“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Mama Greene’s had a vision or hope for her nine children as she prayed for each child nightly.
For each of her children to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior at an early age.
That they would live according to His Word every day of their lives.
That they would receive an education. Her hope was that all of her children would at least graduate from 8th Grade. In the 1920s this was considered educated among the farming communities. If they wanted to send their children to high school, they had to pay tuition which was difficult for poor families. They needed the older children to help on the farm.
That they would honor “Papa.”
That they would remain together and be close as a family.
The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is back in print and is available!
(The e-book needs to be reformatted. If you read the ebook, please forgive the mistakes!)
Kathie Kingery Photography
PhotographerThe model for “Mama” is the real Isabel’s granddaughter, Emily.
Apron by K. Kingrey
The title of my first novel was borrowed from a song by singer and songwriter, Abigail Miller. The chorus contained the words:
The vision of a mother’s heart,
Is to share with her children the love only Jesus can give.
The Vision of a mother’s heart,
Is to see them all walking with God every day that they live.
This chorus summed up all that I wanted to depict in the story inspired by my grandmother’s childhood.
I didn’t have pictures of Jimmy and Avil (Billy) when they were small.
I am currently working on the sequel, Hope Beyond the Sunset. You may read sample chapters as listed in the archives.
As a child, I loved sitting under the table and listening to Granny, (Isabel) reminisce about her childhood while holding the picture of her mother in my hands and could almost see the story come to life. I remember thinking, “This should be a book!” Little did I know that the Lord would use me to write their story.
I changed the last name of the family and other distant family members. They were real people who lived in Virginia. The first book takes place begins in 1924. Book two picks up where we left off in 1926 and will run through 1929.
One great thing about writing fiction even when inspired by a true story – we can change the ending. I will update you when Hope Beyond the Sunset is available.
The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is available on Amazon.com or you can buy a signed copy from me. I hope you will enjoy stepping into the past with Isabel and the “Greene” family!
It’s not about eggs, candy or new dresses. It’s not about hats and gloves; but about what the precious Son of God has done for you and for me.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Transgressor. That’s me. That’s you and every human who has drawn breath for the Bible says”
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-12
Did you notice the middle of the verse, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Unlike children searching diligently for brightly colored eggs to fill their pretty baskets, in our sin, we think only of our self. We don’t naturally seek after God. We think we are “good” and don’t understand that we are sinners who need the Lord. We go our own way. We do whatever pleases us. We live for self.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
He lived for us! He died for us to cover our sin debt.
“As is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:11-12
We are sinners seeking after things that will make us happy; not understanding that there is a penalty for our sin. God is a Holy God. He cannot look on sin. He loved us so much that He made a way to cover our sin debt so that we may have a relationship with Him. That we may have eternal life by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; receiving the (free) gift of salvation. (Atonement, Redemption – He bought us with a terrible price; the death of His only begotten (perfect, unblemished, sinless) son of God!
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
Have you received Christ as your Savior? He loves you so much that He willing gave His life for you – even though He never sinned. He is the perfect, spotless Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. The sacrificial Lamb of God died for you and arose from the dead on the Third day; just as He promised. Won’t you trust Him today?
Rising He Justified, freely forever. One Day He’s Coming, Oh, Glorious Day!
Just as children get new clothing for Easter Sunday and fill their pretty baskets with colorful eggs, candy and toys, we who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior become a new creation in Christ. Our spiritual basket is filled with wonderful things as we read His Word (Seeking Him) and apply His Word in our daily life; we grow and are filled with wonderful things through Him. Besides Salvation and the Assurance that when we die, we will go to Heaven, what else do we gain?
We are bought with a price. Redeemed and set free!
Click on the link below to see where Jesus walked and talked with His disciples. Where He was buried and arose from the dead. See the road to Emmaus where Jesus talked with two of his disciples after His resurrection. Go to Jerusalem with Franklin Graham.
When I do research for a book, I look at the era. Fashion, Homes and Furnishing, Politics, Fads and Music just to name a few things that make a story feel more authentic. I happened to run across this song and I laugh every time I hear it!
It may be appropriate for some of my Little Isabel stories,(which are set from 1914-1920), but I see Isabel and her sisters, “Maggie” and Sylvia as teens, listening to this “old song” on the victrola when there is a knock on the door. Isabel opens the door and there stands a young man with gorgeous grey eyes and a strand of black hair falling over his forehead under a woolen cap. He is holding flowers in one hand, a box of candy behind his back and wearing a great big smile when Isabel opens the door. He decides that from that moment on, he would nickname her after this song. “Katy Belle”
So, what is the song? Yes, We Have No Bananas? , School Days?, Yankee Doodle Dandy? All good songs but this one happens to be called, Katy by Mr. Bill Murray.
Then I remembered my husband’s grandfather was a “Doughboy” who fought in World War I aka known as “The war to end wars.” So he would have marched home in the local parade in 1918 when they returned home. That is, if he was able. He had been hit with mustard gas; the Germans horrendous weapon. He did survive and met a pretty girl named Margie. They were married and had two beautiful children. One boy and one cute little girl! In the 1920’s, there was a Revival in Roanoke, Virginia where this family lived. Evangelist Billy Sunday had a crusade and Ezekiel “Zeke” Purdy received Christ as his savior. Thankfully, the Lord prevented him from dying in the war!
There were many young men marching home with homes and dreams of a bright future. Just like the young man singing to his girl, Katy!
There was an old saying that men used to say to young ladies who were pretty but too young for him. This saying was most like to get an eye roll or a disapproving remark from the young lady. The phrase was, “If I were twenty years younger, I would be outside your Mama’s kitchen door every time you emptied the dish water!” (A definitely “Yuck!” for me!) For younger readers, I will explain.
When plumbing was first installed inside the house, it was usually a water pump. Dishes were washed in a dishpan. Water heated on the stove was poured into the dishpan with soap flakes or shaved soap. After the dishes were washed, dried and put away, the water was carried to the back door and emptied on the rose bushes usually planted by the kitchen door. (The soap kept bugs off the rose bushes.)
This is likely what Bill Murray was referring to when he sang, “when the moon shines over the cowshed, I’ll be waiting by the k-k-k-k-kitchen door!”
A Tip for Writers
I don’t know about you, whether I am researching history for a story or working on geneaology, the time period is important to me. It would seem strange to imagine a young man and a young lady from a hundred years ago to look, dress, and use expressions that we use today. For example, this young man would never have invited the lovely young lady, Katy to “go out for a coffee”! She may have invited him into her home to meet her parents and to offer him a cup of coffee and a pice of pie. He may have invited her to go to the Ice Cream Parlor for an ice cream sundae.
This is what screenwriters are doing today. Personally, I feel it is unnecessary to “update” (literally take them out of the time period and ruin their speech by having them use todays slang and wear todays hairstyles.) It is a disservice to the audiance and to the memory of our loved ones in history. As you can hear in the different renditions I posted of the Katy song, people had their own “sound” and even then, parents disapproved of the young people’s use of slang as it was in 1918 and may have even considered this song as inappropriate. (Many of the ragtime music was spurned by parents.) If we put the characters in the correct era with the appropriate vocabulary, music and fashion, it means so much more. After all, the story is about them and not about us. Let’s not rewrite history but honor those who lived it.
By the way, remember that this song inspired a scene for my book? The young man who was “calling on” Isabel looked something like this ten years later.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
“He’s here, He’s here. Everybody come and see” Isabel called from the foot of the stairs, “He’s finally here!”
“Who’s here?” Papa said as he rubbed his chin and smoothed his hair which was sticking out in every direction.
“You mean he was here, don’t ya’ Sis?” Eugene said as he slid down the banister and bumped into Mama who ran from the kitchen to see the commotion.
“No! He’s here in the parlor. He’s here – just as He said!”
“Isabel dear,” Mama said softly, what do you mean?”
Isabel took Mama’s hand and ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked into the eyes of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. “All those years, we waited and waited and He Came!”
“Oh, Isabel dear, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. We celebrate Christmas because He came. The carved baby in the manger is just a reminder that He came. You know that this is kind of a picture that represents Him. Something we can hold onto as we read God’s Word but it’s just an object. We mustn’t make an idol. You know this doll isn’t Jesus.”
“Yes Mama, I know that. But He came, didn’t He?” Isabel said as her eyes filled with tears. He came because He loved us, right? That’s what Eugene and Curtis said from the Bible.”
“Yes, child,” Mama said softly.
“Jesus loves me Mama and I love Jesus.”
Papa moved in closer, picked her up and held her tightly as she held Baby Jesus in her hand.
“You’re right, Isabel,” Papa said and wiped a tear from her cheek. “We love Him because He first loved us and you know what?”
Isabel shook her head from side to side.
“He’s coming again!”
“He is?” Isabel pushed back to see Papa and Mama’s faces. “Will he be in a stable?”
“No, but He will be riding on a white horse and will come as The King of King and Lord of Lords!”
“We will see Him?”
“Yes Isabel,” Mama said as she wiped the tears from Isabel’s eyes. “We talk to Him every time we pray and He speaks to us through His Word, The Bible! It is my prayer that someday you, your brothers and sisters will receive Christ as your Savior. We will live with Him forever.”
Isabel looked at the image in her hand, at her parents, and to the image again. Finally closing her eyes and said, “Jesus I love you because You first loved me. Thank you for coming! Thank you for Christmas!
“Mama,” she whispered before we look in our socks and open presents, may we sing?”
“That would be wonderful, Isabel. What shall we sing?”
“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”
What about you, friends? Is your focus on The Son of God, Jesus who gave His life for you or are you focusing on the external trappings that often draw our attention away from Him?
Christmas isn’t about the tree, the decorations, the Carols, or even the gifts.
It is about God’s love for you.
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
I John 4:19
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believeth in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Why did God send His only begotten son – knowing that He would be the sacrifice for our sin? Because He loves us.
God is Holy and cannot look upon sin and yet He loved us – even though we are sinners – and longs for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. This is what Jesus did for you and for me. He took the penalty of sin in His own body on the cross. He gave His life so that you and I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.
When I first heard the Gospel in 1968, I did not immediately receive Christ as my Savior. I was a quiet child and everyone told me that I was “good.” This is not true. I am a sinner. It took me a week to realize it.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:
Being justified (made upright and in right standing with God) freely by His grace (unmerited favor of God) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
One night, after a week of conviction that I am a sinner; I could practically see Jesus suffering, dying on the cross for my sin! In the wee hours of the morning, I got on my knees and confessed to Him that I am a sinner and asked Him to save me. Trusting completely in His redemption; He saved me. He Redeemed me. (Bought with a price – the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Oh, what a gift He offered to me and to you!
“For the wages of sin is death; (separation from God) but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So dear friends, this Christmas please look past the manger and see the Gift of God – to you! Receive it just as you would receive a gift from a loving father. It is a gift that you cannot lose and it cannot be taken away. It is yours forever!
Every time Isabel entered the parlor, a new carved animal rested in or near the stable but she never saw Mama or Papa go into the parlor without the children.
“How did they get here?” Isabel asked Mama and Papa but their reply was the same.
“Must have come to see the Baby Jesus!”
After dinner dishes were washed and put away, each child donned their coats, hats, scarves, mittens and boots while Papa packed the sleigh.
“Did you remember to put on your woolens?”
“Yes, Mama but they’re so scratchy!” Isabel said as she scratched her arms and legs. When she struggled to scratch her back, Mama smiled. “Okay young lady, I’m convinced.”
“All aboard!” Papa said as he helped Mama into the front seat and handed her baby Sylvia. “Poor baby,” he said, “you have her so bundled, she can’t move a finger and probably can’t breathe with that piece of blanket flopped over her face!”
“She wouldn’t be able to breathe at all if I didn’t protect her face. That cold air will take her breath away – especially once we get started. It’s awfully breezy, you know. Besides, this is a very thin blanket with air holes since it is crochet.” Mama lifted the blanket long enough to place a kiss on the baby’s head, smiled at the child’s cooing.” Isabel followed Eugene into the second seat, followed by Maggie and then Curtis.
“Mama, make them scoot over so I will have room,” Curtis said as he gently pushed Maggie against Isabel who slid into Eugene who bumped his elbow against the sleigh. “Hey, watch what you’re doing!”
“I didn’t do it,” Isabel said as she looked past Maggie in Curtis’ direction. “He did it!” “That’s enough, children,” Mama said cheerfully. “Let’s see, what shall we sing on the way?”
“Why don’t we sing Jingle Bells?” Papa said as he handed Isabel a leather strap with jingle bells attached. “Try to keep time with the horses,” he said with a grin. “See? They’re wearing jingle bells!”
The entire family began to sing. “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way; oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.” The children finished three songs before they reached the Albright home.
“Oh boy,” Isabel exclaimed. “May I see Sally Anne?”
“Yes, you may. I wanted it to be a surprise but your friend is going with us. Mrs. Albright and Cookie have volunteered to take care of baby Sylvia while we are caroling.”
“Oh Boy!” Isabel stood up in anticipation and fell into Eugene’s lap.
“Hey, sit down silly goose!” Isabel jumped out of the sleigh, hitting a piece of ice, sliding face down into six-year-old Curtis who landed with a thump on the ground.
“Hey,” he said sternly, “watch where you’re going!”
Isabel looked down at the torn stockings and already felt the sting of skinned knees.
“Oh dear,” Mama said, “you must be careful. It’s awfully slippery out here. Are you alright?”
“I’m okay,” Curtis replied as he pointed to Isabel. “Looks like the silly goose skinned her knee.”
“Son, don’t call your sister silly or a goose. Now wipe the snow from your clothes and carefully stand at the foot of the steps so that we may sing at least one Christmas Carol for the Albrights before we go inside.” Isabel brushed away tears from her cold face and tried to sing Joy To The World with the rest of her family but her knee stung as well as her pride. Sally Anne was standing at the door when Isabel fell and cried out to her friend.
Papa picked up Isabel in his arms and led the family into the welcoming light of the Albright home. “Come in, come in,” Mrs. Albright said as she reached for baby Sylvia. “Oh, what a sweetie. Cookie and I have been looking forward to this all day, haven’t we Cookie?”
“We surely have,” Cookie confirmed and reached for Isabel. “Why don’t you come with me, child? Cookie will get you all fixed up!”
“Yes,” Mrs. Albright said, “Sally Anne has a pair of woolen stockings Isabel may have. She can’t go out into the cold with the torn ones.” And so Isabel followed the Albright’s cheerful cook into the kitchen to sit by the warm stove. When it was time to go, Isabel had a bandaged knee, new woolen stockings and a peppermint stick for being brave.
Three-year-old Maggie stood quietly behind Mama looking around the room and timidly receiving a gingerbread boy from Mrs. Albright. Sally Anne, dressed in her warmest clothes, a hooded cape, and a fur muff, stood by Isabel until Papa declared it was time to go. She jumped up and down with excitement and then ran to the Christmas tree. “May I please give Isabel and Maggie their gifts now, Mother?” With a nod of the head from her mother, Sally Anne reached for two beautiful hat boxes.
“This one is for you, Isabel,” she said as she handed her friend the largest package. “And this one is for you, Maggie,” she said with a smile. “You may open them when I say … Go!” Isabel looked at her little sister and they lifted the box tops together.
“It’s a muff! Just like Sally Anne’s! Look, mama, look!”
“It’s soft, Mama!” Maggie said as she ran her fingers over the soft fur.
“Oh Lillian,” Mama said with a catch in her voice. “You shouldn’t have!”
“We wanted to,” Mrs. Albright replied with a smile as she adjusted the muff around Maggie’s neck and showed her how to slip her hands inside. Maggie’s eyes grew enormous as a shy smile spread over her face. Isabel had hers on in record time.
“What do you say, girls?” Mama asked as she dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief.
“Thank you!” they said in unison.
“You’re quite welcome.”
“Mama,” Isabel pulled at her mother’s cape, “may I give Sally Anne her gift now?”
“Her gift is in the back of the sleigh so why don’t we wait until we come back to pick up baby Sylvia?”
“Yes, ma’am.” It was then Isabel noticed her two brothers wearing leather gloves instead of their knitted mittens. They were also eating gingerbread men, jamming them in their mouth as they turned toward the door.
“This is going to be so much fun,” Sally Anne said as she linked arms with Isabel. “This is the best night – ever!”
Isabel awoke the following morning to the sound of clinking in the kitchen. She sat up, rubbed her eyes and looked around the room. Frosted window panes pelted with sleet diminished the sleep in her eyes. Isabel jumped on her bed, singing. “It’s Christmas Eve and it’s snowing. Get up Maggie, get up and see!” Maggie jumped out of bed and ran to the window just as Mama opened their bedroom door. “Well, it looks like our little ladies are already awake,” Mama said with a smile. “Get dressed quickly girls, breakfast is almost ready.” “Snow, Mama, snow!” Maggie exclaimed. “Yes, it is really snowing and sleeting too. That means it is very cold and slippery outside. We need to hurry before Papa and the boys come in from doing chores. They must be chilled to the bone!” Mama had both girls dressed and beds made in record time. Isabel and Maggie hopped down the steps and skipped toward the kitchen. As they passed the parlor, Isabel stopped. “Look!” She shouted and pointed to the tree before running into the room to investigate. The stable had been placed on a table in front of the tree and one lonely wooden lamb stood in front of it. “Where did that come from?” “Oh, a lamb!” Maggie said as she gently stroked the small white figure. “It must have walked here from Bethlehem,” Mama said with a smile. “It wasn’t here last night!” They entered the kitchen just as Papa, Eugene and Curtis entered the back door – stomping snow off their boots. “Papa, Papa!” the girls cried in unison. “Come and see what Jesus sent us!” “Hold on there, gals and let me get out of these boots and wet coat and then you can tell me all about it.” Isabel and Maggie waited patiently until Papa put on his slippers and hung up his coat before dragging him into the parlor. “Well, I’ll be! How did that get in here?” Papa said with a grin. “Guess it came early to see the Baby Jesus! Let’s go back into the warm kitchen before our breakfast gets cold.” Papa walked with the girls into the kitchen, over to the stove to warm his hands before helping Mama carry dishes of eggs, pancakes, bacon and a large dish of grits to the table. “If the weather gets any worse I’m afraid we won’t be able to go Christmas caroling tonight after all,” Papa said as helped Mama clear the table after breakfast. “Oh dear,” Mama exclaimed as she pointed to the stack of packages and baskets on the work table. “We have all of these cookies, cakes and bread to deliver tonight. If we wait until tomorrow, I’m afraid it will be too stale.” “We’ll see,” Papa said as he closely looked at the packages and picked up a basket. “Who’s this one for?” “That one is for the Widow Barker. I heard she has been sick so I wanted to make sure she has plenty to eat.” “Don’t know why you want to give her anything but a good tongue lashing – the way she does to every boy in the county,” Papa said as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “That’s why we need to remember her, Papa.” Mama placed a jar of chicken soup into the basket along with a loaf of bread, jam and a bundle of cookies. “Jesus said to do good to people who are unkind to us. Perhaps she will realize that Jesus loves her too and will have joy in her heart.” “We’ll see,” Papa said. By lunchtime, sleet had turned to light, fluffy snow. “Looks like it will be a good night for a ride in the sleigh to deliver gifts and to go caroling after all,” Papa said with a smile. “The boys and I will get the old cutter ready.” “Girls, I want you both to take a nap today since we are going caroling tonight,” Mama said as she sat down in the rocker by the stove with baby Sylvia in her arms. Isabel wanted to protest but the look in Mama’s eyes stopped her. “Yes ma’am,” she said quietly. At that very moment, Maggie squealed. “Look! Look at the stable!” Isabel ran into the parlor and stopped in amazement. There were two more sheep and a cow in the stable. “It’s a miracle!”
The squeak of the back porch door and the sound of Papa and her two older brothers prompted Isabel to investigate. “Isabel,” Mama scolded, “one of these days you are going to hurt yourself; jumping off the stool that way!” “Yes, Mama.” Isabel smiled and slowly backed to the door and then ran the length of the back porch to hold the screen door. Papa entered the back porch, stomped snow off his boots, and then made a show of wiping his feet on the braided rug before entering the kitchen door. “Temperature’s dropping awfully fast,” Papa said as he sauntered to the stove to warm his hands while Mama poured a cup of steaming coffee into a heavy mug and offered him a gingerbread cookie. “Here’s your tree, little princess,” Papa teased as he pointed to a tiny tree before stepping aside to reveal a large pine. “Oh, Papa it’s beautiful!” Isabel jumped and clapped her hands simultaneously. “That is a lovely tree!” Mama reached over Isabel to open the door wider. “Let’s move out of the way, dear so that Papa and the boys can bring that lovely tree inside.” Isabel skipped into the kitchen and moved her stool out of the way before running to Maggie. “It’s here, it’s here Maggie. Wake up!” Maggie sat up and rubbed her eyes. “The Christmas tree?” “Yes!” Isabel sang, “The Christmas tree and we get to help decorate it!” Both girls danced around the kitchen as Papa carefully carried the tree into the front parlor and placed it gently into the corner where it could be seen from the kitchen and through the windows. “Now girls, don’t get too excited. We need to prepare supper and clean up the kitchen first. Besides, we haven’t finished stringing popcorn. We will work on that tonight and add a few of the decorations. Tomorrow we will wrap up cookies to give to our neighbors when we go Christmas caroling. How does that sound?” “Fun!” Isabel and Maggie sang in unison.
After the dishes were done, the popcorn strung and handmade ornaments hung on the tree, Mama picked up the family Bible and the children gathered around her.
“Did you know that the people of Israel waited for the birth of Jesus – the “Messiah” for a very long time?” “As long as we waited for baby Sylvie to come?” Maggie asked softly. “Yes,” Mama said as she reached down and touched the child’s cheek. “They waited many years. “That’s a long time!” Isabel exclaimed, walked closer to Mama and sat cross-legged on the floor. “Almost since the beginning of time – since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.” “Did Abraham wait for Jesus to come?” Eugene asked as he folded a piece of paper to cut into the shape of a snowflake.” “Yes, Abraham believed! God even showed Abraham that He what salvation is all about; He showed us what salvation is by promising Abraham a son and then as precious Isaac began to grow and learn how to be a man for God, he was used as an example of sacrifice.” “God asked Abraham to take Isaac to the mountain, didn’t he Mama? Eugene said as he laid his craft aside and leaned on his elbows as Mama flipped the pages of the Bible to Genesis. Papa turned from adding water to the bucket holding the tree, rubbed his chin and joined the conversation. “Abraham was a very old man when little Isaac was born, you know.” “Older than you, Papa?” Curtis asked innocently. “Oh, I guess Abraham was about fifty or sixty years older than me.” “He was old!” “Yep, he and Sarah both were much too old to have a child. That is part of the miracle – right Mama?” Papa tossed the question back at Mama who had found her place in Scripture. “That’s right,” Mama smiled at Papa and then looked at the children. “Sarah was much older than me so don’t need to ask. She was even older than Gammy Isabella and Grandma Sarah Elizabeth too. Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac was born and Sarah wasn’t much younger.” The children quieted as Mama pulled the lamp closer to her chair and lifted the Bible. “Genesis chapter 21 tells us about the birth of Isaac. It also tells about what happens when people try to take matters into their own hands to make things happen instead of waiting for God to answer but we will discuss that another time. Tonight, we are talking about the very long wait Abraham and Sarah had to wait for the son God had promised to them. Oh, they were so happy to hold that sweet baby in their arms! Every day he grew bigger and stronger making their parents proud to be chosen by God for such a blessing! They laughed as he smiled in his sleep, watched him try to fit his tiny fist in his mouth – just like you did when you were babies.
He became his Papa’s helper when he learned to walk and then run.” “Did they have sheep to sheer?” Eugene asked excitedly. “Oh, yes. Abraham had many fine animals and many workers helping him but I am sure he taught Isaac all about the animals.” Mama smiled and continued with the story. “One day, God spoke to Abraham and asked him to do something very hard. Something Abraham could never imagine doing but he trusted God. “What did he ask Abraham to do, Mama?” Mama began to read. “God said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. So Abraham arose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son, and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship and we will come back to you.’ So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Then he said, ‘Look to the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” Mama hesitated and then looked at Papa and then at the children. “Abraham obeyed God and made the altar just as he was supposed to. He put the wood on the altar and then he lifted up his son, Isaac and laid him on the altar where he would normally put a perfect lamb.” “But why, Mama?” Eugene stood and looked over her shoulder to see the Word of God. “Because God asked him too,” Mama said softly. You see, before Jesus was born, a perfect lamb or a ram had to be sacrificed to cover their sin. It was an act of faith to show that they believed God would forgive them – to lay the blame for their sin – and remember anything that displeases God is sin – on the sacrificial lamb.” “They kill the fluffy lamb like Papa has to shoot animals for food?” Isabel felt a tear run down her cheek as she remembered seeing Papa bringing home a deer and a turkey earlier in the week. “Something like that dear,” Mama said softly, “however, this was an offering to God and not for dinner. The animal used for the sacrifice was very special.” “So what happened to Isaac?” Curtis asked impatiently. Mama scooted closer to the lamp and continued reading. “Let’s see now, where did we leave off? Oh, verse ten.” “And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of The LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place The-LORD-Will-Provide.” “Phew!” Eugene exclaimed, “I thought he was going to kill Isaac!” Mama nodded in agreement and looked at Papa before continuing with tears in her eyes. “The Angel of the LORD spoke to Abraham a second time and told him: ‘By Myself, I have sworn, said the LORD because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son- blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed (children) all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.” “Abraham and his son, Isaac went home,” Mama said softly as she pulled out a hankie, blew her nose and placed the hankie in her apron pocket. “In the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter eleven, it said that because Abraham believed God, it was counted to him for righteousness. It also says that because Abraham obeyed God and offered up his only begotten son believing that God would raise him up from the dead. Boys, what was the Bible verse you learned in Sunday School class last week?” Eugene and Curtis stood up and began to quote together: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3: 16 “Thank you, boys,” Mama said as she closed the Bible. You see, God gave us a picture of what He planned to do for you and for me. He planned to send His only begotten Son – Jesus to be our sacrifice so that by believing in Him, we will have everlasting life with Him in Heaven. Abraham was just a man. Isaac was just a boy but Jesus is God’s perfect, sinless Son. He is God in the flesh. He is called Immanuel which means ‘God with us.’ We are human and sin. Some boys may have struggled to get away but Isaac trusted his father. Perhaps Isaac also trusted God to save him – and he did. He provided a ram. Jesus is our ‘ram’ isn’t He?” “Let’s see now,” Papa said slowly. God promised a son – Isaac to Abraham and Sarah but they had to wait many years before Isaac was born. Abraham’s seed or descendants had to wait hundreds or even thousands of years for Jesus to be born – right Mama?” “That’s right, Papa. The book of Matthew starts out with the people who were born and died before Jesus was born and it is a very long list! King David is on that list too, Mama said. The Bible is filled with mention of Jesus or the Messiah all through the Bible – from beginning to end. Last week, the preacher said that it is as if there is a red ribbon all the way through the Bible and that red ribbon is Jesus. Remember when God created everything and then he created man? He said, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Jesus is God the Son. It is hard to understand but God The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are ‘three in one.’ We won’t truly understand it until we are in Heaven.” “But it’s Christmas,” Curtis said, “why are we talking about Abraham and Isaac?” “We wanted you, children, to understand how important Christmas is. It isn’t about the tree or the pretty decorations you made for it and it isn’t even about filled stockings.” Mama said as she leaned over and rocked baby Sylvia’s cradle. It is about the long-awaited, special, miraculous baby who was born in a stable like sheep to be the Savior of the world. Did you notice that God kept calling Isaac ‘your only son or your only begotten son?’ Jesus is God’s only begotten son. Isaac’s birth was a miracle because Abraham and Sarah’s age. Jesus’ birth was a miracle because He did not have an earthly father. God is His father. Jesus was born of a young woman who was pure. A virgin – but we will talk about that when you are older. Abraham and Isaac had to travel to the place that God would show them. Mary and Joseph, the man God chose for Mary to marry so that he would be a good fill-in father for Jesus, had to travel to Bethlehem. They later had to travel to Egypt because of the wicked King who wanted to harm Jesus. Jesus traveled in His ministry and then, he had to walk up the hill called Calvary to become the sacrifice for our sin. After He gave His life for us, His disciples, his family and followers waited three long days when Jesus arose from the dead! So you see, waiting so long for Jesus to come is very much a part of the Christmas story. Sometimes, we forget that because we focus on gifts and trees.” Mama said with a smile and nodded to Papa who stood and left the room. Papa returned to the room with a large bundle and walked slowly to the tree. “What’s that?” “Is it a gift?” “Who’s it for?” Everyone seemed to speak at once while watching Papa struggle with the bundle in his arms. “Mama,” Papa said with a chuckle. “Guess you had better help me with this before I drop it!” Mama rushed over and removed the gunny sack to reveal a wooden structure.
“Oh,” Isabel exclaimed, “is it a dollhouse?” “Of course not, silly!” Eugene said with confidence. “It’s a stable!” “That’s right, Eugene.” Mama smiled as she helped Papa lower the structure and placed it carefully under the tree. Next, he dug into the bag and pulled out some hay to lie on the floor of the stable. Next, he pulled out a box on legs and filled it with hay. “What’s that?” Little Maggie asked and reached out to touch it gently. “It’s a manger!” Curtis said. “You know – the bed for baby Jesus but it’s really a food box for the animals. Right, Papa?” “That’s right, son,” Papa said as he stood and placed an arm around Mama. “Why don’t we sing just one Christmas carol before we turn in for the night? I’m afraid the chickens have beat us to bed tonight! Mama picked up her squeeze box and played Joy to the World as the children and Papa sang along. Isabel looked once more at the stable with the empty manger. “Papa, what about Baby Jesus? Doesn’t he sleep in the manger?” “Well little Princess,” Papa said softly, “we have to wait.”
I first posted this in May 2012 but as I read it, I realized it needed to be updated and shared. Perhaps next year, we can make red poppies to wear as a reminder of our fallen. Memorial Day is for the fallen. It is different from Veterans Day. Our Veterans came home and were able to change from their uniforms into clothing non-military men wear. Just to be clear, let’s learn the difference in days set aside to honor our Military.
Armed Forces Day: For Those who currently wear the uniform.
Veterans Day: For those who used to wear the uniform.
Memorial Day:For those who never made it out of uniform.
Today we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and for their loved ones. The gentleman in the picture below is a Veteran who is no doubt thinking of his friends and brothers in arms who never made it out of uniform. Above my desk on a small shelf, I have the book, The Bedford Boys. One American Town’s Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice by Alex Kershaw.
We all know brave men and women who fought and used their medical training in Vietnam. Today, my husband helped to honor those who did not come back. He rode his motorcycle to Washington DC and worked with Christian Motorcyclists Association to give coffee and water to thirsty motorcyclists who were there for Rolling Thunder. I will write more about that tomorrow, with pictures that my husband took. Many people had to be taken to the hospital for heat stroke. I am sure they were treated and will be able to go home. “Home” means so much more when we think of the U.S. Marines, the Soldiers, the airplane and helicopter pilots (and Medics who risked their lives to pick up the wounded and took them safety. Some made it home. Those who did not, are listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.) Fighter Pilots, Sailors – We thank God for each one. We pray for those in harm’s way today and for their families. God bless you, one and all!
In the banner for this blog today, there is a photograph of Marines. My Daddy, Charles B. McReynolds is the Gunnery Sergeant on the back row in the center. He was twice retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. and is with the Lord today and no doubt thanking his fellow Marines who never made it out of uniform. He passed away this March and I miss calling him and hearing his cheerful voice and I miss his love of history and his advice. Those who truly celebrate Memorial Day feel the same for their loved ones who died in service of their country. I want you to know that I am praying for you today.
May 26, 2019
I found this interesting article regarding the history of Memorial Day. I wanted to confirm the history of this special day honoring those who have fought and died for our country. What prompted this search? I saw an ad on television (“ugh!”) declaring Memorial Day will be honored with a (get this!) Star Wars marathon. Are they serious?
Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to show movies about real conflicts where real men gave their lives for our country? Lets see, there is Gettysburg (a favorite!) Sergeant York, (WWI movie about a Conscientious Objector who became a hero, to rescue our troops) Friendly Persuasion, Shenandoah, Yankee Doodle Dandy (for those who are not familiar with this oldie but goodie, this is about the composer George M. Cohen who wrote patriotic songs, Over There and It’s a Grand Old Flag…), War Horse,The Fighting Sullivans,(five brothers lost when their ship went down in WWII) and numerous other WWII movies. Movies about the Korean War, Vietnam, and last but not least, the more recent wars of the past twenty years. Many men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice. Many carry physical and invisible scars that only the Lord can heal. So why would one want to waste time watching a series of movies about a fictitious, futuristic war on Memorial Day? If we have nothing better to do than watch a marathon why not be reminded of real heroes?
Please forgive me for ranting about something so trivial as a television ad. I just want to thank all of the heroes who selflessly fought for freedom. So thank you for your sacrifice. We will not forget!
“Two Generations of Vets” by Stevan Dohanos
In the following link, there is a poem that inspired a lovely tradition. Wearing a red poppy (flower) to honor the fallen. Artificial poppies were made, sold and used to help others. That is a lovely tradition.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.
Enjoy footage of our grandfathers and great grandfathers as they marched “Over There!”
Isabel was nervous about going back to school. She fretted all summer, remembering that last year when she walked into the classroom, some of the girls snickered at her new dress that Mama had made especially for this occasion. She overheard Arlene Mason whisper to the other girls, “Isabel’s dress is made from the same fabric as Mother’s kitchen curtains. Wouldn’t that make her a Window?”
Isabel took a deep breath and smoothed the invisible wrinkles
in her new dress before entering the classroom. She felt several
pairs of critical eyes surveying her and wished she had not let
Mama french braid her hair after all. “My hair is all wrong. I
really look like a farm girl,” she whispered to Eugene, who pushed
her through the threshold and into the room.
“Good morning, Isabel. Don’t you look nice this morning,”
Sally Anne said. She waved at Isabel to sit in the desk next to her.
Isabel felt grateful for the compliment and sat
with uncertainty as Arlene Mason gave her a look that could have
frozen an erupting volcano. The cold stare played havoc with
Isabel’s nerves, and she seemed to drop everything she touched.
Isabel sat down beside Sally Anne and carefully laid her slate,
her lunch pail and her pencil box on the desk.
Her new carved pencil box opened and dumped pencils all over
the floor while Miss Catron was talking. When the textbooks were
passed out, the history book, which seemed to have a mind of its
own , jumped out of her arms and landed on the floor with a loud
thud, making everyone in the room jump and then giggle.
That is, everyone except Isabel, who merely wished for the floor to open
up and swallow her so she could sprint home, where she did not
have to worry about what other people thought. Isabel reached
down to pick up her book, but someone else had beaten her to it.
Ernie Mason picked up the history book, wiped it off, and
smiled before returning the book to Isabel. She was not sure,
but it almost looked like he winked at her…almost, or was just
it just her imagination?
“Isabel, Ernie Mason just winked at you,” Sally Anne
whispered from across the aisle. “I thought he liked you last
year, and now I know it.”
“Who, me?” Isabel said. “Nobody likes me.”
“Oh, yes they do, Isabel,” Sally Anne said. She watched the
teacher, who was gathering information from a new student.
“Everybody likes you; only you just don’t know it.”
Isabel turned her attention to the teacher, but her thoughts
kept returning to Sally Anne’s remark. Could it be true? Had
she misjudged her classmates because one or two were unkind?
She determined to talk it over with Mama later.
Isabel pulled her lunch pail out of her desk at lunchtime and
ran to greet the rest of her siblings under the oak tree for lunch.
As she sat down on the ground, she saw Sally Anne eating and
laughing with Arlene Mason and two of the most stuck up girls
in school. “Rich girls stick together,” she said as storm clouds
passed by overhead.
How about you? Have you been nervous about your first day of school? Even in 1924, children faced bullies and cliques in school. They are everywhere but things are not always as they seem. Later in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, Isabel learns that some of the children she had dreaded to face when school started had problems she couldn’t have imagined. Perhaps some children act superior to other children because they feel inferior and act that way to feel better about themselves. With help from her Mother, Isabel learned to be kind and forgiving. She would never have to worry about bullies again because she knew the secret. They’re afraid too.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
“Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom;” and her tongue is the law of kindness,
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth.”
Proverbs 31:25-28 (KJV)
I taught this sweet Ron Hamilton song to my class of preschoolers and had them each sing the song on a cassette tape for Mother’s Day. I was delighted to see a group of children singing the same song on YouTube. This is for all Mothers!
This site is devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of abandoned and decaying old homes and other buildings and such, and is the official companion web site to the wildly popular Abandoned in Virginia page on Facebook.