CORNFIELD IMAGINATION        

cropped-sta712971.jpg

Jennifer K. Lewis

Memory …the Diary “We All Carry About With Us.  Oscar Wilde

It was a hot, muggy day in August.  For four high-spirited kids, the heat of the day never pushed our brakes.  Excitedly, the Lewis crew scampered to the back-forty to discover whatever we could muster.

As usual, we had no clue what we were looking for, but it really didn’t matter ~ we would know when we stumbled-upon the finding.  The natural grounds of the unsoiled back-woods always provided abundant hunts and pacified active children’s quests.

We were joyfully skipping and frolicking along at the edge of the majestic cornfield.   Near the edge of the cornfield, a rambling creek twisted and winded its way through the woods.  This creek was so cool!  It narrowly began at the far west corner of our land and continued to widen as it rambled through nearly forty acres.  The widening creek joined forces with a much larger creek at the distant east corner of our acreage.

“You are A Child Of God … You Are Dearly Loved, and Precious In His Sight, Before God Made You … He Knew You.  There Is No One Else Like You.”          Psalm 139:16 

Image result for little girl playing by creekMy big sister, Colleen and I decided to go wading in the creek to cool off. Sliding down the eroded embankment, Colleen felt something sharp stick her in backside.  Then, low-and-behold, it almost jumped-out at us … we found what we thought was an arrowhead.   (arrowheads are mighty hard to come by – even when you are hunting them; nevertheless, we were lucky to unearth this bright, colorful arrowhead.  (usually, arrowheads are found in or near creeks because the Indians made their camps along these water sources.)  It even had the full point and was in pristine condition.

We knew our all-knowing Dad could confirm our mysterious find!                                               (Dad knew everything). Momma could identify it too!                                                                                         (they were actually pretty smart ~ for old people).

“In His Grace, God Has Given Us Different Gifts  For Doing Certain Things Well.”                                                                                                                 Romans 12:6-8

Brother Kerry was laughing as he darted in and out of the rows of cornImage result for boy with cornstalk.  It seemed the brothers were busy playing some silly game.

For some strange reason, the boys had targeted a specific cornstalk.  With persistent determination, they pulled and twisted it until it finally broke free as the deep roots had stretched into the solid ground.

Billy started waving the cornstalk around pretending it was a ‘flag.’  Bill held the long stalk high up in the air and kept waving it back-n-forth yelling, “flag”, “flag.”

(I couldn’t help but giggle at his way-out-there imagination!)  (Billy got excellent grades in school and all the rest of us Lewis kids could reason was that his bizarre imagination had been culminated as a result of some scientific or biological event, (or something like that.)  Billy always ‘challenged things’ and played on the extreme fringes.

We were just too hot.  Mom said she was making a Big pitcher of lemonade for us whenever we got back to the house.  Last night, Mom had helped Colleen and I make a double batch of old-fashioned oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies.

Visions of indulging in several thick nutty cookies along with a tall, glass of cold lemonade sure invited our appetites.   (after all, we had been playing really hard).

Kerry exclaimed, “last one back to the house is a rotten egg!”  So, we started running as fast as our little legs would go …

“I want to go back to believing in everything and knowing nothing.”    Dr. Seuss

Image result for smiley heart image

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer K. Lewis

  • Please Leave a Comment,
  • Will you Kindly ‘click’ the LIKE Button and/or FOLLOW Button.

“Thank You So much for allowing me to take your time.”                                                                            “May our Lord God Richly Bless Your Life!”

HOE DOWN ROAD

 

cropped-sta712971.jpgJennifer Kay Lewis

 

                         “A Child, More Than Anyone Else, Is A Spontaneous Observer Of Nature.”                                        Maria Montessori

Mom announced she was gonna do her normal cleaning and her kiddies wanted to ‘escape’ to the outdoors.   Plus, we were overwhelmed by the various unpleasant scents and smells of her specific cleaners; and we hated the noise of the vacuum cleaner as it somehow seemed to be invading our ‘space.’

Let’s see … what can we do now?  In little short, we jumped to action and catapulted outside and do some more ‘investigating.’   (surely, there was some thrilling adventure 

waiting out there just for us … we had always found a trail needing exploration until the seemingly simple world of Mom or Dad might summon us back to reality!)

We had just ‘rescued’ a little, runt piglet that had been rejected by the mamma sow.  Our adopted little pig needed a proper name.  After brief consideration, we chose a name for our rescued pig and decided the name ‘Barney’ seemed fitting for him.)

Image result for cat, dog, pig image

We asked our Dad for a little help in materials so we could fashion a small fenced-in pen for our newfound rescued pet.  By now, we had our Dad well-broken in so he might provide us with whatever resources we would need, (provided he knew we couldn’t hurt ourselves nor do any real damage with whatever he chose to give us.)

As kids might reckon, it wasn’t fair to make Barney be caged-up in his new pen without another animal to keep him entertained.  Therefore, we assigned a friend for Barney.  Our terrier dog, Jack would answer that call.  (poor ol Jack, he sure got run through the mill.  We dressed him in Lots of costumes, made him ride our horse strapped in the saddle, fed our dirt pies to him, and now he was in a pen with a pig!)  The two of them would be great friends and we most likely, had visions of them riding off merrily into the sunset together.  Who knows what kids think?

But, then we abruptly remembered we needed some supplies.  We better get to town before the stores close.  (at least, for now, we had ‘introduced’ Jack to Barney and all seemed agreeable there.)

Without Image result for boy with tools imagemuch preparation, brother Bill grabbed the hoe and commenced forming a primitive road so we could make a jaunt into  our local store to get more provisions.  (in real life ~ he was Billy, in ‘our’ make-believe  world, he was Don.) Image result for boy playing in sandbox Billy, (I mean Don) usually got the construction jobs.  He was eager to build this avenue!

Youngest brother, Kerry Mark gleefully became Tom, the twin brother of Don.   Tom was in charge of operations; he managed the vehicle fleet and monitored the daily reserves and helped us coordinate our job activities.  Tom held a very responsible position and he kept our equipment in fantastic condition.

For these adventures, I became Martha Jane.  While Don and Tom were busy with their respective ‘assignments,’ my job as Martha Jane was to help wash and vacuum the truck  and prepare foodstuffs and drinks to bring-along for the lengthy journey to town and the long trip back to the farm.                                                                                                                                         Image result for here's to all the girls who grew up image

My older sister, Colleen, was off doing her own ‘thing’ enjoying close-up views of the natural countryside by horseback.  Colleen had gone riding earlier with her friend, Sheila; she was an extraordinary ‘gifted’ horse-lover and horse-trainer.  They often rode together in our rural areas.  Unlike my talented and fearless, equestrian sister, I adored the make-believe characters that came to life in the dirt; or, I could be found tucked-away in the back bedroom making sweet music on my beautiful antique upright piano.

Uh oh … suddenly we heard the clamor of Barney and Jack.  Don/Billy abruptly stopped construction on our road and Tom/Kerry and I dropped our imagined duties and scurried behind Billy.

Sorry, I have got to go  for now.  Be back tomorrow.  Ya’ll come back now, y a hear!?   Image result for quotes about a child's imagination

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer K. Lewis

  • Please Leave a Comment,
  • Will you Kindly ‘click’ the LIKE Button and/or FOLLOW Button.

“Thank You So much for allowing me to take your time.”                                                                                                           May our Lord God Richly Bless Your Life!

My Heritage

cropped-sta712971.jpg

Jennifer Kay Lewis

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in one’s youth.
  Psalm 127:3-5

My Father came from a family of twelve active and busy children; and Mom was reared under gentle, yet firm-hands guiding eleven inquisitive kids!   (Daddy always jokes they had 2-umpires, nine-baseball players, (all boys) and 3-cheer-leaders.)

Grandpa Lewis and his nine boys performed their daily chores and labored every day into evening on their large dairy cattle farm.  Besides their massive herd of cattle, they raised many pigs, sheep, chickens, and maintained an abundant and fruitful garden.

My Grandpa Lewis left this earth before I was born.  Stories I have heard of my  G’ pa Lewis was that he was a very hard-worker, devoted to providing for his wife and twelve kids, and a very passionate man.

PicA 001

However, I clearly remember spending many fun-filled days and over-night stays with my Grandma, Mary Jane.  Grandma valued church and sought to instill those Christian morals in her thirty-six grandchildren.  She used to walk around in her home humming and singing the old-fashioned hymns that are beloved by so many.

Dad’s mom ‘welcomed’ many folks to her table to share her mouth-watering home-cooking.  (back then, men that were transient workers offered their skills to make ‘repairs’ or finish some small ‘fix-it’ jobs.)  Most likely, these men would inquire of the locals as to “where they might get a good meal?”  Well, Grandma’s warm hospitality would answer their hungry call!

As for Mom, her Dad, my Grandpa Harry always put-out the largest garden that I have seen to this day.   (remember, Grandpa and Grandma had eleven kids to feed.)  

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  Isaiah 40:8

I recall that as soon as the onions were picked, Grandpa was replanting that area with some kind of brilliant annual flowers.   The once empty rows or ‘hills’ were replanted with some colorful annual flower.  Thus, G’ pa’s signature gardens always remained a dazzling montage of vibrant hues well into the fall.

(I remember once when I was a teenager, I asked my Grandma, “why did you have so many children?”  Her blushed, red-face, sheepish reply was, “well, Harry couldn’t help it!”   Just from the extreme RED of her face, I figured that I best not ask any further curious questions.)

Mom’s parents, became my Mom and Dad’s built-in baby-sitters.  Mom worked as an RN in pediatric nursing helping to deliver babies.  (since Mom’s mother, Virginia had raised her own eleven, I figure it was pretty-much a ‘no-brainer’ that Grandma could care for us four until Mom’s shift would mature.)

May I share this indelible, memory of my Grandpa Harry?  When one of us kids got into something, or did something ‘unapproved,’ we found ourselves beholding to G ’pa.

He used a bit of psychology in having the ‘culprit’ kid climb up one of his willows or maple trees to get a specific branch he spotted  so he could ‘whittle’ the branch into the shape of a ‘whip.’  Then, he could  inflict  his corporal punishment.   (Grandpa Harry was often seen sitting on his front-porch whittling the time away.)   (it must have been some sort of quiet therapy?!)

Anyway, we followed his grim command and came back to him meekly crying.  (just getting that branch was ALL the ‘punishment’ we needed!)  He never had to touch us – just the idea was torment enough!  Grandpa only held an eight-grade diploma.  But his wisdom was well-beyond any college degree.

And as Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

Growing In Christ,

Jen

PORTRAIT OF A FARMER

cropped-sta712971.jpg

Jennifer Kay Lewis

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.       Galatians 6:9

Proudly, I was raised on a hustle and bustle working farm sprawling a couple-hundred acres.  We had ten ponds on our farm and a wandering creek divided our land almost in half.  We were passed the life my parents had so well-known as they both had grown-up living similar traditions.  My parents and their parents embraced values of planting and harvesting crops and cultivating huge varieties of garden foods.  As four little Lewis kids, we were fortunate to learn valuable lessons from Mom and Dad and both sets of Grandparents.

As many of you who read this will also testify, the farm-life manages to keep you busy from before the sunrises until well-after sunset!  Our farm would easily be akin to those descriptive images.   Oh sure ~ there are plenty of fun-filled times to treasure as we compiled memories of yesteryear days.  If there weren’t any planned activities, when you put four inquisitive, inventive growing brains together in children, creative adventures are bound to be discovered.

Two little girls and two younger boys seemed to have no boundaries.  Our parents kept us heaped in what seemed endless ‘fix-it’ projects, and repair tasks.  But, as our ages dictated, they also spoiled us rotten with colorful bikes, all-terrain motorcycles and well-trained quarter horses, so we could easily traverse and crisscross our many acres.

scan0001

Children are a gift from the Lordthey are a reward from him.  Psalm 127:3

“Thank goodness for binoculars.”  Mom and Dad could stand on our Victorian front-porch and scout the land to, hopefully, spot their kids.    Think of turning loose four rambunctious young kids over two-hundred acres of investigative beckoning, land, it’s hard-telling where your youngsters may have landed.  Furthermore, it’s common knowledge that when things get ‘quiet’ you better find-out where your kids are and what they may be up to.

Often, our Mom would go to town to buy groceries and other staples we needed.  Typically, Mom would forego her own needs, and selflessly purchase for her children.  She liked to surprise us with a spiffy new outfit or the newest in shoes.  One of her inquisitive little kids would often ask of Mom “where did you get this?’  Mom’s witty and funny answer would always be, “at the ‘gettin place.”

And, as the warming sun rays and the spring rains permitted, Daddy would plant the corn and beans and walk through lengthy fields as he sowed oats.    Our father toiled long, hard days well into evening clearing the land of rocks that seemed to just keep multiplying and growing and out of thin-air.  Arduously, Dad methodically planted and as the unpredictable weather dictated, maybe Dad had to replant crops.  ALL FOR HIS WIFE AND FOUR CHILDREN!!

All summer, our superman, and hero Dad would walk down the rows cutting-down weeds and clearing paths for his combine to straddle the rows for harvest in fall.   (his only request was a Pepsi now and then.)  Then, we all Prayed to be blessed with bountiful harvest

The coziness of winter would creep-in with a kind of ragged sigh of relief.   We girls liked to create to artfully designed snow-angels and the boys would build the most elaborate snow-forts in the fresh white blankets.  On days we were stuck inside, we frequently played monopoly or put 1000-piece puzzles together, after shoveling snow from our long driveway.  (those Big complex puzzles were our Dad’s brilliant idea to keep us busy!  He picked the hardest ones for us to assemble.  Thanks a lot ~ Dad!)

In search of the ‘perfect’ Christmas tree, our vast woods would surely offer just the right sacrifice.   Then, before we knew it, here came spring again.  With God at the helm, we got to start all over again.  Ours was a unique and treasured life.  Indeed, the life, fun, and work of a Farmer is never-ending, but it is also a rich inheritance.  I cherish those days and the tender memories we all made together growing and investing in our beautiful farm!

Oh; but if I could turn back time …               

 … then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.                                                                                                                                                          Leviticus 26:4

Growing In Christ,

Jen

 

LEGACY

cropped-sta712971.jpg

by Jennifer Kay Lewis

LEGACY

“He cuts-off every branch in me that bears no fruit, While he prunes every Branch That Does Bear Fruit So That Will Become even more Fruitful.”          John  15:2

What Legacy do you want to leave?  Once in a while in the course of our ‘normal’ busy lives, we need to STOP to consider what we stand for and what we are giving back to society.   Today, I am taking time to reflect on the meaning of my life and I am asking you to Please do the same.

Several years ago, I found myself surrounded by confused, apprehensive, yet smiling little faces.  I had chosen to pursue the ever-changing world of Foster parenting.    At first, I thought this venture would be like a sort of hand-up and a help to the many children I came to adore.  However, the blessings I first thought would be theirs to cherish became mine to hold and keep forever!

Jesus reminds us in John 12-13: “Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no One than this, that he lay down his life for his Friends.”

Usually, when a person reflects on these words, one might conjure-up some image of a warrior gallantly fighting in some horrific battle-zone, or hearing about some average, run-of-the-mill Joe rushing-in to save another person’s life just in the nick-of-time.  Those were the stereotypical thoughts that first came to my mind, until I had the pleasure of hosting my thirty-one Foster children.

As my aging father, has recently reminded me, “Jen, in the end, it’s what you give away that truly matters.”

Deep in reflective thought, I analyzed Daddy’s meaningful words.  I also allowed my memory antennae to wander back to those exhilarating, happy days we shared in Foster care.  In doing so, I quickly surmised that it is no wonder why the memories of those eventful years provided so much warmth and even tears of joy to this day!  It is also an important part of Jesus’s command to “love each other as I have loved you” ~ I had done just that in giving unconditional love and supportive nurturing to those precious, children.

If your ‘passion’ is working with our youth, you may be well-gratified working within your church.  Do you enjoy assisting another person?   You might think about a rewarding unpaid assistant position with your local hospital.   Maybe you would rather offer your specific skills to a growing business.

Again, it’s all about Giving!  (it’s kind of like a boom-a-rang ~ good things just seem to keep coming back your way when you forego self and think of another.)    When we find our niche ~ we find ourselves and live for others.

      “Let me be Satisfied with your Favor and filled with your Blessing.”                                                                                          Deuteronomy 33:23

       “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”                                                                                                                     Romans 12:10

What are your values?  What are you teaching your Children? How you live each day will determine what you really want remembered about your days on this earth. Is your Legacy worth dying for?

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer