Sunday, December 14, 2014


This Seems Harder Than I Always Believed

 Now is the time to think about all those hours in typing class with Mrs. Stroud.  It was kinda exciting, because Daddy was taking Classes with the Church Denomination in Southwest Oklahoma.  He was studying for the ministry.  So I offered to do the typing for him and he seemed to gladly accept.  I'm really not sure how much typo correcting he had to do.  But we seemed to get the job done.  The next year or two I was off to College and the girls, Donnie and Pallie were beginning to type.  Between us all the job was completed.

The Boys of our house have attended their music lessons faithfully during the last two and three years.  Saturday was their Christmas Sing-Along.  There must have been fifty or so Kids of several ages performing.  I'm not sure the age range.  Leo started at age five.  Our own children began at age four, those forty years ago.  When they had those large group lessons and programs, we all went.  The program began with everybody playing together.   Those  were the shorter and more simple tunes to play.  When any child finished the part he knew he simply sat down.  As the program continued the pieces were more difficult and longer.  So the younger listened and learned as the older children played longer.

 This past Saturday all the kids according to their needs were sitting on chairs or stools for their part of the program, if they were playing cellos or those type of instruments.  Kids on violins, flutes and such were held by the musician while he or she stood to play.  The standing or sitting wasn't so noticeable in this type of presentation as in those forty years ago.  Teachers and students were standing or sitting according to their need as they played.  The music was beautiful.  There must have been up to fifty kids.  It showed the hard work of family and children working with the instructors to put together such beautiful music.

I counted more than seventy folks in the audience. The program lasted just less than an hour. That kind of beauty beckons all to listen up and plan to come again next year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


After We Moved to Grandpa's Place there Were So Many Things to Explore

We had moved into Great Grandpa Easley's house on January 31, 1940.  He had died on Christmas Eve of the previous December.  Mother and Daddy had bought the farm from Grandpa's heirs.  Aunt Pearl and Uncle Everett Davis had been managing the farm and caring for Grandpa.  But they were wanting to leave the farm and take other employment.  So those changes by the adults in my life made a world of difference in my life of adventures!

Donnie was my sister just younger than me and by the laws of nature was required to lay in a basket, be strapped into a highchair or crawl on the floor.  So out the door I went.  Probably the very first place of inquiry was the old 40 year old barn.  There under the cow's stanchion I discovered a goose nest.  There were lots of feathers and the deeper I dug I found an egg or two, then digging a bit deeper there were more eggs, and more eggs, maybe 6 or 8 in the nest.  Long after the fact, I realized how dangerous it might have been, if that old goose would have come while I played with her feathers and eggs.

Just to the east of that barn was the cattle water tank.  The well had been dug years before.  As they dug a hole about three feet across they came to a rock about fifteen feet below ground level.  They could hear water running beneath, so they cemented stones around the outside of the well to two or three feet above ground level.  When all was finished they broke through the stone below and had a very long lasting well of water.  Above the well a windmill had been set up.  Just to the west of the well they built a cement water tank.  The side walls were about three feet high.  The tank probably measured eight feet by twelve feet.  It was a fun place to lean over and splash the water and watch the water bugs skate across the surface.  A young female duck, before she understood all she ought to know, laid two or three eggs in the tank.  After a while they rotted enough that they floated to the top.  We had the joy of fishing them out and breaking them on some rocks.  Once I noticed a water snake in the tank.  I told Daddy about it.  He got a one by twelve board about three feet long.  He laid it on the surface of the water.  Then with a large sledge hammer he slammed it down on the board as hard as he could.  A few days later the snake, killed by the percussion, was floating on the top.

Another point of interest was Uncle Zeb's old roadster.  It had  died its last death to the south of the windmill beside the cattle lane leading from the cow lot to the pasture.  When we moved there the old rubber tires were flat and rotting.  The glass was broken all around.  All the metal was rusted but it was old and thick so would be a long time before it completely rusted away.  The seats were just springs, the coverings were long gone.  Not long after December 7, 1941 Daddy loaded it up and sold it for junk metal to help fight the war with Japan.

In the meadow below the barn I discovered a path through the grass.  I lay down and watched the red ants marching forth and back along their trail.  It was at least an inch wide and completely empty of any grass or weeds.  The ants searched out in the field of grass for seeds they could carry to their den.  All along the path I'd notice ants come into the trail from the sides, out of the meadow and start along with their load of winter food.  Others would be meeting them as they headed out to hunt more seeds.  That little meadow entertained my curious mind for many hours through that summer and beyond.

One day I was walking home from the pasture behind the cows.  As I came down the lain into the area where the cow lot began I noticed an unusual sight.  There in a big mesquite tree hung a swarm of bees.  I hadn't observed that experience before.  So to further develop my increasing knowledge, I threw a small rock into the swarm.  The old queen and most of her swarm kept their cool.  But a few angry young bees let go.  They came after me with a fury.  I only got two or three stings, but I came away with a full grown education when it comes to the sharp end of bees!  And boy did I have a story to tell Mother and Daddy.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Summer Trip 1989:  Yellow Stone / Glacier

 This is the way Jeremy started this Journal:    Jeremy Easley, age 21 . . .
      Southern Illinois University
            Summer Forestry Camp
                 5 August - 18 August  1989
                         Dr. John Byrd
5 August 1989     Breakfast at Denny's with Carl Arbetter.    Tip 90 cents

$5.00 for camping fees     Stopped in Raymond, IL for snacks.  I also bought a book.  The total was $3.55.  Lunch in Galesburg, IL was $3.80.
Herbert Hover Historic Site   . . .   N. P. Passport   $3.07.          Snacks 77cents   Total  $17.09

Camped at Anita State Park     Anita, Iowa     Traveled 600 miles.

Sunday 6 August
Left Anita State park in Iowa about 7 a.m.      Our destination is Jewel Cave and Custer N.P. in South Dakota.   Slept well through the night, woke to a very cool morning with little humidity.   Beautiful morning!

I find Iowa a beautiful landscape.   I don't understand why people look down upon this state.

Rolling hills, golden morning sun.  Cattle in pastures wedged among fields of corn and beans.

Someone asked yesterday where the trees were.  This is the first I have noticed that, unlike Illinois, most of the trees grow along creeks or in fence rows.  Many fields have been terraced adding an interesting look to the landscape.

Sioux City, Iowa.        Not long ago there was a bad plane crash.      Snacks  $2.34.

I've learned that I should be shooting 200 speed film in my camera instead of 400 speed so I sold one roll of film for $5.25.
We are now in South Dakota.   It is unseasonably cold and very cloudy.     Lunch in Mitchell, S.D.  $3.83     Home of the Corn Palace.

THE LICENSE PLATE GAME     10:45 am.   6 August 1989
     Just outside Sioux Falls, S.D.     (not including our vehicles)
                [Here he included the USA and Canadian auto tag names of 41 vehicles they had seen.]

12:45  Rich  is now taking notes for Jeremy now because he's driving  (God help us).
Badlands Visitor Center     $1.56      Wall, S.D.   $1.00 phone     Rich

Mt. Rushmore        souvenirs  $11.60

I started driving at Mitchell, S.D.  The country is still gorgeous.  We are going to the Badlands.  Off to the left out of the rolling hills rose a cliff.  It was almost out of place and took me by surprise.  The change was unexpected and also wonderfully welcome.  This was the beginning of the Badlands.  The landscape of the Badlands was out of this world, possibly from Mars.  After several stops in the Badlands we went to Wall, S.D. and then continued to Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills.  The ponderosa pines of the Black Hills were more fantastic than the Ozark's oak/hickory forest.  These hills don't have much underbrush with many granite outcroppings.  The red bark against the gray stone and brown grass combined with the fresh pine smell was absolutely thrilling.

God has an amazing imagination.  Illinois:  wooded and rolling hills.     Iowa:  rolling hills, few trees and many farms.     South Dakota:  nearly no trees, both plains and hills.     S.D. is the most desolate place I have ever seen.  Yet it is very peaceful.     This has been a wonderful day.    $10.00 gift to Rich.          Traveled 600 miles.

7  August
We camped last night at Custer State Park in a youth group camp ground on Stockade Lake outside Custer, S.D.  The Black Hills are even more beautiful in the morning.  We left at 8:15 Illinois time. As we did we saw at least 10 mule deer before we got out of the park.  These deer were more reddish in color and were smaller in stature, possibly young, than our Illinois whitetail.  We are now traveling to Jewel Cave.  We survived a record low last night of 40 degrees F.  Brrrr.

Jewel Cave was neat although I enjoyed Blanchard Springs Caverns at Blanchard Springs, Arkansas much more.  The features in B.S. had more color and seemed to be more diverse.  The lighting in B.S. was much more spectacular.

Traveling again:  The Black Hills ended almost abruptly upon entering Wyoming.  From hills and pines to hills and grass.  This is absolutely wonderful country.  I am thinking now that I don't have enough time or film to properly document this trip.  This fact by no means indicated that I am less
excited to be on this trip than before.                  Gillette, Wyoming   groceries and lunch   $11:82
                           Below this he listed another one of those:  License Plate Games

Throughout Wyoming, I saw my first antelope.  What imagination!
We have come the way across Wyoming on Interstate 90 and are now in Montana.  Wyoming was mostly prairie grass, lacking trees until we started nearing the Bighorn Mts.  The climate must be a little more wet for there are more trees, although still few compared to home and the grasses are greener and taller.  As we get deeper into Wyoming, I see more hills and beautiful gorges.  Where the earth reveals stone; hues of black, pink, blue, purple and gray form a picturesque scene against the yellow-brown grass.  Montana is quit similar to Wyoming, there are a greater number of trees.  An interesting point:  In these western states, the farmers are allowed to bail the grasses along the interstate.  This seems to be a very practical and feasible agreement for both parties involved.
We just left Custer Battlefield National Memorial and are driving to Bighorn Canyon National Rec. Area.  Located inside the Crow Reservation, the battlefield gave me an eery guilty feeling.  Eery for it is difficult to imagine how it would be to know that this is my time to die.  How would I take it?  I guess you just do what needs to be done and try to forget the inevitable outcome.  That must be what "BRAVERY" is.  God Bless the Brave!  Guilty because of what we, the white man, have done to the native Americans.  Guilty because we are now aliens / foreigners in this Crow Reservation.  Why must one race, Caucasians, have such greed.       
          MONTANA:   BIG SKY
                    BIGHORN MOUNTAINS:   WOW
                              Total           340    miles
                               Total           $11.82
                     LICENSE PLATE GAME

8 August
We have camped through the night at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.  Our camp is located at the North end of Bighorn Lake below the tail water of the Yellowtail Dam.  We set up camp about 6pm last evening and are presently breaking camp to leave at 9:15am.  We climbed a stone out croping behind the camp and then took a quick dip in the river.  The water was as cold as the air yesterday morning.  The campsite was very scenic although we had to camp on gravel.  It wasn't bad.  We had a nice fire using cottonwood.  It took a while to get it going good but it was nice when it was fired up good.

Took a tour of Yellowtail Dam.  This was interesting but I don't trust man's creations enough to want to work here.  I paid $6.95 for a book and $7.90 for two rolls of Kodak Gold 100 with 24 exposures.  We are now heading for Yellowstone.
                    LICENSE PLATES

Yellowstone Tower Falls          $30.30 Film     K. Bold 200     36 Exp 5 Rolls

 After Yellowtail Dam, we traveled to Yellowstone.  Our route led us over the Baretooth Mountains.  The road was amazing.  The road rose to 11,000 feet, well above the timber line.  The view from the top was fantastic.  But my favorite part was on the way down.  As we descended a beautifully gorgeous valley appeared.  This valley was full of crystal lakes, green grass and wonderful flowers.  "Jeep Trails" led away from the road.  I must, someday return here to camp.  ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT!!
Well, we continued on to Yellowstone through both the Montana and Wyoming National Forests.  The forest was nice although not like the Black Hills.  Entering Yellowstone by the North East entrance I soon became spellbound.  This land doesn't deserve to be photographed from the windows of a dusty van.  This park deserves to be photographed on foot and painstakingly.  Wonderful, wonderful, magnificent, fantastic.

We have camped in a group camp-ground on the shore of Yellowstone lake.  Tomorrow will be an adventure.

How can people say there is no God when knowing Yellowstone exists.  I feel like a child on his first adventure.  All is new all is different.  ALL IS BEAUTIFUL.  BISON, BIG HORN SHEEP, MOOSE, DEER, GEESE, SWANS, RAVEN, WE HAVE SEEN TODAY.  How can there not be an omnipotent, omnipresent God creator of the universe.  Man always botches things up doesn't he.  Man really has no control over God's creation except by the desire of the great creator.  After creating Yellowstone, "Who is man that Thou art mindful of him?"  May I always be able to sing praises to God for His supreme wisdom and sacrifice.  God truly is merciful to allow an unworthy human race to continue on this earth.  Praise God from whom all Blessings flow.

9 August
Slept wonderfully last night at Bridge Bay group camp.  It rained through the night.   We have shared our camp with a herd of chipmunks.

When people go on vacation they get stupid and careless.  For example, we went within 30 feet of two moose to take pictures.

We have traveled 1806 miles so far.

Lunch  $4.85     Post Cards   60 cents     Candy   93 cents

             PAINT POTS
                  OTHER GEYSERS

Wonderful and Beautiful

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Our Country Halloween Parties Were Most Often at Hattie Whites Farm House

 Halloween in our countryside was made up of farm kids.  Not that we excluded the town kids, its just that they were eight miles away, so didn't come.  I don't remember if it was always on Friday or Saturday night.  We dressed in what costume we had.  Usually when we arrived the big black kettle was setting over a fire in the front yard.  Aunt Thelma was often playing part of the witch stirring the brew.  If there was anything in there to stir, it would have been water to make some steam for affect.

There would have been ten to fifteen kids and a few adults who had driven those who didn't have teenage drivers.  Hiram and Hattie White lived over the fence to the east of our farm.  To get to their place one turned east on the county road a half mile north of our house.  About a half mile along that road one should turn in at Roy Hall's place and go past his house down the dirt road through the pasture of mesquite trees until you crossed the cattle guard.   In another half mile from the county road you'd come to the White family home.

We tumbled out of our cars eyeballing all the other kids dressed in their scary and frightening get ups, trying to guess who each one was.  After we passed the stew pot where Aunt Thelma and another lady or two were making strange and weird sounds, we climbed onto the porch and went into the house.  When we had all assembled, the guessing games began.  Finally everybody had been identified and prizes given to the best dressed, the ugliest, the prettiest and all the other categories.  Several games were played. 

Let me introduce the family.  You have already met the parents.  Older brother, Raymond.  Younger brother, Wade.  And the sister, Betty.   I don't remember ever seeing the brothers on Halloween night.  Hiram was generally reading in a side room.

The best part of the party was always the last and we all wanted to be included.  In the years past, when Hattie was a girl, the youngest in a family of six children, their Daddy was a holiness preacher.  In those days there were a lot of oil boon towns.  So he preached revival meetings in those boon towns and to make a living in daytime he made candy.  He traveled with and lived in a tent.  It was 16 feet long and probably 8 feet wide.  He made and sold pull Taffy candy.  There could be two kinds, hard or soft.  He cooked molasses and other ingredients in his candy kettles.  He had an iron hook which he hung on the back poll of the tent.  As the taffy began to cool, he would rub butter on his hands and pickup the ball of very hot candy.   He hung it on the big iron hook and started stretching the big ball of taffy.  He continued pulling and stretching, pulling and stretching to get air into it and so help in the cooling.  As he worked, the ball of taffy would stretch longer and longer until it reached the whole length of the 16 foot tent.  By the time it was cooled he would lay it on his work table and break it into sell able sizes.

Making pull taffy candy was the highlight of our evening.  Hattie and the ladies had prepared for our candy making fun.  She cooked the ingredients and as soon as it had cooled enough to handle, she began to pull it on her Daddy's big hook.  She had set out cookie sheets on tables.  When it had cooled enough with her pulling it on the hook, she then broke off good sized pieces for each kid to continue the pulling process as long as we could.  When we finally couldn't pull it any more, it was time to stop and begin eating our own home made Pull Taffy Candy.  Everyone always had enough to take home.  Those were great times of fun, learning history of the past and good fellowship with our neighborhood friends.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


When Fall Descends onto North Central Illinois

 On September 7, 1976 we came back from a summer's vacation to take up residence at Oregon, Illinois.  Our twins were 13 that day and they, all five of our children, missed their school pictures that year.  I think the school had taken pictures the first day of classes.  It seems to me they've not done it that way again.

We were still camping with the Able family when October came.  To our complete delight, the Autumn on Parade, started on the first Saturday of the first weekend.  Country folks and others of the town put up booths to sell their wears on Saturday and Sunday, all around the Court House square.  Near noon on Sunday the festival parade began.  We walked from the parsonage a half block with folding chairs to watch the bands and many displays progress along the street.  Jim Barns was mayor.  He and his wife, Barbara, had been instrumental, with others,  in organizing the annual parade a few years earlier.

Early in November we moved into an old brick farm house, ten miles out of town, which we rented    for five years.  That was a great place for our children to have their first experience of country living. We all enjoyed it very much.  There we grew a large garden, raised rabbits, ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens and goats.  At least all of those.

At the end of those five years, our family were needing to move to town.  The kids were involved in after school activities.  Lilly and I were both working in town or beyond, and different shifts.  So the logistics of getting everybody to their place on time required the move.  We were able to buy an old house that met our needs right on the parade route.  So all these years, if we were in town, we've sat in our own front yard watching the great parade go by.

Oregon, Illinois is alive with gorgeous trees as well as the surrounding country.  The town was built on the banks of the Rock River.  On the bluff across the river, Lorado Taft erected a repleca of Black Hawk, the great chief of the Sauk Indians.  It stands 48 feet tall above the bluff among the wooded hills.  The statue was poured there of cement in December 1911 and timely repairs keep it available for generations to come.

It is said the first settler arrived here in 1837.  There were already others coming into the area.  John Deere came in 1834 down river a few miles at Grand Detour.  He set up his black smith shop and built a house.  On its completion he brought his family from the State of Vermont.  Soon John had developed the plow that opened the prairies for the great migration of farm families who would come from places afar to make their homes and raise their young.

The region around is rife with delightful points of interest.  Parks for camping and picnicking can be found throughout the area.  Chicago is one hundred miles to the east on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Galena, home of General Grant, is about 70 or so miles to the northwest.  Within a hundred mile radius of Oregon there is a years worth of weekend getaways.  It has been a beautiful and healthy area to raise our own young during these thirty-eight years.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It Seems More Difficult with Children, but with Adults Sickness Can Be Tough, too

The first illness I remember was when Pallie Sue was six weeks old, end of October, 1941.  She had pneumonia.  And then later at six months of age.  They were both nip and tuck times.  I don't remember so much about the first time.  I wasn't at the hospital either time and don't know where Donnie and I were.  The second time was during in March 1942.  

We didn't always get snow in March, but it was not unusual.  I think it was night.  We lived on the farm a mile north of Red River, eight miles from town.  Then from town, Eldorado, Oklahoma, it was thirteen more miles south to Quanah, Texas and the hospital.  Mother and Daddy were driving in pretty heavy snow that night.  One great thing about driving in Texas, they had good paved roads and posts markers along the edge of the road.  Each post had a clear marble embedded about two thirds way up the post.  It was those shinny marbles that were guiding Mother and Daddy through that bleak night.  Mother was holding the very sick baby and asking if Daddy could drive a little faster.  That's when the old car died.

There was not much traffic on the road.  I remember them mentioning that they were praying.  In a little bit, car lights could be seen coming from behind them.  Daddy got out and waved the passers to stop.  It was a couple with room in the back seat.  They gave Mother and Daddy with Pallie Sue a ride on to the hospital. They were so very grateful.

At the hospital, the Doctor was doing his best.  After a while, that night or another night, the Doctor said to Mother, "Ernesteen, I just don't know what else to do.  But we do have a new medicine that has been having good results with the Soldiers in Europe."  That was  WWII.  His problem was dosage.  Sulfa drug came packaged as powder closed one dose wrapped in paper.  He wondered, if they dare try it on a baby.  His real concern was how much should he give to a six month old baby?

Even after he gave the medicine, she continued to get worse.  Mother said as she watched, Pallie's breath continued to get slower and slower.  She had been praying and was so fearful.  Finally from her terrified heart, she cried to the Lord.  "I just don't think I can give her up.  But if that is Your will, I surrender my will to You."  Almost immediately the tiny, very short breaths began to grow.  Little by little she took deeper breaths until after a while her color had returned and she slept normally.

Another time it was Linda Kay who was sick.  Mother or Daddy had called Dr. Crow's office and asked him to come.  So as the night vigil continued, Mother was keeping watch over the baby, but dozing off now and then.  It was a cold night.  Daddy earlier had lifted the lid on the wood stove in the living room to put in a new log to carry us through the night.  Now and then Mother heard a noise and went to look out in case the Dr. was coming.  But he never came.

In the morning when Daddy went out to start the morning chores a huge three foot circular hole was burned through our wood porch.  When Daddy was putting wood in the stove the night before, he could never get that log to go all the way into the stove because of a kind of knot on the side of the log.  So he lifted it back out and laid it on the porch to split later into smaller pieces.  Later he thought the end of the large log had stuck to a hot coal.  It didn't fall off when he lifted and carried it out.  The greater miracle by the grace of God was that the house didn't burn down.  There was a strong wind from the northwest. The porch floor was open to the south and east.  The slowly burning log eventually caught the porch floor on fire and when the burning hole was large enough the log fell to the ground within one foot of a glass gallon jug of naphtha, a highly combustible liquid.  The log was burned completely when morning came.  We gave great praise to God.  Linda Kay got well and we have all rejoiced for the graciousness of the Lord

Sunday, September 21, 2014


It's Time to Explain the Title of This Blog

When Joanna and I were discussing the beginning of this Blog, she asked me what I wanted to call it.  My immediate response was:  SAGEBRUSH, SANDHILLS, GRASSBURRS AND GOATHEADS.  Then she suggested we use:  So this one I assume you can understand.  But the first one, I wonder how many have understood what I've meant.

SAGEBRUSH:  It's probably not hard to know the meaning, especially if you know I grew up in Southwest Oklahoma.  That farm was a mile long, north to south and stopped at the Red River dividing Oklahoma from Texas.  The north half was good farm land and the south half was sand hills, largely covered with Sagebrush.  The farm was a half mile wide.  The west edge was along a country road.  The east side was divided from Mr. White's farm by a four wire, barbed wire fence.

Most of my days after school,  included the chore of riding Old Silver to the pasture and bring the cattle home for milking.  Silver was our small black and white Shetland pony.  He was the perfect pony for a boy with an after school chore of bringing in the cows.  That trip led from the barn yard to a lane about an eighth mile south to the farm pond where the cattle came, usually about 4:30 or 5:00 for a drink.  Beyond that was the 160 acres of pasture.  It consisted of undulating sand hills covered with grasses, spring and summer flowers, large amounts of sagebrush and trees of various kinds in different places throughout the pasture.

I always saddled Silver when I rode him.  I sure didn't trust to falling off in the pasture that had coveys of quails to flush up and make him run unexpectedly or pitch me off.  We had more than our share of rattlesnakes and I didn't want to be left high and dry, walking through the grasses and sagebrush.
SANDHILLS:  They made it difficult to know where the cows were.  The hills were different heights with valleys between.  There was a row of them on the level of the farm land and below that the land dropped off to the river another quarter mile to the south.  There were two rows of varying heights in the lower pasture crossing also from west to east.  So if the cows hadn't come to the water pond, then it might be a half hour or more before I found them.  Milking just had to wait.

GRASSBURRS:  That's a different story.  Grass is not just grass.  There are so many different kinds of grass.  And this nasty grass burr is no friend of man, or boy, at all.  In fact, grass burrs are not even friendly to girls.  Betty was the girl who lived over  the barbed wire fence to the east.  She was picking cotton with us one season when she reached for a burr of cotton, but her glove snagged a grass burr and with the other glove on she couldn't pick it out.  She took off her glove and those little burrs have something like a fish hook on each of many little stickers reaching out to suck you in.  Finally she stuck the gloved burr into her teeth to pull it free.  That's the moment pain attacked.  One of those many little prongs reached beyond her teeth and pierced her tongue.  We all cringed in pain.  I still don't remember how or who got the grass burr out of her tongue.  Those clumps of grass burrs grew just where you didn't expect them.  They stuck to your pant leg or your sock.  They were just an awful mess to deal with.

GOATHEADS:  Those were another kind of sticker waiting for the bear foot boy with checks of tan to come bounding across the hard packed yard.  And then without warning the sharp pain pierced through the summer toughened sole of your foot.  Your were instantly on all fours pulling out that tiny explosion of pain that brought you to your knees.  Goat heads grew on a vine that ran flat along the ground.  They had tiny leaves and pretty little flowers.  Each flower produced a seed pod, or rather a clump of pods that were gathered together in a kind of fruit that falls apart into five nutlets or burs.    Each had two very sharp stickers extending out about an eighth of an inch or long enough to puncture bicycle tires.  So each segment looked like a goats head with his two little horns ready to gore you "to the bone."

One time when Daddy was about fifteen years old, he and Papa had been cutting those vines in an area of their pasture that was somewhat dry.  Other weeds hadn't been growing there and in a bit of unusual rain, the goat head vines had taken hold and grew to eight or ten feet across.  So they had cut and piled them to burn after they had time to dry up.  After they were dry, the leaves fellow off and a bed of red ants in the area began to carry the little two horned seeds to their den.  The seeds were a little too large to go down the hole into the den.  So, wisely the ants carried the goat heads away from their hole and dropped them.  But industrously they picked up new ones which also had to be moved away again.

The red ant queens were beginning to grow wings and fly away to build new dens.  So Daddy came bounding along the path from the cotton field where he'd been hoeing, toward the barn to start evening chores.  Being an observant young man he knew those ant queens needed to be stomped before they started too many more ant holes.  So with brawn and might he leaped into the center of the ant hill.  He came down onto a foot full of those awful goat heads.  There was nothing to do but crawl on hands and knees out of the fifteen foot circle of pain.

For those experiences and more I have named my blog: Sagebrush, Sandhills, Grassburrs and Goatheads.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


This Was a Move I Had Never Expected to Make

The Lord called me to preach in November before I was 15 years old.  A while after that, Daddy accepted a call to preach on his life.  Sunday, May 18, 1952, our pastor, Rev. Ray Altaffer gave me an exhorters license to preach.  Soon I was being asked to speak at local Cottage Prayer Meetings and then to supply the Pulpit for a near by Church whose pastor was on vacation.  I certainly didn't preach every month, but the opportunities came.  A near by Congregation asked me to preach a Week-end Youth Revival.  By the time I was in college I was invited to speak quiet often.  By the time I'd graduated from collage, I had been preaching 10 years.

In October 1961 I took my first pastorate at the small congregation of the Church of the Nazarene in Red Oak, Iowa.  While there our twins were born.  The Congregation grew and we sold our small building and bought a  beautiful old Church with a five bedroom parsonage.  It met the growing need of the Congregation for several years.   After five years we moved to the West Des Moines Church of the Nazarene, next door to the beautiful Camp Grounds of the Church of the Nazarene in the State of Iowa.  Our third and forth children were born while we pastored the West Des Moines Church of the Nazarene.  Two and a half years latter we moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa Church of the Nazarene.

Our seven and a half years in Mt. Pleasant were years of joy and fulfillment.  Our last child was born there, giving us two boys and three girls.  There was a good moving of the Spirit of God in our midst.  Several College age people became a part of the Congregation.  During one period the young people became convicted by the Holy Spirit and ask if they could burn books, pictures, drugs and many items deemed to not be part of a Christian's life.  We had a huge bonfire in the space behind the Church and
many participants sang hymns and songs as they rejoiced over the new victory in their lives.

During the last year or year and a half of those seven and a half,  I had begun studying God's instructions to Moses for the Israelites to plan a Sabbacital year for their lands every seventh year.  As I began to contemplate these passages, it occured to me that I had no land.  Was I responsible for some kind of seventh year?   As the months of prayer passed, I began to understand that my mind was the place where I produced my sermons and so my income.  I prayed with concern about making such a move.  Lilly and I now had five children.  Four were in school and the last would began kindergarten in the fall.  I didn't have enough money to support such a decission.  I did have some job skills, but... so many questions.  In my experience, or at least I thought, a pastor would seem threatened by a pastor suddenly moving into his congregation.

Over the last three years I had been invited by our good friends, Rev. and Mrs. Stewart Able to preach a couple Revival Meetings in their Congregation.  It would not have occured to me to move there.  But in earnest pray I felt confident the Lord was directing me to move our family to Oregon, Illinois and attend Stewart's Church.  I had not told anyone yet about my thoughts and prayers.  I put two propositions before the Lord.  First:  Stewart should call and ask me to come.  Second:  He would agree that he had no plans to leave or move from the Oregon Congregation during that next 12 months.  I thought my Sabbatical would be over in one year.

Within 24 hours of my prayer to God in which I believed He had directed me to move to Oregon, Stewart called me.  He said he had heard that I was planning to go on a Sabbatical.  If so, he wanted to invite us to move to Oregon and become a part of the Congregation.  Steward was Canadian and had pastored in Iowa and now in Illinois at least a total of 20 years.   He was nearing retirement and now he was sure that he would not be making any moves during the next twelve months.  I accepted this as a clear sign to leave Iowa and move out into the unknown.

After all bills had been paid, all good byes given, the gas tank filled, and Sabert Smith's moving van was loaded  with our belongings, we were on our way.  I had 47 cents in my pocket.  It was a tough move.  We had always made so many friends in each pastorate.  Now, again we were saying good bye.

Arriving in Oregon, Illinois at the Church of the Nazarene, Pastor Able and friends helped unload our furniature and "things" into an unused Sunday School room in the Church basement.  It was early in the month of June 1976.   In those fifteen years of pastoring Churches, our only vacations had been to Lilly's parents in Indianapolis, Indiana or to my parents in the mountains of north west Arkansas about thirty miles north east of Fort Smith.

Our plan had been to drive with our children to visit our parents and see where the  Lord might lead us in our hope to introduce our family to lots and lots of relatives they had never meet.  After our few days with the Able's and the Sunday Service, we loaded back into our still relatively new Voyager Van.  We were ready on Monday morning to head out for Noblesville, Indiana were my brother Ray was pastor.  Stewart wanted to check the oil in my van motor and he handed me his credit card for gas in the event we might need it.  He said," I'm just afraid you won't have enough money."  A small delay.  Everything under the hood was in order.  I got in my side of the van and there swirling around the corner of the Church  and screeching to a dusty halt was Nancy.  In a near panic, she leaped out of her car and handed into our drivers window a small brown paper sack.  It felt rather heavy.  Nancy said, "I've been throwing pennies in for a while.  I have no idea how many are there.  But I felt the Lord told me to bring them.  And I was afraid I might miss you."  We thanked her and praised the Lord.

As we drove away waving good bye to wonderful friends, I still had the forty seven cents in my pocket.  While we drove along toward De Kalb, Illinois, Lilly counted those pennies.  There were thirteen dollars.  At a Mac Donald's in De Kalb we gave each of the children their alotment  and all went and bought our breakfast and drinks.  When we started away, everybody had what they wanted, the pennies were all gone and I still had that forty seven cents.

About 5:00 that Monday afternoon we were driving into the west edge of Noblesville and there coming down the highway toward us was Ray and his family.  We waved, they pulled over, we chatted.  We were passing through, they were going to a Church board supper.   He had been doing some carpentry work for a Church family and would be hiring help the next day.  Could I help?  Yes I could.  We drove on to Lilly's Mom and we stayed the week.  I drove every morning to work with Ray, we had great fellowship during the day and the Lord had arranged to supply our need.  Sunday we went to Church with Grandma Owens and Monday started the long drive to Arkansas.

Arriving at my Parents in Arkansas, my Dad was happy to announce all the jobs he had lined up.  There were two or three houses to roof.  Mrs. Bruce had ask him to build a goat barn with five or six stalls.  Each would hold the doe and her kids.  So this was something of a major job, though not like building a new house.  We would be there seven weeks, then Lilly and I with family would drive to my home town where Lilly and our girls would stay with my Grandmother Shumaker.  As we drove through Oklahoma City we stopped to see my sister, Linda and family.   Driving west from the City on I-40 I began looking for a place to refill the gas tank.  President Nixon had put a closing time on gas station by 6:00pm.  So the farther we went closing time got closer.  We turned south toward Altus our county seat, 60 miles away.  We prayed and drove, then drove and prayed.  The gas guage stopped going lower and we kept going and praying.  Finally we drove into the small town of Blare, Oklahoma thirteen miles north of Altus.  There was a filling station with its lights on.  We pulled up to the pump and a young man came out to fill the tank.  Finally he had it filled.  He said, "You must have been running on fumes.  This tank only holds 23.5 gallons and that's how much I put in."  And then he said, "My boss left this morning for Wichita Falls and took the keys with him.  If he doesn't get back I'll be open all night."    We drove on praising the Lord, our God.

 Lilly and our girls would visit my Easley Grandparents and several other aunts, uncles and cousins while the boys and I would drive on to Denver City, Texas where we'd meet Daddy and my four brothers.  We were there to build a new bedroom onto my cousin Edwin's house.  I don't remember how many days we were there.  On Saturday  night we all drove to Clovis, New Mexico to see a fabulous Rodeo.  Sunday morning we attended their morning Church service.  Edwin paid us well.  Our boys had lots of fun getting to know Edwin's boy.

When I dropped Lilly and the girls off at Eldorado, my Aunt Kathryn asked, if I could re-roof her house when I got back from Texas?  Her son Carroll could help when he got home from school each day.  The Lord kept providing funds without my asking anybody for work.  And I still had forty-seven cents in my pocket.  From Eldorado we drove up through the panhandle of Texas to stay over night with my cousin Yvonne and her family at Johnson, Kansas.  Next morning we drove on the Saint Louis area to stay the week-end with our dear friends, Rev. Les and Doyle Ray Jeeter.  Monday was Labor Day.  We drove home to Oregon, Illinois that day, Sept. 6, 1976.  And just knew, and then found out for sure that the Great God of Eternity had us and His plans for us, firmly in the palm of His hand.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


How Could We Comprehend the Pain that Was about to Strick

 As we struck camp that Friday morning and loaded to leave our first wonderful family vacation in the friendly country of Canada, it was with joy and gladness that we drove away hoping for another such outing in another year or two.  Not far from our campsite we merged into the long line of travelers going over the border from beautiful Canada into the Good Ole United States of America.

After we left the last gate giving us the freedom of home, we settled back to enjoy the scenery and ride through the Michigan landscape.  We were in Carlene's van.  She rode behind the front seat passenger.  I rode shotgun.  Joanna had the wheel.   The Kids were settling into their favorite spots.  After an hour outside Canada, Joanna's phone rang.  She answered, spoke a word or two then want silent for a few seconds, then pulling onto the shoulder of the road she looked at me and said with a terribly broken voice, Dad I don't know how to tell you this; but, Jeremy's no longer here.  Jeremy died this morning.  I was uncomprehending.  We all wept sourly at the awful, unbelievable report that Jeremy, our believed 46 year old son had suddenly died of a heart attack.

We were on an interstate with plenty of traffic and no proper place to pull over or get out.  In a short way along the road we came to a parking area.  There we pulled off and climbed out.  The six of us hugged and cried individually and in a circle, just what ever seemed to met our needs at the moment.  Joanna told the story as she had heard it from the police man, a boy who had been in her graduation class from High School.  Jeremy, our second son, the middle of our five children, lived in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  He had been Minister of Music at the First United Methodist Church  of Hopkinsville for several years. 

Jeremy had a degree in Forestry, but loved music just a little bit better.  He was an avid bicycle rider.  He connected well with the city bike shop and the men and women who gathered there often to ride the roads and by-ways of Christian County.  Friday was his day off and those days he and others often took longer rides.  Early every day available, before work, he / they got in a few miles.  After several years of riding, he was working his way up to 100 to 150 mile per week.  Over the years he had gained weight and saw biking as a way toward health as well an excise and good fellowship with many friends.  Gladly, over time, he had lost many pounds of weight.

Some bikers ride racing bikes and some mountain bikes.  Jeremy's were racers.  Some friends liked mountain biking.  He had fixed up a mountain bike and was excited to have his first experience on the big tires that day.  Only one friend was available that Friday.  They were prepared and ready.  Bikes were secured in the back of his pickup.  They drove west from Christian County to the Land between the Lakes, parked the pickup, unloaded and started up the trail.

After a while they saw a Welcome Center ahead.  Jeremy said to his friend, "My chest is hurting a little, I think I'll stay and rest a while.  You go on, I'll catch up."  But the friend waited around a bit, then said he'd go back and bring up the pickup.  By the time he returned, Jeremy had collapsed.  Someone immediately began CPR,  911 had been called.  By the time Pickup and Friend arrived an ambulance was on the seine.  The ambulance crew did their best and the Paducah, Kentucky hospital did their best for two hours to no avail. 

It was Jeremy's day to move from Hopkinsville to Heaven and live with God forever.  We can't tell you our pain.  We can tell you we know where he is and we can go there, too.  Not every body goes there.  But any body can go there.  The requirement is to believe Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.  Ask His forgiveness of all your sin and let Him become King of your heart and life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


We Gathered from Italy, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Iowa

Sometime early this year our girls had the great idea to visit the Canadian Niagara Falls this summer.  The farther the ideas progressed the more exciting the plans became.  Finally all was in order.  I left with Lydia's family for a visit with Keith's family in eastern Pennsylvania.   They had great fun touring Brandon's place and I stayed about three nights with Keith and Annette.  I spoke briefly at Keith's Church that Sunday. Following the service they had the Christening of a sweet little boy.  Several family members of each side of his family were present.

We had lunch with Brandon's family.  That afternoon we visited some of the beautiful Cottages in the wooded hills of the Leigh High Valley where a very old Methodist Tabernacle had conducted and still conducts Camp Meetings and religious services for many years.  It seemed that in a matter of moments we pasted from the hubbub and rush of modern American life to the peace and calm of  Pioneer peoples in centuries long past.

Monday morning we loaded into the three vehicles bound northwest to meet with the van filled with luggage and wiggling, squirming life, two Mamma's and three kids filled with lots of vinegar from the corn fields of Illinois.  All aimed for a marvelous camp ground near the Niagara River.  Before nightfall, all family groups had made it over the border and found the next door camp sites where we pitched three tents and made use of one nicely supplied motel room.  Breakfasts and suppers were prepared around the campfire.  Wonderful fellowship was shared from memories long past:  stories, games, fun and laughter filled the night air.  The seven young cousins with Mamma's, Papas, Grand Mamma's, Grand Papas, and a Great Grand Papa, all from three continents, three states of the United States of America and two nations of the world were all camping in the beautiful Canadian countryside for a great four days of joy near the great unbelievably spectacular  Niagara Falls.

We walked along the cliffs of the gorge in awe and amazed wonder as tons of water fell over the two sets of falls ever second.   As night came on vary colored lights shown onto the cascading river falling into the great abyss.  Boats in the river below sold rides for the bold and the courageous.  We were each furnished with thin, sturdy rain wear with head covering.  The strong blowing mist from the mighty river drove us to cower in the shelter of our over coats.  The long exhausting walk from the boat up the great incline to the elevators was near more than I could handle.  The girls helped me to some chairs under a canopy.  Niagara attendants brought cold water and energy drinks.  With the careful care of family and strangers I soon recovered and made it to the upper street where we waited for the strong among us to bring the cars.  We saw many of the same sights over and over each day but were  also amazed at all the new views we had overlooked before.

One of the great breakfasts were the skillets full of scrambled eggs that Brandon turned out on the bon fires each morning.  "O what great flavor and taste!"   An old mother coon and one of her young made their way under our table every night to scrounge up some food we had dropped.   But their main goal seemed to be our trash bag.  We very quickly learned to dispose of all trash as soon as we could carry it away.  After a night or two I took courage in hand and started chasing them away.  It was lots of fun to keep chasing until they stayed up the tree for longer than five minutes.   Not all of us found the midnight trip to the shower house to be of any great fun.  We all had good flash lights for that purpose, but some times the light had vanished at the time of greatest need.

The last morning was a bit slow at the start.  We had to get the coals left in the ashes of last nights fire dug out and new wood lighted so breakfast could start.  But it wasn't long until motion began to pick up.  Dressing, packing, rolling bedding, folding cots, emptying the tents, dropping and folding the tents were all in process while breakfast was finishing.  Last trips to the wash house, loading the vans and storing the kids in their niche brought us out to the departure point.  All was excitement.  Kids calling out 
good byes to cousins, aunts, uncles, grams and gramps.  It might be a long time till we meet again.

Little could we know what sorrow and sadness awaited us an hour over the  border.  But all in all we'd had a remarkably wonderful and joyful four days with faraway living family here together in the gorgeous Canadian  country side.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Hezekiah Is Healed
          Isaiah 38:1-8  (NASB)

38 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill.
 And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him,
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’”
 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,
 and said, “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying,
 “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David,
 “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city.”’

“This shall be the sign to you from the Lord,
 that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken:
Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway,
 which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps.”
 So the sun’s shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down.

Do we believe God still answers prayer?


Daniel's Prayer for His People

Daniel 9:4-23  (NASB)

Daniel Confesses the Sin of the People

I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.

 Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.

Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You.

 Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

Daniel Confesses God's Compassion and Forgiveness

To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10 nor have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.

 11 Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him.

 12 Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem.

 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth.

 14 Therefore the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

15 “And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked.

16 O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us.

Daniel asks God to hear prayer

17 So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.

 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.

19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Maybe we also ought to pray as did Daniel and the Prophets of old


Ezra a Priest of Israel Prays a Pray of Confession
     Ezra 9:5-15

But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God; and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.

 Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day.

 But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.

For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 “Now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end and with their impurity.

12 So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters to your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.’

13 After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this, 14 shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape?

15 O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this."

[The Question in My Mind?]
Have we sinned these sins?
Are we accountable to God for such behavior?
Does the Word of God and His Commands apply to us?
Should the Churches of America be confessing the sins of America?
Ought we to pray for revival?
Is revival possible in our day?


[Habakkuk 3:1=19]
Habakkuk 3:1-19 (NASB)

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear.
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
God comes from Teman,
And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah.
His splendor covers the heavens,
And the earth is full of His praise.

His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power.

Before Him goes pestilence,
And plague comes after Him.

He stood and surveyed the earth;
He looked and startled the nations.
Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered,
The ancient hills collapsed.
His ways are everlasting.

I saw the tents of Cushan under distress,
The tent curtains of the land of Midian were trembling.
Did the Lord rage against the rivers,
Or was Your anger against the rivers,
Or was Your wrath against the sea,
That You rode on Your horses,
On Your chariots of salvation?

Your bow was made bare,
The rods of chastisement were sworn. Selah.
You cleaved the earth with rivers.

10 The mountains saw You and quaked;
The downpour of waters swept by.
The deep uttered forth its voice,
It lifted high its hands.

11 Sun and moon stood in their places;
They went away at the light of Your arrows,
At the radiance of Your gleaming spear.

12 In indignation You marched through the earth;
In anger You trampled the nations.

13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people,
For the salvation of Your anointed.
You struck the head of the house of the evil
To lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah.

14 You pierced with his own spears
The head of his throngs.
They stormed in to scatter us;
Their exultation was like those
Who devour the oppressed in secret.

15 You trampled on the sea with Your horses,
On the surge of many waters.
16 I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.

[Habakkuk certainly saw the trouble of his own day and probably
on into our times and beyond.
These following verses have given me great hope and courage in
the confidence of God's faithfulness and promises.]

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,

18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.