A House Where She Belongs

Daddy passed away first and Mama followed him just one month later. I’ve written about it before, and I’m sure I’ll write about it again. But today, I write about something they left behind when they passed: the “big yellow house,” where they lived together 60 years.

They’d been married just a few years, when they bought the house and the property – 80 acres – some farmland, some woodland. In this house and on this property, they raised their family and created a heritage for us that lasted not only through their lifetimes but one that continues today in us, their children and grandchildren.

They planted thousands of pine trees in bare, unused pastures. Along the creek bordering the south line of the property, Daddy created a beautiful picnic area, where he and Mom hosted family reunions and Sunday School picnics. Church softball teams played in one of the two ball fields. Twenty foot posts connected by tightly woven wire farmyard fence stood tall and firm behind home base, creating the back stop.

Mom on Gypsy
Mom on Gypsy

Our main barn was huge with two large haylofts, cow stanchions, horse stalls, grain bins, and equipment rooms. We kids swung on a rope as thick as a softball bat – from the north to the south loft – and back and forth through the east and west barn doorways. Other farm buildings completed this pastoral setting: a smaller barn, chicken coops, a corn crib, a granary, and a shed, housing an electric pump, which supplied fresh water to our horses: Jack, Gypsy, and Smokie,  and to my brother’s dairy cow, Daisy. It was as Norman Rockwell as any Midwestern farm could be, and it belonged to Margie and Wayne, my parents.

The heart of this ideal ambience was the house – a big yellow house – and although we all loved it, my mother seemed to love it the most. Next to her Lord, her husband, and her family, the house was her everything! She needed nothing else to be content than to be in her home – the big yellow house. And it fully satisfied her from the fall of 1952, when they moved in, until her last day, some 60 years later.

waligora favicon2During those first years, few improvements were made to the house, but it was personally and tastefully decorated on a very limited budget: simple, sylvan printed curtains attached with sewn on rings; homemade chair cushions, stuffed with worn towels and covered with a pastoral print; and fresh flowers from the garden in the summer, pussy willow in March, and evergreens in the winter.

We “lived” in every room of the house. One of the big upstairs bedrooms belonged to me! But in the cold winter months, Mom and Dad set up my brother’s and my twin beds in the dining room on the cozy main floor, as the upstairs was hard to heat. Heat rose through one large, square, cast iron register in the living room from the enormous wood furnace in the basement below. Insulation and storm windows came years later.

During my childhood diseases, my mother tucked me into a “bed” made up on big wine-colored frieze chair and matching ottoman – close to her opened bedroom door.

She was very spontaneous, and she improvised as needed – or at whim!

One day, I came home and found that she had cut the top part of the footboard off her bed. I didn’t even know she could use a chainsaw!

She cooked on electric stoves but yearned for a cookstove to be put in the back “woodshed,” an unheated, unfinished part of the house. A “summer kitchen,” she would call it. She also would have loved an open stairway. Mama never got either the summer kitchen or the open stairway, but it didn’t appear to matter much to her. She loved her house unconditionally and was most content there.

As  the years passed and Mom worked more outside her home, adding to Daddy’s income, physical improvements were made to the house: storm windows, insulation, aqua-colored carpet from Sears & Roebuck, a remodeled kitchen with maple cabinets, and a new large window, overlooking the huge garden, filled with poppies and strawberries, vegetables and flowers, and on to the fields below – all from the dining room table.

But time passed, and as the house aged,

so did Mom.

Near the end of her days in the big yellow house, I often found my mom sitting at the dining room table, looking out the window – across the garden, and on to the old ball fields, picnic area, and the creek. I often heard her speak as she had throughout the years before: of love for her “big yellow house” and of the contentment she found within it.waligora-logo2Before Mom was buried in the country cemetery across the road, we placed her in a beautiful white hearse and covered her with flowers – flowers like those found in her garden and yards. And on that cold April day, she journeyed the circular drive one last time – near the spirea bush, beside the old maple tree that had slowly died along with her, alongside the kitchen door she had entered so many times, and past the lilac bushes, just beginning to leaf. I imagined hearing her say “goodbye” to that “big yellow house” as she stepped into a perfect one the Lord had prepared for her.

As much as she loved the big old yellow house, I don’t think she misses it now because, you see, I’m sure God gave her a new one in heaven. It has the open stairway she always wanted — and a summer kitchen with a green and cream-colored cook stove. Daddy was waiting for her, sitting at the dining room table, forever to share that big yellow house with her!

Recently, I’ve been sorting through Mom’s “pieces” – her writing, her notes, and her quips – and I came upon a little piece she had clipped out of a magazine one day, long ago. I’ve researched it. The words seem to be anonymous, yet they are my mother’s words:

“There’s a house whose rooms I know by heart

where I tended the garden and read my books.

Where dreams were dreamt and memories made.

Where children grew up and I grew old.

There’s a house where life was lived.

A house where I belong.”

IMG_2767

Mom had cut the page, probably from a magazine, personalized the piece by placing a photo of her “yellow house” over the house pictured in the article, and covered it with  a plastic protector.

I love the yellow house. I know its rooms by heart. I dreamed in the house and read my books there. But my children didn’t grow up there, nor did I grow old there.

 Someone, however, will again raise her children in that house, and that woman will grow old there. She will never “see” it, but a blessing of heritage will permeate its walls, the presence of the Holy Spirit will indwell its rooms and will touch the woman’s soul. Yes, someone will again live out her life there. And for her, it will be a house where she belongs.

Yellow House in the FallRead more in When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

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Memories renewed by a simple “Honk”

Walking through the house this morning, I heard a car “honk.” I didn’t know if it was on the TV or from a car going by. But it brought back some memories. Perhaps you can relate. 

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Dear Mother (in purple crayon)

IMG_2982I almost tossed it away – it looked so insignificant, written with a purple crayon, personalized with my favorite drawings: a tree on the front and a swing set on the back. But evidently it was not insignificant to her,

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It’s your heritage!

The gift has been offered.

It’s your heritage!

Have you received it yet?

Some of you have read about 1946 AZ June 23my heritage – the amazing heritage left by my parents, a godly man and a godly woman, who, together,  honored the Lord and prayed for their family – their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren . . .

Perhaps you didn’t have godly parents. You might feel left out.

Well, don’t!

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Favor of the Father – It’s Raining upon Me

As an English teacher, I’ve discovered that we all might have different understandings of a word or phrase. We approach that understanding from varied perspectives. “Righteousness” is one of those words,

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From a Whisper to a Roar

Today I came across a short journal entry I’d written one morning years ago:

“I slept well last night, which I so needed, as my body has been fighting an illness. I thought I would feel refreshed this morning but instead, I feel discouraged and depressed. Not because of the illness, I’m sure – although one thing does add to another-  but because of a different, ongoing situation very close to me that doesn’t seem to be getting better in spite of days, weeks, and months of prayer.”

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Really, Christmas is . . .

Christmas is for kids –

innocently believing in a Santa Claus. Believing that someone cares SO much that he wants to bring you a gift.

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Let’s Get Shopping!

Need gifts for co-workers? Employees? Friends? When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers and Shh! Listen to His Whispers! are the perfect gift for you to give this Christmas because . . .

They will most likely not be a duplicate to something he/she already has.

Each is the perfect size and price, and  . . .

they may very well be a life-changing.

These last few years have been challenging for all. Certainly within chapters relating to Truth, Grace, Faith, Mercy, Hope, Comfort, and  Promise, each person gifted with either of these books will discover life-changing applications and will draw closer to God. And, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Let me tell you a bit about these publications:

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I Dig Deep

 
Bad news is frightening. The enemy wants me to forget the Lord’s faithfulness to me in the past and His promises of faithfulness in the present and future. Bad news pierces a knife into my stomach. The enemy twists and turns the blade. I’m suddenly nauseous. Discouraged. The outlook is uncertain.  Depressing. Fears enter my tired, worn mind.
 

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If you ask anything . . .

This morning, as I most often do, with coffee beside me and Bible opened in front of me, I review my previous posts on social media, letting the Words of God speak to me again, as they had when I posted them. A post comes before my eyes from 2012, my most painful year. The Word speaks to my heart. Again. And again.
 
Here are bits of that post and present thoughts about it:
One November morning, 2012, I opened my Bible and read: “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” My response then was – “Jesus, the precious name of Jesus!” I’ve read those verses, those Words of Jesus, recorded in John 14 and 15, over and over again through the years, before 2012 and since. Today, as I read that very promise, spoken by the Lord Jesus, Himself in the Gospel of John, I praise His name. Not only is His name “precious,” but it is “powerful.” It is the name above all names! The name from which the enemy flees. I speak it often throughout the day – in whispers – or in prayer. He tells us He will do what we ask because it’s for the Father’s glory. He tells us He will do what we ask if the Father is glorified through it.
 
Our son called us last night – from his hospital room. After days – weeks – of suffering – he asked us to join him in agreement for a specific prayer request – all in the name of Jesus. He quoted God’s promises in John 14 and 15. He knows God will grant his prayer if it brings glory to God. The trust and faith of my sick son is strengthening my own! And that very act of faith, I have no doubt, is bringing God glory. God confirms His Word over and over. The Word of God is unchanging. It is alive and powerful. And our Savior Jesus lives – He is unchanging – the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
 
On that same bleak November 2012 morning, God used a friend who sent me a prayer from Daniel 9. I read it again today:
“17 Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your broken, (children). 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see these broken people that bear your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because this family bears your Name.”
 
“This family bears Your Name.”
Yes, we do.
 
We, our family, are still His people – as we were back in 2012, when my friend – and my God – comforted me with His Word.
 
Now, in this dreadfully disturbing present time, a distant cousin, writes, “Kathi, in my local Bible Study, I’ve just been studying the book of Daniel, and I encourage you. God answers that prayer of His servant, Daniel!”
 
God uses His Word – unchanging and alive. He uses my cousin, Julie, as a faith-strengthener, to confirm His Word. In it all, I recognize His favor – for me, my son, and for all whom He loves. I hope my writing encourages others in the same manner – of God’s promises, His love, and His favor upon us. (I am writing about favor, a post I will soon publish.)
 
Today, as I look back upon His faithfulness to me, I am so very thankful that the Word is in my mouth and in my heart (Romans 10:8).
coffee GIF