Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

And the rains came.

Some at least, and I hope we'll have more. Amazing how quickly some things start to green up after just a little bit of the stuff. And Thursday there was a rainbow, too.

Rainbows. Nowhere I have ever lived have I seen rainbows like the ones here. Now lightning? Texas puts on some pretty fantastic exhibits of that - fascinating, unless they happen to arrive accompanying those circling winds that inhabit Tornado Alley. I'm not too crazy about those.

I thought some of my flowering bushes and roses had not made it through, but they are looking better, and there are two red tulips waving by the fence. I have to laugh - that package of bulbs was supposed to be assorted pastels. Guess they had a mind of their own.

The ivy geranium that's been hanging on the front of the garage the past two years? It's growing again. As is that Gloxinia that just won't quit. At least it's now starting to grow at the normal time.

I'm getting ready to seed some veggie plants for the hot house this year - I'm going to get that thing rebuilt this year no matter what. Your own homegrown tomatoes and peppers just simply taste better, plus you know exactly where they came from.

All the guessing about what will survive and what won't makes me think about how some folks approach faith. As long as everything is going well, it seems to get tucked away in a dark little corner somewhere. But as soon as a crisis looms it is recalled and embraced in a hurry. I think we should keep our faith "up front and personal" and not just fall back on it in times of need. After all, God is always there, so why keep Him away like those unwelcome relatives we dread seeing arrive?

Valentine's Day is Friday, but I've only had wind of one thing. Tomorrow, New Life Community Church will have a Valentine potluck following the 10:30 a.m. service. Bring a dish to share and enjoy the fellowship. It will be one way of remembering that God cares for us.

Christian Country recording artist Wade Hammond will be at First Baptist Church tomorrow for an 11 a.m. concert.

From Hoover, Ala., Wade and his wife Kathy are members of Gardendale First Baptist. They are in a full-time traveling ministry throughout the U.S. and Canada. Kathy is a keynote speaker for women's conferences.

Admission is free, but a love offering will be taken.

Plans are still being formulated for a new Women's Christian Service Club, but there is nothing solid yet. As soon as it is, I'll let you know.

Thursday, the Ladies' Christian Fellowship will meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Trinity Center of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

There will be a speaker and special music. The group is helping to support Teen Challenge as a mission project this year. They will also help with other needs as they arise.

Lunch will be catered by Northwoods at $10 per person. Please call Liz at 464-3539 for reservations, which are needed to order food, and for any questions.

The group is open to all women. It is non-denominational, and members pretty much represent almost every local church. It's a good time of fellowship, a time to gather with old friends and meet new ones. Church membership is not a requirement to attend.

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