Tuesday, March 31, 2015

fabrics of Easter, day 3

Back before our Christmas our church lost a few of our Sunday morning children's teachers. A few were having health problems and simply needed to take a break; others are in different seasons of their life and are ministering in other areas now. Regardless, our fourth-sixth grade class suddenly became first-sixth grade. If you've ever worked with children, you know that is a HUGE age range.

I love the older kids, but I've also enjoyed seeing the wonder and excitement in the eyes of the younger group.

At the end of one of our lessons, I threw out the idea to the class that they were now old enough to read the Bible for themselves. They were all reading well, and there was no reason why they couldn't take a Bible, whether in book or on their phones or tablets, and read a verse or two every day. My fifth grade teacher encouraged me greatly in that area, (thank you Diana Postelwaite, wherever you are!), and the idea had never crossed my mind until she mentioned it. It was interesting watching the facial expressions when I said it - a mixture of shock, empowerment, enlightenment and disbelief. It was awesome.  And then the hand went up. :)

First - third graders LOVE to share. And this little fellow raised his hand, started telling how he and his Dad read together from the Bible every night, and how earlier in the week they had read about the naked person.  I don't think I need to tell you that several things happened at this point: the girls started giggling, the 6th grade boys on the back row sat up straight, my mind is racing to think of where he might have been reading (I was thinking of the demon possessed man who would strip and throw himself in the fire), and I saw Bobby and Wil Mincy's faces wrinkle in the same expression as they too were trying to think of where.

"The naked man?" I asked.

"Yeah. He didn't have a name. You know, it's right before Jesus dies, before he goes to Pilate."

And now I'm totally baffled. 41 years of church and four years at a conservative Bible college, and I have NO CLUE what this child is talking about.

At this point Wil (a sixth grader who the class thinks is exceptionally smart because he remembers small details), raised his hand and said "I think he means Peter, who cut the eat off of the servant." The young boy is shaking his head no and I look to Bobby who has this bemused and awkward smile on his face.

"No," the little boy says. "It's there. In Mark. They grabbed this man who was following Jesus, and he got scared, and he pulled out of his clothes and ran home naked."

And now the giggles and shocked expressions are growing. I look to Bobby for help, and he sheepishly nods. I raise my eyebrows, and he proceeds to tell the class this passage:
51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. ~ Mark 14:51-52 (NIV)
I don't know how I ever missed this passage. It's not recorded in any other Gospel, leaving many historians to assume the young man was Mark himself. The NIV, which is more of a meaning paraphrase translation, listed above, makes it sound as if he was not wearing underwear but normal outerwear. The NASB version, which is a more literal translation, makes it sound a little more suspect and shady.

Whatever the reason, I cannot imagine the fear and the chaos of that night. A time of prayer and exhaustion, high emotions and charges, followed by armed guards and fights, an arrest, and a young man running away naked.

These are the details that I love in Scripture. It shows the horror, the reality, the emotions, and the extremely personal eyewitness accounts of its authors. There are so many things I've never noticed or paid much attention to before. But this is one of the clothing items mentioned in the Easter story that I don't think I'll ever forget.

Monday, March 30, 2015

fabrics of Easter, day 2

While I was in college, one of my classmates grew up in a Catholic area. All the churches in her town, whether Catholic or Protestant, truly celebrated both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. I was amazed to hear some of her stories and her favorite memories, and could then easily understand how disappointed Easter was to her when she arrived and attended Baptist churches in the South. I think about her now every Palm Sunday, and wonder how people would respond if we started truly celebrating our most important Christian holiday.

Palm Sunday - the triumphant entry. I always thought it stupid as a child when I read fairy tales and a man or knight would place his cape or coat on the ground for a queen or princess to walk over.  It seemed most of my childhood I was reprimanded for "getting dirty" (as in playing in the dirt and pine straw...NOT how today's society uses that phrase). And I was always a bit puzzled by this passage in Sunday school:

The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. ~ Matthew 21:6-8

I get verse six and seven.  I've seen Moms use their coats or sweatshirts to roll up for a pillow or backrest for a small child or elderly relative. I've watched Dads take off their coats at a a cold football game and put it on the hard concrete for the Moms or kids to sit on...a way of helping them stay warm. And using coats to make both the donkey and Jesus more comfortable is a nice gesture...though I would have hesitated because Mom would have had a fit had I used my one good coat to put on a stinky animal that would ride off...with my coat...never to be seen again. Can you imagine how many times you would have to hear that same lecture over and over and over in the months to come? And then you get to verse eight...most of the crowd put their coats on the ground (ancestors of PETA people, perhaps?) but others used tree branches. I would have been one of the tree branch people.  I find it interesting that John's account includes the tree branches, but not the part about the coats, whereas Luke is the total opposite - he mentions only the coats, and that they did this throughout his ride, but no mention whatsoever of tree branches.

As much as I like to think I'd have paid Christ his due homage as he rode the donkey into Jerusalem, I don't think I would have been a throwing of the coat person, especially as a child or teenager. But tearing off a tree limb (even better having to climb the tree to do it!) or waving one up and down  while running up and down the road....that would have been much more in line with my character.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

fabrics of Easter

Bobby and I have the blessing of teaching the 1st-6th graders at our church every other month.  This past month their lessons have been on the Christmas story, which surprised me.  But by the end of preparing for lesson one, I realized where the curriculum writers were heading, and it made me appreciate the story in a new way. The emphasis was on the deity of Christ...not his humanity. As each lesson progressed through a few highlights of Christ's life, all which emphasized his deity, both from his claims, actions, and the accusation of the Jewish leaders and people, it ended with the importance of the fabric ripping in the temple.

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said,“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. ~ Luke 23:44-46 (NASB)

We backtracked and talked about that veil or curtain and its importance. We reminisced about the Holy of Holies (Exodus 26:31-34)and how only the High Priest could enter God's presence and offer requests on behalf of the people. (And at that point, their little brains kicked into high gear and went rampant with questions about the Ark of the Covenant that I could not answer or there are simply no concrete answers on ...Does the ark still exist? Where do you think it is? What about what's inside it? Would someone die today if they touched it since the veil is torn? How many people died for touching it in the Bible and why? etc)

I don't think the kids were/are as fascinated about the curtain veil being torn as I am/was.  I don't like torn fabric. There's a quilt/sewing shop in Cary that rips their fabric (on their behalf, it does make sure the fabric is lined up exactly on the grain as it tears on the thread line) and I hate it. It makes the edge of the fabric flare or fan out; it gives it a stretched look, and it always makes me feel like the fabric has been desecrated.
51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. ~ Matthew 27:51

Had a man entered the temple and torn the fabric, the direction of the tear would have been a little different. The stretch would start on the bottom of the fabric. The fact that God almighty tore this fabric from his direction downward, signifying I no longer needed an appointed man to talk on my behalf is HUGE. Because of Christ's deity and sacrifice on my behalf, I can pour my heart out to him whenever I desire. When I sin, I don't need to offer a blood sacrifice, or tell it to anyone else, but can communicate with Him directly. No more middle man business. Cut straight to the chase.

Do I like the fact that beautiful blue and purple and scarlet material (was it woven together, or the thread strands simply twisted together like yarn?), embroidered by a "professional" seamstress with cherubin all over was torn in two? No. As a quilter who struggles with straight edges and handwork, I would find that horrifying. But the significance of that turn curtain, hand-made, is awesome.

Of all the fabrics and fashion statements made throughout the Easter story, this one is my favorite.

Friday, March 27, 2015


The Quilt page is now updated.  For more information on the group I quilt with every month, check out Patriotic Piecers on Facebook.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

last shots of Bentonville 2015

I don't remember there being trenches at the previous reenactments, but they clearly had them here, and even had soldiers digging in them at various points. The Boy Scouts behind us were laughing at the soldiers doing the digging, because they all took their wool coats off. I don't blame them! It was warming up. The boys must have had binoculars, because I had to zoom with my camera several times before I found the soldiers they were talking about.
 The flank move below seemed to excite everyone in the crowd.
 The two "dead" federal soldiers (in the trenches) caused quite a bit of laughter among the Boy Scout troup behind us. Evidently one of them turned his head at some point, and they were making quite a few jokes about what the two dead soldiers were discussing.
 Maybe because of the almost teenage boys behind me, maybe because it was movement, but I started noticing the soldiers who "died". One, it was sad, but at the same time it became a little bit funny. Some of them clearly didn't want to hurt themselves and slowly knelt to the ground. Others put on quite the show by tumbling head over heels and writhing.  The guy below got quite comfortable. And I don't blame him. If I had to be still in one position for a long time, I'd die in a comfortable position too!
 Another scene enacted quite well was soldiers helping/dragging other wounded soldiers off the field.
 At this point the troops started a counter-attack directly in front of us. Like in the movies, row one fires while row two prepares their guns, and if there's a third row, they stand in line to advance or flank as needed. This group was doing that, so I knew they were about to fire and thought I'd have the perfect shot. About the same time they fired, the Feds fired a cannon shot in their direction, and EVERYONE in our section jumped. So instead of getting a good shot, I took a picture similar to one my mother would take...feet in focus and heads cut off. :)  Too bad the photo doesn't capture the noise, the smoke, or everyone around us cheering because they thought the "action" was about to begin.
 This injured chap drug himself under the shade tree in front of the crowd before he died. I know it was supposed to be serious, but it made me laugh a little bit.
 I think we were all amazed at how close the soldiers came to each other. Our guns today are so advanced and powerful that we forget that wasn't the case back then, and a lot of these battles resulted in bayonets (knives placed on the ends of the guns) and hand to hand combat.
I pray our nation will never face such a war again, whether "civil" or foreign. And as much as I hope that never ever comes our way again, should it happen, I pray we're well prepared.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

the Bentonville musicians

Federal Band performing for the crowd pre-reenactment. They even took a few requests from the crowd and played a few Rebel songs.

Add caption

One of my favorite shots. Most drummers were younger boys, though by this point in the war the South was decimated and most southern soldiers were Grandpas and young boys.

Not totally sure, but I think one of the flutists was a female.

And another female I don't think I posted yesterday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

hat decorations

About half of this Federal unit sported the red caps. We weren't sure if they were supposed to be of French or Italian descent. Either way, they spoke a striking pose and were one of the groups that had a chant or song while marching.

Yeah, I know this guy doesn't have a hat decoration...but check out that quilt!

Saw quite a few feathers, which made me wonder if they got the idea from "yankee doodle"

A lot of this unit sported holly in their hats and had orangy-beards, making me wonder if it's an Irish thing (like shamrocks)
Don't fret. There's only a few more days worth of Bentonville's 150th anniversary pictures, and then I'll move on to other topics and such.

Monday, March 23, 2015

women at Bentonville

If I were in my 20s, I think reenacting is something that would be fun. And while I'd like to reenact the roles of women, such as the ladies who cook in the tents and work as medic assistants in the field with the long dresses and bonnets, I think it's cool that these girls took on the role as soldiers and such. Granted, all the women who fought did so in disguise (and yes, there is documented proof this did happen), I think it's kind of cool that these women do this without cutting off their hair and disguising as men. I know it would disgruntle the purists (yeah, the people who think about reenactments the same why I think of movies made from books), but it would make many young girls like I was more willing to participate.

No, this lady wasn't a reenactor, but was standing in front of the sitting lines talking to friends before it started, (during the preview time), in essence blocking the view of EVERYONE sitting in my section. And just because I'm a little snarky this way...notice who she pulls for....yeah...the same fans who almost always park in the handicap access lanes or illegally park in HC spots 'cause they'll "just be a minute")
 And now...for the female reenactors:

Check out the beards on the two guys surrounding the girl with glasses...that's authentic!

See the gator in the background? When it drove some older men onto the field for the preview, the Boy Scouts sitting behind me started heckling them..."Hey! That's not very authentic!" It made me laugh a little. The gator driver  also escorted overheated soldiers off the field for medical attention.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bentonville - 150th anniversary

Every five years, the historical society puts on a re-enactment of the battle of Bentonville. It's awesome. They have lectures, shops in tents (all kinds of historical gift shops - flags, clothes, material, hats, toys...you name it! as well as books  and momentos), and displays of tent life from soliders and the people who followed the armies around. The Harper House, which was claimed by both sides at different points and used as a field hospital (the old wood floors still sport darkened spots which are claimed to be blood stains), and then the fields nearby also became small graveyards.  It's sad, but it's also a good reminder that nothing is free, and sometimes that price is quite high.

There used to be a lot of "purists" (those who think things should be exact replicas), but that is changing more and more with each re-enactment. We saw people in period clothing using their cell phones, both for talking and taking pictures, and more and more reenactors must have their clothes tailor made as very few Americans today can wear the clothing made for people back then. Not only are we taller, but we're also much, much fatter. It's hard to grasp how hungry the troops were at this point, even with the hardtack and dried beans being displayed in the tents and around the fires at the field camps, nor the soldiers making jokes/complaining about their being no more chickens on any of the nearby farms (the joke in Raleigh after Sherman's troops came through was that the only chicken left in the city was the metal one on the Episcopalian's steeple). The soldiers today reflect society today...very obese. We also saw something new  yesterday...a LOT of women soldiers. I know a lot of reenactors are dying out and people of my generation are not stepping up to fill their spots. I know there were many women soldiers during the civil war, but most of them disguised themselves as men. Cut their hair, etc. These women were clearly women, though most of them did bun their hair or at least put in a pony tail. But it's hard to say it's authentic when you know few men during that era would have willingly fought alongside a woman. There were a few men whose wives fought alongside them, but they were also disguised as men, with only their husbands knowing. When it finally became suspected, many were sent home, though a few captains allowed them to stay and fight as long as the other partner was fighting. I think I counted at least 15 women reenactors yesterday, and there may have been more.

We sat on a different section of the field from the previous two times, but the battle was also laid out in a different way from previous years. We saw a lot more of the action from both sides. I didn't take my good camera this year because I figured most of the action would be down the hill and almost out of view, but I was able to get quite a few good shots with my pocket camera.

I can't post everything today, but I would list as it as the best of the three reenactments I've seen there. I'll try to post some of my favorite pictures a little each day this week.

Monday, March 16, 2015



  • Washed clothes...and the washing machine quit working halfway through a load.
  • Spent 3 hours with a seam ripper tearing out 2/3 of a row of quilting that is absolutely horrible. Not sure how much is user error and how much is a quilting machine that doesn't quilt like it is supposed to.
  • Attempted not to focus on the remaining 5 rows that must also come out. One moment/stitch at a time.
  • Pieced a little on a QOV quilt.
  • Tried not to look at the wheel tracks in the floor...that I just cleaned Friday afternoon. I could fill up a planter.
  • Rejoiced that the pond drain is FINALLY unstopped and water levels are almost where they need to be.
  • Spent some extra time in prayer for Bobby's sister and niece as today was his oldest nephew's birthday. He would have been 38.
  • Got the phone call that the father of same nephew died tonight. While he's not been a part of the Bryan family since I've been on the scene, he was one of the few friends that didn't treat Bobby any differently after his accident - and that is huge.
  • Answered the phone. It seldom rings here...but it seems we've had a call at least once an hour today.
  • Checked on incubator eggs...still no chirping or piping.
  • Mentally geared up for tomorrow...dog to train on a new collar, medical supply company to deal with (a-GAIN!), and errands to run.
So thankful that my joy is not found in circumstances!

Friday, March 13, 2015

dirt digging

Well, I've planted all but one of the items we ordered a LONG time ago from a nursery. They divided the order into three boxes. The first one to arrive, a kiwi VINE (silly me thought it would be a shrub/tree) is still sitting on the kitchen table. The other two boxes arrived this morning and all are now in the ground and watered. And I am EXHAUSTED. (Healthy eating doesn't help a whole lot when you're drastically out of shape.)

While I was planting the English walnut trees, I saw this word I didn't remember seeing when I ordered: grafted. And that gave me pause. Several years ago we purchased an English walnut that died back the first year but then came back. I rejoiced. And then this year it produced its first fruit...three pods of BLACK (not English walnuts). Evidently the tree was grafted into a Black walnut root. Sometimes that happens. Whatever the root of a graft is, if the graft dies for any reason, the plant that grows next will be whatever the original root was. So I'm hoping against hope that these two trees will NOT die and we WILL have English walnuts instead of black walnuts. In case you're wondering what the differences are, this might help:

Black walnuts fall off the tree with shell intact. Sometime the shell/hull must be broken off with the hammer.
(I actually ran over some with my car when we were given two bushels.)

And here is what you get when the shell/hull is removed. These must be broken open with a tight vise or hammer (see the first picture for what one completely open looks like). Black walnuts have a slightly bitter taste.
English walnuts are smaller and are supposed to peel open (like pecans do) on the tree when ripe. Inside you'll see this:

The nut itself.  I think these nuts are great in brownies and cakes (though pecans work okay, too).
Anytime I plant a fruit or nut tree, I think of my father-in-law. Unless a tree produced something to eat, he didn't see much a point in growing it. When all of his children got houses of their own, he planted (without asking) either pecan trees or fig trees in their yard. We still laugh about the day I came home from work and was headed down to the pond to feed the geese and walked straight into a stick. It wasn't there the day before! I stopped, looked around, and saw 6 bare sticks, about 6' tall, planted in a semi-circle around our backyard. Later that fall when we planted a maple and oak (and unbeknownst to me, a sweet gum...grrr!), he asked me if I was trying to audition for Better Homes and Garden or something. That still makes me laugh. When we planted two apples and a pear tree the next year, he nodded in approval. I will say that once we get a fig tree planted, I think our yard will be full. 

Well, and a trellis for the kiwi vine. Still not sure how I missed that!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

family history

I currently have a subscription to ancestry.com that expires in May. My goal is to research everything I can before that ends. And it is T I M E consuming.

One of the things that continuously throws me for a loop is the discrepancies. I'm finding that many people who were illiterate or had limited reading/writing abilities (Bobby and I are still baffled how a person could read but not write), say 4th grade or under, do not keep up with dates. For example, I have on distant relative who only completed a few years of school. On every census (every 10 years) her age is different. We know it's her because of the location and other family members listed in the household. From marriage certificate to her death certificate to the census records, her date of birth spans an entire decade. I can understand a year or two...but seven or ten?

I'm also amazed at how much our current society takes for granted. Illiteracy is a huge topic in public education today, but it is NOTHING compared to what it used to be. It's a little heart-wrenching to see a census where under "JOB", every child age 11 and over is listed as either a spinner (cotton mill), blacksmith apprentice, housekeeper, or ranch hand. Fast forward to decades after 1940 and that line will either be blank or listed as "student".  I'm all for children helping their families out and working some, but working full-time at the age of 12 is so foreign to me.  I also have to remind myself to find the birth year, look for the next census, and if the female child is 5-11, then to look for a marriage certificate if they're not listed in the family's household in the next decade. While 15 sounds incredibly young to be married, my grandmother married much younger than that, and I know many other women who married around 14 or 15. I can't imagine that happening today (and I would recommend against it). I found one young girl who was married at 16 to a 33 year old. I know that's near the same age difference in my marriage, but there is a very BIG difference in getting married at 25 than getting married at 16. It simply blows my mind.

One of the craziest things (I spent two WHOLE days this week working on this alone) was that my aunt sent me texts/photos of the family record from her great-great Grandma's Bible.  We have no record of those listings or surname anywhere in our family tree. We do not know how or where they fit in the tree. I've simply started researching their lines in hopes that I'll eventually find a link. We (my parents and I) were joking on the phone the other night that maybe it was a record of her best friend's family and they're really not related to us at all.

I'm still amazed that I can do all of this from the comforts of my home. I know at some point I'll need to visit some courthouses or libraries to search antique records for some documents, but for now I'm relishing the internet and ancestry's search engines. It's intriguing, mind-blowing, and at times, very frustrating.

Probably the coolest thing is seeing the "Jane" tradition. I knew my oldest niece was the third in line, so I thought, of having the middle name Jane, but turns out it goes back WAY much further than that. Mary Jane (at least 2), Sarah Jane, Etta Jane, Merinda Jane, and now Emily Jane. It's a neat tradition.

So if I don't post much in the next few weeks, you'll know I'm either researching or quilting...or working outside. I think I horrified Bobby when I said I wasn't all that thrilled for spring.  Yard work - it really does interfere with my hobbies. :)