On Eagle's Wings

On Eagle's Wings
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Monday Memories - My Dad

Here I am again with my memories and joining up with Retired not Tired to go back to the past and bring up some of those precious times and share them here.

This time, I am writing of my Dad, Conley Sheridan. He was a quiet, shy and reserved person, more outgoing when we were young, but as time went on, I think his loss of hearing, along with the weariness of labor and worry caused him to isolate himself even more than just being a reserved person. Although he always welcomed the times folks came to visit, sometimes when there were lots of people around, he would withdraw to himself.

He was born in 1924 to Sheridan and Gertrude McCoy in a two room cabin in the very small community of Wesley. Conditions in the Northwest hills of Arkansas were very poor with no running water or indoor plumbing. His Dad was a sharecropper and carpenter. Daddy had five siblings, one of whom died from cholera as a child and my Dad himself survived typhoid fever when he was eight years old. He walked to a country school each day that school was in session, carrying his lunch in a lard pail with biscuits and maybe some bacon left over from breakfast. I know they ate a lot of squirrel and rabbit, along with poke salad and collard greens.

Dad fell in love with my Mom after he returned from WWII serving in the Philippines and asked her to marry him. He said if her answer was no, he was going back to the Army. Well, I'm glad she said yes! (I'm not sure when she said yes whether she understood what a difficult road lay ahead, but they were a happy pair.)

This pic was taken on an Army base

Probably showing off for girlfriends

Daddy with his horses on the farm in Arkansas.

They made the decision to move away from farming in Arkansas to Tulsa where he was employed for about 40 years with a steel corporation that made oil derricks. I have no idea what put it in his mind  to go to work there and what made him stick it out through thick and thin, but I'm thinking he saw it as the way out for a man who didn't have an education past the eighth grade and life in Tulsa promised an easier way of life and education opportunity for his wife and children. I am very thankful he made that decision because as kids, our life was good.

He was proud of his work and providing for his family. I can only remember him missing a few days ever from work over the years due to illness. Sickness or fatigue never stood in his way of taking care of his family. One winter his car was frozen up, but that didn't keep him home (and this was just before he retired). He just put on his warmest clothes and walked the five miles to work in deep snow. I learned by example of both my parents the meaning of a good work ethic.

I can see from old photos and I remember well as a child his smiling and laughter, but as I grew up, our relationship became a little more standoffish. Don't get me wrong, I loved my Dad and knew he loved us. He was a dedicated and faithful husband, son and father who had very strong feelings for his family. He loved, but it was sometimes difficult for him to communicate his love.

We looked forward to him coming home each day. It was like a little celebration of sorts. Mom getting dinner ready and herself all prettied up for him and us kids as well. We met him at the door to tell him all about the day's events and, if we had been downtown or maybe walked to the local five and dime, we had some little item to show him which Mama had purchased for us. Pay days were always fun because it usually meant we would either have 5 for a dollar hamburgers from the Lot-a-Burger, or be preparing for a trip to Arkansas to visit the relatives.

Sometimes Daddy would load us up in the car and not say where we were going. It was thrilling to us knowing our destination could have been to get ice cream, or to the local amusement park or perhaps to visit their best friends who had two daughters for us to play with. Other times we would go to a lake or river to wade and play in the water since none of us knew how to swim!

I remember his dedication to help me with my homework when I struggled with math problems. I remember him actually writing my homework for me when my fingers were hurting from biting my nails down to the quick. He helped coach my softball team. He helped me as I learned to ride a bike and I remember the day I told him I was ready for training wheels to come off. Mom took a pic of me on my bike wearing one of his hats.

He and I had the mumps at the same time. I remember seeing him in his overalls and carrying his black lunchbox as he left for work early mornings. Early morning was a comforting time as I could hear him and my Mom talking together while she made his breakfast. I remember seeing him cry the night my brother was born, the weight on his shoulders bearing the responsibility of his family and having just been laid off from work.  I remember him walking the floor in the middle of the night holding my baby brother who had whooping cough and trying to comfort him. (Our house was too small for anybody to sleep through his crying.)

My Daddy was the authority figure in our home for sure and we had great respect for him. We could get away with a little whining with Mama (never ever any kind of back talk with either parent), but definitely no whining with my Dad. His word was final. There were some occasions where his heart would be tender to us and he would back down, but usually a consequence followed an infraction.

When I was eleven years old, my parents were so proud to build a new home, something they had worked hard for over the years.

As I grew older, only a couple of times did we butt heads with each other. Once it was about my curfew with a young man he didn't know. He put his foot down with me, but had a change of heart later in the evening. His heart was soft underneath the sternness. I remember a time when I was looking forward to getting a special dress I had asked for at Christmas. The week before Christmas the youth at church were having a Christmas banquet. One of my friends (who thought she was playing a little trick on me) told me my mama had told hers that I wasn't getting the dress. I cried a lot of tears in my disappointment. When Mom and Dad found out why I was crying, they pulled that dress from its hiding place in the closet for me to unwrap and wear to the banquet that very night. Daddy went out and brought back for me a beautiful corsage to pin on my new dress.

For reasons I will not explain here, my Dad didn't attend church with us, but believe me there was never a time when any of us kids would have asked to stay home from church like Daddy. Sunday mornings for him was resting in his chair enjoying every gospel music show on TV as we scurried around getting ready for church. It was an unspoken rule that Mama and we kids would be in church every Sunday. But it was the prayer of Mama's heart that one day he would join us in worship. Two things about church he really enjoyed were gospel singing and to see one of his kids in a program. He would attend church on those occasions.

After my Mama passed away, my Dad was so lonely, it hurt. My sister brought her daughters often to visit with him. At the time Mama graduated to Heaven, my brother Phil and his family and I were living in Seattle where Phil was recovering from a bone marrow transplant. After her funeral, although Daddy had sworn never to get on a plane, his love for his son gave him courage to fly back with me to Seattle to see him.

Later, when my brother had returned home, a wonderful thing happened. My Dad began attending church with Phil and his family. The year before he died, he made a profession of faith and it was our privilege and joy to see him be baptized! That, my friends, was the answer to a prayer my Mom had never given up praying over the years. Never give up. Even if you don't see a prayer answered, that doesn't mean God's not listening. 

Here are my parents standing in front of their last earthly home. Very sad times for me as I would have to drive away saying good-bye as I headed back to my home in Texas. I will never forget the last time I saw Mama waving good-bye to me from the front porch in this picture. A couple of years later, Dad died suddenly, unexpectedly ... and alone inside this house.

One of my cousins has a country and western store in Arkansas. On the wall he has pictures of people he admired. The top left picture is of my Dad. He would have been so proud.

The melancholy feelings that memories can sometimes bring 

can never cause the love and goodness of their lives to fade in my heart.

Above is a link to a YouTube video of the Gaithers' Homecoming
with Just a Little Talk with Jesus.
I hope it works!

Don't isolate yourself from past hurts from others. Let them draw you to Jesus! He will hear the faintest cry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Volume 199

Here are my answers to the questions to Joyce's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back over here tomorrow to share answers with your friends and neighbors.

1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving, it's also National Game and Puzzle Week...what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week?

The grandkids and I played Candyland and Hungry Hippo. I also play Candyland with the preschoolers at church. The kids all love it. No puzzles.

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?

I was very thankful for the hospital the two weeks I was there and even MORE thankful for my own bed when I got home. It was a great place to be!

photo credit

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores...which ONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving day? For those of you playing along who aren't in the US, answer as it relates to any big holiday meal.

I will just take it easy and relax in the comfy chair while husband watches the Cowboys play.

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite home cooked meal?

Pot roast with potatoes, carrots, green beans, rolls and gravy. Oh yummy, I could eat the whole thing myself.

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?

I haven't seen any infomercials to be able to name a product, but I'm sure it would have to be something to do with hair or make-up!! I learned my lesson about 25 years ago and that is I am too gullible for those infomercials so I stay away from them.
In looking for some image to place here, I ran across this! Really? It doesn't tempt me at all. It's just funny.

photo credit
6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

I haven't bought a thing although I have been looking online for ideas!! It's so much easier to buy for little ones. Everybody I know has more than enough. The Angel Tree at church and other charitable organizations make it much easier by telling you EXACTLY what is wanted/needed and truthfully, that is where I would rather give (aside from the grandkids, of course.) But give me a list and I will hop to it! Percentage? Maybbe 75%.

I won't shop on Black Friday. I'm sorry for the people who have to work in department stores and places like Walmart.

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life?

My family and friends add beauty to my life. It would be a desolate place without them. 

And sights such as this morning and evening:

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It really isn't random because I think everybody is just plain sad today. My heart hurts for the people of Ferguson and the police officers and their families everywhere.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Memories - My Mom

It's Monday ... again! And time to join Retired not Tired to go back in time and re-live some of our favorite memories and people! 

My Mother

A sweet, simple, naive, kind, gentle, patient and loving woman.
So many ways to describe her. 
My Mama. 

Teacher, defender, the one who was always there for my sister, brother and me. She spent hours making our clothes, cooking, doing backbreaking work under difficult conditions without the conveniences we now have. A farm house with wood stove, no electricity or running water; later, wringer washing machine, clothesline, no dishwasher, canning, no vacuum, things probably most every woman dealt with in the 50's.

She made our clothes



Whatever we needed, she would do.
I can tell you I never heard my mother complain.

She loved to sing and play piano, and work her beautiful flower beds. She could also stretttcccchhhh a dollar, as they say! She couldn't drive until I was eight, so when my sister and I were very young, shopping with her was an all day event. We walked to the streetcar which would take us downtown where we would visit the bank, go to Kress' and have lunch at the counter there. She always bought us some little special thing which we would be so excited to show Daddy when he came home. An afternoon daily ritual was to get herself and my sister and I "cleaned up" to meet him at the door. 

She rescued me from our burning house when I was a baby. What she taught me about Jesus always brought me back to the right path. Her examples of prayer and faith, faithfulness and loyalty stand out in my memory. Always a smile and a kind word for others. (She told me I was beautiful.) She had a reputation for never gossipping.

(Mama did have a sneaky side, though! ;-) She confessed to us many years later one of the funny things she did sometimes was pull out our roller skates after we had gone to school ... and skate on the driveway!!! We thought that hilarious!)

When I was a teen, we found out that behind that gentle, sweet heart was a very competitive and determined lady. As most of us do, she had put on a little weight over the years. A friend told her about and encouraged her to join a group called TOPS - take off pounds sensibly.

Each week they met to see who had shed the most pounds. The winner's prize? A pretty little ceramic figurine! For the loser? A pair of huge red bloomers which would have to hang out on the loser's clothesline the following week. Anyone caught NOT displaying those bloomers would be put to shame the next week. Well, she wasn't having any of that, so she brought home the prize every week to proudly display on our piano until she lost 75 pounds!

And having been a homemaker all of our growing up years, she also decided she wanted to earn a little money and went to work part time in the school cafeteria. My Dad wasn't thrilled with this, but she loved being with the other moms working there and getting to be with young people.

Mom had to leave high school to help on the farm after her Dad lost his leg in a mowing accident. Until she told us she wanted to study for her GED, we hadn't realized how much having a HS degree meant to her. After passing the GED test and getting her official diploma, she applied herself to learning how to type on the old typewriter my Dad had given us. 

She was so excited when the principal of the school where she worked recommended her for an office job. She later moved to working with special-ed kids at another high school, and progressed to an administrative position in the Education Service Center. She looked forward every day to working and loved the people with whom she worked. Even after learning she had cancer, she kept it secret because she feared someone might think she could not do her job! How sad.

Selfish kids we are when we are young.
I remember at the end of the day,
all Mama asked from us was for someone to rub her feet.
(Wah, we didn't always "feel" like doing that.)
She passed away 27 years ago after one of the most courageous fights
against cancer I ever witnessed.
How I miss her. It would be a privilege to be able to rub her feet again.
The joy of her life in her last years were her grandchildren.
It was a disappointment to us that she did not get to see them grow up.

How I love you, Mom.
I look forward to seeing you again one day.

February 19,1930 - August 28,1987

Betty Jean

Uncle Sonny, Aunt Gerry and Mom
growing up in Oklahoma City

1947 with parents, brother Sonny, and baby sister Nancy
in Arkansas

August, 1981 left to right, my aunt Gerry, me, Granny,
Mom and Aunt Nancy

Summer 1982 Nana Betty with her first grandchild, Robyn

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Memories - Most Influential Person(s)

I am joining Retired not Tired today in sharing our memories of the most influential person in our life. You can join in the nostalgia with us and link in here.

I have pondered this over the last week thinking of all the wonderful people who have had great influence in my life. There have been so many along the way over all these years, and each deserves credit for helping to mold me. However, in the end, it has to be the most influential persons, that being my parents. I have written about them before and wish they were still with me to tell them thank you again and again for everything they did for me and the things they instilled in me JUST. BY. THEIR. LIVING. And a few paragraphs only skim a few things of their influence.

Time and again, over the years, they proved unconditional love, faithfulness, integrity, loyalty, and acceptance in who we were. They had high standards, and we were expected to do our best, but whatever that "best" was, they accepted and encouraged us. My parents did not complain about their circumstances - ever! Any disagreements they had were never shared in front of us. They taught us to respect - no disrespect was tolerated for the other parent. They taught us respect for each other, for siblings, and for authority.

From my parents, I learned to be a good steward of what I had and how to work. In our home, we were not overburdened with chores, however, we helped and did what was assigned for the good of the family - not for reward. There was lots of time for play and they allowed us to be children. In our teen years, we did not appreciate the "protection" by our parents, but over the years, I have come to see where their idea of over-protection may not have been perfect, but the boundaries were always clear and consequences for crossing those boundaries.

Our parents included us in every activity. Maybe it was just the times we lived in, but the only time we had a sitter was the two times my Mom was in the hospital. Everything else when we were kids was family participation.

The influence of their example has helped me face the times in my life which were not easy. My faith and trust are strong because they trained me up in the way I should go. After raising me and teaching me, they allowed me to take responsibility for my life decisions without interference.

I thank God always for the parents and family He blessed me with.

In front of their house

Camping at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas 1982

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Volume 197

Another week has sped by and it's time again for Wednesday Hodgepodge saluting veterans today. I gladly salute them!! Answer the questions on your blog, then head over to visit Joyce and link up to share with everybody else.

1. We celebrate Veteran's Day in the US of A on November 11th. When did you last interact with a member of the armed forces (either currently serving or retired)? Have you ever written a letter to a soldier, bought a meal or coffee for a solider, said an unprompted thank you to a soldier you encountered out and about somewhere? If you're not in the US, comment on a similar holiday in your own country.

Today, via the magic of Facebook message. Praying always for both my nephews who serve in the Army.

I will never forget the emotions I felt the couple of times I watched with my brother and sister-in-law as their sons walked toward the planes that would take them  away. I make it a point to thank service people when I'm out and about. Especially at an airport. It makes me sad to think of them leaving their loved ones behind, the danger they face and the loneliness and maybe fear they may be feeling. 

2. You can have fifty pounds of anything at all (except money)...what would you choose?

I never really thought about fifty pounds of anything, but 50 pounds of nice perfect diamonds might be a good little nest egg.

3. When did you last receive an invitation in the 'real' mail? What was it for and did you attend? When it comes to RSVP-ing, are you an 'early responder' or a 'last minute, barely-under-the-wire' kind of guest?

I'm guessing it was for my nephew's wedding earlier this year and we did attend. Everything else seems to be E-vite. I do RSVP and if I know there is no question as to our attendance, I immediately respond, otherwise, I put it aside and send just before the deadline.

4. What's something you really don't like to waste?

Why must I choose one thing? Time. It would be time.**

But I will go with water. Water is precious and something we can't survive without. Our local water supplies are low due to the drought and I can see the lake every day. From my view upstairs, I know where the lake level should be when normal. It is about 9 feet down, so when I'm using water, in the kitchen especially, I can see outside and am very conscious about not wasting it.

Photo credit
5. Cheers, Friends, MASH, Seinfeld...of the ones listed, your favorite long-running sitcom?

Of these choices, Seinfeld. I originally greatly disliked, couldn't stand, hated the show, and would ignore it when my husband watched it. Of course I could overhear what was going on most of the time and came to be fascinated with the self-centeredness of the characters:  the goofiness of Kramer, George's insecurities, his anger and being such a cheapskate, Elaine's dancing and Seinfeld never finding the perfect match. I preferred it when the show stuck with those kind of comedy situations. 

6. What decision are you glad you made?

The "best ever" decision I made was to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. The second was "staying put" as opposed to moving back to my home town after my first husband passed away. Staying put led to my being "in place" to meet the sweet guy I've been married to now for 27 years.

7. In this month of 'Thanksgiving' what is one thing that's different today than it was a year ago that you're grateful for?

I have about a 6 inch scar down my stomach from an emergency surgery this past summer. I am so very grateful this Thanksgiving for my good health now and the decision we made to stay home the weekend of "my emergency!"

8. Insert your own random thought here

My real favorite sitcom was the Andy Griffith Show. Guess I've dated myself, but I still enjoy watching Barney make a fool out of himself every time and Andy being such a nice guy and so street wise for a small town sheriff. Mayberry seemed like a very pleasant place to live. Aunt Bea reminded me of my Granny in some ways. After the first few years of the show, as Opie grew older and Barney left, it really became a little too corny.

Photo credit

**Is blogging a waste of time?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Memories - My Family

I am joining Retired not Tired today in sharing our memories of family. You can join in the nostalgia with us and link in here.

This is a difficult one to write about, to keep short and not get lost in too much detail with all the memories from a lifetime ago.

Dad grew up in a family of six kids in the hills of Arkansas.
They lived in a small two room house.
The kitchen and living area were one room
and everybody slept in the other room.
How they managed to have six children in those living quarters is beyond me!
Grandpa McCoy was a sharecropper and a carpenter. 
My Dad had typhoid fever when he was 8 years old and almost died from it.
He told me how my Grandpa would walk 9 miles to town and back
each day to get the medicine my Dad needed.
I think they lived a pretty rough life and Daddy told us his school
only went through the 8th grade so he repeated it three times.
Most of the time he had to help with the farm.
He was a hard working man all his life,
a quiet, loyal, and faithful husband to my Mom,
a man who loved his family and made many sacrifices to provide for us.

My Dad standing tall in the center with his brothers,
along with his Dad on the far right.
All of them were farmers.

 My Mom was brought up in the city and thrust into country life when she was just into her teen years. My Grandad moved his family from the city life
to a rural town in NW Arkansas to keep the kids "off the streets."
(Actually, I understand that was my Great-Grandmother's idea. She was the
matriarch and. she. ruled! Not only that, but she was a "preacher" woman!"
And not just a preacher, but a Pentecostal preacher!
Needless to say, my Mom and her family lived in a very 
strict and legalistic lifestyle, due to this.)
I have seen pictures of Mom pitching hay and know that her life was also hard.
She had to leave high school in her junior year because my Grandad's leg was cut off in a mowing accident. She and her siblings had to take over the work until he healed up and was able to work again.

(Sister Viola on the accordion and Sister Brewer with the guitar)
These ladies traveled with my Grandma to play
and sing a few songs before my Grandma would preach.
In her teen years before she met my Dad, my Mom went along with them and sang.
She's the pretty young lady on the right.

When my parents met, he had recently returned from World War II and was the mature age of 22. My mom was at the tender age of 16 and had grown up in a very protected environment. 
They met at a church meeting and most of their courtship was with other couples. Most every picture I have of them while dating, they were laughing. In many of them, it looked as though my Dad was tickling her.

Anyway, Dad rescued, er, stole Mom's heart away from the travelin' band.
(Great Grandma wasn't too happy about that.)

Despite my Great-Grandmother's feelings, 
I'm happy to say my parents were married in June, 1948.
He was 24 and she was 18.

Here they are the happy couple on the right about three months later 
glowing with anticipation over the news that they are to be parents of me!!

My Dad followed after his Dad in the farm life for a couple of years after my parents were married. 
They then decided to make a move to Tulsa, Oklahoma with high hopes
that Dad could provide a better living
for his little family of three and my sister, who would come along shortly after the move. He labored each day in a company that made steel oil well derricks. Grueling work in the heat of summer and freezing winters. He was very proud of the work he did there.

We lived in all kinds of interesting places.
I applaud my parents for staying together through thick and thin.
I'm not sure how many couples could hold a marriage and family together
these days if their first home had been a small and flimsy wooden shack in the hills off a dirt road with no running water, no indoor bathroom, wind blowing through the cracks in the walls in winter, and critters running freely through the house. I'm wondering how my Mom survived that first year. 
She became pregnant with me three months into the marriage and was sick the whole time. I would have to say it is no exaggeration to tell you that my mother was truly a woman of grit, even though she was one of the most quiet, gentle spirited and sweet ladies I have ever known. She always had a smile and I never heard her complain. She had a good word for everybody and they were always welcome in her home. At church, she had a reputation for NOT being the gossip. You confided in Sister Betty about something and you knew it would go no further.

Their first home in the big city was a basement apartment.
We then moved to three rooms in the back of a house
with the landlord living in the front part of the house.
With each move they made, things were progressively better.
My parents had intestinal fortitude!
They had the guts to keep on going no matter what.
And I can honestly tell you with a straight face that never once ... never ...
did they have any disagreements in our presence. 

On the other hand, my sister Roberta and I ... ;-)
We were playmates and are still close friends and, of course,
I love her dearly. We shared a room and a bed together until I left home.
There were times when I wanted to slug her (and I did)
and she was pretty sneaky. Somehow I'm the one who always got the spankings. See how cute she is? I'm guessing that's how she got away with it!

My Mother made these dresses. Pale blue organdy
with blue tulle over them. She made
almost all our clothes.
Here we are - this happy little family of 4 was about to become a family of 5!
I remember my parents calling us into their bedroom to ask how we would
feel about having a baby brother or sister.
That sounded like a great idea to both of us!
I did realize later they weren't asking our permission - I'm
thinking it was already a "done deal" and about to happen very soon.


Yep! Not too long after that, our baby brother was born.
My Dad was sooooooo proud of this boy!
And, did I mention I love him too!

This isn't a very good picture of us, but I believe it is the last family
pic ever taken of us all together.

Well, this one probably doesn't count as a family portrait.
We had just returned from Branson, Missouri BEFORE it
was the big booming tourist attraction that it is now.
Every year our family vacation would be to visit the relatives
in Arkansas, go to Branson, Roaring River, Eureka Springs and Marvel Cave. We waded in the War Eagle and White Rivers in Arkansas and had picnics on the beaches.
We never tired of it!

My Grandma and Grandpa McCoy moved closer to town and their house was on a highway across the street from a creek. One year Dad took all three of us kids fishing a couple of miles down
the creek. Roberta and I would play in the woods up the hill behind their house or sit on the front porch swing and wave at the people who passed by in their cars.
Grandma and Grandpa had a well and all their water was drawn up in a bucket. 
Oh man, I am so thankful that we moved away from the hills! It wasn't that much fun walking in the woods at night when you needed to make a trip to the bathroom.

My Granny and Grandad by this time had moved to the city and lived on a beautiful tree-lined
street in town. Roberta and I could walk to the store down the street. Granny and Grandad had a cellar filled with interesting stuff like old books which I enjoyed and she always had a current Sears catalog which Roberta and I would go through page by page and "select" what we liked best and wish from the Wishbook! The bedroom where we slept had a record player and lots of records. I remember Granny dancing around the room with us. Their yard was filled with trees and snowball bushes and it was great fun hiding Easter eggs with all the cousins. 

Christmases were simple, but festive. My Mom loved Christmas and would bake and make fudge and other goodies. We all went together to buy the Christmas tree each year and I still remember the smells of Christmas. We decorated with glittery ornaments and sometimes paper chains and popcorn. Mom and Dad would hide in the bedroom to wrap gifts. We always (almost always) got
at least one thing we had desired and extra little things that Mom thought of. And until we were much older, Mom pretty much gave my sister and I the same gifts. She was very big on "keeping things equal" to the point that sometimes I think can drive a person crazy!
I remember the gift of this year in the above picture. 
I was in sixth grade and Roberta and I had wanted wrist watches. 
We got our wish. She had a Snow White watch and mine was Cinderella.
How we loved those timepieces. And I was so very excited ... until
Christmas holiday was over and we went back to school proudly wearing them on our wrist.
Surprise, surprise! My best friend, Melba, had also gotten a watch for Christmas.
A. Real. Honest. To. Goodness. Grown-up. Watch.
I felt like such a baby with Cinderella smiling at me from the face of my watch. Sad, huh? 
But I never told my parents.

This is my brother Phil holding his BB gun and standing in
front of the fake fireplace which was part of our Christmas decorations.
Besides the Christmas tree was the Nativity Set which my brother still sets out in his home over 50 years later. We have laughed about this fireplace because of the fact that it was fake.
I only found out recently that some of the people I went to school with years ago also had these in their homes. Thank you, Sears catalog.
By the time the above picture was taken, 
my family had moved into a lovely, brand new three bedroom
brick home which we watched being built from the ground up. 
Can I tell you how proud my parents were? 
How far they had come from that tiny shack in the hills of Arkansas?
How hard they had worked lovingly over the years bringing up their family?
I sometimes weep with tears of gratitude to my parents for the life they gave us
and the way we were brought up and the Christian values we learned from example and teaching. Of course, we thought they were too strict on us.

Here are my parents on a road trip with us to Colorado.
My Mom, ever being the way she was, enjoyed every minute
of her life even while suffering with leukemia.
Both my parents died too young.
Trying to express in a short blog about my family seems an impossible task to me. Suffice it to say that I grew up in a loving and safe environment, always secure. 
Never did I know a day of hunger or lack in any way.
I remember there were hard times. I remember my Dad being laid off from work and knew at the age of eight that wasn't good, but did not have to worry because I knew he would always find a way to provide for his family. I believe the legacy of their example to us was greater than any material inheritance they could ever have bestowed upon us.