Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Mothers and Daughters

Our oldest daughter, Rhonda, with her oldest daughter,Cassidy, holding her new little baby sister, MaKayla

Sometimes when I look through my pictures, I discover one that needs no story, no words, no explanation.  This was one of those “moments in time” to just rejoice and remember.

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Birthday Celebration

Happy Birthday precious daughter. We celebrated your special birthday here in this picture – your 4th birthday – and each year on this 3rd day of August, we celebrate another year of joy in the gift of your life. We love you and are so proud of you. Each and every day is a gift from God, and we rejoice that He sent you to us. Happy Birthday, dear.

July 6 Continuing Down Memory Lane

Mrs. Heath, Ritchie, and my mother,Glendora Oldham, having a teacher/student conference, 1958

             First Grade —- hmmm!  Today I am a first grade teacher and have taught kindergarteners and first graders since 1974.  I find humor in many of their antics, frustration in some misbehaviors, and anxiety in their lack of grasping new concepts…until I remember me as a first grader.  Suddenly, my students seem to become normal and almost above average as I recall my own experiences.  I share these experiences with them on occasion, and they seem to take heart that they too, will be okay. 
                There was the day Mrs. Heath warned me that I should not bring my toy rifle back to school….but I did!  She kept it in a locker ALL year before returning it to me at the summer break!  Daily, or so it seemed, she took my tiny plastic matchbox-size-cars and placed them in her desk drawer.  As far as I know, they may still be there.  The notes she wrote home with RED pencil…I placed in the swift-flowing current in the creek just below the school playground so Mother would never see them.  (I checked the other day as I drove past that creek to see if it was still running – but it was barely a trickle – probably too many of my papers dammed it up)  And reading circle – what an impossible task to sit still in those hard wooden chairs.  I remember my legs and hands getting stuck in the rungs as I twisted and turned in various positions to ward off boredom…(okay, so it took all summer in summer reading program for me to learn to read!).  I remember when “Chuck” said something about a worm, and I said, “yick”.  This was after Mrs. Heath had said “Not one more word!”  Somehow, I never really thought I deserved that paddling for saying, “yick”, but it WAS one more word!  And both my boyfriends; Roy Wright and Charles Otto, turned down my marriage proposals – said they were too young. I loved Roy because his name was so close to Roy Rogers, and Charles, because his dad was a veterinarian who took care of the small birds I found when they had a broken wing. 
                I share these memories because I know that there are days I may seem unfair to my own students, perhaps they have had too many “red” marks on their papers, or they are just having a rough day learning something.  I look into their faces and I remember being their ages.  I remember school was hard for me, and that I wanted to “be good” but just had a hard time following through.  Perhaps the most significant thing I remember about being in first grade is that it was then, at the age of seven, I realized that God loved me so much that He sent Jesus to pay for my sin, and that His love was so great for me, He would have done it even if I was the only sinner.  It was then that I knew I loved Him and wanted my life to be led by Him.  It was then that I began to ask Him to show me how to live.  The Bible verse, “ Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right (Proverbs 20:11), became important to me then, and helps me today as I realize the children God places in my care, are also capable of making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. So today, I honor the memory of Mrs. Heath; my First Grade teacher.  She partnered with my parents, and my church, in teaching me the things that would guide me all the days of my life.  I only pray that the children God has placed in my classrooms through the years may have the same experience.

July 5 We Will Serve the Lord

The Roger Lee Oldham Family – Easter 1958
Langdale Baptist Church, Langdale, Alabama

           Mom and Dad; committed servants, precious parents, diligent workers – and human instruments.  God chose the two of them in 1947, to become the parents of Karen(1949), Ritchie(1951), Mahala(1952), and Sing(1955).  Mom and Dad had one desire for the four of us.  That we would “love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).  From these young beginnings, each of us came to understand our need for a Savior, and have daily chosen to walk in His paths. 
          When Joshua challenged the children of Israel to “choose this day whom ye will serve”, those parents of old had to make a decision.  The decision wasn’t an easy one then, and isn’t always an easy one today.  However, the personal sacrifices are always worth the effort.
          Having visited Langdale so recently,  I am reminded that my parents, though imperfect vessels, had a perfect desire and prayer for each of their children. God honored that desire.  Today I reflect  upon the past, and I thank God for my future, because of the choices of my parents; Roger and Glendora Oldham.

July 4 Sweet Land of Liberty

My Dear Precious Children and grandchildren,
                Nearly 11 years have come and gone since September 11, 2001 when I first wrote this letter to you.  As we celebrate the freedom of America today, there will be fireworks, music, family gatherings, and moments of remembrance.  It is for this reason; I again post this letter I wrote to the three of you, with a slight change.  Today I desire to share it with a larger audience.
                I can’t seem to get very far beyond the great sadness about New York and about the events upon our nation.  True, the fighting is far from our home right now, but it is our army of Americans that are in harms way for the next many years.  In trying to encapsulate the source of my grief, I find myself weeping for my Aunt Hallie who lost her only son, Buddy, in defense of my freedom.  I grieve for every mother, and father, son or daughter, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, grandparent…who has lost a loved one in defense of American freedoms.  I weep for the Patriots who brought to life the reality of America, for the soldiers and the families who were more than actors in the unfolding saga of “Saving Private Ryan.”  I weep for my friend who lost his dad at Hiroshima.  Sadness fills my heart for all those I have known and loved who were impacted during the Vietnam era.  I grieve for the losses felt eternally at Pearl Harbor, and now the thousands of thousands who are personally impacted by the terrorist attacks on September 11. I grieve for the thousands still being impacted around the world in the war against terrorism wherever it is being fought.
                I grieve, yes, but I refuse to be paralyzed by that grief.  I refuse to remain afraid of the future.  I rise above my grief, and numbness, and my stunned horror, because I am an American.  My flag waves freely on a lighted pole in my yard.  I rejoice and find a song victoriously erupting each time I see old glory.  “America, America, God shed His grace on thee…”  The price all those who have sacrificed their lives and the lives of their loved ones, has been too great to do otherwise. 
                Today, I will relish life with renewed enthusiasm, zest, awareness.  I will be creative and rejoice in the friendships and pleasures this day unfolds before me.  I will embrace the beauty of myAmerica.  I will really see when I look at the hillsides, the colors of the fall, and the sunsets.  I will hear the birds song, the rippling brook, the droplets of rain upon the earth, and the voices of the little people around me as they explain things they are experiencing.  I will laugh more heartily with my friends, and I will cry more openly with those who weep. I will pray more earnestly for my world.  I will say more often to my own children, I love you!!!  I wish only the best for you, you and your precious families.  I desire to see you all rise and shine and give God glory through your life.  I pray that God will make of you the persons He had in mind when He gave you the gift of His breath of life. Today I will celebrate the lives of  the families God has blessed you with.  I will celebrate our grandchildren.  Live life fully.  Live it abundantly.  Live it humbly, and obediently.  It’s His gift to you.  It is limited.  He holds the key to its longevity.  Use it wisely, as I pray I also will do from this moment forward.

I love you, my dear children, and grandchildren,

Mom

Inside the Teacher’s Mind

         Thoughts, words, philosophies, theological ideals . . . they all swirl together like dry fallen leaves on a windy day.  I envision them in a miniature whirlwind, gaining momentum as they spin across the yard.  Just at the moment they create a definite shape, the wind stops and the leaves drop to the ground in a disheveled heap.  So are my thoughts oft’ times as I prepare for a new day of teaching.  I study my various curriculums, comb through the language portions, and search for clues about the developmental skills of the students at the various ages.  I continually teach, analyze the learning process, and then adjust and teach again, always seeking to address the skill levels of my material to the learning levels of my students.

            Each day I read more books, think more thoughts, and become more agitated that the “electrodes” are not down loading from my head.  I am thinking always on “a better way” to teach my boys and girls.  It consumes my mental space and over-rides many other daily routine priorities.  I awaken with fresh thoughts, I type in a few seed thoughts, and then so many others get lost in the process.  There are jumbled ideas standing impatiently in line, all pushing and shoving, trying to be first and because of the chaos, many getting lost in the shuffle.  That’s okay because I am finding that they get back into line and conduct themselves in a more orderly fashion the next time around, and I am able to let them have their turn at the front.  I am just impatient.  I want this done now . . . while I’m thinking about it.  But I have time, and patience has its own reward.

            But for now, I will thank God that He has equipped me for this day, and will supply the needs I will encounter this day.  He will be my Helper, this day.  I will face this day with joy and expectancy as I stand before my class and look into the eyes of my students. 

Lady Kenmore

She Has Always Been A Lady

“Sure would be nice to own a sewing machine,” Mom would often comment. With Christmas many months away Dad secretly went down to the Sears Roebuck Store and began making payments on a sewing machine. He thought this machine to be the finest model ever. She had twenty different decorative stitches, a ruffle attachment, and features that would appliqué, hemstitch, monogram, do double needle stitching, and make buttonholes. Though Dad didn’t fully understand all the gadgets, he was so excited that on many occasions he almost told his secret. When Christmas morning arrived, tears of joy filled Mom’s eyes when she saw the two-tone, copper colored Lady Kenmore, housed in a walnut- finish cabinet. We three daughters were too young to understand her immense joy, but we soon learned how “the lady” would transform our lives.

Mom began visiting the outlet mills and bringing home whole bolts of unbleached muslin. She and “the lady” would sometime toil late into the night, lulling us to sleep with the whir and hum of the motor as she sewed. As she experimented with new attachments, we would occasionally hear her explode, “dad-gum it, I did it again!” We soon learned to pay no heed to her outbursts. By morning when we awakened, we’d see a ruffled set of kitchen curtains complete with decorative stitches, drapes for the living room, or a lacy stitched tablecloth. Once we awoke to find all our dolls decked out in new duds. Soon she had adorned each of us in beautiful Easter dresses, winter coats, and all sorts of togs with appliqués, ruffles, and frills. Fabric from previous projects began to reappear in the form of blankets and comforters. No scrap was too small.

That was more than 45 years ago. In all the years since, “The Lady” has sewn sport coats and trousers for the men in the family, dresses, formals, and finally, bridal gowns for each of the three daughters.

When my husband and I married we were college students, having very little extra money for the nonessential. I often sewed on other machines but they didn’t have the same solid feel as “the lady,” so I often returned home to sew. Soon I was making placemats, tablecloths, pillows, and curtains . . . all decorated with special stitches. As the years passed, my own children wore dresses and played with doll clothes, which I fashioned on the Kenmore. When it came time for each of their weddings, Mom let me bring “the lady” to my home. Late into the night my girls often fell asleep listening to the steady whir and hum as endless yards of satin and brocade were fashioned into wedding gowns.

I still sew on the Lady Kenmore because she’s a comfortable friend. She doesn’t have all those fancy cams, computers, and gadgets that are available today, but she’s been faithful, and true. Her parts are worn, and there are no replacements available . . . they say she is just too old . . . but I don’t use her as much now that the nest is empty, so perhaps she and I can complete the journey together. Meanwhile, I believe she needs a bit of oil because that little grandbaby of mine could use some blankets, a new set of curtains, hmm, . . . and maybe I should make him a special pillow, . . . and a nap mat, and . . . a set of play overalls . . .

05-04-2000

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