See The Need

Writing in a time of uncertainty can be therapeutic. Finding ways to express our deepest fears, our repressed sorrows, can heal us from the inside out.

I think of the stories, poetry, and songs written during the great wars, pandemics, and struggles of our past. Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, is one of those, among many. I know my readers could name more.

“I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
I know why the caged bird sings!”

– from the poem, Sympathy by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the inspiration for Maya Angelou’s biographical novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – one of my favorite books.

The Christy Family, 1937

I was thinking the other day of all the things my mother’s eyes have seen. She was born in the dust bowl, in the midst of the Great Depression. Her parents moved to Seattle where rain fell often enough to dispel the dust. Her mother could breathe again.

Mom was seven years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Fear hung over them as their society changed. Suddenly, their safe harbor seemed threatened. Would the enemy attack here, too? The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard scrambled to protect the vulnerable West coast.

The fear was real. Around her, the Japanese nationals were herded into internment camps to protect the general population. New words entered their vocabulary. Words like rationing and shortages. The face of the nation changed almost overnight. The sleeping giant had awakened.

And then Hiroshima.

Fast-forward to 1950 when the U.S. sent soldiers to help defend South Korea from North Korea. Mom gave birth to two children before the Korean War ended. I was the second born.

War, pestilence (polio and influenza), more wars and upheaval, happened over the next few decades. Our nation suffered a collective shock as we watched the scenes from Texas on television: our president was shot. We suffered a great loss that day.

I remember Vietnam. Many of my classmates were drafted or joined to avoid the draft. All the young men had draft cards. Some left, never to return. College campuses erupted in riots, protesting a war they felt we didn’t need to be involved in.

And then, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. Another great loss amidst national shock. Riots erupted. Two months later, presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Rioting continued.

What kind of world was this?

What kind of world is this now? What does our future hold?

Will normal ever return? This is the question Mom recently asked me. I saw the weariness in her eyes. She’s tired. Sometimes, I am too.

It is becoming all too clear that many of our children and our children’s children know very little about the history of their nation. Is it not important to teach them these things? To help them understand why?

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5

Knowledge. Understanding. Wisdom.

Ask and it will be given. The best place to start is here, in the Word of God. This is the most important history lesson of all.

I encourage you to consider teaching your children and grandchildren. Read them stories from our history. Help them gain an understanding of what is happening all around them. Help them find their footing in this sideways world.

Teach them the most important commandments: to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

It’s a start, a new beginning. Baby steps? Perhaps, but moving forward. Our future depends on moving forward.

Will normal return? Yes, but it may not look like the old normal.

See the need and become part of the answer.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

 

Just a Walk in the Park

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I’ve been busy!

On Father’s Day, my husband wanted to go for a walk after church services. We opted to drive a few minutes and hike in a nearby park because it’s so much more relaxing than walking in our subdivision.

It was beautiful. I kept stopping to snap pics of wildflowers. They reminded me of my childhood when we wandered the fields around my grandma’s farm.

We’d planned to walk about a mile-and-a-half. However, we made a wrong turn somewhere along the way and ended up on a three-mile trail. That was not so terrible, except for the approach of dark clouds and the ominous rumble of thunder in the distance. 😦

Pulling up GPS on my phone, I determined that we were still half an hour from our parking spot when the wind started whipping around. We increased our speed, which concerned me a little because my husband has health problems. So, I prayed (I may have begged) for God’s help.

Minutes later, as raindrops began to pelt us, we topped a long hill and found a pavilion where we could take cover. A bike rider had also taken cover there. After a few minutes of watching the rain fall in sheets and lightning striking all around, the bike rider struck up a conversation with my husband. He gave us advice on the shortest route to take to get back to our car.

My husband asked lots of questions (as he usually does) and found out where the guy likes to ride. He showed us photos he’d taken in some remote areas around the county. As the rain began to subside, he decided to call it a day. He was parked nearby, so he offered us a ride to our car (by foot, still over a mile from our present location).

My husband happily accepted. We were in the guy’s vehicle by the time I remembered the prayer I’d prayed. I whispered a thank-you to my Heavenly Father. Either He’d had mercy on our foolishness and lack of planning, or, we had met someone we needed to meet and given a stranger the opportunity to do a good deed.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to accept help, especially if the offer comes from someone you don’t really know. Have you ever given a stranger an opportunity to do a good deed?

Christy History

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I am running late today, but it is still morning, and I’m enjoying a second cup of my favorite brew.

I completely missed last week’s post. That holiday threw me off! My last post, I promised more family history. In searching through old photos, I discovered cowboys. You’ll find that post here. The Packnett family intrigued me with their good looks and interesting lineage.

In Family History, I talked about the Youngers and the Christys. Long before my grandmother, Audrie Packnett met and married my grandpa, Henry Earl Christy, Minnie Younger married William Henry Christy. Minnie and Willie Christy both came from pioneer stock. Their families had traveled west and ended up in Arkansas and Missouri.

William Henry Christy II was born Nov. 2, 1886, in Arkansas. He died at the young age of 54, in Amarillo, Texas, and was buried in the family’s hometown of Henryetta Oklahoma.

Minnie Lee Younger was born Oct. 2, 1889, also in Arkansas. She also died in Amarillo, in 1970. She was eighty years old.

The Christy Family, 1918

Willie and Minnie had four sons. Twins, Floyd & Lloyd, Henry Earl, and Elton. I think the twins look like double trouble. Kind of like Dennis the Menace times two. My grandpa, Henry Earl, is in the center of this photo. His younger brother Elton stands in front of him. My grownup Grandpa looked a lot like his daddy.

The first time I saw this photo, I was confused. I wondered what my younger brother was doing in such an old photograph. He looks an awful lot like Willie Christy.

The twins were born in 1909 in Dardanelle, Arkansas. Grandpa was born in 1912, and Elton was born in 1915. Elton was the only one to remain in Henryetta. He died in 1991 at the age of 75. Grandpa also died at 75.

The twins moved to Amarillo, where they spent their lives working for the railroad. They were seldom on the same train at the same time. But in 1968, they were. The train derailed, killing Uncle Lloyd. Uncle Floyd was injured but survived. He died in 1996 at the age of 85.

Great-Grandma Christy was a widow at 51. Eight years later, she married Parker George White, the widower of her sister, Lissie, in California. My Grandpa (Henry), would later move to California. I assume he didn’t like the weather in Seattle, Washington, where he’d been living with my Grandma and his two daughters, my Aunt Earlene and Mom. Grandma had no intention of ever going south again, where there was any possibility of dust storms. She remained in Seattle with her daughters.

I think he resembles Walt Disney in this photo. I wonder how he felt, starting over without his family. Whatever the reasons, his daughters forgave him and had a very good relationship with him.

 

I found this little card among his old photographs. I think he lived here at one time.

He and Audrie eventually divorced, and both remarried. Grandpa would live his last years in various trailer parks.

Grandpa & Viola.

 

 

The Christy brothers are in the first photo. Second photo: Lloyd and Floyd, all duded up for some occasion, then pictured with their wives in the third photo. The fourth photo is of their mother, my Great-Grandma, (right in the photo). I always knew her as Grandma Christy, though she was officially Minnie White.

I didn’t know my Grandpa Christy very well. He and Viola (we never called her anything else) lived in L.A., and we lived in West Tennessee, with the exception of a few years in San Diego. My fondest memories of him included things like visiting a “swap meet” at a drive-in movie theatre (during the daytime) and riding in the back of his VW. He was always smiling, and always had a dog. He loved baseball (Dodgers) and the roller derby, and he loved to cook.

Higher Learning

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! As I’m writing this, a squirrel is staring at me. I seem to be an object of great interest. This means the squirrels have gleaned what they like from the birdfeeder, leaving only what they don’t like. So, they sent this one to place an order for a refill. 🙂

We’re never too old to learn new things. In fact, it’s good for our mental stability to continue to pursue knowledge and build ourselves up. Today, I’d like to share a few things that may help “feed” and fortify you for the days ahead.

Just like you need to strengthen your core physically with exercise, you also need to strengthen your core spiritually. — Anne Graham Lotz

Number one on my list is the upcoming Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. We had to cancel the in-person conference usually held in beautiful Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It is now available—in its full length—as an online conference. Yes, that is the right price! Only $20.20, and if you can’t watch it live, you’ll have access to the conference later.

You’ll find all the information you need right here: Write the Vision 2020

Please note that there is also a Teen Track available (taught by my friend Crystal Caudill):

So You Want to Be An Author? A Workshop for the Next Generation | Fiction​

This 3-hour interactive workshop geared for teenagers will introduce the basics of writing for the publishing world. In the first session, participants will learn about guidelines for genres, common terminology, and the three rules which must never be broken. During the second session, participants will examine the three-act structure and develop a loose three-act outline. Participants will leave with a handful of resources to help them grow and the tools necessary to write a story fit for publishing.


Do you like devotionals? Here are two brand new good ones, written by friends of mine—

Glimpses of God – a summer devotional for women, by Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael

Creator God made the world in which we live. He placed the moon and stars in the sky, the rivers and oceans on the earth. He also created seasons throughout the year. Each season is defined by specific features and attributes that are common.

As Christ-followers we experience spiritual seasons. Though these seasons do not come in order like seasons in nature, each spiritual season we experience is defined by certain features also.

This devotional is focused on summer—both calendar and spiritual. Our spiritual summer is a time of growth, hard work, and relaxation as we nurture and care for the new things that were planted in our spiritual spring and allow them to ripen or mature.

Adventures in Fatherhood – A Devotional, by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb

Adventure along with two dads in a devotional journey full of wisdom and warning.

Being a great father is not for the weak of heart! It’s an adventure every step of the way. Whether you’re fixing boo-boos and changing diapers, or coaching soccer and carpooling teenagers, you’ll find spiritual insight and practical advice in this devotional by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb. The authors blend personal experiences with humor and spiritual application to encourage you, dad, to do your best for God and for your family.

Ellie Claire’s devotionals offer short inspirational readings, paired with inspiring quotes and Scripture verses to encourage your heart.


See you next week for another chapter of my family history!

Which Path Are You?

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. I usually mention the weather here, but honestly, I’m getting pretty tired of it. It’s mid-May and winter paid a visit. So, here we are shivering in our sweatshirts and heavy socks.

Maybe it’s the unpredictable weather that has me longing for a getaway.

Being shut-in for a few weeks can make you long for the great outdoors. We missed our vacation this year and travel is still restricted, so I’m looking at photos of places I’d love to go. I love leisurely walks. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on the beach, or in a park. A scene like this one invites me in.

But then, there’s this–I want to go there, too.

Ah, Lake Cumberland—this is where we went last year.

I’ve been here, too. I’d love to go back for another look.

How to choose?

What’s your favorite vacation destination?