31 October 2010

Anne Hatherly

            The fire crackled merrily in the huge fireplace. The radio was softly playing a plaintive tune. Curled up on the davenport watching the shadows, was Anne Hatherly.
            Tearfully she thought of leaving home. Mother and Dad were so wonderful, and then there were Bobby and Betty, the younger children. She knew she would miss them too. Why couldn’t they all go—but then life just isn’t that way.
            She had worked hard all summer, with college as her goal. But now that she was ready to leave, her thoughts of home were uppermost.
            The clock struck eight, breaking into her reveries, and then her father’s big voice boomed out, “I took your trunk down and checked it. Your train leaves at eleven-fifteen in the morning. I’m glad you are going to college dear, and remember, Anne,”—he sat down beside the girl, placing a strong arm about her--“I love you; you know that. I have faith in you. With your talents fully consecrated to the Lord, you will make good. Just a s surely as there is a place for us in heaven, there is a work for us to do here in this world. I know God has a special place for you, Anne. Be true and honest and faithful. Mother and Dad will be praying for you.”
            Anne’s eyes filled, and Father just hugged her tighter while a few tears dropped on his shoulder. They both were silent for a moment or two, then he said, “Let me tell you a story from real life, daughter. Perhaps it will help you some day.”
            “When I was a boy we lived on a farm in the Willamette Valley. The house was of the low, old-fashioned type. Over one side and around the porch climbed a white rambler rose. In the yard were huge spreading cherry trees. Oh how we boys loved to climb them and eat all we could hold of their delicious fruit.”
            “To the north was an orchard. Back of that was a plum thicket; between this and the orchard was the red barn, where we boys played in the hay. Directly in front of the house was a large field of waving green grass, skirted by clumps of sentinel-like trees. An old worn fence zigzagged leisurely between our farm and Mr. Elm’s. To the south ran a railroad track, and beyond it the Tualatin River. Below the trestle which crossed this river was an old fashioned flour mill. We boys often trudged down there with wheat to be ground, giving the miller one fourth for grinding.”
            “It was during these happy, barefoot days that I learned to love the Lord. Every evening, after the chores were done and supper was over, we had worship. Mother was growing a bit deaf; so she read the Bible as we children and Father sat about the fireplace. Never can time erase from my memory those earnest seasons of prayer. Ours was a peaceful, happy household.”
            “But hard times came. Father slipped in the Christian way; we lost our home and became very poor. Mother, however, stood true and loyal, enduring Father’s abuse and breaks of temper like a real soldier of the cross.”
            “We boys grew up and left home one by one. The world was alluring, but, Anne, God always helped me to remember that my Mother was praying for me, Trusting in me, and I could not break that trust.”
            “My wish is that you, too, may have that same anchor, that same sweet assurance, knowing that we here at home are praying for you, as you go out alone into the strange, wide world.”
            Anne’s heart was too full for expression. She just squeezed her father’s hand tightly, then slipped up to her room and into bed, “for the last time till next summer,” she sighed.
            “But Anne, it’s such a little while—surely it can’t be wrong! Just think what it means to your future. Won’t you please?” begged Judith, who had been Anne’s roommate for nearly two years.
            Anne was a beautiful singer, and with her congenial, happy disposition, had won many friends; in fact, she was almost to the point of too much popularity. However, she had calmly kept her head, standing like a monument for right.
            But now what should she do? In a near-by city a radio broadcasting station was seeking singers. At first she only filled in, in the absence of a friend. Now she was offered a position at a substantial salary. It would mean that she could go to school easily—no more days spent under the boiling sun picking berries—no more wearing of old made-over clothes. And Anne loved clothes just as any girl loves them. Her hands wouldn’t be rough any more; they would be soft and white like Judith’s. Could she? Should she? Would she? It was only one hour, one afternoon hour, of singing on Sabbath.

            “Why, oh, why,” she wailed as she hid her face in a fluffy white pillow, “does the voice of conscience have to keep whispering that it is wrong?”

            What real difference did it make anyway? She had been too narrow-minded. This wouldn’t be like really working on the Sabbath. Her singing might even cheer some poor shut-in, and that would be missionary work. Yes, she would—just long enough to get through school!

            Judith danced a gleeful jig of her own making when she heard Anne’s decision. She loved her friend dearly and unselfishly, but not being a Christian, she little knew of the struggle going on in Anne’s heart.

            And so the winter weeks came and went, but Anne was always sad. “Why must I be so unhappy?” she asked herself many times.  “I have more than I have ever had before!” But still the ache was there.

            At last came a spring afternoon when Anne sat with her face hidden in her hands, large tears dropping through her fingers and blurring the words of an open letter on her lap.

            Before her, as a panorama, flashed a view of home. It was worship hour. She heard prayer, her father’s voice, then heard him say, “I have faith in you, dear.”

            Slowly she sank to her knees, for the first time in months. Contritely she begged God to forgive her, to give her new strength to do right.

            It was the spring Week of Prayer. The speaker of the evening had just made a call. Many hearts were responding, but among those sitting still was Judith, almost persuaded, but not quite. The speaker stood silently praying; the audience was tense, as it always is when decisions for eternity are being made.

            Then impulsively Anne stepped forward to the platform and began singing. Her sweet, flutelike soprano rang like a dainty, heartbreaking birdsong through the quite room.

“Somebody’s here with an aching heart,
No rest and no peace within;
Somebody’s here and the teardrops start
As God convicts of sin.

“Jesus will give you rest,
Jesus will give you rest,
Turn from your sin,
Call now on Him,
For Jesus will give you rest.

“Somebody’s here whom the Lord doth seek,
My brother, that somebody’s you;
Come as you are, make no delay,
And prove every promise true.”

            As the last note died away, Judith rose, and walked resolutely to the front, where stood the group asking for special prayer.

            When the two girls were alone in their room, Anne threw her arms about Judith, exclaiming, “Oh, I am so happy!”

            “So am I,” sobbed her roommate. “I thought if you could give up so much—“ and her voice again broke.

            Anne spoke lovingly, “But Judith, I didn’t give up anything; see—I have gained even you!”

--Maecel Tupper, Youth’s Instructor, November 3, 1931

30 October 2010

An Unprofitable Servant

            “Poor Old Parkes,” he was generally called when we were fellow-students together at St. Chad’s Hospital, and, by those who knew him best. “Poor old Tom.” He was such a funny, original sort of fellow—a queer mingling of the casual and the hard working. It was several times more than once hinted to him that he might be wiser in adopting some other than the medical profession: but he always shook his head over such a proposition. “No, no! It’s the finest profession in the world, and I’m going to stick to it.”
            He had some lofty notions about a doctor’s work and the moral influence a doctor ought to have over his patients, and I couldn’t help wondering what sort of influence poor old Tom would have over his patients, if he ever got any.
            I left him behind me at St. Chad’s when my hospital days were over, and for eight years I did not set foot in London.
            Shortly after my return I called upon the Dean of the Medical School, and asked him if he could give me any news of Parkes. He gave me the address of a street about half an hour’s walk from St. Chad’s, and thither I repaired on the following evening with a laudable determination to find Tom Parkes and cheer him up a bit. “For it must be precious dull living in these slums,” I thought, as I walked down a forlorn little street. The dwellers on Paradise Street evidently used the road as their dust bin and general rubbish heap. It bore no resemblance to any paradise. Each house exactly resembled its neighbor in grayness and dreariness, but over one door was a red lamp, and upon the door a small brass plate, bearing the words, “Tom Parkes, Surgeon.”
            The door was opened almost at once, and Tom himself stood before me. His face was older, and thinner, and whiter. His eyes grew bright when he caught sight of me.
            “Why, Marlowe,” he exclaimed, “I am jolly glad to see you! Do you mind coming in? My landlady is out today, and we’re in a bit of a muddle. I’m free just this minute, but I expect some patients will drop in presently and I may be sent for, too.”
            “Making your fortune, eh, Parkes?” I asked, as I followed him down a grimy passage into a small, dingy room.
            “Not much,” he answered. “You see, you can’t take fees much from people who—well, who are starving themselves.”
            I glanced sharply at him. His own face was terribly thin, and his eyes had a curious sunken look. I had not been with him more than a quarter of an hour when a knock came at the door. Tom answered it in person and returned, accompanied by an old lady. “That’s another doctor, Grannie,” he said, nodding towards me; “You don’t mind, do you?”
            The old lady, having signified that she had no objection to my presence, proceeded to give a lengthy account of her ailments. Parkes listened to it all with a patient interest. Having taken up a half hour of his time, she arose to go.
            “Oh, doctor dear,” she whispered, as he told her to send up in the morning for some fresh medicine, “and I ain’t got nothin’ to give you for your kindness. Will you let it go till next time? Jem, he’s heard of a job, and if he was to get it—“ a faint smile shone in Tom’s eyes. “All right, Grannie,” he said gently. “Times are hard, just now aren’t they?”
            The same thing happened over and over again that evening. Half-starved looking men and women shamefacedly asked to be let off any payment, and the same answer met them all, in a cheery voice, which did not seem to go with Tom’s thin, bent form.
            “Oh, that will be all right. We’ll settle up when times are better, won’t we?”
            When the last patient had gone he turned to me, his face flushing. “I say, Marlowe,” he said, “I’m awfully sorry I can’t offer you supper; but the truth is my landlady is out, and—and so I shan’t have my supper at home.” He tried to speak jocosely, but my own impression was that he did not expect to have any supper anywhere.
            “Look here, old fellow,” I said, “I’m going to have something somewhere. Come with me for auld lang syhn.”
            “I’d like to come,” he said, “I’ve got a lot of patients to see later—and I’d be glad of a snack of something first.”
            Before we parted I tried to persuade him to let me help him a little, putting it as nicely as I could, saying I knew that doctoring in a poor neighborhood was uphill work. But he shook his head. “It’s awfully good of you, but I don’t know when I could pay back, and I shouldn’t like a debt.”
            A summons to a distant part of England kept me out of town for three weeks, and when next I went to the house in Paradise Street, poor old Parkes did not open the door to me. A frowsy landlady confronted me. “The Doctor, Sir? ‘E’s awful bad. ‘E’s got up, though I persuaded him not to, with such a cough. But ‘e says, ‘I must see to my patients, an’ so ‘es sittin’ in his room as ought to be in bed. ‘E bin and starved ‘isself, and many’s the time I’ve brought ‘im in a bite of somethin’ we’ve bin ‘avin’, and ‘e always says so cheery, “now that’s kind of you, Mrs. Jones’, and never missed paying the rent, neither, though land knows ‘ow ‘e got it.”
            I pushed past her into the consulting room, and there sat Tom in the arm chair beside an apology for a fire, coughing, gasping for breath. A wonderful relief came into his face when he saw me.
            “I’m—I’m awfully glad to see you,” he whispered. “I’ve got—a touch of the flu—I think--such a lot about—such bad nights—so many sick—and dying—and dying----
            He rambled on while the landlady and I brought his bed into the room and I lifted him upon it.
            We did our best for him, but the Physician I brought only shook his head significantly and said, “Absolutely hopeless.”
            I sat with him that same night. Towards morning his restlessness ceased, and he turned clear eyes upon me and said;
            “I’ve made a poor thing of it—and I meant to do big things. I say—what’s that about—an unprofitable servant? I—meant to do—a lot. I’ve done nothing—nothing—an unprofitable servant.”
            “There’s something else in the Book,” I answered, “isn’t there about a good and faithful servant? That’s nearer the mark for you.”
            A smile crept over his face. “Unprofitable or—faithful? Which?” he murmered. They were the last words I heard from poor old Parkes’ lips.
            I was obliged to go out of town again for the three days after his death, but made all arrangements that the funeral should be a decent one, and I determined to be present, for I couldn’t bear to think of his going lonely to his last, long rest.
            There was a gleam of wintry sun upon London as I walked quickly through The Boro’ on the morning of Tom’s funeral, a bunch of white flowers in my hand. I didn’t like to think that no one would put a flower on his coffin, and I knew he had no relations.
            As I entered the thoroughfare out of which Paradise Street opens, I was surprised to find myself upon the outskirts of a dense crowd of people. The traffic was at a stand still; the few policemen present were powerless to do anything with the mass of human beings that stretched as far down the street as I could see and blocked every corner. In fact, the police had given up attempting to do anything but keep order, which was not difficult, for a more silent, well-behaved crowd I never saw. I looked in vain for its cause. No signs of a fire were visible.
            As I pressed my way into the crowd I noticed that many eyes were filled with tears and I heard remarks such as “He saved my little Willie,” “He came the night Mary died when no other doctor would step a foot into that awful storm.” And then I knew that this mass of humanity was giving its verdict on ‘Poor Old Parkes.’
            Yes, he had been a faithful and a profitable servant, but the verdict and the earthly reward had come too late.
                        --From the collection of Mrs. C. W. Dortch

28 October 2010

~~Honoring Old Quilts~~1

I love old quilts.
So much so that I can't bring myself to get rid of them
even when they are so old and tattered they are beyond household usefulness.

If you've ever made a quilt,
you might understand my dilemma.
It takes a lot of work to make a quilt.
It is also an artistic expression that comes from the very soul of it's maker.
Not to mention all the work and resources that went into
growing and processing the fibers of the original fabrics a quilt is made from...
then the labor that went into the making of the garments that were
the fabrics first use.
Then the collecting and selecting of the pieces
from garments no longer useful...
the designing and cutting and sewing of the bits
into a quilt top...which is then
layered into a sandwich with batting and bottom
and finally tied or quilted
into a newly functional thing of beauty.

Old quilts, and their makers, are deserving of honor.

At the same time, they do no good mouldering in a cardboard box
in my attic or basement or garage...
it's a quandry sentimentalists like me  wrestle with.

So I decided to make decisions.
Most of the quilts in my possession
would simply disintegrate in the machine were I to attempt to launder them,
and the outcome would be similar if I tried to wash them by hand.

I'm not going to bring them in and use them on the beds
because of their sad states of unpleasant odors,
possible infestations of moths or spiders,
and their lack of durablilty.

So what to do?

I pulled them all out on a late summer's afternoon
and decided to hang them on the line
and photograph them... then share them...
then assign them a new fate.
It is the best way I can think of to solve my dilemma.

I'd like to share these quilts~
and their stories as far as I know them~
here with you from time to time.

I'm told the above quilt was made by my paternal grandma Clara.
When my Momma married my Daddy,
they lived with Grandma, who was newly widowed, for a couple of years,
and Momma says that Grandma had made it
from her late husband's old worn out woolen suits.
It had been used as a top quilt for warmth for many years,
but by the time Momma joined the family it was worn enough that it
had been demoted to use as a cover for the box springs
on the bed that Grandma slept on.
(Waaay back then, box springs weren't the fancy fabric covered things we know,
they were actually just an open wire framework of springs and metal,
and they could snag and tear the best of mattresses if left uncovered.)

By the time I came along,
this old quilt had found its way to our home
and was still being used as a middle bed layer,
though it went to a box when my parents were able to upgrade
their sleeping system.

It has been boxed up ever since,
except for the occasional peek into the box and resulting
pulling it out and fingering.

I love the soft muted colors,
and the way they are placed in diagonal design.

The quilt is tied with purple-faded-lavender wool yarn
and I love the simple double hand stitching around the edges.

The batting is thick cotton,
and the backing is a cozy pink and grey striped cotton flannel
(you can barely see it peeking through the damaged area here.)

I love the scrappy and rugged look of this quilt.
It is so "country"...and the muted colors
are very reminiscent of the prairies and the open skies
that surround the farm where this quilt was made.

Although this quilt is no longer at home in the house,
we are using it to protect furniture and other breakables as we move.

I still love it, and it is still useful.
To be loved.....and useful.....is an honor.
I hope to be as fortunate when I'm this old and decrepit!

26 October 2010

Abundant Provision

About a month ago, The-Man and I were delighted to see
the tiny seedlings you see in the photo above.
You see, this spot is the exact same place
where we planted our salad garden in April of this year.
Due to our decision to move
we didn't spend a lot of time in the garden over the summer
nor did we plant anything else in this space.

The lettuces went to seed and then died away...

 and now, about four months later,
this is our most welcome volunteer
autumn salad garden!
The greens are mild and tender...tasty and crisp!
I wish I could share them with you.

The red wire fence around the plot will soon support
some 6 mil plastic to fend off the frost for a few more weeks
(we hope)
It will be interesting to see how long we can harvest
before the temperatures kill the plants.

Do you see the plant on the left
in the above photo,
in front of the grass wickiup?
That is a tomato that has come up volunteer
from heirloom seed as well.
It has blossoms on it but I do not expect it to produce.
It would be interesting to see how long it would live
if it were in a hoop house with a little wood heater, wouldn't it?

We were given a few plants of these heirloom golden cherry tomatoes by a friend
about 15 years ago, and they have been coming up volunteer ever since!
They have adapted to our soil and growing conditions
and are the sweetest tomatoes I've ever eaten.
We do have some seed saved--
we want to get them established in our new garden come spring.

Aren't seeds an amazing gift from God?
When you stop to ponder it a bit...
Just one seed from a tomato will grow a plant ...
which will produce hundreds of tomatoes...
which each have 25 to 50 seeds inside them...
which will grow that many plants...
and I would need a calculator to calculate the numbers beyond that...
and God provides seeds free of charge!
He placed Adam in the midst of the garden...
in the midst of abundance!

One of the reasons we are moving to the country
is to do more gardening...to grow more of our own food...
food from unmodified seeds...foods that will nourish and heal our bodies...
and though we may have a small initial expense in acquiring some seed,
we are learning to save our own
so we can grow our own and have extra to share.

Have you seen this video?

If not, and you eat food, whether you grow your own
or buy from someone who grows it for you,
I strongly encourage you to take the time to view it--
it's free to watch online.

When you're done, then take time to watch this one:
I think you'll be glad you did!
Growing some food in whatever small space you have available
is a good thing, in my humble opinion.
God can multiply those tiny seeds that "fall by the wayside"
when times get hard.
I have been young, and now am old;
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,
nor his seed begging bread.
Psalm 37: 25 KJV
I once was young and now I'm old,
but I have never seen the Lord abandon a righteous man
so that his children had to beg for food.
Psalm 37:25 The Clear Word Paraphrase

We have a work to do--not of our own strength--but in His.
We must choose to cooperate with Him.
Gardening is a perfect example of this.
We must till, plant, weed, harvest, preserve.
God provides the seeds, the sunshine and rain, the miracle of life
harnessed inside those tiny portable packages called seeds...
he provides the fruits for us to harvest and eat,
which gives us the strength to continue our labors
and to preserve the excess bounty for the leaner times...
and the seeds to save for the next years cycle.
We work together, in the yoke with Him.

And sometimes, because he is merciful,
He grants us abundant, undeserved blessings--
in the form of volunteer harvests!
Isn't God good?

God loves us...He sustains us...and He Provides!

How have you experienced His Provision recently?
I'd love to know.

Have a wonderful day!

24 October 2010

A Washing--A Spanking--A Victory

            It was New Year’s Day. A winter’s sun sparkled on a snow-blanketed world, beautiful and calm as though a heavenly benediction were resting upon it. Things were different inside the Bryant household, however. Regardless of New Year’s Day, Mrs. Bryant found it necessary to do her regular weekly washing. It seemed there was no end to the work she had to do, and what was more unbearable, in her breast throbbed an aching heart. Bitter thoughts beat against her brain as she worked alone in the basement of their apartment home in a large city of the Middle West. She was a failure, she told herself, a failure in her husband’s life, in her home, everywhere.
            Here she was nothing but housekeeper, with every talent she possessed buried beneath a mountain of washing, ironing, mending, cleaning, and cooking. Her frail body was unequal to the never-ending labor of the house. A tear trickled down her cheek and splashed into the tub of rinsing water. To cry seemed her only means of self-expression.
            She had tried to be a good wife and mother; she had prayed earnestly for wisdom to train her children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord,” and yet this very morning her eldest son, now a lad of twelve years, had arrived in a surly, disobedient mood. She had given him his regular work to do. He was to help his sister tidy up the house. Instead of helping his sister, he had done everything to hinder her. Cheerfully the little daughter did her part of the work, and then left the house to play in the snow.
            Several hours later, when Mrs. Bryant came upstairs, her eyes swollen and red from the hot tears she had shed, her tired body aching in every limb, and her soul crushed within her, she found that her boy, who could have been a help and comfort to his mother, had sullenly and deliberately disobeyed her. His work was untouched.
            “Leonard,” she said, “I will give you just one hour in which to finish your work, and if it is not done within that time, you will get the hardest spanking you have ever had.” Without saying more she returned to the work in the basement. She expected to be through with the washing in less than an hour.
            With his mother out of sight, Leonard continued to slight the work that was waiting for him. The kitchen clock ticked away ten minutes—twenty minutes—and before the boy realized it, half of his hour of grace had flown by.
            Suddenly, as if the demon of naughtiness had been cast out of him, Leonard became strangely sweet, in contrast to his previously sullen and morose temper. He flew at his work with frantic haste. He well knew that his mother would keep her promise; for he had several painful memories of past spankings. It was a gallant race he staged with the kitchen clock, but the odds were too great. The hour had dwindled to only five minutes when he heard his mother’s steps coming up the basement stairs. His heart stood still, but he never slackened his efforts to do all he possibly could in the time that was left.
            When Mrs. Bryant came into the kitchen, she found a boy different from the one she had limited to only an hour to complete his allotted tasks. Instead of being sullen, he was sweet; no longer defiant and stubborn, he was humble and willing. His understanding mother recognized the change immediately; nevertheless, she had promised him a hard whipping if the work was not done within the limited time, and the hour had passed. There was but one thing to do.
            “Leonard,” Mrs. Bryant said in a kindly tone (Leonard thought he heard it tremble a little), “do you wish to take your punishment now or wait until you have finished your work? You may have your choice.”
            Leonard shot an anxious glance at the kitchen clock as it stood ticking away the minutes on the gas range. He was defeated. He might have been furious and argued the question with his mother; but instead he only looked down contritely without answering.
            “All right, then, I would rather you take it now. Come with me into the bedroom.” Leonard stepped forward like the little man he was away down deep in his heart.
            The door closed behind them, and Mrs. Bryant sank wearily onto the bed. It would take all the strength and grace she had left if she performed what she conceived to be her duty.
            Quietly she began to reason with her son, as he stood before her, his sober downcast eyes mirroring deep repentance.
            “My boy, I’d much rather you would take a strap and give me the punishment. It would be much easier for me. But I must do it for your own sake. If you go on cherishing that disobedient, rebellious spirit, it will lead you on and on, perhaps into crime and the penitentiary, or even the electric chair. It is hard to whip you today, but it would be worse to see you grow up to be a wicked man.”
            Taking the Bible from a near-by stand, she turned its pages and read certain texts from Proverbs which admonish parents to punish their sons and spare not for their crying. The words of Holy Writ seemed to have a profound effect on the contrite little lad.
            “Don’t you think you deserve to be punished, and punished hard, for being as naughty as you were?” Mrs. Bryant continued. To her profound amazement, Leonard bravely answered that he deserved a severe whipping. He had never before admitted deserving punishment. His sweet and submissive attitude was making it harder every moment. How easy it would have been for her to drop the matter there. Leonard had changed and was showing in every way his sincere repentance. Nevertheless, her efforts to teach him the enormity of sin and the danger of disobedience would be lost if she stopped short of giving him all she had promised.
            “But, Leonard, I do not have the strength to whip you,” Mrs. Bryant said. “We must pray that Jesus will strengthen me to keep my promise to you and to give you what you deserve.”
            Together they knelt beside the bed and prayed. Tears unbidden rushed down Mrs. Bryant’s face as she devoutly prayed for strength to do her mother’s duty. And, unlike a boy’s nature as it seems, Leonard actually prayed, “Dear Jesus,”—a big tear ran down his nose,--“forgive me for being so naughty to mother. I ought to be whipped. Give mother the strength to do it hard. Amen.” They arose.
            “Son, I hope this is the last whipping I shall ever have to give you. Take off your belt.”
            He obeyed promptly and handed it to his mother. She took it and fully kept her promise. The stinging blows fell with peculiar force across his shoulders. Like a soldier he took his just deserts; only once did he act as though he would resent it, but a warning checked even that. It was a very hard whipping, indeed.
            In a few seconds it was all over. Weeping and penitent, Leonard threw his arms about his mother’s neck.
            “O mama, I love you. I’m sorry that I was naughty. Forgive me, I’ll try hard to be a better boy.”
            He did try, and his efforts were not without success.
            As the evening sun sank to rest below the western horizon, flinging back its crimson banners through the frosty sky, a peace settled over the heart of Mrs. Bryant, tired but faithful mother. The pain was gone; a ray of light from the great white throne shone in her soul to encourage her. The day’s experience, hard and bitter as it was, had shown her that she was not a failure, that the Father of light was guiding her on through trials and heartaches to success and happiness.
            “It started out to be the hardest day I have yet had, and ended the best,” she told her husband that night. And it was even so.
            --James A. Ward, Youth’s Instructor, Feb. 2, 1938

23 October 2010

A Slip from an Old Yellow Rose

Image courtesy of VintageHolidayCrafts.com

            Yes’m, it is a mighty pretty rose. We like it just the same as you do. You’d be surprised how many folks passing by will stop to look at it, and some of them come to the door to ask what kind of a rose it is. No’m. We don’t know its name. Nobody ever was able to tell us. So we just call it “the yellow rose.” Yes’m, it’s got the sweetest smell of any rose ever you smelled.
            No’m, the yellow rose was here when we came, and that’s years ago, and you could see that it was an old, old rose even then. The people we bought from, they didn’t build the house but they told us that the rose had always been there. They hadn’t planted it. She said, the woman did, that the yellow rose was one of the main reasons they hated to sell. Yes’m, that’s right; you sort of get attached to a real nice rose like the yellow one. She said, the woman did, that when they got settled again she’d write for a slip, but she never wrote. We naturally suppose that something just happened to her.
            That yellow rose has been there a long while, and the way we know is that one day, soon after we moved here, a young woman came to the door—it was in full bloom, just loaded—and asked if she might pick a few to take with her. She said, the young woman did, that she wanted a bouquet of the yellow roses for when she got married the next day. Yes’m. It turned out that she used to live here when she was a small girl. So she came back for the roses, when she was going to get married. So that makes three families, you see, that’s lived here since the rose was planted. At least three—us, and the folks we bought from, and her, and her folks.
            But my neighbor, and she’s getting old, tells us that she thinks the yellow rose was planted when the house was newly built. She can’t be sure, because nowadays people change flowers often, but she seems to recollect that when she came, and they’d just moved out, the rose was in bloom.
            One time he said to me—that’s my husband—he said, “Let’s dig up that old yellow rose this spring and plant a new red one.”
            I almost dropped a dish. I looked at him. “Why?” I said, very surprised.
            “Red roses are nicer,” he told me. “They got more color.”
            That’s like a man. Yes’m. They’re mostly like that. So I said to him, “The chickens and garden are yours,” I said, “but the flowers around this place are mine.” We never have words. But he knew that I meant it. “Don’t you dare touch that yellow rose,” I told him. No’m, he never has mentioned it again.
            But now, was you to say to him that one time he wanted to dig up the yellow rose, and put in a red one, like as not he would say that he never said any such thing. Yes’m, that’s exactly the way it is with them. But to be perfectly fair, I’ve got to admit that he likes it a lot now. I’ve heard him out in the yard, bragging to strangers, the way it was so many folks praised the yellow rose that pretty soon he got to thinking a good deal of it. Was I to say to him now that one time he wanted to dig up the yellow rose, chances are that he’d say it was me that had wanted to—and he’d believe it. Yes’m, it’s best to keep still, like I do.
            Yes’m, we often give slips, although now is not the best time. Just wait until I get the snippers. If you keep it real wet, and in sand, it’s sure to make roots. I always say it’s a blessing that roses root easy. There. If none of these root, maybe you can come back for some more. It’s a pleasure. Oh, no’m. We wouldn’t think of taking anything for a slip from the old yellow rose. Ain’t folks neighbors, no matter where they live? It does us good to think that somewhere else there’s a yellow rose just like this one, and grown from one of its slips.
            I remember one time, years ago it was, before we came here, the two of us stopped at a house at the edge of town. You see there was a fine climber over their porch, and when the woman came to the door he told her how much we liked her roses. “Yes?” she says and “Well?” so he up and asked her for a slip from it, and she studied him for a minute and then went and got her nippers, and cut off just one tiny twig! Out of all that great rose bush, all over her porch, just one tiny twig, mind you! Neither of us needed a lesson, but if we had of, that would have been it. What are roses for, if they aren’t for sharing?
              ---Author Unknown

22 October 2010

Done Gone Cavin'

Last weekend we attended a Family Campmeeting
and enjoyed a much needed re-charge of our spiritual "batteries."
There was an early morning spelunking expedition scheduled
for the last day of the event,
and the Treasure wanted so badly to go...
I didn't share her enthusiasm yet couldn't bear to see it squelched
so I rather reluctantly signed up.
The-Man flat out refused...
turns out that was a wise decision on his part.
He would have been miserable.

I'm not terribly claustrophobic...but I could be if I thought about it much.
So I prayed a lot and claimed the promise,
"Lo, I am with you always,
even unto the ends of the earth!"

It was still dark out as our group gathered at the entrance to the cave
to await our guide's arrival.
There were four adults and twelve kids...I was the only mom...
so I grabbed my girl and the only other female (early-teen) as my buddies
and we climbed right in close behind the guide.
I was really grateful for the extra-bright LED flashlight
the-Man sent with me, and for the extra two I took along
as some other folks batteries died and I was able to share.
Always take three sources of light, the-Man says.

It wasn't as bad as I was afraid it might be.
Most of the way to our destination was fairly tight passageways
and we had to do a lot of manuevering--sometimes sideways-- 
of our bodies and crawling on hands and knees
to get to the larger dome rooms where we could stand,
but at least I didn't have to do the belly crawl
or swim underwater anywhere!

Our destination on this trip was a rather large dome area
with a 30 foot waterfall at the end of it--
it really was kinda neat!
Our guide did a devotional with us in the dark room...
gives you a new perspective when you think about
how black the universe was before God created light.
The darkness was...heavy.

The trip out seemed to take longer than the one going in...
I was getting pretty anxious to see some light and breathe fresh air.
The rays from the rising sun were blinding--but very welcome--
 when we came back to the entrance
and I did a few spontaneous deep-breathing exercises
in complete gratitude!

So here are my thoughts about my first spelunking expedition.
Please excuse my analogy if it offends you...
(it draws strongly upon my past as a medical professional) 
but it's the best description I can come up with at present.

I felt like I was a human flexi-scope
crawling through the bowels of the earth.
Kinda like a colonoscopy.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be,
but still not something I look forward to doing again with any relish.
I'd much rather watch someone elses "adventure" on film...
like the doctor watches the procedure he is performing on a TV screen.
It was interesting, but I don't have to be there in person
to appreciate it.

Are you with me?!

I'm normally found in skirts or dresses,
but we've packed and moved our winter clothes and can't find them...
so I was grateful to find this lone pair of jeans...
definately the most modest attire I could wear for this adventure!

It wasn't the dirt or getting muddy and wet that I minded.
It was the lack of sunshine and the stale air,
laced with definate traces of vapors
escaped from boys-who-ate-beans-for-supper...
yeah, the oppressiveness of the dank and heavy dark.
Upon pondering my experience,
I must admit I have more empathy with Jonah.
Thinking about it makes me giggle, but bless his heart!
Can you imagine spending 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a whale?
Sloshing around, maybe even treading water with only an air bubble to breathe...
never knowing when the big fish would make a dive at a moments notice...
no hyperbaric chamber to decompress in...
vapors from dead stinky fish and gastric juices...
It's no wonder he trotted right off to Ninevah to obey the Lord's commands
when he was unceremoniously deposited upon dry ground again!
That's some creative discipline on God's part!
My caving experience was a walk in the park compared to Jonah's adventure.

I'm glad I went, happy to have had the experience.
But I'm even happier to be back.

I will contentedly live the rest of my life above ground--
though I think the Treasure might have other plans for my future.

20 October 2010

Water Quenches Fire

Note the white blistered area...and disregard the blackened areas!
(They are just grime that has attached to the remaining bandaid adhesive
that I hadn't cleaned off yet!)

A couple days ago the Treasure was running around
barefoot outside as she usually does
when she spied a cast iron pan lying on the ground beside the compost pile...
and being a kinesthetic-learning-style-kid
(or, more likely, just being a typical kid who acts before thinking)
she put her foot on it "just because."

What she didn't know or anticipate
was that the-Man had recently had it in the fire to season it
and had just removed it to let it cool
and then gone on about his other business.

I was working indoors when she came in
and very nonchalantly said,
"Momma, I stepped on something hot and burned my foot."
There were no tears, no drama.
(Maybe that should have been my first clue!)
I asked what happened and got a rather vague response...
so I told her to go wash her foot and soak it in some cold water for a while.

She washed her foot in the tub and
a few minutes later I heard her go back outside...
I thought very little of it...
but then about three minutes after that she came back inside crying
and telling me how much her foot hurt.
I took a good look at it, 
saw that it was a second degree burn with blisters still intact,
 and told her to go put it back in the cold water,
which she did with much crying and drama.

While she was soaking it in the tub of cold water
(which was very dirty from the previous foot washing)
I ran a 5 gallon bucket of cold water
and put it beside her chair at the kitchen table
and quickly found a crafty activity for her to do...
I had her come in to the kitchen and sit with her foot in the bucket
for an hour...with much wailing and gnashing of teeth on her part...
but with my promise that at the end of the hour she would feel much better.

About 20-30 minutes into the hour,
the tears dried up and she was enjoying her crafting
(it helped that a friend came to visit in the meantime!)
and by the time the hour was up
she was pain-free and ready to go outside again and play.

I put some burn cream on the blisters just for good measure
and covered it with a heavy-duty and very large and sticky bandaid,
promised her "consequences" if she didn't
wear some sort of shoes for the rest of the day
and sent her off to play.
No complaints.

Next day she was running around everywhere barefoot
(big, sticky bandaid still in place)
and still no complaints.....


I share this because, once again, I am awed
at the healing power of simple pure water!

Soaking a second-degree burn in cold water for 1-2 hours,
(do NOT use ice!)
until the aching, burning pain has completely gone away,
is the most effective remedy, natural or otherwise, I've found.
I've had an occasional accidental burn myself,
and I consistently have success with the cold water treatment,
whereas the ones I've chosen a different treatment method
remain painful for quite some time.


Now, I believe preventing burns is quite prudent...
and some may criticize my "mothering abilities"
because I allow my child to run around outside our home with bare feet...
but I'm comfortable with my choices.
If we try to prevent every bad thing from happening
I believe we can create very neurotic children who are afraid of everything...
and where's the fun in living that way?

I was a country kid who detested wearing shoes
and kicked them off at every opportunity...
but I soon learned that I needed them in certain places
to prevent pokes from stickers and such...
and I'm whole-heartedly grateful that my parents
let me spend so much time with my bare feet firmly connected to the bare earth...
it is an amazing, wonderful part of childhood,
and truly, I pity children whose feet fester in hot sweaty shoes year-round,
who never know what a stubbed toe is, or a splinter...
yet they never get to experience the texture of sand between their toes,
or the tickle of grass on their soles,
or the exhiliration of simply squishing in a huge mud hole...

I believe much is to be learned through the senses of our feet...
and one very important lesson my daughter has learned
is a very effective way to treat second-degree burns
to herself or others when she encounters this kind of situation again.


As an after~thought I'd like to recommend
three resources for further education and enjoyment:

by John W. Keim $11.95+sh

Burn Aid by John W. Keim
(Written for the Amish by the Amish)
I purchased this book for $4.95 at an Amish seed store...
You can get more information on acquiring this book from:

The School of Self-Applied Prevention
PO Box 269
Middleburg, OH 43319

The New Concept in Treating Burns
$2.00 from
 Plain Interests Research
420 Weaver Road
Millersburg, PA 17061
(I purchased this from an Amish community as well...)

Happy Reading!