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Posted By Harolene

My birthday is running fast trying to catch me and will do just that on December 25! Age, it happens to us all, and what is the alternative? Death! When we are young we take so many things for granted, such as running up the stairs and back down again, dropping to the floor to sit cross legged and being able to read the fine print in your Bible which is laying on the floor in front of you and then standing up without having to hold on to the back of a chair, eating Pizza and drinking coffee right before bedtime and being able to sleep and many other things, of course I haven’t experienced any of this personally, but I have read about it in books!

I watch older people struggle in and out of cars, driving cautiously while young and impatient drivers honk for them to go faster.

John 21:18 Jesus speaking "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you clothed yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not wish.”

So as we get older, do we find that people want to know what we think because we are, wiser? Well, not really, however, instead of just getting older why don’t we get Spiritually mature so that we really can help others?

Start this way:

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Cultivate understanding: 1 Corinthians 14:20 Dear brothers and sisters don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.

Follow the example of Christ: Ephesians 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Philippians 3:15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.


Posted By Harolene

Learn deeper truths of the Gospel: Hebrews 5:14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Overcome temptations 1John 2:14 I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ... God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one. Not older, wiser and more mature. Psalm 92:11-14 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.

My birthday is going to catch up with me no matter how hard I run so I guess I will try to be more mature and age gracefully.

Posted By Harolene

When my alarm when off this morning at 5:30 I did not want to get up but I knew that if that twenty-two pound turkey was going to be done by lunch time I had to get it in the oven and fast. I went down and made a pot of very hot, strong, black coffee and sat alone in the house with my sad-eyed dog and somewhere in the basement Bennie the cat.

My table was full twice today with two different groups of family and an extra visit from a family that is very special to me. There was laughter and lively conversation along with the abundance of food and if I look over my shoulder at the table and the bar where the food was laid out earlier I would see a total mess, and I admit to you that I am not going to get up and clean it all up tonight!

If I were to begin to make a list of all the wonderful things for which I have to be thankful, it would have to begin with the faithful beautiful pearlescent full orb that was peeking through my window a few minutes ago. Whenever I look at that wonderful moon I always think of Psalm 8, verses 3 and 4 say,

I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,

    Your handmade sky-jewelry,

Moon and stars mounted in their settings.

    Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,

Why do you bother with us?

    Why take a second look our way?

I am very grateful for answered prayers, and as I say that I remember a song we used to sing that said, “You can’t hurry God you just have to wait, He may not come when you want Him but he’ll come on time!” 

I don’t know why He loves me but I know that He sees me as I sit here alone in the house with my sad-eyed dog and somewhere in the basement Bennie, the cat.

Posted By Harolene

So Happy Thanksgiving Day! I have written this week about being grateful for my heritage and about being grateful this Thanksgiving, today I want to talk to those of you who have lost a loved one, either because they died or simply left. I could bracket “simply left” because there are different reasons for a person to leave. I can actually speak to both of those reasons and I will, right now.

Let’s talk about death first. I think the first holidays after someone has died are the worst at least that is what I told myself last year when we were facing the first Thanksgiving without my daddy sitting at the head of the table. As I was preparing the turkey I heard my dad saying, “Harolene don’t cook a turkey, just bake a ham, I don’t like turkey!” I would always answer with, “Daddy I have to cook a turkey, everybody expects turkey on Thanksgiving but I will bake a ham for you!” and I did just that. Last year no one told me not to cook a turkey but while I was basting that big old twenty-two pound bird I also put a big ham in the cast iron Dutch oven and smiled as I said, “Daddy this is for you.” Then of course there was Christmas and I missed him calling me into their room and giving me money to buy something for myself for Christmas AND my birthday. The last year he was with us he told me that he was going to pay for the washing machine and dryer I had to buy as the others had both died almost simultaneously, and he asked if that was an acceptable gift! Every time I use either of those appliances I think of him. The Holiday I had a more difficult time with though was New Year’s Eve. That was always a special time because it was the anniversary of the day he and my mother married and the last anniversary they celebrated was their seventieth! I had mixed emotions when the day came because it went by with no notice at all from my mother. On New Year’s Day we were alone in the house with my family gone to Disney World and she sat watching the Rose Parade without ever mentioning daddy or her anniversary, I felt sad that she had lost that memory, then last year she died on Christmas Day and I watched it alone, sad for myself but happy that she had a heavenly reunion with her sweetheart and they had their anniversary together once again. As hard as it is to lose your loved one to death it is very hard to lose them because they chose to leave. The first December eighteenth that came around after my divorce I really thought I was unaffected until I was standing at a counter buying something and started to write a check, when I wrote the date I started crying leaving the salesperson befuddled as to what to do. I face it again every year on Christmas Eve as my two children, now adults with families of their own, go across town to spend it with their dad and his other family. We could all find reasons to feel sorry for ourselves and be perfectly justified in it but why ruin the beautiful day we are having in the present by looking back at what used to be, be it sweet or bitter? When my children were young I would pray for their day and then I would say, “Don’t let today be the yesterday you regret tomorrow!” I pass the same thing on to you, let’s enjoy this day with the people who care enough to come and sit at our table and make it a day that will cause them to say, “This is the best Thanksgiving I every had.” Love, joy, blessings and calorie free dessert for you is my wish, Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted By Harolene

I remember the fun at school near Thanksgiving time having construction paper to draw things about Thanksgiving and I always drew turkeys with their tail feathers raised in a fan-like shape, and always colored each feather a different color, you'd think I had never seen a real-life turkey. I can close my eyes and smell the mimeograph ink on the sheets with the printed pictures and if it had been possible to get high by sniffing those sheets I guess I would have because I loved the way they smelled! These were usually pictures of the Pilgrims and Indians having dinner and I took care to color all the food appetizing colors, yeah I'm sure of it, says my older self-looking back. I remember being so excited because as soon as church was over on Wednesday night my parents would pack us into the car and we would drive to "Mama and them's" house, and if you are from the South you know you always said it that way too. Mama always had things ready for us and her house would be full because besides our family my mother's two married sisters and their families and my Uncle and his family were always there.

The "adults' would gather in the living room and talk and laugh for most of the night and no matter how much hilarity was going on when it got time for "little daddy" (my grandfather if you haven't been reading me long enough to know) to go to bed he would stand and run his tapered fingers through his hair leaving it standing on end, which was too funny for us not to giggle about, and say "Now children it's time for us to pray", which immediately quieted everyone down as they settled into kneeling positions leaning against the most comfortable place they could find knowing that little daddy's prayers could sometimes go  on for a long time as he enumerated all the blessings we had seen and then prayers for all the people who might have had a request. You knew he was getting closed to the end of the prayer when he would say "God we thank you that we haven't lost one member of our family" and then pray for God to send the "world wide end-time revival", world without end, Amen.

I watched a video my sister posted of my own dad teaching on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving 2007. He looked into the camera and quoted Psalm 100, which is the first scripture I ever committed to memory back when I was six-years of age. As he spoke the words I began to cry wishing that I could reach into the computer screen and touch his face, but what I felt was thankful that I have a heritage of which I can be proud.

Both my maternal and paternal grandfathers were wonderful men of God. My mother's dad never went past the second grade in school because he had to quit and help plow the fields on the family farm in South Georgia. He would tell us how he would cry as he watched other children walk to school and vowed that he would make sure his children got an education, that from an eight-year old boy was lofty thinking wasn't it?