Vacation Bible School

This is the month so many churches hold their annual VBS. We held two afternoons of Bible School Day Camp. We had great fun—sang songs, did crafts, had refreshments, played games, studied the Bible lessons, memorized the Bible verses.

During the planning, since I provide music for our church, I started digging into the children’s music in my memory and I found that I remembered every word. I also found that when I researched the old Sunday School and Bible School songs online, it appears they are still being used today. Of course, some of those aren’t from my childhood, but from my children’s childhood. I’ve been singing children’s Christian songs all my life.

I picked out action songs, with dual purpose—to impart a truth into the child’s heart through repetition and to exhaust some of his endless supply of energy so he could sit still during the lesson time that followed.

We sang, “Father Abraham had many sons….right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, chin up, turn around, SIT DOWN!” to the music of a CD, while we marched in place. Of course, that required me to march too, which wore me out before it did the children.

Several weeks before our Day Camp, I had taught the children about Father Abraham. God came to Abram, as he was called at that time, told him to leave Ur of the Chaldees, and go to a land he’d never been to before, so Abram believed God and obeyed. We talked about why God blessed Abraham, because he obeyed God. And God blessed Abraham so he would be a blessing to others.

“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3.NKJV

I believe the main purpose of Vacation Bible School or Church Camp should be to bring a child to that point like Abram, hearing God for the first time in his life, to the point of choosing to place his faith in Christ.

Checking the Mail

My mailman has been delivering my mail for 33 years until his retirement this year. He probably knows about as much about me from delivering my mail as anyone else in town. He was the one who delivered the love letters from Germany for over a year from 1979 through 1980.

For months while my boyfriend was in Germany, I rushed to the mailbox every day as soon as I got home from work to get that eight-page letter he wrote to me nearly every day. I frequently received three or four letters in one day, and then none for several days, because of the way the military mail operated.

I’d put everything on hold until I had read his love letter at least twice before supper, then I’d read it again at bedtime, sleep with the latest letter under my pillow, and then carry it in my purse to read on my coffee break and lunch hour the next day.

He came home on leave for our wedding and then returned to Germany to finish his last hitch of three months. Oh, my, that was the hardest part, being separated after we were married, but the love letters continued after he arrived in Germany and a few came straggling in even after he arrived back in Oklahoma after his discharge.

I got in that habit of rushing to the mailbox, as soon as I got home, and I’ve been doing it for 33 years. It doesn’t really matter what, as soon as the mail comes, I drop everything and get the mail.

Am I just as compelled to check my mail (the Bible) every day to see what the Love Letter from God has to say? Do I open the letter and read it twice before dinner, once before bedtime, once on my coffee break, and once on my lunch hour?

Do I hang on my Lord’s every Word of Love?

Some day He’s coming back and I will want to know what He is saying to me today.

Grandma’s Lye Soap Recipe

I found a hand-written copy of my mama’s mother’s lye soap recipe recently, hand-signed by Grandma herself. Grandma died in 1936, when she was only 48 years old, so I never knew her.

Mama was well-known for the lye soap she made from that recipe. People came by our house begging for her lye soap, which she always gave away. We used it for everything, except doing laundry. For that, she used the new-fangled powdered detergent she bought at the corner grocery store.

Lye soap was Mom’s cure for chigger bites and poison ivy—well, just about every ailment. As soon as we got home from the farm, we bathed in lye soap. Then at night when we itched, she rubbed us with a bacon grease and salt mixture, (with some other ingredient in it, but not sure now what it was.) I can still remember going to sleep with that smell.

I also remember Mama praying way into the night and often slipping away to the dark bedroom during the day to pray. She was also known for her praying and people would come by to ask her to pray for their illnesses or troubles.

Now that she is 94 Mama brags that she never took an aspirin till she was 30 years old and working for a doctor. Yes, she takes medicine. We believe God gave us doctors and medicine for our good and God’s glory, but Mama has depended on her faith in God to heal and the home remedies God revealed to keep her family well all these years.

The Bible speaks of the River of God flowing from the Great Temple in heaven, in Ezekiel 47. It is a healing river, “because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.” Ez. 47:9 NKJV. “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; ….Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” Ez. 47:12

That river is in heaven, but God also put leaves of medicine and rivers of healing on this earth for us.

We survived a childhood of chigger bites, poison ivy, stepping on nails, splinters, cuts, scrapes, pokes, stabs, and injuries, by the grace of God, through the power of prayer, and mama’s old-fashioned, heaven-sent, home remedies.