Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Daffodils, Palms and a Poem

Palm Sunday was very pleasant and moving at our church this past Sunday.


Pastor Tom gave the children's message.

His message was about the freedom God has given us through Jesus.

He had all of the "grown ups" close their eyes and he asked all of the kids who thought that adults sometimes do strange things to raise their hands.

I couldn't see but my hand was raised.

On the first Palm Sunday, everyone (the adults) thought that Jesus had come to lead a revolt. That's why they were waving the symbol of Jewish independance - a palm branch. They thought that he should kick the Romans out.

He did give us freedom!

Freedom from the penalties of sin.

Total forgiveness!

That wonderful clean slate!

No more burden or death from the law that we can never ever live up to!

for generation after generation after generation after generation .... 

He just completely did not do what they expected.

Pastor Tom gave the children bundles of "palm branches" and they passed them out to everyone in the sanctuary (us adults).

"Now, the LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is freedom."

2 Corinthians 3:17

 When everyone had a branch, my husband asked everyone to raise them up and to wave them.

I didn't take a picture because I was waving my branch.

The whole sanctuary turned into a veritable jungle rustling in the wind.

It was quite moving!



Vermont is starting to thaw out.

 With the open water on the pond came...


... Our family of Canada Geese.

We're just sure that they're ours from last year.

Immediately, though, two of them chased everyone else away.

(my camera is perfectly level, by the way; so, you can see that we really do live at the bottom of a hill.)


It is hard to express how beautiful the brown is to me.

Every day it tinges green a little more.

In mud season, after the snow is gone but before anything is visibly growing, the world seems to be laid bare. You can see everything that has been hidden under green or snow or drooping fallen foliage during the rest of the year. 


 The colors are very neutral and texture really rules the day.



 The brown is so beautiful and refreshing and hopeful!

It feels like spring to me!

Who cares about green formalities?


we have a tiny oasis of daffodils next to our house!


 They are like a deposited down payment of things promised and yet to come.

A little "beacon" of hope.
(so sorry! Couldn't resist!)



King winter sat in his Hall one day,
And he said to himself, said he,
"I must admit I've had some fun,
I've chilled the Earth and cooled the Sun,
And not a flower or tree
But wishes that my reign were done,
And as long as Time and Tide shall run,
I'll go on making everyone
As cold as cold can be.


 There came a knock at the outer door:
"Who's there?" King Winter cried;
"Open your Palace Gate," said Spring
"For you can reign no more as King,
Nor longer here abide;
This message from the Sun I bring,
'The trees are green, the birds do sing;
The hills with joy are echoing':
So pray, Sir - step outside!"

Hugh Chesterman 19th Century



A weeks worth of rain is good enough for me!
It brings the spring!


Katy Noelle xo

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It is official and that is final!

I shared a tiny tidbit of the the afternoon tea that I gave for the ladies of my church, with you on the evening of that day.

I, then, shared pictures with you of the "leftovers" tea that I had with my husband and 3 sons on a very wet and stormy evening, 3 days ago.


I still have not truly or fully filled you in on the events of the day.

May I do so now, please?

By the way, this is the last that I will share about the tea as the pastor's family (my husband is the pastor; so, that would be our family) is about to be plunged into a very busy and celebrational Easter week!


I'm all frou-froued out!

This is the 7th time that I have hosted this event of mine, although, it has been two years since the last one and the first time in our new and much more spacious home. This made it a bit of an experiment in some ways and, in others, made it terrifically exciting.

I had a lot of fun preparing my house and accomplishing all the various and sundry things that must be done. It was a busy week that had some surprising and desperately stressful moments. Happily, Mr. Tom was a rock solid support for me. His love constantly flowed to me in so many quiet and practical ways.

Instead of saying, "Awwwww!" I much rather think, "thank goodness!"

He got me through!

Also, I could feel God moving and sustaining me and knew that there were a lot of  prayers being said for me.

It was extraordinary!

Well now, on the day, I had some very gracious ladies who had volunteered to help me.

This is always a cheery time for us. We bond together as quite a team - helping and encouraging each other along.

I might, actually, ...

... no, ...

 I  really do, enjoy this part of the day best!


it became apparent to me that we would not be ready on time.

Batch after batch of the tart crusts just wouldn't work for any of us. (We'd been trying since the day before!)

They worked in years past.

They worked 4 days later...

... I have no idea what we were doing wrong.

We abandoned the tarts.

Enough is enough!

Then, the chocolate wouldn't quite melt.

We wound up with delicious chocolate dipped strawberries anyway!

I finally just said, "don't worry! We'll aim for 3:30 instead!"

At this point, per usual, I had no time for picture taking.

One of my helpers grabbed her cell phone and just started taking photos for me!
(as it turns out, some of mine are to follow)

Thank you so much, Steff!

It worked out wonderfully!

Women were meandering in. I could see them strolling happily up the drive, enjoying the gorgeously warm spring day.

The house began to fill up with lovely, happy voices.

35 light and bright and joyful women's voices!

It was very special to be apart in the other room and to be able to observe and listen for a moment.


I must tell you ...

usually, someone gives some words of encouragement and uplift before we go in to sit down.

Earlier in the week, I had asked a lovely woman, who's words so very often speak life and who has a good knowledge of our loving God, if  she would pray about sharing something with us all.

She prayed, and, called me back, and said that she actually didn't feel any leading from Him.

"Hmmmm ....

... what do you have in mind, God?"

Several days later, I reminded Him that this was on His "to do list" and that He could fill me in on His plans any ol' time now.

It was at that moment that He made it clear to me that He wanted me to speak.

I've done this before, but ...

"... God! You know how weak I am in this season. I only have a few verses that I am clinging to."

[You see, one of my great grandfathers was a Russian jew who immigrated to New York at the same time and in the same circumstances as Tevye from "Fiddler On the Roof". Hence, I must have inherited these conversations with God from Him.

Either that, or, I've known my God for a very, very long time and He is my dear friend!]

Let's just say that I knew from the start that my head would be swimming, my feet already aching and that a million details would be filling up my mind.

He knows what He's doing!

Anyway, more about that later.

Let's just say that it was a very pleasant chat with women that I love.

After we spent a short time together as one large concerted gathering,

I had a very fun situation.

I was able to close off the tea rooms and to have everyone congregate in one place which gave me a wonderful chance to surprise them. Many of the ladies had never been to one of my tea parties before and didn't know what to expect.

You've seen pictures but do you realize just how I served tea to 35 women?

I turned my house upside down, that's how!

I opened up the door to the hallway that led into the two front rooms.

They could either choose the dining room to the right


the living room to their left.

The dining room is a handsome room with feminine touches.

The living room is like a conservatory

both for plants, and for music.

I secretly call it my orangerie.

(although, there are no citrus trees in it yet.)

Choose your place.

Which china and table setting do you like?

I always pray that God will take each lady by the arm and gently lead her to where and with whom she should be sitting.

I wonder if you remember my post from about a month ago.

I had had the idea to plant wheat grass in these glasses and then, on the day, to arrange small spring flowers in them.

It turned out that the cost of the quantity of the moss needed to hide the soil was quite a bit.

That's how they transmogrified into small punch glasses instead.

When they were planted and in the sun, I couldn't help but think that they looked adorably like nests.

Flowers were forgotten and eggs became the new plan.

Then, quite happily, I came up with a new idea.

Instead of buying a plethora of diverse flowers to make individual bouquets for each table, I decided to use the iris glasses as a uniform vase and to assemble the bouquets in a line.

It was brilliant and really streamlined the preparations.

On top of all that, it was perfectly, adorably pretty!

There is a very real moral to this story!

 It has something to do with trust.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

 This means that when I get a speeding ticket or my bank account starts to go out of control, and, I not only thought, but was really trying to do everything right - it will all be okay in the end.

It means that when well meaning friends call me up (even though they know that I need to get ready for the tea) and talk and talk... it will all work out!

It means that, even though my husband is suddenly being inundated with crises and there are sharks out there trying to take advantage of me. I will be okay!

The tart crusts and the chocolate for the strawberries were minor troubles.

It's the same with the two bruised lumps that I had on my head from stupid clumsiness.

Why do you  say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD; 
my cause is disregarded by my God"?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, 
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40: 27-31

It really comforts me because, scarier than all of these, I am frail and weak and can really struggle. I mess things up with my attitudes in general and/or my words to others. I can dishonor God and not live the beautiful life that He, and I, want me to live.

We are all truly like this. We are all human!


"When I am weak, I am strong,"


"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength."

My salvation and strength is


in what a perfectly put together person I am!

All of these thoughts made using my gifts and talents so much more enjoyable.

I could just be me!


because of this,

(absolutely, indubitably, joyfully)

 I can ...

I am, now, quite at the end of my story.

I bought that poster as my special kitchen splurge because I thought that it was pretty funny and inspirational.

All that is left to say now is,


(I get it, God!)

I'm so glad that you could come!

With much love,

Katy Noelle xo