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I.  My Grandmother's Kitchen, by Billie Hawks

2.  A Mother's Treasure Chest, by Billie Hawks

3.  RESPECT: A Young Girls' Fashion Show, by Lori Locke

4.  Free Refills (Poetry), Melanie Joyce Johnson


My Grandmother’s Kitchen

by Billie Hawks


   Some of my best memories are those that took place in my grandmother’s kitchen. During the day, that room was light and airy as sunlight streamed through the back door and large window. Granny loved to bake, and wonderful aromas often wafted throughout the room. We had many heart to heart talks as she rolled out pie crusts or stirred pie fillings on the stove. She had one of those old fashioned flour bins built right into the cabinet. I can still recall the squeak of the handle and the small clouds of flour that would hover as she turned the little crank to sift the flour. The kitchen was a warm and pleasant place. Often, as she baked, she would give me a little taste of whatever she was baking. It was just a small sample of the finished product, enough to whet my appetite. I didn’t go to her kitchen just to get those little treats. I went to be in her company. Whenever I was in that kitchen with Granny as she bustled about working and cooking, all my troubles seemed to disappear. There was nothing I couldn’t talk about with her.

     It wasn’t the room itself that was the foundation for my memories of peace, contentment and love. It was because Granny was there. It was her spirit that made the kitchen a happy place, a place I longed to be, a place I knew I could go to find peace and a listening ear. After she died, the little kitchen was not the same. The sun still streamed in as it had before. The flour bin was still there, but silent. I could still go sit in that chair at the table, but I no longer found the listening ear that I once found. I missed the presence of my grandmother.

       I’ve been reading a book called The Papa Prayer. It talks about learning to pray to God in a relational way, to achieve a point where you see prayer as coming into God’s presence to talk with him and share the deepest thoughts of your heart. The author, Larry Crabb, discusses how many people use prayer like a vending machine to make their demands of a God who is just there to satisfy all our whims. He admits there is a place for petitionary prayer, a time to ask God for favors, but he believes we need to first learn to have a relationship with God, a longing to be in His presence before making requests. He further talks about how often our prayers center on asking God to change circumstances and change other people, rather than asking Him to change our hearts so we can be at peace regardless of what life brings.

       This week as I reflected on those principals of relational prayer, I began to remember my grandmother’s kitchen. I realized that to really please God, and grow spiritually, I should be as eager to talk to God as I was to talk to my grandmother. I should long to be in His presence and feel at ease pouring out my heart to Him. My prayers need to be about my honest feelings rather than simply being a list of demands and requests. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:17. That’s baffled some people who wonder if that means we have to just go around praying all the time. Perhaps it simply means that we become so eager to be in God’s presence that we don’t think twice about praying in all situations, not just when we need help or a favor or are in trouble. As we learn to relish being in God’s presence in prayer, we learn more about that peace that passes understanding. (Philippians 4:7) Similar to the sample of pie filling or cookie dough that my grandmother shared with me to kindle my taste buds for the whole dessert, that feeling of peace as we open ourselves honestly to God in prayer is but a sample of the great peace we will feel in eternity with God.

    I loved spending time with Granny. She was more than my grandmother; she was my good friend. I am learning to love spending time with God in prayer, sharing with Him the deepest thoughts of my hearts, telling Him things that no one else knows. What a privilege and what a joy it is to be able to go to God in prayer!  


                                             Billie Hawks


                                             Columbia, MO

                                             Member of Eastside Church of Christ                              





A Mother’s Treasure Chest

by Billie Hawks



     I have always accepted it just as a Bible fact that Mary was the mother of Jesus. It wasn’t until I came across two similar Bible passages that I gained a new perspective. Even though I had read these passages hundreds of times in my life, this time they allowed me to see Mary as a real person and a real mother.

    The first passage occurs shortly after Jesus’ birth when the shepherds came to see Jesus. It says that Mary “kept all these things and treasured them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).  The second takes place after the 12-year-old Jesus stayed behind to talk to the officials at the temple, causing Mary and Joseph to have to return to Jerusalem to find him. This passage says, “And Mary kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51) It was, with those words, that I realized Mary was a mother

with the same feelings as mothers everywhere. No matter that she experienced a miraculous conception. No matter that her son was the Son of God. He was also Mary’s son and she loved him with all her heart.

   Because I am a mother, I know about “keeping things in my heart.” There are things my son said or did as he grew up that I also keep in my heart, and I’m still adding to it. You see, a mother has an internal treasure chest. Sometimes her child will say or do something that touches her heart in such a way that she tucks it into that treasure chest. Years later she can open the chest and relive that moment.

   The Bible doesn’t tell us what Mary’s thoughts were when she first looked into the eyes of her newborn baby. I believe her heart was overwhelmed with love and joy. That’s the way a mother feels when she holds her newborn child. We recall that feeling forever. It’s the very first in a long collection of “treasure chest moments.”

   We know Mary stood by her son throughout his life. She was with him at the wedding in Cana. When the wedding host ran out of wine, Mary knew Jesus could take care of the situation. She believed in her son as mothers should believe in their children. Even when he told her his “time had not yet come,” she encouraged him to do what she knew he was capable of doing, and he did it! The first miracle performed by Jesus was in the presence of his mother and done at her request. That is a huge “treasure chest moment.” Our children can’t perform miracles (although we might like to believe they do!) but when we provide encouragement to them and they achieve we have another treasure chest moment in their efforts and successes.

   Mary was with her son when he died. She watched him being rejected and abused, both physically and emotionally. She stayed with him through his suffering. Even when God, the Father, turned His face away, there was Mary, the mother, at the foot of the cross. (John 19:25) Out of that moment when Jesus was giving his most gracious gift to mankind, he also gave a different and very tender gift to his mother. He made sure she would be cared for on earth by relinquishing her care to his dearest earthly friend, John. (John 19:26) That is definitely a treasure chest moment.

   We aren’t told if Jesus appeared to his mother following his resurrection. If he didn’t, perhaps it was because saying good-bye all over again would be too difficult for her. If he did, perhaps the moment was a personal mother-son time that God didn’t feel we needed to be privy to. We do know, however, that Mary’s love for her son (and now her Savior) did not stop at the cross. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven, Mary was among those believers gathered in the upper room to pray. (Acts. 1:14)

   Mary, the mother of Jesus, was indeed a virtuous woman. Yet, she was also a human who felt the emotions and the depths of motherly love. To you mothers reading this, the next time you add a memory or pull one out of your “Mother’s treasure chest,” think about Mary, the mother of Jesus and be grateful that God gave us a heart we can fill with memories and that He blessed us with the wonderful gift of motherhood.


                                            Billie Hawks


                                            Columbia, Missouri

                                            Member of Eastside Church of Christ 







RESPECT: A Young Girls' Fashion Show

by Lori Locke



      One evening last spring I was sitting at an area-wide convention of young people in our brotherhood. These were boys and girls who were competing in a number of categories designed to help them grow spiritually. And though I was proud of their efforts, I couldn't help but notice what several of the young girls were wearing. I mentioned this to our youth minister's wife and she agreed that they were rather scantily dressed.  Then she turned to me and said, "Why don't you host a fashion show to help these girls see how they can look great without being so revealing?"   

     Immediately the wheels started to turn in my mind……I should do that, I thought!  What a great opportunity to show, not only my 14 year old daughter and her friends, but other girls in our community that you can dress fashionably without looking "sexy".   So, on a whim, I emailed a major department store in our area without really expecting to get an answer.  The next day I received a call from the manager of our local store indicating that she would be glad to provide all the clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, etc. for a fashion show along these lines!  Wow….there was no turning back from here!

       Some of my daughter's friends had been wearing articles of clothing that were way too tight, too low, too clingy….should I go on?   They were just not appropriate for young Christian women to be seen in.  They were not setting the examples they should be.  As a mom, I want my daughter to look nice but in a way that is appropriate and will command the respect of other people.  And I want the same for her friends.

      A date for set for a Saturday in late summer, and the work for a fashion show began in earnest.   I started enlisting help, and in May I attended a luncheon and fashion show put on by Vanderbilt Children's Hospital which provided a great inspiration for the kind of show I had in mind.  I could see that such an event needed to be exciting for girls and their moms while sending a clear message about what we were trying to do. For our theme we came up with the title of RESPECT…..with an emphasis on modest dress in today's world.  I began contacting vendors that I knew would be of interest to the girls.  I looked through teen magazines and called their marketing departments, telling them what I was looking for and what we were trying to accomplish.  Most were very helpful and agreed to supply us with items for goodie bags to be set at every table.

      After several months of work on the project, I enlisted the help of a partner, a young lady in my home congregation of Concord Road Church of Christ named Jessamyn Barrett.  Through Jessamyn's mom, I learned that she was looking for a Gold Award project to culminate her Girl Scout experience.  It occurred to me that the fashion show we had in mind would be a great way for Jessamyn to complete her project.  Being a young lady with excellent taste, I knew she would be a true asset to this undertaking that was becoming larger by the minute.  Not only did the Girl Scout directors approve the idea, they offered their assistance as well!   They helped by spreading the word throughout the Girl Scout community and by getting the information out to all the scouts who were registered in our local community and the whole mid-state area.  One troop traveled   75 miles to attend our fashion show.

     In addition to the local department store which had committed to providing the fashions, another company supplied makeup stylists for the day; and a local beautician, a member of our congregation, offered to do hairstyling for all the girls who modeled. Our plans were rolling! Girl Scouts of America offered to host the registration desk and to collect the attendance fee that was necessary to cover the cost of printing and lunch. Booths set up by other vendors featured sample products of magazines, jewelry, and cosmetics, as well as information from the local police department's DARE program.

     Although this was primarily a scouting project, several women from our congregation were recruited to help with the luncheon to be held in the fellowship hall of our building. A "girlie" luncheon consisting of chicken salad and deli ham on small rolls, congealed salad, chips and fruit tea was served to approximately   250  girls and their moms.  Dessert was a double chocolate square with raspberry sauce and a luscious lemon square. Round tables covered with floor length cloths and decorations filled the room. The words RESPECT, printed on large banners, were suspended in several places throughout the hall with colorful balloons that floated to the ceiling.  Lattice wall panels and large pots of greenery pointed to the focal point of the room, a custom-built stage.

     Lunch was followed by presentations from two speakers, one a designer who spoke on fashion trends and the second a motivational speaker who talked to the girls about self-respect.   The highlight of the event was the fashion show itself, featuring girls from our youth group and members of Jessamyn's scout troop. Several young men also participated in that part of the event along with the youth minister from a sister congregation. Their message—that guys need to dress for respect, too!

      We were pleased that several articles appeared in the local newspaper about our fashion show and especially about the message we were trying to send out. A photographer came that day and took pictures for the Nashville newspaper, and we were even featured in a brotherhood newsletter that goes out to over 20,000 readers.  Because of all the positive feedback that we received, we are planning a similar event in 2008 to serve our community.  It's our hope that this effort, also, will be an encouragement to our teens and to others to dress tastefully. We want them to see that they can be chaste and still attractive; that dressing modestly earns respect from their peers and parents alike. Most importantly, that our clothing reflects the person we inwardly are. 


BIO:  Lori Locke is the former director of marketing for a large nursing home and assisted living company. She now serves as president of her own company, L.L. Locke & Associates. She and her husband, Bill, are members of the Concord Road Church of Christ in Brentwood, TN.  and are the parents of four children, ages 7-14. Lori loves to cook and to plan parties, and has been featured in the Tennessean newspaper. She enjoys helping with fellowship meals and other congregation-wide events.





By Melanie Joyce Johnson

I am empty

I am dry

Yet Lord I try to live for you

You who restores my spirit Lord

But I come up short; because I go out and rejuvenate me

With greed, bad deeds, jealousy, complacency

And praise you, you who is able to do exceedingly abundantly;

Above all that I may ever ask or

thank you for not making me like he or she is,

so God replenish me; refresh my speech,

Just refill my cup, for when my service is parched I can’t do much…

Come in Sunday for a pit stop of pride, falsely stimulated, perpetratingly revived

Supplied with my sin, restocked on rebuke, God I need a refill of you

I need to be relieved and I know you will believe in me to provide freely, liberally, renew me;

Please take this envy from me and bestow peace in me

Endow me with understanding you instead of underestimating you

God invigorate me with your purpose and love, revitalize my soul, and reload my cup

Replace my pain with a newfound elation, Lord strengthen my heart with a spiritual donation


I am empty

I am dry

Yet Lord I try to work for you,

You who renews my courage Lord

So that I can be a better servant for you

And worship you in what I know is spirit and truth

So that my head is not bowed low with

Defeat from the blows of satan beating down on me,

But fortified from your victory of the fight I’ve placed in front of me      

Lord I am undone, but know you are with me, to reinforce me

 Energize me as a zealous soldier in your infantry

God spiritually animate me as with sinners I sup, as I recognize I’m one too, please refill my cup


Cause I am empty

I am dry

Yet Lord I try to breath for you

You who revives the fire Lord, deep in my soul

As I live as I oughta, I’m drinking from the saucer of the blessings you have showered down on me

You have refilled me, rejuvenated me with the love that I have only seen in my dreams





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