Prayers That Avail Much

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There are many personal things that were left in my care that belonged to my Momma. Seems like I come across a new treasure as the time goes by and today I was blessed by an unexpected gem. A gift that was given to her by my Dad on her 43rd Birthday.. May 17, 1990. It has a tattered gift box, but upon opening the prayer-book itself is still beautiful. I know how she took special care of things that mattered to her. Prayers That Avail Much – for Mothers. Since I am older now that she was at the time of the gift? I found it comforting that I, too, could make use of those prayers.

I found myself turning the pages, so many specific prayers that a Momma could definitely incorporate into a day. However, the very moment I opened the worn box? I found not only notes…but specific prayers for those she cared about. At first, it felt intrusive… picking up the small scraps of paper that her hand had penned the names. Prayers for her, prayers for teen sons! prayers for her husband..prayers for her family as a whole… and there they are in her very own handwriting ….. Prayers. Specific. On-Purpose.

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My Momma was a praying woman. I always knew that… yet I also took it for granted. What I gained from finding this little book? It was a reminder that being purposefully prayerful changes us and those around us. It may not change situations, but it changes us in a way that we receive peace in the midst of storms… Grace in the midst of disappointments.. and Joy in a heart that has been broken.. Strength to keep moving forward on your journey. She knew the source.

It has been 10 years this month that she has been out of my sight. There is not a day that I don’t think about her. Today, I was given the gift of gratitude… being thankful for every prayer she called out to God on our behalf. I think of these things as a huge part of her legacy to me, and am humbled to be able to learn from her even after she has been gone from this world.

One book led to another, and I found myself going to the bookshelf where I keep her Bible. I have to giggle when I realize it looks like today’s version of a Rainbow Bible.. it is highlighted in every color, and lots of it. Then there are the penciled in dates, promises, and confirmations of prayers that she had seen come to pass… and those that she still held onto. I continue to flip through the pages, cherishing every margin that contained a scribble.

And then… unexpected…(although I don’t know why it was unexpected) I find this.. my sobs became uncontrolled – not in a profound sadness.. but my confirmation that our very own bond is eternally penned here.

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Above Psalm 91… in her pink highlighter.. “My Psalm” ….

The treasure in this? I would only come to know a year before she made her journey that we shared the same favorite scripture. She had marked this passage in her Bible more than 16 years prior. I had never seen it until today.  I placed the hand crocheted Daisy in between the pages and just looked at the sun gleaming on the words. Thank you Momma… for reminding me how eternal God’s word really is – having no generational gap and no end to its promises –  Prayers That Avail Much.. James 5:16

Her life lessons shared with me were too many to mention but I am always mindful of this “Grace is a Gift” to those that receive it, and to those that give it. It has nothing to do with deserving it. It is a gift that I have opened anew every morning that my own feet touch the floor.

I am thankful today for a praying Mother and am challenged to become more of one myself, surrounding those I love and learning to pray more for those that can seem to be unloveable.

Here is “our” favorite Psalm….. one of the Prayers That Avail Much..

Psalm 91King James Version (KJV)

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

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The Good Luck Doll

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This has been one of those stories from childhood that just keeps on getting more and more hilarious…The Good Luck Doll story has been told to me as long as I can remember. Most of this story was told early on, yet the more time has passed? the more stories seem to arise.

I’ll just begin here………

My parents lived in Maryland where my Daddy was a carpenter. He could build just about anything he set his mind to.. his main jobs were building houses. On many job sites there were remnants of other people’s junk to be tossed and a particular huge dumpster that was on their drive every day.. the usual spot for “one mans junk, is another mans treasure” kinda thing. Tales would have it that sometimes there was some pretty good stuff there that people had tossed out. They always made time to take a gander on the way by.

Not long after I was born, my Daddy came home with a surprise. He had found me a Doll!!! it was in pretty good shape and he just knew it was a real find.

My Momma was a little skeptical.

I’m not sure she saw it as the treasure that he did. She went on to tell him that the thing was the ugliest doll she had ever seen in her life, and why in the world did he bring that old thing home? He went on to tell her it was in fact a “good luck” doll…. it even said so on the tattoo stamped shamrock on its left arm. He was so excited about his find. She still held her opinion that it was in fact.. a very ugly doll.

So, from that day on… it was known as “my ugly doll.”

Judge for yourself…. behold.. the “Good Luck Doll”

StumpsDoll2Okay, yes, it does look like a “Chucky Doll”… but I assure you that I made a point to research, and no… it’s not where “Chucky” originated from.. that was a wooden doll.. hahahhhha

Since there were no photographs with me and this Good Luck Doll? I’m sure my Momma put it somewhere out of sight.. like a long-lost closet space.

After my parents had separated, time would move forward to us leaving the house in Maryland and moving back to West Virginia. However, the doll wasn’t part of our luggage. The stories would still come up from time to time about that “ugly doll” and Momma had no idea where it had gotten to. She enjoyed telling the story about it more than she missed it.

The Good Luck Doll apparently moved with my Daddy. Little did I know that it was in good hands with one of my cousins. For most of her childhood, the doll was a part of her baby dolls. The funny thing about her stories? She played with the doll a whole lot, not because she loved it so much, but because she said she had always felt so sorry for it because it was so ugly.. and if she didn’t play with it? well, she just felt so bad for it. (She still has that kind of empathetic heart to this very day)

When my own daughter was very young, my Aunt came across the Good Luck Doll once again. She decided to make the poor thing some clothes. Hand crocheted dress, hat and shawl. So much love poured onto that old ugly doll. You just knew she was worth the trouble.

StumpsDoll3We chuckled so much seeing the doll again.. and of course, we all remarked at just how ugly the doll had remained. Yet, here it was, wrapped in lovingly made clothes, more stories about how it came to be a part of my family. The Good Luck Doll… or “my ugly doll” as it was known.

It had been packed away for almost 10 more years, so when I recently came across it again? I decided that I would use the internet to research. I just wanted to know more about this doll. (okay maybe I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a  “Chucky”  protegé!!!!

And so the antics with this doll had escalated so much – it provided a weeks worth of more stories, and more giggles and laughs. Oh how my Daddy would have loved to have known just how many snorting laughs have surrounded this doll over even the last few weeks.

My daughter had taken special care to go over the doll and retrieving all of the markings and numbers and symbols. We were on a mission to find out the history of this doll. After all, it had been clear that it was an unusually ugly doll.

The more I researched? the more hilarious the doll became.

The first thing I noticed was a pair of dolls. A boy and a girl.

Sitting here looking at the adorable dress and bonnet on my ugly doll… I realize that she is in fact a “He”….. (okay the whole image of the doll has taken a really wide turn)

There was really nothing left for me to do except make the phone call. I’m still laughing when I replay the conversation in my head to my cousin.

Me: “Hey, do you remember the ugly doll?”

Her: “Oh yeah, I could never forget that doll”

Me: “Well, do you know that it is actually a BOY doll?”

Her: “What?” then a lot of  ………………inaudible laughing … “but Mommy made it a dress?”

Me: “Yes. the dolls’  whole existence has been a LIE!” Aunt Mert had no idea.

Let me tell you… the tears from laughing were epic.

For 49 years this “Good Luck” aka my ugly doll has circulated in my family… I felt it was appropriate to blog about it because it’s future must contain this story. It is so fitting.. mainly because my Daddy was a jokester..and was hilariously funny without trying. I wonder today if he, in fact,  knew all along. (giggle)

It would only be fair to reveal the true identity of the Good Luck Doll and a little of its history.

Meet “Stumps Shabby O’Hair” … hang on and let me stop laughing again.. I can barely type…

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Vintage W. Goebel Charlot Byj doll #2902 made in Western Germany, 1957. Made of rubber he has bright red hair and wears the original grey checkered shirt and black felt pants with red pockets in front and a green patch on the back. On the front of his shirt he sports the original cloth tag that reads “Western Germany” albeit frayed, it is legible. On the back of his neck it’s marked “2902 – Charlot Byj – © – W. Goebel – 1957”. These same markings are on his back. On his left forearm is a tattoo that shows a four-leaf clover and reads, “Good Luck”. Another obvious mark is the number “02” on the back of both feet. One of the first dolls created by American artist Charlot Byj who passed away in 1983.

copied from Wikipedia

Charlot Byj (pronounced “bye”) was an artist known for her greeting card designs, posters and advertising artwork in the mid-1940s. She is most famous for the transformation of her artwork into a line of figurines created by Goebel.

Living in New York after art school, Charlot ducked into the doorway of a greeting card store during a rainstorm. She admired the greeting card line, noted the name of the publisher, and called the company for an interview. She was hired by the publisher, and began creating illustrations for greeting cards, featuring the impish, redheaded children that became her trademark, namely, Shabby O’Hair, his sister Raggy Muffin, and their plump mother, M’Lady O’Hair.

Franz Goebel, of the W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik company, took a liking to her artwork and invited her to his German production facility. Working with master sculptor Arthur Moeller, they designed the first figurine, entitled “Strike”, in 1957.

Between 1957 and 1988, when the series was discontinued, more than 100 different figurines were created. The line included both redhead and blonde children. The redhead figurines, as they are known, are mischievous characters, whereas the blondes tend to portray more serene characteristics.

Charlot became ill in 1980 and began cutting back on her designing. On August 7, 1983, Charlot died in New York City.

 

With all of that said…………………long live the Good Luck Doll in my family…

And thanks to Momma and my Aunt and Cousin for the loving preservation of my ugly doll.

and .. thanks Daddy… you have provided laughter once again for your little girl.