Riley Hill Baptist Church

 

 

“A SHELTER IN THE TIME OF STORM”

Burdened, heavy with the hand that life had dealt.
Feeling so alone, not wanting to think
Or wonder what tomorrow will bring.
“Let’s go to church, the kind that you like” were the words I heard.
Prayer was the only Sanctuary that I had.
Met by the Holy Spirit as I stepped from the car.
Songs of Glory rang in the air
Smiling faces, children and all,
Started to melt my prison wall.
A and V, two strangers who befriended me,
People that I’ll never forget.
“Welcome” came so easy, they meant every word.
Touching my heart, so kindly,
Having always heard “FOOT PRINTS IN THE SAND,”
I began to understand the powerful meaning it has.
Cleansing tears started to flow,
Lighter and lighter I seemed to grow.
The Message from inside the church rang clear – BE ENCOURAGED, GOD IS HERE!
Rays of hope radiating from above,
A growing glimpse of God’s caring love.
Bringing to reality His Words, “I’LL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.”
Granting the power to face life’s challenges
Strength in Him to carry on.
This I found at RILEY HILL BAPTIST CHURCH,
The Beacon of light,
The “Very Present  Help In The Time Of A Storm”
I’ll give you this message,
If in need, find your Cleft in The Rock,

He is waiting, let Him in.

 (Riley Hill Baptist Church, Riley Hill Road, Wendell, North Carolina)

 

 

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“A Refuge”

While driving through the countryside of Wendell, North Carolina, I saw a lake in the distance, behind a beautiful house. I didn’t see a name, just a breathtaking view. The scene was too beautiful to ignore – I was mesmerized. As always, my mind’s eye started to see beyond what was actually there. I began to envision ducks, geese, birds and deer taking REFUGE in the thick bushes and trees, safe and protected from the harm that lurked all around.

Webster’s dictionary defines REFUGE as a place that provides shelter and protection, something to which one has recourse in difficulty. The description was very fitting, with thick underbrush and vines on the bank of the lake, seemingly making entrance unappealing and difficult to gain a foothold for humans.

I saw ducks floating along the marsh, taking a break in their migration to other areas. Food was plentiful and the water gleamed in the autumn sun, full of fish that were jumping, putting on a spectacular show. It’s funny how peaceful and worry-free animals seem, accepting with grace the provisions there for them, enjoying the moment.

Nature really put on a show of color among the trees, hues of earthy vibrant brown, green, yellow and dark red. Taking time to stop, look and meditate on the One responsible has a healing effect, a calming effect and lets us know how to find A REFUGE in our lives.

“Break Time”

 

  “BREAK TIME”

Farmers, I am told, get up to feed their animals and start their work at the crack of dawn. When the weather permitted, farmers and animals worked very hard. When I was a child, at summer vacation I would visit friends who lived on a farm. Being a town kid, I wasn’t allowed in the fields and my help was not appreciated because my skills were less than desirable. How do I know? One day, I had a chance to chop some corn. All of it, corn and grass, looked the same to me as I chopped. Let’s just say that ended my career of farming!

Break time was worth waiting for – a big meal, southern style, complete with dessert (molasses pudding). The farm animals were given a break too, and they were fed, watered and allowed to rest and cool down until the time came to go back to the fields. I can still see them with my mind’s eye, contentedly eating and lounging around the barn yard, enjoying their – BREAK TIME.

“Chowan River”

THE CHOWAN RIVER

This painting is from a picture of the sun setting over the Chowan River, taken by my senior citizens’ exercise class instructor’s husband, in their backyard. This river holds many memories for me. When I was a small child, my family, along with our Sunday school group, would have the annual picnic on the far southern shores of the Chowan River. The area was called Capart Beach.

As with many locals, we had our own names for the areas surrounding the community, right or wrong. The picnic was lots of fun and enjoyed by all, young and old, a time to relax and be ourselves. A picnic lunch eaten with a view so beautiful in the background was awesome. THEN, there was the bridge over the Chowan River!

My parents went to Elizabeth City State University, to summer school, while a new bridge was being built. Here I was again, on the floor in the back of our car! There was nothing, no railing on the four miles long bridge – only some steel rods. Every day, for eight weeks we went on that bridge, and thankfully, we made it!

The sunsets are breathtaking and can be seen and enjoyed by the whole area, adding calm and serenity for all to share. It still has its beauty, more intensified as time has moved on in the six decades of my life. It has much beauty in the day light hours, but when painted by The Creator at dusk and dawn, signaling the end of one day and the start of another, I’ll say, “How Great Thou Art!”

“Hide and Go Seek”

My neighbor’s house and yard was the most fun in the neighborhood. Her yard had no grass, and was good for games of hop scotch and marbles, since there were no humps and bumps. She kept the yard swept and clean. Her broom was made from straw found on (drainage) ditch banks and on the edge of the woods. Brooms like this were also used to clean the floors of houses.

My friends and I gained a lot of pleasure from playing the game of “1, 2, 3 … red light!” but our favorite was HIDE AND GO SEEK. There were plenty of places to hide in my neighbor’s big front and backyard that was surrounded by plum, peach and pear trees that were full of ripe, juicy fruit in the summer and fall.

This was good, clean fun that required lots of physical and mental energy … just waiting to be released! Sometimes our dog, Blue, would give the hiding place away, trying to get a hug or be petted.

Thinking about playing “HIDE AND GO SEEK” brings back warm feelings, reminding me that what we do in our daily lives becomes memories that, later in our lives, enable us to “take a step back in time.”

“Once Upon a Time, Part Two” (The Barn)

Listen, with your mind’s eye, and visualize the scenes coming from the barn. Hear the cows mooing, ready to be milked. A few chickens scurry about, having gained entrance through the door that was left open, looking to find peanuts in the stacks of hay.

The farmer, going through the barn, making a mental list of chores needing immediate attention. I can almost smell the strong, earthy scent that was there at that time.

Memories, memories; wish I could talk to the people that once lived and worked there. The peanut fields are still in use. Harvest time for them; stacked up to dry the “old time” way.

Looking across the fence, seeing the old barn, not a human in sight. I think … ONCE UPON A TIME.

“Once Upon a Time, Part One” (Abandoned House)

Riding around the countryside, you’d be amazed to see so many abandoned homes. Each home has an interesting story to tell. In my mind’s eye, I can picture children playing the old, enjoyable games of yesteryear, while mom did laundry outside, boiling water to wash clothes in the big black iron pot that sat over a roaring fire.

Dad would chop wood to put in the “cook stove,” so mom could “boil the pot”, which consisted of putting collards (or salad greens), a piece of “side meat,” potatoes and corn meal dumplings (some called this “wet bread”) on top of the cook stove to boil until tender.

It is mind-boggling to think about how much work was done in one day, starting before sunrise and ending when it became too dark to see. Even the mule knew its way home!

Peace and love, along with strict moral values, were a must in most families. Oh, if walls could talk! The next time you happen upon an abandoned site, imagine the lives it came in contact with – and think of the history that happened there “once upon a time”.