diggingupbonesbratkin

This blog is just me, talking about whatever is flipping my switch on any given day. Sometimes that will mean I’ll be exhuming things better left alone.

Tender Mercy — August 14, 2017

Tender Mercy

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It was one of those lovely summer days we get in August in Arkansas. Even the air seemed to be filled with joy as the sun shone warmly on the front porch of the old Queen Anne house. The summer rain had come and cooled things down quite a lot and now the sun warmed the little girl who sat spraddle-legged playing jacks in the sunshine. Her big brother came along and told her to pull her dress down, her undies were showing. With a quick jerk, the five-year-old girl yanked down the front of her dress to hide her undies because her big brother knew a lot of stuff she didn’t know. After all, she was only five and he was eight!

Looking back on my life, I see God’s tender mercies to me in allowing me to grow up in a family of people who cared for one another and taught one another because of that caring.

tender mercy

My wonderful grandmother used to say, “Every path has its puddle.”  And I didn’t know what she meant because I traveled a path down the backside of our hill almost daily to go to the post office and store and there were absolutely no puddles on that path. Then one day when I was ten, I was accosted by an older boy who tried to do things to me that my big brothers had told me to guard against. I managed to run away but that is when Grandmother taught me that a puddle is not necessarily a spot of water.  Again, God’s tender mercies saved me from a bad experience.

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My faith in God’s tender mercy means I also have faith in his timing. Why else would my friend and I have gone to the Dairy Freeze on Sunday afternoon for a Coke at the same time my unknown to me future husband was there?  Not an accident, it was all part of God’s plan for my life and another of his tender mercies to me.

Looking back on 75 years I see too many mercies to count, but that strengthens my faith that what happens now is also more of his care for me. Yes, even when I cannot see it at the moment, His tender mercies are over me.

And what prompted my mind to wander down this path? Because the love of my life has had some bad test results lately and more tests are coming this month to find out what is happening to his body and brain. It would ordinarily be a time of anxiety and wondering. Does he have Parkinson”s Disease? Is it the onset of dementia? Things at the moment are in flux but when I think about it I have a calm come stealing over my spirit that I can only attribute to God’s tender mercy toward me. In my soul, I know that all will be well because God’s tender mercies never fail.

Psalms 40:11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

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Why I Sew — July 30, 2017

Why I Sew

Panty2Growing up the only girl who sewed in our family, I learned to use a needle early and often. It was as easy for me as using the broom to sweep. My sister would press seams however I asked her to press them but she did not want to sew. She also did not want anything made at home on a sewing machine.  She wanted “store bought” clothes.

To me, sewing was a duty but it was also a comfort and a mode of self-expression. To my sister, it meant we were poor.

Panty

The first project of any magnitude I took on was the making of a quilt for the bed I shared with my sister. I was eight years old and my sister was seventeen.

By the time I finished that quilt top my mom decided I was experienced enough to begin making clothes.  I made a pair of pajamas for myself and felt so proud as I wore those “baby doll” pj’s for sleeping.  From that time on, there was no holding me back. I chose patterns and fabrics and created my own dresses, blouses, skirts, and yes sleeping outfits.  I had fun doing it then and still enjoy the process of creating. Where my sister looked on it as “home made” I always saw it as custom made just for me.

In the summertime, I sat on the front porch to hem a skirt or sew the binding on the edge of a quilt. Lots of hand work was finished while porch sittin’ and visiting with family or friends.

In all the things I’ve made in my lifetime I never have felt that I was “showing off” by showing my sewing projects to others but like I’m making a statement about myself, about my skill, my patience, my ability to endure endless days of hard work and tedium for the sake of the pattern and of the whole project. In a way, I feel that it ultimately shows a sense of my value as a human being.  I will leave behind things that others enjoy having and using. That gives me a sense of accomplishment.

And it is FUN to sew and create things. Yes, the panties you see on this page were made by me. You may be wondering by this time what my sewing machine and I are working on now and I have to say I’ve just created this mermaid quilt top!  When you are tired of being a mommy or a teenager or a kid or a whatever you’re tired of being, then just sit down, throw this little quilt over you and be a mermaid.

Isn’t sewing, and imagination, fun?mermaid top edited

Granddad’s Wisdom — July 24, 2017

Granddad’s Wisdom

Granddads wisdom7

Some of the most fun I had in the summer while school was out was the time Mom would allow me to go home with Grandmother and Granddad.  They lived on a farm and there was always something to do. There was a lovely spring at the foot of the hillside and of course the small creek that ran from it.  The spring house was cool and that is where Grandmother kept the extra milk and cream until time to take it to the train station in the closest town.

Granddads wisdom6

That is where we lived and Grandmother usually came to town with Granddad when he came to bring the cream cans. She would come up to the house to visit and after Granddad unloaded the cream cans he would come up too and after lunch they would start back to the farm after getting any supplies needed from the store. It was a “top button day” for me if Mom said I could go home with them. That meant I had a whole week of fun because that wagon wouldn’t be coming back to town until next week at the same time.

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Granddad raised feed for his cattle and some cane to make sorghum molasses with in the fall.  When he would come to the house for lunch he would often bring short pieces of cane for me to chew on in the afternoon. Oh, my! Those were as good as an all-day lollipop.  I would chew and suck on that piece of cane for hours until every drop of the sweet juice in it was consumed. That made a “top button day” for me every day.

It was from Granddad that I learned what a top button day was. He talked a lot about what he called “top-button truth.” If you get the top button on your shirt right, Granddaddy used to tell me, then all the rest of the buttons will fall into place behind it. But get the top button wrong, and no matter how hard you try, nothing will ever line up like it’s supposed to. And oftentimes our days are like that. When it starts off going well it usually progresses like that. But if you get the first thing wrong, it gets you grumpy and frustrated and this usually causes you to make more mistakes as the day goes along.

Granddads wisdom4

There were also “top button people” according to Granddad. He would tell me there are some people you like immediately, some who you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some that you simply want to push away from you with a sharp stick. But he and Grandmother were quick to tell me that those people need love too. Just because someone wasn’t a top button person didn’t mean you weren’t to be kind to them and courteous to them and, of course, you helped them if they needed help. You just didn’t have to become bosom buddies with them.

Yes, I miss Granddad’s wisdom.

Granddads wisdom2

Porch Lessons — July 19, 2017

Porch Lessons

One of the strongest and most lasting lessons I learned as a child was the one of reaping what we sow.

Our old Queen Anne style house had a porch that wrapped half way around it and we sat out there a lot because there was no air conditioning in the house and the porch was usually the coolest place to be in the summertime.  We shelled peas, capped strawberries, strung beans, husked corn or did whatever chore could be done while sitting on the porch.Hatcher Hinshaw House

As we sat on the porch, neighbors would be passing by going to or coming from the store or post office and would often stop to visit. It was 1948 when someone stopped to tell us that Mrs. Bickerstaff (not her real name) had gone to her final reward. She had passed away the night before.  Then, of course, the whole story had to be told.

There used to be a fine old couple who lived In a house down the hill from us. They owned their home and made a truck garden to feed themselves and to sell or trade to get other things they needed like flour, butter, or other staples.  Their only child was good about helping them all he could but had a family of his own to care for and times were very difficult in the 1930’s.

One day Mrs. Bickerstaff, a very large woman, came to visit the old couple who were sitting on their front porch shelling peas. When Mrs. Bickerstaff stomped up onto the porch a rotten board gave way and she fell through the porch floor. She was stuck with one leg dangling below the porch and the rest of her on the porch and unable to get up because she was so large she couldn’t lift her own weight.

The ambulance finally got there from 25 miles away but the doctor had already arrived and stated that the leg hanging below the porch had a compound fracture and had to be splinted before the woman could be moved.  It was a terrible accident.

Before Mrs. Bickerstaff got out of the hospital, there was a lawyer came to see the old couple to say he had been engaged to take them to court to pay Mrs. Bickerstaff for her injuries.

The old couple was stunned. They had no money nor any way to get some. Long story shortened, they lost their home and had to move to the poor farm because their son’s four room house was barely big enough for him, his wife, and their two children.

Now it is 1948 and we are hearing that Mrs. Bickerstaff passed away last night and none of us had any idea there was anything wrong with the woman other than greed.  We said so and marveled that she had passed away and of course, it had to be asked because it was on everyone’s mind, how did she die?

“Well, that was the thing about it,” said our neighbor, “She fell through the front porch, couldn’t get out, was there all night before she was found, and she had torn her side open and bled to death before she was found.”

We all studiously looked at the peas we were shelling and tried not to let our faces register satisfaction over such a horrible event.  But the lesson stayed with us all for the rest of our lives. It is true, what goes around comes around. Or as someone said long before that phrase became popular, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7-9 (KJV)

Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap

What Happens After — July 12, 2017

What Happens After

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It has to be said, people mess up and disappoint us. We disappoint each other and it seems it is inevitable. The question we ask ourselves is, what happens after?

Ron Howard was a guest on a show and the host asked him who he liked to work with the most; Ron said he liked to work with successful, competitive, professional athletes.

That seems reasonable when you think about it. To reach that level in competition an athlete has to have drive, determination, and be focused. Maybe even a degree of ruthlessness.  But none of these are what Ron mentioned in the interview.

Ron Howard said the reason he preferred to work with this caliber of an athlete was that a successful athlete knows how to lose. But more importantly, that athlete knows how to keep going afterward.

It is important to know how to keep going afterward.

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After the job is lost, do you keep putting in the applications even though no one is calling you for an interview? And more importantly, do you keep praying about it?

After the loss of a loved one, do you still love the Lord and keep praying?

After the honeymoon is over and you start seeing the defects in your mate, do you keep praying for that spouse? Do you thank the Lord for that spouse even when things aren’t going the way you want them to go?

After the loss in a competition, do you still keep praying?

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The Bible says, “…to show that at all times they ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)

Notice the “at all times” part of what Jesus said in that verse. Not just when we feel God has been good to us and we want to thank him. Not just when we feel we need something from him and ask him to provide it. Not just when those we love need his help but at “all times.”

Notice the “ought” part of the quote. The reason men and women ought to pray is because we need to be in fellowship with the very source of our being. When we lose that, we tend to become like the other creatures of this world; creatures of instinct incapable of making moral decisions (2 Peter 2:12-14). This tragedy is being seen in our streets today.

Notice the “pray” in this verse. Yes, we should pray and here’s why, because we need Him, not because He needs us!

Notice the last part. This may be the hardest part of what Jesus is telling his followers to do. “And not lose heart,” he says. This phrase means not to faint or to grow despondent or weary. To “lose heart” is the opposite of to endure or to remain steadfast. The parable which accompanies this admonition suggests that persistence in prayer pays off.

So what happens when you pray and God doesn’t answer your prayer the way you wanted him to?  Do you give up or are you a professional and keep going?

You will stumble, you will fall, you will have storms, tempests, and other disasters or inconveniences in your life. It will matter what you do after these events. Will you pray? And will you keep praying?  It’s what happens after that matters.

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Hope — June 28, 2017

Hope

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As a child, I was always the odd one out. My brother Robert was born in 1930 and in 1939 my 7th sibling was born. Yes, you got that right, my mom had 7 children in 9 years and there were no twins in there.  But the thing about having so many so close together is they all felt connected.  It was three years later before I came along and so I had no close siblings to play with and sort of grew up alone, in a manner of speaking.

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It was probably just my own sense of insecurity that made me feel left out all of my life and sort of unwanted.  You see, there were six boys and two girls and there was nine years difference between my sister and I.  Because there were so many boys in the house it seemed that everything revolved around them and I was sort of an afterthought.

Is it any wonder that I always hoped that someday someone would want me because I’m me?

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Then along came a tall, strapping, good-looking, kind, caring man with a fabulous sense of humor and miracle of miracles, he wanted me!

When I heard the words, “As long as we both shall live” repeated by this wonderful man, hope bloomed in me and couldn’t be extinguished.  Is there anything more wonderful than being wanted by another human? A man who promises to stay with you as long as he lives?  Our lives have been tempered by adversity, expanded by faith, polished by perseverance and lived to the limit and all this time those words “As long as we both shall live” have continued to bloom in my heart.

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It is a wonderful thing that God answers our prayers in ways we don’t choose.  His river of grace flows in unexpected ways and is often all around us, bubbling up in our lives, passing under our feet and never seen because we are looking for it to appear in a different way from the way God presents it.

I’m hoping today I’ll be aware of that grace and see it in every direction I look.

Tell me how His Grace has impacted your life, please.

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Pray for Healing — June 3, 2017

Pray for Healing

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In my seventy-five years of living, I’ve learned a tiny bit about prayer.  I’ve also learned a tiny bit about healing and the prayers for healing.

In my experience, there are five different healings.

  1. There is a natural healing of the body caused by the magnificent immune system installed in us by our manufacturer at the beginning of our life. That immune system takes care of us far more and far oftener than we realize.
  2. There is also the kind of healing most of us pray for but few actually believe in, that is, an actual miracle healing. When I was in my early thirties a pelvic X-ray showed a hot spot in my pelvic arch bone.  The doctor said that indicated cancer. I immediately called my church, my family, my friends of different church beliefs and asked all of them to pray for this to be healed. And it was. No surgery, no radiation, no chemo, no medication, it just healed and disappeared. This is the miracle healing we seek but often do not believe in.
  3. There is then medical healing. We are very aware of this and most folks believe in this kind of healing and often this is what one has on one’s mind when one prays for healing. That is why you will often hear things like, “Please give the doctors the knowledge to treat this person’s disease” when you hear a prayer for healing.

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4. This fourth kind of healing is the healing of the attitude and is talked about in 2 Corinthians 12 verses 8-10. The apostle Paul had an affliction and asked the Lord to remove it. 8Concerning this, I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. The Lord did not cure Paul’s affliction or heal Paul but the Lord gave Paul an attitude adjustment, or a healing of his attitude.

5.Then there is the healing no one wants to talk about. Sometimes we are healed by being taken from this world and all its troubles to the next life where we are truly healed. This isn’t usually what we have in mind when be beseech the Lord on behalf of someone ailing but it may be exactly what the Lord wants to happen in the life of those who are left here without their loved one.

  1. Be very careful when you pray for healing. God hears those prayers.

prayer of a righteous man

Porch Sittin’ — May 19, 2017

Porch Sittin’

The Front Porch   

firefly-picture-in-jar            

When I was growing up in the 1940’s in a tiny town in the middle of the United States, a lot of summer life was spent porch sittin’ and it was done for various reasons.

In the first place, we didn’t have air conditioning back then and the porch was the coolest place to be on a hot summer day.

Then there was the opportunity to call out a hello to neighbors and friends as they passed our house going to the grocery store and the post office.  This was the most common way to get the current news. Only a handful of people in our town had a telephone and most of those were for business.  People went to the store and post office to collect the daily news as much as for milk or mail.  If we had news in our family to pass along, the birth of a baby, the illness of a family member, a lost pet, new puppies that would be weaned in 6-8 weeks, all of it got passed along and when the neighbor got to the store everyone in earshot heard the latest happenings at our house – – – and told their own which got brought back to us as the neighbor went back home.

There were chores, sometimes, that we carried out on the front porch.  We sat there to snap beans or shell peas and anyone who happened along would cheerfully pick up a few beans or peas and snap or shell with us while the news got told.

After supper, sittin’ on the porch took on a whole different feel. That is when we watched the first fire-flies (though we called them lightening bugs) and listened to the crickets tuning up.  It is where I was introduced to the Milky Way, the Big Dipper,  and the Evening Star. And this is where I introduced my kids to them.

Oh those wonderful days when Mom would stir up the makings of ice cream and pour it into the ice cream freezer and we kids would take turns turning the crank until the mixture froze into ice cream. Oh the goodness of fresh ice cream on the front porch on a hot summer night!

ice cream freezer

It was such a tiny town,  and very few owned an automobile, we would often count the cars that went by in a certain period of time and lay bets of our labor on the outcome. “If more than ten come by I’ll do dishes for you tomorrow night.”  That sort of thing.

This particular time of the year brings swarms of porch sittin’ memories to mind as I see four o’clocks begin to bloom (Mom always had them on either side of the front sidewalk) see lightening bugs blinking on and off at dusk, or get to longing for homemade ice cream at the end of a busy day.  

And oh, the porch I got to sit on!  It was, and is, a dream of a porch just made for sittin’! The picture at the bottom of this article is the house I grew up in and that porch was just exactly right.

Did you ever do any porch sittin’?

Hatcher Hinshaw House

The Face of Love — May 10, 2017

The Face of Love

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We are all familiar with the very well-known and well-loved Bible verses which describe love.  But let’s put a face on love.

There are so many different faces of love that I’m barely going to be able to get started here, but here I go.

Even though the faces of love all look different they are still easy to recognize if you are really watching.

The face of love can be seen telling a child to brush his teeth, not to talk with his mouth full, or not to chew with the mouth open. That face of love will teach things like standing up straight and looking folks in the eye when talking to them.

There is the face of love that denies a child the candy on Halloween or Easter because the child is diabetic, or makes the tough decision to put the child through a horrible surgery and recovery period to correct hip dysplasia so eventually the child can be better. It looks a lot like hard-heartedness but is definitely love.  Or, how about the face of love that watches as doctors dump toxic waste into a beloved child who has cancer and prays that God will bless the chemo and cure the child? Yes, I call that love.

Mother-And-Child-Holding-Hands-Silhouette

This may not seem like a whole lot until the day your heart aches because you see a tired mother trying to corral her preschoolers, packages, and purse and you look into her eyes and smile in understanding because you remember your mom doing the same. So you help the mother get it all across the street and to her car and go on with her thanks in your ears and a lift to your spirit while mentally thanking your own mom for raising you right.

If you turned out to be a loving, giving, useful human who is striving to make this world a better place, thank your mom.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8Amplified Bible (AMP)

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong enduredIt does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails 

Don’t forget to hug your mom and tell her,

“Thanks!”

How Big is Your But? — May 1, 2017

How Big is Your But?

but

Do you find yourself using the phrase, “But I” very often?

For example, do you catch yourself saying, “I need to work out… BUT I am so tired.”

I want to get healthy… BUT I love dumplings!

I know patience is a virtue … BUT I just feel so frustrated all the time.

My family is great even though we need to talk about a few issues… BUT I don’t like confrontation.

Each time I use the BUT I phrase it seems pretty big to me. That’s why I’m learning to follow every “but I” with a “But God” statement of truth instead.  When I catch myself saying “but I”… I try to use it as a trigger to redirect my discouraged heart with a “But God” truth.

When we follow up statements with “But God” the BUT becomes smaller and smaller. And let’s face it girlfriends, we all want a smaller but!

Here are a few “But God” verses and there are lots more in the Bible.

Genesis 8:1

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Genesis 31:42

If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.

Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

1 Samuel 23:14
David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him,
but God did not give David into his hands.

1 Kings 5:4
But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster.

Nehemiah 9:17
They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.
But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.

Psalm 49:15
But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.

Jonah 2:6

To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.

Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

John 1:18

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

Acts 2:24

But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Acts 3:15

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Corinthians 1:27

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

2 Timothy 2:9

for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.

Yes, I try, but sometimes those “But I” thoughts will slip in despite my best intentions. How about you, do you need help making your but excuses smaller? Then join me in turning those “But I” moments into “But God” miracles.

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