We did not plant much garden this year. It was a pretty not so good but eventful start to 2018. The weather did not cooperate either. It was really cold for a few days and then a really warm day. I miss not having…
Some of the ladies at our church have started meeting to do mission projects. We started with the Shelah Project. We are making baby gowns for newborns that are still born or live only a short time after birth. The gowns are made from donated wedding dresses. We are also making a small pillow which the parents get to keep. The project was started to minister to parents who are grieving from the loss of their baby at birth.
The project’s name comes from Psalm. Shelah is a word often meaning a short pause. These parents have a brief moment with the child that with Christ they will see again someday. We are looking for some wedding gowns to make into these tiny gowns. If you would like to donate one please message me. They are also using prom or ball gowns in pastel yellows, blues and pinks. I am posting a link that you can read more about the project.
We have many other projects going including some projects for the children who come with their parents. We are going to be making tie blankets for babies and children, angels of hope for those with health issues, quilts and lap quilts for fire victims, the rest home, etc.. We will be doing some baking ministries and numerous other projects. It is a great feeling to be doing little things that can help others during their difficult times. It is also a time of great fellowship to spend time serving God with these beautiful Christian ladies and kids.
Children are such a blessed gift from God. But for those who lose a child the grieving process is long and difficult. We pray that these tiny gowns will provide a precious memory of their brief time together. Each stitch is made with love and care.
Love this picture my son painted. He is the real artist in the family. I spent the day at school today. It was test day. I also got to spend some time going over art contest results. The kids did such a great job this year. It was fun to chat about our results and make plans for next year. What a blessing Cornerstone Academy is!
As I administered the test today I was taken back to my school days of testing. I recall on one particular occassion during high school. We walked from the school, downtown to the community building for testing. I don’t recall for sure which test. We walked pretty much single file pencils in hand down the numerous steps that led to main street. The walk was great but the morning of testing soon became long and grueling. We would be spread out among the long tables and then directions and testing began. For three hours you had to keep focused on your test booklet for fear of being acused of looking at someone elses work. If you finished early you would go sit on the bleachers to wait for others to finish.
My other memorable testing experience was in fourth grade at R-9 South. I had a wonderful teacher named Mrs. Carter. Her birthday was the same as mine. She was so kind. She was my inspiration to loving art. I loved the big Christmas mural she drew and then let us paint.
I went to school in Kansas City during 2nd and 3rd grade. It was like I was a new student that year even though I had attended 1st grade at the south school. The room was completely quiet except the occasional sound of the teacher’s voice giving instruction. Then I got the hiccups. I was so embarrased and the hiccups only got louder. Now the sound of snickers was added to the teacher’s voice. Right in the middle of a hiccup Mrs. Carter came up behind me and yelled boo! I just about jumped out of my chair. Everyone laughed but me. I had no idea she was behind me but I’m sure everyone else in the room did. I was so embarrased. I don’t recall how I did on that test (probably not great) but I did not hiccup any more that day.
As a kid I always went blank during a test. It was as if my mind would shut down. I did not realize till years later that test anxiety is a real thing. The mind does close off and fear takes over. However it is not taken into consideration when the results are calculated. Working on my masters degree I made test anxiety one of my major research projects hoping to make a difference for my students.
Most test rely compeletly on reading. It doesn’t really matter what is being tested; science, history, vocabulary, math etc. There are always those children for whom reading is not their thing. And a teacher is not going to make those children love reading. My artist son was just such a student. He did not like to read but if he wanted to learn computer coding, web design or any other tech skill he would read about it until he could do it. He is now a teacher. His strategy for encouraging his students to read is not to develop a love of reading but to teach them the value of reading, finding what they want to learn about and providing them with the reading resources to help them reach that goal. So much wisdom in that.
My Grandfather passed away recently. I’ve thought many times about all the things I should have done. I’m probably the closest grandchild to the 57 Chevy pink house where he lived until his passing. I should have visited more. I should have called more. I didn’t even get to go say goodbye in the small window of time between his rushed trip to the emergency room, to his eyes resting on earth for the very last time. No matter how old he got, I’ll always remember him as the 29 year old man with the 3rd grade education. The numbers didn’t add up, but you never argue with a man in that good of spirits over something that doesn’t matter.
I remember my grandfather as many things. Always a role model for myself as I move to raise a young family. He was a man of God, not a thing subject to speculation. “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20) it says in the bible, and we knew. My grandfather was a man of God, and with that a man of character. My grandfather was a man who believed in his country. It wasn’t ever that he believed in what it should be, while he looked over it’s shortcomings with subtle disappointment. There’s no arguing that our nation has come through some thorny patches. Grandpa had been stung by his fair share of thorns along the way. It made no difference what the issues were, and whether the president was suitable. The country was (suitable), and the leaders always were included meaningfully during prayer.
So my mother (and blog owner) decided a few years ago that we should record Grandpa telling stories from his childhood. With great respect for the man, and as my mother with un-throttled ambition to engage in new endeavors, I signed up for the task. One evening we sat on Grandpa and Grandma’s sofa, no video necessary, just the sound of his voice telling about a time before I’d ever known. Experiences that I’d dare not experience for hardship and discomfort. It was a life that dealt him the grit and perseverance that I certainly admire, and would like to acquire, though preferably without the experiences. I couldn’t say how long we sat on the sofa and listened to the stories. It didn’t seem so long, really. What began as a technical job quickly became entertainment. Focusing on the details of the recording became second to the engagement of the story.
Grandpa is not here on Earth with us now. I still think of what I should have done better. I did this. It wasn’t for him. It was for me. It was for those four children and spouses, and eight more grandchildren and family carrying the torch, and certainly my wife and children. As I watch it, I remember that my grandfather wasn’t so much the 92 year old man who tried his best to make a family get-together count in the discomfort of old age. He wasn’t just the hard worker with grit and stamina. God, family, and country were cornerstones of the man, but there were so many stones that defined his life. It is evident in his stories, the photos, and experiences from helping assemble this story.
It is easy to look back and wish you had done something different. Visited more. Called more. I’ll always look back on that night with the microphone and a pile of old photos and know that I did that right. I believe we have to live life deliberately. God gave us beauty and blessings in our lives. It’s easy to prioritize wealth, and acquisition of things, and even deem those things as necessary. Let us all remember to take the time to do the things that we’ll never regret. The head deacon at our church once told me about how his dad taught him how to die (with dignity). While I can’t discredit that, I plan on livin’ like I’m 29 years old till the day I die as did my grandfather, Glen Harpham.
Get some popcorn. It’s 50 minutes of entertainment. You’ll be better for it.
I received a devotional book by Beth Moore for Christmas from my kids. It has been one of the most enjoyable reads I have done in a while. On every page the words leave more than a picture in my mind. There is the icy cold water Peter jumped into to get to Jesus or the puddle of blood around Stephen as he was stoned and the flood of emotions for John as his brother was beheaded. Story after story my mind was spinning with those tiny details that made the story a true human experience. I had read the stories many times but never with such vivid details. They were not added details, just a picturing of what had really happened. I began to grasp the magnitude of the sacrifice and zeal of the disciples and early church leaders.
I think we often miss that even in our own lives and our own experiences. My father is a World War II veteran. He was kept on Guadalcanal long after the war was over. He had served 4 years there in chemical warfare protecting, loading and unloading tanks of mustard gas and Lucite. The smell of chemicals, the cloud of chemical smog, the danger of an attack on the chemical dump, and the feel of the leaky cylinders were a daily routine for the 7 men who lived in this for four years. After the war they had to haul the chemicals out to sea and dump them. Then they had to help bury all the tanks and equipment. They had to dig by hand to bury the last dozer. When my father finally got to return stateside no one even spoke to him as he stepped off the ship. The war had been over for a long time. Most had forgotten about it and were busy with their new norm. There was no welcome from the country he had served with all he had. Only of course his family who was thrilled to see him.
I have a cousin who served several tours in Vietnam as a medic. The smells, sites, sounds from battlefield and emotions as he darted out on the battlefield to rescue an injured soldier are beyond our comprehension. Most of us when we hear a story only receive it with our ears but there is so much more to each story. Those who experienced it did so with all their senses.
The zeal and sacrifice made by our missionaries and our service men and women are more than we can grasp. But if we fill in the tiny details that make up their experiences as they share them we realize how great they are. I think from now on when I hear a story or read a Bible story my mind will put my five senses into action.
Every year we took a trip to see our great United States of America. As a teacher I loved seeing historical places that would enrich my teaching. We had visited Independence Rock where settlers had passed by signing and dating it. It was fun to see all the names and dates. We had walked in the ruts made by the wagons formed after many years of travel.
We made our way to Colorado where we visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It was beautiful from the over look. It was so deep it looked black. After some discussion we decided to take the drive down into the canyon. The road was a 16 percent grade and had hairpin curves all the way down. It was very narrow and to this day I’m not sure how you would pass someone if you met them
Before I begin the journey down I must tell you we had just purchased our new thunderbird a month or so before the trip. We began the decent and within minutes the magnitude of the drop could be felt. We continued slowly seeing no place to change our mind and turn back. A ways into the journey (to the center of the earth) our brakes began to smell. It seemed obvious that it had probably not been a good plan.
We found a wider spot in the road and decided we would attempt to turn around. The boys and I climbed out of the car. John began maneuvering the car backing and inching forward a bit at a time. I think I held my breath the whole time while signaling him to stop before he came to the edge of the cliff. After what seemed like an hour but was probably a few short minutes the car was headed back up the canyon. We all climbed back in took a deep breath and enjoyed the ride to the top.
This picture is a work in progress. I have always wanted to paint a picture of my great-grandfather guarding the prisoner tied to his bed. I didn’t have a picture of the event but I hope to capture the history. Great-grandpa was the constable of Climax Springs, Missouri. The red book on the table was a record book where he recorded all the events and things he did. It was burned in a house fire. Such a loss of history.
School started last week and I taught my first art classes for the year. I never fail to marvel at the progress of Cornerstone Academy of the Ozarks. It has grown so much since that first year. God has truly blessed. What a fun day it was! Being around the children brings a spirit of renewal to me. The students are so kind, generous and happy. I love teaching there.
My teaching career has taken me on many journeys. In the 90s I applied to be a star teacher. This was a job through the state Dept. of Education. The job was to travel from school to school and share the programs offered by the MO Dept. of Ed. I was called to come in for the interview process. I was so excited. This would be an amazing opportunity for me. I began answering questions mostly about my classroom. Most people who know me would say I am quiet and shy but get me talking about something I am passionate about and you can’t shut me up. Of course they were asking me about my teaching and I was very excited and passionate about the things I did with my students.
The questions kept coming and I kept bubbling over with responses and getting positive excited responses from them. It was a delightful experience. I’m thinking how wonderful to be able to sit here and share my teaching experiences with the heads of education in our state. They kept saying, “That is exactly what we are looking for.” I just knew my chances of getting the position were good. They finalized the interview with information relating to travel, work etc. The whole interview was wonderful. Then came my final question. They asked,
“Do you have any questions?”
I was not sure where my response came from as it was not on my mind at anytime before or during the interview. I said in a small quiet voice, ” Do I have to try to sell each program to a school district even if it does not fit their district.” There was dead silence and then a few glances at each other. I knew right then my chances of getting to be a star teacher was over. When I returned to the car I told my husband I had just blown my chances. I had a real peace about it even though I felt disappointed. I believe God had reminded me not to put myself in a position where I had to compromise or promote things that might not be right. I am so glad God speaks in that small quiet voice to direct our paths. We need to stand firm on God’s Word and the things He places in our hearts even when it may not seem like the right response to others. I don’t look at it as a missed opportunity but as a gift of wisdom from God.
It has been a while since I last put a story on my page. Life sometimes steals us away momentarily. I have not been painting much, one of those wilderness times where much is happening, but going nowhere.
The summer has been busy and hopefully the fruits of my labor are eternal even though I don’t always see it in the present time.
My father, who often feels he gets very little accomplished was taken aback this morning. A long time neighbor and friend stopped by to see him. He told him he passed the house often and that he noticed how neatly he kept the farm and yard. He told him he was a great role model to him and he had went home and mowed his lawn and the area behind his own house. It was precious words of encouragement to my father.
Sunday he went to church and stopped to eat lunch at the cafe. He took the last available booth and was planning on eating alone when a young woman came back and ask him to join her and her family. He so enjoyed having someone to eat lunch with and appreciated their kindness. I don’t know who they were but if by some chance they read this story, “Thank you for your act of kindness. It was appreciated by our whole family as well.”
I love when these kinds of things happen. It is a reminder of the way it was when I grew up and a hope that many in our great nation are remembering and honoring those who gave us this blessed life and great country. It seems all we hear is bad news, seldom the stories that lift us up and inspires us to do good.
I finally got to my paint building this week. My absence had left me with painters block. I picked up my seldom used paint knife and took out some thoughts and emotions on the canvas. It turned out to be an enjoyable experience. Might have to use my paint knife more often.
I recently had the opportunity to visit with a beautiful young mom who has three small children. “The time is moving so fast!” She said, “How can I slow it down? We are just too busy.” How true that is. Most don’t even realize it until the children are grown and time is gone. There is so much opportunity and we want our children to have every advantage possible, so we just keep pressing on.
Having been a young mom myself a few years back I can relate to the problems and decisions that go with raising children. It does come down to setting priorities. At the close of the chapter of your children living at home what will they take with them. For me one of those things was family. I tried to provide opportunities for my children to bond with family. One of those opportunities was Cousin Camp. For one week each summer our home was transformed into a themed camp. All the nieces and nephews came to enjoy the fun.
Tom Sawyer Days Camp
As I reflected on her question, I was left with these thoughts. It is important to make a commitment to those things we prioritize. It is easy to let other things interfere. Don’t regret the missed opportunities. That only tarnishes the opportunities we do get. Don’t do things out of obligation but with a passion that you want your children to have. So much of what we do and say is how we do it and how we say it. Don’t try to do everything. Put things on the calendar that you really want to do and keep that commitment. Don’t keep track of the missed opportunities or how long till the next opportunity. Everyday is an opportunity. Make every opportunity (everyday) meaningful and full of purpose.
While riding along my 4 year old grandson recently moaned,”I’m bored.” I seized the moment to talk with him about all the things he could do while riding along. Life is so precious, too precious to waste it being bored.
Pray daily for your family and for guidance through each day. Teach your children the value of each day. Thank God for each day and always look for how God is working in your life and those in your family. You will find blessings, divine appointments and the joy of serving others along your journey.
This weekend my grandchildren got to spend the night at the homestead farm, the same house I slept in at that age with my grandparents. It was a joy to know they had spent the evening surrounded by all those happy memories and getting to spend some time with their great grandpa. They are probably too small right now to remember the overnighter, but pictures will seal the memory.
During a recent spring cleaning there, my brother and I ran across a box of quilt scraps. He said, ” What shall we do with this?”
I replied, “We are going to check it out. We might find something wonderful in there.”
A few layers down we discovered three sets of very old quilt blocks. One set was a flower basket. They were beautiful, stitched by hand, but the white border was yellowed and dingy. The second set was friendship blocks. Each had names of family members embroideried on it and a date of 1961. Every name brought up a face and many fond memories. The third set had a large capital H on each block for our family name.
My sister took home the flower basket blocks. She worked her magic on them with her special soaking solution. They came out so bright and beautiful. I am so excited to see them made into a quilt.
The old dusty cardboard box took on a whole new appearance, much like a beautiful treasure box. The discovery of the old quilt blocks turned an ordinary day into a very special day. What a treasure!
Growing up I was very shy. I always felt awkward and not as pretty as my sister. I was shy even around my extended family. However there was one uncle who could bring me out of that shell a bit.
Uncle Kermit traveled a lot. When he would return from his travels he would always bring gifts for me, my sister and my brothers. He brought me a purse, socks, musical instrument and even a coat. As soon as he got out of his truck he would call out, “Hi, Elly May. Now if you’re old enough you know who the Beverly Hillbillies were and who Elly May was. I thought Elly May was cute so it tickled me that he would call me Elly May.
I had often shared the stories of my uncle and his nick-name for me with my sons. During that time the new movie of the Beverly Hillbillies hit the theaters. They bought tickets for the family for my birthday. We went to view the new hit movie. Oh, my! It was nothing like the Elly May I remembered. In fact I was embarrassed to think my sons might think I was like that. Eventually we purchased a video of old reruns so they could see the Elly of my remembrance.
It was a sad day when my uncle passed away. As I stood by his bedside his last words to me was you are my big beautiful doll. As I left that day, tears rolled down my cheeks. Some for the sadness of knowing that this might be the last time I would see him and some for the realization that I knew my uncle really did care about me and saw me as someone special.
As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, whatever our relationship, we are so important to our families. We can cherish the memories of our family. And now we need to make memories for our children, grandchildren, extended family, and others to cherish. Lift them up. Give them encouragement and confidence. Teach them good character and a passion for learning about and knowing Jesus.