All Hallow’s Eve

It’s October 31st, the last day of the month. For me, even as a child, I greeted this day in the hope that it would pass quickly, and the anticipation for what I think of as the holiday season. It always seemed as though the end of October signaled the beginning of winter, and a slower way of every day life.

Halloween has never been a favorite day of mine. When I was young, our family did dress up in costumes and our father walked us around the neighborhood to only those people we knew. Even in the early 1970’s. We always carved a pumpkin or two, setting it outside our door. Our maternal grandparents came over, bringing donuts and apple cider. That was never a good mix for me! You would think I would have learned after several years to go with one or the other. But not me. I had to go to bed with a tummy ache every year.

Fast forward to our teenage years. We were living in a little town called Crown Point in upstate New York. Our house was huge. A gorgeous home built by the town banker in the late 1880’s from what we were told. His name was A.J. Wyman, and he began a banking business in April, 1881 in Crown Point.  My mother loved older homes, and she has always done a fantastic job of making them look beautiful. Well, of course this was a great place to have a Halloween party for all our friends. This included a scary trip through the barn, and probably the attic of the house. This same attic was filled with bats every summer. I’m not saying a couple, I mean thick with bats. I’m pretty much terrified of them today. October 31st in upstate New York wasn’t great for bat activity. They were either gone or sleeping by that time. But none-the-less, the attic was a scary place to be with the lights off! I remember the night being fun…hands through spaghetti and that kind of stuff. Nothing like what you see today. We had refreshments, probably played games. I remember having a good turn-out. Those were the years of big celebrations for birthdays, etc. I had a couple sleep-overs in that house, inviting all the girls in my class. It was a very small school, our class of 50 being the largest at the time. Here is a picture of the house, the photo my parents used for our Christmas cards that year. It was taken on Thanksgiving Day! Yes, we had a lot of snow that winter.

IMG_20171030_102734602

Our family didn’t talk about it with most people at the time, but that house had some strange things going on. I won’t go into all the details, but when my sister toured the house many years later as an adult, she asked the owners if they had noticed anything, and they had. The house was being used as a bed and breakfast at the time. So of course he didn’t want to advertise too much! I will tell you this little bit because it was very strange, and it involved the family pets. So it wasn’t just us humans noticing odd things! Every day, around four in the afternoon, if I recall, my brother’s bedroom would smell of fish. I don’t mean like fish cooking. It was if you were at the wharf. The cats in our house would go in and sleep on his bed, enjoying the aroma. After all, fish is a cat’s best friend. Then about an hour later, the smell would be gone…no trances remaining.

As I said earlier, Halloween was never my favorite day. It could go by with no notice from me. When I was younger, it was fun to dress up and get candy, but as I grew older, probably around my 30’s, I really began to be uncomfortable with it. I have never believed in ‘ghosts’. I do believe there are fallen angels and demons. I won’t go into a theological discussion here on whether they are the same thing or different, but only that they are real and not a good thing. My personal belief is that given an opportunity in your life as a Believer, they can and will play around. As a non-Believer, you are on extremely dangerous ground. I believe this is the ‘ghost’ activity that is spoken of, and I do believe it is very real. And that is why I am uncomfortable with dabbling in things that are borderline evil or just plain evil. In a verse that I have shared here before:

Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I believe that as a Christian, your life should be filled with what that verse says. I think this can be applied to our speech, our actions, the books we read, the music we listen to and the shows we watch. All things should be honoring to God. As a Believer, if you are attracted to ‘stuff’ that is not good, you should be knowing why. Why is your soul seeking those books, movies and activities that are not uplifting? I know that in my own life, those times come when I am not in fellowship with God, the times that I am not continually seeking Him. An analogy I would use is this: You fill your car with gasoline. If it is full and rich in what your vehicle needs, it runs well. If you purchase watered-down gasoline, or add something you shouldn’t, your car will chug down the road, get poor gas mileage, etc. It is the same in our Christian walk.

Personally, I will be glad when today is over. November 1st begins a long month of many birthdays in our family. It’s the month I really start thinking about fall decorating, baking and celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the month when my life begins to take a slower pace, relishing of the days when the cold, winter wind blows and we are snuggled up inside. I wish the same for you.

Advertisements

Let the Classes Begin

Many places have started school again. When I was growing up in Colorado, our first day wasn’t until after Labor Day. I liked it that way. Labor Day always seemed like an end-of-the-summer kind of holiday. Once you had the prerequisite hot dogs and hamburgers with potato salad, the summer was officially over. Back in the olden days, wearing white was considered very bad and socially unacceptable after Labor Day. I don’t know what happened if you wore it…I just obeyed the rules and never tried. Thongs, or flip-flops as they are called now were also not allowed after this day.

I don’t recall when our last day of school was. It seems as though it must have been around Memorial Day, again, the official beginning of summer. Then, you could wear white, and thongs, and eat hot dogs and hamburgers to your heart’s content. They had no calories if consumed during the long, hot summer months, along with snow cones and ice cream. Oh! Those were the days!

When we moved to Vermont the winter I turned thirteen, I was appalled to find out that school went until June something! It was usually around the third week, give or take snow days, etc. But the sheer fact that it was June was very depressing to me. I would miss almost a month of what I deemed summer-time fun. As a side note, Burlington, Vermont still has huge piles of snow in their parking lots until mid-June. That alone rather ruined the concept of the summer I knew and loved! It’s difficult to dress in shorts, white shorts and thongs as you navigate your way around the Matterhorn!

Here in Kansas, school has begun for the year. Children make their way to school wearing shorts and sneakers, and even flip-flops. Tiny children waddled through the crosswalk, looking like so many turtles escaping to the sea. Their backpacks filled with supplies for the year ahead. I have pictures of our children looking like these baby turtles. And it makes me sad. I never liked the beginning of the school year, and the separation from our children.

My favorite memories of walking to school are from my years of living in Crown Point, New York. We lived only a few blocks from the beautiful school on Main Street. When autumn comes to the Adirondacks, it’s something to behold. Here is just a hint of the beginning of the spectacular color to come.lake-2294485_1920I’m very happy that our two oldest children had the privilege to attend The Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, New York. They were able to see the amazing colors of autumn, and all the seasons so pronounced in this region.

For me, living in that area of the United States had a Norman Rockwell ambiance. Around every turn, there were beautiful vistas to behold. Tiny villages nestled in the green valleys, with emerald mountains flowing to the blue skies. Even winter didn’t seem quite so desolate with the blanketing of snow. Christmas was just that more festive with the centuries-old buildings, winding roads and tall trees canopying the road. It was as if everyone snuggled down for their long winter’s nap, just as the story says.

Autumn for me will always be in the northeast. That is what I think of, those are the colors I dream of when the days grow shorter and cool. Memories of walking down sidewalks strewn with colorful leaves, more drifting through the damp fog on an early morning walk to school. There is a certain smell of decaying things, that is strangely homey, bringing to mind crisp air and snapping fires. early-morning-299735_1920

Another school year is upon us. Autumn has begun it’s delicate flow into the countryside of almost any place in the United States. Even here in Kansas. The days are growing shorter, the nights more cool, and some evenings smell of decaying things. And not in an unpleasant way. Have a wonderful Tuesday!