Learning to Live in the South


I, a Northerner, recently moved to a southern state.

For years, I had a girl scarecrow on a stick which I placed in my front shrubbery bed every Halloween season.  Last year, she looked worn and sad, so I replaced her after Halloween with a black crow scarecrow at a reduced price.  He was in an open box of tall things like shovels, rakes, brooms, etc.  I also found my seasonal front door wreaths.

My grandson was arriving to spend the weekend with me, so I decided I needed to get out some seasonal decorations — placed a fall basket of flowers on the front door and stuck the black crow scarecrow in the shrubbery bed.  Shortly after placing it there, my builder’s salesman stopped in to check on something.  As he entered, he said, “What’s with the ethnic scarecrow?”

I didn’t know what he meant.  I asked, “What’s wrong with it?”

“You’re a Northerner.”

“I don’t know what you mean!  What’s wrong with a scarecrow?”

“It’s the color of it.”

“But a crow is black!  It is a black crow scarecrow!”

He made it known that some people would not take kindly to a black crow scarecrow.  I was confused.

Immediately after he left, Ray, a new friend from the neighborhood, walked by.  Ray happens to be black.  So, I called to him, “Hey! Ray!  What do you think of my scarecrow?”

“I know it is OK, because I know your heart.”

WHAT?!!!  “Are you saying there are some people who would not like it?”

“It is possible someone who doesn’t know you would not understand.”

“You’ve got to be kidding!!! I would never use a decoration which was negative to anyone!”

“I know that, but not everyone does.”

“OK.  He is going in the trash.”

The term “Jim Crow” came to mind, and, though I had no memory of what that term meant, I wondered if that would have anything to do with people having a negative opinion of a black crow scarecrow, so I looked it up.  The Jim Crow laws, in effect from the 1800s to 1975, made it illegal for black people to do many things which only whites were allowed to do.  One law was that a black person could not play a game with a white person!  This type of thinking is totally offensive and unrealistic to me.  I have no comprehension of someone who would create such rules.

I am guessing, but, I assume Jim is typically a white name.  Crow, of course, is a black animal.  So the very name Jim Crow sets one name against the other if your brain is working in a segregation mode.

I am very grateful my salesman let me know my decoration was not “cute.”

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Moving Woes and Trusting God


I have been a student in Community Bible Study (CBS) programs for going on 6 years.  The students are divided into coregroups of about a dozen people.  Over the year of study, one becomes very attached to these people who open their hearts and minds to each others’ problems, joys, and in-depth study of the scriptures.

Since I have moved to NC this month, I researched a CBS close to me.  There is one about 45 or more minutes from my home in a church just two blocks from where my daughter lived before her demise!  And the core group leader to whom I was assigned was a friend of hers as well as is a Facebook friend of mine, and they shared the same birthday!

Each week, a prayer journal is passed around to write down any pressing needs or problems with which you need spiritual help. Through an email yesterday, I learned this group takes this call to pray for each other a step further with an Emergency prayer list.  YES!!!!  And I needed emergency prayer yesterday!!!!

My move is stupidly convoluted. To be brief:  the coordinator kept INSISTING on delivering my load on the 27th even though I kept telling her it could not be before the 29th!!!  An ongoing conversation.  She not only ignored my directives, but the express demands of my salesperson.  It was my salesperson who had told me this coordinator would become my best friend.  Instead, she is the opposite!




I didn’t close until the 28th, AND it was not finished – paint not complete, no carpeting, and NOT cleaned!  It was impossible to move in.  In a huff, my moving coordinator dumped my load into a local warehouse.  They have turned the issues over to their legal team.  WHAT??!!!  Anyway, I needed emergency prayer to receive my belongings ASAP without (or much) surcharge.

Paul tells us we will not escape this life without trials and troubles.  My trust is in the Lord that everything will turn out for the good for all of us who love the Lord!  Romans 8:28

You likely have heard the saying that God will not give you more than you can handle.  WRONG!!!  That verse is talking about temptations, not trials!!!  God purposely gives us more than we can handle so that we learn to trust Him!!!  In fact, Paul tells us to rejoice in our trials as they bring steadfastness.   So . . . “Thank you, Lord, for making this move a difficult one.  I already know to lean on you and you will provide a way.”  In fact, the words of Kari Jobe which we sang at CBS this week ring in my ears:

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord


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A Bible Legacy Comes To Life


After my mother died and I rummaged through the attic artifacts:  papers, photos – framed and unframed, newspaper articles, more memorabilia, plus there was a small insect crawling through these boxes of stuff called a genealogy bug. He found me and bit me hard!  The serum in the bite caused me to dig for answers.

A significant newspaper article, found inside a family Bible, was about a Bible which had been passed down through generations of my ancestors and was believed to have belonged to an ancestor who had been a martyr.  My research uncovered the martyr — John Rogers,


a Prebend at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  He, with his family, had returned to England under the reign of the boy king, Edward VI, who was favorable to Protestantism.  Following his death at age 16, the throne was given to his half sister, Mary, who was strictly Catholic.  John Rogers had been preaching against the Pope, which caused him to be the first Protestant to be burned at the stake under the reign of Bloody Mary.

John Rogers had met William Tyndale in Holland where Rogers served as a Catholic Chaplain. These two devoutly religious men had many deep talks about theology. Tyndale convinced Rogers to leave the Catholic Church and become a Protestant. Tyndale had a mission to publish the first complete Bible in English.  He did complete the first New Testament in English in 1536.  But before he could complete the Old Testament, the heresy of translating scripture caused Tyndale to be tied to a stake, strangled, and burned.

Rogers, dedicated himself to completing his friend’s work. He used Tyndale’s translations of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Kings, Nehemiah, Ezra, and Jonah. Other books were translated by Myles Coverdale then edited by Rogers. With the death of Tyndale, Coverdale won the race for publishing the first English Bible.  Since Coverdale was not a student of Greek or Hebrew, Coverdale used Tyndale’s New Testament heavily for his Bible, and several of Tyndale’s Old Testament books, as well as the Latin Vulgate and German translations by Martin Luther.  But Rogers edited Coverdale’s work for his purposes as well. Rogers translated the remaining books and published the work as The Thomas Matthew Bible in 1537, using a fictitious name to not be burned at the stake for heresy.


I have been privileged to see two exhibits which included a copy of the Thomas Matthew Bible.  The first was a display at the Library of Congress about Tyndale’s life and work.  The final station of the show presented a Thomas Matthew Bible under glass, of course. The University of Toronto hosted an exhibit in 2011, celebrating the 400th year of the King James Bible in  their Fisher Rare Book Room.  Again, the Thomas Matthew Bible was on display as a precursor to the King James.  Also I noted the Thomas Matthew Bible I saw in the case was sitting in its home – The Fisher Rare Book Room!


Both copies of the Thomas Matthew Bible reside at the Fisher Rare Book Library in the Robarts Library of the University of Toronto on St. George St., Toronto.



Thomas Raynalde and William Hyll


J. Daye and W. Seres


Thomas Raynalde and William Hyll

Psalm 23 – begins on lower left column

Since I no longer live in the Toronto area, it took until this summer before I could arrange to see, touch, and pour over the volume!  And then I learned the Fisher Rare Book Room owns TWO different copies of this Bible.  Both volumes have an origin date of 1537 and both have a publication date of 1549 – both imprinted in London – one by Thomas Raynalde and William Hyll, and the other by J. Daye and W. Seres.  The Daye and Seres edition is in slightly better condition and includes lovely marbled end papers and intricate line drawing throughout the text.


Transcription of the above photo:  In Hall’s Chronicle, (sub anno 27 Hen. VIII, vol. CCXXVII), a book which was completed and printed and published by Richard Grafton, one of the publishers of the original edition of this Bible in 1537, it is stated positively that “Tyndale translated the New Testatment, the V. books of Moyses, Josua, Judicum, Ruth, the books of the Kynger and the books of the Panalipomenon, Nehemias or the first of Esdras, the prophet Jonas and no more of the holy scripture.”  John Rodgers translated the next, or revised Coverdale’s translation, and the whole work was published by Grafton & Whitchurch under the name of Thomas Matthew.  (See Fox’s Acts & Monuments.) This translation, therefore, which is the basis and ground work of the authorized version (this statement refers to the King James Authorized Version, thus was written after its publication in 1611), is the joint work of Tyndale, Coverdale and Rogers; of which Tyndale executed about four sevenths of the whole if we leave out the Apochrypha.   J. P. Bradley.

This preface (above photo) was hand written inside the front cover of the Raynalde and Hyll edition of the Thomas Matthew Bible.  This copy of the Bible has no title page.  The volume seems to be missing a few of the initial pages of the book.  Fortunately,  J. P. Bradley penned this explanation of the authorship of the Thomas Matthew Bible in this copy of the Bible.

Reverting to my introductory paragraph, the Bible mentioned in the newspaper article never did belong to John Rogers.  I tracked down that Bible which was handed down several generations until it found its way to the Seventh Day Baptist Archives in Janesville, WI.  Its original owner, a contemporary of John Rogers, also lived in England. I have no information that the two men ever met.  However, their descendants met and married.  The burning question is – did this couple, uniting two families, know who John Rogers was and that he published one of the first English Bibles?

Click here for further information on the history of the English Bible,

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Living a Discombobulated Life


Discombobulated describes my state of mind, body, and surroundings!!!!  <sigh>  Why?  I am in the process of moving.  Though things are going well, they are not going well.  The important aspects of moving are just fine.  It is the fine tuning that has me off kilter!  Thus the reason for my lack of posting to my blog in the past month.  Actually, I did rework an old post yesterday, but after posting it, I realized I had reposted it a month ago!  Oh, my. . .   Definitely a sign of being befuddled!

My moving story entails: I sold my house in Fort Worth, Texas, and am moving to the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina.  Why?  Because of my grandson.  Back at Eastertime, I tucked him into bed after being with him for 12 days.  At 12 years of age, he began sobbing.  I asked, “Kevin!  What is wrong?!”  The answer spoken brokenly through sobs, “Grandma.  Why can’t you move here?”  Oh, my. . . Definitely a sign I should give this serious consideration.

Kevin on FP

His parents have suggested numerous times that I move to NC as my son and his family moved away from TX with a job promotion.  I had built a life in TX, and houses cost more in NC.  I went downstairs and told his parents he was crying.  My daughter-in-law, a realtor, said, “I have told you I can find a house you can afford.”  My reply as I pointed a finger at her: “Show me one tomorrow before my flight!”


The next day she took me to see new townhomes being built 30 minutes from their house.  These affordable, pleasant homes lacked space which my Texas home flaunts.  At first, I thought, there is no way I can fit into this house.  But then the salesman showed us a two story model with huge master bedroom upstairs.  OK.  My furniture will fit there, and my office furniture can fit in the first floor master bedroom.  Definitely a sign I should give this scrutiny.

Immediately, I realized this townhouse lacked two rooms which I had in Texas:  a TV/toy/piano room and a scrapbooking/craft room.  The piano and TV can move into the great room. I no longer need toys as the kids are growing up.  Things the younger ones would still enjoy have been shipped off to them in OK. Most of the scrapbooking furniture can move into the large closet of the main floor master bedroom.  My bins and boxes of stuff may have to go to the attic until I can finish up some projects.  And I love the attic — a walk-in from my master closet!  Still, the great room is not big enough for all of my dining room furniture.  The china cabinet must go as well as the furniture in the TV/toy room.  Definitely something which can easily be done.

Upon returning home, someone posted on my neighborhood board, “We recently moved to <my subdivision> and love it.  I have a daughter who already lives here and another daughter who would like to buy a single story house.  Does anyone know of one available?” I wrote back that I was thinking of selling.  The mother and two daughters came to check it out.  They all loved my house, and a deal was closed by word of mouth!

The salesman pointed out to me, there is a closet under the stairs beside the location for the dining room table!  That “Harry Potter” closet can hold shelves and cabinets filled with my formal dining supplies and dishes.  Heirloom dishes and excess silver went to relatives while I kept the necessities for setting a formal table.  The excess found their way to Goodwill for someone else to love.  Definitely a feel-good move for relatives wanting heirlooms and others who would enjoy pretty things.

fish pond

The salesman showed us the lots available.  One unit of my model backs onto a street with nothing on the other side of the street except an enchanting fishing pond surrounded by dense forest.  Now the only issue is building my townhouse.  Early August was the proposed completion date.  Being somewhat wise, I booked a mover for the end of August.  When August came, the prediction for completion changed to the end of September!  Meanwhile, I had a closing date of August 25 for my Texas home which left me homeless for a month.  Definitely an issue to resolve.


A few days before the 25th, packers arrived to bundle up my belongings.  On the 24th, the loaders arrived to fill the truck.  I moved to Texas four years ago with an 18 wheeler moving van partially filled – one half to two thirds is my memory of that load.  After getting rid of much stuff and furniture for this move, my goods filled three fourths of the truck!  Not sure how that happened except the packers used more paper than I had ever seen packers use before.  Therefore, they used more boxes.


Fortunately, family and friends are receptive and hospitable – especially Kevin’s family!  Beyond Labor Day, I am doing a dance between the homes of friends and family in the northeast until I can expect my truck to arrive — definitely a relief!


Pray with me about my move and settling into a new place.  So far, I have visited two Rotary Clubs in search of the best one for me, registered to begin Community Bible Study lessons nearby, signed up to sing in a local Community Chorus which performs The Messiah annually, and skated at my new local arena – beautiful ice and facility! Finding a church will have to wait until I am in my new home. Definitely signs of a bright future!



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Finding Christmas Memories in the Attic on a Hot Summer Day


I am on the move again which entails sorting, throwing out, and having serendipity moments of long-forgotten memories.  We are having a summer of consistent 100+ degree days, making work in the attic rough sledding.  I made another sweep through my attic early in the morning, the coolest it will be in the attic, and noted a box of memorabilia belonging to my son.  Before throwing the whole thing out, I thought I should take a peek.  I found many things which he would love to have including newspaper headlines of significant events which became historic such as Gorbachev tearing down the wall.  There were birthday and Valentine cards.  One from his sister (now deceased) which is sooo Karin.  On the envelope, she wrote, “GREG   :-|  Have a Day!”  (She was famous for drawing

Have a Day

everywhere — on blackboards at school, on papers, etc.  Her signature that she was there.)  Then she wrote, “who else? —- you’re the only twirp w/ a B-Day!” The card itself reads, “Brother, if Noah were filling his ark today . . .   . . . He’d have a hard time finding another one like you!  Happy Birthday!”  Then she wrote more Have a Day faces inside with more tidbits of her humor including a drawing of a bee and saying “Have a Bee-Day! (B-Day).”

Another card is sooo typical of his grandparents.  My son has a Christmas birthday (Dec. 23) as do I (Dec. 28).  So I am keenly aware of how Christmas birthdays can be overlooked.  He received a Christmas card from grandparents.  Before signing their name, they wrote, “Happy Birthday.”  A birthday card with an added “Merry Christmas” would have been a better choice.

Apparently,  in fourth grade, he was to ask a grandparent about how they celebrated Christmas.  My mother responded with a delightful, memorable letter.

“I never had to travel away from home to be with my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, because we lived all in a row.”  My children had to travel 12 hours to see their relatives.  “They would take turns each year to have the Christmas dinner and the tree, laden with all the gifts from each other.  After dinner dishes were cleared away, our gifts would be opened.  We were anxious to see what Grandad bought us as it would be something special.”  (One year Grandad gave his granddaughters a Lane cedar hope chest.  I have my mother’s.)  “Grandma sewed, making us things.


Frank L. Putnam

“Before Christmas, Grandad would give each of us children $2 and take us to Woolworth’s 5 & 10 cent store to buy gifts.  You couldn’t believe the lovely things, including toys, you could buy for $.10 in the 1920’s.

“Of course, each family had their own tree too, which had been cut down by our fathers on the hillsides.  When I was real young, our tree was decorated with red and green garlands.  I remember they were prickly to touch.  Also candles about 4 inches tall would fit into little metal containers, with a clip on the bottom that you would clip to the end branches.  (I still have one of these I put on my tree each year.)

“When I was 7 years old, electricity was available to Richburg, and we all had our homes wired.  Now, we could buy electric cords with sockets for little colored light bulbs.  Much like you have.  However, if one bulb burned out, all went out.  so, you would take a new one and search for the one that burned out.

“I remember our icecyles [sic] were made of tinfoil.  We always had tinsel on our tree as far back as I can remember.  I wonder what material it was made of.  Perhaps tinfoil too.

“Christmas was a very exciting time.  We cousins running back and forth to see what each bought for gifts to others in the family.  Then Christmas morning — to see what Santa brought each of us.  Then our Christmas dinner together — and the Tree!  It sure was a full exciting day!

“Maybe I will be with you this Christmas.  Love, Grandma.”

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Keys to Survival While in Debilitating Grief


Have you experienced debilitating grief?  If you have not, you are a lucky or a blessed one.  Sooner or later, most will eventually suffer unbearable grief.

Quote from Henri Nouwen:  “Who, in our lives, means the most to us?  Often it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, instead,  shared our   pain and touched our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in despair or confusion, grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

If you find someone who holds your hand, soothes your heart, as described in this quote, they become an invaluable rock to cling to.  Apparently, my husband found this type of comfort in his mistress after the death of our daughter.  Meanwhile my grief was doubled by his dalliance.  Fortuitously, I found such a friend, as the one described above, a lifetime friend to ease my griefs and help me find stability.  She tolerated my daily need for a rest before collapsing.  It even happened once during a dinner party to which I was invited.  Embarrassing, but better than falling off my chair.

The grief counselor who shared Nouwen’s quote, Helga Bender, writes, “Sometimes, grievers are advised, ‘Just keep busy,’ but you are too fatigued to do that. Grieving and mourning may be the hardest work you have ever done and that is why the Mourner’s Bill of Rights states, ‘I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits,’ and
 ‘I have the right to talk about my grief.’

I had no idea the extreme physical exhaustion I experienced was caused by grief.

Karin_L Tomc

A month from today eight years ago, we learned the cause of my daughter’s back pain – kidney cancer which had metastasized to many places.  I still speak of her daily!  She is always on my mind.  And today, in preparing for my move, I came across the hundreds of photos we have of her wedding.   What a beautiful, happy event.  The wedding of the decade!  Though my heart wants to soar with the felicity of that day, my heart recognizes the loss of her talents, effervescent personality, and contribution to life at church, in her neighborhood, professional organizations, plus family and friends.

Everyone deals with grief differently.  Some say there is no wrong way to grieve.  I disagree and grief counselors do as well.  It is important to walk through your grief appropriately and not burden yourself with issues which will not help you to heal.  If you are in the throes of grief, you can contact Helga by e-mail coach@helgabender.com or call 403-775-9335 (phone and Skype available).  She offers a free 30 min. coaching phone chat about your situation.  “It will help you understand the crazy journey, get your bearings and provide support.”



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10 Maxims for Life

clouds bright orange

These maxims light my path and sustain me:


  1. Stop to smell the flowers.  If, while traveling, I see a sign for a local attraction which interests me, I stop.
  2. Don’t worry about what other people think of you.  You already know what you think of them.
  3. Always do your best.  No one can expect more of you if you give your all to a project.
  4. Be a friend.  “The man that has friends must show himself to be a friend.” Proverbs 18:24  Be hospitable.
  5. Admit your failures and try to do better.  Apologies go a long way.
  6. Trust in God.  His promises are true.  He is ever present.  He is our lifeline to peace.  His precepts are the highest moral standards.  He brings hope to any situation.
  7. Love everyone.  Everyone may not be your friend, but you can still love them.  Remember – God is no respecter of persons.  He loves everyone.
  8. Family is your God-given circle.  Treat them as such (unless there is abuse involved).
  9. Use the good china.  Your house is not a museum.  Enjoy what you have.
  10. Remember – chocolate is a vegetable and can cure all ills.  At least, it makes you feel better!


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