Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My memories of growing up in church...

(Daddy and all seven of us kids.  I'm the little blonde girl, front row left)

My childhood is divided down the middle, rather like B.C. and A.D. divides the centuries.  In the case of my childhood, B.C. could stand for Before Crisis and A.D. for After Divorce.

B.C. Daddy and Mama and us seven kids went to church.  We even sang "specials" together as a family.  I am so sad that singing together as a family is becoming a lost art.  Our family would sing together in the car or at the kitchen sink doing the dishes and learned to sing harmony that way.  I remember one time, our family stood in the front of the church to sing and I got a sudden case of shyness so I covered my face with my Sunday School handout throughout the song.

Getting ready for church began on Saturday in those days.  Saturday night we would all take a bath, two or three kids using the same water before Mama would drain the tub and fill it back up with fresh water.  I guess with seven kids to bathe, it was her way to conserve the hot water.  After baths, us four girls would have our hair put up in curls.  All of our church dresses were washed and ironed, as well as the boy's shirts.  Our church shoes were all polished as well.

Sunday mornings Mama was up early getting the pot roast, potatoes and carrots into the oven, where it would cook low and slow in the oven.  The tantalizing smell of Sunday dinner would be filling the house when we got home from church.  Eventually, we were ready to pile into the big, old station wagon and leave.  Mama wore her church dress and heels, and sometimes one of those pillbox hats with a wee bit of netting topped her freshly curled hair.  Daddy was dressed in his dark wool suit with a starched and ironed white hanky peeking out of the jacket pocket.  He always wore a white shirt and dark tie and spit shined black shoes. My brothers wore slacks and belts with stiff white shirts and dark ties.  Us girls wore church dresses that Mama had made us.  I remember her helping me get into the fancy little church dress she had made me and whining to Daddy that it was itchy.   Daddy's wool suit was also itchy.  Sitting on his lap during the sermon and eating Sen-Sen from his pocket, I remember his suit pants being itchy against my legs.

We went to several different churches B.C.  Piecing together what I can remember and bits and pieces of what my older siblings have told me, I've concluded that Daddy liked to go where the "fire was falling" being of a Pentecostal persuasion. He also liked to be allowed to preach the Word himself now and then, so he would find places where the pastor would allow him to do so. I assume those are both reasons why we didn't stay put in one church. I have bits and pieces of memories of churches here and there.  Many of those memories are of me responding to the altar call and giving my heart to Jesus.   I probably did that at every single church we ever attended.   You could never be too sure that you were ready for the imminent return of Jesus, after all.  Backsliding seemed to be something you could do accidentally by forgetting to repent of a sin or evil thought.  Getting saved and re-saved over and over and over was pretty common.  I even remember repenting for walking down the beer and wine aisle at the grocery store, sure that if Jesus came back while I was in that aisle I would go straight to H-E-double hockey sticks.

Not comprehending that the tenuous state of my salvation and the assurance of Jesus' love for me were totally opposite theologies, I was confident that God loved me and completely dependent on Jesus as my best friend and confidant.  In spite of the fact that we were a church going family, things at home were not peaceful and happy.  Jesus is the One I talked to about everything.  I would lay there in my bed upstairs and hear the arguing going on downstairs and cry and talk to Jesus about it all.

One vivid memory I have of church was during the time when communism and the threat of losing our freedom was taken very seriously.  I was maybe five or six years old at the time.  As a sermon illustration the pastor had men in military uniforms march into the church, point guns at us, (Unloaded I assume! Can you imagine trying to do something like that today?), and demand we relinquish our Bibles. I'm pretty sure that people in their teens on up knew this to be a sermon illustration, but to me it was as real as real could be.  When that "soldier" got to our pew and pointed his gun at me, I took my little Gideon Bible and sat on it refusing to give him my Bible.  I guess you can say that way back then I counted the cost of serving Jesus and guarding His Word and have never looked back.

Another vivid memory is of my Sunday School teacher and the classic Sunday School flannel graph.  A piece of flannel stapled to a board and some felt Bible characters and scenery were as fascinating to me as the big screen and videos that the kids in our children's church enjoy now.  The way the Sunday School teacher's hands lovingly patted Jesus and the disciples into place on the board, smoothing them out tenderly, became an art for me to imitate.  To me her skills rivaled Vanna White's hand flourishes that look so graceful on our TV screens today.  At home I would drape a flannel doll blanket over the back of the "davenport", cut people out of the Montgomery Ward catalog and practice, practice, practice my patting and smoothing.

In one church, I fondly recall that the woman who taught my Sunday School class also sang in the choir.  She had a high, rather operatic, soprano voice.  To sing high soprano complete with vibrato became another goal in my young life.

It's a bit disconcerting that B.C. I have no distinct memories of any of the ministers. I guess, being married to a pastor, you rather hope that you make a positive impact on these young lives. However,  as you can see it was the Sunday School teachers that were my idols and role models.  That says something about the importance of the children's workers in our churches to me.

Daddy left us and divorced Mama when I was nine.  A.D. Mama took us to a church, which we attended throughout the rest of the time us kids lived at home.  Her one decision changed our lives forever.

(Part two next week.)

still following,


at 3-D Lessons for Life

Monday, April 28, 2014

Old clocks, lilacs, blue canning jars and having exactly enough time...

( photo edited with one layer of Kim's 3003 texture, soft light mode, 30% opacity- quote by Brian Andreas)

I love this quote, don't you?

I also love old antique/vintage clocks.
Who cares if they don't work?
I simply appreciate them as pieces of well worn art.

Lilacs in vintage blue canning jars,
what's not to love about that?

I gathered the lilacs when the buds were closed and little by little I am watching as they are opening up indoors.
I have exactly enough time for that.

still following,


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Giving thanks at all times...

In the middle of a Sunday afternoon with dark gray skies and weather of monsoon like downpours,
there's just enough break in the weather to capture a few photos of some spring blossoms.

It's not unlike counting my blessings, gathering my gratitude,
 this search for beauty in the midst of the storm.

 I realize that God uses the storm to create the beauty,
and so I give the hard eucharisteo, the difficult thanksgiving,
and thank God even for the storm.
I humble myself and surrender to His processes in my life
and ask that He be glorified in it all
and pray that the beauty of Jesus is seen in me even in the midst of the storm.

It's in looking back that I can see that God has never wasted the storms I've gone through in this life.
It's me that has made it more difficult when I've gotten angry and bitter and resentful at Him
 during challenging circumstances, when I've resisted trusting Him with things I don't understand or can't control.
I'm still learning to give thanks and to yield to His processes and purposes in times of trial and testing,  
but I am confident that He doesn't allow anything that He doesn't intend to use for my good.

{I have this on my mind and heart today,  not necessarily because of any current circumstances I am going through, but because the theme of submitting to God's processes in our life 
has been coming up frequently of late from many different sources.
One of the Scriptural examples used has been the story of Joseph in Genesis 39-50.
He is one of my favorite Bible characters and a true example of God's goodness 
prevailing in the midst of suffering. }
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)


-a phone call from my big sister
-a sunny day that turned into evening showers

-the smell of spring rain
-a photo of my hubs from Ghana

-going to the children's museum with my oldest daughter and two youngest granddaughters

-getting a bit of a run in between rain showers
-watching my oldest granddaughter at her volleyball practice
-my daughter's blood work for possible pre-clampsia coming back good

-coffee at Petit Provence with a dear blog friend
-working on refinishing a dresser 
-texts from my husband

-Bible study
-praying together and seeing answers
-the hubs waking up in Ghana when I'm going to sleep in Oregon and texting me goodnight

-my pregnant daughter's blood pressure going back down after a scare that resulted in a few hours in the hospital
-taking the two oldest grands to the dentist,
(while their mama was in the hospital and their daddy is in Ghana), 
to get some stubborn baby teeth pulled and them being so brave and good

-going out for Wendy's Frosties afterwards

-a safe return from Ghana for the Hubs and the team from our church
-God's good work in Ghana

(the orphanage we're building)
-God's good work in us when we minister to others

-joy in God's house
-a word we all needed from our dear friend who preached today and visiting with his wife and him at lunch afterwards
-a visit with youngest daughter 

gratefully yours,

Join the community of gratitude gatherers here...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Romans 5:6...

Jesus redeemed me at just the right time.
Even now, when I face things that leave me feeling helpless, 
at just the right time He reaches down and rescues me
or infuses me with strength and helps me to keep walking through the season of trial and testing.
At just the right time... He's never too late and He's never too early.
While it may not feel like it, His timing is perfect.

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Friday's Faves...Five favorite little things at my house

For years I've kept kosher salt for cooking in a miniature bowl by my stove.
When I recently got one of those "coupons too good not to use" from World Market,
I found this little salt jar with a lid.
Much better than an open bowl and cute to boot!

This candle also came home with me from World Market.
It's citrus vanilla scent is lovely and not overpowering,
and the fact that it's in a hobnail jar made it irresistible!

This "eggs" flashcard had to come home with me from the antique mall not far from my house.
Don't you agree that it belongs right next to those thrift store chickens on my kitchen windowsill?

This little pump jar to keep my dishsoap in next to the kitchen it!
It was a TJ Maxx find filled with hand soap.
I poured the hand soap into containers to be used in the bathroom and refilled the pump with dishsoap.

And last but not least...

I finally found the finishing touch to my wall arrangement of "Bonnie" the cow!
Read more about "Bonnie" here, here, and here.

This rustic wall basket, purchased at the same antique mall as the "eggs" flash card,
is the perfect "missing piece" on the right side of the picture of Bonnie.
I'm loving it!

Well, it's almost Friday, friends.
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a BLESSED weekend!

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