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

March 7, 2012

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I enjoy looking through old family pictures. It's fun to see how people and styles have changed over the years. My nieces and nephews will look at some of the hairstyles, clothing and glasses that my sisters and I had back in the 80's and 90's and laugh. Well actually, we all laugh when we see those pictures of ourselves!

I have really thick hair that has some natural wave to it and when I look at the pictures where I permed my hair, I wonder why in the world I did that! I had this big permed hair and wore big plastic-framed glasses that covered half of my face. It's really pretty funny! My only consolation is that everyone else looked as goofy as I did.

Right before I started wearing glasses, our church had a photographer from Olan Mills come and take family pictures and put together a church directory. I was in my early-twenties at that time. Since I was the coordinator, I got my package of pictures for free. One of the things in the package was a big 11x14 canvas picture. I was wearing an emerald green silky dress and had tightly permed, shoulder-length hair. The last thing I wanted hanging in my house was an 11x14 canvas picture of myself! But when my stepmom saw it, she thought it was the prettiest thing she'd ever seen and wanted it. So for many, many, many years that picture hung in her and Daddy's living room. June liked hanging pictures and had them all over her walls, but that particular one of me was on their wall for way too long! After probably 15 years, I told June that she really didn't have to leave it in her living room anymore and was more than welcome to take it down. She said she thought it was a really pretty picture of me, and wished that I'd wear my hair like that again. No thanks!! One time when she was moving things around, I finally took it down and hung it up in a bedroom. I was tired of looking at it every time I went over there, and I'm sure everyone else was too!

One time I decided to let my oldest sister give me a home perm. That was a first and a last all rolled into one! She was having a yard sale that day, so in hindsight I wonder why we decided to do the perm that same day. Joyce got my hair rolled up in those little perm rollers, put the nasty smelling perm solution on, and we set the timer. The only problem was, people started coming about the time she was supposed to wash out my hair and take the rollers out. She had to leave it on a lot longer than necessary and it frizzed and burnt my hair. I had some tight, frizzy, ugly hair for a while! I believe that was the last home perm I ever got.

Then Janie decided that she could cut hair when she was a teenager, so my sisters and mom would let her cut their hair; and I'm sure she cut mine too. What were we thinking! My sisters would wash their hair, then sleep on rollers. One time Janie got these huge, pink, hard-plastic rollers that she used. I never did the curler thing much because I didn't like sleeping in them.

You don't want to get me started on our dress styles! Daddy and Mama never let my sisters wear the mini-skirts when they were in style. Actually, I'm not sure my sisters wanted to wear their dresses that short, but they did wear them plenty short. Mama would measure the hem, then my sisters would sneak in and raise the pin up a little that Mama had marked the hem with. I hated knit fabric; both the thick double knit and also that lighter weight that was in style for a while. There was something about the texture of it that I couldn't stand.

I think it was in the 1970's that split-skirts, or culottes as we called them, came into style and my sisters and I liked them -- and Daddy hated them! He would call them "those old coo-loots". I had a brown plaid pair that Mama had made for me and for whatever reason, Daddy did not like them and told me that I wore them all the time; which I probably did. Another reason I think he disliked them so much was that brown was his least favorite color, and he did not like it when we wore brown. I'm not sure why. Mama had a brown dress and Daddy didn't like her wearing it. Maybe he thought it was a depressing color, or maybe he just disliked brown and thought it was ugly.

Jon and I were recently watching an old episode of Lassie and Timmy on TV. I was laughing because it was supposed to be cold outside and there was snow everywhere, but the the mother was wearing high heels and a dress with her hair pinned up. She wasn't going anywhere; that was her "working at home" clothing. In that era of TV programming, mothers often wore dresses and high heels, regardless of whether they were cleaning house, going grocery shopping, or going to church. We were talking about how the mother image has evolved and changed over the past fifty to sixty years. I mentioned that I wondered what that future generation, fifty years from now, would think about the mothers in the TV shows today , and how they will have changed from now till then.

I'm sure I've probably mentioned this, but my favorite genre of reading is christian historical fiction. I like reading about different time periods from the past and how people lived during those past generations. I find it fascinating and very interesting. It's amazing how much things have changed over the past 100-200 years.

When Jon and I drive by old rundown farms and properties, I often wonder what the people were like that originally settled that land. I'm sure some of them put everything they had into working the land and trying to establish a home and earn a living to provide for their families. It's a little sad to see those properties abandoned and lying in desolation and ruin. But often, the things that are important to one generation holds no interest for others.

It has been thirty-one years since Mama passed away. I have discussed this with Jon and my sister, Janie, about how much our society and technologies and electronics have changed during that time. If Mama were somehow able to come back from heaven for a brief visit, everything would be so different and strange for her that I think she'd feel out of place and lost. We didn't even get a home phone until my oldest sister got married and moved to Kansas. Then we were on a party line for many years. To see everyone walking around with a cell phone (which Mama had never seen) would amaze her. I think she would be astounded to see her kids and grandkids all have laptop computers (I'm not sure she ever saw a computer), reading books on Kindles, emailing, texting, having conversations on webcams, using a GPS, etc. Mama never owned a dishwasher or had an ice maker in her fridge. She never lived in a house with central heat and air. She never used a lawn mower that was self-propel. I'm sure if she were to see the houses and cars her family owed, as well as all the other material possessions and conveniences we have, she would think we were rich because it is all so different from what she ever knew. Ronald Reagan had just taken the oath of office a month prior to her death. This would be a foreign world to her.

I gave all these different examples to show that our world has changed drastically in my 46 years of living here. Things that my sisters and I did as kids would be unsafe and unheard of today. Our parents let us walk and ride our bikes up and down the dirt roads to the little general store half a mile away or to visit nearby relatives, with no fear of our safety. We'd pile several people in a car or ride on the back of Daddy's truck. We never locked our cars or house. During warm weather we'd sleep with all the windows opened and the front and back doors opened.

So in an ever changing world, who or what can we depend on to stay the same? There are two answers to that.

First of all, God is unchanging. Hebrews 13:8 states that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." God does not change and adapt to society. He is the same God today that created the universe hundreds of thousands of years ago. He is the very same God that existed before He spoke the world into being, that He is today. And He is the same God today that He will be a million years from now when we are in spending eternity with Him. God is unchanging and we can depend on that very fact. So no matter what happens today, tomorrow or fifty years down the road, God will still be the same God that He's always been and always will be. We can rely on that and put our trust and faith in Him.

Secondly, the word of God will never change. Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."

People can sometimes fail us and let us down. They don't always stand by their word and will disappoint us from time to time. But God's word will stand forever. His word will never be voided or outdated. Throughout history mankind has tried to disprove the word of God and point out fallacies, but it can't be done. Seasons come and go, life begins and ends, and changes happen on a daily basis; but the word of our God is eternal. The same promises that Jesus spoke when He was on earth is still relevant to us today. That's a fact that will never change.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

It's good to have something to count on. Some people have a hard time counting on God. They may have lost someone, been hurt by someone, or whatever. And people may tell them that it's God's fault, or somehow make it sound like God's punishment for sin or a lack of faith.

But the fact is, some bad things just happen. "The rain falls on the just and unjust alike." And it doesn't mean that God pushed the bad things on us, or that He only allows the bad things to happen because we lack faith, pray the wrong way, or sin. They just happen.

I don't pretend to understand what God does, or why He does or doesn't do certain things. But I know that I can count on Him to be with me through anything. He might not spare me going through it, but I know He's always there to comfort me and get me through.

ON THE MENEWE:

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

Crust:

1 butter-recipe cake mix

1 egg

1 stick butter, softened

Filling:

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream Cheese

2 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 (16 oz.) box powdered sugar

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan. In a bowl combine cake mix, egg and butter with an electric mixer until well mixed. Mixture will be thick. Pat down into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix very well. Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly pour in the melted butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour filling over cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes until filling is set (depending on oven, it will probably take closer to 50 minutes; but watch and don't over-bake). You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. If you want to drizzle melted chocolate over the top, allow the cake to cool for at least 15 minutes and then drizzle over. Allow to cool for at least another hour and then cut into bars.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

When I was a kid we did things a little different at church than we do today. For instance, we sang out of hymnals and the pastor or song leader would always say, "Everybody that wants to, come on up and help us sing." There would generally be a dozen people or so who would gather up on the platform to form an impromptu choir. The song leader would say, "Does anyone have a selection," and people would say the page number of whatever song they wanted the congregation to sing. And we had the 4-part harmony going on with people singing with all their heart. Usually we'd have a pianist and at least 2-3 guitar players.

My cousin's husband played guitar for several years at the church, and I remember a story he told me about a particular song service. A lot of times before church started, the musicians would go up front and start playing some hand-clapping, foot-stomping hymns until time for the service to begin. One particular Sunday evening, he had a guitar string break right before the singing. He hurried and put a new string on, but didn't have time to trim the end off, so had a long piece of guitar string sticking out from the end of his guitar. As was our custom, we had people come up to help sing. There was a young lady at the church who was heavyset and liked to wear really ruffled, frilly dresses. During the singing, she was standing in front of him and was swaying to the music and backed up -- and got her dress caught on the piece of guitar string he hadn't had time to trim off. He said he very carefully started working to get it loose before anyone else saw, and without her knowing it. He finally got it loose, breathed a big sigh of relief, and bent the string back so it wouldn't happen again.

I have to say that some of my funniest moments and memories have happened at church!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day.

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org