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Happy Birthday, Nannie!

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. Without a doubt, she is celebrating at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ with her precious “Mama,” Papa, her sisters, brothers, three children and one grandchild

Nannie lived most of her life in Roanoke, Virginia and lived a few years in Richmond, Virginia working at Johnston-Willis Hospital. She was a hard worker and loved children!

Isabel Riley & Baby Ronald Lee Riley (2013_12_29 01_50_28 UTC)

Why celebrate someone’s birthday after they are no longer with us? Because she made life special for many people most of her life. She cared for her younger siblings after her mother died and made a home for her grandchildren as well as her children.  It is just a way to remember and in that remembrance, to give God the glory. (This is also why I believe God placed her story on my heart to write. The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is about my grandmother, Isabel.)

Birthday tea with the pin and handkerchief I bought for “Isabel” when I was a child. She returned them to me when I got married.

Isabel surrounded by four of her children, Barbara, Ron, Betty and Sandra on her birthday, August 28, 1996.Cakes by AshleyHappy Birthday, Nannie. We miss you.

 

If you would like to read about Isabel’s eleventh birthday, I will be posting excerpts from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart this week. You may read parts of the chapter each day at The Vision of a Mother’s Heart by Katherine Hinchee Purdy

The Vision of a Mother's Heart (2013_12_29 01_50_28 UTC)

The Vision of a Mother's Heart back of book

Home for Christmas ~ Looking Back

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I don’t know about you, but when I think of Christmas, my heart returns to my loved ones in my hometown, Roanoke, Virginia. Christmas Eve was so special because it was spent with family. This picture was taken at my grandparent’s home. Mom and I lived with them until I was seven so this was a very special Christmas. My Aunt Sandra tried to get me to dance to Christmas music on video. We were so silly! Later, we would go to the Hinchee house for dinner, to my new “Uncle J.H. and Barbara’s” house and opened gifts with their three daughters, to our house for snacks and gifts and then to “Great Aunt Louise (Hinchee)  and Uncle Carl Kelly’s house for more gifts and refreshments. Wow! That was a lot of memories in one short paragraph!

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I know John has a lot of Christmas memories of Roanoke as well. I think Christmas Day was their day with family. They have some great pics of “Little Johnny” through the years.

John Purdy's Cowboy Shoot

After John and I were married we lived in Lynchburg We often had family come for dinner and to join us at the Candlelight Service at Church and we drove to Roanoke on Christmas Day to be with our parents and siblings.

Special memories!

Tommy Holcomb posted a song and picture of what Roanoke looked like in the good old days and has given me permission to share it with you! Step back in time. Enjoy Good ol’ Roanoke with us.

Looking Back by Tommy Holcomb

A song about growing up in Roanoke, VA.

There are a few things in the video I don’t remember and would have coke-cola in my glass but he mentions S&W Cafeteria where Mom worked as a line supervisor. Loved Lakeside Amusement Park and Lendys where we got to eat in the car!  My memories of the drive-in-movie was going in my pajamas and taking a blanket as I fell asleep in the back seat while Mom and Dad Hinchee watched the movie.

Thank you, Tommy for reminding us of “Home”!

There is a lot going on in Roanoke this Christmas. If you are looking for something interesting to do this year, check out the link below.

Dickens of a Christmas

 

 

Sweethearts

They have been married 54 years and he still calls her Sweetheart.

There wasn’t a beautiful Church wedding with a gorgeous wedding gown and brides maids. The only flowers were the corsage Jerry bought for her on that beautiful April morning. Mom wore a pretty suit and he wore the ony suit he owned. They were married in the parlor of a Methodist Pastor with the Pastor’s wife as their only witness.

They had only dated a few weeks and even though she had a seven-year-old daughter, he decided he couldn’t live without her. He knew she would be his sweetheart forever.

 

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

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 through the years. There home was the gathering place for Mom’s family. When anyone came to visit, they stayed there. The house is small but oh, the delicious smells that came from that kitchen! Laughter, singing and also tears when we said goodbye to loved ones. There are many memories in that old house. We have so many sweet memories!

Mom's Kitchen Help

Mom’s Kitchen in the 1990’s.                                                                                                                                              That’s me doing the dishes, my Aunt Betty, Mom is in the corner and Nannie.

 

It concerns me that he is trying to do everything when he doesn’t have energy to do anything. He is having health problems but doesn’t want to worry his “Sweetheart.”      She is concerned about his health and since she was an excellent cook and housecleaner for so many years, she lets it slip that she isn’t thrilled with the living conditions. There is too much dust. Too many piles of junk, the food doesn’t taste the same as when she cooked…  she doesn’t mean to hurt him but I know those words do hurt tremendously. He would do better if he could. If he would allow us to do the work for him. If grandchildren would take over certain jobs, I know things would be easier for both of them. The time has come when we must all sit down and make plans. It will not be easy to convince them to move where they can still be together but the cleaning and food preparation will be done for them and they can spend together as sweethearts without the stress on Dad’s heart.

Please pray with me for these “Sweethearts” that God will change their hearts about their living situation and give wisdom to my sister, brother, my aunt and I as we discuss possibilities. That He would open the door that will make Mom and Dad happy and they can concentrate on being sweethearts again.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

I love you,

Kathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentines Day!

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Hoping you are having a delightful Valentines Day!

I saw this little reminder of God’s love for us and wanted to do this for someone special today. I haven’t been able to go out lately and thought I would share this with you. I saved this pic from a friend’s blog but haven’t been able to locate the blog. I hope you don’t mind that I am sharing your conversation hearts picture. If you posted this picture, please contact me so that I can give you the proper credit and post a link to your blog.

So grab your Bible, friends and see what God’s Word says about love.

Conversation Hearts

Happy Valentines, friends and remember, God loves you!

John 3:16-17

Snow!

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!

Blessings,

Kathy

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy ~ Part 3

10417447_10203818825624347_3564944154437375154_nMadison 2            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 lunch time, 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!”

Christmas Carolers eb8b4ae4dfd78e669e4a9289dfc3255e

Every time Isabel entered the parlor, a new carved animal had been placed in or near the stable but she never saw Mama or Papa go into the parlor without the children. By the time the sleigh was packed with goodies to give to the neighbors and everyone nestled under heavy blankets, Isabel was beside herself with joy. Papa had chosen her to ring the jingle bells as they serenaded their friends and neighbors with Christmas Carols. Even Widow Barker thanked them with a smile. They were invited inside for hot cocoa and cookies at the Albright home. Isabel exchanged gifts with her friend, Sally Anne. Isabel and Maggie were given paper dolls and baby Sylvia received a new rattle for Christmas. Each child gladly received a peppermint stick.

By the time they returned home, Isabel could hardly keep her eyes open. She listened as her brothers searched for the Bethlehem star.

“Alright children,” Mama said as she hung up coats on hooks in the screened in back porch. “you may place your gifts from your friends under the tree and then hurry up to bed.”

Excitement filled Isabel as she ran into the parlor, lit by the fire in the fireplace. There on the table holding the stable were three new carved items. A man, a woman and a donkey.

“Look!” Curtis said, “It’s Mary, Joseph and the donkey she rode on to Bethlehem!”

Isabel slowly walked to the stable and traced the figures with her fingers. “Where did they come from? How did they get here?”

“The donkey brought them, silly!” Eugene said with a smile before messing her hair.

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“Alright children,” Mama said, “hang your sock on the mantle and then go on to bed. Morning will be here before you know it.”

“But Mama,” Maggie said with a tear in her eyes. “Baby Jesus isn’t here. The manger is empty! Did Mary and Joseph forget the baby?”

“No, dear. They are still waiting for the baby to be born.”

Natavity

The following morning, Isabel awoke before the rooster crowed but she couldn’t wait to see what surprise awaited her. She ran downstairs and entered the parlor. The fire in the fireplace crackled but Isabel didn’t look at the mantle. She even notice there were candles on the tree. She ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked in to the eyes of the Baby Jesus laying in the manger.

“He’s here, He’s here!” Isabel yelled to her family. “Jesus in finally here. Merry Christmas!”

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy ~ Part 2

 

 Christmas Joy

Part 2

Isabel’s Story

By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

            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 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 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.”

Manger b 12 2014

 

A Packrat’s Attempt at Organizing Christmas Decorations

Christmas Ornaments 2012 003 Christmas Ornaments 2012 005 Christmas Ornaments 2012 009 Christmas Ornaments 2012 010 Christmas Ornaments 2012 012 Christmas Ornaments 2012 013 Christmas Ornaments 2012 014 Christmas Ornaments 2012 016 Christmas Ornaments 2012 018 Christmas Ornaments 2012 019 Christmas Ornaments 2012 020 Christmas Ornaments 2012 024 Christmas Ornaments 2012 025 Christmas Ornaments 2012 026 Christmas Ornaments 2012 028 Christmas Ornaments 2012 031 Christmas Ornaments 2012 Courier & Ives gift from Elonna McKibben Christmas Ornaments 2012 From The Patteson Kids many years ago! Christmas Ornaments 2012 Inherited from John's parents. It hung on their tree for many years. Christmas Ornaments 2012 Ornament we bought in honor of our first house.

These are only a few of our Christmas ornaments. I have been collecting them since 1979 and can’t bear to throw away any ornament or decoration given to me. I don’t even want to think about the years of greeting cards tied up in bows and stored in a box. Of course, I can look through them and see messages from loved ones who are now with the Lord. There’s just something special about seeing the handwriting of someone who is now with The Lord!

I have given away only one collectable ornament that my little cousin (more like a niece since her Mom is only four years older than me and we have always been close. That goes for all of my younger cousins.)

In 1984, little Emily gave me a beautiful clear, teardrop ornament with a candle embossed on it. Actually, she picked out this ornament for our Aunt Shirley – “Sissy.”  Sissy didn’t get to enjoy her gift, however. She lost her battle with breast cancer and spent that Christmas in Heaven.

Emily told her Mom that she wanted Aunt Kathy to have the gift she had so lovingly chosen for Sissy. I still have tears whenever I think about it. Each year as I placed that beautiful ornament on the tree, I was reminded of the love behind it. Now that Emily has children of her own, I thought it only fitting to return it to her so that her boys would know what a sweet, thoughtful Mother they have. Also to remember “Sissy.” Funny, isn’t it how one little item can bring back so many memories!

Somehow, I have the feeling that every time Mary walked into a stable or heard the sound of bleating sheep she was reminded of the wonderful night she held the Son of God in her arms – indeed, God himself who took the form of man to redeem us. Immanuel – “God with us.” The Bible says that “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 

Organize!

Organize!

For nearly twenty years, I stored all of our Christmas decorations in the original boxes in my college footlocker which I kept in our den closet with the artificial tree. However, I ran out of space and the boxes began to smell musty and had to be thrown away along with the footlocker. I had to find someway to organize all of my “Christmas stuff!” The answer to my dilemma came to me at Staples. We were buying plastic file drawers for our home office and also for my sewing room. Inspiration hit like a bolt of lightning. The files were perfect! I still have a few boxes for more delicate ornaments but I can just roll the file out to the tree and return it to the closet when I’m done and I know where everything is. Everything else will go into a plastic tub which will sit on top of the file. I love organization. Don’t you?

If you have a story about special ornaments or organizational tips, I would love to read about it!

Praying my readers will have a new year of joy and blessing!

Love,

Kathy

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

This is the scene most of us cherish as memories and hope for each Christmas. A cozy Christmas is wonderful; especially if you are surrounded by loved ones. Children anticipating opening the gifts Mom and Dad so generously purchased to make their wishes come true and parents hoping they didn’t forget anything and welcoming the slower pace after Christmas is over. What fun!

My wish for you dear reader, is that you have or will receive the most wonderful gift of all. It was anticipated for generations, foretold in Scripture, and is offered to all who will receive it. What is this wonderful gift?

God's gift. Immanuel - God with us.

God’s gift. Immanuel – God with us.

His name is Jesus!

“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

“Whosoever” means you, my friend. Won’t you receive God’s gift today?

The light of Christmas

Have a blessed Christmas!

Love,

Kathy

P.S. Isabel’s Story will be continued after Christmas. I’m sorry for the delay. Hope you will come back later this week to read the continuing story of little Isabel’s Christmas Joy!