Friday, November 8, 2013

Dinner with the Robertsons



Oh my gosh, I had the worst nightmare last night, and I just had to share! I was invited to a dinner at the Robertson's home (you know, of Duck Dynasty/Duck Commander fame). The dinner was at Willie and Korie's home, and all of the Robertson's and friends from the show were there. I was watching Miss Kay give me and the girls cooking pointers in the kitchen. Mr. Phil, Si, and all of the boys sat reclining and visiting in the living room. I was in charge of refilling ice tea glasses while Miss Kay finished up the meal.

I know you are asking yourself what part of that scenario could be considered a nightmare? Well, it was awful. There I was with those dear, fun people with so many wonderful photo opportunities, and my battery on my camera was DEAD! Now, any member of my family or anyone who visits my Facebook page knows that pictures are next to breathing for me. I was in misery trying to figure out how to get my hands on a camera! When I did finally remember I had my iPhone in my purse, I discovered I did not have on one ounce of makeup. I ended up with a bunch of grainy pictures with all of us having white eyes from the flash to remember my evening with the Robertsons. Worst of all, there I stood looking pale and plain up against those beautiful dolled up Roberston women!

Moral of the story...before you go to sleep put an extra charged camera battery and a little lipstick in your purse. You never know when you'll end up at the Robertson house for dinner!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Dear Cinderella's Corner Readers...


Attention all Cinderella's Corner Readers...
 
I hope you will take the time to stop by www.cinderellainwaiting.com to read the latest chapter of my book which is under construction. This book is a deeply personal work of faith. I appreciate your continued prayers as I write. I love my readers.
 
 
Chapter 21

A Rock in Times of Waiting

 

I stood barefoot on the concrete watching the taillights as they faded away. The picturesque night belied the gravity of what had just occurred. From the moment he arrived he carried a defensive air about him. He requested to speak with me alone, and we made our way out back to the closed-in porch...



 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just Checking In

I wanted to let you all know that the link to this site is http://www.cinderellascorner.blogspot.com. The Networked Blogs link which had posted a lot of the older articles from Cinderella's Corner is no longer working. I am attempting to get it straightened out. Until then, you can click on the link above and save it to your Favorites for when you wish to come back here and read. I apologize for the inconvenience!

Please continue checking in daily during the week to http://www.cinderellainwaiting.com to read daily posts for my upcoming book, Cinderella in Waiting.

Thank you all so much for your patience while getting this straightened out. In the meantime, let me give you some sweet pictures to view!



 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hey There Cinderella's Corner Followers!

Just wanted to let you know of a new venture I have felt led to begin. I have a new blog on WordPress entitled Cinderella in Waiting. Please note that I am in no way unhappy with BlogSpot.com, and I will continue posting the types of writings as in the past (family stories, etc.) here at Cinderella's Corner.

The purpose of this new blog, however, came about after much prayer and conviction. It will be a daily devotional style blog, and its posts are specific to the subject of waiting. I hope you will check it out at the address below:

http://www.cinderellainwaiting.com

You can choose to follow this new blog at that site. Thank you to all of my dear friends and readers. See you at Cinderella's Corner soon, and daily at Cinderella in Waiting. Please be in prayer for me as I write about a subject that is very dear to my heart and a great part of my testimony. Pray that others will be touched for Christ, and that women will especially be encouraged by the honesty of my stories.

Thanks,
Cindy

Monday, July 29, 2013

From Painful Fear to Joyful Trust

Staying overnight with either set of grandparents was fun. There always seemed to be an adventure, even if was small or simple. I went through a time, however, when I can remember being afraid to spend the night. It was just after my Paw Paw Hood passed away. As a child, I did not fully understand death and loss. I can still remember the fear that during the night death would come to steal my other grandparents as well.
 
My parents were puzzled at my behavior. I would beg to go spend the night, yet the closer it came to bedtime, the fear would reappear. I would inevitably end up crying and going home. I felt so disappointed in myself, but I could not bear to tell them what was bothering me. I just knew that saying the words out loud would surely cause something awful to happen. To make matters worse, I found myself withdrawing from my grandparents. I even became afraid of leaving Mom and Dad to go to school. This created a constant state of chaos and threatened my future as well. Knowing how much it hurt to lose my grandpa Hood, I became protective of my emotions. Even though I now understand as an adult that pain is a part of life, as a child I did not ever want to hurt like that again.
 
Thankfully over time my parents coaxed me to express my worries and fears. To this day I can remember the weight being lifted off my heart and mind as the conversation unfolded. Even as a small child, carrying that heavy burden was stealing a joyful part of my childhood. Instead of enjoying precious times of the present, I was living under oppression and fear of the future. I was running from the very thing I was so desperately afraid of losing. The confession to my parents restored a relationship with my grandparents unlimited by fearful reservations. Over time I was able to return to spending the night with them, and eventually I was able to go to school without that awful feeling of anxiety.
 
Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? Yet how many of us as adults live in the exact same prison by exchanging the abundant life for  the less desirable prison of denial, fear, and sin. You see, Satan attempts to keep us ineffective by telling us we aren't worthy of forgiveness. However, God says, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." Romans 8:1. Pride tells us we have the "right" to "enjoy" all things and we would lose out if we totally surrender to Christ. God says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10. Human nature tell us we should run from God whenever we have messed up. God begs us to run to Him. "But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9.  "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:4-7.
 
There is such freedom in Christ. God did not design us to face this world's troubles alone. We are inherently created to depend upon His grace and mercy to see us through each challenge. May God work in your heart today, helping you to unload the burden of fear, failure, and/or uncertainty in your life. May He give you the grace to let go of the familiar pain in order to receive unknown joy.
 
"Thank You, Lord, for loving me and for showing Your forgiveness towards me. You know how I struggle with the very thing I write about today. Lord, I confess to You my many shortcomings, and I ask for You to perform a work in my heart to bring about the changes I am incapable of making on my own - real, lasting changes from the deepest part of my being. Make me real, Lord. Please remove any semblance of hypocrisy or false humility far from me, and help me to love others with an honesty that only You can provide. In the name of Your Precious Son, Jesus, Amen."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Story to Tell by Cindy Hester

"With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding." Job 12:12

Before I begin today's writing I must send out a plea to all of my dear readers - please take plenty of pictures, print them out, and label them for future generations. Also, preserve family stories in writing before they are forgotten. I am fascinated by the history revealed in records left behind by my  grandparents. Maw Maw Hood must have loved pictures since she had numerous boxes in her possession, whereas Maw Maw Moore preferred to record her memories in writing. I can still close my eyes and see her sitting at her dining table, steam rising from her coffee cup with one notebook dedicated to writing gardening tips from Dewey Compton, and another to record the day's events. Perhaps this explains my obsession with photographs and my love for writing.

There are many potential tales emerging from the pictures left behind. I am attempting to take photos  related in subject and savor the stories they reveal...I have a different plan for the written diaries. My story today revolves around my grandmother, Mrs. Winnie Wright Hood. Imagine a time in the mid to late 1920's. This was the post-war era of economic growth, especially in the south, leading up to the Great Depression. Automobiles were becoming more prevalent, and the oil boom had brought about economic diversity in an area previously dominated by agriculture and the timber industry. Spindletop oilfield produced an unprecedented volume of oil, which marked the beginning of the petroleum industry we know today. Prohibition, women's suffrage, immigration, and racial discrimination were but a few of the political realities of the day.


My Grandmother, Winnie E. Wright Hood
Imagine now a young woman in her late teens or early 20's leaving her small farming community during such a time, and entering the world of door to door sales for Davis Baking Powder. I wish I had spent more time asking her questions about this time in her life. I remember a few stories she told, but as a young child, a preoccupied teenager, then a busy young mother, I had trouble seeing her any other way than as my grandmother. I am sad that I did not understand the hidden adventurous person she must have been. I wish I knew more of the events surrounding her decision to go, how long she was gone, the challenges she faced, and the memories she made.


My Grandmother and fellow employees at the Davis Baking Powder building.


 
 My grandmother, Winnie Wright (Hood), on the far left-hand side with work friends from Davis Baking Powder (note the car)


 
My grandmother, Winnie Wright (Hood) - second from the right - visiting Spindletop near Beaumont, Texas during her days at Davis Baking Powder.

I wish I knew the story of what drew my grandmother and grandfather together, her being 24 and him 35 when they wed. I wish I had paid more attention when she spoke of the troubles she had being able to carry a child full term before finally being able to give birth to my Dad, almost 10 years into their marriage. I wish I had seen her more as a person than simply as my grandmother.

 
My Maw Maw (Winnie) and Paw Paw (Arch) Hood
 
 
My Maw Maw Hood and my Dad, Frank Hood

To my children, nieces and nephews, read these stories and treasure them. Learn of your heritage and pass it on. Remember that each person you meet has a story to tell, and the longer the life, the richer the story. To my readers, live your story. Each new day is a fresh tale waiting to be told. Your adventure does not end until the last breath is drawn. Quite possibly the most powerful chapter of my Dad's life was the last. The final paragraph impacted me beyond anything yet experienced, and for that I am grateful. Each of us is a memory in the making. Dear Lord, please help me to be a good one.




"Every believer must be a kind of psalmist, either literally or privately, that living itself has been given, at least in part, as a way of knowing God intimately. Every event takes on a significance in that context, for there is no waste in experience."
Phyllis A. Tickle




 
 
 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hidden Treasures by Cindy Hester

by Cindy Hester

I have been spending time over the past few months tracing family trees in an attempt to know more about my family history. I have also been going through boxes of old photographs which belonged to my grandmother. Some date back to the 1800's, and I find them beyond fascinating, especially once scanned onto the computer. I could spend hours enlarging pictures looking at the details not easily picked up at first glance. There are so many hidden treasures within even the simplest of images.

As I sat closely examining photos, God began impressing on my heart the hidden treasures I often miss on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. My mind began rewinding, scrolling through past events in record speed. Every so often God hit the pause button to reveal seemingly commonplace events that ultimately led to exciting journeys or cherished blessings. Amazingly, it was during some of the most painful and difficult circumstances that I discovered the rarest of treasures. Little did I know I was about to receive yet another jewel to place in my treasure chest of memories.

A few days ago I received a text from a dear cousin who I had not seen in several years. She was flying into Houston for the day on business, and she contacted me on the chance we could meet for an early dinner before her flight home. Needless to say I was thrilled at the prospect of catching up, but I had no idea just how much of a blessing her visit would be.



The time lapsed much too quickly as we caught up on spouses, children, parents, and life in general. We recounted stories from the heart that evoked memories of precious loved ones with whom we share a deep common bond. We laughed, cried, and vented over the joys and frustrations of womanhood at this phase of our lives. We discussed the brevity of life. We pondered the challenge of balancing spiritual, family, and leisure time with the hours consumed by career and financial responsibilities. We delved into the topic of how emotionally, mentally, and physically draining life in this imperfect world can be. How comforting and uplifting it was to simply share common struggles with a woman in whom I found reflections of myself.



As we hugged and said our goodbyes I was overwhelmed by the realization of how my soul had been refreshed by her visit. Hearing how the trip had transpired, it was easy to see the hand of God bringing us together in His perfect timing. I would like to think that Daddy, Poppa Chris, and two beautiful sisters who also happened to be our grandmothers were smiling up above, watching as Lori and I revived a bond that mere time and distance could not destroy.

 
Lori's grandmother, Dorothy Wright Chrisman & my grandmother, Winnie Wright Hood (sisters)

 
Lori's Dad, Oswin Chrisman & my Dad, Frank Hood


Dear Heavenly Father,

I come thanking You for knowing what I have need of even more than I do. I thank You for the treasures You supply...treasures that give only a glimpse of what You have waiting for us in heaven. Thank You for clearly showing me these are not mere coincidence, but divine appointments. May I always be aware of Your gifts holding them thankfully close in my heart. Thank You for family, and for the most valuable treasure of all, Your Son Jesus.

In Christ's precious name I pray,
Amen



 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Touch of the Master's Hand


I dragged myself into work this morning. I like my job. I work with great people My boss is kind and encouraging. Regardless, I fight a weekly battle with this dark, ominous cloud that rolls in on Sunday night and stalls, ushering in the Monday morning blues. I struggle with switching gears from work to home life, then back to work again. It seems by the time I wind down from the pressures of the week before, it is time to rev up once again to face yet another challenging week.  

I have been earnestly praying about this issue. It truly bothers me to feel discouraged about something God's hand has so graciously provided. I simply have this tugging in my heart that this is not all I am supposed to accomplish in this life. Let me insert a disclaimer right here. Without question the most important legacy I leave behind will be revealed in how I lived my life and impacted my most immediate world, my family. That being said, I feel a deep calling on my life to write. A calling to encourage and inspire others who may have lost their hope. A calling to record the human experiences God has used to bring me to a new place in life. A place with enough miles traveled to look back and see the enlightenment God has brought out of the desolation I created. A place highlighted by the colors of joy and purpose where I stepped outside of myself and placed the paintbrush in the hands of the Master Artist.

I am not exactly sure why I am sharing this with you, dear friends, except He told me to. Perhaps He is coaxing me to drop my walls of pride and fear long enough to ask for your prayers. Maybe He is simply asking me to be vulnerable enough to share my dream with you. Or perhaps it is even to encourage someone out there who is to fulfill this calling in my place. Most likely it is a mixture of  these things.

My pastor brought a sermon yesterday on opportunity. In this sermon, he spoke of a time in his life where someone saw something in him that he could not see in himself. At the time of this particular instance he was a young teenager, not yet a Christian, nor could he have ever envisioned any type leadership role in his future. His point was that God, the Divine Creator, our Heavenly Father sees something in each of us we do not see in ourselves. God sees our potential, and He knows the calling He has placed on our lives. I sat with tears streaming wanting to strive to find God's view of me. More important, I felt a yearning to point others to a path of discovering the potential God sees in them.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God brought me to this place and time for a purpose. I also know it was His hand that provided my current job. I ask for your prayers as to what God has in store, and for His path and timing to be revealed. I do not want to miss this opportunity of learning and growth in the time of waiting, nor do I wish to overlook the calling I have in my current position at work. I am excited, however, to see what great and mighty things He has in store.

In the meantime let me challenge you to find one of your happiest baby pictures. Take a moment to look at yourself through new eyes. See yourself through the eyes of a loving Heavenly Father, the divine artist who created you as His masterpiece. See the hope, the innocence, the joy on the face of that sweet child. This, my friend is how God, through grace sees you today. No matter your age, no matter how far you may have wandered, your untapped potential is waiting to be released on a world in desperate need of what you have to offer. All that is required is that you submit to the touch of the Master's hand.


 
 
 
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand
when I awake, I am still with you. Psalms 139:13-18

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

All Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground - Part 2


 
Dinner on the Grounds in Mississippi, 1970 - Sacred Harp singers discuss their faith and their music over dinner on the grounds at an all-day singing in rural Mississippi, from "They Sing of a Heaven," a 1972 a 1972 film by Jerry Stimpfle of the University of Mississippi.
 
 
Oh my goodness, watching this video brings back memories. Memories when time was not so pressed with activities as it is today. Memories of a day when the community I lived in was made up of farmers and independent business owners whose success depended upon the principles of community - caring for one another, and treating one another as you wanted to be treated. There existed a sense of interdependence that cultivated a culture of family within the community.
 
I am not naive enough to believe this was a Polyanna existence where there was no injustice or evil. I have heard my father tell of stories where he stepped beyond those barriers to help others held captive by such injustices. I have seen many instances where God's loving hand of protection took him in spiritual boldness where many would not have dared go. During this era of my early childhood, however, there was also a healthy tradition of folks gathering together to worship, to fellowship, to honor and nourish friendships, to rest from their labor and thank God for His blessing and provision. One such tradition was the all day singing and dinner on the ground.
 
I can remember my grandparents talking about how at the turn of the century, especially during horse and buggy days, all day services were common. Congregations often did not get to meet for church but once a month due to the distances traveled to worship. Each family would prepare a dinner, then after the morning service they would combine the food and spend the afternoon eating and singing. Dinner on the ground was not solely related to church. Gathering for food and fellowship outdoors was a common happening. Where today many of our family get togethers occur with a television running in the background - if at all - these meals were spread out and enjoyed in God's dining room...the great outdoors.
 

The dark-haired gentleman with a tie facing the camera is my Paw Paw, Arch Hood. The little boy to his right (your left) is my Dad, Frank Hood. The lady beside my Dad who is taking a bite of food is my Maw Maw, Winnie Hood. The gentleman sitting on the bench in front of the big pot of food with his back to the camera (second to the left) is my Uncle Lynn Hood, my Paw Paw's brother from whom I get my middle name. This picture was a community dinner and was taken in the mid 1930's. (Click on the picture for a larger view.)


I attended dinner on the ground at cemetary workings (yes, we ate amongst the dead), family reunions, and such, but my favorite memories of dinners on the ground, came from gatherings at the Bethel Baptist Church in Bold Springs, Texas. Both my mother and father's families attended church there. My grandfather Moore, with my grandmother by his side, pastored and ministered to the people of Bethel Baptist Church for well over 40 years. My dad's family attended there as long as I can remember and farther back than that. My momma and daddy grew up  in church together. They later dated and fell in love with a rich heritage together as a result of their time spent there. Granted, Momma was a little younger than Daddy. He had to go off to war to give her time to grow up, but he came back to fall in love with the beautiful, caring woman she had become and still is to this day.



 
Bethel Baptist Church, Bold Springs, TX
 


My grandparents, C.L. and Clara Moore

 
From left to right - Rev. C.L. Moore and Clara Moore, Momma and Daddy (Frank and Grace Hood) Winnie and Arch Hood.

As a result of all these factors, Bethel Baptist was the central gathering place we returned to as "home".  Homecoming Sunday was always a favorite. This is when many of the younger generations who had to venture out to make a living traveled back home to Bethel to be with their parents. It was an exciting time of worship, seeing old friends, and meeting new family members. The greetings were warm and joyous, and the food was to die for. Everything from chicken and dumplings,  chicken pot pies, beans and peas fresh from the garden, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, to homemade berry cobblers, cakes and pies. One of  the deacons used to get in so much trouble because he loved to sneak up and run his finger through icing while the ladies were getting everything prepared for lunch!
 
 After lunch, people from all over the community came out after their churches dismissed to visit and enjoy the Sunday afternoon singing. The church house rang out with those good old gospel songs from the heart, the harmony and words stirring your very soul. As a child with a full stomach, I would lay my head in my grandmother's lap and drift off to sleep listening to them sing while watching those old ceiling fans turn. It was an unmatched feeling of security, peace, continuity, and hope.

Even today as I write about these days gone by, I find it hard to do so without a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. My heart longs to return once more to this elusive place in time. I often find myself drawn to the church as I pass it on my way out to the farm. Many of the dear folks who were once a part of these memories have long departed this earth. Their distinct contributions and unique personalities from this historical moment in time are sorely missed. I often pull into the parking lot and close my eyes. All at once it seems I can smell the food, feel the hugs of friends and loved ones, and hear the echos of heartfelt gospel music...the very essence of all day singings and dinners on the ground.

To enjoy a sample of that beautiful music, click on this link:  Jesus Hold My Hand

 
Homecoming Bethel Baptist Church, Bold Springs, Texas
(Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

 


 

Changed - Post by Cindy Hester (Song by Rascal Flatts)




Driving down the road this afternoon I heard the song, "Changed" by Rascal Flatts. I don't know when it was released, but in God's perfect timing, I heard it today. The words so pierced my soul I had to pull over, close my eyes and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving. You see I have been wrestling with past mistakes and my human shortcomings of the present. I have had trouble understanding why or how God would possibly use a person like me.

In my past there have been deep regrets, serious mistakes, wrong turns, and deep scars. Basically satan tried his hardest to destroy anything good God had planned for my life. Sorrowfully, I opened the doors in less than ideal circumstances and allowed him to slither right in. Despite a loving background from the best parents a girl could ask for, as an adult I became frozen by fear and embittered with life because of choices that brought abuse, destruction, and lies. In the process, I moved farther from God and lost sight of my value in His eyes.

At one point, I thought satan had won. I was convinced I was truly alone. I was so enslaved and deceived, I simply lived in survival mode. I could see litttle hope for myself or my children. Satan is such a liar. I just didn't understand or know at that time that God's love was seeking me. People who loved and valued me faithfully cried out for God to rescue me from this horrible pit. He lovingly reached down, and over time, He opened the path to lead me out. It was not easy, and it was a long, hard fight to break the strongholds that had been placed on mind. My spirit had been crushed, but thank God, He is "...close to the brokenhearted and praise God He saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalms 34:18.

When I heard the words of this song, the past 20 years flashed through my mind in fast forward. It so amazed me how things have changed...how I've changed...no, how God is changing me. Praise God for his mercy. I wanted to fall to my knees in humble gratitude for His faithfulness. Without Him, without the prayers of family and friends, without grace, I don't want to think of where I would be. This is why I shout hallelujah and why I raise my hands to heaven in praise. I have so much to praise Him for.

So wherever you may be in your journey, I pray you know how much God cares for you. Discover the valuable person He created you to be. It doesn't matter what obstacles may have diverted your path, He loves you and wants you, just as you are. I am so thankful He loves me and that I'm changed.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that
freedom to their children." William Harvard

 
I just want to take a moment to thank our veterans and their families for the sacrifices made in order to preserve my freedom. May God bless you this Memorial Day.





Tuesday, May 21, 2013

God be with the People of Moore, Oklahoma



Dear Lord,

Please be with the dear folks in Moore, Oklahoma. My heart is broken for their sorrow and loss. I feel so helpless to know what to do for them. I come to You, my omniscient Father, asking that you comfort all who have experienced loss. Meet their needs, dear Lord. Send those who carry your precious Holy Spirit to be Your arms to hold them close, Your hands to meet their needs, and Your feet to walk with them through this tradgedy.

You told us in Your word that in this world we would have trouble, but reminded that You have ultimately overcome this world. You promised to carry us through the heartache of this world. Thank You that we don't have to face life's trials all on our own...and thank You that you are preparing a place for those who simply believe in You, trust in You and accept the forgiving grace that became available to all on the cross. I love you, Father, and I thank You for what You are already doing, and for all that You have in store. In the name of Your precious Son, Jesus, Amen.

Monday, May 20, 2013

All Day Singing and Dinner on The Ground - Part I (by Cindy Hester)


"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!" Psalms 100:4
 
I count myself fortunate to have been born in 1961. Looking back I have gained an appreciation of what a threshold in time it truly was. I have memories which encompass the values, traditions, and practices prior to the technological advances of today. Many of those traditions and practices became extremely rare or extinct within a few short years of my childhood. The transition occurred in such a short period of time that even my younger brother who is 16 years younger than me did not have the opportunity to enjoy many of these experiences. Among other things, I remember the personal touches of local family-owned businesses lining main street. I remember my grandmother churning butter while singing on the front porch steps as my sister and I played in the yard, and I remember those good old Sundays spent singing all day with dinner on the ground.
 
 
 Downtown Livingston, Texas
  

While there have been many important advances for good in areas such as social equality, technology, and medicine, I feel we as a society have progressed in many areas while digressing in others. Businesses have become incorporated and less personal. Communication devices, while offering wonderful opportunities to be digitally connected, have somehow drawn us farther inside ourselves and often tend to inhibit personal, human connection. While great strides have been made toward human equality, values and morals have declined. We live in such a fast-paced, crazy time that I feel compelled to slow you down if for but a moment and share what I witnessed before crossing over that threshold into the modern world we enjoy today.
 
 
Before I talk about the Sunday singings with dinner on the ground, I want to tell you about another phenomenon still practiced in the early to late 1960's - the local singing schools. I have read that one of the main reasons for the early development of singing schools was to teach individuals to sing hymns so they could partake in congregational singing. It makes sense to reason that congregational singing became commonplace after the proliferation of Protestant churches. This is about the extent I know of the history behind them, but I can testify personally about how people took what they learned in these singing schools and enjoyed it to the fullest at the all day singing and dinner on the ground!
 
The Stamps-Baxter music company is a good example of a southern gospel music company well known for conducting singing schools, sponsoring Southern Gospel quartets, and publishing "convention" song books. They still hold a two week singing school at The Stamps-Baxter School of Music in Nashville, Tennessee as a continuation of the tradition of convention-style southern gospel music (http://www.StampsBaxterSchool.com.)
 
Back in the day, however, people of the local community would gather together at a similar style singing school. There they learned to read music and sing harmony according to the "shaped note method" made popular in the various convention song books like those published by Stamps-Baxter.



 
 
 An example of the shaped note method of learning music.
My Maw Maw Hood would be totally confounded if she attended
a church where the notes were round. Shaped notes were how she read
harmony.
 
 
 One such convention songbook was the Heavenly Highway hymnal. I don't know how many of you are acquainted with the Heavenly Highway Hymn book. Let me just say that here in the rural south, it ranks right up there just below the King James version of the Bible. Many song leaders have been accused of slipping away from God's ordained commandments when suggesting a different hymnal for the congregation. Katie bar the door if they suggest bringing praise songs into the worship service which are in no way a part of this sacred song book! What I found humorous in my reading was the fact that the schools were often conducted to teach the "new" songs published in this Heavenly Highway Hymnal.
 
 
Please understand, I mean no disrespect to any of you who hold this hymnal and its beautiful songs near and dear to your heart. I too love those good old southern gospel songs. I cut my teeth on many of them as a child while attending gospel singing schools with Momma and Daddy on Friday nights at some local church.

 Singing schools in the rural south were considered social events, and people from all over the community attended. The evening began with greetings and hugs and proceeded with learning, joyful laughter, and music. Daddy often led the opening song, and Momma would play the piano. If memory serves me right, an instructor would often be brought in for the music lesson portion of the evening. Regardless, I enjoyed these gatherings.

I so treasured the feeling of being surrounded by a church full of friends and family learning, laughing, singing, and praising the Lord together through this beautiful, comforting southern gospel style music. I could always tell when the school was coming to an end by the smell of coffee percolating in the church kitchen and the sound of dishes being arranged with assorted desserts baked by the ladies in attendance.
 
As for singing all day and dinner on the ground...stay tuned for my next writing. In the meantime, I would love to hear from any readers who may remember these days. You can post your memories here under "Comments", or post them on Facebook on my Cinderella's Corner Facebook page. You can also feel free to send them by email to hestercindy61@gmail.com. I always love hearing from my readers, especially when reminiscing about precious days gone by. Have a blessed week, and don't forget to be watching for my next post to read more!
 
 

Example of the type of music learned and sung at the singing schools:






Monday, May 6, 2013

Gardening Yuppie Style

by Cindy Hester

This past weekend my family and I got together for our annual visit to the New Braunfels/Canyon Lake area. I have always enjoyed going places with my family. Everyone seems to relax and have fun away from the day to day duties and schedules. There are so many of us that there are always numerous activities to choose from, depending on age group and interest. However, one is not always exclusive of the other. My Mom still loves to pay putt putt golf, and my younger nephews have been known to enjoy educational trips to museums and rock gardens.



We can always be assured of two things during these trips - there is never a shortage of time spent reminiscing, or a shortage of time spent doubled over with laughter. I saw a sign at the old general store in Gruene that pretty much summed up much of the girls' experience. It said, "I laughed so hard that tears ran down my legs!" Okay, okay...too much information!



Somewhere along the way the subject of gardening came up. My brother-in-law, Frank, has been planting and harvesting a garden for several years now. My sister, Melody, is an outstanding cook and can whip those naturally delicious vegetables into the finest cuisine around. New potatoes, fresh green beans, squash, peas, tomatoes...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. My little brother, Andy, also grew a beautiful, plentiful garden in his back yard this past summer that provided many good, healthful meals for his family.
 

 
 My brother-in-law, Frank, discing up his garden.

My brother, Andy's garden


Gardening was always a big part of our lives growing up. Many summer mornings were spent picking peas, beans, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, digging potatoes, and harvesting corn. After all of the picking, digging, and  harvesting, afternoons were spent under a big shade tree or on the front porch shelling peas, shucking corn, and snapping green beans. Evening chores turned to the blanching and canning process to preserve the fresh vegetables for freezing and storing.
 

Melody taking a break from pea shelling to give Mary a ride on her bike.
Momma's still shelling peas, and guess who's taking the picture?!

A pan full of Melody's good, fresh garden quash!

It was a lot of hard work, but my goodness how wonderful were the rewards of your labor. Nothing topped off a week at Gary Baptist Encampment like the anticipation of coming home to Momma's purple hull peas, cream style corn, hot, fresh cornbread, and garden fresh tomatoes. That was a little slice of heaven, especially after a week of camp food!

I can remember when I was a kid thinking that everyone grew gardens. It was just a natural part of our lives. Both sets of grandparents always had big gardens, and Momma and Daddy followed suit. I always loved the day Dad brought out the plow and hitched the horse up to it to begin tilling up the ground. It was a chore that often tested his resolve, mostly because every horse he owned seemed to test his patience when it came to plowing garden rows.

 
A picture I found online depicting the way Daddy plowed
a garden most of my younger years. He only used a single
horse to pull the plow.


To this day I love the smell of freshly tilled dirt. As a child I loved to run barefoot in the it as Momma followed along behind Daddy pulling roots and removing rocks preparing the soil for planting. I think we were supposed to be helping, but I seemed to get a little distracted back then...not much has changed! As much as I complained about what little work I was asked to do to help with the gardening, those were some of the best times ever as a family. The sense of accomplishment after harvesting, and cooking something you are responsible for planting and caring for is hard to match.

 My little great-neice, Addison, playing in the garden dirt much
like her Mimi and I did when we were little girls.
 

Charlie and I have decided it is time for us to try our hand at gardening now that we have grandbabies to pass this balanced sense of self-reliance with ultimate Godly dependence down to. So a couple of Saturdays ago, we planted our first garden together. We must be pretty good at this gardening thing too, because it only took us about 20 minutes! Okay, so we decided to start with only two vegetables - tomatoes and green onions. The main reason is that both can be eaten raw, and I am still working on my cooking skills (and I don't yet own a cast iron skillet...)

So our methods may be a little different, and we may be moving slowly in the direction of a true garden, but hey, baby steps! Someday we will have a huge garden full of turnip greens, squash, potatoes, beans, and peas but until then, it's gardening yuppie style for us!



"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." II Corinthians 9: 6

Monday, April 1, 2013

Changed by Cindy Hester

Driving down the road this afternoon I heard the song, "Changed" by Rascal Flatts. I don't know when it was released, but in God's perfect timing, I heard it today. The words so pierced my soul I had to pull over, close my eyes and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving. You see I have been wrestling with past mistakes and my human shortcomings of the present. I have had trouble understanding why or how God would possibly use a person like me.

In my past there have been deep regrets, serious mistakes, wrong turns, and deep scars. Basically satan tried his hardest to destroy anything good God had planned for my life. Sorrowfully, I opened the doors in less than ideal circumstances and allowed him to slither right in. Despite a loving background from the best parents a girl could ask for, as an adult I became frozen by fear and embittered with life because of choices that brought abuse, destruction, and lies. In the process, I moved farther from God and lost sight of my value in His eyes.

At one point, I thought satan had won. I was convinced I was truly alone. I was so enslaved and deceived, I simply lived in survival mode. I could see litttle hope for myself or my children. Satan is such a liar. I just didn't understand or know at that time that God's love was seeking me. People who loved and valued me faithfully cried out for God to rescue me from this horrible pit. He lovingly reached down, and over time, He opened the path to lead me out. It was not easy, and it was a long, hard fight to break the strongholds that had been placed on mind. My spirit had been crushed, but thank God, He is "...close to the brokenhearted and praise God He saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalms 34:18.

When I heard the words of this song, the past 20 years flashed through my mind in fast forward. It so amazed me how things have changed...how I've changed...no, how God is changing me. Praise God for his mercy. I wanted to fall to my knees in humble gratitude for His faithfulness. Without Him, without the prayers of family and friends, without grace, I don't want to think of where I would be. This is why I shout hallelujah and why I raise my hands to heaven in praise. I have so much to praise Him for.

So wherever you may be in your journey, I pray you know how much God cares for you. Discover the valuable person He created you to be. It doesn't matter what obstacles may have diverted your path, He loves you and wants you, just as you are. I am so thankful He loves me and that I'm changed.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, March 15, 2013

Choices and Goals

by Cindy Hester
 
“You satisfy me more than the richest of foods.”  Psalms 63:5

Okay, I'm going to confess. I have been on a new eating plan for the past couple of weeks, and it has not been an easy endeavor. A few years back, oh somewhere in my mid to late 40's, these pounds just came out of nowhere and attached themselves to my frame. I mean it was like my bones had become magnetized and every ounce of food I put into my mouth stuck. Not only that, as many of you may know who have bravely crossed over the mid-century mark with me, my lower abdomen also developed into a soft little bubble. Oh come on...soft little bubble makes me feel much better about myself than large squishy roll. To make matters worse, the hips expanded, the thighs...well I would rather not talk about them, and my upper arms...let's just say I fear I am getting paid back many times over for giggling at my grandmother's arms as I jiggled them during church!



There were several events leading up to this new resolve. The biggest motivation (no pun intended) came the day my dear, sweet little brother gave me an intervention and asked, "Cindy what can I do to help you get this weight off?" Now I know he is concerned about my health because he followed it up with, "I think you're great the way you are, and if you are happy this way, then I am perfectly happy for you. However you are obviously not happy since you talk about wanting to lose." Aw man, all I could think at this point was I needed to either put up or shut up.



One would think that keeping your caloric intake within 1200 calories a day would not be too tough. I did not realize how many calories I had been taking in within a day's time. I can earn extra calories by exercising, but have you ever noticed how much activity it takes to burn off even a smidgen of what we put into our mouths? Add to this portion sizes. Did you know that a serving of Blue Bell ice cream is 190 calories, and a serving is 1/2 a cup?!

My Paw Paw Moore would never have stood for a 1/2 cup serving of anything. I have seen him come in after church on any given Sunday night and eat a "serving" of cereal. He knew what a serving should be. Take one large bowl - the kind you would serve mashed potatoes to oh, let's say 20 guests - fill the bowl with Kellogg's Corn Flakes, add some "sweet" milk and about 1/2 a cup of sugar, and you've got yourself a serving! It is a good thing he performed so much physical labor and burned those calories all off.



Restaurants must have followed in my grandpa's footsteps. There are enough calories in most portion sizes at restaurants to fulfill my calorie needs for at least a week. Even half portions can add up to the coveted 1200 calories I can have each day if I am not careful with my choices. Which brings me to why I am in this position in the first place, and what will bring me out of it. It is all about choices.




So I am down 7 pounds in 2 weeks, and I'm walking every day. I am excited. I know, however, this is not a short-term fix, but a lifestyle shift and a life-long emotional and spiritual commitment. In the meantime, however, could somebody please tell those people who make those enticing food ads that seem to run every 5 seconds they're killing me?!

 
GOAL PICTURE!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  Ephesians 2:10


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