Uncle Book and the Jalapeño Overdrive

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It’s not every day that one of your oldest friends puts out an album. It’s been a lot of fun to watch Uncle Book/Tim Worley develop his music over the years, create a YouTube channel, teach children how to play, collaborate with others, and now he has an album to his name.

Uncle Book and the Jalapeno Overdrive is a wonderful ‘everyman’ album about the simple things in life, both good and bad. You won’t find any high-minded pretension here, or overly sexualized lyrics. Like most people who sing the blues or folk music, the themes are common to us all: holes in our shoes, taxes are due, but also the joy of summer time and watching a Ranger game.

Snake Eyes (a fun, get you moving song with a 70’s feel) starts out the album and grabs you right away. The throaty Whiskey Woman stands out as one of the best songs on the album. Nichole is beautifully soothing, a soft love song about sharing life. This album is a great easy listening album that changes things up with each song. One of the neatest elements of the album is the way Tim brought many different artist (over 22), from all over the world together. He not only applied his own musical talents to it, but brought different singers, instruments, and gifts into the mix. This provides a unique element to the album as a whole. I must admit, I chuckled out loud in the car, by myself, over the last track.

As many of you know, my own particular music taste doesn’t lean towards the blues. I’m a heavy metal, Irish Punk, Christmas music sort of person. But, I’m not going to not listen to an album my friend put out. Uncle Book expanded my music horizons! J I find the blues compliment much of the Irish Punk in theme: that earthy troubles feel. The use of so many different musicians, singers, and instruments kept things fresh. Each song on this album is different.

I look forward to seeing where Tim takes his collaborative talent over the years and for the next album.

If you enjoy blues, and down to earth stories, and supporting independent musicians, pick this album up. You can get it on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

Rachel Atterholt’s Graduation

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Rachel on the right.

My dear friend, Rachel Atterholt, graduated from High School and I was honored to be asked by her parents to say a few words at her Graduation Party. I just thought I’d share them here:

I want to start by saying Congratulations on Graduating from High School and getting your GED! That’s one of the first milestones of life with many more to come! You stand at the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood with adventures, battles, sufferings, and great joy ahead of you.

One of your favorite quotes is the well-known line from Robert Frost: I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: two roads diverged in a wood an I – I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.

So, what do I say as a woman with a few more milestones under her belt, to you a woman about to face them? What do I say about the ‘road less traveled’?

Here’s the advice I wished I had heard…or in reality, what I wished I listened to:

The true road less traveled, and more important than any career, friends, dreams, aspirations, life goals or your family is your church. All around you the world is screaming to at you to pursue happiness, pursue your dreams, live life, get out there and be a roaring woman.

What you need to do is invest yourself in your church. Look, listen, pay attention, and figure out how you can serve your body. Value the preaching of the Word. Make this your life’s priority and you will be on the narrow, less traveled road.

This is more important than a boyfriend, romance, true love, getting married, having kids, your sisters and your parents. Your church is your first thing. Not second. Not third. First.

After that and only after that comes everything else.

This is the best advice I can give you as you graduate from high school and face adulthood.

Your favorite Bible verse is, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.

You have faced trials already—health issues, relationship issues, life issues—and, I hate to tell you, you will face many more. Life here on earth is a constant battle, constant hand-to-hand combat between our remaining sin, the sinful world, and following Christ. But God, who is rich in mercy, is working all things for our good. Each trial, each bit of stress, each battle is working to make us more like Christ. More battles are coming in your life. Cling to Christ and his word.

Rachel, I’m privileged and honored to be your friend, to read your writing, to share movies and music with you! More than that, I’m thankful to watch you seek the Lord, attend church regularly, host teas, help in the kitchen, and be involved.

I hope and pray that as you end one stage of your life and sort through what you want the next stage to be that you’ll be a faithful church member, feed on the preaching of the word, and grow in wisdom and grace.

Happy Graduation!

 

Two Years Later…

Ladies and Gentleman, dear readers, on Sunday, I marked the 2 year anniversary for the Gentle and Quiet Spirit blog. What a year it’s has been. I’m two years old! Seeing as one of my nieces was born just before my blog went public, it should be easy to remember how long I’ve been working on it in the years ahead.

Imogene's second birthday! (Picture stolen from Liz.)

Imogene’s second birthday! (Picture stolen from Liz.)

In October 2014, I found myself convicted about my writing. I needed to change course. Did I served my church and my home before myself and the rest of the world with my writing gift? No. My writing didn’t line up with the direction my husband was leading our family. It didn’t specifically encourage the saints. It didn’t lay up treasure in heaven.

The conviction to wrap myself more firmly in the Lord and less in the world didn’t come easy. (Does it ever?) It meant laying aside things that I loved and a place I felt comfortable trusting the Lord would provide for me. Trusting Him, as I set aside something I treasured, hurt. By grace alone, I clung to Him and His Word 100% convinced changing my writing was the right thing to do. Christ is my all. He saved me, adopted me, and sanctifies me. He laid aside everything to suffer and die for me and me in the body of Christ. How could I not, in a small way, do the same thing?

The Lord has shown Himself trustworthy in many tangible ways this year. I stand amazed.

In 2015, I developed a chronic issue, Epstein-Barr Virus, that made it impossible to maintain the writing schedule I’d had last year. Instead of multiple posts each week, I barely kept up with a few posts a month. I didn’t even really have the energy to care. What little writing I did get done revolved around the books I was reading. The Lord has seen fit to continue to bless me with readers and, as I’ve started to feel better, time to write.

I had two funny situations this year:

One, I actually introduced myself to Tom Chantry as “A gentle and quiet Spirit” at the ARBCA-GA.

Two, a pastor-friend pointed me out at our SBFC-SW as the woman who wrote My Church is a Failure. I almost had a heart attack as that is the article that I got the most negative feedback over, but at the same time I felt so excited.

Life as a writer, right?

Now, let me share some numbers with you!

  • Followers: 206
  • Top Commenters: Robakers, WriteFitz, and Strokemanswoman followed by Cindy V, and TheGatheringFire.
  • Top Viewing Country: United States, followed by Brazil, the Untied Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.
  • Top Posts: Being a Childless Wife with 1,356 views. Followed by Lessons from the Boutique 5: Red Heels with 376. And My Church is a Failure at 272. I have no idea why the Red Heels article is so popular. The Childless Wife article was shared by several other friends and blogs. I think it hit home for many women. Plus, it providentially went up at Mother’s Day.
  • May 2015 was my highest traffic month with 2,130 views followed by Sept with 1,058. While my numbers are lower over all than last year, it’s not by much, which is very encouraging.
  • This year, I also redesigned my blog to fit my personality better. I think it has also made it easier to navigate.

Last year, I submitted my first writings to a publisher. I submitted two Texas Cousins stories to Solid Ground Publishing for consideration. Those stories got lost in cyberspace, so I touched base with SGP again this year and we’ve started down that road again.

This year, I also finished up the major plot re-write of my YA Fairy Tale Book 1: The Cost of Two Hands. And, I finally started Book 2: The Sparrow and the Star. Book 1 is in the hands of some excellent beta readers. It is my goal to finish Book 2 and Book 3 before starting in with heavy edits. I’m so thankful for all the dear women who have agreed to read the Cost of Two Hands and help me see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

God is good. God is trustworthy. Dealing with chronic exhaustion has challenged my commitment to God’s goodness as many things I love had to be set aside, many opportunities to serve had to be passed on, and many things I wanted to do had to be postponed for the foreseeable future. God is still good. He has used this sickness to grow me, grow my relationship with my husband, reprioritize my life, and enjoy the service of others.

Thank you for reading, sharing, liking, commenting, and supporting this blog. I look forward to another year of Sunday Thought articles, movie and book reviews, news about my books, and more children’s stories.

Here's to another year of blogging.

Here’s to another year of blogging.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on how I could improve the blog, articles you would like to see, stories you want to hear, movies/or books you want reviewed. Thank you for all your support this second year!

Irish Music: It’s in the blood

My brother recently sent me a new Dropkick Murphy’s song called the Rose Tattoo. I have since played it on repeat 1 for days. It reminds me of this description I once wrote for a book that isn’t finished called Hope’s Journey. This is the beauty of Irish music:

Images of rocky highlands, gray sky and a cool wind tugging at my hair filled my mind. The music wasn’t body rubbing sexy music, it wasn’t techno music, it wasn’t sleepy or just hate-filled. This was life music. IT was drinking, fighting, loving, poverty, wealth, God and country. This was a green land with good strong people who found their pride in being the underdog. This was sacrilegious, spiritual and earthy. This was a woman who stuck by her man and worked just as hard as he did. This was people always looking for a better life and always read to tell a tale to make you think life was better. This was fathers, husbands and highwaymen, vagabonds and scoundrels. This was mothers, maids, crones, lovers, sisters, and whores. This was Irish in its body and blood.

In the middle of them all, more Irish, more green, more ready to walk the craggy hills, sat a man beating his drums in some primeval, tribal call.

The raucous, rebellious, resentful music swelled. Beneath the heart stomping beat rose anger. Anger throbbed and pounded in the’ drums. It beat and beat against the crowd with a deep seated hatred of those who betray trust, those who enslave, those who hurt and lie. It wept for those who suffer at the hands of stronger men and its tears turned to power. The anger, pain and power could rip nations apart, families and homes. It could travel across oceans, time, and flow even in the most deluded blood lines.

This is Irish Music

 

Still Sick

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m still sick. I had good news from the doctor, so I hope to be well soon. Until then I’m reading at watching movies. My Mom sent me this quote and I wanted to share it with everyone:

‘The God of Providence has limited the time, manner, intensity, repetition, and effects of all our sickness; each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestined, each relapse ordained, each depression of the spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. Nothing escapes the ordaining hand of Him who numbers the hairs of our head.’ CHS

A Thousand Words are Worth one Picture: Christmas Tree

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This is my Christmas Tree. I can show you the picture. It’s a pencil tree, tall and thin instead of short and squat. It works well with our vaulted ceiling. Look at the picture. See?

But, let me tell you about this tree. Sparkling lights cover this tree. Lights. Lights. Lights. There is a beauty, a soothing peace that comes from their soft warm glow. They shine out on dark cloudy days. They shed a light that warms the soul when the winds blow. Christmas lights are the reminder that there will not always be short days. It will not always be winter. Winter. The cold bleak time of year when the world is sleeping and looks dead, but it will not always be winter. There is both an earthly truth here and a spiritual truth. It is true that spring will come and the days will again be long. There is also the truth about Christ. He came into this world and shed a strong and mighty light into the darkness dispelling the shadows. His light brought judgment, but it also brought a soothing peace to his people after a long and terrible war. So next time you sit beside your lovely Christmas tree on a dark cold night, remember that Christ came, the Light of the world. How beautiful is this?

All over my tree, I have white, clear, and silver glass ornaments. For me they represent the snow. I love the beauty of falling snow. I love the odd silence, the stillness the snow brings. I picked these ornaments because they sparkle in the lights. They reflect and refract the light out adding more sparkle to my tree. And, the tiny glass balls look a bit like bubbles which appeals to the fairy tale side of me.

I’ve added reindeer to the mix both as a representation of Santa’s eight reindeer and because I love all things woodland. I love foxes, hedgehogs, owls, crows, and deer of all kind. The tree ties into my woodland love, too. I love trees. So having a tree, tall and towering, in my living room for four to five weeks is pure magic! It makes me soooo happy.

The red ribbons add a hint of elegance to the tree that reminds me of an English Christmas. See, if you grow up reading and watching The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe, if you grow up watching The Christmas Carol you have a sense that there is something perfect about an English Christmas. There is something older and deeper there than what we have here in America. You have a sense of time going back, of dignity and beauty and order tied to the good rich earth. The long red ribbons on my tree tie me back to that. They remind me of the old country.

Lights, tree, glittering ornaments, and a star on the top. The star is reminiscent of the star over Bethlehem when the greatest single act of grace began. When God became man. Oh what a glorious day, when God became man.

You can look at a picture of my Christmas tree and see the lights, the glow, the sparkle, and the red ribbons. You can see the swirling beauty of white, red, and green. But, the picture can’t tell you of the hope that winter will end. It can’t tell you of the hidden pictures of Christ’s First Advent. It can’t tell you of history weaving back, Christmas to Christmas to Christmas: Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

I love Christmas tree because around them lie the memories of my childhood, my family, my joining with another family, my first kiss, and many many cold nights spent cuddled up safe and warm.

Merry Christmas!!

 

Slice of Life: Destress your Holidays

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I know so many people who have a bah-humbug attitude towards the holiday. I’m not talking about everyone who teases me about my proclivity to listen to Christmas music at totally inappropriate times…like July. I’m not talking about the people who have very few happy memories tied to the holidays. I’m talking about the people who growl at you when you tell them Merry Christmas, or tell you that Thanksgiving is a waste because people just pig out. (I’ve heard that one, yes.)

Do you realize we live in a society that might have forgotten the point of a holiday? Go listen to the original Grinch who stole Christmas. They eat Roast Beast! And they enjoy it! How politically incorrect of them.

Maybe your holiday is stressful and grumpy because you have forgotten the point. Maybe you should spread cheer instead of snarls?

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If you get stressed cause it’s so expensive, have the courage to examine you’re standards are for a happy holiday. Maybe you could work together with a couple other families for Thanksgiving and share the expense load. Maybe you could make homemade gifts out of things just lying around the house. Pinterest is full of neat ideas about how to re-purpose things.

If it stresses you out because it takes you two weeks to decorate the house and three to take it down, maybe you need to cut back on your decorating.

Christmas should be about the tradition, the fun, the family.

When I was young, it was all about the presents. As I grew it still stayed about the presents. Would so and so like what I got them? Oh, the pressure to find the perfect gift! What about my gifts? What if someone got me something I hated? What would I do? What about me!?

As I got older and my family grew up, my siblings and I created our own families and got to see each other less, I noticed my concerns shifting. I wasn’t worried about presents, I was worried about my brothers being home for the holidays. I wasn’t worried about black Friday, I was worried about what time my extra brother would have to leave us so he could be at work on time. The presents aren’t really that important to me anymore. It’s far more important that we all get to be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the food, the warmth, the cheer. It’s reading the Christmas Story together, impromptu nerf gun fights, video games, beer tastings, pictures, watching our favorite Christmas movies and singing our favorite songs. It’s the magic of snow and lights. It’s teaching the kids to quote Christmas quotes and sing Christmas songs. It’s eating too much pie.

The holidays are only going to be as stressful as you let them be. If you feel anxious about the next eight weeks instead of excited maybe you need to reevaluate what you think the holidays mean. Maybe you need to pass out cards with personal notes in them instead of buying gifts. Maybe you need to get in the kitchen with some friends instead of alone. I recommend sisters or your mom!

Maybe you have suffered significant loss on the holidays or are alone. Make some new holiday traditions. Remember the point: be thankful for what we have, and, as Tolkien said, for turning point of Grace when Christ came to earth. This is the point. Make memories around that.

And don’t get all PC about the waste of the food. Holidays only happen once in a while and they ‘re meant to be over the top celebrations. Be a Fezziwig, not a Scrooge.

Fezziwig's Ball

Fezziwig’s Ball

One Year Later…

Ladies and Gentleman, dear readers, on Saturday I marked the 1 year anniversary for the Gentle and Quiet Spirit blog. What a year it’s has been. I’m a year old! Seeing as one of my nieces was born just before my blog went public, it should be easy to remember how long I’ve been working on it in the years ahead.

My blog and Imogene share a birthday!

My blog and Imogene share a birthday!

In October 2014, I found myself convicted about my writing. I needed to change course. Did I served my church and my home before myself and the rest of the world with my writing gift? No. My writing didn’t line up with the direction my husband lead our family. It didn’t specifically encourage the saints. It didn’t lay up treasure in heaven.

The conviction to wrap myself more firmly in the Lord and less in the world didn’t come easy. (Does it ever?) It meant laying aside things that I loved and a place I felt comfortable trusting the Lord would provide for me. Trusting Him, as I set aside something I treasured, hurt. By grace alone, I clung to Him and His Word 100% convinced changing my writing was the right thing to do. Christ is my all. He saved me, adopted me, and sanctifies me. He laid aside everything to suffer and die for me and me in the body of Christ. How could I not, in a small way, do the same thing?

The Lord has shown Himself trustworthy in many tangible ways this year. I stand amazed. I have had more views this year than I had in the total run of my previous blog. I have made some good online friends, connected with other Confessional blogs, and I may have made a few enemies. That was terrifying interesting.

Let me share some numbers with you!

  • Followers: 160
  • Top Commenters: Robakers, WriteFitz, and Strokemanswoman followed by Claudiajswain, Cindy V, and Lizzigroves.
  • Top Viewing Country: United States, followed by Canada, the Untied Kingdom, Brazil, and Australia.
  • Top Posts: My Church is a Failure with 1,376 views. It is followed by Happy Mother’s Day! with 291, and Lessons from the Boutique 5: Red Heels with 221. Look at the difference. That’s quite a jump from 291 to 1,376. One of my friends said the My Church is a Failure went viral. I don’t know that it went viral as a whole, but maybe amongst Reformed Baptist.
  • August 2014 was my highest traffic month with 2,384 views followed by Feb with 1,564 when a guest post I wrote for Strokemanswoman was shared by Tim Challis. This guest article has gotten as many or more views as My Church is a Failure.

This year I also submitted my first writings to a publisher. I submitted two Texas Cousins stories to Solid Ground Publishing for consideration.

God is good. God is trustworthy.

You might think that’s easy to say with the limited success I’ve had with my blog. Of course, I think He’s good when things are going better than I could have ever imagined. God is good, not because this change in my life has rewarded me with better blog success. God is good because He has saved me and made me His child, then He slowly and gently worked in my life to bring me to the point where I could lay aside what I wanted for Him. Seeming material or no material reward, I would still praise Him for He is mighty. He owes me nothing for the sacrifices I have made for they are just a happy following after of my elder brother, my heavenly husband, my Standing Lamb. If the blog had flopped, I would have experienced His sanctification in that and by grace would praise Him still. The success of my blog or lack thereof doesn’t change the joy I have at the great mercy He showed me. I trust that He would still use the gifts He gave me even if it’s not how I expect. He has given me everything and owes me nothing. These aren’t rewards. These are graces. These are a kind gift from the hand of a kind Father, not a debt He owed me for my great sacrifices.

I’m very thankful He gave me some tangible gifts when I switched my writing course. He didn’t just give me some, He richly gifted me. Its humbling and all I can say is use me more Lord. Pour me out for your sake.

Thank you for reading, sharing, liking, commenting, and supporting this blog. I look forward to another year of Sunday Thought articles, movie and book reviews, news about my stories, and more children’s stories.

Here's to another year of blogging.

Here’s to another year of blogging.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on how I could improve the blog, articles you would like to see, stories you want to hear, movies/or books you want reviewed. Thank you for all your support this first year!

A Thousand Words is Worth One Picture: Cruise

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I didn’t anticipate the sheer giddiness that overcame me when we put out to sea in August on our first cruise. I had spent the last four weeks trying to make sure everything was packed just right, passports came through, evening wear was not super wrinkled, that I had enough motion sickness blockers to cover me the whole week, and all the other planning that goes into a cruise the first time. When those giant engines roared to life and the ship put out to sea, I laughed. I laughed for joy.

Hearing the words ‘International Maritime Law’, seeing dolphins and flying fish, and finally, finally sailing out past all that is mankind to only ocean awoke a part of my childhood I had long forgotten. Memories of Peter Pan’s ship, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Horatio Hornblower, and the Pirates of the Caribbean, and other books and movies where they sailed the seven seas in search of treasure flooded me as the wind hit my face tasting of salt. I wanted to sing “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me.” I wanted to sail by the stars in Her Royal British Navy. I wanted to re-live childhood dreams.

I only then realized how much time me and my siblings spent reading and watching movies about the days of sailing around the world in clipper ships. I only then realized that while I had always loved the ocean from the shore, I had never loved the ocean on the ocean. It is truly something that grips you and never let’s go.

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We’ve all seen pictures of the open ocean, or the moon gleaming on the water, but a picture can’t tell you about the open feeling of only sky and sea. Nothing as far as the eye can see but sky and sea. It can’t tell you about sailing through storms. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing north, east, west, or south. Turn in a circle and only sky and sea. Weight lifts from the shoulders, burdens seem small in the beauty of open ocean. Mixed with this beauty, akin to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, is the tiny drop of horror. You look around and nothing. On a cruise ship filled with enough food to feed a small nation the horror of emptiness lies remote, buried. But, a well-read home-schooler remembers tales of ships lost at sea. All that water and not one drop of it safe to drink boggles the mind. The beauty mixed with just a drop of fear draws you to stare out into the empty space. And it’s not just the lack of food and water, it’s the life below the surface.

Dolphins raced through the waves created by our massive ship, flying fish, tiny and almost impossible to see, flew out across the ocean, and sea gulls called in our wake, but you look for the shadows under the waves. Imaginations can run wild when you know an unexplored world lives below what you can see. This is what is captivating about the open ocean. Beauty and fear.

While we were on the cruise, there was a super moon. It shone out across the water pulling along a bright golden tail and lighting up the ship. It looked like a cheesy ocean post card and I kept waiting for a dolphin to leap through the moonbeams. We watched the moon until our eyes were heavy with sleep and bed called in an inescapable lullaby.

The sun rose over blue oceans turning clouds pink and lavender. What a glorious way to wake up. Sleeping on a ship was some of the best sleep I’ve ever had. The gentle rocking, the sense of nothing, the going on forever lulls you down into the depths of unconscious dreaming.

Formal night delighted me with finery and laughter. Movies from the twenties came to mind and I half expected Hercule Poirot come around a corner with his perfect mustache.

In a picture, you see the open ocean, you see the blue water with hints of purple and bits of green, but you don’t really see the open ocean. You don’t see how your eye instinctively looks to the horizon, that far distant line of blue meeting blue. You don’t see how the ocean is the perfect shade of denim with just enough dark wash and just enough light. At the corner of your eye dances the sparkle of the sunshine slipping across the top of little waves. Above, the sky is a very clear blue with a strong white under tone too strong to be a baby blue. It is a true and real sky blue broken by a wisp or poof of cloud here and there.

The voices of the other guest sound out, excited children call out to each other, breaking through the soft, muffled woosh of the ship cutting through the water. A gentle sway reminds you you’re not on solid ground and the smell of coffee delivered to your door reminds you you’re on vacation.

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I could dedicate a whole other article to the storms we sailed through. They were spectacular. After one we almost missed due to dinner, we saw the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. The rain trailed from blue clouds like beards off an old man’s face. The sun turned the sea and sky pink, orange, orange, and pink. A double rainbow arched across the blue expanse.

The sea is a dangerous thing and someday I’ll return to her again.

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This article is dedicated to my Husband, the Coles and the Garricks. It was wonderful to spend so much time with all y'all!

This article is dedicated to my Husband, the Coles and the Garricks. It was wonderful to spend so much time with all y’all!

The Conference: SBFC-SW

It’s the wee hours of the morning and there are lights on at Heritage Baptist Church. The warmers are growling to life, the coffee is dripping, bacon and biscuits perfume the air while not quite awake girls crack eggs.

It’s time for our annual Southern Baptist Founders Conference-South West.

Thursday-Saturday, we welcome men, women, children, and families from all over Texas and our outlying states into our church for preaching and fellowship. Neither of these would be complete without some food, and the food wouldn’t happen if the Lord hadn’t provided our church with men and women, boys and girls who love to serve. It was my privilege last year and this to direct a group of these women, boys, and girls in the kitchen. What a joy to work with them and serve the church.

Preparation for the conference starts weeks in advance. For my part, I’m planning menus, picking Glyn’s (the previous meal master) brain, lining up help, and trying not to think about it. Cindy Cason feeds me numbers as soon as they start rolling in and the speculation on the number of guests begins.

This year, Liz Groves and I tackled the bulletin boards in the weeks before the Conference, hoping to spruce them up a bit. It turned out to be a much bigger job than we anticipated which narrowed our focus from all of them to four.

Picture by Liz. Me, Liz and Imogene.

Picture by Liz.
Me, Liz and Imogene.

Picture by Emily Shiflet. The finished product.

Picture by Emily Shiflet. The finished product.

During this time, a flurry of emails goes out to the families of HBC with lists of the food needed and slots to fill. Women commit and file their instructions away. Some will bring burgers, some salads, some fruit, some wait in the sidelines in case there are empty slots just days before the Conference. Everyone takes on an extra burden to make sure there is enough food and I can’t thank these women enough.

The Sunday before plans are laid with helpers for decorating, and arrivals.

Now it’s the week of the conference.

Monday morning is shopping!

Wanda, my extra Mom, and big conference helper with me at Sam's.

Wanda, my extra Mom, and big conference helper with me at Sam’s.

Tuesday enough bacon is cooked to feed an army!

If you cook enough bacon you can almost make yourself sick of it. Almost.

If you cook enough bacon you can almost make yourself sick of it. Almost.

Wednesday is TAARBC’s meeting and biscuit cooking!

Enough biscuits for three meals.

Enough biscuits for three meals.

Now’s the day! Thursday. Heritage is alive with activity. Decorations go up. Helpers arrive. Food arrives in abundance. The first meal is laid out and shared with friends. Success!

The decorators and cookie cookers!

The decorators and cookie cookers!

Friday is the long day. Early in the morning, before even the sun is up, women in aprons, smiling teens, and lots of coffee arrive. Breakfast is served at 800 am, and without even a pause, lunch is begun. Clean up, clean up, clean up. A few hours to visit with friends old and new comes our way and then prep for dinner begins. Friday night is our biggest meal of the Conference and this year was no exception. Happy and exhausted, I send everyone home to start again on Saturday.

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Most of these girls have been serving food for years and we have new recruits being trained. Spending the week with them is one of my favorite parts about the Conference. Picture by Emily Shiflet.

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Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! Picture by Emily Shiflet.

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Seeing people who are dear to your heart is one of the other joys of the Conference. Emily Shiflet and myself.

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The greatest serving crew a woman could ask for, plus lots of other wonderful young people who come every year. Picture by Emily Shiflet.

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Many of our servers took off work or gave up valuable study time to help. We are so thankful for them. This is Raelea cleaning up after one of the meals. Picture by Emily Shiflet.

Saturday we have one goal. Get everything settled enough to hear Pastor Steve’s sermon. We can do it. Again, coffee, bacon, biscuits, eggs. Again, clean up, clean up, clean up. But this time, this morning, things have to be put back into place for Sunday lunch. Tables are moved, refrigerators are evaluated and reshuffled, more coffee is drunk.

We made it.

Tired helpers sneak into the service, glad to hear a man we love give the word of God, glad to have served, glad everyone was fed, glad it all tasted moderately good.

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls? It was an honor serving with you and we’ll do it again next year…or actually maybe in January, or December. 🙂

Thank you Emily, for sharing your pictures. Thank you ladies, for giving your time and encouragement and support, thank you young people for giving your energy, laughter, willing work, and for our very strange conversations between meals. I love you all.