My Brother-In-Law, George

George died last night. He lived in Florida and I live in Washington, so we have been a continent apart for many years. Fifty-Five years ago my husband passed away.  George, and his brother, John, both my husband’s brothers, made things much easier for me and my three children. They helped me arrange the little finances I had and took complete care of arranging Eddie’s funeral, and stuck by me even though they had families of their own in distant towns. I continue to be thankful for both of them and keep them in my prayers even though I had been married for forty–one years to my present husband.

The thought of George made me think of families today. There have been countless divorces and re-marriages and the children suffer. In many cases they don’t know who their father or mother is. There are even two mothers or two fathers trying to be a family. The “family” idea is almost completely lost! I am so happy that my three children and myself get together often, and call their brother who lives in New Mexico. My Grandchildren come with my children, even though they are adults and have many interests of their own. I think all of us have a healthy idea of family.

I know of many families like mine, maybe it’s because we are older. I remember past days of farming in Wisconsin. When a child married, they built their home someplace on the parents farmland and so the family grew together. It isn’t that way anymore. The kids grow up, go to college or work in the city, marry and settle down somewhere far from the home place. The sad thing is that Mom and Dad don’t see their children often, if at all.

Is there something we can do about that? I suppose not. It seems to be the way it is now, but we, who know what a family is can try to always keep our family together. In this day of cell phones that shouldn’t be so hard, should it?

George is gone, but one thing I am sure of. He knew about families. His brother,John, does too. He is the only on left in his family, but he is keeping his own family close to his heart.

 

Let Our Lights Shine!

Matthew 5: 14-17 reads: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light shine before men in such a way that  they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (NSA)

I don’t think any of us are letting our lights shine. If we had, there would still be prayer in school and manger scenes would be welcome everywhere at Christmas. What’s wrong with us? We want to blame others for everything, but we who are Christians are still the largest group in America, Why do we watch our culture go down the way it has? Certainly, all of us see that the morals have really changed here in the country we love.

I don’t like to blame our pastors, but when was the last time you have heard a sermon on abortion? Yet Jesus said “Do not hurt one of these little ones. If you do, it would be better for you if a millstone is hung around your neck and you would be thrown in a lake.” I’m paraphrasing a bit, but He did say that. Should we all have a millstone tied around our necks? That would be awful!

Or, when was the last time you heard a sermon on homosexuality? The Bible says it’s wrong. In fact, God calls it an abomination. Shouldn’t that stop some of us? Yet now men are marrying men, and women are marrying women. Marriage is sacred, so the Bible says. We surely haven’t turned on our lights against that, have we? Boys and girls are living together before marriage.  We aren’t even thinking that marriage is sacred and between one man and one woman.

I believe that pastors are worried about our culture too, but they are afraid they might step on someone’s toes. Why should this matter to them or to us? If we have our lights burning, as we should, we would gather together and things would change. It would take a while, but we could change the world. It sounds impossible, but God loves the impossible!

Happy New Year!

Sunsets

Isn’t it nice that we can depend on God? He will still paint beautiful sunsets and sun risings. He won’t leave our trees bare but will put little buds on each of them and these buds will become leaves. It might be colder awhile longer, but it will get warmer. The skies will be grey sometimes, but You will see sunny skies too. And he will keep his promise telling us that he won’t leave us nor forsake us if we believe.

We have created turmoil in our earth, that is the truth of it, not only here in America but in the whole world. I don’t think the Republicans will say even “good morning” to the Democrats so how can they really debate on anything good for us who depend on them. The Democrats in Washington DC hate our President Donald Trump, but the rest of us voted him in! That sounds almost like a war, doesn’t it?

Yet, we who believe that Jesus was born in a manger, grew up to die for our sins and rose from the dead to live with God in Heaven. Here, He will lead us to God, listen to our prayers and forgive our sins. So there should be no turmoil in our hearts. If you have some, just turn to Him. I firmly believe that He is the only answer to our whole world today. He can calm all of our fears. He is in the control of all.

Look for the rainbow which will surely come, and pray diligently for everyone to believe in God, for He is our answer. Don’t you agree?

A Christmas long ago

It was 1963. My husband, Eddie, died on November 18th. It wasn’t an expected death, He dropped dead in the high school where he served as Superintendent. My three kids and I got through Thanksgiving pretty well, mostly because my friend from the southern part of our state left her family and came to celebrate the holiday with us. She said, ” You needed me more than my family. Besides, we will have our dinner when I get home.” She was wonderful!

Christmas was another thing. The two older children were often found crying in their rooms. They wanted the Christmas season to be the same as it’s always been. Little Ronnie was just the same though, perhaps that’s what kept me going! I didn’t stop teaching my two church choirs their Christmas anthems, but I  didn’t feel the joy I usually did at this season of the year.

Christmas came as it always does. The stores looked festive and the folks were smiling and saying “Merry Christmas” to everyone, even the folks they didn’t know. I just couldn’t get into the mood. I gave some money to Jim, my oldest, and told him to give some of it to JoAnne and they could buy each other and Ronnie a gift.

“Don’t worry, we will have a nice Christmas. Remember, it’s Jesus’ birthday.” I said  Just as they left for shopping. Elaine, the friend I had met in just the short time we had lived in that town, would go with them. While they were gone, Bob, Elaine’s husband, brought into our home a beautiful Christmas tree! I hadn’t planned on having one because we were going to visit Grandma and Grandpa Thompson, Eddie’s folks, after Christmas and they would have a tree.

“You’ve got lights and stuff somewhere, don’t you?” Bob asked as he placed the tree near an electrical plugin. “You and the kids will have fun making it look great!”

We did too. In fact, I almost forgot that I would have to find work soon, watching my children laughing as they pranced around, feeling the Christmas spirit, and the tree looked beautiful, I was glad Bob had thought we should have one!

I decided we would have a good dinner on Christmas Eve, and still have time to open the presents before the late evening service at the church. So I baked a whole chicken and had everything that goes with it, even a pumpkin pie!

After enjoying that, we sat down on the floor by the tree, to open our gifts. I watched my kid’s smiles and cries of glee as they opened what I had given them, and thanked God that I had given them Christmas and that Bob and Elaine had opened my eyes.

“There’s one more,” Jim said. JoAnne chimed in too. The two of them ran laughing into their bedroom. They came out with a wrapped gift and handed it to me. “We knew you would give us presents so we used the money you gave us to buy you this,” said JoAnne.

The Ole Coffee PotAll three of them jumped up on me wanting to help me open it. They did! And, sitting on the floor, I started to cry. There, in my hands was the beautiful Norwegian painted coffee pot I had always wanted! The kids had used all their money to purchase it. I am sure Elaine put in what the kids didn’t have. I didn’t have any words to say to them, but I am sure the words came along with the cries and kisses.

I made coffee in it right away and for years more. I still have that coffee pot, a little battered but it sits in honor where everyone can see it. What better could my children do to celebrate the birth of Jesus? They gave what they had. Didn’t Jesus say that if we give a cup of water in His name, we will be rewarded?

Decoration,What Is It?

I believe decoration means something different to every person. The Veterans group that puts the American Flag on every veteran’s grave for Memorial Day, must think of decoration as an honorable service, both beautiful and sad to see. Furniture stores use the word “decoration” in their ads to mean people should buy this or that to decorate their homes. And, we use the term when we want to decorate our back yards.

I, and many other women, think of decoration as sort of a preparation, a preparation for the greatest event in History, the birthday of Jesus, who was born a baby in a barn, but at age 33  died for the sins of all people. He died for you too, because the Bible says He died for all people in the world, but we must believe that He lives, and died an awful death, and rose from the grave and now lives with God in heaven. I wish everyone believed that!

I start decorating right after Thanksgiving and don’t quit until the day of Christmas eve. I decorate everything meaningful to His birth, but some which reminds me of the snow we had in Northern Minnesota! My son, who is living with me, can’t understand it. He comes to me and  asks me, “Why don’t you quit this now. You have been at it for hours today.”

He doesn’t understand how much Christmas means to me. I love to decorate, and think of it as fun! Even though I’m 92 years young, I believe I will keep on decorating until the Lord comes to take me home. I used to do more intricate things, but the simpler decorations work just as well.

You, who like to decorate for Christmas, why don’t you think of your decorating as a preparation for the birthday of Jesus. There is no one who ever walked this earth like Him, no, none, not even Santa Claus!

 

Words That Comfort.

I was a little girl of four when I was asked by my mom if I would like to sing at a funeral. I wasn’t sure what a funeral was, but I said, “Yes”. I learned later that Billy, a little boy of four, had fallen out of a tire swing and hit his head on a rusty tomato can and died. I knew Billy a little bit, but his family lived way out in the country so they didn’t get to church very often.

Billy’s family were members of the church where my dad was the pastor so the funeral would be there, and I would sing! Many people were already there when mom and I walked across the lawn and into the church. I was beginning to feel like throwing up. When it was time for me to sing, Mama motioned for me to get up. I was proud to do as my mom said because I was wearing a pretty white dress, stockings, and shoes. All of which I borrowed from Donna my friend. I knew that I looked good!

I started to sing and after I had sung a little, most of the people started to cry! I thought I should quit singing? I must be singing awful.

I inched closer to Mama, who was playing the organ, she smiled, so I kept on singing. When Mama and I were walking back home I asked her why they all cried when I was singing. She said, “Because you were a good girl and they understood the words you were singing. It’s always good to make sure people understand your words. With them, you bring them comfort, hope, and faith.”

I have sung many solos since that time and I always remember Mama’s words and make sure the ones who hear me know what I am singing about. Maybe you don’t sing, but even if your talking, make sure your words are true, and might even bring comfort, hope or faith to those who hear you. We hear so much today that is not true. Let’s try to change all that.

All About Trains

Trains!

Trains aren’t romantic anymore. You walk in and notice that everything looks shiny and bright. A waitress brings you a drink, and if you are traveling near bedtime.she will also hand you a white pillow. You can walk to a diner where you can order just about anything, If you want to be alone you can order a small room of your own where you can sleep in a bed and have everything brought to you.

I believe that is the reason for all the train clubs that have been formed.  If you have noticed, all of them show coal or wood fed engines, and trees, mountains, and lakes are a part of their display, The people who make them are remembering how trains used to be.

I don’t belong to a train club, but I have built my own idea of trains back in the good old days. I built a small town of the early forties, and the train tracks go around the town. It’s a small display but enough to fuel my memories. Let me take you along with me on one of my memories.

I think I was about 12 when my aunt Birdie asked my folks if I could come by train and spend the summer with her on her farm! Anyhow, it was decided and I went. The conductor was very friendly as we chugged out of our town. I was going the 250 miles to my aunt. The train stopped about 50 miles from home and stayed there quite a long time. Nobody got on or off the train but I was glad when we started up again. The train stopped again after two hours, and we stayed there quite a long time. I got up to see what I could see. I saw the men from the train and some from the town we were in. They were all playing cards! They seemed oblivious to time at all. We did finally get there and my aunt and uncle were quite upset at how late the train was!

The train went from Minneapolis to the west coast, but the tracks we were on went to the little towns north of the cities, so I imagine it didn’t matter when the trains got to where it was going. However, that incident didn’t take away my love for the old steam engine trains. My son, Jim and I, built a much more elaborate train scene when he was a boy. He loves trains as much as I do. If he lived closer to me, I imagine we would have built a much larger display than I did.