Where Antelope Roam


Working on Gratitude
February 4, 2017, 3:06 pm
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Hi there again!   I know it’s been a while since I wrote… I’ve been working on my gratitude attitude.

As I say that I realize today would have been my mother’s 84th birthday… it’s been a year… since I saw her.    We celebrated her birthday.   I think she was glad we were all there to celebrate with her.   So, today, I’m grateful.

Grateful for the gift of spending one more birthday with mom.   Grateful that all my siblings and I could be there.   Grateful for the memories of mom.

Memories such as:  watching with her and my younger siblings for the school bus that would spirit my two older sisters away for the day.   Of watching through the plate glass window in wonder as the sun crested grandpa’s dairy barn.   Of me and mom times even when that meant I had to go to the dentist… mom and I would go to Dart’s Restaurant as a special treat.

Summers with mom…often meant special lunch meat (not bologna) bought from the small downtown grocery, pop and chips for lunch.   VBS… mom director… Bible stories told with great creativity… though I daresay, she was more careful with her words after the story of Adam and Eve prompted an unhappy parent to call to find out why she was naked behind the piano.   (no… she really wasn’t naked… Adam and Eve were ….lol)..  vacations in the UP where we’d all go with her and Mr. Tuttle as they’d search the roadside grasses for new wildflowers to see and we’d enjoy the summer breezes coming off Lake Michigan.

Years of teaching piano to school children at home… where some of her own children learned more by listening to her teach them than actually doing the work ourselves… then the times when she taught at Grinnell’s in town…and we’d get to come in and wait in the mall for her to get off… of going to Coney Island and getting a coney dog… or  A& W for rootbeer…of overcoming shyness and anxiety by playing the piano at church while she played the organ loud enough to cover my mistakes…

Holiday memories were some of the best…  Easter dresses made each year… one year identical dresses and hats in different colors for each of us girls.   Memorial day when we’d watch and wait for the band to go by the house with all the living veterans of past wars…. mom coming out on the porch to watch… July 4th was the same.. as we watched the floats go by then go up to the school grounds for the carnival… mom made the best potato salad… mmmm… Thanksgiving and Christmas were always special as mom went all out for the meals.   We often had others who would join us for those meals… of course, one cannot forget the games mom would play with us all, particularly as we got older… Boggle… she could find more words and longer ones than most of the rest of us… Skipbo… Uno… then of course, Trivial pursuit… geographically, it seemed the answer was always East Yemen…. I didn’t even know where East Yemen was… let alone why it was an answer…

Christmas was always special in another way as well…. mom was in charge of the Christmas programs at church…. some years, there was an all out, all character Christmas story told… other years it was a musical concert…regardless of what genre it took, it was always special.

I have memories of coming downstairs in the morning finding mom at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and her Bible open and trying to be as quiet as I could.  (one did not talk to mom first thing in the morning until she’d had at least one cup of coffee)….  of mom teaching Bible to teenage Sunday school classes as well as Bible studies many older women in the community attended.

These are just a few of my memories…lest you think I’ve chosen not to remember any bad memories… I have those as well… and am grateful even for those because those times taught me how to persevere even when life was not idyllic.

Until next time, love God, love others and … Happy Birthday, mom….. thanks for the memories..



You Old Hateful Thing and Soon Touchy
May 8, 2016, 5:59 am
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This is Mother’s Day… the first mother’s day since my mother joined that heavenly crowd.   It’s also Sunday.    As I’ve mentioned in other posts, mom taught Bible to anyone who would listen.   She taught Ladies’ Bible studies, she taught Sunday school classes and these were organized settings…  but for us, her kids, she often took opportunity to teach Bible truths in every day situations.

My mind and heart was recently reminded of such a situational teaching.   At the beginning of this year, I was challenged to memorize the book of Philippians… and I’ve now come to last chapter.   Verse two mentions two women, Euodias and Syntyche.

Now, looking at the Greek spelling of their names, most English-speaking people would have a hard time pronouncing them.   However, my mother called them You Old Hateful Thing and Soon Touchy… care to guess in what situation mom taught us their names?

It is felt by most Bible scholars that these two women had a hard time getting along with each other.  They were not of the same mind on most things.  Thus, the apostle Paul beseeches.. pleads with them to find harmony with each other.    Mom used these two women to teach us to work together in harmony… sometimes we remembered her teaching… sometimes we ignored it.

As one of six children, there was often dissension among the ranks with one or the other.   For me, that would have been with my next younger sister.   Born two years to the day after me, I could never get her to recognize my right of authority!   Ha!

We WERE You Old Hateful thing and Soon touchy.   Physical fights often broke out over … well, now these many years later, I can’t even remember what they were about.   The moral of this story is what seemed so important back then, can’t even be remembered now.   Soon Touchy is now one of my greatest allies… we’ve both become mothers and raised our children to the best of our ability…we’ve learned to become of the same mind.

Until next time,  Happy Mother’s Day, Soon Touchy (and to all my other mother siblings)

Love … You Old Hateful Thing

 



Four Part Harmony
February 23, 2016, 8:25 am
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One of the best things about a homegoing celebration is the good memories that are evoked.    It’s not that we don’t have some bad memories but at a time like this, we desire to remember the good.

A few posts ago, I shared with you how God drew back the curtain for mom to let her see the heavenly choir singing while waiting for her arrival to join them.

At my mom’s homegoing celebration, all of her children stood in the front row of the church in front of her earthly tabernacle while we sang, “I’ll fly Away!”   As we stood and sang, tears came to my eyes as my mind went back to the days when mom would play the piano and attempt to teach at least four of her children to sing harmony.

We would stand around the piano as mom played and helped us each to hear our part. I was never good at singing harmony and thus I was given the soprano part as it had the melody.   I could not hear the other parts well enough to stay on key but oh… my siblings could!   There was not only soprano but alto, tenor and bass.    It was a sweet sound.   We perhaps didn’t appreciate it as much as we should have at the time but I, for one, revel in the memory of the times mom taught us to sing.

As we sang “I’ll Fly Away” and then “In the Garden”, all of mom’s children were singing four-part harmony and it was a beautiful sound.   Perhaps not as beautiful as the heavenly choirs mom was now a part of, but as beautiful as it gets here on this earth.   We were singing one last time in the presence of mom’s earthly tabernacle.     I don’t know if she could hear us… I don’t know but perhaps the heavenly choirs were singing right along with us..

Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, said, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed but with all boldness as always so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life or by death.”  During her time here on earth, mom tried to magnify the Lord of her life.   The day of mom’s homegoing celebration was a time where Christ was magnified by her death.    We are separated from her for the time being but with life being the fleeting entity it is, it may be just a moment in time before we see her again.

Until next time, love God, love others, and remember you’re teaching those closest to you not only by what you verbally teach but by your actions as well.

 



The Poignancy of a Life
February 22, 2016, 8:57 am
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There’s something uniquely poignant about watching a slide show of someone’s life at their homegoing celebration. We watched such a slide recently at my mother’s homegoing. Hers began with her wedding pictures. There was the beautiful bride, the handsome groom, the bridal party and each set of parents wishing them well on their journey.

 Then there were the children. First one… then a total of six children in all. The pictures progressed from the big event in her life to events in their lives. First there was the graduations then weddings and eventually came grandchildren and great grandchildren.

 Now for some people, they would think my mother didn’t accomplish great things. There were no business certificates…. Awards for length of service or outstanding work.

As far as the world is concerned perhaps she did nothing noteworthy. She was not a famous woman. Hers was not a particularly easy life, yet, I believe she did do great things!

She raised six children with my father, an almost unheard of thing to do in this day and age. She taught us many things and in previous posts I’ve already mentioned some of those. However, some of the greatest things mom taught us were the things we didn’t know we were learning. They were the things she lived. The things she taught us by her actions.

Such things as faith in a God who cares for us on a personal level; things like self-discipline. She taught us to work through our difficulties; to not give up just because something was hard; to have the stubbornness to conquer whatever was giving us fits; to be kind to others; to give others the benefit of the doubt; to love others

Now, don’t get me wrong, my mother was not a perfect person who lived life perfectly but she did try to live what she said she believed.

Some of the things she taught us, I saw reflected in the faces of each of my siblings as we said our “so long for now mom”s at her homegoing sevice. I saw strength of character mom tried to live in each life to some degree or another.

One of the most poignant things I was struck with in watching the slide show of her life is that life is short. It is fleeting at best.  James tells us that life is “but a vapor”. How true that is.

We all only have a short amount of time to influence others for God and for good in this life. Mom did her best to do it through her children, her nieces and nephews and many, many others whose lives she touched.

We begin our adult lives with such hopes and expectations for the future. Some of us think there will be time to love others when we accomplish the things we want to accomplish. Others of us know time is short.

Now is the time to love others and cast your influence for good on them. Don’t wait. As it’s been said, we only have the guarantee of the breath we draw and only what’s done for Christ will last. We have no guarantees for the future. Use each breath, each word, each action and attitude wisely and for the benefit of others.

I am so grateful for the mother I had on this earth.   Thanks, mama, for all you taught us.

Until next time, love God, love others.   Do it now while there is time.



Music and Mom
February 16, 2016, 7:56 am
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If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I was introduced (at least my earliest memory of it) to music through laying on the floor at the farmhouse with mom and dad and listening to Swan Lake and Scheherazade being played on the record player.   (that was way before cassette tapes, 8 tracks, CDs, MP3 Players.

Then about the time I was ready for kindergarten (and ready to ride the bus 😦 ), my parents decided to move into town.    So, we did.   It was a two story Victorian style house.   To my mom it was a beautiful home with lots of potential.   Anyway, about the same time, the little church we went to, was asked to no longer meet in the little schoolhouse we’d been previously meeting in.

Long story short, until we could get land and build a church house to meet in, the church met in our home in town.   We were pretty centrally located and we had a large living room.  It was perhaps then that we acquired a piano.   Mom loved to play the piano and she wanted to teach her children to play.

Almost as important to her as the study of the Word of God, music ranked right up there.  Now Mom had more success in teaching some of us than others.   At some point, she began teaching piano to many of our school friends and, as I’ve recently learned, half of my cousins who lived around town!

Eventually, when we did get into the small church building, Mom became the church organist and one of us kids whom she valiantly tried to teach piano, became the church pianist.   As one of us would leave home, the next child would take their place.

When it became my turn, I was awful and pretty intimidated by having to play the piano in front of people!   Mom taught us if we didn’t make faces when we made mistakes (which I did often) no one would ever notice that we made the mistake… well, long story short I tried it and by guppy it worked!   Thus, I learned to gain confidence in playing the piano.

It became somewhat of a passion.   Now, I would never be a concert pianist, though I have siblings who might have been had they chosen that path.   However, I liked to play the piano at night.   Mom would go to bed and sleep on her good ear (she was deaf in one).   Dad would sit and watch the late news and after he was done, he’d sit and listen as I played the piano.

Much to my mom’s chagrin, most of my piano playing was done by ear.   Reading music was laborious to me.   I never could quite get syncopation and different rhythm music.    However, if I could play by ear, I felt it was just me and the Lord and I could play whatever He put in my heart to play.

Well, needless to say, I owe my love of music to mom.

A couple of weeks ago, all six of her children were privileged to spend what would be mom’s last birthday on this earth with her.

When a couple of us went in to greet her the last morning of our stay, we asked how she was.   She stated she was fine but the neighbors were upset.    When we asked her why, she stated because of all those people standing around singing.    “What people?” we asked.    She said “all those white robed people”.    “Mom, what are they singing?”   Her reply, “Holy, holy, holy…. or something like that!”   We all left in awe that God had drawn back the curtain for Mom to see what awaited her.

Now, we believe Mom was seeing the choirs of heaven before the Throne of God and just a week and a day later, Mom joined that choir loving that God loves music!

Until next time, love God, love others and don’t miss an opportunity to tell them you love them…. you never know when you’ll get another chance this side of eternity!



Mom in the summer
February 12, 2016, 11:29 am
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Okay… so as a kid we’d all  probably agree that summer was our most favorite time of year.  It may have something to do with not having to be in school all day.

There were all kinds of things we’d do in the summer.    When it got warm enough… which was usually mid-June, we’d get to go to Dudek Park!   Man, that was great!   Dudek Park was the local swimming hole.   No swimming pools for us.   The Kalamazoo River ran through Dudek Park and as things would have it, it widened and deepened, making it ideal for swimming.   Not only that but there was an area that shallowed out so moms could take their little kids there.   Ahhh… summer.. if we were lucky, mom would get us pop and sandwich meat with some chips for lunch!

Another highlight for me, at least, was Vacation Bible School.   You see mom was the director of VBS at our little church.    Mom using her creativity, could make those Bible stories come alive.   So alive, in fact, that the day she told the story of Adam and Eve, she got a call from a concerned parent because their child had come home saying, Mrs. Beemer had been behind the piano, naked!   Hahaha…. Now mom never disrobed for that story but her ability to make it come alive even for the youngest of children was unparalleled in my experience.

Today, I know that those were not just stories to be told to children but sometimes as youngsters, it was hard for us to grasp the deeper teaching in them.   Yet the way my mom told those stories laid an important foundation for many of us who were there during Bible School.

Teaching her children about God and how He interacts with His children and why was important to mom.    It is something we never forgot and to this day we have all tried to pass on her legacy in that way — some with greater success than others nonetheless, we’ve tried.   Thanks, mom.

Until next time, love God, love others and don’t neglect to teach your children — it’s important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Fools rush in where Angels fear to Tread
January 20, 2016, 9:59 am
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This is a another saying I learned from my mom.    The older I get the more I hear my mother’s words come out of my mouth.   Weird, huh?   Lol.

I’m in the process of studying out what God says about angels.  This saying came to mind particularly in reading what He says about Michael, the archangel, when he contended with the devil for the body of Moses.   Michael is a smart angel. He never tries to usurp God’s authority… he knows what his position is in regard to God and others of God’s creation.

This saying though not actually found in Scripture, it’s principle is.   Smart angels never try to take credit for what God does through them or to try to do something they weren’t told to do.   Neither should we as humans.  When mom would say this to us, she was telling us we were treading on thin ice and we’d better watch our step.

Now mom adhered to the Biblical admonition found in Deuteronomy 6 for parents to teach their children about God and and what following Him entailed.   In Deuteronomy 6, God tells parents to teach their children when they’re sitting down, when they’re standing up. when they’re walking… pretty much every chance they got.

Another saying mom used to say to us kids that IS found in Scripture was… “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”    This is one of the things mom would say to us when as kids we felt something wasn’t fair or we felt she needed to know something we were sure she didn’t know.   We would approach mom and say,  “Moommmm… so and so or such and such is/isn’t … whatever.”   Mom would often be heard to reply, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

I have to be honest and tell you as a kid it never seemed a satisfactory answer to me.   Really?    Sufficient unto the day?   Really?   I wanted immediate satisfaction!

Since becoming an adult I have found in my study that this saying was first voiced by Jesus Himself.    It was part of  what we call the “Sermon on the Mount”.    Jesus was teaching His disciples, His followers.   He was teaching them that God would supply all their needs.   (Interestingly enough, He doesn’t promise to supply all our wants. )

When Jesus gets down to the end of Matthew Chapter 6, He’s only about halfway through the sermon.   However, He’s teaching His listeners that whatever we need, God’s got us covered.    In this chapter, He was telling us we’re not to worry about even the big stuff… like food, clothing, something to satisfy our physical thirst or even sufficient money to pay the bills.    If we rely on Him, if we put Him first,  He’s got us covered.    This is not a carte blanche for us to just sit on our fannies and say, “Okay, God you promised to supply all my needs… I’ll wait for it.”… Hmmm… though we’re not to worry about our needs, big or small.   We can know that God may use us to supply them while being obedient to Him.

That’s what my mom was trying to teach us as kids.   When we’d come crying… Mooommmmm!   She was saying to us.. “Don’t worry about it.  I’ve got this covered.   This is not your responsibility to worry about. ”  Our responsibility as kids was to obey mom and dad.   Their responsibility was to take care of our needs.

As an adult sometimes I find myself wanting to run to God and cry,  “God… Father… so and so isn’t … or such and such doesn’t…  ” and He says to me, “Daughter, don’t worry about that/them.  I’ve got it covered.   You worry about what I’ve told you to do and it will be just fine.”  If we are truly children of God it’s not our responsibility to worry/stress about things.   Our responsibility is to obey Him and believe “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”.

Until next time, love God, love others and remember  He’s got it covered.