Thursday, April 30, 2015

queen of unfinished projects

There's only one cleaning characteristic I obtained from my mother...instead of spot cleaning, I roam from room to room, or else I deep clean - every niche and corner of a room. I guess that's two characteristics. My mother is very neat and tidy, and I think she's a bit aghast sometimes that the child who was so OCD and nitpicky about everything being just right is now so ...messy.

Three months ago I pulled my large sewing machine (the one I can quilt on) into the dining room so I could tackle a quilt top that's been hanging in the closet for quite some time. I figured having the space of the dining room table would make all the bulk easier to handle. When I finished, I flipped the quilt over to measure for binding, and was horrified to realize the last 6 rows (SIX!!!) would have to be taken out. The bobbin tension was messed up and had made the most awful mess I had ever seen. That was a month ago. I've managed to pull out one row. ONE.  At this rate, I may never finish the quilt.

But I needed the dining room table. I decided at this point, it could be months before I get back to quilting. So the machine and supplies needed to go back to my sewing room. I think you might now where this is headed.

I rearranged my sewing room, which meant sorting and putting away and moving tables and cabinets. Bobby came back at one point to see what I had accomplished after a few hours. At this point, I'm a mixture of happiness that the room is somewhat workable now, and despair because I have SO many projects in various stages of completion that I might not ever finish anything. I'm not going to tell you what comments he made, but I am thankful he was somewhat laughing as he shook his head in disbelief.

So an old project which was somewhat near completion is now back on the sewing & cutting table, and the messed up quilt is piled up in a chair in the living room (in case I ever sit down to watch tv..haha) and the two quilt blocks I need to have finished by next Thursday are sitting on a different table in my sewing room, taunting me.

Meanwhile, I have finished another Quilt of Valor quilt. Maybe tomorrow night I can post pictures on the quilt page - if I'm not peeling wall paper off a bathroom wall.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

changes and reality

Another farm is up for sale in our neighborhood. Funny thing is, it hasn't been used as a farm in many, many years, and yet I still think of it as a farm.

I truly understand the hows and whys of such things. I know about the taxes, the upkeep, and the amount of time involved in maintaining a small place (and can't imagine what it would be to do 12x the amount I do now). I know that for such places to remain a farm, someone must be willing to actually...farm.  And most Americans today do not have a love for the soil and a love for plants or farm animals, much less a desire for long, hot, hard working hours with a wild card called nature that can upend it all. So even if I don't like it, I do understand that at some point, farms must be sold, and when that happens, they will grow a development instead of crops.

But what bugs me beyond belief is that there is an old house with lots of character and charm, that would make an awesome home for a small family, that will be torn down. Evidently farm houses are not desirable to developers. Just for once, I'd love to see a developer come in, and build a development around a farm house, leaving a reminder that this area was once a working farm. Smaller houses, mixed with bigger houses, and even some barn-style sheds built on some of the properties. A throwback tribute to the tenant farmers who lived on the land but didn't own it, but without whom the crops would never be planted or harvested. One or two small apartment (as in one or two story) complexes as a modern day reminder of all the migrant workers who keep American in food. (Just google the story of GA and migrant workers...when the economy crashed and people headed back to Mexico, crops were rotting in the field because no American workers would do such hard work. Most Americans quit the job on day two, if they showed up for day two.) You could add a nice house or two for people who like big houses, in memory of the rare plantations, as a way of making a profit, but let most of the houses be smaller, open houses, like the true farm houses. You know, where you're not sure what the purpose of the room was when you walk into the empty house, because the rooms were non-descript so they could be interchangeable. Not that many kids? You've got an office, or a parlor (living room or den, we call them now), or even a library. Have a lot of kids? No problem. Move furniture around, and it's a bedroom. They didn't decorate in those days like we do now. That was for rich, frivolous people. And the kitchen? It's big enough to do farm things...like canning and processing food, with plenty of cabinets for storage. And the porch that connects to the kitchen...ideal for shucking corn or shelling beans and not making a mess in the house. It wouldn't be wanted by today's standards. I get that. This is probably why I could never make a living as a developer. My ideas would not match today's standards at all.

And as much as I hate to see it go, we have a house that works for us and that we've spent hours upon hours working to get it as we want (the yard, not so much the house). Other than the historical aspect of this old house, there's no reason to change the set-up we have. It's not realistic or practical.

I know that change must come. It's inevitable, really. But there's a small part of me that cringes and whispers "NO!"

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

life lessons

Every time I see the insanity happening in Baltimore, I think of two things: one, lessons my parents taught me. Two, I wish I could buy one way tickets to North Korea, China, Russia, Ivory Coast, Singapore, and Vietnam for every single one of those protesters.  Pull a stunt like throwing bricks or trash cans or moltov cocktails at police in China? That won't be a nerf bullet they shoot in your direction. Damage someone's property or loot a store in Ivory Coast? You better pray the police get their fast. Sometimes the police take their sweet time and sit back and watch, only intervening right before the owners beat the vandal or thief to the point of death. The whole scenario in Baltimore both disgusts me and breaks my heart.

But it also makes me appreciate my parents. Had these kids been taught the following simple lessons and seen it modeled out growing up, there's no way they'd be participating in such selfish vandalism and greedy and self-serving acts of anarchy.


  • Respect authority.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Rights are earned, not granted. 
  • Your freedoms end where another's nose begins.
  • Don't covet.
  • Don't steal.
  • Help those in need.
  • Do what's right, no matter what anyone around you is doing.
  • Be honest.

No faith is perfect. Growing up in the church and in a pastor's home, I know that way too well. But I also know that people of no faith have no guidelines to govern their lives. All but one of those above life lessons are from my Christian faith. The older I become, the more certain I am that people who have no guidelines other than "It's all about me" will continue to act and react in these ways.  This type of violence and destruction will only get worse as America becomes more of a secular society. When police and other authority figures do dishonest and dishonorable things, everyone suffers. When people have not been taught the difference between right and wrong, innocents suffer. Calling the national guard may be bring temporary stability, but it won't heal the moral decay of our nation. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

recovery

Today marks the 4 year anniversary of my hometown being hit by two tornadoes, killing 4 people and demolishing Main Street. The first two years of recovery seemed to be nothing but meetings and paperwork as FEMA and the Alabama Historical Commission could not seem to get their requirements in line with each other and a tiny town with no insurance and little initiative seemed to find meeting the basic necessities of a town all it could handle. Today, I'm happy to report that things are still slowly improving, though there's still many miles ahead.

The new City Hall is under construction. (www.cityofcordova.org)

And the new Piggly Wiggly (located where the Hardware Store used to be, due to the 100 year flood plain guidelines), which opened last year (I think).  www.cityofcordova.org

I was thinking about it this morning as the news was showing coverage from Nepal. We are SO blessed to live in a country that can provide humanitary aid in times of crisis, and that no matter how bad things were in the state of Alabama (200 people died that day, and over 92 towns were tremendously destroyed), it's not even a blink of the trauma that is facing Nepal today. I was glad to read that India and China were immediately sending in assistance, both supplies and rescue workers, and that other nations were waiting on the airport to clear. It's sad that our world only works together during times of natural disasters, but at least we're still doing that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do ya love me?

This past weekend a young mother-to-be from a small town in Wake County was shot to death behind the Party City where she worked. Her boyfriend has now been arrested and charged with her murder. So far the baby is surviving.

The day after the arrest, the media interviewed several of her friends from high school (her family is not talking to the media). They talked about her singing in praise band and how much she loved Jesus. So in the back of my mind, I'm thinking "What changed?" The news article in the paper the next day described her as being "very active" in her church and that she was planning to move in with her boyfriend soon. And that little voice in my head is saying "It's not a Bible-believing church."

Today, in her obituary in the paper, it listed the name of the church and that she had a "passionate love for Jesus".  And the church she attends? It is Bible-believing. Which leaves me asking "How? Why?"

There's some very simple commands and statements made by Jesus Christ:

If you love me, keep my commandments. ~ John 14:15

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. ~ John 13:35

He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him...If anyone loves me, he will keep My word...He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. ~ John 14:21, 23, 24

and some other descriptions about God's love and us:

For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face. ~ Psalm 11:7

The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but He loves one who pursues righteousness. ~ Proverbs 15:9

I am totally baffled how anyone, even someone whose heart has been ripped in pain with such a tragedy, can make such warped statements as "she passionately loved Jesus" when her life's fruit showed the exact opposite. Love Jesus? Okay, I'll just disobey his commands and commit adultery. Love Jesus? Sure, instead of "going and sinning no more" I'll not only commit the sin of adultery but plan to live the life of a wanton woman. I love Jesus so much that even though he commanded his followers to obey his commands (which included the law His Father gave), I'll not only NOT obey his commands, I'll brag to everyone about my disobedient lifestyle.

My heart is breaking for our country if churches who proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ and his power to transform lives allow its members to live the exact opposite. I'm reminded of King Josiah (in 2 Kings 22) who was given the "forgotten" book of the law, and when he read it, responded: ...for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according all that is written concerning us."  It is as if we have forgotten God's commands and that they apply to our lives, that if we truly love Him, we'll obey his commands.

My heart hurts for this family. Death is hard. An unexpected, tragedy such as this is even harder. But to turn a blind eye to God's commands and believe a lie, that's to face the wrath of God.

May He have mercy on the American church.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

a slightly different approach

With the Maryland parents allowing their two children to "free-range" and having their children abducted by social services for the second time, there's been a lot of discussion and debate (though nowhere near enough) about the differences in helicopter parenting and free-range parenting, between government oversight of child-rearing and the authority of parents, and obedience to the rules of judges and social workers vs. obedience to the personal beliefs of parents.

But I can't help but think about another facet of this saga that I've not heard mentioned...the people filing the reports. Despite all the animosity and fear I've heard when people talk about social services, I've yet to hear anyone badmouth the neighbor or friend who called in the report in the first place. And I find that interesting. Without the first report of abuse or neglect, social services would never investigate or send out police in the first place.

So what would the scenario be if the police officer showed up at a park, knew how to talk to kids (that's another topic), assessed that the children were safe and not neglected, and then proceeded to send the reporter a warning for "filing a false report".  Because really, that's all this boils down to. A person watched kids walking down a street and playing in a park without any sign of an adult present. They never approached the children or asked them questions. The children looked both ways before crossing the street. They held hands when crossing the street. They kept on eye on each other. The older child had a cell phone. They didn't appear to be malnourished. And yet, this person, concerned that no adult was hovering over the children, called and reported a case of abandonment and neglect.

If I had children, would I allow them to walk a mile to the Garner soccer park and play on the swing set? No. As teenagers, maybe.  But I'm not going to fault a parent that does. I might call that parent privately and suggest she check out sex offenders in the area and offer to keep an eye out for her kids while they're walking in front of my house, but those are her children to be parented as she sees best. As long as there are no signs of abuse or neglect, the only thing to report is a difference of opinion...and that is not a crime.

Imagine the reaction if an overly opinionated mom received either a written or a personal notice from the police department or social services that her claim had been investigated and was determined to be be baseless and unsubstantiated, that they appreciated her concerns for the well-being of society, but such serious charges and allegations about fellow citizens was paramount to libel and slander, and if a second baseless claim was made, it would be treated as such. It would eliminate a lot of this mess. It would force callers to stop and truly access a situation and whether or not it is truly dangerous and neglectful, or just very different from what the caller would do.

There are too many cases of true neglect and abandonment in our society for us to be obsessed with minute things that are matters of opinion.

Monday, April 20, 2015

disturbing, but not surprising

Yesterday I read a disturbing article in the News & Observer about adults taking (abusing) ADHD medicine for the sole purpose of being able to work more/sleep less. For example, people working in the corporate world, Wall Street is specifically mentioned, do not "have time" to sleep more than four hours a night. Some of them get less. The article also high lights that this is a common practice in colleges around exam time and when many projects are due.

I attended a Christian college. And yet, there were several students in the girls dorm that would buy caffeine pills or stimulants to help them focus when they "needed" to pull an all-nighter. I had a roommate that used them so much her sleeping habits were altered, forcing her to use sleeping pills, which opened up a whole new can of worms.

So here's one thing that baffled me after reading the article. If places of higher education are full of people who are not disciplining themselves to maintain a manageable schedule, to say no, and to be realistic, and have been for years, then why is everyone so surprised and shocked and concerned that the upper echelons of working society are now continuing the same practice they employed in college/their formative adult years?

When I visited third world countries and lived in China, I was often struck at how they perceived Americans as "controlling" or "arrogant".  I asked some of my students once exactly what they meant by that, and they responded with time change as an example. Instead of getting up earlier and staying in sync with nature's time clock, we change our clock and schedules to keep the sunlight and our routines on the same path. They saw that as an American attempt to control nature. I as totally blown away by such a thought process, but since being back in the states, I do observe this "I'm in control attitude" when I never had before my time overseas. And I think this news article is yet another example of that. Instead of admitting that we are human, which means our bodies are require rest and times to recharge, we instead seek ways to give ourselves more energy to become more invincible, all-powerful, ever alert and cognisant, never sleeping, never slumbering. In essence, like Lucifer, we're still striving to be like God.

It's sad that a nation that was once so powerful is now so prideful and unwilling to recognize the dangers of defying nature and natural processes in the name of "getting ahead" and "staying in the game". Days of reckoning do come, whether its an obese person realizing their body is no longer coping with the abuse heaped on it over the years, or a person who has drugged himself/herself to the point of exhaustion and their body shuts down or malfunctions from the neglect and abuse. Wealth without common sense will not remain wealth for long.

Friday, April 17, 2015

South Garner High update

I took this pictures 2 days ago, and as I downloaded them from my camera, they already seem out of date.
The side view of the educational bldg, from Clifford Rd. I was amazed at the walls going up. As of today, the scaffolding is down, it loos like the stairwell is completed, and the roof is totally on.

This shows the corner view of the education bldg (near Pat's house on Clifford). Sorry for the blind up in the back of the van. The metal framework was what you saw last week. Today, all of the bldg on the left is now walled and roofed in. They're in the process of walling in the wing of the bldg in the far right.

and a closer up of the metal structure of the right wing of the bldg

What I didn't get a shot of was the new building (or wing) going up between the educational building and the gym. I think it's the cafeteria, and I'm not sure whether or not it will connect to the gymnasium. Like the gym, it's currently cinderblock. For a view of it, you need to stay on Hebron Church Rd (headed towards New Bethel Church Rd). They're certainly making progress!



Thursday, April 16, 2015

What month is this?

Last month I shocked a friend by saying my mind was still thinking it was February, and I was NOT ready to admit that March had arrived. She looked at me and responded "You know April will be here in 2 weeks, don't you?!" And then we both laughed as she shook her head.

This morning I had many errands to run. I was hoping that the opening crowd of the new Cabela's would have slowed down and we might stop there as we made our loop, but that was NOT to be. This is the sight we saw leaving Bojangles (heading from Jones Sausage Rd back toward White Oak/Hwy 70).

The far ends of the overflow parking lot (the old ConAgra plant).

and the entrance to the parking lot. This doesn't show the line of 50+ people waiting for the shuttle bus.

and the far corner of the parking lot (which circled around to the far end of the property)

These vehicles were NOT there thirty minutes earlier!

I was trying to get the traffic backed up at White Oak and Hwy 70, but the crowd in the unpaved parking lot here (where the hotel is going) and the line of vehicles attempting to turn in to Cabela's  conveys the crowd.

This sign has been up at White Oak for at least a week, and it makes us laugh and cringe a little every time we see it. 

You would think this was Black Friday or the week before Christmas the way traffic was everywhere today, not April! I'm excited that Garner has a store that is so popular, we were laughing a little at how busy Bojangles was (almost as busy as the one at 40/42!), and were totally dumbfounded to arrive at Agri-Supply and find a crowded parking lot. Evidently a lot of people decided since they couldn't easily get to Cabela's, they'd visit Agri-Supply. After all, it sells camo stuff, has a gun shop, hunting/camping supplies, plus everything farm related! Granted, they don't have fishing stuff and most of their supplies are living related instead of hobby/play related (although I consider my chickens more of a hobby), but after I stopped and thought about it, it did make sense for people to go there. At least other businesses are benefiting from the crowds.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

habitats

A few weeks ago Bobby told me he saw an eagle. I missed it, but did see the shadow on the ground as it flew overhead. This morning I got a glimpse of it. It soared like the hawks that frequently hover, but it also dove into the pond. I've never seen a hawk do that. Grabbing the binoculars, I was even more baffled. Its feathers were mottled (a mixture of brown and white), but but the center of its head was white - like a mohawk. The rest of its face was brown, like a golden eagle, but it clearly had the short, hook nose. Its tail, in flight, showed stripes, but when perched on the tree appeared to be a solid dark color. I'm not sure but the underbelly was also lighter colored, like that of a hawk.

I spent some time reading this morning on wikipedia about birds in North Carolina. I don't know if golden eagles and bald eagles mix breed or not, but at this point we're leaning more towards a young bald eagle.

The last five years we have seen more wildlife than I have ever seen in my life. I've seen numerous foxes, a few coyote, wild rabbits, herds of deer, hawks, blue herons, beavers, o'possums, raccoons, a river otter (we think...could have been a mink), a groundhog (at church in the parking lot this past Sunday!), and now maybe an eagle. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with living near a pond, and some has to do with all the wooded areas nearby slowly being developed, but it can be a bit unnerving. The first time I saw a fox, I wasn't sure what I was seeing. My brain was processing details so fast it wasn't funny - cat ears, cat stance, dog size, bushy tail, funny legs/paws - can it be? Am I see a fox? It was very weird and strange. And they move so fast, that once they're gone you sit there thinking "Did I really see that?"

There are times that I really hate having a pond at our house. It brings a lot of visitors, both human and wild, and takes a little extra work to maintain. But I have absolutely loved seeing the wildlife, even when it scares me a little.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

count your blessings

I have a version of the old hymn Count Your Blessings on my ipod that I love but makes my husband wrinkle one side of his face when it plays. I've thought a lot about that song the last few months. When I was a child, my Mom would sing as she did housework, and that was one of the songs she often sang. In middle school, whenever I complained about things I didn't like or that made me unhappy, she would gently chide me to be thankful for the things that were good that I did have/experience. A few years ago I read Ann VosKamp's One Thousand Gifts, and it made me think of my Mom so much.

So today, in honor of my Mom and my many aunts who were almost always positive in their outlook, here's my thankful list:


  • a family that loves me
  • that God truly knows what is best, even if it's not what I like
  • Dr. Pepper
  • M&Ms
  • the children in our church
  • a husband who faithfully worked and saved for years
  • that God gave me a husband whose philosophies and practices match mine
  • the internet
  • modern medicine
  • freedom to criticize our government or its policies
  • electricity
  • clean, running water
  • Facebook - it's SO easy to keep in touch with long distance family this way!
  • rain
  • the local hardware and agri-supply stores
  • Target
  • books
  • the gift of laughter
  • a church family that doesn't pretend to be perfect
  • music
  • fried chicken
  • a washing machine...that's in my house!
  • the US post office...prompt delivery and no snooping (we grumbly Americans don't realize how good we have it!)
  • outside flowers
  • fabric
  • that a tool like the seam ripper actually exists
  • elastic
  • sunshine
  • strawberry fields
  • Bobby getting someone to till the garden for me
  • a hot water heater
  • quilt shops
  • craft stores
  • shoes that don't hurt my feet
  • people who can cut hair
  • cameras
May your Tuesday be filled with a few moments of thanksgiving!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

fun yet sad

We've lost two hens already this year - one to a hawk (we think), and one to Buster. If the summer plays out like summers' past, as the young chicken hawks learn to soar, we'll lose a few more. And if the coyote that shows up some nights, driving the dog's (and me) crazy, gets more adventurous, we'll could experience a widespread slaughter. That has happened before. Those are the sad things.

But here are the good things:

The four larger ones against the back wall are the ones we got 2 weeks ago, so they're not quite 3 weeks old.






I was a little uncertain about getting so many, but Bobby reminded me they won't all make it through the summer. That is the part of raising hens I do NOT like. But I'm happy with the breed selection, and I'm looking forward to watching them grow!

Friday, April 10, 2015

new neighbors

Well, the picture usually posted on the tax portion of the county website has been deleted, so I only have the new picture. But the old version of this house was red brick, and very small. Our new neighbors (the daughter of the original owners) have upgraded it quite a bit, and moved in yesterday. Welcome to the 'hood Cindy and Earl!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

changes

Someone asked me a while back about the house across the road from us. I had posted pictures as they were building, and the family has now been in it for several months. I finally got a shot of the completed house yesterday:


The builder is also renovating the farm house to the left of our house, and the change is outstanding. Hopefully I can find a before picture from tax records and then get a picture of it today.

And, in today's newspaper is an update on the school situation in Garner. It mentions that Bryan Road Elementary, like south Garner High, will house students of other schools the first two years so those campuses can be renovated. Seeing as Bryan Rd Elementary (which will be our next door neighbor) is schedule to house students in the fall of 2017, I imagine construction is going to start soon. So change is coming.  Maybe we'll get our road paved soon!

The solitude was nice while it lasted.

Tomorrow I'll try to get pictures of the progress they've made on South Garner High. They steel studs appear to be 90% in place on the academic building and in some places they've even started putting the outerwall up. The gym/cafeteria is looking more and more like a completed building as well.

And ten minutes down the road at the White Oak shopping center, Carbela's (sp?) is slated to open next week, with five new restaurants (FIVE GUYS!!! and a barbeque place...please let it be tomato based!), coming soon.

The joke that the only thing tobacco fields are growing these days is subdivisions isn't exactly true around here, but it's not far from the mark.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

more info, please!

It's easy to go online (pinterest, facebook, google searches, even Youtube!) and find how to prepare soil, ideas for location (pots vs ground, etc), how to place the seeds, and even WHEN to plant your seeds when you want to garden. But what I seldom find, is how to know when the plant is ready to harvest.

I've planted some onions and even though it's a week, pushing two weeks late, I hope to plant some garlic. I've planted both of these items once before without any success. This time I actually have some shoots coming up out of the ground (okay, up out of the pot). Whoohooo!

But I don't know when to harvest it. Pull it up too soon, and you have a tiny, almost non-existent onion bulb on the bottom. Leave it too long, and it rots (or if the ground, a mole/vole eats most of it).  So what don't all these wonderful sites that teach you how to get started teach you how to finish?  I imagine that when harvest rolls around these people are too busy to blog or video, but it would be awfully nice to have some pictoral advice on when/how to finish a farming project you start. At times like this, I really wish I had lived closer to my grandparents growing up. I think I would have learned a lot more than I did with the sporadic visits (which I am grateful I had) I had.

So if anyone runs across harvesting information, please let me know!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

the last day of Easter fabric

I had planned to post this yesterday, but due to both expected and unexpected life events, that didn't happen.

I think I was in high school before I had ever heard a sermon or emphasis placed on the linen cloth Jesus was wrapped in (both as a baby and in the tomb), specifically from John's account of the resurrection.

"The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself." ~ John 20:4-7 (NASB)

I remember my younger sister and I discussing this passage, and pondering whether or not the wrappings from the body were left in a heap and just the "face-cloth" or handkerchief was neatly rolled (the New King James says it was "folded"; other versions say "rolled").

I've heard and read a lot of neat stories about the symbolism behind the rolled or folded head-burial cloth. It seems most of the early church leaders used this point to emphasize that Christ was truly risen and not a victim of corpse-stealing, as a thief would not take the time to remove the burial wraps, much less neatly roll or fold the wrappings on the head (which was used supposedly to keep the mouth closed). And for the most part I agree with them. There's a small part of my brain that wants to argue back with them. A few years ago my niece's house was robbed during the day while she and her husband were at work. She knew someone had been in the house when she walked in the living room...because the thief straightened a picture on the mantle that she had knocked off and hadn't made the time to correctly reposition. Once she saw that, she looked around the room and began noticing items missing. Had the thief not been so neat, it might have been several days before they realized they had been robbed (the thief only took a gaming console, games, and guns...stuff they wouldn't normally use during the week). So neatness in and of itself doesn't necessarily prove that a thief was/was not there.

Regardless, it's one of the few details that have always amazed me, a detail that no other author records. Granted they all mention the wrappings being left in the grave, but John is the only author that talks about the face wrappings being apart from the body wrappings. I've often wondered if the angels unwrapped Him, or if He tore the wrappings off Himself. And while you'd have to pull the body wrappings off to have use of your hands, if you were wrapped up in something, the first thing you'd strive to remove would be something over your face. You'd want to breathe, I would think, before you wanted to walk around.

 I know we'll have a new body and a renewed mind when we arrive in Heaven. I don't know if that means we'll have the answers to all of these questions then, or if it simply won't matter. But if we don't know and still remember some of what we think here, I long to ask Jesus this one day, to hear His resurrection story and the glory of that moment, when the horrors of Friday and Saturday (as we know it) were finally over for Him. And that moment is what radically transformed life.

"12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless;you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied." ~ I Corinthians 15: 12-19

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

fabrics of Easter, day 4

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. 31 After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. ~ Matthew 27:27-31

Somewhere between sixth and eighth grade, I read Corrie Ten Boom's autobiography The Hiding Place. In the chapter where she and her sister were forced to strip with the other prisoners as they entered the Nazi concentration camp, she talks about the embarrassment she felt, and how mortified she was to be marching her old naked body in front of a group of uniformed men. She was reeling with the indignity of it all, and wondering how her sister Betsy, who like her had never married, was faring, when her sister leaned forward and commented that she had never before fully appreciated what Christ had endured.  As much as I like to think I would be like Betsy when faced with such torment, the reality is, I would probably be more angry and horrified like Corrie.

We know that whenever a person is arrested, they are required to strip and given prison uniforms to wear, at least, in most places. Sometimes even the body cavities are searched. Those two things alone would be mortifying to me. But Christ was placed in the center of jeering guards when stripped, who then threw a robe on him. Luke's Gospel says the placement of the robe and the beating actually happened at Herod's place, and he was sent back to Pilate's place still wearing the robe. John agrees with Matthew that the beating and the placement of the robe happened at Pilate's place. John also states Jesus was paraded in front of the Jewish leaders who had him arrested with the robe and crown, and after his scourging (flogging) before Pilate made a final decision.

We will never know all the minute details of what happened when and where and why. I will never understand why people in authority, like policemen and guards and soldiers, feel compelled to humiliate their captives. But like Betsy Ten Boom, I can honestly say that my Savior has suffered all the indignities that mankind could think of. He truly understands what I face. He knows the fear. He gets the shame. He comprehends the hurt, the loneliness, the anger...every emotion that we might possible face. He's felt it and more.

I can't comprehend the insult and the irony of stripping a prisoner, and then forcing him to semi-cover himself with royal garments. I wonder who the robe belonged to. Was it Pilate's,  Herod's, something from a costume party one of the soldiers had attended? Did it belong to Pilate's wife or Herod's wife? We will never know. But the cruelty of humiliating someone with a strip, and then forcing props on them for the sole purpose of mockery is something Christ endured, simply so I could exit the sacrifice system. That's mighty amazing love.