Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Neighbor's Chickens
by Shelia Parker Nelson

Every afternoon, they cross the road a'runnin'.
The neighbor's four chickens to my yard are comin'.

They cluck to one another as they peck and they scratch,
about the ants and the chiggers and the ticks that they catch.

Takin' their time, to my back yard they walk,
where one finds a ladybug and lets out a squawk.

Three run towards her, in their awkward gait,
curious as to what the other found and ate.

They soon forget it happened, for you know what they say,
Chickens wake up in a brand new world each day. 

It's almost time to roost, the sun is nearly gone.
Time for the four chickens t' head back t' home.

At the roads edge they freeze, confusion they're displayin'.
"How did we get over here?" they seem to be a'sayin'.

Across the road they go, a'runnin' as fast as they can.
They sleep all night, wake up early, and do it all over again.

One says to the others "Where shall we go today?"
The others say "Across the road, we've never been that way."

 The End

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Little is Much, if God is in it.

Come and walk with me up this old road. There's a place up here I want you to see.

See that church up yonder on the hill? It was once filled with life and joy and the love of God. It was filled with people who loved Jesus, and who wanted to share His love.  We loved and cared for one another, too.  I know this place because I was a part of it.

I admit I didn't appreciate it the way I should have. I thought it would always be there. 

I was so wrong.

You've probably guessed by now that services are no longer held here.
It doesn't exist any more, you see.  The windows and doors are boarded with plywood.  There are locks on all the doors.  It is decaying on the outside.

I can only imagine what the inside looks like.  But I can close my eyes and I see warmth, happiness, and the faces of people I care about...some have gone on to Glory....some, like myself, were led by God to another church....some are still searching.....some, I fear, gave up....

It only lives in the memories of those who still love this place.

A spur of the great and ancient Appalachian mountains rise behind the little church. From this mountain spur the little church received its name.

Mountain View Baptist Church

It was a simple building, never much to look at.

But it didn't matter. It was the people that made it beautiful. 

Blanche, the greatest alto of all    Lenore, with the sweetest of spirits 
Mrs. Lovelady, "pick up the Broken Pieces and give them to the Lord" 
Mart and Wilma    
 Mrs. Brumlow, my friend   
Mrs. Jett
Mrs. Petty

Clarence and Sue
John and Reva     Ruth Alice      Shirley and Melvin 
 Betty and Fred

Mr and Mrs. Miller        Joe and Ann Jodi Jenny            Mrs. Petty

Ralph and Helen 
 Richard and Susie 
Terry and Irene  
Gary and Frieda 
Dale and Sharon  

Dorothy and Clyde     Jimmie and Gene      
Brenda and Jimmy       Oochie "Bless 'im Lord!" and Wilma 

Tiny    Mackie and Brenda    Morris and Sheila    
Marilyn, the church pianist since the age of twelve
Gene and Barbara   Tracy     Penny 

Ed and Sheila        Sharon and Mickey 

Judy and Cecil and four little girls in matching Easter dresses  

Ed Eustice and his pocketful of chewing gum he loved to give away 

Fate who couldn't pray aloud for crying
 Mrs. & Mr. Henson who always began his prayer with "Dear Heavenly Father"

Carolyn and Walt, who testified and visited with God daily in His beautiful Creation

Jay and Angela        Roger and Evelyn     
Uncle Ralph and Aunt Trudy  

Momma and Daddy 

Andy, my son       Chuck, my Hub

We'd stand on the porch, after a summer Sunday night service, talking and laughing with one another.

I remember when dozens of children, including my own son, marched up these now-crumbling steps to Vacation Bible School.

Oh, but if this building could talk! And if it could sing!

Heaven's Jubilee
In the Sweet Forever
Uncloudy Day
Tell Me the Story of Jesus
I Never Shall Forget the Day

I can see the lights of home, I can see Him on His throne.
 I'm too near to turn back now. Praise the Lord! I'm Heavenbound!
 And when my journey here shall end,
I'll say goodbye to this world of sin.
In that Fair Land
I'll take my stand.
It's good to be on this road for Gloryland.

And every once in a while an unmistakeable Presence joined us...a sweet, comforting, peaceful Presence.

I loved those services best of all.

This was the Fellowship Hall. How we loved to fellowship together!  I can remember Homecomings...Christmas cream socials....weenie roasts....all taking place here.

Everyone was always welcomed and loved.

The parking lot and driveways are crumbling and in time grass, weeds and plants will take over.

In fact, the only thing not decaying are the ornamental trees we planted many years ago.  I hope someone comes along to care for them. I remember how happy we were to plant them and how we thought they'd make the grounds pretty.   

And I remember how thankful we were to build a new Sunday School building.

No one comes here now. Oh, I've heard stories. Stories about former members who drive around the church, get out and walk around....remembering.

I know they're mostly good memories. But there are sad memories, too.
Such is life...sunshine and shadow.

 All imprinted on our hearts forever.

Let me say this, please.

There's nothing wrong with being a small church. 

Not every church is meant to be big. Or even middlesize.  

Little is much, if God is in it.

It doesn't take a big building, the latest technology, or programs designed to entice people to join.

All it takes is God's love. Timeless. Ageless. Neverending love.

And a servant's heart.

The smallest, humblest church in the world can please God, just by sharing His love.

  If you go to a small church, and you're doing great things.....don't assume it means God wants you to relocate....or build a bigger building.....or install the latest technology......or activate programs to keep people busy....

These things don't mean much to the hungry...the lost...the lonely...the feeble...the grieving...the sad...the poor...the widows...the orphans...

Remember, little is much if God is in it.
Thank you for letting me share my heart with you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I spent a portion of this weekend saying goodbye.

Goodbye Knockout Roses. You've become more beautiful since autumn arrived, but in a few weeks you will want to rest. I will see you next spring!

Goodbye Morning Glories! Remember how I planted you with the cucumbers? The cucumbers didn't do worth a toot, but you have thrived and given me so much joy for the past two months.

 Goodbye lace cap hydrangea! I am looking forward to your lacy and dreamy blue-violet blooms again next spring!
 Goodbye jalepeno peppers! You and I never got along, but Hub loves you. When Hub is happy, I am happy! We'll plant you again next year!
Goodbye Sugar Maple! Thank you for giving shade to all the porch breakfasts and suppers we had underneath your canopy this year. It seems as if I wait on you for so long to bud out in the spring. All the other trees are leafy and green and you take your own sweet time about it. You are so worth it though; I'll wait on you again next spring.

 Goodbye Encore Azaleas! I love it that in less than six months I'll be seeing your pretty salmon colored blooms again, and then again in October of next year. Encore!
 Goodbye my lovely Old Maids. You have given me many bouquets this summer and I've enjoyed every bright bloom.
 I wouldn't want my other flowers to know, but you're my favorite. Goodbye! I've saved your little seeds, so I'll be planting your offspring next year.

Goodbye vinca! Even throughout the drought and incredible heat, you continued to bloom, and bloom and bloom. I ignored you, most of the time, but it didn't seem to bother you. You just did your own thing and filled the flower beds. Thank you. I do appreciate you.

 Goodbye lawnmower! Thanks for all the work you did this past spring. Summer was dry and you didn't see much action, but we will hope that next year brings more rain, so get some rest this winter!
Goodbye Rose of Sharon!  In the middle of summer, when you are full of purple blooms and every hummingbird in the area is humming around you, I watch from the sink when I'm washing dishes.
All of that hummingbird activity makes it a pleasant task.

Goodbye little rosebud. Your timing isn't very good, I'm afraid. I hope you make it to a bloom before a frost gets you.

Oh, this is a difficult goodbye. The angle of the sun is so low that I can't use you very much in the winter. I will miss you terribly.  I will miss the fresh smelling sheets and blankets and the softness of my clothes when the wind blows them all day.   I will miss carrying my laundry basket out on Saturday mornings and sitting it on the stump, fetching my clothes pins from my laundry apron and singing every gospel song I know so loudly that they bounce off the mountain. And do you know you are my 'thinking place'?  The electric clothes dryer doesn't care about me the way you do. Goodbye.  Goodbye. Goodbye.

Goodbye little Garden Spot! We had a tough time of it this year, didn't we? You almost got washed out by the big rains in April. But you still provided us with tomatoes, peppers, beans, sunflowers, squash and a few cucumbers until the morning glory vine took over.  Then the drought began and the squash gave up first. Seems like they just melted one day when the heat index was one hundred fifteen.   Then the corn blew over during a freak windstorm in the middle of summer. 
We'll be out there to see you in February of next year, tilling and planting. The thrill of seeing little plants popping up from your tilled rows never gets old to me. I will visit you often this winter and throw coffee grounds and buckets of chicken poop on you.   

Goodbye last remnants of Summer 2011!  I've loved every second I've spent with you!