Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

All Lives Matter

The fireworks have faded, and the picnic baskets put away for another year.  The red, white, and blue decorations are discarded, and some people have even removed the flags that waved proudly from the front porch only a few days ago.   The outfits celebrating the holiday are cleaned and hung in the back of the closet, with hopes that they will still fit next year.  It’s back to work as usual until the next holiday. 

Holidays like Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc., are days that we set apart to recognize, commemorate, and celebrate certain events in history.  It is a good thing to bring special attention to these events, right?  Yes, of course it is.  But my favorite people are the people who remember these events every day!  People who fly their flags 365, not just patriotic holidays.  I suppose there could be the argument that flying it every day would lead us to become immune to its presence, and make it less special.  Perhaps that is true for some.  When I’m inside my house, I don’t see it.  But each time I go outside, or turn into my driveway, I see it, and am thankful.  And, when driving through the streets of my community, I LOVE to see it waving from the side of your house! 

Exactly one month after the 9/11 attacks, I had the opportunity to travel to Boston with Mrs. Thompson’s AP US History class.  We weren’t even sure we would be allowed to fly, but thankfully, air travel was allowed to resume before our departure date, October 11, 2001.  We flew into Logan airport, the origin of those flights that brought about the tragedies of 9/11. 

History was one of my least favorite subjects in school, and I remembered very little of what I learned.  Visiting the sites of the events that would shape our nation awakened within me a new feeling of pride in my country, and a sober realization of the real cost of freedom. Visiting the graves of some of the founding fathers felt like walking on sacred ground, and my heart was full of gratitude.  Sitting on the cool grass in the Lexington Green, and walking across the (replica) Old North Bridge, we were taken back to the first days of the revolution.  I could almost smell the gunpowder.  It changed me. 

Needless to say, the trip had more of an effect on me than it did the students, and I learned (and felt) so much.  In their defense, had I been an upcoming 10th grader on a “history trip”, I probably wouldn’t have been as caught up in it either.  I hope that someday they will remember having the honor to visit the pages of history.

We live in a very troubled world today.  The past week, even in the shadow of our celebration of freedom, we have seen so much ugliness within our nation.  Our government is spiraling out of control.  Our presidential candidate choices are abysmal.   Martin Luther King, Ben Franklin, John Hancock – what would these men think and say if they could see what we have become?  What does Jesus think?  How can we fix this? 

I saw a post on Facebook that said something like this:  “If you weren’t saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ yesterday, how can you say ‘All Lives Matter’ today?”  Huh?  I didn’t say “Black Lives Matter”, or “Blue Lives Matter” yesterday or the day before.  Because I DO BELIEVE that All Lives Matter.  Until everyone embraces the fact that All Lives Matter, then things will just continue to deteriorate.  And as we continue to kill and hate each other within the borders of our nation, we will prove Abraham Lincoln’s words that “A house divided against itself shall fall.”   (Also Mark 3:25) 
Sometimes I just wish Jesus would hurry on up and come get us.  But that is the coward’s way out.  There is still work to be done.  We tend to think that there is nothing we can personally do to effect the change our world needs.  And there’s probably not anything that we can do on a global level.  But I can make a change in my heart, in my household, in my family.  In my small little world where I live.  And so can you.  In the words of Gandhi – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  And the words of Michael Jackson’s song, start with “the man in the mirror.”

I love this nation, and what she once stood for.  I pledge my allegiance to a flag that represents that which upon we were founded.   Today’s America is not the America for which my heroes fought, bled, and died. But we must maintain our allegiance, and resolve to be the change.  If we don’t do that, change will come anyway, but in a very bad way.  Fly your flags!  Pray for our leaders!  Pray for our law enforcement officers.  Pray for our pastors.  Pray for our citizens.  Pray for courage and integrity within our own hearts.  And never stop praying for God to Bless America!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Vacation Bible School

Nothing says summer quite like “Vacation Bible School!”  All around town signs can be seen in church yards inviting youngsters to attend.   For as far back as I can remember, VBS has been a favorite pastime of children, held at varying times throughout summer break. 

According to Wickipedia, the origins of Vacation Bible School can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894. Sunday school teacher D. T. Miles, who also was a public school teacher, felt she was limited by time constraints in teaching the Bible to children. So, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer. 

Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have all the resources that are available these days.  No social media with which to advertise flashing spaceships or roller coasters, and we didn’t have video clips, overhead projectors, or pre-recorded music with coordinated dance moves.  No bright, colorful posters to hang up in the windows of local merchants.
We had cardboard and crayons, and if we were lucky, a few magic markers for our homemade posters.  The Saturday before Bible School was scheduled to begin, we would line up a few cars and pickup trucks, and have a little mini-parade through the streets of Statham.  Kids of all ages would be hanging from the windows and from the beds of the trucks, clapping and shouting “Vacation Bible School!! Vacation Bible School!!”  I think I remember a station wagon driven by Wayne Holliday, decorated with streamers and balloons, as the Grand Marshall of our parade on several occasions.

In the years before our church had a fellowship hall, all of our fellowshippin’ was done in the basement, and out on the grounds.  There was also an old house practically in the front yard of the church that we used for Sunday School classes, and of course, VBS.  We’d have an area for crafts, study time, snack time, and recreation time.  My sweet grandma was always on hand to serve butter cookies and a cup of Kool-Aid.  Miss Frances would play the piano for assembly, and there would be a special chord she’d play that indicated when we should stand up, and another one for when we should sit down.  Craft time was my favorite (well, maybe second favorite, if we had cherry Kool-Aid at snack time.)  Oh, the magical things we created from popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue!

I’m sure the local churches planned it this way, but we were always excited when we were able to attend VBS at several different places.  Some had daytime sessions, while others held theirs in the evening.  Sometimes for two weeks, but mostly just one week.  So much fun!   Shhhh… don’t tell my church, but Pleasant Hill always had the best crafts!!!

After I became an adult, I no longer got to make the crafts and eat the cookies, but took on the role of teacher.  I did this for years, until one fateful summer when I was assigned a group of fifth grade boys.  That was my last year of teaching.  Jesus loved those little boys a WHOLE lot more than I did.  I’ll just leave it at that.

Check out the many programs available near you, and get your kiddos signed up to attend!  (And pray for the teachers!!)