SERENDIPITY

Oh! My! Isn’t it just the most glorious thing when you experience a serendipitous moment!

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I have been helping out at the preschool this week helping to get the place all spiffed up for Christmas! It really is such a joyful place to be! And, I do so love decorating with the children (and parents and teachers) in mind. So, I had almost finished and just lacked a couple of things to put the finishing touch in place. Since it was ‘Levi’ day, I decided I needed to make a run to ACS (a  certain store) before he was out of school. I also needed to pick up a gift for a Christmas Wish our Sunday School class was doing.

So off I went with my list of 4 …just 4…things. Found them all quickly and for some unknown, crazy reason…turkeys came to mind. Perhaps the adventure from Thanksgiving was on my mind, or perhaps I remembered that I usually get my favorite turkey at W M. Any way, I made my way from one side of the store to the other.

Now, I don’t know about you…but it is dangerous for me to be turned loose in ACS. I just pass by so many things that I had forgotten I needed. (I used to favor the one with the big red circle and still like it better than ACS, but that’s another story for another day. Sure do miss that store. ) Anyway, by the time I had made my way to the other side of the store, I had picked up a blanket, 2 candles, a box or two of cookies, toilet tissue, paper plates, a magazine, 2 candy bars, 2- 6 packs of Coke, 1 -6 pack of diet Dr. Pepper, 6 bottles of Fanta orange, 8 bottles of regular Dr. Pepper, a gallon of Gold Peak Tea, and a bag of white mini doughnuts and 2 containers of chicken salad and a box of Wheat Thins! Along with the 2 robes for the Christmas class, and 4 tiny trees for school…and a ‘partridge in a pair tree‘! Why there was scarcely any room for a turkey if I did find one!

I looked around and didn’t see any turkeys at all! Finally I asked a lady who was in the process of putting something out in the freezer section.  WAIT!  I held my breath and said a prayer at the same time. “Ma ‘am, by any chance would they be Jennie-O Turkeys? “, I asked. “Honey, I don’t never even look at labels…they’s just turkeys all I know.” she replied. So, I thanked her and stood back by the cheese counter and waited for her to open the box. She had to go and find a box cutter! Of, course! And, I had to pick up Levi in 45 minutes! Back she came…she opened the boxes and began heaving turkeys over her shoulder and into the freezer section. I stepped closer and ‘what to my wondering eyes should appear…but 5 Jennie-O turkeys…right there! so near!’  Then, just as fast as my heart soared…it fell to the floor. There they were…Oven Ready Jennie-O turkeys…CAJUN STYLE ! CAJUN STYLE ? Who ever heard of a Cajun Style turkey?  (Yes, I know many of you would like that!)  She turned to walk away and I asked her if that was all. She looked at me with weary eyes and said, “Nope, these 4 boxes is filled up with turkeys. But, I bout threw my back out putting those in so I think I’ll go on my break before I finish.” I decided to be bold and asked her if they were all Cajun Style. She sighed and said, “I don’t know…but if’n you want me to, I’ll check.” “I would be so appreciative, ma ‘am…if you don’t mind…”  She sighed and began opening the boxes.  First…more Cajun Style…Second…Cajun Style,  Third…Jennie-O, but not the Oven Ready.  

She opened the last box and little blue birds flew down the aisle…and the top of the store opened up to a cloudless blue sky and the sun shone brightly…I even think I may have…perhaps…possibly, heard an angelic chord or too! And, there was my Jennie-O turkey. Oven Ready. Just snip 5 holes in the top of the bag and put it in the oven and stand back and bask in the compliments! “That’s my turkey!” I said. “Well, good for you,” she said…not at all as if she really meant it. She then asked how many I wanted.  “Only one, “ I answered. “Huh, figured you want 4 or 5 way you ’s waiting around and all. These any good?” And, I started to tell her my story…but I could tell she really wouldn’t be amused…so I just said, “The best I’ve ever cooked.” “Humph, “ was all she said.

I thanked her profusely and asked if she needed any Tylenol for her back.  She had some.  I told her again how thankful I was for her.  And, then I said, “You know, I’ve searched everywhere for these turkey…for several months.  I even prayed about finding one.  I think the Lord just planted you right here in ACS today to answer my prayer!”  She smiled, “Well, to be sure, no one has ever said I was an answer to their prayer before!”  And, since the opportunity was there, I asked her if she was a Christian.  She said, “Dearie, I don’t know much about much.  I’m tired and don’t have much money and got a bad back.  I got children to feed and bills to pay.  I wonder every day about making it on to the next.  But, I’m shore of one thing…I will see Jesus one day!  He saved me and He saved my children.  And, if that’s all I ever have, then it’s fine by me!”  I said, “Wow!  what a testimony!  Not only did I find my turkey, I got an uplift to my spirit.”  I told her I would pray for her…and she said, “I wisht you would.”  Then I slipped some money into her hand and walked away.  She said, “I can’t take this.”  I said,  “It’s to buy yourself one of these turkeys…and not the Cajun Style!”   And, I quickly slipped down the next aisle.

I practically floated to the check out aisle. And, this is how I know it was a God thing that happened to me.  When I got to the checkout… I didn’t have to wait in line!!!!! I have never in the 44 years I’ve shopped at TCS, ever walked up and paid and didn’t have to wait. See they have about 25 registers, but only about 3 or 4 people working  them….strangest thing.

Anyway…come Christmas time…I’m ready. No thawing. No heat gun. No patting. No dancing with my turkey by the moonlight…she cooks from the frozen state.

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Friends, I don’t like to cook. I don’t even like to be in the kitchen. I despise grocery shopping. But, I am smart enough to know that of the things I do cook well…it’s best not to go trying to change them up. Stick with what you know. And, wait for the turkeys to finally make it to the store.  And, perhaps, if you’re lucky…the Lord will meet you there with one of his angels!

QUESTIONS

A few days ago,11-7-16,  I gathered Levi from school and we picked up some lunch for he and I and Alex. As we were sitting in the kitchen eating, The following took place…out of the blue…

Levi…Uncle Alex, have you always been sick and hurting?

Alex…No, Buddy, I always had bad headaches even when I was a little boy like you. But, I got really sick when I was about 14 years old.

Levi…Well, did you tell your Mother.

Alex… Yes, I told her.

Levi…Did she do something for you?

Alex…She took me to a doctor…then another doctor…then another doctor…and we went to lots and lots of doctors…all over the place.

Levi…You couldn’t find one to fix you?

Alex…No, we haven’t. But, they do give me medicine to help me feel better.

Levi…Why can’t they fix you, Uncle Alex?

Here’s where I stepped in.

Tonja…Levi, all kinds of people get sick…all kinds of sick…and all over the world. Sometimes there is medicine to help people get well. But, sometimes there is not any medicine. Some times medicine just helps you feel better…but not get well. And, there are times that God chooses to heal people that are sick. But, there are also times that He doesn’t heal them.

Alex…That’s right, Levi, sometimes even with medicine you still don’t get well or you could get sicker.

Levi…Why did God say Alex couldn’t get healed?

Alex…Levi, God has a plan for everyone that lives. But, we don’t always know His plan. I just know that God has a plan for me. He loves me and He doesn’t plan for me to be healed right now.

Levi…But, do you have to stay sick and hurt?

Alex…yes, I do…unless God changes his mind and heals me.

Levi…then we have to pray for you everyday. Do you pray for you everyday, Uncle Alex?

Alex…yes, Levi, I ask God every day to heal me if He thinks it is a good idea.

Levi… I love you, Uncle Alex, I want you to be well. I will ask God every day. You do to, OK?

Alex…I will, Levi. I will.

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I share this with you, my friends, to tell you of the absolute positiveness I have in my heart of hearts that God is working every hour of every day…in you and me…and in little 5 year old boys and their 34 year old uncles.

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Levi has heard about Jesus forever.  He was prayed over at conception.  He was bathed in prayer as he developed within his Mother.  He was sick and nearly died the first two weeks of His life.  But, God stepped in.  And he has learned at church and learned at school and he has learned from his parents and both sets of grandparents, and his extended family.  He has been wrapped up in the love and stories of God the whole time he has been in this world.  He has heard and learned.  And, today, this question came.  Alex and I answered him as honestly and as plainly as we could.  Telling him truth in words he could understand.

May, I step out here and make a quick observation…

There will be other questions along the way.  But, a child needs to have an atmosphere around him where he can ask any questions, about anything, at anytime.  No question is frivolous.  No question is silly.  And, I don’t think any subject is taboo.  I raised my own boys with this idea…and they took me at my word.

If a child or even an older child has questions…about anything at all…there should be adults around to answer that question then and there with no hesitation or embarrassment.  Because, they will get the information somewhere.  And, who better than you?

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This exchange today at once made my heart soar with  proudness as well as break with sadness. I felt proud  of the way Alex was so gentle and careful answering Levi’s questions.  And, I am proud of the man that Alex has grown into.  He lives the life God planned for him with kindness and gentleness and grace.  But, I am overcome with sadness at what the reality of the situation of his life is.  I break in two when I think of what Alex lives with every day…what he has endured all his life…and the prognosis of the future.  I’ll tell you straight out…I’m no saint.  I hate it!  I don’t want to shoulder it and I don’t want him to suffer.  It awful for anyone to live like this.  I can say it’s not fair…but I’m not in charge of the fairness of the world.

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But, if I believe that God is who He says He is…then I believe that He does what He says He will do. My faith is not what I am feeling in the minute.  I’m human…I’m weak.  And, above my whining and complaining….I know He knows what he is doing.  He created this beautiful blond little boy to carry out a plan in our world.  I make a conscious decision to trust in His life course for Alex…even if I don’t like.  His plan for my son has everything to do with His goodness and wisdom…it does not depend on whether Alex or Don or I agree or not.

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Perhaps his job is to be an example to all of his family.  Perhaps his job is to be near to answer honest questions from his nephew. Perhaps his job is to be an encourager to the rest of our family.  He lifts me up and is always ready to help me when I’m having a particularly bad day.  He gets out of his sanctuary to see about me.  He treats me with kindness and respect and gentleness.

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Today is his birthday.  He turns 35.  He is my middle son.  He is my hero.  He is my example.  He is my sunshine.

dscn1037_1I am beyond proud of how he shoulders his life .   I love him with my whole heart.  Happy Birthday, Alex!

BIG TASK

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A few weeks ago a dear friend who lives in Birmingham called me out of the blue.  Immediately I thought something was wrong, but no, she just chatted joyfully about things going on with her.  I should have known she was just buttering me up!   Cause then she dropped the question.  “Oh, by the way, since I am in women’s ministry at my church now (along with children’s minister) I need a speaker for a big banquet we are having.  I feel you will be perfect!  Then she went on to guilt me out in such a manner, you could not even believe!  (No..she really didn’t.) But, she did tell me how the Holy Spirit had impressed upon her to call me two years ago and she didn’t and then last year, she wrestled with calling me and this year, again she felt the Holy Spirit telling her to call me.  She asked several others.  I don’t know what happened.  Either they couldn’t or it fell through…but anyway…here she was on the other end of the line asking me would I please not grieve The HolySpirit and come to Helena.  (See what I mean by guilt).  I mean who is going to ignore the work of The Holy Spirit intentionally?    I told her I’d think about it.

I have been impressed lately , by the Lord, of several things I need to work on in my life.  One of these is realizing that others we come in contact with are not just random people.  Every person I meet deserves a smile and a kind word from me…and if possible a word of encouragement.  That’s what Jesus would do.    I also need to always be ready to tell anyone, anytime about my God and what He means in my life. I have been very conscious of this lately and have attempted to do better.  Now here the Lord drops a group of 60 ladies right in my lap…what am I to do?  If I said I would try to do better…then I must try.  That was my answer.  So, I called her back.  I told her I would be happy to do it.  She was very happy…then told me the number was up to around 100!  Oh! My!

“Quietly trust yourself to Christ the Lord, and if anyone asks why you believe as you do. be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.”         1 Peter 3:15   TLB

I began writing on the topic  How I Know Prayer Really Works.  It wasn’t hard to write the text.  It is the story of my life.  But, I needed to back up everything I said with Scripture…and so this is where the work came in.  I began searching The Word to find  certain verses I remembered were somewhere in that big book…I could quote them fine…just not exact reference.  I knew them, had lived them, believed them…couldn’t find them.

And, I’ll admit here to you, my friends.  I have a big problem with procrastination.  I have had ADD forever and it is extremely hard for me to stay focused on one task for very long.  But, when it gets down to the wire…and a task must be finished…I can whip it out…correctly…in no time!  Just the way God built me!  So, two nights before the meeting I finally had the speech ready.  THAT’s why i desperately needed that ink on the Saturday before I left…it was just then finished.

And, I’m here to tell you…  Satan did not want me to give this speech.  Immediately after I said yes, I began to feel inadequate.  I am in no way good enough to stand in front of people and talk about Jesus.  Who was I to think I could do this?  I began having bad dreams.  Dreams in which I was attempting do do a task and I would continually fail.  This happened several nights.

Now, I say this to you as a matter of fact…not  boastful.  I learned a lot from my Mama.  She could get in front of a group and sing or talk or do something silly, and she always did it with confidence.  Not a shy bone in her body.  I was pretty much the same.  (Except the singing part)  I never minded giving speeches in school.  I could give reports of trips at church.  I could talk in front of our groups at a moment’s notice.  I just did not have  fear of speaking in front of people.  I even spoke at Mom’s funeral.  I liked, as she did, being the leader, and the responsibility that goes along with a leader.  God puts that trait into some people, just as He puts a more studious nature in some and a following spirit in some.  One isn’t better than the other….it’s just the way God built us.

But, in this instance, I was getting very nervous.  My sweet Alex said, “Mom you do that kind of stuff so well.”  And, he listened as I told him the whole speech.  BTW…she said 45 minutes!!!!!

I did not sleep well on Saturday night before leaving on Sunday.  But, about 4 in the morning I awoke with the worst stomach cramps.  And, just what you can imagine followed soon.   I could not go to church.  I could not leave the house.  I couldn’t even leave the bathroom!  And, Joy was picking me up to go around 2.  This was not just a passing episode…I had some sort of virus.  But it stopped finally and we left.  We stopped and got a plain baked potato for supper.  She was beginning to feel a few grumbling in her own belly area.  We checked into the hotel and I pulled my papers out and began to study.  But, I really needed sleep.

The next morning…the day of the meeting., Joy got up early to go and get her car serviced, as she had bought it in Bham.  I ate a few plain cheese crackers and drank some tea…and studied.  And, I prayed. I prayed for strength, for the virus to go away, and for a clear mind to remember my notes.  I worked until she came back…then we walked around the Galleria for  little while.  They had put us up in the Wynfrey which is attached to the Galleria.  But, neither of us felt much like shopping.  We came back to the room and rested.  Bless Joy’s heart, she even listened to my speech.  Then we had to leave!

Both of us still had uneasy stomachs, and I tried to think maybe she was just feeling nervous for me and I was just feeling nervous for my own self.  We drove up to the church.  And, the virus hit her hard.  She went in and found a bathroom.  And, I didn’t see her for about 2 hours.  I went and checked on her a few times.  The last time I went, the bathroom was dark  and quiet.  I said “Joy, are you in here?”  She said, “Yes…please turn the lights on I’ve been sitting in the dark and quietness for 30 minutes!

Fortunately she got better, she ate none and I ate very little of the food they had prepared.  And, then we sang and prayed and my friend introduced me…and it was time!

I told them when I first stood up “Ladies, I’ve been trying to get here for 3 years…FINALLY, Susanna asked me!”  And, I started my speech.And, I talked and tried to convey to these dear ladies how I know prayer works.  By showing them how He worked in my life, and how much a part of that was prayer, I hoped to give glory to my Lord for His mercy and goodness.  And, I think I did.  I had very favorable comments, and many tears.  They were all so gracious to us for coming and made us feel so welcome.

I was pleased with what we did…not alone, me and Jesus.  As I told them, I’ve heard all through my life, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Friends that is a lie.  There will be times that so much will come upon you, you will feel like breaking into.  What you have to remember is that it’s not just you.  If you are a Christian, you have  strong, strong Helper who can match anything you face.  His mighty strength matched up with our puny strength is an unbeatable combination.  And, the most wonderful thing is…you can access it any time ¥ou want.  For big problems or small.  Doesn’t matter to Him.

“Then He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…”

I felt small and I felt weak…for more than one reason.  But, when He came along beside me, I knew I would do fine.  Does that sound boastful?  I hope not!  Does it sound confident?  I hope so!  Because I am confident that God will always stand beside me in tough times…or just uneasy times.  I’ve seen Him do it too many times and my testimony to you is that He will do it for you, too!

 

ADD TO SB…

So, Queen Bee of Green Springs Ave…former beauty queen…imitator of barnyard animals extraordinaire, dear, sweet friend, thanks for the invite.  Thanks for finally giving me a chance to be a part of your ministry  and I love you!

 

BIRMINGHAM…AGAIN

Six months comes around quickly.

And, this week it was time to take Pop and Alex to Birmingham to see their eye doctors.  Pop has macular degeneration in one eye, but by taking  series of shots (INTO THE EYE) every 6 weeks, he has been able to regain most of the sight in that eye.  He gets shots here in Dothan at 6 week intervals, but sees the specialist at The Eye Foundation every 6 months.

Alex has always had extremely poor eyesight due to the Cerebellar Atrophy.  But, Ian found a doctor in Birmingham who was able to give him better eyesight through a series of implants and laser surgery.  His also has nystagmus.  This means that his eyes are in a constant state of motion. Never stopping.  There is nothing to be done for this…it also comes as a result of the Cerebellar Atrophy.  But, now Alex also has macular degeneration.  In one of his eyes he only has a very small amount of peripheral vision.  It is permanent.  Unlike Pop’s…Alex will have to live with this forever.  Unless God decides to perform a miracle.  We see the specialist in Birmingham to keep close watch on his good eye to be sure it does not deteriorate as well.  After a year and a half, it seems to be holding steady.

This, then, is why we travel so often to the big city.  It is a perk for us that Ian lives there, because we get to spend a little time with him, as well.  I am sharing some pics that we took this weekend.

Taking a stroll through the Galleria…

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Joy and Alex…

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Best selfie we could get of us all…

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At the Eye Foundation…not movie stars…dilated eyes!

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Out to eat with Ian…Pop likes the alligator bites…me?  not so much…

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You know, anytime you are together with family is a time to make sweet memories.  Even in cases of illness.  Our family has learned in our travels through life on this earth…things change quickly…you are not promised tomorrow…there is joy to be found in every situation…in great sadness, wonderful lessons can be learned…God is good-all the time.

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PS…Oh, what a difference a good haircut will make!

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TEACHING THE THREE’S

This has been running back and forth through my mind lately and I know why.  It’s because the people involved were all women who had an influence on me.  A good one.  All ladies in my church. These were ladies I grew to know and love from the time I started at Southside Baptist Church.  I was in the 6th grade.  These were ladies who were already adults when I was a child and so they were my teachers and my leaders and my examples.

I trained several years while I was in college at Glorietta Baptist Assembly in Glorietta, NM.  I wouldn’t expect you to know about this place unless you were a Southern Baptist.  There was another one in Ridgecrest, NC.  In those years, people would travel for a week or two to one of these assemblies and stay on the grounds.  Then they would go to classes in their area of service during the day.  Every evening there were services with the visiting pastor for the week.  Each night was like a good ole Baptist Revival.  The best preachers were there…the best singers were there.  And, helping to run it all was college students from around the country.   Most were employed to clean cabins during the day, or work on the grounds, or serve in the kitchen…cooking and cleaning.  Some were used in the recreation for the visiting children.  And, a few…just 5 or 6…were selected to work in the preschool department.

I was one of those.  Now, I didn’t realize just how fortunate I was at first, but anything was better than cleaning and making beds or washing 600 dirty breakfast plates!  Thus began my training and subsequent love of preschool education in the church.  The leaders in each of these areas were the tops in their field.  These were the people who wrote the literature.  They wrote the books on how to teach.  The wrote study course books outlining how to set up a preschool department and why.  These people were amazing.  They wrote children’s books and children’s music.  They did it all.  And, for 2 summers, I was directly under their direction and leadership and teaching.

This is the way it worked.  We all got a crash course in teaching preschoolers.  We’d watch and learn.  We’d do something wrong and learn.  We’d read and learn.  And, soon enough, we would take the whole room of children and be responsible for them.  See, the parents who came to attend classes would bring their children.  We in turn would keep them and teach them…like a Sunday School department.  There were classrooms set up.  And, all around the outside of the room were dark screened rooms with chairs.  The leaders would hold classes elsewhere for those who were interested in preschool work and then sometime each day they would quietly enter those darkened screen rooms and observe what we EXPERTS were doing.  Believe me, if we did not not handle a situation right…it was used to talk about the right thing to do…and we were made well aware of the blunder! They would sit quietly for 30 or 40 minutes and then leave.  The children never knew they were there.  (I do remember one little boy coming up to me and saying that the “that wall has coughing in it!”)

I can’t even begin to tell you how soon I began to know just how blessed I was.  This method of teaching made perfect sense to me.  A department was set up with certain areas in it….art, home living, blocks, puzzles, books, etc.  These were a constant each week.  Then an activity was prepared for the child to do in each area.  An activity that went along with the lesson.  The children made the choices as to the areas they visited…but in each one they had the opportunity to hear the Bible Story of the day.  So, by the time they got to Large group time, they had heard the story at least 3 times already!  Then all the lessons followed a rotation system in the areas of God, Jesus, Natural World, Self, Others, Family, Home.  It changed either monthly or quarterly.

This system made such sense to me and it still does, though few follow it anymore.  I began to to work in a local church while I was in college.  And, I had already taken 2 years of Early Education courses at Samford University.  Don and I married and I taught in our church in Birmingham until we moved back to Dothan.  About that time, our home church began a major building project for a new education building and a preschool building was included in that.  I was able to give some input and insight into the building…and they used consultants from Baptist State Boards to make sure it met the requirements they had set forth.  How blessed to be able to teach in a building, and have the materials to teach, all according to the proper set up!  I started my work in preschool at Southside as Preschool Director.  I stayed in this position for some 20 years.  I then passed the job to capable hands and began teaching the kindergarten class each Sunday.  This was probably another 20 years.  I worked as Director again for a few years when we remodeled again, but now I am out of it altogether.  Age and family and health…you understand.   But, I miss it every single time I am at church!

One of the things I worked on in those years is getting trained teachers for all the classrooms…babies, toddlers, threes,fours,and fives.  And I was able to do that.   I taught classes for all ages.  One of my greatest success stories was the Threes!

I don’t remember exactly, but this is my recollection.  My Mom came to me and said that she and two of her friends wanted to teach the threes.  Well, this was just as I was looking for new workers.   I told her that would be great!  So the team of Mom (Eloise Townsend), Jeanette Glover, and Rudean Newton was formed for our three year old department.  They were willing and anxious to learn the ‘right ‘ way to do everything!  They knew how important it was to have training, and spent a week at an Alabama assembly that taught classes similar to the bigger assemblies.  This was Shocco Springs.  They learned and began the work with our threes.  What a wonderful job they did!  Oh, and how thrilled I was to see things done the right way…the way for optimum teaching of little ones.  They worked together for quite a few years.  I don’t remember exactly why, but Mrs. Rudean had to bow out….and was replaced by the wonderful Betty Swicord.  She fit right in and things went on just as smoothly as before.  I had forgotten this but Jeanette told me Sunday that when Mrs. Betty had to exit, another lady stepped in.  And, through all the years, when one or another of the ladies were unable to be in attendance, Shirley Hammond was the designated fill in person.  She was as talented as all the others and could move in with ease.

This post is a thank you to this group who saw the need for  preschool education.  They didn’t think threes were too young to teach.  They understood the principle that, starting with babies, you build a foundation that church is a happy place to be.  People love me at church.  People take care of me at church. We do fun things together at church.  This foundation carries on and is built upon as the child grows.  Soon he is able to learn more about why we come to church…eventually learning to love God and surrender their lives to Him.

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The saints in this group are no longer all together.  Mom and Mrs. Rudean have moved to Heaven.

Mrs. Betty is dealing with serious health issues, Mrs. Jeanette has just undergone some serious health problems, as well.    In the midst of the illness of both of these ladies, they have been faithful and continue to serve the Lord.

Shirley Hammond is no longer a member at Southside, but is doing well and serving the Lord in many ways.  She is and will always be a part of us!

I want to honor these ladies and the example they are to me!  I have watched you all for many years.  I see what you do and how you act.  I see how you suffer and continue to smile.  I see you faith in our Lord shining through adversity.  I don’t think I can ever measure up to any of you, but you are my inspiration.

My mother was wise in many ways.  She was a friend to many.  These ladies were dear to her and loved her.  And, she loved and trusted them.  At times, in church, I get a little emotional, when something reminds me of Mom.  These are the ladies I want to hug…because they loved her, too.  And, I feel almost as if I can feel her though their hugs.

Mom, Rudean Newton, Jeanette Glover, Betty Swicord, Shirley Hammond…thank you.  You have a special place in my heart of hearts.

 

 

MAMA SANG

My mother loved to sing. She sang all the time.  She sang in the car.  She sang at the kitchen sink.  She sang while dusting and vacuuming.  She had music in her and it had to come out!  I think that’s a wonderful thing, because all she ever sang was hymns or other Christian music….but hymns mostly or songs they were working on in choir.

Our family was a church going family.  Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, every revival, every associational meeting, ever Week of Prayer (twice a year), every committee meeting, every choir meeting, every Sunbeams, GA’s, Acteens, Every social, every special missionary speaker,   every winter Bible study, every VBS early bird clinic, every association wide sing, every youth meeting on Saturday night,every circle meeting, every class meeting, every BYW, every children’s choir, every Mission Friends, every Sunday night after church fellowship, every dinner on the grounds after service on Sunday morning.  Every single thing that was made available to us, we were there and on the front row!  The only exception to this  rule was the one night a year that The Wizard of Oz came on TV.  That night Daddy and Joy and I were allowed to stay home and watch the movie.  Mother fixed us snacks and settled the three of us in front of the TV…before she went on to church.  And, we watched.  And, Joy cried at the same spot every year!  Ahhh! Those monkeys were not that scary!

Now, our church attendance was not a bad thing.  Actually, it was a good thing….though I didn’t realize it at the time.  Our life existed in learning about our Lord.  Our dearest friends were right there in those meetings with us.  This is what we put our time and talent into.  And, we were very happy.  My parents had wonderful friends, and their children were our friends.  They liked to get together when we weren’t at church, and so we got together with them.  And, so at almost all times of my life I was surrounded by people who thought like us, and talked like us and worshipped like us.  My parents friends became extended family to us.  (Ours all lived far away)  They were Aunt Katherine and Uncle Allison and Aunt Eunice and Uncle Robert…and others.

My Mom always sang in the choir and occasionally would sing solos.  My Aunt Eunice Williams was my piano teacher for 12 years (,,,I’m sorry Aunt Eunice, for not practicing more…)  She was also our church organist.  And, our Youth Choir director for a while!  I can still recall an anthem she taught us in choir some 45 years ago.  Joy and I can still do a pretty good rendition of it when we are together…in the car…by ourselves.

But, though my Mom was forever singing…I could not remember a song she taught me to sing.  Now she had a couple of fun songs she always liked to sing…like Shoo Fly Pie, Gonna Dance By the Light of the Moon.  And, she had a few poems she would recite…The Moo Cow Moo.   But, as far as a song she taught me the words and how to sing, I could not remember a single one.

What brought this up is I found a file of songs I have taught to Levi.  Some you would know and some came straight out this convoluted mind of mine…and only Levi and I would understand.  We’ve been making up our own songs since he was a baby!  All along he will ask me to sing the song about the chicken or the Hands Song, etc.

Because I am such a stickler for him listening to the right kind of music, I have several CDs and DVDs that we listen to in the car.  He knows them all by heart now!  But, I purchased a new one a few weeks ago and this week, we played on the way to school.  A song came on that was vaguely familiar to me.  I knew it was a song I had learned long ago…but the words were a little different.  They were alike enough that I knew it was the song.  After Levi got out of the car at school, I sat and listened to the song a few times…rewinding and listening again.  And, then I had the most beautiful remembrance.

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It was a song my Mother had taught me.  I can see us sitting together and her singing a line, then me repeating it. Then changing up the words and singing it again.  You may even know it…with slightly different words.  But this is the way Mom taught me.

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER

Our heavenly Father made the BIRDS, He showed them what to do

If God so loves the little BIRDS, I know He loves me, too.

He loves me , too.  He loves me, too.   I know He loves me, too.

If God so loves the little BIRDS,   I know He loves me, too!

Wow!  what a sweet memory I had sitting in the car, in the cold, in the parking lot at FPP.  That’s the great thing about memories, isn’t it?  They pop up out of nowhere, but take you right back to a moment in time long ago.  I just wanted to be still and revel in it!  I was thinking of that as I drove home, and to my surprise, I remembered another song Mom taught me.  I have not heard this song in forever, but there it was seared into my memory bank.

WHO CAN MAKE A FLOWER?

O who can make a FLOWER?

I’m sure I can’t, can you?

O, who can make a FLOWER?

No one but God; It’s true!

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Yes, there she was singing that song and teaching me the word and motions to it!  So sweet! So comforting!  I remember it vividly…now!

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Don’t ever think that the things you teach your children are for naught.  What goes in this brain of ours, is there.  And, at some time, it’ll just rise to the surface.  Perhaps at a time when we need a lift.  Or maybe at a time God just wants to give us a little wink and say “Remember this?”

Oh the responsibility it is on us as parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles,teachers, friends.  Someone… sometime… somewhere… will recall a memory of us.  Will we be pleased with what they remember?  Will we be ashamed?  Will it be a memory that is worth sharing with others?

Well those decisions are all up to you.  But as for me…I am thrilled when I can share such happiness and remembrance with you!

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