The Glory of Gardening

 

garden6

The Glory of Gardening

 My hands work the rich, sandy soil

As beads of sweat evidence my toil.

I rise from my knees with pain and sigh

Sorrow gardening days are passing by.

Ah, but I’m so glad there’s glory in gardening!

 greenbeans

My beautiful, beans with their blossoms white

Will soon grace our table, green and bright.

So delicious with butter, bacon, dill

These beauties are loaded with rich chlorophyll.

With Vitamin K, manganese and fiber

Oh, yes, there’s also magnesium and copper!

 tomatoes

See my tomato plants, healthy and green?

They’ll slowly transform to a bright red sheen.

What would we do without this lovely fruit?

There simply isn’t a good substitute.

We need them for ketchup, and Blts

Soup, salads, and pizzas with cheese.

They’re rich in minerals, and loaded with “C”

I’ll slice a tomato and thankfully be!

 corn

My corn’s standing tall, guarding its peers

Can’t wait till I see them forming their ears.

No insecticide here and no GMOs

Just organic corn in four little rows.

With its phytonutrients and antioxidants, too

You have to believe corn is so good for you.

Thoughts of an ear dripping sweet creamery butter

Is delightful and is sure to make my heart flutter!

 beets

Hidden beneath their nutritious tops

Are beets so red they’ll knock off your socks!

They’re good for your nerves, your organs, your eyes

To avoid consuming beets just isn’t wise.

You can boil them, roast them or make Harvard Beets

These beautiful veggies make fantastic eats.

 okra

Okra’s a veggie many folks just won’t touch

In northern restaurants  we don’t see them much.

Okra’s bright flowers beckon to me

Ah, yes, okra pods are there, I see!

Folates, A, C, and K,

Make okra a winner for me, I say.

To pickle, roast, sauté or fry

Okra’s a veggie you really should try.

 squash

Just look at my squash, pure goodness in bloom!

An eye-popping veggie from a bright yellow flume.

The list of nutrients is amazing to see—

Copper, manganese, and vitamin C

Magnesium, fiber, vitamin B!

 sq ft garden

I’ve peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, and more

But I’d better end this poem before I’m a bore

Oh, I almost forgot the basil and thyme

And my sweet potatoes are beginning to vine.

I’ve omitted the broccoli — how can that be?

‘Cause nothing tastes better that fresh broccoli.

broccoli

Yes, there’s glory in gardening, joy and praise

Offering solace for difficult days.

My plants are actors performing a role

In an unfolding drama that nourishes my soul.

I clap my hands and plead for more

But a final bow signals autumn’s door.

 -Eva C. Maddox

Favorite Teachers

It’s that time of year again when another school year comes to a close. Teachers all over the country breathe a sigh of relief as do parents whose child “passed” another grade.  schoolbusMost people have a favorite teacher. What makes the memory of certain teachers remain with us throughout life? I’d love to hear who your favorite teacher was and what made her/him your favorite.

My story . . . A Tribute to Miss Pearl

“Pleeeeze! I have a headache,” pleaded Miss Pearl as she slunk down into her old oak teacher’s chair and dropped her head onto the massive wooden desk. Not what you would expect coming from a teacher, right? Miss Pearl wasn’t just a teacher she was the teacher. I suppose most people have a favorite teacher— someone they loved or admired. Miss Pearl was mine.

Miss Pearl, a tall and large-framed woman, walked a bit stooped-shouldered. People noticed her wherever she went. Children shied away from her, but only until they came to know her. Her “uniform” was a red, blue or green two-piece suit and sturdy shoes. In all the years I knew her, her dressing style did not change.

Miss Pearl taught much of her life in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Eastern Kentucky called Clark Hill Elementary. The school was comprised of eight grades housed in two separate buildings. The first six grades were in one building while the seventh and eighth were in another.

Clark Hill was on the outskirts of the small town of Olive Hill. It was clustered around a church, a school and a grocery store. Miss Pearl owned the grocery store, was principal of the school and taught seventh and eighth grades. She was my teacher for two years and I loved every minute of it, especially when she would forget to ring the old cow bell calling us in from recess.

Miss Pearl was a bit of a maverick. School didn’t always start on the precise moment the clock struck eight a.m. It began when she was ready. She might be busy stoking the fire in the pot belly stove that stood in the center of the room, pumping a bucket of water from the outside well, or scrounging up a sweater for a child who came to school without one.

At noon she may dash to her grocery store that was a stone’s throw away to get a Coke while we played “Keep Away” in the well-worn schoolyard. If she was busy trying to get an important concept through our noggins, she might spend two full hours on it before moving on to the next subject. We seldom had Art, but when we did, it lasted as long as Miss Pearl needed Art class to last.

In that day, intercoms in rural schools were unheard of, so when Miss Pearl needed to speak to one of the teachers in the other building, she would station one of us at her desk. It was an honor to sit stately “taking names.” That meant that anyone whose name was recorded would be in danger of feeling the sting of the infamous paddle hanging conspicuously by the cloak room door.

Once a month, on Friday afternoon, Miss Pearl would have “Movie Day.” She would show a western, possibly featuring Lash Larue or Gene Autry, while we munched on peanuts and sipped soda pop from the country store across the road.

Frequently we had two missionaries come to our school. (Yes, I said missionaries!) One told Bible stories using flannel-graph and the other played the accordion and taught us choruses about Jesus. (I can still sing some of those all these years later!)

Miss Pearl gave herself wholeheartedly to improving our school by holding community fund raisers for books and supplies. She sponsored numerous cake walks, pie suppers, and put on dozens of plays and almost single-handedly rallied support to erect a cafeteria.

If Miss Pearl had one of her classic headaches, she might give us “seatwork” or extra long recesses, but when Miss Pearl cracked open her book and said, “Turn to page 100 in your history book,” believe me, we turned–and we learned. How did I manage to get an education with this kind of hit and miss method of teaching? I don’t know, but it worked. I’ve gone on to earn a degree in education myself.

Miss Pearl loved us. We knew that. I knew that. She cheered us on when we did well and challenged us when we slackened. She instilled in us a desire to be better. She recognized the uniqueness of each of us. She expanded the horizons of our small world. She was a true teacher.

Miss Pearl has been gone now for many years. Sadly, I neglected to share with her the impact she had on my life. I trust this tribute will serve in some small way to rectify that.

Note:  Miss Pearl (aka Pearl Sherman-Ingold) taught for many years at Clark Hill elementary school and was a resident of Olive Hill, Kentucky.

on room schoolhouse

Clark Hill Elementary is no longer standing. This schoolhouse is very similar to the old Clark Hill School.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2015. 4 Comments

Gardening, Memories & Other Matters

wigeliawhole garden    sq ft

begonia      zucchini  broccoli

Yesterday here in Southern Delaware we got a good soaking of rain. Even though I water my garden regularly, God’s rain is sooo much more effective!

I’ve planted a whole lot of vegetables, but not much of any one kind. I can’t wait to taste one of those big juicy tomatoes!

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 praying hands

Prayer Thanks: Thanks to all those who prayed for my sister, Beth. She is home and doing much better.

Prayer Requests:

-for my husband to be healed from Myasthenia Gravis

-for my friend whose husband has Alzheimer’s

-for traveling protection for my friend, Wilma, and her daughter who had surgery recently

-for our friend, Norman, as he undergoes a test

-for Grace Baptist Church as it goes through a growing/changing process

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I recently returned from a trip to Kentucky to visit my sister, Beth, who has been very ill. While driving through the beautiful rolling hills of Eastern Kentucky, my mind took me back to my childhood and the many memories that will always be a part of me.

From Elizabethtown, I passed through Lexington and on toward Morehead. My beautiful Aunt Tenny Gregory lived there, a kind and gentle lady who lost four sons in World War II! Morehead State University dominated the landscape there as I grew up and is where my dear Aunt Edith graduated.

When I reached Olive Hill, I almost had to pull over as memories swamped my mind. One of the best was when Pastor Louis Ader led me to the Lord and baptized me at First Baptist in Olive Hill in 1952.

On I drove to Grayson. When I was a child, Grayson was a small village and the county seat. I pulled off I-64 and found Grayson no long small. It looks like almost any American city now with fast food restaurants, motels, and strip malls. My favorite teacher, Miss Pearl, enlisted me to deliver an address to the folks gathered at the Carter County Fair in Grayson the year I turned 12. I memorized 14 handwritten pages in preparation. My heart beat with excitement as I stepped to the podium to speak.  I managed about two sentences before the loud speakers suddenly began squealing, drowning out my words. Did I stop and wait until the screeching stopped? No. I knew if I stopped speaking, I would forget my lines, so I continued on. I couldn’t even hear myself! The squealing ceased as I stepped down to the applause of the crowd.

Back on the turnpike, I headed for Ashland on the banks of the Ohio River. Ashland is where my sweet Aunt Bertie breathed her last, and Uncle Troy followed a short time later. So many memories…..some nostalgic, some sad, and some hilarious. I decided to lighten this post with one of those hilarious ones—my first date. It’s called, “Up in Smoke.”

Up in Smoke

I peeked out the living room window to see who was knocking on our front door.  What on earth does George Edwards want? George was in my one-room school house 8th grade class, and he had never been to our house.

I yanked open the door. “Hi, George.”

His face colored bright red. “Hi,” he said.

“Wanna talk to my mom or something?”

George gathered his courage and looked square into my face. “I . . . I want to talk to you.”

“Okay, shoot.”

“Can you come out here for a minute?”

“Okay.” I stepped out onto the porch. “What do you want?”

“I brought you something.”

“What?” My forehead wrinkled in confusion, probably because George was known to be a practical joker.

“Here,” he said, as he shoved a little box at me.

“What is it?”

“A present.”

“A present for me?” George had never acted as if he even liked me at school, and I knew I didn’t like him. “What for? It’s not my birthday or anything.”

“Just open the box,” he said sounding a bit frustrated as he pushed his hands into his pockets.

Slowly, I removed the lid of the box and found a string of  . . . broken pearls. “Pearls?”

“Yeah. I thought they were pretty.”

“They’re broken.”

“Yeah, but you can probably fix them up,” he said.

“But why are you giving them to me?”

“Because . . . I’m asking you for a date.”

“A date?”

“Yeah, to the movies on Saturday night.”

“Gosh, I don’t know if my mom will let me go on a date. I’m only 13.”

“I know how old you are. Just go ask you mom, okay?”

“Sure. Okay. I’ll be right back.”

I slammed back inside the house. “Mommy, George Edwards wants to take me to the movies Saturday night. Can I go?”

Mom stopped what she was doing and studied me for a few moments. “Just the two of you?” she asked.

“Yes. It’s a date, Mom. He brought me pearls.”

“He did, huh?”

“Yeah, but they’re broken.”

“Well, you can go, but he will have a long walk.”

“What do you mean?”

“He has to walk up the hill from his house to meet you, and then walk you home after the show. It’s at least a mile to town.”

“I’ll tell him that. Thanks, Mommy.”

I skipped back outside and gave Mom’s answer to George.

“Great. I’ll be here at 6 o’clock tomorrow night.”

“You have to walk me home after the show.”

“I know. See ya.” George bounded down our walk and headed down the hill toward his house.

Wow! George likes me. I guess I could like him. He isn’t weird all the time. Wonder why he gave me those stupid pearls?

Saturday seemed to be longer than most Saturdays as I looked forward to my first date. After I cleaned my room and hung the wash out on the clothesline for mom, I decided to fix the pearl necklace.

Finally, it was time to get my weekly all-over bath, something we did every Saturday night.  I drew water from our well, and heated it in a big pot on our stove. Then I lugged the big old washtub mom kept in the shed to the kitchen. That done, I grabbed a towel from the linen closet and a bar of soap from a dish on the washstand, and told everybody to stay out of the kitchen. When the water was boiling, I carefully poured it into the tub and added cold water to make a warm bath. I peeled out of my clothes and sunk down into the warm water.

“Don’t dump the water, Evie,” Mom said. “Doris is next.” I was lucky to be the first to use the water since three of us had to have our Saturday night baths in the same water, not always pleasant.

I pulled on a brand new pair of Levis and a red corduroy shirt. My saddle shoes needed a bit of sprucing up, so I took time to polish them. Once that was done, I pulled my long blond hair into a pony tail and tied it with a small red scarf. After I had done that, I draped the pearls around my neck. Finally, I was ready.

George appeared at precisely 6 p.m. His dark hair was slicked back with Brylcreem, and I recognized the scent of Old Spice that my dad spritzed on his face after shaving.

Halfway down the hill, George asked if he could hold my hand.

“Sure. I guess so.”

We held hands for a quarter mile or so. With my free hand, I twirled my pearl necklace, happy to get a chance to go to the movies, something we didn’t get to do often.

“Do you know I smoke now?” George asked.

“You smoke?” I asked. “Why?”

“Why not?” he asked. “Wanna try one?”

“No way. My dad smokes, and our whole house smells like cigarettes. I hate when he puts his cigarette out in his plate after supper. Do you know what wet tobacco is like floating in dishwater?”

George ignored my words, dropped my hand, and pulled a Camel out of his pocket. “Sure you don’t want one?” he asked.

“I’m sure.”

When we arrived at the theater, George bought two tickets. The movie playing was Shane starring Alan Ladd. “Here’s 15¢ if you want a snack,” he said.

I gazed at the wonderful display of Kits, Peanut Butter Logs, Dots and many others. My mouth watered as I chose Bit-o-Honey and Root Beer Barrels and stuffed them into my jeans pocket.

George guided me toward the balcony.

“The balcony?” I asked. “My friend, Bonita, said that’s where people go to kiss and stuff.”

“So?” he said, as he grabbed my hand and led me up the dark stairs and chose seats in the back row of the balcony.

Before the show started, we watched Woody Woodpecker, and Daffy Duck cartoons. I have never liked cartoons, so I chose to pull out a Root Beer Barrel and suck on it as a diversion.

When Shane started, George coughed and eased his arm around my shoulders.

I looked at his hand dangling beside me and then glanced at him. His eyes were trained on the movie. I decided to try one of the Bit-O-Honey candies. The wonderful taste of nuts and honey filled my mouth and I relished the sticky taffy. The only thing was, it kept sticking to my teeth, but I just pried it off and then wiped my sticky finger on my jeans.

I tried to focus on the movie, when I noticed several couples kissing. That made me really nervous, and I suddenly didn’t want George’s arm around me. I pulled out another Root Beer Barrel.

George removed his arm. I sighed in relief, and focused on the gunfight exploding on the big screen.

“When are you going to finish that candy?” George whispered.

“I have three pieces left. Want one?”

“No, I don’t want one,” he said. He pulled out a cigarette and lit up.

Why does he sound so grouchy?

Smoking was allowed in the balcony, and soon smoke wafted through the area. I coughed and fanned the air around me.

As the last of a Root Beer Barrel melted in my mouth, I realized George was swatting the cuff of his pants.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Shh!” he said as he squirmed and continued swatting.

“Don’t tell me you set your pants on fire!” I tried to keep my voice down, but I couldn’t stop the giggles from exploding from my mouth. George had tried to put out his cigarette in the cuff of his pants.

“Thanks a lot,” he whispered.

“Sorry. Want a Bit-O-Honey?”

………………

That happened over 60 years ago, and each time I think of it, I smile in remembrance. Poor George. I heard he died an early death. I hope it wasn’t smoking related. Hmm . . . wonder if he ever learned the art of putting out a cigarette in his pants cuff without setting himself on fire. Did you laugh? I still am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on May 22, 2015. 5 Comments

Monday Maddox Matters

We have two of our Texas grandchildren with birthdays this week! Brooke and Cade. May the coming year be full of new discoveries of God’s love & Goodness! Happy Birthday! We love you two!

happy birthday balloonsSpeaking of Texas . . . pray for those is the small town of Van, Texas who have experienced such tremendous loss!

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My friend, Teresa, has kindly volunteered to facilitate our writers’ group, Kingdom Writers Fellowship this year. Thank you so much, Teresa, you’re doing a fine job, and I am very grateful!

I thank God for the four wonderful children he gave me. I am so proud of them. Thank you, Sherry, Danny, Kristi, and Rod for your Mother’s Day wishes. I love you guys!

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Gem

Word Gem: Rejection

The root of this word comes from the Latin, “ject” meaning to throw. We use many English words that are formed by adding a prefix and/or a suffix to this root. Words like project, interject, and conjecture are but a few. When the prefix, “re” is added to “ject,” the word reject is formed. “Re” means “back” or “again.” Thus “reject” means “throw back or to cast aside.

Rejecting a person is a serious matter, and its effects can be devastating and affect a person’s life for many years. Most people have felt rejected at some point in their lives and are familiar with the pain. I once heard it said that the mind often forgets, but rarely the heart.

Rejection has many faces, but primarily it takes the form of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Each of these may involve, harsh criticisms, physical injuries, being ignored, deprived, or compared to another person, Rejection stamps its victims as unworthy.

Like most folks, I’ve had my share of feeling rejected—being left out, passed over for jobs, not measuring up to expectations, and being unfairly crititicized. When my husband of 20 years walked out of our marriage, I have to say that was probably my ultimate rejection. That was 36 years ago and even today, if I allow myself, I will feel the pain of that rejection all over again. I have learned through the years to reject the lies that Satan is eager for me to believe, although, I remember them all. I’m ugly, worthless, no wonder he left. I was a terrible wife, I should have tried harder. On and on Satan hurled the accusations. He loves to attack God’s children with lies about themselves. After all, he is the father of lies.

When we experience rejection, if we’re not careful, Satan’s lies may become our reality, our identity. We then see the world through this identity. It dramatically affects our decisions, our outlook on life, and our relationships.

What lies has Satan told you? Do you believe them? Perhaps you’ve decided one of the following is true.

-I’m ugly

-If my own mother didn’t want me, God sure wouldn’t.

-I’m just plain stupid.

-I never say the right thing.

-I have absolutely no sense of humor.

-I can’t do anything right, so why try?

To live a joyful life filled with God’s peace the lies that stemmed from rejection need to be dealt with. Doing that requires prayer and practice and will take time.  However, if the lies are so deeply ingrained in your mind and heart, you may want to consider therapy with a qualified Christian therapist.

Make a list of what the Bible says is true about you. Pray these verses over and over. Here are some to get you started, but there are many more! (NIV of the Bible)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13  (God made me!)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:4 (I am His beautiful creation!)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (God loves me so much He sent His Son to die for me!)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people., Ephesians 1:18 (He will open my eyes to truth!)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (God will heal my wounded heart!)

One last point: Forgive the person who wounded you. The Bible says that we are to Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Prayer for you today: May the God of all comfort soothe your wounded heart, impress you with His amazing love, and fill your life with abundant blessings and healing. Amen

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On the subject of rejection, I remembered a story I had written about 10 years ago with a rejection theme. It’s a story meant primarily for young girls.   Who knows, you might enjoy it. It’s called, Left Out, Thrown Out.

“Race you to the cabin!” shouted JaLissa.

Marcy and Zoe broke into a gallop. “You’re on!”

JaLissa reached the cabin first and screeched to a halt. “Whoa! It’s your stuff, Marcy.” The girls stared at Marcy’s belongings scattered on the ground.

“Wow. Who could have done this?” Zoe asked.

“I think I know,” Marcy said.

The girls lugged Marcy’s sleeping bag, suitcase and pillow inside and plopped them beside her bare cot.

“Maybe this will explain things,” JaLissa said, snatching a note taped over Marcy’s bed.

Marcy’s hands trembled as she read, “You are not wanted in this cabin.”

“What does it say?” JaLissa asked.

“Apparently I’m not wanted here.”

“That’s nuts!” Zoe said.

“Who do you think wrote the note, Marcy?” JaLissa asked.

“Bo-Anna. I’m sure of it.” She wadded the note into a little ball and threw it across the cabin.

“But . . . but Bo’s your friend,” Zoe said.

“I thought she was. Now I’m not so sure.” Marcy threw herself on her cot and sobbed.

“We should go get our counselor,” JaLissa whispered.

“No. I just want to be alone, Lissa.”

How could Bo-Anna do this to me? And why has she been so rude lately? Marcy wracked her brain. She thought maybe it was because of Eliana and Heather, two girls from another cabin that Bo had been spending time with. Word around camp was that those two were troublemakers. They had I-don’t-care attitudes. Some girls had overheard them swearing and mocking the counselors. It bothered Marcy to see Bo-Anna spending so much time with them and tried to warn her. Maybe they put her up to throwing my stuff outside.

The longer Marcy thought about the note and Bo-Anna’s actions, her tears subsided and anger took over. Bo is an ungrateful, rude smart-alec! Why she wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for me.

Bo-Anna’s family had recently moved next door to Marcy. She knew right away that Bo-Anna was adopted because she looked nothing like her parents.

“Hi!” Marcy yelled and waved.

Bo-Anna put down the box she was lugging from the moving van and returned the wave, then jogged to the fence.

“Hi. My name’s Bo-Anna.” Marcy expected her to speak Chinese or Korean, but she sounded just like any American.

“Bo-Anna?

“Yeah. When my folks adopted me, they decided I should keep my Chinese name, Bo. It means precious, and Anna is my adopted mother’s name. Weird, huh?”

“No. I like it. I’m Marcy Thompson.”

“Well, I better get moving so my dad can return the rental van before dark.”

In only a few days, the two had become good friends.

When Marcy’s church announced Grace Girls’ Camp, Marcy flew over to Bo-Anna’s.

“Bo! I have a great idea. Let’s go to camp together! How about it?”

“Camp?”

“Yes. Our church camp. It is so much fun!”

“How much does it cost?”

“It’s $100 for two weeks.”

“Nah. Can’t.”

“Why not?”

“No money. There’s no money for camp. Trust me.”

“Can’t you at least ask?”

“Marcy, my dad lost his job last year and couldn’t find another one for a long time. He just got a new one. That’s why we moved here. There’s no way my folks can pay for me to go to camp. Just forget it.”

Marcy would gladly pay for Bo-Anna to go to camp herself, but she only had a few dollars and the money had to be in by Sunday.

During dinner that evening, Marcy approached her mom and dad.

“Bo’s parents can’t afford to send her to camp. Do you think we can help her?” Marcy asked.

Her dad put down his fork and studied Marcy’s face. Her mom raised her eyebrows and looked at him. “Um,” he said, tapping his fork on the table. “Why don’t we think about it for a couple of days?”

Marcy was so excited she could scarcely finish eating. She looked forward to camp every summer, and it would be extra special fun with Bo.

At dinner on Friday, Marcy could wait no longer for their answer. “What do you guys think?” she asked.

“About what?” her dad asked. He helped himself to a piece of fried chicken.

Marcy sighed. “About helping Bo, Dad.”

“Oh. Your mom and I have decided that we will advance the $100 for her.”

“Very cool!”

“On one condition.”

Marcy, felt hope slide away.

“Marcy, it’s asking a lot for us to pay an extra $100, so we have an offer.”

“An offer?”

“Yes. We think that you need to be responsible for paying half the cost of Bo-Anna’s Camp.”

“Me? I don’t have fifty bucks!”

“We know. Here’s the offer. On Sunday, we will pay the $100 for Bo-Anna to go to camp, providing you are willing to receive only half your allowance for awhile.”

“Half my allowance?”

“We will keep the other half until it adds up to $50.

Marcy did the math. Half of her weekly allowance would be $5. It would take her ten weeks to pay her part of Bo’s camp cost. That meant she wouldn’t get her full allowance until some time in October. Would it be worth it? The thought had scarcely zipped through her mind before she agreed to her parent’s terms.

The longer Marcy lay and stared at Bo-Anna’s cot her anger grew to rage. After all I’ve done for her!

As in a trance Marcy arose, marched across the wooden floor and angrily jerked Bo-Anna’s duffle bag from under her cot. She ripped into the bag and pulled out Bo-Anna’s clothes and hurled them around the cabin. Take that, you traitor!

When Marcy’s hand curled around Bo-Anna’s hairbrush, she dropped to her knees, and furiously rubbed it back and forth across the dirty cabin floor. I’ll show her that two can play this game!

She picked up Bo-Anna’s pillow to toss it out the door and discovered a photograph  underneath. What’s this? It was a picture of her and Bo. Marcy studied the smiling girls, standing arm in arm. Her anger cooled as if ice had been dropped down her shirt. She smiled at the memory of that day. Bo’s mom had snapped their picture, but Marcy had never seen it. She turned the picture over and her eyes filled with tears at the words “Best friends forever!”

Marcy surveyed the mess she had made. Clothing lay in piles around the room. What have I done? She laid her head on Bo-Anna’s sleeping bag and cried. She cried for the friend she had lost and for reacting in such a mean way.

The truth gave her renewed energy. Quickly she stood and began painstakingly folding Bo-Anna’s clothing and returning everything to its place. The problem was the hairbrush. Her heart lurched as she heard someone approaching the cabin. She hid the brush behind her back as Bo-Anna slammed inside.

Marcy glanced at her and saw that something was wrong. She had been crying.

“I hate this place!” spat Bo-Anna. “I’m calling my dad to come and get me.”

“Why?” Marcy asked. “Did something happen?”

“As if you care! You only care about Lissa and Zoe, your two rich friends!” accused Bo-Anna.

Rich friends? What is she talking about?

Suddenly Marcy understood. Bo-Anna had no spending money. She must have felt left out when the rest of us went for snacks or souvenirs. Bo was hurt and jealous!

“I do care, Bo. What happened?”

“They got me in trouble.”

“Who? Heather and Eliana?”

“Who else? They told their counselor that I took money from their cabin.”

“Did you?”

“No! I don’t steal, Marcy. They took it. The counselor found it in Heather’s stuff. Now, I just want to go home.” Bo started to cry again.

Marcy moved toward her.

“What’s that?” asked Bo-Anna, spying the hairbrush. Marcy’s cheeks flamed.

“It’s well . . . I did it, Bo. I was so hurt and angry that you threw my things outside, I wanted to get even. It was you who did it? Right?”

“Yeah. Heather said I should teach you a lesson for being so bossy.”

“We hurt each other, didn’t we? I’m sorry, Bo.”

“I’m sorry, too. I just thought you liked Lissa and Zoe better than me.”

“And I thought you liked Heather and Eliana better than me!” Marcy laughed.

What’s with the hairbrush, Marcy?” Bo-Anna frowned. “Why is it so dirty?

“Sorry, Bo . I . . . uh . . . guess I flipped out a little and rubbed it . . . I’ll get you a new one. I promise.”

“Don’t worry about the hairbrush. I borrowed it from Zoe.”

“Zoe!” they exclaimed. Together, they scurried to the bathroom.

That’s how Zoe and JaLissa found them—giggling hysterically and trying to clean a hopelessly filthy hairbrush.

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2015. 5 Comments

Mother’s Day Memories

mothers day cup

When the month of May rolls around every year, my mind turns to moms, specifically, my mom. And I realize that as I grow older, I become more melancholy thinking about her.

My mother has been enjoying heaven now for over ten years. I envision her in deep conversation with her two sisters, Edith and Bertie. How they could talk! I used to wonder as a child how they could keep thinking of things to talk about. They can certainly visit now as long as they want, after all they have eternity!

Mom loved her family – all of them. I remember family reunions where cousins, aunts and uncles would gather around long tables laden with delicious food. I’m sure there’s lots of that going on in heaven now. Right? They wouldn’t all fit around a table, though, even in mom’s mansion. Who would be at her table? Dad, Barbara, and baby John; her parents, Elizabeth and Reece, her sisters, and her two brothers, Denny and David. But there are other tables with family and knowing Mom, she will find them and join them for a meal. She’ll look for her aunts, Phoebe, Belle, and Cynthia, her uncles, Bob and Jeff,  and cousins by the dozens—people of faith who loved God and passed on their faith to future generations.

Even though mom is happy, rejoicing in God’s heaven, I sure miss her. I’ll never forget coming home after the funeral, and on several occasions picking up the phone to call her, momentarily forgetting she’s no longer here.

I have posted a short article below that I hope you will enjoy and relate to.

The Sound of Love

            I wish I could imitate the sound my mom used to make when she was overcome with an heartfelt moment. Nobody could make that sound, though, except her, and I’m quite sure I couldn’t adequately string letters together to represent it. The sound was always accompanied by several things: a slight tilting of her head, soft brown eyes misting with tears, and outstretched hands reaching to embrace or simply to touch.

Growing up, I witnessed mom’s unique reactions innumerable times. It always happened at the sight of a newborn baby, when greeting a loved one she hadn’t seen in a long time, or saying goodbye to one of her sons decked out in military dress uniform.

One special moment that I remember vividly happened when I was 7 years old. I was in our yard on a sunny afternoon doing one of my favorite things — looking for four-leaf clovers. At first, I didn’t see her, but that sound revealed her presence. Mom was never one for many words, but one word accompanied the sound that day and it was the word “angel.” I’m quite sure that I did not resemble any angel that I had seen pictures of. I was barefoot, probably had one strap on my overalls hanging loose, dirt smudges on my face and my long, blond hair a tangled mess.

“I’ll be right back,” she said, hurrying inside the house.

In moments, Mother returned carrying her old Kodak camera. Snap! The sun was shining so brightly, I couldn’t be sure that her eyes were misty with tears, but my best guess is that they were.

Mother had experienced an emotional moment of motherly pride. She did not see the imperfections in her little girl. She didn’t dwell on the dirt smudges, or disheveled appearance. What she saw was her angel. I still have the photo. The sun was gleaming on my hair like a spotlight giving the appearance of  . . . yes, an angel.

The second “sound” moment engrained in my memory was the time mother glimpsed my firstborn, Kristi, for the first time. She arrived in my hospital room just as I was bundling up my tiny baby girl after checking to make sure she had all her fingers and toes. There it was – the sound, the tilting head, the misty eyes and especially the outreached arms to embrace her new granddaughter. The moment mom laid eyes on my three babies who followed did not lack that special sound either.

My mother had a heart of love for many people, and I am so grateful that God chose her to be my mom.

I must mention someone else who also has a heart of love, and that is Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. His love was so amazing that he allowed himself to be crucified on a cruel Roman cross for my sins, but not mine alone, but for the sins of the whole world.

Like my mother, Jesus also wept when his heart was touched. (John 11:35) Did he make a sound of love as my mom made? I like to think that he did. I can just picture him saying, “Ah, come sit on my lap little one” when a small child found his way to His knees.

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2015. 7 Comments

Laughter is Good Medicine!

 Gem

Word Gem:Laughter 

My first born baby girl, Kristi, was born on a cold December day in 1960. It had been a difficult delivery and after eight long, miserable days in the hospital, I was on my way home—at least to my parent’s home where I would stay for a few days as I continued regaining my strength. My husband carried the baby as I clung to his arm and made it up the steps into the house. I had pain, was weak and exhausted, and was not in the best frame of mind.

My three-year-old sister trailed us into the living room and watched as I removed the baby’s bunting and held her up for Bethie to see. “What do you think, sweetie?” I asked.

“She’s little.”

“Would you like to hold her?”

“Okay.”

“You cradle her just like you hold your doll baby.”

“I can do it.”

I placed Kristi into Bethie’s arms, but kept mine under the baby. “You have to hold her head, honey.”

“Why? Will it fall off?”

“No, silly. Her neck isn’t strong enough yet.”

“Oh.”

Bethie studied Kristi’s face, looked at me with a puzzled expression and shoved her back into my arms.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like the baby?”

“Yes. But . . . ”

“But, what?”

“What did you name her ‘Crusty’ for?”

I completely forgot how horrible I felt as laughter erupted in me!

I love a good laugh—one that makes my belly ache with the humor of it. Laughter is an involuntary response to an external stimulus. When something strikes us as funny, we just laugh. We don’t have to think about it.

We all know how upbeat and happy we feel after viewing a funny movie. Why is that? Why are we drawn to laughter, and why do we laugh when others around us laugh?

The answer to those questions is that God included laughter as part of our physical makeup. He knew how good it is for us. Many studies on the effects of laughter on the body have been conducted and shown conclusively that laughter improves the immune system, lowers blood pressure, increases HDL (good) cholesterol, and a number of other positive effects.

Dr. William Fry, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Stanford University, compares

laughter to “inner jogging.” He claims laughing 100 times a day is equal to 10 minutes of rowing (Fry, 1977, 1979; Fry & Salameh, 1987). Dr. Fry says that laughter increases the heart rate, improves blood circulation, and works muscles all over the body.

Some hospitals, recognizing the importance of humor as it relates to healing, are adding

therapeutic humor programs to help ease the stress and anxiety of their patients. For example, Loma Linda University Cancer Institute in California stocks humor materials that patients can check out.

It’s good to know research shows the positive effect of humor on the body, however, the

Bible has been telling us that for centuries! Proverbs 15:13 (NIV) says that a happy heart makes the face cheerful, and Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) says laughter is good medicine.

When we face anxiety, fear, and stress, it is easy to stay focused on our ills. However, laughter can interrupt our pain and provide respite from these stressors and foster healing.

Determine to take time today to laugh. You can do this any number of ways. I like to

watch a funny movie, play with the dog, or call a friend who never fails to make me laugh. Actually, I think I’ll call Bethie. She has a ready laugh, and we can chuckle again about the name, “Crusty.”

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laughter

Here’s a chuckle for you:

What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down?

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Why was six scared of seven?

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What is the longest word in the dictionary?

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I would like to thank all who prayed for my sister during her recent hospitalization. She is at home recuperating!

I had a surprise visit from my niece, Deeann, and her husband, Roger, on Saturday. How nice it was getting caught up after all these years.

Roger and Deeann

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 27, 2015. 3 Comments

Goldendoodles and Other Good Things

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting with two friends, Wilma Caraway and Candy Abbott. Both of these ladies have had a huge impact on my writing, and I’m extremely grateful. However much I value their friendship and encouragement, thoughts of them (sorry ladies) have taken second place this morning to a . . . a dog. Max, precisely. Actually, Candy’s dog, Buttercup, a sweet little pooch who has the same coloring as our dog, Max, steered my thoughts in this direction. As I petted Buttercup yesterday I couldn’t help but compare her size to Max’s. I’d guess she measured about 1/6 the size of Max. That’s a lot of dog difference!

Almost everyone who visits our home likes Max, and most are amazed at his size. He’s what we call a gentle giant, although he isn’t really big enough to qualify as a giant breed. I can’t imagine that!

One of Max’s favorite spots to relax and enjoy a good massage in on someone’s…no, anyone’s lap. Below are some pictures and s little story about Max that I hope you will enjoy.

Grandson, Mark Maddox, and Max

Mark & Max

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kristi and Max

Daughter, Kristi, and Max

Max watching tv

Hubby, Jack, and Max

Amazing Max

 Max is our goldendoodle. Until Max entered our family eight years ago, I had only a mild interest (if that) in dogs, cats, birds or fish. That might sound cold and harsh, but truth is, with raising four children, working full time, and being active in my church, I didn’t have time or money to include animals in my life.

When I remarried in 1990 to a dog-lovin’ man, enter Lady, a golden retriever. Lady was Jack’s dog, no doubt about that. While I enjoyed her, I absolutely hated her shedding. I vacuumed, and vacuumed and vacuumed, but there was always hair. Lady had a stroke and died a few years after we married. It was a sad time. But . . . honestly, I didn’t miss the shedding.

I did not want another dog! But, I couldn’t bear the hang-dog (no pun intended) look on Jack’s face. What did I do? Surprised him with a puppy on Father’s Day – a golden retriever he named Penny. Well, Penny was too much for us. We couldn’t train her no matter how hard we tried. A woman who loved goldens adopted her, and again we were dogless. Whew!

We moved to Delaware in 2000. We had retired, children were married and had their own lives.  Then Jack got that look again. He brought home a 3-year-old golden he named Maggie. Sweet Maggie shed just like Lady and Penny. Again, hair, hair, everywhere. Maggie, too, was Jack’s dog. She tolerated me, but her choice was always Jack. I loved Maggie, but she was my step-dog. Know what I mean? Maggie had a heart attack and died in 2007.

By then, I had grown used to having a dog. I just wanted one that didn’t shed, or bark and loved children. I discovered goldendoodles. They were promoted online as non-shedders. Imagine that!

Enter Maxwell Smart, sweet, cuddly and cute as a little bear cub. A bit of a challenge training him, for sure, but we did it (after 10 weeks of obedience school). The cuddly little cub grew quickly to 100 pounds!

I have learned so much about dogs since we got Max. He is faithful, loving, smart, funny and playful. He will capture your heart given a chance. Max is our dog. He cannot stand for us to be in separate places in the house. If Jack’s in the office and I’m in the family room, he splits the difference and settles halfway between us. Every morning he brings in our newspaper, and the only reward he wants is a pat and a treat. He loves to play hide and seek, but Frisbee is his all-time favorite.

I can’t help but wonder what our world would look like if we mirrored the qualities Max has. What if we were completely devoted, loving and faithful to each other and to our God? What if we took time to enjoy each other? Laugh, play and just have fun? What if we don’t demand, but demonstrate gratitude for our blessings? Yes, I think our world would be a better place.

There is just one tiny little thing . . . Max is the worst shedder on the planet! However, I have learned to think of dog hair as spent protein and just vacuum it up. He’s worth it. I guess I do love dogs after all.

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My Writing World

 Several writers in Sussex County were invited to share their books and their writing journeys at the Dover District United Methodist Women’s Spring Meeting last Saturday. Four of us were privileged to attend where we shared our passion for writing, our books as well as information about the three Christian writing groups we represent. It was a wonderful experience of sharing.

Jean  eva2   meetingwilma2

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 Who am I, you ask?

I am an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ – Romans 8:17; Titus 3:7

Who are you?

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Maddox Monday Matters

Word Gem: Proposal Gem

Twenty-five years ago today, I received a proposal of marriage, and I accepted the proposal.  Jack did a fantastic job making the event romantic and special. He reserved a small room at the Olde Millside Inn where we enjoyed a fantastic candlelight dinner. All these years later, I still remember that special evening.

proposal2

The dictionary defines “proposal” as the act of offering or suggesting something for another to accept.  Jack offered me a proposal of marriage that April night in East Greenville, Pennsylvania. There are all kinds of proposals. In business, parties interested in filling a need of another business or individual will submit a proposal. It will outline what they are offering.

In the writing world, an author may send a proposal to a publisher. The proposal will explain what the book is about in hopes the manuscript will fill a need the publisher is looking for.

I’m reminded of a proposal in Scripture. In Genesis 41, Pharaoh had a need that Joseph made him aware of. The need Pharaoh had was for a wise man to handle the affairs of Egypt in approaching years of plenty followed by a severe famine. Joseph fit the bill exactly. In Genesis 41:38, Pharaoh says “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” Further on in verses 39 and 40, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “ . . . There is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” To seal the proposal, Pharaoh took his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s finger.

pharaohAt one time, I had a huge need that only God could meet. His “proposal” was that if I would repent of my sin and believe that Jesus died for me and rose again, my sins would be forgiven, and I would someday live eternally in heaven. He sealed the relationship by sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in me.

God’s offer (proposal) is still available today for all who choose to put their trust in Him. John 3:16  (NIV) says,  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  My prayer is that all who read this will accept His proposal.

 

happy birthday balloons

Happy Birthday to our grandson, Michael Wile. Much love, Mike, from Grammy & Poppy.

 

Did you know? Today is National Scrabble Day!

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Here’s a challenge for you, What is your highest score?

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Prayer Requests: praying_hands[1]

Pray for the persecution of Christians around the world. Early waves of persecution are laid out in FOX’S BOOK OF MARTYRS. This book is a history of the lives, sufferings and triumphant deaths of the early Christian and Take some time to peruse it online at:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/history/foxs-book-of-martyrs/ 

Persecution of Christians has continued down through  the ages and is especially horrendous now with what’s going with ISIS in the Middle East. Below is an article from The Messenger of Saint Anthony called CHRISTIANITY: THE MOST PERSECUTED WORLD FAITH

“AT THE START OF the 21st century, the words of Christ prophesising the persecution of his followers ring as clearly as ever — they’re accuracy echoed in a variety of international reports showing Christians to be the most persecuted faith group in the modern world.

Beheadings, torture, rape, kidnappings, mass killings, forced starvation, imprisonment and even crucifixions attest that the persecution of Christians did not end at the foot of the cross or the closed gates of the Roman Coliseum. Last year alone, sources indicate that an estimated 165, 000 Christians died because of religious or ethnic clashes.

When taken together, the reports — from organizations such as Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF), Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) and Amnesty International (AI) — open a window on Christian persecution in all parts of the world.”

Will my faith be strong enough to endure torture or death? Will yours?

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My Writing World:

21120698.thm[1]I’m still working on my sequel to Roses for Betts. I’ve included a chapter here for you to read. If it piques your interest, you may want to download the first book to your PC or Kindle to get to know the characters. There’s a special on right now for .99! Amazon.com. (Available also in paperback.)

Roses cover

Chapter 11

Thanksgiving, 1981

Mrs. Albertson plunked the notes of the last verse of “Victory in Jesus,” and rose to take her place in the small sanctuary of Bethany Community Church. Oh, Betts, how they could use your piano ability here.

Carter squeezed Dani’s hand before heading to the podium. “Thank you for playing for us this morning Mrs. Albertson. How about we give her a hand?” He smiled at her and clapped in appreciation.

Mrs. Albertson’s face colored a bright pink as the people clapped and a few “Amens” rang out.

Dani beamed with pride as Carter announced the Scripture reading for his sermon. She flipped to the book of Ecclesiastes and basked in the confident sound of Carter’s smooth voice that older more experienced pastors would surely envy. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens . . .

There’s something about him that causes people to want to listen to what he’s saying. She tried to be inconspicuous as she glanced around from her second pew seat. All eyes are on him.

It’s going to be interesting to see how God is going to use Carter in the years to come. People are drawn to him. I see it on campus, and I see it here with these folks. The words to Jeremiah 29:11 floated through her mind as if written by a skywriter. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Will I be part of Your plans for Carter, Lord? Warmth eased from Dani’s toes to her cheeks turning them red at the thought. She smiled at Carter. His acorn eyes rested on hers for a brief second and then crisscrossed the small room to capture his listeners. Dani studied his eyes, intense with the desire for these people to grasp his vision for them. His eyes reflect the pure innocence of his heart, his longing for others to know the Christ who claimed his heart a few short years ago.

Dani could not harness her runaway thoughts that vacillated between dreaming of a life with Carter and then doubting it was what God wanted for her. She chided herself to focus on Carter’s words, but soon retreated into her private thoughts.

“So, my question to you this morning, my friends, is this: what season of life are you in?”

Oh, my, I haven’t heard a word he’s said. What season, indeed! 

A cold November wind pushed into the area, and Dani pulled her jacket tightly around her as she headed for her car. I hate that Carter and I can’t drive together to my parent’s. Carter wanted to be faithful to his commitment as student pastor, so he refused to find a replacement for Thanksgiving Sunday. He insisted that Dani leave as soon as her last class ended on Wednesday so she would have plenty of time to visit with her folks.

“I really need to work on my sermon, sweetheart,” he had said. “I haven’t had a minute, and I know I wouldn’t be able study at your folk’s. I’ll drive up Thanksgiving morning and should be there by ten without a problem.”

She loved that he had referred to her as “sweetheart,” for the first time, and her face had colored briefly.

She so much wanted him to be with her for all four of the Thanksgiving  holidays. As it was, he’ll get there on Thursday morning and have to leave sometime Saturday to be back in Brady for the Sunday church service.

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Dani had hoped to leave by 3 o’clock, but by the time she finished packing, it was after five. She sped along the interstate as her thoughts turned from Carter to her family and friends in Ohio. I can’t wait to see the twins. I wonder if they will like Carter? Of course they will. Everyone seems to gravitate toward Carter, and the boys will, too. I just know Mom and Dad will approve of him. What more could they ask for in a son-in-law? They have told me many times that they have been praying for each of us kids to find a life-mate who loves God. My goodness, what am I thinking? I’m not a “life-mate” of Carter or anyone else for that matter.  Dani shook her head to clear her mind and scolded herself for her presumptuous thought regarding her relationship with Carter. Courtney is right. We haven’t known each other very long at all. Just slow down!

Dani glanced at her gas gauge. I should have stopped at that last exit. Too late now.  She was glad her car was good on gas. I’m so grateful to grandpa Krieg for buying my car. Please continue to strengthen his body, Father. Dani had rejoiced at the news that her grandfather had recovered enough from his heart attack to be home for Thanksgiving. I have to remember to call him and grandma tomorrow. I hope I can work in a visit with Shannon and Jared, too. I’m sure their baby is really getting big. 

Dani didn’t realize how fast she was going until she spotted a state trooper, and she breathed a sigh of relief that he didn’t pull her over. Focus, Dani, focus. She tried to concentrate on her driving, but that only lasted a few miles when Carter crept into her mind again. A rush of excitement twittered in her chest as she recalled his warm goodbye embrace. Oh, my how I wanted to throw my arms around him. Dani tried to block her boomeranging thoughts of Carter, to no avail. I wonder what Carter sees in me? Why did he pick me as his girlfriend? Any girl on campus would love to go out with him, that’s for sure. He always has girls batting their eyelashes at him, finding a reason to sit near him, or engaging him in conversation. Lord, You know I try not to be jealous, but it’s not easy.

As Dani reached the exit to Meadow Glen, snowflakes spotted her windshield, and her gas gauge read “empty.” How could I let this happen? She spotted a Pure Oil station about a mile from the exit and gratefully coasted to one of the pumps. The Pure sign that was lit when she pulled in, suddenly darkend. Oh, no. They’re not open.

Dani started to pull away just as a man exited the station and headed for her car.  Oh, good. She rolled down her window and smiled at the man leaning a bit too far into her open window. The heavy scent of grease drifted inside. “I know you’re closed, but I really, really need gas. Can you help me?”

“I think I can help a pretty lady in distress,” he said.

“Thank you so much.”

“Regular?”

“Yes, please.”

“Coming right up.”

Dani ignored his wink as she rolled up the window, waited for him to pump the gas, and rummaged in her purse for her wallet. She studied him in her mirror, suddenly uncomfortable at the unlit and isolated location of the station and pushed down the door lock.

He set the pump to automatic and rested his long lean body against the pump and jammed his hands into his pockets. When finished, he returned the nozzle to the pump and replaced her gas cap.

Dani rolled down her window to pay him as a nervous bubble tumbled about her chest. She watched him hitch up his pants, adjust his black knit cap, and scan the area before sauntering past her window to the front of the car. When he tapped on the hood indicating for Dani to release the hood latch, she stuck her head out of the window.

“Oh, you don’t need to check the oil. I’m sure it’s fine.”

“Don’t you smell that?” he asked.

Dani sniffed. “Not really. I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“It’ll only take a minute to be sure. Smells like you’re burning oil, and that could wreck your engine.”

Isn’t there an oil light that’s supposed to come on? She hesitated for a moment and then released the hood latch with shaky hands. Dani licked her dry lips, closed her eyes, and prayed as “Bob” — the name barely readable on his greasy blue uniform jacket— checked her oil.

Moments later, he strode to her window with the oil stick in hand. “I hate to tell you ma’am, but your oil is dangerously low. Shoot, it don’t even register.” He held the dip stick for her to see.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine until I get home. I’m only a few miles away.”

“Well, you can do that, but if it was me, I wouldn’t drive a block with my oil that low.”

Oh, God. What should I do? I can’t risk ruining my car. This guy wouldn’t try anything funny would he? She wrung her hands nervously. I mean, he’s obviously a hard worker by the looks of his uniform.

“Well . . . okay,” she said. “Put some oil in if you’re sure about this.”

He closed the hood. “Just pull up to the service bay and I’ll open the door.”

“Can’t you just put it in here?”

“Nah, it’s gonna take a lot of oil, ma’am. It’ll only take a few minutes.” He turned and walked inside.

Maybe I should call Dad. She scanned the area for a phone booth, but saw none. Maybe there’s a phone inside I could use. I just have to trust this guy, I guess. Light flooded the open service area and the door rattled up.

Bob signaled for her to drive inside.

Well, here goes. I need your protection, Father.

She started her car and drove into the garage as the door closed behind her, and the lights went out.

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Miscellaneous Monday Matters

Word Gem: Falls Gem

A fall is a traumatic event that leaves one shaken, embarrassed and possibly injured. I remember a fall I had shortly after the birth of my daughter. It was a snowy winter day, and after church we decided to take the children out to eat.

My husband parked parallel to a curb, but in the snow-covered ground, the curb was invisible. I tugged my long winter coat tightly around me and bundled the baby in her blanket. As I stepped from the car, my foot caught behind the curb and I tumbled to the ground, rolling in the snow and holding tightly to the baby in my arms. I was badly shaken but not injured. Fearful that the baby had been hurt, I pulled back her blanket and found my sleeping baby, not the least  concerned about her roll in the snow.

Tenderly, my husband assisted me to my feet, and brushed the snow from me. I was too shaken to consider going inside, however, so he helped me back into the car and we headed home.

Another kind of fall many people have experienced is a spiritual fall. All of us are capable of falling into sin, but our God is able to keep us from stumbling, if we remain committed to Him and stay in His Word. Jude 24 says, “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy . . .”

If we do experience a spiritual fall, we do not have to stay in the pit of our sin. We have a God who is willing to wrap his loving arms around us and lift us once again to our feet. We just have to ask. The Psalmist reminds us in verse 8 of Chapter 124 that “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Praise Him for His mercy and grace!

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 What I’m reading . . .

girl reading

Finished the trilogy, The Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers. I hated to say goodbye to the characters. When you read a trilogy, the characters become so real you almost expect to meet them around the corner.

Next . . . My neighbor, Marge, told me about a book she’s reading that she’s finds intriguing and keeps her glued to the pages way into the wee hours of the morning. The book is The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I downloaded it and started reading last night. It’s definitely a departure from what I’ve been reading, so we’ll see . . .

pencil My Writing World . . .

Working on Chapter 16 if my novel and putting together a book of my poems. Good News! Storyteller Magazine  will be publishing my short story, “A Mountaintop Revelation.” Yay!

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spring

Well, it’s that time of year – Spring! I told myself over and over that I WOULD NOT BE PLANTING ANYTHING BUT TOMATOES THIS YEAR. Mom always said I never listened. I don’t even listen to myself. She was right. So . . .

I decided to start by at least cleaning up the garden.  20968625.thb[1]

I am almost finished with that.

 

And, since I have this nice little 4×4 square foot garden,  garden 2

I decided to at least plant something in it. Went to Lowes and bought compost and dumped it into the square ft. garden. Then, I planted onions, radishes, turnips, and lettuce. Since I had made a trellis for the garden last year, I put that back up and planted peas. While at Lowes, I saw they had broccoli and brussels sprouts plants, so I bought those, too. There was no room in my little square for those, so I dug up weeds and made a nice bed for the b & b. I have always wanted to grow carrots, carrots

so I also bought 3 big pots at Lowes, too. I filled these with compost, lugged them onto the deck and planted 2 of them with carrots and 1 with parsley and lettuce.

Now my back hurts,aspirin but I am proud of my spring garden.

 

 

 

Did you know?

Today is National Caramel Popcorn Day?

Carmel and popcorn – Cracker Jacks! They made their debut in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair. Loved this treat as a child. How exciting to gobble down the yummy popcorn and tear into the little enclosed toy with sticky fingers! Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve treated myself to Cracker Jacks. Wonder if they still have little toys inside? Hmm . . .

 Have a blessed first week of April!

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This entry was posted on April 6, 2015. 5 Comments

Easter Thoughts

 

Yesterday we observed Palm Sunday palm sunday at our church. It is a time for us to recall when Jesus entered Jerusalem well aware what awaited Him. In a few short days He would lay down His life on a Roman cross for the sins of the world. The crucifixion of Jesus was a horrific sight that fills Christians with great sorrow. I’m so glad that the story doesn’t end there because we do not serve a dead Jesus, but a living Jesus. He defeated death by coming back to life three days later! Without His resurrection, we would still be dead in our sins, with no hope. Sin entered the human race way back in the Garden of Eden, and death followed. When Jesus rose from the dead, he declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25 NKJV) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event in all of history. Have you placed your faith in Him?

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Through the years, my family and I have shared many memorable Easter Sundays. Here are two special ones: 1989 and 1995. What a special memory these little pictures represent!

1989

Sherry and me (What was I looking at??)

Sher and mon

Matthew

Matthew

1995

Sherry and Lyn with babies, Jackie (L) and Tyler (R)

Sher and Lyn with babies

Love this one of Tyler!

Tyler and Lyn

A few years ago, I sent a manuscript to Nostalgia magazine and I was so pleased they published my story! Take a moment or two for an Easter smile. It’s titled, “My Easter Basket and All the Grass.”

easter basket

             “I’ll give you my Easter basket and all the grass.” At the memory, my little brother’s words from long ago caused a smile to crinkle my face.

My mom raised the four of us single-handedly after our dad left. Times were difficult and extras were not part of our lives. The only toy I remember having was a red wagon that we all shared. However, we enjoyed our childhood and made our own fun. We devised stilts out of sticks, wrapped a rock with rags and tape for a baseball, swam in an old muddy swimming hole and camped out in a tent we made from mom’s old blankets thrown over the clothesline.

From time to time we had jacks and marbles and once in a while a little toy from a Cracker Jack box. We loved playing exciting games with neighborhood kids—Cops and Robbers, Keep Away, and Red Rover were some of our favorites.

One Easter Sunday morning we woke up to find four brand new Easter baskets— one for each of us. We had never had an actual Easter basket. Mom did the best she could by putting together a box that we all shared, so having our very own basket was a huge treat. We devoured the candy in short order and the baskets passed into oblivion, that is, all but my little brother, Donnie’s, basket. Somehow, he managed to keep his for a long time.

Since we had few personal belongings, anything we owned could be used as an object for trading. Donnie traded his Easter basket (and all the grass) to me for two Superman comic books. Later I traded it back to him for a pair of sunglasses he found beside the road. I remember that he traded it to our sister Barbara for ten marbles and later traded it back for a piece of bubble gum. That Easter basket (and all the grass) was so tattered by the time it exchanged hands a few dozen times that poor Donnie could no longer trade it.

Through the years the Easter basket (and all the grass) has been the source of many good laughs. My oldest sister called me one day and said, “I’ll trade you my Easter basket and all the grass if you’ll come to California for a visit.”

“You don’t have your Easter basket, let alone all the grass,” I reminded her.

“Well, come anyway,” she said.

A few years ago, a large package arrived at our front door. It was from my little brother who was by then 55 years old.  Curious as to what he had sent, I tore into the wrapping and I am still laughing. You guessed it—an Easter basket (and all the grass)! “Here, Sis” the note read, “I’m trading you my Easter basket and all the grass for a phone call.” Needless to say I was on the phone the next minute, hardly able to catch my breath for the laughter.

No doubt we would have enjoyed bicycles, skates or other expensive toys; nevertheless, we were happy children and today have wonderful childhood memories, a testament to Luke 12:15,  “ . . . a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Nostalgia, May/June, 2011)

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I know the one, true God – John 17:3; 1 John 2:3; 5:20.  Do you?

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on March 30, 2015. 6 Comments