The Barn at the Homestead

The Barn at the Homestead

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent Reading

Brian McLaren wonderfully joined Anabaptist/Anglican in his book A Generous Orthodoxy.  It warmed my heart when I first read his book, and warms my heart still.  Perhaps, in part, this explains my reading material of late. 

My husband has always laughed at me about what he calls my “reading habits.”  I tend to read more than one book at a time (what priest doesn’t)—one book in the den by my chair, one in my prayer corner and one in the bathroom!  Mind you, he probably hasn’t read a book since 2001! J

Advent has found me absorbed in three books.  The first is by Shelley Shepard Gray; Christmas in Sugarcreek is pure escapism for me—sappy, sentimental, but something light and relaxing at the end of long days.  It helps that a few years ago, I visited Sugarcreek, Ohio. Life is often uncertain, so I sometimes truly enjoy happy endings!

The second  book—the bathroom one—is one a found at an estate sale several years ago, and packed away for future reading.  Blue Hills and Shoofly Pie was written by Ann Hart and published in 1952—a year before I was born.  Ann chronicles her life in Pennsylvania Dutch country; she even records her attendance at an Amish wedding.  The book is dated, quaint, but also a slice of history and perfect reading for its location.

 The reading material in my prayer corner is completely different—to be read in the quiet of the morning when my focus is prayer and meditation.  For this Advent, I have been immersed in Radiance: a spiritual memoir of Evelyn Underhill.  Compiled and edited by Bernard Bangley, I have been wondering why we do not hear more about Underhill in Episcopal circles.  An English mystic, Underhill  (1847-1941) is the author of more than thirty books.  Without formal theological or religious education, she possessed an understanding of Christian mysticism that is without parallel.  In one of her early works, Evelyn Underhill writes this, “The early Christians themselves called it not a belief, but a “way”—a significant fact, which the Church too quickly forgot; and the realist who wrote the Fourth Gospel called its Founder both the life and the way.” An advocate of religion, science and psychology, Underhill writes about her mystical experiences and those of others, some for whom she served as spiritual director.  I am only coming to understand the riches of this wonderful woman.  To learn more about her, this link may be of interest to you:

My hubby and I took another road trip to Amish country this week, where he was finally successful in obtaining fried pies!  We are counting the days to Christmas—combining our Anglican/Anabaptist celebration—I will celebrate the Eucharist at my beloved Episcopal Church, and give thanks for my relationship with the Amish and Mennonites in my life with the full knowledge the Incarnated one comes as a “way”.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Can't resist . . .

It is snowing in my little corner of the world this morning; quite lovely here as the earth is blanketed in white.  Still in the midst of Advent, I can't help but think of the coming of Christmas.  Recently, I was one of my favorite website  And there I found a greeting to share!  One day in retirement, I hope to own dairy goats--so you may understand why I am attracted to this 'early' Christmas greeting I share with you! Just click on the link below and enjoy . . .

Now, back to watching the snow, and Advent waiting.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Lord, for Thy coming us prepare;
May we, to meet Thee, without fear
At all times ready be:
In faith and love preserve us sound;
O let us day and night be found
Waiting with joy to welcome Thee.
                           From The Litany of the Moravian Church

As we prepare, you may wish to read Advent Devotions from Goshen College:
“Awesome Deeds We Do Not Expect” is the theme for Advent 2011.

Friday, November 18, 2011

An Amish Outing

Having long admired the Amish, I have been pleased to learn of an Amish community not too far from our little country setting.  Today, my hubby and I made a trip for the day in search of "fried pies."  Sadly, we learned that Saturday is the day for Amish Fry Pies!  Ah--another trip soon.

The trip, however, was not in vain.  We had a marvelous visit with the most senior member of the Amish community around a wood fire in a small shop.  He poured out his heart to us, as his family was away visiting with relatives in another state.  It was a rare treat to sit and "chat;" the "senior Mr." lost his wife a little over two years ago.  He continues to miss his life's partner, and we, as strangers, felt much like family as he shared the joys and sorrows of his own life: the loss of his wife; a son moving away; a granddaughter getting married soon.  What a joy for this chance encounter.

Our day was made complete by finding saw mill; hubby has found a source for lumber for his wood-working ventures.  We met the soon bride to be and came home with sorghum molasses and fig preserves, and two loaves of homemade bread. 

In this season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for this wonderful day and a chance encounter with such a seasoned Amishman.  Our day made me realize that Amish, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist and so on, are held together by some common bonds: our faith in God and our humanity.  How blessed I am!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A month of Thanksgivings

November is a beautiful month in the deep south.  The leaves in our country setting have been quite lovely this year. Each morning I have delighted in looking out the bay window in our breakfast nook taking notice of the new colors--it appears as if God took up a paintbrush overnight and colored anew.  Bright golds, deep reds, majestic maroons--these take the place of the green that has flouished over the past several months.

In our liturgical year, we have been in a long green season, too.  Today it was interrupted by All Saints Sunday and the color white.  Church was filled with joy--a wonderful sermon by a college chaplain, I baptized our newest "Saint" and our beloved rector served pancakes as a part of our stewardship campaign this year.  Although the liturgical color was white, we were a multicolored assembly gathered together in thanksgiving for the communion of Saints! 

As I left the church today to drive back to the country, I made note of the leaves that continue to change and thought to myself that November lends itself not only to our annual American Thanksgiving, but it is a great month to give thanks each day!  As we live out the last days of "green" in the church and make ready for the season of Advent, may you give thanks for all God's many blessings in your life!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Look at the birds of the air

One of the joys of country living is the abundance of birds; we are sharing our backyard with cardinals, bluebirds, gold finches, crows, pigeons and a blue jay or two.  Each morning the birds come to feed and bathe in our outdoor sanctuary. In the distance, I often hear our local rooster greet the day with his beautiful voice.  With a cup of coffee in hand, I find myself lingering at our breakfast table delighting in God's creation.

In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, " Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Placing seed in my feeders is a reminder that God cares for me, too.  And I am reminded of my responsibility in feeding others, too.  As a preacher, feeding comes in the form of words. As a human being, feeding comes in remembering the hungry and supporting organizations that work to eliminate hunger. Two of the organizations we support are:  and

We are moving closer to the "holiday" season--let us appreciate God's abundance, to remember to share it, too.  I'll keep feeding the birds and listening to our local rooster (such a beautiful morning sound), and I'll keep feeding our little piggy bank to support Heifer International and the Society of St. Andrews.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Beginnings . . .

The purpose of this blog is to learn new skills; and to share some of my  musings as an Episcopal priest.  As I grow, I hope this blog will grow.