What would your mother do? Pray.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

More of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best. ❤

My mom was very, very private about her spiritual life.

I did not even know she had one, actually,

I think she always sort of believed that was between her and God.

pexels-photo-110874.jpegHowever, on the day I came to her and grumbled that the rain outdoors was keeping me from playing out there, I learned.

I remember it like yesterday. I don’t know how old I was, but I was tall enough that the washing machine top came to my shoulders.

I remember we were in the laundry room when I grumbled, and my mom was right there, hearing. This is what she said:

Kathy, I don’t ever want to hear you complaining about the rain. We need rain badly and I prayed for this rain. And now we have some and we are very happy.

Well, that got my attention.

I remember feeling uncomfortable about hearing her talk of real prayer with real answers. It really was a sort of confession of her faith, and I would have felt lots better hearing it if I’d had another grown-up with me to help me carry the heavy load of my mom’s answered prayers.

I felt too little to hear such grown-up things.

But I grew into it. And now I pray. And I never complain about the weather.

What about you? Did your mother pray? Do you know what she prayed for? Was she private about it?

Mary and Martha and humble pie

Mary and Martha and Me

When I Was a Turkey

Several years ago our family tried a Thanksgiving experiment.

Instead of buying our Thanksgiving dinner, we only priced it and sent the amount to a mission.

We then asked God to give us a meal from His own hand that we could see was especially from Him. In our minds, it had to be cost-free, although this wasn’t a demand—we simply decided to see what He would do about our commitment. We were willing to take whatever He gave….

I know, I know, God gives us the strength, intellect, and grace to be able to earn the money, drive to the store, and so forth.

But we learned something from letting go of it like this: He can also sovereignly give us the actual food itself, just because we are waiting upon Him. This caused us to be thankful toward God as Jehovah Jireh (our provider), rather than wondering what in the world He has to do with our celebration.

The experiment became a kind of tradition for a few years. Each year was different; it was not always turkey and stuffing. We had chicken, duck, venison, and my favorite, the smoked turkey that appeared one day while we were gone.

Meat was always the test for me because I did not consider the free things from our garden as “too hard” for God.

See what I mean?

I needed this.

Everything about cooking Thanksgiving dinner this way was a big adventure. We had to improvise, learning as we went. We felt, indeed we were, exactly like pioneers.

We pretended Good-Old-Days, but they were, in reality, very good days.

We certainly were excited about all sorts of food and I think we ate better. The meat often was not processed. We had honey instead of sugar. And we were so thankful. We couldn’t help it—it just flowed from all that was happening.

Another unexpected result came of the experiment.

We questioned the entire “Thanksgiving Tradition”.

  • Sweet potatoes did not have to be candied, did they?
  • Whipped topping didn’t have to be fatty.
  • Crab applesauce was as good as cranberry.
  • The chestnuts off of our tree were excellent in stuffing.
  • Squash pie tasted just like pumpkin.

We learned to take our local blessings, instead of exotic imported foods, and spread them out into a feast that gave glory to the God Who provides for His own.

And more blessings! 

In our excitement, we also forgot to be harried. I, at least, emerged on the other side of the wall that separates us from gently rejoicing in God. He seemed so near. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Most of the United States was celebrating a day that, when it was established, in purpose and practice, was truly Christian. Thanksgiving has no questionable past. It has traditionally had no worldly festivities attached to it. It is simply a day set aside for our Christian nation, by its Christian leaders, to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

go-your-way-eat-the-fat-and-drink-the-sweet-and-send-portions-unto-them-for-whom-nothing-is-prepared-for-this-day-is-holy-unto-our-lord-nehemiah-8-10-1Into that quiet beauty, I had often inserted the bustle of a worldly attitude.

Suddenly, His delightful indulgence was leading me away from my prideful ideas about meal preparation. How humbling it was to be learning at His feet, and yet, how glorious.

It doesn’t matter if you use the recipes you will find, on this site, for “your dinner”, or even if you go to someone else’s house for it. It doesn’t matter if you buy or raise the ingredients. But do learn to spend time before God. And truly thank Him. Every day.

______________________________

Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.

September 28th

Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the pl...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I repost this, now and then. Today’s the day….

Today would have been my mom’s birthday. She would have been 84.

Life was hard when my mom was a kid. People had very little in the way of excess. She told us of having only three outfits: one for church, one for school, and one for choring. When a mom went to the trouble and expense of making a dress for a daughter, she would be sure to make it larger and take up that slack by making the seams deeper or thicker. Then as the owner of the dress grew, the seams could be let out. Same goes for deep hems.

My mom never was allergic to poison ivy. I’ve inherited this tendency from her, although I do get a bump or two if I am in it a long time. It is wonderful, though, to do all the weeding, including pulling up poison ivy, and not worry. My mom used to stand in poison ivy that was waist-high and pick wild grapes for jelly.

Because my mom could tolerate exposure to poison ivy, she was the gate person for their entire family. The gate had poison ivy growing on it and when the family left for an excursion, her job was to climb out of their vehicle and open the gate.

my mother

my mother

She also was the tornado warning person. If the skies looked threatening, it was her job to stand sentry and keep a lookout for tornadoes. Everyone was very sober and stern about this job of hers, so she diligently looked and looked for tornadoes during haying times. Only one trouble was that she did not know what a tornado was and imagined every sort of boogy except a cloud. Had a tornado come, she would not have known it.

She did encounter one, one day, though, and I am glad I had her on my side then.

Here’s to one good mom.

She Came Crying, Begging, and Trembling…

It happened during our tiny tornado that passed over us and never did a bit of damage except for felling one oak tree in the woods.

Storm CloudsWe saw the clouds coming. We knew the predicted danger was upon us. Watching it was like watching time-lapse photography. I’ve never seen clouds approach so fast.

We were ready. We have a basement and I was about to suggest we go there, except the amazing display of the skies held me entranced. There was no funnel cloud, just incredible force.

Incredible force.

Think: Can you move a tree? Even a small tree, such as an apple, is difficult to shake, even when we desperately want those apples. Yet, huge trees, with branches as large as some tree trunks, were swaying as if they were grass, as if they were dancing. Do they like tornadoes? Do they love the chance to sway like the grass? It seemed it.

Yet, reality kept me in check: Water was leaking under the front storm door, impossible except during tornadoes. As I fetched a couple of old towels from the laundry room, to protect our living room floor, I heard the honking of an automobile through the exterior door. I heard the wild, mad, honking of someone desperate.

My husband had the sense to open the door, exactly at the moment the banging began. There stood a rain-drenched woman, blonde and petite.

“Oh, PLEASE let me come into your house! Please let me come in!” she begged, trembling all over and almost jumping in the door once we opened it.

Who could deny such a request at such a time?

So it was that she stood just inside the laundry room, dripping, running, water all over the tiles. She blessed us, thanked us, and blessed us again. And I stood, dumbly, astonished, with two towels in my hands, finally thinking to thrust them at her. She began drying herself as if she were a family member. Mentally, I remembered the flooding front door, and I remembered the Scriptures: do not neglect entertaining strangers, for thereby, some have entertained angels, unaware… (Or something like it–that was how I was remembering it.)

As if she were an angel, we encouraged her to come inside the rest of the house. We anticipated a black-out and wanted her where we could seat her if darkness made our unfamiliar house a hazard to her. We offered her more towels and a drink. We showed her the astonishing view outside our front door, as more storm flew over us. We apologized as we needed to tend to that water coming in with more towels.

She, feeling SO at home, asked to borrow a phone. She told her mother she was okay, but would be late. We chatted. The storm passed.

Then she apologized: She usually drives through a storm unafraid, she said, but this one was like NOTHING she had ever seen before. We assured her we felt the same and she was extremely wise not to drive in such wind with the ground so saturated that trees might fall across her path, or even on her car. She thanked us profusely and promised to bring us a cake. We told her we would love a cake, but she owed us nothing.

Then she left for where she belonged, and, just like that, this golden moment of people helping people was over.

I miss it.

_______________

Storm Clouds (Photo credit: mcdett)

My Dad

My Dad, a Veteran of the Korean Conflict

My Dad, a Veteran of the Korean Conflict

He served in the Army, bought a house on the G.I. Bill, raised five kids, worked hard at Kuhlman’s Plastics to provide you with laundry baskets and us with something to eat, gave us airplane rides on his feet, built three rooms and a basement onto our house when we grew too large for what we had, taught me how to back a bent nail out of a 2×4, mowed our two-acre yard with a walk-behind mower, sang a beautiful bass in the church choir, planted a big garden every spring and kept it pretty-well weeded, and lived to see his children’s children.

More about my dad.

My dad’s eggshell collection.

Home, Sweet Home

I laugh, still, at the comedian’s famous one liner:

I started out as a child…

He follows that with dead air, which becomes increasingly funny as he waits for his audience to “get it”. Hilarious!

However, didn’t we all originate most humbly, as completely needy persons?

Yes.

And we all remember those early days, remember something almost mystical about our lives from our teensy perspective. I remember the white satin, quilted surroundings in the bassinette and my daddy’s face peeking over the top of it to grin at me.

I remember lots of it, but one thing I loved was the layout of our house, skinny and tall, two stories high but with only two bedrooms. I loved the carpeted staircase leading from the front door to the upstairs, so much, however, the back stairs, outdoors for some reason, were beyond my abilities. With open risers, treads with no “treads”, and a rail too high for a little one, they proved my downfall.

Since when I fell, I was carrying feed to my new baby ducks, I experienced the unique:

Duck feed in the eyes.

Although that was traumatic to me, what I remember most is my mom’s trauma and devastation. Her little first-born had fallen big and could have suffered all sorts of injuries. Likely, she writhed in guilt—I would have. And she expressed every drop of it in her tender ministrations to my little gritty eyes.

She even carefully explained to me that although normally, she would tell me not to cry, this was one time when it was good to cry, because tears would wash my eyes.

Amazing how hard it is to cry when everyone wants you to do so. I remember that, too. I can almost remember her voice, although I was ever so young.

So shocking as a small child to be told it’s okay to cry, just this once.

I’m sure she devoted an entire bottle of Murine to the task at hand. Of course I fought the idea of having anything more, deliberately placed into my eyes, as I lay on the couch with my head tipped back, crying, doing some writhing of my own,with eyes SHUT.

She won, though, as  mother-love always does.

My bruises and scrapes healed quickly and my eyes have worked just great, for many a year.

My mom left this world, long ago.

The old two-story house could easily have become a drug-drop by now.

The quiet street where I played with another little girl, on her front steps, has probably been resurfaced so many times that it’s taller than the sidewalks.

Surely the duck pen is long-gone.

And the couch is dead.

The incredible gray paper with giant coral-colored roses on the living room walls has mercifully been replaced, I can imagine. No doubt, someone has painted over the beautifully varnished woodwork. The ceiling stain, telling of the time my brother and I got carried away, playing with toy dishes in the bathroom sink has, no doubt, been covered.

Furniture has gone down and back up those front stairs too many times. The back stairs, outdoors, have probably been re-worked many times.

And in my memory, the whole thing has never changed.

…But it’s the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember the way we were…  –Alan and Marilyn Bergman

Child Star

Screenshot from a public domain film The Littl...
Screenshot from a public domain film The Little Princess (1939) starring Shirley Temple and Richard Greene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shirley Temple died today. She was 85, which is hard to imagine.

I watched her darling performances when I was a child, and loved her, wanted to be her.

She was about 35 years old, then, older than my mom.

I never knew it.

When my own children were small, I searched out these amazing movies, for their viewing pleasure.

They also fell completely in love with the little cute-pie.

As an adult, I read her autobiography, Child Star. That broke my heart.

All the time she was smiling for us, it was because she feared being locked into a black box.

And all the money she made went to her mom, who used it to build luxury houses for self.

And her hair was naturally straight. Every kink came at quite a cost, for a tiny one.

Cover of "Captain January"
Cover of Captain January

But she really was that sweet and when she attended school she got in trouble for smiling all the time.She couldn’t not smile.

She just missed Valentine’s Day. Ironic, for everyone’s sweetheart, eh?

Probably my favorite of her movies are The Little Princess, because of the graciousness of the queen, the great scenes in the attic, and that thing with the ash bucket. Especially that thing with the ash bucket.

But I also love Captain January for the fairly true picture it gives of home school, and for the site of her tap dancing a hornpipe with a young Jed Clampett.

I shall miss her.

________________

All photos: Wikipedia

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