Tell Me a Story about … a Creek!

8-13-18 C (2)Thunder echoed through the hollow, rattling the loose window pane in the cabin door. The afternoon’s thunderstorm had grown into a wailing, angry force, and with the darkness, it seemed to be trying to fight its way inside the cabin. Rain pounded the roof, wind howled and whipped the walls and windows. Lightning bolts streaked across the night sky, leaving eerie periods of illumination.

Inside the cabin, most of the children and adults slept through the ruckus. Some of us, however, could not. Thunder storms bouncing around the mountains could scare an avid storm-chaser, but this one seemed more intense than any before. It roared overhead and burst from the hollow as though chased by unseen demons.

We could hear the water of the small creek, which had gently flowed between its banks during 8-13-18 Bthe earlier part of the day, change to something from a movie about whitewater rafting. Huge crashes, one after another, sounded like dynamite exploding, first up the hollow a ways, then closer, in front of the cabin in which we sat listening, shivering, wondering if the building would blow apart any second.

After the long night of sleepless terrors, the morning showed the incredible power of the storm. The sun had returned, but the torrential rains had swollen the creek, swirling waters pounded the banks, seeking an outlet to the tension from the night before. The ground felt swampy beneath our feet.

What astounded us most was the layout of the creek itself. It did not resemble that of 8-13-18 Ayesterday, nor of the years I’d spent wading its waters. During the night, what we mistook for thunder was huge boulders tossed by rising waters. Rocks, as large as monster truck tires, had been tossed like leaves across the water and deposited in another section of the creek hundreds of feet downstream. The power necessary to uproot these boulders from where they’d sat for who knows how long and tumble them like children’s building blocks to a new resting place, seemed unimaginable. We’d heard it, we saw the aftermath, but we couldn’t take it in.

 That storm made us more aware of our human frailty and God’s power. He created the earth with a word, causes the storms to rumble, commands the sun and moon to rise and set. His power can toss a boulder, crumble it to bits, yet He created us, frail human beings who need His help to breathe and live each day. And He does so because He loves us. Wow … 

 *** Do you have a memory about a creek you’d like to share with us? Please do! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

 *** Next week, a post written while vacationing this weekend at this wonderful place!

 

Tell Me a Story about … Camp!

Only four days! Four days until we pack the car with duffel bags, pillows, sleeping bags … and the dog, and head for Potter County and CAMP!Potter County!!

Oh, how I love that word! That place! Camp to others may mean somewhere they attended as a child—playing games and learning songs around a campfire for a week each summer. To some it brings memories of camping adventures, with a tent or an RV, doing all the same things as at summer camps only with family and close friends.

But to me, “camp” holds all my most-cherished memories. Over the life of this blog, I’ll share many of those with you, starting with the posts for August, one of our favorite months to go there.

The cabin we call “camp” sits at the base of a mountain and at the mouth of a hollow, alongside a creek, in the Blue Mountain range of Potter County, PA. The Jolly 9 Hunting Club rents the cabin for its members to use during hunting and fishing seasons. These members can reserve times to take their families and friends there for vacations.

Our extended family all planned their vacation times for the same week and traveled by caravan. A hand waved out a window or flashing headlights seen in a rear-view mirror alerted others to stop for a bathroom break for kids or dogs. The trip included a picnic lunch beside the “rusty creek,” a gorgeous, shaded pine grove by the side of a creek with mineral deposits which caused the rocks to become rust-colored.
Camp!!!
Upon arrival at camp, everyone chose their favorite bunks and unpacked. Having so many people together in a three-room cabin, caused quite a bit of noise. With the original exposed beams on the ceiling and walls, we could really “make those rafters ring.” From the smallest child to the oldest adult, merry-making filled the days and nights.

By day, we waded in the creek less than a stone’s toss from the front porch or played the old-fashioned game of quoits, similar to horseshoes except with donut-shaped rubber quoits to toss over the posts. At night, we went spotting deer and toad-finding (after a rainstorm), finishing off with cocoa, hot enough to make it gooey with melting marshmallows. Then we’d break out the cards and play rounds of rummy, Uno, or Blitz until well after midnight, a double delight for us kids.

In fact, the only activity in this idyllic place which did not include the word “fun” was the necessary treks to the outhouse. But no one seemed to truly mind … well, except my one sister-in-love, who detested any speck of dirt and would have gladly scrubbed it down with Clorox and Lysol. One time, my dad snuck out before she got up in the morning and posted a sign on the outhouse door: “Sister’s dreamhouse”! (Name changed to protect the innocent!)

Camp! Less than four days to go! See you there!

*** What does the word “camp” bring to your memory bank? Please, share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

 *** Next week, another post about this marvelous place!

 

Tell Me a Story about … Cross-stitch!

Who’d have thought stitching rows and rows of tiny X’s would change my life? Have you ever cross-stitched? Did it give you a thrill to stitch itty bitty X’s, making them into a picture?

7-30-18 CI fell in love with cross-stitch the first time I made a sample kit at a party. I figured this would be like many sales party where you gather with friends to hear about some products and spend money you don’t have through a sense of obligation to the hostess. And the best part comes when they break out the yummy treats at the end!

However, this one surprised me. Each guest received a mini craft kit, complete with all materials. The consultant told us the steps to complete the cross-stitched-butterfly napkin ring: separate the six-strand orange floss, thread the blunt cross-stitch needle with three ply of the floss, and begin making diagonal stitches on the Aida cloth (stiff fabric with an even weave creating little squares). Then we stitched back across the line on the opposite diagonal, crossing the first stiches to make X’s. it delighted me!

That’s all it took, that first little butterfly began a new genre of stitchery in what would come to be quite a large repertoire of accomplished techniques I would learn over the7-30-18 A (3) next 40 years. I gobbled up every pattern, bought scads of embroidery floss, completed kits and pictures for gift-giving. Then I infected my mother-in-law with the bug, and she cross-stitched larger projects than I liked tackling, such one with three angels she made for me because of our three daughters.

Eventually, I went on to create my own unique projects. My husband just reminded me of the fun I had with what cross-stitchers call waste canvas. This fun product allows us to cross-stitch from a pattern onto anyt7-30-18 B (2)hing, using a piece of the waste canvas which can then be pulled out of the finished design thread by thread. I cross-stitched on tote bags, nylon wallets, clothing, a bowling towel, and more. I even created my own line of cross-stitched ties, mostly forest animals, which my husband loved showing off at work, including a deer which we had to turn into Rudolph for Christmastime.

Most years, I make our Christmas gifts for our extended family and friends. Sometimes, I write 30-day devotionals, such as the one I did for Christmas 2017 to go along with the current return to the fun of game-playing, board-game style. This year, I plan to use up some Aida cloth I bought maybe 15-20 years ago and create some Christmas-designed placemats.

Of course, my bad habit of waiting until fall to start … um, okay, Thanksgiving … means late-night stitching which, with advanced age and diminishing eye power, I have trouble doing. This meant giving in to my husband’s idea of starting early! So, for my final Christmas-in-July activity, I began working on these cross-stitch projects and anticipating getting done before December 25 … 2019, that is! LOL!

*** Have you ever tried cross-stitching? Or received a piece done by someone else? Please, share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** Next week, I’ll share a post with a word dear to my heart. Check in to see what it is!

 

Tell Me a Story about … Peanut Butter!

Faith

Photo by Ian Wallace

I’m proud to give you the first guest post by our daughter Faith Weaver. Faith is a dancer, writer, and an incredible young woman-of-God. Watch for the link for her coming blog for her first novel! (She is also the amazing photographer of many of the photos I use on this blog, including the one below of her writing desk!)

It sticks to the roof of your mouth. It adds just the right amount of savory to chocolate. It makes everything sticky. And it helps writer’s block. Yes, that’s right. Peanut butter is a magical property that can seep into your brain cells and unlock the deepest blocks when it comes to writing. So, when I think of peanut butter, I don’t taste peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and Reese’s on my smores. I don’t think of sticking my finger in a brand-new jar of Jif (family tradition that grosses my husband out). I think of writing.

When I was young, my mom taught me the love of writing, just as she did my sister. I would sit beside them as they wrote, listening to them tap the keyboards as they poured out their thoughts, and then suddenly, silence. The quiet consumed the room as they 7-23-18 Bthought of what wonderful words they should type next. Then came the well-known sound of the backspace bar as sentences were written … re-written … deleted … changed … written the same way as the first time … and then deleted again. Finally, one of them would grab a jar of peanut butter which was never too far away, and they’d scoop out a spoonful to eat as they thought. Somehow, the magic never failed and soon they would be back to typing away.

Eventually, I became curious and asked what was so special about the jar of peanut butter, to which they replied that the peanut butter was “Writing Peanut Butter,” and it helped with writer’s block. It was like joining a secret club! My excitement over sharing something so special with my mom and sister, whom I idolized as a kid, made me feel like I was walking on clouds. And the biggest surprise: it worked! The peanut butter was actually magic! As I grew, I always had a jar of peanut butter beside the computer, and when I moved out, it was the first thing I bought for my home office. (NOTE: Generic brands aren’t magic, they’re just messy!)

7-23-18 ANow, as the Montrose Christian Writers Conference draws closer, I am spending more and more time in front of my computer trying to write furiously. But with extra writing comes extra writer’s block, and I will be forever grateful that my mom and sister instilled me with the great peanut butter secret. Dipping a spoon into a jar of creamy goodness (crunchy peanut butter is an abomination) always starts my creative juices flowing again. I like to think the stickiness is pulling the block away, leaving a fresh path of thought in its wake. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again: “Writing Peanut Butter to the rescue!”

*** What does opening a new jar of peanut butter mean to you? Please, share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** The week after the writers’ conference always means anticipation! It’s also the end of my Christmas-in-July events. Check the post next week to see what I’ll be doing to anticipate the actual December 25th celebration of Christ’s birth!

Tell Me a Story about … July!

7-16-18 F This week’s story word begins with a capital letter: July. Most people in PA think summer, Independence Day, swimming, picnics, and vacations. I could stories about those, some funny (one vacation in Potter County when I slept in a bed with my aunt, woke during the night, whacked her with my stuffed horse, then lay down and went to sleep), some exciting (the 4th of July fireworks display in Galeton, PA, where we sat right under the place they exploded and had embers cascading over us), some scary (the year 1995 when I went into premature labor around eight weeks into the pregnancy and was put on immediate bedrest for the duration … all went well in the end, daughter #3 only three weeks early).

However, I want to share a story about a special Christmas-in-July gift. I’ve loved7-16-18 B (2) everything Christmas since I shoved off the covers Christmas morning, anxious for Mom and Dad to call us to come down to check what filled our stockings. Fun traditions from my childhood Christmases spilled over into our daughters’ lives, including a few new ones. I’ll share about those in detail over December blog posts (I know, teaser!).

Though the true origins of these celebrations seem muddled, one report stands out as, if nothing else, a cute story. During a summer camp in NC during the 1930s, a co-founder, described as a “creative type,” decided to add a unique tradition to their camp activities: Christmas-in-July. Their celebrations included Christmas trees, makeshift laundry-bag stockings, and camp-wide gift exchanges.

Regardless of its start, I latched onto this extra chance to celebrate Christmas in our home! We listen to Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas,” watch The Miracle on 34th Street, and spend time coloring pictures of verdant holly wreaths and jaunty snowmen. We even drink cocoa in 90-degree weather! If we use our imagination, we could see snowflakes drifting and hear sleigh bells ringing.

The summer of 2016 found me in the doldrums. My aunt’s cancer alarmed us all with its rapid growth. A family friend died in a horrible accident. I procrastinated (again) so long on a writing project that I missed the deadline, after putting in hours of work to make it publishable. Our new puppy began acting out in negative ways and demanding more attention than I had energy for.

7-16-18 E (2) One hot day, our daughter, Faith, brought me a delightful surprise—a Christmas-in-July gift! She’d stopped at our local florist for a bouquet of red, green, and white flowers. The owner searched for a tiny Christmas notecard and a plastic Christmas tree pick to add to the festive holiday ensemble. Faith had also picked up a new notebook and a two-pack of pretty designer pens for me to use on a special writing project. And she topped it off with a cold bottle of Starbucks’ vanilla Frappuccino.7-16-18 A (2)

Faith knew my heart, knew the month’s events had left my spirit lagging. Her Christmas-in-July surprise hit its intended target—love and care for her mama. But then, what would any Christmas celebration be without the love of family and of Our Savior?!

*** What do the hot days of summer bring to your mind? Share your July story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** In honor of the Montrose Christian Writers Conference where you will find me next week, the blog post will have something to do with … well, with writing!

 

Tell Me a Story about … a Pickle

         7-9-18 B (2)When I think of words which entice memories from all five senses, pickles come early on the list. I see mounded dirt covered with green vines, tiny hands moving the leaves to peek at midget cucumbers growing. I feel prickly skins as I scrubbed them prior to slicing and dicing for canning. I smell pervasive odors of onions and vinegar as we mixed them with the pickling 7-9-18 C (2)spices. And taste … ah, those canned bread and butter pickles, a bit sweet, a bit tart. My senses reel with the memories.

          “What about sound?” you say? Everyone knows the crunch of a crisp dill pickle, the slurp of a tongue catching the juice. But for me, the thought of a dill pickle brings a much different sound—that of an organ. Not playing hymns in church (whoever heard of dill pickles at a worship service!) but jazzing away with what I cherished as “skating music.”

7-9-18 F          At the roller rink where I spent my teen years, they offered live organ music to skate by. I can still hear lilting melodies perfect for free-spirited wheeling around the floor. Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” melted into “Rockin’ Robin” from the 1950s. We “shook, rattled, and rolled” with Bill Haley’s hit, then slowed for a couples’ skate to Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover.” Since it was the 1970s, they also played recorded music, but this girl’s heart came alive when the organist came off break and the real music began.7-9-18 A (2)

          “But what about pickles?” you ask. Ah, yes, pickles. The snack bar contained plenty to give hungry teenagers something to rebuild their energy: hot pizza, icy slushies, sweet candy, salty soft pretzels. I’d pay my quarter and watched the seller fish out a huge, dripping, forest green dill pickle from the humongous jar. I’d take it to a corner booth and crunch away, happy and satisfied with life at the skating rink.

7-9-18 E (2)          Today, another pickle brings me much joy, and since it IS Christmas-in-July time, let’s talk about it! Early in our daughters’ childhood, we found a unique ornament—a blown-glass pickle with a story. Always drawn to things with stories, we read how the pickle tradition started in Germany. Parents hid the ornament in the Christmas tree after the children fell asleep. Christmas morning found the kiddos scrambling to be the first to find the pickle, for the one who did received an extra gift! We bought that pickle and continue to hang it today, granting the find-ee a special gift (usually something to share with everyone—a box of Pop Tarts or cocoa).

          Pickles! When God created the cucumber, do you think He had any idea they’d fill a girl’s life from gardens to roller skating rinks to Christmas trees?

 *** What senses does the word “pickle” set off for you? Please, share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** Do you celebrate “Christmas-in-July”? We do! See how in next week’s blog!         

Tell Me a Story about … a Goose!

          A “gaggle” of memories flies about geese. Of course, that isn’t grammatically correct, but using it is such fun! I remember studying farm animals in our homeschool and how we giggled at the idea of a gaggle of geese, as a group of them is called.

          In fact, most of my geese memories involve laughter. One vacation in Potter County, PA, we visited Ole Bull State Park for a hike and a picnic. A wide creek runs through the park. We walked out on the bridge separating the picnic area from the campground to check out the fish swimming under the bridge.

7-2-18 A
      Photo courtesy of Janice Kelley. http://www.naturelegacies.com

           About twenty yards upstream, some Canadian geese floated on the creek. In a movement I’d never before witnessed, one goose upended itself in the water, totally vertical, its tail pointing straight at the sky. One by one, more geese followed suit. The sight of a half-dozen geese bottoms sticking straight up out of the water looked so hilarious, I dissolved in a fit of giggles. Giggles at gaggles again!

          The geese remained in their ungainly position for so long, I feared they’d drown. Then, pop! One righted itself. Pop, pop, pop! Soon all the geese floated as normal geese should. But before I could recover, more geese flipped over, tails waving at the sun. Another round of giggles, and another pop, pop, pop! I wanted to watch and laugh the day away, but Kevin insisted he’d had enough silliness and wanted to take our hike. I recall thinking they resembled ducks at a shooting gallery—up, down, up, down.

         One more smile-producing goose memory goes back even more years to when we lived beside a couple who farmed their small plot of land. They enjoyed working their garden together, growing most of their own vegetables. Often, we received overflowing baskets of corn or strawberries from their caring arms.

          Valeria, the woman of the house, fashioned decorations out of just about anything she could find. One year, she called me over to see her newest creation. She’d taken a neck 7-2-18pumpkin (not the jack-o-lantern kind, but the let’s-bake-a-pie kind) and turned it into a goose! She stood it up, painted eyes on the small head-end, painted the stem-beak black, and added a felt scarf around its neck. I smiled at her ingenuity and creative spirit. Set by our Ben Franklin stove with a few gourds tucked around his “feet,” he made quite a fetching fall display.

          So, yes, the mournful cries of a large V of geese flying south for the winter may be what many people think of with geese, but to me, I remember laughter—giggling at gaggles! I’m sure God laughed, too, when He taught them to turn upside down in the water and watched them go pop, pop, pop!

 *** Do you have a “gaggle” of goose stories? Even if just one, please, share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

 *** Can you guess next week’s post topic? Words associated with it: sour, sweet, bread-and-butter!

 

 

Tell Me a Story about … a Pet!

          Have you ever had a pet? How many? What kinds? Was one of them yours alone? Were they just animals or part of your family?

          Pets filled my childhood. From puppies to kittens, hamsters to rabbits, turtles to lizards, even a raccoon and a couple goats. And we loved them—the ones we bought, the ones we claimed, the ones who claimed us.

 6-25-18 C         Several memories surface, one flying straight to the front of the flock. Remember when prizes for finding the “special” eggs at a community Easter egg hunt included livestock? And not goldfish in plastic bags. Chicks, ducklings, and bunnies topped the list … even colored chicks! (Which I hope they have outlawed now!)

          At one Easter egg hunt while still young enough to enjoy the treat, I found one of the marked eggs and hurried to the prize stand. Imagine my astonishment at winning a young rooster! In those days, they didn’t trade prizes, so the young fowl went home with us.

          My parents found a closed cage to put him in until we could figure out what to do. However, the solid sides with vents didn’t let me … or our three inquisitive dogs and one curious cat … see the little creature. Pitiful sounds squeezed my heart, and after shoving the other animals back, I peeked through the door. The dark interior showed the rooster cowering.

          Glancing to see my mom busy on the phone, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to open the latch and tuck my hand in to pet him, just to calm him and let him know I was there and wouldn’t hurt him. How could I know that little sliver of light would mean “Freedom!”

          The mayhem which followed still rings in my ears. One rooster, three dogs, one cat, and three kids created a hurricane force around and through the living room and kitchen! Feathers and squawks from the rooster, yips and yaps from the dogs, hisses from the cat, yelling from us kids, and screams from my mom, while trying to hold her hand over the phone so my grandmother wouldn’t hear the commotion and think someone was getting killed.

          I don’t remember how the frenzied but unharmed rooster (minus a few feathers) got captured and returned to the cage, but I do recall my mother putting her foot down and making me give my prize to a neighbor lady who raised fowl. I visited my rooster often. However, to my horror, on one of those intended visits, I found my rooster had become our neighbor’s supper the night before! 6-25-18 B

          From then on, the only roosters in our house came in the ceramic variety, such as this one waiting for my mom to paint it. So ends my rooster tale!

 *** Did you ever win a pet at a carnival or other event? Did your pet meet a similar end as mine or do you still have it? Share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** Watch for more “Pet” stories to come in future months! Next week, our word starts with the letter “G.” Hint: it follows the animal theme!

 

Tell Me a Story about … a Flashlight

Every child remembers his first flashlight. His thoughts may have gone something like this: How long do batteries last? How bright will it shine in my bedroom? I can read in the dark after I go to bed! Mom won’t see the light if I hide under the covers! How long do batteries last?6-11-18 Main

Although I don’t recall many different flashlights when I was young, today’s stores abound with them. Pink ones to delight a little girl’s heart. Camouflage for hunters. Some connect to keychains to shine on locks at night, and some include flashers to signal emergencies.

As for uses, giving light in the dark remains most important. Who wants to bump into walls and furniture while navigating at night to the bathroom?

And what about flashlight tag? What fun to stay up after dark, make sure our flashlights have fresh batteries, step outside, and turn off all other forms of light. Then, we walk quietly to hide—not running as in normal tag—while the person who is “it” listens. When she hears a noise, she switches on her flashlight and tries to catch another player in its beam.

However, my favorite memories come from spotting deer on vacation—driving back roads after dark, shining your spotlight over fields and deep into forests to catch unsuspecting deer. Mom sat in the passenger seat and used the regular spotlight plugged into the cigarette lighter. On the driver’s side, Dad used the power from his heavy, 4-cell, silver flashlight to spot his side. (Don’t worry, he was only driving five m.p.h. on dirt roads!)

Sometimes, Dad relinquished the flashlight to my brothers or me, sparking wars over which side we’d sit on each night: the passenger’s to maybe use the real spotlight or the driver’s side and get the chance to use Dad’s silver flashlight. And woe to the one who wound up in the middle seat!

I can still f6-11-18 Aeel the steely cold of that flashlight as Dad handed it to me and the chill from the rush of wind as I wound down my window. It took two hands to steady it while sticking it out the window to shine into the woods or fields. And what joy to spot a deer and shout, “There’s one!”

Although Dad told us not to waste our batteries, we tried to use our own flashlights to penetrate the darkness, but their beams only reached the edge of the road. By the time we returned to the cabin, they gave off only dim light, and disobedience didn’t usually warrant new batteries.

Just like me. If I fill my inner light with power from God’s Word, I shine brightly, and others can see Jesus in me. But if I go my own way, trusting my own “batteries,” I grow dim, and His light is hidden from those who need it most. But just like my dad, God smiles at His wayward child and opens a “fresh pack,” giving me the power to shine my light, His light, once more.

*** Did you ever have your own flashlight as a child? Did you use it to read at night? What happened when your batteries ran out? Tell us your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** What pets have you loved throughout your life? Any unusual ones? Let’s share about our pets in next week’s blog post!

 

Tell Me a Story about…an Anniversary

          Our first daughter, Holly, born six weeks premature at a time when that meant serious threats to an infant’s survival, developed faster than the doctors predicted. She spoke her first words at five months and complete sentence soon after. Each developmental check-up showed her vocal and motor skills surpassing not only the current-age-minus-six-weeks’ norms but zooming months ahead of her actual age.

          What does this have to do with a story about an anniversary, you ask? Most people scoff at these claims I make of Holly’s early achievements vocally, however, my mom and dad’s 25th anniversary brought the truth in a harmonic way.

          Around the time of Holly’s second birthday, my brothers and I ramped up our plans for a surprise anniversary party for our parents. We invited family and friends, suggesting monetary6-4-18 C gifts to go toward a special gift. Our parents never had a honeymoon, never went away by themselves, choosing family vacations instead. We set up an anniversary trip, even called our dad’s work in secret and scheduled his vacation time. I made reservations at Heritage USA in NC, ordered a AAA triptik, and arranged to stay with their dogs for the week.

          I like to think we surprised them with the party, but if not, the planned trip did the trick. (Note: the photo is from the day of the party, my dad holding Holly.) As we helped them pack their car to leave, Holly chattered and sang songs, including her favorite— “Jesus Loves Me.” I sent money with my parents to purchase a singing doll advertised at Heritage. A tiny plastic record inserted in the doll gave her a voice, and the one I picked sang Holly’s favorite song.

          Upon their return, my parents gave Holly the doll. She oohed and aahed over the doll’s curly red hair and pushed the button over and over to mak6-4-18 (2)e her sing. At just over fourteen months, our preemie daughter sang along with her special doll, only having a little trouble keeping up with its speed. (Note: the photo is not of the one we had. Holly’s is long gone!)

          Years later, we know why God gifted her so early with a voice. He wanted Holly to use that voice in service to Him, and she has in many ways. Never doubt the gifts God gives and His timing, no matter how unusual they may seem.

 *** Do you have a story to share about a special anniversary—yours or someone else’s? Or if not, do you have a special gift which showed up early in your life or a family member’s? To leave your story, click on the words beside the date under the title of this post. Scroll to the bottom of the comment section to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

 *** As I write this, my brother is vacationing at a cabin in Potter County, PA, my favorite place on earth. I wonder if he remembers the flashlight we used for a special purpose there when we were children. Next week, I’ll tell you about it!