Archive | September 2013



He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

September 28
The flower arranging class last night did not go well. We were to learn how to arrange dry flowers. For two weeks I have combed the fields for seed pods, cat tails, goldenrod and wild purple asters. I found these wonderful white balls of flowers in my back yard—they are about five inches long and three wide tinged in a pretty pink and they dried perfectly. I felt well prepared with my materials and had chosen a homemade basket for my container.
When we arrived, laden with paper bags overflowing, we began sorting and laying out our wild treasures – arranging them in a row on the long tables.
Our instructor told us to begin by defining the perimeters of our containers. This meant that, after inserting a block of foam in the basket I was to start hiding it with statice or some other medium. That was more or less the end of our instruction. Everyone was busy arranging – they all seemed to know exactly what to do. I guess I expected more specific instruction – like step-by-step; do this, now do that. Well, what could I do? I just kept poking stalks of flowers in my basket, turning it, poking in some more.
Before I knew it, the teacher was setting up the pedestal in the front of the room. One by one we must take our finished arrangement up, place it on the pedestal, and be critiqued by the class. I wanted to take my flowers and bolt from the room. Each woman carried her finished product to the front. Some were beautiful, perfect in composition and design. Others drew a few comments – add this, move that. I put it off as long as possible, but finally I knew I must go up.
I placed my arrangement on the pedestal and stood beside it with a fake smile plastered on my face. No comment. Nothing. The instructor asked for someone to say something. Silence. I was so embarrassed I could have dropped through the floor. I’m sure the teacher could sense my discomfort and quickly critiqued my sad floral display, telling me it was too massive at the top, not enough contrast at the bottom. On and on. When the ordeal was finished, I quickly gathered up my prize and returned to my seat. I was mortified. I felt every eye staring at me and my pitiful flowers. I’ll never come back, I thought. Dear Lord, just let me get through this night and out of here.
After a while, my stubborn German disposition emerged and I decided I would not quit. I would come back next week, and the week after that. I had paid for this class and I could surely learn something from it!
My masterpiece is sitting on my kitchen table and as I look at it my face still turns red as I think about the class. I would like to tear it apart and start over but I must shower and get ready for work. Maybe when I get home tonight I can begin again and transform this basket into a thing of beauty. There is always hope.

Excerpt from the Journal of Elizabeth “Betty” Garrigues
Photo by Aaron Paul Lazar

bringing in the sheaves


Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Words: Knowles Shaw, 1874.
Photo courtesy of the Curtiss Family Album

rainy morning inspiration


Walking along the creek

on a damp and dreary morning.

Enchanting scent wafting on the breeze

sends my spirit soaring to far away lands.

Exotic places where sugar and spice scent the air.

Silver white stars drifting among the tree branches.

Scattered here and there along the creek bank,

As though carelessly tossed by heaven’s hand.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Rainy morning inspiration.

Poem and photo by Elizabeth Melton Parsons

a lesson learned in fog


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34
My twelve-mile commute to work this morning started out like any other. It had rained heavily in the night, and the chilly morning air felt damp and heavy as I drove through the village and onto the expressway ramp. Four miles into my drive, however, everything changed. I hit a wall of fog, and the remaining eight miles suddenly seemed like eighty. It was scary, being enveloped in the thick, unrelenting whiteness. I couldn’t see more than a few yards ahead of me. I dislike driving in any weather that doesn’t include clear, sunny days and dry pavement, and I felt my blood pressure soar as my hands tightened on the wheel.
“Deep breaths,” I reminded myself. “Stay calm.” My rational mind knew full well that when the time came, my exit sign would emerge from out of the fog. I would not miss my exit. I would not become lost in the whiteness. But my fearful side wasn’t quite so confident.
Inching along, I looked at the outlines of the trees and the reassuring strip of road paint and I felt strongly that God was telling me something, that somewhere in the fog there was a life lesson to be learned. It occurred to me that this journey called life is a whole lot like a foggy morning commute. We are not meant to see miles and miles ahead. God gives us only what strength, provision, and wisdom are needed for right now, right here, right where we are. And when the time comes to make a move, the way will be made clear if only we learn to trust Him.
Trying to see too far ahead causes me to worry and fret over things I cannot control. The fog reminded me to pay attention. It forced me to be fully present in the place where I was in that moment, noticing every inch of pavement, every signpost, every shadowy tree. And in that moment, with the landscape softened by the mist, I realized that the place where I was was actually quite lovely.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to trust You even when I cannot see the way. Help me to remember that in my weakness and vulnerability, Your strength is made known. Help me to be fully present in every precious moment of life, and to never take even one of them for granted. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Photo and Meditation by Jean Pike

peace in the valley


Oh well, I’m tired and so weary
But I must go alone
Till the lord comes and calls, calls me away, oh yes
Well the morning’s so bright
And the lamp is alight
And the night, night is as black as the sea, oh yes

There will be peace in the valley for me, some day
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me, for me

2. Well the bear will be gentle
And the wolves will be tame
And the lion shall lay down by the lamb, oh yes
And the beasts from the wild
Shall be lit by a child
And I’ll be changed, changed from this creature that I am, oh yes

There will be peace in the valley for me, some day
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me, for me.
Lyrics PEACE IN THE VALLEY by Thomas A. Dorsey, 1937
Photo by Cheryl Cook



I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
Psalm50 : 11-15
Photo by Elizabeth Pike