Reformed Grits

Tightening the belt
January 14, 2008, 9:41 am
Filed under: All things Scottish, Family, Life

At our house, we are trying to find ways to cut back on the bills we have.   One area of concern in our power bill.  We’ve adjusted the thermostat to just above freezing, made sure we are keeping lights/appliances off when not in use, etc.  but we REALLY need to make a dent. 
So last week I suggested to Mr. Grits that we get a good-quality clothes line.  You can imagine we do a TON of laundry around here, and my dryer takes FOR.EVER to run a load, and especially in the summer when it’s so bloomin’ hot ’round here, running the dryer to heat up the house and the A/C to cool it down is kind of wasteful.  Ya think?  I grew up hanging the clothes out to dry, and for me I was excited to think about the crunchy towels and clothes.  It will be a real adjustment for my family, but we can compromise and throw the line-dried clothes in the dryer for a couple minutes to soften them a wee bit. 
As I googled "sturdy clothes line" I recalled when we were in Scotland with our good friends, Ken and Wilma, they had something that Lisa and I thought was magnificent but they laughed off as mundane– a laundry airer (we called it "the pulley.")   Now this little gem is a glorified laundry rack that you lower from your ceiling (by a pulley) and then once you have hung your wet laundry, you raise it up to benefit from the fact that hot air rises.  In no time, you have dry laundry, and most of the time we never even noticed the laundry at all when it was there.  Lisa was determined to get one, but I knew with the weight of my luggage I’d never pull it off, and I really didn’t want the struggle of coercing Mr. Grits into installing it.  So one afternoon, Wilma, Lisa, and I drove in to Blairgowrie and stopped in at a hardware store, where Lisa bought "the bits" to construct a pulley when she got back to the US.  She weighed them, being cast iron, and made adjustments in her luggage as needed. 
A few weeks later, I stopped by her house and voila… the pulley was  installed and in use in her laundry room. 
I’m so jealous now.   Of course with my family size, I’d likely need TWO pulleys, but it would be a great addition to my laundry room.   Now I’m trying to figure out how to pull off a clothesline in my back yard. 
Any tips?  Lisa?  Wanna come do my laundry?  🙂

Here’s a picture of a laundry pulley pulled up to the rafters in a house:


The man can count
January 10, 2008, 3:07 pm
Filed under: All things Scottish, Life

I was trying to come up with something to share that wouldn’t be a boring slice of my life or an un-understandable story that’s better told than written, and I really hope this one accomplishes that for both of you.  You may have heard this story, so bear with me but for years when people would ask me what my most embarrassing moment was, I’d draw a blank.  I don’t dwell on stuff usually, and often just move on when I probably SHOULD be embarrassed. 

But one time in my memory sticks out, for all eternity as My Most Embarrassing Moment. 

July of 2005, Mr. Grits and I were so blessed to be in Scotland for the first time doing HBC and football (soccer) with the youth there, among other things.  We thoroughly enjoyed the people we met, although at times it was really hard to communicate, despite the fact that we share a language.  For instance, we say "guh-rahge;" they say "gah-didge."  We pronounce "weary" "weer-ry" and they say, "weed-dy."  It goes on and on.  You have to listen closely at times to try to pull context together. I am very sure it’s likewise.   

Anyhow, we had gone to a lovely, local farm for a barbecue (again, we’d say "cook-out" but that’s regional also) and afterwards were going to be taking a short walk up a local hill for an enjoyable time and some local history from a very interesting man who know very much about,,, history-stuff.   At the time, I was about 16 weeks pregnant, and beginning to show.   As we chatted with our new friends at the BBQ, one of the gentlemen began to ask me, "Will you be goin’ with us up th’ hill this evenin’?"  To which I replied, "Oh yes, I’m very much looking forward to it!"  which I was!
(Now at this point, the * will be interpreted as a "e" but I don’t want any weirdos googling "that word" and coming to Reformed Grits.  I’m just not looking for that kind of traffic.)

He said, "I just wasn’t sure if you’d be able to in your condition.  It’s s*x, is it?"

"Wh.. Uh.. yea, um.  What??" 

Meanwhile, next to me my friend Sallie was just bursting at the seams trying not to laugh out hilariously.

"It’s s*x you have?" 

Stunned silence.

I just stopped, looked at him– the man, surely knew I was here on a MISSIONS TRIP. You know, to share the PURITY of the GOSPEL. 

I smiled, turned to him beet red, and said in my best Southern accent, "Well, I’m just sure I’ve misunderstood you…."

It was then that that kilt-clad gent turned the color of a raspberry and stammered, "S*x!  This will be your s*xth, child, no?" 

Ah… yes, indeed.  It’s all clear now, thankyouverymuch…    

These are a few of my favorite things…
October 16, 2007, 4:31 pm
Filed under: All things Scottish

One of many, many things I love and miss about being in Scotland is tea!  I love walking in the door and being offered tea!  I love seeing someone and not thinking it’s rude to say, "Poot th’ ke’el on!"  (That’d be ‘Put th’ kettle on!’ for all us Suth’ners!)  I love having an excuse to eat biscuits (cookies) and holding the warm cup in my hands when I’m chilled… or even when I’m not– it’s just comforting. 
I determined I would bring this "tradition" home with me and I’ve done pretty well.  I do have my "cuppa" every day, Ken and Wilma!  I brought back with me a wee "teapot for one" when I’m feeling formal like I can sit down with a cup and saucer, but most days I enjoy my tea as I’m racing about as life "goes pear-shaped!"  In those cases I use my  favorite mug with scenes from Scottish culture I enjoy… you’ll see the "BEAR" as Bee says ,with the Scottish flag on his "jumper"  (is that right, Wilma?), a thistle which is the national flower, a castle, the Tay is represented, "wee sheep," a "dry stane dyke" (a stone wall) and a wee "heeland coo" (Highland cow).  Did I get those right, Wilma??
I love my tea habit, and hope I don’t pay for it with another kidney stone!!! 🙂


Enough sappy stuff
July 29, 2007, 4:25 pm
Filed under: All things Scottish

Ok, so I’m going to summarize our wonderful time in Scotland for the legions who asked. 

To be honest it’s very difficult to do this.  On one hand it was amazing and thrilling.  On the other hand it was hard.  I don’t mean that in any way negative… but just to indicate that there are many valuable and rewarding things worth doing in life that are hard.  People keep saying, "Did you have fun?" as if we were on a sightseeing vacation.  We weren’t there for a vacation, although our wonderful hosts (hi Ken and Wilma!  We miss you!) spoiled us rotton and made it hard for us to board that plane home.  I still wish I was having my meals cooked and tea made for me daily by someone else.   It was really cool to go somewhere and live in someone else’s home for TEN DAYS (can you imagine hosting someone for 1o days?  That is a long time!!) and never feel like you have imposed.  I can nearly guarantee that I wouldn’t be so gracious if someone were in my house that long.   But to go a step further and be made to feel like you are home with your family?  That’s some feat.  So that part was "fun."

There certainly was a lot of laughter.  We laughed at the fact that we kept saying things were "pants" when that means "underwear" to them.  We loved finding out different phrases (and, um, hand gestures) mean different things.   I’m sorry that Lisa was reading that book by "Ms Flagg" and that it had such an alternate meaning. (GASP!)  We laughed everytime something happened in the car we’d all say, "Don’t tell Ken!"  We laughed upon seeing our American friends in kilts– and yes, I know my husband is a "fine figure of a man with nice calves." 

The time there was spent working a lot of the time– whether doing the HBC or cheering the boys on the field or washing dishes or for Mr. Grits preaching or talking theology with the locals, and many other things.  Not that some of these things are horrible because each of them was a joy.  But I think of my brother in law who just returned from Africa from a missions trip and was on a flight for 13 hours (yes, one flight) and then rode like 8 hours in a bus thru the rainy season up and down hills that had roads that were washed out and that was JUST to get there.  He got a bug of some sort there that kept him hovering over a pit latrine of squalor and rodents, and he did it all with joy– especially since he got to pray with a man to receive Christ on the last day.

Our trip was more "fun" than that.     

Yeah, our trip wasn’t steeped in that type of sacrifice but it WAS profitable!  From what I’m told, we were able to bless the "remnant" of believers there and encourage them.  I would venture to say that we were ALL challenged to live life in view of a holy God who has given so much to us.  The Bibles that our children raised money for did not arrive until after we left to come home, but even this was a blessing because now Joe (the pastor there) has the opportunity to take the Bibles to the children and visit their families in their homes– some of them, completely unchurched. 

Many of us there felt a strong, undercurrent (almost a riptide!) of spiritual warfare.  We had many of you at home praying, and some of us there– of both nationalities– were praying together for the victory in Christ which happened.  That was cool.  But fun?  Nope.  I was ready to come home to my sheltered life with my babies when that was going on.  Nevertheless I’m glad I stayed. 

We came home with a fond appreciation for our worship, our great pastor, and the body of BELIEVERS we have here at home.   It boggles the mind to visit a church where even the parishoners will tell you that many of their elders aren’t believers and never come to church but to serve communion.  Huh?  That is antithecal to everything we know in our sheltered existence in the deep South.   Our church is full of its own problems, for sure.  I’m not saying we are exempt by any means. 

I’m humbled by the welcome we received.  I’m overwhelmed by the love shown to us.  I’m broken by the children who would just crawl in our laps and cuddle with us.  But I’m encouraged by fellowship with the saints.  I’m blessed by the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit we shared with them.  I’m overwhelmed with the hospitality.  If that is all "fun" then, yeah, we had "fun."  🙂     

Random Pics
July 26, 2007, 1:41 pm
Filed under: All things Scottish

I have a hard time getting typepad to let me post a pic with a caption under it.  So I’m just going to put some pics in here with no captions– that way it’s anonymous that I can have pics of people who may be familiar or not to some of you but will definately not be if I don’t know you.  (It’s nothing personal.) 

100_0174_4 100_0252_2 100_0318_3

100_0384_2 100_0410

I’m home…
July 24, 2007, 3:10 pm
Filed under: All things Scottish

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday, but we landed in Newark yesterday and received word that our flight home was cancelled.  And that we had to go to a hotel.  At our expense.  Thanks, Continental!  You REEK! 

We still don’t know why it was cancelled.  We ate dinner at the hotel (ICK) and tried our best to sleep until we had to wake up at 2:30 Newark time to catch our 5:30 flight.  Yes, AM.  We finally took off and headed to…


What was annoying (well another thing) was that we FLEW OVER our home to get to Texas.  (According to the map, I mean.) 

So after a 2 hour layover, some Schlotzky’s and ice cream, we arrived at our home airport at 12:05 PM.  Just 14 hours later than we were supposed to. 

I’m "shattered" (great discription, Wilma!) 

Details to come, I’m hoping, after I catch up on hugs and kisses and stories about what my precious ones did while we were gone (other than had pink eye and fevers.) 

SWEET home, Alabama!  😀

last full day
July 22, 2007, 9:20 am
Filed under: All things Scottish

so its our last full day in scotland.  we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here.  we’ve been challenged and have been pushed to our limits.  time was great.  our hosts are amazing– as good as family.  our flight is tomorrow at noon from edinburgh and we are packing today.  mr grits preached at 2 different churches this morning.  it was humbling as he stood up in these old buildings that have been there so long, and i listened as he delivered the word of God to these folks… a word that is not american but for all people.  some think our gospel is american… that we have changed it and made it "relevant" only for white caucasian westerners but this same word that was made flesh in the middle east is alive and quick for all men of every tribe and tongue.  who knows what we have done to change the course of things.  we certainly won’t be remembered as patrick hamilton was as we saw in st. andrews– a martyr at 24 for the truth.  we will be forgotton soon but our prayer is that people will see that jesus is for everyone.  not just the old women.  not just the children.  that when they hear his  name, something in their hearts will respond and they will be made alive to the truth.  we won’t know until heaven. 
we however, will return to the good old usa a little different– hopefully a little more faithful.  a little more intent.  a little more… like jesus. 
i miss my babies.  i miss lightswitches on the insides of the bathroom.  i miss knowing where the capitalization key is on the keyboard without having to look intently for it.  i miss driving on the RIGHT side of the road. 
but tomorrow I will miss wee children with rosy cheeks and blue eyes.  i will miss cranichan and puddings.  i will miss the wee sheep and heiland coos.  i will miss rolling green hills with signs for "rasps and straws."  I will miss ceilidh dancing and swooshing kilts.  (BEWARE!)  I will miss, most of all, my dear friends the Donoghys. 
But we will see them, and others, again.  If not in this life, the next.  Because we share a God and Savior who is for both of us.