Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

It was a tradition, going all the way back to 1982. Easter baskets. They started out pretty simply, with just a few small bits of candy and perhaps a bunny. Later, the baskets produced anything from Starbursts to Cadbury's Creme Eggs, or even those paddle thingies with a ball attached with elastic - which always broke off right away (and then the child whose paddle thingie broke would want the other child's paddle thingie, and.. you get the drift).

But whatever it was, the kids loved getting an Easter basket. I tried to include a cross, perhaps made of chocolate or marshmallow. I could always find a cross, and it made the inevitable discussion have focus. Realizing there are bunnies, and eggs, and chocolate, but that they are peripheral. 

This morning the tradition continued, as it always has, and probably always will. The young mother taking time earlier in the week to seek out bits and pieces for three loving Easter baskets. The three small blondies know the Theme, as did their mother back then when she sat at the kitchen table and peered into her basket.

We were not physically together this time, but through the magic of digital photo sharing we almost were. There is something to be said for 'Virtual reality', I am learning.

Dear Readers, I hope your Easter was a lovely day of family, and food, and especially focus. Although we were 1,000 miles from our children and out-of-state family, there were 3 other small fry with whom we spent today. Little ones who are getting to know the Theme bit by bit; little ones who will one day share it, in earnestness and love, with their children. 

"We love Him, because He first loved us." -1 John 4:19

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me.
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

William R. Featherston, 1864
(Public Domain)

He is risen indeed.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Passion

You can't really see it, but through those windows shone the Three Sisters, mountains beloved by everyone in this sweet woodland town. The folk you see are some of those who gathered, to remember. You might say they were passionate about it. 

Each year at this time, we also try to see some of the movies that have been made about the Easter story. Sometimes it has been The Greatest Story Ever Told, or The Robe (excellent, both). For me today it was The Passion of the Christ (2004). It is not an easy thing to watch (but should such a thing ever be?). Everything else sort of fades as you look, your discomforts dissolving as you see the ultimate Discomfort unfolding for you.

(Of course, the Book itself the best spot to read the real dialogue, and find your questions answered. The later chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are clear and precise, lacking in nothing.) 

And thank you for reading! It is lovely to have friends from all over the globe, stopping by, checking in, touching base even though we may be thousands of miles apart.

And we eagerly await Sunday! 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Greater Love Hath No Man Than This 

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice said, "Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!" And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all His acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
-Luke 23:44 - 49

All over this world tonight, people are gathering to remember. No one who has been touched by it could ever forget. They will walk, drive, bicycle, or find public transportation, to be together and remember. 

Our daughter tells us today that her children want to talk about it. Want to hear, to share, to listen all about it. Easter. It is all so fascinating. They have recognized it isn't about chocolate or eggs or bunnies. They know it is about something so much more astonishing than bunnies. They sense a gravity about it, today; but this will change, gloriously, come Sunday. 

Their mother called today 'Good Friday'. "But that's terrible!" said the 6 year old. "It should be called 'Terrible Friday!'" And I certainly see his point. But we call it Good because of the wonderful thing done on that one terrible day. Provision for the sins of the world. 

(Sins? you ask. Yes, and if ever we don't think we have any, we must just wait five minutes. Or ask our husband..)

And so, we remember. I shall think of the words within the four gospels; descriptions of what took place this 'terrible' Friday. And of the song below, aptly written and shared by someone who was touched by all of this, and will never forget.

See you along the Way.

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

Behold, the Man upon the cross, my sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there, until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me Life, I know that 'it is finished'.

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power no wisdom,
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I do not have an answer.
But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my Ransom.

©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music 
Words and Music by Stuart Townend 

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Red Raspberry Scones in this Sweet Woodland Cabin

On a recent trip to World Market (my new favorite place) I discovered a few scone mixes that might be helpful, in a pinch. The SconeLady is not above using a scone mix, although it may shock some to hear of it. I find it a little bit shocking myself. But I have been served these scones before and was not at all dissatisfied. 

I picked out the Red Raspberry and Original Recipe scone mixes to try. They are made by Sticky Fingers Bakery: 'Quick & Easy! Just add water, mix, and bake!' I had to hand it to the Sticky Fingers folks. It was quick. It was easy. It was less than five minutes to mix, roll, and pop into the hot oven. Wow.

Why is World Market my new favorite place? Well, the years spent in England acclimated us to certain food stuffs, which we gave up reluctantly upon our return. These food stuffs were not easily findable, here. And I looked hard. 

In California, my sister told me about a sweet place called 'All Things Bright And British'. Have you ever been there, dear Readers? I loved it. One could find British teas, fresh scones served properly, digestive biscuits, custard mix, Cadbury Chocolate bars, teapots and so on. You could literally pretend you had gone back.

But then the store closed, and I was bereft. The advent of World Market meant I was rescued and have loved them for it ever since.

Some thoughts on this latest scone-venture:

  • These scones tasted delicious! I served them to myself with butter, my M-I-L's homemade strawberry jam, and real whipped cream.
  • The Red Raspberry scones came out of the oven about 9 minutes later than the mix suggested (they said 12 - 15 minutes, and mine were ready in 23. It could be the oven). 
  • The actual height of the scones was a bit unimpressive. You will see below that they did not raise to the dizzying heights of those from The Little Book of Scones, by All'Scone.  
  • Eating scones with oneself is not as satisfying as eating them with someone else. 

The real advantage of the Sticky Fingers scone mix is speed and convenience. And why should we not have speed and convenience? (I ask you). Some days you deserve to have a sweet and British treat without the wait. Dig in! But don't forget the cream.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

 The SconeLady taste testing Sticky Finger Scones

Never forget the cream

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Divine Intervention

Have you ever met someone who was old, but - still young? Someone who had forgotten that his chance to change the world had already come and gone? I did, all on a bright September Sunday, in Norfolk.

"Today we will walk those ten miles with you, and show you a Treasure along the way," said Ted. Ted was a marvelous Guide, and our only assignment was to keep our eyes on the back of his head (to understand this more fully, please see the post from December 13, "An Unmistakable Guide").

But - a Treasure? The thought intrigued. It was a perfect day for finding treasure! Ted strode off ahead, friend Rosie and I chattering away behind him. 

And then, suddenly, there it was. The Treasure. 

Just ahead, and through the trees was an ancient church, nearly concealed behind green foliage and climbing blossoms. 

"Well, it's nearly 2:00 so he should be there now," said Ted. "He" was Mr. Bob. Davey, an 85 year old man who had spent 20 years restoring and preserving St. Mary's Church, Houghton-on-the-Hill. His wife Gloria had happened upon it in 1992 and been surprised and shocked by its condition. It was a ruin - no roof, no flooring, covered with thick ivy she could scarcely battle her way through. It had suffered heavy war damage, and now contained the detritus of some kind of satanic worship - black candles, upside down crosses, signs of animal sacrifice.

Gloria told the story to Bob, who immediately made it his single life's goal - to do everything he could to restore that lovely old 12th century church. In doing so he even found, beneath the crumbling plaster, the oldest wall paintings in Europe. 

You can read about Bob and what he has done here:

We three got to meet Bob, and hear his description of all that it took to get this job done. He is the sweetest man. Long, white beard; somewhat stooped and resting against the back of a pew bench. Smiling, welcoming, wise. 

'Divine Intervention' is an apt description! God sent him there, he said, and his face glows as he shares this. What did we think of Bob? Looking at him rather reminded me of a Star Wars-ish  Obi-wan-Kenobi ("Where did you dig up that old fossil?"). But neither 'old', nor a 'fossil'. Perhaps more like venerable, I think.

He was in his 60's when it all began. 'Too late' for changing the world? I think not.

It's never too late for a Treasure hunt.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Guitar Down Under (3)
We were having Australian coffee one day when someone joked that their ancestors had been convicts. I said, "That's not very nice."

But it turned out to be true! The British had called it 'Transportation', and sent thousands of convicts to Australia (this was ages ago of course). And to their credit, it was a sort of humane alternative to execution. I guess I would rather be sent on a crowded and smelly prison ship with no medicine and little food or water thousands of miles from home - than be led to the gallows.. hmm. 

My hosts even took me to the graveyard where some of their ancestors had been buried. As we approached, I was expecting to see row upon row of headstones. But these particular graves were simple in the extreme. Just row upon row of narrow and primitive graves, perhaps with names, and sometimes no name at all.

This was all part of what I learned while singing in Australia. I loved the free spirited demeanor of the Aussies! As if they couldn't stop smiling for even a moment. You know - "No worries!" It was such fun. Joyce had arranged the singing engagements, many in remote locations. Just imagine for a moment, driving for hours through amazing countryside, passing tiny villages and strange looking birds and almost getting lost; arriving at someone's home and forever being welcomed with a hug, a meal, and: "I'm so glad you've come!"

Some of what I saw at the time (things may have changed since):

  • cell phone use while driving was already prohibited (this was the year 2000)
  • a restaurant could not send your extra food home in a 'doggy bag', for fear it would spoil and they would be sued for food poisoning
  • it was pre 9/11, and getting through Customs was a breeze!
  • I learned how to make the most delicious pumpkin soup
  • we visited a lady who owned a baby kangaroo who slept in a bag, and I got to hold it
  • Australians loved watching Alias, starring Jennifer Garner, the following year. They wouldn't miss an episode

The best of all these things was the privilege of staying with, riding with, eating with, talking with - Joyce. She of the year in New Zealand, the long black hair and the voice of an angel. We solved (or tried to solve) all the problems of the world, in that car on those drives. Leaving wouldn't be easy. 

But one morning I awoke to find I could hardly move, due to missing my husband so terribly. Our host heard me crying, kindly led me to a telephone, and said, "Talk all you want, this one's on me."

10,000 miles from home, I dialed a long series of numbers; waited breathlessly until it began to ring; waited while it rang; heard the 'click' of the receiver as someone picked up; loved the voice I heard on the other line.

"Well hello, my darling! It's so nice to hear your voice.."

10,000 miles just got a whole lot closer.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Watching Bubba Win

Until yesterday I had not known there was anyone called Bubba Watson. My only Bubba memory had been that great friend of Forrest Gump, Bubba Blue ("I gotta find Bubbaaaaaaa...!!"). And he was a really good Bubba, a memorable one.  

So when I heard that someone else named Bubba was about to win the Master's Golf Tournament, right there in front of us, I woke up. I was snoozing on a comfy couch at the birthday party of a beautiful 22 year old; had slipped up to the loft (a.k.a. 'Man Cave') for 40 winks and was just as comfortable as can be, when up the stairs came four men, ready for their golf.

"Yes, Bubba is going to win in just a few minutes now...he is 3 strokes ahead...they're on their last hole...probably 2 strokes to go...ok now this other golfer is going to tie for 2nd if Bubba sinks this put, he will be the Winner..."

These are the words I heard as I floated up and out of my snooze; not moving yet, just listening. By then becoming interested, I struggled to open my eyes. I heard some more, as I squinted toward the television:

  • that Bubba Watson always weeps upon winning a tournament
  • that he has a baby boy whom he loves
  • that he has a very tall wife whom he adores
  • that he isn't your typical star golfer
  • that he just plays golf in whatever way he feels it at the time
  • that he has no agenda apart from being good at it
Whatever. It works.

It was so fun to see his final putt, to watch that ball slide right into the hole, making him the winner. To watch as he began to weep; to see his 2 year old son toddle toward him on the green. To have a front row view as his tall and beautiful wife hugged him and their boy, a stunning threesome. To see last year's winner put the Green Jacket on Bubba, making it official. It was all so, so much fun.

At the beginning of the day I didn't know there was a Bubba Watson. Didn't even know there was a Master's Tournament. By the day's end, I knew all of that and more than I ever thought I would, about golf.

And so, dear Readers, the takeaway for me yesterday was this: if you want to find a golfer with heart, if you want to feel like golf might not be so boring after all, if you want to see a real man weep -


See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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