Monday, June 30, 2014

What Stories Have You Read that Make You Want to Write?

June 30, 1965

Jocie Brooke reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky on the last day of June. I hate June to end so soon. That means just one more full month before school starts again. Ugh! But Dad says I shouldn't be looking ahead, but enjoying each day that the Lord gives me. The present is like a gift. You know, present - gift. Anyway, each day is a gift to open. And one of the best things about summer is getting to read!!! I love books, don't you?

Not long ago, I read The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. I think I told you that a couple of weeks ago. Have you read it? It's a story about two dogs and a cat and it's a movie too. Walt Disney made it into a movie about a year ago. They might have shown it on television on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, but we're always at church during that time. We might get to watch the show when it snows in the winter and they call off night church, but that's the only time. Of course, it won't be in color. We don't have a color television set. 

Besides, church is more important than television. But I wish that show was on Monday nights. That's okay though. I can read the books. And I loved The Incredible Journey. In fact, I liked it so much that it's made me want to write a story like it. A dog and a cat on an incredible journey. Where could they be going and why? It won't be like the story in the book. It will be my very own story. 

If you were writing a story about a dog and cat, what would you name them? Cat and Zeb? Zeb is a great dog, but I don't think I'm going to let him be in my story. This will have to be a different type of dog than Zeb. And Cat, well if I had Cat in my story, everything would go haywire. That might not be so bad. Things need to go haywire in a story. If nothing happens, nobody would want to read it. But my story cat will have to have a name better than Cat. Yeah, I know Cat has another name. Redspot. But Cat is so independent that he just seems to want to be called Cat. Like he's the only one of his kind in the world. 

He was on Zella's desk when I got to the office last week. She wasn't even chasing him off. She pretended not to know he was there. You know what? I think Zella likes him. But one thing sure, she won't like the cat I write into my story. He's going to be one interesting cat. But wonder what I'll name him.

Did you read The Incredible Journey or see the movie when it came out in 1963? Do you remember the cat's and dogs' names? I loved Bodger and Luath. Then there was Tao. My names will be more like something you'd hear here in Hollyhill. But then those names might be something you'd hear in Canada. The author based the animals on pets she'd had there. 

I love books and stories, don't you? What's one of your favorite stories?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Daisy Weather

June 23, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. It's summer and it's hot! This morning Aunt Love called it daisy weather. Now if you know Aunt Love, that probably surprises you. She isn't the type you would ever bring a bunch of daisies to from the field. If I did, she'd just tell me to make sure I checked for ticks after running around out there in the weeds. But then she up and says it's daisy weather. 

My Mama Mae would have loved me picking daisies for her and Miss Sally goes and puts them right in a vase like I just brought them from the flower shop when I bring her in some from the field. But when I think about it, I wonder if I ever picked any daisies for Aunt Love. Or any flowers. 

Aunt Love and I have a prickly relationship. She puts up with me and I put up with her. We love each other. We have to. We're family, but she's never liked me much. She's always quoting Scripture at me to try to make me act the way she thinks a preacher's daughter should act. She must have half the Bible memorized. For sure, she'd be able to quote that one about how the Lord takes care of the flowers of the field and dresses them in beauty. 

Then there are her rosebushes. Dad says she has a green thumb when it comes to roses. Sometimes she cuts a rose or two to give to somebody at church or when Dad is going to visit the sick. And she puts one on the table in the living room now and again, but she says she likes them best growing on the bush brightening up the outdoors. So could be I'm wrong about her and flowers. Maybe it isn't weird at all for her to say something about daisy weather.    

So what is daisy weather? Hot. That's what. It's ninety degrees in the shade today. Hot! Wading in the creek or dumping a bucket of water on your head kind of day. Wilt the sunflowers in the garden kind of day. Zeb digging a dog hole under the lilac bush kind of day. He's figured out if he wants to keep living around here, he better stay out of Aunt Love's rose beds. Riding with Wes on his motorcycle to keep the wind blowing kind of day. 

Dad says it's too early to be this hot, but summer showed up on the calendar a few days ago. We had the longest day of the year. This day's only a few minutes shorter and the sun's going down. Maybe, just maybe I'll go pick a few daisies. A person ought to have daisies in a vase on the table if it's daisy weather. Aunt Love might even think so.

What do you think makes it daisy weather? 

You can read more about Aunt Love and me in the Heart of Hollyhill books. Scent of Lilacs is still a free download, whatever that means. Something from the future I guess. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Widow's Oil - A Miracle of Faith

June 17, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. I love summer, don't you? No school. Time to read. No school. Wading in the creek. No school. Picking raspberries. No school! 

We did just have Bible school, but that's a fun school time. I love Bible school. Dad followed up the idea of learning about the Bible Sunday in his sermon when he asked everybody to think about their favorite Bible story. I think it's impossible to pick just one. You have to think about all the stories about Jesus - him calming the storm and walking on water and feeding the thousands of hungry people and helping the disciples catch nets full of fish, to name a few. Then there are the disciples with the flames of fire over their heads when the spirit came down on them. We don't do any shouting in our church. Folks at Mt. Pleasant think reverent means quiet, but I bet there was some shouting going on when the disciples had that spirit filled meeting. Then they all went out and started talking in other languages. 

But Dad wanted us to think about some of the Old Testament stories. Still, there are so many. I like Gideon and the best friends story of David and Jonathan. David has story on story that could be favorites. Oh, and there's Daniel and lions' den and his friends in the fiery furnace. So many stories I could write about them all day. 

But I pulled out one that might not be the usual VBS story about the Widow and the jar of oil. You see her husband died and she had two boys and no money. She told Elisha her creditors were going to take her sons in payment of her debt and she was distraught. Elisha asked her what she had. That wasn't much. Just one pot of oil. But Elisha, a man of God, knew that if she had faith the Lord would be faithful to help her. He told her to go out and borrow every jar and pot she could and then to go into her house and close all the shades and blinds and start filling those jars from her little pot of oil. So she did and the oil didn't stop pouring out of that pot until the last jar she'd borrowed was full. Then Elisha told her to sell the oil and pay off the people she owed and live on the rest. 

I don't know why I like that story so much. Maybe because it was God using what she had. Maybe because she only got blessed in the amount of her faith when she went out and borrowed those jars. What if she'd only borrowed one jar? What if she'd thought that was too crazy to try? Or maybe it's because the sons were there in the story helping her too, witnessing that miracle of faith. Maybe because it has a happy ending. If you want to read the story yourself look up 2 Kings 4:1-7.

Dad says the Bible has a happy ending for us because Jesus made it that way. 

What's your favorite Old Testament story?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The B-I-B-L-E, Yes, That's the Book for Me

June 7, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Whew! What a week! This was my first year being a Bible School helper instead of a kid. I helped Mrs. Haskins with the Beginner class. We had twelve kids, ages three to five. Let me tell you. There is a lot of difference between a three year old and a five year old. But they were all cute as anything. 

I did go home on Tuesday after we did that handprint project with paint pretty much everywhere. Aunt Love almost had a stroke. But I had on old clothes and paint washes out of your hair after a while. I made my hand print too. I don't have a mama to give it to, but it was still fun making it. I thought about hanging it on the fridge, but decided I'm too old to hang my Bible School art on the refrigerator. But I think most of our little Beginner kids will be seeing their handprints hung up on their refrigerators or maybe even put in a frame. I put mine in my keepsake box so that someday if I get to be a mama, I can show it to my daughter and we can compare hands.

Back to everything last week. Bible school had some pretty wild moments like the one on Wednesday. We were in the church singing songs at the end of the time. You know, songs the little kids know, like "Jesus Loves Me" and "The B-I-B-L-E" and that one about being in God's Army. The kids love that one where they get to march and pretend to ride in the cavalry and even zoom like an airplane. Anyway, we were over in the pews singing along when Miss Janie lets out a shriek and hits the wrong chord on the piano. A mouse ran out of the piano across her foot and then past Mrs. Hearndon who was up front leading our songs. Mrs. Haskins who hadn't been a bit afraid of being in a room full of preschoolers, let out a screech and climbed up on the pew. All the kids must have decided it was part of the song because they climbed up there with her. Behind our pew, the other kids didn't know what was going on, but then somebody shouted, "Mouse." It wasn't me. Honest. 

A couple more girls decided to scream and test out the strength of the old pews. Three of the bigger boys wanted to show how brave they were and came out of the pews mouse hunting. Thank goodness, the mouse picked that moment to disappear through this little hole at the floorboard. Things calmed down then and Mrs. Haskins climbed down from the pew and straightened her skirts with as much grace as she could muster. Mrs. Hearndon decided it would be a good time to sing "If You're Happy and You know It." I think she hoped that stomping would keep the mouse from making a return visit.

Bible School is fun. I love singing those songs with the kids. What's your favorite Bible School song?  


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Macaroni Collages and Soup Can Pencil Holders at VBS

June 3, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Holly County. School was out last Friday and then the folks at church say we have to have Vacation Bible School right away. No time off. They must think all us kids will forget how to sit still or maybe be able to use our brains for learning if we have a few days without somebody teaching us something.

I'm not really complaining. I love Bible School. I've loved Bible School since I can remember and I know I went even when I could barely talk. Before she died, Mama Mae took me every year. She loved teaching Bible School. Not DeeDee, that's my mother. Since she took off when I was five, I don't remember much about DeeDee and Bible School, but I don't have to remember much to know she wouldn't have been one of the women giving up a week or two of her time to teach kids Bible verses or get glue and paint all over her making macaroni collages and pencil holders out of soup cans. 

But I'm real happy that plenty of women in the church do just that. Doesn't matter how many beans are ready in their gardens or if the strawberry patch is ripe for picking. Or anything else like sewing or cleaning. No, indeed. They put all that on the back burner and head out to Bible School to make learning about Jesus and the Bible fun. 

I'm too old to be one of the kids learning in Bible School now. Gosh I'm already fourteen, so this year I'll be helping with the Beginners. I already help with them in Sunday school. It so much fun teaching them to sing "Deep and Wide" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children." Bible School will be even more fun. Mrs. Haskins is the main teacher. She says she's going to let the kids make hand prints. 

Oh boy, we'll have paint all over everything, but that's okay. We'll have fun. And we'll have cookies and lemonade and maybe ice cream on Friday. We'll get to play Duck, Duck, Goose and frozen tag. We'll get to sing and hear Bible stories. I love hearing those stories over and over. I especially like the one about David and Goliath. And then there's the little boy who shared his lunch. And Jesus walking on the water. I could go on and on. But I better save some for Bible School. 

Have you ever been a Bible School teacher? Or maybe remember going to Bible School? What was your favorite part?