Tuesday, October 13, 2015

31 Days of Life Stories #13

Did you ever see that movie, Little Princess, with Shirley Temple who played Sarah Crewe? It was the story of a little rich girl who became poor and was made to be the servant at the boarding school where she once was honored and cherished. In the end her fortunes were restored, but oh! how she suffered.


One of my favorite scenes in the movie was how she had went to sleep in the dark cold attic with broken-down furnishings surrounding her. A neighbor, observing her poverty, snuck in and decorated her room with thick blankets, a warm fire, food at a table set in splendor. I believe there was also warm beautiful clothing provided as well. What a surprise! Where she lived did not look like it did the day before.

Once, on a much much smaller scale, I had a surprise, too.

One day, I went to school having gotten dressed in my very first room of my own, a blue bedroom in our new house in Tampa.

But after school, instead of walking home, my parents were waiting to pick me up. Instead of going home to my blue bedroom, they took me to a different house and showed me my new pink bedroom.

They had traded houses and moved all in one day!

There had been a malfunction of the heater up in the attic that had caused a small fire. Dad went to have a talk with owners of the subdivision about making it right. We had only lived there three weeks, I think.

Long story short, it was decided to trade us a different house for the same money. Mom and Dad liked the different house better and got right to work moving our things. My uncle, aunt and grandmother helped, too. Looking back, it was kind of amazing they were able to move everything in time to pick us up from school. (Of course, this did not mean boxes were unpacked.)

Anyway, I always thought of Sarah Crewe when I realized where I lived didn't look like it did the day before.

Moral of the story:  you never know what a day will bring.

This post is #13 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."

Monday, October 12, 2015

31 Days of Life Stories #12

Today we are having a little cool snap and it made me think of a little story of long ago ...

My aunt and uncle were visiting us in Elgin with their four children (at the time).  I loved when cousins came visiting!

They had some rules for their children we didn't have at our house. One was their kids were not allowed to have anything to drink with their meals. Uncle Sam felt the kids would only drink their beverages and not eat their food so his rule was "first eat, then you can have something to drink." I thought this was very cruel - probably because I loved to drink tons of sweet tea!

Another rule was the children must go outside to play everyday even if only for a half-hour. They felt everyone needs fresh air even on the coldest days.

Mom made my brother and I abide by the same rules when the cousins were there. One day, during their visit, it dawned a cool, cloudy windy day. I begged for us to stay inside because it was just too cold to play out.

My pleas fell on deaf ears. The cousins didn't say a word because they already knew it was a lost cause.

So we all trooped outside to the back yard for 30 minutes of play. I could not even think of one thing to do because it was. Just. So. Cold.

I said, "I bet our moms would be sorry about making us stay out here if we got sick and died from the cold." Yes, I was always the dramatic one.  

I looked at how we were dressed. We all had hooded sweatshirts on. (We didn't call them hoodies back then.) I came up with the idea of looking like we were freezing to death. We pulled up our hoods and tied them so tight we just had our noses sticking out. We stuffed our hands into our pockets. Then we positioned ourselves right outside the kitchen window where the grown-ups would be sure to see us. We rolled on the ground, shivering, shaking and moaning.

This was supposed to inspire feelings of pity and concern. I imagined my mom and aunt rushing outside to see what was wrong with us. Once out there, they'd feel how cold it was and how cruel it would be to make us suffer outside.

Instead, we heard the sound of laughter at the kitchen sink. No one rushed outside to check on us!

Funny thing, but after all that rolling around, we had kind of warmed up. Tim said, "Let's play hide and sneak (seek)."

"Okay, you're it!"

Off we scrambled to hiding places. We played so long Mom and Aunt Willa Fern had to call us in for lunch.


Did you have a lot of rules and routines when you were growing up? I found out later that a lot of the rules my uncle and aunt had for their children was in their best interest. My uncle had experienced kind of a hard childhood and wanted more for his kids. Sometimes, rule making is a sign of love.

This post is #12 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

31 Days of Life Stories #11

The sermon this past weekend was entitled "Comfort." The text was 2 Corinthians 1:3 which says He is the God of all comfort, which reminded me of this life story:

Our youngest daughter, Malia, loved to run around bare foot. For that reason, she often seem to pick up splinters. I never could figure it out - we don't even have any wooden porches, decks or rails in our yard.

One day, she got the hugest splinter ever embedded in her foot. Usually Dad was the one who could see well enough to get the splinters out, so she went to him first. He couldn't get it out by usual means, so we ended up getting her laid out on the bed while me and the girls held her down and he dug it out. Oh, the tears!  Malia cried too.

"Mom, mom, " she cried as tears slipped out of her eyes sideways to her ears, "You're supposed to comfort me."

I thought I was! Evidently holding her down and crying along with her did not equate comfort in her mind.

I'm glad God knows how to comfort better than I do. If you are going through a bad time today, ask Him for comfort. He will know what to do. After all, He cares so much for you that He gave His son to die for you. 

This post is #11 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

31 Days of Life Stories #10

Do you remember the day our president, John F. Kennedy, was shot?  I think that terrible horrible day was one of the most memorable events that happened in every baby boomer's life.

I was seven years old and sitting in a class room when suddenly over the loudspeaker our principal informed us what had happened.

"I'm sorry to inform you that the President of the United States has been shot and killed. School will be dismissed. Please quickly and quietly gather your belongings and go straight home."

There was deafening silence as we each looked at each other with wide eyes. Was this the end of the world? What would happen next?

The next thing I remember, I'm dressed in my coat and running as fast as I can home. (Remember, in those days we lived two blocks from school.) I burst into the door with questions on my lips but Dad and Granny were glued to the television set and barely acknowledged my presence.

According to Wikipedia, that day, Friday, November 22, 1963, ushered in 4 straight days of television programming (on all channels all day long) regarding the assassination and funeral of the President. Schools and businesses closed in tribute through Monday.


I believe it because at our house the television was on constantly. The atmosphere was one of mourning even though we were really not Kennedy supporters. Still, he was our president, and honor was due him.

(I'm not sure today's world would afford anyone quite the respect his office received.)

I'm including this post in my collection of Life Stories because it truly was a life-changing event. Even though I was only 7, it seemed that life seemed different after the President's shooting. I became aware of politics - I'm not sure I even realized anything about government before that day - and also, a certain innocence was lost. The world was not a safe place and you really did not know what to expect!
How about you? Do you remember what you were doing that day? Or, for you younger readers, do you remember the details of your day when 9/11 happened? Did you feel life was different after those events?

This post is #10 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."

Friday, October 9, 2015

31 Days of Life Story #9

Do you ever feel a different atmosphere in different locations? I was thinking today how different life was when we left Elgin, a suburb of Chicago, and moved to Florida. 

Life just felt different there!

Of course, the first noticeable difference was the weather. During Elgin winters, we had to have snow boots, snow pants, mittens, gloves and scarves topped off by a heavy parka with either a hood or some kind of knitted hat. Seriously, guys, I really did walk to school in snow ... for two blocks!

But in Florida, I only had to sometimes wear a sweater. No keeping up with mittens or gloves. Glorious! Oh, the freedom! I felt like a bird let out of a cage.

Winters in Elgin were dark. It seemed like the sun had better things to do than to shine on us. In Florida, every day was a sunny day. If it did rain, it would rain for like 10 minutes, stop, and the sun would come out and dry everything up.

Besides the weather, another big difference for us was the housing. We'd always lived in two story white houses that were built almost a century ago. Now we lived in a brand new one story house made of brick and block, and instead of carpet, there were terrazzo floors. (It looked like polished cement somewhat similar to granite counter tops). You didn't need tons of blankets and quilts or heavy window coverings.

The neighborhoods were different. I'd been used to living in an older settled neighborhood only a few blocks from little mom and pop style businesses bordered by the Elgin Watch factory. Now we lived in a subdivision that covered about 80 blocks.

I guess for me personally, school was the biggest change of all. I was in the middle of the fifth grade school year when we moved. As I said before, in Elgin I walked two blocks to school.  In Tampa, I walked 11 blocks. In Elgin, we went home for lunch, but in Tampa, we ate in the school cafeteria. What a shock that was! Cafeteria food was like nothing I'd ever tasted.

If that wasn't enough, Florida schools made even 5th graders go outside every day for P.E. or phys-ed as we called it in those days. 

I haven't even discussed all the other changes I experienced when we moved - like THE BEACH, or getting my own room for the first time, or Cuban foods, Busch Gardens and Dipper Dan's (which was like Baskin Robbins) - did you know there was such a thing as bubble gum ice cream??? You could grow banana and orange trees in your yard! Even the grass was different because St. Augustine grass is nothing like the grass grown in northern Illinois.

It was enough to make your head spin. 

I've moved to other places in my life and each place felt different, but none was quite the culture shock that I experienced going from the Chicago area to Florida.

However, every move had some things that stayed the same. I could always count on family being there. I knew there'd be dinner every night at the family table. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I'd be in church Sunday worshiping God, whatever town I lived in.

I know that someday I will again experience culture shock when I move from my earthly existence to my heavenly Home. Everything there will look differently, smell and feel differently. There will be no more rainy days and "nothing but clear sunny days*." It will be life-changing and take some adjusting, but I think I won't have a problem with it. It will feel like Home because there will still be some familiar things. 

Family and God.

This post is #9 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why Saved Ones Have Trials

In all the excitement of writing my 31 Days of Life Stories series, I totally forgot to post the next installment of my study on 1st Peter.  If you'd like to catch up, see Temporarily HereChosen to Be Set Apart and Living Hope.

1 Peter 1:6-9  Why Saved Ones Have Trials

  • We often don't know what is in our heart until we go through a trial. God already knows what our faith looks like but we don't. After a trial is over, we can look back and be amazed at how enduring our faith proved to be.
  • Gold is put through the fire to burn away the dross, the impurities. When we are tested in the fire, all the silly un-important things in life rise to the surface and we can see them for what they really are. We can ask Him for help to get rid of them and what is left is more precious than gold - a strong abiding faith that nothing can shake.
  • Remember, these trials are "for a little while," or as the KJV says, "for a season." It won't always be this way!
  • Also, notice the phrase, "if necessary," or "if need be." Not every person has to go through the exact same trial. God in His infinite mercy only allows what is best for you and the people around you. Some have trials. Some have to walk through grief. BUT He walks with you and there will be an end to the trial
  • Peter has seen Christ and loved Him, but you love Him having never seen Him!
  • The day we see God is the time we will have obtained the outcome of our faith that results in total salvation.

You see, even angels are curious about the salvation we believers have. We'll talk more next week.

31 Days of Life Stories #8

Today, I thought I would talk about the time I first learned about peer pressure and the fact that just because someone acts like they want to be friends, it may not be so.

But first, a little backstory:

Every once in awhile Dad would have babysitting duty.  His idea of babysitting was to have some tickle wars, maybe a story or two, and then nap time.  I was a no-go on the nap time part, so sometimes he would drag the couch in front of the door and take a nap himself. I and little brother was supposed to entertain ourselves by watching cartoons on TV or quietly play on the floor. He felt we were safe because the couch kept us contained in one room.

Or so he thought.

Bored one day, Tim and I crawled over Dad WHILE HE SLEPT ON THE COUCH and dropped over the back of the sofa into the next room. We were so proud of ourselves, we giggled in delight which woke Dad up and alerted him to trouble.

Another day, I don't know what Tim was doing, probably sleeping, but I climbed up and over the couch by myself. I decided to go outside to play.

Back in that era, in the neighborhood I lived in, kids roamed the block playing in each other's yards. A neighbor girl happened to be outside. One that I barely recognized. We struck up a conversation. It's a little hazy now but I think we might have been climbing a tree. Anyway, she said she was thirsty. She wondered if we could go inside my house and get a drink?

Ever one to court approval, of course I said yes. We came up the stairs to our apartment and entered by the back door. As soon as we came into the kitchen her eyes fell on the carton of Pepsi bottles sitting on the floor.

One of our little family traditions was that we got one carton of Pepsi a week. It was for pizza night on Saturdays when we watched Perry Mason and broke out a Pepsi bottle or two. There were 8 bottles in a carton and it had to last the whole week for the whole family.

There were 3 bottles left when the neighbor girl said longingly, "Oh, I love Pepsi. Can I have some?"

I felt grown up and important as I said, "Why sure you can!" After all, we have to be nice to guests, right?

When ALL the Pepsi bottles were empty, the neighbor girl suddenly had to leave.  I don't remember ever seeing her again ...

When my parents found out what had happened, they were mad. This is the first time I ever heard the phrase, "If everyone else jumped off the bridge, would you do it, too?" I learned just because someone suggests you do something doesn't mean it is a good decision.

I wish I could say I learned that lesson perfectly the first time!

This post is #8 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."