The Ballestero Blog

"That's what I'm talking about!"

Archive for the ‘Treasured Memories’ Category

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.”

with 6 comments

Almost fifty people sat in the little wooden church house in Lunita, Louisiana. They had come to a Youth Revival to hear nineteen-year-old Marty Ballestero from South Bend, Indiana. Pastor Kirkland had announced revival services for the next nine nights.

There was only one musical instrument in the church, a piano. The pastor’s sixteen-year-old daughter played the best she could. She was backslidden, but they needed some music, and that’s all they had. No one else could play the piano.

The year was 1963, the month was November, and I was out in the sticks. There was not a traffic light or a stop sign to be found for miles. There was not much to be seen here, but piney woods. While praying in those woods I got 59 chigger bites in one hour. I spent the rest of my prayer meetings indoors. It is easier to scratch indoors.

The song service was started with the ‘choir’ coming up on the platform to sing. The ‘choir’ consisted of whoever wanted to come up. Only a few remained seated in the audience. No one shouted during the revival, nor seemed to be overly blessed by the singing or the preaching. But everyone was friendly and said nice things to their guest.

The crowd was made up of hard-working but poor, salt-of-the-earth kind of folks. During prayer requests, names like, ‘Sis. Turtle’, and ‘One-Legged Willie’ got mentioned. No one seemed to be amused by the unusual nicknames.

The offering pan was passed every night and the change clanging on the bottom was very noticeable.

I stayed in the side wing on the left side of the church, right next to the auditorium. My room had a bed and nothing more. An outhouse was not far from my side of the church. A white building now stands in its place. The wing has been more than doubled in size and everything is enlarged and bricked now.

The woods came right up beside the church house back then. The trees came so close it was almost possible to squirrel hunt sitting on the platform.

Bro. Kirkland, the pastor, lived in a mobile home with his wife, his daughter, and son. The trailer was parked to the right of the church. It sat in the tree line as well. He drove a casket delivery truck for Batesville Casket Company. I rode with him a few times during the day for fellowship.

At night after church, I would be invited to eat at their house.

I had never had much of an opportunity to eat Cajun cooking before. I had spent too many years out west and up north. One night, Sister Kirkland said, “I hope you like gumbo, brother,” as I entered her house.

“Oh yes ma’am,” I said. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t, but when you are only eating one meal a day, you don’t get too picky, because it’s 24 hours until they invite you over again.

I watched how my hosts ate their gumbo. It was served with a whole egg in it on one side and a generous helping of warm potato salad over on the other side. The rue was dark. I was hungry and ate mine up. The taste was a little different, but then I’d never had gumbo before, so I didn’t know what to expect.

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.” The pastor’s fourteen-year-old son said. Did you like it?”

I didn’t want to say I liked it because the inward shock of being told I’d just eaten ‘possum was one thing, but to knowingly lie was another.

“It tasted pretty good whatever it was.”  (I don’t think I would have knowingly wished to eat ‘possum, but I did.)

I had been gone from home a little over a month and had been preaching a few nights here and there. This was my first revival since going full-time.

Since the sixteen-year-old piano player was backslidden, I chose not to have any music for altar service the entire revival. I had to give altar calls without music. I wanted her to pray through and knew she couldn’t play and pray at the same time. She did pray through on the last weekend.

I didn’t know, till after service one night, that President Kennedy had been assassinated two days before. There was no radio in my room or newspaper in Lunita to keep me informed.

Sixteen young people prayed through during those nine nights. Many of them were backsliders.

The last night, Bro. Kirkland announced that an offering had been taken every night for the last nine nights and that a total of $4.65 had come in for the evangelist. He said that he would like to have the church vote to give him permission to take $.35 out of the Ladies Auxiliary Fund to raise the total up to $5.00.

All those that were in favor of the evangelistic offering being increased stood to their feet. It was the first election I had ever won.

After church, I said my goodbyes and went down the road a few miles to Deweyville, Texas, on the Texas/Louisiana state line that night. I spent $3.50 in a phone booth for a 3-minute call to my dad, telling him about my first offering. I then bought 5 gallons of gas at the Billups service station for $1.00, for my ’55 Ford and drove across the street to Nick’s Restaurant. There I ordered a $.35 Cheeseburger and spent my last $.15 on a large Dr. Pepper.

 

I left Deweyville broke and happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

She Still Calls Me Honey

with 13 comments

She Still Calls Me Honey

She Still Calls Me Honey

 

She Still Calls Me Honey

 

A Tribute To Marcia June Starr Ballestero

Who Has Been My Loving And Romantic Wife For Fifty Years.

 

No man has ever deserved a love so sweet as hers. Fifty years ago, Honey, was the first sweet name she called me when we fell in love, it’s what she still calls me now. I was very thrilled then and today I still am.

It started from the beginning when we both told each other, “I Love You!” Somehow, before the conversation was over, my new name became, Honey. It was just that easy for her!

 

  • It was exhilarating to know I was a Honey to the girl I loved most!
  • I felt cherished. I felt wonderful. I wanted to boast!

 

I’d never been anyone’s Honey before. I started walking around with that new Honeyfeeling and it created a tingling in my heart. I felt different. I acted different. I was different. I was her Honey!

For fifty years or so, whenever I’ve heard that name called in a crowd, I immediately turn because I know it must be me being called. After all, I now am the man named, Honey.

 

  • If I were a cowboy, the name wouldn’t have fit.
  • Had I been a Marine, I would have suffered a bit.

 

How does one become a Honey?

How did I become a Honey in her eyes?

By the way, what is actually the definition of someone who is a Honey?

 

Webster says that a Honey is “a person for whom one feels love or deep affection; a sweetheart, a darling.

Honey is an affectionate term of address to a romantic partner, lover, or sweetheart.”

“Something sweet, delicious, or delightful.”

“An affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or romantic partner.”

“To call someone Honey is to talk flatteringly or endearingly to.”

 

By calling me Honey

  • She is calling me her Sweetheart.
  • She is saying I am her Dear.
  • She is confessing I am her Lover.
  • She is bragging that her Heart belongs only to me.
  • That my Heart belongs only to her.

 

Even though by now she knows how imperfect I really am, she still calls me Honey. There have been days when lemon or persimmon would have described me much better, but she still called me Honey.

 

  • “Honey,” I like that better than… “The Old Man,” or “Dodo.”
  • It sure feels much nicer than… “Quail Head” or “Bozo”

 

Oh yes, when our babies were little, for their sake, she also added the name of Daddy in her vocabulary when they were in the room.

But now, even though our children are grown it is still the same. In our private moments, when she could call me whatever she really thinks of me, she still calls me Honey.

 

  • When I am upset or stressed, my name is still Honey.
  • When I have no money, my name is still Honey.

 

I have no memory of her ever starting a fuss. Yet, even when I was out of sorts, or out of line she still called me Honey.

  • When I’ve embarrassed her and myself, she still called me Honey.
  • When I needed to be put in timeout, she still called me Honey.
  • When I had zits on my face too horrible to kiss, she still called me Honey.
  • When I lost my hair, she still called me Honey.
  • When I didn’t preach well at all, after church she still called me Honey.
  • When some old friends criticized me and walked away, she stood by me and called me Honey.

 

She seldom ever calls me by the name my parents gave me. I’m always Honey to her. What makes her use that word? What have I done to deserve such a sweet name? Even when I’ve wrong, she still calls me Honey.

 

  • How do you get mad a girl who calls you Honey and means it?
  • How do you not respond sweetly to her words of endearment?

 

When I wake up, she says, “Good morning Honey!”

When I walk in the door she welcomes me home with, “Hi Honey.”

The sweetest words I can ever hope hear when answering my phone is, “Hi Honey!”

  • It still fires up my furnace and turns all the lights on in my heart!
  • I can still hear the Love oozing in her voice!
  • I can still see the Love radiating in her eyes!
  • I can still sense Romance as it walks into the room!

 

  • She doesn’t throw that word around like a waitress in some cheap diner.
  • She saved that word for only me, the one she chose to walk beside her.

 

Some say when a wife uses the word Honey that it soon becomes expensive for the man because some time and labor will certainly be involved. But, there have been no HoneyDo-Lists drawn up for me by her. I draw them up myself.

The things I do for her are the things I get to do for her as my way of showing appreciation and saying thank you for calling me Honey.

 

  • She says it like she means it with her voice so soft and sweet.
  • It’s the word romance is made of, there’s nothing that can compete

 

When she says Honey, she means it. She says in a way that:

  • Softens the harshness of life
  • Melts the feeling of pain
  • Creates a spontaneous smile
  • Nurtures the weariness
  • Embraces the hurts
  • And Comforts the soul

 

I have stood on the platform before huge crowds and referred to her publicly as “Sugar Booger.” Some people smile and shake their heads because they are embarrassed for my wife. There are many thousands and more who only know her by that name.

She has never bristled or looked embarrassed in public when I spoke those words. She knows that is not the name I use when we talk. When we are together and I am looking at her it only makes me think of words gentle, loving, soft and sweet, so I try to say them.

  • There is nothing harsh about her.
  • She doesn’t speak unkind words.
  • She doesn’t ever nag.
  • She never starts fights.

 

  • Her touch is soft and gentle; her words are just the same.
  • I am blessed to be around her and hear her call my name.

 

At this major marriage milestone of fifty years and counting, my bragging rights are still securely in place.

My special name is sealed forever in her heart and mine. I am the man she calls Honey… and I absolutely love it! I wouldn’t change it for the world!

She has spent fifty years calling me by the sweetness name she could think of. Her wondrous love for me could never be matched.

 

  • So as your Honey, I thank you from the depths of my soul.
  • Your love has nourished me and made me feel whole.

 

No man could have been made to feel his wife’s love than I.

No man ever deserved a love so sweet as yours.

No man could be happier with his marriage than I am.

 

Thank You, My Darling Marcia June Ballestero, For Loving Me Totally Without Restriction Or Reservation!

You’ve Made Fifty Years Of Loving You And Being Married Seem Like Just A Few Days…

And By God’s Mercy, It’s Not Over Yet. Because…

When We Get To Heaven And Start Looking For Each Other, The First Words I Want To Hear From Another Mortal Is You Saying,

Hi Honey!”

 

I Truly Love You,

Marty, (Your Honey)

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm

“How ‘Bout Cha Droopy Drawers, Gotcha Ears On?”

with 7 comments

 

“How ‘Bout Cha Droopy Drawers, Gotcha Ears On?”

In the mid-sixties, Brother Verbal Bean, preached a long and powerful revival in Port Arthur, Texas for Elder Verbal Bean 1977Pastor Murray Burr. The church experienced a mighty move of God during that time.

I was taking care of the church in Silsbee, Texas while the pastor; Brother H.B. Morgan was on vacation. I only preached the regular service nights, so that gave me the opportunity to go a few miles down the road and hear Brother Bean on my off nights.

I sat in the audience and listened intently to this mighty man of God. We all were awestruck with moving of the Holy Ghost in the service. I’d never heard anyone preach like Brother Bean.

Heavy conviction was felt throughout the building as we stood for the invitation to come forward and pray. We all stood there feeling the strong pull of the Spirit, when the unbelievable happened…

An eighteen-wheeler passed by on the highway in front of the church. The trucker’s over-powered CB Radio blared through the Church’s loud speakers with, “How ‘bout cha droopy drawers, gotcha ears on?”

The moment for most was destroyed. Smiles and stifled laughter advanced to the next level. The service was officially over.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Treasured Memories

Tagged with

The Ballestero Interview

with 4 comments

Earlier the year, I was honored to be with Pastor Shannon Burgess and the Jesus Name Pentecostal Church of Chehalis, Washington. Bro. Gabe Baker, the Youth Pastor, took time from his busy schedule to interview me. He asked many questions about my life and ministry. I am humbled by his interest and efforts. I also thank him from the bottom of my heart for including me in his passion to help other young ministers.

Part 1

Part 2.

Part 3.

_____________________________________

For additional media, follow this link to the Jesus Name Pentecostal Church website.

http://jnpc.org/media-center/video-gallery.html

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm

One Of The Most Wonderful Gifts A Man Can Give His Children!

with 5 comments

One Of The Most Wonderful Gifts A Man Can Give His Children!

It’s not money.

It’s not expensive gifts either.

It’s not giving them all the latest toys and gadgets.

It’s not even giving them a large allowance.

I am not talking about giving your children something that only rich dads can afford. I’m talking about giving your children a gift that every father can give to his children, if only he would.

  • The most wonderful gift a man can give his children?
  • The answer is simple!
  • It’s hanging right there in front of you like the nose on your face!
  • You want to know?
  • You really want to know?

Love Their Mother!

That’s It! Love Their Mother!

Let your children hear you say something like, “I love you Baby,” to their mom. Then watch them smile approvingly. Let them see you kiss her and hug her. Let them see you brag on her. Kids aren’t dumb. They can tell if you really love their mom.

Let your sons see you be tender with their Mama, and they’ll grow up being tender to their wives too. Let your daughters see how a woman is to be cherished and loved. There not much more you can do to bring peace and comfort to your children, than for them to know they grew up in a love-filled home.

Your house may have cost 100’s of thousands of dollars. But if love was not shown or felt, then all you really have is an expensive daycare center for your children.

Both of my parents have now gone on to be with the Lord. But my father left me many wonderful memories and examples of him openly expressing his love to my mom.

In my mind I can still hear him singing love songs to her that seemed to blurt out of nowhere. Songs like:

  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart.
  • Sugar In The Morning, Sugar In The Evening, Sugar At Supper Time.

You get the idea. Mom would always smile and walk into his open arms. All of us children would smile and nervously laugh our approval. Sometimes we turned our heads. Sometimes we watched.

Many times I’ve walked into the living room, kitchen or dining room and seen them in a tender embrace. Sure I walked back out, but I saw it! I saw that my dad truly loved my mom. For a little kid or even a big kid, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Do you forget things like that? Absolutely not! You remember it so well, that you do the same things when you get married. Then, you let your children see you be loving and tender to their mother.

If you will do that, you have just increased the odds that your children will grow up knowing the secret of a happy home life.  And your grandchildren will grow up in a loving home as well. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

≈≈≈

(Now sir, go tell you wife right now how much you love her, and let your children hear you say it! Wrap your arms around her and give her a big smooch! That’s your homework for tonight. Class dismissed.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 14, 2012 at 1:14 am

Guess What Moment I Think About, When I Drop Money Into The Pot.

with 25 comments

Guess What Moment I Think About, When I Drop Money Into The Pot.

It was such a pleasant Wednesday evening, that night in December of 1958. Daddy had just gotten home from a revival somewhere and we were so happy to see him. We lived in National City, California and had been attending the church pastored by Bro. Leamon Reynolds. Daddy was an Evangelist and we had based out of National City since June.

I was in the 9th grade. I was old enough to understand that money was hard to come by and that we had none, to speak of. We had just come through a period of time where there had been very little food in the house for the last several months. For a month, or so, we’d had nothing to eat but pinto beans. We had eaten the beans without salt or seasoning, because there wasn’t any. Mother’s gift of imagination was contagious as we all acted like we were eating fried chicken or corn on the cob while eating the beans. We learned to laugh about it too.

Tonight was extra nice though, because Daddy had made it home. He’d been gone for a month or so. Tonight was Christmas Eve. There were no decorations to be seen. There was no tree. We’d never had a Christmas tree. We never missed not having one either. There were no presents on display. Our gifts were family, shelter, and enough food to keep body and soul together. All was well with the world, for us.

All of our clothes and shoes were from the Goodwill or some Thrift store. My shoes especially looked like Goodwill shoes. I had on old men’s shoes. Other guys my age wore ‘White Bucks’ or some cool looking ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. I wasn’t cool and I was OK with that. My Mom and Dad were doing the best for us children and we knew it. Most of all, we knew we were deeply loved. Our parents often did without food, so all of us children could eat. I noticed that, and it made it hard for me to eat very much.

We all sat in the living room talking. My two youngest sisters were not much more than toddlers. They were so happy to see him they crawled all over Daddy’s lap while he sat on the couch with Mama.

Mama always treated Daddy like a King. He always treated her like a Queen. We laughed while Daddy held her in his arms and sang a song to her, made popular by the McGuire Sisters. “Sugartime.”

 

Sugartime

Sugar in the morning
Sugar in the evening
Sugar at suppertime
Be my little sugar
And love me all the time

Honey in the morning
Honey in the evening
Honey at suppertime
So by my little honey
And love me all the time

Put your arms around me
And swear by stars above
You’ll be mine forever
In a heaven of love

Sugar in the morning
Sugar in the evening
Sugar at suppertime
Be my little sugar
And love me all the time

A knock on our door interrupted the moment. Mom and Dad looked at each. We weren’t expecting company. This was Christmas Eve. Everyone should be home tonight. This was special family time for most people.

All my family joined in behind me as I opened the door. Standing there were faces I had never seen. Six of them stood there, dressed in neatly pressed Salvation Army uniforms. They all smiled. In unison, they said, “Merry Christmas”

They each held armloads of sacks and packages. They said they were for us. They came into the house and began laying sacks of groceries on the counter on the table and on the floor. They brought in so many sacks of groceries, that my mother cried.

Then they brought in presents and clothes for all of us children. They had our names written on all of the presents. I never did find out how they knew our names. We never told them.

My sisters each got a doll and some doll clothes, among other gifts. I got a bat, a baseball glove and a baseball. I also got a toy model to put together.

Somehow, someone had guessed the approximate clothes sizes for each of us. My sisters got dresses, skirts and blouses. I got jeans and shirts. We all got shoes and coats.

The Salvation Army people stood grinning, as they looked at our faces. They smiled at my mothers’ tears. All of us children sincerely thanked them. My Dad and Mom thanked each one of them too.

So, today, when I walk into a store and see a red Salvation Army kettle hanging on a tripod with a bell-ringer standing behind it, guess what moment in time my mind goes back to? Guess what I am thinking about as I drop some money into the pot?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 5, 2011 at 1:01 am

Posted in Treasured Memories

Tagged with

The Unwanted Girls

with 6 comments

The Unwanted Girls

The news story told of 285 young Indian girls that had chosen new names.

“Nakusa” or “Nakushi” (two variations of the Hindu word meaning “unwanted”) were among the names abandoned in an effort to promote their self-worth.

“Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy,” a 15-year-old girl told the AP after the ceremony. The teenager was formerly named Nakusa by her disappointed grandfather, but chose to be called “Ashmita,” which translates to “very tough” in Hindi.”

Girls hold certificates stating their new official names during a renaming ceremony in Satara, India, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. Almost 300 Indian girls known officially as "Unwanted" have traded their birth names for a fresh start in life

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/10/24/unwanted-indian-girls-get-new-start-in-naming-ceremony/

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

Reading this story made me very sad. Their culture devalues women. An unborn baby girl might well be aborted if the parents knew its gender. It’s heart breaking to me. The very thought, is unthinkable in my family.

I have been blessed more than most men to have been surrounded all my life by loving and amazing women.  Their lives are blessed of God. My life has been blessed to the highest level because of them.

In my family, the women and girls are cherished, and loved. They are also respected, listened to, and honored. I always want them to know that!

Each of the married women love and honor their husbands and treat them like kings. No wonder each husband finds it easy to treat his wife like a queen and cherish her.

The daughters love and honor their fathers. They treat him with great respect. They in turn are loved and doted on. They have never felt unwanted, but rather are treated as if they were a princess.

The same is true for all the grand daughters.

It would be a near impossibility to find a family that loves it’s women more than the Ballestero family loves theirs.

With all of the above in mind, today I wish to stop and honor the women in my world.

I want to tell all of you that I love you, I honor you, and I cherish you, and I am proud of you. You all have me forever wrapped around your little fingers. I have you wrapped around my heart.

You are so gifted and talented. You are:

  • Singers
  • Song Writers
  • Musicians
  • Music Teachers
  • Choir Leader
  • Speakers
  • Writers
  • Authors
  • School Teachers
  • Recording Artists
  • Artistic
  • Designers
  • Business Owners
  • Leaders
  • Beautiful
  • Loving
  • Nurturing
  • Tender
  • intelligent
  • The Best Cooks In The World.
  • The Best Mothers In The World.
  • The Best Wives In The World.
  • And… You really love the Lord.
  • (This list could go on awhile…)

You might often be embarrassed by me, but you will never be unwanted! I love you and pray God richest blessings on you in all you do! There will never be such a thing as an unwanted girl in my family!

Let me show my readers a picture or two of why I am such a blessed man!

My Mom, Mother-in-law, Wife, Daughter, Daughters-in-law, Grand Daughters, Sisters, Sisters-in-law and Nieces are shown below. Besides all these, there are my wonderful cousins, close friends  and “adopted” family members.

Every One Of These Ladies Are Wanted!!

It don’t get any better than this. I, my friend, am a blessed man!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 28, 2011 at 1:10 am