Monday, June 29, 2015

The Winding Road (a personal chat - Karen Andreola)

"The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear" - The Beatles, 1970

It's been awhile since we've visited. I've managed to make it upstairs in the attic to sit in front of my computer and write what has been on my mind.

I was out-of-state helping my daughter with her difficult pregnancy. I was only a little help, really.

I sat around like an old-fashioned granny watching two boisterous little boys. This is because I'd been convalescing with my foot up on chairs - and keeping downstairs.

Not long ago Dean and I were visiting a church. Just as we were taking our places, I missed an unforeseen step. Twisting an ankle, I fell headlong to the floor, hitting my face on the oak pew across the isle. To my dismay, that beautiful spring morning was spent in the ER.. No broken bones, no lost teeth -thankfully. Stitches and bruises are healed by now. But I'm humbled by a small scare where my lip was supper-glued together. Never-mind. It feels good to be able to smile again.

As you can see I'm taking a moment for a personal chat. If you've come looking for informative articles, welcome. I invite you to click around. I hope the articles will encourage you.

Lancaster County farm

May I tell you why the above lyrics came to mind? It will explain why Dean and I took a drive together through the back roads of our neighborhood to take pictures for you today. 

We'd been reading the book of Ruth and hearing sermons on this moving story. It shows that the life of the believer is not a straight highway to heaven. Our journey is more like a winding road, more like the country roads around here, where we live in Pennsylvania.

Here the roads are old ones, roads made in the days when William Penn granted land to settlers looking for religious freedom, Quaker or otherwise. The roads wind around small farms, curve along creeks, go up and down rolling hills. They are obscured by woods or lined with weedy hedgerows.

This time of year the landscape is green and lush. The small farms are full of flowers and mini garden retreats.

Where Are We?
It isn't surprising that tourists to Lancaster County (and even we) who venture onto the "scenic routes" soon find we've lost a sense of direction. The life of the believer can be like this. We can feel lost. But using the lyrics above for my own purposes, the door to heaven will never disappear. In our hearts we believe the promise that it is truly and wonderfully there.

In the book of Ruth we see that life has set-backs. But set-backs are part of God's gracious road to glory. We move forward up and down the road, by faith, even when we cannot see around the bend.

I am trying to accept the set backs in my life and in the life of those I love. I believe that they are part of God's plan. I will admit to asking God, during times of discouragement, how He can expect me to be a faithful Christian with all the, pain, loss and set backs life holds? His answer to St.Paul's repeated prayers to remove the chronic, painful thorn in his flesh was, "My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness."(2 Corinthians 12:10).

A Turn in the Road
Last year we asked for prayer for our son, Nigel, who was injured. The top treatment for RSD that he had undergone in Philadelphia, failed. Due to the pain of RSD in his hands, Nigel is very limited in what he can do. It is my sorrow to see him unable to use his hands in ways he once enjoyed. Playing piano, driving a car, cooking a meal, riding his mountain bike, fencing, etc. I am reminded of a verse I wove into my story, Lessons at Blackberry Inn (before this injury took place.) "A man's heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

Happily, when he was a boy, Nigel gave his life to Jesus his Savior. He's kept his faith. This is the most important thing, isn't it? What he can do is use a computer mouse and Wacom tablet with rests in between. He was schooled and received honors in graphic arts and web design, and stays current with the odd college course.

Presently, he is preparing my two stories, Pocketful of Pinecones and its sequel Lessons at Blackberry Inn, for Kindle. It is slow and steady work - but work he does well and gratefully.

When our current stock of Lessons of Blackberry Inn runs out we will no longer be printing a paper edition. If you've been meaning to purchase this story - a summer retreat for the home teacher - in paper, click here.

Joy in the Midst of Trouble
While I was away I enjoyed attending a baby shower for our daughter Sophia at her house. It was hosted by Sophia's sister, Yolanda and Sophia's homeschool friend Shannon. They did a beautiful job. The raspberry filled lemon cake with raspberry frosting, Yolanda's recipe, tasted especially fresh and delicious. (Proof of my opinion is that when Yolanda handed me a leftover piece of cake at the close of the party- I hid it in the very back of Sophia's frig and treated myself with it by petite-fours-sized slices - after my grandchildren were in bed - for three consecutive evenings. Ahh.) I asked Shannon how long she and Sophia have been friends and she told me since they were 11 years-old. That was 22 years ago. Sisters and old friends are a blessing. (And daughters who know how to cook.)

My gift of a homemade quilt is one that had been resting in my Grandmother's Someday Box for some years, saved for whomever the next little girl would be to enter our lives.

I finished knitting the angora baby jacket I started this spring. It is soft and delicate.

All I need to do is attach a pink ribbon or a button to the collar. I can't decide which.

Anyway, we are looking forward to meeting the upcoming baby girl soon.

Living Along the Winding Road,
Karen Andreola