PACKING A SHOEBOX

At breakfast this morning, Levi told me he was really sad. When I asked why, he said that he did not get to fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. His Mom took care of it for the family in the interest of time., and filled several boxes.  But, Levi wanted to do one himself. “I know what to do. You buy things the little boys would like and then you pack them nice and neat in the box and you fill out the paper and the church sends it on an airplane and the children all get new things! I do it every year.”
So, I told him that I would help him do one and we would get it to his church before time to send it off. He immediately went and got pen and paper to make his list. Handing it to me, he said, “Go to WM or Target and get these things. Be sure to get the right size. I can’t go with you, but I think you can do it!    Yes, Little Man, I think I can. Thank you for having a loving, sharing heart.
You, know, the way our little ones learn to be people who care about others and do for others is to be taught.  They may see us doing things for others and slowly understand what we are doing.  My own boys went with me to deliver Meals on Wheels for several years when they were small.  They enjoyed it and learned about the elderly and unfortunate in our community.  I also took my boys to the nursing home to visit quite often.  They learned to not be afraid of someone who is aged, but just to give them an chance to talk to someone..  They learned that whatever name they were called by to just act like that was right.
Find ways for your child to give back to others…share with them the needs in our community…and teach them that we are mandated by God to help the poor and needy.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Operation Christmas Child is a non denominational effort to bring Christmas joy to children all over they world.  The boxes we pack go out to those in over 100 countries.
  Samaritan’s Purse also provides Crisis Response, Food and Water, medicines, and shelter.
The staff at Operation Christmas Child advise that these are the items most needed in the boxes…SCHOOL SUPPLIES… pencils, papers, crayons, coloring books, tape,   TOYS…( if it require batteries, send extra taped to toy)…MAKE YOUR OWN CRAFT KITS…       PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS items…toothbrush, soap, washcloth..no toothpaste or any liquid…       .CLOTHING ACCESSORIES..socks, underwear, shoe strings, flip flops, hair bows, elastics.  ALL NEW ITEMS…NO USED!
NO CANDY.  The least chosen group of children is boy…9-14, fyi.
I hope you get the chance to participate in this global project.  Be a part of sharing Christmas around the world. This is collect week, so hurry if you would like to participate.  I think almost all the Baptist Churches in town  take part, I don’t know about other denominations, but feel certain they do.  You are welcome to drop your box by any church office.  My church is Southside Baptist on Cottonwood Rd….signs lead to the office.  You are also asked to make a $9.00 donation to cover shipping.
For more info…www.samaritan’s purse.com………..Pinterest has many great ideas to share.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Mama,

Today is your birthday.  It is a Sunday morning.  You would have been 86 on earth today,  and knowing you, you would be just as neatly dressed and coiffed as ever!  I sincerely doubt you would have on long pants unless it was bitter cold…which it certainly is not right now!  But your out fit would be a complete ensemble of panty hose, shoes, purse, and jewelry that matched.  (I think some of that stuck with me…but I’m really OK with the pants thing now…just never shorts or jeans.  I think you would approve!  Very few men wear a suit and tie anymore.  Church is way more casual.  But, Don and Tommy and Pop and a few others who are our age or older still do.  Joy wears pants, too!) 

You would sit in your special place next to daddy.  You would not be very at ease in the song service,  There would be mostly songs you didn’t know.  And all that clapping would not set well with you, for sure.  However, You would sit next to Pop and smile and just hold your clasped hands gently in your lap.  We usually sing 1 hymn. You wouldn’t need a book…you always knew all the words to every hymn we sang!   And you wouldn’t even look at the screens… (you did not like those either.  You said it made our church look like an auditorium instead of a sanctuary.)  I guess its a sign of the times…every church you attend has those screens now…no one uses hymnbooks anymore.  Of course, hymns are very rarely sung, either.  There would be many familiar faces missing in church this morning and that would make you very sad.  But, there would be a lot you still recognize and you would hug and love on them!  You would also see a lot of new faces…and this would make you very happy.  It always bothered you that we did not reach more of the community that surrounded us.

  Don and I would be sitting behind you and Joy at the piano…Tommy sitting with her.  None of your grandchildren go to Southside now.  But, they are all serving in churches around the city.  They would make you proud.  Even your great grandsons who you never met on earth, are very involved in church.  They have made a profession of their faith at their own churches and have both been baptized.  Their parents are bringing them up just like you and Pop did…and like Joy and I did.

You loved to hear Joy and Pam play a beautiful offertory.  You listened to every note.  You would know if there was a single mistake.  And, your beautiful white hair would be bobbing in time with the music until they finished.  Everyone else would clap when they finished…but you wouldn’t.  The words to the music they were playing were holy and reverent and you held your hands and smiled and thanked God in your heart.

The beautiful flowers in the church today are in honor of your memory. You have so many friends who still love and think about you.  The work you did in missions and on missions trips is still talked about.  The little 3’s who passed thru your group ’s class were indeed blessed.  You reached out to those who were shut in and sick and lonely.  You must have baked thousands of your famous pound cakes and took them warm to those who were on your heart.  You wrote note upon note upon note!  The recipient never knew if it would be silly or serious!

You made people smile, Mom, everywhere you went.  You were a lady.  You are a gem of a mother.  I hope you get a party in heaven today.  Perhaps, angel food cake!  Or maybe all the celebration you need is to remember your family and your church and your friends.  We all love you still and always will.  I, for one, feel your spirit close to me all the time.

I’m sure today you are worshipping in a temple so grand we would not believe it!  And, I know…I just know…that you are in the choir with the angels!  And, you see Jesus!  Oh, Mom!  I am so happy to know you see Jesus face to face!

I love you forever!

Hey, save me a seat in the choir next to you!   It’s OK…God’s gonna give me a new voice!

TROUBLE AT THE MALL

I recently visited one of the anchor stores in our local mall.  My hubby said it would be impolite to name the store, so I won’t.

From the time I walked in to the time I left, it was frustration upon frustration.  First there was NO sales help.  I take that back.  In a store the size of this one, I saw 2 sales people.  I had a pair of shoes to return.  I went first to the shoe section…no one there.  Then to the make up…on to women’s…then to girls…then to jewelry…back to shoes.  No one was working!  Finally I saw a line of about 8 people snaking out of the handbag section.  One young lady was kindly ringing people up as fast as she could.  Of course, several of the folks had questions and so she had to leave to show them something.  But those of us in line stayed in line because where else would we go? After a good 30 minutes in line, I finally returned my shoes.

As I walked through the store, I spotted a pair of jeans that I wanted to try on.  I really debated about doing this, but they were just what I was looking for.  So, I take the jeans, and go to the nearest dressing room.  OH! MY!  I can not tell you what each of the 3 stalls looked like…so let me show you.  Is this atrocious or what?  Who would leave a dressing room like this?  What kind of person leaves new clothes not even purchased on the floor?

**********Now this harkens back to my last post about the buggy.  Friends…it is just rude to leave all those clothes in that condition.  You don’t even own those clothes.  They should be returned to their proper place.  Now the dressing rooms in this store happen to have a rack by the door for you to hang your clothes that did not fit.  But if not…at least return them..folded or hung…to the cashier’s area.  Here they may put them back in the correct place.  Just as with the buggy, there is a place to put the clothes after you try them on.**********

And, the dressing rooms were nasty.  Dirty carpet…trash on the floor…slats knocked out of the doors.  It was awful.  I chose the least messy of the 3 and was very careful as I tried on my jeans.  Didn’t want to touch anything.  Nope..don’t like the jeans.  OK…I had enough of this place and I am ready to go.

But, NO!  I am not going anywhere!  The door is stuck!  Not where the latch I can reach to lock it…but up at the top.  There is a screw halfway out of the wall, and when the door shut, a metal piece got stuck behind that and was not willing to budge to let me out.  I am 5’1”…I could not even reach the top of the door.

I pushed it as hard as I could.  I jiggled the door.  I pushed it again.  Then I thought about crawling under the door.  No way…the opening at the bottom was only about 8 inches wide.  Wasn’t gonna happen.  So, I called out, “Is there anyone who can hear me?”  No answer.  I called again.  “Is there anyone who can hear me…I am in need of help in the dressing room.”  No answer.  Well, of course there was no answer…no one was working!

So, ‘I had a little talk with Jesus.  And, I told Him all about my  troubles
He will hear my faintest cry and He will answer by and by…’

Do Ya’ll remember that song?  Well, those words came flooding into my heart as I was standing in that nasty dressing room…locked into one of the smaller stalls…and getting unhappier by the moment!  When I was a kid, I remember thinking it would be so fun to get locked inside a department store at night and just roam the store and and try on anything you wanted!  That was then.  Now I am sure they have motion detectors and and the whole DPD would bust through the doors and have me in jail before I could explain!

But, back to the song.  I told Jesus, “I need His strength.”  He says,   And, I was surely in a very weak situation.  So, I took Him at His word.  I asked Him to give me the strength to get out of that door…and get on my way.  I stood back and braced myself with my hand on one wall.  And took my foot and one hand and hit that door as hard as me and Jesus could manage.  Friends, that piece of metal popped right in half!  The door swung open and hit me in the head!  But, I was free!  I gathered up my jeans and hung them back in the right place and I headed for the door.  I have never been so glad to smell fresh air in my life!

Did I tell anyone that I broke their door?  No.  I didn’t see anyone to tell.  Remember?  No one was working   And, obviously, no one heard my body slam through the dressing room door ..cause no one came to investigate, either!

But, last night, I did write a complaint to the Dothan store and told them about my horrendous experience in their store.  I received a generic note this morning saying “Thank you for your comment on our store.  Please let us know how we can make your shopping experience more enjoyable.”  Really?  Really?

 

I better just stop right here before I say something that’s not nice.  Anyway, the lesson here is this.  God knows where you are all the time.  He knows what you are doing.  He see you when you get in trouble…and He promises to help you out!  Take him at His word!  You might not be stuck in a filthy dressing room and need His help to escape.  But, tapping into His strength is for any situation you find yourself in.  And,He delights in sharing it with you!  He wants every day to be a day of joy and happiness and He’s there to make that happen…if we just ask!

 

 

BUGGY TROUBLE


 

 

What’s wrong with this first picture? Today I pulled into Lowe’s parking lot and and could not park close to the door because someone left their buggy in the middle of this handicapped spot! I pulled on down…actually way on down to find a place to park. As I came up the aisle, I headed for the buggy to take it inside. Lo and behold, I saw a lady, quite a bit younger than me, taking the buggy she had just used and putting it behind this one. “Oh, my, I guess you didn’t see that this is a handicapped space,” I said to her as I hobbled up with my cane. “I tried to park here but some one else must have thought the same thing.” She said, “Well, I just saw this one here and thought I would put mine here, too.” I said, “Well, if you will excuse me, I’d like to get that other buggy and take it in so the next handicapped person doesn’t have to pass up this space.” So, I got the first buggy and started walking to the covered entrance. I pushed it up next to the door and turned around to see the woman still standing in that spot…just staring at me…hands still on her buggy. So, I turned around and went back to the parking lot. When I got close enough…she still had not moved…I said, “Just a minute and I’ll take your buggy, too.”. She gave me a look meant to do me bodily harm and then she sashayed herself right past me and said, “I can put up my own buggy.” I just turned back around to go into the store . She put her buggy right next to mine and said, “You’d think they would tell you where to put them when you are finished with them.” I couldn’t resist. I said, “See all those buggies next to those red poles…right there in front of your car. The sign on the other side says, PARK BUGGIES HERE or something close.”

Then she just looked at me and said, “Well, I never.” Never…what? Never saw the cart corral?  Never saw someone put a buggy away before?   Or never put one up herself?  I left her at that point. ‘Cause I had made 2 trips from the parking lot to the store and I knew I had to make that trip again to get back to my car!

Please do the right thing and put up your buggies! And, please don’t block handicapped spaces. It is a kindness to all those who need them!

TEACHER! TEACHER!

Here it comes…the next school year.  I know you…you wonder where the summer went.

There were so many empty days looming out in front of you at the end of May.  Days to spend quality time with your kids instead of other kids.   You were going to loll round on the beach with a cooler full of drinks and a nice big umbrella…perhaps a good book.  You would stay there till you got good and ready to walk away.

You were going to start summer off right, too!  Those precious children of yours were going to get their own breakfast and then you were going to teach them what ‘cleaning your room” really means.  Yeah.   You were gonna get ’em in shape before the next school year rolled around!  Oh, there would be plenty of fun time for them.  Ball tournaments and swimming at the pool.  Perhaps sleep away camp and church VBS.

You just thought it was important to also remind them that being a part of a family mean ‘everybody works’!  And what better way to get that message across than by making their summer project emptying the garage..selling the junk…and putting everything back in a useful order. { FYI:  you may not know this but 95% of the women with children in grade school have handed out this same project to their children for the last 80 years.  They most probably faired no better at it than you and your kids!}

And lest every single bit of knowledge that has been crammed into their brains in the last few years of school, grow stale and somehow slip away when you are not watching…..one book a month must be read…and reported on to you.

You were planning to enjoy those days when you didn’t have to get up until your body said, “You can not stay here any longer or you will have no reason to go to bed tonight!”  You were planning on those days when baggy jeans and a sloppy top was the outfit for the day and absolutely NO MAKEUP REQUIRED!

 

You were thinking about all those fresh veggies you were gonna cook and those fine Slocomb tomato sandwiches with lots of mayo and perhaps a slice or 2 of bacon.  Those fresh strawberries and blueberries and plums and figs.  You sorta toyed with the idea of making some preserves from all that fruit this year.  Actually you spent about 1.4 seconds considering it and then thanked your Maker that He had given you much better sense than that!

Maybe a few trips with the girl friends should be in order to fill all those days.  Just you and your sister-friends…those girls you have shared life with.  The good and the bad.  The ones who have seen you host a fabulous party and those who have sat and talked to you while you were on the toilet!  You’d play all day in your cutest bathing suit and cover up…then dress to the nines to go out to eat…new summer frocks, cutest sandals, new shade of eyeshadow, and the cutest purse ever!  You’d share your entrees and desserts….gotta always be careful!  And, the shopping.  Up and down every street at Pier Park.  Then on to Destin.  Stoppping at every little boutique on 30A and finding something with your name all over it!  Lunch at Bud and Alleys or perhaps a late lunch or early evening at The Red Bar!  Then FASHION SHOW…everyone has to show and tell about their fabulous finds.

Is hubby feeling a little neglected?  You knew he would and planned a couple of weekend trips for just you two.  Lovely dinner…you in those fab new clothes you bought…maybe a little wine…a little dancing…a little romancing!.

Or maybe you planned one of those grand vacations?  Where it took weeks of planning?  Where everyone had to pack their own suitcase and carry it?  Where there would be learning as well as fun?  Oh!  I bet you did!  How long did it take before the youngest was ready to go home?

 

They seem to waffle between having a fabulous time and being bored to death, don’t they?  But, you, Mom, the fearless one, was going to expose them to the places of historical significance around our country…perhaps other countries.  And, they were going to see it…and soak it in…pose in front of it  and remember it… come ‘a hot place’ or ‘high water!”

Good for you, Mom!  You did it!  Or you tried.  You just forgot to remember that there’s something magical that happens to the days once school lets out.   The first few are long, but  they grow increasingly shorter as it nears August.  June and July loom out in front of us with the promise of all of the above…….but the days…the days…they just don’t cooperate!  They are too short!  They are too hot!  They are too lazy!  How could anyone expect you to follow that schedule you laid out in May…on a day in July…with a temp of 98 and a heat index of 106?  How are sane folks supposed to muddle through those days?  EXACTLY!!!  Stretched out on the couch…with your favorite cold drink….and the new book you have been aching to read all year…the fan above you on high…perhaps the dog lying on your feet…and kids loaned out on playdates…or upstairs playing video games and hubby already instructed to bring home take out for dinner!  Yeah!  I understand.  You need to charge your own batteries…some ME time!

So here you are the end of July…nigh into August….the school year for 18/19 has already begun for you.Your room is ready.  Didn’t take you but a week to get everything in place.  You set through all those teacher workshops and staff meetings that are so full of great information and get you all psyched up for the year!  All the supplies you think you will need are purchased or on order.  You’ve received your class list….smiling at some names…moaning at others.  But, I know you.  Those kids won’t know the difference.  Cause you are a TEACHER!  The noblest of professions.

You open up little brains to the wonder that exists around them.  You make all those numbers rolling around in their heads fall into a logical order and mean something.

You show them how all those words on every page of every book are just a clue to some great piece of knowledge that will help them the rest of their lives.  You help little fingers as they struggle to make those lines straight and the curves in the right direction so as to make a disernable letter.  And then you even show them how to combine those strange markings together to make a word they can read!  And you can read!  And the world can read!

 

And every day as you watch those little bodies and developing personalities as they run and jump on the playground…you whisper a prayer for each of them.  Because by the end of this year…when May rolls around again…they will be different.  They will have grown…in their physical bodies, in their minds, in their social skills and in their interest in the world around them.  They will be another step closer on their journey.  Thanks to you!

God bless you teacher.  God bless your class.  I thank you.  I admire you.  I honor you. And I pray for you.  You are doing the hardest…yet most important job of all…teaching!

And, hey, you just save that list.  You can use it again next summer!

 

CELEBRATE 92!

Sunday afternoon a swarm of folks descended upon the quiet home of Clyde Townsend.  He was about to have a surprise party to celebrate his 92nd year of life!  People kept coming and he got happier and happier!  And, so we celebrated and honored this patriarch of our family.  He has guided us, supported us, corrected us, and loved us for our lifetimes.  We love him dearly.

 

 

 

Alex was unable to attend, but sent his well wishes.

 

 

A sweet day to make memories.  God has blessed us mightily with our Pop…aka Papa, Papa Clyde, Mr. Clyde, Mr. Townsend….but most of all…Daddy.

 

FAMILY FUN ON THE FOURTH

Not a great big todo on the 4th this year.  Don and I came to the beach on the third and Levi and Suzanne came down on the fourth.   Even though bad weather was predicted, the days were absolutely gorgeous.  The water was cool, the sun was bright, and the waves were gentle!  A few scattered showers, but not enough to dampen spirits!  I have not been able to go down to the beach in quite a few years, due to the achilles tendonitis in my foot.  But, it was just too pretty not to chance it this time!  So glad I made the trek!

HAPPY FOURTH…in our red, white and blue…

Levi and Pa doing a little driving in the neighborhood…

 

On the beach…

We did sparklers at the house, then went out to look at the fireworks on the beach…

Look who showed up…

My little man got tired on the way home…

WOW!  Look at this feast Pa prepared for breakfast….the second course was a serious stack of pancakes!

Pa had to leave for Dothan, and Levi and I piled up on the couch to watch a movie…or, perhaps, rest through a movie!

Levi and Suzanne spent a little time at Shipwreck Island the next day before they bid me farewell.

I have stayed a day or two longer.  Books to read…house to clean…

But, hope to have my toes in the sand again soon!