Tree Houses, Frogs and the Red Dirt Road

Looking back. We’ve all done it. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it weighs you down.

There is a time for looking back and reflecting when you are learning from a past mistake, thinking of a fond memory of a loved one, remembering a special vacation or life event. Thinking about times when your children had no care in the world, but to just be kids. Laughing at memories and moving forward in life, is meant to be enjoyable and bring smiles to your face.

Looking back is not supposed to hold you in a certain time or bring you guilt, anger or sadness. When you look back there are things that you can not change or do over. You can learn and make changes in the present and future. When you start the what if? Could have been? I wish I had? Just wanted one more day! This can put you into a place of regret, anger, sadness, or isolation from others.

Satin uses past sins this way to keep you from living your true purpose and utilizing the gifts God has given to you. When you start thinking God can’t really love me for what I have done. It is a lie. You may have taken several steps away from God, but it only takes one step back to Him. Asking for forgiveness and having the faith that Jesus died for your sins and you are forgiven.

Paul reminds us of this in his New Testament letters. We all have inner conflicts that can be quietened when we believe and trust in Jesus Christ. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Look closely at this scripture! What is not mentioned? Your PAST! If you continuously look back and are always thinking of your past mistakes or sins you will find yourself complaining, doubting God’s forgiveness and no longer growing in the joy you were meant to have with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Lasting joy only comes through your relationship with Jesus.

God told Abraham about destroying the city of Sodom, because the entire city was evil. Abraham tried to convince God to spare the city if he could find 50 righteous people. The Lord agreed, if Abraham could find 10 people who were not evil, the city would be spared. Two angels came and visited Lot, Abraham’s nephew, in the city of Sodon. Lot himself was sinful. He offered his daughter’s up to the men who had surrounded his house looking for the two men (angles). The Angels struck the men blind. The Angels told Lot and his wife to take their daughters from Sodom. Genesis 19:17 , 26-
As soon as the men had brought them out, one of them said, “Run for your lives! Do not look back, and do not stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains, or you will be swept away. Lot’s wife did not follow the simple command of do not look back. 26- But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 

Why did she look back? Was she being curious or nosy? Was she trying to look back at what she was leaving? The comfort of her home? The what was? Looking back did not do her any good. She could not save what once was. She disobeyed the commands God. She was not trusting, believing or having faith that God was delivering her from the place of evil. She was operating in the flesh, not the spirit.

Do not let your PAST imprison your future. Give your grief, your sin, your worry, your fear and your hopes and dreams to God. Knowing and believing that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sins and He rose again. Romans 8 34-35: Who is there to condemn us? For Christ Jesus, who died, and more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God—and He is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians: Epheisans 3:16-19 I pray that out of the riches of His glory He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love,… and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.…

Remember this:

Faith Comes, Hope Comes, Love Comes Sin Comes,
Faith comes, 
From the heart.
Hope comes, 
From the Bible.
Love comes, 
From the people.
Sin comes, 
From the Devil, 
Sin can erase
All faith, 
And love.
Salvation comes, 
From God.
God can 
Erase all sin, 
And give you
And love.

by Athena Goddess of Wisdom Lumis Light to all

Growing up on the red dirt road we were miles away from any city or town. We were surrounded by tall pines, oaks and dusty red dirt roads. There was not a red light in our little community, only a yield sign at the “Y” and stop signs coming off the dirt roads onto the main road. The main road took you through our community and if you blinked you would miss it and be on your way to town or the winding road leading to the city. The nearest neighbor was sometimes miles from you. We had our school, a country store and a post office. This was in the late seventies, going into the eighties, and today our small community is still this way, minus the country store. We now have street signs on the country roads, since 911 came into place. So, to give you an idea things during this time and place were a little different than today’s bustling, busy, everything protected type of life. The only reason I am saying this is because if you continue to read this story and you have a queasy stomach or a strong belief in animal rights- don’t read any further. We were children exploring the country side, figuring out our own problems and creating a make believe world with our toys, nature and junk we acquired.

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. Wooden walls with peeling, cloth wall paper and paneling.   This wooden house that sat on cinder blocks and was surrounded by towering cedar and oak trees and one beautiful mimosa tree with a wisteria vine entwined in all the branches. This tree and vine made for a beautiful sight when it was in full bloom on those hot summer days, with all the pink and purple flowers.   This tree also was a great climbing tree and was the perfect place to build our next club house. Well it was more like Brother’s club house.

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. 

Brother started gathering all the old scrap wood he could find. Some of the wood was rotten, but he didn’t care; he was going to get to the top of the mimosa tree. Sister and I were playing with our paper dress up dolls and making new dresses on the fashion plate I had gotten for my birthday. Our cousin from the city was always mailing us paper dolls. We would makes clothes for the dolls and sometimes mail the clothes to her. Making the clothes for the paper dolls was the coolest thing ever. You could design dresses, ball gowns, jeans, shorts, and bathing suits. All you had to was pick out your stencils or prints of the outfits you wanted, lay down the paper on the stencil and rub your favorite color over the paper. Wala – the outfit was created. We then carefully cut the designs out and had new clothes for our paper dolls.

Brother’s project started days ago with him building stairs up the tree. We had recently went to the creek and dad let us swim across to the tree swing. To get up to the top of the swing you had to climb up the tree on this make shift ladder. Someone had nailed cut two by fours into the tree for the ladder. So needless to say, brother wanted to go to the top of our mimosa tree. Me? No, I was a nervous Nelly when it came to climbing up those tress. More of like I was scared to death I couldn’t hold on to the swing. Years later who would have thought this could have been the death of me.

Brother had finally nailed his last board in when Dad drove up from work. He took one look at this make shift tree house and shut it down. He bagan to tell Brother his tree house was unsafe and doesn’t meet safety code standards. Dad was always willing to help create or invent new things for us. He could turn anything into a smoker for cooking meat and he even built us a putt-putt course in our yard. He even thought of getting the broom for sweeping away the acorns on our course.

Dad helped Brother tear down his rotten platform and create a safer and stronger tree house. Dad being taller was able to go higher up the tree than Brother had originally gone. When they were finished Dad told me, “Sister you stay out of that tree house. You won’t be able to get down.”

Ugh! What was he thinking yes I could. I didn’t have to hold onto a rope swing, just the ladder to go up and down. Maybe another time I would try.

Sister and Brother played in the tree house for the rest of the afternoon. I was swinging in the tire swing dreaming and planning the perfect time to climb up there and join them. As long as dad was around I stayed clear of the tree house. I watched as Sister and Brother climbed down with Brother’s science kit. They scampered away and went under the huge hydrangea, by the banister of the porch.

OK I thought, this is my time to go check out the tree house. Dad was inside playing his guitar and singing. He would do this for hours, so I knew I had time.

Up I went one rung at a time. Making sure to hold onto to each rung, always keeping a three point hold. Girls Scouts was paying off. I made it to the top and stepped across to the platform. I made it! I took off my backpack and pulled out the Nancy Drew book I was reading. My aunt had all these books and I got to read one and return it for the next one. One day I will be just like Nancy Drew.

I looked up from reading when I heard my Sister shriek, “Catch it Brother!”

Brother had caught a big ol’ toad frog. Sister and Brother had his science kit out on the banister and I could see Brother holding the frog, while Sister placed a white tissue over the frog’s mouth and nose. Sister removed the clothe and Brother let go of the frog. Hmmm it wasn’t moving. Then I watched in horror as Brother grabbed the scalpel out of the science kit. Oh my gosh he was cutting the frog’s belly! They sat and peered down into the frog. Then Sister jumped up and went inside.

She soon returned with a spool of thread and what I guessed was a needle. I could hear Brother telling her, “Be careful you don’t want to hurt it. You got to hurry before it wakes up.”

Sister told him, “Be quiet I know how to do this, I’ve watched mom sew our clothes.”

It seemed to take forever for her to thread that needle. I was silently praying for that little frog. Then she began to sew up the cut Brother had made on the frog’s belly. It was done. They watched patiently for the frog to wake up. Sister even went and got water for the frog to drink. I guess she thought it might be thirsty after that ordeal. I know I would be.

They both jumped back. I strained to see the frog. I yelled, “Move Sister I can’t see!”

Oh busted. They knew I was in the tree house. They didn’t seem to care, they were watching their little science experiment hop away. I was giving the frog telepathic thoughts, “Don’t look back frog. Just keep hopping back to your home. Don’t look back.”

“How are you going to get down?” My Sister’s voice startled me from thinking about the little frog.

“I’m going to climb down the same way I climbed up here.” was my brilliant response.

I stood up and went to grab the first rung of the ladder. Little did I realize I would have to step out to the ladder, with nothing to hold onto. I kept telling myself to step, jump, just grab it. My body would not move.

Brother hollered up, “You want me to get Dad?”

“You were told don’t go up there.” Sister reminded me.

Oh bother! I guess I was going to need help. “OK get Dad.”

I was never going to hear the end of this.

I heard the screen door slam. Here came Dad across the yard. He climbed up to the top of the ladder and told me to grab onto his shoulders. I closed my eyes and grabbed his shoulders. Just don’t look back, just don’t look back,I kept telling myself. I didn’t want to see how far I had to jump to get to Dad.

Once safely down from the tree house Dad said, “Sister didn’t I tell you don’t climb up there.”

My defensive response was, “Yes, but you know what they did.”

Sister and Brother explained to Dad they had cut the skin of the frog open on his belly. They wanted to see what his insides looked like. Sister explained how there was not any blood, just a speck when sewing it up. They could see clear skin and got to watch his little heart beat. Oh I wish I had listened to Dad and not climbed up the tree. I would have gotten to see the frog’s heart beat.

“Well what’s done is done.” Dad told us. “And don’t you go back up in that tree. I might not be here to get you down.”

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