Tag Archive | Isabel’s Story

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. “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?”
“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 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 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.”

The Watch (Part 3) Preview chapter for Hope Beyond The Sunset By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

Memorial Day is about the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice – the ones who died in battle.  Earl Hamner portrayed this side of Memorial Day when he wrote about “Ben” who made a Memorial Day bench to honor the uncle for whom he was named. When Grandpa Walton sat on the bench and gently touched his sons name, his face said it all. 

We often forget about the suffering of the ones left behind. In todays society, the sorrow and rememberance  of Memorial Day has become a day for picnics and swimming.

The story below is from a chapter from the novel I am currently working on. Hope Beyond the Sunset which is a sequel to The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. The setting is 1926 in Vinton, Virginia where twelve-year-old Isabel attended school. Miss Merrideth is her teacher who overheard boys in the classroom boasting that they would have “Cleaned the Kiser’s clock.” They learned something very important that day.

The Watch
Preview chapter from Hope Beyond The Sunset by Kathreine Hinchee Purdy
(Isabel’s Story Book 2)

Alright class, that will be enough talk about things of which you know nothing.” Miss Meredith closed the classroom door and moved slowly, deliberately to her desk, pulling out her history book and an envelope before addressing the class.

“Now, open your history book to the chapter on The Great War. How many of you completed your assignment to interview a veteran of the Great War?”

Isabel raised her hand, slightly leaning to the right, hoping the boy sitting directly in front of her hid her. I hope she doesn’t call on me!

“Fine,” Miss Meredith said as she turned to write on the chalk board. “Your assignment tonight is to interview the wife, mother, sister or child of a Great War Veteran. I would like you to copy the questions from the board to include in your interview.”

Murmurs and groans filled the room. “Don’t know why we have to ask the women,” a boy from the back of the room stated boldly, “they didn’t do nothing!”

“They didn’t do anything, Timothy,” Miss Meredith corrected, “and your statement is false. Women made the sacrifice of their loved ones as well as doing all that they could to aid our troops. Many women took over running the farm or the family business, some went to work in factories to provide for their family, they knitted socks and scarves, rolled bandages, provided doughnuts and coffee for troops on the home front and many young women joined the Red Cross to give comfort and provide nursing skills to our wounded soldiers.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Timothy said and slouched in his chair.

“Sit up straight and listen to the story I am about to share with you.” Miss Meredith lifted up the watch necklace, ran her finger gently over the raised design, and allowed it to fall gently against her high collar shirtwaist.

Isabel looked at Millie across the aisle and both girls leaned forward, sensing a good story was forthcoming.

“Many years ago, two children sat at the very desks you are using today. The young ladies sat on one side of the room and the boys sat on the other. Both children loved school and looked forward to a bright future. As they matured, their friendship grew into a deep love for one another and the young man promised to marry the young lady after he graduated from the University of Virginia. Both sets of parents approved of the couple’s plans. While the young man studied at the University, the young lady also attended college while filling her hope chest with handmade linens and other items which would someday grace the home they had planned together.

Their plans came to a sudden halt one fateful day.” The teacher paused and looked around the room slowly before continuing the story. “One terrible three letter word shattered their dreams forever. War.”

“The young lady has given me permission to share this story and a letter written by her young man with you, today. I want you to listen carefully; you may be in the same situation someday. I pray that will not be the case,” she said as she took her seat at her desk, removed a slightly yellowed paper from its envelope and took a deep breath and began to read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My darling,

Sun is beginning to set and the smoke from a recent battle still hangs in the air. There is no way of knowing when the sound of war will reconvene so I am taking this respite to write to you as I wait in a deep, damp trench. I hope you have received my letters. I have only received one from you but I know there are more as you promised to write me every day. I know you keep your promises; you always have. Even when we were children, you hid food in your pockets and climbed the old oak tree outside my room on the nights I had been in trouble for throwing spit balls at the teacher or fighting on the playground. The punishment was always to go to bed without supper and that always broke your tender heart. You always promised to bring me something to eat and you always did. Oh, if only you could bring some of your Mama’s delicious fried chicken and biscuits tonight. A piece of your cherry pie would be like a slice of heaven now. Just thinking of the delicious fragrances takes my mind off the horrors surrounding me.

Do you remember our pal Moose? He lost a leg this morning. Pray that gangrene will not set in and take his life. He was only a few paces ahead of me. I attempted to carry him to safety but was suddenly caught up in a barrage of gunfire. Just as the medics arrived, we took flack so thick I thought it would never end. I returned to fighting and my rifle was so hot it seared the skin. I won’t go into details about the battle. I know you are praying, and that we are not alone. The Lord is with us. So I will speak of more pleasant things, my dear.

Do you remember the little cottage over by the lake I showed you the summer before last? The one we dreamed of owning some day? I know you do. You had it decorated in your pretty little head before I had time to walk around the perimeters.  The next day, you showed me sketches of the changes you wanted to make to “our” cottage. I can still see that final drawing in my head.  The cottage painted blue with white trim, window boxes filled with flowers, white gingerbread trim, a red door and ivy growing up the side. A cobblestone walkway lined with flowers, fronted by a white picket fence with a swinging gate. We shall have that as our home, dear when I return. Arrangements were made with my parents and their lawyer to apply a large percentage of my soldier’s pay to go towards the cottage and for the renovations.  We will even be able to add two rooms downstairs and up and plumbing installed. Should anything happen to me, the cottage is yours.  I can see you now, standing in the large bay window, checking the time on your watch necklace, counting the minutes until I arrive home from work. Perhaps tapping your foot, as I drive up in our motor car twenty minutes late for dinner. Can’t you just see it? This is what keeps me sane as we march along, looking for jerry’s, doing the task at hand. Waiting, watching, fearing, praying and dreaming the day when this awful war is over and we can go home.

It is getting dark and I will try and muster up some imaginative food as I try to force down the horrible concoction they refer to as rations. I will think of Mother’s pot roast tonight, I think. If you have a chance, when you receive this letter, will you please make a batch of your famous fudge and take it to Mother and Father? Visit with them for a while and please, have two pieces of that sweet delicacy for me; accompanied by two mugs of that good coffee from the store down the street?

I know I don’t have to ask. The letter I received from Mother said that you visit often and are always wearing our promise watch – the watch you promised to wear always until we meet again. I can still remember when I gave it to you. It was the night before I shipped out. You didn’t say so but I know you were expecting a ring. You covered your surprise well, my dear, but I knew you were disappointed. I couldn’t place a ring of promise on your finger under sad circumstances. I will save that joy until I come home. We can get married and live in our little cottage together for the rest of our lives. Just think of it, growing old together in our dream cottage.

Your words still ring in my ears as I remember you gently tracing the designing of the silver watch. “I will wear this near my heart and every tick of the watch will remind me of your heartbeat. Then you will not seem so far away. You will be just as near as my heart!”

I still have the locket you gave me with your image smiling at me inside and my parents on the other side. It too lies near my heart, carefully protected by my uniform and a small Bible I keep in my left pocket.

Something is happening ahead. I must put this away for now. Remember, I am only a heartbeat away. There is something else God is prompting me to remind you.

“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

We shall meet again; here on earth or in our cottage in Heaven.

Forever yours,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Isabel dabbed her eyes with the corner of her hankie as Miss Meredith gently folded the letter and placed it carefully into the envelope.

“This letter was delivered with a box of his belongings a month later. He didn’t even get to sign his name. A German bullet pierced his heart – I am told that he never felt pain. He was immediately transported from the trenches of war to the splendor of Heaven.”

The class sat in stunned silence as the school bell alerted them that the school day was at an end. No one moved for minutes and then as the spell was broken by a girl’s gentle sob. Students quietly gathered their books and walked past Miss Meredith with lowered heads.

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?”

 

eggbeater

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.'”

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

Mama Greene’s had a vision or hope for her nine children as she prayed for each child nightly.

  • For each of her children to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior at an early age.
  • That they would live according to His Word every day of their lives.
  • That they would receive an education. Her hope was that all of her children would at least graduate from 8th Grade. In the 1920’s this was considered educated among the farming communities. If they wanted to send their children to high school, they had to pay tuition which was difficult for poor families. They needed the older children to help on the farm.
  • That they would honor “Papa.”
  • That they would remain together and be close as a family.

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is back in print and is available!

(The e-book should be available by next week.)

Please click the link below for a preview.

http://The Vision of a Mother’s Heart (Isabel’s Story) (Volume 1) by Katherine Hinch… http://www.amazon.com/dp/1515298477/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_dsSXvb0G86QK0 via @amazon

Kathie Kingery Photography
PhotographerThe model for “Mama” is the real Isabel’s granddaughter, Emily.

Apron by K. Kingrey

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

 

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!

Early Telephones

Isn’t this a lovely print from Art.com? I love looking at pictures of life in the early twentieth century.

What kind of telephone was available when Isabel’s brother needed to call the hospital to check on their “Mama”? One like this one! He had to ride his horse to the nearest house with a telephone.

Difficult to imagine today, isn’t it? We are so used to using our cell phones for everything from talking, texting, checking email, connecting with friends on facebook, playing games, checking the weather and even watching movies.

Isabel’s family didn’t have electricity, a telephone and had a privy outside. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? If you know someone who lived in the early days of industry and technology, give them a call! They may have a great story to share with you. =-)

Isabel’s Birthday Sample I from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart

Last August, I published a sample chapter of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart in my Winepress blog. I thought I would share this with you in three installments. Happy reading!
The Vision of a Mother’s Heart
By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

A Birthday Surprise

ISABEL LOOKED AT the date on the newspaper, and her
eyes filled with tears: August 24, 1925. “It’s my birthday,” she
whispered to little Ralph, who lay quietly in her arms as he
teetered between sleep and wakefulness. He jumped slightly as
he edged closer to slumber, fighting to stay awake. Isabel smiled
as she looked down at her eight-month-old brother and thought
back in time to last year, when she had been so excited to enter
the grownup world of “double digits.”
“I wish Mama were here,” she whispered. A tear slid down
her cheek.

“I wish she were here too, Pumpkin,” said a deep voice from
the shadows, startling Isabel and the baby.
“Papa, I didn’t know you were awake. The rooster hasn’t
even crowed yet,” Isabel said with a hint of teasing in her voice.
She rose gently from the rocker.

“No, don’t worry about getting breakfast yet; it’s too early,”
Papa said. He took the slumbering baby and laid him in his crib.
“Besides, Lena is fixing a breakfast fit for a queen this morning,
and she said to be sure to have you and the children at her house
there in time to enjoy it while it’s hot. Did you get any sleep
last night? I think I heard the little ones exercising their lungs
a couple of times, but they had stopped before I could get up
to see to them.”

“They just needed a diaper change and their regular
4:00 A.M. feeding,” Isabel said. She stretched and yawned and
then walked to the sink to start a pot of coffee.”

“Now what did I just tell you?” Papa said with mock consternation
in his voice as he watched his eleven-year-old daughter
make a strong pot of coffee just the way he liked it—with nutmeg
and egg shells to make even the cheapest coffee taste full and
rich, just as her Mama had taught her. Isabel looked up just as
he was wiping away a tear with his handkerchief.

“Something wrong, Papa?”
“Not today, child. Just had something in my eye, that’s all.”
He wiped at his eye again and then blew his nose before folding
his white cotton fabric and putting it back into his pocket.

“Well,” Isabel said, “since Lena is fixing our breakfast, I’ll
just make some muffins to tide us over and may be the boys
will want to eat an apple with their glass of milk since they have
to milk the cow and take care of the outside chores before we
go. They will really be hungry, and it will take almost an hour
to get to Jim and Lena’s house.”

“That sounds reasonable to me. Just don’t tell Lena,” Papa
said. “She’ll skin me alive if she knows I let ya’ll eat before we
got to her house.”

Isabel rushed to get everyone dressed and ready for the trip.

No sooner was she ready to step out the door than one twin
needed changing and then the next. When everyone was finally
squeezed into the seats of the Tin Lizzie and on the road to
Roanoke, Isabel breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the view.
She hoped it would push back the beautiful memories of her
last birthday with Mama.