24 February 2014

What that Little Brown Bible Told Me

When I posted a snapshot in words of my personal testimony a few weeks ago, my mom stood right up from her computer, knowing exactly which New Testament I had been reading all those years ago.  She climbed the stairs, found it sitting on its shelf, and opened the pages.

Sure enough.  There were my little pencil underlinings, not so straight and tidy as my almost-seventh-grade mind had imagined them to be.  She'd never seen those pencil markings before.

She decided she knew exactly where that New Testament needed to go.


Almost every year, Grammy (my mom's mom) made Valentine's cookies and mailed them to all her children, with the idea they would share them with their families.  It was a big undertaking--she had eight children!

Now, by the time I came along, the last grandchild in a looong line, baking wasn't the first thing that came to mind with every thought of Grammy.  Gifts?  Yes.  Grammy had a gift for any and every person and occasion.  It didn't matter if she already had forty people in her home on Christmas morning, she could always stuff another stocking for the last-minute guest.

But there were three things that came out of her kitchen on holidays that I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into:  Sour Cream Candy (oh, yes, it must be capitalized, it's that good), blanched almonds, and the Valentine's cookies.

The cookies were always the same kind--heart shaped, with soft and tasty raisins in the middle.

I remember the year my cousins discovered Grammy had been sending them Valentine's cookies every year.  She hadn't heard yet whether the packages had arrived, so she called my aunt's house.  When my cousin answered, the conversation (as it has been told to me) went something like this:

"Hi, honey, have you gotten your cookies yet?"
"Yes, the Valentine's cookies I sent."
"You sent Valentine's cookies?"
"Yes!  You know--the ones I send every year."
"You send Valentine's cookies every year?!"

Well, the cat was out of the bag.  My aunt had been hiding the cookies every year, and eating them all herself.  My cousin made a few phone calls, and quickly discovered that's what ALL the aunts and uncles had been doing.  Not one other cousin had ever heard of Grammy's Valentine's cookies before.

Except my brother and me.  Because our mother had shared them with us every year.

I always was proud of my mother's honesty and good character.  (Does that sound bad and selfish when I've just told you her honesty meant I got to eat more cookies as a child?)

Grammy died several years ago, but my mom makes and sends me Valentine's cookies, just like Grammy's (only maybe even a little better) every year.  At least, I can't remember a year she hasn't.  And she can never seem to limit herself to sending only cookies.  There are always a few other goodies in the box...


Maybe you've guessed one of this year's extra goodies already:  the brown, hard-cover New Testament I spent hours reading as a child.  

I'm starting to page through it, little by little, to find out what kinds of things stood out to me way back then.  Do you mind if I share a few?

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."  (Matthew 4:17)  Perhaps I was thinking of how easily we forget that nearby kingdom, forget to let it influence and reform everything we do.

"Away from me, Satan!  For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Matthew 4:10)  Perhaps I was thinking about the way Jesus was never afraid to exercise his authority over his mightiest foe.

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit."  (Matthew 12:33)  Too true.  Even as I read, I could look out my window at our plum tree.  Oh, how we loved that plum tree!  Here was language from the Master Teacher himself that I could understand.  People are like fruit trees, he said.  Take good care of the tree that is yourself, submitting to the best soul-gardener there is, and let the fruit be delicious and abundant.

"Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  (Matthew 11:28)  Even children carry burdens, sometimes.  At least, that's what comes to mind when I think of the private school classroom where I volunteer, full of children, about the age I would have been when I underlined this promise.  Jesus is their only refuge.  I hope I can help them know him better.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  (Matthew 19:14)

Amen.  Indeed, let them come.  I will always, for all eternity, be glad I came.


  1. What a great story and I know it was a treasure to receive that special Bible again.
    Lisa :O)

  2. oh, how nice that your mom did share the cookies with you! And it's great that your mom sent you the brown New Testament!

  3. You mom is so nice. How special that she still had the Bible, and sent it to you for Love Day. May you have a fresh conversion as you read those pages.


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