What would your mother do? Encourage.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part 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.

Mom gave us baked beans for lunchMy mom encouraged me. I remember one of the first encouragements she gave me, when I really might have needed correction on any other similar occasions: I’d been playing with my food on my plate.

The menu that day was hot dogs and plain old pork ‘n’ beans, so everything I needed was at the table already.

I began stirring relish, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar into the beans on my plate. After a sample, I told my mom how good it was. She questioned me, I explained, and that’s when it happened: A new gourmet cook was born at that very lunch table. My mom exclaimed that if I could determine exactly what should go into carefully-crafted old style “baked beans”, then I must be a natural-born cook.

I felt pretty pleased with myself and I never forgot it.

Encouragement can go the other way, too, dragging a person up from a low place, where I was during third grade.

It was election time in our country and in school, we had a mock election, dividing the class into three political parties.

It was rigged. All the popular kids were in one party, the brilliant-student-types in another, and we misfits (the sickly, overweight, or otherwise unacceptable ones) were in the third party. I leave you to guess who won, but will add: I perfected the art of sickly by having one of my semi-annual cases of step throat during the vote. Yeah, we came in last. Amazing, no? We’d had such hopes. We did our best. We mined our mom’s ideas for sure-fire campaign tactics, made posters, and delivered speeches, all for naught.

After a phone call came to our sick-house regarding the results, my mom so tenderly relayed them to me. I cried. She held me and asked me to try to be a big girl, to think what the other children would think of my crying…

I remember the moment so clearly, like the movie re-run it has always been in my mind. I remember feeling rebellious and sort of amazed at myself for what I said at that point.

“I don’t even care what the CRY-BABIES think!”

She did not reprimand me. She did not scold my out-lashing little self. She just held me until it blew over.

And that quiet response told me far more than any words could. She understood. She cared. She had my back.

So when did your mom encourage you? Share.

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What would your mother do? Share.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part 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 would shareMy mom shared. The sixth child of a woman whose husband died young during the Great Depression, my mom knew exactly how it felt to be in need. One of her favorite sayings was, “We might need that someday.” Considering the entire course of her life, that was exactly true.

Her other saying was, “The poor people in (insert your favorite country, here) would kill to get what you’ve got.” Also probably true, more than we’d like to realize.

Given her context, what else could my mom do but share, and by example, teach her children to share.

And so it was that while she always made her children clothing, she also spent some time on a church ladies’ project of making clothing for poverty-stricken people elsewhere. In fact, the first time she ever took on the task of making a man’s long-sleeved shirt, it was for a man she’d never met in Cambodia, a country she’d never heard of.

And when a vacationing family had a wreck near our town and lost the dad, spending time in the hospital in our town, she took me shopping for the poor children who’d lost their dad. And arranged for a friend to take them in, since they were not really injured, and could enjoy his horses and pleasant estate, as a sort of therapy, until the mother could arrange their affairs.

And if there was not enough dessert to go around, my mom always pretended she was full.

What did your mom share with others? Think hard–if she was modest about it, you might have to examine clues to realize it…

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What would your mother do? Fix things!

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Starting a short series here, today, 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. ❤

[Unidentified girl in dress holding American f...

[Unidentified girl in dress holding American flag and ball] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

So here’s mine, for today: I was tiny, but I remember the dress so vividly. My mom was shocked I ever remembered it because she said I was only two years at the time. I do remember it, though. It was my favorite dress. Why I loved it so, I am not sure. It was brown plaid, which I like a lot, to this day. It had ruffly lace and puffy sleeves. I don’t know, really, what it was.

But I loved it.

This was back in the days before perma-press, back when little girls always wore dresses, even at play. Always.

And froze our little bare legs off in winter, in case you wondered.

Anyway, I loved me a dress.

Then one day the horrible happened. I spilled my milk on my favorite dress. I was devastated. I could not begin to understand much of anything, yet, but I knew I did not like the way my favorite dress looked, now. So I did what any red-blooded American two-year-old would do.

I cried.

My mom couldn’t understand, and asked me what was wrong. When I told her about the spill, I remember what she did.

She got down, sort of sitting on her heels, at face-to-face level with me, and told me it was okay, that she could wash the dress and it would be fine again.

Those of you who’ve read here a long time, know what happened next. And you know what good it did. The rest of you can read the links. Have fun!

And share with us your story: What did you mess up, in your childhood, that your mom knew how to fix? Aren’t moms great!

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How to Make a Man Cry—Memorize

BibleI’ve always taught my children to memorize the Bible. I think it is good for their spirits, good for their souls, and even good for their bodies, if they heed it.

People seldom made me memorize anything until I was fourteen, but I remember much of it, today. I want my grown children to have lots and lots of the Word hiding in their hearts, and they do. It was worth all the work, just for that benefit.

Several times, though, we realized a different benefit.

I always had my children recite their memory work during our homeschool closing programs. It always was a large Scripture portion, such as The Book of James or The Letters to the Seven Churches. One night, when they recited Hebrews 11, “The Faith Chapter”, one preacher in attendance asked if we could recite it again, at his church, during the normal worship time.

After that presentation, a man remarked to me that it was such a great essay and wondered if I had written it, or where he could get a copy of it. Hmm.

I assured him I am not that great a writer, that it had been a selection from Scripture. He was astonished, said he’d never read anything that good in the Bible before. I gave him the reference. He marveled and promised he would go home and read it again, with the children’s voices still sounding in his ears, and seek for more meaning. Hmm.

But another time tops this. One night my children recited “The Sermon on the Mount”. Our youngest bravely wanted to help recite and assured me he could, although he was only seven at the time. I wondered at the wisdom of it, but knew the audience would forgive a flawed recitation from one so young. I knew this, especially since he desired to recite solo the entire parable of “The Wise and Foolish Builders”.

As the presentation progressed, I felt good about it. My children were totally prepared for this and giving, truly, one of their best recitals. However, as they neared the end, and my young son’s solo, he began to waver. After several bobbles, though, he collected himself and made it through to the end.

Bravo, Darling.

Later, I asked him what was wrong, what made him fearful. He replied, “When I saw that man in the audience crying, I thought I was doing a bad job.”

Further checking revealed this man in a rumpled suit, slumped down in his pew and openly mopping tears from a crumpled face, was the back-slidden relative of one of our group.

Oh, the power in the voice of a young child reciting Scripture! A grown man weeping to hear it, a churched man desiring to read it, what more could a mother want for reward?

Only this: that they would remember it, walk in it, and turn and teach it to their own.

Another story in this series here!

Nothing scarier than a fire set by an inventive child. Near your garage. On a windy day. How did we survive?

Did a Scary Angel Visit? Or a Savior Tramp?

Burning pine straw

One of our little boys was inventive and fearless.

And one day, a stranger came knocking at our back door.

It had been a mild-weather day and the main back door was open to let breezes in and to allow my supervision of our little boy’s outdoor play, while I tended to some laundry. The only separation between me and this huge visitor was the screen door of the back porch.

Over the expanse of his body he wore a grayed t-shirt, overalls with one strap fastened, and grubby boots untied.  Some of his teeth were missing. He badly needed a shave and his oily hair flattened in several directions. Something about the urgency of his loud knock startled me. That was before I turned and spied his unkempt estate.

I admit I was beyond distressed. Wild images of countryside kidnappings captured my mind, uninvited.

Timidly, I approached the main door, breaking all my rules about talking to strangers.

When you don't know if your are safe or not, when fire is the enemy, when friends are weird...“Yes?”

“Ma’am, it may be none o’ my business, but did you know y’ur little boy has got hisself a fire a-goin’ in the pine straw out here?”

“Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, PLEASE, stay and help me!”

Funny how outward appearances don’t matter much, sometimes.

I followed that kind and insightful messenger of mercy to the scene, and found that, sure enough, as he’d seen his daddy do countless times, our little son had raked up a pile of pine straw and set fire to it. He never guessed his tiny blaze was only feet away from oceans of pine straw, some of it drifted against our garage, downwind on a breezy day. The fire had already broken out of bounds.

We two adults raked and sprayed water until it was out.

I told the man he had probably saved our son’s life, and surely saved us great property loss. I thanked him until he was embarrassed and left.

I forgot to ask his name.

I guess he was an angel in disguise. Sometimes we need help, and God knows it. Yeh, maybe an angel. I can imagine my asking him his name, and him saying, “Folks jis calls me Gabe.”

On investigation, I learned my husband’s matches were stored high on a wall in the garage, good, but under them was the mower, rolled there by our son in less than five minutes, and topped with a milk crate, making him tall enough to reach. So young, but so brave and inventive.

And so perfectly protected.

Another story in this series here!

He'll return in the clouds

Overheard: The Manger Is Empty…

…But so is the grave.

Jesus just is not here, visibly, these days. We cannot go up to Him and walk a mile or two with Him, these days. We cannot hear Him speaking with our physical ears, cannot touch the scars in His hands, cannot set our children on His lap.

But the day is coming.

When Jesus departed from this world, angels appeared to His friends to tell them:

This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:11

And, although the Bible shows us in many places that He will come back in a cloud, just as He left, it is careful to point out one difference in His manner of reappearing. When He left, He was quietly teaching His faithful few. However, when He returns:

…the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God… 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Then, in the first chapter of 2 Thessalonians, we read that Jesus will be revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

The adorable baby in the manger scene is history, only one part of the Good News. The rest of the Gospel will be more terrifying, more like what the Shepherds saw when the angels appeared to them and had to tell them not to be afraid, because it was SUCH a sight.

Will there be other differences?

Yes.

The first time Jesus came, it was quietly and humbly, through the act of human birth, in a shelter meant for animals, and few recognized Him for who He was–one of Mary’s cousins, some shepherds, a handful of prophets from afar, a couple of elderly people at temple–then after His miracles, there were more, hundreds or maybe thousands, but not like when He returns.

  • The next time He comes, there will be no doubt, everyone on earth will see Him in all His grandeur, and recognize Him as the Lord.

The first time, He came in poverty, the son of a workingman, dressed simply.

  • The next time, He will come in glory, the Son of the Living God, dressed in a robe dipped in blood.

The first time, Jesus came as an ordinary person with eyes of compassion, who had no crown except of thorns.

  • When He comes again, He will be wearing many crowns and His eyes will blaze with fire.

The first time Jesus came to Jerusalem riding a lowly donkey and those who knew Him bowed before Him.

  • Next time? A magnificent white horse will be His mount, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess He is Lord.
    And all will realize He is the Pierced One.
    And they will mourn.
    And there will be no doubt who He is, for He will display His title boldly, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”.

Yes, He is coming back.

However, how many of those who gaze upon the innocent little Babe out in the cold and say, “Awwww…,” will gape at the King returning in a blaze of fire and begin trembling?

The first time, He was a gentle servant. The next time He will be as a conquering general of a powerful army that no physical or spiritual means can defeat, or even begin to touch.

The first time, He came as a man of peace, to lay down His life to save others. The next time He is coming to use His sword against His enemies: those who deliberately refused to believe Him and aligned themselves with His demonic enemy.

The first time He came, He gave us all a second chance to become sons of the Living God. The next time, no one will have a single chance. Those who think God doesn’t care about sin anymore will be in for a rude awakening.

The first time He came, He cried out, “Father, forgive them…” The next time, the time for forgiveness will be over.

Boycotting, suing, fining, jailing, firing, and removing children from Christians, solely because of their faith, will come to an abrupt stop, even in this country.

And His mission will be different:

First time: He frustrated all who knew Him, because they knew about His power and thought He should just take over dictatorial Rome and establish a never-ending kingdom. But that was not in His mission statement, then.
Next time: Taking over is exactly the plan, according to all prophecy.

First time: His mission was to die, in order to defeat death and hell for us.
Next time: His mission will be as follows, “I am the Living One: I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever!” and He will have the keys to death and hell IN HIS HAND.

First time: His mission was to walk this earth with His followers.
Next time: His mission is to ride the skies with His followers behind Him in a vast army.

Oh, and there is only one way to participate in His second mission:

Enlist for the first mission.