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!'"
December 12, 2007
I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older, or because of my mom and dad both being gone, or a combination of both, but recently I have become very nostalgic and sentimental. In the past few weeks, I have enjoyed looking through all of our family photos and recalling memories I have from childhood.
Perhaps one of the reasons this has been very precious to me, is because for many years, after my mom passed away, it was like I had a mental block and really couldn't recall too much that had happened prior to her death, other than her being sick. I remembered her taking chemotherapy, being in the hospital various times, her pain and suffering, and all those things connected with her having cancer and being sick. But when my sisters would talk about all the happy memories they had growing up, and when they shared all the little details and stories they recalled about our family, I couldn't remember those things. I somehow felt cheated.
Mama passed away in 1981 when I was fifteen, and it has only been in the past year or so that I have begun to remember things other than her being sick. Finally, her sickness has moved to the background and no longer overshadows all the happy, good times in our family. After Daddy passed away in September of this year, I have been looking through family pictures quite often. I have begun writing down everything I can remember about my parents and sisters, my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. The past few weeks it's like the floodgates of my mind has been opened and I have all these happy, wonderful, precious memories rolling in. After not having them for so many years, I cherish them with all my heart.
For the past 26 years it's felt like I was holding onto a treasure chest, but didn't have the key to unlock it. I knew that inside were precious jewels and nuggets of memories, but I couldn't get it opened. Now the key has been found to unlock it and it has been opened up to me. As I take out and examine each precious treasure inside, I realize anew how truly blessed I was to have been born as the baby daughter of Doyal and Bonnie Horton.
I have also enjoyed talking to my sisters and corresponding with cousins, and finding out information about our immediate and extended family that I didn't know. As I learn each new detail, it gives me a deeper and better understanding of past generations. I have an appreciation of what they had to endure and how those events shaped their lives, and in many ways impacted the lives of the current generation.
In the first two chapters of Luke, we read the account of the angel appearing to Mary and telling her that she has found favor with God. The angel went on to tell of Mary that she would conceive and bring forth a child and call his name Jesus. Mary's response was, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
Mary arose and went to the hill country to visit Zacharias and Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist at that time. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby leaped in Elizabeth's womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Due to a census being taken, Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. Upon arrival, they couldn't find a room in which to stay and ended up in the stable of an inn. While there, Mary delivered her child, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.
Angels appeared to some shepherds as they were watching their flocks. They hasted to go see the baby Jesus, and afterwards spread the news of his birth. All those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary kept (treasured) all these things and pondered (meditated upon) them in her heart.”
I truly believe that prior to the angels appearance announcing that she would be the mother of Jesus, Mary knew about the coming Messiah and had hoped and longed for his coming. Perhaps from a young age, her parents had told her about Isaiah's prophecy of a coming Saviour. I'm sure that it probably never even entered her mind, that she would be the chosen one to carry the baby in her womb and give birth to him. Yet when the angel came and delivered the news to her, she didn't balk or refuse the special assignment handed to her; wondering what people would think about her or worried that Joseph would refuse to marry her. Her response was, “Let it be to me according to your word!”
She spent three months with Elizabeth and Zacharias. Zacharias was a priest, and perhaps during the time that Mary was in their home, she had him read from the scrolls to her the prophecy regarding the birth and death of Christ. She may have discussed those scriptures in detail with Zacharias, so she could prepare herself as much as possible for becoming the mother of the Messiah.
After the birth of her son, Mary treasured each moment and tucked it away in her heart to meditate on. I'm sure that when she held the baby Jesus in her arms, that she had no idea the magnitude of his life and ministry upon this earth. She just knew that he was a special baby sent from God for a special purpose.
When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, Simeon took the baby in his arms and blessed God. After he spoke, the scriptures say that Joseph and His mother (Mary) marveled at his words. Then Simeon spoke to Mary and said, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
After Jesus left home to begin his ministry, I'm sure that Mary did what most other mothers would do. Each day she would think of him as she went about her daily work, wondering when she would see him again. Hearing of the uprising against her son and the hatred of many towards him, she probably worried about his safety. I'm sure she wept many tears over her son and her heart ached over the words of hatred spoken against him.
Yet, she undoubtedly meditated upon his life and knew that his purpose had to be fulfilled. During the crucifixion, John 19:25 says that, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother...” I'm sure that watching her son die that horrible death was very heartrending and deeply emotional, yet how could she not be there for her son. Verse 26 says, “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” In his final moments before his death, Jesus saw his mother and made arrangements for her care.
I'm sure that Mary tried to memorize her sons face so that she would always remember how he looked, after he ascended back to Heaven and was no longer here. I'm sure she spent hours thinking of the moments she had held him as a baby and caring for him as he grew into a young man. She held in memory all the events that had happened and words he spoke. All those moments and memories stored in her heart were like priceless treasures.
Recently, I heard the comment that it was someones opinion that they felt it was wrong to search out or study family history. They felt that was living in the past, and that we should forget the past and live in the here and now. But I feel that there is much that can be learned, good and bad, from our family. It's important that we know our heritage and understand those things that past generations went through. We can carry on their legacy. And it can also make us aware of the type of legacy we each are leaving behind for future generations and the impact we can have upon their lives.
But more important than cherishing family memories and us being positive role models for younger family members, we need to remember the life of Christ. Not only remember for ourselves, but to make sure our families and friends know about Jesus and the great gift He gave us. We have the account of his life recorded in the Bible so we can read and study and learn about him.
During this Christmas season, may we each reread the story of the birth of Jesus and realize the great gift that God gave to each of us. May we unwrap the gift of eternal life that He has offered to us. Let us each rededicate our hearts to Jesus and reaffirm our commitment to serving and loving Him. Take time to read about the life of Christ and remember all that He has done for us. Treasure those things and ponder them (or meditate about them) in your heart.
You have probably heard that Oklahoma was hit by what they are calling the worst ice-storm in Oklahoma history. We and our neighbors have lost many limbs and trees. But (thanks to God), we haven't seen any damage to houses or cars. We have one huge limb hanging over our house. It could do some serious damage if it ever fell. But it didn't. It would be easy to say 'Whew' and go about our daily lives again. But it's important to stop and give thanks to God for his protection. He did protect us. And I want to acknowledge that.
As a result of the storm, we have no electricity or internet at home. I'm going through withdrawals. I had prayed that God would help me remember to stop and relax a little on my birthday (Monday), but this isn't quite what I had in mind. Still, it has been good to stop, breath and relax. Now I'm ready to get back to work. God? I'm ready!
(As a side note, please pray for all the linemen working in the cold. It's dangerous, hard work. They work around the clock. And they're doing it for our benefit. Thanks!)
Melt over low heat or in a double boiler:
1 pkg. caramels 1 stick butter or margarine
Add 2 cups pecans. Drop by spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet. Place a toothpick in the center of each one. Let cool. Melt 6 Hershey bars and ¼ bar paraffin wax. Holding onto the toothpick, dip candy into the melted chocolate and place back on the greased cookie sheet or on wax paper to cool. Remove the toothpick.
Chow Mein Candy
1 cup cashews 1 can chow mein noodles 2 pkg. butterscotch chips
Melt 2 packages of butterscotch chips over low heat. Stir often until melted. Add cashews and chow mein noodles; stir till well covered. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper.
Various Christmas Ideas:
My sister and her daughter recently got together one evening and baked different kinds of cookies. Not only did they get to spend time together, but they were able to get a lot of baking done for various Christmas parties and get-togethers they both have coming up.
A cute centerpiece is to fill a clear glass vase with various sizes and colors of Christmas tree balls. The miniature and small balls work well. Red and white look good together for this, but any colors that match your decorations will work.
For ladies Christmas parties, have each lady bring a plate of cookies or holiday candy. Ask them to bring copies of the recipe so each lady can take home a copy. With any leftovers, instead of taking your own cookies/candy back home, trade with the other women so you can take home and share each others treats.
A few years ago when I was single and living in Missouri, we got a big snow right before Christmas. Those of us who could make it, got together that year on Christmas day at Daddy and June's house, which was in Arkansas. (I actually lived only approx. 20 miles from them at that time.) Their house sat on top of a big hill, with a big chicken house a ways down below it. Right below the chicken house was big flat field. A brother-in-law brought his 4-wheeler and had two ropes tied to the back of it at different lengths. He tied a sled to one of the ropes and an inner tube to the other one. The snow was pretty deep in that flat field. All the kids and some of the “bigger” kids who were there that day took turns riding on the sled and inner tube, while my brother-in-law drove the 4-wheeler pulling us. It was a blast!! He made a big loop around the field, then would stop at the beginning point and would change riders on the sled and inner tube, and did that over and over. Everyone got to ride several times. When he would circle around a corner, the snow was so slick that the sled would swing out and it was almost impossible to stay on without falling off. We laughed and had so much fun! My sister, Shirley, and I stayed down there taking our turns with the kids for a long time. My oldest sister never would come outside and “play”. Finally, my sister, Linda, came out and we talked her into riding. One of my older nephews had just got on to drive the 4-wheeler, while his dad aired up the inner tube some. My nephew was a little wilder in his driving than his dad had been. Linda got on the sled and was lying on her belly. About halfway around the loop she was hollering for my nephew to stop and let her off and was hanging on for dear life. He was driving fast enough where the sled was slinging around quite a bit. I have to say that it was pretty funny and Shirley and I couldn't help but laugh at her. We couldn't figure out if she was that scared why she didn't just let go of the rope and roll off the sled. The snow was deep enough where it wouldn't have hurt her. When she made it back to where we were the snow had come up and hit her in the face, and her eyebrows and the hair hanging out around her stocking hat were encrusted with snow. Needless to say, she didn't get on and ride anymore! Memories like this is what makes past Christmases so special!!
The greatest gift ever given to mankind was Jesus.
The greatest gift we can pass onto others is Jesus.
Sometimes we slow down in life by choice, and other times it is forced upon us. During the current ice storm that we are experiencing here in Bixby, Tulsa and the surrounding area, so many (including us) are without electricity and it's forcing us to slow down and find alternate ways of doing things. We do have a fireplace, so brought a mattress downstairs to sleep in the living room where it's warmer. Jon's parent's business, where Jon works, has electricity so I came into work with him today so I could keep warm. I also came in to be able to finish up the newsletter and get it out on the website, but found that the internet service is down here. Jon is going to borrow his coworkers laptop and find a WIFI connection. Electrical and cable wires are down in the neighborhoods all over the city. Due to the overwhelming power outage, the power company cannot give a time line on when to expect to regain service. Not only do we not have electric, we also don't have phone service. Our yard at home looks like a tornado has hit. All day yesterday, we could hear the cracking of branches in our yard and the surrounding neighbors'. We have huge branches down all over our yard and our back fence is down in a couple of places. A redbud tree in our backyard is lying on it's side and has been uprooted. The whole area surrounding us looks like a tornado has gone through. One of our cars is parked outside the garage, and shortly after Jon decided to move it to the end of our driveway yesterday, a huge branch fell where it had been sitting. Jon was in our backyard taking pictures, and had been standing by our back fence taking a picture from that view towards our house. Just as he got back to the porch, we heard a loud crack and a huge branch fell right where he had been standing. Thankfully, we and our families in this area are all safe. And we are so grateful that we have not experienced any damage to our house, cars, or shed. It has made us realize how much we take things for granted and how truly blessed we are.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon