Feasting with The Threshers



The fragrance of my father’s smoked ham and baking pies permeated every room in the house. As I walked into the kitchen, it was evident all my mother’s preparations had started early that morning. Potatoes were simmering on the stove, tomatoes were waiting to be sliced, and fresh green beans needed to be snapped.


I knew that was my first job of the day before setting the table that was already extended as far as possible to accommodate the threshers that were working in my father’s fields to reap the wheat he had sown last fall.


blur-close-up-dinner-161533This was my favorite time of the year and one of my favorite meals. My mother, Delight, was every bit of her name in the kitchen. She had carefully planned for a bountiful table for when the men came in at lunch to eat. She had learned to do it when she was a girl in her own home and now it seemed not to be a chore at all for her.


I never tired of the delicious taste of my father’s smoked ham and a favorite pastime of mine was to slip through the English roses that lined the path to the smokehouse and peek inside at the sides of ham and bacon hanging from the ceiling.


As I finished snapping the beans, my mother was busy mashing the potatoes, and collecting the ham drippings for the gravy. Rolls were waiting to go into the oven where the pies had been a short time ago. Ears of corn were waiting to be dropped into a boiling pot.


I peeked around the corner of the kitchen to the sideboard where the pies were cooling. IMG_3976One. Two. Three. Four. Five. The men would not be disappointed today. No one made better pies than my mother and certainly no one had mastered the crust she created. There would be apple, peach, raisin cream, and two cherry pies. We had finished picking the cherries only a few weeks ago and finished canning nearly 40 quarts of them one day.



I hurried to set the table as the sound of the combine stopped and the men started to make their way to the house. It was a festive time for everyone and the conversation around the table would be filled with stories of other years where harvests were not as good, other farms that might be failing, and the satisfying enjoyment of my mother’s feast laid before them.


It was such a celebration at this time every summer as we gathered the harvest, the fruit of my father’s labor, and blessed those who were hired to help bring in the harvest and enjoy the best lunch anywhere in the township where we lived.


This time of year always brings back these memories and the legacy I learned in childhood of sowing and reaping, harvesting and celebrating the evidence of the planting and tending.


I loved benefitting from all of it, but the clear evidence of the spiritual principles that were being demonstrated during this annual tradition did not begin to soak in until I was older and my father had stopped the bulk of his farming.


As I stopped at the orchard this week to buy rather than pick cherries, my thoughts returned to the precious legacy I had been given. I also reflected on what the bounty of the Lord’s table will be like when He harvests all He has planted in our lives, in His body, the church, and on the earth.


What a great celebration that will be!


How much He must anticipate inviting us to His table. I cannot imagine the fragrance of that banquet, but I am sure I will be amazed at His bounty and so grateful for the invitation to be there.


Photo by Ian Turnell from Pexels

The Challenge of Change


Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels


If I were to ask you if you like change, I wonder how you would answer that question. We can tend to have some strong feelings about change − either pro or con.


Some of us are adventurous and change in nearly any area offers us the excitement of discovering something new. We like stretching ourselves to expand what we know and testing what we know already. But sometimes that may be in a few areas, but not across all aspects of our lives.


anise-aroma-art-277253One person in our family when our children were young was adventurous with food. No matter what restaurant was mentioned, he was eager to try it. He loved trying something on the menu that he had never tasted before. We now have a grandson from another branch of the family tree who is much like that and recently enjoyed sampling snails while he was vacationing in Paris.


Others of us like challenging ourselves physically with new or extreme sports to test the limits of our abilities and experience the thrill that goes with it.


This summer many of us will go on a vacation. Some will go back to the same cabin or same condo where we have gone for a long time and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Others of us explore maps, tour books, and the Internet to find new destinations each year.


Some of us have personalities and preferences that are wired to like and need structure in our routines so anything that brings a change to those things can leave us feeling at sea.


Many of these things represent a category of change − things we choose to experience that are different. Harder changes are ones that are not of our own choosing. Those come in various types and sizes and may push us to the limits of our adaptability.


Change is a constant in life. We have far less control than we might think or wish.



Growing up and getting older will be a change we happily anticipate as we think about things we will be able to do that we cannot when we are a child or teen. There is no question we will grow up and get older even if we don’t wish to do that, but as we do we will learn that some things we could do and be previously are lost to us. New responsibilities and tasks come our way. Time to play is limited to fewer hours or even minutes in any given day or week.


We also get in touch with how that process of growing older doesn’t go as slowly as we wish. We change schools, homes, jobs, relationships, churches, routines, and more. Our bodies change − sometimes without warning − adding to what we can do or taking away something we thought would never change.


We look forward to the change of leaving home and living on our own (sometimes in a new city or state or even country) and we plan the kind of life we want to have (sometimes similar to our parents and other times quite different). Then about the time we feel settled in this new life with a family of our own, change comes to us again − our own children grow up and go on their own way.


building-cliff-clouds-67235Whether we love these changes or dislike them, we take with us things that can help us in this new place or season − experience, abilities, skill sets, and more − that can serve as a foundation for where we find ourselves.


“When things around you change − where you are, where you’re going − the one fact that remains constant, the one anchor that holds fast, is where you have been.” 

Lisa Wingate inThe Language of the Sycamores


The significance of the word “anchor” in the quote is how it fits in our spiritual lives.


An anchor is a very early Christian symbol that has been found in ancient catacombs. It brings together the cross and nautical Christian symbolism. That anchor is more significant than where we have been.


In ancient times, an anchor was a symbol of safety and symbolizes Christ’s unfailing hope in the midst of life’s upheavals and uncertainties.


Change is a constant in this life whatever our proclivities may be. There is little doubt that sometimes change will not be a choice we make, will not be easy or without cost to us. Our source of help is clear in Hebrews 6:13-10 (TPT):


13 Now when God made a promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater than himself, he swore an oath on his own integrityto keep the promise as sure as God exists! 14 So he said,

“Have no doubt, I promise to bless you over and over,
    and give you a son and multiply you without measure!”

15 So Abraham waited patiently in faith and succeeded in seeing the promise fulfilled.16 It is very common for people to swear an oath by something greater than themselves, for the oath will confirm their statements and end all dispute. 17 So in the same way, God wanted to end all doubt and confirm it even more forcefully to those who would inherit his promises. His purpose was unchangeable, so God added his vow to the promise. 18 So it is impossible for God to lie for we know that his promise and his vow will never change!

And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness. This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time—an unshakeable hope! 19 We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, 20 and where Jesus, our forerunner,  has gone in before us. He is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek.”


In the midst of change, He is our unshakeable hope.


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash








Getting Stuck in Mistakes




Recently I sent an anniversary card to some friends of ours. Sending cards is an old-fashioned tradition I still love and I add important dates to my calendar to remind me. (That gives me credit for remembering that I honestly don’t deserve.)


After putting the card in the mail, I bumped into these friends while out and made mention of their anniversary coming up. They were very sweet, but reminded me their anniversary was another month and day than I thought.


After I got home I checked my contact list and saw that I had the correct date there, but when I looked at the calendar I realized I had only noticed their names on the date and hadn’t checked why. It wasn’t their anniversary, but a reminder they were to leave on a mission trip that day.


It was a silly mistake and one that was easy to laugh about, but not all of my mistakes are that way. I have made some mistakes in my lifetime that were far more costly.

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels


A funny one our family jokes about now and also was costly happened when we were heading out on a vacation trip. It was one of those we had anticipated for a long time. Our kids were tucked in the back seat shortly after 5AM and with everything seemingly stowed away, we headed out as the kids fell asleep again in the back seat. Several hours later we stopped at the last plaza in our state and aroused the kids to get out and stretch and enjoy doughnuts and orange juice we had brought with us.


As we were all shivering, I walked around the back of our car where the trunk was still open. As I casually looked inside I didn’t see the clothes that were on hangers that my husband and I would need for most of the 10-day trip. I walked over to my husband and asked where he had put them.


It was then that he realized they were still hanging in the hall closet at home. We had traveled three hours by then and faced the dilemma of what to do. We could keep going and try to buy clothes on the way or turn around and go get the clothes. Ugh!! We were groaning over the lack of a better set of choices.


We realized that finding clothes would cost us in time we didn’t want to waste and also fray a budget already stretched tight. The cost of driving back seemed like the least costly option even though it meant driving back three hours in the direction we had just come from. There was a caveat that we called my parents who met us at the entrance to the turnpike we had first entered that saved us a little bit of time.


We picked up the clothes and headed back on the road again trying to handle our frustration at the cost in mileage and time. We stopped at the same plaza for lunch where we had enjoyed doughnuts earlier. It was a mistake we never made again on our many vacation trips.


“The thing about mistakes is, they become valuable when you learn from them.” 

Lisa Wingate in The Sea Keeper’s Daughter




We all make them and hate it when we do. Maybe it’s because of the cost of some of them to others or us. Maybe it’s because it spotlights a flaw. The cause doesn’t change the feelings we have when we make them even though they do become valuable if we learn from them.


disgusting-fail-failure-2882Some of us, however, get stuck. We start to believe we are defective because of our mistakes instead of recognizing we are human and prone to make mistakes. When we get stuck in that erroneous pattern of thinking, we paradoxically set ourselves up to more likely make the mistakes we fear. Our overreaction results in messing up.


The peril of getting stuck in “mistake mentality” sets us up to also be tempted to make bad choices. It started in Eden when Cain, the farmer, and Abel, the shepherd, each made a sacrificial offering to the Lord. Abel’s pleased the Lord and Cain’s did not. Cain couldn’t handle the mistake and loss of favor from the Lord. He hated Abel’s favor and chose to murder him because of it.


The temptation to condemn ourselves when we make mistakes of any size plays into the devices of the evil one who nudges us to believe lies about the whole situation. Left unchallenged, we can become prisoners to the lies and miss the extraordinary things God has in store for us.


Our best response to mistakes is to humbly accept we made them and correct anything we can, recognize we can receive grace for them, learn from them, and walk in freedom while still knowing there will be other mistakes ahead.


“How sad, I think now, to live an entire life blinded by the ordinary, when the path to the extraordinary waits just beyond the well-meaning prisons of your own making.” 

Lisa Wingate in The Sea Keeper’s Daughter








Chorus at Sunset



In the spring, summer, and early fall, I love reading on our deck overlooking the back lawn after dinner in the evening. It is a time of settling at the end of the day. The breezes catch the lush fragrance of our sweet bay magnolia blossoms as the sun begins to slip down in the western sky. The pages of the book in my lap invite me to venture into other worlds, places, and ideas as the sunlight retreats into shade across my shoulders. It is a gentle time of the day as I sit sipping my tea.


In summer, fireflies gradually begin to appear across the lawn, but before they make their appearance the summer evening chorus begins. Across the lawn and the neighborhood birdsong echoes and reverberates in serenade. As I listen, I wonder which bird is making the song. I know that if my youngest granddaughter were at my side she could likely tell me. Her great love of birds and knowledge about them astounds me. She knows their habitat, their eating habits, their song, and so much more. In this, she reminds me of the extent of the details about every created thing and I am awed by that evidence of our Creator.


Listening to the chorus, I consider what a gift their melodies create. Even though they sing at many other times, it is at this time of the day when I have stopped rushing about that I hear them best. Why do they sing then?


IMG_1301A search online gives some clues about their singing habits. I discover that many birds are diurnal and governed by the rhythm of light and dark. In the morning, it is the robin and redstart that begins the chorus, with many sparrows and finches being the last to join in. As the sun begins to descend in the evening sky, the chorus begins again but this time it is the sparrows and finches that begin with the robins and other birds joining last. Later, the nocturnal birds pick up the refrain.


Some of the songs relate to feeding or mating. Some believe they are calling out to let all know that they made it through the day and are alive, well, and in the area. Some believe they are communicating they have found a good place to roost while others believe it is because night predators will soon pose a risk and they are calling their kind back to their nests to roost. Even so, the potential deeper meanings are not understood.


Perhaps it is creation’s lullaby for the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve and serves as a reminder of God’s presence. Perhaps it serves to remind us to call those we love to return to the safety of home. Perhaps it serves to remind us to allow our own voices to celebrate the day and reminds us we have made it safely.


I am not sure it is so important for me to know why they sing, but instead that I enjoy the chorus with its crescendos and decrescendos and offer praise to the One who created the song.


Photo by Andrew Mckie from Pexels




Can You Hear It?


In 2007 the movie “August Rush” was released and featured a great cast headed by Robin Williams who played Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace and the young Evan Taylor who played the boy, August, in the film.


Despite the harsh circumstances of August’s birth and life on the streets as a child, August had a gift that develops and blooms by the end of the movie. August believes you can hear music everywhere and the Wizard affirms that. August says, “Listen. Can you hear it? The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind…in the air…in the light. It’s all around us. All you have to do is open yourself up. All you have to do…is listen.”


PICT0352August takes us into a broader understanding of music. It’s not only about notes on a page, or an instrument playing, or someone singing. Music is everywhere around us all the time and based on his definition, we often miss it.


A dictionary defines music this way:


“Vocal or instrumental music (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion; a sound perceived as pleasingly harmonious.”


At its root music is “sound that conveys emotion” according to Jeremy Montagu of the University of Oxford. Our definition of music can sometimes be too narrow. It can be a mother humming to a baby some tune she has heard or one that just happens out of the well of her emotion for the baby. Early musical instruments could have been smacking stones or sticks together, perhaps in a rhythm.


IMG_3887No one can say for sure when music began, but it might seem it has been with us always and that God was the creator of music. After all, He created birds and their varied songs bring us delight. He created the babbling brook that poets often refer to as “singing.” It seems that music is one of our responses to Him since it creates a connection between the producer of the music and the listener that includes an emotional reaction.


God actually encourages and admonishes us to sing and make music at various places in scripture. The book of Psalms contains a great deal of music and the word “psalm” comes from the Greek word meaning “to sing, to strike lyre.”


“Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.”

Psalm 147:7 (NIV)


close-up-concert-entertainment-2254140As early as Genesis 4:21 (NIV) we meet perhaps one of the first musicians, Jubal, the son of Lamech, who is described as “the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes” or in the NLT “the first of all who play the harp and flute.”


We can speculate a great deal. We can also lament different types of music or lyrics and debate what type of music most pleases God in worship, but perhaps when we do that we miss one of the basic things about it. God created music and the ability of creation to make music to praise Him, but also remind us of Him.


Anything so beautiful that God created can spur the one who sought to be above Him to try to pervert or distort it to rob Him of praise and honor.


In the movie “August Rush”, the Wizard played by Robin Williams is far from being a godly man and yet he says something to August about music in his effort to define it:


“You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe, a harmonic connection between all living beings, every where, even the stars.”


keyboard-music-sheet-musical-instrument-210764Mankind has developed a myriad of instruments over time to play and create different musical sounds. Most of us have preferences for those we prefer as well as the styles of music we enjoy.


I confess that I enjoy a fairly wide variety of musical sounds and styles, but on a recent summer evening my husband and I attended a concert featuring an orchestra of more than 100 pieces. As the music swelled and ebbed featuring one instrument and then another to open a new sound the composer chose, it was easy to be feel swept away by the grandness of it all. It evoked movement of feet, hands, and heads, but also heart, mind, and spirit.


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”― Plato


“Music is the shorthand of emotion.” ― Leo Tolstoy


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ― Aldous Huxley


Music often creates a story and sometimes it tells a story about us in the process.


Quotes such as these remind us of what August Rush was telling us:


“Listen. Can you hear it? The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind…in the air…in the light. It’s all around us. All you have to do is open yourself up. All you have to do…is listen.”




God wants to remind you He’s there.


Can you hear it? 


Can you hear Him?

Stream at Blackberry Farm, TN