Friday, October 31, 2008

Starry Night and Marshmallows

After Patrick's wedding in South Carolina we headed home to Virginia, since I had my Sunday services to attend. We decided that rather than go all the way home we would cut the trip short an hour and spend the night at the parsonage. As we were almost there we saw lights at the Pumpkin Patch. I remember A.J. telling me how they would shoot at pumpkins near the end of the season and this was the last Saturday before Halloween. I decided a detour was in order. As we pulled up A.J. and Lisa, along with A.J.'s sister and her husband were sitting around a fire. All the young folks were running through the mazes in the dark. After making sure we weren't intruding we pulled up a couple chairs and joined the warmth.

As we talked, Joanne thinking out loud said it would be nice if we had some marshmallows to roast. Lisa popped up and came back with a bag of marshmallows. Without even getting out of our seats, we found sticks on the ground. stuck the marshmallows on and started roasting. I say "we", but the truth is I don't roast marshmallows. I don't mind them a little toasted, but I always char them (just like my hot dogs) and they're ruined.

The sky was clear and the stars filled it all the way down to the horizon. It's amazing how many stars you see at night out in the country. We sat around until almost midnight, when Joanne reminded me that my first service is at 9:00 in the morning. I probably would have sat there until the sun came up, it was that pleasant and peaceful. It was really good, friends and fellowship.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Patrick's and Bethany's Wedding

Last weekend, Saturday the 25th of October, our nephew Patrick Oswald got married to Bethany.

The wedding was in Spartanburg, South Carolina. So we we took a little road trip.
Patrick was nervous, but not near as nervous as his dad. Ossi was sweating bullets. I've seen first time expectant fathers in delivery rooms less nervous. Patrick and Bethany seem very happy, especially that the service was over.
Joanne and her sister Cindy, Patrick's mom.
Patrick's parents, Cindy and Ossi.
The fellow on the left is Ossi's nephew, Oliver, who came over from Germany for the wedding. Oliver is a lieutenant in the German Army and when he returns home is expecting his orders, possibly to Afghanistan.

It was a good time with family. A day to celebrate with Patrick and Bethany.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saint Andrews Homecoming 2008

Homecoming Sunday, I do look forward to these times. If your church doesn't have them, I am so very sorry.
Our 2008 Homecoming Sunday at St. Andrews UMC was a great day. I actually sang with the choir. I gave them a chance to tell me "no", but they let me.
We don't have any small children that regularly attend St. Andrews. So special days usually bring the children and I get to do a Children's Message. I really look forward to those times.
I know what you're thinking, "He's just a big kid himself". Yeah, and I know it and it doesn't bother me a bit.
Rev. George Schaeffer, from the Payneton-Siloam UMC Charge, was our guest speaker. George and I went to Licensing School together and have become good friends. He's a good brother in the Lord and God used him to bring a powerful message. If what he shared wasn't meant for anyone else, it hit Joanne and me right between the eyes.
We had a great time of food and fellowship. We had quite few guests with us ,along with home folks we hadn't seen in a while.

On Homecoming Sundays I get to meet family members who live a long way from here. I get to hear stories about the church and church family, that help me to know my folks better. I am allowed the privilege to be part of the history, the story, and family of the church.

The Pumpkin Patch 2008

Welcome to the Pumpkin Patch, which almost didn't happen. See previous post. It seems that as soon as the acorns started falling the deer lost their appetite for pumpkins. Thank heaven for acorns!

A.J. and Lisa Nuchols, along with A.J.'s mom and step-dad, man the gate early on Saturday morning.

The Pumpkin patch is down Riceville Rd., about a quarter mile from route 40.

It's a tad bit hard to miss the huge hay bale pumpkin at the intersection of routes 40 and 640.

Saint Andrews UMC sells hot dogs, chips, and drinks on Saturdays at the Pumpkin Patch as a fund raiser. I was elected the first first hot dog griller of the season. I would like to think that the news of my skill as a griller preceded me, but if it had I wouldn't have been asked.
Mattie Wyatt and Jean Shelton post the sign with our prices. It was a breezy day so we had to pin the sign to the canopy.
Rufus Shelton loaded the ice and drinks into the cooler.

A.J. set up a picnic area with bales of hay for the seats and table legs.

The children of all ages had fun finding and picking their pumpkins.

Lisa would weigh the pumpkins.

The Nuchols crew, Rachel, Daniel, and Katie, filling in at the front gate.

Now, where else would you find a camouflaged port-a-pottie.

Emma Jean Johnson dropped by for a visit and one of my charred hot dogs.

Sometimes it looked like the pumpkins were almost as big as the kid carrying them.

They had Pumpkins Hunts and hayrides during the day.

They had two corn mazes, a small one for little children and and a big one for the older folks. Actually, I should have done the little one.
They also had a maze made from the big round hay bales. Though most folks preferred to climb on top of the bales and walk/jump their way around the maze.

It is a wonderful way to spend a Fall day. To think it was almost spoiled by a bunch of hungry deer. Or as A.J. now refers them, cloven hoofed rodents. If it weren't for the acorns I would have missed it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Republican Grove UMC Homecoming 2008

On September 28th we had Homecoming Sunday at Republican Grove UMC. I got to preach and who can't look good preaching in front of that incredible mural. Just think, they may be listening to me, but who would watch me when they can gaze on that.
Homecoming this year was a celebration of the lives of four of our members who died this year; Dickie Abbott, Charles Anderson, Dewitt Fisher, and Anna Wilborn. Each hymn we sang was a favorite of theirs. The message was taken from Psalm 100 a memorized favorite scripture of Dickie Abbott.
The children's message was about the "Good Shepherd".
First I showed them pictures of sheep, which they correctly identified. I told them I had shown the picture to a boy in the city and he thought it was a dog. I heard a quiet voice, "silly boy". Then we had some pictures of shepherds. Finally I had several artist interpretations of Jesus as the "Good Shepherd". I gave each them a small picture of Jesus as the shepherd for them to take home and remember.

At the close of the service we sang Amazing Grace and during the singing someone from each of the four families came up and lit a candle for their loved one. It may sound like it was a sad service, but it wasn't. It worked out to be what we all wanted it to be and that was a time of remembering and celebration.
Brain Daniels form Providence UMC did an excellent job reading the scripture, as always.
We had a great crowd. For a church that normally has 12-15 on Sundays, we were very pleased to see so many friends and family.

After service the fellowship gets rolling. Seeing folks you haven't seen in a long time. Seeing how the children have grown and the rest of us have aged.
And of course, what would Homecoming be without some seriously good food.

Mary Margaret Crews with her grand-daughter.
Patricia Fisher with her grand-daughter

Heidi Dawson sitting with her mom.

The "Drink and Dessert Patrol".

"Charlie, I'm tired of waiting for you to take pictures. I'm hungry and I'm getting in line! You too, right now!" Yes, dear.

Now that's how you eat a cupcake, face first!

Patricia chasing her grand-daughter through the cemetery. Run Patricia Run! Do you remember playing in the cemetery when you were a kid? Hiding behind and climbing over the tombstones. Oh, you didn't do that. Never mind.
"Okay, when the music stops the first one in the chair gets it. Go!"
Betty Jo Dawson with grandchildren and friends. Better known as "Grandma's Posse".
It was beautiful day outside and folks took advantage of it.
All in all, it was another wonderful Homecoming Sunday. Thanks to everyone who made it such a great day.