Innocent Childhood Fun

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Innocent Childhood Fun
Run, Run, Run
Ghosts N Goblins N Giddy Girls
Happy Halloween in all our worlds.
Let’s be braver every year
And PLEASE
Enjoy life’s treats more than our fear.

God-Our Healer

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Our Healer? Have you looked around the world lately? Read a church bulletin? Checked Facebook pages? Talked to your family and friends? If God is our healer then why are so many of us so sick? We could fill this entire page with names of people, we love, whose bodies are failing them. But is their Healer failing them? “Where are You, God our Healer? Do You see our suffering?” Those are the questions that creep into my heart and search for a dark corner to plant despair and hopelessness. And in the dark, I wonder, “Is faith made null if the rash on my arm does not heal, my friend does not walk, or our fervent prayer for healing appears to accomplish nothing? “ Can we be made well, I mean really be rejoicingly WELL, all the while our bodies are in serious decline?
The mystery of God’s grace is deep and rich and in my life has become rock solid evidence only when things were very dark around me. I did not see God’s faithfulness when all was flowing smoothly because I was highly distracted by all the gaiety, color, and joyful, bubbling energy. But when sorrow settled in my heart and I had no solutions and there were no distractions to entertain me, at this dark time a peace deeper than myself became apparent. God’s care is not skin deep. God’s healing goes to the very core of my being. God wants me to know his wellness will go way beyond skin, muscles, mind, and bones. God desires for each or us to be well in our souls. God wants us to firmly hold the title to what we hope for -in the deepest parts of our hearts; God wants us to know the evidence of that which our eye cannot see. Our eyes might see a broken body but through faith we see the evidence of a wellness deeper than the human body. A wellness of the soul graciously connected to the Creator. A healed soul is willing to play its part in the kingdom of God vivaciously. It makes little difference whether its role here is long or short; the healed soul wants to glorify the God who Heals our Brokenness.

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the title to the things you hope for and the evidence of things not seen.
Heavenly Father, The One who Heals our Brokenness,
Help us to rest in your goodness.
Help us to reflect your brilliance brightly,
So that darkness is dissipated
And joy, hope, peace and love increase.
Whether we live minutes or many decades help us to do it courageously in You.
We ask this in your name of FatherSonHolyOne

Memories of Move Number Six

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The year I started high school my family of eight moved from a four bedroom modern apartment to a three story house. The house was built in 1905. Originally it had five bed rooms, two kitchens, a formal room, two living rooms, a dining room and a laundry-utility room, two W.C.s and a shower room. It was a home for two families. One family had the first floor and half of the second and the other family came in the front door went up the stairs to their kitchen, living room and their bedroom was on the third floor. The house had never been updated and was in need much heavy work.

Hitler had wanted to flatten these three story row houses during World War II but his tanks could not get through the deep canal right behind the houses and the homes were spared. Jews were hidden in different parts of these houses during the war. We found stacks of newspapers and magazines from the war time in one of third floor bedrooms.

My father has always been a handy man and planned to do much of the work himself. The crossbeams in the front room down stairs had rotted out and needed to be replaced. The kitchen fireplace and brick chimney had to go. And in the entry hallway there was an oscillating lamp fueled by natural gas. Having a flame burning in the hallway for light just seemed scary to me at age twelve. The lamp stayed as an antique decoration but the gas line was removed. The shower room on the third floor was turned into my bedroom. The sink was left in my tiny room, which made this a highly desirable bedroom, because I did not have go down to the second floor to brush my teeth and wash my face. The closet next to my room became the new shower.

The first few month while the biggest project were being completed we lived elsewhere but after they were done we moved in. At that time my mother began the painting and wall papering in earnest. It took years to strip the sixty five years of paint off of the steep staircases, trim, and doors. And then they all had to be painted. My mother stripped wallpaper and re papered most of the rooms in the house and the ceilings were 10 feet high. I have no idea how she did this work and cooked three meals a day.

Of course the project have never ceased, but when my father turned eighty, he said he had painted the outside of the third floor for the last time. My parents in their remodel stay as true to the original design as possible. Many neighbors opened everything up into big modern spaces. But just this year new neighbors have ask my parents if they can come in to look at the original designs because they want to reconstruct their modern three story house back into the original look. What goes around comes around.

Returning to our place of arrival 50 years ago in Holland.

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Sharie Patty

Give and Take

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I have been married
Thirty Four years,
One month,
Three weeks,
Six days and
Thirteen hours that amounts to a lot, a lotta LOT of Give and Take.

Stacy and Sharie -Male and Female – Introvert and Extrovert-Boyfriend and Girlfriend – Husband and Wife – Me and You – American and European – English and Dutch – Generous and Stingy or Wasteful and Frugal. Opportunities for conflict are always with us.

It all started out so very, very sweet… I had a car accident and my little yellow GLC Mazda was on life support in the auto mechanic’s garage and would be there for quite some time.
“Hey, Stacy, can you give me a ride home from church?” I ask on a Wednesday night.
“Sure,” he said, “What’s up?”
I grimaced and said, “I ran a stop sign Monday and cause a terrible accident. Almost totaled two cars.”
“OHHHhh. Are you ok?” he said as he looked me over.
“Yep, but my car’ll be in the shop a long time.” I said
“just keep mine ’till you get yours back and I will walk to work?” He said as we headed towards the door.
“Really?”
“Work’s not far from my place”
“I’ll only need it on my carpool days” I said as we drove done Cherry Lane. ” Are you sure? Sure sure?’
He nodded his head and said, Ummmm Huuh.”
I said, “Thanks,” while thinking, “I don’t know any Texans who considered walking as a normal method of transportation. He’s pretty cool, helpful and trusting.”
Sharing of Stacy’s car proved monumental in bringing us together. Rides to the store, church, quickly morphed into dates. and it did not take longbefore we were looking at a calendar trying to pick a date on which both our family could come to Memphis. Tennessee.

Now honestly, we did not know ourselves that well in our early twenties and we sure did not know the nitty gritty about each other after being friends for a short year. But we thought we were so in tune with each other that all the pre-marital counseling seemed sweet but silly. We both believed that we agreed on all the important things and everything would just fall in place.

During our fist premarital session the minister said, “Okay, Let’s talk about conflict.”
I thought, “Conflict? We’re mature, wise and love each other. We do not really need this.”
The preacher continued, “How will you come to a decision when you do not agree on something?”
I spoke up quickly, forcefully and said it as clearly as I felt it, “Conflict will not be a problem for us!” I glance in Stacy’s direction and continued,
“We’d both rather be together than do our own thing. We will both just cooperate with each other, give in, adapt,” I said. And before Stacy could say one word I continued with,
“There is nothing that would cause us to draw a line in the sand, hunker down, and attack each other. NOTHING! Never.”
With my passionate exclamations, and without a word from Stacy, I laid down the law for us both and with my spoken law conflict crept into our relationship. For no introvert wants an extrovert to tell him how he is going to live? No human being want their spouse to be “their boss.”
So pettiness popped in pretty quick because sometimes we are just petty.
Forward a few months into marital bliss….…
Stacy comes in mad and says,
“What is wrong with you?”
I say, “I don’t know what, do you mean?”
“That hairpin!” as he nods over to the middle the room, “Why are you leaving it on the floor?”
“I’m not LEAVING IT ON THE FLOOR! I say defensively, “I didn’t even know it was there!”
“I have been watching it lay there for five days. You refuse to pick it up!”
“UHHH? Five days! Are you crazy? I say, “Why didn’t you just pick it up!? How can you let a stupid hairpin irritate you for five days!? FIVE days! That is soooo dumb, Sooo soo stupid!”
“Why didn’t YOU picking it up?” I ask.
“It’s not mine.” he responds.
“ well I’ve never seen it before”,as I walk over and grab it. “There! Happy? Big deal! Why don’t YOU put toilet paper on when we’re out?!” I said as I march off to another room.

I did not understand back then that the hairpin was never the aggravation. “I” was the irritation. “HE” was the agitation. It never was the hairpin, the toilet paper, or the toothpaste cap. Learning to become a “We” is hard work. It irritates us; it rubs us raw. Some form of, “Why isn’t this person cooperation with me?’ goes through our minds. We miss understand; we are miss understood. Blending lives demands much give and take.

But if we stayed in the game long enough we can often discover some of our own flaws and inconsistencies and learn some healthy humility. We might learn to love own imperfections so profoundly that we can cut our spouse some slack and become a good partner not only to our mate but to ourselves.

The innocence (read “ignorance” here) of being young, in love, and thinking life will have a simple happy fairy tale ending can only really be improved by the reality of imperfect people learning to enjoy each other company on a good journey filled with everything life has to offer. May we all Choose our companions carefully and then enjoy life with all its imperfections.
Be well; there is grace available for us all.
SK loves SP

Happy Pizza Night!

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Ding, Ding, Ding -Dinner time
In a family with six kids you could wonder if there‘d be enough food for everyone at dinner time, but especially on pizza night. Pizza night started early in the day with Mom making a huge vat of yeast bread dough. This was not something that came out of a Chef Boyardee pizza box.
No, on pizza day, my Mom got out the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, milk and she whipped up a whole bunch of batter. This yeast dough would to rise to get punched down, and rise again only to be punched down again. While the yeast was doing its thing throughout the batter Mom would start creating the tomato sauce. There was no recipe for this sauce either. She took tomatoes and brought them to a slow steady simmer on the stove and just added a sprinkle of this, a taste of that, spoonful of sugar and a dribble of vinegar and before long, it was always perfect pizza sauce-not too thick and not too this-just perfect pizza sauce. Soon it was time for the toppings to be gathered. The onions and peppers were chopped; hamburger meat browned, mushrooms sliced, cheese grated. The wolves were gathering in the dining room ready to pounce on pizza pie.
The kitchen was pretty much off limits for hungry wolves on pizza night. The assembling of the actual pizza pies was never witnessed by my eyes. We owned one official round pizza pan and an oven rack that was a baking sheet that slide into the groves of the oven. But there is no way those two pans would satisfy eight hungry wolves. Every baking dish in the kitchen was to be used on pizza night. Cookies sheets, pie pans, casserole dishes, yes, every flat surface that could go into a hot oven was hauled out and turned into a pizza pan. Two pizza pies could be baked at once. So when the dinner bell rang and two pans were brought to the table, we feared there would not be enough pizza to fill us up. So the first pie pan of pizza, sliced up into 8 slices, was wolfed down after the prayer in probably five seconds flat and so was the second one. Now the wolves would need to practice self-control.
While we waited for more pizza we played the Dutch game, “Ik zie ik zie wat jij niet ziet. Translated into English it’s: “I see, I see, what you do not see” or more commonly called, “I spy, with my little eye,” in America. Waiting with six wolves, I mean, six children, for more pizzas to come out of our small European oven could not have been super fun, but there was no other way to have a pizza night in Holland back then. No one had two ovens, most Dutch people did not have even one oven at that time. While we were trying to be patient, we were looking all around the room to find something blue, red, or green or rectangular shaped to solve the spying game. But underneath the game, I was seriously worried about getting enough pizza. I was really worried that we would still be hungry after all the pizza pies were long gone. But it never happened, my Mama had been cooking for hungry wolf pups a long time and she knew what it would take to fill them up. We always had pizza to spare on pizza night and pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner the next day.

Writing on the First Day of Fall

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The old white coffee pot filled with tea sat on the cracked tile next to the computer screen. This tile had been painted years ago in with muted browns, oranges, black and white. Corn flowed out of the earth toned basket and looked like something she would do if she had been in the midst of preparing her own corn bread. She remembered receiving the tile decades ago from a young man who had visited an old part of New Mexico. This piece of clay protected the wood table from the drops of tea that ran down the spout.
The pot clinked against the tea cup as she poured the steaming beverage into her cup. This steam drifted up as she cradled the drink near her face. Her eyes closed as she sought words that fit. The warmth was welcome on the first day of fall. All most nothing was visible beyond the window. She squinted and saw part of the white delivery van down the street. Most of the van was blocked by what looked like two gargantuan elephant legs in the front yard. The distant flashing lights reflected on the paint of the window sill. It looked like a flashing low-battery warning on security panel.
Soon the children would be arriving at school for another day. Wednesday –Hump day- the fourth week of the school year was almost gone. The screen was near blinding against the darkness; she lifted the teapot and refilled her cup, closed her eyes then she typed again, closed her eyes again as her hand drifted to the left and she took another sip. This time when she glance outside the delivery van had departed, the blue sky set off the profiles of the trees and the birds were chirping. Compared to the bright screen the window was still dark but after a few seconds her eyes adjusted and she could see the details of the day coming to live. She rolled her chair back, cautiously pushed up on the table and walked to the window. Tea in hand, her left foot hurt as if a knife was sticking through her cracked heel. She grimaced with each step. Her hand trailed around the smooth wood table and touched the back of each chair. Standing at the window she could see life’s details clearly. She reached down and cranked open the window. The crisp air flooded in. Fall had arrived during the night. The birds’ songs were louder; the neighbor flag was blowing in the wind. Pumpkins decorated the neighbor’s walkway. The car break lights crowing the street as children bounced out of cars grabbing lunch boxes, back packs and little siblings.
Now the writer would need to be more disciplined for distractions of life were coming to life all around.

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