Tag Archive | family

An Exciting Evening in our Neighborhood!


When all of the wrappers are empty

and all of the candy devoured,

The Word of God remains.

In this you can be secure.

“Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

It was so exciting in our neighborhood last night. We saw a beautiful Cinderella, a cute little lady bug, some pirates, two “Officers in Blue”, two Darth Vaders, Many Star War characters, pirates, (one beautiful girl pirate in a gorgeous costume!) Too many to count.

John was giving out treats to four young ladies (probably in 4th -6th grade) and one girl dressed in a pioneer dress and bonnet caught my attention. She reminded me of “Ma Ingalls” with pretty blonde hair. (Probably Laura or Mary Ingalls) For some reason, I had an overwhelming desire to give her a copy of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. (My book). She reminded me of “Isabel!” I grabbed a book and ran after her.

The Vision of a Mother's Heart

Link: https://amzn.com/1515298477

She was so excited when I told her she could keep it. Her three friend’s faces lit up. “May we have one too?” “Of course!” So I gave out books and promised they could stop by and I would sigh it for them – if they like it.

A light went off for John. “How many Missy Cats books do you have?

A Christmas Story

Link: https://amzn.com/1481028626


We gave out quite a few to the little ones. Thank you, Lord for the opportunity to serve Him even on an occassion first designed in paganism. Between Gospel Tracts and my books,which include the Gospel,  Jesus was our focus tonight.

God’s Word never returns void. I am praying for each child and parent we met last night.

Did I mention we also got to meet many neighbors? It was a beautiful night and many of our neighbors sat on their porches to give out treats and we decided to sit outside as well. It was a wonderful evening.

Now, if only I had thought to take pictures! Speaking of pictures, I found these two gems among the Purdy Family Pictures. These two snapshots were taken in 1958. My husband is the cute little pirate.


Things haven’t changed too much over the years. Have they?

Little Isabel and Rainy Days ~ Part 5 ~ A Shelter in the time of storm.

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

Katherine Purdy

Photo found on Pinterest

Photo found on Pinterest

“Mr. Scott, what are you doing out in this terrible weather?” Mama’s voice had a soothing effect on Isabel.

“I came to check on you folks. This is a bad storm. Trees are down everywhere. I have a white pine half way into my house and it isn’t even Christmas,” he added with a nervous chuckle.

“Hello Mr. Greene,” Mr. Scott said as he stomped mud from his boots.

“Oh, don’t worry about the mud,” Mama said, “There’s no way to avoid mud this time. There are leaks everywhere. Come into the kitchen. I’ll fix you two a cup of hot coffee.”

“That would be wonderful Ma’am. I’m afraid we need to get you all to the cellar immediately. The storm has gotten worse and I’m afraid that black cloud from the west could be a tornado. I’ve never seen one but I know they come in the shape of an upside down funnel.”

“Oh, mercy!” Papa said as he, Mama and Mr. Scott quickly walked to the kitchen. “I don’t see how we will be able to get into the cellar because a tree fell on the back porch roof and part of the tree is covering the door.”

“There’s another way,” Mr. Scott said and loudly slurped his coffee Mama had quickly poured into a mug for him. “My grandparents built this house before the war and had a second cellar no one knew about. I discovered it when I was a lad. Let’s see now, there should be a trap door under the table. Grandma always covered it with a rug but even without the rug it is hard to see.”

Curtis crawled out from under the table with Isabel close behind. Mama reached to take sleeping Maggie from Eugene. “Mister, can we help?”

“Yes you may,” Mr. Scott said and smiled at each one as he pulled three peppermint sticks from his pocket. “Now if I remember right, the door is part of the wood planks. There should be a little more space between the wood – the hinges to the door are underneath. He pulled an ivory jack knife from his pocket and got down on his knees, knocking on the floor, easing the knife between each plank. Papa pulled out his knife and followed suit as the brothers started knocking too.

“Papa,” Eugene said, “why are we knocking?”

“There will be a different sound when we hit the door.”

“Eureka!” Mr. Scott indicated a section of floor and both men loosened the boards with their knives. “We should be able to lift the door in one piece. Time may have caused the boards to swell but we’ll pry it open.”

Isabel’s eyes grew enormous at the sight. The rumble of thunder caused Isabel to jump and everyone laughed nervously.  “Come dear and help me pack some things we may need in the cellar. We have shelves filled with canned fruit, vegetables, apples and potatoes so we won’t starve.”

“I’m sorry Ma’am but we might not be able to get to your root cellar. I’ll tell you all about it when we are safe underground.

Dust and a musty smell filled the kitchen as the door opened with a loud squeak.

“I’ll test out the ladder,” Mr. Scott said as he tentatively placed his foot on the first step into the dark, mysterious hideaway. “So far, so good; if it holds my weight, we will be okay. Mrs. Greene, why don’t you come first with the little one. We will bring the cradle and a couple of those quilts the boys were using.”


Isabel watched with wide eyes as the large man with red hair helped Mama down the ladder. Eugene passed the quilts and a sack of bread to Mr. Scott before stepping into his new adventure followed by Curtis bearing a lantern. Papa picked up Isabel and kissed her on the forehead. “You’re next, Princess.”

Isabel held tight onto Papa’s neck when two large hands of a stranger reached for her.

“It’s alright, Isabel. Let Mr. Scott help you down,” Mama said firmly. “We must hurry. Papa needs to come down so that we can close the door against the storm.”  Isabel nodded slightly as she let go of Papa’s neck.

“That’s a good girl,” the man said in a soothing voice. “I know you’re afraid. We’re going somewhere safe so that no one will get hurt in this storm. It’s not like a regular storm. It’s a mean storm.”

“Like the time it rained on Noah’s Ark?”

“It won’t last that long,” he said with a chuckle, “We should be safe down here just like Noah and his family were safe from the storm. Now, that climb down wasn’t too bad was it? There’s your Mama over there by the lantern.”

Isabel turned and ran to Mama and watched as Papa stepped on the first rung of the ladder. “Well I’ll be!” Papa chuckled, picked up Mama cat and the white kitten and passed them to the astonished landlord. “Mama Cat and her kittens need shelter from the storm too.”


Mr. Scott passed the cats to Eugene who set Mama Cat on the ground.  “Better hold her, Son. She may try to go after the other kittens.” While he was speaking, Papa returned to the ladder with the basket of kittens, passed it to Mr. Scott, reached for two jugs of water and  then closed the door and attached the rope handle to a hook on the wall.

“Wind’s whipping around the house and whistling a tune,” Papa said as he stepped onto the dirt floor. “Mighty fine shelter you have here.”

Isabel followed Papa’s gaze around the room. One side of the shelter was lined with shelves and vegetable bins. Empty barrels with lids askew sat at the far end of the room. Next to the barrels was a large trunk. I wonder what’s in there? Isabel wanted to ask Mr. Scott but when he looked in her direction, she felt shy and hid her face in Mama’s apron.

Papa began praying aloud for each person in the room and for those who did not have a shelter in the time of storm.

Little Isabel leaned close to Mama as Papa prayed and sighed with contentment. We will be safe, just like Noah and his family. Mama Cat started purring as if she had read the child’s thoughts. Isabel opened one eye to peek at Mama who gently stroked her hair and whispered in Isabel’s ear. “We will be fine. Jesus is with us.”

Photo used with permission.

Photo used with permission.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Prov 31 30 Mekel Rice

Mekel Rice

Blessings to Mothers and Mothers at Heart.

It is with joy that we celebrate this special day set aside to honor our Mothers. If you have read my blog, you are already aquainted with my Mom. I have posted many pictures in the past. My brother scanned my favorite picture of Mom. I couldn’t resist using it in the Mothers Day post. She was very young and very pretty. She had been told that she should do a toothpaste commercial. Great smile, Mom!

Barbara and Children taken in house on Conway Street (2013_12_29 18_40_53 UTC)

Mom, Barbara Riley Hinchee Teenager

Mom Hinchee's 75th Birthday April 17, 2010 (2014_02_14 17_52_40 UTC)

Mom and I  Lakeside Amusement Park

Until she lost her sight a few years ago, Mom delighted in making things special for her children and her grandchildren.  How many 40 year olds get Easter Baskets from their Mother?  We did and let her know how much we appreciated it!

She always decorated beautifully and enjoyed every moment of making floral arrangements, bow making and wrapping gifts. As you may guess, I inherited her love of dishes, tea sets and old fashioned kitchens. And stories. Love her stories!

My favorite memories are of working together in the kitchen and sitting on the porch swing because we sang the entire time!

Now Mom cannot enjoy the things that once made her happy but she listens to BBN Christian radio and Christian books on tape. Although she received Christ as her Savior when I was six years old and she sat under Bible teaching, memorizing the Word for all those years, now she is even more appreciative of God’s Word. Meditating on His Word and understanding more how to apply God’s Word. Before, she was busy. Now she is learning how to: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations.”



 In Memory of Emily L. Purdy

No one could have asked for a more wonderful Mother-in-law. She was truly a treasure.

Part of John’s testimony is that he came to know the Lord because his Mother constantly told him that she was praying for him. Even when he didn’t want to hear that. She was truly a mother who loved the Lord. She had a quiet strength. Often relayed in her poems which I hope to post soon. She had a sweet, sweet spirit.

She was truly a “kindred-spirit”.  The first time we met, she did something wonderful. She invited me into her bedroom and pulled out a box. A treasure box of pictures, poems written by her ancestors. There was even an adorable valentine her Mother, Emma had sent to her future husband, Clarence. So cute. From that time on, she shared so many wonderful family memories with me. I have shared some with you in the (very long) poem I wrote about the day she took us to her grandparents “Homeplace”.

She passed along many family antiques – little things others may have sold at a yard sale. To me they were treasures because they are connected to “family.” A few years before she went home to be with the Lord, she and Dad Purdy were visiting one Sunday afternoon. She gave me the best compliment I have ever had. She sat down in the kitchen and looked around. “I love coming here. I feel right at home.”  One day, we will meet again in our “Forever Home” where she is rejoicing. I know John and his sister, Cathy miss her and will be thinking of her this Mothers Day.


Image (2)

Cathy, Mother, John

Emilie feeding baby Johnny

Emilie Purdy and “Johnny”

Scan 56

I love the expression on Emilie’s face as little Johnny toddled along. So cute!



Scan 17

Thank you, Lord, for our Mothers.

Christmas Memories~Story Time


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Photo by kathiekingeryphotography.com

“Nannie, Can we make gingerbread men like your Mama made?” Kristen asked as she looked up at her great grandmother.

“Oh, I know we can. We may bake gingerbread men tomorrow afternoon.” Nannie said as the timer on the oven beeped.

“Now, lets have cookies fresh from the oven with a glass while of milk and I will tell you all about Christmases past.”

Kristen’s enormous blue eyes twinkled as she climbed on Nannie’s red step stool/chair and laughed as Nannie pushed the vintage stool close to the table.

“Now,” Nannie said as cookies, milk were in place before them and Kristen said a quick blessing, the story began. “When I was your age, I had two older brothers and a baby sister, Maggie. We were a poor family but we were rich in the blessing of love.

“Did you have a Christmas tree?”

“Oh, yes. We always had a Christmas tree. Some years we had small trees but in 1919 we had a wonderful, large tree.

“Did you get to help put the lights and decorations on the tree?”

“Oh, no. We didn’t have electricity.” Nannie smiled at little Kristen’s reaction. “Few people in our neighborhood had electricity. We lit kerosene lamps and candles. There were shelves on the wall to hold the lamps so that they wouldn’t get knocked over. That would have caused a fire, you see.”

“In 1919, we didn’t help with the tree at all. Mama and Papa liked to surprise us. Before going to bed on Christmas Eve, Mama told us to hang us our largest sock on a hook on the mantle of the fireplace. It was so exciting! Eugene and Curtis knew what to expect but it was my first Christmas that I would remember.” Nannie signed, took a sip of milk and looked ahead as if seeing that Christmas on the wall of her memory. “It was hard to go to sleep that night.

My brothers had told me something special would happen in the morning and no matter what, ‘don’t get out of bed!’ Of course, I heard a lot of strange sounds coming from the front room – that’s what Mama called our living room.”

“Oh,” Kristen said as she stuffed the last piece of cookie into her mouth. “What made the noises?”

“I didn’t know. I heard my brothers giggling from their side of the curtain dividing our room. Sometimes I thought I heard Papa’s voice and Mama’s soft laugh but I knew that couldn’t be true because Papa always went to bed at sundown because he had to get up so early to do chores. I finally got to sleep but before the rooster crowed, Eugene and Curtis woke me up. They each held my hand as we walked into the front room with their hands over my eyes. ‘Squeeze your eyes closed – real tight,’ they said. When Mama told me to open my eyes, I couldn’t believe it! A beautifully decorated tree with candles had appeared in the room! At least that’s what I thought.” Nannie said with a chuckle.

vintage Christmas tree with candle

Kristen leaned close and whispered, “Were there bunches of pretty presents under the tree?”

“We each had two gifts under the tree. Mama always knitted hats, scarves and mittens for us; wrapping them as one package and Papa had made a special gift for each of us. He built a small dollhouse for me,  complete with furniture and a doll family to live in it. I was so excited, I almost forgot to look in my sock. The boys didn’t forget, however. They went to the socks first. Each sock contained an orange which was a treat for us. We only had oranges at Christmas. There were nuts, a silver dollar, peppermint sticks and I got new hair ribbons. The boys got brand new pencils and a harmonica for each. We were so excited about our new gifts, we almost forgot breakfast.”

“What did the boys get under the tree, Nannie?”

“They got hand carved horses from Papa.” Nannie smiled and poured more milk for Kristen. “We had pancakes for breakfast. Just as we were beginning to eat, there was a knock on the door. It was then we realized it was snowing. Papa went to the door and there was a large basket of food with our name on it. The card was signed, Merry Christmas!” Nannie stopped to wipe her eyes with the corner of her apron. “The basket of food was sitting on a brand new sled for us to share. You see, we were very poor that Christmas and didn’t even have a chicken to roast for Christmas dinner. There was a turkey with all the fixins’, two pies and a cake. Flour, sugar, salt and coffee were also in the basket. Mama told us only Jesus knew she had used the rest of the ingredients on the pancakes. She said that she prayed about making the gingerbread men because she wouldn’t have enough to bake bread after Christmas. When she sat down at the table, she opened her Bible. God said He would provide and He did.

After breakfast, papa got out his old banjo and we sang Christmas carols all day. The best part was reading about how God provided His Son, baby Jesus so that we can go to Heaven and live with Him some day. You see, Christmas isn’t about the gifts, the food or even about the tree. It’s about Jesus; our Savior who left Heaven to be born of a virgin in a stable with a manger for a bed like a lamb.”

“I love Jesus!” Kristen said as she slid off her stool to give Nannie a big hug. “I love Christmas too.”

“Me too,” Nannie said as she returned the hug. “Now, when you come back tomorrow we will bake gingerbread boys while I tell you about your Grammy’s Christmas when she was your age.”

Just then the doorbell rang and Kristen’s mother walked into the kitchen. “I want to be part of that too! I’ve never heard that story before.”

“Oh, if you come often enough, I could tell enough stories to fill a book. I’m so glad you came! Walking down memory lane always makes me feel like a child again – experiencing the joy of Christmas all over again and again.”

Little Isabel~ Story Time


Little Kristen set aside her book and followed a voice coming from the kitchen.

“Joy to the World, the Lord has come…” Nannie put a pie in the oven and wiped her hands on her festive apron and turned to her small granddaughter. “I thought you were playing,” Nannie said as she cleaned flour from the kitchen counter before picking up the child.

“Nannie, I’m bored.”

“Bored? How can you be bored when there is some much work to do before Christmas? With all of your toys, it’s hard to imagine being bored.

“Will you tell me a story? Please?”

“Of course I will tell you a story. What kind of story do you want to hear?”

“My favorite – tell me about when you were a little girl!”

“Well,” Nannie said as she lifted Kristen onto her lap, “that was a long time ago. Do you want to hear anything special?”

10417447_10203818825624347_3564944154437375154_nMadison 2

“What was Christmas like when you were a little girl?”

“That was a long time ago but I still remember Mama and Papa making Christmas for us.”

“How long ago?” Kristen asked as she shifted and found a comfy spot on Nannie’s lap.

“A very long time,” Nannie said with a smile. “Lets see, the year was 1919 when I was your age. I remember it well. Since I was too young to go to school, I helped Mama bake cookies.”

“What kind of cookies, Nannie?”

“Gingerbread boys and girls. You see, cookies were part of the tree decoration but I didn’t realize that until Christmas morning.  Mama always put a hole in the gingerbread child’s cap for the ribbon.”

“Did you get to lick the beaters?” Kristen asked as she remembered baking cookies with her Mama.

“Mama mostly used a spoon to mix the cookie batter but she had a egg beater for the eggs and wet ingredients before she spooned in the dry ingredients. Lets see,” Nannie said as she stood up with Kristen and headed for the kitchen. After rummaging through two drawers, she picked up the red handled instrument. “This is what Mama used to beat the eggs and other wet ingredients. See? You turn the handle like this and the beaters turned around and around until the eggs were nice and fluffy. Do you want to try it?”



Kristen’s eyes grew big as Nannie demonstrated how the beater worked. “How do you take it apart so that you can lick the beaters?”

“We don’t. It is all one piece. Would you like to try?” Kristen picked up the beater and turned the crank just as she had seen Nannie do. It slipped from her hands and landed on the floor.

“I’m sorry, Nannie!”

“That’s alright pumpkin. I did the very same thing the first time I tried it too. Mama just smiled and said, ‘Isabel, if you don’t get it right the first time, just pick it up and try again and again until you can beat eggs as fast as I can.'”

Little Isabel and Rainy Days ~ Part 3 ~ Kittens and the Ark


 “Mama, did Jesus send the kittens because of the storm?” Isabel’s beautiful blue eyes looked to Mama for an answer.

“If He did, it wouldn’t be the first time He sent animals. Do you remember the Bible lesson we have been working on every morning?

Isabel twisted her hair while swaying to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof and windows while keeping her eyes on the kittens. “Noah’s Ark?”

“Yes, that’s right Isabel. You have been listening!” Mama said as she swept Little Isabel in her arms for a hug and butterfly kisses. “We will talk some more about Noah’s Ark but for now, we need to coax Mama Cat into bring her kittens inside the house where they will be warm and safe.”

“How will we do that?” Eugene asked loudly.

“Shhh,” Mama put her finger to her lips and motioned for the boys to join her and Isabel near the stove. “First, we need to stay very quiet. Cats are often afraid of people; especially noisy ones. Now that we have a box filled with soft flannel, we will need to coax Mama inside first. Then she will bring her kittens one at a time. Curtis, please fill that old chipped bowl with cream – not milk. She needs the extra nourishment and then I will place a trail of goodies leading from the tree limbs where she is hiding to the kitty bed.”

Isabel held her breath as Mama picked up the pan of scrambled eggs and dropped small pieces of egg from the porch to the box by the stove.

“Now, we must be very quiet and don’t move a muscle. Sit back at the table, finish your breakfast and try not to make a sound.” Mama said softly.

Isabel found sitting quietly was difficult when something so exciting was happening in this very room.

Papa filled his saucer with coffee again and slurped too loudly as Mama gave him a warning glance. Eugene and Curtis put their hands over their mouths to keep from laughing.

Soon, Mama Cat slowly entered the room. She sniffed the air and then gobbled up the eggs until she reached the warm box. Stepping inside the box, she kneaded the blanket while purring loudly.

“Mama,” Isabel whispered. “Does she think she’s making bread or biscuits?” Mama shook her head with a smile and put her finger back to her lips. Isabel turned back to the cat and watched as Mama Cat rubbed her chin on the corners of the box.

“Mama, does her chin itch?”

“She’s putting her scent on it so that she and the kittens will know they belong there,” Papa whispered a bit too loudly and the cat looked at him, walked to the table, rubbed against Papa’s leg and then sauntered to the back porch and brought the kittens one by one to the new warm bed.

“It looks like we have new members of our family,” Mama said softly and laughed gently as Papa rubbed the whiskers on his chin and shook his head from side to side before giving the family a slight smile of approval.


“I have an idea,” Mama said as she cleared the table and peered out the kitchen window as she poured boiling water and soap shavings into the dishpan. “It doesn’t look like this storm will end any time soon. Why don’t you children bring your animal carvings Papa made for you and bring them into the kitchen? When you come back into the kitchen, we can make a pretend Ark for the animals and you.”

Eugene picked up Isabel and put her on his shoulders as they dodged water droplets and puddles, jumped over bowls and pitchers collecting the water until they reached the curtain divided room.


“Guess what, Peter; you are going into Noah’s Ark!” Isabel chirped as she picked up the stuffed Peter Rabbit her friend Sally Anne had given her at their first tea party combined with birthdays for each girls a few weeks earlier. “Now Peter, how will we carry all of the toys Papa made for us?” Isabel placed Peter Rabbit near her ear and smiled. “Very good, Peter Rabbit. You are so smart! We’ll put them in the Easter basket!”

“Hey Sis,” Curtis said as he peeked through the curtain dividing their room. “Are you ready yet? It’s raining too much in here!”


Just as the children entered the kitchen, Papa entered from the back porch – dripping wet.

“I found it! This is a lot of canvas but it should work,” Papa said as he laid the large bundle on the kitchen table.

“Perfect!” Mama said as she dried her hands on her apron and reached into her sewing cabinet for a pair of large, sturdy scissors. The children watched wide eyed as Mama and Papa worked together to make a tent over the kitchen table which had been moved to a dry spot in the room.

“Let’s read about Noah from God’s Word, the Bible.” Mama reached for the Bible on the shelf as Papa slipped into the other rooms, cutting canvas and draping it over pieces of furniture before returning to the kitchen with two full buckets of water, dumped them into water barrels on the back porch and made another trip. By the time he had finished, Eugene, Curtis and Isabel were sitting patiently on the floor and baby Maggie slept soundly in her tented cradle.

Mama opened the Bible to Genesis and started to read. “Before we begin,” she said softly, “We will act out Noah’s story as I read. So when  we get to the building part what will we do?”

“We will pretend to be builders!” Curtis dipped his head as if to ask forgiveness for disturbing Mama Cat who stopped grooming her orange kitten and stared intently at the boy.

“That’s right Curtis. Now, I would like you to place all of your toy animals in Isabel’s basket and set it on my sewing machine.”

Eugene collected the animals, placed them in Isabel’s basket and placed the basket on the sewing machine at the far end of the room.

Papa entered the room with the bolt of canvas just as Mama began to read.

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Photo Shoot

I don’t know about you but when I was a child, I loved listening to stories. Especially family stories. Some of my earliest memories were listening to my grandmother talking about her childhood. She had a small picture of her mother holding her first child. That little framed picture was always on the small, round table with claw feet and a lion head with a ring in its nose for a drawer pull. I sat under this table, holding Grandma Lizzie’s photo in my hand. I could imagine her sitting in a rocking chair, singing lullabies to her little one. I could see her washing clothes on a scrub board, and hanging them on a line. Most of the chapters in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart are taken from my grandmother Isabel’s memories.

I think you get the picture. I’m visual. I imagine a scene and then put that scene into words. In future posts there will be pictures of “Mama”. I’m so thrilled to share this with you!

Apparently, I told the stories to my friends and one of my friends from childhood remembered them too. We found each other on Facebook and I haven’t chatted that much since sixth grade!  My friend is a great photographer, seamstress, baker, mother, grandmother, wife and a great friend!


Photo by John Purdy

Photo by John Purdy


The day was freezing cold but my friend, Kathie and my niece, Emily were determined to get some pictures of “Mama” that I can use in my posts or even in my book, The Vision of a Mother’s Heart which is in the process of editing for a second printing.

The Lord is good, He granted me with a healthy day without vertigo or migraines so my husband, John and I were there too. It was amazing! A day I shall remember forever and sweet Emily must have been freezing but she didn’t complain. The temperature was below freezing that day and we were all bundled up except her. Her only warm item was a small afghan throw. What a trooper!

Why did I choose Emily? You know how families are, we see grandma’s eyes, granddaddy’s humor, mama’s chin. Something about Emily’s eyes reminded me of Grandma Lizzie or “Mama” in the book.

Emily and her husband David

Emily and David

Meet Emily. She is my cousin but her Mom and I are so close in age and were more like sisters, I’m “Aunt Kathy” and Emily and her two older brothers are more like my niece and nephew. (Phew! That’s not complicated at all is it? Love is the tie that binds regardless of the title.)  Emily is married and has two wonderful sons.  She recently posted this picture of her and her husband. When I saw this it reminded me of our great-grandmother Lizzie aka “Mama” in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

I pulled up Grandma’s picture and placed it beside Emily and shared it with her and my dear friend the photographer and cheerleader for my books. We could finish each other’s sentences in the sixth grade and when we found each other on Facebook, we have been chatting ever since. We still think alike! Our former teacher has given us her approval for our talking now.

A plan was formed. I must say that Kathie and Emily did all of the work! Kathie knew of a perfect location and even made an apron for Emily to wear as well as props for the photos.  Emily wore her mother’s wedding dress as the blouse, bought a long skirt and had her hair fixed in a pompadour.

Lizzie Minnix holding her first son, Eugene. (2)

Emily Baker as Grandma Minnix by Kathie Kingrey

Emily dressed as “Mama” Photo by Kathie Kingrey Photography










Kathie took shots of “Mama” doing the same chores women in rural Virginia which were part of their every day life.

Look for more pictures of “Mama” in upcoming posts.



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                  I would like to thank everyone who was part of the photo shop.

To my friend, Kathie of  Kathie   Kingrey Photography, Emilie, my husband, John who ran around taking pictures of Kathie taking pictures! To my Aunt Sandra, her son Doug, Emily’s husband, David, Kathie’s husband, Russ and   a dear friend of Kathie whose excitement for the project matched ours!

I am also thankful for Granny (Nannie to most of her grandchildren), her siblings and their spouse for sharing memories with me. Most of all, I thank The Lord Jesus Christ for opening the door for me.



Proverbs 3:5-6

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 2


christmas-girl-rolling-cookiesThe 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. “Lets 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?”
“Lets 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 the 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 a 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 doll house?”
“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.”

Update to What Treasured Memories are Contained in this Box?

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Just a short update. John took the two film cartridges to the camera shop to have them processed. We didn’t have any idea what images were captured. The larger cartridge was for slides and were told that it cannot be processed because the procedure is outdated and chemicals unavailable. (If you know of a company who will process old film, please let us know.)

They did however, develop this film. There were only six very grainy images. They were apparently taken by John’s Dad. The first two pictures were of his son standing in front of the fireplace in their house on Kirkwood Ave. Roanoke.  The rest of the shots were of their precious little dog.  Even though the images are dark and grainy, it tells me that this proud Dad loved his son and their sweet dog.

Did you know that our Heavenly Father loves you enough to know the number of hair on your head and collects your tears in a bottle? He knows when a sparrow falls; how much more He cares for you!

Because Christ Lives,




A snowy day in Lynchburg, VA

After days of rain and much anticipation, the snow finally arrived. I was sure we wouldn’t get any snow today since the temperature didn’t drop below freezing. It was in the low forties most of the day and finally the temperature dropped into the thirties and beautiful white flakes graced our skies after four in the afternoon. It snowed a few hours and in our neighborhood, it still looks like a pretty white blanket covering bushes, trees, sidewalks and yes, the roads. According to the television, Lynchburg, Virginia received over four inches. I am sure children are cheering – schools are closed tomorrow and many businesses have delayed opening until mid-morning.

I don’t know what it is about snow that is so exciting. After all, it causes inconveniences, delays and hazardous driving. And yet, the mere mention of the fluffy white stuff takes me back to my childhood. Playing in the snow, freezing fingers and toes, riding the sleigh downhill with friends and family. Coming inside to a nice warm house, smelling of just baked cookies, hot cocoa and homemade soup simmering on the stove.

My thoughts returned to my grandparents home in the Midway section of Vinton, Va in 1964. I spent every weekend with my grandparents, since I still had not gotten used to the idea of living with Mom and my stepfather in Garden City. (Just a few miles away but to a child, it seemed like we had moved to the other side of the world.) Of course, my preteen aunt, two good friends and two cousins made trips to stay with my grandparents even more enjoyable – especially when it snowed. We had a great hill for sleigh riding!

It snowed that weekend. Wonderful, beautiful, fluffy snow. My Aunt, cousins, friends and neighbors had a wonderful time building snowmen and riding sleighs down the steep hill. When we came back inside, however, the aroma of that house will forever be ingrained in my memory. Granddaddy had cooked that day. Pinto beans, fried potatoes, cornbread, slaw and Granny had made my favorite cake. To this day, that fragrance takes me back to that day.

I wasn’t thrilled to leave on Sunday afternoon when Mom and Jerry came to pick me up but then Mom reminded me that my new cousins, Pam, Donna and Tammy were coming over to play. What a day!

It seems like we had a lot of snow in the sixties – or perhaps it was just a lot of wonderful memories!

Hope you have a beautiful, snowy, memory-making weekend!