Vintage Valerie: Vacation 2008 Finale

I’m not sure why I didn’t share these photos of the last leg of our 2008 vacation when I shared all the others. I think I just got bored with writing about the trip, or maybe it was taking me too long. Anyway, I recently connected on Twitter with a friend of my brother’s, and someone I knew when I was about nine years old, Pastor Dolton Robertson. He now lives in Alabama and I mentioned on Twitter that I had been to Helen Keller’s home which is located in Tuscumbia, Alabama. We passed through there on our way home from visiting my sister in North Carolina just to see this historic site. It really meant a great deal to me since I had spent many happy summers listening to my mother read The Story of Helen Keller . Mom always got choked up when we got to the part where Helen finally understood that the words being spelled out in her hand represented things. W-A-T-E-R was the cool, wet thing she felt coming out of the pump as her teacher spelled the word into her hand. It was the moment that turned Helen from a wild, animal-like child to a civilized human being. In a way, she received sight that day, because the darkness in her mind was suddenly taken away and she was connected to the world in which she had previously only been existing. She went on to attend college, graduate, and live an active and inspirational life despite her blindness and deafness. If you are ever in the area, and assuming you love history (and why shouldn’t you?), you should stop by this lovely home and learn about Helen Keller. On a side note, Dolton recommended a restaurant called the Woodpecker Cafe in Florence, Alabama, which I’d like to try if I’m ever back in the Heart of Dixie.

So, after eight years, here is the finale to our 2008 vacation, our trip to Ivy Green:

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Mitchell was so little eight years ago…well, all the kids were!

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The dining room where Miss Sullivan wrestled Helen for control of her very strong will.

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I don’t know if this picture adequately expresses what I was feeling! I was so excited to see something in person that I had imagined so many times in my childhood. I only wish my mom could have been with me, since she is the reason I know anything about Helen Keller.

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Lauren, age 8.

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Mitchell, age 5.

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Leslie, age 3.

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Laci, age 1 1/2.

I now own the well-worn and well-loved copy of Lorena A. Hickok’s book that Mother read to me. I have read it to my own children, even before we took this trip, but they were all pretty young.

I think I should pull it out one more time.

With love,

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Vintage Valerie: Easter 2007

In honor of Resurrection Sunday, I thought I’d throw it back to Easter of 2007, when we lived in Burnet, Texas. My Lauren was eight, Mitch was five, Leslie was almost two and Laci was only a few months old. I’m not sure why I didn’t get a photo of the whole family, but I didn’t. It probably had something to do with having an infant and a toddler and being completely exhausted. I do remember that I loved the dress that Lauren was wearing. I got it for just a few dollars thanks to some gift cards and a huge sale.

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They were so little! It’s hard to believe that Lauren goes to Driver’s Ed. soon, and Mitchell is taller than I am now. I am so thankful for these precious memories.

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Vintage Valerie: The Glass Cake Plate

This week, I broke a lovely glass cake plate that I have had since our wedding shower, in 1997. Mrs. Leah Collins and Mrs. Tanya Croy organized the shower that my church hosted for me. The cake plate was a table centerpiece decorated to look like an ice bucket, holding bottles of “wine” (bubble bath and bath beads). I have only four photos  of my wedding shower – that tells you about how times have changed! – and only one has the cake plate in it.

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You already know that I’m crazy-sentimental. That cake plate traveled with me far and near, to nine different houses, and five different states. I can’t count how many times I used it for us at home and for church functions. I am thankful for the possessions the Lord has given to me, because, well, HE has given them to me. Nothing is too small or too insignificant to give Him praise for. I am thankful for this gift of love from a friend so many years ago. I am thankful for the part it had in family memories. Here are two photos I have of the glass cake plate.

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Christmas Poke Cake, which I have made almost every Christmas for many years. This photo is from 2009.

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Many, MANY birthday cakes over the years. This is Matthew’s 2nd birthday, 2012.

It served its purpose well, and I now put it to rest, with a grateful heart.

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Vintage Valerie: Cute Little Leslie

While doing some digging through old photo files, I uncovered these adorable pictures of Leslie Anne. This was taken right after we moved to Hope, Arkansas, to pastor Grace Baptist church. This photo was taken on May 16, 2008, the day before Leslie’s third birthday. I loved her cute blonde bob and this Western outfit that her Grandma Basham found for her somewhere. Of course, she is a lot like me: STUBBORN. So when I asked to take a photo of her, this was the reaction I got:

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Oh well. I still love it! And I love her, no matter how saucy and stubborn she is.

She has grown a lot since this photo was taken, outside and inside. She trusted Christ as her Savior on November 21, 2014. Even before that, I saw a more tenderhearted spirit begin to blossom within her. The Lord has had to do (and is still doing) a work on my own stubborn heart. I pray He will do that same work upon Leslie – and each of our children.

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Today, Leslie is my little helper, organizer and planner. She loves to clean and play with Barbies. And when I want to take her picture, she’s a willing subject.

Thank you for reading.

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Vintage Valerie: The Man I Love

In honor of  “Throw Back Thursday”, I’d like to share some photos of the man I love. More specifically, photos of the man I love, doing what he loves – preaching. We are preparing for our Bible conference which begins tomorrow night at 7 PM (if you’re in the area, please come by!), which has me thinking a lot about ministry life. We have been involved in either part-time or full-time ministry since we were married seventeen years ago. Here is a look back at our pastoral ministry which spans the last decade:

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A very grainy photo of my young (age 25!) preacher-husband, while preaching in view of a call in Louisiana, Missouri. We didn’t get the vote, which was devastating for our little family. We had been misled by a pastor in Kansas, and were basically left high and dry. We clung to the hope that this church would be the place for us. It was not God’s will. But God never let us down, even though men did. We never missed a meal and kept a roof over our heads despite earning only $13,000 for the entire year! This was also right before my dad died suddenly.

As I look back, my heart is overwhelmed with how God has loved us, cared for us, and led us. The Lord spent so much time with us, teaching us to let go of our own desires and cling to His. God used that time in our lives for much good and I am truly grateful.

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After many years of waiting, praying and hoping, he finally became a pastor on October 11, 2005! Here he is at the pulpit of Northside Baptist Church in Burnet, Texas.

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Here we are – two very excited parents with our three children: Lauren, 6; Mitchell, 3; Leslie, 5 months. We could not have been more thrilled! A dream had come true.

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Our auditorium in Texas.

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In April of 2008, the Lord moved us to Grace Baptist Church in Hope, Arkansas. We learned so much there through many valleys, but again, God was faithful. We are a work-in-progress and want to be willing to stay on the wheel as the Potter molds and shapes us.

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Grace Baptist Church auditorium.

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Here he is today, as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Lawton, Oklahoma. As I look at the photo above, I can’t help but get a little teary-eyed. He was a great man when he began his journey ten years ago, but he’s even greater today. The Lord is purging him, refining him, making him more and more into the image of His Son.

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This verse seems appropriate to describe my husband:

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

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I love you, Terry, and I love the Gospel that you preach. I count it an honor to be a fellow-laborer in this great work. I pray we have many more years to serve the Lord together.

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Vintage Valerie: A Texas “Snow” Day

I haven’t lived anywhere that was as warm all year long as central Texas.  It was a real bummer to cook Thanksgiving dinner in 90 degree heat. The winters were mild, and, for someone who enjoys all four seasons, this was a disappointment. We didn’t really get snow, but occasionally we got sleet and ice. We’ve had a mild winter here this year, too. In fact, it’s reminding me of Texas! But today, the temperatures are low enough to give us some sleet outside – nothing like the pictures I’m sharing, but it reminded me of this exciting day, back in early 2007.

We had a large area to mow when we pastored in Burnet, Texas. When we got an unexpected ice storm, Terry rigged up the church’s riding lawn mower to a homemade sled and took the kids for a ride. I managed to grab my camera and dash outside to take a few snapshots. As I recall, I didn’t even put a coat on, so the pictures were quick. I was caring for four young children, two of whom were in diapers. Snapping photos was low on my list of priorities back then. At least I have a few memories from those busy days which are now mostly a blur.

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Mitchell enjoying his turn.

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Riding together is so much better.

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I love Lauren’s face in this one!

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Hang on!

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Leslie was only 18 months old, so she just went out to pose for photos.

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Daddy, AKA, the “chauffeur”, with two of his passengers.

Thank you for joining me for a trip back in time!

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Vintage Valerie: The Truman Home

Today, for “Throw Back Thursday”, I’m sharing some photos from our visit to Harry S Truman’s home in Independence, Missouri. We lived in Lawrence, Kansas, in 2004, which is about an hour away from the Truman home. After Terry and I visited Monticello in 1999, we became hooked on trying to see as many Presidential homes as possible. While living in Kansas, we were able to see Eisenhower’s and Truman’s.

I am almost certain that I’ve never shown the following photos to anyone. In fact, I can’t even remember developing them! One thing is sure, they are *terrible* photos. I am not a great photographer now, but man! When I look at these pictures, I hang my head in shame. Ah, well. I still treasure the memories – which are pristine – that these grainy, crooked photos represent.

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Terry took this one, so it’s not bad. I was 26 years old here. Seems like yesterday!

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My wonderful husband! We both love books and history. It’s so nice to have things we enjoy doing together.

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Bess and Harry were buried side-by-side. Their tombstones list their accomplishments while on this Earth.

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Pearl Harbor Memorial at the Truman home.

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Memorial to honor Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb. What a hard decision that was for him!

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In the years following our visit to Truman’s humble home, I have read about him. The biography by David McCullough, simply titled Truman, is an excellent account of his life, both public and personal. He was a man of integrity and loyalty. He was not wealthy (in fact, his business failed) nor was he a college graduate. Yet, by acts of Divine Providence, Truman rose to become President of the United States during a time of great upheaval. If you need proof that God governs in the affairs of men, just read about Harry Truman. It is God Who lifts up kings, and casts them down.

Thanks for traveling back in time with me, and for looking at these old photos.

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