Monday, July 25, 2016


I recently cleared out all the stuff from my storage unit and I have been going through my

memorabilia. While I am finding out in some ways I have a good memory of how I perceived my childhood, other things I have been chuckling to find out how wrong I was. I had forgotten all the sports our family did. I remember being boy crazy, I remember being sensitive and dramatic. But my grades are not as good as I remembered and my handwriting is atrocious. And unhappily, my plays and short stories were not even as close to being interesting as I remembered. I thought I was a lot more creative than I really was! There is ample evidence that I tried anyway! I know these things to be true since I kept a diary and did a lot of writing, I have proof.

However, I have forgotten something till
yesterday, when I opened up a Bible I had in my childhood. First, though I want to back up and give some context.

We lived in a huge home in Lakewood, and area in Dallas, Texas. And I was not yet in kindergarten. I remember being in the kitchen and I asked my mother if I could marry Jesus when I grew up. She told me that Jesus was God and didn't get married. Well, that was disappointing!

"Can I marry daddy?" "No, I am married to daddy," my mother explained to me. Now I was getting very upset and there was no other men I could think of that were good. "Okay, then I will marry Little Edmund," my older brother. When mother told me that was also not possible I was concerned. While I understood about dad and Little Edmund, I still couldn't quite understand about Jesus. He wasn't married, after all.

My mother kept Jesus always before us in our house. She sang children's songs about Jesus all the time. First to us then I got to listen as she sang to my little brother and sisters. Looking up at my mother, I thought she was an angel from heaven. I really did. No exaggeration.

My mother once told us when we were children that our shoulder blades were leftovers from our wings when we were in heaven. I believed her. Only I didn't really think hers were gone. I always saw her with a soft halo over her head and phantom wings coming off her shoulders.

I remember my mother being very kind. I felt awful one day when I spilled my milk, thinking I had done something terrible and she wiped it up and told me, very sweetly that it was only milk and people were more important than things. She had to tell me that a lot growing up. 

Mother had a way of showing both judgement and mercy that was very much like I think Christ will be. She was relentless about making us admit what we did wrong and apologize, but then all of a sudden once the apology happened, all was well again. The gloom of guilt and embarrassment was over and I found out the sun shown brightly again once you did the right thing. The wonderful world was restored.

It seems like we had family worship every Friday evening from the time I can remember. Once when it was my turn to pray, I said something and my mother said, "amen" and I thought she was telling me to end my prayer and I started to cry. She gently told me that "amen" meant that she was agreeing with what I said. I was so relieved!

The greatest thing I could imagine was being like her, my mother.

Growing up we were very involved in church. As soon as I could, I started teaching in the kindergarten Sabbath School because I thought my early teen Sabbath School was disrespectful to God. Our family sang a lot in church and often in the choir. We sang at the Dallas jail to the prisoners many Sabbath afternoons.


wanted to be baptized when I was ten or eleven and went to our church youth pastor and I was told I was too young. One year, on my birthday, I decided to start a Bible collection and saved the money I received and also the money I got at that next Christmas and purchased a little leather Bible for my purse. I wanted to start memorizing scriptures and needed a Bible small enough to take in my purse.

I remember the money in my pocket and entering the Christian book store. I found the beautiful little leather Bible with much excitement and I had some money left over. I spotted a clearance table and there was a huge Bible called The Jerusalem Bible on sale for five dollars. That was going to be the second Bible in my collection. I was so
excited. Sitting in the back seat of my car riding home, I was puzzled because when I was looking through my new and exciting purchase, I realized there were some strange books added. My father told me I had accidentally purchased a Catholic Bible. That made me feel weird, so I put that book on my shelf and decided I wouldn't read it till I was older. But my collection had begun and I was excited.

I also made a commitment to read the Bible all the way through once a year. Some days I forgot, so I would skim as fast as I could through to catch up. Which did me no actual spiritual good, but I had made a pledge to myself and God and I wasn't going to break it!

Isolating these incidence makes it seem like I was this little saint of a child. While I loved Jesus from the time I can remember, mostly I loved Jesus because I loved my parents. I felt Jesus must love me a lot to have put me in my family and so I would never be bad. Never. Ever. I wouldn't make Jesus cry over something I did because that would hurt Him and my mother. 

The vast majority of my childhood I was obsessed with boys. I was going to marry a minister and have eight children. Therefore 70% of my childhood thoughts were of love and romance. Jesus was the structure, but inside that structure were boys, my siblings and my dreams for life.

However, there was something more yesterday when I was looking at my little purchases that day after school when I was (twelve, I think) that made me smile.

My name is Teresa, spelled without an "h." My mother's name was the same but spelled with an "h. However, no one ever called me by my name, for I had a nickname. I signed everything with a nickname--all my school papers, my poems and plays. So when in later years I thought I had lost my little leather Bible, I decided to write my name in each of my books so if anyone found one, they could return it. My nickname was in most books. In the Bibles, I wrote "Theresa."

And I remember exactly why. In my Bibles, I wanted to be the best me I could. I wanted to be reverent and holy. I added the "h" to my name so I could be more like my mother. For there was no one I could imagine being more like Mary the mother of Jesus.