Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Body in Pain

I remember looking outside the hospital window the day my dad died.  I thought, "It's so weird that so many people are going on with their day 'as usual' when something so catastrophic has just happened!"

I'm wondering if the body of Christ in the Middle East--and particularly, in Syria--are thinking the same thing?    Not long ago, I heard someone who was talking about the last days say that everyone around the world may not experience persecution, but if one person in the body of Christ does, it's still the body of Christ experiencing persecution.  The New Testament teaches over and over how believers are one body.

God even gave me an example last night.  I woke up about 3:00 AM with an ice-pick-pain in my upper right knee.  The pain not only woke me up, but it was a well-regulated pain about every 30 seconds.  There was no way I could sleep! I tried pressing down on it, stretching it, moving it...but it was persistent!  I finally got up and Googled knee pain (I don't recommend googling an ailment!).  I realized I was sitting cross-legged (like I normally do) as I browsed the internet and assumed that could be part of my problem.  When I laid back down in bed, the pain was gone.  The point little nerve with ice-pick-pain was enough to keep me from sleeping.  When one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts.

We have brothers and sisters in Christ in pain today.  We could just as easily have been born in Syria as in the USA.  But we weren't.  That doesn't mean we should be immune from the pain our body is suffering.

Let's pray.  Let's ask God to spare them sorrow upon sorrow.  The God who drove the enemy into the Red Sea is still alive!  The God who covered the Israelites from a pursuing, marauding army with a cloud can do anything.  The God who swallowed the enemy into the earth is just as powerful today.  He's waiting to be asked.  He cares about our brothers and sisters who are suffering.  ASK.  Ask God to intervene.  Ask Him to take this ice-pick-pain away.  And don't stop asking!  Please don't stop.

And give.  I know there are hundreds of us who want to help--we just don't know how.  I can highly recommend a ministry located in Israel who not only helps Israelis, but also shows the love of Christ to Palestinians and Muslims.  When you give to them, they are helping with the very basic needs of the people.  They're feeding them, relocating them, and helping in numerous ways.  You can go here to give to the Joshua Fund and help many in the Middle East.

But most of all, don't go on with your day "as usual."  Ask God to stir your heart for what is happening in the body of Christ--your body.  Pray, give, and stay aware to know how to pray.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke

Where Trust Lies was my first book to read which was co-authored by Laurel Oke Logan and her mom, famed author, Janette Oke.  It was obvious as I began reading this story that it was the second in a series and I was left in the dark about some previous happenings.  The book (or rather, this series), is also a companion story to another book by Janette Oke, When Calls the Heart, which was also made into a Hallmark movie.

The premise of this story is about a young woman named Beth Thatcher who came from a wealthy family from Toronto with three daughters--of which she was the middle daughter.  Beth was an adventurer and had traveled to the west (in the first book) to teach.  There she met a young man who was a Mountie and he'd stolen her heart.  Beth comes home only in hopes that she'll be called to go back to the West as the teacher when the school starts in the fall.  But for now, she has a summer to enjoy with her family.

When she comes home, a plan has been made for the women of the family to join friends on a luxurious steamship which will tour Canada and parts of the United States.  Beth finally agrees to go once her father agrees to forward any mail or messages she might get about the teaching position.  Beth's younger sister quickly takes up with some young women and a young man traveling with the less privileged on the ship.  This friendship gives Beth pause...and quickly turns into something more treacherous.

I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  It was a sweet story.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Against the Grain by Nancy Cain

If you're ready to venture into the world of gluten-free foods, this is the cookbook to get you started!  Nancy's son was diagnosed with celiac disease and she began using the foods ready-to-cook in her grocery store and found them gummy and tasteless.  The recipes she found included things like xanthan gum or guar gum or things with chemical additives.  She chose, instead, to create gluten-free recipes from her own beloved family recipes.  This cookbook is a result of that challenge.

In this cookbook, you'll find breads, cookies, pizza dough, cakes, crepes---all of those lovely things usually made out of gluten products.  The interesting thing is if you put photos of gluten-filled cupcakes up next to her photos of gluten-free cupcakes, you'd never be able to tell the difference!

Her recipes include light buckwheat flour, tapioca starch, quinoa flakes, potato flour...among others.  She includes a chart showing which flours work best for different things.  She includes instructions on how to create a gluten-free kitchen, building blocks on how to change a beloved recipe, and gluten-free techniques (which I had no idea were so significant).  

All-in-all, I think this is a cookbook which will delight you if you are turning into a gluten-free direction...and will be just as helpful for those who already have and want to adjust their old recipes.  Because xanthan and guar gum were so threatening to me as a newbie, I never dipped my toe into gluten-free cooking beyond packaged products.  I think this cookbook might win me over!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!  I received this book to review by Blogging for Books

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lloyd & Clara Childress

For extra credit in a college history class, I interviewed all four of my grandparents.  This is the last of the posts which were from the information they gave me and the papers I wrote in 1975.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I did this.  When I presented these papers to my grandparents, their own children had never heard some of the following information.  I want to pass this on to my children and grandchildren...and all of those Childress out there.

Clara holding Devonne, Lloyd holding Lavoe

Lloyd Childress met Clara Towry in Wheeler at a neighborhood party.  They were introduced by a cousin of Lloyd's and instead of it being love at first sight, it was a fight at first sight.  But soon they were dating.  They went to social gatherings together and went with a group to parties.  Then on September 5, 1926, they were married at Canadian, Texas by Judge Frank McMordie.

They began their life together in a two room house nine miles north of Allison. Then in a year, they moved to Wheeler and lived in a 10x10 two room house.  While they lived here, their first son, Gerald Lavoe (nicknamed Bo), was born to them in 1928.  Soon they built another two room house in Wheeler that was bigger and lived there for six months.  While they lived in Wheeler, they raised cotton.  This was the beginning of the depression and their cotton sold for a measly five cents a pound.   They never forgot what it was like to be poor.  Around 1930, they moved to California and remained there a year.  While they lived there, Clara worked in a cannery where they canned cherries and peaches.  Lloyd worked in a factory where they made apple vinegar.  But because of the low wages, they were forced to move back to the panhandle of Texas in about 1931.  This time they lived in Briscoe.  They lived in a five room house that had three bedrooms.  It was here that most of their children were born.  Devonne (nicknamed Fat) was born in 1930, Helen in 1931, Wynola in 1933, Joann in 1935, Rondell (nicknamed Red) in 1937, Kenneth in 1940 and finally, Carol in 1942.   That made a total of 4 sons and 4 daughters.

Back: Helen, Devonne, Lavoe, Wynola, 
Front:  Joann, Kenneth, Rondell

Clara remembered her hard life as a child and was thankful for each of her children and loved each one of them with her special love.  The first six children all began school in Briscoe.  They all had to help work on the farm; plowing fields, hoeing and picking cotton, milking cows, feeding chickens, and gathering eggs.  The girls also had extra chores in the house.  They had to clean house, help cook the meals, do the dishes and help on wash day.  

Helen (back), Wynola (left), Joann (right) and Carol (front)

Clara made most of the girls' clothes and the boys wore overalls.  There were no dry goods stores that handled ready-made clothes.  Besides, they didn't go to big towns to shop since there were none close enough to shop very often.  They always went in a wagon or a one-horse buggy.  Wheeler, where they shopped, boasted a grocery store, a dry goods store, a hardware and a drug store.

Around 1938, in the worst dust bowl days, Lloyd went to town one day and while he was gone, Wynola cut her finger while she was out playing on the windmill.  Blood started spewing from her finger and Clara picked her up and took her in the house. She sent Lavoe and Devonne to town to get Lloyd and the doctor.  

As soon as they were out of sight, she saw the dust storm coming.  She started crying and praying and walking the floors carrying Wynola because she knew she'd sent her two sons to their death.  She got her two children in the house and closed the doors and windows waiting for the storm to hit.  In the meantime, Lavoe and Devonne had reached town and were walking past the gas station when Cliff Walker, the owner, ran out and grabbed a boy under each arm and carried them in to the safety of the gas station.  By that time, the storm was there.  By chance, Lloyd was in the gas station and after he got the boys settled down, he asked them why their mother had sent them out into the storm.  The boys then remembered their mission and told Lloyd that Wynola had cut off her finger.  Lloyd's reply was, "My Lord!!" and ran out to get the doctor and when they got in the car to go to the house, the car died on the road because of the storm.  Lightening was crackling all around because of the electricity in the storm.  It was pitch black, as dark as midnight, and everybody was scared.  After the storm passed, Lloyd and the doctor made it to the house and treated Wynola's cut finger.

The dust storms were terrifying.  Not just one person was scared--it was everybody.  One man, Clara remembered, committed suicide thinking the end of time had come.  The drinking water got muddy during one storm and Lloyd went out to turn the windmill.  When he touched it, the electricity in the air knocked him down.  The children were young and began crying for water but it was too muddy to drink.  After the storms hit, shovels were used to get the dirt out of the house.  The food was dirty and if it hit in the morning, it wasn't until supper time that they were able to eat again.


Discipline was a thing handled by both parents. The razor strap was used by Lloyd on the more serious offenses.  For instance, when Kenneth burned down the outdoor toilet when experimenting with cigarettes, or when Devonne got the tractor stuck in the ditch so he wouldn't have to work and could go to the show instead.  

Carol with their dog, Rex, who saved her from a rattlesnake.

Clara used a switch for the minor offenses such as Carol cutting off her pigtails or Rondell throwing a bucket of water over Joann's head.  The eight kids were always getting into scraps, but they were a happy, loving family.  Once, a Mexican boy pulled Devonne into a shed and began walloping him.  Lavoe had been with his brother, but he proceeded on his way home.  When asked by Lloyd why he didn't stop to help Devonne, he replied, "Wasn't no sense in both of us gettin' whupped!"

In 1948, the family moved to a four room house about five miles south of Wheeler.  In back of the house was a bunk house where the boys stayed.  Sometimes, hired hands stayed here, too, when Lloyd needed extra help.  When Lloyd had hired hands around, it was an extra job for Clara and the girls--cooking and cleaning.

Lloyd owned his first car in 1925, one year before they were married.  It was a topless Model T Ford. Lloyd made his first tractor from an old motor and the back end of a Fordson tractor.  The next tractor he owned was an International, "and the Lord knows how many since then."  In 1954, they bought their first television and they couldn't get anything on it; it was just static but they were all fascinated with the static even though their money was just wasted.  

Back Row:  Helen, Joann, Kenneth, Wynola, Carol
Front Row;  Devonne, Lloyd, Clara, Lavoe

Their children all attended school, with a few of them graduating.  Like themselves, their children sometimes didn't start to school until January so they could help in the fields.  But Joann finished high school and Lavoe paid her way to go to college.  Helen was the first of their children to get married and have a grandchild for them. The other girls all married before or right after they finished high school.  The boys all worked awhile or joined the military before they married. 

Back Row:  Devonne, Helen, Wynola, Joann, Carol
Middle Row:  Lloyd, Clara, Lavoe
Front Row:  Rondell, Kenneth

Lloyd and Clara continued to live in Wheeler in a seven room home.  They both gave love to their children and grandchildren and every grandchild has always wanted to go visit Granny & Papa.  Papa aggravated his grandkids, like the belt fights with Gary and trying to get them all to dip snuff--telling them it's candy.  But Clara always stepped in and you could hear her famous, "LLOYD!"  Granny always had time for every grandchild and each seemed to be very special to her.  Every grandchild loved to crawl up into her lap and cuddle and love her.  

Lloyd Samuel developed what we know now to be Alzheimer's and died May 27, 1981.  Clara Ruth died in her home June 30, 1985.  Both are buried in the Wheeler Cemetery.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lloyd Samuel Childress

For extra credit in a college history class, I interviewed all four of my grandparents.  The next few posts will be from the information they gave me and the papers I wrote in 1975.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I did this.  When I presented these papers to my grandparents, their own children had never heard some of the following information.  I want to pass this on to my children and grandchildren...and all of those Childress out there.

Lloyd Samuel Childress was born May 1, 1906 to Belle and Draton Childress at Eastland, Texas.  After he was born, his parents moved to Wellington, Texas where he lived until he was about sixteen years old.  Then they moved about fifteen miles northwest of Wheeler.  He lived there until he married Clara.

John Draton & Mary Susan Maybell Childress 
with children Lloyd (baby) & Clarence (front).

Lloyd's family was another poor farm family.  From about the age of six, he knew the meaning of the words "hard work."  His dad also grew corn, cotton, and maize.  He and his four brothers and three sisters helped his dad each year to plow the ground, plant the crops, and later, to harvest the crops.  That was back before the day of tractors and so much of it was done by hand and with the aid of horses.  He never started school before January because there was still cotton bolls to pick and work came before education.  His family raised their own food--cows, pigs and chickens--and cured it.  His mother and three sisters always canned vegetables that they had grown and canned and preserved fruits from their own trees or from that of neighbor's.  He and his brothers took every opportunity they could to hunt and sometimes sneaked off from their regular work to do it.  And they always brought back enough quail, prairie chickens, or rabbit for the family to eat.  They went fishing about as much as they hunted, including the sneaking off time, and most of the time brought back enough for a meal.

During his infrequent spare time, he enjoyed such games as baseball, blackman scatter, and hide-and-seek.  The indoor games that he played were monopoly, dominoes, and cards.  One of the favorite party games was snap.  Their parents didn't allow them to dance, but they could play ring games.  These were played by everyone standing in a ring and singing.  Then steps were added as they moved.  This game could be compared to modern-day square dancing--but they couldn't dance.  Most of the inside games they played, though, were table games because they were crowded for space in a three or four room house.  On holidays, several families got together and went to the creek and fished and swam.  This was an all day affair, beginning at early morning and lasting until it was dark.  They would all travel down to the creek in horse and wagon, carrying big pails filled with food for the occasion.  These all day picnics were highlights of the summer.

Social gatherings usually took place on Sunday afternoons.  After church one family would usually invite another over for the noon meal.  After the meal, the boys would usually head outside to play and the girls would stay in to do the dishes and they they too would go play.  The men sat around smoking cheap cigars and talked "farm talk" while the ladies would sit and gossip and sew.  Other special occasions were weddings and baptisms.  Most people were married in their homes while some were married in churches, at the courthouse by the justice of the peace, or at the preacher's house.  Relatives that lived close by usually gathered together for this celebration.  The whole church also gathered during the time of  baptisms.  They took place in farmer's stock tanks, creeks or in the few churches that had baptisteries.  

Lloyd Childress met Clara Towry in Wheeler at a neighborhood party.  They were introduced by a cousin of Lloyd's and instead of it being love at first sight, it was a fight at first sight.  But soon they were dating.  They went to social gatherings together and went with a group to parties.  Then on September 5, 1926, they were married at Canadian, Texas by Judge Frank McMordie.

My personal memories of my grandfather:
We grandchildren (33 of us) called our grandfather "Papa."  And because I also called my paternal grandfather "Papa," I referred to Lloyd as Papa Childress.  By the time I was a young child, Papa was a big man.  He usually wore striped overalls unless he went to a funeral or a wedding--to which he wore a suit.  He actually looked stuffed in that suit.  I've never seen him look more uncomfortable than that--he was certainly out of his element.  And usually when he was at home in his overalls, one strap was usually hanging unfastened.  Papa had the clearest, bluest eyes I've ever seen.  They were almost a grey-blue...and were mesmerizing.  

I was just a little bit afraid of my Papa.  He was a big man, had a big voice, and a very loud snore.  I remember sitting at the lunch table with him, Granny & my family when I was about 8-10 years old.  I'm sure Papa was in a "stare" and was thinking.  But I thought he was staring at me.  I burst into tears and everyone asked what was wrong!  I said, "Papa's staring at me!"  To which everyone burst out laughing.  I still wasn't so sure but what he might have been mad at me or something.  Part of what contributed to that, I'm sure, is that he always asked the grandsons to go with him when he went anywhere.  Granddaughters were for Granny to deal with.  I was always jealous until my brothers later told me that they'd have to sit for hours at the gas station while he jawed with the old men of the community.  But when he came to visit us at our house, before he left, he'd always ask, "Who's going home with me?"  Usually my older brother, Bob, or I would pack an overnight bag and go home with him.  I'd just as easily regret my decision to go as soon as we pulled out of the driveway because I'd get homesick--even for an overnight stay.

Papa was still bailing hay when I was growing up.  And he owned land which had a pond on it.  We'd often go out to his land as a family and have picnics or a fish fry.  We'd swim in the pond unless one of us spotted a water moccasin.  We'd also pick blackberries or plums there during the summer.

Papa loved to pick at his grandkids.  He'd make bets on football games with them as they got older...or bets on just about anything!  And at Christmas, he'd always give each of us grandkids a silver dollar (which I still have).  My aunts would usually make us kiss Papa on the cheek to get the silver dollar...which was probably the only physical affection we ever showed one another.  Papa was convinced a man never truly went to the moon.  He thought it all happened on some Hollywood set.  He had very strong opinions about that...and many other things.  If you spent the night with Granny & Papa, you knew you were going to get up early.  And if you didn't?  Papa would come in with a cold glass of water and threaten to throw it on you.  It was no joke...if you didn't get up, you got a cold glass of water.  Granny would try to keep him from doing it, but he loved doing it.  I'm pretty sure Granny hung bedding on the clothesline to dry lots and lots of times.  I accused my granddad one time of not knowing my middle name.  Because he had so many grandchildren, I was sure he didn't have a clue--and that I was just one of many.  He looked me right in the eye and said, "Becky Darlene."  Well done, Papa!  I was impressed.

Papa was definitely the patriarch of the family.  He was very much "in charge" and made the decisions.  Granny certainly had her say, but Papa ruled the roost.  I have many fun memories of Papa.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Clara Ruth Towry Childress

For extra credit in a college history class, I interviewed all four of my grandparents.  The next few posts will be from the information they gave me and the papers I wrote in 1975.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I did this.  When I presented these papers to my grandparents, their own children had never heard some of the following information.  I want to pass this on to my children and grandchildren...and all of those Childresses out there.

John Andrew and Annie Martha Towry were a poor farm family trying to make it in a small country town, Cotton Wood, Texas.  Things were hard in the year 1908 and John had a full-time job with a family to provide for and a farm to keep going.  Sickness had been hanging over their house for quite some time--then they knew--their small son had pneumonia.  In this day and age, they knew that death would soon be coming.  At the same time, Annie Martha was expecting another child.  Finally, death's hand passed over their child and the sorrow was too great for John to bear, so he left and took his own life.  Annie Martha was overcome with grief.  She had lost two people who were very precious to her.  Now the responsibility of her family that was left and the farm fell heavily on her small shoulders.  The next two months were a great trial for Annie but then another small miracle came from God.  This miracle was a little girl born in the Wheeler County Hospital, May 23, 1908.  Annie named her baby Clara Ruth Towry.  This little pink bundle would some day be surrounded by a family of her own whom she loved dearly and her love would be returned ten-fold.  Annie was thankful for another child but it troubled her that she wold have to raise Clara in poverty.  By the time Clara was two years old, Annie was having such a struggle financially that she finally had to give up and move back home with her parents.    Annie had always thought that she would never be able to love anyone as much as she had John, but while she was living with her parents, she met A.H. Moore, who was a farmer living three miles east of Wheeler.  Soon they were married.  Within eight years, the Moore family began to expand very rapidly and once again Annie was the wife of a poor farmer.  John's parents offered to take one of the children to ten-year-old Clara was the one sent to live with her grandparents.

Clara with her grandparents, John David & Perlina Parasette Towry

Annie knew her deceased husband's parents would be able to offer Clara things in life that she could never give her daughter, so she regretfully let Clara go.  Clara was given new clothes, toys, and everything imaginable which would touch a young girl's fancy.  Her grandparents were even going to send her to college.  But Clara was unhappy and cried herself to sleep many nights.  Three years passed with this arrangement and she was allowed a visit to see her mother, step-father, and step-brothers and step-sisters.  When it came time for her to leave, she refused to go and her mother told her she could live with them as long as she liked.  So, Annie and Clara went to a telephone and made one of those rare calls to let her grandparents know that Clara was returning to her family where she belonged.  Her grandparents were furious and childishly kept all of Clara's new belongings, including quilt tops which Clara had learned to piece.  The college education was forgotten, but Clara was with her mother and that was what counted.  It was an exciting but closed chapter of Clara's life.

Well, Clara was home with those she loved and she settled down to farm life once again.  There was always plenty of farm work to attend to until around January and that was when she started school.  But first, the cotton, corn and maize crops had to be harvested and there were always chickens to feed, cows to milk, and usually horses to take care of since that was their main way of traveling until 1918.  Her family raised most of its own food.  They raised hogs, beef, and chickens and cured it themselves.  The boys always loved to get out and hunt and almost always brought back enough prairie chickens, quail, or rabbit for the entire family to eat.  Her mother taught each of the girls how to can vegetables and can and preserve fruits.  So there was always enough canned foods for the family.  On special occasions, ice cream was made.  But this was a special treat saved for when neighbors came to visit all day.

Clara never finished school.  She went to the small school in Wheeler until she quit in the eleventh grade due to work on the farm.  But the school where she went was made up of combined grades for lack of teachers.  She loved school and never minded the three mile walk even in the coldest of weather.  One morning, after a very heavy snow, she and her sister insisted on going to school.  Annie finally consented after they were well bundled up.  When they reached the school house, they were so cold that Clara's hands were almost frozen.  The superintendent of the school took Clara to his house and made her stay there with his wife all day so she could take care of the frozen girl.  Then that afternoon, the superintendent hitched up his horse and buggy and took the two girls home.  Miss Lilly Bailey moved to town after a well-liked teacher of Sandy Basin school left and became the teacher.  She announced to the class that "she hadn't come to be nobody's friend; that she'd come so they could learn."  So, it seems, everybody was out to get Miss Lilly Bailey.  One of the boys in the school, Buster Walker, put a burro in the well house and then found an excuse for the teacher to have to go down there.  When Miss Bailey opened the door, she was in for a kicking, roaring surprise!  Miss Bailey left the school within a year.

Clara was attending school in 1923 when she met Lloyd Samuel Childress at a neighborhood party.

My personal memories of my grandmother:
We grandchildren called my grandmother, "Granny."  Because my paternal grandmother was also "Granny," I called Clara, Granny Childress.  She had eight children and 33 grandchildren plus 1 who died at birth.  My earliest memories of the Childress family are of a BIG group of relatives gathering at Granny's house with lots and lots of food.  After a big lunch, Granny would put a tablecloth over the food until supper time.  I'm sure there wasn't room to store everything in the small refrigerator she had, but this was just a common custom.  Our family gathered at Granny's house often.  There was seldom a weekend that we didn't drive from Pampa to Wheeler to see family.  Because I have 29 Childress first cousins, you just always knew you'd have someone to play with when you got there.

Granny loved her grandkids!  Papa never came to our house that he didn't try to get some of us to go home with him...and usually one of us did.  I think Granny just stayed in a perpetual state of expectation of one grandchild or another spending the weekend with them.  The best was when my cousin, Kay, and I met at Granny's house.  Kay & I were only 10 days apart in age so we were the best of friends.  Granny would usually pull out a sleeper bed on the couch in the large kitchen and put lots and lots of quilts on top of us.  And then she'd caution us, "You better get to sleep before your Papa does!"  (Papa could shake the rafters with his snoring!  If he did happen to fall asleep before we did, I'd worry when he'd stop snoring--I'd hold my breath until the next snore.)  Granny would always let us cook in her kitchen and we did lots of experimenting.  Granny's favorite cookie was Fig Newtons--they were usually safe in her kitchen cabinet because there were very few of us who liked them.  

Granny had red hair and would exclaim over each new grandbaby, "Oh!  I think they're going to have red hair!"  Out of 33 grandchildren, there were only 3 of us who did.  (I also have 2 redheaded children and 1 redheaded grandchild.)  It felt very special to have red hair.  Granny tried to make each grandchild feel important.  I remember one day that she pulled me into her bedroom and gave me a trinket and told me, "Now don't tell any of the others that I gave that to you!" I promised.  It wasn't until years later that I found out she did that with each one of us.  

Granny's biggest pet peeve was when we grandkids would get in Papa's chair and spin in it.  Not because of the chair, but because Papa chewed tobacco and had his spittoon beside his chair.  Invariably, when we would spin one another, someone would trip over the spittoon and spill it.  Granny would huff as she cleaned it up.  (I don't know why she didn't make us clean it up!)  She also had screen doors on her front and back door.  As we kids ran in and out all weekend, she'd yell, "Don't slam the door!"  Of course, we did.  Papa loved to go to auctions.  I was visiting them on two different occasions when Papa came home with a new cooking stove.  Granny would huff around because he'd brought her a new stove.  It wasn't that she wasn't grateful...she'd say, "I just learned how to use this one!"

When I was young, Granny cleaned the "drive-in" cafe every weekend.  I loved to go with her to help her clean.  Kay & I would pretend we were soda jerks and Granny would allow us to make one drink each while we were there.  I can still taste how good they were!  I doubt we really helped her clean.

It was always an adventure to go to Granny's house.  I have so many wonderful memories of her and of our big family.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Murry & Effie Sanders

For extra credit in a college history class, I interviewed all four of my grandparents.  The next few posts will be from the information they gave me and the papers I wrote in 1975.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I did this.  When I presented these papers to my grandparents, their own children had never heard some of the following information.  I want to pass this on to my children and grandchildren...and all of those Sanders out there.

Murry Sanders and Effie Jones met at a wedding in Grayson County, Texas, September 1924.  Murry's parents had already selected a bride for him, but he wasn't happy with their choice.  He began seeing Effie against the will of his parents and on June 7, 1925, they were married.  When his parents found out, they were very displeased and never approved of Effie and were always hostile towards her.  Murry had asked her dad for her hand in marriage and had gotten her parent's approval.  So, on June 7, 1925, they were married in her home.

Murry & Effie lived in Wheeler, Texas after they were married and Murry worked at many different jobs.  He worked on the railroad for a while and then began working as a carpenter.  While living in Wheeler, they had three children:  Millard, Raymond, and Weldon.  Then, in 1930, they moved to Amarillo, Texas where Murry worked at construction and truck farmed.  After they returned to Wheeler, Effie had three more children, Lindon, Dixie and Glen.  This time, Murry was doing anything from putting up windmills, digging cellars, to block laying, stuccoing, plumbing or floor finishing.  He was making anywhere from fifty cents a day to one dollar an hour.

The next move was made to fifty miles east of Springfield, Missouri in 1935.  Here they remained for one year.  While living there, they raised vegetables for the cannery.  This was during the time of the most severe dust storms in the panhandle of Texas.  Often, a couple of days after such a storm had hit Texas, the after-effects could be seen in Missouri.  The sky was foggy with dust and the sun didn't shine enough to cast a shadow.  Afterwards, Effie would have to give the house a good cleaning to clear out all the dirt.  In 1936, the family moved back to the panhandle of Texas, making their home in Kelton.  Because of financial conditions and lack of proper diet, Dixie was suffering from malnutrition when the family reached Kelton.  Once they arrived, she was put under the doctor's care and retained her good health.  In 1937, the last of their children was born...a daughter, named Juanita.  Now, Murry was working for the government as a meat inspector plus working at the school as a janitor.  Some cold mornings, the boys helped their dad stoke up the furnace at the school with coal.  When Juanita was just a few months old, Weldon died of an illness.  They really never knew what was wrong with him.  Years later, Effie guessed he'd had a heart condition.  The last and final move was made to Wheeler in 1951.  Once again, Murry found work as a carpenter and mechanic.  During his lifetime, his wages ranged from fifty cents to twenty dollars a day.

All of their children attended school and graduated.  Sometimes, they didn't start until the middle of the year because of work on the farm.  Each child had his or her own chores and was expected to do them each night.  The boys helped with their dad at his various jobs and learned his trades.  The girls helped their mother clean house and wash clothes.

During a usual day, Effie would get up, fix a hearty breakfast, clean house, and then work in the garden or yard or pick cotton bolls.  Then she would hurry back to fix lunch, clean up the mess, then go back out and work.  Then supper had to be prepared and the girls helped with the dishes.  Everyone went to bed early and was up at the crack of dawn.  She washed clothes once a week all day.  There were no modern conveniences.  Water had to be drawn with a bucket, heated over a fire, then clothes were scrubbed on a scrub board with homemade lye soap.  Baths were taken in a wash tub usually more than once a week, but always on Saturday night.

Murry got their first car in 1924--before they were married.  The first car Murry ever rode in was a seven passenger Krit.  Murry first farmed with a one-horse two-row tractor.  He got his first tractor in 1944.  in 1956, after their last child graduated from high school, they got their first television.  Their first radio was a crystal radio set and it could pick up long-distance stations--at least within a five or six mile range.  The family income was usually spent on food, clothes, and school.  Sometimes it was saved for such luxuries as ice for making ice cream, or later, to wash clothes at the laundromat.  Both parents disciplined the children.  If the strap was used, daddy did it, and if the switch was used, mama did it.  The boys were always getting into trouble.  Once, when sitting up in a tree learning to smoke, Lindon and Raymond dropped their ashes on the old sow and she caught on fire.  They quickly put it out and never said anything to anybody about it.  That night it rained and the next morning, Murry came in reporting lightening had hit the old sow.  

The boys often got strapped for stealing watermelons.  Sometimes, the boys were grounded for punishment and couldn't use the car for a week.  Whenever the boys used the car for dates, they usually had to take Juanita along so she would have a way to get to town to be with her friends.

Millard, Raymond, and Juanita all attended college and Millard, Raymond, and Lindon joined the navy for at least two years...while Glen joined the army.  Around 1945, while the Sanders lived on the farm and after his wife died, Effie's father moved in with them and continued to live with them until his death.  Later, Murry's mom, who never approved of Effie, moved in with them and remained there until she was moved to a nursing home where she died.

Murry went home to be with the Lord May 1, 1979.  He died quietly in his sleep.  Effie went home to be with the Lord February 6, 1992.  She was laid to rest beside her beloved husband in the Wheeler Cemetery.

*Bob Sanders became very interested in genealogy and created a chart going back 6 generations to William Sanders and Madison Jones in the Sanders/Jones family.  He compiled a book with Becky's interview of her grandparents along with copies of a couple of death certificates, a family tree, and photos marked with the names of the family members.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Millard Murry Sanders

For extra credit in a college history class, I interviewed all four of my grandparents.  The next few posts will be from the information they gave me and the papers I wrote in 1975.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I did this.  When I presented these papers to my grandparents, their own children had never heard some of the following information.  I want to pass this on to my children and grandchildren...and all of those Sanders out there.

Millard Murry Sanders was born October 16, 1899.  He was born in Wilbarger County, Texas, a few miles north of Vernon.  He was one of nine children in his family.  His father was an average farmer who owned his home.  The Sanders moved from Vernon, carrying all their possessions in a covered wagon to the panhandle in 1903.  There Murry lived until he met and married Effie Jones.  While living in Wheeler, Texas, Murry attended a one or two room school until he quit in the tenth grade.  Murry had to help with the work on the farm which was one reason for his quitting school.  He worked hard for his small size.  At the age of fifteen, he was a real husky--he weighed 100 pounds.  His family never wanted for anything although sometimes they didn't know where their next meal was coming from.  They just worked that much harder.

Holidays were special for Murry's family.  On the fourth of July, families got together and went to the river for an all day picnic.  They hunted wild plums, sometimes with young couples straying off and getting lost in the plum thickets only to be found with empty buckets.  Boys enjoyed themselves fishing and jumping the creek, occasionally falling in and then were reprimanded by mothers.  When it got dark, fireworks were shot off and firecrackers popped under sisters' feet.  Remaining fireworks were saved to be shot off at Christmas time.  Christmas was a big celebration, too.  A big tree was put up at the church or school house and the whole community helped in decorating it.  Real candles were used to light the tree and the trees or buildings never caught on fire. But it was very rare for an individual family to have a Christmas tree.  The trees were not always cedar, either.  The parents of each family placed one gift under the tree for every family member to open on Christmas morning after the service.  Then, in the homes, all the members put up stockings over the fireplace which children found filled with fruits, nuts, and candies by Santa Claus on Christmas morning.  The rest of the day was filled with eating a big dinner and visiting with relatives who had come to visit.  Later during the day and that night fireworks were sent into the air and firecrackers were popped by the younger boys.  Family reunions were not common until the 1940's because of the responsibilities of farms and because of slow traveling.

Church was all-important for the Sanders family.  George, Murry's uncle, was a Baptist preacher.  Murry's family attended a Baptist church every time the door was opened.  Worship was the prime reason for attending, of course, but it was also the main socializing function of the community.  When Murry was baptized, it was in an earthen stock tank.  Most people were either baptized in a stock tank or the river before churches started adding baptisteries to their sanctuaries.  Most church members appeared for this ceremony and sang hymns before the baptizing began.

Ice cream suppers and box suppers were often held at the school house.  Everyone in the community showed up for these socials.  Murry also enjoyed play parties, singings, church and movies.  The first movie theater in Wheeler was opened about 1922.  Every kid who could convince his mother that it wasn't of the devil watched the silent movie that opening night.

Murry Sanders and Effie Jones met at a wedding in Grayson County, Texas, September 1924.  Murry's parents had already selected a bride for him, but he wasn't happy with their choice.  He began seeing Effie against the will of his parents and on June 7, 1925, they were married.  When his parents found out, they were very displeased and never approved of Effie and were always hostile towards her.  Murry had asked her dad for her hand in marriage and had gotten her parent's approval.  So, on June 7, 1925, they were married in her home.

*My personal memories of my grandfather:
We grandchildren called our grandfather "Papa."  Because both my paternal and maternal grandfathers were "Papa" to me, I called Murry, Papa Sanders.  He was grandfather to 20 grandchildren.  Four things stand out to me about Papa Sanders:  worms, peanuts, rolled cigarettes, and a Bible!  There was a sign on the Wheeler/Pampa highway which read, "Worms for Sale."  That's how I knew where to turn to go to my grandparent's house as a child.  Papa raised his own worms in a bed he'd made in his garden.  And he sold them to the local fishermen.  The ground in Wheeler is a sandy soil, so it was great for growing peanuts.  Papa also grew grapes and the grape arbor was a favorite grandchild hangout.  He had a huge garden and was a gifted farmer.  Probably 1/4 of his garden was just for peanuts.  He would shell them and always had a bowl of them beside "his chair" in the living room.  Papa would sit in his chair with his Bible open in his lap, eat peanuts occasionally and eventually roll a cigarette to smoke.  If you were lucky, after he'd tapped the tobacco into the paper, he'd let you lick the paper to close the cigarette.

As a child, I knew my grandfather to be a pretty serious man, but he also had a famous chuckle when he'd get tickled about something.    I remember him loving to get into discussions with my mom about the Bible.  He also helped found the Missionary Baptist Church in Wheeler, Texas.  He definitely loved the Lord.   

Papa loved his grandkids even though I didn't know him to be very demonstrative.  He hung a rope swing from the tree beside the house for the grandkids to swing on.  I watched him make cinder blocks by hand and was amazed at his carpentry skills.  He also polished rocks and created rock clocks or other rock creations. He'd let us follow him to his rock shop behind the house, but we weren't allowed to play in there--he was afraid we'd get hurt.   I thought he could do anything.   Papa eventually suffered from Palsy and his hands shook which prevented him from doing so many of the things he loved.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Effie Jones Sanders

For extra credit in a college history class, I interviewed all four of my grandparents.  The next few posts will be from the information they gave me and the papers I wrote in 1975.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I did this.  When I presented these papers to my grandparents, their own children had never heard some of the following information.  I want to pass this on to my children and grandchildren...and all of those Sanders out there.

Effie Jones Sanders--my paternal grandmother

Effie (no middle name) Jones was born November 3, 1904 in Grayson County, Texas.  She was one of six children in her family.  Effie's parents were farmers and at that time they were considered an average family.  But average meant they had a low income.  Effie was always accustomed to hard work.  She helped work in the fields, milk the cows, and also helped with work in the house.  Her family lived in a three room house until 1920 when it burned down.  Their home was rented and when they rebuilt, they built a four room home.  With so many children, a bed had to be set up in the living room and there it remained all day.  When she moved to Wheeler, Texas after she married, she thought it strange that people didn't have beds in the living room because everyone did where she had lived.  She lived in the country, one and one-half miles from school and she walked every day.  Some days, though, after a rain or snow it was too muddy, so she and her brothers and sisters went on horse back.  It was a two or three room school with as many teachers.  She quit school in the tenth grade.  Her clothes were hand-made since there were no ready-mades available, but even if there had been, they couldn't have afforded it.  If a person owned three changes of clothing, he was well fixed.  To go shopping in town, they either went by horse and wagon or by train.  The fare for train was very inexpensive and they rode it often.  Besides, it was much faster and they had more time to spend shopping.  The children even rode the train alone.

The family didn't take very many trips because of the responsibilities at home.  But when there was an opportunity to go, they went to visit relatives and stayed a week at a time.  Usually, this was when there were a lot of relatives getting together and pallets were spread all over the house for sleeping.  Each family would have a pallet.  Family reunions, more than likely, were for weddings or funerals.  Most weddings took place in the home, or the couple went to the Justice of the Peace, the preacher's home, or on a rare occasion, it took place in the church.  The bride always had the parent's consent, but the groom's parents sometimes didn't know.  It was always proper for the groom to ask the bride's father for the bride's hand in marriage.  If the groom wasn't man enough to ask, the bride's parents were hesitant to let the bride go.  Funerals, of course, were held in the church with everyone wearing black.  Then, the corpse was moved to the cemetery.  Sometimes, however, the entire ceremony took place at the cemetery.

For entertainment, young people went to play parties, ice cream suppers, played ball, or went to church.  During the depression, if the kids couldn't get someone to give a play party, they would organize a "singing" and they would go to church or to someone's house where a musical instrument was owned and would sing.  They would hitch up a wagon and start on their way, picking up other kids as they went.  The procedure was reversed on the way home.  No party ever lasted past ten o'clock.  One time, Effie went on a date when her parents had forbidden her to and she was grounded for a month.  This was a harsh punishment because she wasn't allowed to go anywhere.  Revival meetings were quite common and everybody went.  Sunday night services boasted the largest crowds.  Occasionally, married couples and their families would gather at their parent's house for Sunday dinner and make it an all day affair.

People were very neighborly when Effie was young.  Her family never locked their doors.  When a stranger came to the door asking for food or a bed, he was never sent away, but instead, invited in.  Even when the family was gone for a week at a time, the door was left unlocked in case a neighbor needed to borrow something while they were gone.  The first car in Effie's community was owned by Mr. McClure.  He came by her house and told her dad he wanted to take the kids for a ride to his house.  Then Mr. Jones was to pick them up at the McClure's home as he came into town in his horse-drawn wagon.  It was terribly exciting to ride in the horseless carriage, with the steering wheel on the right and no doors on its side.  People moved out of the way as the car came down the road.  Mr. and Mrs. McClure then entertained the children until an hour later when Mr. Jones arrived.  

Effie's childhood was hard, but happy.  Then in 1924, her happiness increased when she met Millard Murry Sanders at a wedding.

*My personal memories of my grandmother:
We grandchildren called her "Granny."  Since both of my grandmothers were called "Granny," my paternal grandmother became "Granny Sanders" to me.  She had 20 grandchildren--plus 4 deceased (that I know of).  Granny made the best chocolate chip cookies.  It seems anytime we'd go there, she'd have some in her cookie jar.  She also kept glass bottles of Dr. Pepper in her refrigerator--which we seldom got to drink.  My mom wouldn't let us ask for them.  My very first memory as a child is of my paternal grandparents.  I was probably 2-years-old and my older brother, Bob, & I had gone to spend the night with Granny & Papa Sanders.  When it got dark, I began crying--I wanted to go home!  Papa threatened to spank me.  Bob came and sat beside me and put his arm around me.  Granny began trying to comfort me and asked if I wanted to call my mom.  That was highly unusual to make a long-distance phone call back then, but we did.  Mom promised to come get me the next morning (a 40-mile trip) if I'd quit crying and go to sleep.  I did.  

There were so many things to do at Granny's house.  She had a treadle sewing machine that I loved to go and pump my feet on.  Granny was a quilter.  Papa built her a huge quilting frame which she left up most of the time in their spare bedroom.  My great-grandmother, Effie's mother-in-law, lived with them for years.  She would "piece" quilts which Granny would "quilt."  My great-grandmother also dipped snuff.  So Granny used the snuff jars as drinking glasses.  She also had colorful tin drinking cups and green milky dishware which especially stick out in my mind.  She had a piano, but we could only play it quietly. I loved the "diamond" (glass) doorknobs at Granny's house!  I always wished for some just like it.  Papa & Granny always had a huge garden beside their house and it was fun to go see what they were growing.  My dad was a big tease and as my Granny began losing her hearing, he would pretend to be carrying on a conversation (with gibberish) because he knew she'd pretend she heard and carry on some kind of conversation...which she did.  I loved to pick up her phone because she had a "party line" and I'd listen to what the neighbors were saying on the phone.  The older she got, the colder she got.  It was hard to stay in her house when we'd go by to visit because she kept her house so warm!  She also wore hearing aids on her glasses (which squealed a lot!).  I never remember Granny without glasses.

I have many sweet memories of Granny Sanders.

Right Back at Ya!

Have you ever heard that the things which bother you in someone else are just a mirror reflecting those things in your own life?  Proverbs 27:19 says it best, "As in water face answers to and reflects face, so the heart of man to man."  I've found that to be true in my own life.

Recently, I was thinking on something that bothered me in someone else.  And because I've seen this principle played out in my life so many times before, I went to God with what was bothering me:  PERFECTIONISM.  Now I knew that God & I both knew I was not a perfectionist!  I'm no slob, but I certainly don't demand straight and tidy rows...of well...anything in my life.  So I asked Him, "If this principle is true (and i know it is), how is perfectionism manifested in my life?"  And He was quick to answer!  (Don't you just hate when that happens??)  "Becky, you are a spiritual perfectionist.  And not only is it displayed in your life, you have imposed it on others."  OUCH!!!

I had to sit and think on that a bit.  What is a spiritual perfectionist?  I carried this around in my heart and mind for a bit and mulled on it.  And the conclusion God brought me to was this:  It's a Pharisee.  Double OUCH!!  A Pharisee is someone who lived by the letter of the law.  They tried to find their acceptance in God by obeying everything God told them to do (think Old Testament laws).  The Pharisees also killed Jesus.  Man!  This revelation was getting worse by the minute!!

What's a girl to do when God uncovers and reveals something so devastating?!  Repent.  Not only did I confess it as sin, but I asked God to transform me by renewing my mind.  And then I did...nothing.  I didn't realize what was taking place in my life at the time, but I began to rest from all that work I was doing.  I began to receive His grace.  I had been trying to find my acceptance in God by being perfect.  And I wanted those closest to me to reach that same perfect goal.  I was imposing it on them.

I'd never understood Hebrews 4:11 until then, "Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter the rest of God, to know and experience it for ourselves."  Strive to enter rest?  That sounds like an oxymoron.  Yes!  Work at resting!  I am completely and forever fully accepted in Christ. I can do nothing to add to that!  Of course, my faith will be displayed by good works, but my works don't make God love me more.  Will I become more mature?  Yes. I'm commanded to grow in Christ.    But His acceptance is a finished work.  He loves me just like I am and I can add nothing to that.  I can rest in Him.  I can just receive His grace.  Now that's perfect.

The next time you're quick to criticize someone careful.  God may just hold up a mirror for you to see yourself.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Cross

The cross was the biggest thing in Groom when we moved here in December of 2013.  I took many, many photos of it in different lighting, different skies, clouds, snow, etc.

It was easy....there wasn't anything to compete with the cross.  There are lights on the cross and when you drove into Groom at night, you could see it for miles!

The landscape has changed.  Wind turbines have moved into our neck of the woods!  I'm so happy for land owners who are benefiting from the income of these turbines on their land.

But it's now hard to see the cross.  The cross used to be the tallest thing on I-40.  But the wind turbines now outstretch the cross.

They're distracting from the cross.

I think there's a lesson here.  The wind turbines came distraction at a time.  The cross was always still there, but it got harder and harder to see.  And now you can drive down I-40 and never even notice the cross.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Now THAT'S Extreme Sibling Rivalry!

Ishmael & Isaac had the same father--Abraham.  You can read their stories in Genesis 15-21.  God made a promise to Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) that his descendants would be a many as the stars in the heavens.  And Abram believed.

But it didn't happen immediately...or maybe for years!  So Sarai, Abram's wife, (before her name was changed to Sarah) took matters into her own hands.  She gave her bondmaid or slave, Hagar, to Abram so she could bear a descendant for them.  I've heard it was the custom in those days that if you gave your slave as a concubine to your husband and "caught" the baby as it was born, it became your child.  So in essence, Sarai was suggesting an adoption of sorts.  But it was man's plan....or rather, a woman's plan.  And it was a plan of flesh.  When Hagar became pregnant, she was filled with contempt for Sarai and began taunting her and making her life miserable.  JEALOUSY was born.  Hagar, the slave, got pregnant easily while Sarai, the cherished wife, couldn't get pregnant at all.  Sarai insisted that Abram DO something and he gave Sarai freedom to do what she wanted.  So Sarai sent Hagar away--into the wilderness.  God met Hagar there and told her to go back and to humbly submit to Sarai.  He also told her she was going to have a son...a son "whose hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him."  She did go back and later had her son--Ishmael!

God comes to Abram later and makes a covenant with him and changes his name to Abraham (the "breath of God" added to his name).  In that covenant, God reminds Abraham that he's going to give him the son he promised.  Abraham laughs at the thought of giving birth to a son when he's 99-years-old, and says, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"   He's trying to convince God to allow the promise to come through Ishmael.  But Ishmael was born according to the flesh and represents the Law. Galatians 4.  God had a different plan (which was His original plan) and was promising a son named Isaac who would be born in fulfillment of the promise and through whom Christ would come.

And it happened...just as God promised.  Then Sarah saw Ishmael mocking a young Isaac one day and she demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be cast out!  It grieved Abraham but God came to him and agreed that they should be turned away.  He reiterated that Isaac was the son of promise. Abraham gave Hagar and Ishmael bread and water and sent them away.  They got lost in their wanderings and ran out of water.  Hagar told the young man, Ishmael, to lay under a bush and she went a ways off (so she wouldn't see him die) and cried.  I'm sure anger was burning in Ishmael at the unfairness of it all.  God met Hagar there and promised her a great nation would be made of Ishmael.

And it was.  Islam was birthed through Ishmael.  And Christianity was birthed through Isaac.  Which explains why there is such great hatred in the hearts of Muslims for Christians.  They are in a "holy war" to kill all Jews & Christians.  It's sibling rivalry to the extreme which has been carried out for generations and generations...and is only intensifying.

*If you want to know more about what's going on in this modern-day rivalry, I encourage you to follow Joel C. Rosenberg's blog here.  He's a Messianic Jew (Jew who's become a Christian) and has served in governmental capacities in the U.S. and Israel and has a pulse on what's happening in our world politically and spiritually.  He's written lots of books, most of them fiction, which outline this battle between Islam and Jews/Christians and makes it understandable for lay people like me.  I'm reading his newest book, The Third Target, and I highly recommend all Christians read it.  I also encourage you to follow what Franklin Graham is saying about Islam vs. Christianity.  It's time for Christians to become informed and involved.  I encourage you to contact the President of the United States (here) and let him know we have a moral obligation to protect Christians in other nations and to align ourselves with Israel wholeheartedly.  And pray.  Please pray!