Cousin LJ

I was a little girl when I first got to know my cousin, LJ. He was already a man. I probably saw him before he was married, but I don’t remember. I do remember his brown, thick, wavy hair!

LJ was in World War ll. Scan_Pic0054  Thanks, LJ!

I do remember him after he was married. We were living in Oklahoma and were visiting family in Iowa. LJ and Ermadel were newly-weds. My mother, being a wise and patient woman, talked to us children, before we arrived at our grandparents house: “LJ’s wife has a birthmark on her face. You’re not to stare at her. You’re not to ask what it is. LJ loves her and the mark doesn’t matter to him. So just remember that when you see her.  She’s a wonderful person.”

I learned two things that day. 1.)  I learned what a good man LJ was! He loved Ermadel for who she was and probably didn’t even see the flaw on her face, even though he knew it was there. 2.)  I learned what a loving and wise person my mother was! Preparing us ahead of time saved a lot of nervous embarrassment for LJ and Ermadel, and for us.

There is something else I’ve always remembered about LJ. He always smiled at me with a tender, loving smile! When I think back, all those years ago, that’s the main thought that comes to me! I would shyly smile back. Today, I think he probably was thinking and hoping for a little girl to be born to him and Ermadel! A few years later, Iris, and then Keith were born to them. I think LJ and Ermadel must have been very loving parents!

LJ’s dad and my dad were brothers, making LJ and me cousins.

My parents became born-again Christians when I was about two years old. They were the only ones born again in both of their families and were very often ridiculed by their siblings. But in 1948 LJ made a life-changing decision to live for Christ. A special bond was formed between LJ and my dad.

Years went by and LJ and I hardly had contact with each other, but being cousins, we still had that bond between us. A couple of years ago another cousin, Erma, died, and my daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Gene, drove Jerry and me to Iowa to attend her funeral. Who else was there? LJ with his daughter, Iris. We’d not seen each other in years!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then last year we had a cousins reunion in Iowa. LJ and I had a time, just for the two of us, to visit and reminisce about our lives. I told him about his smiles when I was a little girl and how much they meant to me. He didn’t even remember! But I do! FullSizeRender (78)  I took this picture of him during our little visit. He was 90 years old!

There was a sign on his door of the nursing home he was living in. LJ's door sign  I was surprised to see the date of when he was born-again! I don’t know why I was surprised…after all, that’s the most important date in a Christian’s life! LJ died on November 23, 2015 at age 91. I’ll see him again…some day!

This is a picture of LJ and Ermadel when they were married 50 years. LJ & Ermadel 56 years

 

 

Halloween Birthday

Yes, I was born on Halloween day. When I was a little girl I dressed up like a witch every year for trick or treating! How could I be anything else? While my siblings were fidgeting, wondering how they should dress up, I was quietly making my tall, pointed, black hat, finishing off my costume of all black clothes, and Mother’s broom!

The only problem with having my birthday on Halloween, as I saw it, was that my siblings didn’t care about a birthday, they only wanted to go trick or treating! And that’s all I wanted to do too. I don’t remember ever having a birthday party. But we sure had fun and we got lots of candy!

Then I grew up and got married. At that time, in Jerry’s family, a party was held for each one on their birthday. So for my birthday, I made a birthday cake, and everyone came over from the oldest- Grandma, to the youngest- baby, Marilyn. The thing I remember most about that party was that my cake wasn’t big enough!

So the years have gone by. Our family grew and our kids loved to go trick or treating. I remember one year, 1970, we had a Halloween party and invited our neighbors and friends. It was a lot of fun. Everyone, including parents, wore Halloween costumes. Halloween party We played all the common Halloween games: bobbing for apples, counting the pumpkin seeds. In this picture, Carolee is trying to eat a donut hanging from a string! We even had a small ghost house! I can’t remember all the games we played, but it sure was fun! Halloween party, Carolee One of the mothers, knowing it was my birthday, baked a birthday cake for me! Surprise!!! It was decorated like a jack-o-lantern!

I’ve continued to have birthdays and Halloween has also continued. We live in a woods with a long driveway today so we don’t even get any trick or treater’s. Jerry always takes me out for my birthday supper.

Three years ago I had an unforgettable birthday! I turned 74! Yes, it was Halloween, but we were on the Norwegian cruise ship, Pride of America,  cruising the Hawaiian Islands! What a special birthday! Jerry and I were with Pam and Gene, daughter and son-in-law. They celebrated their anniversary! Kay, second cousin, was, also, with us. What a fantastic time we had! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Two years ago, I had another fantastic birthday! I turned 75 and we went to Iowa to visit my Iowa cousins! It wasn’t a birthday trip. It just turned out to be the best weekend for all of us concerned! Tim, our Canadian son, came down to visit us. We traveled to Chicago where Pam and Gene, daughter and son-in-law, joined us and we all traveled to Iowa to visit our cousins. It happened to be on my birthday. I had requested to, please, keep still about it being my birthday. Well, the first thing that took place was Leroy, my most favorite cousin in the whole wide world, bringing out a huge cloth bag and handing it to me, with a huge smile on his face!

I looked at Jerry and Pam. They both looked as surprised as I did! I slowly opened the bag and inside was a BEAUTIFUL AMISH QUILT! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Leroy!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Carolyn!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Rose of Sharon quilt, hand-stitched by Amish ladies! Carolyn said she knew it was my birthday because of facebook!

Well, that wasn’t the end of my birthday! That evening we went to an Amish dinner! Oh, my! Other cousins joined us! FullSizeRender (79)  The only lights were kerosene lamps.  IMG_0216 (2)  My birthday dinner plate! Everything was so delicious!  FullSizeRender (84) My beautiful birthday cake made by one of the Amish ladies!

So, today I’m planning on a normal Halloween birthday! Jerry will take me out for dinner. I’ve already gotten some phone calls from some of our kids. The mailman must have chuckled when he delivered my birthday cards today! They were addressed to Grandma in various ways!

So begins another year in the life of me! I don’t feel 77! I don’t think I look 77! I know I don’t act 77! I am blessed!

I’m Ready, Are You?

Another funeral today… the sister of my very close friend. I barely knew the person who died so suddenly, but yet I considered her a friend. We saw each other mainly at family functions: weddings, anniversaries, and funerals. Today was her funeral, her death was so unexpected. She was 78 years old, about a year and a half older than I am.

So another funeral today. There have been so many…! Lorraine, Joan, Lynne, Dean, Norma, Oates, Twila, Jim, another Jim, Jack, Bob, Margaret, Carolee, David, Evelyn, and there are more. These are just the names that came to my mind just now as I’m writing.

These are also close to my age! I didn’t name the folks who’ve died in their old age, upper 80’s and 90’s! Yes, I’m in my middle seventies. But, I don’t feel old! I know I must look old! I get offers of help at the supermarket! When I was in Haiti in June of this year, the wonderful Haitian folks wouldn’t allow me to do anything! They would hold up their hands and say, “Oh, no, Grandma. No, no!” They would then do the task I was needing to do! I do admit to having aches and pains that are new to me, but I’m not ready to die!

Well, physically, I’m not ready to die. Spiritually, I am ready to die! I’m forgiven, I’m born again, I’m living in praise of my personal Saviour! What a wonderful place to be! When my day comes for me to breathe my last breath, I don’t want anyone to wonder if I’m  ready! New haircut  Praise God, I’m ready! Are you?

Memorial Day

Memorial Day. “Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.” Wikipedia.

??????????????  This is my second cousin, Louis Hood. He proudly served our country in World War I, over in France. The story is that on the last day of the war, he was killed. In fact, I’ve heard the war was actually over that day but the men out in the field hadn’t gotten the news yet. How sad. My dad was a young boy at the time and was waiting anxiously for his cousin to come home from the war. The news was devastating to the family.

I would love to go to France and search the war cemeteries for his tombstone. But whether I ever get to do that or not, I honor Louie as my dad called him. I’m proud to be a relative of his.

 

 

A Photo Shoot With Three of My Granddaughters

I have seven granddaughters, Annie, Megan, Haleigh, Sydney, Elmise, Isabella, and Maddie! I love each of them. I had a fun day with three of them recently. It was a cold, windy day, not a good day for a photo shoot but when you’re cousins and it’s what you want to do, it’s okay! Haleigh, Sydney, and Bella. Two are sisters, Sydney and Bella; they are all cousins.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  You can see by this tree spring hadn’t arrived yet. Here’s a closer up picture of the same pose.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  They may be telling secrets on Grandma!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Bella, Haleigh, and Sydney with the Tridge in the background.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Brrrrrr! You can see it’s windy! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Haleigh, Sydney, and Bella.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sydney  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Haleigh OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Bella  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sydney and Haleigh OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Sydney and Bella OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sydney and Haleigh  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  It was a good day! Now, let’s go and get warmed up!

My Dad…Part V

“Someday, when the kids are grown, I’m going to take you around the world!” This statement, I remember hearing Dad say to Mother, back in the middle 40’s, finally came true! Scan_Pic0107  This picture was taken in about 1945. I’m the young girl between Dad and Mother. Richard and Lorraine are standing, Billy is on Mother’s lap.

Their first trip, in 1961, was an exciting six-week trip to Europe. Dad was Scottish-Irish; Mother was full-blooded Norwegian, so of course they went to Ireland and Norway.   They kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland! In Norway, they visited relatives who still lived on the farm that had been in the family for centuries! They also went to The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and France.

Coming back home to America they traveled by ship! It was a great ending of a great experience for both of them. Dad was invited to preach on Sunday! It was an unexpected thrill for him.

The next few years had many changes for Dad and Mother. They moved to Colorado where Dad was Conference Superintendent of the Colorado Conference of the Free Methodist Church. They lived in Canyon City and Denver. He wrote several books during that time.

Then they moved to a lovely retreat home on Horn Mountain! He became editor of the magazine: Sermon Builder, a widely used magazine for pastors and church leaders. At the same time, he wrote many articles, stories, and several books. Frank and Hazel, The Adamson’s of Kibogora in 1972 published by Light and Life Press; Repair My House in 1973 published by Creation House;  Geneva and On The Brink by Geneva Sayre with Glen Williamson) in 1974 published by Light and Life Press; Born For Such A Day, The Amazing Story of Western Evangelical Seminary in 1974 published by Le Sabre Press; The Doctor and Geraldine in 1975 published by Church Extension Service, Inc.; Gonzalo of Mexican Missions in 1976 and Brother Kawabe in 1977 published by Light and Life Press.

They traveled to Assisi, Italy where they researched for the book, Repair My House, a biographical novel of Saint Francis of Assisi. Repair my house was a command God had given to Francis concerning the Church. Dad and Mother stayed in a guesthouse run by four Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement. The nuns it interesting that an evangelical minister was writing a book about a Catholic saint and gave valuable assistance to the production of the book.

Other countries they went to for the purpose of researching for books were Japan and Taiwan. “Brother Kawabe”, “Geneva”, and “On The Brink,”

On the way to Japan, they had a layover in Hawaii. They took in a luau and went to see Pearl Harbor. Then on to Japan where they were entertained by Dr. Lavern and Lois Snider. It was a dream come true! They met and ate with new Japanese friends, visited several Free Methodist Churches, and attended a Japanese wedding! Dad was able to do a lot of research on his book, assisted by Dr. Snider.

Taipei, Taiwan was next on the itinerary. They were met by James Taylor, Jr. Then they flew on to Kaohsiung where they were met by Carolyn Winslow and Dorothy Raber. They visited Free Methodist Churches and met wonderful pastors and lay people. One day they visited a heathen temple which made their hearts ache for people who haven’t heard of Jesus. Harry and Ruth Winslow took them to a wedding in Mutan, a mountain village! At a conference meeting of pastors and missionaries, Dad was the speaker, with the conference superintendent as his interpreter.

They took a train back up north to Taipei. It was an excellent way to see rural Taiwan. Rice, sugarcane, pineapples, oranges, bananas, soybeans, cabbage, watermelons, papaya, and persimmons were in abundance. James, Jr. and Leone Taylor and Wilma Kasten met them at the train station. They all enjoyed a delicious Chinese dinner and a good visit. Wilma was their hostess that evening and the next day, before their plane took them to Hong Kong.

John and Ruby Schlosser met them in Hong Kong and showed them all around the large city, explaining cultural ways and the church, as they went.

What a fruitful trip this had been for Dad and Mother. Not only did they meet with missionary friends, they made new friends, explored new cultures, and accomplished lots of research for the books Dad was writing.

FullSizeRender (93)

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

How Do You Worship?

We, my husband, Jerry; daughter, Pam; son-in-law, Gene; son, Tim and myself, recently visited some cousins in Iowa. I wrote about this wonderful trip previously.

On Sunday morning, we worshiped. However, we were all in different locations! The important thing here is that we worshiped. Lutheran, Methodist, Gospel Hall, Free Methodist, Christian and Missionary Alliance.

 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. I Chronicles 16:29

Here we were, five of us in my family worshiping with seven cousins on this Sunday morning. So here is what our worship looked like: A Lutheran Gene and a Christian and Missionary Alliance Tim attended a Methodist Church with cousin, Lucky. A Free Methodist Jerry attended a Lutheran Church with cousins, LeRoy and Carolyn. Cousin, Kay, who is Methodist, Pam, who is Lutheran and I, who am Free Methodist all attended the Gospel Hall with cousins, Louis, Iris and Bob.

Were we able to truly worship? An absolute YES. God, who is Omnipresent, accepts our true and sincere worship, wherever we are.

It happened to be All Saints Day. Both the Lutheran and the Methodist churches honored each member, who had died during 2014, with a lit candle.

The architecture of all three churches was entirely different. The Lutheran Church was beautiful with very high ceilings and magnificent stained glass windows. There was a sense of reverence as one entered the building. Scripture readings were read and hymns sung before the sermon was given by the pastor.

The Methodist Church was a small country church with white clapboard siding, a few stained glass windows. Inside was the typical layout of pews facing the front with the pulpit and alter. Scripture readings were read and hymns sung. There was open communion. A loaf of homemade bread was broken open so each person took a piece and dipped it into the wine.

The Gospel Hall was a church building, neat and clean, efficient for worshiping and meeting the needs of the members. I felt welcome, even though as a visitor, I was an observer and could not participate in Communion. I could and did worship. Women covered their heads with a scarf or hat. Only men had active participation in the service, leading the singing of hymns and praying beautiful prayers of praise to God. A few requests were read out loud and prayed for.  Chairs were in a square, about five rows deep, with a communion table in the center of the square. Visitors sat in a section near the back of the sanctuary. On the communion table were a loaf of homemade bread and a pitcher of wine. The bread was broken into two halves and passed around as each person took a piece representing the body of Christ. Wine was poured into two glasses and also passed around for folks to take a sip representing the blood of Christ.

Three forms of worship all to the same God! All six of us, visitors, worshiped and felt the presence of God!

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into  the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Scan_Pic0026  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                          These four pictures of churches are not the churches I’ve written about here. The first one is a very old church, The Church On The Green! It’s in Massachusetts and today is a Congregational Church. The second one is Stavanger Lutheran Church outside of Ossian, Iowa. The third picture is of a Baptist Church in Massachusetts. The last one is Midland Free Methodist Church of which I am a member. I’m showing them here to put my readers and myself  into a worshipful mood! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I took all of these pictures.