Thursday, September 1, 2011

Man of the Cloth LLC is online

Hey, this is a really quick post to say that Man of the Cloth LLC is up and running on the web.  Getting the website up and running has been consuming quite a lot of my time.  First, I completed the brochure to introduce our service to seminary students,  Once we took it to the printer, the website moved front and center to our attentions.  We were so pleased to hit the publish button on it yesterday.  You can check it out at:

Just a little behind the scenes tidbit... on the "About Us" page Richard wanted a photo to be posted for each of us since a picture is worth 1000 words.  The picture he chose for me was quaint and manager-ish enough to lend credibility to me.  He was searching for his image as "designer" and this is what he originally came up with.

I agreed that is was eclectic, creative and free-spirited, but I also pointed out he looked like the ancestral church father, C.F.W. Walther.  We chuckled a bit and then reviewed photo albums to find further options.  You will have to make the call on which choice is better.  We would love to have specific feedback on anything you see that could stand improvement to make the website easier to maneuver.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Microcosm of Prayer Answers

We pulled off at the first cheap St. Louis gas station to fuel up ($3.159 per gallon looked pretty sweet to me).  I fueled the car while the girls went to the restroom.  When they came back I slipped off to pay my honorary visit to the little room of relief, so I was not there when the call came in to Erin’s phone. 

You see, Erin, Laura and I were on our way to see the neurosurgeon who had cared for Richard.  This trip was to establish Erin as his patient.  You may not have known that in May, 2010, Erin had experienced a grand mal seizure out of the blue. At the time she was referred to the University of Kentucky for medical care.  They discovered a brain tumor that did not appear malignant but was menacing in that it caused seizures.  They had been watching her closely with MRI studies every 3 months.  Since there were no changes they recommended that she go down to 6 months between exams. Moving to Missouri created the need to find a new doctor for follow-up.  Erin had scheduled the appointment a month back while she was still Erin Hay. 

We were only 30 minutes away from the doctor’s office when the call came in. The secretary from the doctor’s office was following up on new information she had discovered the day before – Erin and John do not have insurance.  The secretary told Erin the appointment was cancelled and that given her financial need she should make arrangements to be seen at one of the two teaching medical facilities in St. Louis. Erin took down the numbers and politely bid the secretary good bye. 

We all sat there bewildered.  We had come 1½ hours distance already and only had 30 minutes to go to be at the office. What should we do?

I turned to Erin and asked, “May I call the office back to speak on your behalf?”  

With a soft, near-tears voice, Erin replied, “I guess.”

Erin provided me with the number the call had come from and I was off on the chase.  The hospital computer picked up the call and I waited thought all the “if you want so-and-so, press this number” commands.  At last since none of the choices worked I stayed on the line for the operator.  She transferred me to another operator who finally transferred me to the secretary’s number which went directly into voice mail.  I introduced myself as one calling on behalf of Erin Cook. After stammering around about guaranteeing that today’s visit would be paid for in cash, I stated we were still coming to the appointment. Then I got down to leaving my number, but an ending tone sounded before I had all the numbers spoken.

I turned to Erin and said, “We will just go in and see what happens.”

I pulled back onto the highway.  About three miles down the road Erin’s phone rang.  The secretary was calling back.  Immediately she clarified on Erin’s name and Erin had the opportunity to explain that she had married in the past 2 weeks.  She apologized for not having made her name change clear.  She thought she could take care of that at the office.  The secretary simply stated acknowledgement that she would see us in a few minutes.  We all heaved a sigh of relief.

Once at the office Erin meticulously completed all the paperwork received from the receptionist.  The secretary came to the door to call “Mrs. Cook” in.  As she saw us both stand to enter her face lit up with recognition. 

“So, this is your new daughter-in-law,” the secretary declared.  “Now it all makes sense.”

Our doctor had promised on our last visit that he would be pleased to see our new daughter-in-law when she was indeed in the family and the area. The rest of the visit was sheer blessing.  As we left I was near tears myself as doctor told Erin not to worry about the bill, along with other encouraging words that things will work out. 

Now, what is my point of writing this long tale?  The bottom line is that I learned a HUGE lesson that day – a lesson about prayer, intercessory prayer. 

Prayer and courage go hand in hand.  Intercession, being held up by others, relying on the intervention of others is God’s way of weaving the fiber of His people together. Prayer ignites courage.  We needed to simply pull out on the road and move ahead as we prayed. Praise the Lord for His provision of courage and success and the future of hope.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fairy Tale Buster

Recently, Laura passed the driver's test to receive her licence.  She had been driving with a learner's permit for 1 1/2 years so she had never been alone in the car.  We were so accustomed to that it took a couple weeks for us to come up with an excuse to send her off on her own to run an errand thus making her maiden solo voyage.  We sent her to get milk from a local farmer.  The trip is about 5 miles one way.  She went and returned without apparent incident.  At least that is what we thought. Today, she finally leveled with us about the fatalities she caused.

Today as I was driving to church I had to dodge a turtle crossing the road.  Laura must have had a frightful flash back because she started to talk. I glanced in the rear view mirror because I was certain I had hit the innocent slow stroller.

"You didn't hit him, Mom," Laura piped up. "If you had, you would have heard a thump."

"Oh? How do you know that?" I inquired.

"I never told you," Laura confessed, "but I hit a turtle on that first trip to the farm to get milk. That wasn't as bad as the rabbit I hit a little further down the road. He ran out so fast that I couldn't even swerve."

"Let me get this straight.  You hit a turtle when you were on your way to the farm and then you ran over a rabbit, too. All this on your first trip?"

"I figured the race was finished, and the fairy tale was done. I'm just glad that didn't happen to me when I was taking my test with the state driving examiner.  The state driving test says if there is an accident with a casualty or death the tester is to automatically fail the testee.   A squirrel crossed the road while I was taking my test. The tester was shouting at the squirrel, 'Run little squirrel, run!"

Now we all have the lingering question.  Does roadkill disqualify a student driver from passing the road test in Missouri?  We have decided to get Peter's learner's permit to start moving toward an answer.  Meanwhile, it may take us a few years to have the courage to get him to the licence test, insurance rates and all.  So much for the fairy tale ending...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Newlyweds Inspire Memories

As I sat on the patio this morning cleaning onions my mind drifted to the days when we were still young.  It was at the time of our first anniversary.  We had moved into a trailer on the farm and had a garden for the first time.  I was enthused about learning to can, and I had always loved my mother's home-canned tomato soup.  Mom gave me the recipe and I gathered up the goods to produce it.  The cans all processed well, and the glowing red contents were beckoning us to sample them.  I popped open a test jar for Sunday dinner.  The flavor knocked us back in our chairs!  It was full-bodied but hot, hot, hot.  Mom's was never like that.  I scooped up a bowl and dashed to get her opinion.  One taste and she had the diagnosis - too much onion.  Really it tasted like concentrated onion juice with a hint of tomato.

"But, Mom," I insisted, "I followed your recipe exactly."

"How much onion did you put in?" she asked.

"I put in 12 like the recipe said," I confidently replied.

"How big were they?" she chuckled.

I held up my hand to indicate softball size.  That melted her into a full-fledged guffaw.

"The onions were supposed to be no bigger than a shooter marble."

We ate every bit of that soup confident that it was a once in a lifetime experience.   That memory fled back to me today as I sat and cleaned onions.  The men had dug all the onions the first of the week.  It has been such a wet summer so far here that about 1/3 of them came out rotten to some degree.  I sat and cleaned the rotten ones.  An onion that started out the size of a tennis ball would end up the size of a shooter marble.  Those were the size I should have used 35 years ago.  Finally, I understand.  I had Laura can a batch, and she did it properly.  Human progress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Wedding Was Beautiful

Friday, July 22 was wedding day for John Cook as he took Erin Hay to be his wife. The wedding was simple and beautiful, making it simply beautiful.  John and Erin agreed on the wedding text in advance. I just have to share it with you as it was such a great text for newlyweds and for oldie-weds too.

2 Peter 1: 5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge. and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affections with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (ESV)

I thought the wedding would be a breeze for me.  After all the mother-of-the-groom is a very minor character.     My greatest responsibility was in planning the rehearsal dinner.  We made it a no-brainer by ordering a sampling of pizza from three different pizza restaurants in Paris, Kentucky. No, the worst thirty seconds for me where spent right before I was escorted to my seat by Dallas.  I took a moment to give John a hug and to wish him well.  That was when the realization hit me - he is no longer my little boy, but rather he is Erin's man. How embarrassing to have tears streaming down my face as Dallas seated me.  But that was the end of the "water works" as I watched our family receive a tremendous blessing in adding Erin to our clan.  Realizations and additions, simply beautiful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quickie Update as We Run to the Wedding

Friday, July 22, John will be marrying Erin Hay in Paris, Kentucky.  Here it is Wednesday and we are dashing about to get packed and leave the house in order as we head to the rehearsal tomorrow.

With the business, we have received about 5 shipments of materials from three sources.  Richard is starting to move beyond the sample garments to some serious construction.  As he completes a new alb we are listing the original sample in his shop on Etsy, an online shopping mall.  We have one listed so far but hope to have more the week after the wedding.  We hope this will give us a little feel for the market, but at the least it helps us jointly work though the process of online sales.

I, Renee, have been selling on eBay for about 2 years so I have a little idea about working with writing a listing, shipping costs and managing Paypal. Richard had not given my eBaying much attention since I did it while he was away from home at work.  Now the slower pace of Etsy is proving a good teaching medium for his current learning style.  Here is his link if you want to take a look at his Etsy profile.  His shop items are on the right-hand side of the profile page, and you can click it for a closer look:

Meanwhile, back at the wedding, all the siblings are going to make it for John.  I have to confess to being a little excited about getting all our offspring together.  I hope we remember to get a picture.  In times past we just get so wrapped up in visiting that we forget the camera.  I'll let you know later how it comes out.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Paper Trained for Business

I, Renee, am on the edge of my seat.  Friday afternoon this document arrived in the mail.

This paper is our tax license for doing business in Missouri.  Companies across the county use this document to validate that we are a serious business worthy of receiving wholesale prices.

I hustled to Staples Friday and faxed it off to three wholesale sources.  Sadly, it was 6 pm by the time I got them off.  Since it was after business hours AND a holiday weekend, I am waiting for Wednesday to call the wholesalers to verify that we are in.  Meanwhile,  Richard and I are sorting through the websites to have our dream/shopping  list  ready to plunge right in. 

So I am on the edge of my seat to go ordering.