Arkansas Trip, Days 8 & 9

Ya’ll must have given up hope of me ever finishing writing about this trip!😬 But I’m back… finally!😅

On the 8th day of our trip, we awoke and began to pack away anything that was lying around. This resulted in a few people wondering where their thing had been put… “It was right here just a minute ago!”😟 The bus roared to life, slideouts slid in, we said our goodbyes to Grandma and our uncle, and we entered the bus to take our leave! That is, Reese, Naomi and I did. Mom and Annabelle got in the little truck Grandma had given Annabelle. We began winding our way through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Every two hours we stopped and one of us girls took the place of the last one that had been riding with Mom.

We had to cross this big bridge to go over the Mississippi River into Illinois.

At one point, when Mom and Naomi were in the truck, we in the bus took an exit, while they went straight ahead! So we had to call them and tell them they were going the wrong way. We went off on a side road and waited by the shoulder, while they turned around, came back, and took the exit. As we sat there waiting, a car pulled up next to us and the lady inside asked us if we needed help! But we explained that we were just waiting for someone, and they went on. At last we were able to join up with them again, and we continued on our way!😅

For supper we stopped nowhere else but…

That says Chick-fil-A, in case you can’t read it!😂

Naomi’s sandwich

We used up 5 parking spots to park the bus.😀 After our stop, we continued on to the church where we would spend the night. We finally reached it at nearly midnight! The man that we had been in contact with to arrange us staying there, came out to say hello. I felt bad for the poor man, waiting at the church late at night until some family he had never met, came. Well, he had already met Reese, but not the rest of us! After he told us where to park, he left and we went right to bed. Sleep came fast…😴

 

The next morning we had a refreshing service. Brother Jack Patterson, their interim pastor, preached a great message, and we enjoy the fellowship with the people there. Then Brother Randy Foust (the man that had come the night before), his wife, and their son took us out to eat at Bob Evans!😃

Then we had to say goodbye and get back on the road.

At this rest stop, the tractor trailer we parked next to made our “big” rig look quite small!😆

 

We drove and drove into the afternoon, then evening, and night.We took several stops so Mom could sleep. Since she wasn’t in the bus she couldn’t just go lie down while we drove! Midnight came and went. Then 1, then 2, even 3. Finally, at 4 A.M., we pulled into our driveway. And the next step should be obvious… SLEEP🤣

Well, there you have the end of the Arkansas trip. I hope you’ve enjoyed this adventure!🤪

Until next time,

Writing for Parfitt Family Journal,

~Karen

 

Parfitt Family News…

Well, hello, y’all!

It’s been much too long since I had the chance to post anything, but I haven’t found any time for such an undertaking! But at last, I have squeaked in some time to dust off my photos!

Trevor, my third-oldest brother, got married in May. From left to right…

Hannah, Gideon, Elliott, Grandma Karen, me (Naomi), Mom, Trevor, Katie, Karen, Dylan, Emily, Lenny, Reese, Annabelle

And my second-oldest brother, Elliott, passed away suddenly a week later from heart failure. Then two days later, Rachel Jane Parfitt was born. Sadly, Elliott never got to meet his daughter.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support during this difficult time! The Lord has abundantly blessed us beyond measure, and the church families around us have held up our hands!

Before Hannah left with her family for Washington State, I was able to get some portraits of my adorable nephew, Gideon!

Mabel was sure she was going to be part of this photo shoot!😌

Perfect Canon advertisement!😉

Annabelle and Gideon

Mom and Rachel

A full-fledged phone conversation between Karen and Gideon…😉

Reese and Gideon

Gideon and me

We had so much fun with our niece and nephew while they were here!

Hannah and her little family

 

Thank you all for the encouraging comments! They remind me to keep posting!😂🤭

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” ~Psalm 37:5

Until next time,

Pleasant Photography

by Naomi

 

Surprise Guests!!!😁

Mom burst into our room on Thursday morning and said, “Girls, I have really exciting good news!” I couldn’t think of what it would be and Mom announced, “James and Jonathan Staddon are going to come this evening and stay the night!” We bounded out of bed and soon our day of cleaning began!😅

At last, around 7:40 P.M. Mom said she saw them walking to the front door! We greeted them in the front entry and caught up a bit. Then we scouted around out front for good places for Reese’s Bible graduation picture.

While we did that, Jonathan took his drone up and got some great videos of the house and sunset!

Them we got some pictures of the pink sunset.

Once the sun was set, we trooped to the garage where Reese started grilling chicken.

We had a hilarious time and Jonathan made some funny videos.

Eating supper…well, actually just before we ate supper!

After supper we had a lively game of Bible Taboo!!!😂

It looks like James is about to buzz Jonathan!😳

Don’t die, Reese!!!

Once we were all worn out from laughing, we decided we must have burned a few calories and were ready for ice cream!

Reese and Jonathan getting a quick selfie…🤭🤫

 

When we were done with dessert, James showed me how to make a professional watermark using Photoshop and Lightroom. It looks like we are all having a blast…I think some of that was for the camera!🤔😁

I’m not miserable; just concentrating!😂

We got to bed after 12:30 in the morning!

The next morning Jonathan took his drone up again and got some morning shots of the property and the house. Then we had a relaxed breakfast of cereal and went to the living room to sing a couple of songs. I really enjoyed the singing.

Jonathan showed us a few things about Premier Pro which we were very thankful to learn!

All too soon they had to pack up and say good bye.

We got a quick picture…

After a bit more chatting, they left.

We were very thankful for the fun time we had with James and Jonathan on their quick surprise visit!😄

 

~See you next time with Pleasant Photography

Arkansas Trip, Days 3-7

Now, I know that everyone will simply be bored to tears if I write a separate post for each day… even me! So, I will write a bit about what we did each day that we were there, and put in some pictures.

 

The day after we got there, Monday, we went to Mom’s Aunt Betty’s house with my cousin’s wife, Ally, and Grandma. On the way there, we thought we saw Aunt Betty’s place, so we  pulled up to “her” house. We were not sure if it was the right one, so Mom got out and knocked on the door while the rest of us waited in the car. A lady that we did not know came to the door, and Mom told her that she must have come to the wrong place. So she bid her goodbye and came back to the car. It was embarrassing but really funny at the same time. We eventually found Aunt Betty’s house, thankfully. We went with her into her sun room and looked through a bunch of boxes that were full of pictures of people that were relatives. It was not my favorite thing to do, but it was not too bad. The food was the best part…😋 And at the end before we left we even got to see an all-hand-stitched quilt made right after World War 2, by my great-great-grandma!

The above picture is of us sleeping in the RV. Those feet sticking out in the front of the pictures are Reese’s, I am on the floor in the middle of the pic, Naomi is on the couch to the right, and Annabelle to the left.

Annabelle crocheting

Reese and Jacob doing some furniture moving…

The next day was Tuesday and we went to visit another one of Mom’s aunts in a nursing home. We took the bus with us since Grandma came along. We drove it to Mom’s cousin’s house and parked in the church parking lot across from the house. We then went with Mom’s cousin’s wife and daughter and her daughter’s friend in two separate cars. It was a lot of fun traveling with our second cousin Hannah and her friend Jessica. We laughed a lot and made some interesting inside jokes… After visiting Aunt Audrey we went to a nice diner for lunch–

When we got back home around suppertime we went to ANOTHER restaurant, because there is a specific one that we always go to down there and there was not going to be an opportunity any other time during the trip.

The next day, Wednesday, we baked pies and made filled eggs for the next day.

pumpkin pie

apple pie

Naomi making filled eggs

Uncle Carl and Aunt Angela came from Tennessee that day as well. For supper we made some really yummy Indian food and after supper we played Phase Ten with Uncle Carl.

 

The next day was Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. We watched the Livestreamed service from the night before, since we had not been able to that day. We whipped up cream and flavored it and packaged up the pies, cream, and eggs. We then drove over to cousin Joe and his wife Ally’s house. We set up the food and enjoyed our dinner of turkey, green bean casserole, filled eggs, veggies and dip, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Later in the afternoon we had the pie and whipped cream.

Reese with one of Joe and Ally’s sons

Before leaving that evening, we played a game of Scrabble…

 

The next day Mom, Reese, and Uncle Paul went to the farm, Jacob went to work, and Uncle Carl and Aunt Angela left for their home in Tennessee, leaving us three girls and Grandma at the house for the morning. We girls cleaned out some shelves for Grandma and walked across the street to a store with her.

Uncle Paul’s cat, called Baby Kitty

She enjoyed the attention received while we were there!

 

But she found some random places to sit…

Reese fixed the RV door when they got back.

Then we went to the park with Jacob. When we got home, the others were ready to go back over to Joe and Ally’s for Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers…and another round of Scrabble. After a yummy supper and a nice game of Scrabble, we said goodbye to Joe, Ally, and their little boys and went back to Grandma’s place. We played some Othello, and then decided to hit the hay so that we could get up early the next day to leave.

So that ends our little visit. Up next is our trip home!! See you then!!!😉

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Trip–Day 4

Day 4, August 21

NOTE: To view the pictures full size in full quality, click on each picture to enlarge. They are now linked to the original files. Some are phone pictures, so of course they aren’t top quality anyway! Also, you can scroll through them this way!😁

When my alarm woke me, the first thing I thought was, “Today is the day of the total solar eclipse!” We had been planning and preparing for it for months, and today was the day! We ate a good breakfast and some people left to go pass out tracts in town where the crowds were. James, Jessica, and I went out on the Neelys’ front lawn and James helped us go over the settings and everything we needed to know for photographing the sun and the eclipse. It was so hot!😅 I used our Canon 80D with a 112-480mm lens.

 

It was hard to imagine that the great big, hot sun up there was going to get covered up in a few hours! Amazing! Do we look hot or what!!??

Here’s the sun as I found it on that fine August day…notice 5 or 6 sunspots.

A cloud in front of the sun

We helped gather up food and got our gear ready. Then we hiked up the road to an area behind the Neelys’ house where we would view the eclipse.  Neighbors of the Neelys started arriving and the team that had been out tracting got back. Soon they were grilling and getting the food ready.

James explaining the solar filter.

Mrs. Neely and some others made fancy little plate holders for the eye protectors we had to wear to look at the sun. They cut out two holes for the eye part of the glasses to match up to, and a triangle for your nose to stick out. You just glue the glasses to the plate and you’re good to go! They were pretty creative!

I had my tripod and camera set up with Jessica’s and James’s.

We popped our solar filters on and soon we were ready! I ran back to the house for something and soon I heard someone exclaim, “It’s starting!” Susannah and I ran up the hill as fast as we could and I started getting pictures. It took a long time for the sun to get covered! After the initial excitement was over, people started eating. I got food, but I was so busy monitoring my camera that I really didn’t eat anything until after the eclipse was done! 

Notice the plates of food by our tripods!😅

Mom was videoing, too. She also held an umbrella to help keep me from getting burned.

Mom, Jessica, and me

Every few minutes I would snap a picture. James and Jessica were also getting pictures, and Mr. Neely and Jonathan had their drones going.

The more the sun got covered, the cooler it got. And soon the lighting was so strange. It wasn’t like a sunset at all, in that the sun was still over head the whole time, and the shadows and rays were like normal afternoon rays.

Here are a few pictures of the progress…

Are you sure that isn’t just the moon?! Oh, wait! The moon has craters, not sunspots!

 

As it got closer to the time of totality everyone sort of gathered around the cameras. All of a sudden it got eerily dark and I heard exclamations of, “Wow!!” “Look at that!” “It’s all black!” Soon I heard James say, “Filters off, F/22, and bracket!” I quickly slid off my filter and soon I was snapping away.

TOTALITY!!! If you look carefully, you can see a planet about an inch or so from the sun!

Then I looked up. I had almost forgotten to look at it in person! Wow!  What do you say to describe the feeling? There is no sun; just what looks like a black hole in the sky with light surrounding it.

It wasn’t totally dark; there was light along the horizon. And there was a strange glow in the air like I’ve never experienced before!!! Red flame curled away from the sun as solar flares came off of it.This picture is underexposed, but you can see flames coming from the sun!!!

 

At one point I accidentally did a 30-second exposure and this is what I got!!!😂 Unique you could say? And the planet is a line, now!

All too soon James said, “Filters back on! F/22,” I got my filter back on after a little trouble and I barely got to capture the diamond ring after re-focusing. It was just completely amazing!

It got light again so quickly and the moon moved away again. From there it was just like the beginning of a solar eclipse backwards! 😀 And it got hotter, too. I continued to take pictures until the end, and then I shut off the camera, and went to eat and join a game of Signals in the shade. 

I think I felt a little more disappointed than I cared to admit that I didn’t think my diamond ring pictures didn’t come out right. I wouldn’t know for sure until I saw them on computer. I was afraid they were all blurry. I was thankful that they weren’t as bad as I thought in the beginning. I was able to use only one battery for the entire eclipse. I even had wifi on in my camera the whole time, and that drinks battery like nothing else! The reason I had wifi on, was because I had it hooked up to my mom’s iPhone in the Canon app. From her phone I could adjust all my settings and snap each shot from the phone itself, cutting down on tons of camera shake!  That was really a blessing. I don’t think that I would have done half as good a job if I hadn’t been able to quickly and smoothly change my settings for bracketing each shot. And I’m really thankful that Mom let me use her expensive equipment; camera, lens, phone, solar filter, and phone! 😊 And I would have never turned out with the pictures that I did, had it not been for James helping Jessica and me  know exactly what settings we should bracket off of, and all the white balance and everything! That was a real blessing! 

Some of the guys were overviewing some pictures or videos I think, which produced some very hilarious faces!🤣 Notice the plate with solar glasses that Daniel is holding. That is what the finished product looks like.

We all helped clean up and all the neighbors and friends left. We all were hot and tired and we kind of drooped back at the house. 😞

Poor Mom was so hot!

Some people took naps, and I think I watched James edit pictures on his computer to see if I could learn some more about photography! We played a few games and we had supper. What a great time we had singing around the table and sharing our favorite part of the day. Mom, Reese, Annabelle, Karen, and I went out and got the van travel-ready. Finally everything was neatly in the back once more, and we went in. I got to play the pedal harp one last time. 😊 We girls played Skip-Bo in the living room until about 1:00 in the morning! So we resigned and went to bed.

~Naomi

by Pleasant Photography 

Reese’s Moldova Trip Report

I must preface this with a cautionary statement that you shouldn’t count on me to contribute to this blog too often. But I had a Bible Institute assignment that seemed to lend itself well to public display, and so I’m posting it here. I’ve added a few pictures for this online version, so now it will be way over the word count if each one is worth a thousand words. I already went about 25% over the assignment’s required word count.

Upstate Bible Institute English class

Instructor Dylan A. Parfitt

April 21, 2018

Moldova Missions Trip Report
by Reese N. Parfitt

Sometimes when I think upon my imagined prowess as a world traveler, I like to make comparisons between the different countries I’ve been to. My young friends listen with gleaming eyes as I tell stories and describe faraway lands. But when I went to Moldova this March, I was in for an experience that made me feel like I was starting all over again on my first missions trip. It was good for me to have this reset, to humble me and to help me sympathize with my teammates who were learning the same new things. 

Moldova is a small republic in Eastern Europe that doesn’t garner a lot of world attention. It’s a former Soviet socialist state, and is currently the poorest country in Europe. I had only heard of it because of missionaries Paul and Susan Hamilton. A group of 21 of us (mostly youth) from Old Paths Bible Baptist Church went to visit the Hamiltons in Moldova’s capital city, Chişenău. It’s pronounced “Kishenow”, but it can also be called Kishinev, and then there’s the Russian version of the name: Кишинёв. Welcome to the language barrier in Moldova!

I won’t have time or space to tell everything that happened on this trip. I’ll have to pick a few meaningful incidents to give you a glimpse of some of the new things that I learned. If you want the whole story, you’ll have to come with us sometime!

Our mode of transportation was Turkish Airlines, with a connection in Istanbul. That detail is significant because of our first team-building exercise. It was an unplanned team-building exercise from our point of view, but it became obvious that it was a divine appointment. Our flight from Istanbul to Chişenău was canceled because of foggy weather in Moldova, and we ended up walking minutes on end through that huge Istanbul airport, following an airline employee to different transfer desks and information booths until we finally got new boarding passes for the next morning’s flight. They wanted to put us in a hotel, but we would have had to get visas, go through customs, and leave the airport for some unknown location only to pack up and head back very early in the morning. So it did not take a very lengthy team meeting to decide that we were staying the night in the airport. The four adults in our group were champions. I’m sure they would have appreciated a bed, especially after 9 hours in economy class over the Atlantic. We had to go back through security, make a plan for where we would sleep, figure out the meal voucher situation, find the food court, eat… So it was quite late before we headed to our intended place of repose, Gate 203.

By the time we finished supper, Gate 203 was occupied by departing passengers. So we went next door. Between jet lag (meaning we did not think it should be night, even though it was night in Turkey) and the unusual surroundings, we didn’t have much hope for solid restful sleep. We bedded down in the waiting area of Gate 204, but around 1:30 a.m. there was a stirring as passengers began accumulating for a flight that would leave out of that gate at some odd hour of the night. So we gathered up our stuff and moved to Gate 203, which was now empty. Few of us felt like we were going to fall asleep again, and we were planning to go for breakfast in just a couple of hours. After breaking the tennis ball pitch-and-catch world record for Gate 203 of the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, and having some intense bowling competitions with the tennis ball and water bottles, we all gathered around for a time of Christian fellowship and giving of thanks.

That assembly in Istanbul at 2 or 2:30 in the morning, where everyone was exhausted and no one could sleep, was easily one of the highlights of the trip. We had rushed through the airport the night before in New York City, with the team divided into three or four fragments in different places, going different paces. We barely got through security in time to find our places in the boarding line and get on the aircraft. Some groups of seats were together, but the team was split up in different sections of the plane and we didn’t have too much communication. And if we had flown on that same night to Moldova as planned, the ladies would have been down at their house and we men in ours, and it would have been difficult to feel that we were one team. So while the circumstances here in Turkey were strange, they brought about some of our favorite memories of the whole trip and taught some of the most important lessons.

We sang a few songs (very quietly!) and did some praying. Then Pastor Folk, in his wisdom, suggested that we go around the circle in turn and each person tell something about themselves or their interests. At first, this struck me as an activity that would foster individuality or cliquishness. Instead, it helped us to learn more about each other and appreciate each other. We were given opportunity to “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). And we were drawn close together by it.

It was my first time to travel with a group this size, and I had been a bit apprehensive of how it would go. How could we achieve teamwork and stick together? Though it could not have  been planned, this travel delay was essential to building our unity. There seemed to be multiple scenarios of “hurry up and wait” as we rushed from one end of the airport to the other. But everyone had a fantastic attitude; the strong supported the weak; the leaders “ruled” with diligence (Romans 12:8), keeping track of everyone; and the followers cooperated in one accord. Our chapter to meditate on together was Ephesians 4, and so many things from it were amazingly demonstrated to us as we each did what we should.

We weren’t even to Moldova yet. But we found that it didn’t matter! God dropped us off in Turkey and picked us up the next morning. It was as simple as that! I count our time in “The Oasis” (as Gate 203 is now affectionately called) to be a very precious gift from the Lord. It was a once-in-a-lifetime meeting that we didn’t even plan. God is good.

Boarding our plane for Moldova

 

We did get on the plane the following morning (Saturday) and arrived in a chilly, drizzly Moldova. Almost every other “mission field” country that I’ve traveled to has a tropical climate. So the weather took some getting used to. The first thing I noticed on arrival was the worn-down concrete buildings everywhere. They looked as if no one had cared for them for the last forty years. A lot of things, like the roads in the countryside, gave the same impression. It felt like since the fall of communism over 25 years ago, nobody had gotten the fortitude of heart to move forward with anything. As we taxied toward the airport, we passed the derelict carcasses of former Air Moldova or Ukrainian and Russian planes. They had apparently been passenger airliners, but almost all had machine guns at the nose. That was a new sight for sure.

A run-down arch in front of what was once a stadium

A rare moment of sunshine — but the buildings still look sad to me.

 

Customs was confusing for me. We had not been given forms to fill out on the airplane, so I expected to do it in the terminal before going through passport control. I was going to be the big expert and show everyone how it’s done, and help them fill out their forms. Maybe I would even be called upon for my language skills to try to interpret something. But everyone got in line, and when we got to the desk, no questions were asked. In fact, the customs officers didn’t even say a word to most of us! There was no incoming passenger card, no declaration of intended length of stay in the country, no questions about where we planned to visit. Just a small stamp in our passport and we were on our way. If you don’t have anything to declare in your luggage, you just take it and walk out. There was not even anyone guarding the door! I have never had any other customs experience where there is almost literally nothing to it! I have a feeling it would have been different in the Soviet days.

If I was hoping for an encounter with Russian border guards, we got a little taste of it when we traveled two different days that week into the region of Pridnestrovie. It’s an area on the eastern side of Moldova, occupied by Russian forces, with many of its people tending towards affiliation with communist Russia rather than the EU. (The UN doesn’t recognize it as a sovereign state, but it’s recognized by three other unrecognized states so that must make it all right…!) There is a border crossing on the road, where the KGB agents check your passport and give you a piece of paper to put inside. You have to show the paper when you come back through the border, and it tells you by what time that night you have to be out. Oh, by the way, the KGB hasn’t been in operation since 1991 — unless, of course, you’re in an unrecognized state.

Editor’s note: I don’t have any pictures of the border crossing, for what should be obvious reasons.

In this illegally-occupied sliver of the country, there are little churches with faithful people, probably not known to many people in the world. It is really amazing to pull into a little driveway and crowd into a tiny room with people you don’t know and with whom you can’t communicate because of the language barrier — and find out that you have so much in common. The apostle John wrote almost 2,000 years ago, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). After Pastor Folk preached (through our wonderful interpreter, Brother Vonea), a lady made a confession to the church about some wrong attitude she had been having. She was clearly repentant and there was a blessed spirit of forgiveness and restoration in the room. I don’t recall the confession having much to do with the sermon, but the Spirit of the Lord had done His work and it was precious to see. Again, God sent us there for a purpose unbeknownst to us, and He was able to use us simply because of our availability.

In Pridnestrovie

Most of the week, the weather was dreary. The sky was gray and the sun only appeared a few times. Walking down the street, you would notice that many people’s faces wore a generally tired and downtrodden expression. I felt discouraged because I could not really communicate and I was not even picking up much language to be able to use, especially not on the Russian side of things! But even Romanian was much more different from Spanish than I had hoped. We spent numerous hours traveling in the vans to different places to minister, which was a bit tiring. But there was one particular thing I experienced that was just about downright depressing!

I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a Roman Catholic church, either in the U.S. or elsewhere. But if it’s anything like the Russian Orthodox church we went in, I don’t think I’m interested! While we were on the streets of Chişenău, passing out invitations to the meetings at church, Claire Nicot and I got to go with our Moldovan friend Iochim to see the inside of the church building.  I was first perturbed at the realization that it is, for all practical purposes, a business. The church is open 9 to 5 every day, just like my place of work; and people are coming in all day long to buy candles and whatever other religious merchandise is for sale there inside the door. Then there are pictures and statues all around the room, and the devotees make their rounds to the different stations, making the sign of the cross, kissing the images, bowing, weeping, praying. The economy was decidedly different in here than on the streets outside. From the fancy roped-off chair that was reserved for some important person, to the hand-painted walls and domed ceiling, to the rich tapestries and fine chandeliers and picture frames, everything was absolutely plush and gilded. Somebody was obviously making out all right in the poorest country in Europe! I stood, somewhat shocked, observing this horrendous idolatry that dared to call itself Christianity. What treason this is, for the “church” to take all the elements from the Bible and use them as a backdrop for their false religion! How could anyone imagine that this is a denomination of Christendom? It is heathen! 

As we made our way back outside, I pulled my church invitations back out of my pocket. But I was strangely changed. What had happened to me? Now that I had seen the solemnity and grandeur of their church tradition, how could I appeal to them with a nice, glossy, eye-catching invitation to the Baptist church? How could I argue against the sincerity and devotion of the worshippers? But such is the battle of truth against error! There is but one truth, and it has thousands of forms of wrong to fight against. We do well to stick close by the King James Bible and learn from it the way to please God. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).

I wouldn’t exactly say that experiencing the Orthodox church was a “highlight” of the Moldova trip. But it made a deep impression. It opened my eyes to an astonishing reality of the deceitfulness of religion and gave me a great appreciation for the truth of God’s word, which makes us free (John 8:31, 32). Maybe God put me there in a place where I couldn’t really understand any of the language so I would keep my mouth shut and learn something. There is definitely a need to preach the Gospel, just about any time. But David said in Psalm 39:9, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.” It is good for us to realize that we know so little. Lord, continue to be merciful to us and teach us.

I believe God did use us to be a blessing to others on this trip. But it was a time of much learning for me personally. The Lord can do much more through our weakness than we can do through our strength. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). May God help us to acknowledge Him in everything we do, whether across the sea or in our home. It is so fulfilling to see Him receive the glory.



A Taste of Spring

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

As the snow continues to make its appearance, even in the middle of April, I have to remember this verse and remind myself to be content with whatever weather God sends us. A year ago Tuesday we tilled up the garden – with temperatures in the fifties!  😕

But a few weeks ago, I started a project that is helping to tide me over until I can truly be gardening.

We bought several seed trays at Runnings, and some seed-starting soil. For containers I used old cartons from transplants that we had saved over the years. I needed 96. After throwing out some broken ones, I had 97!

Naomi and I had started some geraniums a few weeks earlier, so I kind of knew what I was doing. First I filled the trays with 12 cartons each. I poured the soil in, moistened it, and put a seed in each cup. (I spooned the soil in at first, but soon decided that pouring was much easier! 😉)

This was only whetting my appetite! I could almost feel my thumbs turning green! My sisters and our friend Tabitha Wilson soon joined me, and the work began to go much faster.

(Naomi was helping too, but she was behind the camera this time! 😃)

After I used up the smaller bags of soil, I opened the bigger bag. That was when I ran into problems. When I tried to moisten the cartons full of soil, the water just ran off the top onto the table instead of soaking in!

Hmmmm…. What should we do about this? It was making quite a mess. After a bit of consultation with my board of advisers, I grabbed a big mixing bowl and started dumping the soil in. Next, we poured water in and started mixing it up like dough. Then we refilled the containers with our exclusive pre-moistened seed-starting mix and continued our normal operations.

Viola, dahlia, celosia, hollyhocks, sage, parsley, and oregano – one by one we filled the flats. They were supposed to be covered with plastic lids, but Runnings was sold out of them. So we covered them with plastic wrap instead.

We labeled the trays and put them on the plant shelf that Daddy built years ago. I set up the heater next to it and turned it on high – the best temperature for sprouting seeds is between 70 and 80 degrees F. This is why we start them inside! 😀

Last but not least – cleanup!!! 😅

Almost everything sprouted. We got only one watermelon, but I wasn’t expecting much from them because we dried the seeds ourselves from my brother’s watermelon in 2016.

Happy gardening! 😃

Annabelle

 

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Trip-Day 3

Day 3, August 20

On Sunday morning we got up bright and early. Well, at least I did! I read my Bible while I waited for everyone to get up. People’s alarms were going off, but no one was getting up!😌 At last we all were up and running! We all helped make breakfast in the kitchen downstairs.

We ate and fellowshipped until time to leave for church.

We left and drove to church, about 20 minutes away. We enjoyed the good service and fellowship. We got back to the Neelys’ and helped get lunch ready. Mr., Daniel, and Hannah Wilkes were there. They would be staying at the Neelys’ for the eclipse as well. The lunch was so good! All we girls were discussing what to do for the afternoon. Some people took naps, and Victoria, Annabelle, Lauren, and I played harps.

I had always wanted to play a pedal harp, and that was the first time ever! (We have a lever harp.) What a blast we had! Victoria and I played the pedal harps and Annabelle and Lauren played the lever harps. That was one of my highlights of the trip!!! It was so nice of them to let us!

We then got this idea that we could get everyone together to play instruments!  The girls got up from their naps and we got enough violins together.  They even brought a pedal harp down to the living room to join the growing orchestra! Reese and Annabelle played flute; Jessica played viola; Daniel played cello; Victoria, Susannah, Samuel, Karen, Hannah, and I played violin; and Lauren played harp. Then Lauren and Victoria switched harp and violin, and then I switched with Victoria for harp. We played for the rest of the afternoon. It was such a blessing to be able to use our instruments for God’s glory!

 

 

At last we stopped. I don’t usually play harp for hours, so my fingers were getting sore!😕 We ate a good supper and the work began. You should have seen Mom, Mrs. Neely, James, Jessica, and Daniel trying to make solar filters for James’s, Jessica’s, and my camera lenses!

Our solar eclipse film…

Daniel Wilkes and James Staddon were making it somewhat fun!!

I was helping at first, but I soon got out of the way and let the “professionals” finish! In fact, they were anything but that! You don’t have solar eclipses of the sun every week! Jonathan was taking some videos and I took pictures. Very interesting, indeed. Except for the fact that I got very bored!!!😜😂 So Lauren and I played the piano!  Mr. Neely, Mr. Wilkes, and Reese were writing a tract to pass out about the eclipse. We also got a Dutch Blitz game going. After we tired of that, we played Skip-Bo. It got so late that we finally retreated to bed.

 

Reporting for the Parfitts,

Naomi

Arkansas Trip November 2017, Day 2

It has been a little while since I wrote about day 1 of the Arkansas trip. We had some friends staying with us for about a week (which I will have to write about in a different post!) and our church had its annual missions conference, which kept us busy. So, I am just now getting around to writing about day 2!😐

Day 2-November 19, 2017

I awoke in the morning to the same hum of the tractor trailer that I had fallen asleep to the night before. Some or all of the other members of my family were up already. I quickly folded up my “bed” and put it in the back in its spot. After eating breakfast and reading our Bibles, we were eager to leave. We carefully pulled out of our spot between the tractor trailers and proceeded to the gas station that was part of the Flying J we had stayed at.

The GPS showed us where we had driven at Flying J. It makes it look like we couldn’t find our way around! Well… I guess we couldn’t!!😆

Our bus in the row of tractor trailers. Makes it look small!

 

a view from closer up

After filling up with diesel, we got on the highway. The land was so flat and full of fields. It didn’t feel like we were driving on the highway, it felt like we were driving in the middle of one huge field!

view from windshield

farm along the highway

flat plus flat equals very flat…(you didn’t know I was that good at math, did you?😉)

 

It didn’t seem like a Sunday, since we were driving instead of going to church. But, of course, we were not going to miss the service! At 10:00, we logged onto Livestream and watched the church service at our church while we drove. By the time it was done, it was noon and time for lunch. What we were planning to do was make lunch and then go find the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Before I was old enough to remember, my family had gone and eaten lunch and gotten pictures under the arch, and that is what we wanted to do. So off we went in our bus to find it. The arch is not far from the Missouri border. So we crossed the border and began trying to find a way to get to the arch. The road was very confusing. First we went across a long bridge and once we were across, we tried to find our way around. It seemed like we were going in circles. Oh, here is a fenced-in parking area that might be just the thing, as the arch is not very far away. What does that sign say? No RVs? Swallow. Oooookay, then! Let’s try something else. We turned a corner, and the next thing we knew, we were back on a bridge again, and crossing the state border into Illinois! Oh, brother! We tried to find a place to turn around, but next we found ourselves on some back street. What are we doing out in the middle of nowhere next to a train track? We finally got turned around and went back to Missouri on the same bridge. It doesn’t look like we are going to make it to the arch.😢 We got pictures of it from the road and decided that was enough. Sadly we left the neighborhood without getting up close to the arch.

Sign for St. Louis, MO

view of the arch from the highway

That bridge that we got familiar with after driving over it twice!

sideways view of arch

beautiful view of the arch beside the water

Here we are next to the railroad track out in the middle nowhere…

After all that running around, our big rig was quite thirsty for some diesel. So we went to fill ‘im up. We got off the highway, but unfortunately, the gas station was on the other side of the road! So we had to go farther down the road to find a place to turn around. In doing so, we somehow ended up in a neighborhood full of curving roads that went up and around very high hills! Naomi puts it this way: “We felt like we were going to fall off the edge of the world!” We were very glad when we finally found a church parking lot to turn around in! We eventually found our way back to the gas station, and, wouldn’t you know, right across the street from the station was a Dairy Queen. We thought, “Hey, while we are here, why don’t we get ourselves some blizzards?” So before getting diesel, we went to the Dairy Queen and ordered blizzards. After we got them, we went back out to the bus and headed across the street for diesel.

 

Naomi’s blizzard

Naomi eating her blizzard

Annabelle eating her blizzard

me eating my blizzard

As the afternoon wore on, we got tired and some of us took naps…

Annabelle sleeping

Mom driving

Naomi and I played Phase Ten for a while, but with the sun shining in the windows it made us very sleepy and we eventually went to sleep also. Once, while we were playing, we stopped on the side of an off-ramp to switch drivers instead of going to a rest stop. Apparently Mom just barely kept the RV on the road!

 

Half the wheel was sticking off the edge of the road! Yikes!

 

When I woke up, I went into the back and read a book. When I looked up from my book a while later, it was dim because the sun was setting.

the sunset

I thought that we were probably in Arkansas, because the countryside was very much characteristic of Arkansas! I was right, we were. In a very short time, it was pitch black outside, and of course, all the roads were very twisty and windy! We carefully threaded our way through curves and twists, until we reached the town, where it was straighter. By then, we were recognizing things from other times that we visited Grandma. In a short while, we turned onto the gently sloping street that Grandma lives on and pulled into the church parking lot that she lives next to. After going inside and visiting a little with Grandma (and Uncle Paul and his son Jacob, who live with her) we said goodnight to them and went back out to the bus for bed. We decided not to try to go to where we had been planning to park until the next night, since we were too tired to that night. It wasn’t as simple as the night before. Since we didn’t have a tractor trailer on either side of our RV, we could put the slideouts out. First Reese leveled the RV, then we put them out. After that was done, Annabelle and Naomi unfolded their beds and made them. Reese and I also set up our beds on the floor. Finally we all got to bed, this time without anyone stepping on my arm!😅

So there’s the end of day 2! The lesson learned from day 2 is: When you’re going somewhere, stick to the road and don’t try to go find some arch…at least not when you are in a big RV!!!🤣🚍

A Poem

I suddenly wrote a poem the other evening after looking at old pictures on my laptop. When I showed it to my girls this evening, they told me to post it on the blog. It’s not a great poem, but it’s the first one I have written in about 15 years. Perhaps someone will be blessed by it. ~ Jamie

How My Heart Aches

How my heart aches as I look
On the photos in my book.
All the years that passed so fast
Many days that didn’t last.

See how small the babies were.
Now they’re grown; it’s such a blur!
How I miss my husband dear;
How I wish that he was near!

But the Lord is changing not.
He it is that cleans my spot
On my heart and on my mind.
He is patient, tender, kind.

Surely life is brief and sad,
But the blessings we have had!
Many happy times we share
All because of God’s sure care.

Jamie Ruth Blair Parfitt
April 12, 2018