The Truth

I started first grade at Riverside Grade School, only four rooms for four grades—1st through 4th. I have sweet memories of Riverside school. Only one block from my home, it was a red brick square building, with a nice playground. We played on teeter-totters, swings, slides, and the merry-go-round. We had our share of falls and spills off them all, but I don’t remember anyone being seriously hurt.

In the fall of third grade, we had a big production play which we combined with Hall Halsell grade school and performed it in the auditorium. We dressed as pilgrims or Indians, to put on our play. At our own school, we made our costumes. Mine was made out of brown paper grocery sacks. The sack had holes cut for the arms and head, and it was colored to look like an Indian dress with fringe cut at the hem. A paper headband with a paper feather finished the costume.

We made papoose carriers out of cardboard, with straps to put it on our back, and colored a paper sack which was stapled over the cardboard. I don’t remember the baby, but it must have been our own doll from home.

When time came to put on our play, I was proud to march around the auditorium, wearing my Indian costume and baby doll papoose on my back. We sang our songs about the pilgrims and Indians and Thanksgiving and recited our pieces as trained. We learned our stories of Christopher Columbus, the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and the kind Indians who helped them live through the harsh winters of those first years in America.

Now all those stories and facts we learned are being disputed and contradicted. The stories we learned in Sunday School have been disputed and contradicted too, but the more they are contradicted, the more they are researched, the more they are proven true. Archaeology proves the Bible. DNA research proves the Bible.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8

Try as they may, the word of God can’t be proven false.

 

Grandmother’s Feather

Grandmother had a feather bed on top of her mattress. When I lay my body down at night, the feather bed enveloped me with sheer luxury, conforming to my every shape. Grandmother and I would lie there in peace, sweet peace, softly talking until I drifted off to sleep. I loved spending my time with Grandmother.

Granddad fixed peanut butter and syrup stirred together on a plate to put on his biscuits. I don’t remember much about what else we ate for breakfast, but there was always brown beans for dinner and supper, no matter what the main dish was.

Grandmother puttered around in her little kitchen, serving dinner (that is lunch to you) on her 1950s chrome dinette set. The windows all around were filled with potted plants growing up over the curtain rods and all across the windows. Outside those windows were roses and flowering bushes of every kind.

Behind the studio couch in the front room were her piano and guitar. If I was good, she let me play the guitar, sitting in the middle of the couch so I wouldn’t bang it on the wooden arms. And since I took piano lessons, she sometimes let me play the piano. Granddad stood looking over my shoulder, correcting my mistakes, since he had learned to read music by the shaped-notes method and sang bass in quartet fashion.

I loved spending the night with Grandmother and Granddad, always on a Friday night which was church night at their little country church next door. Grandmother was the preacher and played the piano or guitar and they sang together, including me in their songs, and having me sing my specials. They stood me before the church when I was 5, singing Mansion Over The Hilltop with Grandmother.

Most children lose the desire to spend the night with grandma by the time they become teens. I did. When I was a teenager, and got my first car and first job, Grandmother asked me often, “Why don’t  you come and see your poor old grandmother sometime?” and I always said, “I will, Grandmother, one of these days soon, I will.” But the only time I ever saw her was when she came down to Mom’s home to visit. Then I got married and moved away.

I have letters she wrote me when I lived out of town, and then when I moved back to Vinita, I saw her often, but never spent the night with her again. Never settled down into that feather bed beside her and held her hand as I drifted off to sleep again.

It is understandable as children grow up that they grow away from their parents and grandparents. However the memories that are made during those overnights at Grandma’s house will stay with them forever.

“I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 NKJV.

Till the day she died, Grandmother’s little bed was piled high with a feather bed.

The Calendars of My Life

 

THE CALENDARS OF MY LIFE

Just the sight of a new blank calendar with pretty landscape scenes thrills me, but by the end of the year, my calendar isn’t so pretty anymore. Crossed out and erased events, schedule changes, unexpected interruptions, last-minute changes, even tragedies have turned my calendar into a diary of my life.

When I went to work as a telephone operator in 1971, I learned the value of
carrying a pocket calendar to keep track of my schedule. The only practical
way to keep track of days off, holidays, and vacations was a calendar.

You can look back at my calendar of 1974, to see when my son was born, and
1975 when he cut each of his teeth. The 1976 calendar shows when I had an
appointment with a lawyer and filed for divorce. The 1979 calendar shows
dates with my high-school sweetheart and the 1980 calendar shows our
wedding. The 1981 calendar shows the birth of our daughter.

I have lived my whole life by the calendar. Even though I retired in 2003, I am still busy volunteering.  I thought I was finished with a calendar, but here I am, keeping a calendar of appointments again.

I made some important changes to my schedule in the late 70s that I have never regretted. I started going to church regularly. In those same calendars, you will see church camps, revivals, choir practice. I made sure that my two children were involved in every church activity. We scheduled our lives around the church’s schedule.

“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'” James 4:14-15.

If you would like to learn about my life, read my calendars. My whole life is reflected there.

Do-It-Yourself

The first time I tried to butcher my own meat I found out the importance of the right equipment. We used a hatchet to detach the joints and a hacksaw to cut through the bones. I discovered that the knife I owned commonly known as a butcher knife wouldn’t cut soft butter.

Mom had a meat grinder. At least it was shaped like a meat grinder, had holes like a meat grinder, a handle that you turn like a meat grinder, but this meat grinder did not grind meat. It turned meat into mush.

When the afternoon was over, I had the smell of wild meat in my nose, the remains all over me, and I had only saved myself $35. Although the meat was edible, it would have been so much nicer if it had been in recognizable cuts of meat.

My husband and I agreed that the next year the carcass would go to the butcher where it would be cut and neatly packaged for a reasonable price. Our part was to deliver the carcass to the butcher, then pay for it when it was finished.

I come from a long line of do-it-yourselfers. I grew up believing that with the right information and the right tools I could do anything. We are that generation, no, that nation of people who believe we can do anything.

And working our way to heaven is one of the things we think we can do.

Ask the man on the street, “How do you get to heaven?”” He will probably answer, “ “By being a good person.”” Or “Obey the Ten Commandments.”” Or “Do good deeds.” But there are some things you just can’t do for yourself and gaining entrance into heaven is the main one.

“Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 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.” Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, 16 .There it is in Jesus’ words, what you have to do to get everlasting life and see the kingdom of God–simply believe in God’s Son Jesus.

You cannot do it yourself. Nothing you do or don’t do will get you into heaven.

 

 

 

Building an Altar

The dearest place on earth to my heart for many years was the old wooden altar where I asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was 7 years old. And I frequently knelt there in that same tear-stained spot at my end of the altar to meet my Lord in prayer.

Years later, at a different altar, I rededicated my life to Jesus, then put my 3-year-old son on the altar to dedicate him to the Lord. That same altar was where I was married the second time and where I dedicated my daughter to the Lord when she was two weeks old. I found my place there at the end of that altar too, where I shed many tears in prayer over the years.

Abraham built an altar at Bethel, which means House of God, in Genesis 12. Then he built an altar in Hebron, which means Friend of God.”

Abraham’s last altar was on Mount Moriah, where Abraham made the ultimate sacrifice, his only son Isaac, but God stopped the sacrifice and provided a ram caught in the thicket to take Isaac’s place. This was symbolic of God providing His own sacrifice, His only Son Jesus. Abraham named that altar Jehovah Jireh God my provider.”

He started at Bethel the House of God, moved to Hebron Friend of God, then went on to Jehovah Jireh God my Provider, the names he gave the altars suggesting he was getting closer to God as he traveled on  his journey.

Can you point back to the altar where you gave your heart to Jesus? In your journey through life, have you moved from worshiping at the House of God, to being a friend of God, to knowing that God is your Provider?

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”  Hebrews 10:19, 22 NKJV

God always hears our prayers, no matter the position of our bodies, as long as we kneel our hearts in prayer before Him.

 

Lights of the Christmas Tree

In the years when we were teenagers, Mama bought a silver aluminum Christmas tree, and we decorated it with all our old decorations she had accumulated over those early years. Our favorite lights were the old-fashioned bubble lights that looked like oil pumping up inside, made to look like a candle.

We had a couple of little plastic reindeer which looked like a rocking horse. I still have one of those plastic reindeer, pink and fragile, probably 60 years old. There was also a little Santa Claus and maybe an angel made out of the same plastic material. We had a beautiful angel to top the tree but I don’t remember much about what it looked like.

 I still have a few of those items myself, and have picked up a few over the years. Sorry to say, many of those items have totally fallen to pieces, because items made in the 1940s and 50s were made of a low-quality plastic and were not made to last 75 years.

 We loved the silver icicles or tinsel that we threw over the tree branches, and as recently as two years ago, I bought some like them to decorate my artificial tree. I read that the early icicles were made out of lead but the new ones available today are some kind of plastic with a metallic coating.

 What does any of this have to do with Christmas? Many Christians have turned away from decorating a tree for Christmas since it was obviously not part of the early-day Christian church’s holiday observations. There are many traditions that have sentimental value to many Christians and I’m one of those sentimental types. My personal opinion is that what the Bible speaks about, I teach. When the Bible is silent, I remain silent.

 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

All my memories of Christmases past revolve around the story of Jesus’ birth. He is the Light of the world and that’s what I remember when I see the lights of the Christmas tree.