What We Eat

After I moved back to Vinita, Oklahoma, in 1977, my little son and I would go to Grand Lake fishing with Mom and Dad sometimes.

Daddy would say, “Let’s go fishing,” then head outside to mess around with his fishing poles and tackle. Mom packed crackers and cheese, apples, cookies, napkins in a paper grocery sack. She poured the boiled coffee in the thermos. A jacket in case it turned cool on the water, a book for me to read in case the fish weren’t biting. Just the necessary stuff. Oh, and the flashlight. Don’t forget the metal Ever-ready flashlight.

Then we’d pile into the old ’57 Ford with the non-functioning stick shift on the column and a 4-in-the-floor that shifted backwards and stuck through an open hole cut in the floorboard. We’d have to roll the windows down for “air conditioning.”

Along the way we had to stop at Simpson’s bait shop to buy worms and minnows, Snicker bars and bottles of pop. Daddy always said, “Why do you women have to turn every little thing into a picnic?” He was going to catch fish. We were going to relax, enjoy life, read a book, visit a little after a hectic week.

It is the woman’s way–providing nutrition for her family. Birthday? Cake and ice cream. The family together after church on Sunday? Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. Anniversary? Going out to eat. Friday night date? Movies, popcorn and soda pop. Thanksgiving or Christmas? Turkey dinner for the family. Baby shower? Cake and punch, with party-mix nuts.

Paul talked about food in Romans 14:17KJV. “For the kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

There is nothing wrong with eating to celebrate, as long as you remember, that what you eat or don’t eat does not bring you righteousness, peace, and joy. It might be true that we are what we eat, but my value as a child of God doesn’t come from natural things.

What I eat doesn’t define who I am in Christ.

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Aroma of Christ

My daddy smelled like strong coffee, cigarettes, and Coalgate Foamy shave cream. I loved to pat his soft cheeks after he shaved at night and kiss him goodnight.

Perfume companies spend millions trying to come up with the perfect smell. They have found that a man’s favorite smell is pumpkin pie. Smells are so very important, but we don’t think much about it. I’ve heard of children hugging their mom’s nightgown to go to sleep at night when mom is out of town. Several years ago, some stores had smells  blowing through their ventilation system—supposedly it caused people to buy more when they were in the store. Here is another example–when I was pregnant, my husband had to quit putting on aftershave at bedtime because it nauseated me. Perfume companies spend millions trying to come up with the perfect smell. They have found that a man’s favorite smell is pumpkin pie.

Have you ever noticed that your body picks up smells just from being around them. If you hang around a cigar smoker, you smell like smoke. If you stand over the barbeque grill, cooking hamburgers, you begin to smell like hickory. Have you ever picked up the telephone after someone else has used it, someone who had on perfume? You end up with that perfume smell on you.
The more you hang around with Jesus, the more you will smell just like Him, act like Him, talk like Him, walk like Him, do the things He did.  “For we are the aroma of Christ to God.” 2 Corinthians 2:15 NRS

Can you believe that to God we smell just like Jesus?

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Family Reunion


Our cousins from Wichita always came in to visit for Memorial Day and some years our  California cousins came too.  Grandma and Poppie Swift, and our aunts and uncles from northeast Oklahoma all gathered for reunion usually at our house.

The meals were usually the same—fried chicken, corn on the cob, fried potatoes, cornbread and brown beans, green beans, watermelon and cantaloupe. I always ate as much corn on the cob, watermelon, cantaloupe, and cobbler as I could hold and ate the leftovers for supper.

I have often wondered just what will be served at the marriage supper of the Lamb, (that’s another name for Jesus Christ,) spoken of in Revelation 19:9NKJV, “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

The night before He was crucified, Jesus served His disciples bread and wine, so at the very least the marriage supper will include those.

Will we have manna like the Israelites ate in the wilderness? Quail, which God sent the Israelites when they complained about the manna? And milk-and-honey custard? Giant clusters of grapes like the spies brought back from the Promised Land? Olives and olive oil from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem?

Oh, and Jesus always served fish. He fed 5000 men with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, as well as cooking fish for Peter on the shore of Galilee after His resurrection. Maybe we will have some filet of crappie, the finest freshwater fish there is.

What a menu! What a party! The Swifts and Hightowers will all be together again, and so will your family. Jesus is planning the menu now and it will include all our favorites. The tables are being prepared, and we will all sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The best part will be seeing our own dear Jesus Christ face to face in all His glory.


Hors d’ouevres

 Olives, bread with dipping olive oil & spices, grapes


Quail & Fish

seasoned with Sea of Galilee sea salt

Red lentils


  Five loaves of bread


Milk & honey custard, honeycomb, curds & whey


Grape juice, sparkling water, fresh water turned into wine

New wine in new wineskins

Final course

Figs, dates, pomegranates, sharp cheese with unleavened crackers


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Decoration Day

Mama worked in the yard when we were kids, growing perennial flowers and a big vegetable garden all the way across the backyard. She had snowball bushes, rose-of-sharon bushes, and  two types of roses (one was a miniature wild rose.) Mama grew daylilies which she called “flags” and honeysuckle grew untended everywhere.
She fought a battle every summer against honeysuckle, one flowering vine I can remember digging up and planting in the flower bed by my front porch at my home in Okmulgee. Oh, I loved the smell of honeysuckle and the way it spread up over the porch pillars and across the porch roof. The first year was heavenly, but then it became a pest.
The snowball bushes had big balls of tiny individual flowers and she loved to remind us that hese were snowballs, not hydrangeas. She picked giant white snowballs and roses, the pink ones that were so common but so lovely, armsful of roses to decorate graves for “Decoration Day,” which was what her family called Memorial Day.
Mother was dedicated to Decoration Day. Usually I left it up to my sister to take her to the cemeteries to decorate graves while I did other things. It was nice when we all went to the cemetery but I was busy with life so it didn’t seem as important. After all, our loved ones aren’t there, only their bodies. Our loved ones are with the Lord.
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV.
In the last 10 years, I started taking her. One year she told us, “You girls go on without me,” so we did, then showed her pictures, but it was still about Mother and Memorial Day.
Last year Mother passed away and is buried by Daddy in the same cemetery where most of her family are buried—her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and cousins.
Somehow with the passing of our mother, decorating graves and honoring our deceased loved ones has taken on new importance. This year and last, my sister and I decorated all the graves at Bluejacket cemetery.
We have taken over the loving task of decorating graves from our mother.
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Mothers of America

America loves mom, baseball, and apple pie. America was formed at mother’s knee. Proudly standing beside their husbands, they helped tame the Old West; labored in the factories during World War II, prayed for the troops on foreign soil  who were fighting for freedom.
Mothers have made America what it is today. Have you ever noticed that when the media interview a football star after the game, he usually waves at the camera and says, “Hi, mom,” never “Hi, dad.”
Which of us can name the mother of Billy Graham? What is she known for? I’m sure she was a worker in her church, probably teaching Sunday School, but did she have a career? Did she make a name for herself in Southern society? Did she make her mark in history by running for the state senate?  Not that we know of. As far as we know, the greatest thing Billy Graham’s mother ever did was raise her children to serve God.
It should make us mothers humble to realize that we hold the future of our country in our hands. We cannot do this formidable task of raising our children without divine help.
My 98-year-old mother went to be with Jesus last year. She went to work as a housekeeper and caring for children when she was a teenager, and then during World War II she worked in the Army base laundry. When   her children were young, she took in washings and ironings, then went to work at the school cafeteria until she retired.
Mother was well known as a woman of prayer. She prayed for her children, as well as other people. People frequently visited our home to ask for her counsel and prayer. In her last years, she said, “I wonder why the Lord is leaving me here so long,” to which I usually replied, “Your grandchildren and great grandchildren need you to pray for them.” She lived every day of her life in service to the Lord and taught her children to love and serve Him too. Her children and grandchildren are proud to be descendants of such a woman of God.
“Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, ‘There are many good women, but you are the best!’  Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised. Show her respect—praise her in public for what she has done.”  Proverbs 31:28-31 CEV.

Get up early this next Sunday morning and take your children to church. Give your children to God and ask Him to teach you how to raise these children for Him. At bedtime, kneel down with your children and teach them how to pray. No career, no amount of money, nothing else you do in life is as important as this.
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Got Your Back

Two girls were discussing the night out with other girls at a club. One of the girls was having a fuss with another girl, and her friend told her, “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.” She meant she would cover her and protect her if the situation got out of hand. Sometimes you’ll hear someone say, “I’ve got your 6.”
In the old West movies, when the hero says, “Cover me,” the others start shooting while the hero runs to a better position to get the bad guy.
Sometimes we have a problem and need someone to have our back. Maybe we need someone to vouch for us or witness for us in a legal situation. In some cases, we might need a friend to help us in a serious situation, like when in the hospital, or taking care of children when we have an important appointment. That person can be considered as having our back or being our backup.
The back is a very vulnerable spot on the body. You can’t see your back. When attacked from the back, your elbows or feet are just about all you can use defensively. In the old West, shooting someone in the back was about as low as an outlaw could stoop.
“The glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. Then you shall call and the Lord shall answer; You shall cry and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” Isaiah 58:8-9.
In the army the rearguard covers the back of the troops, protecting them from an enemy attack in the rear. God is covering our back. When we call out to the Lord, He will hear us and provide an answer. He might have someone speak up for us, or provide something we need, or pray for us.
God will protect our back like the rearguard.


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Jesus Died

One thing can be said about Jesus–He died. He died a horrible death. Millions of people have watched a reenactment of his death in movies and millions have been visibly touched to see exactly what all He went through when he was crucified at Golgotha.

He died a sacrificial death. He didn’t die for any crime that He had committed. He lived a perfect life, never committed any sin. In fact He alone was the sinless sacrifice.

He died by laying down His life. No one killed Jesus; He gave Himself to die. In the Garden He prayed, “Father, if there be any way, let this cup pass from me. But nevertheless, Thy will be done.” He laid down His life in prayer first. The people who carried out the crucifixion were merely instruments of His death. They were doing exactly what the Father God wanted them to do.

He died for you, me, and the whole world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV.

He died in our place, so we wouldn’t have to. The Bible says, “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Even though, some day our physical bodies will die, we will live forever with the Lord, because of His sacrifice.

Many great leaders of other religions died too. Buddha died. Mohammed died. Many of their followers visit their tombs and mourn their death. However, Jesus not only died, but He rose again from the grave.

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He raised many people from the dead, but they eventually died again. When Jesus rose from the grave, He was in a new glorified body that will never die. Then He ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father God, Creator of the Universe.

And that is the difference.

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Going Fishing

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After Easter

The story doesn’t end with Jesus on the cross, although that is the focal point of our salvation.

Every drop of blood in His body flowed out, ran down His brow, ran from the wound in His side, from the stripes on His back. His blood ran in rivulets down the hill, over the cliff of Golgotha, where according to legend, His blood flowed into the tomb was where Jesus was to be buried. Jesus didn’t die because His blood was all gone from His body. He died because He voluntarily gave up His Spirit, His life.

Jesus Himself said in John 10:17-18, “I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself.” Then the first day of the week, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus took up His life again and rose from the dead, but the story doesn’t end there either.

In the garden, He appeared to Mary. That night He appeared to His disciples. Later He appeared to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Then in the presence of at least 120 people He ascended to heaven, but that isn’t the end of the story either.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, the Bible says now He is seated at the right hand of the Father, where He ever lives to make intercession for us. But the story didn’t end there either.

Jesus will come to take us to heaven where we will be with the Lord, but the story doesn’t end there either.

Then Jesus and His resurrected saints will return to the earth and we will live on earth with Him for a thousand years, but that isn’t the end of the story.

At the end of the thousand years, Jesus will re-create heaven and earth, and heaven will come down to earth, right over Jerusalem. Then we will rule and reign with Him forever. That isn’t the end of the story either.
That is only the beginning.
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Sweet Words

If I were to define my worst trait it would be my big mouth. Oh, I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble over the years because of my mouth.
One time we’d been fishing and were leaving the creek, with Dad driving a big Dodge pickup with an overhead camper. We pulled up to the road and stopped, waiting for a car who was going  to turn in where we were coming out,  but she couldn’t see around us to see if she had room. In other conditions, Dad would have just backed up a little to let her in, but there was someone behind us too.
I was in the passenger seat with my arm hanging out the window and I just mouthed, “Can’t you see we can’t move? Come on, lady.” She was almost facing me and I could see her face as she hollered out at me, “What did you say?”
I said, “I only said we can’t back up.” Well, she couldn’t hear me, so she said, “Say that again,” and I could tell she was getting mad. Now I was an adult, maybe 30, and I decided maybe I’d better act apologetic before she jumped out of that car, pulled me out, and stomped on me.
While I was smiling and shrugging at the lady, Dad waved at the guy behind us to come on around us, and he did, so then Dad backed up, so the lady could turn in. It turned out okay but I should have just kept my mouth shut.
Have you ever had to eat your words? I did that day, and I’m sorry to say, that’s not the last time I’ve had to back up and retract something I have said.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.Psalm 19:14 NKJV.
I’ll keep my words sweet in case I have to eat them.
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