Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I didn't expect to go there...

Fall thoughts: the results of the Fall

My son blatantly disregarded the terms of our grounding.  He doesn't get it.  He still thinks he gets to make all the decisions.  He even went so far as to ridiculously say, "I can still make decisions whether I'm dead or alive."  Hmm.  Never thought we'd go there; never thought about getting off in these weeds.  But I think that is the ultimate statement of a sinful nature.  And he wasn't kidding.  He doesn't even want to give up the controls when he is dead.  How do you answer that one?

We tried to point out that the final decision is made before you die about where you choose to go.  After that, it's too late.  That's the point isn't it?  On this earth we do have choice.  Choice is the only way to make love happen, to choose Him.  There is no love without choice.  You don't get to go on a bus tour and then decide in the here-after.  The man-child was rather stubborn on that point, not wanting to give up his position on the battle front trying to stake his flag on a mountain of sand. 

Ichabod: Where's the glory?
The expected answer to the rhetorical question:
nowhere.  It's gone.
The glory left the building.

At last the rebellious heart said begrudgingly, "I'll still get to choose what I want to eat there though, like pasta or Chinese."  My vision of heaven is perfection, where the Gentleman orders for me knowing me so well that it is always the perfect choice.  It did get me thinking about our self-seeking heart that rebels against anyone telling us what to do.  Choice.  I think that's when we need to wave the white flag of surrender and be taken as a prisoner of Love. 

Have you ever had such thoughts?  Try taking on a teenager or two, and you'll be surprised what road the conversation takes a turn down.  Turn the clock back a few centuries and this is what another had to say about the blurred lines between here and the hereafter...

"Vital spark of heavenly flame,
Quit, oh, quit this mortal frame!
Trembling,  hoping, lingering, flying--
Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life!
Hark! they whisper: angels say,
Sister spirit, come away!
What is this absorbs me quite,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirit, draws my breath!
Tell me, my soul!  can this be death?
The world recedes--it disappears;
Heaven opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring;
Lead, lend your wings!  I mount I fly!
O grave, where is thy victory?
O death, where is thy sting?"

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grace, saying grace, saving grace, God's grace...
Family gatherings are times we host even when they don't fit around the table  anymore.  Some pull up a stool at the counter, or balance plates on their laps on the couch while the children pour out onto the back patio and into the yard.  It's called a family spread.

Even though the family is still not all there, it's a good day anyway to get this many gathered together, usually only possible on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  This was an in-betweener brunch, a quick circle on the calendar, a last minute, throw-it-together brunch, a just 'cause we love each other gathering, a bring-what-you-want-and-we'll-fix-the-omelette-and-sausages-and-orange juice. 

Then came the homemade sweet rolls through the door, plus the sausage gravy, biscuits and crescents rolls,  cheesy muffins and cream cheese icing on zucchini bread from our fabulous mommy chefs.

The best were the grandchildren who arrived to make cousin huddles of little ones playing together, while later a few stretched out on our bed together to watch T.V. in our bedroom, who squeezed the most out of being there.  The icing on the cake was when the little grandson said in his four year old low growly voice when it was time to leave,  "I have to go now, but I'll come back."  Those are the sweetest words a grandma can hear!

"The Mighty One, God, the Lord, has spoken,
And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.
May our God come and not keep silence...He summons the heavens above,
And the earth, to judge His people;
"Gather My godly ones to Me..."
Our Father wants to gather us all together too.
Psalm 50:1-5

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Finding a bushel basket big enough, I sent him to harvest the pomegranates.  This is all he brought.  His pickings didn't even cover the bottom of the basket.  They are like jewels, so I am wealthy.  The tree is so heavy laden that it is practically heaved over resting on the ground. It's bounty is great.  The time is ripe.

The Lord has spoken to me of our lives.  He has blessed us, given us such beauty to share, but we bring so little to Him and leave the rest to split and rot, wasted. 

I love that it came to grow in my dirt
and became a fruit bearing tree.

I love them for their color.

I love them for their taste.
Need I say more?
"I would give you...drink from the juice of my pomegranates."
Song of Solomon 8:2


God's paintbrush drips,
Riotous colors He flings. 
Trees, leaves, and fowl
With beautiful wings
Are covered in glory
That makes angels sing.

God's not tame,
He is wild indeed!
What a gaudy God
With no bounds to impede
His lusty style:
He's His own creed.

Autumn is His
 to pour like wine 
Till the cup's overflowing
So we might drink the divine
  till we're drenched in beauty
Our tastes to refine. 

Fall's naught but His showy art
Signed by Him we seek.
Indeed without such display
The world would be bleak.
Arrayed with extravagance
Fall in its peak.
"That they may be called
 trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord,
that He may be glorified."

Isaiah 61:3

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Emmanuel Driggus
Emmanuel Driggers
Manuel Driggers
My 11 X great-grandfather
A little story and a lot of family history I've discovered...
The massive man threw his shoulders back and lifted his head regally.  "My name is Emmanuel Rodriguez, son of Emmanuel Philibert, the Viceroy of Sicily, Supreme Commander of the Spanish Navy in the Mediterranean, grandson of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, Knight of the Garter, son of Emmanuel..."

"And slave of .Captain Potts," the man smirked.  "It doesn't matter who your daddy is.  He's not here to claim you now is he, although it does explain your straight black hair and lighter skin.  But I didn't know any Spaniards had blue eyes.  Where'd you get those from, Driggez?"  Emmanuel had shockingly brilliant blue eyes.

"I'm half Portuguese.  My father the Admiral had blue eyes.  He told me some Spaniards, the Castilians like Queen Isabella, have blue eyes."   

"Well now, here you are in Northampton.  Congratulations, you are one of the first shipments of slaves from the islands to the colonies.  But tell me, where are you from originally anyhow?  I understand that they only keep you slaves in Barbados long enough to acclimate you and teach you English, but yours is better than most with all your fancy sounding names rolling off your tongue."

"My mother was stolen and put aboard a slave ship in Senegal.  You heard of the Island of Goree there?   My father's fleet pirateered the ship from the Dutch.  Once on board, my father chose her to stay with him in his cabin instead of down under like the rest of those poor souls.  She was beautiful, beautiful enough to catch his eye and smart too.  She learned his language quickly, and a little English besides.  He was quite fond of her, treated her with tenderness although she heard he was married to a Hapsburg of Spain back in Palermo.    After my father died of the plague in Sicily at 36, that's when they took her and me to the auction block.   I don't know who bought her or where she is now.  I was fairly young at the time and have been bought and sold more than once since then."

Potts was amazed at how well spoken his new slave was, but kept his stern countenance.  "It doesn't bode well for any kept woman like your ma.  'Tis a sin in God's eyes, a sin that you are paying for now.  However though you will serve me, I will allow you to till your own plot and acquire  some stock to breed for your benefit.  Eventually if you do well with enough hard work, you can purchase your freedom.  It's a little incentive, shall we say, to make sure you do work hard.  You won't be treated much different than an indentured servant,"  Mr. Potts said with a satisfied smile. 

Then he went on, "See that woman over there called Francis?  As I'm sure you noticed, I bought her as well.  She will be your wife.  Any children you produce will belong to me, however.  That's how it works here."

"Will she be my kept woman or shall we marry, sir?"

"Don't get smart with me, Driggez.  Like I told you, this is how it's done here.  I'm doing just like Mr. Custis and all the most prosperous planters hereabouts are doing.  Indian Tobacco is the crop that's paying the highest return, and we need the slave labor to accomplish it." 

Francis was standing close enough to hear everything, but kept her eyes cast down.  She had glistening black skin and her cropped hair was kept under a scarf.  She look skeletal, like she had barely survived the voyage from Barbados.  Emmanuel wondered if she truly would make it, if she could regain her strength.  He determined then and there that he would do everything possible to make sure this poor woman would not only survive, but thrive if she was going to be his, the mother of his children to be.  He wanted his children to grow up knowing who they were, somebodies, not just slaves."

"As you know," Potts interrupted his thoughts, "several women died on the ship leaving their chits.  So, I have purchased the bonds of a couple of orphans, and I want to put them in your care.  They aren't much use to me yet.  Just raise 'em up and keep 'em alive.  That's all I ask.  I'll be able to put 'em to work soon enough."

Emmanuel saw Francis look over at the two little girls with compassion at their skin and bones covered by dirty rags. They looked scared enough to perish on the spot.  As hard as it had been for him as a big, strong man to survive the journey, he couldn't imagine what they had gone through losing their mothers on top of the rest of the deprivations and horrors aboard the ship.

"Yes sir, me and Francis will do that."  For the first time she looked up at him and their gazes locked.  It may not be a marriage of hearts, but it was a marriage of determined souls, souls who had come back from hell in the bowels of the ship.  Even a slave auction was heaven compared to that. 

He was sure that though the woman probably only spoke broken English, she could tell what was going on.  She had an intelligent gleam in her eye.  Yes, she would be a survivor.  The first thing he would do once under his roof would be to teach her a command of the language that would be necessary to survive in this land.  His mother had taught him some of her dialect, bits of his father's native tongue, and English as well, the language that was the currency of trade.

Emmanuel walked over and picked up the youngest of the two girls who was lighter than a basket of eggs and just as fragile.  Her shuddering breath made him catch his own.  Then he reached down and took the other child by her boney hand and led her to Francis.  "She will be your mother now, and I will be...will be taking care of you all," he stuttered.  How could he say he would be their father?  He wasn't actually the husband of the woman in front of him.  They were to breed like cattle and make more offspring for their owner to sell.  Emmanuel determined then and there he would work hard for his freedom and then for the freedom of these females who were thrown into his care.

When Emmanuel turned to Captain Potts, he boldly said, "I want it written down that you promise 'to give them sufficient meate, drinke, Apparael and Lodginge And to use (your) best endeavor to bring them up in the fear of god and in the knowledge of our Savior Christ Jesus.'"   Though his father's spirituality was only surface deep as evidenced by his adultery,  the Viceroy had taught him the tenets of the Christian faith while he was just a little lad.

And so it was written.  It is in the record that Elizabeth (age 8) and Jane  (age 1) were to be so provided for while in the home of Emmanuel Rodriguez, who came to be known as Manuel Driggus, or Emmanuel Driggers, my 11th great grandfather.

*Information mostly from "Myne Own Ground," by T.H. Breen and "Free African Americans of Northampton County, Virginia," by Paul Heinegg

I truly don't know the color of Emmanuel's eyes though I do know many of his descendants did have blue eyes, but I added it in because many Castilians out of Spain do have those stunning "marble blue" eyes as a friend with those roots pointed out recently while showing me a photo of his little daughter.  It could have been possible due to Emmanuel's Spanish-Portuguese heritage.

Emmanuel's father the Viceroy had blue eyes as did his grandmother Margaret, Henry II King of France's sister.  She was 36 when her brother Henry II finally agreed to marry her to the Duke of Savoy.  She was "a spinster lady of excellent breeding and lively intellect."  However, shortly before her wedding, her brother the king was mortally wounded in a jousting contest celebrating his daughter's wedding.  The wood splinters went through the king's visor and into his eye and into his brain.  As Henry II lingered before dying, he insisted that his sister go through with her wedding.  Instead of a lavish affair, it was a simple ceremony in a small chapel.

This portrait gave him the dark eyes to make him look more the Spaniard.  He commissioned Van Dyke to paint his portrait, but the Viceroy died of the plague three months later in 1624.  Van Dyke was quarantined in Sicily until the danger passed.

We can only surmise what is said of Emmanuel's heritage is true or false.  My DNA shows 1% Senegal and 1% Spanish/Portuguese, so I'm guessing that Emmanuel's tale of who his father was has a chance of being correct, being named as the fourth in a line of Emmanuels.  So far I have a positive DNA matchup with Betsy Driggers Ivey, a descendent from the Iveys and Driggers of Northampton.  She married into our Grandfather George Wise's mother's "Peoples" line. 
Duke of Savoy, Emmanuel's grandfather?
One thing that impressed me in my study of Emmanuel Driggers is how much information has been recorded about him, "just" a slave in the early days of the colonies.  Also, impressive is his willingness to take in and care for two little orphans, the boldness to make a written agreement for their care, to treat them like his own, and to work to gain their freedom.  The early records show that Emmanuel did in fact give calves or foals to help others, some not even related, as a means towards their bids for freedom, even though he was unable to buy some of his own children's freedom.  He had a generous heart.  Lastly, I was astounded to find his faith in his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ recorded.

The Duke of Savoy, an earlier Emmanuel as an only child with a "midget" companion.

It is said of Emmanuel Driggers's supposed father the Admiral, that his physical energy was marvelous.  He conducted his business standing or walking; he craved fresh air, and blazing sun, vowing fog was healthier than a crowded room.  After a nine hour run which had brought down a stag, he would split logs and built a fire to cook his supper, play quolits till dark, and participate in rustic games till midnight.  He was all bone and muscle. His face was extremely handsome, not fleshy, eyes of blue, beard and hair ruddy. He did not swear or make indecent jests.  He attended mass though he kept his religion and morals in separate compartments from the rest of his life: though tender, he was an unfaithful husband.  He was born in Turin, the third son of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy and was destined for a career in the church.  He entered at age 12 in Order of Knights Hospitaller, but later he decided for a military career.  In 1603 he and his older brothers went to Madrid  for education.  Phillip the eldest died leaving his brother Victor in line as hereditary prince.  In 1610 Emmanuel went back to Madrid and entered in service of King Phillip III of Spain who made him a general, then Grand Admiral of Spain.  Under the next king, Philip IV, Emmanuel was appointed Viceroy of Sicily in 1622, Prince of Piedmont.

But this is Emmanuel's other heritage, as a slave...

Emmanuel Rodriggus appearance on the Eastern shore was May 27, 1645.  This was during the time that the Dutch seizure of major Portuguese trading posts along present day Angola and Zaire took place, with much pirateering of ships.  "On that day he signed an indenture with his master, Captain Francis Pott, who was newly come over to the Baye, (Magotha Bay, Northampton County, Virginia) with some servants whereby to make a cropp."  The covenant guaranteed "the freedom of two of Driggers daughters of my my Negro Emmanuell Drigus to serve and bee with me...the one who is named Elizabeth is to serve 13 yeare and the other children whose name is Jane Driggus (being about 1 year old) is to serve...until she arrive to the age of 30 (if she soe long live) which will and complete and ended in the year of our Lord God, 1675."  Curiously while he and Pott referred to these girls as "daughters," they were in fact not Driggus' natural children, "I doe further testify that the Eldest daughter was given my Nego man by one who brought her upp by the space of eight years and the younger he bought and paid for to Capt. Robert." 

Emmanuel and his wife Frances were assigned as servants to Stephen Charlton in 1649 to pay Pott's debt to Charlton, though he made it clear, "ye said cattle, etc. are ye proper goods of the sd Negroes." 

Emmanuel once tended an English soldier who fell ill.  However, his condition worsened and this George Williams feared the worse and prepared his will: "In 1667 he bequeathed to Manuell Driggus, Negro, for his care and trouble in tendinge mee in my sickness, my wages due for eleven months service on the ship Luis Increase of Bristol."

Emmanuel had ten children (3 adopted, 5 by Francis and two by Elizabeth a white woman he married in1661.)  He purchased the freedom of his wife Francis and son James' and at least that of his adopted daughters, but not his son Thomas nor his eldest born daughter Ann who Pott sold to a white planter Pannell "to have and to hould the same with all her increase forever."  There was also a son Edward who was sold away while at the age of three, I believe. When Francis Pott who had bought Emmanuel died and his widow married a man named William Kendall who did not abide with slavery, and probably within a year of his marriage to the widow freed Emmanuel and another.  It was noted that Emmanuel Driggers was highly regarded by whites in the area of Northampton.  However, this same Lieutenant Colonel William Kendall complained to the court that Thomas Driggus, Emmanuel's son, was still a slave and belonged to him and that he was neglecting his master.  Two other slaves complained that Thomas was abusing them and he was given 21 lashes.  In addition the court  ordered Thomas' child who was then a slave of Kendall's to be indentured to John Francisco, a free black man, until twenty-one.   At least by this arrangement, Thomas' son Johnson at the age of twenty-one "then to sett it free for Ever."  This is the same John Francisco who had raised Sarah, Thomas' wife, until she was 21.  "The line between freedom and slavery was extraordinarily permeable," as well as that of indentured service and slavery.

Emmanuel's son Thomas married Sarah King (1645-1701), daughter of another of the earliest slaves known in the colonies, King Tony Negro.  She was proven to be free and was in and out of the courts with charging others of theft and sometimes charged herself and lashed. Thomas was a violent and abusive man.  The line continues as Thomas' son Johnson (1716) who served in the French and Indian Wars in 1754,  marries a Mary Johnson and has a son William Driggers (1730-1822) who served in the Revolutionary War under General Marion, who marries Sarah Futch (1731) who has a son Jonas 1755-1822) who served in the Revolutionary War under General Marion who marries an Eleanor Lastinger (1756-1860), who has a daughter...

Mourning Driggers  (1754-1820) who marries James Ivey (1752-1820)
Their son James Ivey Jr. (1770-1829) marries Marion (1770-1790)
Their daughter Elizabeth Ivey--Betsy--(1792-1880) marries William Peoples (1784-1860)
Their son David Peoples (1825-1847) marries Susan Long (1827-1851)
Their son Henry Peoples (1851-1888) marries Susanne
Their daughter Mary Francis Peoples marries George Collier Wise (1864-1945)
George C. Wise (1898-1962) marries Ruby Robinson (1898-1983)
The English Ivey line went Thomas (1605) married to Ann Argent;  to George (1638-1689) married to Hannah Blanche (1636); to Henry (1687-1770) married to Mary Batte  (1710-1780); to Joseph married to Elizabeth Travis to James (1770-1829) who married Mourning Driggers. 

Mulatto Children

Since the Iveys were early planters in the colonies from England, this marriage would produce mulattoes.  There are hints that perhaps they had intermarried before James Ivey and Mourning Driggers. They were listed in the families in which white men married free African American women.  Slave owning George Ivey in fact joined others in 1699 who petitioned the Council of Virginia asking for the repeal of the Act of the Assembly against English people marrying Negroes, Indians or Mulattoes.  In 1691 the Assembly had prohibited blacks and whites intermarriage and ordered the illegitimate mixed race children of white women to be bound out for thirty years.  It also prohibited the manumission of slaves unless they were transported out of the colony. They also could have their own indentured service extended and be lashed for the offense of Mulatto offspring. 

Mourning Ivey moved to live with her son Curtis in Alabama after her husband's death

  It is said that he served with General Washington at Valley Forge.
Thus, the Iveys, Driggers, and other families sought freedom by moving to the border of North Carolina, then on to Georgia, Alabama, and the rest of the South.  Many in the next decades of census were considered white while others were considered Mulattoes.  It became very important to be called Portuguese after their forefather Emmanuel Driggers in order to be considered white. 

1758 land entry: James Ivey 100 Anso County on North side of Pee Dee River in the forks of Gum Swamp...William Driggers living on Gum Swamp as well.  This was the "Swamp Fox" territory.  Both William Driggers and Jonas Driggers served under General Marion, Swamp Fox, by providing beef and transportation. 

General Marion

In 1705 the Assembly of Virginia passed a law which all but eliminated the ability of slaves to earn their freedom by ordering that the farm stock of slaves "shall be seized and sold by the church wardens of the parish wherein such horses, cattle, or hogs shall be, and the profit thereof applied to the use of the poor of such parish."  By 1712-15 when members of two families were freed and given 640 acres in Northfolk County, Virginia's legislative council proposed that the Assembly: "provide a law against manumission of slaves, which in time by their increase and correspondence with other slaves may endanger the peace of the colony."  The Nate Turner slave uprising created fear.

To insure their legitimacy, many sought out churches to register their marriage and to baptize their children often traveling great distances to do so.  But even judges and ministers could be heavily fined if performing these ceremonies.  With the prohibition on inter-racial sexual unions, mixed race children became illegitimate by definition. Thus began a migration of Driggers who had their beginnings in tide-water Virginia could be found in outlying areas of areas such as North Carolina.

By 1723 Virginia law required legislative approval before manumissions could take place.  Families like Driggers who were free in the mid 17th century had several hundred members before the end of the colonial period.  Very few free families descended from white slave owners who had children by their slaves, perhaps as low as 1% of the total.  (Possibly due to the strict teachings and morality of the Church).

Many free African American families in colonial North Carolina and Virginia were landowners who generally were accepted by their white neighbors.  Soon "the door slammed shut on black freedom. Slaves had their privileges curtailed--most prominently, the right to trade independently...all but eliminated the opportunity to purchase their own freedom and that of family and friends...they were barred from voting, sitting on juries, serving in the militia, carrying guns, owning dogs, or testifying against whites."

James Ivey who married Mourning Driggers was also known as Capt. James because he lead a gang of regulators along the boarder of South Carolina.  Some considered it "a mob."  This James Ivey of Drowning Creek was described as of Portuguese descent, swarthy, hair black and straight."  Perhaps he took over for his brother Winslow who led an outlaw gang of 200.

Many Driggers and Iveys  were involved in the Revolutionary War in the South.  As said before, at least a couple of them served under the "Swamp Fox," General Marion.  A couple were at Valley Forge.  "They led white men and black in rebellion too.  Winslow Driggers who served in the 1759 Expedition against the Cherokee, later became the leader of a large militant free black, white, and mixed Regulator Company in South Carolina.  Before the Boston Tea Party and before the 'Founding Fathers' of America gave voice to the ideals of freedom, he led backwoodsmen in the fight against the abusive British policies of taxation without representation."  However, a complaint of 23, October, 1773, listed "free Negroes and Mulattus living upon the Kings' land... Raitously Assembled together in Bladen Country: Captain James Ivey, Joseph Ivey..."   Then, December 18, 1773, "the number of free negroes and mulattoes who infest that county and annoy its Inhabitants..."  This sounds like a Torey and Independent American problem, whereas, others saw them as rogue bandits and river pirates which was evidently true as well.  Winslow Ivey hung for his offenses by another gang of ex-regulators led by his cousin Gideon.

Swamp Fox's home place.

One cousin, John Ivey, was forced into serving the British by his Torey neighbors who threatened to burn him out if he did not.  After one battle in which a hundred and fifty Americans were taken prisoner, John Ivey, never a willing soldier, deserted but was captured by one of the Swamp Fox's sentries.  He convinced Marion that he was loyal by given him the information about where the American prisoners were taken.  "Thirty-eight men under the command of Captain Jonathan Roberts.  They are camped just South of Jack's Creek, holding prisoners near Great Savannah."  "Close to Sumter's house?"  "Yes." " How many prisoners?"  "A hundred and fifty, thereabout."  Marion took a hundred strong and the brigade raced to Sumter's abandoned house, arriving after dark and quickly circled the mansion...The enemy only put up a brief resistance.  The skirmish was over almost as soon as it began.  Twenty-four enemy were killed or captured, fourteen escaped, one hundred and fifty Maryland Continentals were freed."  The Continental Congress sent General Marion a notation of gratitude for this service, all because John Ivey deserted.

The Ivey Mill in North Carolina

Even in South Carolina, the mixed race of Iveys and Driggers were endangered by slave traders:
Johnson Driggers, in the 1778 North Carolina Gazette, "On Saturday night, April 4th, broken into the house of the subscriber at the head of Green Creek, where I had some property under the care of A. Driggers, a free Negro woman, two men in disguise with masks on their faces and clubs in their hands, beat and wounded her terribly and carried off four of her children, three girls and a boy, the biggest of said girls got off in the dark and made her escape.  One of the girls is Becky with the other Charita, boy is Shadrack steal for slave trade."  How scary.

Much of the quotes and information are from Paul Heingg but also from many other ancestory records and sources.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Autumnal confessions of a messy housewife...
Even though the Pope's in the country, I'm not a Catholic, and he probably is too busy to hear my confessions anyway, so I'll just say it on the internet for y'all's ears.

O Honey Sweet apples, how I love thee!  Why buy any other kind?  Oh yeah, they're more expensive.  But what is free...just waiting for pecan picking days at our daughter's tree whose boughs are breaking off under the weight of nuts. She's so allergic, she can't even prune the branches.

What I look like in my head on a walk.

Walking with my man into the sunset with our faithful dog so happy to be along, is a joy worth doing: peeling this coach potato off her duff once in awhile and leaving the boys behind.  That's my exercise plan and I'm sticking to it! Perhaps if I wore workout clothes, I'd look more impressive, at least wear a sweatband with my '80's swag. 

I did my fall cleaning (me and my cleaning lady: she cleaned and I'm pretty proud that I dusted), and now I probably won't  dust again until I decorate for Christmas!  I AM EXHAUSTED!  It's ridiculous.  I disgust myself.  It's my auto-immune thing.  Although I did finally reach the back of my closet to hang up a few things--actually, I mean a lot of things--I have another confessions: I flunked the neat and orderly test in the latest Real Simple Magazine edition: I don't roll my undies in neat rows with drawer dividers for my drawers.  Hmm.  I think I did that once and it only lasted until the next laundry day.  I might consider doing it again but only if I knew the exact day, hour and minute of my death and wanted to leave a good impression. 

What I actually look more like.

Next--in my fall cleaning rampage--I might tackle the hall closet where coats and photo albums are stuffed in tighter than cornbread dressing in a Thanksgiving turkey.  Then when I can't stand the smell emanating from the boys' rooms carpeted in their own special mixture of dirty socks, filthy clothes, towels, and clean clothes that didn't get put away, and various glasses, empty cans of ravioli with spoons stuck in them, and other odorous stuff, I might venture in.  But I don't work for free: if they don't get the job done first with plenty of bullhorn warnings, I charge full professional cleaning lady wages. Finally, there's always the garage, more like a house of horrors full of cobwebs and things that go bump in the night.  Maybe I'll wait and do that for Halloween.

By the way, the only one who calls me more than my special friend from "Card Holders Service" is my husband.  I like his voice more than her recorded telemarkety one.  She never has anything new to say anyway.  Remember this kind of phone, the kind that tied you down so you couldn't be overly multi-tasky while on it?   Maybe we should bring it back.  I've always been a little wacky on the phone.  I think  I have phone phobia.  It's probably from when I was in junior high and got up from the supper table during prayer to answer the phone, and without thinking picked up the receiver and said, "Our Father who art in heaven..."  It was my uncle.  He figured out rather quickly that he hadn't misdialed and gotten God on the line.   He thought I was pretty funny, and weird.  I am.

Well now that I've gotten that all off my chest...

"Create in me a clean heart, O God..."
Psalm 51:10
That's the best kind of cleaning service there is for fall cleaning!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today I hefted down the box of Fall decorations from the dusty garage.  Knowing that what goes up, must come down sometime before Christmas. I have tried to pare down my foufou fall decore to fit my simpler, slower pace of life.  Dried gourds and fake pumpkins fill a huge bushel basket.  The Indian corn is real, and its ears last years.  Their color does not dull.  Unless a squirrel gets trapped in the grey bin, they will last a few more.  Now to find real acorns ...

"Then came Autumn, all in yellow clad,
As though he joyed in his plenteous store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
Then he had banished Hunger, which to fore
Had by the belly of him pinched sore;

Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled
With ears of corn of every sort, he bore,
And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
To reap the ripened fruits that which
the earth had yold."

Edmund Spenser

"He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground,
and bread from the yield of the ground,
and it will be rich and plenteous..."
Isaiah 30:23

Autumn is the rich season, rich and plenteous.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oh to be like God, but not God...

"and you will be like God..."
Genesis 3:5
said the devil to everyone who has ever been tempted,
in other words, all y'all.

One of the lies of the enemy of your soul is that you are so special--that you can be like God--in that your emotion of choice, rebellion, is unique to you: the  "I am in control!"  The big "No!" in your heart is older than dirt.  It is not something new under the sun.  "I don't want to," is yada, yada.  Just because you are emerging from your cocoon to spread your wet wings, doesn't mean your struggles to become free are without precedent.  The very basics of human nature 101 is rebellion, not just the beating of wings, but beating the chest.   Just look at a terrible-two toddler.  Now you are just a bigger man-child version having a temper tantrum.  Ugly stuff.


The goal of parenting is to hopefully instill, with the help of God, inner controls.  This outward control gets old as a child turns into a teen.  Rewards and punishment only works so far.  Pretty soon an auto-pilot needs to kick in.  Like I told one young man of a certain age in our household, you just need to choose to do one thing, to do the right thing.   There is nothing so discouraging to a parent than the outlook of a future of trying to control an out-of-control human being.  Once it's out of your hands, that's what the legal and penal institutions are for.  The kinks need to be worked out before they hit the magic age of 18.  I'm up against a clock here.

God's the only one who truly deserves to wear the crown.

Like I've told God so often, "I didn't work this hard all these years, just to turn my child over to the devil. How about a little help here?"  Been there.  Done that.  This is familiar territory.  Am I better at parenting?  I doubt it.  It doesn't really get easier the second third, or sixth time around.  Am I ready to watch them fly?  Almost.  Someone once said that the discomfort in the nest is to make you ready to let them go.  Yep and amen.

There's nothing so discouraging
as the thought of stunted growth, failure to launch.
Fly, baby, fly!

to be continued...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Welcome Fall

O happy day,
Fall's here to stay.
Take a leap in a pile,
Jump feet first once in awhile.

Fall in love with fall, swoon,
Hug a tree, sing a tune.

Lace your boots and venture out,
Crunch through leaves, run about. 

Friends dance in leaves,
Farmers gather sheaves.

Walk the line
on a pine.

Keep your feet to the fire
and never tire
of fall.


"If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth...
Just as you do not know the path of the wind and
how bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman,
so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things."
Ecclesiastes 11:3-5