Tuesday, February 28, 2017



During our song service this past Sunday morning Justin Thornton led the hymn, “There Was One Who Was Willing.” There are some songs, hymns in particular, that bring the voices of particular people to my head and to my heart with such clarity, I can nearly feel the presence of certain persons. Am I the only one with such feelings, or do you recognize them as similar?
    “There Was One Who Was Willing.” always brings a return to my teen years of singing soprano in response to my mother’s request to “Please come sing with me.” She had a wonderful gift of true harmony and while she generally sang alto, on this song, her voice smoothly transitioned to the high tenor. While I would thoroughly enjoy having a recording of one of our sessions, particularly one that would include this hymn, I don’t really have to because it is so well embedded in my musical memory box. Without having to be wound up, it plays each time I hear the song. I am thankful. 
    Another voice I hear is that of my daddy when we sing “Without Him”. Daddy and George Beverly Shea had unforgettable timbres of similar quality. As I recall, that hymn gained popularity not too long prior to my daddy’s death, but I know he favored it in more ways than one. 
     Of the myriad that does stand out to me, another song I respect more than I alone would have chosen, is ”Worthy Art Thou” that we seldom sing. After Daddy died, I found his easy-recognize-pencil-handwriting by the title simply stating, “Good Song”. Coming from Daddy it meant I must pay closer heed to its words.
    Before that, there was a summer day when our young family of four, John and I, with Beth, 3-and-1/2, and Chip, 1-and-1/2, were house-hunting. We were in our Plymouth that shortly before had suffered a burned-out clutch at the end of a very long day of travel, while we were hauling a U-Haul type trailer that held all our earthly belongings.  With a good night’s rest and a once again road-ready car, we were driving through neighborhoods, looking for “For Rent” signs when we passed the church building. From the back seat, Beth started to sing, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  Lesson taken, little girl. I cannot say for sure, but I don’t think that hymn has EVER been led in an assembly of which I have been a part, but what the memory of that young voice in song has returned to my head and my heart.
    I’ve read of touches of humor in relation to how, before they can read, children misunderstand words of hymns. Here’s one that stays in my music memory. I was tending nursery the last day our son, Chip, was at services before he left to serve in the USAF, so I didn’t hear this, but was told about it later. Because I knew the petite, 6-year-old blond who sat beside our son, I could well imagine how her ability to project her singing voice sounded as she sang out her praises, “And His glory is exhausted, And His glory is exhausted, And His glory is exhausted far above the earth and sky.” Michelle, to this day you are unforgettable! You brought so many smiles, not only on that day, but also on many days since.
     The scripture says, “A happy heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) Singing these songs and hearing the voices from the past is uplifting. Have any of these tales brought any memories of similar hymns/songs stories from your hearts? If so, why don’t you share? We’d really love to hear them!
© M Sue

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


My child, at two, you sang
the names
of the apostles with me.
It was quite an accomplishment
for a child of two
To wrap your tiny tongue around
those names.
It was more than
some adults ventured to do!
More than once we smiled with pride
as you sang
and quoted on ---
“Jesus called them
one by one –
Peter, Andrew, James,
and - - - *Daddy!”
(*Well, you knew you weren’t
supposed to call him John!)
© M Sue


Monday, February 20, 2017


When I was a preschooler, supposed to be taking a nap, I was not sleepy.
The room in that huge house in central Maine was hot.
The humidity on that mid-summer day was excessive.
Mamma probably needed the rest more than I.
As I lay on the thin mattress on the cot in what I am now sure was a room other than the one I’d normally use, I suspect it was one chosen because it might be in a cooler part of the 17-room house that had years before been a country inn, and certainly a room not used by our family during the cold winter months.
The cot on which I was supposed to lay was placed directly against the wall of exposed bare wooden laths with crumbling plaster stuck in between. That is, most of the plaster was stuck in between the laths until I, being bored with my status, chose picking plaster over taking a nap. The plaster was so old and dry, it crumbled easily under the pressure of my small fingers. Not only did it crumble, but in so doing, of course it left empty spaces showing signs of my (shall we call it?) labor, plus it made little scritchy-scratchy sounds, rather like that of scurrying mice, as the tiny pieces tumbled and fell at varying intervals down inside and outside the walls.
The strange thing is, following my “nap”, I don’t recall being scolded, or taken to task in any way whatsoever, for doing such a deed – unusual because damaging property was definitely frowned upon in our family - and generally brought about reprisal that I surely would recall. For this reason, I am positive this had to have been one of the extra rooms, likely over the long part of the “L”; therefore, almost never used. Why I’d be trusted there, I fully question. It could have been during one of the infrequent times a “babysitter” was called in when my mother was away. Obviously, I was not a trustworthy child, and only recall being in that room on a couple of occasions.
Even though I was there for a nap, I know all of the above really happened. I am sure I was not dreaming!

© M Sue

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Sometimes the little girl inside comes calling
And surprises me once more.
It happened just the other day
While at the Goodwill store.
These slipper boots called out to me -
The weather had been chilly;
I almost looked behind my back,
Sure folks would think me silly.
But like those boots? Indeed I did,
Enough to make me think
It worth almost any price to pay -
Would they send me to a shrink?
But I decided there and then
Those slippers may be youthful,
But deep inside one knows just when
To face self, and be truthful.
What about those slippers said,
“These are only for the youth”?
Absolutely nothing. In my mind was the real truth!
I’d been thinking the wrong way,
I’d do better to think truthful!
I bought the slippers, brought them home,
And now I float just . . . youthful!
© M.Sue

Saturday, February 11, 2017


 (Written to Honor Lincoln L. Libby on What Would Have Been His 92nd Birthday)
    When I arrived on the scene, I had three “big brother protectors”, one 15, one 13, and one 3-and-1/2 years older . Curly-haired, green-eyed, completely oblivious to how special I was, all the trouble I caused in the whole family due to my mother’s life being threatened by the pregnancy and my middle brother Linc’s fear and resentment, it’s a wonder it ever occurred, but given time and understanding, Linc and I became, not only siblings, but also friends – really good friends.
    Having been born in September of 1939 meant WW2 came along about the same time as I, although, given the earlier comments, I must have you understand, I was NOT the cause. All too soon, the comfortable world I had as a toddler turned topsy-turvy as my brother next in age started school, and the other two of my big brothers joined Uncle Sam’s Navy Blue, while my daddy started sleeping days due to working nights making airplane parts. Gone were the many laps in which I’d sought comfort when I fell and bumped or when I dropped and broke a favored dolly so more Sunday movies at a nearby theater that the boys could take me to see even if it meant traveling through a snowy Sunday afternoon in winter, or a fun ride high in the air on upright shoulders telling my personal horsey to “Gitty-up!” until he’d say, “No more, your horsey is tired,” as he’d slow to a walk. So many “no mores”.
    I well know my brothers were not the only ones who left home with big plans to take care of the world. Here’s a list from our small Central Maine village, many of whom, even as a young child I knew personally, because they were friends of my brothers. As apparently had been the case for months, after getting my brother, Kent, and me off to bed, my mother would listen to the radio news. Thinking she had the radio low enough that we’d not hear it in our second-floor bedrooms, she was startled to hear the barefoot-steps as Kent stomped down the stairs into the living room, and, hitching up his pajama pants, declared, “I wish I was old enough! I go over there and we’d get this war over!” I am quite sure that earned a few lines in one of the many letters to “our boys.”
    Thankfully, “The War” finally did end and “our boys” did come home. We are well aware of those of their/our friends who did nor and/or those whose lives were forever changed. It is my belief that any who go into such are forever changed; how can they not be, but that’s another thinking for another time.
    Life didn’t ever return to what it had been. Our boys had grown up! Linc, who had left school prior to the end of his junior year, came back to finish his high school years, go to college, get married, and start a family, all within a few short years. His college education didn’t give him the satisfaction he desired so after a short time, he, Fran, his wife, and son, Linc, Jr., took the advice to “Go West, Young Man” with California and the area where Fran’s family had settled. Crossing the country in the early 1950s was a different trip then than now but they were young, determined, and having survived the crib death of a 6-week-old son less than 2 years prior, they were still learning how to handle challenges, sudden and expected. When we look at pictures of the faces now, we can see how very young they were, and perhaps see them in a different light for all they had already seen of life, but they were made of sterner stuff than to let the past win. They chose to not look back; they weren’t going that way! (Wise, don’t you think?)
    The years between my being twelve and my taking our mother into our home nearly forty years later passed without a whole lot of correspondence between Linc and me. Fran and I had more communication and particularly lots of messaging flew back and forth once e-mail was established, but Fran was good to encourage Linc’s visiting once Mom was with us. After Mom and John had each gone to bed the night of his first visit in Illinois, he looked at me and said, “You know, you and I don’t really know each other.” That was the beginning of our taking care of that situation in a joyful way!  We talked until our tongues fell asleep and woke the following day to start again! That was the start of infrequent visits by Linc to our home and we were able to go to Cave Creek to spend some time with them once in 1995.
    Here more recently, with his move to live with his children, in whom he took great pride, Lance and Elisabeth Libby, in Ft. Worth, they made sure we got several visits. Our daughter, Kim Middleton, and her husband Don, helped with the transportation on one occasion, but basically it fell to Elisabeth and she did yeoman duty! Thank you so much, Elisabeth.
    On this last visit Linc told of his trying to find time in his college years of study and work, to spend with Fran and toddler Linc, Jr. One of their favorite things to do was to take Linc, Jr., in a stroller that, to start their trek, required Fran at handle and Linc at front so they could lift it over a gulley to get out onto more even ground for a time, although the process had to be repeated from time to time due to the rough ground. On this one day he was remembering, he saw a beautiful butterfly he just had to have for his collection, so he and Fran worked together, not forgetting their parental responsibilities, but working together they met success.
    When he had finished telling that story of his life, I was really surprised. I said, “You had a butterfly collection?!” (I didn’t really have to ask, now, did I? He’d just told me so! J) So, I just HAD to tell him that at our maternal grandmother’s request, our mother spent hours reading, “A Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton Porter while Grammie Glidden tended household chores. It was one of our grandmother’s favorite stories and since I had the video, I was eager to share it with Linc, but try as I might, with the equipment and time that I had, there was no way I could! With his upcoming birthday scheduled for February 12th, I determined I would either get a copy of the book so he could read it or a form of the video that he could see and either enjoy it by himself, or preferably share with Elisabeth and Lance because I was so sure they, too, would enjoy it. (Pictured is the version I’ve seen, have, and have shared, and I heartily recommend it.)
    Oh, the things we still had to learn about each other had time allowed!
    He told me stories of his everyday life in California and Arizona that I’d never have known had we not had these last few months to visit. He told how he treasured the time he got to spend with lunches with his son, Dan Libby, once Dan had left school and just the two of them had time to sit and talk. (He was good in one-on-one, wasn’t he, Dan?) I was able to answer some lifelong questions he’d had regarding our family as well as he did for me. We grew a bond we’d not previously owned, not from preconceived ideas planted by forebears of other generations, but one that comes from being able to see for ourselves the individuals we are.
    I am thankful that, even though the years in between my teens and taking Mom into our home were separated by Linc’s and my living basically across the country from one another, at long last we were able to reunite with more than a few letters, pictures, and phone calls, although to this day, I treasure the phone calls that most often ended with, “I love ya, kid.”
“I love you, too, Big Brother,”

Marilyn Sue Libby Moore
February 12, 2017