Where do those darn blackberries come from?

I've lived in the same house for the past seven years, and there were no berry plants in my yard. Not that I wouldn't mind having berries for jelly, but I'd much rather have them in a place of my own choosing.

There's a planter box across the front of the house. It has housed miniature roses, a small fuschia, and some vinca, presenting a variety of color as you walk up the sidewalk to the front door. There has never been any hint of berries there - until now.

This past winter, what looked suspiciously like berries began sprouting in the box, choking the vinca and twining around the roses. Where in the world have they come from? I certainly did not plant them! If I had to take a guess, perhaps the birds deposited the seeds last fall. I want them gone - but wow- what thorns they have!

They remind me of the bad habits that sometimes spring up in our lives. We know they don't belong, and we want to get rid of them, but they seem to dig in deep, trying to choke out the good habits we are trying to nurture.

Just as I'm going to have to get some help to eliminate those thorny pests, we often need help with the changes we want to make in our lives.

One of our very best resources for these problems is our pastors. No one else is better prepared to point us to our faith as the support system we need andndash; but what if we don't go to church?

Church is a very important part of life for many people. It helps to balance the waves of "stuff" that seem about to overwhelm us at times.

And it's the place where we find not only the pastor, but friends of like faith to encourage us over the rough spots when they happen. That's a pretty good formula.

Tomorrow there's a special speaker at the 10:30 a.m. service at Pelican Bay Evangelical Free Church.

Chuck Neighbors is a professional actor and story teller with a unique repertoire of both dramatic and comedic presentations. All are welcome to this service that sounds both inspiring and entertaining. The church is on Blueberry Lane, off Blackwell.

Unless someone else steps up, there is only one more VBS this summer.

"Western Roundup" is a program for kids aged 4 through 13. It will be an evening program, from 5andndash;8 p.m., Aug. 17andndash;21.

The program will be led by Timothy Silcott, evangelist/ventriloquist, from Altoona, Iowa.

Dinner will be served to the kids each night, and on Thursday, Parents Night, a special treat will be root beer floats. For more information, call 951-9662.

There's not much going on this week, in church at least. I rather imagine that with the fair coming up in a couple weeks, folks are busy getting entries ready. I'm not going to have as much in this year as usual, but I'm sure looking forward to seeing what other folks have done - especially the quilts!

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email