Friday, April 27, 2018

Sweet Memories, So Many Wonderful Thoughts and Questions

October 19, 1995: At lunch Rebecca pointed out, "There's two 'I need to go to the bathrooms.' One is when you say, 'Rebecca, you need to go to the bathroom.' The other is when I say, 'I need to go to the bathroom.'" I said that was true. She said, "Are they both spelled the same way?"

The other day the kids were telling me about a turtle or a fish or something at a neighbor's house, that they can ride. They said there was water in it. I asked if they got wet, and they said, no, that the water was INSIDE the thing. Rebecca explained, "It's like when you hold us, but there's food in your tummy."

October 20, 1995: The girls wore their sweaters outside to play this morning, and I told them not to get their pretty sweaters dirty. When they came in, I asked if they'd gotten them dirty. They said no, then Rebecca said seriously, "I did get mine dirty, though." I asked how, and she replied, "I laid down in the mud."

Sarah recently moved from the afternoon to the morning class at school, but still has the same teacher and aid in the same room. She told Murray several days after she'd switched that there were new kids in her class. (I’m guessing all of them were new.)

October 24, 1995: When we went to Missouri in August, and right around the time we were getting to Missouri, Rebecca said, "This must be Missouri, because there's lots of trees." (We lived in Wichita then. Maybe that says something about how many trees there were in Kansas.)

November 1, 1995: Yesterday Rebecca finished reading Snow White; it took her a couple weeks at a page or two a day. I told her how proud I was of her, because she had just read her first whole book. She wanted to read the title page and the back cover, too, so she would have read the whole book.

Yesterday Sarah fell down one flight of our stairs. She hardly even cried, but when I asked her how she fell, she whimpered, "The steps made me fall."

November 2, 1995: It's snow flurrying today for the first time this year, and the kids are excited. Rebecca told me that they could see some snow falling on the deck. We have some pumpkins on the deck, and she said, "Mom, I promise; I'm not lying. There's snow on the pumpkins!"

November 6, 1995: Last night Caleb told me, "I'm looking for something I've never seen." I asked what it was, and he said, "And I don't know what it is."   

This morning I was talking with the kids about how Jesus is going to come back someday and take people to Heaven. I said it might be today, or it might be in hundreds of years, but we don't know. Rebecca got really sad and said she didn't want it to be today. She said she wanted to get big first. She said, "I want to get kids."

November 11, 1995: Last night we visited some friends who live in a mobile home court. Rebecca said, "These houses look like campers."

November 15, 1995: We had some animals from a petting zoo in our car the other night to take to church, and one was a turkey. Sarah described him as "The one with the big tail that looks like a dinosaur." No wonder she was scared of it.

The kids were fighting in the car the other night. Sarah prayed, "Dear Lord, please help Caleb not to touch me when I don't want him to." I turned my head away because I was laughing, but Rebecca asked me, "Are you going to tell Daddy what she said?"

November 21, 1995: It was 28 degrees outside today, so the kids wanted to open the door and see what it felt like. We could smell smoke from someone's fireplace, so Sarah said, "It smells like ham out there."

December 19, 1995: I was lying with the girls this morning when Rebecca said, "You know when you close your eyes, and there's a pretend TV in there that shows a bunch of pictures for kids? I just closed my eyes and saw Baby Jesus."

Later the girls were watching the news on TV, and there was a story about a politician's campaign commercial, mentioning juvenile crime. When she saw the guns, Rebecca said, "Turn that off, Sarah. Those are bad guys."

Sarah was talking to me a little bit ago, and she said, "Mommy, you couldn't hear me talking a little bit, because I had my hands on my ears."

December 22, 1995: The other day we were talking about whether animals go to Heaven. Rebecca said, "I think they'll go to Heaven because Abel gave God a gift of sheep, so that makes sense."

Also the other day we were talking about how the people who killed Jesus were bad. Then Rebecca said that it was a good thing they did it though, because they had to. I said that was right, that Jesus had to die for our sins. She said, "Yes, or we couldn't go to Heaven."

December 31, 1995: Last night Caleb asked for a special new sandwich for dinner--peanut butter, cheese, and pickles. We said he could have it if he promised to eat it all. He did eat it all, but he said he didn't have to have it anymore.

Tonight Sarah asked, "Why did Jesus give us left and right?"

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Proposal

This is from one of my writing practices this week. I’m working on becoming more comfortable with third person.


 “John, will you marry me?”
John laid down his book, then looked at Sheila, kneeling on the floor in front of him. “What?”
Sheila raised her chin. “Didn’t you hear what I said?”
“Well, yeah, I think I did. But … what?”
“I asked if you’d marry me.”
John leaned back against the couch and rubbed his arm against his face. “Doesn’t the guy usually ask?”
Sheila sat back on her ankles and crossed her hands on her lap. “Three of my friends have been whining to me lately that they’re afraid their boyfriends are never going to ask them. They’re so frustrated. I decided not to let myself get that way. I love you. I want to marry you. What am I waiting for?”
John’s lips twitched. He reached for Sheila’s hands. “Come on. Sit up here beside me.”
“Nope.” She shook her head. “Not until I get an answer.”
She returned to her knees, grasped John’s hand in both of hers, and gazed up at him. “John Steven Rollings, I love you with all my heart. Will you do me the honor of becoming my husband?”
He moved to the floor beside her and wrapped her in his arms. “Nothing would make me happier.” He kissed her. “Do you have a ring for me?”
Sheila rested her head against his shoulder and sniffed. “Of course not. What do you think I am? I’m a girl of traditions. I want a ring. Can we go shopping for one today?”

Friday, April 13, 2018

Grace and Truth, John 5:31-47

Jesus’s priority was to save us, to give us life. To prove his credentials, he boldly listed supporters of who he is:

John the Baptist


God, the Father


The mighty works which he performed, which his father sent him to do.

Verses 31-34,36-37: “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
“You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Our Spring Trip West

I love this trip we make twice a year, to visit our daughter Rebecca in Iowa and my mom and brothers in Missouri. I’ll share some highlights.

When we got to Rebecca’s apartment Friday night and Ping-Hwei opened the front door—Rebecca left it unlocked for us—Ping-Hwei yelled, “Watch the cat.” That’s what we have to do every time we go through our front door at home, to keep our Eli in. Rebecca’s Milly is not so much trouble.

Milly does not enjoy our visit, however. Rebecca said Milly does not like her routine to be upset.

I asked Rebecca to let me hold Millie anyway, a solid, twelve-pound girl. Milly gave her loud, raspy meow (Murray said you can tell she was a smoker) and tried to get away. So I didn’t ask to hold her again, but snuck a pat whenever I got the chance.

I heard her purr for the first time when we were leaving Monday morning. Somehow she knew.

On Saturday for breakfast Ping-Hwei made scrambled eggs, and we had biscuits with one of Rebecca’s favorite jellies, raspberry-jalapeno. It always surprises me how much I like that.

Rebecca took us to the animal shelter where she volunteers and let me play with some cute puppies and friendly cats. She introduced me to her new cat friend, a sweet guy, Winslow. He had the best purr. Rebecca said she’d like to adopt him, but she can’t have another cat in her apartment. I told her if she got a house, she could have a dog, and any cat she wanted. She said, “Not right now.”

So many reasons I have to be proud of Rebecca, and I learned a new one this trip. Murray took a button-down shirt to wear to church Sunday, but it got wrinkled on the trip. He asked Rebecca if she had an iron and she didn’t. Yes! That’s my girl.

At Rebecca’s church on Easter Sunday, April 1, the bulletin held the important message: “Empty tomb; no fooling.”

The church held a celebration—excited music, lights, smoke, and a machine which shot confetti out into the seats. Jesus is alive.

My brother Jim built a house on Mom’s farm and stops by to visit every evening. One night we were talking with him about what he feeds his cows, including a syrupy food supplement which brings a smile to Mom’s voice when she sees the young calves licking at its fountain.

Jim said he sometimes feeds the cows from Mom’s barn, hay bales which she and Dad made thirty years ago. They’re still good and the cows still eat them. This is amazing to me.

Mom’s quilting group meets on Tuesday mornings, in the one room schoolhouse where Mom attended till she was in the eighth grade. We went with her this week.

There were some school pictures, more than sixty-five years old, and Mom asked Murray if he could tell which one was her. He found it at last and said, “I know that frown on your face. You weren’t happy to be at school that day.”

We had lunch with my brother Rodney, and I ordered salad while everybody else got hot dogs or pizza. My food arrived after everybody else’s, so I was still eating when they were all finished.

“Take your time, Kathy,” Rodney told me. “The last person done has to pay.”

I got disoriented and ran a couple times into Mom’s dish cabinet, an antique she calls a pie safe. It’s stood in the exact same spot in the kitchen my entire life.

Mom told me to be careful, not to break it. She said it’s an heirloom; it belonged to her grandmother, and my mom will be 81 next month.

One of the things I most look forward to is sitting for hours with my mom, chatting. We talked about books we’re reading, my kids, Mom’s neighbors, some of whose names are familiar from when I was a kid, about relatives, and Mom’s church.

Mom talked about a service people did from her community last spring. There were wild fires in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, where farmers lost cattle, fences, feed.
Local businesses and individuals donated money and supplies, fence posts, hay, cattle feeders which high school students built. Three truck convoys from Mom’s community carried these supplies to Kansas.

Mom read stories to me she saved from the paper, about farmers helping farmers. She told me even though it’s been a year since then, it still brings tears to her eyes. She said, “There are still good people in the world.”