THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"  Luke 15:4-6

July 18, 2007

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

In many ways, I am very sentimental. I have a lot of special treasures that I hold dearly, and wouldn't give up for anything. When other people look at them they would probably just see a lot of worthless items, but to me they are priceless.

When my mom was sick with cancer, one cousin's husband was a carpenter. He wanted to do something special for Mama, so surprised her by building a cedar chest for her. I remember the night when he brought it into the house and gave it to her. My mom started crying and ran into the bedroom. She was so overwhelmed. When Mama passed away, the cedar chest was given to me. I have it sitting in my living room today.

Not only is the cedar chest very special to me, but the inside is filled with many treasures. I have one of my baby dresses, my baby shoes and a pair of baby booties. I have an apron that my step-grandmother made for me when I was young. There is also a storybook from my childhood, which was read so many times the cover fell off.

When I was a little girl, my favorite snack was a scrambled egg. We didn't have a lot of money but always had chickens, so eggs were free! Every night before I went to bed I would go into the kitchen and get an egg out of the refrigerator. I would hold it behind me and go ask Mama, “Guess what I have behind my back?” (I remember eating the eggs, but not hiding it behind my back. My sisters have all told me about it.) I still have the little metal pan my mom cooked my eggs in.

When I had the chicken pox, my mom borrowed some tubes of fabric paint from her step-mother for me to use. Mama ironed some patterns on pieces of old flour sack material, and I painted those pictures. We had an old chest-style freezer, and I can still see myself kneeling on a chair in front of that freezer, painting on those flour sacks. That kept me occupied, until I got well. I still have all those in my cedar chest.

I have a pair of pillow cases that my Grandma Horton made for me. She hand crocheted red lace around the openings and brought them up for me to embroider a picture on. The picture is two lambs jumping over a fence. It took me so long to ever get them finished, that I have treasured them ever since I got them completed.

I have birthday cards from when I was probably four or five years old. I have a letter my sisters wrote to me when I went to kids church camp one year. There are two scrapbooks full of cards and all kinds of papers.

When I was in first grade, my teacher traced our face profiles, then cut them out. My profile is black construction paper and glued on white paper. I still have that. I have all of my report cards, certificates, and things from school.

When I was six, I wrote a song. The paper is all tattered and torn, but I still have the original copy. The words that I can remember are, “The grass is green. The ducks are yellow. Jesus is coming soon.” I'm not sure how that all fit together, but apparently in my six year old mind, it did.

I was five years old when my oldest sister got married, and I was the flower girl in her wedding. Mama made the dress that I wore and I still have it. When I look at it, I wonder how I possibly could have ever been that small. I have the bow I wore in my hair when I was a candlelighter in my sister, Shirley's wedding.

I also have letters I wrote and cards I made my mom when she was in the hospital various times, that she had kept over the years. I have get-well cards that people sent to her during the years that she was sick. When I go through them occasionally and read them, it reminds me that my mom was not only special to me but to many others, also.

One of my most recent treasures that I just received, was from a cousin. Her mother was my mom's oldest sister. This cousin and my mom were close in age and good friends growing up. She was going through some of her things a while back and found an old autograph book from when she was a young girl. Inside were three pages where my mom had written to her. My cousin tore those pages out and mailed them to me. The first two dates were from 1944 and the last one was in 1945. My mom would have been twelve years old when she wrote them. I absolutely cherish having those pages and have read them over and over since receiving them!

As much as all these things mean to me, even more important, are people in my life that are special treasures. These are not only family members and friends, but there have been people throughout the years who have influenced me greatly.

The first pastor I remember is from when I was about five years old. I was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit during a revival at our church, while he was pastor. He was a gentle man with such a big heart. Everyone absolutely loved Pastor Floyd Butler. His son, Keith, was my next pastor. He baptized me when I was seven at a baptismal service our church had at the lake. Just a few years ago, I had the privilege of once again having Keith and his wife as my pastor.

My favorite school teacher was Roger Butler, who ended up teaching our class in both the sixth and seventh grades. I attended a small school and we didn't begin changing classes until eighth grade. He would read us stories, go outside and play games with the kids, do special projects, etc. He made learning interesting and fun. I never really enjoyed school very much, but those two years stand out as my favorite.

One of the best friends I have ever had is Pam. Back in 1989, we started out as her being my supervisor, when I first began working in a bank. I was an extremely shy young lady, who lacked self-confidence. The first year I worked there, they barely got a word out of me. I would speak when someone spoke to me, or if I needed to ask a question, and that's about it. And that's not an exaggeration! After I grew more confident, I became more outgoing and they couldn't get me to be quiet! That's also not an exaggeration! Pam saw something in me that I wasn't even aware was there, and began giving me more responsibilities and encouraging me to learn and do more. Fourteen years later when I left that bank, I had been a supervisor for ten years and was Pam's assistant for many of those years. The two of us have been through so much together, and have formed a bond of friendship that cannot be broken.

There are so many people who have touched my life in some way. Occasionally I like to take time and just remember them and what they did that meant so much to me. It's like opening a treasure chest and taking out each jewel and gem individually and remembering where you got them.

Before my aunt Chloe passed away, I would go over and stay with her during the day while my uncle Jay worked. When she was awake she would reminisce about when they were first married, and tell me stories about my parents and other uncles and aunts. I wish now that I had written them all down, because I've forgotten many of the things she shared with me. That time that I got to spend with her was very precious.

I remember the time my Uncle Wayne and Aunt Betty gave me money to buy a new dress for Easter. They knew I didn't have any extra money and wanted to do this for me. I had just bought a new mobile home, so they came down on the pretense of wanting to see it, and gave me the money to buy a new dress. When I was growing up, we always had a new dress and shoes to wear on Easter Sunday. Still yet today, it just doesn't feel right if I don't have something to new to wear on Easter. I haven't been able to fit into that particular dress for several years now, but it's still hanging in my closet. I know where it came from, and I just can't get rid of it.

The list of precious family, friends and individuals who are so dear to my heart, could go on and on. I have been so blessed to have so many treasured people and memories in my life. I have never had much materially or financially, but I have been rich beyond measure when it comes to all the many, many treasures I have.

As much as all these people and things mean to me, it gives me just an inkling of how special I am in God's eyes. I am a special treasure to God! According to His Word, God loves me so much that He knew me before I was even formed in my mother's womb. (Jeremiah 1:5) God is so involved and interested in me, that He keeps record of how many hairs I have on my head. (Matthew 10:30) He knows my every thought. (Psalms 44:21) He has given His angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways. (Psalms 91:11) We're not just acquaintances of Gods, but He calls us friend. (John 15:13,14) Wherever we go, God is there. (Psalms 139:7-12) How can we deny the love that God has for us?!

Each and every one of you are a special treasure to God. He loves and cherishes you. You are important to God and He is so devoted to you, that He never takes His eyes off from you! (Psalms 34:15, Proverbs 25:3)

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

In the Revelation, we are told that one third of the angles were cast out of heaven into hell. As a mathematician, I look at that and see that for every demon (the angels cast into hell), there are two angels left. For every demon that nags at us, there are two angels ready to help us. It's been hard for me to see that from time to time. After all, I can't really see demons or angels. But if we can look at a temptation as coming from a demon, and we can see good memories and the influence of great people as being from angels, then it isn't so hard to imagine.

ON THE MENEWE:

Spring Time Salad

1 head cauliflower

1/3 cup sugar

1 bunch broccoli

1 cup Miracle Whip

1 small red onion, sliced and separated into rings

salt and pepper to taste

¼ lb. bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

½ cup shredded cheese (cheddar or colby)

Separate cauliflower into flowerets; cut flowerets into pieces. Chop broccoli and separate into bite-sized pieces. Combine cauliflower, broccoli, onions, bacon, and cheese. Mix sugar and Miracle Whip together. Add to vegetable mixture, add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight. Serves 8 to 10.

RAM-BLING IDEAS:

Many people have been bothered with allergies over the past several weeks. An old home remedy I have heard to prevent allergies is to eat a tablespoon of honey every day. The honey should be from bee hives from the area in which you live.

Another home remedy for the common cold, is to eat a tablespoon of honey with ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon added to it when you first get your cold symptoms, and it will lessen the time you have it.

I have family members who believe that apple cider vinegar is a cure all. Some drink it straight, while others add a little honey to it. Some believe by taking a swig of it everyday, it has helped with arthritis symptoms. Others believe it helps with sinus problems. A few of the lesser brave souls, bypass the straight vinegar and go for eating a lot of salsa, which contains vinegar in it.

When I was growing up, my mom would make a paste out of vinegar and baking soda to put on bee or wasp stings.

LAUGHING LAMBS:

I was definitely country born and bred, which shows up in my accent and the way I sometimes pronounce my words. I unintentionally crack my husband up at times with my pronunciation. A while back he bought some flashdrives for the computer, which have “attache” written on the sides of them. After he got them, I was saying something about them and pronounced it a-ta-chee. He informed me that it was at-ta-shay. Who knew?!

The thing is, I usually I don't even realize I've said something wrong until he laughs. I guess that's what I get for marrying a city boy!

Occasionally I will think of what we called things when we were growing up, which my husband also finds entertaining. When I was a kid we always called the trunk of a car a “turtle hull”.

When someone is acting up, I say they are showing out...Jon says they are showing off.

When we were asked if we wanted to do something, we didn't say, “I don't mind....”, we would say, “I don't care.” I probably don't say that as much now as I did when I was growing up. When I was a supervisor, we would have people from other parts of the country move in and work at the bank occasionally. That was really confusing for them when they would ask me if I wanted them to do something and I would answer, “I don't care.” They didn't know if that meant I wanted them to, or didn't want them to do it.

We would call a car a “rig”.

I'm sure there are many other things we mispronounced and called by a slang name, and many other little quirks and sayings that I have forgotten over the years.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive. - Mother Teresa

We love and appreciate you all so very much!!

If you would like to contact us, we would love to hear from you!!!!

Our e-mail address is: shepherd@grayengineers.com

Loretta & Jon Gray

www.graysheep.org