House Ghosts

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. 
 Image credit: “love don’t live here anymore” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

I came upon the old house in the field almost by surprise.  I was hiking through an empty cotton field, letting my bare feet sink into the soft rows of hot, dry soil to the dampness underneath just as I did as a child with my cousins.  We loved playing in the hot cotton fields before the little sprouts of cotton came up and cracked the soft rows of furrowed soil in a million different directions. I loved those times playing at my aunt’s farm in the fields.  There was so much to do and see and a million possibilities for make believe adventures.  I was just remembering the big wooden cotton trailers we used to climb around in and the old small shacks that housed large farming implements when I came within a foot of the red brick wall ahead of me before seeing it.

I felt a chill come out of the empty front door and realized the same chill was drifting down from the open windows on either side of the door.  In 102 degree heat, feeling any kind of chill was just plain spooky.  The fact that it was oozing out of this old abandoned red brick house struck a shiver down my spine.  I had been in dozens of these types of houses as a child, some abandoned, some not.  My cousins and I weren’t supposed to ever go near one of these abandoned houses, but we felt if we were careful and didn’t get hurt, what difference did it make?  Ok, I felt that way and since I was the only girl among a group of boys, if I went into spooky places, they followed along.  No girl was ever going to do more than they were!  It wouldn’t be fitting at all!  It’s funny, but as a wee girl growing up, I bounded into houses like this with no fear at all.  I was girl, I was invincible, I was…stupid sometimes, but we sure did have a lot of fun!  Now, standing in front of this old house in the heat with chilled air coming from inside it, I must admit my heart trembled.  What was this feeling of caution and trepidation?  Was it because I had lost my childish sense of adventure or was there another cause?

Taking a deep breath and saying a little prayer, I stepped over the threshold into the house.  The entire house creaked…not the floor but the whole house!  Dust and cobwebs floated down from the ceiling, or what passed as a ceiling.  There were huge gaping holes in the ceiling where the years had worn their way through.  Sunbeams shone through the holes and dust motes were clearly visible.  At least I thought  they were dust motes! As I stared at the floating motes I suddenly perceived a shape forming.  It was a woman in a long, old-fashioned dress, her hair in a prairie bun and a bitter slash of a mouth.  Where her eyes should be I only saw dark spots with pinpoints of light.  Lord!  Was I having a sunstroke or just losing my mind?  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and slowly re-opened my eyes.  She was still there and had been joined by a little boy in old overalls full of patches.  He was grinning.  Good grief!  I really was losing my mind!  I’ve always been accused of having an overactive imagination, but this was right round the bend.

I’ve often wished, going through old houses and buildings that the walls could talk and tell their stories.  Had I conjured these shapes of people from that deep secret desire?  I was feeling a little lightheaded, but was afraid to close my eyes again.  Ok, I was terrified of closing my eyes and something awful happening to me.  I opened my eyes wider and pulled out my water bottle.  Maybe if I drank some water, my flights of insanity would abate.  As I took a deep swallow of water, the air became more chilled.  I slowly looked up and the shapes were staring at the water longingly, desperately and they were moving closer!  That’s when I noticed the frost on the walls and the floor forming.  I backed up.  The shapes came closer.  I started to scream, threw the water bottle at the shapes and tried to turn around and run back out the door…

“Honey, are you okay?  I’ve been looking all over for you!  You look awfully pale.”  My husband was kneeling beside me.  I was all tangled up in myself.  My legs looked like pretzels and felt like jelly.  I started to sit up, but Alan said to stay put while I drank some water.  “What in the world happened?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost!  I was looking everywhere for you when Buddy came running back, having a fit.  I’ve never seen him so agitated!  He led me over here to this old stack of wood and bricks.  Must have been a house at some point, but not much of it is left.”  I sank back on the hot, soft Texas dirt of a cotton field, staring at the house that once was.  I’ve always wondered, did I have a sunstroke or did I really see ghosts in the house that was no more?  I guess I’ll never know…

 

I was given the photo above as inspiration and decided to write a little short story with it.   I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Beginning of the Dream

Do you have a dream?
The hard part is beginning.
Then comes…the beauty.

Don’t be afraid to begin your dream!

I have to admit, my least favorite part of any project or dream pursuit is the beginning. Getting my footing, or rhythm, is always a little rocky. I’m unsure of myself, whether the dream or project is too big for me or silly or even something I should be doing at all. Certainly I can offer nothing new, worthwhile, or beautiful, right? But, if it’s an idea or dream that won’t let me go, I have to try! So, I begin. The first rows of knitting or crocheting or the first lines of a poem or story are always scary and awkward. After a little while, though, the rhythm is set, the pattern is known, and the words come more freely. Elation is my reward, and yours, for pursuing a dream!

Dreamy Lace Baby Throw, Lion Brand Pound of Love, Honey Bee
A small dream for a newborn life…

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Fulfilling Our Calling

This is from my devotional reading today. It comes from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Calling.”

Is He Really My Lord?

Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it—to consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry. Knowing that you have done what Jesus sent you to do, think how satisfying it will be to hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Savior. And we must be willing to experience the full impact of Acts 9:16—“I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

“Do you love Me?” Then, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17). He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is not the same as the call—the need is the opportunity to exercise the call. The call is to be faithful to the ministry you received when you were in true fellowship with Him. This does not imply that there is a whole series of differing ministries marked out for you. It does mean that you must be sensitive to what God has called you to do, and this may sometimes require ignoring demands for service in other areas.

O Lord, I beseech You for sustaining strength and simple joy. Keep me humble-minded in motive and design that nothing of the superior person may be mine.

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