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?

riddle4

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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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