Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wagons, Ho! - Uploading "Wagon Train" Eps comes to a close

For the past two years, I have worked at uploading episodes of Wagon Train to one of my YouTube channels. On Wednesday - September 18th - I finally uploaded the last episode! That means 284 episodes that made up 8 seasons.

Click photo to go to my YouTube channel.
 The first episode was aired 18 Sept 1957, with guest star Ernest Borgnine. The great Ward Bond played wagon master, Major Seth Adams. Robert Horton was the scout, Flint McCullough. Along with cook, Charlie Wooster (Frank McGrath), and helper, Bill Hawks (Terry Wilson), the wagon train travelled across the country over a space of nine months. Terry Wilson and Frank McGrath were stuntmen who doubled for Ward Bond in many of his films. Bond personally requested that they appear in the TV series.

Season 6 Stars
When Ward Bond died unexpectedly in the middle of Season 4, the series was suddenly in need of a new leader. For several episodes, Flint or Bill would be leading part of the train while the Major was "somewhere else". Finally a new wagon master arrived, Christopher Hale, who was played by veteran character actor, John McIntire. Robert Horton stayed with the series through Season 5, but then decided to move along. His role was filled by Denny Miller, who played scout Duke Shannon. Also, the final episode of the season brought young Barnaby West (Michael Burns) to join the cast for the last two seasons.

Season 7 Stars
Season Seven saw two major changes - they left the one hour, black & white shows for 1-1/2 hour colour episodes. Also, a new scout, Cooper Smith (Robert Fuller), was introduced. Season Eight saw a return to the hour-long black & white episodes and the exit of Duke Shannon. The last episode aired on 2 May 1965, with guest star Rory Calhoun.

With the very favorable ratings that Wagon Train received the first season, many stars made guest appearances in the following seven seasons. Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Ann Blyth, Dan Duryea, Ernest Borgnine,  Jeanne Cooper, Ronald Reagan, Carolyn Jones, Rhonda Fleming, Robert Ryan, William Bendix, Jan Sterling, Marjorie Main, Linda Darnell - just to name a few!

Robert Fuller
We discovered Wagon Train two years ago, when I was searching the internet for Ann Blyth movies. It said that she appeared in an episode in Season 2, so I ordered the whole season in from the library. As we liked old westerns, we thought that we would give it a try and decided to start from the beginning. We ended up really enjoying it and the laugh was that Ann Blyth's episode was the season finale! In the episode, The Jenny Tannen Story, she sang two songs which I really liked. So, I uploaded her two songs and a clip from another episode where Rhonda Fleming and Robert Horton sang part of the old song, "Cindy", onto one of my YouTube channels. That was on 14 Sept 2011. A couple of weeks later, I got a message though YouTube from someone who said that they enjoyed the songs so much, would I consider uploading the entire episodes. 

Robert Horton as Flint
On 11 Oct 2011, it all started! From then on, I have spent most of my computer's free time downloading, rendering and uploading WT eps. Now, almost two years to the day, I have finally finished the entire series! I renamed my channel along the way to "Wagons, Ho!" - the fabulous cry of Major Adams that ended most of the first four season episodes and was later carried on by other characters (although no one could do it as well as Ward Bond!). 

We have only watched the first three and a half seasons, but I have enjoyed seeing who would guest star in each episode as I would prepare it for uploading. It was fun spotting repeat guests and I really liked seeing how many famous British performers appeared! Dana Wynter, Michael Rennie, Joan Fontaine, Henry Daniell, Brian Aherne, Charles Laughton . . . Most were privileged enough to portray British characters, but I did find Dana Wynter playing an Indian princess and a Southern Lady!

There is one really fun episode in Season 4 - The Colter Craven Story. This episode was a slightly different WT show. Longtime friends John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond had worked together many times, but never where Ward Bond starred in the picture. John Ford always called Ward Bond the morning after the show aired and told him everything that was wrong with the show. Bond finally told the director that if he thought he could do better, than he should come over and try. Ford agreed, but on one condition. He had a new actor that he wanted to try on TV. Bond agreed. Of course, that actor was old buddy John Wayne (who appears under part of his real name - Michael Morrison). Sadly, Ward Bond died before this episode was aired. But it became a classic show for western fans to see the famous trio together for the last time. Ward Bond wears a completely different outfit for this episode because they cut in a lot of footage from John Ford's film, "Wagon Master" which starred Ward Bond. So, Bond had to wear the matching clothes for the show so that you would not see the differences between footage.

Ward Bond
Personally, I don't think the show was the same after Ward Bond was gone. Although we like John McIntire in films and he was a very solid character actor, I don't think that he had enough charisma  or a strong enough personality to be a good wagon train leader. He seemed to flounder just a bit. After Flint left, it seemed to drag even more, as there was no strong character left. I saw a few scenes with Robert Fuller, and he might be a good replacement scout, but I haven't seen enough of him. Ward Bond was one of those amazing actors who would be hard to follow.

Along the way, I have met some very nice people who have contacted me about different episodes. One lady was a wonderful help because she listed every episode in the first four seasons and helped me figure out which eps I hadn't uploaded! (I started just uploading favorite shows, but then when I decided to just upload all the episodes, it got a bit confusing. For the last four seasons I got a better system . . . I started at the first episode and worked all the way to the end!) People's nice comments, kind words and appreciation for the episodes made the task of uploading so many files a fun thing to do. So - many thanks to all those who took time to say "thank you"!


Major Seth Adams (Ward Bond) -- Wagon master [S1-4]
Flint McCullough (Robert Horton) -- Scout [S1-5]
Frank McGrath (Charlie Wooster) -- Cook [S1-8]
Terry Wilson (Bill Hawks) -- Assistant wagon master [S1-8]
John McIntire (Christopher Hale) -- Wagon master [S4-8]
Denny Miller (Duke Shannon) -- Scout [S4-7]
Michael Burns (Barnaby West) -- Train wrangler [S6-8]
Robert Horton (Cooper Smith) -- Scout [S7-8]

In Season 2, the credits featured a theme song, written by Sammy Fain and Jack Brooks and sung by Johnny O'Neill. Throughout the run of the show, the theme music changed several times, but half of season two was the only time that the theme ever had lyrics.

(Roll Along) Wagon Train

Roll along, Wagon Train.
Rollin over prairie where there ain't no grass,
Rollin over mountain where there ain't no pass.
Sittin on a board, eye on the weather,
Prayin to the Lord, we stay together,
Side by side on the Wagon Train.
Wagon Train, roll along.
Pickin' up a passenger in every town,
Wonderin' if he's ever gonna shoot you down.
Lookin for a pal, ain't it a pity,
Lookin for a gal, needn't be pretty,
If she'll ride on the Wagon Train.
Wagons ho!
Gotta keep em on the run. Time to go!
And follow the sun. 
Roll along, Wagon Train.
Never had a cabin near a general store,
Only had a wagon and a forty four.
Sittin on a board, eye on the weather.
Prayin to the Lord,  we stay together
Sid by side on the Wagon Train ...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Goodbye to Deanna Durbin, 91

Just got an email from a friend in California and he passed on the news that Deanna Durbin had died a couple days ago. Her son released the news yesterday. 91 years old. I have already done a detailed entry about how I came to be a fan of Deanna. You can read it by clicking here. Also, an article is being run in today's edition of the New York Times and the  LA Times . Another of Hollywood's legendary era stars is gone, but we can still enjoy her beautiful voice through home video and recordings! Thanks, Deanna Durbin, for sharing! Visit her Find A Grave memorial and leave some virtual flowers!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Going My Way: Rise Stevens, 99

We just found out last night that opera singer, Rise Stevens, died on Wednesday at the age of 99. She was a fabulous mezzo who will forever be remembered for her interpretation of Carmen. However, she also appeared in two Hollywood films - Going My Way, opposite Bing Crosby, and The Chocolate Soldier, opposite Nelson Eddy. She not only sounded good singing, but she had a nice, sweet screen persona. You actually liked her in the films. Nothing can compare to the scene in Going My Way when Bing and Miss Stevens sing Ave Maria with the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir.

This is like the passing of an era, really.My favorite generation of opera singers is almost gone. Happily their talent is preserved on disc for us to enjoy over and over. She had a gorgeous voice. Also sang some popular songs, Broadway songs, and even did an album of Jerome Kern songs. 

She was married to her manager, Walter Szurovy, for 61 years until his death in 2001. They had one son, Nicholas, who became an actor. Actually, his screen debut was as a bandit in an episode of The Big Valley. Here is a link to Judgement in Heaven, in which he plays Billy Joe Gaines.

Two years ago, I wrote to Miss Stevens and she was kind enough to autograph a picture and piece of sheet music for me. A treasure in my collection. 

"O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our Salvation" - Psalm 95: 1-3

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Around the World In 80 Days Minikin Dolls

Since we opened our Etsy store several weeks ago, I have spent all my time making Minikins (our name for the little pipe cleaner dolls). Well, we did a bunch of Poirots, a Watusi native from King Solomon's Mines, etc. Then Sarah and I decided to do the three main characters from Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. So, Mr. Fogg (David Niven) came first. We put him in his safari travel suit. Linen pants, white jacket, orange vest and pith helmet. He turned out really cute. Then we did Passepartout (Cantinflas), complete with patches on his pants and the red carpet bag full of pound notes. Last night I just finished Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine). It took three days, but it seemed like more. I went a bit gung-ho on the gold metallic thread and ended up using and entire skein! Her necklace is even made from only gold DMC floss. But, all the work and worry really paid off because she is absolutely grand! The first two are already listed in the Etsy store and Mom and Sarah are going to list the Princess tonight.

We watched our new DVD of The Quiet Man last night. Man! Was the restoration worth waiting for! I think we are going to have to watch it again really soon. You could see so much detail. Really swell. Although, it is such a fun movie, the restoration just adds to the enjoyment! We decided to make Minikins of Maureen O'Hara in the first scene (red and dark blue skirts, light blue blouse and coloured scarf) and John Wayne in his dark blue outfit with the white vest. They should turn out really cute, especially Maureen O'Hara's red hair!

"So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me?" - Hebrews 13:6

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Celebrating National Pancake Day

Yesterday was . . . National Pancake Day? Ah, well. Never heard of it, but it sparked a grand idea! We called Dad and he agreed. We made a big breakfast for dinner, including pancakes. Dad makes pancakes every so often on the weekends, but yesterday, we had it for dinner. Sarah and I came down at 4pm and made breakfast potatoes, biscuits and sausage and got the coffee pot all ready to perc. Dad came home and made the most fabulous pancakes that he has ever made! To top of the night, we took our fabulous meal upstairs and watched the third episode of Green Acres, where Lisa learns how to make (or not how to make) "hotscakes"!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thoughts On Collections - New and Old

A friend of mine wrote to me yesterday and asked what I collected. *ha ha* What an interesting question, although I don't know if he was prepared for the following dissertation. People seem to fall into one of two categories. Either you tend to keep things or you don't. Although we are identical twins, this is just one more time where we are anything but identical in personality. I keep things and she does not. 

For those of us who enjoy having things around us, collections are a very good excuse for keeping and storing things. Most often we are labeled "hoarders" or "pack rats", which I think can be quite unfair. However, even I do get overwhelmed (occasionally) by the amount of stuff that one can accumulate in a relatively short amount of time. 

Over the years, I have had many collections. Also over the years, I have gotten rid of many collections. These included tea boxes (yes, I mean the cardboard boxes that tea bags come in), library receipts, rocks and creamers. Although, I do still have most of my rock collection in two small bins, all labeled with the name of the place where they came from. Tea boxes went out to make room for treasures that needed storage space and the library receipts were dumped one day after I found out how toxic the thermal printing paper is. Creamers were the last and most were given away about a year and a half ago. So, I have grown enough and Sarah has helped me become a not-so-quite-pack-rat and I have focused on a few, but nicer, collections.

BOOKS - I'm not sure that I should include this as a collection, but I suppose it is, technically. With me, books are more of an obsession. Mom raised us from the very beginning with books. We read early and I have always loved books. Although, I did take a long time to graduate from kiddie picture books (i.e. "Berenstain Bears", "Curious George", etc.) to larger books. I did make the jump successfully and now love large history books written by university professors (which don't often have any pictures!). Books are a wonder. They can transport you into an imaginary world, they can give you an abundance of information, they entertain, they teach. And you don't need electricity to use one! I definitely prefer non-fiction. WWII, British history, etc. However, when I have been reading something heavy, I usually get a mystery book for a break. "Cadfael" series by Ellis Peters or Agatha Christie. This Summer I really worked at collecting Christie books. Got many hardbacks and a lot of paperbacks. For some of them, it isn't worth the shelf space or the money to get hardbacks. Others, however, I have read and really liked and have tried to find nice, hardback copies. I think that I had over 60 different titles, last time I counted! Here is a photo of the shelf. However, this is only part of them, the rest are all stacked behind these.

SHEET MUSIC - Another collection is sheet music. Sarah and I love to play together and since we like the popular songs of the 30s-50s, we have collected old song sheets for years. Our collection  is way over a thousand (we have never actually counted) and takes up two old sheet music stands, three hutch drawers, one cabinet and the entire top of a sideboard (those have to be put away and sorted through for duplicates). Most are from 1935-1955, which is our favorite era. Many are quite rare and many are movie covers or have famous people on them. Sarah and I do have several that we have for the covers, but most are collected for the actual music. Sis collects pieces with Bing Crosby on the front and I collect ones with Deanna Durbin on them. However, they are for playing as well as looking at We have gotten several pieces signed by stars who appear on the covers. Jane Powell, Joan Fontaine, Ann Blyth, Rise Stevens, Tony Martin, Janis Paige, etc. *The photo shows the inside of one cabinet.

STAMPS - We all have stamp collections. My main one is Monaco during the time of Princes Grace. I am actually going to scrapbook around it and have it go year-by-year. Photos of Princess Grace, a timeline and all the stamps from that year. So, I am actually doing USA stamps for Oct. 1929 - April 1956 and then Monaco from April 1956 - Sept. 1982. Also any Monaco stamps that have her on them, regardless of the year of release. This is really fun and should be quite cool when I get it put together. I got autographs from two of Princess Grace's children to include in it, even.

I also have a few topical collections. One that is guide dogs and blind schools (postcards and stamps), French Resistance during WWII, the Philippines while it was a US territory, and opera stars, composers and singers on stamps from around the word. I also like first day covers and postcards. Although, they are just things I like and no particular collection.

LILLIPUT LANE  COTTAGES - My personal "collection" is Lilliput Lane cottages. These are hand painted cottages that are made in the UK. An artist sculpts a cottage (most are based on real houses) and then it is cast and reproduced and the artist paints each one. This collection started when I got three little cottages in a $2 auction box. What a box! Mom didn't know what it would start! I have collected them for about three years now and the family gets one for me every birthday and Christmas. That is also what I usually spend any spending money I get on, as well. We found a gift shop in Wales, The Blue Casket of Conwy, that sells them and I buy all the new ones there. I buy some discontinued models on eBay. I now have 35, including one that is a special edition of the Tower of London, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

Lilliput Lane does mostly British houses. However, over the years, they have done houses from other countries. In 1990, they did a line of twelve French buildings. These were only sold in France and only made in 1990, so they are a bit harder to collect. I have really been working at it, and yesterday got the sixth one in the mail! So, I am halfway there with the French collection! 

RECORDS - Sarah and I also collect records. 78s, 45s, and 33s. We downsized all of these this year, but still have hundreds of each variety. Very heavy collection, though The 78s and 45s are actually stored under my piano. We don't often add to the record collection anymore, so these are kind of "finished" collections.

BEANIE BABIES - When it comes to TY beanies, Sis and I are suckers. We actually each got one of the second series when they were brand new and still just little stuffed animals in toy stores and not a collectible for adults. Over the years, we collected a bunch more. They were some of our favorite playthings and we carried beanies everywhere! Since the craze died, we have taken advantage and bought a lot of them from people who were liquidating collections. We never pay a lot (usually 50 cents) and now have about four hundred of them. We figure that you can't have enough, especially when we have kids and split them between our houses and grandparents houses! 

Of course, I have a lot of things that I like. I have two cabinets in the hallway at the top of the stairs where I have a bunch of my Lilliputs. Also in there are many little "treasures" that I have collected over the years. My modest collection of cigarette lighters, cases and ashtrays. Some souvenirs of the 1933/34 Chicago World's Fair (Century of Progress), old glass marbles, pinbacks, silver spoons that have silent movie stars engraved on them, WWII ration books and identity cards, our Grandparents' Cuban passports, some figurines, and many other little odd treasures. 

So, all in all, I still like collecting, although I have channeled my resources and energy into a few more permanent choices. Sarah is always helping me decide if a thing is really worth keeping and storing and caring for. She is a wonderful live conscience and my own, personal Jiminy Cricket. What a fabulous sister! Even if I do get upset when I have to go through things sometimes. *smile*

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Olivia, Our Fabulous Mama Kitty

AKA Mama Kitty
                 - 5 Jan 2013

Today, we lost our dear mama kitty. Olivia was about the best pet you could ever ask for. Honestly, she was fabulous. We got her in February of 2006. We had seen her for months. She lived across the street and often sat on the old air conditioner by the side of the house. Well, she was quite friendly and started coming into our yard. She would play with leaves and she would follow us around while we did hung laundry on the lines. All she wanted was love. Well, we realised that she was expecting and we thought we would let her live in the garage. That didn't last long. The skunks started eating her dry food and we didn't want her to get in a serious fight with them.

So, one day, Mom decides that we will see if she will come into the house. Kind of work at introducing the idea of inside to her. So, we put wet food on a plate and closed off the front room, opened the front door and in she walks. She ate the food and then promptly climbed into the tunnel on the kitty tree house and prepared to stay. We were going to the movie theatre to see "The New World" that night and were not ready to deal with a new addition to the feline family. Man, did it take a lot of coaxing to get her back outside. We got the idea that she wasn't going to have such a big adjustment to indoor life as Mom thought.

So, the next day dawns and we prepare for the grand entrance. We didn't know the first thing about pregnant cats, so we figured we would segregate her so that the other cats (we had four at the time) would not pick on her. We drove to Lowe's and bought a wooden screen door, which Dad put up in place of one of the dining room doors and we made a whole little palace for her in the dining room. She had towels and a litter box and food bowls and beds and we even made a little cave for her by putting a large, dark tablecloth over the card table. She never looked back. If there was ever a cat who loved indoor life, it was Olivia. 

Sarah and I spent a whole evening trying to name her. We had the air mattress up in the back room upstairs and were watching "Dodge City", with Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland. We came up with "Barbara" and "Olivia". So, she became "Olivia". We already had "Oliver" and we named one of her kittens "Olivier" (who we later called Manly).  Quite confusing . . . ;o)

Well, on April 15th, Olivia presented us with a litter of six surviving kittens. She had mated with two daddies, so, in reality, she had two litters at the same time. We got a grey-striped, a tortie, a tabby-tortie, a black, a tuxedo, and an orange-striped.They grew up in the dining room and Olivia discovered that she could have her life of freedom if she jumped through the screen of the upper half of the door. She was rather agile for even a cat. She would jump up and perch on the waist-height rim of the door and then jump into the living room and do whatever she wanted. She would go back to the babies the same way. She was an excellent mother. 

In June, we decided that it was time for Mama to get fixed. She was in constant heat. She would sit in the little hallway upstairs and you would hear the howling start. First it would just be a little meow, then it would keep growing and growing until she sounded like a wolf who was howling at the moon! It went on all night! She was the cutest thing to watch, when she did it, because all that noise came out of her and she barely opened her little mouth! Well, the kittens seemed old enough and we figured we would stop the howling. We call and get an appointment and on that morning, we are lying in bed early in the morning and here a slight bang. Nothing too alarming. However, when we went downstairs about 15 or 20 minutes later, a screen was fallen in and Olivia was sitting on the front step (right next to little Romeo) asking to be let back in. Needless to say, we cancelled the appointment and at the end of September she had another littler of kittens. This time, we waited until they were about six weeks old and had her fixed before she could have another assignation with Romeo. 

She was always a fabulous mother, and for her entire life she took care of the three "mama's babies" (Manly, Avis, & Frodo). She would bathe their little heads and let them sleep next to her and eat with her. She was really wonderful. The sweetest thing ever. Never a bad thought. She never looked back to outdoors life. If ever a cat needed no adjustment, it was her. She knew she had a padded life! 

She was always sleeping on my bed at night. We would close the door and get ready for bed and then sit and pet her for a while. She loved it. You couldn't pet her head enough. And she had the cutest buff coloured chin. :o) Then we would lift her down to the floor and pet her for a bit while her little legs got used to standing (she was a solid baby who weighed 35 lbs) and then head to the door. She would toddle across the room and rub against your legs, wanting one last pet before leaving for the night. 

She was terrified of thunder storms and big wind. She usually headed downstairs and would get underneath the washtubs, staying there until the noise was gone. She was so cute, if she didn't see it, it no longer existed. She would turn her back to something and it would be like it wasn't even there. The old story of the ostrich sticking its' head in the sand. She was quite a cutie!

So, with many memories to keep her in our minds, Olivia went to Heaven yesterday. I know that Manly must have been ecstatic yesterday morning and the two are probably together on a soft cushion right now. We'll never have another like her.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Remembering Uncle J.D.

Usually I would do a Christmas blog entry, but I woke up with a beastly cold yesterday, and am not feeling tip-top today. So, Christmas news and updates will come later. It was a fabulous Christmas! On the 26th, we got six inches of beautiful snow, and it hasn't gone yet! Gorgeous, white and fluffy world outside. I couldn't be much happier. 

I was just looking at some of our FindAGrave memorials, when I went onto Uncle J.D.'s. I noticed that he died 35 years ago today. Since he was brought to mind, I thought I would post the absolutely beautiful poem that he wrote. It really is a beautiful sentiment and doubly cool since he wrote it. Don't have a lot from him, and I treasure the things that we do know and have. I wish I had known him, he must have been a fabulous person.

Written by James Denver "J.D." Gillespie (1928-1977)

I went out for a walk one day
on a cold Winter's morn.
Then I saw a vision
of Gabriel with his horn.
I fell down on my knees to pray
and to Jesus I did say,
"Please cleanse my soul of sin, O Lord,
for I repent today.

I am just a lonely sinner, Lord,
who is learning how to pray.
So, won't you shine your light on me,
so I can see the way?
I pledge my soul to Jesus,
to do with what He may,
In hopes He'll take me to His Father
on that Judgment Day.

O, Jesus, can't you hear my plea?
I put my trust and faith in you
who walked upon the sea.
Oh, yes, I love you, Jesus,
I look for you today,
Who gave His life upon the cross
so my soul can be saved.

Yes, I want to go to heaven
to sit by His right hand;
I want to climb those golden stairs
into that promised land,
If I could meet my Savior,
who wore the crown of thorn,
Then I could die in Peace, O Lord,
let Gabriel blow his horn."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Immanuel - "God With Us"

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Birth of Christ", Christmas Eve, 1854)

This is His name, “God with us”—God with us, by His Incarnation, for the august Creator of the world did walk upon this globe! He who made ten thousand orbs, each of them more mighty and more vast than this earth, became the Inhabitant of this tiny atom! He who was from everlasting to everlasting, came to this world of time and stood upon the narrow neck of land betwixt the two unbounded seas! “God with us.” He has not lost that name—Jesus had that name on earth and He has it, now, in Heaven! He is now, “God with us.”

Believer, He is God with you to protect you! You are not alone, because the Savior is with you! Put me in the desert, where vegetation grows not—I can still say, “God with us.” Put me on the wild ocean and let my ship dance madly on the waves—I would still say, “Immanuel, God with us.” Mount me on the sunbeam and let me fly beyond the western sea—still I would say, “God with us.” Let my body dive down into the depths of the ocean and let me hide in its caverns— still I could, as a child of God say, “God with us.” Yes, and in the grave, sleeping there in corruption—still I can see the footmarks of Jesus! He trod the path of all His people and His name is still, “God with us.”

“Immanuel.” It is wisdom’s mystery, “God with us.” Sages look at it and wonder. Angels desire to see it. The plumb-line of reason cannot reach half-way into its depths. The eagle wings of science cannot fly so high and the piercing eye of the vulture of research cannot see it! “God with us.” It is hell’s terror! Satan trembles at the sound of it. His legions fly apace, the black-winged dragon of the Pit quails before it! Let Satan come to you suddenly and do you but whisper that word, “God with us”—back he falls—confounded and confused! Satan trembles when he hears that name, “God with   us.” It is the laborer’s strength—how could he preach the Gospel, how could he bend his knees in prayer, how could the missionary go into foreign lands, how could the martyr stand at the stake, how could the confessor acknowledge his Master, how could men labor if that one word were taken away? “God with us,” is the sufferer’s comfort, is the balm of his woe, is the alleviation of his misery, is the sleep which God gives to His beloved, is their rest after exertion and toil. Ah, and to finish, “God with us” is eternity’s sonnet, is Heaven’s hallelujah, is the shout of the glorified, is the song of the redeemed, is the chorus of angels, is the everlasting oratorio of the great orchestra of the sky! “God with us”

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." - Matthew 1:23

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Prayer

I have a little book titled "Hilltop Verses and Prayers: Collected Poems of Ralph Spaulding Cushman". It is a tiny book with maybe a hundred poems in it. But what a lovely little book. Each poem have a matching Bible passage and a little prayer to go with it. Some are just so lovely. So I thought I would post a couple of the Christmas ones. Here is the first. 

Let not our hearts be busy inns,
That have no room for Thee,
But cradles for the living Christ
and His nativity.

Still driven by a thousand cares
The pilgrims come and go;
The hurried caravans press on; The inns are crowded so!

Here are the rich and busy ones,
With things that must be sold,
No room for simple things within
This hostelry of gold.

Yet hunger dwells within these walls,
These shining walls and bright,
And blindness groping here and there
Without a ray of light.

Oh, lest we starve, and lest we die,
In our stupidity,
Come, Holy Child, within and share
Our hospitality.

Let not our hearts be busy inns,
That have no room for Thee,
But cradles for the living Christ
And His nativity.

We pray, dear God, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth! But how can Thy Kingdom come until we love Thee more than we love the kingdoms of this world? Oh, let not our hearts be busy inns. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. - Matthew 7:21-23