Faith, Uncategorized

Adorned In His Righteousness

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Isaiah 61:10

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Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  1 Peter 3:3-4  (I am not trying to say here that we should not fix our hair, or dress nicely, etc. But I see this scripture saying that our true beauty as human beings is more than what those things may define it as, with the second part of the passage describing from where our beauty should be rooted.)

 

I was attending preschool in the small city where we lived. It was nearly summer, and my class went on a special outing to the city swimming pool.

 

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The city park had a separate, very nice kiddie pool. The large, round pool was a small child’s delight, where one could play and splash with abandon. Evenly spaced around the perimeter of the circular-shaped pool, were small fountains which sprayed water up and into the pool.
Some memories are embedded in our minds because they are marked by strong emotions, so although I was quite young, I have never forgotten this particular day.

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That day, my Mother dressed me in a red, one-piece, very plain swimsuit. I remember clearly like it was yesterday, feeling so terrible in it. Even at preschool age, I apparently had some awareness of fashion, or perhaps it was an early introduction to peer pressure, comparing my attire to that of the other girls. Either way, to that small, shy girl, it was not a good day.

 

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I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and I sat along the shallow edge of the pool that day hanging my head and crying. I didn’t want to play.
I can still see myself sitting there. I would liken it to going to the prom dressed in a plain, hand-me-down, dull, lifeless dress, while all the other girls wore beautiful, sparkly gowns. You would want to find a corner to shrink into.

 

 

That’s what I felt that day. I’m not blaming my Mom. She was a busy mother with limited resources, and I’m sure she dressed me in something we already had, and probably thought it decent and adequate. I can only speculate that my teacher must have spoken to my mother about what took place that day.

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What I can tell you is that my wise Mother put her seamstress skills to work that evening, hand-crafting a new swimsuit for me. The next day, when my preschool class went to the pool, I donned a cute, two-pieced, brightly colored swimsuit!

 

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My countenance changed, and I played and splashed, laughed and dipped along with all the other children! (This too, I remember like it was yesterday.) I was a different child. I didn’t feel like a shy girl that day!

 

 

 

What I wore that second day changed my countenance! It changed how I felt inside.
And what I felt inside, showed on the outside.

 

Oh, you know there is a life-lesson in this story, right!?

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In a secular sense, we change our outward appearance in order to change how we feel on the inside.

 

But God works differently. He begins on the inside of our being, and the inner changes manifest in our outward reflection.

 

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When we no longer keep God confined to the sidelines of our lives, but invite Him to dwell within us, becoming vulnerable and moldable, surrendering our will to His, we are changed from the inside, out.

 

When we allow God to change us on the inside, His righteousness and His goodness begins to manifest in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and we begin to reflect the characteristics of Christ.

 

 

Although His love and abiding presence brings humility to our nature, we don’t hang our heads in shame. No!
Our spirits soar, and dance, and play with delight in Him!
We no longer wear that dull, lifeless old swimsuit. We have a new suit! It is new, and colorful, and it was fashioned by our Father’s own hands!

 

 

Shake off the shame of that old suit, and raise your hands in freedom and joy and dance in your new suit!

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.   Colossians 3:12-14

Home Life, Living Life, Uncategorized

June Bugs!

June Bugs. 

At least that’s what we have always called them. The proper name is- Ten lined June Beetle. 

Let me describe this little creature, in case you don’t already know about it. My most sincere apologies to anyone with a bug phobia! I can hear my sisters now saying ‘Ewww!’, and now laughing. 

When I was growing up, this dreaded little bug struck fear into the very depths of my being! 
I was an outdoorsy farm-girl. I loved frogs-and still do-I played with worms, ladybugs and rolly pollys (sow bugs).

I baited my own fishing lines for goodness sakes!

So what is it about these tiny crawly-critters that I hate so much?

First of all, they are not tiny. They are 1- 1 1/2 inches in length and up to 3/4 inch wide, off-white in color with greenish-brown stripes on their hard outer shell. They have large, fuzzy antennae. 

But the worse feature is their long ‘sticky’ legs. By sticky, I mean they stick to things- like screen doors in the summer evenings…and skin…and hair! Makes me cringe just thinking about it.
They come out in the heat of the summer, usually in the later part of the day, and are attracted to the light. So just about every evening, we would find at least one or two of them clinging to the screen door. We could examine and poke at them from the ‘safety’ of the indoors, but wouldn’t dare go out there and risk having them land on us.


Many years ago, after I got married, all the family gathered at my Mother’s house in the summer for a hot dog/marshmallow roast. It was dark outside and we had a big, roaring fire going. It was great fun. But all of a sudden, we were invaded!




June bugs love light and heat, and they began flying all around- oh yes! they fly, too!- and we all started ducking and flailing around, putting whatever we had over our heads, because you do not want one of them landing in your hair, and we dashed for the house! A few of the critters hitched a ride inside with us. Oh my! What an exciting time, right?! Oh, I can laugh about it now!

I forgot to tell you one more thing about June bugs. They hiss! Loudly!

One particular summer evening, two of my sisters and I were rehearsing some songs, using microphone equipment. It was hot and stuffy in the room, so we had opened the door.

All at once, we heard a sound…a hissing sound. We looked around, and there it was.


Sitting on Debbie’s shoulder was a huge June bug, the microphone amplifying it’s already loud hissing! I don’t recall Debbie’s reaction, but I’m certain that if it had been me, there would have been some screeching, and jumping, and carrying on.

I know the unique June bug has a purpose in the balance of nature, although I could do without them!

 
More information and pictures in case you want to know more:

inaturalist.org

(photos- public domain)

family, Home Life, Uncategorized

Stepping Out of the Cover

I guess you could say that my early childhood was quite sheltered.

Since I spent most of my time at home with my family, and because many of the secular influences which have so saturated society today were not prevalent in our home, I didn’t know about a lot of ‘worldly ‘ things until later. I was quite naïve.

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But when I was in the 5th grade, I began to swear. Yes…
I remember clearly that time in my life. I was happy, I had great friends, I loved school and I was beginning to learn more about the ‘world’. I was slowly coming out of my shell and on occasion was quite bold.

Well, I decided that cool kids cuss and that I was going to do it, too.

So we were just having a great day and the opportune time came, and I let it go.

I clearly and intentionally said “Crap!”….Oh. Yes. I. Did.

I said again, “Crap!”  Was I cool or what?!   Oh, I said it several times!

Mind you, I don’t think I knew many other words to choose from. I certainly didn’t know the “S” word or the “F” word, and if I did, they were absolutely in the off-limits category. But ‘crap‘ was deemed pretty bad in my book, so I went with that one.
At home, there were words we were not allowed to say. Like ‘butt‘, or the names of any other unmentionable body part.

We did not say ‘pee pee’ or the slang-term for any other private bodily function, and if we did, you can be sure that someone was going to tell on you!

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Oh, I’m not complaining about being so protected. I am quite glad that my early childhood was not blemished by the crude world, and that I was simply allowed to remain in my childhood innocence, at least for a short time.
Soon enough, the negative, perverse nature of the world would touch my life and threaten my future with poor choices, others’ ill-intentions, and the knowledge of things which bring corruption to the mind, body, and soul.

P.S. The cussing thing? Wasn’t really my thing.

family, Home Life, Uncategorized

Digging To China

I don’t think there is anything more primal than kids and dirt. You place a kid in front of a dirt pile, and they know exactly what to do. No prompting needed. I love how instinctual it is. They grab handfuls of it and soak in that earthy feeling of satisfaction, like it’s becoming a part of them. 
I remember all the hours and hours I spent playing in the dirt mounds at my childhood home. Mud pies by the dozens! In fact, I think most of my early childhood days were spent outdoors. I don’t remember my Mother ever telling us to not get dirty or getting angry at us for tracking dirt in the house. If she did, it wasn’t harsh enough that it made a lasting memory. We were outside playing, doing what kids were supposed to be doing…and we were happy. 
So as we are planning out and landscaping our little backyard, it is important to me that it be a place not just for my husband and I to enjoy, but also an atmosphere where my grandchildren can store away lasting memories of all the fun they had at Grandma’s house.

There is a small corner of the yard we reserved for them, filled with dirt and sand, because little boys and even little girls love to dig and they need to have the experience of getting dirty and burying the trucks and plastic men in the dirt and making roads. Their little faces, greyed with a nice coating of earth, looking up at me and proudly saying, “Look what I made Grandma!”

A couple of times, two of my grandchildren grew very excited at the prospect that they just might dig all the way to China! Future archeologists! 

And yes some of that dirt from China is going to end up in my house, on the rug, on the couch, and I’m going to spend quite a bit of time sweeping the floors.

I expect that a few of the flowers might not survive my little grandsons, but flowers are replaceable, aren’t they? Floors are easily swept and mopped, right?

When they walk in the door and would rather go outside and play than sit and play a video game or get on their device, that’s a win. 

But they won’t always want to dig in the dirt or play outside. These times are to treasure. 

Let them dig….let them get a little dirty….let them be children.

(Photo credit-Robin Abrams)

family

An Ordinary/Extraordinary History

When I think about my life story, I tend to think it is so ordinary, so simple, that no one could possibly have an interest in hearing about it.

It’s true. The youngest of a very large family, I didn’t come from wealth or high status. My parents were not executives, held no political or high office in the city. Their own beginnings were meager to say the least.

In my family history, most of them would have probably resembled the ordinary farm folks you see in those old black and white photographs. At least to my knowledge, that is. If I have a small family fortune to inherit somewhere that I am not aware of, I’d sure love to discover it! But I’m not going to hold my breath!

By worldly/monetary standards, you would say I had a poor upbringing. Being a child in my own little world, I had no consideration about money, status, or what we did or did not have. I had absolutely no concern about it, because for me, it did not effect my happy, carefree outlook on things. Life then was all about being at home, being together, and just being kids. 

My Mother, who through no fault of her own, became a single mother before I was born, did an extraordinary job at providing such a full life, that I never had even a clue that our family was indeed poor.

I didn’t have a lot of fancy, store-bought clothes, but I had one of a kind, hand-tailored dresses and clothes that my Mother could whip together with the smallest of effort, that received as much attention as anyone else’s. If we needed a particular outfit for a special occasion at school or church, my Mom could work her magic and have it sewed, pressed and ready to wear within just a couple of hours.

Go hungry? Never! Food was abundant! Raspberries, spinach, tomatoes, picked and eaten, right there, straight out of the garden! Frozen peaches and cherries enjoyed on a hot summer day! Mom made the best biscuits around. 

The gardening, canning, milk cows, fresh eggs, and home-raised meat provided all that we needed. Mom would get permission to go into orchards and potato fields and glean what had fallen to the ground or was left behind. 

And my family, the best you could ask for. There are too many wonderful things to tell!

I remember overhearing a conversation between two of my sisters. The one asked if we were rich, to which the other one replied, “We are rich in the Lord”.

For me, you just can’t get any better than that.