|A darling little boy, Tom, and his toy train. . .just dreaming. What a train!. . .|
and look at the old reel to reel recorder
in the window seat with an old metal tape holder atop the lid.
A Gaither song has this message I love. . .
"We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand.
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come. . .
But we have this moment today."
I was just thinking about how much I've enjoyed my life.
How full of love it's been!
From the day Mother found out she was expecting me, her first child. . .
she and Daddy were excited.
Dad went out and bought Mother a beautiful ruby necklace
in honor of the child they were giving one another.
They didn't know if I was a boy or a girl. . .they didn't even care. . .
they wanted me whatever I was.
I was a baby who was very special because I came from
the union of two wonderful young people in love.
Daddy was ten years older than Mom, so he bought a home for her to come to before they married.
They got to live there for a little over a year before I made my entrance.
The house was small, just two bedrooms with a large living room, one bathroom and a small kitchen. . .
but it was big enough to hold our family and lots of love.
It was big enough to have room for friends over to visit and family dinners.
Mom and Dad enjoyed me so much. . .or maybe it was each other so much. . .they added
two more babies to the family. This was while living in their first home in Bellmont, Il.
Denny, first born boy, was such an adorable little guy. He loved his mother.
At night Denny would cry, Mom would put him in the bed beside her.
Denny liked that and would
snuggle up to Mom and go to sleep. . .
but ever-so-often he'd reach out with his little hand to see if he could touch Dad.
If he could, he'd start crying.
Poor Daddy would have to move further away from Mom so Denny would settle back down.
When Janet came along she was a doll and a good baby too.
She loved her little bouncer/chair/walker. She was a content baby.
We older kids were both crazy over her. I was five and Denny was three.
We were always wanting to hold her. . .and we loved to hear her talk and sing. . .
and still do.
This is what Mom and Dad's first house looks like now.
They only lived in two houses in their 50 years of married life.
The front yard used to have two trees on each side of the walk up to the porch.
I loved climbing those trees. They were great places to take a book way up high onto
a good comfortable branch, then lean back on it and read to your heart's content.
It was neat to hear the wind in the leaves and to be in kind of a hiding spot at the same time.
Those steps up to the house was where I'd sit when I was in trouble. My prison cell.
Mom would tell me I'd have to confess to Daddy
what I'd done that was disobedient when he came home.
That was awful for me. . .I couldn't enjoy the rest of the day. . .I'd just sit there
and watch for Daddy to come home so I could tell him and get my punishment, usually a spanking.
But that wasn't the bad part, the worst part was letting Dad down. . .and Mom.
I wanted them to be happy with me, not sad.
Let me tell you, they had my number. . .it produced a conviction in my heart to do right.
Here's Denny with those beautiful eyes. . .I think Jesse looks kind of like him.
Mom (with her beautiful eyes) holding a new born Janet and big sister, Karen.
I loved that outfit I had on, it was black and red. . .
Mom and Dad took me all the way to St. Louis to get that
school dress and a few others.
It was actually a skirt and blouse. I got to wear a big, full "can-can"with it.
I just loved making my skirt spread out to cover as much of the couch or chair as possible.
In the little Christian church we sometimes attended, Mom said I would spread my skirt
and then be upset if too many people sat on our row and it had to be tucked in.
Oh the vanity of even a young girl!
As a teenager, Mother had drifted away from her home church and later married Dad.
She was a good young lady. . .a great mother. . .a very moral person. . .
but the Lord had started dealing with her heart to get back to her roots.
Daddy was crazy over Mom, but he didn't really understand the issue of going to church.
He liked his wife and family just like they were.
Dad's folks didn't go to church, so he and his sister, Mary Jane, went alone as often as they could.
Dad just didn't really find the Lord there.
Mother was a different story. She had a strong relationship with the Lord as a young girl.
She knew that although she was happy in her nice little home with her
handsome, young husband and her three little bundles of joy. . .
life wasn't complete without Jesus being a living part of everyday.
The Lord spoke to her heart through dreams. He kept giving that little five year old girl the same dream over and over .
I'd wake up crying because I'd dreamed Mom
died but she didn't go to heaven.
I was broken-hearted. We did go to Sunday School
at that little church in town. . .and it was full of wonderful people. . .but?
I didn't want Mom to die and I surely didn't want her not to go to heaven if she did.
Mom would say to me (to try to get me to stop crying),
"Karen, don't you think Mommy's a good woman. . .why don't you think I'd go to heaven?"
I'd just cry and say, "I think you're good but you didn't go to heaven."
It was the Lord talking to Mom about getting back into a life that wasn't just lived for her
own pleasure, but for the Lord's pleasure.
It was a very big decision for Mom to make because my dad was happy just like he was.
Life was good. . .Dad had a good job. . .the war was over. . .Dad married the woman he loved. . .
they lived in the small town where everyone knew and loved Dad and his folks. . .
he had a good car. . .why think about changing things. . .why get religion?
But God started dealing with Dad's heart as Mother began to take the three of us kids to church faithfully. Even though Daddy didn't come with us,
she just kept on going to the services and re-dedicating herself to the Lord.
Then, one day Daddy came to a program at the church to hear me say a poem.
My Sunday School teacher gave me the part and told me, "Karen, I want you
tell your daddy that you're not going to say that poem unless he comes to hear you."
So. . .I wanted that part. . .and I wanted to obey. . .and I really did want Daddy to be there,
so I did just what she told me. . . and Daddy came. . .and we found out he'd been
coming for quite some time listening just outside the church to the music and preaching
through the open windows. My Sunday School teacher, Sis. Lois had seen him
through the windows sitting there every Sunday listening.
She felt sure she was giving me the instructions that would work.
After that one program, Daddy never quit coming to church.
He loved it. He loved the people. He loved the Lord. He wanted more than
a sweet little family in a nice little house with the woman he loved. . .
He wanted and needed a Savior!
He wanted the LORD to show him how to raise up his family. . .
How to be a strong mighty soldier of the cross.
Dad had never raised his hands and arms up in surrender to the Lord. . .
or in praise. . .but he began to find that is was a most important exercise. . .
and it brought joy to the whole family.
Dad put his whole heart into serving the Lord.
He used to coach baseball teams but he traded that for working with the kids in church.
He and Mom cleaned the church, helped with building projects and fish fry for meetings. . .
If something was going on at the church, my folks were involved.
There was no job to low or high for them to help with.
He soon was put over the Sunday School programs.
Our new little home was filled with songs of Jesus. . .we heard
Elvis singing, "I Can Feel His Hand in Mine And That's Enough For Me". . .
and Tennessee Ernie Ford singing, "There Will Be Peace in The Valley For Me".
This wasn't what I intended to write about at all tonight,
but maybe there's a reason I did.
I just meant to say I am so thankful for the warm love I felt in my parent's home
It was there all year through, even before Jesus started "living with us",
but after He came. . .our love grew and bound us together with
a bond the enemy couldn't break. . .and he tried.
Mom and Dad invested the "rest of their lives" serving the Lord.
They were such special people.
Shortly after Dad started living 24/7 for the Lord, we moved off from our little
town to what we considered the big city, Mt. Carmel.
We got a bigger home with one bathroom and three bedrooms.
Mom and Dad later added two more bundles of joy to our
new home. . .Jonathon and Douglas.
Their friends teased them, but most of their friends wished they were still as in love as our folks.
These boys were just what we needed to round out our family.
They kept my folks young and as the folks got older, the boys were an extra blessing to them.
Well, some other night I'll tell you about our Christmases. . .
About Daddy making Carmel corn and rice crispy treats.
About Mom baking
cookies and making divinity and fudge.
About how we'd have (home-made) taffy pulls at Granny Bare's house. . .
but not tonight.
"Lord, I thank you for caring enough to speak to our parent's hearts about the main
thing in life. . .your great love.
Thank your for allowing them to accept your invitation to give up the good things
in life for the best things in life.
Thank you that even when their faith would grow weak, You were there
to carry them, to hold onto them until they could stand strong again.
Lord, I thank you that my parent's never gave up on each other . . .but kept their love warm.
That is such an awesome gift. . .the gift of unity in parents.
Thank you that we kids never had to feel the coldness of a home without love. . .
we were always surrounded in warmth.
Thank you Lord for allowing each of the five of we kids to have the blessing
of good spouses who love You and want You to direct their paths.
Help us to remember the pattern our parents gave us
on how we should respond to each other in love.
Please help our children to ". . .sell all they have and buy the field with the pearl
of great price. . ."
Help our children and our grand kids
to be able to stand with courage in a world full
of darkness and say,
"Jesus is Lord."