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Life with Aunt Bubba

Faith, Friendship and Photos Along the Way

Single on Valentine’s Day?

I took the day off today.

It was amazing.

I slept in a little.

Went for a hike.

Had an amazing lunch.

Got my oil changed (that doesn’t really count towards the amazing part of the day, but it was needed).

On my way home from the oil change, I stopped at the store to pick up a few things. While checking out, I overheard a customer having a conversation with an employee.

He asked if the strawberries she was buying were for someone special.

They were.

He proceeded to tell this young lady that he was single and how much he loathed Valentine’s Day. He even said he was going to stay off Facebook for a few days because he didn’t want to see all the “sappy love stuff.”

Most single people feel this way on Valentine’s Day, right?

I thought to myself, there are so many reasons NOT to feel this way on Valentine’s Day, so I went to the dating “experts” on eHarmony to see what they had to say about being single on Valentine’s Day:

10 Reasons to Be Happy You Are Single on Valentine’s Day

1. There no Valentine’s Day awkwardness or pressure. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you should buy him a gift, bring her white roses or red, or what the other person’s expectations for the day are. There’s no pressure to take a young relationship to the next level too soon, nor is there an expectation to reignite a long-lost spark.

2. You have a great excuse to hang out with your single friends. Whether you’re gushing over Valentine’s-appropriate chick flicks together or rebelling with horror films and Chinese takeout, Valentine’s Day can be a great day of bonding. If you’re disappointed to miss out on a candlelit meal, host a semi-formal dinner party that celebrates friendship and singleness. (Being single doesn’t mean you have to go without champagne, either.)

3. Make the day all about you and the things you love. You hate roses but love daisies — so buy yourself some. Stay in and indulge in the guilty pleasures you don’t get enough of: favorite foods, a trashy television show, a bubble bath or a new book. Pamper yourself, guilt-free.

4. You’re going to save money. Valentine’s Day, with its romantic dinners, flowers, gifts and (occasionally) sexy lingerie, can get pricey. Instead, count your financial blessings and buy those chocolates half price on the 15th.

5. You can spend it with your Hollywood crush. Who needs a boyfriend when you’ve got a Leo DiCaprio movie marathon lined up? (Invite friends over who share the same crush and swoon together.)

6. You can roll your eyes at other couples. They won’t even notice.

7. You can escape the fake holiday’s commercialism without disappointing your partner. It’s easy to shrug Valentine’s Day off as a Hallmark-created one — until there’s someone in your life who’s not-so-secretly hoping you’ve made a reservation at the most romantic spot in town.

8. You can celebrate where you’re at right now. You’re not in a bad relationship. The future is open to endless beautiful possibilities. Choose hope, rather than self-pity.

9. You can eat those chocolates in sweatpants, a way more comfortable option than doing so in a cocktail dress.

10. You won’t get dumped on Valentine’s Day.

These are so true!

I want to take a moment to remind that you are not alone on this holiday (or any holiday for that matter).

There is someone who will ALWAYS be there for you and love you – GOD. You guessed it!

Unlike the dating world, your Heavenly Father will accept you for who you are right off the bat! He will always swipe right! He doesn’t care if you’re still hanging on to that Christmas weight, have a grey hair or two or maybe even have no hair!

He will love you unconditionally, even if you leave the toilet seat up or don’t rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

God easily forgives for the sins you’ve committed. Some boyfriends and girlfriends always bring up the past – nagging you ALL THE TIME!  Get over it already, people!

God knows how valuable you are to Him. Do you feel valued by your significant other? If you don’t, maybe it’s time to severe those ties. God sacrificed His life for you. Not many people will do that.

Friends — as we come to a close on another Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage you to think about the valentine you will always have and the love that valentine will always give you. Doesn’t that bring so many warm fuzzies to your heart?

If you need a friend to talk to about that, I’m here for you!

Aunt Bubba

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Something is missing.

Have you ever had a feeling that something was missing from your life but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it?

“Been there.”

“Done that.”

“Can write the book on that, Bubba.”

Me too. It was about five years ago. When I looked at my life, there didn’t seem to be anything obvious missing:

Good job? 

Great kid? 

Food and shelter? 

Boyfriend? 

What is it?

I had an “ah-ha” moment after a conversation with a friend one day.

For years I felt like she was “hassling” me or pushing religion on me which forced me to withdraw a little bit. Even though I grew up attending church with the grandparents occasionally, I didn’t consider myself to be a Christ follower and it made me really uncomfortable when people wanted to talk about God.

My friend talked to me about all the wonderful things God promises and provides that other people couldn’t follow through with:

  • Peace
  • Protection
  • Comfort
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Healing
  • Wisdom
  • Wealth
  • Empowerment
  • Love

“Yeah, right!” I said. “I have been let down by every man in my life. Why would God be any different?”

Nonetheless, I took it upon myself to start going back to church and even enrolled in a small group class. Part of my did so this friend would maybe back off a little bit, but I was also thirty for knowledge and hopeful I could find some answers or maybe even….GULP….hear from God directly.

He didn’t fail me. One night towards the end of our semester of classes, I was driving home when I was overcome with emotion.  I heard a little voice say to, “it’s time to accept me as your Lord and Savior.”

I got that feeling in my stomach you get when you see someone you love deeply after a period of time apart. I was also listening to a song called One Thing Remains by Jeff Johnson.

Here are some of my favorite lines from the song:

“Your love never fails, it never gives up
it never runs out on me
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
‘Cause this one thing remains

In death, in life, I’m confident and
Covered by the power of your great love
I know my debt is paid,
there’s nothing that can
Separate my heart from your great love

God I know your love is never ending
Your love is never failing.”

After listening to this song I knew that I was forgiven of my sins and that no matter what happened to me, God would always be there for me. He would be able to provide everything that was missing from my life. He also helped me see the things that needed to change in order to live a life that honored Him.

“I don’t believe in God or his ability to do all the things you say He can do.”

I hear this a lot, or get looks from people who don’t understand me or the things I believe in and say when I talk about God.

It’s okay to be a skeptic.

It’s okay not to believe.

Some people need to SEE God working in order to believe.

This is where Christians step up everyday to be the face of Jesus.

It could be something as simple as holding open a door for someone, assisting an elderly person at the grocery store, offering prayer when someone needs comfort, or simply just letting you know “I’m here if you need me.”

Here’s my challenge to you

  • If God isn’t currently in your life, take some time to get to know Him. Maybe you’re not ready to go to church. That’s ok! Have a conversation with God. Let Him know that you’re not ready to fully dive in feet first with Him. He is the most patient being and will be there waiting when you’re ready.
  • If you’re already a Christ follower, you’re being challenged, too!  Invite a friend to a church service with you! They might say no, but they might also think about that invitation for a while afterwards.

Best of luck, friends!

Aunt Bubba

 

Darn you, Billy Graham! You’re right though.

Billy Graham made me feel a little convicted this morning.
In his book, Hope for Each Day, he said, “Time yourself the next time you read the Bible and pray. Compare yourself to the amount of time you spend watching TV or scrolling the Internet (more like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for me).
Is God getting His share of your time and attention? Is the world shaping your mind – or is Christ?”
“WOW!” I said this out loud to myself as I was reading. “You’re so right, Billy! Way to get me thinking this morning!”
Romans 12:2 says:
Romans.jpg
Before I start to feel TOO convicted, I want to give myself a little pat on the back here. Every morning, I get up early enough to spend time reading my devotionals and journaling. I say devotionals because I have three of them I read every day and sometimes I check out a couple of others (I hope I’m making you proud Grandma Libby). Some may see me as an overachiever, but I always try to find something that sticks out so I can take it a step further and journal about it. Doesn’t always happen, but that’s my goal every morning.
What Billy said this morning got my attention though.
Do I need to spend more time in the Word?
Do YOU?
One of the best things about Christianity and a relationship with God is that it’s personalized for each person. Only YOU and God know what’s best.
Are you new to Christianity? Perhaps you haven’t quite figured out how involved with God you want to be. That’s okay! My advice to you is to be aware, like Billy said, of how much time you’re spending on the “worldly” things vs. the Godly things.
Sometimes it may be necessary to separate yourself from family or friends in order to have one-on-one time with your Heavenly Father. This doesn’t have to be in the form of reading the Bible or a devotional, IMO. There are MANY different ways to connect to God. You just have to find the one that works best for you.
What’s taking your time and attention away from God?
Aunt Bubba

Don’t let anyone steal your joy.

“This is something no one can take away from you.”

That’s what my former boss said to me 15 years ago when he encouraged me to go back to college and finish my degree. Like most of my classmates, I started my “normal” college career the fall after we graduated from high school. Then, life happened. I slacked off, I transferred schools, I worked instead of studying, I had a baby…you get it. After 13 years, I finally finished! It was the biggest gift I gave myself. It took courage, strength and dedication. The sense of accomplishment and JOY I felt was amazing.

The older I get and the more my wants and needs change, I’ve discovered there is something else people can’t take away from you — JOY!

In today’s world, it’s extremely hard to focus on joy when there is so much crime, hatred, hurt and destruction.

What is something that bring you joy? I’ll wait while you stop and think about it. Go ahead and write them down, too!

For me it’s:

  1. The Friday’s when my daughter comes back from her dad’s house.
  2. Reading scripture and listening to worship music.
  3. Talking to family and friends.
  4. Taking care of my neighbors.
  5. Serving at church.
  6. Playing with puppies.
  7. My mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup.

I could keep going on and on.

While reading today’s devotional, I came across John 16:22 that talks about joy. In this passage, Jesus, in a roundabout way, tells the disciples that He’s leaving them (before they knew He was going to be crucified) but He will return. While the disciples will be sad He’s gone, they will be overcome with JOY upon His return.

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He compares this to “a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.” – John 16:21.

Friends — what I’m trying to say is the power of the Holy Spirit consumes me and fills me with joy. I could be depressed about all the not so fun things in the world, my singleness, etc., but I’m not. When I spend time focusing on God, there’s is a sense of joy and a sense of peace I feel when I focus my attention on Him.

If you’re facing difficulty in your life right now,  I encourage you to turn to God to help you find JOY. If there is anything I can do to help you along your journey, let me know.

Aunt Bubba

P.S. I made the image with the scripture above, so if you want a copy of it, shoot me an email at dearauntbubba@gmail.com and I’ll send you a JPG.

 

 

11 Ways to Connect to God in 2018

It’s a new year, which means a new start; new beginnings; a blank canvas. 15895303_678922035618239_6494626024825596425_n

“I don’t know, Aunt Bubba. Last year was a pretty crappy year and I don’t see 2018 being much better.”

The most important thing to remember about last year…it was last year. You can’t do anything about what happened, but what you can do is take the necessary steps to make 2018 better.

Let’s start by looking at a few things:

You have a good job. 

You’re healthy. 

You have a roof over your head and food on the table. 

Even after covering the basics…do you STILL feel like something is missing from your life?

Just over five years ago, I found myself in a not so happy place spiritually and emotionally. I felt like something was missing but couldn’t put my finger on it. One day, after a conversation with a coworker of mine, I finally figured out what I was missing — a relationship with God.

“Great…you’re talking about God again. That’s NOT what I need to hear right now, Aunt Bubba.”

I know what you’re thinking…I’m going to try to FORCE YOU to have a relationship with God, to start going to church, to start — praying.

WRONG!

These aren’t things I can force you to do. I understand that not everyone believes in the same things I believe in. A relationship with God isn’t for everyone.

What I will ask you to do is this — be open-minded to something new.

For me, talking about God made me extremely uncomfortable. I think part of me felt ashamed and undeserving of forgiveness while the other part had a lot to learn about God and the Bible.

Now that I’m several years into a relationship with God, I have this sense of peace I get when I turn to Him. I trust Him enough now to know he has prosperous plans for me. He has these same plans for you if you decide you’re ready to have a relationship with Him.

If you’ve thought about ways to get connected to God this year, here are a few thing you can do:

1. Read the Bible your grandma gave you when you were in the 3rd grade. It’s more than likely the King James Version, so if it doesn’t speak to you, there are more translations of the Bible that are easier to read and understand. My personal favorites are New Living Translation and New International Version.

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2. Take a walk outside (just maybe not today since the wind chill is -24 degrees). Connecting to God with nature is a unique way to say “thank you” for everything He has blessed us with.

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3. Go to church. There are so many different types of churches out there – some with bands, some with Hymnals. Go find one that works for you and get involved. Some even have services on Saturday nights to you don’t have to get up early on a Sunday morning. No excuses!

4. Practice the Sabbath. Take a day of rest. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on a Sunday, but I encourage you to take a day off from doing chores, working, etc. Relax. Spend some time alone with God if you can (maybe this is a day you can take a walk).

5. Slow down and learn to say no more. Are you guilty of saying yes to anyone who asks for help? You’re a good person, but you need to learn to say no occasionally. It’s OK to say no. You need to focus on you. If your friend doesn’t understand that, find a new friend.

6. Meditate or practice solitude. This doesn’t work for everyone, but taking time in a quiet place is a nice way to connect to God. If you fall asleep, that’s ok, too! Just think of it as God telling you to rest!

7. Focus on gratitude. I know lots of people who have a gratitude journal. Nothing fancy, just a notebook where every day they write down what their grateful for (today I’m grateful for heat and hot coffee. Did I mention the wind chill here?).

8. Honor your body. In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, it tells us to avoid sexual sin and treat your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. This also includes overindulgence in food. Thanksgiving and Christmas is over, friends. It’s time to get back on the wagon with proper diet and exercise. Cake doesn’t count, even thought it has milk and eggs in it.

9. Don’t want to read the Bible? Try a daily devotional. My favorite is anything from Sarah Young, specifically Jesus Calling and Jesus Always. Every morning, I read these two devotionals to jump-start my day. If there’s a piece of scripture or something she says that jumps out at me, I write it down in a journal.

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10. Pray by yourself or with someone. This is one of the hardest things to do, in my opinion. When I first started praying, I wasn’t sure what to say. I even felt silly at times. The great thing about praying to God…He could care less what you say to him when you pray or how to present your prayers. If you want some help, follow ACTS.

Found on Finding Hope’s Pinterest Page (https://www.pinterest.com/FindingHopeKS)

11. Listen to some Christian music. One of the main ways I feel connected to God is through music. K-LOVE is one of my favorite radio stations to have on in the car. I also have SiriusXM satellite radio. The Message is the channel I like to listen to. Some of my favorite Christian artists are Mandisa, Matthew West, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Laura Story, Kari Jobe, Francesca Battistelli, Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin…want me to keep going? Plug any of those artists into a Pandora channel — you won’t be disappointed. Maybe you’ll hear a song that inspires you.

Well friends, I hope these tips help you get connected to God in the new year. A relationship with God can offer so many wonderful things if you’re willing to open up your heart and mind to what He has to teach you. If you want to talk more, shoot me an email (dearauntbubba@gmail.com).

Happy New Year!

Aunt Bubba

My Life from A to Z

What is it that you know for sure?

The sky is blue.

The grass is green.

Life is short.

It’s cold outside.

What I know for sure is life is full of ups and downs — gives and takes — not just rainbows and butterflies.

Last weekend, I went to the library to browse for a new book. I wanted something “mindless,” something that wouldn’t require a lot of thinking, something to help me fall asleep faster. One of the books I checked out did the exact opposite.

What I Know for Sure is a book by Oprah Winfrey. It includes all the columns she wrote for her magazine over a 14-year period. In the introduction, Oprah describes how she felt when she went back and read each column she wrote:

As I read, what I was doing and where I was in my life when I wrote these pieces came flooding back…I remembered searching my soul…all to figure out what I’ve come to understand about the things that matter in life, things like joy, resilience, awe, connection, gratitude and possibility.”

This is where the light bulb went off for me. I thought about everything that mattered to me throughout my nearly 40 years of being on this planet!.

I got out of bed, grabbed a notebook and started to create a list of things in my life from A to Z that matter to me. Here they are:

  • Appreciation – the older I get, the more appreciative I am of the little things. I appreciate quality time with family and friends instead of gifts. I appreciate a phone call instead of a text message; a letter instead of an email.
  • Bubba – that’s my nickname, don’t wear it out. My dad can’t remember why he started calling me this years ago, but it stuck.
  • Christianity – four years ago on Nov. 13, I gave my life to Christ for the second time. The first was in 2001. I was a young mother, blessed with a beautiful daughter, and was hungry for a relationship with God. Back then, I didn’t fully understand what giving my life to Christ meant, so it wouldn’t be until 2013 when I truly understand the significance.
  • Divorce – been there, done that. I went into my marriage promising myself and my husband that we would not get divorced. In the end, I did everything I could to fix it, to forgive, to move on, but it was too late. I will say this about divorce — it helped me to understand myself more and what I need to do to become a better partner for my future husband.
  • Enthusiasm – not necessarily about my divorce. 🙂 I am a “the glass is half full” person. I tend to find the good in just about every situation. I’m a “we’ll worry about that when we have to” person.
  • Family and Friends – I have a somewhat non-traditional family made up of both blood relatives and close friends. There are times where I wish circumstances and relationships were different, but I’m grateful for the times we get to spend together (when I can get them off their darn phones).
  • Grandma Libby – I could write pages upon pages about this amazing woman who passed away in 2009. The older I get, the more I feel like I’m becoming like her which is the biggest blessing I could ask for. She was a very strong, independent woman who put God first. She was the glue in our family. She always encouraged me to start my day with scripture and would give us anything we wanted when we spent the night. I miss her terribly but am SO grateful for everything I learned from her.
  • Henry – I have the sweetest neighbor named Henry. Three days ago (Oct. 27, 2017), he celebrated his 66th wedding anniversary with his wife, Anita. What I know for sure is Henry loves his wife with all his heart. He is extremely patient with her and takes her on tractor rides around their yard. Henry is resourceful and spends hours fixing things, where the rest of the world will just throw something away and buy a new one.
  • Independence – I learned a long time ago that I don’t need a man to make me feel whole or to take care of me. Do I like sharing my life with someone? Absolutely! I will not stay with someone just to be with someone. I can take care of myself. My independence is something I learned from my mother and one of my biggest strengths. Ladies — if you’re single and reading this, don’t ever put yourself in a situation that you can’t get back out of. Make sure you can afford the car you drive, the place you live in, etc. I allowed a man once to pay for everything, and when that relationship failed, I got stuck with a house I couldn’t afford to live in and a car I couldn’t afford to drive. I thought I was living the dream, but it was a painful process to get out of.
  • Jobs – I’ve had my share of jobs over the last 22 years – customer service, telemarketing, public relations, promotion, purchasing, insurance, etc. I’ve learned a lot, and feel it’s extremely important to get experience in as much as you can before you pick a career. This is something I try to explain to my daughter who gets comfortable and often is afraid to step outside that comfort zone.
  • Karma – you know what they say about Karma. She can be a handful. The older I get, I have removed “Karma is a b**ch” from my vocabulary and given all the control to God. I believe in the Golden Rule, even when the person on the other end doesn’t. You do the best you can do and stop worrying about everyone else. This is easier said than done sometimes.
  • Lauren – my beautiful daughter. While I’m her mom first, we are best friends. We’re often told we’re like the Gilmore Girls. I’m so blessed to have the relationship I have with my daughter. At 16, she still misses me and wants me around! I couldn’t say the same thing about myself and my relationship with my mother at that age.
  • Marriage – Something I’m so excited about. While it will be a while before this happens again, God is preparing me for my future husband in many ways.
  • Nature – being outside is one way I worship. This morning was the first true frost of the year and it was absolutely beautiful.
  • Oprah – There are people in the world like Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres who I do not see eye to eye with on political views, but what the world needs now is LOVE and lots of it! These ladies spend their lives doing good, spreading love and helping other. We could all learn a few things from them.
  • Patience – over the years, I have had to be extremely patient with all things – family, friends, relationships, jobs, God. The struggle is real.
  • Quality – I’m a firm believe in quality over quantity.
  • Relationships – Another topic I could write pages upon pages about. Personally and professionally – I’ve learned there are good ones and bad ones. Quality comes into play here.
  • Strays – I have a big heart and sometimes that gets me into trouble. A year ago, a cute little black kitty showed up and never left. We call her Dirty Diana (yes, after the Michael Jackson song).
  • Tattoos – never have I ever, but I tagged along to watch my niece get one earlier this year. I had her fingerprints on my hand for a couple of hours afterwards from her squeezing my hand so hard. She was a trooper!
  • University – I sent my first payment off to a university last week to pay for my daughter’s first dual-credit class. I can’t believe she’ll go to college in a couple of years.
  • Vacations – I’ve been blessed to go to awesome places like Washington, D.C., Mexico, Paris, Space Camp and a couple of beaches with my family and friends. Next year, I’m planning a trip BACK to D.C. with my mom and daughter.
  • Wade – Nearly four years ago, a guy walked into a bar and would soon become one of my closest friends. He’s 96-years-young now, but someone I see and talk to on the phone multiple times a week. He’s my buddy and another HUGE blessing in my life.
  • X-rays – had a few of these in my life, most recently to figure out all my back issues. Good news is, there’s nothing going on, but I need to stretch more.
  • Youthfulness – today I turn 38 years old. There are days when I still get carded for alcohol and days when I can’t get out of bed because my back hurts so bad, but in my mind, I’m young. I’m not one of those people who worried about turning 30. Turning 40 might be a different story, but I thank God for the body he gave me and I plan to take good care of it.
  • Zebras – At birth, mothers separate her newborn from the rest of the herd. Do you know why? Zebra stripes are as unique as our finger prints. When a baby zebra is born, the mother leads her foal away from the rest of the heard to complete a very important tasks – learning the strips on the mother’s face. Stay tuned for more on this…

After writing my life out from A to Z, what I know for sure is I’m extremely blessed. There are days where I feel “meh” and days where I would much rather stay in bed and eat a pint of ice cream, but this is my life. Everything I’ve gone through and everything yet to come has molded me into the person I am.

Now that you’ve seen my life from A to Z, I encourage you do write out your blessings. You might be surprised what makes the list.

Aunt Bubba

The Principle of Love

“As the world grows increasingly dark, remember that YOU are the light of the world.”

This is a passage from my favorite devotional author, Sarah Young, and it was taken from the Sept. 10 reading in her book Jesus Always.

My daughter was born on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after the most horrific domestic terrorist attack on the United States of America. I remember crying in the birthing suite thinking to myself, “what kind of world is my baby girl being born into?”

Sadly, as her 16th birthday approaches, it hasn’t gotten any better.

As Christians, we have a privilege and duty to shine God’s light into the world. It’s our job to spread His word and His love with others.

John 1:5 says, “And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it.”

How are you spreading God’s principle of love?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a remarkable man. I wish he was alive today. The work he did in the 1960s to achieve change in a nonviolence way needs to be reestablished.

The other night, I was reading through a book* of famous speeches I purchased my daughter last year (for a Public Speaking class). In this book, in the “LOVE” section, is a passage from MLK Jr.’s speech:

“Nonviolent resistance avoids not only external physical violence, but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.

At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.

The nonviolent resister would contend that in the struggle for human dignity, the oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe.

Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.”

Sometimes I believe it’s honestly this simple. As Christians, we can do our part to “focus our energies on doing what you can to brighten the place where God has put us. Use your time, talents and resources to push back the darkness. Shine His light into the world!

So go, do God’s work. Spread the love. Brighten this place. Push back the darkness.

Aunt Bubba

Feature image from National Geographic Kids.

*Speeches That Changed the World (Barnes and Noble)

June 13, 1946

In 1946, stamps were $0.03 and my late Grandma Libby was being “courted” by my late Papa Bill.

Fast forward to June 9, 2009 – Grandma Libby passed away after suffering a massive stroke days before. 

Around this time of year I always get a little nostalgic and start going through old photos or letters from her house.

Recently, I found some letters inside her late husband’s leather aviator case. Papa Bill was a lieutenant in the Army. 

I found a few things interesting while going through these letters:

  1. He was a pack rat and kept everything (thank goodness for that, because I saw a whole side of Grandma I have never seen before), and
  2. Most of the letters have no address on them, simply a name, city and state. 

Since today is June 13 and I found a letter from June 13, 1946, I thought it would be fun to share a letter from more than 70 years ago. Some of the phrases are a little confusing, but enjoy!

Hi honey bun:

So good to hear from you – what day do you start back, or do you know yet?

Over at Harris’s last nite – all sat out on the deck – another wonderful moon – thought “full moon and empty arms” (know that song, don’t cha) – got to thinkin’, gosh – only a few nites ago and William was here – seems so long.

Mother went over to Harris the morning after you were here, bright ‘n early – wanted to know what time I left over there – etc. – she’s never mentioned it to me tho and better not for I’m just at the point to tell all my relatives to lay off – fed up – living here has brought out the worst in me, made me so irritable. People can ask me to do anything but they can’t DEMAND or force me or my Missouri Mule crops out in me!!

With my sister and her husband here I don’t know how successful we’ll be doing anything – it’ll be too obvious – they just don’t enjoy doing the same things we do – they don’t smoke OR drink which is their business, yes, but they kinda cramp others style. They’re lots of fun – I know they won’t want to leave for an evening for their time is so short here.

May sound silly but up till “Monday nite” week ago, I thot if I didn’t get outta here I’d be bazurk – but since I’ve met you I’m perfectly contented to stay – be fun to go east for a while but I don’t care particularly now. Think you can do an awful lot for me – my brother has such a screwball attitude toward woman that he’s given me a terrific complex about “divorcees” – I’ve actually suffered with it.

Sorry I did seem no “fun” the other nite – had a long talk with myself beforehand + promised I wouldn’t lose my head, but I did – everything about you was perfect – you’re so darned tender, gentle, sweet and loveable, my kind of sweetie heart – and after so – long time (since Xmas) I couldn’t resist you – told you I was weak willed when it comes to being loved – can’t get enuf – just love it.

Mob coming for dinner today and boy is it hot – gonna put on shorts + halter this aft and get out in the sun – don’t mind it when I’m out in it and dressed accordingly but hate to have on layers of clothes + my “ladies aid smile” on a hot afternoon.

See you soon hon’ – I hope!

Best – “The gay widow”

Sure thing I’m nuts – can’t I have fun being that way!

“Papa Bill” circa early 1940s

Grandma wasn’t a widow until much later in life, so I’m not sure what her signature meant, but she was usually a very gay/happy lady! Miss her lots. 

Do you have any old letters passed down from your relatives?

Aunt Bubba

“Too much rabbit in me.”

Recently, I found some handwritten notes by my late Grandma Libby. One of them was a letter she wrote to her older sister and it included a transcript of a note she found from their mother about herself and her life growing up in Harris, MO.

Reading about my late ancestors and their lives fascinates me, especially when I come across things I’ve never heard of, including “thundermug” and “elocution.” You learn something new every day! Also, I’d love to know what my great-grandmother mean by “too much rabbit in me.”

Enjoy this little flashback to the past — I did.

Aunt Bubba

8/25/88

Marge:

Found the following “notes” of Mothers’ a day or 2 ago:

Amber E. Harris (pictured)  – Born 4/2/1885 @ 4 a.m. – no phones. Dr. Brown from Newton was summoned to A.W. Harris farm.

I was 7 or 8 when farmstead burned. Arthur and Gertie Reger and May Law all boarded there and went to Harris College. All Eastern professors – from kindergarten through to college courses – football, etc. – they had public speaking, elocution and Delsarte classes.

We children all had specific chores to do – mine was to bring in big hickory basket full if chips from the yard to start the morning fires and to take Grandfather’s “thundermug” out, empty and scald it, and put on west porch to air. This porch was not used to enter or leave the house – mostly for airing at night. I placed it under Gpas bed after he was asleep.

Thundermug
A thundermug.

 

I came back in to tell Mama it was all smokey or or foggy outside. She was bathing and getting Gussie (born 1890) ready for bed – he was 1 yr. old – smelled the smoke, carefully laid Gussie on the bed and ran outside – a small blaze was showing all around the chimney – Grandfather was “in his cups” – Papa in other bed in the room – Mama slipped in and whispered to Papa, who noiselessly crept out – He and the hired girl each took 2 buckets of water – when they opened the attic door they had to run to beat the flames.

Cliff was in his 1st year in Kirksville college – Estelle was in the bathtub! Mama sent Clara (11 + years), Wood (6 yrs) and me (10 yrs) to closest neighbors – we had to pass a long barn, 200 feet long – we children were scared to pass it in daylight; we got about halfway of the length when Clara set Gussie down and ran like a deer! 


(The Harris sisters and family friends. Amber, my great grandmother is on the far left.)

Wood and I struggled but we landed Gussie safely in Mrs. Willard’s arms. Estelle dressed carefully and came out carrying her canary – and cage- and the new shoes she had just gotten for Christmas and had not mastered the art of using them. Papa dressed Gfather and brought him out in the yard and had 2 men hold him and also had a man each side of Mama to keep her from going in! She was disgusted with him – she knew where everything was – all the children’s clothing was upstairs, which could not be reached – but many things could have been safely gotten from the 1st floors. It was long before the days of ready-to-wears so the relatives and friends brought clothes to cover us – as I think back we must have looked like Halloweeners.

I remember a pair of high heeled shoes a cousin donated – they nearest fit me – I was delighted – but not for long, they were too uncomfortable. I had never had anything but spring heels and never had any other kind until Shoe Co., no longer made in my size.

(Overton Harris – Amber’s father)

We had a smoke-house with big fireplace – 2 rooms down and 2 up – Mother brought 2 set springs – looked like they had woven wire in the middle, but sturdy from all around. She had a carpenter put hinges on one side and by day the bed was hooked up against the wall.

No other heat but fireplace, over which all cooking was done. Thanks to Dutch ovens and boiling kettles we are 3 squares daily.

We had sewing women by the year when not otherwise busy – she pieced up the scraps into quilt tops and quilted them on machine. I can assure you we were neither cold nor hungry. Mama was equal to any emergency. She had tracked by wagon-train, with her family, to California when she was only 12 yrs old. They had 2 wagons – mama drove one team, took care of her team, and did the cooking for the 2 wagons. Grandmother Jones was expecting a child – imagine such a trip for a pregnant women – Platte River – no bridges – friendly Indians. Mama was pushed in river. Uncle Charley saved her. Landed at Visalia, Calif – Aunt Fannies from there. Have letters written from there to her mother and sisters at Scottsville, Mo.

Grandmother very homesick because of heat and drought no crops for 2 years. Grandfather sent Gmother and family all home by boat around Cape Hope (no Panama Canal) and they landed in NY. Then by train to end of line in Ohio then home by stage coach! Gfather remained to sell his livestock then followed family route home. En route on boat Gfather become very ill, lost consciousness. He had no idea how lone. When he aroused he immediately felt for his money belt. A voice said, “Brother – no worries – everything is intact.” The Capt. saw his masonic pin and had him moved to his cabin where Capt. tenderly cared for him. Then masonry means something. It meant brotherhood.

This was about 1865 and in Macks’ town – Mack landed at same location. Visalia, CA – left his family near her sister and family while he served his stint in Vietnam – the children could swim in river at foot of hill and they were near enough to call back and forth without taking time to call on the telephone.

Later the Jones family settled between the towns of Harris and Newton where they remained. The W.H. Haley family joined Harris land on north. Mrs. Haley was sister of Mr. Jones. The Haley farm when all way to Newtown.

The proximity of the families brought much happiness and peace – I remember when Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad came through, bringing great excitement. The next great wonder was the telephone, which hung on the wall and a chair was kept under it for comfort and convenience of the “visitors”. I still really over # – 4 longs and 4 shorts!

Farm House
The original Harris farm house before it burnt in a fire.

 

A big 2-way fireplace warmed both living and dining rooms – a baseburner in Gfathers room – and a real cook stone in kitchen. Somewhere in the big hearth was a loose brick under which was the “money safe” – only Gold was used – no banks nearer than big cities – Gabrilla was the “banker”. Aunt Nancy was “banker” on Calif trek. She made a chamois vest – with slots and pockets for different denominations of gold coins. I’ve seen it. Laster was given to Missouri Historical Society at Jeff City.

As a young man, Grandfather lived at Boonville. Was a cooper. No trains. Everything shipped in barrels on the river. He finally took in a partner who ran away with $2000.00 – which destroyed his faith his fellow man. He came to Sullivan County with wife and son, Jim, 1 black woman, wagon and oxen team. Land was bought for $125 per acre, but all commodities were cheap in proportion. They cleared and planted orchards and vineyards. Always built near a good spring of water, for household, and creek for livestock. I’m glad I didn’t live as a pioneer – too much rabbit in me – and I prefer creative comforts.

Written by Libby Cowgill to her Sister Marge Clymer

 

 

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