Tag Archives: children

One Little Shoe

IMG_0168We were going camping with our two young teenage children. So we went to Sears to buy a new tent. It was when we unfolded the tent in our rec room that we found the shoe.

The tent had been folded tightly to fit into its bag. All the way inside was this little, and I mean very little, blue tennis shoe. It was a well-worn blue shoe. The sole was worn almost through. The four of us caught our breaths when we saw it. It was as if suddenly before us we could see the family who had worked making this tent. A family in Korea whose living, probably, depended on what they made from creating tents to be shipped to America.

At least one member of that family we could very well visualize. A small dark-haired child playing about as his/her parents worked. The little one could walk. This shoe appeared to have walked and run, pivoted, danced, whirled all about. In fact, it was so well worn it might have been worn by more than one child. It might have been the hand-me-down from an older sibling who, by then, was also helping make the tent.

What should I do with this little shoe? I laid it down and became involved in packing for vacation.

We did go camping. We made a lot of memories. Some might not have seemed like the ones you’d want to save,  like: “Are we almost there?” “There’s something black and white eating our eggs.” “Wake up. I think we’re floating.” But there were the swimming times, the discoveries of star fish and hermit crabs and even baby octopus. And there were stories in the dark and castles in the sand and throwing Frisbees and eating ice cream. Lots of laughter and teasing.

When we got home, there, on top of the television was the little blue shoe.

Should I just throw it away? It could not return to its owner who probably now had outgrown it anyway. And what good could one little shoe be to us? Even if we’d had a child that small.

But my heart was drawn toward this little child in Korea who had lost his shoe. I couldn’t throw it away. It kind of drifted from one spot to another, atop the bookcase, on a low table, on the mantel, here and there. I decided I would pray for the child who’d worn that shoe. I wasn’t very consistent but over the years I continued to stop every now and then, handle the little shoe and say a prayer.

When we moved four years ago I again had to make a decision whether or not to save the little blue shoe. I couldn’t discard it so here it is perched in front of some books in our den. Our children are grown with children of their own. That little child is grown, I hope, with children, too. I’ll never know what his life has been like, what kinds of troubles he’s faced, what dreams she had and whether they’ve come true or been forgotten. And he or she will never know that in America someone was praying for them. I pray that the one who wore that shoe now knows Jesus and is walking in His steps.

I know you’re expecting some kind of touching end to this story and I don’t have one. It isn’t ended yet. I still have the shoe and I’m still praying.

Watching the Korean children perform so beautifully during the Olympics, my eyes went to the corner where the little blue shoe sat, empty and still. I could just imagine a little child, the owner of that shoe, growing up–dancing, singing, skating, flying across the ice.

God knows all about the owner of the little blue tennis shoe.

 

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Cooking With Charli

There’s nothing much more fun, nor, on occasion, messier, than cooking with a grandchild. The following recipe, however, is not one to require a mop-up afterwards and is very rewarding. Charli, who is three and a half, helped me make these muffins this week. It helped that her brother Kaison (2) was taking a nap at the time!

Charli’s mother, Amanda, my granddaughter, started cooking with me at age six months. She was often with me for long spells because her mother wasn’t well–and because I loved having her with me! I would set her on the kitchen counter while I mixed and rolled and stirred. By the time she was five years old, she was trying to teach me! Her mom and her uncle Will always helped me make cookies at Christmas. One year we even made a gingerbread church. It was lovely, so lovely we wanted to save it until the next year. So we placed it carefully in a garbage bag along with moth balls, tied it securely, and set it up in the attic. But when we attemped to retrieve it, the garbage bag was empty, standing like a black castle with only one hole at ground level. There were no crumbs or any evidence at all!

But back to my great-granddaughter Charli–she was wearing a cute little skirted top over tight pants the day we cooked. Her light brown hair was in a ponytail. By the time I finished telling her that she and I were making muffins, she had pulled the step stool to the counter. “What can I do?” she asked.

I set her to work rolling refrigerated biscuits one at a time to 5″ diameter. I have an ancient plastic pastry sheet that has shapes and sizes to go by. That made it really fun for her! As she finished each 5″ circle, I would snug it down into a greased muffin tin.

By the time Charli finished rolling the dough, I had scrambled a pound of hamburger and added to it in a small bowl ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and chili powder, all of which Charli gleefully stirred. Stirring is one of her favorite things to do!

I spooned the hamburger mixture into the biscuits-turned-muffins. Charli wanted to do that but I have my limits. She sprinkled grated cheese on top of each completed muffin before I slid the tins into the oven. Kaison was awake by the time the muffins were done and got in on the eating. He liked the inside part, picking it out, one messy bite at a time. Charli ate the outside of hers, leaving the filling on her plate!

We declared the whole process a great success, especially when Grandaddy came in for lunch and ate two whole muffins with great gusto!

Cooking with children is so well worth the time and mess! They learn how to measure, how to judge amounts by eying, how to cooperate and to tell the difference between stirring, shaking, and sprinkling. They love experiencing the smells, textures, and, of course, tastes. Plus, this cooking scene is a marvelous setting for spontaneous conversations. The laughter and cameraderie are priceless. And the children learn responsibility. Because, you know, clean up is part of any cooking job!

Here’s our recipe:

BARBECUE MUFFINS

1 tube (10 oz.) refrigerator biscuits

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (put less if your child doesn’t like hot)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Flatten 10 biscuits into 5 inch circles. Press each into bottom and sides of greased muffin cups. Set aside. In a skillet, brown ground beef and drain. In small bowl mix ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar and chili powder. Stir until smooth. Add to meat mixture and mix well. Divide meat mixture into 10 biscuit cups. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Cool five minutes before removing from cups.

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Holy Sandpaper from Habbakuk

 

One of the things I delight in doing is writing devotionals. I may have mentioned earlier in this blog that I am writing a devotional based on scripture from each book of the Bible. The title of the work as a whole is “Holy Sandpaper,” a title I’ve taken from my dear pastor’s wife Lindsey who used that title for a women’s prayer retreat she led one Saturday. She gave me permission to use it, by the way! The theme is that God loves us so much He spends a lot of time polishing us for the future jobs He plans for us. Whether or not He plans hard times for us, He uses them when they come, for our good and for His glory. Many of the devotionals were written concerning a “holy sandpaper” season in my life or that of someone close to me. However, today’s devotional, using Habbakuk 2:20, is not one of those.

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The verse is Habbakuk 2:20: “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”

I can easily spin myself back in time to a routine Sunday morning at Clarkesville Baptist Church. Choir members in short white robes with very big sleeves are singing reverently with ascending and descending dynamics, “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence, let all the earth keep silence before him.” Some siblings in our awesome troop of Knight children (somewhere between five and seven of the ten of us at that time) liked to make fun of one or two in the choir (on the way home, that is!). One who caught our attention was a tall thin, almost bald gentleman who had a distinctive nose and sang through it heartily and with vigor. But though we found humor in the choir’s rendition, the message was not lost on me.

God was in His holy temple and all the earth should keep silence. I didn’t really study about what all that might mean. It seemed obvious at the time. God was on His throne and the earth should worship Him. It was that simple. I might not have been too sure of what worship meant then. It was a forced quiet time (no giggling or passing of notes!) heavy with the scent of candles and pew wax and decorated with fancy hats and white gloves.

Now, many years later, after children, grandchildren, deaths, weddings, disappointments, victories, a parade of presidents, world shattering tragedies and refreshing realizations–now more than ever I hear this message like the clear note of a silver bell. Only now it’s even simpler: God is holy; I am not.

God in His holiness made provision for me to be covered with a mantle of purity paid for by Jesus’ blood. In many, many scripture passages we’re encouraged to sing praises for what God has done for us, to shout and play instruments and publish His good news. But there are times when we all need to hush, keep silent, and just know that He is God.

Lord, we’re bowing before You and we’re trying to listen, trying to close out all the chatter and distractions and just listen. We want to hear You and we want to obey Your commands. Help us in our quest, we pray. Amen.

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March 21, 2014 · 1:47 pm