Thursday, October 30, 2014


"Mom, you'll never guess what happened today," our son said as he and his dad came in from the farm. "Allison called me and said, 'Dad, the driveway is full of guineas!'"

"Wait, let me show you," he said, picking up his iPhone and clicking on a video. Wow! there were dozens of guineas! White ones, with a few grey ones in the mix, clacking noisily and creating quite a din as they rushed around, pecking in the grass of the corral pens.

"Where did they come from?" I asked. Then a thought occurred to me! Last year we had several guineas (our prizes we had nurtured from balls of fluff) that were among the flock of chickens that disappeared from their chicken yard. We assumed varmints had massacred and eaten them (though really there were only a few feathers on the ground), but maybe they escaped and survived, and this was their offspring!

"I gave them some corn," Howard announced. "I hope they stay around!" He had loved those young birds we had.

Imagine! Wild guineas! I know guineas are survivors. Some people even use them as watch dogs! Their loud clacking can be an alert system! The funny-looking fowl love to range far and wide in their searches for bugs and insects, roosting high in trees for safety.

All I could think of when I saw them was the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel! The Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians about 700 BC, then assimilated into the population and lost to history as a people. The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin survived. Some people think the lost tribes theory is a myth, and much folklore has circulated about the lost tribes, with many people groups claiming identity with them.

However, one thing we know: God has promised to bring the Jews back to their homeland, the fulfillment of which began in 1948 when Israel became a nation. Isaiah 43:5 says, "Fear not, for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, And gather thee from the west." Never before have we seen so many Jews returning to Israel as in recent years. The culmination of this will be Jesus's Second Coming, which seems to Christians to be more imminent every day.

Jesus said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Matthew 23:37.

My husband wanted to gather the guineas for safe keeping, but sadly for him, they were last seen running away in undergrowth along the highway. May we always be obedient to the Lord's calling and ready for His coming!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Royalty: Encore

In a blog a year ago, I talked about my granddaughter Corrin being nominated for Homecoming Court. She hoped, though really didn't expect, to win, not having campaigned or given out candy like the other girls. Nevertheless, much to her surprise, she was voted in and got to serve as a 2013 Homecoming Maid. I made the remark that all my granddaughters are princesses, and I wouldn't be surprised if one were queen next year.

Guess what! It happened! Corrin was overwhelmed when her name was called out as 2014 Homecoming Queen! Since I couldn't be there, the plan was for me to watch the suspenseful moment on Face Time. Somehow that proved difficult, so my grandson Reid decided to video the ceremony and message it to me. The video started just after she had been announced winner, but I got to see the blue, royal ribbon with the glittering title being draped around her neck.

Photos showed the petite, brunette beauty with her hand over her mouth in shock and awe when she heard the announcement. Her humble statement she posted on Face Book under a gorgeous shot of her between two lovely friends reveals her heart: "Wow! What a surreal moment! I will treasure this forever. My gratefulness cannot be expressed through words. Speechless! All of you are incredible. Thank you all, truly!"

We are so proud of this 17-year-old young lady! She has a very determined spirit and a strong faith in God which has strengthened her throughout the past 18-month ordeal she has endured. Since a tragic four-wheeler accident when she was 15, she has undergone several surgeries and bone grafts.

This in preparation for dental implants to restore her beautiful smile lost with several front teeth in the accident. Her hope is that all will be completed by the time she enrolls in college next year!

Meanwhile, in addition to her senior classes, Corrin plays on the golf team, works as a lifeguard for a senior aquatic center (which also involves cleaning and supervising the place), spends two school afternoons weekly at the hospital where she is in a nursing/basics program looking toward her career goal as a PA in the medical field.

My granddaughter has a servant's heart, obvious from her earliest days. Jesus said in Luke 22:26, "But he that is greatest among you, let him be the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve." Now that's royalty!

The Unexpected

Ouch! I dropped the lid of the pot after it had slid and released a spurt of steam right on to my inner wrist! A steam burn! Oh, no! I hate kitchen burns! Once before I had splashed scalding water from a cup in the microwave and got a painful burn on my hand. It hurt all night, as I remember.

I quickly grabbed some ice and made a cold compress. It helped relieve the pain momentarily, but I was soon running cold water over the ugly red splotch. It didn't seem severe enough to go to the doctor, but after more than an hour of temporary relief then recurring, stinging, discomfort, we headed for the drugstore.

"Try to get something with aloe vera," I said as Howard went in and I waited in the car nursing my wound. "Ask the pharmacist what's best!" I called after him. I knew not to put butter or cream on it, the old-fashioned remedies our mothers had used.

He came back out in just a few minutes. "He said this is the best thing for it," Howard said, pulling a small spray can from a plastic bag. I lost no time in spraying the antiseptic/pain killer on my wrist. The relief was dramatic! Instantly the pain was gone! Why hadn't I sought help sooner? I was able to sleep all night with no pain, and it hasn't come back. Thank you, Lord!

Last night Howard attended a revival service in a neighboring town. As the hour grew late and he still wasn't home, I became concerned, wishing I had gone with him. I remembered how not long ago he had had trouble seeing while driving at night. But that was before he had cataract surgery last summer, I reminded myself. He had put off the dreaded procedure for months, years even. Then he was astonished at the immediate clearer vision resulting from the quick surgery!

I needn't have worried; my husband made it home safe and sound, bubbling over with enthusiasm at the uplifting meeting.

How many times have we put off something needful, either for inconvenience, fear, or neglect? We may have always intended to visit the sick person, take care of a task, or fix something broken, and suddenly it was too late.

One thing that must not be procrastinated is making a decision for Christ. "Behold, now is the day of salvation," I Corinthians 6:2. Hebrews 2:3 says, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" Some things are too important to ignore! And the relief is dramatic!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October Surprise

"You missed the celebrity," I said to my husband as we were exiting the guitar store yesterday. We had come to Wichita to pick up our son at the airport, and they hadn't wanted to miss the opportunity to make a stop and indulge their shared passion: checking out guitars.

I was waiting for Howard to make his purchase (no, not the $3,000 instrument he had strummed), but a pack of guitar picks. I sat on a bench half noticing a man take a large box from the counter and go toward the door, after the smiling sales clerk had exchanged animated small talk with him. Just then the clerk approached me and said, "Did you see him? That was Michael Martin Murphey!" At my blank expression, he mentioned the title of a song that he had made famous, but I was clueless.

"Tell my son over there," I urged, pointing to Greg at another counter. "He would probably know him." Greg's reaction was a wide-eyed "Where?" as he rushed out the door in pursuit of the customer. He caught up with us on the way to the car.

"I can't believe it!" he exclaimed. "I shook hands with Michael Martin Murphey!" He also couldn't believe we had never heard of him. He patiently explained that he was famous in the 70s and sang a hit called "Wildfire." On our ride home he pulled the singer up on his iPhone and had me listen to the song.

"He said he was on the way to Oklahoma City for an appearance, and had stopped to buy a guitar," Greg said. He wasted no time in calling his brother, Trevor, who was just as impressed as Greg was. I enjoyed their excitement at a celebrity sighting, even if some of the star's brightness may have diminished by now.

As Greg napped on the way home, Howard and I commented on the colorful fall foliage along the highway, marveling at the wonder and precision of God's creation. We pondered over whether the going down of the sap caused the leaf color changes, or whether it was less sunlight and shorter days. "I'll ask Siri," I quipped as I brought up a convenient source of information on the phone.

Immediately there was an encyclopedia article explaining everything about photosynthesis, the process by which leaves produce food for trees and other plants, and how chlorophyll reacts to longer nights and less sunlight by disappearing. When the green pigment is gone from the leaves, the other colors that have been there all along are revealed, giving us our autumnal show of red, yellow, orange and brown in the beautiful scenery of fall.

Meeting or glimpsing celebrities may be thrilling, but nothing compares to the awe inspired by seeing the majestic work of our Creator, and contemplating the intricacies and perfect design of our world. "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament sheweth his handywork," Psalm 19:1.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Clipping Coupons

Glancing through yesterday's newspaper, I decided to look at the food ads. I usually don't pay much attention to them, as I pretty much always just buy whatever appeals to us. This time, I saw the supermarket was having a good sale on things we normally buy, but for even less than the rock-bottom grocery prices at our regular store. There was just one catch: You had to clip coupons.

"Go get the scissors," my husband said when I showed him the ad, to which I answered, "Oh, I'm sure we can just take the whole page and show them." We got ready to go shopping, and I decided on second thought to cut them out. It's a good thing I did, I realized later!

This was work! Rifling through the coupons and matching them to the product! We weren't sure if the offer was good for every style of say, green beans, but we did the best we could. All over the store, from canned vegetables, to meat market, to baking aisle to cookies and crackers! We are too old for this! I thought, as we laboriously and slowly pushed our cart, squinting at the coupons (I had forgotten my glasses) and scanning the shelves, often looking over the shoulder of some other shopper taking their time.

Unaccustomed to coupon shopping as we were, Howard was placing the small paper squares atop each item and grouping them appropriately, but the checker said, "Just hand me your coupons. The computer will figure it out." We put our requisite $10 or more purchase on the conveyor belt with the sale items and waited for the total. We saved $18.00! Wow! Now my shelves are full! What a good feeling!

Earlier, Howard had mentioned a favorite television minister he had watched last night. "He said we are not supposed to be chintzy and act as if we can't afford anything when we can," he told me. Since he liked that philosophy, I ordered a fancy salad for lunch with chicken, glazed pecans, cranberries and apples. Then just as we were headed to the supermarket, we passed a shoe store that we had forgotten was having a going-out-of-business, 70% off sale today.

Their prices are so high we have never shopped there, but they do carry quality merchandise, so we decided to stop in. Nothing really caught my eye, as I'd bought new shoes recently. Howard declined to buy anything except some designer shoe polish. Then I saw a great-looking purse! I circled the aisles a few times, but I kept coming back to it. Should I get it? I loved it and needed (well, not "needed,")one.

"Remember what you said about thinking you can't afford anything?" I teased. He looked thoughtful and soft-hearted, and it was on sale, so I got it! Well, at least we economized on groceries!

With Feeling

"What if there was no everything?" my five-year-old granddaughter questioned. She is at the age where her brain seems to be working overtime trying to figure out the world. Another question to her dad was, "What if you and Mommy had never met, and you saw me, would you know me?"

Maddie is a very passionate little girl with an enthusiastic personality and indomitable spirit. (Could her red hair have anything to do with it?) Bursting with the intensity of her feelings, she has been known to hit her older sister, who is amazingly patient and long-suffering about it. Her parents, however, take a dim view of this and think they have put a stop to it. "It's so hard to self-control!" Maddie states.

Our little bundle of energy is busy sorting out life as she sees it, and thankfully, that can be a good thing. The other day she asked why the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn't thank God for their pizza.

Visiting with the children on Face Time a few days ago, I asked Maddie if she was looking forward to school (Home School Enrichment) the next day. She told me she was making a cardboard heart to take with her.

"Why are you making a heart?" I prodded, trying to elicit as much conversation out of her as possible before she darted out of view. "It's not Valentine's Day," I teased. I really couldn't get her reply, but my son explained they were on letter "H" that day, and she was taking it for Show and Tell. Of course! "H" is for heart, and Maddie is all heart!

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," Matthew 5:7 promises. And I Peter 1:22, "Love one another with a pure heart fervently," describes my little granddaughter's approach to life!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Main Thing Is the Main Thing

Making a purchase with our debit card the other day, Howard was asked to sign an electronic card that popped up at the register in addition to his signature on the bank card. He demurred, saying he had never had to do that before. He asked to cancel the transaction and paid cash for the purchase. We concluded that the clerk had rung up the sale as if on the store credit card. The manager was called and worked feverishly trying to straighten things out.

"I'm sorry this is taking so long," the harried-looking woman said. "I'm a little slow since my accident."

"Were you in an automobile accident?" my husband asked. It turned out that she had fallen from a step-stool at home, chipped a bone on her spine, affecting the nerves in her hand, which she was having trouble using. She had only been back at work a couple of days.

"See, I can only open my hand this wide," she showed us, stretching out her fingers, "but it's more than I could do yesterday." We left the store admiring her dedication to her job, which she said she'd had for 19 years.

The next day at the supermarket, Howard asked an employee where to find a certain product. He came back to me and said, "She could use a course in public relations," referring to her unenthusiastic reply. He was brought up in a grocery store and has always used the utmost courtesy in business.

A little later, this same person checked out our groceries. "Did you hurt your foot?" Howard asked her, noticing her limp.

"No, I was in a car wreck two days ago," she told him. Well, that explained her demeanor! We often forget that those who serve us in their jobs working with the public have lives of their own and problems which they may struggle to keep from showing.

But it is refreshing to see someone who is thoughtful of the customer. The waitress we had at our lunch table recently impressed us with her courteousness and helpful attitude. When we left, Howard commended her to the manager at the cashier counter.

"I would just like to compliment our server today," my husband told him. "She was very cheerful and professional, and we appreciate it," to which her boss said, "Oh, yes, she has been here for 16 years."

"No, this lady said it was her second day on the job!" Howard said, pointing her out. The manager then looked pleased, and obviously took note of that.

The Bible says that whatever we do, we should do as unto the Lord. Colossians 3:23. It also says in Proverbs 20:11, "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right."

I am reminded of something our son related to me the other day. It seems our 5-year-old granddaughter was watching a video, when she remarked, "Daddy, the Ninja Turtles didn't thank God for their pizza." Even a child...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hearth and Home

"I like the fall, the mist and all, I love the night owl's lonely call, the wailing sound of wind around." So starts the poem by Dixie Wilson, one I learned and loved in high school. Yesterday was that kind of day. But instead of being gloomy, the chilly, misty weather was invigorating--fun, even.

There's not much to do in our small town, and most of the festivals are over. We decided to treat ourselves to lunch at our favorite 50s diner. And a treat it was! The best burgers, followed by their signature chocolate shake in a fluted glass. Hubby and I shared, but we should have gotten two! I almost felt like ordering the pictured chocolate/strawberry sundae served in a cardboard classic car!

It was just a little way down the street to a fancy-shmantzy boutique I wanted to visit. The wares ranged from a decorative burlap Thanksgiving towel ($5.00) to a little boy's outfit (I have an 11-month old grandson) at $56.00. Maybe next time. Anyway, it was fun to look.

"I have to go to the hardware store," my husband announced. I asked what he needed, and he said, "A screw." What? A single screw? Well, we were bored, so a poor excuse is better than none. I went in with him, since they usually have some housekeeping knick-knack at give-away prices. Last time, I came home with a ceramic frog with a gaping mouth that holds my scouring pad. This time, a whole stack of cleaning sponges were only $1.50. On the way out with our purchases, we were handed a bag of free popcorn!

Nothing like a bag of hot, buttery popcorn, munched as we rode along, to take away the chill of a grey day. We noticed a couple of trees with leaves turning yellow, the rain and wind sending a smattering of them scurrying along in the roadside gutter.

We had a couple of options for a Saturday night activity. One, a free western swing band concert, or two, a gospel singing group that we wanted to hear. Bad weather was forecast, however, and staying home was very appealing, especially with the warmth of fireplace on a cold, disagreeable night.

The rest of the poem goes, "I like the gray November day, and dead, bare boughs that coldly sway against my pane. I like the rain. I like to sit and laugh at it, and tend my cozy fire a bit. I like the fall, the mist and all." We stayed home.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lay-Away Plan

"I want to tell you a story about this guitar," my husband said as stood holding it in front of our seniors' group yesterday. He pointed to the guitar strap over his shoulder with the embroidered words, I AM BLESSED, running along its length. "This is my blessed guitar," he said. "My other guitar has a strap that says, ONE OF THEM, so it's one of them!"

"A young couple with two small children began attending the church we pastored in Mississippi a few years back," Howard began. "Times were hard for them, and they were struggling economically," he went on. "They used butane in their mobile home for heating and cooking, but their butane tank was almost empty and they had no money to buy more. Winter was coming on, so when the church learned of this, we had their tank filled for them."

I remember how grateful "the kids," as we called them, were. Several months later, they stood at the back of the church at the beginning of the service one evening and asked Howard, who was standing at the front, to close his eyes.

"When they got to the front," he continued his narrative, "they said, 'Now hold out your hands,' and they put this guitar in my hands!" He told the group how surprised he was, and how much he likes and treasures the guitar. "It's not as fancy as my other one, but I love the way it sounds," he said.

The couple told us that they wanted to do something in appreciation for the church helping them through that winter. "We put this guitar on lay-away then and have been paying on it, and we just got it out," I remembered them saying modestly through pleased smiles. No wonder he loves it!

When our kids were growing up, I used the lay-away plan many times, especially for their Christmas toys and gifts. That way I could let the store hide them until almost Christmas and I wouldn't have to! Besides which, with six of them to buy for, the regular payments took less of a bite out of the budget!

I think of the Bible verses that mention the treasures God has laid up for us. "Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!" Psalm 31:19.

Or 2 Timothy 4:8, where Paul says, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

My children might have wondered and imagined what they would get for Christmas, but our imaginations would fail if we tried to imagine heaven. "For it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," I Corinthians 2:9.

I had to agree with Howard when he closed his talk with the song, "I Am Blessed."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pay It Forward

The recent talks of quarantine due to a dangerous virus prompted my husband to tell of an old memory. "Before I was born, my mom had a bad case of scarlet fever. The whole family was quarantined for several weeks," he recalled of what his father had told him. That was before they had antibiotics to treat the disease, which was quite contagious.

Howard said his mother was expecting him at the time, which means his brothers would have been 9 and 3 years old. "The doctor said I would never have scarlet fever, since Mom had it when she was carrying me," he remarked. He told how worried his father was, not being able to leave the house and go to work.

"Dad said sometimes a neighbor man would come and park his pick-up truck out in the road by the mail box, and Dad would go sit in it and visit with him," Howard remembered. One day when the neighbor asked how they were getting along, his father said, "Well, we're getting by. My mother-in-law baked a big banana cake awhile back, and we have been eating off of that."

"Another thing," his dad said, "Since I can't work, I'm behind on my car payments. I'm afraid they will come out and get it," he said of his proud possession, a Chrysler. "In fact. I can't figure out why they haven't picked it up already."

The old farmer neighbor looked pensively out the truck window and said, "Well, that is kind of strange, isn't it?" Howard said his dad knew in that moment that the neighbor had been making the payments! It was never discussed, but the car wasn't repossessed, and his father resumed the notes when he went back to work.

Neighbor helping neighbor. It was a way of life back then, I suppose. Sometime later that year, the baby that would grow up to be my husband was born, a man of fairness and kindness, qualities passed on from his dad, learned under his tutelage while growing up working in the family grocery store.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law," Galatians 5:22:23. These attributes cannot be restricted, quarantine or not.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Follow the Son

"Look how the sunflowers are all facing the same direction!" I said to my husband. It was true. The entire 70 acres of them were facing east. I had seen an article in our newspaper about this field of sunflowers we had driven several miles to see, and we weren't disappointed. This was amazing! The simple beauty of a single flower was multiplied by thousands, transforming them into awe-inspiring grandeur stretching toward the horizon.

I thought about the sight later, and I realized a spiritual application for Christian living can be drawn from this humble plant. Sunflowers are grown as a crop for several reasons, one of which is their oil, which is pressed from the seeds. Oil in the Bible is a symbol of the Holy Spirit who lives in every believer.

Not only is the sunflower good for oil, its seed is edible and provides food for birds, wildlife, and even man. When the believer allows the Holy Spirit to work in him, he will exhibit Christ's qualities and share the Bread of Life with the spiritually hungry.

The flower also produces nectar for butterflies and bees, the fringe benefits being that the bees pollinate the plant. Those who live for Jesus should have a sweetness of soul obvious to others. "Pleasant words are as the honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones," Proverbs 16:24.

Many uses have been found for the lowly sunflower, in medicine, industry, and other areas. Sunflowers can be pressed to make dye. As Christians, we should affect a change in our world. As dye changes a fabric, we can use our influence in changing the fabric of our society.

Another way the rugged sunflower is used is for windbreaks. Planted together, their hardy, fibrous strength gives protection to more vulnerable plants. Jesus is our windbreak, a shelter in the time of storm.

The sunflower does all this while still being beautiful! May we go through our days showing forth the beauty of Christ in our lives. Sunflowers are popular as cut flowers. Jesus was cut down in the midst of his beautiful, earthly life that we might live forever with Him. Perhaps the secret of the sunflower is that it faces the rising sun. An example for us to keep our eyes on the Risen Son!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Word Walk

"Your phone is ringing," Howard prompted me. I reached for my purse and heard my son ask if I wanted to Facetime. I had to decline, since were in the middle of a Scrabble game at the church Senior meeting. When I got home, I discovered the reason for his call. I turned on Facebook and there was baby Isaac being held in place by his sister with an excited look on his face. The short video revealed he was walking!

It was only the day before that I'd seen him stand alone for the first time! A little later we did get to Facetime, after Isaac was refreshed by a nap and lunch and in fine form! He repeatedly took short, almost running, steps between dad and big sister, with 5-year-old Maddie recording on the iPhone. We were all giddy with laughter and pride in this little prodigy. At the end of his coaching sessions, Isaac amazed me by turning from his grip on the coffee table and stepping confidently to his daddy!

We'd had a great time playing Scrabble that morning, although we didn't set any records. Our words tended to be short and zany, eliciting a lot of laughs. After all, we were senior citizens, one who professed she didn't read much, one a NASA retiree, and Howard and I. We had brought our huge, deluxe set with the revolving turn-table, non-slip grid surface, and one-inch tiles--perfect!

What a dichotomy we were! Isaac with his short steps and us with our short words! We have a lot in common, though, with the baby's next stage being that of speaking his own short words. Our little grandson is already an expert at communication, though, through crying, smiling, reaching, facial expressions and baby babbles. I'm not sure if he's making words yet, other than ma-ma or da-da.

His father was a bit of a late talker. He said few words early, like "cat" and "git" (to the pesky puppy), then clammed up, only to start speaking in paragraphs when he decided to talk. I think his sisters followed the same pattern, but we will wait and see what Isaac does. If he is like the rest of his family, he will have wonderful communication skills, speaking clearly and concisely, and in the case of his sisters, non-stop!

Words are invaluable to our expression. The Bible calls Jesus the Word. John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God." Jesus was the expression of God.

I love the Bible verse in Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." I liken that to the upper and lower beam of headlights. Sure to steady the feet of little Isaac and all others who keep His paths, no matter what their age!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's October All Over!

"I'm glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." This quote by L.M. Montgomery, creator of Anne of Green Gables, could be a sentiment expressed by many, judging from all who love Fall. Today is the first of October, which is one of my favorite months, too. Who wouldn't love the cooler weather, blue, blue skies, and beautiful foliage?

Of course, Halloween comes in October, too. As a child, I loved Halloween, but not anymore. The spooky, colorful observance of what was really All Saints' Eve, or All Hallows Eve, was created to honor departed saints. Not that that was the manner kids celebrated, even back then, doing the ghosts and witches thing, and in my dad's generation, acts of mischief. Thus Trick or Treat.

When we lived in New Orleans, we were surprised to find that people observed November 1, All Saints Day, as a religious holiday. Today, October 31 has morphed into a gargantuan commercial opportunity, rivaling Christmas in sales and festivities.

Recently our bright little 5-year-old granddaughter, Maddie, asked her father, "Why did God make Halloween?" He explained that most holidays were made by man, and only the Jewish feasts were God's idea. Her response was, "Well that's not fair to our country!" Being a child, I suppose a feast sounded like a party to her, and she thought she might miss out on something. Parents walk a fine line today in not wishing to deprive their children of fun, yet not wanting to embrace something undesirable or dangerous.

Thankfully, many churches put on fall festivals and fun nights for children that have nothing to do with Trick or Treating, yet keep them safe and off the streets. Some bring goodies in their car trunks and let the kids "Trunk or Treat."

But there is more to October than Halloween at the end of the month! Our town is replete with fairs and festivals throughout the fall. The recent county fair was a hit with our local grandchildren, whose father bought them tickets good for unlimited rides, and of course they took advantage of that! This Saturday is OctoberFest, held on the grounds of the Marland Mansion, and next week is the annual Art Center Flea Market that we like.

I saw something in the paper that I would like to see for myself. An area farmer has planted 70 acres in sunflowers, and according to the article, the fields of beautiful yellow and brown-centered flowers have attracted many admirers and photo buffs. The plants will be harvested after the first freeze for the seeds yielding oil and bird seed. The beauty afforded onlookers is just a bonus! Like the golden leaves of October!