Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life as I Knew it

“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed my heritage is beautiful to me.”
Psalms 16:6

I had a very different childhood from many of you who may be reading my blog. I was born in Nigeria, West Africa in the late 1950’s (yes, I’m that old, and I’m ok with it.) My memories of life in Africa are filled with running barefoot on warm (hot) days, the smell of the tropical rains, strange animals (that didn’t seem so strange at the time), and people with an assortment of skin colors pouring their love on me. Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me!

The Secret of my Birth

The village I was born in is called Joinkrama. It is located in what was then the Eastern Region of Nigeria but is today called “Rivers State”; in the Niger River delta. Joinkrama was a tiny place across the river from Port Harcourt – a crocodile infested river. In order to get to Joinkrama, my parents crossed the river with their two small children and all their belongings on a thatched roof pontoon type boat, somewhat like the boats at Disney World’s “Jungle Cruise’ except of course, the boat my parents was on, was wooden instead of aluminum (or whatever metal the Disney ride is made of) and the animals and danger in this river were real!

My father was a medical doctor and my mother was a registered nurse. Together they staffed a small mission hospital with my father as the only doctor there. Joinkrama is located in the small part of Nigeria that is in the tropical rain forest. It is an area of jungles. There were monkeys swinging in the trees outside of my house, elephants that occasionally tromped close enough to the village to be a danger to the villagers, and crocodiles in the river. The buildings were raised, for the occasions when the river overflowed its banks. It was in this remote part of the African jungle that I was born.

There are two stories about my birth…
One story has it that when my mother went in labor with me, she walked down a little jungle path to the hospital with my brother and sister in tow. According to this story, my father delivered me at the hospital once my mother arrived and then sent us back to convalesce at home. My mother was sent home on a stretcher carried by four men. She had me in her arms. Seeing us carried in this manner, the villagers assumed we had both died and began to weep and wail! One of the men alerted my mother to the situation and she quickly sat up, smiled, and waved so the people could see she was alive. Then, she lifted me up for them to see as well. The people’s weeping turned into dancing (literally) and they followed us home in a joyful procession! –that’s one story.

But my dad told me the real story when I was a little girl.
My dad told me that the stork was on his way to London, England –to Buckingham palace carrying in his beak the newest member of the royal family – a little princess (me) but unfortunately, he developed the hiccups, just as he was flying in the airspace above Joinkrama. …I don’t know where the stork lives, but apparently to get to London, it involves a trip over the Niger River delta. Well, overcome by one giant hiccup, the stork did something he had never done before – he dropped his bundle!

My father told me that he just happened to be walking home down that little jungle path when a bundle fell to the ground right in front of him! He said he knew immediately what had happened! …Now, my father never explained just how he knew all about the royal family, the stork’s hiccups, and all of that – but my father is a man of integrity so I never doubted his story!
“So you see” my father would conclude, “You are really a princess!”

….you can decide which story you want to believe, but I know the truth… I know I’m a princess!!

According to the Bible, I really am a princess!! I am a child of the King!

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-18

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Through My Kitchen Window

“…they are seeking a homeland. They aspire to a better land – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
Hebrews 11:14-16 (HCSB)

We are seeking a homeland – a better one than the one we have on earth; a heavenly one. But until then, I will have to settle for the world as I see it through my kitchen window.

It’s Valentine’s again

So it’s Valentine’s Day again; the day we celebrate love. In particular, we are celebrating the love between two people – a man and a woman. However, there are some who do not have a love interest in their life on this day.
My niece is a lawyer now but she has an undergraduate degree in drama and she can be quite funny. A few years ago I was privileged to be around her on Valentine’s Day as she complained of being alone on that day. She went into a funny impromptu monologue. She compared Valentine’s Day to a really bad audition. She explained, “You know how when you go to an audition, you walk into a room full of people who also want the part you are hoping to get. But in a regular audition, you know that everyone in this crowded room is going to go home empty handed except for one. Only one person will be cast and everyone else will be disappointed. Valentine’s Day on the other hand is like a really bad audition! In this audition, everyone in the crowded room is hoping for a card, or candy, or flowers but in this audition, four out of every five will win!! And there you are ...among the minority who doesn’t get a card, candy, or flowers. You watch as the names of nearly everyone around you is called. But no, in the end you find out that you are part of the group that goes home empty handed.”
This may sound sad but it was funny at the time. My niece was being melodramatic in her own impromptu comic routine and her audience loved it! Yet, despite the humor, I think of her words every Valentine’s Day. There is a poignant truth in them. So, this year I want to remind all those whose name wasn’t called in the really bad audition called Valentine’s Day that you do have a love. His name is Jesus and he is the lover of your soul. What he gives you is much better than cards, candy, or flowers. He gives you His everything. He purchased you for Himself with His blood.

Isaiah 38:17 says, “…but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.” (KJV)

And for all the rest of us (I include my self in this as I have been married to a wonderful man for over 30 yrs) …Happy Valentine’s Day! To this group, I say “Don’t forget the One who loves you most!”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

“Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul.”
Psalms 66:16 (NAS)

…and oh! What He has done for my soul!!

When the Psalmist penned this verse, he penned one of the most beautiful verses in scripture. The verse is addressed to “all who fear God”. They are the ones who will be able to truly appreciate what God has done for a soul, because they have a story too - God has done something for their soul too. This blog is my story of what God has done for my soul and like the Psalmist, I invite all who fear God to come and hear (or in this case, read) what God has done for my soul.

I am a freelance Christian writer. I have written some as of yet unpublished manuscripts as well as smaller published pieces. My work either has been or will be in the following publications; “The Lookout”, “The Secret Place”, Southern Seminary women's devotional book to be published fall of 2010, and “Love is a Flame” to be released soon by Bethany House. In addition, publications that are currently holding some of my work for further consideration include, “Parent Life”, “The Christian Journal”, and “The Upper Room”.

My blog will have several different topics that I may write about including, Life as I knew it - stories from my childhood,
Through My Kitchen Window - current topics,
Those who Fear God -stories of believers,
The Two Edged Sword - thoughts on scripture,
Confessions of a Prayer Warrior - prayer,
A Cheery Countenance - humor,
The quotable Susan -inspiring quotes
…and any other topic that may come to mind as the days roll on; that’s the nice thing about a blog, it can change as I need it to.