Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Breakfast

The other Friday afternoon I was busy running errands (for example to replace a broken ice maker, get a dance floor for a wedding, and more). When I got home to Roseland, I saw coffee in the pot on the burner, but decided to leave it on until the last minute before retiring from Roseland just in case the guests wanted some.

In the meantime, I started doing some work in the office, then ate dinner, and before long it was time to close up shop. I totally forgot about the coffee, ice, refreshments, and cookies we usually set out for the guests; and taking inventory to ensure that we have all necessary supplies for breakfast. I was tired, went home, and rested in peace.
Butler's Pantry Well Stocked with Snacks for Guests

Next morning the coffee in the pot had burned and formed a solid mass. Donna, our helper, had to clean that up before starting on breakfast, setting us behind in a tight breakfast schedule. In addition, I had to run back to the house to get ice because our ice machine is broken and I didn't bring up the ice the night before. Falling further behind....

Then while preparing breakfast I realized we were out of butter, except for frozen butter which has to be defrosted before it can be sliced. This is a time consuming process, and usually involves one or two sticks of butter being totally melted in the microwave. With this unexpected extra work and waste of butter, we continued falling farther and farther behind the clock.

Fruit cup appetizer

Once the butter problem was resolved, Donna asked me to help with the condiments because she was running behind her schedule, due to having to clean up the coffee pot. That's when I found out we didn't have enough salsa on hand. So I searched and searched the refrigerators several times, as did Donna. We found enough to barely squeeze by, but had wasted yet more time. Tick, tock, tick, tock, went the clock and we continued falling farther and farther behind.

While searching for the salsa, the scrambled eggs had been cooking. At this point they have to be stirred regularly to keep from browning and turning into a scrambled omelet. Well, being distracted by the salsa, I neglected to stir the eggs and they started browning. The problem, thank God, is not fatal; the brown pieces can be removed individually. This is an extremely time consuming operation and normally results in loss of one serving of eggs. Since I normally make enough for an extra serving or two, we can recover. However, the time lost cannot be recovered. Falling still further behind...

While trying to remove the brown from the eggs, I didn't pay enough attention to the items in the oven and nearly burned the biscuits. Fortunately I didn't. The breakfast turned out fine, and was ultimately served almost on time, but with a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering.

The Main Course:  Eggs, bacon, biscuit, and our special home-made cheesy grits

I don’t tell you these trade secrets to scare you about the delicious food you will receive at Roseland – because it is always delicious. But I do divulge these trade secrets because the event provides a significant life lesson for us all, as follows:

I took my eye off the ball for just one moment the day before the breakfast. I didn't follow up and prepare for the next day's breakfast the way I usually do. I didn't check inventory of supplies, and I didn't check the setup as usual. Nothing big happened to distract me, just the grind of daily minutiae.

The next day this small error snowballed into a whole chain of potential calamities. A small oversight the night before affected not just me, but set Donna behind schedule, which put us both even further behind, and ultimately almost affected our guests as well. But for the Grace of God, the next day we barely escaped a disastrous breakfast.

It's the same with Jesus in your life. If you take you eye off Him, even for one moment, the enemy will sneak up on you and cause havoc in your life and in the life of those around you. Not necessarily immediately, but sooner rather than later. And then you will find bad things snowballing - one bad thing turning into another and then another, affecting both you and all those near and dear to you.

So, never, ever turn aside from His face - even to glance at the scenery on the side. You will inevitably experience a calamity if you do.

That’s why I must be totally focused on Jesus and Roseland to the exclusion of all else - especially earthly distractions. My destiny lies beyond death. I am on a journey to eternity, and my task in this life is to give everything I have - 110% - to my Lord. That includes my time, emotions, love, energy, money, or whatever is required to do the work He has assigned to me - including Roseland which He has placed in my care.

I must do for Jesus exactly what I did for Debbie, my beloved Angel:  Give Him all the love I have with no reservations, conditions, limits, or bounds. Nothing less can do for my Creator and Redeemer. If I don't, I will have committed the greatest sin of all:  Devalued His sacrifice on my behalf. And, as with the breakfast, I can be certain that calamity will overcome me and those around me if I take my eyes off Jesus, even for a moment.

So each day I pray, "Jesus, My Lord, please help me keep my eyes locked onto Your beautiful face and not glance away, not even for a moment, lest I fall and cause those around me to fall, too. Amen"

God bless,


Monday, April 19, 2010

Simple Elegance

Roseland is a time machine. Our guests all tell us that they enter a different time when they come through the gates. Somehow they get transported back to a time period a century ago, when time was something to be savored – like a fine meal – and not devoured like a fast food snack. Our weddings reflect this phenomenon.

Grace before Bridal Tea
Perhaps a recent 250 guest Roseland wedding best illustrates this wonderful experience. It was a most beautiful wedding in the tradition of the olden days. The family rented the entire Bed and Breakfast for the night before the wedding and the night after the wedding. It was literally a three day affair!

The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner are traditionally held the night before the ceremony. The family enjoyed a wonderful catered BBQ dinner at the Plantation under a tent after the rehearsal, which went flawlessly thanks to Jennifer, our certified wedding coordinator. After dinner family members retired to the Bed and Breakfast to socialize until the wee hours, snacking and sipping refreshments. The girls enjoyed pedicures and manicures done in the Library.

Bridal Tea
The entire family started the wedding day with a wonderful country breakfast a la Roseland. After that the ladies enjoyed a sumptuous formal Bridal Tea hosted by the bride’s godmother. Tea was served by our courteous staff in the finest tradition of Roseland, on delicate china, glittering silver, and gleaming linen. All participants thoroughly enjoyed the experience; it was truly a special event for the younger ladies who have never had the opportunity to participate in such an event.

Flower Girl
Everybody pitched in and helped set up for the wedding. People were scurrying to and from carrying decorations while music played. Some family members used this opportunity to spend time with distant relatives and catch up on the latest events in their lives. A wedding, after all, is a life event – a joining not just of two people but of two families – and this is a perfect opportunity to get acquainted or to catch up with the latest developments in the family.
Strings making music

Ready for Bridal Entrance
Some guests who arrived early strolled the paths throughout Roseland’s acres and acres of natural forest. The crepe myrtles in full bloom literally formed walls of glowing lavender from the ground to the top of the trees and drenched the air with their sweet aroma as you walked by.
The Vows

The ceremony was a beautifully moving outdoor event, not gaudy, nor showy. The dogwoods were in full splendor, simply glowing in the sunlight. It was supposed to rain, but not a single drop fell that day. Clearly God had smiled upon this couple!

The touching Christian ceremony started at 5 pm and featured a live rendition of Brandon Heath’s “Love Never Fails” (among other selections), a scripture reading from Ephesians, a sibling candle lighting, and a wonderful string quartet for the processional and recessional. The flowers included spectacular bouquets of roses and Stephanotis flowers with pearl centers.

Mr. and Mrs. Slack
Once the ceremony was complete, the party began in the tent with food and refreshments served in the Plantation Ballroom. The beautifully set buffet included jalapenos wrapped in bacon, stuffed olives, various quiches, fruit, vegetables, rolls, and more. A variety of refreshments rounded out the fare.

Non-stop dancing began almost immediately after the ceremony and continued until late in the night. In fact, there was so much dancing that it actually moved the dance floor about an inch over the evening!

The atmosphere in a tent is always festive. The clear party lights strung throughout the tent shimmered; lighting colored the drapes and pole covers to match the color scheme of the bride and groom; and special light effects made the ceiling look like stars and aurora borealis (northern lights) at night. A large kissing ball above the dance floor provided the added incentive for a bit of public smooching by the bride and groom. A slide show ran continuously on our large projection screen throughout the party which, I’m sure, would have continued all night had the music kept going.

Simply Elegant
The bride and groom retired to the Bed and Breakfast thoroughly exhausted late in the evening, after the bouquet and garter toss. The getaway car was appropriately decorated with flowers, shaving cream, and cans. Everybody threw rose petals at the bride and groom as they “departed.”

Delicious Food

Next morning, refreshed after a good night’s rest, the family enjoyed another sumptuous Plantation breakfast all together before setting off for the trip home….

Dancing in the tent

May God bless the new Slack family and give them many happy years together!

Friday, April 2, 2010


They say “It is always darkest and coldest before the dawn.” It is also the coldest and bleakest before spring. After all, everything has been dormant for months and everything has taken a beating from snowstorms, ice storms, and freezing weather. Everything is tired. Well, that was the way it was just a few weeks ago. We had snow. The weather was freezing. The sky was gray. The whistling wind cut through your clothing. I was telling all our guests, “Spring will be here someday.”

It seemed like spring would never come; we had cold spell after cold spell. No buds. The flowers that did poke through the ground froze and died. Everything seemed dreary and nearly hopeless. Then all of a sudden we had a couple of warm days and everything literally sprang to life overnight. All the trees flowered. Roseland was awash in color. First the bradford pears, then the redbuds, forsythia, dogwoods, and so on. Then the azaleas burst forth, and roses and jasmine cast their delightful fragrance. Everything came back to life; everything was resurrected from the dead. All our senses are tingling from the joy of spring.

It’s only fitting that Jesus, our Savior, was crucified in the spring. Before His arrival the whole Earth was groaning from beating after beating by the attacks of the enemy. We were lost in the darkness and wandering without hope. The entire earth was, in fact, dead because of our sins.

Then Jesus came and light entered the world. Dawn had broken. Through His work on the Cross the world was redeemed from death and resurrected.

Thanks to Jesus, spring has sprung on the earth. He poured out His living water, and we all started budding. Those who drank of His water freely blossomed with joy. Those who nourished themselves through His broken body and shed blood sprang back to life, full of energy and peace. Those who believed in Him rejoice at the prospect of the coming days just as we rejoice in the prospect of the coming days of spring and summer.
As I wander through Roseland I see beautiful flowers that warm the heart, make me smile, and bring joy to a world which seemed dead and is now alive. As I wander through Roseland I am reminded of my beautiful Angel, Debbie. I smile with joy in the certain knowledge that although she seemed dead a few months ago, there will be no more winters for her. She is now fully alive in Heaven, enjoying eternal Spring and Summer; and one day so shall I - with her.

The Bible declares that the Heavens and Earth shout the glory of God and praise the Lamb of God. Undeniably, so do the seasons. It is, indeed, fitting that Jesus, our Savior, was crucified in the spring, for only through His crucifixion can we all spring back to life. Let the joy of spring be an annual reminder of our coming joy, thanks to the work of our Redeemer.

Rejoice! Thank God for His grace and mercy.