My Favorite Book

Bible2From the earliest of my memories, books have been a fascination to me.  It first puzzled me how adults could sit for hours reading a book without pictures.  How could anyone enjoy something that didn’t have pictures?  I mean, in my four or five year old mind, pictures told the entire story.

My grandmother would read to me quite often.  Storybooks.  Faerie tales.  Books about Spot the dog and Harriet the goat, or something along those lines.  Thin books full of pictures I loved to look at.  Puppies, farm animals, kittens…books about animals were my favorite then.

Like all children, I started school and began to learn to read the words that went with the pictures in my books.  I learned a lot of words simply because I knew the stories by heart by then and I could put them both together.  I’m not sure how long at a time I would read, but the time was increasing.  Reading out loud was one of my favorite things to do.

One night, and I remember it clearly, my grandmother was reading her book silently to herself, but I was reading my book out loud, and it annoyed her.  She told me I was a big girl and I no longer had to read the words out loud, I could say them to myself.  This felt pretty odd at first, but I soon got the hang of it.  Grandma was a lot happier then and we could sit side by side for hours reading silently to ourselves.

I think I was about 12 when Grandma gave me my first Bible.  It was white, with gold lettering on the front.  I thought it was the most beautiful book I had ever seen and I dived right in reading it.  It was King James Version, so it wasn’t always the easiest to understand, but it seemed to have a poetry about it.  The words were beautiful even before I started paying attention to the meaning.  That Bible was the first of several over the years.  It’s the one that started it all.

When I was 13, my mother and I attended a little country church, nestled in the woods, for a little while.  It was during our Sunday School lessons at Joppa Methodist Church that I became aware that there were other versions of the Bible, versions I could understand better.  Who knew?

For Christmas when I was about 15, I asked my mother for a Bible called The Way, The 9780842378208-us-300Living Bible.  Amazingly enough, she got it for me.  I loved it!  It opened up a whole new world for me.  The words in the Bible took on more meaning.  My mind was reaching more understanding of God’s Word.  How could anyone not read the Bible?  It was a fantastic book, full of hope, war, hate, faith, and love.  There was sex, scandals, miracles, and sadness.   It had everything any bestseller on the market had, and a whole lot more.

As happens with many young people, I began drifting away some from reading the Bible.  There was the dating thing, the marriage thing, the working and going to college thing.  I worked most Sundays, or at least tried to, for the extra pay.  In my mind, I was way too busy to go to church.  But during those years, I kept my Bibles on the floor under my side of the bed.  When my husband was out of town during the week, I would read a little, at least a few verses.  There was just something about reading God’s Word that made me feel better.  It got me through some pretty rough times by giving me hope.  And it was through those words in those Bibles that made me want to pray, and I prayed a lot.  I felt like God and I were getting to know each other a little better.

Bible4Fast forward a few decades and I have collected several Bibles.  I like exploring different versions.  Some I can read like a novel, some take more time, like the King James Version.  Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for one version or the other.  Do I read my Bibles as often as I should?  No.  And I’m not proud of that.  But to this day, it is still my favorite book of all time.  It’s the one book that can give me hope, comfort my grief, celebrate my happiness, and make me believe in miracles.  It was that first white Bible my grandmother gave me that put me on the path to become a Christian later in life.  It helped plant a seed.

If you don’t have a Bible, I urge you to get one.  If you cannot afford one, stop in a church and ask them for one.  They will gladly give you a Bible of your own.  If you live in my neck of the woods, stop in at Rockland Church and I will make sure you have a Bible.  It’s an amazing story you don’t want to miss.

 

Blessings

The Power of Nothing

  
It’s a busy world we live in. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the time we lay down to sleep at night, we’re constantly moving, doing, and thinking. And that can be a good thing. But I’m also an advocate of doing nothing, and doing it often.
I was raised on a small, 32 acre dairy farm in the 60’s and 70’s. Our family of six consisted of mom and dad, two older brothers, myself, and a younger brother who was born severely handicapped. My grandmother lived in a mobile home beside of our farmhouse. Besides the hay fields, corn fields, and cattle, there were always two large gardens being taken care of in the summer, with freezing and canning in late summer. Dad also worked a construction job most of the time. So there was always work to be done somewhere, doing something.
This was my problem…I was born a dreamer. My mind was always someplace else or wishing I was someplace else. I would escape into fairy tale worlds, or dream of riding away from everything on a beautiful black stallion, fading into the sunset. I loved the animals and taking care of feeding the baby calves. But to be honest, there was nothing I hated more than scraping cow poop in the barn or hoeing weeds in the corn fields or gardens. I didn’t mind terribly much carrying pails of milk to the cooler in the milk house, but I hated getting hay out of the haymow for fear of a big black snake being curled up on a bale. I loved spending time with mom and grandma during canning season, and didn’t mind shelling peas and shell beans, but shelling Lima beans made my thumbs so sore I could cry. Sometimes I grumbled and complained and tried, unsuccessfully, to dream myself away.
Taking care of my little brother, Joey, was a task I never fussed about. I loved him. And I would often read to him and he would listen to my voice. He may not have known what I was saying, but I think it brought both of us joy to hear a rousing tale of Three Little Pigs, or a poem from my little book of verses.
Now, Dad always said I was lazy. And I was when it came to all the chores I didn’t like to do, which are the ones he always made me do. I was blessed with two older brothers who mostly got to do all the heavy work. A good work ethic is a wonderful thing to have in life, and I appreciate having been given one from a young age.
With so much work to be done, my dad hated to see me doing nothing. Reading was my passion and what I tried to do every chance I could get, and later it included writing, too. And nothing made my dad angrier than to see me reading or writing because to him, I was doing nothing. Yet, even the sting of the hickory switch and the burn of his belt couldn’t stop me from trying to do “nothing.”
Fifty years later and I’m still hearing voices yelling at me for doing nothing. Until the last few years, vacations of any kind were nonexistent. I would have to plan chores or work to be done around the house or on a project. Guilt would engulf every fiber of my being every time I picked up a book to read. Every time I would pick up paper and pen to write, fear of being found writing would grasp my chest in a stronghold.
  
Oh, those voices of the past can still be heard. Slowly, I’m learning to silence them somewhat, or at least turn down the volume. I cannot change the fact I was born with this instilled need to dream, read, and write about fact and fiction. Some will still call me lazy. I accept that. But I also now accept this, that doing what I love to do, what some call “nothing,” is exactly what I need to do to survive. When I succumb to the voices, I begin to die inside. When I resist them and follow my passions, I am renewed.
Some of my favorite times of doing nothing are when Maggie and I escape for a stay at a cabin. We’re going back there soon, and I am looking forward to turning the volume off on all the voices from the past and doing absolutely nothing but dreaming, reading, and writing. Doing nothing brings me joy, and I’m no longer apologizing for it. I know when I return home, I will be renewed in body and spirit.

My prayer today is that you find some kind of “nothing” that brings you joy.
Blessings