A WOMAN PREACHER ?

                         A Woman Preacher?

GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE   CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR

GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE  CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR

 

After nine months of college I was back in my little town of Hamilton, Ohio. Exhaustion filled every pore of my being after surviving the 18 hour load of classes and the daily cafeteria job. That first week home I became one with my twin bed, sleeping twelve hours a day.

 

 Mr. Sykes, a nice man from church, got me a secretary job typing orders at his work called Mosler Safe Company. After five days of pounding on an electric typewriter for a week I was ready to sign up for the Army. The monotonous gray walls of the crowded office room were closing in on me like an early coffin. The focused typists all around me tap, tapped on their keys in perfect precision as they met their high quota from last week. I was still fumbling along and using up all the bottles of white-out!

 

One day right before I started over on an order for the fourth time, I heard a weird voice in my head.You will become a preacher!”

 

 I shook the ridiculous thought from my head and kept typing but the voice got louder. A chill ran up my spine and slam dunked a basket of fear over me. I had never heard of a woman preacher before! The scary thought of shy me becoming a Baptist preacher turned my liver and guts into liquid goo, instantly. I made it to the restroom in the nick of time!

 

One night after supper the nagging voice screamed so loud in my head I had a strong thought of suicide for the first time in my life. It scared me so badly I started to sneeze and then I coughed like a seal with the flu! Mom jumped up from the table and found some Vicks cough medicine and a jar of vaporizing rub. She rubbed the eucalypti salve on my back and made me a hot water bottle. The best part about being totally, physically depleted was getting some much needed TLC. I was glad I couldn't hear the preaching demands over my loud hacking and blowing my nose.

 

 If my summer vacation earned a movie title it would have been, "My Lonely Summer and I'll Cry If I Want to!" or "Where the Boys Aren't!" Dad worked all night so we four kids had to be really quiet during the day when he slept or we got a lecture. Mom and I were busy with the housework so we didn't go any where except for church. I turned our garage into a family room and Mom and I watched TV late every night. We cried over movies like "Random Harvest," and, "The Loretta Young Show.

 

I was so glad to be back at school the first week of September! I hadn't realized how much my friends and my freedom meant to me! I hurried across campus to meet our new Baptist Student Union director! I was so pleased with the spiritual, tender heart of Mr. Wilkerson. His boyish face, wooly, short hair and his small frame were no match for his huge concern for reaching the lost and his dynamic plans for leading his flock to grow strong in the Lord. He told me all about his goals for BSU weekends, Christian music outreach and one-on-one witnessing.

 

My small, Sophomore Dormitory was nestled between some professor’s modest homes on the other side of the campus near the First Baptist Church. When I climbed the stairs to the third floor and met my roommates I wondered why worldly girls would come to a small Baptist College. Maybe it was the college lower tuition or it was their parents’ last resort to get them on the straight and narrow.

 

I couldn’t have picked better, or smarter roommates! We laughed so much and we took good care of each other in little and big ways. Those three girls were so protective of me and I tear up now just thinking about them. Yes, they drank, smoked, cussed and told dirty jokes, but not around me. I couldn’t believe it when one of them wrote in my yearbook at the end of the year that she had never met a true Christian until she met me.(I still don't know what this shy girl did.)

 

A whole bus load of Cumberland College students rode to Hopkinsville, Kentucky for a BSU Convention. They let the students preach and the singing was so anointed the holy spirit exploded in a liquid love that melted our hearts to become one with Him. As the Spirit lead, students from audience took turns leading with songs or giving their testimony. We didn't want the service to stop.

I sat in the balcony so moved by the love of God. I went forward and gave my life to Him for full-time, Christian service. The haunting voice had stopped harassing me. I was back in a healthy setting where I could hear God's sweet words and experience His love. He wanted me to surrender to Him to do whatever He wanted without there being a big demand.The counselor said I should make plans to go to seminary after college. That seemed so many light years away!

 

My friend, Cora Elizabeth Sweet, better known as Libby, gave an astounding missionary call that stilled the sanctuary and pricked every heart with deep wonder. Little did she know that her future husband, Howard Atkinson, was sitting in our midst and being stirred by God through his future wife.

 

A few weeks later Howard Atkinson came to Cumberland looking for Libby. He wasn’t familiar with the campus so he asked some students passing by if they knew her. They said, “Do you mean that dark haired girl from Corbin who goes to church three times a week and talks about God all the time?”

 

Howard's smile lit up his whole face, “Yes, that’s the one!” He found her that day and they started corresponding until he came to Cumberland to court Libby and while he finished his ministerial schooling.

 

Libby and Howard married in December of 1969 and I was in the beautiful Christmas wedding. After Libby graduated in May of 1970 they took off for language school. They served as International Missionaries through the IMB in Richmond, VA from 1979 to 1999 as foreign missionaries to Costa Rica. They have served in Cuba since 2000 while retired in Paducah, KY where they live and take care of their elderly parents. Howard became the Director of Missions in 2009 over 52 churches in Kentucky. They have two grown, married daughters: Amy Bernal is a Physical Therapist and Worship Leader at Women’s Conferences; Susan Carreno teaches Special Education and supports, “Babies Can’t Wait while she rears Libby and Howard's four, lovely grandchildren.

 

BOYZ WILL BE BOYZ!

 

 BOYZ WILL BE BOYZ

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Boys will be boys by Gideon    CREATIVE COMMONS    FLICKR.COM

 

I was settled in to my dormitory and looking forward to my first art class. I arrived at class just a few minutes before a tall, lanky man with curly, reddish hair entered the room. He puttered down the isle in a hound’s tooth suit leaving a trail of smoke behind him as he nursed a briar pipe. As the smell of the sweet tobacco filled the room, I was sure Sherlock Homes had just stepped out of the past from the library upstairs.

 

Mr. Lockwood’s mumbled speech about Art Structure ended abruptly as if his train of thought had left the station. Instead of finishing the lesson he assigned several chapters to read from the used book I had purchased in the college bookstore. The thick book was heavy and filled with pictures of buildings, bridges, skyscrapers, airports, furniture, and anything else that involved using perspective.

 

 I would not be “doing art” until next semester, unfortunately. I did not want to study architecture; I wanted to paint blue summer skies with billowy clouds and flowers and majestic mountains and trees and animals. Isn’t that what art majors do?

 

The way Jerry said “hi” to me every time we met on campus gave me the feeling he was going to ask me to the Sweetheart Banquet. He didn’t look a day over twelve. He did ask me to go and when I told him yes he almost passed out from holding his breath so long until I answered. We both laughed! I sewed a sweet dress using Ruth’s sewing machine and she took a picture of us before we left. I think we looked a lot like Annette Funicello and Bobby Rydell.

 

I was shocked when an guy friend, Rell, sent me three red roses on Valentines Day; my first flowers ever! I liked getting them because they made my two roommates a bit jealous but happy for me! The note wasn’t mushy, just “thinking of you”. I was going to feel awkward the next time  Ruth and I rode around with him in his car; besides, he had a girlfriend back home!

 

If it wasn’t for the boy sitting in front of me, I would have hated Old Civilization class. Hank’s dry sense of humor about the Dark Ages made me muffle my giggling in my hands but it made Professor Crackle check to see if  his barn door was open. When Mr. Crackle saw the mischievous grin on the dude’s face from Hazard, Hank lost his freedom of speech for the whole semester. I lost my sanity listening to Crackle teach about the endless blood baths of the Middle Eastern Babylonians, Medes and Persians, the greedy Alexander the Great, and the demonic rampage of the Roman army.

 

“What is a gospel team?” I asked my new friend, Micci Jo. She explained it was four to five people who go to a church to minister to the people. One guy preaches, someone leads the singing, everyone gives their testimony on how they got saved, and someone leads the youth activities for fun. I was pleasantly shocked to find out we were going to North Fairfield Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ohio…my home church! My pastor, Bob Skirvin, was a Cumberland College alumni so he must have asked for a gospel team.

NORTH FAIRFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH

Tommy preached Friday night to a very attentive group expressing amens. People fell to the knees at the pews and altar to pray for the lost. Saturday night the church was packed and before Tommy finished preaching, people were getting saved or rededicating their lives back to the Lord. One of the ones that got saved was my teenage brother!

My opinion of Tommy changed for the better that weekend.I had no idea he could preach like that. My friend, Ruth, who was friends with him, had been trying to get me to let him ask me out, but I refused for some reason. Tommy was a fun guy who laughed easily but he seemed to be too happy so likely he was covering up something. He had a weird side that demanded attention like having funerals for dead cats. Little did I know he was going to play a role in my life later on.

I was enjoying my new freedom at college but I was struggling with decisions since my dad usually made them. I was having trouble with boys giving me attention. I had one date in high school and would have had one more if the guy hadn't been Catholic; my dad made me call off the date out of fear I would end up marrying him.

I believe my dad's judgmental attitude and fear of boys dating me rubbed off and made me overly cautious and judgmental at times. But, I was soon discovering when

                            "boys will be boys"

                            can be a good thing!

Did you inherit some negative attitudes while growing up? Did you over come them? If so, would you please share how in the comment section below? Thanks!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Roommate is Going to Hell

My Roommate Is Going to Hell!

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HEAVEN OR HELL BY KARMABLUE  CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR.COM

When we stood in front of the full length mirror of the old wardrobe we laughed at “Mutt and Jeff”!  Linda’s tall, thin frame shook as she stifled her laughter with her hand to not bother our quiet roommate, Ruthie. All I did was make a Phyllis Diller face in the mirror and it made Linda burst into such a shriek of laughter it raised the rafters of the First Baptist Church on the other side of Cumberland College.
 
Ruthie, rolled her eyes in disgust. I guess our rendition of the “Hee Haw Show” didn’t impress the Baptist girl. After one more load of giggles she slammed her book shut and stormed out of the room with a huff. Linda ran after her and yelled down the hall. “Was it something we said?” I dropped to the floor in a belly laugh. Later, we left a peace offering of candy on Ruthie’s pillow.
 
Linda was like a wild stallion from the wilderness of North Dakota while I was the pony ride at the Ohio state fair. Even though, she drank, smoked, cussed, made out with boys, came home late, and gave people a certain finger, I was drawn to her inner, kindred spirit. Me, being a church-going-Baptist and Linda being a confirmed, strict Catholic it did not interfere with our opinion of each other. The only thing that did interfere was our paths that hardly crossed during the day.

 

 I became quite concerned about Linda when she kept pushing the curfew time close to be back in the dorm. I guess her folks hoped the dry state of Kentucky would stop their daughter from drinking but they didn’t know Jellico, Tennessee was only eighteen miles away. Satan was either using dumb locals or backslidden Baptists to transport Linda down the wrong highway! I would not judge my dear laughing buddy. Instead I prayed for a miracle. I asked the Lord to help me to tell her she could have a personal relationship with Him. But, when I tried to tell her I became nervous and tongue-tied.

 

After a while, Linda and I drifted apart.

 

 After the shock of a girl on my floor delivering her own baby in the bathroom stall, I became quick friends with Ruth Brock from Tennessee. Ruth said she had no clue her roommate was nine months pregnant! We felt sorry for the girl because she did a stupid but a brave thing. We learned the girl wore a tight girdle under her loose clothes. The mother and baby were taken to the hospital and all were doing fine!

 

As Ruth and I talked longer our conversation drifted to Ruth’s fiancé who was in the military. Her big blue eyes sparkled as she shared the story of her beloved, Private Donald Williams. The inspirational picture she painted of their true love they were saving for marriage gave me new hope to find my true love. “When you marry the Christian guy God has for you, Kathy, and you treat him like a king he will in return treat you like a queen.” I never forgot that.

 

Later in the spring the Baptist Student Union announced there would be a Billy Graham movie shown on Saturday called The Restless Ones. I  asked Linda to go see it with me and she said yes! I prayed and prayed for her to be touched and moved by the Holy Spirit.

 

 When movie ended and the lights came on I saw tears streaming down Linda’s face. A minister stood and gave an altar call to anyone who wanted to pray to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

 

 “Kath, I want to go and accept Jesus into my heart. Will you go with me?”

 

I grabbed her hand and we walked down together. The minister said, “How can I help you?”

 

Linda said, “I’m Linda and this is my roommate Kathy who brought me tonight. I’m a Catholic and I don’t remember feeling like this when I took my confirmation at twelve years old in the Church. For the first time I feel sorry for my sins. My life is a mess and I want to ask Jesus to forgive me and to come into my heart and save me!”

 

 “How wonderful, Linda. I want to ask you something.  I know you probably know this in your head but do you believe in your heart that Jesus is the sinless Son of God who was born of a virgin, and He came to die for your sins? Do you believe He resurrected from the dead on the third day?”

 

“Oh, yes! I believe everything you just said!”

 

“Okay. I want you to tell God what you believe about His Son.”

 

Linda squeezed my hand and bowed her head. “Dear Lord, I am so touched tonight to feel your presence for the first time in my life. You are truly real. I believe you are the sinless, Son of God born to the virgin Mary. I believe you died on the cross for all my sins and you rose from the dead! Please forgive me of my sins and come into my heart to live forever! Amen!”

 

On the way back to the dorm I was floating down the sidewalk but Linda was waving her arms and dancing around all the bushes and trees in people’s yards. I had never seen anyone so happy after being saved.

 

 “I’m flying, Kath! I feel as light as a feather! Watch me fly! My sins are all forgiven! Weeeeeeee! I’m so happy! I have never felt so happy! Weeeee!”

 

As we climbed the steps in the dorm Linda stopped and turned around with a look of concern. “Kath…does this mean I have to become a Baptist?”

 

I smiled and said, “Of course not! You just share this wonderful salvation experience with all your family and friends, read the Bible daily, and be the BEST Catholic and Christian you can be!”

 

My Roommate Is Going to Heaven!

THE HOLY CITY 03 WAITING FOR THE WORD  CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR.COM

 

 

THE APPLE PIE GUY

THE APPLE PIE GUY

Apple Pie by  Dennis Wilkerson   Creative Commons  Flickr

Apple Pie by Dennis Wilkerson  Creative Commons  Flickr

Why was the same guy coming through the lunch line again? As I stared at his second tray of food he asked for apple pie. “Didn’t you just come through this line a few minutes ago?” I asked him.

 

 “Maybe, I just wanted to see you again,” he grinned.

 

 “You got apple pie earlier, right?” I said.

 

“I admit I do love apple, but I haven’t had any today.” he said reaching for the biggest piece of apple pie. His stare made me feel uncomfortable. Nervously, I shifted the desserts around until he paid at the register and left through the exit door.

 

After lunch, I was late for class so I slipped out the back door of the cafeteria. Half way across the crowded viaduct the apple pie guy jumped out in front of me from behind. He laughed and walked backwards using his back as a shield to get me through the people. “I saw you leaving the cafeteria so I thought I catch up with you.”

 

I rolled my eyes and sped up hoping he would get out of the way, but he didn’t. “I’m very late for class and I can’t talk now,” I said as I stepped off the viaduct and hurried toward the Old Gray Brick building.

 

 “I’ll hurry with you,” he said.

 

" I’m really late and need to run!”

 

“I didn’t get your name,” he said as he ran with me.

 

“I'm Kathy.” I said.

 

“I’m Rex,” he said, “will you go to the Sophomore Picnic this Saturday with me.”

 

“I’m just a freshman,” I said as I climbed the steps, quickly, hoping that would get me off the hook.

 

That evening, I looked up from my pie case and saw Rex coming and laughing in line with a bunch of guys. I disappeared behind the huge, steel refrigerators and hoped Mrs. Williams wouldn’t send me back out there. I didn’t want to turn this guy down in front of his friends.

 

After work, Rex was waiting for me inside the lobby of Johnson Hall, my dormitory. His hands were stuffed in jean pockets as he approached me grinning like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. As his thick eye brows froze into perfect parentheses my mind went totally blank!

 

“There you are!” he said, “I’ve been waiting for a long time. I need to know your answer about going to the picnic with me.” His squinted, puppy dog eyes begged through his thick glasses.

 

I couldn’t think of a kind way to turn down the apple pie guy. I bit the inside of my mouth and said, “Okay, what time will you be picking me up?” As I kicked myself all the way upstairs I decided I would change his interest in me while on our date.

 

 It was a beautiful blue, sky day for a fall picnic. Rex did all the talking while I did all the listening on our group walk to the park. I heard all about his past life and his future plans to become a Baptist minister. I gave a few nods now and then to not appear totally rude, but I deliberately let "the cat steal my tongue".

 

 When he walked me back to the dorm I hoped he realized what a dud date I was! I said ten words the whole evening and he never noticed. I was sure he wouldn't be asking me out again! Instead, he tried to kiss me good night! I turned my head away in shock! Yep, he still asked me out again, but it was easy to turn him down. I said, “Thank you, Rex… but, no thanks. Good night!

Several weeks went by as Rex used the other cafeteria line. He looked pretty sad. His friends gave me dirty looks but I tried to not let it bother me. I figured out why I thought Rex came through the line twice that day. Another guy named Sandy looked similiar to him.

 

Laundry by Joshua Ommen  Creative Commons 

 

I shut the lid and put two quarters into the pay slot of the washing machine. Nobody else was there so I sat down and picked up my thick Civilization book. The laundry mat door opened and six guys walked in without laundry bags. They silently walked passed me and around the twelve washers in the middle of the room. They marched around seven times like Joshua in the battle of Jericho. I thought this was maybe a late freshman prank. Without a word they marched out the door and the last one, the leader of the pack named, Will, turned around and said, “Some people around here think they’re too good for other people!"

 

I found out the laundry mat gang was upper- class, ministerial students and friends of Rex. They were mad at me for rejecting their dear friend. Evidently, they wanted to teach a lowly freshman girl a lesson. This would not be the last time the president of the Baptist Student Union would harass me.

 

Later, when I was a senior and living in Archer Hall dorm I had duty one night at the front desk. I didn’t know Rex and his girlfriend were sitting together in the other living room. At 8:55 PM Rex and his girlfriend walked to the front door to say goodnight. When he saw me standing nearby, waiting to lock the front door, he grabbed his girlfriend for an extra long, passionate kiss. I guess he felt like I owed him a moment of sweet revenge.

 

When I left for a Christian college I had no idea God was going to test me at college to help me grow in my Christian faith. I didn’t know the Lord helped me to forgive those ministerial students until years later at a church revival. One of the six guys, Larry, apologized to me as I shook his hand to congratulate him on his re-dedication to the Lord. When I told him I had already forgiven him he hugged me with tears of joy! I felt a little embarrassed for him but mostly I was in a happy state of shock. I hoped my gift of forgiveness helped him to remain in the ministry.  

 

Have you accepted God’s provision for your only way to Heaven? Jesus said, "I am the truth, the life, and the way. Nobody comes to the Father but through Me." God knew you in your mother’s womb…He still loves you…and, it’s not too late to come to Him today. If you haven’t accepted His Son, aren’t you tired of living under the stress of guilt and worry? He’s ready to help you get rid of all that baggage called sin, but...He is a gentleman and you have to ask Him.

 

If you are ready, you can pray this simple prayer:

Dear Jesus,

I believe you are the sinless, Son of God,

Who died on the cross for me.

Your sinless blood covers all my sin,

Please, forgive me of my sins.

Come, live inside me.

 Show me your will for my life.

I serve only You, Lord, Jesus, Forever!

AMEN

If you prayed this prayer WELCOME to the kingdom of God! Find a church where believers love, teach, and follow the Bible. Jesus is coming for us very soon and now you are ready to meet Him! GOOD BLESS YOU!

Please take time to leave me a comment

 

 

 

MONDAY, MONDAY!

May 1966

 

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day!

Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way!

 

The background singing of the Mamas and the Papas accompanied my last class of the day. We were sketching a live model. Mr. LePoris was just finishing up a conference with a student when he called my name. I laid the thin piece of charcoal down and I headed to his desk.

 

My teacher’s blue eyes lit up over his kind smile as I approached. Even though his curly black hair was short and gray he minded me of Jesus. Little did he know how much his encouragement for the past three years had boosted my confidence.

 

“First of all, Kathy, I want you to say it has been a pleasure having you in my art classes. I have watched your progress and I believe your art talent should be continued after graduation in a few weeks. I was wondering if you are planning to go to college?”  

 

 I shook my head no, embarrassed to tell him I couldn’t afford college. I blinked back the tears of self-pity. I couldn’t tell him my big dream back in sixth grade was to go to beautician school and save my earnings for art school. It was a stupid idea, since I hated fixing hair.

 

“That’s too bad because you have a special gift from God. Your eye for detail and perspective is exceptional.” My quivering lip made him look out the window long enough for me to gain my composure. “You know, Kathy,” he said, “I didn’t think I could afford to go college either at the end of my senior year, which was many moons ago,” he chuckled. “Can I tell you what my art teacher said to me during our conference?”

 

I nodded, yes.

 

“He told me if I really wanted something I would have to make it a matter of prayer. Plus, he told me to look at my options to see what suited my talent. While I prayed I looked at several colleges and narrowed them down. Before I knew it I was going to Ohio State! I didn’t start paying back my college loan until I graduated and had a teaching job.”

 

By the time the Yellow Submarine bus dropped me off at home I was singing, We Can Work it Out! God reminded me praying led my dad to find our new house so God will help me find a college!

 

“Kathy, honey,” Mrs. Felty said after Sunday School, “I talked to Donny about you wanting to go to college. He said all you have to do is write a letter to Dr. Boswell, the president of Cumberland College. He is a nice man who likes to help people. Tell him your heart’s desire and that you are willing to take any job on campus and work your way through.”

 

When I got my acceptance letter I was singing, I’ll See You in September!

 

 Half-way on our drive to Cumberland College my dad stopped in downtown Corbin to find us something to eat. The aroma of home-made bread from the bakery filled our car and made our choice easy. I’ll never forget sitting in the back seat taking turns pulling off big chunks of hot bread that melted in my mouth.

 

I watched the red tail lights of our blue station wagon disappear into the night. Johnson Hall almost looked haunted but I straightened my shoulders and climbed steps. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach subsided the second I stepped over the century-old threshold.

 

I was last arriving so I got the bottom bunk. There was only two feet of space between my mattress and the  top bunk. I was worried there wasn’t enough room for my big head full of two-inch rollers! Opening the package of sheets from K-Mart I realized my mom had bought two, flat sheets!

 

The Baptist roommate arrived early this morning to get dibs on the one, single bed. She gave me her Bugs Bunny smile while I struggled making the bed. The crazy Catholic girl from North Dakota laughed through her crooked teeth and said to be careful every time I hit my head. A bunch of laughter down the hall drew my roomies out the door. I was alone at last! I lay in my flowered, sheet coffin and closed my eyes for a minute. The last thought I remembered before sleep…was not very nice.

 

That evening the large living room downstairs was packed like sardines wearing pink curlers, face cream and pastel pajamas. It was enough to scare all the boys to Jellico, Tennessee. The wall-to-wall chatter of estrogen gave me a tired headache. When the dorm mother entered the room all became quiet. Each girl introduced herself, told where she was from, and shared her favorite Bible verse. I couldn’t remember John 3:16.

 

 I over-slept the next morning for Orientation plus I forgot where I was! My head full of two inch rollers crashed into the top bunk and knocked me back down. I lay there scolding myself while hot tears gushed from the pain. I rolled out of bed and unto the floor where I yanked the curlers out.

 

When the lady handed me my class list I almost wet my peddle pushers! There must be a mistake I said! The woman assured me there was no mistake. She explained something about a “well-rounded education”?

 

 I forced myself to go to each teacher and sign up for English Composition, Civilization, Zoology, Old Testament, Physical Education, and Art Structure! I only get ONE art class! When you are an art major don’t you take mostly art classes? I wanted to go home!

 

Later, somebody explained the “well-rounded education” standard to the dork from Ohio! It didn’t make any sense to be paying for classes I hated. I did get a $200 grant toward the $900 tuition. My job assignment was working in the school cafeteria. I couldn’t complain about that since the cafeteria was the perfect place to check out all the cute guys as I handed them their choice of a dessert.

 

Monday, Monday! It had to be a perfect day!

Monday, Monday! God made it better than okay!

YOU NEVER KNOW

You Never Know…

DARK STREETBY JUSTIN CAMPBELL   CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR

 The Journal Newspaper said her crumpled, bruised body was found under some bushes. She was walking home late from a friend’s house when the rapist attacked. How afraid she must have been I thought! After I read the rest of the gruesome story, fear wrapped its cold arms around me. Even though I could see my house from the front picture window of the house where I babysat, I still felt afraid.

 You never know when you're going to die.

 They said it was the first homicide the the small city of Fairfield, Ohio. A state of shock hung heavy over the community as we struggled to understand why a human being would commit such a horrible act. Knowing the perpetrator was probably still around, gave us extra concern in the evenings.

 For the rest of the summer before sunrise I walked fast to my babysitting job, carrying a big stick. I locked all the doors and the windows after the mother left for work. Over time the murder updates shrunk to a corner on the back page of the newspaper.

 You never know how God will use a tragedy to inspire you to pray.

 By the end of the summer I hoped to have the last amount of money I needed to buy something I really wanted. My mom felt confident about it, so she set up an appointment two weeks before school started. Since the murder, I was back praying like I did after I got saved. God was only a breath away and my fears had taken a back seat.

 The first day at school my friends couldn’t figure out why I looked different. I just smiled and didn’t say a word. It was fun having a secret, but best of all I was not having the pain nor the headaches. Finally, my friends figured it out and the excitement died down for them but not for me. I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to be able to earn and own my very own pair of… contact lenses.

 You never know what special blessing God has up His sleeve for His own!

 I babied those contact lenses for twenty years! (Yes, I only had one pair.) I could see everything crystal clear plus the boys noticed me more! I almost killed my roommate in college when she accidentally froze my contacts! The old radiator made our dormitory room so hot it caused her to crack open the window that happen to be near my contact storage case. The freezing room woke me up and when I squeezed my nostrils together with my fingers, the hairs in my nose crunched.

 While the sink in the restroom filled with warm water I slowly unscrewed the lid on my hourglass contact case. I knew my roommate had sabotaged my contact lenses and I was going to kill her! I could feel steam rising off the top of my head!

Evidently, she got hot on the top bunk, that she chose first before I got here, where all the heat goes up if you know your science, I was going to lose not only a way to see better but I was going to lose three years of hard earned money babysitting! Now my five-hundred dollar pair of contacts was buried beneath solid ice! I didn’t know if I was going to have a funeral for my contacts or a funeral for my roommate, Linda.

 While the case floated in the warm water I prayed: Lord, please let my contacts be okay…but if they aren’t…help me not to cry! I held my breath as I opened one side of the case. The soaking solution still had floating shards of ice, but the contact lens seemed okay—I cried anyway and thanked God for the miracle!

 You never know how long, hard contact lenses will last!

 Little did I know that ten years later I would still be wearing this same pair of contact lenses. I would be married to Sandy Storrie and we would be missionaries to the deaf and blind in St. Augustine, Florida. One weekend we went to afootball game and some deaf students sat behind us while some blind students sat in the front of us. One deaf girl asked me, “Mrs. Storrie, is the band playing, yet? We don’t feel the music vibrations.”

 I spoke aloud so the blind could hear and I signed, “The band is practicing but not playing fully, yet.”

 “Oh, sorry to bother you. Thanks,” the deaf girl said.

 “No problem.” I signed back.

 You never know when you will be at the right place at the right time to help a friend.

About that time two blind, high school students turned around and asked, “Mr. Storrie, we hear the band playing, but where’s the football team?”

Realizing the situation, my hubby smiled as he signed and said, “The football team is now beginning to line up for their big entrance onto the football field.”

 Meanwhile, a deaf girl behind us was observing and finally understood our contoveraial situation of communicating with two worlds. She signed to us, “Mr. and Mrs. Storrie, I feel sorry for you. It must be hard working with the deaf and blind, especially when we are together at the same time asking questions! We all must be a pain in the butt!”

 I signed back to her and said, “It’s okay because God helps us with patience. And, no, you are not a pain in the butt. You are a blessing!”

 A blind guy overheard our answer to the deaf and he asked: “Did you hear what happened at the prom last dance with the blind and deaf dancing on the floor?”

 “No, what happened?” my hubby asked.

 “All evening, the deaf kept asking, “Is the music playing? Is the music playing? And, the blind kept asking, “Are they dancing? Are they dancing?”We all erupted into laughter. I love to hear deaf people laugh because they laugh just like us!

 You never know when you’re going to hear a funny explanation of your ministry or job.

When the football game was over we gathered up our things to leave. When I looked to the left my left contact popped out. I froze and told Sandy so he checked my coat, scarf, and the benches, but nothing. It was too dark to look anymore without a flashlight, so we left.

 I grabbed Sandy’s arm and I tried hard not to cry. In the car all I thought about was how could we afford to buy a new pair of lenses on a missionary salary with no optometrist insurance coverage? My prescription glasses were ten years old!

 You never know when you’re faith in God is going to be tested.

 After we got home we prayed. I felt a little silly praying for a contact lens to survive the night out in the elements but I did anyway and I felt at peace. The next morning my heart sank when I saw it had rained most the night. Regardless, I still had the urge to go back to the football field.

Sandy asked, “Do you want to go back and look some more?”

 You never know when God will answer your prayer so trust Him.

 “Okay”, I said, “it won’t hurt to look.”

 On the way, I thanked God for whatever He was going to do. (Satan said I was a fool to go search for a needle in a haystack.) When we got there we walked to where we sat the night before. Sandy climbed the bleachers to look. I started to follow him but I heard the Lord say, “Look in the grass.” I quickly obeyed and I looked down at the grass. Within ten seconds I saw my contact lens sitting on top of a blade of grass, as if saying, “Here I am, Kathy! Isn’t God wonderful to keep me here all night just for you?”

 You never know when God is going to give you a miracle.

(I’m crying now as I write this remembering when He saved my contact lens.)

 “I found it, Sandy!” I said as I reached down and gingerly picked it up as if it were a diamond. I never felt so loved by God in all my life. I slipped it safely into my contact case and screwed on the lid! On the way home I couldn’t stop thanking Jesus and laughing through my tears of joy!

 You never know when God is going to let DNA solve a murder.

 Later in the 1990s I was watching the show, “America’s Most Wanted” and I heard them say an old murder case from Fairfield, Ohio had been solved by mistake. The young man who killed the blonde girl in Fairfield had been caught after 30 years when he killed again in another state. When his DNA was entered into the data base it matched both murders.

 You never know when or if you will have this offer again to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savoir. So, what do you believe? Do you believe Jesus is sinless Son of God? Do you believe He died on the cross for your sins? If you are sorry for your sins and you want to be saved and go to Heaven when you die say your own prayer or this prayer, only if it's from your heart:

 Dear Lord Jesus,

I believe you are the sinless, Son of God, born of a virgin over 2000 years ago. I believe you died on the cross for all my sins of the past, present and future. Jesus, you are welcome to come into my heart to save me of my sin and live in me, forever. Amen.

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM 1 B.C.

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM      1 B.C.

THE LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM BY TREY RATCLIFF  CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR

 

The last nine months of Joseph's life has proved to be the most memorable time of his whole life! An Angel told him in a dream that his espoused wife, Mary, was impregnated by the Holy Spirit with Jesus the Savior of the world! He just finished walking a hundred miles to Bethlehem for a census when no sooner done Jesus entered the world inside a cave outside of Bethlehem. And then, that night, Angels appeared in the sky to the local shepherds announcing his son's birth so they filled the cave to worship Jesus.

  The last of Joseph’s cob webs of doubt had spun enough courage for him to leave the cave long enough to go visit his younger sister on the east side of Bethlehem. Bethany was quite happy to see her brother after ten years. Unfortunately, she did not want to house the supposed Son of God. The disappointed brother hugged his sister goodbye and headed to the outskirts of Bethlehem where his aunt lived. Staying with Aunt Martha would be their only way to survive the cold winter months ahead. Nazareth was too far and it was too cold to travel back the 100 miles. He decided to not tell his aunt about his wife’s Immaculate Conception.

 After visiting with his aunt Joseph hugged her goodbye. Mary would be worried about him being on the road alone so he moved hastily over the dusty path back to the little town of Bethlehem. The husband came alive at the sight of the distant cave and he ran home to Mary and Jesus with great haste.

 “Mary! Mary! I’m back,” Joseph cried as he rushed inside the cave.

“Joseph!” Mary cried, “I’ve been so worried! I’m so glad you’re alive.”

“Sorry, it took so long,” he said as he kissed her cheek and brushed his thumb over the brow of his sleeping son. "How are you and the child?" 

 “We’re fine and just trying to stay warm in this cold, damp cave. Any success of finding us a house?”

 “Yes, my love. My widowed aunt said we can come live with her.”

 “Praise be to the Lord, but I thought your sister had the bigger house.”

 “Well, she half-way believed our story, but she decided at the last minute she was too scared to house the Son of God.”

 “You told her everything?”

 “Yes, but not the details. I thought she would believe and be excited for us and welcome us in. She just had a baby, too, and maybe she thought it would be too much.”

 “You didn’t tell your aunt about our miracle son, did you?”

 “No, no, not yet since she is my only other relative who lives here. You will love her, Mary! Go ahead and bundle Jesus up while I pack the donkey.”

HANGING BY THE STABLE  BY JOHN   CREATIVE COMMONS    FLICKR

Joseph’s aunt welcomed Mary and the baby with open arms into her little abode over-looking Bethlehem. She had already made ready the largest room in her house for Joseph and his family to live. It had a small window that faced the direction of the mountain where the Jewish temple stood that was built by Herod.

 After Jesus fell asleep in Aunt Martha’s arms, Joseph grabbed Mary and a blanket to go up on the flat roof of the house. The giddy couple snuggled under the wool blanket to keep warm while they enjoyed the black sky full of sparkling diamonds. Looking straight up, Mary noticed how two large stars were so close to each other (really, two planets, Venus and Jupiter).

 “Look, Joseph, at those two, huge stars. If they get any closer they will be kissing!”

 He looked up and then back down at Mary’s beautiful lips. “You mean a kiss like this?” Joseph said as he turned her chin gently his way and kissed her. Even with nobody on the roof but them, Mary felt a bit self-conscious but she didn’t pull away from her husband. Joseph’s first kiss stirred something wonderful in the pit of her stomach.

BETHLEHEM BY JAMES COOPER   CREATIVE COMMONS  FLICKR

 

 The brightness of the two stars coming together made Joseph think of a scripture he read from Numbers 24:17. He quoted it by heart to Mary:

 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

“You see, Mary! The Lord has made a STAR for Jesus out of Jacob!” Joseph proclaimed. “Tonight, I can see how God uses two big stars to  make one big star, but I don’t know why God is doing it.”

“I understand what you mean, Joseph. It makes me feel like something else special is going to happen.  We’ll just have to wait and see. I understand the Sceptre part rising out of Israel discribes our Son but what does the scripture mean about destroying all the children of Sheth? That sounds morbid!

December 25, 0 A.D.   One Year & 3 Months Later

THE WISE MEN 27  WAITING FOR THE WORD  CREATIVE COMMONS  FLICKR

Mary and Joseph were up on the roof cuddling again under a blanket as they gazed up at the glorious, one huge star. The piercing wind made them decide to head back down into the house when they noticed a strange sight in the distance. Coming down the road toward the house were three fancy men riding on camels. Joseph let Mary slip inside the house while he waited to see what the men wanted. He grabbed a sharp tool from the carpentry shop.

 He watched as the men lit off their camels and tied them to the juniper bushes. Each man lifted something out of their pouches that hung by their camel saddles. They walked slowly toward the house with their huge gifts held high in the air. Joseph’s heart thumped so hard he forgot to breathe. Are these rich kings coming to barter for Jesus with their expensive gifts?

THE WISE MEN 19  WAITING FOR THE WORD   CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR

 They stopped twenty feet away from Joseph and bowed down on one knee. One of the men spoke, “Shalom. Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him. (pause) When you give permission we three Kings of the Orient will approach with our finest gifts for Him.”

“Shalom to you." Joseph said.  "Let me talk with my relatives first,” Joseph said relatives because he wanted the men to think they were out-numbered. Not taking his eyes off the visitors he backed his way into the house.

 “Mary! Aunt Martha! Come quickly!” Joseph said in a low voice.  “There are three very rich Kings outside who say they have followed our star from the far East to worship Jesus and they’ve got gifts, very expensive gifts. Let’s pray first and seek God’s protection and guidance.”

After they prayed, all three agreed to let the strangers come inside. Joseph revealed the tip of his knife to the two women…just in case.

 And when the Kings came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto the child gifts of gold for a King, frankincense for a man, and myrrh for GOD.

THE WISE MEN 26  BY WAITING FOR THE WORD  CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR

 Mary glowed in awe as the highly intelligent men dressed in the finest clothes worshiped their one year old son. Joseph couldn’t believe it either. Now, they knew the purpose of the bright star above their house.

 The happy and satisfied Kings soon left as quickly as they came.

And being warned of God in a dream that the Kings should not return to Herod (who told them to tell him where the baby was so he could go worship him, too) they departed into their own country another way.

 

FLIGHT INTO EGYPT 20  BY WAITING FOR THE WORD  CREATIVE COMMONS  FLICKR

The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, (now, they had the means to travel, to eat, and live in Egypt because of the king’s gifts of provision) and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother that night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, he slew all the children (destroy all the children of Sheth) that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

But when Herod was dead an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt saying, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And Joseph arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

But when Joseph heard that Archelaus, son of Herod, ruled in Judaea, he was afraid to go, but God warned him in a dream to go into the parts of Galilee back to Nazareth that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets; He shall be called a Nazarene. (Italicized King James Bible)

 While in Egypt Joseph probably did carpentry work to blend in with the poor and not look rich. When the three returned to Nazareth, Jesus was about three years old. Mary’s parents had died and their house was occupied by family. Joseph bought his own family a large house with the money from the three King’s expensive gifts. (Jesus stayed in this house His whole life with His mother unless He was traveling.) Joseph started a carpentry business in Nazareth where he taught Jesus the trade. Joseph died before Jesus started His ministry so Jesus probably finished training or delegating the next brother in carpentry. When Jesus was thirty He was baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist, and He immediately went up into the mountains for a 40 day fast. Jesus had ministry details to talk about with His Heavenly Father.

 In His home town of Nazareth, Jesus was shunned by several relatives and so-called friends who believed the rumors that he had been an illegitimate baby. (That was why Mary and Joseph didn’t want to return to Nazareth after Jesus was born.) Mary and Joseph had five or six more children who were nothing like their calm, older son Jesus. Later in His ministry, Jesus could not do very many miracles in Nazareth because of the unbelief that stemmed from the false rumors of His mother Mary's pregnancy. Even though two or three of Jesus’ brothers became disciples later, while on the cross Jesus told the apostle John that Mary was his mother and he told Mary that John was her son. John took care of Mary until she died.

Jesus chose to leave His Father and all the comforts of Heaven to come to a this Earth for 33 years under the cruel control of the Roman Empire. At the chosen time God sent His Son to be born of a Jewish virgin girl and Jewish man who were both of the lineage of King David. The Legal payment for the whole world's sin had to be done by a sinless, perfect man... Jesus was the only One who qualified and He agreed to do it.

If you believe this you can be saved right now while sitting at your computer. Pray something like this: "Lord Jesus, I believe you are the sinless Son of God who died for my sins. I believe you love me no matter what I've done or not done. I come to you as I am. Forgive me and come into my heart and live big inside me forever! Amen."

 

 

 

MARY, DID YOU KNOW?

Mary, Did You Know?

"Mary Did You Know" lyrics by Mark Lowry

 

~ H E A V E N ~

 

 

WAITING FOR THE WORD   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

GOD: My Son, it is almost time for you to leave.

JESUS: Yes, Father, I am ready.

GOD: You can still change your mind, Son, and not go. Our seeing Earth’s future is nothing compared to your experiencing it in a temporary, human body. You will discover it is not easy for a man to fight Satan in the flesh

JESUS: I know, but I want to go and fulfill this mission of outreach for You. It’s the only way we can prove to mankind we are real and how much we do care about them.

GOD: Thank you, Son. Your willingness to leave the glory of Heaven to go redeem the sinful Earth makes me proud and grateful.

JESUS: You are welcome my wonderful Abba Father! I have seen the hardships I will experience. But, I remember seeing all the beautiful faces of the people who will believe and join us. With Your Presence, I am willing to tolerate the temptations of Satan, bear the rejection of man, and the endure the torture upon of my flesh.

GOD: The only thing I regret is when I must turn away from You while on the cross when the sins of the world are being placed upon You as the perfect Lamb of Sacrifice.

JESUS: My suffering for the sins of the world will be the highlight of our plan to save whosoever will believe. If I do not complete this mission nobody on Earth will be able to be saved due to Satan’s high level of evil influence on the world.

GOD: I am looking forward to welcoming my new sons and daughters to their new home in Heaven!

JESUS: Yes, and I look forward to getting to know my new brothers and sisters.

GOD: I will miss your loving presence here in Heaven, my Son. Your thirty-three years on Earth will go by slow for you.

JESUS: But, for you, Father, it will seem like thirty-three Earth days. We will be in constant communication while I’m on Earth, especially after John baptizes me in the Jordan River. I go into the wilderness for forty days to talk over the details of my teaching and preaching itinerary with You. I will say what you tell me to say and do what I see you do.

GOD: I am very pleased to call You my only begotten Son! And,  I look forward to rewarding You soon with my words, “a job well done”. Are we ready for the greatest conception upon the Earth to happen?

JESUS CHRIST '06 BY HARRY ANDERSON WAITING  FOR THE WORLD   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

JESUS: Yes, my Father. . .  I AM.

           

~~ E A R T H ~~

 

A fourteen year old girl was in a deep sleep when she heard her name called. She sat up on her pallet as an image grew brighter and brighter in the corner of the bedroom. Across the Angel’s massive chest was a thick leather strap that connected to a gold scabbard on his right hip, where a dazzling, six foot sword hung. His golden hair framed his stoic, masculine face while his blue eyes swirled like two whirlpools and gazed down upon the trembling Jewish girl.

 

“Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

 

 Mary did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?

 

Mary’s heart beat wildly inside her chest as he spoke! She couldn’t believe an Angel was in her room telling her she was going to give birth to the Son of God? She shouldn’t have eaten that second bowl of leek soup before bed. For centuries, this Angelic message to Mary was what every Jewish mother wished for one of her daughters! “How can this be?” she told the Angel, “my betrothed husband, Joseph, and I aren’t married, yet?”

 

The angel answered her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

 

Mary did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

 

          When the Angel of the Lord disappeared a misty, white cloud appeared and hovered over Mary. The wonderful presence of God melted Mary’s fears and filled her with such hope it was easy for her to accept God’s will graciously. She never questioned why He would choose a lowly peasant girl to be the mother of His Son.

 

When Mary told Joseph the whole story and that she was with God’s child, he became filled with unbelief and fear. How could this lovely girl from a strong, Jewish family lie to him? It didn’t make sense for God to choose a poor maiden girl and a carpenter to be parents of His… Messiah? Both he and Mary were from the lineage of David but most Jews believed the promised Messiah would be from a privileged Jewish family with political power to free the Jewish slaves from the harsh Roman Empire.

 

Being a kind and just man, Joseph did not want to turn Mary over to the Sanhedrin. The thought of sweet Mary being stoned to death made him feel sick to his stomach and anxious to find a secret way to hide her with a friend or relative in another town far away.

 

 Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?

 

After a sleepless night of worry, Joseph finally fell into a fitful sleep. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Joseph rose from his pallet the third hour (9 AM) and headed straight to Mary’s house and told her what the Angel had said. Within a week the couple was married and Mary was living under her husband’s roof. It was a comfort for Mary to know that Joseph didn’t expect marital relations until after the baby was born.  Unfortunately, there was gossip about the hasty wedding that took place right after Mary got back from visiting her Aunt Elizabeth in Judah for three months.

 

Due to a decree sent out from Caesar Augustus to tax the entire world, Joseph was eager to remove his very pregnant wife from all the wagging tongues in Nazareth.  Mary’s mother was not happy with her son-in-law for wanting to take her very pregnant daughter on a 100 mile trip over rugged terrain to be taxed in Bethlehem.

 

“Mary is due soon and you should let her stay here!” The worried mother cried. “Are you prepared to deliver the baby on the side of the road without a midwife? Think about it!”


This child that you've delivered
Will soon deliver you


Joseph chuckled, “Do you believe God is not going to provide for His Only Son’s needs? Besides, the scripture says that though Bethlehem be little among the thousands in Judah, yet out of thee shall come the ruler of Israel.”

 

Joseph and Mary packed Joseph’s mule with all their needs for the long trip.

They went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem because he was of the house and lineage of David to be taxed with Mary being great with child.

JOSEPH & MARY GOING TO BETHLEHEM TO BE TAXED  BY  KATHY STORRIE   2014

 

On the journey south, Mary found herself becoming enamored with her husband. Ever since his dream and the wedding he was more confident and attentive to her needs. Did he have a purpose now and more faith in God? His selfless humility that spilled over each day under the relentless hot sun was enough to make her heart ache… to know her husband.

 

Mary did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?


 

At the end of the fourth day the Anointed One was jumping inside her like a shafan (rabbit). Under a clump of acacia trees, the weary Joseph set up camp for his exhausted wife, before he fished for their supper in the Jordan River. After they finished eating, and they were relaxing next to the river, Mary unlatched her husband’s scandals. She dipped a clean rag in the water and gently cleaned his bloody, cracked and swollen feet. When she finished and looked up their eyes locked; she saw more in his eyes than appreciation.

 

 The dusty streets of Bethlehem buzzed like the honeybees they saw swarming over the red and purple Roman Nettle flowers on the outskirts of the little town. Mary gasped as her baby somersaulted to escape the confines of her womb. Was the King of kings going to make His grand entrance under a tax collector’s table?  As they finished their census with the grumpy, tax collector, an old man motioned for Joseph’s attention.

 

Hurry, Joseph! This child is coming soon. . .  room or no room!”

 

Mary did you know
That your baby boy will calm the storm with his hand?


 

“Hold on, my love, God has a place for His Son to be born!” Joseph soon returned and kissed Mary on both cheeks as he lifted her up on the donkey. “Thanks be to God Almighty!” he exclaimed.


          Mary managed a smile but she was too miserable to respond.  Her husband led them out of town and toward some shepherd caves. Half-way there, without warning, the donkey brawled, jerked the leash from Joseph’s hand and took off down the dusty trail. Joseph ran like a lunatic to save his wife from falling off the donkey. The crazy animal was not only risking the life of his wife, but also the anointed child who would save the world, if He survived, no thanks to a spunky donkey who smelled fresh hay.

 

The couple cracked up laughing as Joseph lifted Mary off the prancing animal filling his mouth. “I never realized she was so hungry,” Mary said. “I saw you giving her most of your bread portions these last few days.”

 

Yeah, I should be the hungry one around here!” he chuckled as he looked around the cave for a dry place to put Mary. One corner was piled high with hay so he sat Mary down on a rock. As he reached for the blankets in a bag an older woman walked into the cave with a big pile of blankets. “Aaa, who are you?” he asked.

 

Mary did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby
You've kissed the face of God!




“I am your answer to prayer, that’s who! Your woman’s going to deliver that baby soon and we must get ready! I’ll make the bed on the fresh hay with these blankets while you go get fresh water in those two buckets by the cave entrance. You will find a well …”

“I’m from here, remember? I know where the well is. Thanks, anyway!” he said as he grabbed the buckets and darted out of the cave with renewed energy.

 Joseph was on his way back with the water when he heard Mary scream. He ran back to the cave all wet now and handed the midwife the half-empty buckets as he looked down at his wife. The woman said that everything was under control and she shooed him away. Joseph liked the privacy wall the old woman made for Mary by hanging animal hides over a wooden, ceiling beam. The heat from the fire plus pure exhaustion worked together to force Joseph to collapse and rest on a bed of soft hay.

 And Mary brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

CHRISTMAS BABY JESUS BY CARMEN RODRIGUEZ  CREATIVE COMMONS  FLICKR

 

Mary did you know?
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb
Oh Mary did you know?


Mary gave birth to most wonderful baby boy in the whole, wide world! Joseph couldn't take his off her and Jesus. His eyes rotated back and forth as he feasting on his miracle family. Jesus was absolutely perfect and content as Joseph looked down at him over Mary's shoulder. As Jesus nursed his mother he opened his big brown eyes and grinned up at his earthly father; Joseph melted and was totally smitten.  

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

SHEPHERDS * WAITING FOR THE WORD * CREATIVE COMMONS * WWW.FLICKR.COM

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 

Mary did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?



Baby Jesus was sleeping in a manger when his parents heard voices outside the cave. Joseph leaped up off the bed of hay and peeked around the privacy wall and saw four shepherds with staffs standing outside the cave entrance, looking in. "We are were sent by angels to see the babe, Christ the Lord!"

 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

 

Mary did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?



And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Mary felt beyond blessed and honored to be chosen by God to birth and raise His wonderful Son. As she studied Jesus' facial features and his dark hair, she was thankful he looked like any other new born, Jewish boy. He would at least blend in and not stick out in a crowd. The part that puzzled her, though, was how would Jesus grow up and become great like the angel said and rule a kingdom from His own throne?

 

Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding
Is the Great I Am.

****

"Mary Did You Know" lyrics by Mark Lowry

 

Mary pondered in her heart that it was going to be interesting and exciting to see how God is going to make this prophecy happen.

 

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED . . . 

 

 

 

WHY, ME?

Why, Me?

 

SNOWDAY  BY DAVE MATHIS    CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM https://www.flickr.com/photos/eldave/

 

“Kathy! You better get up!” My mom’s voice was hoarse from hollering at me to get up every five minutes.

 

Just a few more minutes under my warm covers before I dress in the freezing bedroom. I covered my head again as the frigid dampness poured down from the frosted window. Mom must have dozed off because I went back to sleep until the school bus wheels crunched by my house. Like the jack-in-a-box my sister got for Christmas I jumped out of bed. I only had seven minutes to get dressed before the bus circled the subdivision and came back by my house.

 

My new sweater and wool, box skirt would hopefully keep me warm today. The Fairfield schools allowed pants to be worn under a skirt but we high school girls didn’t want to look dorky. Instead, I pulled on a pair of hose I wore yesterday.

 

After I dressed, the bright light in the bathroom revealed my worst horror; my naturally, curly hair stuck every which way but Sunday. I plastered down the tangled mess using my Fuller brush and a half dozen bobby pins. No time to put on boots today so I slipped my feet into my church flats.

 

I heard the bus turning the corner of the house next door so I grabbed my purse and school books and flew out the front door. I didn’t know there was a patch of black ice on the lower half of our slanted driveway. Down I went and over the ice I slid like a seal out of water. The bus driver waited while I gathered my shoes and belongings. Thank God, for the frosty bus windows that helped clandestine my Candid Camera blooper. I still dreaded getting on that bus expecting giggling and wisecracks but the bus was quiet.

 

I flopped down in the first empty seat half way down the isle, thankful when the bus driver turned the light off. I reached down and rubbed my hand up and down my legs not believing the potholes in my hose. I slipped them off and crammed them into my coat pockets. I tried to wrap my long coat around my shivering, wet legs for the long ride.

 

The toasty warm school felt better compared to the icy bus but I began to worry how I was going to hide my white legs all day. This school had the most beautiful girls who were perfect from head to toe! I was glad the main hallway was bumper to bumper with teenagers, keeping the sardine-packed boys sitting on the long window sill from seeing my white, goose flesh. I never knew boys even looked at girl’s legs until back in eight grade when a girl in my homeroom class told me that Denny liked my legs.

 

“Hey, Kathy! Wait up! Kathy!” a familiar voice called from behind. I felt well hidden in the school of fish so I slowed down to a puppy dog swim so Karen could catch up. If I stopped in this crowd we would cause a pile up in front of the Principal’s office plus get detention. Karen grabbed my right shoulder and said in a low voice near my ear, “Kathy, Keep walking, I’m holding on to your coat tag with both hands because it’s so big. I don’t want anybody to see it so go to the nearest bathroom!”

 

We must have looked like Siamese twins as we walked awkwardly toward the restroom. As soon as the door shut behind us, I dropped my books and purse in the floor and slipped off the coat. My face turned beet red. How did I not see such a big, white tag hanging from the arm pit of my coat? Before I knew it, Karen was cutting the long string with her nail clippers. “A very, nice coat, Kathy!”

 “Thanks, Karen, I owe you.”

 “No, problem, Kath. Glad to help.”

 This must be my unlucky day I thought!  I convinced myself I was being too self-conscious and I needed to stop it and get a grip. An hour before school was out there was an announcement on the loud speaker that the office was ready for our wing to come to the gymnasium. I cringed at that remembering my white legs for the first time since that morning. As we lined up to go, I pulled my skirt down a little to help cover my legs. I hated walking by the bleachers that were already filled with gawking eyes. I quickly followed the person in front as we climbed the bleacher steps to fill in the next spot near the top.

 One more hour and we could go home!

 After forty-five minutes the induction of all the proud, new members into National Honor Society it was almost over. I wasn’t a bit surprised to see who made it in to the prestigious club. It was mostly peers from my “T” class days back in 7th & 8th grade. They deserved it and I was actually proud for them. This honor would look very good on their college application.

HONOR SOCIETY CEREMONY BY PAUL Li  CREATIVE COMMONS   FLICKR  /www.flickr.com/photos/paulpker121/

 

Even if I had been studious enough for National Honor Society I could never afford college anyway. Today, I was actually grateful I wasn’t qualified to be included in Honor Society because everyone would see my white legs!  I was planning to be a beautician and save my money to go to Art school. The names being called were getting closer and closer to the end of the alphabet. Everyone was getting anxious to go home after sitting so long on the hard bleachers. We could hear the buses humming out in the parking lot.

 

I must have been in a daze because I didn’t notice the students who had turned around, looking up at me. Somebody, gently poked me from behind and said, “They called, Kathryn Marie Wilcox!” I turned to see who said that and I didn’t even know the girl. How would she know my name?  Stubbornly, I turned back around, positive they were wrong. How could they be calling my name? My grades aren’t bad but not near good enough for Honor Society! It must be a big mistake!

 

Now, the students were waving hard for me to GO, GO, (so they could go home, I’m sure).  I looked down at the bottom of the bleachers where an escort was waiting and smiling . . . at me? I stood up embarrassed but pleased at the same time.  Over 600 pair of eyes fell on me as I walked down the bleachers with my snow white legs, and . . . I didn’t care they were watching!

 

 Have you ever been pleasantly shocked in front of a small or big crowd? I think this was the first time I realized God had a sense of humor. He blessed me at an unseemly time when I wasn’t expecting anything. I think He was trying to get me to stop being so self-conscious about myself and focus on others. Yes, they did call my name that day but I never heard it. The document they handed me on the stage had my name on it. But, to this day I still don’t know how, why, or who suggested me for such an honor.

 

“MATCH MAKER"


KATHY MARIE WILCOX   1966  

 

MATCH MAKER

 

 I opened the screen door and hesitated before I stepped inside the closed-in porch. I hoped this was the right house.  I could hear the crunch of rocks as my mom backed the car down the driveway. I watched her drive away. I tried to swallow the lump in my throat as I knocked softly on the side entrance of the bungalow. So, this was where he lived .

 

As usual, Mrs. Felty’s pretty face beamed with a smile when she opened the door. “Hi, Kathy! Come on in, sweetie! Did you have a hard time finding our house?” she asked.

 

“No, not at all.” I said as I climbed the steps and entered her cozy kitchen. “Am I too early?”

 

“No, honey, you can help me set the table if you like,” she said.

 

“Okay, good.” I said, as I peeked around the kitchen and into the dining room. I didn’t dare ask if her son was home from college for the weekend. I still cringed inside remembering when I met him last week at church. He was such a hunk all I could do was nod my head hello. I’m sure he thought I was a ditz.

 

As I finished placing the silverware on the napkins the animated table and chairs announced: "This is where Donald eats his meals and does his homework! " I could almost see him with his dark hair as he poured over his studies and ate a healthy snack at the dark mahogany table. 

 

 Just as I shook the vision off I heard the green couch say: "This is where he sits and watches TV and takes naps! "Thank God nature called, so I asked Mrs. Felty if I could use her bathroom. I sat in the tiny, pink room and looked around. The Felty’s liked Zest bar soap, Colegate toothpaste, Listerine mouthwash and Old Spice cologne. I felt like I was trespassing on private property. I had to get out of there quickly before Don came home and knocked on the restroom door! I was glad when the Sunday School class members finally started arriving but I was sad when Don never showed up.

* * *

At the end of the summer my mother bought a set of Collier’s Encyclopedias on credit to help her four kids with school work. My secret desire, now, was to learn all I could about Don’s favorite sport. If this friendship was ever going to start I had to find something for us to talk about. But, the more I learned about football the more confused I became.

 

The Feltys invited our family of six to eat lunch at their house after church one Sunday. Friendly, Woody Felty grilled the hamburgers, while the women carried out the lemonade, iced tea, and side dishes. When Don’s black Mustang pulled into the front driveway my heart pounded in my chest like wild stallions. My stomach did The Twist while my nerves danced The Watusi.

 

 Don filled his plate and sat down at the only place left, across from me. After his fake smile you could cut the silence between us with a plastic knife. All I could do was nibble on a chip while I pushed my potato salad around in my plate. I wanted to say something nice like... I enjoyed your sermon today but I wasn't allowed to lie. How could somebody preach so many words and have nothing left to say?

 

After lunch my dad suggested we take pictures. Don organized us into crazy poses and encouraged us to act silly. We all became goofy and mom still has the pictures to prove it. While we had fun laughing Don disappeared.

* * *

  Don approached me a month later to go out. . . with his friend! (gag me with a spoon) His friend needed a date for a church banquet he said. I tried to hide my disappointment but my hesitancy to answer made Don assure me several times his friend was really nice and harmless. The only reason I said yes to the blind date was I didn't want to disappoint Don.

 

 I was having a nice time at the church Sweetheart Banquet until Darryl became distracted by a girl at another table who kept looking back at us with hurtful eyes. When Darryl never called me for another date, I found out why. Don and Darryl had used me to make Darryl's old girlfriend jealous. Evidently, it worked because they got married and forty years later Darryl preached at my church and Brenda was still with him. I almost felt responsible for getting the couple back together. I didn't go out of my way, though, to speak to them because...well, because.

 

 I will forever be grateful to the Felty family for helping me get into college. Donald redeemed himself when he insisted that his mother get me to write or call the President of Cumberland College. I did just that and I was accepted! I got a grant and a part-time job that helped me pay my way through four years of school.

 

While I was in my senior year at college, Mrs. Felty told her unhappy son to go find me at college and see if we might hit it off after all. He agreed with her he would try but when he got there he couldn’t find me. Instead, God let him run into Judy, a former acquaintance, who I also knew (a wonderful girl). The two of them hit it off right away, (darn!) and soon became engaged (double darn!) and got married.(Woe is me!)

 

 When I found out about them finding each other, I stopped speaking with God for a while. My knight in shining armor was finally coming to his senses and on his way to find me.... God blinded his eyes? God had used me again to help get another couple together! What about me, Lord, where's my love story? (Oh, I forgot I wasn't speaking to You!)

Be patient, Kathy, God said to the impatient girl from Ohio.

 

TIMELINE PHOTO

 

Little did I know that God was my Match Maker. He was making plans for me to find Mr. Sandy Storrie, my love story. How we meet will be another memoir, coming soon to you.

 

Many times we pick out the important things in our life and forget to ask God about it. And, then if things don’t work out we wonder what happened. Or, like me, I prayed about my situation with Don but I ignored the signs that he was not interested in me. I really wasted my time emotionally waiting for someone who wasn’t even in God’s plan for me.

 

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge GOD, and He shall direct thy paths. 

 

 Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” We may have to wait but we don’t have to struggle to find God’s will for us concerning our mate, our career, our schooling, our job, our place to live, our house, our car, etc. When we acknowledge or include God in our life, He will put us in the right place at the right time so His perfect will can practically fall into our laps!

 

Waiting on the LORD is so much better!

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

MY mother MARIE WILCOX  and her sister Chanie Lawson Knuckles Huge

It was one of those summer, blue sky days that beckoned my country mama to go outside. “You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl!”

 

Barefooted, she grabbed my baby sister, an old quilt, and the hand of my other little sister to go out in the grassy front yard. The thin grass in the back yard was still trying to find its way through all the creek rocks (another story).

 

Fifteen month old Kimberly sat proudly on her mommy’s lap while both her hands stuffed peanut butter crackers in her mouth. Four and a half year old Tammy brought the tall Premium Cracker Can to sit on while she ate peanut butter crackers and watched the cars and bicycles go by. 

 

 As Marie soaked up the sun she spotted two ladies down the street, walking from house to house. Since, most people were at work they were leaving a flyer at each door. All of a sudden, Mom felt self-conscious in her plain sundress as the two ladies got closer. The women smiled bigger when they noticed my two little sisters.

 

“Hello there! My name is Joyce Wilder and this is Glenna Felty. We’re out on this gorgeous day inviting people to come to our new mission!”

 

“My name’s Marie Wilcox and this is Kimberly Mae on my lap and my other daughter is Tammy Sue.”

TAMMY SUE WILCOX  and  KIMBERLY MAE WILCOX    1963

 

“You pretty girls look just like your mother,” Glenna said with a radiant smile as she shook their hands.

 

“Yes, they are beautiful! It’s so nice to meet you!” Joyce smiled brightly as she patted the girls on their head and shook Marie’s hand.

 

Glenna handed Maie a paper flyer. “This is about our new mission. We hope you will bring these precious baby girls. Do you have other children, Marie?”

 

“Yes, I have two older children. Kathy is fourteen and Tim is eleven. They're around here somewhere. Where is the mission located?” Marie asked.

 

“Turn left out of the subdivision and drive a half mile east on Princeton. Then turn right on Gilmore and go another half mile and it's on the right,” explained Joyce. “We used to meet in my house further down on Canastota but we’ve grown so much we had to buy land and build."

 

  "Tell me, Marie, do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Joyce asked.

 

“Yes, I do. I was saved at seventeen when my Christian school showed a movie about the crucifixion of Christ. I finally understood what all Jesus suffered and did for me."

 

"Yes, Jesus did so much for us and it's wonderful to hear you are my sister in Christ, Marie!" said Joyce.

 

"AMEN!" said Mrs. Felty. "'The Lord Jesus is so good!"

 

"So Marie, do you go to church some where?" asked Mrs. Wilder.

 

We belong to Deer Park Baptist on Galbraith Road but it’s so far since we moved out here. It’s hard to get four children dressed and there on time for Sunday School,” Marie explained.

 

“I wouldn’t know about that since I have only one son who is about Kimberly’s age, named Douglas," she said. "This must be your blessed day! We’re also Baptists and the mission of course is only five minutes away!”

 

“That sounds good to me!” Marie said as Kimberly grabbed the flyer with her peanut butter hands. “Who is the preacher?”

 

“Archie Gabbard’s our stand-in preacher until we find a full-time minister,” Joyce said. “But before that we’ll need to establish the mission into a church.”

 

“What time does church start Sunday?” Marie asked.

 

“Ten o’clock for Sunday School and eleven o’clock for Church, and we have a nursery,” Joyce added.

 

“I will be there!” my mom promised. “This is an answer to prayer having a Baptist church so close!”

NORTH FAIRFIELD BAPTIST MISSION   GILMORE ROAD  FAIRFIELD TWP

 

We started going and we loved the little Baptist mission located between corn fields and a pond. The people made us feel at home and the preaching and singing were great. Mrs. Felty was an excellent Sunday School teacher and she made me feel important. I became very nervous and self-conscious when I met her handsome son, Donald.

 

There was only one problem; Dad refused to go because he wanted to keep going to our other church. Each Sunday for a month he stayed in bed while we went to the mission. Mom and I didn’t ask him to go anymore because he got mad so we just prayed God would change his mind.

 

One Sunday morning we dressed quietly as usual, careful to not wake Dad. As soon as Mom finished dressing Tammy she started on Kimberly. She finished that and placed her in the playpen in the living room for me to watch. Mom laid Tim's clothes on the bed and woke him up to get dressed.

 

I was eating a bowl of Cheerio’s when Mom came down the hall with funny look on her face. “Your dad is up and he’s getting dressed for church,” she whispered. "Don’t say anything when he comes out. We'll pretend nothing unusual is happening.”

 

“What changed his mind, I wonder?” I asked in a low voice.

 

“I have no idea,” Mom said as she put two bottles of milk and diapers in the diaper bag with some peanut butter and crackers.

 

 Quiet happiness filled our red and white Oldsmobile as Dad drove us to church that June morning. After the sermon and during the invitation my dad leaned over to my mom and said, “let’s go ahead and join today!” Mom told him fine and they both went up front and joined the mission.

 

I was in shock when dad joined the mission so fast. I snapped back to earth and joined my parents and joined the mission. (Tim stayed behind since he wasn't saved yet.) I learned later when Dad prayed with the pastor, privately, he was rededicating his life to live better for the Lord.

 

My spirit swelled inside me so much I felt like I was floating out of the church to the car!

Our parents JAMES (Jim)  & MARIE WILCOX

 

My mother asked my dad, later, what had changed his mind about going to the mission that day. He said, “You mean you don’t know?”

 

“No,” she said, “why do you think I know?”

 

“I thought you put her up to it.”

 

“You thought I put who up to what?”

 

“I thought you sent Tammy Sue in the bedroom to ask me to go to church.”

 

“No, I didn't. Did she wake you?”

 

“No. I was already awake feeling guilty for not getting up to take my family to church. But, Tammy did ask me something.”

 

“What did she ask you?”

 

She said, “Daddy, aren't you going to church today?"

 

My mother's mouth fell open, then she smiled.

 

Dad continued talking, "The second little Tammy said that something pierced my stony heart. My heart started flopping around in my chest like a trapped bird. I knew if l didn't get out of that bed I was going to have a heart attack and maybe die."

 

Isaiah 11:6

 

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

 

 

My family learned first hand that God can use a little child to get His work done. In the Bible, God used Samuel and David as young boys to do His will. So, why wouldn’t God use a little girl in modern times to lead her father back to church?

 

A LIFE CUT SHORT

LONE BASEBALL BY BRADLEY GORDON   CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

“Whack!” The grounder rolled past the short stop and into the outfield.

 

 “Run, Abby, run!” Her team mates yelled, as Abby dropped the bat and ran toward first base. The eight-grade, teenager loved playing baseball, especially when lots of boys were around. She had her eye set on Bobby!

 

The outfielder grabbed the ball and threw it to first. Abby landed on first base a second before the first baseman caught the ball.  She was breathing hard but grinning from ear to ear while she waved at her Normandy Heights’ girl- friends. Abby was feeling lucky today.

 

The score was 7 to 3 with the boys ahead. The bases were loaded and Helga was up at bat. All the girls had their fingers, arms, and legs crossed. If Helga hit one of her famous home runs, the score would be tied.

 

Helga liked to intimidate the pitcher as she warmed up. The tom girl spit in her hands before she swung a few practice swings. Staring down the catcher was fun as she chewed and popped her Bazooka bubble gum. With her feet planted apart, she spread her arms and raised the bat over her right shoulder. She gave the wiry pitcher her famous look.

SEATTLE MUNICIPAL ARCHIVES  BASEBALL CREATIVE COMMONS WWW.FLICKR.COM

With one leg raised, the pitcher leaned back and released a powerful, breaking ball. Helga expected the nasty curve ball. She swung the bat with such force and precision it drove the ball in the air over the mound and into center field.

 

All eyes watched the ball except for the girls jumping and screaming on the sideline. With bases loaded the four girls ran base to base like crazy. After Abby reached the home base she turned around and saw Helga was almost home. As Helga reached home base Abby stepped in front of the umpire to hug her friend. She didn’t see the ball coming.

 

Abby never knew what hit her. The ball hit the side of her head in her temple. As she collapsed in to Helga’s arms, Helga eased her to the ground. Everyone gathered around in shock as they realized what had happened. Abby wasn’t moving and her pulse was weak. This wasn’t the time of cell phones so it took forever to find a phone. The Rescue Squad finally arrived and the paramedics busily checked Abby’s vitals and transferred her into the squad. The screaming ambulance carried Abby away to Fort Hamilton Hospital.

 

Gloom hung like a thick blanket over everyone as they walked home like stone faced, zombies. Nobody knew what to think or what to say. They were worried and concerned about the vivacious girl with the contagious smile. For the first time in weeks our garbage cans out back were not turned over by mischievous kids. A prayer chain was started while the community waited through the night for news. The next morning we learned Abby had made it through the night, but she was still in a coma. 

 

In the middle of the night, Abby woke up thirsty.  After she drank the cup of water on the side table she got up to go to the bathroom. The nurse down the hall heard a noise in her room and checked on her. She found Abby crumpled on the bathroom floor. They said she must have died from a blood clot.

 

Everyone was sad and heart-broken about Abby’s passing and for her family’s loss. Some of the kids felt responsible for Abby’s death because they played baseball with a hard ball instead of a softball … especially the pitcher felt badly. It wasn’t his fault or anybody’s fault. It was a freak accident.

 

 After the accident I noticed my brother was extra quiet. I didn’t know he had loaned his hard ball for the game. I heard my mother talking to him privately, telling him it wasn’t his fault that Abby died. I never told him I heard somebody say that Abby may not have died if they had used a softball. Others said if she had not gotten out of bed that night, she may have lived.

Why was Abby’s life cut short?

 We forget that we are living in a fallen world ever since Adam & Eve disobeyed God. Man sometimes makes mistakes and misjudges things. Accidents happen. People get hurt. Sickness and disease come. New problems surface everyday because man is a sinner. People will get physical and mental help from a doctor but what about their souls? They forget about getting the spiritual help they need… before something bad really happens.

 

Are you spiritually ready to face a catastrophe?

Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones but Words Will Never Hurt Me?

 

ROCKY BLACK BURN RUBBLE   SOON    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

ROCKY BLACK BURN RUBBLE  SOON   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

My muscles ached as sweat poured off my body. With no shade trees in sight the sun shone down mercilessly on that hot summer morning of 1960. I loved our nice, new house but our backyard was the Sahara Desert! After a few weeks of raking and removing a million rocks there were still a gazillion more! New ones seemed to re-surface by morning and it was depressing! I was a little upset when I found out my parents turned down the nice, grassy sod for the backyard. Instead, they bought an awning for the patio.

 

My younger brother was supposed to be my rock assistant but he was too young and too distracted to focus. He picked up a few handfuls of pebbles but mostly he stood there watching me work. He waited for me to fill the red wagon so he could dump the contents in a designated place and go play.

 

A large pair of eyes watched me from the newly, shaded patio. Dad was usually home by 8:30 AM after working the midnight shift at Ford Motor Company. Every morning he supervised me from his lawn chair while I did my “rock shift”. He thought it was funny when I acted hot and tired and pleaded with a sad face for a break. He made it clear that we had to remove every rock before we could strew grass seed. I was confused about the “we” part. When Dad finally went to bed two hours later, my mom waved me inside for a break.

 

BULLY  BY  TERRY FREEDMAN    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR

BULLY  BY TERRY FREEDMAN   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR

One evening a big argument broke out in our new kitchen. Things didn’t set well with my Dad when my brother ran inside the house to get away from a bully. Dad followed Timmy into the kitchen where he started talking on how to stick up for yourself with a bully. (My brother and I would rather have a spanking than be corrected by one of Dad’s filibusters.)

 

 Eight year old Timmy couldn’t focus on a teacher’s ten minute instructions let alone a forty-five minute lecture. I felt sorry for the little guy because I  felt his pain. He had to be careful not to frown and to keep his eyes on Dad’s face the whole time or Dad would yell, “Don’t you look at me like that! Or, LOOK at me!”

 

 “That’s enough talk, Jimmy,” my mom said.

 

“I’ll decide when I’m finished, Marie!” Dad said.

 

“You’re upsetting him, Jimmy! Can’t you see he’s shaking?”

 

“Stay out of this, Marie!”

 

 I will not!” Mom said as she stepped between my brother and my dad. My dad shook with rage when my mom said that. His fist rose and hovered three inches from her face. I watched with fear. My mother did not back off from his fist! I had never seen her stand up to him before!

P. PUNO FIST  BY DANIEL  CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.SOM

P. PUNO FIST  BY DANIEL  CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.SOM

 

“Marie… I don’t want you… interfering! You’re making me mad… and I don’t want…to hit you!” Dad was so mad he spoke is spurts.

 

My mom held her chin up and looked straight in my father’s eyes. She said calmly, “Pick on someone your own size, Jimmy… go ahead and hit me if it will make you feel better!”

 

As I watched the scene unfold I held my breath and waited to see what would happen next. As far as I knew Dad had never hit my mother before. He adored her! The atmosphere was electric. Dad’s trembling fist stayed near my mom’s face for too long! I couldn’t move or breathe.

 

 Then, a miracle happened. Dad dropped his fist to his side. His shoulders slumped as he looked down at the floor. He was showing obvious shame and defeat. He finally turned and walked out of the kitchen with his tail between his legs.

 

My mother had showed my brother and me how to stand up to a bully!

 

Years later, my dad talked openly about that day in the kitchen. He said that was the day my brave mother rightfully stood up to him and showed him what a “stupid ass” he was. He told her from now on he was turning over all the disciplining to her! That was a noble thing for him to say but it only lasted a short time. I think he meant well in saying it but he had no clue on how to let go of his need to be in control.  

 

          Even though my dad didn’t have a clue on how to rear and discipline his children he did love us in his own way. He was faithful to my mother and he never missed a day of work to provide for our physical needs. I found out much later that his low self-esteem and anger was due to his alcoholic father not being a vital part of his life. Dad was so proud to serve in WWII for his country but the horrific acts of war brought on emotional bouts with (PDS) post dramatic stress that required counseling and much medication.

 

ROOK CARDS  BY   ANTEFIXUS U.E.    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

ROOK CARDS  BY  ANTEFIXUS U.E.   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

Dad said that next to Jesus Christ as his personal Savior my mother was his biggest love and best inspiration. I loved my father but I did not like being around him unless he was in a good mood. I loved playing ROOK cards with him. In the middle of playing ROOK he usually made himself a sandwich at the kitchen counter. He would take the bid and usually win without even looking at his cards. We loved it when he won because he laughed a lot and it made a good day!

 

The perfect God is so merciful, kind and loving with all of His imperfect children. He looked through each of our lives and saw the hardships we’d have in this fallen world. He saw we would need lots of love, patience, and mercy! Jesus knew His suffering would be excruciating but it would be worth it when it won him so many brothers and sisters! He knew salvation had to be easy for us to receive or nobody could get saved.

 

All it takes is to have right believing that Jesus is Lord & Savior, Jesus never sinned, and Jesus died for my sins and He was resurrected from the dead when we ask Jesus to come in to our life the Holy Spirit comes in to live inside of us. He helps us, he guides us, and He prays for us when we don't know how to pray!

 

Thank God we don’t have to earn salvation through good works and we don’t do good works to stay saved; that’s why GOD called His Salvation plan wonderful G R A C E. Because of grace you automatically want to serve God, live right, & serve others.

 

Did your home life appear normal but there was verbal or physical abuse going on? Comment here or email me at kathymstorrie@gmail.com

 

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

A Diamond in the Rough

BLUE DIAMONDS BY  STEWART LEIWAKABESSY   CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

BLUE DIAMONDS BY STEWART LEIWAKABESSY  CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

The Fairfield City Schools were not prepared for the influx of so many new seventh graders coming in to their township in 1960. Many families including mine had responded to the opportunity to build their “dream home” at an affordable price. How did anyone know so many finished houses would have so many 7th graders?


The Fairfield School Board prepared for a split session for the 7th graders. Half the students would have school from 9AM to noon; the other half from 1PM to 4 PM. It was the teachers who were making the sacrifice of a longer day with double the students!  


Sleeping late every morning was fine with me. I wasted time by watching TV re-runs of “I Love Lucy” instead of studying my spelling words. The bus came at noon to pick up the Normandy Heights’ 7th graders first. We were on the bus almost hour after picking up more kids from all over the township. Arriving home at five o’clock PM was a long day.


 As great as the older Oakley teachers were they had not prepared me for the educational excellence of Fairfield. My straight A’s at Oakley qualified me for the top level. The secret level code was: THE QUICK BRS. Morning classes were H, Q, I, K, R; afternoon was T, E, U, C, B with S for special education. This would be my first time to struggle with classroom assignments! Mom tried to get me to move down to level ‘E’ but my pride stood in the way. I did consider changing levels every time I sat down at the beginning of a spelling bee. I still have trouble with spelling. Thank God for Spell Check.

 

The first day of school a cute boy from over on Service Lane got on the bus. He was tall, dark, and handsome. The other girls noticed him, too. One day on the bus someone behind me tapped my shoulder and handed me a boy’s ring. I looked one seat back and the cute boy was smiling at me. I blushed. Was he giving the ring to me?


I was more relieved than disappointed when he told me to pass the ring to Peggy sitting up front. When Peggy got the ring she turned around to see what was going on. Someone yelled at her that Bobby wanted to go steady with her. If I had been her I would have thrown the ring back at him. How could he give her something so personal in such an impersonal way? I lost interest in him after that. I was proud of Peggy when she dumped him the next day. She and I became friends.


 At Fairfield the only A’s I got were in Art. (I had to work hard to get B’s and C’s in my other classes.) I won first place in an Art poster contest which boosted my fragile ego. The poster was of a man in a car offering a bag of candy to a child standing on the sidewalk. The caption read: “Don’t Accept Candy from Strangers!” My picture made the newspaper for the second time; the first time was for selling Girl Scout Cookies to the mayor of Cincinnati.  


 Mr. Smith was my Helen Keller miracle worker, Miss Sullivan. Somehow this literature teacher inspired me to have a close relationship with words. The assignment was a 25 page term paper. Ugh! I hated writing until I found out I could copy word for word from the books if I gave the writers credit. I became detailed at giving writers credit with a neat Bibliography at the bottom of each page. Mr. Smith said to always give credit and we could not be charged with plagiarism and end up in prison.


 My first term paper was on “The Nineteenth Century Apparel of Men and Women”. I didn’t realize I picked a topic with embarrassing pictures but it was too late to change. I was shocked to see the drawings of bare-chested women in fancy dresses in public. Beneath my B grade, Mr. Smith wrote: “Write in your own words more;” “too many bibliographies”.


To save face with Mr. Smith I decided to be more disciplined with the second term paper. I was a slow reader but I forced myself to skim read and condense the information into my own words. This time I got an A+.

 

Daily, Mrs. Pottenger had the class take turns diagramming English sentences. It was a silly assignment until Joyce Brewer explained hers and made it fun. After that I caught on to nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, helping verbs, prepositions, etc. I still have trouble with adverbs.


Beautiful Joyce Brewer never showed any embarrassment of her occasional stuttering while she explained her diagrammed sentence. I could relate to her because of my delayed speech. I loved her smile and confidence as she spoke and drew in the class laughing at her self. She took her time as she waited for the words to surface. She never gave up until she was finished. She was a delightful inspiration.


  At the end of the 7th grade our teachers loved us so much they asked the administration if they could teach us again next year for 8th grade! We were thrilled and honored.

 

BRILLANT HERKIMER DIAMONDS BY  COBALT123   CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

BRILLANT HERKIMER DIAMONDS BY COBALT123  CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

We are all diamonds in the rough waiting for our reveal. I believe God gives us our talents or gifts but there is that one that rises above the others. Call it our calling…our passion. We can be good at something but lose interest or hate doing it. If we can do something for hours and it seems like minutes we may have found our calling. In 7th grade I began to think I was an “artist in the rough”. Art was easy and it gave me an edge and acceptance with my peers.


  I remember after rearranging words for hours on the second term paper I was bone tired but exhilarated . . . I know now I was a “writer in the rough”.


THE END

 

You Can't Eat Just One Potato Chip

You Can’t Eat Just One Potato Chip

RUFFLES HAVE RIDGES  BY  SANDRA     CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

RUFFLES HAVE RIDGES  BY SANDRA    CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

I ran my fingers over the new wall as I walked down the hallway. It was my way of making sure I wasn’t dreaming. Everything about our home looked nice except for the back yard. Daddy said a rocky creek used to run through the back yard. Next week, we would begin raking a gazillion rocks into piles before we loaded them into my brother’s red wagon. UGH!

get your SKATES on BY  BRIAN RAMNATH     CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

get your SKATES on BY BRIAN RAMNATH    CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

Roller skating down our slanted driveway was so much fun. The young maple trees in our cookie cutter front yard didn’t offer much shade in July so Mom left the garage door open for us.

 While sitting on the bumper of the car I saw a girl riding down the sidewalk on a bike. She stopped so my brother could pass her on his tricycle. She was amused with his boyish vigor and smiled up at me.

“Hi! I’m Marlis! Welcome to Normandy Heights!” She said as she rode her bike to the end of the driveway. “I saw you move in last Saturday.”

I rolled down on my skates to meet her. “I’m Kathy.”

“Where're you from?” she asked.

“Oakley.”

“Oakley?” She frowned. “Where’s Oakley?”

“It’s a suburb of Cincinnati. Where are you from?”

“Peoria, Illinois,” she said.

“Which street do you live on?”I asked.

“We’re on Ravena in a split-level house.”

“When did you move here?”

“Over a week ago,” she said. “I saw your bike. Do you want to ride around in the subdivision?”

“Sure, I’ll go ask my mom.”

Most of the streets in the new subdivision were paved but we still had to watch out for nails. “The new houses were popping up like dandelions!

“Do you want to go inside an unfinished house?” Marlis asked.

“No, Mom said not to.”

“I don’t think we’re allowed anyway.” she said.

We parked our bikes at the bottom of a tall mound of dirt in the middle of an empty field. “The boys call this hill, Plymouth Rock,” she said.

KING OF THE HILL BY  RUSS LOAR    CREATIVE COMMONS     WWW.FLICKR.COM

KING OF THE HILL BY RUSS LOAR   CREATIVE COMMONS     WWW.FLICKR.COM

“Boys will be boys,” I said as I laid my bike down and climbed up it. Just as I reached the top a bunch of boys came running out of a house toward us. I froze in place as a couple of them ran up the hill and jumped off.

“There's supposed to be a haunted house somewhere over there,” Marlis said as she pointed toward the woods. Her comment scared me a little but not enough to stop my curiosity.

Marlis took off on her bike. “Follow me!” she said. I grabbed my green Schwinn and followed her toward the woods. I had a feeling we might be trespassing but the shade from the trees felt good. The path soon narrowed and we were forced to leave our bikes and walk if we wanted to continue.

 As we went deeper not a breeze stirred the stifling, humid air. Sweat dripped off my face. The only sound was the crunch of dead twigs beneath our white tennis shoes. I was tempted to turn back but I didn’t want Marlis to think I was a baby.

BARN & MEADOW BY  UNIVERSAL POPS   CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

BARN & MEADOW BY UNIVERSAL POPS  CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

As we entered a clearing we saw a tired farm house that was barely standing. Thick Queen Anne Lace and Black-eyed Susans surrounded the neglected structure as if they were trying to make it look better. Slowly, we walked up the steps to where the door used to be and looked inside. With half the roof gone the inside was well lit and less scary. We started to step inside when we heard the curdling scream of an animal. We ran like crazy to our bikes and never looked back!

 

Marlis and I became very good friends. She invited me to go with her parents on a camping trip to Washington D.C. Her dad built a collapsible camper on wheels. We painted the head of a gypsy lady on the side that said, “Have Trailer Will Travel”.

THE JEFFERSON MEMORIAL  BY  BRETT     CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

THE JEFFERSON MEMORIAL  BY BRETT    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

We had a memorable time in the capital city especially when I almost fell into the Potomac River. I was backing up to take a picture of the Jefferson Memorial and stopped one foot before falling into the shallow part of the river. I almost wished I had fallen in so our “dream boat guide” could have saved me. Both Marlis and I thought he was so cute.

 Marlis had a slumber party I won't forget. Five of us girls had a blast talking, laughing, eating and playing games. One girl brought the Ouija Board Game. Since none of us knew how to play it she explained how.

“Two people sit on the floor Indian style facing each other letting your knees touch while the board rests on your knees. You both barely touch the heart shaped pointer or planchette with your fingers and practice moving it around. Stop moving the pointer and let one person ask one question. Keep your fingers on the planchette and wait for it to move on its own this time. Do not try to push it by yourself. Wait for it to start pointing to the words, yes or no, or the letters to spell out the answer to your question.”

OUIJA BOARD  BY  JENNA     CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

OUIJA BOARD  BY JENNA    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

“What makes the pointer move?” Sandy asked with a puzzled look.

“I don’t know. It’s supposed be some kind of energy force,” the girl said.

Sandy and Peggy played first.

Peggy asked the board a question: “DOES BOBBY STILL LOVE ME?”  

First, the pointer pointed to” Yes” in the top left corner of the board and then it pointed to the “No” in the top right corner.

“Did you move it?” Peggy asked Sandy.

 “No! I didn’t move it! I thought you moved it”. Sandy said.

“No! I never moved it!” said Peggy. “It's working but how can the answer be both yes and no he still loves me?”

I suggested, “Maybe Bobby loves you now but he won’t later. Or, like the petals on a daisy: he loves you, he loves you not.” I laughed because I had my own crush on Bobby!

“I want to be next,” said Marilou. “I have a theological question to ask the board.”  

Before Marilou asked her theological question (whatever that meant) I slipped away to the far corner bed to get away from the game. I wasn’t afraid of the Ouija board but I knew something wasn’t quite right about it.  I was a new Christian and I was learning to listen to warnings of the Holy Spirit. He seemed to be nudging me to not play the game. The warning was similar to the one He gave me to not go into the haunted house.  

 I found out years later that playing the Ouija Board Game attracts demons. By you playing with it, it gives the evil spirits permission to not only move the pointer but to follow you around and tempt you to do worse stuff. UGH! If you keep dabbling in the unseen evil world and you're not a believer in Jesus Christ as Savior the demons can actually come inside a person. The demons probably know stuff about you but they can't predict anthing because only GOD knows the future.

Unless you invite Jesus in your heart to forgive your sins you’ll never be able to be rid of evil spirits. We have a tendacy to think that a little taste of the dark side once in a while won’t hurt us but the demons know we humans are weak and we can’t eat just one potato chip.

THE FOOD JUNK     CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

THE FOOD JUNK    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

How has the Holy Spirit warned you to avoid little bites of evil?

 

My First Answered Prayer

My First Answered Prayer


COOKIE JAR PHOTO BY  NELS HIGHBERG   CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

COOKIE JAR PHOTO BY NELS HIGHBERG  CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

The delicious smell of potatoes frying drew me straight to the tiny kitchen on Allston Ave. My stomach growled as I stood in the doorway and watched my mother take the meatloaf out of the oven. A whiff of the boiling peas made me pinch my nose closed.

 My eyes rolled up to the Pig cookie jar on top of the Philpot refrigerator. The smiling piggy with happy eyes gave me a great idea to solve a problem.

After supper, Dad told Tim and me that we couldn’t leave the table until we  finished our peas. We both knew we would be sitting there for a long time. We stuck our tongues out at each other and made our usual ugly faces. I shoved my plate aside and laid my head down on my folded arms.

I felt something hit the top of my head. I raised my head and gave my brother another look that could kill. He shook his head and grinned as he launched another rocket pea with his butter knife. It flew straight up and stuck on the ceiling. Our hands covered our snickers so we wouldn’t alert Dad. We finished our peas just like Dad said but in a more creative way. We cleaned up the squished peas and hid the evidence under the potato peelings in the garbage can.

          The next day after school I found Mom setting up the ironing board in the kitchen. I opened the fridge for a slice of American cheese.

“Get the plastic bag with shirts while you’re in there?” my mother asked.

I got the bag and placed it on the board. “Mom, is there anything in that Pig cookie jar?” I looked up at the ceramic pig.

“No, why?” she answered as she plugged in the iron.

“What’s it for, then?” I asked.

“I guess you could hide important things in it,” she said taking out a shirt.

“Could we save money in the cookie jar toward a house?” I asked with pleading eyes and my hands clasped.

My mother fit the shirt over the board to get it ready to iron before she answered. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.”

“Really?” I said, shocked she agreed. “When can we start saving money?”

She waited in her usual way before she spoke. “As soon as we get some extra money. Where did the house idea come from, anyway?”

“Remember when Brother Pinson and his wife asked and agreed together for God to give them a miracle because they didn’t have enough money for food and gas? And that stranger came up to him at the gas station and said the Lord told him to give him fifty dollars! Remember Brother Pinson quoted Matthew 18:19 that says if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

 “Okay then, I will agree with you for a house,” my mother said as she finished ironing the shirt sleeves.

I was so excited! My hopes sky-rocketed to heaven and back! Later, I asked God if He didn’t mind I wanted a big back yard to play in and my own bedroom. All summer long in 1959 I checked the happy Pig cookie jar but it was always empty.  

I knew God was going to have to do something really big like one of those miracles in the Bible!

One Sunday in the fall after we got home from church and ate lunch my dad said we were going for a drive. I heard him tell Mom a friend at work told him about a new housing development that helped vets get a government loan that waved the down payment whatever that meant. My ears perked up when I heard the word, “housing. I hoped that meant  a house.

We drove for a long time north on Highway 747. Dad said he evidently missed the sign. When Mom saw a sign pointing west to Hamilton she told my father to take it. She said they could get Route 4 there and drive home easier.  He drove five or six miles west on Princeton Road or Highway 129 when we saw colorful balloons in front of several brand new model homes! A sign said, “The future subdivision of Normandy Heights.”

I was excited but I kept as quiet as a miracle-believing, church mouse.

Dad parked the car at the sales office and we checked out the brand new model homes. It was like looking at mansions in Heaven. We liked the cheaper brick ranch with a garage but no basement. Dad figured it wouldn't hurt to talk to somebody and see if they qualified for a loan? My dad had a new job at Ford Motor Company in Sharonville. Within three hours our world changed for the better when my parents signed the papers for our brand new house!

         I danced in my head on the way back to our apartment!

          Mom and Dad were at the right place at the right time by the grace of God. The order for the three bedroom ranch they picked out was already in process to be built because the couple that previously ordered it did not qualify for the loan. (I felt sorry for the couple and said a prayer for them.) My mom and dad did not change any features on the house because the former couple had chosen the colors for the brick, shutters, flooring, paneling, walls, brick, and roof that my parents liked, too.

 Guess what? Our house lot had the biggest, humongous, back yard!

 And, we qualified for the Veteran loan that required no down payment!

          Until our house was finished in July of 1960 we checked on its progress every Sunday after church. From the day Mom agreed with me for a house to the day we moved into our house was exactly one year. Mom was expecting her fourth and last baby, Kimberly Mae. We always ate in our car at the McDonalds in Hamilton on Route 4 or Dixie Hwy. (It’s the one where my son would work in2011.)

          The day we packed to move my mother looked carefully through every piece of furniture, every box of food, toys, ornaments, books, clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. for roaches and eggs. As soon as she checked the item she immediately sent it down to the moving truck. We found one or two roaches at our new house and somebody stomped them to death before they before they disappeared.

          Living in a new place, I woke up several times in the night. My mind would race in fear that everything had been a dream and I was back in our old apartment. In the dard with a shaky hand I reached over and felt the wall. The texture of the decorative spatters beneath my fingers made my heart stop racing.

 

           I was really in my own bedroom in my new house . . .

          Thank you, LORD!

THE END

OUR FIRST HOUSE   PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE

OUR FIRST HOUSE   PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE

           

         


FAMILY TIES THAT BIND

FAMILY TIES THAT BIND

 

OAKLEY CINCINNATI    PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE   JULY 2014

OAKLEY CINCINNATI    PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE   JULY 2014

 

          I was always happy to see my Uncle Arthur when he came to visit us in Oakley. His piercing blue eyes, pronounced nose, wavy black hair and high cheekbones could have competed with any male movie star in Hollywood. His masculine profile made me think of a Cherokee Indian chief on the TV show Broken Arrow. As he got older I felt like Abraham Lincoln was paying us a visit.

 ARTHUR LAWSON,  #13 CHILD OF FANNIE & WILKE LAWSON  BORN DEC 23, 1921

 ARTHUR LAWSON,  #13 CHILD OF FANNIE & WILKE LAWSON  BORN DEC 23, 1921

 

If Uncle Art was visiting on a weekend my parents let me stay up past midnight playing Monopoly with him. There was some kind of magic in the way his eyes gleamed as he rubbed the dice in his hands. He landed on every important piece of property, railroad, water and the electric company as he raked in the money from the center pot.

 

“We don’t have to play anymore Uncle Arthur because you’re already winning!” I said with a long yawn. My sleepy eyes drooped with boredom due to not much happening on my side of the board.

MONOPOLY GAME OWNED BY KATHY STORRIE FOR 40 YEARS

MONOPOLY GAME OWNED BY KATHY STORRIE FOR 40 YEARS

 

“You never know what can happen if we don’t play it out to the end,” he said as he counted his money again.

 

 Uncle Art wouldn’t stop playing until he had won all the property, all the hotels, and all the money! He was dedicated to winning whatever he was playing or whatever he was doing. He was a born competitor and an endless jokester. If something was black he could actually prove it was white. If he wanted something of yours he would make you look away then grab it. He missed his calling as a lawyer my dad voiced many times. My dad never had a brother so he adopted Uncle Arthur.

 

          Back in the fifties during the cool evening of summer my dad drove us over to Uncle Ed Lawson’s house in King’s Mills. (This was decades before Kings Island was built.) My cousins would walk my brother and me to the school playground to play on the equipment. We loved it because our city school in Oakley didn’t have swings, slides, or monkey bars. Peggy, Marcella, Linda and Bobbie were so sweet and polite to take us and they never complained as they watched us see-saw, slide & swing.

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT  BY  DANIEL JOHNSON   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT  BY DANIEL JOHNSON  CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

BOLOGNA SANDWICH BY  PENGRIN    CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

BOLOGNA SANDWICH BY PENGRIN   CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

          When we got back to their house we ate a bologna sandwich, potato chips and drank a RC cola. I was so hungry and it tasted so good! After we watched our parents play ROOK (a card game) for a while we settled in the living room where we watched the TV show, Lassie. When Lassie lifted her paw at the end of the credits they turned the TV off. We played a game called, “I see a color that you don’t see!” Another game we played was a number game on a chalk board. It was fun!

 

COUNTRY ROAD BY  ALEX FORD     CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

COUNTRY ROAD BY ALEX FORD    CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

          Usually in June Mom and Dad picked a week for us to go visit Grandma Fannie and our many relatives down in Stony Fork, Kentucky. This was back when there was no interstate highways or air conditioning. By the time we arrived there at dusk my sweaty legs were permanently stuck to the vinyl seat and my curly hair was matted to my head. After six hours I was tired of hearing my little brother ask , "Are we there yet?"

 

          Grandma’s little three-room shanty was close enough to the back mountain we could reach out the window and pick out a tomato or a fine cabbage. The first night there we ate a big meal Grandma Fannie kept warm for us on the old stove. Later, she told us the latest, ghost story (I included these ghost stories in my book). Mom and I used a flashlight to find the privy on the other side of the dirt road. When we were inside the two-seater we banged around on the two holes with our fists to scare away any bugs that might want to bite our butt for a late, night snack.  

OUTHOUSE  BY  SHAWN FORD    CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

OUTHOUSE  BY SHAWN FORD   CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

          Early the next morning the rooster woke me up. I smelled bacon, fried eggs and hot biscuits! I ran out to the privy barefooted to relieve myself and almost slipped on the wet grass. I was puzzled because it hadn’t rained. This city girl learned how dew settles over the ground during the night and makes the grass and everything wet.

 

          After breakfast, I got dressed in my shorts and top. I grabbed the big dipper for a cold drink from the bucket. I heard my cousin calling my name, “Kaaaaathieeee!” He was waiting at the bottom of the hill for me to come play at the creek. I had a crush on him and I think he had a little crush on me, too. For hours, we used rocks as stepping stones as we lifted small rocks carefully to find colorful crawdads. He was amazed that a city girl wasn't afraid to pick one up.

CREEK THROUGH THE GORGE  BY  J OSHUA MAYER    CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

CREEK THROUGH THE GORGE  BY  JOSHUA MAYER   CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

          Ronnie’s stair-step sisters, Bonnie Jean, Jewel Dean and Brenda Lawson looked like rare china dolls with big brown eyes, milky, white skin and perfect rosebud lips. I loved playing house and listening to them talk country to each other over the mud pies. I died laughing when they tried to mimic my city talk. Later, when I got home and talked to people they thought I was from the south. I took it as a compliment and thanked them.

 

As I look back I enjoyed the games, the swings, the ghost stories and the mud pies that brought us together. But, what I remember most was the love, the acceptance and the joy of being with family. I always felt welcomed and cherished. Thank you, aunts, uncles, cousins, and Grandma!

 

Because the Lawson family was more of a positive family is why I chose to write my novel about Grandma Fannie and Wilke Lawson. They learned to be civil to each other early and they would put the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s to shame! I wanted to go back in time and share the nice moments we had together. It wasn’t to brag or compare but I wanted to show how a big family with variety can be positive, and have pleasant times together remembering good times over simple things like games, creek rocks, mud pies, play ground equipment, or anything.

 

For ten years I drove my mother down to Kentucky to visit her brothers and sisters before they died. When they sat around and talked it was always a pleasant time. There was no bad talk about anybody, just lots of laughing and remembering the good old times. Now, Grandma, and all her children are gone except for my eighty-eight year old mother, Marie. We sure are glad we got together with family as often as we could because it's the... family ties that bind. 

                

  THE END

 

THE SCARY BASEMENT

THE SCARY BASEMENT

LENOX APARTMENT STEPS TO BASEMENT  PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE  7-26-2014

LENOX APARTMENT STEPS TO BASEMENT  PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE  7-26-2014

 

 Every Monday my mom and I did the wash down in the musty basement beneath the Lenox apartment building where we lived. We couldn’t afford using the laundry mat around the corner. I hated going down in that eerie dungeon of blackness with rambling, dark rooms. My mom never flinched as I followed her down the steps into the unknown with only a laundry basket as a weapon. If she wasn’t afraid I wasn’t going to be afraid, either.

 

My mom taught me to be brave when you had to do what you had to do.

ELECTRIC RINGER WASHER  BY  RICHARD ELZEY    CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

ELECTRIC RINGER WASHER  BY RICHARD ELZEY   CREATIVE COMMONS  WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

One dim light bulb swung back and forth on a wire the whole time we used the electric washer ringer. It threw shadows of bodies on the wall. The bad light source also kept Mom from noticing how close her fingers were getting to the hungry mouth of the ringer. Her fingers got caught in the rollers when she tried to push a stubborn shirt through. She jerked her hand out and shook it in pain. I thought she lost her fingers but there was no blood. I empathized with her and felt the pain in my own fingers. I watched her remove and pocket the half-smashed high school class ring off her finger. Yikes! Crocodile tears rolled over her high cheek bones and down her face as she did that. With her good hand she started feeding the rest of the wet clothes, one at a time, through the ringer as I handed them to her.

 

That was the day my mom taught me about perseverance; to not give up when things go wrong!!

 

Later, when I got a bike for my birthday, I needed a safe place to hide it; I thought of the basement!  I remembered my mom’s braveness in facing the dark place beneath the ground every week even when I didn’t always help her. If she could do it alone I could do it alone.

 

After riding on my new wheels all day over Oakley I had to try my idea before it got too dark. I rode down the alley to the basement steps. Shadows were already forming in the secluded area. I sucked in a deep breath and grabbed the handle bars of the bike and started down the very steep stairs. I inched the bulky, twenty-eight-inch Schwinn bike down the twenty steps, carefully. As much as I dreaded what may be down there waiting for me I soon developed a new fear. My struggle against gravity with a heavy bike gave me the horror of falling.

SHINE LIKE NEW BY  SARAH KORF    CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

SHINE LIKE NEW BY SARAH KORF   CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

In the middle of the steps I got another idea. I changed position by getting in front of the bike and leaning over the big front wheel and grabbing the handle bars. As I pushed against the weight of the bike I stepped down the rest of the steps backwards. I was determined to not give up.

 

 I wasn’t about to leave my new bike in the apartment hallway on the ground floor for someone else to take it when it wasn’t even their birthday.

Since then I have learned to face my fears with the help of the Lord.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalms 56:3

THE BULLY

                                   1958

                               The Bully

FORMER SCHUTTE HOME ON MARBURG IN OAKLEY *  PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE   7-26-2014

FORMER SCHUTTE HOME ON MARBURG IN OAKLEY *  PHOTO BY KATHY STORRIE   7-26-2014

 

“Watch me. Take your pillow and fold it in half like this. With the thick side near your face, hold the pillow in your arms this way.” Next, Shelia leaned slowly into the pillow and just started kissing it. As I watched my cousin “make out” with a pillow I couldn’t stop giggling. I was too embarrassed to watch let alone try it. I would practice later in the dark without her watching me. About that time we heard Fritzy, her brother, playing on his guitar in his bedroom next door.

SHELIA SCHUTTE MY COUSIN                                    HER BROTHER MY COUSIN  FRITZY FRED SCHUTTE

SHELIA SCHUTTE MY COUSIN                                    HER BROTHER MY COUSIN  FRITZY FRED SCHUTTE

         

“Girls, what’s all that giggling about in there?” asked her mother my Aunt Sue. “If you’re going swimming early tomorrow morning girls you should have the lights out soon.”

         

“Okay, Mom!” Shelia said. “We still need to brush our teeth.” We dropped her pillows and giggled. "Make Fritz stop playing his guitar so we can go to sleep!"

    AUNT SUE LAWSON SCHUTTE

    AUNT SUE LAWSON SCHUTTE

"Five minutes, Fritz!" Aunt Sue said as she knocked on his door.        

While her mom was in the bathroom I brushed my cousin’s beautiful auburn hair. I tried to put it up in to a twist like Doris Day but her hair wasn’t quite long enough and there weren’t enough bobby pins. As soon as her mom went back downstairs we brushed our teeth and went to bed.

 

When Shelia went to sleep I was still wide awake. I turned away from her in case she was faking being asleep and practiced kissing my pillow. I couldn’t breathe very well so I stopped and eventually drifted off to sleep.  

         

 I was sweaty and hot when Shelia and I arrived at the free local pool. It was so crowded only small sections of the sparkly, aqua water were available. I sat down on the edge of the pool at the shallow end and eased myself into the lukewarm water.  

CITY POOL CROWDED   BY    NICK HALL      CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

CITY POOL CROWDED   BY   NICK HALL     CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

As I walked slowly through the waist deep water somebody grabbed my shoulders from behind and shoved me completely under the water and held me down. Jerking and twisting I tried to free myself but the person was bigger than me. When there was no more air in my lungs for several seconds the person finally got off of me.

         

I rose up out of the water gasping for air! Flipping my wet hair out of my eyes I searched for the culprit who did it. It was Bobby Nelson laughing his head off pointing at me! If my steel gaze could have killed he would have been dead! I looked around at the life guard who was only watching the deep end of the pool.

         

For the rest of the morning I avoided the despicable boy with the blond hair and big teeth. He was jumping on other kids’ backs and laughing. The life guard blew his whistle and gave Bobby a warning. When Bobby kept doing it the life guard ordered him out of the pool for the day. It was nice to be able to swim and not to worry about being drowned.

 

Shelia and I walked back to her house for lunch. We were starved! I loved going the short cut through the shady woods with the hundred feet tall trees behind the pool. It was fun stepping on the rocks across the half dry creek. Aunt Sue fixed us grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Yum! She always was a very good cook!

 

Shelia didn’t want to swim anymore so I went back to the pool alone. I had signed up for the free swimming lessons and I didn’t want to miss the first one. I needed to learn how to swim in deep water. After the swimming lesson I decided to go watch the older kids play checkers and chess.

 

 By the end of the summer I had learned how to swim in the deep end, how to dive and the “side stroke” to save a drowning person. As for the games I was better at checkers. 

 

Looking back on that day in the pool I could have easily been drown. Was God watching over me or was it just a coincidence?  Why do some children drown and others come close but don’t drown? Are some people allowed more time on earth than others?

 

These questions can arise when someone dies, especially someone young. Some people will say, “It was their time to go. Or, it was God’s will.” Personally, I don’t believe God picks my time to die. He leaves that up to me. I believe God loves us all the same and He lets us make our own good and bad choices.

 

We are living in a fallen world ever since Adam and Eve fell. They lost their beautiful garden and had to grow their own food by the sweat of their brow. Trees, plants, animals die and people eventually die of sickness, disease, accidents, starvation, violence, or old age.  

 

Satan tricked Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of good and evil so he could get back his position as the prince of the air over the whole earth. He’s allowed to roam the earth looking for those whom he can deceive and destroy. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, Satan loses his control over them unless they give it back to him by ignoring God.

 

Any person can receive salvation, protection, healing, wisdom, guidance, etc. but they must pray or ask God for it. I wasn’t a Christian yet, so God inspired a believer to pray for my protection and salvation.

 

James.5:16 The effectual fervent (consistent) prayer of a righteous (believer) man availeth (helps) much.

 

                                     THE END

 

Have you ever cheated death? If so, why do you believe you didn’t die?

You can make an open comment here or a private comment on my Contact page at the top of this page.

5 Ways to Find Your Passion

1959

5 Steps to Find Your Passion

 

1. Believe You are an Original

Each fall I auditioned to be in the grade school choir so I could sing in the Christmas and Spring pageants. Miss Burkholder played Home on the Range while each of us took our turn singing the first stanza. I always got into choir but I wasn’t driven enough to use my talent for a solo.

 

The last three years of elementary school I went to Camp Fire Girls. The Campfire manual listed ways to earn colorful beads to sew on my vest. My vest didn’t hold nearly as many beads as the other more diligent girls. Nothing against the other girls but I felt weird helping little old ladies across the street or baking cookies for the neighbors just to earn beads. I was either lazy, stubborn or just different.  

 

2. Don’t Be Somebody Else

 

One year our Camp Fire Leader decided we would have a talent show for fun. I decided not to sing but to pantomime Doris Day’s famous song, Que, Sera, Sera, Whatever Will Be Will Be. It was easy performing in front of people when I was pretending to be someone else.

DORIS DAY QUE SERA SERA BY  JAZZ GUY    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

DORIS DAY QUE SERA SERA BY JAZZ GUY   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

I was jealous of Helen Martin! She could shake the ivory off the piano keys. I dreamed of waking up and being her! She played for the school pageant choirs for the last three years. I begged my Mom to let me take piano lessons but she told me we couldn’t afford the fifty cents a week. I thought my mother had ruined my future career as a concert pianist! On the other hand had I not spent all my pop bottle money on candy I could have easily saved enough money for piano lessons. I guess I didn’t want to be Helen nor a pianist.

 

3. Relax and Enjoy Life and the Real You

My dad bought a brand new stereo Hi-fi console “on credit” whatever that meant. It had beautiful, shiny blonde wood and we could play 33 and 45 rpm records or listen to the radio. Daddy also bought the album, Christmas with the Chipmunks. We couldn’t stop playing and singing with those fast forward voices. Daddy relaxed into a good mood when Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were singing. Heck! We all did! Those were such good times!

ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS  BY  SUSAN SMITH    CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS  BY SUSAN SMITH   CREATIVE COMMONS    WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

4. Accept Your Own Individuality

 Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

Even though God made us in His image and His likeness He left plenty of room for us to be an original or one of a kind. “Individuality is God’s gift to each of us. What we do with our individuality is our gift to humanity.” A quote from the book, Origional BREATH by Larry Randolph.

 

If we observe nature we can see that the Creator God doesn’t make identical copies of anything. Every person, hand, foot, tongue, eyes, fingerprint, flower, star, planet, solar system etc.  may look similar but they are not identical. Take snow flakes for instanst. Look how different these snowflakes are.

MACRO SNOWFLAKES BY  ALEXEY KLJATOV    CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

MACRO SNOWFLAKES BY ALEXEY KLJATOV   CREATIVE COMMONS   WWW.FLICKR.COM

 

5. Grab Your Passion & Don’t Let Go

Maybe as a child you were told you could be anything you wanted to be. That can put a lot of pressure on child who has endless interests and talents or maybe none. God said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He wants us to relax, confess our sin, accept His Son, enjoy our talents and life He gave us and find our passion. Sometimes it is hidden on purpose for a certain time and place. Just like Zorro, your passion will appear… when the people are ready.

 

          You probably won’t know your passion right away when it appears. It has been building quietly for years but you didn’t notice. Some find their passion early and some late; the rest find it in the middle of life. Here are a few clues: you will think about it a lot; you can’t wait to get time to do it; you will do whatever it takes so you can do it; it makes your heart light and your eyes dance; usually its purpose has something to do with helping, encouraging, leading, teaching, guiding, influencing, entertaining… people.

Have you found your passion, yet? Tell me about it.

Do you still have no clue? That’s okay. Don’t give up on finding yours because God is always on time.