Fun Loving Dad

My dad was a baby,  Scan_Pic0108  who started out racing with the doctor! Dad won! The doctor arrived at the Iowa farmhouse after he was born! My dad was a boy, who lived on a farm until he was ten, then his dad retired, built a house in town, Scan_Pic0006 and Dad became a city boy. You can see their  1916 Saxon, which my Grandpa bought brand new!  My dad was a brother, the youngest with six older siblings. My dad was a college student until the financial crash in 1919. He was going to be a lawyer!

My dad was a cook’s helper and later a chef. Scan_Pic0103 Dad’s the cook in front.

He was a husband 3905_1067392805078_6714086_n and a  daddy. Scan_Pic0107 He was Dad 45 a minister, pastor, evangelist, and a writer, Scan_Pic0254 He published 13 books!  And he was an executive.

My dad was an actor! He portrayed B. T. Roberts, Glen as BT Roberts the founder of Free Methodism.

My dad was a world traveler, having traveled to various countries in four continents: North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Because of all his experiences and knowledge he was bestowed an honorary Doctors Degree of Letters!

Then he became a student again, earning his BA and his MA at age 70!

In all of these roles. he still loved to have just plain fun. Scan_Pic0127  This was in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago! Dad & Mother relaxingDad and Mother relaxing in the park!

He walked me down the aisle and gave me away. Wedding June 13 '59 001  Then he walked up onto the platform and married Jerry and me! wedding-day J & AGo-cart0098  Here he’s having fun riding my son’s go-cart! Anita & Jerry Merry-G-Round 79 Portland0001  He’s riding a Merry-Go-Round! Scan_Pic0059  He’s letting Annie drive his scooter!  Yes, I have many fond memories of my dad. He was a man with a mission…who loved to have fun! He lived four days shy of his 96th birthday. I loved my dad.

Dad’s Roast Pig Story

This is a story my dad told many times. It’s a true story and he’s Glen.

Dad’s Pig Story

Glen’s first job in a hotel kitchen was as a cook’s helper. He bought a white cap, white apron, neckerchief and Scan_Pic0102 seersucker pants. It was a large hotel, where they served lots of private parties. Jack was the head chef and he was tough!

A dinner was scheduled for one of the most prominent families in the city. It was a dinner celebrating the 80th birthday of the former editor of the city newspaper. Everything had to be perfect.  A roast pig was the main entrée on the menu. Glen was scheduled to be helper of the cook who was in charge of roasting the pig. It was the first time either one of them had roasted a pig.  The pig was delivered to the hotel kitchen. He had been butchered, but the head and feet were still on him. But he was  too long, even kitty-cornered to fit in the roasting pan! The cook said to Glen, “Hey, let’s do something a little different! What if we set him up on his haunches’? I think Jack would like that!” They’d do anything to please Jack, just so they could keep their jobs!  So the pig was set up in the roasting pan. Some blocks of wood were set up under his chest to hold him up. Another block of wood was in his mouth, so they could put an apple in later.  They cocked his head just as they wanted it, but his ears looked out of character, hanging down like pigs ears do! So they took skewers and stuck them down into his ears and pinned them up so his ears were sticking straight up. He was the most alert looking pig! He looked like the dog in the Victor advertising, listening to his master’s voice! They, very carefully, shoved the pan, with the pig sitting up, into the oven.

The cook told Glen, “It’s your job to use a ladle and baste the pig every half hour. “We have to do a good job with this pig, or we could lose our jobs!” So, every thirty minutes Glen pulled the pan out and basted the pig. He enjoyed it and the pig was looking good! It took most of the day to roast the pig.

When it got near time for the banquet everyone was busy and somehow the pig got neglected! But It was time now to get the pig ready, to take him out of the roaster pan and put the apple in his mouth. As Glen opened the big oven door, SMOKE came rolling out! And oh, the poor pig! His ears had been dangerously close to the top of the oven. They were gone! They had crumbled away like crisp bacon! The sticks were still there, but even they were burned. But, that wasn’t the worst! The worst thing was that the skin on his back had bust open and had left a gaping hole in the middle of his back! Grease was popping up out of the hole and his backbone was exposed! The cook shook his head and said we’d better call Jack.”

When Jack got there, he was so angry he couldn’t talk! He just stared at that poor burnt pig!

Well, over in the bake shop was an old man, Bill, who had been a chef, in his day, but now he was old and worked in the bake shop. But he was an artist! He did the ice sculpturing, decorating of the cakes and so on. They had been to him before when they needed help fixing something up. Jack was actually jealous of him,  but now he ordered us to fetch Old Bill. Someone ran to the bakeshop and told Bill to come quickly!

Old Bill came walking over, taking his time. Jack wanted to reach out and grab him! When Bill got there he took a big long fork, stuck it into the pig’s back in several places and then said, “It’s done.” Jack jumped up, waving his arms in the air, “I don’t care if he’s done…what are we going to do about that hole in his back?!”

Bill calmly told them to take the pig into his bakery. He covered a large oval shaped plank with white, fluffy mashed potatoes. They, very carefully, set the pig up, on his haunches, in the middle of it. He, then, filled a large pastry bag, with mashed  potatoes, like one used to decorate a cake with icing! The first thing he did was work on his ears. He pulled the skewers out and threw them away. Then he cut out some ears from heavy brown wrapping paper, put them in place, and covered those ears with mashed potatoes! Then he worked on the face to make it look attractive. He put cranberries in the eye sockets! He put the apple in his mouth! The pig was looking good!

But what was Bill going to do with that hole in his back? They soon found out! He took his big pastry bag filled with mashed potatoes and made the most beautiful saddle right over that big hole! Oh, he was the most beautiful roast pig they’d ever seen! In fact, it was the most beautiful piece of culinary art they’d ever seen!

Glen and the other three men, carefully carried the pig into the dining room. Old Bill followed along behind, with his pastry bag, ready to fix up any part they messed up.  The party was ushered in. They had been to lots of parties and thought they’d seen everything! But they were in for a big surprise!

When they came in and saw that pig sitting right up on his haunches, beautiful saddle on his back, beautiful ears standing straight up, apple in his mouth, they were amazed!  “Oh, Father,” one of the daughter’s exclaimed, “Look what they did for your birthday!” The old man came over and shook his head. He never dreamed they would do anything like that for him!

It was soon time to carve the pig.  Jack had put on a clean apron and cap, found his sharpest carving knife, and was ready to carve the pig. He was smiling from ear to ear! He carved away but stayed away from the saddle on his back! When it was all over, he was given a big tip! In those days, money was scarce but they thought he deserved a big tip! He kept it, too!!! He didn’t even share it with Old Bill!

This is a true story and happened in about 1929. My dad was trying to work his way through college. Then came the big financial crash! That ended his college career. He was fortunate to keep working in various hotels in the kitchen and eventually became a chef! A very good chef!

Years later, after a life-changing experience with God, Glen, my dad, became a minister and this story became a favorite among his listeners, especially young people.

It was a perfect illustration for how God can take a ruined life and make a masterpiece out of it! God can and does!

 

 

 

Change At The Top

Change is always hard… I don’t like change. I like familiarity. This isn’t a political post… I’m not talking about electing a new president. I’m talking about my church. Changing pastors. It’s hard. I’ve been in my denomination, Free Methodist, since I was only about two years of age! So I’ve seen lots of changes.

There’ve been changes in policies and rules, like the negativity of the  40’s and 50’s. A few of them were movies, dancing, make-up, jewelry, bowling, I could go on and on. Today I’m free to do whatever I feel is okay in my personal life. So even though I’m free now, I do very few of those forbidden acts.

What I’m referring to, in this post, is the changing of a pastor. In the Free Methodist denomination, pastors are appointed, not hired by a church. When I was a little girl, it was common for a pastor to be moved after two or three years at the appointed church. My dad was a pastor and we stayed at the church in Des Moines, Iowa for four years during two different appointments! That was unusual!

I want to skip ahead to today. Pastors are still appointed, but the assignment may last for many years.  My pastor was here, in my church, for 20 years! I knew him well, he knew me well. I loved him and his wife. One day in May he made the announcement to a few committee folks (I was on the committee) that he had accepted a church in another state. We would be getting a new pastor. Oh…no…my heart dropped.

The committee I was on and our conference superintendent met numerous times in order for us to give the superintendent a clear profile of our church family and our needs. We  prayed for guidance for the conference committee in searching for a new pastor for us. This went on all summer! We were fortunate in having two assistant pastors who filled the pulpit, so to speak, over the summer.

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Midland Free Methodist Church

Finally as of one week ago, we have a new pastor appointed to our church! He’s not new to us. In fact, he was an assistant pastor here about fifteen years ago!

We, as a committee, were committed to prayer. We knew, without a doubt, that God had a person already picked out for us. We just needed to be patient. So we prayed, we interviewed, we discussed, we prayed…

Finally, another name was brought to us. We were surprised! We hadn’t thought of this person, even though most of us, on the committee, knew him.

Here’s his story. When he first heard our pastor was leaving, he began to pray for our church. After all, he knew us, he had been on staff as an assistant to our pastor, years before. Every now and then, our church came to his mind as he was praying and so he’d include us in his prayers. After a while, he asked God what was going on, why a new pastor wasn’t being assigned! Then he said, the thought came to him that maybe…maybe…he was the pastor to answer the call! He wrote to our conference superintendent telling him this and… the rest is history!

Pastor Gene LeForge has been assigned. This is a big change, but it’s one I can live with. I believe God is in it! “Thank You Lord, for Your guidance.”

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today started out as almost every day starts out. Autumn was just beginning, as it is now. A few leaves were beginning to turn color. That day, in the morning, I had an inkling to call my sister, Lorraine. But I didn’t because she lived in Portland, Oregon and I live in Midland, Michigan! There is a three-hour difference in our time zones. Or is it four? I’m in Eastern Time Zone and she, in Pacific Time Zone. We’d been getting together about once or twice a year because we’d visit our parents in Washington. Then she moved to Washington for their final years. So when I went to visit Mother and Dad I stayed with her in her apartment. About a year after Dad died, Mother moved to Colorado, where our brothers lived.

And in between those visits, we talked often, on the phone, but most of our calls were late at night, so we weren’t interrupted by anyone or anything. We both loved our visits. They were always long visits, two or three hours long! We had so much to talk about!

  • Our childhood, we were just two and one-half years apart, we had such fun playing house (dolls), paper dolls, school. She was always the teacher! We played jacks, jump rope, tag, hide and seek. We listened to the radio every evening. We reminisced about all of this. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n  This picture is of Richard, Me in the middle, and Lorraine. Grandma had curled our hair for this picture.
  • Our family life, back when we were young. Our parents had rules we didn’t understand but had to obey. Dad was a pastor/evangelist in an evangelical denomination, Free Methodist, and there were strict rules. No jewelry or make-up, no movies, no dancing, no mixed swimming, no bowling, so many things we couldn’t do. Lorraine and I had long braids. Mother had two very long braids that she wrapped around her head, twice! Mother 001When Lorraine was in about fifth grade she wanted her hair cut and fixed like the other girls. She begged Mother to cut her hair. Finally, Mother gave in. But Lorraine heard her say softly, “I hope the Lord will forgive me for this!” Lorraine never forgot that statement. kids 1947 In this picture of the four of us children, I have braids but Lorraine doesn’t.
  • Thank goodness the Free Methodist Church no longer has those rules for dress and behavior. I’m still Free Methodist today. I love God with all my heart. But for Lorraine, to live a Christian life was a struggle. We had many discussions about those old rules and what it means to be a Christian today. I believe with all my heart she made her peace with the Lord.Lorraine
  • We discussed private matters that we only shared with each other. Being able to talk with each other, knowing our conversations were, for our ears only, freed both of us from guilt feelings that sometimes can plague a person’s mind.
  • We discussed our children and grandchildren. She had four, all girls. Her oldest, Christine, was my flower girl when Jerry and I got married! I had five, three boys and two girls. She had eleven grandchildren. I have fifteen grandchildren. We both love all of them, with no favorites.
  • We even discussed our husbands! She had two. I have one.

We decided, early on, not to discuss politics. We didn’t.

Well, the day, three years ago today, went by, the urge to call her left me, with the business of the day. That night I was tired and went to bed earlier than usual. But not being able to relax and fall asleep, I got up and went to the loft when I collapsed in my ‘lazy-boy’ chair. I hadn’t been there long when my phone rang. Oh good, it must be Lorraine!

But no, it was my older brother, Richard! He was calling with bad news. Lorraine had died sometime during the day. Her daughter, Christine, found her. Whatever else he said, I don’t know. I was in shock. Three years ago today. I miss Lorraine so much.

My Wonderful Experience at GC15

Every four years the Free Methodist Church, my denomination since age two, has General Conference, where rules and policies are discussed and sometimes changed, our three bishops are elected and/or reelected. I’ve been privileged to attend only four in my life, but each one was a highlight for me. The first two I attended were in Winona Lake, Indiana in 1960 and 1974. The next one I went to was at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana in about 1996.

I seem to have unique, interesting experiences when I travel to General Conference, so here’s one. Later, I’ll write of another one!

I went with a friend, Wilma Kasten, to Anderson, Indiana. We shared a room in the university girl’s dorm. One morning we couldn’t get our door to open! We were inside our room, trying to get out so we could use the bathroom, down the hall, and then go to breakfast. The door would not open! We were trying, we were yelling for anyone going by to open the door from the other side, nothing worked! It would not open! Someone finally got ahold of maintenance and a man came with tools to open our door. It took a while before we were able to get out!!!  A few years later, someone wrote about this in the Anderson University newspaper. Most of the details were correct, except for one! The article claimed “two elderly ladies were locked inside their dorm room!” Believe me, I was not elderly! Yes, I was at the upper edge of middle age, but I was not elderly!

This year, 2015, General Conference was in Orlando, Florida at Caribe Royale Resort.  Orlando Caribe resort What a great place for General Conference! There were plenty of rooms for everyone to stay, there were plenty of meeting rooms, of several sizes, for large groups and smaller groups. The meals served, were great!IMG_1039 (1)  IMG_1040 (1)                                                   The swimming pool, for relaxation, was fabulous! Swimming pool Orlando  GC15 pool  Haleigh and friends swimming.

I went to Orlando early because I opted to go on a missions trip, General Conference was offering, during the same week but ending the day before General Conference ended! When I arrived on July 8, there were many folks already there. Some were going on mission trips and some were there for special meetings before General Conference began. So I got in on the last day and evening of General Conference, and what a privilege! I saw so many folks, both before and after the trip to Haiti, that I’m privileged to know but seldom get to see.

Okay, I’ll share my second funny story here. I was going on the trip to Haiti with my granddaughter, Haleigh. We had traveled to Florida separately and she arrived first. She had been on a teen missions trip to West Virginia and went directly to Florida from West Virginia. I flew from Michigan and my flight arrived late. When I finally got to Caribe Royale Resort after midnight, Haleigh was waiting for me! We went to the desk to get our key cards for our room. We were so excited! Our room was on the ninth floor! We opened our door and oh my! “Haleigh,” I exclaimed, “It’s a suite, not just a room! Oh, it’s so nice! This is the living room and, just look at the bathroom! So clean and nice!” Then we opened the bedroom door and switched the light on. What?!?? Oh, no! Someone was in bed, asleep!!!

The person in bed woke up and said, “Oh, Haleigh, you’ve arrived! I’ve been expecting you!” What? What about me? She didn’t know about me! Apparently she and Haleigh were assigned this suite. There were two queen size beds in the room. I insisted I sleep in the living room on the sofa. (I wonder who I was assigned to share a suite with?!)

The fact that impresses me the most, about the Free Methodist Church, is that we’re a global church! Being at General Conference was an exciting time with folks from all over the world! “The worldwide Free Methodist family includes more than 1 million members in 85 world areas. Only 7 percent of Free Methodists are in the United States!” Free-Methodist-Missionary-Summit1-e1438105689666This is a picture of missionaries that were present at General Conference. I see our three bishops in the picture too.

Mission:

To love God, love people and make disciples.

Vision:

To bring wholeness to the world through healthy biblical communities of holy people multiplying disciples, leaders, groups and churches.

This I have copied and pasted from the Free Methodist Church website. I love my church. (I don’t know how to make the print smaller, or I would!)

  • IMG_1039 Myself and Pakep from Myanmar, IMG_1041  The Myanmar representation and myself!
  • My new friend, Jamie Piper from McPherson, Kansas and the new Bishop from Haiti, Bishop Eliodor.IMG_1040
  • My good friend, Becca Doyle, missionary to Asia GC15 Becca & us slipped in beside Haleigh and me during a service!
  • A short but sweet visit with Bishop David and Yvonne Roller meant so much and was such an encouragement to me.
  • Other friends I connected with were former pastors, missionaries, bishops, and friends from all over the USA and even the world! What a great time of fellowship with fellow Christians and fellow Free Methodists!

The music at GC15 was outstanding! The worship team led by David Gaulton was so good! The muscians played guitar, drum, violin, and I forget if there were more! They were excellent! The last evening we were favored with a solo by a black man with a beautiful, beautiful voice! He sang a hymn and I would love to have a CD of it! If any readers can help me out here I would appreciate it!

General Conference 2015 was a huge success! Our three bishops, Matt Thomas, David Kendall, and David Roller were all reelected. It was such a privelege for me to be a part of this very special event.  The Holy Spirit blessed us with His Presence.

My Great Experience in Haiti Part I

I have returned from the little island of Haiti in the Caribbean Sea. haiti 100_5752                               Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic.

This was my third trip to Haiti, but whose counting? I went in 1971 with my husband. For three weeks, Jerry helped a group from Dearborn Heights, Michigan construct the Rensberry Free Methodist Church near downtown Port-au-Prince. I was hoping to drive by on this trip but didn’t get to. In 1991, I went, with a group of folks from my church, up to Dessalines to Ebenezer Glenn Orphanage. A very fine, self-sustaining orphanage.

When we landed in Port-au-Prince I was surprised at the new modern airport! 100_5757

I’ve never been to the Dominican Republic and would like to, but on this trip I could look over across the border and see the country! One hundred forty-two people from all over the US went on this trip and it was great! We went to the Providence University, an affiliate  of the Free Methodist Church, near Balan, Ganthier Province of Haiti. 100_5793 It’s a new university, still being built, and classes are already being taught. There was a fine, bright, young class of graduates this year.  The men’s dorm. 100_5773  This is kind of a greeting place and will have a small store for buying refreshments. 100_5775  The girl’s dorm and, I think, some classrooms in the first floor. 100_5774Haleigh and I had a room on the second floor, which we shared with two other women.                                                  We ate our meals,  cooked and served by very efficient Haitian men and women, inside this pavilion. It was good Haitian food!100_5766 100_5787 The kitchen was in the room on the end.

We also worshipped in here on Sunday. They took all the tables out and put in chairs. 100_5788 They played drums, guitars, and a keyboard. One of our US friends had her flute with her and was invited to play with them.100_5782

The work projects at the University were planting trees with the reforestation project, building desks, a medical clinic, VBS, and pouring cement sidewalks.  There were probably even more, but my mind can’t pull them up! I helped at the desk building project. First I was an errand runner, then I was a painter. We only painted the steel frames. There were 120 desks built! Haiti desks Two or three students at each desk. They will be distributed to Free Methodist schools all over the country!

This university is new and has a lot of promise! I’m so glad I got to go to see it and meet some of the people connected with the university and some who were in my group of workers!

One special group was from McPherson, Kansas. I’m in the middle of this group in a blue dress. Jamie Piper, Sarah Johnson, me, Chuck Singleton, Ali and Kyle Singleton, Joel Piper.100_5791

On Sunday afternoon, I joined the goat team! I had to say good-bye to Haleigh. Haleigh and me parting in Haiti          I knew she would be fine with so many folks watching over her!  We left and drove back, in the pickup truck. to Port-au-Prince. We were team #2. Donna Maxedon, myself, Lars Adams, Linda Roberts,  Ali Singleton, Marv,  and (I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten his name.) Second goat team  There is so much more to tell you. I’ve only just begun! Check back in a few days and I’ll have another chapter done with more pictures!

Our Fifty-sixth Anniversary

Jerry and I were married, in Winona Lake, Indiana on June 13, 1959, fifty-six years ago! We met on July 3, 1958.

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This picture is of my family, my two brothers, Bill and Richard, were ushers, my sister, Lorraine Meadows, was my matron of honor, my little niece, Christine Meadows, was my flower girl. Of course Jerry and I are in the middle. Mother and Dad are on the right.

I’d been attending school in Wessington Springs, South Dakota and had completed my freshman year. I was writing back and forth with a fine young man, Burt. We enjoyed each other’s company, but there wasn’t anything serious between us…yet.

Jerry and I met at a Free Methodist Church camp, near Gladwin, Michigan and my dad, Glen Williamson, was the camp evangelist. I was with my parents and younger brother, Bill, only because a summer job I’d been promised hadn’t started yet. Instead of sitting at home with nothing special to do Mother suggested I go with them to Michigan. So I packed my suitcase and went along.

Just outside the tabernacle, where the services were held and where my dad was preaching, was a big oak tree. On July 3, when my new friend, Mary Morse, and I left the tabernacle, after the service, we saw two very good looking, sharply dressed guys standing under that big oak tree! Mary introduced us. One was her brother, Bob. The other one was Jerry Archer.

The next day, July 4, Jerry came back to camp. There were boat races on the river at the next town, Beaverton. Would I like to go and watch them? Several others our age were going. Sure, of course, I’d love to go. Jerry had a sharp, black and white, ’54 Olds 98, with a red interior! He held the front door for me to get in! Bob and another girl got in the back. That evening, after talking my parents into excusing me from the evening service, we went to some car races at West Branch, Michigan. This was our first actual date. It seems strange, but I don’t remember watching any fireworks, even though it was the 4th of July!

Jerry explained to me how he happened to come to camp. It wasn’t his favorite place to be! But his mother, who was widowed, wanted to go to camp meeting! He wanted to go to the lake where other family members and friends were. Jerry had a boat and loved to water ski! But his mother said if she couldn’t go to camp meeting she was staying home! So Jerry reluctantly agreed to take her to the Gladwin camp meeting. And we met! For the rest of the camp, we spent as much time together as we could. But camp meeting ended and we had to say good-bye. So we exchanged addresses and promised to write letters…

More another day!