I just realized that I've been writing a long while and not really said anything bout myself. So I'll remedy that.
I grew up in a medium sized town in mid-Ohio. I had parents who raised me up in the nurture of the Lord. They taught my brother and me that we must read the Bible independently from as long as I can remember. I'm always surprised, even after all these years, to find that there are lots of Christians who seldom read the Bible except in church service. That was something completely foreign to me. We were read Bible stories and scriptures when I was young and I had grandparents who had well worn Bibles on their kitchen table and bedside table and end tables handy to reach all the time. I don't remember very many shiny well kept bibles, except once when mom sent her and dad's bibles off to have them recovered.. There were family Bibles and reference bibles in almost any room of the house and they were used. So it is strange to me when I try to imagine people who feel they are saved, but seldom read their Bible.
My mom and dad shared teaching responsibilities for the youth group and for the junior boys at our congregation. I remember my dad entertaining my brother and me in one of the Sunday school rooms in the church basement while Mom oversaw the youth group. He had a box of colored chalk and he would tell us bible stories and illustrate them for us. We were too young to be in youth group, but we did get to go along on all the hikes and weiner roasts and fellowship parties. We were treated like everyone's little brother and sister.
When I was about eight or ten, there was a junior boys' Sunday School class that was the terror of the church. They had chased several teachers out with their rambunctiousness. The pastor asked my Dad if he would take it. Dad had a great sense of fun and enjoyed doing active things, but his face had contours that could easily look very severe. His frown was like the wrath of God. He had no problems with the boys. I'm not sure just what they thought he would do to them if they didn't listen. I'm sure he never shook anybody till their teeth rattled but they may have thought he might. He had that kind of countenance. But they all loved him. They listened in class and then on weekends they camped and hiked and played ball--all the things junior age boys loved to do. Years later they still came around.
My grandma and grandpa on mom's side were from southern Ohio, he raised sheep and pigs and farm produce, etc and Grandma raised kids. Grandpa drove a tinker's wagon on long routes around the countryside selling vegetables and odds and ends of stuff. The boys worked on the farm. Grandma and Grandpa had 13 kids. They grew up with a strong work ethic and there was not a lazy one in the bunch. From those kids there were two preachers, three sunday school teachers and one preacher's wife. Of the 12 kids, only three were not living for the Lord the whole time I knew them.
On my dad's side, I never knew my grandmother. She died when my dad was only four or five years old. I don't even remember my step grandma, although Mom said she was thrilled that they taught me to call her 'grandma' She must have died before I was very old. My grandpa, Pop, I can barely remember. He wasn't well and Mom and Dad lived with him and took care of him while I was very young. (hmm, I just had a thought! I can't remember where his bedroom was!!! Ha. I just thought of that. I distinctly remember him sitting in his rocking chair in the big dining room, but I don't remember his bedroom. I guess he just lived in that rocking chair. lol That's funny--I'll have to ask my brother where he slept, but I doubt he'll remember. He is three years younger than I am.)
The only "grandparents" that I knew from dad's family were actually the childless couple who raised him. Dad's mother had tuberculosis when he was born and Pop hired this couple to care for the new baby. They very nearly raised my dad until Pop remarried after his wife died. Even then, they only lived a few blocks away and he spent a lot of time with them. I called them "Ma and Pappy." Ma was a Nazarene preacher in the days when there was a stigma against women ministers in the Nazarene church. So you can imagine the kind of righteous woman she was.
She and Pappy read the Bible for 'entertainment.' Seriously, where other people would read a magazine, watch TV or crochet, Ma and Pappy would read the Bible to each other. I remember them sitting and reading at their old kitchen table with coffee and crumbs scattered around a plate of cold bacon. I remember thinking that was a kind of strange thing, even though I was raised in a bible reading family. Pappy liked to listen to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, but Ma thought it was wicked. (How mild compared to today's music. oh what she would have to say now!) Ma had sugar diabetes in the days before insulin was much known. A knock on the shin always resulted in nasty sores and ulcers that she had to treat several times a day... My dad and mom bought a farm for them to live on in their retirement years. They had such a small income they coudn't afford to rent or even pay a mortgage for their own home. I'm not sure but what Dad paid the electric and bought them coal for heat,too.
They were just about my favorite people when I was little. I used to stay with them overnight lots of times. Pappy always bought us marshmallow circus peanuts and orange gummy slices. I don't know if they even make that kind of candy any more. When ma was ill just before she died, they lived with us. Then after her death Pappy lived with us until he went to a rest home when Mom couldn't be there with him enough because of her job. I remember him sitting on his bed reading his Bible or just holding it in his lap.
I've never really considered my godly heritage to have been anything special, but looking at it in black and white... What a fantastic blessing.