Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,
do it with thy might

Creation beckons

When night has dropped her curtain with a slow but deliberate hand, and placed the moon and stars there, we know it's been carefully planned; for how can we doubt that this beautiful night was created for restless man; to soften his heart and maybe his soul, for there is a wondrous STAR in the plan

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hook Line and Sinker

The story is told of a boy and his mother who went to a shopping mall. The boy acted badly--demanding this and that, running away from his mother, hiding so she couldn't find him. whining that he wanted something to eat or drink, interrupting her while she attempted to talk to sales clerks or make a purchase. In total exasperation she finally gave up and returned to the car.

As they were driving home, the boy could sense her displeasure and he said, "I learned last week in Sunday School that when we ask God to forgive us when we are bad, He does. Does He really do that?"

The mother replied, "Yes,He does." The boy continued, "And the teacher said that when he forgives us, He throws our sins in the deepest sea. Does He do that , Mom?" The mother responded, "Yes, that's what the Bible says."

The boy was silent for a moment and then he said, "I've asked God to forgive me for acting bad at the mall, but I bet when we get home, you're going to go fishing for those sins, aren't you?"

Friday, May 15, 2009

a love beyond our understanding

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. Ephesians 3:17. Teach us how to love, Lord, that we may bring forth the best of fruits.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I am drawn to writing about winter; I don't know why, but you will find several pieces with that setting. Here's another one.

The grandparents were quite old now. It was the year I had pneumonia--one of my favorite winters. The history books and the generation just before mine tell us that these were hard times. It was the, "eye" of that hurricane they called, The Great Depression.

My grandfather was a farmer so we were a little better off than some. We at least had food. Myself I do not remember any deprivation; all was well in my immediate world. The house was on a narrow country road. It was an animated, "Currier and Ives print," smoke curling out of the old chimney, a creek meandering lazily across the back of the property, fat pumpkins squatting in the fields and cows swinging their tails and moving from one patch of grass to the next.

This was my maternal grandparents farm and we were staying with them through the winter. I loved them too, just not with the fervor I felt for Grandpa and Grandma Moore.

This house had been planned as a barn and there were two-by-fours shooting up into the shadows all over the inside. I am not sure what had happened except it was now the house and there was a big-mouthed barn some distance behind it. Time and the weather had turned the pair a lovely, pearly grey.

Up in the attic, under the eaves, Grandpa hung a special kind of corn...just for popping. When my young aunt and I saw him come down the stairs with a kettle of that corn we knew it
was winter for sure. When the last small whirlwind of colored leaves had floated to the frosty ground, and the fire in the living room glowed and hissed, it was popcorn time; it was winter tiem.

I remember so well, lying deep in a feather bed, full of corn and sounds from the old cathedral shaped radio that traveled down the dark hall.

It may be just a child's mixed up memory but it seemed as if it snowed every day. Grandma gave us a big dishpan and told us to fill it with snow and she would make us some icecream.
Well, as far as we were concerned it WAS icecream.

I caught a cold and it turned to pneumonia, which was so dangerous in those days as there were no antibiotics. A heavy weight sat on my small chest. My mother and the grandmothers nursed
me. I was at the loving mercy of every home remedy known to man; from boiled onion cough syrup to mustard packs. I lived to tell about it.

Ironically, it was the same illness that was to take Grandma Moore a few years later at age 84.

Recuperation was quite pleasant. It was obvious there was something special about me now. Grandma sang to me, mother read me stories and Auntie would have done most anything I asked.

In the meantime I gathered images that will last a lifetime; images of that winter; waking to the ethereal quiet of the first snowfall, a bowl of cornflakes covered with thick yellow cream, being pulled in a wagon over rutted lanes by my two big uncles, learning, Star light, Star bright first
star I see tonight; feeling and seeing love for the first time,and knowing it was something wonderful.

Spring was waiting behind the wind and in the veins of every tree and bush. When it came it would bring a thousand new experiences, but for now, life's magic wand was wielded by a shimmering,icy king who had his way with the countryside. Was there ever a winter like that one?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lest We Forget!

This blog is a re-telling of part of our family history and stories in the hope we don't forget those who founded our country at great personal sacrifice!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

She chatted of this and that, placing dishes and utensils on the table while pointing him to the wash basin and a hanging towel.

He didn't talk much, spending his energy on the food in front of him, but mumbled politely when he felt a response of some kind was required. His hostess, seated at last with her own cup of coffee, thought she saw him send a fleeting glance of longing toward the tiny decorated fir tree in the dim parlor. If so, it was quickly supressed. Then, as he was finishing up the last scraps of the meal, she watched as his eyes wandered to the back door window. There was a large card there, suspended by a string and facing the outside.

"I know," she said, though he hadn't asked, "We can't see it from in here. I just never got it turned around. It's what the angels told the shepherds, "Peace on earth, good will to men."

The sojourner put down the checkered napkin an asked without much interest, "What is good will anyway?"

Allie massaged one arthritic hand with the other, thinking carefully about her answer. "Well, it's wanting to be helpful," she said, "It's looking for, beingg aware of--no, it's looking for opportunities to be giving, even when it isn't so easy. It's a willingness, an attitude. Yes. That's it. It's an attitude of kindness."

The visitor answered, "Hm."

Suddenly Mrs. Moore spotted a sack on the chair by the door. She rose as quickly as her 78-year-old body would allow, put her hand to her cheek and keened, "Oh, dear! My poor husband has forgotten his lunch!" She glanced at the clock on the shelf. It showed 11:45. There was still time, if...her company saw the clock also.

"You see," the woman continued, flustered and frowning, "My husband had a chance to make a little money today repairing a neighbor's fence, but he isn't even over being sick and he just can't go without this meal. What in the world can I do.?"

The faded blue eyes looked straight at the man sitting at her table.

He asked,"Well, how far is this neighbor?"

"A mile or so down the road," was the hopeful answer, as she pointed in the opposite direction from the halted train.

Rising to shrug into his coat, the man replied, "Sure do thank you for the food, Ma'am, but I can't do that. Gotta get that train. I'd have to walk clean into Tacoma otherwise."

The lady sat back down, holding tightly to the sack and sighed. "Yes, well goodbye then."

A gust of frigid air came in as the man went out, "So long, Ma'am. Sorry."

He walked 10 paces in the crunchy snow and stopped. Slowly, by small jerks, he turned his head and looked over his shoulder. He could see that sign as if it had a built in light. that one word sure seemed brighterthan the rest. GOODWILL. He couldn't figure out how he missed seeing it on his way in.

He growled, ,"Dog gone it." as if somebody was giving him an arguement, and kicked at t mound of snow. Finally, he turned reluctantly all the way around and began to retrace is steps.

The door opened before he knocked and Mrs. Moore handed him two sacks. "Straight down this road, Son. Mr. McGreggor's place. You can't miss it. Biggest barn you ever
saw. Oh, yes, and that large bag is for you. I wrapped up the rest of that ham shank, some bread and a few winter apples for later."

The fellow shook his head and took the bags, "How did you know I would go?"

"Just thought I saw a lot of goodwill in you, young man."

"Yeah, and I'll regret it when I find myself shiverin' in somebody's haystack tonight."

"No," she said firmly, "You won't."

He surely did shiver that night, but there was a warm spot somewhere near the area of his heart that kept regret from getting in at all

an act of kindness

Continued: There was never more than one man at a time looking for a hand-out at the Moore farm on the daily runs. This seemed to be the procedure amongst the travelers. Farmers in other areas reported the same routine.

The elderly lady continued to work at the stove and decided she would have her visitor chop up a supply of wood.

When the box in the woodshed was full he took an armload and walked to the back porch. After dumping the wood into a container near the back door, he shook the snow from his worn coat, slapped his hat against his leg and entered the country kitchen. He looked to be around 35 years old. His face was craggy and thin, almost to the point of gauntness, with cheeks reddened by too many winter rides in icy boxcars.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Let's not start at the beginning, let's slip softly from the late 1800's all the way forward to 1930 and a cold, blustery evening in December.

The last month of the year wasn't leaving gently. It came puffing and blowing, dumping immense skies full of snow over Puget Sound. Numbing Arctic winds finger-painted the scene with silvery strokes and on one paricular snow-still morning a Western Washington farming community went about its business. At 10:30 a.m. a mournful, drawn-out whistle led a swaying freight train out of the deep forest to halt at the wooden water tower where it would spend an hour or so taking on a fresh supply.

The trains carried men from one ocean to the other, then back again; men who had taken to the open road for one reason or another. Some were good men, some maybe not so good. A large number were husbands and fathers striving to come through for the families waiting at home. Finding even the bare requirements of food on a daily basis was a challenge. Every day hundreds of down-at-the-heels men approached hundreds of back doors across the country hoping for wood to chop or ditches to dig in exchange for a meal.

Women bore their own kind of burden. Months taken up with trying to fill children with scanty rations and imagination.

Little, old Mrs. Moore had no such worries. The modest farm produced plenty for the two of them. She, and her husband, Knapp, had raised their one child long ago and would soon be celebrating their 60th wedding aniversary. She put another stick of wood in the cook stove, checked on the baking bread in the oven and eased down into the waiting rocking chair.

As the train gave a long, steamy, "Sheeeeesh," a lone man jumped from one of middle cars, pulled his tattered overcoat close around his neck and took off at a slow and cumbersome run across the field.

Nearby, Mrs. Moore had heard the whistle. She roused herself put on a pot of coffee and began to slice potatoes and ham into a frying pan. He would be hurrying along now, one of the fellows who, "rode the rails" in these hard times.