The release of the Family Worship booklet in June has been a major event for us this summer. It is my first attempt at self-publishing. (I assumed that none of those who have published my books, nor those book publishers who have asked me to write for them, would be interested in a booklet-sized, 11,000 word piece.) But I have long felt strongly about this subject, and my research for what was originally a conference message convinced me that a need for such a published work existed. The response to Family Worship has been extremely encouraging, and as long as the Lord provides the means, I trust it will serve as a mainstay in the stable of resources made available by The Center for Biblical Spirituality.
I'm grateful for those who continue to inquire about my health, and especially grateful for those who have continued to pray for me. At this writing, I am seven months post-surgery, and doing well. If I awakened today from a seven-month sleep and knew nothing of the surgery, I would notice that my insides operate differently than before I went to sleep, but beyond that (and a scar) I wouldn’t be aware of any physical differences.
The Southern Seminary magazine printed a story in the summer issue about my cancer and recovery. If you'd like to see the photo and read the story, click here.
Because of my experience, in July Caffy had her first colonoscopy screening and receivedthankfullya good report. If you are over 50 (or over 40 and have a relative who has had colon cancer), have you had a colonoscopy? If not, it's time. It takes only about 20 minutes, and is painless. And in most cases, those with medical insurance will find the procedure covered, provided you meet the qualifications above. Ninety percent of those who die from colon cancer (which is the second leading cancer killer) would not die from it if only they'd have a colonoscopy in time.
Laurelen's summer highlights have included piano camp, serving in our church's VBS, enjoying five days with friends back in Kansas City while I was preaching there, and a mission trip. The mission trip to Slidell, LA was particularly significant. Laurelen was part of a team of twelve youth and eight sponsors from our church who helped renovate a Baptist church in Slidell as well as demolish a condemned home in the neighborhood, gut another, and paint a third. A good mission trip can be transformational experience.
Farm & Garden Report
I suppose it's time to begin a "Farm & Garden Report" as that seems to be so much of the family news this year.
Caffy has her first garden since 1980. It's been very therapeutic for her. In contrast to the Great Garden Disaster of '80, her work a quarter-of-a-century later has been a dramatic success. This unretouched photo (okay, we cropped it) documents her seven-foot-tall tomato plants. No actor was used in this photo. This is an actual gardener. No animals were injured in this photo (though it does look like Caffy is watering Taffetta instead of the tomatoes). Caffy has even been emboldened by her success to enter some tomatoes in the state fair. Her purple hull peas have been spectacular, though we had to send off for seeds as no seed merchant in Louisville had them. Could the absence of such a Southern delicacy be the real reason why Kentucky was considered a "Border" state during the war?
News flash! Caffy is now an apiculturalist! During the winter, some friends from Illinois were cleaning out their barn and found some old bee hives. Our friends were coming to visit, and asked Caffy is she wanted them. Because our former pastor in Kansas City, and now my colleague in Louisvillebeekeepin' Jim Orrickonce told Caffy he thought she had the temperament necessary to be a beekeeper, Caffy decided to accept the offer of the hives. They were stacked haphazardly out back. Early this summer, I warned Caffy that she'd better store the hives before bees took up residence in them. Actually, I'd never heard of such an occurrence, but I didn't want to take a chance. By the time Caffy got out there, we'd been adopted. So off to our "local" beekeeping supplier (in Frankfort) for the essential gear and a hour or two of impromptu advice. We won't get any honey until next year, for the bees will need this year's honey to get them through the winter. And Caffy has some work to do to reorganize the disorganized way in which the bees set up housekeeping in the hive. I'll try to have a picture of her in her "space suit" and provide more exciting apicultural news in the next issue.
Caffy's flowers throughout the yard are thriving, too. Everything from the Hydrangeas to the Zinnias are blooming all over. I planted nine trees since the last newsletter; eight are doing well. Sugar maples and a red maple for fall color, dogwoods, crabapples, and a Kwanzan flowering cherry for spring.
Finally, the bird news. Our specialty here seems to be Song Sparrows. A beautiful call, especially from that nest in the blue spruce at the corner of the front porch. The hummers are responding well to the two feeders. Rufous-sided Towhees have nested all around; much closer than last year. And if you can't get excited about Rufous-sided Towhees hanging around, well, I guess there's not much that can excite you. In the evening, a chorus of two distant Whippoorwills often echo the one across the road.
That’s the news via the white rocking chair on the front porch.
Pray for us.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
2 Timothy 4:22