Sunday, July 27, 2008

Batman and Other Dark Imaginings

Doris and I saw the Batman movie yesterday.

And unlike Phil Wilson, I do not think it the best film of the year, nor do I think it was good in any way--in fact, I did not like it at all. Having said that, I will say that I am glad I saw it.

I have not seen any film yet worthy of Oscar this year, and the prospect as seen from the previews yesterday does not seem good. Why must everything be so loud, so violent, so gross????? Am I showing my age here?

The dark elements in the film yesterday bother me much as the Camus books do. I simply cannot believe (in what some would say my naievte) that God would have any truck with loving us or saving us if we were indeed so horribly without hope and vision as shown. It takes just 5 chapters in Genesis to progress from Eden to Gen. 6:5 "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."
God did choose to destroy that generation.

We, however, are the products of a "do-over", and we have a God who was willing to die to give us hope not only in the beyond, but in this world, as well. I know he promised not destroy the world again....and I see hope in that. I know that are more than 8 people in this world who have a faith-based view, and who are doing their best to improve the world. Yes, there are dark forces in this world; there will always be, but Jesus himself has overcome the world as he reminds the disciples in John 16:33 to "take heart."

I will always choose the heart over darkness, the good over the evil, the hope over hopelessness. Hollywood's writers and producers are simply walking down the long hallway of trying to deduce what we are all about. I give thanks that there are still some of us around to point the way out of the hall into sunlight.`

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Opening Minds

Our Wednesday night class is enjoying sharing thoughts on The Shack. We covered chapters 8 and 9 last night, which in my opinion are the meat of the book--they are also the hardest to digest. I pride myself in having an open mind, but my legalist background often gets in the way of enjoying the Holy Spirit. One of the ideas that came to my mind while rereading those chapters was--I don't think we have even touched the hem of the garment in realizing the implications of the Fall in the garden. To think that to choose independence (as Young says it) would change the course of human and religious history for the lifetime of the earth is mind-boggling. Young's depiction of the Holy Spirit as a "a garden keeper" is interesting too, I think.
Doris Colvett is doing a masterful job of leading the conversations.

One thing the book does do is open the reader's mind to the overwhelming love of God for his creation. If we could only accept that with trust and faith.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mamma Mia

We had lots of fun Friday watching Mamma Mia. As Doris Colvett says, "It is High School Musical for older ladies."

Watching Merle Streep dance, sing, and clown was marvelous. She can honestly do most anything in a movie, I think. And her voice is not bad either.

Of couse, the music of ABBA was a blast too. Everything worked together--the music, the acting, singing, dancing (the company was excellent) and the Greek locale to make this a wonderful summer escape.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Farmer's Market

If there is anything more fun than going to the Farmer's Market in Franklin, I haven't done it yet.

The whole thing is a sweet adventure: Driving down Franklin Road lushly-lined with trees, wild flowers and shrubs (wishing I had been in Tennessee long enough to own one of the older houses fronting Franklin); walking into the Market and seeing the first booth (Frisky Berry) selling cafe lattes; then browsing among the wonderful fruit, vegetables, homemade soaps, honey, fresh meat, eggs and milk, and baked goods of all kinds. So many colors abound: the beautiful soft purple of the eggplant, the various reds of the Pink Lady and Heirloom tomatoes, the golden cantelopes, and green corn--plus the gorgeous fresh flowers for sale (some of the biggest sunflowers I have ever seen--and I am from Texas); and people watching--some with leashed dogs, sun hats, bib overalls, and city ladies dressed too formally. The bluegrass band adds sound as the hubbub grows with the crowd. Then taking my treasures home, cooking the fresh squash (y ellow fingerlings with a green end) and virtuously eating them with salted tomatoes. Yum, yum. Fresh peaches for dessert too. What a morning! Wish Sam could be here to share it with me--on the other hand, if he were here, we would probably among the fruit and vegetable sellers. I prefer to be a customer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

65 years of Reading

Monday night I spoke to a large group of women at Otter as part of a gathering on hobbies. I tried to tell them my reading history and how much the hobby of reading has meant in my life. Readers of
this blog already know some of this. It was, however, interesting to trace back to early days in my life to consider how I came to have such passion for books.

There were no books in our home as I was growing was more important to provide food for the family in the midst of the Great Depression. The first time I remember having a book occurred when a book showed up in a hand-me-down box from friends of my grandmother. The book was
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. It is still in print. A rather sad tale about the treatment of horses in the horse-and-carriage Victorian days, the book (as most classics do) still bears reading. That book whetted my appetite for more.

In elementary schools in the 40's in Hamlin, Texas , there were no libraries--just corner-of-the-room shelves filled with cast-off home readers and whatever teachers could scrounge up. So I had no experience with books there. Nor did our small town have a public library.

In my first encounter with an adult book, as a 6th grader I listened to my art teacher, Mrs. Griggs read Francis Parkinson Keyes' Dinner at Antoines'. She had just taken a trip to New Oreleans and shared that adventure with us land-locked uncultured West Texas students via pictures and that book. One could not get away with it today, but we all loved it--perhaps mainly because we didn't have to draw still-lifes while she read. Later on our Senior Trip in high school, we went to New Orleans, and several of us who had heard that book in 6th grade went to Antoines' and had the famous Oysters Rockefeller described by Keyes.

Our middle-school and high-schools were together in the same building, so imagine my delight and amazement when I encountered there a huge room filled with books called a library. There was only one problem--these were closed stacks--that is, the books were behind closed doors and one had to ask at a window for book desired. Never having had any experience with books, I didn't know what to ask for. I quickly wrangled a job as library helper and thus had access to any book I desired. And by the way, in my first job as librarian at a small school, I had the privilege of getting rid of the closed stacks there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This and That

It has been a very fast week since last I blogged.

Peter and Lindsey Wilson were here Sunday for Peter's "audition" as worship minister at Otter. It is always good to see them. After church, we had the mother of all pot luck luncheons. So much good food! Then there was an ice cream "crank off". I really miss making homemade ice cream--we wore out at least two electric freezers at Potosi with Mow's vanilla ice cream which had Eagle Bran Milk and whipping cream in it.

While Brandon and Sheryl finished up the newest Zoe recording, I babysat last night. It went better than the last time in getting them to bed. I loved sitting on Sam's bed and talking. He didn't want to sleep because he had a two hour nap that day, and he was ready to talk. As I put my arms around his little round body and rubbed his back, I remembered those days 37 years ago with another redhead who never liked to go to sleep.

Tonight at Otter, the Musical Conversations featured Bobby Colvert and his chosen musicians and singers. Brandon sang I Can Only Imagine and Sheryl sang On My Knees. Amy Westerman sang The Old Rugged Cross. Amanda Vickers sang a song I was not familiar with, but it was beautiful. Philip Henry was visiting ,and he sang Give Me Jesus. Sonya Colvert sang Jesus Loves Me. The program began with an instrumental Ashoken Farewell--probably one of my most favorite tunes from the PBS Ken Burns series on The Civil War. All in all, it filled an empty spot in my heart, and I think all who were there loved it.

My favorite quote of the past year appeared in today's Tennessean: Dolly Parton said, "Sometimes people tell me I should go into politics, but I'm not interested. We've got enough boobs in the White House."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Economic Hysteria

I am getting awfully tired of hearing such phrases as "we are teetering on the precipice" "we are on the edge of" "recession is...." "etc. Yes, I do emphatize with those who are struggling with unemployment, foreclosed houses, and little cash. And I can't say that I haven't counted my assets carefully (after all, I am retired and on an income that doesn't change but about 42 cents a year.)

However, I am coming to believe that the media is enjoying stirring this up (I never thought I would ever say that!). For every unemployed person (and many of those are chronically unemployed) there are millions who have found work. For every foreclosed home, there are millions still living in homes and keeping up payments. For every empty pocket, there are millions who are earning enough to keep it all together. Again, I'm not unsympathetic to those who aren't. It is a scary thing to lose a job.

While I don't subscribe to Dave Ramsey's persona and demeanor--I do think he is right to rail against credit card debt and buying things one cannot afford and cannot use. As Jim says to Huck Finn, "Life is considerable trouble and considerable joy."

What I do think we need is new, fresh, creative leadership on all levels. So let's throw the do-nothings out. Institute term limits in Congress and other levels. Elect those who may not be experienced, but who at least have creative ideas and courage.

And that's my rant for the day.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


We have had a wonderful weekend celebrating Maddie's and America's birthdays. Friday night we went to Lipscomb for the A Cappella concert and fireworks. This ia a great family experience with no large crowds pressing, a kid-friendly environment and great fireworks. We all loved it. The kids played all around us while we passed the time with friends. After eating rocket popsicles, the children were bathed in sugar (epecially Sam who got so much blue flavoring on his arms it will just have to wear off).

Yesterday was Maddie's 7th birthday party. It is hard to imagine that seven years have passed since I got the call that she was here. I flew in just in time to see her first in the hospital--Sonya Colvert picked me up at the airport. Maddie was a beautiful baby as she is a beautiful girl. Her red hair did not show up until much later, but the gorgeous blue eyes were there from the beginning. Maddie is the consumate thinker and "feeler" of the group of three. She seems to have a literary bent (maybe from me), and is very artistic (with her mother as an model) and musical (with her father's genes). I know she would have my Sam Thomas wrapped around her little finger ready to give her anything her heart desired. Love the girl!

The birthday party was matchless, as are all parties planned by Sheryl. (See Brandon's blog for a discription and pictures). Perhaps the crowning point of the party was the sliding down the stairs on mattresses. The girls went home with monogrammed pillows, bath salts and bath oil and fancy make-up and hair-dos. Little Sam needs a Daddy date with boy things to get over all of it.

Afterward, we went to see Kit Kittredge. I highly recommend this one for family viewing. The period costumes were right on. The movie is set in the middle 30's with the attendant loss of jobs, recession, foreclosures and homelessness associated with the Great Depression. That was all a little too close to comfort as one compares what is happening today. About half-way through the film, I remember just relaxing and enjoying it in a way I have not enjoyed movies for a very long time. It may be old-fashioned, but it was picturing the 30's, and I really enjoyed it. (Sam went to sleep.)

Happy birthday Madeline Gail from your Nonnie.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Twenty-dollar Tomato

My husband Sam had an excessively green thumb. Every year he would plant an acre in front of our house with vegetables--swiss chard, squash, okra, green beans, onions, corn, peppers, tomatoes, etc. For several years, we had two long rows of asparagus--yum, yum. Of course, there were also fruit trees and flowers all around.

My dark brown thumb cooperated only in the picking, cooking and/or putting up all the produce. It was an enjoyable joint venture that we and our neighbors loved.

Since he has been gone, I have not done anything with vegetables. However, this year I determined to do some gardening in a pot. So I went to Lowe's and bought some very hardy tomato and pepper plants. They were doing quite well until the aphids took over the tomatoes.
Then I had to find a spray to get rid of them....back to Lowe's. The plants grew so tall; I had to find a way to prop them up....back to Lowe's. One evening I noticed that almost every leaf was gone on the pepper plants--looking carefully I found two very green fat worms who had feasted all day. They were almost invisible to the naked eye, and I put my hand on one of them---run, run, run. Of course, they were appropriately squashed. Fortunately, the tomatoes showed no signs of fat worms...until the next morning when I found three huge ones chomping up and down the two plants. Back to Lowe's to find an anti-worm spray. The worms had also taken bites out of two of the three tomatoes I was lovingly cultivating.

Today, I picked the one tomato which had survived to ripen. I haven't eaten it yet, but it seems to have a very tough skin--I know it is not going to be good. Oh, well, maybe I will pay a visit to the Farmer's Market in Franklin next Saturday.