Thursday, January 27, 2011

Were you read to as a child?

Were you read to as I child? I was, early and regularly. My mother, my aunt (who taught me to read at five years old), my grandfather, teachers -- each contributed to my early love of being read to and reading. As this little poem expresses, there is no treasure to compare with having been read to as a child. Make sure you read to your children, not only silly, fun books (which have their place), but books that will ennoble them and stretch and mature them -- books that will give your young men a zeal for godly ventures and your young ladies hearts that long to please God in all their relationships and calling. Read to your children!

"I had a mother who read to me

Saga of pirates who scoured the sea,

Cutlassess clenched in their yellow teeth,

'Blackbirds' stowed in the hold beneath.

"I had a mother who read me lays

Of ancient and gallant and golden days;

Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,

Which evey boy has a right to know.

"I had a mother who read me tales

Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,

True to his trust till his tragic death,

Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

"I had a mother who read me the things

That wholesome life to the boy heart brings--

Stories that stir with an upward touch,

Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

"You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be--

I had a mother who read to me."

--Stickland Gillian

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Here we are already, floating down the rapidly moving current of 2011 -- the flotsam and jetsam of our lives must not be allowed to deter our purposes this year, or so we determined as we reviewed the previous year -- are we on the same page yet?

For me, 2010 was a momentous year, a year of highs and lows beyond comparison. The best times were those spent with close family members and friends who are almost family. The worst were selfish moments spent wasting time with anxious thoughts. I really do believe that our loving, sovereign God has everything under His control, working out all His good pleasure for His glory and our ultimate good -- until I decide to worry instead of trust. Then my behavior belies my heart beliefs -- "I believe! Lord, help Thou my unbelief!!"

Family blessings are the best of all -- we are so grateful for each of our children. Our daughter, Anne, is pictured below at a family wedding. Her husband, Grant, saw a wonderful year of success with his clinic in Augusta, Georgia, Christ Community Health Services. The Lord blessed him and his partner, Robert Campbell, and many others who were deeply committed to the effort to raise enough money to begin reconstruction of the Widow's Home as the permanent location for the clinic. Due to this progress and the addition of other doctors to the staff, Grant was approached by others who asked him to pray about starting a similar clinic that provides health care to those needing it at lower or no costs in Columbus, Georgia, his hometown. It would appear they will be moving there this summer. Joey continues teaching American Literature to the AP classes and is head of the English Department at Fellowship Bible High School in Roswell, Georgia. And John is being blessed abundantly as he works for and mentors others with Northwestern Mutual in Athens, Georgia. Mercy is currently acting as a nanny/assistant in Kenya for two months, as well as photographer, for a dear family who have moved their entire family there for a couple of years to work with a missionary effort.

I praise God for my married children's wonderful spouses -- they are all great.

Our daughter, Anne, with her husband, Dr. Grant Scarborough, their four girls
and Grant's family

Here are my top 10 'highs' in no particular order:

1. Joe, Mercy and I were privileged to travel to Europe last April and May for 15 amazing days with our Vision Forum friends...we started out in Rome and travelled through Geneva, Paris, Noyon, London, York, Stirling, Bannockburn and Edinburgh, just to name a few cities of interest. Much of our traveling was on trains this time, and since I'd only ridden on trains once before in my life,this was a thrill for me. I particularly loved the ride through the French and Swiss Alps on the way to Geneva as well as the spectaular ride under the English Channel from Paris to London via the 'chunnel.' We ate incredible food in Rome and Paris especially and saw so many unbelievable historic sites and artifacts that I still haven't had time to process it all! Perhaps one of these days I will get all my photos downloaded into a book so that I can prove that I was there. The time spent developing close relationships was as precious to me, if not more so, than seeing famous places.

Even though this marked our third trip to Europe in less than two years, we relished every moment of it (well, maybe not the moment I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. to catch my flight home through Amsterdam because of the volcanic activity in Iceland that had lengthened our stay by two days and changed our return flight schedules. I'd barely missed the opportunity to fly back with Joe, but then God intervened...never mind, it's too long to tell right now...we met up in Amsterdam and flew on home together in an amazing way that I'll share with you someday.)

'My two girls' on the Europe tour, Meredith and Chelsea,
at the Colisium in Rome

2. Grandbaby #8 was born on June 9th! Miss Clara Hope Morecraft, third child and second daughter of our son John Calvin and his wife, Kim.

Big sister, Izalou, with Clara
My wonderful daughter-in-law, Kim, with baby Clara

3. Joe's 5-volume set of commentaries on the Westminster Larger Catechism was published -- a grand finale of a twenty-year effort on his part and the joint efforts of many others to make this dream come true.

Vol 1 of 5 is published!

4. My webinar, "Mrs. Morecraft's School of Elocution and Writing," sponsored by Vision Forum, was a tremendous success, thanks to the sweet folks who signed up to hear me rant and rave about writing and related matters for eight weeks.

What a great time I had teaching these classes!!

5. My father turned 86 in July and Joe's dad was 90 on November 27th. On the same day we celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary.

from left to right: my grand-niece, Emma Claire Laughlin, my niece, Ariane Belcher, my mother, Anita Anderson Belcher, me and my dad, Clynard C., "C.C.", Belcher in their garden near Haysi, Virginia -- summer, 2010

Abingdon and Haysi, Virginia, are marked as special times with my family as I celebrated my father's 86th birthday on the last day of July and mine a few days later in August. I try to visit my family around my birthday for obvious reasons -- I was not disappointed.
6. Mercy turned 20 in November. She was my accomplice/assistant during the often grueling weeks of the webinar while still working hard on completing as many College-Plus courses as possible, honing her photography skills, tutoring, singing in the choir and much, much more ... she got a lipstick-red Kitchen Aid stand mixer for her efforts. Not bad...
(and she received a pasta making attachment for Christmas from her dad -- as did daughter Anne!)

Mercy on the beach in November with her niece, Mary Piper

7. Two favorite quotes from the grandchildren for 2010:

Hat people

# 1, from Charlie, shortly after his 2nd birthday when I held him in my lap and prayed that God would 'make you a great preacher of the gospel like Granddaddy':

Joey (two weeks after my prayer): "So, Charlie, what do you want to do when you grow up?"

Charlie: "I'm gonna be a pweacher when I grow up -- wike Granddaddy."

Joey: "Really...what are you going to preach about?"

Charlie: "MOSES! (pointing finger) 'No! No! No!'"

(By the way, now he wants to be a fireman ... much difference? Don't think so...)

Joe, IV (Joey), Joe, V (Charlie) and Jennifer

"Charlie" (Joseph Charles M., V) 'trainin', as he calls playing with his trains

 # 2: Jenn (just after being with his cousins at our house): "So, Charlie, did you and Asa play much together ?"

Charlie, thoughtfully: "Umm, no. Asa, he kinda does his own thing..."

(Asa's mom confirms this father, like son...)

Asa Raines Morecraft, age 3

Still my fav video of all times: Asa and Izalou sing 'The Lord's Prayer' together at ages three and one.

8. Favorite person in 2010: Guess ... yep, you got hero-husband, Joe. His preaching through the Psalms in the a.m. and Romans in the afternoon on Sundays is my life-breath, my meat, my drink. Thank you, Lord, for my husband. He struggles with physical challenges every day, and yet, every day he devotes his entire being to furthering the kingdom of His Lord on earth. May God be praised for the victory we know is sure in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here's a recent sample of the treat we at Chalcedon Presbyterian Church are privileged to enjoy each Lord's Day. This one is based on Psalm 98: "Joy to the World."


9. The Phillips and Morecraft families grew even closer this year as we enjoyed conferences, visits in each other's homes and many trips together. Very special friends...

Doug, Beall, Faith and Honor in Edinburgh, listening to Joe speak

Doug and Becky singing loudly at The Baby Conference

10. Finally, my last 'high' was also mixed with several 'lows' -- losing dear friends to Heaven's glory. Their joy is unspeakable and full of glory. Our loss -- immeasurable.

My new year's resolve: To pray for others and for Christ's kingdom to 'come on earth as it is in Heaven' more than my own selfish desires in 2011.

Blessings on all of you in the new year, dear friends. If you get to glory before I do...keep my spot warm.

One small unfulfilled wish for the year:

A parting shot:

Thank you, Bertha Jean.

Here's a suggestion for a calendar with grammatical helps: