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Remembering Sweethearts

April 10th would have been Mom and Dad’s 57th Wedding Anniversary. Dad will be celebrating in Heaven. Mom is now in a one-room “apartment” in an assisted living facility. Last year I sent a floral arrangement containing yellow roses since that is what Dad always gave her. The card said what I think he would have wanted her to know. That he still loves her and always will. One day they will be reunited in Heaven in God’s time.  Small

Several of the ladies at the facility delivered them to her. At first, she laughed, and then she cried. She’s blind but the sweet fragrance of the flowers were comforting, I’m sure. I am sure the ladies described the arrangement and she was pleased.  However, the memories came rushing back.

It is so difficult to know what to say or to do. I had prayed about it for weeks. was afraid that flowers would make her cry again, so yesterday, I called her. Actually, I called her 20 times! I couldn’t reach her until around 9pm when they give her a sleeping pill. The phone had been off the hook! I was concerned that she was depressed, or that another round of Covid had hit her floor, and that she had been moved to another room without my knowledge. (That happened a few weeks ago!) But it wasn’t bad news after all and I was so thankful! She was fine! We talked for over an hour. What a joy!

After we said goodnight, Philippians 4:4-7 came to mind. (I love this in the Amplified Bible and am quoting from this tonight. I’m really a King James gal!)

“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Philippians 4:4-7

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They would have been married 57 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 his best suit. 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.

Mom, Dad and I on Easter 1964

Record Player.pngLet Me Call You Sweetheart

Written 1910
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.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart Pat Boone and Shirley Jones

I wrote the original Sweetheart 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!

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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, cooking, and also shed a few tears when we said goodbye to loved ones. There are many memories in that old house. We have so many sweet memories!

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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.” Home is filled with sweet memories!

Please pray with me for Mom when you this. She still misses her  “Sweetheart” and the house that she made into a home for all of us. That she will be filled with joy as she remembers those precious times together.

She loves listening to Bible Broadcasting Network on the radio. She listens to BBN all day! So this is my prayer for her in 2021.

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 (Amplified Bible)

I love you, Mom. Keep listening to God’s Word and singing along with the hymns on BBN. I hope to sing with you again soon!

Love Always

Kathy

Easter Joy

Easter!

1604442_552440884874398_674899506_nMadison Easter Egg Hunt Kathie Trent Kingrey

Photo used with permission

It’s not about eggs, candy or new dresses. It’s not about hats and gloves; but about what the precious Son of God has done for you and for me.

Isaiah 53

Who hath believed our report?
and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground:
he hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment:
and who shall declare his generation?
for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death;
because he had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors;
and he bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Transgressor. That’s me. That’s you and every human who has drawn breath for the Bible says”

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-12

Did you notice the middle of the verse, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”  Unlike children searching diligently for brightly colored eggs to fill their pretty baskets, in our sin, we think only of our self. We don’t naturally seek after God. We think we are “good” and don’t understand that we are sinners who need the Lord. We go our own way. We do whatever pleases us. We live for self.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

He lived for us! He died for us to cover our sin debt.

“As is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:11-12

We are sinners seeking after things that will make us happy; not understanding that there is a penalty for our sin. God is a Holy God. He cannot look on sin. He loved us so much that He made a way to cover our sin debt so that we may have a relationship with Him. That we may have eternal life by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; receiving the (free) gift of salvation. (Atonement, Redemption – He bought us with a terrible price; the death of His only begotten (perfect, unblemished, sinless) son of God!

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“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 that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18

Have you received Christ as your Savior? He loves you so much that He willing gave His life for you – even though He never sinned. He is the perfect, spotless Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. The sacrificial Lamb of God died for you and arose from the dead on the Third day; just as He promised. Won’t you trust Him today?

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Rising He Justified, freely forever. One Day He’s Coming, Oh, Glorious Day!

Just as children get new clothing for Easter Sunday and fill their pretty baskets with colorful eggs, candy and toys, we who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior become a new creation in Christ. Our spiritual basket is filled with wonderful things as we read His Word (Seeking Him) and apply His Word in our daily life; we grow and are filled with wonderful things through Him. Besides Salvation and the Assurance that when we die, we will go to Heaven, what else do we gain?

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We are bought with a price. Redeemed and set free!

Click on the link below to see where Jesus walked and talked with His disciples. Where He was buried and arose from the dead. See the road to Emmaus where Jesus talked with two of his disciples after His resurrection.  Go to Jerusalem with Franklin Graham.

7 Days in the Holy Land with Franklin Graham

“Katy” a Song from 1918 Sparks the Imagination!

When I do research for a book, I look at the era. Fashion, Homes and Furnishing, Politics, Fads and Music just to name a few things that make a story feel more authentic. I happened to run across this song and I laugh every time I hear it!

It may be appropriate for some of my Little Isabel stories,(which are set from 1914-1920), but I see Isabel and her sisters, “Maggie” and Sylvia as teens, listening to this “old song” on the victrola when there is a knock on the door. Isabel opens the door and there stands a young man with gorgeous grey eyes and a strand of black hair falling over his forehead under a woolen cap. He is holding flowers in one hand, a box of candy behind his back and wearing a great big smile when Isabel opens the door. He decides that from that moment on, he would nickname her after this song. “Katy Belle”

So, what is the song? Yes, We Have No Bananas? , School Days?, Yankee Doodle Dandy? All good songs but this one happens to be called, Katy by Mr. Bill Murray.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAAkrI-aaOE&t=98s
https://youtu.be/aaZvmGTHkOs (This edition is actually a song performance recorded on a Thomas Edison’s Blue Amberol Cylinder and is called the “Stammering Song.” I don’t think he was making fun of people who studder. He was perhaps nervous about talking to his girl!)

Then I remembered my husband’s grandfather was a “Doughboy” who fought in World War I aka known as “The war to end wars.” So he would have marched home in the local parade in 1918 when they returned home. That is, if he was able. He had been hit with mustard gas; the Germans horrendous weapon. He did survive and met a pretty girl named Margie. They were married and had two beautiful children. One boy and one cute little girl! In the 1920’s, there was a Revival in Roanoke, Virginia where this family lived. Evangelist Billy Sunday had a crusade and Ezekiel “Zeke” Purdy received Christ as his savior. Thankfully, the Lord prevented him from dying in the war!

There were many young men marching home with homes and dreams of a bright future. Just like the young man singing to his girl, Katy!

There was an old saying that men used to say to young ladies who were pretty but too young for him. This saying was most like to get an eye roll or a disapproving remark from the young lady. The phrase was, “If I were twenty years younger, I would be outside your Mama’s kitchen door every time you emptied the dish water!” (A definitely “Yuck!” for me!) For younger readers, I will explain.

When plumbing was first installed inside the house, it was usually a water pump. Dishes were washed in a dishpan. Water heated on the stove was poured into the dishpan with soap flakes or shaved soap. After the dishes were washed, dried and put away, the water was carried to the back door and emptied on the rose bushes usually planted by the kitchen door. (The soap kept bugs off the rose bushes.)

This is likely what Bill Murray was referring to when he sang, “when the moon shines over the cowshed, I’ll be waiting by the k-k-k-k-kitchen door!”

A Tip for Writers

I don’t know about you, whether I am researching history for a story or working on geneaology, the time period is important to me. It would seem strange to imagine a young man and a young lady from a hundred years ago to look, dress, and use expressions that we use today. For example, this young man would never have invited the lovely young lady, Katy to “go out for a coffee”! She may have invited him into her home to meet her parents and to offer him a cup of coffee and a pice of pie. He may have invited her to go to the Ice Cream Parlor for an ice cream sundae.

This is what screenwriters are doing today. Personally, I feel it is unnecessary to “update” (literally take them out of the time period and ruin their speech by having them use todays slang and wear todays hairstyles.) It is a disservice to the audiance and to the memory of our loved ones in history. As you can hear in the different renditions I posted of the Katy song, people had their own “sound” and even then, parents disapproved of the young people’s use of slang as it was in 1918 and may have even considered this song as inappropriate. (Many of the ragtime music was spurned by parents.) If we put the characters in the correct era with the appropriate vocabulary, music and fashion, it means so much more. After all, the story is about them and not about us. Let’s not rewrite history but honor those who lived it.

By the way, remember that this song inspired a scene for my book? The young man who was “calling on” Isabel looked something like this ten years later.

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Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

I Corinthians 10:31

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 4

romance-trisha-winter-fantasy-canvas 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.

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“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!”

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 3


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Isabel awoke the following morning to the sound of clinking in the kitchen. She sat up, rubbed her eyes and looked around the room. Frosted window panes pelted with sleet diminished the sleep in her eyes. Isabel jumped on her bed, singing. “It’s Christmas Eve and it’s snowing. Get up Maggie, get up and see!”
Maggie jumped out of bed and ran to the window just as Mama opened their bedroom door.
“Well, it looks like our little ladies are already awake,” Mama said with a smile. “Get dressed quickly girls, breakfast is almost ready.”
“Snow, Mama, snow!” Maggie exclaimed.
“Yes, it is really snowing and sleeting too. That means it is very cold and slippery outside. We need to hurry before Papa and the boys come in from doing chores. They must be chilled to the bone!”
Mama had both girls dressed and beds made in record time. Isabel and Maggie hopped down the steps and skipped toward the kitchen. As they passed the parlor, Isabel stopped. “Look!” She shouted and pointed to the tree before running into the room to investigate. The stable had been placed on a table in front of the tree and one lonely wooden lamb stood in front of it. “Where did that come from?”
“Oh, a lamb!” Maggie said as she gently stroked the small white figure.
“It must have walked here from Bethlehem,” Mama said with a smile. “It wasn’t here last night!”
They entered the kitchen just as Papa, Eugene and Curtis entered the back door – stomping snow off their boots.
“Papa, Papa!” the girls cried in unison. “Come and see what Jesus sent us!”
“Hold on there, gals and let me get out of these boots and wet coat and then you can tell me all about it.”
Isabel and Maggie waited patiently until Papa put on his slippers and hung up his coat before dragging him into the parlor.
“Well, I’ll be! How did that get in here?” Papa said with a grin. “Guess it came early to see the Baby Jesus! Let’s go back into the warm kitchen before our breakfast gets cold.”
Papa walked with the girls into the kitchen, over to the stove to warm his hands before helping Mama carry dishes of eggs, pancakes, bacon and a large dish of grits to the table.
“If the weather gets any worse I’m afraid we won’t be able to go Christmas caroling tonight after all,” Papa said as helped Mama clear the table after breakfast.
“Oh dear,” Mama exclaimed as she pointed to the stack of packages and baskets on the work table. “We have all of these cookies, cakes and bread to deliver tonight. If we wait until tomorrow, I’m afraid it will be too stale.”
“We’ll see,” Papa said as he closely looked at the packages and picked up a basket. “Who’s this one for?”
“That one is for the Widow Barker. I heard she has been sick so I wanted to make sure she has plenty to eat.”
“Don’t know why you want to give her anything but a good tongue lashing – the way she does to every boy in the county,” Papa said as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
“That’s why we need to remember her, Papa.” Mama placed a jar of chicken soup into the basket along with a loaf of bread, jam and a bundle of cookies. “Jesus said to do good to people who are unkind to us. Perhaps she will realize that Jesus loves her too and will have joy in her heart.”
“We’ll see,” Papa said.
By lunchtime, sleet had turned to light, fluffy snow. “Looks like it will be a good night for a ride in the sleigh to deliver gifts and to go caroling after all,” Papa said with a smile. “The boys and I will get the old cutter ready.”
“Girls, I want you both to take a nap today since we are going caroling tonight,” Mama said as she sat down in the rocker by the stove with baby Sylvia in her arms. Isabel wanted to protest but the look in Mama’s eyes stopped her. “Yes ma’am,” she said quietly.
At that very moment, Maggie squealed. “Look! Look at the stable!”
Isabel ran into the parlor and stopped in amazement. There were two more sheep and a cow in the stable. “It’s a miracle!”

 

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 2

 

The squeak of the back porch door and the sound of Papa and her two older brothers prompted Isabel to investigate.
“Isabel,” Mama scolded, “one of these days you are going to hurt yourself; jumping off the stool that way!”
“Yes, Mama.” Isabel smiled and slowly backed to the door and then ran the length of the back porch to hold the screen door.
Papa entered the back porch, stomped snow off his boots, and then made a show of wiping his feet on the braided rug before entering the kitchen door. “Temperature’s dropping awfully fast,” Papa said as he sauntered to the stove to warm his hands while Mama poured a cup of steaming coffee into a heavy mug and offered him a gingerbread cookie.
“Here’s your tree, little princess,” Papa teased as he pointed to a tiny tree before stepping aside to reveal a large pine.
“Oh, Papa it’s beautiful!” Isabel jumped and clapped her hands simultaneously.
“That is a lovely tree!” Mama reached over Isabel to open the door wider. “Let’s move out of the way, dear so that Papa and the boys can bring that lovely tree inside.”
Isabel skipped into the kitchen and moved her stool out of the way before running to Maggie.
“It’s here, it’s here Maggie. Wake up!”
Maggie sat up and rubbed her eyes. “The Christmas tree?”
“Yes!” Isabel sang, “The Christmas tree and we get to help decorate it!”
Both girls danced around the kitchen as Papa carefully carried the tree into the front parlor and placed it gently into the corner where it could be seen from the kitchen and through the windows.
“Now girls, don’t get too excited. We need to prepare supper and clean up the kitchen first. Besides, we haven’t finished stringing popcorn. We will work on that tonight and add a few of the decorations. Tomorrow we will wrap up cookies to give to our neighbors when we go Christmas caroling. How does that sound?”
“Fun!” Isabel and Maggie sang in unison.

After the dishes were done, the popcorn strung and handmade ornaments hung on the tree, Mama picked up the family Bible and the children gathered around her.

“Did you know that the people of Israel waited for the birth of Jesus – the “Messiah” for a very long time?”
“As long as we waited for baby Sylvie to come?” Maggie asked softly.
“Yes,” Mama said as she reached down and touched the child’s cheek. “They waited many years.
“That’s a long time!” Isabel exclaimed, walked closer to Mama and sat cross-legged on the floor.
“Almost since the beginning of time – since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.”
“Did Abraham wait for Jesus to come?” Eugene asked as he folded a piece of paper to cut into the shape of a snowflake.”
“Yes, Abraham believed! God even showed Abraham that He what salvation is all about; He showed us what salvation is by promising Abraham a son and then as precious Isaac began to grow and learn how to be a man for God, he was used as an example of sacrifice.”
“God asked Abraham to take Isaac to the mountain, didn’t he Mama? Eugene said as he laid his craft aside and leaned on his elbows as Mama flipped the pages of the Bible to Genesis.
Papa turned from adding water to the bucket holding the tree, rubbed his chin and joined the conversation. “Abraham was a very old man when little Isaac was born, you know.”
“Older than you, Papa?” Curtis asked innocently.
“Oh, I guess Abraham was about fifty or sixty years older than me.”
“He was old!”
“Yep, he and Sarah both were much too old to have a child. That is part of the miracle – right Mama?” Papa tossed the question back at Mama who had found her place in Scripture.
“That’s right,” Mama smiled at Papa and then looked at the children. “Sarah was much older than me so don’t need to ask. She was even older than Gammy Isabella and Grandma Sarah Elizabeth too. Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac was born and Sarah wasn’t much younger.”
The children quieted as Mama pulled the lamp closer to her chair and lifted the Bible.
“Genesis chapter 21 tells us about the birth of Isaac. It also tells about what happens when people try to take matters into their own hands to make things happen instead of waiting for God to answer but we will discuss that another time. Tonight, we are talking about the very long wait Abraham and Sarah had to wait for the son God had promised to them. Oh, they were so happy to hold that sweet baby in their arms! Every day he grew bigger and stronger making their parents proud to be chosen by God for such a blessing! They laughed as he smiled in his sleep, watched him try to fit his tiny fist in his mouth – just like you did when you were babies.

He became his Papa’s helper when he learned to walk and then run.”
“Did they have sheep to sheer?” Eugene asked excitedly.
“Oh, yes. Abraham had many fine animals and many workers helping him but I am sure he taught Isaac all about the animals.”
Mama smiled and continued with the story. “One day, God spoke to Abraham and asked him to do something very hard. Something Abraham could never imagine doing but he trusted God.
“What did he ask Abraham to do, Mama?”
Mama began to read. “God said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. So Abraham arose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son, and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship and we will come back to you.’ So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Then he said, ‘Look to the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.”
Mama hesitated and then looked at Papa and then at the children. “Abraham obeyed God and made the altar just as he was supposed to. He put the wood on the altar and then he lifted up his son, Isaac and laid him on the altar where he would normally put a perfect lamb.”
“But why, Mama?” Eugene stood and looked over her shoulder to see the Word of God.
“Because God asked him too,” Mama said softly. You see, before Jesus was born, a perfect lamb or a ram had to be sacrificed to cover their sin. It was an act of faith to show that they believed God would forgive them – to lay the blame for their sin – and remember anything that displeases God is sin – on the sacrificial lamb.”
“They kill the fluffy lamb like Papa has to shoot animals for food?” Isabel felt a tear run down her cheek as she remembered seeing Papa bringing home a deer and a turkey earlier in the week.
“Something like that dear,” Mama said softly, “however, this was an offering to God and not for dinner. The animal used for the sacrifice was very special.”
“So what happened to Isaac?” Curtis asked impatiently.
Mama scooted closer to the lamp and continued reading. “Let’s see now, where did we leave off? Oh, verse ten.”
“And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of The LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
And Abraham called the name of the place The-LORD-Will-Provide.”
“Phew!” Eugene exclaimed, “I thought he was going to kill Isaac!”
Mama nodded in agreement and looked at Papa before continuing with tears in her eyes.
“The Angel of the LORD spoke to Abraham a second time and told him: ‘By Myself, I have sworn, said the LORD because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son- blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed (children) all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.”
“Abraham and his son, Isaac went home,” Mama said softly as she pulled out a hankie, blew her nose and placed the hankie in her apron pocket. “In the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter eleven, it said that because Abraham believed God, it was counted to him for righteousness. It also says that because Abraham obeyed God and offered up his only begotten son believing that God would raise him up from the dead. Boys, what was the Bible verse you learned in Sunday School class last week?”
Eugene and Curtis stood up and began to quote together:
“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.” John 3: 16
“Thank you, boys,” Mama said as she closed the Bible. You see, God gave us a picture of what He planned to do for you and for me. He planned to send His only begotten Son – Jesus to be our sacrifice so that by believing in Him, we will have everlasting life with Him in Heaven.
Abraham was just a man. Isaac was just a boy but Jesus is God’s perfect, sinless Son. He is God in the flesh. He is called Immanuel which means ‘God with us.’ We are human and sin. Some boys may have struggled to get away but Isaac trusted his father. Perhaps Isaac also trusted God to save him – and he did. He provided a ram. Jesus is our ‘ram’ isn’t He?”
“Let’s see now,” Papa said slowly. God promised a son – Isaac to Abraham and Sarah but they had to wait many years before Isaac was born. Abraham’s seed or descendants had to wait hundreds or even thousands of years for Jesus to be born – right Mama?”
“That’s right, Papa. The book of Matthew starts out with the people who were born and died before Jesus was born and it is a very long list! King David is on that list too, Mama said. The Bible is filled with mention of Jesus or the Messiah all through the Bible – from beginning to end. Last week, the preacher said that it is as if there is a red ribbon all the way through the Bible and that red ribbon is Jesus. Remember when God created everything and then he created man? He said, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Jesus is God the Son. It is hard to understand but God The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are ‘three in one.’ We won’t truly understand it until we are in Heaven.”
“But it’s Christmas,” Curtis said, “why are we talking about Abraham and Isaac?”
“We wanted you, children, to understand how important Christmas is. It isn’t about the tree or the pretty decorations you made for it and it isn’t even about filled stockings.” Mama said as she leaned over and rocked baby Sylvia’s cradle. It is about the long-awaited, special, miraculous baby who was born in a stable like sheep to be the Savior of the world. Did you notice that God kept calling Isaac ‘your only son or your only begotten son?’ Jesus is God’s only begotten son.
Isaac’s birth was a miracle because Abraham and Sarah’s age. Jesus’ birth was a miracle because He did not have an earthly father. God is His father. Jesus was born of a young woman who was pure. A virgin – but we will talk about that when you are older.
Abraham and Isaac had to travel to the place that God would show them. Mary and Joseph, the man God chose for Mary to marry so that he would be a good fill-in father for Jesus, had to travel to Bethlehem. They later had to travel to Egypt because of the wicked King who wanted to harm Jesus. Jesus traveled in His ministry and then, he had to walk up the hill called Calvary to become the sacrifice for our sin. After He gave His life for us, His disciples, his family and followers waited three long days when Jesus arose from the dead!
So you see, waiting so long for Jesus to come is very much a part of the Christmas story. Sometimes, we forget that because we focus on gifts and trees.” Mama said with a smile and nodded to Papa who stood and left the room.
Papa returned to the room with a large bundle and walked slowly to the tree.
“What’s that?”
“Is it a gift?”
“Who’s it for?”
Everyone seemed to speak at once while watching Papa struggle with the bundle in his arms.
“Mama,” Papa said with a chuckle. “Guess you had better help me with this before I drop it!”
Mama rushed over and removed the gunny sack to reveal a wooden structure.

“Oh,” Isabel exclaimed, “is it a dollhouse?”
“Of course not, silly!” Eugene said with confidence. “It’s a stable!”
“That’s right, Eugene.” Mama smiled as she helped Papa lower the structure and placed it carefully under the tree. Next, he dug into the bag and pulled out some hay to lie on the floor of the stable. Next, he pulled out a box on legs and filled it with hay.
“What’s that?” Little Maggie asked and reached out to touch it gently.
“It’s a manger!” Curtis said. “You know – the bed for baby Jesus but it’s really a food box for the animals. Right, Papa?”
“That’s right, son,” Papa said as he stood and placed an arm around Mama. “Why don’t we sing just one Christmas carol before we turn in for the night? I’m afraid the chickens have beat us to bed tonight!
Mama picked up her squeeze box and played Joy to the World as the children and Papa sang along. Isabel looked once more at the stable with the empty manger.
“Papa, what about Baby Jesus? Doesn’t he sleep in the manger?”
“Well little Princess,” Papa said softly, “we have to wait.”

Isabel’s First Day at School

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Isabel was nervous about going back to school. She fretted all summer, remembering that last year when she walked into the classroom, some of the girls snickered at her new dress that Mama had made especially for this occasion. She overheard Arlene Mason whisper to the other girls, “Isabel’s dress is made from the same fabric as Mother’s kitchen curtains. Wouldn’t that make her a Window?”

Pencil Box

 

Isabel took a deep breath and smoothed the invisible wrinkles

in her new dress before entering the classroom. She felt several

pairs of critical eyes surveying her and wished she had not let

Mama french braid her hair after all. “My hair is all wrong. I

really look like a farm girl,” she whispered to Eugene, who pushed

her through the threshold and into the room.

“Good morning, Isabel. Don’t you look nice this morning,”

Sally Anne said. She waved at Isabel to sit in the desk next to her.


Isabel felt grateful
 for the compliment and sat   

with uncertainty as Arlene Mason gave her a look that could have

frozen an erupting volcano. The cold stare played havoc with

Isabel’s nerves, and she seemed to drop everything she touched.

Isabel sat down beside Sally Anne and carefully laid her slate,

her lunch pail and her pencil box on the desk.

 

Her new carved pencil box opened and dumped pencils all over

the floor while Miss Catron was talking. When the textbooks were

passed out, the history book, which seemed to have a mind of its

own , jumped out of her arms and landed on the floor with a loud

thud, making everyone in the room jump and then giggle.

 

That is, everyone except Isabel, who merely wished for the floor to open

up and swallow her so she could sprint home, where she did not

have to worry about what other people thought. Isabel reached

down to pick up her book, but someone else had beaten her to it.

Ernie Mason picked up the history book, wiped it off, and

smiled before returning the book to Isabel. She was not sure,

but it almost looked like he winked at her…almost, or was just

it just her imagination?

 

“Isabel, Ernie Mason just winked at you,” Sally Anne

whispered from across the aisle. “I thought he liked you last

year, and now I know it.”

“Who, me?” Isabel said. “Nobody likes me.”

“Oh, yes they do, Isabel,” Sally Anne said. She watched the

teacher, who was gathering information from a new student.

“Everybody likes you; only you just don’t know it.”

 

Isabel turned her attention to the teacher, but her thoughts

kept returning to Sally Anne’s remark. Could it be true? Had

she misjudged her classmates because one or two were unkind?

She determined to talk it over with Mama later.

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Isabel pulled her lunch pail out of her desk at lunchtime and

ran to greet the rest of her siblings under the oak tree for lunch.

As she sat down on the ground, she saw Sally Anne eating and

laughing with Arlene Mason and two of the most stuck up girls

in school. “Rich girls stick together,” she said as storm clouds

passed by overhead.

 

How about you? Have you been nervous about your first day of school? Even in 1924, children faced bullies and cliques in school. They are everywhere but things are not always as they seem. Later in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, Isabel learns that some of the children she had dreaded to face when school started had problems she couldn’t have imagined. Perhaps some children act superior to other children because they feel inferior and act that way to feel better about themselves. With help from her Mother, Isabel learned to be kind and forgiving. She would never have to worry about bullies again because she knew the secret. They’re afraid too.

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Ephesians 4:32

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is available!

My Mother Gentle Love – YouTube Ron Hamilton Song

I know this is a few days early but I thought you might enjoy this sweet song all week!

My Mother’s Gentle Love by Ron Hamilton

You may purchase this song and others on Ron Hamilton’s album, Cherish the Moment. (Another wonderful song for Mothers and Fathers too.)

Cherish The Moment by Ron Hamilton

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“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)

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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!

Happy Mothers Day,

Kathy

 

Thorn in the Flesh ~ Tuesday Tips

“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

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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.

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Little Miss Alice

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Chronically Content