The Jerusalem Donkey

Last summer we took our 13-year-old grandson, Heston, on a trip to Kentucky. We stayed on a horse farm, in an old train depot turned VRBO. Each time we drove up and parked our car, there was a fenced area right beside us where two donkeys lived.

Every day when we went outside, they greeted us and we enjoyed giving them carrots and leftovers! One day, I pulled out my art supplies, which I always have handy, sat at the kitchen table with Heston, and we both sketched our versions of the donkey. 

 I love his vision and his sketch in black watercolor. I did a color version. 

And oh, by the way, it was a great trip!!


As we are celebrating Palm Sunday, those donkey sketches came to my mind. As I think about that special Donkey that Jesus rode, I did a little research about them. 

The donkey is a sign of meekness. Stubbornness, loyalty, and both stupidity and intelligence are common words to describe them. Donkeys were portrayed in Biblical works as symbols of service, suffering, peace, and humility. Jesus led his followers into the city of Jerusalem riding on the back of a small, common donkey on Palm Sunday.

The “Jerusalem Donkey” term comes from a legend. After he brought Jesus into Jerusalem, the donkey was troubled because he knew what Jesus was about to go through with his trial, suffering, and death on the cross. 

He so loved his gentle master that he later followed him to Calvary. Grief-stricken by the sight of Jesus on the cross, the donkey turned away but couldn’t leave. God saw this and caused the shadow of the cross to fall across the little donkey’s back and he has carried the sign of the cross ever since as a symbol of God’s love. 

All kinds of donkeys, regardless of the breed, have a cross marking on their backs. Although it may be obscure, shave a donkey down and you’ll definitely see it.

The Legend of the Donkey's Cross - Courageous Christian Father

The triumphal entry – Jesus’ famous ride on this lowly animal reveals much about Christ’s character and purpose.  A king would have ridden a horse when he was bent on war and ridden a donkey to symbolize his arrival in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would have thus symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king. It fulfilled a prophecy spoken 500 years before referred to by Matthew as he recalled Zechariah 9:9. “Exult greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! Behold: your king is coming to you, a just savior is he, Humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The cross on a donkey can serve as a reminder of both Jesus’ sacrifice and the caring role the animal played in the events leading up to his death.

Here is a FREE coloring sheet for your kiddos as you talk with them about the donkey that carried our Lord and savior into town all those years ago. 

Meet my friend, Deborah

I met her in Atlanta 23 years ago, at a couple`s Sunday School party.  Soon, we would work together, our children played together and our daughters took ice skating lessons together. As I got to know her, I was impressed with her talents and gifts back then and boy, have they exploded these last years.  She is a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt and friend. She is a retired teacher. Her gifts include knitting, smocking, sewing and embroidering, crafting and cooking.  She is a talented painter and has even tried her hand at a pottery wheel. Her mind dreams of new projects and what she can make next before she has finished the project she is working on. That is just how a creative`s mind works!!

I would like for you to meet my friend, Deborah.

Do you remember, as a child, enjoying making things and creating? Yes, my mother was very artistic, always painting furniture, making our house so pretty and painting landscape scenes. She even started a business in our home wrapping presents for people and they were beautiful.

What is the first thing you remember making and being proud of? Trivets with little tiles at camp, and potholders.

Who encouraged you to create? My mother, my mother in law, then my husband. And art and crafts people at camp and Vacation Bible School. 

As you married and started a family, how  and where did you find time to do your creating? I had a teeny closet in the hallway in our home where I would sew. My Mother in law, Mama Ann,  gave me a used Singer Sewing machine that she bought for $50. I used it til 7 years ago, when my husband, David, gave me a Janome.


Tell us a little about your family…   I have 4 grown and married children, all in Birmingham. My son has a son and daughter.

George, Brittney, Goocher, Louisa

My oldest daughter has 3 daughters.

Welden, Hillary, Peter, Pierce, Adelaide

My middle daughter has 3 daughters and a son. 

The Bakers

My youngest daughter is expecting a baby in March.


Jake and Grace and family

Have you taken classes to learn new skills?  Yes,  I took a knitting class from a lady in her home. Lots of sewing classes from Trudy Horne, an amazing and creative seamstress and embroiderer. I have taken many classes at the Smocking Bird   for heirloom sewing, smocking, shadow work, etc.

What is your favorite thing to make?   I love to make children`s clothes, play clothes like bubbles or fancy garments for Easter. I knit a baby blanket for each grandchild with his/her name on it when they are born.


I knitted a Christmas stocking for each grown child and hang them at my house so Santa can fill them for their families.

I love to cook most everything and anything. For each one of my children and their spouse, they pick their menu for their birthday dinner and I cook it. They chose all sorts of things, from friend chicken and waffles to manicotti to a chorizo bowl! There is usually  chalk board with the menu on it for them to see when they get there!

the Family, George, Grace, Deborah, David, Hagen and Hillary

As the children have grown and moved out,  has the empty nest syndrome been a hard chapter to go through? What are some of the perks?!!  We have really enjoyed the Empty nest. The only hard part is to see your grown children going through difficult times but even then, knowing God was in control, (reminding myself that I am not the rescuer), making them in to amazing Godly men and women. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Perks are I don`t have to wait up for anyone at night, less laundry and less scheduling, a house that stays pretty straight, (except when the grandchildren come over!) , traveling with or without planning and quiet mornings.

Have you passed your love of creating to your children and grandchildren?  My daughters are all very creative. One is n amazing photographer. My middle daughter is a fabulous graphic designer. My youngest is an excellent cook and food blogger. My only son is always doing projects too. He installed my cork kitchen floor and has just begun a major landscaping project in his backyard starting with 6 truckloads of fill dirt in his sloping property. The grandchildren love to paint and glue and glitter. Pierce who is 11, just made luggage tags for each member of the family, there are 19 of us!


What if any, are the frustrations you find  in having enough time to do all the visions in your mind? My sewing and knitting projects take me a long time because part of the joy of making things is in not having to hurry. I am always thinking of something else I want to make and these little grandchildren grow so fast, I can`t get them all done!

I also love to  paint, but rarely do that and then I like to have time to work in the yard. Oh my!


What is a fun tradition you started  with your children and now grandchildren? Remember when everyone made wreaths on shirts out of their children`s handprints? We did that for my children`s grandmothers and it was wonderful. I think we were always messing round with paints. When we go to the lake in the summer, I always take lots of art supplies. I remember when my children were little, one rainy day my steep mother let them paint every inch of her body not covered by her bathing suit! This year we made  tye-dye pillow cases and bandanas with the grandchildren. We loved  it.

How do you bring your creativity into family gatherings? Every adult gets to pick the meal I cook for their birthday dinner. Sometimes I cover the table with white paper and everyone draws a picture for the birthday person . Lots of times I have baskets of chalk outside and they draw on the driveway and sidewalk. And recently my husband has karaoke going on in the music room so everyone is singing and dancing. They love to dance! Once the grandchildren turn 5, we take them for a week at the beach. They paint a picture every year, and so do I, for our art wall.

What would you like to see yourself doing more of in the future, time permiting?  Making more detailed and fancy children`s clothes I am taking  class at the Smocking Bird soon to learn how to do shadow embroidery on my sewing machine. I may sign up for another class to earn Madeira applique techniques.

How do you balance your time between doing for children,grandchildren and being available for fun things with your husband, now that you are retired?  I am trying to have one day when I try to stay home and sew or knit but that is not working out so well. My husband loves playing music and is preparing for a show at Workplay so lots of times, he is practicing while I am sewing. We like to watch a movie while we eat dinner, go to shows  at the Concert Hall at the BJCC and travel some, just all sorts of things! And I never have enough time, or maybe it is energy, to be with my grandchildren enough!

Adelaide, Welden, Deborah, Pierce

Any words of wisdom to young moms who share this love of creating ? Write down all the creative things you do with them so when someone wants to do a blog about you, you can remember!




“Gather together”

One of my most favorite childhood memories of gatherings was around our dining room table. It wasn`t a very large room. Our table would be extended out as far as the walls would allow and chairs were all fit snugly around the outside of the table. Family, extended family members and friends were all welcomed. Our Daddy always sat at the end of the table and blessed the food before we started our meal. Mother would have worked for hours, cooking  assorted casseroles, meat, home made rolls and always a yummy dessert. She always used the Sunday dishes in the dining room, good silver, table cloths and cloth napkins.

It was a time of conversation, laughter,  joy and always so much love within the walls of our home.

The gatherings were many and different occasions but people were always welcomed. Mother and Daddy made you feel loved as you walked through the front door of our home, no matter the gathering.

Young and in love, Bill and his Weezie

As we have grown older, those family Thanksgivings have changed with time. Our Mother and Daddy and many who sat around that table of our youth are celebrating with Jesus now.  We children have our own families and even grandchildren but Thanksgivings are still a special time to pause and give thanks for all of our blessings.

Take time to plan your special gatherings.  Love on those who walk through your front door and leave lasting memories for them to talk about for generations to come.

“We gather together” is a favorite Thanksgiving hymn of mine.  Written in 1626 and of Dutch origin, it still speaks truths and I love to sing the words in my mind, just as we did in church so long ago.

“We gather together to ask the Lord`s blessings.  He chastens and hastens His will to make known, the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing, sing praises to His name, He forgets not His own. ”

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

love, Jane


“The weeks before the big day”


April 29, 1950, was the day.  Bill and Louise`s wedding day.  As the day is getting closer to mark what would have been our Mother and Daddy`s 68th wedding anniversary, my mind goes back to the weeks before  and what they must have been like. All the hustle and bustle going on behind the scenes, must have been a busy time for her and her mother. I immediately thought of her best friend back then, Shirley, and what she remembered. Shirley is 89 this year, just lost her husband of 68 years, and lives in  Texas with her daughter and husband.  I reached out to her online, not knowing if she checked messages  and a few minutes, she called me. We hung up the phone an hour later. 

Memories  flowed as we talked about those early years. She met mother in high school. They were in the cafeteria line and  noticed that they both had on the same pink and brown  plaid skirt.  They smiled at each other and then after school, they met again on the street car and sat together. The life long friendship started that day in the cafeteria and lasted for over 60 years.

She remembered the day they went bicycle riding after school, met up somewhere in between their houses and talked for hours as they sat on the sidewalk. When they realized it was getting late and almost dark,  they were trying to figure out how to let their mothers know where they were and that they were ok. Shirley knew where the key to her church`s office was hidden , so they walked across the street to the church and unlocked the office door. They found  the phone to call their mothers. (She forgot how she knew where the key was!!)  When Mother called,  Loisie was very upset and immediately drove to pick her up and put the bicycle in the trunk to take her home. There was no room for Shirley and her bicycle so she just rode on by herself to her home. I never saw my grandmother mad so this was interesting to hear and the fact that she left Shirley out in the dark to ride home by herself and not follow her, didn`t sound like her either.? !!

Mother and her family moved to Birmingham 2 years later but the friendship continued to grow long distance.


Once in Birmingham, Mother and Daddy met as they were next door neighbors. He was a year older and went to U of A, but she says when he would come home for the weekends and drive in the driveway, he would honk to let her know he was home. She would go to the window and wave. The date nights would end and  as soon as he walked in his front door, he would call her. She would go to the basement steps to sit and they would talk for hours.  When she was asked what made her fall in love with him, she said, “we always felt we had so much in common, trust, honesty as well as love. He was always so thoughtful of my family, especially my grandmother who had so many health issues He was always so caring for her. That made me love him more. “

I can only imagine the fun times that her mother had as they were getting ready  these last weeks together. When asked later in life what she remembered about her mother, she said, “She was my best friend as I grew up. There was never anything we couldn`t talk about.  We loved shopping together and eating out. The best advise she and my Daddy gave me was the way they lived their lives, love, thoughtful, honesty, caring, truthful. The love they had for each other was so special.”

So this week, as I reflect on her weeks that led up to her big day, I pass on her advice about relationships. “My dad always said to remember that when you marry, you not only marry your sweetheart, but his family too. ” It may be old school to some but he also told her, “As you are dating, it is so much better to date a christian. When your beliefs are the same, life is so much easier. “

Their LOVE was so special.


“A Glimpse of my Daddy”

When I was a young girl, I prayed for a baby for our family. Many birthday wishes  and prayers were always the same, “Please, Lord, give our family a new baby”  It was my quest! When I was 12 and my sister was 15 , my prayers were answered when we got our little brother. William Reed McMahon, Jr.  We all were excited. I remember so well when Mother told us how my big, strong Daddy, actually cried with tears of joy when he saw our Billy for the first time.


My Daddy lived a life filled with ladies. At any one time in our home, for special occasions, there would be 8-10 ladies around the table.  His mother, his sister, his mother in law, his grandmother in law, aunts, friends of his mother in law and her mother, mother and of course, Anne and me.  Daddy would be the lone man at the end of the table. He loved every one of those ladies and willingly would help when asked if he could do something for one of them. I never heard him complain, wishing he didn`t have to spend time helping, or wishing he had time for himself. His heart was so full of love and compassion ,that is just came naturally.

He loved well. It was only natural that when he saw his son that God gave him, he was over joyed. Oh the things they would do together and the things that he would teach his son to build. We all were blessed and our family was complete.

Daddy had only 8 years with this son of his before God took him home to be with Him. Our lives changed forever that year when cancer invaded our little family. Memories had been made with his son, our Billy, but as the years have gone by, those memories have faded for him. He only had 8 years to know his Daddy. I had almost 20 years to engrave it all in my heart. I can still see in my mind, his love and kindness and  he fleshed out for others.

God gave me a physical glimpse of my Daddy the other day, through this grown son of his, my little brother.  We three siblings, Anne, Bill and I,  met for lunch with our aunt, Daddy`s sister, who is going to be 80 this year. We were discussing some upcoming events about her car and what needed to be done. After trying to figure out the best thing to do, my brother looked at her and asked, “would you like for me to go with you one day next week to the dealership to talk to them?”  As he offered to take off from work, to help, she nodded her head and said,”yes”, with a feeling of relief. He said, “no big deal, I will be glad to.”

At that moment, I looked at him and said, “you are just like your Daddy” It was just so real, as if I was seeing Daddy, all those years ago, saying those same words to any one of those ladies who depended on him.

Today, all of those years later, I still pray for that baby boy, that has now grown up.  The prayers have changed to prayers of praise. I thank God that during those 8 years he did life with his son, Daddy taught him a lifetime of love and compassion for others, and in doing so,  taught him to shine for Him.

Love you Daddy….

Love through the eyes of a Child

As I was looking through some things a few weeks back, I came across this little book that my older son gave me when he was 8.  I tend to save things that the kids made for me, not all of them, but the special ones.  With this little book, it took me back to 1985..  Forever ago, right? but I can close my eyes and still see him when he handed it to me.

It loved it then, and as you can tell, it has been worn during the years as I would reread it. I sent the picture to him the other day for him to show his son, now 8 years old. I told him to let Heston know that sweet things he made, at his age, to give them, would last a lifetime… and would always be special to keep.





It is funny to read the things that he wrote and that were important to him then, but as I do, my heart overflows with love.  The love that he had when he created the book, and the love that we have shared during these years.  He is long gone from home now, with a family of his own, but these memories bring such joy and make my heart smile.

Then… I worked on a painting that I had started earlier. Erased the face features and started over, with watercolors and stabilo pencil, I sketched this new girl, and gave her a bit of color.


She is a reminder to “Give Him your weakness and He will give you His strength”

It is a new season in our country. Praying for it to be a good one as we give our new administration a chance to make it good.

Linked today with Sunday Sketches

I hope you have a great new week,

Love, Jane

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