Wednesday, June 27, 2012



It's that time of year again...the first Saturday of July is soon approaching. That calendar date always marks the Miller Family Reunion. We anticipate joining sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins more than slated activities. But the goings-on are always very interesting - to say the least.

We gather at a community building in Flatwoods WV, which is as close as we can get to a center point for homes that are spread all over the country. As we file in the tables start filling up. One or two for auction items, one for show 'n tell and at least four/five for food and drinks. That ratio seems to work for us.The rest of the cafeteria type tables serve us well for all the conversation that goes along with all the eating.

There are two focal points of entertainment - the auction and our very own country/bluegrass players. To tell the truth, I enjoy the latter more than the former; mostly because seeing/hearing cousins who meet but once a year playing together has to be special. But the auction often features family heirlooms for scrutiny and not a little friendly competition in the bids. After all the food and frolic, our visit usually closes out with a bit of hymn singing. A Miller reunion would be incomplete without that!

In keeping with a long-standing habit of taking something I've crafted for the auction, the quilted travel/cosmetic pictured above are this year's contribution. Along with a couple locker-hooked hot pads. Talk about contrast. As for locker hooking, I find it difficult to hook and wrap the outer edges as instructed, so the border on the pink one is experimentally crocheted with matching yarn. That's still the hardest part of a craft I really enjoy, but the crochet is much easier on my fingers. Have also discovered if I fold a bit more of the mesh under, line up the squares and steam press it the borders will stay 'steam glued' in place - stiff but simpler to hook. As for the yarn and washing? Guess we'll find out how that works later.

While in travel bag mode I went ahead and made four total. They got easier as I went along. It would have been a better idea to assembly line the processes, but that was not practical in this case because each bag needed a different color thread. It taxed me quite enough to switch the even-feed, zipper and satin-stitch presser feet, without the bother of changing thread and bobbin at the same time. With this much practice, though, perhaps the pattern will seem a bit less confusing the next time it's used. That's me, an eternal optomist. For now the extra bags will be stashed in the quilt vault until a token gift is needed.

With all this rambling it would seem I risk breaking the hard & fast rule of Teeldom bannishing boredom. For appearances sake, we'll just say my mind is mindless, taking a wee ramble - boring, perhaps,...but I am not bored. That's my story........

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


There was a day that I thoroughly disliked that task. But these days, it is an enjoyable process almost always. Who could disdain standing before the window watching rabbits scamper and birds feed in the summertime? Or not take pleasure in seeing woodsheds that are full and brimming over as a backdrop to thickly falling snow?

Life speeds by through the kitchen window of the Barn. It would be a shame to spoil this process with an automatic dishwasher; besides I am the automatic dishwasher.

Another chore I used to dread was laundry. No more. I may continue to wonder how long I'll be (reasonably) stable walking the outdoor stairways down to the lower floor where the washer and dryer live; or what stored item or tool might reach out to grab me as I enter; and I will definitely keep my eyes open for snakes visiting close by the outdoor stoop as I go to and fro, as I've met them along that path before. But as long as I can complete the process of sort/wash/dry/fold/hang/put-away before noon, I remain a very happy Teelside camper. all began with a wringer washer and no automatic dryer. How well I remember those frigid winter winds of Pennsylvania that froze diapers and work uniforms stiff as boards. But who among us doesn't love folding baby clothes? Dealing with work clothes...not so much.

Of course, the common perpetrator in the demise of housekeeping pleasure is increasing task loads that automatically grow with a growing family. O.K., O.K. There is that likely degree of procrastination in the mix. Dishes and laundry can stack up pretty quickly. My mother had it right - take care of it as you go along. Or enter Not that I am faithful to FlyLady - but I do check in with her lanch pad every so often just for entertainment. And that entertainment has generated a few good habits - like a clean sink at bedtime (most of the time), for instance.

Rambing done. On now to making a bit of bread pudding with bread that procrastinated until it became stale. And then to cleanup of the mess I'll make, remembering that Grandma Oe would say one needs "to rid up the dishes."

Thursday, June 14, 2012


A Place for Serenity

Life can be hectic, busy, rushed ... sometimes overwhelming. Whew! An ounce of rest and a pound of serenity sets all to rights again. And then there are the times when those hectic, rushed and busy days are found to be totally refreshing. This often happens with occasions of simple hospitality.

There is always heightened anticipation in plans to meet new faces and share time with other Christians. Common bonds, mutual friends - from all over the globe - and collective goals sweeten the pot of preparation immensely. The little added tasks of cleaning, cooking and arranging schedules beforehand mix with  pleasant expectancy of time to be shared in the company of good people.  We had just such an experience with our weekend visitors.

The Gentry family came to us by way of Tennessee, Indiana and Moldova. They didn't plan to be back in the states on furlough quite so soon as three months after starting a work in Moldova, but the wheels of foreign legalities grind very slowly and their visa ran out prematurely. Their loss is our gain.

Furlough my eye ... the three month interim required before returning to Moldova has been for them a whirlwind of travel, testimony and teaching. It is no small thing to pack and drag a family of five all over the place, but they are young and so very dedicated to the Lord's service and the spreading of His gospel that they seem to scarcely notice the inconveniences. And so it is they arrived at Teelside for a three-day work-hard and sleepover.

Most often we think of hospitality as being a way to bestow honor on our visitors, and rightly so. But there is another, I think equal if not surpassing, honor in hospitality. That is the privilege that is held in showing hospitality for others. This is especially true when guests are as agreeable as the Gentry family.

We will warmly recall the children's cheerful occupancy. So courteous, so grateful for any little attention. (I know some parents that have done an amazing job of teaching grace and manners.) And their sweet parents were equal joy to have around. When guests are thankful and show themselves adaptable to any and all circumstances ... including eating cereal, hot dogs and sandwiches, sleeping on the floor and sharing a single bathroom for the duration ... their hosts cannot help but feel honored to have them.

What good times. Not surprisingly, the members of God's family at Clendenin were refreshed and encouraged by both the presence of and interaction with the Gentry family. It does strengthen our faith, hope and joy to meet other Christians and hear reports of the fruit of the gospel thriving in distant lands.

When the time came, we sent them on their way (somewhat reluctantly) with newfound love in our hearts and prayerful petitions for God's richest blessings throughout their pilgrim journey. We trust as well that every minute of our hospitality was spent in honor of the Lord that made such sweet communion possible.