Scene and heard at church :: 9/1/19
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 04:44PM

Our Brittany ... Dagny ... and baby Ember Rae

You know don't you, that every time the first of the month falls on a Sunday, there are five Sundays in that month?


Well. Except in February, unless it's a leap year and February has twenty-nine days.

And did you know that every election year (presidential) is a leap year?


Well. I read that the year 2100 will be an election year and not a leap year. But I figure so what. We will all (or most of us) have flown away by then.

And will not have to concern ourselves any longer with politics.

Not that I worry unduly about politics now.

Let's move along because that's not where this whole thing was supposed to go at all.

Family festivities and fare

Normally I'd have done this post on a Monday but yesterday being Labor Day, we had a large family party which left no time for blogging.

Starting on Sunday evening after church, while waiting for Stephanie and her family to arrive from North Carolina, I listened to the rain and watched TV on my small kitchen flat screen while putting together several dishes for the next day.

I took not one single picture of the prepared food but here's what we had:

Crack chicken ... hot dogs ... baked macaroni and cheese ... barbecue baked beans ... watergate salad ... cucumber, grape tomato, and onion salad dressed with homemade balsamic vinaigrette ... pickle buffet of original Wickles, Wickle relish, Mount Olive bread and butter chips, and Sam's Choice Hot Spicy Fresh Pack Maple Bourbon chips ... three varieties of Clancy's potato chips ... soda pop ... cold brew with heavy cream ... freshly brewed Dunkin' Donuts decaf ... strawberry cream pie ... lemon meringue pie.

It was epic. The pies were by Edwards, right out of the freezer case. I highly recommend those. Just between you and me, the lemon meringue could easily pass for old fashioned southern lemon icebox pie.

There were twelve of us (thirteen if you count baby Ember, which I do) for lunch -- even though we were missing Cherica, who were holidaying in Chicago, and Andrew, who as you know is in Afghanistan until the end of the month.

Erica's crepes this morning at Yolk Chicago

Over dessert we celebrated our Stephanie's birthday, which will take place on September ninth just like it does every year.

But let's back this party train up a bit because the end is in danger of preceding the beginning. And we cannot have that.

Thy will be done

We had a truly wonderful Sunday morning service at church. Any time our pastor preaches (often we have guest preachers and I'm sorry but I'd rather hear our pastor, and he knows how I feel because I've told him so) is a most profitable time, and this day was no exception.

The Scripture verse for the sermon was John 4:34:

Jesus saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

And Pastor reminded us that for the Christian, there is but that one task as well.

One of the things the pastor used to illustrate his point was this quote by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain):

The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

I've always liked that. Although I am dubious that Mark Twain -- dubbed the Father of American Literature -- was a follower of Christ, I do love his writing and in this case, what he said was certainly true and therefore has a worthy spiritual application.

(Folks, we are not here to endlessly angle for effusive fawning praise of our face, our figure, our fashion choices, and further fleshly things, on Fakebook and in the squares. There's more to it than that.)

We girls ... between morning church and Cracker Barrel

But although I digress, I will not ask for forgiveness. People need to get a grip.

At any rate, before the sermon got underway, our pastor recognized a couple in the church who have recently become engaged to be married.

It was particularly noteworthy because the couple are senior citizens. (We have a widow-widower luncheon every month and I suspect that a fair amount of matrimonial progress is made there.)

So a few minutes later, Brittany's phone, resting on the pew beside her, lit up (she was sitting next to me because Audrey was taking her turn working in the nursery).

My daughter-in-law looked at her phone and then handed it to me. It was a screen shot of the couple who had gotten engaged, as they sat together on the opposite side of the auditorium from us.

Apparently the live-stream camera operator had trained the lens in their direction while Pastor congratulated them.

Andrew had sent it to her. From the other side of the world, he was watching the service in real time on our church's web site. He wanted to let his wife know both that he was with her in church, and that he was on board with love and marriage at any age.

And that's how he chose to do it. Our Andrew has a unique and endearing sense of humor. As in, if you are in his presence for very long, you're going to be cracking up. He's a nut.

So we were still chuckling about that when it was time to stand and sing the first verse of Amazing Grace (the Baptist national anthem) and shake hands with the folks around us.

TG took advantage of that time to tell the pastor that Andrew was watching from Afghanistan and that he'd sent the screen shot of the newly betrothed to Brittany.

So after hand shaking time, the pastor shared with the whole church that Andrew was watching, and everyone faced the camera and waved to our American hero.

Another Brittany

After church, TG, I, Brittany, Audrey, and Dagny decided to go to Cracker Barrel for lunch.

Before leaving the parking lot, however, we posed for a few photos because I knew it had been a while since you saw our Brittany.

Later, as we were being led to our table at Cracker Barrel, I was first behind the young lady escorting us.

She could not have been nicer. She asked what kind of a day I was having, and I told her it had been a great day so far, because it had.

Then she politely inquired as to whether we had plans for later, and I told her that we planned to go back to church for evening services, as we always do.

Me. And another Brittany.

The young lady -- turns out her name is Brittany too -- asked several questions about that, and TG trotted back out to the car to fetch some literature for her, and to make a long story short, she showed up at church that night and sat beside me, and we had a long talk during and after the invitation time.

Brittany is a seeker after truth and she has a sweet attitude, and I know that she would appreciate your prayers.

I made a new friend and I consider that a gift directly from God, and I hope that if I can be of help or service to Brittany, that she will allow me that privilege.

Like our new friend Lonnie from last week, Brittany agreed to have her picture made with me, and to be featured on the blog.

We hope to see her again soon.

That afternoon, during the short interval between Cracker Barrel and meeting another Brittany and having a good time getting to know our server (whose name was Summer and who is expecting a baby in December just like our Brittany), and evening service, Brittany -- Brittany Weber, that is; please do keep up -- sent me a sneak peek of baby Ember's nursery, which is a work in progress much like Ember herself:

This nursery is money honey

Is that not charming? I love it. Her daddy finished painting it just before he deployed.

Her crib will someday convert into a twin bed that she can use until she's grown.

Her mother texted me that her only wish for Ember is that she will grow up to be a strong woman who loves the Lord.

And I texted back that I have no doubt that she will. And I haven't. Any doubt, that is.

Dress for success

One last story because I know you'll like it.

On Sunday evening our church had one of those guest preachers I mentioned before. The message was good. Not as good as hearing our pastor, but still good.

This particular servant of God brought a message from Ephesians chapter six, where Christians are commanded:

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And I was reminded, as I always am when I hear or read those verses, of what my Great Aunt Jenny (her name was actually Genevieve but nobody ever called her anything but Aunt Jenny, not in my hearing at least, and no, I was not named after her) said to TG, the last time we saw her before she was called home to heaven.

The time was July of 1995 and the mise en scène is a funeral home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where we were attending a visitation on the evening before the funeral of Terri Kay, the stepdaughter of Aunt Jenny's only child, my mother's first cousin Darlene.

Again -- do keep up.

Anyway, if you can produce a more vibrant, joy-filled, faith-fuelled Christian than Genevieve Harvey, I 'd like to meet that saint of God. To be honest, Aunt Jenny could be annoying but to me she never was. Not even once.

She continually had the praise of Jesus in her mouth. She often preached, to whomever would listen. And that was the case on this occasion. 

TG was occupying a wingback chair provided by the funeral parlor for the rest and comfort of mourners. Aunt Jenny stood directly in front of him -- and they were eye to eye.

See, TG is six foot four and Aunt Jenny was five foot nothing. In heels.

At any rate there she stood, age seventy-five, white hair simply and elegantly styled, wearing a fetching aqua pant suit purchased for the occasion, and sporting her signature bright red lipstick.

She was holding forth about what she had perceived to be lacking in the spiritual condition of her late husband, Harold, at the time of his death in 1977 at the age of sixty.

Aunt Jenny's conviction was that although her husband had professed faith in Christ and trusted Him for salvation, he had either never had time, or had not sought, to grow and mature as a Christian.

I can still see her as she told TG:

I believe that Harold is even now standing before the throne of God stark naked (she said it nekkid) except for the helmet of salvation.

Let that sink in.

She may have been right -- I mean, who else would know -- but it's a visual I've never been able to reconcile with my memories of Uncle Harold.

He who, when I was very small, according to my mother, would gently rock me to sleep and refuse to move out of the chair until I woke up all on my own.

I have seen a picture of my baby self sleeping soundly on his shoulder.

As long as he's in heaven, where, due to the grace of God, I myself am bound? I need no other argument.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday :: Happy September

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