Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Dutch Gang

     Even when we aren’t aware God is watching over us, He is.  In the bible it says that the Lord chooses us before we choose Him (Psalms 47:4).  This next story took place when I was young and innocent and Jesus was definitely watching over me:

     The four youngest Bartolomei kids went everywhere together.  Known as "The Dutch Gang" my two little brothers and one older sister and I meandered around the neighborhood both day and night.  Our parents were so busy running the family business that they almost never knew where we were. 

     We had forts and hiding places throughout our world.  One was in the storm drain out in front of our house.  Another, in our attic dormer.  Down in the woods that ran beside our land was a third.  And yet another in our neighbor’s attic or dirt cellar.  They were everywhere.  My older sister would get tired of us following her around sometimes and would tell us to get lost, and then we would separate and go off by ourselves. 

     Two incidents come to mind when I was off by myself, but I know God was with me.  My precious Lord was taking care of me and I had no clue He was there.  Down by our fort in the wooded section of our yard, tall maple trees that stretched to the sky surrounded one of our hideaways.  I loved climbing those strong beauties so one day up I went all the way to the top of the highest tree.  As I took in the incredible view, the branch I was standing on, and the branch I was holding onto decided to crack.

     I don’t remember anything after that except sitting at the base of the trunk of that gigantic old maple, and opening my eyes.  Still in shock, I got up brushed off my clothes, looked up at the top of the tree where I was last standing and wondered how I got to the bottom.  I headed home with only a lump on my head as the evidence of my fall.  I told my parents but they kept working and asked if I was okay.  I could see that old maple from our back porch and I often wondered about that fall.  I never did climb those trees again.

     A second potential disaster occurred again on a day when I was alone.  Deciding to go off by myself one afternoon, I chose the storm drain fort.  The cement square actually had little benches inside where I could sit and read a book for hours and listen to the traffic overhead, or people walking above me on the street.  A real adventure, except for the long narrow pipe I had to squeeze through to get in and out of the water basin.  Sitting inside alone was tranquil until I decided to leave.  Being gone a few hours and not telling anyone where I was, in the late afternoon I headed home through the narrow pipe.

     I’m not sure if it was the heat, the dryness, or my growing body, but about halfway through, I became jammed in the long tube.  No matter how much I pushed I couldn’t budge.  Clostrophobia set in and I became panicky.  Rapid breathing and fear took control of me as I looked at the long skinny pipe ahead.  A tiny round white hole way off in the distance was all my frightened eyes could see.  Noone knew where I was.  Not even "The Dutch Gang."

     Consumed with fright eventually exhaustion took over and I dozed off.  When I awoke the round white hole before me was almost black.  Night moved in and I had no idea what time it was.  I decided to calm myself down and try to creep my way to the end of the pipe and not look ahead.  Slowly but surely, inch by inch my body began to move and the next thing I knew, I looked up and there before me about six inches away was the exit.  As I dropped onto the ground I sighed with relief, brushed myself off and headed for the house.  My mom said, "Where have you been, it’s late?"  I told her, "I was just out playing, mom."  I ate supper and went to bed still exhausted from my trauma.

     Looking back on those two childhood memories, I now realize how securely my sovereign Lord had His eyes on me.  Both times could have ended my young life, but only God knows when and where that end time will be. 

     "Thank you Father for always watching over me.  Maybe my stories will bring someone else to love You the way I do."  By the way, that was also the last time I ever crawled through that pipe.                          Love in Christ,    Claire   xoxo

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Make-Believe Twins

    My sister Teresa and I were 15 months apart, but my mother always wanted twins.  She decided to raise us like we were twins.  We dressed alike, wore the same braided hairdo, and mom even started us in school together so we both graduated from high school in 1961.  We even shared a car (graduation present) and worked at the same company after graduation.  To this day most of our classmates still think we were twins.  (Did they forget about my leap year birthday?)  I guess you could say we were very close.

     After I got saved I was hungry to learn about what the bible said, but most of the studies at church were geared for people who knew about the Word of God.  I got frustrated so pastor said, "Why don’t you start a beginners bible study in your home one night a week?"  And so began a weekly tradition.

     My make-believe twin sister was one of the first people to come and get saved at my kitchen table.  On fire for Christ from day one, very quickly she turned into a little evangelist talking about Jesus everywhere she went.  Later, a weekly bible study also took place in her home for years.  She witnessed constantly to everyone in our family as well.

     All her life Terri fought with poor health.  Asthma, glaucoma, allergies, diabetes, blindness and a triple battle with cancer that finally took her life in her early 60’s.  I remember going to chemo sessions with her and listening to her witness to the nurses and doctors and they had to listen.  She would whisper to me, "The good thing about being blind is that you can’t see  people’s faces, so you don’t care about their reaction when you talk to them about the Lord.  So, I just keep on talking.  Who is going to be rude to a blind person?"

     When she decided she had enough chemo, she asked the doctor if she could go home with hospice.  It only took a few days, but I will never forget what this dynamite Christian said before she passed.  As her son sat beside her, she looked up at the ceiling and said, "Hi Lord, how are you?"  Then she paused a minute and said, "Oh me, I’m fine!"  Shortly after that she went to be with her precious Lord. 

     Before Teresa died her pastor asked if there was anything he could do for her.  She said, "Yes, I would like you to do an alter call at my funeral!"  (An invite for Jesus to come into your heart-John 3:16).  Several people became born-again Christians that day.  One of them was my son-in-law.  I still miss my make-believe twin sister.  (sigh!)   Love in Christ,  Claire xoxo

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Healing On His Time

Blog #4  Healing on His Time

     (Please be patient with me.  I am trying to get my whole story on my site at one time.  I am not a computer whiz.)

     In my last blog I talked about our instant God.  Now I want to tell a story about a "Slow God."  For many years I had a growth on the ball of my left foot.  A corn or a planter’s wart  about the size of a silver dollar.  My father had a similar problem with these growths too, and would go to a podiatrist to get them removed.

     It was the late 1980’s and I was several years into my Christian walk and I was learning about the many sides of Jesus Christ.  Some people believe the healing side was for when He walked the earth.  Others believe that healing side is available today as well, through the Holy Spirit.  I wasn’t sure yet what I believed.

     I had given a great deal of prayer and searching time to this side of Him and decided to test the Lord and see if He would heal my foot.  How dare I even think about testing the Holy Spirit, but the pain from this growth hurt every step I took. 

     While lieing in bed one night I thought, "Why not pray and see if God will heal it!"  So I sat up indian style and looking at the ugly formation, I put my hand on my left foot and prayed, "Lord would You please heal this growth on the bottom of my foot, in Jesus’s name I ask this, thank you."  Then I laid back down and went to sleep.

     In the morning I looked and there it was, still huge and annoying stuck to the ball of my foot.  I was disappointed but told my hubby that I prayed about it and nothing happened.  I prayed again for a couple more nights, but nothing changed.

     Over the next few weeks I kind of gave up and forgot about it and moved on to other prayers.  BUT GOD DIDN’T!  A couple months passed and one night I remembered the prayer and thought I would take a look.  I mean, how many times do we gaze at the bottom of our feet, right?

     When I sat indian style again and pulled my leg up for a peek I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was still there, but now it was only about the size of a quarter.  I was so excited I thanked the Lord and showed my hubby.  Over the next few months it went to nickel size, dime size, and then one morning I looked and it was completely gone with only a scar remaining.

     That was over 25 years ago.  I still have the scar but never again did the wart return or have I ever gotten another one, like my father did.

     So God healed my foot on His time not mine, according to His will, not Claire’s will.  His timing and His will are always perfect, whether instant or slow, yes or no.  He always wants us totally dependent on Him.         Love in Christ,     Claire   xoxo

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Healing On His Time

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Healing On His Time

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July 4th Horror-Pt 2

July 4th Horror-Part 2  

      And the Horror began.  The very next firework that went off misfired and didn’t go up, but went straight into the crowd, and landed directly in the spot where we were previously sitting.  Panic ensued as every human being scattered trampling everyone in their path.  A toddler was ablaze with his clothes flaming.  A woman was screaming and running with her hair ignited.  She kept trying to put it out with her hands, but she couldn’t.  Many were trampled as their blankets caught on fire.  The "Big boom" we usually hear at the end of the firework, exploded like a small bomb on the ground amongst the crowd.  Some people grabbed children that were burning and threw quilts over them to put out the flames.

     We watched from the back of the field as all this horror took place.  Quickly the fire trucks and ambulances on the scene rushed in to help and take the injured away.  The screaming and panic slowly subsided, the display was cancelled, and the people dispersed, while my family stood there still in shock.

     We finally left and when we arrived home, walking in the front door all of us burst into tears and cried for quite awhile.  When we gathered our emotions together, we all held hands in our livingroom and thanked the Lord for watching over us that awful night.  If not for the grace of God, one or more of us could have been in those ambulances.  I could have been trampled or lost my baby, or my other children could have been maimed for life.

     Sometimes bad things happen to us and sometimes they don’t.  But God is always there to help us through, especially if we ask Him.

     He has gotten me through some incredible times.  Learn to listen for His voice.  Learn to look for signs.  Most importantly, learn His word.       Love in Christ,      Claire   xoxo

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July 4th Horror-Pt 2

July 4th Horror-Part 2  

      And the Horror began.  The very next firework that went off misfired and didn’t go up, but went straight into the crowd, and landed directly in the spot where we were previously sitting.  Watching in shock, panic ensued as every human being scattered trampling everyone in their path.  A toddler was ablaze with his clothes flaming.  A woman was screaming and running with her hair ignited.  She kept trying to put it out with her hands, but she couldn’t.  Many were trampled as their blankets caught on fire.  The "Big boom" we usually hear at the end of the firework, exploded like a small bomb on the ground amongst the crowd.  Some people grabbed children that were burning and threw quilts over them to put out the flames.

     We watched from the back of the field as all this horror took place.  Quickly the fire trucks and ambulances on the scene rushed in to help and take the injured away.  The screaming and panic slowly subsided, the display was cancelled, and the people dispersed, while my family stood there still in shock.

     We finally left and when we arrived home, walking in the front door all of us burst into tears and cried for quite awhile.  When we gathered our emotions together, we all held hands in our livingroom and thanked the Lord for watching over us that awful night.  If not for the grace of God, one or more of us could have been in those ambulances.  I could have been trampled or lost my baby, or my other children could have been maimed for life.

     Sometimes bad things happen to us and sometimes they don’t.  But God is always there to help us through, especially if we ask Him.

     He has gotten me through some incredible times.  Learn to listen for His voice.  Learn to look for signs.  Most importantly, learn His Word.

        Love in Christ,        Claire    xoxo

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July 4th Horror

Blog #3  July 4th Horror

     With my blog site I hope to make you laugh and cry.  But mostly I pray my stories will help get you thinking about Jesus.  I have used this next story many times.  Most recently in a letter to a dear friend who had a rollover accident and shouldn’t even be alive.  But obviously, the Lord wasn’t finished with him yet.

     We live in a fast paced world with instant coffee, instant oatmeal, and instant texting.  I am here to tell you from experience that when it is His will, we also have an instant God.  This story is true and happened a little over 34 years ago, when I was expecting my youngest daughter:

     It was July 4, 1976.  I was six months pregnant with my third child.  I had only been a reborn Christian for about a year, but was discovering how powerfully God answered prayers.  My family of four+ was going to see the fireworks in our little town of East Brookfield, Massachusetts.  Upon arrival at the little league ball field, we exited our car and all held hands and prayed, "Please watch over us and protect us from harm tonight Lord, in Jesus’s name we pray, amen."

     We made our way through thousands of people to the front of the crowd as close as we could get, and put down our blanket and set up our folding chairs.  I plunked my chubby body down to relax.  Packed in like sardines with chairs and blankets up against each other, there wasn’t even room to walk.  The firework display began and sitting up front, they were spectacular.

     All of a sudden out of nowhere, I got a terrible chill up my spine and I heard loudly in my head, "YOU HAVE TO MOVE NOW!"  In a split second I got up, grabbed my chair, shouted to my family that we had to move and literally ran my pregnant body to the back of the ball field.  Shocked, my brood quickly grabbed the blanket and chairs and followed me.  What else were they going to do?  I was with child so noone would argue with me, right?  Very quickly other people filled in our great spot up front.

     We instantly set up to watch the rest of the display from as far back as I could seat us, and the horror began.     (part 2 tomorrow)

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July 4th Horror

Blog #3  July 4th Horror

     With my blog site I hope to make you laugh and cry.  But mostly I pray my stories will help get you thinking about Jesus.  I have used this next story many times.  Most recently in a letter to a dear friend who had a rollover accident and shouldn’t even be alive.  But obviously, the Lord wasn’t finished with him yet.

     We live in a fast paced world with instant coffee, instant oatmeal, and instant texting.  I am here to tell you from experience that when it is His will, we also have an instant God.  This story is true and happened a little over 34 years ago, when I was carrying my youngest daughter:

     It was July 4, 1976.  I was six months pregnant with my third child.  I had only been a reborn Christian for about a year, but was discovering how powerfully God answered prayers.  My family of four was going to see the fireworks in our little town of East Brookfield, Massachusetts.  Upon arrival at the little league ball field, we exited our car and all held hands and prayed, "Please watch over us and protect us from harm tonight Lord, in Jesus’s name we pray, amen."

     We made our way through thousands of people to the front of the crowd as close as we could get, and put down our blanket and set up our folding chairs.  I plunked my chubby body down to relax.  Packed in like sardines with chairs and blankets up against each other, there wasn’t even room to walk.  The firework display began and sitting up front, they were spectacular.

     All of a sudden out of nowhere, I got a terrible chill up my spine and I heard loudly in my head, "YOU HAVE TO MOVE NOW!"  In a split second I got up, grabbed my chair, shouted to my family that we had to move, and literally ran my pregnant body to the back of the ball field.  Shocked, my brood quickly grabbed the blanket and chairs and followed me.  What else were they going to do?  I was with child so noone would argue with me, right?  Very quickly other people filled in our great spot up front.

     We instantly set up to watch the rest of the display from as far back as I could seat us, and the horror began.     (part 2 tomorrow)

    

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Feb. 29, 1944 Part 3

   Part 3.-  Then God sent me a wake-up call.  While in heat my female German Shepherd got loose from her pen.  As a breeder, I knew a mongrel litter would be on it’s way.  I called the veterinarian to see about aborting the pups and he got angry with me, "Do you know how dangerous abortion is to your dog?  You can injure your dame and she might never be able to breed again.  We highly recommend that you don’t do this for her sake."  I couldn’t believe my ears.  More concern was shown for a litter of mongrel pups and their mother, than was shown for me and the child I was carrying in my womb.  I was convinced this was my new found Lord talking to me.  How dare I even consider this child to be an inconvenience in my life.  I begged for His forgiveness.

     My heavenly Father also reminded me that I had been praying daily for help with three needs in my life.  One, to stop smoking.  Two, to stop working so I could stay home with my older kids.  And three, to find a bigger house because we had outgrown our four-room cape.

     This child proved to be the answer to all three requests.  I quit smoking immediately.  I stopped working a few weeks before she was born.  And within her first year of life we moved into a bigger house.  She is now 34 years old, beautiful, brilliant, and a caring social worker who desperately fights for the elderly to get all they deserve.

     As I approach my 17th leap year birthday (2012) hopefully with no surprise party, I feel the Lord telling me that it is time to tell my stories to anyone who will listen.  Inside of every one of us is a ministry and if only one person comes to know Jesus through anything I have written, my mission will be fulfilled.        Love in Christ,  Claire   xoxoxo

    

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