Wrapped in Nothing But a Bedsheet . . .

The powers-that-be have just dragged her from the bed of a man to whom she is not married.

Perhaps all she is wearing is a bedsheet. 

Perhaps he is one of the powers-that-be.

Nevertheless, there she stands, exposed, before her authorities. They do not care about her. They do not care about right or wrong. The have stalked her, captured her, and reduced her to the status of rubbish for one purpose: to trick a popular counselor of that day.

“The law demands this woman be stoned to death,” they announce. Then they wait. They are so sure. They have Him this time. The Man of Mercies will have to admit that mercy does not always win. They think.

He is unperturbed. He stoops and writes in the dust. A list of their sins? Perhaps. Do they look around themselves, worriedly, confused? Perhaps.

Meanwhile, the life of a woman hangs over eternity. Perhaps, thrown down to the ground, does she cower? Perhaps. In a culture that forbids her uncovered state, in a land filled with huge stones, she waits, uncovered, for her stoning.

Finally the Man stands to speak. “And whoever is without sin should throw the first stone.” Then he resumes writing.

Beginning with the eldest–perhaps wisest–each man drops his gleeful attitude, drops his stone, drops his case. Point taken.

The kind Counselor turns to ask the woman, “Where are they? Who is accusing you?”

The answer, from inside a bedsheet: “No one.” 

“Neither do I condemn you.”

Notice He does not say she did not sin, but only that He does not condemn her. She stands obviously guilty and shamed, but for her, there is now no condemnation.

Stoning is not prevalent in our society, but prostitution is. I want to ask you: How many of us have been there–a blackened past forgiven by the mercies of God?

How many of us throw away that forgiveness? How many of us hug our sad past close and get it out to look at it and mourn over it, to relive it to its fullest? How many of us labor with all our might to get out from under sin that no longer is over us? How many of us on, stormy days, add to the bad past by letting it create for us bad choices, bad attitutdes, bad excuses?

A bad present?

Jesus asked only one thing from that woman, that day, and asks it of us, too: “Go, and sin no more.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

My Secret Recipe for a Home

Winter’s laundry hanging by the wood heater.

homemade laundry

Homemade Laundry

Homegrown bouquets.

homemade bouquet

Homemade Bouquet

Porch plants sharing spaces with us in winter.

homegrown ferns

Homegrown Ferns

A teakettle that whistles.


Tea Kettle

A coffeepot, not a coffee maker.

antique drip through

Antique Drip-through

A few herb plants growing around the house.


Homegrown Rosemary, In Bloom

A garden plot.

tilled garden

Tilled Garden Plot

A rosebush or two.


Scented Rose Bushes Getting Ready to Bloom

Homemade curtains and crocheted do-dads.


Laundry Room Curtains

Quilts made by someone you know.


Nana’s Crazy Quilt

Lots and lots of ancient books.


Antique Bookshelf

Art made by someone you know.


My Teenage Daughter’s Lobo Portrait

Little places for the little people you love.

toddler chairs

The Reading Readiness Room

A well-worn broom.


Broom and Ash Bucket

Floor lamps, pillows, afghans, lace, birding books.


It’s All You Need

Oh, and lots of love, laughter, tears, and prayers.

My Grandmother’s Quilts

I just want to tell you about my grandmother, Laura, this time. I am a grandmother, and when I was little, I always wanted to be one. When I need inspiration, I remember my grandmother, Laura. Life is so different, now, though.

I know she was elderly because she had arthritic knuckles, gray hair, and a craggy voice. She wore a dress at all times, and she wore shoes with thick, high heels that tied on, sort of like men’s dress wingbacks, perforations and all. Do they even still sell those?

She sewed all her dresses. And sometimes, as a gift, she sewed my mother a dress, too. And she sewed the first dress I ever wore when I was very tiny. I know she made these dresses, because she made a quilt for each of her grandchildren. She did not go to a store for fabric for these quilts. No, she used fabric scraps from sewing dresses. When she made my quilt, she was careful to use many scraps from my mother’s and from my dresses.

I look at the quilt she made for me and I see the dress my mother wore to church in summer. I see a dress my grandmother wore. I see my very first, ever, dress I wore when I was tiny.

I don’t know how my grandmother found the time. She babysat three children, to make an income, because she was widowed when my mother was six. She used her entire, small backyard as a strawberry patch and put up all those berries or traded them for peaches and crabapples to put up. She made her own soap on the wood stove in the woodshed for all washing needs, for clothing, dishes, and bathing. She heated with wood or coal. She did laundry in the woodshed using a wringer washer and hanging it out in summer or in the woodshed in winter, when it froze.

And she prayed. I mean, she really took time out to pray. She would tell us not to bother her while she prayed, she would go to her room and shut the door, and she would pray.

When we visited her, we played with her one box of toys, leftovers from when our aunts and uncles were little. We loved these odd toys that didn’t do anything except prop up our playtime. She let us watch while she made us rolled-out sugar cookies in shapes like stars, hearts, and flowers.  When we asked for colored sugar, she told us it tastes the same. We didn’t believe it.

One wonderful time, I got to sleep with her because I was the oldest and probably would not kick too much. I got to watch her unbraid and comb her hair, which was far beyond waist length. Seeing my grandmother in her gown in the moonlight by the window, combing amazingly long and wavy hair, made her seem to me like an angel. I was in awe.

Then she broke the spell by rebraiding her hair. She never used a rubber band, but simply pulled a strand of hair and wound the end of the braid like a fishing lure. I was filled with questions, then. Why do you braid your hair to sleep? How does it stay in place with no rubber band? I don’t remember her answers, but only my awe and her amusement.

She died about 48 years ago. I still miss her. I still want to be like her when I grow up.

My grandmother's quilt

My Grandmother's quilt

Here is the quilt she made for me. You can see light red and white tiny checked fabric on the bottom, just right of center. That was my baby dress. It had teensy rickrack on it.

Just right of that is a sort of black and pink tattersal with pink x’s. That was my mom’s summer Sunday dress for awhile. It had white lace at the neckline.

Parly out of view on the left is a white with black swirls. My grandmother wore that. There we all are, in one quilt.

Catch-Up Day

Ooh, am I tired!

Yesterday was a catch-up day. Several jobs that had waited long enough finally got my attention. It feels so good to have some of it done.

I started the day with the very last of the lavender harvest from last June. You have to realize I had to be 500 miles away for a couple weeks in June, and on the night before I left, I realized I just had to catch the lavender or it would be blown before I returned. So my husband and I spent probably an hour cutting it and dragging it, in baskets, into the house.

Then I disassembled the daybed in our sunroom and lay the lavender stems over both halves of it to dry. I told my husband he would have to turn it every day or two, so it could dry completely. Bless his heart, he already knew it, from harvesting hay as a boy. What a relief!

When I returned, the lavender was dry and the stripping began. It is not hard, just time-consuming and it bruises your thumb. Now I’ve finally finished that job . It made over two gallons of blossoms, the really good stuff. I’ve already sold thirty dollars worth of it and you can hardly tell it.

Also, I worked at catching up ironing. No one likes when the ironing is behind, around here, but least of all me. I have devised a good way to catch up ironing and thought I’d share it with you, here. It’s not so hard and really works for me.

How to Catch Up on Your Ironing

  1. Hurry. That makes it go much faster.
  2. Set aside time to fire up your iron every day.
  3. Iron twice what your family would wear, every day.
  4. Continue until caught up.

That’s it—so easy. For me, since only my husband wears much ironed clothes, if I iron two shirts and a pair of pants for him each day, soon all is done. Now and then I insert something for someone else, but really, most of us wear no-iron clothing like t-shirts, sweats, and the softer denims. It may take a week or two, but it does work.

Another chore was making sure all the bed linens are clean, since we are expecting lots of company this weekend. Several will stay the night to worship with us. Lots of fun, and I cannot wait.

Lastly, I had a few outdoor chores to finish: mulching around newly-planted trees, bringing potted plants indoors because of a cold-snap, composting some waste vegetation, etc.

Here are a couple shots of our cat, Earl Grey, caught in the act of sampling the catnip. I’d been weeding it, and he caught the aroma. (It smells a lot like cat fur, to me.) Anyway, in the second photo, you can see his face better, in his irritated pose.

Earl Grey, eating

Earl Grey, Eating

Earl Grey, irritated

Earl Grey, Irritated

Well, I’m off to do some more laundry! Then have an art class today, with a delightful girl with real talent.

See ya’!

Why not Date?

Classic "one-knee" proposal, ca. 1815
Classic “one-knee” proposal, ca. 1815 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why not Date?

Of course, God must have had some reason for causing us to be male and female, yet also programming us to hesitate, to want to do it right, to hate divorce just as He does. What gives?

God set up the whole marriage relationship as a picture, a sort of parable, of perfection in relationship. You have to admit, when male/female relationships are going right, it can be heavenly, right? And when it all goes south, well . . .

Facts are, God is all about loving relationship. He says He IS love. He is a relationship. Love is everything. Love is all you need. And almost every problem on earth is a relationship problem.

Marriage is so important to God. He set up everything in His kingdom with the idea in mind of it being like a marriage. (Or maybe marriage is like His kingdom?) In fact, in all of His creation, out of all the things He created, there was only one thing He said was not good: That man should be alone, single. Man could never picture Heavenly things if He had no counterpart, no one to love, no one to become one with and be fruitful with.

But what is dating? Is it a loving thing? Or is it using someone just to have a good time? Or is it pretending to be married? Are we fools?

The Bible speaks of only two types of relationships between unmarried, non-familial men and women. One is betrothal. The other is over-anxious, questionable men hanging around loose women.

Guess which one we practice these days?

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About Dating

Humans have been practicing dating on a large scale for around, 50 to 75 years. Before that, no one dated. Some snuck out, but that was sneaking out; it wasn’t dating.

The very idea of two unmarried people spending any time together, alone, was unthinkable to most people, once upon a time.

Why? At least for three reasons.

  1. Of course, the obvious reason most people think of is the unwed pregnancy, illegitimate child, and ensuing ruined lives. It may be hard for some to believe, but when parents and legislators guarded a young woman so closely back then, it was for her benefit as much as anything.
  2. Political reasons also factored in; not national politics like we think of these days, but human politics of the family, the estate, the wills, etc. Marriage strengthens families, and thereby, communities, cities, and countries. The foolishness displayed through the ins and outs of the dating mess weakens us all. People and families who desire to get somewhere choose marriage and its strengths, not foolishness.
  3. Religion forbade it. We cannot really blame Christianity because all religions have strict rules requiring single-mindedness about marriage and deterring the weakness inherent in youthful foolishness. Even someone who would boast of being the most irreligious, and who had a “special friend”, would call it cheating if that friend stepped out on him. That’s because the whole idea is universal.

And there was a time, not so long ago, when all people heeded this universal idea, whether they liked it or not. While there always have been a few out-of-wedlock babies, they were few, just enough to soften the blow of infertility for other people. And people hid the trouble as much as possible. And they were regretful.

Why is marriage universal?

A better question might be, why did God build this program into all people? It is because His Son is a Bridegroom, waiting for a pure bride.

Good Morning? Good Night!

Maybe you just woke and had that first cup-o’.  That’s where I am. Sorry I overslept.

I think of 2010 recently fallen asleep. Although the new year spreads out like an endless path before us, both inviting and scary, I’m looking back to that bumbling old thing I just put to bed. How was it with you?

My 2010 memories are amazing, filled with whole-house-cleaning for a friend, funerals, trying to hear God, birthday parties, gardening, trying to hear God,  workshops, canning, trying to hear God, estate sales, college kids home, trying to hear God, a wedding, glorious concerts, trying to hear God, possums and snakes in the chickens, teaching ladies’ Bible study, trying to hear God, husband filling an interim over an hour away, 15 people staying several nights together, trying to hear God, losing opportunities, and trying to hear God.

Lots of it hurt. Much of it was so confusing. I’m glad it’s over.

At the end of the day, when it all shuts down, when the party’s over, when there’s no more silliness, when it gets quiet—when you cannot hear anything else but your own heartbeat, the next thing you hear will be…what?

Your dreams. What will they be? Where will they take you?

God only knows.