Archives for April 2014

MEMORIES OF MY CHILDHOOD –Autobiography Chapter One

MEMORIES of My Childhood

By Jane Ann (Shipley) Pierpont

Fearful Days

Psalm 118:6 “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear:  what can man do unto me?”

The earliest place that I can recall living was in Muskegon, MI.  There are a few things I recall about living in Muskegon which were quite memorable.

We lived in a large white house, not very many blocks away from Lake Michigan.

My mother worked and we had a baby sitter which will remain unnamed, but I am sure that neither I, my brother, Larry, nor my sister, Sue, will ever forget her.

She was very mean to us and did things to us to scare us into obedience.   When my siblings and I talked of it in later years we decided that my brother, Larry Lee (three years my senior) and I must have been naughtier than my sister, Sandra Sue (fifteen months my senior). The baby sitter seemed to favor her over us.

But then according to my recent discussion with Sue, she felt equally picked on.

The only thing I can remember doing wrong was not making it to the restroom in time, so she put me up on a shelf in the closet and it was a very hot summer day and a wasp or bee was buzzing around me and I became frightened and fell off the shelf and skinned my back.

Another time she had my brother throw a bucket of water on me when I came around a corner in the house or several times she stood me in the toilet and scared me by flushing the toilet so that I would think I was going to go down.  

In later years when we talked about some of these events, my mother was very distressed and asked us why we did not tell her and told us that she would have dismissed her. 

We were fearful because  the baby sitter had threatened us that she would do worse things the next day if we told and we were afraid (not realizing that there would be no “next day”).

In recent years I have wondered if she was an unhappy person and just needed someone to care about her and I pray for her that somehow in God’s grace she found Christ as her Saviour so that she could have joy in her life.

Tonsils Out

I believe that was also the year I had my tonsils out after having many sore throats, bronchitis and whopping cough.  I can visualize being carried down stairs someplace and waking up with a very, very sore throat. I also had severe asthma and remember waking in the night having difficulty breathing.

The Fire

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child…..” Proverbs 22:15

One day I was playing  and I heard this loud siren coming down our street and I went to the window to look out and they were coming to a stop in front of our house and then I noticed smoke coming from the front porch area.

My brother, Larry, had decided to burn the leaves under the porch which got the attention of the baby sitter and neighbors right away.  I am sure that Larry must have been rewarded for his deed because I do not recall that he ever started another fire in anything but the burn barrel. 

Snacking from the Cupboards

Another memory I had was climbing up on a chair to the kitchen cupboards where mother kept the baking supplies.   Today to my horror I recall that I would stick my finger in the lard and lick it off.  I also remember  helping myself to the baking nuts that my mother used to bake cookies and sometimes the chocolate chips.  In later years she said something about the fact that she had trouble keeping nuts in the house because I would get into them.  I do not recall getting into them in later years, perhaps she persuaded me somehow not to do that, I don’t recall any punishment though.

My parents were strict and I was very anxious to please them. So it probably didn’t take much more than a firm word to obtain compliance from me. (In a later chapter I will share about the only two spankings that I can remember.)

Most of these memories are very brief because of my age, but somehow stick in my mind as big events.

New Shoes for Kindergarten 

This event has a much more pleasant memory.

That year I started kindergarten at Moon Elementary School. 

Not long after school started Mother asked my “daddy” (as I called him) to take me to buy a new pair of school shoes. I can remember that special occasion like it was yesterday. 

First going shopping with daddy sounded like fun and getting new shoes was pretty special to me.

When we got to the shoe store a salesman came to us and offered his help as we looked at the shoes on the shelf. 

As Daddy explained that I needed new school shoes, my eyes began to wander around the store until I discovered the children’s display.  As I looked at the different styles my eyes kept going back to a pair of shiny, black, patented leather shoes with high tops which also had about six buttons and loops for fastening them.

My daddy pointed to a couple of styles and asked the gentleman if I could try them on for a start.

There was a row of chairs and the  salesman asked me to  climb up into one of them. He then sat down on a short stool which had a slanted place with a black rubber mat on it like I had seen on people’s stairways so that they would not be slippery. 

He also had me place my foot into a metal tool on the slanted place which had a slide with numbers on it, like a ruler. He placed my heel against the end toward me and then pushed the other end toward my toes until it fit my foot comfortably.  This was how he measured my feet to determine what size I needed.  Then  he went to the back of the store to see if he had my size.

While he was gone I jumped down and went over to the shelf and once again I looked at the favored black high tops. 

Soon the salesman came out with the shoes my daddy had selected. To this day I do not recall what those shoe looked like.  He reached in his pocket and took out  a metal object from his pocket and used it to help slide the shoe onto my feet one at a time.  This object I learned later was called a shoe horn.

After trying on the first pair of shoes the man showed me a  little slanted mirror which was on the floor where I could  walk over and view my feet. Then  I returned to the chair to try the other pair and jumped down right away and surveyed the next pair and quickly went and jumped up onto the chair so the man could remove the shoes.  He then placed them back in the box and looked at my daddy and said, “Would you like to look at another styes?”

To this date I cannot remember anything about either pair of those shoes.  All the time I am wondering  which pair will daddy get for me.  

Evidently my daddy noticed that I had admired the black hightop shoes and to my great joy and surprise, Daddy said as he walked over to the shelf, “I think Jane would like to try this pair on too if you have them in her size.” Then he looked down at me with a smile and pointed to the only shoes I had really wished for.

The man was gone just a few seconds and returned with   a box that had a picture on the end of the box just like the shoes. When he had finished painstakingly buttoning each button on the first shoe, he picked up the second shoe and with the shoe horn put my foot into the shoe. 

All the time I was thinking that we would probably get one of the other pairs that I had tried on and Daddy was just letting me try them on for the fun of it. I figured that would also be too expensive. I really did not understand how much they were.

When the man finished buttoning the other shoe he took my hand and helped me step down from the chair and I walked over to the little slanted mirror on the floor and looked in the mirror. They were just beautiful. I turned to look  at the sides and then twisted around to see the backs. Then I looked down at my feet and walked slowly back to the chair while watching Daddy’s eyes. 

I was elated when he smiled and said to the salesperson, I think this is the pair we would like,” and turned his face toward me with his quiet smile.  

I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get home to put them on and show everyone.

When we arrived home I was so excited and hurried in  to show them to my mother who had just returned from work.

I held up the box to her and Mother looked at the shoes and then at my daddy and it was obvious that she was not very happy about our choice of shoes.  

She looked at daddy and with great indignation in her voice she exclaimed,  “Bud, (daddy’s nick name) What were you thinking?  Those are not school shoes! Do you have any idea how hard it will be for her to button those every morning?” 

I held my breath in fear that we would have to take them back and return them for more practical shoes, but Mother also had a little flair for pretty things and understanding a little girls heart, finally consented to keeping the shoes and turned and walked away trying to show a little disgust in her demeanor.

Mother’s disapproval did not affect the great joy that I had the next day, when I wore them to school. I was looking forward to “show and tell” time (as they called it in kindergarten). Students were allowed to show a new item or an item of special interest.  If one had new shoes or a  new item the teacher would let that child stand on a chair and the class would sing a little song together.

Something like this:

“Janie has new shoes. 

Janie has new shoes.”  

I don’t remember anything else about that school or anything that I learned or was supposed to learn, but I certainly loved my daddy for buying those beautiful, new, shiny black, patent leather, button up shoes – just for me.


Jane’s Heart to Heart                  …….Pastor’s Helpmate


The Shepherd and The Sheep  

Several years ago at the MARBC Conference (1999) I received a complimentary copy of a children’s book entitled: COMFORT FOR A CHILD’S HEART, The Twenty-third Psalm and Bible Promises written and illustrated by David and Helen Haidele.  While we were ministering at the Jonesville Baptist Church I compiled a series of lessons on the 23rd Psalm using some of the illustrations in that book. For the next few weeks I want to capsulize these lessons and share them with you.

In 2008 I started crocheting Loopie Lambs for our grandchildren for Christmas using ONE OF Vana White’s patterns. I made fifteen of them.

I actually only made one this size.. (most of you have met Arnie, ) because of the difficulty and cost of making the loops. So the rest were about half that size.

This year I realized that we had two more grandchildren and  eleven greats plus three more on the way, who did not have a lamb.  After making five of them my arthritis in my thumb and wrist prohibited my making any more and one of our daughters asked…. “Why don’t you make something a little easier,” and sent   a link to a darling  crocheted bunny with a little blanket.

I told her that the reason that I want them to have the lamb was for a reminder that  “The Lord Is their Shepherd and they are His sheep.” I also included a short story about the 23 Psalm for their parents to read to them.

I searched on the internet and found some little lambs that were reasonable and bought enough for the rest of the children and those on the way and embellished them a bit to personalize them.

Psalm 23:1 A “The LORD is my shepherd…”

Let’s talk – Who is the LORD?   He is the One who made the universe…the stars, the planets, apples and butterflies, owls and lions.  The LORD  made you and me and knows our every need.  The LORD  gave His only begotten Son to die on the Cross for us, the sheep.  His Son,  JESUS was also called the “Lamb of God”, John the Baptist said so when he saw Jesus coming… “Behold the Lamb  of God,  who taketh away the SIN of the world.”.

So, who is the Shepherd?  Jesus said, “ I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep… And I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:11-15.   The shepherd is one who watches over sheep and takes care of them. The shepherd never takes time off.  Sheep are helpless and need the Shepherd always. The Lord Jesus is the good Shepherd. He gave up His life for you because He loves you and cares for you just as a shepherd cares for one of his lambs.  He knows your name. He wants to be your shepherd.  Sheep know the shepherd’s voice.  They follow no one but their shepherd.  Just like a sheep, you can learn to know and trust Jesus as your Good Shepherd and you can learn to follow him and do what He tells you. You know – the more hurried our pace the less we experience our “Shepherd”.  If left to ourselves we will go until be fall down from exhaustion.

Do you trust Jesus as your Lord and Shepherd?

How often do you take time to be close to Jesus through prayer and Bible Reading ?

Get to know Him! You are one of His precious Lambs.

He speaks to us through our reading His Word.

How do we follow Him? …Through obedience to His Word.

                THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

What Do You Do When You Wake In The Night ?

Don’t count sheep …. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbe one.. follow the Shepherd. What do you do when you wake in the night…? A good question might be …Lord what would you have me to do..? Prayer? … have a prayer list ready…(my sweet hubby has his list memorized)… Read the Scriptures so,that He can speak to you. Have on hand some good devotional books that will encourage and strengthen your faith. …suggestions…Nancy Demoss’s The Quiet Place available at   Our Daily , (Last quarter they had a free offer for a nice devotional book of which I took advantage)…. Streams in the Dessert, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman…(there are several)… Oswald Chamber’s, My Utmost for His Highest…. Truly, ladies, we are without excuse. There is so much available to us….we can even listen to the Word of God. i have the Bible on CD. And I love to listen as I read because Of my visual difficulties I have difficulty, keep my mind on my reading and the audio is a great heal to keep me focused. Another book That is helpful to me is Prayers That Avail Much by Germaine Copeland….mostly Scriptures…


parsonageMonday morning, March 22, 2010, Jennifer, (our youngest son, Nathan’s wife) called to inform us that her mother and dad, Bruce and Dawn Giehl, were coming from Ohio and she wanted to invite us to come for the evening meal.

Ken was on the road and I suggested that Nathan give him a call to see if that would work with his schedule and then Ken called me and said that we could, if it could be worked out with the management to cover for us  at Friendship Village while we were away.  We are the “Alert” phone workers.

I was expecting the manager to be back around 2:00 PM.  I gave the manager a few calls on her cell phone hoping that maybe we could get away a little earlier, but I was unable to reach her.

The mail usually comes between 12:30 and 1:15 PM, about the time that Ken usually gets home from driving.  While I was waiting I went out and got the mail and there was a sweet “Thank You” note from Jennifer’s mom and dad, which said….

“Sometimes God brings special people into our lives  and gives them a home in our hearts. You’re one of those people and you’re celebrated with love and thanks to God today.” and they added a note…. We are so thankful God brought your family into our family.

Dawn and I have established the habit for over a year now to pray together for our children whenever we happen to see one another on chats and it usually works out two or tree times a week at least.  It has been such a blessing to see those prayers answered.

When the manager got back in the office at 2:00 PM she returned my call and I asked her if she could stand in for us and she assured me that we could go and wished us and nice time.

We set out immediately for the hour and a half drive from Litchfield, MI to Kalamazoo and safely arrived at Nathan and Jennifer’s home where the boys and men were outside on the blacktop drive playing basket ball.

When we arrived we were warmly greeted and hugged. Then we all went into the house together to greet the rest of the family including Giehl’s black and white Cocker Spaniel dog, Patches.

As we gathered around the table for the meal our son Nathan made the statement,”let’s pray”….but while we were finishing our conversation and joining hand with on another, Little one year old Nathaniel Bruce got a little impatient and with his head bowed and peeking around the table, started mumbling to himself little prayerful words that sounded like “Thank. Thank.”   After we all chuckled a little his father began his prayer of thanks for the meal and fellowship.

It did not take long to figure our where Little Nathaniel learned the word “thanks” nor the idea of prayer before he ate.  

Matthew 21:16 (King James Version)

 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

After the meal and clearing the table we all adjourned to the living room where every one sat around the room and chairs were pulled into the living room from the dining area to accommodate the size of our crowd.

The little people of course were playing on the floor and were in an out some with there toys and we also had the honor of seeing Patches do some tricks for us.

We had such sweet fellowship with our dear family and as it drew close to the time for us to leave little Nathaniel went over to one of the large vacant dining room chairs and with much struggle, climbed up until he was on his knees, then finally got turned around and sat down and got his little legs to hang over the edge.

As his grandmother, I was watching him closely as everyone in the room was conversing.  I was afraid that he might fall off the chair, but then I began to realize that he was purposely getting set, just like every one else and though he can’t talk was making little sounds and looking around at everyone and making little gestures with his hand and smiling happily at every one.

At that moment I realized that Little Nathaniel Bruce in his prayer at the dinner table and his little conversation on the chair with all of us looking on had preached his first sermon to all of us.

That sermon was … “I love to do what you love to do….”

It was obvious, all of a sudden to everyone there that he was copying the rest of us.

It caused me to think…..

What if we had been arguing or swearing….

What if we had been drinking… smoking…. overeating….  You fill in the blanks to what is really important to you.__________

I know I certainly have had to do that myself lately.

What is really important to me and what are my descendants going to copy.

Lord, help us to be the example that we should be and be more like YOU, that we may nudge our dear ones closer to you. 

Joshua 24:15    “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”