Friday, November 26, 2010

The Chronicles of Ruth - Available NOW!

The Chronicles of Ruth, my new book based on this blog, Ruthlace, is available now. You can order your copy by sending a check for $14 to R.B. Shaw, P.O. Box 2092, Rome Georgia 30164. The price includes postage.

The book will be available from Amazon and other commercial outlets in a few weeks. It will cost $14.98. So this is your opportunity to get your copy at a discount.

Please "like" The Chronicles of Ruth on Facebook as well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to our Precious daughter Joan on November 24.

Our beautiful Lynda Joan is the second of our seven children born to my husband and me. Words and/or pictures are inadequate to tell how much each of our children fills my heart to overflow with love and how much

Joan has a special place in my heart as she did in her Daddy's heart. Joan calls her Web Log, " Daddy's Roses." (Picture on right is Joan and Jim's 6 grandchildren)

There are all kinds of stories to tell about Joan as a child and as a beautiful and outstanding adult.
The picture to the right shows Joan as "A Georgia Peach" published in the Atlanta Sunday paper.

Joan was a rising senior in High School when we uprooted her from Griffin High School, a small city school where her friends, including a “boy friend” lived. We moved to Ellijay, a small mountain town in North Georgia. If you have ever had to move a teen away from friends you know Joan was not a happy camper.

Ellijay was(and is ) a wonderful town but a town we had never heard of in 1958 when my husband, an ordained Itinerant Elder in the Methodist Church was sent to pastor a church there.

The word, “itinerant“ in the Methodist Church then as now means “traveling” and pastors then even more than now were ask to “travel” to any place where the Bishop and Cabinet thought would best serve the overall church. Without much notice, but with committment to Christ and the church we were assigned to The Church in Ellijay. As an aside, an old friend from Charles home town was a quaint never married nurse who was the epitomy of the Hollywood stereotype of “Old Maid. When our wonderful "Miss Weaver" heard we were moving to Ellijay she remarked, “I've heard they sure mash a lot of corn up there.” We did not see much evidence of "mashed corn" in our four year tenure in Gilmer county! We did meet some of the most oustanding and good people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

The Annual North Georgia Conference moving day was a "fruit basket turn over" day. One pastor family moved out of a Methodist Parsonage and another moved in, sometimes just minutes apart. So with our moving van (actually a truck) following, we were finally on our way to a town we had never seen.

We had lived in Griffin four happy years so we had a week of sad good byes and “ going away parties” and packing and cleaning. Moving out of a parsonage and getting it ready for another family to move in immediately is work, work, work! The picture to the right was Joan holding a rabbit, raised for food but never eaten!
(The picture below of me holding Joan with Janice 2 years older is one of my favorite of Joan as a baby.)So Charles and I, committed to the Itinerancy, were happy to finally be on our way. The younger children were excited about “moving to the mountains and kept saying things like, “Mama, are those our mountains” as we drove nearer and nearer to a place which did finally become "our mountains and our home town."

Finally we got to the Ellijay city limits. Charles, in his own exuberant way said, “The population of Ellijay has now increased by nine.“ Joan, who had been very quiet finally spoke, “It has probably doubled.”

But Joan adjusted greatly to her last year of High School there, was elected treasurer of her Senior Class and even had the fun being on the Homecoming Court (Homecoming queen) and a cheer leader for Gilmer High. She , along with all of us made life long friends with some of the finest people this world ever produced.

The picture below is of her wedding to Jim Turrentine at Trinity Methodist Church where her daddy, Charles Shaw was pastor. Her sisters Janice, Carol and Deborah were among the bridesmaids. Joan is a wife, mother of a daughter and son, Lyn and Steven , gifted school teacher and now the loving and buy grandmothersix Picture on left shows Joan and Jim's six grandchildren. Picture on right is Joan with her of her four ganddaughters, Natalie and Brianne Davis.

Friday, November 19, 2010


One of the first words we teach to our children is ”Thank You.” When someone does something for them or gives them a gift, we say, “Honey, what do you say? Say Thank you.” "Tell Aunt Mary, ‘Thank you.’…tell Grandmother 'thank you'.” And when they finally say, “Thank You,” in their little baby voice, we hug them and tell them how sweet they are.

The season we are in has been called “Hallow-thank-mas". It starts each year before Halloween with increasingly elaborate Halloween decorations and continues through the many festivities of Christmas. Sometimes it seems Thanksgiving get squeezed out.Thanksgiving Day as a Holiday began in the fall of 1621…as the Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers in America were facing their second winter. Half of them had died that first winter. The wheat and the peas they had brought with them failed to germinate. At one point the daily rations were 5 grains of corn.

When Fall came in 1622, it looked like the few who had survived that dreadful first winter would have enough food and shelter to survive a second winter.They still had problems...they had not reached Utopia. But they were filled with gratitude to God. And that level of gratitude was to carry them a long way.

I heard a Presbyterian minister tell about a time when he and a friend took a bicycle tour of Hawaii one Summer. They pedaled up a hill just as a rainbow arched across the horizon and to make it even more awesome it was just as a cooling rain began to fall while the sun was still shining!And in awe, he turned to his friend and said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bottle this up and bring it out some dreary November day. The friend replied, ”You need to do what my father taught me. My father told me to “remember my goose bumps.”

This is what the Apostle Paul did. When Paul was an old man, writing from a Philippians jail, chained to guards, he kept remembering and rejoicing, ”In the Lord.”This is what many of us do as in memory we have sunshine even in the storms of life.This is what Moses reminded the children of Israel to do.

The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years. Finally they are standing on the verge of Jordon and Moses is telling them what kind of people they are to be if they are to keep the freedom God had given them by bringing them out of slavery in Egypt. They were to remember. They were to memorize their history and teach it to their children.We see them standing in the door of the Promised Land recounting their history in a beautiful liturgy. They are reciting, "A homeless Aramean about to perish was our ancestors and we had bad times. We were enslaved ... we were oppressed ... we were afflicted.”“But we have a God! God brought us out of Egypt with an outstretched hand...We are no longer a “no people”...we are God’s people”

Back in the 1950's, when my husband was a student pastor, he had driven to church to preach about 90 miles away. The children and I usually went with him for a week-end stay in a non furnished five room “parsonage with a path”. But that is another story to tell later.That Thanksgiving Sunday in 1952 I was home with a sick baby. I had lost a great deal of sleep and it was a cold and dreary day in a small apartment on a college campus.

A little after eleven, the baby was asleep and I decided to turn on the radio (no TV) while washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen.A preacher was in the midst of sermon about things for which to be thankful. He said, “Have you ever thanked God for dirty dishes.” And tired as I was, I thought, “as a matter of fact, I don’t believe I ever have” But another thought followed and I realized …“If one has dirty dishes that means they have eaten ... People with no food do not have dishes to wash.” Have you ever thought that the beggar out on the park bench has no dishes to wash, no floors to mop or furniture to dust?The preacher read a poem written by a teen aged girl. I have never seen the poem in print but remember it as something like this:

“Thank God for the dirty dishes

For they’ve a story to tell

And from the stack I have to wash

We’ve eaten very well.

While folks in other lands,

Are glad for just a crust

From this stack of evidence

God’s mighty good to us.”

Thanking God for the things we usually take for granted is a step in the right direction on Thanksgiving Day and every day. A good place to start is to begin with zero and move up to the level of being grateful for ordinary things of life, food to eat, a clean bed, a warm house, fresh apples, turnips greens and cornbread, the smell of flowers, a Christmas tree, a church. And freedom!

I think I may have gotten a new idea of what Zero is when I saw women in Afghanistan, a few years ago, being thankful for just being able to uncover their faces and men being free to shave or grow a bread as they wish.God has made beauty and not just utility. Food could have all been tasteless and flowers without color or smell. Thank God. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said “there is a profound democracy in creation…there are some things we all inherit.”

All of us, rich and poor, men and women, have inherited the possibility of knowing God through Jesus Christ who has broken down the wall of separation and offers us life here and life eternal in the next life.Helen Keller, blind and deaf, said, “I thank God for my handicaps. Through them I have found myself, my work, my God.” Whatever it take, find God.

One source of ingratitude is lack of thought! “Think” in the Anglo-Saxon is related to “Thank.” A “thank” is a “thought.” To “think” is to “thank”The Psalmist tells us “Bless the Lord, O my souls and forget not all His benefits,” Forget not…remember. Thoughtful people are thankful people!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Veterans Day on 11-11-11

There are really no words to describe my feelings and probably the feelings of many widows of World War II veterans as we contemplate Veterans Day, 2011 on 11-11-11!

They tell me that over 1000 WWII veterans are dying daily now. Those living are in their late eighties or nineties. But to me they are still young men like my grandson, Josh, who is serving in the Army now at Fort Benning after a year in Iraq and another in Germany.

The photo below is of Cpt. Joshua Hearn holding the hand of his little daughter, Emma, as they walk away from the Cemetery where his friend and fellow soldier, Cpt. Kyle Comfort, was laid to rest. Captain Comfort was killed in the Helmand Province of Afganistan on May 2, 2010.

This story of Captain Comfort's death in 2010 brings tears to my eyes. He reminds us of the "greatness of this generation" of soldiers.

Comfort and his troups were out on patrol. One of the privates stepped on a mine. Kyle saw it and pushed the private to safety taking the blast of the IED himself. He managed to pull himself out of the hole that has been created by the blast...crawling on his elbows because his legs were blown off. His troops said their Captian yelled, "They got my legs but I'm okay." They got him on an evacuation helicopter, but he bled to death within 15 minutes of the blast. Captian Kyle Comfort left a wife and a six month old daughter.

Looking back to 1941 when I was 18, the World War II veterans are still, to me, those idealistic, brave, vital, young soldiers who willingly went off to war after the Pearl Harbor Attack believing they were helping to maintain the safety and freedom of their families. Some were willing to serve in spite of great personal sacrifice. They were certainly a part of one of the greatest generations in our country’s history.

Four of my school friends were killed in WWII: May God bless their memory as we continue to recognize their sacrifice made in 1943 and 1944: James Homer Cook was an airplane pilot whose airplane was shot down in the South Pacific on March 17, 1944.
Quinton " Red "Cole was killed fighting the enemy in Italy on March 9, 1944. Carroll Adams was killed in Frances July 27, 1944.
J.W, Rye was gave his life in Africa on January 21, 1943.

My brother, Tom (John Thomas Baird), served in the infantry in Europe. He and his wife, Rowena, married just before he went into the Army. Rowena lived with my mother, her new mother-in-law and gave birth to their son Jack Thomas Baird while Tom was away. My brother, Jack (Jackson Irvin Baird), served in the Army Air force in the South Pacific. These are just some of the brave men whom we honor this Veteran’s Day.

When President Roosevelt came on the radio early Sunday morning December 7, 1941 and announced that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, life in the towns and cities of America was forever changed. I vividly remember the terror and anxiety I felt. We’d never before been in war in my lifetime. No one knew what might be next, so days were filled with fear and uncertainty. We were afraid that our mainland would be bombed next.

In the days, weeks, and months that followed, the entire population rallied around the president and our national leadership. Patriotism was strong. Citizens supported whatever the president felt should be done.

The immediate response of our nation to the bombing of Pearl Harbor was somewhat like the national response to the events of September 11, 2001, when everyone pulled together and supported one another. This kind of public response lasted until th end of the war in August of 1945.

We were all uncertain what would happen next and wondered how our individual lives were going to be impacted. Winning the war seemed to be the only focus of the entire population.

Soon the military draft was begun. Women were never drafted, but many volunteered to serve in the WACS and WAVES. Able-bodied young men were eager to sign up. It was the right and patriotic thing to do. They felt a desire, a need, and an obligation to protect their families and their country from threat and to insure our way of life.

My husband Charles got a low draft number. However, before his number came up and he could be drafted, Charles, like many others, opted to volunteer instead so that he could choose his branch of service.

In 1943 Charles and three of his buddies from his hometown chose the Marines, Grover Foster, Charlie Miller and Roy Gunnell. The four of them were sent to Cherry Point, NC. Later they were stationed in San Diego. Charlie Miller was wounded in the battle of Iwo Jima. Although he did live to come home , Charlie was never well again.

These young fathers joined countless others giving years of their lives for the good of their country.

When we learned that Charles was to be shipped to the South Pacific without a furlough, I went out to be with him in San Diego. It was four day train ride crowded with soldiers.

Soon after I arrived at the Marine base, I came down with Scarlet Fever and was quarantined for 21 days in the Naval Hospital. The only way Charles and I saw each other was when he came out to the hospital and sat on a ledge outside my room and talked throught the window. Charles first assignment overseas was in the South Pacific in the Caroline Islands.

Back at home, food and gasoline were in short supply because the nation’s resources were going toward the war effort. The government issued ration books to citizens who then had to use the coupons to get supplies such as sugar and gasoline.

In additon to all the "Bomber Plants,"other plants to build airplanes and supplies needed to wage war sprung up all over the nation. Textile mills in the South switched over to making strong canvas for tents instead of fabrics for civilian clothing. Some of the mills made cord which was used to reinforce tires for military vehicles. Almost all the cotton mills in the South, I am told, switched from making goods for regular civilian use to making needed military supplies.

The focus of daily life was to keep abreast of what was happening “overseas.” I remember reading the newspapers from cover to cover every day to find out what was happening and discussing the events with other adults with whom I came into contact in the course of the day. All ears were tuned to the radio anytime a report or a speech came on. There were great, inspiring, and encouraging speeches by Roosevelt and Churchill.

Every night I sat down and wrote a letter to my Marine. Every morning I dressed my two little girls and walked to the Post Office to mail that letter and see if we had a letter from “Daddy.” We often did. He was a great letter-writer.

My two small children and I lived near my parents-in-law and always stopped by their house with any news from their oldest son. They had two other sons in Service. James was in the Army. Grady Jr. was in the Army Air Frorce.

American citizens spent whatever “free time” they had doing whatever they could to help with the war effort. Some worked for the Red Cross. Patriotic and Christian groups frequently had rallies and services to support the troops and to encourage each other. Oe thing that bothers me about Captian Kyle Comfort'
s death and the many others reported daily now is that, it seem to be, we, as a nation is not on a wartime basis as we were during World War II.

Finally the war was over. There were community and church celebrations throughout the country. I clearly remember the celebration service our community held. The entire community gathered at the Baptist church in Charles's hoe town to thank the Lord for the end of the war. Charles was home on furlough at the time, and our complete family attended together. It was quite a celebration!

Charles had to return to Cherry Point and be mustered out before he could come home for good.

Charles often said in the years after the war that “Buddies” in the service are not just buddies – they are brothers. They all seemed to feel a strong sense of brotherhood and connection with each other, realizing that their very lives were in each other’s hands.

This is what Veteran’s Day each year means to me. It means paying individual tribute to those who gave their young lives. It means recognition of the individual loss and sacrifices made – by the soldiers, their families, their children, and the nation as a whole. War is about individual persons! I posted the death date of young men from my school and home town to focus on personal loss.

It also means appreciation for what thousands of our fellow citizens have done for me – for US – for their country – not just in WWII but in other wars our country has fought to preserve our freedoms and the freedoms of people throughout the world. I pray that they shall not have lived and died in vain.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

You Don't Have to Shovel Sunshine.

Alas, the last of our exciting Georgia snow melted from a shady spot on my patio a few days ago. Pictured above is my young friend, Raiford Crews playing in the brief 2010 Georgia snow.

One of my favorite Web Logs is a lady, who, among her many other talents is her professional looking photography. Her post sometimes carries pictures of SNOW from her kitchen window “all fresh and new and very, very white!” She writes from Michigan, the land of snow.

I have been a widow for since 1986. For several years, I went out with a man who had retired and with his wife had moved from Michigan to Georgia. His wife had been dead a couple of years when I met him at a church conference. He had a great sense of humor. He told me they moved to Georgia because in Georgia he "did not have to shovel sunshine."

At this point in my life, I am glad to not have to shovel snow or try to walk on ice or snow. But so many of our best family memories (and pictures) with our children are tied up with the few snow storms here in the “land of sunshine and cotton.”

My husband was always as excited as the children when we had a rare snow. He would gather up the children and some hastily makeshift sleds and hurry to Shorter Hill or some other special place. If there was only a little snow, we all pitched in to make a snow man.

My job was often to stay home, put out a clean sheet to catch fresh snow for snow ice cream, dry out wet gloves, serve hot soup and keep the home fires burning.

So, school children and teachers, while you are watching the Georgia skies and wishing for a snow day, remember, " you do not have to shovel sunshine!"