Clubhouses, Cookies and the Red Dirt Road

Sin. Such a small word that carries possible life and death outcomes. As humans we all have sinned. We strife daily to live in the spirit not in the flesh to avoid to sin. The sins may be pure evil or something so minuscule that we don’t think twice about it. The cooler gossip at work, judging people because they don’t act or dress the way you do, the little white lie you tell to protect someone’s feelings or to save face.

Not knowing or ignoring your walk with God and the gift He gave us, His son Jesus Christ, can leave a person hardened and miserable. You begin to carry with you the guilt and shame of knowing you sinned or the emptiness, fear, worry and anxiousness when you do not have the faith of the plan of salvation and how God forgives and loves you. You may begin to think, “How can God love someone like me.” You begin to pull away from the ones you love. You ignore the fact that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. With each step you take farther away from God and the love you knew you begin to sink deeper into yourself and not believing in His love and gift of forgiveness promised to you. You hide it away in the deepest part of your heart and mind. This only leads to more sin of shame, guilt, depression, worry, fear and a very troubled heart. Proverbs 28:13-14 He who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. Blessed is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

You are not the first person to sin. Sin started way back in the Garden of Eden. Some blame Eve, while others, blame Adam. Then there is the serpent or snake who begins to tempt Eve and tell her to eat of the fruit from the tree of life and knowledge good and evil. This is the one thing God told them not to eat from. Well she did and she gave Adam the fruit and he ate it. They both realized they were naked and sewed clothes out of leaves to cover themselves. When God called out for Adam they hid. Adam and Eve knew they had sinned. When confronted by God the first thing Adam did, just like we do when we get “caught” is the the finger pointing and blame game. Adam’s response the woman gave it to me.

Temptations started sin from the beginning. The voice of wrong doings that tell you no one can see you, it will be ok just this once will only leave you feeling the emotions of shame and guilt. You may start trying to reason out in your mind why you did what you did. You begin to rationalize and blame others fro your actions. How do you stop this train wreck of emotions?

The first step to have the freedom of sin is to believe God sent His son Jesus Christ to bear the burden of your sins. If you want to experience the gift of forgiveness, love and faith you must believe John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Jesus was sent to this world to bear your sins. His death on the cross, the blood He shed for you was your gift of forgiveness of your sins if you would believe and confess. 1John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Even in the Old Testament Isaiah 53 tells us of His coming to the world to bear our burdens on the cross. Isaiah 53:5 He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. Acts 13:38 Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

What A Beautiful Name”, by Hillsong Worship is a beautiful song about God’s love for us even when we sinned. My sin was great, your love was greater. With your confession, believe and faith of God and His gift to you, Jesus Christ you will be able to walk without fear, but in faith. You will walk with peace, love and kindness as the Holy Spirit who is in you grows daily and knowing you have been forgiven of your sins. You turn from walking in the flesh and begin walking in the spirit. There are so many scriptures that tell us about how God forgives us that I could not credit them all. Know and believe he casts them behind His back never to be seen. He keeps them under his feet, casts them deep into the sea, and as far as the east is to the west. He has blotted them out and remembers them no more.

As Jesus hung on the cross to die for your sins, do not question with your mind how can I be forgiven? Was Jesus’s death not enough? He took your sins, your guilt and shame and beared your transgressions. Have faith and believe with your heart and accept God’s gift of Jesus Christ that he died in your place and you are forgiven.

Our three-bedroom, white wooden house- with red shutters, sat bout 50 yards off the red dirt road. You could smell the iron ore in the air, from the dust that blew into the unsealed windows. This small house had wooden and laminate floors. The wooden walls had peeling, cloth wall paper and paneling. Our wooden home sat on cinder block sand was surrounded by towering cedar and oak trees, with one beautiful mimosa tree entwined with a wisteria vine. The cedar trees were so large their limbs touched the ground. Their limbs created a canopy of shade and wall of protection from the red dirt road. Grass did not grow under these trees.

We were leaving church with Granny and mom on this hot summer day. We had already had lunch, since it was dinner on the ground. We didn’t actually eat on the ground, didn’t even have a picnic. It was a lunch of fellowship with every type of casserole and country cooking you could think of. We were full on Granny’s corn casserole and chicken spaghetti. The wind was blowing through the open windows of Granny’s big green LTD and I was holding my arm out of the window letting it ride up and down in the hot breeze like a roller coaster. Sister was talking about our club house and how we needed to add to it. She wanted to make a kitchen and have dinner on the ground. We would definitely need more wood and buckets.

We, being my sister and brother. I am the oldest. My sister is the middle child and brother is the baby. At this point of our life we were 5, 7, and 9 years old. We moved in with Granny when I was entering the 4th grade. Granny’s house became home to us for 5 years. The red dirt road and surrounding woods was our playground.

We piled out of the car as mom was instructing us to go change clothes before you go outside and play. We changed clothes in record time and met in the kitchen. Granny had made a bowl of tea. She always made the tea in a metal bowl, unless she was having guests over. If she had guest over or planning for a large dinner she would use her glass pitcher. The bowl was easier for us to scoop out the sweet tea into our plastic cups, that we would take with us outside. We had filled our glasses and Sister had grabbed the chocolate chip cookies to take with us.

Our new club house was coming along nicely. We had moved all our tables, chairs, buckets and wood pile from the wash shed to under the great cedar tress, right next to our house. No one could see us when we were under this tree. The limbs touched the ground and kept it shaded and cool during these hot summer days. When you pulled back the limbs to go into our club house you could smell the cool musty dirt and aroma of the cedar the tree.

We sat down and had our tea and cookies in our living room. We didn’t have the walls up yet. But in our make believe world this was the best spot for the living room. Brother was eating the last cookie and was telling us where we needed to make a kitchen, so we could cook our own cookies.

Brother said, “Let’s put it right next to our bedroom window. We can put the easy bake oven out here and run an extension cord into the window when we get the kitchen built. Then we can cook our own cookies out here.”

That’s not a bad idea at all. We all got up and started laying out the wooden planks we had gotten from Dad’s scrap pile of wood. Brother got the nails and hammer, while Sister I held the boards up to the corner of our Granny’s house, right by our bedroom. Maybe this could become my bedroom, since we all three shared one room. Easy access right out the window. This was going to be great. We already had one wall built, since it was actually our house. This plan was rolling out smoothly. We took turns hammering and holding. Before long the walls were up. We moved our table into the kitchen and started cooking.

Cooking was the best part of our club houses. We would use water and food color to make pretty water to drink. The food color never would turn our dirt the color we wanted it for our cakes and cookies. Sister was going to pick up the little pods that had fallen from the cedar tree, while Brother and I set out to find us a roof. The cedar tree pods we always used for our chocolate chips or decorations on our cakes.

Brother and I had made it down to our new house that dad was building us. We began looking for a large piece of wood we could use for the roof. We searched everywhere. Finally we found a piece of plywood not cut! This was going to be perfect. As we began to drag the wood from the house dad stopped us.

“Where are ya’ll going with that?” Dad said.

“It’s our roof for our kitchen.” was my reply.

Nope, Dad didn’t let us take it. He already had a plans for this piece of wood. He told us to go to the old pig pen and get the sheet metal from the old fence. We took off down our drive way to the red dirt road. Climbing through the bushes and briers we found the old pig pen. Before we moved here we would visit Granny and she let us feed the pigs. It was always scary to do this. You would walk up to the pen and throw the slop in and jump back. Those pigs would charge the fence and every time they hit the metal fence it would bend and clatter. I just knew they were going to break through. That’s a whole another story, back to getting the metal. We pulled the bushes off the sheet metal and started dragging out the pieces that were still intact. We gathered up three. Calculations done, this was going to be plenty.

Brother hollered out, “Short cut Sister!”

Right, he may be younger, but he sure was smart sometimes. So we headed down the red dirt road dragging our metal. This was not a quiet journey. The metal dragging across the pebbles on the red dirt road was very loud with every ping, scratch, and pong it vibrated our hands. You definitely could hear us coming.

Sister was mixing up a batch of dirt cookies with her cedar pods when we made it back to the club house. We all lifted the metal sheets up onto the club house. Brother, being the smallest, climbed up top and nailed down the metal to our walls. Wow! Just wow, we had us a roof like our Aunt’s. If it ever rained while we played outside we would be able to hear the pitter patter of rain as it danced off the metal.

Sister told us the cookies were ready for tasting. So we gathered around our little table and started our cookie and tea party. Sister surprised us with the new chocolate chip morsel she had discovered.

“Look what I found. We can start using these real chips in our cookies. ” she told us.

“See Brother these are real. They are just like the chocolate chips Granny uses.” she was explaining to Brother.

I looked over Brother’s shoulder and to my surprise it wasn’t the cedar pods. She had gathered up doodle bugs. I do believe this was her favorite critter. Sister began to tell brother how good these little chips tasted. That they tasted like chocolate. Plus they are everywhere so we could eat as many as we wanted.

“Ok, give me some. I will try these.” Brother answered.

“Sister! i don’t think….” I tried to get out.

“Hush! It will be ok.” Sister remarked as she cut me off.

“Oh these are too crunchy to be chocolate chips. They don’t even taste like Granny’s.” Brother hollered as he spit them out.

Sister and I started laughing. Brother was not too happy and definitely was not laughing.

“I’m going to tell on ya’ll” He cried.

Just then we all three jumped. Someone had knocked on our door. We never have guests. I wonder who would be visiting our club house.

We pooped our heads out of the little window to see Dad standing there shaking his head.

“What’s your Brother going to tell on ya’ll about?” was his only reply.

“Oh nothing.” popped right out of my mouth.

Sister had time to think a little. Her response was a little more believable than mine.

“Oh Dad, we weren’t sharing the chocolate chip cookies with him.” she told him with her sweet smile. “We will, so it’s all ok now.”

With hands on his hips, Brother looked up with dirt on his face and spit dripping out of his mouth. He flat out said we made him eat those doodle bugs. That was so far from the truth. We didn’t make him, but we didn’t stop him either. We almost, sort of, not too sure, convinced him it was ok to eat the doodle bugs, since they tasted like chocolate, per Sister. Ugh. We had lied to dad. We had just learned lying was a sin in Sunday school, not even three hours ago. We were going to be in so much trouble.

Dad chuckled and shook his head. “It didn’t kill ya did it?” was his brilliant response to Brother. He also told us about lying will get you in more trouble than if you just tell the truth. He was not angry or bitter. He had simply told us a lesson and forgave us instantly of lying to him. Oh, this is what we learned in Sunday school. How God forgives us of our sins and remembers them no more.

Dad didn’t leave after this though. He inspected our club house and told us we were evicted. He explained we couldn’t build onto Granny’s house. Something about termites, Sanford and Son and permits. So we spent the rest of the day relocating to the yaupon grove. This would at least get us in between our new house and our house with Granny.

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost more than you want to pay. ” R. Zacchairas.

4 thoughts on “Clubhouses, Cookies and the Red Dirt Road”

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