open to all kinds of psychosis. Dis-ease in the mind always results in disease in the body.

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no Physician? Absolutely, there is. And He has clothed you in righteousness, and topped it with a garment of praise. Put. It. On.

You cannot know how personally I know these things.

Grace IS The Balance

I'll never forget, when a friend of mine made the remark, in our church's online ladies' "Cafe". The question on the table (about three years ago - we've come a long way since then!) was "do we balance law and grace"?

My friend said, "Grace IS the balance."

So, so true. For all human history, from Mt. Sinai until a mere 2011 years ago, law held full sway. Most legalists and their legalista counterparts, don't take the law nearly far enough. They pick and choose the parts of the law (about less than 2% of it) that are palatable to them, and try to claim they are "blessed" by keeping those parts...that 2%.

Let me point out - the law was radical. If you - regardless of your age right now today - dishonor your parents, for any reason, you forfeit a great deal of blessing. A rebellious son or daughter was stoned. For most of us, both we ourselves, AND our children, should not be living long lives on the earth. And if you were the source of sin in the camp (greed for financial gain, for example)...well...

But it was not so, from the beginning. I say this, not because God changes, He does not. I say this because Christ is the exact image of God, not the law, not the Torah. Before there was a law, there was Christ, planning in His wisdom to die for us. Before there was a law, God knew that the law, once it was given, would not be kept by any human being from Adam till Christ.

Therefore, a righteousness by the law was not the plan from before the beginning! (And a truly mature believer knows He who was from the beginning...very significant!) Nor was it so, under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant in force through "the seed, singular", Christ Jesus. God made that covenant with Himself, by Himself.

And don't even bother to wave the Scripture under my nose where God says, "Be ye holy as I am holy." You still aren't getting it.

That would be precisely like me telling you, "You must be an Atchley, as I am an Atchley." To accomplish that, I would have to adopt you.

You can't be holy as God is holy! Are you crazy?? Friend, you have to be adopted! You have to have the mystery, once hidden from the ages, now at work in you, that being, "Christ IN YOU, the hope of Glory!"

You've forgotten that holiness has less to do with your petty behaviors, and more to do with His Name. Oh, His Name is Holy! To be a Holy one, you have to be adopted into the Holy Father's family. You can't keep the law good enough to earn the name.

Here is your takeaway:

The law, as a schoolmaster, to teach us what righteousness looks like?


The law as a means of righteousness?


We are no longer blessed by keeping the law. Suddenly, a radical change came about, as it pertains to the promises of God. (Any and all promises of blessing...)

The change? Suddenly, after thousands of years of blessings coming through obedience to the law, today every promise of God is now "yes and Amen" through Christ Jesus, not through the law. If even one promise was "yes and Amen" through keeping the law, the Holy Spirit would not have made this distinction.

Funny thing is, those of us who have repented of our law addiction, who have had our veil removed, are characterized by keeping the law. We sort of bear the kind of fruit, against such there is no law.

But that's another post for another day, delving deeply into the book of Isaiah, side by side with Galatians, and going back and forth, letting Scripture confirm Scripture.

And your problem with any of this is....?

They Add Such Sparkle to Life...

...and they pull your tablecloths off.


Glad there was nothing on it! He was doing this, and I happened to catch him in the act, when I came around the corner. No more tablecloths for this grandmommy. That makes me sad, but only a little.

He's so worth it.

Superfood Breakfast - steel cut oats

Oatmeal is a known "superfood", but not the oatmeal you might think. Not the kind in the little packets, that comes in "flavors". Not the instant kind.

Think steel cut, whole grain oatmeal instead. The difference in appearance is big. The difference in nutrition is big. Difference in taste is....big. Think margarine-versus-butter-kind of big difference in taste.

Steel cut oats. Beautiful.

It's a big deal, people. Superfoods are a big deal. I have been incorporating them into my diet more and more, with the goal being almost every meal featuring a superfood. It is a slow process, because I also prefer to eat seasonally...so I won't be eating alot of pumpkin (also a superfood) until the fall.

Guess what else is a superfood? Blueberries. Guess what goes together beautifully? Oatmeal (the steel cut kind) and blueberries.

How to prepare steel cut oats? A pre-soak is best. About a cup of water, to 1/4 cup of oats (for one serving), and soak it overnight.

Next morning, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer it for about ten or fifteen minutes. (If you don't presoak, make that thirty minutes). Add some butter, some brown sugar, some salt, and even some cream...I do it. Not everyone does it, but everyone should.

That's my motto.

...and lots of blueberries.

Gluten Free Dessert Deliciousness - Zabaglione

If you are into summer berries or peaches, if you are a lover of cloud-like creamy awesomeness, and if you need your desserts to be gluten free...

...read on. Imabouttatellya my new favorite indulgence.

Zabaglione = love. Egg yolks + sugar + Marsala = zabaglione, which is love at first bite. Therefore, zabaglione = love. It sounds fancy, it sounds difficult, but it isn't. Here are your ingredients:

4 eggs (you'll be using only the yolks)

about 1/3 cup of sugar

about 1/3 cup Marsala wine

a dash (1/4 to 1/2 tsp.) vanilla

...and berries or peaches or whatever. I had blackberries, just picked last night. Yum! Okay...on to the easy-easy instructions.

Create your own double-boiler, by putting some water on to simmer...not boil...just simmer it.

Get your big metal or glass bowl out, put it on top of your saucepan, and have your whisk ready!

Put your egg yolks in, and start whisking! (save your whites in a small container! "Waste not, want not".)

whisk, whisk, whisk, and while you do, add your sugar, your marsala, and your vanilla...whisk, whisk, whisk...

...and whisk...

keep whisking...

...for four minutes straight, at least. Whisk until the egg yolks nearly double in volume, until you don't see any of the brown Marsala wine, until this stuff gets luscious and thick and fluffy-cloud-like...

Pour some over your berries (this will make enough for about 4 people)

Enjoy. You will so want to hug me, if you make this!

Happy 4th of July

Last week, we received an invitation to be the guests, this 4th of July. We haven't been the guests very often in the last couple of years...we are usually the hosts. We like it that way - however, I do admit that I was relishing the idea of being guests.

Honestly, we became torn, because our good friends the Buycks have moved back to Knoxville and to Harvest, and the whole church was invited to their home, where they provided most of the meal for everyone, plus water festivities! But we had already accepted our other invitation....so today, we happily loaded up the whole family, grandson included, Jonathan and Sarah too, (Isaac and his sweet girlfriend had already committed to the 4th at her family's house)

...we spent the afternoon with some new-ish members of Harvest. We were treated to ribeye steaks, shrimp, homemade salsa (two kinds, one hot, one mild), salad (two kinds), corn on the cob, baguettes with garlic and butter, an amazing homemade cake...and I seriously could go on.

Timothy loves swimming in Mr. Don's in-ground pool...next year, he will be big enough to go down the slide!

Heartmeltingly adorable. Tim shot some video of Timothy "swimming"...I hope to be able to post it. He really does think he can swim. In fact, if Hannah takes our hosts up on the open invitation we have, he actually will be swimming by the end of summer, even as young as he is. He totally "gets it" and is unafraid to put his face in the water.

Tuckered out daddy and son...

We ate (and ate and ate) and I was invited - nay, pressed upon - nay, forced! to peruse our hosts' lush and large garden. I was prevailed upon to pick a bucketful of blackberries from a thornless blackberry patch, pick at least ten beautiful squash, a half dozen cucumbers, and to harvest all the herbs I wanted. Later, there will be about thirty tomato plants ready to pick, at which time I will get canning lessons. Then, potatoes and garlic and corn will be ready to harvest.

And I haven't even told you about the sewing room, with its four top notch sewing machines plus a serger. Not even lying. Or all the Belgian hand-embroidery going on in that room.

Or the beautifully landscaped property outside.

And I haven't even told you about the fireworks we were treated to, as the sun went down. And I've been asked not to tell you about the cinder block that the men blew up....accidentally. You see, Mr. Don is a former cop, and a firearm safety expert (he trained the men who patrol our southern borders!), and this couple wants to host our teenagers and our families with little ones, and so they don't want anyone thinking that they don't care about Safety First.

So I'm not going to tell you.

Now, it is eleven o'clock, and we are back home...and here is what we are doing:

Cut-throat. These people are brutal board gamers.

Lastly, we miss our son Josiah. We are so proud of his service to this country, as a United States Marine...he is at Camp LeJeune today, unable to come home for the holiday weekend...

We sure wish he could have enjoyed a big ol' ribeye steak with us today. Our hosts would have welcomed the opportunity to spoil him, as they spoiled us.

Happy 4th, everyone!

In Loving Memory

Gerda Blizzard was my pastor's wife, in the Bible Presbyterian Church, when I was a very little girl. From the time I was four years old, until I was about eleven, she taught me the Bible every single Sunday morning...after playing the piano for the whole church, as we sang from our hymnals.

I think she told me every Bible story from Genesis to Revelation, via felt board. She assigned me memory verses every week, and patiently prompted me with only one word when it came time to recite. I was so motivated to please her.

When I was older, I well remember Paul's missionary travels, taught complete with maps that pulled down like shades, small footprints on them, traversing the then-known world.

With the wonders of modern technology, I googled Mrs. Blizzard just now. She was so fondly in my thoughts, I've been thinking all afternoon of her, and of how much I owe her.

She passed away one year ago today.

Tearfully, I am one year too late to tell her how much she meant to me. She taught the Bible faithfully to a little girl who, I am sure, seemed a frightful and precocious mess. I was a mess. But praise God for His great grace, for Presbyterians, their doctrinal views on election, and their emphasis on teaching the Bible to children.

All of it has been used of God to make me the woman I am, the wife I am, the mother and grandmother I am, the pastor's wife I am.

Wow. I am a preacher's wife, just like Gerda was. I could only hope to be so effective and selfless.

Livin' The Dream

I spent the better part of the day outside, today. I transplanted three tomato "volunteers" - plants that self seeded in crazy places. Only the birds could have carried seeds there. So I dug them up and re-planted them with my Kentucky Runner pole beans.

Strawberries are on the vines, herbs like mint and rosemary and basil are bustin' loose. There's squash and cantaloupe and cucumber out in my garden. And today, I put garden soil in some bushel baskets and planted some quick-harvest bush beans. They should be on my plate in about 40 days.

So much to love about summer at the cottage, not the least of which would be Tracker rides, my grandbaby, and my cute new-ish cowboy hat. I wear it when we take those top-down rides, and when I work outside in the sun. It is made of straw, and Tim thinks I'm adorable in it. That trademark cowboy hat-brim dips low in front, keeping me from squinting overmuch. I caught a glimpse of myself the other day, in the window reflection...hat, skirt, tank top...and purple rubber gardening boots.

(my Mother's Day gift from Sarah, and I use them pretty much every day, lately!)

Today it was cut-off shorts, T-shirt, hat, and those purple gardening boots.

Oh, dear. My grandbaby is way, way, way cuter.

This shot taken by his momma (my daughter), with my Nikon, just this past week. Hannah takes better pictures with my camera than I take with my camera.

Cute, or what??

This shot was taken on daddy Justin's birthday. I think this boy makes all our hearts ache with pure joy.

It rocks to be me, in spite of the fact that I wear purple garden boots and cowboy hats.

Oh, and summer has become my favorite season! If you only knew...that is huge. Autumn has been my favorite time of year all my life, previously. Summer is my husband's favorite season, and the sentiment was never shared by me. But the song of the cicada and garden chores and gardening boots and long days and Tracker rides on summer nights have won my heart.