Front row, left to right
Second row, left to right
Buda “Ralph” Smathers
This amazing photo was taken at my kindergarten at Cleveland Court Elementary in Lakeland, Florida, 1958-59 Nursery Rhyme Program.
Many thanks to Tisha Shelden, whose Mom had written all the names on the back of the photo!
Ah, the days of construction paper and white paste, finger painting, mimeographs and phonographs, and naps on the floor.
I love seeing all these sweet little faces from my childhood.
This was my nursery rhyme:
“I’m a little teapot
Short and stout
Here is my handle
(one hand on hip)
Here is my spout
(other arm out straight)
When I get all steamed up
Hear me shout
“Tip me over
and pour me out!”
(lean over toward spout)”
This sweet photo memory inspired me to write this response to the writing prompt...Where Do You Come From?
Once I began to write, the memories come flooding back. It’s such a great exercise in thankfulness...
I come from Ellis Island where the ship, Princess Irene, brought my maternal birth grandparents from Scontrone, Italy, to Chicago in 1906.
I come from an illegal abortionist who refused to abort me at 4 months gestation in 1952.
I come from the Salvation Army hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, where my birthmother placed me for adoption on Friday the 13th of February in 1953.
I come from loving Christian parents who adopted me and took me to church and Sunday School.
I come from chocolate milk before bedtime made with love by my daddy.
I come from cookies and milk after school with my stay-at-home mom.
I come from chocolate milk shakes at the drug store during Sunday afternoon drives.
I come from moving to nine different houses in ten years between 1st grade and 10th grade.
I come from six years of home economics in junior high and high school.
I come from being elected president of the Future Homemakers of America in 9th grade.
I come from being chosen as editor-in-chief of my junior high newspaper.
I come from being honored as “Miss Responsibility” by my junior high principal.
I come from being elected as the first female president of my high school student body.
I come from summer vacations at Indian Shores Beach and Gatlinburg.
But more importantly…
I come from adoptive parents who loved me enough to introduce me to Jesus Christ.
I come from Sunday School and G.A.’s mission groups every week from the cradle roll.
I come from a mom and dad who made sure that we were in the pews every Sunday.
I come from youth pastors who gave all of their time to help me find my way.
I come from Young Life inner city retreat in Jacksonville where I learned to see God in unlikely places.
I come from summer G.A. camps where I learned to make s’mores.
I come from singing His praise in the inspirational musical, “Tell It Like It Is.”
I come from His grace and mercies that are new every morning, praise Him.
I come from His Word, which is alive and active in me.
I come from a Heavenly Father who knows what my future holds.
I come from desiring to know Him better and to follow Him more closely.
This is where I come from. It made me who I am today. It is molding and shaping every choice that I make now, and in the days to come.
Thank God He has been with me all along.
Jeremiah 29:11-13–“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Acts 17:26-27–“From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”