November 2017
Simple Times

Shelling Peas ...


John and Marva Hazelrig McRae

There’s a saying on Facebook that the world would be a better place if more folks spent long afternoons on the front porch snapping green beans.

Cleveland’s Marva Hazelrig McRae was instead shelling peas, but those little tasty morsels got her to thinking along those same lines.

Marva explained to her friends recently, "As I sat shelling peas this morning, I was thinking about my walk. My walk with God is a daily thing, minute by minute."

She went on, "Sometimes I forget He is with me and slip up and say something I shouldn’t or eat an extra piece of cake or cornbread. You know … do things I shouldn’t. We all do. We all sin. But how close is your walk?

"Just like this box of peas we shelled, or born, we are lumped into the human race. But how many of us separate ourselves – theologically speaking – from the others? Just like the other end of the pea box ...

"Folks are watching us. They know us as Christians. We are not perfect. I have to ask for His forgiveness every single day. Just think about this ... what we hear with our ears, spe

Marvin Hazelrig recently turned 84.


ak with our mouths and see with our eyes gets embedded in our brains. That is what we think on and soon that becomes how we live. We only have one flesh. So how can it do anything else?"

Marva, mother of twin boys, continued, "Most of us, not all but most, have children. Even if you do not have children, others are still watching you … even when we don’t realize it. Our children are drinking every word, every action, every moment we live in front of them.

"Are you telling your kids not to drink alcohol, smoke, cuss, overeat, to take care of the temple God gave them? Are you listening to vulgar music, watching TV programs and movies with sex and awful language? Are you looking at, talking to, texting someone other than your spouse?

"One drink leads to another, one high leads to another, too many extra bites lead to an unhealthy self and having someone else, even their picture or video, to lean on someone other than your spouse leads to affairs.

"Every single thing we do impacts our walk. When will we get that??? How is your walk? Where are you leading others? Your children? I don’t want John and Mason to not go to Heaven because of me or their daddy. They were lent to us, entrusted to us just for a short while.

"How are we living? Folks, there is no gray! It’s either black or white. The black is evil … and it’s hot and it’s forever!"

Marva said that it was just "something to think about" as she sat dividing the good peas from the bad.

In another recent devotion, Marva shared with friends that she was thinking along the same lines (about her kids).

"If they shouldn’t be seeing something, then more than likely I shouldn’t either! We all sin, every day. God is watching.

"He is with us every step, every day. Would you read, watch, say, dress, post, eat, waste, spend, drink or think the same way if HE was visible???"

Marva and her family often think about the things in this world as they work close to nature. Her dad, Marvin Hazelrig, began farming his rural Blount County acres with his uncle when he left the Army in 1954. Marvin recently celebrated his 84th birthday!

He and his wife, Lucy, operated a big farm stand outside their home for many years. They moved to the newer, storefront farm stand on U.S. Highway 231 in Cleveland in 1999.

Marvin; Marva; her husband, John; her brother, Mike; and his wife, Pam, now farm over 50 acres on three farms. They grow and sell peaches, apples, pears, nectarines, plums, blueberries, strawberries, figs, okra, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, squash, zucchini, peppers, pumpkins, gourds, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and more! There are also a few cattle in the mix as well!

The farm and store are full family operations and you’ll never be sure which of the folks you’ll see when you visit. Store hours are seasonal with it typically closing around Thanksgiving with the last of the apple sales and reopening around April, on the honor system, with the first of the strawberries.

Sometimes there will be special announcement of weekend openings with special gift relishes or jellies.

But everything is family oriented!

The Hazelrigs have faced tremendous obstacles with the death of Lucy, illnesses of other family members and Marva has even faced trials of her own. But that’s when the spiritual side of life and the natural side of farming come together.

As you are planning and later enjoying your family’s Thanksgiving meal this month, reflect on Marva and her pea shelling ... and maybe think about your own life and your own influence just a little. I won’t ever look at a pot of peas the same again!

Be truly blessed this Thanksgiving during these simple times!


Suzy Lowry Geno is a Blount County freelance writer who can be reached through Facebook, Old Field Farm General Store, or her website,