The Night Bessie Bumped Her head

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John Neil Ider “Ida” (Owens) Oldham was better known as Grannie to my two brothers and me. Her daddy wanted a boy and he told his wife it did not matter if it was a boy or a girl. When the baby was born he was namin’ it John Neil. His wife told him she did not care what he named her, she was naming her Ider. Most folks understood her name should be pronounced Ida, of course. In later years, she would have trouble with her name when needing identification because her name did not match her gender.

One of the things I enjoyed most, in growing up in Louisiana, was going to her house during the summer time and spend a week; just the two of us. The summer of 1959, at nine years old, is one I have never forgotten. Pioneer, Louisiana was a small town with one wood frame country store and one gas pump. Because it was a farming community there was always danger on every corner if you did not stay fully aware of your surroundings.

Papa had died in 1954 leaving Grannie to tend the forty-acre farm alone. I was only four when he passed. She was lonely at times and enjoyed having company. TV was watched every night with the shows in black and white. Bedtime for me rolled around at 8:30PM. I was usually afraid to go to bed alone. A farm in the country is extremely dark in the middle of the night. One consolation was the .22 rifle standing next to the bed. I had used it several times looking for rabbit and squirrels. I knew if I needed to protect myself the rifle was there.

It was a privilege to sleep with Grannie each night, of course I never knew for sure she was there because, if she came to bed it was well after I was asleep and she was up before dawn. The thought that she slept with me offered some facsimile of security.

I discovered the truth about where she slept one night when all hell broke loose. Heavy breathing entered the room. I could hear it but not see it; the room was too dark and heavy clouds blocked the moonlight. At that instant the clouds dissipated and illuminated two large eyes staring right at me. I sat straight up in the bed. Grannie was not there!

I sat gripped with quiet anxiety while I fought off the dragons of fear. The breathing was only feet from me–then a snort. I screamed bloody murder. I could hear Grannie running down the hallway at the same time Bessie, her milk cow, pulled her head up, and bellowed like I’m the one who scared her. She jerked her head back out of that window as fast as she could, tearing out the glass and the wood frame that held it.

Grannie ran down the hall, entered the room and stuck her head out the widow yelling some words that I did not hear. Bessie skedaddled back toward the barn where she belonged. It was the first time I had seen Grannie with no teeth. Flapping her lower jaw against her upper, she turned to calm me down and found me aiming the .22 right at the window. She relaxed me into the reality that she was not there to hurt me. I dropped the gun and climbed under the covers where I burst into tears. Grannie climbed in beside me, wrapped her arms around me and slept the rest the night, or least until I woke up to find her cooking cathead biscuits, scrambled eggs and grits.

Made you smile!

The Determined Race

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“An athlete is not crowned unless

he competes according to the rules.”

2 Timothy 2:5

 John was excited about field day at his school. The race was all he and his two best friends could talk about. He was determined to win. A thunder of happy kids stood around the field. Every child’s ambition was the proverbial Blue Ribbon.

Josh was a taller and towered over John. He was favored to win. Jake was shorter than both boys. The pistol fired. As his Dad I wanted John to win. I stood at the finish tape screaming, “Come on John!”

He was running as fast as his eight-year-old legs would go. He crossed the finish line in second place and I hugged his neck. He was so happy! “Did you see that Dad? Me and Josh and Jake were the top three winners!” He didn’t care about being first–only that he had finished the race. He stood in line to receive his red ribbon with a smile of grandeur and the three of them poked each other in fun. I was so proud.

On the way home he talked about the race. “I have figured it out, Dad.”

“What?” I asked.

“Josh is taller with longer legs. I am in the middle with middle legs. Jake has short legs. So, that means that who ever has the shortest legs will always win because they don’t have to step as far while they are running.”

What a great theory from a child. He finished with the prize he believed he deserved for his effort.

Paul said,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,

Which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day,

And not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

2 Timothy 4:7-8

So now I ask you, as a child of God, are you even in the race anymore? Peter was. He drew closer to Him as he walked three years with Jesus. He left his boat when he was called. Jesus asked Peter who He was. Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter was with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration; he heard the voice of God. Jesus called him the Rock upon which He would build His church. Peter knew Jesus. He desired to know Him more and draw close to Him.

Why then do we later see Peter following Jesus at a distance (MT. 26:58)? There had been a gradual, subtle increase in his pride and self-confidence (26:33). He became reckless (vs. 40). He began to act without thinking (Luke 22:51). Peter was ready to go to prison and to die for Christ, or so he said (Luke 22:33).

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Jesus was arrested. Peter followed at a distance. He denied Christ, three times. The cock crowed. Peter wept bitterly (Mt 26:54-62).

Does this sound familiar, maybe in your own life? Were you once so close to Jesus you were inseparable? Did you become over-confident? Did you deny Christ? Did someone say something about you and your left? Do you feel horrible at what you have done with Jesus? Do you feel like you cannot be forgiven? Are you now following Him at a distance? Have you done like Peter and just gone fishing?

Though Peter denied Christ he sought forgiveness and drew nigh to the Lord. He got right back in the race. He took his stand with the eleven and began to preach the Gospel. Three thousand souls were added to the Church. He healed the sick and lame. He was determined to put the past behind him and run the race.

He had made a mistake. He did not give up on what he knew and loved. Just as he had told Jesus he would do, he went to prison and eventually died for Him. The point is this. You cannot follow from a distance while waiting to see the outcome, and expect to win the race God has given you.

You need to get back in the race today. Be determined. He is waiting to forgive you and to bless you in your life and ministry. He knows the plans He has for you.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” ‘declares the Lord,’ “plans to prosper

And not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

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Uncle Ernest’s Kite

Andy Oldham:

Here is a wonderful memory that I think you will enjoy reading. I surely did. We should all be writing our memories like this one. Enjoy! :-)

Originally posted on Cryptic Garland click here:

I got a mildly terse phone call from a cousin whom I haven’t heard from for a number of years. We have joint ownership of our Grandfather. The general tenor of the call was to tell me that we never had an Uncle Ernest and even if we did he would not have left his French wife on her own and stayed in France to act the goat. I told him he was perfectly correct and thanked him for the compliment.

“What compliment?” he asked.

“The one about my creating a character that was real enough that you might have thought it was a real person.” I’m not sure if he picked up on the irony.

So allow me to explain that these are stories. I am not writing a family history. The one that follows is also not true. I made it up.

I have called it “What on…

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Everlasting Cronies

I am excited to introduce you to my debut novel, EVERLASTING CRONIES. I have collected not only my own stories but those of others since I was a child. I just love stories.  My new book is a compilation of many of these stories into one. I hope you enjoy it! Available now on Amazon and Kindle Direct.

Book 2 - Front-CoverPreview.do_edited-1

In EVERLASTING CRONIES you will enjoy a heart-warming, coming of age story about a trio of racially diverse boys who experience joy, loss, conflict, and redemption during the rural Louisiana summer of 1949. There is beauty, romance, and the racial animosity of the Deep South during that pivotal period. Ample local color, the ghost of the old mule jail, a snake dance, and a traditional Southern funeral, punctuate the drama that teaches the boys profitable life-lessons about faith, trust, loyalty and betrayal. This one unforgettable summer moves this threesome to the cusp of manhood and cements an enduring friendship.

Kindle link:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref= nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias% 3Daps&field-keywords= Everlasting%20cronies%20on% 20kindle

Hard Copy Link:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref= nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias% 3Dstripbooks&field-keywords= everlasting+cronies

Careful- R-U-B-N next novel1231

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

In the early 1960’s my Dad was privileged to go on the mission field in British Guiana, SA. While he ministered and supported existing churches and their native pastors there was a need for a new congregation in the back-country. Many hours were spent on a ferry that took him sixty miles inland and up the Demerara River.

There was a new excitement in this mostly Hindu community of Linden. When Dad first arrived in this small village he was placed on a donkey cart and taken to where he would stay. After a year, someone in the church loaned an older vehicle for Dads use when he was there.

The enthusiasm in Linden was contagious. The native pastor, Mr. Watson, insisted that Dad hold prayer meetings each time he came. The church was praying for the growth of the church in their community. This small congregation, on their knees in prayer, became the engine of growth in the area. There was no more room under the little house on stilts, or even in the yard. The congregation to continue growing and running out of room. They kept on praying anyway. They began petitioning God to relieve them by starting a new congregation. There was no one willing to lead the new one church so they began to pray for this new leader to emerge. No one knew who he was. No one knew where he would come from. They just to prayed.

 “…and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 ESV

Dad was invited to speak under another house on stilts about 10 miles deeper into the interior. Upon arrival he and Pastor Watson were met with animosity. A curious crowd formed around the house. Dad said he preached…and he preached…and he preached. He felt the Holy Spirit moving upon his sermon that day and knew something wonderful was going to happen. He was excited. Nothing happened.

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18 NIV

After the service, and a curry dinner, he went to the car and found one of the tires had been slashed. He opened the trunk to remove the spare when a man walked up to him and insisted that Dad let him change the tire. Once the man began removing the lug nuts he began to share with Dad that he did not appreciate his coming to his village and preaching a foreign religion that no one wanted to hear. He confessed that he was the one who had slashed the tire in attempt to send an unwelcomed message not to come back. However, after he heard Dad’s sermon he realized he was wrong and wanted to hear more. Dad won that man to the Lord that day and he became a member of the Church. Dad worked with him for a few weeks, teaching the Gospel and with Dads continued guidance, he became the new pastor of this new church. The church in both in villages continued to grow.

You see, something wonderful did happen that day. It was not when Dad expected it…during the service. No, it happened when God wanted it to, with a man who stood against God, and slashed a tire.

The church in Linden did not know the answer to their prayer. They only knew and believed and expected the answer. They knew the answer would come. In their diligence and steadfast faith the answer came. Like Daniel, they did not stop praying. The fighting in the spirit world was intense. But as always, God won, and the answer came at the right time, and in the right place.

His timing is His timing. Not ours

 “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.

If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “

Habakkuk 2:3 ESV

WordPress Family Blogging Award

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I have turned down several awards by such beautiful people like you in the past year. I appreciate those who have nominated me and I hope you know that I was thrilled by your nomination but had already decided that I would keep an Award Free Blog this first full year of blogging. I love you my friends and I appreciate all who nominated me this past year.

When John at http://theartisticchristian.wordpress.com sent me this nomination for the WordPress Family Award this morning I was thrilled and disappointed at the same time. Thrilled at the nomination and disappointed that I would, again, not accept this honor. However, after much thought, I have decided that I would accept this award because it is about you, my family here on WordPress. All of you have been so good to me. I do not post often but when I do I am overwhelmed with blessings from each of you.

It is so hard to choose 15 blogs out of so many wonderful blogs on WordPress. Regardless of whether you are listed below I want you to know that I am blessed beyond measure that you are a part of my family here on Word Press. You have been a joy and a pleasure to follow you, and to receive your comments this year. I pray that you will continue to inspire all of us with the words, and talent, God gives you in 2015.

 

Award Description

As for the award itself, this was designed as a way to express your gratitude to those who not only follow your blog, but have become like family.   Here is the description given by Shaun, the creator of the award:

“This is an award for everyone who is part of the ‘Word Press Family.’ I start this award on the basis that the WordPress family has taken me in, and showed me love and a caring side only WordPress can. The way people take a second to be nice, to answer a question and not make things a competition amazes me here. I know I have been given many awards, but I wanted to leave own my legacy on here by creating my own award, as many have done before. This represents ‘Family’ we never meet, but are there for us as family. It is my honor to start this award.”

 

Rules for the Award

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 10-15 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience.
  4. Let your 10-15 family members know you have awarded them.
  5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people that have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

 

 Nominated Blogs

The following blogs have not only clicked the “Follow” button, but have supported me by taking time to leave thoughtful comments. If you’re looking for readers who will really engage with your blog, then you may want to give these a glance! Note: there are many blogs that are not listed who have been given this award before. I want to give this blessing to those who have not received it. I so wish I could pass it on to all of you!

http://thesanctuaryofmyheart.com/

http://beautifullifewithcancer.com

http://writingwingsforyou.com/

http://welldressedbranch.com/

http://lorriebowden.com/

http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/

http://mamasemptynest.wordpress.com/

http://theiamblog.wordpress.com/

http://jillweatherholt.wordpress.com/

http://jisbell22.wordpress.com/

http://sherrimatthewsblog.com

 

Photography & Graphic Blogs I love:

https://avian101.wordpress.com/

https://dapontephotography.wordpress.com

http://visitstothepark.wordpress.com

http://natuurfreak.wordpress.com

https://herladypinkrose.wordpress.com/

http://gillmcgrath.com

 

And to soooo many others………… thank-you