So intricate it’s weaving
home spun work of fine lace,
I turned it over in my hands
this sample of beauty and grace.
As I gazed upon the pattern
I wondered how much time
that it took to make this doily
so simple, yet also sublime.
To create a delicate piece such as this
I truly had the will,
yet I knew it wouldn’t be possible
with my obvious lack of skill.
At this point in my musings,
the Lord spoke to my heart
of a different sort of handiwork
that He wanted me to start.
“Just put your hand in My hand,”
God whispered in my ear.
“I’ll show you how to guide your children
so that my name, they will fear.
Day after day, together we can work
My character in them to engrave
this blessed undertaking you must never shirk
that their precious souls might be saved.”
So I must be faithful to pray, teach and labor
and in passing of time, I’ll be seeing
upon their lives, God’s great favor
His attributes knit into their being.
Happy Mother’s Day! No matter how old our children are, may we never stop praying for them and doing all we can to influence them to become more like Jesus.
When I was a young child, you were an old gray headed man that shuffled along slowly, aided by a cane. You never could move fast enough for me, and although I tried to hurry you, you would not be rushed. I looked forward to things like going to kindergarten, summer vacations and the holidays that never seemed like they would come soon enough. As I got older, I looked forward to graduating 8th grade, graduating high school, graduating college and finally getting married, but I was always waiting on you, for you were ever with me. Things just had to be done at your pace.
An amazing transformation happened to you after I got married. Suddenly you were much younger, and it seemed you and I were moving together at an almost equal speed. Now we were getting somewhere! We seemed to be in sync until I had my first child, at which point another alteration took place in you. You became even younger and seemed to have the energy of a teenager, while at the same time, I noticed that I was getting older. I was enjoying being a mother. There were days I just wanted to marinate in the experience, but you with your boundless energy kept pushing me forward. Before I even realized what was happening, my children were graduating from high school and growing up. Oh, you rambunctious youth! You just wouldn’t stop and rest even for a minute.
Then one day, I had an epiphany concerning you. In all honesty, you had been the same all along and had never changed. The only thing that had changed was my perception of who you are. You have been God’s faithful servant throughout the ages, and I am learning to cherish you more each day. I will do my best not to try and hurry you or slow you down or squander you, but with God’s help, I will let you run your course. You are precious to me, Time!
Upon each tiny toe
upon each little finger
the tender, loving gaze
from her eyes did linger.
She wondered at this miracle
the Lord God did impart.
A holy reverence shrouded her
A great joy warmed her heart.
The years, they passed so swiftly
of watching baby grow.
Time moves with swift transition,
much faster than we know.
This Babe once held so lovingly
grew up to be a man,
In an instant of darkest history
He filled God’s eternal plan.
She viewed His punctured feet
and surveyed the nail scarred hands.
A wrenching sorrow pierced her heart,
almost more than she could stand.
Sometimes the grief we bear is great
and we may wonder then.
Will the clouds abide forever?
Will the sun ever shine again?
Mary and others assembled in Jerusalem
fifty days after Jesus’s passion.
God was about to pour out His Spirit
in an awesome, most glorious fashion.
As they prayed there fervently
together ,in one accord,
a sound of mighty wind entered the room.
They were filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
A rapturous joy saturated their hearts.
Praises to God were sung.
Hands were uplifted in worship
as they spoke with other tongues.
The jubilee Mary once felt in her heart
at the birth of her baby boy,
was magnified many times over
in the form of Holy Ghost joy.
Joh 19:25-27 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Acts 1:12-14, 2:1-4 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Everyone knows, well at least I suppose
when you’re taking a trip through the woods,
if mama bear’s not in sight, but her cubs move aright
you better not mess with her goods.
For when mama returns and quickly she learns
with her youngsters a stranger is messing,
her demeanor will change to completely deranged
‘cause she thinks you might steal her blessing.
Swift be your feet, better make your retreat
and run for all that you’re worth.
If you don’t get away, I do dare to say
you’ll rue the day of your birth.
Concerning my offspring, I feel the same thing
I’m much like that raging bear.
When satan comes their way, their souls for to sway
for bloody battle, he’d better prepare.
His eye, I will sock. I’ll clean his clock
through the power of Jesus’ name.
His head I’ll knock, do my best to cold cock,
I will beat him at his game.
When he offers the world, my fist will be hurled
square into his ugly face.
My lips they are curled, my fury unfurled
my goal, to put him in his place.
Knowing him, I will bet, he wants them for his pet
to inflict them with spiritual fleas;
but I will not fret , he ain’t seen nothing yet
Mama Bear’s gonna fight on her knees.
Mama Bear does know, to defeat the foe
in just her own strength there is lack,
but through prayer strikes her blow, the enemy to show
the Mighty Warrior, He’s got her back!
If there’s a mother or even a dad out there who is worried, stressed out or depressed over the direction you see your children going, I want to encourage you to pray, pray, pray!
As Alfred Tennyson once said – More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.
Happy Birthday to my middle brother, Bob! It’s hard to believe that my younger brother is 49. In honor of your birthday and for memories sake, I want to share the article you wrote many years ago about our childhood time in the chicken coop. Although I’ve read this many times, it never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. I thank God for our family!
The Bug Jar
When I was a kid, not yet old enough to be enrolled in any science classes, I used to conduct experiments of my own. One of my favorites was the Bug Jar Experiment. It consisted of three states: In Stage One, I would obtain an empty mayonnaise jar and collect as many different kinds of bugs I could find-spiders, worms, ladybugs, tiny red and giant black ants, bees, a centipede (if I was lucky), an occasional wasp, those roly-poly bugs that no one knew the real name for, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, anything that creeped, crawled or disgusted my sisters was fair game. In Stage Two, I would shake the jar vigorously. In Stage Three, my favorite, I would watch delightedly as the imprisoned insects bit, stung and generally destroyed each other. Ironically (and justly, I suppose), when I got to be a bit older, the tables turned, and I experienced the bug jar for myself.
In the fall of 1974, my family had to give up a spacious, three-bedroom home with a big backyard to move into a chicken coop turned recreation room, but to us Home. The edifice boasted a 15 x 30 foot span; no bigger than our former living room; a mere bug jar, if you will. We went into the venture expecting the worst. Rather than tearing the family apart, however, being thrown into very close quarters under less than ideal conditions actually strengthened our relationships.
We called our new abode “the closet”, because to us, it seemed just about the size of a rich person’s wardrobe. There was no room for complaining though (literally!). After all, it was far from the gang-ridden neighborhood we had left behind; it was close to good schools; it was clean, it was much easier on my Mom’s filing clerk salary, and it came furnished with the best hand-me-down furniture that pity could buy. So Mom told the six of us kids to make the best of it. We were a Brady Bunch of sorts, with three girls and three boys ranging in age from five to fifteen, but no Alice to do the housework. Also, we came in two generations: The “big kids” were each born a year apart, and after a gap of five years came us “babies”, also born one year apart.
Peeking through the battered screen door after we had settled in, our curious neighbors beheld a new concept in interior design: An afghan-covered couch next to the stove, an army cot bordered by our giant, prehistoric, dust-laden television set, a dining table surrounded by bunk beds. You see, “the closet” had no rooms. A tiny bathroom in the northwest corner, with a carpeted sliding door, provided the only privacy in the place.
This was new to us, and at first, we absorbed our living arrangements haltingly and delicately, like couples in a pre-arranged marriage. Inevitably though, the fighting began. Some of the most heated battles were waged over bathroom privileges. Finally, we came up with a “calling” system to schedule bath times. Cries of “First bath!” “Second bath!” “Third bath!” and so on were commonly shouted out in the waking hours, but only led to more arguments as calls were contested and challenged later.
Once while Mom was “using the facilities”, Johnny and I broke into a wrestling match right outside the bathroom door. One thing led to another, and at the height of our struggle, we lost our balance, slammed into the bathroom door, knocked it off its hinges, and fell clinging to each other and the door onto the bathroom floor. Mom screamed, powerless to chase us from her seated position, while we scrambled to fix the door and scurry away.
More often though, we were forced to depend on each other, to work together to overcome obstacles imposed upon us by our lack. Laundry and kitchen duties had to be split and shared by all. Providing enough food for six hungry, growing children was a constant struggle for my mom. I remember times when ketchup packets and a hunk of government-issued cheese were the only things left in the fridge. Whether we liked it or not, we had to share. Though it was a small area, our home was heated by an aging, rusted space heater, located near the door. On cold wintry mornings before school, while waiting for the bathroom to free up, the rest of us huddled together in front of the heater, wrapped in blankets, shivering in anticipation of the metallic clicking sound that signaled the release of a fresh blast of hot air. That nondescript old heater became a great equalizer, bringing us together, if momentarily, to share warmth and exchange conversation at the start of the day.
Because we had no rooms of our own, we had no secrets; what one went through, we all experienced. One dark night, returning home from work, Tom unknowingly rolled over a skunk with his bike. When he got home, we immediately smelled the stench, except Tom, of course. Strangely enough, the skunk encounter provided a bonding experience as we each offered creative, often ridiculous solutions for getting rid of the smell.
Then there was Mike Mester, a gangling youth from a neighboring community, who spotted my oldest sister Karen at a roller rink and immediately fell for her. Not knowing her name or anything about her, he somehow tracked her down to our humble dwelling place. He knocked on the front door; my mom answered. He inquired after this mystery girl he had met at the roller rink. Immediately, five more heads appeared at the door, checking out the tall stranger, while one head disappeared quickly into the bathroom hiding. Mike instantly formed the impression that this was going to be a package deal, and he was right. We couldn’t help but cheer and jeer from the sidelines as Mike and Karen embarked upon each new phase of their sometimes stormy but long-lasting relationship.
A flood of memories stirs in me when I think back to those bug jar days. I remember us “babies” clinging to each other in the bottom bunk in fear and joy, begging Tom in the top bunk to be the “werewolf” again. I remember Carol sharing with us her dark and searching poetry and inspiring me to try some of my own. I remember the generational gap closing as Tom treated his kid brothers to pizza and bowling or Karen and Carol fixed Annie’s hair. And why is it I recall the neighbor kids, with their nice houses and families of their own, always wanting to spend the night at our place?
We lived there for almost 12-1/2 years. And a strange thing began to happen as we made the best of it in the “closet”. We went from being siblings and a single parent, thrown and shaken together, to being friends; lifelong friends that time, distance and circumstances have not separated.
What is one thing you appreciate about your mother?
Here is mine.
I am grateful that I have a mother who prays for me daily. Her prayers have had a huge impact on my life.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since I last posted anything on this blog, but it’s true. I won’t go into detail about what I’ve been doing all this time but will continue with just some thoughts concerning being a mother. (That’s pretty much where I left off on my last post.)
One of my goals for this new year was to read through the New Testament in Spanish. On January 1, when I began, I noticed a figure of speech in Spanish that I have thought about many times since then. It is the words of the title of this post, “Dar a luz al nino.” (Forgive me for not putting the accent mark over the 2nd n in nino. I can do it on my phone, but I don’t know how to do it on the computer. LOL) In Spanish, this is a figure of speech that means, “to give birth to a child”. If you translate it literally, it means “to give light to the child”.
When a child is within the womb of the mother, it is in a dark place, but when the time is right, through the process of birth that child comes forth into a world of physical light. Our children are like a blank slate when they are born. In a sense, they are “in the dark” about everything. As they grow, it is our responsibility to teach them or enlighten them about many things.
We can teach them how to
-brush their teeth
-put on clothes
-properly play with toys
-ride a bike
-give a high five
and the list goes on and on. As mothers, we rejoice in their accomplishing of these things. Once, they were in the dark about these skills, but now they have “come to the light” or achieved mastery. It is good and right that we should teach our children the basic things that they need to survive in this physical world, but at the same time, as a Christian parent, we must remember that it is our privilege and duty to bring them to the light of the knowledge of God.
No matter how sweet our little infants may be, they are born in spiritual darkness and have a sinful nature. As they grow, we need to teach them (with words and by being an example)
-that they are sinners in need of a Saviour
-Jesus loves them
-how to memorize Bible verses
-how to worship
-how to treat others(the Golden rule)
-what the gospel is and how to apply it to their lives(Gospel=death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ applied to our lives through repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and being filled with the Holy Ghost)
And what a joy it is when we see them
-lifting their hands in praise to God, with tears streaming down their faces
-kneeling in prayer at an altar
-quoting a Bible verse
-receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost
-telling someone else about Jesus
They are walking in light!
As Christian mothers(and fathers too)it is our responsibility to bring our children light. They may not always choose to walk in it, but what a joy it is when they do!
May God help us to be what we need to be so we can give light to our children!!
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
You painted no Madonnas
On chapel walls in Rome,
But with a touch diviner
You lived one in your home.
You wrote no lofty poems
That critics counted art,
But with a nobler vision
You lived them in your heart.
You carved no shapeless marble
To some high-souled design,
But with a finer sculpture
You shaped this soul of mine.
You built no great cathedrals
That centuries applaud,
But with a grace exquisite
Your life cathedraled God.
Had I the gift of Raphael,
Oh, what a rare Madonna
My mother’s life would show!
–Thomas W. Fessenden
Next to teaching them about God, I feel that reading out loud to my children was the best thing I’ve ever done for them as far as their schooling goes. It is a painless way to teach vocabulary, geography, morals and a host of other important things without ever leaving your home. We also have many happy memories that are directly linked with books that we shared together. Strickland Gillian was obviously happy too that he had a mother who read to him.
The Reading Mother
I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings–
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I had a Mother who read to me.