“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Mama Greene’s had a vision or hope for her nine children as she prayed for each child nightly.
For each of her children to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior at an early age.
That they would live according to His Word every day of their lives.
That they would receive an education. Her hope was that all of her children would at least graduate from 8th Grade. In the 1920s this was considered educated among the farming communities. If they wanted to send their children to high school, they had to pay tuition which was difficult for poor families. They needed the older children to help on the farm.
That they would honor “Papa.”
That they would remain together and be close as a family.
The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is back in print and is available!
(The e-book needs to be reformatted. If you read the ebook, please forgive the mistakes!)
Kathie Kingery Photography
PhotographerThe model for “Mama” is the real Isabel’s granddaughter, Emily.
Apron by K. Kingrey
The title of my first novel was borrowed from a song by singer and songwriter, Abigail Miller. The chorus contained the words:
The vision of a mother’s heart,
Is to share with her children the love only Jesus can give.
The Vision of a mother’s heart,
Is to see them all walking with God every day that they live.
This chorus summed up all that I wanted to depict in the story inspired by my grandmother’s childhood.
I didn’t have pictures of Jimmy and Avil (Billy) when they were small.
I am currently working on the sequel, Hope Beyond the Sunset. You may read sample chapters as listed in the archives.
As a child, I loved sitting under the table and listening to Granny, (Isabel) reminisce about her childhood while holding the picture of her mother in my hands and could almost see the story come to life. I remember thinking, “This should be a book!” Little did I know that the Lord would use me to write their story.
I changed the last name of the family and other distant family members. They were real people who lived in Virginia. The first book takes place begins in 1924. Book two picks up where we left off in 1926 and will run through 1929.
One great thing about writing fiction even when inspired by a true story – we can change the ending. I will update you when Hope Beyond the Sunset is available.
The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is available on Amazon.com or you can buy a signed copy from me. I hope you will enjoy stepping into the past with Isabel and the “Greene” family!
“Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom;” and her tongue is the law of kindness,
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth.”
Proverbs 31:25-28 (KJV)
I taught this sweet Ron Hamilton song to my class of preschoolers and had them each sing the song on a cassette tape for Mother’s Day. I was delighted to see a group of children singing the same song on YouTube. This is for all Mothers!
Tomorrow would have been Mom and Dad Hinchee’s 55th Wedding Anniversary. Dad will be celebrating in Heaven. Mom is still living in the home they bought in 1970 along with my sister and her daughter. I am so thankful that they could take care of her.
They would have been married 54 years and he called her Sweetheart as long as he lived.
There wasn’t a beautiful Church wedding with a gorgeous wedding gown and bridesmaids. The only flowers were the corsage Jerry bought for her on that beautiful April morning. Mom wore a pretty suit and he wore the only suit he owned. They were married in the parlor of a Methodist Pastor with the Pastor’s wife as their only witness.
They had only dated a few weeks and even though she had a seven-year-old daughter, he decided he couldn’t live without her. He knew she would be his sweetheart forever.
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Composer Leo Friedman
Lyricist Beth Slater Whitson
The complete lyrics:
I am dreaming Dear of you, day by day Dreaming when the skies are blue, When they’re gray; When the silv’ry moonlight gleams, Still I wander on in dreams, In a land of love, it seems, Just with you.
Let me call you “Sweetheart,” I’m in love with you. Let me hear you whisper that you love me too. Keep the love-light glowing in your eyes so true. Let me call you “Sweetheart,” I’m in love with you. Longing for you all the while, More and more; Longing for the sunny smile, I adore; Birds are singing far and near, Roses blooming ev’rywhere You, alone, my heart can cheer; You, just you.
Let me call you “Sweetheart,” I’m in love with you. Let me hear you whisper that you love me too. Keep the love-light glowing in your eyes so true. Let me call you “Sweetheart,” I’m in love with you.
I wrote this blog post before dad closed his eyes while sitting with Mom and awoke in Heaven! I know he is waiting to hold her hand again and call her “Sweetheart” as he leads her to see our Lord face to face!
He still calls her his Sweetheart today. They reside in the same home they bought in 1970 and he is determined to take care of her. You see, Mom lost her sight a few years ago and he does everything for her. No one can take his place. This is “home” and they both refuse to move into assisted living where life would be more stable in my estimation.
Mom’s kitchen has produced thousands of meals over the years. Their home was the gathering place for Mom’s family. When anyone came to visit, they stayed there. The house is small but oh, the delicious smells that came from that kitchen! Laughter, singing and also tears when we said goodbye to loved ones. There are many memories in that old house. We have so many sweet memories!
Dad did everything he could for Mom even when it took every ounce of energy because he loved her. He wanted to protect her. It would have been better for them physically to live in assisted living but they wanted to remain “Home.” Hope is filled with sweet memories!
Please pray with me for Mom when you this. She misses her “Sweetheart” That she will be filled with joy as she remembers those precious times together.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
The Apostle Paul referred to it as a “Thorn in the flesh.” (Many think Pauls thorn in the flesh was his poor eyesight.) Today, we call it a disability or chronic illness. Mine happens to be an inner-ear disorder called bilateral Meniere’s. Vertigo, nausea, Tinnitus, loss of balance and migraines.
No biggie. I’ve been living with the diagnosis since 1984 but as the years go on, it seems to last longer. So I’m at home most of the time and I have to do basic chores more differently. For example, Laundry.
My little helper, Alice.
Loading the machines isn’t too bad. As long as I don’t need to bend over to pick up the clothing. Unloading the dryer, however, can be a problem on bad days. I don’t know about you, but I grew up drying clothes on the line outside. When I took the clothes off the line, I folded them and placed them in the basket so that ironing would be easier. I carried that over to the dryer too. It’s so much easier. However, bending over is a problem.
We have a drop-leaf table in the laundry room against the wall opposite the washer and dryer. I thought it would be great for folding clothes. On good days, it is! However, on bad days, that means turning as I take the clothes out of the dryer, turn 180 degrees and place them onto the table to fold. Big vertigo trigger! So this is what I do.
This might not be great for the dryer but when I open the dryer door, I stack all of the undershirts and tops that need to be folded, face down over the dryer door while I fold the smaller things and place them in the basket. Now, I have a stack of undershirts and Tee shirts to fold all at once. Usually on the laundry table unless it is cluttered!
This time I opted to fold them on the bed for my sweet hubby to put away. So much simpler and more efficient. At least it is for this gal.
I hope I haven’t bored you with my folding technique. I know there are many people who are suffering and also unable to do the simple tasks they were once able to do. I try to do only one or two loads at a time but not more than that on one day unless I am vertigo free. God’s grace helps me find simple ways to do the things that must be done.
Part of that grace is the blessing of my husband, John.
He is such a blessing! Especially when he does the laundry or brings “carry out” dinner!
He even runs the vacuum cleaner! He does the laundry and I fold it. Great team, right?
I think so!
As wives, our “thorn in the flesh” is also felt by our husbands who may not be natural cooks or fond of washing dishes. They sacrifice a lot for us and are often overlooked.
I just want to praise the Lord for my husband of almost 34 years. John Purdy, you are a blessing and I love you!
There are many blogs and support groups out there for those of us who live with chronic illness. One of my favorites is written by my friend, Lisa Erhman. Please click on her link below.
“He’s here, He’s here. Everybody come and see” Isabel called from the foot of the stairs, “He’s finally here!”
“Who’s here?” Papa said as he rubbed his chin and smoothed his hair which was sticking out in every direction.
“You mean he was here, don’t ya’ Sis?” Eugene said as he slid down the banister and bumped into Mama who ran from the kitchen to see the commotion.
“No! He’s here in the parlor. He’s here – just as He said!”
“Isabel dear,” Mama said softly, what do you mean?”
Isabel took Mama’s hand and ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked into the eyes of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. “All those years, we waited and waited and He Came!”
“Oh, Isabel dear, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. We celebrate Christmas because He came. The carved baby in the manger is just a reminder that He came. You know that this is kind of a picture that represents Him. Something we can hold onto as we read God’s Word but it’s just an object. We mustn’t make an idol. You know this doll isn’t Jesus.”
“Yes Mama, I know that. But He came, didn’t He?” Isabel said as her eyes filled with tears. He came because He loved us, right? That’s what Eugene and Curtis said from the Bible.”
“Yes, child,” Mama said softly.
“Jesus loves me Mama and I love Jesus.”
Papa moved in closer, picked her up and held her tightly as she held Baby Jesus in her hand.
“You’re right, Isabel,” Papa said and wiped a tear from her cheek. “We love Him because He first loved us and you know what?”
Isabel shook her head from side to side.
“He’s coming again!”
“He is?” Isabel pushed back to see Papa and Mama’s faces. “Will he be in a stable?”
“No, but He will be riding on a white horse and will come as The King of King and Lord of Lords!”
“We will see Him?”
“Yes Isabel,” Mama said as she wiped the tears from Isabel’s eyes. “We talk to Him every time we pray and He speaks to us through His Word, The Bible! It is my prayer that someday you, your brothers and sisters will receive Christ as your Savior. We will live with Him forever.”
Isabel looked at the image in her hand, at her parents, and to the image again. Finally closing her eyes and said, “Jesus I love you because You first loved me. Thank you for coming! Thank you for Christmas!
“Mama,” she whispered before we look in our socks and open presents, may we sing?”
“That would be wonderful, Isabel. What shall we sing?”
“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”
What about you, friends? Is your focus on The Son of God, Jesus who gave His life for you or are you focusing on the external trappings that often draw our attention away from Him?
Christmas isn’t about the tree, the decorations, the Carols, or even the gifts.
It is about God’s love for you.
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
I John 4:19
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believeth in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Why did God send His only begotten son – knowing that He would be the sacrifice for our sin? Because He loves us.
God is Holy and cannot look upon sin and yet He loved us – even though we are sinners – and longs for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. This is what Jesus did for you and for me. He took the penalty of sin in His own body on the cross. He gave His life so that you and I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.
When I first heard the Gospel in 1968, I did not immediately receive Christ as my Savior. I was a quiet child and everyone told me that I was “good.” This is not true. I am a sinner. It took me a week to realize it.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:
Being justified (made upright and in right standing with God) freely by His grace (unmerited favor of God) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
One night, after a week of conviction that I am a sinner; I could practically see Jesus suffering, dying on the cross for my sin! In the wee hours of the morning, I got on my knees and confessed to Him that I am a sinner and asked Him to save me. Trusting completely in His redemption; He saved me. He Redeemed me. (Bought with a price – the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Oh, what a gift He offered to me and to you!
“For the wages of sin is death; (separation from God) but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So dear friends, this Christmas please look past the manger and see the Gift of God – to you! Receive it just as you would receive a gift from a loving father. It is a gift that you cannot lose and it cannot be taken away. It is yours forever!
You may have noticed the beautiful photography in my blogs. Especially the Little Isabel stories. They were taken by my dear lifelong friend, Kathie. If you are looking for an excellent photographer for Christmas, New Years, Birthdays, Weddings, Special Occasions or even pets, Kathie is your gal. Check out her site!
Eugene sat in the front of the sleigh beside Mama to make room for Sally Anne.
“Is everyone nice and warm back there?” Mama turned and smiled as Isabel and Maggie held up their fur muffs, feeling the softness against their cheek. “Tuck in those blankets, Curtis. It’s beginning to snow again.”
It wasn’t long until the horses stopped in front of the first house. Everyone bounced out of the sleigh, singing Jingle Bells before reaching the house.
“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the Little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head…” Mama pushed Maggie forward as the neighbor opened the door. Soon the entire household stood on the porch, joining the serenade. Maggie timidly offered a package containing cookies and was rewarded with a hug from the lady of the house.
“Oh, that was wonderful!” the woman said and motioned to the door. “Won’t you all come in for some hot cider?”
“Thank you, no,” Mama said with a smile. “We have several more stops to make.”
Each household was as friendly as the first. Isabel was beginning to get cold and buried her head in the soft furry muff to warm her frozen nose. Finally, there were only two packages in the sleigh. One contained a basket of food for an unfriendly neighbor who had been battling influenza.
“Now children, Mrs. Barker has been ill so I will take the basket to her door. She may not be up to our serenade tonight,” Mama said softly, “We will go back to Sally Anne’s home and pick up little Sylvia.”
“Papa, do we have to stop at widow Barker’s house?” Eugene asked as they turned and headed the back way to the Albright home, passing by a dark, unkempt small house.”
“Oh Eugene, I’m surprised at you!” Mama said softly. “Mrs. Barker has been ill. She needs this visit more than anyone – don’t you think?”
“But Mama, everybody knows she hates boys! She makes us walk on the other side of the street when she sees us going and coming home from school,” Eugene said.
“She’s not very nice!” Curtis agreed.
“It isn’t nice to speak unkindly of our neighbors, boys,” Papa said and coughed towards Mama. “They’re right.”
Mama stepped out of the sleigh and reached for the basket on the floor. “I will be right back,” she said and walked gingerly over the icy sidewalk and up one step to the small porch. The door opened slightly and Mama passed the basket to her through the door. “Hope you have a Merry Christmas, Mrs. Barker and I’m praying you will feel better soon.”
“Thank you, Miz Greene, and the same to you.” Without acknowledging the family in the sleigh, she quickly closed the door, leaving Mama to find her way over the ice back to the sleigh.
Papa helped Mama back into the safety of the sleigh and covered her with a fur rug. “Good thing that was the last house,” Papa said, “Feels like that snow is turning to sleet. Getting colder by the minute.
By the time they reached the Albright house, Isabel’s teeth were chattering. The three girls snuggled closer together under the thick blanket and started singing Away in the Manger.
“Look at that!” Sally Anne exclaimed as she pointed to the sky. “Do you think that’s the Bethlehem star?”
“Nah,” Eugene said with confidence. “That star is all the way in Bethlehem!”
Soon the laughing group pulled into the Albright drive. Mr. Albright met them with a bucket of oats for the horse.
“Go on inside for hot cocoa and cookies,” he said as he lifted the girls one at a time from the red sleigh.
Isabel picked up Sally Anne’s gift and quietly handed it to her friend.
“It’s not as nice as the muff but I helped Mama make it.” Sally Anne squealed as she tore away the brown paper to reveal a cloth doll with yarn hair. “Oh, I love her. Thank you, Isabel!”
By the time the children warmed by the kitchen stove with two cookies and a cup of hot chocolate, Isabel felt her eyes drooping. When she awakened, she was in her own yard and Papa was unhitching the horse.
“Alright children,” Mama said as she hung up coats on hooks in the screened- in- back porch. “you may place your gifts from your friends under the tree and then hurry up to bed.”
Excitement filled Isabel as she ran into the parlor, lit by the fire in the fireplace. There on the table holding the stable were three new carved items. A man, a woman, and a donkey.
“Look!” Curtis said, “It’s Mary, Joseph and the donkey she rode on to Bethlehem!”
Isabel slowly walked to the stable and traced the figures with her fingers. “Where did they come from? How did they get here?”
“The donkey brought them, silly!” Eugene said with a smile before mussing her hair.
“It’s bedtime children,” Mama said, “hang your sock on the mantle and then go on to bed. Morning will be here before you know it.”
“But Mama,” Maggie said with a tear in her eyes. “Baby Jesus isn’t here. The manger is empty! Did Mary and Joseph forget the baby?”
“No, dear. They are still waiting for the baby to be born.”
Every time Isabel entered the parlor, a new carved animal rested in or near the stable but she never saw Mama or Papa go into the parlor without the children.
“How did they get here?” Isabel asked Mama and Papa but their reply was the same.
“Must have come to see the Baby Jesus!”
After dinner dishes were washed and put away, each child donned their coats, hats, scarves, mittens and boots while Papa packed the sleigh.
“Did you remember to put on your woolens?”
“Yes, Mama but they’re so scratchy!” Isabel said as she scratched her arms and legs. When she struggled to scratch her back, Mama smiled. “Okay young lady, I’m convinced.”
“All aboard!” Papa said as he helped Mama into the front seat and handed her baby Sylvia. “Poor baby,” he said, “you have her so bundled, she can’t move a finger and probably can’t breathe with that piece of blanket flopped over her face!”
“She wouldn’t be able to breathe at all if I didn’t protect her face. That cold air will take her breath away – especially once we get started. It’s awfully breezy, you know. Besides, this is a very thin blanket with air holes since it is crochet.” Mama lifted the blanket long enough to place a kiss on the baby’s head, smiled at the child’s cooing.” Isabel followed Eugene into the second seat, followed by Maggie and then Curtis.
“Mama, make them scoot over so I will have room,” Curtis said as he gently pushed Maggie against Isabel who slid into Eugene who bumped his elbow against the sleigh. “Hey, watch what you’re doing!”
“I didn’t do it,” Isabel said as she looked past Maggie in Curtis’ direction. “He did it!” “That’s enough, children,” Mama said cheerfully. “Let’s see, what shall we sing on the way?”
“Why don’t we sing Jingle Bells?” Papa said as he handed Isabel a leather strap with jingle bells attached. “Try to keep time with the horses,” he said with a grin. “See? They’re wearing jingle bells!”
The entire family began to sing. “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way; oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.” The children finished three songs before they reached the Albright home.
“Oh boy,” Isabel exclaimed. “May I see Sally Anne?”
“Yes, you may. I wanted it to be a surprise but your friend is going with us. Mrs. Albright and Cookie have volunteered to take care of baby Sylvia while we are caroling.”
“Oh Boy!” Isabel stood up in anticipation and fell into Eugene’s lap.
“Hey, sit down silly goose!” Isabel jumped out of the sleigh, hitting a piece of ice, sliding face down into six-year-old Curtis who landed with a thump on the ground.
“Hey,” he said sternly, “watch where you’re going!”
Isabel looked down at the torn stockings and already felt the sting of skinned knees.
“Oh dear,” Mama said, “you must be careful. It’s awfully slippery out here. Are you alright?”
“I’m okay,” Curtis replied as he pointed to Isabel. “Looks like the silly goose skinned her knee.”
“Son, don’t call your sister silly or a goose. Now wipe the snow from your clothes and carefully stand at the foot of the steps so that we may sing at least one Christmas Carol for the Albrights before we go inside.” Isabel brushed away tears from her cold face and tried to sing Joy To The World with the rest of her family but her knee stung as well as her pride. Sally Anne was standing at the door when Isabel fell and cried out to her friend.
Papa picked up Isabel in his arms and led the family into the welcoming light of the Albright home. “Come in, come in,” Mrs. Albright said as she reached for baby Sylvia. “Oh, what a sweetie. Cookie and I have been looking forward to this all day, haven’t we Cookie?”
“We surely have,” Cookie confirmed and reached for Isabel. “Why don’t you come with me, child? Cookie will get you all fixed up!”
“Yes,” Mrs. Albright said, “Sally Anne has a pair of woolen stockings Isabel may have. She can’t go out into the cold with the torn ones.” And so Isabel followed the Albright’s cheerful cook into the kitchen to sit by the warm stove. When it was time to go, Isabel had a bandaged knee, new woolen stockings and a peppermint stick for being brave.
Three-year-old Maggie stood quietly behind Mama looking around the room and timidly receiving a gingerbread boy from Mrs. Albright. Sally Anne, dressed in her warmest clothes, a hooded cape, and a fur muff, stood by Isabel until Papa declared it was time to go. She jumped up and down with excitement and then ran to the Christmas tree. “May I please give Isabel and Maggie their gifts now, Mother?” With a nod of the head from her mother, Sally Anne reached for two beautiful hat boxes.
“This one is for you, Isabel,” she said as she handed her friend the largest package. “And this one is for you, Maggie,” she said with a smile. “You may open them when I say … Go!” Isabel looked at her little sister and they lifted the box tops together.
“It’s a muff! Just like Sally Anne’s! Look, mama, look!”
“It’s soft, Mama!” Maggie said as she ran her fingers over the soft fur.
“Oh Lillian,” Mama said with a catch in her voice. “You shouldn’t have!”
“We wanted to,” Mrs. Albright replied with a smile as she adjusted the muff around Maggie’s neck and showed her how to slip her hands inside. Maggie’s eyes grew enormous as a shy smile spread over her face. Isabel had hers on in record time.
“What do you say, girls?” Mama asked as she dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief.
“Thank you!” they said in unison.
“You’re quite welcome.”
“Mama,” Isabel pulled at her mother’s cape, “may I give Sally Anne her gift now?”
“Her gift is in the back of the sleigh so why don’t we wait until we come back to pick up baby Sylvia?”
“Yes, ma’am.” It was then Isabel noticed her two brothers wearing leather gloves instead of their knitted mittens. They were also eating gingerbread men, jamming them in their mouth as they turned toward the door.
“This is going to be so much fun,” Sally Anne said as she linked arms with Isabel. “This is the best night – ever!”
This site is devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of abandoned and decaying old homes and other buildings and such, and is the official companion web site to the wildly popular Abandoned in Virginia page on Facebook.