Thursday, September 3, 2020
As a precocious nine-year-old with four siblings, I didn't have to look very far to find interesting and challenging things to occupy my time. Growing up several miles outside a small town was inspiration enough, but a deep woods, a two-story garage, and an old rock crusher made intriguing options endless.
Our property had four structures on it, but the one that kept me enthralled was the two-story garage. The highest point of the roof served as my throne. I had a precarious way of climbing the three roofs that took me there. To an adventurous nine-year-old fear was just a word, and after all, I was a brave and fearless queen. I would sit on my throne and survey my kingdom, which consisted of neighboring houses dotting the landscape. My subjects were mostly cows, chickens, dogs, or anything that moved. Every now and then a human would drift into my fantasy, but as long as, it wasn't my mama no threat was imposed upon my royal perch.
One lovely day in early Spring, I decided to coerce my baby sister, Judi, who had just turned three, to come up to the throne with me. It took a while, but I finally convinced her. She obviously had misplaced faith in her older sister. With my help, Judi scaled the roofs with no problem. That afternoon we enjoyed the comings and goings of my fine kingdom. All went so well, we were anxious for the next day's adventure.
Again we scaled the roofs without incidence. Thank goodness mama believed in prayer. The sights we shared that day were especially interesting. Mrs. Ennmon chased a goat from her yard, and Billy Leonard got a spanking. We didn't know why Billy got a spanking, but we were delighted. Billy was a bit of a nuisance for a queen and her court. Mr. Gipson's lawn mower broke, and the curse words floating up to us came through loud and clear. That made us giggle, so we said the words over and over. In queenly fashion, I forbade Judi to repeat those words once we left the throne, and promised her that she would be my princess. I made sure she understood the dire consequences of saying them in front of mama.
It was a wonderful day. A cornflower sky was filled with a few sugar-spun fairy clouds that guarded our village and danced around teasing the sun. A nice breeze cooled our faces and caused our hair to slip free of braids. We were having such a good time, and then it happened!
Mama stood below staring up with a strange look on her face. I wasn't sure exactly what that look meant, but it made me glad she didn't know about the horse I rode sometimes or that old abandoned rock crusher in the woods behind our house. If I were lucky, she wouldn't find out about the grapevines either.
Mama coaxed us down very calmly in a surgery sweet voice. That should have been my first clue that this discovery did not bode well for me. She had a serene expression on her face until we were inside. I think I would have preferred a spanking like Billy got rather than the disappointment on my mother's face and a very long
Mama gave us strict orders to never go to the roof again. My kingdom had collapsed, and I was devastated. My world had come to an end. In my nine-year-old mind, my grief lasted for a very long time. I thought my heart was permanently broken, until the next morning when I discovered how much fun it was to jump out of the upstairs window.
Friday, August 28, 2020
An Attitude Adjustment
TODAY'S s SCRIPTURE:: John 8:2-11
TODAY'S VERSE: So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
“Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.” —William Shakespeare
I have a friend whose life is in constant turmoil, and though I can sympathize with her it is extremely hard to remain patient. She is quick to judge others for the smallest infraction; she loses her temper and doesn't realize that she is guilty of the same actions. I told myself that I was not judging her; I was only observing, but when I gave up judging others for lent, I realized that I was not observing, but was indeed being self-righteous and judgmental. After much prayer and soul searching, God gave me a new approach with my friend. I began to gently suggest scripture to her. With a changed attitude, I became better able to properly witness to my friend, and she became more receptive.
By being self-righteously judgmental, I closed channels of sharing the word with my friend and may have hindered her from seeking God. We do not have to judge, because God does that for us. When we judge others we are placing ourselves in danger of being judged in the same manner that we judge. Only God is superior and righteous enough to judge, therefore, seek to find the best in everyone as Jesus did
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ―C. S. Lewis
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Today's Scripture: 1 Peter 2
Today's Bible Verse: 1 Peter 2:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
What does the phrase, a peculiar people mean? Does it mean that Christians are strange or weird? I heard someone ask this question, and I decided to do some research on the matter. This is a simplified explanation of what I found:
If you look up the word peculiar in the dictionary, these are some of the meanings: Strange, odd, queer, uncommon, unusual distinctive in nature or character from others. This is an older meaning of the word: belonging exclusively to some person, group, or thing.
The passage using the word peculiar can be found in the King James Version, New American Standard and New International translations. Peculiar was commonly used, long ago, to describe people belonging to something or someone, such as subjects to a King. In other translations of the Bible, it is translated as a people belonging to God. The older meaning of the word is still in the dictionary but is rarely ever used in that manner.
We are a people possessed by God, and as such, we are expected to grow and mature in our faith. It is our responsibility to tell others about Jesus, and guide them toward the faith. We no longer belong to anyone or anything but God. Whether Jew or Gentile, black or white, yellow or red, Christians, are chosen, called and faithful servants of God.
After my research on this phrase, I came to this conclusion, if belonging to God makes me peculiar by any definition, then I am delighted to be peculiar. Another conclusion was that God loves all people whether we be black, white, yellow or red.
PRAYER: Lord, we thank you for loving all of us. We ask that we may be more tolerant and loving toward each other in speech and action. In our Savior and your Son’s name, amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Matthew 7:12. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Monday, June 15, 2020
While driving down a country backroad, I came across an old abandoned barn. It sat in varying stages of decay. I pulled off the road and allowed myself the luxury of imagining how it would feel to be left out in the elements with no one to make repairs or care about my well being. It was obvious that at one time this barn had been well kept, and was very useful to its owner. It made me sad, but, at the same time, I was reminded of God's presence He does not abandon us, but it is up to us to make the necessary repairs that keep us useful to our Heavenly Father. We can have a better physical, mental, and emotional condition by having daily contact with our awesome God.. Reading the word, and making time to be in His presence assures us that He is with us to the end of time, so we will never be alone.
Thought for the day: • “No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you.” Franklin Graham
Hebrews 13:5 and (NKJV)
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Prayer: Awesome and Holy Father, thank you for being faithful,
and never forsaking us. Help us to seek you, and follow your example of faithfulness. We pray in the name of your Son and our Savior, amen.
Saturday, May 30, 2020
Never too Late for Love
Several years ago, I worked for a mortgage company. The phone rang; it was my turn to answer it. “Thank you for calling Chitwood Mortgage,” I said in my most cheerful, smiling voice. A very masculine voice replied: “Thank you for answering.” His voice got my attention immediately. I straightened up and began taking down information to start the loan process. For some silly reason, I didn’t understand, his voice gave me a slight shiver.
When I hung up the phone, I told my co-workers I had just taken the coolest application. Then, I Informed them that I might marry the man. Everyone thought that was funny and we all had a good laugh. The loan progressed in the usual manner; I had the good fortune to be the person who always collected necessary documents from the applicant.
I began to think about Walt (that was his name), and reached the decision to call him and ask him out. I was in my middle sixties, and asking a man out was not in keeping with my southern upbringing. I told the girls I worked with about my plan and was informed that calling him was a conflict of interest. Oops, no problem, I would have to wait until we closed the loan.
So, I waited! The loan was closed and I made the phone call. We went to dinner on Friday evening. We had a lovely meal and chatted until the waitress was tired of refilling our glasses. He took me home, walked me to the door, and said he would be in touch. All the next two weeks, I waited for a phone call, but none came. I was confused! Did I just imagine that we had a good time and got on well with each other?
I’m sorry to say that I actually chased this man until he caught me. I went shopping at the new pharmacy, where he was manager, When I walked in, he saw me and came over to say hello. I asked him if he could help me find a few things and handed him my list. He read the items out loud: lotion, toothpaste,
body wash, and WALTER. He looked down at me: “WALTER?” He said with the cutest grin. I looked at him and smiled. After that day we became an item, but the best was yet to come.
A few months later, he invited me to go with him to a Christmas toy drive for kids. Each person was to bring a toy. He told me not to pick up one, as he had already purchased one for me. When we arrived at the drop off for the toys, he opened his trunk and it was bursting at the seams with toys. I fell madly in love at that moment. We were married three months later, and we have been blessed with our “Happy ever after” for twelve years now.
Published: VVV Magazine February 2020
Sunday, March 15, 2020
CHRISTIAN POETS AND WRITERS Interview with Christian poet and creative writer Nellie Leverette Wasilewski, by: Mary Harwell Sayler, Founder
Nellie, first I want to congratulate you on having poetry published recently in such fine literary e-zines as Haiku Journal, The Barefoot Review, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, and 50 Haikus – super!
Now I know you started writing as a child in Marshall County, TN, but tell us when you realized you wanted to be a writer.
I really don't know the answer to that question. I think I spoke poetry before I could write it. I had a vivid imagination as a child and almost anything could turn into a story, a poem, or a play. I used to perform for my family and make up the play as I went. I think it has always been there, a special blessing from God.
Definitely! Does the Bible affect your writing projects and/or your writing life?
The Bible is mostly poetry and beautiful to read. I have to constantly rely on scripture to guide me in my writing. Jeremiah 29:11 is a guiding light for me. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I try not to be apprehensive or anxious about my writing, and this particular scripture keeps me on track. I believe that whatever the Lord's plans are will be revealed to me in God’s time.
Good thoughts for Christian poets and writers to hear too! Thanks. What other suggestions would you like to offer?
Don't stop writing! Try to write about the things you love. After you write a piece, put it out of sight for a while, and then go back and read it aloud, edit, and revise. (I believe I heard that from you.) Pray before you start a new work, pray while you are writing it, and pray when you finish it. Turn it over to the Lord while you search for publishers and trust that it will end up in the right place, whether it is with a publisher or simply someone who will profit from your writing.
Excellent attitude! What else encourages you to keep writing?
Upon retirement, my boss ask me what I planned to do with all that free time, and I told her I planned to write and maybe try to get some of my work published. It was a fleeting thought, not something I actually planned on too much. I am a firm believer that God sends us the right person at the right time to tell us what we need to hear. Mary, you were that person for me. When I said I didn't think so, you believed that I could. I joined the Christian Poets and Writers group on Facebook and began to feel more comfortable with the literary world. Also, I am a huge fan of God’s canvas, and I love nature. There is nothing more beautiful than a natural waterfall.
The beauties and rhythms of nature often inspire me too, but I keep wondering how we can bring this into the church. In what ways do you think our writings can help to strengthen the church Body of Christ?
Recently, I was in the hospital family waiting room and overheard a lady on the phone crying and in much distress. We prayed together and as the morning stretched into early evening, I read her one of my poems. She told me it was exactly what she needed to hear, and it made her feel better. You never know what simple thing, such as a poem, may touch someone. That is the second time recently I have had that happen. If only a few people can find peace in my poetry or devotionals, then I am doing what I am supposed to do.
What a wonderful way to make a difference and bring healing one-on-one, Nellie! Hmmm, come to think of it, that's also how Jesus approached people - as individuals. What do you hope your writing will accomplish in general?
Make people happy, or in some small way, give them peace, hope, and encouragement. My goal is to bring people closer to Jesus Christ by writing about everyday things with which they can identify. When I worked with the public, I answered the phone with a smile, and it reflected in my voice. I try to write with a smile in my devotionals and hope that smile reflects in my work. The main thing is to edify the Lord in word and in deed.
You certainly do that, Nellie! Thank you for helping us to do that too. God bless.
© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler, interviewer
Posted by Mary Harwell Sayler at 12:26 PM
Labels: Christian poet, Christian writer, creative writing, haiku poetry, Marshall County TN, Nellie Leverette, Nells Wasilewski
Friday, March 8, 2019
- When I was a young mother, I used to drag race at a track in Huntsville, Alabama, I have to admit that I loved the thrill of it all. Something seemed to change gears in me as I changed the gears of the car. The focus was on the track and knowing exactly when to shift gears. At the speed I was traveling, I could not worry about the car running next to me, to do so could have been fatal. I was top eliminator every week, and I was quite sure that nothing could ever be as exciting as that feeling. But, something happened. I was just out of the starting gate and I saw, in my peripheral vision, a child running toward the track. That child was mine!
I stopped my car in the middle of the track. It was then that I realized, my baby could have never reached the track, because the fence guarding the spectators was too high. I sat there until I could compose myself and slowly drove my car car off the tracks.
Something happened to me that day, I lost the race, but something greater took place - I grew up in that moment, and I knew then my racing days were over. I was so thankful that my daughter was unharmed. She had been running to the fence to see the race better.
Years later when I gave my life to God. I looked back at that day with no regrets, and I realized that something more wonderful and exciting had certainly taken place in my life. Living a life of service and working for the Father has been a most exciting journey. I belonged to the Lord long before I knew it, and He had always watched over me. Thank you, Jesus
Thought for the Day: Psalm 121:8 - The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Scripture for Today: 1 Samuel 18: 1- 4 (NIV)
Verse for Today: 1Samuel 18-1 NIV After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.
Thought for the Day: And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
— C. Austin Miles
A saying that goes around on social media declares that good friends don't have to talk or see one another to remain best friends. How can you remain close to a person that you never speak with or see? The truth is you will grow apart, and become distant acquaintances. Best friends are different because you know everything about them and share in all their hopes and dreams from day to day.
In my relationship with God, if I should go long periods without speaking with Him or reading my Bible, we will grow apart. I can only remain close to God through prayer, and the reading of His word. He already knows everything about me, and I have an insatiable desire to know about Him. By reading my Bible, I am learning the ways of my best friend, and when I spend time with Him, I have confidence that He will listen to me and respond. I thank Him for the little things He does for me, I tell Him my troubles, and I celebrate my successes with Him. Close contact is essential for any friendship, and I honor my friendship with God by focusing on Him daily.
Prayer: Holy Father, help us to honor all of our friendships. Teach us your ways so that our friendship with you becomes an unbreakable bond. We pray in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Acts 3:19 (NIV) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
Thought for the Day: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Lake Superior is a cold, deep, unforgiving and unwelcoming body of water. The lake's average depth is 483 feet and its length is 350 miles and empties into the St, Mary's River. These figures are daunting. The characteristics of the lake remind me of an unforgiving spirit. Those traits are as cold, deep, unforgiving and long as Lake Superior.
Praise the Lord, we have a Savior Who is just as deep and wide as Lake Superior; however, that is where the similarities end. Jesus is bigger than any cold dark lake. He is warm, forgiving and welcoming. His love is never-ending. When we empty our hearts to The Lord, read the Bible and follow His commands, we will be able to forgive each other as He has forgiven us.
Prayer: Almighty God, Let us learn to be forgiving as we are forgiven by You. Teach us to walk in the footsteps of the One who died, on the cross, for our forgiveness. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Years have stretched
and gone since these
hallowed halls were trodden.
Each future was planned
contingent on circumstances
that dictated the outcome.
No one ever dreamed that
one day doors would close,
lights would dim forever,
locks would click, and the
building would stand forlorn.
I imagine standing in the
vestibule, hearing faint
sounds of laughter and
Time passes, life moves
on, but love and a special
bond brings us back time
and again to this place
where we grew, shared
dreams and hoped for the
future. Alas, we must
admit that we too have
We come together in
reunion, those feelings
shared so long ago come
in a rush to remind us—
some things never change.
Evening progresses into
night. and among nebulous
shadows of youth, a sagging
gate with rusted hinges
swings shut on vibrant
memories of yesteryear.